Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Weight Loss Story

When I was pregnant with Jane, I gained 18 pounds. After staying in the hospital for four days when she was born, I had lost 25 pounds by the time I got home.

When I was pregnant with Megan, I gained 19 pounds. When I left the hospital 27 hours after she was born, I had lost 17 pounds. I only had two more to go.

When Chris and I lived in different cities, I gained, ahem, more weight than I had with either pregnancy. I was overly stressed with single-parenting two kids, working full time, and single-handedly packing my entire house and classroom. I was feeding myself and a very picky two-year-old. It was easier to eat out just about every day, sometimes more than once, rather than put in the effort to cook something neither of us really wanted to eat.


Once we moved into our new house together, Chris and I both wanted to lose a bit of the stress weight. The initial plan was to just count calories--figure out how much would be a good daily intake for each of us and simply count everything that we ever ate.

That was way too much work. Basically, it just didn't happen. We didn't have quite enough motivation to figure all that out from scratch while we were still adjusting to living in a new house in a new city while suddenly being married again. Mostly we just thought about it a lot and still ate whatever we wanted.

Not working.

Then my sister asked me if I wanted to join Weight Watchers with her.

Problem: I have always thought of Weight Watchers as a program only for older people who were more significantly overweight. I believed that I was too young and not heavy enough to warrant participation.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

I would like to publicly apologize now for all of my stereotyped opinions. I feel bad about it now. Weight Watchers (shameless advertising here!) is a very good program that is designed to work around individuals at any level of weight-loss. I never once felt like I was "dieting". I didn't feel like I was being told what I could or couldn't eat. Rather, I was learning how to pay attention to what I was really eating and making better choices. Not dieting.

Result: In the last five months, I have lost everything I gained and more.
I now weigh less than I did when I got married.

Here is my before picture:

I didn't zoom in because I think I look bad. Although, it does make me a little sad that the picture where I think I look the heaviest happens to have been taken at Disneyland, but, what can you do.


I may not be stick-thin, but dang, I think I look pretty good.

I would also like to mention that Chris has lost over 30 pounds. He didn't join Weight Watchers, but he started watching what he was eating, too. And it worked!

What worked for me...

1. Tracking

This is part of the Weight Watchers plan, but it really works with anything. To put it simply, I write down every single thing I ever eat. Just paying attention to what goes into my mouth automatically made me eat less because I had to be accountable for everything...every bite, lick, and taste. Writing it all down kept me from eating less healthy food and from eating too much of what was healthy.

2. Cheesy Workout Videos from DI

I have never liked exercising. I do it now because I really do want to be healthier (and let's be honest, skinnier). I was having a really hard time figuring out how to exercise with my kids around, though. I worked nicely in the summer to go for walks in the morning, as long as we left early enough that it wasn't too hot. When the weather wasn't cooperating, I got up early and did workout videos that I bought at DI. Cheesy 80s videos...they were even videos, not dvds! But, it got me moving and gave me some strength training as well that could all be done while my kids were still in bed. No babysitter required!

3. Going to Class

This is probably the part of Weight Watchers that made the biggest difference to me--I needed that weekly accountability of weighing in. I also really enjoyed going to the class and hearing other people's ideas and tips. And it was cool every once in a while when I had something to share, too. I liked the leaders and knew they would be supportive if it was a good week or a bad week. Also, the awards were fun...who knew stickers could be so motivating?

I don't know that I would say that I'm done...I'd like to take off a few more pounds before I'm really content with my weight. But, even now, I know that I am in a much better place than I was six months ago. Yay!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Third Annual Olive Turkey

Sometimes I think it's boring to blog about holidays. They are all kind of the same, and everyone else is blogging the same things at the same time. Let's see if I can't find a couple extra things to throw in this year...

Like an olive turkey. Raise your hand if you had an olive turkey at Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Did you behead it at the end of the meal?

Dinner was nice. My immediate family only--we're up to 17 now, with significant others and kids.

It wasn't Megan's first Thanksgiving ever, but it was her first Thanksgiving eating solid food. I think that's significant...

