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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Crazy talkin'

I've been thinking about doing a 5k sometime soon. I can knock out 3 miles on the treadmill pretty easily now. Well, there is heavy breathing and sometimes some begging for mercy going on, but I can get it done in about 45 minutes. Plus, I'm so ready for springtime and to be able to spend some time outside, the idea of a 5k actually sounds pleasant.

Believe it or not, that is not the crazy talk.

So today, I was surfing around looking for upcoming 5k races in my area. The St. Patrick's Day 5k is a possibility, though it's a little sooner than I'd planned. There's an Outrun the Sun 5k in early June, but that's a little later than I'd hoped for.

Anyway, I was scrolling through all the races and found myself looking at the August 2010 calendar. On August 21, I will turn 40 years old. Seven days later, there will be this:

Photobucket

I saw that and thought, "Now THAT's a way to celebrate being 40!"

Am I nuts to even consider this? Maybe I'm still a little euphoric over yesterday and that's affecting my ability to view things realistically.

But, I can do a 3-mile run. I can do a 10-mile bike ride (at least I can on the bike at the gym). The swimming scares me a bit -- ok, a lot. And can I do all three of those things, one after another? I have six months to train, right?

Could I do it? A triathalon?

Be honest with me. Is thinking that I could do the Go Girl triathalon just crazy talk?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Waking up from a dream

Yesterday was the Go Red for Women luncheon and truthfully, I'm trying to reach back into the day and embrace all that happened. It was a fabulous day, but I really feel like I was walking around in a dream.

It started bright and early with the gals at Dr. Turkle's office doing our make-up. I really only wear makeup a few times a month. It's not that I don't like it, but despite numerous lessons, I don't feel like I really know how to wear it and it seems like an extra fuss I don't want to spend the time on. But I was more than happy to let Elissa work her magic:

The eyes have it

Here's me, up close and personal. It's kind of an awkward self-portrait via cell phone camera, but I felt so pretty. I honestly got teary looking at myself and actually thinking the word "pretty" about me!

I feel pretty

Of course I didn't miss the opportunity to get a pic taken with Elissa, my miracle worker:

The miracle worker

The atmosphere was kind of like a wedding day -- all the bridesmaids sitting around together getting ready for the big event. Once all the girls had their makeup finished, we were off in style. The Heart Association sent a limo to transport us all to the hotel.

Goin' in style

That's Kimila, Jessica, Dee, Ruth and our Go Red Ambassador/Coach Sandy.

If the morning went by quickly, once we arrived at the hotel, everything kicked into whirlwind pace. We didn't have much time to enjoy the atmosphere -- 1,000 women (and a few men) in red, toting fabulous red swag bags, health screenings, freebies, etc. I was able to do a few things but then it was time for the run through for the fashion show.

That's when I started getting nervous. I walked into the ballroom and saw it set for 1,000 guests and I saw this big long runway and I could feel the butterflies. But mostly, I just had fun.

Nancy from Macy's brought out a darling pair of red slingback wedges for me to wear and I just LOVED them! Then the firefighters who were going to escort us on the stage arrived. With them was one of their female firefighters who, it turns out, is friends with my friend Lynn, who told Joy to look for me. She was so sweet; meeting her was honestly one of the best parts of the day.

Soon after I met Joy, Mike arrived -- on crutches because he hurt his knee playing racquetball with the kids last week -- and Joy snapped this pic of us. I love the pic more than I love the red shoes!

Love is...

Don'tcha just love the hearts in the background of the pic?!

After the runway practice, I ran into my boss and two co-workers in the hallway, all of whom were nice enough to say how great I looked. (I'm totally a sucker for flattery!) Then lunch - the food was amazing -- not your typical boring banquet stuff -- crispy flatbread, a squash and spinach lasagna, broiled tomatoes, apple cranberry tarts. I mean really delicious and heart healthy too.

We had to scarf the food down because then we had to run to get dressed. I loved the dress, but I was obsessing about whether or not my bra (new since I'd tried on the dress at Macy's) was showing and trying to get the ribbon belt untied because it felt a bit snug. In retrospect, I wish I'd been able to untie it and tie it looser because looking at the pictures, the dress wasn't nearly as flattering as I'd remembered it. And looking at the pictures, I'm not as skinny as I felt. (I must have one of those reverse body image problems. Ha!)

I'm glad I didn't feel it in the moment though. Because in the moment, I felt fabulous. So many of the girls told me I looked "adorable!" We waited backstage while they showed a video about us -- here's me in the video, larger than life on the big screen (the lines are shadows of balloon ribbons hanging in front of the screen):

Larger than life

Then it was show time!

Woohoo!

My firefighter was Brandon. He's 36 and in his first year on the fire department. He said he tried for six years to get selected -- and he made the age cut off by 4 days. What a great story! Brandon, and all the firefighters, were so complimentary of all us. Having them there was a nice addition to the day.

Look at me!

The Go Red Girls

It was such a great day, definitely a day on which I felt very loved. I got so many compliments from people at the luncheon and so much love from my Facebook friends who left numerous messages of encouragement at good luck. Everyone should get to have a day like that.

And now that it's over, I need to remember that it's really not over. That there is still is one month left in the Better U challenge and that I still have a long way to go (55 pounds to be exact) to be where I want to be.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Not a human doing

In last week's Friday Fragments, I commented that the Facebook "God Wants You to Know" application is frequently and uncannily on target.

