On my way to losing a marathon!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Buy TFPOC Here!

The Fine Print of Christianity is now available for purchase through this website!  Even select a personalized autograph or recipient to be handwritten by the author!  Woot!

Thanks for your support~
Shane & Ashley

Weight loss posting hiatus

As of this morning, I have lost exactly 30 pounds since the top weight I'd been carrying.  Like, 51 pounds from my top weight, but that would include counting my top pregnancy weight, and that doesn't count.  However, starting this week, my mother- and sister-in-laws and myself are having an 8-pounds-in-4-weeks contest, to get in better shape by Christmas.  So with respect to that, I will not be posting anything more about my weight until after the holiday.  Shoot, if things aren't going well, I may not want to post at all.  So basically I'm saying, that while blogging will continue, the thing about this blog that people find most interesting will not, at least until the end of December.  I guess we'll see if any faithful readers continue checking in!

Monday, November 29, 2010

This is an '81 Honda, HOW DARE YOU?!???

The title above is by far the best line in a pretty lame movie, which I had the chance to catch a bit of again this past weekend.  In Employee of the Month, as the villain checker is attempting to sell his crappy old car to his loyal box boy, Jessica Simpson accidentally hits a golfball through the window, knocking the box boy in the side of the head.  This causes our villain to assume he is, for no reason we can tell, under attack, and to respond by sticking his head out of the window and yelling the line into the night, with a voice that just drips with righteous indignation.

I love the line.  It makes me laugh.  I seem to find an abnormally large amount of reasons to do the voice and quote the line in my everyday life.  I don't believe, however, that the line is funny because it's so strange.  I think I find it so amusing because the idea is so ridiculous, and so true to our own experience.  Because I have this feeling that this amusing and rather outrageous line mirrors, in a lot of ways, what we must so frequently sound like to God.

So many times I find myself demanding things of God, and then frustrated, embittered, doubting, and angry, I turn away when I don't receive what I request.  Basically, I pout.  I pout to God for not following my plans, or giving me what I "deserve".  I flail about angrily in the same way my daughter does when I pull her finger away from the light socket, or deny her a second piece of cake.  I'm indignant, indignant for my own glory, my own righteousness.  Side note:  Praise God that He has so graciously chosen to deny me what I actually deserve.  Seriously.

Sometimes I think God needs to grab me in his hands and shake me, yelling back "Who the hell are YOU?!?" and "Who the hell do you think I AM?!?"  Kinda like he did with Job.

I guess this will just give me something to think about, the next time I find myself, fist in the air, shouting belligerently at a holy and omnipotent Creator, "I am an '81 Honda, HOW DARE YOU?!?!?"

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Say hello goodbye

This is our last morning at Shane's parents house, the day we leave our thanksgiving vacation and head back to the real world... Dum dum DUM!! Currently, the rest of the family is either gone or out on an airport drop-off. To make matters feel stranger, the hubs (fake shock) and the baby (actual shock) have decided to sleep in, so I'm up all by my lonesome, blogging on my iPod and half watching ancient episodes of scrubs. Real sorry if either of these facts reduces the superduper high quality you've come to expect here.

So two points of interesting news: 1, according to the local scale, I'm now weighing in at 160. Translation, somehow lack of exercise and rich food has lead to 4 pounds of weight loss over the past week. This seems a bit curious, but I heard this thing about gift horses once that I intend to abide by. Just the same, it's a different scale, so I'm withholding excitement until I see what ours has to say. Second factoid, it seems that someone out ther e has found my blog via some dieting website. What what?? I gotta say, if I'm being used as somesort of testimonial without my knowledge, well, I'm just really not okay with that. And what program? The "eat less, exercise more, and pray about it" diet?? Sigh, you're right, I'm sure that is a diet program and I'm probably infringing on some copyright just by mentioning this. Oops.

Update: I made Shame weigh himself, and if anything, he weighs a tiny bit more than normal. This may actually mean I lost some weight over the holiday.am, it is true, I DO win the game of life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sharing time!

I don't really know what blogging is supposed to be for, but it seems mine is meant to be used for disturbing amounts of self-disclosure.  Here's some things I'm thinking about tonight..

