Snow is a Four Letter Word

Winter in Bucks County, PA. Ugh! I'm so fed up with snow and ice and all things frozen.  Part of my husbands job is working in snow removal and groundskeeping for a big insurance company... which so far this winter has resulted in him spending DAYS at a time away from us.  I remember previous winters being rough and having him gone for a few long stretches, but this year definitely tops them all.  He almost didn't make Abby's birthday party because there was a storm a few days before and he worked 30+ hours straight.  He got to come home a few hours before the party started and ended up having to sleep through the second half of the party anyway.  Now I just got a phone call from him that ANOTHER ice/snow storm is coming and he has to report back to work at midnight tonight and isn't expecting to come home until Wednesday. *sigh* It's just really getting me down today.  I daydream about a warm spring day where we can wear tshirts and shorts and play on the swings at the park... a day where my husband is home with his family and not thoroughly exhausted from being overworked.  Warm weather can't come soon enough!

I was talking to my boss about the impending storm and how I wasn't looking forward to it and he forwarded me an email that his wife sent to him entitled "For Those of You That Have Been Complaining About the Recent Snow"... it was a bunch of pictures like this:

That is just insanity! I don't know how people actually survive in places like this.  My friend Erica lives in MN and has such a good attitude about the snow and cold weather.  Her thank you cards from her wedding had a picture of her and her hubby (in full bridal gown and tux) ice fishing. Clever and adorable!

Anyway, I guess I'll just prepare to hunker down with Abby and Roxie, try to avoid cabin fever, and ride out this storm as well. Oh! Amusing side note about Roxie... she CANNOT handle this weather.  Her poor little paws have been bleeding from having to go outside to "do her business".  I had to buy snow boots... for my dog. LOL! I cannot wait until they arrive so that I can take hilarious pictures of her wearing her boots. :)

Have a great day everyone... stay warm and dry!


Abby's Birthday Party

So I just realized that it has been over two weeks since Abby's birthday party and I haven't posted about it!  The day started off being cold and snowy (as is normal for January) but we were fortunate enough that Mike was able to be home for the party (although he had just worked for about 30 hours straight!) and everyone was able to attend. (Minus Abby's cousin Jack and Uncle Eric... Jack was sick and we really missed them)

     The bday girl and her parents <3
     Grandmom and PopPop Maiorino
     Grandmom and PopPop Hofmann
     Great Grandmom and Great Grandpop Maiorino
     Aunt Erica, Aiden and Shawn (cousins)
     Aunt Kristy, Adam and Lucy (cousins)
     Jamie and Dionna (neighbors and Abby's BFF)

We had a ton of appetizers (veggies and dip, goldfish crackers, twizzlers, crackers and 3 dips, chips and salsa, etc) ordered some pizzas (and enjoyed some Sangria and beer) and had an ice cream sundae bar and cupcakes for dessert! Abby got a ton of wonderful gifts and had an absolute blast with her family and friends.  Now for the pictures!

The birthday girl... showing off her pretty new birthday outfit.

Blowing out her candles

Enjoying some play time with cousins Aiden and Adam

Opening gifts... last year she fell asleep while opening gifts... this year she came close again. LOL

Dionna and Abby being silly... love them!

The chaos that makes up create-your-own sundaes...

The hubs holding our niece, Lucy. <3

     Looking back at all of the pictures I realize that I did not get a single picture of the decorations. *sigh*. The main colors were pink and green... we had streamers and balloons... and a big birthday banner and assorted other decorations themed with Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck.

Thank you so much to everyone for coming to her party and making my daughter feel so very loved. <3

I feel great!

So it's been two weeks since I've made some major changes and adopted a new healthier way of living... and it's time to update.

Things are going GREAT!  I'm still using this website to track calories... and it's been so helpful!  I have about 12 friends on there as well (including my mom) and we all support and encourage each other.  It's definitely helped with my motivation not to binge on junk knowing that if I do, they'll all see. Haha.

