Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Weigh-in Wednesday

Once I started working out on a daily basis, I signed up to receive the newsletter, Losing it with Jillian Michaels, to help keep me motivated. Back in September I opened my email to read the title, Should you weigh yourself everyday? Ah ha! I will finally get the answer to this health debate. I clicked on the link and eagerly awaited my enlightenment.

Let me first start by saying, I have struggled with my weight, and have serious self image issues that I have been working on since college. I was obsessed with my weight after gaining around 30lbs. my Freshman year. This, after a lifetime of being skinny and never worrying what size I wore. I mean I wasn't about to go strutting around in a bikini (in fact I recall one particular pool party where my friend convinced me to wear her bikini and I refused to take off my t-shirt until I was fully submerged in the hot tub. I then subsequently lost said t-shirt. It was my favorite at the time), but I also wasn't hating my body either. I was self conscious, what teenage girl isn't? I just never fully understood the real issue with women and our weight until I was called fat for the first time.

It was Homecoming, and while on the phone with an ex-boyfriend I swear he just flat out said, "so I heard you got fat!" I wasn't in any denial that my now size 15 body was vastly different than the size 7 that had just graduated from these halls not four months prior. But to have it smacked right in your face was such a cruel lesson. Six simple words and my whole body image crumbled. My 18 year old self never fully recovered, and here I am at 35 still looking in the mirror and pointing out any minute flaws. It's a work in progress. Though, seeing where I am now, if I could tell my 18 year old self anything it would be to stop stepping on the scale so much. You see, I was obsessed with the damn thing. I would check it everyday, sometimes twice or more in a single day. It got worse over the summer. I'd wake up, weigh myself, go for a 1 hour walk around the neighborhood, come home and step back on that scale. Oh how I willed the damn thing to move, and the more it didn't the more I felt like giving up. My relationship with food became an unhealthy one and eventually I developed an eating disorder. Despite my best efforts to binge and vomit, I still didn't lose the amount of weight I wanted. So I sought out group therapy and eventually stopped my bad eating habits. I wrote down everything I ate for months and went over them in detail with the campus Nutritionist. I hated having to sit there and admit that I ate 20 cheese blocks at Mrs. Greens, rendering my healthy salad obsolete. Looking back, if anything came out of those sessions it was a belief that I still live by to this day. You see, she didn't tell me to go on a diet. In fact she said diets don't work and she hates the word. Her philosophy was not about denying yourself foods but about limiting them. The key was not to "diet" but to change my eating habits. And with her help, I eventually did. I gradually worked down to putting only 10 cheese blocks on my plate. I learned to stop eating when I was full, even if that meant the majority of my meal was still on my plate. Most important of all, I stopped weighing myself.

Such small changes, but when you added them all up it did the trick. 3 years after graduating college and a few months before my wedding, I was back down to a size 8 and looking and feeling great. I had not set out to lose weight, in fact I was pretty comfortable in my body at that point. Funny how it seemed that the less I tried, or even thought about it, how easy the weight eventually just came off. All without even stepping on a scale. So for me, I would say weighing yourself everyday does more harm than good. And Jillian agrees.

Do we need to weigh ourselves every day? Put simply, no. Our weight fluctuates throughout the day, whether it be from excessive fluid intake or lack thereof, and it is this variation that freaks us out. Been there done that. Which is why I try to judge my success by how I feel and how my clothes fit. I had no idea just how much weight I had lost this past year until one day in June, I tried on a pair of my favorite capri pants which had been devastatingly too tight as of late, and they fit. It was such a great feeling, as well as a huge motivator to keep at it. However, I want to point out that this does not mean you should never step on the scale. Jillian recommends that you do it once a week, at the same time, wearing the same clothes and using the same scale. This is the best way to judge your success, or failure as the case may be, as you will give your body time to adjust to the changes you are making.

And this my lovely readers is how weigh-in Wednesday came to be. I admit I took the idea straight from Jillian's newsletter, but it's catchy and easy to remember. Like Sangria Sundays, or Taco Tuesday. I even put a reminder on my phone to insure I do it at the same time each week. You know just in case my mommy brain takes over. A little ding goes off every Wednesday at 6:45am, just after I wake up. It's so much a part of my weekly routine now, even though I have met my goal, that I continue to do my weekly weigh-ins as a continued maintenance of my overall health.

