blogging, Crafting to lose weight, enjoying family, finding balance, Finding old friends, fitness, following your dreams, Friendship, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, optifast, setting goals, weight loss journal, Wellness Center, Writing

Starting at Square Two

 

Being a stay-at-home Nana has been a joy 99.999% of the time.  I wasn’t able to stay home with my daughters when they were little, so it’s been amazing watching Baby C unfold from a tiny preemie to a big boy.  However, as triumphant as watching each milestone was, there was part of me that had to hugely adjust to being home with a baby all day.  After all, my daughter’s schedule as a resident physician can only be described as grueling.  Her 16 hour a day shifts, coupled with my son-in-law’s odd work hours, often left me watching him for much longer than a traditional work day. Things happened that I didn’t imagine.  Any sort of routine or self-care schedule that I’d established basically became non-existent. I became a greasy haired, yoga pants wearing woman, in an oversized spit up covered tee-shirt.  My food plan of five small high protein meals per day dissolved to grabbing whatever seemed semi-edible from my fridge or pantry  Exercise, beyond walking and bouncing a wailing baby, went out the window, as did, reading, blogging, hanging out with friends, crafting and most things that I’d used as a substitute for overeating.  I began speaking fluent Sesame Street  (not a bad thing) and forgot how to have an interesting conversation. Though my snuggle and love ratio increased, my weight management plan rolled out the door like a trashcan full of dirty diapers and I gained weight; 35 pounds to be exact.

I’d committed to watching Baby C his first year of life, however finding just the right daycare didn’t happen until he turned 18 months old.  As soon as he began his first week there, I scanned my closet for something non-grubby to wear and went directly to my weight management physician and to the weight management trainers at the wellness center. Last week, I entered a comprehensive weight maintenance program and yesterday my weigh-in revealed a 4.5 pound weight loss! I’m proud of making progress and even prouder that I’m catching myself before my weight spirals too out of control.  Having to lose 30.5 pounds sure seems more doable than my previous goal of nearly 100 pounds.  Fortunately, instead of starting at square one, I’ve glided on to square two!

Life is a constant recalibration to find the perfect balance. I’m still spending plenty of time with my awesome grandson, but it’s more quality than quantity.  I’m back to making glass art that’s more intricate than before. I’m back to having time to nurture my relationship with my husband and friends.  I’m also back to posting on WordPress and, oh-so-hopefully reconnecting with the wonderful friends I’ve made on here over the years!

So, friends, how have you been? 🙂 

 

 

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, dealing with food cravings, enjoying family, food and family celebrations, Having fun, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, public relations, setting goals, strength training, the law of attraction, Uncategorized, weight loss journal, Writing

Goodbye, Sweet Sugar and Thoughts on a New Year

The clock is ticking!  What are your New Year's goals? (Photo by me "The Hugo Clock" @ MOMA)
The clock is ticking! What are your New Year’s goals? (Photo by me “The Hugo Clock” @ MOMA

Stevia-laced coffee and a healthy bowl of Fiber One cereal; this is my usual morning.  However for the past three wake-ups, holiday elves (let’s blame it on them) have been treating me to slices of pie or Christmas cookies and a lovely coffee topped with whipped cream.  Those silly “elves” have also been sabotaging my other meals, too, and “forcing” me to eat Christmas dinner leftovers.  Yesterday, I called their bluff and took the leftovers to my daughter’s house.

The good news is, that three days of feasting hasn’t taken much of a toll on my progress or success.  I decided to not give myself any restrictions this holiday.  Restrictions make you feel like you’ve failed when a sugar cookie “accidentally falls into your mouth.  Truth be told, given carte blanche in the kitchen actually helped me this season.  I can’t pack it in like I used to, and didn’t really end up eating the copious amounts of food that I thought I would.  It takes the consumption of 3,500 calories to gain a pound.  Fortunately, a health metabolism burns those calories, and as of this morning, I only weigh 133 lbs.  Holiday victory is still mine!

Today, it’s back to the gym and “so long” to sugar!  Will I indulge on New Year’s Eve?  Of course!

