Wednesday, December 21, 2011

La Familia y Comida

Well, time to play catch up! A lot has happened since my last post, mainly in the form of a surprise trip to Cincinnati! Woohoo! Most people are probably wondering why Cincinnati of all places would elicit a "woohoo!" from anyone, especially a city girl like me, but I have family there that I really enjoy and I haven't been back to Cinci in 8 years! That is almost a decade!!!!!

My mom's sister and her hubby started their family in Mexico (she was teaching abroad and met this suave Meixcan named Poncho... they got married and she stayed in Mexico with him, had 3 kids, etc.). Well he worked for Proctor & Gamble and eventually the company wanted him to head up an enterprise in Cincinnati, their US headquarters. And so, the family moved there back in the late 80's and has been in the same house ever since! We used to visit for Thanksgiving back when my Grandma was mobile, and I would stay for a few weeks to a month in the summertime. Needless to say, Cincinnati, or more likely the cousins and aunt and uncle I have there, all hold a special place in my heart.

Well, those 2 crazy Mexican love birds celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this past monday! Imagine that?! 40 years. WOW! My cousin Tanya had the idea to throw them a surprise party to celebrate... afterall, nowadays how many people make it to their 40th anniversary? Slim to none, right? So she sent everyone save the dates and hoped for a good turnout.... and she sure got one!!!!

People traveled from California, Georgia, all over Ohio... and even Mexico City! And let me tell you, "the Mexicans" (my uncle's sister, brother & kids) are an absolute BLAST! I had spent time with them as a kid because 1 summer we all ended up staying with my aunt & uncle at the same time, and I also got to party with them at both my cousins' weddings back in 2003. But again, it's been 8 years and I tell ya, not much has changed! They are still as fun loving and warm and kind as ever! I kinda wish I was related to them also! haha.

Since there were so many out of town guests, the "grown ups" stayed at a hotel, but the "cousins" stayed with my cousin Tanya. She lives about a mile from my Aunt & Uncle and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her house! It feels like a cabin in the woods, decorated with Crate & Barrel stuff....and lots of nice linens and toiletries to enjoy. Oh and yes, it is in the woods (a deer family walked right by the bedroom window while I was there!), but yet the main road with Wendy's & McDonald's was within walking distance.... quite a paradox! I had to take a picture of her house to commemorate my trip of course....

Tanya and I have had a special relationship since I was a kid. She is 8 years older than me but has always treated me like a friend more than a "little kid". I was always invited to tag along with her and her friends, we like the same things in general (except she doesn't like shopping... blashphemy!), and back in the good old days our family called us the "Bobsey Twins". It kind of stinks that we live a nation away from each other, but the good part is that when we DO get to spend time together it's as though no time has passed at all. I love her! Oh and her hubby Aaron and kids are all adorable as well... just a really nice family :)

Ok so back to the title of this entire post.... "La familia y comida" means "the family and food" because Tanya's mom, my aunt Marilyn loves to cook more than anyone I have ever seen, met, dreamt of, etc. This lady would cook in her sleep if she could! And nothing gives her more joy than seeing others enjoy her cooking! So Tanya had to somehow convince her that despite her son Ian (my cousin) and his wife Krista and their kids being in town from Switzerland for the holidays...s he was NOT allowed to cook her own anniversary dinner! She just told her to dress nicely and that Ian, Krista, Aaron (her hubby) and all of their kids were going out to a nice dinner for the evening.

Little did she know, 45 of her nearest and dearest were eagerly awaiting her arrival at a local restaurant! Here is what she looked like when she figured out that people had actually traveled in an airplane to celebrate with them....

I was the first person that she saw and kind of looked at in recognition like "hey what are you doing here?!". I went forward and gave her a hug and she went "OH MY GOSH! Alexis?!!!" She later confessed that she was thinking that I was a woman who LOOKED like me, but she wasn't sure it was me because she hadn't seen me since I had started losing all my weight! In fact last time she saw me was the day before my surgery! That part was kind of fun :) In fact, the Mexicans were SHOCKED when they saw me! I was at a peak weight in 2003 when they saw me (around 220lbs) so the wives had to tell their husbands that I was in fact "me". That was fun too!

Overall the party turned out great, and Tanya was grateful to have my party planning "expertise" in a few set up details, requests, etc. Hey.. it's what I do ; ) My aunt and uncle could not stop saying how surprised they were and how no one had ever thrown a party for them in the past 40 years, ESPECIALLY not a suprise party! They truly had no idea. And my aunt started crying (and I think my uncle shed a few tears too) when they saw how many people had made the effort to be there to celebrate with them! Well done T on planning an awesome surprise party!

Well, as predicted by all of us, the minute the party was over my aunt was planning our next feast at her house. We followed up the late night after party with a traditional Mexican breakfast....aka heaven on a plate! She made moilletes (pronounced Moy-yet-tays...not sure if I spelled it right) but basically it is rolls browned on a griddle, slathered with refried beans, monterey jack cheese, and broiled until the cheese is all melty. OMG DELICIOUS!!!! I hadn't had those in again, 8 years, and they tasted as good if not better than I remembered. And additionally she made chilaquiles.... torn tortillas lightly fried, smothered in fresh warm salsa verde, and topped with chopped onions and crema. No folks, those items are NOT on my diet!!! But darn they were amazing!

We also ended up at her house for dinner (think 20 people each meal) and there were just too many dishes to list on here, but all of them were outstanding and delicious. The cool thing about having a family that loves to eat is the comraderie around the table. Meals with all of my cousins and family and aunt and uncles... they are just awesome. We can sit forever just talking, laughing, reminiscing. It really is special. That's the one thing about this surgery that kind of blows.... I can only eat so much so while everyone else is still enjoying, I am cut off. (the trade is COMPLETELY worth it, so don't think I am truly complaining) But here I am , hanging with the ladies (Tanya, me, & my cousin Ian's wife, Krista)..... as I mentioned before, the table was about 20ppl deep at one point!

The other really awesome thing is that the three of us have all been pregnant around the same times, twice for all of us, girl first boy second for ALL OF US!!! How cool is that?! I loved seeing and playing with all of my cousins who all happened to be around my same age, so I am thrilled that my kids will get the same experience... not only from the Cincinnati peeps, but also from my Bay Area peeps as well.... us cousins are apparently good breeders! haha And we all had kids around the same time making for good times in the future.

So I have to credit my ability to attend this fine function to my mama. She bought my ticket with her credit card miles because apparently CVG is an expensive airport.... cheapest tickets were close to $400... OUCH. So Thank you MOM!!!! You are awesome! And also thanks to Roger who not only watched the the kiddos all weekend but also took care of Pearl, my parent's beloved weiner dog. She is like kid #3... even has to sleep in a people bed! haha. My mom was glad to get a picture of her entire family at the restaurant where the party was held... very festive as you can see! My "little" brothers are growing into men very quickly!

My flight home was purposely scheduled so that I could enjoy Monday in Cinci before going home.... I knew I got in late, but I wasn't prepared to be sitting on the tarmac for over an hour due to some mechanical glitch that had to be cleared. But alas, I made it home safely and was so glad to see my little monkeys and snuggle with them. They really are amazing kids and Aidan, in her sleepy haze, was coherent enough to sit up and say "MAMA!!!" and give me a big hug, before laying back down and passing out. I love that girl :)

Not much rest to be had before our Blue Water work party the following evening. I love these girls too! Kelly & Jennifer are the front lines at work and they are really great. We have a wonderful time discussing world issues like shopping at Goodwill & Target, calling each other fake names (I'm Charlene, in case you were wondering), and enjoying all of the great treats that come through our front door! I am lucky to have such great coworkers (even Dave, who took me to the airport on my way to Cinci!). Oh and might I add that we also like to get the party started early....

