Saturday, July 27, 2013

Doctors, Vacations, and Unemployment... oh my!

Hi everyone!

Sorry it's been awhile. I want you to know I really appreciate all your snacking advice last week and I've taken it to heart and am putting a lot of it into practice!!!  This week is more of a general update than my usual witty repartee.  But you'll want to read to the end (or skip to it if you're bored) as there's a monster at the end of this book. (Sorry... Sesame Street reference was irresistible!)

We had a chance to escape before school started and we went for it!!! A weekend with friends in Illinois (Thanks Mom and Dad for the free baby and dog sitting!) where we got to do a LOT for a very little was much needed, and we had an amazing time with the Barons and Wiemers.  It's so much fun when you can hang out with couples you are very different from and a lot alike at the same time!  It makes for good conversation and easy going relaxation.

Then it was off to stay with Holly for a few days before she starts her junior year.  This is probably the last chance we will have to see her until possibly fall break or Christmas:(  So we planned a sneak attack!  She had NO idea we were coming so when we woke her up and she saw Ellie she freaked out and it was awesome.  Since they now live in Pensacola, Holly was able to help with an Ellie first, and we took her to the beach!  It was GREAT!!!

I set us a budget before we left and we did REALLY well.  Only three meals out the entire week we were gone and one was paid for by the cabin owner we rented from on our wine trail weekend.  We were super cheap.  I may never vacation carelessly again.  Mark losing his job has showed me exactly how much money we waste. We've done VERY well on a tight budget this summer and thanks to some help from some friends we have survived with no unemployment.  Not because Mark didn't apply by the way...But because our fantastic government is SO FREAKIN SLOW!!!!!  6 weeks and still no check, even though Mark has faithfully certified every week that he has no job.  ARGH!! If they don't come across soon, August will be a Ramen noodles and cancel the cable kind of month but I think we can make it.  Do you notice they never fail to pay themselves, but people can lose their homes and not eat waiting for assistance!  It's maddening!!! Don't you agree?

And last but not least, getting healthy:  Well, vacation was a disaster!!! Whataburger is the devil and was one of our meals out.  Bad, bad, very bad epic fail!!! There may also have been some puppy chow and m&m's consumed on the wine trail.  All in moderation but nonetheless... not good!  I saw Dr. Vanderveen this week and he was pleased with my blood work and in spite of vacation, was also surprised there wasn't more weight loss.  When I admitted that exercise and I still weren't close personal friends, we talked about why since I used to love it.  For those of you that don't know, I have degenerative disc disease in my lower back.  When I'm uncomfortable, I don't want to work out.  In fact I hate it.  And when my back bothers me, I don't sleep.  Solutions: I start physical therapy for my back on Monday.  He feels we can get it under control and I'll enjoy being more active because I won't be afraid of the ouch.  Solution 2: Gotta get moving! I know how to fix my eating, and other than speed bumps on vacation, that's going well.  Snacking has been helped by peppermints and we are beginning to eliminate the crap from the house, we avoided buying new crap today (step away from the carbs), and as soon as payday hits I'll be stocking up on carrots and yogurt (crunch and sweet).  I am going to attempt to get a fitness club going at work to keep me motivated and if that doesn't work... back to Curves I shall go!

And last but not least in the news front.... How will we survive beyond August?  Easy: MARK GOT A JOB!!!!!!!!! He was offered several but accepted the position that would allow us the most time together as a family.  It will be a pay adjustment but we can do it!!! He will be the Media Assistant and Assistant Football Coach at... wait for it... Kenwood High School.  Translation for my fellow Knights - He's the new Huff!  Woot!!! We are THRILLED!!!!

So that's all for now friends.  I'll let you know in a few days how the physical therapy is going!  Thanks for reading!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bring the Advice

Hi everyone!!!

This will be a short one.  Things are still on the right track.  But I'm going to ask for your advice at the end so get ready!!

I have a doctor's appointment coming up in the next two weeks and I'm scared to see the weight.  I don't know if I've lost any and it's driving me nuts.  I don't think it's much but everyone tells me I look better and a little thinner.  I suppose that means I am achieving my goal of healthier.  :)  I was told it shows most in my face.  Healthier is what I really want so I'll take it!  Mark on the other hand is the incredible shrinking man!!! He's OBVIOUSLY thinner.  I'm so proud of him!! :) :)

I'm just ready for some more dramatic change because I don't see it yet.  I thought I would have an easier time in the summer but that's so not true!!! At school, I'm on a routine and I can't just eat if I'm bored because I'm NEVER bored.  That's still a temptation for me this summer. In fact when you're bigger it tends to be an issue all the time.  It's not that chubby folks eat a bunch of crap, but I know there are some like me who eat when they're happy, eat when they're sad, eat at a party (it's polite), eat when you're bored, eat because you're in a hurry, you're on a road trip, you passed an amish person on rumspringa... you get the idea.  So I suppose this week I've noticed myself fighting that battle.  We are eating so much less at dinner and so much less in general but I'm still so tempted to oversnack.  Any advice on that battle?  I used to cross stitch or read when I was tempted to snack but with Ellie that's harder to do.  She gets my attention and I LOVE giving it to her.  However it's very easy to snack and pay attention to her and a great way to stay awake so I can pay attention to her. Lol!!  So gang... advise away!!! I need all I can get! And Mom's on the go: Any suggestions for exercises I can do while watching Ellie (besides walking in the 900degree heat)?  :)

