Thursday, June 28, 2018

Finding Consistency Through Losses and Gains

We are always learning, growing and continuing to become the person we are meant to be. This means that we try things until we find something that works for us. Many people who follow my social media know that I've stumbled onto something that works for me, in more ways than one.

I have struggled with making healthy choices for a long time. And about 6 years ago, I tried something different. It worked then. And it worked for about a month at a time. I would lose the 10-15 pounds I wanted to lose, feel good, but it would last about a month. I'd spend about 4-3 months slowly putting the weight back on, making one poor choice after another. Then, I'd repeat the cycle.

I thought this was normal.

Until I was tired of "normal."

I craved consistency. I wanted something that would help me build a consistent healthy lifestyle. I envied those people who could turn down the bread bowl at the pasta restaurant or the brownie at the potluck. I just thought I could never do that.

But I can.

And I do.

On a consistent basis.

Seriously. For over 7 months I have stayed consistent with my healthy eating choices at least 80% of the time. I have "reset" myself every month for 10 days. I focus on getting quality nutrition and I don't cheat. Those 10 days are for me, each month, to help remain consistent. As I sit here reflecting on what that has done for me...I am amazed.

So what really have I gained, lost, and reduced in 7 months? Listen (read) up...cause I never thought I would be saying (typing) this.

Let's start with what I have REDUCED in my life...or do/have minimally.

  • The SCALE: I was dependent on the bathroom scale. No matter how many times I heard that you shouldn't weigh yourself everyday, I still did. Multiple times a day. Everytime I walked into the bathroom I would weigh myself. Not only was I addicted to the bright blue numbers that showed up, my mood and confidence was affected by the number that showed. Even if I had been "good" and the number was higher than I wanted, I was sad. 
  • CAFFINE: I had NO IDEA how addicted I was to caffine until I gave it up cold turkey. Holy cow. Now I have one cup of coffee maybe half of the days in a month. That's it. And the crazy thing? I'm not near as tired. I feel so alert and awake, even when my children combine their efforts to get some "mommy time" in the middle of the night. 
  • DAIRY: Again, something I never thought I'd say. I have very little dairy...and for the most part (other than a splash of milk in my coffee) I don't have it anymore. I save my cheese for the flavorful cheese on pasta or special occasions. I no longer need it on sandwiches, mexican food, or in my eggs. 
  • PAIN: I have joint pain. I have "old lady knees" and arthritis that you wouldn't believe. There is at least one knee replacement in my future. I hurt when the weather changes and my knee will swell up for what seems like nothing. BUT...when I am fueling my body with natural foods, whole fruits and vegetables, and taking my plant-based Omegas regularly...I hurt LESS. It's amazing to me to know that if I have a more painful day it usually follows a day where I indulged a little more. 
  • GLUTEN: Talk about a reduction. This was (and is) the most difficult part of changing my ways. I just love things filled with gluten. But I have learned to cut it out completely for 10 days every month and reduce it tremendously from what it was a year ago. I try to make smarter choices and eat it less. 
OK...So what have I LOST?
  • WEIGHT: Ok...let's get right to it. This is the question that I'm asked most often. "How much weight have you lost?" That's what people want to know.  Here's the deal. I've lost 10 pounds. 10 since I switched my focus from monthly challenges to consistent health. The bigger deal on this is that I've KEPT IT OFF for over 7 months. I haven't gained - lost - gained - lost. I've stayed strong. People comment that I look like I've lost more. I have lost some inches, I've lost some puffiness, but 10 lbs. is it for now. (I also haven't integrated regular exercise in my life. That will come, but facing some injury issues right now.) The point is...the weight loss doesn't really matter. I know it sounds crazy, but once I started focusing more on nutrition and less on the number, the number didn't matter. How I feel is a direct representative of what I've been eating. 
GAINS!!! 
  • CONFIDENCE. I can't stress this one enough. I feel good. I feel like I look good. I'm wearing clothes again that I haven't worn in years, and not because they finally fit, but because I feel confident wearing it. 
  • A GLOW: My skin is awesome. Seriously. The nutrients from all the fruits and veggies that I've been consuming are paying out. Huge. I noticed it a few months in. Other's started mentioning it about 6 months in. 
  • COMMUNITY and FRIENDSHIP: Throughout this journey I have met some amazingly positive people who only want to see me succeed. I have made new friends, good friends who fill my cup with joy. Surround yourself with people who make you better, not bitter. Life is too short to be around people who want to see you fail. This group of people make me smile on a daily basis.
  • HEALTHIER KIDS. This one is huge. I want to lead by example. Our kids model us and what we do. Within a month of starting this journey my girls started wanting to eat what I was eating (at least some of it). They wanted to know if certain foods were healthy and if it was good for their bodies. This summer I started including them more in the lifestyle. It's a slow process, but we make progress everyday. 
  • ENERGY and ALERTNESS. I didn't think I was living in a fog. But I was. I thought I was awake and alert. But I wasn't. I am now. Without the aid of energy drinks and coffee on a consistent basis. Sure there are days I'm tired...I've got three kiddos, but it isn't a consistent tired. 
Again. I am in no way perfect. And I don't strive to be. Perfection is boring. I'll never fully give up pizza. But I can try to reduce the amount of times we have it. I will have wine and beer when I'm not on my 10-day reset. But I will continue working on consistency for myself and my entire family. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day: As Told By the Girls

