Saturday, April 25, 2015

Comparison Picture

I just hate to get my picture taken.  I know I mentioned this not too awfully long ago.  Not only is my body heavy, but my face seems to be one of the first places to show a gain!  I have some heavy friends who still have a longer shaped face instead of my round shaped face, and they look awesome in their pictures!  I'm not one of those people.

I know I posted a selfie of myself in my piled-up living room the other day.  I wasn't ashamed to post that picture.  Yes, I'm still heavy, but my face didn't have 5 chins hanging from it.  LOL

My husband has been saying over the last little while, "You look like you're losing inches."  Now lately, I haven't been very faithful to exercise.  At least not for the last 3 weeks.  But I have noticed a couple of my knit skirts keep having to be yanked up during the day because they start riding lower.  When I get really confident, I'll wear button-up skirts again.  Ha!

So I'm sitting here right now writing on pictures that I've had printed that range back to October of 2014.  In November, my husband preached a revival.  I made friends with a lady there, also named Staci but spelled differently.  She wanted to take pics of us together and our kids together the last night.  She is a breast cancer survivor, by the way, even at her young age!!!  She used to be heavy herself, but she lost weight with WW several years back and has kept it off.  I remember dreading to have my picture taken, but I smiled anyway.

This was the result, and I have LOATHED this picture.  Oh, my face!  The double chin is very obvious, and my poor eyes barely have room to open from the heaviness of my cheeks.  This has been a most-hated picture!

While writing on it just now, I realized my face didn't look nearly that heavy in my selfie from the other day (thank heavens).

Who knows.  Maybe it is just a difference in camera angle.  I know that can definitely make a difference.  Perhaps I am not smiling as big.  Regardless, it gave me motivation to keep up with the exercise because maybe, just maybe, my body really is responding to it ever so slightly and will continue to do so!

Friday, April 24, 2015

I Hate Hormones

I have been the crabbiest of all crabs today.  I just wanted to come here and confess that.  Lol  I don't know why my hormones get SO out of whack some months and not others!!  Actually, I should put 2 and 2 together.  I have stayed up late every single night this week and slept in every single morning.  I have read time and time again that this will unbalance a woman's hormones.  Also, it puts me in a bad mood because, even though we are getting everything done, we are RUSHING to get it done (which is stressful) rather than having a peaceful day where everyone knows what to do when and does it.

Last night, I stayed up reading until 3 am.  This is why I no longer read!  I can't put a book down.  I really can't.  I started reading it at 10:30 pm and finished it just before 3:00 am.  It was called An Unlikely Friendship and told the stories of Mary Todd Lincoln and her freed slave seamstress, Elizabeth Keckley.  It is here.  I got it at the library just because the kids were checking out books.  It was on top of the shelf as a display book and caught my eye, so I grabbed it.

It was supposed to be about the friendship of these two ladies.  Instead, it starts by telling (in story format) about the night Lincoln was assassinated.  The next chapter, you are reading about Mary Todd when she was just a little girl and her mother died in childbirth.  Her dad quickly remarried, and her stepmother was rude and hated her.  I would find myself shaking from anger at things like the stepmom throwing out the clothes from Mary's mother that she wanted and saying, "Did you really want those old, moth-eaten rags?!"  Argh.

After reading about Todd's life to the point of becoming First Lady, the next part of the book begins when slave-girl Lizzy was just 4 years old.  Her biological father was her Master who had caught her mother alone at age 14 and raped her.  So this black child was biracial and fair skinned, which made her different.  Master always called her "special."  His wife hated her guts and mistreated her because she knew the truth about her husband.  I understand the hatred, but the girl did nothing to deserve the hatred poured out towards her.  She did something wrong at 5 years old and was tied to the post and brutally whipped for the first time until she fainted.  It goes on from there to tell of all the other ups and downs in her life, like watching 3-year-old Amos be sold for $400 so her master could buy some pigs.  Amos was clueless as he rode away in a wagon alone with a strange man, and his mom was screaming and fighting for him and being held back by other women.

The book ends by telling how Lizzy Keckley paid for her own freedom, and that of her bi-racial son's (born by her new master later in life at another location) by raising $1,200 and paying her owner.  She was an expert seamstress, and that is how she came to do work for President Lincoln's wife.  They became fast friends and confidantes.  It is the only person Mary Todd Lincoln wanted around after the death of her husband.