Another place I'm getting support from friends is in a group on facebook called "Losing It".  Some of my mom friends started it and we're doing weekly weigh ins, sharing recipes, encouraging and supporting goals, giving advice and just being there for each other to vent to.  It's fantastic!

The cleanse that I used was awesome.  It was 2 days of drinks (2 a day) and 7 days of pills (4 pills a day) while eating a healthy diet of organic fruits and veggies, extra fiber and lean meats.  The first day of detoxing was tough... my back was aching (lower intestines detoxing), my muscles were tight (muscle tissue detoxing) and I felt flu-ish (another common detox symptom).  I was so glad to feel awful though... because that meant it was working!  On the third day I started feeling great: more energy, no headaches (I was having them nearly every day before the cleanse), and I got a fresh start on my healthier eating.  My digestive system has been working more efficiently and I FEEL healthy.

I've been reading the book that I mentioned before, Made to Crave, and it has been LIFE CHANGING!  It has completely changed the way I feel about food and I have absolutely no desire to go back to my old eating habits.  I know I'm made for more than that.  If you are a Christian woman struggling w/ food issues... READ THIS BOOK!

Another motivator for me has been the health of my husband and daughter.  I feel great feeding them fresh produce and lean meats and having them love it!  Abby and I went grocery shopping yesterday and she was so excited to buy more "bloccolli" and "geen beans".  We've been having fruit smoothies instead of ice cream, cantalope and grapes instead of cookies, cucumbers and carrots instead of crackers and chips... and nobody has had a single complaint.  Even when we do indulge in a chip, we've made healthier choices there as well by buying whole grain chili-flavored rice chips instead of doritos and sticking to serving sizes.

Abby is also GREAT at motivating you to exercise.  This weekend Mike was sick with the flu, so he kept to the bedroom and it was mostly Abby and myself hanging out.  Saturday morning we found a 20 minute cardio workout video on demand and decided to give it a try.  It was circuit training with jumping jacks, drop lunges, punches, twists, etc.  Abby did every single move right along with me and was repeating the ladies on the tv by telling me "dig deep, mama!" and "keep going!".  It was precious, healthy and motivating! She's going to be my permanent workout buddy.  She was asking for "more ex-a-size" all day. I can't wait until warmer weather so that we can start walking to the park by our house again.

Sooo... at the end of two weeks I'm down another few pounds (13 total) and my clothes are fitting MUCH better.  I was so excited to pull a shirt out of the dryer the other day that used to be tight and fitted and have it fit loose and comfortably.  I also feel a ton healthier.  I ran up the stairs at work the other day and wasn't even short of breath... where in the not too recent past I would WALK up the stairs and be huffing and puffing.

I'm extremely proud of how far I've come, and though I have a long road to go before I'll be satisfied with my weight and size... I know this journey is about so much more than that.


I've Been Remade!

One of the most inspirational songs that I've heard this year is by Tenth Avenue North, and it's called You Are More.  At first it made me think of someone in my life that I feel really needs to hear it and find God and herself... and I prayed for her every time that song played... but the more I listened to it, the more I realized that the song is just as much about me as it is about her.  Here are the lyrics, and I suggest that you youtube the song and take a listen yourself... it's really powerful.

"There's a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she's wandered
And the shame she can't hide

She says, "How did I get here?
I'm not who I once was.
And I'm crippled by the fear
That I've fallen too far to love"

But don't you know who you are,
What's been done for you?
Yeah don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

Well she tries to believe it
That she's been given new life
But she can't shake the feeling
That it's not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she's rehearsed all the lines
And so she'll try to do better
But then she's too weak to try

But don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

'Cause this is not about what you've done,
But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You've been remade
You've been remade.
You've been remade.
You've been remade."

Certain parts of that song speak to me, LOUDLY... especially:

She knows all the answers
And she's rehearsed all the lines
And so she'll try to do better
But then she's too weak to try

These lines, to me, speak of my good intentions... they speak of the promises that I've made to myself and never followed through with (getting healthier, doing makeup and hair, volunteering more often, having more patience, etc)

Then comes this part...