1) I've wanted the same tattoo since I was 17.  I frequently draw it on my foot when I'm not wearing socks or shoes (See item 3).
2) Sometimes I would STILL rather walk around with my nose stuck in a book.  I know it makes me look like a total dweebus.  I got made fun of for it in Elementary school.  I got made fun of for it in college.  I don't care.  Everyone else walks around on their stupid cell phones, anyway.  At least I'm friggin literate.
3) I would generally prefer to be barefoot.  If I have to wear shoes, I'll typically choose boots.  I like boots because then I don't have to wear socks that match my clothes.  Or each other.  Or sometimes, I just won't wear any at all. I'm kind of annoyed by socks.

So, solidarity folks, anyone out there have any personal and embarrassing facts to share with this little corner of the world?  Come ooooooon, you know you wanna!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A bit of pimping...

It's here! It's here!  It's finally here!  For those of you who are still unawares, Shane has recently had a book published, and we've been anxiously awaiting its arrival.  We were, then, pleasantly surprised that the tap-tapping at our door tonight proved to be a man in brown shorts bearing a very special package!  However, after a bit of discussion we asked the man to kindly put his genitals away and make room for the UPS delivery guy who showed up later.  HA.

But I digress.  In all honesty, the book is small, but rich.  It delves deeply into various Christian truisms and endeavors to guide its readers toward a deeper understanding of our faith and of God, and hopefully then, into a richer, more powerful relationship with him.  I can truly say I love this book, and find it deeply inspiring.

The book is entitled The Fine Print of Christianity, and will be available through Wipf and Stock's website in 2 weeks, Ingrambook.com in 4 weeks, and Amazon.com within the next 6-8 weeks.  However, if anyone is interested, we can actually get copies of the books now ourselves, so just let us know and we'll get you a copy!  And remember, at only 15 bucks a pop, they make great Christmas gifts, or even stocking stuffers! :-)

Lastly, for your viewing... whatever, here's a picture of me reading the book in front of a roaring fire while wearing pretend glasses:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So I guess this is growing up

This morning Madelyn put one of her baby dolls in her play stroller and pushed it around the living room.  This got me thinking a bit.

Take a look at any baby animal, and it won't take too long to realize that his play time activities all involve practice for adulthood, from wrestling with siblings, to attacking bugs and blades of grass, the things he does as a baby begin the development of the skills he will need for adulthood.  And I know cognitively that we work to do the same with our own children: we help them build important developmental skills in play, so that while they are having fun they are learning to be strong and productive adults.  I know this, yes, but seeing my baby pretend to take care of her baby, well, it was kind of a moment for me.

Later this morning Madelyn threw her baby doll on the floor and kept pushing the stroller.  I think she's practicing giving time outs.  I may want to keep an eye out for my grandkids one day...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shopaholitis... it's a real problem.

First off, I don't generally consider myself a shopaholic.  I generally buy maybe 2 pairs of shoes a year, and buy myself clothes no more than a couple of times a year.  I'm sure part of this is related to weight, (it's just not that much fun buying clothes you don't feel good in) but honestly, shopping in general has never really been my thing.

Or so I thought.

But now we're on a budget, and I feel sort of like a little piece of me has died.

Because of this budget, I've dyed my own hair from a drug store box, and been okay with that.  We're buying off-brand everything and keeping our grocery budget under $50 a week, and I've learned to enjoy the challenge of this.  The most we've eaten out in weeks has been a couple Sunday evening fast food grabs.  Shane and I haven't even gone on a date in over a month and we're doing great, finding free stay-at-home ways to spend additional time together when the baby goes to sleep.  All in all, we're sticking well to the budget, with amazingly little pain and suffering.

Except for this one little thing, in that I am actually a shopoholic.

Not big stuff.  Candles.  Christmas decorations.  Hair products.  Makeup.  A new shirt for Shane.  Purses and earrings (I shop at Target, these things are not "big" purchases).  Yarn.  Point is, I see things, I think, this would be nice to have, I buy it.  And with these "little things" I realize now I was easily spending 50-100+ dollars a week.  So although my wardrobe is tattered and our food is all store-brand, it turns out I am a bona-fide shopoholic, just about as bad as it gets.

The truth is, it feels good to shop.  It feels like life will be improved in one way or another by the item's presence in my home and life.  Picking out nice things to bring home makes me feel happy inside.  But I started realizing this was a problem when I noticed I would buy things and not even take the bags in the house.  The things I assumed would "truly enhance my life" spent more time enhancing the clutter factor of my backseat.  So right there, I was able to target the issue.  I didn't really "need" the stuff.  When it came down to it, I only marginally wanted it.  And the stuff I reallyreallyreally wanted, well, even that ends up being useful and exciting for an entire five minutes, and then it's just another old thing around the house.

