trues & toots

I am going old school with this post.

You see, back in the days when I was just starting out on social media and blogging shenanigans, I spent a lot of time hanging around the Sisterhood (of the Shrinking Jeans). Around the ‘hood, Tuesday is for True Confessions or Toot Your Own HornI haven’t participated in way  too long and more than likely I will not blog like this very often. Today, however, both blog posts could be appropriate. I have some confessions and some brags and some of both.

 I was going to break them down but I have decided to do a bullet list ( I really love these) of the confessions and the toots combined. 

  • I am on a walking streak!! Last night was Day #22. 22 days in a row where I walked. Actually 21 of 22 walks were inside using a #walkathome video. I love Leslie Sansone. When Q was a wee little babe I discovered Leslie and as I venture into getting back in shape, I am going back to the tried & true.
  • I tend to get wrapped up in the compare game. And I have learned this is detrimental to me. I don’t do well when I try to compete because…well, I am not all that competitive. I don’t need to be the leader on some stepcount board. I will never run faster or longer than some of my friends. I am finally ok with all this. I am ok with me being me. With me doing this whole thing MY way. I just need to remember this. Why do I forget it? Why does it take so long to remember?
  • I have been seriously slacking on my yoga practice. I don’t really have a reason but I haven’t been doing nearly enough yoga.
  • I don’t want to track everything I eat or count calories at all. I don’t want to restrict and deprive. I have enough issues going on (belly gremlin, itchies) and restricting isn’t going to help. BUT, I do need to focus on eating the food that make me feel good and not eating the foods that hate me.
  • Speaking of….I have been eating like crap. Too much wheat. Too much takeout, which is just stupid for more than just the wheat. Too much ice cream. I may not like tracking but that doesn’t mean my body doesn’t know just exactly what I am putting in it. Time to crack the whip. Believe me, I have a big bloaty belly to show for my junk eating.
  • I hate calling food good or bad. I just hate it. #thereIsaidit
  •  I hate weighing myself. I don’t really care about the number and dammit I have bigger problems than the scale. My gremlin and itchies. And I am lucky enough to have awesome health numbers (cholesterol and blood pressure) even though I am overweight.
  • I have officially decided to stop trying to lose weight (not that I have really been trying). I am shifting my focus completely to my health. I will figure out what keeps my gremlin and itchies away. My joints get achy and tender. I want to feel strong again. I want to move comfortably in my body.
  • I am beautiful but I really don’t know how to dress. I need to learn how to dress. For real.
  • I sorta tried to play the ukulele since my kid brought me one home for my birthday. It does not fit right in my hand. And, seriously, my boobs make it uncomfortable to play. I am putting it down. And moving on.
  • My mom’s husband  gave me an old acoustic guitar. Q has already taught me to play twinkle, twinkle. little star. 
  • And one final note: IMG_20140728_211139_719 My Q has joined me in the piyo craze. She has committed to the 8-week program…we have a week of band camp in there so we will work it out so it works for us.

This was a fun post to write. It took me ALL day but I needed the brain dump. A lot has been going on and I needed to get my feet sturdy on deck before I blogged about it all. I am getting myself to a much happier headspace and my little corner of the universe is looking brighter.

What’s going on in your corner?

Hello Monday

Well, hello there, Monday.

How the hell are you?

Let’s just say I am superglad it is summer and I have a flexible schedule and  today is even more flexible than usual. This morning the alarm beeped at me at 6am and I got out of bed, turned off the alarm, went and made coffee…then, I climbed right back in bed.

I had an absolute horrible night sleep.

I don’t get it. Normally, I sleep great. This weekend I worked my tail off….I painted for two days with my husband, I cleaned the condo in OC and I walked every day. I should have been tired enough to get a great night sleep. But I did not.

So  today, I went back to bed. Then I got up and took my Q to work and came back home. Normally, I would try to get right into work after taking her but today I needed to come back home.

I needed a do-over.

And today, I had the opportunity, the time and the desire for a do over.

How often can one actually get a do over?

