Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Love Stuff

My parents' wedding anniversary was this week--41 years, and they are one of the cutest couples I know.  It's because of them that I have the foundation I have in my marriage--because I fully believe that when you commit to someone, you don't give up even when times are less-than-wonderful.  Truthfully, I've never seen my parents have a less-than-wonderful time in their marriage, and I feel extremely lucky that I can say that--although I know that they've had their issues (or at least I'm assuming they have, because nobody is perfect!).  They were just really good about keeping their issues between them, and not involving my siblings and me, and I really appreciate that about my childhood.  Their anniversary got me thinking about my relationship with Dan, and my thoughts were all over the place.

I thought about how Dan and I love each other, and are really committed to making our marriage work--we can't conceive of a time when we wouldn't want to spend our days together.  I'm not a naive person, though, and whenever I have those thoughts of forever, my mind immediately retorts that everyone who gets married envisions forever with their spouse--and clearly, not everyone gets that happy ending.  Sometimes I feel extremely idealistic when I make bold pronouncements about our staying power--because I know that life doesn't always work out the way you hope and want it to.  Then I always wonder how long you have to be with someone before you can stop feeling idealistic, and start settling into the forever reality--is it 20 years?  Is it 40 years?  How about 9 years?  Dan and I will have been married for 9 years this summer.  I already feel the forever reality with him, and sometimes I fear that that kind of security makes us both somewhat complacent.

the program from our wedding  :)

I try to think of being married as a skill that I continually need to hone to prevent myself from getting rusty.  I catch myself squeaking and creaking under the grind of our days sometimes, and it's hard to get the machine running smoothly again once that rust builds up.  Right now, I'm totally caught up in my Challenge, and trying to get healthier--a goal that is a lot for myself, but if I'm being completely honest, it's also for Dan (or at least for me because of Dan...if that makes sense).  Dan met me when we were 15 years old, and I was an athletic, perky, happy cheerleader.  That's the girl with whom he fell in love, and I have a hard time not feeling guilty that I'm not that girl anymore--and really haven't been for the last 14 years (that point was, in fact, the impetus behind our big break up our first year of college--because I felt like he loved a girl who didn't exist anymore, and he needed to look around to figure out if who I was becoming was really who he wanted to be with).  It's difficult to stay carefree, flirty, fit, and fun as you get older, and my current personality (i.e., the person I was still growing into at 15) is a reflection of the maturity that comes with age and increased responsibility.  I feel badly that I can't be that awesome girl he fell in love with back then--I'm a different kind of awesome now (ha ha).  Then I had three of our babies, and while that grows a relationship and a marriage in a lot of ways, it also made me sort of unrecognizable physically--at least when compared to that girl I always think Dan pictures in his mind when he thinks of me.  I'm on this Challenge to get back my health, and also to regain a little bit of what attracted Dan to me in the first place--after my incredible wit, of course.  Plus, Dan has always been really healthy--maybe not the best eating habits in the world, but he loves exercising, and constantly begged me to work out as well when I was more than content sitting on the couch eating ice cream.

A skinny or pretty appearance isn't all there is to life--I know that, and it annoys me to be striving for something close to what's considered conventionally skinny or pretty.  That being said, it's been a really long time since my husband has told me that he thinks I'm beautiful--not because he doesn't believe it, because I think he does.  And boy, does that sound vain of me--I don't mean that I want to be told that I'm beautiful by any standard definition (because I definitely know that I won't ever be a model--unless I fail at this Challenge and become a plus-size model!), but just that Dan finds me beautiful to him...that's all that really matters to me.  I want to be able to look in a mirror and be happy with what I see (inside and out), and have my husband feel lucky that I'm his wife (again, intellect, I feel like I'm setting a bad example for Abby with all this emphasis on appearance!).  What married woman doesn't want that?  I certainly don't want to embarrass him, and I have felt on the verge of embarrassing a lot over the last 5 years.  For the record, Dan does tell me that I'm smart fairly frequently (usually when I'm beating him mercilessly in Boggle), and I'll take that over beautiful any day...but it feels good to feel beautiful to your spouse once in a while, too.

if only it were as easy as flipping a switch

Dan and I are both guilty of not enough "yucky love stuff" (to borrow a quote from Julia Roberts' character in "My Best Friend's Wedding")--I think we both feel vulnerable with each other, and I haven't quite figured out the reason, since we know each other inside and out, and our relationship is where we should feel the most secure in our lives.  I'm constantly self-conscious, so I know that's one of my problems--but that doesn't mean that I can't or shouldn't put myself out there more to my own husband.  It's hard for me to open up and let him see me at my weakest--but I've really been trying to express more what I need and how I feel in our relationship.  Maybe that needs to be my next Challenge--a week with no walls and no filter for my feelings.  Sometimes I catch myself wanting to tell Dan something sappy, but hold back because that's not really who we are with each other.  I hate that I stop myself--I want to feel comfortable enough with myself to say those emotional things without worrying about sounding stupid or getting looked at like I'm crazy!  Dan keeps his emotions pretty well to himself (unless he's upset--then it's hard to miss!), so I have adapted and learned to keep mine to myself...which is so weird to me, because I'm a very emotional girl.  I think we have a competition quality to our relationship that doesn't help the emotional side, either--neither one of us shares too much for fear that it will give the other the upper hand (whatever that means?).  I don't want to look like a weak, simpering wife--I'm a feminist, for heaven's sake!  I just need to remind myself that I can still be me and tell my husband how handsome he is and that I'm crazy about him.  Obviously I feel those things because we wouldn't be married if I didn't, but I know that it really helps to say that mushy stuff out loud instead of falling back on the "you look nice" pseudo-compliment that we use all the time.

Our relationship didn't start out this way--I used to be obnoxious in my overt adoration, and Dan used to write me poems and long, detailed love letters with his heart on display.  The years of friendship and marriage have buried those aspects of our personalities--and quite possibly, a war or two may have affected our abilities to communicate the deeper emotions.  When you know you're facing deployments, you tend to pull away a little bit so that the separation doesn't hurt as much...but then it's harder to reopen those doors when the deployment is over.  I was in such a terrible emotional place trying to navigate Dan's last deployment and our last pregnancy (at the same time!) that I know I backed off a lot--I almost wanted to be angry about everything while also being totally self-sufficient before Dan left, so that I wouldn't hurt as much in his absence.  It's hard to go from self-sufficient to vulnerable, and hard to admit that I really do need my husband (because I really do!)...but I'm working on it.