I think I've done a good thing though.  I've made a deal with myself:  I can buy one thing, for around 20 bucks, every time I lose 5 pounds.  So now I've got a belt, a wallet (my old one had been run over by a car, but true to my budget, I waited until the next weight loss milestone to replace it), a pair of black dress pants, and a sweater. (I was a bit into weight loss when the deal started).  It's SOOO STINKING DIFFICULT to say, "that's really cute, I'd like that" or "Shane would look nice in that" or "Madelyn would LOVE that" and turn around and walk away.  I've actually picked things up, walked around the store, and put them back.  I'm a dirty dirty addict, and this is my confessional.  I work to remember how little I care about the things the days and weeks following their purchase.  I remind myself when I haven't "earned" a thing, and put it down.  I remember how many clothes the baby has, and how great Shane looks in the clothes he ALREADY owns.  And I keep on walking.  Apparently weight loss, budgeting, "control, control, you must learn control!"  It's all some crazy form of rehab.

So there we go,
Crazy lady out.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Looking young again?

Again, because up until the past few years, people have pretty consistently assumed me to be about 5 years younger than I am.  On my 22nd birthday, my mom asked a waiter how old he thought I was.  His response?  "Fou... Fi... Sixteen?"  I was regularly scoffed during my college years by people who thought I MUST be in early high school, and at my first post-college job, people would state, "with this job, you must be 18 at least I guess, right?"  All this to say, I'd gotten rather used to looking like a teenager.  I should also say that I didn't particularly hate this, but I didn't particularly love it either, as 16 year olds don't tend to garner great deals of respect.

However, I haven't gotten this response in the past few years.  Not sure if it's weight gain, being married, grown up life, or now having a baby which has aged me up to my actual "almost 30".  And while there is some benefit to looking a bit older, such as commanding a bit more respect when I'm called up as an "expert" in meetings, it's also a little sad to know that your face has aged 10 years in the past 5 or so.

This brings me to last Thursday, at Kaweah for a TB test, where the lady at the front desk asks, "So, you're getting a TB test for school?  Or...." and waits for my answer.  School.  School?  I am 27 years old, the assumption "employment" seems to make a lot more sense than school.  Because if I was needing to get a TB test  for school, I must be, at the OLDEST, moving into some kind of dorm, right?

Anyway, this may be bucket loads of wishful thinking, but I just may have been mistaken for a teenager once again...  Booyah face.  Way to hide, laugh lines.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Design

So, because my family is napping and I'm putting off some chores, I updated the design of the blog.  I think it's fun. Bright.  Sunny.  Pretty and great.  I am also aware that my blog is about(ish) yarn, and that the background now features spools of ribbon.  If this bothered you, then number 1, you're too picky, take a vacation, and # Dos, you're assumptions about my level of control in the design are overreaching.  They didn't have any pictures of yarn.  And I didn't get my own picture to make a background.  Maybe one day that will happen,  but this blog needs more evidence of staying power before it gets THAT much time and attention.

On to the yarn.

I've found a new problem with crocheting mittens: namely, you have to make two of them. "TWOOO of dem!"  Yes, I did just reference the best website ever- www.homestarrunner.com.  If you somehow haven't been there before, go to Strong Bad's emails, and you're welcome.  But back to the point.  I don't want to make two of them.  I don't want to do the same project twice.  I want to try something different, a different pattern or gauge or texture or size, or even a completely different thing.  It's not even like they take so long, I just don't care, I don't want to do it.  It feels tedious and repetitive and crazy boring.  The first mitten is a thrill, the second mitten is a chore. So at this point I've mad 1 set of mittens and 2 half sets.  This in itself may be the biggest thing inhibiting me to ever sell my things.  Unless there are people out there who are happy to have one hot pink mitten and one fuzzy purple mitten, or, let's say, a mitten and a half completed shawl....  Hey, they say there's a market for everything, don't they?

Because self-disclosure is healthy, right?

I've been talking a great deal about my recent weight loss through facebook posts this past few months, but here's the whole, or at least, whole-ish story.  Previous to getting pregnant, I had been approximately 180 pounds for a couple of years, basically the extent of my marriage up till then.  Depressing. scary.  All in all, just not a pleasant thing.  Then, right before getting pregnant, I'd lost a few pounds, gotten closer to 170, and was starting to feel good about that.  Then of course pregnancy, getting ridiculously huge, blah blah blah.  After Mpants was born, I got down to 186 within a couple of weeks, and then... stopped.  That was it.  For about 10 months I ranged from 186 to 191, disturbed by the how close I was to 200 stinkin pounds, by the fact that I weighed 30-40 pounds more than my husband, and by the fact that I was now, officially, Obese.  That, by the way, is a disturbing, disgusting word that gives one images of fat suits and walking with a more side-to-side than forward gait.  Yikes.  So I made a few attempts to cut calories, which, inevitably led to reduced breast milk production, and in one occasion, completely drying up.  So diets got tossed aside, (milk returned with some work, and yes, there is WORK to be done in bringing that back), and exercise was dismissed as something I didn't have the time or energy for in the first place.

