Thursday, April 28, 2016

Snickers + Cake + More Confessions

I have another confession to make. By now, you may be wondering, how many confessions can a girl really make? I'll let you know when I find out, myself.

Finally, this is a confession that I'm proud to share. Are you ready for it? Here's my confession: I am killing it this week; all while eating snickers and cake. I peaked at the scale this morning and I think I'll be so bold to say that I will be ending the month below the weight in which I started. Oh yeah!

I am also telling you the truth when I say that I ate a (king size) snickers the same night that I ate a piece of my grandma's homemade cake. I have a good explanation as to why that happened! Here's the deal.

On Tuesday, I went to vote right after going to my Jazzercise class. At the poll place they had a bag of fun size snickers they were giving away. I was going to grab one, but then I got distracted and next thing I know, I was voting and out of there. When I got back in my car, I realized that I really wanted a snickers. So, I decided to go get one from the store. I ate the snickers in the car and I was one very happy girl.

When I got home, I was surprised to see that my grandma had dropped off cake for us. If you follow me on snapchat, you would have seen this snap below, and now it should all make sense to you.

Snapchat username: goaloflosing

Anyway, I had a piece of the cake (because I cannot refuse my grandma's cake with homemade icing) and then I drank a lot of water. I didn't feel too guilty about it because of two things. 

Reason # 1: Before eating the snickers and cake, I had burned about 400 calories at Jazzercise class.

Reason #2: I just finished drinking a total of 128 ounces of water for the day. 

So that, my friends, is how I can consider eating snickers and cake in the same night a win. It's all about balance.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Napping = Me Time

I have a confession to make; a confession about a pet peeve of mine from when Piper was a newborn. I use to cringe when people would tell me "sleep when baby sleeps". 

I didn't want to sleep when Piper was sleeping. At the time, I felt like her nap time was the only time when I could be me instead of mom. Looking back now, I wish I would have napped a little more while she would nap. 

After reviewing this guide from Casper (the sleep start up that created the perfect mattress, sheets and pillow for everyone), I think that taking a nap would have helped me feel better in the long run, even if it meant I didn't get as much "me time". Although, according to "the science" portion of how we can benefit from naps below, I guess napping really should be considered "me time", after all. I'm loving this guide from Casper!

Piper is 15 months old now and these days, I have been known to take a nap a time or two throughout the week. Since I'm a stay-at-home mom, it's a perk of the job that I can take a nap when Piper naps. So, of course I take advantage of that from time to time. Actually, my goal is to take advantage of nap time for myself more often.

I usually only take a 20 minute nap, when I do nap. I'm glad to see from this guide from Casper that I'm doing it right! I have found that if I nap for too long, I don't want to get back up. Anything under 30 minutes of napping does wonders for me! I feel like I push the reset button when I take a nap. Some days, that can be a good thing for Piper and I both!

Back when I use to work a 9-5 job in the office, I took naps at work, too. (Shh. Don't tell my old boss. Just kidding. You can tell her.) I'd say it was a couple times a week that I would actually take a 15 minute nap in my car during lunch. I especially could be found doing this during my pregnancy with Piper. I found that when I would take a nap on my lunch hour at work, I would get more done in the afternoon. Win for me, and win for my boss.

Readers: Do you enjoy taking naps? How long is your ideal nap?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Family Trail Walking

Nick took off work yesterday and so we decided to make the most of our day together.

Yesterday, Nick and I took Piper to an old trail that we use to bike and walk on back when it was just the two of us. It was so nice to be back on the trail, especially now that we have Piper with us.

While on the trail with Nick and Piper, I had a moment when I could literally feel my heart swell with love and happiness. It was when I remembered a conversation I had with Nick a few years ago on that same trail. I remembered we were talking about how nice it would be to "one day" visit the trail with our future child. That day has come and it was a beautiful day!

We walked for about a mile until we came upon a gazebo. That's where we decided to camp out for a picnic lunch. For lunch, I packed some mandarin oranges, green beans and turkey for Piper. Nick and I both had a ham and swiss sandwich. 