So yeah, all those thoughts stemmed from my parents' anniversary!  My parents met in high school, lived the military life, and had three kids--their marriage survived and has thrived through many of the same challenges that Dan and I face together.  I have such respect for them, and hope to continue to follow in their footsteps!

Monday, March 25, 2013

10 Weeks and 10%

Sometimes the scale totally shocks me.  I stepped on yesterday morning hoping to be around 145, and I weighed in at 143.6.  I just stood there and stared--for a moment, I thought because I wasn't wearing my glasses, I wasn't seeing the numbers properly.  Nope, it really was 143.6.  I came downstairs and entered that number into my WebMD tracker, and immediately, the message above appeared in my email--congratulating me on losing 10% of my body weight since I started this Challenge!  10%?!?  I hadn't even thought to include that mini-goal on my list that I wrote out last week of small milestones that are keeping me motivated, and yet, here it is.  Not only did I lose 10%, but I way surpassed 10% with this week's 3.6 pound loss--I've lost 19.4 pounds in the last 10 weeks.  (For those of you keeping score at home, 10% was 16.3 pounds lost.)  19.4 pounds means that I've lost 1.94 pounds per week--amazing!  I never thought I would be this close to my 2-pound-per-week goal, and even with those weeks when I felt like the weight wasn't coming off, the average is still so close to 2 pounds!  Crazy.  In addition to the 10% lost, I'm also past the halfway mark of this Challenge!  I've lost 19.4 pounds, and I have 15.6 more pounds to lose to hit my goal weight.  The next milestone is getting to 141--the tip-top of the healthy BMI range for my height and gender.

I thought this past week was going to be a tricky one for weight loss, for a few reasons.  Abby's school had their pizza fundraiser for the month this week, so we ordered enough pizza to last us a few dinners (for the record, I love pizza fundraiser night--because I love pizza, and because I love nights when I don't have to worry about dinner and no one fights about what we are eating!!).  I thought for sure that eating pizza three nights this week would not be helpful at all on the weight-loss front...  Also, I didn't get my Zumba workout again on Friday evening--my neighbor and I showed up for class only to discover the dreaded substitute was there again...for the second time last week!  Ugh.  We opted to go walk around the track again--so instead of a step class and two Zumba classes helping me toward my weight-loss goals, I had a step class and two evenings of walking around the track.  We walked 2 miles both nights, but still--walking is not burning nearly as many calories as a good Zumba class!  And I had my girls' day out with Brynne on Saturday, when I figured I would overload on calories.  Sadly, she and I didn't get to spend as much time together as we had hoped, so we didn't have time to eat too much!  Ha ha.  I would gladly have eaten more to have gotten more time with my friend, though, so we're going to reschedule.  :)  It was still a wonderful lunch with one of my dearest friends!

um, where's the sun these days??

This week is going to be full of its own challenges--it's Spring Break!  So Abby will be home with the boys and me, and our usual schedule of activities is cancelled for the week.  It feels a little like freedom to me (no morning bus rush--woohoo!!!), even though I know Abby and Jake will both miss their gymnastics classes this week (and Alex, too, since he loves playing in the waiting area at the gym!).  Dan took a few days off at the end of the week as well, so hopefully we'll get some good family fun time in together.  I still have my exercise classes this week--crossing my fingers for no subs, and a good week of working out for me!  It's the last week of the 10-week aerobic session here, so I'm going to sign up for the next 10 weeks that begins on April 1st--without these fitness classes, I totally wouldn't be anywhere near where I am in my weight-loss Challenge, so I definitely still need them.  And considering that it is snowing here right now, I'm not going to be getting outside for walks anytime soon!

Oh, as a final note--I wore a shirt this weekend that I haven't worn since 2005, before I had Abby.  It felt a little triumphant.  :)  It was one of my favorite shirts back in the day, and it's still pretty cute--I felt a little self-conscious in it because it's still meant for a lighter version of me, but I wore it anyway...and it made me feed good!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Nighttime Black Hole

This week has disappeared on me--most likely in a sleepy haze.  I've been trying to get to bed by midnight, and around 10pm every night, I always feel good about my bedtime prospects.  I don't know what happens after that, because it's been more like 1am before I fall into bed in an exhausted stupor!  Last night, Dan was watching one of his DVR'd shows (Through the Wormhole, the Morgan Freeman hosted shows on the Science Channel), and he fell asleep while watching it--I swear, I learn more from those shows than he does, because even though I'm not watching with him, I am at least awake until the end and hear it all!  And then when Dan watches it again another night (you know, because he fell asleep the first time), I get the joy of hearing it all over again.  This could happen up to 4 times for a single show, because he can't manage to stay awake.  Once on a fourth showing, I was quoting the episode to make the point that I'd heard it a thousand times already--and I don't even like those shows!  It should be me falling asleep because they are so boring, not the guy who DVR'd them in the first place.  Anyway, back to last night--Dan fell asleep, and when the show ended, the TV automatically went to the last channel it was on and started playing that show...which happened to be a really old episode of Friends (and I mean really old--Rachel had just left Barry at the altar).  I had laundry to fold, so I sat down in front of the TV with my laundry baskets and got to work while being amused by the early Friend antics.  It was only 11pm, after all, and I deserve some entertainment while I finish up my chores, right?  Well, whatever channel I was watching apparently does a Friends marathon at night, so one episode slid unnoticed into another, until it was 12:30am!  I feel like I'm usually very efficient during the day, but at night, some weird alternate-time universe takes over my brain and I lose all concept of time.  Sometimes I just can't believe that I sacrifice wonderful, amazing, sought-after, beautiful sleep for things like old episodes of Friends, or refreshing the MSN homepage, or balancing our checkbook.  Seriously--what is my problem?

my nighttime curse

(I thought Dan would appreciate the title of this blog--not only do I spend countless hours listening to his shows about phenomena like black holes, but my evenings turn into black holes that suck me in and force me to lose hours!)  The only good thing that came out of last night was that I managed not to eat anything after the kids went to bed--I was toying with the idea of cutting up some strawberries and dipping them in chocolate, but we called Dan's parents and didn't get off the phone with them until around 9:30pm...and I really try not to eat anything that late.  It was a battle--I was still fixated on the idea of making the snack around 11pm, but I held strong and didn't eat anything.  The long hours at night really make it hard not to snack on junk!  And now I'm tired today--it's Friday, and I tend to be tired on Fridays no matter what I do.  The weeks are just long and wearing--by Friday, I'm ready to take it easy!  Of course, I have to vacuum the house and have enough energy for a Zumba class tonight--so no taking it easy for me today.  I'm looking forward to this weekend, though, because I get to have a girls' day with my awesome friend Brynne tomorrow!  We haven't gotten together without our kids in way too long (I don't even want to figure out how long it's been, because that will depress me), so this is a huge treat.  I can't wait to have some fun, laugh, catch up, most likely eat stuff I shouldn't, most likely stay up and out too late, and basically have a great time with the girl I've been giggling with since I was 4 years old.  :)  Hooray for a girls' days!!  Thank you to our husbands for giving us some time off from our jobs!  ;)

this is so going to be us--right, Brynne?

