Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's All About The Ham Around Here

It's been a busy week at our house. Well, I should clarify. LAST week was a very busy week at our house. This week, I have, some days, not even changed out of my pajamas.

Every Christmas Eve, we have an open house for friends and family to stop by, eat a little food and hopefully, have some good company. It's pretty informal and we don't send out invitations. It's all pretty much done by word of mouth. I am sure there a lot of people we miss, but it's usually not intentional.

We have a few regulars - a few that give us the pleasure of their company each year. And we love getting new visitors.  We don't really expect anyone to come. We understand that Christmas Eve is a time for families. But we do sure hope that people will stop by. Some years, we have a lot of leftovers, if you know what I mean. Some years, not so much. Either way, we love it! 

While we were getting things ready early Monday afternoon, Lobster asked me, "Why do we do this again?" 

I told him it's because he likes to show off his ham - wink, wink.

Seriously, though, he really likes to show off his ham.

A lot of time and effort goes into this ham. It had sure better be worth showing off.

It all starts around Thanksgiving. That's when Lobster decides how much ham we're going to "need". This year, he ordered 2 - you didn't read it wrong - two 20 pound hams. He was paranoid  worried that we wouldn't have any left over after the party. Leftovers are good. 

Then a few days before Christmas Eve we head to Gartner's Country Meat Market to pick up the prize. This is a raw (green) ham that has been cured in a brine instead of being smoked. If you are a meat lover in the Portland, Oregon area, Gartner's is the place to go. I love looking at all their cuts of meat, in-house sausages, rubs, and sauces they have. They hand out pepperoni sticks or hot dogs to the kids and if it's around the holidays, you need to come early or expect take a number and wait in line. 

We usually make a day out of it by heading over to IKEA afterward to pick up lingon berries, mustard, cheese, pickled herring, candy and pepparkaka (crisp ginger cookies).

Lobster was born in Sweden. All of his family is from Sweden and Norway. Yep, I married myself an alien viking.  Although he has spent most of his life in the United States, he is very proud of his Scandinavian heritage. In Sweden, Christmas Eve, or Julafton, is when most of the celebrating happens. Family and friends get together for a celebratory feast.  A traditional smorgasbord includes ham, pork, fish and plenty of sweets. We have added items that might not be so traditionally Swedish,  but it's what we like and it's become traditionally ours.

But, back to the ham.

The ham(s) then take up way too much precious real estate in our refrigerator as we get the other menu items ready for the party. I gripe a lot about how much space it takes up, but it all works out.

The morning of Christmas Eve, Lobster gets up and starts the water to boil in the 42 quart pot. About an hour later, the ham along with white and black peppercorns, whole allspice, and bay leaves go into the pot. The ham then simmers for 5-6 hours, depending on its weight - roughly 20 minutes per pound. Then the ham comes out of the water, gets dried off and rests for a bit. 

Lobster then mixes egg whites, mustard, and bread crumbs together and slathers the mixture all over the top of the ham. It then bakes in the oven until nicely browned. 
Doesn't that look tasty? My favorite part is a nice chunk of ham with some of the crust on top. Swirl that in some sweet lingon berries and tangy, spicy mustard, and it's a perfect bite. 

In tight years, Lobster has asked for his ham as his Christmas present. It's that important to him. One year, we had a rare ice storm and our power was out up until Christmas Eve. Roads were icy and we weren't able to get up to Gartner's for our ham. We ended up serving meatballs, and while they were good, it just didn't feel the same.

Why is food such a big part of our celebrations and traditions? And why can't I leave leftovers alone? I had the same problem with Thanksgiving - where I do well the day of, but then I eat my way through all the extra. It took me all month to lose the weight I gained at Thanksgiving. My goal was to just maintain through the holidays. 

I failed. 

I logged a 2.6 pound gain this week. I'm hoping some of it is water gain. I have not drunk nearly enough water this week and entirely too much Diet Coke. My sister gave me a Soda Stream for Christmas, though, so I'm hoping that change will be a positive one as well as saving us some money, honey!

As much as I love Christmas and all the decorations and food, I'm SO looking forward to getting back to normal - and filling my crisper drawer with my salad stuff again instead of everything except the salad stuff. I've missed my salads. 

Happy New Year, friends. May this new year bring much more joy and many less pounds!

Monday, December 24, 2012


May your stockings be filled with sweets, 
                                                  your hearts filled with a giving spirit,

                                                                                   and your homes filled with love and laughter.
Image from

Monday, December 17, 2012

Real Life

I don't typically watch or listen to the news during the day. I feel that my life is "Real Life" enough. I admit that is short-sighted and self-centered, but sometimes, it's all about protecting myself. "Real Life" can be scary. 

Lobster called me mid-day on Friday and asked if I had heard about the shootings in Connecticut. He explained to me what had happened and then I turned to the TV for more information. I was horrified to learn the details. 

While I waited for our boys after school that afternoon, a wave of emotion came over me. I couldn't help but think of the parents rushing to that elementary school to pick up their little ones. Can you imagine watching other parents reuniting with their children and finding out that you wouldn't be?

As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I prayed for peace for those
 families and emergency workers that would be forever changed.

I, like anyone else, cannot hide from the "Real Life" that's out there. We don't know what each day may bring. So, I'm going to hold my little family close and express my love to them and my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for my time with them.

In a world where there is little peace and much to be afraid of, I take much comfort in the 27th verse from St. John, chapter 14:
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Not-So-Short & Sweet Christmas Poem

'Twas the sixteenth night before Christmas and all through the home,
The mother was sighing, too much to be done!
Stockings were flung 'round the room without care
And off in the corner were crumbs and dog hair.

