Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye old friend!

Last year on New Years Eve I made a post about how happy I was to see 2011 come to a close. 2011 was a crappy year for me and I was looking to a much happier 2012.

Now here we are a year later and I'm reflecting back on another year past. I am happy to say that 2012 was everything I hoped it would be and more. This year was a new beginning for me. It was a year of trying new things, of pushing my limits and of rediscovering myself. I learned that I love riding my bike. I learned that I could actually exercise daily and ENJOY it. 2012 was the year I RAN! I lost 21 pounds in 2012 (and gained a few of them back, but we'll discuss that after the first of the year, lol)! I planted a garden that actually grew! After 37 years of being a nail biter I managed to finally kick the habit and I have maintained my pretty nails for six months and now I'm teaching other people how to make their nails look pretty! In 2012 I worried less, I smiled more and I left a few things in the past that I needed to let go of.

2012 wasn't perfect in every way. We didn't accomplish all of our year of adventure plans. After several awesome months on my bike and the treadmill I'm currently not exercising daily, although I will address that after the first of the year. I have a foot issue that I'm dealing with. I fell off the diet wagon over the holidays and I probably gained the five pounds that I gain over the holidays every year but swore I wouldn't this year. I refuse to weigh myself at the moment, so I don't know where I'm at, but again, I will be dealing with that after the first of the year. I have the tools now to tackle it, I just need to get back on track. I'm looking forward to getting my foot issue addressed and getting back on the treadmill. I miss it. I accomplished some things and I failed at some things this year. That's OK, I learned from all of it and I will learn what I used to keep going next year.

So tonight as I say goodbye to 2012 it will not be with a good riddance like it was last year. I will look back on 2012 fondly, grateful for the new experiences I had and proud of what I accomplished.

I'm also eagerly anticipating 2013. I hope to continue on my weight loss journey, I hope to get back on the treadmill and get back to work on my running and I'm very quietly making a goal to run a 5K in 2013. I can't guarantee that it's going to happen this year, but I'm working towards it. We'll see. I have my eye on the Color Run, if not in 2013 then hopefully the next year. I'm also going to get back on my bike. I'm looking forward to my five mile rides in the summer again and I'm hoping to spend more time taking longer rides on the Greenbelt.

2013 is going to be the year of the books. We're going to learn and grow through the written word. We're also going to continue on with the things we learned from last year. We're a bike riding family now and I'm going to make sure to keep that as a priority next summer. We may try camping and a few other new adventures. I think we're still going to keep an adventure list, just a smaller one.

On a more trivial and material level, I'm hoping that 2013 is the year we recarpet our house. We have plans, but we'll see. If we do it's going to mean doing an emptying of our house like we're moving. Yikes. I'm not looking forward to that part, but new carpet would be super awesome. It's past due for a change.

So goodbye, 2012. It's been fun. Whatever happens in 2013, I will be here to blog it and I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Year Of The Books!

Yes, I know I'm totally behind on my blogging. December is always such a crazy busy month that I have a hard time keeping up.

Christmas was awesome and we're having super relaxing week around here. I love Christmas and I always go overboard with gifts. I love seeing my kids faces on Christmas morning. It's one of my favorite parts of parenthood.

Everyone is home until after New Years so we're relaxing, having some fun family time and the kids are busy playing with their new Christmas stuff. The boys got several Wii games that they have been glued to and they also got Lego Diagon Alley, which has over 2,000 Lego pieces, so they're going to be busy for weeks!

Ok, so now I'm excited to share the great idea I had today! So, if you've been reading my blog for a while you know how I like to theme my years. I don't know why I do that, I just do. This year was our year of adventure and even though we didn't accomplish everything on our list we had a really great time with the adventures we did accomplish and I still think the project was a success.

This afternoon I was thinking about what I wanted to accomplish next year and I decided that lately we don't read enough. When I was a kid I LOVED to read. I read every single thing I could get my hands on. As an adult I don't read nearly as much as I used to. I go through spurts and sometimes I do pretty good but for the most part I'm really not reading as much as I wish I was. My kids also aren't reading as much as I wish they were. Matthew loves to read and reads a lot at night but lately I'm having a hard time getting Josh to read for pleasure. He likes to read but he has a lot of other hobbies that take up a lot of his attention and he's pretty busy these days.

So my big idea is to make next year the Year Of The Books! We had a family meeting today and came up with a plan. For one hour every night next year we're going to have reading hour. The whole family is going to stop what we're doing from, lets say, 7:00-8:00 and read. Now, that's a pretty big plan because we're busy and I know that not everyone will be able to participate every single night, but we're going to try it and do our best. I may have to make adjustments to the plan as we go but we're going to start out with that as our goal. If we can't fit an hour into our night maybe we'll shoot for half an hour. We'll just start out and see how it works. I learned from our year of adventure to expect changes along the way. We'll adjust as we need to.

And as we go we're going to keep statistics of how much we read, not just during reading hour but everything we read during the year. We might have awards for the most pages read, the most books read, etc. We're going to set periodic family goals and then have a party when we hit like 1,000 pages or whatever. At some point during the year we also want to pick a book that has been made into a family friendly movie that we haven't seen (we haven't decided on that yet) and then we're all going to read the book as a family and then have a movie night party and watch the movie when we're done.

I have some other ideas to make it fun as well. Periodically I might make a special treat to eat while we read or do something else to make it extra fun. We'll take family trips to the library and try different types of books we've never read before and turn it into an exciting experience. I want to make sure that the kids view this as a fun adventure and not a boring chore.

So I'm super excited about this! I think it's going to help me rediscover my love of reading, it's going to encourage the kids to step away from the electronics and spend more time with their noses in a book and it will be a fun family bonding experience for all of us!

Yay for the Year Of The Books! More info to follow when the project gets underway!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Guest room project!

We've been working hard this weekend! I mentioned that we were working on turning our guest room into a little hotel getaway room and this weekend we got it mostly finished. We picked out a great paint color, which is a miracle because I hate picking out paint colors. Too many choices stress me out and if you've ever picked out paint you know that there are way too many choices! Every time I have to go pick out paint I go to Lowes and stand in front of the gigantic display of paint samples and practically have a panic attack. How do you go through all of those and find the exact perfect shade? Picking out paint makes me a little crazy, lol. On another note, we're probably recarpeting our house in a few months. Picking out carpet makes me even more anxious because you can't really change it if you hate it!

Anyway, we did find a great color. Instead of going through all the paint swatches I went over to the area where they had little cans of actual paint samples. There were only a handful of choices and I bought a few of those that had potential, went home and painted a little swatch of them all on my wall and the choice was clear. From now on I think I'm going to pick my paint that way!

The color we chose was Valspar Churchhill Hotel Wheat. It's a nice neutral beige-ish color. It's not super exciting but it's warm and it looks perfect in the room. It's amazing what a different paint makes in a room. The room was just white before. I can't live with white walls. It looks unfinished to me. Now the room feels so cozy and complete. It doesn't feel like the same room at all to me.

We also spent yesterday figuring out how to hide the cords on the TV that is on the wall in there. Anyone who has ever hung a TV on the wall knows what a pain that is. It took us quite a while to get it all hidden and hooked up. It looks awesome now though!

The room is still not done though. I still have one corner left to paint that I didn't finish yesterday, Shawn is building nightstands and I'm going to paint them when he finishes and I still need to decorate the walls. I still have no idea what I'm going to do there. Decorating the walls is kind of like picking out paint to me. Too many options. If I was rich I would hire a decorator and make someone else pick it all out for me. But I'm not, so I'm on my own. Darn. I'll figure it out eventually.

Anyway, I'll post photos when we get it all done. We actually are having real guests over Christmas break (my mom and stepdad are stopping by on their way to Oregon), so I want to get it done in the next few days. I'll post photos soon!

Monday, December 3, 2012


I really appreciated the people who mentioned that they had been waiting for a new post after my last post, so I'm making sure that I get back here and post again so you all didn't give up on me! :)

There's not a whole lot happening around here these days. We got the fireplace put together in the guest room and it is AWESOME! I'm going to take some photos and but I'm going to wait because right now it's a gigantic mess in there while we move out the old stuff to make room for the new stuff. We haven't painted or anything yet, so we still have a ways to go before the room is complete. I'll keep updating as we do more to it because it's a super fun project!

This week we're going to get the Christmas tree up and get the house looking all Christmasy! I love all the Christmas stuff but I only love it for a while and then I start to get tired of it and it starts to feel cluttery so I don't like to put it up too early in the season. I want to still be loving it when Christmas gets here! It's always fun to get the Christmas stuff out. We do a yearly Christmas tree ornament that signifies something that happened that year, so putting the tree up is really fun. We have ornaments that go back to when my husband and I were dating, so our Christmas tree is kind of like a scrapbook of our marriage. Each year is represented and we talk about each ornament as we put it on the tree.

