Friday, December 30, 2011

Welcoming in 2012

So, I figured I better write this today because I'm sure tomorrow will be hectic and I'm not sure if I'd find the time to do this.

I think it's important to be reflective as 2012 approaches. I think looking back on the year that is just about to pass is good for our minds and souls. It allows us to see the good, the bad, the areas we've grown, and the areas we still need to grow in. It helps us to set new goals and find different areas of growth to strive for in the upcoming year.

Yes, 2011 brought hardships for us (and many of you I'm sure). We saw Jeremiah gone nearly 1/2 of the year. We saw many financial hardships and set backs. And let's all not forget my nearly month stay in the hospital with complications to a biliary obstruction and then subsequent pancreatitis.

But, 2011 had good things too. We were blessed to have health insurance during my illness. The long absences were able to cushion our bank account somewhat, so that when the hours for Jeremiah were scarce we were still able to make things work.

Jeremiah has been given the opportunity to do some interesting training, and also set some of his training into motion. Jeremiah is currently in a temporary position (through February) and he is enjoying his job very much. We're hoping that 2012 will bring an extension or some permanence to that position.

I've been able to continue and maintain my lifestyle changes for over 18 months now. So that means 2011 is the first complete year of my changes since beginning this process. I'm proud to say that I've lost lots of weight and inches in 2011. And I know those lifestyle changes have helped me to feel better inside and out. I look forward to continuing the lifestyle changes I've made in 2012. I look forward to continuing to eat well and exercising somewhat regularly. I'm not sure how much weight loss is on the table for me in 2012, but the most important thing is maintaining those healthy changes I've made for myself, and hopefully finding new ways to be healthy is 2012.

Joseph is becoming such an interesting and loving child. In 2011 we will leave behind the last bits of "Baby" Joseph. He made great milestones like potty training, doing school like work with me, and becoming a big helper that has chores. He is a bright, inquisitive, funny, loving little boy and we are looking forward to seeing more of his personality bloom in 2012.

We were also able to move into our first house in 2011 and that is so very exciting for us. Having a house means Joseph has a yard to play in and that our family has more room to be comfortable. We are thrilled to have place for all of our possessions, to not be living in such close proximity with neighbors, and to have our own washer and dryer.

Yes, 2011 was a tough year. But, doesn't each year bring it's own hardships and problems? Yes, 2011 was hard, but we were still blessed and provided through it by a great Lord.

We are looking forward to all of the blessings and joys that 2012 will bring. May all of you have a happy and blessed 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Be the Little Blue Train

Have any of you ever read the book, 'The Little Engine that Could'? I think it's time to revisit this book for a lot of you. Maybe I'm overemotional, maybe I'm overly irritable. But I'm getting a little frustrated with the "I cannot, I cannot, I cannot" mentally.

I mean c'mon folks, don't we all have enough conspiring against us on a regular basis? Why add to that by being your own worst enemy?

Stop with the excuses. If you want to do something, do it. Do you think that little blue train would have made it up the mountain if she sat there thinking, "Well, I'm really tired" or "I would rather do something else" or "This is going to be way too hard to even try."

If you want to lose weight stop with the excuses. Begin eating healthier, less processed foods, and smaller portions. If you want to change the way your body looks then start exercising, even just walking. No one is holding a gun to your head making you keep your unhealthy butt on the couch or shoving processed, unhealthy foods in large quantities down your throat. You are doing it, and only you can stop it.

I'm so sick and tired of seeing people complain about how unhealthy or overweight they are, but they aren't willing to do anything about it. And I will reiterate this again even though it was in another of my blog entries, if you watch your portions and calories and move a little bit more there is no reason why you should not lose weight. The only reason you would not lose weight is if you have a metabolic or hormonal imbalance that would need to be treated by a doctor. So when you say diet and exercise don't work for you, it's bologna. No you can't guzzle down pop, booze, and huge amounts of processed foods and expect results. Only you can change the path you're on.

Listen, I'm not saying anyone is perfect. It's a struggle for me to stay on course as well. But I spent so much of my life learning how to be unhealthy it's going to take a while to truly learn how to be healthy. Quit waiting for tomorrow to start on the right path, trust me there will always be another tomorrow, and if you wait for tomorrow to get here I can guarantee it will never come.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weigh-In (12/18/11)

My last weigh-in was 11-18-11. All stats will be in comparison to that day.

•2 lbs lost (for a total loss of 58lbs)

Inches lost: 1.5 inches (since 11-18-11)

•Hips - 1/2 inch
•Thigh - 1 inch (1/2 inch from each)

Onto the pics. The top one is from this 'goal' outfit on 9-19-11. The second is from last month's weigh-in on 11-18-11. The last picture is from today 12-18-11.

Friday, December 9, 2011

You're not my Judge

I don't know where I'm at. I don't know where to start. I'm hoping that if I start writing some of this excess emotion and burden will be released from me and I can start moving forward without the excess weight it's causing.

But before I begin, please I beg of you; I do not need to hear the cliches. I do not need the empty words that float around from one mouth to the next as if to serve as some kind of pat on the back to those who need it. I don't need to hear about God not giving me more than I can handle, or how these trials are shaping me, how this is part of being a grown up, or how this will pass. I don't need it, I don't want it. So please keep it to yourself.

In all honesty I truly feel like things have been on a downward spiral for weeks now.

Life is stressful. Things don't go as planned. It causes us to be Gumby-like. Bend this way, reach that way. Sometimes bend until we snap or at least crack.

It's no secret that we've struggled to find our footing financially in Michigan. It's no secret as to the amount of stress this has caused. As I've stated before, we left two nice paying, full-time jobs, with benefits to move back here. Mostly that is my fault. I wanted to be here, I wanted to be in the place that I thought was home. Years have matured me and brought me to the realization that home isn't necessarily where you're from. After careful introspection I've found that we've traded what were not necessarily problems but mere inconveniences for a set a heavy, ugly, nasty problems. The grass is never greener on the other side. And I think there is definitely something in the phrase, "You can't go home again."

I carry a lot around with me. I'm a sensitive person, and I have this deep seeded feeling that it's my job to make everyone happy and fix everything. It's taken me a long time to really and truly realize how unrealistic and impossible that it. But regardless of how much of that I let go, I still have thin skin. I still feel a heavy burden when people aren't pleased with me.

My sensitivity allows me to be a passionate, compassionate, empathetic, loving, caring, concerned person. However, it also opens a lot of spaces for people to use and misuse me, and I don't know how to properly channel that. Think about it this way, I'm like a big piece of Swiss cheese. I have big openings that allow my love, passion, kindness, consideration to flow through. But those holes go both ways. So when someone spews their hostility, disdain, or other forms of nastiness I absorb them as easily and deeply as I exude love and tenderness.

I keep to myself a lot. I'm quiet. I'm reserved. I'm not always socially active. It's not who I am. Probably a lot of it comes from my need to protect myself. The less people I let in, the less people I have to deal with hurting me in ways that I can't properly deal with. It doesn't mean I'm a bitch. It doesn't mean I'm stuck up. It just means that I am a scared person that has been wronged so many times that I've found keeping my distance is the easiest way to protect myself.

But regardless of the amount of people in which I socialize, I am a good person. I am kind. I am generous. I am loving. I am considerate. I am compassionate. Regardless of that, there are some people in my life that dislike me for reasons that either are completely out of my control or for no reason whatsoever. In all technicality I was born a bastard. No, I wasn't raised in a Christian home. Yes, I have a past. And yes, I've done moronic, immature and irresponsible things as a teenager. Those things don't define the person I've become or the woman I am today. But for some people they do. I'm not good enough, never will be, and nothing I ever do will ever allow me to measure up to some people's standards. It's unfortunate, it's sad, and it's probably one of the most frustrating problems in my life. It's something I cannot resolve on my own, and it's a burden that will be thrust upon me until those people are no longer a part of my life.

