Remembering Oklahoma City

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Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.  In 1995 I was a 10 going on 11 year old fifth grader and although I remember the events of that day, I don’t think my child self truly grasped the tragedy that had just taken place.  Obviously not since I barely acknowledged the mentions of the anniversary on the news or on the radio this morning on my way to work, very unlike the the anniversary of 9/11.  But then as I was scrolling through Facebook I noticed one of my Facebook friends had reacted to a post shared by an acquaintance.  Someone I know of and have met once or twice but didn’t really know and who wasn’t one of my Facebook friends.  It was about her 3 year old niece who was at the U.S. Army Recruiting office with her parents when the bomb exploded and ultimately perished in that bombing.  Her mother and father both survived and I can only imagine the pain they endured.  As a mother and an older version of that 10 year old girl who is now a woman, the full emotion of that day struck home.  I scrolled through the faces of those who perished that day reading their stories, empathizing with their loved ones and crying at the loss of all of those innocent lives.

I read about Miss Baylee Almon who was photographed in the arms of the firefighter, the photograph that captured the true horror of that day.  But what I didn’t know, is the image that drew the attention of the world was actually taken by two different people, one who was praised and another who was condemned, as well as the struggles her mother and that firefighter underwent and the bond they will forever share. – USA Today April 18, 2015.

I read about the grandparents and their beautiful granddaughter who were at the Social Security office checking on his retirement.  The couple who were recently evicted and who were trying to apply for assistance, the couple who left behind six children.  The young bride who had  just returned from a 4 month deployment, who was just married and who was there to get a new social security card depicting her new married name and I know all too well the giddiness she must have felt about making her new married name official.  There were so many stories and so many tears as I read through them, especially the babies!!  People who were going to work on a day like any other day.  People who thought they were running a simple, maybe even tedious errand.  People going about their daily lives with no clue what was about to happen.

But there was one that really stuck out to me.  It was Robbin Ann Huff and baby.  There was no information about who she was.  There was no memorial from a loved one and it’s been eating at me all day.  So I googled her and found out that she was an employee at the Federal Employees Credit Union on the 3rd Floor, was married and was expecting her first child.  I was very relieved to find that she wasn’t forgotten as I had feared and there was some information out there about who she was.

Through my obsession, anger and sadness, I did run across some beautiful tributes to those who lost their lives that day.  My favorite was a session done by Oldenburg Photography.

