Sort of a boring post without pictures except…

Sort of a boring post without pictures except…

I’ve lost 102 pounds!!! And so that is not boring at all.

And now I’ll apologize for the boring parts. Because while I had intended a post with before/after pictures and spilled out thoughts about my weight loss journey. But there are no pictures and minimal thoughts to be shared tonight. We’ve had a fun St. Patrick’s Day…with green eggs & ham for breakfast, leprechaun lunches and green play dough. I’d like to promise a better update tomorrow…but it looks busy, too. So…less than a promise that I’ll have a better update tomorrow, k?

For now…I’ll say that I was pleasantly surprised to step on the scale this morning and discover that I had lost 9 pounds since I last officially weighed in (Friday, March 7). I had peeked at the scale last Wednesday because it had been one week since I began my Lenten fast from meat, dairy and sugar. I was curious to see how I was doing, although I typically do not weigh more than once a week. I was down about 5 pounds, putting me 2 pounds away from my 100 pound goal.

Unfortunately (fortunately?!) I was hit with a terrible stomach bug late Thursday night and I had to miss my official weigh in on Friday morning. And then…I had a crazy toothache/infected gum issue on Saturday/Sunday. Tummy bug plus toothache equals…major weight loss goal met!! Ha!!

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And no, actually…2 pounds past my milestone. So I met my goal of 100 pounds lost and those other 2 pounds are just icing on the cake hummus on the carrot!

It is super fun to be able to say I’ve lost over ONE HUNDRED pounds. Of course that means I was overweight by more than one hundred pounds, too…which is not so fun. But I don’t tend to dwell on a negative past.

I’m proud of where I am today, how I’ve gotten here and where I’m headed. And I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow(ish)

Thanks for all the love & support you send to me…faithful family & friend blogreaders. And the internet strangers that happen upon my blog for one reason or another, I’m glad you’re here, too. Thanks for being my audience and cheering me on just by reading my words and liking my posts!

Pictures soon, pinky promise!!

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waiting on 100, what we’re eating, what we’re learning…posted!

1. I’m pretty sure I neglected to mention that I gained a couple of pounds last week. I’ll blame it on hurting my knee resulting in lower intensity workouts and no running. Oh, and then not adjusting my calorie intake to account for that lack of activity. I was back down a half pound (which is kind of staying the same, right?) this past Friday. I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular. In the preceding week I had spent a long weekend at my parents’ house, which included one really fabulous cheat day and then a few days of some decent self control. And then I had Fat Tuesday…which was yummy. Since Wednesday, I’ve been really good at sticking to my Lenten fast (no meat, dairy or sugar)…but a few days of eating healthy plus two cheat days just isn’t enough for weight loss. HOWEVER, minus a couple of slip ups…I’ve been following my self-imposed rules for Lent, which results in no cheat days or even any real cheat meals. Plus, my knee is much better…I’ve done a couple of runs and don’t have to modify near as many exercises at the gym. I’m looking forward to Friday’s weigh in to see how close I am (again!) to the 100 mark. Ready to blow past it!!

2. I’ve managed to make it five (and a half!) days of no meat and no dairy…but I did end up with a little sugar intake. Not a single bite of grilled cheese sandwich or pizza or Italian chicken sandwich. No brownie bites or m&m’s or Oreos. (Yes, these are all things I brought into my house voluntarily this week!) The sugar happened because the almond milk we had contained evaporated cane juice in it (see also: sugar). I have since replaced it with unsweetened almond milk, which mostly contains almonds and a few other things. Someday I may attempt to make my own almond milk…but we’ll see! I also ate pita from Zoe’s Kitchen last night. It was soooo good. I’m not positive it contained sugar, but most breads do. Oh, and I was excited that while my kids Veggie Straws do contain sugar, pretzels do not. Until I read the label again and saw corn syrup listed. Boo. And finally, I found a great vegan pumpkin muffin recipe. I made it this morning for the kids and myself. It called for 1/2 cup brown sugar and I substituted with baking stevia, which actually includes some sugar. I will probably play around with the recipe a little bit and see what I use to replace sugar totally. You can find the recipe here. I subbed whole wheat flour for the white flour and used quinoa flakes instead of oats. I cooked the apples in coconut oil. Everything turned out delicious. The cooked apples were really a treat. I think I’ll try them in other muffin recipes and will probably switch to cooking in just water instead of oil.