I'm an educated woman. Yes, not as educated as my mother would like. I am Baptized and have been covered and saved by the blood of my Lord and Savior. I'm a woman of strong ethics and morals. I'm not promiscuous and do not now nor have I ever had a sexual transmitted disease. I have good credit. That is an indication of my fortitude to keeping my word, promises, and the importance I place on taking care of my responsibilities. I plan for my child's educational future. I constantly think of others and put myself last in almost every situation. I am a good cook, a so-so housekeeper, and I take pride in knowing my family is always taken care of. I don't have a drug problem, in fact the only medication I take on a regular basis are prenatal vitamins so that my body is healthy for the opportunity to support and nourish another child. I rarely drink. I don't smoke. I have debt, but it's been out of necessity of living and making ends meet and I'm proud to say that I've not accumulated any new debt for over a year. Yes, my health is sometimes an issue. But over the last 18 months I've done a complete turnaround of my lifestyle. I exercise regularly, eat healthy, and focus on strengthening my body. I've raised a brilliant, kind, and polite little boy. I'm an Army wife who's husband has been gone about 1/2 of the last 2 years. I tithe always. I donate my time and energy to my church. I donate my finances, and time to those less fortunate than me. I am a strong pro-life believer and have stood in the rain and cold on different occasions to picket abortion clinics.

I'm not that bad.

I'm definitely not as bad as you think I am.

Definitely not as bad as you treat me.

I'm definitely not so bad that you have to try so hard to make my life harder than it already is. Or treat me in the way in which you do.

But I'm praying about it. And even though I'm not perfect, and even though I still cannot completely handle it, God is making me stronger. And He has reassured me that you will have to answer one day to Him. You will have to justify and explain why it was your place to hate, and abuse me. You will have to explain to Him why you didn't love, encourage, and build me up.

And I'm thankful everyday that my judgement will come from my loving Savior who is kind and forgiving, and not from you. Because I know in your eyes (and everyone else you gossip and complain to about me) that I've already failed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weigh-In (11/18/11)

My last weigh-in was 10-18-11. All stats will be in comparison to that day.

  • 2 lbs lost (for a total loss of 56 lbs)

Inches lost: 3.5 inches (since 10-18-11)

  • Chest - 1/2 inch

  • Hips - 1/2 inch

  • Waist - 1/2 inch

  • Thigh - 1 inch (1/2 inch from each)

  • Upperarm - 1 inch (1/2 inch from each)

Onto the pics. The top one is from this 'goal' outfit on 9-19-11. The second is from last month's weigh-in on 10-18-11. The last picture is from today 11-18-11.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weigh-In (10/18/11)

My last weigh-in was on 9/18/11 so all stats will be in comparison to that day.

  • 2 lbs lost (for a total of loss of 54lbs)

Inches Lost: 1 inch (since 9/18/11)

  • Hips - 1/2 inch lost

  • Waist - 1/2 inch lost

Onto the pics! The top pic is from this new goal outfit on 9/19/11. The second pic is from today on 10/18/11.

Monday, September 19, 2011

New 'Goal' Outift (9/19/11)

This is the new goal outfit. These are size 10 jeans and a size medium t-shirt.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weigh-In (9/18/11)

My last weigh-in was on 8/18/11 so all stats will be in comparison to that day.

  • 0 lbs lost (for a total loss of 52 lbs)

Inches Lost: 4 inches (since 8/18)

  • Chest - 1/2 inch lost

  • Hips - 1 inch lost

  • Waist - 1/2 inch lost

  • Thighs - 2 inches lost (1 inch from each thigh)
Onto the pics. The top pic is from 4/20/11 (the start of this 'goal' outfit). The middle pic is from 8/18/11 (last official weigh-in). The bottom pic is from today 9/18/11.

So, I'm going to count this outfit as officially fitting. I will go to the thrift store and look for another 'goal' outfit tomorrow. I will then post pics of it sometime tomorrow and then will begin to use the new outfit for comparison shots.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

An Explanation of Sorts

First, let me apologize for starting my workout tips challenge and not being able to finish it. Life got crazier than expected and when it came down to trying to free up more time for Joseph it just had to go. Maybe one day I can revisit that and complete it but it definitely won't be happening anytime in the near future.

Most of you know by now my husband is on orders. These orders have taken him away from home and made me a single mother once again.

I will admit that this absence (even though we are only 5 days in) has been the easiest thus far. Joseph and I slipped very easily into a normal routine and although we miss Daddy, we are keeping busy and that helps the time go by quickly.

I'd like to tell you all what is going on in our life, but to do that I would have to know. And I quite honestly don't. I'll tell you what I do know. My husband is on orders and will be on orders for quite some time. We are moving into a house this fall. And I'm still NOT pregnant (and any prospect of that happening will not be available for a little while).

The variables in the equation? It's basically centered around where my husband will be able to work. If he can work from the Detroit area we will be moving into a 3 bedroom house in Warren. If he has to work where he is posted right now (on the western side of the state) then we will move to a house in that area.

I am giving the apartment complex notice on the first of October and I'm hoping that by then we will have a little more clarity on the situation. I'm okay with either scenario. I just wish I knew what we were doing so I can make all the arrangements necessary to make our move/transition smooth.

God is definitely giving me a lesson in patience and trusting him. Not only with this move situation but also with the fact that we've been trying for over a year for a second child and have yet to conceive.

I'm still working on losing more weight. I guess that's the upside to not being pregnant every month. I've been stuck at a plateau for a while now. I am working very hard to break through it and continue on the path of losing more weight. When I start making some progress and dropping the weight again I will be sure to post an updated weigh-in.

In the meantime please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. They are greatly appreciated.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 14 of 30

Today's Tip:
If you are struggling with not feeling full when you finish a meal (because you are observing proper portions) try drinking a full glass of water a few minutes before sitting down to eat. The extra water will not only help you meet your water consumption for the day but should fill up your belly enought that when you add your meal into there you feel more full.

Today's Foodie Tip:
Try a sweet potato. Sweet potatos are much more healthy for you than your regular russet or white potatoes. You can bake them or mash them just like regular potatoes.

SP (Sweet potatoes) are full of vitamin C, potassium, and beta-carotene.

Today's Exercise Tip:
There's a lot of controversy over this next tip. Many people in the fitness world do not encourage or endorse crunches or sit ups. There's mixed findings in studies over whether or not they make any sort of progress in the the belly flattening department.

But, again, I said I would tell you what I do. And I do perform crunches at least twice a week. I've noticed a flattening of my waist and tummy pouch and although it's likely that all of my new healthy behaviors have made this happen I am not going to discount the crunches either.

There are different ways to do crunches. I like doing the regular ones and then doing some with my legs up on a chair. I also have been doing some where I bring my knees toward my waist at the same time I do the crunch.

So contrary to some people's beliefs I really think it helps tone. But like any exercise it may not work for you. You can also use other core exercises to build and tone your abs.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 13 of 30

Today's Tip:
Allow yourself to splurge or indulge occasionally. If you don't learn to eat the things you love in moderation you will one day go on a calorie bender from so much restriction. For me I'd say my indulgence or calorie splurge is Coke. I love Coke. Before I started being mindful of what I was putting in my body I would drink several Cokes a day. Now that I understand more about my body Coke is not a staple of my diet. In the beginning it was hard. If I was at a party or get together and there was Coke I would never be able to restrain. Now I'm able to abstain from it on a regular basis. If I've had a particularly good streak of maintaining or losing weight and I know I've been pretty strict with myself I will allow myself one can of Coke as a treat. Luckily my corner store sells Cokes by the can so I don't have to trust myself with a 20 oz. So whatever your vice is, whatever you've restricted yourself from, let yourself have it every once in a while as a treat. I probably only have 1 can of Coke every 4 - 6 weeks or so. And that's quite an improvement from multiple 20 oz's a day.

Today's Exercise Tip:
I thought I would give you a couple more ideas for cardio-esque workouts. Try incorporating jumping jacks or jumping rope into your workout. They are both great at getting your whole body involved and getting your heart rate up.

Today's Foodie Tip:
Eat WHOLE GRAINS! I'll admit this was a hard one for me when I started out. I loved my carbs made from bleached flour! Okay, well not really, but you know what I mean. There is a distinct difference in taste from products that are not whole grain to products that are.

