Sunday, April 28, 2013

Forget This

I am so over exercising. Not over-exercising as in doing too much, but OVER exercising, as in I have reached my boiling point where my hatred overpowers my stubbornness to keep going.

I missed my scheduled workouts last week, so today I started my game up to get back on track. The problem with the game is that even though it can tell I missed my work out for all of last week, it acts like I didn't, and ups the ante by making me work harder than I can physically do at this point. So that, on top of how much I just HATE working out, makes me completely finished. I'm not having fun, I am not enjoying myself one bit, and every time I even THINK about running, I get so angry that I feel like I'm a kettle about to boil over. That's it. FORGET THIS.

I've been told that you have to enjoy how you exercise or else you'll get burned out and not do it anymore. Yep, I get it now. I've also been told that sometimes tough things in life just take some getting used to, like how eating sushi is an acquired taste. The problem lies when I have no desire to acquire the taste and I have no reason to change my mind. I realize that cardio burns only fat and not muscle and so it's a great way to get lean. I don't care anymore. I'm not doing it.

(Have I ever mentioned that I stubbornly put my mind to things and no one can tell me otherwise? I believe we've covered this.)

But Tracey, you say, there are a lot of things in life that we don't like and we still have to do them. Yeah, duh, I know, I have two children, a husband and a house. I do things I don't like EVERY DAY. I don't like doing dishes or laundry. I don't like cooking or cleaning. I don't particularly enjoy making the bed, buying groceries, or changing diapers. But I do them. I'm tired of having one more thing in my daily lineup that I don't like.

Am I going to become a lazy glutton? No. I'm still going to do Weight Watchers and I'm still wearing my ActiveLink so I can try to earn extra points by being active everyday. I even upped my challenge because it was becoming too easy for me to earn just one WW point of activity a day, so now I'm challenging myself to two. But I'm not doing it through running, jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, star jump combos or with that awful Nike trainer game anymore. I will go for walks with my kids in the stroller, I will play tag and soccer in the backyard, I will practice tumbling with Brooklyn, and I'll play games on the Kinect. I will do so many things to keep me active because I do still need to lose weight. I know I may not lose it as fast as if I was doing hardcore workouts, but I'm over it. I'm full of too much anger that it's just not worth it anymore.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Growing and Growing Up

My children are growing up before my eyes.

A couple of days ago as Peyton was falling asleep, he pulled my hand up to his mouth so I could help hold his pacifier in place. Whoa. A coordinated action. And so the baby phase starts its slow descent to the end. He can sleep with one arm out of his swaddle now and he is giving slobbery baby kisses (MY FAVORITE).

And Brooklyn keeps talking better and better. I'm glad other people are beginning to understand her more, but I'm not going to lie: yesterday morning she was still saying chichen and wawer, and by night time she was asking for chicken and water. In the course of an afternoon, the missing consonants have appeared.

There are bad days, but there is so much joy in my life, and I try hard to remember to appreciate all the little moments. The Houston Ballet sent me an advertisement for their upcoming production of Peter Pan yesterday. I wish we had the disposable income to go see it, because Peter Pan, as silly as it may sound, helps guide my life. It's the reason I say "adults" rather than "grown ups". I've mentioned my tattoo here before: it's the map to Neverland, where you never have to grow up. It's a constant visual reminder to always take time to play.

Today, I had a picnic with pretend popcorn. Brooklyn and I pantomimed tossing pieces up into the air to each other and catching them in our mouths. It was so much fun! This girl has a crazy imagination. She tells me she has to put glue on everything. Not just things that need fixing, mind you, but pieces of food and stuff too. I have no idea why or where it came from, but there it is. And I love the conversations we can have, especially when she's just pulling thoughts out of thin air. Take this conversation:

Me: Look, Brooklyn. The train is stuck on the train tracks.
Brooklyn: Hey yeah, Daddy fix it!
Me: You think Daddy can fix the train?
B: Sure!
Me: I don’t think Daddy knows how to fix trains.
B: Sure!
Me: Oh look, the train is going again.
B: See? Daddy!
Me: Daddy fixed it?
B: Yes!
Me: You sure?
B: Yes!
Me: You think Daddy left work to come all the way down to the train tracks so he could tell the conductor how to fix the train?
B: Might be.
Me: What did he do after he fixed the train?
B: Fix more trains.
Me: And after he fixes more trains what will he do?
B: Go to school.
Me: After school is over, then what?
B: Coach.
Me: When coaching is done, then what?
B: Take a nap.
Me: When he wakes up from his nap what will he do?
B: Sing a song. All done.
Me: That’s all he’s going to do?
B: Yes. All done.

