Thursday, October 28, 2010

Don't Hog Your Journey

In one week, I turn 31. Perhaps it's the driving force behind my light bulb moment. The realization that a year ago I swore I would not still be this weight when I turned 31. So today, I am being more real and transparent than I've ever been. I'm sharing...gasp...REAL NUMBERS that I've seen on the scale.

One morning - a week or two ago - I was watching the Today Show while I was getting breakfast ready for the kids as I do every weekday morning. On that particular day Hoda Kotb was being interviewed and was disusing her battle with breast cancer. As I listened to her describe what she has been through, something hit a chord with me, and the things she said are things that I could apply to my own life.

First of all, let me say that I am not trying to compare weight loss to cancer. However, I feel we each have a story to tell and share. One that could bring understanding from some and encouragement to others. That is what I understood with Hoda.

She began to discuss that she had been very reluctant to share her battle with breast cancer in the public eye. Although she is on television everyday, she prefers to keep her private life private. But a chance encounter with a stranger on airplane convinced her to go public and share her story. The stranger on the airplane told her...“Don’t hog your journey.”

Hoda recalls, “When he said that, my eyes just opened wide. I knew right then and there, I told myself that when it’s time, I’m going to do it.”

And for me and my weight loss journey, I feel like it's time.

It's certainly not that I haven't shared with you before about my struggles and occasional successes. Who could forget my somewhat pathetic post where I declared my failure during a weight loss competition? That was actually something very hard to admit.

Let's start at the beginning. When I was the most fit and most toned. And I'm supposed to mention...I am 5'9".

It was the summer of 1999. I had just finished my freshman year at SBU and just completed my first season of college softball. I was running, swimming, lifting weights, and even doing step aerobics. It was the "perfect" me:

That was me at 165 pounds. That is the weight I'd like to be.

A few years passed. I got married, graduated from college, got a job, and started being a grown up. I gained 20 pounds from about 2001 to 2003. At 185, I looked like this:

Then I had three babies between 2004 and 2008. Brace yourself...I'm still sharing real numbers. At the end of each of my pregnancies, I weighed in the 240's. This is me three days before I had Gabriel (my third). I think I might have been 237 at the last appointment before this picture:

Imagine my dismay when I only had babies that were between 8 and 9 pounds. I left the hospital only losing the weight of the baby, maybe a pound more.

There I was. A woman weighing around 230 pounds. In my mind (and probably in the mind of most people) a woman isn't supposed to weigh that. Ever. How could I have let it get that high? What was I supposed to do?

Nursing certainly helped. Within a month or two after having Sarah (my second) I lost 10 pounds or so - which is pretty good considering I wasn't even trying. But I really wanted to work at it, so in the spring of 2007, I cut my calories, drank tons of water, and lost 25 pounds to get down to 195. At that point, I looked like this:

And even though I had about 30 more to go, I became content with how I looked, and stopped working at it. Then came the day when I quit nursing Sarah. Did you know you can't eat as much when you quit nursing? Otherwise, you will gain weight? Yeah, I think I would have nursed her longer! Within two months, I gained 10 pounds! How frustrating.

Then another pregnancy put me back where I was before.

Last year on my 30th birthday, I weighed 215 pounds. As if turning 30 wasn't traumatic enough, I was at a weight I didn't want to be.

(By the isn't really fun seeing pictures
of myself next to skinny relatives.)

I told myself another year would NOT go by being that weight. In fact, that's when my friend Kim and I decided to start training for a 5K! We told each other we would begin in January, and we did!

But running didn't help me lose weight. I still had horrible eating habits, and I stayed at 215 through all of our training. I was 215 on my birthday, and I remained at 215 through June of the next year when we ran that 5K together.

And guess what...I quit running. Did you know that running must train your body to think it needs to run? After June, I gained 8 pounds from not running!

As for my current numbers...

Something clicked for me on September 1st. I'm not sure what it was. I stepped on the scale and saw 223. Really. 223. A friend of mine had just shared that she lost 40 pounds, and I was genuinely happy for her. I told her I was going to take her will power from her, and I think I must have meant it.

I've lost 18 pounds since September 1st, and I am now at 205.

I wanted to be 199 for my 31st birthday, but I think I'm going to fall a bit short of that goal. If I keep at my pace, however, I will be at 203, and that will be 20 pounds lost by my birthday. I think that's a great accomplishment.

The hard thing about being tall is that this kind of weight loss is just not noticeable. My mom is 5'4", and when she lost 20 pounds, it was VERY noticeable. Everyone knew. She ended up losing 30 all together, and it's just like a new woman!

For me, it's not going to be that way. When I lose 20, I still have almost 40 to go. And it's ok. I do notice that my jeans are falling off. That's enough proof for me.

So...big sigh...there's my journey. I doubt I will write much more about it until I get closer to my goal. I've been losing 2 pounds a week, and I think I figured I might be there by the end of February.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Love This Girl

The burnt orange leaves match her hair.