This book broke my heart.  It was interesting, but I won't let my oldest daughter read it yet.  It says ages 10 and up, but I disagree because it has rape in it and goes into detail of slave whippings and deaths.  I cannot just read a book.  I live that book.  I hash it over in my mind for weeks to come.  I think of how I would feel if I were that person.  I think of the injustice.  I smile about the good times.

So I was up way too late, which doesn't help my mood.  Sleep deprived = not a good day.  Hubby had  plans for his mom to come over today at 12:30 to watch the kids while he took me out to eat.  He could tell yesterday that I was getting edgy.  Bless him.  Lol  I told him it was obviously PMS because I just want to sleep all the time and feel like the ugliest person this side of Tupelo. At least I've linked all these issues together and now know what the issue is instead of being in the dark about it all.

Also, I *still* have the muscle strain in my arm.  :(  I feel like it was getting better but is now progressively getting worse.  I think this is, in part, because I am right handed.  Therefore, I am always using this arm muscle to lift heavy pots and pans and such.  My grip is getting worse and worse.  I can barely open a screw-top lid.  Grasping a pencil and writing in cursive hurts.  Things have seemed to settle a lot around my elbow but also go down that muscle in my forearm all the way to my fingers.  I am sick of living off Aleve, but going to the doctor will be at least $75 out of pocket and probably the cost of an x-ray, too.  If I knew it was necessary, I would've went weeks ago.  It's been nearly 2 months now.  I'm just afraid I'll go and they'll say, "Muscle strains take time to heal.  Use ice and compression and keep taking Aleve." and send me home $100 poorer.  :)  But I am still in pain today even after Aleve.  Something's got to give!

I did go to the gym on Tuesday.  I burned 183 calories on the treadmill.  The 85-year-old lady sat and watched me walk the treadmill instead of exercising herself.  Haha  I think she just really wanted to get out of her house for awhile.  

I didn't go on Wednesday because we worked on 4-H projects in every spare minute between our regular schooling.  Thursday was our last homeschool meet-up and our last 4-H meeting for the school year.  Took middle daughter to the walk-in clinic at 5:00 that evening because her ear had been hurting.  Double ear infection.  Today I was gone during the time I normally go to the gym.  Plus, I felt too awful to go.

The kids have been especially fussy with one another today, probably a direct effect of a grouchy mommy.  I finally just called school off for the day and told everyone to go outside and play, play, play!  I was able to have some peace to clear my mind, and the playing helps them relieve stress and have fun.  Win/win.  :)

If y'all think of it, please pray for my muscle strain.  The pain is always there, nagging at me.  Sometimes it's bad and interferes.  Other times it's just enough to be a constant presence and be annoying.

Sorry for the long, rambling post of defeat and depression.  LOL  I really just needed to vent, and writing helps release some of those tensions.  Thanks for "listening," and I hope everyone has a super great weekend!

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Distant Memory

The gym.  The gym is a DISTANT memory.  I've got to get back to the gym!!!  For over a week, it was just too pretty to go to the gym!  We spent our time walking at the track here.  It was fun letting the kids ride bikes while I walked.  It was good for all of us!  Then we went out of town.  When we got back, the kids were stuffy sounding and having mild fevers.  We stayed home that week, too.  After that, the problem was pretty much un-motivation!  It's been too yucky to walk the track.  We've had days and days of gray skies and thunderstorms with lightening with little breaks in between.  

Once again, I let traveling throw off our schedule.  Hate that!  But traveling will always be a part of our lives.  I set my alarm last night for 7 am.  Then I asked hubby what time he set his for.  Sundays are always very long days for him, so he said he set his for 7:30.  That's all the info I needed.  I turned my alarm OFF.  Really dumb move, seeing as how I'm an "all-or-nothing" mentality person.  Trying my best to break that!  I'm breaking it in the food aspect, but with life in general I still cling to that.  It's not a good thing because nothing is ever perfect, yanno?

I am definitely getting back to the gym tomorrow!  There is an 85-year-old lady I pick up for church.  She wants so much to remain active.  She moved here from California to be near her daughter, but the family dynamics are kind of strained.  She had to give up driving before moving here because her eyesight is so bad.  I told her about the senior classes at the gym.  So I am to pick her up tomorrow at 11:15 am so she can get a tour and sign up while I (finally) exercise.  I can't be taking her all the time because I don't normally go during the senior class hours, but she can get a ride with transit for only $3 per way.  I told her I would help her set all that up.  She is excited.

