Monday, August 31, 2009

Survey Says

... 2.5 pounds!

Well I wanted to lose more than that, and I really thought I would, but hey, that's a great start. I am pleased.

My week went pretty well. I ate more vegetables than I ever have in my life, some of which I'd never eaten before - hearts of palm, kale, mesclon greens, and roasted red peppers from a jar. I also cooked more than I ever have; breakfast, lunch and dinner usually involved me cooking, so that was a little tough (not necessarily the cooking part, but the cleaning up afterwards part.)
The most difficult thing about this first phase is not eating the bread. I didn't eat a TON of bread before I started this, but I was seriously missing my crackers at lunch time! Especially when Miss Mary Ella was chomping away on her crackers and cookies. And bread definitely helps you to feel fuller, I think, so even though the book told me I wouldn't go hungry and would lose my cravings for bread, I can't say that that really happened for me. Maybe this week, though. Overall I would say the eating part of this week was a success, even though I did have that Mexican on Saturday night. (It was worth it, Mr. South Beach.)

I know I wouldn't have lost anything had it not been for the exercise, though. And it is truly amazing how much better you feel after only a week of making yourself exercise every day. Before this, I might walk in the neighborhood 2 or 3 times a week, but my body was so used to it that I don't think it was doing me any good, physically. But this week was super. I am 100% satisfied with our decision to invest in a home machine because I can get up while my baby is still asleep, get in a fabulous workout and shower, all before breakfast. I did the elliptical for 15-20 minutes every day last week and then on Sunday I did 30 minutes, all of which were interval training. In addition to that, on Wednesday and Friday I did 35 minutes of a run-walk interval training outside. And last night, Jamie and I did 50 minutes of run-walk-sprint cycles in the neighborhood. For anyone that is interested, interval training is where you alternate the intensity of your workout every few minutes or so; for instance, walking 2 minutes then running 1 minute, and repeating that cycle over and over until you reach your 30 minute mark or however long. The boosts in intensity supposedly rev up your metabolism and make you burn even more calories than just, say, walking at a normal pace for 30 minutes straight (which is also GREAT for you, by the way, so don't think it's not! Anything is better than nothing!) Another advantage is that you continue to burn calories for a longer period after your workout. I like it because even though the running wears me out, I know that there is a "break" to look forward to, so I can keep going.

I greatly appreciate all of the encouragement I have received from my friends and fellow bloggers! It really helps to know that people are cheering me on in this goal. But let me leave you with this : Exercising and eating right are both great and wonderful things and they bring rewards: physically, mentally, emotionally even. But the physical rewards that come from a daily walk in the neighborhood do not in any way compare with the spiritual rewards that come with a daily walk with Christ. The Father has a way of providing strength, refreshment, fulfillment that no workout, no machine, no yoga class could ever provide. I have struggled with this very thing, especially this week, because it is so easy to make something like this your sole focus and thus push the Savior aside; but I have to remember that the changes that He can make on the INSIDE of me will last FOREVER. The physical changes will not.

"Train yourself to be godly. For physical training has some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (1 Timothy 4:6-8)

I hope everyone has a great week, and thanks again for all the encouragement!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just letting you know

... that I ate Mexican last night. Cheater, cheater pumpkin-eater. Although I kind of wish I had eaten a whole pumpkin instead of all those tortilla chips. Oh well.

I did get in a killer 30-minute workout on the elliptical this morning. It felt soooo good because I was doing interval training, which not only kicks your metabolism into high gear but makes you have that sweat-pouring-down-your-face kind of workout. It was great and afterwards I ran upstairs and woke Chad up (at 7:30, mind you) and I was like, "Look at my FACE! That was AWESOME!!!!" He opened his eyes and looked at me like I was crazy. But seriously, it felt THAT good. More on interval training tomorrow, as that will be my official update. Not looking for any poundage lost since I scarfed down that quesadilla last night, but hey, at least I'm exercising right?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sometimes

... I wish I were a big girl. So I could wear makeup and cool headbands.









