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“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” Maya Angelou

Today, my daycare kiddos were playing tag through the house and ended up in my room. They are not supposed to go in there, but the door was unlocked and all those little hands know how to operate all different types of door handles now. They all piled in and saw my horn sitting in its case on the floor. After trying to fend off my tiny fans begging for a performance, I eventually caved — because let’s face it, even at 39, each time I open my case, I still get as excited as I did that first time I opened a horn case at age 11. ❤️📯 I’ll admit, it’s been a few weeks since I had it out, so they all watched with wide eyes while I meticulously oiled my valves until all the clanky clanky was gone. All I did was a brief warm up, and y’all, they all looked at me like I was the most amazing human being on the planet…like I had some super power to command a hunk of metal to make music. I played a few scales up and down, then did my chromatic scale from the very bottom all the way up to my high C. BOOM. Squeals and giggles when I nailed that C (without even being properly warmed up, sorry Tess)! The only solo that came to memory right away was the Mozart Concert Rondo, so I played that until I reached a point where my mom brain wouldn’t allow me to remember any more.

We started to hear some gurgling — we all know what that means — time for Amie to gross everyone out by emptying all the spit and condensation from every last slide, YAY! So gross, yet so satisfying! And for my encore, there was still something stuck in there so I had to do the wiggly, twisty, wibbly, wobbly maneuver to dump the spit out of my bell — HUGE cheers for that one! I felt really sad as I put my horn back, though, I wanted to just keep on playing. My chops felt great, my high range was on point today (low range was a little tight, but as stated above, I didn’t really allow myself a proper warm up). I really need an orchestra to play with, I feel so lost with that part of my life having been missing for so long now. I will find a way to make this happen, sooner than later!

SOOOOOO…last night I implemented my new exercise routine. I pieced together parts of several different workouts to ensure I’m working ALL the muscles. I found one workout on Pinterest called Get a Beautiful Butt in 4 Weeks — because we all know that four weeks is all it’s gonna take, right?! Well, I decided to try this workout because (if you click on the link for the workout above), I hadn’t really done any moves like #1 and #2 before. Guys, I could barely sit today. Going up and down my stairs, which according to my Fitbit I did 20 times today, was pure torture. I highly recommend those 3 quick little moves to work your butt, they do not look like much, but they will own you the day after! Tonight, I pulled my youngest in a bike trailer behind me on a 30 minute bike ride (I swallowed 2 bugs on this ride 🤢, but I got to see Venus, Mars AND Jupiter in the night sky, so it was worth it!). The ride only made my butt hurt even more by the time I dismounted from that seat, oof. I may need to ask my husband for a very awkward massage later…

Sunday (as in 2 days ago) marked the end of a round of my 7 Day Detox, I dropped 6 pounds of excess sludge and water weight during that week and I’m feeling energetic and back on track! It’s much, much easier to handle cravings now, but it’s hard to break the habit of grabbing little bites of the kids’ snacks throughout the day. Without even thinking about it, I almost popped a handful of goldfish crackers in my mouth just because they were there. I didn’t want them, I didn’t need them, I wasn’t all that hungry either. Those habitual things are going to take some time for me, and I’ll have days when I mess up and eat a no-no food before I even realize it.

Food wise, tomorrow I need to post links to some of the low-carb recipes I’ve made he last several days…I think they turned out great! However, it’s late now and I’ll have a houseful of kids by 7:30am so I need to get to sleep!

Today’s song choice is Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It” from his Off the Wall album. This is me and my snacky foods lately. “…I can’t help it if I wanted to, I wouldn’t help it even if I could, I can’t help it if I wanted to, I wouldn’t help it…nooooooo…” 😊 I’ll find something to replace the habit of snagging all the kids’ foods, don’t know how or what just yet, but I’ll come up with something! G’night y’all!

~~ Amie

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“Problems can be experienced as… a chance for renewal rather than stress.” Marilyn Ferguson

This week marks the one year anniversary of me purchasing my web site and beginning my blog. Originally, the goal was to wrote a blog a day…clearly, this did not happen! And despite numerous attempts to get back on track, I haven’t been able to get my sh*t together and JUST DO IT! I actually sat myself down yesterday and wrote out a new daily schedule to include blogging time, so I’m going to give this new self-implemented schedule a go and see if I can become a more consistent writer. Just think guys, even more stories for you about all the hang ups on my diet and exercise plans, even more griping about the everyday stresses of life that affect said diet and exercise plans, and of course even more of my eclectic song choices. You’re welcome. 😊

BACK TO THE DIET! I have mentioned often that I use PURE products and supplements. I am still using them consistently! I was part of a pilot group back in April to test out a new 7 Day Detox and offer insight/input to develop it into a phenomenal program. Over the last several months, when the energy starts to dwindle, the metabolism tanks, and the numbers start to go back up in the scale, I do this 7 Day Detox to reboot my body and shake things up. It has truly been a lifesaver for me. It has also helped me create my own personalized weight loss regime, because clearly my mom bod does not operate the way most normal people’s do. There is one thing of which I am certain, my body adapts to new routines far too easily, and quickly. I am constantly having to change things up every few weeks. I kid you not, I hit my dieting plateau after mere weeks, and I haven’t even lost a significant amount of weight either by the time I plateau. My body says, “Eh, old news, your efforts are futile — I’m shutting down.”

