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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Adventures of Jasmine and the Pink Fairy!

Happy Halloween To All!

In our usual princess theme, Gracie was Jasmine. She's really into Jasmine these days, and her favorite part of the costume was the crown, but then she only wore it for like 30 minutes after this picture. I bought Tessa a Snow White costume back in August. It was adorable... and she is usually a big fan of Snow White, so I was sure she'd love it, but... not so much. Tessa informed us Friday she wanted to be "the mermaid". Of course, by then there were no mermaid costumes to be found in her size... and so luckily (very luckily) she spotted this "pink fairy" costume for $10 bucks on the Target clearance rack and loved it! The wings sealed the deal! Thank goodness!

We had a big Halloween this year! We started off with Gracie's school carnival last Friday, and then hit Boo at the Zoo on Sunday, and finished strong with our friend Karsen's Halloween birthday party and trick or treating to follow!

Here is Gracie jumping from the steps of one house and ready to race to another!

And here is Tessa quite excited to be returning victorious from a trick or treat stop with her favorite candy, Skittles!

Tanner skipped the trick or treat festivities and stayed with Nana and Papa... but this picture of him is really cute!!

As for me, I went to UAMS today and had lost another two pounds! WOO HOO! That brings my grand total up to 24 so far. 16 more to go, and I'm half way! :-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Pumpkins.... Less Pounds

Here is a picture of our finished jack-o-lanterns from our pumpkin patch adventures! Gracie's had three eyes, which she thought would be extra scary. Tessa wasn't much into the carving, but she did want her finished pumpkin to sleep in her bed and was rather distraught that it had to remain outside.

Here is a picture of the girls hard at work on scooping the "goop". Tessa was more interested in stirring the goop than scooping it from the pumpkin. (Please note that I do realize Tessa has no clothes on in this picture, I apologize... you see, she feels very strongly about her wardrobe and simply could not find a suitable ensemble for pumpkin carving since, as you can see, Gracie was wearing the dress Tessa wanted first, and so consequently, Tessa decided to wear nothing... I know... but at that point, I was like, whatever....)

Tanner watched from his exersaucer... :-)

So moving right along. After the hectic start to our week, on a bright note (at least for me), I left UAMS today officially three pounds lighter (22 total now), and seeing a number below 200 for the first time since.... well, a really long time! WOO HOO!!

Our class today was about "emotional eating". It was not new information to me... I'm far from in denial about my stress/emotional eating issues. Exhibit A - Monday was a day full of "crazy" all across the board. It was one of those days where when it was all said and done I would have typically exhaled in front of the TV with a 9:30 PM "french fry fix" from the nearest golden arches drive thru! But, I didn't... and I don't know that I even thought that much about it!

So while there will still be no miniture Resse cups allowed anywhere near my house this Halloween (once an addict... you know), I think (at least I hope) I'm starting to "get it" and am more easily diverting from what my typical patterns have been and am focusing on what I'm choosing to do now. Of course, we'll just take that one day and/or one crisis at a time!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Poor Trav...

Well, after months of suffering through with Ibuprofen, Travis finally had surgery on his shoulder yesterday.

Growing up playing every sport under the sun, he probably initially injured his shoulder years ago because it's bothered him on and off since I've known him. But getting it looked at was always put off... sometimes due to necessity, but mostly due to stubborness, and then, of course, others because it was the middle of softball season, and heaven forbid a doctor tell us he needed to sit out a season and let it heal...

But anyway... despite his efforts to stay off the "injured" list, this past softball season sealed the deal on what turned out to be offically diagnosed as a torn rotator cuff injury that he finally had no choice but to get "fixed".

It's the end of day two, and he's doing better. At least he's down to taking one pain pill every four hours instead of two... His recovery won't be fun for him (or us). We've been warned the PT is "rough" for this type of injury. Plus, as you can see, that is quite the cumbersome shoulder sling he'll be donning for at least the next three weeks. And as you can imagine, he can't pick anything up (you know, like a baby or a two year old) for probably the same amount of time as well, if not longer.

So we certainly appreciate your prayers for Trav's quick (and hopefully less painful than expected) recovery, and for my patience and sanity while he gets well!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Amy!!!

Here is a "blog shout out" to my sweet friend, and birthday girl today, Amy!! Happy 35th, and here's to many more!!

Here she is blowing out her candles on her cake (which looked quite yummy) courtsey of Bridget (who always helps us celebrate in fine fashion), that was also complete with homemade whip cream on top...

I've known Amy, I'm thinking 8 years (at least...), maybe 9! And I'm so grateful to have her as a friend! Thank you for always being such a great encourager to me! I hope this year is full of many FABULOUS things for you, Darrell and Pax!

So on behalf of all your "girls" - WE LOVE YOU!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

At The Four Week Mark!

Here are some random pictures of my kiddos (Tanner in his favorite towel after bath, and the girls playing dress up) for you to enjoy while I tell you that today marks the end of my fourth week on the UAMS plan.