That means that every Christmas I have to come up with an ornament that is significant to our family. I'm having a hard time this year because I'm not sure what one thing represents this year. I'm thinking that I might find some sort of bicycle ornament to represent how much fun we had on our bikes this summer. This is the first year that we did family bike rides and we loved it. That is something fun that we'll want to remember.

Summing up this year reminds me that I never explained what happened to our year of adventure! Remember how much fun we had with that for the first six months of the year?!

Here's what happened. We were doing super great and then the forest fires hit. For a good two months this summer our city was under a cloud of smoke. The fires in the area were terrible this year. All of the outdoor Year of Adventure activities that we had planned had to keep getting moved because we were waiting for the smoke to clear. At times it wasn't too bad, but it seemed like every time the smoke got better, something else came up and we had to postpone our activity. It was also over 100 degrees for a good portion of August. Between the smoke and the heat, we just couldn't get out there to do everything we had planned and eventually we just kind of dropped the plans.

And actually, we did do a couple of the activities that I never blogged about. The boys decided that building an RC vehicle wasn't going to happen this year, so they spent the morning with one of our neighbors, who has a collection of awesome RC vehicles. They got to try them out and learn about them and we decided to count that as the activity. The boys also went to the pumpkin patch without me and Clarissa because Clarissa wasn't feeling well that day. I have the photos and I've been meaning to blog them, I just haven't gotten around to it.

We also did build our backyard movie theater this year, the smoke was just too bad to actually go outside and watch movies. We planned it a few different times and had to cancel it for one reason or another every time.

So the Year of Adventure was not a complete success, but we did learn a lot and we haven't give up on it. I think our first mistake was putting too many things on the list. Twenty four things was two activities a month. That sounded awesome when we started but once we got behind it was hard to catch up. There were also a few things on there that were maybe a bit unrealistic. A few of them were out of town day trips and we did do a couple of those but when it came down to it we just didn't have time for all of them this year.

We want to do it again but next time we'll probably stick to 12 things. One activity a month is plenty when you're trying to get everything crossed off before the end of the year. We're going to have another family meeting about it and I think we'll probably do it again next year but we'll tweak the list a bit, or we might make a list of 24 things with a goal to complete 12 of them. That way if one thing falls through we have alternates to choose from.

But the activities we did cross off our list were awesome and unforgettable. We learned that we love bowling, we became a family of bike riders, the boys finally tried out camping , I successfully grew a garden and all in all we did have a lot of really fun experiences as a family that I'm really glad we accomplished. I don't think the Year of Adventure was a failure. What we did accomplish was really fun and it's something we want to continue to do with  a few revisions in the future. All in all I think this was a really successful year for our family and we all grew and learned and became closer as a family. Maybe it's a good thing not to cross everything off the list. Having more things left to do gives us more to look forward to in the year ahead! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Still alive!

It has been brought to my attention that someone actually noticed that I've been a huge blog slacker lately (hi, Lindsey!!:)), so I'm here to make it right and get back to posting.

I've been meaning to post, but I just...haven't. It's winter, I have the blah's. That's a poor excuse. :)

When I last left you, I was on my way to teach a nail care class and I promised to update you. The update is the the class was super awesome and I loved it! Playing nail salon with 12 year old girls is kind of awesome. They had fun, I had fun, a good time was had by all.

Thanksgiving was nice, but very low key. We didn't go out of town this year like we normally do, we just hung out at home. We decided to do Thanksgiving our way this year so I made ham and cheesy potatoes instead of turkey, because we all like ham better. We watched movies, I did some online Christmas shopping and we had some fun family bonding time for a few days. Sometimes it's nice just to hang out at home with nothing to do for a few days. We all enjoyed the break.

But now school is back in session, Shawn has gone back to work and life is moving full steam ahead again. I do pretty much all my Christmas shopping online, so and I have had a close relationship for the past week. I've pretty much got all the kids shopping done, which is nice, since it's not even December yet. My kids are fairly easy to shop for. The only problem with getting all the Christmas shopping done in November is that now I have a lot of exciting secrets that I have to keep for a month! I love gift giving, but I have no patience. I want to just hand out all the presents right this minute.

In diet and exercise news, I officially suck. My diet isn't super awesome and I've stopped running for the time being. I think there is something wrong with my left achilles tendon and I have a doctors appointment on the 11th. I have had a little lump on that tendon for years, which occasionally hurts a little bit, but ever since I've started running it's gotten worse. I'm pretty sure it's just tendonitis and hopefully there is an easy fix for it, but lately it's been really painful to walk at times, so much that I'm having a hard time getting up and down stairs at times, and I live in a three story house, so that's a bummer. So I'm giving my foot a break until I can get into the doctor and maybe he can tell me what to do about it.

So I really have nothing to report on that topic. I'm not giving up, I'm just taking a break for now while I get through the holidays and get my foot looked at. I fully intend to start back up. I know, that's what they all say. :)

Oh, sort of on the topic of exercise (well, not really), we're working on our guest room/workout room renovation project! So you've heard me talk about the guest room before. We live in a six bedroom house and we have a room down in the basement that is just an extra catchall bedroom. For years it just had a Aerobed in it for occasional guests (we almost never have guests) and then eventually we put a real bed in there with no headboard or anything and then eventually we added a headboard and there is some assorted old crappy furniture in there and that's also where we keep the exercise stuff. For years it was the least used room in the house. It's where we store stuff that we don't know what else to do with.

Then I started exercising down there and spending a lot more time down there and sometimes when I exercise I get bored and start coming up with big ideas. I've decorated that room in my head a million times! We put a flatscreen TV on the wall a last month for exercising purposes and once we did that our big ideas just took off. Suddenly that room seems like it has all sorts of potential to me and Shawn! He jokingly dubbed it the Monte Carlo Suite and now we've decided to turn it into our own little hotel getaway room. You know, the place you go when you really wish you could go on vacation but you have three rowdy kids and no vacation budget. So I found a screaming deal on some fancy hotel-like bedding for the bed that I'm completely in love with and we're picking out paint colors to hopefully get it painted in the next few weeks. I have two nightstands out in the garage that I've been meaning to paint that will go in there when I get them finished and I'm working on designing some artwork for the walls using my own photography and my vinyl cutter.

And the best part that I'm super excited about, is that I found an electric fireplace on Amazon during one of their Black Friday deals. It's one of those with a wood mantel that looks like a real fireplace but it just plugs into the wall. It's a small one, not super fancy, but perfect for the room. It's due to arrive tomorrow and I'm way excited about it. When the room is done it will have a fireplace and a flatscreen TV and swanky bedding and fun artwork. The perfect place when we need a break and want to pretend like we've gone on vacation. Yay! It's just the project I needed to cure my winter blahs. I will post photos when we're all done.

So that's what's happening around here these days. We're getting ready for Christmas and opening up a private one room hotel in the basement. :) There's always something crazy going on around here! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A polished presentation

Tonight I am teaching a nail care class to a group of 12 year old girls. I'm ridiculously excited about it! Which is funny, because normally I HATE speaking to groups. I don't like to teach things and I don't like to be in front of people. I live in fear of being asked to teach or present anything. Despite what it probably seems like from my blog, I'm really quiet in real life except around people I know well (and those people probably wish I was quiet, lol). I generally prefer to sit in the back of the room and observe, not be in the front talking.  I am not a social butterfly.

But I got asked to teach this class (it's a church youth group activity) and I immediately got excited. It's probably the first time in my whole life I've been excited to teach something. Yammer to a bunch of 12 year olds about nail polish and play nail salon with them? Yes please! I kind of feel like a 12 year old myself when it comes to my love of nail polish, lol.

So this afternoon I'm going through my supplies, deciding what to bring and what I'm going to show them. I'll teach them how to do nail art and how to file and paint their nails and all kinds of fun stuff. Yay for nail polish! :) I will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I love this!!

I've been planning on painting and redecorating the guest room where the treadmill is and I've spent the past week or two looking at bedding for the bed, thinking about paint colors and trying to find inspirational quotes that I could put on the wall since its where I do my exercise.

Someone posted this on Facebook today and I absolutely love the quote! I feel like it sums up this journey I've been on so perfectly and it just makes me happy to look at it.

I don't know exactly how I'm going to incorporate it into the room but it's going to be in there somewhere. That's the quote I want to look at every morning when I exercise. It's perfect!

Feel the burn!

Working out has gotten harder lately. It's cold and dark in the mornings and I SO don't want to drag my lazy behind down to the basement to get all sweaty. I used to look forward to my morning exercise. Lately I dread it.

