Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year's Resolutions

For Faith and Family readers, this is a preview of what you will see in my future successes.

What am I? Mushigina?! Publishing my resolutions for all to see! I must be.  But I'm gonna do it anyway.


Continue with my healthy lifestyle of proper nutrition, exercise and sleep until I reach my goals: a weight of 145, a body that can proudly wear a bikini in public (whether I do or not is another story) and can do at least one pull-up unassisted.  Along the way I will make whatever changes are necessary to keep the goal alive.
How to accomplish this goal?
January 3rd I am starting P90X/Insanity hybrid.  3 days of weight training, 3 days of cardio.This program will continue through the end of March. After that, I think I'll start Turbo Fire.

I plan to drop to a size 10 by the end of January (Can you believe I am tell you what size I don't wear yet?  I can't) Ultimately, I'd like to get into a size 6.  I've never been smaller than a 10, so I don't even know what that will be like or if it is even possible, but I'm going to take it one size at a time. I'd like to drop a size a month, but I'm not sure if that is realistic.  We'll see.


I will try to learn more about business so that I can make a real go of my Beachbody coaching.  It will be challenging because I am not a business-minded person and my own personal success in business has never been a motivating factor in my life.  But I believe in Beachbody, the people who built it, the product, my own personal achievements in overcoming sloth with exercise and I know that it is worth my time.  To meet this goal, I will read John C Maxwell books and I will spend time getting to know Beachbody.

I will remember that I want to give everyone the opportunity to accomplish their fitness dreams, just like I am.  I never thought I'd see pre-baby sizes again, and here I am wearing them and able to see that I can wear sizes smaller than these if I keep pushing myself. I want to help people boost their self-esteem by discovering that no matter their fitness level, they can do something.   Baby steps are what got me here and will get me to my goal.  Why not others?

I will remember why I want to be successful in this endeavor: to make enough money that I can take my family to Texas to see my mom and sisters and their children, to Florida to see my brother and his family, to North Carolina to see my other sisters and their families and to Kevin's family in Missouri, Massachusetts and Connecticut (not all in the same year, obviously).  Most of these places are too far to drive, and in many cases we will have to stay in a hotel because there is no room for a family of 6.  I want my kids to know their cousins and aunts and uncles.  I want to know my nieces and nephews.  This is my "Why".

I will also continue to write about my weight loss/ strength building journey to encourage others to achieve their own personal fitness goals.  It is so much more fun to do it with someone rather than push yourself alone.  I don't know what I'd do without Kevin's encouragement when I've felt hopeless. 


I will pray the Rosary every day even if it means breaking it up to a decade here and there.  I will continue to offer my workouts and sacrifices in my diet for the salvation of souls.  I will also make a solid effort to do other spiritual reading of books I already own and never read, namely, Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales and Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux.

For our family, I will find a place to make a family altar where we can go to spend quiet time with the Lord.  That might be pretty challenging since I have 4 kids who run all over the house, but I will try to figure it out.

I am considering adopting the practice of the Universal Church of abstaining from meat on Fridays, even though it is not required in the US anymore.  I think it will be a good thing for our family to maintain a little extra Catholic identity, to separate us from the world a little bit more and to awaken ourselves to the fact that Christ suffered and died for us on Good Friday by making this little sacrifice on a weekly basis.  I haven't discussed it with Kevin yet, so this is still in the air.  If we do this, then we will also make sure that Sunday is a little Easter every week with some kind of special treat.  Maybe it will be a nice brunch or dinner or maybe just a little treat.  It won't have to be big.


I will paint all the little spots that got skipped as we painted the house.  There are plenty!  No room that has been painted, except the baby's room is 100% done.  Guess who painted that room?  Also, I will paint the Master bedroom.

I will continue my quest to organize this house.  This has been a resolution I have made for 3 years running and I have kept it every year.  The house is still not organized, but I keep making progress.  Maybe by the time the baby goes to college it will be done.  I'm working against 4 kids, a pack-rat husband and my own nature, so I think I'm doing pretty well.

Ok, these are my resolutions and goals.  They are measurable and achievable.  I hope to publish my successes every Thursday under Small Successes with Faith and Family Live

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Insanity: My Story

My Shaun T autographed Insanity workout calendar.

I completed my final Insanity Fit Test on Sunday!  I cannot believe I actually finished this program!  What a butt-kicker!  It took me longer than 60 days to finish because of traveling and Thanksgiving, but I finished strong!

The first time I tried Insanity, at the beginning of last summer, I did it for a week.  Every day I ended in a pool of my own sweat and laying flat on the ground while tears streamed down my face.  I was literally sobbing from the effort of pushing myself to finish.  After about a week I decided I was clearly not ready for Insanity. It took a round of P90X to get me there.