Start with a whole grain bread. This is probably the easiest switch to made. Make sure the whole wheat flour is the first ingredient on the package. I've also made the change over to brown rice, whole grain English muffins, and I'm currently working on the change over for my family to whole grain pastas.

Whole grains have so many positives. They most importantly help reduce the risk of heart disease. They are also great for cholesterol. Whole grains can help lower triglycerides (they are part of the bad part of your cholesterol). They can also slow buildup of plaque in the heart (thus the reduced risk of heart disease). They have been shown to help lower blood pressure and also reduce the risk of stroke (due to the slowing of the buildup of plaque. They are usually higher in antioxidants, folic acid and fiber.

If you're brought up on whole grains it will be an ingrained part of your diet. I, however, was not brought up on anything other than bleached or enriched grains. Our son is being brought up on whole grains. He eats whole grain bread, brown rice, and oatmeal. And I'm happy knowing I am doing everything I can to protect his, my husband's and my own heart.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 12 of 30

Today's Tip:
Plateaus are inevitable if you are losing a large amount of weight. They will happen. Your body likes to keep its stores of body fat and is amazing at adapting. So you if you do the same exact workouts and eat the same exact foods and the same exact calories every day, your body will adjust itself to function under those conditions and not lose weight.

Your body wants to keep those stores in case of a famine. It's a survival tactic. Your body doesn't take into account the fridge and pantry full of food. It just assumes that since you are constantly dipping into your stores there must be a famine.

I hit a plateau at 25 and around 50 pounds lost. I'm just now breaking through my second plateau. They can be discouraging and push you off track of your new healthy lifestyle. My suggestion for them is just to hold your ground and change things up a bit. For me I just ate my allowed calories for maintenance (caloriecount can help you figure out your number) for several days and took a couple days off of working out. That seemed to encourage my body into thinking it is no longer needing to store everything instead of burning it off.

But the point is they will come. Hold your ground. Just switch things up a bit. Zig zagging your calories (eating a different number of calories every day) can help keep your body guessing and keep the plateaus away longer. Just don't give up!

Today's Foodie Tip:
I talked about fast food a few entries back. I want to tell you about a restaurant called Chipotle. They use organic food and locally grown meat, dairy, and produce at all of their restaurants. Because everything is made in their restaurant you know it's fresh and free of preservatives. They do use a ton of sodium, so you shouldn't eat there every day but they are a good, healthy alternative to the normal fast food.

Again with any place you need to check out their nutrition facts and find what fits into your diet. I get the steak fajita bowl with no rice and double veggies at 480 calories and it's extremely filling! But be careful if you don't think out your meal you can spend well over 1000 calories in a blink of an eye.

Today's Exercise Tip:
This tip applies only to the adults reading my blog!

Kiss! Passionate kissing can be a great, fun way to burn calories. Kissing burns over 6 calories every minute. That means if you have a make out session of just 10 minutes a day, every day for one year you will burn over 21,000 calories or 6 pounds a year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 11 of 30

Today's Tip:
Okay, so I know a lot of people that read my blog probably will not agree with this, but I said this would be things that I've tried to incorporate for my weight loss. That being said, unless you have a metabolic, hormonal or thyroid disorder losing weight can be accomplished with diet and/or exercise. For those of you who may have injuries and think that you cannot lose weight, you would be wrong. While my husband has been gone most of my weight loss came from just calorie counting. I would try to workout occasionally but with raising a toddler and running a home on my own it was nearly impossible to find a chance to get it done.

If you've tried calorie counting and are not seeing any progress (and are legitimately doing the calorie counting and portions properly) then it's time to see a doctor. If your body cannot lose weight by creating a calorie deficit there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

It's my opinion that there are no short cuts to becoming healthy, fit and losing weight. Yes, there are pills, supplements, surgeries, and such that can help you shed pounds quickly, but most of them do not require you to change your habits so you will either stop losing and begin gaining as soon as you stop taking the magic potion or you will have to be on it for the rest of your life to avoid weight gain. To me that isn't a solution.

So I'm here to tell you, it can be done with diet and exercise. Please don't fall for the gimmicks that the weight loss companies bombard you with. There is no easy way out of obesity. It's going to take time and hard work. And a hell of a lot of dedication.

Today's Foodie Tip:
Try kale! It's delicious. Seriously, try it! I hadn't tried it until recently so I understand your hesitation. It's great it soups or just sauteed with a little bit of garlic and oil. Give it a try! You won't be sorry you did.

Today's Exercise Tip:
Clean your house! Did you know that a 150 lb person can burn about 4 calories a minute doing housework? Spend 30 minutes doing it and you've burned 120 calories. Just one more reason to clean your home!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 10 of 30

Today's Tip:
Eat your dairy. Now I know a lot of dieters try to stay away from the milk products because they can be so high in fat and calories. But it's important to consume enough calcium every day. The plus side is there's been studies of people dieting and those who consumed the recommended 3 daily servings every day lost most weight than those who didn't. If you're worried about the fat content just opt for lower fat options. We drink 1% milk in our house and I really don't mind the 2% cheeses out there. I personally am not a fan of the fat free options but if you like them then go for it.

Today's Exercise Tip:
If you have access to a pool then I would suggest trying swimming as one of your workouts. Swimming is a full body workout and to me always seems more like fun than working out. You would want to spend as much of your workout time swimming laps or jogging in the water. They both will get your heart rate up.

Today's Foodie Tip:
Fruit is a great snack. It's portable and doesn't usually have to be kept refrigerated, and there's so many different options. My personal faves are: bananas, grapes, canteloupe, strawberries, apples, and kiwi. Once you've changed your lifestyle around fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth as well.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 9 of 30

Today's Tip:
Get some sleep! Seriously! For your body to operate properly you need to be well rested. That means you need to be getting enough shut eye every night. Now, the average is 8 hours. But everyone is different. I feel the best when I get about 9 hours of sleep at night. Some people may need 8, some may need a little more and some may need a little less. But regardless, the point is, get some good sleep every night!

Today's Exercise Tip:
When you workout try to push yourself further than the last workout. If you're a jogger try to go further or shorten the amount of time it takes you to go your normal distance. If you're a walker same thing, try to walk further or do the same distance in less amount of time. If you like using the Wii for some of your workout time always push yourself to beat the high score. No one else is going to be pushing you harder or further doing your workouts, it's up to you (that is unless you can afford a personal trainer).

Today's Foodie Tip:
Try to find alternatives to salad dressing. This one is easy for me. I personally do not truly care for salad dressing (only very rarely do I ever use it). Find things you can add to your salad that will give it flavor and make it enjoyable without all the excess calories and fat of dressing. I like shredded cheese (I use only 1/8 of a cup of cheese at about 40-50 calories depending on the cheese). As long as my salad has either onions or cheese (or preferably both) I'm good and don't need the dressing. Here are some other suggestions for salad toppings that may help you cut down the empty calories in that dressing.

  • Real Bacon Bits

  • Tortilla Strips

  • Deli Meat

  • Toasted Sunflower Seeds

  • Craisins

  • Raisins

  • Strawberries

  • Pitted Cherries

  • Olives

  • Almonds

  • Salad Seasoning (Found on the spice aisle at the grocery store)

  • Lemon Juice

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 8 of 30

As you noticed I didn't blog yesterday. During really hectic times it may be necessary for me to take a day or two off to focus on life in the real world. But I will try to keep it minimal so I can get these 30 days done as quickly as possible.

Today's Tip:
I'm a planner by nature so this next tip is easy for me to follow. It may be harder for you spontaneous, fly by the seat of your pants people. My suggestion is to plan your meals out. Know what you're eating for dinner throughout the week. Know what you are planning on eating the next day. And know what you are planning on ordering if possible before you go to a restaurant. This will give you a chance to plan your calories out for the day and also will allow you to follow a plan and stay on track in case you are really hungry by the time you get to the restaurant. It's really hard for me to eat well and healthy when I get to a restaurant hungry. But I've found that if I plan out my meal before I get there I'm more likely to follow my plan and eat an appropriate amount of calories.

