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April 27, 2014

Answer Me This - 2

I started writing some other post and then I completely remembered I was gonna do Answer me This again this week! :)

1. Do you hate happy clappy church music?

I don't hate it. But I don't like it within the liturgy. I love attending Gospel music performances or participating in happy clappy music outside of the Mass. But it just annoys me when it's used during the Mass. Was that the question? Oops.

2. What is your priority: eating or sleeping?

Hmm, tough one. I think I've grown into putting priority on sleeping. But for much of my life, eating has definitely been the higher priority. As you can see in my Weight Watchers Wednesdays posts...I have worked hard to put eating into its proper place.

3. What type of milk do you drink in your house?

Whatever is cheapest this week. I don't drink much milk. But anyway, usually, I see 2% milk in the fridge. But lately, I keep seeing Whole Milk in the refrigerator. I can only surmise it must be the better deal lately. But...I don't do the grocery shopping and I leave that to Craig (yes, it's okay, be jealous).

4. What is a book that changed your perspective on something?

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. It was part of an Honors Economics Seminar my freshman year of college. I think that time of life is big for figuring out your perspective on things you probably hadn't thought about before. I hadn't thought much about why I was a Democrat and FOR a lot of things that I am not FOR anymore (since reading that book). But, now I'm unaffiliated with a political party and I have different reasons for being FOR things than I did when I was 19. Growing in my Catholic faith has changed the way I look at a lot of things. So has the fact that I've struggled financially and sometimes it's been stressful to put food on the table and clothes on the kids. I've been thinking about reading The Wealth of Nations again so that I can see what 40-year-old me thinks of it. 

5. Who is your favorite saint?

Saint Pope John Paul II -- now that he has been canonized. I am also fond of St. Gregory the Great. And Mother Teresa. And I'm very fond of our Blessed Mother.

6. Introvert or extrovert?

Extrovert, with some introvert tendencies. I'm not one of those extroverts who is overly excited and energized by a crowd of people or the life of the party or anything. But, I am an extrovert. And my introvert tendencies are things like, avoiding answering the phone (I hate talking on the phone except to a few select people), taking my "me" time by myself and loving that, and being rather bookish (I love to read -- I would do that all the time if I could).

Linking up with Kendra at Catholic All Year today!

I leave you with a couple of pics of my boys. I got a day out with them yesterday and had a blast.
After shopping, I took them to Jason's Deli for lunch
(Momma's gotta get her salad!)
Oh and Dominic is cracking me up with the straw hanging
out of his mouth.
Dominic was playing and telling me how "fast"
his new shoes made him run

picture of said new shoes...
He was very happy to have new shoes. :)

April 23, 2014

Weight Watchers Wednesday (16)

Wow, it's been awhile, right? That's okay. I have progress to report, so that's always a good thing!

I'll first say that I head into tomorrow's at-work meeting fully expecting a little bit of a gain. I hope it's just a little bit. But I've not been good tracking the past couple of weeks. Two weeks ago, I had a "no change" on the scale from three weeks ago. And last week, I didn't attend the meeting. And I haven't stepped on the scale at my house either.

I have, however, continued to exercise regularly -- I made every Crossfit workout last week Monday-Friday, then I ran 4.5 miles Saturday, took Sunday off, ran 3.25 miles Monday and did Crossfit yesterday. I plan to do it again today and the remainder of the week.

I broke through and got under 160 pounds for the first time since Dominic was about 8 months old. And, if I remember correctly, I didn't stay under 160 for very long at that time. The last official weigh-in put me 3.6 pounds away from my goal of 155.

Now, it's tempting to try and talk myself into allowing the weight I am officially at now to be my goal...but I am not going to give in. I want to reach five pounds under the top of the "healthy range" and maintain it for 6 weeks and get to LIfetime status with Weight Watchers. I must keep my eye on the prize!!

As this is the first WWW in awhile, I think I'll do a little recap of the journey so far.

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 (First recap post)-- Weight: 176.2 (down total of 13.0 pounds) and BMI was 27.6
1/23/14 (last recap post) -- Weight: 170.0 (down a total of 19.2 pounds) and BMI was 26.6
2/27/14 (four months in) -- Weight: 166.2 (down a total of 23.0 pounds) and BMI was 26.0
3/27/14 (five months in) -- Weight: 163.4 (down a total of 25.8 pounds) and BMI was 25.6
4/10/14 (two weeks ago) -- Weight 158.6 (down a total of 30.6 pounds) and BMI is 24.8

I will note that 25 is the border between "normal" and "overweight" in BMI world. So, I am very happy to have moved into "normal".

Here are the first pictures I shared:

And I haven't done a selfie or anything, but I did have one of the coaches at Crossfit videotape me touching my toes to the bar. I look forward to getting good enough to string 5 or 10 of these bad boys together...