Merry Christmas Friends and Fam! I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday and enjoy "la familia" "la comida" and all of the blessings that Christmas brings!

Oh and my next check in about eating right and weight... eeks... Cincinnati was a land of Skyline chili 3 ways, diet Pepsi galore, chocolate opera cake, and Outback.... yeah.... I need to work on my restraint! The good news is that I can only eat so much : X Still holding strong at a size 4/6 and 138/9 lbs though!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Uptown Girl, living in a Crafty world

The title today was pretty snazzy huh?? Uptown girl... I'd say downtown world, but in reality, around these parts, downtown is uptown.... but the point is that I am a city girl through and through. San Francisco, born and raised, 4th generation BABY!!! Woohoo!

Well, now that I got my city pride outta the way, perhaps I should get down to the point of this post! You see, I have noticed that in the past 2 years or so "handmade" goods are all the rage. I fall into the raging category, yet I have never been Susie Homemaker and I am 10x more likely to order out or in than cook a meal. Not so much since surgery, but that's just cause I am poor at the moment :) Either way, my domestic skills have been lacking, and I recently decided that it is high time I do something about it!!!

Enter my magical website called Pinterest.... land of the crafty, resourceful, mother, teacher, or creative someone or other. I freaking LOVE this website. The main reason is that some of the ideas or crafts seem so darn easy I think to myself "I can TOTALLY make that!". One catch: items you sew. Or embroider. Or really anything involving a sewing machine.

I grew up with a Grandma who could sew anything... she used to make my mom's clothes (stylish ones I may add!) when she was growing up/a teen, she used to make my Halloween costumes, she would even sew my teddy bears outfits to match mine! Her sewing machine was put to good use. And in the same way, my mom is a great seamstress... she definitely knows her way around a sewing machine, and has made me Halloween costumes, etc. Yeah that's pretty much where the sewing bloodline ends.

The cool thing is that I just so happen to work for a boss that has an embroidery machine and was completely willing to let me bring it home to make some holiday gifts. SCORE!!! Those things are like $500! I figured I would bring it home, read the manual, and get to work. Ummm the manual is like 200 pages full of crazy diagrams with letters and arrows, and the LCD screen on the machine is awesome and everything but I could barely figure out how to turn the darn thing on. Martha Stewart: 1. Alexis: 0. Roger had a good laugh at me trying to figure out what everything was and he told me sewing takes a lot more than just a lesson.

He did prove to be right (hmph) BUT my boss Karen was kind enough to start my lessons yesterday!!! Lesson 1: threading the bobbin, and threading the needle. Here I am.... I made my coworker Dave take a picture of this momentous occasion!

My desk is behind the bookcase thing, and I swear it is not normally full of crap... those are all really cool sewing CDs and tutorials that were in my boss' sewing SUITCASE... yes that's right her machine travels in style.

Anyway, my lesson lasted about 15 minutes because I had to go get my babies but I *think I just might be able to accomplish the 2 tasks I learned yesterday, by myself. We shall see when I attempt lesson #2... learning wtf the LCD screen does.

On to something a little more my style.... life downtown! Growing up in San Francisco, the downtown area, namely Union Square, is all abuzz with holiday fun! It just so happens that I have a meeting downtown tonight for my Catering association and one of our board members works at the Westin St. Francis.... SCORE!!!! I cannot tell you how excited I am because I have yet to feel the joy of the season in downtown SF. I love the lights, the tree, the energy... yup. I'm a city girl!

Now the thing about going downtown is that everyone is so spiffy down there! I couldn't go to my meeting looking like a schlub.... so I figured, LBD (little black dress), tights, boots.... AND MY NEW AWESOME RED PURSE! Love the color pop, right?!!! So fun! So Holiday! And SO CHEAP!!!!

Those who know me know that purses are not really my "thing". I don't have a Louis. I do have a Gucci (and as I am writing this I am realizing that it is actually red... and super cute... perhaps I should have worn it today....) but the Gooch is from Florence and I got it half off which was the equivalent of $250 which in the grand scheme is nothing for a Gucci bag..... but anyway I digress..... My normal every day purse was a Target steal that cost me $6.24 and I find it very hard to pull all of my crap out to change purses for a day. So generally, I don't.

BUUUUUUUUT.... for this occasion, I decided, what the heck. My new purse is snazzy, right?!! Well yeah snazzy and a steal at $12. I was thrilled. Thrilled UNTIL my coworker Kelly pointed out that perhaps it was a steal because it is BROKEN! (insert huge GASP!). Say what?! How the heck did I miss that?!!!! Well the ends are bound with these weird door hinge mechanisms so the bag flexes open to hold your stuff. On one side the pins that go through the mechanism were missing. Oh geez.....

I guess I better pull a MacGuyver on this puppy!!!!!!!
If you were not laughing before, you are definitely laughing now. This is my magican MacGuyver creation with paperclips!!! LOL. Hey, I may not be able to sew, but I do know how to make it work. I'm like Tim Gunn on Project Runway... Make it work!!!!

In all honesty I do not think that you can see the paperclips from afar, and I definitely wouldn't be walking around with this purse every day (just for tonight's festivities it seems), so the paperclips were a GENIUS idea! Go me!!!

And go me on my hair. I am slowly learning to manage it with no product and a little creativity. My cousin wanted to know if I still like it and if my face looks fat with it short. My response to her: see below

I don't think my face looks fat at all. But I also don't think that I am fat anymore. If I was 40lbs heavier like I was for about 7 years, then this style would have definite potential to bring out the butterball in my face. The weird thing is that I kinda feel like my jaw is almost angular now. I had always believed I had a really round face. Perhaps it was just pudge?? The more I see this picture the more it looks like I have a really big head. I don't have a big head, I swear... Kelly my professional blog photographer is 6 feet tall so she has a weird angle..... thanks Kelly!

And so my friends, this uptown/downtown/all around girl is about to enjoy a night in the city with some colleagues who rock.... off to enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Glass Gingerbread House

Where do I even begin with this blog?? There is so much to say but the main point is that those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Let me also start with WHY I write my blog. I heard that some people believe that only egotistical people write blogs. Well, I have one thing to say about this... well no, I have 2. The first thing is that if I am blogging and egotistical, Why are you reading my blog???? The second is that the reasons I write are: a) it is a journal for me to remember my journey. I recently reread all of my entries, and I have changed so much since day 1 of writing. b) it is a chance for strangers who have had, or are thinking about having weightloss surgery to understand my journey, to compare their experiences, or to be empowered to start their journey. I have gotten numerous emails of random people thanking me for writing.

And the biggest "thank you" starts with "THANK YOU FOR YOUR HONESTY". And this comment is probably the nicest one that I could ever ask for. You see, I have absolutely no hesitation in being an open book. This blog is public for a reason. I am not ashamed of any decision I have made with or in my life. And despite the positive responses, I have also been hearing some "gossip" that is going on behind my back about my life and my blog. So I am going to pointedly address these issues in order to clarify.

Let's start with family ties. You see, blood is supposed to be thicker than water. I grew up in a very nice family. I would say my childhood was far happier than a lot of people's. My mother was a single mother until I was around 8 and we lived with my grandparents which was probably one of her best decisions because we lived in a very warm and cozy home (that very same house where all holidays and birthdays are spent : )). And when she married my stepdad I was again so blessed to be given a stepdad who I don't consider a "step", just a dad. He is an amazing man. I also was fortunate to grow up with plenty of aunts and uncles and cousins and just generally.... I have a great family!

