12.15.2017

Haiku Friday

Only ten more days
Of listening to my kids
Tell me their gift lists
***
Just incessantly
"I want this for Christmas, Mom!"
Oh yes, dears. I know.
***
Thank goodness for them
Christmas cheer has been lacking
Gotta rally now

12.14.2017

Sausage Cheddar Biscuits

I forgot to save this but I wanted to have a place to easily find it should I try again to make the delicious sausage cheddar biscuits from Miss Trisha Yearwood (a.k.a. Mrs. Garth Brooks). I made them for my mom's birthday party and honestly had about four of them. They are dang tasty.

Ingredients
8 oz fresh pork sausage with sage - no casing. (They sell this in a 16 oz tube at my grocery store. It's Jimmy Dean.)
2 sticks butter, softenened
1 cup sour cream
2 cups self-rising flour (Very important! This is not all-purpose which is what we all have in our cupboards. If you don't have the self-rising, substitute with 2 cups all-purpose with 3 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.)
5 oz shredded extra-sharp cheddar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until well browned. Break into small pieces. Must be completely cooled before you mix with other ingredients.
In a stand mixer, mix butter and sour cream. Add flour 1 cup at a time until fully combined. Add sausage and cheddar and mix well.
Drop heaping spoonfuls on baking sheet. If you have the parchment paper, I assume that helps the sticking but I didn't. Just used Pam sparay.
Bake until lightly browned, 20-25 minutes.

12.13.2017

Weigh In Wednesday

Weight: 197.2
Down 1.6 since last week, 25.8 over all.
Here's a fun "before and after" that shows us in December 2011 vs December 2017.
Crazy. That's the same chain I'm wearing, by the way. My fat neck six years ago made it a choker. Nice.

Lifetime Steps: 4,985,970
That's 68,028 in a week which is about 9,718 a day.

Frame of Mind
Well it's PMS week so right off the bat, things are not great. The fires are devastating and bumming everyone out. Casey's school keeps getting closed down. His wee Christmas performance was canceled. It sucks. However, we have done our best to keep spirits high. We made a donation to a local charity that donates goods to those who lost everything in the fires. Husband took the kids to buy Toys for Tots so they could feel like they were participating. We could have it so much worse so we are very grateful. It's good to take misfortune and turn it into a teachable moment.
In fitness news, I only hit my step goal three days out of seven but I have made a point to make the gym a priority during the week this week. I packed my salads. I seem to be getting full more quickly so I find myself leaving more on my plate and really feeling terrible when I overeat. That's new. Trying not to snack after dinner but I'm definitely not cutting back on beer. Still sticking to the goal of going hard in January.

12.12.2017

Spinach Dip Christmas Tree

 Before
After!

The recipe can be found here with a handy dandy little instructional video. This is so fun and easy and delicious and I totally plan on making it again for Christmas day.
Just some notes:
-I would get the larger tube of pizza dough. The one I got made for a small tree which made for a lot more dip per bread stick than intended I think. The branches were a bit harder to roll. It was still yummy but it could have fed a few more had I done it differently.
-The melted butter to glaze at the end calls for garlic salt but I think you are okay with just butter and Italian Seasoning. The feedback I got was " Wow, this is garlicky." Not in a bad way, just know your crowd, ya know? I also think it made it saltier than it needed to be.
-In my opinion cheddar has NO BUSINESS being a part of this recipe. Mozzarella was perfect. I did not save the half a cup to sprinkle on after the fact, just mixed it all together and it was just fine that way.

12.11.2017

Weekend Pics

Updated Flickr with ornament party pictures, too!

 On Friday the ash was so thick I got the kids at noon.
 We chilled really hard.
 Grabbed a snack at Bread Basket and was wowed by these cakes.
 Sunday morning ash cloud.
 Watched my princess play with her princesses while Cinderella played.
 Umami Burger date night. So. Good.
 Christmas shopping has begun.
 And then there was this...