The children had finally succumbed to their beds,
With visions of torturing Mom in their heads.
The father was snoring away on the couch.
The mother, regretful for being a grouch.

The mother - she wondered how to get it all done,
The cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the fun.
Christmas, the magical season, is here!
But, somehow, it seemed any old time of year.

The presents were bought, the Yule Tree was lit
But Mom didn't feel it, not one little bit.
She wanted her house to feel festive and warm,
The kiddos to show brotherly love - arm in arm.

She thought of  homes all over the place
Families laughing together and in loving embrace.
Baking goodies, and singing carols within,
Then she recalled how her own day had been.

It started too early, as most of her days,
But that is only the fault of her long, late night ways.
She could hear the children, their words getting hot.
Time to get busy - ready or not.

Her children were fighting to possess the remote
Boy 1 had Boy 2 in a grip, round his throat.
Turn off the TV, get a good breakfast down
Amid arm farts and butt jokes and unearthly sounds.

It's raining and their dog smells like skunk when she's wet,
And to top it all off, "She's got fleas." said the vet.
While trying to fold laundry, the Mom heard such a clatter,
She ran to their bedrooms to see what was the matter.

Boy 2's floor was covered with toys, clothes, and trash,
And Lego's flew from ceiling fan blades, with a crash.
"It wasn't me!" they both said, barely hiding their grins,
Those grins disappeared while putting things in their bins.

Outside, they threw rocks and kicked balls over the fence.
Inside, the yelling and fights made Mom tense.
She said, "Feet on the floor." and "Keep your hands to yourself!"
"Crack eggs IN the bowl." and "That vase stays on the shelf!"

The father came home, gave the mother a kiss.
He looked at his children and asked, "What did I miss?"
Their boys filled Dad in on their adventures that day;
"We made cookies, and cleaned up our rooms, and we played!"

They got through their dinner, even earned themselves sweets.
Then jammies, then reading, maybe a show; They were beat!
The mom sang the boys' songs, the dad heard their prayers.
And soon quiet started to creep through the air.

The mom felt discouraged, looking at all still to do.
Her checklist just seems to get longer, it's true!
She remembered the days before the children came.
And if she was ready for this claim to fame.

But then she remembered the old ache from the past.
And the way those small hearts filled that damned hole, at last.
Days will not be perfect, but we shouldn't compare
Others' best with our worst - that just leads to despair.

So for those two boys, snuggled down in their beds, 
Though torturous visions may be filling their heads, 
Mom is ever so grateful for the challenge they bring;
The chance to grow, to wonder, to sing.

Though twisty and turvy this tale may have been,
The point is that Mom can enjoy Christmas again.
You can hear her exclaim, perhaps with delight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Sunday, December 2, 2012

That's the Plan

I love Christmas time. Don't you just love this time of year? All the Christmas lights glimmer and look so festive and we get to enjoy it all longer since it's dark by 4:30. See what I did there?  It gets dark early in December, but look at me seeing the positive. 

This is the first year in a very long time that we planned for Christmas. In January, I opened a Christmas Club account and started tucking money away. Between that and a bonus Lobster got at work, we are set. We can do exactly what we'd like to for Christmas.

Maybe you've heard it somewhere that I have a problem with planning. Because I'm no good at it, I talk about it a lot. I like to pretend I'm organized and people may even laugh at me and think it's a big joke when I say that I'm not, because I fake it pretty well. I usually get things done. I complete assignments. But what others don't see, is the last minute scramble - the late nights, the other responsibilities that get cast aside.

Lobster and I have been married for over 18 years. And this is the first year that we set our own budget for Christmas. We aren't limited by whatever is left over after the bills get paid or using credit that we shouldn't. He and I are actually buying gifts for each other this year - not just for our extended families and our boys. 

We made a plan and followed through. Imagine that. We - he and I - did that.

This planning thing works.  

Most successful people know about planning. It's how most responsible people live their lives every day. It's how the new roof gets paid for, it's how they shop for a month's worth of meals, it's how days get scheduled and items get checked off the To-Do list.

I started this blog with the idea of keeping a record of my weight loss. I'm doing that, albeit S-L-O-W-L-Y, and that's OK with me,  but it's turned into something more. I've remembered how much I love to write. Although not many read my words, it helps me feel better connected to those around me. Writing every week helps me to examine my feelings. Sometimes, until I start writing, I don't even know what I'm feeling. I've learned that well to hide and stuff them.

I think I've lived my whole life waiting for something. When I was young, I was waiting to be an adult and live my own life. When I was a young adult, I was waiting to find the love of my life and get married. When I was a wife, I was waiting to have children...and waiting...and waiting. 

Now we have our beautiful boys and what am I waiting for? Well, I've decided I'm tired of waiting. It's not a happy way to live a life. It's like saying, "I'll be happy when..." but there's always something else to look to for happiness. 

I don't want to just chronicle my weight loss. I want to write about my life. Weight loss is, of course, a big part of that. But do I wait until I'm at a healthy weight to be happy? There is so much more to enjoying where I am. Enjoy the journey, as they say. Make a plan and follow through. Not every thing goes according to plan, but that's all right. Some of the best things happen that way. The important thing is to have a plan.

My house is crazy. Really. No, REALLY.  I am not an expert - at, well, anything. But you're going to get to hear all about it. I'm going to write. I'm going to lose weight. I'm going to be strong. I'm going to learn to parent these, um...lively boys. I'm going to live my life well and be happy. 

That's the plan.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Well, there I go again, getting cocky. I wasn't worried about Thanksgiving at all.

 And, I guess, to be fair, I did great on Thanksgiving. 

