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Posts Tagged ‘family’

celebration

We’ve hit the time in the summer that is both a blessing and a curse for me.  A blessing because celebrating special events with friends and family is always fun.  A curse because these memory-making events always come with indulgent foods and drinks. Still, I feel lucky to have so much to celebrate over the course of these two weeks:

  • Italian Heritage Night at the SF Giants (Tuesday night)
  • My dad’s birthday (Wednesday night)
  • A Silpada party (last night)
  • Impromptu BBQ w/ my parents (tonight)
  • SJ Giants baseball game (tomorrow night)
  • Dinner out with a friend for my birthday (Tuesday)
  • My birthday (next Wednesday)
  • 4th of July
  • My friend’s annual 5th of July party

At each of these events, I’m going to make the best choices possible.  For example, Wednesday night at my dad’s birthday dinner, which we had at a local bocce court and restaurant, I ordered steamed clams and mussels in a white wine/tomato/garlic broth.  Healthy and very delicious, but we also had red wine. Which is fine, and wouldn’t affect my weight loss, except that I had a beer at the Giants game the night before, and I had cucumber sangria at my party last night.  See what I mean?  None of these choices alone are bad; but together they make it hard to lose weight.

Which is honestly why I didn’t weigh in on Wednesday.  I’d had an Italian sausage (no bun), beer, and a bit of kettle corn the night before at the game, and I knew it would put me up on the scale, even if it is just water weight.

Now I’m not saying that during this next week and a half I’m going to throw everything out the window and eat with wild abandon while lazing around at home inactive. That’s just not me anymore.  I’m still making good choices, I’m still eating small portions, and I’m still working out as much as ever.  But at this point in my weight loss journey, indulging a bit and working out equals maintaining my weight, not losing. 

Which I’m fine with – until July 6th.  I’ve decided that I’m perfectly happy to maintain my weight loss for the next week or so.  I’m actually really happy with the way I look and feel right now.  I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished and enjoy seeing the person who looks back at me in the mirror.  But I still weigh more than I’d like to, so I’m not quite ready to call this my goal weight.  Not just yet.

So beginning on July 6th I’m going to get back to my weight loss mode.  I want to drop another 30 pounds, and while I know it’s going to be a lot harder to do it now that I’m at this weight, I know I can do anything I put my mind to.  Those 30 pounds aren’t going to come off in just one summer, but I can lose 1/3 – 1/2 of them if I get back to being a bit stricter with my food choices.

Which is not to say that I can’t have fun this summer, but I want to keep my ultimate goal in mind. My journey isn’t over just yet, and I’m excited to continue on with it after this brief rest stop.

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Happy Monday! I have a lot of fun things in the works this week, and I’m excited to share them with you as they happen.  Look for some great posts this week. One thing I’ve been really lax on lately is reading and commenting on blog posts.  I feel like ever since Google Reader announced its departure, my reading habits have been thrown a curve ball.  So I plan to rectify that, beginning today.

But now let’s get on with this week’s topic.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: 10 Things That Make Me Happy

1.  First and foremost, my family.  They are the people who forgive me at my worst and celebrate me at my best.  They have been absolutely amazing in cheering my weight loss, and never shy away from complimenting me.  I am the person I’ve become because of their guidance and unending support.

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2.  My friends.  So many of the women that I consider my best friends are people I’ve known since high school.  Friendships that last 24 years are solid friendships, to be sure.  But I also feel really close to people that I’ve met much more recently, because sometimes you meet someone and you just click.  You know the type of friendship I mean – the kind where you feel as if you’ve known the person your whole life.  I value my friends and remain loyal to them through thick and thin.  If you’ve heard the term “ride or die chick,” that’s who I am for my friends.

3.  Sofi!  You knew she was going to be in the top 3, didn’t you?  This pup has brought unending joy and happiness into my life. She helps me live in the moment and to appreciate life’s special, little moments that I might otherwise miss.  There’s nothing better than going on a long walk with Sofi.

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I love this little one even when she’s being a monkey and tearing up the roses in my yard! (She loves eating the petals!).

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Her favorite resting position. Does it get any cuter?!