This morning I hit a record low of 127.8lbs. You might be going, "well damn girl. You overachiever." I won't lie, seeing that number on the scale felt good, but what you don't know is that I just came off a weekend of feeling ill and not eating for two days. (see fluctuation!) I'm sure by next week I'll be back to 130lbs. where I have been comfortably hanging out for the last few months. But it's just fine with me. Cause I hit my goal (woohoo!) and then waved as it faded in my rearview.

I know this might sound like I am pounding my chest but I want to show those of you out there who might be struggling and feeling like giving up, that I've been there. I've tired and failed, and succeeded and relapsed, and given up, and then tried again. It's supposed to be hard. Change doesn't happen over night. It took me the better part of 3-4 months, and I did it while still having to raise two kids. It was hard as hell. But. It. Is. Possible. Don't give up. If you stick with it, you'll be happy you did and I'll be there with you each and every Wednesday to step on that scale and virtually high five your achievements.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Right Now

Right now I am sitting in my office listening to a new playlist I created in iTunes called "writing." I am hoping it brings some inspiration for my return to blogging.

Right now I am wishing it wasn't Tuesday so I didn't have to spend the evening alone. Fred works really late (like 3am late) at Novalabs on Tuesday evenings. The kids love it because they usually get a special dinner like waffles (what they had tonight), or McDonalds (if I am feeling really lazy and worked my butt off running a personal record for 3 or 4 miles, or managed to complete level 3 in Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred). I usually get excited for tonight too because its the one night I get to have to myself. Where I can watch non-stop episodes of Criminal Minds on Netflix, or get some more chapters read in my current book selection. But tonight I am feeling like company.

Right now I am praying to every God I can think of that the kids will have school tomorrow, and not another snow cancellation. They have yet to attend a full week of school since before the winter break. Getting back into a routine around here has been impossible.

Right now I am reading Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. I was looking for Lowland but it wasn't available at the library, so I checked this one out instead.

Right now I am wishing Mason's teacher would email me back so I know if he only has one test on Native Americans tomorrow (the Pueblo), or is she expecting him to take the one on the Powhatans tomorrow as well. (Stupid snow days.) I hope not. We haven't studied them yet. After missing a week of school right before the winter break, due to a combo of pneumonia and an ear infection, he has had a lot work to make up. Four tests on the Native Americans more specifically. He took his first on Friday (the Lakota) and I am anxiously awaiting to find out how he did. Second grade is exceedingly more work than first grade.

Right now I am realizing that we are now two days behind on Sophia's homework. *sigh* Yes, Kindergarten has homework. If I didn't think it would wake the kids I'd be banging my head against the desk.

Right now I am wishing I exercised today, as I grab a late night snack of chips with cream cheese and salsa dip. I am justifying it with the excuse that I missed dinner. We'll just overlook the fact that it's almost midnight.

Right now I am struggling to stay positive that I will ever find a job that works around both my kids and my husbands schedules. (am still bitter that I didn't get that perfect remote customer service job in which I totally rocked the interview. I would have excelled in that position. Everyone says I should remind myself that it is their loss. Easier said then done when you're the one left wondering how you are going to pay the bills.)

Right now our Christmas tree and all the decorations are still up around the house. I know I need to take them down, but the house always feels so empty after its all gone. I find I am happier when the house is decorated. Maybe if I wait long enough I can just switch them out with Valentine decorations? Or is that taking it too far?

Right now I am telling myself to GET OFF THE DAMN COMPUTER AND GO TO BED ALREADY. I know I am really going to pay for it in the morning, staying up this late, surely if there is actually school tomorrow. One can only hope. I mean, miracles have happened right?

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentines Day 2014

I tried to get back into the spirit of decorating our house with each holiday/season and not just Christmas. Usually it puts me in the spirit of things, and let me tell you I've needed a massive pick me up after this miserable winter we've been having.

I started by making a new wreath for the door. The one we had was looking pretty sad, and every year we would lose a few more of the flowers. So it had to go. Now we we have a lovely red rose heart in its place.

Then I went throughout the house decorating the mantel, walls, and coffee table.
The LOVE blocks I bought from Target a few years ago, and I reused the red candle holders from Christmas. The heart doilies were an impulse buy at the dollar store. 

Fresh flowers really liven things up. The ones on the mantel (on the right) are also real. They lasted much longer than these beauties though.
This year I also tried to implement a wall where we would write little notes of appreciation and love to one another throughout the month. So far I am the only who has participated. I thanked Fred for my fresh flowers, I told Mason I was proud of him for earning the Helping Hands award at school, and told Sophie that I loved her thoughtfulness of others, especially her brother (making sure I get him one of whatever it is she is getting). This was just my wanting to do more than say, "I love you" on one day, but more of a monthly celebration of the little bits of love we show every day, that tend to go unnoticed sometimes. Maybe next year.

