Time to Lose Week 4

Hello and hope you are having a great January 31. Can you believe that it is already the last day of the first month of a new year? I can’t.  This month seems to have flown by.

The weight loss journey continues.  It is hard to believe it that I have been at this a month already.  Seems like I am getting nowhere fast.  But then again I have had some very bad habits and routines for a long, long time.

I did make a breakthrough just yesterday that I have to share with you. I had some blood work done at the doctor and before that a fast of 12 hours was required.  That was fine since the night before the fasting time, I ate 94% fat-free kettle corn for my snack with some ice-cold water.  Yummy and filling.

After the trip to the doctor, I had an errand to run and was also hungry. I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to eat. I went to one of my old favorite fast food restaurants, walked in, and then realized, I really don’t want this. The thought of that greasy food almost made me ill. So I left.  And, it’s a good thing — they were so busy, a long line inside and cars waiting in the drive-thru — all the way around the building.

I came back to the house and ate a protein bar, part of a banana, cheese, water, and coffee with cream.  That was much more satisfying than my other option would have been. I have to say that was a real win for me in my day-to-day walk with the correct food options. I couldn’t help but say, yeah me! (This is something that I think we should be doing — it’s important to celebrate your victories.)

The rest of the week has had good times and bad times but the weight has remained the same.  And I must say that although the scale didn’t change, I am relieved and pleased that it didn’t go up.

For people who don’t have a struggle with weight loss, you may wonder, why isn’t it just an easy change to choose the healthy food? Some days it is easy and other days it isn’t. I am trying to work through the hard days and learn each week a lesson that will help me continue to meet my goals.  I truly want my health to improve so I must do this – hard as it may be sometimes.

I find that the more healthy choices I am making, the more healthy choices I want to continue to make.  You know what I mean?  It seems the body seems to start craving the good deep green lettuce, the crunchy carrot, the whole grain pasta with grilled chicken, and other tasty and healthy foods.

The other challenge continues to be exercise.  I have been doing more walking and am enjoying being outside – especially with this unseasonably warmer winter that we are having. Just some days, it seems to end up at the end of the list of things that must be done. You know what I mean?

In years past, I have been very active and regularly worked out.  That was before becoming a mother and having more demands on my time. I just am realizing more and more that I just have to schedule it and then do it!

I hope and pray that I can work more exercise into each day this coming week. I wonder what new lessons I will learn. I am sure there will be something.

A Special Place

Today I saw a friend’s picture of my favorite beach.  I smiled and thought, wow, that is beautiful!!

It looked like the photo was taken just after the sun had set over the ocean. It is a beautiful photo!  And, it made me immediately think of special times I have had at this magical location with my friends and family.

I suppose we all have places that we love to go to and visit — whether monthly, yearly, or just when we can.  The place can be somewhere special you went as a child or somewhere you have visited as an adult.   In my case, that is the same place!  And, what a blessing it is.

The beach I am talking about is pictured in the masthead of my blog.  I have been going there as long as I can remember.  Actually the first time, I believe, was when I was less than a year old.  My mother tells me one time she put me down on the sand, and I crawled with all I had towards that ocean!

I remember fun times with my grandparents, parents and siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  There would be so many of us at the tiny cottage, that the kids would have to sleep in sleeping bags along the floor and my grandparents would sleep in their camper parked across the street.

I also remember having a fire on the beach – when they allowed the fire pits.  We would cook dinner and then make s’mores and sing songs around the camp fire.

When we returned to the house, my aunt would play the piano and everyone would gather around the piano to sing even more songs.  To this day, when I hear some of these songs, I tear up thinking of my grandpa and grandma and all of us joining together to enjoy show tunes, songs our family made up, and some hymns.  And, we’d always end with “Brigadoon.”

In recent years, we have still enjoyed going.  But it is different.  Most of my cousins now have children and we had the pleasure one year to all be together with our kids and aunts and uncles.  It was still magical.  We still did our singing (without the piano).  But it was bittersweet not having our grandparents there.