I cam back home, had breakfast and a shower and now I am sitting down with a cup of coffee and writing this blog. I had big plans for today and even though the day started rocky, I am positive I will hit today’s goals.

What are today’s goals?!?

  • walk
  • start PIYO
  • drink lots of water
  • eat mindfully
  • meditate
  • apply for 3rd job
  • play around with my new guitar

Oh yeah, and I still have work but today we are taking the kids to the movies to see Hercules in IMAX. Not a bad day to need a do over. I also know, I can’t always take a do over morning when I need one so I have to take advantage of days like today, now, while I can.

Food, a shower, coffee and I feel so much better.

Like a whole new person on a whole new morning.

I can do this!

I feel more confident starting now. It is amazing what a few hours do to change an attitude. I MUST remember this for next time.  I think I may have finally found a way to deal with Mondays. I won’t always have a few extra hours but I can take what I’ve learned today and scale it down. I bet 30 minutes would do the trick.  Oh yes, I am sure there will be a next time…..Mondays are rough.

How do you deal with Mondays?

the great room exchange

IMG_20140608_122120_686About five weeks ago, I (with a whole lot of help from Big Man) did a big house project. There are two bedrooms in our house and for some reason my daughter wanted to switch rooms. It was actually a good idea. It gave us a chance to clean and purge.

I had no idea just how much purging could and would happen. So much purging. On the right you will notice a big 6-drawer dresser among other stuffs. This was the pile of trash we put out to the curb. Just the big stuff. All the clothes that once occupied that big dresser needed new homes. Truth be told, I had not emptied my dresser of winter or too-small garments.

IMG_20140607_183125_867The Great Room Exchange was a huge undertaking. For a week leading up to  the actual exchange, we went through the closets and the drawers, condensed and purged.  Condensed and purged.

I am horrible at throwing things away. Once I started with this project, I found it quite easy to want to get rid of everything. And nothing.

I might fit into this, I might need this, I can sell  this at a yard sale. Why is this still here? Why do I have this?

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I have an attic that needs to be organized. I have piles of items for a yard sale. And then there is a pile of clothes that I will fit back into or I will donate them. I will need to do more condensing and purging but that is a project for another day.

The Great Room Exchange was done in stages. Room 1 was emptied and all the furniture was in the living room while the room was cleaned and painted then mopped. This was to be my new bedroom and I chose the brightest blue for the walls. Painting is hard work! Once the paint had dried and the floor mopped, all the furniture from Room 2 was moved across the hall into Room 1.

The furniture in Room 2 had not been moved for a long time prior to the exchange. The amount of animal fur behind said furniture was almost scary. Then I pulled the carpet and was stunned by the amount of dirt.  I have never claimed to be the bets housekeeper but this was an eye-opener. I had no idea it was that bad. I dusted and swept and vacuumed and mopped. Finally, Room 2 was painted and mopped again and the put back together again.

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It is going to sound crazy but The Great Room Exchange was a lot of fun. and A LOT of hard work. I spent three solid days working with my husband working to make our living spaces a whole lot nicer. I love my man and I really enjoy spending time with him, even if its housework. We had fun doing this project!

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 Thoughts & Lessons Learned:

  • I love my new room. I love the bright color!! I really thought it did not matter one bit what color is on my wall.
  • My previous room (and the mess and dirt) reflects so much on my state of  mind and being. I have not been taking very good care of myself and even though I think I put on a brace face, I only needed to look around to see it.
  • Since we’ve been in the new room, I have kept it clean and tidy. I sweep it out at least twice a week, wipe everything down once a week, and hell, I’ve even been making my bed most mornings.
  • I have not been willing to admit or I’ve been in denial….but my I’ve been in a pretty unhappy place where its hard to leave the house, or get our of bed, or do much of anything.
  • I accumulate too much stuff. Too many clothes that don’t fit perfect. Too many shoes that aren’t right. I feel like the princess and the pea….things need to be just so…but I hadn’t been getting rid of the not-just so stuff. I need to keep working on that.
  • A room cannot change everything, yet this new room and new color has opened my eyes to see just how dark and depressing it had been.
  • I like cleaning my room, and I like having a mostly-made (Big Man and I each have our own sheets & blankets, so its not the easiest to “make”) bed. I enjoy spending time in my room and I have gotten back to a place where I want to do things.
  • Every now and again, like yesterday, I will be cleaning or sweeping or making my bed and I catch myself wondering who I am. Before  the Great Room Exchange I never made my bed or cared if there were piles of clothes all over the place.
  • Now, I have this great space to live, breathe and create. I have this space that feels like me.
  • A long time ago, when I first started this healthy journey and I was trying to lose weight, I began with Leslie Sansone and her #walkathome videos. I have gotten away from those videos for so many reasons.
  • With my new, bright, clean space I am getting back to my Leslie walks (also known at walkies or just #walkathome) and it feels like going to visit an old friend.
  • Maybe a coat of bright paint can change me!!
  • Maybe a coat of bright paint opened my eyes and will allow me to heal and change myself to what I want to be!

I don’t need to know why or how, but I am going to take advantage of this good feeling. It has been over a month and I am starting to settle into a routine. My room is still clean and tidy and pretty. I am walking in my room rather often. I feel good and I want to keep riding this wave.

Let’s see where it leads….

So, I have to ask you, what does your bedroom look like?

Hugs & Mad Love,

Jen

happy, healthy, then weight loss maybe

  • I lose my breath going up stairs. This so totally sucks at work.
  • A 3 mile #walkathome feels harder to do now than many moons ago when I was regularly walking with Leslie. I am not kicking or knee-lifting as high. And what leslie calls hamstring curls absolutely kill my left hip/upper thigh region.
  • My joints are achy and tight. My ankle (yes, the surgeried one) is super tight. I feel like I am 100 years old when I get out of bed or when I walk around after sitting for any period of time.
  • my lower back aches when I do just about anything.
  • I am tired a lot of the time. I definitely do best with 8+ hours of sleep but even then I am still tired.
  • my gremlin acts up often and is dull and achy almost every day.
  • I am still itchy. Not as intense and not all the time, but I definitely am still itchy. When I stay wheat free I am less itchy but I have yet to achieve no itchy. I may need to try dairy free or maybe a round of whole30.
  • I miss my flexibility. It has been a very long time since I have been able to do a full split but I want to get that back. More than the splits, I want to move my body more fluidly and comfortably.
  • I miss feeling strong.  My chiroractor made me stop heavy lifting squats because of neck issues. I stopped almost all lifting, gave up my gym membership, blahblahbla and it has been a very long time since I have pushed my muscles to lift something heavy. I miss it.

So here’s the deal.

I need to lose some weight. I have gained back everything and then some and none of my clothes fit. All the healthy numbers we worry about as we get older (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) are great. I will not kid myself. I know I am lucky to be 36 years old and almost a hundred pounds overweight with excellent cholesterol and blood pressure and no problems with diabetes. That being said, I still need to lose weight. It is what it is.

But here’s the thing. I don’t want losing weight to consume me. I did that before. I was super Weight Watcher. I know there are people who can follow WW and not be a freak about it, but not me. I turned into one of those freaky dieters and I didn’t like it. I don’t want to go back to that place. I don’t want to restrict and deprive. 1200, 14, or even 1600 calories may be what “they” would quote me but believe you me, you don’t want to see  me on so few calories. Hangry Jen, ideed.

I want to eat healthy. I want to eat delicious. Food is not the enemy. I have come to love preparing and cooking food. I have come a long way in my cooking and I am sure I make and eat way too much of the sweet, rich, heavy foods  that are meant to be treats not every day consumption. I love the time I spend in the kitchen. I do not want food to be the enemy.

I don’t want to actually focus on weight loss. I don’t want to will NOT be a slave to the scale.

Weight loss will be the happy accident of the changes I am working towards.

A couple of six months ago, I changed my handles from @mendingjen to @jengoeszen. I was starting to focus more on yoga and finding some sort of peace. I think it was sort of me faking it until I make it. But I never got around to the making it part. I sort of let my funk and health issue seep into my head…my self & body image have been pretty much in  the toilet. All leading to less and less yoga.

