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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Trading One Charlie For Another

Nicole and I are going to give a joint blog a try - forgive us in advance if it gets a little silly - that's just who we are!

Amber:  So last week we desperately needed to get out.  We did TGI Fridays, and then I wanted to go to Ulta to grab some makeup.  Can you believe Nicole had never been to Ulta before?  It's cosmetics heaven!  As we drove in the parking lot, I saw it:

It looked like one of those cute boutique stores that I could never afford to shop in, much less take my children inside!  Through the windows I could see the sparkling baubles and copious accessories.  I had no idea what the reality was, though.  

Nicole: Awwww.  Doesn't Amber look so adorable standing in front of the store with her goodie bag?  Yes, it is true.  Not only had I never been to Ulta, I had never even heard of such a place before.  It was so overwhelming.  I had so much to take in.  I was pretty quiet and reserved while in that store.  I guess I was saving my energy for what was awaiting me next store!  

I think I would like to refer to it as the Land of Oz.  I had never in my life seen such a beautiful place.  Accessories galore; purses, necklaces, hats, scarves, sunglasses, earrings, and so much more!  To make this experience even more exciting was the fact that the store is organized.....wait for it...........................
BY COLORS!!!!!!!!!  Look closely in the picture of Amber.  The front of the store is purple and then behind her you can see pinks and oranges.  LOVE IT!  Then in the picture below of Amber and me, you can see the blueish green colors over my shoulder.  Talk about an OCD person's dream store!!!!  I literally ran around like a crazy person!  

Amber:  And yes, she is using the word literally in its appropriate form.  The sales clerk saw me looking for Nicole at one point.  I was distracted by the browns and amber tones and we had gotten separated.  The clerk looked at me and she said, "Your friend is over there, and I think she just had an anxiety attack."  Seriously - how fun was this place?!  My handsome hubby had night watch that evening so we were very restricted on time.  I went t the back of the store and the clearance section was buy one, get one free.  Are you kidding me?!  I hit those racks like my life depended on it.  Honestly, in some ways it may have, but we won't go into my emotional stability or lack thereof right now.

I checked out and was added to the mailing list.  I found new treasures as I was leaving.  Nicole had purchased her super cute hat in the store, and told me that I really needed to start considering my rewards system (which I still haven't completely nailed down).  I was thinking it over as we walked to the front of the store.  I pushed the entwined CC door handle and had a moment.

an a-ha!! moment.

"Coley!  We are trading one Charlie for another!"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Give Up The Guilt

Why are we constantly feeling so guilty about what we eat?  Instead of choosing that apple, maybe you chose the 3 points+ chocolate mini candy bar.  Didn't have a vegetable with dinner, but an extra helping of pasta?  Sure, all the points+ are covered with your daily or weekly allowance, but there is still that guilt built in.  Sometimes the guilt leads to more eating because the day is already ruined.  Of course that sometimes can lead to the week being ruined and the poor choices continue on.  So, what's the big deal?

The big deal is that we should NEVER feel guilty about food.  There is no shame in eating.  Yes, eating is to fuel our body and provide energy for us to keep ourselves going, but it is also something many people find joy in.  The hard part is knowing how to get that joy.  It's time to close the freezer door and stop eating out of the ice cream container!  Why not pick out a pretty bowl, a fancy cloth napkin, and a pretty spoon.  Make having your treat beautiful.  Sit down and enjoy it.  Perhaps even turn off the TV and just let yourself take in all the flavor notes and the beauty of your food.  Eat slow and enjoy it.

I am a very big believer in the Weight Watchers Points+ Plan.  It will work if you work it.  I also believe that depriving yourself of anything will eventually lead to a binge on that food or something similar.  Plain and simple...have what you want, write it down, record your points, and continue your day.  WW is about moderation.  Ok, picking an apple over a bowl of ice cream is probably the better choice, but the truth is, we can't always make that decision.  So, let yourself live.  No guilt.  No shame.  These are your choices.  Own them.