I thought that as long as I ate according to plan the rest of the week, I wasn't going to limit myself and I really couldn't do too much damage in one day.  I had a small taste of everything, including dessert. 

My favorite dishes were the cornbread stuffing with gravy on top (by the way, slathering your turkey with butter and chopped herbs makes for a tasty gravy!), and the sour cream apple pie.

But then, Friday morning, we had pie for breakfast. 


My boys were equally surprised. Pie for breakfast, Mom? Do people really do that? Really? Yes, really.

But, from there, it was a slippery slope to pie town and over-eatsville.

So, although I'm not thankful for my 3 and 1/2 pound gain this week, there are a lot of things for which I AM thankful. I was blog browsing and came across one that I like called, Back To Her Roots. Cassie had listed 100 things she was thankful for. 

I wondered if I could come up with 100 things to put on my list. It took me a couple of days, but I did! And you lucky people have get to read it.

  1. My Lobster - love you honey!
  2. Boy 1 
  3. Boy 2
  4. Adoption
  5. Our dog, Sophie
  6. Warm home
  7. My parents
  8. My siblings
  9. My extended family and in-laws
  10. Good friends
  11. Gospel of Jesus Christ
  12. Those fighting for my freedom
  13. School teachers that care about my kids
  14. Beautiful Oregon
  15. Enough and good food to eat
  16. Lobster's employment
  17. Prayer
  18. Clean water
  19. Adequate income that allows me to stay at home
  20. Books
  21. Trees and plants
  22. Electricity
  23. Flushing toilets
  24. Trashy TV
  25. Good movies
  26. Our large back yard
  27. The Internet
  28. Computers
  29. Freedom  of choice
  30. Diet Coke
  31. Thanksgiving leftovers
  32. The temple
  33. Music
  34. My bed
  35. Sunshine
  36. Naps
  37. Automatic dishwashers
  38. Automatic clothes-washing machine
  39. Wood burning fireplace
  40. Cozy quilts
  41. Non-stick cookware
  42. Make-up
  43. Cars
  44. Hot water
  45. Garlic
  46. Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  47. Chapstick
  48. Quiet time
  49. Vegetables
  50. Magic Erasers
  51. Good neighbors
  52. Fruit
  53. Clean air
  54. Scriptures
  55. Hugs
  56. Kissing
  57. Facebook
  58. Rain
  59. Bedtime
  60. Window screens
  61. Body powder
  62. Pain medication
  63. Health insurance
  64. The library
  65. Rocks
  66. Scentsy - Coconut Lemongrass
  67. Bamboo wooden spoons
  68. Covered patio
  69. Thick, rich lotion
  70. Holding hands
  71. Toilet paper
  72. Garage
  73. Salsa
  74. YMCA
  75. You - the few that read my ramblings
  76. Sharp pencils
  77. My church family
  78. Good smelling soap
  79. The beach
  80. Snow in the mountains - away from where I am
  81. Christmas decorations
  82. Back scratchers - especially the human variety
  83. Doctors
  84. Slippers
  85. Heavy glassware
  86. Cheese
  87. Organized cabinets
  88. Glad Press'N Seal
  89. Ice cubes
  90. Hair dissolving drain cleaner
  91. Vinegar
  92. Toothpicks
  93. Paint
  94. Schwans home delivery
  95. Night-time cold medicine
  96. Weed killer
  97. Laughter
  98. Drive-thru pharmacies
  99. Laundry stain remover
  100. Handyman services

What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Light Bulb!

I was at the grocery store early last week. It's not my favorite place to be. It's especially not a wise place to be after the afternoon and evening my boys had given me. Being a mom is not for sissies. The boys have really been testing every drop of patience I have - which I'm finding isn't much. We're going through a rough patch lately and I'm feeling a lot of stress. But we needed a few things before breakfast the next day and, for Heaven's sake, I can WALK AROUND AND GET MILK AND EGGS BY MYSELF, RIGHT?

Apparently not.

I haven't bought potato chips in a long time. It's not a safe food to have in my house. I have been very careful about not having them in the house and I specifically avoid the potato chip isle at most stores. 

At the store I went to, however, you must walk right by the potato chip isle to get to the milk AND the eggs. I know it's on purpose. I know they know what they're doing (They being those marketing experts who know where to place everything in the store). You know, they.

This grocery store also sells slices of cake in their bakery. Very large slices of cake. Genius, it is -  cake by the slice. I have very rarely bought an entire cake, but I have been known to buy a slice here and there. The bakery is, of course, right by the produce section as you walk into the store. There were these huge slices of chocolate cake with luscious mint frosting that seemed to be glowing and pulsing with big arrows in a circle all around them saying, "pick me! pick me!"  

What? You mean the food at the grocery store doesn't talk to you? Hm. Interesting.

I walked on by. These flip flops are made for walkin', baby.

But then, I saw them. The potato chips. Oh, the chips. Have I told you how much I love potato chips? They didn't just talk to me. They wooed me. They turned on their Barry White, deep sexy man voice and said, "Hey, baby. Come on over here, darlin', you know you want me."

And I did. I. SO. DID.

You know what else I did? I put a bag of potato chips in my cart. I bought it, and brought it home. I opened that bag of potato chips and I ate them. I ate them all.

Ugh. I felt so sick. Not only my poor stuffed tummy, but my heart was sick. I haven't eaten like that in a long time. But all of a sudden, a light bulb turned on. I'm a binger.

I must be a bit dense. I knew that I ate a lot. I knew that I eat more when I'm angry, sad or stressed - especially when I'm feeling a lot of stress. That's when I feel this "need" to just stuff and stuff. It's like I'm trying to bury the feeling so I can't feel it anymore. But, we all know how well that has worked. 

