Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It’s just not possible

There can’t possibly be a baby on planet earth that is any more adorable than mine.

exersaucer 001 
If you don’t agree, I suggest you take it up with her grandmothers. ;)  I’m sure they’ll be able to set you straight.

Monday, August 30, 2010

30 x 30 Week 8

I don’t want to talk about it.

I’m discouraged, I’m frustrated, and I’m confused.  Other than the minimal splurging (which I’ve done my best to offset with workouts), I have been following my sensible eating habits.  And yet….I haven’t lost a pound in over three weeks.  In fact, I’ve gained.  Again.

  • Weight lost: none, not even maintaining. I’m back up 6 lbs. in 3 weeks.
  • Total lost since July 6th: 2 lbs.
  • Pounds to go in Phase Two: 14 lbs.

I have a couple theories as to what is going on, but none of them make me feel any better.  I’m exactly a month away from my “D-Day” and even though I’d come to terms with not making the 3o-lb. loss by my birthday, I will NEVER come to terms with being no better off than when I started.

And that’s how I’m feeling today. =(

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Uncharitable Charity

Edited to add:

Yes, I did rephrase some of the original content of this post.  It was written too hastily; I made some ignorant and poorly-worded statements; and I chose to remove those statements not out of cowardice or an attempt to “sweep my error under the rug,” but in an attempt to do no further harm.

I’m very openly admitting I spoke out of line, and I apologize to those of you who were offended. However, I do not appreciate being misquoted.  I never referenced a “conspiracy;” I chose the word “alliance,” which I stand by.  it takes very little effort and research to see that there is indeed a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” relationship going on between the voters supporting the top schools in the Kohl’s campaign.

That said…

This is my blog.  If you were offended, it is your prerogative to choose not to return to read further posts.  I will respect that.  I would ask of you the same courtesy to refrain from carrying on a conversation within the comments from the comfort and veil of anonymity.

**************

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you probably remember this post about the F4 tornado that destroyed Jim’s alma mater in June.

bilde

As you may also know, Kohl’s Department Store is currently sponsoring a Kohl’s Cares campaign to provide a total of $10 million in funding to 20 schools nationwide.  For the first month that this campaign was running, Lake High School was in 1st place – and you can imagine the morale boost this was to our community.

However, in just the last week, we have seen Lake plummet from 1st to (as of the writing of this post) 17th.  17th.  Only 4 spots from becoming ineligible for a $500,000 piece of the generous Kohl’s pie.

How has this happened?  Well, from all appearances, it is due to an overwhelming tidal wave of recent votes for private and parochial schools.  Go ahead.  Click to the page of top schools, and see how long it takes you to find a public school.

Sigh.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, the feelings I’m having are less than charitable, and totally not in keeping with the spirit in which Kohl’s is running this campaign.

But it’s really, really hard not to think, “But we need it MORE!”

Sure, any school can utilize and benefit from a free $500,000.  But I’d venture to say the other 19 schools in the top 20 are thinking of this money in terms of music and art and sports programs – not WALLS and ROOFS and PARKING LOTS and BUSES like Lake is.

So…..I’m begging.  Truly.

If you have a Facebook account, please go here.

And vote for Lake High School, Milbury, OH.  You can vote for Lake up to 5 times until Friday, Sept. 3.  And if you feel led (please!  feel led!), pass this news and link to your other friends and family who may not even be aware of this campaign.

Because I promise you, getting knocked out of the running for this HUGE blessing of funding will be merely adding insult to injury to a community already hurting.  After being in the lead for so long…well, let’s just say, we’re feeling a little bit like the little wimpy kid getting ganged up on by the big bullies.

