Endless Strength Header

 photo blogheader-2.jpg

June 30, 2014

Dear Vincent (Part 3)

Dear Vincent,
Do you realize you are the only kid that (now) has three posts (on this blog) all addressed to YOU? I wrote to you twice when you were still in my womb

Just 12 hours old...
I have always been particularly fond of communicating with you through this blog. Perhaps when you are older, you'll read some of it. I don't know what you'll think, but I hope you'll be able to see just how much I have always loved you and your siblings.

You found your favorite hiding/mischief spot early!
Always had a knack of finding those
spots you just fit into...
Today is your birthday! You are three years old. It feels incredible to say that. You are my youngest child on this earth and you are now a little boy and not really a baby anymore. You don't need diapers and you talk more and more every day. You have a fantastic personality -- you're funny, active, persistent, sweet and loving, too.

Can't keep you indoors to save our lives
You still have me wrapped around your little finger. You've always given me a look that makes me feel like I'm the only woman you'll ever love (and I LOVE it...) and I'm happy to say that your little hiatus or preferring Daddy to me is over, at least for now. 

When I drop you off in the morning, you want to give me hugs and kisses. If I leave the house, you run after me saying, "Kiss! Kiss! I need Kiss!!!" At night, you've begun to sing the songs with me as I sing to you before you fall asleep. I love that. You're the only child of mine that has done that. By now, the other children have grown tired of bedtime songs, but not you. You insist and you belt out the tunes as if you'd written the songs yourself!

You MUST be outside as much as possible -- if nothing
organized is going on, you "tinker."

This past Easter Sunday
You love to play outside much more than I remember the other kids. You actually ask if you can go outside, and while you're out there, you will play and do anything. You love to kick the ball around, or throw it. You will play with bigger toys if they are around. But even if there are no toys, your imagination knows no bounds! 

Getting so big!
You're more of a daredevil than your older brother. You will jump off just about anything and you love to climb, climb climb! I don't think there is anything you can't do. You threw a ball a pretty good distance when you were only 9 months old and you love to swim! You will kick your legs and try to move your arms -- almost as though you are a natural in the pool.
You love the bigger little kid toys...

One of the most fun things about you is how you laugh and make jokes so openly about things the rest of us would rather not mention. You were thrilled to get your turn with the Whoopie Cushion the girls brought home from your grandparents' house.

And...the Whoopie Cushion!!!
But one of the most heart-warming things I've had the pleasure to hear has been you wishing you could be with your brother or your sisters. Sometimes, you'd rather stay home from daycare when you know your brother will be home so that you can play with him. Sometimes, you ask me to bring along your sisters on a quick errand because you want to have them with you in the car. Sometimes, it's just the fact that all four of the older ones will create a game completely centered on you and the five of you will play together for a little while. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing all five of you working or playing together in harmony.

You're just so gosh-darned sweet
So, today, as you turn three, I look back over these past three years and I see this beautiful boy who is growing into his own little person and finding his place in this world. And right now, that is just figuring out how you fit into this family as the youngest of five.

And you're doing a fabulous job. I love you so much, Vincent. Happy Birthday!

A moment I'm so pleased to remember with this photo

June 27, 2014

7 Quick Takes re: Birthday, Vacations, Running Injury & Recreation - 83

It is my second-to-last Friday to work before my vacation! I love it! I'm excited to have a long summer vacation for the first time ever. I know my family is excited, too.

Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting the 7QT.

--- 1 ---
I have been ready for my vacation from work for a long time. It's been since last spring since I have had a full calendar week off from work. But it's been on my list to get my vacation time in the summer for a long time. My kids get frustrated when I have to work all summer since they are off from school. At my company, paid time off is selected in order of seniority in most areas, and I was new kid on the block for many of my years here. My current leadership team simply works among ourselves for time off and we don't seem to pay much attention to seniority -- just whether we can cover whomever is out. I like it.

--- 2 ---
We are looking forward to seeing family and friends. Craig and I and the boys will get to hang out with my sister and her husband and my brother and his wife and all the kids who will still be home (not going to camp). I need to inquire about whether a meet-up is possible with an old high school friend of mine that lives in the Charlotte area, too. I know he and my husband met MAYBE when Sarah was 1? I saw him a few years back, but it's been awhile.

