Thursday, September 26, 2013

{Theme Thursday} Out - the Breakthrough

Joining Cari for another installment of Theme Thursday!

When I thought about this week's theme, I was thinking maybe pictures of the kids at the park - you know - us OUT for the day.

Well, then something happened this morning.  Something AMAZING!  Hope is restored, all is not lost.

For those of you not there this morning, I'll back up.

I'm what my doctor likes to call "sub-fertile".  I have two bio daughters, but it took us SIX YEARS to conceive our second.  It was unexplained secondary infertility. 

However, one of the things that seems to be part of the key is my weight.  I've never been pregnant above a certain number, but I've been pregnant three times under it (one in heaven).  So, I'm thinking that probably plays a partial to significant role.  Well, we're eagerly awaiting another gift from God, and on July 26th, I decided I needed to be doing more to take care of the vessel.....that being me.

Weight has always been a struggle for me....that's a story a lot of us share.  Well, two months ago today, I started a new workout program.  I've done jogging in the past and have used the gym many a time on my own, but this time, I decided to go to a class.  Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, I started getting up at 5:15 - slightly earlier than my usual 7ish.  I would spend this time at the gym with 5-8 other women (sometimes a couple men) doing circuit training with weights.

It's the hardest program I've ever done.  So hard it makes you romanticize labor.  Every workout, there are exercises I can't really do that well, sometimes I have to modify things even to TRY to complete it.  But I kept going.  Even when it started to really really REALLY suck.  When I wanted to sleep in, when my period made me feel sick, when I got a cold, I went.

If you think this is the story of how I lost 20lbs in 2 months, you're wrong.  If you think it's the story of how I lost 10lbs in 2 months, you're wrong......5lbs? Not so much.

When I started this workout program, I was tipping the scales at my normal post-partum weight (Sweet Pea was 14 months...a little more than newborn!).  Thankfully, I also measured myself before I started working out.  I think maybe that and the women I work out with are all that kept me going.  Well, that and it hurt so much to start, I live in fear of having to go through that initial phase again, so I don't stop.

In six weeks, I lost 8.5 inches....and I was up 3 lbs.  Everyone stood around me, cheering me on and reassuring me that weight is just a number on a scale.  Well, it is, until that number stands between you and fertility, then it's more than just a number; it's an obstacle to your hopes and dreams.  It's the demon on your back telling you to quit, that it's not working.  It's every bad thing you think about yourself when you're looking at the beautiful belly that brought life into this world.

Two weeks ago, I added a third day to my workout, Wednesday mornings.  It's called Warrior ELITE, and this has scared me off of going until recently.  The first time I went, everyone lapped me during warm-up. EVERYONE.  It was a humiliating thing.  But not one person there ever told me I was too slow or couldn't do it.  Not one of those women blinked when my reps were slower than theirs.  Every one of them has been a voice of encouragement.  One of the women has lost 50 lbs in the last year doing these workouts.  Sometimes the only thing that gets me there is her story.

Still, the last two weeks, I've been achy and tired.  It's been hard not to feel defeated.  So many voices are echoing not to give in to the number on the scale, but my doctor is going to use that number the last week of October when she decides if it's time to try clomid again, so it's hard not to look at that number.

Based on the number of times I've seen it fluctuate these last two months, my best guess is I've gained somewhere between 5-8 lbs of muscle...still every time the weight goes up, it comes right back down to my starting weight.

That is, until today.  I haven't weighed myself in a week, and when I stepped on today, I stepped OUT of a rut.

f7.1, ISO 400 - My bathroom lighting was low, but I finally managed a pretty clear shot!

So that's what's happening over here this week.  I feel hopeful again; like this process is really getting me somewhere (which is unmistakable when I look in the mirror and see how I've changed).  I realize my weight will probably continue to see-saw as I build muscle, but finally, finally, FINALLY, I'm beginning to see the see-saw tipping lower.  My prayer and hope is that it continues to move lower and lower as I go.

