I have written this post a hundred times in my head, but it hasn’t made it to the computer until now. And even now, as I write this I am not 100% sure it will get posted.

I know I am not the only one who feels this, especially living here in Michigan, but it has been a long, SAD winter. Thankfully, I think we are getting closer to spring, not only for me but also my children; they are itching to get outside.  In the last few years, I have noticed that the winters are tough for me. I have no ambition, and just feel as though I am in a funk all the time. Adding Seasonal Affective Disorder on top of mild depression just makes for a lousy winter.

Unfortunately, this funk has only added to the excuses reasons, why I haven’t been to the gym or taking care of myself. I think it has been over a month since I have been to the gym. With hubby travelling, my pain-in-the-butt Government class, and general family stuff, me time has gotten lost. I really need to find it again. There will always be things that are happening in life and there will always be excuses. I need to get past the excuses.

I know there is something that can help me get out of the funk and that is exercise. Before I got pregnant, I was at the gym 5 days a week and I felt amazing and winter didn’t bother me. But, right now, I am just in too much of a funk to actually go to the gym to work out. I know, it is a vicious cycle…need to go to the gym to feel less depressed, but feel too depressed to go to the gym. I have tried to do exercise programs at home and that doesn’t work for me. And I am way too much of a wimp to go outside in this cold weather.

March has to be different. I need to start thinking about myself and taking better care of me. While, I haven’t been to the gym yet, I have to make it a priority, even if that means I get my butt out of bed at 5:00 to be at the gym at 5:30 when they open.

So, obviously, since I haven’t been to the gym in a while, I haven’t had the chance to do my 5k program. I will not be running the Irish Jig this weekend. (Plus, I think it will still be too cold) So, now I am looking forward to the Riverbank Run in May. That is 2 ½ months away.

Time to kick winter’s butt and show it who’s boss. 

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Every Monday, it gets harder and harder to get out of bed at the early hour, wake up my sweet, Miss E and kiss my husband and son good-bye to start the work week. I feel my heart tugging to stay home with my kids more, and Buster keeps asking me to stay home more with him, but unfortunately, that just isn’t possible right now.

So, yesterday, I got up and ready, loaded everything, including Miss E into the car and away we went to start the day! I dropped her off with my mom and started on my journey to the office, when all of the sudden my dashboard light up like a Christmas tree and the engine started acting funny. Thankfully I was able to make it off the expressway and to a gas station parking lot. I called AAA to send a tow truck and they informed me that it could take up to 2.5 hours and I called my husband to let him know I would need a ride to work. 2.5 hours later, the tow truck came and we got the car to the mechanic and the husband got me to work! Come to find out, the car needs a new engine L Not exactly what we were planning for, but stressing and throwing a fit won’t fix it, so I am choosing to say “Thank you God for our second car that is running and thank you for providing for us to get it fixed!” This goes back to my word for the year, intentional, and I am intentionally choosing to have a good attitude about it and choosing joy!

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If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

 

Quick and Easy Questions

1.  What time did you go to bed last night?  It was 10:30 before I crawled into bed. I try to get to bed by 10:00

2.  What is the last thing that made you smile?  My kids are always making me smile. I can’t give a specific, but I know Buster had a witty response to a conversation we were having and Miss E thinks that she can look all cute and innocent when I get after her and it is hard not to smile at that face!

3.  What is the last movie you watched?  We are borrowing Planet Earth from a friend. Buster is totally into it and wants to watch it at every free moment. I am actually enjoying it as well.

4. What did you have for breakfast today?  Breakfast is always the same during the week, a protein shake with Greek yogurt and frozen fruit. This week strawberries are the star of the show.

5. Would you rather mop all of your floors or do laundry?  I think I would rather mop all the floors. That one is hard!

6. Do you drink coffee?  I can’t get myself to drink it, which I am sure makes my husband happy, more for him! I have a cup of Green Tea in the morning and that is about the extent of my caffeine.

