Friday, April 30, 2010

Losing 30 lbs--Part 5 (What God Did)

As I said, in "Part 2", I wish I could say this is where and how my journey began, but it didn't.  At the beginning of my journey, I had put (what I thought was) all the right things into place so that I could have the best chances of succeeding: accountability, a partner, even a Bible Study on weight loss... But I neglected to ask the Lord for his help and his blessing.

In other words, I had made it all about me...until I hit "the wall" (picture #2)

 (beginning)               (-20 lbs)                   (-30 lbs)

"The wall" I'm talking about came after I had steadily lost 20 lbs and then the weight loss just stopped.  At first I was encouraged by others who told me to keep going and after a week or two I'd notice a decline in my weight again...but after two months, there was still no change in my inches or my weight.  I was discouraged and didn't know what to do.

One Saturday, defeated, I went for a walk...alone.  I spent the time evaluating, criticizing myself and letting my thoughts get the best of me...

What was going on with my body?  Why wasn't my hard work paying off anymore?  How long was it going to take for me to lose this extra weight?  Was my willpower going to run out soon?  Did I need to start exercising harder and more frequently? How could I keep putting my family first, but still do what I needed to do to lose weight?

Then I heard the Lord speak to me!  I was so surprised to hear His voice I actually stopped walking.  I knew He wanted my attention so I just stood and listened.  He told me to "Seek first my kingdom and my righteousness and all these things would be added to you".  Really Lord?  Even something as trivial as weight loss?  You really care about that?

And He answered: Yes.  And in everything you do, do it for my glory...not your own.

Ouch.  I started walking again...thinking, pondering...hmmm...His glory.  THAT had been my missing "link".  All along, I had been doing it for me, for my "gain", for my glory, for my purposes.  I had left God out.

In that moment, I was feeling so foolish for all my selfish attempts to change me and bring myself "glory".  I was actually a little embarrassed too...God had caught me in the ugliness of my flesh.  He saw my yuck, my vanity, my pride.  He saw that I had forgotten Him...yet He came to me...but when He did, all I wanted to do was hide from Him.

I had a little glimpse of what Adam and Eve felt in the garden.

Thankfully, the Lord saved me from that too.  In one instant I went from wanting to hide myself, to realizing how faithful it was of the Lord to show me my unfaithfulness to Him.  Whoa.

So for the first time I talked to Lord, at length, about my weight...and all my worries, hopes, sinful attitudes, selfish ambitions, vain conceits, confusion and self-pity.  I got very honest with the Lord.

After walking and talking with the Lord for about an hour, I walked home with a new hope.  And this time, my hope wasn't rooted in my great ideas or in my "fail-proof" was rooted in the Lord.

From then on, I did just as He told me...I changed my focus.  I started seeking first His Kingdom and His Righteousness (plus, just seeking out what this meant for me) and when He would add spare time to my day, I'd exercise.

I started eating healthy because it glorified Him when I took care of my temple...not because I feared the calories.

And honestly, I can't tell you exactly *how* I lost those last 10 lbs...because I was basically still eating the same and exercising the same ways.  But one thing I do know is that the Lord was faithful to what He said to me.  He helped me lose my extra weight.  It may sound corny, but it's true. 
  (beginning)               (-20 lbs)                   (-30 lbs)
The Lord came to my rescue.  He not only rescued me from myself, from my idolatry, and my own ambitions, but He also rescued me by coming as a Helper in my desire to honor Him with my temple.

I still have another 5-10 lbs that I would like to loose...that would put me back at my college/wedding day weight.

But, I'm still seeking Him first, and exercising when I can, so I trust that if He wants me to get there, I will.  And for now, I'll be content in knowing that He has me just where He wants me!

Also in this series:
Losing 30 lbs--Part 1 (My Story)
Losing 30 lbs--Part 2 (How I Did It)
Losing 30 lbs--Part 3 (How I Ate)
Losing 30 lbs--Part 4 (Exercising with 4 Little Kids at Home)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Daily Chores For The Little Ones

I used to drag in the mornings. I would wake up with a simultaneous prayer and deep sigh.  Before my feet even hit the floor, I was already tired just thinking "here we go again" and we'd start the day.  

I would get running first thing--fixing bowls of cereal, changing diapers, loading dishes, cleaning spills, loading my first pile of laundry into the washer, etc.  My tone most mornings was sour and pitiful.  I often found myself wishing that my mornings weren't so demanding of me.