I am promising myself this time around that I will not feel guilty about the food I am consuming.  I will try my best to make the healthiest choices, but when I don't, I will not hang my head low.  I will not give up on myself because of a cookie here or there or a larger serving than I should have had.  I am going to believe in myself.  I am going to live a life I enjoy, while taking care of myself.  I will not let food have control over who I am, what I do, where I go, or what I become.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

~ Weigh In/ Week In Review ~

Look who is still losing weight!!!  ME ME ME

Not only am I losing weight, but I am feeling great.  I don't feel deprived.  I don't feel cheated out of activities because I can't be around the food.  I have more energy.  I am able to hold my head up high, because I know I am doing the most I can.  I am working the program.  Weight Watchers, as well as any other program truthfully, will work if you let it.  I am putting in the elbow grease and I am seeing results.

This week, my goal was to get in 15 miles of wog time.  I didn't get those miles in.  I got in 12.  Twelve miles that I am pretty happy with!  I stayed on plan, logged my food, enjoyed girl scout cookies in moderation, worked out when I could, and tried a few new recipes.  All in all, a pretty good week, considering.....

Considering I had emotional lows for most of the week.  I just didn't feel like me.  I was (and still kind of am) dealing with a lot of stress with the things going on with the boys.  It took me some time, but I have decided to not let it get me upset.  I am on this journey for those two sweet little blessings.  I look at them and know they believe in me like I believe in them.  By Thursday I was feeling like Wonder Mommy again.  

This week I lost 2 pounds.  I have now lost 16 pounds.  16 pounds in 6 weeks.  Those are beautiful numbers!  I was just commenting to hubby how I cannot believe it has been 6 weeks.  The time has gone by so fast.  It is so exciting to be achieving goals that I have set for myself.  

9 more pounds and I am down 25 pounds and have lost 10% of my original body weight.  

Weight Loss Rewards (Update)

Progress is being made in my neck of the woods and I needed to take a few seconds to update myRewards List.

At 5 pounds, I did download 5 new songs from iTunes.  I made sure to get ones that were useful in my workout.  No ballads for this girl!  I need all the help I can get to keep myself going at a decent pace!

At 10 pounds, I was supposed to add The Hunger Games triology to my Kindle.  Well, I got side tracked one evening on a trip to Charming Charlie with Ber.  No big deal at all!  I just traded my book for a fancy new hat!  Don't you just love it!!!!!????!!!!!

Today, I am at my 15 pound goal.  I have been waiting for this one!  Finally, I can order my iPod Nano Watch!  Originally, I was going with pink, but the more I have been looking at them, the more I am drawn to the blue!  So, I have put my order in for the Blue iPod Nano Watch!

The 20 pound reward will remain the same.  I cannot wait to get my Mommy Charm!

My 25 pound weight loss reward (and 10% of body weight gone) is going to have to change because I was so graciously awarded a FREE 1 Year Subscription to the magazine!    I have been thinking long and hard about this one and have come up with nothing!  Suggestions are welcomed!  

The 30 pound reward will remain the same as well.  I love my Willow Tree Figurines!

Once I hit my 10%, I will add more rewards.  Until then, I have some time to think, plan, and window shop.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Running For Sherry

I never knew Sherry.  I am not a friend of the family.  I am just someone who stumbled across her cousin's blog one day.  After reading Sherry's story, I knew I wanted to participate in this virtual run.

Sherry was a mom, a wife, school teacher, and a runner in Montana.  She had gone running early Saturday morning (Jan. 7th) and never returned.  Her body has not been found, but there have been 2 arrests in the case. She was abducted just 1 mile from her home.   

My heart breaks for this family.  To not only have someone they loved so much be taken away, but to not be able to say their good-byes or have her rest in peace...it just doesn't seem fair.    

Today I took to the road in Sherry's honor.  It was with pride and a heavy heart that I said a prayer for her family and for her as I began my wog.  I pray that someone someday gives the FBI the information that is needed to not only put these 2 men away for a very long time, but to find Sherry.  I pray that her family is able to hold onto the wonderful memories that were created with Sherry.  I pray for her friends to be able to do the same.  I pray that Sherry did not suffer.  I pray that her family finds peace someday.  I pray for everyone who has had someone abducted in their lives.  I pray for Sherry.      

