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January 29, 2014

Weight Watchers Wednesday (12)

Oh Happy Day. I get to post this Wednesday that I reached my 10% goal last week! Yay!!

The WW keychain and 10% charm
I had had a pretty stellar week as far as tracking and working out went, so I was really happy to see it reflect on the scale.

Here's a recap:
10/31/13 -- First Weigh-in Weight: 189.2 pounds and BMI was 29.6
11/28/13 (one month in) --   Weight: 180.4 (down 8.8 pounds) and BMI was 28.3
12/19/14 (last recap post)-- Weight: 176.2 (down total of 13.0 pounds) and BMI was 27.6
1/23/14 (almost three months in) -- Weight: 170.0 (down a total of 19.2 pounds) and BMI is 26.6

Also, I got the results from my bloodwork at my annual physical and my total Cholesterol, HDL, LDL and Triglyceride levels were all "at goal." My Thyroid test was normal, too. I'm so excited that all of that is doing well. My blood pressure was 110/78 which is a lot better than it had been (usually around 122/80 or so).

All the other times, getting to 10% was actually the kiss of death for any further weight loss. I don't know what was wrong with my head those times, but I often couldn't keep tracking, slowed down on my workouts...or you know, got pregnant or something! Getting pregnant is easy for me at the weight I am now (or within five pounds up or down). I don't mean that to sound unapologetic...it's a simple fact. As another matter of fact, my body produces fertility signals way better at this rate and NFP is much easier, too. (Note: I do have a post brewing on this topic because I think there's a lot to be said for being at a healthy weight when managing fertility--whether trying to avoid, trying to conceive or not trying to do anything...just monitor fertility and weight is a sensitive subject that many people don't want to touch.)

so my focus this week was to keep on going! Keep on tracking. Keep on working out. Keep planning to attend meetings...even after I hit the Lifetime threshold...the meetings are really important for me to have accountability.

This week was awesome in the workout department. I am still on my streak of work-out days. as of yesterday's workout(s) I am at 16 days in a row of doing some sort of workout. I continue to hit the Crossfit box on at least Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I swam laps on Saturday, got another run outside with our awesome warm weather on Sunday, Workouts at the Y on Tuesday and Thursday nights, including my push-up app and I continue to increase my planking time. This week I had the opportunity to get to Crossfit on Tuesday (the earlier session) and then I also ran 2 miles on the treadmill at the Y, did my pushup app and planks. So...getting plenty of activity points going!

Food wasn't horrible, but I had a wretched day on Sunday. For some reason I was hungry all day long. I wanted to snack -- cheese, crackers, peanut butter...you name it, I wanted it and I actually had some of it. The good news is that I tracked everything. Also, last Thursday was "Taco Night" at our house and I snarfed...a lot. However, I do still have 10 Flex points remaining in my POints allowance, so I suppose all is not lost. haha.

I suppose it's time for a photo...please ignore the fact I have no makeup on...I'd already cleaned up after my workouts last night!

I can really see a huge difference in face/neck area...

I am wearing a sweatshirt...but that's okay...my mid-section is totally going to be the last thing to get "flat" if there is such a thing anymore for a mom of 5+1
BTW -- those jeans are my size 12's that are actually too big now, but I keep wearing them. I went through my closet this past week and I seriously do NOT have enough pairs of pants that I can get rid of the too-big ones yet! ughhh, you know?

Oh well, tomorrow's another weigh-in. I have tempered expectations due to my Sunday snack-out, but maybe all the extra work I put in activity-wise will make up for it! Have a great week!

January 27, 2014

Monday Mumbles - 67

Good Monday morning to you! Wha---? another Monday? Okay then.

1. We were blessed with a warm day two Sundays in a row. Yesterday, I took advantage and ran 4 miles. Yay! But I was sore the remainder of the day. I've been running 3 miles no problem for awhile now...but add a mile and, oh boy, my muscles let me know about it!!

2. Helen's basketball team won another one on Saturday. The game almost didn't happen! The team we were supposed to play played the game at 8:00 and was also supposed to play at 9:00 against us. but they all dressed and went home! Thankfully, the organizer of the league was able to get a hold of someone and they all came back so the girls could play. It was fun and Helen scored another basket. Aside from that she played fabulous defense, too. :)

3. Saturday was busy with a birthday party for Helen to attend AND a birthday party for Dom to attend. It is these days when I am so happy Craig has Friday nights off...because we can split up and make sure both kids get to go to their friends' parties.

4. Another reason I like Craig having Friday nights off? Date nights. We went to see American Hustle Friday night after the younger four went to bed (left Sarah in charge...) It was good. I just love Jennifer Lawrence. She's one of my favorites.

5. I swam laps on Saturday morning for the second Saturday in a row. It feels good to do something non-weight-bearing. I am looking forward to when I get so much more comfortable being back in the water that it is effortless...just not there yet.

6. Speaking of swimming...Dani is doing great on swim team! They moved her to "lane 3" which apparently is a good thing. Then I saw her practicing Friday night and I realized she's second in line in Lane 3. this has to be good, too. She is working so hard! It won't be long, I think, until they allow her to try out for the actual team (she's on "club" which is the level below "team").

7. Vincent is crazy. The other night, Sarah was trying to get him in his pajamas and he ran away from her and up the stairs saying, "I go scare girls!" and I heard him open the door to Dani and Helen's room and they screamed (most likely they were in some state of undress getting into pajamas...) THAT right there is exactly what I envisioned happening in my house at some point when I first learned I would have two boys in the house...picking on the older sisters. I am sure this is the beginning of something wonderful, LOL.

