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July 30, 2014

Weight Watchers Wednesday (22) -- Vacation Edition

It's Wednesday and we're talking Weight stuff. :)

the last few weeks have given me the opportunity to test out my new lifestyle changes within the framework of a vacation. I had two weeks off work, we traveled and we had some fun.

Road Trip Food Choices
We went to the grocery store the day before we left for the road trips both times and purchased food to make sandwiches, got some easy-to-take/eat fruit and some other snacks. We spent about $50-60 each time but it was well worth it to have healthy food to eat and not be left with the option of HAVING to eat at McDonald's or something. My food choices for the way out: Diet coke, Turkey and cheese sandwich, string cheese, grapes, Special K protein granola bar, water.

It is about 16 hours from our house to my sister's house, so we did the bulk of it in the first day, spending about 12 hours on the road, and then the rest the second day. The first night, we stayed in Knoxville, TN and enjoyed dinner out with the family at Cheddar's. While I was in the losing weight phase, I avoided this restaurant because their dietary information is not found ANYWHERE and they will not provide it to you when you arrive either, so it's difficult to gauge the points values of anything I ate. But, I had decided I wasn't going to track while traveling and just try to make good choices. But...that night at Cheddar's, I did overeat. And I felt very BLAH afterwards. The hotel where we stayed had hot breakfast the next morning so we did that before we left and got to my sister's a little later than lunch time.

Obviously, spending 12 hours in the car for one day and staying in a different city, I didn't do any activity on that first night. I had planned well and ensured I did crossfit the Thursday before I left. Then when we arrived at my sister's, I changed my clothes and went for a run before I started drinking or eating. Best. Decision. Ever. It was great to shake out the old bones after being in the car for 1.5 days.

We stayed at my sister's for a full week, so we paid the "drop in" fee for the local Crossfit (Crossfit Lake Wylie) and went EVERY day, Monday through Friday. They had a 7:00 a.m. WOD which fit perfectly with my idea of not-so-darn-early and not-late-enough to blow my entire day.

By Saturday, I was looking at some more days in the car and such. I knew I didn't want more than two rest days in a row and I hoped to be back in KC on Tuesday early enough to hit crossfit, so that meant Sun-Mon rest days. So, I got up and had a lovely run in a light rain.

Food Choices while staying with family
Thankfully, I was staying with my sibling who has the best penchant for hanging onto money, so we didn't eat in restaurants or anything. We split the grocery bills when we'd go and get stuff and we ate our meals mostly at home. She has a grocery store in her area that has organic and natural stuff that has a $5 sushi night and we went out there and bought the boys pizza and ate sushi (yum!!). One of the days I stopped by Bojangles after Crossfit for breakfast biscuits (there is not a Bojangles where I live and they really do have the best biscuits). And since QuikTrip is open in SC, too, I still got my diet coke when I wanted it.

On Friday night, Craig and I met Rebecca and The Man for dinner as they were traveling to their vacation destination and passed by close to where we were. But even Pad Thai is a good choice for a restaurant.

The main thing I did that I don't normally do while staying with my sister was snack. When I am at work all day, I have my lunch and usually a piece of fruit for a snack. But when i was around my sister's and while we had the little ones -- crackers, cheese, chocolate -- those types of things were readily available and I didn't track it and I didn't tell myself "no."

We stopped by my mom's on our way home and that night was pizza night. I ate a little too much of that, too.

Returning Home
When we got home, we had to hit the grocery store. Then, I had Sarah's 13th birthday celebration where some of her friends joined her at a restaurant/arcade type place. Sarah and I shared a burger, which was good, it was much too large for one of us to eat, and it cut down on the cost, too. Double-win! Thursday was our 15th wedding anniversary, so we ate Mexican food. Then on Friday, I took Sarah shopping and we had lunch at Bo Ling's -- Pad Thai again! :) Saturday was the triathlon and it was taco night, too. But then, Sunday, I got "back on the wagon," so to speak. I started tracking again and set my point goal for the 26 WW allows you when you are losing weight. I've continued that pattern through today.