It's going to be a great end to a weird week--I think my sleepiness has thrown off my mood.  Plus, my Wednesday Zumba class, which I normally love, was a total bust...the substitute who doesn't teach very well was there instead of our regular teacher, so my friend and I skipped out after 15 minutes and walked around the track outside the gym instead.  We walked 2 miles, but it's not the same as a good Zumba class!  I know we're having a sub in tonight's Zumba class, too...and I really, really hope it's not that girl again.  She's sweet, but her class is a mess--and I need a good workout tonight to make up for whatever I eat tomorrow!  I hope you all have a good weekend, and wish me luck not blowing all my efforts this week in one day!  :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

House(wife) Work

I'm doing my best to be a Good Housewife--by appearances, I may be accomplishing a lot on the Good Housewife Project front.  I've been cooking dinner a lot more frequently than I ever have in my life (and apparently Dan even brags about my cooking at work--seriously???  I never really thought I would say the phrase "my cooking," let alone have Dan bragging about it!), the kids are happy and healthy, and the house is decently clean on a daily basis thanks to my cleaning schedule.  I've been feeling good about my ability to maintain and juggle all the demands in my life...but appearances can be deceiving.  Even though I'm feeling good about what I've been doing around the house, I have found that my internal monologue is running on repeat...specifically, repeating the same song over and over again as I go about my chores:

Yeah, the chorus of this song runs through my head--sometimes I even hear myself benignly humming the "Take this job and shove it" part while I'm cleaning the toilets.  I don't even realize what I'm humming, but when it dawns on me, it makes me laugh--my subconscious is trying to tell me something, apparently.  I don't feel particularly burdened or even unhappy about my job as a housewife, but I guess there are only so many bathrooms I can clean with a smile on my face and a pleasant song in my heart.

sometimes I fantasize about a desk job...

I love that my cleaning schedule now gives me a daily task and helps me not get behind, but some days, I want to rip it off the fridge and tear it to pieces.  It all feels a little silly, since it's a calendar I made up for myself and obviously it's not binding--I'm not a hired maid getting paid for my work (although, hey, some money for my effort would be nice--ha ha!).  I could just blow it off, but I know if I do, I will pay for it in the long I keep cleaning, and I keep humming that same song over and over again.

Yesterday, I checked the cleaning schedule and discovered (yet again) that bathrooms were on the docket.  It seems that happens about once a week...the way things usually work with a schedule.  Ugh.  Instead of accepting my anthem of "Take this Job and Shove It," I decided to harness a more positive message--whatever my iPod had playing on shuffle!  Normally I don't wear my iPod when cleaning during naptime, because I never know when a desperate cry of "I need to go potty!" will emanate from Jake's room, but he had already gone once, so I figured I was safe...  I put my earbuds in, my cleaning gloves on, and got to work--rocking some Dave Matthews, Outkast, The Bangles, Erasure, Britney Spears, and UVa a capella (I seriously scrolled back through my playlist to get a sampling of what played while I cleaned--don't judge my eclectic musical tastes!).  In between songs a few times, I thought I could hear Jake yelling from his room, but I just kept cleaning and singing...and occasionally smiling.  No undies were wet during my cleaning time, I got all three bathrooms done before I had to rally the boys to go pick Abby up from the bus stop, and I kept the drudgery at bay, if only for 45 minutes!

Monday, March 18, 2013


My body sends me the weirdest messages.  The last two weeks, I stayed on plan, didn't splurge a ton, and exercised as I have been since I started Challenge #2.  I managed to lose 1.4 pounds over those two weeks combined.  This past week, I went to ColdStone twice, tried to eat more so that my calories burned through exercise didn't erase my calories in through food, and I even ate a calorie-laden (delicious!) burger from Red Robin.  I weighed in at 147.2 pounds this week, which is a loss of 2.8 pounds--double what I lost the previous two weeks combined!  What gives??  Back in Week 5 of the Challenge, I joked that my body wanted me to eat more Cheesecake Factory, because I lost a large amount of weight after way overeating there.  It's definitely a pattern--the weeks when I indulge some of my not-so-healthy cravings, I lose more weight.  I have no idea why that is, but I like it.  :)  I hate depriving myself, and I definitely didn't feel deprived this past week--and my efforts still paid off!  I've lost 15.8 pounds since I started the Challenge 9 weeks ago--that's an average of 1.75 pounds per week.

it IS perfection!

So I'm feeling a lot better than I was last week and the week before--I feel like I'm back on track again, although I guess that will remain to be seen in the coming weeks.  I do finally feel like my clothes are fitting me a bit differently--not a remarkable difference, but I have noticed that my jeans aren't as tight.  Still a little tight, but not skin-tight!  My upper body hasn't changed much, in that my shirts still fit the same--I wish I could lose some of the roundness in my arms and in my back.  My stomach also definitely still looks like I've had three kids--I'm not sure how to fix that problem.  A friend of mine (who has gotten crazy healthy and lost an insane amount of weight the last year, and totally inspires me every day!) said she also has the extra skin hanging off her stomach from her babies--and she doesn't know what else to do since she has some rockin' abs under that extra pouch.  I don't know how the contestants on The Biggest Loser can lose hundreds of pounds and not have all that excess stuff around their makes me wonder if they all have a skin removal surgery or something before the finale?  They've never said anything about a surgery on the show, though, so I think if they do that behind the scenes, their results are a bit disingenuous.  I'm not at the point where I only have excess skin--there is definitely a lot of fat still hiding in my stomach folds.  I don't know where I've lost those 15.8 pounds, but I sure hope it starts coming off my stomach one of these days!

I still need a shirt like this!