Go figure, I try to adjust myself to lean on yoga more and I lean on yoga LESS.

I NEED more yoga and meditation in my life. I feel better when I sneak in some yoga each day. And there is no denying when I add in a few minutes of meditation every day, I find it easier to deal with stressful situations. I can find my breath easier. I rely on my breathing to work out the kinks of stress. When I use my yoga and meditation I feel good.

I also feel good when I squeeze in some walking. When I feel good, I walk more often and just in general accumulate more steps each day.

When I walk I feel good. When I feel good, I want to walk more. When I yoga, I feel good. When I feel good, I yoga more. When I walk and yoga more, I want to walk and yoga more. When I walk and yoga more, I feel better. My body feels good to move and my head feels good. I want to move more. I want to eat better.

When I am not active, it is so much easier to eat junk food. Or wheat. When I am moving and grooving regularly, I want to eat better. It just happens naturally.

I will work on small, daily habits that will keep me active and feeling good about myself. I think that is the key for any sort of lasting weight loss healthy habits. Healthy habits will go a long way to keeping me happy. At least, its a start.

My life is not perfect but it is good.

Happy is not hard for me….but happy AND healthy, that is going to be the KEY.

 

 

Healthy habits I want to work on this week: 10K steps each and every day AND 64 oz of water each and every day.

What healthy habits are you working on this week?

 

Hugs & Much Love,

Jennifer Lynn

wednesday was a washout

Something is making me itchy.

I went to an allergist and he did all the normal allergy tests. Anytime they touched me, my skin reacted. The girl administering the test kept commenting that even writing on my back in pen was making my back react. However, after the 20 minute wait time, I showed no reaction. No allergic reaction. The doctor sent me for blood work to check for Lyme’s and to see what was going on with my thyroid.

Since I already needed blood work, I called my regular doctor and asked for a form to get my regular, annual blood work. I have great blood!!

BUT

There is still something going on.

Let’s take yesterday as an example. I got home from work, had some burgers (no bun) for lunch and then my daughter wanted to take me and big man out for ice cream before she went away for a long weekend with her friend. By the time we had dropped Q at her friend’s house after ice cream, I was itchy. I was probably itchy before but nothing major.

I came home and popped an allergy pill (think Benadryl but generic) and was napping within a half hour. That stupid pill knocked me on my ass. I slept for over two hours and then it took me a good hour to come out of  that nap. I was so groggy.

Dinner didn’t happen until after 8pm.

And the itchy returned.

Another pill and back to bed.

I ended the day with only 6,120 steps and no workout.

I am torn….I want to be annoyed that I didn’t get my workout….I am just getting back and I don’t want to already derail myself…so I am reflecting on it…

I went out for ice cream with my kid and I had a soft-serve twist with rainbow jimmies (or sprinkles if you are not in south Jersey). Do you know how cool it is when your kid offers to take YOU out for ice cream?!? Q has a job now and her own money and she wanted to spend it on her parents. Whether I am dieting or wanting to lose weight, I will not deprive myself or my family of some of the fun, summer experiences.

I do not want my teenage daughter to think deprivation is a way of life. I do not want her to see me miserable and missing out because of weight. My daughter is absolutely perfect and I do not want her to ever think there is something wrong with the occasional ice cream outing. I watched my mom diet my whole life and that really had its effect on me. I don’t want to do that to my Q.

Some days it is hard to think about dieting or losing weight. Yesterday was one of those days. It was 92* and crazy humid, the AC in my car does not work well, my Q is  going away for 5 days, and I got a case of the itchies. Yesterday was that day….diet…lose weight…who cares!! I did have ice cream…one cup (not a cone) of ice cream. I felt like crap and I was tired but still I made a decent dinner with veggies and protein that was quite delicious! I did not say “fuck it, I am itchy, eat the wheat.”