3. I do a letter of the week curriculum with my kids. Found here. Some weeks are filled with activities and some…are not. We’re doing a little better sticking to a routine these days. I have a lot of fun with the kids when we do school activities, especially when I supplement the curriculum with my own stolen from Pinterest ideas. This week is letter P week and honestly, there are not enough days to do everything I want! We started this morning by having a picnic. (Super fun way for me to avoid clearing the kitchen table for breakfast.) We had pumpkin muffins, bananas & milk. We had planned a play date at the park, but cousin Mary wasn’t feeling up to it. And so our previously planned peanut butter & jelly sandwich picnic at the park has been postponed until this evening when we will play outside until Papa comes home. The weather should be perfect! For lunch today we made pasta salad with peppers and provolone cheese Daniel poked the plastic to open the pepper package. He was so proud! We’re also planning a pizza party, movies with popcorn, pancakes on pajama day, polish sausage, pork chops, potatoes, p’sketti, pineapple, peaches, pretzels, pudding, potato chips and pie on Friday, March 14…because I am nothing if not a math nerd. (see here if you do not happen to share this love for numbers). I hope to make some penguins (maybe by painting with potatoes?) and we’ll be learning about the plagues. I found a great site to help me incorporate bible stories in our schooling. She shares links and even lists food ideas. Click here to see what we’ll be studying this week.

4. And…my thoughts have been totally interrupted by a dying laptop battery and kids that are dying to go outside. Occupational Therapy is finished, I’m packing our picnic and we’re headed outside until sunset.

Happy Monday, friends!

Three

I was going to write a decent update tonight. But instead I had an almost 3 hour dinner with 3 friends and I went to 3 grocery stores.

So…here are a few pics from last week and maybe I’ll have more words tomorrow!!

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Mickey Mouse pancakes, Olympic brownies, pizza with olives & onions. and Olympic Oreos…letter O week! Also, Dr. Suess hats with strawberries & marshmallows. And a boy in love with doing the dishes. Yay!

Day One Ramblings

(My grandmother kept a daily journal for about 30 years.  Most of her writings are about what she did that day.  It is great fun to read what she wrote on the day I was born and the day I left for college.  I can hear her voice as she writes about checking cattle with my grandpa or getting a postcard in the mail from a relative.  Sometimes I want my writing to be encouraging, funny, thought provoking.  And sometimes I just want to write about everyday life.  See below.)

So….I made it through one day of no meat, no dairy, no sugar.  It actually wasn’t too tough of a day because I was limiting my food due Ash Wednesday.  Officially Catholics (aged 14-59) are required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  Fasting defined as one full meal and two smaller meals (if needed) not equaling the size of one full meal.  I kept my eating light today and didn’t have to think a lot about what to eat.  I hope to plan out some meals for the next couple of weeks and stock up on a few things this weekend.  I think I am going to attempt 15 bean soup on Friday.  I’m also going to need to find some nut butter without sugar.  I have almond butter but it has added sugar.  My vegan brother gave me the name of a couple to look for or I can make some fresh almond butter at the grocery store.

I mentioned that I want to read meaningful things…today I spent time reading an actual book and a book I bought on Kindle.  It’s a bit embarrassing to admit I don’t remember the last (non-children’s) book I read.  Or at least I can’t remember reading very many of them in the last couple of years.  I’m feeling confident that I’ll make my way through several in the coming weeks. Today I began reading Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker.  He writes at becomingminimalist.com and I like what I’ve read.  I’m also reading Love & Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay & Charles Fay.  If you are a parent or a teacher and you haven’t tried Love & Logic…you simply must! Visit loveandlogic.com for a quick peek at what they are about.  I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to implement more of those practices in my parenting. I hope I can be more consistent in using their tools.  Today I tried some out on Michael and he totally fell for it they worked!

