Saturday, January 18, 2014


"When Dad said 'Be quiet', I thought to myself, 
who doesn't want to wake up to the sound of their children's joyous laughter?"  
Kid remarked this morning.
 Those girls barely like each other.  

After Mr F and Baby left for a play date I thought of some great ways to procrastinate packing up the Christmas stuff.  I had Kid try on her new sport apparel... which if you remember the first time you tried to put on a sports bra you know that there were some hilariously awkward moments there.  We decided she should just wear it to school on basketball days rather than risk getting caught in the arms & head bound bare chest out position.  Not worth the risk, peeps.  But we did laugh really hard.
Then I had her put on her basketball shoes.

I can't even figure out what is going on with the laces... I mean is there some kind of a trick?! 
They are almost impossible to loosen & tighten.  Gah! 

Okay.  I swear to God I am packing that Christmas shit up right now!!!  
If I can get those bins out of here I'll feel much more productive.  
Then I'm working out.  I am back to my old school ways and I'm working out to old 
Biggest Loser seasons on Hulu.  There are tons of seasons I missed.  
That show never stops inspiring me... I cry during every episode.  

P.S. I'm down over 3 pounds in 16 days.  I'm feeling really good.  
The diet part is a piece of cake, I really am not suffering at all.  
The workout is a little harder, I still want to sabotage on that front but I haven't.  
I'm doing it.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Showing Up

This day was super crazy and I just ate coleslaw and tapioca pudding for dinner... so... 
have low expectations, is what I'm saying.

Kid had a half day and Baby did not... so... we had a ton of driving and some awkward time in between which we successfully spent eating, shopping, & returning Christmas stuff.

(P.S. I still haven't finished packing up the Christmas bins!!!!)

I did have a fun and successful afternoon out with my favorite date.  
With her homework load
we really don't get very much time to just hang out.  
As maladjusted as she is (Ha!) I sure do enjoy having her around:
And she patiently kept me company while we walked around the mall making returns and such.
I paid her in Godiva truffles.  She ate one in one mouthful.  
Which filled me with momentary regret and prompted me to call out: 
"There goes $2.20 down the hatch!" 

I exchanged a coat I got for Christmas for this coat which I kind of LOVE:
I am never going to stop loving you turquoise and magenta!! We've been Best Friends for over 30 years and I swear to God I'll never quit you!!
(It is turquoise in real life, just take me word for it.)

Then we scored some basketball shoes for Kid.
Interesting that they only make boy's shoes.  
Baby will never EVER go for that.  Basketball is out for her, for sure.

You may not know this, but I'm not really a big shopper
(exception: Target) 
and Kid & I were worn OUT. 
We weren't even at it for 2 hours.  

After picking up Baby, I did still manage to squeeze in my workout... 
(it was close... I REALLY didn't want to... and I had managed to hurt not one, but two fingers, on opposite hands, within 10 seconds of each other while trying to get out of the car?!  
It was weird and blood & bandages were involved)

 I even managed an extra 5 minutes on the treadmill to make up for little Miss Distraction:
I don't know how rollerskating with a giant dust mop all around the treadmill would bother me?  
At least she has a helmet on & is kind of cleaning.
This is all extremely reminiscent of this get up, is it not?:
It is good to know she hasn't changed her spots too much.

(P.S. 14th consecutive workout, I'm really doing it, peeps.)

 And then we attended Baby's curriculum night
(which I had almost forgotten about!!!!) 
and caught this cute moment between Baby and her best friend:

 Dinner was scraped 
but not my diet! 
(hence the bizarro dinner choices) 
and Mr F took the kids out for pizza.  

The End.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Good Advice: Christmas Edition

Somewhere on the world wide web I came across this Christmas (or insert any major holiday) organizing advice:

As you pack up your stuff for the year jot down what worked and what didn't (i.e. order Xmas cards earlier by such and such date, don't let the girls write Santa letters on Xmas eve unless you want to kill yourself, recipe failures or success, teacher gift ideas, etc... you get it) and put it at the top of one of your decoration bins.

Well, I just thought that was genius advice and wanted to share it with you all.  It is easy to forget the lessons learned the previous year... which traditions are more stress than they are worth, which events made the holiday experience & when the tickets go on sale, etc.

I already started streamlining our bins last year and sorted out a "1st Bin" which has the bare minimum that we need to get things going on time (the advent calendars & tree lights & star & tree skirt).  If we are crazed at the beginning of the month I know I can pull out the advent calendars on time.  This has happened more years than not, particularly since we are often out of town for Thanksgiving.  I'm in love with the "1st Bin"... No more starting advent calendars 3 days in!