And from now on I will NEVER forget! #OKC

NINTH FLOOR
Drug Enforcement Administration
Shelly D. Bland, 25, of Tuttle
Carrol June “Chip” Fields, 48, Guthrie
Rona Linn Kuehner-Chafey, 35, Oklahoma City
Carrie Ann Lenz, 26, Chotaw
Kenneth Glenn McCullough, 36, Edmond
U.S. Secret Service
Cynthia L. Brown, 26, Oklahoma City
Donald Ray Leonard, 50, Edmond
Mickey B. Maroney, 50, Oklahoma City
Linda G. McKinney, 47, Oklahoma City
Kathy Lynn Seidl, 39, Bethel
Alan G. Whicher, 40, Edmond
EIGHTH FLOOR
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Ted L. Allen, 48, Norman
Peter R. Avillanoza, 56, Oklahoma City
David Neil Burkett, 47, Oklahoma City
Donald Earl Burns, Sr., 63, Oklahoma City
Kimberly Kay Clark, 39, Oklahoma City
Susan Jane Ferrell, 37, Oklahoma City
Dr. George Michael Howard, 45, Vallejo, Calif.
Antonio “Tony” C. Reyes, 55, Edmond
Lanny Lee David Scroggins, 46, Yukon
Leora Lee Sells, 57, Oklahoma City
Jules A. Valdez, 51, Edmond
David Jack Walker, 54, Edmond
Michael D. Weaver, 54, Edmond
Frances “Fran” Ann Williams, 48, Oklahoma City
Clarence Eugene Wilson, Sr. 49, Oklahoma
SEVENTH FLOOR
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Diane E. (Hollingsworth) Althouse, 45, Edmond
Andrea Yvette Blanton, 33, Oklahoma City
Kim R. Cousins, 33, Midwest City
Diana Lynne Day, 38, Oklahoma City
Castine Brooks Hearn Deveroux, 49, Oklahoma City
Judy J. (Froh) Fisher, 45, Oklahoma City
Linda Louise Florence, 43, Oklahoma City
J. Colleen Guiles, 59, Oklahoma City
Thompson Eugene “Gene” Hodges, Jr., 54, Norman
Ann Kreymborg, 57, Oklahoma City
Teresa Lea Taylor Lauderdale, 41, Shawnee
Mary Leasure-Rentie, 39, Bethany
James A. McCarthy II, 53, Edmond
Betsy J. (Beebe) McGonnell, 47, Norman
Patricia Ann Nix, 47, Edmond
Terry Smith Rees, 41, Midwest City
John Thomas Stewart, 51, Oklahoma City
John Karl Van Ess III, 67, Chickasha
Jo Ann Whittenberg, 35, Oklahoma City
SIXTH FLOOR
U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting
Sgt. Benjamin LaRanzo Davis, USMC, 29, Edmond
Capt. Randolph A. Guzman, USMC, 28, Castro Valley, Calif.
FIFTH FLOOR
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Olen Burl Bloomer, 61, Moore
James E. Boles, 50, Oklahoma City
Dr. Margaret L. “Peggy” Clark, 42, Chickasha
Richard “Dick” Cummins, 55, Mustang
Doris “Adele” Higginbottom, 44, Oklahoma City
Carole Sue Khalil, 50, Oklahoma City
Rheta Bender Long, 60, Oklahoma City
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Paul Gregory Beatty Broxterman, 42, Edmond
U.S. Customs Office
Paul D. Ice, 42, Midwest City
Claude Authur Medearis, S.S.A., 41, Norman
FOURTH FLOOR
U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway
Lucio Aleman, Jr., 33, Oklahoma City
Mark Allen Bolte, 28, Oklahoma City
Michael Carrillo, 44, Oklahoma City
Larry James Jones, 46. Yukon
James K. Martin, 34, Oklahoma City
Ronota Ann Newberry-Woodbridge, 31, Edmond
Jerry Lee Parker, 45, Norman
Michelle A. Reeder, 33, Oklahoma City
Rick L. Tomlin, 46, Piedmont
Johnny Allen Wade, 42, Edmond
John A. Youngblood, 52, Yukon
U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion
Sgt. 1st Class Lola Bolden, U.S. Army, 40, Birmingham, Ala.
Karen Gist Carr, 32, Midwest City
Peggy Louise Holland, 37, Oklahoma City
John C. Moss III., 50, Oklahoma City
Victoria (Vickey) L. Sohn, 36, Moore
Dolores (Dee) Stratton, 51, Moore
Kayla Marie Titsworth, 3.50, Lawton
Wanda Lee Watkins, 49, Oklahoma City
THIRD FLOOR
Defense Security Service
Harley Richard Cottingham, 46, Oklahoma City
Peter L. DeMaster, 44, Oklahoma City
Norma “Jean” Johnson, 62, Oklahoma City
Larry L. Turner, 42, Oklahoma City