According to their "patient profile" of me, I was expected to lose 16 to 18 pounds within the first four weeks. Aspiring (for once) to be an over-achiever, I had hoped to lose 20.

But... after weighing in today and dropping another 4 pounds for this week, I'll just have to settle for 19 pounds so far. Not bad... no complaints.

Today's class session was all about putting a good support system in place for yourself while pursuing your goals. So many in my group talked of their struggles with unsupportive family and friends. I felt so lucky to not have had to put a support system "in place" because it was already there! Such a blessing!

So a BIG thank you to my dear friends and family (especially to Trav for being so considerate and flexible) for all your support as I've ventured out from the starting gate these past few weeks. I have so appreciated all your encouragement and will continue to need it as something tells me... the really hard part is probably yet to come!

So... four weeks in and I feel good, very proud, encouraged, and most of all relieved to know that yes, this is possible - I can actually do this. I'm still oh so very far from where I hope to be, but it's wonderful to be able to say, 19 down.... only 61 to go.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Weekend Adventures - Part 2

Well, as Jerusalem said, "Fall is finally here!" And thanks to the cruise directing efforts of our Ms. Bridget, it is now officially our tradition to venture out to the pumpkin patch for some family fun each October.

So after Friday's adventures at the State Fair, we woke up at the crack of 8:00 AM Saturday morning just in time to ready ourselves and meet up with our gang out at the pumpkin patch for a hayride and picnic. We arrived just in time for me to visit with some of my favorite gal pals (who Gracie calls the "other mommies") and for the girls to get some running around time in before catching the big tractor out to the patch.

Tessa wanted to ride with Daddy on the hayride. We were so excited that he got to go with us this year! Last year he had to work!! Boo!!

My fabulous friend, the famous blogger extraordinaire, Jerusalem... she loves to take pictures as much as I do!

Gracie was so excited to see her friends and get to ride in the "big truck thing" out to the patch with the "girls".

After searching the patch over, the girls returned victorious with two perfect pumpkins to take home for "jack-0-lanterns".

After the hayride, we huddled for our picnic... and the girls were very excited to learn that our sweet Ms. Bridget had made some yummy cookies for everyone.

It was such a fun morning hanging out with our good friends (a/k/a our extended family), we had perfect weather (though a bit hotter than we'd of liked), but the kids had a blast! Even Tanner had fun watching all the big kids, and never fussed once the whole time!

So, quite an eventful weekend for us, and now we're all geared up for Halloween! Today we're being "boring" as Gracie says and have to stay home and do all that always needs doing around here... and sadly, rarely gets done!

Weekend Adventures - Part 1

Well, this was one those wonderful weekends around here when Trav was off, or is "home all day", as Gracie says. So, when that one time a month rolls around, we try to make the most of it when at all possible, and this weekend was no exception!

We started off Friday evening venturing out to brave the State Fair! Nana and Papa kept Tanner for us, while we took the girls . And as a special treat, Trav's mom (known around here as Grandma) came along as well to spoil the girls with cotton candy, snow cones, and prizes! The fair has certainly improved over the last few years. It was clean, lots of security, the workers were overall very nice and eager to help, and it was FULL of rides for small kids and several other attractions to see. Here are a few pics from our fair extravaganza!

We started off on the merry-go-round! I thought this would get us off to a nice, slow-paced start.... but not so much. It went really fast in my opinion, but the girls loved it. Tessa kept saying she wanted to ride the "horsey again! "

Here was Gracie's favorite, riding the Dumbo with Grandma! She kept saying she couldn't believe she was "so high up", and was being so brave. She was quite pleased with herself for riding this one since last year after she had climbed aboard it, we had to ask the operator to stop and let her off as the entire fair could hear her screaming for dear life!

Here are the girls riding the cars (their second favorite ride each). Tessa reluctantly allowed Gracie in the backseat on this ride... she typically was insisting she have "my car" and not wanting a passenger! Gracie is being "brave" as she called it, riding with "hands up high" she said.

Here's Tessa on her favorite ride - the motorbikes! These went way to fast for my taste (especially for my 2 year old to be riding), but Tessa loved it! She became especially fond of the red bike, and couldn't understand why we couldn't just take that one home. It was so fun to watch her ride. She couldn't stop laughing the whole time, and we were literally prying her off each time it stopped.

And lastly, when we had been on our last ride and eaten all the cotton candy, Gracie got to play the duck game on the way out and her and Tessa each won a huge inflatable Dora wand (just what we needed). Gracie was thrilled, and couldn't believe her good fortune to have been lucky enough to pick a #1 duck winning herself the Dora prize she'd had her eye on since we walked in the door.... Of course, the reality is Grandma and Daddy had done some wheelin and dealin with the duck game guy in advance... so any number she picked would have gotten her the prize. :-)

Tessa is more the dare-devil (at least at this point) than Gracie... Tessa rode the dragon roller coaster three times (we had to get them to stop it and let Gracie off after one spin). And over on the animal side, Gracie had no intention of getting anywhere near the cows, while Trav luckily grabbed Tessa just in time before she climbed up on top of one to pet it.

