I’m thankful to be a “young”, active 63!!

No, it’s not my birthday.  My birthday was back in January.  But, I am 63.  And, I am a “young” 63.  I have always thought of myself as being very young at heart.  My friends are usually younger than me.  Most of my close friends are quite a bit younger then me!  My mindset is not that of someone who is 63!  As a matter of fact, in my mind I think I’m about 43.

I have known people that are my age or a little bit younger than I am, that act like they have one foot in the grave!!  I don’t understand that!  When I think about all that I do in a day, and the things that I think about doing – it makes me realize just how “young” I really am.  I’m not ready to give up – or throw in the towel on life, just because I am officially a Senior Citizen!  Nope, not this girl!  I’m also very thankful for an “attitude of gratitude”.  Although I may have my “downer days”…they are rare.  In most cases I am the girl that the glass is half full, not half empty – if you know what I mean.

From taking care of two little grandsons (currently)…

Jackson, 7 months old

Jackson, 7 months old

My buddy!

Kash, 3 yrs. old

to sewing like a madwoman – especially lately!  The popularity of my little pillow quilts that I make for babies has grown tremendously (especially on eBay), not so much on Etsy.  So this past week (prior to leaving town on Thursday) that is what I was busy with…

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

 

Owl Print paired with sage green

Owl Print paired with sage green (I made two of these for a set of twins, but the other one is paired with solid yellow)

 

U of Florida "Gator" quilt

U of Florida “Gator” quilt   (This was a special order)

 

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

 

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

 

I’m working on two with Nursery Rhyme flannel currently and love the “girly girl” ones I’ve come up with…

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

But, still my best sellers are the ones with embroidered butterflies….

For girl

For girl

For boy

For boy

or gender neutral

or gender neutral

When I’m not sewing…I’m still walking 3.5 miles on Mon. Wed. and Fri. mornings with friends and going to the gym to do some treadmill and strength training on Tues. and Thurs. morning. Hubby is supportive enough to tend to the grandsons for an hour so I can make myself a priority.

I treat taking care of grandsons like a “real job”…by focusing entirely on them when they are here.  I rarely read e-mail, talk on phone, text, sew or anything while they are here.  We go for walks, play in back yard, go to the park/playground…

Jackson's first swinging adventure!

Jackson’s first swinging adventure!

Sometimes, when it’s too hot to play outside in the Texas heat, we take a trip to the dollar store to see if we can find any cheap toys, or great treats!  It was so funny one day last week…Paw Paw stayed home with a napping Jackson while Kash and I went to the $$ store.  On the way, Kash informed me that he wanted some gummy worms.  I said, “okay, we will look and see if we can find some when we get there.”  Well, we looked high and low, walking up and down the candy isle, but couldn’t find any.  Kash said, “That’s okay, Maw Maw…I’ll go ask”..and off he marched, walking confidently up to the checkout counter where a checker was standing.  He boldly asked her, “Got any worms?”  We both laughed so hard at his confident almost cocky attitude – and it got him some worms, too!

It was the one year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death this past week also.  Hubby and I were her primary caregivers for 2+ years and so we were both in a little bit of a “funk”.  Last Sunday I made a spur of the moment decision to try and arrange a “surprise” trip for hubby to the Austin area (Round Rock, to be exact) to watch his oldest grandson play football. Our daughter-in-law had been texting and sending pictures and I knew it would lift hubby’s spirits if I could arrange for us to go.  So, I texted his baby son, Josh (Jackson’s daddy) to see if he could make other arrangements for childcare on Thursday and Friday so we could make a quick overnight trip to watch a football game.  (It’s approx. a 5 hour drive and we would benefit by not only getting to see his oldest son & wife, but the famous football player, Dillon and his two younger brothers, James & Chris.  Well, I managed to pull it off!

Father, Son & Grandson

Father, Son & Grandson

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, James at the game

Grandson, James at the game

OMG! How the boys have grown since we last saw them!! We were blown away and a bit saddened by how much they had changed!  We just don’t make it to that area enough to see them!  We are so tied down with taking care of first, Granny for 2+ years, and now two other grandsons!!  But, I have to say that whenever we do go, we always feel so welcome and so loved!  These three grandsons are so sweet and so loving.  Mommy and Daddy are doing an awesome job of raising three awesome young men!

At the game

At the game, Dillon is # 57

So, that kinda capped off our week!  We left Thursday morning and returned home Friday afternoon.  I still had some sewing to finish up for the week, so I got right back to it when we got back.  Then, this morning one of our “new” sisters that has joined our church expressed an interest in some “girl time”.  So, while hubby stayed home and finished the laundry, my friend, Teressa and I went garage saling and out for a Chinese lunch.  When I returned home at 1:00 hubby wanted to go to Sam’s for a free health screening.  Yep!! Shocked me that hubby suggested it – since he’s not the walking picture of health!  LOL  But, we went and had our “numbers” checked.

Everything checked out pretty good.  So, as I end this post..once again I say, “I’m thankful to be a young 63″…in mind, body and spirit.  I’m ready to take on the next 30 years, God willing.

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Sometimes, we just don’t want to listen!!

As many of you already know, I am a big proponent of healthy eating and living.  That doesn’t mean that I always DO what I support and believe in!  LOL  But, I TRY.  I don’t try to force “my way” on others…knowing that I can only change one person (that being ME)…that others have to find their own way and don’t need to hear me harping on them.  (My hubby would be the first that comes to mind).