One thing I kept in mind as this vacation was coming up was that I didn't want things to get out of hand. My history tells me that if I go completely unchecked, I can start down a road that will require a lot of hard work to get back to where I am now. So, I knew I would exercise throughout my vacation (and I did). I knew there would be an end to my "vacation-eating" and there was. I knew I wanted to keep the goal to step on the scale for my first weigh-in of August and be at goal (or within 2 pounds) so that I will not have to pay and can continue to get my Lifetime Member E-tools. All three of those things helped me to enjoy my vacation without slipping up enough to cause an all-out failure.

The Good News
I stepped on the scale this morning (it had been 4 weeks since I weighed) and I was 161, which is one pound over goal. I still have until the first August weigh-in to continue to get things back in check, but I am very pleased with that still.

I found this image while searching Pinterest and I really like it, so I'll share:


I'll be back after my August weigh-in! :)

July 28, 2014

A Different Kind of Event

Saturday was my first Triathlon. Before I did it, I thought that it might be my only triathlon. I hadn't trained as well as I had wanted, due to vacation timing. There was a great group of women who met up to train together and I kept having conflicts while I was not on vacation. But, even with the training not quite there, I still felt quite accomplished at completing this triathlon.

Laying it all out the night before
The race was the WIN for KC triathlon and it is a women's only event. It is a sprint triathlon and the distances are 500 meter swim, 10 mile bike ride and 5K run. We got there early and got everything set up. I am so thankful for the lady who drove us there as she was handy with an air pump and aired up my tires. I am not good at knowing what air pressure I should have in my tires. Thank goodness she knew!!

How I had it set up before we started
The race itself was an incredible and difficult experience. I made it more difficult by not doing as much triathlon specific training as I should have. But thankfully, my fitness base is strong since I have been doing cross fit and running still.

Many of you know that I am a swimmer. I swam competitively growing up so I didn't think much about the swim itself, other than I freaked out about having to do it in a lake. I am NOT a lake swimmer. I like my chlorine, thank you very much. However, to do a triathlon, I had to get over that and just do it. I did ONE lake training swim. Not nearly enough to prepare me to swim as well as I wanted to. Swimming in a lake is different from swimming in a pool and that was evident in the fact that I didn't swim 500 meters anywhere NEAR as fast as I thought/hoped I would. That being said, I felt good in the swim...I didn't panic or have any anxiety about it...I just tired much more quickly than I think I would have if I had done more lake training swims. Or heck any swimming at all. Because we put our Y membership on hold while Dani swam the neighborhood swim team this summer, I hadn't had access to a pool either. Oh well, live and learn, right?

The transition to the bike went pretty well. I ran up the hill and toweled off my legs and put on some shorts and a pair of shoes for the ride. The difficult part for the bike ride was that I hadn't trained on the bike at all. I had simply ensured I could still ride one (after 20 years!!) and borrowed a friend's mountain bike so I would have something. I had ridden it a few miles a couple of times and then gone on vacation where I didn't get on a bike at all. So, I made this part of the triathlon much more difficult by not really doing a good ride at least twice before the triathlon. The fact that I hadn't ridden much ensured I had no way of gauging the distance. I remember thinking "What...the...???" when I saw I had only gone 3 miles. The good news is that the 7 mile marker came up much faster than I expected.

The next transition was not as fast as it should have been because I wore the wrong shorts to bike in and they were all wet. So I changed into another pair of shorts. I also changed my shoes to my current "running" shoes and put on socks. It wasn't terribly long, but it could have been about a minute faster if I would have worn a triathlon suit or something.

In addition to not swimming in a lake enough and not riding a bike enough, I also never did any "brick workouts" to prepare for this thing. So I was woefully ill-prepared for how the run would feel after biking 10 miles. Therefore, the run felt horrible and I couldn't will myself to go any faster. But the best part was seeing friendly faces on the trail anyway.

