Monday Mumbles – 64

Happy last Monday of 2013!! Let’s mumble, shall we?

1. Can you believe it’s been since the first Monday of December that I have written one of these? It’s been quite a December. Busy as always. But then…I like busy.

2. I set a couple of PR’s yesterday at Crossfit! Well, I went for an “open gym” beforehand and rowed 5000 meters and did it 8 seconds faster than I did it on December 6. That time is just coming on down. I am still shooting to get it to 20:00 by March 1. I think my next goal will be to break 21 minutes.

3. The other PR was on Front Squats. My 1-rep-max used to be 105 and now it is 120!

4. The WOD at Crossfit yesterday made my arms feel like they preferred to fall off than to do that ever again. I love that.

5. I skipped WW Wednesday last week. hey, it was Christmas and all. I will run one this Wednesday, though. Even though I won’t weigh in until Thursday. I’ll at least re-cap to where I was at my last weigh-in.

6. Dominic got Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods for Christmas.


And then, mom sprang for the Darth Vader Pig Carrying case so he’d have a way to keep them organized, keep from losing them and all that jazz.

Item found here


It is so very cute the way he carries that thing with him wherever he goes. And he’s always ready with a story about one of the villains or heroes of the Star Wars stories. Gosh, I just love that boy!!

7.  My girls have been busy with their Rainbow Looms…Many beautiful bracelets being crafted in these here parts.

Starburst Pattern

Triple Banded

8. We had a very happy 12-year-old who got the only thing she asked for this year:

How cool is it that a woman who works on my team has a granddaughter who works at a local department store? And that granddaughter of hers was willing to use her extra 25% employee discount on top of the sale that weekend after Thanksgiving that was 20% and made an adult-sized The North Face jacket a possibility! I’m not sure what’s more amazing…the original cost of the jacket, the discounted cost that made it seem like a miracle or the fact that we needed adult-sized anything for one of our kids!!!

9. The other two girls got plenty of doll clothes that fit their American Girl dolls. And check this out — Helen received the gift of a salon chair that they can sit their dolls in to work on their hair and such.

Dani was tricky because we had to scale the expectations a bit. We’ve learned (through sometimes-painful-experience) that 10-year-olds and iPod touches really just aren’t the best combination. But Dani was extremely pleased with her new swim bag and the fins Santa was able to fit inside. She was amazed that the fins fit her perfectly!

And Vincent had a Despicable Me Christmas theme going on…Oh, you can see that he’s got Lightning McQueen slippers, too…but most of what he asked for ever since he saw Despicable Me 2 in the theater this summer was for that movie. So, Santa obliged…and aunts and uncles contributed with other paraphernalia.

10. Is there anything cuter than a kid who puts a black olive on each finger before he eats them one-by-one? 


I think not.
 

Merry Christmas, Gregory

My dear baby boy, Gregory,

I haven’t written you any more letters since the morning after we said hello and goodbye. So, here you go.

I’ve written about how I’ve missed you. A lot. I’ve worked through my grief and feelings over and over again. Much of the stress, sadness and anxiety died down once your due date passed. I no longer had to anticipate a date with empty arms. I was able to take a deep breath again and really feel like everything was going to be OK.

As the holidays have approached, though, my sadness has been bubbling just under the surface. I didn’t realize it until tonight as I tried to process why I’ve been hyper-sensitive to words said or not said by friends, or perceived imagined injustices by people I know are good friends. 

I realized that I’ve been pushing my sorrow down the past five months — hiding it. I’ve been putting on a good face, because that is what this world expects me to do. I moved on…outwardly. What else could I do? Your older sisters and brothers depend on me to be present to them and not spend my life missing you. My job requires that my mind be present and accounted for and not dreaming of the life we never got to experience. We’ve made some decisions in the last few months that impact our family long-term — and I need to be fully committed to those decisions — the dream of sending your older siblings through Catholic high school, discerning that our days of adding to our family biologically are over, and deciding that Vincent will most likely begin Kindergarten at the age of six, meaning an extra year of daycare before two years of preschool. Those are just the biggies. Our lives are filled with little decisions every day that impact the entire family…and they require that I not spend much time sorting through my sorrow, my grief.

I miss you, Gregory. It may seem silly to say. But I knew you best, outside of our Heavenly Father. I miss the experience I could have had giving birth. I miss warming bottles and tiny diapers. I missed those first few weeks where I’d have slept on the recliner with you cuddled up on my chest…our hearts beating next to each other.