My brother got married in August.  Sorry for the non-sequitur, but really, it's not.  That wedding, and the size 14, yes 14, bridesmaid dress I had purchased for it, (and was painfully continuing to fit perfectly in,) were on my mind constantly.  Wedding pictures never die, never even hide.  I did NOT want to look like an Obese woman in a size 14 dress forever and ever amen.  So I researched diets.  Discussed the costs of various meal-replacement options with Shane.  And in the end, opted for Slim Fast, because it's cheap, there's no commitment, and if I couldn't make it work, it wouldn't be financially AND emotionally devastating for our family.

So I bought supplies, and for about 10 days, rocked the plan.  At least in my memory, I worked it pretty well.  Total weight loss for that 10 days?  Zilch.  So I let Shane know I was giving up, there was simply no need to make life difficult when there was no reward for doing so.  And 30 minutes later, Shane comes back in with that, "I've been thinking about something I want to say, but I don't want to be hurtful" face on.  He tells me he wants me to keep trying, if for no other reason than that I will feel good about myself for having tried.  (At this point, the wedding was about 2 1/2 weeks away.)  He wants me to keep up with the Slim Fast, to exercise, and to pray about this.  Now previous to this, I hadn't really ever prayed about weight loss.  It felt selfish.  Does God REALLY care about my pant size?  In the end I will say, I still can't really answer that question.  But I have learned more that God is powerful, God is joyous when we acknowledge his control in our lives, and God wants to bless us.  So as a side note, it must be said here that the absolute best part of this journey is that it has correlated with my search for greater understanding, deeper knowledge of my own faith and God's relationship with his children.  I can now say I'm losing weight because of God, and that through weight loss, I'm getting to know him better.

So here we are, 3 1/2 months later, and I'm tipping the scales a bit less, at 164.  For the first time IN MY LIFE, I've had the experience of setting out to lose weight, and seeing that happen.  Of course I've lost weight before, when I moved to college, when I started dating Shane, but never "on purpose".   So there are moments when I see that and just feel "wow".  I've gone from a 14 to a size 10, and am looking forward to losing another 20-30 pounds before I'm done.  So it's exciting.... ish.  Because here's the rub:  It's the holidays, which means seeing people I don't see more than once or twice a year, and I don't. look.  thin.  I am still 9 pounds over a healthy BMI, and still look, let's say, chubs.  I know from experience that I will look that way until I get into the 140s.  And while it's encouraging to finally be on the right road, that's mild, it's exhilarating, I also know I'm no where near where I need or want to be yet.  This story isn't even half way done.

So there it is folks, for those who have asked, and I guess those who never cared, my tour of improved health so far.  And now, because it's what I do these days, I'm gonna go work out ;-)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

See, because it's a pun!

Or something like that.  Self-discipline kids.  Self discipline is the word-phrase of the day.  Self-discipline with diet.  Self-discipline with exercising.  Self-discipline with finishing tasks I've begun.  Self-discipline with saving money.  Self-discipline with avoiding temptation, and doing what's right and good and true instead of taking the easy way out.  Big shocking-and-intimate disclosure:  I have, like, zero self-disciplines.  


Or had. And that is what makes this time of life the turning point.  And that's why it's getting a blog.  Because here's what I'm going to do.  I am GOING to continue losing weight.  I am going to work harder at my job.  I am going to take the steps to open myself as a private business.  I am going to pay off my student loans and then my mortgage.  I am going to be an awesome mom and wife and housecleaner.  I am going to get good enough and consistent enough with my crocheting (that's the pun, see? There will be stories about yarn, and by that I don't actually mean stories about stories... although...) to potentially open my own Etsy.  And I am going to continue pressing on toward a closer relationship with God, without whom I am a worthless sack of sludginess.  And of course, I am going to type all about it.  Interested? Intrigued?  Hopelessly titillated?  Probably not... YET.  But this is only the beginning, and things are about to get awesome.
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