Robert G. Westberry, 57, Oklahoma City
Federal Employees Credit Union
Woodrow Clifford “Woody” Brady, 41, Oklahoma City
Kimberly Ruth Burgess, 29, Oklahoma City
Kathy A. Finley, 44, Yukon
Jamie (Fialkowski) Genzer, 32, Wellston
Sheila R. Gigger-Driver, 28, Oklahoma City
Linda Coleen Housley, 53, Oklahoma City
Robbin Ann Huff, 37, Bethany
Christi Yolanda Jenkins, 32, Edmond
Alvin J. Justes, 54, Oklahoma City
Valerie Jo Koelsch, 33, Oklahoma City
Kathy Cagle Leinen, 47, Oklahoma City
Claudette (Duke) Meek, 43, Oklahoma City
Frankie Ann Merrell, 23, Oklahoma City
Jill Diane Randolph, 27, Oklahoma City
Claudine Ritter, 48, Oklahoma City
Christy Rosas, 22, Moore
Sonja Lynn Sanders, 27, Moore
Karan Howell Shepherd, 27, Moore
Victoria Jeanette Texter, 37, Oklahoma City
Virginia M. Thompson, 56, El Reno
Tresia Jo “Mathes” Worton, 28, Oklahoma City
SECOND FLOOR
America’s Kids Child Development Center
Baylee Almon, 1, Oklahoma City
Danielle Nicole Bell, 15 months, Oklahoma City
Zachary Taylor Chavez, 3, Oklahoma City
Dana LeAnne Cooper, 24, Moore
Anthony Christopher Cooper II, 2, Moore
Antonio Ansara Cooper Jr., 6 months, Midwest City
Aaron M. Coverdale, 5.50, Oklahoma City
Elijah S. Coverdale, 2.50, Oklahoma City
Jaci Rae Coyne, 14 months, Moore
Brenda Faye Daniels, 42, Oklahoma City
Taylor Santoi Eaves, 8 months, Midwest City
Tevin D’Aundrae Garrett, 16 months, Midwest City
Kevin “Lee” Gottshall II, 6 months, Norman
Wanda Lee Howell, 34, Spencer
Blake Ryan Kennedy, 1.50, Amber
Dominique Ravae (Johnson)-London, 2, Oklahoma City
Chase Dalton Smith, 3, Oklahoma City
Colton Wade Smith, 2, Oklahoma City
VISITOR
Scott D. Williams, 24, Tuttle
FIRST FLOOR
Social Security Administration
Teresa Antionette Alexander, 33, Oklahoma City
Richard A. Allen, 46, Oklahoma City
Pamela Cleveland Argo, 36, Oklahoma City
Saundra G. (Sandy) Avery, 34, Midwest City
Calvin Battle, 62, Oklahoma City
Peola Battle, 56, Oklahoma City
Oleta C. Biddy, 54, Tuttle
Casandra Kay Booker, 25, Oklahoma City
Carol Louise Bowers, 53, Yukon
Peachlyn Bradley, 3, Oklahoma City
Gabreon D.L. Bruce, 3 months, Oklahoma City
Katherine Louise Cregan, 60, Oklahoma City
Ashley Megan Eckles, 4, Guthrie
Don Fritzler, 64, Oklahoma City
Mary Anne Fritzler, 57, Oklahoma City
Laura Jane Garrison, 61, Oklahoma City
Margaret Betterton Goodson, 54, Oklahoma City
Ethel L. Griffin, 55, Edmond
Cheryl E. Hammon, 44, Oklahoma City
Ronald Vernon Harding, Sr., 55, Oklahoma City
Thomas Lynn Hawthorne, Sr., 52, Choctaw
Dr. Charles E. Hurlburt, 73, Oklahoma City
Jean Nutting Hurlburt, 67, Oklahoma City
Raymond “Lee” Johnson, 59, Oklahoma City
LaKesha Richardson Levy, 21, Midwest City
Aurelia Donna Luster, 43, Guthrie
Robert Lee Luster, Jr., 45, Guthrie
Rev. Gilbert X. Martinez, 35, Oklahoma City
Cartney J. McRaven, 19, Midwest City
Derwin W. Miller, 27, Oklahoma City
Eula Leigh Mitchell, 64, Oklahoma City
Emilio Tapia, 50, Oklahoma City
Charlotte Andrea Lewis Thomas, 43, Oklahoma City
Michael George Thompson, 47, Yukon
LaRue A. Treanor, 55, Guthrie
Luther H. Treanor, 61, Guthrie
Robert N. Walker, Jr., 52, Oklahoma City
Julie Marie Welch, 23, Oklahoma City
W. Stephen Williams, 42, Cashion
Sharon Louise Wood-Chesnut, 47, Oklahoma City
General Services Administration
Steven Douglas Curry, 44, Norman
Michael L. Loudenslager, 48, Harrah
THOSE KILLED IN SURROUNDING AREA
Rescue Worker
Rebecca Needham Anderson, 37, Midwest City
Athenian Building (Job Corps)
Anita Christine Hightower, 27, Oklahoma City
Kathryn Elizabeth Ridley, 24, Oklahoma City
Oklahoma Water Resources Board Building
Robert N. Chipman, 51, Edmond
Trudy Jean Rigney, 31, Midwest City

