31 July 2012

Fellowship, The Mouse, and Tasty Power Cords

I've been absent for a bit. I honestly haven't had time. See, church kids are busy during the summer. Crazy busy. Allison has been to more camps than I can count. I only volunteered for one - Glorybound. Glorybound is the huge gathering of all Texas LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) youth. They do it every 3 years.

We traveled to Houston, and spent 3 days/4 nights in fellowship, listening to varrious speakers, doing small group studies, listening to some pretty amazing bands, and there was even a magician. We also spent a day doing a mission project. Knowing this, and knowing that I have approximately a bazillion things wrong with my stomach, I chose not to wear anything constricting. Usually, this involves a peasant skirt. Not appropriate for messy labor. Then I remembered that I had some pretty amazing overalls. FYI - even in Texas, you will get funny looks wearing overalls. Ha! Apparently, this made me the subject of many a photo opportunity.

All in all, it was a good experience. Maybe a little (a lot) complaining from teenagers (and *ahem* one particular adult), but much was learned, and lots of fun was had in the end.

We drove from Houston back to DFW on Sunday, and left Monday morning for Orlando. Phew! One lesson learned - Make sure your given name is on your ticket. In the eyes of many a TSA agent, Henry and Hank are not synonymous. Other than that, travel was pretty painless (except for one mom's stress, exhaustion, and immense fear of flying).

The resort was beautiful. I could've stayed there all week, and I would've been a-ok. But we had 4 days worth of Disney tickets.

Instead of describing our time, I will just give you a boatload of pictures and a shot, sweet summary. Lots of fun. Major exhaustion. Walt Disney was a genius. I am simultaneously amazed and freaked out by animatronic characters. And digital puppetry is the neatest thing ever.

Okay, pictures will be at the end. This brings me to another subject. While we were gone, one of our cats decided my laptop's power cord would be a tasty lunch. It's a good thing I love her. (Really, it's her only flaw.) So, I am phone posting for now. This is why I cannot figure out how to place pictures in this post. Well, other than the end.

But, I wanted to blog badly enough, I posted anyway. Okay, and I was bored and interested in seeing how easy it would be to post by phone. There ya go.

16 July 2012

So Busy.

I feel like I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but still. Busy.

I've been trying to work out, and I'm successful most days. Not today, because I spent 10.5 hours on my feet at the coffee shop. Though, I was reading that a 165lb person could burn 1200 calories working as a barista for 8 hours on a slow day. It was an average (not slow, not super busy) day and *ahem* I may be more than 165 pounds, so I can count that, right?

The kids are either playing Minecraft...

Watching weird Littlest Pet Shop YouTube videos (seriously. Weird.)... But weird, and cute, and not vulgar. Okay, so these girls putting these videos out are pretty creative. I will give them that. Anna has some serious aspirations of making her own LPS movie, too. I love that kid.

When they aren't doing those things, we are usually at the pool...

One kid was off doing mission work in El Paso, and I'm going along with her to Houston (The Woodlands, actually) for the Texas LCMS (Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod) gathering - Glorybound.

Oh, and then when I have decided that I actually have a few spare hours in the day, I sign up to work at the coffeeshop. It's really a cute little place. Once owned by a fabulous friend of mine, she sold it to some other awesome folks. I still think of my aforementioned fabulous friend whenever I go in. She has been through so much, and is so very strong in spite of (maybe because of) it all.

Oh, and in less than two weeks, the entire family gets to go to DisneyWorld! Including my super awesome stepson. His only flaw is being too busy, and living too far away. How dare he!?!?! I love him anyway. Even if I do have to look up to yell at him. Wait. I don't really yell at him. But if I did, I'd have to look up, because he decided to be over 6" tall. Kids, these days.

Hopefully, I'll have lots of pictures after that. We're busy bees this year.

06 July 2012

Just Say No.

Say what you must. I realize lots of people LOVE getting their cardio on with an elliptical machine. I have tried for YEARS to like them, but I can't. My knees be damned, I'd rather just run. Actually, my knees still feel pretty great, but I know running isn't kind to them. Whatevs.

Today, I went to the rec center, and got on the elliptical. Worse? I got on an elliptical that had stationary arm thingies. This was REALLY stupid, because there was one with moveable arm thingies (that's the technical terminology) right beside the one I was on. I huffed and puffed for about 10-12 minutes, and then cussed the thing out. Okay, I didn't. Maybe just in my head. I don't think the arms would've made much of a difference.

Then I got on the treadmill. Yup. When we're talking cardio machines, the treadmill is the way to go. (I actually prefer running outside, but Dallas is currently a hell pit when it's not dawn or dark.)

When I went Google Image searching for an evil elliptical machine, I couldn't find one. Apparently, nobody else shares my hatred. And I really stink at anything involving graphics, especially since I only have Paint. Hey, it's handy in a pinch! I'm not sure it really describes the loathing I feel for those things, but it'll do.