All that being said, it was the most incredible feeling as I crossed the finish line. It has been 8 years since I completed my first (and only) marathon, but the emotions that roared to the surface were similar. They announced every participant's name as we crossed the finish line. I loved that...I was listening for my name and it came across the speaker just as I hit the line. It was cool. I crossed the finish line, returned my chip and got my medal and then I started sobbing. It was not pretty, but it felt beautiful. :)

Here's what I was looking at as I finished the 5K
When I started down this road to a much healthier lifestyle 9 months ago, I did not set a triathlon as a goal. I set goals that were manageable -- lose 5 pounds, then lose 5 more, workout 3 days a week, then workout 4 days a week, then try to make it to 5 days a week. I didn't set out to increase my max lift on the back squat or to run my fastest 5K ever, or to complete a triathlon. But the end results of the changes I have made are just those things. Just Monday of this week, I attained a personal record in the back squat, smashing my previous PR by 20 pounds. Back in May, I ran the 5K distance the fastest I ever have. And Saturday, I completed a triathlon.

Throughout all of this, I have had the amazing support of my husband and my family, all of you dear readers, and a small group of women who commiserated and supported me in a Facebook weight loss support group. One of those women completed the triathlon on Saturday, too. It's such a huge thing to decide to do something like a triathlon. And of course, for some people, it's deciding to do a 5K or deciding to do a marathon, or deciding to try crossfit. All of those decisions are big decisions that deserve our respect and support. I love that my husband joined crossfit with me -- he's NEVER done anything like that in all his life. I love that you readers have supported me in reading and responding to my Weight Watchers Wednesday posts. I love that a couple of women in that FB weight loss support group have done 5K's and then the one who did the triathlon. These are big deals! It was incredible to see all the women doing the triathlon on Saturday. It was a supportive, uplifting experience from start to finish. And there were so many women who were completing the triathlon for the first time. That is so incredible!

Old friend, new friends
All three of us were completing our first triathlon
I think I will do another triathlon. Maybe lots of other triathlons. As difficult as it was, I found I enjoyed the mental challenge of doing three different races in one. An online triathlon group I joined is continuing to have workouts and I am trying to shuffle my schedule so I can make more of them even though I am not signed up for another triathlon right now. I need more work and I can learn so much from other women who do these races. I plan to get fitted for a road bike and start watching craigslist to get a bike I can afford. I'll even shell out the $$ for a triathlon suit, before the next one.

This t-shirt was a gift from the friend who did her first triathlon, too. I love it so much!!

My new favorite shirt!!
So if you're reading this and you are thinking about making a change -- whether you just want to be more active, or you want to lose some weight, or you just want to do something with other women that benefits you physically, think about doing a triathlon. Or a 5K. or Crossfit, even! 

I can say with 100% confidence, I have no regrets about any of the changes I have made in the last 9 months. It's all worth it -- because I am worth it. 

You are worth it, too.

July 27, 2014

Just Another Day

Today could have been just another day. Actually, it is just another day to everyone but me, I think. There are many things that can distract me today, but they don't.

I completed a triathlon for the first time yesterday. (More on that later.)

My two-week vacation ends today.

I have friends moving, everyone is getting back-to-school shopping started (at least) right now. I'm looking through the kids' uniforms, trying to decide what more is needed for the coming school year. I'm cleaning up, trying to get the budget back in order and the kitchen back in order and our bedroom back in order.

But, alas, the undercurrent of today is not gone. I was due to deliver Gregory a year ago, today. My last blogpost was a week and a half ago as my oldest child turned 13. Today could have been a 1-year Happy Birthday post. Or something.

It's strange. I still think of Gregory every day, but it doesn't really sting anymore. I still miss him, but...I have an appreciation and an acceptance for the family we are with him in Heaven. I suppose that is part of the healing process and I don't think it bothers me that it doesn't sting so much. 

I think I'll take a trip up to the cemetery some time today, just to go and "see" him on what could have been his birthday. 

But other than that, and to anyone else, it will look like just another day.

July 16, 2014

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Today, my oldest turns 13 years old.

I have allowed that to sink in for the past few hours (since I woke up). Wow.

The oldest child is always new. Everything about her is a first time. The first steps, the first cuts and bruises, the first time she said, "I love you" and the first days of school---and now the first time she goes on a plane without an escort and we are barreling down the road towards first high school days, clubs, sports, first dances and dates and....just everything. She gets so much focus because we want everything to go as we planned. 

It is true, I struggle with how much space to give her to screw up socially and how much I protect her from the inevitable mean-girl things that happen at this stage of life. She handles everything so much better than I anticipate. Over and over again, I am forced to realize that she is even more mature than I give her credit for (and I actually give her a lot of credit). The things I see that remind me of my own trials in middle school are things she handles with grace. She is loyal to a fault, but I realize that is something for which I can't help but love and admire her, no matter the tears it can cause along the way.