I listened to what my body needed. Good food, veggies and water, and sleep.  Today is a new day. I am a little groggy as I start this day, but it is a new day. I am going into school for a few hours to set up for next week when my summer program starts then I am going to find some way to enjoy the rest of the day. It is supposed to storm later so hopefully that will help get rid of the crazy humidity going on right now.

I am off to make it a good day!

Hugs & Much Love,

Jennifer Lynn

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**total randomness: I need to learn how to use the DSLR I own & I need pictures for every blog post. I like pictures. So that is why I posted the beautiful picture above. I took that pic on my phone on Sunday when we were at Low Tide Beach.

I have lost my way

OR maybe, just maybe, I have no idea what the fuck I am doing….

I started thinking about this blog and this space and what I want, what I am doing, why I am doing it and I almost decided to completely stop blogging.

I have not blogged with any regularity….for the better part of the last year. Honestly, I am not sure how many times I have stared at a blank post with my brain swirling with half-ideas only to find my fingers paralyzed on the keyboard. There are no less than six just-started blogs in draft. It is a serious case of too much to say/nothing to say inner conflict along with the who cares what I have to say inner self-doubt. I don’t know what I want to say, how I want to say it and why anyone want to read what I say.

 It’s time to come clean.

I have struggled through the last few years. I haven’t had a purpose, a reason, for doing what I am doing. I have struggled in so many facets of life and living: growing up, a teenage daughter, financial stress, work stress, health issues, to blog or not to blog.

This blog (or the blogs that led me to this blog) were supposed to be my place to journal and share my journey. I wanted a place to clear my head and document what was going on with me. I was once a weight loss blogger and I was once a running blogger and now I am an I-don’t-know-what-kind-of blogger.

Do I want to be a blogger?!? 

I wasn’t sure. I don’t want to just be more noise out there on the internet. After a bit of chatting it up with a few friends and really searching myself, I have decided I do want to blog. My way. I want to use this space to live my headline: listen, learn, love, mend. I am not broken but I am not in the best of places….if I can use my own words as a way of seeing and working through things, I stand a chance. I am going back to my old ways, when my blog was my place, my space to work through whatever goes through my head when it goes through my head.

I am not going to reinvent my blog. I am not going to change my url or my name (I have done a lot of that along the way) but I am going to take all the pressure off. I am going to use my space much like a journal. I may use random writing prompts just to keep the creative flow moving or I may just work through thoughts or problems, or I just might journal what is going on in my world. I don’t need to reinvent myself, I just have to listen, learn, love and mend my way to true happiness.

Let’s talk Weight Loss Gain

I have gained back every pound I lost 5 years ago.  I started gaining three years ago when my injury kept me out of what would have been my second half marathon. That injury lead to surgery which meant 9 weeks on crutches and a full year worth of recovery. Then two years ago, I developed this weird belly thing which has still not been diagnosed, but I call it my gremlin. Then one year ago, I developed this wonderful itching and rashes. Yep, this one is still undiagnosed as well. Not for lack of trying. I have been to doctors, had tests and procedures and still nothing.

I am miserable in so many ways. I feel like my body hates me. My ankle and knee are so much better post-surgery but I have dealt with so many other health issues since. I was concerned my weight gain would cause more health issues so I went to my regular doctor for a physical. According to my bloodwork, I have excellent numbers (awesome cholesterol and even awesomer blood pressure) despite the creeping upwards number on the scale.

I talked to Doc about this for awhile and he wants to me to work on losing 10% of my current weight. But get this, he wants me to lose that weight over a 6-12 month period. He wants moderation and movement and slow, reasonable weight loss. Whoa.

Weight loss. Body Image. Healthy at Any Size. Fat Acceptance. Love yourself. SelfLove. Self Care. Ditch the scale. Eat the food. Up your calories. Low calorie. High Fat. Low Carb. High Protein. Gluten Free. Paleo.

It is so overwhelming. How do I want to go about weight loss?!? I have been pretty adamant about not wanting weight loss to be my focus. I still don’t want weight loss to be my main focus. I need to heal my gut-gremlin and itchy skin. It is really hard to worry about the number on the scale when I want to itch my skin off or when my belly is in pain. But regardless, I need to take some pounds off my body.