Even though I was physically stronger from all the weight training in P90X, Insanity was still extremely challenging.  I had never done anything like it in my life.  But I ended the workouts on my feet, still in a pool of my own sweat, but dry-eyed.  

So what did I lose? I lost about 10 pounds and a size. The more important question: What did I gain?  Agility, speed, determination, cardiovascular health, self-confidence and a love of pushing myself to my limit. (Are those crazy sounding achievements for a mother of 4 who could barely walk 2 years ago? Agility & speed-for crying out loud!)

It is amazing! Every little goal I meet, I can see that I can do more than I thought possible.  My goal was to get into pre-baby clothes from 8+ years ago.  I was a size 10 and I was happy with that size.  I look at pictures and I looked good.  I'm fitting into a 12 now, which is my pre-baby fat size.  I'm thrilled to wear them, because I haven't been able to do that since I started having children.  I'm still heavier than I was at that size before kids, but I am getting so toned that all my clothes are loose.  I just wonder what size will I wear when I have lost all the fat I can lose? Size 8, or 6 even?  That seems like a fantasy, but I'm starting to think it might actually be possible.  If I keep working toward improving my health and fitness with healthy diet and exercise, well, only God knows what is possible!

I still haven't mastered my diet and there are days I really don't feel like getting up at 5:30 to exercise, but I've overcome so many temptations to quit by offering up my sacrifices as gifts for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I will keep plugging away because I know it makes a difference, both in my body and in the souls of those for whom I'm sacrificing. 

So, here are my Fit Test Results:
                               Test 1                  Test 5
Switch Kicks             50                       65
Power Jacks              40                       57
Power Knees             82                      114
Power Jumps             49                       60
Globe Jumps              8 Walking           10 jumping
Suicide Jumps            8                         20
Push-Up Jacks          17                       40
Low Plank Obliques  60                       71

I say those are amazing results!!!

So, what's next? Right now I'm taking it a little bit easy trying out my Shakeology: The Workout dvds. I'm seriously considering entering the Million Dollar Body Game.  I need to see the rules to decide.  But right now the plan is come January, I will start a P90X/Insanity hybrid.  3 days of P90X and 3 days of Insanity, alternating.  I'm kicking it up a notch by adding on that 6th day, which was always there, but I didn't do. 

What are my new goals? I will keep working out, pushing myself to succeed, drinking my delicious Shakeology and I WILL shrink into a size 10 and do one pull-up unassisted. We'll see how long it takes me to get that pull-up, but size 10- I think I can get it in a month. Whaaaaaaat! You heard it here! It's a personal throw-down! Check in and help keep me accountable!

Hey, if you'd like to buddy up with me or if you are looking for someone to guide you through your own personal fitness goals, I am a Beachbody coach and I am a rawther gifted encourager, even if I say so myself!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook: Third Week of Advent

 Outside my window... is dusk, snowy and freezing cold!!!!

I am thinking... about entering the Million Dollar Body Game through Beachbody. Right now, I might win the $50 Body Game.  That means I've got some serious thinking to do.

I am thankful for... Beachbody workouts, especially P90X and Insanity.  These to programs are giving me my life back.

From the kitchen...
Gingerbread Marshmallows I made for teacher gifts.  They are delish. *no more of those if I enter this contest!

I am wearing... a green turtleneck sweater, some jeans in a smaller size that fit(!), Uggs. Warm and cozy.

I am creating... a hectic life...Christmas programs, cookie exchanges, parties...All good.

I am going... to sit in front of the fire in a minute.

I am reading... The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

I am hoping... for a slim body in a short time! :)

I am hearing... the sounds of Wii

Around the house... is the perpetual mess.

One of my favorite things... sitting in front of a cozy fire with a hot drink

A few plans for the rest of the week: Christmas programs, hair appointment, cookie exchange, Mass.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing..
Kevin and the kids stacking wood a couple weeks ago.  Today I'm burning it!

Visit The Simple Woman's Daybook to share your day!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Small Successes (Vol 19)

1. I seem to have found the key to keeping a colicky toddler happy: cuddling on the couch watching TV. She wants the appearance of my undivided attention.  Right now she is mad that I'm writing.  Gotta make this quick!

2.  Kevin is completely supportive of this plan because I can't get anything done  when she's screaming anyway, so he says he'd rather come home to a messy house and a happy wife than a messy house and and an angry wife.  As a result, I'm relaxed and catching up on Hallmark Christmas movies and Psych.