8. Man, Sunday was one of those days where I could not stop eating or snacking. I kept trying to drink water ("maybe I'm just thirsty...") but it didn't work. I still wanted chips, or cheese, or....something!! I really hate days like that and I hope yesterday was the last one until I make it to lifetime for WW, because days like that really slow me down!!

9. That warm weather we had yesterday? I fear it is probably going away because I heard the winds howling outside last night. I guess if I got to choose, I'd have the warm weather on the weekend, if we got to have it at all...but man, I'd give anything for spring to show up and stick around at this point.

This sums up my bad attitude pretty well:

10. I took Sarah shopping to use her gift card she got at Christmas yesterday. She got some killer deals! Sometimes it pays to have huge-ass feet (haha!!) because they had a pair of boots on clearance that she liked that were size 10 -- $5 pair of boots! She scored!! She also found a graphic tee she liked for $5 off the clearance rack, another shirt suitable for school or church for $5, too! The only item she bought over the $5 threshold was a cute, pink infinity scarf. She made out like a bandit! I'm so glad, though...it was fun to take her shopping and watch her go to work.

January 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes - 74

Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting! 

--- 1 ---

I'll use my first take to shamelessly plug my nomination for a 2014 Sheenazing Award. The Awards are the brainchild of Bonnie at A Knotted Life and my li'l ol' blog is nominated for the category, "Blogger with the Best Meme's". I've been looking at the list of nominees and wondering however I could be included in that list, but hey...I might as well, huh? So, go vote for me! :)

--- 2 ---

I am still keeping up with The Biggest Loser and I'm super-happy with "makeover week." I keep thinking it's time to do something with my hair and when I saw what they did with Marie...
Photo Found Here
...and her hair, I think I may just have to try that look.

Here's my face now...What do you think?

--- 3 ---

The Frozen Tundra has returned to make its home here in Kansas City. Yuck! You know, it got cold awful early around here. The kind of cold we had in November was the kind of cold usually reserved for January and February around here. And now we've plummeted to new depths. I'm pretty much sick of it. I'm getting too old for cold weather.

--- 4 ---
Monday, I mentioned my Sarah was getting a phone. Well...

So far, she's handling it well. She was completely surprised that she got it. It was not her birthday, we hadn't gotten her 2nd quarter grade card yet and Christmas was a month ago. But, her dad and I had been discussing and believed her to be mature enough to handle the phone the way we thought she should, and thought she'd be responsible with text messaging, the camera and the potential social media that accompanies a smartphone. I really am glad we got the deal we got switching our service over to T-Mobile, too. (Psst, they are paying early termination fees and allowing you to sign on with them without a contract. Awesome!)
--- 5 ---

At Crossfit this week I set a PR in the Push Press. The Push Press is a movement where you take a barbell full of weight from your chest over your head. I lifted 105 pounds! Back in my younger days when I would venture an overhead lift, I never did barbells...always a machine and NEVER got close to 100 pounds. And now, I'm hoisting 105 pounds over my head! It's nuts. And it makes me feel very proud of how strong I am getting.

--- 6 ---

I spent 22:00 on the erg (rowing machine for those that don't know) at the YMCA last night. I do not like the erg at the YMCA. It is older than dirt and rickety. I rowed my 5000 meters, but I think from now on I will reserve my 5000 meter rows for the really nice erg at the downtown gym where I bought a punch-pass card or at the crossfit box. But, I got it done and that's all that matters, I guess. After that, I set my timer for 10:00 and I did 90 second plank on my elbows, rested 1:00, then 90 second plank on my arms extended and rested 1:00, then the last five minutes was 1:00 on/1:00 off planks and I alternated elbows-arms extended-elbows for those three minutes I was in plank position. Crazy. I know it is working my muscles, but it is so hard!!
--- 7 ---
Now I can tell you that KU Men's Basketball is 5-0 in conference play!! Wow, no one thought that would happen a couple of weeks ago. I'm so excited, though. this weekend, KU plays at TCU and that is the site of that unfortunate debacle from last year so I do hope they show up ready to play on Saturday. 


Be sure to go check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Posts!


January 22, 2014

**Updated** Someone Thinks I'm Sheenazing! (Vote for me?!)

The beautiful Bonnie at A Knotted Life began the Sheenazing Awards last year. I think it was lots of fun and I enjoyed seeing all the blogs (new and old to me) nominated.

This year, someone nominated Endless Strength! I don't know what category the nomination falls under yet, but will when Bonnie posts the nominations and opens the voting. So, I'll be sure to come back and update this post. And, I found out the nomination a in the category of "Blogger with the Best Memes". Well, I think I am gonna have to extend credit to my friend Jessica because she dreamt up "Monday Mumbles" and I just latched on.
But either way, I am really excited to be included, so thank you!!

I'm a little (okay...a lot) excited at this first-time honor of being nominated for some internet blog-award thing! It's very cool and thank you to the person (or people? be still my heart!!) who nominated this ol' blog. It definitely has done my heart some good. :)

But...I know I don't have a ton of readers and such, but I am going to go ahead and ask you, dear readers, to vote for me! :) We've been through a lot this year. I know I've written more about my grief than anything else. And lately I've fallen into some weekly link-ups as my main source of writing. Hey, what can I say? Life in a dual-income household with five kids is pretty busy!

No matter what you do, you should definitely view the blogs nominated for the Sheenazing Awards because you may just find your next favorite blog. And for sure, follow Bonnie. She's got an incredible story and she's just an all around swell gal.

Okay, I'll shut up now. :)




I'm done.


Vote? (for me?)

Ok. bye.

Weight Watchers Wednesday (11)

Happy Wednesday! Time to report on my weigh-in last week and how this week has gone. I might even delve into some other stuff, we'll see. I'm kind of tired. :)

Last week, I weighed in at 0.6 pounds heavier than the week before. After having a huge drop like I had had (6.2 pounds) I kind of expected to be up...even only slightly, so I wasn't surprised. It's always good not to be surprised at the scale.