Will you stick up for us?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to School Lessons

Lesson One:

After you attend your child’s Mother’s Day Out open house, make sure you haven’t “inherited” your child’s name tag.   Failure to do so may result in glue on your washer basket, dryer walls, and favorite black shirt.

random 008

Lesson Two:

Don’t assume your child will be as excited as you are to take his/her “first day of school” photo.  Be prepared to have him roll his eyes at you – even if he is “only” two.  (Funny, he cooperated more last year as a one-year-old.)

random 002 

Lesson Three:

It is perfectly acceptable to reward a great first day of school with a trip to the local splash park and Dairy Queen.

random 006

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Lifetime Ago

I found a CD in my desk drawer this weekend, chock full of pictures and videos from the last week of my junior year of college.  Scrolling through the shots brought back so many memories and had me grinning from ear to ear.

What made me smile even harder was hearing Erin belly-laugh at listening to my voice on video as I tried my first mussel (ew, by the way) (but that’s a story for another day).

Anyway, the picture I’m posting with this entry will mean nothing to anyone but me, but I want to remember, for my sake.

monica2 
I LOVED college.

I loved the classes I took, the professors I had, the sunshine and palm trees and daily rain showers that are par for the course in Pensacola.  I loved my hair (vain, yes, but I had seriously good hair days, despite the humidity, all through college).  I didn’t love this dress – though I distinctly remember that I paid $13 for it at WalMart the day before Easter – but I got so many compliments on it, I somehow kept wearing it.

group shot 
I loved – love – the friends I made ( and I love that, through the wonder that is Facebook, we can all keep in touch, even 10 years later).

I love that through the wonder of photography, I can be transported back a whole decade, and spend an afternoon revisiting sweet, carefree memories.

Aaron, Lucia, Dan, Brenton, Amy, Christine, Megan, Shannon, Jeremy, Meghan, Mark, Andrew, and Julie….. I miss you guys.  (And kudos to me for remembering all the names.  Seriously, I haven’t seen these pictures since the week they were taken!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

30 x 30: Week 7

Pffft.

One word for the week: maintaining.

But.  My clothes are looser, I’ve let go a little bit more of push-push-pushing toward the big 3-0 D-day), and I ate a LOT of fruit this week.

I know.  Random.

But, let’s just say, I’m keeping on – despite a big deviation from “healthy” while I was on a self-proclaimed girls’ weekend with just me and Erin and a fridge of leftovers that needed to be eaten or tossed.

I digress.  I ate the hot dogs and I enjoyed them.  But I also enjoyed the mini pizzas I whipped up with 100 calorie wheat sandwich rounds, pizza sauce, low fat cheese, and turkey pepperoni.

It really is all about the moderation, people.  Well, and self-control (for the pantry) and discipline (for the cardio), but let’s just focus on the “moderation” part for now.

Ramble much, Monica?  Sheesh.

Here’s the lowdown for week 7:

  • Weight lost: none, just maintaining.  And that is okay.  It’s okay.  I keep telling myself it’s okay.
  • Total lost since July 6th: 8 lbs.
  • Pounds to go in Phase Two: 8 lbs. Half-way there (again).Mini-goal is still to be done with Phase Two by August 12 August 25 when it happens, and be psyched when that happens.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vintage Seth

Seth James 291 edit 
It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since this picture was taken….my little baby boy gazing out at the Pacific Ocean.  What a great trip that was!

(On that note, happy 2nd anniversary, Margie and Dan!)

Do you have a favorite photo that just encapsulates a trip or vacation for you?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Caught up

Do you ever get so busy running your life that your feel like you’re not living your life?

I hope I’m not the only one.

There are days where I get so caught up in the details that I miss the point entirely.

Like when I take time to fix Seth lunch in between loads of laundry, but don’t take 10 minutes to eat with him, and as a result, I wind up with a bowlful of mac ‘n cheese dumped in Erin’s bouncy seat.

Or when I line up a baby sitter and send off registration forms so that Jim and I can attend a conference for my jewelry business, but then have to admit to myself that I haven’t held a successful show in almost a year.

Or when I’m working so hard to fit together the puzzle pieces of our business conference/anniversary celebration trip to Las Vegas in November that I find myself “dreading the ordeal” rather than “anticipating the getaway.

