bookmark_borderWeigh In (2/6) + Mardi Gras time!

First things first, I had a great weigh in this week…

I’m creeping closer and closer to 60 pounds lost! I’m really feeling some momentum, and I’m starting to truly believe that this is the year I will finally see ONEderland (weight in the 100’s) again, and reach my goal weight (still yet to be determined).

Karinne’s wagon parade on Friday was soooo cute! The parade was made up of Pre-K4 and Kindergarten students, and their 6th/7th grade buddies pulled their wagons. Man, some of the parents really went all out on the floats! Like, they actually BUILT things, and used things like papier mache! Some of them really had to get creative if they didn’t have a wagon (I assume), because there were kids in wheelbarrows, boxes build on to hand trucks… it was awesome! I went to Party City and bought a bunch of Mardi Gras decorations and Marc decorated her wagon with that stuff.

Saturday was Samedi Gras, aka the Saturday before Mardi Gras, aka Endymion Saturday! As I said in my post on Friday, it’s the largest Mardi Gras parade and we’re fortunate that we live only a block from the route; we’re also fairly close to the start of it, so we don’t have to wait too long for it to get to us. I made some really healthy dishes (NOT!)–Rotel cheese dip with sausage, and Ooey Gooey Bars. I added chocolate chips to half the pan of bars, and man–that was good. It was my first time making them, and the directions really stressed the importance of not overbaking, so I ended up slightly underbaking them. They were just extra gooey 😉 We invited a few friends over who we met through daycare and school, and we ran into another school friend who happened to be at another party across the street from us!

The parade lasted about 3 hours, and the kids had a blast! This is the first year we were able to stay for the entire parade; in the past, the kids have always gotten way too exhausted to finish it. They got tons of beads and blinky toys; Ryan got a really awesome sword, but on our way home he tripped and smacked his head on the pavement, thus dropping it. We forgot about it until we got home; Marc went back to see if it was maybe still in the road, but it was gone. (Ryan’s OK, by the way!)

Sunday morning, we took it easy. Marc and I were super sore from holding the kids on our shoulders for so long, plus just standing up for most of the day. I did manage to get in my 4.5 mile long run though!

FYI, we are off work tomorrow for actual Mardi Gras day, so expect more Mardi Gras pictures later this week!

How was your weekend?

bookmark_borderFriday Thoughts – Mardi Gras Edition

First of all, thank you all for your sweet comments on yesterday’s post. They definitely made a dreary day a little sunnier.

Secondly… it’s Friday! It’s not just any Friday, either… it’s the Friday before Mardi Gras!!!! You know what that means? It means I get to show up at work like this…

So, in case you don’t know… Mardi Gras is kind of a big deal in New Orleans. For the last 2 weeks, there have been like a bajillion parades; honestly, we don’t go to too many because we have little kids and parading is a lot of work when you have little ones. The parades are put on by different “krewes”, aka groups of people that have paid a lot of money to get to ride on a float and throw stuff at people.

The largest (and best) parade is the Endymion parade, and the Krewe of Endymion is considered a “super krewe”–they have over 3000 members! It’s HUGE, and we are fortunate enough to live right on the parade route! The parade is tomorrow afternoon, but yesterday, there were already tarps and chairs and other items claiming space along the route. Technically, someone is suppose to stay with their stuff so the police don’t remove it, but the police never seem to be that serious about it (honestly, the NOPD has much bigger things to worry about); it’s pretty nuts!

So tomorrow our street turns into a big block party and there will be hot dogs and hamburgers, spiral sliced ham and jambalaya, beaucoup sausage, chicken… and sides and sweets and beer galore. I haven’t decided what I’m bringing yet; last year I made kind of a tex-mex black bean and tomato salad, but no one really ate it. Apparently, healthy food doesn’t go over so well at these things 😉 I’ll probably end up making ooey gooey bars and buffalo chicken dip or something. We’ll see! (And I’ll be sure to post some pictures on Monday!)