How has it gone this week? Actually, I have had a fantastic week in the Tracking department. 

I gotta tell ya...tracking is really the key to this whole accountability thing. If I don't track what I eat, I conveniently forget how much and what I ate. So, tracking really is the key to me feeling confident and comfortable about my food intake and my activity. I bet lots of my Facebook friends think it's stupid that I share my workouts, but for me...I NEED THAT. Seriously. I need to post what I did. I don't care if anyone "likes" it or comments on it or anything like that...I NEED TO POST IT. It makes me feel more accountable for getting my activity in. I'm in a support group on FB where I also post what I've eaten. It helps us to support each other and again...I NEED to post it somewhere and be accountable somewhere.

Back to my week: unfortunately, I have used quite a bit of my 49 point weekly allowance as of Tuesday night. That's strange for me, I don't usually do that. However, I do have about 10 more activity points than usual for this point in the week.

How did I use so many of my 49 point weekly allowance? Well, Dominic's birthday was Friday and we ordered Papa John's pizza. And...well, I ate more of it than I probably should have. The good news is that I tracked it all! I also had a couple of Skinny Girl Margaritas this week...and while those are favorable in the PointsPlus category, I hadn't really drank any alcohol for a couple of weeks...so they are points I hadn't been using that I did use this week.

How did I end up with more activity points? I didn't take the weekend off from exercising! I swam 2000m on Saturday in about 45 minutes and it was a fabulous workout. That right there equated to 10 activity points, by the way! Then Sunday, the weather was gorgeous and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to run in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of January. We're back to the crazy freezing temps now, so I am relegated to the treadmill. But it was nice to get activity in on the weekend and therefore, including Tuesday, I have had 9 straight days of some sort of workout.

Just sharing a bit of knowledge on a WWW :)

I want to do a recap again, but I really want to hit my 10% goal first. So I'm not going to do it this week. One really positive thing that's been happening recently is that people are telling me they can see my hard work paying off. Mostly they say, "Michelle, you look great!" or ask if I'd lost some weight. It's nice when people notice. 

Another non-scale victory is that it really is time to go through my closet and get rid of all the too-big pants and tops. I have a section now that I literally cannot wear because the pants sag too much, and the tops don't stay up on my shoulders properly. That is cool. The thing holding me back is actually trying on the clothes from my "smaller" section of my closet because I'm afraid of them being tight. So...I guess I'll wait another week or two, I will survive with a set of clothes I've been wearing most of the last couple of weeks.

When we went to the KU game on Saturday, they had "XL" t-shirts for everyone that said "Sixth Man" on the front for a picture they were taking (color-coded Crimson and Blue). I put it on, but seriously...Way. Too. Big. and that also made me feel good.

So, I will continue to work. I have this little goal in the back of my head that I want to be done paying for WW by April. So I need to get under the upper end of that "healthy range" so I can start my 6 weeks of maintaining that and get my Lifetime Membership!

Hope you are having a great week!

January 20, 2014

Monday Mumbles - 66

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday to you!

  This is one of my favorite holidays. So much of what Dr. King stood for and spoke out is near and dear to my heart. I also like having the day off work It would be even better if the kids didn't have the day off from school...but, you can't have everything I guess. :)

1. I had my annual doctor checkup today. It went well. He was happy my weight was down. I said, "I'm still working on it." And he said, "you usually take care of it, I'm not worried." Love my doctor. Love. Him. :)

2. Lucky me, I get to schedule my first Mammogram. Oh boy. Although, my doc said that the technology has come a long way in the last 10 years. I mentioned I had a couple of friends in the last year battling breast cancer...so I definitely want to stay on top of it.

3. I'm going to head out to a new wireless phone company and most likely switch us over today. Well, switch us...and add one. Yes, Craig and I have decided to get Sarah a phone. Heaven help us.

4. Actually, she's proven to be very responsible about things over the past 18 months. And, we've had a few situations lately where we have thought, "Gosh, if Sarah had a phone, XYZ wouldn't have been such a pain."

5. I have had a talk with her about how we feel she has shown the maturity necessary to be responsible for a phone, that monitoring still applies, and please keep in mind that as quickly as we can provide a phone for her to use, we can also take it away. I think she'll be fine.

6. How about my Jayhawks?!? The first four games of conference play were scheduled to be as tough as anything we had before conference play. And they were, but the Jayhawks won them all so far and sit atop the Big 12 again. Yay!

7. Love this video they showed at tipoff Saturday:

8. Tonight we play another ranked opponent, Baylor. I hope they pull out another W! 


10. Oh yeah and boo on the Broncos going to the Super Bowl. YOu know, I used to think Mizzou was the only team I really disliked. But I think I dislike Denver worse. I just can't help it. I have been a Chiefs fan all my life and despised Denver for so long. I even used to like P. Manning. But...now, I can't stand him because he's a donkey.

Have a great Monday!!

January 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes - 73

Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting! 

--- 1 ---

I had a thought while I was running last night about how weight loss works -- at least in my experience. You see, I had that phenomenal week/weigh-in last week where I lost 6.2 pounds in a week, right? Then yesterday I had gained 0.6 pounds. I wasn't upset, but I realized that sometimes when you have a week like I did where you lose 6.2 pounds, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking, "Hey, this weight loss gig isn't so hard. I got this!" and you might lapse a little bit in your judgment and eat a little too much over the weekend and not track it really well. But then you get a dose of reality at weigh-in. Because...no matter how hard you tried on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday...you just couldn't undo what you did over the weekend. And the scale doesn't lie, folks!!

