Job update

Everyone relax.  I’m here.

coffee date

See?  I knew how worried you were.

The last month has been an adventure, but a good one.  With Vision Forum closed, Perry’s job of 10 years came to an end.  However, God provided some very good temporary work.  He is doing process improvement in various places.  Process improvement is something that he has enjoyed for many years in the Vision Forum warehouse, constantly working to cut waste and streamline the way they did everything from picking and packing orders to organizing the break room.  He has a natural talent for this work and finds it challenging, and it pays well – or rather, it will pay well.  Life as a contractor means getting paid 30-45 days after work is finished, instead of a few days or a week after the close of a pay period.

Those are the pros, and we think they are very exciting.

There are also some significant cons.

The job requires constant travel – if he gets constant work.  He is out of town five days a week, home for the weekend, then off again.  Winter weather can make it even worse: last week, his Friday flight home was cancelled.  He made it home eventually, but it was less than 24 hours before he had to fly out again.  One week he got stuck in Atlanta overnight, and eventually the airline flew him home because his destination was snowed in.

It’s also week by week.  We usually don’t know if he has work more than a week ahead of time, although it has been mostly steady so far.

So we find ourselves torn.

We are excited about this current opportunity.  It is temporary, but provides experience and marketable skill in an area he would love to pursue.  There seems to be a very real chance that it can become permanent.  Not knowing makes it difficult to look for another job in the meantime, especially since we don’t know if we want or need another job.  That’s not to say Perry hasn’t been looking, but so far we have not been presented with any difficult decisions – meaning we have yet to receive a concrete offer that rivals what he is doing now.

But it’s hard to have Perry gone so much after having him so near for the kids’ entire lives, and it’s hard on him to be gone.  With Vision Forum, he could and did freely take children to work with him almost every day of every week.  With his previous employer, he came home for lunch every single day.  We have always seen him every day, not just morning and evening but often throughout the day.  Now we see him on the weekends and on Skype.  He is a big part of the life and energy in our house, so it’s a big adjustment for all of us.  It’s as if our lives are black and white while he’s gone, and everything bursts into full color when he walks through the door.

silly dad happy dad fun with dad i like him too 5 guys

For now, we are walking by faith on the road of an independent contractor.  It’s slightly unnerving after 20 years of regular paychecks, but also exciting.

If you are praying for us, please pray that God would give us discernment and make His will clear to us, giving us peace as we walk this new path ahead of us.

Not dead or kidnapped. Just busy.

I’m so sorry for disappearing. We’ve had so much going on lately that blogging never quite makes it to the top of my to-do list.
Perry has been job hunting, networking, and doing some temporary work as the opportunity presents. We don’t know what the future holds, but we all hope God keeps us here in San Antonio.
The girls and I are gearing up for a yard sale soon, decluttering and fund-raising at the same time. If we do have to move any time in the near future, I’m sure we’ll be glad we did this. We also have quite an impressive pile of discards out front, waiting for our area’s semi-annual bulk trash pick-up. Yay for less stuff!
More news: Kaitlyn is getting her driver’s license any day now. Since she can’t work with her dad anymore, she wants to earn some income as a sitter and/or tutor. Am I the only who is shocked at what babysitters earn these days?!
More news later. Thumb typing a blog post on a phone an hour after I should be asleep is NOT the best use of time.
Before I go, here are a few random pics from the last couple of weeks.
Mom, sibs and me at our sister’s wedding:
wedding fam

Our first family dinner with my new dishes, courtesy of my sweet in-laws:
new dishes

Perry helping Parker work in his first-ever school book:
helping

Bethany waiting to find out where we going, on a little trip to celebrate a very special accomplishment.
bethany

The look on Perry’s face when he opened a letter from Grandpa and Grandma Coghlan, to find the item on his Christmas list that everyone laughed about:
hundred bucks

That’s all, folks!

 

 

 

 

 

Snapshot: reading lesson

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Perry begged to have Calvin sit with him during his reading lesson today, and Calvin was happy to comply.

Weekly Sunday pictures!

