Thursday, January 18, 2018

Starting Our First Renovation

Happy Thursday! 

If you're a regular reader over here, then you may have noticed that I have been more quiet than usual this week. I try to post here daily, Monday - Friday, but this week has been a little off for our family.

As you may know, my husband has been partially laid-off from work since the week of Christmas. He was getting called-in a lot during that time so, partially laid-off really is the best way to put it. My husband, Nick, was still working an average of 3 days a week for the past few weeks. This week, however, Nick was told on Monday that there wasn't any other work for the rest of the week and so, we decided to take full advantage of his time off!

Being partially laid off is kind of a pain because you never want to really start anything at home since you might get called back in to work at any time but, when we got the news that he'd be off for the rest of this week, we took advantage of that by starting a project we've been talking about for 5 years!

Right now, we are knee deep in our first big home renovation! We are currently working on turning an upstairs closet into a 2nd bathroom!

This renovation was talked about a lot before Piper was born but, honestly, fear kept me from moving forward. Now, with "trust" being one of my focus words for 2018, I've been focusing more on trusting and believing that everything will work out just fine with this renovation. I am just not one for seeing giant holes in our walls and ceiling but, who is, really?!

Of course, when I say "we" are doing this renovation, I mostly mean Nick. We don't have the money to spend on a contractor so, Nick is doing this project all on his own, along with some advice and direction from my grandpa. 

Nick spent the past two days in demo-mode and, he got so much done during that time! All of the walls are torn out, one wall is down completely and the entire ceiling is removed. He is a demo-machine and I'm already so proud of his work on this project!

As for me, my major role in this renovation is easy and fun. I'm mainly helping pick out what will be installed in the end, which, I anticipate won't be for a while. 

Our initial deadline for this project is sometime in Spring but, we haven't even gotten to plumbing yet. The plumbing for this project could take a while, especially when Nick goes back to work and is mostly working on this project on the weekends. 

It will be fine though, there is no rush for this second bathroom which is why this was the perfect time to start the project to begin with. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fast + Slow Weekend Recap

I meant to post a weekend recap yesterday but, time got away from me.

This past weekend was a nice mix of fast and slow.

One of my favorite parts of our weekends lately is breakfast. Which is unusual for me because I am not a breakfast person. These new little breakfast calzones, however, have me feeling otherwise.

My breakfast calzones are basically just two Pillsbury crescent rolls filled with a half slice of deluxe american cheese, 1 piece of cooked turkey bacon and 1 scrambled egg. I made 4 at a time with one package of crescent rolls and it feeds my whole family. Nick usually eats two. Piper and I each usually only eat one. 

Each calzone is 330 calories. They are a nice warm, buttery, delicious breakfast during these cold winter months. I love to eat mine with a side of hot coffee to sip on. It's absolutely dreamy.

Okay, now to move on past breakfast...

On Saturday, we helped my little brother celebrate his 8th birthday at an arcade. It was so much fun! I had way too much pizza {like 4 slices} and a big slice of cake.

On Sunday, I decided to treat myself to a pedicure because 1. My feet have been so dry lately and, 2. I'm 5 lbs. down since the beginning of the year!

I sent a message to 4 of my girl friends to see if any of them wanted to join me for pedicures and lunch. Two of them decided to join and so we had a spontaneously fun girls afternoon! 

Those kinds of get-togethers are just good for the soul. Not only did my toes feel refreshed but, my soul did too.

And, lunch with the girls... oh my gosh, lunch was so good! 

I had a chicken wing salad which was basically boneless wings tossed in a gochujang mixture {a current favorite of mine} with a side of ranch. This salad was so big that it ended up being lunch and dinner for me.

At the end of the day, Nick, Piper and I ended up visiting my mom's house for my little brother's actual birthday and, had another slice of cake to end the weekend.

Thankfully, despite all of the eating out and cake consumed, I was only up 1 pound from the weekend and it's already gone now that it's Tuesday.

I have 4 pounds left to lose before my diet bet ends in 13 days and I'm determined to lose it while enjoying life lately!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Well That Was Humbling

Well, I did something very humbling yesterday...

I shared a short video on what I basically talked about a couple days ago, as far as calling it quits on my 30 by 30 challenge.

I've got to be honest, recording and watching that video back was a very humbling process.

Sometime during my 30 by 30 challenge, I had gotten down to about 20 pounds lighter than I weighed in last week. I watched a couple old videos on my YouTube channel and I could see that weight difference in my face.

While this is all very humbling for me to share my regression, it is all the more motivating. 