Dani and Helen are going to the Children of Mary Religion Camp -- they can't wait! They will attend with three of their cousins, so yay for uninterrupted cousin time!! Sarah will get to go on a little adventure of her own, to visit cousins, one of whom is 6 weeks her junior (she likes to make sure everyone knows who is older...) and the other who is a couple years older. It's her birthday/some-of-Christmas present. I think she's excited.

Dominic tried to tell me he'd rather we stayed here so he could play with his buddy, Jack. I told him he can play with Jack any time while we're here, but he'll have fun with all the boy cousins he never gets to see. I bet he'll be crying to stay when it's time to come home.
Cousin time is an awesome thing.

--- 3 ---
Blogging was light this week because it was such a busy week! Every day, I've worked, then gone straight to Crossfit and then gone straight to a swim meet of some sort. On Monday through Wednesday, it was the Corporate Challenge swim meet where I competed. On Thursday, I took a rest day,  but had to go directly to Dani's swim meet. I have hardly seen my family this week!

So today, I got up early and went to Crossfit before work. And that means I can get off work and go straight home and hang out with my kids! I told Sarah we'd "pepper" a bit with the volleyball, I'll be outside playing with the boys, and of course, cuddle with my Helen. Dani's getting a special day with her dad today at the swim team's Oceans of Fun outing, but I'll be happy to see her tonight, too.

--- 4 ---
I got a text from Sarah today with a picture of the birthday wish list she helped Vincent make. Yes, we have another birthday...Monday! Vincent will be 3!! and here is his wish list:

A 3-yr-old's wish list
I really was leaning toward getting him a big cardboard box with bubble wrap and packing peanuts in it...

Seriously, though, the kid has everything. He has tons of clothes. Our house is full of every kind of children's book, puzzle, age-appropriate game. It's difficult to be original with this kid. Besides, he truly doesn't need that much to be content. He loves to play outside. I do think if we just let him have a day at the park and never said, "Time to leave" or "Time for a nap" or "it's time to take a bath and go to bed" he'd be in his 3-year-old version of Heaven.

Oh hey -- check it out, he wants a Kit Kat and M&M's. Maybe I can get by with that. :) If I were all pinterest-y, I could make this cake...
Photo Found Here

--- 5 ---
The younger four, along with Craig and me, got some pool time in last Saturday. Helen's been doing fabulous with her swimming. Just a year ago, that child wouldn't stop clinging to me in a pool and last Saturday, she and Dani were off playing together and I saw her swimming, going under and everything. That makes my heart happy because I really want all of my kids to enjoy swimming.

Both of my boys kept putting themselves in position for these fountains
to shoot up their backsides. Many laughs.

There's our Dani-girl!

Sweet Helen

--- 6 ---

One thing I haven't mentioned here yet is that I'm suffering through some kind of hurt/injury in my high hamstring area and running has been sparse. The Tuesday before I ran the Hospital Hill 10K, the Crossfit workout included a set of 5 x 200m sprints. The first three went fine, but about 1/4 through the fourth sprint, I felt something pull in my left hip/glute area. I was about 4 seconds slower on that one and then my 5th one was almost 10 seconds slower, my leg was hurting. I rested it the rest of the week, then when I ran my 10K, it hurt pretty much throughout. I probably would have gone a little bit faster, as a matter of fact, had I not been hurting there.

I have continued to crossfit and do not have any problems squatting, jumping, rowing, using the Airdyne or anything like that. When running (if I did what was called for in the WODs) kept hurting I took a week off and simply rowed while everyone else ran. This past Sunday, I decided to try running and while the pain wasn't as sharp, it was still there. Then on Monday, I was in pain while sitting again. (Yes, whatever I did happened up under my buttock area, so it actually throbs while I am sitting.)

An online nurse friend sent me this article which talks about something called High Hamstring Tendinopathy. It seems like it could be a tendinitis of some sort up where the high hamstring attaches. Of course, I don't have an official diagnosis. Most likely, the only way to get better is to lay off the running, which I am not happy about, but since I can do all the other stuff at crossfit, shouldn't hurt my ability to stay in shape. Hamstrings are one of those things that take forever to fully heal. And, I know that "running shape" is its own bag anyway, so at some point I will have to work it back in, but for now, I'm done running for a period of time. I think I'll give it a month and then see what happens. In the meantime, I think I'll visit my first chiropractor on Wednesday and see what that's all about. Not sure it will help with this issue, but I have a neck-popping issue (unintentional -- but it happens when I least expect it and I do NOT like it!) that I would like to see if it can be addressed.