I miss it that we didn’t have a Baptism and all that entails. We’re so blessed by the couple we asked to be your godparents. I truly feel like Rebecca is walking this path with me. She doesn’t hesitate to let me know that she remembers you and misses you, too. I never feel awkward talking about you like you’re real with her…because you are real. But it’s awkward for people if I talk about it in passing…I can tell. 

Tonight, as I was sitting down to write…Craig placed a box in front of me. Well, first he asked how I was doing and I lied and said, “I’m doing just fine.” Then he said, “Then you can open this” and laid this box in front of me.

First I pulled out this…


And before I read the names at the bottom, I knew whom the gift came from. And the tears came. Because I was already feeling the sadness that had been just under the surface, bubbling up and spilling over…and before I even saw what Rebecca and her husband had sent me, I knew it was perfect.

So, now you, sweet boy, have two beautiful Christmas ornaments atop our Christmas tree (this one from your godparents and the one Grandma made for you). You are our “Angel” or the “Star” that tops our tree. You will be every year for the rest of our lives.

I know that since you’re in Heaven, you probably are busy basking in the Light of our Lord and Savior and interceding for us that you don’t particularly care whether we remember you or not. But that’s okay. Because remembering is for us earthly beings. You’re a part of me that I can’t smell, see, or touch. And I miss that more than anything. I miss that I will never hold your hand as we cross the street. I miss buckling you into a car seat. And I miss tucking you in at night. As your siblings grow up, I discover new things I will miss about you. And know this: I WILL miss those things. I’ll miss late night talks when you’re in middle school and I’ll miss whatever sport you would have found to be your niche. I’ll miss learning about your special talents and gifts. I’ll miss wondering whether you’d become a priest someday. I’ll miss the way you’d surely tell me that I’m the best Mommy in the world, just like your big brother, Dominic, does. I’ll just miss everything and anything we could have done, said and had in this world together.

I want you to know that I think about you every damn day. 

It’s funny…but I don’t even have to TRY and I think about you every day. Sure, it’s not constant…but I think about you just about as much as I think about each of the other children who consume my days on Earth. Some days I just wish I could look at everyone who seems to have forgotten that you’re in Heaven and be like, “Hey! Missing my baby boy right now. Hang on a second.”

But that’s not how life works. It’s not anyone’s fault that they’ve forgotten. They think they are helping me by not bringing it up, if they do remember. Onward and upward. Moving on. That is what we do here on Earth. We live in the present. And you, my dear boy, live where Time and Space have different dimensions.

So, this first Christmas, I guess I just want to say…send up some extra prayers for your Mama, sweetheart, because she’s missing you something awful.

Pray for me, Gregory.

Merry Christmas.





7 Quick Takes – 71


Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting! 

— 1 —
Today is the last day of school for the kids before being let out for Christmas break! I have to work one more Monday and then I am off for Christmas break! I am looking forward to the holiday and some time off work. 

But, I question myself every year about the timing of my days off work. I do try to get time off either around Thanksgiving or Christmas. However…I wonder if those days off work would be better spent if I took them maybe a week or two before Christmas. Then I would have time to get everything done. As it is, I spend the weeks leading up to Christmas overwhelmed with working full time and trying to get all the shopping, baking, wrapping done — and this year I’m trying to maintain my activity levels with crossfit workouts or maintaining a streak of days in a row worked out. It’s been kind of exhausting.

— 2 —
Speaking of Crossfit…did I mention I can do pull-ups with a band now? So…it’s not a strict pull-up or a Kipping pull-up…but if I throw my feet into a band, I am able to pull myself up chest-to-bar. I’m pretty stoked about that!

— 3 —

Thank God for my husband. He got some things wrapped and put under the tree last night…so our pile of boxes in our room got a little shorter. I need to finish most of it up this weekend…I don’t want to be wrapping on Christmas Eve!!
 

— 4 —
I’m sad because Craig has to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year. It’s a real bummer. His employer used to send out notice for people to sign up for one or the other day and tried to accommodate those requests…but this year, no notification and by the time the schedule is up, it’s too late to ask for time off. It’s a real bummer.

— 5 —
We do Secret Santa and gift exchange at work and this year I participated. The woman I drew put down for gift ideas: 1) toys; 2) more toys; 3 lots of toys! So, I headed to Toys R Us last night and found….a Despicable Me 2 Deluxe Action Figure Stuart with Fart Dart Launcher. 