The next big milestone for me on this adventure is 17.5 pounds lost (weighing 145.5 pounds)...that will be halfway to my goal weight.  I might be able to hit that next week, but I know better than to count my chickens before they've hatched...especially after the last few weeks!  Dan told me that we should celebrate when I hit 20 pounds down--and I said, "What--with cake?"  Ha ha.  He suggested cake, pie, and ice cream.  I told my mom that idea, and she came up with a brilliant plan--I could have my big gluttonous celebration when I hit 20 pounds, and then gain 2 pounds at the next weigh in from all the goodies, and then celebrate 20 pounds lost again the following week!  Brilliant plan.  I think I'm mostly looking forward to when I hit 141 pounds--an odd number, perhaps, but it'll be when I hit the "normal" range on the BMI chart for my gender and height.  I don't know when I was last in the "normal" range, so I think that will be pretty exciting.  I'm glad I have some of these smaller goals to look forward to, because the fact that I'm not even halfway to my overall goal weight makes this whole process seem a bit daunting--it feels like it's been a really long time since I started all of this, and that means I still have a really long way to go.  It's a lot easier to stick with it when I'm feeling encouraged and finally noticing some payoff.

So, just to prove that I am listening to my body and really trying to comply with the message I'm hearing, we went to Cheesecake Factory last night.  I actually got the Skinnylicious Chicken Salad Sandwich that I ordered, and I shared a piece of cheesecake with the kids--and I didn't feel like I was skimping on my life at all, which is essential for my sanity and my ability to keep this up.  Bring on the weight loss!  ;)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Crock Pot Applesauce Chicken

I decided to try another new recipe for dinner last night--in my crock pot, of course, since I had Zumba class and wanted to have dinner ready to go when I got home.  I went with Applesauce Chicken--another recipe I found on the blog of the woman who slow cooked every day for a year!  My cleaning schedule calls for kitchen cleaning on Wednesdays, so I wanted to pick a recipe that was easy and not too messy 1) so that I wouldn't trash my kitchen right before having to spend a long time cleaning it up, thus making more work for myself, and 2) so that I could prep dinner and still have time to clean said kitchen!  This recipe fit the bill.

After digging all the ingredients out of my pantry and cabinets, I determined that my kids had better like this, because this was going to be the easiest prep ever!  1.5 cups of applesauce mixed with 1 onion (or 1 Tbsp onion flakes...I totally went with the flakes to avoid crying and extra work!), 2 minced garlic cloves (or 1/2 tsp minced garlic--I totally went with the bottled garlic this time, just to make it easier on myself...noticing a theme?), 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, and 1/4 tsp black pepper.  Then pour that mixture over the chicken (I used 3 boneless, skinless breasts) in the bottom of the crock pot, and it's ready to slow cook!  Crazy easy.  The recipe called for more black pepper than the 1/4 tsp I used, but after our last over-peppering of the Brown Sugar Chicken, I opted for less pepper...and no red pepper flakes, which the recipe said was optional!  We have a bland palate in our family--spicy is not in our vocabulary.  I thawed three chicken breasts and poured the applesauce mixture over top, and set my crock pot to cook on low for 4 hours--the recipe says 5-7 hours, but I'm cooking fewer pieces of chicken and my chicken was already thawed.  The lady who wrote the recipe uses frozen chicken, but I haven't been daring enough to try that--and using frozen chicken adds about 30 minutes to the cooking time.  I'm trying again to not overcook the chicken, so I went with a shorter cooking time.


Alex and Jake love applesauce--they eat it as a side most evenings with whatever we are having for dinner (and sometimes that's all they eat...grrr...), so I figured Applesauce Chicken would appeal to them.  Of course, I told them before naptime yesterday that I was making a super yummy recipe with applesauce and chicken, and Alex immediately exclaimed, "Eeew!  I don't like applesauce and chicken!"  The kid kind of had a point--I wasn't sure how appetizing the combination sounded, either, but the recipe got really good reviews on that blog, so I tried it and hoped for the best.  I added fresh peppers, broccoli, carrots, and green beans before I headed out to my class (with about an hour and 15 minutes left in the cook time)--at least we would have something to eat if the chicken turned out weird!

love all the veggies!

I told my friend on the way to Zumba that I was making Applesauce Chicken, and I wish I could have taken a picture of her face--she looked slightly horrified, which concerned me even more about this particular dish!  When I got home from Zumba and told Dan what was waiting for us in the crock pot, he said, "Is that a real recipe?"  He was definitely skeptical as well.  I pressed on, dished out my veggies, got the rice out (that Dan helpfully made while I was at my class), and plated the chicken.  It smelled good, and it looked edible, too--I was still nervous, but really, it's chicken...isn't it hard to mess up chicken?

Applesauce Chicken

I was eager to take the first bite, and while it wasn't my favorite dish ever, it really was decent (and only 334 calories without the rice--554 calories with 1/2 cup of white rice).  The chicken wasn't too dry (woohoo--I may be getting the hang of this crock pot thing!), it didn't taste too much like applesauce, and the applesauce sauce on top was pleasant with the cinnamon.  Dan said he would have preferred more cinnamon, but I thought it had a good balance of flavor.  I think I'm not a fan of any pepper--my bland taste buds just don't handle the slight kick pepper provides!  Abby thought the chicken was great and loved the veggies as well, but Jake and Alex made me never want to cook dinner ever again.  Jake wouldn't even try it before crying (not an all-out cry, just a pathetic constant blubbering), and Alex wouldn't eat any chicken (again).  Alex also freaked out because even though the name of the chicken was Applesauce Chicken, he didn't get his usual little bowl of applesauce (I thought that would be applesauce overkill).  Ugh.  We have been working hard to explain to the kids that it's impolite to tell someone who has cooked for you that you don't like their food (and totally irrational to do so before even tasting it!), and tonight, we told them they had to stay at the table and finish the food on their plates before they could get down.  An hour and fifteen minutes and much screaming ( from the kids and Dan--I had to excuse myself early to give Abby a bath) later, dinner was over...  Jake ate almost all the chicken and his carrots (which Dan apparently had to force feed him, even though Jake later admitted that he liked them), and Alex ate all his rice and carrots (but no chicken!).  I have no idea how Alex manages to look like he's built like a tank when he hardly eats anything--it's freakish.  Dan and I both cleaned our plates, and Dan is taking the extras to work for lunch tomorrow, so while it wasn't anything to jump up and down about, it was a good meal.  I really thought the veggies with the sauce were great--I was nervous about the applesauce flavor with them, but it turned out totally fine.  Gives me a little more confidence to throw random stuff in the pot--because it really is hard to mess up chicken, and hard to mess up a crock pot meal!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fierce Fashion Disaster

My sweet friend Salwa from my days in Ohio has a fashion blog that rocks--she has three kids of her own to keep up with every day, and she still manages to be fierce!  Her degree in fashion design and her passion for all things fashion probably give her a leg up in that department.  :)  I know absolutely nothing about fashion, so I read her blog in an effort to at least try to educate myself.  Her most recent post deals with Mommy fashion (or lack thereof), and I feel like she followed me around for a few days and then wrote about all the things I do wrong fashion-wise:

Salwa's Mommy Fashion Statement

She gives some really awesome advice for frazzled moms that I'm going to try to work into my days.  I've always felt like I could be a candidate for What Not To far, no one has dared secretly video me, and I would most likely cry if some stylists threw out all my clothes.  I have a comfort zone that I pretty much stick to every day--and sadly, many days that includes wearing my pjs all day.  Seriously.  Here is the night shirt I wear fairly frequently that Dan absolutely hates--he calls it my muumuu.