You know what? My children are growing, but they aren't growing up. Grown ups don't play. And my kids are going to play with me and Brandon so much while they're kids that they will just continue to play the rest of their life.

Week Nine Weigh-In

It was bound to happen eventually. Last week I weighed in at 166, and today I weighed in at

Not impressed.
I was expecting to gain this week, so it's not that big a deal. Especially since my measurements still got a tad smaller. According to the Amazing Dress Size Calculator I can now squeeze into a size 12. Single digits here I come!

I was really lazy last week. Ironic, since Sunday's Bible class topic was sloth. I didn't work out at all. Why? Because I hate it. I also didn't budget extra weekly points for last night's girl's night, so when we got to Pappasito's and I smelled the goodness of Tex-Mex wafting in from the kitchen, any ideas of trying to eat well went out the window. Small cup of chicken tortilla soup? Grilled meat without tortillas? Heck no. Bring on the big plate of chicken fajitas. Give me the homemade tortillas, give me the guacamole. Not to mention the chips and salsa. Oh, and dessert too. Yes, please. The dulce de leche ice cream with brownies, chocolate sauce, pecans, and pure Heaven? So worth whatever I was going to weigh today.

I have shown good judgment, balance and self-control for the most part over the past 9 weeks, and last night I got to have one of the best nights ever with some great girl friends. "Great girl friends" is such an odd set of words for me to use because I've never really had "great girl friends". I've had a handful over my lifetime, but never as many that I've loved and felt comfortable with like I have now. It was so relaxing to be able to spend a couple of hours away from our houses and families to recharge and just be silly. I felt like a kid on summer vacation, just bursting with energy and excitement at being out with 10 other moms and no kids! We really need to do it more often, but preferably not on Thursdays. Eating one of the greatest meals of all time the night before I weigh in was not the greatest idea, but it was well worth it. I'll get back on track this week.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Week Eight Weigh-In!

I cannot hide my excitement. The giddiness is overwhelming. Last week I weighed in at 168 and today I weigh in at



I've lost 15 pounds.


That feels like a real weight loss. Losing a pound or two or even five seemed like something that could fluctuate and not really mean anything. Losing a total of FIFTEEN pounds really gets me pumped up. And though I've stated before that this feels like magic, there really is a lot of science behind Weight Watchers.

And this week I really tried to eat as much as possible without gaining weight, because really... isn't that what everyone wants? I love to eat. I don't think there's anything wrong with it (We'll see what the elders say when our "Seven Deadly Sins" comes to the lesson on gluttony). And I'm pretty pleased that I was able to go to Texas Roadhouse this week and still lose two more pounds. Stay within the points and you still lose weight. I even went into using my activity points this week and the weight loss still happened. It's all about keeping up with points and measuring serving sizes. Take a few extra minutes to get everything set up and then the pounds start shedding.

Brandon has become increasingly more interested in the WW program. Not because he wants to lose weight, but he was interested if they had programs to gain weight. I told him he could probably just eat way too many points each day and see if that worked. Of course, his metabolism is so high we figured he would need to eat about 900 points each day to even have a shot at it (for comparison: I am allotted 40 points each day). With the amount of candy he eats all day he may have a shot at hitting that. One Starburst is one WW point, for example. It wouldn't take that long, considering he eats handfuls of candy during each class period while he lectures.

He also made some interesting observations while checking out our pantry the other day.

Brandon: Pop Tarts are expensive!
Me: No they're not.
Brandon: Look, you labeled them as 6 points. That's the Weight Watchers equivalent to expensive, right?

Yeah, I guess so, which is why Pop Tarts are not a typical snack of my choice.

