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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Baby Love

I pretty much lovecherishadore this kid.

My nephew.

The best in the world.


I know that he MUST be getting tired of the paparazzi that follow him around EVERYWHERE and I promise him each time we're together that someday soon, dear sweet boy, he'll have a cousin that will deflect some of the attention away from him.

Body Image

I read a wonderful post this morning about body image, which is something I've struggled with my whole life. Here's a snippet:

"The thing is, no matter how much any of us workout or what we weigh, we are likely never going to look like whatever ideal we have in our head (whether it's a celebrity, our former selves or some other imaginary version of us). If we have stretch marks and cellulite, we will probably always have them. Even at goal weight. So I think the first thing we need to do is understand that and have realistic expectations. Because all we can do is eat better and move more; but we have little to no control over what our bodies will look like as a result of that work.

So instead of being disappointed that you don't look a certain way, I want you to reframe it: The next time you find yourself saying negative things about your body because of what it looks like, I want you to see all the ways your body is amazing - think of all the things it does for you in a single day: it keeps your heart beating and keeps you alive, it gets you around from place to place, it walks, it drives, it bends, reaches, grabs, writes, sews, paints, draws, plays instruments, runs, bikes, swims, jumps - it picks up and holds your kids & your loved ones. Your body is a truly amazing thing - a functional work of art."

You can read the whole post here on Sheryl's blog.

I stared into the mirror last night, analyzing myself (stretch marks and all)...and I realized how far I've come and what I can do now that I couldn't do before. I can run a mile, I can walk a 5k, I can do jumping jacks and pushups, I can walk up and down the stairs without heaving, I can cook fantastic DELICIOUS satisfying foods that even my husband loves.

So like Sheryl said, no matter what we look like - we truly are a work of art. :o)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Mile at a Time

Yesterday, I ran a mile. 1 whole mile.


I know so many people who have done 5k's, 10k's, half-marathons, and full marathons...but they all had to start out with just one mile at some point in their lives.

I had actually just intended to walk (by myself, Matt was down with a bad cold) but made a split second decision after a 5 minute warm up to run.

I ran past a sweet old lady who was out enjoying the wonderful fresh air.

I turned a corner and ran to the next block.

I saw a gray van two blocks down.

I ran past it.

I saw the end of the street, took a left, and kept running.

Then I just made up my mind that I was going to run home.

I ran and I ran and I actually ran PAST the house, to the end of our block, because I wanted to ensure that I had run a full mile.

All the while, I imagined people cheering me on. All of you were there, lining the street, jumping up and down, waiting for me to cross that 'finish line'.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Remember Me

I just wanted to do a quick post this morning, because I've been wearing a shirt recently that I purchased on our honeymoon in March of 2009. Sometimes we all need a reminder of what happened along our journey. We need to stop at the reflecting pool to keep in touch with who we were then and who we are now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I have to quickly share this great piece of scripture before I head off to bed. It's been on my mind since I stumbled across it this morning on beautiful Mandisa's blog (which I ALSO stumbled upon -- thank you, KLove!) She included this little gem in her "Scriptures on my Journey to 100" post:

Philippians 4:12-13- I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Easter :o)

Easter 2011
(down 90lbs!)
From L-R: Matt (my husband), me, Mike (my dad), Sharon (my mom)

On a side note, check out my mom's Easter post that includes a fun little video outtake from this photo shoot!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Do You Hear the People Sing?

On break today, I made a new Pandora station on my phone. I set it to play songs from and "similar to" Les Miserables (funnily enough, it only played songs from Les Mis and nothing else!) The song, "Do You Hear the People Sing" came on and I just knew that I had to find it to post on here. I am dedicating this to all of those who are marching in uprising against their cruel dictators, those freedom fighters, peacekeepers, 'troublemakers', those who are getting the word out to let us know what is REALLY going on in their country, to the woman in Libya who is being 'silenced' for accusing those in power of raping her...

This is your anthem.

Chubby Cushion of Comfort

**Author's note: The formatting on Blogger is wonky and isn't retaining my paragraph breaks, so I apologize for the really 'wordy' looking post!** I read a blog post yesterday that completely describes my current state of mind! "Sometimes You Just Need Baggy Pants" I've reached the point where I am slowly running out of (what I will call the) Chubby Cushion of Comfort. I can feel my hip bones, my collar bone is noticeable, and I can even see my ankles and the veins in my feet on a regular basis. This is WAY beyond my 'comfort zone'. It's almost a little weird and unnerving. Like, where am I melting away to? Where did it all GO? I'm not taking the weight loss for granted, don't get me wrong. It's AWESOME. I feel AWESOME. But I barely have that Cushion to hang on to. It's the Cushion that let me slide through life just being *average*. It's the Cushion that gave me the excuse that I was too overweight to exercise, because...what difference would it make, right? Well, now that the Cushion is fading away, I don't have an excuse to have excuses any longer. I don't have an excuse to NOT buy the cute shirt. I don't have an excuse to NOT sign up to run a 5k. I don't have an excuse to NOT smile when my husband compliments me. Do you or did you have a Chubby Cushion of Comfort? If you still do, have you thought about ways to chip away at it? If you did have one, what steps did you take to push it out of your life? On a side note, I'm down 85 pounds! Just this week, I was able to fit into three pairs of pants that I'd been hanging on to for over 6 years. Baby steps!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our Delicious 'Snow Day' Trash Bowl