05 July 2012

Stupid cake.

Why did I eat the cake? I don't make cake (or other baked goods) often. Mostly because I like cooking better than baking (yes, there is a difference), but also because I cannot seem to resist the outcome of my baking.

For the 4th, I had to pick some things up from my local Aldi. They had their red, white and blue cake mixes, sprinkles and frosting half off. I know they're chock full of food color, preservatives, hydrogenated oils and all that. It's really a rare thing when I buy them. But, it was easy, cheap, and I thought the kids would have a good time decorating. And they did. They also had a good time eating it.

We had a good 4th, watching some local fireworks, smoking various dead animals (like real Americans!), and hanging out with good friends. The night drew to a close, and before bed I lost my mind. I ate cake. It's really not all that great. If I were to eat cake, I'd rather it be homemade. Not from a box with weird sprinkles, but it happened. The cramps didn't come right after (like they normally do), mostly because I went to sleep right after the debauchery. But this morning. Ugh. My feet were so swollen that it was uncomfortable to walk, and whatever cramps and gurgling I didn't feel in the pit of my stomach the night before came raging at me this morning. STUPID. As I tell my children, none of us in this house are stupid. But we are sure capable of doing some really stupid things (just like everyone else).

I will leave you with one crappy fireworks picture. I think I swallowed it, because it feels like I have one of those things going off in my gut.

On the upside, I'm listening to Rhiannon. Yes, I'm still on a Fleetwood Mac kick. Especially when I started listening to Concord Music's Fleetwood Mac tribute album coming out next month.

03 July 2012

Staying cool...

This summer is brutal. It's not a surprise, as we live in the firepit that is Texas. But we had springtime weather in January, so I'm not going to complain. However, it is too hot to just send the kiddos out all day. Instead of letting them play video games or watch television all day (or pay a meeeeeelion dollars for some summer camp thing), I got them rec center memberships. A month to month is $11/month for each kid. So worth it.

Especially when our rec centers have slides like this...

And kids end up looking like this when we arrive. (Okay, the smiles were totally put on, but only because they were annoyed with me for holding up their pool fun. Impatient little monkeys, they are.)

See the girl child? I have to get her a new bathing suit. I bought that one at the end of last season, and I intentionally bought it too big. Now it's too small. Jeez. And that scrawny (but oh, so handsome) guy next to her? It's hard for me to believe what a behemoth he was at birth (11 1/2 pounds, y'all. GINORMOUS!).

Anyway, that is what we've been up to. And this is what the eldest girl has been up to, apparently. (She is on a mission trip with our church's youth group.)

She cracks me up.

02 July 2012

Me. All of me.

I promised a current picture, and here you go.

We will start this from the beginning. Here I am at my highest weight. The picture is really small, but it's all I can find (the old one was taken in 08, and that computer is long gone).

Here I am at my lowest (recent) weight. I was running nearly every day, and I felt fabulous.

Dang, I was looking pretty great. Oh well. I'll get back there, right?

There you go. My journey is starting again.

Getting serious about my health...

I almost titled it "Getting serious about my weight...", but really this should be more about health. If I'm honest, I just want my weight down. I want to be thin. Don't get me wrong, I also want to be healthy, but the allure of looking great in some size 8 jeans is my real motivation.

I posted, last week, that I'd gained a little over 30 pounds. boo. I'm still about 35 pounds BELOW my highest weight, but I don't want to focus on that. I want to focus on getting smaller. Getting healthier. My lowest weight since I had Anna was about 8 months ago, and I was 178.8. Not bad. When I went to the doc, it was 210 exactly. I just weighed a few minutes ago, and it was 208.6.

I've been giving weight loss a half hearted effort, and it's time to stop it. To give it my all. That's why I posted my weight for all of you to see. I will post some pictures tonight or tomorrow. I really don't want to. REALLY DON'T. But, my kids also don't want to clean up after themselves, and I make them do it, because it's good for them (and because I really hate picking up after them, but that's a WHOLE other blog entry). In the end, this will be good for me.

My own little rules...

-No gluten. Celiac disease was ruled out, but I know it isn't helping. Whenever I indulge, my stomach cramps (like right now, because I ate a few stupid cookies in the middle of the night), and I swell all over.

-Limited dairy. The more I read, the more I realize that dairy really isn't great for you. I will still enjoy some really good cheese every now and then, and I will still have a bit of half and half in my coffee, but I'm limiting it.

-1600 calories a day. This may be changed. Haven't decided if I need to lower it or not. I sort of miss the formula with Weight Watchers and their Points system. I would go back, but I'm not a fan of the Points Plus system. I get it, and it's very smart. I just can't be told that fruits and most veggies are zero point foods and be trusted. Nope. I need limits.