Karinne is also having her “wagon parade” at school today; we decorated her wagon like a Mardi Gras parade float, and her 6th grade buddy will pull the wagon while she throws beads and other items to the students and parents. Only PreK-4 and Kindergarten make wagons, so there should be quite a few people watching! I’m taking a half-day from work so I can watch it; there’s also no aftercare today, so I’ll be taking the kids home at normal dismissal time. I swear, the day feels so much longer when I can get the kids at 3 instead of 5:30!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

bookmark_borderFebruary 4, 2008

Eight years ago today, we buried my mother in the ground. She died on January 31, 2008, after suffering a massive heart attack on January 18. I don’t know if she knew she was having one, but she knew something wasn’t right because my dad took her to their local hospital’s ER. Unfortunately, their staff must not have recognized the signs of heart attack in women because after sitting for an hour without anyone talking to her, they decided it must not be serious and went back home. On January 19, they called an ambulance and went to UAB Hospital, 45 minutes away; they knew it was serious. My dad called us around midnight and told us that she’d had a heart attack and we should get to the hospital. A few hours later, she went in for open heart surgery and that was the last time I ever got to hear her voice. On January 31, my family made the hardest decision of our lives and chose to turn off the machines that were sustaining her life.

I’ve written something every year since then to commemorate my mom; the post below is my favorite, written for my old blog 6 years ago, 2 years after her death.
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“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.”

Abraham Lincoln said that (according to the Internet anyway). It’s so true.

This entry has absolutely nothing to do with Korea. It’s really a pretty selfish entry, if you must know.  Tomorrow it will be 2 years since my mother was buried; I really can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. (Doesn’t that sound cliche’?) I debated whether or not I would write anything, but I think she deserves some mention.

My mom was really goofy. Some people have trendy mothers, some people have old-fashioned mothers, and some people have soccer moms. Mine was all 3, with a dash of Rose from the Golden Girls. The older I get, the more I realize how fortunate I was to have the mother I had. She truly was my best friend.

The stories. Ooooooohhhhhh, the stories my family can share about my mom! I remember being in college and my parents took my best friend (at that time) and I to Six Flags in Atlanta; on the way home we stopped at IHOP for a late night dinner. My family has always had this strange fascination with bodily noises, and such stories inevitably came up during dinner conversation. I remember the four of us laughing SO hard, tears rolling down our faces, just telling fart stories. Yes, I said it–fart stories. I’ll refrain from telling the actual stories themselves, because I’m pretty sure Mom would be pretty angry if I told the whole Internet world about her *ahem* fluffles.

And what about the flat tire story? Remember when Mom was driving me and Bethany down the interstate and we got a flat tire in the van? It was like 10 o’clock at night and she was POSITIVE that nobody would help us because she didn’t have her nails on? And then she was worried that we would roll down the embankment so we all had to huddle on the left side of the van? *cue Rachel’s terrible Bronx accent imitation*

Oh, and what about UAB Day (wasn’t that it?) when Dad decided it was a good idea for mom to drive downtown and she turned left into oncoming traffic? Rachel (I think?) and me and Dad we all screaming for our lives, and all she could say was, “What? What’s the big deal?”

I really miss her advice sometimes. She always warned me about certain people in my life growing up, but I never believed her. I always told her she just didn’t understand. Years later, when the day finally came that I learned she was right, she never said, “I told you so.” All she said was, “To hell with them,” and took me to Starbucks.

She never tried to be my friend. She was always my mother. She always told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. And she was persistent. Relentless, even. I’m so grateful for that. I hope I’m as good a mom to my kids. 

bookmark_border10K Training Tuesday – Week 3

10K Training Tuesday

Here we are, 3 weeks into training for my first 10K! Last week was definitely better than the previous week:

Monday: Nothing; I had good intentions, but it just didn’t happen.
Tuesday: 25 minutes with 1.5:1 intervals; 15:52 overall pace
Wednesday: 20 minutes speed work (run fast 20 seconds, walk 1 minute); 13:55 overall pace
Thursday: 30 minute walk with Marc
Friday: Nothing
Saturday: 30 minute bike ride
Sunday: 4 mile run, 2:1 intervals; 15:44 overall pace

One thing I’m learning is that I’m a lot slower in the morning! My first week of speed work I did in the morning, and I was super sluggish; my overall pace was around 17 minutes. Last week, I did it after work, and I felt so much lighter–springy, even!

The 4 miles on Sunday was the farthest I’ve ever run at once; I really need to start incorporating more strength training, because legs were exhausted. I also have to hydrate better; I’ve been terrible at drinking water for the last couple of weeks and I’m sure that contributed to the leg fatigue.

I also think I pulled a hamstring or something, because the back of my left thigh is SO sore. It hurts to sit down too long at work. I rested yesterday to give it a chance to heal, which helped a ton, and it feels much better today.