Rest In Peace, Sherry.  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pepperoni Roll Ups

Pepperoni Roll Ups
5 points+ per roll up

1 Container of Crescent Rolls

40 Slices of Turkey Pepperoni

4 Reduced Fat String Cheese (cut in half)

Ranch/Marinara Sauce

Separate the crescent rolls into triangles. Place 5 slices of turkey pepperoni on each triangle and top with half a string cheese. Roll up and bring up sides to seal.  I topped them with Italian seasoning and garlic powder and served with Tomato Soup for a low point dinner.    

Bzzzing about Dr. Oetker's Ristorante Pizza - easy dinner

I am a BzzAgent, and I get to try products from time to time to provide feedback from myself and my peers.  I recently joined the Dr. Oetker's Ristorante Pizza campaign.  Boy, am I glad I did!  We first tried the Pizza Mozzarella, which was bursting with flavor, and the cheese was delicious!  The boys have had the Pizza Speciale twice in the past week and a half.  It has pepperoni and ham, which makes them very happy.  Last night the hubby and I had the Pizza Spinaci, and oh.my.goodness!  It was SO yummy!

I am a spinach pizza fan anyway, so the amount of spinach piled on top of this pizza was fabulous.  It was very generous and tasted fresh.  A lot of times, inexpensive frozen pizzas taste like warmed up cardboard.  The crust has these layers - it's a thin crust, but is very flavorful.

The first thing I did when I joined the campaign was plug the nutrition information into the WW points calculator. For 1/3 of the pizza, it is about 7 or 8 points+ depending on the pizza.  The Spinaci is 7 points+.  I actually ate half the pizza for 11 points.

If you've tried these pizzas, I'd love to know what you think.  They may not be in your area, but if they are, they get my vote, and the votes of my kids and husband!  My older son is somewhat of a pizza expert in his own mind, and he is very opinionated in his pizza preferences.  He loves the Ristorante pizzas - and I love that they are affordable.

Check out that crust!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oreo Peanut Butter Poppers

 Oreo Peanut Butter Poppers
*Adapted from Hungry-Girl*

5 points+ 


1 pack Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs Oreo Thin Crisps
3 Tbsp Cool Whip Free
1 tsp reduced fat peanut butter

Assemble mini sandwiches by putting a tiny amount of peanut butter and some Cool Whip Free in between two Oreo thin crisps.  Place on wax paper and freeze. 

These taste exactly like those Tagalong Girl Scout cookies! 

* I never make it to the freeze part!

It's all about love!

I've mentioned that this blog, for me, is about my overall health.  It's not just about the weight.  I want to talk about something very important to me today: LOVE.  Next week is Valentine's Day, and everyone is talking about candy, chocolates, and we're inundated with jewelry ads.  That, my friends, is not love.  That is commercialism and materialistic.  A hug from my husband means more to me than a necklace ever could.  (Not that I don't appreciate jewelry, Babe - I totally do.  In fact, I can give you a list of things I think are lovely if you want it...)  Those things just don't equal LOVE.

I'm not going to beat anything over anyone's head, but I do want to say that the best example of love is one that can never be matched on earth.  Ever.  John 3:16 tells us about the love that God has for us - so much that he gave His Son as a sacrifice for our shortcomings.  He gave that for no other reason than love.  He loved me.  He loved you.  He still does.  If you want to know more about that or what it means to me, let me know.  I would love to share with you about what God has done and is doing in my life.

The love that we have - that imperfect attempt at love - is still important to share, but don't think that gifts are the way to show it.  My journey to better health is involving loving myself.  I'm not good at that part of it, but until I really look at what makes me so valuable to God and love those things about myself, I can't truly love anyone else.  I do try, though.  I try to show love to people around me all the time.  I show love to the retired Navy Captain that wants information on a room and feels the need to relive the old days when he was stationed here in the 1960's by listening for a few minutes.  I show love to the stressed lady checking me out at Wal Mart by smiling and wishing her a good day.  I try to show love when I feel frustrated and angry, too - but it's not as easy.

