Monday, August 13, 2012

Project Refashion 52 - Week 4 (better or for worse)

Oh my.

It happened.  I knew it would, honestly.  No one has a Top 10 hit every time.

I had my first fail.

This refashion started out as a stretched out green T-shirt
I will mention, for those of you a little slow on the uptake, that I am not a size 2.  Stop laughing, y'all.  I'm not.  When I see the refashions done by most of the geniuses out there, I am reminded of the cold, hard fact that their waist is roughly half the size of my chest.  (It's true.)  Therefore, most of those easy refashions -- not limited to, but including fashioning a dress out of a man's button up shirt, and apparently the one I'm about to show you -- are not appropriate for me.

Case in point:

Wobisobi has adorable refashions.  Many are no sew options to refashion t-shirts.  Since many of my t-shirts are either stretched beyond recognition or just plain ol' too big, I figured I'd give another one a try.  I found this adorable little ditty and in a few easy cuts with my nice fabric scissors, I was left with...

A cut up green t-shirt.

Ugh.  I had originally decided to wear this to church, as I had committed this refashion crime on a Saturday evening and was singing at church the next morning.  My bestie, Nicole, couldn't understand why I wouldn't wear a green t-shirt vest.  Clearly she hadn't had the opportunity to see it yet.  Later in the week, I stopped by Nicole's house to hang out with her boys for a little while.  Nicole's husband was putting on his running shoes, looked up and said, "I'm trying to figure out what exactly it is that you're wearing there."

Defiant, crooked eyebrow, rolled eyes and sucked in cheeks.  Envision it.

I retorted that it was a failed craft project that Nicole had to witness.  I didn't immediately remove the hideous fail that was my "vest," though I probably should have.  Later, when Mr. Bestie returned from his jog, he said, "No, really.  What ARE you wearing?"

Shut up, Nicole.  I know you're laughing reading this.

"No, really.  What ARE you wearing?"

Where did the vest go?
It's that little strip of green above my waist.
Dear readers, friends, and whomever decides to stop by in the blogosphere, let me sum up refashioning in a nutshell:  If you are not a size 2, do not expect every refashion to fit your body (or dress form) the way theirs does.  You couldn't squeeze your tush in a pair of their undies without some creativity, and there's a good chance that a refashion based on their DIY instructions may require either serious creativity or 5 extra yards of fabric.

Also, if you have back fat, a refashion with an open back is not likely to be flattering.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Project Refashion 52 - Week 3

I really REALLY need to make my dress form. After an exhausting attempt at pinning on myself (ridiculous) and an equally exhausting attempt at putting my vision into words for my husband to pin for me, I opted for another no sew. It's an easy way out, but what's wrong with easy?!

So I donned my refashion garment and went into the living room for my before picture. Hubby helpfully said, "you want a picture in your jammies?" Yes, yes I do.


I was going over to Nicole's to hang with a few Weight Watch Us gals to talk and kind of avoid Weight Watchers and accountability. Nicole has been, with most anything I try to do, very supportive of my refashions, so I wanted to wear this week's to her house. Before heading over there, I simply took off my pajama pants. Yup. We're that close. ;)

Actually, that oversized boat neck got pulled right down to my waist, and the sleeves tied like a sash of sorts. The result is a sweet little skirt to wear at a super casual get together.

The only change I'd make before doing it again would be to wear a slip. Apparently my striped underpants were not that little something extra this refashion needed. ;)
Week 3 AFTER!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Project Refashion 52 - Week 2

Okay, so I just posted Week 1 yesterday, but these projects WERE done on 2 separate weeks.  The creation I did this past week I actually wore to church on Sunday morning, and I got really nice compliments on it (even from a tres chic teenager, which is always nice when you're an old fart like me).

This dress originally was purchased when I first got to the Cape, so just over 2 years ago.  The hubby had been away with the Coast Guard and I wanted to surprise him with a fancy frock (and cleavage, let's face it) when he got home.  I don't know why I bought it when it was clearly too long, and I'm pretty sure it didn't fit that well, because I was much more unhealthy then and had at least 30 more pounds on my frame than I do now.  Regardless, I wore it, he loved it (cleavage, I'm tellin' ya), and it became part of my toss it pile in recent days, as I was weeding out things I didn't wear anymore.

I needed another no-sew change, and at first I considered that I could just make the dress a little shorter.  I could have, but the pleating right under the bustline would have made a knee skimming dress potentially unflattering, especially since my tummy is my problem area.  Also, I wanted to wear it to sing with the worship team, and my headphones make it hard to wear a dress.  (It's complicated, but I have a connector for my headphone jack that is very heavy, so it's most convenient if I put it in a pocket, so I generally wear jeans, or I wear a jacket or cardigan with pockets if I'm wearing a dress.  Now those of you that come to church are going to pay close attention to what I'm wearing on the Sundays I sing.  LOL.)

I opted to make the dress into a top.  The fabric did not fray, so I was able to leave a raw edge and not fight with hemming it.  I did wear a white tank underneath and an orange cardigan on top to be more modest for church, but I am so excited about my new top!  All I did to fashion this one was to spread the dress out on the table and use a tee shirt as a guide for the fitting.  I wanted it a little longer than the tee shirt, so I added on a couple of inches.

I am very happy with this refashion, and I have no idea what I am going to do for Week 3.  I should probably utilize the sewing machine, but I am looking forward to some assistance from a couple of girls I know in making a custom dress form.  I think it will help me greatly in the future.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Project Refashion 52 - Week 1

As I mentioned, I am inspired by the Refashionista.  I decided to refashion one ill-fitting or outdated garment each week to wear.  Week one coincided with the Fourth of July.  Two summers ago on July fourth, I wore this shirt.  It is now too large for me (yaay!) but it is quite festive for the 4th.  Okay, whatever... it was the first no-sew refashion I thought of when I was digging through my tub of clothes that don't fit properly.