But Mommy wants me to stay little. So today she let me be a baby. I drank from a bottle and relaxed in my bouncy seat, just like the good ol' days.

Fatty Temptations

It seems like every time I start trying to lose weight, Food Network just has to make the most fattening things ever on EVERY single show. For instance... yesterday, Rachael Ray made home made corn dogs; I'm talking HUGE hot dogs that were SMOTHERED with her home made batter (corn meal, milk, eggs, hot sauce, a few spices)... I could have eaten my TV. Today I am sitting here drooling as Ina Garten is preparing a lobster potpie for her husband. Seriously, people?

Will somebody PLEASE make one or both of these dishes and let me know how delicious they are? And think of me, as I am staring miserably at the loaf of bread in my pantry...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Speaking of gaining 10 pounds...

I need to lose at LEAST that much. Probably around 20. Yes, that's more like it. I have been off-and-on dieting for the last few months but have found nothing that works... well, nothing that I can stick with for longer than a week. I lost all my baby weight by breastfeeding, then since January I have only lost 5 more pounds... which is pathetic... my New Year's resolution was to lose 30 pounds by June. Ha. Ha. Ha. I'm not sure why I set that goal to begin with... that is a lot of weight to lose in 6 months. Although I'm sure it can be done. My husband can think about losing weight and lose 5 pounds, all the while enjoying his bread and pasta and sugary snacks. I think women are just different... and I think it's a little unfair... we have all this water weight, these hormones, these mood swings... none of which are conducive to weight loss or maintaining a healthy lifestyle... if you ask me. (I'm sure others would disagree and tell me how lazy I am at this point.)

But anyway, all this is about to change. I am for REAL this time. And the reason I am blogging about it is because I feel like I will have accountability. I started a private blog back in January to document my weight loss journey - and I was a faithful writer for about 2 weeks - unfortunately there's just nothing fun about having NO ONE to hold you accountable and tell you that the box of Ding Dongs is doing NOTHING for your figure. I need that accountability.

Today marks the ONE MONTH countdown until my brother and Ashley get married. I want to at least feel better about myself by then... even if I am only a pound lighter. So I am determined to do so. Slowly but surely.

So here is what I am doing right now: The South Beach Diet, SuperCharged. After trying various weight loss methods, I have realized that:

a) I cannot sit around all day and count points
b) I cannot go a lifetime (or a day) without bread or potatoes
c) I cannot live on faux-chocolate shakes in a can.

So I believe this is the best option for me. Why? Because it allows for fast weight loss at the beginning of the diet (so that you see immediate results and want to KEEP up the good work) but it also allows you to eat a TON of stuff, even carbs and delicious desserts, and the 3 phases of the diet help you transition the plan into a healthy lifestyle... so that you know you will not be without bread forever. Phase 1, which I started yesterday, lasts 2 weeks and is the most challenging phase of the diet. It does not allow bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, starchy veggies, etc. Basically it's borderline miserable. But you CAN have Splenda, milk, and sugar-free snacks like jello and popsicles, which is something that Atkins doesn't really recommend. Milk is key, because I love skim milk and I really love chocolate milk, which I can have, thanks to sugar-free chocolate syrup, which is also allowed. Plus I gotta get my calcium. I have found that the recipes are especially delicious. Maybe I will end up getting the South Beach cookbook too, once I get in the groove. But the recipes in the regular South Beach Diet book are wonderful.

And as you all know, no diet will work without exercise. I love walking in the neighborhood with my jogger, but some days it is just too bloomin' hot. So we decided to invest in an elliptical. I have never been too fond of these machines at the gym, because the range of motion is a little odd to me. But I have gotten used to is since we've had it. I am starting off doing 15-20 minutes each morning and I will work my way up. (I'm out of shape people! No ugly comments, please!) I will also try to get in a walk in the neighborhood if the weather permits and will try even harder not to make excuses.