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4.  Teaching.  As much as I complain sometime about the workload/grading, I really do love what I do.  I adore hearing from former students and knowing that I impacted their lives in a positive way.  I enjoy watching them mature into bright, mature people who are ready to be contributing citizens.  It sounds corny, but I am so lucky to be able to do what I love for a living.  (Remind me of this in the middle of the semester when I’m drowning in honors essays, ok?).

5.  A great pedicure.  There’s really nothing like feeling like you toes look their best, especially in sandal season.

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6.  Reading.  Not only does reading offer a much-needed escape from reality, but it often allows me to learn, grow, and expand my thoughts.  From the moment I was taught how to decipher words on a page, I’ve loved reading, and I know that love will last with me forever.

7.  Writing. This blog is my outlet, my creative space.  A place where I share my thoughts and emotions, my dreams and my frustrations.  Who knows if it will ever become something more, something greater.  I’m just glad I have an ability to express myself through the written word.

8.  The beach.  I go to the beach as often as I can, and still it’s never enough.  Someday I would love to retire to a small little cottage on the beach so that I could take morning walks along the ocean.  How amazing does that sound?  Believe it, be it, right?

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9. Cooking.  Over the years, I really have become someone who loves to cook for myself and for others.  I love every aspect of it, from finding the perfect recipe, to planning the menu, to shopping, to chopping, to cooking, and tasting the final product.  Cooking is another creative outlet for me, and it’s been so much fun adapting the foods and flavors I love into my new post-surgery lifestyle.  I love a challenge!  Food is a huge part of my Italian culture, so the fact that I’m able to carry on my family’s traditions through some of the meals I make brings me great joy.

10. Shopping! Whether it’s shopping for a gift for someone else, or adding to my own wardrobe, I adore shopping.  I get a rush when I’m looking for that special something and find it.  I’ve always loved the way that clothes make me feel about myself, but now that I’m seeing the results of my efforts on the scale, clothes are even better.  I haven’t had any major shopping trips yet…but I’m biding my time until that first major shopping trip.  I cannot wait.

11.  (I know Kenlie asked for 10, but I just have to add this last one).  Working out.  Who would’ve thought that I would have written those words.  But it’s so true.  I love the feeling I get when I tackle a new fitness milestone. And the sense of accomplishment that comes when a really good workout is over.  I even love the way my heart pounds out of my chest as I try to match the tempo of my workout tunes while I’m on the elliptical machine.  I love the way working out feeds my competitive nature.  I know fitness is going to be my hobby/obsession from here on out.  As things get easier to accomplish because my overall health is improving, I know I’ll try to overcome bigger challenges.

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions! And also be sure to go back to Kenlie’s blog and leave a link to your FMM post in the comments! I really encourage you to comment on as many people’s posts as you can – I’ve met some fantastic people through FMM. You never know who you’ll meet today.

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This month I’m participating in 30 Days of Thanks (#30DaysofThanks) by writing a blog post about 30 things I’m thankful for. To join in, go to the link above. The best part is, you don’t need to have a blog or even be on social media to take part in the project; you just need to be thankful. I can’t wait to see how my life might change by spending the 30 days in November giving thanks for things in my life — every single day.

I’m incredibly thankful that I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my family. This year my nieces were with their father, so it was “the original four” – my parents, LC, and me. Though there were few of us, we filled up the house with smiles, laughter, and our passionate personalities. I love my family, and enjoy spending as much time as I can with them.

I’m also really thankful for the bounty we had at dinner, and that this year I was able to indulge, but not go overboard. I enjoyed all of my favorites, but I also tracked everything. Moderation was the key. I loved how I felt – in control.

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This was the appetizer I made – from Martha Stewart Living (found on Pinterest) – blue cheese and walnut spread. Adding the pears was my idea. It was delicious!

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My sister made these cheese straws from puff pastry, and they were so light and flaky.

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My mom’s tables are always the best because of her attention to detail. Gorgeous!!

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We took some fantastic photos of the family, too, which I’m looking forward to printing and putting in frames this weekend.

It was a beautiful day.  A day spent with family.  A day to be grateful.

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This month I’m participating in 30 Days of Thanks (#30DaysofThanks)  by writing a blog post about 30 things I’m thankful for.  To join in, go to the link above.  The best part is, you don’t need to have a blog or even be on social media to take part in the project; you just need to be thankful.  I can’t wait to see how my life might change by spending the 30 days in November giving thanks for things in my life — every single day.