Many of you also know that I was once a Weight Watchers leader!  I lead large and small meetings alike throughout E. Texas for five years and LOVED my job!!  One of the things I used to say to my members at my meetings was “Your body talks to you if you will listen”…

See the IF in that sentence?  IF you will listen.  Unfortunately, many of us (including myself sometimes), JUST DON’T WANT TO LISTEN!!!

I often compare our bodies to an automobile.  Our bodies require care and maintenance just like our cars do.  Our cars run more efficiently when we take better care of them.  If you’ve been driving a clunker your entire life, you may not even be aware of how bad it is, until you start driving a newer car.  But once you trade in that clunker for something nicer …OMG!! You realize what you’ve been missing!! Our bodies work much the same!!  When you are unhealthy and overweight, you get used to being unhealthy and overweight…feeling crappy is your “normal”.  But, once you start trying to change your ways and eat differently and exercise regularly (if you stick with it for more than a day or two), you will begin to notice how much more efficiently your body works and how much better you feel.

That’s where the listening comes into play!  Got gas?  That’s your body talking to you!  Got a headache?  Uh huh – that’s your body speaking up!  Indigestion?  Uh oh – you might have eaten something you shouldn’t have!  How about stiff achy joints?  Either you worked out too much, or you slacked off and stiffened up in the process!!

Now, I’m not trying to say there aren’t medical reasons for some of your maladies or that you may have a true medical condition that might need to be addressed.  But, many times our body will speak very loudly and clearly and all we have to do is change up what we are doing to feel better.  We don’t want it to be that simple because then we have no excuse to not do something about it!!  We often want the doctor to say we have a thyroid problem or that our metabolism is out of whack!  It’s easier and takes less work to just pop a pill.

When I first joined Weight Watchers back in 2006 I was 40 lbs. heavier than I am now. I had acid reflux, GERD, high blood pressure…was menopausal and miserable.  All my symptoms went away as I began to live and eat a healthier way.  When I would have a bad day or week (and “fall off the wagon”), my body would speak to me loud and clear!  I would hear, “Linda, I know you love onion rings, but you shouldn’t have eaten them.”  or when I would weigh – the scale would speak to me!! It would say things like, “Linda, I know you love cake & cookies, but you knew when you ate them this week that my number was going to be higher!”  Or, after skipping two of my walks and one trip to the gym my body would ache all over when I would try to get back to it.  It was screaming “See, how I stiffen up when you neglect me?”  Just like our cars – our bodies need some loving attention.  And when they don’t get it they resist moving!!

So, I guess what got me off on this tangent this week, was the fact that as a Lifetime member of WW, I lost 55 lbs.  You’ll recall tho that in the previous paragraph I said I was 40 lbs. heavier in 2006.  That’s because I still have 15 lbs to lose to get to my lifetime goal weight again!  I quit doing what my body needed me to do.  So, I’ve been back at it for about 2 months now and have good and bad days.  But, I’m listening.  It was worse – I’m down 8 lbs since I began.  Key for me is to LISTEN!  But, not just listen – learn from it!  Just knowing that greasy french fries are bad for you, may not be enough!  Go ahead, eat them!  If you’ve been eating healthy and avoiding them, eat them one time – all of them.  I guarantee, your body will speak to you loud and clear!!  I was up all night one night with indigestion after eating an order of greasy french fries!! I learned from it!! I won’t eat them again!!

All that being said – my weigh in this week wasn’t great!  I gained 1 lb.  So, it’s back to tracking consistently, exercising consistently, being accountable for what I’m doing and planning my eating better.  To jump start my new week I made a revised version of WW 0 Point soup. This makes a large soup kettle full for all week.  I call it:

PIG OUT SOUP

2 cups sliced carrots

1 cup diced onions

8 sm. cloves of garlic

3 quarts of chicken broth

8 cups chopped cabbage

4 cups fresh spinach

1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

2 t. dried basil

1 t. dried oregano

1 t. salt

DIRECTIONS:

Spray a large soup kettle with non-stick cooking spray.  Heat. Saute’ the carrot, onion and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 min.  Add broth, cabbage, spinach, tomato sauce, tomatoes, seasonings and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, simmer covered until carrots & cabbage is tender.

There are no WW points in all these fresh vegetables.  Just remember, if you add meat, potatoes, corn, peas etc; it is no longer a PIG OUT soup!  Now, you have to count and track every BLT (bite, lick or taste), but if you eat it like this – you can pig out and lose weight!!

Ah, the joy of victory!

 

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The cycle continues…

I had a brief chat with a 30 something yr old young man not too long ago and he said, “When I marry it will be for life.  I will only marry once.”

Having lived a few more years than he had…and having experienced a whole lot more than he had – I was blown away by his naivety!  This young man “presented” himself as a bible believing Christian (that’s a topic for another post)…

Naturally, having experienced the heartache of divorce more than once I was also quite offended by his comment.  Politely, I replied “well, do you think it was ever my intention to marry more than once?”  “Don’t you think that everyone who marries only intends to do it once?”  “Do  you really think that anyone goes into a marriage thinking it will end in divorce?”  OMG!  