Posted by: Kittykait
I know I’ve promised weekly posts multiple times and failed every time (sorry!), but this time I think it will be easier to keep it up, because I just got a smartphone (yaaay!), so I can post on the hour drive to or from church. Basically, I won’t have time to procrastinate! My plan is to post pictures of Megan, Lydia and me (and whoever else is close by), probably without many (or any) words, because as much and as well as people write I’ve always loved looking at pictures they post. It’s so much more personal and easier to process, it gets the point across better, like a little peek into someone’s life. 

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How I chose my new gun

I got to choose a new gun for Christmas.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  Gun sales reached an all-time high during the 2011 holiday season, so maybe you are the odd one because you didn’t get a gun. ;)

This wasn’t my first gun.  When I was 15, my dad bought me a Smith & Wesson model 19 .357 Combat Magnum with a nickel finish and a 2.5″ barrel.  I loved it then, and I still love it just as much.  I was annoyed at the time when he handed it to me then immediately announced that I was required to buy new grips to replace the cheap wood ones out of my own very limited funds, but when I complied I found that I loved the gun twice as much.  As usual, Dad was right.  My Hogue Monogrip made it feel and sound and shoot like an entirely different weapon, and it was beautiful.

My old gun has a big frame which makes it very comfortable to shoot.  The weight helps absorb the recoil, unlike the smaller lightweight guns designed for carrying and concealing.  There’s a downside to a big gun, though.  Although I usually wear it around the house, it’s heavy and very tricky to conceal in normal clothing.

I recently visited some gun shows looking for a holster that would allow me to conceal my gun.  Responses ranged from raised eyebrows to, “Honey, you’ve got a hand cannon.  You’re not going to hide that!”

I got my concealed carry license over a year ago, and I was thrilled at the prospect of having a gun I could actually conceal, so I wasted no time in choosing my new gun.  First I had to decide whether I would get a semi-automatic or another revolver.  Although I’m becoming more comfortable and familiar with semi-automatics, I’ve always believed that revolvers are the way to go when it comes to self-defense, at least for me.

I assume that if I ever have to use a gun in a situation like that, I’m very likely to be in a big hurry and great danger.  I don’t want to have to chamber a round and fumble for the safety before I can fire.  I don’t want the possibility of a jam in the back of my mind.  I know that familiarity makes all of that much faster and many people carry semi-automatics with a round already in the chamber, but  I love the simplicity of point-and-shoot.  No chance that it’s going to jam.  No need to remember if the safety is on or off.  And many people believe that the curves of a revolver make them easier to conceal on a woman’s curvy body.

After talking to Perry and doing a little research, I knew that I wanted a .38 special.  It provided enough stopping power to satisfy Perry but was light and compact enough that I was confident I could conceal it effectively.  With a model rated for higher powered +P ammunition, a .38 special has almost the same power as a 9mm.

{The belt is for my .357 on the back of my hip.  I don’t normally wear 2 guns, but I put the other on for these pics.  Can you see the concealed .38 special?  I thought not.}

{Now you can see the .357, but the .38 is still well-hidden, especially if you don’t know that I have it in the first place.}

I looked at and handled the revolvers in Academy Sports, Bass Pro Shop, and several other stores and learned that I loved the shrouded hammer feature found in certain models.  It was one less thing to snag when the gun is being worn or drawn, making for faster draws and less chance of accidental fire.

I started my online research by looking at endless reviews.  I learned that a review alone is nearly meaningless, since the gun is usually provided free of charge to writers.  They want to keep ‘em coming, so reviews on any model are positive almost without exception.  That’s not to say that they aren’t honest opinions; maybe reviewers decline to write about the ones they can’t recommend enthusiastically.  I do the same on my blog when I review items that I received free.

However, these reviews were limited in how much they could help with my decision.  Of course gun lovers are going to love nearly every gun, but which gun was the best choice for me?

Instead, I searched for comparisons between the models I was considering.  Now I could see how they stacked up against one another. I could begin to see who loved particular models over others, and why.  I could see where each model really stood out, and where it was not quite the best.