So, this is me on 4/22/14:

Of course, I also posted this pic recently about my work pants, that can show the transformation, too. :)

Well, I am almost there. While I may be a little up on the scale tomorrow, I think I have my resolve back to knock these last few pounds off in the next few weeks. Hopefully, I can maintain the resolve that long, haha.

Have a great week!

April 22, 2014

Answer Me This -- 1

1. What did you and your family wear to Mass on Easter Sunday?

Here is a picture of the whole family:
The Hughes family after Mass!
I am wearing a dress that came from...the back of my closet! Yes, it has been so long since I bought it that I'm not sure I can  remember where I bought it. I just recently realized I could wear it again (It's a size 10, y'all!) as I have shrunk down from my size 16 self a year ago. And, I don't know what you all think about dress sizes, but a size 10 dress is typically the same as size 6/8 pants and size medium shirts. Why is it that dress sizes are so jacked?

Okay, on for everyone else:

Sarah found this at Old Navy and it was modest and cute, so I approved.

Sarah in a cute number purchased the day before at Old Navy
Dani received this dress in a bundle of hand-me-downs over the winter. It matches her coloring very well, I must say.
Dani rockin' the hand-me-down dress
This is the third year Helen has claimed this dress. Sure, it was a little long at first...but she sure loves it (and it's not as long anymore).

When she likes it -- she LIKES it. 3 years of wear for the win!
The boys, oh, the boys...shirts start out tucked in, but it isn't long before they are out. Here they are in their cute little grandma-purchased shirts with their "church pants" (i.e., the pants that only get worn to church so they don't end up with holes and rough edges)

Vincent MUST have his post-Mass sucker and Dominic just doesn't "get" photos yet.
Bonus pics of the husband and me. He wore a suit, much like he does on a regular church-going day and I wore the dress I found in the back of my closet. It's a great little number...the underneath can be worn as a sundress and the jacket dresses it up.

Full length photo. The Sandals were a find at DSW a year or so ago :)

2. Easter Bunny: thumbs up or thumbs down?

Thumbs up, but not way, way up or anything. We don't go crazy in the Easter baskets as I mentioned yesterday. But, my kids do "believe" (is that the right word there?) in the Easter bunny -- until they don't.

3. Do you prefer to celebrate holidays at your own house or at someone else's house?
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. We typically travel to Grandma's, but Craig mentioned perhaps having Thanksgiving at our house this year. So maybe our days of driving to someone else's house on holidays are numbered? I guess as far as preference...I'd rather not drive and I'd rather stay home -- but I'm kind of a homebody in that respect. I just like not going anywhere on holidays.

4. What is your favorite kind of candy?

'Nuff said #amiright

5. Do you like video games?

I am rather ambivalent about video games. The only video games I enjoyed growing up were Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. To this day, those are the only games I will play with any level of enthusiasm. Okay, I like Candy Crush, too. I do play it with some regularity.

My kids like video games, though. I just don't care. I'd rather spend my time reading or on facebook or something else mundane.

6. Do you speak another language?After 5+ years (between high school and college) learning German, sadly, I cannot speak it. I can read it. But I can't speak it.

Linking up with Kendra at Catholic All Year.

April 21, 2014

Monday Mumbles - 70

Happy Easter Monday! I have been looking forward to writing this post for a couple of weeks. Just to get back into the flow of blogging again. I am not sure how frequent I will be, but I'm going to try and do at least three posts a week. So...happy Monday and here goes...with some mumbles!!!

1. We had a great Easter. I never got into the Easter Egg Hunt mentality, myself, so I haven't ever made that a priority with my kids. It's just as well. They like getting their Easter baskets filled with some candy and other little things. I think.

2. As they've gotten older, of course, they are more aware that other kids get bigger type gifts in their Easter baskets. *sigh* I just tell them, "Well, this is how WE do it." I know that someday when they are raising their families, they will get it. (And "it" could be...the financial balance, or "it" could be ... the materialism bent and trying to avoid it with your kids, or "it" could be ... the fact that there's no way possible to do a "big" thing for all five kids at Easter AND Christmas and do it well. Whatever "it" is...I do hope they get it someday.)

3. Many prayers of thanksgiving going up as I found out that a dear friend has beaten breast cancer. That's two for two of dear friends in the past couple of years, so I am very grateful.

4. I am hopeful that the weather has finally turned the corner for the long-term and we're going to have spring and summer now. It was a long, long, long, ... long winter, I tell you. And I'm ready to kiss it goodbye!