Having confirmed this now, I can predict that every 4-5 weeks I need to do a round of the 7 Day Detox, reset, reboot, pump up the energy and metabolism, then I’m good to loose the next few pounds. The weight loss has been very slow going, but going nonetheless! The initial 15 pounds I dropped simply by beginning to take my supplements has NOT come back on! Everything after that has been in constant fluctuation, but at least whatever I gain back is lost again very easily. My next goal: to break into the next 10 pound range below where I am now. I’m going to do this THIS month.

Another setback I have mentioned is the nasty, loose, stretch-marked mama skin on my abdomen. I hated to do it, but I resorted to buying more soul sucking undergarments that squeeze that loose skin in tight so clothes sort of fit me in the right spots — not great, though, I am highly self conscious about people seeing my abdomen at all. I hate it, and in my mind, because I hate it so much then other people surely must be completely disgusted by the sight of it. I mean, it is completely gross the way it hangs off my body, so awkward and unnatural.

Alright, now for some fun stuff! Last weekend the hubs and I took off to Colorado for the weekend so I could see Amos Lee in Beaver Creek (since the boy is not playing in Kansas anytime this year, I had to drive my butt out-of-state to catch a show), and meet up with a friend I’ve known since the 4th grade for a quick brunch gathering with her and her babies. We ate much good food, drove around the multi-million dollar homes in the mountains (and wondered what these people do for a living that their “fun houses” they spend only a few weeks at each year cost $4-6 million????), listened to comedy shows and laughed on our long boring drive along I70 through western Kansas, all in all a good relaxing weekend! Only one slip up, I didn’t realize until we reached Colorado that somehow I had left my wallet (with my ID) back in Kansas, so no drinks for me on this trip. Even though I have a child one year out from starting college, apparently I look so fresh-faced and youthful there’s NO WAY they believed I was over 21! 😜

I really do enjoy Colorado, though! I love the mountains, the fresh air (maybe not so fresh in Denver, it all kind of smells like a giant skunk now…I can’t imagine why! 😁), and there’s always so much to do. If the hubs was ever transferred anywhere for work, I would probably protest…unless it was Colorado. I can hang there anytime.

Today’s song choice is going to have nothing to do with this post at all, it’s just a song that has been stuck in my head for weeks now. My latest artist obsession is Leon Bridges, he’s a pretty young guy but has that bluesy, old school, Motown feel to his music. His song “Mrs.” has had me hooked for weeks now…go check him out if you haven’t heard of him yet!

Oh yeah, and I have no cute nature pics from the land of Oz for you today, but please accept these staged photos of my youngest’s dinosaurs playing in City Park while we out about yesterday! Feel free to caption the photos!

~~ Amie

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“Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of.” Bethany Hamilton

Its been hard to blog without a computer, folks! But while I feed a tiny baby on my lap this morning, I came across a Facebook post from one year ago today that I’d like to copy and paste to share…oh, my train of thought I have while exercising! Enjoy!

~~Amie

My thoughts, in order, while running my C25K workout for tonight:

1. Determination, yes! Today was a good day all around, going to finish strong! 💪

2. Whoa, I need to plan accordingly so my running portions of the workout don’t end up going uphill.

3. Holy crap, do I really *double* my running time on this round, what happened to slowly stepping this up each week?

4. #%*&$!!!!!! SNAKE!!!!!! *jumps off the sidewalk and into the bike lane in the road — but I don’t stop running* 🐍

5. I think I’m dying…oh good, there’s people up ahead, they can call 911 from the USDA building on our right.

6. Oh god, there’s people up ahead…do I go around them? Do they step aside for me? I CAN’T STOP RUNNING, I AM NOT A QUITTER!

7. Oh hey, I’m in the grass now, looks like I go around them.

8. Halfway…

9. What?! It can’t be time to run again, my heart rate just slowed down! At least it’s the short run time.

10. How did I ever used to run so easily in PE and soccer?

11. Am I having fun? No, no I don’t think I am.

12. My legs are lead weights.

13. Oh god, this is where I saw the snake…thankfully I’m on the other side of the street now.

14. I can’t do it, I cannot run another solid 3 minutes before I get to walk it home, I can’t…well, there was the bell, start running legs…

15. What was it John Donne wrote about bells? “For whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” I think that’s what the bell sounds are in the app, maybe that snake killed me and – not realizing I’m dead – I hear the death bells tolling to announce my departure…

16. Well crap, I can’t do basic mental math anymore, but I just mentally recited a piece of Medieval English poetry I learned over 20 years ago? My brain is messed up!