Finally, I was ready to make my choice.  I wanted a Ruger LCR.  It was lightweight, compact, rated for +P loads, and was supposed to have the best trigger on the market.  Not a short or light trigger, which could make accidental discharge a concern, but a long smooth pull on the trigger that would make a high level of accuracy possible.  I liked the night sights, but Perry encouraged me to spring for the laser sight in spite of the steep premium.  With a small gun like this, a red dot shining on the bad guy can increase the psychological impact, giving a potential victim more time to act while also improving her accuracy in a panic situation.

Thanks to Google Shopping, I found that online prices were far lower than local.  I was able to buy my gun online and have it shipped to a local dealer, who charged $25 for his service as a mediator.  My gun arrived in a few days, and my background check was consisted of a brief phone call when I went to pick it up.  I was able to go home that day with my new baby.

But don’t worry – I still love my first one.

Why I want to be a loser

As a mom of many and a homeschooler, I have learned that people will automatically feel judged by our decisions, and it’s perfectly logical.  When we decide to do things one way, we are demonstrating by our actions that we feel this way is better than that way – at least for ourselves, in our situation.

What our actions and decisions may not make clear is our reasoning and motivation.  Consequently, onlookers often feel the need to fill in the blanks.

Last week, a reader suggested that my own resolution to lose weight was unkind or even hateful toward overweight women.  I found it a little hurtful and I feel she is guilty of judging me just as harshly as she assumes I am judging her, but I also realize that it’s very important to clarify my reasoning and motivation so that others don’t misunderstand as she has.

Why lose weight when I have so little to lose?

I am exercising and eating less because I want to be a good steward of the body and resources God has given me.  When my level of physical fitness declines because I am eating more than I need to, or because I am being lazy, that is poor stewardship.  My weight or body-fat percentage does not measure my holiness or true beauty, but they can be outward indicators of some character flaws in my own life.  I was guilty of gluttony, and I know this because I was consistently eating even when I wasn’t hungry.  I was wasting food by consuming what I didn’t need and couldn’t even properly appreciate.

The weight that crept on over the years was not sinful; it was just confirmation of sin within me.

Do I believe that everyone who is overweight is in sin?

No.  That doesn’t mean that everyone who is overweight or heavier than I am is guilty of gluttony or laziness.  I know plenty of people who eat less than I do, exercise more, constantly fight hunger, and weigh more than I do.  A trim body does not equal holiness or righteousness.  But God has given me a body that can maintain a trim shape with only a reasonable amount of activity and self-control, and so I think it may be sin for me to be overweight.

I am not judging the personal habits or hearts of the people around me; I am judging my own.

Does fat disgust me?

On myself, excess fat does bother me, because it is a visible, tangible sign of my own laziness and lack of self-control.  I don’t look at somebody else’s squishy tummy and think, “Ew!”  because her squishy tummy doesn’t hold the same meaning that mine does for me.  On others, it’s not my business or my concern.  I don’t know their circumstances, their diet, or their health unless they choose to discuss it with me.  If they choose to join me in setting and sharing goals, I think we can all benefit from the accountability and encouragement.

I have friends who are heavier or slimmer than I am, and I value each of them.  I don’t judge them based on their weight and body type or what I saw them eat last time we were together, and I hope they don’t judge me based on anything so shallow.

Am I teaching my daughters to hate their bodies?

I don’t think so.  We laugh about the stretch marks on my belly and I call them battle scars.  My girls understand what I explain above – that I’m trying to hold myself to a high standard not because it’s the only way to be beautiful, but because God gave me strong muscles and it’s lazy to let them go to waste.  We know curves are beautiful, and they know that their dad likes my jiggly parts.  They know that some men like more jiggle than others, and that a good man loves his own wife’s shape and size.  They understand that a healthy woman has some fat on her body, and none of them aspires to look like a runway model.

Can fat people be fit and healthy?

A slim person can certainly be healthier than a fat person, and we all know it’s possible to be too thin.  However, there are undeniable connections between excessive weight and certain conditions like heart disease and diabetes, and not many are worried about an epidemic of skinniness in America.  In a nation fraught with health problems it’s not a bad idea to exercise more and eat better – and for most of us, eating better also means eating less. The undeniable pattern is that for most of us, an active lifestyle and a healthy diet will lead to a trimmer and leaner shape than we currently sport.