Then I started giving my kids more credit...and it empowered them (click for link)!  They wanted to help, but my control issues were keeping them from it.  So I eased up on my control and gave them more responsibilities.  Quickly, they became thrilled with helping...they felt proud of the new things they could do and were excited they were allowed to do all these "grown up" things!

Then I just needed to establish a routine that worked to make our mornings less mundane and more about having fun and working together.

So about 4 months ago, I discovered a 
rhythm for our morning that works SO well for us!  I can honestly say now that...
I LOVE MY MORNINGS... because they are now "our" mornings!  No more boys vegging in front of a DVD while momma runs around filling bowls and cups, cleaning up messes and dressing the babies...we are a team now!  And I keep telling my hubby, that I actually LOOK FORWARD to our mornings..and I know the kids do to!!!

Our morning rhythm success, has a lot to do with the chores we've set up.  Here's what the chores look like:


I have a post HERE about our schedule, so I won't go into it too much, but basically once we wake up and eat breakfast at the table (no DVD's in the mornings anymore) we start our chores.

First things first: MUSIC
We turn on some upbeat music and get to work!  My friend Amy wrote a great post about this HERE.

Chores by Age: (Morning)
**My 5-year-old, Trusten, is responsible for... 
Rinsing the breakfast dishes, and loading them into washer.
Taking the bedroom laundry to the porch and sorting and/or loading the washer.
Getting dressed, brushing teeth.
Making his bed.

My 3-year-old, Brahm, is responsible for...

Washing off the breakfast table.
Taking living room laundry to porch and loading it in the washer.
Getting dressed, brushing teeth with mommy.
Making his bed.

My 2-year-old, Samuel, is responsible for...

Getting all the cups to the counter
Getting dressed, brushing teeth with mommy
Putting any misc items back into his crib that mysteriously made it to the floor during the night.
Getting Bibles out for morning devotions.

All of this must be checked off before we move onto morning devotions!

**Trusten (5yo)...
Washing off lunch table
Kitchen clear (toys out of kitchen)
5 minute tidy (the room depends on what is needed)

**Brahm (3yo)

Cups to kitchen 
5 minute tidy (the room depends on what is needed)

**Samuel (2yo)

Shoe tidy (put all shoes on shoe shelf by door and/or straighten up shoes)
5 minute tidy (with Trusten--a bit of early mentoring)


**Trusten (5yo)
Wash off dinner table
10 minute tidy (the room depends on what is needed)

**Brahm (3yo)

Cups to kitchen
10 minute tidy

**Samuel (2yo)

Kitchen clear 
10 minute tidy with Trusten

Of course, now that we have a dog, I may need to tweak our chore chart to include some dog duties!

A few words about our chore chart...

--I used Sharpies for all the writing (each boy picked his own color).
--All the "check marks" are done in dry erase marker...
SO, when the day is over, I wipe off the check marks to prepare for the next day, but the chores and check boxes stay put!

Where are the kid-friendly pictures?
I used to use "chore cards" for the boys that had a picture of a boy brushing his teeth, making his bed, reading his Bible, etc.  We kept them in an envelope, but still, the cards got chewed up, lost or spilled on.

So, I took the "wall chart" route instead.  Honestly, it's more for me than the kids.  They have already gotten so used to the morning flow that they do each task without thinking.  But, I still like to keep track with our check-off chart.

I could have drawn little pictures next to each responsibility, but chose not to.  I don't have anything against that idea, and may even re-do it someday with pictures.

But for now, my kids seem to "get it" without needing picture reminders.

what better way for them to be introduced to letters and words than by having them recognize which assortment of letters goes with the task they just completed?

It's just another way I can encourage them to read and apply it!

This post is also linked to Real Clean Wednesday and Works For Me Wednesday!

Come back next Wednesday for my part of the "mommy's" daily chores look and how I schedule the cleaning each week!

Monday, April 26, 2010

MckLinky Monday! Blogging...the 5 W's

Who do you blog for?
When I first started my blog, it was mainly for my family members who live in other states.

Then I started finding blogs of my high school and college friends and added them to my "blogging motivation". I wanted them to see "see me now" kiddos, my life...and we could keep in touch via Blogger.

Still, I didn't blog often, but was inspired by my kindred spirit to start pick-up my blogging frequency, in order to make us both feel closer to one another.  She's far away in Guatemala and here I am in Kansas.  So Blogger connects us :)  It makes us feel like we're not quite so far away from each other and we are walking our mommy-hood roads hand in hand!