As the firstborn of five (+1) children, she is an incredible big sister. I remember when I found this in her school bag in 4th grade, as we were preparing to welcome Vincent that coming summer.

"Heaven is more beautiful than the big Christmas Tree at Zona Rosa
Heaven is more awesome than going to Disney World
Heaven sounds more fun than going on a play by myself to New Jersey
Heaven feels like getting another sibling and being loved forever."

I was so touched, as a mother can be when her children admit/show their love for each other. Now she is a fantastic babysitter for us and for other families where she can earn some money. She knows how to play with little kids. Often, it is Sarah who initiates the play with her siblings that doesn't involve electronics or anything. She has a knack for that, coming up with fun and engaging play activities in which all ages of her siblings will play and enjoy.

I am excited to watch as our next "Firsts" unfold. She will be in 8th grade this year, preparing for high school, playing club volleyball, discovering more about herself. I love learning how she feels about the books she reads and the movies she watches. I enjoy following her Tweets and Instagram photos and really love it when her loving personality shines through.

Sarah has always had a contemplative faith-life, understanding things earlier than I anticipated. She is the reason Craig and I delved in and learned more about our Catholic faith. She is the reason we embraced NFP and ultimately became open to more children. Her baptism was the turning point for me and promising to teach her our Catholic faith and raise her to be Catholic was the best thing I ever did.

So, off we go, into Teenager-land. Happy Birthday, sweet Sarah!
Birthday Girl!

July 14, 2014

Monday Mumbles - 72

Good Monday Morning, to you all!! I write this from my sister's house, where I am during my vacation. It's so wonderful to see her. And my brother. And their spouses and children. Oh my…I needed this!! I wanted to get something up on this blog, though, so…here are some mumbles for ya!!

1. Dani and Helen are off at their first summer camp ever! It's called the Children of Mary Religion camp and we took them and all their stuff to their cabins yesterday. I think they are going to have a blast. There's lake swimming, arts and crafts, opportunities for confession and Mass all week. We saw their names at their "meal tables" and they get to bunk with their cousins! 
All five camp-kids with they counselors
Before we left the house
2. Here is Helen when we dropped her stuff off in her cabin. So sweet.

Growing up so fast!!
3. Oh…and this isn't the best picture…but I caught Helen and her cousin, Julie, holding hands when they went places together. They are three months apart in age and both just so sweet. I know they will have a blast.
Sweet girls
4. Here is my nephew, and godson, Joey. He wanted to go to camp, too, and he doesn't have a cousin-buddy like the girls, but he was very excited to go.

Such a great boy
5. Here is Dani when we dropped her stuff off in her cabin. We sprayed her down with bug spray -- Dani has the worst time attracting everything that bites!! And she was excited to bunk with her cousin, Jenna (they are about 9 months apart in age -- same grade and everything, though).

Ready for camp!!
6. We arrived Saturday afternoon and got to hang out with my sister, her family, my brother and his family, too. It was awesome! Here's a picture of all the Poliquin-side cousins who were present.

13 of the 20 out-of-the-womb Poliquin-side cousins
(#21 is due in late August/early Sept)
7. We broke the drive into two days and stopped at a hotel. It was my first time using Hotwire to book a stay and also the first time I had to break down and get two rooms (boys in one, girls in the other :) ) We arrived in time to swim for a little bit before we went to dinner and to bed. The kids had a blast! And we were very happy with the deal we got through Hotwire and with the hotel.

8. Sarah is off to spend time with a couple of her Hughes-side cousins who are her age. I can't believe how grown up she is getting. It's crazy.

9. We hit up the local Crossfit box, too!! It was a blast. We got a good workout in and we "paid" them for the full week -- they require a Men's (XL) and Women's (M) shirt per person for a week "drop-in" fee. After a few days with no lifting, the weight felt heavy, but we squatted, and then did "Grace" (30 Clean & Jerks for time). Talked with the guy for a bit and saw where they run, when they run and got acclimated to their box. Really cool we get to keep up our workouts while we're on vacation!
Craig and me after our WOD
10. We're down to just Dominic and Vincent for the week, so we're headed to an art studio to make some cool stuff this morning. 