An Ordinary Mom

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I’m going to take a moment to write about the craziness that my life has become.  It’s a Monday and as I do every Monday, I wake up at 5 am (although lately it’s been closer to 5:30 because the evil that is daylight savings time has my normally perky morning loving self in deep hibernation), drink a cup of coffee and get my baby girl her milk and cartoons.  I shower and by then my son is rolling out of bed.  I pour myself another cup of coffee that will end up sitting there and getting cold as the morning race begins.  I run a bath for baby girl, luckily it’s not a school day for my son so he gets to get his fill of cartoons while his sister takes her bath.  She loves bath time but we are in a hurry because we need to leave in an hour because somehow it’s already 6:15.  I sweet talk her into getting out, but Lord help me if I actually try to assist her, and this is on her good days.  I dry her off and wrap her towel around her and carry her to the couch where her B (beloved blankie) awaits and start getting myself dressed for the day.  I then work on dressing the two kiddos, my son who “can’t” dress himself even though he is more than capable and my daughter who insists on dressing herself even if she can’t quite do it yet.  I do a few things before heading out the door, taking one last glance at myself in the mirror to make sure I look presentable and wonder how the hell some women manage to look so put together everyday.  I’m lucky my clothes match and on a rare occasion I can even manage a little makeup, but most days I know I look just as much of a hot mess as I feel.  I get the kids dropped off at daycare and head to work for the day.

After work I get to head straight home because my husband picked the kids up from daycare, and start the process of making supper and doing dishes.  If I managed enough foresight in the morning, I laid something out and have a half assed idea what I’m going to make.  All the while I think about all those saved or pinned recipes that I just never seem to get around to making as I’m resorting to the good old faithful meals that I don’t have to put much thought into.  I think about how much I enjoy cooking but man the planning, the prep (especially if you have to clean the kitchen before you begin cooking), and the clean up really doesn’t seem worth it most days.  I vow to plan ahead and be more organized, and sometimes I can, but more often I’m just not.  I go through the usual banter with the kids – some days I feel like I’m killing this motherhood gig as we talk about our day, laugh, play, and help each other pickup.  We write down our favorite things about the day and put it in the jar (maybe the one pinterest idea I did do). And then there are days the kids are fighting and whiny, I’m not as patient as I’d like to be and the sound of them calling my name for the umpteenth time and demanding I get them this or get them that really grates my nerves.  Sometimes I yell and scream because being calm and patient and talking to them about manners and being respectful just isn’t working and I’m at my wits end. I find myself wishing away the hours and the day.

“I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.”
Tina Fey

And then I get the before bedtime snuggles and kisses and my heart melts all over again.  We say goodnight, telling each other sweet dreams – don’t let the bed bugs bite.  Most nights I’m so exhausted I go to bed at the same time as the kids, again wondering how some women seem to manage to stay up for “me” time or to clean the house or to write, or to just do whatever they do.  And then I wake up and do it all over again the next day like the washing machine that is my life -wash, rinse, dry and repeat  – and some days I feel like that spin cycle will never end.