--- 7 ---

We're having Vincent's family bday party on Sunday so that Grandma and my sister and her family can make it. Craig's in-town sister will actually be out-of-town, so it will just be us, but that's fine with me. I'm sure Vincent will be happy regardless. We are heading into this new place in parenting where all the kids are getting bigger and there's no newborn hanging around. It has made me aware of things that I haven't been aware of before with my kids. It's good, but it's so very different. I find that I like being a mother of bigger kids. A lot. I love babies, I really do, but I am finding that I enjoy my bigger children a lot more than I thought I would.

Well, there might be a blog post hiding in that last thought. :)

PS: I am 2 "Likes" on the Endless Blog Facebook page away from my giveaway. Share and Like it up, my friends! :)

Have a fabulous weekend!!

Please go visit Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Posts!


June 24, 2014

Updates of Sorts

I haven't done one of these in awhile. Sometimes it's good to level-set and explain a little of what's been going on in these parts.

One big thing that's been going on is that we took Dani to see a G.I. Specialist at the Children's hospital to figure out some things. You see, Dani has been constipated pretty much ever since she was a baby. It wasn't a condition we really thought about much once we (the parental units) were no longer a part of the day in and day out activities in the bathroom for her. But a couple of years ago, she spent the entire summer telling me about how her stomach hurt all the time. I didn't know what to tell her other than to lay down and it will go away. But we saw the doctor for her Well-child visit that fall and I mentioned it. The main thing I took away from THAT visit was that my doctor said, "When kids complain of abdominal pain, 95% of the time, there really is something wrong that needs to be addressed." 

Hel--lo! That got my attention. At that time an x-ray revealed that Dani really did have a problem...we'll say she was "backed up" because I'd rather use that than some other terms on my blog. We did a cleanse the doctor recommended and then a 3-month regimen with stool softener that was supposed to aid in getting her bowels moving again.

Well, fast-forward to March, April and May of this year when Dani was complaining of abdominal pain again. Took her back in to see the doctor, another x-ray and we see the same problem.

Now, I have a sister that has Celiac disease. One of the things that happens when you know someone in your family has an auto-immune disease, is that sometimes you think your kid might have it...or something similar. Well, the doctor ran tests that came back negative for that and a host of other issues he wanted to test for. So, he recommended we see the G.I. doc at the Children's hospital.

THAT doctor recommended another cleanse, performed a bit differently and we have completed that. And she also recommended an ongoing daily treatment and gave us a prescription. The cleanse seemed to work pretty well at getting things moving. I learned that apples and bananas are binding so Dani really shouldn't eat those, but every other fruit/vegetable was beneficial. We learned that pear juice moves things much better than apple juice, too. So, Dani's been getting organic pear juice with her medicine twice a day (at least) and we're hoping we can get this issue under control soon and just be on some sort of maintenance.

you see, some people just have slow moving bowels, apparently. And there's really not much you can do other than help them along. So, I've asked Dani to keep a food diary, increase her water intake, and track her medicine doses (It's Mirilax, in case you're curious) and her movements so we have some good concrete information to go on as we navigate this maintenance.

Other than that stuff, Dani's having a great summer with swim team! She won her heat in the 50 freestyle at last week's meet. THAT was so cool!! (The pic is on Instagram -- follow me :) @michellephughes)

Sarah has accepted a position of middle hitter on a club team for the 2014-15 club season. They are having a 3-on-3 tournament Sunday morning along with pizza following for a social bit. I'm looking forward to it. There is a girl on her team that was in her class at the public school kindergarten Sarah attended, so that is kind of neat. Sarah has also been raking in the dough babysitting. I think she hopes to use some to get herself gel nails before our vacation. We'll see.

Helen has been taking swim lessons. One of the nice things about having a bigger kid is that Sarah can walk Helen to the pool for her lesson and can be trusted to pay the instructor the money and then wait and walk Helen home when it is over. (I really LOVE this having-a-big-kid thing.) Sarah texted me during the lesson today to tell me that Helen was swimming front crawl all by herself with no hands by the instructor! I hope they get her swimming the full length of the pool. Helen informed me that she's not crazy about volleyball and she really enjoys swimming. So maybe she will join Dani on the swim team!! :)

Dominic had a blast with his tennis lessons. Now the onus is on us (Craig/me) to get him to a court and practice with him a little bit. Other than that, he continues to amaze us with his reading ability/comprehension and his overall smarty-pants-ness. I can't wait to see how he likes Kindergarten!!