3.  I added 2 weeks to my Insanity workout.  I should have been done at Thanksgiving, but, you know how it is.  Would you like to know how my weight loss/ fitness plan is going?  Well, since you are so curious, I will tell you.  I can now fit into a size pants I haven't fit since before Emma was born 8 years ago!!!!!!!!!   As a matter of fact, they are my pre-kid fat size!    What's crazy is I am still 20 pounds heavier than I was last time I fit this size.  All my P90X and Insanity workouts have tightened up my body to the point I'm starting to think that I am going to be able to surpass my clothing size goals!  I cannot tell you how happy I am and how good I feel about what I am accomplishing.  I never thought I'd get this far!

By the way, because I have gotten so much out of my workouts, I am now a Beachbody coach.  If you would like more information or a buddy to encourage you, drop me a line!

Let me cheer you on!  Share your small successes on Faith and Family Live!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

How to Overcome the Bah-Humbug

I remember when I was a teenager (I could drive, so I must have been 16 or 17), I drove myself to confession at Good Shepherd Catholic Church one Saturday during Advent.  I remember kneeling behind the screen and bawling my eyes out about how Christmas was so commercialized and how I couldn't find the special feeling that is supposed to come at Christmastime.  I was just distraught.  I was so upset that halfway through the confession, I jumped up to come around the screen and face the priest.  He thought I was leaving and called out to me, "I haven't given you absolution yet".  I think I surprised him.  I can't imagine what he was thinking, to see a teen so upset about Christmas.  Sadly, I don't remember what he told me.

Over the years, I tried and tried to get that special feeling. I couldn't seem to find it.  Christmas started at Thanksgiving and concluded with a tremendous letdown after the last present was open on Christmas day. Oh, but wait! There's the stocking. Open that and it's over again. Bah-humbug.

As I grew older, my family started to drift away from the church for a while. I went to Mass alone most of the time. I’m not sure I could’ve articulated why I felt it was so important to go, my faith wasn’t so deep. I just knew I needed to be there. I continued searching. 
I understood what Christmas is about and I loved it.  But where was that much desired special feeling?  I sought it out at parties and the mall, with Christmas movies and carols, but, not surprisingly, it eluded me.

It wasn't until I had my own children and sought to give them what I was missing, that I FINALLY figured it out! Advent is not Christmas.  I had been spending my whole Advent shopping, decorating, working, studying, doing all the stuff you do to get ready for something, thinking it was Christmas season.  All that time I'd kill myself to make a nice Christmas only to be let down when Christmas day was over!

Advent is NOT Christmas!  Advent is the new year in the Church and the time to prepare for Christmas.  Prepare not just our homes and our shopping list, but, most importantly, our hearts. How did we do it? Well, we started small by celebrating St. Nicholas day, teaching the kids who St. Nicholas really is and that his purpose is to bring us to Jesus.  We added traditions like making a soft crib for Jesus with our good deeds (1 piece of straw for each sacrifice), we lit the advent wreath at dinner. We did a lot of little things.  Every little act we added to our family tradition made our hearts more open to the coming season of Christmas.  It began to feel holy.

How to fix the Christmas day letdown, though?  All that work for one day seemed a bit much.  It suddenly dawned on me that Christmas is a SEASON, not a day.  We began to celebrate the entire season, and what a difference it made!  On Christmas day, we replaced the Advent candles with white candles and lit them every night, we talked about the feast days of the Holy Family and all the Saints of the Christmas season.  I made special dinners and read about these holy people who are there to bring us to Christ.  We put on a play at Epiphany with Kevin playing King Herod and the kids as the 3 Wise Men.  Last year, I played Mary and Anne-Marie was Jesus.  We held back gifts at Christmas for the kids to bring to baby Jesus at Epiphany and then they got to open them.  We kept our decorations up and watched Christmas movies and generally kept the season until after the baptism of the Lord (the first Luminous mystery of the Rosary) and technically we could keep them up until Candlemas, the Presentation of the Lord at the temple.
 Did it make a difference?  Undeniably! When the whole world turns back to regular life the day after Christmas, or New Year's day, at best, there is no more music, clearance sales galore, taking down of the lights and decorations, the Bah-Humbug starts to show itself in full force. Coming home to a decorated house and continuing to share in the joy with our family makes all the difference in the world.  It becomes special and holy.  That elusive feeling of joy and warmth continues to grow and take it's rightful place in our hearts.  The Bah-Humbug has no room to fester or take root.  The joy of the season lives on and sustains us through the cold, gray days of January and February and gives us momentum to keep holy Ordinary time.  We come closer as a family and snuggle up around its Center, Jesus, that sweet, precious baby. We give thanks that our Lord humbled Himself to be born a baby in a stable on a cold night in Bethlehem to ultimately give His Body and Blood for our salvation, if only we will continue to choose Him above the world.