So I'm trying to switch things up a bit to make it more appealing. This morning I did 15 minutes of vigorous bike riding on my exercise bike (how come I can't go that fast on my real bike??) and then I did 15 minutes on the treadmill, but the last 8-10 minutes or so I slowed down the treadmill a bit and worked with hand weights to tone up my arms while I walked.

After all these months of daily exercise you would think that I wouldn't be so wimpy anymore, but I'm still pretty wimpy! Five pound hand weights hurt after a while! My legs are tired, my arms are tired and I'm all sweaty but I completed my work out even though I really didn't want to.

So there. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Hello, my name is Wendy and I'm a chocoholic.

Seriously, I've eaten an obscene amount of Halloween candy in the past few days. Please tell me I'm not the only one! This time it was a bit of a planned diet break. I love Halloween and I love Halloween candy. I planned all along to give myself a little break for a few days around Halloween. It's one of those things where it's better just to get it out of my system and move on rather than make myself miserable trying to avoid it and beating myself up when I fail. I kind of take the same stance with the kids when it comes to Halloween candy. Pig out on it for three days, get it all out of your system and out of the house and then move on and get back to normal. After today I don't want to look at it anymore. I think I'll send Shawn to work with whatever is left.

Anyway, as a result of my extended candy party I'm sure my weight is up a bit. I haven't checked it in a few days. It's OK, I'll run it back off this week. The Halloween celebration was totally worth it. :) My new goal is to carefully stick to the diet and exercise every day from tomorrow until Thanksgiving, when I plan to give myself another diet break for a few days. I'm losing weight super slowly, but honestly, I'm OK with that at the moment. I usually gain a little over the holidays. If I can manage to get through November and December and lose even a few pounds it will still be way better than the five I normally gain this time of year!

Winter is hard for me. I tend to shut down a bit when the sun goes away. This year I've vowed to be patient with myself and just do my best to keep moving and keep up with the diet and not beat myself up if I'm not perfect at it. I'm just going to push through it and do my best and when the sun comes out in the spring I can get back on my bike again and start pushing it harder. Someone remind me I said that when January hits. I'm always super moody in January, lol. I swear I need to move to Florida. Winter is no good for me.

This afternoon Shawn and I watched the other two episodes of Nashville that we hadn't seen yet. I am officially in love with that show! There have been a few really good songs on it so for. There is a song from the show called I Will Fall that I really love. It's really pretty, it's been stuck in my head all day. Now that we're all caught up on the show I'm anxiously awaiting the next episode!

For now I'm going to enjoy one last hurrah with the Halloween candy and then I'm going to banish it from the house. It was fun for a few days. Back to reality tomorrow! :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012


It's been a long week and Shawn and I decided that we really needed a date night. Unfortunately actually leaving the house didn't work out tonight so we had a home date, which is something we perfected when Clarissa was younger and we weren't ready to leave her with a babysitter yet.

We ordered Applebee's take out and we went down to the guest room for dinner and a movie. I know that sounds so lame, but it's kind of an awesome home date! We don't spend a lot of time in the guest room so it sort of feels like our own little hotel room when we go down there. We did end up putting a flat screen TV in there last weekend for the treadmill, so there is a good TV in there and we can shut the door, eat our take out, watch TV all by ourselves and pretend like we went on vacation for an hour. It's kind of awesome. :)

Shawn says it reminds him of the episode of Married With Children when Al Bundy goes on vacation to his living room and he puts a little fence around the couch and makes everyone leave him alone for a week. Yeah, it's kind of like that.

Anyway, we couldn't decided on a movie to watch so we decided to watch the first two episodes of Nashville, which is a new drama on ABC. I've been wanting to check that show out but haven't had a chance until tonight. So far I LOVE it! I think it's going to be really good, I'm excited to have a new show to obsess over. It has music in it, which I love. A twisty TV drama with country music? You really can't beat that. :)

So check it out if you're looking for something new to watch. I think it's going to get really good!

Also, Applebee's really isn't on my diet plan. Neither is the two tons of Halloween candy I've eaten in the past few days. My diet starts again on Monday, I swear. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy (day after) Halloween!

I had big plans to make a blog post yesterday but my day was crazy and I never got to it.

Halloween was super fun! I love Halloween, as you can tell by my recent posts. :) There are a few holidays that adulthood has not managed to lessen my joy for. When I was a kid Halloween was one of my favorite holidays, and it still is. I love the costumes, I love the candy, I love the excitement of it all.

This year was probably the most fun with Clarissa so far. She actually seemed to remember last years Halloween and knew exactly what was coming, and she was REALLY excited! Clarissa loves any chance to dress up anyway, so a day where EVERYONE dresses up is like her dream come true!

I picked out her costume over a month ago. I searched online for quite a while and as soon as I saw it I knew it was perfect. It was a strawberry! If you've been following my blog for a long time, you will remember that before Clarissa came home they sent us a photo of her in Korea wearing a little strawberry outfit. I stared at that photo for hours a day. I even carried it in my pocket. For a while strawberries were my favorite thing. :) So as soon as I saw that strawberry outfit I took me back to how much I cherished that photo of that sweet baby girl I hadn't yet met and I knew she needed to be a strawberry.

Josh's costume was trickier this year. He's 12 and this is the first year that he was starting to ponder whether or not he was going to dress up and go trick or treating. Some of his friends decided they were too old for it this year, so he started to wonder if he was too old. He still wanted to go, but I think he's hitting that age where he has to weigh whether or not it's a cool activity to participate in, lol. In the end he decided to go but we decided to tone down his costume a bit. Usually I go all out with the costumes. I let them choose what they want to be and I shell out money for the good costumes. This year he decided to go a little more subtle, although when you look at the photo of him in his costume, I don't know if you'd exactly call it subtle! He decided to go as a Boise State fan. Boise State football is a huge deal here. We're not really hardcore football fans, but the rest of the city seems to be, so putting together a costume was pretty easy. I bought him a Boise State sweatshirt and we painted his face blue and orange. He would have fit right in at a Boise State game!

Matthew's costume is actually Josh's costume from last year. There is good and bad about being the middle child. He tends to get all of Josh's hand me downs, and because I'm a middle child myself I'm sensitive to his plight and I'm careful to make sure that he has his own identity and his own things, but generally he actually really likes Josh's hand me downs. Matthew is a super laid back kid. He's just happy to go Trick or Treating. Find him a costume and he's good to go. So he was excited to be a clone trooper and he looked awesome!

They were all pretty hyper yesterday afternoon leading up to the big event. Clarissa was running through the house like she'd been drinking Red Bulls. I had big plans for a photo shoot and I did get few photos, but it was difficult! It's hard to take Clarissa's picture on a good day. Yesterday she wasn't sitting still for anything. By the time I got to the boys photos the sun was going down and they were ready to get on with the trick or treating, so my big plans for a photo shoot didn't really happen like I had hoped. Someday my kids will be glad that there are photos of them in their Halloween costumes, but at the moment they're pretty much just humoring me and hoping I make it quick, lol.

Anyway, here are the photos of last nights fun, and for the first time I'm actually going to post the famous strawberry baby photo of Clarissa in Korea. This photo cracks me up, because the look on her face is like a deer in the headlights, lol. You have no idea how much time I spent memorizing every detail of that sweet face before Clarissa came home. Seeing her all dressed up as a strawberry last night was kind of awesome. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Zombie break up line #17

Yeah, I've heard that one before. :)

(Less than two more hours until it's officially Halloween!)

Reason to get in shape #344

Happy almost Halloween!! :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Franken nails!

I can't take credit for this idea. Some of the ladies on a message board I hang out on did it and I just jumped on the bandwagon.

 I adore the idea, but I'm only somewhat happy with my execution. The black lines gave me all sorts of trouble! I used a nail art pen and I practiced a few times to make sure it worked before I did the manicure and it was awesome. Then I got my nails all painted and as soon as I started drawing the lines the pen stopped working. Of course. I got the pen going again, but not as good as it was before and the lines don't look as good as I hoped they would. I was half tempted to take it all off and try again, but it was kind of time consuming and I don't want to do it again.

Anyway, I still love the idea and it was photo worthy, so here you go! :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I broke down and stood on the scale this morning. I felt like I had a great week so I thought I'd check and see if it was a good as I thought it was!

Not only have a lost whatever weight I gained from my diet vacation, I've lost another pound! I have now officially lost 21.2 pounds and I've also moved down to the next 10 in weight (I'm 1?9.8), which is huge for me because I haven't seen that second number in years. (Maybe someday I'll announce my actual weight. I'm not there yet.)

After the struggle I had to stay on track a few weeks ago, it is a relief to see the scale moving again. For a while there I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get back on track and keep going. Losing 20 pounds didn't feel that hard, but losing that 21st pound was a battle!

I'm proud of myself for getting back on track when it was hard. Now I'm focused on pushing forward and continuing the journey.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I didn't exercise this morning. I had no good reason, I just didn't feel like it. I figured I'd just eat carefully today and it would be fine.