I need a plan of action for losing weight and I am working on it. I need to think some more and figure out what I want and what I am willing to do to get what I want.

But I need to lose some of  the weight. My body is screaming at me regularly and it is not happy with the extra weight. My joints are hurty and stiff, I get out of breath doing nothing, my body feels weak and my clothes don’t fit. I think I need to make more of a list if what is going on with my body and what I hope to accomplish by losing weight.

I want to feel strong again and right now I feel fat.

I am ready to feel happy.

I want to feel happy.

I may have lost my way but I will find my way back to happy,

First step is admitting where I have been, the next step is determining what I want and then working up an action plan.

Stay tuned…..

weekend work

My weekend started with an extra day off. I took a personal day on Friday so we could get a head start! At the end of each day, I wrote up a quick list of all that we did. I am sure I missed some things. 

  • Hardware Store
  • Butcher shop
  • Farm Stand
  • Empty out Room #1
  • Paint walls in room #1
  • Drive Q to sleepover
  • Kmart
  • Grocery store (Sale only)
  • Dinner
  • Work on emptying Room #2
  • Day 2 – started with Amy’s Dogs and COFFEEE
  • Back to Grocery store for SALE
  • Paint trim in Room #1 – Let it Dry – while going through more stuff.
  • Mop floor in Room #1
  • Go to MILs, pick up bed
  • home to set up bed & move stuff into Room #1
  • Empty out Room #2 (what a mess, I have way too much stuff)
  • Dust the walls, ceiling and ceiling fan
  • Rip up carpet & dispose of it
  • Sweep and mop Room #2
  • Amy’s Dogs
  • Dinner (I actually cooked this meal) late, clean up that mess
  • Amy’s Dogs
  • wait for Q to get home at 1:30AM
  • back up at 6:30 to let Amy’s Dogs out
  • home for breakfast and much needed coffee, COFFEEE
  • off to Mom’s house to pick up cleaning supplies
  • clean in OC (3 bathroom, 4 bedrooms, etc)
  • Amy’s Dogs
  • Paint Store
  • home (AJ and Q started Room #2 while I was cleaning in OC)
  • Laundry
  • Paint trim
  • sweep floor – Room #2 completed
  • Make meatballs for dinner
  • Drive Q to Band Banquet (when did she get so grown)
  • Amy’s Dogs
  • help AJ move Q’s furniture into her room
  • Laundry (something is wrong with the dryer – fix that – more laundry)
  •  Eat dinner
  • More puttering (moving stuff from one spot to another)
  • Game of Throne
  • PASS OUT

This was one busy, productive weekend. I am exhausted, absolutely tired down to my bones, and sore. It is a good feeling. I learned a few things while cleaning and rearranging furniture and bedrooms.  Things about myself, what I need and what I want, and changes I need to make. The biggest/most important thing I learned is I need to take more time to put things away. My life will be easier if everything has a home, a place it belongs.

I still have 3 boxes of crap on my dining table that must be looked at, gone through and put away or thrown away. That will have to wait until after a union meeting after school.

I wonder if school will feel like a vacation after the weekend’s work!

menus & prepping & success

Last week I was terribly and completely unprepared. Mother’s Day was lovely but I did not complete any of my prep work. So today, I am made lists and menus. I cooked and prepped. I gotta say, it is a good feeling to know I have go-to snacks and lunches ready.

#foodprepsunday included:

Dinner Menu:

Sunday: Steak & Citrus Shrimp, fancy potatoes and a salad

Monday: Cuban Shredded Beef, rice & black beans

Tuesday: Man Pleasing Chicken, brussels & potato hash

Wednesday: Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole (two batches – one with elbow noodles for AJ & Q, one with cauliflower for me)

Thursday: Steaks or Breakfast (Band practice for Q, walking club for mom, Big Man is in charge of dinner)

Friday: Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken, rice, green beans or snap peas

Saturday: Ribs, potato salad, slaw & salads

And this is a great start.

I have some basics to get me started. I have lots of fruit in the fridge and I have bananas ripening to be made into pumpkin vanilla muffins in a few days.

