Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The one where life is different than you think it's going to be.

So. Monday, I would've said I was coming off a really rough, say, 4 or 5 days. I would have mentioned some 2 day long tantrums, a series of sleepless nights by children which mean a series of sleepless nights for their parents, a headache that's been hanging on for days, and right, that surprise trip to the ER on Saturday. I would've said, sure, the last few days have been really tough, but we're past it, moving forward, going great.

Apparently, that would've been overly optimistic.

Sleeplessness has persisted, my headache has persisted, and last night, Thing 1 woke up screaming about a sore throat and an earache. Long night summed up, she didn't fall asleep, didn't REALLY fall asleep until after 6am. We watched a lot of Batman: The Animated Series, and I played the crap out of some Spider Solitaire. I mean, I didn't win once, (I blame the zombie-state of my middle-of-the-night brain), but I played the crap out of it.

So on to this morning. The oldest child has less of an earache, but is bona fide Super Sick. And probably even more miserable because of our No Sleep Till Brooklyn episode from last night.

And this, the exhaustion and the things, is a big part of the reason why I've been subsiding exclusively on coffee and candy so far today. Not doing good things for me, I'm sure. And to make matters worse, when the kids found some of my candy wrappers, I lied and said that their father snuck the candy, and they believed me because they are dumb.  They'll get over that soon enough, I'm sure.

This week just didn't get easier. Stuff like that just happens some times. I've come to believe that there is no situation these days wherein our family will be completely healthy. There is no situation where Shane and I will be well rested. There is no situation where it is quiet and relaxed here. Our house has 241 square feet per inhabitant (Harper takes up most of them though), and that's including the laundry room and the closets, which we need to use sometimes, because privacy only lives in closets these days. And that is okay. Because that is family and it is insane, and that is okay. That is okay. That is okay.

 Kaden had some nice perspective to offer this morning. I was trying to take care of Madelyn who was crying about her head hurting, and I suddenly need to clean up mister Harper "Oops, I crapped my pants" Miller, and the 2 middle children were begging for attention, asking for help with snacks and a tv show. I had to ask them to sit, to wait patiently.

"You know," Kaden offered, "Some families only have one kid..."

Don't I know it, my friend. Don't I freakin know it.

Monday, February 8, 2016

I'm dead. I’m dead. I’m dying, I’m dead.

This weekend was, well, different from expected. We got a surprise date night on Friday which was wonderful, then took a surprise trip to the emergency room on Saturday morning when the 2 year old took a dive from his car seat into the Target parking lot. This was not wonderful. He’s fine. Despite the horrible sound it made, my child’s skull did not split exactly in half like I’d imagined. Despite the fact that he looks pretty much exactly like you’d expect for a kid who went six rounds with a Target parking lot, 90 minutes after it happened, he was back to his old self, jumping and laughing and screaming and trying to find something else to crack his skull open on.

I’m not sure if my youngest child will survive his adolescence. I’m even less certain that I will survive his adolescence.

Emotional distress (ie: the constant state of motherhood), plus general exhaustion,  plus junk food in the house for the Super Bowl, turned into a cheat weekend instead of a cheat day.  As of today, my brain is a buzzy fuzzy exhausted mess, and as of this morning, I'd gained 5 pounds since Friday. Which puts my NET 2016 weight loss at less than 4 total pounds. So that’s sad.  But today is Monday, and not only am I back on track, but I left my salad with chicken and an orange on the side lunch at home today. Apparently Starvation Monday is my penance for Bad Behavior Sunday.

Anyhoozit, today, not only am I super fatso, but I also find myself staring down the barrel of  a (probably) 7 million dollar emergency room visit, and realizing it’s not just my diet I need to get in line. It’s also my budget. Now I feel like I'm the one who smashed my face into the pavement.

Dude, being a grown up is soooooooo haaaaaaaaaaard.