I totally agree with the message

So yeah, that's a little embarrassing.  Thank goodness I don't have any actual pictures of me wearing it!  Dan's parents gave me that night shirt after I had Abby, so I always tell him to take up his complaints with them whenever I have it on and he gives me a hard time!  It's comfy...what can I say?

I just did a quick glance back through pictures to see what I could find pictures of myself wearing on a daily basis--ie, my mom uniform.  That quick look confirmed that I'm not in near enough pictures with my kids--Dan is in tons of them!  But I hardly ever make it in front of the camera, which I totally need to rectify.  It's not that I don't want to be in the pictures, because I do--apparently I find it hard to remember to insert myself in the frame while performing my duties as camera woman.  So here's a rundown of what I wear (at least when I manage to get in the picture)--Salwa might de-friend me after this.  As a disclaimer, this is pretty much my winter look--I'm positive it gets better in the summer?  Okay, not positive, but it has to...right?

the black zip-up hoodie and t-shirt

black zip-up hoodie strikes again

That picture above was actually an outfit I put together with Salwa in mind (she would probably be mortified)--she had just written about the hot color combination of the season being blue and black, and I put this outfit in my suitcase for our trip to Ohio specifically because I owned the hot blue color shirt!  I also thought she would be particularly pleased that Abby and I complement each other so nicely.  Please don't look at my shoes!

I also have the zip-up hoodie in orange!

orange hoodie is a favorite when I want to change it up

for good measure, I also have the hoodie in gray

gray hoodie and t-shirt--I'm so fashionably daring

I honestly couldn't find any other pictures of myself not wearing one of my three hoodies, in looking through the last 6 months...and I didn't count Christmas, because I know better than to wear a hoodie for special family occasions, usually!

Let's break down the hoodie fashion, shall we?  The gray hoodie, I've owned probably since high school--it's a little frayed around the cuffs from massive wear, and it doesn't go in the rotation as often because of that fact.  The black hoodie and the orange hoodie are probably both 10 years old, and I just discovered a hole in the orange hoodie (hopefully my mom will come to the sewing rescue, since I don't know what I will do without it!).  The t-shirts I usually wear underneath the hoodies are solid colored Gap t-shirts from probably 10 years ago as well--I know they are at least as old as Abby, because I wore them all throughout my pregnancy with her (and my pregnancies with Jake and Alex, too).  That should give you an idea of how wonderfully stretched out they are!  The collars are all messed up and they are roomy from my pregnant belly turning them into unintentional maternity wear.  But under the hoodie, you can't tell they are kind of a mess--bonus!  I like the layers in the winter to keep me warmer, and per Salwa's advice, layers are great for moms in case kids spill stuff...there's always another layer to save you if you need to shed the top one!  Also, the hoodies are camouflaging my discomfort at my current weight--they don't hug all the curves, and hide shirts that do.

An embarrassing confession:  For most of my life, my mom has bought my clothes for me.  Not necessarily paid for them (sometimes I pay her back when I ask her to shop for me), but she does the shopping...because I hate shopping, and I most especially hate shopping for clothes.  Trying on clothes is a depressing, demoralizing experience, and I don't have time for that!  Her favorite shops include Kohl's and Macy's, and she usually gives me a few new shirts for my birthday and for Christmas every year.  That is the extent of my new clothes for the year, typically.  My mom doesn't have bad taste (I almost always like what she buys), but I'm quite positive that my taste would be different were I to shop for myself.  I just don't usually take the time to do that--I'd have to go on a weekend when Dan could stay with the kids, because I'm not dragging three kids into a dressing room with me.  The last time I had the kids in a dressing room with me (probably 2 years ago), Jake loudly asked me what all that stuff was hanging over the top of my pants...aka, my belly fat.  Thanks, son.  Plus, I'm ridiculously frugal--I have TONS of clothes (because I rarely get rid of anything--want to see a shirt I wore in high school?  It's most likely in my closet!), so going out to buy more makes no sense to me.  The solution to that problem would be to go through my closet, weed out all the clothes I'm never going to wear (although I hang on to a lot of them hoping someday to be small enough to fit into them again...), and then update my wardrobe...but that sounds like a lot of work!

Another embarrassing confession:  I own 3 pairs of shoes.  Well, that's not entirely accurate, but I only wear 3 pairs--my black slip-on clogs in the wintertime (featured in the photos above), my sneakers for exercising, and my UVa flip flops in the summer.  I did buy three more pairs of dressier shoes to wear for Dan's brother's wedding last summer (a pair of black low heels, a strappy sandal, and ballet flats...the first two pairs I've worn once each, the ballet flats are still in the box), so I guess I probably own more like 6 pairs of shoes.  I think I have a pair of snow boots as well, so make it an uneven 7 pairs of shoes.  I'm not a shoe person, and even though I think ballet flats look awesome on other people, they look weird on me...hence why I have not worn my pair yet.  I don't really wear heels because Dan is only a few inches taller than me (if that), so I don't want to be taller than him with heels on...and also because I think heels are hideously uncomfortable!  Clearly I don't adhere to the "suffer for fashion" mantra in my life.  I'll admit that I totally don't know what I'm doing with shoes--I need someone to take me shoe shopping and figure out what is cute on me!

Okay, enough embarrassing myself.  Salwa does long-distance styling sessions, so maybe once I'm at a comfortable weight for buying new clothes, I'll tap her for a fashion overhaul... obviously, I need it!  She also sells her own designs, but I haven't been daring enough to try incorporating one of her beautiful scarves into my wardrobe yet (apparently there's such a thing as a "starter scarf"--I don't know anything about scarves, other than they can keep you warm when it's cold outside, so the whole idea of a starter scarf intimidates me!).  In the meantime, I'll just try to get dressed in something other than pjs--and maybe ditch my Mommy Needs Sleep muumuu for good!