I found a great pin (that now I can't locate with a good link - grrr) that showed how to make a tee shirt into a halter top.  It just involved a few snips here and there, and it was done.  I also made a tee shirt into a fringed scarf, using this tutorial.  

This is early in my crafty process, so don't be frustrated with my lack of step-by-step pictures.  Here's a picture of the piece I cut out of the back of my tee shirt to make it a halter, though.  I know, I fail.  :-/

I DIDN'T fail at the finished product, though!  The scarf and top worked great, and I wore a tank top underneath for modesty's sake - we were going to a cookout with friends from church, and I didn't want to be displaying too much skin.

I'm late posting this blog, so I'll be posting Week 2's project in the next couple days that I wore to church this morning.  I am so excited to be actually reusing clothes that I thought were gone for good!  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Passion for Refashion!

In all my time sitting on the sofa or in bed, attempting to heal but accomplishing more moping than anything, I have spent a good hunk of time on Pinterest.  Face it, Pinterest lets us all feel like we CAN accomplish those things, regardless of whether we've actually ever tied a bow, owned a paintbrush, baked a cake, etc.

Since I'm not much for recipes, I like dreaming about the craftier side of things.  One problem i have with crafts is that a lot of them are just plain expensive.  I cannot afford to go start from scratch and decide to get a bunch of scrapbooking stuff.  (And small pieces make my skin crawl, hence why the hubby helps the kids with Legos, not me.)

Then I saw her.  It was like one of those moments in the movies with two people running through the meadow to embrace one another in a slow motion, dizzying, awkward hug spin thing.  You know, the sun was peeking through the clouds, an "ah-ha!" moment was had, all that stuff.  I mean, how could you NOT want to follow the fashion advice and expertise of someone looking THIS HOT?!

Before you think I've lost my marbles, that's the before pic.  She refashioned a garment each day from cast away seconds from stores, $1/lb finds at her local Goodwill (or G.W. as my family has called it for well over 15 years), and sometimes pillowcases and other randomness.  Many a shoulder pad has been sacrificed in her Refashionista project.

She inspired me.  The thing is, I have lots of clothes here that are too big, or I've held onto for too long and they're really not current anymore.  I'm a pro at swimming through racks at the Salvation Army and finding fabulous things - but to be able to go and find AWFUL things and make them fabulous?  That's downright empowering, folks.

I'm not crazy enough to jump into a 365 project just yet.  I am, however, going to try to do one garment/outfit a week for 52 weeks.  I did a really cute something for July 4 that I can't wait to share.

This will hopefully feed my shopping habit that I'm not able to do anymore since I'm not working, as well as utilize a sewing machine I haven't used in ages, and give me a project to work on to have some "me" time.

Oh, and in case you're wondering what on EARTH she did with that housedress, here's her finished project from day 365:

Buzzing about Ball Park patties!

Sad reality - I started this blog over a month ago.  Good grief!

I am a BzzAgent - I know I've mentioned it in previous posts.  I get to try new things to see how they taste/work/etc, usually for free, and I just have to report my findings.  This Bzz Campaign already closed, but it's still worth sharing the blog.  

I got the BzzKit for the BallPark Beef Patties near Memorial Day.  Yeah, like 2 holidays ago.  I was excited because I got to get enough hamburger patties for my family to eat for just the cost of buns and chips.  At first, we couldn't find a local store that carried them, as they were a brand new item, but we finally found 'em, right next to the Bubba Burgers.  
The nice thing about these is that they are fully cooked, so if you don't want to heat up the grill, you can pop them in the microwave for about a minute, and baddabing, you're set.  The not so great thing about doing them in the microwave is that they are a little greasy.  Okay, a lot greasy.  In a Foreman Grill or on the grill out back, that grease would be able to drip off, but on a plate, you don't have that luxury.  I did put my patty on a paper towel to absorb the grease before I fixed my burger.

And what a burger it was!  The size of the patty was generous and thick, and it tasted edible.  Not fantastic, but not like those "hamburgers" we used to have in elementary school that tasted like pink slime cardboard mystery meat.  My boys all liked them.  

At 6 Pt+/patty, it's not quite worth the convenience for me to eat them while I'm doing WW.  I didn't expect my husband to like them at all, but we've since purchased more of the patties.  

I guess it's true what they say - Men: Easier fed than understood.  ;)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Begin again - Weigh In Tuesday!

And this is where I am today.  I hit the restart button.

My weigh in today is 185.5.  I have gained from where I was around my birthday, but that's okay.  My body has not been well, my mind even less so, and my spirit growing (and growing pains are tough!).

I am still down a considerable amount - more than 30 lbs gone since I moved here.  I am still comfortable in my size 10 pants.  I only gained about 8 lbs, which in the grand scheme of things is NOT the end of the world.

Onward!  I have 20.5 lbs to lose to meet my goal.  Totally doable before the end of the summer.

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4 - almost another month

Almost a month has gone by and I've not updated.  I have not been counting points.  I have not been weighing in.  I really don't even want to know what the number is, but I will face that tomorrow.  I want to catch up a little bit and then I want to just mark a new, fresh starting point.

I have not been back to work since my health problems started back up in a huge way at the end of April. After much prayer and listening to my doctors' advice and concerns, I am home focusing on my health.  Well, allegedly.  I've really been at home wallowing.

I guess that's not the whole truth, either.  I have had good things going on.  I am blessed every single day - we all are, whether we take the time to appreciate it or not.  My husband and I have had opportunities to walk the beach and spend time with each other in the mornings while the kids are at school.  We've had a couple of breakfast dates at little fun places on the Cape.  We've spent a lot of time talking and holding hands.  He and I hadn't had many opportunities for a date or for just spending time together, so God making me be still has had a very good benefit to my marriage.  Imagine that.  ;)

I was blessed with the ability to go back to the worship team and spend time praising God with some amazing people.  The best part of the group is that we have genuine camaraderie.  I know without a doubt that I have a group of 10 or so people that I can text with a prayer request, and they will stop that second and pray for me, and then keep praying until I've given them an update.  They will send me a song to listen to, a scripture to reference, and a piece of hope and encouragement that will make my heart smile.  They are men and women that have given their gift back to the Lord, and we are growing as a team, and it makes me SO happy.  It is a gift to have this group in my life.