All of this weight loss is really insignificant in light of what is going on in our country and world right now, but like my friend Jamin said, the best way to deal with terrorism is by refusing to be terrified. Sometimes we just need to continue with our lives and try to not let it affect us, if that's possible. This is why I've tried not to write anything political on Facebook this week: it's not worth it. It's better to just move forward. Life is hard, life is dangerous, and if we don't grab onto something that gives us a sliver of hope, we're not going to make it. So, I'm not going to dwell on it; I'm going to keep blogging, keep working out, keep losing weight, keep calm and carry on.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Looking for a Job is a Full-Time Job

My house is a wreck. I've literally got 8 piles of clean laundry sitting on a chair in my living room waiting to be folded. I've got pictures of Peyton to mail out that are about a month old already. I've got bills to pay. I've got choreography to do. Please don't look at my carpets. Toys are everywhere, as is trash. And I gave Brooklyn a bath last night simply because I could not remember when the last time she washed was.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: looking for a job IS a full-time job.

Being a mom is a full-time job too, which makes this doubly difficult, because my motherly duties are slacking. It's a good day when everyone gets fed. It's a great day when we get everyone to bed on time. It's an amazing (and yet to happen) day when I arrive somewhere on time with two kids in tow. Thankfully baseball season is almost over and I'll have my wonderful partner in crime back. Okay, just partner. I just have a hard time not adding "in crime" after the word "partner". Regardless of criminal activity or lack thereof, Brandon makes everything easier. He gets kids dressed, preps bags, and makes sure we are out the door on time. Landon made a great comment the other day. We were on our way to his house before heading to the Astros opening night game and he told Aja that if it were anyone else picking him up, he could count on a 5-10 minute grace period window of actual pickup time, but since it was the Strothers, he knew we'd be there right on time. Brandon and I both corrected him... it's not the Strothers individually that are both on time, but as a collective whole with Brandon in charge it was what to expect. I never claim punctuality as a strong suit of mine. Ask any kid who ever had me for 1st period at Needville.

The one thing that Brandon can't do for me right now is what is consuming my life, and that is looking for a job. Ideally Needville would hire me back but there isn't budget for that right now. Boo. So generally what I want is to teach ASL in a public high school near my house. Fort Bend ISD, Lamar CISD, Katy ISD or others. All told though, I have applied for around 25 different positions at 10 different districts. I've updated my resume. I've written personalized cover letters. I've sent in all my applications. I've written essays. I've studied for and tested for two additional certifications (English and Deaf/Hard of Hearing). I've made contacts. I've talked to parents. I've emailed principals, I've emailed secretaries, I've emailed them all again. I've had an interview, albeit for a position that is not available, it was an interview to get me in the system should something come up. Not altogether hopeless but I'm not waiting for that phone call any day now either. And I feel like I have done nothing else BUT this for the past month and a half. From the moment I wake up til the moment I fall asleep, this is on my mind. Not always the forefront, but it's there. I'm praying, wondering, hoping, wishing, searching, asking and waiting. I can't help but think about the line from Evan Almighty about patience: if you pray for patience, does God give you patience, or does He give you opportunities to be patient? I can't help but think it's the latter, and that this is yet another time for me to learn patience. IT IS NOT FUN.

I will have a job. I will. I know I will. I don't doubt that. I just wonder what and where it will be. And how many more months of full-time looking will it take me to find my full-time job.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Week Seven Weigh-In!

A couple of days ago, I got dressed and said to Brandon, "Look at me!" He immediately knew what I wanted him to see. It seemed like my stomach had been shrinking in size overnight. We could both see it. So despite baking cookies twice this week, I knew today's weigh-in would be successful. Last week I weighed in at 170, and today...

168!!! :)
For a weekly loss of 2 pounds and a total loss of 13 pounds since I started. Granted, one of those two pounds could have been lost to the 10 inches of hair I cut off, but not both :) 

I've been wearing my ActiveLink activity monitor everyday and it keeps track of exactly how much I really move. My challenge is to earn 1 point of activity each day, which would give me 7 extra points a week that I could potentially use on food. The ActiveLink monitors my movement and records when I hit my baseline (average that a woman my age, weight and height should be moving on a daily basis) and then when I've hit 100% of my movement goal for the day. Most days I hit it easily, but there are some days when I'm just not doing much  besides sitting around. On those days the ActiveLink is really helpful because it pushes me to just walk around the house, stretch, put away the dishes or fold the load of laundry: whatever it takes to be just a little more active each day. I think that has probably contributed to my successful week.

