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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm alive and okay! Missed you all!

I will do a longer post later, but just wanted to say I'm here, I'm doing well and just A LOT going on!  Just a few quick highlights and then my next post I'm going to do a photo dump for you all because sometimes that's easier than long posts:)
-In May I got offered to move to a company and decrease my expenses by $20,000 a year, I was torn and new I just had to do it....until the head of my current company made me realize what we all know, nothing is free.  There would be a cost even if I couldn't see it right now for switching.  So I stayed.
- I had my best summer ever in my career which means working a ton, missing a few family dinners and a few nights of tucking in kids.
-We decided to short sale our house, bank approved us, I had 20 showings and 5 offers in 24 hours.  Talk about overwhelming to get your house show ready in 48 hours, then have people parade through your house non-stop all the while your neighbors are wondering what the heck is going on (because we didn't post a for sale sign).  Lots of tears over this process but it truly is the right thing to do (Not to get too personal but we owed $495,000 and have never taken money out of the house or done a HELOC, bank approved to let us sell at $375,000 which sucks because we can afford the house at that price, but that's not how that stuff works).
-Then it was, where are we going to live??  And then it all came together, my friends house was coming up for rent because she's buying a new one and I LOVE her house, it's half the size of mine but I've wanted to down size for the last 5 years and now my kids will have a fenced back yard which playing outside is there favorite thing!  We move in a month.  Bittersweet.
-My weight loss is going no where, hello stress!  I've only managed to keep 10 pounds out of the 15 off....but in a year, that's sort of pathetic.  I need to get serious...but before I do I'm going to show you all the amazing cakes I've made in the past 5 months.  Sort of PCOSer's nightmare, but every bite was worth it:)
-My hubby is back to school, 3 nights a week so it's me and the boys and they are so much easier this year, last year, I wanted to pull my hair out every night!
-AJ started preschool 2 half days a week and loves it!  It's a parent co-op meaning one parent helps each day so we volunteer about 5-6 times a year but it's great and I'm on the board for the preschool.
-My In-laws are coming for Thanksgiving...for 3 days.  You all remember the epic fail their stay was 3 years ago when Dylan was born....let this time be different since I really haven't spoke to my MIL since then.
-So excited for the holidays, lots of crafting we'll be happening that I can't wait to share!
-We are doing Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and by April we should be debt free!  Any of you follow him?

So thank you all for checking in on me, promise to come back with  more posts and pictures to fill in the blanks:)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Foster Care Adoption: Do You Qualify for the Adoption Tax Credit?

To say we were shocked to find out we did actually qualify for the 2011 is an understatement!!  I'm not a CPA so if you adopted last year, you need to talk to a professional to see if you qualify but for those looking into adoption through foster care like we did, here's a few things we found out:

-Most kids in our foster care system are considered special needs.  Special needs can be because of their age, race, sibling group as well as medical needs.  As you know, our son is Native and was automatically considered special needs even though he has absolutely zero medical or psychological issues.  Because he was special needs, we qualified for the credit.

-The state paid all attorney fees, home study costs, and everything else that had to do with our adoption.  We had no out of pocket costs.  But the credit still applies because our son is considered special needs.

-Their is an income cap for adjusted gross income of around $185,000 and then the credit is phased out by $222,520.

-Say you didn't have $13,170 in tax in 2011 or say you don't have any tax liability last year (I say this because when my husband was in the military and deployed half the year, and we owned a house, we had 2 years where we owed nothing in tax), you still can get the the full $13,170 refunded!

Now, do I think you all should rush down to your local foster care office and adopt to get the credit, HECK NO!!!  But do I think it's amazing the government sees the need for adoptive families and are willing to give them a break on their taxes or reimburse some of the private adoption costs in order to allow more families the opportunity to adopt, YES I DO!!

Here is a link to the IRS' Six Things To Know About The Expanded Adoption Credit!

I'm Going to Be A Soccer Mom!

Where I live, 3 seems like the magic age where opportunities open up for kids to participate in activities such as soccer, swimming, gymnastics and so on.  I've not been tempted to send my oldest AJ to Little Gym classes at $17 an hour, but to pay $115 for 6 weeks of playing on the YMCA soccer team with a bunch of cute 3 year olds, I'm all in!  In May, AJ will play soccer on Monday and Wednesday evenings with 30 minutes of practice and then a 40 minute game.  My little man has so much energy that I think this is just the outlet he needs and he is so excited that he is a "big kid" now and can play soccer. 

Now it will be interesting to see if Dylan has a complete melt down the first time we arrive and he's not allowed to go play with his brother but it's life, and he'll have many more of these moments to deal with.  Like preschool, I'll save that for another day but AJ starts in August. 

It'll be interesting to see what each of the boys show natural talent in as far as sports.  The one sport I do not want them to play......hockey.  As you can imagine, it's a big sport here and these little kids are going on multiple out of state trips a year to compete and ice time is expensive.  So I have no intention in signing them up but once they are in elementary school if they really show a desire to join a hockey team then I will support it.  If you are interested in sports for toddlers, try YMCA or Boys and Girls Club websites for your local area.  Our local clubs seem to have a lot of great options and they even offer scholarships if your family is need of financial assistance!  I can't wait to post pictures here soon of AJ playing soccer!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What I've Learned Losing 10 pounds in 2 Months

One of the hardest parts about following Weight Watchers is that it's not meant to help people lose more than 1-2 lbs per week and so sometimes taking a month to lose 3-6 pounds seems unimpressive especially when you hear others doing diets where they are losing 6-7 pounds in the first week.  But I've learned to pay attention and take note of those who have lost weight and kept it off for a couple years at least.  In January I almost took down my fitness pal weight tracker at the top of my blog because it was a lie.  I'd lost 13 pounds but gained it all back.  But now, now I'm within 1 pound of that 13 pound marker so I'm going to just keep it up there and hopefully next week I'll even have to change the number to 14 lbs lost!  Here are a few things I've realized over the last couple months:

1) I used to cheat all through the weekend using all my weekly allowance points plus some.  That doesn't work for me because it usually takes 3-4 days of healthy eating just to lose the extra weight I gained over the weekend which was seriously slowing down my weight loss.  I also told my husband that I felt obligated to eat bad over the weekend as to  not upset him by saying we were going to have grilled chicken and salad for say a dinner on Saturday night because I know he loves to eat out and so i always just assumed that's what we would do.  Because his mood when we order in or go out to eat is significantly nicer/better than when I make a healthy balanced meal and for lack of better words, it's just not fair for him to base his mood on what we eat.  My cheat this weekend on Saturday was a steak and cheese sub at Subway (I'd usually opt for turkey breast and no cheese) and fat free frozen yogurt from Menchie's with a tablespoon of crushed oreos on top.  That's a far cry from say a burger and fries at Red Robin with a couple strawberry lemonades.  So I'm learning not to just indulge all weekend long!