Monday, March 11, 2013


I think my scale hates me.  It obviously dislikes my feet smashing it every few days, and is passive-aggressively taking it out on me by giving me bad readings.  My grudge-holding scale told me that I weighed 150 pounds yesterday.  First it said I weighed 150.2, but I refused to be satisfied with a 0.2-pound weight I zeroed the thing out and tried again, and the scale generously coughed up another 0.2 pounds.  That gave me a resounding 0.4 pound loss for the week--thanks, scale!

perhaps this method would get me below 150?

With my 1-pound loss last week, and my 0.4-pound loss this week, I think it's fairly safe to say that I've hit my first wall of this process.  Last week could have been a cupcake-induced fluke, but I stuck to the plan this week, and have no convenient sugary treats to blame.  I've watched The Biggest Loser enough to know that Week 2 is notoriously hard, so maybe this is my Week 2 (even though, technically, this is my Week, that seems like a long time).  I had great success with my new routine in the beginning, but perhaps my body has adjusted after 8 weeks, and it's time to change things up, shock the system.  I was so prescient in my original post outlining this Challenge #2:
I'll be tweaking [the plan] as this Challenge goes on, because I'm sure some things won't work for me, or the things that work for me in the beginning won't be as effective later in the process, so I'll need to modify and change things up...there will be some weeks when I lose 2 pounds, and others when I won't.
It was way easier to write that than it is to live it...  I've not been myself the last two weeks, because I've been feeling down and discouraged about not getting below 150--as much as I'm proud that at least I've lost weight each week, it's hard not to meet the goals I've set for myself.  Again, this emotional ride is more challenging than the physical one for me.

for real

So back to shocking my system--that sounds like a great idea, but I'm not really sure what to do to accomplish it!  I need to be more active on my "off" days, i.e. the days I don't have an exercise class to attend.  The weather is finally warming up again, and I've been able to take some outdoor walks over the last few weeks--I love walking outside!  If I could make walks with the boys a regular Tuesday and Thursday activity (or even every weekday!), and then do something more intense on the weekends, I think that would help me overcome this plateau.  I also think, shockingly, that perhaps I'm not eating enough?  I usually hit my calorie intake goal for the day on my WebMD food log, but when I add my exercise to the log, I'm typically a few hundred calories too low for the day (when you consider both calories in and calories out).  I have a hard time trusting that I should be eating more, but maybe this week, I'll try to up my overall calories each day to see if that makes a difference on the scale.

As a last note, one day last week, I had a large calorie deficit to make up for the day, so I decided to treat myself...  Two of my nieces are Daisies, so to support them, I bought one box of Girl Scout cookies from each of them.  I've had those boxes in my pantry for almost two weeks without touching them, which is a major feat for me!  I decided to go ahead and open the box of Tagalongs, and have one serving.  A serving, by the way, is two measly cookies--for a whopping 140 calories!!!  Ouch.  Tagalongs have long been my weakness, though--my crazy boss right out of college had a crush on a former employee whose daughter sold Girl Scout cookies (never mind that my boss was the Vice President of the company...hence why the employee with the cookies was a former employee!), so every year, he would literally buy hundreds of boxes of cookies from the woman's daughter and stack them, floor-to-ceiling, in our office break room.  I would grab a box of Tagalongs in the morning, throw them in my desk drawer, and munch on them throughout the day...when the days were particularly heinous (more days than not at that place!), I could polish off a whole box in a day.  For my sanity, I'm not going to look up how many calories I was ingesting when I did that...  That just illustrates how much I love Tagalongs.  So I broke open the box last week and ate the first cookie greedily--but, um, it didn't taste quite like I remembered it.  I didn't love it.  I thought something must be wrong with my taste buds (come on, it's Tagalongs!), so I ate the second one more slowly to try to savor the deliciousness...but it wasn't delicious.  I was so confused--I'd consumed 140 calories as a "treat" to myself, and the darn cookies didn't live up to my expectations!  Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe the Girl Scouts have changed the recipe (sacrilege!), or maybe I'm at the point in my weight-loss journey where treats that are bad for me actually make me feel bad instead of great.  I don't know what the problem was, but I was pretty disappointed!

darn you, Tagalongs!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Promotion Cake!

Last week was pretty much devoted to Dan's promotion stuff--what a crazy week!  After much discussion about what his promotion would look like, we settled on two important points:

1)  Abby would miss school (against my desire to keep her in school) to attend the ceremony, but the boys would stay at home taking naps with my mom watching them.

2)  We would not order a grocery store cake.  Dan saw the possibilities associated with me making our own cake, and wanted to create a cool, one-of-a-kind cake.  Plus, he figured out that it hurt my feelings when he said he wanted to just get a store he reversed his position on that pretty quickly!  

My mom came out the day before Dan's promotion to help me turn my kitchen into a bakery--lots of cupcakes and cake to be made!  Dan wanted to make sure we had enough food for everyone--since the cake I was making only used one sheet cake mix, Dan was concerned that it wouldn't feed enough people, so he wanted cupcakes, cupcakes, and more cupcakes.  I think my mom and I made 72 cupcakes???  Some of them were eaten here at our house prior to Dan's ceremony (the kids had to taste test, naturally), but still, it was a lot of cupcakes.  My mom mixed up my grandmother's amazing chocolate frosting recipe to ice them, and I iced 15 of them in white buttercream so that I could write "CONGRATULATIONS" across them.  :)  I wasn't putting any writing on the cake itself (I haven't honed any writing-on-cake skills...), so I wanted to write something on the cupcakes.

Dan picked a chocolate cake, which I carved based on a template he created for me (very much like the process we used for Alex's last birthday cake)--he wanted the JAG Corps crest, but when I looked at the crest, I was really intimidated by the detailed wreath in the I brainstormed ways to avoid trying to recreate that wreath with icing.  I proposed that we do an oak leaf in the middle instead, signifying Dan's new rank, and Dan thought that was a good idea--phew!  I wasn't sure how I was going to pull off the oak leaf, but I figured it had to be easier than all the branches and detail on the wreath!  Dan created a cardboard template of the shape of the crest, and I used that template to carve the chocolate sheet cake:

the carved cake

After I carved the cake, I realized a huge bummer--I was going to be icing the sides of the cake in white buttercream...and the cake had tons of chocolate crumbs!  White icing and brown crumbs are not a great mix...I ended up spending a few hours with the white buttercream, trying to cover and hide all those little bits of chocolate cake!  What a pain...  The cake also had a lot of little nooks and crannies that were hard to ice on the side, so it just took a while.  During this whole process with the cake and the cupcakes, I ingested way too much icing/frosting--my grandmother's chocolate frosting recipe is irresistible, and I just end up eating buttercream by default when I decorate.  Ugh--my stomach hurt.  It was midnight when I finally had the cake totally white iced, so I asked Dan to draw the design in the buttercream for me with a toothpick--he's the artist, and I don't trust myself with interpretation creativity!  I much prefer to have lines to follow.