I am feeling good, I know I am looking better, and this whole thing feels like magic. I know it's much more self-control than magic, but some days I just don't know how else to explain it. I'm just excited!! :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Children- 2 1/2 yrs and 3 months

This week at our Ladies' Bible Study, one of the mentor moms read a book about holding onto the last moments your children do things. We all wept. And then laughed at ourselves for it. And then laughed more at thinking what our husbands would say if they were there. Something along the lines of, "Why do you do this to yourself?" would be appropriate.

It made me realize all the more that it's important to write down funny things our kids say and do, to take lots of pictures, and to try and capture them at different stages of life so we can look back and easily remember. My friend Aja is so good at doing this. She is always snapping photos of events in their lives, whether they're monumental occasions or average everyday cuteness, and she keeps track of what Aedan is like each month. I love it. So it's time I make a concerted effort to do the same for mine.

Brooklyn is 2 1/2 years old right now. Halfway to 3, which is MIND BLOWING. Peyton is 3 months old. Hard to believe. And there are very few days that go by when I don't put them to sleep and immediately return to Brandon saying, "Our kids are amazing. I love them!"

  • is learning to enunciate and expand her words a LOT now. Sese has turned into Sese Street. Cookie is now Cookie Monster. Bebber is now better. Peppy is now Peyton. All of a sudden these cute, babyish sounds are turning into childlike chatter. She even uses words like and, it, and is to complete sentences. My favorite is when I walk into her room to get her dressed or wake her up and she says, "It's mommy!" much in the same way Jack Nicholson said, "Here's Johnny!"
  • is learning to be very polite. She loves to respond with an emphatic "Yes sir!" when she agrees, no matter whether she's talking to a man or woman. We'll work on gender differences later.
  • has told me multiple times she wants to marry me. She will walk up to me, give me the sweetest hug, put her head on my shoulder and say, "Marry mommy". I told her she couldn't because I was already married to Daddy and she just told me she loved me. Makes perfect sense to her: mommy and daddy love each other and they're married, so she should marry who she loves too :) 
  • can do lots of things by herself ("I do it myyyyself", she says) including but not limited to putting on socks, shirts and crocs, pulling up and down her Pull-up (though potty training is still on the list of things we can't do), identifying numbers to 20 and every letter of the alphabet by sight, washing her hands, brushing her teeth, opening (most) doors and (kind of) riding a tricycle. 
  • is the sweetest encourager and a natural cheerleader. When Peyton hits a toy to turn the lights and sound on, she sincerely cheers, "Good job Peyton!!" Similarly, when I finished a workout last week she hugged me and said, "So proud of you". She told Brandon the same thing when he said his baseball team won their game.
  • is getting better at listening and obeying. Few spankings and timeouts are needed, and when I ask her how many times I should ask her to do something, she replies, "One time". 
  • That being said, she loves to bargain, as in I say, "We'll kick the ball one more time and then we're done", to which she says, "No, three times". 
  • has trouble with whining and fake crying. Lots of kisses and Toy Story bandaids and "hold you"s everyday (well, I couldn't write this whole thing making you think she was perfect. Far from it!).
  • is very much me.  
    • She's defiant without usually being rude. I'll tell her no and she'll say "Sure!", just as if we were having a simple discussion and could agree to disagree. 
    • She loves her brother SO much and tries to take care of him at all times.
    • She is scared of bugs, wind, heights and the dark. Check, check, check and check for me. So far she is not afraid of clowns or escalators, so we aren't true carbon copies.
    • She loves movies, Disney and Sesame Street, always has. Recently she has been crazy about Land Before Time and wants to watch Jurassic Park, but seeing as how she's afraid of um, bugs and the dark, I guarantee the t-rex would be a bit much. It ain't happenin', kid. It reminds me of how much I wanted to watch Silence of the Lambs growing up but wasn't allowed to. Many times when I was sick and stayed home from school, my mom would let me rent a movie or we'd watch one at home I hadn't seen, or an old favorite. From 1991 until I was 16 I think my first choice was always Silence of the Lambs. She never gave in. And never understood why I wanted to watch it. It was because she and my dad had gone on a date to watch it at the theater when it first came out and left me with a babysitter. I was jealous, and wanted to know why I couldn't go ever since (Now I know...) Wow, what a digression. Back to Brooklyn.
    • She loves movies. It bears repeating.
    • She is shy, but not shy. She is a wild, crazy girl most of the time, until adults are around. Or other kids. Or really anyone who isn't family. She does a really good job of pretending to be shy.
  • Lastly- she is adorable!
  • is so chill.
  • sleeps in his own bed in his own room now and only wakes up once to feed. Occasionally will sleep 8 hours straight, which is glorious.
  • takes a short morning nap, a feeding to feeding afternoon nap, and an evening catnap before finally turning in around 8:30 or 9:00 each night
  • is the easiest baby to put to sleep. Pick him up and hold him and if it's naptime, he is out. When it takes me less than 5 minutes to rock my baby to sleep I have a hard time just letting him cry it out to teach him to self-soothe. This may come back to bite me, but if this is my last baby I am NOT letting him go so soon! (Sounds like a helicopter mom in training...oops)
  • recognizes us! He still smiles at most strangers, but always gives a grin of acknowledgement to Brandon and Brooklyn. And for me? The biggest smile I've ever seen, combined with flailing arms and legs as if he's so excited he just doesn't know what to do with himself. I LOVE it. 
  • can roll over from stomach to back, and is just < > THAT close to going the other way.
  • weighs 13 pounds 2 ounces and is 25 inches long. 
  • loves to hear me sing, especially anything with ooooh and aaaaah sounds in it. Current favorites include "Some Nights" by fun. and "Home" by Philip Philips. 
  • Lastly... is also too adorable for words :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Week Six Weigh-In!