Oh, how I love Advent and Christmas!  How much I love our Lord, Jesus Christ!  May His peace be with you and may you find that special connection with Him this wonderful time of year and carry it with you all year long.

Resources I like:
Catholic Culture
Catholic Icing
Women for Faith and Family

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook: Second Week of Advent

Outside my window... Is sunny and snowing at the same time.  All afternoon it has reminded me of the end scene of A Christmas Carol: The Musical.

I am thinking...about watching that movie.  It's one of my all-time favorites!

I am thankful...that I finally understand the difference between Advent and Christmas.  I wish I could teach everyone how important Advent is.  If people understood that they are not one and the same, the Grinchiness of the general population, the sadness and the let down after Christmas day is over would be drastically reduced.

From the kitchen... St. Ambrose Lasagna from Building the Family cookbook.  Today is his Feast day.

I am wearing...a black, long-sleeved 40 Days for Life t-shirt and track pants, socks and no shoes.

I am creating... clean laundry.

I am going... to Mass this evening for the Holy Day of Obligation: Feast of the Immaculate Conception
By the way, the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Mary in her mother's womb, not Jesus.  Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin and remained sinless her entire life.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. Amen

I am reading... nothing, but I have a whole pile of books from the library to throw you off my scent.

I am hoping... for a nice long nap from the baby.

I am hearing... only the hum of the computer.

Around the house... is looking very Christmasy right now.  I love it.

One of my favorite things... Below freezing temperatures and a roaring fire in the fireplace

A few plans for the rest of the week:  A Christmas program put on by my 5-year-olds preschool class on Thursday night.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Share you day at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Small Successes (Vol 18)

 Praised be Jesus Christ. And may He bless all here!

Love to my family and friends who have been wondering what has become of me.  My dear friends in the world, upon whom my eyes have never rested, greetings to you, as well.  I've been absent for many weeks due to a tremendously hectic schedule.  Something had to give and it appears it was my blog.  As it is, I am not supposed to be sitting down writing this very second.  I am supposed to be readying my house for a guest whom I have never met.  That's right.  I have to get my house ready for someone who doesn't know and love me, therefore willing to overlook my vast flaws as a housekeeper.  It's a very risky move I am taking right this very second, stealing precious minutes away from the 10,000 chores left to do before tomorrow morning.  But sometimes you just gotta grab a break!  So here I am, sipping a rare coffee (I gave it up, for the most part since we last met) and I am about to regale you with my many infinitesimal successes.

1. I am writing this post. (Cheating, I know)

2. I gave up coffee, because it's not all that good for me, started eating a low carb diet because, as you know, I am having a great amount of difficulty shedding fat.  So far, though, I've lost 4 more pounds in just about 2 weeks.  I probably gained it back while I've been sitting here, so, ya know.

3.  This is not a small success, but a BLOW EVERYTHING OUT OF THE WATER success.  Ok.  I. Am. ALMOST DONE with INSANITY!!!!!  I am on day 53 of 60!  WHAAAAAAAAT!  That's right.  Since last we met and I updated you on my P90X prowess (wink), I have been doing this unbelievably challenging (but tremendously worth it) program.  I get up every morning at 5:30, start working out at 6 and am completely drenched in sweat by 7.  It's a butt-kickin' good time.  I can't even tell you.  It moves fast and I gotta push myself to dig deep when I want to quit, but I LOVE it!  I am so proud of myself!

4.  If I have I peaked your curiosity, you can view it here . But if you want to buy it, or any other program, please go here:  because in the time I've been gone, I've realized that I am committed to this new healthy lifestyle.  It's not just a diet to lose baby weight anymore.  Because of that, I decided to become an Independent Beachbody Coach and bring fitness and nutrition to anyone who wants to get fit.  So that's a success too.  I've made some major changes to my lifestyle to the goal of getting healthy, strong and energetic so I can enjoy my family.  I'm sure more changes will need to be made, but for now, I am happy with my progress towards fitness.

Do you have successes to share?   Please share them!!! Visit Danielle at Faith and Family. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Small Successes (Vol 17)

1.  I chose a great doctor.  Remember a couple weeks ago I told you I saw my doctor about all the problems I've been having losing weight among other women's issues.  Well, he's very good.  I have several little problems, nothing huge.  The one thing that made me laugh was he told me that based on my DHEA levels, he sees that I'm under chronic stress.  I thought that was hilarious.  Of course, I AM!  I can feel it.  I'm a mother of 4 with a messy house and 10,000 responsibilities plus my own personal desires.  I feel none but the most urgent things ever get done.  I'm not complaining.  I know I'm not alone.  It's how it is when you're a mom.  I could probably figure out a way to deal with it better, but I can't afford boarding school.  ;)

2.  I chose a wonderful husband.  He is sending me away this weekend all by my onesie.  I'm going to visit his parents in Kansas City.  Isn't that funny?  I'm lucky to have great in-laws, whose company I enjoy.  I'm leaving early Saturday morning, going to a Texas A & M  game (they're playing Kansas State) then Sunday I'm going to see the Kansas City Chiefs and coming home late that night.  It's a weekend full of football, a game I love, no kids and in-laws who are known to spoil.  Yippee!