I would also like to add that my Grandma (the one who is in the hospital) is an amazing woman. She was my second mom. I love her. And I am really blessed to have a mother who would a) not only do anything for me as her daughter, but has truly devoted her life to caring for my grandma for the past 15+ years (she has been wheelchair bound since her stroke that long ago). She has 3 siblings, some that live far away, and another who lives close by, but none do a milimeter as much as my mom does. And I think that deep down they know that. Some try their best to help and others choose to be so self absorbed that they don't visit in nearly a year or have the decency to call her on Thanksgiving (while in the hospital mind you). But yet all seem to have a whole lot to say about my grandma's care. I would honestly love for them to spend just a week in my mother's shoes. Caring for my grandma is a ton of work, so although my mom may not get to work until 11am, she certainly isn't lounging in bed until then. Instead she is going to the pharmacy, answering the 45th phone call because my grandma is INSISTING that she MUST get orange juice for breakfast, visitng the hospital, shuttling my brothers to school, packing lunches, doing laundry, etc etc etc. Oh, did I mention she runs her own business on top of all of that. Again.... those in glass houses, whose houses are a helluva lot smaller, shouldn't throw stones.....

But as time has gone by (and the tone of this blog unfortunately), I feel like our family has splintered. Divisions have formed, and in my opinion some family members have become overcome with bitterness and contempt. Well folks, I have one thing to say: If you are over the age of 18, that makes you an adult. It makes you liable for your own actions. You cannot live life BLAMING others. You cannot accuse others of "destroying" your life. Your life is the way it is because of your own choices, and if you are in a space in life that you don't like, change it. I hated being 245lbs. Yeah I complained a lot... and then I realized that I was that way because of my own issues and choices in life. And then I CHOSE to CHANGE.

That change has made me a better person, I believe. I spend a lot less time worrying about others' faults, and what I am not getting from them. I spend more time worrying about myself and what I can do to help others. I spend more time worrying about my healthy. I am doing better at work. Sadly, my marriage failed, but you know what.... no relationship is perfect. No one can sit there and say that their marriage is 100% hunky dory. Even if your marriage has lasted for 40 years, I am sure that there have been bumps in the road.

Someone said that I must've married Roger for a father figure. Ummm no. Or ummm Maybe? I don't really know. But if marrying someone simply to satisy a "weakness" or "emotional issue" is the answer does that mean that someone who is REALLY jacked up marries a therapist for free sessions??? Or should my next husband be a personal trainer because now that's what I really need??? I think not. We SHOULD be marrying for love (at least in Western belief) and I knwo that my relationship was and is very difficult to understand for friends and family but often times relationships are only decipherable by those who are living them. As the saying goes, you don't know what goes on behind closed doors. And I could spend days talking bad about Roger, and at times have, but there are also 100 wonderful things I could say about him as a father, as a husband and as a person. We don't hate each other, we are just not meant to be married.

Also on that note, I want to say something about family in general. If you want to BE part of a family, you have to participate. You have to make an effort. Any relationship works that way. The friends I see most or am closest to.... we are that way because we both make an effort to be a part of each others lives. We both help each other in times of need. We both offer a shoulder to cry on or to lean on. We also offer encouragement. We don't sit there and criticize each other or others and we enjoy each other's company. Sure, I have friends whose decisions I don't agree with, but I like them as a person. And I respect them enough to tell them to their face that I don't agree with their choices, but just because of that, it doesn't mean we can't be friends. In fact, in a lot of ways, being friends with people who have different views than my own enlightens me and broadens my own horizons, even if my choices are different.

You see, I don't live in a "dream world". I didn't get married "for a dream wedding" (trust me, a dream wedding would have been free!). I also didn't get married for a father figure. I love my family and my children. I write my blog not for my ego, but to share and record. I also write it with transparency... I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. And if people reading this are too ashamed to a) admit they read this or b) confront me about issues in my life that they feel the need to gossip about, then I truly feel sorry for them. I hope that one day they will find peace in their own relationships, both marriages and family ones to be honest with themselves and realize that their own houses are glass, and there is plenty that I could say to hurt them or criticize, but I won't.

Life is about love, it is about learning, it is about forgiviness. And it is about being the best YOU (or me in this case) that you can be. I wish people would remember this instead of spending their lives doing the opposite. I realize that this post was somewhat negative which was not my intention but just know that in Roger's words "Just realize that if you are talking about someone behind their back, they are talking about you just the same".... and in my own words: The truth shall be revealed.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gobble Gobble, Wobble Wobble

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know, I know, the holiday has passed but with all of the business of last week and this past weekend I have not had a chance to blog about it. Plus this gives me a chance to save up all of my exciting info and photos and provide a post that is quite possibly the most photo-ful that I have ever posted.... watch out!

This year was a year full of firsts for us. This was the first year Aidan was really excited about Thanksgiving and knew what the heck was going on. She made adorable crafts at school and told Roger and I how thankful she was for us. She also wanted to make cards for both her Grandma (my mom) and her Great-Grandma (my grandma who is in the hospital : ( ). So despite our time crunch I quickly traced her little hand and let her decorate her "turkey" for the card! Look how CUTE it came out!!! She also is getting really good at writing letters as you dictate them. I think that she did a great job with the long word "Thanksgiving", but maybe that is just the mama bear in me talking with pride.

Another big first was that this was the very first year we did not have Thanksgiving at my grandmother's house. For those of you who know my family, you will understand that EVERY holiday, occasion, etc. is a "Savelli holiday" meaning, spent at Grammy's. Her house is truly a home, with warmth, love, and more memories for our family than I can list. We just spent Aidan's birthday there actually! Well, unfortunately my grandma recently came down with pneumonia and has spent the past week and a half in the hospital. The good news is that the pneumonia is gone. The bad news is that she will spend probably another week or so in the hospital with some physical therapy for other issues. We did go visit her last Thursday and she was quick to point out what she wanted me to get her for Black Friday...that info to come.

We ended up having Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's house. She was adorably excited about FINALLY getting to break out all of her serving dishes and holiday decor, and also christening her gorgeous pottery barn table that has served as a storage unit for the last few months (they repainted their house (which is small to begin with!). AND it was also the first year that I contributed with my culinary skills (slim to none on the richter scale!). I half made a 7 layer dip after Roger comandeered it and added a HUGE can of refried beans (sigh.... sometimes people just need to listen to someone who loves to eat!). And thanks to Pinterest, my very favorite idea website, I made a spinach and gruyere pie/calzone/quiche type deal. It was sort of tasty although a lot salty... I think I put too much gruyere which I didn't think was possible to have too much yummy cheese but I didn't realize how salty it was. Anyway... it came out WAY better than Roger thought and it looked beautiful coming out of the oven. CHECK THIS BAD BOY OUT!
It was tasty, but salty. And EXPENSIVE might I add. Roger called it the million dollar appetizer. To which I replied "Excuse me but it is NOT an appetizer! It is a side dish!". Hmph. It was a labor of love..... that's my reply to all of my crazy crafts and menu items that I want to try out : P

The rest of our weekend was spent somewhat decorating the house, and just hanging out with the kids. I hung the wreath on the front door, some in house wall stuff, and dug out this mini silver tree I got last year at 75% off. I would have put it in Aidan's room, but I feel like the princess gets EVERYTHING, so I decided to put it in Benji's little room. He has been a good boy and not messed with it, and they both had a great time putting on the ornaments (non-breakable thank goodness). I asked them to take a picture with it and Aidan insisted that Benji sit on her lap. Ummm ok. But my gosh they are cute! And yes, my son's very favorite blankie is the free one we got from the hospital when he was born..... wish I would have known that and saved my dough on other blankets! lol
Just some more Barr kid goodness to enjoy because my gosh they are just the cutest!!! Wondering what will happen with the alignment on this picture.....looks weird on the "word" part of the blog. Oh well!