No, ladies and gentlemen – I never intended for any of my children to come from a broken home – even if I did!  And yet, 2 of my 3 children have experienced more than one divorce just like I have! As hard as I try to live right, do right and be a Godly example they still have to live their life and make their own choices, right or wrong.  I hate that!  I want them to learn from my mistakes, not to make their own.  But, I truly don’t believe we learn much from watching others make mistakes and bad choices.

I learned my lessons much later in life.  It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I began to see that I was the “common denominator” in a lot of my choices and that I was the one that needed to change – not them.  That’s also when my prayers changed.  Instead of praying “God make him the kind of husband I want him to be” it was “God, show me how to be the kind of wife you need me to be.”  I know it seems simplistic and my prayers often involved more words than seen here, but you get my drift.

So, why do I post on this topic, you ask?  Well, because I am witnessing the cycle continue.  My grandchildren now come from broken homes!!  My grandson, Kash is just one example.  He will be 3 in Sept.  He goes to Daddy’s for one week, then he’s at mommy’s for one week.  He’s at daddy’s the entire month of July – not to see his mommy, his four other siblings or his Maw Maw. I miss him.  But, more importantly, I’m sad for him.

No one really thinks twice about being from a broken home anymore.  Do they even use that terminology anymore?  It’s more the norm nowadays.  So many couples just live together now without the marital contract and bring children into that world as well.  If Hollywood says it’s okay then I guess it’s okay, right?  NADA!    I’m so sad about the direction our world is going.  

I know some will call me old fashioned.  Some will say what I desire is unrealistic.  Some will even say that I’m living in the dark ages.  I just hate that the cycle continues.

No DIY in July…

For the past three years I’ve gotten a break from taking care of grandsons in the month of July.  It’s nice to have a month off to catch up on some very much needed housework etc;.  It is also our anniversary month (the 29th) and so we usually plan a small celebration to recognize and appreciate each other.

This time last year I decided that while the boys were away I would “renovate” (I use the term loosely) our home office.  It had been an “eyesore” for far too long.  ImageReally all I had planned to do was give it a fresh coat of paint (you can see the two options I was trying to choose from) and paint all the baseboard and moldings a glossy white. Since I was “retired” (this is our insurance office), I was also going to eliminate one of three desks giving hubby a great deal more room.

It only took me about 3-4 days to complete – hubby helped a little, primarily with painting the trim and around the ceiling fan on the ceiling.Image

 

I had to tape and put plastic down everywhere because we had a good carpet on the floor that we wouldn’t be removing.  Anyway, I digress…as I sit here typing this – I sit in the final result that is still looking good after one year – 

 

 

I love DIY projects, especially home improvement.  ImageThen, two years ago (while still caring for Granny in our home & two boys)  I decided to tackle my kitchen cabinets!  I had a long Memorial Day weekend (5 days off) and thought it would be a great time to begin refinishing my kitchen cabinets.

They were hideous! What was I thinking when I painted them this horrible deep burgandy color?  You will notice from the picture that they were a “country blue” color prior to the burgandy. That was the color they were when we bought the house – I can’t take the blame for that one!!ImageI began the sanding process after I received an electric sander and Home Depot gift card as a gift.  

I tackled this task outside on my back patio in the Texas summer heat!  What a mess!! And I was truly thinking I could get this all doneImagein five days!  Boy, was I wrong!! When the 5 days had expired and the boys had returned to my mess – hubby kicked in and began to help.  We had to block the kitchen off with barricades so little fingers & feet etc; wouldn’t get hurt and when we got our break again in July our project was ongoing!  Surely believing that by Aug. 1st when boys returned we would be finished we plodded onward!!ImageOMG! Were we having fun yet?  It was a long summer of DIY that ended up being finished over Labor Day weekend.  But, being one that always completes a task she begins (no matter what it is) – the final result was well worth the wait! ImageI changed out all the hinges and knobs and added a little embellishment to the front.  I still want to change out the flooring and counter tops, but two years later I can still say we chose a good neutral color and a good quality paint that wipes clean easily.  It’s kinda like labor pains – it was rough going through it, but no regrets and an awesome present at the end! LOL

So, I said all that to say this —there will be no DIY in July – this year, at least!!  Although I’ve thought about for a year now re-doing a guest bedroom (mostly just paint again)…While the grandsons are away, I will be busy finishing one quilt a client ordered for her grandaughter’s birthday in Aug. and beginning work on a t-shirt quilt that a friend from church ordered to hopefully be completed by Labor Day. Stay tuned for my next post which will be all about the evening projects I worked on in June to produce some income for me in July.  I will also be filling you in on our plans for our anniversary celebration soon – so I hope you will keep reading.  Posts will be more frequent with the boys away – busy, busy, busy…but it’s what truly  makes me happy.  Love being busy but will enjoy some rest this month too!

I am NOT my mother – or at least (in my dreams) I’m NOT!

My mother could be quite abusive when I was growing up.  She was physically, verbally and psychologically abusive from time to time – but I never thought of her that way until very much later in life.  She is still alive and 90 years old.  I haven’t seen her in person for the last five years, but here’s a pic of her today: ImageMy brother sent me this picture.  I was terribly shocked when I saw it!! My mom always kept herself up!  Her hair was always done, makeup just right, nails always polished etc;  Mom lives in North Dakota. (I live in Texas).

Don’t get me wrong – I love my  mother.  I’ve always loved her, even after I became an adult, addressed some of the “abuse issues” and recognized her shortcomings.  She did the best she could with what she had to work with.  Her upbringing wasn’t so great either.  I’m not excusing her negative behavior – just recognizing it for what it is.  