Nowadays, I still blog for all those people, but I've added an additional motivator: my family.  I think it's pretty neat that I have this blog as a "visual journal" for my kids to see someday.  I want them to know what we did together, why we did things the way we do, how I learned lessons through them, etc (Just in case I won't be able to remember someday!)

do I blog about?

(in no particular order)

My family.  Being frugal.  Cloth diapering.  My sweet hubby.  Training my littles.  Loving my littles.  Being a wife to Mr Visionary.  Recipes.  Pregnancy.  Being "QuiverFull".  Surrender.  Encouragement to moms of many littles.  Beginning homeschooling.  My struggle with vanity.  Simplifying my life.  Cleaning.  Scheduling.  Organizing.  My "Martha" dysfunction (obsessing over my house).  Stuff I make.  Managing my home.  Tips on managing all my littles.  Our new dog Charlie.  Psalm 27:4.

And Blogging :)

But I think my main theme on this blog is how I handle being a mom to 4 little kids...from cooking to how we structure our day.  I think in a way, my blog answers the #1 question I get from strangers: How do you do it?!

do you blog?

I blog mostly at nap-time.  Usually it is with a cup of yogurt or a cup of coffee.  I usually work on one post (sometimes two) during nap-time, but rarely do I start and finish a post in one sitting.

I also blog at the dining room table in the mornings while my boys have "quiet time" at the table (coloring, looking at books, playing with lego's...)

I will sometimes "schedule" a post to automatically post during a random time on a certain day.

With the Spring weather beckoning me and my kiddos outside every morning, sometimes I blog outside while I watch my boys being boys!  (With a few necessary interruptions here and there like: tossing a ball, watching a bike trick, playing freeze tag, demonstrating a cartwheel, studying a bug that was discovered in the bushes...I LOVE SPRING!)

do you blog?

At the computer in our dining room...

Or with my husbands oooold laptopSitting on the couch in my living room (or laying on the floor by the this old house three prong adapters are hard to come by!)

On my front porch.

Every once in the while in the kitchen while I'm waiting for the oven to "ding"!

Why do you blog?
One selfish but true answer, is that I do it for me. I know that's shallow, but I just love to write...especially when it involves a computer!  I'm one of those nerds in high school who loved writing research papers and looked forward to creative writing assignments.  I think I just like the look of black words on a white background.  It makes me feel complete :)

Plus, for me, blogging is kinda "my thing" way to relax, my way to connect with other women, other Christians, other mommas, it's my indulgence I look forward to (beside chocolate).  Because, blogging makes me feel happy...I just enjoy typing and sharing  my life!

Another true but humbling answer is that I do it for my readers.  I mean, this sounds obvious, sure.  But there are certain ones of you (you know who you are!) that bless my socks off with e-mails, comments and letters about how me (little me) is spurring them on or giving them fresh ideas.  It's your stories of how God is using me that make me want to keep writing and sharing.

My last true and surprising answer is that I do it for the blogs I follow.  They inspire me.  They give me new ways of looking at things.  They encourage me as a mom.  They comfort me.  They relate with me.  And in all this, they make me want to write things that will make others feel these things from me!

Share with us your 5 W's of blogging!  Write a post about your 5 W's this week and come back here to link up below...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wheeler Number 7 and Our Saturday...

Can you guess why I'm smiling?
The Wheelers have lots of reasons to smile lately...
~our good friend Jeremiah's wedding is in less than a month, 
~we recently have gotten news that two of our best-friend couples are pregnant (but it's still a secret), 
~my kindred spirit Sara just recently adopted a son and had her first baby girl,
~our precious friends the Peery's are soon having their first baby, 
~my BFF Kimberlee and hubby Antuan are celebrating 5 years of marriage (and yes, I take a lot of credit for their hook-up!)
~my sweet friend Mandy is having a BOY to add to their 4-girl household, 
~our "forever" friends (the Blackley's) just had a little boy, 
~our friends the Brocious's are soon going to Ethiopia to pick up their new daughter Zema
~our missionary friends, the Lowe's, just adopted two sons from Ethiopia...

Everyones families are growing!
  And the Wheelers LOVE to hear about families growing...But still, that's not the reason for the smile above...

I'm smiling because OUR family is growing

Yep, the Wheelers have another family member!  Before anyone jumps to conclusions (*wink*) let me tell you...we're not pregnant...but we did get a dog!!!

"Charlie" came to us on Friday afternoon.  A family (from my husbands school) was driving along Highway 169 and saw a sweet puppy wandering on the side of the road, getting a little too comfortable with the cars whizzing by at 70mph.  So, they picked him up and brought him to the school.