Anyway, my diet went out the window the last week. I was living in carbville starting on Monday, when people at work started in with the cinnamon buns, the cakes, the cookies, the dips, the chips... omg. It was craziness! I gained 3lbs last week. As of yesterday I am back up to 142. And I tell ya, it is a WAKE UP CALL! This just goes to show that so much of weight issues is all based on what you eat. When your diet is primarily carbs, up goes the scale. I once went to a crazy weightloss doctor who I could barely understand but one of her mantras was "carbs feed your fat. Protein feeds your muscles". So now when I eat carbs I just think of how I am feeding my fat... and yet here I am still eating them! Eeks! I swore to myself yesterday that I needed to be back on the wagon starting today because I don't want to see the 3 pounds turn into 5, turn into 10, turn into 20, etc. Because that DOES happen!

So.... I woke up today and went to the gym. I swear I was going to entitle this post "optical illusions" because every time I go to the gym after not being there for a few days I feel absolutely gross about myself. Especially after seeing the scale go up. And then I get to the gym, do my cardio, and when I go to do my weights I see the strangest thing. I see MUSCLES. Say what?!!!! Yes, that is right, I see arm muscles. And the reason why I am so perplexed by this is because my arms used to be HUGE. Like ham hock huge... for reference find my post about my trip to Hawaii because I do believe there is a "before" pic of my arms on there. But anyway, I decided to take pictures today because I don't know if the gym has magic lighting or what.... I don't think my arms look like this at home! ***I am NOT flexing in these pictures. Look at my biceps.... look at my SHOULDERS! Wth?! I look like a chicky who is buff, tuff, and has the stuff! Now with that said, in the forward facing pictures you can also see that I still am hanging onto my Puerto Rican hips and booty.... can't fight genetics folks :P

And I know what you are thinking:

LMAO!!! Sorry but I didn't think it was appropriate to ask a stranger to take a picture of me in a locker room, and I also wasn't about to be taking one in the main space where EVERYONE could see what a dork I am. But, I love this Pinterest find.... seriously folks, stop taking pics of yourself in bathrooms already :P I only take them in the bathroom at work for my blog, GEEZ! haha

Anyway, seeing these pictures of myself reminds me that I am scarred from the experience of being so overweight, but also that the reality is that sometimes I just need a reality CHECK. I need to see that I am working hard, and the hard work is paying off. Size 4 pants, buff arms, a new do.... this thanksgiving I was of course thankful for my friends and family, a roof over our heads, Roger and I both having jobs .... but I am most thankful for being given a new chance at life. I will forever be grateful for that.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The long and the short of it

Well this post was originally supposed to solely be about my new hair-do but I feel compelled to address an issue that to me is slightly over dramatic.

Let's start with the bigger issue: I am getting divorced. There ya have it, it is confirmed... I rival Kim Kardashian for shortest marriage.

In all seriousness, we really have decided to get divorced. The drama part of it comes in behind closed doors and from the mouths of busy bodies. Ya see, Facebook is the advent of the devil, and although I am guilty of being intrigued by all of my friends' posts and pictures, I also don't take it too seriously. OR if I see something on there that concerns me, I contact the person directly, send them a message, and speak my mind.

Yeah, well not everyone is like me, and although some people swear each day that they are getting rid of facebook, the sad truth is that it keeps us sucked in. And with all of the notifications that pop up on our news feeds and inboxes it is hard to miss the comings and goings of our friends!

When I got married, I changed my last name to Roger's last name. But what some of you may not know about me is that Johnson is not my maiden name. Johnson belongs to my ex husband Carl, and after changing it, I decided to keep my married name when we got divorced in 2005. It just seemed easier that way. But when I married Roger, there was no way I was keeping my ex husband's last name, or changing it to my maiden name... in good faith, I changed it to his. Plus our kids have that last name so that would make things a lot easier for them in school!

Little did I know, facebook is the end-all be-all of name changes. I changed to when we got married, I changed it when we separated, only to find out that that caused a stir among family members who were not tuned in to the intimate workings of my relationship. Roger posted some crazy comment a few months ago on FB to which I replied, and then I resigned myself to not post any details or defaming remarks about our relationship because quite frankly, it is no one's business but a) our own or b) anyone who I PERSONALLY choose to share it with. But again, the mouths were whispering and asking friends of friends who then asked me.

For goodness sakes people! If you have a question, go straight to the horse's mouth! I purposely put every last name I have ever had on my facebook to simply point out that it gets tongues wagging and sure enough, it did. Some people had enough tact to come right out and ask me, and I respect that. At least they didn't say "oh here we go again, she changed her mind for the 100000x". They straight up said "Did something change?". Nope, nothing changed. We are still getting divorced.

And to go with my new found singledom (which in all honesty, I do not tie to my surgery AT ALL...just tying it in to the blog here...) I have decided that I need to cut off the excess and start fresh. So... I chopped off my hair!

I may or may not have a slight obsession with a website called Pinterest. And every day when I peruse the site I find more and more cool things. One of which is this picture of Katie Holmes. She looks might sassy with her hair, and I fell in love with this haircut. So... I brought it to my hairstylist today! Let me preface this with the fact that my hair generally does not cooperate with anything I do other than straighten it, so I have had the same hairstyle in varying lengths for YEARS. This Katie Holmes do is similar, but slightly messy for my usual taste... but I LOVE IT! I feel like the "new me" deserves something spunky and sassy to celebrate my loss.

I am 99.99% sure that my hairstylist thought I was a looney-tune when I asked her to photograph my hair chopped off, but she was game, so I closed my eyes, said a prayer, and opened them to this: EEKS!!!! That's my HAIR! (gross dead hair, from the looks of it!)

Isn't it weird how we identify so much with our hair... which is what, weird follicles that we try to remove from like 98% of the rest of our bodies?? Anyway, I truly didn't freak out as I described, I felt oddly liberated... like I had cut off the bad vibes that I had been dealing with for the past 3 months or so.

Although I can't say I look just like Katie Holmes, I can say that I feel great. So without further ado...... Here are the before and after shots!

Yup... that's me on the right.... the NEW ME! Spunky, Sassy, and ready to face a new chapter of my life.

Oh and in case you are wondering "Why did she get married to begin with?!" Call it love. Call it a want for my children to have a nuclear family. Call it stupidity. Call it whatever you like. I still maintain that it was truly one of the happiest days of my life. And it saddens me that we couldn't work things out in the end. But better to realize it now than have our children grow up in a miserable household.

As things stand now, I am sad, but I am also hopeful that the next few years bring a sense of independence, newfound strength, and that sassy, spunky woman that I think got lost in the shuffle.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Californi-beautifi-CATION! and some other exciting info

Life has been pretty good these days. I have made it to the gym at least once a week which, after all of the health issues, and car issues, and kid issues, and marriage issues, and work issues that have been going on... that is an accomplishment! Another accomplishment is this right here:
That's right... that is a 3 you see. 139. WOW I finally broke into the 130's! This is beyond exciting for me, as I have been stuck in the 140s for months now and I have definitely shrunk (hello size 4 jeans!) but the scale was flip flopping around 141 for awhile. When I saw the 139 I was THRILLED! Plus I had sort of accepted 140 as being a successful loss number and although I have been trying to lose more weight, my doctor was spot on at the difficulty of losing weight when you are already at your healthy weight.

