Thursday, December 29, 2016

Last Minute November

I can't leave November out. It seemed to be my month of literally doing things at the last moment.

It started with a birthday party my boys were going to. The party was on a Friday night, I knew the mother had a lot on her plate so I offered to make her son's cake. I may have not realized that basically I only had 24 hours to plan, buy, bake, and decorate.

The theme was Pokémon...ideas were already flowing but I knew simple was best. She had given me most of what I needed to bake it with which was a relief. The boy wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting which put a hiccup into ideas but I think we overcame.

Chocolate cake with a chocolate icing for a base and a "surprise" poké-ball on top.

Getting the colors right in a short amount of time was difficult...and may have had a batch I messed up but then used part of it to get the bed red I have been able to. Black again was similar except I just went with it. An Oreo cookie was the perfect button.

Once we arrived I assembled it on site. Ended up having to redo some of the decoration on the bottom layer, but really it was a cake for 3-9 year olds so I don't think they cared as much as I did.

I try to make everything on the cake (besides the candles) edible but this time I used part of the birthday present as decoration.

When the poké-ball was cut open M&M's© poured out.

The next weekend we had a garage sale (later than I like and again last minute but cleared out the garage) and then went with some friends to tour the Old Missouri Penitentiary. I love history, maybe not all the dates and stuff but the stories. At Thanksgiving I was pulled into looking up some of my genealogy based on a story that my grandpa told me about his great great grandfather.

Anyway back to the penitentiary. I really had never been taught much about it and I have lived in Missouri all my life and the last 15 years within 40 minutes of it! It was the longest running and held the most prisoners in the United States and possibly the world although they can't really prove the later.

One of the friends I went with is a photographer, Vicki Winton, you can check out some of her pictures from the penitentiary here.

I did take a few but I truly forgot I had the camera because I was taken in by the stories.

This is the main building. A couple years ago it was covered in mold and had to undergo remediation. It was open from 1836 until 2004, Alcatraz was only open 1933-1963.

Vicki and Meagan in the showers...

Death-row inmates were held in the basement.

Those on death row were allowed exercise as well but were confined to a smaller area.

Some famous inmates walked these halls including boxer Sonny Liston and James Earl Ray (may not have been housed here though)

The cat walks across were not for those weary of heights.

Some inmates decorated their cells. This one was done to look like a cave. Others wrote inscriptions, unfortunately much was lost when they had to scrape the walls to remove the mold.

Death row cell had bunk beds so the top could hold all of their legal books and papers.

It was a bit of fun to tell people we went to jail over the weekend...

Next up was a "field trip" to the roller rink... before going the boys were excited and wanting me to buy them skates. NO WAY was I going to buy skates especially since they had never been skating. I warned them:

1) You will fall.
2) It will hurt.
3) You will cry.
4) You will want to go home.
5) You will try again.

The first 3 minutes of having the skates on they accomplished the first 4...

The younger one is in blue.
I then caved and rented a "walker" the younger didn't want to use it. He is a little more stubborn but also takes pain better. If he hurts it is usually because it really hurt or he is exhausted. He tried to play limbo but it took him so long to get to the back of the line it had already gone through and the pole had been lowered.

I love that he was so adamant about trying.
The older fell using it several times and tried giving up but I tried to encourage. By the end he was making it around the rink without it...neither was really skating but they were having fun!

Success! We even played the dice game and survived until the end. Not to brag but I may have won 😏 but I had already won having fun with the boys and doing something I haven't done in over 15 years. As we were leaving they were already begging to go back!

We host our annual Thanksgiving on "black" Friday. This year we didn't start shopping until the week of! This is not like us but luckily after 10 years it was a piece of cake. Part of the reason was the week before my grandpa had a heart attack. He is doing well, actually he looks better than he has in a very long time.

My parents ended up hosting Thanksgiving day at their house for my dad's side. It was good to see all of them and best part was bringing my "little" brother back with us. He was a huge help in making our prepping for Thanksgiving easier by playing with the kids. We even managed a little black Friday shopping (on Thursday) in, although it was actually for him.

I admit I stress over the last minute details normally but this time I decided to just let it be and it was really one of the best times we have had even if we couldn't get the tree due to sickness and cold.