2) Weigh and measure everything!!  I even weigh my grated cheese, I measure out my light sour cream, everything!!  I bought a digital scale and I weigh it and calculate points before I eat it!  That's why I also really love fresh produce that is zero points because then I don't have to weigh it or calculate points:)  It's tedious honestly to weigh and measure, but it's been really eye opening to see just how far off I used to be by eye balling servings.

3) Eating a salad for lunch has been a great way to get my veggie servings in and to reduce the amount of carbs I'm eating.  I read lots of blogs and one thing I noticed is a lot of the girls always were eating a big salad every single day.  It was just part of their routine so I've been making it part of my routine also.

4) It's been weeks since I went out to eat and ordered something over 11 points.  I wrote before how it was always just a given that it would be a cheat meal if I was eating out and I rarely even tried to choose something healthy.  Now, I look up the menu online before I head out and I calculate the points if it's just a local restaurant and I don't feel awkward when I order something healthy even if everyone else is ordering high calorie foods and it's been extremely helpful in reducing my overall anxiety while eating out.

5) Just take it one day at a time.  If I can say no to the Starbucks Mocha today and drink iced tea, that's a small victory.  If I choose to eat a big salad for dinner while my family is eating pizza, that's a small victory.  If I really wanted a bowl of ice cream before bed and I eat a grapefruit instead, that's a small victory.  But it doesn't mean I'm never going to have a mocha, pizza, or ice cream but the more times I can say no because there will always be an opportunity later to have those things, the better off I will be.  I've stopped thinking of it as can I give up this food for the rest of my life, I just think of it as can I give it up just for today.

6) I do not have the willpower yet to bake a whole cake or batch of cookies and only eat 1 serving.  I end up picking at it for an entire week and I don't lose weight.  If I bake cookies, I take 3 and freeze the rest.  If I make a cake or something that doesn't freeze well, I dump the rest in the trash after we've all had a serving.  If it's there, I'm going to eat it.

Those are the top 6 things I've learned so far and I'm so happy to finally see the scale moving down and being under my pre-pregnancy weight!  12 down, 60 more to go!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A House Full of Sick People! HELP!

Since I last checked in, my husband went to Las Vegas for work for a week so I got to play the role of single mom for a week and let me tell you, it's exhausting!!  The day after my husband got home I went to a movie with my mom and I get a text saying Dylan just puked everywhere.  He got sick 6 times that day.  Two days later, my husband was sick and hasn't stopped being sick and was diagnosed with pneumonia and fluid in his lungs.  And through out this, AJ has been sick about once every 4 days.  Like he gets sick or throws up but it's perfectly healthy the next day.  Same thing with Dylan.  I have no idea what is going on.  One day I think they have the flu, a few days later it seems like a sinus infection or bad head cold and then it cycles all over again. 

One thing I know is when I get sick, there is no mercy for me because it's likely someone else is sick and I still have to take care of everyone else and make dinner and do laundry and do dishes and get up in the middle of the night with the kids, etc.  So I was so thankful it looked like I had dodged the sickness bullet until Saturday when I woke up and my whole body ached and my throat was on fire.............and of course it was my husband's day to be on call at work so as soon as I came back from Weight Watchers at 9am, he had to go into work for 3 1/2 hours. 

However, my kids were angels!  Dylan curled up next to me on the couch and AJ even brought my empty cup of water to the kitchen sink and neither whined for anything.  As of today, everyone is sick to some degree and we are all taking medicine and I'm hoping by the weekend we will all be rested and recovered!

I'll update this weekend on weight loss but I'm down 8.8lbs since January 23rd...slow and steady....but I need to start exercising because my weight loss has slowed down a lot and I'd like to lose at least 1 pound per week!
Dylan said he wanted to go play, but he had no energy once he got over there:(


This doesn't happen much anymore, my baby boy sleeping in my arms:)

He was feeling better and I said, "Get your boots and hat on so we can go to Grandma's!"  I meant snow boots and winter hat!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Getting My Husband To Eat Healthy

As I've mentioned a few times before, my husband does not choose to eat healthy in any sort of way.  It bothers  me for so many reasons and I was sort of at my wits end last week where I had two options.  Option A- throw a fit and start ranting at him about how I just don't understand why he won't try.  Or Option B- go buy him food he may enjoy that is healthy, prep it, pack his lunch and just see what happens.

For once, I chose option B because I've picked option A too many times to count and it has done nothing for him or for me.  Here are the things I had to take into account for his food:
1) He drives a work van from site to site which means he carries his lunch in a cooler but has no access to microwaves or freezers.
2) Sometimes he gets called to a work site and his lunch time where he could stop and eat or go buy food is gone so I knew it had to be items he could possibly eat at a red light or in just a few minutes once he got stopped.
3)  He will stop for a venti mocha and a muffin/breakfast burrito/donut in the morning because he doesn't take the time to make breakfast because he does not leave enough time in the morning to make a healthy breakfast.