We all sat on a blanket in the gazebo. With us being surrounded by the sounds of the outdoors, I'd have to say this was the most peaceful lunch I think we could have with a toddler. To be honest though, most meals are peaceful when there's food in front of Piper. She loves food just as much as we do!

After the lunch, we walked another mile. During that mile, we were able to see a creek with fast running water beside the trail. That was Piper's favorite part of the trail. She kept pointing and saying "fish". We took a couple breaks to enjoy the sound and sight of the water flowing by.

After walking two miles, we decided it was a good time to turn around. Piper was all smiles the entire walk. She would occasionally chime in to our conversation with random baby babble and would be found pointing at birds along the path.

I was very surprised to find that we were on the trail for two hours (I burned 700 calories!). Piper was so good for the entire walk and we all had the best time! If anything, Piper wanted to be pushed around for even longer. Maybe next time!

I am glad that Piper so easily enjoys the same things that Nick and I enjoy. Trail walks are definitely a family favorite.

After the trail walk, we went to a frozen custard shop nearby. Piper was only 5 months old when she first tried the frozen custard at this shop. I can honestly say that at 15 months, she still loves their frozen custard.

All in all, I think it's safe to say that we owned Monday.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Erie Zoo Membership

I don't know who is more excited about us getting our first zoo membership; Piper, Nick or myself? I think I'm most excited but, then again, I'm biased!

Piper is 15 months old right now and she is finally old enough to thoroughly enjoy the zoo. It feels so surreal that this part of our life has begun. It's the part of our life when have a toddler. It's the part when we're constantly learn new things about who Piper is as a person and exactly what she likes to do. It's the part when Piper is eager to explore and we're eager to show her new things.

I'm sure most kids are animal-lovers but, that isn't even a question for Piper. She loves all the animals. Nothing makes Piper laugh more than watching animals. Seeing Piper's face light up at the zoo lights up a piece of my soul. It never gets old. I love it.

After all said and done, the zoo membership cost about $100.00 for our family. We got the family plus package which covers Piper, Nick and I for the entire year and it also included 10 guest passes for our family and friends (we already only have 6 guest passes left).

On top of the family membership, we also bought 10 tickets for the train and carousel. They were offered in a pack at a discounted rate. We've already used our carousel tickets a few times! I'm excited to see what Piper thinks of the train, soon.

Another plus about our zoo membership is that it will also get us in to other zoo's at a discounted rate. We have scheduled a trip to the Pittsburgh zoo in July and we're planning to go to the Cleveland zoo in August. It's going to be a zoo-filled summer!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ending the Month Where I Started

The sun is shining here and I hope the sun is shining where you are, too. 

This morning has been really easy so far; easy like Sunday morning.

Today I'm writing to share my meal and exercise plan for the week. This is the last week of my April challenge, so I'm going to make it count! 

I am down a pound from last weekend (250 lbs down to 249 lbs) and I'm planning to lose at least two more pounds this week. If you've been reading my posts these past couple weeks, then you know I haven't been completely "on track". In knowing this, my new goal is to just end the month where I started (247 lbs).

As I wrote out my meal plan for dinner's this week, I realized that I was going to have rice every single night this week. So, I mixed it up a bit for Thursday and I'll be having noodles with that stir fry.

Meal Plan:

Sunday: Braised Chicken Drumsticks in Tomatillo Sauce w/ Rice
Monday: Burrito Bowl
Tuesday: Burrito Bowl
Wednesday: Kielbasa + Vegetable Stir Fry w/ Rice
Thursday: Chicken + Asparagus Stir Fry w/ Noodles
Friday: Jamaican Coconut Stew w/ Rice

If you couldn't tell, I'm loving all things south of the boarder right now. Burrito bowls, Jamaican Stew and Tomatillo Chicken - yum! 

Exercise Plan:

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Walk
Tuesday: Jazzercise
Wednesday: Walk
Thursday: Walk
Friday: Rest

Once Piper wakes up from her morning nap, she is going to help her dada mow the lawn. Then, we will be going to a party for my youngest sister, Anna, as she celebrates her First Holy Communion. If it's still warm out, we may take a family walk, later.

