Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Winds of Change

We had a really rough storm a few weeks back - it brought with it much needed rain, but also very high winds. This is the part of storms that makes me sad! I *LOVE* weather, the more exciting the better, but when it comes to damage...especially on your property, then it's no fun.

This was a limb approx. 15 feet long that was resting halfway on the top of our house! Thankfully, it didn't fall too far and thus didn't result in any damage.

There were several smaller, healthy limbs that were also knocked down in the backyard. With every storm that comes through, we tend to get tiny branches knocked down, but they're typically dead!
This guy was smack dab in front of our garage door!!! It spanned the entire width of our driveway. Thankfully, this one DIDN'T land on the house!

Matt and I headed out the door to one of my cousin's weddings in Wichita on 8/27. Aren't we cute? :o)
And in the most exciting news of the year: Matt has a new job! As bittersweet as it is to leave the animal shelter, I think he realized that it was 'temporary' and not a career position. He'll be starting with Southern Cross in a few weeks. It's a company that contracts with local gas companies to check for leaks & corrosion. We really think this will be a good fit for him and it will definitely be something different than he's ever done! Sometimes we just need a change of scenery.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Learning to Ride

I learned the fine skill of bike riding when I was little – training wheels and all. I distinctly remember the day when those little angels of stabilization came off and my dad was the one steadying the bike.

He was a great substitute for those little wheels...but then he let go, as tends to happen when you’re being forced to learn something. The bike was suddenly wobbly and I was scared and all by myself! How do I stop this thing? Where are the brakes? Am I still alive?

Even though I was full of fear, I did fine. I didn’t die, I didn’t crash.

I kept my balance because my dad had faith that I was ready. He wouldn’t have put me through all of that if I hadn’t of been.

Cue present day.

I’ve been biking a handful of times with my husband and it’s like I’m learning to ride all over again! I have no faith in my bike. I have no faith in MYSELF on the bike. I hate turning, even around a small bend. I despise hedgeballs, walnuts, and any other round object that’s in my path. I don’t like deep ruts. I don’t like when there’s a gap between the sidewalk and the grass, because I just know that my tire is bound to go in there. I don’t like bugs flying at my head. I don’t like my super squeaky brakes.

But I love the freedom. I love the feeling of the wind on my face. I love how quickly I can get from point A to point B. I love how strong & powerful my legs feel when I up the gear tension.

Bike riding is FUN! I've even been 'off roading' a few times (very tame trails, trust me...I hate rocks, roots, anything that sticks up out of the ground...) and even went down a ditch once. I'll have to say that I've really surprised myself (and Matt, too!).

Yay for new adventures that make exercising exciting!

Oh and make sure you 'ooh' and 'ahh' over the pretty new blog header graphic! :o) Oooh...ahhh!!!

In other news, before summer is over make sure you treat yourself to some lovely, fresh, Caprese Salad! I'm going to send you over to Ree Drummond's (The Pioneer Woman) site for a unbelievably delectable version of it. If you haven't visited her little Ranch on the Web yet, make sure to poke around at a few of her other pages. She is simply lovely!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Importance of Children

It's something that each and every one of us has in common - we were all once children. But as we get older, we grow more jaded and cynical -- our rose colored glasses are promptly taken away from us. We are forced to see the harsh reality of the world we live in...we get the 'pleasure' of meeting the 'Great Oz' behind the curtain and it's not pretty.

That's why children are so refreshing to be around. Everything is new and interesting to them. They discover exciting things around every corner! It has been SUCH a blessing to watch these two little guys grow over the past year. Milo (light blue shirt) is my nephew and Jonas is our good friends little boy - both are just a hair over 1 year. They got to meet each other for the first time at our annual BBQ and I don't think we could've asked for better entertainment!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Slow & Steady Wins the Race

Well, we didn't technically win (I think we were actually last), BUT my beautiful sister in law & I FINISHED our first 5k together! She has a few races under her belt (including a 10k!), but I'm a race novice. Neither of us were prepared to run the whole thing. So we didn't. We DID run at the very beginning AND at the very end, so we ran the parts that count. ;o)

The most important takeaway from the entire event is that we finished. We DID IT. We didn't stop. Not even once.