Immediately Ryan fell in love.  You see, we are suckers for a sweet puppy and even more for a free one!  In fact, we've had 3 other puppies since Ryan and I have been married, but none of them last longer than 4 months...(((so pray for Charlie!)))

was our first dog.  We had him before we had any kids and I loved him, but we quickly discovered that he was psychotic (literally).  We took him to two different vets for help, but they both said the same thing: he needed a monthly prescription for "puppy Prozac".  We couldn't afford it, so we took him to the animal shelter where they deemed him "unadoptable" and they put him to sleep :(

was next.  She was Trusten, Brahm and Samuel's first dog.  She was sweet, calm and loved the boys. But one unfortunate afternoon, she got hung up on a random pole in our yard and...well, she went to doggy heaven.  We're still not quite sure how she got herself in that predicament, but we now fully understand why you should never tie your dog up or leave their collar on matter how "safe" you think it is.

So we decided to wait on being Doggie Parents, until we got a fence.

Once we had a fence, we went looking again for a dog to call our own.  That's when we found "Rocket" at the shelter.  But we only had him two days.  He was very large, afraid of the boys, and easy with many tears, we took him back so they could find him a better home (specifically, a non-kid home).

We decided not to try again until the boys were older.  So technically (just for the record) let's make it clear that we didn't go looking for a dog this time...he came looking for us (cue corny music)!

Ryan called me in the afternoon to tell me about him.  He was wet (he had been out in a thunderstorm), scared and hungry.  We happened to still have puppy chow on hand, so I said, "Bring him home!".

The boys loved him right away and he loved them too.

Friday after work, we took him to the vet and got him checked out.  We also alerted local animal hospitals about him, just in case someone is looking for him.  But in Chanute, when a 10 week old puppy is found wandering on the side of the road, it usually means that someone couldn't afford the liter, didn't want to hassle with finding homes, and just let them loose...

So for now, we're calling him ours.  Trusten actually starting calling him "Var".  And that was his name for about 2 hours before Mom and Dad vetoed it!  Then we settled on an old, reliable family name, "Charlie".  Trusten (our animal lover) showed him around and made him more sure of his new home...
Then Ryan and I spent Saturday afternoon adding interior slates to our fence so that the neighbor dogs wouldn't harass Charlie too much...
When I say I helped, I mean that I handed Ryan the screws and occasionally held the level...
And so far Charlie hasn't had ONE SINGLE accident!!!  He seems too good to be true...I guess time will tell!!!

Some more pictures from our weekend:

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Benefit of Chores

I remember the first time I heard about 2 and 3 year olds having chores...and I thought "What?!"  I didn't get it.  I wondered how any mom could be so hard-pressed for help, that she'd enlist her 2 year old in helping around the house?

I mean, sure, telling them to pick up their toys after playing with them or having them throw their dirty diaper in the trash...but
household chores?...why make them work when they are so little?  Isn't that kinda cruel?

But then I realized I was thinking about it
all wrong. AND I started to give my kids a little more credit.  So, I started to make suggestions and then I watched them as they thrived.

Our oldest son Trusten (here 3 years old)
"helping" his daddy with the bathroom remodel...

In our house, it started when Trusten was just about 2 and a half.  He had always followed me into the laundry one day I suggested...

"How about you stand on that stool and throw all these clothes into the washer?"

"Sure momma!"

"Okay!  I'll be inside."

Shortly, with a huge grin and puffed out chest, he came in smiling and saying "All done!  Come see!"

It wasn't until then that I discovered, he loved helping!  He loved accomplishing something on his own!  He loved hearing his momma say "Good job buddy, that really blesses me!"

I have since realized that having my 1, 2 and 3 year olds help with chores is
their privilege.  It's not for me--after all, I could probably get it all done in HALF the time they do!  But the fact that they are "lessing my load" isn't the point. The point is that they are able to *work* at something, *finish* their task and feel the *joy* of being a blessing.

Adam was created to work...and so were my children..and
especially my boys.  Remember that it was before Adam's fall into sin that, "the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it." (Genesis 2:15)

So I'm trying to teach my boys even at a young age that their days aren't all about playing and doing what they want to do.  There are certain "expectations" I have for them.

But you know what the beauty of all this is?  They don't know chores are "bad" like us adults do!  Little boys love their chores!  They think it's one of the funnest parts of the day!  And in their "down time" they still often come and ask me, "can I have a chore to do?"