After 4 faithful days on my new eating plan, I showed a 1-lb loss on the Publix higi station scale.  Of course, this is weighing at like 8 pm, but that's about what time I always weigh there.  The scale has always been extremely accurate!  It's more accurate than my home scale, in my opinion. even has a graph that shows me my gains and losses each week and my bp and pulse trends.  I never knew that until last week!  I give myself a break on the plan on Saturdays and Sundays, so it's back to it today.

Well, no real updates today.  Just wanted to take a minute to blog so you all could have a happier week.  Ha!  Only kidding.  Maybe I will have some more exciting things to blog about as the week goes on.  I could only pray for some dullness!  ;)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mission Build A Bear Complete

Yesterday was a nice day.  I didn't follow my new eating plan, but I did try to listen to my body's signals of hungry and full.  I didn't come home from the mall feeling like a stuffed pig, so I'd say I did a good job.  :)

I never wear my hair up because it just will NOT go up, but I was able to bobby pin it up yesterday in a messy-like bun, and I really loved it!  I should've taken a picture of the back, but I didn't think of that.  I just really liked having my hair up off my neck.  I took some selfies, and it was quite funny because I got a really good one but then noticed the pile of clothes on the couch behind me to one side and the library books scattered all over the floor on the other side.  LOL  So I scooted my chair over some to try to block the pile of clothes with my head.  Fail.  HaHa  I got out of my chair to try to find a plain background, but the lighting wasn't the same and the pics weren't good quality so I stopped trying.  I had to laugh at myself, though.  Too bad I don't know how to photoshop!  I've not had a picture of myself that I like in a long time!

Other than the comical selfie, I'll just leave you with some pics of our time together yesterday.  I'm so thankful that it wasn't very crowded.  The mall can be CRA-ZY!  If I ever have doubts that anyone actually wears runway fashion clothes, the mall confirms that yes - people really do dress like that.  LOL

Everyone have a great weekend!  Not sure if I'll be posting over the new few days or not.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Measure of Time

I cannot believe that 6 years ago today, my "baby" was born.  I'll never forget the overwhelming feeling of joy and relief when he was born.  He was a 9 lb, 7 oz, blond headed, screaming, crying ball of BOY!  :)

I was so thrilled when I saw a healthy baby.  For some reason, I had this overwhelming feeling that something would be "wrong" with him - physically or mentally.  In fact, my husband must have had the feeling, too.  Tucker was born on a Thursday at 39 weeks induction.  The night before, my husband preached the sweetest message about our family and how God had always us through.  He specifically said, "I don't know what tomorrow may hold for us, but whatever it is, I do know that God will see us through it."  So that night, I shared with him my fears. He said he had the same fears.  So the morning of my delivery was a little nerve wracking.

The trial ended up not being my son.  It was me.  We didn't know that until several hours later, in the middle of the night.  I won't go through the whole story, but I got an epidural because my back was hurting so bad.  I ended up paralyzed on both sides from below the knees down and in both hamstrings for right at 3 months.  At first, everyone thought it was a temporary effect from the epidural.  Turns out, it was nerve damage from delivery.  My poor husband took on all the brunt of caring for a newborn, getting up in the night with him, working a job, pastoring a church, and also taking care of a wife's bedside commode and daily needs.  It. Was. Awful.  But God did see us through.  I was still able to nurse my little boy and change diapers on the couch, and I held him for hours each day.  What else could I do?  So my son's birthday never goes by without a thank-you prayer from me!

The Lord healed me much earlier than any physical therapist gave for an estimated time frame.  And I'm so glad He chose to do so!  There was no guarantee I would ever walk again, and there was a chance if I did it would be with a bad limp or braces for the rest of my life.  But God knew I would NEVER be able to keep up with this 110% BOY in a wheelchair.  Lol
He was 3 here, and I just turned my back for a second!

Now, 6 years have flown by.  I have had days where this boy has made me want to scream and run away, but I have had more days filled with laughter and enjoyment of having dirt, bugs, and all things yucky in my life after all my parenting years of baby dolls and all things soft and beautiful.  Lol 

 Happy 6th birthday, Tucker Levi! 