My first thoughts this morning after I weighed myself were prayers of thanksgiving.  That made me feel that I've come further than just a number.  Thank you God for my sister-in-law who has encouraged me on this path.  Thank you for the women who have supported me at each step.  Thank you for my health and ability to do this, however limited I may feel.  Thank you for the support of my husband to take the "early shift" with the girls.  Thank you most especially for a body that can be strengthened and renewed, a mirror to our souls.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

{WIWS} - Volume 2

What I Wore Sunday linkupJoining Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday.

The last time I linked in was for my mantilla post.  I don't normally take a picture of myself on Sunday.  Honestly, I don't normally take pictures of myself at all.  At least, not full-body shots.  However, Mass is an occasion I'm not wearing yoga pants and tee or some variant, so it's an ideal time for a pic.

I've been working out for about seven weeks and haven't lost any weight.  In fact, my weight has been fluctuating up a couple pounds and then down to my starting weight again.  It's been pretty frustrating.  The silver lining has been that I measured myself at the start and I've lost 8.5" small accomplishment.

However, I'm still not jumping to the front of the photo.  I'm still not feeling great about how I look.  But, I was reminded recently of how precious it is for our loved ones to have photos of us.  So, setting aside my vanity and foibles, I thought perhaps I should start linking in here more regularly.  At least then, there will be some pictures of me.  Going one step better, I added my girls to the shot this morning, so, for them, and for all of your enjoyment, here's what we wore Sunday:

A close-up of Little Bean, Sweet Pea and me

A full shot, complete with upset Sweet Pea
Sweet Pea:  Outfit from Gordman's, shoes from Target
Little Bean:  Outfit from older cousin, shoes from resale shop
Sweater:  Same resale shop
Tank:  Target
Pants:  Old Navy
Shoes:  Charity rummage sale
Necklace: Passed down from my deceased (2006) aunt
Pendant:  A gift from my father's trip to India (2012)

I'm still not where I want to be, and I'm trying to love myself right where I am, but some days it's harder than others to embrace all my imperfections.  I'm reminded that my girls won't care some day what I looked like, they'll just be glad for a picture of us together.  Time to start setting myself aside a little more and capture some of these days a little more :)

Stop by Fine Linen and Purple for more WIWS :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

{7QTs} Dancing, Swimming, Pottery, Oh My!

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about personality theme songs, Fall, fruitcake, and cats in boxes  


Week 6 of homeschooling is on the books for 2013-14.  I'm loving Catholic Heritage Curriculum.  God bless them for the 4 day week - we're barely staying on track, as it is, so glad we have that extra day to do things like, wash dishes and clean tubs.....yeah, 8 y/o's around this place have it glamorous!

This cray-cray is in 3rd grade!


Little Bean is crazy-busy this semester - kind of like a jumping bean.  She's swimming twice a week and this week, she went off the diving board a few times!

My little fish


We found a Groupon for Irish Dancing recently.  LB is loving it and actually practicing....something that hasn't always been the case with other activities!

Getting "jiggy" with it!


Our twice-monthly co-op met today.  I spent most of the day in the nursery because Sweet Pea was so irritable she wouldn't be left alone.  It was actually nice to spend some time just visiting with other moms and holding SP.

Drum circle at co-op

Finger-knitting with a friend at co-op


We found a local FREE (with membership) drop-in class at our local family museum.  So, LB now does a clay studio once a week.  Air dry projects are free and $5 for each piece that has to be glazed and fired.  I told her she could do one fired piece a week.  $20/month for a pottery class seems like a steal - especially when she's been the only kid there twice in a row!

Learning to use the wheel!
Working on an air-dry piece
Someone decided the clay looked tasty


I am still loving my cloth diapers, but I need a system for the rest of my laundry.  Who does the sorting, folding and putting away in your house?  I need some kind of schedule for myself or system to get others helping.  I'm constantly falling behind on laundry for the five of us.

This cutie pie in her cloth diapers


A homeschooling friend of mine told me she's doing three weeks on and one week off.  I'm wondering if other people have unusual schedules like this.  It sounds like a good idea, but I'm thinking maybe I should save the break weeks for when I'm super busy at work.  Any other moms have unique schedules?

Or maybe we should take more time to play with friends :)
Stop by Conversion Diary for more quick takes.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

{Theme Thursday} Store

I thought perhaps this week, I would give you a look into the warehouse/store/stash of stuff that lines the shelves in my basement.  But, it's really not a pretty sight down there right now, and, as I was making breakfast this morning, I started thinking about where we get our food - I know, a little philosophical over the stove top. 