My health isn't great, but I'm better than I was a month ago.  I ended up with injections in the back of my head to make the migraine go away.  It took a little while, but it worked.  Then, at the end of May, I started with the aura symptoms again.  My vision was blurry, my tongue had random swelling, my left side was tingling.  I am going to be very honest and say that I was angry with God that day.  I was angry with myself that day.  I am, and have been, frustrated that I am completely out of control in every aspect of my life lately.  It is frustrating to not be able to do the job that I loved anymore. It is frustrating also to not be able to do the "job" that I have at home - keeping up with the laundry, cooking meals, keeping a house - because I am still physically limited.  It is frustrating to have gotten so out of control with my health and not know what the next day will bring.

I called my dad in tears on Tuesday after my last set of migraine symptoms came back.  He, as Daddies are wont to do, asked lots of questions.  He offered wisdom.  He let me cry.  He also kicked me in the butt a little (which I knew would happen, otherwise I wouldn't have called him).  He reminded me that me not being in control is what is SUPPOSED to be going on.  How can I claim to be a follower of Christ and have so much faith in God and His plan when I'm grasping in thin air at the control I should have relinquished ages ago?  The control we, as humans, fight so hard to hang onto.

Here is where I am going from here:

I am starting an online study over with  Melissa Taylor.  The book we are studying can be downloaded on Kindle, and if you want to travel down the path of organizing in your life, I'd love to have you join me.

I, with my friend Nicole, am participating in a challenge for the month of June over at Shrinking Jeans. She and I are team Moms2Boys.

This morning, I made good choices for breakfast and tracked in my Weight Watchers tracker.  I had egg whites scrambled with zucchini and mushrooms, and an English muffin with a smidge of raspberry preserves.  Delish!

I will own whatever the scale says tomorrow morning and renew my weight loss and health journey.

I believe that God has a plan for me.  I know it is my job to listen and be faithful - not only on the days that it is easy, the sun is shining, and my body feels good.  It is my job to listen and be faithful EVERY day.  In the valleys and on the mountain tops, in the sunshine and the rain, when the kids cooperate and when they are little turkeys.  God never promised us it'd be easy.  He promised us He'd be beside us every step of the way, though.  He loves us.  That's it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Life. Just life.

I've not written in a while.  I'm sad about it, but I'm going to do my best to catch up.  There is no weigh in involved today - and maybe not for a couple of weeks.  I'm going to go back toward my birthday and try to recap the past few weeks.  

The weekend before my birthday, the handsome hubby and I got to get away.  It was magical and beautiful, and only overnight, but SO needed.  We escaped to a B&B near Mystic, CT.  We had one of the nicest suites there - it had a huge whirlpool tub and towel warmers, a fireplace, and the grounds were beautiful.  The staff there was gracious and helpful, and we would love to go back and make a tradition of staying there.  So if you're in New England, Stonecroft is a beautiful place to get away for a weekend.  A kind of TMI NSV involved here, but actually utilizing a two person whirlpool tub as TWO persons and not one big ol' person is quite gratifying.  It brought me to tears, honestly.  I was able to wear a sweet little dress that I picked up on clearance at Old Navy for $15, but I felt like a million bucks.  It was magical to reconnect with my husband.  The two of us have been working so much and passing like ships in the night - barely having time to see each other, much less celebrate being married to each other.  We held hands, visited the Mystic Aquarium, laughed, and actually looked into one another's faces.  Seriously, a fantastic time.  

Right before we left for Mystic, we received an invitation to a luncheon honoring the Coast Guard Spouse of the Year and an awards ceremony for Military Spouse of the Year in Washington, D.C. coming up in May.  We immediately phoned in our RSVP.  I felt so honored to be invited to celebrate my dear friend, Jennifer, and so thankful that she included me in one of the projects that led her to receiving this designation.  After discussion, we decided to make a family trip of it, and take the kids to Washington, D.C. with us and visit the National Zoo and other landmarks together.  What an opportunity!

We came back and were struck in the face with reality.  Back to work, back to kids' school projects, back to life.  Just life.  But here's where I want to put my focus today, and it's a place I've visited before: at what point are we living life, celebrating life, enjoying and being grateful for life, and at which point are we merely existing?  Existing is easy.  You breathe in and out.  You travel the paths in your day to day life.  Wake up, coffee, shower (if you're lucky), kids ready for school, work all day, homework with kids, laundry, dinner, bedtime prayers, sleep.  Then the next day you do it all over again.  Throw in some after school activities or something, and where is the LIFE?  It's just running back and forth and all over.  Please don't misunderstand me.  I'm not condemning anyone who is able to celebrate and embrace life with all the busyness I'm talking about.  On the contrary, I admire that ability.  My physical limitations, however, really hinder the LIVING part there.

I went back to work, plugging through.  I managed over the past few months to furnish 5 new townhomes on the base for rental this summer.  Our team at work had been working very hard to make up for a construction project - I'm not going to get into all of it, but there's been a lot going on.  My body has been very tired, but I have been working so hard, and we have been receiving praise for the work our team has done.  

I might mention, by the way, that looking to God for guidance has not been at the top of my list.  I have been so busy - He wouldn't be providing all this STUFF if He didn't want me to do it, right?  Did I ever stop to ask, or stop to listen?  NO.  Not at all.  I haven't used my prayer journal in months, or stopped in prayer and sought guidance.  Ladies' Retreat?  Absolutely!  God wants me to do that, right?  Bigger workload at the office?  Sure!  I've got it!  Figuring out childcare for different events, knowing that my husband's career in the CG hampers that - I mean,'s not like he can call in because I don't have a sitter, right?!  I have been going like a whirlwind - paying no mind to what I am picking up and what I am passing by.