Do I think you should lose weight?

Wrong question.  Do you think you should lose weight?  Why?

I want to be a loser: 7 weeks later

145, baby!Is anyone still with me?

It’s been 7 weeks since my last drink – no, wait.  That’s not right.  It’s been 7 weeks since my last ice cream, except for last night.  I had 2 scoops, with toasted pecans.  It was sooo worth it!

WEIGHT

My weight seems to have plateaued, but I think I’m ok with that.  I wake up nearly every morning at about 11 or 12 lbs. below where I used to wake up, and just a few pounds heavier than where I woke up as a 17yo, so I’m happy for now.

FOOD

I’m still working hard to eat only when hungry, or at least to keep my “gas tank” on 1/4 instead of 3/4.  Perry thinks I’m weird, but I think it makes everything taste better!  Doesn’t food taste better when you are hungry?  So if you’re always hungry when you eat, everything tastes better, right?  What’s to dispute?

EXERCISE

I’m working hard on eating moderately, but I’m working even harder on exercising.  Perry and I have a running joke that we are each doing this for each other, and neither of us really wants to be doing it at all.  The truth is he wants both of us to do it, and I want only him to do it.  Just kidding.  I may hate exercise while I do it, but I love it when it’s done.  I love a little muscle soreness to remind me that I really accomplished something, and I love that I can already see real results – and so can the rest of the family.

I have new muscle definition in my legs, where I haven’t seen definition for many moons.  I feel more energetic – except right after a workout, at which point I feel like a zombie, but in a good way.  At least I keep telling myself that, in the hope that I’ll believe it someday.  Can zombies feel anything at all?  I don’t know.  I’ll let you know.

BODY FAT

I do have a new theory about my body fat and muscles.  After measuring my lovely daughters with my body fat caliper, I was very surprised to find that the measurements on my flabby ole’ bod put my body fat level on a par with my fit young children, even when adjusted for age.

Here’s my theory.  Feel free to shoot it down if you think my head sounds fatter than the rest of my body.

When I was young, I worked hard and exercised hard and developed a lot of muscle.  I know this much is true.

When I got older and lazier, I thought the muscle wasted away and was replaced by fat.  It looked like that was happening.  I lost much of my tone, gained some weight, and gave up on all my old clothes.

Now I think that most of the muscle is still hiding in there, masquerading as fat.  It’s limp and quiet and lazy muscle.  It’s been doing a good job hiding all these years, but the caliper has revealed it.  Except the muscles responsible for situps.  I think they walked off the job and were never seen again.  They’re probably hiding somewhere in Gov. Arnold’s arms.  I wonder if they do situp-muscle transplants yet, and how would a person get on the waiting list?

But all the rest of my flab might just be lazy, untoned muscles.  Well, most of it.  There’s still some flabby fat consorting with the flabby muscles.

What does this mean?  If I’m right, it might mean I’m not crazy when I think I see new muscle definition after just 2 weeks and a total of 9 workouts (I missed 3 workouts).  Does that seem possible?

Well, I have plenty of time to think it over.  We’re only 2 weeks into 90 days of torture hour long daily workouts, though I do admit to enjoying some days, just a little.  The yoga on Thursday is fun, and the Kenpo on Saturday is exhilarating.  And the Arms & Shoulders workout on Wednesdays isn’t bad at all.  And I did much better on Chest & Back last Monday.

Now I really do sound crazy.

How is your weight loss/exercise going?

I want to be a loser: 6 weeks later

145, baby!It’s been 6 weeks since I decided to lose the weight that has crept up on me over the last 19 years, and it’s time for another update.  I don’t know how much you all care about reading my updates, but I think knowing that I will share an update every 7 days really helps keep me motivated, so pretend you care.  ;)

Over the past 7 days, I did lose just a bit more weight.  One pound, I think.  I’m finding it difficult to remember exactly where I started – is that strange to you? – so I’m very tempted just to start posting my weight.  I don’t know if I should because…well, because of my own twisted female logic and the fact that others might think like me.