Hope she likes it!!

— 6 —
Last year I was new to my department and position so I felt awkward bringing Christmas gifts for anyone. This year, I decided to get a bottle of Pinot Grigio for my boss, a bottle of Pinot Noir for a co-worker who works closely with me on my big projects, and a wine bottle sort of holiday beer my husband found for my co-manager, who is a guy who likes trying different kinds of beers (Craig said, “How come you haven’t mentioned Paul before? We should go hang out..”) I hope they go over well!

— 7 —
This may be my last post before Christmas. I will offer prayers of thanksgiving for all of you, my readers, and wish you all a Merry Christmas! May the Lord bless and keep you, may His Light always shine upon you.

Enjoy your weekend!

Be sure to go check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Posts!

 



Weight Watchers Wednesday (7)

Another week, another weigh-in.

You may remember that last week, I was a bit apprehensive about my weigh in. We had had a tough weekend and while I was getting back on track by Tuesday, I think the damage had been done. Well, I gained 1.2 pounds for the week.

I am actually pleased it wasn’t worse. Typically, when I get off track…I GET OFF TRACK! So, I didn’t let that happen and I’m glad. I was back on a streak starting Tuesday of days exercised, which after today’s workout will have reached 9 days running. I’m happy with the variety of exercise I get, too.

For example, my last 9 days look like this:
Tuesday, 12/10: Run — Treadmill
Wednesday, 12/11: Crossfit
Thursday, 12/12: Stationary Bike and Erg (Rower)
Friday, 12/13: Crossfit
Saturday, 12/14: Elliptical
Sunday, 12/15: Crossfit
Monday, 12/16: Crossfit
Tuesday, 12/17: Run — Treadmill

I’m getting a good amount of strength training in with crossfit — I can actually do banded pull-ups now! And I get some cardio in with the workouts at the Y (while Dani swims).

Food-wise, this week has been stellar. I have stayed within my daily points most days, going over by only 4 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday (used points allowance. I asked Craig to pick up the stuff to make the turkey/apple/blue cheese wraps for my lunch all week. For 8 points, it’s a really delicious lunch. If I stick to just a banana for breakfast, I have some more points available for chips if I want (or a cookie!).

I also ate breakfast every day this week. Even if a couple of days, it was only a banana…it is still better than nothing. I still enjoy the Special K meal bars and snack bars. I used to really like greek yogurt with berries, but Craig got a different type of greek yogurt and it’s a bit different than the other brand. It probably just takes some getting used to. But putting greek yogurt together with berries takes more time than throwing a Special K bar and banana in my purse.

The routine we are supposed to be working on this month is Pack a Snack. I’m just gonna say — I am not very good at doing this. I keep finding myself hungry while I’m out and about and I don’t have a snack! This just seems to take more planning than I have it in me to do at this time of year.

I figured we were overdue for a picture, so I’m loading a couple I had Helen take of me last Thursday. 

Helen coerced a smile out of me, LOL
The lighting isn’t good to notice I have a black skirt with black tights and black boots…so just imagine it, okay?

I think I’ll do a progress summary on next week’s post since that will be the 8th one.

Non-scale victories: I am wearing size 12 pants that really are too loose (but I’m afraid to try on my 10’s!!) and (TMI and men you can skip this part) my bras are too big. I’m going to have to go get fitted, but I’m inclined to wait until I reach my goal because they are so expensive. But maybe I could get one or two “in-between” ones.

Well, that’s it until next week. For those of you with me on this journey, I’d love to hear about your progress in the comments. 🙂

 



7 Quick Takes – 70 (A Book Review!)


Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting! 

I am going to take this opportunity to review for you, I’m Bernadette! by Emily Grace Ortega. Emily sent me the book to read with my children and to review on the blog. 

— 1 —
First impression: I loved the book! Helen and Dominic often begged for me to read more than one chapter at night and we actually finished the book (10 chapters) in three or four sessions. For Helen and Dominic — ages 7 and 4 — to sit still, interested and following along for a book with limited pictures says a lot about how the story captivated my children.

— 2 —
The story centers around a switch in celebration around Halloween time to an All Saints Day parade. Bernadette is in 1st grade and is not necessarily happy that a fairy costume will not suffice (she can’t think of any saints who were fairies!) The book does a good job depicting how a 6 or 7-year old girl might think about having to come up with a saint costume as opposed to something or someone make believe.

