Thursday, June 26, 2008

Time for rehab

As many of you know, I struggle with my weight. I guess I always have to a certain extent; however, this past year has been the worst it has ever been. I haven't lost anything since Olivia was born. I've tried Weight Watchers, which has worked great in the past, but this time I had no luck. I've tried all sorts of exercise products and read books on it. But I have never been able to sustain my commitment longer than two weeks.

I also feel a sense of desperation about my weight. I feel like I need to lose 3 pounds per week and get frustrated when I don't--the frustration leads me to feel like a failure which leads me to make bad choices. I feel embarrassed that I am still so heavy a year after having a baby. I feel like I am dangerously close to slipping over the edge of permanently turning into an unhealthy mom who wears dirty clothes all day because she just doesn't care anymore.

I was at a garage sale last week and picked up a book for $1 by Bob Greene, who is Oprah's trainer. Please know that I don't care for Oprah and could care less about that fact but I only point it out because I feel like it gives him some credibility. Anyway, I started reading this book and suddenly things became clear to me. Before he even says a word about eating or exercising, he talks about getting emotionally ready to lose weight and get healthy. Most of the other books I've read talk about following some crazy diet and exercise program--none of them had ever mentioned being emotionally ready. So as I read this book, I took notes. I wrote down the thoughts that came to me when I read particular sections of the book. What I realized was that my emotions are heavily tied up in this weight issue. I never have thought of myself as an emotionally eater. But when I really started to think about it, I totally am. I don't eat to cover up pain from traumatic experiences or anything--I eat when I am bored. I eat when I want to celebrate. I eat when I feel like I have failed at eating well! :) That is whack.

So I have finally decided to do something about. For real. It's like rehab for me. I'm committing to it because I want to and because I feel that this is the only way to change my habits. It has only been two days but I'm feeling great. I signed a contract with myself. There is no penalty if I fail other than having to live with that knowledge. I wasn't planning to post this on my blog but when I started thinking through the reasons, I realized that I was embarrassed by my situation and that I didn't want others to know if I fail. So right there I saw that I HAD to post it on here. I can't be giving myself safety nets and leeway.

Here is the contract that I have posted all over the house:

I commit to:
-regular exercise, according to plan (I've been getting up at 6:30 AM to make this happen)
-self control with regard to my eating (being conscious of what I am eating/drinking)
-not eating after 7 PM (this one has been hard--I never realized how much I snack at night!)
-not drinking soda (this was my idea--I have a hard core addiction to diet pop and it makes me crave crappy food)
-drinking at least 48 ounces of water daily (I've been drinking more like 80!)
-drinking alcohol no more than once per week (this will only be on Saturdays)
-eat simply to satisfy my nutritional needs rather than my emotional needs
-not stepping on the scale for 12 weeks

You may wonder how I will see progress if I don't weigh myself. I tried on a pair of jeans (size 14) that are very tight. I will try them on from time to time to see if there is any change. Seeing the numbers on the scale does not motivate and I've realized that in the past, I've been obsessed with the numbers rather than general health. So this time I'm aiming to be a comfy size 12 (for starters).

So that is the plan. And here is the horrible number that we can hopefully look at with shock in 12 weeks: 197 pounds. My current weight as of yesterday. Ew.

I will keep you updated on my trip to rehab!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NPR is giving me panic disorder

I'll be honest--I love NPR. Most of my likeminded Republican friends think that is crazy but I feel that NPR is a good choice for me for two reasons. Number one, I can't stand talk radio. It is really biased (because it is supposed to be) but when I used to listen to it I felt myself feeling very rageful. Not good. Number two, although NPR definitely has a bias, it seems to be a little more center leaning with the bias. Also, I just love the human interest stories, especially about other cultures.

My favorite show is Marketplace. I'm not entirely sure why. I have scant business education (unless you count Intro to Business where I got 30 extra credit points for just writing a resume). But I am drawn to this show--I podcast it since I'm not able to listen when it airs in the evening. I love to hear what is going on in the financial world, who is winning, who is losing, what things going on globally mean for us.

But lately, I'm starting to freak out a little. It really sounds like our economy and environment is just crashing down around us. Oil is up, cost of food is up, honey bees are disappearing, looming global food crisis....blah blah blah. So far I haven't really felt the pinch of all this personally, besides paying more at the pump (which is FAR less than most other places around the world) and paying a little more for groceries. But what happens when it gets to the point where we just can't afford to fill up our cars? This country, especially the Midwest, is designed for driving. I can't just hop on my bike to run errands. Plus, it is below freezing for much of the year--it is not practical to be outside for extended periods of time. And what happens if we are unable to buy enough food to live healthfully? Or unable to pay to heat our homes in the winter? You can see why I'm starting to freak out. Logic would dictate that I quit listening but I just can't! I love it.

It kind of seems like we are starting to think the industrial revolution was maybe not such a good thing. More and more people are thinking that small scale, sustainable farming is the way to go--some farmers have even reverted back to using horses to plow their fields. Is this how far we've come? We mechanize everything only to come full circle, back to doing things manually? Does anyone else find this incredibly interesting?