In other news:  This week's favorite light and healthy meal (as advertised on facebook) was Eggplant Parmesan.  My husband sliced two scrubbed eggplants (peels on) like an accordion, lightly salted them (he used garlic salt for flavor) and let them weep for a half hour or so before patting them and setting them in a casserole dish that had a jar of tomato basil marinara.  In between each slice he layered part skim mozzarella and then put it in to bake until the eggplant was tender at 400degrees.  Then he pulled it out and put a small amount of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese on the top and put it back in the oven to brown up.  It was DELICIOUS!!!

Favorite cheap healthy find of the week: Muller Corner greek yogurt.  They have yummy fruit and granola varieties.  SO GOOD!!!

Ok friends, let that advice role and I'll tell you what I'm going to try next week!  Thanks for staying tuned!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Follow the Signs (or Why Squash is of Satan)

Ok.  So this is an aside from my usual posts about weight loss.  This has been a very educational mom week.

Three days ago we started Ellie on Butternut Squash.  The pediatrician has recommended it EVERY TIME we've been in the last few months like a broken record.  "Try sweet potatoes, green beans, and butternut squash."  Just goes to show, every kid is different and our kid is right there in the broken mold category.  Turns out butternut squash isn't good.  It isn't nice.  It's the devil. Yup, satan incarnate.

I am SPOILED ROTTEN!! And I don't just mean by Mark.  We all know I wake up every morning and put on my shiny tiara.  It happens.  It's his fault.  Somewhere in our past I used to be a totally independent human being.  Now... I can't even make coffee and I have no idea where a single pan is in this entire house.  I wish for things and they appear. (true story... and yes, I know EXACTLY what a sweet deal and great hubby I have and I plan to keep him so hands off ladies. :)

So Ellie, being 50% her father, has had the good sense thus far to spoil me as well.  While she has had some respiratory funk off and on; she's super easy to please, she's not a fit thrower as of yet, and she rarely if ever spits up or makes a mess.  ...until squash.  Did I mention squash is the devil yet?

This is a lesson in 'follow the signs, they're everywhere'.  Girlfriend has been spitting up the last couple of days.  Nothing serious.  First day was after playing in her bouncy. Yesterday was right after some bouncing around with friends.  Once was after a fit of coughing - see afore mentioned respiratory funk.  She and her dad have both had sinus issues with the funky humidity of the last week. So I thought nothing of it.  So she had a few cradle cap spots back!  That happens.  And it was hot so I'm sure the ones from around her mouth were from chewing on her hands and from her paci in the hot outsideness. Um... nope.  I am never going to be super mom.  I have friends who have that title firmly in the bag.  But I do strive to be really good mom so I feel like an idiot for not FOLLOWING THE SIGNS!!!

Today after squash she didn't spit up.  She projectiled... everything... and I'm pretty sure it was all three days of squash.  3 hours later... hello all 6 ounces of bottle and all of last week's formula. She and I have had two full wardrobe changes this evening and my lazy boy is still recovering. My child does not throw up!  What could this madness be???

In a typical blind panic, (please note Mark was calm and cool, and while he went along with it I'm sure he rolled his eyes when I turned to leave the room) I called the nightime urgent care answering service for our pediatrician to which they responded... "She threw up?  Anything else?  Fever? Anything?"  They very patiently explained that 3 days of a food she clearly wasn't tolerating have led to a sour stomach. So now she's sleeping it off, we are armed with pedialyte and fresh changes of clothes, and hoping for no more yuckiness tonight.  Butternut squash is the devil.

They suggested we reintroduce it to her in a couple of weeks to see if it induces more projectile throwing up before we rule it out.  Ummm... nope.  Thanks though.

So to make a long story short, whatever you do in life, DON'T IGNORE THE SIGNS.

Tune in later this week for the regular weight loss/budget portion of the blog!  :)

Thanks, as always, for reading my little rants and raves!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Epic Fail, Big Triumph

Hi Everyone!!!

We are still eating way less and I'm hoping to report big progress in health land soon in the form of looser clothes!! This however, will not be that week.  We had a bit of an epic fail.  Forgive me Father for I have been to the drive thru.

We were on the road, we were sleep deprived, I was stressed, Ellie was in the back, we drove separately, and I didn't want to get out to go in an actual store.  It happened.  It seems as if every week I uncover a different challenge that requires a small or large (depends on the week) lifestyle change.  Two weeks ago it was modifying portions that we fixed, then it was the
acknowledgement that we can't use our kids and other stuff as excuses and we should keep the junk out of the house, this week it was keeping the junk out of the travel.

Last week's problem and this week's have the same solution:  BETTER PLANNING!