Today's Foodie Tip:
I love ice cream. Who doesn't? I have a really hard time following the portion size on the side of the ice cream carton. I mean who only eats 1/2 a cup of ice cream? So I want to give you some suggestions of how to satisfy your ice cream urges while not sabotaging your day (calorie wise that is). First of all, try frozen yogurt. You will find it right next to the ice cream. Frozen yogurt comes in many different flavors and has only a fraction of the fat and calories that ice cream does. Therefore you can have a small bowl of it and not ruin your diet. I also really like the Weight Watchers individual cups of ice cream. Yes, I know it's a proper serving of ice cream but I guess it doesn't feel like it since it's in its own container. Sorbet is a really good alternative too. I love Hagen Daas raspberry sorbet! One more suggestion is the Weight Watcher ice cream bars/snacks and Skinny Cow's ice cream bars and snacks. Since they come in single serving portions it's easier to stay on track. Plus they taste really good. Be sure to read the labels though and only purchase the ones with sugar in them (unless you're a diabetic of course).

Today's Exercise Tip:
Unless you are able to afford and get your money's worth out of a gym membership, you need to have ways to train at home. I've tried the gym membership route and I don't get my money's worth. Of course the last time I had a membership was years ago and you couldn't do the pay as you go like you can today. But anyways, I would invest in a couple hand weights (get at least 5 pounds) or some resistance bands. This gives you the tools to do some strength training every week and not have to even leave your living room.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 7 of 30

Today's Tip:
Cut out all unnecessary and empty calories. I'm talking about pop and I'm talking about those coffee drinks. They are chocked full of empty, useless calories. And I've found that on the strict calorie intake I'm on I would much rather be eating my calories vs. drinking them in sugary drinks. For example if you drink one can of Coke every day you are consuming 140 calories extra. If you cut out just that one can of Coke and change nothing else with your diet (assuming you are eating the exact amount of calories you need to maintain your weight) you will lose about one pound every 25 days. That's more than 14 pounds a year.

Today's Foodie Tip:
If you are a choco-holic and have to have some on a regular basis I suggest getting a bag of Hershey's kisses. I also love my chocolate. But if you eat just one Hershey's kiss that's only 20 calories. And I've found just eating one or two can totally satisfy my craving without totally wrecking my calories for the day. Also, try dark chocolate. It has a lot of antioxidants not found in milk chocolate (so technically it's better for you).

Today's Exercise Tip:
Don't work your body too hard everyday. I'm going to assume that none of us here are training for an Iron Man competition. It's good to have at LEAST one day off a week from your workouts. It gives your body a chance to rest and regroup. I would say the same for the calorie counting. I wouldn't go over your maintenance calories but especially if your body is getting a huge calorie deficit on a regular basis it's good to eat up to your maintenance calories every once in a while. It reminds your body that you are indeed not starving.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Weigh-In (8/18/11)

My last weigh-in blog was on 7/3/11 so all these stats will be in comparison to that day.

•5 lbs lost (for a total loss of 52 lbs)

Inches lost: 3 inches (since 7/3/11)

•1/2 inch from hips

•1 1/2 inches from waist

•1/2 inch from each thigh (totalling 1 inch)

Onto the pics. The top pic is from 4/20/11 (the start of this 'goal' outfit). The middle pic is from 7/3/11 (last official weigh-in). The bottom pic is from today 8/18/11.

Day 6 of 30

Today's Tip:
If you're really serious about losing weight and/or calorie counting, you have to start reading labels. You need to know what is a proper serving of the foods you love to eat. You will be sadly surprised at how small most of those portions are, but you need to know it. Most of us eat something because we think it's healthy or low in calories but little do we know we're eating 2, 3, 4, 5 times what the actualy portion size is. So read your labels and know your serving size. Also if you are calorie counting I would suggest measuring your foods, just don't eyeball it. Even though I've gotten good at the calorie counting there are still several times a week that I measure out my food so I know exactly how many calories I'm eating. If you have the money invest in a good scale for measuring and weighing your food. I don't have a scale but I know there's been several times I wished for one (knowing it would come in handy - I mean how does one measure meatloaf with a measuring cup?!?).

Today's Foodie Tip:
One of my favorite late night snacks is an array of veggies (I like cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, pepper, onion) and a serving of cheese. I can take a paper plate and fill it with tons of cut up raw veggies and a cheese stick and still have way less than 150 calories. It takes away the hunger pangs and I don't feel guilty eating super late.

Today's Exercise Tip:
If you are like me, and are losing weight you will begin to notice some floppy skin. Mine is on my upper arms. I'm using push ups as one of the ways to try to tighten and tone that area. However, I still cannot do a proper push up. So if you can't either I suggest doing them either on your knees or in a standing position using a wall or door as your "floor".

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 5 of 30

Today's Tip:
It is my opinion that calorie counting is the way to go as far as dieting is concerned. Especially if you use a website like, Truly they make calorie counting easy. They have a huge data base of foods and they also grade your day nutrition wise and let you know how you're doing. I think this is why Weight Watchers works for so many people (because that's all they do in weight watchers is count points - which is counting calories in a different way). I would suggest starting with caloriecount if you are interesting in losing weight. Their website is full of so many resources and there is also tons of support groups.

Today's Exercise Tip:
Get that old bike out and take it for a tune up. Why? Because bike riding can be a great form of cardio. It's one of those cardio workouts that you can do and forget that you're even working out!

Today's Foodie Tip:
For a quick protein packed snack take a low sodium Sargento colby jack cheese stick (80 calories) and wrap a slice of Dietz and Watson honey bbq chicken deli meat (35 calories) around it. You're looking at a 115 calories. Dietz and Watson is one of the only brands of deli meat that are endorsed by the American Heart Association as a hearty healthy food.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 4 of 30

Today's Tip:
The best way to boost your metabolism and stave off hunger during dieting is to eat several times throughout the day. If you don't eat often you will allow yourself to get too hungry and may have difficulty controlling your portion size come the next meal. I try to always eat within an hour of waking and then continue to eat every two - three hours throughout the day right up until bedtime. Here's a sample schedule:

9:30 - breakfast
11:30 - snack
1:30 - lunch
4:30 - snack
6:30 - dinner
9:30 - snack

This isn't exactly how my day goes but it's pretty close. Just because you are dieting doesn't mean you have to be hungry. I honestly eat more often than I ever did before dieting.

Today's Exercise Tip:
Video games can be a good way to get yourself up and moving. I personally love the Wii Fit Plus. It has several games that allow me to get my heart rate up and get sweating. It makes working out a little less tedious and a little more fun. I've heard the Kinect for the Xbox is good as well but I've never personally tried it. There are all sorts of workout games out there. I tried a Wii Zumba game not long ago that was pretty good too.

Today's Foodie Tip:
I will be telling you how to make this tasty dish!

This dish is one of my favorite dinners. I call it fajita salad. It's my copycat version of a salad from Jose Muldoon's in Colorado Springs. If you make it the way I do you are looking at 418 calories. And it's very, very filling!

Here are your ingredients:
- 12 oz. of Top Round of London Broil, 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick (I use a 12 oz cut but I am cooking for two people - the serving will be 6 oz of beef per person)
- Shredded Cheese
- Romaine Lettuce (chopped)
- Tortilla Strips
- Cilantro
- Radish (sliced about 1 1/2 radish per salad)
- Cucumber (sliced about 1/4 cup per salad)
- Tomatoes (I like cherry tomatoes) (sliced and about 1/4 cup per salad)
- Bell Pepper (any color)
- Red Onion

First preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put beef on broiling pan and season with your choice of seasoning. I use Lawry's and the original Mrs. Dash.

When the oven has reached 350 degrees put beef in. After 5 minutes flip beef and season other side. Then bake for another 5 minutes. Once beef has cooked for 5 minutes on each side remove from oven. Then turn broiler on. Once the broiler has reached temperature put beef back in. This time you want to cook about 3 1/2 minutes on each side. We prefer our meat medium - medium rare (so if you like it done more you just need to broil a little longer on each side).

While the beef is cooking or the oven is heating you can work on the fajita veggies or salad part.

For the fajita veggies you want to slice you onion in strips as well as your bell pepper. For two people I would use one whole pepper and 1/2 of one large onion. Place those in a non-stick saute pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. You want to cook these until they are soft but still firm and have evenly browned. Set them aside to cool down.

