Life is more fun when you RAWR!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A few recent crafts

My crafty side has been ignited again.  I've been crafting a lot over the past week and I'm pretty pleased with the results.
 First, another set of bean bags.  I'm really happy with how these turned out and I hope that my niece will love them too.  I especially love the color combinations on these.
The second is a baby gift for one of my husband's graduate students who just became a dad for the first time.  I made burp cloths and an appliqué onesie. Both projects couldn't be easier.

For the burp cloths I simply sewed flannel down the middle of a Gerber organic prefold diaper.  Viola! A cute, personal burp cloth that's super absorbent.  For the onesie all I needed was a scrap of wonder-under, a scrap of cute fabric and a onesie.  Cut the wonder-under into the shape of a heart and iron the rough side to the back of your fabric.  Cut the wonder-undered fabric out and peel off the paper on the back of the fabric, iron it on to the onesie and then zig-zag stitch around the outline of the heart to secure it to your onesie.

It took just a couple of hours from start to finish on the baby gifts (the bean bags take a little longer because they're sort of putzy with all the appliqué).  All in all, both projects are fun, interesting and very satisfying at the finish.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

This week's menu plan comes on a week when we're really eating on a budget.  We're trying to pay off our house and have a plan set in place to do it.  Our discretionary spending was high in the first half of our billing cycle so this week and next week it's all about eating on a major budget, eating out of our freezer, being creative.

Here's what's on tap:
Monday: Breakfast for dinner (burritos, pancakes)
Tuesday: kebabs, rice, grilled veggies
Wednesday: pulled pork sandwiches, chips
Thursday: grilled chicken, ramen salad
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: shrimp and grits
Sunday: burgers and fries

I've already put in my grocery order and it was $61.  Not too bad considering that includes a bunch of chicken that is on special (for next week).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Unbelievably insulting

I'm on the treadmill today for week 7 day 1 of Couch to 5k.
I'm running for 25 minutes.
While I'm running the woman on the treadmill next to me signals for my attention.  She's older, maybe late 40s or early 50s.  She's been on her ipad walking on the treadmill since I got on mine.  She's been playing on Facebook and checking email, so sort of putzing around.  
When she catches my attention I've been running for about 15 minutes.  I'd actually just slowed to a walk because I had a cramp in my back that was making it impossible to breathe.  I took out my earbud and said, "I'm sorry, what was that?"
She said: "You have a lot of stamina... for someone... well... you know... like you."

How does one even respond to something like that?
I just said, "okay thanks" and focused on getting that cramp out of my back and picked up my run again after walking for two minutes.
I completed my 25 minute run, was thrilled to have run two miles in less than 30 minutes (including a 5 minute warm up so I kept a decent pace going) and made my way to get my kids out of the childwatch.

She came at me again.

"Um, can I talk to you again for a second?"
"Back there, I didn't mean to, I mean, I wasn't trying to be insulting.  It's just that I have a friend who is very overweight too and she isn't doing anything to help herself and you obviously are and she has a lot of health problems and it just is so sad when people who are heavy don't exercise but you're heavy and you are exercising and that's just really great, and boy I bet you wish I would just stop talking now but I just wanted to say that you know, I mean, it seems like you're working really hard because you're really sweating and your face is all red and..."

At this point I'm walking down the stairs incredulous that this grown woman continues flapping her gums, each word more insulting than the next

"and I mean, it's just that, you know, I was just trying to tell you you're doing a good job and it's not easy being heavy and you know, gosh, I"m just making it worse and you're probably ready for me to walk away."

I go to the car to get our pool gear and she keeps going, still talking but I have mercifully closed my ears and I don't hear anything she's saying.

You know what, I get it.  I am overweight.  I do struggle on my runs.  Running is hard, even at my incredibly slow pace.  13 minute miles won't win any races but you know what, it's the best I can do right now dammit so back off. 

There are plenty of people around me, friends, family, acquaintance who know I am watching what I eat and that I'm working out.  I go to the gym 6 days a week and exercise for a minimum of 45 minutes.  I know I have a lot of weight to lose.  Guess what folks, this has been a lifelong battle.  It started for me in the 6th grade when, upon seeing a very very fat woman walking near our school, John Schilling looked at me and said "you're going to look like her if you don't stop gaining weight." In high school I overheard two guys saying (one of whom I had a huge crush on ) that I would be so pretty if I wasn't so fat.  In college a guy friend's mom said she would want me to date her son except I was so heavy and didn't wear enough make up.  