We had a pretty normal day at home with a little sleeping in due to Tuesday’s (the day, not the kid) late night movie fun.  (We let the kids stay up and watch Despicable Me 2, mostly because we treated ourselves to a quiet afternoon by putting them down for naps!)  We are learning about the letter O this week, and even though we’re not totally in sync with real life events…we did make Olympic brownies today.  Which reminds me, an example of how serious I am about keeping my Lenten fasts in check…I have an open container of frosting in my refrigerator and an open bag of M&M’s in my pantry.  That is usually high temptation for me, but I feel confident I’ll keep out of them.  And frankly, if I get too tempted I’ll make Rob hide the candy and I’ll throw out the frosting!

We planned to take the kids to mass tonight. I was a little anxious about their behavior since it didn’t start until 7:00.  However, late this afternoon, Daniel got sick.  The poor kid can’t throw up because of a surgical procedure he had when he was a baby.  He can still be sick and feel sick and look sick…but he never actually throws up.  I’m not sure that’s necessarily a good thing.  Anyway, Rob ended up staying home with all five kids.  Because if I was a little anxious about behavior with Daddy right there in the pew with me…I was certainly anxious about taking any of them with me alone!  Turns out Ash Wednesday mass is about as popular as Christmas Eve mass.  I ended up parking more than two blocks away from church and sat on the floor for a while because all of the overflow chairs were full.  Super glad I didn’t have any littles with me!  So, somewhere there’s a spiritual and slightly profound post about why the church is full on an evening dedicated to the beginning of Lent…a season for returning, repentance and preparation.  It’s close to my bedtime so I’m not able to bust out anything spiritual or profound at this point.  But maybe soon.

I don’t have any specific blogging goals in mind for the next several weeks, but probably more everyday life ramblings. Hope your everyday life is splendid!

 

Lent…why I’m doing what I’m doing

Matthew 6:16-18
 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Lent begins tomorrow and I’m embarking on a journey that is unlike previous seasons.  I’m not exactly sure why it feels different this year, but it certainly does.  I’ll share a little here, just as I have shared a little information with some others.  My husband will likely be the only one who knows all of my Lenten “goals”…he can help me with accountability and I can keep from being too much of a hypocrite or a boastful person.

In general, I have a desire to live a more simple life.  I want to be more disciplined (I’ve got 5:00 am bootcamp down…time to move on to some other areas of life!).  I want to be less dependent on or distracted by social media.  I want to spend my time participating in enriching activities that make me a healthier person, a better teacher to my children, a more devoted and attentive wife.  I want to have routines that help me keep better order in my home.  I want to connect with friends in real life more often.

I want to write something meaningful and I want to read something meaningful.  For now, that means less facebook updates and more blog posts.  And it also means more books and less facebook comments.  Seriously, am I alone here? It’s really not the Facebook statuses that trip me up…it’s the fact that I click to read comments.  I don’t mind if you post a status I don’t really care about…I’m certain I do the same to you.  But what compels me to click on the comments of a status I don’t really find interesting?  To read what other people (often people I don’t even know) have to say about an article or a picture or a status? Time waster, that’s me.

Since I write about my fitness and healthy eating on here, I wanted to share about what dietary changes I’m making during Lent.  I’ve decided to give up meat and dairy…so pretty much vegan, but I’m not promising I won’t eat honey.  What else outside of meat and dairy breaks the vegan rules? Oh, I’m ill-prepared, I’m afraid! I’m also giving up sugar….pause for dramatic effect…..sugar will be the hardest for me, I think.  I already eat plenty of meals without meat.  I do eat dairy on a regular basis..mostly in the form of plain Greek yogurt or Laughing Cow cheese.  Oh, and my protein powder is whey-based.

(Pause to order vegan protein powder from amazon.  Thanks Megan!)

And, there’s definitely some sugar eating going in my world.  I try to check labels, but sugar seems to be in everything! I don’t do artificial sweeteners, so it’ll be interesting to see what I have to leave out of my regular diet by eliminating sugar.  Ahem…Starbucks. Clif Bars, Luna Bars. Gum?! Uh…I’ll have to think about that one!

