Freak Show

Hi, I’m Nina… and I’m a freak show.

Every time I see this snuggly face in the morning I want to cry.

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You see, we have a morning routine that includes snuggling for a good thirty minutes. I’m not going to have time for that on the weekdays anymore and I may or may not have cried about it a couple of times.

When I was younger and didn’t have children I thrived off of change. My life long goal was to keep moving. I thought as long as I had a cute bathing suit and a working car that could get me to a place where that bathing suit might be useful then my life would be complete. I got bored easily and was always looking for ways to rock the boat. As soon as I got pregnant with Bridget my whole outlook changed. Rocking the boat was no longer something I craved because I didn’t want to do anything that would make waves for my kid.

Gone are the days of embracing change. That once spontaneous fun loving girl is now replaced by a freak show who has a melt down at every life changing event for fear that one day her child will end up on the show Intervention. I’m not proud of it but it’s the truth. Being a parent is hard because every thing you do impacts your kids.

I cherish every moment I have with my kids but at the same time I’m excited for those golden years when I can be reckless again… Mark my words, as soon as Penelope is off and on her own I will be on a nude beach somewhere scaring off all of the locals. By that time I will have outgrown the cute bathing suit thing and will no longer be responsible for my kid’s psychological well being.

It took me a while to acknowledge the change in my personality that came with motherhood. But now that I am aware of how I react to change I am better able to deal with myself and my meltdowns. I’ve been predicting a major one to happen once I started student teaching for quite a while. In fact, I wrote about it here on this post call Mom Jeans about a year ago.

That being said, the melt down has begun. For the past few days I have been smothering myself with my children spending as much quality time with them as possible before I get caught up in the work load that finishing my grad degree will require.

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I have some planning ahead that I need to do to make sure my first week runs smoothly but I don’t want to spend too much time doing that instead of hanging out with my kids. I’m seriously driving myself crazy. I am such a weirdo.

That being said I have already started to embrace a few changes. For one, I finally tried this salad I’ve been meaning to try for a while…

Chopped Brussels Sprouts Salad With Creamy Shallot Dressing

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It will definitely go in the rotation for packing lunches. The left over dressing is currently sitting in my refrigerator. I’ve got a science experiment going on to see how long it will last.

I’ve also started making double batches of things and freezing the leftovers. I read that if you freeze your food in bags on a flat surface and then stack them like books not only will your freezer be more organized but your food will thaw out faster too.

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Another thing I never did before kids… freeze shit and then take pictures of it. What is wrong with me?

So far I’ve collected the meat and sauce for Skinny chicken enchiladas, left over chicken quinoa harvest soup and turkey meatballs loaded with veggies. I’ve been also making a mental note of the things I think look yummy on pinterest or food blogs that I follow for meals for the following week. I never seem to find inspiration when I need it (Sunday during meal planning) so I’ve decided to start making the list when the inspiration finds me.

*Have you encountered personality changes as you’ve gotten older? If so what were they, and do you think they are for the better or for the worse?*

The Rabbit Hole

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Over the past few days I’ve been thinking about where I was a year ago and the difference is astronomical. Fall is a slippery slope for me and it all starts going down hill from here.

When I feel the weather getting crisp and see the leaves start to change my inner fat kid starts to take over and decides that the only proper way to celebrate the arrival of Fall is to get a pumpkin spiced latte… and a cookie. This wouldn’t be a big deal if I did it every once in a while but this time last year I pretty much did it every day.

I knew it was bad so I’d start to search for healthy recipes before heading out to the grocery store with the best intentions in mind. But somehow I would take a wrong turn in cyber space and before I knew it I would be  swept away in photos of apple pie, cinnamon rolls and anything baked with pumpkin.  I would already feel deprived because I was telling myself I shouldn’t eat any of these things and the deprivation just made me want it more. I would start to feel sorry for myself because I wasn’t allowed to have these things (even though I had a cookie for breakfast) and I would lament over how unfair it was that I wasn’t able to enjoy the festive goodies of the season.

After drooling over these forbidden foods and having already given in to the pumpkin spice latte and a cookie I’d feel like I had already ruined the day as far as eating well was concerned. So, I’d head to the market with a shopping list in hand that only listed the ingredients for a delectable pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe that I had found on Pinterest.

During my drive to the market I would decide that I was just simply too tired to actually make anything from scratch. So I’d go through a drive through for dinner instead and swear that the next day would be better, only it wouldn’t be because I’d already fallen down the rabbit hole…

It was like I was Alice in Wonderland and that cookie I had with my coffee was the thing that causes Alice to grow until her face is plastered against the ceiling. The only problem was that I couldn’t find that little bottle that was supposed to reverse the process. My inner fat kid was the Mad Hatter who was steering me in wacky directions. Suddenly I was spiraling out of control…

Before I knew it,  I had found myself trapped in an “All or Nothing” mindset that usually ended with me stuffing my face with some horrible food item that I didn’t even want to eat but felt compelled to consume since I wouldn’t be able to eat it the next day when my “diet” started. Everything was centered around the next day… or the next, when everything was supposed to magically get better.

Fast forward through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and I ended up weighing ten pounds more than I did when I walked out of the hospital with an inflated uterus after having my baby. You’ve seen the pictures… you know.

Eventually I came to a point where tomorrow was today.

As the year has progressed I’ve managed to lose 40 pounds but not without it’s fair share of slip ups.  I’ve learned a lot and I’ve found that the times that I’ve screwed up the most were a direct result from being impatient. I also found that I ended up having the most success during those times when I just cleared my head and simply made the decisions that were best for me in that very moment. During those times things just seemed fall into place. I naturally made healthier choices because they felt good.