When I think of all of the blessings I have in my life, the first thing that immediately comes to mind is my amazing family.  I don’t know where I would be without them.  They are my strength, they are my support, they are my reality check, and they are my loves.

Everything I know about being a strong person I’ve learned from my family.  My mom had a terrible childhood that she survived, and she shows me everyday that you are not bound by your beginnings.  My mom took all of the awful things that she experienced and used them to become the best mother anyone could ever ask for.  My daddy is the rock of our family, the pillar of strength who never panics or gets overwhelmed.  He constantly contends with the “crazy girls” of our family (my mom, my sister, and me) and never loses his cool or his patience.  I constantly try to emulate his calmness in my reactions to daily life.  My sister is a single mother of two adorable girls, all while excelling at her very stressful career as a social worker.  LC demonstrates fortitude in all that she tackles each and every day.

My family passionately supports every endeavor I undertake, large and small.  They cheer me on during my triumphs, and comfort me in my struggles.  I love knowing that they’ll be at my side whenever I need them.  Now that my sister and my nieces live next door, I couldn’t imagine living life without seeing them on an almost daily basis.  My parents live 5 minutes away, and I’ve taken advantage of their close proximity too many times to count when I needed advice, a shoulder to cry on, or was about to burst with good news.  Besides the emotional support, my family is also there to help me when I need a bit of a financial boost, too.

Whenever I need a swift kick in the culo, my family is there for that, too.  Whenever I find that my thinking or actions are skewed, my family is there with a quick reality check.  They keep me grounded and have taught me what is truly important in life.   The perspective they offer me makes the little annoyances of daily life just that, little, and so I don’t let them interfere with enjoying all of the truly important things that I have.

My family taught me how to love, through actions and through words.  They were the first people I bonded with, and to this day, they are the best friends I have.  Whenever something exciting happens, my sister and my parents are the first ones I think to call.  They tell me how special I am to them, and they make me feel incredibly loved.

I am incredibly thankful for my family.

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What a terrific weekend I had! This post may seem a bit scattered, but hey, it’s Sunday, and I don’t have to keep it linear if I don’t want to, right?
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Yesterday I bought myself these gerbera daisies and I am happy each time I look at them. It’s like having a bit of the summer right inside my house. I haven’t done it in a long time, but buying flowers for myself is a simple way that I can enjoy the beauty of time. These were on sale for $3.99/bunch, and so I got 2 arrangements for $8 – a very reasonable price for a week’s worth of happiness, wouldn’t you say?

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This little vase on Lulu’s table makes me smile every time I see it.  I’m going to treat myself to some beautiful bouquets this summer so that I can bring a little joy into everyday.

Today is Father’s Day, and this year my sister and my dad spent the morning just the two of them, rather than our normal, big bbq dinner.  She wanted to make him a special breakfast and spend time one-on-one with him.  She made the most fabulous looking Uova Benedetto (think Eggs Benedict, Italian style: homemade polenta fried, then topped with priscuitto, a poached egg, and pesto sauce).  I thought it was a great way to show my dad how much she appreciates him without spending a ton of money.  And it was right up my dad’s alley – he’s more of a simple pleasures sort of man.  I did get to spend a tiny bit of time with him and wish him a good day.  He and I are going to celebrate Father’s Day and his birthday (which is this weekend) by going to an SF Giants game.  We have amazing seats right behind home plate (I love Stub Hub!).  They were expensive, but my dad is worth every penny, and I know we’re going to have a great day together at the ballpark.  Can’t wait.

Yesterday I had my friend Neeka over for a puppy playdate.  Her cockapoo, Riley, is 5 months old, so he’s the perfect in-between for Sofi and Minnie.  He’s got the full-of-energy puppy giddiness that Sofi loved and he’s the same size as Minnie.  They had an absolutely amazing time together, and I hope we’re able to do it again and again.  (If you want to watch the puppies playing, click here.

