Conspiracy Theory

I have a theory.  A conspiracy theory.

I am starting to believe that there are unseen forces at work to keep me from exercising.  Sprites…gnomes…gremlins…I’m not 100% sure what form they’ve taken, but they are definitely out to get me.  First it was shin splints.  Then a weak hip.  Then a broken toe.  Most recently?  A stupid cough.

It’s always something, right?

Six weeks ago, I got an upper respiratory infection of some kind (viral), and the cough lingered forever.  I had to take four weeks off from exercise, since any small movement – getting up, sitting down, breathing in general – sent me into a coughing fit.  I finally got back to my aerobics two weeks ago, and even though I could only give about 90% effort at first, it felt good to be active again.

We’ll see how long it lasts before the next sprite-ly attack occurs.

My family fell prey to the potpourri of winter ailments, too.  Double ear infections, strep throat, fever…the usual January/February stuff.  But I think we are all on the mend.

We’ve had a few warm days recently, and even though I LOVE winter, I have to admit the warmer temps are nice.  With the pending time change next month, I hope I will be able to get back outside for walking/jogging/running.  I love being outdoors!  Exercising to an aerobics video in my bedroom is good, but getting fresh air and walking past my beloved cow-spectator-friends in our neighbor’s fields is way more fun!  Tonight, I compromised.  Aerobics in my bedroom with our balcony door open.  :)

open door

Such a pretty day!

Despite not being able to exercise for most of January, I did lose about five pounds – yay!  Mostly just because I was no longer stuffing my face at holiday parties.  No weight lost in February, sadly.  But it’s good to be back on a “normal” (read – “busy”) routine with Spring just around the corner.  Our Spring Break starts in 18 days.  Can’t…get here…soon enough….

I mentioned in a previous post that my 20-year high school reunion is this summer, and the committee recently announced that it will be in July.  What a motivator to get back in shape!  I’m not under any delusions that I can ever reclaim my high school size, but I would like to look somewhat healthy when I reconnect with my old chums.  I can’t wait to see how everyone has changed!

Well, that’s about all the news I have for now.  I hope you are sticking to any New Year’s goals you set for yourself.  I recently heard on the radio that the first week of February is when most people give up their New Year’s resolutions.  Here is a link to some fun facts about how people did with their resolutions in 2015:  http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

Whatever goal you’re working toward, don’t give up!  :)

The countdown is over?!?

Wow.  The past eleven months have flown by.  I started this blog last July with a goal of losing 40 lbs by my 15th wedding anniversary…which was Thursday!  Not only have I not reached my goal, I’m not even halfway to my goal!  Haha!  Guess it’s time for a little reflection….

So I lost 15 lbs last summer and fall, and somehow managed to keep it off through the holidays and winter months.  I had really hoped to be halfway to my goal (down 20 lbs) by the end of 2013, but I didn’t make it.  A faulty hip and several other obstacles kept me from exercising as much as I would have liked, not to mention the hectic holiday season.  I had high hopes for spring, but it is such a busy season for my family, and it seemed that I would never get back into the swing of things.  Now that school is out for summer (hallelujah!), I have finally gotten back into a (mostly) consistent exercise routine.

Some of you may have noticed that I have a countdown running on the side of my blog that was counting down to me and my husband’s 15th anniversary: June 26th.  As you may recall from The Dream, I wanted to lose those 40 lbs before we reached this milestone.  Well, today is June 28th, and I have not reached that goal.  But all is not lost…I’m giving myself a deadline extension!

That’s the beauty of setting your own goals, right?!?  I can adapt and rework them as needed.  So my new goal is to finish losing the weight by November 15th.  What’s so special about November 15th, you ask?  My husband and I are still saving and planning for a big, getaway trip to celebrate our anniversary.  Because he is a farmer and busy with the harvest during the summer, we knew we’d have to take a trip sometime this fall or winter.  Because my husband is also in politics, he will also be busy from now until the November election.  So we’re thinking we might try to sneak away after the dust from Election Day settles, but before he takes office in January.  (Spoiler alert:  He’s unopposed in his race, so unless something bizarre happens, he wins!)

So an extension to November gives me almost five additional months to meet my goal.  And if I haven’t lost those 40 stinkin’ pounds by then, I’m sure I’ll give myself another extension.  ;)  I’ve heard that it is good to lose weight slowly…but I didn’t mean to lose it this slowly!

The summer is off to a great start, though.  After taking off a week and a half from running to get rid of that cough, I started back VERY slowly to build up my endurance.  I probably shouldn’t say this out loud, but…so far, so good.  No shin splints, no hip problems, no cough.  Maybe, just maybe, I am starting to get the hang of this running thing.  I hope so, because I really enjoy it.

I know not very many people read this blog (which is fine, it’s really more for myself than anything), but for those of you reading this, please continue to pray for me.  And keep those comments coming…I love hearing from you!  :)

I’ll leave you with some more pictures from my morning walking/running path and the obvious joke that goes along with them.  Here’s to a good summer!

chicken1

Q:  Why did the chicken cross the road?