7.  Will you watch the Superbowl?  Probably not.

8. How often do you shop for groceries?  Once a week and unfortunately it is always on Saturday, along with everyone else.

9.  What kind of workout will you do today?  I plan on going to the gym to continue with my 5k training and to also do some strength training. I was introduced to a great strength training app, called Cross Trainer, by Gain Fitness

10.  Do you use a fitness tracker?  I just got a Fitbit for Christmas. So far, I like that it is a visual indicator of how much I am actually moving during the day, but I am still figuring it all out.

 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!  Happy Tuesday!

I lost it for the holidays. In a good way. My employer had a holiday challenge called Hold it for the Holidays. There were two categories, you could maintain your weight through the holidays and put $5 in the pot or you could put $10 in the pot and lose 5 lbs.  Today was the weigh out day and I am confident that I had lost the 5 lbs. but to my surprise I had lost 10 lbs. What a good boost!!!

intention

Intention: the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose.

~Merriam Webster

I know that I am late to the party, but I have been thinking about my 2014 word. There have been many words that have come to mind, but I think I have narrowed it down to the one I want to focus on.

There are days where it is so easy to let life happen, but that only leads to regrets.  Last year seems like such a blur, with the new baby, changing jobs, getting back into school, etc.

I want this year to be different. I want to be intentional with everything, my relationship with God, my husband, my children, my friends, work, and school. I don’t just want this year to pass by in a blur.

Now, it is time to figure out how I am going to make 2014 a year of intention.

I am sure everyone is beginning to think of their New Year’s resolutions, myself included, which will be coming next week. But, I have never really taken the time to reflect on the year that we are completing, the good the bad and the ugly. What a year it has been and thankfully, I can say that it was a good year, with a few rough parts thrown in.

  • The single best thing that happened this year – That is hard, but if I had to pick just one, it would be our birthday trip to New York. Hubby and I needed to get away, just the two of us. This long weekend let us reconnect and spend quality time together that had seemed to evade us for the past year.
  • The single most challenging thing that happened this year – Going back to work 8 weeks after our daughter was born and  working through my post-partum depression. The first year after I give birth is always very difficult. Once my babies turn 1, I can start to see past the depression and see the end in sight. My baby just turned 1 and I am finally starting to really enjoy her.
  • An unexpected joy this past year – I was offered a position at a new company. This new position is bringing me another step closer to getting my nursing degree.
  • An unexpected obstacle – thankfully, we really didn’t have any. Now, that doesn’t mean I want any next year.
  • Pick three words to describe this year –growing, stressful, fun
  • Three words my spouse would use to describe my year – growing, busy, SuperMom
  • The best books I read this year – the very sad reality, I only read one non-school book, but it was an amazing book that did me wonders. It is called Free Fall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons. It is my hope to read more books next year, but with school, I find it difficult to find time to read.
  • My most valuable relationships – God, my mom and Amanda. My mom and Amanda helped me through the deepest part of my post-partum and I am glad to say that I am finally starting to feel myself again.
  • Biggest personal challenge of the year – staying focused on me and all the positive things that go along with that. I am good at dwelling on the negative things about me, or even creating them. I need to kick the negative thoughts out and only leave room for the positive thoughts that will build me up and not tear me down.
  • In what ways did I grow emotionally – I have come out of the post-partum depression. I am so grateful for the friends and family that supported me through this time.
  • In what ways did I grow spiritually – Most days, I felt as though I was just holding on, hoping to make it to the next day. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the everyday that I forget to focus on God. Thankfully, our 6 year old is changing that. I envy his thirst to memorize the bible. He is always asking to read different bible stories. Faith like a child.
  • In what ways did I grow physically – I have lost about 15 pounds so far on my journey and I started going back to the gym, why isn’t only helping physically, but also emotionally (more on that later!) I have also started running again, after taking a year off. Granted, it is only a minute at a time, but I am still running and preparing for a 5K
  • In what ways did I grow my relationships with others – I feel as though my relationships with others have dwindled and that makes me very sad. I love being with my friends. I struggle with the fact that I am busy with family, work and school. I want to have time for my friends as well, but unfortunately, I am not making that a priority.
  • What was the most enjoyable part of my work – my co-workers. There are just 4 of us, but we have a good time.
  • What was the most challenging part of my work – Finding my place in the new position. It has been quite the learning curve with learning different personalities.
  • What was my single biggest time waster of the year – the stupid internet, namely social media and Pinterest. I let that distract me from my school work and quality time with my husband. Not only is a time waster, but I let it become a thief. My desire is to spend less time mindlessly on the internet.
  • What was the best way I used my time – I let my 6 year old do household tasks with me. That way, I still did what I had to do, but I could spend time with him.
  • What was the biggest thing I learned – If I put my mind to it, I can get it done. There are many days I want to give up because I am so busy with family, work and school, but I know that it is a means to an end and also that I am setting an example for my children.
  • Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year:

All in all, 2013 was a good year. I am excited to see what is in store for us next year. How about you, how was your year?

Merry-Christmas-2012-300x240

 

 

Last Saturday, I took my great friend out for her birthday. We went to Naked Plates to express some of our artistic abilities. If you know me, I am far from artistic. We each painted a coffee mug, a bowl and a plate. I was thinking it would take us a couple of hours. I was wrong; we got there at 10:00am and left at 3:30. Apparently, you need to paint each color three times. It is easy to forget that fact when you are trying to create a masterpiece.  Needless to say, they are going to look amazing when I pick them up on Saturday!  It was so good to catch up and just hang out with our kids vying for our attention.  Later that night, I was telling Buster about the cookie plate I made so he could put cookies out for Santa. He immediately informed me that Santa needed a healthy snack and we should put out carrots and hummus! That kid cracks me up. I guess I need to make sure that I have carrots and hummus out for Santa and his reindeer.

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I had such great plans of everything I wanted to get done now that my class is over.  Unfortunately, my list is getting longer instead of shorter. If only there was a way to stop time, but I could keep going everything would fall into place. I still have 3 weeks before my next class starts. I am going to make a dent in that list! Speaking of class being over, I am happy to say that I actually did really well in the class. It was my first time taking an online class and I was a little nervous about it, but I ended up with an A-. I also signed up for my next class, American Government, which will also be online. I have to stay focused in this class because I am not looking forward to taking it. Too bad it isn’t an election year, to make it a little more exciting.

I find it funny, Christmas is supposed to be a time of family and friends and joy, but we have turned it into a time of stress, expectations, and drudgery.  In 2011, Yahoo came up with a list of the American’s Top Holiday Dreads and do you know what was #2, gaining weight.  At work, we are doing a hold it for the holidays. My goal is to actually lose 5 pounds before January 15. I am well on my way to making that goal. With all the upcoming parties, I need to make sure that I am finding time to get to the gym and making smart food choices.

What is your number one holiday indulgence?!

I can’t believe that Christmas is only about 15 days away. Between family, school and work I feel as though the days are getting away from me. Last year at this time, we were in the midst of the new baby fog. I am so happy we are past that.

Now that school is done, I can spend more time getting ready for Christmas. I  have a couple of cookie exchanges to prepare for and one of them I am going to be making my all-time favorite traditional Christmas goodie, Peanut Butter Balls, or as my sister-in-law calls them, Buckeyes! This past weekend, we went over to my parents and made a bunch of peanut butter balls. I am thinking I might have to make some more before the season is over.