To make your salad use a large bowl for each person. First layer in the cut up romaine lettuce. Next is the cilantro (use to taste - I like a lot but not everyone does). I don't chop the cilantro I just rip it from the bunch. After the cilantro comes the sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and radish. On top of that layer your cooked peppers and onions. Next I sprinkle on the shredded cheese (I use an 1/8 of a cup).

Once your beef is done cooking let it sit for a couple minutes. Then move it to a cutting board and begin slicing. Remember you are eating this as a salad so make your slices accordingly. Once the beef is sliced layer it on to the top of the salad and then sprinkle with tortilla strips.

I hope you all enjoy this meal as much as we do!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 3 of 30

Today's Tip:
Say NO to 'diet' food. It is my opinion that unless you are diabetic you should NEVER consume artificial sweetners. It's my opinion that they are unhealthy for your body. I've read many studies about healthy risks and I've also read many papers from personal trainers who believe that these artificial sweetners confuse the body (because it isn't quite sure how to break them down) and cause your body to store. Eat real sugar, if you can't afford the calories then maybe you should NOT be eating whatever it was to begin with. I will not buy ANY food with 'diet' sweetners in them. My child does not consume them either. If a food boasts that it has less sugar, or uses to the words 'lite' or 'diet' be sure to read the label. More often than not it is full of artificial sweetners. And I'll reiterate my earlier point, if you are eating these to cut calories than perhaps the best thing for you is to not have it at all.

Today's Exercise Tip:
Alternate your workouts. You don't want to do all cardio and you don't want to do all strength training/weight training. You need a bit of each. Think about it this way, yes, cardio does burn more calories - but- strength/weight training tones and builds muscle. A pound of muscle burns a hell of a lot more calories throughout the day than a pound of fat. So the more muscles on your body the more calorie burning will be happening without you even thinking about it. Personally I alternate at every workout. My workout schedule is something like this (I've altered it to fit my week): Mondays - off (this is primarily because I do much of my cleaning, shopping, meal planning, check book balancing, and such on this day and I would just stress myself out if I knew I had to fit working out in there ), Tuesdays - cardio, Wednesdays - strength training, Thursdays - off (this is laundry at my parent's house and I also take care of the church bulletin - meaning I don't get home until after 11pm some Thursdays and I usually haven't even eaten dinner at that point), Fridays - cardio, Saturdays - strength training, and Sundays - off (as of right now I have this as an off day, further down the road I plan on adding cardio to it, unfortunately right now it's hit and miss depending on my husband's work schedule and what else we have planned that day).

Today's Foodie Tip:
Fast food is okay in moderation. But you have to know what's best on the menu and again - USE MODERATION. If you are leaving a meal stuffed, you have eaten way too much. Now as a former fast food junkie I know what you're saying, "So, I can still eat at McDonald's and lose weight? Yeah, right." It's true though. I still eat fast food on a semi - regular basis. I just eat it differently. You can conveniently check out most fast food restaurants nutrition boards online before you even head there to buy. That is what I suggest. I will give you some of my personal favorites and their caloric totals:

McDonalds: Cheeseburger and a small fry at 530 calories total.
Burger King: Whopper Jr. (Minus Mayo) and small onion rings at 490 calories total.
Taco Bell: 2 Chicken Soft Tacos (Fresco Style) at 340 calories total.

So those are just some options. It's possible to eat on the go, you just have to be wise about it. Of course it's better to not eat fast food at all, but I'm a realist and I know in this day and age it's nearly an impossibility.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 2 of 30

Today's Tip:
Drink TONS of water! Seriously, start drinking water when you get up and do it as often as possible through the day. I read some where a long time ago that you should take your weight in pounds - divide by 2 - and whatever number that is you should drink a minimum of that in ounces of water. For example, let's say you weigh 184 lbs. 184 divided by 2 is 92. Therefore you should drink at least 92 ounces of water every day. No - juice, milk, pop do not count towards your water tally. If you really dislike water try drinking unsweetened iced tea. There are no calories in teas that aren't sweetened. Plus there are so many different flavors of tea that you can make it at home in a big jug and refrigerate. You will never get bored if you try a different flavor of tea every week. Watch out for the caffeine though. I would personally try to choose caffeine free teas but that's because I have a bad reaction to too much caffeine now that I don't drink it on a daily basis.

Today's Exercise Tip:
Hopefully you've all taken my suggestion to start walking yesterday. That being said, for heart health it's recommended that you exercise 20 minutes five days a week. My life is a little chaotic so I do it a little differently. Five days a week at 20 minutes is 100 minutes a week. My goal is to workout at least 100 minutes a week and I always try to surpass that. For example I worked out 175 minutes this week. I am averaging about 4 days of working out a week. I'll speak later this week about what exactly I do for some of my workouts. But the point is to get up and get moving above and beyond your daily routine and make sure you are doing it for 100 minutes a week. Now if you're just starting out aim for a smaller goal and then work your way up. Maybe try 25 minutes and then the week after try to do 30 minutes. Each week keep adding time and eventually you'll be up to 100 minutes a week.

Today's Foodie Tip:
Yesterday I shared one of my favorite lunches. Today I'd like to share one of my favorite breakfasts. I call this a breakfast sandwich. I like to use Aunt Millie's Whole Wheat Lite bread (this is one of the only foods I eat with the word 'lite' in it). I take one slice (35 calories) and toast it. Then I bake one Morning Farm veggie sausage patty (80 calories) according to the directions on the package. Once my bread is toasted I cut the toast in half and then put 1/2 slice of American cheese (30 calories) on one side of the bread, then I cut the sausage patty in half and place it directly on the cheese. You can always get the sausage baking while you're getting ready in the morning and by the time you're ready your sausage should be cooked. If you make it like I do you are looking at 145 calories. Then you can choose to add some fresh fruit to your plate to round out the meal. I also sometimes make these breakfast sandwiches as a snack since they are so low in calories. Joseph loves them too!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 1 of 30

Let me start by saying I am in no way a health professional, fitness expert, or dietitian. What I want to do is share things I've learned, tried, and do that are helping me on the road to a healthier body. Take what you will and leave what you want, but I've been asked by a lot of people what I've done to get the lose weight and keep it off. So I hope the next 30 days will give you some motivation and inspiration to begin on the road to a healthier you.

Today's tip:
Take a vitamin, every day! This is so important especially during weight loss. You want to be sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs. Your body cannot burn fat and calories efficiently if it's lacking in multiple nutrients. I personally take a prenatal vitamin every morning since we are trying to conceive. But a normal multivitamin should be perfect for the rest of you.

Today's Foodie tip:
Although I like to stay away from a lot of processed foods there are a few that still are a part of my diet. The truth is there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I need to do and create every single piece of food I eat from scratch. So today I'd like to share one of my favorite lunch foods. I really like Healthy Choice split pea with ham soup. I like to split the can into two bowls (a serving is a 1/2 can at 160 calories) and then take a can of veggies (no salt added are the best because you don't need the extra sodium) and split that between the two bowls of soup. You can of course use fresh cooked veggies or frozen veggies too. You basically want to add 1 cup of veggies. I did this today and added 1 cup of green beans for 40 calories. Then you warm up the soup as you normally would and take the extra bowl of soup and veggies and refrigerate. Now you have a lunch for tomorrow as well. If you did it the way I did you have a meal for 200 calories. There are not many lunches out there that you can have for only 200 calories and still be filled up.

Today's Exercise Tip:
You've got to start somewhere. Don't put it off any longer. Even if all you do is take a brisk 5 minute walk. Do it. Now! Start today. I lived very long with the idea that I would start working out/dieting tomorrow. That tomorrow will never come. Start today, make the choice. Don't be embarrassed if all you can do is 5 minutes of exercise. You will increase your stamina the more often you do it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Blog Challenge

I said I had a new idea for a challenge when the other finished. But I've been trying to work it out in my mind and find a way to make it feasible. I'm not sure how well it will work out or how many of you will be interested, but I'm going to give it a shot.