So for us, I have worked out the couple of things that hadn't worked as smoothly as they could have and jotted them down along with the surprise holiday hits I want to repeat and tucked the list on top of my "1st Bin"...

I have a reminder that Christmas lists need to be finalized over Thanksgiving weekend.  This is before the girls get cuckoo for coconuts and start thinking they want stuff they've seen in store circulars but really had never heard of before.  I might even have them drop them off at one of those Santa mailboxes just to be sure there is an END point to their lists.  This year Kid was the worst and thought of what she *really* wanted at 9 PM on the 23rd.  Santa is a miracle worker... but... that can't always be pulled off and it created a lot of stress!

Also, Thanksgiving weekend would be a perfect time to pick out our Christmas card.  This year was a crazy last minute fiasco with Mr F ordering some (without telling me) and then I ordered some not knowing he had... gah!... it was a big expensive mess.  So we've agreed to just get it done when we have the time off for Thanksgiving and can make a joint decision together.

Ikea pre-made gingerbread house parts are THE BOMB.  They were cheap and easy to assemble.  All you need is your own icing & candy.  We had one for each girl... it was AWESOME.

While I'm at Ikea I'll pick up more of the super nice battery operated candles they had in the Christmas section by checkout (they were great for caroling and with the window suction cup holders you can get at Joann's they are great as window candles).  Easy on off button on the bottom.  And affordable.  I want to put them in all of the windows.

So, yes, my basic lesson was Thanksgiving (not for shopping, that isn't my scene) is the perfect time (and only downtime available until Christmas!!) to knock out a lot of the little things that help get the season started.  Also, if I'm ever going to pull off Christmas boxes I need to mark out a weekend on the calendar and do it.  I failed this year thinking I could fit it in, but with school parties and events my weekends were booked all the way through Christmas.  I think the 1st weekend in December, before all the holiday parties get rolling.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Because Productivity is Contagious (unless it involves Christmas decorations...)

I'm back on both meal planning and stocking my freezer:
Life is so much less stressful when I do this, why have I been half-assing it for some long?!  Because, contrary to popular belief, doing this half-way doesn't help 50% it is completely useless and you'll still be throwing out rotten food you "planned" to cook.  In order for this to truly work it needs to be run like a well oiled machine.  (It also saves you money.  A lot.)

Also, not for nothing, this helps with dieting.  If I have everything ready to go we don't end up going out to eat on a night when the shit hits the fan.  When you are aiming for 1200, going out to eat (while not technically impossible) is setting yourself up to mess up (or at least it is for me).  Once you've figured out the calories in these meals you do not need to ever do it again!!!  That alone almost makes it worth it.

I have made a couple of changes to help streamline the meal planning process.  A lot of people already do this, but I always felt pressure to think of a new menu every week... not anymore.  I have a one week menu & that baby is going to pretty much be on repeat (pending some kind of sale ridiculous sale at the store) until the seasons change.  There is wiggle room within the plan, and I can certainly switch days around... but for the most part I've settled on well balanced meals that EVERY single family member truly enjoys.  They are all meals that can be doubled or tripled, which means that I don't have to start from scratch EVERY week.  This is going to be very helpful come next week when Kid's basketball season starts and we aren't home until 6 PM, 3 nights a week and then we start the with the homework!

Basically we are at this menu:
Monday - Chili with brown rice & cornbread
Tuesday - Chicken turnovers (or chicken & noodles) with spinach salad
Wednesday - Spaghetti & meatballs with sauteed broccoli
Thursday - BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches with coleslaw
Friday - Taco night
Saturday - Soup (Potato Leek or Chicken Noodle) with spinach salad and rolls
Sunday -  leftovers; & I cook a big batch off Pesto pasta to pack for school lunches.