12.08.2017

Haiku Friday


Hard to be festive
When our county is in flames
It's all consuming
***
And then the fires spread
Practically raced down the coast
Got to my brother
***
It is the season
For giving, not receiving
Help rebuild our state

12.06.2017

Weigh In Wednesday

Weight: 198.8
Up 1.4 since last week. Down 24.2 overall.

Lifetime Steps: 4,917,942
62,816 since last week which averages out to be 8,978 a day.

Frame of Mind
I am making a conscious decision to not beat myself up this December. I am experiencing burnout and have hit a plateau. It's not that I've decided to give up completely, rather I don't feel the urge to be hard core right now. I have basically been dieting or trying to hit steps since November of last year and frankly I want a vacation. I still have my gym bag and salads at the ready but I want to not think about every step and every bite or every beer. In January I will recommit but for now it looks like December will just get this much attention for the sake of tracking.
In other news, my county and surrounding counties are burning and the dreadful Santa Ana winds are predicted to blow at least through Thursday. Ash and smoke are in the air. The kids' schools have been closed. Husband's place of employment was at risk of evacuation. Christine's grandparents' house burned and her cousins lost their home. Two of my coworkers were evacuated. It's a scary and sad time and it's all consuming. We are so grateful to be out of harm's way but it's hard to watch this happening.
 View from the backyard
View from the front yard, the coastline

12.05.2017

Coco

On Sunday, my mom and I took the kids to see Coco. They love posing by the movie posters. I don't know what Casey's up to with that leg crossing business but he said he's playing the guitar like Miguel in the movie. Sure. We almost always see Disney and Pixar movies on opening weekend but Thanksgiving tummy bugs thwarted our plans. I'd been reading a lot about the 20-minute Frozen short so we were ready for the no less than three hours we would be in the theater. You'd think with a short that long they'd nix the 20 minutes of trailers but you'd be wrong.
First off, the kids loved the Frozen short so everyone that was complaining might need to calm themselves. Elsa and Anna had been locked away in that castle for so long without parents they didn't have traditions so Olaf set out to find some for them. The songs were cute and the animation was great and there were a lot of laughs. I think people just love to complain about all the things always and it ruins it for everyone else. Like on a side note, we watched The Boss Baby on Netflix and it was sort of shit upon review-wise but so we never went to see it in the theater. Guess what? It's totally fun and funny and the kids have watched it about five times since Sunday. So there.
As for Coco, I loved it so much. I want to see it again right this second. The story is about a young boy named Miguel who wants to be a musician. Unfortunately for him, his family hates musicians because his great-great-grandfather chose music over his family years ago. He tries to steal a guitar from a tomb the night of Dia de los Muertos and is cursed and sent across the bridge to the land of the dead. He needs the blessing of his dead ancestors to return too the land of the living but they want him to go back under the condition that he abandons music and that is something he simply will not do. He goes to seek the blessing of his great-great-grandfather because he understands the importance of music.
It is a beautifully animated movie with gorgeous music. It is very Mexican with lots of Spanish slang and cultural references. The music is positively lovely. Dante the dog was a perfect blend of our Mabel and Betty so that was fun and silly. We laughed. We cheered. And boy oh boy did I cry like an infant child at the end. Goodness. Glad I brought a stack of hankies. I highly recommend this one and can't wait to see it again. It didn't hurt that Miguel looked like a drawing of my nephew, either.

12.04.2017

Weekend Pics

 Put up lights at Gaga's and the kids raided her goodies.
 Lunch at Lazy Dog (the power went out!)
 Santa Visit
 Codependency (Note the empty bed back there)
 Someone is digging dress up!
Mabel Baby hiding her face.