Or even in that I’m finding obsessing over lots of cute crafts and snacks and paper products for Seth’s monkey-themed 3rd birthday party (yes, the one that is months and months away) that I’m missing out on these fleeting moments of still-sort-of-my-baby two.

I don’t want to be that mom.  That wife.

I want to be more present, and yet, I find that I’m really struggling with the balancing act that is life.  And I know that I’m not alone in that.

What do you do to try to keep a degree of balance in your daily life?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I’m just one big excuse, aren’t I?

I know.

I made big promises about blog fodder and cute pictures, and I have yet to deliver.

But with good reason.

It’s been a diaper-blowing, flight-missing, football-eating, ER-visiting kind of week so far, and I can hardly keep us clean and fed, let alone concentrate on posting.  Really.  I’m surprised my head is still attached.

I mean, when Seth wakes up in my bed, and I wake up in his….you know there is a whole mess of craziness going on!

How about you?

What was the most unexpected, crazy thing you’ve experienced in the last week?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Quarter turn

It’s bittersweet to see the infant disappear, and the “plain ol’” baby emerge….

But, oh, what a wonderful baby she is!

3 mos sepia down  
Dear Erin,

Your personality blossomed during your third month here with us, and the sunshine you’ve brought to our home is unmatched – even by the relentless, 100+ degree solar rays beating down on Nashville all July (the hottest on record for Music City).

You smile, and smile, and smile some more.  You blow bubbles, and sing in the sweetest tone I’ve ever heard.  And you know how to rock out a photo shoot, poses and all.

august 1-10 005 
At three months, you are sleeping (pretty much) through the night (if by “night” you mean “the sleep time that ends at 5 am”), but I’m not complaining.  After you eat three or four ounces at dawn, you go back to sleep for a few hours and wake up, happy and ready to tackle the day.  Or not. ;) 

good sleeper 
You wake up more like mommy.  You don’t want a whole lot of stimulation (talking to, or, in general, attention from Seth) and you like to be snuggled and rocked for a bit after you get a dry diaper.

You seem to like your day sleep as much as your night sleep, too.  You take a mini-cat nap in the morning, usually around 10 am, but then you give me a three-hour+ nap in the afternoon, usually between 2 and 6 pm.  THANK YOU!  Thank you for timing this with Seth’s permanent drop of his afternoon nap.  You won’t know for many, many years how much this helps Mommy get through the day.

You are eating about 4 oz. on average, and you are starting to watch us intently while we eat table food – just about the same time your brother started to take notice.

so heres what i'm thinking  
Kendra has introduced cereal to your just-a-few-weeks-older buddies Luke and Abbey; I’m thinking you aren’t too far behind.  What an adventure that’ll be, huh?

You got to spend some brief-but-quality time with Nonna and Papa this month.  I think Papa is pretty taken with you.  (Maybe it’s because you look like him – chubby and bald!)

greg erin.23 008 
You also got to have a special moment with your mommy, grandma, and great-grandma:

ohio trip - 7.23 017 crop 
You make a four-generation dream come true, sweet bug.  No one loves you more than these women, I promise.

You are moving like crazy.  Your back-and-forth rolling has turned into army crawling.  Now we just need to work on going backwards; you crawl yourself right up the edge of furniture, and then get M-A-D that you can’t go any further!

Erin, I love you.  I love everything about you.  Your little clenched hands (what’s up with that, by the way?), your hair (or lack thereof), your herniated belly button, your gorgeous baby blues, your pouty lip, your laugh.

mom erin laugh.23 049 
I am so glad you are my daughter.

Love, Mommy

Yes, this post is WAY overdue.  Life’s been crazy….blah blah blah. ;)

30 x 30: Week 6

Well, I’m essentially half-way through my 30 x 30 journey – as least as far as time goes (not necessarily by way of results).

And you know what?  That’s okay.

