Monday, January 30, 2012

Slim Down Series - #1

Did you happen, like over 40% of US adults, to make a goal to lose weight this year? I have made that goal several times before. Of course I have ~ I am a woman. I have had four babies. I have stretch marks and a closet-full of clothes that range in size from 2-16. Anyone with me here?
While I don't ever plan on being a 2 again {there is something to be said for the phrase 'birthing hips'} I am also ready, after two years of chasing my goal, to toss the bigger jeans for good.
That's right, I said TWO years. Sometimes a one year resolution to lose weight & get healthy just isn't long enough. It sure is easy to get sucked in by the before & after pictures on a weight loss protein bar or shake mix box and hope that the contents will immediately do the same thing for you. But in reality, it takes consistency and time.

After my last baby, I was seriously stuck in the weight department. I always gain lots, and I mean like 70 pound lots, with each pregnancy, but was able to work out and eat smart to lose most of it after the first three babies. But that fourth one. Whew! I tell ya. It was a different story. My usual after baby weight-loss routine did next to nothing for that post-fourth-baby-body.

He was born in the summer of 2009. As you can see below, I hadn't lost much at two months out (check out those thighs - yipes!) But I was determined to change. I hired an amazing personal trainer, and with her guidance lost about 35 pounds in 2010. And then, I was stuck again. I was working out and eating relatively well, but couldn't get those pounds to move. I switched gyms, discovered Zumba, designed a weekly workout routine filled with interval, weight and cardio training for myself, and found healthy recipes that I actually enjoy eating. By being consistent with those things, I lost my last 20 pounds in 2011, and am currently at a happy & healthy weight/size! {disregard the seriously cheesball, trying to be a model, sassy face in my 2011 pic - I was posing for my photographer friend's portfolio and got a little carried away!} My fitness goals for 2012 are aimed at firming, toning, and ditching the skirted swimsuit!

The moral of my slimming down story, is that it takes time. It seriously took me a whole two years to achieve my initial goal I made in 2009. But I did it, and would love to share a few little things that were helpful for me...just in case there are any of you that are working on that too!
Today, I'll give you my first tip: Schedule Your Workouts and Keep a Log
Hopefully you can click on this picture and print it out larger at home, or else you will have to write really, really small!
On Monday mornings (Sunday is my rest day so I never plan workouts or an eating plan for that day) I get up early and plan out my workouts for the week. I schedule around our family calendar for the week so I don't run in to giving up the class I was banking on for a doctor's appointment instead. Of course, those things are bound to happen no matter how much you plan...which is why there's also a Workout Record section as well. This is where you have to be honest with yourself and report what exercise you actually accomplished for the day. I like to write down the "when" so I can get a better feel for what time to plan my workouts in the future based on what worked the weeks before. My trainer taught me that in order to lose the amount of fat I wanted, I had to do at least 5 hours of cardio a week, with weight & strength training on top of it, so I planned accordingly.

The Eating Plan is a little trickier for me. I love food. Especially cookies, and bread, and cinnamon rolls, and pasta. You know, all the super healthy things. So, it was a long road to incorporate healthier choices and cut back (I won't say eliminate because that would be fibbing) on all those delicious carbs. I found if I made a meal plan for the week, especially for lunch and dinner - that I would be much more prepared to make and eat healthier meals. I'll be sharing some of my go to recipes in the next post! And, when I kept myself accountable and recorded what I really ate as opposed to what I was planning on eating, I made significantly better choices.

I'll be back soon with my tips on preparing snacks and meals ahead of time so you are ready to eat healthy whenever hunger strikes you!
Remember what Granny says..."You can do anything!"

Friday, January 27, 2012


When you attend the funeral of someone you adore and admire, who has lived a long, full, beautiful life... there are a few tender things that happen.

1. You cry as you explain heaven to your 4 old boy.

2. You swap stories of your cherished childhood memories of Granny with your cousins for hours.

3. You tap your toes, and wipe your eyes as your aunt, cousin and uncle perform a beautiful rendition of I'll Fly I'm sure Granny loved as much as we did.