I think as we get older, our expectations of Valentines Day tend to lessen. Or that could just be me. With two young kids, a husband who works from home (so that means he works 24/7), and schedules that are anything but predictable, it's hard to make any kind of plans. Much less ones that involve just the two of us. So, when V-day came around again this year, I had no high expectations. Especially with the winter storm that had just dumped 13+ inches on us, closing schools for the 10th time this year (no, not the school year, I'm talking about just in 2014 our kids have missed 10 days due to snow. This does not include all the holidays and teacher work days that happened to coincide with those snow days. But don't get me started on that. How I feel about the lack of school my kids have attended since we rung in 2014 is a whole story in and of itself). Moving on. Oh yes, V-day is here and once again my kids are home ALL DAY LONG. This is exactly how I wanted to spend the day. I mean wouldn't you too? (she says dripping with sarcasm). Thank God for good friends who willingly took my kids for a few hours for a much needed playdate. That and Fred having left with my sister to get his Grandparents truck so he could help her move out of her apartment this weekend left me with a few stolen moments to myself. Ahhh. What to do? Sit in front of the TV and watch back to back episodes of Law and Order: SVU, or catch up on my reading of the Game of Thrones series. I did a bit of both. It isn't everyday I get total peace and quiet to enjoy a good book. Let me tell you how hard it is to concentrate on the words you are reading when two tablets are running in the background: the first of which is streaming Power Puff Girls at the loudest level possible, despite my repeated requests to turn it down and the other is playing some ninja game or that seriously addictive Cut the Rope, in which I get the phrase,"can you just help me with this one level Mom, PLEASE!" like every 5 minutes. Is it really too much to ask that Mom gets 20 minutes to herself where no one needs her for anything? Apparently. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the dead quiet in the house that never happens. It was almost too quiet but I managed to get a few chapters read before it was time for chaos to reign once more.

Around 4pm Fred arrived home with this lovely bouquet of flowers for me. Sometimes he can really get it right without the help of the kids.
We exchanged cards before I picked up the kids and had Moby's for dinner (no way was I cooking anything tonight).  After putting the kids to bed we cuddled on the couch eating strawberries sprinkled with sugar and watching Modern Family. It might not have been the big romantic dinner that everyone expects us to have, but it was enough. It fit us where we are right now in life. Simple, yet sweet.
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Haul out the Holly… (December Daily Day 1)

I swear, every year I get more and more disgusted when I see Christmas decorations filling the aisles of my local stores before Halloween, and hear Christmas music booming from their speakers weeks before Thanksgiving. Seriously?! I'm sorry, but I cannot even think about Christmas, much less get into the mood of the holiday, until after I've had my big family dinner giving my thanks for the year.  And don't get me started on the pre Black Friday deals. Christmas has become so commercialized these days that it is now taking over our other holidays just so we can be the first to get the latest and greatest gizmo, toy, blah blah blah for the so called "greatest deal of the century!" Ugh. I can't stand it. But enough about how much I hate the commercialization of my favorite holiday.

Every year I strive to have the decorations at least drug out of storage, if not all put up, by the first week of December. This is probably the first year we have ever had the tree up, ornaments on, and the majority of the inside of our house decorated for the holidays on the very first day of December. I really can't take credit for being totally on the ball though. Let's just say I had some motivation. In the days after Thanksgiving, and leading up to December, this was the conversation.

Mason: "Mom can we put the tree on Sunday."
Me: "Sure Mason."
Mason: "Yes! I can't wait."

Come Sunday morning the conversation went a bit more like this:

6am, Mason: "Can we put up the tree yet?"
Me (grumpy and sleepy, mumbling into my pillow): "Not yet mason, it's still early."
7am, Mason: "Can we put up the tree now?"
7:30am, Mason: "Get out of the bed! I want to put up the tree!"
Me: "Mason, go downstairs. I will get up when I get up! We can put up the tree after I've had my coffee and breakfast."
7:45am, Mason (in his best whining tone): "Mom, you promised we could put up the tree today."
7:50am, Mason: "MOM! Come on, GET OUT OF BED! Please! Seriously, can we put up the tree now? MOM!"
8:00am, Mason: "Mom…"
Me and Fred: "MASON!" 