I read a really well-written essay earlier this week on one of the MFP community boards.  Here is a little bit of it:

Phase 1. The start of a brand new day! (or week, or month, or year)
Expectations are sky high, usually so is motivation and intentions. This is where most people lose the most weight. At the start it's not uncommon to see 4 to 8 lb losses per week. The reasons for this are mostly (sorry to disappoint) water weight. You drop excess water quickly, and you can have up to 5 lbs of water weight. The next biggest reason is the fat that is right next to the blood vessels, the stuff that you put on in the last month or three, it will melt like butter usually.


Phase 2. Reality setting in.
At about week 3 to a month or so, people suddenly realize that they are no longer dropping 8, 6, or even 4 lbs a week. This is a crucial phase in your journey. Expect this, it is natural. You have shocked your body by changing both eating habits and exercise routine. Now it has had a little while to become used to the new lifestyle, it's going to compensate. Your body still doesn't believe it's permanent yet, so it will still try to store some fat, so now that it knows how to regulate it's new metabolic levels, it tries to store fat in earnest. It's not uncommon for people to hit a wall here, no loss for weeks. Expect this as well.


Phase 3. The routine.
At about 2 months or so, your routine is pretty much set, your body is beginning to believe that you really want to STAY the way you are going now. You will start to see more consistent (but lower, usually 1 to 2 lbs a week) loss, also, you should start seeing some muscle tone (depending on how much you had to lose in the first place). If you stop to think, you should realize that you have improved dramatically in your exercise levels. If you do cardio, you should notice how much longer and harder you can work. This is important to realize as it is just as big of an indicator as weight loss. Also, by now you may notice that your clothes no longer fit right. This is also very important. The weight may not be falling off anymore, but you are becoming a smaller person. Weight is arbitrary, if you are building muscle (which your body is doing at a furious pace by now) you won't notice huge losses, but you will notice wholesale changes in the mirror!


Phase 4. Really digging in.
This is where the second wall can happen. You're probably at between 3 and 4 months by now, and if you have gone this far, you feel like you have already succeeded. This is where many people stumble. they are tired of the routine, tired of eating different things from all their friends, limiting their alcohol intake. Basically the shine has worn off. this is when your really need to plant your feet. Maybe change up your exercise routine, make a concentrated effort to find different, but still nutritional food. Talk to people. And examine how far you have come. At this point, no matter how much external motivation you receive, it's all about believing in yourself!


Phase 5. End game.
5 or 6 months in you are probably working on that "last 10 pounds". This can be discouraging for many as it is a slow burn. Remember, your body probably feels like it is where it needs to be, your brain might think you need to lose 10 more, but your body is quite proud of itself now, it feels like it has "Done enough" and it wants to stay RIGHT HERE. The body LIKES to have a little fat around just in case, especially for the ladies (sorry girls, it's just human physiology). If you feel like you still need to lose it, prepare yourself for some guerrilla warfare against your body. Design an exercise regimen that is very dynamic, forget the "same thing every day". Make a plan that challenges you both physically and mentally. Make sure you give yourself a day off here and there to just veg. And by all means, remember, muscle burns fat at rest. So get some weight or resistance training involved.


The last 10 may take 3 to 6 months to lose. I know nobody wants to hear that, but it's true. And forget the idea of increasing your calorie deficit, healthy bodies need good nutrition, your body no longer has the fat reserves to handle the large deficits you could when you were 30 40 or 50 pounds overweight. Better to make it a 3 or 400 calorie deficit (NET, please count your exercise calories too!). It may take a bit longer, but your body will like you for it. Plus it feeds those new muscles and keeps them burning fat, keeps your skin healthy (elasticity is important when you want those places that were stretched out to "snap back") and keeps you from getting head aches and depressed.

Obviously, I’m not as far into the phases of my journey as are touched upon in this essay, but some of what the author was saying about expectations really resonated with me.  I think having that weight gain back in week four really caught me off guard and made me reevaluate not only the how but also the why of this weight loss journey.

Anyway, I have really adopted a healthier attitude about this 30 x 30, and I’ve vowed to myself that it doesn’t matter what the number on the scale is on my birthday, as long as I’ve done my best to exhibit self-control and make good, healthy choices each day.