Today I left home at 6:45am and didn't return (except for one 20 minute period) until after 8pm tonight. And what was my message from God on Facebook today?

FB Msg from God

... that you are a human being, not a human doing. Take time to just be, to breath slowly, to feel your body that is the temple of your soul. No activities, no worries, no buzzing.

Buzzing certainly feels like my day today. In the 13 hours I was gone from home, I made 21 stops (that's not an exaggeration -- I just counted!) The message reminds me of a song I heard on a retreat once. The refrain goes like this:

Just to be is a blessing.
Just to live is holy.
Just be be, just to live
is a blessing, is holy.

It's probably been 14 years since I was on that retreat, but I've remembered that song. It helps that I had the lyrics taped to the fridge for about 8 years. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with activity, but sometimes I feel guilty if I just sit. I think that's a common thread among mothers. The reality is that my to do list (and yours) will never be completely checked off.

So, we have to start putting ourselves on our own to do lists. (I talked about this with regard to health in my latest Fit City blog entry.) We have to get in touch with our human being-ness and learn to quiet the noisy nagging of the human doing within us.

Tomorrow, however, will not be one of those quiet days. After I drop the kids off at school at 7:15am, I'm headed to have my makeup done and begin the festivities that are in store for the Go Red for Women luncheon.

But Saturday? Saturday, I fully intend to bless myself with just being. Holy rest and relaxation, Batman! That sounds fabulous.

I got nothin'.

I want to write something funny here. I want to write something witty that will make you smile and think "I'm glad I stopped by that blog today."

But I got nothin'. I've started about three different posts, none of which felt inspired or funny or worth writing, let alone reading. So here I am, filling the little screen with a lot of words that basically come down to this:

I got nothin'.

Got anything you can give me?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Runway countdown

Today is Monday. In just four more days, I'll walk out in front of hundreds of women (and presumably at least a handful of men) as part of the fashion show for the Go Red for Women luncheon.

So this afternoon, I met Nancy at Macy's to select my outfit, which will be on loan to me for the event. When Nancy suggested a suit, I winced a little. I am definitely not a suit kind of gal. But keeping in mind that beggars can't be choosers and that it's really nice of Macy's to do this for us, I agreed to at least try on one.

The first try was red jacket with a very fashion forward belt and a pair of black pants. Ugh! I vowed to NOT wear black pants. But I really did like the outfit. Unfortunately, despite my weight loss, it was too snug.

On to the next option, which was what I'm calling a garden party dress. It's a black and white sundress with big red flowers at the bottom and a black cardigan to wear over. I really liked this dress. Fun and flirty, but pretty similar in style to the dress Annie wore to the junior high dance at school.

Nancy and I both liked "fun and flirty," but I wanted to see what else Macy's might have for me. On the way out of the dressing room, I saw a very classic red suit and amazingly, it was available in my size. Now, this suit was definitely nothing I would normally wear. But that whole "opposites attract" thing was at work, I think, because I really liked it. I couldn't believe that I was considering a suit.

Still, I'd seen an outfit on a mannequin upstairs that I wanted to look out. Nancy, bless her very patient heart, agreed to go have a look. But when we got upstairs and I got a closer look, the shirt seemed a little chintzy. Well, not really like chintz, but cheapy. And there was not a whole lot of red in the plus-size department (sadly, it's still my fashion home...). Lots of pink, but "go pink for women" is a whole different cause.

As I was still mulling "power suit" vs. "fun 'n flirty" -- and trying to get the Facebook vote to help me decide -- Nancy and I hit the shoe department. Now, I'm not very adventurous when it comes to shoes. I'm all about hip footwear, as long as the heel is not skinny, pointy or higher than about one and a half inches. I was feeling a little discouraged, but it was Nancy to the rescue with a pair that was perfect -- for the suit. I couldn't believe I was actually considering the suit.

If you know me, you probably know that I do not make decisions lightly. Especially decisions about what I will wear in front of hundreds of people who will, at some point in the day, all be looking at me. So, I sent Nancy off to work with another Go Red challenger and I went back to try on the two outfits again.

This time, I called for reinforcements. I snapped pictures of myself in front of the mirror and e-mailed them to my sister Angie and to Annie:

Photobucket Fun and flirty

(Like the big flower pin? I picked that out all by myself! So if you don't like it, I don't want to know.)

Both Annie and Angie voted for the dress, as did the sales lady who was gracious enough to weigh in with her opinion. That, plus the fact that I could picture myself having fun in the dress, was enough to convince me. The suit, while flattering, made me feel a little stiff.

So I went off to find Nancy and told her that I'd changed my mind. She was gracious and didn't say (at least out loud) "Oh for the love of Pete, be finished already!" Instead, she smiled and offered to locate a pair of slingback shoes to go with the dress (which of course will necessitate a pedicure before Friday!).

There's a place in heaven for Nancy. And I'm sure when she arrives, she'll be impeccably dressed!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Fragments: Better Late than Never

Mommy's Idea

So it's 9:32pm on Friday and I'm just deciding to play the Friday Fragments game with Mrs. 4444s. I'm sure she won't mind I'm so late to the party. She's cool like that.

*******

Darn you, Girl Scouts, and your too-hard-to-pass-up-especially-when-frozen Thin Mints. Really, curses to you.

*******

I gave up internet Scrabble and Diet Coke for Lent. No wonder I'm in bed at 9:30pm. What the heck else am I supposed to do?