A:  To get away from the crazy runner who was slightly scared of them and the strange noises they were making!

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chicken3

And of course, my cows are still cheering for me.  And they are happy about my extension to finish my goal.  Can’t you see it on their faces?!?

cows

Printemps!

C’est le printemps!  It’s spring!  The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and we can enjoy the outdoors again!

Goodness, I hate that I only posted one time for the entire month of March, but spring is always a super busy time for me.  (Well, what season isn’t, really?)  After Upward basketball we rolled straight into spring soccer, which I vowed I would never do again.  Spring soccer is so cold and so rainy.  We’ve already had two games cancelled.

Because of all the snow days we had – ice days, really – our boys had two days of Saturday school.  They also had to give up two days of their Spring Break, but after that we managed to sneak them away to Branson for a few days.  It was cold, but we had a great time visiting some classic Branson haunts like Silver Dollar City.  Our oldest son tried his first adult roller coaster and loved it!

One thing I always love about Branson is the outlet mall.  We did hit a few stores, but this year I didn’t shop nearly as much as I would have liked.  I am hoping that I will continue to lose weight, and therefore need to go on a shopping spree for smaller sizes than are currently in my closet.  I have lost enough weight that some of my pants are swallowing me, so I’ve bought a couple of new pairs of pants to get me through my work week.  But I’d love if I needed a whole new wardrobe this fall and next spring!

Besides being busy, I also didn’t post much during March because there wasn’t much to report.  I didn’t lose a single pound, but I also didn’t gain anything, so I guess that’s good.  April is already off to a great start!  I have started taking my running shoes/clothes with me to my son’s soccer practice so I can walk and jog during that time.  My hip seems to be doing better these days, so I’m back to my aerobics at home, too.

Sorry this post isn’t very exciting…I was determined to post something tonight, even if it is dull!  Hopefully my next post will be juicier.  I’ll leave you with a few spring-inspired pictures from my mom’s flower beds, our fruit farm, and our trip to Branson.  Hope you have an opportunity to get outside this week!

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butterflies

 

Ode to a Cadbury Creme Egg

“Oh, messenger of spring,

how you lift my soul when I see you in the store.

Your shiny foil wrapper brings a tear to my eye,

and I realize that everything is right in the world.

Your milk chocolate shell…so scrumptious.

Your soft fondant center…so decadent.

Your richness is worth more than all the gold in the land.

Though each moment with you is precious,

it’s for the best that our time together is brief.

When Easter has passed, we must go our separate ways,

for I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I…keep going.

Oh, and I love you with milk.”

creme eggs

Okay, you get the point.  I love Cadbury Creme Eggs.  And yes, I bought a five-pack of them at the store last weekend.  I couldn’t find them last year!  By the time I gave in to the urge to buy one, all I could find were the mini-eggs, which are totally different and completely inferior.  So even though Easter is still two months away, these babies are hot-off-the-shelf so I don’t miss out this year.

In other news, I am still struggling to get back to a regular exercise routine.  Things have been super-busy lately (nothing new there), and I’ve only managed to squeeze in a few sporadic workouts.  The good news is that I have been able to exercise without any serious flare-ups with my hip.  It’s still sore sometimes, but it’s not popping out of place anymore.  For the time being….

I was really looking forward to a fun night of cooking with husband for Valentine’s Day, but our oldest son came down with the flu.  :(  Thankfully we caught it very early, and he recovered nicely.  So our cooking plans have been rescheduled for this weekend.  Stay tuned for details!

One thing that has made me determined to get back on track ASAP is the warmer temperatures we’ve had this week.  It’ll be time for flip-flops and shorts before we know it, and I am hoping to buy some new spring clothes!  My winter clothes have gotten pretty loose, but I’m trying not to buy too many new clothes because I am only about halfway to my weight-loss goals.  I think it will be kinda fun – and kinda sad, because I get attached to my faves – to pull out my spring and summer clothes and find that they are too big for me.  Warmer weather has also got me thinking about that tropical vacation my husband and I would like to take for our 15th anniversary.  I still don’t know if the stars will align for it to happen, but I can almost hear the ocean calling and feel the warm sand between my toes!

As we dream of palm trees and warm breezes, I pray that we all stay safe and warm during this last month of winter.  I love winter, but I think I’m about ready for spring!  And Easter candy.

Iced In = Blog Time

Greetings, friends!  Once again, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  (I warned you it might be sporadic during the holiday season!)  But today is our second day of being “iced” in our house, so I’ve got a little extra time on my hands to bring you up to speed on my progress…or lack thereof.