Speaking of New Year’s, I began working on my new list of goals for 2015 last night.  2014 was such an amazing year that I expect 2015 to be even better!  So far, I hope to:

  • Find an awesome job
  • Rid myself of debt
  • Get  physically stronger
  • Create my crafting business

So what about you, dear readers?  Did you thoroughly enjoy your holiday treats?  Have you made any goals for 2015?  Tell me about it! 🙂

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, Having fun, photography, Writing

Welcome to the Diva Den

As promised, I’m sharing a few pics of my new craft room.  These pictures were taken before I put cute little labels on all of my supply bins, so I sort of avoided some of my, then messy, shelving while taking shots with my phone.  So far, I haven’t done a ton of crafting in my den.  My daughter and I have mostly been using it as a good place to listen to music, dance, and chit-chat.  I do have my first official craft planned and cut out.  I’m making a lighted burlap and ribbon garland for my Christmas tree. It looks similar to this one on Pinterest:

My garland will look something like this when it's done.  This photo is courtesy of Pinterest (my time thief) and it from CreateCraftLove.com
My garland will look something like this when it’s done. This photo is courtesy of Pinterest (my time thief) and it from CreateCraftLove.com

 

Speaking of the holidays,  I spent several hours in my new hideaway wrapping and tucking away Christmas gifts.  As of this very evening, I’m officially finished my Holiday shopping!  Hooray!  Enough with my boasting! Here’s the den:

My work table is situated where my daughter's bed used to be built into the wall. (Photo by me)
My work table is situated where my daughter’s bed used to be built into the wall.  The floor in this section still needs quarter round.  We’ll get to that this weekend. (Photo by me)
This is some of my shelving full of decorated and undecorated birdhouses and containers of colored glass. (Photo by me)
This is some of my shelving full of decorated and undecorated birdhouses and containers of colored glass. One day I’ll learn to use the sewing machine (Photo by me)
I created my valance from cloth napkins on sale for $7 at Bed, Bath and Beyond. (Photo by me)
I created my valance from cloth napkins on sale for $7 at Bed, Bath and Beyond. (Photo by me)

A positively fun place to hang out needs positive messages and colorful pictures.

I found this, along with two other framed quotes at Bed, Bath and Beyond for only $13.  I love a good deal! (Photo by me).
I found this, along with two other framed quotes at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  It’s so true, isn’t it? (Photo by me).
These are mixed media pieces that I made years ago.  I thought the colors went nicely with the room. (Photo by me)
These are mixed media pieces that I made years ago. I thought the colors went nicely with the room. (Photo by me)

Thank you for taking the time to check out my new hang out spot. I’ll take a few other pics of my organized shelves and maybe even show you inside of the hot pink closet (where lots of Christmas gifts are hiding).  My blogging buddies are always welcome in the den, whether you’re a diva or a dude! 🙂

Have an absolutely fabulous weekend, one and all! 🙂

 

 

 

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, Exercise, fitness, Writing

Birth of a Diva

In my last post, I mentioned that my eldest daughter and her husband found a lovely home of their own.  This allowed my younger daughter to finally procure the coveted “bigger” bedroom–or at least one large enough for her to graduate from a twin-sized bed into a queen-sized one.  I, in turn, took her old room.  This past Friday, I tore out her old bed that was lovingly built into the wall by my hubby.  Then, in our normal, fumbling approach to home-improvement, my husband and I, (ok, mostly my husband) framed where needed, drywalled, and extended the laminate flooring.  On Monday, I made a valiant attempt to sand the drywall in preparation for painting, but my old nemesis asthma struck me down, in spite of using proper protective gear.  I spent the rest of the day wheezing and sucking on my inhaler.  Fortunately, my two lovely daughters swooped in yesterday to finish the sanding and the majority of the paining. My eldest was also sweet enough to get every speck of remaining drywall dust out of the room.  Now, today, I’m left only with painting the trim; which is a really small job.  Tonight my husband will install the quarter round against the existing trim (it matches the flooring), put together my work table and my new shelf, put up my new curtain rod, and mount my TV on the wall.

