Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lifestyle Change: What I've Learned So Far

So as of this weekend I have been on this "lifestyle change" for 4 weeks now. I think I am getting into the swing of things, but some things are still tough. I wouldn't say that I love the gym, but I know it is helping me get to where I want to be. Seeing the lbs come off (even if slowly) is nice. And I have more energy, that I can already really notice. So I thought I'd put together a list of things I have learned so far on this journey...

1. I have basically started eating the same foods over and over again. A lot of chicken, sandwiches, fruits.. and mostly Subway when I go out. There are not a lot of healthy choices.

2. The kids have really picked up on what's going on, and they realize more than I thought. For instance, the other day Rachel asked me how many calories were in what she was eating!! I told her that she did not have to worry about that. But this shows me that I need to be careful what I say around them, and stay positive. I don't want my girls ever having a bad body image.

3. A lot of foods are way higher in sodium than I would have imagined. Tracking stuff on My Fitness Pal shows me how much is in everything I list. And that is the one thing I get close to the edge or go over on often. 

4. I have more energy. I noticed that almost right away. I usually hit a slump every afternoon, but it hasn't been that bad lately. And I am a big believer in naps on weekends especially, but I haven't even been taking that many lately!

5. When I leave the gym I am really sweaty and flushed, and it is gross. But everytime I look into that mirror when I leave I am proud of myself. 

6. The food I do eat now, I tend to enjoy more. I look forward to meals and snacks (and occasional treats.) And I think I eat slower to savor it, also. 

7. The numbers on the scale are going down slowly, but I see other changes too. Like looser pants, more energy, I'm less bloated, etc. And that is what is most important. The numbers will come.

8. I drink a lot more water these days. I have gotten into the habit and made myself do it. Drinking water is so much better for you anyway.

9. The time at the gym drags by if you don't have something to do! I am not the type that can focus on reading a book while being there, and you can't really hear the tv, so I take my phone and listen to music. I put it on music I know I love and the upbeat, happy songs keep me motivated :)

10. As for the machines at the gym.. I notice that the elliptical burns way more calories than mostly anything else there. And I don't care for the bikes, because they really make my lower back hurt. But I know it is good to change things up.

11. Fact: Guys lose weight a lot faster than girls.. at least in my experience (no fair!!) Arnold started on the journey before me, but he has already dropped almost 20 lbs! I am proud of him, but dang it is hard to keep up! I think that actually motivates me more, because I feel like I am competing ;)

12. I miss a lot of foods. I mean some days are harder than others and all I can think about is yummy treats. I want a pasta dish from Olive Garden. Or some chocolate whoppers candies. Or a big sweet tea. But good gracious those things are so high in calories that you know how long it would take to work it off!

13. If you want to "cheat" a little, make it a meal, and NOT a whole day. found that out the hard way. Also, doing it the night before a weigh-in will not make you happy. When I stepped on the scale after a cheating weekend I was shocked at how much your weight can fluctuate in a few days' time. Thankfully if you get back on track you can reverse it, but it's tough.

14. Even though sometimes I am embarrassed at myself, like how I can hardly handle any of the arm exercises because my arms are so weak.. I have realized just how strong my body really is. I went from never going to the gym to going several times in a week and my endurance is better, and I can do things for a longer time period. Everyone tells me I will get hooked and actually want to go.. we will see ;)

15. Even on days when it is really cold or rainy, or you have too much going on, you can find at least something to do to be active. One Sunday Arnold and I did "Just Dance" with the kids. It may sound silly, but doing those dances for 45 minutes really makes you sweat! Anything that gets your heart rate up has to be good for you.

16. I was surprised at how many calories hiking burns! The day we took that hike I about died. I seriously didn't think I'd make it back to the van. Didn't help that we chose the path with all the hills. But I did it, and when I clocked into My Fitness Pal, it was really worth it ;)

17. I couldn't get through this without support from my friends. I get encouragement from a lot of people.. but I am on this specific journey with 3 of my friends that are doing the same changes, and we talk every day about our highs and lows. Having those girls hold me accountable makes all the difference. They know all my numbers, faults, and secrets, and love me anyway. So thank you girls.. you have made this ride actually enjoyable! :)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Random yet Important Ramblings!