17. How am I not done yet? This last 3 minute stretch had to have ended a looong t— oh, there’s the bell.

18. Walking time, sweet.

19. *app lady voice “You’re workout is complete”*

20. You’re darn tootin’ it’s complete! I am the champion, bow before me!!!!

21. Time to walk it home with my 90’s R&B playlist…enter Keith Sweat…

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“Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.” Chief Hopper, ‘Stranger Things’

Every morning I have a daycare child arrive right before 5:30am (don’t worry, he goes back to sleep right away). I know, this is waaaaaay early for childcare, not to mention I am not a morning person. But while waiting for my own kids to get up and around, and/or for more daycare kids to arrive, being up this early affords me a small amount of some much-needed alone time to sit at my kitchen table (alone) with my coffee (alone!). It wasn’t until well into adulthood that I realized what an introvert is…and that I definitely am one. I best described it to my kids like this….

You know your phone has a battery. I have what I refer to as my “social battery.” When you use your phone, you wear down your battery. When I interact with people, I wear down my social battery. In order to charge your phone battery, you plug it in and allow the battery to replenish. Instead of plugging me into an outlet, the way I charge my social battery is nice, big chunks of alone time. With your phone, if you take it off the charger before it reaches 100%, your battery wears down faster because you’re already starting with your charge much lower. If my social battery is already running low, and I don’t get my alone time in, my social battery also wears down more quickly. And lastly, if you try to use your phone while it’s charging, it takes longer to charge. If I am constantly interrupted when I am trying to disconnect, I too take much, MUCH longer to charge.

So, in running a daycare I have zero alone time for 12 hours a day, and during those 12 hours it goes far beyond basic human interaction. I’m caring for tiny humans who are totally dependent on me and require literal hands-on care and interaction in order the ensure proper care and development, every second of every day. It’s intense most days, even for non-introverts. Then, after daycare closes, my own kids finally get their mom back, only by this point mom’s social battery is on the last 1%. That last percent where I’m running on fumes but somehow it lasts longer than the previous 99%, the quality of performance during that last 1% is pretty lousy, though. Stretching every last bit of energy to scrap together dinner, listen to everyone’s demands, break up fights, who needs money for what, who needs a ride where for some activity I forgot about, clean up from the 12 hours of daycare plus the mess the other five people (well, plus myself) in my house have left from the day(s) before, running errands for all items that unexpectedly ran out before the weekend (usually milk and toilet paper). I try as hard as I can to make it stretch, but I start snapping at people for things that normally would be nothing to get upset over. My youngest usually takes the brunt of this because she’s one of those kids that always takes it too far, refuses to stop, and insists on getting in the last word…and also, negative attention is better than no attention, right? 😞

My diet and excise have suffered immensely lately because of this lack of alone time. I still haven’t figured out a schedule yet that actually works to squeeze in regular, consistent work outs — and every time I think I’ve got it figured out, everyone seems to find a way to make sure it doesn’t happen. I’ve tried to be bitchy-mom who demands to be selfish and get in my me-time to exercise no matter what. I laugh at bitchy-mom for even thinking this could possibly work, because it never does. The more sternly I demand something be done, the more everyone else sees to it that it canNOT be done, it’s almost like they think it’s funny to blatantly disregard everything I ask them to do.

Ever since I returned from that nice, relaxing, Belizean vacation, I feel like I’ve been barreling along at 100mph, only without the energy to do so. I have had very few chances to recharge my battery, yet I continue to drain it more and more every day. All that relaxation was negated within a week when I went straight back to the daily routine. I know the number one complaint people have when it comes to exercise is that they don’t have time. Well, what about me? I do everything I can to try and make time, but there simply are not enough hours in the day for me to do all I need to do. The cleaning/sanitizing is never done, the floors are never done, the dishes are ever done, the laundry is never done, the rooms are always a disaster (no, not just “messy”, I mean destroyed), the errands are never complete, grocery lists and menus are always veering off course.

Occasionally, I’ll hit a streak where I’ll have to time to get in several workouts in a week, and it feels great. My mood is instantly fantastic, not only because I exercised but because I also got that crucial alone time that I need to survive. But just as quick as those rare weeks come along, the ones that follow are wrought with unforeseen challenges and time constraints. Sure, I could I’d always just get that workout in after everyone goes to sleep and daily chores are sort-of, half-assed done around 10:30pm, but when I have to wake up at 4:45am every week day I simply cannot do that. If I exercised that late, chugged some water, took a shower so I don’t ruin my clean bedsheets, and finally relaxed enough to fall asleep, I would not be getting to bed until at least 12:30am (more likely closer to 1:00am because I’d find 20 more things I forgot to do or pick up in the short walk from my basement to my bedroom). I would get a whopping 3-4 hours of sleep before that alarm would go off and I’d have start all over again.