For as long as I can remember, I did not want to be like my mother. Primarily because of her “negative personality traits”. I really feel awful when those traits manifest themselves in me!! But it most cases – I really and truly – AM NOT MY MOTHER!

1) My mother has never sold a thing in her life. (I love to sell and have made a decent living selling everything from toys, home decor, furniture to insurance). Mom was a waitress almost her entire life. I think she was in her 70’s before she quit waiting tables.
2) My mother never dieted her entire life. Although she was never what I would consider overweight until she was over 40 – she has been ever since. No matter – she was happy just the way she was. You never heard the word “diet” leave her lips and she ate what she wanted always. (Not this girl! I started having weight issues when I started having children – and it’s been a daily battle ever since.)
3) My mother wasn’t “crafty” and hated sewing! She always worked outside the home, and when she was home you would find her tending to the needs of her family or watching TV. (I, on the other hand, have always loved crafts, sewing, gardening, decorating etc;) In fact, I recall at Christmas time mom wouldn’t decorate the house – so I would get whatever junk I could find in the house to decorate with so our home had a more “festive” flair during the holidays.
4) My mother doesn’t read. (I love to read and read every day! I read fiction and non-fiction alike and always have at least one book I’m reading). The only thing I ever witnessed my mother reading was the newspaper! I don’t think I ever saw her read a Women’s magazine – and I know I never witnessed her reading an actual book.
5) My mother wasn’t a “social butterfly” as I have so often been accused of being. Mom was a “workhorse” with a strong work ethic but beyond work and her home she didn’t do much. She definately didn’t “get together with the girls” ever, that I recall. She didn’t have a lot of close friends and everything she did outside of work and home she did with her husband.
6) My mom never baked cookies – or anything else for that matter! She was a good cook but my birthday cake was always from the bakery when I was growing up! (I love to bake and bake often. In fact, you will find me baking every day in December to make up goodie trays for friends. I baked with my kids when they were little and I now bake with the grandkids.)
7) My mom was not a church going woman. The only time I saw her darken the doorway of a church was when I was (as a child) singing in the choir. (She and dad would leave right after I was done singing). I went to church with playmates that had invited me and that early experience planted a hunger in me for the things of God and for church! (I’ve been more “in” than “out” of church for the past 30 years now – and am in church 3 times a week currently.)

For brevity’s sake I won’t go on about all the ways my mother and I aren’t alike…but would like to expound more on all the ways WE ARE ALIKE.

1) My mom & I are both very affectionate! If she knows you and likes you == get ready – cause a big wet sloppy “smooch” (as she would call it) is coming your way! We love to kiss and hug and hold the ones we love. It’s really kinda weird cause neither of my grown daughters are the “kissy, feely” type even though they got plenty of affection as children.
2) My mom & I both love to “nurture” with food. It’s the way we show our love for our family and friends. I get a great deal of comfort from knowing my pantry and frig are full and that I can whip something up if we get company. Mom always had a snack cupboard for the grandkids when they came over and was always cooking for her family.
3) My mom can be harsh, short-spoken, judgemental & snarky! I don’t like the adjectives, but this is the one I have battled all my life. I know I’ve offended friends and family by being too short-spoken or blunt at times! I hate that!! I’ve credited it to being brutally honest – which makes it more of a thing of pride. Well, I’m here to say, honest or not – it’s still not nice. I’ve worked very hard on this character trait that I inherited from my mom and I know it’s improved. It’s probably played a crucial role in why I am a believer now and try to stay “prayed up”. I recognize my inability to change the inner man without God’s help.
4) My mom instilled in me good grooming. She advised me to keep myself “fixed up” for my hubby – not laying around the house in sweats and always making sure my hair was done, and my clothes were pressed.
5) Mom and I both have a very solid work ethic! She was always a hard worker and extremely responsible about not calling in sick unless absolutely necessary. I emulate her in this regard.
6) My mom was a mother at 17. I was a mother at 18. Alcoholism and the abuse that comes along with it have played a big role in the women we are today.
7) Last but definately not least – I pray that I have my mother’s health history and have 30 more years to live – so that I can rectify some of the wrongs I’m done (see #3). Here’s what mom and I looked like 10 years ago when we traveled up North to celebrate her 80th birthday:
Mom & Linda 2004

Sorry for the “scrapbook” image – My hubby Jerry and I are pictured with mom on the left. My baby sister and I are pictured with her on the right.

Suffice it to say, I miss mom. But after seeing the pic that my brother Jim sent – I’m not sure I want to see her in the condition she is currently in. I would much rather remember her with her hair done, makeup on, smiling at the camera. What do you think?

JURY DUTY…

Yesterday Paw Paw had to help me out by keeping the three grandsons while I was called in for jury selection.  Normally, I wouldn’t care to “do my civic duty” and would try to get out of it…but as I waited in a hallway full of lined up individuals in our local courthouse I was thinking “hey, this might be a way to get out of the house for a few days and have a break from the boys”…(forgive me, I’m human and a pretty tired Maw Maw).  Once we were all checked in and the judge was talking to us, I found out that there were going to be at least two trials (possibly more).  Both criminal cases, one that they would select a 16 member panel for (6 jurors +1 alternate for that case) and one that would select a 70 member panel (from which 12 jurors and 1 alternate would come from).  Hmmmm….sounding interesting.