In the reading I've done, binge eating is the most common eating disorder. It occurs in 3% of adults in the United States. If differs from overeating in that the person:

  • Eats food more quickly during a binge than at other times
  • Eats until uncomfortably full
  • Eats even when not hungry
  • Eats alone, or hide evidence of binges
  • Feels disgusted and embarrassed about what they've eaten

 Although I got information from a variety of places, you can read about binge eating here.

I have not been diagnosed by a medical professional. This week, I have done a lot of reading and have decided that I fit the "profile" of a person that binges. Keeping track of eating and maintaining an active lifestyle can help control binges. It has for me, until this week. Psychotherapy is recommended to help with the emotional "issues" that go along with binge eating.

Overall, I need to find a new way to handle and work out stress. There was no weight loss this week, but I feel lucky that I didn't gain. I'm feeling very positive right now. I know that stress will just keep on coming, but I'm hoping I can write and walk my way through it. Maybe I need a punching bag on my patio. I'll bet that would help!

What do you do to combat and work through stress?

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I got a message from a friend several weeks ago. I had been complaining (yes, again) about having to plan my life and how the measuring and tracking of food was a downer...blah, blah blah. You know, Boy 1 has been saying "blah, blah" a lot, lately. I wonder where he gets it? But I wander - where was I? 

My long-time friend sent me a message and it really hit home. I tend to get so caught up in my own tiny little world that I forget that I'm not the only one with food issues, I'm not the only one that has to limit my intake and take control of my health. She wrote,
"I keep thinking to remind you that thinnish people struggle with weight, portion control, calorie count, and motivation. I think it's actually very few people who really don't think much about it. It's so much a part of my life, that I'm really not even aware unless I stop and think about it, how much thought and energy goes into thinking about what I eat. Somewhat subconsciously, I think about what activity I will have during the day and equate that to how much I can eat. If I know we are going to eat out, or having the kids around for favorite foods, then I pretty much eat veggies during the day to compensate. I've learned that even though I sweat and get breathless during a workout, I only burn about 200 calories, so I mentally adjust for that too. Then you factor in again and hormones, and it becomes a daily life activity without really being that aware of it. The short of it...don't feel sad that you have to count and measure and plan and adjust...just think of it as part of life and anything else like planning a budget, laundry, yard work, etc...
It is a bit of a battle every day. How weird would it be if battles with pride, envy, bitterness, gossip, spite, etc. showed up on people in a physical form? Weight is such a small part of who we are...I think it's important to remember that we strive for health, but being a kind and loving person is so much more important."
Now, this friend of mine is amazing. She is gorgeous in every possible way. If I didn't love her so much, I'd be more than just a bit jealous (I wonder what that would look like on the outside). I love the way she thinks and I ask her advice, or often ask myself what I think she would do. The thought of our inner struggles manifesting in physical form, as our weight does, really made me think.  People can take one look at me and see that I eat too much and don't get enough exercise. They can't see why, and unless they see me exercising, they can't see that I've changed my behavior. 

It's so easy - because we can't see the ooey, gooey centers - to focus on the outer shell; not only with others, but with ourselves. While we work on getting healthy, are we tending only to our bodies? Something to think about, friends.

A little after I received this message from my friend, I saw a post on a blog called Single Dad Laughing. It discussed what type of fruit people's different personalities would be. I thought how well it would work with what I'm writing about and I'm a bit ticked off that he thought of it first. (Click HERE to see the post - it's good.)

I had a good loss this past week - a little over 3 pounds. My total weight loss since January is now 27 pounds. I started tracking my weight on My Fitness Pal in June, so 9 pounds in the first 6 months and 18 in the next five. This sounds random, but 27 pounds is more than a bag of dog food (I like to image the weight as something familiar). I've got a LONG way to go, but I'm feeling good and on the right track.

Have a great week!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Success? NOT!

There is nothing like that feeling of giving yourself a challenge 


completely failing.

Double sigh.

Maybe I was too ambitious. Maybe I took on too much. Or maybe, I fell back into my old habits and failed to plan. Just maybe. (Insert a sarcastic eye roll here)

But I do have better control over my eating. I lost whatever weight I gained the previous week and about a half pound more. And I am feeling better - not so funk-ish. I think a rough couple of weeks combined with hormonal adjustments - of the monthly variety -  twisted into my own personal perfect storm. 

Emotions are no joke. 

I was reading on Can You Stay For Dinner this past week. I really like how Andie Mitchell has been able to find balance. On her site, she wrote:
"I realized that in order to live a fulfilling life in all aspects, food had to be a friend, not an enemy. When I first admitted to myself that food had been my love affair/dependency for the majority of my life, I was angry. I felt that I had to get away from it, to not let it be the focus of my mind. But as I’ve heard someone say before, “Food addiction isn’t like addiction to alcohol or drugs where you can just remove it from your life. With food, you need it to live. You have to have it everyday.” This statement only brings to light the fact that the only way through food addiction is by making peace with it. Food is just food. Chocolate cake isn’t “bad,” carrots aren’t “good,” and Bavarian cream donuts didn’t make me morbidly obese. I was the one who abused the food and gave it character. So I learned to view food as a neutral entity, not positive or negative. And my eating Bavarian cream donuts, similarly, was not positive or negative. (Though I’d dare to say it was one hell of a positive). By shifting the emphasis from my emotional bondage with food to a focus on building a new and healthy relationship with it, I was able to start over. I regained an understanding that eating, while enjoyable, was not the end all be all to my happiness. Social gatherings involving food had less to do with the buffet and more to do with the social part. Vacations were times to enjoy new environments, make memories with people I love, and yes, to taste fun and new cuisine. I rediscovered the other parts of my life that had been overshadowed by the menu...
  I came to realize that in dieting, I thought I missed the foods themselves, when in reality I missed the quantity. I missed the abundance and the overeating. That’s when I knew I was using food to fill a void. I didn’t just want the taste of a warm brownie sundae, I wanted it to make me so full that I became numb and couldn’t think about anything but my distressed belly. I suppose whatever emotion I was feeling inside I wanted to stuff away. And truth be told, I never once felt any better in doing this. One hour later, the emotion was still there and food had not cured it. In learning that I missed the “over” part of overeating, I felt sort of free. It’s impossible to ignore the emotions when you don’t numb them anymore with massive quantities of food. Instead, I sat with the emotion. I let it be. That’s where the healing starts."
I love the way she expresses herself.  I totally know what she's talking about and I look forward to having a "normal" relationship with food - no matter my emotions.