My honest self says that, since the addition of our new addition, I’ve been overly indulgent with our monthly income. Which is my way of saying, I spend money on things we don’t really need to make them or we or me feel better, and "adjust" to this new change. New clothes and toys and junk food help with that, doncha know. Also, I’m far too tired to budget like a grown up. Because ugh, come on, it’s soooooooo haaaaaaard.

But just like with my waist line, it’s time to come out of our life-change fog, and stop with the extras, stop with the junk spending, and start being my own grown up task master. NO you will not eat junk food! NO you will not spend money on things you don’t absolutely need! YES you will live on a tight budget that allows you to save up money and meet the goals you need to as a family! Goals like paying off debt, saving up for a little trip for our 10th anniversary this spring, and putting money away for kids college and our own retirement will not loom like unachievable future dreams, but will instead be actual parts of our month-to-month plans! Because THAT IS WHAT BEING AN ADULT LOOKS LIKE, STUPID.

UGH. Fine, Grown Up Ashley. Geez, you’re such a pain in the posterior sometimes. All I wanted was a freaking cookie and a nap.

JUST THE SAME, I would like it to be known to... I don't know, you, probably, that I didn't go home after work and eat a cookie and take a nap. NOPE. I ran 7.08 freakin miles, thank you very much. I am sore. But it was beautiful. 
Before picture. Hence the sweat-free smiling face.
Also? It is beautiful out. I normally get grumpy when I can already wear a tank top in February (the summer here is oppressive, the winter basically nonexistent) but it was amazing today. Beautiful. Incredible. You can't be grumpy on a day like today.
See? No grumpies here.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Quit Faced.

A while ago I was watching one of those weight loss shows. Don't judge me. I find them inspirational, and I need what I can get. A woman who'd undergone gastric bypass and lost a couple hundred pounds felt suddenly discouraged when she realized she was still too heavy to do an activity she'd been planning with her husband.

"I was so embarrassed. I was so discouraged," She said. "I just wanted to quit."

Now I have BEEN THERE. Okay, no, I haven't had bypass surgery and I haven't had the success of losing hundreds of pounds, but man, yes, I have certainly found myself, a third of the way, half of the way, something-th of the way to my goal, and just ready to give up. So I'm not judging this lady in her point of distress. But it did leave me wondering... what, exactly, was she planning on quitting?

She was discouraged because, despite all her success, she was feeling the ramifications of the weight she still had to lose. Working your butt off and finding that, your butt is not in fact off, is super, freaking discouraging. And that can so very make you want to quit. But I looked at her and thought, "you're discouraged because you're still heavy. Quitting your hard work will only make you heavier. So what, really, can you quit?"

For some reason, this week has been hard on me. I can't pin down the reason exactly, there haven't been more stressors than normal, I even hit a new low weight on Tuesday (153.0) so you'd think that would be really encouraging. But truth be told, I feel fatigued. I want snacks. I just really want to quit.

But like my television friend, I'm on my way, but I still have a long way to go. Yesterday, today, I want to quit so hard, right into a bag of potato chips. OR even better, into one of the bags of chocolate chips left in the cupboard from the holidays. I want to eat. I don't want to exercise. I want to eat junk food and read novels and stop trying, whilst still being heavier than I'd like.

Now if I make that choice, the quit-faced choice, I don't get to stay here. I had to work to get to 153. If I eat and sit and make those other choices, I will weigh far, far, far more.

So quitting on the diet isn't an option. Quitting on the diet means getting heavier. Getting lazier. It means going back to when I got winded playing with my kids, or felt uncomfortable sleeping, bending, sitting, pretty much everything-ing. Quitting on a diet means quitting on my life. And despite having a rough week, I'm not exactly ready to do that quite yet.

