Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015

And just like that, Christmas is over.  Every year, it shocks me how fast those few days of excitement fly by.  I am always a mix of emotions - sad to see the magic dwindle, but anxious to get back to routine.  And then there's that desire to organize, start fresh and declutter my life...but we'll save that for another post.  I just wanted to share some pictures of our weekend (more so selfishly since there is a 100% chance I will never make a picture album or anything similar).  We vowed to take things slower this year, which we did somewhat, but there was still a lot of running and car time.  But spending quality time with family is always worth it and the kids really enjoyed the festivities.  

We spent Christmas Eve at church and then with my extended family at my Aunt and Uncle's house.  I've done this my entire life, and it's very special to see my kids playing with their cousins, just as I did.  Christmas Day, Audrey woke up super early, so I snuck her to the basement and we hung out there until Aiden woke up.  Their faces were priceless, especially Aiden when he saw his back-ho.  We spent the rest of the day with Andrew's side of the family, eating, playing and sitting around a camp fire.  Saturday we celebrated with my side - it was so much fun watching the kids play together and "share" all of their new gifts. 

Our anniversary was Sunday, but Audrey wasn't feeling too great so we were only able to sneak away for a couple of hours for a little shopping, dinner and ice cream.  It's always nice to have some time away, just doing ordinary things.  

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!  I'm working on my goals for 2016 and look forward to sharing them soon!  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Note to those with Heartache this Christmas

Christmas is magical, most would agree.  The twinkling lights, shiny packages, hugs from family and friends and of course the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  But why are so many memories from Christmas sad?  I don't think I'm alone in this, and this year as I reflect on how far I've come and where I was a year ago, I can't help but think of Christmas' past.  

There were years when I was heartbroken from a relationship or lack there of.  There were years that I struggled financially to give those I loved the gifts I longed to give them.  There were years that my heart ached for a baby and to be pregnant.  And there were years when I missed a departed loved one so much, it was almost unbearable.  Christmas time has a way of bringing those feelings to the surface.  I'm not sure if it's the emotional music, the emphasis on how everything should be "merry" or maybe it's just that Christmas is a time to share with those you love.  And if your heart is missing someone, Christmas seems to be a not so gentle reminder.  

So why do I bring up this sadness the week of Christmas?  Not with the intention of being depressing or discouraging.  In fact, the opposite.  I can remember sitting in the car on Christmas Eve, a few months after losing our second baby, and crying uncontrollably.  It felt like life wasn't ever going to go our way.  What I didn't know was that God had our plan, and things were about to change.  A few short weeks later, we found out we were pregnant with Aiden.  I also started a new job that I loved.  Things fell into place, I just had to be patient and wait my turn.

I feel your hearts this Christmas.  For those who have all they could ever dreamed of and those who are struggling with patience, peace and heartache.  You are not alone and your time is coming.  My Christmas wish for you is that you find comfort in this season and know that our journeys are not easy and they are definitely not expected.  Our hearts can handle more than we could ever imagine, and that's a wonderful thing.  As individuals, and as a world, we need to rely on our hearts and believe that what is around the corner will be good and it will be exactly what we need.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

'Tis the Season to Say Nice Things

Never underestimate the power of saying something nice to someone.  I've shared many personal thoughts and pictures of my weight loss journey over this past year.  At first, I was nervous to put it all out there.  I was also worried that people would get annoyed and/or judge me for being so open and "oversharing."  I'm sure this has happened at some point, but thankfully I don't know about it.  What I do know is the support and kind comments I've received along the way have been some of my biggest motivators.

I will often tell someone how much I like the shirt they are wearing or their new haircut.  It's not purposefully to make them feel good, but I hope it does.  I've always been hesitant, though, to tell someone how great they look when they've lost weight.  Does that mean they looked awful before?  Or what if they lost it due to a medical condition?  I do not ever want to offend someone with this comment.  Aside from a possible illness though, and I can't speak for everyone but I can honestly say that when someone tells me I look great, it makes me feel like a million bucks.