Something I realized the other day is that although I talk about my work in bits and pieces I have never really delved deeper into what it is I do. I am in sales for an event rental company. Meaning: If you are having a party at a venue that is literally just a place, you would call me for tables, chairs, linens, pipe & drape, etc. OR if you are a wedding planner who has a client needing any of those items, you call me. I make site visits, do tours with clients, play "wedding" in our showroom, and also attend many "networking events" which I will get into in a moment.

My work history is comprised of planning events at a world renowned golf course (no lie... Tiger played there multiple times ; )) and also planning them for a couple of hotels in the Bay Area. Those jobs were fine, but my job now is comparable in pay, and provides me with amazing flexibility. Basically, so long as I am getting my work done, my boss is pretty lenient. And the same goes for attire. Most days I wear a dressed up version of jeans and a sweater, and that seems to suffice. But I don't exactly show up ready to go looks wise :) In fact, I am surprised my boss hasn't asked what happened a couple of these days :P

But again, lucky me, the way that the office runs, and is set up, we have a private ladies room, with a lovely outlet, and a little cabinet with a drawer reserved for my curling iron, hairspray, and whatever else I choose to store in it :P And myself, and my cowoker Kelly are famous for taking 5-10 minutes to curl our hair....generally around the 10 o'clock hour! haha. So here is a little photo-synopsis of how I look in the morning and what I end up looking like!
hair is up to start, wild when combed out, and then wayyyyy crazy curly sue when done.

So I exit the bathroom looking like Shirley Temple but due to my lovely hair that barely holds anything, it falls out in about 15 minutes and sort of looks like this. I attempted to take this picture like 5 times because I didn't like my hair in it, so here it is down.... and here it is half up. Either way you get the general idea of what it is supposed to look like.

Now there are also events that I attend in the evenings that encourage me to actually dress cute. And perhaps part of the reason I love fall so much is a) the multitude of events peaks in the fall because that is when weather is best around here b) I may or may not have a slight obsession with knee-high boots that I can now wear and zip over my calves with no problems! and/or c) I love the holidays and Fall is the ramp for all of the good ones! Either way I have been dressing cute this week and forcing Kelly to document my clothing choices before I leave for these said "networking" events!

See, here I am yesterday! Love the dress (which I might add someone asked me if it was Missoni.... sorry, $6.99 Ross clearance find, but THANKS!!! lol), and love my new "suede" boots from Old Navy of all places. Love wearing tights w/boots, love wearing fun jewelry, love having my hair look presentable in a photo, goodness gracious! Yesterday was a good fashion day! And that's just another bonus of my surgery.... I can finally wear what I want and have it look cute, and get compliments on my outfits. IT FEELS GREAT! I am not going to lie! I posted this photo on facebook yesterday because again, I love it, and I got over 10 responses. I figured a few girlfriends would like my dress, but was shocked at how kind people were. I felt special :)

A comment that kept coming up was how "skinny" I am. And I know that in the grand scheme, I am skinny compared to the old me, but when I look at this picture, I don't see "skinny", I just see "normal". I wonder what I would have thought a year ago if a friend of mine posted this.... would I just say "skinny" in relation to how they normally or used to look, or would I say "skinny" as in, this person is a thin person? I am not sure. But on the skinny topic, seeing people's faces when I tell them "yeah I have lost 105lbs"..... it's priceless!

So back to these events I am going to, because not only do I feel compelled to get all gussied up, but the extent to which people go for marketing their venues is amazing. Last night was absolutely spectacular, at a venue in San Francisco that ironically I used to go to for my family's company Christmas dinners. Well, the city has revamped it and last night they truly decorated/catered/lit/fed/entertained to the best of their ability! They had 5-6 different caterers, 5 bars, a cigar bar, live latin music, 3 DJs..... incredible! Here is a link to the photos of the event if you are curious: ok just kidding the photographer seems to have yanked the collection (maybe he is adding more?) so I will update this post when he fixes his site. But basically picture a gorgeous historical building redone with a spectacular view of San Francisco Bay. Yup, I am so glad I was invited to that one!

Tonight I am headed to the W hotel.... slight twist of scenery but hopefully something fabulous will happen and I might just have to blog about it ; )

Monday, November 7, 2011

Through the Looking Glass

***I have tried to edit the spacing on this like 10x and it is not cooperating so I apologize for the big gaps :(

I know, I know...another post already?! Well I got such a nice comment from the last one that it has inspired/encouraged me to be more regular with my posting. So :P Another thing that happened based on the comment was that I went back and re-read my posts from back in December of last year all the way until recently.

To be honest, my first thought was "wow, I was pretty depressed". I mean, 80% of my posts before, during, and right after surgery were complaining about one thing or another. And while I find that disturbing, it also reinforces my relief/gratitute/and or joy for having had this surgery.

I have truly come a long way from where I was this time last year, both physically and mentally. I feel like I am able to deal with personal issues better (I didn't say "well" I said "BETTER" for those of you who know my troubles). And I am amazed daily by how my physical appearance has changed so drastically.

I have an iPhone that I love dearly. And one of the main reasons that I love it so, is that it takes both videos and photos. I have photos from so many occasions where I "forgot my camera" and I am very grateful for the memories! BUT because I like using it for these two things so very much (along with Facebook... oh geez!) it has been running really slow lately and the only thing I can think of is that I must have too much stuff on it. So, last night on the ride home from the city I decided to start at the beginning of my 1600+ photos and videos and start deleting ones that I didn't need/want to keep. Let's just say the experience was interesting!

I swear every single time I find an old picture of myself pre-surgery that I had forgotten about, I am shocked at how big I was. It is very easy to forget the "old" me. These pictures were taken July 4, 2010. And the one on the left, I thought that was a "good" picture of me. Perhaps because Aidan's leg somewhat cuts off about 1/3 of my body? But oh wait... it reappears on the other side of her. Oy vey! And then the one with both kids, there are no words.... I was just big. And the one thing I ALWAYS think with these pictures is: I look so bloated! Like someone took a hose and inflated me! Nope.... I ate away my stress and unhappiness and in the process ballooned. Again, SO GRATEFUL for this surgery!

Interestingly enough there are days where I fall back into old habits (like inhaling chocolate halloween candies like they are going to disappear) and then days like today, where I am right on track for a good day of food consumption.

I like to start my day with a starbucks non-fat latte, which doesn't help my bank account but it does start my day with a little protein from the milk. And lunch really varies depending on if I have a meeting with a client for lunch, or if I bring it, or if I walk across the way to Mr. Teriyaki (YUM) and enjoy their lunch bento box. I always get the same thing: miso soup, salad, rice (which I pick at, but really don't eat much of), and then double sashimi (salmon usually). The lady who works there knows it's me on the phone as soon as I say "double sashimi". What can I say other than if I eat a regular piece of sushi too fast it comes right back up, so I try not to risk that.
When I bring lunch from home it is generally similar to this. This is about 1/4 a yellow bellpepper, 1/3 a cucumber, and 1 chicken tender, all diced and tossed with lite balsamic vinaigrette. The tender is not the kind from a fast food restaurant, it is the kind you buy at the grocery store and cook yourself :P

I like to eat lunch at my desk because in between bites I can stop and type, look on the net, etc, and let my food settle. Basically it forces me to TAKE MY TIME. And let's just say that trying to eat this during a meal time at a table with nothing else to do... I would stuff myself with about half and be ready to get sick. To this day, I find it hard to slow down and eat and chew and relax. And sometimes I pay the price by praising the porcelain gods. Trying to get better abotu this!

The most important thing I would like to point out is that this meal is essentially perfect (minus the .0000048765847654 tblsp of breadcrumbs on the chicken) because it is a lean protein and fresh veggies. In the past this would have definitely been a "snack" lunch.... I would have been STARVING afterwards. Now I can eat this and be totally satisfied. I still have about half left right now and am starting to feel full which is a sign I should probably be saving the remainder for later on. It just amazes me how different life is now.