Without further ado, last week I weighed in at 171.2 pounds and today I weighed in at
for a loss of 1.2 pounds this week and a grand total of 11 pounds in 6 weeks. This does not seem monumental, sure, but remember this picture?

That was 11 pounds and 6 weeks ago. Lots less face, arms and waist. Oh, and hey- I have a neck again now too! And I really need to buy some more flattering jeans. These beasts just aren't cutting it. By the way, according to the Amazing Dress Size Calculator I can squeeze into a size 14 dress. By George, it's really working!

All kidding aside, I was really feeling down today, thinking that all of this is for nothing, but when I compare these two photos, I'm so pleased with how far I've already come.

I think I'm going to print this picture and keep it close to me always, as a reminder not to look like this again. REMINDER: this is about health, not vanity. THIS was not healthy. 170 pounds at my height isn't healthy either, but I'm working on it. At any rate, I don't feel like I need to crop my pictures down to size in an effort to shrink my size in pictures anymore. A thinner photo does not equal a thinner me.

In exercise news, I performed my 4-week assessment after finishing my first program of workouts on Nike Kinect+ Training. Again, I was discouraged, thinking that I had done so much work and nothing would come from it. I convinced myself that I was actually going to lose athletic ability and fitness points at this evaluation. No confidence whatsoever.

And then I did 72 high knees in 30 seconds.



4 weeks prior, my best rep of high knees at the same duration was 32. Upped my max by 40. How in the world... Cardio, my nemesis, I despite you, and yet you are right and you are truth. You are success personified in me, darn it. I hate it when things I hate end up being what I have to do. I was hoping to be the ONE person in the world who didn't benefit from running, just like Brandon is apparently the ONE person in the world who cannot gain weight even when eating two peanut butter sandwiches and glasses of milk right before bed for two weeks. True story: he actually lost a pound doing this in high school. Trainer said he had no hope of ever bulking up. If only I had that problem.