This is all part of the journey -- my journey, and I am going to be so proud of myself for choosing to continue on when I reach my goal weight. Actually, why wait? I am choosing to be proud of myself, now!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Three Years as a SAHM

Bare with me as I get a little nostalgic and ramble-y with you all today. Not like that's anything new. I feel nostalgic quite often but, today is something special. This whole week is something special!

3 years ago this week, I quit my career as a Paralegal to stay at home with my daughter, Piper. 

Wow! 3 years?! That went by so fast!

I can still remember the process of coming to the decision that I'd stay at home with my daughter. It all started one weekend when I was very pregnant with her. I was rocking in the chair in her nursery, reading one of my many baby books. I was rubbing my belly lovingly, happily anticipating what it would be like to have her in my arms, in her nursery, in that same chair one day.

As I was sitting quietly in her nursery, I let myself think about what it would be like to not have to go back to work after she arrived. I started thinking about how wonderful it would be to not have to travel an hour and a half round-trip each day, missing out on so much of her infancy. 

As I thought about all of this, I had this overwhelming calm come over me. I prayed on this question as to whether or not I should stay at home with Piper and, sometime around Thanksgiving that year {after many discussions and time spent running numbers with my husband} we came to the decision that me staying at home with her was the only choice for us.

Being a planner at heart, this leap of faith was a big one for me. I had a plan to stay at home with Piper for at least the first year of her life but, after that, it was all unknown. Before I knew it, I was in deep into the unknown. That "one year at home" turned into two years at home and, now... three years at home. Wow! I couldn't have ever imagined we'd be so blessed. 

I honestly still, to this day, do not know how we made it work this long. Mostly because, it wasn't our doing. It was God. All of the glory goes to Him.

Whenever I think about it, the numbers don't add up {math has never been my strong suit}. I was worried we wouldn't even be able to financially make it through the first year with me home but, here I am, still at home with my baby... now toddler, three years later.

Do I miss my career as a Paralegal? Yes! Absolutely, yes!

There have been times when I have gotten the opportunity to tell people what I use to do in my job and, it brings me so much joy to talk about it. Some of the protocols and resources I used in my work still flow out of my mouth like I never left to begin with. I love what I use to do and, I love that there's still people out there doing the job. It was a very special position I was in, and the longer I am out of that field, the more I admire those still doing the work.

In my old career, I was helping make a change in peoples lives. I helped make an impact. In my current position, staying at home with my daughter, the impact is closer to home. I left one of the best jobs to stay at home and work the best job.

While not every day is easy, it is so worth it here at home with Piper. All while she is growing herself, she is also growing me in ways that I couldn't have grown without this experience. Throughout my time at home with Piper, she has been helping me grow my patience, my empathy, my gratitude, my faith. I have such a deeper appreciation for this life and my role in it.

If you would have told me on my last day of work that I would be sitting here today, three years later, still at home with my daughter, I probably wouldn't have believed you. But, I would have hoped it was true. I am so glad it's true.

Now more than ever, I am deep into the unknown. I am not sure how much longer I'll be blessed with the opportunity stay at home and, I am not sure what's next for me. Thankfully, I don't need to really think about that right now. Being a mom has taught me to live more in the moment, and to just appreciate each day for what it is and what we have right now.

No matter what the future brings, I am so glad I have gotten the opportunity to stay at home all of this time; watching my daughter grow into the beautiful little girl she's become. I feel so fulfilled. I feel so content. I feel so blessed. God is good!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

30 by 30 - Calling It Quits

I know it's been a while since you've seen me mention the 30 by 30 challenge and that's mostly because I mentally and physically checked out from that challenge after my sister came home from Guam in November. Just being honest here!

I came up with the challenge originally in the Spring of last year and, I kept up with it for a while before losing hope. The holidays really put me behind and the goal of losing 30 pounds before my 30th birthday just became unrealistic. If I know one thing, it's to not hold on to unrealistic goals. It will just drag you down.

So, I'm letting it go. While it might not have been so unrealistic to begin with, as time went on, it became that way. I'm calling it quits on that unrealistic challenge to open myself up to some more realistic goals in my future.

Readers: Is there an expectation or goal you need to let go of in order to truly move forward? If you're willing to share, please sound off with a comment below! I'd love to help support you!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Keep Going, K?

I don't know about you but, I needed this little reminder today:


It doesn't happen overnight. You just have to keep going! Luckily, that's one thing I'm good at -- not giving up, even when faced with failure after failure.

I have been having a hard time sticking within my nutritional ranges lately. I've just been having a few extra-hungry days and, because of that, I've been going over calories left and right. The good news is that I have a way to balance it all out.