*******

I need to find something to wear for the Go Red for Women luncheon on Friday. I think I want something v-necked and curvy. Definitely not a red cardigan and white turtleneck, which is my default. And absolutely not black pants. Gaaaahhhh! I am sick to death of black pants. Though, that does beg the question, what the heck else is there to wear?

*******

I'm totally skewing the "average time on site" stats for the Homemade Serenity blog. That's because I LOVE her playlist. So I go to her site and keep it open in the background just so I can hear the songs. It feeds my inner granola girl.

*******

Do you ever know you should be doing something, but you don't want to because the fact that you should be just irritates you? So you don't do it, and then when you feel all crappy because you aren't doing what you should be doing, you get more irritated? Yeah. Me, too.

*******

That "God Wants You to Know" application on Facebook is freakishly on target. So much so that I'm beginning to think that God really is behind it. I bet He never has to call tech support.

*******

Think that's all I've got for now. Hope it's a great weekend in your neck of the woods.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I could kiss the mailman!

I'm not in the habit of copying and pasting from one blog I write for to another. However, the blog entry I just posted on the BetterU blog is such good news, that I'm doing it just this once.

I don't look forward to getting the mail. It's usually full of bills or catalogs with pretty things I'd love to buy if I weren't spending all my money paying those bills. But today's mail brought something wonderful, so wonderful in fact that if the mailman had been here when I opened it, I would have kissed him!

In today's mail were the results from my recent bloodwork from Dr. Branyas' office. My first blood draw, on December 8, 2009 showed the following:

Total Cholesterol: 181 (acceptable)
Triglycerides: 116 (acceptable)
HDL (good cholesterol): 40 (low)
LDL (bad cholesterol): 118 (high-ish, especially with my diagnosis of diabetes)
C-Reactive Protein (measure of inflammation that can lead to clogging of the arteries): 8.6 (very high)

The results I got in the mail today showed the following:

Total Cholesterol: 117 (a 64-point drop)
Triglycerides: 86 (a 30-point drop)
HDL (good cholesterol): 35
LDL (bad cholesterol): 65! (53-point drop)
C-Reactive Protein: 2.75 (a near 6-point drop into the average risk range)

So, I still have some work to do getting my good cholesterol up, but I am more than happy with the other results. Nothing could have motivated me more to drop these 4 bothersome pounds before the luncheon than this piece of news. (Trust me, I know that I have at least 50 more than bothersome pounds to deal with after that, but I'm taking baby steps here.)

I think what makes me the happiest is knowing that I was able to do this without depriving myself of everything tasty and without being a slave to the gym.

Have I been deliberate about watching what I eat? Yes. But I've also had ice cream (low fat) and Girl Scout cookies (3, not a whole sleeve) and chips and salsa from time to time. I just make sure those are the exception and not the rule.

And I've found a comfortable rhythm at the gym. I've surprised myself with what I can do and I've tried not to become discouraged by what I cannot do (yet!).

So thank you -- Better U challengers, American Heart Association, my family and friends, blog readers -- for your support. This is not the end of my journey; it's not even the middle. But as my father-in-law would say, "It's a good start!"

(Please go on over to the Better U blog and read my earlier post, "Get'cha head in the game!")

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Namaste

I took my first yoga class tonight. (Not too bad that we're only half-way through February and I'm knocking something off my 2010 to do list.)

Before getting to the yoga studio, I had visions of a Zen-like experience in which I would be temporarily transported to another, calmer, space in my head. Walking into the class 10 minutes late, however, is not very conducive to Zen.

But I quickly grabbed a mat and found an open spot on the floor, moving to replicate the instructor's (the yogi's?) movements.

I was doing well to get my body to move as she wanted, so I really couldn't be bothered with the whole inhale, exhale on command thing. In fact, I was so busy trying to get my dog facing down and my cobra raising up that I don't think I really breathed at all for the first 17 minutes I was in the class.

The room was darkened, which was nice. But the instructor's constant chatter, guiding us from one position into the next, broke any hope of silence. I'm sure if I knew what I was doing, her voice would have just melted into the background.

Instead my mind raced trying to coordinate my body, figuring out what the difference is between "look up and lengthen" and "reverse swan dive." And when I wasn't trying to figure out the difference between Warrior 1 and Warrior 2, I was actively praying that my first yoga class would not be tagged with an unfortunate display of flatulence.

Of course there was also the anatomy to consider. Raising the sacrum, stretching the hip flexors and coiling the thoracic spine. Umm...excuse me, yoga lady? Do you have some flash cards I could look at?

One piece of anatomy I didn't need help locating was my right ovary -- because I'm pretty sure I dislodged it trying to do a move that should only be reserved for professional members of Cirq de Soleil.

Then there was the instruction "make sure your hips are neutral." Honey, if my hips were neutral, I wouldn't be at the gym in the first place!

My favorite part of the whole class was the "final shimvashtah" or something that sounds close to that. It's the part where we got to put our socks on, lay back on our mats and close our eyes. I woke myself with my own snore just in time to hear "Namaste."

(Want more yoga laughs? Check out my previously-taken "yoga quiz.")

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sick and tired

I am sick and tired...of snow...that I have to drive in.

That is all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Now that's love

Photobucket

I was lamenting the fact that despite all my working out and weight loss, I'm not dropping clothing sizes as quickly as I would hope.

Mike replied, as only a husband or a very, very good girlfriend should be allowed, "I think you're not considering how tight your clothes were before."