Any tips or suggestions for me? Do you notice you run slower/faster at different times of day?

bookmark_border10K Training Tuesday – Week 1

I’ve mentioned this before, but in case you missed it–I’m running my first 10K on March 26, the Crescent City Classic, and I’m a charity runner for Girls on the Run. I’m pretty excited about this, as it’s *the* race that it seems everyone who even thinks about running, runs (in New Orleans, at least).

I’ve looked at what seems like a hundred different training plans, and I’ve finally come up with something that’s sort of a hybrid of everything I read. I needed something that can be done in 10 weeks, that will challenge me (but not too much!), and includes run/walk intervals. I also wanted to include speed training once per week.

So here is what I came up with… on the “30 min walk” days, that can be any sort of cross-training and strength training. On the run days, the “1:1” is the run:walk interval, in minutes. As of right now, for speed training I plan to basically run faster than normal for 20 seconds, then walk for a minute or 2 and do it again. I’ll see how it goes and tweak it as needed. If any of you more experience runners have any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them!

I’d like to share the ups and downs of my training with you, and hopefully having a dedicated day will keep me on track and accountable 🙂

Oh! One more thing–as a charity runner, my initial goal was to raise $300. Well, I’ve already surpassed that, so since there are still 2 months til the race, I raised my goal to $500. Visit my fundraising page to donate if you so desire–Girls on the Run of New Orleans receives 100% of the donations!

bookmark_borderWeigh In (1/16)

How the heck are we already halfway through January?!? Honestly, I’m perfectly happy to see January zoom right on by; it’s the anniversary of my mom’s death and the whole latter half the month just makes me a little wonky. January 20, 2008, was the last day I heard her voice, she died on January 31st, and we buried her February 4th. It gets a little easier to deal with each year that passes, but every day in the back of my mind, I can’t help but note what I remember from each day during that time period… “this was the last time I heard her voice,” “this is the day I couldn’t hold it together any more,” “this is the day I knew she wasn’t coming back…” I’m sure I’ll be writing more about her in the coming days.

I was up .2 at Saturday’s weigh in. Can you even really call that a gain? Basically, I maintained. I had two decent losses in a row, so I’m not surprised. I was prepared for more of a gain, so it’s good!

We had a good weekend–Saturday was warm, but the temperature dropped and was much cooler on Sunday. OH! I also finally decided that will definitely be coaching with Girls on the Run again for the spring season, and I’ll be sticking with the middle school program (Heart & Sole). I had coach training on Saturday, and I ended up volunteering to be a head coach! They have a community site (for girls whose schools don’t have GOTR, or are homeschooled) that meets on Thursday and Saturday and they still needed a head coach, so I’m doing it! The difference between the Head Coach and the Assistant Coaches is that the Head Coach is required to be at every practice, and has to do all the administrative stuff (making sure girls are registered, evaluations, calls with the head office, etc.). The Head Coach also leads the practices. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to it!

Last but not least, my weekly goals! I didn’t forget this time 🙂

Reviewing last week’s goals…

Reach my goal of 5000 steps every day. DONE

Be in bed by 10:30.  Yeah, this didn’t really happen. Does it count if I fell asleep on the couch?

Track, track, track! DONE (ish…)

This weeks goals…
Reach my goal of 5000 steps every day. If I manage to do this one, I’ll raise next week’s goal.

Be in bed by 10:30 4 days. I put 4 days to reduce the expectation a bit; I should be able to do this, and it’s good for me.

Drink 64oz of water every day. My water intake has been terrible lately!

What goals are you working on this week?

bookmark_borderComing off the high

Remember when I mentioned that I’ve been in a funk lately?

I think I’ve pinpointed the cause… and it’s that there is no cause.
Groundbreaking, eh?
I had a light bulb moment earlier today and it dawned on me that this “funk” is just a low point in the depressive cycle. It goes up and down, like a wave, but when you’ve been riding the high for a while, you can forget that eventually, you’ll come down.
As someone who deals with depression, who’s been actively making changes and working to overcome such things, you’d think I would have figured it out sooner. Ah well.
I don’t take any medication, so it’s possible I feel these highs and lows more strongly than someone who does take medication…though really, I have no idea. I just know that I’m sick and tired of it, and now that I’ve recognized the source, I know I need to work harder than ever to dig out of this slump.
Instead of waiting to just magically come out of the slump, I have to take action and do it myself. Basically, it’s time to bring out the big guns!
I need to fake it til I make it, and I need to focus on the positive.
I also would like to take a moment to acknowledge that I realize my posts have been somewhat lacking lately. Hoping to improve that now that I’ve figured out the problem!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I hope to see you bright and chipper on Monday (or as bright and chipper as one can be on a Monday…)!

bookmark_border5 Ways to Find a Little Peace When Things Get Crazy

Healthy for the Holidays

Well, here we are–right in the thick of one of the most stressful weeks of the entire holiday season–CHRISTMAS WEEK! With only 2 days left until Christmas, no doubt most of us are running around like a bunch of crazy people shopping, baking, cleaning, and traveling. We’re worried about everyone and everything except the most important person–ourselves.