Failure is not fun. Admitting to failure is even more not fun. But it helps bring things into better focus.

Michael Jordan said,
"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300  games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
 So, I failed last week. I didn't walk around the block every day.  I didn't read my scriptures every day. I didn't even make it to the YMCA 3 days, which is usually my minimum. I also didn't track my food.

I'll do better this week. Last week's failure not only made my goals clearer, but how I need to complete them. I'm not going to like giving up my alone time to go to bed earlier, but it will make my getting up earlier possible so that I can devote time to prayer, study, and meditation. Also, being awake before the boys is an added bonus. Hopefully, mornings will go much more smoothly having such a good start. We could definitely use better mornings.

Who's with me?

Do you need some motivation? This will scare you into doing whatever you need to...
You want this on your door-step?

I didn't think so. So, let's get to it. Have a great week.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


There are dishes in the sink. At least one load goes through the dishwasher every day, but what doesn't make it then, waits for the next. My usual "pile" on the kitchen table has morphed into it's own force to be reckoned with - but not today. Clothes, while folded, are stacked on the couch but will probably find their way back to the mother pile AGAIN and I'll have to refold them for the third time. You don't even want to know what my bedroom looks like. I have chosen to Hunker Down at home instead of going to Halloween parties and fun activities. And I LOVE Halloween. 

I'm in a bit of a funk. I recognize it. It's almost like it's happening right in front of me to someone else. 


I just don't know how to step in and intervene. I know I need to shake that woman in the mirror and yell, "WAKE UP!", but I just can't seem to find the energy.

I use the word "funk" because it doesn't sound too serious. And, it's usually not. I shake myself out of it, clean up my mess and go on. But usually with some making up to do. My eating, this week,  has been a bit out of control. Although I haven't had any real binges, my portions have been too big, and I've not been counting exchanges or calories. I didn't even bother to weigh myself this morning and I haven't all week. I'm sure I'm in for an unpleasant surprise. I think I'll wait until next week. What really ticks me off, is I was coming from a really good place. Now, I feel like I have to climb back up there.

Life isn't always rosy. Things get crazy and hard sometimes. I was seriously thinking about just "forgetting" to write this week's post, but if I'm going to be honest - with others as well as myself- I need to record where I am. If I don't examine these feelings and how I react to them, I will never change the behavior that follows. Eating doesn't make things easier. Eating doesn't make me feel better. The hole I am trying to fill will never be filled with food, although I keep trying to do so. I just need to find out what will. And that's what "this" is all really about. Figuring it out.

Today, at church, I listened to a second grader speak about an experience she had with prayer.  She said that she got her answer because she had prayed for help and then did not give up, even when it was hard and frustrating. She didn't expect her answer to be plopped down on her pretty little head. She knew she needed to keep working because she had asked for help and hadn't received it yet.

This week, I am going to:

  • Pray intently for help - every day - making sure I express gratitude for my good life.
  • Read scriptures daily, looking for personal revelation and guidance.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Go to the Y at least 3 days this week.
  • Walk around the block every day. Even when it's raining. 
  • Track my food - focusing particularly on my serving sizes.

What do you do to maintain your mental health?

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Mom Thing

This Mom Thing is hard. I always thought I'd be good at it. Kids have always liked me. And except for that time when my niece, Shannon,  cried every single minute her parents were away, I've enjoyed watching people's children. Based on all my experience - and I admit this sounds cocky - I thought I had this Mom Thing in the bag.

That was all before I had children of my own, you see. I was such a good parent then. I knew all the answers. 

I wish I could get that back.

I didn't come by this gig in the usual way. Lobster and I tried for a very long time, but didn't ever get pregnant. I don't know what it's like to feel my child move within me. But, I do know what it's like to see him for the first time and know that I'm supposed to be his Mother. 

Boy 1 was 20 months old when he spent his first night in our home. The poor little guy was in a new place, had a fresh cold, and (we learned the next day) ear infections in both ears. Lobster and I took turns in a recliner comforting this sweet boy through the night. I'm sure it was an awful night for him. And I sure felt for him. But, for me, it's the best thing that could have happened. Boy 1 had captured my heart a few weeks earlier at our first meeting. He wasn't to legally be our son for over a year, but holding him during that first night made me a mommy. His mommy. And he had me completely.

He still does. 

But, he pushes my buttons like no one else can. We have had a rough week, he and I. I have seriously doubted my ability to do this Mom Thing. I don't know all the answers. I don't know what to do sometimes. I worry that I'm screwing him up more than I'm helping him. 

And, by the way, I definitely haven't kicked the stress eating habit.

