31 January 2011

so much stuff

On Saturday, Matthew participated in the Eastern Valley Conference Middle School Honors Band. And not only that, but he sat THIRD CHAIR for the trumpets. We were so proud. For a middle school band, they sounded AWESOME. Honors Choir was there too and that was pretty cool; made me miss choir and those kinds of events.



I've learned the secret to getting rid of tempting breakfast leftovers...take it to church. I made coffee cake on Saturday morning for yesterday's breakfast; three pieces were eaten and so I thought, "well, I bet I could get rid of this during Sunday School." I cut it into smaller pieces and left it by the coffee pots; I was pretty pleased to see that an hour later, a couple of ladies were helping themselves to the last of the cake. Saves me from having to ignore it all week as it calls to me from the kitchen.



Our Pastor's parents were visiting from Ohio and attended church services yesterday. During the time in worship when we get to greet one another, Grandma Jo turned around and said "You look so skinny!" And that was BEFORE I hugged her! Made my day.....



We had Jon's brother and family in for dinner last night. They only live about an hour from us but it seems that we need to travel to my in-laws to see them the most. And that's sad. Schedules just don't accommodate us as we'd really like. And being that it was a school night, it was sort of an "eat and run", but still nice to see them. Seth, who's just about 2 and a half, loved the cat. The feeling was not mutual. We ate Esther's manicotti and it was a huge hit! Huge. Thank you again, my friend.

Okay, with that, I'm off to workout. Have a great day, everyone!

28 January 2011

It's not a sprint

I had a different post written for today. I even went so far as to schedule it, then I went to take a shower and thought better of what I had written.

Here's take two.

I gained most of the fifty pounds I'm trying to get rid of while Mom was taking chemo in 2005. I didn't handle that well at all and it was easier to cuddle up with my best friends Ben and Jerry than deal with emotions I was feeling.

But Mom's well now, praise the Lord, so what's my excuse for holding onto the weight? Here are some things I've told myself over the years...

It's easier to not work out than to work out. Sure, I'm not the prettiest picture all sweaty and panting on the treadmill, but the way my body feels day after day with this weight feels worse than a 2 mile workout.

It's hard and takes too long to lose inches. Sure. But having to sport size 16 pants at 5'2" is no piece of cake, those can be hard to find.

I'd really like to just eat pizza and forget about it. Yep. That'd definitely be easier, but is it worth it?

I bought new pants this week and they're smaller, but they're tight. But they're smaller. That's the part I should be focusing on and all I really CAN focus on is "but they're tight".

Good Lord.

I didn't gain this weight in a month, so why am I so surprised when I haven't seen more results in the same amount of time? Because I'm crazy, that's why. I have seen results; my athletic endurance has increased dramatically, I'm not as hungry as I was when I started this journey. I'm making better choices. I haven't thrown a weight through the television at Jillian Michaels.

AND MY PANTS ARE SMALLER.

That alone should be enough.

27 January 2011

be careful what you wish for

Well, it's happened. I'm scheduled for thirty hours next week and thirty-one the week after. And only one shift in those eight do I get away from the store before 8 pm.

Better yet, the last of those eight shifts is a 4:30 to 10pm. Don't I work with enough high school students that need that shift? To be fair, I haven't been scheduled for that shift since before I was hating Halloween, so I guess it's my turn.

And I work both Saturdays too. Yippee. At least I get Super Bowl Sunday off.

It'll be fine; it's only for two weeks. But I already miss my "every other weekend off " thing I had going for myself.

25 January 2011

It's official, I'm insane

I work three days a week. Some weeks it's Wed-Fri, as this week is; others it's Wednesday then Saturday and Sunday, like last week.

The scheduled week runs Wednesday through Tuesday, just so you're not confused.

When I work a Wednesday then Saturday and Sunday week, I often feel a bit like a fish out of water on Saturday mornings. In retail, things change on a very fast pace; endstands and side panels and even shelves are always sporting different product than they were several days before or even just a day or so before.