Actually, this is how a typical weekend morning sounds. The kids getting up way too early and then bugging us every 10 seconds to get out of bed and get them breakfast, or play with them, or whatever nonsense they start begging for starting at the but crack of dawn. I don't know about you, but this Mama is so not a morning person. Not a good combination, young kids and an anti-morning persona. Especially with Mason, who needs constant stimulation as he tends to have the attention span of a gnat. It's exhausting. Probably another reason I need to have my cup of coffee in the morning before I can function. Trust me, you do not want to encounter me on a day I have not had my morning cup o' joe. It's like that Tempur-Pedic commercial, which is all too funny (mostly because it's true).

Seriously though, we got the tree up and all it's ornaments on in record time. Usually I am still decorating while dinner is cooking in the background. This year we were all done by the afternoon. It is unfortunate that our tree is having a bit of a short out with a strand or too, so we have some dark patches on our tree when it's lit. I suppose it is the perfectionist in me that is having the most problem with that. I swear I start to twitch each time I look at these pictures and walk by the tree at night. But I am learning to let it go. This is the new me, fresh off my breakdown, and being easy breezy. (Hahahaha. I'm sure Fred is reading this right now and screaming, "liar!) OK, so I might not be all easy breezy but I'm getting better at it. Take for example the ornaments. Usually I am very particular about spreading them out and making sure it all looks even. This I just let the kids go for it. I handed them ornaments (the non-breakable ones) and they put them on the tree. It was a big cluster of beauty from about the middle of the tree down. The top, totally empty. I had to stifle a giggle when I turned around. Lucky I had all those breakable ones to fill in the top and even it all out. They did a great job though.
That evening I found them sitting in the front of the tree looking at all the ornaments, admiring what a great job they had done and pointing out which ones they had made. It was too cute of a moment to pass up. I'm always on the lookout for a good photo op. Once they caught me taking pictures though, they had to pose in from of the tree and even at one point shouted, "did you get that shot of us with our arms around each other?" Such posers these too. But I suppose that just comes with the territory when your Mom is a photographer.
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Monday, December 2, 2013

I'm still here, I swear

So I trust that all of you out there in the blogosphere had a happy Thanksgiving. Ours was spent with my immediate family enjoying a short, but intimate dinner. We managed to get ourselves well enough to break some bread between episodes of the Modern Family marathon and whatever football game was being played. Fred made some deliciously good chili, and fruit salad. I tried to make some homemade rolls, but we had issues with our yeast and I ended up buying them last minute at the store. Mason and Sophie got a peak of how I spent a lot of my childhood by playing some really old board games like; Fun City, Clue, and Rack-O with Grandma and Aunt Jenni. My dad and I talked (I love just talking with my dad) about t.v. shows, health, and what we've been up to lately. It was all very last minute and though it wasn't the big family dinner of turkey, stuffing, ham, etc. that we have become accustom to, thanks to Grandma Veda, I am thankful we got to see family at all.

Ok, so you are probably sitting there all, "Woah Rachel! You've been silent for the last eight months and just suddenly pop up with, this is how our Thanksgiving was, and that's it?" LOL. Well, no. I do owe an explanation as to my absence since much has happened since April and here it is.

I have spent the last few, ok has it really been eight months, noting stories and events from our lives in my many notebooks strewn throughout the house and I have about 7-8 drafts in my post section that I just never got around to finishing. I have the best intentions, but lack the followthrough. I always figured once the kids got older I would have more time to do the things I want, despite the warnings this was most likely not to be the case. Still, all summer, I anxiously awaited the beginning of the school year. Why? you ask. Well, 2013 marked the beginning of ALL DAY SCHOOL, for at least one child.

Yes, Mason is now in first grade. FIRST GRADE! Gulp. Sophie is in her last year of preschool, sniff sniff, and I have 5 mornings a week with no kids. NO KIDS! (Insert happy dance, fists pumping in the air.) I will have three whole hours to myself to get some scrapbooking done and to actually sit down and write a blog post, I told myself. In my ideal world, I would spend those three hours being able to read, check email, write on my blog, make some cards, finish a few scrapbooks, and still have time to clean the house, do a load of laundry, run errands, get groceries, and take a shower. How productive I would be with my newly established kid free time. Snap back to reality, and three hours is really not as long as you would expect. I maybe have enough time to get a few things done before that alarm on my phone goes off, indicating it's time to leave and pick up Sophie. Most days this means I only get the grocery shopping done, and maybe a few minutes to send out an email or two; or I have just enough time to get in a run and take a shower; and on Wednesdays its spent volunteering in the classroom or shelving books in the school library. All that free time I had open for endless possibilities, I managed to fill with new opportunities and obligations. Leaving my clearly over-achievable goals of productivity to plummet, along with my hopes of finishing all the things I've been putting off creatively.