So at the end of my workout I was given my new "fuel print", which is a measurement of both my fitness and athleticism. At my first assessment I was a 20 fitness and 29 athleticism, which I believe I already defined as being at the bottom of "pathetic". After four weeks of busting my butt and complaining about everything under the sun, I now have a 31 for fitness and a 41 for athleticism. Still not good for fitness, but according to the game, I am now more athletic than 50% of women age 20-29. If that's a true statement, I have lost faith in humanity. Not once in the history of my lifetime have I been described as athletic, and certainly not now when I'm still 40 pounds overweight. Then Brandon said something I hadn't thought of much before. Most women age 20-29 are either moms or working or both, and none of those jobs are easy to schedule workout around. He reminded me of all the women he works with, citing that nearly all of them are overweight. And most importantly, he told me not to compare our First Family with average women. I'm fairly positive that out of all the women in my First Family, I'm the only one who has never attempted a 5k, and we've got many who have done half marathons, full marathons, triathlons... not to mention those whose dedication and desire to stay healthy and in shape I am in total awe of *cough Aja Speights cough*. So, First Family aside, maybe I really am more athletic than 50% of women my age. Maybe I can kick your butt in dodgeball. Just sayin'.

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to my fabulous sister-in-law, Alyson Locke, who has also started Weight Watchers! Yay!! (Brandon thinks I need to be getting paid by WW for this, by the way- haha) It's fitting that she's doing it, since she and I are basically the same person in so many ways. I totally love how excited she got when she realized she was still under her daily points value after splurging on popcorn and a Cadbury Cream Egg :) Love that girl so much! Looking forward to her weight loss journey too! And if you know Lauren Hammond, Lauren Blanks or Kelly Edmiston give them a boost of encouragement this week. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's just not, but we're all in this together trying to be, feel and look our best!

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Vomit Strikes Back

I recently found my friend Katie's blog and read her entry about running a 5k or half marathon, I forget which. She wrote about a "runner's high" that she gets where she just gets into a rhythm and everything feels amazing.

I, on the other hand, think the phrase "runner's high" isn't describing a possessive but rather is just a contraction, as in "the runner is high",  because you must be on drugs if you enjoy it.

A bit much? Yeah, okay you're right. But I still think, for me, there's not much worse in the world than running. The aching sides, the awkward boob up-and-downage, the fact that you have to wear tennis shoes (not a fan), the shock wave to the knees every time you step, the sweat, the exhaustion, the desire to die...

In case you hadn't noticed, I returned to my workout tonight. I was waiting until I was over my cold so I could handle it. Too bad I forgot about that 1-2 day period when you just think you're well but there's still a lot of germs fighting under the surface that only rear their ugly heads when you get all worked up.

The phrase "pain is weakness leaving the body" came to mind. I laughed thinking how weak I must be if that adage is true. So much much weakness. It also reminded me of those old "No Fear" shirts that everyone had in elementary and middle school and made me realize that I am the very definition of "All Fear". I am afraid of all things sweaty and difficult.

Which brings me to this:

Me: *vomit noises*
Brandon: I'm sorry that working out makes you throw up.
Me: Doesn't everybody?
Brandon: Some people do. That's why they have trash cans in weight rooms.
Me: You know that feeling when you're not just sore and worn out but really actually tired when you're working out...
Brandon: Yep.
Me: ...and then you're so exhausted that you start to almost fall asleep during your work out so you yawn and then feel like you have to throw up at the same time, so you run to the sink but all you end up doing is yawning?
Brandon: No... I understood the first part, but I can't say the same for the second.
Me: No?
Brandon: No, I have never wanted to vomit and go to sleep at the same time.

We have fun talks.

So a couple of executive decisions have been made:

1)Brandon says I should do jumps on all hopping exercises on my game. Even with shoes on (ha, ha...) I turn my ankle every time I try to hop. Weak sauce. So, I won't get all the right points, but I don't play online and compete with friends, so the points don't matter. I'm just trying to burn calories and get lean. I look forward to not needing crutches.

and 2)Once I have lost my desired weight, I will not run ever again.You say, oh come on, it's not so bad, you'll get used to it. I say, why would I ever want to get used to this? You say, no, Tracey, that's impossible. There will be some event in life that will make you run, you'll run someday. I say, WATCH ME. Stubborn, spunky, persistent. I feel like we've covered this already. I know this is the best way to lose weight, and once it's lost, I'm done. There are plenty of others ways to exercise that don't make me lose half my supper.

I'm hoping to have something more positive to say the next time I write about exercise. My next routine is another fitness assessment, or rather a repeat of the one I took 4 weeks ago. We'll see how much I've improved, which will hopefully fuel me to keep going and not make me cry.

Or vomit.