Right now, it's annual reset time, meaning whole sections of aisle are getting shuffled around. I worked on Wednesday and then not again until Saturday and I was more than a little baffled when a customer asked me to help her find the toilet paper and I took her to where I thought it was but it wasn't there. However, fear not, if you glanced across the center aisle, you noticed that indeed all is not lost, we absolutely still have toilet paper at our store, it just moved to the front of aisle eight instead of being at the back.

We started joking on Sunday night that maybe we just needed to have a door greeter like our competitor does and he, or she, could hand out updated maps every day. Sort of like a "YOU ARE HERE" map at the mall.

When I've made comments in the past about being a little lost, my EXA's reply is "Well, you could always work more hours." Typically, I work a 22 hour work week for half the pay period and then a 25 hour week for the other half. And when he commented last, I told him that I'd been thinking about it, but I needed to talk to Jon first and that he (my EXA) would be "the third to know".

The insane part? That comes in when I took the plunge to ask for more hours without really telling my husband that it was what I decided to do. I just told him that it was what I'd done on Sunday evening when I arrived home.

More hours mean more money, of course. And it'd be on a two week trial basis, if I don't think it's right for me, then EXA is more than happy to drop me back down to where I was to begin. And if I am happy with the extra hours, he said we could talk about what day I wanted that to be. Right now, my schedule revolves around when K, the senior beauty advisor, needs a day off, and that works fine for me. And I'm not wanting to upset the apple cart and take any of K's hours, but as it stands right now, we aren't fully staffed and there are hours to spare.

My concern is first, my family. The extra day at work will probably mean the extra school night where I don't get home until nearly bedtime for Caleb. They manage just fine, and Jon is home an hour earlier these days, but that's not the point. And I don't want the extra hours to mean that I work three out of four weekends either. It's hard enough to juggle church responsibilities on Sundays that I work the late afternoon and evening without adding an extra one.

And secondly, my physical capabilities. Bending and lifting are not my friends and neither is walking the concrete floors for hours on end, so I'm not really sure how my body will hold up.

But I'm willing to give it a try. Just call first if you're gonna come by so we can get rid of the cat hair, disinfect the bathroom and shove things into closets. Deal?

24 January 2011

On the Menu Monday

Good Monday morning, my friends! We've cause for celebration around here as the Packers are headed to the Super Bowl and there is no school today and we slept in. Woohoo!

Anyway, I thought I'd share a couple recipes with you this morning since it'd been awhile. Quite a while. Sorry about that.

First, one we had for dinner last week:

Gourmet Pork Chops

6 pork chops
2 T. flour
salt and pepper
2.T shortening (for browning chops)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
3.5 oz can of french fried onions
1/2 cup sour cream

Coat chops with seasoning, dredge in flour and brown in hot oil. Place in 9x13 baking dish. Combine soup, 1/2 cup water, ginger and rosemary and pour over chops; sprinkle with half the onions. Cover and bake at 350 about 55 minutes or until chops are tender. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining onions and bake and additional 10 minutes. Remove meat to platter, blend sour cream into soup mixture, heat through and serve with meat.

Now for my notes. I've had this cookbook, The Original Sunday Dinner- Meals from Family Kitchens, since 1991; it was given to my Mom at a church event, she already owned a copy so she gave it to me. Until this last week, I'd never made this recipe with the rosemary; if you don't have it, skip it and trust me, the dish will still be tasty. I've also served it with mashed potatoes, with buttered noodles, I've browned the chops, cooked them till they fell off the bone in the crockpot, doubled the sauce, deboned the meat and served it with spaghetti. (That's what I did last week) Basically, the possibilities are endless, and this is an easy dish.

Now for tonight's dinner from the same cookbook.

