Monday, May 31, 2010

The Countdown

My husband has gotten an unofficial word that he will be rejoining us in 25 days - June 24, 2010. It's still not 100% set in stone (as nothing in the military is until its actually happening), but right now, its fairly likely.

So, I have begun to countdown...
25 more days of waking up to a big empty bed, 25 more days of killing bugs and taking out the trash, 25 more days of seeing only my clothes strewn about in our room, 25 more days of chatting on skype at night and seeing "unknown" pop up on my cell phone. There is only 25 more days of day dreaming about our reunion, 25 days of seeing his car sit unmoved in the driveway, 25 more days of wishing he'd walk in the door at dinnertime, 25 more days to work out and lose these last few pounds, 25 more days until I begin washing velcro ridden ACUs again, 25 more days until I will get a very-much-needed back massage, 25 days until my toothbrush gets it's partner back, and 25 more days until I feel his kiss once again.

After months and months of waiting for this countdown to begin, 25 days still seems so far off. Fortunately, I have company coming twice and C has multiple camps. Although MOPS, preschool, military childcare, and ballet have all ended for the summer, I still have the friendships I've developed. Those will carry me through the next 25 days. Almost single handedly, those women who I so heavily rely on will get me through. Daily chats with my neighbor across the street, waving at the boy on his bike up the road, the numerous phone calls and texts all day from my girlfriends just checking in, running into friends at the pool, and sitting by my fellow army wives at church...

So, 25 more days of missing him, 25 more days of wondering what his reaction to my weightloss will be, 25 more days of telling C that Daddy is coming home this summer, 25 more days until we are once again an "in person" family of four :-) Praise Jesus!!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Still losing weight...

Most of you probably know that I am still working out and watching what I eat. I am not following any real program right now, but am definitely still in "losing" mode. I am doing Turbo Jam videos, some Chalean Extreme, and walking about 2 miles several days a week. As of this weekend, I am now down 38.4 pounds! I couldn't be happier :-) My goal right now is to lose about 8 more pounds. I know I can do it, it just may take me a while since I am losing about a pound to a pound and a half each week. Check out my most recent pictures in one of my new favorite outfits - leggins!


I know a lot of you guys that read my blog love to see pictures, so in stead of writing about what has been going on around are all the pictures :-)

D in his new Army PT shirt. Its just like the grown up ones!

He throws LOTS of tantrums now...he's hitting the "terrible twos" considerably early, haha.
Wearing his fire hat from the firemen at the carseat safety checkpoint. We passed with flying colors!! :-)
My kids had never eaten a powdered doughnut (so much sugar!) but I gave in and bought a bag of them. The kids LOVED them.
C's family picnic day at the park got rained out, so we had to stay at school and play and eat our picnic there. Notice how C made sure D had some leggos too...and how he completely enjoys wearing the Hannah Montana headset microphone.
Having a picnic lunch
C and her best school friend. I know she will miss her!
Most of the girls in her preschool class with their teacher, Miss. Jelly.
Story time!
I came out into the living room after washing my hair. The kids had gotten into all my Chalean Extreme things...C took one look at my face and before I said a word, she told me, "David did it!"

C is going to miss these girls (And I will miss their moms!)...these are C's ballet girlfriends. They were at our house for a playdate all snuggled up watching a movie :-)
Preschool Commencement!
C's class singing a cute song all in Spanish
Getting her diploma
My babies are getting SO big!
Showing off all her graduation goods :-)
Eating the cake she was so excited about - she told me for about a week that after they sang, they were going to eat cake. And eat cake she did!!
C with her very first teacher. We'll miss you Miss. Jelly!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What you've missed...

I have been missing my husband a whole lot lately, so this afternoon I decided I would channel all that "missingness" into a movie for him. I hope you enjoy it!

And B, I love you and I can't get you off my mind. I hope you like this video I that compiled for you. Come home soon, babe!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday with the kids

Today is Saturday and aside from the 2 minutes my neighbor came over to bring me back my bag of chips, I haven't spent any time with another adult. I've been at home with the kids just about all day. We ran to Target (along with the rest of the world apparently) for a few items and then ate at Moes for dinner. But today has been all about me and the kids. :-) D licked salsa off chips. C dunked her chocolate chip cookie in sour cream. I actually got a shower and blow dryed my hair. Its been a good day!

We also spent some time at the computer taking pictures and recording short videos. I thought you may enjoy seeing a few snippets of our weekend :-)

Parties galore!