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I read blogs and posts about how wonderful motherhood is, and it truly is, but it is also exhausting, like literally life and soul sucking kind of exhausting.  I never feel like I quite live up to the expectations set for mothers this day in age and some days I could careless because I’m doing the best I can and my children are very loved and know they are loved, but other days I can’t help but let those “standards” add more pressure to the most important role I will ever have in my life even though I know I shouldn’t.  I scroll through Facebook and see the crafty moms who can really make all those pinterest projects come to life, those organized moms whose homes are beautiful and whose kids have wonderfully packed lunches each day, those activity moms who are running from activity to activity and volunteering for everything they can, and then I see those ordinary moms – those moms like myself who love their kids more than life itself but struggle to find time to accomplish anything more than the basics.  My heart goes out to those moms because I’m right there with you.  And no matter how messy our house is, how much laundry is piled up or how many dishes sit on the counter or toys on the floor; no matter what parenting style we fall into we are all too aware that these moments are fleeting.  Our kids will grow up and hopefully have kids of their own to stress over.

 

We all hope that we’ve instilled good morals in our children and regardless of how much or how little we have to offer, at the end of the day we can only hope they know the love that we have for them.  We are in this together Moms and we have to remember that those “perfect’ moms we put up on that pedestal are really just ordinary moms with ordinary lives and ordinary problems.  None of us are experts and none of us have all of the answers even if we pretend we do.  Even if we don’t have a lot in common, we share a common goal – to love our kids and raise our kids to be good people and we share the same fears of failure.  That alone should be enough to stop the mommy wars and the judgey judgersons, but we all know it won’t.  We will continue to scroll through the comments at the end of every single parent/child story we read and see people bashing each other for the choices they make concerning their children.  And occasionally I find myself being judgey too and I feel a pang of guilt for judging someone else and vow to do better and be more supportive.

“I have never met a woman, or man, who stated emphatically, “Yes, I have it all.’” Because no matter what any of us has—and how grateful we are for what we have—no one has it all.”
Sheryl Sandberg,

We are all flawed and we all make mistakes and we all need to give each other a break because parenting is tough enough as it is.  But we also need to learn to give ourselves a break above all because motherhood is truly wonderful and those moments, when we are the most exhausted, are just that – moments – they too will pass.  Our children will turn out ok in the end as long as they are loved and taught how to make good choices and be good people.  And that is all we can hope for.  So as the spin cycle of this day finally comes to an end, I will take a deep breath, cuddle my kiddos and enjoy the moment.

“Mistakes are a fact of life: It is the response to the error that counts.”
Nikki Giovanni

Did you fail today?

How many times do you feel like you failed today?  But how many times did you fail?  Oh lets see, I think I could have been a little more patient today with many people.  I think I could have accomplished more at work.  I think I could have smiled more.  I think I could have said Hi to more people.  I feel like I said the wrong thing – a lot!

But, here’s where maybe I didn’t fail too much after all!!  I took a walk on a trail I walk everyday (or when it’s nice at least) and I took in the sun, the birds, the regulars I met on the trail.  I was out there to “exercise” my body but it ended up being an exercise of my soul.  I could smell the cedar and pine trees in the park, hear the chirp of the birds and read the sign posted on the back of a bench,  in whose memory I can not recall at this time but promise to check on, which read as follows-

Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I hear a chainsaw as  I walk through the park, one of my favorite sounds along with the aroma of freshly cut wood, and think about writing about this day – this experience particularly.

I came home and worked on Spring clean-up consisting mostly of raking.  Another great workout which helped me meet my 10,000+ steps by the way!!

But as I raked I couldn’t help but think about how lucky I am to get to come home and be able to work on my own piece of property.  I get to work while some of the people closest to me, who grew up working hard for everything they have, are too sore or too tired to work as hard as they used to.