My name was called for the 70 member panel.  Still not a juror, but a possibility…I then began listening to the prosecution and defense tell us a little bit about the case and explain to us our duties as a possible juror.  (I had sat thru this process before, but had never been selected as a juror.) Another “incentive” I discovered was that I would receive $40 a day for my jury service, if selected.  Hmmmm…During my working days that would not have been attractive, but now as a “retired” and tired Maw Maw that was quite motivating! LOL

Oooops!  Ouch! But then I found out that this case was “continuous sexual abuse of a child”…OMG! Could I now be open minded enough, unbiased enough and listen to the facts clear-headed enough to decide beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not the crime was committed?  Since I had first hand knowledge of this subject matter and felt quite emotionally charged over it all, as the lawyers continued to talk to the jury panel, I was torn but remained quiet until the very end.  The victim was 14 at the time, it happened on more than one occasion, and the perpetrator was an adult family member.  Whoa!  Hitting a little too close to home. The other wrench thrown into the mix was that I’m a spirit filled Christian – and know that there is only one judge! Ouch again! What do I do, what do I do? What if they choose me?  $40 a day!!?? Is it worth it?  Remember, it’s my civic duty to serve as a juror if I have the chance.  They may disqualify so many others that they may need me!  (I know – a little “grandiose”  LOL).

Might I also add – I was praying under the breath the entire time – or at least when I wasn’t texting my hubby or daughter. LOL  I should also mention that while they are going thru the selection process (day one) they pay you $6.00 for your time.  Yesterday was not at all profitable because I was there 6 hours – ($1.00 an hr?)  You can donate the $6.00 to a worthy cause or keep the money.  I kept mine – if for no other reason then to defray the cost of my lunch out.  (Paw Paw did not want me coming home until I was done since the boys would not want me to leave again!)  Lunch at my favorite Chinese buffet was $10.00 plus $2.00 for a tip…so once again the $40.00 a day I was going to be paid if I was chosen to serve on the jury was looking more attractive.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to leave my daughter in a lurch – since Paw Paw was not up to the task of keeping the boys for the rest of the week and the trial would possibly run all week.  She would have to make other arrangements for care and that would be virtually impossible for her.

After returning from lunch they began to question jurors individually – those that felt they couldn’t serve without prejudice or stated that they didn’t feel like they could remain fair and impartial in judging the case.  It was beginning to become a long day of elimination. They stated at the very beginning of the process that it’s really not about “jury selection” but more about “jury deselection”.  They weed out the ones they feel are not an appropriate fit.  At the very end of the process around 3 pm the defense asked if there was anything else that anyone needed to share that would help them in choosing a fair and impartial jury.  Out of a desire for “full and honest disclosure” I felt like I needed to share that I had worked with women who had suffered similar trauma as children and once led a support group for such..but that I did feel like I could be fair and impartial…Phew!  That was out!  I was relieved.  I’d done my part. Now it was up to God.  If he wanted me on the jury than – so be it.  If not, well it was back to being Maw Maw today.

I am happy to report that although the trial began today at 9 am this Maw Maw did not have to report for duty.  I’m content being Maw Maw to three young boys today and embracing the “Sonshine” of a spirit led life knowing that I am making a difference in my grandson’s lives even though some days it may seem menial and insignificant.  I will continue to pray that the trial I almost became involved in will turn out as it’s supposed to and that a tremendous healing will take place in the hearts of the accused perpetrator as well as the alleged victim.

To God be the Glory!

Struggling, but I’m still trying!

It takes tiny baby steps, but when you’ve fallen off the horse – you’ve got to get back on!  That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.  When I lost all my excess weight back in 2007 I swore I would never put it back on (55 lbs).  Well, I haven’t put it ALL back on, but with 20 extra pounds I can’t get into any of the clothes in my closet!  And I have a bunch of cute clothes that I really miss wearing!

I’m really trying to get my MO JO back..but my lifestyle has changed so drastically from what it used to be – I’m not sure what the answer is.  When I say I’m struggling it’s because I know I’m not doing everything I need to do to get back to my “happy place” or my “fighting weight”.  My motivation is low.  

But when I say I’m trying – as half hearted as it may be …here’s proof:ImageMost days I have a protien smoothie and a banana for breakfast.

ImageThen I have my “go to” salad for lunch.  This is romaine, chicken breast, feta cheese, almond slivers, craisins.  My dressing is a light raspberry vinegarette.  Sometimes I add some other fruit, like apples or grapes and some fresh spinach.  This just happened to be what I had in the house that day.  This particular salad helps to curb my sweet tooth as well.  Love all types of salads but this is a fav.

I don’t do as well planning my third (supper) meal of the day.  Lunch is usually our big meal and we often just snack at suppertime. Sometimes it’s just popcorn.  When I say I’m trying it’s because as exhausted as I’ve been…I’ve walked 2.5 miles two days in a row this week!  Not as fast or as far as I used to back in my “healthier” days, but I’m trying.  Today I walked while my 6 yr. old grandson rode his scooter.  Yesterday I walked with my almost 62 yr. old, 50 lbs. overweight, sedentary hubby! LOL  He hates walking, but he knew I was trying to get motivated to go and offered to go with me – isn’t that sweet?