So what did I come up with?
Snacks:
-Almonds, unsalted and unroasted- portioned them out into 1 oz in a baggie.
-Jerky
-Fun size pack of peanut M&M's (he's got a sweet tooth and this beats the extra huge Reese's peanut butter cup he gets all the time)
-Mini peppers
-Honeycrisp apples, sliced
-Reduced Fat Wheat Thins portioned into 1 serving in baggies along with 1 oz. of cheddar cheese sliced up.
-Ice water

Breakfast
-Tropicana orange juice in mini cartons (bigger than a juice box)
-Thomas Light Whole Grain English Muffins, Canadian Bacon, whole egg, I slice of colby cheese

Lunch
-Diet Dr. Pepper in a bottle (I'm not a fan of soda but he's been drinking a 32oz regular Dr. Pepper on a daily basis so baby steps).
-Sandwich rolls from the deli (not whole grain but baby steps I say), ham and turkey deli meat, sliced Havarti
-Pop Chips portioned out to 1 serving

My husband has college two nights a week so I bought the groceries and brought them home and portioned out the snacks and chips and put them in a plastic tub so it would be easy in the morning to grab and go.  This took all of 20 minutes for a weeks worth of lunch time snacks.  When he came home that night he was floored!  I got a big hug and he was excited to get to eat what I'd bought the next day.  I told him it would only take 5 minutes to make the egg mc muffin sandwich but that if he really was completely out of time, make a PB & J on 1 slice of the whole grain bread and just take it with him.  I think it's kind of a lot of sugar but considering what he's been eating, I think he'll be able to lean into making even healthier choices in a little while.

The next morning when he took the kids to my mom's, instead of getting in the shower I ran to the kitchen and made his sandwich for lunch and also egg mcmuffin sandwiches for us both (I only use 1/2 a cheese slice for my own) and he was again over the moon I'd went to so much work.  I even did the same thing the next day and on the third day he actually made my egg mcmuffin sandwich and packed his own lunch.  He called at the end of the first day of taking lunch and said his stomach hurt and he was so full and I thought 'Yeah, it's called digestion and it's what your body does when you give it healthy food and water!!'  He did ask if I could make sure there was a cheese slice for every Wheat Thin next time which made me laugh.  An ounce of cheese sliced came out to about 8 small squares but there were about 25 Thins:)  And if you didn't guess by reading this post, my husband is a cheese fanatic.

I'm glad I decided to do it and even though he still doesn't believe you can eat out healthy (even though I explained what I ordered last week) I just keep reminding myself it's all about baby steps.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Eating Out Healthy: Mc Donald's, Qdoba, Taco Bell, and a Diner

Guess what??  I lost 1.4lbs this week and ate out 6 times!!  What I learned was:
-It is possible
-It does take planning
-It's much more expensive than eating at home

Mc Donald's
Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken and Southwest Dressing, Large Unsweetened Iced Tea (10 WWPP)
Definitely filling and delicious!
 


Taco Bell
Chicken Fresco Soft Taco and Crunchy Beef Taco Supreme with a small diet Pepsi (9 WWPP)
This was very good except for the diet Pepsi which I usually don't drink much soda but it was way too sweet so next time i'll just get a free water!  A Taco Bell Bean Burrito has 9 points which is suprising because I used to think it was one of the lowest point options! 




Qdoba
Naked Chicken Taco Salad- Lettuce, Chicken, Black Beans, Sour Cream, Extra Pico and Water (11 WWPP)
Bleh.  It just wasn't great.  Tolerable yes, but not great.  I also added fajita veggies for $.69 extra put picked them out after one bite.  I think they were over grilled so they were chewy and I believe they use oregano for the seasoning and they just tasted terrible. My salad cost over $8 which is outrageous IMO! Next time I think I'd opt for 2 hard shell chicken tacos with very little cheese and sour cream, lettuce, and black beans next time.
 *No picture available

Diner
We have a diner that is like a 50's diner so mostly classic American fare.  I ordered a BLT, no Mayo and substitute a side salad with ranch on the side (just dipped my fork in) and also a diet Coke. (10 WWPP).  The hardest part about eating in a local restaurant is you have to eyeball portion size and quantity. I think it's crazy when you subsitute a salad they upcharge you.  At this restaurant it was $2.95. 
*No picture available

Below I've listed some of the options I researched and I printed out on a cheat sheet for our vacation.  I think I'm going to do okay!

Taco Bell
Chicken Soft Taco Fresco4
Crunchy Taco Supreme5
Small Diet Soda0
McDonald's
Cheeseburger8
Southwest Salad w/dressing10
Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/ no mayo9
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait4
Egg McMuffin8
Oatmeal7
Small French Fry11
Side Salad w/ balsamic1
Iced Tea or Diet Coke0
Subway
6" club, 9 grain wheat, no cheese, all veggies, light mayo, mustard9
6" steak and cheese, light mayo11
6" chicken teriyaki, no cheese, light mayo11
6" BLT, no cheese, light mayo10
15 baked lays3
Carl's Jr.
Cranberry Walnut Salad8
Low Fat Balsamic1
Kids Cheeseburger9
Side Salad3
Dairy Queen
Original Burger9
Original Cheese Burger10
Side Salad, no dressing1.5
Starkiss2.5
Small Vanilla Cone6
Small Vanilla Cup4
Grilled Chicken Sandwich10
Taco Time
Chicken Tostada8
Tostada Delight Chicken11.5
Crisp Ground beef taco with sour cream7.5
Stree Taco Chicken5
Refritos without chips4
IHOP
Belgian Waffle plain and Fruit10
pancake platter13
Simple and fit twoxtwoxtwo10.5
Short Stack Pancakes13
Kids French Toast12
Red Robin
Garden Burger13
Red's homemade chili bowl11.5
Olive Garden
Breadstick4
Grilled Chicken Spiedini11.5
Linguine all Marinara lunch8
Linguine all Marinara dinner11
Garden Fresh salad w/o dressing9.5
Garden Fresh salad with dressing3
Chicken and Gnocchi soup7
Minestrone2
Pasta e Fagioli3
Zuppa Toscana3

I Didn't Want to be That Mom, So I Wore a Bathing Suit

Last weekend we took the kids to one of our local high school pools that has open swim on Saturday.  It never even crossed my mind that I'd be in the water but that it was my husbands responsibility to do that because I wouldn't be caught dead in a bathing suit right now.  My kids loved the open swim and I'm totally impressed my husband managed to wrangle two toddlers for 40 minutes in the water!  But as I was sitting in the bleachers, I was thinking about Roni over at Roni's Weigh posts about getting over your fear of wearing a bathing suit in order to go have fun with your kids, and over those 40 or so minutes I seriously regretted not being in there with them.  Living in Alaska, we honestly do not have a lot of reasons to be in a bathing suit.  It's rarely warm enough to lay out in the sun in just a bathing suit and really the only pools are at the high schools so it's easy to avoid squeezing into bathing suit.  I haven't worn a bathing suit in Alaska since 1998!