12.01.2017

Haiku Friday

 It's December 1st
Time for all the Christmas cheer
I'm ready for it!
***
The decorations
The jammies, the tree, the songs
And lights everywhere
***
I guess gifts are fun
But it's the rest of the stuff
That I love the most

11.29.2017

Weigh In Wednesday

Weight: 197.4
Down .6 since last week, 25.6 since September 1, 2016. Yesterday I saw 196.6 on the scale and was so happy but I guess having a margarita with Taco Tuesday didn't work in my favor. I just posted my year long weight loss summary and I have lost a total of 24.4 lbs in a year. That is definitely doing it the healthy way... slowly. I still can't stop won't stop but with at least another 25 pounds to lose, it sometimes feels like a never-ending process and it gets tiresome.

Lifetime Steps: 4,855,126
82,026 since last week which averages out to be 11,718 steps a day. Back to the gym and our regularly scheduled program.
Wed - 14,114
Thu - 7,370 (Thanksgiving happened)
Fri - 16,896 (Lost car happened)
Sat - 5,640 (Mani/Pedi and a nap happened)
Sun - 13,827
Mon - 12,112
Tue - 11,397

Frame of Mind
I feel like blogging about my anxiety yesterday helped. Thank you, Coodence and Christine for reaching out to me because I value your feedback so much. The aftermath of an attack like that is exhausting but I'm picking myself back up and dusting myself off. I am acknowledging my weaknesses and asking for help. Right now, I feel ready to tackle things differently. I am adapting well to the treadmill at they gym but I do miss my outside walks. I have not had a beer since Sunday but I did drink wine and a margarita which is better than having a beer or two... or three. I'm going to try not to expect too much of myself during the holidays but even though the power went out Tuesday night, I still rallied to prep my salads in the dark with a miner's flashlight on my forehead because I don't want to make excuses. And on Monday when I easily could have grabbed a burger or something not healthy, I went to grab a salad at Urbane Cafe... and didn't get a coke or a cookie like I normally would have. Sometimes I need to acknowledge these achievements that are not scale related.

Year-Long Weight Summary

Thought I'd review my monthly loss since I started tracking in November because I thought it would be a good way to keep a record. It's nice to see I have been consistent with overall loss and that the fluctuations are not out of the norm.

11/2 - 222
11/9 - 221.8
11/16 - 221.2
11/23 - 220.4
11/30 - 219.2
Total Monthly Loss: 2.8 lbs

12/7 - 220
12/14 - 220
12/21 - 219.8
12/28 - 217.8
Total Monthly Loss: 2.2 lbs

1/4 - 217
1/11 - 215.2
1/18 - 216.8
1/25 - 215.8
Total Monthly Loss: 1.2 lbs

2/8 - 214.6
2/15 - 214.2
2/22 - 212
Total Monthly Loss: 2.6 lbs

3/1 - 213.8
3/8 - 213.8
3/15 - 211
3/22 - 210
3/29 - 208.4
Total Monthly Loss: 5.4 lbs

4/5 - 207.6
4/12 - 207.2
4/19 - 206
4/26 - 206
Total Monthly Loss: 1.6 lbs

5/3 - 205.6
5/10 - 204.8
5/17 - 203
5/24 - 205.6
5/31 - 204
Total Monthly Loss: 1.6 lbs

6/7 - 203.8
6/14 - 201.6
6/21 - 202.4
6/28 - 203
Total Monthly Loss: 0.8 lbs

7/5 - 202.6
7/12 - 201.6
7/19 - 201.4
7/26 - 201.4
Total Monthly Loss: 1.2 lbs

8/2 - 200.8
8/9 - 200.8
8/16 - 199.8
8/23 - 201
8/31 - 201
Total Monthly Loss: Oh, no. I'm up 0.2 lbs.

9/6 - 200.8
9/13 - 199.6
9/20 - 199.2
9/27 - 199
Total Monthly Loss: 1.8 lbs.

10/4 - 198
10/11 - 198
10/18 - 198.4
10/25 - 198.2
Total Monthly Loss: I'm up 0.2 lbs.

11/1 - 197.6
11/8 - 197.6
11/15 - 198.4
11/22 - 198
11/29 - 197.4
Total Monthly Loss: Down 0.2

Year Summary: 24.4 lbs lost.