--- 2 ---

So, I was still running and I realized that spiritual life can work the same way. (I was getting my run in between returning home from work and taking Helen for her First Reconciliation, so I had sin on the brain!) I don't know about you all, but when I go to Confession, oh man, what a feeling! I've committed to avoiding certain sins again, I'm gonna try really hard (because let's face it...we're going to sin again...because we will) not to commit some of my really bad ones that are also really bad habits. Well, so I do pretty good for a week or two...and I start to think, "Huh, see...I can do this whole living-right thing!" But the further I get from my last confession, the less I'm focused and inevitably I fall into a pattern of sin. Eventually, I take stock and examine my conscience (kind of like stepping on that scale...) and BAM! I can't lie to myself and I know it's time to go back to confession.

--- 3 ---

Something else I noticed while running? I am getting faster! I am now much farther along my route when I finish my Rosary! :)
--- 4 ---
So, here's a picture of a pretty girl who's soul has been wiped clean:

--- 5 ---

We'll be celebrating Dominic's birthday tonight. We are ordering pizza and he gets to pick "anything he wants" to rent from Family Video. Of course, he already told me he is going to rent the Angry Birds Star Wars Wii game. Love that kid. One track mind, he has.

--- 6 ---
Oh! in Helen's basketball games last Saturday, she scored a basket in each! I was so over-proud. (Yes...I am THAT mom...I am way over-proud of my kids.) I jumped way high out of my seat! What was even cooler was that every girl on the team scored baskets last week. I loved it! It is so much fun coaching these girls...just a great group.

--- 7 ---
Last week I told you all about how my beloved Jayhawks are 1-0 in conference play! Well...now they are 3-0! Very exciting. Tomorrow they play at Allen Fieldhouse again -- another one of the ranked and good teams of the Big 12, Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State beat KU last year in Allen Fieldhouse. Not cool. Of course, the Jayhawks repaid the favor a couple weeks later when they went to Stillwater. But...I'm thinking there better not be a repeat tomorrow. I get to go to this game, and I'm really excited!!   


Be sure to go check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Posts!


January 16, 2014

Dear Dominic

Dear Dominic,

Happy Birthday! I can't believe you are 5 years old today. 5! Five! 

There's just something about turning 5. You are old enough to go to school in the fall--not just preschool...though that's fun and you enjoy that. But "real school" as you call it. 

I wanted to document some of the things I love about you today. You probably won't read this now, but maybe someday in the future you will.

I love your heart. You are so very sweet. And kind. And considerate. You love people with the kind of love that even most adults can't feel or show for others. 

I love your brain. You're smart and witty. I think you get the "witty" mostly from your dad. You amaze me every day with your love of everything you learn. You basically taught yourself to read and now you nag me to "work on my math" and when I bring up the preschool math games, you tell me, "No mom...addition and subtraction -- THAT is what I am trying to work on." Your reasoning ability is far beyond what we've experienced with the other kids at this age and often we just throw up our hands not knowing whether we should be amazed or just laugh. (Often we do both.)

I love how you are the spitting image of your dad. It's fun to watch you and think -- I bet Craig did/said that sort of thing when he was that age. 

I love your obsession with Angry Birds. And with Star Wars. And with Angry Birds Star Wars. I'm a big Star Wars fan, so it tickles me that we have that in common and I can't wait to see what else we have in common, as you grow up.

I love your cautious optimism. You are positive much of the time, but you're cautious, too. You believe you can do things, but you understand it will take effort sometimes. And you're pretty good at gauging whether the effort is worth it in the end.

Five years ago today was one of the five most joyous days of my life. I remember within 20 minutes of your birth, my doctor asked if another doctor could observe the birth -- it would be her first. I remember thinking, "huh, fine time to ask as I'm getting ready to push!" but I didn't object. And then, I remember within the minute you were born, our doctor said, "Gosh, you guys are so amazing!" 

And really...it is you, sweet boy...you are amazing. Every encounter you have makes someone smile, I think. I remember when we visited my sister when you were only just about 2 years old and she said, "Gosh, you just have to experience Dominic, don't you?" And what she meant, I think, was that words won't do you justice. Gosh, here I am trying to do justice to you with words, anyway.
Yesterday, I walked past you in the hallway on my way to Helen's basketball practice. I stopped in front of you, gave you a hug and told you to "have fun!" and "I love you." As I walked away, my heart burst with joy and pride at the tone of your voice as you spoke to a friend in the hallway and said, "That was my mommy." The words by themselves were not what was touching me, but it was the way you said it. I could feel your love for me in the words you said. And I didn't even have to look at you to feel that. And that's how you are 24/7 and I love it.

How could I feel any more blessed than I do having you for a son?

Happy Birthday.

Your incredibly overrun-with-pride Mommy.


January 15, 2014

Weight Watchers Wednesday (10)

Gah! another week is flying by!

well, on the off-chance you missed my post Friday about my weigh-in last week...I'll recap. I was down 6.2 pounds. Crazy!! I'm sure it was a bit of the back-on-track-losing-what-I-should-have-lost-before deal, but hey, any amount of DOWN on the scale is fine by me. As of weigh-in last Thursday, I was 0.4 away from hitting the 10% body weight lost goal. 

This week hasn't been horrible, but it hasn't been as good as the week before. First of all, at weigh-in, I found out I lost a point for my daily points total. I am down to 26 points every day which is as low as it goes for the weight loss phase. I'm sure it was psychological, but I was hungry ever since I found that out. Literally...I felt my stomach growling all day Thursday (after my meeting) and all day Friday and most of the day Saturday. I finally gave in on Saturday and Sunday and just ate stuff without tracking. This is not good.

Monday and Tuesday I got back on track by using some protein drinks I have available and reined in my eating and tracked. This is good.