And typically, Friday is my “cheat” day.  Or my “treat” day. Or the day I eat whatever I want and I don’t count calories at all. (See also: gluttony) In the Catholic faith, we abstain from eating meat (with the exception of fish) on Fridays during Lent.  This is an extra sacrifice to make, helping us to keep the focus on Christ’s sacrifice for us.  So…feasting on a bunch of junk on a Friday doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice to me.  Plus…my weight loss isn’t where I want it to be so cheat days don’t make much sense.  I might allow myself a “treat” during Sunday school.  I typically have a protein bar (to avoid the donuts!) with my coffee…and I may still do that.  Some Catholics break their Lenten fasts on Sunday, because technically the Sundays aren’t counted when you count the 40 days of Lent. And Sunday is always a celebration of the resurrected Christ.  But…I’m sticking to the plan from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday.

Most of you have traveled here via Facebook…so you already know I’m taking a break from that as well.  I hope to return and participate in connecting with friends via the internet in a more balanced manner.  (See also: I won’t check Facebook just before I fall asleep every night and just as I wake up each morning.)  But for now, I know that a season of logging off is most beneficial.  My blogs will still link to facebook automatically, but you can also subscribe to my blog and you will get an email when I post something new.  If you “like” or comment on facebook, I won’t see it until after Easter…so feel free to leave a comment on the actual blog if you want me to see it right away, or if you want a reply. 

One more item to mention, Pinterest.  Oh the mixed feelings! Eh, I don’t actually get all that caught up in thinking/feeling anything specific about Pinterest.  However, in the spirit of being simple and productive and participating in enriching activities…I’m not going to pin anything new during Lent.  I think I’ll just browse the nearly 3000 pins I currently have if I need a little crafty or kitchen-y inspiration.  More doing, less looking.  Gasp! But what if I need a new vegan recipe?! I guess I’ll just use the ol’ fashioned cookbook.  Or maybe…google.  Yep.  Pinterest is the new google, right? Like a picture dictionary of sorts.  Maybe I’ll actually save and print the recipe…and not just pin it to be lost in the wonderland of my account.  Yep.  Maybe so.

So I’ll sign off now to finish my Fat Tuesday feasting…on sugary, meaty, dairy goodness.  And maybe some more pinning of vegan foods…just because.  And I’ll be on Facebook right up until bedtime, when I delete the app from my phone.  And……freeeeedom! : )

Are you observing Lent this year? Feel free to share your ideas for this season of preparation.  And, if you don’t observe Lent…maybe it’s still a good time to evaluate priorities and focus.  Or…if you’ve got everything figured out and life is in perfect balance…please share your insight!

 

my rainbow

A rainbow is a promise of sunshine after rain, of calm after storms, of joy after sadness, of peace after pain, of love after loss.

Ok, normally I might say that’s a cheesy sort of cliche sounding quote about rainbows, which I generally do not care much about. At least not enough to save quotes about them.

Except…sometimes people use the term rainbow baby to refer to the child that is conceived (or adopted, I guess) after the loss of a child. And I never really thought about having a rainbow baby or that my kids are rainbows or anything like that. I just remembered the term from my days of stalking message boards about infertility and miscarriage.

And then we got these kids. As we were expanding our profile for adoption to include sibling groups up to 5, I wasted a lot of time reading blogs and message boards spent time researching tips for raising large families. One idea was to choose a color for each child and color code their belongings. That seemed like a fun and useful idea to me! We methodically chose the colors for Daniel (blue), Desirae (yellow), Christian (green), Christy (pink) and Michael (orange). And by methodically I mean that those are the colors Ikea uses for their kid-sized plates, bowls and utensils. That started the color coding system we use for their towels, toothbrushes, stocking hats, school boxes, birthday cakes, etc. I sometimes give the kids their color of crayon or marker when we are doing school work or I give them their color of construction paper…no worries if we don’t get a name on a paper!

As I began planning the kids’ birthday party, I knew I wanted to incorporate their colors. Pinterest is full of ideas for a rainbow party or an artist party…so it was easy to find some inspiration. As I was looking for ideas, I came across the quote I posted above. It was the first time I realized my color coded kids were my rainbow. Literally.