Another thing that amazes me is how time just flies on by. While life is happening, it feels so slow, yet you blink and all of the sudden years have passed! Yesterday Aidan turned 4. I cannot believe how much she has grown and matured. She is such a little lady now! She went through a tough patch around the wedding but since then has improved her attitude 99% and is so indredibly smart and beautiful. She reminds me of myself! :P Just kidding... sort of! I was very similar to Aidan personality wise as a child.... I thought I was 4 going on 25, and that definitely described my daugher also! In addition she adores reading, art, and all things girlie. Oh and she has a sassy little mouth that a) you want to wash out from times but b) reminds you of just how intelligent she is so it's hard to stay mad for long! I always wanted a daughter and was thrilled when I found out she was a girl. I am so blessed to have such a special girl as my said wanted daugher! This post made me take a walk down memory lane. Aidan went from a little baldie to a little blondie and just gets more and more beautiful.

age 1age2age 3age4

And a picture of mama & the big 4 year old with our adorable piggy cupcakes that she made to bring to school!

Amazing how she has changed and how I have changed. When she turned 1, I had just discovered that I was pregnant with Benjamin. When she turned 3 I was nearly at my heaviest weight ( my surgiversary is Dec 28). And now we are both doing awesome! Hoping the piggy cupcakes were a hit at school today!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Somewhere over the Rainbow...

Today I woke up to a very chilly morning! The Bay Area is famous for Indian Summers and we had gotten quite a bit of October sunshine, but yesterday mother nature decided that we needed to be shocked back into reality! We went from 70ish degrees down to the 50s! And this morning when I left for work, the car registered the temperature at 41 degrees! Oh my goodness that is COLD! This California girl prefers the lows in the 50s and the highs in the 70s and 80s thank you very much!

But, the great thing about living by the water is that my commute takes me over a bridge that gives a tranquil view every day. Even when there is traffic, for some reason the San Mateo Bridge is calming to me... perhaps it is that I love the peninsula? Who knows! Either way, imagine by joy when I saw a rainbow on my way to work today! Seeing it reminded me of all of the successes that I have experienced recently and the fact that even when times are tough, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, or in this case a pot of gold at the base of my rainbow!

As of last night.... the pot of gold was this:
I went to Old Navy because I had gotten an email that you get an additional 30% off your entire purchase. Well, you know me and my crazy shopping deals, particularly at Old Navy! I am famous for finding stuff for $5 and under and then to get an additional 30% off... sign me up! I have quite an extensive "new me" wardrobe with a total cost of.... not that much really! I don't know an exact figure but let's just say that I am very cheap when it comes to what I will pay for clothing.

One thing that I have made it a point to do though, is buy a pair of pants 1 size lower than my current size to have as a "goal" pair. I am a size 6 currently so I grabbed a 4 without trying them on and bought them as my "goal jeans".

When I got home, I pulled them out of the bag and it occured to me that they looked pretty big for a 4. I mean... what is the difference between a 4 and a 6? I think it is just an inch, right? I don't know, but they looked like they might fit me. AND THEY DID! I can't believe it. I honestly NEVER thought I would be a size 4. Size 6 had always been my dream size so to exceed that goal... incredible.

Now something I would like to also mention is that as a big girl, absolutely no store "runs big" in size. That is solely a skinny person issue. Well, I can honestly say that I do think Old Navy clothes "run big" because I am pretty sure that I am not a size 4 anywhere else. But hey... I'll take it! Plus I am the kind of girl who cannot stand loose/droopy pants. I just won't wear them. So when I showed Roger my success and he said "Are they supposed to be that tight?" I had to laugh. Yes Roger, women's jeans these days are tight fitting. These ones have a little bit of stretch but not *that much, which makes them perfect in my book! And I bought short so that I can wear them with flats to work.

Here is me, enjoying my success by wearing the size 4s the very next day (today!).

Kelly, my coworker with the awesome iphone (mine is a 3Gs so it takes good pictures, but not like her 4!) is 6ft tall, so I made her retake the one of me from behind (directions : "can you hold it to my height so it looks normal") for accuracy.

And the reason is this:
I may fit into a size 4 but seeing as they were "goal" jeans, you can see my rolls over the sides. Normally I would not be ok with this but I am getting to the point where I simply cannot prevent this. It is skin. Not really fat, just the loose yucky skin that should be removed when I can save up thousands for a tummy tuck :) I am proud to say that my butt and legs do not look sausage like (another pitfall of too tight pants) so I am pretty sure that indeed these pants fit well :) In about 10lbs they will fit perfectly, but I'll take "well"! haha And excuse my running shoes but I couldn't find my "snazzy" sneakers....thinking they are lost in my trunk somewhere.

Any way, it's friday, the day started with a rainbow, I have to run a work errand to Costco (can you say "free sample as lunch"?! (and for a VSG patient, seriously there is more than enough food from the samples to eat as a true lunch!)), I am wearing size 4 pants, the boss is out today, and although it is absolutely freezing out, the sun is shining. Life is good!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

There's no tricking the treating!

Whew! What a busy weekend/Halloween! I was so exhausted last night after trick or treating that I slept like a rock.... that was a welcome night of rest!

But all I could think about this morning was "oh no... how much have I gained?". I don't normally eat candy anymore. Yes, I will occasionally indulge (or is it endulge?) in ice cream or it's its (hey, the factory is around the corner from my office!) or a bite of something sweet, but very rarely do I binge on straight candy. But in the past week or so I have not only been going nutty with Halloween candy, I have been eating cookies, cake, you name it. I have been doing everything that I KNOW I shouldn't be. And I am paying the price. I woke up this mornign and the scale said 143.2. And that was with ZERO clothes on. Ugh.

I really need to sit down and think about WHY I still feel the need to gorge on sweets. I know they are not good for me. I know that I have come so far with my surgery results. I know that 2 pounds are MUCH harder to lose than to gain. And yet I will say yes to a cookie or candy repeatedly. And I also noticed myself "sneaking" food. It is as if I am afraid Roger will say something or judge me if he sees me eating certain foods that I KNOW I shouldn't eat. :( As I mentioned before... the old habits are truly returning and I need to recognize them and get my butt back on track.

One of my biggest pitfalls pre-surgery was the complain that I just "don't have time" to exercise. I have learned that this is truly an excuse because when I go on exercise binges, I know that I can get up at nearly regular time, get to the gym, get a workout and shower in and STILL get to work on time! Whew! But with the time change and it not getting light until almost 8am, the idea of getting up in the darkness holds less and less appeal. But ya know, gaining my weight back doesn't sound so fun either.

I am learning that the maintenance phase is scarier than loss. I am so paranoid about gaining my weight back. Everyone who has is the first to admit that they didn't think it would happen to them. That they didn't want to waste an incredible opportunity. Well, I am definitely one of those people. I can say with 100% clarity that life as a thin person is 10000000x better than life as a heavy person both physically (more energy, more mobility, etc) and emotionally (higher self esteem, much happier!). So now that I finally have a taste of success and happiness with my body as an adult, I DO NOT want to go back to the old me. I cannot imagine being 100lbs heavier than I am now.

BUT on the other hand when I think about my second goal of 125lbs, I think I will never ever get there. My doctor warned me that it would be difficult, but geez.... I didn't realize the mental roadblocks that would slow down my weightloss... I was simply focusing on the physical.