So each Monday or Tuesday I will be posting about my progress and hopefully the number of pounds I've shed. I will be brutally honest about the number of times I've cheated and the number of excuses I've made. I'm still a little nervous about posting this since I don't have a good track record with sticking to any sort of diet or weight loss program, but hopefully this will do nothing but help me get there. As for a long term goal... I would love to lose 20 pounds by next year at this same time. Now, that's a little more realistic, right? Slow and steady...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Recap


What a great weekend! We headed up to Florence Friday afternoon to spend the weekend. Friday night we had a girl's night at Sips n Strokes in Franklin, Tennessee. I had seen the "Funky Flowers" painting in one of the galleries here in Birmingham and was dying to paint it! And I finally did. I have realized, though, that I am a bit impatient and impulsive when it comes to these Sips n Strokes classes... I don't like taking breaks, I don't like following instructions, and I when I don't like what the teacher does, I do my own thing - eek. That is why everyone else's canvas looked better than mine. Oh well. I really do enjoy myself when I go there, though, and it is so nice to "escape" for a couple hours and let the creativity juices flow.

Saturday I slept until 6:30 am because that's when Mary Ella decided to wake up. We enjoyed breakfast over at Grandmother and Grandaddy's house with Addie Jane then the girls played outside with Vicki while Ashley and I went into town to get my brother and Ashley a shower gift. That night my aunt Kristi hosted a couples shower for Adam and Ashley. All of their friends were able to come and we enjoyed BBQ, potatoes, slaw, bread, and to top it off with another great carb, some homemade lemon pie. I am sure I gained 10 lbs at the shower alone. More on that later.

Here are the beautiful hostesses... my aunts Vicki, Amanda and Kristi, with my mom (Amy)



And the beautiful couple, Adam and Ashley

Everyone brought great gifts too! The theme of the shower was "Keep 'em Dating" so everyone brought things like movie tickets, games, restaurant gift cards, etc. My mom and all her sisters went in together and bought them a 6-person tent, an air mattress, a lantern, and some other camping stuff, which they loved. I got them a nice decorative basket and filled it with all the ingredients needed for a candlelight dinner - 2 candles and 2 glass candle holders, 2 plastic wine glasses, a bottle of sparkling grape juice, spaghetti noodles, a jar of spaghetti sauce, some fudge brownie mix, and a gourmet Purina dog food meal for their bulldog, Ruby.
On Sunday we worshipped at CrossPoint then ate lunch at Grandmother's house, as usual. We celebrated Katie's 22nd (??) birthday with some down-home southern cookin. We love our cousin Katie - she's so pretty and she loves the baby girls so much. She is constantly looking for fun ways to entertain Addie Jane and Mary Ella.

I went to bed at 7pm last night! And today I woke up around 7:30am and felt so good. I needed the extra rest since the weekend was so eventful. This week will be spent cleaning house, doing laundry and catching up with things at home. I am way behind! So with that said, I have to go! Hope everyone has a great week!


That's my cousin Katie, to the right... 22 and growing!

Monday, August 17, 2009

I have beautiful friends.

My leading ladies and forever friends... we have all known each other since we were teeny tiny. I love these girls. Saturday night we had dinner at the Melting Pot to celebrate Ashley's upcoming move to North Carolina. Dinner was fantastic! Fondue is so much fun, especially with good friends.











Backyard Photos

Ok, finally! I apologize to anyone who has been checking my blog recently and has noticed that all my posts and pictures are there one minute and then gone the next! I have been working out some kinks! Thankfully my BFF Katie and I have FINALLY figured out how to make our photos extra big on our blog! If anyone wants to know how to do this, just let me know in a comment. It's quite a process, actually... if you are computer-dumb like me, anyway. Ok so here are the pictures Jenny took in our backyard while she was here.




Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

Soooo... just returned from the 12 o'clock matinee and saw "The Time Traveler's Wife."

OH.
MY.
GOODNESS.

(You think I'm gonna say something good here, don't you? Try again.)

Terrible. Probably the saddest movie I have ever seen.
And not like the happy-sad that you feel when you watch "The Notebook."
More like the slit-your-wrist sad that you feel when you have to sit for 2 hours in a depressing film that's supposed to be good but isn't.