As long as I'm writing about things that I would normally never write about, allow to voice my opinion on the foreclosure crisis. I have no doubt that there were shady mortgage brokers and Realtors out there. I have no doubt that they operated very unethically. However, when getting a mortgage to buy a home, it should not matter how shady your broker or Realtor is. YOU are responsible for reading the fine print and crunching the numbers. If someone tells you that you can afford a $500,000 mortgage but you know that you really can only afford $300,000---don't buy anything more than that! For the most part, I have a hard time feeling bad for people who are losing their homes. Yes, that makes me sound like a horrible person. But in my mind, blaming it all on the brokers and realtors is just another example of our culture pushing off the blame onto others. You spilled hot coffee on yourself? Better sue McDonalds. We have to take responsibility for our actions. You signed up for a bad loan that you couldn't afford, especially when the teaser rate ran out? Take responsibility, learn from it, move on. I hate the idea of people being forced out of their homes but at the same time, I don't want to be responsible for their mistakes. NPR profiled a woman who bought a home with a monthly mortgage that was TWICE her monthly income. She said she wasn't sure about it but her realtor assured her she could afford it. She is now getting foreclosed on. That is just crazy--you don't take your realtor's word for it when it comes to whether or not you can truly afford a home. The bill that is trying to get passed right now to bail out homeowners is good on the surface but in reality, it is just another way for the people who didn't make bad decisions pay for the ones that did.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Adventures in gardening

Although my poll results are split 50/50 regarding the window box, I have decided to refrain from adding silks. I took the advice of my dear friend Nicole--she's in Canada where it is still snowing, bless her heart. ;) I added moss to the window boxes, which was a great idea. It is absorbing water like a sponge so it keeps things nice and moist. My gardening partner in crime, Josie (my mom), brought me some gazanias to plant in the boxes. The tag on them says they are "ideal for hot and dry situations", which is precisely what I have. This could be the year for my window boxes! I'll keep you posted.

Also, I must share the news of my climbing rose. Three years ago I planted a William Bafin Canadian Explorer climbing rose at the entrance to the house. It did okay but I wasn't sure it would be a long term thing. Well, it is going gangbusters this year and I am loving it! I wander past it several times a day just to check it out. I'm hoping that it will grow up high enough to cover the post on our front porch. I have to keep wrestling the branches to tie them back--the plant naturally wants to spread horizontally so it takes a bit of work but totally worth it! So if you are looking for a plant to fill a space vertically, check out these climbing roses! Don't be scared by the fact that they are roses--they are super easy and bred to live in cold climates like ours.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Poll is up!

Again I call upon my legions of readers--please help me determine the appropriate course of action regarding my window boxes! I have window boxes across my front window. I have flowers (snapdragons and petunias) in them but they are not faring very well. The spot gets really hot so the plants dry out super fast and I'm not too diligent about watering them. So I'm wondering if I could get away with tasteful silk flowers in place of real flowers in the spot. I would probably have to replace them each summer but at least they would look good instead of looking shriveled! Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One year ago today....

Olivia was born! In honor of her birthday I will relive June 11, 2007 for you.

I woke up around 6 AM with cramps. I thought it was probably from the 10 hours of gardening I did the day before--I just HAD to plant a tree and 20 perennials and lay pavers. Our neighbors just shook their heads when they saw me outside that day. :) So I figured it was just the gardening, although in the back of my mind I thought that maybe this could be something. I will still over a week out from my due date though so I was trying not to get too excited.

Ethan and I met Josie and Emmy for lunch. It was a terrible lunch--Ethan must have known that something was about to happen because he was just a stinker. I remember sitting there thinking, "How am I going to handle two kids?". When we got home, I put Ethan down for his nap and decided to rest. I put a garbage bag down on the couch (just in case my water broke) and tried to nap for a while. It didn't work at all. The cramps kept coming every 30 minutes or so and by that point I knew that I would be meeting Olivia that day!

Jay got home from work around 5 PM, right as the first real contractions started coming. I scurried off to our bedroom to deal with the pain away from Ethan--I didn't want to freak him out or have him asking questions. I folded laundry and took a shower between contractions. Around 6 PM I started writing the times down and quickly realized that this was going WAY faster than it did with Ethan. At 7 PM I called down to Jay to let him know we would probably be leaving soon and then I called family to get them on alert. At 7:30 PM I saw that the contractions were about 3 minutes apart so I told Jay that we needed to go NOW!