This journey has not been easy.  I have worked very hard and continue to work on creating and maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle that is sustainable and practical.  I haven't done it to fish for compliments.  I haven't even done it to look good in a smaller size dress.  This journey has been for me; it's the most selfish and at the same time absolute best thing I can do for myself and my family.  But I haven't done it alone.  Andrew has been amazingly supportive.  My friends and family cheer me on.  Those of you who I haven't seen in years have lifted me up.  Strangers have boosted my confidence.  I feel as if I have a team by my side, encouraging me to stay the course.

As I walked out of Hobby Lobby the other day, a greeter looked me in the eye and said, "Merry Christmas!"  I said Merry Christmas back, but didn't look up as I pushed Audrey out in the cart.  I immediately realized how unbelievably rude I was and turned around, looked him in the eye and said, "Have a great day!"  How sad is it that I couldn't even look at him when wishing him a Merry Christmas?  When was the last time you looked someone in the eye when saying something nice?  Not saying it through text, Facebook or an email but in a real live conversation and even while making eye contact?  I do it rarely.  I admit it.  But I am going to try to do better, especially this time of year. 

Here's my Christmas challenge for you.... look someone in the eye, a stranger, a friend, a family member, and compliment them.  You look beautiful!  I love your shirt!  Thank you for great customer service!  Do it and watch their smiles come to life.  You may just make someone's day.  Or in my case, you may just be encouraging someone to never give up on their goals. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Nemesis - The Spaghetti Squash (plus what I ate today)

We all know I am trying to eat healthier.  I've always been intrigued with the spaghetti squash movement and have tried making it multiple times in multiple ways.  The first one I bought was thrown into the garbage after I almost killed myself with the knife while trying to cut it open.  I managed to cook the next one, but couldn't take the texture, even after mixing it with spaghetti sauce and more cheese than necessary.  Despite our track record, I decided to give it one last try.  I found this recipe on a blog I read from time to time and since it included little smokies and lots of cheese, what could go wrong?  HAHAHAHA

I should've known when Aiden walked in while I was trying to cut this thing open and said - Mommy be careful! He could already see my frustration.  I don't want to bore you with the awful details but let's just say it went like this... bloody finger, awful smell, clumpy cheese, dog ate half of the sausages, have way too much broccoli, throw away squash, create new broccoli casserole, sauté smokies, don't we have leftover crescent rolls from Thanksgiving?, dinner is served.  

So needless to say, I am now DONE with the spaghetti squash.  If someone can tell me where to purchase it already cut, scooped and cooked, MAYBE I'll give it another chance.  Maybe.  

I had planned on posting what I ate today and including this super impressive (and fairly healthy) dinner, but instead you get fried little smokies and crescent rolls.  Such is life.  The rest of the day was healthy and I had a great workout this morning, so we'll just say that balance was achieved.  

Here's to more healthy eating tomorrow...and maybe having takeout for dinner ;).

Breakfast: Two eggs with ham & spinach, greek yogurt with granola and coffee.  And a creepy gingerbread house.

Lunch: Whole wheat crackers and hummus and cheese, mini peppers and an orange

"He who must not be named"...prior to stinking up my kitchen and going in the garbage. 

Snack: 1 TBS of peanut butter melted with one banana (After my cooking attempt, this should have been a beer)

Dinner: Of course both kids ate every bite and no complaints from Andrew ;)

My resourceful son found some squash seeds on the floor and put them to good use.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Audrey Kay - 15 Months