So yesterday my husband reminded me that he had promised the kids he'd take them to the pool again.  At $5 an adult and $1 per kid, it is some serious cheap fun that involves physical activity which is great!  I said I'd get my bathing suit and towel and we could go.  My husband was actually shocked and said I didn't have to if I didn't want to and I just told him I could care less how I looked in the bathing suit, I wanted to swim with my kids.  Because quite honestly, I don't want to be that mom, you know that one that sits on the sidelines and cheers on their kids but doesn't actually participate because they are out of shape or uncomfortable in front of others. 

When I went to find my swimsuit, I was shocked to find I own five!  You know why, because everytime I went on vacation I would buy a new one thinking it would make me look slimmer than the last one... it never did though.  I own a Miracle Suit that is anything besides a miracle but I did find my Land's End tankini with ruching in the front you know to disguise my tummy fat and it's black because black is slimming.  Well I took a picture before we left for the pool.  I am posting this picture to provide you with proof that black is neither slimming and the ruching does not disguise a darn thing!

I'd say the swimsuit fit as well as it could and stayed in place and I was pretty comfortable in it.  And swimming with my kids.......well it was a blast and probably one of the most fun activities we've done together and I really can't wait to go again!!  My friend's son is even having his birthday at a swimming pool next month and I'm totally okay with going and participating.  I refuse to sit on the sidelines until I lose 60 pounds.  Plus, I really could use the extra exercise:)

Do you fear wearing a bathing suit in public?  Do you have a favorite swimsuit brand/design I might like?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Eating Out Healthy: Boston's Pizza and Subway

Well, I made it!  Eating out twice in one weekend was successful!  I told my husband my plan to eat out twice this weekend and then five times during the week for lunch and the first comment he made was, "You can't eat out healthy."  He didn't mean that I couldn't but that everyone couldn't and that you go out to eat and you pretty much have to eat bad because of what's on the menu.  It kind of irked me especially coming from someone that eats large sized value meal every single day and sometimes twice a day and makes  no attempt at eating healthy.  It wasn't exactly the support I was looking for but oh well!

I told my husband he could choose where we went to lunch on Saturday as long as he told me the night before and they had to have an online menu with nutritional info.  He picked Boston's pizza.  Last time I went there I ordered the chicken pesto flatbread pizza (907 calories, 44 g. fat, 88 g. carbs, 26 WWPP) but this time I looked for a healthy option and it was very limited but I settled on 1/2 of Margherita Flatbread pizza (8 Points), dinner salad minus croutons with reduced calorie Italian dressing on the side (0 Points), and iced tea (0 Points).  For 8 points plus I had a filling meal.  I'll say the pizza wasn't the greatest because it had way too much basil on top which got super crispy when cooked which gives it an odd taste.  Next time, I think I'd choose the Pesto pizza and eat 1/3 of it because the flavor is so much better.




On Sunday we meant to go to IHOP but we had a slow start to the morning and I couldn't have the kids wait any more for breakfast so we decided we'd eat out for lunch.  I asked to go to Subway because we had vollyeball in just a few hours after that and I wanted to make sure I had a healthy filling lunch.  I chose the 6"club on 9 grain wheat, no cheese, lots of veggies and light mayo and mustard (8 Points).  We had cheddar potato Pop Chips (3 Points) at home along with water to round out the meal!  I admittedly do love the steak and cheese at Subway and would normally order that along with a bag of cheddar Sun Chips.  Here's my 11 point lunch!



 I'm going to put this out there because my husband doesn't read this blog and either do our family and friends because I don't tell them about it...........but sometimes I want to just shake him and tell him that he is killing himself by eating fast food every single day and that yes, he has gained significant weight in the last 4 years, post-military career,  even though he says he's the same weight and that it scares me to death his family members are extremely large.  His brother weighed over 450lbs a year ago and has managed to get under 400lbs now and both his parents are diabetic and still eat like crap and he is the father of my children and I'd love to see that he makes being healthy a top priority so that he can be around for a really long time for them and for me.  And that losing a days worth or work and pay because his back is messed up could be related to carrying quite a bit of belly weight and not being in great health.  But since I'm overweight and most of my family is, we don't express concerns to each other about our weight and health.  I know they say to just take care of yourself and worry about yourself but I wish I could take care of myself AND have him on board to take better care of himself!  Sometimes my concerns for his healthy come out like bashing when we finally try to discuss it and then I feel bad and he feels bad and within 2 days it's back to old habits.  All I can do is keep moving forward with my journey and hope that some of my good habits rub off on him and the kids.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm Scared to Eat Out!

In the past couple weeks I was able to pin point a major dilemma in my weight loss journey- I'm scared to eat out and get major anxiety from it.  In 5th grade my family ate out 6-7 nights a week and multiple times a week we stopped at fast food for a snack of ice cream or some fried food.  That year, I gained over 30 pounds and went from buying clothes in the girls department to wearing double digit sizes in the junior department.  That's when my life really changed and food and weight became a constant struggle. 

My family owned a business where my dad didn't close up shop until 7:30 and my mom hated to cook so we met my dad at his shop and went straight to dinner.  I always ordered the same thing- salad with ranch dressing, soda, New York steak, and baked potato with all the fixings.  How and why my parents allowed that I'm not sure.  But I think that year was really the root of my anxiety when it comes to eating out because I never ONCE chose a healthy option when eating out, never limited my proportions, nothing!  Even in high school once I was 16, my friends and I went out to lunch at fast food places every single day.  A lot of times they would split a value meal or just order a couple tacos but I'd order the value meal and eat it all myself. 

Fast forward to my life now, I avoid eating out.  I go to great lengths to make sure we have a nutritious homemade dinner 6 nights a week and I may eat out once a week but I get excited when we don't eat out at all.  My husband on the other hand eats out at lunch every single day and most mornings and would love nothing more than to eat out every single meal on the weekends.  I usually only go out to eat when I can eat most of my weekly allowance points so that I'm not forced to make a healthy choice and I feel less guilty about the crap I eat.