Vincent is a blast, as usual. He still goes to daycare on his three days a week. He is talking so much more. One thing you learn when your kids are around this age (two, three years old) is how you sound to them. Because they will say things to you the way you have been saying things to them. And guess what I must say to Vincent an awful lot? I must say, "I TOLD you..." a lot. Because he often says, "Mommy, I told you, I don't like that milk, I like this milk." Or he will say, "I TOLD you I don't want to wear that." Whether he has told us or not...he says, "I TOLD you..." So. I guess I must say "I TOLD you, Vincent, ..." a lot.

Craig and I are still crossfitting. I love the challenge of every workout. I've never done something like this and loved it so much for so long. I'm getting closer to doing a pull-up and I really hope soon I will be able to string together the toes-to-bars and not just do them one at a time. 

We go on vacation in a couple of weeks and I think everyone is ready.

So, there it is. A summer update on our household. We're enjoying the World Cup, love seeing the Royals play good baseball, and look forward to seeing a couple Jayhawks taken early in the NBA draft.

PS: The corporate challenge swim meet is going on this week and I actually got a medal this year!! I took second in the 40-44 women's 50 breastroke. I was pretty stoked. :)

Medal Selfie :)

June 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday Reruns: Always His Little Girl

This week, I'm re-running a post from March 2011. Enjoy...


A few years ago (when Helen was a baby) I began having serious reflections surrounding my relationship with my parents, my feelings about their divorce, the way I grew up and what that meant for my family. 

It's a solid statistic that most kids who grew up with divorced parents, end up in a divorce themselves.  I had become aware of that.  It was something I didn't want to face.  It was much like what I'd heard about victims of abuse.  Abuse perpetuates abuse.  Divorce perpetuates divorce.

I wasn't contemplating a divorce by any means.  However, I began paying a lot of attention to my own interactions with my children and with my husband.  I was attempting to comprehend this idea that so many people come to the conclusion that ending marriage is a good idea.

One of the catapults into this contemplation on my life was my daughter Dani and her relationship with her dad.  Dani and her dad are very close.  Even now, while Dani will tell me that she loves me, she ALWAYS prefers her dad to take her to a practice or to her games.  When we "pair up" kids for outings in different places, Dani ALWAYS chooses...and usually gets to go with...her dad.  She looks at him with stars in her eyes.  Really.

I am a "Daddy's Girl".  I say that, but for some reason, that doesn't even sound close to how I feel about my dad.  I think I probably look at him with stars in my eyes, too.  I literally have memories including my mother that I can count on ONE hand before the divorce.  Sure, I knew she was always around (she was a stay-at-home mom) but I remember the same recurring fights, and I remember a couple of traumatic instances from age 3-8 that include my mother...but everything else involves my dad.

Watching Dani with her dad reminded me of this relationship I had with my dad before he left.  I have memories...
  • there is the day he told me he was color-blind and I asked him how he knew which light meant "stop" and which light meant "go" on the traffic lights.  I was probably four or five.  He explained that he really disliked it when the stoplights were hung horizontally because that made things a bit more difficult for him. 
  • I also remember when I accompanied him to the barber shop on base and afterward, he got me an ice cream cone and told me that I shouldn't talk about it when we got home. 
  • Another thing I remember is holding his hand walking somewhere and trying to come loose because I thought I was big enough to get to walk on my own (probably age 5 or 6) and he let me for a short while. 
Most of my memories of my father are just being with him...not an event, or special time specifically.  Tickling.  Laughing.  Teasing.

My memories, though, are dominated by my feelings.  My dad was EVERYTHING to me.  I remember being sad when he wasn't at home when I was little and he would go to work or to school.  I remember the elation at his arrival home every night.  We played the game "Concentration" when I was very small.  "Concentration" is what we called the game "Memory" and it was played with a deck of playing cards (you collected pairs as you turned over the cards).  I was really good at this game for a little kid...or at least I felt like I was and my dad thought I was and I beat my older brother once in a while.  I remember always feeling happy because I could impress my dad.  His approval was my addiction.