I am resolving that November is going to be a month of success! I promise myself that I will not necessarily lose a certain number of pounds (although that would be very nice!) but I will commit to going back "on plan" meaning high protein, low carb, NO CANDY, and trying my very best to consume way more water. That is one thing that changed so much since surgery... I used to love drinking water. Now I find it extremely difficult.

Wish me luck! And sorry there weren't pictures in this. Oh wait, let me add one for good luck!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Upon Special Request

Let me preface this post with the fact that I wanted to spruce up my iphone pictures so I figured Picnik would be a good idea..... yeah. It was fun... a little too fun! So please excuse my creative editing :) But at least they are interesting! haha.

I got a text today from someone asking how my weightloss is coming along. On the scale, it is still somewhat slow moving. I am at the point now to where I really need to be consistently working out and watching what I eat. With everything going on in my personal life, the last thing I have been wanting to do is work out. But I am proud to say that at least I have maintained my weightloss and even dropped a few more pounds... but I have not lost the 10 that I was hoping for. Cest la vie I guess.

BUT the good news is that bodies like to take weightloss breaks and in the process re-figure themselves in more compact shapes! So, although I haven't lost much in the numbers department I have shrunk some. So much so that numerous coworkers have commented (i.e. my boss "I wanna go on whatever diet she is on! she just keeps shrinking!") and even my mother greeted me with "Hello Skinny!" on Sunday when she saw me.

I can finally say that I reached my goal of a size 6! Woohoo! Funny thing though about this weightloss business.... I am never satisfied. I hit my target weight of 145... that isn't good enough. I want to be 125. I swore if I ever got down to a 6 I would have a party and shout it from the rooftops.... yeah not so much. Now I am shooting for a 4. Wow, I wonder if I could ever be a 4. Or even a 4-6 range... just to be able to say it. You know how us women are, never satisfied!
BUT, being heavy the majority of my adulthood, I had a non-scale victory the other day that I was so excited about I had to photograph. Remember me and my jeans tucked into boots? Well that ensemble has been recreated numerous times and I even invested in another nice pair of skinny jeans.... so take a look to your left and notice.... YOU CAN SEE BETWEEN MY THIGHS!!!! Yup, that's right, me standing in a normal position and my thighs don't touch. They still touch up top, but omg you can see through my legs!!!!! I honestly did not ever think that would happen.

***File that under Roger's list of "things skinny people never even think about so it is funny to hear Alexis talk about it".... that list also includes feeling your clavicle, your breastbone, your hip bones, your knee caps, tying your shoes directly upright as opposed to sideways like a pregnant woman... the list goes on and on :P

So after I took the picture from the front I decided to follow up with a side view. I have been noticing my booty is small now. Weird. AND I wear belts a lot now.... now that I can actually reach one around myself :)

So, recently I got the entire wedding clip video from our videographer Josh. Ironic timing, but it was neat to watch nonetheless. But something interesting that has been said probably by about 10 different people is "You have lost a LOT of weight since the wedding". And yeah I have probably lost about 25 lbs... but for whatever reason that 25lbs has equated to 2 dress sizes or so. To your right is a professional picture from the wedding (Y studio photography) edited by me and picnik :P But really I think I look good in the picture... and looking at 99% of the wedding pictures, I am happy with my figure. I certainly was not feeling ugly or fat the day of my wedding. I felt like a princess! So it is just weird to have a bunch of people recognize that I am a lot skinnier now. To be honest I kinda want to go wedding dress shopping just to see what size I would be in those tiny samples! haha At the end of the day though I am just so grateful for my surgery and how much confidence and pride it has given me. Really, a whole new lease on life!

Other than trying to get in protein, drink more water, and exercise on a regular basis, I am just in maintenance mode. I need to be in loss mode but I will take a pound here or there for now. There is really so much going on personally that I feel like worrying about my weight is pretty trivial. I am lucky to be alive and healthy and have a job and roof over my head. Oh and those 2 little kiddos of mine... those two have really made me a proud mom these days. They both are so resilient and so loving. It is nice to have a ray of sunshine around.... well 2 of them actually! :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

I'd like to thank the Academy...

When I blog, I see it as a chance to just get out what is brewing in my mind. Little things happen on a day to day basis, and I think to myself "I should totally blog about that". So sometimes I grab my phone and take pictures for the specific reason of blogging.... others I go back and realize that they pertain to what I am thinking about. But the weird thing about blogging is that although it is a personal reflection of my life, I know that people can and will read it.

I absolutely LOVE feedback. Of course it is nice to hear all of the "great job"s and "amazing!" but when someone takes the time to truly recognize what I have been going through and make a connection with me, it means a lot.

I posted my Goal Post a few days ago along with pictures, and I shared the link on my Vertical Sleeve message boards, . A few of the posters on that board also have blogs, and one of them was kind enough to nominate me for a blog award. I am not really sure what that means, other than someone is actually reading what I write, but I have to say I feel special!

So here is the rundown on the award that she nominated me for:

About the award:The Liebster Blog Award is designed to bring additional recognition to those bloggers with less than 200 followers. If you receive the award, you should link back to the blogger that nominated you and nominate five more blogs.

So thank you to Sheila at for nominating me! I will have to think about which 5 I should nominate to pass on the good juju.

And on to other news: I have not lost more weight. Perhaps because I have not been doing what I need to do to lose weight. This week has been very challenging and I am SO ready for it to be over! I feel like the cold, rainy weather contributed to the general "blah" feeling. But today I woke up and the sun was shining, traffic was light, and despite being broker than broke, i was able to scrounge up enough pennies to get Starbucks. Life is good!

Wish me luck that next week I can start fresh and get back on the gym going bandwagon. It feels so good when I do go.... it just sucks to get there!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Day has Dawned

A lot has been going on around here lately and I realized that in the midst of it all I haven't made a blog post to reflect the challenges life has brought my way. Instead of dwelling over the negatives (trust me I do enough of that on my own), I am making myself post about the one shining star hovering over it all.
I woke up Saturday morning and saw this:

I know what you are thinking: the clouds parted, the angels started singing.... yeah I know, you can see it now! But no, it was just me and my bathroom scale standing there in disbelief. I ran to get my phone to take a picture and said a silent prayer that when I got on there again the number didn't change.... that has been known to happen. But alas, I got back on and it was the magical goal number: 145lbs. Exactly 100 lbs lower than when I started my weightloss journey.

I had always joked that when I reached my goal weight I would throw a party to celebrate. We are broke, and my audience was my husband and children so we did the next best thing....

We took the kids to 7-11 and got donuts! The "old" me would have had a donut as well, but the new, skinny, 145 lb me declined the offer. Pat on the back for that one! But the kids thoroughly enjoyed their celebration treat as well as an early morning walk in the wagon (we live less than .5 mile from a 7-11 which is mighty convenient during times like this!).

Also, I thought I would cry when I saw the scale, but I didn't. I just kind of stared in disbelief and casually mentioned to Roger "Oh, I am 145 today" and he responded "Wow, that's really good". I don't know if he necessarily realized that 145 was my goal weight, he just new it was a lot of weight lost in the grand scheme of things.

So you might be wondering how I finally hit goal.... and the answer is simple. Exercise and drugs. Seriously. Once I hit 150 lbs losing weight became extremely difficult. My body has been toying with the last 5 lbs for over a month and I knew that I needed to pump up the volume if I had any hope of reaching my old goal (145), let alone my new reach goal of 125 pounds.

I have been going to the gym 3-5 times a week, sometimes more. I will do Zumba, or go on the treadmill, and I try to lift weights every other day as well as do strength training exercises. I never thought I would be a morning exerciser but with kids it is pretty much my only option. It feels great though to consistently work out!