Two weeks ago, a hiccup happened.  I was singing at church that morning with the Worship Team.  I had a Leaders' meeting after church for the upcoming Womens' Retreat.  My older son woke up having a meltdown and exhibiting signs that he was having a hard day.  Knowing that I had that obligation after church - the meeting - and knowing that the kids would have to be with me...and then knowing that the next day was back to school from Spring Break... All of this KNOWING, all of this self-imposed pressure, all of this ME.  I said a prayer that morning, and spoke with the lady in charge, and told her that I needed to be a Mom that day.  The relief of praying about it and seeking what God had for me was huge.  The weight of knowing that I possibly was disappointing, inconveniencing, and likely annoying a group of women was significant, but hearing God say, "I love you.  Be a Mom.  It's okay," was enough comfort.  There were waves of relief.  Women I love and trust that God has placed in my life reassured me, as well, and offered prayers for me.

I did relax that afternoon at home with my boys.  I was a Mom.  It had been a long time, and it was SO nice to enjoy my boys.  I sure am a lucky lady to have these sweet dudes here.

The next day, I got the numbness in my face that signaled a migraine was coming.  That was the day before I posted that I met my 25 lbs lost milestone.  That Tuesday, I ended up at the neurologist.  Whether anyone will actually read up on Hemiplegic Migraines, I don't know, but here is a highlight from Web MD:

Migraines are unpredictable and unique to each person. You may have a hemiplegic migraine headache with extreme pain and minor paralysis one month. Then the next attack might bring extreme paralysis without much headache pain at all.
Symptoms of hemiplegic migraine include:
  • Severe, throbbing pain, often on one side of your head
  • A pins-and-needles feeling, often moving from your hand up your arm
  • Numbness on one side of your body, which can include your arm, leg, and/or one side of your face
  • Weakness or paralysis on one side of your body
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Visual aura, such as seeing zigzag lines, double vision, or blind spots
  • Language difficulties, such as mixing words or trouble remembering a word
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and smell
  • Confusion
  • Decreased consciousness or coma

The only symptoms I did not experience are vomiting and coma.  The migraine completely weakened the left side of my body.  I could not see clearly.  I couldn't make out facial features.  I certainly couldn't drive. I visited the neurologist, who reassured me that this is "normal" for this kind of migraine, and that I just needed to be patient while we figure out which medicines will work for me.  Thursday came that week, and I was still home.  Things had not gotten better.  Friday came, and I was in significant pain.  Honestly a 10 on the pain scale pain.  The neurologist sent me to the ER for pain management in hopes that the migraine would go away.  I rode in the car with a ball cap, sunglasses, a coat over my face, and stumbled into the hospital.  I ended up being admitted for a few days, while they treated my new "normal."  I had an MRI, a CT scan, a Reiki practitioner visited, and lots and lots and LOTS of medicine.    

I left the hospital on Monday, with my headache still here.  Today is Sunday, nearly a week later, and my headache is still here.  I have marked weakness remaining on my left side.  I have tingling and numbness.  I have gobs of pills that I am ingesting in hopes that something will work in my body to stop the symptoms and provide maintenance and control in the future.  In all of that, you know what I realized?  I haven't been listening.  God knocked me on my butt and made me be still.  Not on my own accord, because truly I hadn't been still in months.

Know what the theme of the ladies' retreat was?  Guess.

Be still.  

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10.  You reckon He wanted me there?  You think all of this is a coincidence?  I know God is working in my life.  God is making changes in my life that I was not prepared to make on my own.  God is placing people in my life right now that have been prayer warriors for me - people I hardly know.  But you know what?  He's got it.  God is in control.  I have no doubt there.

So my plans for D.C. are foiled.  I am so sad that I will not be there to celebrate Jen, but I know she understands and longs for me to be healthy.  I have not driven myself anywhere in almost 2 weeks now.  We have had lovely friends prepare meals for us, and I have had friends babysitting me and chauffeuring me to the doctor when my handsome hubby has not been available.  God has rendered me weak and vulnerable, and I am a captive audience.  I am listening.  I am looking.  I am searching.  

Why weight?  Why?  When there is life to be lived, why focus on weight?  I am focusing on my overall health.  Right now my weight has gone up a little bit - I am on a steroid, I have been lethargic and ordered to bed, and pumped full of fluids in the hospital.  I am not beating myself up about that right now.  

If my lessons I am learning help anyone, then I know it has been worth it.  If they help my family, even better.  I know God will provide for us - He always has.  I know God has a purpose for me.  He has a plan for me.  God's plan is not for me to be on my rear like this long-term.  His plan involves me being healed and helping others.  That much I know.  I just have to remember to stop and listen, and not take matters into my own hands.  

If you're still reading after all this, please be in prayer for me.  Specifically pray for discernment, for open ears, and an open heart.  We are being led to make some big decisions right now that will impact our family in many ways, and I need the confidence of knowing that it is God's decision I am making, not Amber's.  

I am being still today.  If you have not been still in a while, I urge you to on your own accord...because it's not fun when God sits you down for a "come to Jesus" meeting.  Better to sit down and be still before it gets to that point.  

My migraine persists, and I see my neurologist this coming Tuesday.  Hopefully I will have a good update at that point.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A teaser...

I have been awful about writing, though I did change the look of my blog over the weekend. This will have to tide you over until I can sit and really write about all the changes and good things that have been going on.

Thank you for still reading. <3

Friday, March 30, 2012

Checking in Friday evening

I love my tracker and that it shows that you guys were looking for a weigh in post!

