Thursday, September 12, 2013

Everything PUMPKIN!

While Florida's endless summers have their perks, I sometimes wish that we lived in a place with definite seasons. Winter here is nonexistent and Spring and Fall last maybe two weeks. Maybe. My closest encounters with those gorgeous red, orange and yellow Fall leaves occur only in the aisles of the craft store. Sigh. I have to fight the urge to break out all of those adorable Autumn decorations in September because... there's just something funny about pumpkins and bathing suits! I'll wait, as I do every year, until October 1st to finally get my hands on a Pumpkin Spice Latte because THAT is this Floridian's first day of Fall, y'all.

6 things you look forward to this Fall.

1. Pumpkin Spice Latte

2. Pumpkin patch 
McKenna's first trip to the pumpkin patch | October 2011

3. Pumpkin carving
My very first Jack O'Lantern! | October 2012

4. Pumpkin crafts

Skinnytaste's Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili

6. Pumpkin buckets
Trick or treat! | Halloween 2012

Monday, September 9, 2013

Alright, Weight Watchers. Let's do this.

Last year was really difficult for me. New job (Alex), new city, new baby - BAM! Just like that. We moved to Melbourne from Tallahassee within the same week of coming home from the hospital with Kendall. Anticipating all of these major changes and aware of the hormonal and emotional mess that I knew I was going to be post-baby, I tried to remind myself to just take it all in stride and that eventually I'll make new friends and fall into a groove here with my two babies under 2, but it wasn't easy for me. At all.

Despite my husband being here and my parents just a short two and a half hour drive away, ready to be there for me at the drop of a hat if I needed them to be, I still felt terribly alone. So sad deep down no matter how hard I tried - or didn't try sometimes - to smile and act like I had it all under control. Of course I adored my new baby, was endlessly entertained by my precocious toddler and had a husband willing to do whatever it took to help out with the kids, but the emptiness lingered. It became so easy to turn to food for comfort, for happiness! I didn't have the energy to workout or even the strength to muster up the courage to put myself out there and make some new friends. It was so much easier to just open up the refrigerator during nap time on an especially difficult day with the kids, hit up the drive-thrus (yes, plural) after a little tift with my mother-in-law, or order way more than my fair share of take-out while Alex was out of town for work or at the dog track playing poker all night and I REALLY had no adult interaction. Emotional eating at its finest. 

Quite the oxymoron.

"I just had a baby, I still have nine months to drop the weight."

"I'll start eating healthy on Monday."

"I need a gym membership so I can workout, but we really don't have the extra money for that right now, so there goes exercising."

"Okay, starting March (April, May, June, July,...) 1st, I'll __________."

Sadness, anger, exhaustion, frustration, loneliness - food was my only remedy. I don't think I stepped onto the scale even once last year and I convinced myself that I only needed larger-sized clothing so that I could be more comfortable getting down and dirty with the kids.

It wasn't until October that the reality of my weight gain slapped me hard in the face. One of my best friends from high school was getting married and I couldn't find anything to wear to her wedding, even in the plus size section. I was in tears because I really didn't want to go to the wedding at all; I just wanted to stay at home hiding in my sweat pants so that nobody from high school could see how fat I had gotten. For months I had been avoiding hanging out with old friends, sex with my husband was pretty much nonexistent and I couldn't even read a book to my kids without becoming short of breath. Then, while celebrating Christmas at my mother-in-law's, I didn't even recognize myself in the picture that she had taken of all of us just seconds before.

I braved the scale when we arrived home after the holidays, guessing that I was 170, maybe 180 lbs at the most...


...190.2! That's far above the healthy weight range for someone who is 5'3"! I needed to do something, make some changes, and do so immediately; if not for my husband and for my kids, but for me.

So at the beginning of the year, with a lump in my throat and desperately trying to choke back the tears, I went and signed up for Weight Watchers and made a vow to suck it up and get myself and the kids involved around the community and finally make some friends. While the latter part of my New Year's resolution has been hugely successful - the girls and I have made some great lifelong pals here - the former has been a little rocky lately.