At 6 years old, we take our kids to Build-A-Bear.  He is so excited.  He is going to finally buy the Army bear, after trying to talk his younger sister into getting it for her 6th birthday 2 years ago.  Lol  Hopefully, I'll get some pics of that to post soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Awesome Job but Disqualified

Oh boy.  What a night!  I did a great job following my new plan today.  I enjoyed our supper out.  We went over to the speech competition and got signed in.

Turns out, there were only 6 contestants for 5th grade.  Not sure how I messed that up.  There were supposed to be 7, but one person no-showed.

The first speaker did a great job but, bless her heart, had braces with rubber bands. It was hard to make out all her words. Lol  That immediately made me feel better about daughter's stuffy nose issue.  Haha  She was a super cute girl and did a really good job.  She had to use her note cards and stumbled about 3 times.

The second speaker was a nervous wreck.  I felt so bad for her!  I talk too fast when I get nervous, and this girl was NERVOUS.  She had a good topic, but she slurred her words and rushed through.  When she would stumble, her eyes would get wide with fear and she would check her note cards.  But she recovered and moved on each time without panicking, so that was impressing.

The third girl was super confident, and you could tell it.  Lol  She did a very good job!  She also had to use her note cards, but she had good expression and barely messed up.  She also had 4-H integrated into her speech, and they do give extra points for that.

The fourth person was another girl.  She had a good speech about golden retrievers, but she didn't have a lot of expression.  Still, it was a really great speech!  She also used her note cards.  She was dressed in a little 4-H polo shirt and matching green, plaid skirt.

The fifth speaker was the only boy.  He didn't hold any note cards, but HE LEANED AGAINST THE BOOKSHELF.  His entire speech, he was propped up.  Lol  The 4-H Club majorly stresses that you shouldn't fidget or anything.  I immediately ruled him out from winning because of that.  He had a speech on space shuttles and astronauts.  It was a good speech.  He messed up a couple times and had to correct himself, but he had good info in the speech.  It would definitely be hard to have kept it all straight by memory!

Oldest daughter was last to give her speech.  She used no note cards and her speech was almost perfectly flawless until the very last paragraph, when she made one mistake.  She used great eye contact and enunciation of words.  When she was done, several adults came over to her and told her that she did a great job.  We were surprised by that because they came to her only and said that.  It's a small room, so we know that.  And she DID do a great job!  I didn't know if she would win because her speech didn't have anything about 4-H, but I really didn't have a doubt that she would place at least 2nd or 3rd.

We waited in the school cafeteria for winners to be announced.  When it came to 5th grade, our daughter was the first to be announced as earning a participation ribbon... which meant she had the LOWEST score!!!  I had prepared her for not winning, but I really thought she'd win.  Sorry!  Lol  Just being honest!!!  The look of shock on my husband's face was priceless.  Haha

Guess who won?  The boy who leaned on the bookshelf!  LOL  I don't know if the judges couldn't tell that he was leaning on them from where they sat or what, but we were shocked that one of the other two girls didn't win first.

So get this - After all the grades and winners had been called up, one of our two judges came over.  One of our judges is actually the "top person" in 4-H in our county.  She told my daughter that she would've won first place had she not WENT OVER the time limit by 23 seconds and been disqualified!!!!  That is why she got a lower score than the nervous girl.

Oh, I just felt sick!  I still do!  I mean, it's good in life to lose some things.  It's probably especially good to lose some things you felt really confident about.  I'm sure it builds character.  But what gets me most is this is the SAME speech she gave that won her 1st place at county.  She gave this speech twice in front of our 4-H leader (who was there tonight).  Why did no one tell her that her speech had to be UNDER 3 minutes???  We were only told it had to be over 2 minutes and "somewhere between 2 to 3 minutes."  It didn't sound like the ending was a big deal as long as you didn't go out of the 3-minute range.

Well, ya live and learn.  :)  Daughter is fine.  She didn't cry at all or pout or handle this loss in any bad manner, and that means a lot to me!  She's handling it better than me, I think. Haha  It was really nice that the judge came over to explain why she got last place.  If she had not done so, I would've swore this competition was rigged somehow.  Lol  I think hearing that really helped my daughter to feel better about last place, too.

So there's the update on the speech.  A bummer night but good for character building and keeping your ego in check.  Ha!  Oh, and only the one daughter participated.  The other daughter did not qualify for this because only 1st place winners did and middle daughter won 3rd at county.  I just wanted to make that clear because some have said "daughters" when referring to the regional speech.  Well, no more speeches until the fall!  Whew!