So far here’s what I’ve done in terms of décor. The room was painted with Behr’s “Window Pane” paint last year by my daughter. Since I like the color and it’s still very fresh, I’m leaving it.  It looks like this:

Behr's Window Pane
Behr’s Window Pane (Photo from homedepot.com)

The “cove” area where the bed used to be has become an accent space and is painted with Behr’s “Sea Life.”  It looks like this:

Behr's Sea Life (photo from homedepot.com)
Behr’s Sea Life (photo from homedepot.com)

I found this fun rug from Kohl’s for only $12! This rug is made from recycled garments and each version of it is slightly different in coloration. It measures 5’3″X 3’6″ and will be nice for the center of my small room.  Mine has a bit more teal, yellow and lime in it than this one from the Kohl’s website:

Eco Chic Rug from recycled garments (from kohls.com)
Eco Chic Rug from recycled garments (from kohls.com)

 

Today, after painting the trim and hitting the gym, I plan to find the perfect valance for the window and a few other teal, lime,  yellow, and pink accessories to deck out the room. (Oh how I love bright, cheery, colors!) Then, once it’s all fixed up, I’ll post pictures of the finished product. My new space has jokingly been dubbed “The Diva Den” by my future son-in-law.  It’s his take on the female version of a “Man Cave.”  I’ll happily use my new den for crafting, exercising, TV watching and music listening.  I think my husband is fairly excited for me to have my own space, as it means that that family room remote to the big TV, just became his while I’m back there.  I’m sure he’s already plotted many hours of Star Trek, Dr. Who, and Alien Encounter shows for viewing!

Do you have a special space in your home that you love to hang out in?  Tell me about it!  🙂

Appreciation, blogging, Crafting to lose weight, memories, Thankfulness, Writing

The Crowded House

There’s an old Yiddish folktale about a man who goes to his Rabbi for advice about the crowded condition of his small home.  Instead of encouraging him to reorganize, the Rabbi insists that he brings several groups of farm animals inside to live with his already bustling family.  When the man can no longer take the chaos brought on by his home’s new occupants, the Rabbi instructs him to remove the animals. Predictably, the man and his family realize just how much space they have in their home, and begin to better appreciate what they have.

For nearly two years, my home has been joyfully crowded; stuffed to the shutters with the people I love and their plethora of possessions.  This weekend, my wonderful daughter and son-in-law will be moving into their own home.  While I will certainly miss their daily presence, it makes my heart smile that they’ve found a beautiful house, less than two miles away from mine. It’s a win-win situation for all of us. We’ll still be close by to one another, but we’ll all have more space.

This new space will allow my younger daughter  to finally move into her sister’s room.  She and her fiancé are planning to move into their own place in the Spring.  She’s been accumulating quite a bit of household things for her future home and claiming her sister’s room will solve her storage woes.

Happily, this leaves my younger daughter’s room for me to finally create a craft room of my very own.  Currently, my crafting storage takes up a bit of space in several rooms of our house.  It’s going to be fabulous to finally see everything have its own space.  It’s also going to take some work.

Fourteen years ago, after a visit to Monticello, my daughter had the bright idea that a built-in bed, similar to the one in Thomas Jefferson’s home, would be the solution to having the world’s smallest bedroom.

This bedroom at Thomas Jefferson's Charlottesville, VA home was inspiration for my youngest daughter's childhood bedroom.  Picture this with only 8 ft. ceilings and much less floor space!  (Photo courtesy of Monticello.org)
This bedroom at Thomas Jefferson’s Charlottesville, VA home was inspiration for my youngest daughter’s childhood bedroom. Picture this with only 8 ft. ceilings and much less floor space! (Photo courtesy of Monticello.org)

My husband took on the challenge and after several days of work, and a trip to the emergency room for nearly cutting off a finger with the circular saw, he completed something similar by converting her ample closet into a cove for a platform bed with drawers. (Unfortunately, her room is too messy right now to take a pic of it–I’ll take some good ones before we demo)  To create my craft room, we’re going to have to remove the platform bed, amend the floor underneath it and do some drywall repair, trim replacement, and painting.  Hopefully, no ER visits will be required!

I found an adorably colorful rag rug for the floor for only $12 at Kohl’s (Hooray for Kohl’s cash and a 30% off coupon).  I’ve also found a fantastic 72″x 20″ unfinished workbench at Home Depot for $69.  I plan to sand and paint it a sunny yellow, which should look lovely with the light teal walls.  Fortunately, there’s already tons of shelving in the room that my husband installed when he built the bed.  Hopefully here in the next few weeks, I’ll have pictures to post, providing that I still have fingers to post with!