Starting over again each morning with a battery that’s already drained is the worst feeling. I’m already in a bad mood when I wake up, I’m so tired I’m relying on coffee again every day just to function at a basic zombie level, and I have to pretend like I’m not. This is when I realize I’m STILL stuck in this same cycle — I have no energy because I’m fat and out of shape — but I need energy to workout and stay organized on this diet because I don’t want to be fat and out of shape anymore.

One thing I have not been strict with lately is taking all my PURE supplements . These increase my energy and mood significantly, but I ran out of several items, and timing for any additional orders (between my regular auto ship dates) did not work out with this month’s budget — but more are on the way very soon!

Another thing is that school will start August 15. I will be loosing 2 daycare kids but gaining 2 daycare babies. To other people, this may seem like an enormous increase in my workload, but for me it’s not. I freakin’ love babies, babies are where I do my best work in my daycare setting, and they do not stress me out at all. I know, I’m strange this way! Combine this change up in daycare with the fact that my own 4 kids will be back in school all day, stress will a little more manageable.

I have also been having a lot of doubts about my plan to switch my daycare to a preschool in a year’s time. Sure, the pay increase would be huge, but I will have 3X the number kids and families in and out of my home every day — that’s a lot of people, and a ton of traffic outside my house circling my cul-de-sac. The noise level will be even louder. The damage to my house will most likely increase. I will probably have even more cleaning to do after everyone leaves. Uuuggghh, guys, I just don’t even know what to do anymore!!! I would absolutely love to only accept infants, the maximum I’d be allowed is 3, so financially this doesn’t work for us, I need to be bringing in way more money than that.

Well, let me end this exhausting blog on a positive note — while getting in a Saturday morning walk while everyone else slept in Saturday morning, I SAW THE FIRST SUNFLOWER OF THIS SUMMER IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD!!! No one can be stressed looking at a sunflower. 🌻

(Excuse the construction zone around the sunflower.)

I need to choose a song to bring all this mess together…I going to choose Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” You can feel the unease and sadness throughout the entire piece, with moments where you can feel the sun just about to burst through some happier chords, only to fade back into cloudiness. Ending on a hopeful, peaceful major chord, yet still feeling somewhat uncertain in how you got there, not quite ready to trust that hope and peace yet…

~~ Amie

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“It all starts with a decision.” LaTisha Cotto

It all starts with a decision, yes. It could be the start of something good, something bad, something hard, something exciting, something unknown and uncertain. As I near 40, I’m coming to a point in life where lots of decisions need to be made regarding how I want to live the rest of my life. Health, relationships, finances…all these things are coming to a head quickly and I need to have solid plans in place.

First and foremost, health. I had a beautiful, relaxing vacation in Belize the first week of June, and let me tell you, I needed it so much. It has been so long since I had time outside of my home to just let go with all my best, lifelong gal pals. I let go of the diet for that week and enjoyed all the foods and all the drinks (they are very fond of rum punch in Belize, as am I now). But now I am back to fighting to endless fight! I did not eat very health-consciously the first week back, but I am back to it this week. Yesterday and today were pretty rough, my energy completely tanked yesterday and I had a hard time not dozing off while getting my daycare kiddos rocked to sleep for naps. Today, energy was back up but good lord was I in a foul mood! I was woken up several times throughout the night, and I’m sure that was the main contributor to my bad mod, but cravings were horrendous, too. So here’s decision #1…I sat down with a calendar and a blank piece of paper, reweighed, remeasured, recalculated and came up with a very specific plan. I created a timeline of how much weight I will be loosing each month, as well as goals for what I want my measurements to be at the end of each monthly weight loss.

Second, relationships. I cannot tell you how fortunate I am in this aspect. I have a large group of friends that I still interact with almost daily who I have known since high school, middle school, and some even since elementary school. We have our own private chat group where we are free to talk about whatever we want with each other. Six of us from this group went on the Belize trip together, even after years of some of us not seeing each other in person, we always pick right back up where we left off like no time has passed at all. I think everyone needs to have someone like that in their life, an unconditional friend or group of friends. I am also extremely fortunate have solid, smooth relationships with all of my family and in-laws. I am blown away by the awful things I read from friends on Facebook every day about how awful their families and/or in-laws are, I cannot even begin to imagine how much harder life would be if you did not have the security and backing of your own blood, as well as the blood you married into. But there are some relationships I feel need a lot of work. The natural give and take of a relationship is always a balancing act, but that balance can fall way off and tip the scale completely to one side. I feel there are a few relationships in my life where I have been doing all the giving, all the trying, all the effort for far too long. I’m sure that my weight has affected my willingness to change this over the years, if I’d had the confidence in myself that I once did, I never would’ve kept these people around. I never would’ve let them suck away years of my life. I never would have let them think they had any power over me. So, decision #2 about the unstable relationships is this…which ones are worth keeping to try and repair, and how much longer am I willing to remain in the rest while they bleed me dry? For this, I have not yet come up with a plan, there is a lot of soul searching in my immediate future.