I get anxiety walking into the restaurant and sitting down and then looking at the menu where I have to battle thoughts of 'make a healthy choice, make a healthy choice' and then the waiter comes and I blurt out my order for a heavy calorie meal.  Fail.  Then it takes me about 4 days for my weight to drop back down to what it was before I ate out which is slowing down my weight loss (by the way I've lost 3.2, 1.6, 1.8, and .8 pounds at the last 4 weigh ins at WW which I'm super excited about!!).

In 3 months we are headed to Oregon for 2 weeks of vacation including a wedding and I'm so nervous.  I usually gain 10 pounds while on vacation and it usually takes me 6 months to a year to lose it because I'm so wrapped up in being disappointed in myself, it's awful!

So next week I'm giving myself a challenge.  I'm going to eat out at fast food 5 days in a row and I must preplan what I'm going to order before I go and it must be 11 points or less in order for me to still eat normal the rest of the day without going over my 28 points for the day.  Also, I will eat out lunch on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday at a sit down restaurant and again must order my meal for 11 points or less.  I've been working on a cheat sheet for the fast food restaurants and I'll do the same for the restaurants so that when I'm on vacation, I can reference the chart.  I won't be eating out this much for the next 3 months, but I need to give myself a test once in a while and identify problems I run into while I'm eating out and try to get over my anxiety. 

Even eating out with friends or family, which should be enjoyable, becomes a dreaded task and at some point I just have to face it and learn how to change it.  I'll post my cheat sheet on her when I'm done with it and let you know how next week goes!

Are any of my blog friends successful in eating out and choosing a healthy option or is that usually your splurge/cheat meal?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Freezer Meals for February!

Last month we did a full month of freezer meals, preparing them all in one day, and it worked out so so well that I did it again this weekend!  With two toddlers that have their "witching hour" between 4-6:30pm, it was becoming impossible to cook on the stove without having them grab at me or getting to close to the stove which is very unsafe and in turn makes me a little cranky! 

It has also been really helpful to plug all the recipes into Weight Watchers recipe builder and put my dinners into my tracker right away! 

I have decided to keep a few of our favorite meals but change up the rest so we don't get too bored month after month!  It takes me about an hour to pull recipes and make a grocery list and then about 4 hours to cook approximately 28 meals!  Most of our meals are 4 servings only which has cut down tremendously on leftovers that went to waste!  I buy the side dishes weekly such as a broccoli, taco toppings, etc. So here we go with February's Dinners:

Old Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie (Weight Watchers)- I used store bought rotisserie chickens and I froze without the crescent rolls on top since I will add those right before I put in the oven.
Marinated Flat Iron Steaks (Allrecipes.com)- We make one batch of marinade, divide into 4 gallon baggies, and cut a flat iron steak in half and add to the bag.  Thaw 24 hours in fridge, broil 3 inches from heat source for 13 minutes, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes before cutting into slices.
Green Chile Casserole (Cooking Light)- Made one batch and divided it into 2 8X8 dishes.  Also used store bought rotisserie chicken.
Cheesey Meat Loaf Minis (Cooking Light)- Doubled the batch, put all 12 loaves on a cooking sheet, covered and put in the freezer for a couple hours, then pulled them out and bagged 4 to a bag, making sure to leave seperation between each.  When thawing, make sure to place bag on a flat plate or pan in the fridge so loaves don't mix together!
Crock Pot Potato Soup (Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour)
Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos (Can You Stay For Dinner?)- Double recipe and used a 3lb loin which I divided into 4 bags after cooked!  Easy to reheat in microwave after it's thawed for 4 hours.
Pizza Dough made in bread maker- I cannot remember where I got the recipe but here is what I use, in order of how I place it in the bread maker:
2 tsp Rapid Rise yeast
3 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons slightly warm water. 
Turn on dough cycle, after done move to a lightly oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with oil, let rise for 30 minutes....or if you are going to freeze, divide dough in half after removing from dough cycle, freeze in a baggie.  Take out dough in the morning and place in the fridge.  An hour before you need to use it, move to oil bowl covered with sprayed plastic wrap to let rise some more!
Spaghetti Sauce-
Enchiladas- I just make them with corn tortillas, chicken breast diced up, enchilada sauce and colby jack cheese.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Babies are God's Gifts, or Are They?

*before anyone reads this, I just want to say this is my blog, my personal space to share my thoughts and even if you and I do not agree, I don't ever want to worry about censoring myself as to not offend my readers*

My friend finally posted this past weekend on Facebook that she was expecting her first baby in July and I've known for over a month now.  She's about 15 weeks pregnant already which in my experience you have the women that tells as soon as that test gives them a BFP or the women that wait until the 12th week to post.  So to post at 15 weeks in my opinion is odd and instantly begs the question, 'Why did she wait that long?"  I know for my friend it was probably because she knew everyone was going to be shocked because I'm sure they never saw this coming.  A quick backstory- my friend first met her baby's daddy in March and then he left for a mission with the Army and came back in August 2012.  They found out she was pregnant at the end of November, 36 hours before he was set to deploy for 10 months.  My friend is 29, her boyfriend was 23 at the time and this came way out of left field for all of us that have been friends with her for over 20 years as far as the guy she was dating and that she was pregnant.  They are eloping this month when he comes back for his 2 week break from his deployment because she "wants this baby for free and doesn't want to pay anything for her delivery."  I've never agreed with getting married just to get someone's benefits but seeing as how my husband was in the military for 14 years, I've seen this happen a lot.  Which brings me to the comments on my friend's FB page and her mother's page after the announcement. 

More than a dozen times people are telling her babies are a gift from God, you are so blessed!  I just do not agree.  I admit I do not go to church, both mine and mine husband's families do not attend church or read the bible.  When people ask about my religion I tell them I do not have one but that I was raised with good values.  Because it's true, my family are great people because we were taught really great values.  So when I see people who are in loving, stable, long term committed relationships go through miscarriages, still births, failed adoptions and not being able to get pregnant ever I wonder how someone could think God has anything to do with who gets a baby and who doesn't?  I think it's plain biology if you ask me!  I think if someone prays and attends church and that provides them with a way to figure out a better way to deal with the pain of infertility, then that is great!  I read people's blogs and when they write verses from the bible that are helping them in a trying time, I think that's great!  But I don't think God wanted my friend to have a baby right now in this situation- I think it's the fact she took her BC pill sometime during the day but rarely at the same time (she said a lot of times it was 8 am and the next day 8pm) and she had lots of sex before her boyfriend left and BAMMM, she got pregnant. 