That said, I can’t help but admit that this week was a positive one, by way of results.  Here’s a quick recap:

Random Tips:

  • Divide bulk packages of treats into manageable portions as soon as they come in from the grocery store.  Jim was actually the one to observe, “if you put an open 4-lb. bag of trail mix in front of me, the odds increase that I’m going to eat a 4-lb. bag of trail mix.”

Things I (re)discovered:

  • Keeping MFP up on my laptop all day is my saving grace.  Just seeing what something is going to “cost” me before it goes in my mouth does one of two things: makes me put it back, or makes me really savor and appreciate the treat.

Favorite foods of the week:

  • Celery and peanut butter.
  • All kinds of yummy-flavored Yoplait yogurt.
  • Kroger cheddar rice cakes – a new flavor, and just as surprisingly good as the caramel and berry ones.

Weight loss:

  • 3 lbs. =)  It would only be sweeter if they weren’t pounds I’d already lost this summer.  But whatever.  Onward and upward.
    • Total lost since July 6th: 8 lbs.
    • Pounds to go in Phase Two: 8 lbs. Half-way there (again).Mini-goal is still to be done with Phase Two by August 12 August 25, but I have a feeling that September 1 is going to be a little more realistic.

Yea me for being back on track!  How was y’all’s week?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A tease

That’s what I am.

My laptop is back up and running, and I’m bursting with blog fodder and lots of fantastic pictures from the last month, but it is late, I still need to get half of my kiddos to bed, and I’m currently holding three simultaneous Facebook chat conversations, so I’m just going to leave you with this:

august 1-10 003 
More adorableness of both the littles to come, I promise!

Monday, August 9, 2010

30 x 30 Week Five

Well.

I weigh myself twice a week -- Wednesday and Sunday mornings. I should have known, after Wednesday's weigh in, that I wasn't going to be thrilled with Sunday's.

According to the scale pre-breakfast/post-pumping, I'm up another 1 lb. this week.

And I'm discouraged. And because I'm discouraged, I find myself saying, "I don't care," and opening the pantry door. BAD!!!!!

I don't know if it's partially due to not having access to MFP this week (major computer issues having me using Jim's work laptop only sporadically), or if it has been the inability to work out at home, or due to several meals out (no matter how healthy of choices I make).

I think my goal of 30 x 30 may be unrealistic, but I'm going to stick to it and just keep keeping on. I'm sure I'll need to reevaluate my goals next month, but for now, I'm going to try to just stick with what was working in the beginning, and keep making healthy choices, and pray that our friend Kevin can fix my laptop so things can get back on track...

Here are the sad stats for the week:

Weight loss

• None. Shame on me, I actually gained another 1 lb.in addition to the 3 I gained last week. =(
• Total lost since July 6th: 5 lbs.
• Pounds to go in Phase Two: 11 lbs. Mini-goal is still to be done with Phase Two by August 12 August 25.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

And another one bites the dust

I love my (still, for the most part, new to me) car.

It drives like a dream, has an awesome stereo, and it even talks to me on occasion.

Like, oh, it’ll randomly announce that I should take note of “low tire pressure.”  Because if I don’t (take immediate note), said wonderful new-to-me car will decide to implode said low-pressured tire.

Oh, I suppose I shouldn’t blame the car.  It’s not like she chose to drive her left rear tire over this:

ohio trip - 7.23 129
I suppose it looks harmless enough in that photo.  But let’s get a little perspective, shall we?

ohio trip - 7.23 130

Yeah.  That is the bolt the repairman pulled out of my tire. The tire that couldn’t be patched, but had to be completely replaced, because I hit the bolt on a bridge and had no choice but to drive on the tire for a mile or so (as luck would have it, right into massive road construction that would prevent me from pulling over before driving another few miles).

Needless to say, having to deal with this on a day when I was dressed up (all the way in a skirt, even), late for a lunch meeting, with a hungry Erin in tow, on a 97 degree day was NOT my idea of FUN.