5. Yesterday, I began wondering where the sentiment came from that the only way to appreciate a hostess' hard work was to eat the food prepared. I am sure it is an old fashioned thing. But as a grown woman who has taken on the tumultuous task of overcoming a problem with over-eating and such, it bugs me when people force my kids to eat something they don't like by throwing out, "I worked hard...you better eat it!" or something like that. *sigh* I am so much more aware of stuff like this since I've been doing the Weight Watchers thing and losing weight. I don't want to be made to feel as though I have disrespected someone if I don't clean my plate. I also don't want to start this horrible food issue in any of my children. Further...I have learned not to eat things I don't really appreciate (not worth the points, you know?) and so I can completely sympathize with my kids when they don't like something and would rather not eat it. Oh well, guess I'll need to mull that one some more.

6. I'm just going to share some photos from Easter and wrap this up, with a final note about how quickly my children are growing up. Sarah is quite a young lady (most of the time) and Dani has really started establishing her own "grow-up-now" pattern. Helen receives First Holy Communion in two weeks. Dominic is such a smarty-pants sweetheart. Vincent...well, Vincent WANTS to grow up faster than he is. Of course, he's still growing up entirely too fast, but it cracks me up to see how badly he wants to be bigger and be allowed to do big-boy stuff like Dominic (whatever that may be).

This girl -- pretty
My Dani-girl. This dress looks good on her!
She is excited to receive First Holy Communion in 2 weeks!!
This boy cannot do pictures. At all. But he is still cute.

This is what I get when I ask them if they love each other...haha

Vincent! This about sums him up
The kids with their Grandma
All Five of 'em...
Craig and me

April 16, 2014

Lenten Reflection During Holy Week

As I contemplated returning to the blog-world when Easter had passed, I thought a lot about how Lent went this year. Last year, Lent was a mess. I already covered that. And I wanted this year to be meaningful in some way, but I wasn't sure I knew how to accomplish that. The past 15 months, spiritually, have been weird for me. While I am sure I drew closer to Christ through my sorrow and grief, at times I wonder if I negated some of that growth with my spiritual apathy.

It may or may not surprise you that my prayer life has been a bit sporadic. I do the prayers with my kids (before meals and before bed) and I pray a rosary whenever I run outside. I also attend Mass every week, but how attentive and prayerful I am mostly depends on how my children behave. I'm not proud of this, it's clear that I've been slacking in the prayer department.

Even this Lent, I have had a hard time figuring out how to right this sinking ship. I picked up a Catholic book on spiritual warfare, only to fall asleep every time I tried to read it. I went to confession, but I feel like it was not the "big deal" confession usually is for me. (Note: Typically, I rush my butt to confession when I have one or more of those really horrible mortal sins...and if I don't have one or more of those, it's easy to put off confession. So that would be why confession usually is a "big deal.") I didn't make it to an extra Mass each week like I thought I might try to do. I haven't prayed a rosary with my children in a very long time.

Basically, I'm starting to feel like I'm failing at this "raising my kids Catholic" thing. My children get a lot of faith formation at school (it's why we have them in this particular Catholic school in the first place) but I am slacking at home. The more I've focused on things like losing weight and getting in shape and keeping my children in their activities, the less prayer and faith has taken the forefront of our attention. That makes me sad.

Of course I know that unless I discipline myself to pray and focus on growing in my faith, I cannot spur the same in my children. I feel somewhat at a loss as to how to fix this. Our evenings are crazy with volleyball and swim practices and Crossfit workouts for Craig and me. The weekends fill up quickly with outings, birthday parties, errands, homework and chores. It seems like every minute of every day is consumed with something and I wonder...when did I find time for this before? Because the honest truth is, I used to make time for this. I used to go to daily Mass, and I used to pray in the car, and I used to go to confession every other week.

I often wonder if some of the things I've taken on are distractions from the devil designed to take my focus away from God. I gotta be honest, though, it's hard for me to believe that getting to a healthy weight and taking care of my body (my temple) is evil. I've needed to take charge of my health for a very long time and now that I'm doing it, it's difficult for me to find fault with that. I don't believe I have an unhealthy obsession or anything. I am simply trying to get (and stay) healthy. I also have a hard time understanding how providing activities for my children (that also contribute to their health and well-being) could be "of the devil."

So, I'm kind of hitting a confusion point. How do I get my (and my family's) prayer life back on track without giving up the gains we've made in other areas? Are we doing enough? I have a hard time believing that -- but I can't figure out if I can't believe it simply because I will never feel like we are doing enough.

How do you balance the activities you sacrifice to provide for your family and yourself with the need to stay close to God?

April 14, 2014

What Happened During Lent

It is Holy Week. I am contemplating a more substantial post, but I thought it might be good to give a run-down of what’s been going on around our house. Kind of a little get-back-into-the-groove thing…

I did have a few of these...
It did not kill me to deactivate Facebook (though I often joked, via text, with friends that it was indeed “killing me.”)