Enjoy the following... I asked the questions, they gave the answers. Some are true, some make me laugh, and some came straight out of left field! That's what makes these fun right?!

Because I was an oldest child and liked to go first, we'll start with the oldest.

Jackie's responses (age 6).

What is Father's Day? We have biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

What do you love doing with daddy the most? Laying on him and resting on the bed. And I like it when he takes me to the lap pool and I go to the deepest part.

How old is daddy? 36

What is his favorite drink? Beer

What does he say all the time? Be patient and I love you.

What does he like to do for fun? Play outside with me and Rocky and Kit Kat

Daddy is happy when? He's in the water.


And now...Katerina (age 4)!

What is Father's Day? Going to church.

What do you love doing with daddy the most? Riding in his truck.

How old is daddy? 15

What is his favorite drink? Beer

What does he say all the time? I love you.

What does he like to do for fun? Play with me and tickle me when I keep laughing.

Daddy is happy when? I feed Rocky.

We just love having daddy back after a week of testing his cycling skills along the Bike Across Kansas. He rode over 550 miles during a HOT week in June. He came back tan, sore, and feeling good about what he accomplished. We are so proud of him and all that he does!




Thursday, June 14, 2018

12 Things

Our oldest turned 6 in March. I've never really been one of those "where does the time go" moms. I do have moments where I look at my husband and our little family and wonder how we got here. You know, more of the big picture. I still look at her pictures on the Facebook Timehop and love being reminded of her cute little smile at 4 months, but I really do love watching her grow and her independence start to form.

Jackie on her 6th birthday!

When I started thinking about what to say for Jackie's birthday post (I know I'm a little behind...but it is what it is) I was trying to decide what special part of her year I should highlight. So I thought I'd focus on things that truly make her who she is. I wanted to do a number post. But 6 isn't enough numbers to talk about. Since there are 12 months in the year, I figured that 12 would be a good number to go with.

12 Things

1.) Independence
This one is the part of her that I just love. Her desire to do things on her own and learn more. I will admit, sometimes it drives me nuts because it would just be easier if I did it for her, but I love watching her little mind work. There are times when she tends to have selective independence, like when I want her to pick up tops, unload the dishwasher, or pick up the hundreds of pieces of popcorn they spilled on the floor...