One summer night, when my dad had finished law school and was studying for the bar exam.  It was hot.  We didn't have air conditioning.  I wasn't sleeping very soundly, but it was late and I was in and out of sleep.  My dad came into our room (I shared with my sister) to say good night, even though we had been in bed quite a while.  I heard him go to my sister's bed and tell her that he loved her and good night.  He made his way over to my bed and I was feigning sleep.  Did he know?  Probably.  Because he talked a little more to me.  But I'll never forget the words he said, "Michelle, Daddy loves you.  You will always be my little girl.  Good night."  And he kissed my cheek.

You will always be my little girl.

He has said this to me numerous times in my life. 

My father has four girls of his seven children.  And maybe he hasn't had to remind his other daughters of this as much as he has felt the need to remind me.  But even today, when I am 37 years old and a mother of five, I wouldn't be shocked to hear him tell me this.

Words are sometimes a double-edged sword.

You will always be my little girl
The words always made me feel good to hear him say them.  I always did and will want to be his little girl
You will always be my little girl.
The words made the abandonment when I was 8 years old more difficult to process.  How was I still his little girl when he wasn't in my day-to-day life anymore? 

June 18, 2014

Weight Watchers Wednesday (20) - What I Left Behind

Today I want to discuss the weight loss programs I left behind. You know, I started (and quit) Weight Watchers many many times before this last time. months after babies were born, I'd shamefully make my way in for my first weigh-in, just horrified at how much weight I'd put on during pregnancy. I would then lose 10% of my body weight and I'd think I could keep doing it on my own. I couldn't.

Today, I want to tell you about all the times I started another weight loss plan that was not Weight Watchers. Because as many times as I started Weight Watchers, there were other times I started another plan. One of those quick weight loss plans. Yes, one of those plans that advertises that you can lose 3-5 pounds per week without exercising!! One time, the quick weight loss plan worked for me. It cost me a boat-load of money, but I stuck to it and I lost 60 pounds in 3 months. I mean, I ate maybe 900 calories a day and I didn't exercise (other than playing volleyball a couple times a week) until I hit the goal weight. I gained about 15 of it back in short order, but managed to maintain the other 45 pound loss until the next pregnancy. Because that program worked so well -- even though it was buckoo expensive!! -- I went back after I had that next baby and was successful again. I didn't get all the way down to my goal, but I got back to where I was pre-pregnancy, took up my running activity again, and maintained until the next pregnancy.

When I had my third baby (my sweet Helen), I was actually successful breastfeeding her for awhile, so I couldn't take all the pills and supplements required with that program. That was one of the times I went to Weight Watchers. Once I weaned Helen, I went back on the quick weight loss diet, trying to figure out how I could purchase the products online to avoid the hassle of checking in three times a week at a weight loss center. I found a website here and there that carried the same products under a different name. I'd lose 15 pounds, gain 10, lose 10, gain 5, up and down up and down over and over.

After each of my pregnancies with the boys, I went back and tried this program again (in between attempts at Weight Watchers). I shelled out money for products. As you can see from this picture...they sure were put to good use (not).

This is a picture of all the products that sat in my cupboard the whole time I've been doing the Weight Watchers program this last round. I kept all this stuff because a) it is expensive and b) it was my fall-back -- if I was struggling with Weight Watchers I planned to use the pills to "jump-start" things if necessary.

Well, I never needed any of this. 

Vitamins, Pills, protein supplements

Closer view of all the pills...

When I had failed so many times with Weight Watchers, and then had one time been so successful with this expensive quick weight loss program, I thought that my body just couldn't lose weight without the help of pills and supplements. What really happened was I didn't follow the plan. Or I would for a little bit, but then I would relapse into my old ways. I loved eating pasta and cake and I didn't like to limit my portions. My schedule was hectic, working outside the home full-time and opposite my husband, there was no time for a regular exercise schedule. So, I would go and give these quick weight loss people a lot of money and take their pills and supplements and see some short term success...which would hold me over until the next time.

I was about 5 pounds away from goal when I started thinking about all that stuff in the cupboard. What would I do with it? Most of it is expired anyway, since I bought it in the months after I had Vincent (most of it expires in 2 years). And then I thought, "Wow. I've lost all this weight this time and not put one pill in my mouth." (I won't lie, the bars and drinks actually taste good sometimes and the drinks are 2 points plus on Weight Watchers and the bars vary from 3-5 points plus -- so on occasion, when I didn't have another healthy option for a snack, I have had them.) But I didn't have to take "metabolizers" -- I just increased my activity and my metabolism increased on its own. I didn't have to take "neuroslim" because I learned how to pay attention to my body and feed myself on queue with healthy options. I didn't need to take "essential fatty acids" in pill form because I ate a regular and healthy dose of olive oil and real butter to get my fat intake. I stopped taking multivitamins in pill form when my doctor showed me an article about how it's more effective to eat a balanced, healthy diet because our bodies don't absorb the vitamins in pill form all that well anyway.

