Month: November 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Thanksgiving Edition

Despite the fact I had to work on Wednesday and Friday of Thanksgiving week, we pulled off an extremely successful and blessed Thanksgiving dinner with my side of the family. We truly have so much to be thankful for!

The bird cookin’ on the smoker. My husband is so proud of his smoker…
The finished bird. Her bounty was plentiful.
My unbelievable cheescake. No, really. Recipe found on Pinterest! Amazing.
Party at the kiddie table. Jack & his cousin Miles.
I always put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving (or… night since I had to work). I was not happy to have a broken string of lights on my pre-lit tree.
But, a quick trip to Target and the light fiasco was quickly fixed and holiday cheer filled our home.
Meanwhile, Jack got to spend the day after Thanksgiving with his daddy since I had to work. When asked if he was having a fun time at the Minnesota Zoo, he replied with 2 thumbs up.
We didn’t want to forget about my husband’s family, so we took a road trip to lovely Rochester, MN for a visit with Papa, Auntie A, his new cousin Brooklyn and his two Great Grandmas one of which is 95 years old!

Why I Love The Elf On The Shelf

Go ahead haters, say what you want about this suddenly over-commercialized “tradition” but, I confess, I am totally in love with The Elf on the Shelf.

Jackson received his Elf from his Godparents post-Christmas last year and at the age of 2 could have cared less about it. I had heard of The Elf on the Shelf and thought it was a super cute idea- I was excited to figure out what he was all about. Noticing all the Elf hype this year, I told my husband that I wanted to get one for Jack. Oh yes, apparently I had forgotten we got one as a gift. So, we pulled our Elf out from the depths of Christmas storage and introduced him to Jackson who was immediately mystified by him. We asked him to give the Elf a name to which he initially replied, “Let’s call him Reindeer.” We then encouraged him to think of a few more (with a few suggestions from Mom & Dad) and he decided Ernie was the perfect name for his Elf. We went to where we officially “adopted” Ernie. Jack was over the moon getting a letter back from Santa- he even wanted to bring it with him to school to show his teacher. He seriously carries this letter with him everywhere.

I know some longtime Elf on the Shelf people are not happy that the tradition has been commercially over-blown. My husband HATED the CBS special that aired- he called it total propaganda. While I agree with him that the show was obviously catered to selling more of the Elf, Jackson LOVED it. He loved the music, he loved Santa, he loved everything about it AND he learned what HIS Elf was all about. While he hasn’t put two and two together that Ernie will report his naughty behavior to Santa and he won’t get a gift, he still thinks Ernie is magical and funny. He freaked out when he thought his daddy was trying to touch Ernie and quickly explained to us in only the way that a 3 year old does that if we touch him, his magical powers will go away. He gets it and it is adorable. Am I scarring him for life for making him think there is a magical tattle tale Elf living in our house? I don’t think so. Shit. I believed in Santa for I don’t even know how long as a kid and guess what… I don’t harbor any ill will towards my parents or require any therapy for their living such a lie.

My husband and I are having fun with finding different places to put Ernie and it has become a game for us to find fun and hilarious things to do with him. Sure, Ernie had a little bit of a creeper look when he was humping the angel on the top of our tree (yes, we told the child he was… giving her a hug), but overall I find our little Elf hilarious. This Elf isn’t unlike the creepy fake HAND that my husband has been moving around with him for the last 20 years that shows up in all kinds of awful places to scare both me and our child, not to mention may or may not have groped a number of stuffed animals in our household. It doesn’t take an obscene amount of time (2 minutes max.) to find a hiding place for Ernie, nor are we going to run out of ideas anytime soon NOR do we care if we have to reuse the same ideas.

Our famous creepy fake hand.

I love this new tradition. I love that Jackson is getting caught up in the magic of Christmas and that he so passionately believes in his Elf. Every day, my usually cranky preschooler wakes up excited to run out and find where Ernie is hiding. Our silly little Elf has brought magic and excitement to our house which had been seriously lacking Christmas spirit this holiday season and for that, I am grateful.

