I want to be a loser, 1 week later

Enter our current giveaway: Large Family Logistics

Since I announced last week that I wanted to lose a bit of extra baby weight, I have made 2 big changes.

First, I worked hard to change the way I eat.  I haven’t made any substantial changes to what I eat, but the way I eat has undergone some extensive remodeling.  I really hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew with these changes, but it felt easy so far and I feel great!

Inspired by my little sister’s recent loss of 30 lbs, I followed her lead and just quit eating so much.  I eat when I’m hungry.  When I’m not hungry, I stop. It’s about as groundbreaking as the classic SNL skit Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford, but it really works.

I stuck to my intention of drinking a glass of water whenever the urge to snack struck, and ended up drinking tons of water while hardly snacking at all.  I have grazed and kept my stomach comfortably full for so long that for the first two days, I think my body had a little trouble remembering how to express real hunger: I got light-headed several times waiting for hunger signals that never appeared and I had to eat even though my stomach didn’t actually rumble.  After that, my body and I seemed to communicate better.

Now when I eat, I’m shocked – flabbergasted at how little it takes to be “not hungry,” instead of eating til I’m full.

Basically I’m keeping my “gas tank” on 1/4 instead of 3/4.

Eating this way has a few perks I didn’t expect:

  1. Food tastes better when you’re hungry.  Duh.
  2. Being hungry makes me just slightly fidgety.  Fidgety = calories burned.  This is in stark contrast to the bloated whale effect when I’m almost full all the time, which makes me want to lie around until I have digested a bit – then go see what else looks good since I have a bit of room in my belly.
  3. If I keep myself just on the edge of [genuine stomach] hunger, I’m always up for a treat if the opportunity comes along.   It’s like gassing up at every station you pass, but only adding a gallon or two.  Note: when I say “treat” I don’t necessarily mean a sweet: I mean a few bites of anything yummy and appealing.

Over the past 7 days, we had dinner at some friends’ home, where they served us burgers, hot dogs, beans, chips, soda, and lots of ice cream for dessert.  We had our oldest daughter’s 18th birthday party, where we did another low country boil, a watermelon eating contest, marshmallow roasting, and ice cream with strawberries and lots of whipped cream for dessert.  We had a church fellowship meal, followed by a birthday party for my mom with banana splits and the most delicious peanut butter cheesecake I have ever eaten.

Because I avoided the empty carbs I don’t care for at each of these meals and ate very moderate portions of the foods I did like, I was able to enjoy dessert each time.  In fact, I think I enjoyed desserts more than usual because I wasn’t bloated from too much dinner, and the pleasure lasted longer because I also wasn’t uncomfortably full from too much dessert.

The second change I made was to increase my activity level.

I didn’t start a vigorous new exercise program.  I did walk 2.5 miles once last week, but you probably do twice that every week, don’t you?

When I say I increased my activity level, I just mean I quit sitting around like a lump all day.

For one thing, I started running far more errands here at the house:

  • When I needed my purse, I got it myself.
  • When I needed a glass of water, I got it myself.
  • When one of the little ones wanted a drink, I got it myself.
  • And a hundred other examples…

I can’t say I took every single opportunity that arose, but I did get up and move around much more than usual.  As often as not, while I was up getting a glass of water, I decided to do 2 or 3 or 10 other things while I was up, so the activity built upon itself.

The other way I changed my activity level was by incorporating some low-key exercises and isometrics into my day:

  • I did quick set of kettle-bell swings now and then to ramp up my pulse and breathing (1-2 minutes)
  • I did a set of triceps dips on a nearby chair once or twice/day (1 minute)
  • I got down on the floor and held a low-plank position or a bridge while reading email on my phone.
  • I leaned back slightly on a stool while reading aloud to the children.  When sitting in a chair, I scooted forward just a little and leaned back slightly.  Great ab workout!
  • In the van, I leaned my seat back a little more than I wanted, then used my abs to sit more upright.
  • I did squats while looking through my drawer for clothes each morning.
  • I walked through the house in a goofy, bent-knee position for the entertainment of the children.  “Look!  I’m doing the exercise walk!  I’m getting skinny!”

I didn’t do every one of the items above every day or at every opportunity, but I tried to make sure I was doing significantly more than I usually do.  Obviously this level of activity is not going to make or break a diet, but I do want to tone the muscles in certain areas as I shed some of the insulation that’s covering them.  I think it’s sufficient for that goal.


I’m down by 5 lbs. already.