Dan drew the design into the white buttercream for me!

Since it was so late, I opted to just go to bed instead of decorating the whole cake after Dan drew the design on for me.  Even with that smart choice, I didn't get to bed until 1:30am after cleaning up the mess in the kitchen with my mom (but not actually cleaning the kitchen, per my cleaning schedule that day--there was no way!).

The next morning was crazy--I got up and got right to cake decorating.  It took me about 3 hours to ice the promotion cake--it wasn't hard, but it takes some time to do all those stars.  I thought about doing the outer gray band in smooth icing, but I knew I would drive myself nuts trying to make it smooth (I didn't have a tip big enough to ice the whole band in one swoop, so I would have had to somehow smoothly combine two strips of icing...), so I went the easier route and just did everything in stars.

it's beginning to look like the design!

The oak leaf in the middle presented some challenges, and I wasn't sure how I was going to tackle it.  Dan wanted the oak leaf to have dimension--shading and depth...but again, that stuff is not my forte, and I didn't really have time to be messing with mixing multiple shades of the yellow gold icing to try to get the shading right.  I was going to star the oak leaf until my mom suggested that I just pipe the veins into the leaves...good idea, Mom!  It was a little tricky where one leaf ended and another began, especially closer to the stem, but I think it turned out really well--it wasn't quite what Dan envisioned, but it was the best I could do!

all done!

side view!

When the cake was finally done, I had to run to the store to pick up flowers (yes, I picked up flowers for myself, Abby, and Dan's mom--for Dan to give to us at his promotion...ha ha!), get back home, load up the cupcakes and cake, and make myself look decent for a fairly formal event.  I'm not a dress-wearing girl...the only dress I have right now that fits me is the dress I wore to Dan's brother's wedding this past summer, so that's what I pulled out of my closet.  I did feel pretty good about it--I think I've definitely lost some weight since I wore it in July, and it didn't look half bad.  Then I had to rush over to the promotion venue to get all the goodies set up:

the spread at the promotion ceremony!

 After making the table look good, I headed over to Abby's school to pick her up early, got her changed into her promotion outfit, and then hightailed it back over to the venue for a meet-and-greet with some higher-ups prior to the ceremony.  I hadn't eaten lunch and had the beginnings of a migraine, and was so tired--but I pushed through, and the ceremony was proud of my awesome husband!  The higher-up officiating the ceremony even asked me if I'm a professional cake-baker...I'm sure he was just being complimentary, but it was nice to hear that he liked the cake.  :)

Abby's special seat at the ceremony  :)

It was a lot of work and a bit of stress, but I'm really glad I made the cake for Dan's big day--and he loved it, so that's what counts.  The day was very special for all of us, and we definitely made the right call in having the boys stay home--even Abby had a tough time staying quiet and still during long, glowing remarks about her daddy!  :)  Congratulations to my awesome husband!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Crock Pot Brown Sugar Chicken

**UPDATE**  To see my recipe for Crock Pot Brown Sugar Chicken, click here!

I went crazy on my commissary shop this weekend, and I bought a ton of different items needed for at least 6 different crock pot recipes!  I was eager to try one out, and had a hard time narrowing them down for last night's dinner...but I finally went with Brown Sugar Chicken, mostly because it's also called "Candy Chicken," and I thought for sure my picky kids couldn't turn down something with the word candy in it!  Ha ha.  The recipe, which I found on the blog of a woman who used her crock pot every day for a year (seriously???), was for a much bigger family, and a much bigger crock pot, so I had to pare it down a bit to suit our family.  Since this was only my 2nd crock pot attempt, I was a little nervous about overcooking the chicken--my last attempt was overdone and a bit dry, and I wanted to avoid that this time around as much as possible...but again, I'm new to this, so I don't really know what I'm doing!  The recipe called for 6-9 hours of cooking on low, but that was for a much bigger pot and a lot more chicken, so I thought maybe 4-5 hours would be better for my meal last night.

While the boys were eating lunch, I set to getting the items together for the recipe--I put the chicken in the pot, cut up some garlic cloves (I felt like a pro since I knew what I was doing after the Lemon-Thyme chicken last month!), measured vinegar, soy sauce, pepper, and 7-Up...really, 7-Up like the soda!  Then I decided to only use 1/2 a cup of brown sugar, instead of a full cup, since I was cooking far less chicken...and I lowered the vinegar as well...but I totally forgot to adjust the pepper.  That concerned me a little bit, but I just pressed on, and poured all that stuff over the chicken in the pot, set it to low, and got back to my business of getting the boys down for naps.  I was kicking myself for being so efficient--we weren't going to eat dinner until I got back from my step class at 6:30pm, but I had the pot going at 12:45pm...too long to cook the chicken without drying it out.  I figured I could have Dan set it down to warm if he got home at 5pm and found the chicken was done...but I was nervous about leaving him with that task, since he really hasn't even looked at the crock pot!

I got the boys down for naps and sat down at the computer for a minute--I wanted to compute the calories on the dinner so that I would know the damage...I figured all that brown sugar couldn't bode well for the health of the meal.  (Surprisingly, without the rice, all the ingredients divided by 4 only came to 185 calories!  With the rice, the whole meal was only 452--I can totally get behind that!)  While I was entering all the ingredients and thinking about my crock pot meal cooking away, I had a quite obvious realization:  Crock pots are great, but they only work if you plug them in.  Um, I hadn't plugged the crock pot in before I set it to low and walked away.  The first time I used it, I hovered and was totally paranoid about whether it was working or not--and it worked just this time, I opted to trust it.  Obviously, I wasn't counting on operator error!  Not my brightest moment, but thank goodness I discovered this minor problem at 1:30pm and not at 5:30pm!  Oh my gosh, I would have been upset to discover uncooked dinner after my class tonight...I'm so glad I didn't have to explain that one to Dan!

the chicken cooking...once I finally plugged the crock pot in!

Abby had dance class yesterday afternoon, so that was my first time leaving the crock pot to do it's thing when I was no longer in the house to monitor...not that my monitoring is so swell anyway!  I threw some carrots and green beans into the pot before I headed out the door with the kids before 4pm, and left Dan a note to check the chicken when he got back with the kids at 5pm and to make some rice so that the meal would be ready to serve when I got home at 6:30pm.  He followed his instructions perfectly--I came home to a warming crock pot and rice ready (good job, honey!).  I couldn't wait to see how it all turned out, and the kids were really excited...totally out of character for them when we ask them to try something new, but I wasn't complaining!