Vacation is awesome. Hope you have a fabulous Monday!!

July 8, 2014

Parenting "Village" -- Do You Have One?

I remember when I was little -- like, really little, before-the-divorce little -- and my parents always told me that any adult/authority figure who was in charge of me was like my parent. So, if I was at a friend's house, their parents were my parents while I was there and I was to obey them as if my own parents had asked something of me. And if I was at school, all teachers were my parents-at-school, and I was to obey them and listen to them just as I would my own parents. Shoot, even if we were hanging out at the Y, swimming on a summer afternoon, any adult or lifeguard was like my parent there, too.

I remember thinking how I never could get away from parents.

I also remember that if I got into trouble with a parent who was not really my parent, I actually got in trouble twice. The first punishment could be a timeout or even a little spanking from the adult/authority figure I had misbehaved for. And then, when that parent told my parents about my misbehavior, I got punished again.

I remember that misbehaving wasn't worth all the trouble.

Now I am a parent and I tell my children the same thing. I tell them their teachers are their "parents" at school. I tell them they must behave for their friends' parents and if they don't, those parents have authority to pu them in time out or whatever mode of punishment fits their misbehavior. My kids know not to complain about teachers or other kids' parents to me because I typically will side with the adult in the matter.

But things are different now. When I was a kid, I think most parents held the same view as mine did. Most adults/authority figures didn't hesitate to correct me when I misbehaved and they sure didn't hesitate to tell my parents about my misbehavior. These days, though, I don't feel the same solidarity among parents. As a matter of fact, I believe I know which parents I can expect this from and it's not a large number. I know that I can bring bad behavior to the attention of the parents of a few of the kids we know and they will be grateful that I addressed it and will also address it.

I've been in authoritative volunteer positions and been in the situation where a parent registered displeasure with my reactions and/or disciplinary measures because the child had simply told them that I "didn't like him/her" so the parent was not happy. I've also been in the situation where I have taken corrective action (obviously not knowing whether the parent would be supportive or not) to realize that I cannot expect support from all other parents/adults when their children misbehave. My opinion of what constitutes bad behavior can be vastly different from other parents. Lots of parents say, "That's just the way kids are!"

This blog I read via HuffPo recently really hits home on all five things this nanny cites as reasons why parenting is in a crisis these days. But #3 is one of the most important, I think, and also one of the hardest things to regain, once it is lost:

3. We've lost the village. It used to be that bus drivers, teachers, shopkeepers and other parents had carte blanche to correct an unruly child. They would act as the mum and dad's eyes and ears when their children were out of sight, and everyone worked towards the same shared interest: raising proper boys and girls. This village was one of support. Now, when someone who is not the child' parent dares to correct him, the mum and dad get upset. they want their child to appear perfect, and so they often don't accept teachers' and others' reports that he is not. They'll storm in and have a go at a teacher rather than discipline their child for acting out in class. They feel the need to project a perfect picture to the world and unfortunately, their insecurity is reinforced because many parents do judge one another. If a child is having a tantrum, all eyes turn on the mum disapprovingly. Instead she should be supported, because chances are the tantrum occurred because she's not giving in to one of her child's demands. Those observers should instead be saying, "Hey, good work - I know setting limits is hard."

I really enjoy my time with my nieces and nephews because my siblings -- having been raised in a similar manner -- will parent my children and allow me to parent theirs. We enforce the same sort of punishments for bad behavior and expect good behavior from all ages of child. Once I understand where parents of my kids' friends stand on this issue (and that's not always easy to determine) it makes it easier to monitor those play dates and friendships because I know whether the friends live to the same expectations as mine or not. 
It's frustrating to see bad behavior that I feel the need to simply shake my head and turn my kids away. I wish I believed that correcting bad behavior would have the intended effect of helping another child grow. But knowing that some parents would simply be angry with me for correcting their child keeps me silent. And if the bad behavior is pervasive enough, I simply urge my children to stay away.
What is your experience? Do you expect other parents and adults in authority to discipline your kids and inform you? Do you feel comfortable disciplining unruly children?