Ok, ok, I'm being a little harsh. Let me try to pull some optimism from this pit of negativity... hmmm... what did I like about the movie? Was it that every 2 seconds we were in a different time frame but that the writers gave you NO CLUE whatsoever as to what year it was, whether this scene happened before the last one or waaayyyy after? Some subtitles would have helped. Just a simple "1993" was all I needed. Or let's see... maybe it was the blissful marriage of Claire and Henry... how he disappeared on her wedding night, then again on Christmas, then again when she had her miscarriage... x 3... did I say blissful? Oh, sorry.

I should read the book. Because I heard it was great.
Maybe YOU will like the movie. I wouldn't recommend it, though. Stick with Noah and Allie. Henry and Claire are way too complicated.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Whirlwind.

Well this week has flown by, as usual, and I have barely had time to think, much less sit and blog. And pay bills. Which I need to be doing now. But I am writing instead. I am SINGLE tonight; without husband, without child. My Chad is fishing in a tournament with my dad up in Florence; Mary Ella is keeping my sweet mama company. So I have been pretending to be a college student again. As in, laying around, drinking too much coffee, trying on clothes that I can't afford at various shops around town, and going to see movies. It's great. I think, every once in a while, a mother needs nights like this. Oh, and have I cleaned or done a SINGLE load of laundry? No thanks. I figure I have all next week to accomplish that chore; and a chore it will be, because my house is a wreck. Oh well. I can attribute that to a few things... the first being...

JENNY FINE IS IN TOWN! All I can say is that we planned to meet for lunch on Saturday and before I knew it she had been living in my downstairs guest room for a week. Jenny is my best friend from college; we met at the University of Alabama. I was a junior, I believe. I was playing piano in Moody music building in one of the practice rooms late one night and all of a sudden, this spunky blonde pops her head into the 6x6 foot room and says, "Hey! I'm Jenny! Can you sing? Will you play a song and sing it? Cause I can't do either one, but I love this kinda thing..." And she sat down on the bench beside me and the rest is history! We spent our last 2 years in Tuscaloosa writing songs, taking pictures, eating tons of Mexican food, and talking way past midnight about everything from our current crushes to our love for our Savior. We spent literally EVERY Sunday afternoon driving around with our windows down, music blaring, and drinking cherry limeades (extra cherries, please) from Sonic. Jenny is my kindred spirit. Our lifestyles are totally different now - I am married and have a baby. She is in graduate school at Ohio State University. But every time we are together, its like I am back in Tuscaloosa again... she is always so refreshing, and funny, and she lives for adventure and treasure hunts. Last Saturday, the day we planned to meet for lunch, we ended up going all over town to yard sales and estate sales, and ended up finding some pretty fabulous things; like, a first edition Easy Bake Oven, still in the box, an old record player that works and came with about 20 children's records (Golden Book records, Disney, etc), all for $4.00. I also found 2 Lee Middleton dolls (the ones that sell for over $100 at Belk, Macy's, FAO Schwartz) in MINT condition for $5.00 each. So Mary Ella is pretty much set for Christmas; although I will probably save most of those things for a few Christmases down the road. It's amazing what $20 will get you on a Saturday morning, though. What a great day! And we've had a great week so far. Jenny has been taking advantage of a much needed break from school by laying out by the pool, reading, taking pictures, and just SITTING (something she doesn't do very often.) She even helped my sister babysit Mary Ella on Wednesday and Thursday while I worked a little bit. I have loved having her here and will hate to see her go in a few days. Or weeks. However long she decides to stay :)

So back to me sitting here on a Friday night. I have mapped out my yard sale plans for tomorrow and there is a JACKPOT in Mountain Brook with TONS of smocked clothes, baby items, etc, from a self-proclaimed "OCD Mommy" who has kept everything in great condition. I am going to get there an hour early. Cause you just never know.