I weighed 145lbs for both the high school and college comments (less in middle school, guessing around 130).  

145 pounds.  Today that's what I aspire to.  And today I have well meaning people around me saying they know "it's hard" when they haven't ever faced comments like these, had this much weight to lose or dealt with both under-active thyroid and PCOS both conspiring together to make losing a single ounce a major feat but gaining 10 pounds something that can be done overnight.

I grew up in a house where weight was a constant issue, diet was a constant topic of conversation.  It's exhausting and mentally, emotionally and spiritually draining.  

I am who I am no matter what the number on the scale says.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Very few people chose to be overweight.  We get that way through a series of choices, one after another until finally here we are, overweight and unhealthy.  Some people don't care.  Some people see the folly in their choices and try to break bad habits, make new ones and change things.  The fact is though, wherever you are in your life's journey, having family, friends and ladies on the next treadmill over be so insulting is a kick in the flabby gut.

I wish I had come up with a snappy comeback beyond "okay."
I wish I'd told her to mind her own business and get back to Facebook.
I wish I'd challenged her to a race.
All I can hope for now is that she'll know that her comments were unwelcome, unhelpful and hurtful and maybe next time she's next to a fatty out-running her on the treadmill she'll pick up her own pace and keep her mouth shut.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Here we are, just two weeks left before the boys go to preschool.  Our summer of fun is winding down and I'm starting to focus on a few things around the house, I have a pile of fun sewing projects that I'm working on (including a really cute new batch of beanbags for my niece, a new comforter for Andy, a skirt for another niece and possibly a book-bag for one of the boys!    I'm also taking a spinning class tomorrow, and ran for 25 minutes straight on Saturday!  Wow!

So here is what we're eating this week:

Monday: Pork Loin, rice, salad.
Tuesday: Chicken, couscous, grilled veggies
Wednesday: take out
Thursday: Spaghetti Bake
Friday: Chicken Curry
Saturday: cube steak, mashed potatoes, salad
Sunday: Burgers and fries

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Report: The Glass Castle

When my mother-in-law handed me The Glass Castle she said, "You are not going to be able to put this book down."
She was right.
The memoir of a woman who grew up in abject, absolute poverty and went on to become a writer and journalist, The Glass Castle is captivating from page 1.   The stories are horrific but not in a sad way.  Walls writes of her childhood as a matter-of-fact.  The poverty in the stories is so severe that you find yourself wishing it was a joke.  Example: the family lived in a three-bedroom shack in West Virginia that had no running water so they used a bucket in the middle of the kitchen.  It rarely had electricity and never had heat.  The roof was full of straight-out holes and Brian (the brother) would sleep with a tarp over him to keep dry during the rain.  Still, the four Walls children had an amazing way of always overcoming the life they'd been given.

The Glass Castles is a run, don't walk to get and read this book.  But don't start it until you have a few hours to yourself to read because once you pick it up you will be powerless to put it down.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Aack!!!  Stay summer!  Don't go!!!  Preparing everyone for another really fun week of swimming and playing with lots of good food to keep our bellies happy.  My mother and father in-law are here visiting for part of the week so I'm hoping that means Drew & I will go out to eat at least once.  I'm Facebook friends with a few local restaurants who post their specials and they always sound so yummy.
Thanks to my awesome cousin Kim I have a new vegetarian recipe to try this week.

M:  Chilaquiles Casserole, salad
T: Grilled chicken, grilled veggies, wilted spinach
W: Grilled steak and fish, Ramen Salad, rice
Th:  pork tenderloin, grilled corn on the cob, mashed potatoes
F: leftovers/out
S:  spaghetti with meat sauce, salad
S: Burgers and fries

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm a runner

At least, that's what the coach's voice at the end of today's 20-minute run told me.  I know 20 minutes isn't super long but I ran the whole time without stopping to walk.  I've known for a couple of weeks now that this run was coming.  The longest I'd run to this point was 8 minutes, then walk 3 then run another 8.  I was nervous about this morning, almost as if I was in a race.  I wanted to do it.  I wanted that accomplishment.  I didn't want to let myself down.

It was harder mentally than physically, though make no mistake I was breathing very hard at the end there.  With 8 minutes left I was ready to give up.  But I'd already run 12 minutes so there was no way I was going to let myself stop.  I ended up speeding up.  I changed my speed a little every minute.  Sometimes I'd go at 5.0 mph, sometimes 4.7 sometimes 4.3,  I just wasn't going to give up.

I didn't give up.