And does God ignore and when her boyfriend writes "a women should be so lost in god that it takes finding jesus before you can ever find her" on his FB page one day and then the next few days is leaving comments to his friends such as "college pussys", "Eat it Dick", "Kind of like your sex life, not enough action."  Come on people, for real????  God gifted a baby to a man that talks like that and when he is home goes to church every Sunday?  If He's gifting babies doesn't he care more about the day to day actions and thoughts than 2 hours on a Sunday? 

Yes, I get a bit amped up when I see certain people get pregnant that I do think it's the wrong time and place only for them to act like it's God's gift!  What about my son AJ's mom?  She couldn't take care of her first 2 kids, so He gifted her with another baby where she did drugs while pregnant and she lost that baby too? 

Really this discussion has nothing to do with not being happy for someone that's pregnant but this weekend, my dear friend just experienced her second miscarriage and so I just don't understand why people believe it's completely in God's hands when they do or do not get pregnant, isn't it just biology and chemistry?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Update on My Sister's Baby!

So......my sister had an ultrasound today to check for a heartbeat and it seems she ovulated and conceived a week later than she thought!  That means the baby making happened at her own house, haha!  It's crazy because she does the temperature taking method and it said she had ovulated all most 2 weeks before Christmas when in in fact it didn't happen for another 3 weeks and she had a super long period.  Maybe that's TMI about my sister's cycle:)

I do question temping because it makes me wonder if for a year she could have been missing her ideal time and I think that's why doctors have you TTC on your own for a year because eventually it may just happen, otherwise they might have to help you narrow down the time you ovulate as a first step and then if that doesn't work then move on to other methods to conceive.

This means I will have a niece or nephew in late September! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Sister Got Her BFP.....at my house, LOL!

My sister has been trying for almost a year to get pregnant and I felt bad back in late September that she missed her window of timed baby dancing to meet me in Seattle for my birthday................but she made up for it when she stayed with us for a week during Christmas and apparently conceived my future niece or nephew here! Awkward yet hilarious at the same time! 

I'm so excited for her and she didn't find out until she was 6 weeks pregnant (she's currently 8 weeks now) because she figured it hadn't happened before so why would it have happened in December?!  Hummm, sounds very similar to my story and we also found out at 6 weeks.

I take full credit for all the awesome homemade food I made her and the stress free week which was the key to her getting pregnant!  I'm kidding:)

I actually thought that maybe my BIL would ask to wait to have kids once they left because my boys were glued to him the entire time and that's a lot to take in when you are used to so much quiet time in your own house!

I can't wait to start shopping for this baby!!! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Natural Approach to Infertility and Balancing Hormones

I write a lot on this blog about my hopes to conceive next time without taking medication and also to sustain a pregnancy and my healthy during it without taking 13 pills and multiple injections.  I also talk about losing weight (or the lack thereof) often.  I found a new blog that I enjoy reading, Fitnessista.com and she was struggling to get pregnant when she reached out to a homeopathic doctor and was finally able to get pregnant.  I had thought about going to a naturopath after my failed cycle in January 2009 because I felt so completely drugged up and I had a friend that was a skinny PCOS'er get pregnant after visiting one because her original doctor wanted to prescribe Clomid and Metformin and she said no way! 

You can read about Gina's experience with the homeopath here.  She worked with Patrick Flynn of Wisconsin by doing monthly phone consultation and following his guidance.  I was a bit intrigued so I watched four of his YouTube videos including the ones on thyroid issues and I think he's right on with a lot of his information.  I just wanted to put this out there on my blog in case any of you are thinking of taking a natural approach but don't know where to start.

I just joined a co-ed vollyeball team a few weeks ago with my husband and one of the ladies is a nutritionist and I over heard her talking to our teammate about her friend that is 6 months post partum was put on thyroid medication and they started talking about how the thyroid works and how that was absurd and my ears perked up and I finally just turned around and said I was really interested in listening to what they say because her friends scenario sounded JUST like mine.  I won't go into a lot of detail but I have always questioned if I really  needed synthroid because one time I sort of lied to my doctor and hadn't taken it in 2 weeks and she did a blood draw and called me after to say that I should keep taking synthroid because it was doing it's job.  6 months later I went back in and I had been faithfully taking it for months and she did another blood draw and again said it was doing it's job.  Hummm.  Odd, so I had the same results and and off of it?  It certainly doesn't help me lose weight IMO, but because I've had problems with my nodules and two biopsies I decided to continue with it.

I sort of feel like if I go to a homeopathic doctor that my current doctor will feel like I cheated on her.  And then if I really do need her help or I refuse her drugs that she'll not be helpful.  In reality, I should just talk to her about it and see if she's open to working with a homeopathic doctor or if she thinks they are quacks!  She's been so helpful and she is the reason I was able to have Dylan but I'd really like to be a little bit less drugged up next time!  But I do take responsibility for the fact that I did not lose weight and change my diet for several months before seeing her so she was doing the best she could with what I presented her with.  Let me know if you've heard of Patrick Flynn or you've had experience with a homeopathic doctor!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

BFN or BFP? Let's find out.

I've been on google for two straight days trying to decide if it's odd I got a progesterone shot 14 days ago and still no period.  I've found very few board posts on various websites saying it took even 14 days much less more than that.

The infertile in me says not to waste your money on a HPT because I know I'm not pregnant....but my doctor said if I didn't get my period in 14 days, I needed to test.  Why?  Because I did have sex 5 days before I got the shot and we did use protection but I wasn't on birth control.  But I know I'm not pregnant.  Right?

I've had all the PMS symptoms, breakouts and bad cramping but then usually within a day or two I get my period.  But nothing. 

So I'm going to head to Target then come straight home and take it.  It feels SO WEIRD to even do this.  But I have to admit, it's made my mind wander with all the what ifs.  But I know I'm not pregnant.


****UPDATE**** BFN and I was shocked HPT are 2 for $10.39! Seriously?  Now I get to call my doctor and see what she says.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Paula Deen Has Type 2 Diabetes....My Thoughts.