Here's this week's scoop:

My weigh in this week hit a big milestone - I am no longer obese!  I have been obese for the better part of my adult life.  I had to get below 180 to qualify as "overweight."  Funny how that can make someone so happy, right?  Yee-haw!  I'm overweight!!!  Yeah, well - YEE HAW!  I'm overweight!  I know that being overweight still leads to increased risk of health problems, and I am dedicated to being the healthiest person I can be.  I know I am on the right track.  My handsome hubby asked me this morning if I expected when I started on January 1 to have seen the progress I see here - 60% of the way to my goal.  My answer was honest - "I wasn't really worried about it."  I think that's the difference this time compared to times in the past.  I am not obsessed with the number.  I do track it.  I weigh in each week, and sometimes in between my weigh in day.  I am not overly obsessed about making it to the number.  I'm still a little in disbelief about being under 180 lbs right now.  I don't feel excessively jubilant - but I do appreciate glances in the mirror when I can tell that my figure has changed dramatically.

Last week at bowling, one of my male neighbors asked if I had been losing weight.  It was really cute because he kind of apologized to my husband for noticing, which I thought was super awesome, because my husband responded with, "Yeah!  I tell her all the time how awesome she's doing."  Talk about making a girl feel special.  <3  I consider that an NSV.  Another NSV was trying on my string bean husband's jeans this morning, and proceeding to fasten them completely and comfortably.  I could have worn them to town (and might in the coming days).

After my weigh in last week, with Nicole having gotten up in the middle of the night so excited for me, I received even more support from her than I expected.  I hung out with her and her mom for her mom's birthday one evening last week and received a gift.  I got the 10% keychain!  Nicole had ordered it for me in anticipation of me reaching my goal!  How fantastic is that?  What an awesome gift.  I can't wait to have earned little charms for it.  Even though I don't attend the meetings, I have earned it, and even if I have to order the charms myself, I'll be getting them!

As a reward for my 10% goal, I got myself 2 magazine subscriptions.  I love looking at magazines, and even more now that cute clothes are more of a reality.  I ordered Self and Glamour.  I am really excited about it, and it's a nice little escape for me in this very testosterone filled house.  I need all the girly I can get!

My goals the past few weeks have not been weight loss oriented.  I have been more focused on quality time with my family.  We went twice last week to the beach to walk around and look for sea glass.  I get so centered being in nature.  It doesn't have to be the beach - I'm just as happy on a hike.  It's nice to see my boys so excited to be participating and happy.  We played charades one night before bed.  It was awesome to see how one son totally got the idea and the other had a harder time not talking.  (and for those that know my kids, it was actually C that had the harder time being quiet than L for a change!)

My week this week has been busy, but I have been receiving a lot of nice feedback at work on the job I've been doing, and I am so thankful for that.  We have had a lot going on, and it is nice to hear good things.  Church is awesome, and this week, I will be at the church 5 of 7 days for services and/or rehearsals.  What a gift to be able to share the gift and heart that God has given me for His service.  Palm Sunday is this weekend, and we'll be presenting some beautiful songs.  Communion on Wednesday evening will set the stage for the juxtaposed reverence and celebration of Easter Sunday.  Here's a teaser that one of the very talented members of the worship team made.  There are snippets of me in the video, but that's not what it's about - it's about the sacrifice, the gift, the GRACE and MERCY that God provided in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  If you're in the Cape Cod area and need a place to worship and celebrate on Easter Sunday, join us!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

**crickets chirping** Uh, is this thing on?

Usually when I am not blogging, that means some sort of meltdown is nearing, taking place, or I have completely given in to hermit mode.  That is NOT the case, and I'll try to fill you guys in on the last couple of weeks.

Now that I'm looking back, it's been 3 weeks since I blogged for a weigh in.  I was at 184, had just been to the ER for stroke-like symptoms, and all that jazz.

My weigh in yesterday brought me to 181.0.  That means I have lost more than 10% of my body weight since January 1.  Folks, that is just amazing.  Simply amazing.  And I have to tell you that my Weight Watch Us group on base has been instrumental in that accomplishment - even more than that, our leader, Nicole, and my bestie, was up at 3 am on my weigh in day so excited because she just KNEW I was going to make it.  She even blogged about my accomplishment on her blog.  How awesome is that?  It is more than encouraging to have one person in your life that is a genuine FAN - Someone who loves you, supports you, defends you, kicks your butt, and does it with no expectation of reciprocation.  I am fortunate to have more than one of those people in my life, but I am so thankful that Coley and I are here together traveling different journeys, but supporting one another all the same.  It's a gift.  

Now in that initial "when can I make my goal" planning stage of this journey, I was really hoping to be at my goal by my birthday.  Well, that's just a few weeks from now, and completely unreasonable.  That's okay.  I know that whatever weight I am at that point, if I continue losing, will be the lowest weight I've been since I got married.  The most recently I've been under 180 since 2000 was for a brief few weeks in 2009, right before I dropped my basket (forgive the Ya Ya reference, but that's the closest it comes to explaining things).  

I am feeling pretty well, considering I have had a migraine for 3 weeks.  Yeah...that's right.  Those stroke-like symptoms were determined to be late-onset migraine headache symptoms.  That headache has been around since Feb 23, and is just now dwindling since starting a prednisone taper and neurontin (in addition to all the other junk I take every day).  I visited with a neurologist, and we have a treatment plan in place to prevent and treat any future headaches there might be.

It is important to me - so unbelievably important - that I am more than my illness(es).  I know so many people dealing with "stuff" heavier than mine.  My beautiful friend, Angela, is fighting a battle that is unthinkable after dealing with more "stuff" than any family deserves.  Her BFF just watched her daughter receive her forever heart and slip from this world to the next this past week after a valiant fight in a little body that just couldn't hold all of what Morgan had to offer the world.  With those people, who am I to complain about some aches and pains?  God has blessed me in so many ways to dwell on my health issues.  My responsibility on my journey right now, I believe, is to make the most of what I have where I am right now. 