Then Shawn called to say he was coming home for lunch and nothing sounded good to us for lunch and a new fast food place just opened up around the corner, and well, long story short, while I did make good choices as far choosing lower calories fast food (grilled chicken), it still was enough calories that it was going to throw off the rest of the day. I know, fast food is almost always a bad idea. Why do I do that to myself?

Anyway, after Shawn went back to work I couldn't stand it anymore so I drug myself down to the basement to spend some time on the treadmill. Normally if I don't exercise first thing in the morning, it doesn't get done. It's pretty rare that I use the treadmill in the middle of the day. But it felt good.  I never want to exercise when I start but it always feels great when I'm actually doing it.

I spent my exercise time mentally redoing the guest room. The treadmill is in the guest room in the corner of the basement. We have lived here for almost 8 years and until I started using the treadmill a few months ago that room almost never got used at all. My mom and stepdad are usually the only guests we ever have and even that isn't frequent, so that room was mostly closed off unless I was changing the sheets or vacuuming. It's got a bed and a dresser in it, along with some exercise equipment. It has white walls that aren't decorated and it's pretty much the most boring, generic room you've ever seen.

Now that I'm down there everyday I kind of want to do something with it. Today I was thinking of painting and decorating and I would also love to hang a flat screen TV on the wall that I can watch while I exercise. At the moment I listen to music on my iPod or watch shows on my iPad, but my iPad doesn't sit well on top of the treadmill and falls off every time I run. I have this big plan to put a TV in there. That would be kind of awesome.

Am I actually going to do it? I don't know. Sometimes my ideas are bigger than my budget. I'm thinking about it though! If I do I'll take some before and after pictures. I'm not the most talented decorator, so I might need some ideas.

Anyway, back to my original point, I exercised off the majority of the lunch calories I ate and now all is right with the world. I've done awesome on my diet all week (aside from my fast food lunch!), and I'm feeling good. It's funny to me to think that a few months ago I made a post about how much I hated treadmills and other exercise equipment and how I was convinced that I was never going to learn to like them and now I'm down there hopping on that treadmill every morning. I'm doing things I literally never thought I'd do, and it feels awesome.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

and even MORE Halloween nails!

Clearly I'm enjoying the theme nails, lol.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mini update

Things are going great this week with the diet and exercise. I think I've gotten over the hump and I'm back on track again. I'm not going to lie, I kind of gave up there for a week or two. I can't explain it, I just got burned out.

I'm feeling better now though. I've been under my calorie goal every day this week and I have been on the treadmill every day.  I'm still not weighing myself. I'm sure I gained a few pounds during my time off and I don't want to look at the number because it will only discourage me no matter how many times I tell myself that it's not about the number. I feel good and I'm back on track and that's good enough for now.

(By the way, my weight loss counter now says that I've lost 21 pounds. Ignore it. I goofed something up on Fitbit this morning, which synced with MyFitnessPal and now my weight isn't right. I'll fix it later.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Taylor Swift and treadmills

I did an extra long workout on the treadmill this morning, thanks to Taylor Swift. Her new album came out today and I like her more than any 37 year old woman really should, lol. I've been impatiently waiting for her new album for weeks and I actually stayed up last night to get it as soon as it hit midnight and iTunes had it up. I know, I know. I'm am officially the biggest nerd you know. I'm OK with that. :)

Anyway, I didn't get to listen to it long enough last night so I was excited to listen to it this morning. I got Matthew off to school, got Clarissa settled and jumped on the treadmill with my iPod. I walked and ran and listened and had a super nerdy Taylor Swift morning on the treadmill. It kind of rocked, I don't care how lame that makes me!

In case you were just dying for my Taylor Swift album review (I know, you weren't) it's awesome and my favorite song is All Too Well. It's beautiful.

So thank you Taylor Swift for helping me burn off some extra calories this morning. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Time out

I'm struggling. The past few weeks have just been crappy for my diet and exercise. I don't know what changed, but I just all of a sudden needed a break from it. I'm burnt out.  I'm still exercising, but my diet has been crappy this week. I've lost my motivation or my willpower or something.

I tend to shut down every year when the weather gets cold. As soon as the sun goes away I hibernate until spring. I swore to myself that I wouldn't do it this year but I can already see it happening. I get up in the morning and it's dark outside and I just want to stay in bed or curl up on the couch with a blanket. For all the changes I've made this year, this one seems to be the hardest change to make.

I'm definitely not giving up on the diet and exercise. I've worked too hard and come too far. I ran yesterday and I set a new personal record for the longest run without stopping. Which wasn't super long, but it was still better than I've ever done. I'm proud of how well I've done and I really don't want to stop now. The diet is killing my right now though. I'm trying but I fail more often than I'm successful. I've gained a couple of pounds back and that just depresses me.

So for the moment I'm taking a step back and I'm not weighing myself. When I first started this whole thing I had a big pep talk with myself. When I have dieted in the past it was all about the number on the scale. If the number was good I was happy and if it was bad I was cranky and wanted to give up. I told myself that the reason I was going to succeed this time was that this time it wasn't going to be about the number, it was going to be about feeling better and getting healthy.

That worked for a while, but lately it has been all about the number. I've become too focused on the number on the scale lately and when it didn't move fast enough it got frustrating and I wanted to give up.

My goal is to get healthy. I want to be able to run, I want a healthy heart, I want to feel good and be strong and happy. That was the point of this all along. I get burned out when it becomes all about the number and I start trying to push myself to go farther than I'm realistically able to go.

So I'm taking a time out. I'm not giving up, I'm just taking a step back from obsessing about it. I'm really hard on myself sometimes and I don't want to be when it comes to this. I've done great so far and I can continue to do great. I just don't want a bad week on the scale to derail everything.

So I'm not tracking my weight for now. I'm going to continue to run and I'm going to fight to get my diet back on track and I'm going to be gentle with myself when I have a bad day. I'm going to work on not letting the lack of sunshine get me down and I'm going find ways to keep moving.

So if I don't blog about it as much for a bit, it's not because I've given up, it's because I've recognized that obsessing about it is burning me out. I'm still hanging in there and I'll update periodically.

I'm still hanging in there. I can do this. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

One day at a time

I'm still taking my one day at a time approach to diet and exercise. I had no problem dieting and exercising for months and all of a sudden I feel like I've hit a wall, so I'm pushing though and getting by bit by bit. 

Today was a good day overall. My run this morning was great, I did a lot better than yesterday and felt great. Dieting has been a bit more of a struggle, but I did manage to make it under my calorie goal. I want to eat cookies like you would not believe, lol. I did good though. I ate that yummy cranberry salad for lunch, which made me happy. :) I don't know why I'm struggling so much with the diet all of a sudden. Dieting has actually been pretty easy for me the past few months, but I've just done a major backslide lately. I'm hungry and craving everything I shouldn't be eating. Eating carrots when you really want to eat a cookie kind of sucks, lol. No cookies were eaten today though and I made it through.

Tomorrow will be a struggle again because I have a bunch of kitchen projects to do. I don't like to hang out in the kitchen when I'm dieting! But we just bought 40 pounds of chicken breasts that need to be trimmed, cut up and packaged for the freezer and I'm also making smoothie packs tomorrow.

Which reminds me that I have been meaning to mention how I like to do smoothies! Every now and then I spend the morning filling the freezer with individual smoothie packs. I get snack sized Ziplock bags and put in a cut up banana, a scoop of frozen berries and 1/2 cup of yogurt. Then I line them up in the freezer and every time I want a smoothie I just pull one out, dump it in my little bullet type blender add a little water and I have a super quick smoothie.  If I happen to have spinach I throw some of that in there too. You can't taste the spinach with the fruit. The little blender I have has individual cups, so you drink out of the same container you blend it in. I love it, it makes it easy to make one little smoothie without having to pull out the big blender. It's great to make the smoothie packs ahead of time so I can grab one on the go and I don't have to worry about whether or not I have fresh bananas or yogurt in the fridge. Shawn can also make one quickly before he goes to work. It works great.

So that's what I have on my schedule for tomorrow. I've done good on my diet and exercise for two days in a row. Let's see if tomorrow I can make it three! :) 

Spider nails!

I was at the grocery store this morning and finally remembered to buy some orange nail polish so that I can do Halloween nails! I'll probably change them a few times before Halloween but here's what I came up with today. I'm deathly afraid of spiders, so I'm not really sure why I chose to put them on my fingers, but they look kind of cool! :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Diet update

I had a successful diet and exercise day. I walked and ran on the treadmill this morning (more walking than running but better than nothing) and I finished my day just under my calorie goal. My anxiety and heart palpitations are still there but I pushed through it. I have to admit, it wasn't easy, but I did it. And tomorrow I intend to do it again.