11.28.2017

ANXIETY

November has been a very difficult month for me so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the anxiety I have experienced. A while back, my mom asked me to plan a 70th birthday party for her with my sister-in-law. I tried to bow out as much as I could because I know myself and how I have a hard time with self-inflicted pressure to make everything perfect and keep everyone happy. Even with minimal duties, I still managed to freak out that I bought the wrong decorations and that I bought too much food. The party was on the same day as the 4-year anniversary of my dad's death and I just can't explain how much that date haunts me. I tried to stuff down the grieving and I was able to put on a happy face (as my photos show), but inside I incessantly worried about the mess being cleaned up and whether everyone was having a good time or if the food was good enough. It was pretty exhausting. Plus, the stress of spending extra money was a worry I could not shake and was manifested into feeling resentful. Of course, everything went off without a hitch but my anxiety nagged at me until I ended up basically fighting with everyone in my family well after the fact and for no reason at all.
This past weekend, we were invited to celebrate Mike's birthday at a football game/tailgating party. I always have a hard time with crowds and being someplace new so I had suggested I stay home with the kids instead. However, I really wanted to be a part of the celebration and not disappoint anyone by not being there so I put on my big girl panties and went. We got off to a rocky start because Husband was sort of stressed that we were arriving later than he had hoped and we had to park quite a ways away from the gathering. If he's upset, I instantly think it is because of me... that I should have left earlier or done things differently. Despite that, we had a great time eating delicious food and hanging with awesome friends. It was getting late so we left after the third quarter and took the long walk back to the car. Unfortunately, we were parked on a dark and pretty much unmarked golf course and it took a very long time to find the car, with lots of walking around in circles. That's when the panic attack hit.
Logically, I know everything will be fine. Inside, however, I freak out. I can't breathe which turns into hyperventilating. That irregular breathing makes my eyes see stars until I almost pass out. I can't focus. It seems like there is no solution. I lash out and say terrible things I would normally never say to the one person I love the most in the world (because he's safe to do this to I guess? Because I know I will be forgiven?). I cry. I scream. It's ugly and it is embarrassing and it never ends well. And it sucks because I could have taken a Xanax but then I can't drive us because I'm lethargic and groggy. It's not fun for me and then Husband can't just have a fun night doing something he loves the most: football and drinking with his friends. Either way, I end up ruining it for both of us.
What's the most ridiculous about all of this is my life is WONDERFUL. I am married to a great man. I have the best of friends. My children are rad. We do the most fun stuff. We have no real worries at all. None. We are all healthy and happy and employed.We have a roof over our head and food on our table. We want for nothing. It is so completely illogical for me to be the way I am. And yet? Here I am.
But that's not enough so I am going to do my best to really focus on getting better. I will prioritize healthy eating and exercise. I will try my best to make time for myself to just be silent. I will listen to soothing music when things are stressful at work. I will exercise the right to say NO and mean it. I will be more forgiving of myself. I will let the decorations on the tree be "not right." I will worry less about whether there is a mess. Because at 40-years old, I am not getting any younger and life is too short to be lived like this.
And on a final note, my mom sent me this gigantic and beautiful bouquet to thank me for doing so much to make her birthday perfect. I'm not sure I deserve such a gesture but it's a nice reminder that maybe I'm not as awful as I paint myself to be despite my anxiety and the spurts of reprehensible behavior and unjustified feelings of resentment. Deep breath. Inhale. Exhale.

11.27.2017

Weekend Pics

 This little Muppet and I matched on Turkey Day
 Grateful for Family
 Grateful for Rest
 Lady Liberty
 Let's Do This
 Thankful for Matching
 Thankful for Forgiveness
 Thankful for Fun
 This little kitten came by to harass us while we were decorating.
Needless to say, Christa was in love.
This year I am making a vow to not move ornaments the kids put in what I would think is the "wrong" place. I am trying to chill the F*CK out... this holiday season and onward.