A few weeks back, I left work early because of an impending blizzard and it just happened to also be Matt's day off. For lunch, we fixed up a yummy 'Snow Day' Trash Bowl. :o) We gave it that name A) because it was snowing and B) because we wanted a fun name to give the big delicious mix of food that we'd dumped into our bowls!

This recipe can be done any time of the day - it is NOT just for breakfast.

'Snow Day' Trash Bowl
Serving Size: 2
Weight Watcher Points - 9
1 cup 'Fake' eggs (ie. Eggbeaters)
2 cups Frozen hashbrowns
As many as you want - Frozen mixed peppers & onions
1/2 pound of ham or turkey ham - diced
1/4 cup of shredded cheese

Fry up your hashbrowns according to the package directions - you can use a tbsp of oil, if necessary
Meanwhile in another pan, cook the pepper mix & diced ham
When both the hasbrowns & pepper/ham mixture are ready, add them together
Time to add the eggs!
Once the eggs are set & scrambled to perfection, add the cheese
Voila! Divide it into two servings and you have an amazing, delicious 'Snow Day' Trash Bowl!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Pictorial Journey

I've been meaning to do this post for quite awhile - so now without further adieu, I'd like to take you on a journey.

We're not going to a magical place filled with sweeping vistas, ancient castles, and beautiful unicorns (though that might be a nice change of pace, eh?). Instead, we're taking a trip back in time...back through my life and my weight loss journey.

You need to understand something, before we begin. Do you see the girl in this first photo? Yes, that's me - circa 2006. But what you can't see is the unhappiness, the void inside. I didn't care about myself. I cared about my boyfriend (now husband), my dog & cats, and my family. That's it.

I ate whatever I wanted, when I wanted. I ate bags of chips, tubs of ice cream, boxes of candy. There was NO limit. There was nothing stopping me! A few people did voice their concern, but that's like trying to tell a rock that it needs to be paper. I heard what they were saying, but I felt like it didn't apply to me. This picture was taken when I was at my highest weight ever. I remember stepping on the scale and seeing 275. That was honestly VERY frightening, but I didn't do anything about it right away. Instead, I turned back to the food that had always been there for me, on my darkest of days.

To know that my family and wonderful, sweet husband have never given up on me means so much. I had given up on myself, but they were always there (and still are) with words of encouragement.
Our first anniversary - 2006
Christmas 2008 (Such beautiful sister in laws!!!)
Engagement picture
With our first foster animals!
On a road trip - 2009
Wedding shower at work - 2009
Rehearsal dinner
Wedding day - 2009
Christmas 2009
Friend's baby shower - late spring 2010
Summer 2010
July 4th 2010
Spring 2010
Brad Paisley concert - fall 2010
August 2010
February 2011
(Let's just say that these pants haven't fit since I bought them around 2004)
February 2011
I remember all of the compliments that I received on my wedding day...thank you again for all of them. I wish that I would have BELIEVED them at the time! As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm working on myself from the inside out. It's been an arduous process, but it's worth it. :o)

My weight loss journey is not over - I'm down 82 pounds and have about 50 more to go. Thank you for cheering me on thus far!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On the Cusp

I am on the cusp, on the verge, of seeing a number on the scale that I have yet to witness in my adult life. It's all been baby steps and will continue to be, because I am all about taking it slow. I've lost 76 pounds so far (technically over the course of 3 years, but it's been steady now for a year) and I have about 45 more to go. I'm excited and OH SO VERY NERVOUS at the same time. I keep thinking that I'll wake up one day and it will all have been a dream. Or maybe the next time I eat a chocolate chip cookie, I'll immediately gain it all back on.

It's such a balancing process! I'm having to learn to retrain my brain into NOT thinking those nasty thoughts. I know that I won't gain it all back on with ONE cookie. I know that I can eat anything I want, but just in moderation and appropriate proportions.

The cravings really have all gone by the wayside. I did have an urge for a delicious chocolate bar the other night, but satisfied it with a cup of hot chocolate instead. I don't want fast food any more (it actually makes me sick now, if anything). I don't want to eat an ENTIRE pizza or a WHOLE bag of Doritos. So the retraining of my brain has at least gotten that far!

I'm still working on the lesson of myself. Loving myself. Respecting myself. Realizing that the compliments aren't fake - people really do mean what they say sometimes. Owning the fact that I AM beautiful.

I'm a constant work in process, but that's the way it should be. We should all learn more about ourselves. Life isn't cut and dry, there's always potential to discover new things!