Now I'm going to sound selfish for a minute.  If it offends you, sorry.  I also need to receive love.  Not in the pretty packaged ways, but in the genuine ways: kind words, a smile, a hug.  It is exhausting to encounter people in my every day life who seem to enjoy arguing, negativity, and condescension - not to even mention drama.  I am one of those people who always try to internalize things - to figure out how to make something my fault.  Here's what I'm working on in striving for better health: speaking up when I am hurt.  Not accepting someone else's guilt trip, judgement, or criticism.  Not blaming myself for every relationship that I encounter that is hurtful to me.  I'm not kidding myself or saying I'm perfect.  I certainly do contribute to relationships where I end up feeling hurt, and sometimes it is my shortcoming that causes the instability in the relationship.

I know I am not the only person on the planet that feels this way.  Hopefully others learn things from the hard lessons I'm learning.  Human love is not perfect, but it is important.  It's important to give it and receive it.  It's important to WANT to give it and receive it - not do it begrudgingly.  I feel like as I grow, many of my current relationships might not make it.  The people involved in a relationship have to grow together, or it can't be sustained.  I've experienced this in so many ways in my life.

So here it is:  love me.  Show me love.  I will return it.  Music and love are the 2 biggest gifts I feel that God has blessed me with.  My husband, my children, my friends, my family - all those things are gifts of love from God.  We all just need more love.  I am making a vow to love myself - my faults, my weaknesses, my strengths, my journey.

Please take this challenge:  Show love to yourself each day.  Don't let others bring you down.  Don't let situations in your life - stressful situations that are beyond your control - rob you of your love.  The more you allow yourself to be loved, the more you can love those around you.

Love, my friends, is a crucial part of me being successful on this journey.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Plagiocephaly/Torticollis/Brachycephaly ... Food Please

These 3 words have haunted me for the last couple of weeks.  They have been the reason for my wanting to eat everything in sight.   They have been the reason I want to sit down and cry every night.  They continue to be why everyday is a struggle against food right now.  I need comfort.  I need a hug.  I need to somehow make things better.  I don't seem to have my mind around all that has been going on.  I have wanted to drown myself in cookies, cupcakes, cheesy pizza, crunchy salted chips, and pretty much anything else I could get my hands on.  Instead of doing anything harmful to myself (which, let's face it, eating like I want to would be), I have been picking up my little boys and hugging and kissing them, going for walks, exercising, watching as much junk reality tv as I can, and reading.  

"J" has Plagiocephaly and Toricollis.  "E" has Brachycephaly.  Both are results from their head position beginning in utero and continuing on to how they have slept in the first few months of their sweet little lives.  It is very common among multiple births, especially boys.  Please take a second and click on the links I provided.  They provide just some general information about each disorder.  That is a hard word to type....disorder.  

The treatment for these disorders is something called a molding helmet.  Both of the boys have been to Boston Children's Hospital to the Neuro doctor.  They took measurements and confirmed the diagnosis for them.  

Today we met with a wonderful doctor at Hanger Orthotics.  He remeasured the boys' heads,  scanned their heads, taught us some exercises to do with "J" to help with the Torticollis, and talked us through what is going to happen the next couple of appointments.    The boys loved the doctor.  "J" laughed and talked most of the time we were there.  "E" just kept watching everything the doctor was doing and taking it in.  Both boys were all smiles.  I was a very proud mama, because their behavior was perfect for how long the appointment ending up being.

This has all been so overwhelming; emotionally and financially.  Emotionally, I am dealing a lot with guilt.  I hate that my boys are going to be wearing helmets for the next who knows how many months.  I don't want them to be upset.  I don't want them to cry or be sad.  I don't want people looking at them and wondering, "What is wrong with that kid?  Oh, those kids?"  I just want my happy healthy boys.  Financially, Tricare does not cover molding helmets and the cost is thousands of dollars.  I can't even get into this right now.  I am so annoyed!  They will cover a boob reduction, but not a helmet that will help prevent so many things for a new little being.  I really can't get started on this topic....  

I wanted to blog about this, because quite honestly, I don't know how to talk about this to people.  I don't know how to say any of this.  As I am typing, I am in tears.  My wonderfully supportive hubby did have the best way to try to calm me down about all this.  "Think of this like braces for your teeth.  They'll wear the helmets for a bit and then everything should be straightened out."  While I see his point, a mama can't help but hurt for her babies. 