We ended up going a few days later. Not the same but it helped us feel more in the Christmas spirit.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Little Bit in Everything in October

While the days may have flown by the last few months...How in the world is it already almost Christmas!?! I don't want you to think I forgot about posting. Here are a few things that have kept us in "Chaos" 😏

When October started I didn't foresee what all was about to happen. I was very happy that I actually was on top of my fall decorating. The boys grew pumpkins (by accident) but we ended up with over 100. We sold quite a few of them but had enough to decorate with...although they had to be inside due to squirrels thinking they were a delicacy.

We also scored a deal on the largest mums I have seen at Sam's Club. $30 and my pots were filled.

We were suppose to have our sewer line replaced in September but with rain their other projects were pushed back meaning ours was pushed back until October. At this point I didn't care as long as it got done before winter.

It was perfect timing because rain and cold set in pretty quick afterwards. They started at 8am and finished before 3pm. Very impressed with their efficiency and willingness to show the kids what they were doing. Of course they (along with neighbors) were plastered to the windows watching.

We had been told the line was broken but after digging it up the issue looked like it was laid running uphill which caused the backup in our house. It did have a break but not enough to cause the issues we have been having.

So if we would have went for the more expensive option "relining" it wouldn't have worked completely and we would have ended up replacing anyway.

The boys were set on being Darth Vader and Kylo Ren for Halloween. I was kind of against it at first because I had other ideas but it saved me time and they pulled it off very well.

In Columbia we have downtown trick-or-treating the Friday before Halloween. I was afraid there would be tons of similar costumes but we ran into only maybe 3 others. I was exhausted by the end, had a closing right before and it reached 80 for the high.

My family came for the weekend to watch the boys last soccer games.

I think they had just scored. Both boys were good about not caring if they won or lost but excited when their teams did score.

We ended by our annual trip to Shryock's Corn Maze.

Always a fun time, we made it out just before dark and found all the checkpoints!

Well that is a quick summation of October 😜

Monday, November 7, 2016

America's Fittest Update

In October I meant to post updates...I really did but time just came and went. I hardly remember much of October.

Thinking back about it I realize why it flew by. Right after my last post we received notice to renew our gym membership. Our plan was to go ahead and do it because it was great for the boys. Then I walked into our sunroom and got an idea.

We had 3 weeks to research, buy, and assemble our new home gym. And we did it...with a few hiccups along the way. Actually the gym part was the fun and easy part of our process, it was the unexpected (should be expected) things that happened of course.

Our time became quite busy. We work out 5 days a week. On Mondays I started going to an exercise class with a friend after working out. This has been great yet painful. Tuesdays I have a Bible study, Wednesdays I teach Bible class, Thursday was my oldest sons soccer practice, Friday we spent time as a family, Saturday my husband had Bible study and then each son had a soccer game. Sunday was more relaxing with worship followed by a much needed nap.

After cleaning out and adding horse stall mats
So after a week of research we decided on our squat rack and barbell weights. It wasn't a cheap option but knowing we have put in the time and we don't plan to back off from our goals we decided to buy through Rogue. We have started a list of what we want to add as money permits but we have a good base now.

Rack (dip station, pull up bars, options to add)
Olympic Barbell with bumper plates
Rubber Mats
Exercise Ball
Nike Metcons

We have a total gym that is currently in our basement and will be moved once we finish our dressing room since we store the materials in the sunroom.

A couple days after we ordered I came home from my exercise class to an awesome husband making dinner. Unfortunately as soon as I sat down we were all thrown into a panic because he cut the tip of his finger off. Guards on mandolins are VERY important. We spent some time at the ER trying to get the bleeding to stop. He is doing much better now but it also caused him to not be able to join in on the workouts for a couple weeks.

While still sore my dear husband was able to finish our last week at the gym and assemble our new rack just in time. The best part has been being able to workout as a family, and the boys have LOVED being able to join in.

In the first 4 weeks he has lost 17 lbs and I have lost 11 lbs. We been very pleased with the progress. The food has been really good but is tedious to be in the kitchen.

Weeks 5-8 we took the macro nutrient recommendations and applied them to our normal eating. We slowly have consistently lost weight but we did find ourselves not being as strict. We plan on getting back on track after Thanksgiving...or maybe Christmas. Our goal is not to gain weight during the next few weeks.