I have had a great 2 weeks despite all the stress from the previous post. My uncle's job brought him in town for several days so his lovely wife accompanied him and hung out with me.

I love company. I love anyone that I can chat with, relate to, and I especially love them if they help me with my kiddos. That is exactly what my sweet aunt did :-) She and I ran errands around town, priced stuff for my yard sale, ate pizza, went out to lunch, and visited. Yesterday, both kids were at C's school for the morning and my aunt and I had a few hours to go shopping all by ourselves! We hit up TJ Maxx and Marshalls...check out my new red dress!
Woohoo! I've never had a red dress! (Sorry for the poor picture quality...) I had to take a picture and send it to my hubby - I am ready for you to come home, babe!!

My aunt also babysat for me a couple times so I could run to consign some of the kids' clothes and then once so I could go to a Silpada Jewelry party. Have you ever been to one of these parties? The jewelry is so pretty. I think I tried on 75% of the pieces on display :-) I settled on a pair of long silver earrings. I can't wait for them to arrive on my doorstep!

Sadly my aunt and uncle had to go home yesterday afternoon. I was sad to see them leave...I am always sad when company leaves.

Fortunately I had a fun event last night to cheer me up and take my mind off the back-to-normal-loneliness. My neighbor across the street was hosting a Passion Party. (I am not linking to the website. If you don't know what a Passion Party is, it may be better that way, haha) I didn't think I was going to be able to go, but my super-duper neighbor found me a babysitter and arranged for her to come to my house just yesterday afternoon. She is one great neighbor! So, after getting both kids in bed, I put on my red dress and headed across the street to my first Passion Party!

Okay, I have always thought I am fairly friendly and open and not easily embarrassed. I think I thought that because I had never been to a Passion Party before!! I was so embarrassed at the casual mentioning of some of the products and body parts on which they are to be applied, haha. I got over it though...all in the name of fun and bonding. We got a great laugh about how much we all loved one of the flavored massage lotions. It tasted so good we all though we might get caught at home just eating it right out of the tube when we craved something sweet! It has to have less calories than chocolate, right?

It goes without saying that once I got over the fact that I was hearing words that are clearly NOT in my daily vocabulary, I had a blast! Girl time is always fun...and licking lotion off our arms just has a away of bringing a bunch of neighbors even closer :-) I sure will miss these girls!

On another note, time is still ticking away and my wonderful husband is likely to be coming home sometime in the next month! We don't have a for sure date yet, and I am not really sure if we will ever get a "set in stone" date. But as of right now, it looks like he MAY be coming home in the middle of June. It could still be the end of June so I am trying not to get my hopes too high for mid-June. On the other hand, I can't help but get excited that he may be home in less than a month!!! I haven't seen him in 7 months!! It's going to be so amazing have him back in our home and back in my arms :-) Praise God!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oh the stress!

Where to even begin with this post?!? The stress! Let me start by saying that today I had to return to the hospital a holter monitor that I wore for 24 hours to record all my heart activity because I have been having heart palpitations. I have self-diagnosed that they are stress-related. It makes perfect sense to me. I guess in a week the doctor will either confirm or deny my own self-diagnosis.

B still isn't home (Duh, there WILL be a blog post about his homecoming). He doesn't know when he is coming home. He has received his official report date to DC - August 10th. But, we don't have a hard copy of his orders. Those will not come until mid-June. So, naturally, I haven't been able to apply for housing or a moving truck thus far. Awesome :-) (I hope you can hear the sarcasm) The housing wait list is 30-60 days. The moving truck wait list is 4-6 weeks...hmmm, how is this going to work out?

Our vehicles have been at the top of my list of stressors lately. B's Saturn Vue is now reregistered but needs a new wheel bearing - which in my mind basically means I have to occupy the kids for HOURS at the mall while Sears replaces said part and then charge me roughly $400 for this "service." Sounds super fun right? At least I did the new shocks last month :-)

My van, oh my van! The check engine light, the rattles, the squeals, the shocks, the struts...I don't know where to begin on this vehicle. So, after weighing my options and all the expenses involved in each, I dug out my Power of Attorney paperwork and headed to the dealership to buy a new van :-) (Okay, there really was some discussion with my hubby for the last few months about this. I didn't buy a new van spontaneously without telling him, haha.) After 6 hours at the dealership with the kids - seriously - I drove out in my beautiful 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan which makes no rattles, sounds, or squeals. And I got a GREAT deal!