My husband and I have been there and have taken our son.  He enjoys time with his grandparents (my mom and dad) and his cousins and aunts and uncles.  He has his own things he enjoys — bike rides, playing in the sand, and getting his feet wet. I like that the next generation also enjoys this magical place.

And, now, we enjoy time with our neighbors who live at the beach all year.  They have truly added to the fun and magic of the place.  All of them add a new layer to our time while we are there and I so look forward to catching up with them and seeing what they have been up.  They are a blast to spend time with.

It was one of these friends who took this picture that I saw.  Thanks to him!

I wonder if we can go again this summer and enjoy that magic once again.  I do hope that will be possible.

Writing his name

I just had to share something that is very exciting for a mom of a 4 year old.

My son Ian has been practicing writing his name this morning.

He is doing a great job but having some trouble with the n.  And, as a result he is getting frustrated.  He seems to think he needs to know how to do this right off the bat.

I am encouraging him to keep practicing and that it will get better.  And, I do hope that he believes me!

On one of his tries, he wrote the I and the a and then drew a picture of an angel. A great picture I must say.

And, a friend of ours is also working with him.  This should be a fun day!

I should get back to watch his amazing little mind at work.

I wonder if I can focus on much else today. Not right now at least!

Time to Lose Week 3

Hello and Happy Tuesday!

I am on week 3 of the weight loss program.  Last week, I didn’t have a chance to write a posting about my progress.  I didn’t gain or lose so I suppose I was continuing to make some good decisions.

This week I have gained 1.5 pounds.  I seem to be going in the opposite direction. That has made me stop and think about what I am doing wrong, or not doing.

As I wrote in my last posting, this past week has been pretty stressful! And I noticed something, I tend to eat comfort food and eat it late when I am stressed. Can anyone else relate to that?

That is something at least – realizing the triggers for eating the bad food choices. I still have much work to do but I feel that is a good step.

Another problem, since things were so crazy this week, there was little time to exercise.  I have come to realize that this must be scheduled in my day in order for me to do it and then turn it into a habit.

I will spend this week continuing to improve my habits and my routine. I want to continue to stay aware of what I am eating and my exercise.  All I can do is try each day and if I stick with the lifestyle change, I will lose.

I wonder if I can handle my stress better this week — with exercise instead of the old standby munchies. I am going to try each day and see what happens.  I just have to realize that some weeks will be harder than others and that’s okay. True and lasting change takes time.

What a Week!

Have you ever had one of those weeks?  A week when you are just glad it’s just over? A week when nothing seems to go as it should? A week when you are out of your normal routine and groove? This week has been one of those weeks.

I don’t mean to complain too much.  Because after all none of us is truly ill or suffering and there is work to be done.  But it is still frustrating when so much seems to go wrong.

Sunday started out fine but before church, our son had a small tantrum.  That made us late but at least we made it.  He then calmed down and we enjoyed a great church service and lunch out.

But then we went to the store where my son had a meltdown. This was worse than the first one. While trying to shop for things we were totally out of – milk, cheese, creamer, peanut butter (our staples), he was crying, sitting in the floor, and being noisy.  I finished as quickly as I could and he finally calmed down by the time we left the store.  My apologies to the other shoppers.  Needless to say I was mortified!

He was tired and had been up too late the previous nights – one night for my Grandma’s 91st birthday party and the other to hear about the Clinton 12 (more on that in a blog this week) and then had a late dinner.  Lesson learned — when we have a special event, the rest of the week has to be early or on-time bedtime.  No exception. Other lesson, next time, we will leave the store and not come back until he is calmed down.  The only upside is that Sunday night he slept for 12 hours.

Monday was a good day and we enjoyed the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  This was a day to relax and play and read. An amazing man and such an eloquent speaker! I may write a blog just about him sometime.

Then Tuesday was busy with a great visit with my mother-in-law, trip to the library and some other errands, and finally a home owners association meeting that evening.  The day seemed to fly by so I had no time to write my weight loss blog.  That was a bummer.  FYI, my weight has stayed the same this week.  Although I wish I’d lost, at least I didn’t gain any weight!