I did my run on the treadmill last Thursday, plus some push-ups and planks. Then Friday, I made it to Crossfit -- where the WOD was...    wait for it ...  .... .... 100 Burpees for time! Yippee! (not) Actually, I find I don't mind the Burpees all that much because they are such effective calorie/fat burners. Anyway, a wrench was thrown in the whole deal because every 2 minutes we had to stop the burpees and do 5 pull-ups. So...it took me 12:39 to complete that workout.

I decided that a Friday workout like that earned me a whole weekend free of working out (and apparently I decided I should eat without tracking, too. Blah!) Monday found me back at crossfit, then on Tuesday, the Y was way too crowded for my liking, so I stuck with the elliptical and some planks. Tonight I'll hit Crossfit again for my "last chance" workout. :)

At the WW meeting last week, they went over the Simple Start program they are pushing. It's basically eating meals planned with power foods in mind and then you only have to track points for indulgences. I put a menu together for a week for me to try and I decided -- that I just have to stick with the Points Plus system and what i"ve been doing. First of all, my grocery bill would be ginormous. Secondly, I am too much of a "high volume" eater. That whole thing they say where your body tells you you're full? Yeah...I don't have that. And, honestly, I'm through trying to force my body to create it. My brain has to tell my body that it's full because I've eaten enough. That's just the way it is. 

So, I am hopeful for a continued downward trend tomorrow, but won't be surprised if it doesn't happen since I had that crazy drop last week. We shall see. 

Have a great week!

January 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes - 72

Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting! 

--- 1 ---
The last time I wrote QT, the kids were letting out for Christmas. I've been slacking! But it's been pretty busy...the holidays are over, we had crazy cold and snowy weather and 2 snow days at the beginning of the week. But now the kids are back in school, thank goodness!

--- 2 ---

Did you see this article about how Cardinal Burke has said Nancy Pelosi should not be admitted to Communion until she ends advocacy views on abortion. Now, I saw a great comment on facebook with regard to this. Someone posted in the thread where I saw this article: "Is this binding? Or just an acknowledgment of what has been true for a long time, but she has blatantly ignored?" Hmm, good question. Burke's words are strong though noting that what he said is not his "opinion" but actual canon law (Canon 915). 

I don't anticipate that Nancy Pelosi would do the right thing and simply refrain from presenting herself...so there is still the predicament of pastoral care, right? I mean...if she presents herself, it's not that likely a priest is going to refuse her. At least that's what I think.

--- 3 ---

Okay, I know it's not Weight Watchers Wednesday...but...I LOST 6.2 POUNDS LAST WEEK! Holy Moly! I was so excited at my weigh-in yesterday. So...I'll give a little more detail in next Wednesday's post, but ... YAY!!!
--- 4 ---
Downton Abbey started last Friday. I really love that show! Sarah and I watched it and were happy with some developments, peeved at others. I enjoyed this breakdown by Heather at Mama Knows, Honeychild. To think I didn't let this wonderful show into my life until October of last year! Oh well, I am up to speed now. :)

--- 5 ---

Do you watch "The Biggest Loser"? I have a girl crush on Jillian Michaels. I would love to get her to be my trainer for a month. Holy smokes!! Well, anyway, they have these workouts they call their "last chance" workouts. It's their last workout each week before weigh-in and surely, they know, that one workout won't make or break their weigh-in, but they go after it like it will. And I have been doing that with my Wednesday Crossfit workouts. It's a totally different mindset and I like how it changes my intensity.

--- 6 ---
Furthermore (on that topic) I have also started doing planks on my nights at the Y (when Dani has swim practice). I set my timer on my phone for 5 minutes and I plank for a minute, rest for a minute until it gets to zero. This means 3 minutes of planks and 2 minutes of rest. On my third one last night, I wanted so bad to just give up when I had 20 seconds left -- but I closed my eyes and thought what Jillian Michaels might yell in my face if I put my knees down. It worked...I kept it up until the end.

--- 7 ---
My beloved Jayhawks are 1-0 in conference play! They played a nice offensive game on the road the other night and stepped it up a bit better defensively, too. Tomorrow is the first showdown with the in-state rival, Kansas State. I always get nervous for this game. Well, truth be told, I get nervous for every game...crazy, I know! But, I'm hoping the newfound intensity on defense can increase and that they never have an offensive output like last Sunday ever again! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!! GO KU!!

Be sure to go check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Posts!


January 8, 2014

Weight Watchers Wednesday (9)

Okay, I completely whiffed on this one today. Driving home from work I thought, "Doh! I forgot to post my WW post!"

Well, last week I was up a pound, so I've been on track all week long. And by "on track" I mean, I've stayed within my points and I've actually tracked everything that went in my mouth. I worked out Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

I finally just took a deep breath and decided to put on a pair of jeans that I haven't worn since Dominic was about 8 or 9 months old. Yes...my 4th child... :)

And...here I am in them! I was excited!! I wore them all day Saturday and I didn't feel self-conscious. It was ever so loverly. :)

For the record -- size 10 Levi's :)

Weigh in is tomorrow and I'm hopeful for a good loss.

Tune in next week to find out. :)

January 6, 2014

Monday Mumbles - 65

Happy First Monday of 2014!

1. Well, the Playoffs were rather anti-climactic for my team. Boo. I was very sad they let off the gas a little and that the Colts came back to beat them. But...it's typical Kansas City fodder, I suppose.

2. My Jayhawks did nothing to salvage my weekend, sports-wise, either. Man, KU had a brutal non-conference schedule this year. I feel like there was never a game where they could cut loose and have a little fun. Oh well. Hopefully this prepares us for the brutal conference season. Yes, I used the adjective, "brutal," again. Sue me.