3.  I chose great collaborators.  The moms group at my parish is hosting Santa for family pictures. I am the leader of this group, so I have to sign the contract.  I was very nervous because I've never been solely responsible for  an event this big.  There are lots of things to get right.  Luckily, I talked it through with my wonderful choice in a husband who helped me figure out what to do.   I talked with some of the people I need help from and so far, so good. 

Do you have some successes to share?  Visit Danielle at Faith and Family Live so I can cheer you on!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 11)


I've been tracking my calories with the Lose It app on my phone. I went to Wendy's the other day with 2 of my girls and ordered a 1/2 size Baja Salad.  I am sooooo glad I did.  When I looked up the calories later, (obviously, I should have done this first) I discovered that a full size Baja salad has 740 calories.  What the...! Like a good friend of mine said, "When I found that out, I almost crapped my pants!" 


My guardian angel must have had my back because I ordered a 1/2 size and they didn't give me the tortilla chips or the dressing, saving me 200 calories right there.  


That makes me mad enough to write a letter to Wendy's. I mean, that has more calories than my favorite sandwich, the Spicy Chicken.  I could have a spicy chicken sandwich a fries for 830 calories, and I have!


I cannot believe that I have eaten 830 calories for lunch in my life.  That is AWFUL!  Even if I just had the sandwich its 440, which isn't the worst thing, but not the best choice either. 


In case you can't tell, I'm on a health kick.  I'm trying to make healthy food choices, not just because I'm trying to lose weight, but because I want to have a healthy body.  I can't go around eating chocolate ice cream and fried foods and expect my body to function at optimal levels.  No wonder I felt exhausted for so long.  


Ultimately, I am responsible for what I put in my body, but it does make me angry that when I think I'm making a healthy choice by ordering a salad with seemingly healthy ingredients, I could, in fact, be making a worse choice than ordering a cheeseburger.  It makes me wonder about the people who design these menus.  It seems very irresponsible to me that they should put on their salad menu something with more calories than anyone but Michael Phelps needs at lunchtime. 


I am not in favor of laying all the blame for the obesity problem on fast food restaurants, lest you misunderstand.  Like I said, the individual is ultimately responsible.  I don't feed my kids Happy meals on a regular basis (and incidentally, I don't buy them for the toy, it just happens that it's cheaper to buy the meal than the individual parts) But consider that a person trying to make a healthy choice, orders salad, leaves off the dressing is still going to end up 640 calories.  Leave off the chips and your still at 540 calories.  Not as bad, but a lot for most salad eaters.   A little truth in advertising wouldn't hurt, might even help.

Visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary to read more Quick Takes, or even better, share your own!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

1.  I've survived almost 8 days on my own with the kids.  I haven't yelled or lost my temper more than usual.  Kevin comes home late tonight!

2.  Since Kevin has been gone, I haven't been able to work out because I've had to get the kids up early enough to catch the bus.  This means I've really had to watch my eating.  I have a tendency to overeat in the evenings when he is gone, but this week, I think I did pretty well.  I could have done better, but in general, I was successful.  No free ranging in the pantry.

3.  I can't think of any other successes. It's been a pretty hectic week.  I'm glad it's almost over!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Daybook


Outside my window...  is a cool, quiet evening.

I am thinking...  how glad I am that the kids are finally in bed and I can relax.

I am thankful for... a glass of red wine and the tv remote.

From the kitchen... did I mention the wine?  

I am wearing... a light blue scoop neck tee and gray fine gauge corduroy capri pants with boogers from being used as a Kleenex, macaroni and cheese smears, from being used as a napkin and hair conditioner from being used as a towel.  All these marks are at knee level.   Yes, I have a toddler.

I am creating... a happy life.

I am going... in many directions at once, one of them soon to be the couch.

I am reading... Harriet, the Hamster Fairy so my daughter and I can talk about it. It's our own personal bookclub.

I am hoping... for the rest of the week to pass quickly and bring my husband home.

I am hearing... killdeer chirping (?)

Around the house... is a remarkable lack of junk considering I have been on my own with 4 kids for the past 6 days.