And third, finances. I absolutely am not happy with where I am on finances for someone turning *gulp* 40 at the end of this year. I not making anywhere near what I thought I would by this age. Not. Even. Close. Savings? Almost non-existent. Retirement? Ha, that’s funny! At this rate, I’ll be working until I die, and that’s no exaggeration. Today, I spent the first part of my morning on the phone trying to reduce 3 bills. I managed to get one of them down a whopping $30. 🙄 As for decision #3, financial decisions, I’m at a loss — for right now. I am a creative girl, though, I KNOW I can find a way to fix this. I just need to sit down and brainstorm this weekend and come up with some solid plans that I can enact straight away.

In closing, I had a great vacation with much needed time among friends, relaxing and talking about life. I realize I am no where I want to be in my life at this age, and I need to be brave enough to step up and make some big, drastic changes. AND I have already begun getting my chops back in shape so I can find some orchestras to play with in a year’s time — Tess, you know I have the Kopprasch out! #Kopprasch5forlife

In honor of my horn player soul, tonight’s music with have be my favorite horn solo I have ever played. “Hunter’s Moon” by Gilbert Vinter. G’night, everybody.

~~ Amie

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“Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.” Henry J. Kaiser

I have encountered my first huge weight loss problem: the skin. That ugly, loose, sagging, embarrassing skin on my lower abdomen. I ran out to pick up some cheap clothes for my trip (I leave on Friday!), and was devastated to find that all my hard work has not paid off yet when it comes to clothing sizes. I have solid proof that I am indeed smaller than I was since I started back at the beginning of March. I have taken measurements — the inches are steadily decreasing. I weigh myself each morning, the pounds are still slowly chipping away. But there are two huge problems preventing me from being able to buy clothes in a new, smaller size.

First, these @&$!ing boobs! My band size has decreased, this I can definitely feel in all my current bras, I have moved down to the last, tightest set of hooks. However, I have lost NO mass in my cup size. 😡 So, all my shirts still fit just as tight across my chest as they did before. Ugh, as if being short isn’t problematic enough in dressing myself, being short with big boobs is awful.

Second, the skin. All that loose, wrinkly, saggy skin on my abdomen was stretched out and deflated 4 times over from having my kids. Yes, it is my own fault that I gained more weight on top of what was leftover from all 4 of my pregnancy weights. But now that weight is coming off, there is less fat behind that gross skin to support it and hold it up. Now, it is sagging even lower and clothes are not designed for the natural “pooch” of our abdomens to be down below hip level…I’m saying that when naked, this skin touches the very tops of my thighs. Absolutely, completely, thoroughly embarrassing. I caught someone standing in line in front of me at Walmart staring at my abdomen, when I caught them I readjusted my shirt to try and cover it more as quickly as I could. The stranger just raised their eyebrows at me and smirked as they turned around. According to my waist and hip measurements, I should be down 2 pants sizes — but I am wearing the exact same size. That skin sits so unnaturally, and down so low, that my pants are tighter. Nice, real nice.

I am not going to let this deter me, though. I know that this skin will have to be removed eventually. The thought of having to have surgery just so I can wear pants correctly is a hard pill to swallow. But I’ll never know the true extent of damage until this journey is done. Let’s be honest, this journey will never be 100% complete, I will always be a work in progress.

Last night, I increased my reps on all my strength exercises a little more, and I still am not sore this morning! I decided to maintain my current treadmill setting since I’m leaving for vacation Friday and I don’t know how much (or if) I’ll get any running in while I’m there. So, I’ll hold where I’m at and wait until I’m home at the end of next week to up my running.

*Sigh* So, not the triumphant weight loss milestone I was hoping for. I wanted to be done automatically going straight for the largest size on the rack…no such luck this time. I will keep on keeping on…at least the weather today is fabulous, my allergies are tolerable, and I only have 3 work days this week. Time for a shake! And check out that blue Kansas sky in the background…filters neither required nor desired!

There is only one song to sum up what I have in store for me, “Working Day and Night” by Michael Jackson.