The best thing about SBD is that it’s so liveable, even on Phase 1.  Yesterday I served this:

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Now, I ask you, does that seem like “diet food?”  The weather’s been warm here, so this was really light and refreshing.  (I also had pretzels for her, just in case this was a veggie overload). Neeka enjoyed it, and so did I.  It’s so nice to be able to hang out with friends again and not feel like I just have to sit there with a glass of water.  I have a lunch coming up on Tuesday with a friend, and I’m not one bit worried about finding something SBD-friendly to eat.  The pitchers are filled with Crystal Light (iced tea and sunburst grapefruit, respectively).

I have quite a few celebrations coming up – my dad’s birthday, my birthday, 4th of July, and yet I’m not worried about a single one because I know that I can easily incorporate this SBD lifestyle.  Luckily I timed it perfectly, and I’ll be one Phase 2 beginning on my dad’s birthday.  Meaning, I’ll be able to have some fruit and grains (if I want to) as well as up to 2 glasses of wine per day.  I will make sure to amp up the activity around those days, just to counteract the fact that I may indulge in more than 2 glasses of wine.

Speaking of which, I’ve been really bad about activity and I don’t know why that is.  I think part of it is the fact that with Sofi here now, I’m  trying to establish a new morning routine.  Because I always do better if I hit the gym in the morning.  That way, it’s done, and if I get more activity in throughout the day, that’s just a bonus.  So I need to commit to exercising this week, to you guys (for accountability) but to myself as well.  Here’s the plan:

Monday – 9am: Aqua aerobics
Tuesday – 6:30pm: Afro-Belly Boogie
Wednesday – 4pm: swimming with my nieces, which will be more like doggie paddling than anything.
Thursday – OFF.  Giants’ game with my dad.  Although we will be walking several city blocks from the train station to the ballpark and vice versa.
Friday – 9am: Aqua
Saturday – 10am: Zumba

Then next week I want to begin introducing weight training into the mix.  I’m thinking that if I get their 30-40 minutes before the classes start, I can do a circuit and then do the cardio.  Because I know that most of the time after the cardio workouts, all I want to do is recover and rest at home.

This afternoon my sister and I were talking and she started asking me all about SBD.  I think she’s seeing how easy it is for me to follow it, and so she’s been inspired. :)  She’s going to start tomorrow!  It’s going to be nice to have someone to do it with who lives right next door.  My sister said she wants to lose about 80 pounds, and when we crunched some numbers, she could very conceivably lose the weight by April.  I’m so happy that she’s starting to put herself first.  She’s really blossoming lately – she had her hair done the other day, had her curls blown out for the first time ever, and is starting to wear really cute outfits to work.  I think the heaviness has lifted and now that her divorce will be finalized soon, she’s feeling happier.  I’m so glad for her.

I’ll end the post on a really positive note…this morning I peeked at the scale and I’ve lost a very impressive amount of weight this week! 5.8 lbs since beginning SBD last Monday!  Wednesday’s weigh in should be great.

How was your weekend? What was the highlight?

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Things are going really well for me in the world of weight loss, and since I’ll update you more on that on  Friday with my Countdown to Christmas/NYE Challenge update, I thought I’d let you in on some other VERY exciting things that are going on.

As you know, I’ve been taking part in Reverb 10 (look for that post later today), and I really encourage you to join in.  I love how it’s allowed me to strut my writing skills and reflect on 2010.  It’s been a really positive experience that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Today has been the best day in recent memory, which is saying a lot, because life has been great!! So much good stuff in one day. I think I’m going to burst with happiness!!”
~~ My Facebook status yesterday afternoon

The reason for such exuberance? I’m going to make you wait for the main reason, but one of the other reasons was that I took yesterday off to finish up Christmas decorations.

I have lots of sick days, so I figured why not?  Plus two of the classes I teach on “B” days are really challenging this year – not in a good way.  About half of the students are extremely rude, disrespectful, and disruptive.  They’re also failing.  There are a myriad of reasons why that I won’t get into here, and I’m not alone – the other teachers at my level are also experiencing this with this group of kids.  Still, they wear me out, so I figured I could use a bit of a break.

I spent the day decorating for Christmas and going back to Pier 1 for a few more items.  My mom came with me, and we had a great time.  I’m happy that I finally have it all set up.  Now I need to invite a few people over so that I can share it with them.  :)

A few of the photos you’re about to see are repeats from yesterday, but since I rearranged things I figured I’d show them again. (Click on any of the photos to make them larger).