It’s more important now than ever to remember to take care of yourself. When things get too crazy or you feel like you’re losing your mind and you just want to get away, take a few minutes to calm and center yourself.  Here are five ways to help you find a little peace in the midst of all the crazy this week.
 1. Take a brief walk and clear your head. If the walls are closing in and you just can’t take it anymore, excuse yourself and go for a walk. Five, ten minutes is enough to clear your mind and regroup; you’ll feel energized and ready to keep going! Try not to focus on anything that will make you more mad or anxious… instead, just clear your mind completely and practice some deep breathing. This walk is for your mental health, not physical exercise, so take it as slow as you need!
2. Meditate. Before I started going to therapy, I thought meditation was just some new-agey, hippie-dippie stuff. I was super skeptical when my therapist suggested it, but I figured “what the heck?” and went with it–and I’m so glad I did! I’ve mentioned meditation a couple of times on the blog (here and here). All you need a minute or 2, and just close your eyes and breathe deep, focusing on the sound of your breath; it doesn’t take much to feel centered and present again.
3. Pray. This one kind of goes hand-in-hand with meditation. I know it seems like a no-brainer, but when things are hectic and you’re feeling anxious, give it to God. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed on the way to pick up the kids after I get off work just for patience, and peace, and for help maintaining my cool with them until they’re in bed. God grants me that peace every time I ask.
4. Take a coffee (or tea!) break. If you’re out and about shopping, or traveling a long distance, don’t forget to stop and get a coffee! Sit down for 10 minutes and enjoy it before you get back to it. DO IT, I’M NOT JOKING!!
5. Give yourself a nightly cutoff time and spend 30 minutes doing something just for you. Instead of cooking and cleaning and wrapping gifts until you collapse into bed, promise yourself (or set an alarm) that you’ll stop at a specific time, and allow yourself 30 minutes to take a bath, read, crochet–whatever you enjoy–before getting into bed. You’ll feel better and have a much better sleep as well.
To help you unwind and relax a little this week, Alissa and I are giving away a $25 gift card for Starbucks. Enter using the Rafflecopter below, and be sure to visit A Journey to Thin and comment on her post as well!

How do you plan to relax and be more present when things get crazy and hectic?

bookmark_borderWeigh in (12/19) + Christmas Travel

Wow, this Monday totally flew right by! Actually, the whole weekend seemed like it was over before it even started! Sorry to be posting so late, but I’m just glad I remembered 😉

Saturday’s weigh in…

Not bad! I basically lost what I gained last week, but it’s a loss, nonetheless. I know I can still lose 2.8 lbs by January to make my 50 pounds lost goal… though considering this is Christmas week, I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t quite make it.

Saturday’s WW meeting was good; lots of people are feeling the same about the new program as I am… we know it’s good for us in the long run, but it’s a lot of changes to have to make which leaves us feeling a little unsure about it all.

I’m feeling really good about kicking this frappuccino habit; there’s a good coffee place next to my WW meeting center, and usually after the meetings I go there and get a mochassippi (their frappe-type drink). On Saturday, I still went, but I got hot tea instead! I’m enjoying trying all different flavors; currently, I’m drinking a tea that’s supposed to taste like a sugar cookie… and believe it or not, it actually does!

Just making little changes each week will go a long way to helping me adjust to the new program. I’m definitely thinking twice now before I grab another cookie or piece of chocolate, and I feel better in general–probably because I’m not ingesting nearly as much sugar as I was!

On Sunday, we had an early Christmas–meaning we opened the gifts that already arrived at our house since we’re going to Texas (Marc’s parents) Tues-Sunday. Later, went caroling at the kids’ school. It was fun! We all sang for about 30 minutes, then they served us dinner and dessert–all the free food is definitely one of my favorite things about Catholic school (just kidding…or am I?)