I also scheduled an appointment with my doctor to check in on my progress. The day I went into his office I weighed 147lbs. Not bad. He asked how I was doing and what my next steps were. And I flat out asked him for prescription drugs. Right before my wedding, when he told me that if I wanted to ever reach goal I needed to buckle down, he kindly prescribed phentermine for me. IT WORKED. It worked well to say the least. And after I explained that 1 more month of it, combined with my new improved attitude about exercise would most likely break my stall, he happily agreed.

I know what you are thinking : she cheated. And ok, depending on your viewpoint, maybe I have. But the reason that I wanted to mention it is because a)I am not ashamed and b) I think it is important to record in how I have lost the weight in this time period. And despite medical intervention, I have also been watching what I eat, trying to consume as much protein as possible, and exercising like crazy. So it is an addition, rather than the end all be all for weightloss.

Today I was on Facebook (shocker) and saw that a family member had posted pictures from a barbeque in 2010. I was flipping through them thinking "oh geez, wait til I see myself in these"... little did I know. This is what I saw:

Yup, that's me in the white! Holy crap, right?! I seriously cannot believe I looked like that. And looked like that for a few years to boot! And to top it off, that wasn't me at my heaviest, which I know because I recognize the jeans in the picture. They are a size 16. I ended up an 18/20 before surgery! Oh and those little cuties are my kiddos.... they are much bigger now!

So, you might be wondering what "goal" looks like.....

It looks like that snazzy girl to the right! Up, that's me the day before I hit my goal weight! I am in skinny jeans (never thought they looked good on me), tucked into boots. My calves have always been SUPER wide, so imagine the size of them 100 lbs heavier.... this fashion statement was simply not possible! But alas, my dream of wearing jeans tucked into boots has come true, and let me tell you, I have a black pair and a brown pair and I am wearing the heck out of both of them!!! Also, I was indeed wearing a sweater for this outfit, but I wanted to show off my arms... I am in the process of "sculpting" them at the gym :P

The last thing I want to mention in this celebration post is that one of my dear friends from grade school got married this past weekend! She looked AMAZING, and it was so nice to attend an event, see people I hadn't seen in years, and not be self conscious about my weight. Most of the people I know have not gained much since high school and still look fabulous. So last summer, when I attended a mutual friends' wedding it sucked to feel like the "fattie". And when I saw the pictures I was horrified. Well, some of the same attendees were at this wedding, and someone's mom walked by my, touched my arm and said "you look amazing". I thought that was pretty darn kind of her to do.

I've lost a 6th grader from my body, but I have gained a whole new outlook on life! I'd say that's a fair trade :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

What was Dumbo's Mama's name????

I recently read Dumbo to Aidan and I am trying to remember what Dumbo's mom's name is. Mama Elephant doesn't sound right.... but let's just say if I knew her name, I would change mine to it! Not because I feel like an elephant! But because I am really starting to notice that the skin on my thighs and belly are pretty elephant like thanks to years of weight gain and 2 pregnancies... one of which was for a 9lb 5oz chunky boy, who also liked to swim around in excess amniotic fluid! As you can imagine, my stomach was enormous w/ Benjamin and because of that I have stretch marks galore! But,with all of the complaining aside, I have to say that my skin has reacted tremendously well to all of this rapid weightloss business!

I was indeed "brave" enough to wear a bikini in Hawaii. In fact, I wore a BRIGHT, STRING bikini! And let me tell you, I felt amazing! Well, amazing until I got down to the pool :P I wasn't sure if people were looking at my stomach thinking "holy geez this chick needs a tummy tuck!" or if it was just all in my head. I'd say it was all in my head, but I know how critical I can be for no apparent reason so hey, maybe people were thinking that. Who knows?! But in the grand scheme I think I look pretty good in my bikini..... so good that I made Roger take pictures to commemorate the moment!
me on the balcony of our suite at the Sheraton Waikiki. I wore this bikini 9/10 of the time we were at the pool!

Aside from all of my confidence and new found self appreciation, I wanted to let you all see the "real deal" shall we say, because I have the ability to select the best pictures of myself to share, and it just so happens that my husband is a very good photographer who knows what an unflattering pic looks like. So he is smart and angles the camera appropriately! haha.

On day 2 of our trip, we decided to make a trek to Wal Mart in Waikiki on foot. It's about 1.5 miles from the hotel. Not far at all. But I decided to be sporty and wear a sports bra and shorts. Once I put it on I thought... I gotta take a pic of this, it's definitely not what I am sporting on the beach! And what "this" is, is my skin! I had a friend ask me about my skin and I thought she meant skin on my face... she had to specify that she meant saggy skin, or elephant skin as I like to call it!

So... check it out: This is what I look like "naked"... sorta:

Ok so from the side, my stomach is flat. Weird, right? But to be honest my stomach pre-fatness was always pretty flat, even at a size 14. I am just lucky I guess. My coworker asked if I was sucking in in this picture and the answer is "no". I really look like that. I am just holding the camera up :)

This formatting thing on the blog kills me because here is where I would insert another picture but unfortunately when I uploaded them I uploaded one right justified and the other centered so I have some words to kill to take up space. Ahhhh.!!!!!! Darn blogger! And I insert all of the pictures first now because I learned the hard way that if I do it as I go I have to reformat the entire thing like 1000x. So irritating. Anyway.....

Oh wait! I unjustified it I think!!! Woohoo! Ok so below is my stomach up close and personal. I did lower my shorts because thankfully most waistbands hide my "elephant skin". But here you go... scars, stretch marks, elephant skin, and the weirdest belly button ever. I wish I could explain why my belly button looks like that but it has forever and a day, so to be honest, I don't know why my innie is so innie!

Well, just had to delete another picture. GRRRR. Ok back to the important info!

I am at 150lbs now and I still have another 25 or so to go. So I am really scared to see what that extra 25 brings as far as extra skin. My thighs don't look so bad, but if I turn them a certain way you can see the skin elasticity is jacked up. And my stomach well.... yeah see above. I DEFINITELY need a tummy tuck. Not that we can afford one at the moment! But realistically I am going to need that skin cut off and my belly button reformed in order for me to be "happy". But along with that I'd like some new boobs and a butt and thigh lift, which now we are talking a total body makeover... can't say I am up for that in the grand scheme! Thankfully I did this in my 20s so I have another 50-60 years to perfect my body :P It sags and I lift, repeat. Haha!

But one reason I know that I am going to want/need a tummy tuck sooner rather than later is that I am noticing that with some pants the waist is tighter than the thighs. And my entire life, I have had thick thighs and hips but a tiny waist. So the fact is that that extra however many inches of skin is definitely there and the more I lose the more prominent it becomes to me.

Thankfully I am tan from the vacation and Lord knows that tans make people look thinner, happier, healthier, etc. Yes, I know, I know, skin cancer is a real thing. I did wear sunscreen and at about day 4 I started spraying the hell out of myself and Roger with SPF 50 because I could tell we were all sunned out. I am not one of those people who thinks a burn must occur before you can tan. Hell no. I want nothing to do with any sort of a sunburn, so the day I got pink was the day I armed myself with a super high SPF! And now I think Roger is a convert to protecting himself as well. He went on a floatie in the Pacific for like an hour and a half and was FRIED!!!!! As in he looked like he was wearing white shorts on a pink body without clothes :P

The bright side is that no matter what, my facial skin is still glowing. Perhaps from the fact that I wear sunscreen each day and moisturize each day. Or maybe I inherited good genes. Or maybe I am just thrilled to be a newlywed who just spent a week in Hawaii and got to wear a bikini because...... I AM ALMOST AT MY GOAL WEIGHT!!!! 5 lbs to go and counting!!!