If I post my weight every week,  somebody out there might think to herself, “That’s not so bad.  I don’t know why she’s even concerned.  She’s so self-absorbed.  I weight XX more than that!”

And somebody else might think, “Is that all?  She’s just showing off, or trying to make the rest of us feel fat.  I’m never reading her blog again.”

And somebody else might think, “Wow!  She weighs that much??? I never knew KimC was so heavy!  She must be hiding some chunky thighs under those skirts.”

OK, I’m not so worried about that last one.  If somebody wants to tell me I don’t look my weight – in a good way – I’m happy to hear it. And yes, I do have chunky thighs, but that’s not why I wear skirts.

But I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging.  And maybe nobody would accuse me of bragging once they saw the number, so I’m worrying for nothing.

What do you think?  Should I share my actual weight every week, or just my loss?

At any rate, my very bottom weight now is the top of my pre-marriage/pre-pregnancy weight range.  If I eat too much salt or just too much food one day, I instantly gain about 4 lbs. (curse you, water retention!) and I’m out of range again, but at least I can touch the range now!

Maybe my first 4 lbs. when I started 6 weeks ago shouldn’t count for that very reason, but we don’t always have to be rational, do we?  I want to count them, so I can say that I’ve lost 12 or 13 lbs. so far.  That sounds so much better than 8 lbs. doesn’t it?

I was on and off the wagon when it comes to diet, relaxing some days and eating very light on others.  While I do slip toward old habits occasionally, I think my bad days now don’t even compare to how I used to eat.  Unlike our new exercise program, I think the diet is something I can live with – more or less – for an indefinite time.  I want to say forever, but I don’t know about that…

Body fat

I know that weight isn’t supposed to be how we measure our health, and I honestly don’t depend as heavily on the numbers as you might think.  The main reason I’m aiming for my pre-preg weight range is because I know I have a lot more fat and less muscle.  Even when I reach that weight, I will still have a much higher percentage of body fat than I used to have.

In the interest of getting a better picture of our true fitness level, we bought a body fat caliper from Amazon last week.  The cheapest one ($5!) had great reviews, which made me happy.  When it arrived, I learned why it had such great reviews: it tells sweet little lies.  I am not so gullible as to believe that my body is in the lean category.  I do not need to gain some body fat to reach the “ideal” range.  I just need to find a better more accurate way to measure my body fat.

I was not surprised when Google showed me 100 different ways to measure body fat with 100 wildly varying results.  I kept trying until I got results that lined up with my own preconceived body image.  What else could I do?

The take-away lesson for me was to pay attention to my own measurements and how they change rather than where they fall on somebody’s chart.

Exercise

p90x is hard but I can do it!
Perry and I started P90X last week, and it’s hard. I knew that already, and I’m fine with it.  I still don’t blame the workout for last week’s back injury, but I did miss the 2 following workouts because of it.  I think I did pretty well for the rest of the week, and while my muscles are still very sore – I spent most of the weekend limping around the house moaning about my aching [legs, shoulders, buns, fill in the blank] – I am looking forward to building and toning my muscles again.

I think watching the rest of the family suffer through Insanity helps my opinion of P90X. While others are talking about how brutal it is, I’m thinking, “This isn’t so bad.  This isn’t nearly as strenuous as Insanity.  I can do this!”

On the other hand, I often do reach the point where I just can’t go on and have to take a break.  To my surprise, I nearly always find that if I had pushed for another 10 seconds I would have made it to the next break.  Oh, and once Perry pointed out that “break” doesn’t mean I have to jog in place and do jumping jacks like that Big Stupid Show-Off Tony Horton and his 3 Show-Off Sidekicks, I did much better.

Did I mention I hate exercise?  I’d much rather starve to death than exercise to death.  Or to skinniness.  Whatever the goal, I prefer starvation as a method.

 

I want to be a loser, 4 weeks later

I decided 4 weeks ago that I wanted to lose 10-15 lbs. of weight that has crept on over the years.  Then I posted 2 weeks ago that I had already lost 9 lbs.