Which is really them asking,
can you trust me with a "big person" job because I want to help you and feel good about my hard work?

To which I say, "Yes, that would bless me very much!"

Now don't let me fool you, there are days when my boys (especially as they get older) get tired of doing the same thing every day, but we try to always encourage that they still complete their chores with a joyful heart.

And those times are always the perfect opportunity to remind them...
"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." (Colossians 3:23, 24)

See HERE for how I delegate and manage my kids chores!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Losing 30 lbs--Part 4 (Exercising With 4 Little Kids)

You know the "easy button"?  Well, I wish I had an "easy button" for exercising, because this is where I am least motivated.  Finding time to exercise is so hard for me...especially with 4 kids and a house to keep up with!  But as we all know, there is no easy way-out of exercising (at least not if you want real results).  Exercising takes work and it takes discipline...

For me, my kids have always been my excuse for not exercising.  But they aren't what held me back...I was what held me back.  I willingly handicapped myself with "I can'ts"....

"I can't find time, my kids are with me all day..." 

"I can't because I don't have a car to transport all of us..." 
"I can't afford a membership anywhere..."
"I can't because I don't have enough hands to get out with all of them..."
"I can't do it in the evenings because it's family time..."

But thankfully, I snapped out of my 6 year "I can't" stupor and found myself motivated to
give it a try regardless of all my excuses (and I had A LOT of excuses!).

Then, once I was willing to start looking outside of the box,  I discovered I had options!  I realized if I really wanted to exercise, I
could find a way.  It may not be easy, it may not be the same thing every day, but I could and I would exercise!


I made a commitment to exercise 5 times a week.  I usually took one day of the week "off" and made sure I exercised with my husband (and/or family) once on the weekend and then took Sunday to rest.

I did not do the same thing every day
.  Some days I walked, some days I did a DVD workout, some days it was a bike ride, some days I swam laps (that's when my in-laws had a pool!).  It was unrealistic for me to think that "everyday at this time I will do this exercise routine", because as any mom knows, we never know what our day will hold!  Not to mention, I'd get bored with doing the same ol' thing everday (and my kids would too!)

So even though I couldn't be consistent with the time of day or a specific routine, I was consistent with a simple schedule.  Monday-Thursday and Saturday I exercised...and I kept myself on track!


I walked alot.  Sometimes I'd walk with the kids up to Ryan's work, just to pick up the van and then drive to the nature trail to really walk.  Or, we'd just walk to his work, stay for recess and walk home.

|I'll be honest though...
walking is tricky with 4 kidsBUT I was determined to not let it be my excuse anymore!

At first, my oldest son would ride his bike, I'd push my two younger boys in the double stroller and I'd "wear" Liberty.  It was quite a workout just getting ourselves set up for our walk!

Then my middle son started
learning how to ride his "real" I was able to push my youngest two in the double stroller while my older two rode their bikes.  Still, I felt like I was burning hundreds of calories just getting the stroller and two bikes loaded and unloaded every day!

So...we walked and walked and walked...and the other plus to this was that the boys would *ask* to take naps almost every day--so I got one too--and I needed that since I still had a newborn!

Walking is how I lost most of my weight...
but not just walking...walking using my T-Tapp Tecniques!


On rainy days, and occassionally at naptime, I would T-Tapp and sometimes my hubby would join me.  I heard about T-Tapp from the MOMYS and was curious enough to buy a clearanced DVD.

Upon my first trial of it, My hubby and I couldn't really "feel" it working, so we wondered if it was really worth it.  Then we woke up the next morning SORE and decided it was working more than we knew!

T-Tapp is a wellness workout
.  Its special sequence of comprehensive, compound muscle movement helps establish better alignment as well as increased strength and flexibility of the spine, better neuro-kinetic flow, lymphatic function, and increased metabolic rate.

don't be's CHALLANGING and you will sweat!  Read more about what T-Tapp is and will do for you, on her site, HERE.

To me,
the BEST thing about T-Tapp is that it only takes 10-15 minutes for the Basic Workout.  You *can* do more, but just that 10 minutes will be a full workout to engage and wake-up your muscles AND increase your metabolism, which helps with weight loss!

Within a few weeks, my hubby and I were standing straighter, feeling healthier and engaging more muscles in our everyday activities--thus burning more calories in our day and normal activities than ever!  And also within a few weeks, several friends of our were "hooked" on T-Tapp too because of the changes they saw in Ryan and I!