...but apparently not enough to actually take a picture. She was getting over being sick and ended up going down for a nap while everyone else was still eating.

Chris and I didn't help so much with the cleaning up...we were both being/getting sick with the same nasty stomach bug Megan had that's been traveling really fast through our families and our ward. Sorry, Mom, for not helping!

We spent the evening in Orem at Chris's aunt Karen's house. As you can see, there were a lot of people there.

Even Larry. I haven't seen Larry since our wedding reception.

It was a good day, despite being sick.

Yesterday was my brother Michael's thirteenth birthday. Happy Birthday, Michael!

Megan thoroughly enjoyed her cake. All three pieces.

It was also Britta's husband Matt's birthday. Happy Golden Birthday, Matt!

And now, wholly unrelated to holidays or birthdays...

Last Tuesday. Sigh. Last Tuesday brought the most anticipated and the most disappointing "snowstorm" of my recent remembrance.

It was all over the news as "The BLIZZARD of 2010". School was canceled, freeways were closed, businesses shut down early for the day... I took a few before pictures of our front yard and driveway.

Notice the footprints across the lawn? That's from the mailman. Chris really doesn't like that he does that, and I don't particularly appreciate it, either. Is there a nice way to ask the mailman not to walk across the yard like that without making them mad? Or should we just live with it?

Disappointment #1: It didn't even start snowing until it was already dark outside. That made it hard to even notice that it was snowing.

Disappointment #2: It didn't really snow. Like, at all. Maybe an inch at our house.

Sure, there is snow. But if you look at the edge at the end of the driveway, you can tell that it isn't deep at all. So Lame! I was very put out by all the hype. Now, to be fair, I know that there was significantly more snowfall up north. Chris's parents' house had more than 10 inches that day. There were whiteout conditions on several sections of freeway. But here? Nothing. I can't even call it a snowstorm in good conscience.

Thank goodness, the weather has redeemed itself in my eyes and I can now officially agree that winter is upon us.

It started snowing on Saturday night, after we had gone to bed. We woke up to this on Sunday morning.

It took a lot more effort to get the cars out and ready to go for church (this, of course, being the one night ever we didn't park in the garage...that's a story for another day). The best part, though, was that it didn't ever stop snowing until early this morning.

I think the backyard gives a better gauge of how much snow actually fell.

I don't think we'll be playing outside anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's been a long time coming!

When they bought the house 23 years ago, Janet says, the kitchen needed to be painted. 23 years later, it's finally getting done! Craig's camera is broken, so I have taken it upon myself to document this remodeling project--at least this one middle point. I apologize now for not having any "before" pictures.

Craig's birthday was Friday (Happy Birthday!) and Craig and Janet's anniversary was Saturday (Happy Anniversary!). We drove our family up to spend the weekend visiting (me and the girls) and helping with the construction (Chris).

So far, everything has been ripped out. The sub-flooring has been replaced (two different layers...sorry, I don't know enough to explain what the two layers are!). That was the primary activity all of Friday.

By the time we left on Saturday night, all the sub-flooring was finished, the sheetrock behind the sink area had been replaced, and one portion of the wall was extended nine inches (in the doorway). By the time we had gotten home, both soffits were extended as well. (Have you ever heard the word soffit? I never had. It's the section of wall that sticks out over the top of the cabinets, filling in the space between the cabinets and ceiling.)

Here is a picture of the cabinet that will be going in. I think it's gorgeous...I wish you could see it in person!

They are planning on painting the walls white with one colored wall for accent. Brenda and I are pushing for some shade of red/burgundy that will bring out the red in the cabinet wood. Any suggestions?

There are some unfortunate side effects of remodeling a kitchen. Like no where to sit while eating.

Besides replacing the entire kitchen (including all appliances), the front entryway door is being replaced. Again, beautiful choice!

Thanks go to Larry Kendall for the use of his shop for painting the doors. The girls enjoyed it, too.

Speaking of the girls, we spent the vast majority of the weekend hanging out in the basement, away from all power tools. I worked on my 2009 blog book (so so so close to being done!!!) and the girls watched movies. All weekend.