Readers: What are your plans for the rest of the day? What are your plans for the week?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Perfect Isn't the Plan

Today I am clinging onto to this quote from Ann Voskamp.

"So what if your life's going to be messy. Perfect isn't the plan. Purpose is." 
- Ann Voskamp

This quote is very appropriate for where I am currently in my weight loss journey. I feel like I'm on my knees, trying to get up, only to stumble back down. I feel like I've been down there for a while now. I feel like I've been there for years, because, well, I have been. 

Two years ago today, I was pregnant. One year ago today, I was a new mom. Today, I am a mother to a toddler. New motherhood has turned into just plain motherhood. I have been left wondering when things were going to click back to normal. When will I get my act together? Essentially, I wondered, when will things go according to my perfect plan? Then, I was reminded today that "life's going to be messy. perfect isn't the plan. purpose is."

My purpose for wanting to lose weight and become more healthy is truly for myself and my family. It's a good thing that perfect isn't the plan because I've quickly come to find that no plan goes perfectly when a toddler is involved. 

While it's tempting to just wait to work on myself until my toddler is a child, I feel like I've already "waited" long enough. I want to be healthier now, for my toddler, while she is still a toddler. I want to be as active as I can be with my toddler. I don't want to wait any longer, and I don't want my baby left waiting, either. Today I'm reminded that perfect isn't the plan, but purpose is. What is your purpose?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Life is Messy

Yesterday's post was sad. I am still sad myself, so, I thought I would use today to share some good things that happened this week. Spoiler alert: Piper is a big part of this post.

Piper got to ride on two tractors this week! One with our friends Greg and Leah and, another with our friends, Steve and Mindy. Piper is a big fan of tractor rides!

This week, Piper also learned what summer sledding is all about. Steve took her for rides around the yard for about 10 minutes. The faster the better. She's a little daredevil, this one.

My sister, Beckah, came over to visit twice this week! We had a few beautiful days and so we took full advantage of them. I even got to hang some laundry outside for the first time this year. Piper didn't mind it either because, Aunt Beckah pushed her in the swing the whole time.

On Wednesday night, Nick and I took Piper out to eat at our favorite local sports bar. Piper ate all the pickles, all of her grilled cheese and most of her applesauce.

Piper is really big on using straws to drink with right now. We have a stash of straws in the diaper bag just so she can chew on them. Straws are her favorite.

I know that I started out this week wanting to eat healthier and make healthier choices, but the truth is that I haven't been able to focus much on myself. I've come to find that just happens some weeks. Last week it was work, this week it was a friend in need; it's just a part of life. 

Eating out on Wednesday night as a family made us feel connected. It was a connection we needed as we found ourselves right in the thick of a sad week. For that, I have no regrets.


Life can be messy; life can be hard; life can be beautiful. It's what makes this journey so worth it.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

It's Not All Okay

I wasn't sure if I was going to write about this thing that has been happening behind the scenes of my life but, I just don't think that I'd be doing myself justice by keeping it all in and acting like everything is okay, because it's not all okay right now. 

In between all of the happy moments that have happened this week, there has been a devastating tragedy. My friend lost her brother in a car accident on Monday. My heart is broken for her and her family. Michael was only 22. 

I have learned so much more about Michael this week. Emily, her family, and Michael's friends did a beautiful job today at sharing who Michael was to them, and how he touched their lives. It's very apparent that Michael has a good soul and my heart is sad that they will be without him, until they meet again.

My mother-in-law, my husband and grandma have all been really supportive in helping me be there for my friend. My mother-in-law watched Piper for me so that I was able to spend some time with my friend on Tuesday. On Tuesday, I drove my friend around so she could pick up pictures and get a suit coat for her dad, On Wednesday and today, my grandma watched Piper so I could go to the showing with Nick, and the funeral today. 

Nothing has meant more to me than being able to be there for my friend this week. I'm so thankful for my family's support so I could do so.

