Monday, November 29, 2010

Katherine Elizabeth (Katie)

Catherine Elizabeth was born about 11 years ago this evening. She was welcomed by her mom and dad and her Uncle Daddy (Dan) waiting in the hall.

Although she was christened Catherine Elizabeth she was from that moment forward known to us as Katie and the name fits her perfectly. Maybe Kate Middleton would now like to be known as Catherine, but our Katie seems quite content with her adorable 'everyday' name.

So now let me tell you a little bit about this wonderful granddaughter who helped to even grandchildren boy/girl score - making our count five boys and three girls.

She has always been fun and has had a great sense of humor since the getgo:

She's quirky and loves to try out new things like fitting in a flat box

a cowgirl look

Or maybe a princess

She's loving and affectionate but also independent. Here she is in Savannah Ga, taking off without a care in the world. It's a good thing she was being closely shadowed by her dad.

She has always loved being outdoors

And has been athletic ever since she was little

And she's up for any sport
From the moment her little brother, Matthew, was born she became his self-assigned caretaker. Although only a little older than him, she seemed to think she needed to be his mini mom.

She has many and varied interests like cooking

Animals (and she's very tolerant of them)

And having fun and hanging out with her many cousins

She can be a tomboy

Or all girl

And she has always loved her grandma's ice cream cones

She's as sweet, loving, and well-rounded as can be; also an excellent student and volleyball player (I didn't have a picture).

Happy 11th Birthday, Katie. Hope it was awesome!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Hoedown Check-In: Week One

This really is a challenging time to start a challenge but I guess that's what's good about it. If we can get through the holidays in good shape we'll be way ahead of the typical holiday season when some estimates have us gaining as much as five to ten pounds in just four short weeks.

So far I've done far better than I have ever done during the week before Thanksgiving. I even started the week shredding and walking every day, but that regime fell by the wayside after four days when I felt more and more pressured by the many things I needed to do to prepare for the holiday weekend.

I ended up weighing 2.6 pounds less than I did last week at this time which is over a pound less than I weighed at the end of the Shrinkvivor challenge.

All in all I'm happy with these results although I feel somewhat intimidated about what the week will bring. I know my intentions are good. I just hope I discipline myself enough to survive the week unscathed by the Thanksgiving Thunder Thigh demon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

True Confessions Tuesday

My true confession today is that I'm thinking more about family, Thanksgiving, and getting everything ready than I am about fitness and weight loss. Thanksgiving is a big holiday for me. The only thing that keeps it from being my favorite is that the whole family can't be here. But a lot of them will be here so right now it's all about priorities.

The thing is I'm okay with this. All my life, there are going to be holidays and special events that take precedence over everything else and maybe we just need to exercise damage control - or like April said here - discipline.

Although I vowed to shred and walk every day, I've run out of time. But I'm still shredding.

And maybe I'll eat mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and some other traditional Thanksgiving entrees on Thursday, but I'll be aware of what I'm eating and how much.

So it's good that I'm still counting points and I'm still trying to remember my water intake. I'm even thinking about ways to modify some of our Thanksgiving recipes to be more healthy.

But ultimately I'm going to enjoy the holiday and I believe I'll enjoy it more because it won't be a day of ridiculous over indulgence and lethargy - thanks to my accountability to the 'Hood and Santa's Little Losers. Go team!

No matter what, I'm going to come out of it healthier and happier than I have in many, many previous Thanksgivings.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Today I've spent some time musing about how lucky I am to have a few of my grandchildren close by. It seems like I've spent almost as much time with Eli as I did with Lori's kids before they moved away and with Amy's kids when they actually lived with us. And, I'm enjoying it so much.

The best thing about it is that he usually looks as happy to see me as I am to see him. We've gained a deep understanding where he can tell me with his eyes what it is he wants. He'll play happily on the floor with the toys I've staged all around him until he reaches a little too far and ends up lying down. He's not keen on the lying down so he tries to do a sit up to right himself but he can't. That's when he looks at me - like this:

which means, "Grandma, can you give me a hand?".

So, I help him up and re-stage his toys so they're all interesting again. He once again plays happily

but eventually he's going to reach too far -

And once again, I get 'the look' -

If I don't respond right away, he might get a little anxious

And I get the message, sit him up, and maybe even give him a little treat to eat -

He forgives me, enjoys his treat, and we're right back where we started. Everything is copacetic and I'm grateful to be spending wonderful time with him.

Sometimes though, he tips over and doesn't even care to be upright. He finds something much more interesting to play with and chew on.

But for awhile, I get to be BFFs with Eli. He likes me better than ANYBODY. It's awesome.

Then his mother - or even his sister or brother or dad - or perhaps a neighbor - walks in the room and reality sets in. Eli is just a friendly little boy who loves everybody.

That's okay. Like I said, for awhile we were BFFs. And that was so fun!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Love My Bondiband

All seven finalists in the Shrinkvior challenge won 2 prizes - a copy of EAS Active 2 and a Bondiband. I was really excited about the EAS Active 2 because I know over winter I'll be wanting to vary my workout routines but in all honesty, I didn't know what a Bondiband was. So I went to their website to be enlightened and, brother (or more likely, sister), I was!