There’s nothing like trying to feed your two-month old in a gas station parking lot while trying to keep your cool and track down the men in your life to come to your rescue.

Thank goodness for Triple A, and their great employees who had my tire replaced in no time.  And thanks to my great dad for purchasing the aforementioned Triple A membership that I (oops) had let lapse.  Never again, believe me.  I have a whole new appreciation for roadside assistance.

More than anything, though, I’m thankful that it was “only” a blown tire and nothing more serious, seeing as how I’m hauling uber-precious cargo.

erin car seat

seth car seat

Monday, August 2, 2010

30 x 30: Week Four

Alternately titled, Not Only Did I Fall Off the Wagon, but the Wagon Ran Me Over.

Last week was rough.  There is just no way around that.  I’m not saying that an emotionally and physically rough week is an excuse to bury sorrow in food; it’s not.  But I’ve also made it painfully clear to you, readers, that I’m an emotional eater, and the events of this week drove me to the freezer and/or cookie jar a couple too many times.

Between weigh-in’s, I drove (or rode) over 1,500 miles with at least one, if now both, of my children in tow.  I attended two funerals and the subsequent potlucks and visitations that go along with them.  In addition, there were two family reunions, two birthday parties (one for a 5-year-old and one for two 30-year-olds), two business lunches, my first pulled-over-on-the-side-of-the-road-and-call-AAA flat tire, and just plain general running around like crazy with our parents and children.

Dear, close friends of ours who were awaiting the birth of their second child welcomed a baby boy on Thursday, only to learn on Friday that not only will he require open heart surgery, but his brain stopped developing at 20 weeks of gestation.  My heart breaks and asks why with every thought of them and sweet baby Zachary.

Jim and I have spent almost no time together in the last several weeks, and this, on the heels of an already jam-packed summer of travel and separation.  I know that our business is the “norm” for us, but it is beginning to wear thin.

I’m also coming off two of my medications.  I’m not sure how much of this decrease is contributing to my extreme moodiness, fatigue, and appetite, but let’s just all it to the “circumstance” pile, shall we?

All that to say, it was a rough week for a lot of reasons.  Add that to not being at home in my routine, away from my own stove and fridge, and….well, it’s no surprise I put up the stats I did this week.

So, here we go:

Random Tips:

  • Only use ONE scale when you’re on a weight-loss journey like this.  My scale at home has been my friend, sweetly melting away the pounds faithfully.  And then I went to Ohio, and stepped on my mother-in-law’s scale.  Oh, yes, this was the scale that told me I had hit a total loss of 11 pounds on Tuesday, but that by Thursday, had put me back up 8.  Talk about a roller-coaster of emotions wrapped up in those conflicting numbers.

Things I discovered:

  • I can’t let my success (or lack thereof) determine my commitment to this lifestyle change.  Just because the scale (no matter whose) said the numbers were going the wrong direction, I can’t give in to the temptation to throw caution (or self-control) to the wind.

Favorite foods of the week:

  • Not much to say on this front.  Oh, I enjoyed plenty of sinful indulgences this week – Philly cheesesteaks, chocolate raspberry truffle ice cream, my mother-in-law’s chocolate chip cookies – but I can’t say I’ve uncovered any new healthy treats.  Here is to committing to finding a new, healthy snack to share in week 5.

Ways I know this is worth it, and working!:

  • I had the opportunity to spend some alone time at the mall on Friday.  I hadn’t been in Eddie Bauer (probably my all-time favorite clothing store) in probably a year.  Seeing clothes I wanted to purchase, but refusing to do so because I I want to drop a few sizes first, was motivating.

Weight loss:

  • None.  Shame on me, I actually put on 3 lbs (using the last weight from my scale, not the lower total I recorded on my mother-in-law’s.)
  • Total  since July 6th: 6 lbs. 
  • Pounds to go in Phase Two:  10 lbs.  Mini-goal is still to be done with Phase Two by August 12.

Here’s to a much better, self-controlled Week 5!

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