The kids had Literacy Night at their school this week. It was supposed to be last week, but it got rescheduled because of bad weather. They do this once a year and it is to promote reading with the kids. We went to the gym and the chorus sang some songs for everyone. Their theme was musicals and they did songs from Rent, Grease, Lion King.. it was so cute. Then we broke up and went to classrooms by grade levels and they did activities. Before they left all the kids got popsicles. So it was a pretty fun time. Then we went to dinner at El Paso with our friends Chasity and Shane, and their kids.   

All the kids who went to the Literacy Night got homework passes. So Brooke didn't have to do her homework one night this week. We picked the night she usually has to write sentences (that takes forever)

Did anyone watch the new show "Resurrection?" I kept seeing commercials for it for weeks and thought how crazy and dumb it looked. I don't believe people will just pop back up one day when they are dead. But I read online several things about it and was intrigued, so Arnold and I watched the first episode. It was actually really good. Emotional, thought-provoking, with an air of mystery (there are some details that are hard to figure out) and a tad bit of creepiness to it (I mean how would you feel if your child who had been dead for 32 years showed up on your doorstep one day? How would you wrap your head around that?) I was afraid I was going to be having dreams that night of my Grandmother who died when I was 15.. but I didn't. Anyway, we will probably keep watching, because I want to see what happens!

We went to the gym Tuesday night for our workout. We are trying to go around 4 times a week, Tuesdays, Wed, Fri, and Sat, unless things come up. Tues evening went well and we did all cardio. With this week's hard work and dedication to my calorie goals,  I am hoping my weigh-in on Saturday will go really well! But I must say.. that I am seeing a lot more energy these days. I am waking up earlier in the mornings and not dragging in the afternoons! It is nice! And I am proud of myself for sticking with it, because many nights I will admit I wanted to go on a binge and eat several things that were bad for me (biscuits...cookies... jellybeans.. you name it.) Right now all I want is a big bowl of pasta and some whoppers candies. Why is it that you crave food SO much more when you tell yourself you CANNOT have it? Eek.

Someone mentioned on a Mom forum I am on that the next Happy Meals toys coming out are My Little Ponies (these in the picture.. and boys' toys are Skylanders) Aren't they cure?! I LOVE it when they come out with cute toys. We are trying to cut back on bad foods, but we occasionally get the kids happy meals.. especially on real busy days when we have stuff going on. I think We may have to go to several Mc Donald's just to buy the ponies.. I know the girls will want to collect them ;) And ok.. maybe I do too!

The other day I saw my mom's pic show up on a local town near us' City page.. and then later she tells me that she did a speech and a tour for some local high school students that came in to her work. She is the Executive Assistant at ECCCM, a crisis ministry in the area. (She used to volunteer there and they ended up offering her a job because they liked her so much!) Anyway, I had to call and tell her.. she is still getting the hang of facebook and I knew she probably hadn't seen the pics. Of course she was asking me how she looked in the pics.. haha, typical Mom ;) Anyway, I was proud to see her on there.. she is an amazing woman who helps many people! :)

Took this picture of the kids the other morning before school. It was a beautiful day.. I think the high ended up being 76 degrees! So they got to wear some of their new spring clothes. They wanted to hold Sheldon in the picture, too.Later when I put the picture on facebook I noticed that Sheldon was actually looking at me so the picture turned out pretty cute. I have no clue what kind of face Brooke was making. And yes I know Caleb's hair is awful.. he has the worst morning hair! And I also realized that I put them all in shade of blue.. I did NOT plan that.. although I sometimes make them all match because it is so darn cute ;) Although I know before long they will complain to me it is totally not cool and they won't let me ;)

We finally got around to setting up Brooke a consultation at a local Orthodontist's office. The dentist says she needed to go because she has a horrible OPEN bite and her jaw is mis-aligned. Probably due to the years she spent sucking her thumb (and here I thought I was avoiding any problems when my kids didn't take pacifiers!) Anyway, they sent over x-rays and want to take a look at her.. because she will need braces sometime in the near future to fix the problems. She actually will be going to the same Ortho I saw when I was a kid, so that is pretty neat. Worrier that she is.. she wont' stop asking a million questions about it.. will it hurt, what will they look like, can I pick the color, etc etc. Sheesh. Meanwhile I just worry about the cost! Thank goodness we have dental insurance that is going to pay part of it!