The week after that I was on the road, having slumber parties with Smockity.  Have you tried her pizza?!  She melted a stick of butter in each pan before she spread the crust, and we were all in heaven.  I ate 5 pieces for lunch.

I did not lose weight that week.  I blame Smockity.  Of course there was also a wedding and plenty of good friends with other friends, but mostly I blame Smockity’s pizza.

When I got home, I found myself slipping back into old habits.  Instead of waiting for my stomach to growl, I ate when it was time to eat or when somebody offered me something appealing.  I took Rachael out for a big, juicy birthday cheeseburger and shake.  Hubby took me out to eat not once, not twice, but three times to celebrate our anniversary.  :)

I didn’t lose weight last week either.

In light of my performance over the past 2 weeks, I’m very thankful that I haven’t gained back what I lost.  I’m still down by 9 lbs. and I’m happy about it.  Now I want to get back on track and lose more!

If you’re working on losing weight, how have you done?  Win, lose or draw?

I want to be a loser, 2 weeks later

I want to be a loser

I want to be a loser, 1 week later

It’s been 2 weeks since I decided to lose some stubborn baby weight, and guess what?  The scale says I’ve lost 9 lbs.  I’m stunned.  I would question the honesty of the scale but it’s saying very realistic things to everyone else in the family.

Furthermore, my shorts reveal the truth.  I have a pair of navy blue shorts that I have owned and worn for years.  I wore them to a friend’s house on the 4th of July and by the end of the first hour, had to unbutton them.  If I were home I would have changed.  Since I wasn’t home, I had plenty of time to think over why I had to spend the day with my shorts unbuttoned.  That was the day I decided to lose some weight.

I’m wearing those shorts now, and they fit the way they did when I bought them.  Ahhh.

I have a few thoughts:

  1. My weight tends to fluctuate about 3 lbs. day by day – at least it did before I cut back my eating 2 weeks ago – and I started at a high point.  That means the first 3 lbs. didn’t really count.  Not all of them.  I knew that already.
  2. The heat helps.  It’s a great appetite suppressant.
  3. I really have ramped up my activity level.  I’m not doing aerobics, but I’m doing a LOT of isometrics and some very purposeful puttering.  That should count for something, shouldn’t it?
  4. I feel good. I feel lighter on my feet already, and I walk with a spring in my step that I didn’t have 2 weeks ago.
  5. I bought a size 2 denim skirt at the thrift store last week, and it’s my new favorite.  That’s not to say I am a size 2.  I’ve never worn a size 2 before and I still don’t, and the skirt is obviously sized incorrectly.  Nevertheless, it’s my new favorite and probably wouldn’t have fit 2 weeks ago.  I like to say I lost 6 sizes in 2 weeks.  :)

I have probably cut back too much.  I’m not going hungry – I’m eating when I get hungry just like I planned and I feel great – but when I think about the amount of food I eat over the course of most days, I know it’s probably not enough to stay healthy.  It’s fun to approach my goal this quickly, but I’m going to have to learn what it takes to maintain a healthy weight.  That means eating more without going back to my old eating habits.  That could be tricky.

But first, I want to continue with the weight loss.  I initially said my goal was 10 lbs, then 15.  Well, after nearly 10 lbs. I feel better but I certainly don’t feel done.  I still have plenty of padding, and since it went so quickly I would love to lose another 10, making a total of 20.  That may sound like a lot to some, but on my frame it isn’t.  I don’t think most people can even tell that I’ve lost weight at all, so another 10 would only make me appear marginally slimmer and get rid of a little more excess padding.  It would put me under my wedding weight but still with considerably less muscle, which means more fat and more inches.  I’m not expecting to ever see my pre-wedding waistline again, but I wouldn’t mind getting the hips down to their old size.

Since things are going so well, I’m not going to work on cutting back any more.  I just want to continue toning and increase my activity level a little more.  I totally forgot about the kettle bell all week and I love using it, so there’s my goal for the upcoming week: USE THE KETTLE BELL!

That’s my weight-loss update for the week, and I’m off to swing the bell.

How did you do this week?