Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Adorable Oliver

I'm Really on this Journey

This has been one long journey for me. Only now do I feel safe enough to share.  I feel fairly confident in myself that this is not just a phase in my life, but a lifestyle change.  Here goes.
Over the last five years I have slowly packed on the weight.  I watched myself go from a size eight up to a very snug size twelve.  Out of desperation, I kept squeezing into my size twelve clothing denying that I was getting bigger despite the numbers on the scale constantly going up. 
The kids would hug me and say how soft and squishy I was.  I believe they were being sweet and sincere, but who appreciates their muffin top being admired?
I tried a few different diets over the years, each only lasting a week or two only to gain the weight back and then some.  I'm sure some of you have been there.  All gung ho the first few days but inside feeling deprived, and unmotivated.  I truly blamed my full hysterectomy for my weight problem and my having to cook for all the kids.   Admittedly, I cringed whenever I heard of anyone else's success.  I even wished a twinkie truck would crash in front of their house and spill out all over their front yard to sabotage their progress. 
Yes, I was in a secret dark place.
And it did nothing for my overall self esteem.
Honestly, I had resolved myself to being an overweight, squishy lady who had to buy bigger pants each year. 
Then I began to see others post about their weight loss using an expensive program.  I was curious and for the first time, motivated to learn more about getting healthy.  When I inquired, I knew I wanted what they were doing, but I also knew that I could not justify to myself spending that much money on something that if I truly wanted enough, I could work on the good ol' fashioned way.
Yet, I was convinced that I needed some sort of weight loss shake so I began researching.  I compromised and bought one container of meal replacement shake for $45.
I almost peed in my pants when it came-- I was so excited.
All my hope was in that stupid shake mix.
And then I made my first shake.
And one word came to mind.
Gag me.  Oh, that's two words.
Over the days I tried to make the stuff tolerable with banana, mint, or coffee.  Every morning I entertained my girls with my near gagging when I tried to stomach the stuff.
No wonder people lose weight with this stuff, I thought.  They just don't drink it!
And yet during this time, I was beginning to lose weight.  Not because of the shake mix, but because of one amazing person's testimony who has lost over seventy pounds in the last year, the good ol' fashioned way of diet and exercise.  I was beginning to eat differently, and exercise.
Thank you Joanie from the bottom of my heart.
On August 25, 2013 I decided to start eating less and drink a ton of water.  On August 30 I did something out of character for me and stopped by the gym and did the fastest mile I could.  Eighteen minutes it took me.  That's right.  Eighteen minutes.
But I did it!  I had went to the gym.
Joanie told me that if I went enough times, I would become addicted.  I secretly laughed at her, but was still truly inspired by her no gimmicks approach to weight loss. 
If she could do it, so could I.
A few days later, I went to the gym again.  And then again. 
I had lost about 4 pounds by this time.
I was down to about 800 calories a day and began drinking Sweet Greens and Lemon juice a few times a week.  And I made sure to take all my vitamins.
Today marks one full month of eating healthy, and going to the gym at least five times a week if not more.  I can walk/jog/run a mile in just under fourteen minutes.  Officially I have lost 13.6 pounds and just under 170 pounds.  I am wearing a skirt today that I haven't worn in a very long time.  I feel awesome!  I am motivated.  I have energy.  I sleep so much better.  And I don't deprive myself of everything like I had done with other diets.
John is very supportive too.  He goes to the gym with me when he can and he eats the healthy stuff with me too.  Gosh, I love him.  The kids are great too with their encouraging words.
So, how do I keep it down to about 800 calories a day?  Well, let me tell you about the day we went to In and Out for Dennis' birthday.  I knew I wanted a cheeseburger-- no fries and a diet coke.  (Normally I don't drink soda at all, but it had been awhile and a carbonated drink sounded really good.)  That was about 500 calories so I had to figure out how to only eat 300 calories for the rest of the day.  I drank a Sweet Greens and Lemon for breakfast which is 100 calories.  And I had a bowl of salad with a vinaigrette dressing with a few flaxseed crackers and a bite of jello for lunch.  It wasn't even hard to do as I imagined being able to eat the whole burger for dinner.  And oh my-- was it the best burger I have ever eaten-- I enjoyed it so much!  And I was totally full after just my burger because of my stomach shrinking. 
I also bought some Special K meal replacement bars as a treat for when the kids eat dessert like a brownie or piece of cake.  They taste pretty good and are fairly low in calories at just 170 calories per bar.  I started out eating about 1/2 of a bar but now that's even too sweet for me so I eat just a few bites and my sugar craving is fixed.

Here I am a month ago.                                                            Here I am this morning.
This morning I really want to encourage you.  If you are wanting to get healthy and start losing weight-- I know you can do it!  You really can. Whether it be the ol' fashioned way like me, or a program like Weight Watchers, or meal replacement shake of some kind-- find what works for you.  Don't give up.  Talk to someone who will encourage you and keep in touch with that person.  Drink lots and lots of water too.  That will make a difference!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Paint a Parrot Day

The kids are doing art daily this year where they have to draw a picture.  Then once a month they do a bigger project.  This one happened to be a tempura paint project using their hand prints to make the parrot's wings.   