Ha! I think there was a compliment, or at least the attempt at a compliment, in there somewhere. It's a good thing I've known him for 20 years -- long enough to know he was coming from a place of love.

Otherwise, it might have been an occasion for a Valentine's Day massacre.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Recipe for a successful sleepover

I am the circle

7 giggly girls
1 school dance
4 large pizzas
5 2-liters of soda
2 1/2 gallons of ice cream
1 can Redi Whip
Assorted sundae toppings
1 box of feminine hygiene supplies
1 package of Starburst
1 box of Swedish Fish
1 bag of Skittles
12 envelopes of Fun Dip
1 funny movie
7 hours of sleep
3 dozen chocolate chip pancakes
1 gallon O.J.
0 cell phones

Lessons learned:
  1. Girls eat A LOT!
  2. Hosting seven 13-year-olds is easier than hosting seven 8-year-olds. They don't need or want a lot of directed activity. Just a space to hang out, access to lots of food (see #1) and the knowledge that the parental units are there and aware.
  3. Kids will give up their cell phones. We required that they turn the phones in after they returned from the dance. They grumbled a little bit, but handed them over. And do you know what? They had a great time being together -- no one being distracted by this text message or "OMG! Do you know what so-and-so just said." This morning over pancakes a couple of girls picked up their phones and several others said, "NO! No cell phones!"
  4. Plan for the unexpected. I had to make a feminine hygiene run at 9:30pm. I asked Mike if he wanted to go, but he declined. Of course when the girls saw that I was going to the store, that's when they put in the orders for Starburst, Swedish Fish and Skittles.
  5. Sleep is possible at a sleepover. The girls actually put themselves to bed at 1am after the movie was over. I went downstairs to make sure everyone had enough blankets and pillows, said good night and that was it. Everyone went to sleep. (I think -- I can just imagine all those girls laughing, thinking "We really pulled one over on Annie's mom!")
  6. While I wouldn't want to re-live it, being 13 can be fun. Giggling, whispering, being silly. At some point, they gave each other nicknames. Annie's is "Doughnut" -- because everyone loves doughnuts!
All in all it was a great night. And if any of you sleepover girlies are reading this, thanks for being such fun guests and great kids!

Friday, February 12, 2010

It was so nice...

of the school to hold a dance on the occasion of Annie's 13th birthday!

Ok, so Annie's birthday isn't until tomorrow (February 13). And maybe the school didn't plan the dance in honor of the occasion. But it did work out nicely that we could have a sleepover where the main activity is the dance.

Most of the girls came over before the dance to get ready.

Getting ready
How many 13 year old girls can you fit into one bathroom? (Answer: 6)

Fuel for boogeying
A little fuel for dancing the night away.

Pretty faces
All set!

Speaking of nice, it was so nice...of Annie to share her birthday with her little brother -- not just tonight, but 7 years ago when he also arrived on February 13. Six years and 39 minutes after his big sister.

Robbie's harem
Make room for Robbie!

Little brother
Playing the meddlesome little brother role quite well.

I'm hoping to have him asleep in bed before the girls get home. I figure to Annie that might be the best birthday present ever. Other than getting a little brother, that is.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

February 15 - 21 is Random Acts of Kindness Week. On my work blog, we're encouraging folks to bestow some kindness on a senior citizen. (Check it out here.)

I am so lucky, however, to have very punctual friends who have heaped kindness on me today. Perhaps that makes them pre-punctual? At any rate, I wanted to share the two very sweet things these ladies did for me because both things really made me feel loved.

First, my neighbor Cathy came by with her daughter to deliver my Girl Scout cookies (for my conversation with my trainer about THAT, click here). While she was visiting -- ok, waiting for me to find where I'd put my purse! -- Cathy told me that she's been reading my blog. Woohoo! While that would have been kindness enough, there's more.

Cathy mentioned that in reading some of the things I've written about our struggles with Robbie, it reminded her of her own sister who raised a son with autism at a time when autism was not as well-known or understood as it is know. Cathy's sister Julie wrote a book about her experience. And while Robbie's diagnosis is not autism, Cathy thought I would be able to relate to some of her sister's experiences and might get something out of the book, so she brought me my own copy. It's that sweet? (The book is Just Be His Mommy by Julie Conner.)

The second kindness that was shown to me today was by my friend Ellen, who also lives in my neighborhood. If you think I'm becoming a gym rat, you should talk to Ellen who has lost 40 pounds since October and who takes a spin class almost every day. I dropped by Ellen's house to pick up a circle punch to make Lego birthday party invitations for Robbie. She'd asked me previously if I would be interested in some of the clothes that she can no longer wear. When I said yes, I assumed we were talking a couple pairs of pants and tops. Ellen greeted me with two very large, very full bags of clothes! "Keep what you like, give the rest to Goodwill," she said.

To paraphrase Blanch DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire, "I have always relied on the kindness of neighbors."

Thanks Cathy and Ellen. You ladies are awesome. I definitely plan to pay your kindness forward next week during Random Acts of Kindness Week!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Go Drag, I mean, Red for Women

Me and the Jiffy Lube drag queen

Girly mechanic

To learn why these Jiffy Lube mechanics are decked out in red dresses, click here.

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Biggest Loser: Olympic style



After two weeks of not seeing any or all of the Biggest Loser, I made sure to stake my claim in the family room with plenty of time before the show started.