One of my favorite things... meeting new people and making new friends.  Both of which are happening in my moms' group at church.  I can't deny that I am an extrovert through and through.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Well, ballet, soccer, soccer, birthday party, soccer and ice skating. Don't forget grocery shopping and gynecologist appointment.  Settle down now. You can't all be me.

Here is a picture thought for sharing... two kids, two teeth lost in two days.

Thank you, A Simple Woman's Daybook for allowing me to share some of my day!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Small Successes (Vol 17)

1. I finally finished P90X and wrote about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can read it here.

2.  I have completed 11 days of Insanity.   This is a huge success, because it's BRUTAL!

3.  I made healthy after school snacks (peanut butter & honey brown rice crispy snacks) Breakfast cookies for Andy's 6th birthday breakfast (TODAY!!!)  and for his birthday dessert, whoopie pies.  (They look like hockey pucks, which is a good thing)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My First Daybook

Outside my window... it's cool and gray, the lovely beginning of fall.

I am thinking... I would love a nap.

I am thankful for... a husband who loves me.

From the kitchen...what to do with all the apples we picked yesterday, pie, brown Betty, pandowdy, dumplings?  So many things to do with apples!

I am wearing...track pants and a t-shirt.  Comfy clothes today.

I am creating...Halloween project to do list in my mind.

I am going... to Kansas City alone in  a couple weeks!

I am reading...Family Fun Halloween Edition

I am hoping...for a chance to catch my breath

I am hearing...the dull hum of the computer and nothing else! (baby sleeping, preschooler watching cartoons far away) Ahhhhhhh.

Around the a lot of dust and chores that have gone undone.  I'm not going to think about that right now.

One of my favorite things...naptime

A few plans for the rest of the week: perhaps go to a chastity talk for parents by parents

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Andy's and Renee's soccer team makes the Sign of the Cross before praying at the start of the game. 

"Would you like to linger on the simple things...then join me and many others in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those who are focusing on of the everyday moments."  The Simple Woman's Daybook 

Monday, September 27, 2010

P90X: My Story

Let me start with how I got here.  I've had 4 babies, each pregnancy healthy, but progressively harder on my body.  With my fourth pregnancy, I lost a lot of strength.  I was unable to walk or stand for any significant length of time because of swelling, sciatica and varicose veins.  Because of all of these problems, I spent a lot of time laying on the couch with my feet elevated.  When my daughter was born, and I could move freely again, I began to notice just how weak I had become.

I came across the P90X infomercial in the wee hours when I was feeding my newborn daughter.  I turned on the TV and there it was. I was enthralled.  I watched that infomercial dozens of times and even recorded it for my husband to watch.  I suggested to him that it was something we could do together once the baby started sleeping through the night.  Eventually he agreed.  (He's thin with a high metabolism and wears the same size pants he wore when he was 17.  It's OK if you hate him for this.)

After doing a  little more research, we decided that P90X was too advanced for someone who had barely walked in a year, so we ordered Power 90 instead.  Power 90 is the original program and P90X's (Power 90 Extreme) easier counterpart (You can read a comparison here).  I am so glad we did!  When we started, I couldn't do jumping jacks AT ALL- I did step-outs instead- lunges caused me great discomfort and I had very little arm strength.  We did Power 90 for almost 90 days before we were ready to move on to P90X.

I started and stopped P90X many times before successfully completing it.  Since we were working out after the kids went to bed, it was easy for my plans to be disrupted.  I decided to make the commitment to getting up early in the morning to exercise before any of the kids were awake, which meant getting up at 5:30 (EEEK!).  I did it for 90 days (That in itself is a huge accomplishment for me).  Here are my results:

                                        Day 1                       Day 90

Pull-ups:                           0                          12 with one foot on a chair

Push-ups:                         32 from knees      10 from toes 20 from knees

Vertical leap:                    8'1"                      8'2"

Toe Touch:                      +7"                       +7.5"

Wall Squat:                      1min 30sec           2 min 26 seconds 

Bicep Curls:                     36 @ 10lbs          51 @ 10lbs

In&Out (ab exercise)       42                        110

Are those results amazing, or what!  As you can see from those fit test results, I made major improvements in my strength.  

As I mentioned before, the actual weight loss has not been nearly what I hoped.  I didn't follow the diet guide verbatim, although I did vastly improve my eating habits to include lean meats, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, more vegetables and fruits and next to no refined sugar or flour. This has been good for my whole family, since I am the Executive Chef of this household.  I also ate less, although there is room for improvement in my serving size and attention to hunger and fullness cues.  Despite the lack of movement of the scale and still weighing 10 pounds more than I did before I got pregnant with Anne-Marie, I am now able to fit into all of my pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably.  What is even more surprising is that only a couple short weeks ago, I tried on my favorite jeans and couldn't button them.  Last week I tried them on and not only buttoned and zipped them, I sat down and could still breathe.  I even looked so good in them and they felt so comfortable, that I wore them out in PUBLIC all day long!  I count this as a tremendous success, because it means that my body is tighter and toner than it was when I originally bought those clothes.  I've decided to put the scale away and concentrate on getting strong and tone and let my clothes tell me how I'm doing.