Chicken Cheese Elegant

6 bone-in chicken breasts
4 green onions, bottoms only
1.5 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup

Place skinned chicken in large casserole dish, bone side down. Sprinkle chicken generously with paprika. Slice the green onions over the chicken then sprinkle with grated cheese. Mix together soups and spoon over chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 2 hours. Serve with Rice-A-Roni. (recipe note)

My only note for this recipe is that I sprinkle the chicken with a little pepper and garlic powder in addition to the paprika and I also use the green onion tops for garnish. The chicken is thawing now and I'm getting hungry!

Enjoy!

Oh, and if you have recipes to share on this Monday, be sure to link up over at The Mommy Diaries Menu Plan Monday!

21 January 2011

I'm not...but I am

I'm not....listening to that voice in my head that tells me that my fifty pound weight loss goal is too much.

But I am....just taking it one day at a time.



I'm not....the owner of a standard, evil bathroom scale anymore.

But I am.....hoping to be the owner of a Quantum Scale in the spring.



I'm not....focused on what I can't eat. At least not presently.

But I am....realizing that healthier food choices are better for me for more reason than just my pant size.



I'm not.....beating myself up if I have an off day.

But I am....focusing on how maybe the next day can be better.



I'm not....a fan of Jillian Michaels' 30 day shred.

But I am.... doing it anyway; every other day.


I'm not.....gonna get to a single digit pant size overnight. Or maybe not even in the next six months.

But I am.....gonna get there.

20 January 2011

I knew it


This morning, I found this on my dining room table.

Wait, it gets better
GRADUATION??

*faint*

18 January 2011

like a little kid at Christmas

Let me try to condense this for you.



I've read Angie Smith's blog, Bring the Rain, for more than a couple of years. She has been such an encouragement to me with her posts and her girls are to die for!



She announced that she was taking part in a new project here. Again, a great place to read posts of faith by others, be challenged, be convicted if necessary, be refreshed.



A week or so ago, it was announced that there would be a book club. I love to read so I thought, hey, this sounds like a great idea.



Checking back yesterday, the book was announced. And the book could be purchased for only ten dollars. That I could swing.



The closest bookstore to me that carried the book is over 30 miles away and the book is more expensive. So maybe I should just order and wait. But I'm not very good at waiting. Hmmmm.



In addition to getting the book club selection for the awesome price of ten dollars, you could also get free shipping on your book if you were to purchase a second book as a sponsor for someone who would want to participate in the book club but couldn't afford a book.



Seems easy enough.



But you wouldn't believe the things that started going through my mind as I ordered my own book.



"Can you really afford that ten dollars? You might have to explain yourself when Jon sees the checking entry.... Are you sure you're gonna read it, you get gung-ho about a lot of things and never follow through.....what are you gonna do if this changes your life? It might mean uncomfortable changes, you know....."



And on and on and on.



I took a deep breath and hit "sponsor book" first, then went back and ordered my own book. I had to get up from the computer and find my purse to use my debit card and when I sat down to enter the info, I heard "Are you sure you wanna do this?!?"



Yep, I'm sure.



Getting started on that book was all I could think about the rest of the day. I even checked my email first thing this morning and to my disappointment, my book hasn't shipped yet. But it will. And I will read it. And I will participate in the book club and I look forward to making the most of this. To seeing what God has in store for me as I read this book.



I'm so excited I can hardly stand it.

17 January 2011

chocolate milk

He was doing so well. That is, until one of his "friends" who thinks everything he does is hilarious was back on the bus morning and night.

Then his behavior started to deteriorate. Yelling, hopping from seat to seat, among other things. And again, nothing we could say or do was working.

What a vicious cycle.

But then one day the boy caught a commercial for chocolate syrup on television. He became fixated on the idea that he could make his own chocolate milk, therefore no longer having to rely on school being in session to enjoy the treat.

And as any good parent would do, his mother informed him that the only way he could have what his fickle heart desired was to self-monitor his behavior on the bus.

To no one's surprise, it's working.