So that was Friday night... we were out until 11:00, and then two very sleepy girls went straight to bed! Oh, and a side note: I'm pleased to report I made it all the way through the fair without consuming any of the traditional fried goodies they have, including my usual fair favorite (a jumbo corndog - extra mustard) which I admit I really, really wanted to have.

In our rush to leave for the fair, I hadn't had time to get my last meal replacement in. And so with the smell permeating through the air, practically beackoning me to the stand.... I had decided to cave in and have one! Then luckily, there I saw her - a lady twice my size gobbling one up and dripping mustard all over her shirt in the process - so, I changed my mind. Now, not to sound harsh or judgmental of that lady... but the image was perfect timing and an immediate reminder to me of my goal. So as we drove home - I was very proud of myself, and so relieved to be away from the corndog smell! HA!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Making Headway....

Well, Wednesday is class day at UAMS, which is also "weigh in" day. I am ever so pleased to report I am 3 more pounds down, which leaves me 5 pounds away from my "first goal". In addition to that, due to good progress and a good lab report (speaking of which, I couldn't believe how much my cholesterol had dropped in just three weeks) I have been removed from the "high risk" catagory and am now listed in the "intermediate risk" group. Good news all around - but especially for the bank account (high risk is more expensive).

The experts at the clinic (all women who look 22 and weigh as much as my leg, are registered dietitians, and all have names that end with "ly" or "ie") encourage you to set small goals within your long term one. This makes sense - especially when you're trying to lose 80 pounds. The steps in the middle are encouragement to press on!

So anyway... today was a good number on the scale! The smallest number I've seen in a long, long, long, time... And as I crunch on my meal replacement potato bites, I'm feeling good, and yet can't help but think how I would really like to reward myself with a big fat cheeseburger... but alas those days are over, and I suppose I'll have to settle for this "feeling of accomplishment" instead. :-)

On a side note: since I didn't have a related picture of me standing on a scale smiling (which I'm sure you would have loved) to associate with my post... you can enjoy this one of Tanner in his jumper thing, which he is just now getting the hang of. Isn't he cute?? He's quickly gaining on 7 months, and still, on my third baby, I can't believe how quickly it goes by.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Menu

Okay - so my new loyal readers (both of them) are curious... What Am I Eating???

Well, the "meal replacements" come in four flavors, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, then my favorite, potato. They are "flexible" as the box calls them, and can be mixed with diet drinks for shakes or they can be baked into cookies or muffins (and I use those terms generously). You can add flavors like cinnamon or sugar free flavored jello to help it out (and believe me, it does).

The potato flavor saves the day for me. With that one you can make potato chips. Well, that is what the UAMS recipe books calls them, but the reality is they are more like potato cookies... but when the only other options are shakes or baked goods - they taste great! They sort of look gross, but the broiler comes in handy after baking them for making them crispy.

So there it is, the menu.... slim pickins - I know. They don't taste bad necessarily, but they do have a "taste" which it usually takes some generous portions of Splenda (thank God for Splenda) to help kill. Word on the street at the clinic is that on week four we're given back fruits and veggies. We'll see...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Well, if you know me, and since I don't have an internet fan club like Jerusalem if you're reading this, then you probably know me... so then you, of course, know my big issue - my love of food, which consequently has me living LARGE (literally).

Long story, short - the emotional saga of how much I weigh or don't weigh has been part of my life as long as I can remember. I've spent the last 14 years turning my weight problem into what is now a crisis. Looking down the barrel of my mid 30's, with my genetics working against me, and not to mention having had three kids in five years, I've ventured over to the dark side of being in the "needing to lose weight" camp, where the problems go beyond the drama of just being unhappy with my clothing size and appearance to worrying about heart disease, diabetes, and a plethora of other diseases to which "obese" people are prone.

So in an effort to revamp the horizon my future health, and of course, reel myself back in to a respectable size, I have joined the UAMS weight loss clinic. My goal is to lose 80 pounds. As of today, ending my second week on the program, I've lost 12.

If you're unfamiliar with the UAMS program, it is intense. It is medically supervised and you're a "patient" of the clinic when you participate. They use "meal replacements" like this one. No "real food". And in addition to the "prescribed" meal replacements, there are required classes, doctor visits, lab checks, etc., etc. - like I said, intense.

With two weeks down, I'm more aware than ever of how much food means to me. It has been my constant companion, my loyal friend who comforts me when I'm sad, rewards me for a job well done, and even entertains me when I'm bored. So my hope is to emerge on the other side of this experience not just 80 pounds lighter, but healthier all around, on a variety of levels.

Our class instructor encouraged me to find a hobby, and since I've yet to really hone my scrapbooking skills, I thought this would suffice. Plus, my "blogging" about this is a means of accountability, and this way as I move forward, I'll be able to revisit the place where I started (lest I not go back).

So, friends, as I navigate through this journey, so to speak, pray for me. I will need it... :-)