Chili is an easy doubled recipe (heck next time I could quadruple it).  Chicken turnovers can be doubled, chicken & noodles or chicken & veg stirfry, etc aren't doubled but all start with shredded poached chicken.  I buy chicken breasts when they are on sale and poach them, shred and bag them in 2 cup portions in my freezer.  Turns all of the chicken meals into a 20 minute meal.  The turnovers take a some planning but are about 15 minutes of prep and 20 minutes in the oven.  The meatballs are easily made in huge batches.  I brown them and then freeze. To cook, I cover them with sauce & bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 while I boil the water for the pasta & saute the broccoli.  BBQ chicken is a crockpot meal which easily makes 3 meals (using 12 chicken thighs).  I fix the coleslaw while I'm loading the crockpot & all I have to do is shred it when I get home.  I make 2 nights worth of taco filling (ground meat & beans), one for that night & one for the freezer.  The soups, obviously, make around 3 meals and I make 24 rolls at a time which lasts for 3 meals as well.  All I need to do is buy our fresh produce & whatever is needed to keep the batch cooking rolling.  If I have time I add to the stockpile rather than deplete it.  I don't want to get stuck on a busy week needed to make the meatballs, for example.  I'd much rather make another big batch and keep building up my reserves.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 14th

I blame the Polar Vortex for derailing our momentum.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Actively Resisting

the strong urge to catch up online

I'm keeping the house at 55 during the day

which makes it really unpleasant to sit (for any length of time)

getting offline

and on the treadmill

Sunday, January 12, 2014

One Day At A Time

9 days of 60 minute workouts.  Hard.  Both the level of workout and making myself do it.  But I am.

Also calorie counting.  1200.  Doable but I can't make any mistakes.  I realize how many little things I was always letting go.  They all count now.

There is a lot that goes into all of this, and why I haven't been doing it.  It isn't really HARD, you know?  It isn't NEWS.  It is just a reflection of a self esteem issue which requires me to fail and feel like shit (I have been very successful in this department), a slowing metabolism and hormonal flux which required MORE conscious effort and not the LESS I had decided I'd earned the right to expend (see self esteem issues above), the busy life we live, my predisposition to put everyone else's needs first, and my all or nothing personality which was constantly derailing any effort anytime I had to take a legitimate break for health/family reasons (see putting everyone's needs first).

So, I'm just like you.  I have spent the last 3 solid years letting myself fail at something, more or less on purpose, not because I can't succeed but to keep myself from succeeding.  20 years of therapy and I'm still working on the human condition.

I have tried everything I can to avoid just doing the thing that I know works.  Why?  So that I can fail... I've found more than a dozen ways to fail at taking care of myself in the way that actual results in liking who I am.  I will struggle with this my whole life.  I'm content with that.  I just have to wake up everyday and decide that the one hour it takes to be successful is easier than enduring 24 hours of mental self abuse.  Even when the excuses call to me like a Siren.

I can do this.  I can like myself again and not let it go once I reach my goal.

I have to weigh myself every SINGLE fucking day.  Period.  This doesn't make me feel bad about myself.  I have a very small frame and gaining weight is a slippery slope and it is just so much harder for me to lose it than to maintain it.  I need to stay fully conscious of where I am at. A slight gain is motivation to keep working out, checking in a year later and realizing you've gained 10 lbs? (yes, I did that) just set me up on failure/shame spiral that has held me down ever since.

I have to workout every SINGLE fucking day for 60 minutes.  That is my body type, that is what I know works and allows me to not have to micromanage my food once I am back in maintenance, and that is factually the amount I need to burn enough calories to be able to lose while eating 1200 calories a day... I can't eat less without harming my family with my low blood sugar mood swings.

I am not going to volunteer at anymore school events (outside of my PTL commitments & field trips).  Between both schools I have had my schedule so chopped up that it was too easy for me to cut out working out.  I am still baby stepping into a solid routine and reestablishing a habit...I know myself and I need to get as many consecutive days done as humanly possible before I mess with my rhythm.  I might not be able to (or want to) put myself before my children or Mr F, but I sure as hell am going to put myself before school craft fairs for crying out loud!

That's it.  I'm not eating Paleo (interestingly read a fascinating blog post about why it doesn't work for women HERE which resonated with my experience), because I don't need to, I just need to chose to respect myself.  I'm eating whatever the hell I want as long as I account for it and have the calories to do it (I've had a Starbucks Caramel Flan Latte for lunch twice in 9 days... believe it), this is what works for me and allows me to eat with virtually no impact on my family.

Here's the nitty gritty in case you want to know.  I've essentially gained 15 pounds (all fat, obviously) in the 3+ years we've been back in MI.  That might not sound like a lot, and for anyone over 5' it probably isn't!  But for me, that is a 15% body fat increase and 2-3 pant size increase and... well... I wear it on my face & gut and I hate myself for it.  People (other than Kid) have asked if I was pregnant... so... you know... 15 pounds that makes you look 4 months pregnant is a fucking problem for my self esteem.  And I'm just done hating myself for it, when it is a completely fixable problem and would only take 3 months of focused effort to take care of.

The End.  I'm taking care of it.
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