Pinsday (indirectly) - More importantly - NSV!

A couple weeks ago I wanted to do "Pinsday" Wednesdays.  Okay, fine.  To meet that as you look at the pictures below, note the old windows hung on my living room wall.  Neat, right?  Bonus - they were free.  My plan is to maybe hang a couple more or at least get some pictures printed out to go inside. I haven't decided whether I want to do one HUGE print peeking behind the panes of glass or a lot of smaller pictures.  I've seen both on Pinterest, and I have ideas with both.  I guess that's to be determined.  Maybe I'll revisit Pinsday another time and let you know what I did.

Meh, whatever.  I have more important stories to tell today.

My bad week last week is behind me.  I had rehearsal last night for Worship Team at church.  It was so uplifting to be there.  I wish I could express what happens to my soul when I sing.  Music is such an amazing tool for me - a true gift. Even better, Valentine's day is coming up, and all our songs this weekend are "LOVE" themed songs.  We spent time in scripture, in prayer, and in fellowship.  My spirit really needed last night.  I am a different human today, and so thankful for it!

Okay, I have a small confession - most days I still set my clothes out before bed.  I do.  It's really a big help for me to be focused before the day begins and not have my fashion ADD explode when I'm in a time crunch.  I also don't have to worry about having to find clean undies or make sure I have socks that match or whether my shoe is under the sofa again.  Well, last night I didn't do that.  I was tired from a long day at work, and I went to bed not long after getting home from church.

This morning, I got up and was going to wear some jeans and a sweater.  I looked in the closet, and there was a super cute little dress hanging in there that I've never worn.  I have owned it since I lived in AL (so about 2 or 3 years) and I was always too lumpy to wear it.  Even though I weigh about 10 lbs more right now than I did then, I decided to try it on.  See what I mean about the fashion ADD?  LOL!  I slipped it over my head and could still breathe.  That accomplished, I decided to go in the hallway and peek in the full length mirror to see how awful it was.

Huh.  Am I imagining things?  Do I have the opposite of the body dysmorphic thing going on where I think I look good but I really look like a sausage?  I know how to get the answer...

"BABE!  How does this dress look?"  (insert audible sigh from the handsome hubby.)  He will always tell me the honest answer.  Even when I really don't want to hear it.

"It looks really good!  You look great, Sweetie!"  **internal HOLLA!!!**

Then I had to decide which color I wanted to wear.  Yeah.  I have the dress in 2 colors.  It was on clearance from Newport News for like $7, and I knew I'd be able to wear it someday.  I'm psychic like that.  I decided on the black for today.  I may be brave enough to wear the pink one on Sunday when I sing at church.  We'll see.

At this point there was another, smaller sigh when I asked him to take my picture for the blog, because this is totally a NSV (non-scale victory) for me!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Not Just A Journey

This is not just a journey that I am embarking on.  It is the biggest baddest fastest roller coaster I have ever been on!  There is no get off point either.  I got on.  I plan on riding it until I am the healthiest person I can be.

Yesterday I was tested.  Everything seemed to be on my nerves, including myself.  I was tired and feeling a lot of emotions.  I had no interest in working out, counting points, or being awake!  Thankfully, I had a great friend who talked me through my urge to binge on whatever I could get my hands on.  She helped me plan my dinner and dessert for the evening.  Thanks "A."   I wish I could say that kept my roller coaster on track, but it did not!

Before I knew it,  I was at Target, for some much needed mommy away time, standing in the candy aisle. I don't exactly know what I was doing there.  I wasn't planning on buying candy.  I don't think I even wanted candy.  I was standing there though.  Breathing in the sweet smells of chocolate, licorice, and peanut butter!  OY!  Just when I needed to be shaken out of the sugar smell coma, my phone rang.  It was another WW friend calling to check in.  

I answered the phone laughing.  Busted again!  HAHA  I confessed my placement in the store to her and turned my cart right around.  Second loop of the roller coaster was a success!  Thanks "J."  