The biggest success in all of this has been the way I feel.  Not only have my energy and strength returned, but so has my self-confidence.  Before P90X, I was limited not only by my body but by my mind.  My body could not do things, but worse than that was the feeling of resignation.  I felt I would never have the ability to do what I used to do.  I believed that this was the body I had now so I'd better just get used to being fat and tired and weak.  P90X turned it all around for me.  Now I know that I can achieve more than I ever thought possible.  I know that I can do whatever I put my mind to doing, even if it isn't easy.  I am more open to experiencing life than I have been in a long time.
P90X can't take all the credit.  Without Kevin, none of what I've accomplished would've been possible.  Kevin, who hates exercising if it doesn't involve actually playing sports, agreed to do Power 90 and P90X with me.  If he hadn't I don't know that I would have had the courage even to try.  He helped me push through the frustration and tears of realizing how weak I had become and encouraged me to keep going.  He assured me that his love for me had nothing to do with what my body looked like and when I wanted to show him my latest fitness success, he came running and cheered.  Eventually he stopped working out with me, but by then I had the motivation to push myself.

Some might wonder why I didn't do a cardio program designed to burn fat rather than build muscle.  Simply put, I couldn't. I tried.  I was just not strong enough to do it.  I needed to build muscle and strength alongside  burning fat.  P90X  cardio workouts in the Lean Routine are fun.  So now that I have the strength and stamina, what am I going to do?  I'm moving on to Insanity .  When I tried Insanity at the beginning of the summer, every workout ended with me laying flat on the floor, sobbing. Yes, sobbing.  Thanks to P90X, I end every Insanity workout on my feet, dripping sweat and smiling. 

Thanks to Beachbody, Tony Horton and P90X, I have a new lease on life.

Update: Since writing this post, I've become a Beachbody coach myself!  You can find me at  

Friday, September 24, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol.10)


Anne-Marie is now driving.  I was at a resale shop looking for Halloween costumes and found a car!  The one we used to have was made shortly after the invention of the wheel, so after 3 kids, it was useless.  This one is very fancy, all colorful and intact.


  Check this out!  I won this iPhone cover from a Twitter contest held by @Psych_USA.  Do you ever watch Psych?  The Psychic detective (he's faking it) has this cover on his phone in the show.  I love winning things.


Speaking of winning things, we are on a roll in this house.  Last weekend we got to go to Taste the Future, a fundraiser for Columbus State Community College.  It's a culinary showcase for 50+ restaurants and caterers.  Really, it's tapas on a grand scale.  It's awesome.  I tried some things I never would have tried at a restaurant.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

 Corn and Parsnip Vichyssoise with Truffle and Pancetta
Teleggio Risotto with Duck Confit 
Thai Barbecued Pulled Pork and Asian Slaw with Lemongrass and Mint Vinaigrette (My favorite)
Chipotle Shrimp on Corncakes (Kevin's favorite)


I ate some things I didn't mean to eat, too.  I mean, I meant to eat them, obviously.  I put them in my mouth. BUT,  if I had known what it was before I ate it, I never would have gone near it!  Having said that, they were both good.  I still have no intention of ever ordering them in a restaurant, though.

Escargot in Puff Pastry (Yes, I actually ate this and thought it was a mushroom)
Lindey's Tuna Tartar with Ganfrette Potato Chip and Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette (this didn't really taste like anything.  I thought it was salsa.  It tasted like a cold meaty tomato)


Emma and her Brownie troop got to ride the Girl Scout float in the local parade on Saturday.  Emma is dressed as an artist, which is what she wants to be when she grows up.  She is wearing daddy's old shirt and her hair is in funny pigtails.  Thank goodness our troop was on a float!  The driver was easily doing 10 mph.  There is NO WAY our girls could have kept up with him.  It was rather ridiculous.


This is a noteworthy event.  Anne-Marie actually fell asleep while I was rocking her.  She never does this.  Even as an infant, she preferred to rock until she was settled and then be laid down to go to sleep.  I know this is ideal, but rocking a sleeping baby is so satisfying and soothing.  I'm glad my husband walked in when he did so he could snap this picture.


It's a crummy picture of a beautiful thing.  Andy is reading to Daddy on the stairs. I tell him all the time, but I'll say it again: There is scarcely a thing more attractive than a man who is a good father.