Then right before I went to bed, I checked something on my computer and it crashed. There seems to be some sort of virus that asked me to buy more to help fix it.  That is a con so be wary! That night, I got almost no sleep.

On Wednesday, our friend who does computer work came over to see how to fix our problem.  He worked a while that day, that evening, and then had to take the computer with him. For two days I was without that computer, but thankfully there is a backup which I am now using! When you are used to having a computer it is very hard to function without one.

Thursday I woke up to clogged ears and a sinus headache.  Last summer I had these symptoms and it turned out to be a double ear infection. Oh well, I will go see the doctor on Monday and see how to treat it. The rest of the day was nice and included lunch with my parents and grandmother.

Friday was a little better but still not feeling very good.  And, I don’t have time for that. You know what I mean?  Today it is raining and a good day to stay in and try to rest.

Actually now that I have written all of this, it doesn’t seem as bad as it did as I was dealing with each day. Just goes to show that you can get totally wrapped up in things! And, that we often can make things seem worse than they really are.

I wonder if next week I can learn to be better about taking each day and each moment as it comes and not getting so rattled.  I am going to try, that’s for sure.

Happy 91st Grams!

Tonight we celebrate my grandmother’s 91st birthday. Happy Birthday to you Fran, aka Grams!

My grandmother is quite a lady and someone who I love and respect. She is fun to talk to, fascinating to listen to, and someone who teaches a lot to others.

Grams had a rough childhood and persevered. She has always been a very strong person and very independent. Those qualities have served her well and helped her get through some trying times.

She lost the love of her life, my grandfather, at a young age. That was hard on her and my dad and his sister but they all learned and grew from it. Their lives were never the same, but yet they all made the best out of pain. Showing strength, determination, and joy to make the most of each day is something that she has been doing for a lot of years.

It is amazing to think of what she has seen in her lifetime. So much has changed in her 9+ decades of life and yet she has remained true to herself, and I admire her for that.

When Grams started out working she said there were only 4 jobs available for women outside the home — teacher, nurse, secretary, and librarian. She worked for many years as a secretary. Now the world is open to whatever we women want to pursue.

Grams is a pragmatic and honest person and loves to express herself. What she comes up with can be surprising to some, but it also is a refreshing quality.

I admire Grams for her grit, resolve, and moving through life on her terms. She never was one to let problems get in her way.

She greatly loves her family — 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. She loves to garden, read, watch The Weather Channel, and eat real cheese, real butter, and drink black coffee and a nice glass of wine. She is a fine woman who I am happy to have as our matriarch!!

I love you Grams and wish you a very Happy Birthday! It is an honor to celebrate with you!

I wonder if I can have as long and as rich a life as she has. Hope so!!

Will It Snow?

Today in East Tennessee it’s looking like we may get some snow this evening.

I must admit I am distracted today thinking about the possibility. We never get very much so it always is big news.

The temperature is starting to drop so if the precip. does make it here, it looks like we may have some snow.  I am just concerned about the black ice. That is always very messy. Since it has been raining since yesterday and continues, it may be harder to treat the roads.

Last year, Ian had a blast playing in the snow. We made a small snowman, wrote his name in the snow, and showed him how to make a snow angel. Hopefully we’ll get the chance again.

The weather makes me think of one of my favorite songs from the movie “White Christmas” — Snow.  I love this song which is sung by Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Allen, and Danny Kaye. Wonderful harmony!

Here are the lyrics (I had to add bullets so the text would stay together).