In essence, this was a very lingual way of saying, I've been busy and my blog failed to earn a space on the top of my priority list. I really have no excuses. I should make the time to write down the stories of our lives, especially for those family and friends who actually read this blog and live so far away. I know I've said it before, but I am really going to make a conscious effort to re-prioritize my time and make sure that telling our life stories is, once again, high on that list.

Not sure how well this will go, I do tend to have a little bit of an attention deficit problem when it comes to being on my computer. I mean all those alluring craft projects, recipes, and home decor ideas waiting to be "liked," or "repined" over on Pinterest; not to mention the status updates of my friends, (oh they are so distracting), because honestly who doesn't want to be all up in everyone else's lives. Seriously, it's only because our own is so overly mundane.  Or maybe that's just me. Either way, if you are still reading, or if you are new (Yay! and Welcome.) stay tuned for some catch up posts on what we have been up to lately. Also, it's December already. Aye! IT'S DECEMBER ALREADY!!!! So that means the return of December Daily, a sneak into our lives during the holiday season. I just love this project. You know why? Because as I was decorating yesterday, I pulled out my album from 2009 and started to look through it and really loved seeing how we spent the holiday, how the house was decorated, how young the kids were, and what we did on a daily basis. So much fun.
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

We got spirit, yes we do. We got spirit, how about you?

The end of the school year is approaching with lightning speed and I realize I have yet to write anything the kids have done in school so far this year. Epic fail on my part. No excuses, It's really just a lack of prioritizing blogging into my daily schedule. I'm working on it though. I have re organized my office, bought a planner in order to keep track of events and daily happenings that I want to blog about, and am going through my daily routine to determine the appropriate time to set aside for writing. I won't promise that I will start writing every day, but I will do my best to write more often than I do now.

Two weeks ago, Sophie's school had spirit week. I could never get Mason to participate in any of the themes while he was attending and really hoped Sophie would let me convince her to take part in at least a day or two. Surprisingly she participated in each day. She wore her Redskins jersey on Monday, mismatched her socks on Tuesday, and donned her school colors of yellow and blue on Wednesday. My favorite was Crazy Hair day on Thursday.
Sophie picked the outfit out herself, but she let me do up her hair however I wanted. I put two ponytails on top with her frilly hair ties and then braided the bottom in four different braids. It was a bit harder since her hair is shorter now than it used to be, but I think it came out good. She added the tiara, but then decided to leave it at home before heading out the door. I had walked her in that morning so I got to see all the teachers and her classmates equally crazy hair dos. Some had pony tails sticking straight up, one teacher had Mr. Potato Head stuck in her hair, and a boy in her class came in wearing a tin foil hat. There was lots of giggling, pointing, and showing each other their crazy hair. I was surprised to see her hair still in its crazy do when I picked her up, as she usually tends to take out her braids or pony tails by the time I roll into car line. I believe Friday was her favorite day because she got to wear pajamas to school again. It was really fun to see all the school spirit throughout the week. I'm thinking next year I just might participate too.

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Simple Things Sunday: through the eyes of a child

Last night while I was doing an emergency load of laundry, Sophie decided to stay in the mudroom and watch as her beloved ladybug blankie got washed. You see, it's the end of the world when her blankie gets dirty, and then I have to listen to her scream at bedtime when she doesn't have it. I try to pick my battles and this is not one of them, for I dearly appreciate sleep. Especially when my kids are doing it.

Fred was working on some code for his GPS's and I returned to coloring Wizard 101 characters at the table with Mason. We happened upon a section of their website that has a sampling of their characters to print out and color. Mason has been on a coloring binge ever since. I haven't really minded because coloring was a favorite past time in my childhood and something I still enjoy to this day. Coloring is probably one of the few activities that I can do with my kids for hours. After a few moments Sophie started to yell out to me, "Mommy! Mommy I need you." I half sarcastically replied, "When do you not need me?" She didn't get my humor and was only more persistent that I come and see this RIGHT NOW. As much as I knew it wasn't anything serious, the excitement in her voice had me curious.

I was just finishing up coloring a section, so I could see what she wanted, when I heard her yell, "Mommy come look! Come look, Mommy! The clothes are having so much fun!"
And that folks, is the wonderful mind of a three year old. When you can take something as simple as a load of laundry spinning round and round in the washing machine and turn it into something exciting, there is something special in that. I hate laundry, but I'm starting to wonder, if I tried to approach it like a three year old, would it be more enjoyable?
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