I already have plans to walk with my 13 yr. old grandson tomorrow.  He enjoys walking with his Maw Maw and we have good talks while we are walking too!  What else am I doing?  Well, I’m still stepping on the scale once a week (don’t believe in weighing every day). Stepping on the scale holds me accountable for maintaining.  I’m not losing…but I’m not gaining either.  I’m probably not eating enough to charge my metabolism – and that’s where I say I’m still struggling – cause I’m not tracking my intake of food every day like I used to.  I’ve done it for so many years – I’m just plain tired of doing it!

I’m also not weighing and measuring, since my food scale quit working.  I just need to go buy one and quit making excuses, don’t I?? Grrrrrrrr…Now that I’ve gotten back into walking some, I’m going to try and keep the momentum going until July when I won’t be caring for any grandsons.  Maybe, if I keep trying, in July I can get back to the gym since I’m already paying for a membership that I’m not using!  Ugh.

I have documented my walks with my Map My Walk app on my phone.  I noticed today that they have a new nutrition tracker on there. Hmmmmmmm….

I SURVIVED!!

Well, after taking care of FOUR grandsons this week, I’ve decided that my entire existence is for everyone else’s amusement and entertainment!!   ImageJackson didn’t quite know what to think of it all.  He is an only child and so having three other boys (cousins) to watch was very stimulating!!

He would get so excited, his little legs & arms would shake and his eyes would get big as saucers!  I had to keep shushing Ethan (6) and Kash (almost 3) cause Jackson gets scared if voices get too loud.  He doesn’t like screaming or hollering at all and you know how rowdy boys can be!!

 ImageImageEverything from watching them do puzzles, to building with blocks to wrestling – Jackson was all eyes and ears as he sat in his little Bumbo and checked it all out.

Maw Maw & Paw Paw are exhausted!! I’m thankful for all of Paw Paw’s help this past week with the boys.  Preston, (13) was also very helpful this week not only with the little ones, but also by helping Paw Paw mow the front and back lawns. Aside from trying to cook a hot meal every day, I made sure the swimming pool in the backyard was full of clean water every day…

ImageMonday, Tuesday and Wednesday the 3 older boys and I went to the park playground to play each morning while Paw Paw stayed home with Jackson. ImageI’ve been promising Kash that he would learn how to ride Ethan’s “hand me down” bike this summer…so we loaded up the trunk of the car with scooters and the bike and while at the park, Kash got to practice.  He did great!  He had trouble with steering while pedaling because he wants to look around at everybody and see what’s going on rather than paying attention to the road ahead!  LOL!!  I was amazed at how quickly he grasped pedaling forward though.  Once in awhile he would pedal backwards and stomp the brake on.  I tried to explain the concept of making the bike go forward and that the bike would not go backwards, but just stop ..if he pedaled backward.  I’m not sure he’s got that down yet – but he only tipped it over once – when he went off the sidewalk onto the grass.  I was really proud of him since he has a four wheeler at home that all he has to do is press the gas pedal!  He steers it pretty crooked too, and runs into a lot of things!

ImageSo, while Kash was practicing on his bike (my back hurts!), Preston & Ethan were in the racquet ball cage; Preston riding his “rip stick” and Ethan riding his scooter. It’s a very nice park and close to home so when I don’t have a bike to haul we will walk rather than drive to the park.

The boys always tire out if we go to the park and play in the morning prior to lunch.  Paw Paw enjoys an early lunch so by 11 am while he watches Jeopardy and the boys watch the Cartoon channel I am preparing lunch.  Image Since Thursday is a busy day at the park (all the home-school kids are there) we went for a long walk in the neighborhood instead. I had promised the boys that if they were good all week, I would take them to Kid’s Station on Friday to play on the indoor slides, ball pit, arcade etc   Unfortunately, some things are out of our control and just fall through!  Suffice it to say, Maw Maw was not a happy camper!!  The boys and I were meeting friends at Kid’s Station.  We had planned to go at Noon, just after lunch, knowing that Kid’s Station’s summer hours were from 11 – 7. When we arrived at Noon – we discovered that they weren’t open.  Even though summer hours were written on the window (11-7) the sign said they would be open from 1 – 7 instead.  Needless to say, we had to think of something to do to kill some time because Maw Maw was not going to sit in an air conditioned car in the Texas heat for an hour with 3 disappointed and anxious grandsons.  So, we decided to go to the Pet Store to check out the animals.  We got back to Kid’s Station at 1:02 pm to find the friends we were meeting standing outside their car waiting for them to open.  As we watched other cars pull in and out of the parking lot we noticed that there was one lone truck parked at the back of the building, but still no lights on inside.  Myself and the other parents, grandparents waiting were getting very frustrated.  A call to Kid’s Station only resulted in a voice mail message that said their hours for the day were 1-7 pm.  Our friends had not had lunch, so they left to go grab a bite while we agreed to wait until 1:30 pm.  At 1:20 a man in that lone truck came from the back of the building, rolled down his window and proceeded to inform us that they would NOT BE OPEN AT ALL! Grrrrrrr!!  Upon conversing with the man (that’s a nice way of putting it), I found out that he was in fact, the owner – and his reason for not opening was “I have four girls graduating and so I have no one to run the place”.  OMG!!