I have a lot going on in the coming weeks at church and at work.  We are preparing for Easter at church, which is very exciting.  I was asked to sing at our Communion service and on Easter Sunday, which is an honor.  I had a great time going out to shop for an Easter dress.  It wasn't ALL fun - I was pretty bummed that the tailored dresses I liked I needed in a 14 for my chest and shoulders, but would have needed to be taken in for the waist to fit properly.  It's a good thing, but I'm such a dress girl (and so cheap) that it was frustrating for me.  I did find something I love, and I am super excited to have found it.  This is going to mean lots of evening rehearsals right after work, so if you don't hear from me much in the next couple weeks, please bear with me.  

I'm going to wrap this one up.  Please continue to follow Nicole and support her on her journey over at Cupcakes to Cardio.  I do respect that her journey is different than mine, and that she wanted to write on her own, but she thinks all "my" readers aren't interested in her story.  Prove her wrong.  ;)

Please share our blogs if you know someone who might benefit from them.  Please click to follow me.  Please let me know if there is something you would like to know more about - in my journey, in my life, anything.  I would be happy to write any of it out.  

And next time, don't let me get by with 3 weeks and no blogging!  

NSV alert - I tucked in my shirt today! HUGE, huge progress!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Including veggies is easy!

Why is it that we have such a hard time including vegetables in our daily diet when it is so easy to bulk our meals up with them!?

Some of my favorite ways lately are:

1) A large salad or pile of fresh or steamed veggies to fill at least half the plate. We were having spaghetti this particular evening and I knew i didn't want to use too many points on the pasta. It was very filling to crunch on some broccoli and cauliflower - and good for me, too!

2) Lettuce leaves in place of bread is a fantastic way to incorporate green leafy veggies and save some points. For lunch a few days ago I had some leftover turkey burger patties and I wanted an alternative to bread. I put a little spicy mustard and the turkey in green leaf lettuce and rolled it up. It was so tasty!

3) The easiest incorporating plan for veggies is also my favorite. I heat them through in the pan and then add an egg white. Essentially I have a little scrambled egg with my veggies. I love zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes... Just so many yummy choices! It is a super fast breakfast (or dinner) packed with easy, nutritious yumminess!  (Oh, and those aren't pancakes - it's deli thin sandwich slices with 1 tsp of syrup on top.  YUM!)

My challenge for you is to incorporate veggies in a meal this week intentionally that you wouldn't have before, and then tell me what you did!


Hi Friends!  

Just a quick update...

I am still loving WW.  I am still losing weight.  As a matter of fact I have lost 20.8 pounds in just 10 weeks!  I am very happy with my progress and I hope to continue it.  I just finished a 5k with some friends in under 45 minutes.  I know that time is crazy high, but I ran some, I walked some, and I finished.  I am proud of that.

Since I started WW, I have been blogging in two places.  Over here with the lovely Ber and then over at my own blog.  Lately, I have been having trouble keeping up with one blog let alone both blogs.  The boys are moving more, I am trying to move more, and life seems to be in full swing again over at the Davis household.

I am going to keep blogging.  I really enjoy it and it is a nice release after a long day of babies and hubby.   However, I have decided that it will be best for me to work on the blog over at Cupcakes To Cardio.  Amber and I started this journey together and we'll continue to grow and work together, I am sure of that.  Time is precious and we all are trying to figure out how to divide it up so that we are happy, healthy, and stress free (well, stress less).  

Thank you all for your support and kind words.  If you want to continue to read about my journey, please feel free to follow me.   Ber will be making guest posts for sure!

Much love ~ Coley Loree 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lunch break check in ~ Weigh in day ~

I realize now that I didn't update here with my health stuff.  Long story short, I ended up in the ER on Thursday last week with symptoms potentially indicating some pretty bad stuff.  I left the ER early Friday morning with a diagnosis of a migraine, and I'll be exploring other options with my physician after she has an opportunity to review the reports from the CT and MRI I had while in the ER.

This morning was weigh in day.  I had a few bags of fluid in the ER the other night, and my sneak peeks at the scale didn't look very promising.  I was up a few pounds for most of the past few days, which was discouraging. In my brain, I knew that this was beyond my control, but in that hopeful part that just wants to succeed, I was pretty bummed.  Regardless, I knew that if I at least stayed the same this week, I'd be okay with myself, and I'd just have to suck it up if I was a little higher than last week.

I called the hubby in to witness my weigh in, and he covered the display so I couldn't see it.  He asked what I was last week, and I almost panicked, but then he showed me.  I was 184 even.  As of today, I have lost 18 pounds since January 1.  This is the last weigh in for Feb, and while it would've been nice to be at an even 20, I'm not complaining!  I have less than 20 pounds to go to reach my goal weight of 165.

I mentioned the loss that my doctor told me about - those 35 lbs.  I went back in this blog to when Coley and I first started writing together and exploring a healthier lifestyle.  October 22, 2010, I posted some "NOW" pictures.  Not before pictures, but where I was at that time.  I also got the hubby to take some pictures this morning so you can see my current "NOW" pictures.  I'm wearing some slacks I bought during my weight loss journey in AL.  I had ordered them online and never got to wear them because they were too snug.  I'm 5 lbs heavier than my lowest weight there, but they fit like a dream!

and how fabulous is my fringe necklace from Charming Charlie?!  Love it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cauliflower pizza crust - As seen on Pinterest

For lunch today, we didn't really have any plans, so from my perch on the bed folding laundry, I yelled to my handsome hubby to look up the cauliflower pizza crust recipe.  Thinking he would balk at the idea, I was pretty surprised when he went for it without complaint.  The recipe he came up with was this one, and it basically follows the rest I've seen.  