I see the pain of their own thoughts of failure flood their face, regardless of how much they are admired.  So as silly as it may seem, I revel in the work that is making my back sore and my arms feel like jelly – because I know my friends truly miss this.

And maybe recognizing that made me rejoice and be glad in this day, which is never a failure in my book!  It also made me realize that maybe the “perceived” failure that we see in ourselves, really isn’t as much of a failure as we tell ourselves.

Resisting Change

I want to start off by saying that I hate change!!  I am a Taurus and we are stubborn bulls that are very set in our ways and resist change at all costs. But change is inevitable – some changes are really good and some changes not so much. So for someone who hates change, how does one go about embracing it rather than resisting it?!?  Well I guess that’s a question I’m still trying to answer as I am going through so many internal changes at this moment in time.  I struggle daily to not only resist those changes, but also not to self sabotage the progress I do make to bring those changes to light.

“How many of us stop short of success on purpose? How many of us sabotage our own happiness because failure, while miserable, is a fear we’re familiar with? Success, however, dreams come true, are a whole new kind of terrifying, an entire new species of responsibilities and disillusions, requiring a new way to think, act and become. Why do we REALLY quit? Because it’s hopeless? Or because it’s possible…”
Jennifer DeLucy

You see there are certain aspects, mainly relationships, in my life that are no longer crossroads-421918_1920 (1)satisfying and create a lot of inner turmoil for me. You would think it would be easy to cut those relationships out of your life if they are creating you so much discomfort.  There are more cons than pros, but yet I just can’t seem to pull that trigger and move on.  I find myself praying to God to show me a sign, I search through horoscopes like they are some crystal ball that will give me the answer I need, and when I do not see an obvious sign or the magical answer I’m looking for I convince myself that I’m right where I’m supposed to be in my journey.  But if that’s the case why do I feel so unsettled, so unhappy, and even guilty for not following my heart!!  Why can’t I just summon the courage I need to let go of the toxic in my life?  Why is it so hard?

For me, I think fear of the unknown and fear of regret is what holds me back, yet the unknown is also what excites me the most and feelings of regret if I don’t follow my heart are creating a kind of tug of war within me that is making me feel like making any decision is near impossible.  I pray that time will give me clarity, but how much time do I need?  Have I had the answer and the strength the whole time and just keep ignoring it and resisting it?

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”
H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

Missed Opportunities

100_0897Boy it seems like forever since I wrote anything – a whole week to be exact!!  This daylight savings time is really kicking my butt this week but I finally feel rested this morning.  I’ve been thinking about this blog post the entire week and wanted to take the opportunity to finally write it.  You see, as I was on my way to work the other morning after the very depressing snow storm we had on Sunday – despite being disappointed by the cold that befell our lovely State, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the beauty the snow filled landscape evoked and also reminded of all of the missed opportunities I had to photograph that beauty.  Before having kids and having a career, landscape photography was another passion I had.  I would spend hours capturing the beautiful sunsets, storm clouds, rainbows, flowers, or just anything I found beauty in at that moment.  I’ve posted a few photographs in my blog and it reminded me how much I really miss taking that time to “smell the roses” – or lilies in my case.

It is so easy to get caught up in our daily routines.  We get busy, we get tired and we get lazy and before we know it little pieces of ourselves have slipped away into this thing we call life.  But really, what kind of life is it when we can’t even take the time to do things we enjoy most.  These days my photography consists of literally thousands of pictures of my kids, which I love doing just as much, but I am making a vow to myself and to my kids that I will take the time to photograph the beauty that is all around us too.  I want to involve my kids in this process in hopes of not only teaching them about nature, but to hopefully bring about a love of photography in them just as my Dad had done for me.  I also want to show them that regardless of what life throws at us, it is important not to loose yourself and it is important to make time to do what you love most.  I also want them to know that no matter how ugly the world can be, there is true beauty in our own back yard if we take the time to look.  I vow to make an effort not to miss so many opportunities, not just with photography but with other aspects of life.