4. You are inspired to live a fuller, more adventurous life after listening to your dad's perfect talk recounting Gran's life that was packed with travel, music, dancing, waterskiing, teaching, painting, crafting, life-long learning, sparkly jewelry, service and loving mothering.
{Basket for Grace ~ one of my favorite paintings by Granny}

5. You wonder how she was able to do all of these amazing things while being a fifth grade teacher and a mom to four children.

6. You make 3 promises to yourself: a.To learn how to play the guitar this year, b. To live your life outdoors more often, and c. To never, ever stop being excited by your blessed life, and the beautiful world around you.

7. You design a sign of Granny's inspiring wisdom to hang in your home...and it looks a little something like this:

8. You hug your babies, you kiss your brother, you hold your sisters' hands, you cry on your dad's shoulder, and you vow to make your life a little better, a little grander, a little sweeter, a little more like hers.

The end.

If you'd like to read more about my sweet Granny's life, jump here to read the accounts my brilliant sister wrote.

Friday, January 6, 2012

On Holidays, a Mishap & Blessings

Have you recovered from the holidays yet? Me neither. Next year, I promise you two things: I will, #1 Simplify and #2 Have my shopping/crafting/sewing done by Thanksgiving.

There were several beautiful, wonderful, inspiring, fun filled things that went RIGHT during the season. ie. T&K got married. {isn't this wedding pic great? pretty sure most brides feel like this!}

We bowled, swam, rocked climbed and shot bows and arrows with our kids and nephews without injury.

Sweet Husband and I hosted a 21 person sit down Thanksgiving Dinner.

{Click here for boat placecard instructions.}

The 400 person sit down dinner party/program I oversaw (luckily not the food part – just the writing, directing, set making, event decorating. publicizing, and concept part) went splendidly, and little B was fantastic as star of the show. Greeting cards were designed and (mostly) sent.

The stockings were hung and the house was trimmed.
Santa's lap was sat in.
A true Christmas Miracle occured when I was able to deliver the organized, divided, complete t-shirt order to our elementary school BEFORE the kids were off for Christmas Break.

Presents were purchased & made. Carols were sung. Treats were delivered. Stockings were filled. Smiles were captured. Heart strings were tugged as we listened to B perform her solo during Sunday services. Christmas dinner at our dining room table surrounded by people we love was delightful. And, we made record time on our car trip to visit my parents for New Years - a mere 8.5 hours.

Fake Christmas was grand.
The dinosaur museum was larger than life.
Ice skating with my sister and our babies was awe-inspiring.
A night out with some of our favorite people at our much loved Brazilian place was perfect.
And then…everything came to a screeching, and I mean a screeching halt. I have never heard screams like I heard that next day. Heavens. It broke a mama's heart.

My sweet seven year old baby girl flew off a piece of playground equipment at the park near my parent’s home and broke her femur, clear up by her hip. We spent the next three days of our vacation with her in the hospital. Agonizing X-Rays, panic, surgery, a metal plate, a bolt, 8 screws, and a long car ride home later, we are back. She is in a wheelchair and will be for the next six weeks. Life is kind of on hold for the moment.
Through the midst of this trauma, we have been blessed with so much love. My mom’s bedside attendance. My Dad & sister’s tending of my other children so I could hold A’s hand, and wipe her tears through it all. The witness of the Lord’s care for us through my husband’s tender blessing. Her cute friends snuggling up on the bed with her to play games and watch movies for hours on end. My amazing friends & mom-in-law caring for her and my other three chitlins so I could get a little break while Sweet Husband is out of town. B’s darling friend whisking her away for reprieve from her sister who, expectedly, has not been her easy going self recently. And the school staff being so graciously accommodating in preparation of her trial return next week.

While her recovery will be a long road, one including sleepless nights, rehabilitation and another surgery, it is not difficult to see our blessings. We are truly blessed, and our greatest blessings come in the form of friends, family, neighbors…all on the errand of angels. Bless you my little angels. Bless you.