I did color my hair – a strawberry blonde hue. I’ll be going back in a few weeks and I think I’ll have her take it a little darker because after about 3 weeks, it was difficult to see much difference anymore.

I read four books – all fiction, none religious.

I put on my size 6 work pants for the first time since 2008 (the dry cleaner receipt taped to the plastic overlay was from February 2008).

Craig and I competed in our first Crossfit Games Open and it was fun. I did pretty well for someone who couldn’t do all the “skills” required. I ended up #222 out of 355 Masters Women 40-44 in my region (North Central). And the final workout was a real bugger, but I completed it, Rx and everything.
I also achieved a “skill” at Crossfit. I can touch my toes to the bar! When I think about how almost a year ago, I could hardly raise my knees up even half the way to my knees, I’m just so excited that I get my toes up to the bar now. Of course, I have to do some kipping swings to achieve this, but that’s one of the steps on the way to just lifting a person’s toes from a standstill and touching the bar. Still – toes-to-bar is still toes-to-bar!

I mostly stayed on track with Weight Watchers, although, I’m going to take a “no-weigh-pass” day this week because I had a terrible weekend, food-wise. And I know it was terrible and I know what the scale will look like and I just don’t want to see it. But I will still attend my meeting.
Sarah earned the “A” Honor roll for the second straight quarter. Yes. I’m proud. Oh, and she won 5th place in a local essay contest and her essay was sent to State competition. Then she found out she got 4th place at State and the essay is now being judged in a National competition. I have been so happy for her as she’s blossomed this year with her writing. And, she grew some more, got stronger some more and now has a pretty decent serve going in volleyball. I really love to watch her play.
Dani earned her first individual ribbon at a swim meet. It was 6th place and it was for 50 Backstroke. I love to watch her swim.

She also read all kinds of great books and surpassed her Accelerated Reading goal (again) for the quarter. She also continues to practice her guitar (we had to give up lessons for awhile) on her own and try to get better.
Helen routinely scored 29’s and 30’s on her Math “Mad Minutes.” This was something she needed to master as the math starts getting a little harder when Multiplication/Division starts. She also routinely scored high on spelling tests. Unfortunately, I don’t think she likes reading nearly as much as her older sisters and it’s a struggle for her to be motivated in that regard. I will have to knuckle down with her this summer, I think.

Dominic attended “Kindergarten Roundup” and I got him registered for Kindergarten next year. It is crazy how it feels that four of my five children will be in “real” school next year. There were three weekends in a row that Dominic attended birthday parties for children in his class. ‘Tis the season, I suppose. He also discovered the movie, “The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl.” And he has a (girl) friend in preschool with him that likes to play “Shark Boy and Lava Girl” with him. This tickles me because my Sarah – when she was in preschool – had a little (boy)friend who would play “Shark Boy and Lava Girl” with her. They are 7 ½ years apart (exactly) and they enjoy the same movie and pretend play and each found a friend who did, too. I think that is kind of cool.

Vincent potty trained. And it took all of, like, 2 weeks (maybe)!  I knew he was ready. He just had to decide to do it. And I found the right motivation, finally. I’ll save that for a write-up on the blog soon. J He also started sitting…for an hour at a time sometimes!!...and playing with Helen’s dollhouse. When I get a chance to stand outside the room and listen, I get quite an insight into how he views the goings-on at our house. Very cute.

Vincent playing with the dollhouse
In light of the potty-training success...my boys' now have a "big boy" room which means there is no baby paraphernilia in there anymore.

Bye-bye changing table -- hello book shelves and big boy toys!
The weather finally made a serious attempt at improvement. Although, the temps dipped today and made me weary. But we had a string of several days in a row with 60’s, 70’s, sunshine, etc. We’re getting there!!
Vincent is cool
Now Holy Week is upon us. I am going to attempt to make it to services at Church Thursday and Friday. I am not sure if I’m brave enough to attempt the Vigil Mass with the kids by myself. I have a feeling I have at least one more year before I’ll try that, maybe two. Vincent is not reliable on the behavior. Although, Palm Sunday Mass was the first time in about a month we’d had to take him to the back. We’ll get there eventually.

I have to admit, it wasn’t a huge void in my life to eliminate blogging for a few weeks. I thought I’d be going crazy, but I didn’t. I want to update the pictures in my header and stuff, but I didn’t even work on that. I took some notes a few times when I thought, “That might be a good thing to write about sometime…” I did check in on a couple of blogs, just to see what they were writing about on particular days. Some I missed more than others. But I guess that’s just the way of it, isn’t it? There are some friends we hold closer than others. So, probably there are some blogs we make sure we check in on during these times.
God bless your Holy Week!
Photo Found Here