And start it did -- with a big announcement -- that the contestants would be going to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado. Of course the fact that NBC is the television home of the 2010 Winter Olympics probably had a lot to with that.

Once on the ground at the Training Center, the really big announcement was made -- that the teams would be separated, the contestants would be playing as individuals, and two people would be going home. One would fall below the red line and go home immediately. Two others would fall below the yellow line and a vote would determine which of the two would leave the ranch.

To kick off the week, they lit the torch at the Training Center, with each contestant having an opportunity to carry it for part of the trek. The contestants were moved and feeling very patriotic. I couldn't get there. I kept feeling like it was all for show, too orchestrated. But I know if I'd been there, part of that, I would be teary-eyed and heart-swelled, too.

Ok, the autographed USA pillowcases got me. That was cool.

Oh my gosh...EVERY week with the Extra Sugar Free Gum. Enough already! Although, I'll admit to keeping some in my drawer at work for after lunch when I feel the need for something sweet.

The contestants were introduced to two Olympic athletes who set up obstacle courses for them to go through. The ladies were paired with gold medal skier Julia Someone and the men with Olympic aerialist Speedy Petersen.

Koli from the gray team was struggling with whether or not he deserved to still be on the ranch. He kept telling himself that John, who was voted off last week, should be there instead. Bob, of course, slid in with a pep talk and set him straight.

J.R. Celski, short track speed skating athlete set up the Pop Challenge. He told the story of how he sliced his leg open with his skates on the last day of the Olympic trials. He said, "No matter what situation you are in, you gotta get back up."

Considering that I've been a bit (ok, a lot) cardio challenged this week, those were words I really needed to hear.

Pop Challenge was a slide board challenge. Each contestant had to slide side to side for 500 touches. My 10 year old has declared that he wants a slide board for his birthday. Sure, I'll just ring up the Olympic Training Center and see if they have an extra one lying around.

Turns out the slide board is not as easy as it looks and in the beginning several people fell repeatedly. In the end, Sam won the "gold" prize; Melissa the "silver" prize; and Sunshine (aptly of the yellow team) took the bronze. In addition to Olympic-style medals, the winners each won something else, though what that was wouldn't be revealed until later.

After the Pop Challenge, the contestants went to Garden of the Gods (beautiful!) for another challenge -- the Biggest Loser biathalon. Run around the field, take a shot with a laser gun at another contestant's target. They get 5 hits and they are out. Before the biathalon got underway, the rewards for winning the Pop Challenge were revealed.

Sunshine, the bronze winner, got to choose one person's target to shoot at before the competition began. Melissa got to choose two and Sam got to choose three. They basically ended up negating themselves by dividing up the shots among the three of themselves instead of choosing another challenger.

One the challenge was underway, everyone lined up against Lance, most likely because they knew he is a hunter and a very good shot. What was interesting was that the final three were probably three of the most out of shape, O'Neal, Darryl and Ashley. It ended up in a literal shoot-out between O'Neal (yellow) and Darryl (black). I was pulling for O'Neal because he and Sunshine just got back to the ranch -- and he did it, just in the nick of time!

Then it was back to California. First stop, 24 Hour Fitness (nice plug) for a bootcamp class, which it turns out was just a precursor to the real last chance workout.

Weigh in

O'Neal (immunity) - PW: 333 CW: 325 = -8 (2.40%)
Michael - PW: 443 CW: 432 = -11 (2.48%)
Stephanie - PW: 225 CW: 221 = -4 (1.78%)
Sunshine - PW: 245 CW: 239 = -6 (2.45%)
Koli - PW: 335 CW: 326 = -9 (2.69%)
Andrea - PW: 262 CW: 255 = -7 (2.47%)
Darrell - PW: 343 CW: 338 = -5 (1.46%)
Sam - PW: 310 CW: 298 = -12 (3.87%)
Sherry - PW: 180 CW: 177 = -3 (1.67%)
Ashley - PW: 317 CW: 311 = -6 (1.89%)
Daris - PW: 283 CW: 274 = -9 (3.18%)
Cheryl - PW: 194 CW: 191 = -3 (1.55%)
Miggy - PW: 206 CW: 199 = -7 (3.40%)
Lance - PW: 314 CW: 305 = -9 (2.87%)
Melissa - PW: 198 CW: 199 = +1 -- AUTOMATIC ELIMINATION

I can't figure Melissa out. Is her body really that unpredictable? Could this be game play? An attempt to secure the $100,000 at-home prize? Or did she just miss her kids enough that she wanted to go home to see them? I have to believe that this was just the rotten luck of the scale. I have a feeling that she's going to be looking amazing at the weigh in. During the Biggest Loser transformation moment, they showed that she's down to 175 pounds.

But there is still an elimination to be done. But there won't be any voting, Allison springs on them. Instead, it's a head to head challenge and the loser will go home. The challenge has each competitor in a squat, holding an Olympic torch on his/her head. Cheryl looked cool where as Darrell really appeared to be struggling because his knees were hurting.

And the winner is...AAAACCCCKK! To be continued! That was really annoying and sneaky! It's not just one week we have to wait -- it's TWO thanks to the Olympic games (which I didn't realize until Michelle at Bargains Rock reminded me.)

So who do you think will win the challenge and get to stay on the ranch? And what's your take on Melissa?

Lunch time guilt

One of the blogs I've recently started to follow, Cop Mama, hosted "Mama Guilt Monday" yesterday. I'm a little late to the party, but as soon as I saw the topic, I was immediately transported to last Thursday when I was covering Charlie's classroom so his teacher could enjoy the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon for Catholic Schools week.