But then there are nights like tonight. I went in to tuck him in and sing him his songs. He first asks me if I'd like him to sing me a song. Not many get to hear him sing. He's always so worried about others watching him. He's a worrier.  As he stumbled a bit with the lyrics, I softly sang with him to help him with the words. I feel lucky he shared it with me. We had a nice talk. It sure started to fill that mom pitcher that was feeling so empty. After I sang him his songs and tickled his arms and back, I leaned in to give him a good night kiss. Our lips missed each other and he told me that that wasn't a real kiss and that I should give him 10 more. Ten more kisses for the boy who, on some nights, wipes off the quick peck on his forehead. Oh, that boy just melts my heart.

This Mom Thing is hard. But, it is THE BEST hard thing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

This weekend, some LOVELY friends of mine threw a party. And what a party it was. There was a room full of smart, funny women and lots of yummy salad, soups, and bread in one of the most beautiful, comfortable homes I've been in. There was a table of desserts, too, but I stayed away from that. There was a gorgeous little bread pudding there and I KNOW I would not have been able to control myself if I got started. And I'm not even mentioning all the other platters of deliciousness.

I think the original plan was to be out on the fantastic new deck, but unfortunately, Autumn decided to finally show up here in Oregon on Friday. I, personally, am loving the rain. It has been dry for much too long - and my yard is mucho parched. But, when I woke Friday morning and saw the rain, after my first reaction of delight, I felt sad that my friends' plans had to change, but they recovered wonderfully. It was a really fun night.

The idea was that, keeping under a $30 limit, you filled a bag or basket of your favorite thing(s). Your basket was given a number as you came in and later, each person was given a random number. As we opened the gift that corresponded with our random number, the gift giver explained the item(s) and why it was a favorite. I loved seeing all of these Favorite Things and how we were different or had in common. I hope I don't forget to send thank you notes. I generally suck at thank you notes.

I was late getting home and was a bit nervous because, with Lobster being out of town and our usual sitter otherwise occupied, I hired a sitter that has not previously spent much time with Boys 1 and 2. Now, I love those boys more than potato chips, and they are pretty cute. But they are (in my opinion) not easy kids to watch. They seem to take great pride in seeing just how much they can break, or get into, or how big of mess they can make, or like this night, do something so random that there is no way of predicting it.

Boy 1 decided to get into the electrical box and turn off the power to most of the house.

He has never shown interest in the electrical box before. Lobster and I have told the boys to stay away from it and why. The box itself is not in a high-traffic area. There is no reason for him to have been there. And yet, he was. Luckily, our sitter has little brothers and has been around the babysitting block a time or two and was calm (and probably a lot nicer than I would have been) and got things turned back on and even reset some clocks. I like that she doesn't take any guff, but is nice about it. The boys love her and I'll call her again, although I won't blame her if she turns me down.

Staying in the theme of favorite things, I'm going to list some of my favorite things that happened this week.

  1. Favorite "DOH" moment: I found out that I'm being too strict with the kindergartners while going over their letters and the associated sounds. Apparently, they DON'T need to have both long and short sounds when it comes to the vowels. One poor boy cried when I told him to keep practicing. Yes, I made a 5 year old cry for no good reason.
  2. Favorite medical news: I got a call from the oncologist's office and my biopsy has again come back negative and I don't have to go back for a whole SIX MONTHS!
  3. Favorite Weight Loss moment: I lost a little over 1 pound this week! Yay for being a loser!!
  4. Favorite Kid moment: Boy 1 has been writing in a writing journal here at home - on his own and willingly! Usually, getting him to practice his handwriting takes much stern-ness and when that doesn't work,  major bribes with chocolate. 
  5. Favorite Homemaking achievement: My sister helped me clean out some cabinets that have been bothering me for a long time. She ROCKS, by the way! She helped me take this:
And turn it into this:
And this:
into this:
And this:
into this:
I love them and I love her.  She's coming back this week to help me with this another one - and it's a doosey!  I even cleaned out the "game" closet all on my own. AND I am getting rid of a few things. Yes, folks. I decided to get rid of stuff without being told to. Thank you. Thank you, very much.

My very favorite thing of all is that Lobster is home from his trip and I don't think he's travelling again this year. I kinda like having him around.

What was the favorite thing about your week?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Good Week

This was a good week. It's amazing what a difference changing your attitude makes. It makes the dreaded diet turn into a conscious choice and that changes everything. I did have a couple of setbacks, but they didn't derail me. I twisted my already sore knee. It felt like it was going to "pop" out and it hurt whenever I bent it. It is doing better now, although still sore. I can go to the gym this week. It's been 2 weeks since I've been between the boys and myself being sick and then my knee. It's going to feel like I'm starting over.  But the pool will especially feel good.

We went out to dinner Saturday night. I kept trying to get Lobster to order an appetizer. You know, one of those lovely crispy, cheesy, dip kind of things that are so yummy. I think I asked him about 3 times if he wanted one. If he had ordered it, it wouldn't be my decision and I could eat half of  taste it. Luckily, he didn't and I ordered a meal on their 550 calories or less portion of the menu. I felt full, but not stuffed and proud that I made a good choice (and grateful Lobster did too).

I couldn't believe what the scale read this morning. I had to go back and weigh myself about 5 times and check its batteries before I believed it enough to enter it into My Fitness Pal. 3.4 pounds is a good loss! Yay me! Though, it's more weight than I want to lose each week. I'm worried if I lose too fast, it won't be permanent, like so many times before. Remember - I'm a tortoise!

I may have mentioned, before, that I have a problem getting rid of stuff. I may need that magazine that I read 5 years ago. It had a picture of a fireplace mantle that I want; Or, why do I need 5 sets of measuring cups? Or the ten year supply of plastic forks and spoons in the cabinet; Or the 1000 random screws I find all over the house. I keep them all - just in case. Maybe that's why I've been holding on to this weight. I just might need it someday. Yep, that's it.

