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Sunday, July 26, 2009

So Long Froggy....

Well... we had to say goodbye to Froggy today... and luckily, it was in the front yard instead of over a toilet.

This was him the other morning in his box... see the "stink eye". Do you think he wanted out? HA!

We decided it would be best to let him go because over the last few days I didn't think he was looking very well... I mean, as best as I can assess the overall health of a frog... but more importantly he wasn't eating his "frog bites", and that I deemed legitimately worrisome for the chance of waking up to a dead frog in a box in the near future. So... we "released" him back into the wild - our front yard.

Gracie was SOOO upset! She cried some real tears over Froggy's departure. So we had to break out the camera and document his leaving us appropriately. Tessa wanted Froggy to say bye to her blanket... and Tanner was giddy waiting for Trav to pop the top of that box so he could try to catch him.

In the end... we think he made a nice little frog nest by the tree in our front yard, and we encouraged Gracie that she might, in fact, see him hopping around again sometime soon.... bless.

And so we went inside with Gracie's sad little face, and my continued resolve that we WILL NOT have pets. :-)

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Caped Crusader...

I would say on the "nature vs. nuture" argument I would have probably always said, "it's clearly both" but yes, of course, boys, by nature, are different from girls. And now, well... I know that for a fact, it's true.

Not too long ago, Tessa checked out a Super Friends DVD (the old school Justice League) from the library. Since then, the Super Friends have been a big hit around here. Tessa loves them... and Tanner has become a fan as well.

In fact, here is my little caped crusader... that is Tanner's "blanket" made special for him by Ms. Bridget, the dearest of friends, who also happens to know all about little boys.

He's been sleeping with it since he was probably 6 months old, and now it doubles as his all important Superman cape. He spends at least half the day with it tied around his neck... running about the house, jumping off anything he has manged to climb on without me noticing while hollering "Superman... To The Resue," and then he charges off... of course, saving the day.

I know you may think I'm bias, but I promise it's THE CUTEST thing EVERY time he does it - and it always makes me laugh.

I have been heavily reminded this week of the importance of finding the "joy," on the grand and small scales... taking some when you can get it... and being grateful for it.

I pray I am always able to notice that which God gives us, clearly for no other reason than to bring us "joy".

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Feeling Froggy...

So, let me introduce you to the newest member of our family... Froggy.

Now, if you know me, then you know my very strict NO PETS policy. So how did they slip this one by me?? Well... last weekend we attended Trav's family reunion in Mississippi. The facility was near a wooded area, where there was supposedly a nearby "creek". As the kids ran about, it wasn't long before one of the little girl cousins (who was Gracie's age), who was fearless when it came to bugs or critters (of any sort, from what I heard), had captured herself a small frog.

As she proudly showed it off.. Gracie decided she would like one too. Of course, she is my child, and had NO intention of touching the frog... so she asked her cousin if she would mind catching one for her, who was only too happy to find and fetch another slimy little hopper!

Once caught, the frog was housed in a water bottle that Gracie had carefully prepared for him. When I wasn't looking, Trav punched some air holes in the top of it and told Gracie she could bring it home. I was annoyed... but I figured the life expectancy of some poor frog trapped in a bottle would surely not surpass the two hour car ride home. But I was wrong...

By the time we pulled in the drive way... he had been officially named "Froggy," I know... quite original. And he was still hopping away in that bottle by the next morning.

While I'm patiently waiting on the frog to "croak," so to speak, so that I can give my carefully planned speech about how pets do die... and that is why sometimes it is best to just not have them.... Aunt Mandy pops in and thinks that is a horrible idea, and decides to take all three kids on a field trip to the pet store to find Froggy some more suitable accommodations.

So... I'll be damn, if one hour and $12.50 later... they didn't arrive home with a proper box for our new pet... and some frog food as well. Frog food? Who knew?

So now I have to live with this creepy little frog hopping around his box, giving me the stink eye all day (especially after I accidentally left his box in Tanner's reach, who gave it a good shaking). I tell the kids we have to keep Froggy up and away so Tanner can't get it (which is true), but also because I can just feel those bug eyes staring at me... begging to get out.

When he hopes around his box in a frenzy... Trav tells the kids he's just "happy." I'm like, yeah, that's what he is... happy. But of course, the kids love him... in fact, he is now officially included in Tanner's "nite nite tour" as we call it, where everyone in the house has to get an official "nite nite" hug and kiss (although Froggy gets his kisses blown to him). So, I suppose as pets go, it could be worse. Thank goodness Gracie's little cousin didn't bring her a snake!