She pulled out her first tooth by herself! I helped with #2 :)

2.) Questions
This girl has got some questions, let me tell ya. Forget the "how do babies get in your tummy" one, I have always been prepared for that. (Although the "it is a miracle that God picks out a special child that will be perfect for our family" answer is starting to wear thin...) The girl is smart and she wants real answers, to big questions, that I either don't know how to answer, or don't know how to make it simple enough for her 6-year-old self. Questions like "how do cell phones work?" and "How do rockets get to space?" "What makes planes fly?"  and "What makes electricity come to our house? How does those lines work?" Ugh! Anytime she asks one of those questions I try to find a non-fiction book at the library the next time we go. She sure is a curious little thing!

3.) Swimming
Jackie loves to swim! She loves being in the water, and as soon as she could walk she's been trying to jump into deeper and deeper water. That girl has no fear. But what she doesn't have much of yet, is coordination and strength. We're working on it, and I've seen a huge improvement this year. She's just so stinking small and looks a little like a baby deer that once her strength and body-control catch up with her, she's gonna be a speedboat! She's already asked me if she can be a swim teacher some day! Being a "water-baby" myself, I love hearing that!

4.) Eyes
Little missy got some glasses this year. But she didn't just settle for some regular frames to correct a small error. Nope. She went full-on LAZY! I had no idea that a "Lazy-Eye" was such a big deal. Seriously...it should be named something that gets-ya-going a little. The girl's first pair of glasses came with bifocals, and a super thick lens on the left side. She's now wearing a patch for up to three hours a day for the next 6 months. We always knew she'd need glasses someday, but I had no idea that it would be this intensive. She does look cute in them though! :)

Cutie pie in her glasses! 

5.) Salad
We've been working on including more healthy eating into our everyday lifestyle. The girls have done great (Billy is another story for another time...sheesh!). Jackie absolutely loves salad. I have a weekly "salad in a jar" party and she enjoys making her own salads. Of course, her dressing of choice is Ranch...and that's another thing to tackle another time. Right now, I'm loving her salads filled with peppers, and peas, and quinoa! Yep...she specifically asks for "that small rice stuff" for her salads! :)

Salad time! 

6.) Pretending
One of the best things about watching kids grow is seeing their imaginations come to life. I love watching her transform her bed into a ship to sail around the world, and pretending she is a mermaid when she's in water...of course that one isn't as fun when her "tail" splashes water all over the floor. It's fun to see her grab on to stories she likes to hear and transform her world into it.

7.) Reading
This girl has taken off! For someone who didn't even know how to write her own name or read a single word when she walked into Kindergarten, I just love how she tries to sound out every single word she sees. She loves trying to read the signs as we are shopping or when we're at the zoo. I love listening to her tackle a new word by sounding out each letter. Her teacher did such a great job transforming nothing into something great! I am sure there are much better readers out there than her at this age, but I am loving that she WANTS to read it herself and that she ASKS to read more. That's all I can ask for!

8.) Babies
Whew...talk about baby fever. This girl has wanted another baby in our house for a while now. About 5 months ago, she started doing all the little baby things that she always does when we have a newborn around. She's swaddling her dolly, wanting me to wrap the baby against her chest, walking it in the stroller, and trying to nurse her dolly. She was invited to her first sleep-over a few weeks ago and she might have spent more time ogling the little baby in the house than playing with her friend. Every time we pass by the Church steeple she says "Good morning Jesus, please let my mommy have a baby sister in her tummy!" Goodness.

Holding her newest cousin...Baby Ellyson :) 

9.) Heaven and Hell
Remember the part about "big questions"? Yup. This one is in there. The topic of death and dying is a ripe one in our house. Lots of "what happens when you die?" "Do all people die" and making sure her sister knows that you want to go to Heaven so you can go to the bowling ally and make thunder (Thanks Grandma!). But this allowed for a serious discussion of Heaven and Hell. And while I haven't told my daughter how babies really get in tummies yet, I was honest with her about Heaven and Hell. So...if you do something "bad" be prepared...she may tell you that you better be nice or you will go to hell. We're still working on more of the details...but yeah, she may tell you you're going to hell. Sorry in advance.