I got all my financial aid stuff filled out again, and this time I am on top of things and I WILL make sure that I don't miss any deadlines or have any problems like last time! If all goes well I will be starting back to college for the Summer semester, in May! I have been sooo worried lately about finding a job and why isn't anything working out.. but this may just be my answer. With going to college and taking care of the kids this Summer.. I may be too busy to have a job right now anyway. Who knows... (yes I am still looking currently though.) Anyway... I am so excited to get back into the swing of things. And I have decided to change my major to Social Work. I have flip-flopped between that and Elementary Education forever now, and I think I have finally made up my mind that I am going to go for the degree to become an Adoption Social Worker. I know I have the life experience that makes adoption so near and dear to my heart. Plus I love helping people, and LOVE all things pregnancy/baby.. so why not devote myself to helping babies and children find their forever homes? And help pregnant women in crisis figure out a plan for their lives? After all, I was there at one time and I know how scary it is! And helping at the Pregnancy Care Center has just made me realize even more that helping people is what I want to do in a career. So wish me lots of luck! :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Think Green

Here are a few quick and easy ideas you can use for St. Patrick's Day that I'm sure the kids will enjoy (and us adults too, probably ;) I will be doing several of these with my kiddos.

A fun breakfast and pretty healthy! Kids always seem to eat better when the food is layed out in a fun design or shape.. have you noticed???

Do a craft.. here is a rainbow made out of different colored yarn. There are variations to this too, using colored streamers. Whatever you can find or have around the house.

If you want a quick gift, maybe for a teacher or friend? How about filling a jar with layers of skittles or M&M's in rainbow colors, and adding a gold candy at the bottom. Stick a cute ribbon or tag on it and you have a cute and yummy gift!

My kids love chocolate coins.. so I will probably grab some for them if I see any out at the store.

A good excuse for me to sport green nails! My very favorite color. The girls will probably want me to paint their nails, too. A welcome change from all the pink around here!

Make leprechaun footprints to add a bit of whimsy to your morning! I know a lot of little kids would love to wake up to seeing these... I think these are colored in with green sidewalk chalk.

Make a "pot of gold" for an afternoon snack. Whip up some jello cubes, and if you really want to get fancy, scoop out a lime and put the jello inside!

Another idea for a snack.. some good ol lucky charms cereal. ALL kids I know love that cereal! And if you want to top it off.. add some green food coloring to some milk. Maybe add in some striped green straws. And serve stuff on green plates.. I may or may not have already bought all of the above for my kids ;)

End the day with a St. Patrick's Day book. My kids love "The Old Lady" series. They have a book for just about every holiday and season out there.

Whatever you do, have fun! Holidays and special occasions are such a fun time to experiment and try cute little things for the kids. I have had so much fun doing things for mine! :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Weekend Recap

Friday we actually had some snow on the ground.. it seemed to come out of nowhere. And the kids had another day off of school. Not much to talk about there!