Wait – don’t leave!  Don’t hate me!  It’s not like I actually lost 5 lbs. of body fat, or even 5 lbs. of body weight.  It’s more like my stomach isn’t carrying around 5 lbs. of food.

After one week, I’m happy with my progress (who wouldn’t be?) and excited to see what the next week holds.  I don’t expect to lose nearly so much over the next week, but if I can maintain my new habits and take off another pound or two I will be more than satisfied.

Parker is still nursing heavily, and I was surprised that my diet seemed to have only a minimal effect on my milk supply.  Of course it’s not a big deal since he eats a lot of solid food already, but he enjoys nursing and I’m glad I won’t have to worry about milk supply issues.

Since I already made so many changes, this week I’d like to continue on same path: eating only when hungry, stopping when I’m not hungry (don’t just keep eating until I’m out of room!), doing quick exercises throughout the day and taking opportunities to get off my tail and walk to the other end of the house.

How did you do?  Give an update in the comments or link to a post of your own!

In which I save my hunney’s life and limbs

Well, maybe it wasn’t all that dramatic.  I’ll let you be the judge.

Last night, Perry went to bed ahead of me.  When I came to the room, it was dark and the baby was sound asleep in his playpen.  Perry was still awake and rolled over to make room for me.  I undressed in the dark, and just as I crawled into bed he raised his arm in my direction.

“Knock that daddy longleg off my arm.”

His arm was a dark shadow in a dark room.  I could just barely see something on the back of his elbow.  It didn’t seem like a daddy longleg shape.  My brain was moving in slow motion, my sense of alarm rising slowly like the ocean’s tide.

“That doesn’t look like -” …SMACK! I slapped his arm in sudden panic and jumped backward off the bed.

“I think that was a scorpion!”

He looked skeptical when I flipped on the light a millisecond later, but he was already off the bed.  I’m not sure how he moved so quickly, but clearly he wasn’t taking any chances.

A daddy longleg scuttled across the floor, and we looked at each other.  “Are we satisfied with that?” I asked.

There was no answer.  He shrugged and went to the bathroom while I stood staring at the bed, unsure of what to do next.  Lydia just reminded me that he also left me alone in the room 12 years ago with a bat under similar circumstances, except that I was actively chasing the brute around the room.  Apparently we have a pattern here.  I probably shouldn’t expect him to help me with a copperhead if we ever find one in our bedroom, like my parents did a few years back.

As he left the room, I saw this:

scorpion tail under my PILLOW

Yes, I reconstructed the scene for you.  Just go with it, ok?  Feel my horror.  Let’s try again.  Then I saw THIS!


And I grabbed this

and this

and did this

to this



scorpion-and-quarterA full-sized nightmare neatly wrapped up in a 3-inch package.  Horrible?  Yes.  Did I sleep last night?  Yes.  Perry laughed because I was in the fetal position, but I always sleep that way.  My sleep position had nothing to do with this:


scorpion-stinger-close up

or this:


In our part of Texas, scorpions are like spiders.  If you don’t spray poison in, on and around your home, you will have one every now and then.  We’ve been blessed to have very few in our home in spite of the fact that we don’t spray.  They’re not dangerous – the sting is just a little worse than a bee sting.  But they’re terrifying to behold, and I NEVER EVER WANT TO SEE ONE IN MY BED AGAIN.

I want to be a loser

I admitted recently that I have gained about 10 lbs. over the years.  I blame nursing for 5 of the pounds, so that’s Parker’s fault, but actually the total is closer to 15 lbs.  I think that means I still have to take credit for gaining  and holding 10 lbs. on my own.

And so…

I’m going to lose it.

See?  That was easy.  Now I just have to do it.  Who wants to hold me accountable and check up on me?  Who wants to join me?  If I post weekly on the subject, will you leave a comment updating your own progress?  If I don’t post, will you remind me?

My plan is nothing crazy.  It’s already crazy hot here and we don’t have a/c, so you won’t see me spending 45 minutes/day on aerobics or the treadmill.  I probably won’t even walk very often.

What I will do is some quick toning exercises several times/day (maybe I’ll set alarms on my phone for reminders!).  I’ll also make an effort to get up and do stuff as often as possible.  Instead of asking the kids to do things, I’ll be the one to run an item down to the van (up and down 12 steep stairs), or go turn on the hose for the little guys (up and down 12 steep stairs), or pick up the clothes that blew off the rack and into the yard (up and down…oh, you already know).