ANYWAY, I keep stuff, especially paper. Too much, too long. It drives Lobster crazy. It makes it a pain to have company because I have to clean up all the "stuff" before they can come over. I'm not sure what's wrong with me. All you with psychology backgrounds can give me some free advice. But somehow, my youngest sister didn't get that "holding onto stuff" gene. Her home is always tidy. She does all of her dishes every night - no "soaking the pan (and whatever else didn't fit in the dishwasher) overnight" for her. She knows where to find everything. Her home feels very calm. She'll probably laugh because she's got 2 boys under 5 and so I'm sure she doesn't think her home feels very calm, but I can tell you that as a visitor, it does.

She regularly cleans out her closets. When something doesn't work, she gets rid of it. When something is replaced, the older item gets gone. She does not keep stuff. I'm telling you, I need some of that gene.

Well, she is coming over this week to help me clean out my cabinets in my kitchen. She is going to whip me and my cabinets into shape and I'm going to love it. She is going to be the little voice in my head that I'm SUPPOSED to have. I'll take before and after pictures so you can see the squalor that I make my family live with. I mean, seriously, what am I supposed to do with the mug I bought when I graduated from high school. It has my name and high school name on it. I graduated in 1988. It's sitting in my cabinet right now. Any wagers on whether it will still be in my cabinet on Friday? I guess we'll see.

Have a good week, all. This week I'm working on making sure I get enough sleep. Lobster is out of town and for the sake of  Boys 1 and 2, I don't want to turn into the Wicked Witch of the Northwest.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Going Pro

I lie in bed with my eyes closed until I hear the screaming for breakfast pitter-patter of little feet, hoping - usually in vain - that Boys 1 and 2 will sleep past 7am. One of my favorite things to do is stay in bed - not necessarily sleeping, although that's nice, of course.  I just love to lie there enjoying the soft bed and the warmth beneath the covers and ease into my day. Mornings are hard for me. I tend to stay up way too late and that makes mornings torturous.

See, for Boys 1 and 2, there is no easing into the day. They are up and running (and jumping and yelling and screeching and stomping) from the minute their eyes are open. They are also hungry the minute they wake up. I know mornings would go more smoothly if I got up earlier than they and got a shower and dressed and ready and had breakfast started. But it is so much easier to be reactive. By that I mean that I wait until something happens and then react. It's all fine and good to give it a name, but it's laziness, plain and simple.

I keep trying to organize myself -
                pull myself up by the bootstraps, 
                                     take the bull by the horns, 
                                                        put on my big-girl panties - you know what I mean. 

What it all comes down to, is that I have to decide how I live my life. I can be pro-active. I can live my life with purpose - choose how I want it to be. I can choose to feel good about how I feed my body. I can choose to go to the gym, even when it's embarrassing, and use my body the way it's meant to be used.  I can choose to do what it takes - physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Or not.

There are so many things that I don't get to choose in this life, but the way I live mine, and the way I feel about it, is totally up to me.

But living pro-actively can be exhausting. It takes a lot of planning. It takes a lot of preparation. Schedules must be coordinated. Emotions must be examined. Groceries must be shopped. Calories and steps must be counted. And when you are a parent, it's multiplied.

I feel like I'm banging my head against the wall as I wail and I whine, "I can't eat that!"  or, "Wah! Wah! I can't eat until it is so uncomfortable that it is hard to sit up, yet still I want more."  Who really wants that? It's not about what I can't have any more. I can't kick and scream about having no more potato chips and expect to live in a positive way.

This week, instead of dwelling on what  I "can't" eat, I will focus on the healthy food that I choose to eat. 

This week, I will move more and whine less.

This week, I will live according to my plan - and not resent it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Tortoise With A Plan

Well, we're still a bit stinky. It's pretty much confined to our laundry room - where I bathed my poor Sophie, but I'll get a whiff every now and again. My leather purse is skunky. I'm going to try leaving it in the sun and see if that helps. And weird things stink - like clothes in a drawer in a room where the dog didn't even get. I'm re-washing a lot. Lobster left for Atlanta for work this afternoon and he has spent a tremendous amount of time de-skunking the suitcase, his leather shoes and so on. He's been asking me to smell something about 10 times a day since Wednesday. It's gotten to the point that I don't think I even care if I stink any more. I'm tired of sniffing and smelling. My smeller may be out of commission for a while from over-use.

I met with a dietitian on Tuesday. Sandy was a petite woman, but I won't hold that against her. But that's probably better for business than if she looked like me. She was very nice and we got right down to business. I was asked to bring in a written summary of what and how much I eat in a typical day. I just wrote down everything I ate the previous day.  I didn't get any new, earth-shattering information. I had a lot of good choices, a lot of healthy food. But that is the problem. There was a lot of food. It was obvious, to both of us, what my problem is - what it has been  - and what I will struggle with for a long time.


She had all this rubber food to illustrate proper serving sizes. So we looked at that and the importance of reading labels. She had several empty containers of different brands of Greek yogurt and I was amazed at the differences in fat, sugar and protein. I kind of thought Greek yogurt was Greek yogurt. So, I'm back to reading labels and measuring my food. I don't know why I keep thinking I can eyeball it. I SO can't. 

Measuring cups are my friend. Measuring cups are my friend. Measuring cups are my friend.......

I received this place mat.