I headed over to the magazine rack and decided to reward my behavior with something a little more positive; A Weight Watchers Magazine.  It took me a while to go through all of them, because it looked like there were none left.  As I was just about to give up, I moved a Cooking Light Magazine and there it was.  Jennifer Hudson staring at me from the cover of the magazine.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.  Of course I grabbed it and was on my way out of Target!  I didn't even grab a much thought about Starbucks coffee.

On the way home, I just drove.  I did not listen to music or talk on the phone.  I just enjoyed the silence.  It was exactly what I needed.  My reset button was pushed and I felt like I was ready to get back on the roller coaster of life.  Sometimes I forget to take care of me and in the end everyone pays for it!  Sorry family and friends!  

In the end, I stayed on plan.  I counted my points.  I survived.  I hate days like yesterday.  I wish I never had them, but that just isn't life.  We all need to break once in a while.  At least that is what I am telling myself today.

Progress - and weigh in!

Good morning!

Weigh in this morning was a little nerve wracking.  I made my handsome hubby look at the scale for me.  I just couldn't do it.  I knew with my flare up I'd had to spend a lot more time lying in bed than I otherwise would.  Plus, let's not forget losing my mind and eating a week's worth of Flex Points in one day at the beginning of the week.  I was just hoping to be the same as last week, or maybe gaining only a pound.

I'm actually down a half pound!  190.5!  I'll take it, for real.

Here's what my thermometer looks like.  Take a good, hard look:

Yeah, buddy!  That says I'm officially 30% of the way to my goal!  I'm still trying to decide about rewards.  I was thinking to do something correlating to the percentage of progress, but I just realized that's only a few pounds at a time.  I'll have to talk to the hubby and see if he has thoughts. 

Thanks for the support!  And leave us comments so we know you're with us!  <3

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's cookie time!

Those Girl Scouts...they've got it figured out, haven't they?  In the winter time while we're all snuggled in our homes near hibernation, noshing on all the not so healthy food that the holidays bring, the adorable neighbors, nieces, and/or daughters of co-workers come around with the order form.  Before you know it, 5 or 6 boxes have been ordered, and they'll let you know when they come in.  Then the first of the year arrives, with the resolve that THIS year will be the year that your healthy eating plan lasts longer than January 7th.  A few weeks into this resolution that's actually sticking this time, they show up: those little boxes of sugary-sweet, for a good cause, temptation.

Yeah.  I have 5 boxes right now.  Impressively enough, they've been in my house since Sunday, and we haven't eaten a whole box yet.  I ended up with 2 boxes of Thin Mints, which will be devoured by the males of the household, 2 boxes of Caramel de Lites, which I could devour in a single sitting, and 1 box of Lemonades, which are for JUST me.  Funny enough, many of the ladies in our Weight Watch Us group on base all received our cookies on the same day.  Really quickly there were posts declaring what the Points+ values were for each flavor because we'd all run to look them up.

I needed to face the fact that 2 cookies at a time were going to be it.  What if I could pump up the size of my snack without adding points?  Aha - I SO can!  Insert sliced strawberries and FF Cool Whip.
Uh, YUM! Right?!

The only problem is that the mooch problem that I've had in the past with pears and other just-for-Mom snacks reared it's little fingers again:
Seriously.  Whipped cream with bare hands?  What savage kind of household is this?!

But hey, if my kids can learn good eating habits from me, embrace treats in moderation, and include healthy fresh fruits and vegetables into their diet, it can't be all bad, right?  And speaking of not bad, how GOOOD does this look?

I had a stroke of genius this afternoon, and I'm thinking I'm going to take 2 Lemonades, put some FF whipped cream mixed with sliced strawberries inside, and sandwich it together, then freeze it like a super yummy no-ice-cream-ice-cream-sandwich.  I'll let you know how that goes.  I've done it with graham crackers in the past.  

Now to figure out which fruit will pair best with Caramel de Lites...


I made the ice cream sandwichy thing.  OH MY.  I am a genius!  I do wish I'd sliced the strawberries a little thinner or maybe diced them up.  They were a little hard to bite into frozen.  It was a super delicious snack!  Take a look!