I read a couple blogs from normal weight bloggers this morning bashing Paula Deen and referencing her interview on the Today Show.  Since the interview hadn't aired where I lived yet, I wasn't quite sure if these bloggers were over exaggerating.  But then I watched the interview.....AWKARD.  Mainly there is judgement over her decision to wait 3 years to let the public know, she's now a spokesperson for a drug company, and that she wouldn't state that her diet was possibly the biggest factor in her diagnosis and that she proclaims she hasn't changed her diet and that she's always ate in moderation.  So here we go, here's my thoughts and I'd like to know yours!

She waited 3 years to tell the public
I believe this is 100% her choice and knowing that a wave of "I told you so'" was probably more reason that she wanted to put it off.  Her mental health is just as important as her physical health and if she truly thought that was going to be stressful and the time wasn't right, I'm supportive of that decision.  She claims she waited because she had nothing to offer people initially and know that she knows more about it, created a website, and knows one method of controlling diabetes with the use of the drug she's a spokesperson for, she felt it was time to reveal the truth.  I think sometimes people believe that celebrities and public figures owe it to us to put every aspect of their lives out there and I don't agree.  And if she was doing it because she thought it would hurt her brand and career, I think that is fine also. 

Paula Deen states she hasn't changed her diet and always ate her recipes in moderation.
I call the bullshit flag on this one.  I'm sure if she was filmed 24/7 for weeks, and someone calculated the nutritional information of everything she ate, she was consistently over eating.  You just don't get to be that size (and don't get be wrong, I think she is really beautiful but she's not even close to being a healthy weight) by sticking to only the calories you need.  And what is moderation?  Say she makes one of her meatloaf sandwiches or eats a piece of homemade cake only once a week and eats "normal" the rest of the time.  I'm guessing you are eating probably 750-1500 extra calories a week.  In a year that's 11-22 extra pounds of weight gain a year.  Sorry Paula, it's adds up.  I can see it if she said she went walking with her husband for an hour and then treated herself to one piece of cake a week. 

Should Paula lighten up here recipes?
I don't think anyone making her recipes is fooled to believe they are healthy.  For me, I watch it to get ideas for special occasions.  I would never even think of adding even one recipe a week to my dinner menu.  But would I add one 2-3 times a year, sure.  That's moderation.   I just don't believe she has to lighten up her recipes but I think, if she wants, it could be a teachable lesson to viewers on how to enjoy her recipes once in a while and still keep your diabetes under control.  However, she tried to explain on the Today show how she doesn't eat "that way" every day and I do feel I'm fairly intelligent but just watching her show here and there I definitely was under the impression she at that food every day.  I just didn't picture here making grilled chicken and steamed broccoli for dinner, do you?  If she does, then I miss judged her. 

Am I a hypocrite?
I take Metformin that is prescribed for diabetic patients......yet I'm not diabetic.  I'm just a person that can't seem to get my weight under control by eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise but it's my fault.  I don't even think my genes play a role as much as my environment does.  I think why my heart goes out to Paula a little more than some others is because I know it's not just as easy as saying "Don't eat that!  Exercise more!"  Food is like an addiction and it's a strange addiction because unlike drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, you still have to eat food...the right food...but you still have to eat.   I'm able to isolate myself  from those other addictions, but food is something that I have to see several times a day so it's an all day long struggle to say no to the wrong foods or the wrong amounts of food.  And for Paula, her addiction (if it is that) is tied in to her career and her income and I can't imagine how difficult this interview today was for her.

I'm curious what your reactions were to Paula Deen's news? 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

PCOS: Let's Talk about Testosterone and DHEAS

I mentioned last week that I had my blood drawn at my annual exam after my doctor decided to put me back on Metformin and had mentioned testosterone cream to help me feel more *cough* in the mood.  I'm only putting this information on my blog as a reminder of just how many things in your body have to be functioning properly to get pregnant.....and that if you have PCOS, it's worth making sure your doctor is testing these things if you are having difficulty getting pregnant.  And my first OB had said she had "ran labs to make sure everything was fine" before having me start clomid yet when I switched to my current doctor, not only did she realize my OB hadn't screened me for everything she should have, but that she interpreted a lot of my lab results as being "fine or okay" when they clearly weren't so do your research, ask for second opinions, and be your own advocate!

Labs came back, super high testosterone and DHEAS.  I guess I've always equated testosterone as something men have so hearing mine is high makes me feel like less of a women in a way.  Weird, I know.  But these levels have contributed to what I'd consider a bit (understatement) of hirsutism.  I'm even on round 6 of 7 of laser hair removal on my arms and if I had the money to do my entire body, I would!  So testosterone cream is off the table she said.  She's not even going to try it out and I'm completely in agreement with that.  High levels of testosterone is one of the indicators of PCOS and often contributes to infertility, however when I was pregnant my levels came down to what was almost considered normal but then again I was taking 13 pills a day.  She said at this point, let's see how I do on my new birth control for 8 weeks, redraw labs and go from there.  Since I'm not trying to get pregnant, bring my testosterone levels down seems kind of pointless. 

My DHEAS levels also were really high.  I couldn't even remember what DHEAS was so I googled it and came up with this  from labtestsonline.org:
DHEAS, testosterone, and several other androgens are used to evaluate adrenal function and to distinguish androgen-secreting conditions that are caused by the adrenal glands from those that originate in the ovaries or testes.........Concentrations of DHEAS are often measured, along with other hormones such as FSH, LH, prolactin, estrogen, and testosterone, to help diagnose polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and to help rule out other causes of infertility, amenorrhea, and hirsutism.

I believe this is why I took the drug dexamethasone was to bring down the DHEAS levels.  I didn't start dex until after I was pregnant...I believe....I seriously can't remember that far back but I can't remember taking much initially besides Metformin.  From Dr. Malpani's website this is what dex is:

Steroids -

Dexamethasone, is often use as an adjunct to ovulation induction treatment, especially in patients with hirsutism who have high levels of androgens. It helps by suppressing the production of androgens by the adrenal glands. The dose is usually a 0.5 mg tablet, taken daily at bedtime. Side-effects at such a low dose are unusual. Some IVF clinics also use steroids after embryo transfer, because they believe this helps to improve pregnancy rates by inducing immune suppression and enhancing embryo implantation rates.