  • Snow. It won’t be long before we’ll all be there with snow.
  • Snow. I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow.
  • Snow. I long to clear a path and lift a spade of snow.
  • Snow. Oh, to see a great big man entirely made of snow.
  • Where it’s snowing all winter through
  • That’s where I want to be
  • Snowball throwing that’s what I’ll do
  • How I’m longing to ski through the snow-oh-oh-oh-oh
  • Those glist’ning houses that seem to be built of snow
  • Snow. Oh, to see a mountain covered with a quilt of snow
  • What is Christmas with no snow
  • No white Christmas with no snow
  • Snow.
  • I’ll soon be there with snow
  • I’ll wash my hair with snow
  • And with a spade of snow, I’ll build a man who’s entirely made of snow
  • I’d love to stay up with you but I recommend a little shuteye
  • Go to sleep, and dream of Snow!

On my birthday, my sister sent me a video of this song from the movie. Wonderful gift, that’s for sure.

I wonder if it will snow today. We’ll know before going to bed.

Time To Lose Week 1

Hi and hope you have had a great week. My week has been pretty good and I managed to lose 2 pounds!!!  I am have been working to re-establish better habits.

I went grocery shopping this week and bought fresh fruits, veggies, whole grain and organic foods, and healthier treats. The food cost more than I have been spending recently. And, that will take some adjustment to the mindset and the pocketbook. But, the food also is more tasty and more colorful. Who would have thought?

For example, I made salmon, rice, and broccoli and it tasted really good. I will be doing that again! And, I also bought a cheese pizza and then added fresh veggies (mushrooms, and red, yellow, and green peppers) as well as pepperoni and baked it and it was great. Two slices with a salad made a satisfying dinner.

I have talked to several people who you pay now or later so I guess I am ready to pay now. I’d rather do that than have to pay in extra doctor bills or medication because of bad health.

One day I ate a little too much fiber and my stomach objected but other than that, the changes have been fine. I ate prunes which are labeled as dried plums. Is that supposed to make you think it’s not a prune?

When I was growing up, I remember each morning my grandfather used to eat a soft-boiled egg over whole wheat toast and a bowl of prunes. He understood healthy eating and lived into his mid-80s. I wasn’t crazy about prunes back then, but this week they tasted pretty good and I ate them with cheese for a snack. Just have to be careful not to overdo it right now.

As far as exercise, I have done that every other day. Still working on this but have made some really good progress. I went on a very long walk around our neighborhood on Friday and that was fun. The weather was warm and it was sunny and not a cloud in the sky. An amazing treat for January, that’s for sure. The other times I did exercise inside on a stationary bike.

I also bought a CD of music that I thought would inspire me to do some dancing. I love to dance and need to build up my stamina again.  The CD is “The Ultimate Bee Gees.” They are one of my favorite groups and make wonderful music. When I hear it, I do want to get up in dance, so why not?

Did you know that you can do the Electric Slide dance to at least four of their songs? Stayin’ Alive, Night Fever, Jive Talkin’, and You Should Be Dancing have the same beat so it works well. I really like the Electric Side song and hope to find a recording of it one of these days. I’d love to dance to that each day as well.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I weighed myself this morning and was pleasantly surprised that I’ve lost 2 pounds this week. That is a nice start and if I can do that or stay the same each week, I will be happy — just a pound or two a week will get me to my goal.

I know that these changes take time and need to be a new way of life. There is no such thing as a I quick fix with true and successful weight loss. It takes time and effort and I am ready for this journey.

I wonder if I can reach my goals again in the upcoming week. I will certainly try. However, as I learned in Weight Watchers, I can’t beat myself up if I mess up. I just have to get back to it. And, if you are trying to lose weight, I hope that you can hang in there and take it one day at a time like I am doing!

Time With My Son

Time with my son is a blessing.

I have been so fortunate to be a stay-at-home Mom and I realize the blessing that is.  Some days I do need a break and time to myself but for the most part, it is fabulous.  I honestly wouldn’t trade this time for anything.

Our son is named Ian.  He is smarter than his years and quite funny.  We recently were reading a book about the alphabet.  Upon seeing the Z, he said, “that is what comes out of your mouth when you sleep.”  I was quite amazed.  How I love seeing his mind at work and listening to the comments that he makes.