As I cracked eggs into the skillet, I had one leftover from a carton from the store, and three that I picked up from a local farm.  My sister-in-law's mother raises chickens for eggs and meat on a few acres about 30 minutes from us.  (The woman is a dynamo who also works full time, quilts AMAZING pieces and does about three hundred other projects all at once that leave the rest of us feeling like slackers!)  Anyway - with SIL back in this neck of the woods, it's much easier to pick up eggs from her mom.

People that raise chickens know, there's SUCH a difference between a store-bought egg and an egg from free-range, well-fed chickens. 

So, for this week's "Store", a thought on how and where we get our food, as you can see the health of the farm-fresh eggs shining in their orange-yellow yolks, compared to the egg from our local store.

Playing with the lower end of my f-stops for increased detail - f 3.6, ISO 125

I'll let you guess which egg is from the store.  *Hint: it's not the lighting that's making one of them a different color!* 

I'm pretty pleased with the clarity of this shot before it was time to flip the eggs.  I can tell I'm getting *slowly* more knowledgeable about how to set my camera to get what I want out of it.....only a couple more years of these posts and I should be able to get the hang of it!

Stop by Cari's place for more Theme Thursday: Store

Thursday, September 12, 2013

{Theme Thursday} Text

Welcome Thursday!  The weekend is almost here and I've got some text for you!  Straight off the memory card - a Little Bean creation.  LB is prolific in her use of paper for crafting, writing, cutting into weird shapes....and other things I probably haven't even discovered yet in her basement playroom.

Recently, she made quite a new work that made the fridge.

But first, a little something to balance out the second shot:

Proof that the hormones start well before 13 with little girls....

And catching her in a better mood for today's submission:

It doesn't say what exactly I'm best at, but I'm going with it!

Stop over at Cari's for more Theme Thursday: Text!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

{Five Favorites} and {WWRW} Artie and the Princess

Linking up with Camp Patton (filling in for Moxie Wife) on Five Favorites and throwing in a dash of What We're Reading Wednesday from over in House Wife Spice's neck of the woods.


Sweet Pea rocking this shirt I made a million (or 7) years ago for Little Bean.  Love handmade hand-me-downs!  Note that I bedazzled it, like a good mother :)  I also love that her cloth diaper is hilarious when paired with leggings. 


After many, many, many hot and dry weeks - there is rain on my sidewalk today.


This little gem came in the mail today - Little Bean's homeschool ID card - complete with school name that tips the hat to her love of mythology :)


I love how much she loves to read - in first grade, I really couldn't have pictured this.  Thank you God, for whoever gave me the advice to let her blossom on her own with reading.

Which leads to.......


Since my life has been all work and no play, I have a guest writer for this last favorite - Little Bean's web debut as she reviews Artie & the Princess by Marjorie Torrey.

What was this book about?
This book is about a dragon who needs a playmate, so he goes off in search of a playmate.  He goes across the forest and sandy plains and finds a mountain.  He climbs it and at the top he meets Princess Pandy. They become playmates.  One day, a prince arrives and is mean to the princess, so Artie spanks him.  This starts a lot of problems.  In the end, they work it out and live happily ever after.

What did you like about it?
I liked how the king always said at the end of talking about things he hadn't done, "although someday I will."

What didn't you like about it?
When Artie spanked the prince, he didn't even put him in timeout.  

Who should read this book?
I would recommend this book to other kids my age (8), especially my cousins.  This is a book for people who like adventures and fantasy.

Thanks LB - we'll count that as your book report for the week :)  I'm starting My Sisters the Saints after Sweet Pea goes to bed tonight - can't wait to review it soon!

Head over to Camp Patton to read more Five Favorites and House Wife Spice for more What We're Reading Wednesday.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

{Theme Thursday} Recess {Highs of Summer 2013}

Summer is the ultimate recess.  As a homeschooler, we have the benefit of setting our own schedule.  School isn't so much the end of all things wonderful as it is woven into the daily life a little more during the traditional school year.