11.22.2017

Weigh In Wednesday

Weight: 198
Down .4 since last week, 25 overall. Heaviest day of my period is not a great day to get on a scale. I have not made much effort to cut back on the beer. Last week I didn't do salads. The PMS probably didn't help any of that. C'est la vie.

Lifetime Steps: 4,773,100
72,757 since last week which averages to 10,394 steps a day.
Wed - short 2,897
Thurs - short 1,961
Fri - over 956
Sat - over 5,354
Sun - over 1,391
Mon - over 1,005
Tue - short .852
Last week I had the kids so that meant no time for the gym or walking. Lots of party prep. Saturday was the party, can you tell? Yesterday I was short but still went to the gym so I count that as a win.

Frame of Mind
Not great at all. Yesterday I cried more than I have cried in a very long time. I fought with just about every member of my family. I got told I am a complainer and that I make my life look like one big pity party. Parties give me anxiety and I think that anxiety makes me come across as not a good person. I really just don't like this time of year at all because of my dad and I don't know that I will ever like it again. Thanksgiving is just a reminder that my dad is no longer at the head of the table. If Christmas gifts ceased to be a thing, I would be perfectly fine with that. I'd be happy just to look at lights and sing songs. I feel like I try very hard to make everyone happy and then wonder why I exert that much effort if I end up making people unhappy anyway. Work has been a bit nuts because of the holiday. For some reason I can't stop stressing about money. I sort of wish I could just go to bed and have absolute quiet and solitude. 
So that's that! Yuck.
Let's leave on a happy note.
I am thankful Christine is in town.
I am thankful for BFF being a good, grounded listener.
I am thankful my uncles came to visit.
I am thankful for my healthy, fun, smart children.
I am thankful my mom enjoyed her party.
I am thankful my sister-in-law did the planning of it.
I am thankful for the time I got to spend with my niece and nephew.
I am thankful for my great job.
I am thankful for my home
I am thankful for my doggies.
I am thankful for my health.
I am thankful we get to celebrate MIKE's birthday on Friday at a football game.
I am thankful my husband chooses to remain married to me despite the fact that I'm an emotional mess.

11.20.2017

Weekend Pics

Flickr has been updated because I took lots of actual camera photos recently!
 Got some time with my niece and nephew.
 We threw my mom a 70th birthday party and it was a success! 
 Photo credit: BFF
 Photo credit: Ang
And just the puppies.
This weekend was so frickin' busy. I cooked and meal prepped for hours and hours. I ran around in high heels and played hostess. I didn't get enough time to visit with everyone as much as I wanted to. I passed the heck out yesterday afternoon for about three hours with Christa because I can't remember the last time I got a decent night's sleep stressing over the party. It was a great weekend but I'm glad it's over. Looking forward to seeing Christine soon. Going to a football party to celebrate Babe turning 40. Thanksgiving. Yeah. It's a good time to be alive.

11.17.2017

Haiku Friday

Half days all week long
Extra time with my kiddos
Mostly good, some bad
***
We got a lot done
Mostly we ran some errands
A McDonald's lunch
***
Rest and word searches
Some haircuts and a conference
Stay at home mom style

11.16.2017

Thor: Ragnarok

Everyone! Hide your surprise! The Fridays went to yet another superhero movie! If it's not animated, it should be seems to be our motto when it comes to movie going. We've been waiting for Thor: Ragnarok to come out for some time so this was actually quite exciting for the whole family, Gaga included. I was so happy to hear so many good things about it before we went so I will admit, my expectations were high going in. I was not disappointed. It is probably the funniest movie I have seen in a while. It's refreshing when a movie doesn't take itself so seriously and that's why I like the Marvel Universe so much.
I'm not sure how to review this one other than to say we laughed a lot, got pumped about the fight scenes and the over two-hour running time went by like a flash. The cast and the characters were all just so great. Christa and I fell quite in love with Korg and super hated Cate Blanchett as Hela. She's a fantastic bad guy. Edris Elba is so handsome. Jeff Goldblum is perfection. Tom Hiddleston is such a charming son of a gun and so easy on the eyes. Mama didn't mind a shirtless, short-haired Thor. I can tell you that much. So yeah! Win win for the whole family. I definitely recommend.