Brown Sugar Chicken

Abby took one bite and declared it the best thing she had ever eaten.  Dan said this was the best chicken I have fixed (and that says kind of a lot, since it seems like I only ever cook chicken!).  I liked it, but wished the brown sugar sweetness was a little stronger--and I definitely need to cut back the pepper next time!  It was overwhelming for me, and I know it bothered the kids as well.  Jake predictably freaked out because the chicken was brownish, but when he ate a piece, he did like it.  It was like pulling teeth to get him to eat more.  Alex ate the chicken!!!!  I was so thrilled, and I tried to get a picture--this was the best I got (and Abby photo-bombed it!):

yes, Alex's mouth is full of chicken!!

After that resounding approval, things went downhill.  Alex didn't eat any more chicken after that first bite (even though he clearly liked it), Abby picked and picked at her food (saying it was too hot...darn pepper!), and Jake cried and whined about everything on his plate.  Ugh.  It turned into a fight, which was not at all what I wanted.  Dan and I cleaned our plates, though, and Dan has already told his parents about the meal, so I guess it was a success in that respect.  Not even the promise of candy and sugar can get all my kids on board--but we're going to keep trying new things, and I will definitely make this recipe again with some adjustments now that I know a little better how to make it for my family (and with that handy reminder to plug the crock pot in before cooking!).  The chicken was also a bit dry (although maybe this is how chicken cooks in a crock pot?  I'm going to have to look that up...), so I need to shorten the cooking time.  It was really easy to prep, and the kids will get used to it...story of my life when cooking for them!

sweet Jake, before all the crying!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sometimes Life Happens

I've been kind of dreading this post all week last week...the weigh-in post.  I was really hoping to get below 150 this week, and that wasn't an unreasonable goal, considering I've been losing an average of 1.6 pounds, and last week I weighed 151.4.  Well, this week, I weighed in at 150.4.  One more pound down, and I'm trying not to be disappointed.  I feel the need to dissect my week last week, to figure out where I got off my average--it's not excuses, it's just the reality of life, and my life was a little crazy last week!

I'm going to break it down into bullet points:

  • I didn't drink enough water last week.  Truthfully, I've been on the downhill slide when it comes to water intake the last few weeks, and last week was my worst effort.  Sometimes I just forget to drink any water before like 3pm, and by then, it's impossible to make up the deficit the rest of the day!  So I need to be better about drinking water first thing in the morning to get the day off on the right foot.

need to drink more!!
  • I didn't get enough sleep last week.  I was cramming to fit everything into my days because we had a lot going on last week, so I didn't get to bed by midnight--or even 1am--most nights.  Lack of sleep is really a weight-loss killer, and a motivation drainer!  I was so exhausted by the end of the week, and I felt terrible.  I need an alarm clock to go off at midnight or something that forces me into a bed--where's my fairy godmother to turn me into a sleeping pumpkin when I need her??
  • Stress.  Along with lack of sleep, I was a ball of stress last week.  I was stressed out over Dan's promotion ceremony stuff--all the logistics, how the cake was going to turn out, how Abby would behave, what was I going to wear???  I was also stressed because I couldn't get to my cleaning schedule three days last week due to other stuff going on--it seems silly, but it really threw me off because I don't want to get behind now that I have a good system going.  I was also stressed because I was going over my calories due to cake and cupcakes...which no one forced me to eat, but like I've said before, if it's in my house, I will eat it.  I managed to eat not very many, but still...too many for losing weight!

  • Not eating enough/eating too much.  I didn't do well with my calorie management last week--Monday and Tuesday were decent, but Wednesday, I ate too much icing and frosting while working on cake and cupcakes, and my dinner wasn't the healthiest.  Thursday, I didn't eat any lunch (no good!) because I was in a rush, and I ate way too much for dinner because I was so hungry.  Friday, I wasn't feeling well (due to being so overtired)--I forced myself to eat, but it wasn't enough and I just felt yucky.  Saturday, I tried to get back to my routine with an apple and peanut butter at lunch--only to discover that I might be allergic to apples?  I've been eating an apple a day almost every day since I started this Challenge in January, and I haven't had a problem until last week...when I noticed that my stomach hurt a lot after eating my apple.  I chalked it up to a weird stomach, and ate another one a few days later...followed by stomach upset.  Hmmm.  I ate one on Saturday, and my stomach hurt terribly--to the point of giving me chills!  I googled apples and stomach pain, and discovered there's such a thing as an apple allergy--I'm hopeful that I don't have it, but the symptoms were eerily familiar.  I'm going to try washing my apples even better, and possibly taking the peel off to see if that helps--apparently apple peels can have similar properties to birch pollen, and folks with seasonal allergies (like me!) can have issues with stomach pain due to the birch pollen-like effects.  So weird!  My stomach was kind of a mess a few days this week because of the apples...

maybe not an apple a day...

  • Not enough calories burned through exercise.  I started the week well with a walk on Sunday in addition to my grocery store run, and then step class Monday night.  Tuesday, I deep cleaned all the bathrooms in the house (a full-body workout!), so I was doing well.  Wednesday, my neighbor with whom I've been doing the exercises invited the boys and me out for a walk in the nice weather--we probably walked about 2 miles, and it felt good to be active outside...can't wait for consistently nice weather!!  Zumba on Wednesday night was awesome--the instructor had a lot of energy and really worked us hard.  Then the week went downhill fast--not much exercise to speak of on Thursday, and Friday's Zumba class was not the workout it usually is...we had a substitute instructor who, even though she is very cute and well-meaning, isn't a very good Zumba instructor.  Her workout is more like light dancing, and I barely broke a sweat--not the calorie burner that I needed, especially after cake and cupcakes earlier in the week!  Without sticking to my cleaning schedule the later days of the week, I lost some of my usual cleaning-related calorie burn as well.  Saturday, Dan and I caught up on our TV shows that we missed during the week, and I pretty much sat in one place for hours!  It wasn't a full-out exercise bust for the week, but it just wasn't as intense as it has been in previous weeks.

With all that said, maybe a one pound loss is just where my body is this week, and one pound was all I was going to lose no matter what I did or didn't do.  I'm just going to keep plugging along, and work on the things I know I can control in the coming weeks--sometimes life gets in the way, but hey, at least I managed not to gain 5 pounds with all that cake and icing in front of me!  That says a lot, right?  Here's to under 150 next week!