He is a joy to be with and a real cutie. Of course, I am a little biased! As I sure most kids have, our son has his favorite things to do each day, his favorite foods, and people who he enjoys being with. He does like routine, likes going to the library, playing, as well as being outside.

There is always much going on and the energy he exudes is non-stop from when he wakes up to bedtime.  Before having a child, I never truly realized all that goes into being a parent. It is truly the most important yet most exhausting thing ever.

I turned 40 years old two months after my son was born.  So, I am an older mother than my mom was starting out.  At that age, my parents had teenagers already. I, on the other hand, was just starting out.  But, I can’t imagine any different. I wasn’t ready in my 20s for marriage or children. But the good thing is that I had time for myself, and time to figure out (with the Lord’s help) who the right mate was for me.

I was 30 when I married my husband. We enjoyed being newlyweds and had the opportunity to travel and have some great experiences. And, I was loving my career. Children were the last thing on our minds – at least for a while.

Then as my husband was finishing his Ph. D., we found out I was pregnant.  What a year that was. We were so excited and so ready for this new chapter in our lives. I felt pretty good but craved Mexican food each day. Then when I nursed, I continued to eat tacos and enchiladas. Now, Ian loves cheese enchiladas and beans. Interesting, don’t you think?

My husband and I are so thankful for our son and realize how important our jobs are as his parents. He will be starting school in a few years and then the time will fly by.  So, these days of preschool I cherish and enjoy just listening to him and playing, and taking the time to read him a book.

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, time is something you only get once and then it is gone.  So, I am trying to make the most of the time that I have with Ian. In just a short time, he will be a young student, then a teenager, and eventually a high school graduate and college student, and start his own career.  I can’t wait to see all of those stages of his life.  I hope and pray that I am blessed to do just that.

Isn’t it amazing that parenthood is all about teaching and nurturing and encouraging your child to eventually be a functioning adult who will leave you and make his or her own way in the world?  It’s not something that is easy to think about since he is still so young. But I know that day is coming.  Lord please help me teach him what I need to in order that he will be a successful boy, young adult, and man.

I wonder if we can teach him everything he needs to know and encourage him to follow his dreams and be the man God made him to be? I will try each and every day to do just that and love Ian and his daddy as much as I possibly can. I realize this is not possible without my faith and the Lord’s strength to help guide me.

A Different Time

I just finished reading an interesting book that I checked out from the library. It is called “The Girl in the Gate House.”

It takes place in England in the 1800s. This was a time of manners, everyone having a certain place (be it royal, servant, etc.), and a time when men and women had very clearly defined roles that one didn’t cross.

The main character is a writer which is something that in this story, women just didn’t do — well at least not ladies of any reputation. She writes anonymously and in secret.

I find it shocking that something I have loved doing for most of my life and have earned a living at would have to be done in secret. I can’t imagine living in a time when I wouldn’t have been able to do my vocation and a hobby that is so very important and vital to me. I have several friends who also write and are quite good at doing so.

The fact that this character (named Mariah) writes despite the times she lives in is quite inspiring. I found myself rooting for her as she figures out her way in life. The book is a very good one that kept my attention and was a fascinating look at a very different time.

Not being able to write is one thing, but there have been times in our history that people because of their gender, their race, their religion or who they chose to love have been restricted from normal living. Are these reasons truly ones to hate someone or to harm someone else? Or not let someone succeed or be successful in whatever their calling is? I don’t think so.

I can’t imagine disliking someone or restricting someone from anything for any of these reasons. It is beyond comprehension that Anne Frank and her family had to live as they did. Or that Rosa Parks lived at a time when she had to sit at the back of the bus.

I am in awe of the bravery that these two women had and what they had to put with in their lives. Despite everything that Anne Frank went through she still saw the good in people. Amazing and a true inspiration! These women and many others are ones to cheer for, appreciate, and learn from.

I wonder if we truly can learn from people who have suffered before us. And, I still wonder if we can appreciate the blessings that we have that others have fought for. I hope and pray that we can.