 Life gets really, amazingly difficult sometimes. Today, for example, is really amazingly difficult. Top ten list level stuff. I can't tell you why because of... reasons, but trust me, UUUUGGGGGHHHH. But you don't get to quit because it's hard. You don't get to quit your job, you don't get to quit on your home, your family, your friends, or your kids (unless you want a one way trip to the federal pen). This is all part of being a grown-ed up. So it's big girl panties time, my friends. Hike 'em up, and move it on, because quitting is simply not a choice.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Month 1 results are in! Aaaaaaand you might want to avert your gaze!

Well there it is. 31 days down, and a new month (a longer than normal month, by the way. HAPPY LEAP YEAR! Who knew?! Not me. I didn't know. I didn't know until just a couple hours ago. Happy leap year.)

At the moment, I'm exercised, sticking to the diet, and about half way through my work day. It's another Marathon Monday, but, instead of my normal back to back race to the finish, I had an hour, right in the middle of the day with no clients to visit, and no places to be. So I decided to chill at Starbucks. I should probably be getting some of my paperwork done, but, as it turns out, I'm not.  Instead I'm here, with y'all, and I've got a coffee. (Black, Splenda, Cinnamon.  No midday milkshake here. I'm super good at Diet.)
This is so that next year, when I'm in the middle of a busy work tornado, I can look back and be jealous of myself today, with my hour to kill and cup of coffee.
See how I'm like, just chugging coffee and staring at my computer? THAT'S how you selfie in public without looking like a self-obsessed weirdo. It's subtle. Like, totes chill. Like, I'm probably reading the news, guys, keeping up on the Iowa caucuses and... political whatnot. It's mature. Not something teenagers would do, I assure you.

OKAY. So it's a month in (you probably knew that, what with your modern day easy access to a calendar and all), and today's official weigh in was 154.2. A touch higher than Friday's 153.8, but in general, on my way down. 7.8 pounds down, in fact. I did pics and measurements today. I'll post them here, but in case anyone is curious, I'm also posting them under "The Months" with my every month weigh ins. I feel like that's the best way to chronicle this.  Anyhoozit, now, for your viewing pleasure, or.... well no, the opposite of that, but here just the same, is me:

 Can you tell? I'm not sure if you can tell. It wasn't as much of a difference as I would've liked, I'll be honest. But then, I've still got 18.4 pounds to lose, so I guess, give it time. Honestly, I mostly just got terrified by how much older I look in the pictures from today. I'm hoping that's because it was at 6am, and I'd crawled out of bed 3 minutes earlier. I mean, I really have to hope I'm not aging 10 years for every 8 pounds of weight loss. Because that is not fair. That is really, really, ridiculously not fair.

Can I tell you? I'm not sure if you noticed this earlier, but I'm excited that this month has a bonus day. I'm REALLY excited that this month has a bonus day. I've been fretting about February, that I won't have enough time in this tiny month to lose the 8-9 pounds I really need to lose. But now, come on! BONUS DAY! February is going to be amazeballs with that extra day. I can feel it already.

Happy Monday, folks! Onward and upward!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Happy New Month's Eve!

Today is the finalest day of the firstest month of 2016. I began this year at a startling 162.0 pounds. Yesterday, best weigh-in of the year, was 153.8.  Today was worse. But I did nothing to deserve that, besides being awesome with my diet and doing a double shift of exercise, so whatever. The scale can bite me.

Today's truth? Feeling a little fat. I've been working hard to ignore the fact that I'm still 9-10 pounds heavier than...ALERT: Pausing a moment for Awesome.

My kids and I seem to have all gotten a cold, so we're home, ditching church, and instead watching The Avengers for the second time this weekend. They like the Hulk. They think it's cool that Thor and Loki are brothers. They think Black Widow is awesome. They wish there was more fighting and less talking. But more importantly, I just had this conversation with New Addition:

NA: "Mommy, what's that guy's name?"
Me: "That's Hawkeye."
NA: "Oh, okay."
Madelyn: "Wait, who is that?"
NA: "His name is Hot Guy."
Me: "....Yeah, that works too."
Because, it seems, you're never too young to pick your favorite spandexed stud muffin.