Happy Adoption Day!

It's October 15th, which means that Clarissa has officially been home for three years. Three years! Can you even believe that it's been that long?? It seems like just yesterday that we were jet lagged and overwhelmed with a screaming baby who hated our guts and would only sleep on the floor, lol. We've come a LONG way since then!

Clarissa is doing amazing. I know I already posted an update on her recently, so I won't go into a long speech about how amazing she is, even though you know I could because I'm incredibly long winded and Clarissa really is that amazing, lol.

Instead I will leave you with some photos I took of her today. My plan this morning was to go outside and take photos of her in the fall leaves, and then I woke up to rain and soggy leaves, so that plan was kind of out.

So instead I decided to take some pictures in her bedroom because the light is so great in there. She has big windows in there, it's my favorite room in the house for indoor photos. The background isn't as pretty as it is outside, but it's great for closeups.

Clarissa normally hates having her picture taken, as I have mentioned many times before. She sees the camera and runs. But today for some reason she was totally into it. She was having a great time hamming it up. She has a big mirror in her bedroom and she loves to look at herself in it, so she would look in the mirror and smile and then look at me and back at the mirror again. She's such a princess, lol.

I see her everyday so I don't really notice the changes in her so much, but when I looked at the photos I was blown away by how grown up she looks! She's changing and growing so fast. She looks like a big kid!

I am so grateful for Clarissa and the opportunity that we have to raise her. She makes me smile every day. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Diet ups and downs

I mentioned the other day that I'm struggling with the diet and exercise these days. It's just been an off week for some reason. I was really busy so it threw off my exercise schedule, I haven't felt the greatest and then I just couldn't stick with the diet. I all of a sudden got really sick of it and just needed a break.

My anxiety is also back this week for some reason, along with my heart palpitations. I do really great for a while and then it just hits me out of nowhere and really throws me off. I wish I could figure out what makes it show up and what makes it go away again but I've spent the past year trying to figure it out and I've long since given up. I just deal with it when it happens and hope it goes away soon. It always passes eventually. At least when it gets bad now I've learned to tell myself that it has come and gone before and it will go away again. Thank you six months of therapy. :)

So anyway, I'm not exactly at the top of my game these days. I've just hit a temporary low point. Th bike ride I took the other day helped a lot to re-motivate me and I'm going to get back on track. Seeing how far I've come in my fitness journey was really encouraging. I can't give up now, I've worked too hard and come to far.

So while the heart palpitations and anxiety have thrown me off a bit, I'm going to get back to work tomorrow. I went grocery shopping yesterday and filled my kitchen back up with foods that make it easy to stick to my diet and I'm going to get back on board. I can do this, I just have to keep pushing myself to keep going when I hit a rough patch. I go through periods where I feel super motivated and dieting is easy and I love the exercise and then sometimes I hit a patch where I just can't find the motivation.

I've learned to be gentle with myself. If I need a day off, I take a day off and don't beat myself up over it. It's OK to have an off day. But when my off day becomes an off week, it's time to kick myself in the behind and get back to work.

I find that blogging is my best motivator. It's one thing to tell myself that I'm going to try harder, but saying it publicly holds me accountable to someone besides myself. Somtimes putting it all out there is the kick in the butt I need to get moving.

So tomorrow I vow to get moving. I don't have a very busy week this week, so I shouldn't have a hard time sticking to my exercise schedule and my kitchen is full of diet friendly foods. There's no reason I can't kick myself into gear and get this done, right?

I will come back tomorrow and report my progress. If I haven't exercised and my diet journal isn't pretty, someone come over and smack me, OK? :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Matthew the dancer :)

Several months ago Matthew saw a hip hop dance competition on TV and was fascinated by it. He's been talking about wanting to learn to dance like that ever since. I bought him a couple of Wii dance games and he has loved them. Then right before his birthday I found a Groupon for six weeks of hip-hop dance classes at a little studio near our house.

When I signed up for the class they said it was a class for all boys. When we got there for the first class it was Matthew and two girls, lol. It was a pretty low budget operation and I wasn't super impressed with it, but Matthew has absolutely loved it. He eagerly awaits Friday afternoons so he can go learn to dance.

It was just a six week class and today was the last class so they had a short recital to show what they had learned. He was proud to show us his dance and it was really fun to go watch him. He's really not half bad at it for just a few lessons. I can't dance to save my life and neither can Shawn, so I'm super impressed that he has dance skills! :) He loves it and really wants to continue to take classes, but I didn't really like that studio so I'm considering letting him continue at a really nice studio near here. They train award winning dance teams and they do have all boy hip-hop classes. It's only $10 more a month to take classes from the nice studio than the small one we've been going to and it's a lot more professional, so it's kind of a no-brainer if we're going to continue. I just have to see if I can get him in because their session has already started.

Anyway, here is the debut of Matthew's awesome dance. :) He worked hard on it and I was really proud of him. He's an awesome kid!

Return of the BIKE!!

Before I start this post I feel that I should warn you I'm currently on a bit of an exercise high, lol. Sometimes I make blog posts immediately after exercising and then I go back later and laugh at how hyper they sound. If you've ever been high on exercise endorphins you know what I'm talking about. :)

Ok, so first of all, I've been having a super crappy diet and exercise week. I'm not going to get into the whole saga of my bad attitude this week but sometimes I just feel burned out on it. I get sick of logging every bite that goes into my mouth, I get sick of killing myself on the stupid treadmill every morning and I'm just over it. Then I eat one non-diet food, decide my day is ruined and just decide to screw it all and eat. I ate cookies yesterday. A lot of cookies. That's all you need to know about that, lol. Plus, I've been super busy this week and when I get off my schedule I miss my exercise window and then it just doesn't happen.

When I have a few days like that I start to get really down on myself. I revert back to the old me who felt like I wasn't measuring up to the impossible expectations I put on myself and when it feels impossible I just want to give up on the whole thing and go back go bed. There are some days that I really have to push hard to pull myself out of that way of thinking. I think that's something I will always struggle with to some extent, but I know that about myself now and I'm working on it.

So I woke up this morning feeling blah. The kids are home from school today because of a teacher work day or something so it's a bit chaotic in the house and I was still feeling blah and unmotivated.

Then I looked outside and realized that it was a beautiful day and Josh was home to watch the kids if I wanted to get out. For the first time in weeks I could actually take a bike ride if I wanted to.

My bike has actually been in the basement hooked up to the bike trainer and I haven't even been on it in a really long time. There was a haze of smoke in the air for the whole month of August that I couldn't ride in and then the boys went back to school and there was no one to watch Clarissa while I went on a ride. I had big plans to use the bike trainer, and I still do, but the treadmill has been working for me and I've been making such good progress there that I haven't really thought that much about the bike.

But today a bike ride felt like just the thing I needed to reset my brain and pull me out of the funk I've been in. Shawn helped me get it back upstairs on his lunch hour and I took off on a ride.

Again, I haven't been on my bike in close to two months. I was taking daily 5 mile rides every day and it abruptly stopped. I wasn't sure if it was going to feel hard to get back on or how I would do.

What I wasn't expecting is how much the treadmill has done for my fitness level! I got on the bike, started going down the street and immediately had to gear up two levels because the level I had it set on from before wasn't hard enough. Then I looked down and realized that I was easily going 2mph faster than I used to go. It. felt. Awesome. :)

I made it to the park, got on the bike path and started the first lap. Right around the first corner there is a bit of an incline that always used to kill my legs when I first started biking. You'd laugh if you saw it because it's barely a noticeable incline, but my legs could feel it every time! I geared down like I always used to, because that was the only way I could make it past that part, and then realized that there was really no need to. I felt the incline but my legs handled it just fine.

I flew threw the park with a gigantic smile on my face, going faster than I've ever gone. Now, remember, we're talking out of shape soccer mom fast, not like professional cyclist fast, but I felt awesome! The first two laps felt amazing. I kept checking my speed and I was just jumping up and down on the inside, celebrating how great I was doing!

And then the asthma attack hit. My asthma has greatly improved over the past few months, but it will always be there no matter how healthy I get. It's just something I have to live with, unfortunately. Most of the time it's fine, but I haven't exercised outside in a while. The smoke in the air has really improved, but it's not gone and they were also mowing the lawn next to me at the park and I'm allergic to grass and everything that gets kicked up into the air when the lawn is mowed. I would have been fine if I had been breathing normally, but when I'm exerting myself and I breathe in all the crap that irritates my lungs it's just no good for me.

So I took my usual halfway break and sat in the park bench and had a crappy asthma attack for awhile. Thank goodness I had my inhaler with me, so it was just a matter of waiting for it to pass. I was a bit disappointed because before that I had been doing awesome and feeling better than I have ever felt on my bike. Most of the time my asthma is a minor annoyance, but today I super extra hated it for getting in the way of my fun.