14 January 2011

She's so right

It's been quite an interesting week for this momma.

First, as I was cleaning house this week, I discovered a piece of mail from my alma mater on the dining room table. I thought "oh, I can open that later; I'm sure it's not that important. Probably just a solicitation for money to continue to fund the new chapel."

You can't imagine my shock when I discovered as I went to open the letter that it was not addressed to me but rather our fourteen year old son. He was almost as surprised as I was. Almost.

Fast forward a couple of days as I called Mom to find out if she had her summer vacation dates available. She did and has two weeks off work this summer and told me that whichever one works better for us is fine with her. It'll just depend on a couple of things; first, my ability to get time off from my job and second, the summer band schedule.

Except I'll never find the dates for band camp looking at the middle school calendar.


High school is coming so fast my head is spinning like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. Except without the pea soup.

Mom said life is a speed trap. I've always joked with Matthew that I wanted to keep him forever. It seems as though my idea of forever isn't the same as his these days.

I'm sure I'll be fine. High school will bring additional challenges but also additional opportunities.
I'm also fairly confident that Matthew will do just fine.

This morning, the Lord reminded me that Matthew wasn't really mine to begin with. He's been a gift from Him from the start, on loan as it were. We've had the opportunity to watch him learn and grow, making the best choices for him we could, while letting the Lord guide his steps and ours.

And I just need to (try to) continue to let go and trust that Matthew will learn to make the right decisions with the Lord's help. Because the next four years will vanish like a vapor.

12 January 2011

run, forrest, run

In a concentrated effort to get healthy in 2011, I've been using the treadmill. I started out two weeks ago just walking for thirty minutes at 3.3 miles per hour (on average).


For the last three workouts, I've run twenty minutes of sprints. First 30 seconds, then forty five, and today one minute. With ninety seconds of walking in between. At 4.4 miles per hour on average. I'm short and have a pretty short stride, so 4.4 is pretty fast.

This morning, I didn't use my inhaler before I worked out and I didn't even die. Obviously.


All in the name of progress, I suppose.

In other news, I've recently discovered the ability to get my khaki work pants on *and* off without unbuttoning them or unzipping them. Guess it's time to think about going shopping for new pants.

Jon's suggestion to the above is to get a belt. That isn't nearly as much fun.

I'll admit, I've been on the scale three times since this post. And I've been up and down with the reading. I'm this close to throwing the darn thing in the trash. Bad habits are hard to break, but I don't know why I keep getting on the stupid thing if it's gonna dictate my day. Blech.

One step forward at a time. I'd really like to be rid of my double digit pant size by late spring/ early summer.


I had lunch with Carrie the other day and we ate at Applebees and I ate one of the "under 550 calorie" meals. It wasn't bad. That measly little steak was little, but tasty. The broccoli was totally over-steamed, but the potatoes weren't bad. I fed Justin his applesauce so his mother could eat her food warm, so that meant I ate more slowly that I may have otherwise. I think that helped.


If only I could give up macaroni and cheese.

11 January 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook



The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...We got more snow last night and the road look slippery.

I am thinking...that I need to get started putting together music for retreat.

I am thankful for... lunches with friends, even on snowy days!

From the kitchen...trying two new recipes in two nights. Last night's was a 75% success; we'll see if tonight's will be better.

I am wearing... jeans, a fushia turtleneck and the earrings Jon got me for Christmas.

I am going... to town to have lunch with my bf Carrie and then shopping and for a haircut.

I am reading... Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, for the first time.

I am hoping... Jon isn't bringing work home tonight.

I am hearing...the hum of the humidifier inside and outside, the neighbor's dog barking. Constantly

Around the house... this den needs cleaned and organized AGAIN before someone nominates it for an episode of Hoarders.

One of my favorite things... the Faith Hill True perfume I got on clearance after Christmas.

To see more Daybook entries, click here.

10 January 2011

what?!?