Three words can describe Audrey on her 15 month birthday (last Friday) - Stage Five Clinger.  Have you seen Wedding Crashers?  No, she is not a desperate girl at a wedding, she is an extremely clingy toddler, whose favorite spot is on mommy's hip.  I am trying to take the advice of - enjoy it, because one day you'll wish she was little again!  I know this is true, so I'm sucking it up and cherishing the snuggles.  Most of the time ;).  In all seriousness, Audrey is a joy right now.  She is developing her own personality and we see more of it everyday.  She is confident and silly, impatient and loving.  She will climb up and go down our slide with no fear and she definitely will stand up to Aiden when he starts to bother her.  At almost 3 and 15 months, I've already had to separate them as they physically go at it.  It should be a fun few many years!  Her crazy curly hair matches her big cheesy smile and her bright blue eyes get comments almost daily.  She's having trouble with sleep (surprise surprise in our family) and wants nothing to do with milk in a cup.  She likes what she likes, what can I say?  But our baby girl is turning into a "big girl" more and more each day, which makes me equally sad and excited.  She is 31.5 inches and 28 pounds, wearing a size 2T now.  Here are a few more likes and dislikes of our Audrey at 15 months...

Likes - Balloons, animals, making animal sounds (everything growls), saying Mama and Dada, milk in a bottle, cottage cheese (any cheese really), going down slides, hugging Aiden when he'll let her, running away from us and laughing, being outside, water and bath time, looking at books, her Snuggle Bunny book, her "blankie", hoarding things and trying to walk around holding it all

Dislikes - Sleep when she knows we are awake, sitting still, when Aiden takes her toys, most vegetables, getting her diaper changed and getting dressed

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We had one of the best I can remember, it was relaxed and filled with family, fun and food.  We actually spent Thursday at home, just the four of us.  We watched the parade, played at the playground and decorated for Christmas.  We took naps and ate lasagna for dinner.  It was completely untraditional, but we haven't had a day like that in forever so it was perfect.  Friday we had our family over for the traditional feast and then Saturday we went to my parent's house for more family fun.  I need to do a better job of getting pictures of everyone...I'll make that a goal for Christmas :).  But here are a few from our weekend.  I'll be back later this week with an update on my clinger Audrey.  She will be 15 months old on Friday! Crazy! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

New Shoes New Goal

I was in desperate need of some new gym shoes.  I had planned on rewarding myself about 15 pounds ago with a new pair, but time and budget got away from me.  I also have a very difficult time finding gym shoes to try on in person, without having to order them online.  But last week I took the plunge and headed to Dick's with both kids, promising a look at basketballs and toys.  Thankfully they have carts and thankfully the kids were patient enough for me to try a few on.  I just happened to find some in a brand I've liked, colors I didn't mind and a good fit.  Add a discount and a coupon and I was sold.  

With these new running shoes comes a new running goal.  Several years ago, Andrew and I "ran" the Flying Pig Half Marathon.  I put "ran" in quotation marks because we did do a good amount of walking, but we finished and it was a great accomplishment.  I'm not crazy enough to try that again (at least not yet), but ever since my open heart surgery last January, I've had it in my head that it would be a great goal to run the Heart Mini 15K, or just over 9 miles.  Considering I've done 13.1, it seems doable.  

I am the biggest cheese ball you will ever meet and cry at any and every thing.  I've watched many races as my dad and friends have participated and I always get choked up, especially at the finish line.   You can see the accomplishment and relief as the runners cross the line and the pride in the faces of their friends and family.  I've always felt that I should be in there with them, rather than on the sidelines.  I guess you could say I've always felt like an athlete trapped in a body that couldn't, or wasn't ready, to perform.

So there you have it, my next fitness related goal.  I am going to train to run the 15K on March 13, 2016.  My OCD with numbers self loves that the date is 3 +13 = 16 :).  I think it's a sign that it's meant to be.  I haven't officially started training yet, that'll start in a few weeks, but I did go jog on the treadmill today.  I'm not a fan of the treadmill, but it was way too cold to push Audrey in the jogging stroller.  It went better than I expected and I look forward to seeing how I do outside.

I will say this...I'm going to listen to my body and if running hinders my overall progress with injuries or anything else, then I will pick a new goal.  I'm excited to work toward this, but not at the expense of the things I now find so enjoyable.

So I guess you could say I am now off and running.... ;)