Just a brief sidebar here: Husband and I recently watched The Big Sick after I bought it on DVD and watched it gather dust for like a month and a half on my shelf. I laughed and cried and fell in love. Even though it was a rom-com, Husband also really enjoyed it. It's definitely worthy of all the accolades and I urge you to watch it. Plus, there is a cameo by Bo Burnham and if you get a moment, I also want to strongly recommend his special, Make Happy on Netflix. He's just a genius and I want to share him because he is not only funny, but insanely talented.

11.15.2017

Weigh In Wednesday

Weight: 198.4
Up .8 since last week but still down 24.6 overall. Last night we celebrated my mom's birthday at China Square so we ate like we'd never seen food before and topped it off with cake. And you know Tony wasn't going to let us out of there without at least 6 bottles of Taiwan beer going down the hatches. That's how we do but to have a weigh in the next morning is sort of brutal. I have three Blue Aprons ready to go and we'll try to close out the week without drinking the next couple days. I am not doing salads this week because I'm running around with the kids and decided a break would be good for me. I get bored with the same damn breakfast and lunch every day, not gonna lie.

Lifetime Steps: 4,700,343
79,133 since last week which averages to 11,305 steps a day. I was short 4,663 steps on Sunday because we went to see Thor and that was about three hours on my butt and then afterward I had to sort through old pictures at my mom's for her party on Saturday and that was another two hours on my butt. Honestly, I'm not even upset about it. I even went home and sat on my butt again to do word search puzzles from the book Casey got me at a garage sale. I'm 40 and this is what I do now. Word search puzzles.
Last week was several days of gym attendance and I'm getting used to it. I miss being outside but the treadmill is neat because I can do random inclines and adjust the speed so the workout can be mixed up a bit. I tried jogging for five minute stretches of time and that felt real good. Not sure if I'll ever build up the confidence to try any weight lifting but it's an option too. I will say this, I sweat more in the gym than I ever did walking outside so I had to buy new gym clothes lest I risk smelling like a musty old hamper. I'm going to have to post a shot in my new short-shorts. This week I've had no time for gym or walks because I'm doing half days with the kids and running errands for the party but I did manage to get 10k two days in a row regardless so I'm feeling pretty good about my activity level.

Frame of Mind
Saturday is the 4-year anniversary of my dad passing away so that pops up here and there and I get sort of overwhelmed by grief. Luckily I'm keeping busy and distracted with the party planning and general housekeeping and watching the kids this week. Z'Germans arrived and were at dinner last night. It's been about six months or more since they were here last and when they saw Husband and me in person and they were sort of blown away by our weight loss. That felt really nice. I'm flattered when people say stuff about how much different and better we look but also it kind of is uncomfortable because your mind wanders to how badly you let yourself go. Hub kept mentioning my face being thinner and I feel like I was already a bit self-conscious about my fat face so I laughed it off before I fell into a shame spiral. Anyway, it's just weird to be asked what we eat and how we exercise because it's just so boring and I always feel weird about focusing on weight. I had to buy a new outfit on Monday and it feels so nice to just grab something off the hanger and know it will fit and not have to wonder if rolls or what have you are exposed. I am anxious to getting back to being very dedicated so I can shed some more but with the holidays coming, I just don't know how things will go. Hopefully the gym will produce results.

11.14.2017

Happy 70th Mom

As a baby with my Gran
 I assume 1st Communion
 Stylin'
 Those creeps in the background
 Working Woman
 I hope she burned that thing!
 Like honestly? Look out Cindy Crawford.
Me and Mom
It wasn't always gorgeous but it was a lot of fun!