This Fall I feel like I’ve come full circle. I just got done eating a bowl full of roasted brussels sprouts for lunch and I’m about the head out the door for a nice long run in the crisp cool air.  I have every intention of fully enjoying this beautiful Fall day. Later on if I decide that I want to eat a cookie I’m going to eat the damn thing and I’m going to enjoy that too because it’s all about balance.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is that the key to improving your life is self acceptance. Accepting yourself as you are doesn’t mean that you are settling.  It’s about appreciating where you are in the moment so that you can appreciate where you are going. You may hate where you are in the moment but at least you’ll know where you are so that you can start taking the steps to where you want to go.

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And with that I’ll leave you will a song that reminds me of the queen of hearts. The video is weird but the song makes me dance my ass off.

Can You Come Out and Play?

When I was a kid I was the serious outdoor type. The thought of being contained in a classroom all day was torture.

I was constantly marching up and down the street knocking on doors in search of someone to play with. Even in the sixth and the seventh grade when you are supposed to be too cool to “play” I would be found touting the words, “Can you come out and play?”

I never outgrew this phase apparently. You can ask my brother-in-law Bryce who was surprised to find that I carry roller blades in the trunk of my car just in case the need arises. To this day I still wear shorts under my summer dresses. I never know when I’ll feel the urge to do a cart wheel or flip upside down on the monkey bars.

Today was one of those days where I couldn’t contain myself. I had to be outside!

It started off at 6:30 with a run. It was the first morning I didn’t have to wear a jacket all year and it was gorgeous out.

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When I got home I was in the best mood. Being a pedestrian always does that to me. I whipped up a green smoothie for me and some rocky mountain toast for the girls. It was so beautiful, outdoor dining was a must.

After I dropped Bridget off at school and got Penelope down for a nap I decided to brew some sun tea.

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Tea reminds me of home (Texas) and I couldn’t help but think that my friend Sarah would be super proud of my southern moment. Many years ago Sarah came out to Colorado for my wedding. During that time we had a dinner at my in-law’s house. During the dinner Sarah was shocked to find that the tea didn’t have any sugar in it. She turned to my mother-in-law and in her thick Texas accent asked, “Do ya’ll have sweet tea?”

Brent’s family got a kick out of her southern drawl. Sarah also tried to take a yoga class before the dress rehearsal and passed out because she wasn’t used to the altitude. She woke up to the people saying, “Oh my God! The Texas girl passed out!” Of course we teased her about that too…

But then during my first year of living out here in Colorado she came to visit me and made me fried green tomatoes to heal my homesick heart. She’s the best.

Anyway, as soon as Penelope woke up from her nap which took all of ten minutes we headed out the door for our first picnic of the year with her friend Lucy!

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Penelope and Lucy have been best friends for years… they go way back to the fetus days.

Penelope spent most of this time checking out everyone else’s picnics, sitting down on other people’s blankets and helping herself to their strawberries and pretzels. I guess my strawberries weren’t good enough. I somehow managed to eat a grilled chicken salad while trying to keep Penelope contained. I wasn’t very successful.

I thought for sure that when we got home afternoon nap would be a breeze. She slept long enough for me to put on my bathing suit and spray on some “dry” tanning oil before picking some weeds in my backyard.

The “dry” oil was anything but dry. I ran my hand over my shoulder to find that I was dripping in it. I was nice and shiny for my neighbors viewing pleasure… hey, that’s what they get if they are peeking into my back yard.

Note: bugs drown in sweat/suntan oil. It’s gross.

After I was satisfied with the amount of weeds I had plucked I sat down with a snack and a book. I found the Casual Vacancy from J.K. Rowling at the library in the “Lucky Day” section.

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I got about two pages in before Penelope decided to crash my party. It was okay I couldn’t help but want to snuggle with that little munchkin who still smelled like strawberries… and oranges.

The outdoor fun didn’t stop after I picked Bridget up from school. We ate dinner outside before going for a stroll through the neighborhood. Once we got Penelope down for bed Bridget and I snuck outside and jumped on the trampoline together. She was wanting to show me her front flip technique.

I used to do front flips all of the time so I gave it a shot too. Guess what, I’ve still got it 😉

Week 16 Weigh-in

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Sometimes when I get bored with this whole weight loss business I’ll peruse through pinterest to find something to inspire me to keep caring. When I do this I come across a lot of pictures of fit girls with wedgies (?) and I also come across sayings that are so trite that I can’t help but roll my eyes.

At the same time I find images that encourage me to keep trying.

When I was younger those images consisted of super models with long willowy limbs with no muscle definition. These days they consist of girls who aren’t skipping any meals and are the epitome of health.

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When I stepped on the scale this morning it read 199. 

I’m kind of annoyed because honestly this whole process is taking so much longer than I want it to.

When I lost all of my baby weight after having Bridget I cut my calories down to 1200 a day and lived on the elliptical machine. The scale moved fast but even when I had reached my goal my body was mushy.

I don’t want to be skinny fat, that’s not my goal…

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I want to look good naked. Then I’ll take tons of pictures of myself with wedgies, only I’ll sport the half-wedgie because I’ve gotta keep it real.

Seriously, who as a perfectly symmetrical wedgie anyway? It’s not natural.

This time around I’m focusing on the quality of ingredients that I’m fueling my body with. I’m doing my best not to burn off the hard-earned muscle I’m trying to build by not starving myself and I know in the long run I will be better for it.

What I’m trying to achieve is a complete metamorphosis. Those kinds of transformations take time and precision.The only problem is I don’t have that kind of patience… I want what I want and I want it now! Losing four pounds a month is really annoying.

I keep calling this a weight loss journey and in a way it is but in reality I’m just trying to live life and live it right. There aren’t any short cuts for that.

So here I go… trudging along. It looks like you may be stuck with me for a while. I hope you’re up for it 🙂