God bless my friend and her family.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

3X and 4X

First, I must say, I love seeing Piper's pigtails in my rear view mirror during our travels together. We recently switched to a rear-facing big-girl seat and we are both loving it! It's been a long time coming. Piper has so much more room in this seat, now. Our goal is to keep her rear facing until she is two years old and I hope we'll make it that long. At 14 months old (okay - 15 months tomorrow), our girl is already the size of some two year old's.

Our Tuesday travels included a trip to Walmart. Piper loves to go shopping! She is such a good shopper. We haven't ever had any troubles shopping with her but now that I'm typing that out I feel like I need to knock on wood. I know the terrible twos are coming eventually (we actually already get a taste of the tantrums every once in a while). I just hope they don't interfere with our shopping trips. She's my favorite little shopping buddy!

While we were at Walmart, I bought new shoes for my girl and a few things for myself, too. I bought two new workout tops. I don't usually buy shirts with pictures or sayings on them but I really liked this one workout shirt that said "mind over matter"; so, so true. I bought my workout shirts in size 4X because, well, I like my workout shirts big and comfy!

While at Walmart, I also bought a couple of casual shirts, too. They are tunic length which is very necessary for me in this time of life. I bought these shirts in size 3X. I've been looking for some more flow-y, long shirts to just be comfortable in. These were it!

I'm not super happy about having to buy 3X and 4X clothes but, I know this is just temporary. I will get back down in size, I just need to work on it.

Speaking of working on it, I have been. On Monday and Tuesday I met my water goal of 100 ounces each day. I did keep track of my calories for the most part, even though I didn't post pictures on my Instagram account like I originally hoped to do. I went over calories last night but, when I peaked at the scale this morning I was already down a pound for the week and it's only mid-week. I'll take it!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Feeling Uncomfortable

Nice weather has once again hit our area. I am hoping it is finally here to stay? I am also hoping I didn't just jinx that. Anyway, I have noticed that with this nice weather, I am starting to wear some more of my pre-pregnancy clothes. Another thing I am noticing is that these pre-pregnancy clothes are not feeling so great on me these days.

It probably didn't help that I just went on a three day comfort food binge with my husband all weekend. I'm talking Chinese food on Friday, pizza and wings on Saturday and subs with a side of cheese sticks on Sunday. Yeah, I'm up three pounds now. Check me in at 250 lbs even. Oy vey.

Today, I feel like I have just come out of hibernation. It's not just because my clothes are fitting tighter than before, either. The weight (20 lbs) that I gained during hibernation (i.e. the past year or so) has never been so apparent until I tried doing some of the things I could do so easily before. Walking around the zoo (twice this past weekend) made me more tired than I imagined it would have. Doing things such as walking around the park made my muscles ache for days. 

To say that I'm out of shape is an understatement but, what I'm more concerned about is that I'm out of shape compared to how out of shape I was before. While this realization could easily become discouraging, I am choosing for this to be even more motivation to lose weight. 

Doing simple things like sitting isn't even comfortable right now with all this extra weight on my bones. I can feel it the extra weight on my body. I am more aware of it. I am carrying 20 extra pounds on my body than I was use to, pre-pregnancy. I can feel the extra weight in my stomach resting on my lap when I sit. I can feel it under my side when I lay down at night. I'm not psychically comfortable in my own skin. It's a constant reminder of why I need to do this, now.

So, today I stayed on track. I ate within my calories and I'm working on finishing up 100 ounces of water right now. When my husband gets home from his night class, I'm going to go for a walk outside. I'm doing this.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Working for a Three Day Weekend

The weather is slowly getting warmer and warmer every day! That's a good thing, too. I am almost fully caught up on all of my banner orders from the week. My goal is to finish up my orders today and make this weekend a three day weekend, starting tomorrow.

Friday, I have big plans for my girl Piper, but first let me tell you a little about last night. When Nick got home, we made dinner and headed over to my moms house. Piper played with my mom for a bit while Nick and I went out for a walk, just the two of us. It's really nice to do that sometimes; especially this week since I've been working on my business in the evenings, which is usually our time together!