Yesterday afternoon, Jon asked me what I wanted for lunch after church. Since I had to work in the mid-afternoon, our choices were sorta limited.

We ended up at Subway, which I was totally fine with.

But you know what I wanted? I wanted a Spicy Italian sub with provolone cheese, mayo...I'm sure you get the picture.

Although I'm sure you know that this weight loss thing is about making changes that I can stick with. Being confident in making the best choices that I can while out and about so I don't ruin days of running sprints and watching my portions with just one meal.

So I was the last one to order, since I was having a tug-of-war with myself. Was the pepperoni in the sub really worth it? How many extra days of sprints would I have to run to work it off? Is the black forest ham sub really going to be any good? Light mayo or mustard?

It's a lot of pressure, I tell ya.

I took a deep breath and ordered a foot long sub with black forest ham. My intent was half now for lunch and half later, after work, for dinner. No one batted an eye. The sandwich girl asked me if I wanted my sub toasted and I said, yes, of course. Then her next question was "What kind of cheese?"

Another deep breath and my reply was "no cheese".

You'd have thought I ran over a puppy in the parking lot the way Jon and Matthew reacted. It was amusing.

Yes, I know my reputation is that all cheese and cheese product that enters the house must be approved by me. That I've been known to slice and eat a half pound block of cheese with crackers for a snack in one sitting. No one said I should ever be proud of these things.

But things change. When you know better, you do better. And that's my aim. Mustard, "free" veggies and no cheese are small steps to where I'm headed. And yes, I missed the cheese and I sure as heck hope it'll be worth it.

07 January 2011

liar, liar, scale on fire

Thinking that I'd get a jump on my weight loss for 2011, I started almost two weeks ago with the Slim Fast diet.

In quite a few attempts, I've never gotten slim, but I've gotten hungry fast.

I almost immediately started getting crabby. Crabby because I'd clock out for my thirty minute lunch and in a matter of eight minutes, I'd be done with my "meal" bar and a twenty ounce diet Coke.

But I was gonna white-knuckle my way through, PMS and all. Who starts diets hours before a monthly bout of becoming the hardest person to live with on the face of the earth anyway?

Apparently, I do.

This week, I decided that I needed to unbury the treadmill, put some rockin' music on my ipod and get to working out. I even did running sprints (30 sec run, 1 min walk, repeat, repeat, repeat...) twice this week. And I couldn't really walk well afterward without some shooting pains in my back and my toes going numb as I was running.

But no pain, no gain, right?

Imagine my disgust when I eat boiled shrimp and garden salad at last night's company christmas dinner rather than fried onion rings and french fries as everyone around me was doing and still see a gain on the scale this morning.

Immediately that little voice in my head starts screaming: "See? I told you this wouldn't work! You're eating bars that only taste like chemicals and for what? Not to mention how your back feels after that torture you call running- what a waste of time! Stop trying to see a magic number on the scale, you're never gonna get there. Go sit on the couch, eat potato chips and just resign yourself to the failure."

For a couple of hours today, that's where I lived. Give up. It's not worth it. You're not worth it.

Then I started thinking. Let's look at this rationally. I've already lost almost twenty pounds since the first week of August. The waist on all my pants are big; I'm constantly pulling them up. There are subtle changes about my body that my husband has noticed and I can start to see when I look in the mirror.

And the exercise has been good for me. Even though I hate almost every second of the time on the treadmill, I love how I feel when I'm finished. And I really feel kinda accomplished when I can crank the speed up to five miles per hour and run without tripping and falling off the treadmill.

Even in my own home, that'd be embarrassing.

So what if it takes weeks for the lying scale to catch up with the way my pants fit? Maybe measuring my success by my pant size is better.

Because the scale and I are not on speaking terms.

06 January 2011

catch up

We inherited a 32-inch television from Jon's boss. He and his wife decided to get a new tv, he asked Jon if we wanted it and apparently we did.