I haven't been very active lately but, that's about to change. It has to change! I need to start burning more some sort of calories to balance out my intake lately. I was going to say that I need to burn "more" calories but, I literally haven't been burning any {from exercise} to begin with. I think it's been about two months since I worked out. At least, that's what it feels like! So, I am going to start incorporating some exercise into my life.

I want to start out slow with just three dedicated times a week to work out. I want each workout to be 30 minutes at a minimum. For at-home workout days, I think I am going to work out during Piper's quite time in the afternoon. That's when I am usually the most tired during my day and maybe, if I work out, I will get a burst of energy from it. Here's to hoping, anyway!

I am also a member at the YMCA... I just haven't been there in a while. The snowy roads have been keeping me house-bound but, they are looking more clear lately so, if I get a chance to get out there, I'm going to try and take it!

Monday, January 8, 2018

10 Resources for Losing Weight

As promised last week, below are some resources I'm using to lose weight this month.

32 oz. Water Bottle - I have a filtered water bottle that holds 32 oz. of water at a time. If I drink 4 of these bottles full of water, I will have drank half of my body weight in ounces of water and, that is my goal for each day! 
Food Scale - less guesstimating and more knowing exactly how much I'm eating!
Aldi - a grocery store with a lot of healthy choices at nearly half of the price. We save anywhere from $25 to $50 each time we shop at Aldi. The expense of buying healthy food is no longer an excuse!
Accountability Partners - between my husband and a friend of mine, we have been keeping each other accountable each day.
Sparkpeople - some people use MyFitnessPal but, I've been a Sparkpeople girl for over 10 years now. This is the app I use to track my nutrition each day.
Diet Bet - this is my motivation to stay on track this month! I've got a diet bet to win! 
Meal Planning - this is essential. I plan out our dinners for each week so we have less excuse to order out (like we did all weekend -- face palm)
Meal Prepping - this is also crucial. I can buy as many heads of lettuce I want but, if it's not chopped up and stored away in a container, I am much less likely to actually eat it. I use Sundays for most of my meal prepping!
Sleep - I am trying to get better about going to bed before midnight. Sleep is so important!
8 Focus Words - focus words to help keep me... focused! You can find my list, here: 2018 Focus Words.
It's good for me to review this list today because, truth be told, I had a super off-track weekend. On Friday, we went out to dinner with some friends we haven't seen in a while; on Saturday night we went out to dinner with Nick's mom and stepdad, and; last night we ordered in stuffed pizza, subs and breadsticks to share. 

Holy moley did we go off track this weekend!

Thank God for a fresh week! I am putting my off-track weekend behind me and starting this Monday off with a full 32 oz. of water before anything else. 

Every day is a new start. Let's make this one count!

Friday, January 5, 2018

First Weigh-In for Diet Bet

Today is my first weigh-in day as part of my new Diet Bet. I am going to weigh in every Friday until the final weigh-in on January 28th.

This week went pretty well. I lost 3.3 lbs! Only 6.7 lbs. left to lose in 3 weeks. If I do that, then I win back my $35 and maybe some more!

I had a friend reach out to me last night about this Diet Bet. She made a really good point. She was saying how it's funny that things like decreasing our risk for diabetes, heart disease and other ailments isn't motivation enough to lose weight but, when we bet money against ourselves, the motivation is through the roof.

I know that sounds bad but, it's kind of true. I don't really think it's because of greed with money so much as one might think, either. I mean, that was my first thought. Haha.

I really think it's more because winning our money back is a short-term battle in comparison to fighting those big ailments. Winning a Diet Bet is something that seems a little more in our control than fighting heart disease; something that strikes more than just obese people. 

Is battling big ailments, such as those mentioned, motivation to stay healthy? Sure it absolutely is but, it's easy to get distracted along the way when you're fighting a life-long battle like that. See Exhibit A: Me

However, betting money and trying to win it back within 4 weeks is definitely something I should be able to handle doing without getting too distracted along the way. I mean, fingers crossed, right?!

Losing 3 pounds in this first week motivates me to continue doing well over the weekend.

Some things I want to remind myself for next week:
- I did fairly well drinking 120 ounces of water each day this past week. I need to stick to it in the coming week to stay successful! 
- Moderation > Deprivation. Don't get sucked into thinking you aren't allowed to have certain things because you're in this Diet Bet. I ate sponge candy, indulging a couple time this week and I still lost weight. I don't have to deprive myself to lose weight; that just causes me to binge. Moderate. 
- Keep tracking nutrition, even when you indulge. Even if you go over, track it! 
- Try to increase activity in the coming week. The snow has been keeping me indoors and away from the gym but, that doesn't mean I can't stay active around the house. Either get out to the gym this week or start an in-house routine.