I have a friend whose girls got a goldfish as a "take home treat" from a birthday party a while back (which I bet that mom was not very popular afterwards). We were hanging out one night and the fish died... and her girls were so devastated she had to leave and rush home to comfort them.

So... keeping that in mind with no idea how long a well fed frog in a box might actually live, I am trying to lay the ground work now that at some point... it may be time to let Froggy go. You know, giving the spill about how he might not like to be cooped up in the box forever... yada, yada, yada... let's free him. I'm thinking now that we're all attached to Froggy, when he does eventually croak, it'll be bad... very bad. So, at this point, I'm hoping we can have a "going away party" for him versus a funeral.

So, we'll see what happens. But in the meantime... this whole thing just solidifies my NOT PETS rule even more. As much as they LOVE the frog... who do you think has to remember to shake the frog food in box everyday??

Friday, July 17, 2009


So it's been another week.... and I finally decided to face the scale... and of course, it hadn't moved. It hadn't moved in either direction, which considering how disorganized I was this week, I suppose that was a gift.

So... here we go again. Amber's question this week:

What is inspiring you?

Oh... so many things.

Let's see... On TV these days, the show Ruby is quite inspiring... I love that show. I love her! She seems so genuine, and just the fact that she is willing to do so much, in front of so many... God bless her. I'm rooting for her!

And of course, nothing puts a kick in your workouts like a shopping trip to Target where you found something you totally loved... but it looked terrible on you because it was "too small".

And of course, by my husband... he likes to "go and do", and you know, overweight people don't like to "go and do" so much. Plus, just overall, I want to have a marriage that remains happy and "healthy" and I know that part of keeping that intact relies heavily on how I feel about myself.

But most of all... my biggest inspiration to not only lose weight, but be HEALTHY, and just in general "better" is, of course, my kids. They deserve to have the mom who can "go and do". HA!

Nobody wants to have OR to be the "fat mom" who can't climb up and/or fit in the slide at the Jump Zone, or ride the rides at the amusement parks, or fit in the seats at the movies and/or shows... or any of the other, shall we say, more "athletic" things it might be necessary for me to do in the process of keeping up with my kids. HA!

Plus... looking ahead, I hope to set a good example for them and encourage them in what it means to be "healthy" versus just "thin", and hopefully they'll pay attention and in the long run avoid my mistakes. I want them to grow up active and busy... versus addicted to video games or television shows. And that can't happen if I can't do it with them.

But speaking of inspired... I hope this week is more so than the last. I think this past week the overall pace of the last several weeks has finally caught up to me, and I am TIRED! So hopefully the weekend will bring some rest and organization! I'll keep you posted. :-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July Already??

Amber's question this week was pertaining to vacation strategies for eating - which is a great topic, and I wish I could contribute something to it... but not so much. It has been TOO LONG since we went on anything that would remotely qualify as a "vacation". But... we do actually have one planned for December.... but I just can't talk about it too much because (if you remember) I am not much of an optimist, and it is really one of those things I don't think I'll believe or really dare to get excited about it until it is actually happening! HA!

So, my primary strategies these days pertain to maintaining the balance of kids and work... and whatever else comes along. My main goal for the next week is to GET UP in the morning and get to the gym, versus having to try to get it in later in the day... when there are too many other things I'm trying to get in. That hour and a half of "sweating" is SO important to me, but I always forget that at 5:30 AM... and think, "Oh, I'll just get there later." And come "later," I'm always regretting putting it off.

I have not stepped on the scale again yet.... I'm doing okay, but I'm not thinking it has been enough to send the scale moving in the right direction yet... and so I haven't checked. Maybe Monday I will.

The summer has been hectic. But on the bright side, it's July, and thus far all is well and intact! So... hopefully, we'll continue to hang in there. Truthfully, overall, the last month has gone much better than I had anticipated. I've managed to work and still "entertain" my kids so they don't spend their entire summer with the Disney Channel (of course, some days are better than others).

When we are not at home, we are typically SWIMMING! The kids LOVE to swim.

The girls are on the swim team again. Gracie is actually learning her strokes and is doing really good, and Tessa just sort of jumps in and kicks like hell until she gets to the other end... smiling like she already won the WHOLE time. It's hilarious.