Problem? Our current tv stand only held up to a 27 inch tv. That television went upstairs and took the playstation 2 and Band Hero with it. To the playroom. Yay.

Additional problem? We can't find a stand that will fit said 32" tv. After what was about 3 weeks of it sitting on the floor in the living room, I said to Jon, "Hon, you think the coffee table will hold the tv?" He wasn't sure, but he called Matthew and they moved it. Not without a comment or two from me though- most notably "Don't put your butt through the window, babe". I know, I know.

Turns out, it works fine. And a bonus would be that it seems to have opened up the living room a bit. Doesn't seem so crowded. Yay, a solution and a bonus.
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Are you surprised about the new report linking vaccines and autism? I'm not. And I know several parents who either did not vaccinate their kids or delayed vaccinations due to that 1998 study. I wasn't one of those parents. Not that either choice wasn't valid for personal reasons, parenting is full of decisions; I'm just not really surprised that there's fraud involved. It's sad, really. It's one thing for medicines to not "really" do what they promise, it's another entirely, in my opinion, to intentionally scare and mislead people for more than a decade. And know that what you're backing is totally wrong.

Oy.
----------------------------------------------------

Jon's working hourly now. Something about new tax laws for small business. Keeping Jon at the same number of hours that he's worked for almost seven years would mean that his boss would basically have to double his salary. That'd been nice. Nicer than I can wrap my head around, really. But the cheaper route, to keep the doors of the office open longer potentially, would be to pay Jon for forty hours a week. Not forty seven, which is what he'd been working.

Now, with an hour for lunch and the office closed an hour early, Jon's getting paid for the hours he's putting in. Finally. And he did get a bit of a raise also, which is nice. We haven't run into working emergency weekend hours and having to compensate with time off in the middle of the week yet, but I'm sure we will. He's always told me "Computers don't break on an 8-5 Monday through Friday schedule". We'll see.
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Christmas office dinner is tonight. I'd much rather just have dinner out with my husband. And that's how I feel about that!

04 January 2011

a sock, a tape measure and sixteen cents

It's that time again.

All the Christmas decorations are back in the basement and I'm looking at my living room wondering how long it's been since it was cleaned.

I mean really cleaned.

So that's what I set out to do yesterday. And of course, it turned into a much bigger project than I anticipated.

Almost three hours kind of big. For one room.

I will spare you the gory details and no, I didn't take any pictures of the piles of hair, dust and crumbs. But I will tell you that removing the furniture cushions is a bit of a risk around here. You never know what you might find.

In this case, I found a sock belonging to the youngest member of the family, a ten foot tape measure that is used most often by said member to "measure the cat's tail, mom", countless candy and granola bar wrappers (naughty children, eating in the living room....) and sixteen cents.

I'm keeping the money.

03 January 2011

long, red hair

This isn't gonna get deep because I'm just too tired.

Today, I'm still mourning. Mourning the loss of my sister's firstborn girl. Mourning the loss of my niece. Of Sean and Katie and Emily's big sister.

Eleven years ago today, Laina Michelle was born too soon. The cause of my sister's preterm labor was later determined to be an undiagnosed, untreated infection.

That's hard to take.

And you know what's the hardest about this day? That all I have of my firstborn neice is a hospital photo and a sprig of baby's breath from the flowers that were placed on her tiny grave.

I never saw her. I never held her.

We never had the chance to have memories with Laina. Never when I first laid eyes on her or watched her eat mashed potatoes at the family Thanksgiving table for the first time or had her sit on my lap and read to me a new book that she got as a gift.

So I make her up.

I imagine that the tiny patch of red hair that was present at birth is now long and beautiful and flowing. Her mom keeps it under control by putting it in two braids.

And like her sister Katie after her, she'd have shown me that she could write her name and tie her shoes and ride a bike.

By now, she'd probably be excited about being almost as tall as I am. All my neices and nephews before her have bragged about it at some point.

I'd gladly give her that.