Saturday was an amazing day.. right around 70 degrees and beautiful outside (crazy NC weather!) We headed out to the gym for a workout. We decided to do all cardio that day and so I walked on the treadmill while listening to music on my cellphone. I also did my first weigh-in this week, and have lost about a pound and a half, so I am proud of myself :) I am ready to start seeing the numbers really go down! When we got home we took showers and made some lunch. Our lunches mostly consist of sandwiches, baked chips and fruit these days, but I am getting used to it! That afternoon we rested some around the house and I finished up a book I had been reading. Then we went out and took the kids to a local park that is pretty awesome. They have an awesome slide that is high up on a hill.. and the kids ran straight to it. Brooke and Rachel held hands on the way up the hill.. wish I could have captured the sweet moment, but I forgot my camera! Then the kids went down the slide together. Arnold and I sat on a bench together and watched them play. It was SUCH a nice day! After the park we took the kids to get some slushies at Sonic and I got a diet coke with cherry. I just love their ice there! And on the way home we made a stop by the grocery store to pick up lots of fruits for snacks. We are trying to keep mostly all healthy choices around the house so we aren't tempted. That evening Arnold cooked us tacos and rice for dinner.. so yummy! And when the kids went to bed we caught up on some shows that we had missed this past week. The past 2 episodes of Glee have been pretty good!

Sunday morning around 3:30 AM I woke up and just couldn't get back to sleep. I started to have a panic attack, so I took some of my anxiety medicine, and eventually passed out. Well that is all well and good but I slept through church! I was supposed to get up and go watch my babies since it was the 2nd Sunday of the month. Oops :( Thank goodness I heard they only had 2 little ones there this week, so they weren't too crazy. It felt good to rest though. After some lunch we got ready and headed up to Baker's Mountain. Arnold had been wanting to do some hiking forever, so we finally got to go. We chose to do the red trail which actually was 2.2 miles and the hardest one, with lots of hills to climb up. I was ok except for the hill parts, and realized just how out of shape I am! But that is starting to change, and that is what matters! The kids had a great time.. just being in nature.. but they all slipped and fell several times because they were wanting to go too fast on the trail. After awhile they were complaining of being too hot and tired, but I am proud of them for making it. We got to be in some beautiful scenery and take lots of pics. I actually haven't taken any pics of the kids this month yet, so I was behind! ;) At the end of the trail we all collapsed on a picnic table and rested for a minute. 

On the way home we took the kids to get some icecream as a treat. Then when we got home they still wanted to play outside (guess they got their energy back!) so they went on and I took a shower. Arnold and I rested for awhile and I uploaded all our pictures for the day. And I updated My Fitness Pal which said the hiking for 90 minutes burned about 900 calories! So it was totally worth it. Although I'm not sure how soon I will be going back.. since it was so rough on me! But I guess that is the way to get stronger.. is keep trying. That night we had chicken breasts, mac & cheese, and veggies for dinner. Pretty healthy meal but still so yummy! I swear food tastes soo much better now that I am on this diet/lifestyle change. I appreciate it more ;) We got the kids showers and ready for bed, and I think they were pretty wiped out from the day. Arnold and I stayed up to watch some more tv and before bed I started reading a new book, "The Husband's Secret." I had heard great reviews, and it is pretty good so far! 

Hope everyone has a great week! :)

Saturday at the park. I got to break out some short sleeves and wear my new doxie shirt I ordered the other week. And of course wearing my doxie necklace also, that Arnold got me :)

At Baker's Mountain on Sunday afternoon

Starting down the trail

Much of the walk the girls were holding hands. They can be so sweet sometimes :)

We stopped to rest and take a few pictures.

Caleb took this picture of Arnold and I.

Rachel at the end of the hike. This pic says it all. She is exhausted, red-faced, and has dirt on her knees from tripping and falling so many times :) Poor girl! Towards the end of our hike she said "I just don't think I have enough energy and muscles to get through this!" Haha :)

Right after the hike after we finally reached the car. Sitting down in the air conditioning felt so good! No makeup on, but a healthy glow from being active! I felt pretty good all yesterday afternoon and evening! :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I just finished this book and it was so funny. I'm really glad I picked it up at the Christian bookstore a few weeks ago. It is written by a pretty popular blogger, and it is about marriage. The stories had me relating and laughing out loud. Would highly recommend it.

