Happy Birthday, Helen!

On this day, 12 years ago, my “mommy’s girl” entered this world. I prayed throughout the pregnancy that this baby would be all mine, that she would want me over everyone else at all times. It’s interesting when I think about that, because it had never occurred to me to pray for something like that before my first two babies. Sarah was born ready to rock and roll and be li’l Miss Independent. Dani had special affection for her dad from the get-go. So, I often found myself wishing for someone who gave me “those eyes” — the looks of love and happiness that only came my way.

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And, so God answered this prayer thousand-fold. As a baby, Helen was forever on my hip (when I wasn’t at work). She cried if I put her down. Helen was the one baby that was content to nuzzle and snuggle at all times. She was the kid who never understood why (oh why???) I had to leave her every day to go to work and spend my days away from her.

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Now, she is 12, and from the moment I woke up this morning, I had a smile on my face for this day that commemorates her entrance to this world. Helen has deep, dark eyes (we think they are actually black now) that penetrate your soul with her love and her smile. And oh, that smile! From her earliest smiles, she could light up an entire room.

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Make no mistake, she is fun-loving and can be quite ornery. She’s learned which behaviors are acceptable and not. She’s challenged me like none of my other children so far. Her heart is gold, though. She loves to make other people laugh and enjoys showing her friends how special they are to her. She is one of the best sisters to her siblings. (As Dani made her cake last night, I mentioned how great it was that she was doing that and Dani said, “And it has to be perfect. Helen deserves the best cake ever!”) This school year, as Helen moved on to the middle school, she has spent most afternoons ensuring the boys have someone there to pick them up at the bus stop and walk them the short way home. She has had stints of making Sarah’s lunch for her — all because she wants to.

A few years ago, we discovered that Helen dealt with a bit of anxiety. Being away from me triggered it, or interactions with others in her class could trigger it, sometimes it was struggling with a school subject that triggered it. We’ve learned to handle her anxious feelings and now she can be away from me for much longer than she used to stand. She’s a straight-A student and part of the district’s A.V.I.D. program. She’s had some growing pains as she transitioned to middle school (what kid doesn’t?!) But the growth I have seen in her during this school year is amazing. She took personal responsibility for her words and actions, understands there are consequences when choices are made and has worked through how she chooses to behave and more often than not, makes good choices.

I pray that Helen has the best birthday ever today. Every day that I celebrate my childrens’ birthdays are my favorite days. Being a mom to these precious souls is the absolute best gig ever.

Happy Birthday to my Baby Girl!!

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Last Take — So Far So Good

It’s been a little over a month since I blogged about my weight loss. I’ve posted a bit on Instagram (and therefore onto my Endless Strength Blog on FB), but nothing with some real meat to it.

Since my post here on the blog, I decided to suck it up and rejoin Weight Watchers, which was the best move. They’ve done a reboot again and the program they have now is called Freestyle. I really like it. When I posted via Instagram how much I liked the changes to the program, I received a few inquiries and decided to post a little about the differences here.

Just a few of the changes that impact my use of the program are listed here:

  • Weight Watchers unveiled ZERO point values for some foods that used to have points associated to them. AND…they were things I really like to eat. AND…they are healthy things that I would choose to eat more of if they didn’t cost me points. Here are just a few: Eggs (Yes!!! EGGS ARE FREE now!); Chicken Breast (only the breast!); Turkey Breast (only the breast!); Shrimp (THIS JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER!); Crab (not the imitation kind…only actual honest-to-goodness, dug out of the leg/shell Crab); Plain, Fat Free Greek Yogurt. Those are things I eat and will eat more of because they are zero points. I think there are more, but I haven’t found the need to go searching for them probably because I don’t eat them all that often.
  • There are fewer daily points assigned also. For example, I used to get 30 points per day, and I now get 23 and I weigh more now than when I was on the program at 30 points per. I happen to think the change in point values for those healthier foods must be part of it, but I haven’t felt the need to dig into the program materials to discover why daily points were lowered.
  • ROLLOVERS! So, we have always had this batch of “weekly” points that could be dipped into if we go over our daily points. As of right now, I get 42 every week, but I foresee that dropping when I get down another 10 pounds or so because i understand that a person’s weight/age/etc. all impacts the number of weeklies they are assigned. And I remember that the number would go down at various points in a person’s journey. So where do the rollovers come in? Well….let’s say you don’t use all 23 daily points. It used to be they really encouraged you to eat ALL of your daily points (something about metabolism, avoiding starving yourself, etc.) Well, now if you have up to 4 points remaining at the end of the day…rather than try to find something 4 points to use your remaining points, if you’re not hungry, just go to bed and the next morning, those 4 points will have been added to your weekly points! LOVE this, by the way. More later.
  • Recipes have been adjusted to reflect new point values and that makes it all easier (love love love the WW app, by the way, it’s my lifesaver).

Tomorrow is my next weigh-in and it will be my fourth week in a row. I’ve lost every week. I anticipate that I will lose again this week.

I’ve tracked every day for the last four weeks. It’s crazy. When I was struggling and not focused, I would miss a day tracking all the time. Of course, that didn’t help me achieve my goals and I fell completely off the wagon. Now I’ve tracked stuff all day every day for four weeks and I think how crazy it would be to go a day without tracking. That just means I’ve reestablished my good food-tracking habit.

I’ve stuck to my activity plan all these weeks, too. Now, last week on Monday and Tuesday, I didn’t make it to my 5:15 a.m. Crossfit, but I made sure and walked 45 minutes both of those nights to still get something in. I’ve learned that walking really IS just as good as running. Sure, it’s slower, but I am a fast walker, so it’s not that much slower. 🙂

Craig and I have food-prepped for the week on the weekend each of these weeks. It’s been wonderful to rush out of the house for work while simply grabbing a meal container out of our extra refrigerator and knowing that lunch is taken care of. No Jimmy John’s or Subway or workplace cafeteria food! A healthy, pointed-out, delicious lunch every single day. What’s awesome is, we usually make enough that I can have one of them for dinner, too, if I don’t want to use the points it would take to eat whatever the kids are eating.

Here are a few of our recipes we have used:

  • Bacon and Swiss Quiche (this was surprisingly delicious and we fixed it two weeks in a row) — 4 points per serving

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  • Ham and Cheese Quiche Spiral — 3 points per spiral
  • Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Tomato Soup with Spinach — 1 point. If you add 1/4 cup orzo pasta when heating up in the microwave, it’s delicious and it’s 5 points.

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I didn’t use Parmesan either…
  • Spicy Turkey-Cheddar Enchilada Pie — 9 points (usually saved this one for dinner)
  • Tuna Salad Flat-Out Wrap — 4 points and YUMMMM!
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I had points to give that night so added the mozzarella cheese for 2 more points
  • Chorizo Beef and Veggie Enchiladas — 7 points. Truth: The WW recipe was Chorizo Chicken and Veggie Enchiladas for only 5 points, but we couldn’t find Chorizo Chicken. :/ But they are delicious — it’s more like a casserole and made 12 servings. I’ve also reserved this mostly for dinner. I even let Dani try one because she loves enchiladas. I didn’t get a chance to ask her how she liked it though.

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We put a little Cilantro on top and then also when eating a small amount of light sour cream (it is spicy!)

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So, there you go for a little status update on how this whole recurring weight loss thing is going. I’m feeling better, my pants are looser (well, the larger sized ones that I bought a few months ago), my stamina is getting better during workouts and…I’m overall happier knowing I am doing something to get myself healthier again.

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Gotta Love Snapchat Filters 🙂