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Peanut Butter center:

3 cups Rice Krispies, measure and then crush

1 pound Powdered Sugar (3 1/2 cups)

2 cups smooth Peanut Butter

1 stick of Butter melted (1/2 cup)

chocolate coating:

1 bag Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (2 cups)

1/2 package White Candi Quik

 -Measure 3 cups of Rice Krispie cereal and crush with a rolling pin. Add crushed Rice Krispies, powdered sugar, and peanut butter to mixer. Begin to mix on medium speed, slowly drizzle melted butter in, continue to mix until filling is completely incorporated, about 2 minutes. Using a melon baller, scoop out filling and roll in to balls in the palm of your hand, set them on a baking sheet. Chill peanut butter balls in refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Chocolate Coating: Melt 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips with 1/2 package  white candi quik in a glass bowl in your microwave at 30 second intervals. Do not microwave longer than 90 seconds all together, chocolate will continue to melt even after done microwaving. Stir with spatula until smooth.

-Lay parchment or waxed paper on counter.

-Dip fork in chocolate coating, set peanut butter ball on fork, spoon chocolate coating over peanut butter ball.

-Tap fork on side of bowl to knock off excess chocolate.

-Scoot chocolate covered ball on to parchment paper and repeat

-Allow 1 hour for chocolate to set up well.

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Better late than never. With a sick house last week, and preparing to go away this week, life has been crazy. We are looking forward to a busy weekend with Hubby’s family and also celebrating Miss E’s 1st birthday! 

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The Holidays and More: Part 2

 

1.  What state/country do you live in?  Beautiful Michigan. As much as I dream about living in some exotic place, I will most likely always live in Michigan.

2.  Where were you born?  Were you raised there?  I was born ½ hour from where I live now, closer to majestic Lake Michigan. I have lived in Boston, and a brief stint in the Dominican Republic. But, I have been fortunate enough to travel to many different countries and states.

3.  How do you feel about stores like Wal-mart opening on Thanksgiving Day for pre-Black Friday sales?  Will you participate?  I am opposed to the stores being open on Thanksgiving Day, so I will not be participating in it. It makes me sad that people are so wrapped up in things instead of each other.

4.  Have you ever participated in a Turkey Trot?  Will you do one this year?  Two years ago, I had a very crazy Thanksgiving, my friend and I did a Turkey Trot, I then went to work, where we served 2,000 people a Thanksgiving feast and then, my family and I jumped in the car and drove 4.5 hours to my husband’s parents in Cleveland. I am hoping that next year I will be able to participate again. I have to get back into running before I get out there for a race!

5.  What was your favorite toy as a child?  I loved playing with legos when I was younger, but otherwise you would find me with my nose in a book.

6.  Will you count points/calories on Thanksgiving Day?  I don’t think I will count every calorie, but I will be well aware of what I am eating. I am also preparing most of the meal so I know what will be going into every dish. I will continue to limit my portions and try to at least get out for a walk this weekend.

7.  Will you watch football Thursday?  No, we will watch the Macy’s parade, but other than that, there probably won’t be much tv watching with 2 active kids who will want to get out and do stuff!

8.  Do you decorate inside/outside of your home for the holidays?  I decorate the inside. We are in a condo, so it is a little harder to decorate the outside. I have found that since having kids, I am inclined to decorate more for the holidays than I did when we didn’t have kids.

9.  Do you have allergies that prevent you from eating traditional holiday meals? Nope…I wish had had more so I would stay away from certain things, but I will employ self-control.

10.  Is it snowing where you live?  Yes, we just got our first measurable snowfall yesterday. I am not a fan of the cold. I appreciate snow for December and January, but then I am ready for it to go away. Unfortunately, our son LOVES the snow, so we are out in it a lot during the winter. 

The countdown is on for our Thanksgiving weekend and we are all excited to be going over the river and through the woods. I am taking part in Friend Making Monday from alltheweigh.com Here is a little about my upcoming holiday, what about you?Image

Holidays

1.  What are you plans for Thanksgiving this year?  We are going to Cleveland to have Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. It has been a little bit since we have been down there. We will be helping them pack as they prepare to move next month.