And on the other side...
Proper serving sizes. Just what I need! Really, it is just what I need. Avocados are listed under fat. That's a bummer. So is bacon. I know - I can't delude myself anymore that it's protein. And nut butters are a protein, but I have to count a 1/2 TBS of my 2 TBS serving as one of my fats for the day. Oh, the details. All in all, I think we've come up with a plan that I can stick with long term. It's roughly 2000 calories a day. I can do that without feeling deprived. 

I have to admit that I kind of wanted her to hand me a packet and tell me, "Eat this." Although that's basically what she did, I have to do the work and the meal planning. The positive is that can make the food my family likes. But I'm going to have to do a lot of planning. I'm not so good at that. I may have mentioned my lack of skills in the organizational department.

Sandy, in response to my complaint that it will take forever to lose the weight I want to lose, told me to remember that I need to be the tortoise - not the hare. Slow is better and more apt to bring about a life change. So, here I am , a tortoise. A tortoise with a plan.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Best Laid Plans, blah, blah, blah

I know you all are running to look at your calendars. What?!? Is it Sunday already? or  Do we really have to read more from her so soon?

 Well, yes. Yes, you do. 

I just had to tell you all about my crazy Tuesday.

Tuesday was my busiest day, this week.  I had it all planned out with just enough time between appointments - busy, but not crazy busy. You know what I mean? 

  • Drop off Boy 1 at school
  • Come home, shower and get ready for dietitian appointment (woo hoo!)
  • Drop Boy 2 at my sister's and go to appointment
  • Pick up Boy 2, feed him, and get him to school
  • Actually have an hour to, oh, maybe clean up breakfast dishes, or something :/ 
  • Pick up Boy 1 early from school for doctor appointment
  • Hurry to get Boy 2 from school - fingers crossed we're not too late
  • Drop off prescription at pharmacy
  • Feed boys snack and Help Boy 1 find his cub scout stuff
  • Take Boy 1 to cub scouts
  • Fix dinner
  • Bring Boy 1 home, picking up filled prescription on the way
  • EAT
  • Clean up
  • Get boys to bed
  • Collapse on the couch
That was the plan. Guess what dis-railed this finely-tuned-train? 


My boys got sick. Boy 1 was sick over the weekend and Boy 2 just in time to ruin my Tuesday's schedule. Poor kids - I hate colds - the runny noses, sore throat, achy body. I hate them and I hate them more when my kids have them. I feel bad that the boys don't feel good, of course. But colds in kids are just gross. They don't use tissues - they use their sleeves, hands, the couch, or the person sympathetically cuddling with them on the couch. Just gross.

I didn't want to miss my appointment with the dietitian. It took 3 weeks to get this appointment. I didn't want to have to wait another 3. But I also didn't want to get my nephews sick. So Grandma D saves the day. She seems to have an iron immune system. Thank you!

I feel good about the information I got from the dietitian. It wasn't anything I didn't already know, but a really good reminder about how important portion control is. I'll be writing more about my appointment soon.

I took Boy 2 to Boy 1's doctor appointment, which was crazy town, but it worked.

The rest of the day went relatively smoothly. The kids went to sleep. The day is done, right?


I live in a suburban neighborhood. I don't live in the woods. I don't have any acreage. I am surrounded by houses and yards with fences. I also, apparently, share the space with a skunk. And it doesn't like my dog.
Poor girl is exhausted after her ordeal

Yep. Our old girl, Sophie,  got herself skunked. She got skunked real good. And I'm not fast enough to catch a 12 year old dog (that can't run) trying to escape a mean, neighborhood bully skunk. She came where she knew she'd be safe - In my house. Our home was immediately filled with the scent of burnt rubber. I herded her back to our laundry room and got her in the shower and spent the next 30 minutes washing and rinsing. Breathing through my mouth did not help at all. The odor was so thick I could bite it. And taste it. 

In the mean time, Lobster gets out of bed to see what the ruckus was all about and finds  himself in the middle of a stench like no other. He immediately starts to gag and puke. Give him a flat tire, and he'll fix it. Give him trouble in the neighborhood and he takes care of it. Give him an emergency of the smelly variety, and he tosses his cookies.

At midnight, there are few choices for shopping. But Lobster went to find something to help. He arrived at a check stand in one local grocery store with about $50 worth of varying types of air fresheners. The cashier took one whiff,  a step back, and looked at the items in front of her and asked, "Skunk?"

He gets home (I'm still washing the dog) and starts emptying a container of the powder carpet deodorizer in our family room. In less than a minute, our floor looks like a cocaine factory - or what I imagine one would look like. He has 3 cans of air freshener in his two hands and is spinning around frantically, trying not to breathe, and stopping every few minutes to throw up. And then feels the need to come to the laundry room to make sure I know that he had vomited. Every. Single. Time.

We get Sophie clean enough and put her in the garage with her bed and try to figure out how to proceed. We decide that we need to get the boys out of here, so we share the smelly joy with Grandma and Grandpa D. Again - THANK YOU!

I stay home to air out the house. I set out bowls of white vinegar in every room, opened every window and finally fell asleep on the couch (after vacuuming up the inch of powder on the carpet) between 2:30 and 3am. I really appreciate all the suggestions given to me on facebook.

24 hours, an $80 dog "de-skunking", a $50 carpet cleaning, and lots of laundry later, our house is almost back to normal. And thank you to my friend that brought over dinner tonight. It was delicious!

 We get whiffs of skunk every so often, especially in the laundry room. I think we'll be doing a lot more laundry in the next few days.  Sophie is not allowed to go outside by herself, but she's only too happy to be inside with her family. She is exhausted. It was a long night and day for an old girl. The boys were tired from all the excitement as well. 

As am I - like I said, it was a long night and day for an old girl. Time for bed in my freshly washed sheets.