The T-Tapp tecniques also DOUBLED the affectiveness of my walking efforts.  If you're curious, we purchased and use
The Basic Workout Plus and Walk Away the Inches.

Doing the T-Tapp DVD before tackling normal housework will even maximize your calorie burn!

see some examples, scroll down THIS PAGE to the videos at the bottom, or search for T-Tapp on You Tube!

***(by the way, there is no actual "tapping" involved...the creator of this exercise tecnique just happens to have the last name Tapp!)

*MOMYS, feel free to leave a testimony in the comments on your experience with T-Tapp!

Lose Your Mummy Tummy

Again, I heard about this DVD from the MOMYS.  I was able to borrow a copy from one of them, which was even more wonderful!

I think I only watched it a total of two or three times, and then just applied the exercises to my everyday life (which is what she encourages you to do).  This didn't burn many calories, but it did help me tone and manage my extra belly fluff!  :)

Now, I've always prided myself in my flat belly despite my multiple pregnacies...even after the baby was born, my belly always went back to flat.  BUT as I started losing weight, I noticed a little tummy "buldge" I wanted to change.

MOST importantly, for me, I learned certain movements that women who have beared children (and struggle with a "Mummy Tummy") should "never" do.  I realized that even the way I was getting in and out of bed was causing more damage to my "diastasis", (a separation of the outermost abdominal muscles caused during pregnancy) than I knew!

Family Time

We always loved family bike rides and we think this is the funnest way to exercise!  

In 2008, just after I had Samuel, I'd "wear" him (not too safe, I know) and Ryan would pull the boys in a trailor that some friends gave us...

The summer of 2009, we invested in some things that would make us more active as a family.  Ryan and I both got new bikes, we bought a "cocoon" seat so Trusten could ride on the back of Ryan's bike, and a friend gave us a "trailer" to pull the other kids in.

Then, this Spring, because of the added blessing to our family, we bought another trailer for Ryan's bike, so we all the kids could sit and enjoy the bike ride...and trust me, Ryan and I get a GOOD workout, pulling 2 kids each!!!
When the kids are older, and they bike farther distances and be a little more independent on the streets, I'm sure we'll enjoy having all of us out with our own bikes, but for now, this is what works best for us!

Wii Fit Plus or Gym Membership?
Most people who know us, know that we are a semi-anti-video game family!  So a lot of people were surprised when we bought a Wii with our Christmas bonus.

Originally, I really wanted to buy a membership to our local gym here, but it's pretty expensive.  So, when we realized the savings we'd find if we would just buy a Wii and the Wii Fit Plus, we deiced that was the way to go!  Plus, unlike a gym membership, we'd have it for more than just a was ours to own and use whenever in the future too.

So, my last 10 stubborn pounds came off by using the Wii Fit.  I really don't think the Wii was necessarily the was more about the fact that I was exercising more often because it was fun and I could target certain areas to work on.  Plus, a change in exercise intensity and variability is usually just what the doctor orders when you're stuck in your weight loss.

I Suggest...

-borrowing before you buy any DVD's (a lot of techniques can be learned and memorized).
-finding more than one exercise routine and switch it up often
-get your kids moving with you (Trusten used to T-Tapp with me and we had SO much fun!)
-"suck in your tummy" at all times, (no matter if you're exercising or not) and encourage those muscles to move from a TIGHT position, not a relaxed one (this works for men too!)
-maintain good posture throughout the day and that will help engage and tone your muscles!

 Also in this series:
Losing 30 lbs--Part 1 (My Story)
Losing 30 lbs--Part 2 (How I Did It)
Losing 30 lbs--Part 3 (How I Ate)
Losing 30 lbs--Part 5 (What God Did)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bringing Some Upstairs, Downstairs

I love organization and simplification!  But storage in this old house (and it seems all old houses around here) is sparse.  

So, needless-to-say, I also love all variety's of "Rubbermaid"-type tubs, boxes, towers and drawers...and oh the drawers!  I have 9 of these all over my house.  I use them in my tall closets (for things not used often like dress-up clothes), in my school room (for supplies, educational games, workbooks), and in the kitchen (for pot holders, towels, recipe books).

I also have one special tower of drawers tucked next to the refridgerator in my kitchen, designated for my boys. 

Their room is "waaaaay" upstairs.  So in order to avoid countless trips up and down the CREEKY stairs (which I try to definetly avoid during the early morning and nap time--for my sleeping babes), I have brought a bit of the upstairs...downstairs! 