In the meantime, D has an audiology and an ENT appointment next week and should be getting tubes in his ears shortly thereafter. My doctor found cysts in both my breasts and has instructed me to "watch them for any changes or growth." Lovely... D has strep throat which has required 2 visits to the doctor/pharmacy for the proper medication. And because of this, he had to miss one of the two days (all year!) he was scheduled to be at C's school in the MOMs program. He better be well enough to go Friday! I live for the few child-free hours I get every once in a while.

Oh, and I had a yard sale last weekend! (Read that as, "I went through all our closets and pulled out everything we will not be taking to DC....and then tried to sell it on a 90 degree day." Needless to say, I also went to Goodwill and the consignment store this week to get rid of everything else) C has her "family picnic" next week at school and then she graduates from preschool - with a cap and gown! I can't wait for this. Hopefully D will behave nicely so I can give her my full attention and adoration on the oh-so-special day. Then in June she has her Spring ballet recital and ballet pictures.

I don't know how I would have managed this past month without my friends. They have watched my kids, helped me with my yard sale, come over at a moment's notice, listened to me rant about our doctor visits, walked with me, called to check in, rejoiced with me, given hugs, reassured me, and spoken words of wisdom from experience. Its because of all this that I had a breakdown today. How can I move from these friends? How is it that I have been praying for over a year that God would allow our family to move to DC and give B this job... and now that He has done everything I've requested, I'm not ready? How is that? I don't want to leave my girl friends. I don't want to leave my church or my little brick duplex. Or my carport, or my neighbors...

The only reassuring element in all of this is that I know that even if I stayed, things wouldn't be the same. My friends are leaving too - some this year, some next year. Nobody in the military is permanent. Everybody leaves at sometime. I know that I will make friends in DC. I am confident that we will find a church that we love and that after 4 years I will feel the same way I feel now - that I don't want to leave! But for now, I can only see where I am right now. I can't imagine any other "ballet moms" ever being as good as the moms here. I can't imagine a MOPS group ever being as great as this one (and there is no way they will have as good of food at the meetings!). No church preschool department can compare to mine. No preschool will ever treat my kids as good as C's preschool. No playgrounds will ever be as good. No other neighbors can ever live up to mine. I am sure you get the point...

As I enter the last month of this deployment, please pray for me. I am so stressed. My body is feeling the effects and I am sure my kids are too. I need my husband home. I need to know that we will have a house when we move. I need to know that we will have movers :-) I need to know that I will have friends and that I will always stay in touch with the ladies from here. In my head I know that the Lord has every step planned out for me. He will not leave me hanging in any area of life. But my heart just wants to wrap around everything I've worked so hard to build and never let go. I love it here. I never thought I'd say that about this city. But I do...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chalean Extreme Recap

People at church stop me, people in my neighborhood stop and ask me, facebook friends ask me, people in Target stop and ask me...What are they asking?

"How did you lose the weight?"
"Is it an exercise plan, diet plan, or both?"
"How many days a week?"
"How long are the workouts?"
"Is it is fun?"
"How much does it cost?"

So, instead of continuing to repeat myself (even though I do LOVE to talk about the program), I decided I'd answer all the usual questions in one blog post and then just refer my friends back here :-) It's always easier for me to digest something I read and can refer back to then just trying to remember what someone told me.

"How did you lose the weight?"
-I used Chalean Extreme which is a 90-day Beachbody exercise program that focuses more on resistance training (either weights or resistance bands) that cardiovascular training. It is based on the science that Muscle Burns Fat....the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn - even when you sleep! This pretty much speeds up your metabolism and gets you burning more calories every day! Pretty Fabulous in my opinion :-) In Chalean Extreme, you use heavy weights. I use 5 lb weights for the warm up and then during the workouts I use 8lbs, 12lbs, 15lbs, 20lbs, and 25lbs weights depending on what body part the particular exercise is focusing on. My legs and back are super strong. My shoulders and tripceps need a lower weight since they can't compare to the strenth of my quads and booty :-) This is NOT a program that you can use 3 and 5lb weights and expext to see results. You must use heavy weights. You will not bulk up. I promise :-)

"Is it an exercise plan, diet plan, or both?"
-Mostly Chalean Extreme is an exercise program. It does come with a Fat Burning Guide that includes a diet plan. To be honest, I didn't use it. I did monitor my caloric intake, but I did not actually count calories (what Chalene Johnson, the creator of the program, recommends). I do know that if I completely plateau in my weight-loss, I will begin counting calories. On average we eat far more calories than we estimate we eat - which is why losing weight is usually so hard! Chalean Extreme also comes with a DVD that sows you how to give your kitchen a makeover and shares a few quick and easy recipes. I loved that DVD. It has great ideas and the recipes are delicious...think chicken salad and chocolate pudding!