My plan is to do 30 days of blogging all about weight loss, working out, or being healthy. I will try to either share a tip, idea or what I'm currently doing. I will also try to occasionally give you healthy meal ideas. The plan is to inspire people to lose weight and get healthy. Trust me, if I can lose over 50 pounds you can do it too.

I'll do my first blog tomorrow. I hope you all and enjoy and I hope I can help at least one person become a little bit healthier.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 30 of 30

Day 30- Your favorite song:

'Open Arms' has been my favorite song since I was a pre-teen. It's a beautiful song, and I love it. There have been many different renditions of it and I can't say I've ever heard a cover that I didn't like. For this entry I've included the original by Journey. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Be sure to pause the music player at the bottom of the page before playing the video (so you can hear it properly).

This ends the blogging challenge. I hope you've enjoyed learning more about me. Like I said previously I have another idea for a blog challenge that I will put into use in the upcoming days. So be on the lookout!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 29 of 30

Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned:

This is by far not everything I've learned but here's a few I thought you'd enjoy.

I've learned that potty training has been the hardest parenting obstacle thus far. But even as difficult and frustrating as it was - it is possible to complete.

I've learned that if the pool is green even though the maintenance people state the water was just checked and chemicals adjusted, do not trust them. Swimming in a bottle of bleach isn't fun and that's about as close as I'd like to come.

My toddler dislikes underwear and would prefer to spend most of his day completely nude.

I'm far less patient than I should be for 27 years old.

I am still ovulating. This is something many women take for granted, but as a sufferer of PCOS it's a good thing to have confirmation of. With that being said, if you are a woman and have never struggled to get pregnant or stay pregnant without miscarriage or complication, please praise God for that blessing. It is not something all women can do.

Life isn't fair. This is something I have to repeatedly learn over and over again. It sucks, but it's the truth. Life hardly ever makes sense, let alone is fair.

I've learned that although it's cheaper to buy most things at the commissary, canned tuna fish and milk are not cheaper. Odd huh?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 28 of 30

Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?

The top picture was taken in May of 2010. The bottom picture was taken in July of 2011. The difference? I've lost 50 pounds since that top picture was taken.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 27 of 30

Day 27- Your favorite quote about friendship:

A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they're not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they're not so bad. ~Arnold H. Glasgow

A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails. ~Donna Roberts

A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out. ~Grace Pulpit

Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie. ~Robert Brault

Our most difficult task as a friend is to offer understanding when we don't understand. ~Robert Brault

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. ~Henri Nouwen

Men kick friendship around like a football, but it doesn't seem to crack. Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 26 of 30

Day 26- Top 10 favorite movies of all time:

I am going to list these in no particular order as well. Sorry for my lack of enthusiasm today, but I've been dealing with an on and off again headache for days. Here we go:

  • Goodfellas

  • Away We Go

  • Pretty Woman

  • Dirty Dancing

  • Ghost

  • She's Having a Baby

  • Father of the Bride (Both Parts - It's my blog and I can list them as one entry if I want!)

  • High Fidelity

  • Little Miss Sunshine

  • Mothman Prophecies

I'm not 100% on my last couple choices based on my headache, but they are what come to mind right now. Only 4 more days left of the blog challenge! Hope you've enjoyed it thus far.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 25 of 30

Day 25- What I would find in your bag:

I'm so glad it's a nice easy one today. Although I slept nearly 11 hours last night my brain is in no way ready for a tough challenge. I will provide this info as a list (in no particular order) for you all. And without further delay:

  • Mail - Yes, this may seem weird but when I stop in at the mailbox I shove it into my purse to ensure it makes it into the house.

  • Multiple cars - No, my bag isn't big enough to fit an actual automobile in it (although I'm sure my husband would beg to differ with me). I do, however, have a toddler that insists on me entertaining him at a moment's notice.

  • Pads - Because my cycles are irregular at best and I've been caught without them too many times.

  • Wipes - Because I have a toddler who is very often sticky.

  • Rubber Gloves - These I swiped from the doctor's office. I'm sure some of you would call it stealing. Sorry. But I can't stand to put Vick's Vapor Rub on myself or my son without using a glove. I hate the way my hands feel afterward otherwise.

  • Band aids - Just in case my boy gets a boo-boo while we're out.

  • Coupons - I've tried using a coupon organizer but that just gets left at home or some where else and then I never have it when I'm at the store. So now I carry my coupons in a baggy that way I always have them.

  • Phone

  • Keys

  • Church Key

  • Fruit Snacks - Again, because of the boy.

  • Wallet

  • Camera - I always carry this with me because you never know when the above mentioned toddler may do something cute or funny.

  • Pens - I like to have these for marking off my shopping lists, Joseph likes them for drawing when he's bored.

  • Scrap paper - For the boy to draw on.

  • Lotion

  • Hand Sanitizer

  • Lip Gloss

  • Perfume

  • Toddler Sized Baseball Hat

  • Toddler Sized Sunglasses

  • Sunblock Stick

  • Checkbook

  • Kleenex

  • Nail File

  • Toddler Sized Shorts & Underwear - This is because we've finished potty training over the last month and I like to have it just in case.

  • Mirror

  • Multiple Plastic Bugs

I think that's about it. Don't judge me. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 24 of 30

Day 24- The last dream you remember having:

Well, with being our 7th cycle (and nearly a year) of trying to conceive a baby most of my dreams this month have had one thing or another to do with babies, pregnancy, giving birth or breastfeeding.

I don't remember all the details from my dream last night, but the thing I do remember is that I was very, very pregnant. My belly was large and based on the way I looked I would assume I was close to giving birth. The thing that stuck out in my mind about this dream was that Joseph came up to me and put one hand on each side of my belly and then kissed my belly button. He then whispered, "I love you baby sister."

It was a sweet moment even if it was just a dream.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 23 of 30

Day 23- Something you crave for a lot

Okay, so I'm sure most of you thought I'd put a picture of a Coke or a cheeseburger and fries, but today I'm craving steak. Which happens to be something I crave for often. So, had this been a post yesterday the pic would be a burger, but since it's today I choose steak.
There's nothing like a big, juicy, bloody steak! Sorry if I offend any of you whose steak has to be black and gray inside before you eat it. But this is the only way I can truly enjoy a steak!

So, if we're going to take this challenge a little further today.. Something I crave for on a non-food level would be affirmation and appreciation. I have a tendency to doubt myself, a lot, and it's nice to hear that I'm not doing as bad of a job as I think I am.

As we near the end of this blogging challenge, I have come up with an idea for a new one, but I won't share that with you until this one is complete.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 22 of 30

Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else:

Wow, this one is kind of tough. I mean, if I write this wrong some of you are going to think I have that "Holier than though" attitude, and that's not true. And I know I'm not better than anyone else. So, I'm going to write this answering the question, "What makes you, you?"

Where to start, where to start? Well, first of all I am a Christian. I was raised by an Atheist and an Agnostic so for me to be a Christian now is probably some sort of oddity. At least I'm sure my parents view it as such. But anyways, I'm a Christian and we attend an Anglican church. For those of you wondering what Anglican is, I guess the best way to describe it is 'Diet Catholic.' I'm not a theologian and I think that's probably the best way to describe it.

I was saved while attending the Nazarene church and this is quite different from that church. I really enjoy it though. I feel like I am participating much more in the church service than I ever was as a Nazarene. It's kind of like why I like to drive a stick, I feel you get to have a more fulfilling and more participation in your driving expedition when the car is waiting for you to shift. So I guess I feel like the Anglican church is more like the manual transmissions of church. There's so much more participation expected from me than there was in our previous churches.

I also really like that it's a family church. Our child is expected in service, the whole time. We don't put him in another room for someone else to care for him. He's part of the service. He's in there to learn what our beliefs are and participate with us. My son was able to start partaking of communion at our Anglican church before I was (because he was baptized before me). Joseph is in there to learn the traditions and protocol and I love that he is not excluded in any way from church.

So, I'm a believer, but what else can I tell you?

I'm a wife. I've been a wife for over 7 years now. I met my husband and began dating him when I was 16 years old. And although I thought I loved him then, I had no real understanding about what love was. I was an immature 16 year old. But, we've been together since then. Eleven years and counting.