This has been wonderful for me because right now I try to leave the door to the upstairs closed because of my curious, crawling, climbing Liberty JoySo the less trips upstairs, the better!

 With one boy potty training, another boy encountering too many "accidents" during the day, and all three of them loving mud, gravel and puddles, we usually have a couple of outfit changes during the day.  So to make that a little more simple for me, I gave them each a drawer downstairs. 

It's their responsiblity to keep their drawer "stocked" with extra shorts, shirts and undies.  They also use their drawers to put important "treasures" that they don't want to forget to play with after naps, or the next day! 

It saves me some hassle, helps things running smoothly and keeps things a little more simple around here...which I always need!

This post is also linked to Real Clean Wednesday and Works For Me Wednesday.

And if you hop over HERE to I Dream Of Clean (host of Real Clean Wednesday), she's having a fabulous giveaway for a cleaning dream come true!!  I could finally say goodbye to my tupperware bowl that holds my random supplies!  :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Samuel's After Dinner "Snack"

I've blogged before about our dinner-time woes...teaching our kids "it doesn't always have to taste good". And I've blogged about how I get my "vegetarians by chioce" to eat meat.

Well, I found out the other day that one key to a happy dinner time and a key to getting Samuel to eat his meat is the all-powerful ENCHILADA!!!

Here's the proof...I walked in on Samuel doing this the other day...And yes, I really did CHERISH this moment. I could have gotten upset, I could have complained about the mess, but instead, I grabbed the camera and cherished my sweet Samuel enjoying his momma's cooking!

My kids may not have gotten alot of my Hispanic genes in their blood, but at least we know Samuel has the Hispanic taste buds :)

PhotobucketThis week for my "MckLinky Monday", I'm participating in...

and I'm also now linking this over to Every Precious Joy
for her "Toddler Tales Tuesday" should join us!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Losing 30 lbs--Part 3 (How I ate)

It may sound pitiful, but I really had no idea how to eat healthy... In high school I was captain of the cheerleading squad, skinny and carefree with my eating. So like I said in Part One, I had never had to diet...I ate whatever I wanted and kept my slim little figure...until baby world!

**Now let me just add here (because I did receive an e-mail from a reader about this), that as I mentioned before, I do not regret having baby after baby. Early in our marriage, we told the Lord that He is Lord over our entire life...including my womb. We told him we would trust HIM with all our hearts, and not lean on our own understanding or be wise in our own eyes (Proverbs 3:5,7). Each child has been nothing less than a blessing (Psalm 127:3-5) and has come in God's perfect timing (Job 1:27)...not our timing...which takes a lot of pressure off of us :). After having said that, I just want to clarify that the babies weren't really my issue. My issues were (and are) lack of self-control, and an over abundance of both selfishness and laziness.**

Now (back to what I eat) my husband and I spent about 2 hours at the grocery store on our first trip with the intention to eat healthy.  We looked at every label, compared each was a bit exhausting!  But it also paid off because we knew the best choices and could make QUICK stops at the store and knew what we *could* eat and what we shouldn't!

Getting Real:
One of the first things I had to get real about was that there would be times I wouldn't be full...and that was okay.  Just because I didn't feel full didn't mean I should eat!  There would be times I'd be hungry and times I'd feel satisfied...I had to get used to not feeling FULL!

Drink of Choice: Water
Because I was nursing and because I knew it was good for me, I made a goal to drink 3 quarts of water a day. I bought a big jug at Wal-Mart that was 1 quart, so I just made myself fill it up and drink it empty 3 times a day!

Breakfast: Fiber!!!
I found out from MyFoodDiary (talked about this in Part 2) that fiber is the best way to start your day. Well as a junky eater, I probably don't need to tell you how much I hated this idea.

This was a HARD transition for me! I am all about the sweet kids cereals! Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Captain Crunch...I loved 'em all! I never ever thought I could choke down "healthy" cereal first thing in the morning. But I tried a few cereals out and realized I actually could handle plain Cheerios (I didn't have to *love* how it tasted...remember that post?).

I did find out that I loved Fiber One's Honey Clusters and Frosted Mini-Wheats (which I now eat every morning). I also found out I liked Kix...

But for me, Frosted Mini-Wheats and Fiber One cereals are the best choice for a breakfast rich in fiber!