2.  At what point do you being celebrating the Christmas season?  I’m starting to listen to more Christmas music and have started my Christmas shopping, but I really start after Thanksgiving.

3.  Do you celebrate Christmas, or do you celebrate another holiday? Christmas all the way!

4.  If you could have one present (you know, a material good, not love or world peace) what would you want?   I am really hoping for a FitBit this year. Other than that, I am not really sure what I want, in the material sense. In all honestly, I just want to spend more time with my family.Image

5.  Share an idea or two that you can plan to do for someone who may need to feel loved throughout the holiday season.  There is nothing better than a plate of Christmas cookies and a handwritten note letting the person know how special they are. This is something that I want to demonstrate for my children.

6.  Would you rather spend the holiday season on the beach or in the snow?  While I love the beach and would be there all time, there is nothing better than snow on Christmas. Last year we didn’t get snow until after the first of the year so that was a little strange. I hope we have snow this year. We can have snow from about December 15 – February 1, after that, I want my 60 degree weather back.

7. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?  It would have to be stuffing. My dad makes the best stuffing. I allow myself a little bit, but I could eat it all day, with gravy all over it.

8.  Will you participate in Black Friday shopping?  No longer! I value my sleep too much. Plus, all the deals that I would go for will be on sale again!

9.  Will you travel for the holidays or stay at home?  If you’re traveling, are you flying or driving or making alternate plans?  We are traveling for Thanksgiving. We will be driving, it is about 4.5 hours, so not too bad. We have a 6 year old and a 12 month old, so it would be interesting.

10.  List at least 5 things for which you are currently thankful.

  1. That God doesn’t give up on me and loves me more than I deserve.
  2. My amazing husband who is really stepping it up while I am working and going to school.
  3. My 2 beautiful children who always know how to make me smile when I need it the most. My son, who keeps me on my toes and my daughter who is learning more and more each day.
  4. My amazing parents who help us with the kids and are the most awesome grandparents.
  5. My friends who stand in the gap for me and continue to encourage me.

 

Hubby and I took a much needed weekend vacation to New York City for our birthday. Fun little fact, hubby and I share a birthday, he is a year older. He had a conference on Saturday, so we left on Thursday to spend some time wandering around New York.

ImageI always say that there is no better way to explore a city then by walking it. I think we only rode the subway about 3 times. We got into the city early afternoon on Thursday and started our adventure. We were both ready for lunch and the great thing about NYC, there is no shortage of places to eat. We have this rule; you can’t eat a place that you would find at home. Since we were both really hungry, we grabbed a sandwich from the deli next to our hotel and mapped out our plan. Hubby really wanted to see the UN so we made our way to the east in search of the UN. From there, somehow we meandered to Time Square. There was so much bustle and commotion, it was great. We check out a couple of stores, like the Hershey and M&M store and found dinner and our way back to the hotel.

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It was so nice to wake up when we wanted to, without someone needed to be changed, or want to play. Friday, we took the subway down to the financial district to see the World Trade Center Memorial. What a beautiful tribute. There really aren’t words to describe it. We made our way down to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty. Neither of us had the desire to wait in the line to go through security to get on a boat to take us to the island, so we just admired her from a distance! Plus, it was so windy and the waves were pretty big, seasickness would not have been good. We found this great little Asian café for lunch. I have decided that I want to learn how to cook international food so that our kids are exposed to it early on.

I had some friends who had talked about the High Line, so we went to check it out for ourselves. What a fun “park.” It is an abandoned above ground rail road that was turned into a walking park. There were trees, flowers and sculptures. I love how people have gotten creative with green space. If I worked near there, that would be a great place to take my lunch on a warm sunny day. They are actually adding another section to the High Line, I guess I better go back when it is done!   Of course we had to stop at our favorite yogurt place, Pink Berry. I guess it is a good thing that there isn’t once closer to home, or I might be there way too much.