-96oz of water a day, minimum.

-If you nibble it, scribble it... If you bite it, write it... LOG EVERYTHING. I realize that some people can just eat more healthfully, but I have to account for it. I could eat 3000 calories per day with only whole proteins, veggies and fruits. Yep. 

I think that's it. I'd make a rule about so many veggie servings per day, but I have no problem with that. I adore all edible plant life.

With the exception of the photo, I've put it all out there. I plan on writing multiple times per week on my triumphs, and more importantly, my missteps.

01 July 2012

Sunday Songs...

Today is a pretty music-filled day. It started off with church, and I was set to sing some patriotic songs with an ensemble, having a lengthy solo on one song, in particular.

Let me tell you a secret (okay, it's not really a secret). I never really like church services where we focus on patriotism. I know. I sound so very un-American. I promise, I love my country. I guess it's hard to put in words. Maybe it's that I feel more conflicted. I feel like my pride and respect for the land where I live is completely separate and can't compare to the deep love I have for my Savior. It's not as if they're incompatible, I just don't like it much. But I get over it. We don't come in and worship the flag or treat it as an idol (well, I can't speak for everyone). And when our music director asks me to sing, I oblige. There's not much I wouldn't do for her.

Anyway, the song started to grow on me a little. Admittedly, it grew on me a little more when I started hearing the compliments coming in. I have a pretty good voice. I can carry a tune. I was never the star of my high school choir. I won a few awards, but not many. Some of that was because I always became terribly nervous, and my nerves never failed to help me ruin a decent performance. I also don't read music very well. I fake it pretty well. I say all that to bring home the point that I really feed off compliments. Okay, it's a love/hate. My ego sure enjoys it, but I always have trouble with how to respond. I have finally gotten over the need to say something completely self-deprecating. My usual response now is a simple "Thank you".

I also feel silly talking about getting compliments, because let me tell you, I married into a family with a few really talented singers/musicians. Talented doesn't even describe it. Brother-in-law was a piano and organ prodigy. It's his calling, and he makes a very successful career out of his musical abilities.

So, there's that.

But I came home, and I just had to break out my Fleetwood Mac. Rumours is one of the greatest albums made, with one of the greatest backstories behind it. I didn't appreciate it much as a kid (other than a couple of their 80s hits), but the older I get, the more I fall in love with them as a band.

After listening, I wanted to see if there were any way I could get my hands on the Buckinham Nicks album. It has never been released as a CD and there is no way to (legally) download the album. I don't have a turntable, so there you go. As luck would have it, someone has posted the entire album on YouTube. I remember my mom having this album.

She's since passed, and I'm sure the album has been warped, as many of hers were when they were put in storage years ago (I'm sure she lost thousands of dollars worth of music).

I've been pretty wordy here, but I'll end it with a song that makes me think of my hubby. I love that man. Songbird from Rumours.

See you later. Maybe this will end up being a theme. I like "Sunday Songs". Who knows?

28 June 2012

Hey! Look What I Found!

Wow, I had a lot of dust and cobwebs to clear away. And there are some dead pics, I need to fix. Oh well, there's time for that.

I had decided, for a while, to post on The Hubs's (grammar check? anyone?) site, but since it's down, I've come back. It's been nearly 2 years since I posted. Anna was starting first grade, and now we're in the middle of summer before her 3rd grade year. She's no longer one of the little guys in elementary. Ezra will be in 2nd. Then there are the big kids. Oh my word. Allison will be a junior and Devon will graduate this year. Hasn't anyone told them I'm not old enough for this? Teenagers don't listen very well.

I had lost quite a bit of weight, and actually got under 180 for the first time in 9 years. Then I started working. Then I stopped running. Then I stopped counting calories. Then I lived in denial thinking I'd only gained a few pounds. (Denial is a glorious place, you guys. Until you have to come out of it. BOO!) A few turned out to be a little more than 30. Ugh. Double ugh. Also in that time, I've started not feeling well. I'm drained all the time, I have a foggy memory, and I was having some GI issues I'd rather not go into (you're welcome). Family practice doc couldn't find anything wrong with me, so I get to have a GI appointment for my birthday (well, the day after). Until then, I've decided to focus on getting healthy. I haven't started exercising yet (I did go for a run the other day, but I need to do more), but eating has improved greatly. I'm down a few, but I still have a long way to go.

In better news, The Hubs has some really great bosses. The owner of the company gave us a trip to DisneyWorld. We'll go at the end of July, and there will be lots of pictures. Flight, hotel, tickets, and food are all taken care of. It's a supremely stressful job, but I'm glad he's appreciated.

Anyway, that's really all that's going on... Or all that I can recall for now. I think I like being back here. My own little place. Now, I just need to get a little re-design going on, and all will be well. :)