I know that’s not enough to make a big difference, but I don’t plan to make huge, sweeping changes to my diet either. I already eat a reasonably healthy diet with very little processed foods, fast food, or empty carbs.  I eat lots of produce and dairy and eggs, a bit of meat, and some sweets here and there.  I know I talk a lot about chocolate and ice cream, but a tiny pint of ice cream usually lasts me nearly a month.

So here’s the big thing:  I’m not going to eat unless I’m hungry, and when I’m almost full, I’ll stop. That’s huge for me.  I’m a casual muncher, a grazer, a social eater.  I nibble and browse and rarely eat a big meal but rarely stop eating altogether.  I spend more time mostly full than mostly empty.

If I get the munchies and I’m not truly hungry – no hunger pangs in ma’ belly – I’ll start with a glass of water.  If that doesn’t do the trick, I’ll have a glass of milk.

That’s my plan.  What’s yours?

Why so quiet?

No, I didn’t get raptured, though I did enjoy the jokes that were flying thick and fast.

Rapture jokes are flying like there’s no tomorrow.

Can’t think of a rapture joke? Don’t worry – it’s not the end of the world.

I’ve been nursing and rocking a sick baby, swatting a troublesome toddler who is entirely too cute for her own good, helping 2 children with 2 sewing projects, and polishing up part 6 of my series over on Frugal Hacks.  The new one goes live Tuesday morning, so pop over there bright and early and tell me what you think.  Please?

Oh – baby’s awake and crying.  Is it bad that I think sick babies are the sweetest?  I love snuggling those sad, sweaty heads.  Not so much at 2 AM, but we can’t have everything just the way we want it…

Pieces of my fancy

Shamelessly stolen from 12yo Megan’s facebook page.  She’s quite a writer.  I know Meg reads this blog occasionally.  I wonder how long it will take her to notice that I posted this piece on her behalf?  ~Mom

If I lived in a world of my own, I would always wear black and white checks and ruby slippers.

People would still use typewriters in my world, and put records on, and drive old cars with red leather seats.

Girls would wear birdcage veils, and men would wear vests and shoulder holsters.

Everyone would have a library with a rolling ladder, and everyone would listen to Frank Sinatra.

People would call each other “dahling” and it wouldn’t be weird.

We’d have wicker strollers that we’d push our babies in while wearing high heels, and everyone would read Kipling.

How about you?


Another December day

Puppy baths, just in time for another prospective buyer this evening.  They want a girl.  Who will it be?  Daisy, Bluebell or sweet little Annie?

Cranberry walnut bread…

and handsome new chairs to replace our 10-year-temporary folding metal ones.  Six chairs plus last year’s oak benches between them provide plenty of seating.  Merry Christmas to me!

Christmas cards?  Still not done.  Oops.

What’s happening in your house?  What didn’t happen yet?

Bits and pieces

Perry Boy is 4 now, and quite verbal.  However, he has some trouble with the “L” sound.

Boy: Mom, how do you write cow?

Mom: C….O….W [Like a good homeschool mom, I pronounce both the name and sound of each letter.]

Boy: W?  [Frowns while he thinks about his alphabet video.]  Is that the one that wicks wah-wee-pops?

Four year olds make me smile.

Vote for Leanna
A sweet young homeschool graduate of whom we know has entered a contest to win a scholarship of up to $2,000.  Please consider voting for Leanna’s essay in answer to the question, “Did you ever think that the greatest thing any man could ever be in the economy of God was to be a servant?”

When the word “servant” is mentioned, what common picture is conjectured? I close my eyes and there—there is the poor little servant girl with her ragged shift and bare feet. A froth of messy curls spring out from underneath the kerchief over her hair. With weary shoulders knotted from toil, she performs once again her menial tasks. Her hands are course, red, and sore. Sorrow and care has paved her face with hard lines. Such is the dismal picture that many paint upon the contemplation of what it means to be a servant. How can it be, then, that the position of a servant in God’s kingdom is to be most desired?

Read the rest, and vote for Leanna.  If you really want to help her, vote up to twice daily.

A $1 mystery

We have a mystery in our house.

On Sunday morning, Perry and I woke up under our silky-smooth chocolate brown top sheet.  It matches our silky-smooth chocolate brown fitted sheet and our 2 silky-smooth chocolate brown pillowcases, as one would expect.

This is our only set of sheets in daily use.  We do have another set, but I choose to forget about them.  They’re old and flowered and scratchy, and when I wash the good sheets I just hang them to dry and put them right back on the bed.  No scratchy sheets.

As I said, on Sunday morning Perry and I woke up under our top sheet.  We left for church that morning , then went to my visit my parents and siblings and some relatives visiting from out of town.  We didn’t get home until 8 or 9 PM.