Now we will return to our regularly scheduled gripe session. So right. I'm trying to ignore the fact that I'm still like 9-10 pounds heavier than I was at the end of August. Back when even my tight pants didn't leave me fretting about my inevitable muffin top. Back when my tight pants were, in fact, just called "my pants".

I remember why I gained the weight. Not like weight gain was the actual goal or anything, but I remember that I was emotionally overextended and exhausted and stressed out and overwhelmed and exhausted and exhausted, and I remember that I chose to set aside my diet and exercise regimen for a time, while I adjusted to new life.  None of this was an accident. I made a choice, for good or for ill, and now I'm living in that consequence.

As of yesterday, I'd lost 8.2 pounds for the month. I don't really care who you are, 8.2 pounds in a month is great. That's solid, I-can-feel-this-in-my-skinny-jeans level change.  And though I hate the fact that I'm still over 150 (and probably will be for at least another couple of weeks), I'm better than I was. Yes, over the fall, I made a choice. That choice gained me 18 pounds. But January first, I made another choice. If I hadn't made that choice, I'd almost certainly still be over 160, and may have even gained another 3-5 pounds this month.  Instead of weighing 165, I weigh under 155. Instead of feeling like a chunky failure, I feel like a slightly-less-chunky person on the road to success. I've lost 31% of the weight I set out to lose for this year. I am 31% finished with losing a marathon. Which is great. Still not "there", But, you know, closer. Closer. Ever closer.

Anyway, the kids declare it's Spiderman time. Apparently, we're very over DC these days. Marvel or die, friends. Marvel or die.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Case of the Mondays

And somehow, it’s Monday again.

Sometimes I love the weekend. This weekend, for example, I worked out a bunch on Saturday morning, then we brought the kids to my mom, and went out on a 10 hour long date. We saw Revenant. We walked to Dickey’s BBQ for dinner. We watched Brooklyn. We walked to Starbucks for some coffee. We watched Trumbo.  We got home a little after midnight, and fell quickly into a film-induced coma.  It felt like we were kids. At least, it felt like we didn’t HAVE any kids. And that, my friends, was a good time.

Last time I wrote, I was talking about my new resolution toward balance. Balance. And I’m still kind of stuck on that, so I’m gonna say a little bit more. Work can be exhausting. Kids can be exhausting. Homeschooling, things I’ve volunteered for, and house cleaning, and grocery shopping, and staying on top of bills and doctor’s appointments, and therapy sessions, and kids activities can be exhausting. Today for example: 8 hours of work, plus about 3 hours of driving between clients AT that work, then I have to go grocery shopping, and then at home, I need to prep for our homeschool group tomorrow, and exercise, because today I slept in till 6:30 and didn’t get a work out in. And oh right, the 3 year old has been complaining that his shoes don’t fit anymore. So… I need to go to Target? Maybe Walmart because it’s closer. Or maybe he can just squish his toes back for another few days. Or maybe no exercise. And of course, 8am tomorrow morning, we have to go DO the homeschool group.  And on and on and on we go.

I know I sound super domestic and whiney right now (Ugh. I have kids and a job and grocery shopping??? How does she do it?!)

I don’t know. That’s the answer. I DON’T KNOW how she does it.
Please, if you can get past the barfiness of that moment real quick, hear that I’m not really griping about my own life.  I promise. I’m just saying that life, as a thing, is just exhausting. That’s how life do.