Overall, the experience was enjoyable, as evidenced by my Facebook updates (courtesy of my trusty iPhone):

Covering the 4th grade class for the teacher luncheon. Too bad I didn't think to bring my coat in for recess duty. Brrrrrrr!

I've been informed by the 4th graders that I am "cold" because I threatened to pop the balloon one kid was playing with when she should be reading.


Self-selected reading time and my kid is looking at a Scooby Doo "where's waldo" book. Technically not reading, but I'm letting it slide b/c I'm totally playing favorites.


Revolution on my hands b/c word is out that the other classes are watching movies and having fun while this class is doing journal writing.


What I didn't put out on Facebook was what happened in the lunch room. Sixty some 4th graders, all sitting around with lunches big enough to feed a third world country. (No hot lunches that day so the cafeteria staff could go to the luncheon, too.) Then there was my Charlie, sitting at his table with his Target bag lunch sack and a lonely peanut butter sandwich and carton of chocolate milk.

"Charlie, where are the apple and the carrots that were with your lunch?" I had made the lunch ahead of time, putting it loose in the refrigerator, so all he had to do was put it in a lunch box or bag and take it to school.

"Well, I ate the apple for a snack and I didn't get any carrots."

Can you say sinking, I'm-just-a-terrible-mother guilt? This is my kid who is always complaining about being hungry. Sure, his menu of acceptable items is limited and he only eats what I term "crappy" meats -- chicken nuggets, hot dogs, hamburgers. And if he chose not to take the carrots I had bagged up for him, that wasn't my fault.

But still, in the face of all those kids with potato chips and lunchables and cookies and applesauce, my kid with his measly PB & honey sandwich made me want to cry.

I felt guilty because I hadn't thought to pack him a separate snack (they are allowed to bring one daily) so he didn't have to pilfer the apple from his lunch. I felt guilty because I didn't just put the elements of the lunch in a sack or lunch box so he would be sure to at least have all 3 things I'd planned for him to eat at lunch. I felt guilty that we didn't have a lot to pack at home because money is tight, which led me to think that maybe money wouldn't be so tight if I made wiser choices about how to spend the money we do have. It was basically one big spiral of guilt.

So what did I do with it? Well, after wallowing in the guilt for a few minutes, I walked around the lunch room. I noticed one kid with an overflowing lunch box at Charlie's table who was basically playing with his food. So I said, "Hey, if you're not going to eat some of that, can you share it with Charlie because all he has is a peanut butter sandwich."

I know you're thinking, "Oh no you didn't!" And I'm telling you "yes, I did!" Shameless, I know, but as I saw a wrapped package of string cheese make it's way across the table to my kid, I felt a little less guilty.

Monday, February 8, 2010

No sour grapes

Of course I would have LOVED to see my Indianapolis Colts bring home another Lombardi trophy. And I might have gotten a little overzealous in my cheering and let a few soap-worthy words slip in mixed company while watching the game.

Sure, it seemed as though the refs misplaced their yellow flags for much of the first half (not an excuse just an observation), but the fact of the matter is that the New Orleans Saints played an awesome, ballsy game last night.

I think the on-side kick to open the second half changed the tempo of the game. The Saints, it appeared from my vantage point, were hungrier for the win. And they were rewarded with the sweet taste of victory.

So, just this once, I'll say it. Geaux Saints!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Trash talkin' not spoken here


Unless you're living under a rock, you know that today is the day of Superbowl 44 (please don't ask me to put it in Roman numerals). And unless you're a Patriots fan just trying to forget that the sport of football even exists, you're probably aware that the Indianapolis Colts will take on the New Orleans Saints at 6:30pm EST tonight.

Living in Indianapolis, we are definitely Colts fans. I'm not sure I'd call us die-hard -- we don't have season tickets, we don't tailgate before the games and we don't have horseshoes shaved into our sons' heads.

But on game days the whole family gets out the Colts jerseys, sweatshirts, and in my case, bedazzled horseshoe shirt. The "good" TV is reserved for game watching and I stay up late to watch the replays and the analysis on Sports Locker.

So here we are, less than 6 hours from kick-off and yet I can't seem to bring myself to do much trash talking (unlike the kids on a local radio station's "Toddlers Talking Trash" segment, which was pretty funny). The best I've been able to muster is this graphic that I put on my Facebook page:
Don't get me wrong. I WANT the Colts to win. I KNOW the Colts can win. I HOPE they will win. But I don't have a deep-seated loathing of the Saints that I do, say, of the Patriots. Trust me, if the Patsies and their pretty boy Tom Brady were playing, I'd have plenty to say.

But it's the Saints. They hail from a very cool city. They don't have anyone on the team who is (at least to my knowledge) arrogant or sporting a God complex. They aren't cheaters. They have a quarterback who cut his football teeth in college on Indiana soil.

So, I don't have a lot to say about the Colts opponents tonight. Sure, I did say in response to someone who wondered which team Archie Manning, former Saints player and father of Colts QB Peyton Manning, would be rooting for: Blood is thicker than gumbo.

But that and my little Facebook graphic is about all I've got. Go Colts!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How much is my time worth?

Mike got his last paycheck from his former employer yesterday. I won't get paid again until February 25th. So I'm trying to be very mindful about stretching that money over the next two and a half weeks.