I didn’t make the bed before church, but I did when we came home that evening.  I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary.

And then, when it was bedtime, our top sheet was gone. Just gone.  The comforter was neatly on top as it belonged; the fitted sheet was neatly beneath; the pillows were neatly arranged over it all.  But there was no chocolate top sheet.

Was it there when I made the bed an hour ago?  I can’t swear to it, but think I would have noticed if it was missing.

None of the children knows where it is.

It’s not in the laundry.

It’s not under my bed.

It’s not being used as a tent on the deck.

My house is small.  There aren’t many places to hide something that size, and no reasons I can think of for it to be gone in the first place.  Am I the victim of a practical joke?

Where is my silky-smooth chocolate brown top sheet?

I have offered a $1 reward to the first child who finds it – after she does her chores and reads her Bible.  I’ll pay a bonus if they can solve the mystery of how it got there.

I’ll give a virtual high-five-and-hug if you can guess where and when it will turn up.

C25K: Couch to 5K

Tonight was our final run in the Podrunner version of the Couch to 5K program.  I’ve been meaning to post updates since we jogging started 11 weeks ago, but never took time to do it, so here’s a quick summary:

It was hard.

Do you want the longer version?

I’ve never been a runner – never had any stamina of any sort – so this was entirely new to my body.  I pushed myself many times until I couldn’t stand up and had to keep walking to maintain my balance.  This was new in itself; normally, I hate exercise.  Although I spent much of my early life doing hard physical labor, I’ve never pushed myself to my limits like this.  Of course I could have stopped, taken a break, or even quit, but I really wanted to succeed.

There was also a bit of team psychology going on.  I wasn’t doing this for myself, and I wasn’t doing it alone.  That would have made it far easier to take it easy on myself.  I was doing this with Perry, Lydia and Kaitlyn, and I was definitely the weakest link.  If I didn’t push myself hard enough, we might all have to repeat a week because of me.  I wanted to succeed for their sake.

As it was, we repeated 2 weeks, taking a total of 11 weeks to complete the 9 week program.  But guess what?  This last week, instead of running for the prescribed 30 minutes, we’re running 5 kilometers, nonstop. We’re doing it!  Our time is lousy.  We won’t win any races this week, but now we’re ready to work on speed.  For the first time in our lives, we can run 5K!  This thing really works!

If you think you can’t do it, think again.  I started at 7 weeks post-partum, and I have been a couch-slug for the last 6 years.  I couldn’t do it either.  I was puffing and blowing in the first week, the week that’s supposed to be easy.  I was struggling to do a slow jog for 60 seconds.  Many times my “jog” was no faster than a walk.  Many times I felt like I couldn’t go on, but I just put one foot in front of the other one more time, and once more after that, and once more…

Every time, I would fall behind my husband and 2 daughters, then they would circle back to join me again.  Yes, they ran circles around this old lady.

Twice in week 8, I had to slow for unscheduled walks when I was supposed to be running.  I just couldn’t go on.

Some weeks, none of us believed we’d be ready to move on to a harder workout the following week, but you know what?  We gave it a shot, and we did it!  Now we can run for 30-40 minutes.  We are runners!

I’m not asking for a pat on the back.  I want to encourage others who may be considering a daunting new challenge: do it!  Check your motivation, of course: are you doing it for God’s glory?  If yes, then pray for His blessing on it, set your mind and your body to it, and you might be surprised at what you can do.

I still can’t believe I can run 5 kilometers.  Don’t praise me; just shake your head in wonder with me.

note: Although we used it, I don’t necessarily recommend the free Podrunner music to go along with this program.  While the heavy beats really help keep you moving and the cues to walk/run are key to striking the right intervals in your training, the music isn’t entirely free of lyrics and they’re rather sensual at times.  Use your own judgment.

Career choices

Posted by Megan

So, today I was thinking about all the stuff I’d like to do. I’d like to be a writer. I’d like to be an editor. It would pretty cool to be hairdresser.It would be flat out awesome to be a chef. Then I realized, being a SAHM  means that you can do all of that, and much more!

My mom blogs: she is a writer.

My mom edits whatever we blog: she is an editor.

My mom cuts, trims, tapers and layers all of our hair: she’s a hairdresser.

My mom cooked for all of us, for years before we started helping: she’s a chef.

It seems like some career woman think we have no choices.  I’m sorry, but that makes me want to laugh. It’s just plain silly, SAHMs (or SAHMs to be) have far less limited choices than career women. That’s my thought, anyway.