Hubby’s conference started on Friday night so we grabbed some dinner from Bare Burger. What a great restaurant. I had a Californian with a quinoa veggie burger. I have to admit, it was really good. Neither of us was adventurous enough to try the wild boar! He went off to his conference and I wandered around the city a little more.  Unfortunately, I had to finish a paper for my Dev. Psych class so I made my way back to the hotel to work on the paper.

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Saturday, our actual birthday, hubby was in his conference so I decided I was going to check out some other parts of the city. I ventured into the garment district to drool over all the beautiful fabric. I actually found 2 cotton pieces to add to my collection, but I mainly wanted to just see all the pretty fabric. I went back to a different part of Time Square to see more of it and then jumped on the subway and headed to the top of Central Park at 110th. I made my way through Central Park and it was beautiful. The park was filled with runners, bikers, and walkers. They were having a Jazz in the park day, so every little bit there were different jazz bands playing. Grand Rapids needs cool stuff like that! I made my way to Grand Central Station where I was going to meet up with Hubby for dinner. He still had more conference to attend so I left him and meandered back to our hotel on 35th. I ended up walking just about 70 blocks that day. I figured that in the 3.5 days we were there, I walked an average of about 10 miles each day. There is no better way to see a city then on foot! I actually lost weight whileon vacation, which never happens. Now that I lost weight on vacation, I am going to lose weight during the holidays!

I love NYC, I don’t know if I could live there with kids, but if there were no kids, I think I could. This weekend was exactly what we had needed to reconnect and recharge. Now, it is time to get back to reality of kids, work and school. I have my final coming up at the beginning of December. Thankfully, I have the month of December off before I start my next class. Even though I don’t enjoy online classes, my next class will also be online. It is just a little easier with Ms. E being needy and Buster wanting to be involved with so many things. I keep reminding myself, this is only a season and it will be over soon!

I cannot believe that it is November already, where did October go? Somehow life got in the way of my plans for October. I am happy to say that I achieved my goal of getting to 300lbs at my doctor’s visit, but I am not going to make it to 295 by the time we go to NYC this weekend. I have gotten less diligent on my grazing and meal choices. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are easy because I pack those. Breakfast is a protein shake and lunch usually consists of a half of flatout with a wedge of laughing cow cheese, 2 oz. of turkey, a serving of fruit, ½ cup of cottage cheese and a serving of vegetables and 2 oz. of hummus. I also have a protein bar and Greek yogurt for my two snacks. Pretty good, right?! That is until I get home. I find myself grazing more and snacking just because, not because I am hungry.

This past month I have been struggling at work and with school. At work, I am trying to figure out my purpose. It has been an adjustment going from a small non-profit to a large corporation and I just trying to find my place there. With school, I am trying to decide what type of degree I want to get, my associates or my bachelors. I am really leaning toward starting out with my associates and then going back to work on my bachelors. There are so many different factors that are playing into that decision. I continually pray that God will open the doors that he wants me to go through and close the doors that I need to stay out of.

I am finding that I am so busy with things that need to be done, taking care of my family, working, school, helping Buster with his homework, and daily household chores that I am not able to do things I enjoy. I don’t get the gym as often as I would like and I haven’t been able to enjoy any of my favorite activities such as reading, sewing or hanging out with friends, which has played into both my physical health and emotional health. I do have to say, this weekend I finally was able to work on a sewing project with a dear friend. I made Christmas stockings for the kids and they turned out really cute! But it felt even better to just chat and catch up with my friend, it had been way to long.Image

November is a new month and a fresh start. At work we can compete in a pool to either maintain our current weight or lose at least 5 pounds through the end of the year. I plan to lose at least 15 pounds by the end of the year. No more excuses, I need to start walking at lunch again and finding other times to get in the exercise. I also plan on staying more connected with all of you, or those of you who are still reading. 

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