We watched movies while we ate...

First thing in the morning...

And pretty much the rest of the time, too...

During snack times we usually ventured upstairs. Power tools can be pretty exciting to watch, don't ya know.

And it can be pretty fun to help Grandpa, too.

I have to throw this picture in simply because it is the only picture of me from the entire weekend. Ha.

I'm excited to see the end result of the kitchen. It promises to look very, very nice.

One side Jane story: Jane is on a marriage kick right now. She keeps telling me that she's getting married tomorrow. On Sunday afternoon, she sat at the front window for a long time. Why? She was waiting for her prince, of course.

She is going to marry Prince Muptin tomorrow. He's two, just like her. And he is afraid of the metal man. I guess that's an important trait when looking for a future spouse.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

While it's still fall...

This particular event took place over a month ago...that's like forever behind when it comes to me and blogging. In the beginning, I couldn't get myself to blog about it because I had exactly ten posts for the month of October and I just couldn't mess that up...ten posts in the tenth month of 2010...lame, I know. And then the farther away it got, the harder it was to think of anything to say about it...and I haven't really been blogging this month anyway...

'Nough excuses. Since I apparently don't have much to say, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Here it comes...our family outing to Wheeler Farm,
including Jane's new friend Sara from nursery.

Corn & Hay Maze

Eating Corn
I don't really think she was supposed to do this...

but I thought I'd take a picture anyway.

Wagon Ride

Visiting the Pond and the pigs

I would like to point out that those geese are the same size as Megan. Ha.

Choosing a Pumpkin

And there you have it!
It really was a fun little trip.
I'm glad we went.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Free Advertising

On Tuesday night, Amy invited Chris and I to the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Kickoff.

My camera was on a weird setting that didn't get fixed until halfway through the event, so sorry for some funky pictures.

Couple thoughts right off...

I was so so SO excited to be somewhere that was completely, 100% UN-child friendly. I have been really missing regular adult interaction and I don't love having to adjust everything around small children. It was lovely to have this evening out. Thank you, Lisa, for watching our kids.

Second, despite all the rather negative comments on Facebook, I am quite excited for the Christmas season. No, I don't have my tree up yet and no, I haven't broken out the Christmas CDs yet. Those can wait until after Thanksgiving. But yes, I have started planning all our fun activities and new decorations. And if a Christmas song happens to come on the radio in the car, well, that's not my fault, is it? To each his own!

The Red Kettle Kickoff is tri-purpose, as far as I could tell. 1) Recognize the businesses that support the Salvation Army, 2) Count the money that those businesses have already collected this year, and obviously, 3) Continue the fundraising efforts.

Amy was representing her office--Labor Ready of Salt Lake--and had her picture taken as one of the Kettle Captains. Again, sorry for the blurriness. Amy is in the black polka dot shirt in the middle right.

During the event, anyone could donate $25 or more and receive tickets to enter in the prize raffle. Mom and I combined our forces to get the $25 worth of tickets. We split the chances between us and Christopher. He put all his tickets in one basket and anxiously awaited that prize to be called.

Guess what? HE WON!

He had far and away the most enthusiasm of any winner all evening. When his number was called, he literally yelled out loud, jumped up and ran across the room to claim his prize. That just made the night.

The prize:

$100 off a night at Anniversary Inn
$25 gift certificate to Gastronomy Restaurants in Downtown SLC
A collection of candles, chocolates, and two decorative goblets

So, pretty much, I win, too!

Hooray for us!

Mom didn't win anything, even though she had the most tickets, but she did get to ring her bell a lot. Amy didn't win anything either, but she did get a really cool collectible Salvation Army nutcracker. All in all, it was a very fun evening.

And, to top it all off, we each got to take home our bells and soup bowls.

We're planning on going caroling sometime in December. We managed to pull together enough bells for each person in our family. Let me tell you, if Megan and Jane were ringing their bells outside a store, they would get a lot of donations on account of their sheer cuteness.