Well, that's all I have for this Friday! I hope your first week in January was a success and, if it wasn't very successful in your eyes, just remember, each day is a fresh start.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Diet Bet

If you recall, last year I hosted a HealthyWage challenge where myself, my husband and many others bet $60 each that we could lose 6% of our body weight in 12 weeks. The HealthyWage challenge was a success! My husband and I both lost the weight we needed to lose, we won our money back, and then some.

Over the past few weeks, my husband and I have been tossing around the idea of doing some sort of a bet like this again. It wasn't until after talking to a friend on New Year's Eve, who is also joining a new diet bet, that we finally decided to join in, too. It helps to know you're not the only one working on a weight-loss goal. Accountability partners, such as my husband and friend, help so much.

This time around, my husband and I joined a Diet Bet where we each bet $35 that we will lose 4% of our body weight in 4 weeks.


The pressure is on! Last time, we had 3 months to lose our 6% and now, we've only got 4 weeks to lose 4%. There's no messing around, here!

While it's true that each day always counts, when you have such a short turn-around, it makes that fact ring even more true. I am looking forward to this short-term goal of losing 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks!

4% of my body weight is nearly 10 pounds. Since I weighed in at 248 lbs. on January 1st, this challenge will bring me down to about 238 lbs. by the end of January. That will be most of my holiday weight gain, gone! I am so ready to say goodbye to my holiday weight gain.

Tomorrow I'm going to share all of the resources I'll be using to help me win this diet bet and lose 10 pounds in January! See you then!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2017's Holiday Weight Gain

Holiday weight gain. Ugh. I've been avoiding this topic for a little while, mostly because I wanted to start the new year on a positive note.

I'm not going to make any excuses, I'm just going to share the facts.

The holiday weight gain this year was an insane amount. I'm talking, I went from 234 lbs. before Thanksgiving to 248 lbs. on New Year's Day. That's 14 pounds. 14 pounds I've gained over the holidays.

"Yikes and zoinks", as my daughter would say.

As the number on the scale quickly increased, I became a little paralyzed. I felt stuck. I was right in the middle of back-to-back holidays and, instead of stressing out about the number on the scale, I decided to ignore it so I could enjoy myself with my family.

That was both good and bad.

Come to find, there's a difference between just "enjoying the holidays" and, using it as an excuse to binge in between gatherings, too. I was overeating more than just during the holidays and that's what really caused the intense weight gain.

With all that being said, it's going to be okay. I think it's important to remind ourselves that when we feel defeated by the number on the scale. After all, “You don't drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” -Edwin Louis Cole. 

I love that quote! I'm not stuck here. I'm not going to let myself drown. I'm taking some necessary steps to start working off this holiday weight gain, some of which I'll share in a post very soon!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

8 Focus Words for 2018

As I did last year, instead of making a New Year Resolution for 2018, I am sharing some focus words for myself, instead. If you're interested in seeing my focus words from 2017, you can find them here: 7 Focus Words for 2017.

After much reflection, I have chose the following 8 Focus Words for 2018 to help guide me in growth this year.