So this weekend, my small, crowded house will become a bit more spacious, as my eldest departs the nest for a second time.  The closeness of her new home quells my sadness.  I’m excited for her to enjoy the fun of setting up her own household with her own unique style, and I know we’ll still be in daily contact.  With no weepy eyes on board, I’m thrilled to reorganize my newly acquired space.  Unlike the man in the Yiddish fable, I’ve been quite happy having a crowded bustling household; I’ve appreciated the craziness all along.  The extra space that my daughter will leave behind is just a little bonus to an already joyful life.

Do you live in a crowded house?  If you’re an empty-nester, how did you feel when your adult “birdies” flew the coop?  Do you enjoy organizing and remodeling like I do?  What’s the niftiest home improvement project you’ve completed?

 

 

blogging, Building self-confidence, Crafting to lose weight, enjoying family, fitness, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, weight loss journal, Writing

Bringing Sexy Back

I’m going to share a few thoughts on maintenance, but, first, I want  to thank everyone who voted on Monday’s polls.  The results show that I shouldn’t change my blog’s name, but that switching up my subjects from solely weight loss related posts would be perfectly acceptable.  After some thought, I’m rather happy to be keeping my name, as I’ve grown rather attached to it!  I do plan to change my tagline and to switch up the look of the blog just a bit.  Long ago, my future son-in-law (the Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop wiz) offered to make me a custom header.  My husband also offered to do some cartoon work for it. (He draws a really cute cartoon version of me). I need to re-ask them both if their offer still stands for when they have the time. So stay tuned for a few changes! 🙂


00roadrunner

Now, onward to maintenance.  I read a fantastic quote the other day from Optifast Blogger about maintenance. In her wonderful post about the things that keep her working hard to maintain her weight loss, Optifast Blogger admits that “losing weight is ‘sexier’ than maintenance.”  I read those words shortly after tallying up my last calories of the day, and they hit me like an anvil in a Roadrunner cartoon.  Maintenance is why some of the air has leaked out of my excitement balloon.  Its distinct lack of va va voom-iness is exactly why I haven’t felt like I’ve had much to write about lately.

In fact, the exhilaration of actively losing weight is much like the giddiness of being in a new relationship.  The beauty of it, is the person that you fall in love with, or re-fall in love with, is you.  It’s magical to work hard and see results.  Peering into the mirror and seeing the person that you’ve imagined yourself to be is awe-inspiring.  The feeling of completing physical challenges that you never before thought were possible is breathtaking. You run into people that you haven’t seen for a while and they notice how trim you’re looking.  You go shopping for new jeans, because all of your old ones are too big, and you find yourself slipping easily into a size 8.  You’re on top of the world!   Then one day, you step on the scales at your doctors office and she tells you that you’ve arrived.  You’ve reached your goal weight.  She slaps you a quick high-five and hands you the diet plan to maintain what you’ve lost.  Then she says. “This is the hard part; keeping it off.”  You leave the office happy and determined.  You have a formula that works for you, and you work your formula.  Then one day, after your 100th cup of yogurt at exactly 11:00 am, the same day that no one has asked, “Did you lose weight?”  you realize that the honeymoon of weight loss is over and that maintenance is the marriage.  It’s a good solid marriage, but it takes lots of effort. It needs the infusion of a few fluttering butterflies in the stomach and a few sparks to zap it back into the exciting status that it once had.  Luckily,  it doesn’t take a gastro-etymologist (I made that one up) or a generator to get the butterflies and sparks that we need.  We can do it ourselves with a few happy reminders.  This is my list of things that bring the “sexy” back to maintenance for me:

  • I don’t have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.  How hot is that?
  • I can run–fast.  This means I’m no longer brain-bait during the zombie apocalypse, and that my legs are really toned and flexible.
  • I’m strong–In addition to knowing that I could fight off the undead, I have more poise and confidence because of my physical strength, and nothing is sexier than a little bit of swagger!
  • I have a nice fitting butt.  I’m not talking about how cute it looks in my size 8 non-mom jeans, I’m referring to the fact that it actually, truly fits in the places that I need it to; bus, train, theater, and restaurant seats needn’t shudder when I squat!
  • I’ve found positive replacements for  compulsive overeating.  I can craft, write, hang out with friends and family, or I can ask my husband to distract me–and actually not care if the lights are on!
  • I’m potentially adding additional years to my life by continuing to eat right and exercise–Knowing that I’ll be here longer for those I love puts the very biggest spark into my maintenance program.
Yo Roadrunner, I've got this!
Hey, Roadrunner, I’ve got this!