To quote from their website, "Bondibands are a comfy, colorful and creative way to hold your hair back whether you're riding in a convertible, rushing out the door to get your kids, or getting some exercise. Bondibands are an easy fix for your hair. Check out our wicking fabric bands; they will absorb and evaporate buckets of sweat."

Now I'm just not a headband kind of girl. My hair's too short and let's just say they seem like a product for the younger set. But who turns down a prize and a chance to try something new?

There are hundreds of patterns and colors to choose from, and I chose the solid (Heavy Sweat Wicking) in pink. When I got it, I saw the possibilities right away. I exercise to Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD pretty much every day. I've gotten to where I get through Level 1 without feeling like I'm going to die but as I get into Level 2, I'm astonished at the sweat that runs down my face. I told my daughter that the good thing was that I had something to drink during Level 2 and didn't even have to stop to get it. I know. Ewwww! She didn't think it was very funny but it gives you an idea of much perspiration I was dealing with and it was distracting to constantly be wiping my face.

So I tried the Bondiband and I've got to say it's AWESOME!!!! I've always felt like having something on your head (like a baseball cap) during running or any strenuous exercise was counterproductive. In the winter we're told that a huge amount of body heat escapes from our body if we don't wear a hat. If that's a case, aren't we preventing a huge amount of body heat from leaving our bodies during the summer if we wear a hat? So I wasn't a fan of something on my head but Bondibands are so lightweight and comfortable that you don't even know they're there.

And guess what, they collect all that perspiration and deal with it for me. I appreciate that so much.

Nobody asked me to write this endorsement and nobody is giving me anything for it, but when we find a product that's so pretty and useful and practical, don't we owe it to each other to share that information? That's why I'm writing about Bondi bands today. Really. Go check them out at

And yet AGAIN, thanks Shrinking Jeans. This prize is going to get lots of use!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You Capture - What Inspires Me

Beth's assignment this week is to capture what inspires us. I found this particularly challenging until I looked around a little. I went to walk at Striebel Pond a couple of days ago and, for the first time, saw a completely empty parking lot. The outdoor season is ending and this parking lot inspired me to get out there and spend as much time walking outside as I could before it becomes impossible.

And these are a couple of the paths that inspire me to keep on walking.

Every time I walk at Striebel Pond I pass some of the same landmarks over and over again and they never fail to inspire me. This one reminds me of my sons and all the other men and women in the military that sacrifice so much and inspires a prayer.

And this gazebo, dedicated to a good friend and local school teacher who left this earth much to early because of cancer, inspires me to be a better person - like her.

This photo of a fading, gorgeous sunset inspires me to leave a little earlier so I can take the time to capture it from a good vantage point and when it's at the peak of it's glory.

And these photos taken of Beth playing with her kids inspire me to spend more time simply playing with my grandchildren.

Finally, this photo of this beautiful baby inspires me to thank God again and again for the twenty-one precious children of my heart - my grandchildren and great grandchildren - truly the gifts that inspire gratitude and wonder.

To find out what inspires everybody else, visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry and think about joining in. I'd love to see what inspires you!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lori Anne

Lori was born at Holloman AFB, NM on November 17th, 1969. Holloman AFB is near Alamogordo NM and over 1400 miles and more than 22 hours away from our families at that time.

I'd love to talk about her birth but that's a story for "looking back". Right now I'm thinking about the day that that sweet angel was born. She was, by far, the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen in my life. Something besides Lori was born to me that day. Something I didn't know existed until I looked at her beautiful face. At that moment I felt the most overpowering love that I'd ever felt before. On the telephone I told my mother that I didn't know I could love anything or anyone the way I loved that baby.

We brought her home and she brought us joy from the beginning.

Our first Christmas as a family of three:

And I still remember when my sister came to visit, taking her into Lori's room and waking her, so that my sister could see how she smiled as she woke up.

She was a wonderful toddler - smart and entertaining but she did have a temper. She only displayed it a couple of times but those tantrums were epic. What the poor little girl didn't know was that I was as stubborn as her and she just was not going to get her way.

As the oldest of six children, Lori was always a leader.

Since we wisely had our children in sets of two - two girls a year and a half apart, twin boys, and then two girls 14 months apart, each one always had a best friend and playmate or as I like to joke, someone to fight with.

Lori was a junior high cheerleader and a varsity cheerleader in high school. Here is a picture of Lori and Amy during that proud year when they were both varsity cheerleaders.

And during her senior year, she was team captain. Here's a picture form our local newspaper:

Today, Lori is a proud and loving mother of three teenagers. She's in love with and married to her wonderful husband, Marcus and they all live too far away in Waverly Nebraska.

So, happy birthday my darling daughter. I miss those days when you lived in town and we never passed up an opportunity to have breakfast together. You are truly a wonderful daughter with a personality that lights up every room it touches. (I know this because I have never seen so many birthday greetings for anybody in Facebook!)

Hope your day is stellar - just like you!