Now, before you get too excited that I'm following a recipe, let me just laugh in your general direction.  *bah hahahahahaaaaa*  First of all, we didn't have enough mozzarella to put in 2 crusts and top the pizzas, so that required a modification.  Secondly, I knew with my older son that if the crust tasted overly cheesy he wouldn't eat it.  For the crust for hubby and me, we did 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of pepper jack.  We like things spicy.  For the crust for the boys, we did 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of parmesan.  I have to tell you, both were successful, but I wish I'd done the parmesan for both.  Our crust needed to cook just a little longer, I think, from the oils in the jack compared to the parmesan.  
In a nutshell, here's how it goes:

Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Yield: 1 pizza crust (we obviously doubled it for our lunchtime trial)

2 cups grated cauliflower (not the stalks, just the "flower" part)
1 large egg
1 cup of cheese (obviously you can use whatever you like, but my recommendation would be 1/2 and 1/2 mozzarella and parmesan)
1/2 tsp dried minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
Cooking spray, for the pan

Preheat oven to 450º.

With a cheese grater, using the standard large holes, grate the flowery parts of the cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl.  You will start with 2 cups, but it will shrink to about 1 1/2 cups after cooking.  Place in the microwave for about 8 minutes.  You do not need to add liquid or anything to it.

Remove the cauliflower and combine with the other ingredients.  We added the egg and cheese directly into the bowl and the heat from the cauliflower did not cook or otherwise funkify the egg, thankfully (and yes, funkify is a technical culinary term).  

Pat into a 9-12" circle on a sprayed cookie sheet or pizza pan.

Bake at 450º for 15 minutes, or until crust is crispy.  The edges did tend to get a little brown, but that did not make them taste funny.  I didn't get a picture of the crusts before I started topping them.  Sorry!  

Set the oven from bake to broil.

Top however you like and broil the pizza for 4 minutes, until cheese is melted.  

The boys' pizza had pizza sauce, turkey bacon, and cheese.  

Our pizza had pizza sauce, spinach, kalamata olives, mushrooms, sliced tomatoes, and cheese.
Completed vegetable pizza!

Gooey cheese!
2 thumbs up x2!  Pardon my shirtless boys...

Using the WW Recipe Builder, it says half the veggie pizza is 10P+.  In the future, I will be using reduced fat cheese, but I didn't have that in the house today, and I'm sure that would reduce the points considerably.  Honestly, compared with the homemade pizzas we made a few days ago with the Trader Joe's pizza dough, I preferred this cauliflower version.  As an additional spin, my sister said she has made just the crust as a sort of faux garlic breadstick, and they really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Checking in, and a visit w the doc, and a Pins-day pic

Weigh in this week is 185.5.  I'm in shock.  Really.  The consistent loss is making me feel really good.  I hope I can keep up the momentum.

I went to the doc today for an issue (after being urged by Nicole yesterday) and she and I were talking about my overall health.  She noticed my progress right away and commented that I had lost weight since I saw her last.  I asked her to flip back in my chart and tell me what my highest weight was when I moved here.  You're not going to believe this.

I weighed 221...

...within the past 2 years.

Two hundred twenty one pounds.  That is just astounding to me.  Thinking back, I can't imagine how it must have felt on my body to carry that around!  I weigh 35.5 lbs less than that right now.  I'm trying to make some big profound connection or something, but I just keep coming back to, "Crap.  That's really significant."

Profound, right?

I am proud of my progress.  I honestly don't see that much in the mirror.  There are some mornings where I'm still afraid I'm going to step on the scale and see numbers over 200 again.  That's just an unhealthy thought process, but I'd be putting on a facade if I didn't own up to that.

These pictures are from Fall 2010.  Looking at them now, I can't believe that is me.  I really can't.  (Oh, and I was in 40's dress for the first one - I don't wear little hats like that generally...)  

My rambling is going to stop here for a bit.  I'm just going to ask for prayers.  I'm having some neurological symptoms that are causing concern.  I am waiting for insurance approval and scheduling of a CT of my head.  I'm having some "episodes" where it feels like my brain shorts out for a minute.  My eyes lose focus, and it's like a couple seconds, but I'm not passing out.  It is very hard to explain.  My physician doesn't think I need to worry about stroke or anything, but she can't explain what the symptoms are from, so testing is underway.  In the same vein, I am much more fatigued than normal right now, and I'm sure that has something to do with stress, something to do with fibromyalgia, and who knows what else.  LOL.  I try not to be a complainer - Nicole catches the brunt of it when I DO, though, and I am so thankful for her being here for me.  My husband and children are fantastic at letting me get to bed early when needed.  I just hate needing it, you know?

So here's my mantra for right now.  I have to learn to love myself, and really build self confidence.  Seeing these pictures and comparing them to changes I see in myself is a good start.  Here's a picture I added to my Pinterest recently:

I'm not sure which magazine it is from or who said it, but I like it.  I'm not able to strengthen myself physically very much right now, so I can work on some emotional muscle in the meantime.

Thanks for prayers, support, and love.  Mostly love.

Monday, February 20, 2012

~ Weigh In Day/ Week In Review ~

This week I tried a new exercise regimen.  I ordered Rockin' Body about 2 weeks ago and started it this past Monday.  I don't think I have sweat this much since high school basketball!  The nice thing about it is I was also enjoying myself.  Dancing while working out....AWESOME!  Shaun T is so fun to work out with.  I have heard some people don't enjoy him, but he makes me giggle!  He says a lot of things that I am usually thinking too.  

The workout package comes with a weekly calendar of sorts that tells you want to do and when.  I like that.  I like that it is telling me what workouts to do to burn the most fat. I was able to complete Monday and Tuesdays workout.  Wednesday I started the workout and had to stop 5 minutes in.  My back was killing me.  I ended up having to take a break that day and just go for a walk.  It seems I am not as in shape as I was in high school either, which is funny to even be saying/writing!  Thursday and Friday I did the workouts and Saturday I did my 5k route, which ended up being 5 miles because I programed my stupid Nike Active+ wrong.  Oops!  

I am thinking I am going to try as best I can to do the workouts, but also continue wogging. I did not see as big of a weight loss as I had hoped for this week.  I thought I was working harder than my previous week.  I know I was sweating a lot more.  I felt a lot more muscles that I had not been working too.