Speaking of books.. I also just finished this one. It was actually written by a friend of mine! We met through a moms' group a long time ago and I still talk to her occasionally. She is the sweetest person and a great writer. This is her second book actually. The first one is called "So Much it Hurts." If you want a good story about a "shining light" in your life and two people with troubled pasts that find love (and a happy ending) you will like this book! It is only $2.99 on Kindle right now.. and It comes out in paperback soon!

Decided to try some new chapstick on a whim, and chapstick now has Green Apple flavor! It taste and smells so good! They also have a vanilla cupcake flavor out that I'd like to try.

Yeah I have jumped on board with this train wreck. I like it so far. I understand the instructor being tough but goodness... I feel so bad for those little girls. Sometimes I almost want to cry! I don't think I'd ever be able to handle being a "dance mom."

St. Patrick's day is right around the corner! I picked the girls up some cute matching shamrock shirts at the Children's Place. I also got Brooke some fun earrings and hairbows to match. She really likes that sort of thing. Reminds me of myself when I was her age :)

Took the kids to the school bookfair today. One of my favorite days of the year! ;) I wanted to buy a lot more books, but I restrained myself. At least the money goes to help the school! Brooke picked out a set of Goosebumps books. I read those all the time when I was her age, but looking at them now I am creeped out! I hope they don't give her nightmares! Caleb picked out a book and Rachel too, then I picked out a few more for their book collection. I can't wait to read them all to them!

The older Duggar girls recently wrote a book, so It has been on my list for awhile. It was released this past week and I bought it on Amazon the other day, and it is set to be delivered sometime tomorrow. I wouldn't want 19 kids, and I don't agree with every little thing they do, but for the most part I think they are an amazing, respectable family, and I hope my kids grow up to be good characters like their kids are.

Speaking of Amazon purchases, I also pre-ordered the Frozen dvd for the kids. The dvd price went down to $14.96 today and that is really good! It will go in one of the girls' Easter baskets. Although I think I am just as excited as them to see it again-- it was a great movie! 

~Monday night I got to have dinner with my friend Chasity. Both of our girls were at their American Heritage Girls meeting, so we went over to Dos Amigos. I loved the girl time, we talked about anything and everything. And actually joked about how much I share on here and on Facebook. Shoutout to Chasity-- heeey girl! lol ;)

~The diet and workout thing is still going strong! We went back again last night and worked on the machines and on the stationary bikes for awhile. I have stayed strong with my calorie goals and been drinking lots of water! Right now I have a bit of a sinus infection going on, but other than that I am feeling pretty good! More energy and sleeping better at night.

~The other night we were at the grocery store and walking past an aisle and a little boy jumped out and said "HEY RACHEL!" Rachel looked down and looked very shy! She wouldn't say Hi back to him, no matter how much I coaxed her. Turns out the little boy was in her class, and he was just being friendly. The next day he reminded her that he saw her the night before. Arnold joked that he didn't like boys already showing so much attention to his little girl ;)

~Can you believe Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend? That is crazy? Isn't it pretty early this year? Oh well. I am going to miss the hour of sleep but the days being longer makes up for it. Now I am counting down for Spring! My favorite season!

~Ever since Max had his surgery to get neutered, I swear he has become more loving. Is that normal in cats? Haha. Before he didn't really care much about us.. he went on about his day and only showed us attention when he was hungry. But now he will come up and rub all over us, meowing. And the other night I about jumped out of my skin when I felt something hop up on the bed in the middle of the night.. but it was just Max. He likes to sleep at the end of our bed now. So.. I guess I am digging the new him, except when I am trying to type on the computer and he tries to sit on my keyboard. And usually with his butt pointing right in my face! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week in Review

We have had a lot going on this past week, I didn't even find time to blog.. here are some of the highlights of what went on...

~We went to Village Inn with friends Monday night. It has become sort of a tradition. While there I saw a "help wanted" sign and applied there. So we will see if anything comes of it. Yes, I'm STILL having a hard time finding anything. It is frustrating. But I know it will work out.

~Tuesday the guys came out and put up our new gutters. They were here for about 4 hours and did a great job. The color they picked looks pretty great with our house. It was hard giving up all that money to get it done, but it had to be done! Arnold said he couldn't wait for our first rain afterwards to see how well they really work for us, haha.