It's not easy being a wife some days. Especially since I am an Army wife. This requires me to run a household with my partner's absence and not skip a beat. So, if you think being a wife is hard - try being married to someone in the service.

But although it isn't easy, and there are days that I want to run for the hills I know that my job is important. I know that my husband counts on me, and I know that I am an integral part of keeping our family running smoothly.

So, I'm a believer and an Army wife.. What else?

I'm a Mom. I am a Mom to the most beautiful little boy God ever put on this earth. This is probably the most important job I've ever been given. Being a wife is important, but my husband is already full of ideals, morals, and beliefs. It's my job as a Mommy to help form all of those in my precious little mound of clay named Joseph. That is a daunting task. It's hard not to be worried that you're doing your job right. My goal is to raise him to be a strong believer, a sensitive and brave man, and a loving, generous human. There's no instruction manual. And since he is our first I often wonder if God makes firstborns more resilient while parents are learning their niches and how to do this job properly. I wouldn't go as far as to say that Joseph's my practice model, but he definitely will have been part of more trials and errors (from a parenting perspective) than the next one(s) will be.

I am a believer, an Army wife, and a Mommy.

I'm a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a niece, and a friend. This requires me to be loving, understanding and kind. This requires me to be honest (even when the truth sucks) and trustworthy. Those jobs require me to be sensitive, kind, and loving. Being a big sister in particular requires a lot of love and patience because sometimes I'm asked to wear more of a Mom hat than a sister hat.

There's some days that I feel pulled in a million different directions, and that everyone wants a piece of me.. And that's probably actually true on most days. But I know that I am a generous, loving, kind, compassionate, empathetic, truthful, understanding woman and I know that can be an anomaly for this world we live in today.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 21 of 30

Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy:

This boy has changed my life.

He is precious, beautiful and perfect.

He is an extension of our marriage and our commitment to one another.

He is funny, charming, and beautiful (did I mention that?).

He's curious, strong, and inquisitive.

He's vibrant, passionate, and colorful.

He's adventurous, brave, and daring.

Joseph is cool, entertaining, and loveable.

He is handsome like his Daddy.

He is loving, affectionate, and kind.

And he's silly, amusing, and wild.

He's unique, perfect (did I say that?) and playful.

He has no qualms about where he sleeps.

Or how outrageous his sleeping choice may seem to us.

He's mine, and his Daddy's.

He's my love, my life, my calling.

He is my happiness.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 20 of 30

Day 20- How would you like your life to look in 10 years:

So with this one I guess we're pretending that I am in control and not God? Because God tends to laugh at us mere mortals as we are designing our future, but alas.. I can't put this one off any longer or I will break my blogging streak..

So ten years, eh? Well first and foremost I would want my husband to have a dependable, stable, enjoyable career. A career that provides him with holiday pay, vacation time, and sick pay. Don't forget about a retirement package and really great health benefits. And I'd like us to have financial stability that allows us to do the little extras in life (like a vacationing on a regular basis).

I'd definitely like for us to be debt free. I guess I'm okay with us having mortgage debt, but no other debts. No credit cards, car loans, or school loan debts. I'd obviously love for us to be homeowners. My dream home would have at least 4 bedrooms to allow our family room to grow. It would have a big yard. And it would be in a good neighborhood.

I'd like for us to definitely have one more child if not two. If our next one is a girl we will probably be done with kids, but if we have 2 boys we may go for 3. I think I'd really like to stop at two, so I hope our next pregnancy is a girl. But we'd just be happy to be pregnant, so we'll be happy either way.

I'd like to be in good health. I'd also like to be at the weight that I'm working towards now. I'm down 50 lbs and have another 62 lbs I'd like to lose.

I'd like for Joseph to be a more brilliant little boy. I'd like for our marriage to be stronger and better. And I'd like to have a stronger, deeper relationship with God.

I'm sure that's not everything, but those are definitely the big ones. I hope God's not laughing too much..

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 19 of 30

Day 19- Favorite quote from a book:

Again, I love quotes. So, I am going to put some of the ones I really enjoy. This by no means encompasses all of the books I enjoy or the quotes I enjoy. To do that would take days and endless hours, and I think my husband might kill me. So here are a few:

"Some things in life are out of your control. You can make it a party or a tragedy."
— Nora Roberts (Vision in White)

"People and relationships never stop being a work in progress"
— Nora Roberts (Vision in White)

"I finally understood what true love meant that you care for another person's happiness more than your own, no matter how painful the choices you face might be."
— Nicholas Sparks (Dear John)

"So it's not gonna be easy. It's going to be really hard; we're gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me... everyday."
— Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook)

"I love you. I am who I am because of you. You are every reason, every hope, and every dream I've ever had, and no matter what happens to us in the future, everyday we are together is the greatest day of my life. I will always be yours. "
— Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook)

"You are my best friend as well as my lover, and I do not know which side of you I enjoy the most. I treasure each side, just as I have treasured our life together."
— Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook)

"You are the answer to every prayer I've offered. You are a song, a dream, a whisper, and I don't know how I could have lived without you for as long as I have."
— Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook)

"And when her lips met mine, I knew that I could live to be a hundred and visit every country in the world, but nothing would ever compare to that single moment when I first kissed the girl of my dreams and knew that my love would last forever."
— Nicholas Sparks (Dear John)

"They didn’t agree on much. In fact, they didn’t agree on anything. They fought all the time and challenged each other ever day. But despite their differences, they had one important thing in common. They were crazy about each other."
— Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook)

"Good luck tended to avoid me."
- Stephanie Meyer (Twilight)

"Our relationship couldn’t continue to balance, as it did, on the point of a knife. We would fall off one edge or the other, depending entirely upon his decision, or his instincts. My decision was made, made before I’d ever consciously chosen, and I was committed to seeing it through. Because there was nothing more terrifying to me, more excruciating, than the thought of turning away from him. It was an impossibility."
- Stephanie Meyer (Twilight)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 18 of 30

Day 18- If you were in a fire and could only save one material possession what would it be?:

This one is a toughie too! There's so many things I'd want to save. First and foremost we are imagining that all my loved ones have made it out safe (including our cats), because they are all the most important. Without my loved ones my material possessions are meaningless.

So, hmmm.. What would I grab? I thought maybe my stuffed dog Anthony would be first on the list. My husband gave him to me about 9 years ago and I still sleep with him every night. Or I thought about my wedding photo album being up there on the priority list, but then I remembered how terrible our photographer was and how there really wasn't any 'good' pictures to save from there (BTW, if you ever have to hire a wedding photographer - go big, go expensive! We learned the hard way how hiring someone of median cost can really screw things up for you). I thought maybe I'd grab the DVD of our wedding, but luckily we have extra copies of that at my folk's house so that wouldn't be a necessity either.

I'm really torn between two items. First is Joseph's baby books. Yes, I said books. One is his actual milestone book and the other is a pregnancy book. The pregnancy book has most of his sonogram photos and all the photos throughout my pregnancy. The other item would be the video of his birth. Yes, there is actual footage of him being born. My sister was in charge of the camcorder and even though I told her I didn't want any explicit shots, I'm glad that I have it. Not only can I see (in full glory) the emergence of my little guy into this world, but we have also on film his resuscitation. As many of you know Joseph was pretty sick when he was born and he had to be 'worked' on for quite a bit of time. And even though it wasn't supposed to be filmed, Aunt Kimmy tried her hardest to get as much as possible on film.

So, I guess I would really choose his birth video. The baby book can be re-done (for the most part). There is no way to recreate his birth though. It's a heart-wrenching thing to watch if you don't know how it ends. And the fact is, I do know how it ends. I know that my little boy is a fighter, and I know that although I hated all the medical interventions I had leading up to his delivery I am forever grateful for the medical interventions that saved his life that hot, Thursday afternoon. The video signifies hope, persistence, and endurance. It's probably my greatest treasure.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 17 of 30

Day 17- Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why:

Now, this one is tougher than the last few I've had to do. Hmm..

