Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

I pinned many awesome Valentine crafts with the idea that we would do one or more of them on Valentine's Day. We ended up not doing any. I couldn't pull myself together to get the project supplies ready.

Instead, that morning I had the kids pick out which online Valentine's they wanted to give to the rest of the family & printed them. Mr. T, though, was well prepared & already had made gifts for each of us.

Lunch included a heart shaped grilled cheese sandwich.

We didn't even make Valentine boxes or bags for our goodies. I quickly cut out their first initial to identify their pile. I'm tellin' ya - I just wasn't with it this year.

Mr. T's Valentine pile
The Minion was from Dad
The Fox Says Valentine was from Me
Capt. N chose to hand out Lego Valentines &
The Olaf cut out was from Princess K.
I also gave them a box of candy hearts, a pencil, a pen & erasers leftover from last year.

Mr. T made cute pictures for us. He did these all on his own. I had absolutely no say in these projects. I love them so much!

The one he made for his sister.

Princess K painted a heart rock she had & gave it as a gift.

Mr. T also made me a vase out of clay. I feel like the luckiest mom ever.

We had a heartbreaker pizza from Papa Murphy's for dinner.

For dessert, cookie dough milk shakes.

I'll leave ya with another chick themed Valentine photo. These cuties are from our first hatch this year.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Weight Loss Results - Week 6

Amazingly, I'm still on my weight loss journey. I typically have given up by now. Ya wanna know why? 'Cause it's damn hard! It's hard mentally & I get frustrated. And, this round I totally see why I've given up in the past. I'm doing the best I can, have stuck with it & still have un-amazing results to show for it. In the past, I'd try for a few days, have little or no weight loss, get ticked off & give up. I must finally be ready to put forth the real effort this time.

I don't have many changes to my routine since my last check-in at Week 3, but at least I'm still sticking with something.

A big hurdle for me has been cutting out soda. Occasionally, I'll not drink it for awhile. But, it never results in any weight loss, so I start drinking it again.

I've stuck with it this time for the entire 6 weeks. That's not to say I haven't had any soda. Of course, I have. But, I have cut back a lot. Most days I don't have any. The last 2 weeks I've only had one soda each week. That's a huge accomplishment for me.

The days the blue lines spike in the graph are days I've drank my beloved soda.

I'm guessing this Spark energy drink is the reason I've had an easier time not giving in to the soda cravings this time around. I've only tried the cherry flavor & I like it a lot.

I do wish I could go to straight water all of the time. But, I don't trust myself to not fall back into my soda days. So, the Spark is staying for now.

The red line is my calorie goal of 1200. It is almost impossible for me to eat only 1200 calories. So, most days I do a little exercise to make up for the extra calorie intake.

I haven't been depriving myself of too many foods, I've mostly been watching my calorie intake. I'm using My Fitness Pal to record all my foods & it has really helped a lot. I try to update it after every meal so I can see where I stand for the rest of the day.

Recording my calories is another good motivation for keeping the soda away. I just don't have enough spare calories to waste on soda.

I'm really irritated with the amount of calories in one slice of pizza. Come on! This girl loves pizza.

Calories burned comes down to how much exercise I've done that day. Like everyone else, I don't have a lot of time to devote to exercising, but I do try to squeeze a little something in most days. These days I'm focusing on cardio. One day maybe I'll work back into strength training.

I've had this elliptical machine for almost a year now. It has to be the best investment we made for my health. Going to a gym is not realistic for me. I would love to take some kind of fitness class. Again, though, not realistic for my life. I've tried just running in place with no equipment, but I don't seem to push myself enough to get a good workout that way. The elliptical works. There's almost no excuse for me not to use it each day. Last year I started running 5k's. If it wasn't for the elliptical, I wouldn't be able to train for those like I should. Running the 5k's is also contributing to my wanting to lose weight. I'm hoping if I lose a little weight, the running will get easier. If the running gets easier, I might actually be able to finish a half marathon - which is my ultimate goal.

I typically use a timed program for my elliptical runs. Most often I choose the 30 minute beginner option plus a short warm up & cool down. Don't let the word beginner fool you. It's tough. Do-able, but tough. The program automatically adjusts the ramp & resistance & tells me how many RPM's I should strive towards. It counts down from 30 minutes so I know how many more killer minutes I have left.

I do change it up sometimes. Some days I will eat more than I should, so I will continue running past the 30 minutes until I get to the amount of calories I want to burn. Or, sometimes I only have 15-20 minutes for exercise and I will do the 15 minute intermediate workout. It's short, but it's better than doing nothing.

My shoes hit pavement for the first time in 2 months. I ran a 5K. I'm proud of myself. I ran it in the same time I ran at my last 5K event in November. I was so tired, but I did it.

I believe I've said it before, but it's worth mentioning again. I'm using the words run/ran/running loosely. I'm slow. It's more like a slow jog. But it's a real workout for this obese body, so I'm sticking to the words run/ran/running.

Last weekend we had over a foot of snow & went sledding both Saturday & Sunday. I counted that as my exercise for those days. It was a workout walking up this hill a kazillion times.

Calories consumed minus calories burned = net calories. Most days I have stayed right around 1200. Awesome. I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

 Now, what has all this eating & exercising done to the scale?

I'm going to start with the bad. And let me tell you, I was frustrated. Frustrated to tears.

I know you're not supposed to weigh yourself everyday. But, I do. I can't stop myself. I know this means I'm going to see only little changes. Fine. But, weeks were going by & I was still seeing basically the same thing on the scale. What!!!? I'm  staying within my caloric range & not drinking soda, why isn't it making a difference?