July 2, 2014

Weight Watchers Wednesday (21)

Happy Wednesday! I thought it would be good to do a Weight Watchers Wednesday the day before my first weigh-in as a full-fledged Lifetime member. Tomorrow, I weigh in one month after attaining Lifetime status with Weight Watchers. 

For the record, the rule is that if I weigh even one-tenth over 2 pounds higher than the goal weight I list, I will have to pay for the week and continue to pay until I get back to goal. This means I cannot step on the scale and have it read more than 162.0.

How has the month gone? Well, let me tell you. Sticking to the plan was hard. I ran into the same temptations I had when I was trying to lose weight. And I guess that's kind of how it is. Our lives are what they are and we make choices based on what we hope to achieve. When losing weight, we are conscious of how the choice to eat that extra slice of pizza or those three cookies will feel if it sabotages our weigh-in the following week. 

As a Lifetime member, only the first weigh-in of the month counts. What that means is, the first time I attend a meeting of any given month, I have to weigh and that is the weight that counts for tracking my progress as a Lifetime member. I attended meetings throughout June, but only weighed in on June 5. I think I had the intention to weigh every week, but as the week passed and I wanted to partake in a treat on Tuesday or Wednesday (something I would NEVER do while I was on the weight loss program) I decided, "Well, I don't have to weigh-in every week. So...I won't." 

Not going to lie, but as this week edged closer and closer, I started to get concerned, so I put on my determined hat middle of last week and decided no more treats and make all the workouts between then and tomorrow and make sure I hit the goal. So, this past week has been fabulous. I even had some cake on Sunday for Vincent's birthday, but I was right back on the wagon Monday and Tuesday.

I might step on the scale tomorrow morning at home so I can be sure I'm prepared for whatever the WW scale says. I think I'm going to do fine. But it's been interesting this first month. It's almost as though I need to set a goal on a month-to-month basis of maintaining and hitting goal so that I focus.

By the way, I was out shopping with the girls and saw that some exercise shorts were on sale, so I picked them up to buy and got the size marked L for Large. I didn't think I needed to try them on, so I bought them and took them home. I put them on before working out on Sunday and realized they were too big. The elastic gapped on my waist! That is crazy that I would need the size marked M for Medium in shorts, but -- holy cow, I do!! So I took them back on Monday night. I had gotten a 20% off coupon in my e-mail so I did some extra shopping and thought maybe I would get a couple of exercise tanks to go with the shorts. But I was smart this time...I took both the M and the L to the dressing room to try on. And, what do you know? I need the sized marked M for Medium in shirts, too! That just made me happy so I thought I would share.

Also, I'm still crossfitting and on Sunday, I actually did one of the girl-named WOD's at the Rx weight. I didn't do it fast enough to get my name on the board, but I did do it in pretty good fashion. It was "Grace" and it was 30 Clean & Jerks at 95 pounds for time. I did it in 5:15, about a minute off where I'd need to be to get my name on the board at my the box. So, yay me! :)

Okay, I'm on this string of posts where no one comments, so break that for me, okay? How are you all doing with your plans? I know a few of you are doing weight loss plans of your own. Share with me! How's it going?

And I leave you with this bit of motivation:

Link Here

July 1, 2014

A Little Post about Catholic School

Today, the beautiful Bonnie at A Knotted Life has extended an invitation to blog at her place. I chose to expand on our decision with regard to Catholic high school. It's a tough decision no matter what, and honestly, the decision is kind of made WAY before high school is on the horizon when we discern, through prayer, our family size.

Recently, we decided that our children will attend public high school. We’d been discerning diligently for the past 7-8 months, but the hope of providing Catholic high school education to our children had been on our minds for even longer than that. There were many things we considered as we discerned. I’ve been able to compartmentalize them into three main categories: the expense; the extra-curricular opportunities (sports, clubs, etc); and the environment (Catholic and otherwise). Our comfort levels with different aspects of all of those were based on our experiences. Craig attended Catholic school all the way through high school. I attended Catholic school from grades 1 through 8. After that, I attended public high school.
For the purposes of this post, I am going to focus on the financial expense of providing a Catholic high school education. Read the rest at A Knotted Life.