My thyroid did check out fine and that the low dose of Synthroid I take once a day is stabilizing it just about normal so that was good.

On Saturday night I threw up twice.  TMI?  Well I hadn't been sick like that since I was pregnant with Dylan and since I didn't know I was pregnant until week 6 and had no morning sickness, I'm pretty confident it was the progesterone back then making me so sick.  I barely moved out of bed on Monday because I was so nauseous.  Yuck!  I felt much better by Tuesday and my doctor said it could take up to 2 weeks for my period to start after the shot.  I think for a moment when I was sick my husband wondered if I was pregnant and I don't see any way I am unless he poked holes in the protection and he's not that guy so I think we are fine!  I guess when people talk about women who struggle with infertility, then get pregnant, then their hormone levels completely change and they get pregnant easily the next time that I will not be falling into that category.  Darn it, wouldn't that have been so awesome?!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Progesterone is evil!!

My doctor decided to give me a progesterone shot on Thursday to start my period so I could start my new birth control. No biggie I thought because I had had several of these shots after being pregnant to keep my pregnancy going.

Oh my god, that shot knocked me for a loop! I woke up on Friday with a super sore spot where I got the injection on my backside and by sore I mean I limped around all day because it hurt so bad. I massaged it all day long hoping to loosen it up but it still hurt. Then there is the dizziness and nausea. Those two symptoms are what I felt for so much of my TTC'ing with clomid and then when I got pregnant. Boy do I not miss feeling like that.

It took all I had to keep myself from not throwing up:(. And it just felt like a chemical had invaded my body and I just wanted it to pass quickly. By Friday night I had a terrible headache and fell asleep right after 9 because I was just miserable. Saturday I still had all the symptoms but they finally faded by about 4pm.

It was a reminder, a sort of wake up call, that I need to take charge and get as physically healthy as possible before TTC'ing next year because all the drugs and shots make enjoying my pregnancy out of reach. And if I have to take drugs, the so be it but I promise to do my part in preparing my body.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Back on Metformin! My annual exam...yippee:(

Today was my annual exam, oh joy right??  As much as I don't like this yearly chore, I was glad to be able to sit down with my doctor and hopefully get my body back on track since a few things have been off this past year.


I must have really had pregnancy brain because I've totally blanked on my doctor's conversation with me post partum about why I wasn't to take Metformin any more.....humm.  Maybe some of you that are post partum can fill me in on why/why  not to take metformin assuming you are not TTC'ing? Please!

Anyways, my doctor put me back on 1000mg of the extended release and I'll start with one pill a day for two weeks then I'll work my way up to a full dose.  She said it will help with "getting my weight under control."   And she threw in real quick that I should try South Beach because sugar and carbs can do a number on patients with PCOS.  That was that, we really didn't get into a discussion about it.  I never had the horrible side effects from Metformin like the constant need to run to the toilet so I hope that is the same this time around.  I can't believe I'm 26 months past partum and currently weigh more than the week after giving birth, boo! So with that, I'm thankful my doctor takes my weight issues seriously and isn't afraid to address them. I'll keep you all posted on if I think Metformin is helping me lose weight:)

Next thing we talked about is my libido.  I'm not going to go into graphic detail but it's suffice to say I feel I have zero libido which is so opposite of myself pre TTC'ing and is something I'd like to change.  She switched me from Loestrin 24 to Lutera birth control to hopefully help. She gave me shot of progesterone to start my period since my cycles are all over the place and I haven't taken birth control since September.  My doctor also suggested a testosterone cream that I'd rub on but I told her that worried me because I have always had high levels of testosterone and all I could think was growing MORE hair and I do not want that!!  She said we'll start with the new birth control and she had me get my blood drawn and see if after a few months, I have a low libido then we could add in the cream.  Good grief, I feel like a menopausal middle aged women and aren't I supposed to be in my prime!?!  She said your hormones change after having a baby and so does your life so sometimes it's all about planning when to do "it" and just forcing yourself to do it.  I've tried....it's just not super enjoyable.  I miss that feeling of actually wanting to do it.  Okay, enough about that because I don't care to go TMI in that department:)

I also got my blood drawn to check my thyroid levels.  I told her about my sudden weight gain in the beginning of October (approx. 10 lbs in a few weeks) and this was pre-holiday cookie baking (where I was actually able to lose weight) so she said my hormones could be off and it's all about fine tuning it. 

I was also reminded to do monthly breast exams myself....so guilty of not doing those, need to make sure I remember because I do think it's so important.

Vitamin D- I'm supposed to take 2000mg daily and she was shocked I hadn't continued that after my pregnancy.  Ooops, I blame it on pregnancy brain:(  Seriously, like I've said before, it's like I blocked so much of the medical/PCOS/Infertilitfy facts and lingo out of my head as soon as Dylan was born that it's like starting over from square one!

We did talk briefly about TTC'ing and what that would look like when I'm ready....which I'm guessing will be in a year.  She asked why I was worried about getting pregnant and I said that I was afraid that with the passing of each year that my chances would go down of being able to get pregnant.  She reminded me that I am 30 and if I was getting close to 40 she'd be worried.  And I trust her.  This doctor gets a lot of ladies pregnant that other doctors couldn't.  She said above all, you should get pregnant when your relationship and your family are ready for another baby, not because I feel like I'm running out of time.  True, very true. 

When I'm ready to TTC she said we will do a couple blood draws to check my levels of several things again, probably do an ultrasound to check if I'm ovulating on my own and how my follicle looks, etc. and then I can try naturally for a month, if it doesn't work then she can add clomid.  But one thing we agreed to is that I will be monitored even on my "natural" cycle because last time I was in desperate need of progesterone shots to keep the pregnancy going and that could happen again and I don't want to lose a pregnancy just because I was trying ot do it all on my own.

Being in her office brought back so many great memories!  Up until I met her (and I was pregnant 6 weeks after my first appointment with her!) each appointment at my OB was about disappointments, vague answers, expensive bills because I was labeled as "infertile", the "well, we will just keep on trying" uneducated response from my OB, and the "there's nothing more we can do to help you.  That'll be $650, cash or credit?" from the shitty endocrinologist my OB referred me to.  And then I met MY DOCTOR.  She was awesome and still is.