So with that, I’ll leave you with a few more pictures I’ve taken over the years and hopefully a little inspiration to take the time to renew your excitement in something you love just as much.  Happy Friday!!

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Not Another Weight Loss Fad

gymnastics-1951237_1920It really amazes me when I read the crazy things people try to sell as quick weight loss strategies.  They are everywhere I turn!  It reminds me of the get rich quick schemes where everyone knows that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  The same thing applies to health and fitness too.  I’ve been on a weight loss roller-coaster since giving birth to my kiddos.  I used my first pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything in sight.  I’d be up in the middle of the night drinking chocolate milk straight from the gallon jug – classy I know but hey I was eating for two right?!  Well I ended up with gestational diabetes, an induced labor resulting in a C-Section, stretch marks and my normally 160 lb ideal weight topping out at 225 and this was after my son was born.  I spent the next year kidding myself that I didn’t look or feel that bad, refusing to step on the scale and face the reality of my true weight.  I was busy taking care of a baby and didn’t have the time to work out, or so I told myself.

I’m not really sure what finally motivated me but I made a New Year’s Resolution to finally own my weight and get back in shape.  So began a grueling journey to do just that.  I began honestly tracking my calorie intake, working out on the treadmill an hour a day/five days a week.  Because I didn’t have a treadmill at home I had to go to work early to get my first 1/2 hour in and then workout on my lunch break too.  It took a lot of hard work and dedication but after 5 months I was finally down to 177, feeling fantastic and I vowed to never get above 200 lbs again.  And then I got pregnant with baby #2. I learned my lesson and ate way better the second time around, but it didn’t matter, I still packed on the pounds and I did end up going above 200 lbs – 212 to be exact and I had to start the process all over again.

I’ve managed to get close to where I was before I got pregnant with my daughter but for some reason or another I keep getting off track from my diet and exercise and never quite make it.  My daughter is now two and I’ve managed to hold steady at about 190 but it’s time I finally meet my goal weight.  Through this I’ve mentioned all the different weights I’ve been at but really they are just numbers.  In reality I just want to feel good and one of my biggest motivations admittedly is wanting to look good in all those cute clothes I find on Zulily.   I thought I’d share my struggles as well as my successes in my long journey so others know that regardless of all the claims these fabulous weight loss strategies make – it takes time, hard work, dedication & time, time and more time to truly loose that weight and get healthy.  We all have the tools we need it’s just a matter of putting those tools to good use.  Here are some things that I find work the best for me as I continue my path to success.

  1. Using my phone’s fitness app to track calorie intake. I’ve tried and tried just watching what I eat but it was so easy to “forget” all the little things I would consume that made those calories add up.  It was like if I didn’t see it in writing it didn’t happen.  Also by physically inputting what I am eating and seeing it spelled out, I find that I make better choices on what I eat.  I do take information that makes sense about calorie counting, things like less carbs more protein, fruits and veggies are good, lean protein is good, etc. and use those to help guide my choices because it’s just as important, if not more so, to be healthy and not just focused on calorie intake.  Tracking it with my phone is a free tool that keeps me in check.
  2. Cutting out alcohol and sweets.  This is a no brainer but I found that I was “saving” my calories to have a couple of beers or a glass of wine after work to unwind, but in the end these are just empty calories, and carb calories no less, that add up over the course of the week.  With lent, I decided to not drink alcohol and I have already found my weight loss program is working that much better.  For sweets, I simply have a sweet tooth and tend to overindulge which is probably what got me here in the first place, so it’s just easier for me to cut those out too.
  3. Using my phone’s fitness app to track exercise.  For the same reason I track my calories, tracking my exercise helps me stay focused and it even becomes a competition to do better each day, whether it’s to go a longer distance, burn more calories or go a faster pace and it keeps me coming back for more.  I have a really bad habit of skipping a week of exercise for some reason or another and then that week easily turns into two, then pretty soon a month has gone by and it is so so so hard to get started again.  And once the exercise starts slipping so does the calorie tracking and pretty soon I’m right back to square one.  Although the fitness app is not a cure all for this problem, it does help me renew my dedication to stick with it once I start back up again.
  4. Remembering that it’s not always about the number on the scale. It is so darn frustrating to work your butt off both physically as well as with your eating habits and not seeing those numbers on the scale go down.  In fact it can be downright discouraging.  However, loosing weight takes time.  It takes weeks and weeks of hard work before seeing the results you want but something that does happen almost immediately is how good you start to feel.  Even after the first week once the soreness from working out subsides and the cravings for all the carbs and sweets and wine in the world eases, I do feel more toned, my clothes fit better, and I feel stronger than I did the week before.
  5. Don’t give up.  Make a commitment to yourself to never give up.  It’s ok if you get off track or don’t meet the goals you set for yourself as long as you  keep working at it.  One thing I have learned through my journey is regardless of what is going on in life, or how far off I’ve deviated from diet and exercise, the hardest part of getting back on track is that first step of actually doing it.  Once you start, everyday becomes that much easier and you feel that much better.  And really if you are doing better than you were the day before, then in my mind you are successful.