Would you like to get in on 7 Quick Takes? Visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary to read more and better Quick Takes and link to your blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Small Successes (Vol 16)

1.  I discovered there are people in my life who are willing to help me when I need it.  Living far from family, I often find myself in a bind when it comes to childcare and daytime appointments.  This was one such week.  It's good to know that people are willing to help me.  I never ceased to be amazed by this!

2.  I successfully hung another set of curtains alone.  That is sweaty hard work, though I don't know why.  Maybe it's because our windows are so tall and I don't have anything quite tall enough to reach, so I do it all in precariously balanced postitions.

3.  I met a couple of really nice women.  They came to my house for a playgroup for the moms group I chair on Tuesday and I learned we have several common interests.  I had only met one of them for the first time at the meeting and she brought along her sister-in-law.  You never know how these things are going to go.  You could spend two hours staring at each other or wishing it would end, but these women were very pleasant company.  I'm always so happy when I am able to make a new friend.  (That's the extrovert in me).

4.  My P90X  review is in the works.  I'm taking the fit test this weekend and I hope to have my review posted for you next week.  I know I keep telling you this, but I really mean it!

Funny Things Kids Say

On the way home from ballet, Emma was watching Babe.  She said, "Mama, is this a true story?"

This morning Andy asked me what was on the school lunch menu for the day.  I told him, "Monkey brains."  Without a pause or even a strange look, he said, "I'm packing."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Covered Porch Construction Edition

Backhoe in the backyard
Very cool!
Guys getting ready to cut the conrete
Through the kitchen window
An 8 foot trench
Looks like we live on the edge of a cliff
Overnight cave-in.  Workers had to dig it out by hand
Through the kitchen window, again
2 Concrete tucks and a pumper truck
Massimo holding the hose in place
14 yards of concrete. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Snippets- A Catholic Carnival

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing.  This is the place where we can share our favorite posts of the week with other Catholic bloggers.  After you read my post (be sure to say "Hi", too), why not share one of your favorites with us?

This week I pondered the question: How do I raise a boy among girls?  Read about it here in Nurturing the Masculine  I hope you enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nurturing the Masculine

Tears of joy
A question from Muthering Heights has got me thinking.  She asked, "How do you nuture your son's boyness?"  Like Jessica of Muthering Heights, I have one boy and 3 girls.  My son, Andy, is the second child.  He's surrounded by girls.  When his youngest sister was born, he cried as his dad gave him the news: "You have a baby sister".  He went off in the corner, alone, and cried.  He wanted a brother so badly!  Then he met his new sister and his tears of disappointment became tears of joy.  He loves that little girl so much!  Still, the problem remains:  How do I nurture my son's masculinity in a house overrun with girls? 

A girl, peaceful and quiet...
When he was a baby and a toddler, I didn't really do anything special to nurture his masculinity except buy him cute boy clothes and boy toys.  Learning to buy boy toys was challenging in itself because, to me, they all look the same.  When he was 2-years-old, he used to carry a Dora purse and wear Mardi Gras beads. (I looked everywhere for a picture of this, but couldn't find one.)   He played whatever his sisters were playing.  Mostly he was the dog or the prince or the pirate to his princess sisters.  As he's gotten older, his masculine interests have evolved and become apparent.  As a little boy, cars, pirates and dirt were his interests.  As a not-quite-6-year-old, his interests these days are hockey, video games and dirt as well as playing with other boys, which is challenging because our neighborhood is lousy with little girls.
until tackled by her brother.
How do I nurture his masculinity? I don't know.  I suppose I do it the same as I nurture the girls femininity.  I teach him about respect for his body, to use good manners, to play fair, to be kind.  I enroll him in sports and make him play outside as much as possible.  He's still little, only now in Kindergarten.  There will be more nurturing and more smelly boy things that I've not yet encountered or even imagined.  In his young life, I've already made mistakes in this area and undoubtedly there will be more mistakes made.  Boys are different than girls and it only gets more pronounced the older they get.  Sometimes he makes me crazy with his boyness, but mostly I'm happy for a different perspective.  My girls are girly, not prissy, just girly.  Having hockey pucks and guns mixed in among the ribbons and dolls is refreshing. 

If this isn't masculine, I don't know what is.
My husband is a wonderful role model for him. Andy copies everything his dad does.  Lately he's taken to wearing undershirts at all times and then sleeping in that and pajama bottoms, just like his dad.   Kevin loves it! I know Kevin will probably shoulder the brunt of teaching our boy to be a man.  What do I know about being a man?  All I know are the qualities I like in a man: a loving heart for God, kindness, generosity, strength and faithfulness.  When I think about it, that is all I need to know.