3. At least K-State is good for one thing -- they beat Oklahoma State in their conference opener. As I told Sarah, though, this means one bad thing -- K-State is better than I thought (hoped) they would be. But the good thing is -- Oklahoma State is 0-1 in conference play. So there's that.

4. I got to go to the KU game Sunday with Sarah. We had fun, even though they lost. I am glad we shared the time together.
It was so cold -- Sarah still had her hat on!! :)
5. Helen played in her first basketball game Saturday. There's no "official" score kept for 2nd grade girls -- but...her team won. It was pretty clear. But you know...it's 2nd grade and all. Helen played fantastic defense. She stayed with the girl she had to guard, was able to slide her feet and stay in front. I was quite proud.

6. Highlight:  AS the girls came in for a time-out midway through the 3rd quarter, Helen says to me: "That girl I am guarding is rude. She said, 'I'm ignoring you!'" I just told her, "That's funny...because it seems to me she CAN'T ignore you! You're playing such great defense on her!! You're bothering her...that's why she said that."

Love my Helen.
Taken before the game
7. oh Yeah...school is closed today because of the weather. Apparently record low temps (i.e., wind chills) are keeping them closed. I really don't care one way or the other since it doesn't impact me (anymore...since the girls are old enough to stay home with Craig sleeping upstairs and all)...but poor Dominic was looking forward to going back after the break and seeing his teachers and friends. Maybe tomorrow.

8. I think Craig and I figured out we are the oldest people who attend the Crossfit gym we go to. By quite a few years, even. I think I've decided to feel proud of it that I am doing this stuff that all these young people are doing. :)

9.Winter is NOT my favorite.

10. I am ready for summer.

Have a great Monday!!

January 2, 2014

Throwback Thursday Reruns: Aunt Bea

It has now been 2 years since my "Aunt" Bea left this Earth. I still have moments where I miss her terribly. Her birthday was December 31 and I still haven't removed the reminders from my calendar on my phone. So, the other day, it popped up and I was reminded of her.

I pray someday I'll meet her again in Heaven. Until then, I'm praying for her but also asking her to pray for me. If there's anyone I knew in this life that I'd bet on making it to Heaven -- it's her. 

I think this had to be in the fall of 2010 or the spring of 2011

Aunt Bea holding a 3-week-old Vincent 5 months before she died
For my Throwback today, I'm posting what I wrote Christmas night two years ago. Aunt Bea had passed away that morning.

I met my Aunt Bea when I was 10 days old.  Or something like that.  I had been born November 11, 1973 and my parents, who lived far from any immediate family, traveled an hour south of Topeka, KS to Ottawa for Thanksgiving at Aunt Bea and Uncle Alex's.  My mom always said that Aunt Bea and Uncle Alex were so excited to see me...they were the first family to see me outside of my parents and older brother and they were thrilled.  Probably as thrilled as grandparents might be to see a new grand-baby.

Aunt Bea was my grandfather's cousin.  Her mother and my great-grandmother were sisters.  She was born December 31, 1911.  Many have tried to capture the qualities and sentiments of people like my Aunt Bea.  She would fall into what historians have called "The Greatest Generation."  I can't say that I would disagree that she was a great woman.  She lived through both world wars.  She was in her late teens and twenties during the Great Depression.  She went to college at a time when most women didn't.  She was a nurse in a few different places and then a teacher of nurses at the University of Kansas.  She had a strong love for children.  Over the years, I gathered enough in our conversations to understand that she desired children with my Uncle Alex, but they married late in life and even though they "tried to have 'em" somehow it wasn't God's plan so "they never came."

God's plan was for her to be a mother and grandmother for those of us who needed her.

If Aunt Bea was ever unhappy with her life, she never let on.  

When I was very young, I visited Aunt Bea and Uncle Alex on weekends.  As an adult, I look quite fondly on these visits.  I remember that Uncle Alex got up very early on Saturday morning, went to pick up the paper from the driveway, then came in and ate some grapefruit while reading the paper.  I learned that putting a little bit of salt on grapefruit was pretty tasty from him.  After a bit, he usually would go back to bed with Aunt Bea until she was ready to get up.  She was not a morning person.  She even let me come in their bed when I would wake up early.  I remember one time when I did that, but I couldn't be still.  We ended up talking for a little bit (I think I was 6 or 7 years old) and she told me she didn't like to get up before 9 o'clock or so.  She liked to sleep in!  The next time I visited, I remember trying really hard to sleep longer so Aunt Bea didn't have to get up too early.

I thought of this about 10 days ago when I visited Aunt Bea at the nursing home where she lived.  She was in the hospital wing of the home and I visited with a nurse before I left.  She mentioned that they'd really like for Aunt Bea to come out of her room for three meals every day, but she seemed to be making it for only one.  I said, "Well, if you're serving any meal before 8:30 or 9, she won't ever want to come to that."  The nurse chuckled and said, "Yeah, we've kind of figured that out."

The best part of my weekend stays with Aunt Bea was the meal she would cook on Sunday when my family came to pick me up.  Aunt Bea could put out quite the spread!  Roast, potatoes and gravy, rolls (oh, the rolls!  And the butter!), corn (sometimes a special treat would be corn on the cob!), green beans, salad, and all of this just for Sunday supper!  She made the best snack mix ever.  Yeah, Chex makes their mix and it's okay, I suppose.  But Aunt Bea's snack mix puts it to shame every time.  I have the recipe somewhere...it's all in how she baked it...you literally could not stop eating that stuff.  She made it for us all every time we'd visit her.  We'd always get to take an old coffee can of the stuff home with us.  Of course, she could make desserts with the best of them, too.  I think her use of butter might even put Paula Dean to shame!