I need to think before we travel and pack snacks!!! Good ones!! So I can't use being tired and not wanting to get out with Ellie as an excuse.  We also need to plan meals and snacks at home ahead of schedule.  That way we can't use being tired and not wanting a long trip to the store to interfere with Ellie as an excuse. (See the pattern there?) For the solution see the Big Triumph section in a couple of paragraphs.  :)

The thing is, I said from the beginning this isn't about getting skinny quick, it's about a life overhaul.  This is not a sprint, it's a marathon.  I want SO BADLY to be like some of my friends and post that we lost 5-10 pounds this week or that we have found a magic diet plan that is peeling off the weight but I can't.  It would solve nothing for us because we are creatures of habit. I'm also not using a scale so I can't give you pounds.  I would get frustrated by the slow progress.  I can't do that to myself.  I've lost a lot of weight quickly a hundred times and it always comes back because I go back to old me.  NOT THIS TIME!!! We are living in the land of see a small problem and fix it and move on to the next small problem.  It's kind of like Dave Ramsey's debt snowball for getting healthy.  Small changes lead to big results OVER TIME!  I just wish I was more patient.  Weight loss surgery and all of the diets out there are so tempting, because my brain sees those as easy fixes (even though I know they aren't... especially surgery... not even close in fact).  But our numbers from our bloodwork are pretty decent and any that are high are fixable through diet.  Those perceived 'quick fixes' are not necessary and would lead to a much different kind of life change than I want to make.  We have a LONG way to go.  I just hope you'll keep reading so I'll stay honest with myself because I'm putting our progress out there!  :) So tell me if I'm boring and I'll tell knock knocks or something! :)

So what's the Big Triumph? Planning on a budget, baby!
If you shop at Kroger and you have not downloaded the Kroger app... DO IT!!! So awesome!! While Mark is job hunting (thanks for all the prayers - keep em coming!!), we are on a STRICT budget.  I used the Dave Ramsey technique and got cash from the bank for this month's groceries.  Once it's gone, we are done.  So how do we stretch it?  First we used the Kroger app to download some KILLER coupons!  Do you know every few days they offer something totally free??? It's awesome!!! And I don't have to carry or clip.  I have no excuse not to save.  The coupons are loaded on my card and are used automatically!  Then there's the weekly ad.  You can go through the ad and add stuff to your grocery list with one touch.  So we marked stuff on our phones that we knew we could use to build multiple meals.  Then we went to the store and went department by department looking at what we marked as on sale on our list.  Coffee creamer, a butternut squash to make Ellie's baby food, and two diet cokes were all we bought that wasn't on sale!!! Woot!! We stayed well under budget and only spent about 15 extra minutes in the store!  We have meals for weeks in the freezer and fridge and spent 100 dollars and NONE of it was quick fix, junk food crap!  I'm super siked!!!

So that's it happy campers.  Tune in next time for more info on how our budget and careful planning for food is going!  While we are not perfect we are making progress!!!!  Wish us luck as we plow on!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tiny Plate Triumph!!

Hi everyone!!!

So we are one week in to the tiny plate experiment and it's AWESOME!!! To recap: Mark and I decided a week ago to put away our big dinner plates and only eat off our salad/dessert plates. We already notice a huge difference in what we can eat.  We are full very quickly!  I think in the long run this will make a big difference!!  My stomach is literally shrinking and I know it.  We went to a BBQ Saturday and I ate less than I used to at those events and was still MISERABLE!!! I'm learning very quickly that smaller is better and just because it tastes good, I don't HAVE to eat it.

Problem we still face: What we eat.  Food is still a reward and we indulge too much.  Holly has been here this week from FL which, now that she's going home, I realize has been the perfect excuse for candy, and ice cream, and pizza - Oh my!! Yes we've only had tiny servings of the bad stuff but we've had it. 

So what's the next thing I aim to conquer? Changing our way of thinking.  We've changed our way of eating now we have to change our way of thinking about food.  It needs to be nutrition.  We love summer veggies and summer fruits so our choices right now need to be full of them.  We feel better after we have them and feel miserable after we have pizza so why choose pizza?  Convenience has to stop being an excuse!!  I can see in our actions this week that we are still to hung up on that one.

So that's what we will conquer now. It's a tough time to do it because when I'm stressed I eat for comfort and Mark and I are both worried about what the future holds.  Don't get me wrong... we know God has the job situation under control, but we are still human and we still worry when we don't mean to.  Especially when things don't go our way.

In financial land, it's bill time and I'm just trying not to think about it! LOL!! Dave Ramsey's class has been AMAZING!  I highly recommend it to everyone.  So I'm going to follow his plan this month and pay what we can pay and draw a line.  Anything below the line doesn't get paid and that's just it.  But I think, thanks to some VERY generous surprises, we will be just fine this month and nothing will be below the line.  I'll let you know next week.  But we got a couple surprises in the mail to help with expenses and apparently someone paid next week's daycare bill!  It's unbelievable!!! God has blessed us immensely and everytime I start to wallow I need to remember that! Our family is fairly healthy overall, we are all able to see each other on a regular basis... just that is so much more than so many others we care about are able to say and we CANNOT forget it!!!

Until next week!!! We've changed our portion so now we change our plan!!! 

Thanks for reading as always!!!! :) :)