We got admitted to the hospital around 8:30 PM. They checked me out and found I was only at a 4. I felt like kind of a loser because with Ethan I didn't check in until I was a 6. Dumb yes, but I wasn't really thinking clearly. :) So the contractions kept coming fast (Jay took this picture in the midst of one) and I was anxiously awaiting my epidural. I finally got it around 10 PM (I have a picture of that too but I will refrain from sharing it!). Right as it was starting to take effect, I totally felt like I had to push. I asked the nurse what that was about (never did feel that with Ethan) and she checked me and sure enough, I was a 10 with a baby rapidly approaching. She kept paging the doctor and started getting things ready. I could tell she was getting ready to deliver this baby herself. The doctor finally gets there and I start to push immediately. They told me I didn't need to wait for a contraction so I just pushed like crazy and out she popped about 10 minutes later. She was so tiny! 6 pounds, 4 ounces. I thought I saw boy parts on her so my first question was a frantic "Is it a girl?". Jay kind of laughed and said yes.

So that is the story. It was great! I think the one thing I will miss about being done having babies is the actual day of delivery. There is so much excitement and drama and it makes you feel really strong and tough. It is truly amazing the way God created us.

Happy birthday to my little Livie! You are my favorite girl. You are the perfect addition to our little family.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

You'll love this (that's what she said)

Two direct quotes from Ethan tonight:
1. Ethan: "Daddy, you're my gangster."
2. Ethan (knowing that he was on our last nerve and about to get a spanking): "Daddy, I don't want to get spanked...that's what she said."
Are you dying of laughter?

Want a new TV?

Jay has finally agreed to downsize our TV--holla! That means we are selling our current TV. If you are interested, please let me know. Pass this along to anyone who might be interested. BTW, this TV is fine for the digital switchover next year.

Here are the details:

We're asking $750 but will gladly listen to reasonable offers.

Sony 57" HDTV. Model # KP-57WS510. In perfect condition. Measures 25 inches deep; 52 inches wide (57 inch screen); and 53 inches tall.

Monday, June 2, 2008

So many updates....

Greetings gangsters! I have some free time--Olivia is in bed and the boys are over at Robb's house helping to move furniture out (Robb and Vera sold their twinhome and need to be out in a few days).

I haven't blogged for a while so I don't have anything clever to say but I wanted to share random bits of news from my world.

1. We are building a deck! It is almost done, actually, and it is fabulous! We plan to have lots of gatherings this summer. We'll have to sit on the floor for now--I just can't figure out what my seating plan should be.

2. I had a colonoscopy a few weeks ago to see if there was a cause for my digestive "issues". The good news is that I don't have Crohn's or IBS. The bad news is that they found a precancerous polyp, which I definitely was not expecting. It sounds scarier than it is--the polyp (which they removed) had the potential to become cancerous at some point. Doesn't mean it will but it doesn't mean it won't. So now I have to have another one in 3 years to make sure there aren't more. I felt like a total loser in the waiting room--I was a good 25 years younger than everyone else there. The procedure was no big deal; kind of interesting, actually. The prep beforehand was TERRIBLE--totally started throwing up in the midst of everything and felt like death. So now I know that the digestive problems I have been having are directly related to no longer having a gallbladder and those problems will persist for the rest of my life. Thankfully, things have gotten a lot better since I stopped breastfeeding. Why, I do not know, but I am thankful for the small change. So enough of this gross topic.

3. The Louwsma/Olson/Towey family went camping this weekend! We weathered some pretty ferocious thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon but came out no worse for the wear. A bit muddy but fine. Somehow Ethan managed to sleep through the whole thing. This is the kid that hears a snowplow and FREAKS OUT. Yet he managed to sleep through a very loud thunder and hail storm while in a pop top camper? Mind boggling. Baby Sister was not a fan of the storm at all. Thankfully, the storm was so loud that it drowned out the sound of her screaming. :) Overall though the trip was very fun and many thanks to Jimbo for taking care of everything!

4. We put our kitchen project on hold. For those of you that don't know, we were planning a major redo of our kitchen. I was feeling really indecisive and apprehensive about it, which is not a good thing. So we pulled the plug on it and both Jay and I felt a huge wave of relief wash over us. That definitely told us we made the right choice. We still want to do something to the kitchen but we're exploring some new (and slightly crazy) ideas. Basically, I want to relocate the kitchen to our current family room. Yes, I know. I'm nuts. But I've spoken with a contractor about it and he seems to think it isn't crazy at all. I think it helps that there is already plumbing behind the walls in the family room. Anyway, I'll let you know how it all pans out.

5. I was a working mother last week! I was actually out of town on business. :) Makes me laugh to say that. Jimbo took me up to Fond-du-Lac Tribal Community College in Cloquet. We led a two-day StrengthsFinder Workshop for the staff there. It was SO FUN. I've been involved in this StrengthsFinder stuff for about a year now and I just love it. It doesn't even feel like work--isn't that the best kind of work? Anyway, I didn't totally humiliate myself and I think he might ask me to come along again someday. I totally got my people fix and really enjoyed contributing in a different way than normal. I'd like to make this into something more but I'm still trying to figure out how to do it. Do I get certified through Gallup? Do I get a coaching certification? I don't know yet. But I do know for once in my life, I feel like I am really good at something and have the potential for greatness. Those of you that know me well know that those words don't usually come out of my mouth regarding myself. So I am excited and encouraged and hoping that I don't drop the ball like normal. :)

That's all folks! Peace out.