So, my dear Elf haters, I’m sorry that you weren’t able to make the Elf work for your family. I truly hope that you are finding other ways to add magic into the holiday season.

Wordless Wednesday: A Special Thanksgiving Lunch

Every year my son’s school hosts a Thanksgiving lunch where the parents can come in and have lunch with their kiddos. I wish I could go have lunch with him EVERY day. What I couldn’t capture on camera was walking in (albeit a little late) to find Jack sitting at a special table alone waiting for me to arrive. He was “saving” my seat. He gave me a big hug and we ate our (okay, he ate my) turkey lunch. It was a most memorable moment. I am so thankful for my sweet, loving and silly little boy.

From my family to yours, wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Motivation Monday Shocker: Exercising Feels Good!

Prepare to be shocked.

Exercise makes you feel good!

One of the side effects of my new drugs are headaches. Piercing, mind numbing, bang your head against the wall headaches. Over the weekend, I took a couple days off from running as I was absolutely knocked down by these headaches. Last night I rebelled against them and jumped on the treadmill. It hurt, but I gritted my teeth through the first 10 minutes and low and behold… my headache started to ease. Sure, it may be a coincidence, but it seemed to work. Even if it is a fluke, it sure makes a good excuse to get some exercise in!

Despite my stagnant weight loss, I am PROUD of how much exercise I have been able to do over the past month. Running has helped me ward off illness, build muscle, build endurance (I’m about to start week 5 of Couch to 5K and finding it to be pretty cake), reduce stress and overall feel better. I’ll be picking up my copy of LifeTime Fitness At Home on Wednesday (perfect timing before Thanksgiving!) which features four workouts and nutritional content based on our in-club classes and Healthy Way of Life philosophy. While I am of course enjoying my running program, I would also like to shake it up on off days with these workouts.

I always tend to fall apart in my healthy journey around the holidays. Too much temptation. Too many parties. Too busy to workout. I always throw in the towel and just vow to re-start in the new year.

Not this year.

This is the year the I fight temptation. This is the year I continue to workout instead of quitting.

Are you going to stick to your plan over the holidays or throw in the towel? 

Wordless Wednesday: 2011 School Picture Edition

There is nothing I look forward to more than getting school pictures back and Jack’s photos this year did not disappoint. How is it possible that he is this big? How on earth did they get him to sit and smile like that?

Motivation Monday: Tracking Works (The Proof!)

I knew that I was going to have challenges in my weight loss journey post-surgery. I knew that it would take time for my body to adjust to the new hormones. I knew I might gain. I knew getting back into fitness would be a struggle. I knew all of these things, prepared myself for their reality but still find myself crumpling with despair over them.

I know many who are in the midst of using different weight loss programs. One lost like 50 lbs in like 20 weeks doing Medifast. My colleague is using Slimgenics. She has lost about 17 lbs in 8 weeks. My jealousy? Immeasurable. 

However… I have done these other programs before. I have lost weight. I also gained it all back and then some. Many of them have added on maintenance programs since my day of trying them, but I still stand by my decision to lose weight through diet and exercise. Despite my slow weight loss, I know Weight Watchers is the right program for me. It is teaching me how to make the right food choices out of my own cupboard as well as in my everyday situations. Probably the best part is that nothing is truly off limits. You just learn to be accountable for it. I had my cholesterol checked this past Friday for the first time in probably a decade. I wasn’t entirely surprised that it was borderline high given our frequent trips to Buffalo Wild Wings over the course of the last few months (it’s Jack’s favorite restaurant in the whole world); however, I was bothered by the numbers. It was the first bit of definitive proof of how important it is for me to lose the weight and probably the biggest motivator I’ve had in this journey thus far. I need to be around for my family.

Despite my recent struggles, I continue to go to my Weight Watchers meetings to weigh in and get the support I need every week. Yes, my heart sinks when I see the numbers going up and down and essentially nowhere, but I am THERE and that is half the battle. I remind myself that from the point I had my baby until now, I’ve lost 50 pounds and 20 since I started WeightWatchers this year. That is something to be proud of.