At the end of the run the app coach came on and said something to the effect of "you just ran for 20 straight minutes.  You are a runner now." I wanted to cheer out loud and would have except, you know, the breathing.

Tonight I'm a little sore but I'm very happy to have dug deep and found the strength to hang on until the finish.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reflections on a year soda free

At some point in July I reached my one year anniversary of giving up soda.  I truly cannot believe it.  My addiction to soda runs strong and deep.  I turned to Coke for everything.  Energy, comfort, pain relief, in times of celebration, in times of sadness Coke and his friends Diet Dr. Pepper and Diet Pepsi were there for me.
It all changed the day I read an article on the Huffington Post about just how bad those sodas are for your body.  I wish I could find the article but my recent searches proved fruitless.  The gist of the article was that 40% lab animals ingesting the equivalent of one or two sodas a day developed tumors.   Whatever it said was exactly what I needed to see.  I quit right then, cold turkey.
Fortunately I had zero physical withdrawal symptoms.  Mentally it was much harder.  Ice cold Coke is still the most delicious beverage on the planet.  I had to learn to order plain old water everywhere we went.  Saves on the bill but, meh, it's water.  I had to learn to tough out bad days and stomach aches without my fizzy friend.  Even looking at the picture I posted at the top of my blog makes me long for a cold drink.
But I did it.
For "fizz" I drink about one glass of seltzer water a day but I'm off the soda completely.  Unfortunately I can't have just one every couple of months.  If I have one I want one the next day and the next.  I accept that about myself and I don't want to go back to drinking soda so I just stay away.
I don't care if the people around me drink Coke.  Heck, I kept Coke in the house for Megan all the time and wasn't even tempted to touch it.  It's not a "judgement" thing like, oh gross, she drinks soda.  Not at all.  I just can't handle it.
Giving up soda was the hardest thing I've ever done.  I measured my success and resolve in days and weeks and now, having made it an entire year, I'm glad that I've done it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Yikes!  August 8th??  Less than a month until the boys are in school.  This summer has just flown by and for the first time in a really really really long time I am loving summer.  I don't mind the hot weather because we're at the pool.  I don't mind the boy driving me nuts because our days are busy and we're having a lot of fun playing together.  I will be so sad to send the boys to preschool (though yes I will absolutely love having 8 hours a week to myself).
Anyway, these menu plans sure seem to come up quickly don't they?  They are so helpful for me though and totally worth the time it takes to do them.
So the Ramen Noodle Salad from last week?  It was a HUGE hit with the husband.  HUGE.  It will be back on the menu again this week for sure!

Monday:Grilled Chicken Alfredo, salad
Tuesday: Grilled steak and veggies over rice
Wednesday:  Spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, green beans
Thursday: Grilled chicken and Ramen Salad
Friday:  Sandwiches and chips
Saturday:  Curry shrimp
Sunday: burgers and fries

Have a great week!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Report: Island of Lost Girls

I'm bored with TV and playing on the internet so I've been doing a lot of reading.  Here it is, August 5th and I'm turning in my 1st book report for the month.  My wonderful friend Megan sent me Island of Lost Girls promising a quick yet creepy read.

And she was (mostly) right.  It was a very quick read though I have to say I wasn't super creeped out by it.  A general story about an abduction that happens in broad daylight with several side-plots happening both in the past and with another child abduction that takes place several states away, Island of Lost Girls has a decent mystery element to it.  Author Jennifer McMahon seems to go a touch formulaic with the "it's too obvious" bad guy who may or may not really be a bad guy.  A few of the plot "twists" were also  very see-through and written quite shallowly.
And, without giving too much away, this story takes place in an incredibly screwed up little town.  I suspect the Visitors Bureau of Vermont will not include this on a tourism list anytime soon.
The book did manage to hold my interest despite the bizarre, constant Alice in Wonderland imagery.  Worth a quick read, perfect for something to do while waiting for your kids to be done with swim class.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I can't believe it's August 1st!  Where has the summer gone?  This has been the best summer ever and I'm so sad to watch it slip away.  We have another really fun week planned.  Here is what we'll eat for dinner:

Monday:  Pasta alfredo with shrimp and scallops, salad
Tuesday: Ramen noodle salad with grilled chicken
Wednesday: Quesadillas (vegetarian)
Thursday: baked chicken, mashed potatoes, salad
Friday: Steak, grilled veggies, rice
Saturday: curried chicken (leftover chicken and veggies go in to make this an easy weekend dinner)
Sunday:  surprise surprised burgers and fries

What are you eating this week?  Post it here or link here to your blog!