However, my weight loss was (only) 1.5 pounds this week.  I know.  I know.  I should smile and take it.  Weight Watchers recommends losing 1-2 pounds per week in order to keep the weight off.  It is great.  Truly.  But like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I was exercising a lot harder than just wogging for 3 point some miles everyday. 

Well, anyway, I am going to add both into my week and see how that goes.  I really do like the DVDs and I can totally feel a difference in my midsection, which is where I need most of all my work to happen!  The most important thing is that I am still losing, still on plan, and still enjoying my new life!

Down 1.5 this week.   I have now lost 17.5 pounds on Weight Watchers.  Only 7.5 pounds until 25.  Closer every week!  

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......I have a secret little goal in my head of getting there before my Mom gets into town....March 17th.  It is just under a month at 4 weeks away.  Eekkkkkkk  There I go again, doing math!  I shouldn't have done that because now I realize that is going to be 2 pounds a week to get there!  Well, it is a goal.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Checking in - weigh in, weighing on my mind, why always the weight!?

Yes, weigh in day was Tuesday.  If I could only add hours to my days and energy to my body, I could keep up with this blog!  Oy.

Jeanette and Me after cleaning all day!
Tuesday morning I got up EARLY to go to Nantucket for the day.  I'm the reservationist for the property out there that we use as a military Recreation House.  I only wish it was a leisure trip.  Nantucket looks like a fantastic place to hang out.  Instead, I took the 6:30 ferry over with a coworker.  We arrived to a house in FAR worse shape than expected.  We were supposed to come home on the 1:25 ferry, but had to come back on the 4:35 ferry.  I spent at least 4 hours on the kitchen alone in that house!  It was exhausting, but I made some excellent networking connections on the island and we got so much accomplished at the house.

Oh, yeah, and I weighed before I went.  I can't even tell you how shocked I was to see 186.5 on the scale.

Yeah, you read it.  186.5!  That's 4 lbs lost last week!

WW gave me the warning that I was losing too fast.  After only a .5 loss the previous week, I think some things with my body were just balancing out.  I used my points, I used flex points, and I wasn't in any physical shape to work out.  Please know that I am working the program.  I am counting points and doing what I need to do to make sure I am healthy.

I sang at church on Sunday - I even got to lead a song, which was amazing.  I cannot tell you how my heart swells when I stand up there as a "lead worshiper" not a worship leader, and see the congregation pouring their hearts out to their Lord.  It is amazing.  I know I keep using that word, but there really aren't words to describe how full my heart feels.  Unfortunately, my body was not feeling as whole as my spirit.  I was in a lot of pain on Sunday.  Our trumpeter in the band had to help me off the stage between services.  My hips and legs were not cooperating at all.  It is so alarming for the people around me who don't see that side of me.  You can't tell by looking at me that my body is ill.  That's been something that only in the past year with the help of my rheumatologist that I have had to confront myself.  Sometimes I can't do the 5 mile hike I want to do.  I can't.  When he told me that, it crushed me, but it also validated the pain that I do feel physically.

Okay, let's move on to some happy just for a few minutes.

1)  I went to Charming Charlie to reward myself for working so hard.  I'm 40% of the way to my goal as of Tuesday.  WOW!  Okay, so I was going to spend $40 on myself.  I did end up rewarding myself by the end of the day, but I got out of CC only spending $25.  With that I ended up with 3 necklaces, 2 pairs of earrings, and 2 sets of necklace & earrings.  Clearance was $5 for 5 items!  WHAAA?

I also picked up a graphic tee at Old Navy and a super sweet dress in --- wait for it --- a size M!

2)  I picked up a size 10 pair of pants off the rack at the exchange on Valentine's day and bought them without trying them on.  They fit.  Awesomeness!

3) I went to Target with Coley last night.  I picked up a super adorable dress on clearance for $15 - another M!  It's a beautiful aubergine color.  I can't wait to wear it.  It is just lovely. I also got a pair of jeans that I'd seen a few weeks ago.  I had pointed them out to my husband, who had a horrible case of foot-in-mouth that day and said, "oh, you'll get there."  Yeah, well I AM there!

I put the jeans on this morning and my older son said I looked like a model.  He said, "Mom, how did you get the perfect shape?  For your body?"  It's nice when the kids are noticing that my body looks different!

Okay, so here's my weighing on my mind thing:  I'm doing Weight Watchers, and I weigh in each week, but I work toward making sure my focus is not the number.  Seeing my body look different in my clothes - not being able to wear lots of my clothes - all the NSV's that I experience are more important than what the numbers are on the scale.  I'm also not going to discredit the scale's impact on my overall health.  It is important to know where I stand.  I am still technically obese based on my BMI.  I'm very close to the overweight/obese line, and I am excited to break that barrier soon.  I am happy to be taking steps toward my overall health.  It is SO much more than the number.

I am so much more than the number.  So much more.

I am a child of God.  I am blessed with 2 handsome, lively boys who get to experience what love is in our home.  I am blessed with a husband who I have known since I was 12 years old.  (I remember writing I <3 Stewart in notebooks in Jr. High when he didn't even know I existed - and I didn't know how to spell his name.  LOL)  I am blessed with a journey that has taken me through all kinds of peaks and valleys.  As I was reminded this morning, those valleys, those avalanche-like tumbles from peaks to a valley that seemed like it wouldn't end, are places that God has taken me to become the person I am today.

I won't lie.  I'm struggling to embrace the happiness.  I am struggling to be okay with letting myself be proud of myself.  I am waiting for the shoe to drop and crush me to a million pieces.  I'm afraid.

Instead of embracing the fear, I am going to embrace who I am.

I am a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, granddaughter, aunt, mother, friend, wife, vocalist, desk clerk/manager, volunteer, blogger, amateur web designer, marketing director, WORK IN PROGRESS.

I am a child of God.  I am loved.  I am protected.

I am on a journey.