Our homework last week was to set one attainable goal for the week that has nothing to do with the number on the scale- one thing that will aid my healthiness journey that I struggle with. My goal was to track my food every day. Every Thursday following my meeting, I am always inspired but conveniently forget to track on the weekend. As connected as I am with an iPhone, iPad and laptop you wouldn’t think this would be so hard! So no more excuses. I’m going to track everything I eat from here on out.

Some results…

The proof that tracking works:

Interesting, yes? When I earn consistent activity points combined with food tracking I lose more weight. While I stayed steady this week, I didn’t gain and I am okay with that. Time to stop thinking I can do it without the tracking. Tracking works and this is PROOF. Coincidence? I think not! I’m going to continue to be diligent in my tracking efforts this week and we’ll see if this trend continues. My additional goal for the week is to DRINK MORE WATER and more closely monitor my diet other than just tracking points.

A year from now, I desperately want to be able to go back to my doctor at my goal weight and find that my cholesterol is in the normal range.

What healthy goals are you going to set for the week?

Infertility Hurts

99% of the time I am at peace with my infertility.

I am okay that my one little boy, my miracle, will be my only child.

Then, that sneaky little 1% slithers in and my heart breaks into a thousand pieces. Many moms (especially 1st time moms) already have their canned answer for the question, “When will you have another?” I always thought I would have 2 kids. I never imagined raising an only child and always wanted a perfect little happy family. If I was lucky, a boy and a girl.

Those who have struggled with infertility get it. The frustration. The desperation. The hurt. The feeling that something critical is missing in your life. Make no mistake, I take nothing for granted when it comes to my son. I remember being pregnant like it was yesterday. I think I sometimes still feel the ghost kicks in my tummy. But, finally being able to get pregnant once, I got a little cocky. I figured it would be easy the 2nd time around. I did this once, I can do it again, right?

I had no idea how wrong I would be.

Even before my surgery this year to remove what I thought was just going to be a little endo scarring and an ovarian cyst, my husband and I made the decision that we would be done. This would be our choice and not the choice of a doctor or my body. We didn’t want to have to endure two years of not seeing 2 lines on those damn tests. We didn’t want to go through another miscarriage. We didn’t want to spend the money on extreme fertility treatments. We were done.

I had no idea how final those words would be.

Waking up from surgery, my doctor came up to me with the sympathy face and in my haze, even I understood when she said they had to take the ovary that our decision was now set in stone. Being down an ovary, the damage caused by the endometriosis and the risk of its return if I am untreated determined my sentence.

Those who do not know what happened to my poor battered insides still ask the question, “When are you going to give Jack a sibling?” Or make comments such as, “Wow, that boy needs a brother or sister to play with.” Then there are those who know what happened and still have the audacity to ask, “Well you still have one good ovary, right?” Um. It’s not just an ovary issue, it’s an endo issue. So, as “at peace” as I like to think I am with our fate, the questions still sting. They are constant reminders of how I can’t have any more children and there are no other alternatives (at least ones that normal people like us can afford).

I try to recall and hang onto every moment with Jackson, all the way back to my pregnancy. I’ll never get to experience any of it again and I never want to let go of how magical it all is. Being a mom is amazing and I feel so lucky to get the chance to be one at all.

So before you open your mouth to ask a mom any of the above-mentioned questions, try to remember that not every woman is a child making machine like Michelle Duggar and think about how deeply personal that question actually is.

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween Edition

Celebrating Halloween… It might be just me, but the older Jack gets, the more fun Halloween becomes. We had so much fun with him this year. Of course… now he wants to go Trick or Treating every night.

We headed to a very chilly Emma Krumbees Apple Orchard to pick out pumpkins.
This was Jack’s favorite scarecrow in the Scarecrow Festival.
Carving his first pumpkin. He was so proud.
With great power comes great responsibility.

A sad spidey looking at pictures with daddy at his school’s party.

Waiting for his best buddy to show up for Trick or Treating.

Heading out for some Tricks & Treats!

Linking up for Boo In the Blogosphere!