Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weight and exercise

Oy. The best time to start posting about your weight is when it is increasing...NOT! Okay, so it is a little embarrassing that I started posting my weight talking about my weight loss goals and was exercising and instead have gained, apparently, 3 lbs in one week. I keep telling my scale, "That is the wrong direction!"

I've decided I'm okay with it, though, for now. Ricarda leaves us on July 11th and she has several places that she wants to go eat before she leaves (Schlotzky's and Chili's are on the list) and she really wanted to eat my pear jello and Jim's sweet potatoe casserole (typically a Christmas/Thanksgiving food because they are yummy but deadly) before she leaves. Then, of course, I leave for 10 days in Denver on Friday so trying to maintain any kind of a specific program before I come back is just silly. After we come back from Denver, Ricarda has only 4 more days with us so we will make the most of them, food and timewise. Then, after she has gone, I have decided that I will rejoin Weight Watchers and knuckle down to it again.

In a way, this is good. I have only just begun exercising again and I am finally starting to get to where I can exercise kind of aerobically. My fitness level is still really pathetic but I'm feeling good about it. I've had very little trouble with my back, at least nothing that wasn't quickly fixable at the physical therapy session. That is HUGE. Like monsterous. It's so amazing that I can exercise again without the pain increasing, I don't hardly know what to do with myself. As the exercise can increase, so too will the ability to manage my weight again. By the time I restart Weight Watchers in 2 weeks, I will have enough strength to really start a program, albeit slowly, and I should see some progress after that. I may even be able to convince Jim, my husband, to do it with me. He loves to walk but has fallen out of the habit with a little one in the house and crazy work schedules. We could both stand to lose some weight so here's to a New Year's resolution in July! (We just had Christmas in June so we could have those special dishes for Ricarda so I think I can claim New Year's in July. :) )

Wish us luck!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


On of my ongoing goals for the summer is to learn how to feed my family better. This means many different things to me.

Better means...

-cheaper (at the grocery store and
-less prepared foods (usually frozen meals of some sort)
-more home cooked foods
-less stressful (It's 4pm, what's for dinner?!?)

I'm an okay cook. I have several recipes (maybe 6-8 main dishes) that I can make well but I'm not good at experimenting (especially with a 3 year-old!) so I could always use more cooking weapons in my arsenal. I've actually been improving with this slowly over the last year or so but I want to make some particular strides this summer. A friend and I started getting together last January to cook and make frozen meals to put back for our families as a money saving technique and a stress buster. It has been awesome. Her cooking prowess and my grunt labor and we are a force to be reckoned with!

It has been such a hit for us (good food, good fellowship, good fun) that we've started expanding our cooking time into actually planning what we are going to make beforehand. Planning comes in many different forms. One form is meeting before the cooking day to go over recipes and make sure we know what we want to cook, decide which ingredients to buy or who will bring what, and what, if anything needs to be cooked beforehand like cooking the chicken. Another form of planning is checking out all of the local grocery store sales in the month or so prior and buying large amounts of meat when it is on sale. For example, a local grocery store offered buy 2 get 3 bags of frozen chicken breasts free a few weeks back. I bought 5 bags.

In this case, we haven't had a chance to cook since at least April, maybe March, so I've been checking out sales like crazy and buying whenever meat was on sale. As it stands, I have most of the ingredients for the stuff we're going to make and my friend has the rest so I only have to buy a couple items and I expect that we'll each be able to make 4-6 meals worth of food. Heather has a goal of putting back 30 meals and I am going to take that goal on as my own as well. I want to put back 30 frozen meals before school begins. Ideally, I'll also be organized enough to also know what I have in the freezer!

Another goal I have in regards to cooking is learning a few more recipes (one new recipe a week), especially ones that are easy, go in the crockpot or ones that are actually possible to make on a Wednesday evening when we're all tired after a long day of work and Katie is cranky.

To that end I made Applesauce Chicken from the The Crockpot Lady website this week. Our family's verdict: it was good. Katie ate it (SCORE!) but I think I'll leave out the red pepper next time. I only have ground red pepper, not red pepper flakes and it burned my tongue instead of being flavorful. I think it burned Katie's tongue too because she liked the first few bites better than the 4th and 5th bites when it started burning mine. It's definitely one we are going to do again though. It was super simple and quick to throw everything in the crockpot and I didn't even have to defrost the chicken.

More reports to come as I find more interesting recipes to try! Have an old family favorite that you think my family will like? Post it and I'd love to try it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Ah, the life of a teacher...

The three reasons everyone gives for why you should become a teacher: June, July, and August.

Whoever said that is not a teacher.

Don't get me wrong, I love summer. I love having time to get the work done that I didn't have time to do the rest of the year (both home stuff and school stuff). I just don't get paid for it.

For being a "lazy" summer day, I was crazy busy! Katie and I went swimming today in our second swimming lesson (where she blew more bubbles and only spent 10 minutes of the 30 asking to get out of the pool!), I walked (although not very long because I was tight on time), went to school for two meetings (and walked on my partly waxed floor to the annoyance of the people waxing my floor), picked Katie up, ate dinner (made by my beautiful and talented borrowed German daughter, and quickly left for choir practice. After being up super late at Ricarda's ballet recital practice last night (they were two hours behind in their rehearsal schedule) I am zonked so I'm off to bed. Good night!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A beginning

Well, it's Monday and I'm back! I have to say, I haven't gotten much accomplished yet, at least not off my big list (laundry, unfortunately, is not on the big list). As any good procrastinator, however, I have a good excuse (much better than my dog ate it). :)

I have actually started working on several items that are on my list. I wanted to take swimming lessons with Katie this summer and we had our first class this morning. I also really wanted to switch up my blog this summer and I've been spending a little time doing that today. As with last year, I have a few things that will take less than an hour, some that will take several hours, and some that will take much, much longer. My key is trying not to do too much in one day. Have you ever tried to be really efficient and make a list for yourself of all these things you were going to do and then felt defeated when hardly anything on the list got done even though you were busy all day? That's me. I do all of this prep work and then end up feeling defeated because I didn't get everything done and exhausted because I didn't put REST on my list!