~Tuesday evening Arnold and I went to the gym and got me signed up for a membership. He has been trying to get me to join for 8 years and I've been too nervous. He has a lifetime membership already. But finally I am ready, and so I now am a member there and we can go workout together whenever we want.

~Wednesday Arnold and I both got to go with Caleb and his class on their field trip to the science center. It was a lot of fun. We spent the morning exploring the place and Caleb was running around crazy with friends, trying to soak everything in. Then we all went to a big meeting room and had lunch. I had packed Arnold and I a lunch in one of my 31 lunchboxes :) After lunch we went to the Planetarium and watched a show and learned lots of neat things. All the kids seemed to think that was cool. It tied in with some of what they are learning at school right now. And lastly, they went to the aquarium. Caleb got to touch a stingray, and he said it felt "slimy." I am so glad we got to go with him and spend some time with his whole class :)

~Thursday evening they didn't need me at the Pregnancy Care Center, so I went out for awhile on my own, while Arnold took the kids to his parents' house. I walked around the mall and  got the kids some more new spring clothes at Crazy 8, and found me some stuff for the gym. Then I picked up Chick Fil A for Arnold and I and went home to watch Grey's Anatomy! I am soo happy it is finally back on! I was so excited to see what happened with April and Jackson, and I am happy with the ending :)

~Friday both the big kids had spelling tests and they both made A's! So proud of them! That afternoon they had a makeup Valentine's Day Dance since it had snowed the day of the real dance. Rachel isn't old enough to go to the dances yet, so I picked her up and she hung out with me :)

~Friday evening was our first official trip to the gym. I went in feeling really nervous but eventually seemed to get the hang of things. We warmed up for a little bit, then Arnold took me around and showed me all the machines, and how they worked. While we were at the machines we took time alternating doing sets. Some of the workouts were pretty easy to me and some were really hard (like the arm workouts.. hey, but women usually are weaker there than men!) I got home that night and was pretty sore. But I slept GREAT that night and I swear I woke up with more energy!

~Saturday officially started our 10-week weightloss I am doing with friends. We all posted a pic of our weight on our facebook group, to see where we were starting out. That was rough to post, but I know these girls support me and we will work this out together! We also headed back to the gym for a few hours, while Brooke went to spend the day with a friend, and the little kids came with us and stayed in the childwatch. 

~Sunday our washing machine bit the dust. We had a load in there going, and then we started smelling something burning and the motor had gone out. Sooo yeah.. Arnold had to wring out all the clothes and take them to his parents' to finish washing and drying. And we had to clean up a big water mess and move the machine out of the way. His dad and him went to Lowe's that afternoon to pick us out a new washing machine. I hope this one lasts for awhile!

~Sunday evening I went to have some girls' time with Jess. She is my oldest friend (almost 13 years now) but we don't get to see each other that much because she works during the week. We went to dinner at Applebee's and I got one of their weightwatchers dinners- lemon shrimp and rice. It was really good and within my calorie range, but I was hungry later on ;) Then we went to Target and I got me some diet snacks to hopefully keep me on track. And before I went home I stopped by Mom and Dad's to see them and chat for a little bit. Mom sent me home with a tub of cookie dough so I could make cookies for the kids. That is just mean... they look really tempting! :)

~Late Sunday evening after the kids went to bed Arnold and I watched the Oscars. I don't think he cared too much about it at all, but he didn't really want to get up off of the couch. I think the workouts had him sore too ;) I loved Ellen hosting, she was hilarious. And I always love seeing what everyone is wearing. There were some pretty crazy/funny moments, too. I loved the selfie they took for twitter. Some of my fave celebs were in that pic (Julia Roberts anyone?!)

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! :)

I didn't take a lot of pics this past week.. but here are some of Caleb's field trip...

Caleb at the Science Center

Eating lunch

In the planetarium waiting for the show to start

Walking through the aquarium.