But don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

This year has been life-changing in soooo many ways.  Not only have I found God again, I've gotten married to "the one", become closer than ever with my daughter, gained a family member in the form of a puppy, been diagnosed with (and started treating) a life-long medical condition and so many other things.  The way I think about things has changed and I really try and live my life with grace. I really feel for the first time in my life that I really know who I am, and I'm proud to be that person.  I've been remade.

So where is this post leading?  I am, for the first time ever... making a life change for my health.  A number of things have lead to this decision and the motivation and determination to make it a success:

1. I read an article about a dying little girl that needed a kidney transplant... her mother was the perfect match... only she was too overweight to give a healthy donation.  The daughter died.  Because her mom was fat.  I don't think I could live with myself if I were unable to save Abby's life because of being overweight.

2. KLove (a radio station I listen to) has been doing a series on a book called "Made to Crave" which is about satisfying your needs with God, not with food.  It's really inspired me and helped me to realize that though we are all "made in God's image", He wants you to take care of your body and make good choices... and when you're craving junk food, you're probably really craving something else in your life, and this program helps you figure out what that is. I just ordered the book and cannot wait to start reading.

3. I have help! I've been tracking calories, iron intake (mine is "dangerously low"), and carbs (I'm an admitted addict) through http://www.myfitnesspal.com/.  It tracks my calorie consumption and use and keeps me updated on how many I have left for the day, if I want to meet my weight loss goals.  It also has an app I use on my phone, so I'm not logging onto the computer every time I eat.  A big thing I like about this site is that I have friends on there that help keep me accountable by supporting my good choices and calling me out on my cheats. :)

4. I'm starting a 7-day cleanse tomorrow to really start me off with a clean slate.  I'm doing the "Be-Cleansed" program from GNC.  I'll keep you updated as to how I feel. :)

So... wish me luck as I embark on a journey to become a healthier and happier mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, coworker, acquaintance, etc. <3


2010 Summary

I found this on Beth's page. :)

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Joined a Presbyterian church, joined a bible study group, bought a house and GOT MARRIED!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't recall what my resolutions were last year... in fact, I don't think I made any.  I did make resolutions for this year. :)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes... my sister, Erica, gave birth to Shawn and my sister-in-law, Kristy, gave birth to Lucy!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my neighbor and good friend, Idella LaSerre. RIP.

5. What countries did you visit?
Absolutely none

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More money!

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
  • June we officially bought our house
  • July 13th, Shawn Patrick was born
  • August 28th, we got married
  • December 25th, Lucy Ann was born
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Having the wedding of my dreams

9. What was your biggest failure?
Hm... not sure, 2010 was pretty great!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got my official diagnosis of fibromyalgia

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My "new to me" car

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Probably mine... I've been a good girl :)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The writer of that pedophile guide on amazon.com

14. Where did most of your money go?
mortgage and windows

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Marrying the love of my life!

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
At Last... our wedding song

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? a little thinner
c) richer or poorer? poorer... darn it.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Playing, praying, bonding w/ the hubs, family time, attending church, spending time with my friends!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Procrastinating, watching tv

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas eve was dinner at home, then dessert and gifts at my grandmothers house... Christmas day was breakfast at home w/ my parents, then lunch and family w/ the in-laws.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
I did... her name is Roxie

22. What were your favorite TV programs?
True Blood and Sons of Anarchy

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone

24. What was the best book you read?
Water For Elephants

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Christian music!

26. What did you want and get?
A dog... and a Kindle

27. What did you want and not get?
Hmm... a winning lottery ticket?

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I have no idea

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Hmm... I don't even remember. I'm 27.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being able to be a SAHM

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Comfort... tshirts, hoodies and yoga pants.

32. What kept you sane?
My Abigail

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Nobody really

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
health care reform

35. Who did you miss?
I miss Michelle, Cheryl and Karen

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Shawn and Lucy! <3

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
If you live your life with grace and follow the golden rule, you will be rewarded with peace and happiness.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"You are more than the choices that you've made, you are more than the sum of your past mistakes, you are more than the problems you create, you've been remade!"