10.) Math with Daddy
The girls loves spending time with Daddy, and he loves that she's taken an interest in math. She loves to do little math problems with him on her white-board she got for her birthday. They do more than math. She loves to help him with any job he may have. Computer stuff, building stuff, working on his car. She wants to be involved in all of it. Such a curious mind!

Math problems with Daddy...she was VERY specific about how he should write his 7s and 4s!

A little eye-dying type. How exactly does that work? 

11.) Teacher
I told you that Jackie had a wonderful Kindergarten teacher, and it shows in more than just what she learned this year. Jackie wants to be a teacher. She hasn't changed her mind on that one the entire year. She also wants to teach Kindergarten in the same room that she was in. Because according to her "Mrs. Jacobs will be old by then." (Sorry Mrs. Jacobs...I'm sure by the time she's there she won't think you're old, age is just a number!)

12.) Chic-fil-A
If you ever have Jackie over to your house for dinner and you serve chicken, be prepared. It won't be as good as Chic-fi-A. Period. Unless of course, it is Chic-fil-A. That girl always wants to eat there and every meal is always compared to it. I am sure that's where she'll want to go for dinner/date with her daddy for her birthday. I don't mind because it is yummy...but I would like to not always be "second fiddle" to the chain restaurant!  :)

There you have it. 12 things about our 6 year old that may have you understanding her a little more. I"m sure she's gonna love reading about this when she's 12. Right??? :)

Her and little sister being silly! 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Boy Mom

I have to say, for awhile I felt a little left out. Like I was missing out on some sort of "club." The "Boy Mom Club." I'd see all these posts about how wild and crazy life was with little boys. The climbing, rough-housing, dirt, and pee and yet how those mom's just felt connected to the little boys in some way.

But now I get it.

I'm part of "the club" and have been for 16 months.


I totally get it.

This kid is different. So completely and wonderfully different than his sisters. He is calm, but wild. Silly and sweet. Ready to run and play outside and snuggle with his blankie on my lap. I never really understood the bond that Ethan has with his little girls. How they have him so completely wrapped around his finger. But now I get it.


He is in to EVERYTHING! He digs in the trash, splashes in the toilet, and throws completely good diapers away, and the lids to my pots, and my badge for school. We gotta check our trash, often.



He love cars and trucks and balls. He's learning to climb. We don't have to lock the stair gate anymore, he can go up and down the stairs with ease. It's only a matter of time before he has figured out how to open the damn baby proofing locks we have on everything.


He grunts at everything. I've learned to tell the difference between his "dog-grunt" and his "graham cracker-grunt" and his "I WANT TO GO OUTSIDE grunt." He is going to keep us all outside all summer. He just wants to dig in the dirt, walk in the grass, and play with his puppy!


His sister's love him too. They love to find ways to make him giggle and chase them around the house. I'm sure they won't think that's as fun when he's a little bigger and can really catch them!


I'm so excited to be part of the "Boy Mom Club" and to be completely wrapped around this little guy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Post For Katerina

Daddy's little girl
His eyes and smile show in you
Love your spunky way

You are without a doubt a little daddy's girl. Although it didn't start out that way. You were born with dark black hair and a desire to be held by mommy. But as your hair changed to blond and your eyes stayed that crystal blue, your love for daddy came rushing out. We will be in trouble if you ever truly figure out how much you have him wrapped around your little finger.




Goofy Grin
Angry Eyes
Ornery Smile
Silly Laugh
Crazy Girl

Seriously. We always know how you're feeling because you show it on your face. Everything you do comes with emotion. Learning to control your emotions and allow your personality to shine has made for some very interesting pictures of you, little one.