It was still a little chilly last night, as you can tell by Nick's face, but as we walked together I could smell the promise of warmer weather in the air. Warmer weather is coming!

When we got back to my moms house last night, Nick played legos with Piper. Mostly, he built a truck while Piper threw legos all around. It was cute to watch.

Dinner was another burrito bowl. Since I ate mine on a plate, I guess I should call it a deconstructed burrito, instead. Regardless, it was amazing! I like to sprinkle a little cajun seasoning on top to finish it off. Then, you mix it all together and go to heaven for a couple minutes. It's just that good!

This morning, I was so excited to receive our family zoo membership in the mail. I haven't been this excited to go to the zoo in my life. Piper is totally head over heals for all animals right now. We are going to have a blast this year!

Our zoo membership card coming in the mail is the motivation I needed to get the rest of my work done for the shop, today. Tomorrow I am taking Piper to the zoo! Three day weekend, here I come!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Staying Healthy During Record Sales Week

This week is another busy week, but the difference between this week and last week is that I'm not just bouncing from one thing to the next; I'm more in control of my time. In result, I have been eating healthier meals, I've been drinking more water and I've been getting some time on the treadmill each day.

On Monday morning, I was very surprised to find that I had a record sales week ahead of me. To have a record sales week for my Etsy shop on a Monday is just insane. I knew that I had received a lot of orders over the weekend, but I didn't realize how many orders I had until I went through it all.

It's Wednesday now and I've got about half of my orders done. These past couple days I have worked during Piper's solo play times; I have worked during her naps, and; I worked in the evenings after she went to bed. 

I'm halfway in and I already feel like I've done a pretty good job at spreading myself around during this record sales week. Instead of just bouncing from one thing to the next, I feel more grounded and in control of my time and goals.

Having healthy meals throughout the day really helps. I had leftover homemade chicken cordon bleu for lunch on Monday, followed by the most amazing burrito bowl of my life for dinner. Both of those meals were quick and I was able to share with Piper. We were two happy ladies!

On Tuesday night, my mother-in-law came over to spend some time with Piper. Usually I would use that time to go to Jazzercise but since I had gotten some treadmill time in that day, I visited with her for a bit, instead. After a little bit of visiting, I got to work on my banners. It was so nice to be able to get some work done all while listening to Piper and Nina read books in the other room. Little things like this make my heart so full. 

I am now convinced that there is no better way to work than with the sound of Piper's baby babble and Nina's stories in the background. It was then that I was reminded that I am exactly right where I am suppose to be. Every now and then, I need to be reminded that I made the right choice in leaving my office job last year to be home with my girl. Doing this work at home is such an amazing blessing! This was just the reminder and motivation I needed to make it through the rest of my record sales week.

Our family and our God is so good.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pushing Through A False Start

The first week of my April challenge was pretty much a false start. I felt motivated to put me first and work toward my goals but then the craziness of life took over. Each day, I started out taking pictures of the food that I ate, in effort to keep track of my calories. Each day, I also let something get me off track.

Last week, I had a lot distracting me from my goals. I let those distractions come first before myself and so I was left stressed out by the end of each day. 

My biggest stress of last week came from being hurt by a friend and that took a couple days to sort out. I still don't think my friend understands why I was hurt. There was no sincere apology from my friend, but, it's a sensitive time and, in the end, I'm not in control of how other people act; so, I'm letting it go. 

On top of that, there was a lot of work to do for my business last week and also, I was to be a part of a bridal shower come Saturday. Like I said, there was just a lot going on. I didn't really focus much on myself.

The funny thing is that I had a lot more running around to do last week than I should have and that's my own fault. I was in charge of making a wine basket for the bridal shower but, my husband and I kept drinking the wine. Oops! Three bottles of wine later, Saturday came and the wine was finally out of my house! The lesson here is that I can't have wine in my house. Lesson learned!

Needless to say, night time snacking (and drinking wine) made a comeback last week. I would do fairly well all day and then I would sabotage myself in the evening. I used the wine to wash away the stresses of my day. In turn, it made me hold on to my weight.