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Early Christmas… bikes, stockings (I couldn’t find the stockings
with their names on them!), and a few gifts from my oldest brother’s family.
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Karinne and I at the school caroling party
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They called all the kids up to the front to help sing “Rudolph…”
and Karinne wouldn’t go up by herself 😉 She sang it with her class on Friday, so
she knows it really well!

Tomorrow, Marc and I both are just working half days at work, then picking up the kids and getting on the road to Texas as soon as humanly possible. Marc and I will come back on Sunday, and the kids will stay with their grandparents until New Years Day, when they’ll meet us halfway to give them back. Hopefully the trip won’t take more than 7 hours tomorrow, but you never know with kids!

How was your weekend? Any plans this week?

bookmark_borderReflection after 1 week of “Beyond the Scale”

Well, here I am, Day 7 of Weight Watchers’ new program, “Beyond the Scale.” (Read about my initial reaction here.) I’m still not entirely certain how I feel about it–it’ll probably take a couple more weeks for me to decide whether I love it or hate it.

In any case, here are a few observations I’ve made regarding tracking SmartPoints, calories in My Fitness Pal, and my habits.

I still can’t believe that a tall Frappuccino is 18 points. Really not worth it! However, get it without the whipped cream, and it’s “only” 13 points. I feel like that’s more reasonable, and I can handle that; I could really take or leave the whipped cream anyway. Now, a tall Mocha Frappuccino Light is only 6 points–still double from its PointsPlus value, but definitely easier to fit into my diet. Now, that being said, I actually went 2 days this week without a Frap… talk about progress! And I didn’t die 🙂

I enjoy drinking hot tea. I’m not a fan of black teas, or most green teas, but give me some fruity, flowery, or pepperminty tea and I’m down. I still went to Starbucks on the days I didn’t get fraps, but I just drank hot tea instead. They have one called Peach Tranquility that’s just the bees knees. Drinking more tea also helps with the water intake, so it’s a win-win!

Be sure to calculate recipes on the WW website AND in MFP. Since I track in both MFP and WW, I was calculating recipes in MFP, then just entering the nutrition facts into my SmartPoints calculator to get the points–well, it dawned on me today that veggies are 0 points in WW, so I need to actually enter the recipes into both apps! Turns out that my 6sp mushroom soup is only 5, and my honey garlic chicken went from 12sp to 10! This is great news, because I wasn’t pleased with the high points values of some of my recipes.

I still have a hard time with the “I already blew it, so may as well go all out” mentality. Not as bad as it once was, but it’s still there. Since I promptly went into negative weekly points my first 2 days on the new program, it’s been difficult to quiet those voices. However, I am fighting them, and the longer I fight them, the easier it becomes. I feel much better today than I did Monday morning 🙂

So, there you have it–my Day 7 take on Beyond the Scale. Now, I’m still having a real hard time staying with in my points; I’ve gone over, way over, pretty much every day this week. However, I’m still learning and tweaking and it’s a process that’s going to take a little time.
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I also wanted to share a couple of good things that happened this week:

I chatted with an old friend. We worked together at my old job in Birmingham, and we’ve managed to keep in touch over the years. She reads the blog and we’re friends on My Fitness Pal, so she knows I’ve been struggling a bit with the WW change–she texted me to see how I was doing, and was so encouraging and uplifting–after our conversation, I felt much better about actually being able to make some of the harder changes that I know need to be made.

I received a very special Christmas gift. My dad and stepmom sent me a Fitbit for Christmas! It’s the first gift I’ve received from them in a very long time; I don’t talk about it much on here, but our relationship is somewhat strained and we don’t speak very often. Last week, I was chatting with my stepmom on FB–she was letting me know to expect a package for the kids–and she was telling me how she and my dad both got Fitbits. I told her I needed to get one, and then we could connect and have competitions and stuff. Well, one showed up on my doorstep yesterday! Just know that it’s one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve ever received–not because it’s a Fitbit, but just for what it represents about our relationship. I literally can’t stop smiling about it. It’s a Christmas miracle!

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Sorry for the cheesy photo, but I couldn’t help myself. Looking at my wrists now remind me of both of my parents; my dad on the left, and on the right, the tattoo I got to remind me of my mom after she died . Though she was Christian, her family was Jewish; it says “believe” in Hebrew.

 

Don’t forget to enter our Healthy for the Holidays giveaway this week for a $25 giftcard to Target or Walmart–check out this post to enter!