"How many days a week?"
-In short, it's 5 days a week. 3 days are resistance training. 2 days are cardio (one of which is interval training and abs, and the other is strictly cardio and then stretching) There is a schedule that you follow that tells you which days to do which workout and which days to rest.

"How long are the workouts?"
-About 35-40 minutes most days. In the last month, the workouts are closer to 45 minutes. Very doable overall though.

"Is it is fun?"
-Is working out ever really "fun?" I will be honest with you, I really enjoyed the workouts for the most part. I would not consider them "fun" but they are definitely the most enjoyable workout I've ever done. Chalene Johnson is extremely encouraging and uplifting and I feel like I got to "know" the other folks in the videos. Nobody in the videos is annoying or anything. The workouts are challenging, but in a very good way. I love the way I feel after each workout. And I LOVE the results that I see weekly on the scale and with the tape measure. The results speak for themselves :-)

"How much does it cost?"
The program is about $120 plus $19 shipping and handling. Total is about $150 by the time you hit "Place Order." In my book, it is TOTALLY worth it! You get the workout DVDs, the Kitchen Makeover DVD, an inspirational audio CD, a thigh toner resistance band, the guidebook, the Fat Burning Guide, and the Fat "clippers" to measure your body fat percentage. Here is where you can go to get all the official information.

If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask me. This program (and me sticking to it) has changed my life. Since January of this year, I have lost 33.2 pounds and over 35 inches. I am down from a snug size 14 to an 8-10. From an XL to a Medium.

Since I started the program and began seeing results many of my friends and family members have begun the program as well. My mom and sister are doing great and are both down about 20 pounds. Three of my cousins are doing it. My Aunt is doing it. My mother-in law, sister-in law and brother-in law are doing it (he lost 10 pounds in the first week!!! Holy Moly!). My neighbor is doing it too! Bye-bye baby weight!

And because I just took this picture as I sat down to write this, I thought I'd post it here. This is how my 18 month old "helps me" when I'm at the computer. He insists on sitting on my lap while I am at the computer :-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

A love letter

Dear B,
I chose to write you a public love letter this evening (maybe a private one will follow...) since I am really missing you right now. I just finished working out and as I sit here sweaty and sticky, I just wish you were here to talk about our day and then get cleaned up and ready for bed. I just miss having you around the house to share the everyday adventures with me. Today, Darby got off her leash when I walked her first think in the morning. Picture me running back into the house in my PJs to retrieve a dog biscuit and the dog food. It enticed her back to me, but not before I had to run across the street to the neighbor's yard and talk my sweet loving words (grumbling under my breath) to her.

Yesterday marked 6 months since you left. It doesn't really seem like its been that long most days, but then when I pause and think that you missed Thanksgiving in Rockmart, the first ballet recital, Christmas in Atlanta, D's first steps, Valentine's Day, C's 4th birthday party, your birthday and me completely transforming my body, it makes me realize exactly how long its been since I've seen you. Haha, you don't even know half my friends here! I don't know what I would do without the "ballet moms," my MOPS friends, our neighbor across the street and K just off post. These women have been my lifeboat when I thought I might drown! I can't wait for you to meet them :-)

I also can't wait for you to come home so we can work out together. I know you will be such a great encourager when all I want to do is crash on the couch instead of put on tennis shoes and lift weights. I can't wait for you to see me in person. And I can't wait to see you. I can't believe you've actually lost weight, haha. You look amazing in the pictures I've seen. More handsome then ever!

I am totally beginning to feel the stress of our upcoming move. I know I keep saying that I can go to the transportation office and take care of all the paper work for the move, but then I saw the line outside the door one day in the Soldier Support Center. Yikes! I better arrange some sort of child care that day! Looks like it could take all day.