While we're on Aunt Bea's cooking ability.  Anyone who ate my Aunt Bea's Fudge would just ooh and ahh at how delicious it was.  I had people I worked with who clamored for "Aunt Bea's Fudge" even though they had never met her.  Any of us who knew the ingredients of the fudge knew that it tasted as good as it did because of the overdose of love Aunt Bea put into making it.  The ingredients themselves were not all that spectacular...just your regular run-of-the-mill fudge...unless Aunt Bea made it.

One of my favorite things Aunt Bea said was "Toodle-oo!"  She would say it when she was leaving the room, but coming back in a bit.  Or she would say it when she knew she'd see you again, whether soon or not.  I remember her saying it a lot when I was little.  It's one of my fondest memories..."Toodle-oo!"  she'd say as she waved good-bye after a visit.  "Toodle-oo!" she'd say when she set me up with paper and crayons to draw and she was heading to the kitchen to cook.  

One of the best memories I have are of Uncle Alex and Aunt Bea standing arm in arm waving goodbye.  Whenever I went home with my parents, heck...whenever we left Aunt Bea and Uncle Alex's house...they'd come out on the driveway and wave at us as we pulled out...then wave at us until we couldn't see them anymore. 

Growing up, my school had "Grandparents Day" once a year.  Grandparents got to attend school with their grandchildren.  There were usually fun activities planned, a special lunch, all that stuff.  My grandparents didn't live close enough to come for it.  But Aunt Bea and Uncle Alex came and they were so cute.  You could tell they really enjoyed it.  They would split up...one came with me and the other with my sister (the youngest two were not in school yet and my older brother was in high school).  They seemed to get such a kick out of the day.  They seemed so honored to come and be our Honorary Grandparents.  I know my Nana and Grandad were pleased that they could do this, too.  It meant so much for us kids to be able to have them there.

I remember when I came back to Kansas to go to college after graduating high school in North Carolina.  If I could get someone to drive me down to Ottawa, I'd promise them they'd never be disappointed in the meal we'd get while we were there and the company was even better.  I spent many evenings over the course of my five college years visiting Aunt Bea and Uncle Alex.  They would give me advice (solicited or not) on what I should do, what I should study, all of that stuff.  Uncle Alex was pretty disappointed when I didn't get my CPA certification.  If Aunt Bea was disappointed, she never let on.  She was always supportive of anything that meant I was working hard, secure in a job and saving a bit of money somewhere along the way.

The evening dinner visits were much the same--A huge spread of food, great conversation and a coffee can filled with her snack mix for the road.  She would come out on her porch and watch us pull out of the driveway and wave to us until we couldn't see each other anymore.

Uncle Alex and Aunt Bea had an inter-faith marriage.  If there was ever anyone who had the patience, wisdom, courage and understanding to live out marriage as a Catholic to a non-Catholic, it was my Aunt Bea.  She never said it was easy.  She always said it was hard work.  And she always acknowledged that sometimes it meant that she went to Mass early in the morning so she could attend services with him later.  I know he attended with her sometimes, too. 

I remember my first basketball game at Allen Fieldhouse...Aunt Bea took me.  Of course, I was too young for it (it was on one of my weekend visits and I was probably 6 or 7 years old) and I think it was more of a hassle than she would have ever wanted.  I remember saying I couldn't see and I remember asking if the game was over yet.  I think eventually, she really enjoyed seeing my passion for college basketball, and specifically for the Jayhawks.  I think she was glad to know that somewhere along the line, I "got it" about Kansas Basketball and how special it was.  She had retired from KU and had season tickets to football and basketball games.  She finally had to give them up when Uncle Alex and she could no longer navigate the stairs and the driving safely.  When I was in college, she allowed me to attend a couple of games with friends over the couple of years that I was in college in Topeka before I transferred to KU.  They had pretty good seats and we got to go to some good games.

 I remember when Uncle Alex died.  I remember when she called me.  I was living in a small apartment in Topeka, but working as a Relay Operator in Lawrence.  She sounded sad on the phone.  We had known it was coming, Uncle Alex had been sick for awhile.  Aunt Bea had taken care of him at home up to the end.  I remember sitting with her in their living room after he died.  It was about a week or so after the funeral.  (Details are fuzzy...maybe it was longer...maybe it was shorter.)  She was crying.  I had never seen her cry.  And I never saw her cry again.  But she was crying then.  I just sat there with her and let her cry.  I cried, too.  And she said, "It's really hard."  And I remember nodding and getting up and giving her a big hug.  And then crying some more.  I cried because I missed my Uncle Alex, for sure.  But I cried, too, because I was sad that Aunt Bea would go forward in this life without her sweetheart, her love of her life. They were married 49 years. I had seen 24 if those and had been unable to understand the sacrifice and the example the showed because I hadn't had the life experience yet. 

Aunt Bea got a special place to sit at our wedding.  She was walked up as an honorary grandmother and sat next to my grandparents.  She got a corsage and everything.  Because she held such an important place in my life for all of my life.  She was always one of the first people I'd tell about a new pregnancy.  Of course, she worried about us...a woman who lived through the Great Depression worries about a family with many mouths to feed.  But she was always appropriate with her concerns.  

Of course my children have adored her.  These past few months, it has been difficult for them to be unable to come and visit Aunt Bea.  They have missed her.  They have prayed for her.  Today, when I told them she died, they were all sad.  But they also understood, somehow, what I meant when I told them she'd lived a long, good and faithful life.  It was time for her to go and be with God.  