She feels the gentle breeze, and she keeps playing.

Dirt piles, while not the norm for little girls, give her moments of fun.

I love this girl.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chronicles of a Homeschool Mom

When we decided to homeschool, one of my close friends told me to lay low. "Don't make a big proclamation about it." We just do what we do, and when someone asks, we tell them politely. I have held to that for about six months now, and while I still consider myself a rookie (because I am), I've had enough sincere inquires that I felt like it was ok that I finally wrote a post about it. I'll cover a few, very basic questions we receive about it, and I'll share a few pictures that I've taken along the way.

When We Decided

I had left for a women's conference back in April, and I expected that God would speak to me. There was no telling what He might reveal while I was away, but what I didn't know was that He would be talking my husband as well.

It's still a clear memory in my mind. The afternoon that I came back, Josh and I sat on the couch in the living room as the kids played in their rooms. What seemed like out of no where, Josh began, "Chrissy, I really felt like God was speaking to me this morning at church. I feel like we are supposed to homeschool Caleb."

I paused. I smiled.

You see, up until that point, we had made every plan to send Caleb to a nearby Christian school. We had met with the administrator. We had read the handbook. We had set aside funds and made financial plans for the future so this would be a reality not only for Caleb but for Sarah and Gabriel when the day would come for them, too.

But that changed. And I was totally ok with it. I had considered homeschooling anyway, but I didn't want to do it unless Josh was on board with it. When he was, that's when we took off with the idea.

The Curriculum

I am fortunate to have several friends who homeschool, and among them are some very seasoned homeschool moms! They have used a variety of curriculum, and after speaking with them, looking over a variety and reading about others, we decided to use Alpha Omega's Lifepac sets. The pages are colorful. The planning is simplistic. It's often repetitive which insures mastery of the skill set that's being taught.

Aside from the workbooks from Lifepac, I also use things here and there - whatever I think will help him learn. We have sight-word flash cards for example. We also have a few craft books for kids. And just the other day, I thought that rolling dice and adding the two together might be a fun way to work on adding, so we played a game with dice. We also utilize a marker board and have fun working on numbers, letters, words, etc. on it. (I have a hilarious video of Caleb and the marker board...I'll try to get it on her sometime today.)

Our Schedule

Each day we start at 9:00 am. We say our pledges to the American flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible. Then we pray for our morning. After that, we begin with our language arts lesson which usually lasts for about 45 minutes. We've enjoyed making silly stories in our book.

Using the long e sound:

Using words with th:

Then we take a break from seat work and sit on the couch with mommy and have reading time, usually for 15 or 20 minutes. If it's a book that has words he knows, I point to them and make him tell me. But more often than not, I let him cuddle with me and I just read a few books to him. He loves it. We received our Book It materials from Pizza Hut, and he's working towards his free pizza for the month of October! I used to love doing that as a kid.

When our reading time is done, we move on to math. Just this week, he was introduced to subtraction. It's been fun to see him pick up on each new concept. Each math lesson usually takes 30 or 35 minutes.

Lifepac does not have workbooks for social studies or science until 1st grade. I've looked up objectives from schools, and from what I gather a kindergartner needs a very basic understanding of these two subjects. Things like knowing his address or the days of the week, knowing his five senses and about living things. We've got that.

During the week, he is involved in several things outside of our home. He enjoys his Sunday school class and children's church class. He played soccer and just had his last game last night! He loves going to his PE class each Tuesday. He enjoys his Christmas program practice each Wednesday. We go to the library (usually) once a week on Thursday, and I think the girls behind the counter enjoy seeing him as much as he enjoys seeing them. For each of these activities, he is required to respect adults, stand in line, wait his turn, sit quietly, etc.

So there is my very basic overview of homeschooling Caleb! Thank you to those who have been overwhelmingly supportive. I am more than willing to answer questions about it, but remember, I'm still a rookie!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Babies. I've Got Those.

I'm not sure if this even counts as being bloggy, but it's a simple assignment so I thought I'd better not pass it up.

This week's theme at Trendy Treehouse for Shutter Love Tuesday is Babies. Yeah, I have three of those. Ha! Here is one of my very favorites from the day Gabriel was born.

You can't really see his face, but my older two were looking at him so adoringly. It's just priceless to me.

And here is that sweet face close up.

ovember 19, 2008.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Where Did It Go?

My love for blogging.

I don't know where it went.

Have you seen it?

Do you know where I can look?

I'd like to have it back.

So just let me know if you can help.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm Sick - With 5QF and Winner

On Monday I finally went to my doctor's office after coughing and coughing and coughing for about two weeks. Not just a light cough, a deep - cough so hard I about throw up (and have) - cough. I was diagnosed with pneumonia, and right now my meds have still not really done anything to improve it (today will be day 5 of meds). If I am not better by Monday, I'm supposed to call and tell them.

Here's hoping I don't have to go back.

This week Mama M selected one of my questions for Five Question Friday (this is the third time this has happened, and would you believe I did not fill out the 5QF the other times...bad, I know). So I thought I'd better participate this time!