My lists now consist of a few big items to do and sometimes include other items like "shower" (important for those busy summer days), "eat lunch", and a few rest items like "watch an episode of Bones". That way, I feel like I accomplished something, even if all I did was take a shower. :)

I debated with myself (and still am) about putting items like a weight tracker on my blog. I'm very embarrassed about my weight, even when I'm not feeling fat. My mother is only about 2 or 3 inches shorter than I am and not especially skinny (I got my good childbirthing hips from my maternal genes) but she weighs about 60 lbs less than I do. 60 lbs!!! I was shocked when I learned this 4 or 5 years ago (especially since my father was kind of appalled to find out that I thought 165-175 wasn't all that bad a weight). Since I am tall, I don't usually look especially fat (except when I was pregnant but that is a story for another day). Subsequently, when people find out how much I weigh, their eyes get kind of big and they make a good show of trying not to show their shock. So, why did I put a weight tracker on my very public blog? I am trying to lose weight and don't have another good way to track it, losing weight is on my summer to do list, and I need some accountability. That is, I need someone else to see, besides me, myself, and I, that I have not lost a single once in a month and perhaps need to redouble my efforts.

So here is my goal: To lose 10 lbs and/or build cardiovascular fitness (sometimes this doesn't always include weightloss, but I'm hopeful). Before I got pregnant in 2005, after 3 years of back trouble and back surgery, (then healing and exercising but then falling off a horse), I weighed 185 lbs, 20 lbs more than I weighed when I got married in 1998. I gained a LOT of weight while I was pregnant: 60 lbs lot of weight. When Katie turned 2 I had lost all 60 lbs plus about 7 more. YAY!!! Then I reinjured my back in July of 2008 and walking or any exercise at all was extremely painful. It was all I could do to care for my daughter, play a little bit, and teach. So, here I am, back at 185.5 as of this morning. Yuck. I wanted to be healthier, lower weight, and stronger when I got pregnant again. I was last summer before getting hurt again. Now I need to rebuild before trying to get pregnant again.

I shall prevail.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Friday

Summer, glorious summer.

As a teacher, I can attest to it being a very happy Friday. The last day of school for us was Wednesday and we had a teacher workday on Thursday but I am technically free with the long (not so empty) summer ahead of me to look forward to.

I started my to-do list weeks ago, of course, and it is already looking daunting. I have two separate lists even. One for school items and one for home items. I will need to remember to take it one day, and one task, at a time so I don't get overwhelmed and stop doing anything.

We've already had an auspicious beginning to the summer. I went to the bathroom this morning, intending to go back to bed to enjoy sleeping in for one day before I got started on a schedule for the summer, and my feet got wet. Yep, there was water all over the floor by the toilet. The tank had overflowed (thank heaven it wasn't the bowl!). To top that off, our poor exchange student was downstairs eating breakfast when the cover for the big fluorescent light in the kitchen fell to the floor covering everything with water. (The water from the toilet upstairs had seeped through the floor to the kitchen ceiling.) That was a bit of a shock for her. While it was fortunate that the light cover didn't hit her, and that she doesn't usually turn on the main kitchen light in the morning, she did, unfortunately, get very wet when the water covered everything.

I find myself in an interesting and introspective place this summer. So much has changed and happened in the last year. Many things have been transferred from last year's to-do list to this year's because I didn't end up accomplishing much last summer. I spent the first half of the summer sick with a cold and then re-injured my back and then had wrist surgery, effectively putting me out of commission all summer. The back pain and problems lasted all year which kept me from doing much at home, organizing anything at school and even from trying to get pregnant as I wanted to be. It got so bad I could barely walk at times and sleeping was often difficult.

This summer is to be one of building strength. After 10 months of nearly constant pain, my back feels good. I am taking a daily pain medicine that really helps and I'm able to get lots of benefit out of only half the dosage I was told to take. Now that the medicine has allowed me to start exercising again, I feel like I will not only be able to build strength but, possibly go off the medicine in the near future. I've known for years that exercise makes my back pain go away and stay away and now I'll have a chance to get back to that. One of the difficulties of the last year has been that the pain was such that walking made it worse, so exercise was out of the question.

This year, this summer, however, I have plans!!! I want to learn to cook new dishes, record memories in new ways, and record ones that have been waiting for months before they disappear! I want to build strength and endurance, play with my preschooler and spend time with my borrowed daughter before she returns to Germany. I want to spend some time in my classroom so I don't have to spend so much time there in October! Who knows, baby-making might even make the list again. :)

As any good procrastinator would do, I have put an item on the list that gets listed every year. That item? Writing on this blog 5 days a week. Even as I write it I want to hedge and commit to fewer days! This year, I shall prevail! If nothing else, I need my own writing to keep me accountable to accomplishing at least a few items on my list. All of those items were placed there to make my life and that of my family easier and more pleasant. So, come along for the ride, I'll be back on Monday (...maybe...). ;-)