Are you serious???  And you didn’t know this before NOW????  You didn’t see this problem with staffing before today???  You mean I planned this all week, got my grandsons all fired up about going, had them do chores to earn money for it, blah, blah, blah and NOW at 20 minutes after the time you are supposed to open – you decide NADA??!!  You couldn’t put a message on your voice mail stating such?  When I called yesterday to find out the price for Friday and no one bothered to tell me you weren’t going to be open at all?? What kind of management is that??  Okay, I’ve ranted enough – you get my gist – I just wasn’t happy at all!!  The boys were calmer than I was…SHAME ON ME!  Long story short- we did get 3 free passes for another day (doesn’t solve the problem for today tho).  So, refusing to have 3 disappointed boys on my hands Preston suggested that we check out the Arcade at the Mall.  He said they also had a bounce house for all ages.  Since I go to the mall rarely, I had to take it on faith and go check it out.  ImageOn the way to the Arcade we found several other cute little rides for the boys to check out.  We had a fun afternoon blowing $50 in quarters in the Arcade and got home around 4 pm.  Kash is accustomed to taking a nap in the afternoon, but when we go to Kid’s Station he gets to skip it.  He stays wired up having fun until we get home and then this is what you will find:

ImagePoor little tyke!  He just collapsed as soon as we got home!!  Preston was on the computer, Ethan was watching Netflix (while I rested in my recliner) and Paw Paw had already handed off Jackson to his mommy who was glad to be done with another teaching year.

Today, I got out of my pajamas long enough to go to a brief bible study and homemade Mexican lunch and then came promptly home to climb back into them!  Full day of two choir practices and two church services tomorrow – Monday, just 3 boys. Phew!

 

What I’m currently working on

I always have a project or two that’s unfinished.  I started this one right after Christmas for my granddaughter, Hannah.  ImageThis is just 6 blocks laid out.  I found this “coin block” pattern on Missouri Star.  My daughter had already picked out most of the fabric for Hannah and said she wanted lots of black with it.  I’m still trying to figure out why it’s called a “coin block”…I don’t see any coins anywhere! LOL  Unless they are rolls of coins…??  I’ve had a lot of fun with this one – because I love the bright vibrant colors.  I always have a difficult time working on quilts for boys or men because the colors and patterns seldom appeal to my tastes and I get bored with working on it.ImageHere’s another shot of it laid out on the floor in my craft room.  Isn’t it pretty?  Haven’t decided yet what type of back it will have, but Hannah’s mother requested that it have a scrappy binding.  What do you think?  Should I have a solid color for the back?  Black?  Hot pink?  Turquoise? Lime Green?  Any ideas?  Two of Hannah’s brothers got quilts from me for Christmas.  Hannah wanted money…so that’s what she got..even though I full well intended to make her a quilt anyway.  She was recently asking about it – wondering if I had made any progress on it.  That spurred me into action.  Hannah hasn’t a clue what it will look like, but I had to put it up because she will be spending the night with me Friday to have some “girl bonding time”.  I was so pleased when she text me to ask if she could spend the night Friday night.  Not many 16 yr. olds wanna spend Friday night with their grandmother so I was truly flattered and pleased!

ImageHannah is my namesake.  She has the same middle name as I.  “Leslie”.  I was so tickled when I found out her mom was gonna name her after me.  

So, the other project I’m currently working on is also one I started quite some time ago.  I had a desire to create a colorful, assorted 9 patch.  So, last year I began this one with no particular person in mind. ImageEach square is 4 1/2″ so once the 9 patch is sewn together it becomes a 12″ block.  It will work great for a large quilt for a queen or king size bed.  I am now on a mission to finish it because my youngest daughter requested another quilt for under her comforter in her Master bedroom.  She stated that she didn’t really care about colors or even if it was just made from scraps because it was not gonna be seen anyway.  Her primary concern was that it be lightweight like the other one I made her and soft to the touch.  ImageI laid out the 9 patches on the living room floor so I could see what it would look like.  I think I’m gonna like it.  I debated on whether to put sashing in between each 9 patch block.  I’ve also considered putting some type of wide border around the outer edges before binding it to enlarge it even more.  Any ideas or suggestions?  Anyway, I’m having fun with my latest projects. This is the way I de-stress after a day of taking care of grandsons.  Sitting at the sewing machine listening to Delilah on the radio is my way of relaxing.

Do you have a favorite thing you like to do to relax?

The name of the game is to MAINTAIN!

This is my accountability blog.  That means that I am putting it down in WRITING and that I expect you to hold me accountable.  How do you do that?  By asking me every once in awhile how things are going and how I’m doing on my weight.  You will never get anything but an HONEST response from me.  So here goes:  Those of you that know me or have been following me for a while will already know that I am a LIFETIME member of Weight Watchers.  I received my Lifetime award in 2007 and simultaneously went to work for them as a WW leader.  ImageI loved the work I did for WW and loved all the ladies I inspired to be the best they good be!  I had lost 55+ lbs going from 199.8 to 142 in about a year.  It’s a great program and one I could follow, and I wanted to pay it forward by showing others how to do it.  I also proved I could do it without having a husband that would do it with me!  ImageJerry could afford to lose a few pounds too, but he likes his real butter, red meat, potatoes and bread too much to curtail what he was doing. So I had a “healthy” section and an “unhealthy” section in the pantry and the frig!! LOL

I ate, slept and drank Weight Watchers until 2011.  A healthy lifestyle was in all my being!  I ate right, exercised, and all the symptoms of an unhealthy lifestyle disappeared! Prior to joining WW I was suffering all the symptoms of Menopause, I had GERD and high blood pressure, and was suffering with mild depression.  This pic out of my weight loss scrapbook is a testament: ImageI did believe in myself!  I knew I could succeed with God’s help.  I also had an awesome support system with my husband & daughters believing in me.  My youngest daughter, Tanya was my best accountability partner!  She paid for me to join and is also a lifetime member.  There was no way I was gonna waste her money!  If it had been my money, maybe – but NOT HERS!  