To that end, I sat down to make a 3-week dinner menu, trying a new format some cyber friends suggested.

Sundays - Crockpot meal
Mondays - Chicken/beef meal
Tuesdays - Meatless meal
Wednesdays - Mexican (which may or may not be meatless)
Thursdays - Leftovers
Fridays - Pizza/sandwiches (until Lent begins, at which point this category will switch with Saturday's meatless option)
Saturdays - Meatless meal

Once I had my menu made out (only 1 repeat in 21 days, pretty good if I do say so myself), I sat down to make the shopping list. I spent 10 minutes debating whether or not I should bake my own bread and make my own hot chocolate mix. Seriously, I could not decide for the life of me.

I ended up deciding I'd make my own dinner breads, but would buy the sandwich breads and the hot chocolate. All right, already! Back to the list. I have some meat already purchased and in the freezer, so that's good. The rest of the list looks pretty manageable.

Then it was time to gather up the coupons to match what was on my list. Ideally, I would have made my menu with the grocery ad in front of me, then matched coupons to that. But I figured I was good to get the menu made in the first place. So first I went to coupons.com and clicked then printed all the coupons that appealed to me. Then I went to Meijer.com, clicked through the Meal Box and printed those coupons.

As if I wasn't couponed enough by then, I dug through last Sunday's paper for the coupon inserts to see if there were any coupons I need there. (Still haven't gotten that coupon system down I put on my 2010 to do list).

At that point, I needed to lay down for a nap because I'd been working on this freaking menu and shopping list for something like 3 hours! Feeling too guilty to nap, I stayed with it, marking the list as to what I'd buy at Meijer and what I'll buy at Aldi. Of course, neither store is very close to us -- that would be Marsh and Target. But their prices are higher - unless I have my 10% off shopping certificate for filling 10 prescriptions at the Target pharmacy.

Ordinarily, I do my big shopping at Meijer, but my sister swears by the produce at Aldi. I stopped in there the other day and some of the things were pretty cheap. However, shopping there requires a to-do list all its own. Have cash -- and a quarter for the cart -- ready. Bring your own shopping bags. Leave the coupons at home.

So now I have my 3-week menu, my Meijer list, my Aldi list, my printed coupons, my newspaper coupons and my obsessive mind wondering if I should get any of this stuff at Costco.

What don't I have?

Groceries.

Think I might have to go get those tomorrow because all this work getting ready to go shopping has quite frankly worn me out and left me thinking, "just how much is my time worth anyway?"

(And you know as soon as I get home, I'll be pulling out the Sharpie marker and putting half of the groceries into hiding. Otherwise all my budgeting and planning will be eaten right before my eyes!)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Fragments: The Sleepless Edition

Mommy's Idea

I wish I were sleepblogging right now, unaware that I'm posting my Friday Fragments at 3am because that would mean that I would actually be asleep. But alas, for the second night in a row, I'm awake at 3am. No chicken tonight, though. Just joining Mrs. 4s for her weekly Friday Fragments.

So without further delay, I give you Friday Fragments: The Sleepless Edition

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Last week, Charlie failed his hearing screening at school. It's not the first time. He's got a funky double barrel ear canal, which sometimes makes hearing tricky. So I trotted him off to the ENT. When they attempted to do a more specialized hearing test, they couldn't because he had wax in the canal. Well, duh, don't we all? Oh no...not like this. I think the doc must have pulled 3 or 4 mini-M&M size chunks of wax from just one ear. It was disgusting and fascinating all at once. After he got both ears cleaned out, his hearing was much better. Now he has no excuse for not emptying the dishwasher when I tell him to.

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Last week when B invited us to talk about our favorite date nights, I couldn't remember the last time Mike and I actually went out on a date. But last night, we went to a Butler basketball game -- with free tickets, which is the only way we're doing anything in this post-downsizing era of our lives. We had lots of fun, especially when I thought we were sitting next to Jared the Subway guy (false alarm) and despite the fact that our kids got locked out of the house while we were gone (thanks Kate for taking them in!).

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For Catholic Schools Week this week, the kids got to go roller skating. They all had a great time, especially Robbie. One of his teachers stopped me in the hall today to tell me that SHE had a great time watching Robbie because he was SO excited -- "Look at me! I can go FAST!" Given all our struggles with Robbie and his finding his way at school, having her tell me that was a real gift. Thanks Mrs. F!

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My honey-do list became a Jose-do list this week. Thanks to Vera for passing on Jose's name. He painted Annie and Robbie's rooms this week and hung the door to my pantry. Next up on the list, the garbage disposal, the screen porch, flooring in the bedrooms. Just as soon as we're double income again!

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Robbie and Annie's birthdays are next week (hence the new paint in the bedrooms -- a bday gift from their great-grandmother). It's Annie's golden birthday -- 13 on the 13th, so she'll be having a sleepover. For Robbie's 7th, we're planning an at-home Lego party. A boy party in my house. Totally goes against my "no boy parties at home" rule, but I'll try anything once!

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We're supposedly expecting a big snowstorm this weekend. I'm trying not to get my hopes up. But I'm totally going to the grocery store, just in case.

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The Superbowl is this Sunday. I don't understand this whole "Who Dat" phenomenon. The Colts may not have a catchy phrase in the stands, but we have the goods on the field. Hope all those Saints fans are ready to drown their sorrows in Hurricanes and gumbo when the Colts are finished with them.