One day, I decided to go back & see the exact weight I was for the that day & the 2 weeks before. You can see on the graph that for 3 weeks I didn't even go down 1 pound. Pissed off, that's what I was! I'm only netting 1200-1300 calories a frickin' day & I haven't even lost a pound.

I don't go to the doctor. As an adult, I've never had a physical. I try to go to the ob/gyn on a regular basis to make sure my girlie parts are in order. But, I'll be honest, I'm a couple years overdo for that appointment. Why? Because I weigh more now than I did when I had my kids & I'm embarrassed. I don't want to step on the scale & have that fact recorded. Nor do I want my dr. to see my super-sized belly. Stupid, I know.

Ironically, making a doctor appointment is what's keeping me motivated to keep going. It's just for a physical, but at least it's a start & it gets me into a real live doctor that I can talk to... assuming I don't cancel the appointment. I have a lot of anxiety about it. I want to be able show the doctor how hard I've been working & ask, "What the hell is wrong with me?" "Why isn't this working?"

And now for the good.

The day after my weight-no-loss meltdown, I had gone down another .2 pounds putting me exactly at XXX. The day after that I weighed in at a whole 2 pounds less than the day before. How is that even possible? I really thought it was a fluke & that the next day the scale would go back up. It didn't! Exactly one week from my meltdown, I am 2.8 pounds lighter. Why couldn't the scale have gradually gone down to prevent my hysteria? Maybe it was all in the plan for me to make the damn doctor appointment. Whatever the reason, I'm happy to see the scale movin' in the right direction.

I know there's more to this than what the scale says, but I need to feel like my effort is actually achieving something. I hear people say that when you lose weight you feel better. More energy, etc, etc. I don't have more energy, I don't feel different. I'm still wearing my same size of pants. Maybe I haven't lost enough weight yet to notice a difference in those areas, but I need something, anything positive to keep me on this journey. I don't want to give up. If nothing else is showing my results, I need the scale to.

As uncomfortable as I am sharing such personal things, this is really a great way for me to see this as the journey that it is. I can focus on the results of the last 3 weeks, not just worry about the daily grind.

Weight Loss
Week 1: Starting Weight
Week 3: -5.2
Week 6: -3.4
Total: -8.6 pounds

These were the goals I set for myself at the beginning of this journey & how I've been doing so far.
Short Term Goals:
• Lose 5 pounds each month for three months, for a total of 15 pounds. [I'm on my way. I'm about half way there. As I said last time, I have fluctuated between the same 5 pounds for the last 2 years. So, I have a hard time being excited about the first 5 pounds lost. I feel like if it wasn't for the holidays I wouldn't have been at the top of those 5 pounds when I started. But, the 3.6 pounds after those 5 are all from my efforts in trying to make this lifestyle change.]
• Make soda a rare treat, not an everyday drink. [2 months ago I was drinking a couple sodas everyday. 3 weeks ago when I posted my results I mentioned that number went down to a couple a week. Now, I'm down to about 1 a week. Awesome!]
• Run 3-4 times every week [Still been doing this. Yay!]
• Work up to doing 5 push ups. [Still haven't even tried working on this.]

This is tough, but will be worth it as long as I can stick with it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Colored Ice Orbs

Since I saw balls of colored ice on pinterest, I knew we would have to try it one day. Now we've tried it & another activity is checked off my pinterest to-do list.

The concept is simple. Fill a balloon with water, add food coloring & freeze.

It didn't even cross my mind that it might not be as simple as it sounded.

• Day 1 •
We filled 8 balloons with water & food coloring on the first day of Snowpocalypse 2014. Our high that day was 16°, so we set the balloons in the snow to freeze.

FYI: We used both regular balloons & water balloons with gel food coloring. I'm guess some part of these supplies is the reason our experiment didn't go as planned.

It didn't take long for the balloons to get covered in snow. We left them there all night assuming they'd be frozen by morning & we'd get to see our colored ice.

 • Day 2 •
We checked on the balloons in the morning & they weren't frozen. Most of them weren't even slushy. We decided maybe the snow was insulating them, so we uncovered the balloons & made sure they didn't get covered back up. Some how 2 of the balloons popped, so we were down to 6.

 • Day 3 •
The next morning the bigger ones weren't frozen & the smaller ones were a bit icy, so we moved them out of the snow & on to our front porch.

One of the smaller water balloons popped as I set it down. This was the result. Kind of cool, but not what I was hoping for.

By evening they weren't any more frozen than in the morning, so we moved them away from the house & out of the snow a little bit.

 • Day 4 •
The balloons sat in the wishing well overnight & in the morning they were frozen... mostly. Frozen or not, the weather was supposed to warm up so our experiment needed to come to an end. We brought the balloons to the porch and the kids cut the remaining 5 balloons.

The middle balloon is looking good & frozen, but you can tell the others are still a bit watery.

The purple balloon with green ice was a success!

It's just what I was hoping for.

Red balloon with red ice. Success!
The yellow balloon with orange ice was also successful.

Pink balloon...



Purple balloon...


The 3 ice orbs that made it went back out to the wishing well.

As I carried the colored ice orbs back to the wishing well, they dripped. A lot.

3 colored ice orbs sitting in a wishing well

5 hours later the majority of colored water has dripped out.

The days of watery balloons were worth the wait to get this fairy pic with the ice orb.

Three out of 8 balloons froze. That's not very good odds. Our pond was frozen. All the chicken waterers were frozen. It was just these balloons filled with colored water that wouldn't freeze. My dad told me they didn't freeze because of the pressure of the rubber. The stronger the rubber from the balloon, the colder it has to be for it to freeze.

It was more difficult than I anticipated, but still a fun activity to try.

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