Tanner, as expected, has taken to the pool with much enthusiasm. He thinks he is unstoppable in his floaties... and of course, is very eager to do everything his sisters are doing (including jump off the diving board), which yes, is great... but sometimes drives me nuts! He's so BUSY! Luckily, he hasn't quite figured out how to terrorize them with the water gun... yet...

Hope you and yours are enjoying your summer!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

More EM:ME

So this week Amber's question was:
Share with us how you're feeling about your progress?

Well, first let me say THANK YOU, to my friend, Lynn, and the warm welcome to the group! The last five days have gone pretty good. I have made it to the gym, and with the exception of a Chick-Fil-A trip (where I did get the grilled sandwhich, but couldn't skip the fries), I would give myself an overall B+.

Overall progress? Well, I've avoided this thus far, but inspired by some of the brave ladies who are willing to put visual aides and numbers into their weight loss blogs... I will add some details here, and give the "story" of my progress for you... but mainly for me.

In December of 1997, is the first time I remember stepping on the scale and seeing 200 plus show up and thinking "Wow, that's not good." I was 24. The next several years were riddled with various attempts at Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Slim Fast, Lean Cuisine's, etc., etc... and I probably stayed in between 200 and 210 until I was 28. At 28, I had Gracie. I'd estimate myself from then on to have been closer to 220-ish.

Tessa was born in February of 2005. Two months later, trying to pay off some hospital bills and acquire some extra cash, I take a job at an Italian restaurant (The Villa) as a cashier. This picture was from June of 2005 (and it's a horrible picture). I don't know what I weighed... clearly, a lot... I'd guess close to 230.

One month later, in July of 2005, Trav lost his job. It was the first "thing" that seemed to kick off a string of events causing the remainder of that year to be best characterized as "profoundly stressful," marked with some significant personal heartaches, struggles, disappointment, and continued losses.

Of course, I didn't see it at the time, but as the year progressed, The Villa sort of became my "drug dealer" so to speak. Between the freebies we got, and their generous "employee disount," looking back now, I am nothing short of appalled at the amount of food I was consuming on a REGULAR BASIS while I worked there. There are continued setbacks into 2006.... and it is not a happy new year.

This picture is THE WORST, and I almost cannot believe I'm putting it up here. This is me in February of 2006 holding Tessa as she turns 1. About six weeks later, I am at the doctor's office, and learn I weigh 246 pounds. Somehow, I am shocked.

By May, it really hits me.... I am huge and miserable.

Somewhere in the middle of all that I had been told about or read about the UAMS Clinic. I quit The Villa in May of 2006, thinking this will help. Instead I swap pizza/pasta for more cheeseburgers... and it doesn't help. I begin to give the UAMS idea some thought. I have to do something... I remember feeling very desperate about it, and totally embarrassed that it has come to this.

By June, having no idea how I would actually pay for it, I sign up. I am set to start in the second week of August. In July, I learn I am pregnant, again....

Fast forward to May of 2007. Tanner is 2 months old, and I'm breastfeeding and weigh 210 pounds. Woo Hoo! I am encouraged. I begin to walk some, make an effort at eating better, and think I might be able to pull this off on my own and avoid UAMS altogether.

This is me, and then our family picture, from June of 2007. By the end of that month, I am back up to 220. I sign up for UAMS.

I started UAMS in September of 2007 - I weighed 220 my first day there. I lost 40 pounds (actually 42) ending at 178, which I had not weighed anywhere close to since probably 1996.

So now... fast forward again, this is a family picture from December of last year, 2008. I've maintained what I lost for a year, but have not lost anything else.

And this is me now... still 179.

So.. there is it, progress, in living color. 246 was the biggest number I ever saw on the scale, and since then, 172 has been the lowest, which was earlier in the year around February. I currently weigh 179, and think that 150 is attainable. I hope.

How do I feel? Overall, good. Clearly, 179 is better than 220 (and especially 246). However, I am obviously disappointed that I have come so far, yet am still not finished. I'm so annoyed that I am spending yet another summer for the most part unhappy with how I look.

But... Must. Remain. Postive. And so yesterday in the gym I found myself on the treadmill between two "extremes". To the left I saw where I was, and to the right, where I wanted to be (minus the spandex outfit she had on because it was insanely inappropriate).

"I can't believe I wasted so much time being that person... when I could have been this person all along." Kristin, from the Biggest Loser, Season 7.

Thanks for your encouragement... hope everyone has a great week, and a Happy 4th!