But the asthma attack passed after a while and I enjoyed sitting on the bench. I love that park.

I got back on my bike and went to do the last two laps, like I always do and I was back to feeling amazing. So to put it into perspective, in the past my usual routine was to ride to the park, do two laps, take a break, do two more and ride home. That is a five mile ride and at an average speed of around 10ish miles per hour it would take me a half hour to go five miles.

Ten miles per hour is not fast on a bike, not even close, but that's what I could handle when I first started riding. If I could keep my speed at 10, and even push it to 11 at times, I considered it successful.

Today my cruising speed was 12mph and I was pretty easily getting it up to 13 and 14 mph at some points with not too much effort. Impressive? Eh, not really, but it's a huge improvement for me. Thirteen miles per hour didn't feel any harder than nine or ten did a few months ago. That was really exciting to me! It used to be that 10mph wore me out. Like want to get off the bike and lay in the grass and die worn out, lol. I was breathing hard and my blood was pumping today but I didn't feel like it was going to kill me the way it used to, and that was at a higher speed!

I did my forth lap and as I got near the exit to leave the park and start home I realized that I wasn't ready to be done, so I took a victory lap, lol. I did that last lap with a big smile on my face. I felt like the queen of the land today. :)

On the way home I took the long way through a back street and I hit 6 miles at 29 minutes. It used to take me thirty minutes to go five miles. Today I went six miles in less time than I used to do five.

I got home and I was on the biggest exercise high ever! After feeling down for the past couple of days, proving to myself that I really am getting somewhere and reminding myself that all my hard work is paying off was exactly what I needed.

Making a big life change is hard. I have never been someone who has really great willpower or super great confidence in myself. I make changes slowly, and usually with a lot of complaining along the way, lol. I crash and burn a lot, I take a lot of detours and I want to give up on a regular basis. But today reminded me that no matter how many detours I've taken over the past several months, I'm still on the right path. I may be the slowest weight loser ever and it may take me a year before I finally complete that darn 8 week couch to 5K program and finally run for 30 minutes straight, but I'm trying, and that's what matters. I'm going to fall down on a regular basis and then I'm going to pick myself back up and keep going.

So that is the story of my week. I ate cookies, I missed a few days on the treadmill, I felt like a failure and then I got back on my bike and reminded myself that I'm really not a failure. In fact, I've come a really long way and I'm not stopping now. Yay me.:)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

To my 15 year old self

Today is International Day of the Girl -- a date on the annual calendar set aside to advocate for girls' rights and raise issues of gender bias. 

CNN did a great article today where they asked many different influential women the question
"Looking back, what one piece of advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?" 

Here is the article:

I really loved the article, I thought some of the answers given were really great.

It made me think about my own life and how I would answer that question.

When I was 15 I was a shy, gangly girl. Super tall, super uncoordinated, I loved to read and I had a best friend named Lisa and we were joined at the hip. When we were 15 we could take drivers Ed and I remember learning to drive being a big deal that year. My best friend got her license before I did and I remember the first time her parents let her pick me up and drive around. They let her drive this GIGANTIC blue boat of a vehicle, seriously, it was huge. I still distinctly remember the smell of the inside of that car, not unpleasant, just a bit dusty and old, and I remember how much fun we had driving around, feeling so grown up. That is probably my favorite memory of being 15.

But being 15 is hard. It was hard when I was a kid and I think it's harder in the world we live in today. I was kind of insulated in a small religious community when I was a kid. Life isn't so much like that anymore. Even at 12 I think Josh faces more things than I did at 15. It's hard to send your kids out into the world.

I remember being 15 and fighting with my parents, who were SO old (approximately the age I am now, lol) and didn't understand me. As a parent I realize that parents understand a lot better than kids think we do.

I remember being boy crazy and wishing I was cool enough to have a boyfriend. My parents wouldn't let me date until I was 16, not that boys were exactly knocking down my door at 15. I've always gotten along really well with guys and I had lots of crushes when I was 15 but I was every guy's buddy. I had lots of guy friends at 15. None of them were waiting for me to turn 16 so they could date me. Although I had my first real kiss and my first real boyfriend right around my 17th birthday, so I guess my time was coming.

If I could go back and give my 15 year old advice, it would be this:

Hold on to your friends, because good friends are what will get you through the awkward years.

Cut out the boy craziness, you will have a boyfriend soon enough and it will take you on a emotional roller coaster that you won't be ready for. Enjoy innocence while it lasts because once it's gone you can never get it back.

Listen to your parents, they aren't as out of touch as you think they are.

Don't jump ahead in that algebra class and skip to the higher level class just because your friend is taking it. You'll get behind in math and never catch up.

Spent more time with your dad. He'll be gone in five short years.

Worry less about what others think of you and learn to love yourself more. Embrace your quirkiness.

If you ever have one moment of thinking you look fat, slap yourself right upside the head, courtesy of your 37 year old self. Enjoy that flat stomach while it lasts, little missy.

Dream big and follow your dreams. I wish I had realized at 15 how much of life was before me, just waiting to be lived to the fullest. I didn't have a lot of regrets at 15, but at 37 I have several.

In May I will officially be the parent of a teenager. As I watch my kids grow up I just want to grab them and tell them every last bit if wisdom that I have learned in the past 37 years of life and keep them from making every mistake in life. I know that's not possible though. I do give my kids life advice. Probably too frequently, if you ask them. But I remember being a kid and listening to my parents advice through a filter. Some of it got in, but there were a lot of things I still had to learn the hard way.

And probably even if I could go back and give my 15 year old advice I wouldn't necessarily have followed all of it. I had life all figured at 15. Doesn't everyone? I was in my early 20's before I realized that I still had a lot to learn. Oh, the advice I could give my early 20's self...

But that is a post for another day. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The tale of the yoga pants

This morning I was running on the treadmill and my yoga pants kept slipping down while I ran. At first I was frustrated, because it's hard to run when your pants are falling down. My second thought was "woohoo!!" I literally ran my pants off. 

It's the little things that keep me going. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mom brag alert!

I try not to brag about my kids too often because I know that's obnoxious, but sometimes I can't help myself because I have awesome kids! :)

So today you'll have to forgive me while I talk up Josh for a minute. I'm just proud and I like to write these things down so that I remember them and that they know how proud I am.

I think I mentioned before that Josh is taking a filmmaking class this year at school. Josh is amazing with computers. He has been since he was super little. I'm a big computer geek so I taught him how to use a computer when he was barely three.

One thing he has always especially loved is making movies. He's been filming movies with his digital camera and editing them into awesome creations for years. Every year for Christmas he asks for more DVD-R's and DVD cases because he goes through so many of them with his movies. He's probably got hundreds of them.

Anyway, this year he has the option of taking a filmmaking class as an elective. It fills up fast and not everyone can take it so he spent all summer waiting impatiently to get his class schedule to see if he'd get into the class. He did and he was thrilled.

Since school started that filmmaking class is all he can talk about. Every day when he gets home from school the first thing I say is "how was filmmaking?" because I know that's what he's going to want to talk about first!

His filmmaking teacher realized as soon as school started that this is something he has a talent for, so she has put him to work on special projects. He has gotten to help make videos for the school video announcements, which he has been really proud of. Having the whole school see something that he helped create has been something he's been really proud of.

Anyway, this afternoon his teacher called me and after going on about how great he's doing she said that she has another project for him. Last year she got some grant money from the state to try out some new filmmaking software and Monday night she gets to present what she has done with the grant money. I'm not completely clear on the details, but that's the gist of it.

So because Josh loves filmmaking so much and is so good at what she's trying to present, she called to ask me if he could stay after school tomorrow and work on the presentation and then go Monday night and help her present it! (In case that sounds creepy, its not. He'll be working on the presentation in the office during parent teacher conferences and then we'll take him to the presentation on Monday. It's not weird one on one time with the teacher or anything.)

He is SO excited about being asked to do it am I'm really proud of him for wanting to do it. Most kids would hate the idea of staying after school for extra work and then spending a Monday evening at a presentation with adults, but he is thrilled about it! I'm proud of his talent. He struggles with self esteem at times, like every 12 year old does, and being recognized for something he loves so much is big for him. I've seen him grow in leaps and bounds this year as he's gotten to share his talent at school. He's found something he is passionate about and he's good at it and that makes me happy for him.

So there is my mom brag. My favorite thing about being a mom is watching my kids grow and learn and develop their talents and do things that make them proud of themselves. When they're excited about something I get excited for them! I love to celebrate their accomplishments. I have amazing kids and I'm so grateful that I get to be their mom.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The weight roller coaster

Sometimes losing weight is really frustrating! I feel like sometimes I can have a few cheat days and still have big losses and sometimes I can go a few weeks being absolutely perfect on my diet and the weight loss is slow or even goes up slightly.