So what do you all think?  Is losing or maintaining your weight more difficult?  What are some things that you do to keep “the sexy” in maintenance?

 

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, Exercise, Friendship, weight loss journal

Too Much Caffeine; Confessions of a Coffee Addict

She's large and in charge!!  She will wake you up!!
She’s large and in charge!! She will wake you up!! Fuzzy early morning iPhone shot!

I was up too early  yesterday morning.  To keep the cat from darting out the front door, my daughter usually lets the her into our room before she leaves for the hospital.  Said cat normally settles peacefully in beside of me and sleeps until the normal hour of 7 a.m., but not yesterday.  Yesterday, she decided that hoisting her 23 pound frame upon my sleeping body, and walking up and down me, like the human bridge that leads to her food dish, would be a good thing to do.  So like any faithful minion, I hopped out of bed and proceeded to satisfy her bidding.

The view from my front window revealed coat-clad high-schoolers, begrudgingly trudging to the bus stop at the end of our development.  Dawn’s early light still hadn’t broken and it was two hours from my normal feeding time, so to pacify my growling tummy, I made a huge cup of coffee, and settled in on the sofa to read blogs.  When 8:00 rolled around, I made my usual breakfast of 1/2 cup of Fiber One cereal, 1/4 cup of blueberries, and a cup of almond milk.  Since my normal routine is to enjoy a cup of coffee with my cereal,  I indulged in another one.

Still, I felt sleepy, so I attempted to rouse myself by completing my housework and laundry as vigorously as possible; sprinting

I'm not much of a painter, but when my friend with celiac's disease asked me to paint her a cupcake for her birthday, I couldn't refuse!
I’m not much of a painter, but when my friend with celiac’s disease asked me to paint her a cupcake for her birthday, I couldn’t refuse!

down the hallway to deliver laundry and scrubbing the bathrooms at triple speed.  With the house spotless, I began finishing up the art projects that were cluttering my kitchen table.  I added a layer of glaze to a mixed media painting of a cupcake for my friend who requested that I “paint her one” for her birthday.  I then began nipping at some glass tiles for a framed mosaic.  In spite of my two gigantic mugs of java (probably equal to 5-6 cups total), I found my eyes growing heavy.  Sharp glass and fumbling fingers rarely mix without an accident, so for good measure,  I had yet another mug of the brown stuff and it wasn’t even 10 am.

Art projects managed,  I had some tuna with carrots, and a yogurt with quinoa and chia seed granola for lunch, served with yet another coffee. ( I did make sure that I was also drinking plenty of water, as well, to counteract the dehydrating effects of the caffeine. ) One might think that I would be bouncing through the roof with so much Joe in my system, but oddly, it seemed for most of the day that I was chasing the caffeine dragon.  I even had another huge “cup” after dinner with no real effect; until about 9 p.m.  Then, it seemed that I was finally fully awake; bouncing off the ceiling and walls awake.  This was just about the time that the rest of my family was settling in for the evening. So, while everyone else was fighting sleep, I did an hour of exercise, wrapped my friend’s birthday gifts, and organized my closet.  Around 12, I settled into bed with my iPad and watched several of the short Weight of a Nation documentaries on HBO.  I think I drifted off around 2 a.m.

This morning, I was also up early, but today I’m allowing myself only one cup of coffee in the morning (I’m finishing it now) and one cup of tea this afternoon. I have a busy day ahead of me, but  I really need to reel in my caffeine addiction and get my sleep schedule back to normal.  It’s not good for me and I’m sure it’s annoying to my family.  I’m certain I’ll be dragging today, but I’ll fight through it.

What keeps you going during the day that you should probably cut back on?  Do you drink too many caffeinated beverages?