1. What do you listen to while driving? Most often I listen to Contemporary Christian radio stations (in our area it's Spirit FM or Joy FM). Occasionally I'll listen to Country or Soft Rock. But lately I've been known to throw in a Christmas CD. I can't help it. When the weather changes, especially when it's cold, I'm ready for my Christmas music!

2. What is your least favorite thing about Fall? I have no idea. I love fall so very much. I love the temperature. I love the jeans and sweatshirts. I love the pumpkins and the changing leaves. I love seeing my kids become excited as they dress up for Halloween, and I love Thanksgiving. Oh, and my birthday is in the fall! I love when it freezes and all the bugs go away. So yeah, I don't have a legit answer for this one. And who doesn't love it when we "fall back" in November?

3. What does your dream house look like, inside and out? Here are a few specs that my dream house would have:

It would most likely be a ranch style home.
I would like a basement.
I would like vaulted ceilings in the living room.
I would like a room for every child.
I would like a double sink in the master bathroom. Shoot, throw in a jacuzzi tub.
I would like a fireplace.
I would like a bigger kitchen, bigger living room, bigger dining area.
Each room would be perfectly painted and decorated like something you would see in an HGTV episode.

The outside would be perfectly landscaped. It would be a brick or stone front. The yard would be huge, I think I'd take a few acres, but nothing more than that. We'd have a new playset in the back.

The outside might look something like this:

I say might because I really have no idea. It's just that even though this is a "dream house", I wanted to show that I would still want it to look like a simple family lives there.

4. Would you ever own a minivan? Own one? I'm an advocate for minivans! I don't get why some people are so adimately against it! Silly girls! I love the space. I love the sliding door. And mostly, I love that I can walk from my seat in the front to the seats in the back if I have to.

If you haven't seen this, you should. It's awesome.

I will have this song in my head all day now.

5. Do you wash new clothes before wearing them? Are we supposed to answer this honestly? No, not every time. In fact, in several of my business classes, to prep for interviews the men were told to buy new collared shirts and not wash them for that crisp, brand new look. Maybe I kept that in my mind? That for a new look, you should wear it new? I don't know. I hope we can still be friends. :o)

And the winner for my giveway is the 7th commenter.

Which was Kelly at Blessed Mommy, Blessed Wife!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Oh, how I love October! The brisk, cool weather is just so much fun after a long, hot summer. I love the leaves as they turn color, and as they fall, I love to see my kids play in piles of them in our yard.

And of course...I love pumpkins. They are the classic symbol of fall. They are so pretty.

This week's Shutter Love Tuesday theme over at Trendy Treehouse is PUMPKINS! It's funny that my favorite pictures are ones with just Sarah in them. These are from October of 2008.

I was so sad to hear that the pumpkin patch that we have gone to over the last few years will not be in business this fall. Hopefully we will find another one and create all new memories!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Our Living Room

For some reason it dawned on me yesterday that I never shared the final results of our living room makeover. Back in the spring, Josh and I spent an entire day painting and edging and trimming (with the help of our sweet friend Peggy), and the end results were great!

A few weeks before that we spent picking out new furniture and colors in Columbia, MO with our sister-in-law Rebecca. I guess Josh was really into it!

So in the end we went from this:

To this:

And I really love it. It's amazing what some new colors and matching furniture can do for a room! :o)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Giveaway

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this topic is one that has long been near and dear to my heart. I have family members who are breast cancer survivors, and seeing their courage and strength through it all was an incredible thing.

I have participated in races for them.

Did you know that some of the top risk factors for breast cancer are ones that we can control? Weight, diet, and exercise are things we can adjust.

Briefly I want to share my small success in September. I know I haven't mentioned weight loss in a while, especially since my post about it in April. But last month, I lost 9 pounds after being inspired by a friend. I hope to continue with this trend, and Kim and I have started walking in the mornings again, usually two miles each time!

I am working on the risk factors I can control.

So in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I want to give away something PINK to one of my readers.

It is a pink cutting board and knife set (as shown in picture above) from Pampered Chef.

To enter:

Leave a comment on this post. If you know someone who has battled breast cancer, tell me about them.

For additional entries (one additional entry each):

1. Follow Traveling Light with Google Friend Connect, leave a comment to let me know!
2. Like Traveling Light on Facebook, again leave a comment so I know!
3. Join Traveling Light on Twitter, yep...come back and leave a comment so I know you did!
4. Add the giveaway button to your blog...leave a comment telling me where!
5. Leave a comment with another risk factor for breast cancer that I did not mention.

Winner will be announced Friday, October 8th.


Be sure to do your Breast Self Exams (BSE) once a month, and find a friend to remind each other! It was because of a BSE that I found a lump last spring. I went through exams, ultrasounds, and a biopsy. All of which can be scary. My results came back, and there were no "bad cells" detected.

I hope this month you will read articles on breast cancer prevention and find information that you may have not known!

Love you girls!

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