Sweet little Kit Kat
Lover of all living things
A servant you are

Little Kit Kat, you love everyone. When your sister was sick, you took care of her. You made sure she was comfortable and happy. You like to keep the peace. You love your puppy and all your stuffed animals. If I were to be bold enough to predict what you may be someday, I see you in a position to serve others and make others happy. While your sister is very logical with her thinking, you go with your heart, always showing your emotions. This is a good trait. Don't lose it.




Active, moving, and always on the go
Racing, climbing, begging to swing
Signing and dancing to and fro
Sitting still is not your thing

Oh little mover. If you're sitting still, then we know to check your temperature. You have always been a mover. Out of everyone, you kicked me the most while I was pregnant with you, and you've kept that going ever since. We'll have to make sure there's always options for you to run off that energy. You never back away from a "race challenge" from your sister...and many times you beat her already.



Four.
Four years you've blessed our lives.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Big Jackie and Little Jackie

We chose the name Jacqueline for a couple reasons. I have love big names that have nicknames. I just do. Plus...I have never met a Jackie who I didn't like.

Our little Jackie has had trips to Ethan's work ever since she was teeny tiny. Ethan works for NetApp a computer engineering company in Wichita. They have had various family events that we have attended and she was able to go with him to the latest "take your kid to work day." She loves it.

And she also loves Jackie.  Ethan's manager, whom our "little Jackie" has met multiple times in her trips to NetApp. Even though "big Jackie" is no longer his direct manager, they still bump into each other in the hallways. The conversation almost always ends up talking about kids. The most recent chance meeting involved talking about "little Jackie" enjoying school and even still asking her daddy if he still gets to see "big Jackie."

The next thing we knew, "big Jackie" had written a sweet little note to our little Kindergartner about working hard in school and becoming a smart woman so she can make a difference.


Now...I'm not an over-sentimental person. I don't typically get teary-eyed at the different milestones my kids go through (yet). But this made me want to cry.

Here is a woman, working in a managerial type of position, who probably had a plateful of work to attend to, and she took time out of her day to encourage and mentor my little 5 (almost 6 year old). To me...this was powerful.

I have no idea if our little Jackie will want to be a computer engineer like her daddy or a teacher like her mommy, or a lawyer at a powerful firm, or a refrigerator repair-woman, but I know that I want her working for someone like "big Jackie" at a place like NetApp that values family and encourages young girls to become strong women and make a positive difference.




My heart melts and it makes me smile every time I think about it.

Thank you, "big Jackie" for more than you know. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

New Year Brings a Change

Happy New Year!

Before you get all "it's not January" on me, remember, I am a teacher. August is my New Year. More resolutions/goals are made (and actually kept) during this new year than the January one.  So I like to celebrate it in style.

By going to bed by 8:00.

This year, I have someone to share the new year with. Jackie started Kindergarten! She went shopping for her supplies and picked out the biggest backpack that she could find. She was literally counting down the days to the first day of school.

Part of me was a little worried about her transition into full-day Kindergarten. She never went to preschool. This would be a big change.

Other than not enjoying the early wake-up call, she has thoroughly enjoyed everything about school. After the second day of school I asked her what her favorite thing was and she replied "EVERYTHING is my favorite...we do AMAZING things there."

However, there is one person not liking this "Jackie-going-to-school" thing.

Katerina.

This little girl has had Jackie has her playmate for the last three years. More than ever, this summer they spent all their time together. Playing, eating, sleeping, bathing, and arguing. And now, all of a sudden that's gone. It's just Kit Kat and baby Billy left at home, and Bill's just not the same.

This weekend, the girls have been inseparable. At the Block Party Jackie made sure her little sister was well taken care of and they both had their faces painted with princess crowns. I didn't even want to break up the playtime to send them to bed on Friday night.





Katerina has two school years before she'll join her big sister as a little Kinder-Cardinal, and I'm sure she'll be ready to go! Until then she'll have to get used to bossing her little brother around the house!