Somewhere between the car repairs, emissions tests, doctor's appointments, birthday parties, light-bulbs going out, 3 ER visits, roaches, spiders, and the bird nest in your grill (seriously!), I have hit a wall. I need you to come home. I feel like I have stretched as far as I can. I know we don't know yet if you'll be home in one month or two, but either one can't come a day too soon. Just know that when I lay eyes on you, I may collapse in pure exhaustion...or at least toss the baton to you on my way down :-) (thats after I jump you and kiss you like crazy of course!)

I am so proud of you and the way you pursued this position in Washington DC like you did. You weren't going to take "No" for an answer. I love your perseverance. We are so blessed that it looks like everything is going to work out for our move and for your new position. I am truly the luckiest wife in the world. Next year is going to be a fun time for our family! The kids are going to LOVE seeing you everyday! Who knew I'd be so excited to just to lay eyes on you and be able to hug you. The things we used to take for granted are now considered luxuries that I dream about.

I am going to go hop in the bath for a few minutes to wash away the stickiness on my skin. I love you. I hope your workout is going well this evening as well. I know you are pushing yourself. I tried to think of you as I wanted to quit about 15 minutes into my workout. I thought that you wouldn't quit. And I thought of how much I like my new sculpted arms and smaller jeans :-)

I love you.
I miss you.
I hope you get to come home sooner rather than later :-)

Forever Yours,

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Not what I thought

I am not who I thought I'd be. Not as a woman - but as a mom. I don't know exactly what kind of mom I thought I'd be. But I guess I thought I would just go with the flow of what everyone else did.

Four years ago, when I because a mom, I think that is what I did. I breast-fed our new bundle because that's what I was told was best. I immunized her because the doctor said to do it. I bought diapers at Wal-Mart, Target, and Babies R Us. She rode in her infant seat in the middle of our SUV because that was safest. I flipped her forward facing on her first birthday because they said I could. I fed her solid foods when they said to and then table foods when she was ready. I cut out the bottle between 12-15 months just like I should.

But so much of that has changed since I had my second child. I guess I've changed. I like to think I've grown. I am more confident and comfortable as a mom. D is now 18 months old and I am a whole different parent now. Things began the same way - I breast-fed him for 4 1/2 months and bought diapers at the store. I held off on solids until he was 5 1/2 months old this time even though I could have done it at 4 months. Somewhere around the time he turned 5-6 months old, I began to research cloth diapers because I was tired of paying so much for disposables that I ended up throwing away at the end of the day anyway. I decided on this route for him and now I order all my diapers online.

I purchased his convertible car seat online as well and after doing some research, I decided I wanted to keep him rear-facing much longer than the minimum recommendations of 1 year old and 20 pounds. Today he is 18 months old and almost 25 pounds. He is in the 70%tile in his length but he still rides rear facing in his Britax car seat quite comfortably. His pediatrician told me I could flip him...afterall, he meets all minimum safety requirements, but I decided to follow the recommendation of the AAP and keep him rear facing longer.

I do immunize him right on schedule not only because that is what the doctors tell me to do, but because I have done the research. I have made the decision that he should have these protections from horrible childhood diseases.

Sometime after beginning using cloth diapers and feeling like I was contributing less waste to our landfills, I decided to start recycling. (I know I should have been doing this all along, but I admit, I haven't been). Today, my recycling bin is overflowing with cardboard, cans, plastic bottles, and even empty DVD cases. In my house, if it CAN be recycled, it will be :-) I just think of that plastic bottle laying in a landfill longer than I am going to be alive...that makes me take the extra step and throw it in the recycling bin.

My most recent "who have I become?" moment was this week when I made a decision regarding my oldest child's Pre K education next year. I have decided to homeschool her with a Christian Pre-K curriculum. This is SO unlike me! Or so I thought. My husband and I have our reasons for deciding to homeschool from financial issues to safety issues, but the bottom line is - when did I become a mom who wants to homeschool?

When did I become a mom who uses cloth diapers? And goes against the grain and keeps her toddler rear-facing considerably longer than all her friends? And recycles everything? And has decided to homeschool?

I can only attribute my "momness" to the the Lord. Clearly He is shaping me and molding me the way He wants me to be. I am completely happy with all of my decisions. I am also completely aware that what is right for me as a mom may not be right for you (except the rear facing thing! - that should be right for you too). So I may not really recognize myself when I take a step back, but I know that I am His daughter. He recognizes me. That makes me very special...

I also know that it may make me a little weird. :-) I'm okay with that though...

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter, we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8