Two weeks after I lost Gregory, I weighed 208 pounds. I last officially weighed in at 157 pounds. I lost 50 pounds without resorting to pills and supplements. I worked out, learned about tracking my food, and made healthy lifestyle changes.

This Happened
BTW -- ^^that picture? ^^that dress? Well, I took that picture Saturday. I wore that dress Saturday. The last time I wore that dress was to my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary in 2004. Actually, when I bought that dress, i was a size 16. I had it altered one of the times I lost all my weight down to a size 6/7. It was snug, but not too snug that I couldn't wear it. And I was ecstatic.

I wrote this because I know there are lots of people out there who have tried weight watchers a gazillion times and have done the quick weight loss programs on and off. I know I'm not the only one.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who finally figured out that healthy lifestyle choices are the way to go. But if there's one thing I hope this post can do, I hope I can convince someone who is about to shell out $2000 for a quick weight loss program (including products) that they really can do it without taking pills. I thought I couldn't. But I could.

Maybe you think you can't.

But you can.

June 13, 2014

7 Quick Takes - 82

It's Friday! One of my favorite days of the week. Jen's taking a break and asked Kathryn at Team Whitaker to host the 7QT this week! Thank you, Kathryn!

--- 1 ---

Happy day! I called to update my membership status with Weight Watchers and found out that they would refund me the last charge because it was supposed to go for membership through June 27! Yay. Always nice to get some extra cash, right?

--- 2 ---

I was reading over the material they gave me for Lifetime Membership...
I pored over this to ensure I understood how Lifetime Membership
works -- I worked too hard to get here not to understand :)
I only have to weigh in one time a month, but the first time I weigh in during a calendar month is the weight I have to use. I can't come in on the first weigh-in of the month and be over 2 pounds away from the goal weight and then the next week, I am back at (or under) goal and use that weight.

--- 3 ---

However, on the back of those terms, here is what really stood out:
That last sentence (at the bottom) -- hmmmmm

You know how sometimes you'll see a success story typed up in a magazine about someone who has lost weight (either through WW or another program) and they'll put the disclaimer about results not being typical? That last sentence made me think of that.
"For many dieters, weight loss is temporary."
I have to tell you, that statement hit home with me. For me, weight loss has always been temporary. I've lost it until I've gotten pregnant again. Or I've lost it until...I gained it back. So, I am determined...DETERMINED to make sure I am not one of the many. I don't want to be unhealthy. I love the new strength I have found. I love wearing the clothes from the back of my closet (and getting rid of the too-big stuff!)
For Michelle Hughes -- this weight loss is permanent.
I know I can do it. I plan to do it. I refuse to allow my weight loss to be temporary this time.

(How do you like them apples?)

--- 4 ---

So -- My Facebook Page -- is at 94 "likes"! Please share it with your friends! :) I'd love to give this away...

I got a Holy Spirit Holy Card since Pentecost is Sunday

</hopefully my last shameless FB Page Plug for awhile>

--- 5 ---

Guess who had her first summer swim meet last night?!?

This Girl!
Isn't she just the cutest? I love my Dani-girl. She swam three events and did pretty well. I think we're going to work on pre-race focus and make sure she gets a good dinner early in the day for next time (then she won't snack so much while sitting around waiting for events, we hope).

Either way, I just really love to watch her swim. It was fun!

--- 6 ---

Have you ever had some event in your life that is pretty personal, so you've kept it pretty close to the vest, only to find out that at the last possible point someone could find out about it -- they did? And you don't 100% know they know about your personal event, but you are, like, 99.9% sure they must know about it.

Do you just trust that the person understands it's a personal matter and leave well enough alone, never alluding to it or asking about it? Or do you acknowledge to the person that you know they know about it and that you appreciate them keeping it to themselves?

Sorry to be so evasive. Considering it's a personal matter that I've worked pretty hard at keeping on the D-L, I'm obviously not going to hash THAT out here. Just wondering what I should do since I know that at least one person knows about it that I hadn't really banked on knowing.