Early Afternoon snack: Fruit
I am allergic to many citrus fruits, so that really limits my choices, but I would usually eat an apple, pear or banana inbetween breakfast and lunch. Fruit like grapes can be REALLY high in sugar, so just be careful how much sugar is in your fruit...because even though it's natural, it can still work against your weigh loss goals (I learned that from MyFoodDiary too! :) )

I'm not saying this is the best choice, but I always ate a healthy "frozen dinner" for lunch. I ate varietys of Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, and Healthy Choice. These sometimes put me over in sodium, but kept me right where I needed to be for calorie intake, carbs and fats.

-Usually high in sodium
-A little costly
-Hardly natural, it's completely processed (obviously)

-Fast! (which I need with 4 kiddos to feed)
-They were already in the "My Food Diary" system (and in My Fitness Pal as well)
-Kept me satisfied until Late Afternoon snack

Late Afternoon Snack:I'm a carb lover, so I love plain pita bread.  It might not sound appealing, but by afternoon, I craved it!  So I often had a healthy choice of carbs like Joseph's Healthy Heart Pita Bread (high in protein, low in carbs and cholesterol).  I'd also have a yogurt, granola bar and/or fat-free pudding depending on how I was doing on Calories!

Big Salad for Dinner
I had a big ol' salad for most dinners (unless I had prepared a healthy dinner for the family). I changed it up alot and never got tired of eating salad every night...I really never did! Usually, it consisted of Romaine Lettuce, Mozzerella Cheese, Sunflower Seeds, Cucumbers, and a ton of dressing...

Now, most people will tell you that dressing is the unhealthy part of a salad and if you use a ton, you have probably blown your diet. I did use Ranch (low-fat, low calorie) from time to time, but what I heard was the best (Yes, from MyFoodDiary!) was Italian dressing...especially a low fat one.

I have NEVER liked Italian (I grew up on Ranch dressing) but I decided to give it a try since it was about 1/4 the calories of most Ranch's. That's when I discovered that Kraft has a line of Olive Oil Vinegarettes that I *love*!!!

And I even added some Bran to my salad by using Good Sense Semame Bran Sticks which are really good and a great "crouton" replacement!

After Dinner Snack:

I tried not to eat after dinner, but because my husband and I were used to eating a large bowl of ice cream or sugary cereal every night (Yep, that's true!) we would sometimes give ourselves a little allowance if our calories for the day were low.  We'd have a pudding, yogurt or granola bar...all were either rich in fiber, low in fat or high in protein!


I gave myself a few, easy to follow boundaries such as (but not including my whole list)...

-Nothing to eat after dinner except either a yogurt (low-fat) or a piece of fruit (but be careful, some fruits are HIGH in sugar!)

-No pop or tea, at all.

-Desserts on weekends only

-No adding salt in my cooking or to prepared food. (A few recipes that called for it, I substituted with Sea Salt).

Really, the key is pinpointing your weaknesses and giving yourself boundaries where those things aren't necessarily cut out, but are given parameters.  Don't set yourself up for failure or guilt-filled pleasures.  (For me, I'm not a pop person, but would drink it just it wasn't hard for me to cut it out completely.  However, I love chocolate, so I let myself have that on weekends!)

Planning Ahead
Once I had all this in place, I felt like I was chained to my house. How could I eat at a restaurant without knowing how many calories I was ordering? Was it possible to eat fast food without falling 10 steps back? So I learned to plan ahead...which takes discipline, but pays off!!!

I used First Place 4 Health's
Food on the Go Guide, so I could know the best choices at most fast food place and restaurants. I also asked certain places to see their nutritional fact sheets and sometimes I (at places like Sonic) I even went on-line to see their nutritional guides so I knew the best choice to make! I told you...I was serious about my weight loss! :)The other key here was my accountablity (which I talked about it Part 2). I had told "key" people about my goals, so when I went to visit my parents, my sisters or went out to eat with my friends, they could support me.

I often took my own box of cereal when traveling out of town. My mom and sisters would cook "healthy" for me, which helped a ton! At one point, my brother-in-law decided the whole "Macias extended family" needed to start living healthier, so he initiated a lot of the healthy eating and active gatherings when we were all in town together!

Still, I let myself splurge from time to time for a special occasion or for "date night".  But I always tried to eat until satisfied, not until full, whenever I splurged.

Again, the key is thinking ahead and giving yourself a little help before you get bombarded with temptation!

Also in this series:
Losing 30 lbs--Part 1 (My Story)
Losing 30 lbs--Part 2 (How I Did It)
Losing 30 lbs--Part 4 (Exercising With 4 Littles Kids)
Losing 30 lbs--Part 5 (What God Did)
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