Vitality: the state of being strong and active; energy 
In 2018, I want to focus on more than just losing weight. I want to be strong and active, too. I want to have more energy. I want to increase my vitality this year.
Vitality Plan: Utilize our YMCA membership often and, when the weather gets warmer, be more active outside.
Equanimity: mental calmness
In 2018, I want to focus on self care in general and, one way that I can do that is by seeking and maintaining mental calmness; equanimity. If you recall, this was one of my focus words in 2017. Since I often battle anxiety, practicing equanimity is very important to me so, I'm bringing it back in to focus for 2018. 
Equanimity Plan: Wake up before Piper during most work-week days; practice more meditation; dive in to my bible study and prayer journal.
Patience: capacity to accept or tolerate delay or suffering without irritation 
This one kind of cracks me up because, I'm the parent of an almost-three-year old. Of course I've got problems with patience but, nonetheless, it's something I want to work on this year. 
Patience Plan: Keep perspective this year. Use daily affirmations. You're the mother of a three year old. This is just a season. Patience is a virtue. Patience grows with practice.
Flexibility: the quality of bending easily without breaking
This is something that I've been wanting to work on for a while. The fun thing is that this focus word has a double meaning for me. Not only do I want to become more flexible physically, I also want to be more flexible with my time {see: focus word, generosity}. 
Flexibility Plan: Stretch daily when possible and most definitely after every work out this year. Keep myself accountable with progress updates.
Trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something
My husband actually gave me this focus word and I wanted to cry with relief because, he couldn't be more right. Trust is a real struggle for me and, the more that I reflect on this fact, the more I realize that lack of trust is probably the root of most anxiety. Thankfully, I do not have any issue trusting my husband, God gave me a good one, but, I struggle more in the sense of trusting that everything will be okay.  
Most of my anxiety comes from worrying about things that actually don't ever even end up happening. Maybe if I would just trust that everything will be okay then I will experience much less anxiety in 2018.
Trust Plan: Whenever I catch myself becoming anxious about the possibility of something going wrong, I will pray and trust that everything will be okay.
Savor: to give oneself to the enjoyment of
I want to savor what each season brings this year without wishing any time away. Even the harder seasons, like the ones that drop 5 feet of snow on you in just a couple days. {Hah!} I want to look for the silver lining in everything and, savor all that is to come.
I also want to focus on savoring my food more, too. As a toddler-mom, I've developed the habit of scarfing down my food fast, while I have the chance. I've noticed that I've been eating fast, even when I have plenty of time, too. I want to break this habit; to start savoring my food more. 
Savor Plan: Eat more slowly, really taste when I'm eating. Be more aware of when I'm getting full. Appreciate every season, for what it's worth.
Generosity: showing a readiness to give more of something than is necessary or expected
This is another word my husband lovingly brought to light for me and, as shameful as it is, he is totally right. I am not as generous as I would like to be and, that mostly comes from being stingy with my time and also, a fear of being taken advantage of by the wrong people.
In 2018, I'm going to let go of my fear of us being taken advantage of by becoming more generous. A pastor from our church made a good point that really opened my heart to growth in this area. He said, in other words, that "it is worth being taken advantage of if it's for the glory of God". By being more generous with things, such as our time, we are being ambassadors for Christ. I want to be more of an ambassador for Christ this year. 
Generosity Plan: Volunteer more with the church and others. Cook meals for others "just because".
Well, it would be silly to give a definition for this one, wouldn't it?  Mainly, I just want to practice breathing more intentionally this year. This focus word is also a reminder for me to slow down; that "slow" isn't a bad thing. It's a blessing.
Breathing Plan: Practice deep breathing during quiet moments and, during meditation. Remember that slowing down is a blessing.
I love using focus words instead of resolutions. It's like a theme of growth and, it's so inspiring to me.

Speaking of theme's, I am wondering if picking a theme song for 2018 would be taking it all a little too far? Really, though. I think focus words are great and, if I were to pick a theme song for the year ahead, I have the perfect one in mind.

"I Point To You" by We Are Messengers.

I am so inspired and ready for growth in 2018. How about you?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Hello 2018

Hello, 2018.

There's something so inspiring about the start of a new year. I have arrived in 2018 with a great sense of contentment. Maybe it's because I'm writing this post with a hot cup on cinnamon chai tea next to me or, because I'm in my big fluffy robe with a beautiful view of snow falling; blanketing everything in sight outside my window. Either way, my heart is content, my mind is calm and, I'm optimistic about this new year we're in.

Thanks to a couple heavy rounds of lake effect snow in our area, we've been relatively snowed in since Christmas. We even made national news because of how much snow we've gotten in so little time. According to the National Weather Channel, we've been making records over here. Here's a little glimpse into our snowy situation: BuzzFeed News.

It's been quite lovely to be snowed in, actually. Nick has been laid off from work due to it being a slow season and, we haven't had anywhere we've needed to be. We've just kind of been hibernating here; watching the big flakes fall outside from inside our warm home while drinking lots of hot tea and coffee together. It's been wonderful, peaceful; I feel restored.

Since we've been snowed in, I've had a lot of time to sit and reflect on the past year and envision my own growth for 2018. I want to grow in patience, flexibility, trust, generosity, and vitality. I want to breathe more and savor each moment in the year to come. I've made a list of 8 Focus Words for 2018 and, I look forward to sharing them with you soon.

As for New Year Resolutions, I don't have any resolutions to make in particular. Losing weight is always a goal, of course, but, I don't want to focus solely on that this year. 

For the beginning of 2018, my priorities are going to be geared more toward self-care. I want to drink more water, stretch, become more active, eat well, listen to more music, drink hot tea in the afternoons, allow myself some quiet time, use my new bible study and prayer journals, take my vitamins, build myself up spiritually, physically and otherwise. I think if I do all of that, the weight will drop naturally but, that's not my sole motivation and, that feels nice. It feels right.

As much as I am eager to jump right in to 2018, I also want to savor this season. I am actually quite thankful for the snow and, how much we've received. I see it as an opportunity to slow down; a welcomed opportunity, indeed.