Learning happens everywhere - and what a beautiful thing that is.  So, we "started school" a few weeks ago, but we have days of play and trips all mixed in with learning cursive and the wonders of condensation.

We also take plenty of time to play and learn from each other.  After all, building relationships  is a huge part of spending our lives together.

So, the highlights in no particular order of our extended idyll this summer:

Took a trip to PA to meet this amazing little man - my newest nephew

Celebrated my 32nd birthday with family

Celebrated Sweet Pea's 1st birthday the day after my 32nd

Sweet Pea learned to walk!

Little Bean made her First Holy Communion

My family had a reunion

This girl is back home after trying out school for a year

My sister got married (pictured with her proud papa)

Little Bean turned 8!
...and fell in love with her tiniest cousin :)
Spending time building that sister-bond :)

As summer turns to fall - my favoritest season of all - I'm looking forward to bonfires, hot cocoa and just snuggling with my hubby and kiddos.  Little Bean did school at our local private/parish school last year while I learned to balance two babies 10 months apart.  She's home this year again, and we're savoring every moment....especially the recesses:

Where learning and recess meet - a daytrip to our zoo

 Head over to Iris at Country Girl's Daybook for more summer highlights and check out Cari at Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday: Recess posts :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

{Mantilla Link-up} and {WIWS}

What I Wore Sunday linkupNow that Hubby works a Tuesday - Saturday schedule, my favorite day of the week is Sunday.  No pressure to get any of my work done, Hubby is home, it's the one relaxing spot (usually) in a busy, busy week.

My favorite time exactly is 3pm on Sunday.  We've gone to mass,  had lunch with my parents/family, we're back home and the babies are in bed.  It is generally 3pm when I can sit down, talk to Hubby, watch a little TV, just stop for a bit.
Today, our priest spoke about humility.  This happened to coincide with the Mantilla Link-up with Jenna over at Call Her Happy. 

I rarely have pictures taken of me, and a full body pic is even rarer.  But, in keeping with a spirit of humility, here's a picture of me, still working on my work in progress :)

Scarf/Veil:  Charlotte Russe
Skirt:  Target
Shirt:  Resale shop
Shoes:  Old Navy

A couple weeks ago, Jenna started talking about veiling during mass.  I'd always kind of brushed that idea aside, but a couple things resonated with me enough to give it a try this Sunday.

Tried to go with something close to my hair color

It was a nice tie-together that our homily was on humility.  Part of my hesitation on veiling has always been sticking out at mass.  It occurred to me as I played with the veil in front of my mirror while getting ready that I go to mass every week with two white kids, a white husband and a middle child who is obviously bi-racial....ummmm, people are already looking, maybe the veil isn't going to be what they notice. 

Sure enough, I think people noticed that I was wearing a veil.  I felt a little set apart, which would cause me some pause in doing it again.  However, I also felt more reverent and focused, which would cause me to consider it again.  I'm not sure if the babies behaved any better because I looked different or if the veil caused me to respond to their fidgets in a calmer manner that helped smooth things over, but they behaved better than usual, even though they were cranky when we walked in and mass lasted 75 minutes.

I liked the mental space it put me in, and I liked the reminder to focus when a child would distract.  I didn't like feeling different, but I liked having something that was different that I did only for mass.  A knit skirt and sandals might be something I would go about a Tuesday in, but a veil, that was different, that was set apart and special to where I was....that was beautiful. 

It was also special to realize the last time I wore a veil, I was sitting in that exact same church, over nine years ago, marrying the guy I was sitting in the cry room with this morning.  Feeling more connected to my husband and the sacrament of our marriage during mass? Yeah, that's a good reason not to toss out the possibility of veiling in the future.  Especially in a hurried and stress-filled life where that connection is ever-precious.  It's hard to keep that in mind when your 2 y/o is spitting gold fish crackers on the carpet....yeah that just happened.  Naps are over and the Sunday break is too. 

I'm undecided on whether I'll veil in the future.  I think probably not regularly, but I'm not going to rule that out.  After all, people are already looking, might as well kick my weird up another notch :)

Stop by Call Her Happy for more Mantilla Link-ups and Fine Linen and Purple for more WIWS.