Speeches, Multiplication, and Books

Hello!  I feel like I'm not blogging much lately.  I have no idea why.  I guess I just feel like I don't have much to blog about.  That can't be true.  I'm forever busy!

Tonight is (finally) the 4-H Regional Speech Competition.  Remember that it had to be rescheduled because of back-to-back snow and ice?  Saturday, my daughter was running a fever.  She came back from East Tn with her allergies/sinuses all messed up.  Her fever was nonexistent on Sunday morning and has been gone since, but her nose is so stuffy!  Yesterday, she was carrying around a roll of toilet paper and a Walmart bag for disposal.  Lol  We have all been taking our allergy pill daily.  Oldest daughter does sound quite a bit better today, but you can still hear the nasal-y sound in her voice.  She also has a random cough that we hope doesn't manifest itself during her 3-minute speech on the Oregon Trail. We teasingly told her that if she started coughing, just work it into her speech.  "Do you hear that cough?  If you think that sounds bad, imagine the coughs of those who spent each night in a tent on the ground with rain seeping in on them!"  :)

I was talking with a fellow homeschool mom on the phone yesterday.  We were discussing math and math curriculum.  I was telling her how schooling my kids has helped me understand math so much better!  I never, ever knew how to add 9 plus anything (besides 1, lol).  Now I know that 9 wants to be a 10, so it becomes a 10 and steals 1 away from the other #.  Voila!  9+5=14 because it's 10+4.  How simple is that?  Why did no one ever teach me that???  I can't tell you how much I struggled with math, even during my college years!

Well, she taught me the COOLEST trick for the 9 multiplication family!  Get this:
Hold or lay both your hands out flat, palm down.  Now, let's say you were doing 4x9=.  Starting with the pinky on your left hand, count over 4 fingers (pointer finger) and fold that finger under.  Now you have 3 to the left of that finger and 6 to the right of that finger.  Therefore, the answer is 36.  This method works for every single 9 multiplication problem.  So nifty! 9x9?  Fold down your ring finger on your right hand (9 fingers over) and your answer is 81.  Things like that just blow my mind.  How cool!  :)

Last week, I remembered a book that I had on my shelf that I had purchased back before I had kids.  I dug it out of my bookshelf and began reading it.  I don't really want to talk about it yet, but I am implementing it as of yesterday.  This book really deals with the spiritual aspect of gluttony from a Christian perspective.  I am sure I have a really old edition.  I found it on ebay for only $5 with free shipping if anyone is interested, but the person only had 2 left.  It is called The Diet Alternative by Diane Hampton.  Here is a picture of the copy I own:
I can't speak for any other editions of it.  This one is all KJB except for one or two verses through the whole book.  It starts out kinda corny, in my opinion, but as she gets deeper into the book I love it.  I can't tell you how many things I have read from her that left me thinking, "Wow!  Have you been secretly scanning my brain?" because, being a former glutton herself, she KNOWS exactly all the thoughts going through my mind.  It's amazing.  I think they sell a journal to go along with it.  I think I'd like to find that and purchase it.

Exercise has went out the window!  I was gone Monday through Wednesday last week, busy all day Thursday, had company on Friday, did grocery shopping on Saturday, and had church on Sunday with a visiting preacher and family that night.  My good intentions for Monday were cut short when I got up to use the restroom at 5:15 am and cut off my alarm.  Ughhhh!  If I could just sleep one whole night through and not cut off my alarm like an idiot, that would be great.  :-D

I planned to go walking yesterday.  The kids wanted to go to the gym, but everyone is snotting and snubbing and coughing.  I just didn't think it would be nice to go, even if it's not contagious.  I know I eyeball parents who bring kids like that.  LOL  I guess we've all done it, but still.  It ended up POURING basically the whole entire day.  If there was any break in the rain at all, you could look at the gray skies and know you shouldn't take a chance in going out at the time.  I already planned not to go to the gym today since we have to leave early this afternoon for the speech competition, but it's pouring once again.  <sigh>  I'm looking forward to getting back to my physical activity!

Well, I guess that's all I have to say.  I'll report back on the speech competition either tonight or tomorrow sometime.  I think she'll have 13, 5th-grade competitors tonight - all the 1st place winners at the schools from our district.  Pretty stiff competition.  I'm sure my daughter will be a ball of nerves, and I know I will be!!!  Lol  Have a great day, everyone!