--- 7 ---

It's Father's Day on Sunday! Any plans? My dad is far away, taking care of his sister while she undergoes surgery or something like that. But I hope to give him a call and wish him a happy day.

As for Craig, I'm not sure what the kids have cooked up. I guess we shall see...

Have a fabulous weekend!!

Please go visit Team Whitaker for more 7 Quick Takes Posts!




June 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday Reruns: The Grace of Midnight Cuddles

This morning I was thinking about how much I enjoy the fact that I get to sleep all night (almost) every night. The years of waking up to feed or change a baby, or soothe midnight cries of teething pain, were hard. But then I remembered that some parts of it were not as bad as I thought and I remembered this post from when Vincent was 7 months old and thought it would be a great rerun post.

I hope you enjoy it!


I hear a baby grunt. Then a groan. Soon enough, the baby cries follow and I am made aware through my sleepiness that this is not the type of baby stirring that will go away on its own. I open my eyes and I see the clock. Sometimes it's 2:30 a.m. Sometimes it's 1:15. Some nights it is only 12:45 a.m. and I am horrified as I realize I have only gotten about 2 hours of sleep in before the call to get the baby.

Tonight it is 1:30 or so when I hear Vincent stirring.

I stumble over Dominic, who has made a little bed out of the floor on the side of my bed, and make my way down the stairs and into the baby's room. I pick him up and put him on the changing table and he cries out...this is unusual, but I decide at the early hour, it is probably not critical to have a diaper change. I make my way to the kitchen, flip on the light and start the water flowing to warm up to make a bottle. As I do all of this, I steal little kisses on Vincent's cheeks to which he smiles and giggles in return...and now I wonder if these middle-of-the-night visits are purposeful ways of getting one-on-one time with Mommy.

We sit down and in the 15 seconds it takes for me to get situated for a good hold and a view of my iPhone (to catch up on blogs or something while feeding) Vincent gets impatient and cries out and shakes his head as if to say, "I need that bottle NOW, Mommy!"

As he drinks his midnight cocktail (as I have called it before), I read some facebook but cannot determine the result of the basketball game I was watching as I fell asleep. Oh well, I make my plays on Hanging with Friends and Words with Friends. And soon enough, Vincent is finished.

I put the phone down, I put the empty bottle down and I work Vincent into his cuddle position and we sit in the dark. I feel him burp and then nestle into the crook of my neck and his hand finds its familiar place on the inside of my shirt just above my breast area. And I hear him breathe contentedly.

And now, I realize that I don't really hate getting up in the middle of the night with my baby boy. It's my chance to smell him and take in all his baby goodness. It is in these quiet moments that we are building our relationship -- he is learning to trust that I will be there, even in the pit of darkness -- to give him what he needs, whether it be nourishment or cuddles or safety.
It is at these times that I remember that this isn't the first time I was required this much at night. Sarah was a baby that didn't sleep through consistently for probably a good 18-20 months of her life. I had forgotten. Of course, that was 10 years ago, and I didn't have the maturity to appreciate the quiet solitude the middle of the night brings then. I was too engrossed in my annoyance that I had to rise at that hour at all. It is at these times that I realize how spoiled I was with the next three babies who slept through consistently very early on and it was only one in maybe 20 nights that I was awakened from my slumber, if at all.

So tonight, I decide to close my eyes and just listen to Vincent breathing on me. Tonight, I think about the fact that this could be the last time I get this opportunity, so I will make the most of it. I think about earlier in the night when I made him giggle by playing peek-a-boo while he lay on his changing table. His laugh is like my own personal version of catnip. I would do anything to hear it for eternity. I think about his infectious grin. I think about the cups of saliva that spill out of his mouth all day. I think of his big brown eyes that give me looks like I am the only woman for him. I think about how he grabs my hair and continues to pull and play gently until it hurts me. I think about him bouncing with joy in his "exer-saucer" and how much he has learned in the last month.

The first year of a baby's life flies so quickly. But what is so odd is how parts of it feel like they drag on forever. Vincent is now 7 months old. He is barreling down the road to his 1st birthday. Time is not my friend this time. My age and experience reminds me that this might be my last trip down this road. And because it is my 5th time, I know how quickly the trip can pass me by if I don't pay attention.

After some time of just sitting there, being with Vincent, holding his 18 pounds, feeling his breath on my neck, kissing his soft head, I walk him back to his crib and place him softly for his remaining nightly slumber. I stumble back up the stairs. I step around Dominic, sleeping soundly in his makeshift bed (I suppose I should learn to find the grace in that situation, too) and I crawl back into bed.