~~ Amie

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“Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in success.” Shiv Khera

Big things have happened in diet and exercise routine since last post! First off, I’ve been using a preset workout on my treadmill, it’s a 20 minute workout that begins and ends with walking but has non-stop running in the middle. The running sections alternate between 4.5, 5, and 5.5 mph. Until last week, I have always manually bumped the speed back down to 4.5 mph each time the treadmill tries to kick it up (I have short legs to begin with, but short out-of-shape legs!). WELL, not this week! I let the preset workout run as-is everyday AND I SURVIVED! Next step is to decide whether or not I want to go up to the 30 minute workout, or start incorporating the little arm weights. The workout signals when to pick up and put down the hand weights throughout the 20 minutes. I did it once before and my shoulders were so tight it hurt to lift my arms for a week. Also, my legs and butt are no longer sore from doing tons of squats each day, and I have been gradually increasing my reps each day. So, I think I need to continue increasing my regular squats but also start adding in some grand pliés in second position — back to the ol’ ballet days!

Next, in the dieting world, I have very slowly upped my calories, fat, and protein since coming off that amazing 7 day detox. I am very proud to report that while increasing my food intake, and also increasing my workouts each day, I am STILL loosing 1/2 to 1 lb every day! It’s funny, a lot of others who completed the detox have said that after a while when they tried to eat their typical crave-foods they found their tastebuds didn’t necessarily like them as much anymore. Ha ha, not me! When I snuck tiny bits of things here and there, they still taste just as delicious to me now as they did before. I stated in one of my first blogs that I am not overweight because I sustained any trauma in my life. I was never abused, I never suffered an major injury or illness, I was never overweight as a child/adolescent/teen. I am fat because after I had kids, I couldn’t loose the weight and it just piled on with each pregnancy. And I freakin’ love food, all different flavors, textures, from every country, etc. I. Love. Food. ❤️

Speaking of foods, here’s one of the things we made tonight! I have made this several times before and we never have leftovers. These Spicy Sichuan Style Green Beans are amazing, I highly recommend trying this recipe this summer while all the fresh green beans in the grocery stores and farmers markets are at their peak.

I have still been fighting some haters who are telling me I’m loosing weight “the wrong way.” I have confronted each of these people about this crap and dealt with it. The worst are is coming from a group of friends from my former town where I lived for 15 years. The only thing I can think is that they are lashing out at me because I am finally doing what they won’t. They can if they chose, but as of now, they won’t. From now on, I am done with the negativity. They’ve been blocked and I’m done. It drains the motivation right out of me, and I know that they know this. It’s hard enough staying compliant with a diet and exercise routine when I can’t even turn on the tv without being visually assaulted with all the foods I need to avoid. Having my own kids and my daycare kids means there are a lot of snack foods right there in my kitchen every day that I have to open, and close, and touch, and hand out — but not put in my mouth. It’s awful most days.

Every day is a struggle.

The only thing keeping me on track this time is the success I had on the 7 day detox AND the continued success that I’ve had in the following weeks this time around. Also, the fact that I know I am gaining a lot muscle lately, yet still managing to loose weight…that keeps me going.

It’s working this time, guys. Finally, after 17 years, it’s actually working. I can breathe much easier these last few weeks seeing the numbers on the scale continue to go down. It feels real good.

For today’s song, I came across a new one while listening to the Sirius XM Heart & Soul station while I was sitting on my floor sorting laundry a few days ago. I added it to one of my playlists on my Amazon Music app and have listened to it soooooo many times since then! Do yourself a favor and listen to “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar (ft. H.E.R.), it’s so smoooooooth, just give it go. 😌

I’ve been a good girl with all the dieting business for a long time now, I think tonight I deserve a martini or two…it’s not like those are going to add many calories, anyways! OH YES, and I leave for Belize in 5 days! 😎 Later, all!

~~ Amie

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“Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” Plato

Right now, I’m laying flat on my back on the cold concrete floor on my storage room after just having run 1.22 miles on my treadmill (would’ve been 1.25, but my shoelace came untied and having to stop threw off my end total)…and I’m not done yet. I still need to do my strength and toning exercises for tonight. I’m also extremely pissed off for receiving MORE negativity about loosing weight. Ya now, when you are as fat as me, you wanna know the only thing worse than loosing weight? Staying fat and dying from *insert whichever obesity related disease here* before your last kid graduates high school…that’s in 11 years for me. Sorry if I don’t want to hang out in the fat club anymore, it’s a miserable existence and I have a life I need to get back to after all these years of being gross. I feel good, I’m about to have to go buy new clothes in a smaller size for the first time in YEARS, so I’m sticking to MY plan, not anyone else’s. Anyone sitting at home reading this who is just as fat as me, you have no business putting me down when you’re in the same boat as me — actually, no, we’re not in the same boat anymore, I’ve left you behind. Sorry.