I will also plan out my exact lunches and breakfast each night so work mornings are smoother. Lunches and breakfasts will include: eggs, paleo bread, smoothies, burgers, soups and cucumber salads. Snacks of fruit, nuts, soup, hardboiled eggs, cucumbers with salsa, and other veggies will be on hand so I can just grab & go.  I have lots of options.

Options and preparation will be key  to success….right now success means sticking to the gluten free thing (it works, as much as I hate that it works, it works…more on this later) and I very much want to focus on eating enough vegetables. Fruit is easy but vegetables take some work to get enough servings each day. To start,  I am going to aim for 6 veggie servings, with a serving being one cup, each day.

I am setting myself up for success.

 

 

not enough planning

Friday was my anniversary. Saturday I was a zombie….okay, I wasn’t eating brains but I couldn’t get off my ass and out of my chair. I am pretty sure the stress and anxiety of the work week finally lifting for the weekend left me depleted. I needed the rest. Then Sunday was Mother’s Day and my daughter worked and needed to be dropped off early…so we had breakfast where she works and then went grocery shopping.

Ain’t life exciting?!?

At least my view for breakfast was fabulous!! ;)

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After grocery shopping and produce shopping, the rest of the day was pretty mellow. But, I did not complete any food prep. Let me tell you, I need food prep. I did create an incredibly basic dinner menu but it needs work.

Monday: Grilled Chicken

Tuesday: Spaghetti

Wednesday: Cajun Chicken and Shrimp, rice & beans

Thursday: Breakfast

Friday: Kielbasa, homemade kraut, potatoes

 

I told you…basic. But it’s a start.

 

Tonight I am going to work with it and see what I can do to help myself. I need some pre-made, grab & go snacks. I need to find a substitute for a piece of toast.

 

#foodprepsunday is going to happen …but it’s Monday and I will only be doing a small version!!

a guest post near and dear to my heart

My bestest friend, Heather, has the second-most amazing daughter in the whole wide world. When Evi was a very itty bitty newborn she needed some help from Children’s Hospital. Children’s Hospital earned a permanent place in Heather’s heart, and now mine. Heather is hosting a virtual race to raise money for St. Judes and I asked her to write a blog post.
Please read and help out in any way you can! My daughter and I will be virtually racing very soon, after we train a bit!
So, without further ado, please meet Miss Evi Ruth, the coolest five year old I know!
evi5
The scariest moment of my entire life was the handful of seconds between Evi’s birth and the moment she cried. The most amazing was that sound, her willful protest of all things bright and cold and loud and weird. Until the moment we actually DID bring her home, I wasn’t sure we ever would. And then there we were, new parents to a real live newborn with all of her amazingness and crazy new things. New sounds, new smells, new routines.
She was easy from the get-go…sleeping six hours her first night. She smiled a lot, laughed, cuddled. And then all of a sudden she was three weeks old and she wouldn’t stop throwing up. It was acid reflux, the doctors assured, sending us home with medicine. It wasn’t, we insisted, reappearing in their office with specific measurements and distances to accurately describe her impressive projectile output. We brought pictures of the laundry we’d done that week. We described everything in ridiculous, measured, scientific detail.
In the end, I resorted to Dr. Google. I looked up symptoms obsessively, knowing in my heart of hearts that something bigger was wrong. She wasn’t getting better. She hated eating. She was losing weight. That was it, the final bit. I took her in to the doctor’s office one more time, armed with a rapidly shrinking infant and a gut feeling about the diagnosis.
They weighed her, and she’d lost fifteen ounces in a week. She wasn’t a big baby to begin with and she didn’t have fifteen ounces to spare. They were scared and confused, and I pulled out my hypothesis.
Pyloric stenosis. It means the valve (the pyloris) that takes food from your stomach to your intestines is growing out of sync with the rest of your body, growing too fast and closing up on itself so food can’t be digested.
I was prepared for the arguments. “It’s so rare,” they’d say. “It happens to boys,” they’d argue, and I’d push back. Except they didn’t argue. The incredible nurse practitioner listened to me, really listened. She called in the practice lead doctor. He confirmed that I just might be right, and sent me packing immediately to Children’s National Medical Center. I called my husband on the way home and he met us there. We called every grandparent, aunt, and uncle on the way to the hospital.