Earlier tonight, I saw Julie and Julia. Loved. every. minute. Seriously! What a great movie! What a great story - two great stories! And both true stories! Even better. Afterwards, I enjoyed a grande mocha at Joe Muggs and of course purchased "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Mrs. Child herself. And when I got home I realized I can't pronounce any of the recipe names (hence, French cooking) but I will definitely be attempting some of these soon. I really related to the movie because:

I am a blogger, and I love to blog.

I like to challenge myself to accomplish certain tasks, goals, etc.

I love to cook.

Although lately I haven't cooked much. And I definitely don't move out of my comfort zone that often. But I want to try to do that. Maybe that will be on my resolution list for next year. Nothing stressful, just a new dish, something a little more difficult than mixing stuff together and throwing it into the oven for 30 minutes on 350 degrees. Plus I have some fabulous vintage aprons that were given to me by my grandmother (from HER grandmother, Miss Annie Myrtle Fritts - gotta love the name) and they are just aching for more wear.

Tomorrow, after my yard sale run, I plan on seeing The Time Traveler's Wife with Jamie. Then tomorrow night I am joining all the high school girls for a last hoorah and a bittersweet goodbye (for now) to Ashley, who will be moving to Durham, North Caroline with her husband Brian. Dinner is at The Melting Pot - yum!

That's it for now. Long post, I know. I'll update tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Our conversation over breakfast

[My words, followed by Mary Ella's reaction.]

"Good morning, Mary Ella!"


"We're going somewhere today! Do you remember where we're going?"


"Think real hard and maybe you'll remember..."


"To STORY TIME at the LIBRARY!!!!"


"But we're gonna have to skip Sesame Street."


[Once we got to the library, she had forgotten all about Sesame Street.]

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In hog heaven...

At the library yesterday morning...
























And tomorrow morning is story time, so we'll be heading back for more fun.
We love to read.

We also love to skinny dip. Well, in our panties.
But what's more fun than taking a dip in the pool wearing just your Elmo skimpies?
Nothing.



Try not to be jealous of these chunkylicious thighs.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mommy Skills

Today the sun is hot. Very hot. So we have decided that the deck would be a better option than the park. Fine with me. We have a brand new [extremely sturdy] baby gate at the screen porch doorway and yet ANOTHER gate at the top of the deck steps. I have tempted my child to climb over, inch through, even eat through the new gate, none of which she has proven capable of doing. So we have a happy Mommy and a safe baby.

Mary Ella decided to push Elmo around in her stroller for a while. I sat in awe, watching her pretend to be a little Mommy, so sweet and innocent...


That is, until I witnessed her grab him by the eyeballs and slam him onto the ground.


She's so loving.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy 13 Months...

No long update here, just a quick video. Mary Ella is doing all the same things - crawling now at 42 mph, standing for almost a minute but taking no steps, and still eating like a champ.

Her 13th month of life included a trip to the Georgia Aquarium, a date with 3 boys at ONCE, and a fall down a flight of stairs. Pretty monumental events, I'd say. Oh, and Aunt Betsy even painted her toenails last week.

She loves peas, bananas, applesauce, Oreos, Elmo, balls, books, purses, blowing out candles, singing in the car, drinking milk, swimming, and listening to all kinds of music. Our latest favorites are Boom Boom Pow (edited version), Single Ladies, and Battlefield. We like to get our dance on.

Here's the video I took at dinner tonight. My little piglet dumped her plate onto her high chair tray. Stinker.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sips N Strokes

Jamie called me Thursday morning and told me she and Courtney were heading to Sips n' Strokes that night and I couldn't pass up the opportunity! (Mary Ella was in Florence with my mom and Chad was supposed to be going fishing with my Dad that night, so he wouldn't be home anyway.) I LOVED it! It was so much fun. Very therapeutic, too. I needed a good relaxing girls night.

Here is the original picture we were going to paint...


And here is my final product... I changed my vase and added the polka dots, of course, because I had to be a rebel.


And here is me and my best friend... all stylin in her big earrings while I am looking less than desirable...
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