As I drift back to sleep, I realize that I'm not all that annoyed that I spent the last 35-40 minutes taking care of Vincent.

As a matter of fact, I realize that I will actually miss these days at some point.

A throwback picture to Vincent at 6 months old

June 11, 2014

Weight Watchers Wednesday (19)

Today I write to you as a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers!

The gold key = Lifetime charm

My plan last week to adjust my goal weight to the top of the range was a great idea. I weighed in three pounds under that and because I'd maintained within 2 pounds of that weight for the past two months, they were able to retroactively set my status at Lifetime as of Thursday, June 5!

Needless to say, I was very excited. My leader called me Monday to let me know she had all the paperwork so I could submit it and they might refund me the last month's charges I incurred since I hit it before a week had passed into June. so, we'll see. I don't particularly care about a refund, just that I don't have to pay any further charges! :)

So, now I move into the maintenance phase. In many ways this could prove to be a bigger challenge than the losing part. My understanding is that now only my first weigh-in of each month counts and as long as I am within 2 pounds of the weight, I maintain my status as Lifetime member. I can weigh in more than once a month, but whatever the first weigh-in is each month -- that is the one I have to use.

My plan is to continue to attend weekly meetings. I may or may not weigh in each meeting, but for sure will have to on the first weigh-in of each month. I think I'll continue to post these Weight Watchers Wednesday posts to share ideas and tips they share in each meeting and how it is going with maintenance.

So here were my pictures at the beginning of this journey:
Size 14 jeans; XL shirt

And here I am now! 32.2 pounds gone!

Size 8 skirt -- this is in the Wellness Area at my workplace
where we have the Weight Watchers At-Work Meetings
This is me on Sunday -- at my niece/goddaughter's bday party
I couldn't even wear that shirt when I started this!


June 9, 2014

Monday Mumbles -71

Wow! I haven't done a Mumbles post since April 21! Holy Cow! Well, I know you've been waiting. So, ahem. Welcome to Monday and here are some mumbles.

1. I wrote up a little post-race blurb Saturday. Check it out.

2. We didn't sign Helen up for the Miss Missouri Pageant this year. It wasn't a lack of desire on her part. We just figured that we have a lot going on right now, the money is tight and...she'd be at the bottom of her age division anyway, let's wait it out at least a year to let maturity kick in. Well...seeing Helen glued to the T.V. last night watching the Miss U.S.A. pageant drove home my feeling that we have not seen the last of Helen's Pageants.

Couldn't tear Helen away from the Miss USA Pageant
3. Sarah was offered a middle hitter position on a club volleyball team! Very exciting. And it's with a club that is close to where we live. She'll be on a Silver level team, which is perfect for her. I really like the coach and I am relieved that she has a place for the 2014-15 season. Yay Sarah!

4. Dani starts her swim practices today. She also starts walking home afterward. It's a short walk, 15 minutes, tops. And that is if she dilly-dallies. Which she won't. She better not. I'm a little nervous, but I think she'll be fine. She's got people waiting on her and it's a busy street she walks up to our house. I'm really excited to see her improvement with a daily swim practice. Her first summer meet is Thursday and I know she can't wait!

5. Vincent's daycare provider is on vacation this week. So, I've prepped Sarah for all the things I want her to do with him in the mornings. And that she needs to keep him on his schedule of feeding him lunch and getting him down for a nap every day. She did fabulous last year and that was with diapers! This year, she doesn't have to worry about that part. :)

6. My girls enjoyed their week of vacation away from us, but I think we are all happy to be together again. I can tell by how loud and obnoxious everyone is. haha. It's amazing how loud a large family can be.

7. My first weekend as a Lifetime Weight Watcher didn't go so hot. I better stick to my tracker or I'll be paying again!

8. Oh. I have 12 likes to go on Endless Strength Blog's Facebook page before I do my giveaway...just FYI. I know all of YOU dear readers have "liked" the page. Right?

9. I have 23 working days (including today) before my vacation. I really cannot wait. I am ready. And check out this photo of Vincent enjoying the little toddler car at my sister's house yesterday. That kid -- I love him!

Beep! Beep!
10. I'll leave you with this photo of Dominic with his cousin, Beatrice. They are 3 months apart in age and cuter than all get-out. Love them!

5-year-olds -- they are awesome!!