I heard somewhere that real rest comes, not from doing nothing, but from doing something different. And the benefit I’ve got in life right now is that, I have a million options for that something different. Because kids is different from work, and different from teaching, and different from cleaning, and different from meetings, and different from groceries and different from exercise. I’m not sure that it’s really true, I’ll be honest. Stuff is stuff, and rest really feels most like rest. But I can tell you this: When you can watch a movie at the theater any day of the week, it’s not as special as when you get a free day and watch as many as you can. When you sleep in every day, a stolen hour in the morning isn’t worth the time. On the contrary, when you’re busy, when you work, when you accomplish, the rest, though rare, is sweeter than honey. Because why, you ask? Because BALANCE, that's why. Boom. Topical. Nailed it again, Maestro.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The sort of end to the 21 Day Fix: BALANCE

Like with yoga and, wait for it... with LIFE.
Yesterday was officially day 22. Meaning: Yesterday my 21 day fix was over, and I SHOULD have posted a bunch of after pics and measurements and cheered what 3 weeks did to change my world.

But I didn't. Doesn't speak to a lot of confidence, does it?

How this 21 days went: Strep throat. Migraine headache.The end.

What I'm trying to say, I guess, is that for 12 days of this Fix, I didn't exercise. For a few of those days, I barely even moved.  I've been great with the diet in the day to day, but have also taken off for a couple of meals the last 2 weekends. Like, not any full bad "days", but a bad dinner, with a bad lunch the following day. Something like that. In the end, I don't feel like I've done enough yet to constitute any sort of "after" pictures. Instead, my new plan is to do every month pictures. On "The Months" tab, I will post my monthly weigh-ins along with my pictures and measurement changes. That way, there will be a comprehensive picture of how the year is going, and I will feel additionally motivated not to get lazy in the first few months of the year, as is my wont.

Just the same, as of THIS morning (you can see my Friday weigh-ins in the "The Weeks" tab, if you're interested) I weighed 154.6.

So in the last 3 weeks and 1 day, I have lost 7.4 pounds. I've lost about an inch and a half on my waist (hoping that will crank up now that I'm back into exercise), and up to an inch in a few other places. Today will be my 9th sequential day of return to exercise, and it better be a doozy, because tonight is date night, and I fully intend to eat delicious and unhealthy foods.

I know my diet isn't exactly perfectly 21 Day Fix sanctioned. I've cut back on diet soda, but I haven't at all cut it out. Somedays I have too much salad dressing. And speaking of, I'm not making those salad dressings, I'm very carefully choosing ones that are low in fat, and more importantly, low in sugar. I've found some great yogurt based dressings that seem relatively healthy. And like I said, I've decided to give myself 1 or 2 cheat meals a week. But in doing those things, in being 80-90% diet appropriate instead of 100%, I almost don't feel at all like I'm on any sort of restrictive diet. I'm eating healthier. I'm cooking healthier. I found a 21 Day fix marinara sauce recipe that even my kids think is AMAZING. The best part of this diet, in my opinion, is it teaches you balance. Eat a good amount of vegetables every day. Stop defaulting to carbs, because you shouldn't have many of those. Cut the sugar. Cut the sugar. Cut the sugar.

Sure, I've had times, like when I was supposed to bake cookies for a church function this past week, where I felt sad about my diet and me. (I decided spending a few bucks on store bought cookies was worth the expense, that the church kids wouldn't notice, and I wouldn't be in-your-face tempted unto failing with cookie dough. That's called making good life choices.) But for the most part, I feel fine. I'm making it work. I'm finding a balance that works for me, for today, with my diet and exercise and the rest of my life. I'm back to exercising every day, and if you want to judge me for my lack of perfections, remember that I have lost 7.4 pounds in just over 3 weeks, so I'm kind of the expert here, thank you very much.

GOOD NEWS. For my personal Lose a Marathon challenge, I have 18.8 pounds to go, and am losing at a pace that should have me there by my April 1st goal date! 26.2 is a LOT of pounds to lose. And even though I'm on track, almost 19 is STILL a lot of pounds to lose. I absolutely definitely think I may have been overly ambitious in my middle of the night goal setting, but I'm on track so far, so we'll keep working it at and just see how it goes.

Happy Saturday, friends. Time for me to go exercise a bunch a burn off the hamburger and french fries I may or may not be planning to eat tonight. (I am. I am planning to. Shh. Don't tell anyone.)
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