I was feeling like I wasn't being as careful on my diet as I should have been so last week I made a goal to have a perfect week, with no cheats. I did perfect all week. I logged everything carefully and didn't go over my calories once. The first half of the week I lost weight and then for no apparent reason I gained it back at the end of the week. There is nothing more frustrating than doing awesome on your diet and then stepping on the scale and watching the number go up. Thursday I had that awesome loss and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday my weight was back up again.

I know that happens sometimes for various reasons and its normal. It used to happen more often when I first started dieting and everyone assured me that it happens and it's no big deal. Logically I know that, but it's frustrating.

The last couple of days I haven't been feeling well. I'm on antibiotics for an infection, so I haven't had the energy to do my runs for a few days and then yesterday I needed comfort food and got the wild idea to make apple crisp and I ate it with ice cream. Twice. So much for my week of perfect dieting.

This morning I was prepared to face the music on the scale and account for my apple crisp and ice cream calories and lack of running...and I have miraculously lost the weight I gained and I'm back down to my 20 pound loss.

I don't get it, but whatever. I diet carefully and gain weight. I eat apple crisp and ice cream all day and lose it. My body is clearly confused, lol. But I'm back down to 20 pounds lost and I'm going to be back to working hard this week to lose more. I'm still not feeling super great so I may not run today but I'm going to try to at least walk on the treadmill even if I can't kick up the speed very high.

So it's back to work. After not feeling good for a few days I'm hoping to regain my energy and enthusiasm this week. I have running to do!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


One of the best parts of losing weight has been buying new clothes! I've tried not to buy too many things because I'm still losing weight, but I've gone down about two pants sizes, so I needed something I can wear in the meantime and I also wanted to reward myself for how hard I've worked.

Buying clothes when you feel fat and unattractive is really no fun. I've avoided buying new clothes for a while because I didn't want to shell out money for clothes I wasn't going to feel good in. I did not do a good job at loving myself and embracing my body at a larger size. I mostly just avoided looking in the mirror too much and spent a lot of time hanging out in my house in my pajamas.

I'm still a long way from skinny, but I finally don't feel fat anymore. It's finally fun to try on clothes again. So I've been doing some shopping. I am lucky to have the most patient husband on the planet who will go shopping with me. He's honestly my favorite shopping buddy. I know it's not his favorite thing to do, but he's such an awesome sport about it and I really love him for it. He'll go from store to store with me and help me dig through racks to find things in my size and hold my purse while I try things on and tell me if something doesn't look good on me. Seriously, I won the husband jackpot. I love that man.

So I'm the proud owner of some new cute jeans and some cute sweaters for winter. I've been all over town this week trying on jeans. I feel like I've tried on every pair of jeans in the city. I decided to try out skinny jeans for the first time ever. I'm such a creature of habit and I've been buying the same kind of bootcut jeans for years. But part of my whole "new me" thing has been trying new things and I decided the new me isn't afraid of skinny jeans. I went to Nordstrom Rack and tried some on and looked at them for a long time from every angle to make sure that I don't look like stuffed sausage in them and then I went and got the sales lady and made her swear to me that I didn't look ridiculous in them and then I made Shawn look at them and swear that they didn't make me look like I was kidding myself. We've been married for long enough that he knows that the answer to "do I look fat in these pants?" is YES if I actually do look fat in my pants, lol. So I finally decided that they don't look half bad and I bought them. New Wendy is brave and she's rocking the skinny jeans. :)

Friday, October 5, 2012


So I was on Pinterest the other day (I'm having good luck with Pinterest these days!) and I came across this:

It's a recipe for citrus apples. Apples are pretty tasty on their own, I didn't really think they needed an upgrade, but I had some apples I needed to use up, so I tried it this morning. I didn't have an orange or a lemon, but I did have orange juice (not from concentrate) and some lemon juice in my fridge, so I cut up an apple into thin slices, poured some orange juice and lemon juice on them and let it sit. It said to let it sit for at 20 minutes. I think I managed to wait for about two before I tried the first one. :)

Oh. My. Goodness. It was crunchy citrus heaven! I immediately cut up another apple and now I have two of them marinating in my fridge. It will make an awesome afternoon snack for the boys if there are any left when they get home! :)

I see many trips to the store for more apples in my future...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Brave new me

As of today I have officially lost 20.2 pounds. TWENTY!! I lost 20 pounds!! ME! :)

And also as of today, my head is feeling much lighter because I got brave and chopped my hair off. :) Even when I was sitting in the chair I was still trying to decide if I could actually go through with it. I don't like change, it makes me nervous.

But the past few months have been all about change and I decided that it was finally time to embrace it and be brave, so I did.

My stylist told me that she couldn't get my hair to look exactly like the picture because my hair is so thick. I pretty much knew that. I have thick, difficult hair and Pinterest girl clearly has thin hair that cooperates. My stylist said that it's funny how people with thick hair always bring in pictures of people with thin hair and people with thin hair always bring in pictures of people with thick hair. Isn't that how it goes? We always want what we don't have.

She did a great job on my hair and I'm happy with the result. She cut it with a razor and the first few cuts were the hardest, watching all that hair fall to the floor! She was hacking away at it like crazy. I trust her, she's been cutting my hair for years, but wow, she worked fast with that razor! Hair was falling all over the place, it was like Edward Scissorhands, lol.

But in the end I'm happy with it. It feels lighter and more fun, which is how I would describe my life these days. My days of heavy hair and heavy spirits are over. I'm ready to be light and fun!

The weight loss continues. Now that I've hit 20 pounds I'm setting my sights on 30. I can do 10 more. I'm going to run them right off! Once I hit 30 I'll re-evaluate.

I'm proud of myself. I know my blog lately has just been one big pat on my back, and I know that's obnoxious, but I feel really good, and after NOT feeling good for so long, feeling good is really exciting and I can't help but share my excitement. I feel like a new me. And it feels really really good.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Well, crap

Over 70 people voted that I should cut my hair. That means I might actually have  to do it, lol. I'm kidding, thank you for voting, it helped.

The thing I love about blogging is that putting things out there publicly gives me the courage to do hard things. That's why I've blogged so much about my weight loss journey. If I make huge big deal on my blog about how I'm going on a diet and getting back in shape, someone is going to notice if I don't follow though. There has been more than one time that I didn't want to exercise or I wanted to quit the diet but I didn't solely for the reason that if I did I would have to come here with my tail between my legs and explain myself on my blog, lol. It's not like I could just drop the topic after all this time and pretend like it never happened. People e-mail me and tell me that my blog was their inspiration for starting a diet or riding their bike or running. Knowing I'm accountable to someone and that you're all checking in is what keeps me going. So thank you for that.

So I figured the haircut would be the same way. On my own I'm too chicken to cut that much hair off. My appointment is tomorrow morning. To tell you the truth I still want to chicken out a little bit, lol. But 70+ people are waiting to see if I'm actually going to do it. Am I actually going to? I still don't know! I think so! I wish you could all come with me for moral support! :)

On thing that makes me want to do it is that I really want new hair as part of my "new me" transformation. It's been really fun making all these changes over the past several months. I feel better about myself than I have in a long time. Now is the perfect time to change my hair. The old me was blah, and so is my hair. I need fun hair for the new fun me! :) I should hopefully be almost at 20 pounds lost tomorrow. What better way to celebrate than with new hair?

Oh, and speaking of the is where I come with my tail between my legs and explain myself, lol. I fell off the diet wagon for three days. I ate fast food, I ate cookies, I ate ice cream and you know what? I felt like CRAP. My body felt sluggish and yucky and it was SOOO not worth it. I also gained back a couple of the pounds that I have been fighting so hard to lose. I ran them right back off though, and I only have one pound to go to hit 20 pounds lost. Can I do it by tomorrow? Maybe! I might wait and weight myself when I get back from getting my hair cut. I have a ton of hair on my head. If I really do chop it off the scale has got to show some change, right?! :) (That is me still trying to convince myself to cut my hair.)

In running news, things are going great. I'm still a terrible runner, but I kind of love it anyway! There is something so freeing and powerful about running. I get excited about it when I start and when I see myself improving it's so exciting! I run with a big stupid grin on my face because I'm DOING it! I'm actually running. I never ever in my entire life thought I could run. I've had asthma since I was a kid and I have always avoided running like the plague. When I was younger it was because I didn't want it to trigger my asthma and as I've gotten older and more out of shape it was simply because I couldn't. When I first started using the treadmill a few months ago, walking at 2.2 miles an hour wore me out. I'm super embarrassed to admit that because I know how pathetic it is. I eventually got up to 2.5mph and stayed there for a while. I didn't really even attempt to go faster. I would throw an occasional jog in every now and then but it was a slow jog and it wasn't for very long. Mostly 2.5mph was where I stayed. The day I decided to kick it up a notch and I realized that I could power walk at 3mph was big. I thought I was really getting somewhere then, lol.