Okay, I just stopped ranting to do my plank and my pushups…

In much more positive news…😁…I FEEL FANTASTIC! I am up to running 1.25 miles, planking 60 seconds, 12 full push-ups (not the girly ones with my knees bent), 60 squats, 30 full sit ups (as in full floor-to-knees), 50 crunches…I haven’t been able to do this much since 1999, you guys. I think I’m going to stick with exercises without weights for several more weeks, I want to get down 10-15 lbs more so I can safely add in weights without hurting anything. I am 39 yrs old after all, I don’t recover as quickly as I once did. 😬

And I just stopped to do my sit ups and crunches, only the squats remain…

I have been completely stuck on Jamiroquai for my workout music lately, every album except the last one (sorry boys, ‘Cloud 9’ is the only song I really like off the Automaton album, what happened to that funk-jazz sound I love so much?). So, to round of tonight’s blog — by the way, sorry for the mix of pissiness and positivity, I know, opposing emotions — I’m going to close out with the song ‘You Are My Love’ off their Traveling Without Moving album, it’s the perfect pace to knock out these squats, then go take a lonnnnng shower, I think I may even drink my ice water while in the shower…college kids do that with their beers in the shower now, right? Well, I hate beer, so I’ll try it with some gin sometime later on. I better get to these squats first! G’night, all. ❤️

~~ Amie

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“Too few rejoice at a friend’s good fortune.” Aeschylus

You definitely know who is truly on your side and who is just all talk online after you start having good, consistent success with weight loss — *crickets chirping*. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many of you who read this and are fully supportive, offer words of encouragement, cheer me on, you are more instrumental in this process than you know. But for the others, I don’t understand you. I don’t get it, do my fat friends want me to stay fat so we can be fat together and die early? Do my skinny friends not want to acknowledge the effort that goes into weight loss because they only want to show off my success story when it’s all said and done, but won’t acknowledge me while I’m a “work in progress?” And lastly, when you’ve had more success than 3 people combined on a program, yet those 3 people are asked to share their experience and have people oo and ah while you are blatantly ignored when it comes time to speak up about your own results — that’s when you know you’re being passed over because you don’t fit the image they want to put out there — which is only slim, energetic, wealthy and successful. I’ve met all of these forms of opposition over the last several weeks, and I know that people that fall into either category aren’t necessarily ‘friends’ at all. But ya know what? Bite me. The slim, fit person I once was is still in there, and I currently in the process of digging her out. I am energetic, but by the time everyone else sees me at the end of the day, all that energy has been spent. Wealthy? Ha, not even close if we’re talking monetary value! And honestly, even if I ever do get to the point of money-wealth, all the things that rank high on my list of importance in my life are still going to rank in that same order…I’ll probably just take more vacations, order steak more often, and give back to all the people and organizations who are important to me. And lastly, as far as success goes…hold my beer (or in my case, my gin & tonic)…

• I have 4 beautiful, creative, smart children.

• I have always been able to make money and pay my bills.

• I have played my horn since I was 11 years old…I am now 39. There is not anything else in my life I’ve been committed to for that long.

• I have performed on the stage of Carnegie Hall.

• I have solo’ed with the New York Philharmonic’s principal tuba, Alan Baer (thanks to Doc composing a piece with a custom solo just for me…did I mention I was 8 months pregnant with my 4th child when I did this?)

• I earned my BA in music all while navigating marriage, mortgages/bills, and becoming a mother 4X over.

• I was asked to come back and earn my MM by my alma mater, not only to earn a masters degree but to take a GTA position and help run athletic bands and teach classes to undergrads…which I did…all while married with 4 kids.

• I began a daycare from nothing and not only been very successful, but I have a waiting list a mile long of people waiting to get in. Also, I have extremely low turnover, my kids who begin with me as tiny newborns stay with me until they either move away or age out.

• I can cook/bake most anything…recipes not even required sometimes.

• I can crack open crab legs with my bare hands AND get the meat out in one whole piece, if that doesn’t impress you then I don’t think anything else will, so I’ll stop right here

It’s been quite a while since my last blog, but NOT because I have been slacking off, no sir! I actually have been hitting the exercise regime hard everyday and I’ve been too tired to blog at night! My abs are sore, my quads are killing me, my arms ache from all the pushups…but I have started gaining muscle and now my fat loss is accelerating. So, that does mean that the weight loss has slowed, but the inches are still diminishing, so I must be simultaneously loosing fat and gaining muscle. Score!

I can actually see my super quads coming through again, and I’m not sure how I feel about that! I have always had very strong, muscular legs. Those legs served me very well all the years I was involved with dance (recreational and competitive) and cheerleading. I did do a brief stint in soccer, I could run fast and send the ball allllll the way down the field, but I definitely lack the sports-aggressive, competitive nature needed (I didn’t play for long). But I always longed to have less bulky, more toned leg muscle. As mentioned often, I am short. For me, I just wanted my muscular legs to look more natural with my petite 5′ frame…it’s not like I was/am insecure about this, but as the weight drops and my muscles return, I am for sure going to step up the efforts to tone the muscles as I go along.