— 3 —

The family relationships are also realistic and identifiable for the children. Bernadette has two younger brothers who annoy her or in some way aggravate her in her process of coming up with a saint costume. Her 4-year-old brother takes scissors to all her “best” dress up clothes and her baby brother is often crawling around and getting into things and making a mess. Bernadette’s point of view is articulated in such a realistic way, I am sure that is why Helen really enjoyed reading Bernadette’s story. 

— 4 —
Dominic seemed to enjoy the chapters where all the other kids were telling Bernadette about their saint costumes. There were points that Bernadette was frustrated that she hadn’t come up with a saint to be for the party yet. Dominic enjoyed hearing about the St. Michael the archangel costume one of the boys came up with and he also seemed intrigued with a 4-year-old boy in a book who had an older sister like he did and a younger brother like he did.

— 5 —
I read the book to my kids, but Helen and Dominic could have both read it to themselves. The reading level of the book is probably just under Helen’s (she could have read it easily) and just over Dominic’s (he might have struggled with a few words/sentences, but could have made his way through it).

— 6 —
A sure sign that my children enjoyed the book: At the back, there was a page announcing that “Christmas with Bernadette” was coming in 2014 and both Helen and Dominic asked if we could read that now. So, I guess I’ll have to watch for that book!!

— 7 —
This is a charming book. It delighted my children and made evening/bedtime reading a special time for the days we read it.
This book can be purchased on Amaxon or through HalfMoonBayBooks.com.

Enjoy your weekend!

Be sure to go check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Posts!

 



Weight Watchers Wednesday (6)

Well, what a week. I’ve been kind of quiet because it’s been kind of crazy around here!

First of all, I was SO EXCITED about my weigh-in last week. Before I tell you about it…remember that I was on a streak of 9 days (which turned into 10) in a row of exercising and earning at least 5 or 6 activity points each time. I also tracked every single day and stayed within my points other than Thanksgiving day. Oh yeah and remember I weighed in on Saturday and not Thursday, due to Thanksgiving day. So…I expected to be down a little, but something slight like maybe 0.8 or something since it wasn’t a full week from my last weigh-in.

I was down 2.6 pounds! OMGosh, I even said, “Holy crap, are you kidding?” as my leader wrote the number down. That means I hit my 5% and I crossed the 10 pounds lost mark. I was really excited. It was not lost on me that tracking every day helped me. And surely all the working out did, too.

And my streak actually ended after Wednesday last week, too, because work went crazy and then the kids had their Christmas program on Thursday evening. But, I guess a rest day isn’t so bad.

Then this week got crazy on Friday. I spent the weekend dealing with illness at home which threw off my focus all the way through Monday. I tried to get my focus back on Tuesday, but I think it was only partial since I didn’t track. But I did get a workout in (my first workout since Friday mid-day) with a treadmill run while Dani was at swim practice.

Oh! and Friday’s workout was fun. I made a goal to get my time for a 5000 meter row under 20 minutes by March 1. A couple of weeks ago, I did it on the erg at the Y in 21:50. Then on Tuesday last week, I did it in 21:50 again. Now, the erg at the Y is … well, it’s really old and rickety. There’s a downtown gym where I purchased a punch pass (20 visits for $80) that has a really nice erg. So, I decided to do my rowing workout Friday over lunch and I did my 5K on the erg in 21:20 — so I took off 30 seconds!! so, I just need to keep working. We do a lot of rowing at crossfit now since it’s so cold and no one likes running in the cold (at least I don’t and it doesn’t seem a lot of other people do either). We actually did a 500m “max effort” row last week and I did it in 1:54 which is really not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Okay, enough of the bragging on my workouts. 🙂 

I’ll be interested to see how the scale looks tomorrow. I worked out Friday and Tuesday. I am planning to workout today. Maybe the stress of caring for our house over the weekend negated any bad choices I made food-wise, who knows? Oh well, I guess we’ll find out!


Saturday Evening Blogpost – 12

It is time for the Saturday Evening Blog Post, hosted by Elizabeth Esther

This is a great time to share your favorite post from the previous month. If you click through, just add the link from that post to the link up. It’s a great way to meet other bloggers!

This month, I shared:


Please go visit Elizabeth Esther to meet some other fabulous bloggers!