We sat in the waiting room, surrounded by seriously ill children and pale, worried parents. We waited maybe twenty minutes before we were taken back for the initial screening. The techs who worked with us were patient and gentle. They spoke clearly, used simple words, gave us easy directions, and asked questions with polite concern. They managed to convey the importance and urgency without making us feel in the way. They made it clear they cared about our baby and about us. She was admitted almost at once, and we were escorted to a temporary room until a permanent one could be made available for her. In the meantime, a hospital volunteer brought her a stuffed animal, now forever named Pink Bear, that had been hand sewn by other volunteers. It was teddy bear shaped, with no real features but a sweet floral pattern. Evi still loves it.

 

On the way to our room, they took us to get her an ultrasound, where they confirmed. Yes. It’s pyloric stenosis. We watched on the screen as what little was left in her belly swirled around, unable to make it past her too swollen pyloris. Yes, the doctors confirmed, she was slowly starving to death. I tried not to break down. I broke down anyway. I tried to hold on through waves of guilt that my sweet little girl was slowly starving. It would have killed her, they confirmed.

 

But it won’t,” they said, more firmly now, as they looked us right in the eye. “She’s here, and we can fix this. It’s actually a simple surgery. She’ll be able to go home in a day or two.”

 

They showed us to our room. They set her up in her baby cage. They scheduled her surgery for the next morning. Thankfully we weren’t going to sleep anyway, as they came in to check her vitals every few hours. She wasn’t allowed to eat, so they gave her her very firstpacifier. In the morning, the put her into the world’s tiniest pale orange hospital gown and it still swallowed her whole. They let me carry her down to the operating room and we got to sit with her while the doctor walked us through. The surgery would be laparoscopic, meaning it would be done through tiny cuts in her abdomen and wouldn’t require a big incision. It would be quick, he assured. When the nurse finally took her from my arms, she did it with such tenderness that I couldn’t help but be comforted. These people cared, deeply and completely.

 

They handed us a pager, and we headed to the hospital cafeteria. We hadn’t eaten since the previous lunch. We picked half-heartedly at sandwiches before giving up to pace restlessly down the hospital hallways. As we turned into the atrium to go make her a tie-dyed onesie, the pager buzzed. It’s possible we’ve never moved faster.

 

They took us to recovery, where our groggy little girl was just waking up. We spent one more night in the hospital, her tiny arm wrapped to hold in an IV for fluids, and she was intensely monitored. They checked her regularly and gave us the green light to try a tiny bit of food. She didn’t nurse well to begin with and would have been in no mood, so we gave her a 1oz bottle. She took it, and threw it up. The nurses were encouraging and comforting. “It’s fine,” they assured. They gave us a clear schedule of how much to feed her and when, and we kept trying. When a few hours passed and she kept food down, they cleared us to go home.

 

They sent us home with clear directions, a direct line to a doctor if anything unexpected happened, specifics on what to watch for, and heartfelt best wishes to never ever see us again. They scheduled a followup for two weeks out, and they waved goodbye.

 

We never did see them again, because she bounced back to vibrant life like the tiny miracle she is. In no time she was round and happy, and at her two week followup she surprised the doctor with her incredible health and wellbeing.

 

on the left: Evi just prior to surgery on the right: 1.5 weeks later

on the left: Evi just prior to surgery
on the right: 1.5 weeks later

She’s five now. FIVE. She’s about to start kindergarten. She’s happy and healthy and strong and silly. She’s full of spontaneous affection, random facts, and her fair share of tiny attitude. She runs and laughs, pouts and cries. She reads books, draws robots. She’s perfect. She’s thriving. Children’s National Medical Center saved her life, and I’m grateful for them every day. To help support the thousands of other children they work so hard to save every day, I’m organizing a virtual race. You can register here for one of the 26 spots left.