I should have prefaced this all by saying that it was 100 degrees outside.

That's not factoring in the heat index - that was the AIR temperature.

Do you see why our feat of finishing was so important and awesome?

Our mother & father in law and husbands were all there to cheer us on. Since the race wove through my neighborhood, they all hopped in the car once we left the parking lot and stood at the corner down from my house waiting to see us walk by! In fact, several people were sitting on their driveways and stoops to cheer the participants on - it was great!

Did I mention that it was 100 degrees?!

We have a game plan for the next race - there's one coming up in October that actually goes through our neighborhood (and down our street!) - and we plan on running that one. It is VERY hard to train when it's so incredibly hot and humid outside, so hopefully when it starts to cool down at the end of August/September, we can start truly training.

The best part aside from finishing? The tshirt that came with our registration! It's a 'technical' shirt and is made out of that moisture wicking material which is FANTASTIC. I'm actually wearing it in the picture. I changed out of my plain cotton shirt into that and it was wonderful.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Something has been weighing on my mind as of late...actually, it's been on my mind for a very long time.

I'm addicted to artificial sweeteners.

I'm not addicted to sugar any longer, because I've gradually replaced it with "sugar-free" (ie. lower calorie) substitutes.

I've read so many articles on how aspartame is basically formaldehyde, so we're being preserved from the inside out...which isn't a good thing. There's still controversy on Splenda and I've always stayed away from NutraSweet. My mom has issues with aspartame giving her headaches (same with a co-worker of mine) and while I haven't had the same issue, I have noticed when I consume large amounts (ie. in gum, diet soda, etc):

-I feel tired
-I often get very moody
-I crave more!
-I feel hungry

This is in line with what Jen talked about on her blog, Living A Changed Life. She has some of the same reactions to it! I'm sure so many other people too, they just don't put two and two together and acknowledge the signs.

That being said, I'm taking the gum packet out of my purse - I may pick up one with regular sugar in it, until they start fully marketing the brands that are made with stevia/truvia/natural sweeteners, BUT I won't go through it like my other packs.

I have to kick this habit.

I kicked bad food and food binges to the curb, I know I can do it with this!

Do you have any issues with artificial sweeteners or know anyone who does?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Long Road

It's been a long and winding road, but I'm 16 lbs from my goal weight (or what I THINK is my goal...I haven't set anything in stone yet). Most of the time I don't believe it and I still get taken aback when people compliment me. But I'm getting there. I'm realizing that no, they're not kidding and yes, I really have lost almost 110 lbs. I'm starting to notice my confidence increasing. I've also been shifting my focus from the scale to the real reasons of why I wanted to lose weight in the first place.

-I wanted to be able to walk & run without feeling like I was dying.
-I wanted to increase my fitness capabilities and horizons.
-I wanted to set a good example for friends & family and let them know that it can be done.
-I wanted to let the real me shine through without anything getting in the way.

Now that I'm on the verge of accomplishing this huge task...I know I need to set other goals.

-I will be signing up for several 5k's before the end of the year. When the temp cools down (from the 100's), maybe I'll even start training for a 10k.
-I love photography and would like to expand my portfolio.
-I want to dabble more in painting and DEFINITELY get back into drawing. I'd even like to create some work to sell!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pieces of Me

This is me, the girl I used to be. The girl that opted for a large McDonald's Triple Thick Chocolate Shake over a Skinny Cow ice cream bar.

I'm struggling with letting go of this girl. I look in the mirror and I see someone completely different, but inside, sometimes, I still feel like I look like her. I know that I don't. I know I'm wearing pants that are 4 sizes smaller than that girl. Call it a vanity thing, if you want. It's really my anxiety creeping up inside my head, making me think that the next piece of food I eat (healthy or not) will immediately make me go back to the beginning. To her.

I can't go back to her. EVER. E.V.E.R.

I'm finally feeling GREAT with where I'm at. Still a little weirded out by the appearance of my long lost hip & collar bones, but I digress. People are calling me "skinny", which makes me feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone, but it's an amazing compliment. For someone who was a size 20/22 to now be running a mile, walking all the time, having more energy than I ever imagined, AND being called "skinny"...it's been a mental trip, I tell you what.