I think they turned out great!
(P.S.  Thank you for the encouraging words about Little Guy.  We miss him but at the same time we trust that God used us for this short period of time to help Little Guy and his family.)

Monday, September 23, 2013

She's Fifteen

Happy birthday to our vibrant, outgoing Anna!
I cannot believe that she is fifteen years old.
Where does the time go?
It seems like just yesterday that she was a very little girl not much bigger than Nolan.
Now she is a young lady who is loving and tenderhearted.
Anna loves to sing, but only in front of a mirror.
She is taking guitar lessons and hopes to move to Tennessee one day and marry a cowboy.
She still prefers fruit over sweets.
Anna can snap gum like no other.
She can tell you anything about Taylor Swift.
She enjoys movie trivia.
She has a very special bond with William.
Anna is fascinated with Percy Jackson.
When she grows up, I can imagine her being a private eye.
We sure love her lots.
Happy happy birthday to an amazing precious daughter!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Dennis!

We have a seven year old in the house (who already wishes he was eight).
Our amazing and wonderful Dennis had a birthday last week.
He really couldn't decided what he wanted to do.
First, he wanted to go to Starbucks with just Mom and Dad.
Then, he wanted to go to In and Out.
Then he changed his mind and wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese.
Then back to In and Out.
Well, we made it easy for him and decided that In and Out it was!
In the morning, he first played the Wii.
On the drive this is what we got to witness.  So precious.
In and Out was yummy of course.  Everyone enjoyed themselves.

Julia drove the van home.  And Rachel drove our Yaris home.
At home we had brownie sundaes. We sang happy birthday.
Dennis loved blowing out his candles!
He enjoyed opening up his presents.

Happy birthday to our Dennis!  You are growing up so fast!  You are so smart, funny, and outspoken.
We love you so very much!

Friday, September 20, 2013

He's Leaving

I have been waiting to write this. Thinking some how I would wake up from this bad dream.   Hoping that over the course of these last few days, a miracle would happen and we would hear the words-- He can stay with you.
It doesn't look like that is going to happen.
Little Guy is leaving us tomorrow.
It's a hard pill to swallow.
He has been doing so well these past few weeks.
Finally adjusting because he feels like he is home.
Doing better in school.
Doing better at home.
Doing more for himself.
Showing more self control.
Taking it upon himself to copy the positive behaviors of his siblings around him.
Working hard towards goals that he had no interest in just a few weeks ago.
Finally using everyone's name in the family.
This was supposed to be his last stop.
His forever family.
But it is not happening.
With reasons out of our control, out of our agency's control, and certainly out of his control, his previous family has decided to take him back.
Just like that.  Here today.  Gone tomorrow.
As I pulled out his suitcase stashed in my closet, I felt the resentment towards his previous family rise in my heart.  I don't care what anyone says-- he belongs here.
They made that choice. 
We checked, double checked, and triple checked that this is what the other family wanted.
They contacted us.
They said yes.
We made that commitment to him, to our other children, and to ourselves.
We have plans.
He has goals.
He is supposed to learn to write his name this year.
Recognize all the letters of the alphabet.
He was going to learn the seasons of the year.
How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
He was going to have surgery to correct his eyes.
He was going to gain another pound or two or three.
Lose a few more teeth.
Read more books.
Learn to swim.
Learn to roller skate with not one, but two skates.
There is so much to love about him.
He is sweet.
He is playful.
He is Nolan's bosom buddy.
He loves sweets.
He loves baths.
He loves Little Bear.
He loves yogurt.
He loves to watch mini movies of himself.
He loves to dance during church worship.
There isn't much that he can give in return, but just being his mom is gift enough.
Seeing his progress makes it all worth it.
Hearing him call me Mom.
Watching him fall asleep in John's arms.
Seeing his face light up when I tell him we are going swimming.
Our family is sure going to miss Little Guy.

Friday, September 13, 2013

FieldTrip to the LA County Fair

Today we went on a fieldtrip to the county fair.  It was awesome!  There was so much to see.
There was a small exhibit on Little House on the Prairie.

We really enjoyed Pencils to Pixels.

The underwater sea life  exhibit was neat too.

Here are all my kings and queens.

I love these flowers.  They remind me of flames.  Aren't they called Flaming Flowers?  My grandfather had them planted in his front yard.
The farm animals were very entertaining.  This mama pig kept pushing her babies away from the bowl of food.
One exhibit was from seed to the store.  The kids got to plant seeds, collect chicken eggs, and milk cows.

Then they got to pick vegetables.
Lastly, they got to spend the money that they earned from farming.  When I saw how much fun the kids were having, I wish that I would have taken the younger boys out of school to go with us.

The Atrium was probably my favorite exhibit.  These  roses are like carnations with dye injected into the stem to suck up the color.

The food was very expensive.  You are looking at a $13 funnel cake.  After sharing this, we went to Wendy's for lunch.
Dennis is turning seven tomorrow.  He asked if I could bring cupcakes and drinks to his class today.  I couldn't because of the fieldtrip, but Caleb saved the day.  He gets out of school at noon because he is a senior so he went to the store and then hand delivered them to his class.  Dennis got his cupcakes.