Thanksgiving got the best of me…I gained two pounds in the last two weeks!  Oops.  I had three Thanksgiving meals: one at work, one at church, and then of course, Thanksgiving Day.  Also, we traveled to San Antonio for Thanksgiving to spend the weekend with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.  Between Thanksgiving leftovers and having an Einstein Bagel Bros. right around the corner (my favorite!), I left myself splurge the whole time I was there.  I’ve already lost one of those two pounds, so I hope to be back on track soon.

You know how everyone makes the big New Years Resolution to lose weight?  (I have done this several times to no avail.)  I’m resolving right now to be on good behavior for the month of December.  It’s such a fun time of year, but oh, the temptations that come with it!  My husband and I have several Christmas parties that we’ll be attending, and I know there will be tempting treats and sweets at each one.  Today, I recommit my efforts to working out more and exhibiting more self-control at social events.

I have found that the best way for me to stick to my goals is to revisit The Dream.  Thinking about my wedding dress in its box – which I will open sometime after the first of the year – reminds me how badly I want to wear it again.  Looking online at Caribbean resorts I’d like to visit helps me visualize myself and my husband on the beach for our 15th wedding anniversary.

My goal is to lose 40 pounds, and I was hoping to be at the halfway point by the end of the year.  I’ve lost about 15 pounds so far…and I can live with that.  I don’t think I can lose 5 more pounds in the next three weeks with Christmas gatherings upon us.  (Okay, maybe I can, but I don’t plan to!)  So I’ll settle for not gaining anything this month.  And if my resolution sticks, maybe even lose a pound or two.  But I’m not holding my breath… ;)

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the ice storm we survived.  I am so grateful our electricity is still intact.  I hope everyone stays safe and warm this winter.  Love and peace to you!

ice1

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ice4

Chocolate, Chocolate Everywhere!

Chocolate.  Mmmm.  One of my favorite sweets.  It seems chocolate has been popping up in my life quite a bit here lately….

First there was Halloween.  We took our boys trick-or-treating in the same neighborhood we visit every year.  And each year we seem to get a pretty balanced mix of candy – 1/3 fruity chewies, such as Starburst and Skittles; 1/3 hard candies, such as lollipops and jaw-breakers; and 1/3 chocolate goodies, such as Snickers and Milky Way.  This year we somehow ended up with about 90% chocolate goodies!  I let myself nibble on quite a bit of it, but there’s still tons of chocolate goodness left in the boys’ buckets.  I plan on taking it to work and putting it in our candy bowl for students so I won’t have it in the house anymore.

Next there was the onset of cool, crisp fall weather.  Each fall when cooler temps arrive, it stirs up a craving for three things: 1) flannel pajamas, 2) snuggly blankets, and 3) hot chocolate.  I discovered that Swiss Miss makes “diet” hot chocolate that tastes really good.  Only 25 calories and 2g of sugar, so it’s not a costly treat.  (My only complaint is that it doesn’t dissolve quite as nicely as regular hot chocolate.)  I’ve been making a cup nearly every morning at work.  Random Fact: Hot chocolate is the ONLY form of chocolate that my husband likes.  Go figure.

swiss miss

Finally, the women’s ministry group at my church sponsored a fabulous retreat called Café Chocolat.  That’s right – a whole retreat and Bible study based on chocolate!  We spent the night at Camp Paron where we participated in Bible study, sang worship songs, sewed a cozy fleece wrap, and ate TONS of chocolate.  I never dreamed it was possible to have too much chocolate, but I think I got very close!  The bible study was a comparison of chocolate to God’s extravagant love and extravagant grace.  It was definitely a “sweet” time of fellowship!

cafe chocolat

As much as I love chocolate, I think I’ve about reached my quota for November…and we haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet!  Guess I’ll just have to focus on pumpkin cheesecake and sweet potato casserole instead.  I’m very much looking forward to Turkey Day, knowing that I will be saving all my splurge calories that week for the biggest meal of the year.  Here’s to turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce!  Bring. It. On.

Candy Corn is Beckoning

Reese’s and Snickers and Twix!  Oh my!  Halloween candy is here!

Halloween candy

I went grocery shopping tonight, and I had to fight with every muscle in my body not to grab a bag of Candy Corn, my all-time favorite Halloween candy.  One thing I love about this time of year is the seasonal baking display that our Wal-Mart sets up every year.  It is stocked with cookie, cake, and pie-making goodness.  I did give in and grab a mix for pumpkin muffins…yum!  But I can use self-control eating muffins.  Not so much with Candy Corn.

One reason I’m glad I started my weight loss plan this summer is that I wanted to see some significant weight loss before the holidays.  I have lost 12 pounds so far – woot! woot! – and I do not want to see all that hard work undone during the holidays.  Thinking about those 12 pounds got me safely through the candy aisle today.  Phew!  And that is really amazing since I saw a big bag of the new White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M’s.

I am so excited that tomorrow is the first day of fall!  I am beyond ready for changing leaves, jackets, scarves, apple cider, pumpkins, mums, and all the cozy things that accompany the season.  Happy Fall, everyone!