In four months after joining, I had lost 22 pounds and was really feeling great about myself. I had more energy, didn't squirm at the thought of my husband seeing me naked, and loved having my picture taken with the kids! I was always either behind the camera or dodging it before, so there weren't many photos of myself with the girls which was incredibly depressing. Around April, however, we encountered one expensive problem after another with my car. I'm not sure if it was the stress of how we were going to come up with the money to fix the car or being stuck at home completely car-less with two kids for an entire month that sucked the most, but, hey! Domino's delivers, baby. Since then, I've been on and off the saddle, skipping meetings and throwing money down the toilet for it. 

I am so done with that. I felt so much better, so much healthier when I was on track and I really want that back... So let's do this, Weight Watchers!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

It's Thursday, Thursday. Gotta get down on Thursdays.

I really enjoy Thursdays. The girls and I take it easy in the morning instead of heading out bright and early to take Hanley for a walk around the neighborhood before the temperature hikes up. They'll usually watch a movie or PBS Kids while I leisurely sip my coffee and putz around on Pinterest.

Around 10AM, we get ourselves ready and head to the library for Story Time.

McKenna and Kendall look forward to going every week and I do, too, actually; we have made some really great friends there. I also love that our library is right on the Indian River; there's a huge window on the entire east side of the building that overlooks the intracoastal and I can't help but to smile every time we walk in.

What a view, huh?

After Story Time is over, we either take a walk out on the dock or play at the playground with our new friends before heading home to carry on with our day as usual - lunch, Learning Time, laundry while they nap, a movie and coloring for them while I cook dinner. Once the girls are both bathed and in bed, I plan our meals for the next week that usually includes a couple of new recipes to try and write up a list for our grocery shopping adventure the following morning. I love cooking, so this is a lot of fun for me! 

Publix BOGOS renew every Thursday, too, and then there's this at the Ice Cream Depot:

"It's Thursday, Thursday. Gotta get down on Thursdays."

Find a tweet you shared last week and elaborate.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"50 Sucks!"

What a great Labor Day weekend! Alex didn't have much to do at work last week, so he took off Friday and we headed to Orange Park a little early to spend our four day weekend celebrating my Dad's 50th birthday.

50! Half of a century.

Men are hard enough to shop for, but my Dad, impossible. He has been frequenting garage sales and flea markets every weekend for as long as I can remember, so not only does he have everything he, you or I could ever want or need, but he gets it for peanuts. I racked my brain for months trying to come up with a special gift for such a momentous occasion in his life.

...Cue the Jeopardy music.

If you know my Dad, you know he has a ridiculous sweet tooth - cake, cookies, chocolate, jelly beans, ice cream, frosting - as a dip - you name it! I think it all stems from his early childhood when he took a whole stick of butter out of the fridge, dipped it in sugar... and ate it. True story! So when I came across the "50 sucks!" bouquets on Pinterest, I knew I had a winner, hands down.

Here's what you'll need:
Metal bucket
Styrofoam ball
Black spray paint
Hot glue
50 candies on a stick

McKenna, Kendall and I went to the candy store in our mall and hand-picked all of the sweets for our project - suckers, jelly pops, Sugar Daddies, anything and everything on a stick. The "50 sucks" lollipop was purchased at Party City, the bucket we found at the dollar store and the Styrofoam ball was purchased with a 40% off coupon at JoAnn's.

First, you'll need to spray paint the bucket and Styrofoam ball. Once they've dried, set the Styrofoam ball in the bucket and hot glue the two together at the rim for added stability - it will be heavy! Then, arrange all of the candies on the Styrofoam ball using the giant "50 sucks" lollipop as a focal point.

I was thrilled with the way it turned out! A big thanks goes out to the Mr. for helping me to get everything just right - the engineer in him just loves those tedious little details ;-) I couldn't wait to get to Orange Park and give it to my Dad! I knew he was going to love it.

And he did!

Happy 50th Birthday, Dad! I love you!