 

It’s a Monday

Most Mondays I dread dragging myself out of bed knowing it’s the start of another long week at work and knowing there are not enough hours or enough energy to keep up with the chores at home, which usually means the following weekend is spent catching up with everything I didn’t do the week before.  It’s such a vicious cycle and is often times overwhelming and depressing.  But this Monday is different!!  This is a day that God has given me and with the Zac Brown song “No Hurry” stuck in my head I am determined to “Get right with the Lord” today.  I am going to make this Monday positive and push all negative feelings Mondays normally give me out of my head.  The forecast is warm and windy with a chance of thunderstorms today – but you know what that means, it means that spring is in the air and better days are here.  My counter is full of dirty dishes, my laundry basket if full of clean clothes and my living room looks like a tornado of toys went through it and rather than feeling overwhelmed, I feel happy and joyful because I am taking a few moments to enjoy my cup of coffee and write rather than stressing about everything I didn’t get done.  I am taking a Me moment this morning in order to get right with the lord and get right with myself.  And with that I know that only good things can come to me this day.  I feel confident and feel that I can take on the World and all it’s challenges today.  I am a great Mom and an amazing woman today and nothing is going to stand in my way.  So with that – Happy Monday my friends!!

Blogging So Far

I am officially addicted and am back for more!!  Today was a day of familiarizing myself with my new blog site and spending the day “thinking” about what I was going to write about next.  After working all day and coming home to a rebellious preschooler who was picking a fight with his little sister at every turn and a little sister who did not nap and was already grumpy to begin with, I spent the next few hours arguing with the little minis over just about everything under the sun and getting super on the table (with a little more arguing with the hubby to help since he is better at cooking fish than me).  Now I am finally nestled in on the couch “blogging” while everyone is happy and giggling.  There is just so much I could write about which is so ironic because I am normally such a private person and rarely ever post on social media sites, but there is just something about this whole blogging thing that excites me.  I remember being a little girl and wanting to grow up to be a writer – first a novelist and than possibly a journalist as I got older – neither of which happened, so maybe blogging is my way of awakening that little girl’s dream.  Since the beginning of the new year I’ve been doing a little Pinterest idea with the kids where we write down our favorite thing of the day and put it in a jar to read at the end of the year.  I would have to say my blog would be my favorite today and truly hope this is just as exciting in the months to come as it is now – that and watching my preschooler wake up and grab a pair of skeleton gloves and a hat too small for his head (a gift from his babysitter) and sit on the couch with nothing but his undies and the gloves and hat on.  That was definitely something to giggle about.  And now all is right with the world and it’s time for some snuggles with my kiddos.