A rainbow is a promise of sunshine after rain, of calm after storms, of joy after sadness, of peace after pain, of love after loss.

…after years of hoping and praying for pregnancy, recovering from the loss of a child, the roller coaster of adoption…we are filled with joy.  And sometimes I still can’t believe I get to be a mommy to these fabulous five kids.  People tell me all the time how great I am at being a mom and how lucky my kids are.  They’ve got it all wrong.  These kids are my dream come true…

(Click HERE for the sappiest video yet.  I love it!)

And in case you missed any of my other stories this week…I wrote a blog a day for each kid.  Links are here:
Daniel
Desirae
Christian
Christy
Michael

Friday…Michael

My baby boy. My non-twin. What a kid!

He is small and cute and funny. Just this past week he has started calling me Supermom. It’s not like he has any idea what the world deems an actual “supermom”…it’s more like that is what he thinks my name should be. Like, “I need some breakfast, Supermom.” or “No, Supermom, I don’t want to wear that shirt.” Seriously, this kid.

He has crazy thick hair and the same blue eyes as his two older brothers and two older sisters. He wants to wear shorts every single day. Or maybe his sisters polka dot tights. He loves to fiddle with little things and for a while had a fascination with any type of little clip. He even had a little clippy that he took to be with him! He is delayed in his fine motor skills and has occupational therapy for an hour a week. However, he managed to take the bolts & screws out of our kitchen chair while he was in time out one day. He generally loves bracelets and necklaces and sunglasses. The fact that he loved his sisters pink cowboy boots sparked all five of them to ask Santa to bring them boots last Christmas. He is the youngest of 8 children, he is small for his age and he makes up for all of that with his wanna be big kid personality.

Michael is five years old and has been in our home and our hearts since he was two and a half. I think his personality and his development has been impacted differently by adoption than the others because he has been with us longer than he was without us. He didn’t have much time at home with his biological parents and he had less time in foster care than his siblings. I’m thankful we got him as a two year old. As a momma who always wanted babies…it’s been fun to see him transition into toddlerhood and now he’s a little boy. Sniff.

I read an article the other day about all the sentimental (and sometimes joyous) moments you have with your last child. We didn’t experience all of them, due to the way our family has been built, but some certainly hit home. I wonder sometimes if I spoil Michael or baby him too much…or simply allow him to get away with things I wouldn’t let his siblings get away with. And then I realize he’s my baby…and I need to raise him up to be a great man someday. But balanced within that is holding on to my little boy.

Michael has some non life threatening food allergies. Unfortunately not all that information got passed along to foster parents as he changed placement. We were able to see a pediatrician and get an allergist referral soon after placement. He has eczema and it tends to flare up if he eats something he is allergic to. Poor kid is allergic to milk and he drank a LOT before we knew it. We switched him to almond milk, but still allow him to have other milk products like cheese & yogurt. He’s also allergic to peanuts, cashews, oats, carrots & eggs. He is my most picky eater and would live off sausage biscuits, crackers, cheese and peanut butter (actually almond or soy butter, but it’s just easier to call it Michael’s peanut butter) on a flour tortilla. He also loves fruit and most vegetables. He’s been known to bust into the refrigerator and take a bite out of a bell pepper. He’s also been known to throw a FIT when I won’t let him have a third piece of fruit at breakfast.

Because of his eczema he wore a white onesie under his clothes for a couple of years. It really helped keep him from scratching too much. Plus, I got to have a kid in onesies. : ) And back to that whole “last child” thing…I’m sure I kept at least one or two onesies in his drawer for months after he was finished wearing them.

So he’s my baby and I worry about spoiling him. Michael is the hardest for me to get to go to sleep at night. The one that doesn’t want to sit at the table for meals..or school. He is the only one with a strong opinion about what he wants to wear.

But he’s the only one that ever said “I hold you” with outstretched arms waiting to be picked up. He’s the only one that cried (cries) for mama when he goes to his Sunday School class. He’s the only one who crawls into bed with us almost every night, carrying his pillow and his Elmo blankie with him. He’s the only one with a blankie.

So yes, he’s my baby.

(Click HERE for Michael’s snapshot slideshow!)