But I remember looking at the speed control on the treadmill when I was walking one day and thinking that going even 4mph seemed impossible. I tried it a couple of times and couldn't keep it up for very long.

Yesterday I did 20 minutes of HIIT at 5.2mph and sometimes I even push it up higher than that. That's still not super fast, and I still have to stop frequently to catch my breath. It still feels like it's going to kill me and I still couldn't run a 5K or do anything impressive. Let me be clear that I still suck at running, lol.  But I am light years from where I was. I'm actually getting on that treadmill every single day and kicking up the speed and running. Not taking a slow stroll and not even power walking. I'm running!! I have leg muscles now that weren't there before and I can chase Clarissa up the stairs and not have to catch my breath when I get to the top. I wake up in the morning and look forward to my day now. That might not seem like a big thing but a year ago I was sitting in a therapists office trying to figure out why I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. I've come a long way since then and I never want to go back.

So if I'm brave enough to do all of that, I can chop my hair off tomorrow, right? I don't know! Check back tomorrow and find out! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

Ok, today I need your help! I'm thinking of cutting my hair and I keep going back and forth so I my blog friends to help me make up my mind!

So you know how I've been going through this whole transformation thing, right? I grew out my nails, lost weight, I bought new clothes (I didn't mention that part, but I'm buying new clothes for my new self. I'll blog about it later), I learned to love exercise...I feel like I whole different person lately.

So the last part of me that hasn't changed is my hair. I'm a bit particular about my hair. That's an understatement, lol. I'm SUPER particular about my hair. But it's been the same for a long time, I'm kind of bored of it and this is a perfect time for a change.

So I was on Pinterest the other day (I think a lot of really bad ideas started with the phrase "So I was on Pinterest the other day) and I found this girl:

I have no idea who this girl is, we'll just call her Pinterest girl. She is SUPER adorable and I am completely in love with her hair. I wouldn't necessarily go red, but the cut is beyond cute on her. 

So ignore the color and focus on her haircut. It is drastically shorter than my current hair and I am a bit attached to my hair. BUT, that hair belongs to the old Wendy, and the new Wendy needs new hair, right?! That hair is super adorable on her. Would it be super adorable on me? Can I pull it off? Will I cry when my stylist chops off that much hair? (The answer to that question is yes, by the way). 

I've been staring at this picture daily for two weeks. My hair appointment is in two days. I can't make up my mind! I've been going to the same hair stylist for 12 years and I totally trust her with my hair. I've already shown her the photo and she's all for it. 

Ok, so this is where you come in. I'm taking a vote! I can't make up my mind, so someone else is going to have to do it for me. I've added a dislike button to the bottom of my post. If you think I should do it, click the like button, if not, click the dislike button, or leave me a comment and state your case. I'm also open to other suggestions if you know of a hairstyle cuter than what Pinterest girl is sporting. (Pinterest girl has no idea that we're voting on her hair. Pinterest girl, if you're out there and find this blog, I hope you don't mind!) 

Ok, so I'm on my way to pick up Clarissa from preschool. Let the voting begin. :) 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Adoption, three years later

We're headed into October and this time of the year always gets me thinking about adoption because three years ago right now we were waiting for our final paperwork to be completed and waiting for our agency to call and tell us that it was time to go meet our sweet Clarissa in Korea. On October 15th it will officially be three years since Clarisssa joined our family. Can you believe it?!

This blog started out as an adoption blog and I realize that adoption doesn't come up all that much anymore. While adoption will always be near and dear to my heart, it's not something that comes up on a daily basis anymore, so I don't blog about it much.

But it is still important to me and I figured it would be nice to make an adoption related blog post again, since we're heading in October and its on my mind. Kind of a "where are they now" postscript to our adoption story, I guess.

In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday that we picked up that sweet chubby baby at the agency in Seoul and in other ways it's becoming hard to remember a time that Clarissa wasn't a part of our family.

Taking her from her foster mother that day and getting in a cab and leaving the agency was one of the most emotionally overwhelming days of my life. It's hard to even describe it. I was SO happy and so in love with this beautiful little girl and so thrilled to have her in my arms, but at the time same time, I looked down at her, so angry and so scared and screaming her lungs out in that cab after being seperated from her foster mother and I felt terrible! That was a hard day for all of us. She screamed for hours after we left the agency and all I could do was hold her and apologize for turning her world upside down.

I cried when the plane left the ground in Korea. Holding Clarissa in my arms and knowing that she was finally, officially ours was amazing, and knowing that we were taking her away from her beautiful birth country was hard. I cried tears of joy and sadness at the same time. I don't recall another time in my life that I was so happy and so sad at the same time. Emotionally overwhelmed is the best way to describe it. I grieved with Clarissa for what she was losing while I was also celebrating the amazing gift we had just been given. Put that together with the fact that I was more exhausted than I had ever been in my life and I was all over the place for a while.

But once we got Clarissa home she thrived. She might have hated Shawn and I at first but oh, she loved her brothers. She took one look at Josh and Matthew standing there in the airport with a handful of pink balloons and she burst out with a grin that we had been waiting for days to see. She bonded to them immediately and three years later she still absolutely adores her brothers.

Clarissa is doing awesome these days. She's three and a half, full of enough energy to power a small country and happy as a clam. She's absolutely hillarious and I just love to listen to her talk because she comes up with the funniest things. She's the girliest girl there ever was. She loves princesses and anything pink and glittery. She loves clothes more than any three year old I've ever seen in my life. I can't wait until she's old enough to pick out my clothes for me because I have a feeling she's going to have great style. Shawn lets her pick out his shirts when he gets dressed for work sometimes. She loves it.

She loves to play with my makeup and pretend that's she's putting it on. If she gets anywhere near my bathroom she runs in there, puts on Chapstick and gets out my makeup brushes and sweeps them across her cheeks. She loves dresses and shoes and purses and anything girly. I'm constantly amused by that, since I am so much NOT girly. I'm learning. :)

At this point in her life she still doesn't really understand that she was adopted and what that means, but we do talk about Korea a lot and I do mention the adoption in toddler appropriate ways. She has a lot of Korean decor in her bedroom and I like to point it out to her, telling that it came from Korea, just like her. She likes talking about Korea but its still sort of an abstract concept to her. The other day she asked me where I bought my shoes (because that is a typical topic of conversation for her!) and when I told her Target she said "Oh. Is that in Korea?" Ha!

We also keep in touch with her foster parents. I don't know if I've really mentioned that, but we do Skype with them occasionally. We're even Facebook friends, although the language barrier keeps us from communicating much that way. I'm still friends with Jin-Ha, my Korean friend who I met online before Clarissa came home, and she has remained good friends with the foster mother. I'm happy that Clarissa's adoption was able to bring them together as friends. Clarissa was her foster parents first foster child and it was so hard for them to let her go that they decided that they would never foster again. The foster mother actually went to counseling after Clarissa left. I felt terrible for her.

But I'm happy to report that they did foster again. Several times in fact. The last time we Skyped they actually had TWO foster babies! She still struggles when she has to give them to their families but she calls Jin-Ha for support and Jin-Ha goes with her to the agency to help her say goodbye. My life has been richly blessed by those two wonderful woman who are doing so much good for the world.

Because of her experience with our adoption, Jin-Ha now occasionally volunteers at the agency we got Clarissa from, helping adult Korean adoptees reunite with their birth mothers. Last year she spent a week with a Korean born woman who was adopted and raised in France who returned to Korea to meet her birth mother. Jin-Ha was able to be with her when she met her birth mother and help translate during their reunion. I hope and pray that someday Clarissa is able to return to Korea and meet her birth mother and when that happens I hope that Jin-Ha and Clarissa's wonderful foster mother are both by her side. Clarissa has been blessed with so much love in her life.

We refer to her foster mother as her Hanguk Omma, which means "Korean Mom", a title that her foster mother is very proud of. :) Her foster parents don't speak English but have learned a few phrases just for us. I love it! When we Skype with them we mostly just gesture and Clarissa shows them her toys and sings songs and waves. I'm sure she doesn't really understand who she's waving to, but one day she will. I will make sure that she grows up knowing how much she was loved in Korea. I'm so grateful to all the people who came together to love and support Clarissa for the first 8 months of her life. Those people will always hold a special place in my heart.

So while adoption doesn't always come up in our day to days lives, it's still very much a part of us. Josh had to do an oral report on a country this year for school and chose Korea. He was very proud to stand in front of his class and tell them about his sister who was born there.

I will always be so grateful for the opportunity that we had to adopt. I can't even imagine our family now without Clarissa in it. She has truly blessed our lives.