Yes, I will change the “Days left ’till Christmas” every single day.  I do it when I get up in the morning and retrieve the newspaper.

When I showed my student what I’d done with the bowl of pine cones that I bought from her for the orchestra fundraiser, she was impressed.

Full view of living room.

I was afraid this looked too busy, but my mom said she thought it was festive.

You know spoiled little Lulu had to have her own stocking!

The photo is a bit blurry, but this looks really pretty at night, when the candles are lit.

The rest of the living room.

Instead of a full-fledged Christmas tree.

Ditto.

Love the whimsy of this table.  The candles are the exact color of the ornaments and balls.

All that decorating just puts me in such a happy mood.  This is the season when everything sparkles.  Glitter abounds, and it makes January seem so dull in comparison, doesn’t it?  I’ve decided that I’m going to decorate for each season, when appropriate, so that the house never gets that “worn in” look.  I want my decoration to reflect my attitude – happy and bright.

And now, without further ado, the main reason I’m so excited is:

DRUMROLL, please………..

My sister is moving into the duplex next to me!!!

She has finally made the decision to leave her husband (they’ve been talking about separating for more than 6 months, but he’s been unwilling to leave) and move back home to the city where we grew up.  Not only will we share a garage wall and be able to look out our bedroom windows at each other, but my parents are also only 5 minutes away, and most of my sister’s friends live here, too.  She’s going to have such a strong support system in place, and I know that it will mean such a positive change for her and my nieces.

It will mean a lot of change for me, too.  I’ve committed to staying home after school with the girls three days a week (my mom will cover the other two).  Which will mean a lifestyle change for me.  My life won’t be as free and easy as it has been, and my schedule won’t be as open.  But it will be nice to have someone else to care for  besides Lulu and myself.  (Plus Lulu is really excited that she’s going to have Minnie to play with all day). This is going to be a great opportunity to bond even more with my nieces, which will be so special.  I love them so much, and I’ve missed not being physically close to them.  (Even though an hour away isn’t that far compared to some people’s distance, it isn’t just across the street or down the road).  I am completely embracing  this new change.

LC is going to move the week after Christmas, so she and the girls will be able to start the new year off right – with a fresh start, renewed hope, and a new lease on life.  Sounds like the BEST way to start the new year to me!!

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I love writing on this blog, but sometimes it gets a bit mundane to list what I’ve been eating, how I’ve been doing on my workouts, or what realizations I’ve recently come to. Those are all great things, but day-in-day-out they can get a little boring to write.

And then I saw SkinnyEmmie’s post about joining Reverb 10 and knew it was going to be a great way for me to write on this blog as often as I’d like without getting bored.

What’s Reverb 10?

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10, we’ll do both.”

Each day on the Reverb 10 website they post a prompt that I’ll respond to. I like that they keep it creative by saying we can write a post, respond on Twitter (#reverb10), or post a photograph (on Flickr). I’ll post everything on this blog, although some days it might just be my Twitter response or a photo that I’ve taken.

I hope you’ll join in, too, because it sounds like such a great way to wrap-up the year and begin thinking about 2011.

Today’s Prompt:

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

2010’s word is ACTION. That’s been my mantra all year long, and though there were times that I stumbled or became inactive, my overlying principle this year was to move forward, make positive strides, and DO SOMETHING.

2011’s word will be CHANGE. I see change as a positive thing, and there will be quite a bit of change in the new year. My sister has finally decided to actually leave her husband and move (with my nieces) back to my city, and if things work out as they should, she’ll be living in the duplex next to mine!! (I haven’t written about it until now because I didn’t want to jinx anything, but if we’re putting positive reverberations out into the universe in order to manifest them, I want to write that one in all caps!!!). My weight is also going to change in 2011, because I will be able to lose the 30 pounds required for the lap band surgery by the first quarter of the year, and the surgery will be scheduled soon thereafter. Then, it will be a huge change of lifestyle for me as I get adjusted to my new appetite, food “rules,” and ways of eating. I will also change the way I approach exercise by looking forward to it as a time to focus on myself, my body, and all that I can do physically. Lots of change in 2011, and I cannot wait!

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