This week, I am starting out at the same weight as last week. I am at 247 lbs. I'm glad that I didn't gain any weight but, at the same time, I am just feeling very ready to lose this weight! I saw some pictures of myself from the shower and I notice more weight in my face than I had this time last year. I'm ready to change that!

I'm pushing through my false start from last week. This is me not getting discouraged. This is me never giving up!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Old Tricks for a New Dog

I've been using an old trick to keep track of how much water I'm drinking each day. It's a trick that I came up with back when I worked as a Paralegal. Let's say it's an old trick for a new dog.

At the office I use to work at, there was a water fountain where we could refill our drinks. Refill after refill of water, I would often lose track of which refill I was on. Does this ever happen to you?

On my disposable bottles, I would just use a marker to tally which refill I was on, however; when I started using more eco-friendly bottles, that solution wasn't going to work anymore. That's when I started using tape and a marker to fix that.

I've also started writing my goals out old school style (with paper and pencil). I've hung my goals where I can see them, as a daily reminder of what I'm working toward.

My goals for the month of April are to drink 100 oz. of water each day, go to jazzercise 1-3x per week, walk on the treadmill or outside 2x per week, track calories and do my weekly weigh-in's.

It's mid-week of my April challenge and today was definitely a good day for me to check in with my goals. I haven't been doing the best job, so far.

Monday, as you may have read from my last post, was a really busy day for my business. There wasn't much routine in my Tuesday, either. I went shopping at the mall with my toddler, Piper, and my sister, Beckah. It was a lot of fun, but it was also last minute and so I was thrown off my routine a bit.

When there isn't much routine in my day, I don't do a very good job tracking the calories I consume and I definitely don't schedule time aside for me to exercise.

The week isn't over, though. Today is a new day and I'm planning ahead. I'm planning on going to jazzercise this evening, and I'm already working on my water intake for the day. My breakfast is tracked on my food journal through and I'm ready to rock!

Monday, April 4, 2016

April 2016 Challenge - Week One

The first week of my April Challenge has begun! Oh yeah!

Today was a crazy one. I feel like I hit the ground running as soon as I got out of bed this morning at 5:30 a.m. It's 7 p.m. now (I just put Piper down for the night and I'm starting to write this post) and I'm still going. I will be relaxing after this post; it's a promise to myself.

Most of today's craziness came from needing to get five banners made for my Etsy shop; four of which needed to be out the door today. Trying to craft five banners with a toddler around is tricky business. Literally, I have to trick my toddler into thinking she is helping me make these banners. 

Thankfully, Piper really likes to play with used post-it notes and burlap scraps. Please, don't judge. It's insanity! It is tough work trying to get my work done in between making Piper breakfast, lunch and providing entertain to her but, I met my deadline and got everything that needed to be out today, out. Phew!

After Piper and I went to the post office (might I add, the second post office we went to, since the first one didn't have working card readers), I decided that Piper deserved a treat for being such a good girl while mommy worked. So, I took her to the library. We had a lot of fun! It was a great treat for the both of us, actually! After working almost non-stop, it was really nice to just sit and play with Piper. It helped eliminate any mom-guilt I had from working all morning, too.

I just couldn't believe how much older Piper seems since our last visit to the library. She was running all around, picking out books and toys to play with. Sometimes, I am still shocked to realize that I'm raising a toddler. She's pretty amazing, that little toddler of mine.

Anyway, enough of how my day went and onward to the real purpose of the post. It's the first week of my challenge and I promised to share with you my dinner meal plan for the week. So, here it is:

Meal plan for the week:

Sunday: frozen pizzas

Monday: chicken salad

Tuesday: chef salad

Wednesday: fish w/ broccoli & sweet potatoes

Thursday: taco salads

Friday: stuffed chicken w/ sweet potatoes & broccoli

Saturday: bbq chicken with sweet potatoes

Last night, my husband and I had frozen pizza for dinner and; while that may not sound very appetizing, I can tell you that when frozen pizza is paired with a cheap glass of wine (on the couch with my man) it is mighty delicious!