Exercise was the biggest challenge for me.  I did not want to exercise!! But, I started gradually by walking in my neighborhood and using an exercise hoop for 10 min. a day.  Before I knew it, I was running 5k’s!! ImageHere I am pictured with Tanya, after running my 3rd 5k in Corpus Christi, Texas in 2009.  We almost changed our mind since it was raining, but decided to push on through and do it anyway!  We were each other’s accountability partners in this endeavor.  It was a “girl weekend” for us and so we enjoyed some retail therapy and dinner out while there.ImageI will cherish these memories!!

So, long story short…in 2011 after leaving WW my mother-in-law became very ill and was diagnosed as terminal.  Due to circumstances beyond our control I became her full-time caregiver here in our home.  My daughter was going to work and needed two grandsons to be cared for as well, so I figured since I was already stuck at home taking care of Granny – why not?

Granny passed this last September, one grandson is now is school, and one grandson has recently been born.  So, I am still taking care of two grandsons and wishing I could get my MO JO back!  But, instead what I’ve observed...is the weight slowly creeping back!

Thus, the purpose of this blog.  You see, I battled with just 5-10 lbs. while taking care of Granny and was still able to make it to the gym from time to time, but when the grandsons started coming we were lucky to take a slow leisurely walk to the park each day.  Not at all the same as running a 5K! LOL  

My lifetime goal weight with WW was 146 lbs.  My fighting weight was 142.  I loved the way I looked at 142!!ImageThis is with Ethan as a toddler.  He’s in school now!  

ImageLook at that neck!  I loved not having that double chin.  I call it my “turkey neck”…cause of the excess fat I had showing up as a “turkey gobbler”..I needed to do some neck exercises!  LOL

But now…ugh! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started and stopped my new healthy regimen since Granny passed away. The first thing I did..the day she died was re-join the gym.  I’m still paying, but I’m not going.  I weighed this morning.  165.8.  I’ve gained and lost the same 5 lbs. several times since the first of the year.  I’ve done real good with my eating for 3-4 days and then I find myself falling off the wagon!  I’ve maintained a 20 lb gain and not gained anymore for awhile now.  But, everytime I try to lose and keep losing something throws me off track.  Mostly, I blame it on my lifestyle of taking care of babies.  Other than pushing the stroller or playing at the park or in the backyard I am for the most part sedentary.  I keep trying every week but just can’t seem to develop any type of consistent routine!!  Yes, I could just zip on over to the gym each evening when the boys leave and I did for awhile…but I am just so darn wore out by the time they leave that all I want to do is sit in my recliner or sit at the sewing machine.  I don’t want to exercise!!! My get up and go has got up and went!!

I don’t like the way I feel with this 20 lb. gain!  I have symptoms of GERD again.  I’m back on BP meds.  I hurt when I awake in the morning as though I’ve been running a race all night, and I feel some symptoms of depression coming back!  I know what I need to do and have been half-heartedly doing it since last September!!  

Excuses:  First it was the holidays.  In January it was my birthday!  February it was Valentine’s Day that derailed my success.  In March I started taking care of a newborn! In April it was Easter!  Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  They are real incidents/events! But, they are still excuses!!  

The more I battle this, the more guilty I feel for not being able to get to where I need to be mentally or physically.  But, I just can’t embrace the lifestyle I once did! It’s not possible with two grandsons arriving between 7-7:30 in the morning and leaving between 4-5:30.  

ImageAnd so I’ve made a decision.  I’m gonna stop beating myself up over the 20 lb. gain! This pic was taken on Thanksgiving at my 165 weight.  I’m still there.  And the reason I believe I’m still there is because I haven’t completely thrown out what I’ve learned and accomplished regarding weight loss since 2006 when I joined WW.  I WILL GET BACK TO WHERE I NEED TO BE.  Just not right now.  I want to weigh 145 again and I will.  I like the way I feel and look at 145.  But, I have also recognized that taking care of babies and being as housebound as I am is not conducive to weight LOSS.  Yes, still an excuse.  I catch myself mindlessly eating what I fix for everyone else instead of taking the time to fix my “healthy” meal, like I used to.  I hear all the great messages that I used to give my WW members playing over and over in my head and I’m reminded of this gain everytime I try to get into some of the clothes I have in my closet.  

I’ve fought buying anything new, so determined to get back into them.  Well, for the time being that’s not working for me!  I’ve got to get past this lose, gain, lose, gain, lose gain – and JUST MAINTAIN, until my lifestyle changes and I’m no longer taking care of babies. Then, the focus can be on me.  Hubby loves me regardless of my size.  Now, I just need to love my 165 lb. self until I can really devote some time & effort to me and appreciate all the contributions I am making in my grandson’s lives.  I am still paying it forward – just not as a WW person but as a grandmother!

Thanks for letting me give myself a pep talk.  It’s just what the doctor ordered.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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