I can't help but feel blessed that I was able to visit her about 10 days before she died, and four days before she entered the hospital for the last time.  I was at her bedside for about an hour.  We talked.  She told me, "Yeah, a couple of times I thought I was a goner!"  And she also asked me to help take care of the things in her room when she was gone.  She was so happy to see me when I walked in...her face just lit up.  A little bit into the visit she said, "I almost didn't know who you were at first."  And so I decided to ask her if she knew who I was and she got that exasperated tone to her voice and said, "Yes!  I know who you are...you're Michelle!"  I held her hand and rubbed her arm.  I told her I loved her....so many times.  I asked her if I should bring her anything and she said (true to Aunt Bea's form) "No!  Save your money.  I have all I need, they take good care of me here."  I told her I would come back and see her and she said, "You take care of your family...you don't have to come here all the time."  I had brought her a blueberry muffin and she asked the nurses if she could have some butter.  She ate about a quarter of the muffin while I was there.  We were sure to wrap the rest of it up so she could eat it later.  She asked if she could have salt for her eggs.  When the nurse said, "I'll have to check on that one." Aunt Bea leaned toward me and said, "That means NO."  So, she didn't eat the eggs sitting on her table.  We visited a while longer, but I knew she was staying up for me, so I told her I'd get going, but I'd come back in a couple of days.

My older brother and his family, my sister and her family and me and my family are the closest related family Aunt Bea has.  She has great friends in her town, particularly one who was good enough to call and let us know Aunt Bea's state of health so that we could be sure to come and visit her.  I know my first priority is always to my family.  I thank God for my husband who was so good and supportive whenever I wanted to drive to Ottawa and check on Bea the last 10 days.

When I returned about 3 days later, it was clear that Aunt Bea was a bit more tired and not doing so well.  I kept my visit much shorter, but she did see Vincent, since I brought him with me.  She always loved the babies, and this day was no different.  She looked at him and smiled at him.  Of course, she mentioned how sorry she was she couldn't hold him.  But I got him close enough that he might have slobbered a little bit on her, but she loved it.  Shortly after I left, they took her to the ER and she was admitted to the hospital.

Tuesday, I got the word that Aunt Bea's body wasn't fighting this pneumonia like it had other times.  The antibiotics weren't able to do their thing because Aunt Bea's body just wasn't up for it.  Craig brought me an overnight bag to my work and I went down after work to spend the night with Aunt Bea in the hospital.  She was having a good night when I saw her.  She was pretty feisty.  She was telling me what to do ("Go to sleep!") and fidgeting around under her covers...when I asked her if she was okay, she said, "I'm just tryin' to get comfortable!"  She joked with the nurses and told them she liked their hair.  When I left, I told her I was leaving to go to work and she apologized that I'd been there all night.  I told her not to apologize, I wanted to see her, I didn't want her to be alone and that I loved her.  I also promised her I would be back in a couple of days.

The priest in Ottawa came on Wednesday and Bea received the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Annointing of the Sick.  I was so relieved when I heard this had happened, because it was something I was concerned about. 

On Christmas Eve, I was in tears as I drove toward Ottawa.  I was thinking of Aunt Bea, all alone in the hospital on Christmas with no one to be with her.  I knew I couldn't stay long, but I had to stop in and check on her.  I was overcome with positive emotion at the sight of Uncle Alex's grandson, whom Aunt Bea treated as her own grandson, too, who is a diocesan priest in Kentucky sitting there next to Aunt Bea.  She wouldn't be alone after all.  I sat on her bed for a little while.  She was in a semi-conscious state, it's common for end of life.  She had a full oxygen mask on to help her breathe and she was on her side a little bit.  Her eyes were closed, but the one closer to the pillow was a little bit open.  I looked at her, I stroked her hair.  I held her through the blankets.  I talked to her.  I told her I loved her.  I told her we all loved her, my sisters and brothers, my parents...she was so important to us all.  My life was infinitely better because I had her in it.  She squeezed my hands a little through the sheets on a couple of occasions.  I felt like she was letting me know that she heard me and knew I was there.  When I left, I hugged her, kissed her cheek and her forehead and told her I loved her and Merry Christmas.  

On Christmas morning, I got the call that she had passed away.  I think perhaps I was the first person he called.  With it being Christmas morning, I made some quick calls to get the word moving, but hadn't really had time to process it all.

But now, I am sitting here and as I write all of this...the tears have finally come.  I'm not sad for her, though.  I miss her, sure.  I'm sad that I won't have her here with me in this life anymore.  But, for the last 5 years, she's been pretty forthright in letting us all know that she was ready to go, when the time came.  

I think about all the things she lived through and the events that impacted her and made her who she was.  I think about the people she influenced and touched in this life.  She means so much to me that I am really not doing it justice with what I've written here.  There is a hole in my life now that she's not here.  There haven't been large dinner spreads for many years now and no coffee cans full of snack mix for about 5 years.  But those were always just material/physical representations of the love she had for us anyway.  She has continued to love us all.  She spent time with us.  She enjoyed our children.  She gave so much love to us that it's hard to imagine I could ever experience such a thing in my life from anyone else.  She loved in a motherly way.  She loved unconditionally and fully.  You know, she had a strong devotion to Mary through the Rosary.  I wouldn't doubt that our Blessed Mother Mary was extending her love to us through Aunt Bea.

A little over a year ago, on one of my visits, Aunt Bea mentioned that she had flipped on EWTN when she had awakened in the middle of the night recently to see that Brother Andre had been canonized.  She relayed the story about how in 1934, she shook his hand.  What a blessing for Aunt Bea to see that a man she knew about, had encountered in her life, a man she had touched, was in Heaven with God and all the Angels and Saints.  

So, as I wrap this up tonight, as I think about Aunt Bea, I am comforted that she departed this world in the friendship and communion of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  I hope that she is reunited with her husband and her father and her mother and her sister and brother, her cousins...especially my Grandad and Nana who loved her so.  

I will miss Aunt Bea, for sure.  But I have faith that she left this world well on her way to sainthood.

Toodle-oo, Aunt Bea.