Until next time... Keep smiling and pushing forward.

Friday, September 30, 2016

America's Fittest Couple Challenge

So a couple weeks ago Heidi Powell, from Extreme Weight Loss on ABC, posted on Facebook about this challenge hosted by Oxygen and Muscle and Fitness Magazine. Usually I just move on past it but something drew me to read more...winner gets a trip to Hawaii! Oh yes and you get to be on the magazine cover, but really I don't care about that as much as going to Hawaii and losing the weight in the process.

Casually I mentioned it to my husband and without me saying to much more he was all for it, to my surprise. This program includes meal and exercise plan, along with a private Facebook group for support. He is all about the changing of our diet and I concentrate more on the exercising, so this was a great compromise. 

"Diets" have never been completely our strong suit maybe because our bodies process food differently. For instance he does well on low carb diets, but I need carbs to lose weight. I have tried the low carb and it made me irritable and noticed very little change in weight or size.

Tri-Bean Chili
So I went home and immediately signed us up...then realized the program didn't start until September 19th. It was only the 13th but I was ready to start. It was good because we were able to do a little planning and rearranging schedules. My husband is a manager working full time and going to school full time on an accelerated program (hopefully will finish 2 years after starting), he also has responsibilities in our congregation preparing for the new preacher, and finishing our remodels (ALMOST there). I listed a house at the beginning of September and it went under contract in 10 days, still showing property to several others, babysitting, homeschooling, trying to clean and help with the remodels, Bible study and helping with a baby shower. Oh and the boys started soccer, practice on Thursdays and games on Saturdays. BUT we were not going to let these things become excuses.

Last year I told you I was at 175 but this year after vacation I had gone up to 181 and haven't seen any improvement. 

December 2015
Although I do see muscle definition from last year I was still becoming depressed about my weight. I had tried to do what the trainer had talked to me about eating 1700 calories, 175 grams protein and as little of carbs and fats as I could but after 6 weeks I would become sick. Literally sick, I started to gag as soon as I saw protein. This happened 3 different times since January. I was feeling like a failure as hard as I tried it wasn't good enough, so I was a little hesitant about the requirements for this, and still am a bit.

We were suppose to have access to the meal plan and recipes the weekend before it started but all we received was the recipes and grocery list. We did buy what we could but had a hard time finding many items and then we didn't know when we would be eating what so we decided to wait until we had all the information to start.

The first week was a steep learning curve and expensive but overall good. We found some of our missing items like Kodiac Protein Waffle Mix and Ezekiel bread. Both things were surprisingly good. To make the food took forever but partly because we didn't get a chance to prep anything. My husband missed 3 workouts and I added in a run to one, along with coaching my youngest's soccer game (you are actually on the field running with the kids). He lost 9 pounds and I lost 3.5! Did I say that was in 1 WEEK! Oh and that was with me having to bake a cake for a friend's baby shower. It was hard to resist the batter and the cake. Luckily the boys ate the tops for me but I may have still had a few tastes. Everyone at the shower helped us by making sure I didn't take any home to be a may have been at my urging but they didn't seem to mind ;)

July 2016
Some definition appearing
We finally had an understanding how it worked. Following the Fit Cycle 2 high carb, 1 low, 2 high, 1 low, then FREE day. We also found a few recipes we really liked but based on knowing high carb days I have 1500 calories and  my macros are 40% proteins, 40% carbs, 20% fats and low days I have 1200 calories 40% fats and 20% carbs has helped. 

This week we have played with some of the recipes and other things we just went away from the meal plan but stuck to the macros. As of this morning he is down 11 pounds and I have lost 5, I'm so close to being under 175 again hoping it happens when I weigh in tomorrow!

After tonight's workout
After joining the Facebook group I can't say that we will win. There are many very fit athletes, gym owners, and determined people. We are not letting that stand in our way but putting our weight loss in front of winning, it would just be an awesome bonus.

It is another busy weekend with soccer and projects but we got this! If you don't mind I'll post (hope to be consistent) updates and things that has helped us along the way. The  competition ends in November but if I don't get sick from the protein this will be something we do long term because it really isn't a diet but a change in habits.

Changing up a recipe, not as good as the original.