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And those, my friends, are the sleepless frags for this week. Same place, hopefully different time, next week.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's 3am. Do you know where your chicken is?

Ok, actually right now it's 3:29am and I've been awake for 2 hours. This used to be pretty much the norm for me. (Search the word "sleep" on my blog and you'll get a surprising amount of posts that talk about how I need more sleep or how I am awake in the middle of the night.) But lately, I've been doing much better going to bed at a decent hour and actually sleeping all night.

Tonight, however, I went to bed at 9:30pm and woke up at 1:30am. I laid there for about 15 minutes and felt my leg muscles tightening up -- should have stretched before and after the treadmill last night. When I reached down to try to massage some of the aching muscles, I realized it's been a while since I'd shaved my legs. And I have to be at the gym to meet Fr. Kyle at 7am.

So I did what any insomniac would do. I got up, took a hot bath, and shaved my legs. When I was in the bathtub, I remembered that the kids have to pack their lunch for school today. And since I'm leaving for the gym before they leave for school, I got out of the tub, got dressed and went downstairs to make lunches.

Only when I got downstairs, I remembered our cupboards are pretty bare right now. But I did have some chicken drumsticks thawed it the fridge. So I decided to cook those to pack in lunch boxes. Fifty minutes at 400 degrees brings us once again to:

It's 3am. Do you know where your chicken is?

3am chicken

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Biggest Loser: Sorry

Ugh! Both the cable boxes were on the fritz tonight and Mike wasn't home, so I couldn't go anywhere to watch the Biggest Loser. (Do they show it on TV at the bars like they do big games?)

For a decent -- though not as colorful and interesting as I would have done -- recap, click here.

Then come back here and let me just say, based on the recap:
  • I felt so bad (even just reading about it) that the Blue team had to come back and leave right again. Why couldn't the producers have pulled some big surprise and let them both stay?
  • Along those lines, it would have been nice to let O'Neal give his spot to Vicki, as he said he wished he might. Maybe next season BL will be more into charitable play?
  • If Bob really believes Melissa wasn't game playing, I'd say Dr. H. needs to examine his head. Hellooooo? Can you really be that dumb? It's spelled M-A-N-I-P-U-L-A-T-I-O-N. I know, my 6-year-old is a pro.
  • Just the mere mention of the name "Daris" in the recap is enough to make me pray for a speedy transport to makeover week so they can cut off that mop on his head.
  • They mentioned Super Bowl week. Please tell me they were giving Peyton Manning and my Colts some love?!
  • I wonder if anyone was standing over Miggy in that ambulance saying "Don't cry!"
  • Ugh! I am really, really upset that they would let Miggy come back and exercise the way she was -- 13 miles the first day back after surgery? Does that seem safe to you? Maybe I'm just a wimp and would totally use an appendectomy -- or an eyebrow wax -- as an excuse to lay on the couch for at least a few days.
  • One can only hope that they removed some of Miggy's attitude along with her appendix.
  • I'm sad that John went home, but it sounds like things are going well for him. Still, he was a nice even-keeled presence in the house. I hope he and his brother tear it up in the at-home challenge.
Thanks for indulging my crappy recap this week. Next week, I'm on it -- PROMISE.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Going red

Well, now didn't this new color scheme just up and grab ya?! I should have uploaded it yesterday, since it was February 1, but better late than never. I know it's a bit garish with the purple and green, but I've got limited skillz, people. Of course, the change is in honor of February being "Go Red for Women" month!

Go Red for Women is, in my own estimation, about two things. First, it's about raising awareness that heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States (Joanne in Canada - I'm sure it's bad, too, so don't turn me off!). Second, it's about stepping up and making a pledge to keep your own heart healthy.

To those ends, here are some ideas for you:

Awareness
  1. Become a fan of Go Red for Women on Facebook.
  2. Get a free red dress pin, then tell others why you're wearing it.
  3. Read the inspirational stories of others who are living with and fighting against heart disease.
  4. Participate in national Wear Red Day, this Friday, February 5.
  5. Make your cell phone Go Red, too, with wallpaper and a Go Red ringtone!
  6. Answer the casting call to become a Go Red for Women national spokesperson.
Stepping Up
  1. Take the Go Red Heart CheckUp. A few minutes of time could mean years on your life.
  2. Sign up to work toward a BetterU.
  3. Check out some new -- and delicious -- heart healthy recipes.
  4. If it's been a while, go to your doctor for a check up. Vow to know your numbers.
  5. Attend a Go Red luncheon in your area. If you attend the Indianapolis luncheon (February 26), please look for me and introduce yourself (if I don't already know you). This is no ordinary lunch, but a 1/2 day filled with workshops aimed at getting and keeping your heart healthy.
I've been really, really lucky to have been able to participate in this heart healthy challenge with my local chapter of the American Heart Association. Having access to the cardiologist, the trainers, the gym, the dietitian and the rest of our great support team has been fabulous. But don't wait for all the stars to align to set out on your path to heart health.

I was really inspired by my friend Sharon who reached her goal weight without the assistance of a team of specialists and a fabulous gym. Let Sharon inspire you, too.

Heart health is not necessarily about losing weight. It's also about good nutrition, getting enough rest and not smoking. Whatever you need to do to love your heart, I hope you do it -- today!

And if you wear red on Friday, February 5, e-mail me a pic at 4thfrog70 at gmail dot com and I'll post it here.

Oh, and I'll just leave you with a celebratory pic from the gym today:

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