*I've left this up for a quite a while trying to come up with a 1/2 way decent answer. I'm at a loss, so I'm going to choose the first thing that came into my mind when I started working on this one..*

I will choose my husband. I think switching lives with each other for one day would give us both a deeper understanding of all the things we each do for each other and our family. I think in understanding, seeing, and experiencing those things we would have an even deeper appreciation for each other and the roles we play throughout a normal day.

Now don't get me wrong. Jeremiah and I have a very deep appreciation for the different roles we have in this family. But, I really think 'walking in each other's shoes' for one day could deepen that appreciation of what each of us deal with or encounter in a regular day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 16 of 30

Day 16- Another picture of yourself:

I'm not really feeling the best today so I'm not even going to try to write something witty or thoughtful. This is me. The picture was taken in June of this year I believe. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 15 of 30

Day 15- Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play:

I like this, a nice easy one that doesn't involve much thought on my part! Here we go..

  1. Barely Breathing - Duncan Sheik

  2. There is No Arizona - Jamie O'Neal

  3. Open Arms - Journey

  4. Some Say - Rascal Flatts

  5. Vision of Love - Mariah Carey

  6. Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers

  7. Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve

  8. Two Beds and a Coffee Machine - Savage Garden

  9. Sound of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel

  10. Who's Loving You - The Jackson 5

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 14 of 30

Day 14- A picture of you and your family:

This picture was taken in April of this year. We were on a train to Peter Cottontail's Meadow. This was taken while we were in Alabama. The train ride was through the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. For those of you who don't know, my son is a huge train fanatic. He had the time of his life!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 13 of 30

Day 13- Name 5 things from your 'wishlist':

I'm assuming we are talking about material possessions for this blogging challenge. I won't mention the big ticket items that just about everyone wants like a house and brand new car (in my case in would be a Camaro). I won't talk about the non-material things like another child, good health, or financial security. I'm strictly going to take a materialistic viewpoint of this challenge. So please don't think me shallow or materialistic because nothing could be further from the truth.

  1. A 20 inch yellow gold box chain to hold my heart pendant. I had one of these that Jeremiah gave me for the last dating anniversary before we were married. Unfortunately mine broke right after Joseph was born. Money has been tight since our move back to Michigan and I've not felt justified in such an unneccessary, purely extravagant purchase.

  2. A stationary bike or ellipitical machine. We're pretending now that I don't live in an apartment and actually had a place where it could be stored when not in use. I really think I could get some good exercise in if I could just hop on one of those and watch TV while working out.

  3. 'Are You Being Served?" Complete series on DVD. Now, when I first starting wanting this it was over $200. That was several years ago and it's come down in price, but it's still pretty expensive.

  4. A Mother's ring. Now I definitely don't want this until I'm sure I'm done having babies. My Mother has a Mother's ring that was purchased before she was done having children and she had it altered to fit another stone to represent my sister's birth and it's not as pretty of a ring now.

  5. A tattoo. I never really thought I'd be a person that wanted a tattoo. I've thought about what I would have if I had one, but it was never something that I really absolutely had to have. After becoming a Mother that changed. I was looking through Celtic symbols and I found the Motherhood knot and I really feel like it would be the perfect symbol for my life as a Mother. I know this one isn't materialistic in the same sense that the other ones are, but humor me. Anyways, I think this one will happen before the other ones. I'm pretty sure I am going to get this tattoo once I reach my weight loss goal (just another 62 pounds to go).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 12 of 30

Day 12- A quote you live by:

This is hard, because there are so many quotes I enjoy. Allow me to share a few with you:

  • God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.

  • To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
    A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to reap that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to get and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. - Ecclesiastes 3:1

  • Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can. ~Danny Kaye

  • To live remains an art which everyone must learn, and which no one can teach. ~Havelock Ellis

  • You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. ~Albert Camus

  • He who has nothing to die for has nothing to live for. ~Moroccan Proverb

  • In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on. ~Robert Frost

  • Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits. ~Robert Brault

  • Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius. ~Georges-Louis Leclerc

  • Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~Theodore Roosevelt

  • Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, a touch that never hurts. ~Charles Dickens

  • Whatever you are be a good one. ~Abraham Lincoln

  • Watch the little things; a small leak will sink a great ship. ~Benjamin Franklin

  • Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours. ~Swedish Proverb

Day 11 of 30

Day 11- One of your favorite memories:

This one is hard! It's not hard to think of favorite memories, but it's hard to narrow it down to one. So, I hope no one minds, but I'm going to share a few. And they are no particular order. .

  • My Gigi (Pronounced G-G. She was my Great Grandmother) fills my very early memory banks. Most of my memories of her are from about age 3. One of my favorite in particular is from during a time when my parents and siblings lived with her. If ever I woke up in the middle of the night I would come down stairs and wake GG up. She would take me in the kitchen and get me some ginger ale and then we'd sit in the dark and watch tv for a while. She'd hold me on her lap and she'd tell me how much she loved me and how there was nothing to be afraid of. As I started getting sleepy again she'd take me into her room and let me climb in her bed and sleep the rest of the night with her. She was such an amazing part of my very early childhood and I truly with I would have had more time with her.

  • Jamie, my first baby sister is also cemented into my early childhood memories. For those of you who don't know Jamie was born with a variation of Trisomy 21. And for those of you who don't know what Trisomy 21 is, it's a genetic mutation sort of similar to Downs Syndrome but she didn't look like a Downs patient. She basically had an extra piece of genetic material on a chromosome. Something that sounds pretty insignificant but unfortunately the body cannot handle this mistake and cannot survive very long. She was a fighter though and although the doctors thought she'd only live a few months she made it to nearly 2 1/2 years old. When she passed away she only had the development level of a 6 month old. She was and is to this day the most beautiful baby girl I've ever seen in my life. She was two years younger than me and as my first sister and first sibling I could not have loved her more. She had my Dad's dark Native American complexion and huge amounts of unruly gorgeous black curly hair. She was perfect in my eyes (even if genetically she was imperfect). But my favorite memories of her are of singing to her. Whenever she would cry or be unhappy all I need to do was to sing to her. She would stop crying or fussing and begin to listen and smile. I too wish I had more time with her. Jamie and GG went to heaven within a few months of each other. Jamie would be 25 years old this September and I often think about the person she would have been and wished that I still had her here.

  • I was 4 years old when my brother was born. I'm not sure why but I don't have any recollection of him being born. He just sort of shows up in my memories. But I couldn't leave him out. Although he spent so much of my childhood annoying me and being as bothersome as a little brother could be, I still love him. One memory of him that particularly sticks out is when I was probably about 7 and he about 3. My Mom was taking night classes at the time so it was just my Dad home with us. I remember us dragging his huge firetruck (that was a pedal car) out into the living room. We propped it up with the fire ladder it came with and both laid on our backs and proceeded to climb underneath and 'work' on the firetruck. We brought his tools out and we very efficient mechanics.

  • Now I can't talk about my other two siblings and not talk about my last baby sister. I began begging my Mother for a baby sister not long after Jamie's death. I know my parents were hesitant to add to their family. So I was filled with great anticipation when I found out that my baby sister was indeed on her way. When she finally was born I was 8 years old. I remember my Dad waking us up in the middle of the night and me falling out of the top of my bunk bed because I was so excited she was finally coming. I could not have loved her more. I was so grateful to have a sister again, and although we have such a large age difference to this day she is one of the closest people to me.

  • July 5, 2000 is also one of my favorite memories. That is the day that I met the boy I would marry. That is the day that I met and began falling in love with the boy who one day become the man who would father my children. We both worked at Target in the Food Avenue. I had recently just started working there and he was training me. We began officially dating later that month and we've been together since.

  • January 10, 2008 will forever be emblazoned upon my mind as well. This is the day that after nearly a year of trying we finally found out that our family would be growing. Joseph would arrive later that year. I took so many pregnancy tests because I doubted their validity after trying for so long with no success. And obviously the day of his birth (a mere 7 months and four days later) was one of my most precious memories. Although his birth didn't go as planned, I will never forget the first time I saw his gorgeous face.

I have so many favorite memories so don't be sad if you weren't included in one. I have a feisty toddler that is going to start climbing the walls if I spend any more time blogging. Thank you for taking the time to read about some of the favorite moments in my life.