There is one thing I am dreading when this weight loss is done — the loose skin. I already have loose, wrinkly skin on my abdomen from having my kids. You know when you blow up a balloon as big as it can get, then you let it fly loose around the room? When it’s done, you have a stretched out, wrinkly empty sack — so we blow it up and send it flying again, and again, and again. This is a direct comparison to what happens to most women’s bodies after pregnancy, especially multiple pregnancies. The loose skin was already there and I filled it with fat over the years and made it worse. Now, it hangs off my body unnaturally and looks like I have stuffed something down the front of my pants. Unfortunately, the more weight I loose, the worse it hangs, the worse pants fit in the lower abdomen area, the more self-conscious and embarrassed I am. I have no choice but to keep plugging away, pound after pound, inch after inch, and see what I’m left with when it’s all done. Sadly, I know this will require skin removal surgery, which terrifies me.

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Well, just now I received a phone call from my youngest’s teacher. My first thought was “oh no, she better not be sick, not with only 1 1/2 weeks left of school left!”, but that wasn’t it. I had never responded to let them know that I couldn’t be there for ‘Muffins for Moms’ today at 9:00am, and they were waiting on me to start in case I was still going to be able to make it. As usual, I can’t, I’m trapped in my own house all day. Yet another thing I’m missing out on with my kids. Going to the school to eat a muffin with your first grader may not seem like much, but when she’s consistently the only one at events like this with no parent there, it really bothers me. Really, really bothers me. So, I’m going to end this here and try not to cry the rest of the day for letting down my youngest child yet again.

Ugh, I need to get my books written, like NOW. If only my child #3 hadn’t destroyed my computer…sure would be nice to get that process underway, but very hard to do when you have to resort to pen and paper again. Not impossible, just very inefficient and impractical in this day and age.

As for my song to sum up my post, I’m going to revisit my attitude in the opening paragraph. So, turn the speakers up loud, channel your inner beast, and blast Liz Phair’s “Extraordinary.” I’ll feel better, you’ll feel better, and we’re all going to make the best of the rest of this day. And just to lighten it up, here’s a picture of the kids forcing a snail to ride a skateboard in the backyard…these are the goofy things that fill my SUCCESSFUL life every day.

~~ Amie

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“Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.” Frank Sinatra

My first slip up on my extended portion of the detox happened today in day 9, but it was an intentional slip up! Next weekend we are celebrating my mother-in-law’s graduation from a doctoral nursing program, it’s a HUGE deal! She and I are both big fans of the gin and tonic, anyone who’s previously read this blog knows I love my gin. My husband wanted to find the best tonic water to bring to the party, naturally I needed to taste test for this. Whew, let me tell you, when your body has eliminated all blockages and your circulation is flowing freely — the alcohol hits you hard and fast! And if anyone is curious what has managed to get me all silly tonight…this is the Irish Gunpowder Gin and the Fever-Tree tonic water I’m drinking right now…loving both of them! (Side note: they may not be doing so hot this year, but GO ROYALS!)

I also wanted to discuss my 7 day detox weight loss tonight. I’ve received an enormous amount of support and congratulations on my weight loss, and I truly and deeply thank you all. Support, in my opinion, is the most important component of my weight loss process. I am a true people-pleaser at heart, I always have been. It motivates me more to know others are cheering me on than just trying to conjure motivation within myself. I wanted to make sure that I let everyone know that I am well aware that the majority of the 12 pounds I lost in the first 7 days were excess water (inflammation and period-related water retention) and elimination of ALL the residual sludge that was camping out in my digestive system, which could have been anywhere from 5-15 lbs! Very little of that weight loss in the first 7 days was actual fat…BUT…all that excess water and waste needed to be flushed so I can now burn fat more efficiently over the next 21 days. I’m still super excited to keep going, I can feel the total transformation happening inside my body that will very soon be showing on the outside of my body!

I don’t have to much else to post tonight other than…*drum roll*…IT’S OFFICIALLY STORM SEASON IN KANSAS, WOOOO! Another little tidbit about me, I freakin’ love storms! The adrenaline rush when a tornado warning is issued is just as exciting as a death defying roller coaster ride. No, I am not one of those crazies who get up close and personal with the tornadoes, I’m not stupid! I just love the sound of the rain, hail, wind…and the lightning shows you get looking out across the Flint Hills of Kansas CANNOT be beat.

It is only fitting that tonight’s song be Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain”. Nothing more need be said. 😊⚡️🌪🌧💨 Sweet dreams everybody, I hope you’re also falling asleep to plump little raindrops falling on the trees outside your open windows tonight.

~~ Amie

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