Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Friday, August 31, 2012

If Toddlers and Tiaras Was More Royally Awesome

Kelly, to four year old Esther:  Esther, you have to let the other girls be the princesses every once and a while.
Esther:  Fine.  They can be the princesses.  I'll be the QUEEN.

So this Facebook Friday is dedicated to my favorite (almost) five year old daughter.  Esther is a beautiful child and she kills me because the girl can perform.  This child is a step further than a Drama Queen.  She's like a Drama Empress.  If we were playing poker, she'd be a Drama Ace.  The Drama Ace of Diamonds, because this child lives in her dress up clothes.  Or a bathing suit.  Or a bathing suit dressed up with diamonds.  I don't know.

I have recorded some of Esther's best moments for all of posterity, or really, people on Facebook. Here are some lovely moments with Esther Gloria.

On Esther's Gifts to Humanity

Just as I was about to lose my mind sitting in parking lot type traffic, Esther starting singing a medley of "Silent Night" and the best hits from the Sound of Music.  In falsetto.  With a lot of vibrato. Intense vibrato.  Totally calmed me down.

Thank you, Lord, for Esther's voice at top volume, the cookie sheet, and the wooden spoon, all of which are being employed for a lovely rendition of Silent Night; one that is neither silent, nor too holy. Thank you that I get to enjoy this joyful noise unto the Lord for two days straight.  "ALL IS CAAAAAALM, ALL IS BRIGHT!"

When Esther's car ride fit reached it's apex in both pitch and volume, I quickly turned the radio on to drown out the noise -- only to discover she was screaming perfectly in tune with Miley Cyrus. Awesome.

On Esther's Potential as a Functional Grown Up  

I caught Esther staring at the non-operating front loading washer for almost twenty minutes.  Just as I was dubbing her our "Future Engineer" she said, "Mama, look at my hair!"  Vanity Smurfette discovered a reflective surface right at her own height.  Esther FTW.

Pediatrician to four year old Esther - "What do you want to do when you grow up?"  Esther - "Paint my toenails."  We aim high.

Esther, age 2:  Mama, I want a card.
Kelly:  What kind of card? (Esther runs and gets my wallet.)
Esther:  A money card.
Kelly:  My credit card?
Esther: Yes.

"Mo-om, Hosanna said I was a tattletale." - Esther.  Practicing irony before the Hipsters.  Because she's that cool.

On Esther's Productivity

If by "Did Esther have a nice nap?" you mean, "Did Esther sneak out of bed and cover her body with pink and green marker?" then the answer is, "Yes, she did."

When your child says they are doing "nothing" it really means they are making "tea" with their sister's ink (from the prized Hello Kitty stamp collection) and spilling it all over the pretty "tablecloth" (an artfully draped church dress).  You might actually feel relieved because watery washable ink is easier to clean up than if she had covered herself in A&D ointment.  Like yesterday.

Esther, age two, at Target.  Pointing to the man behind us in line.  "Mama, is that man my daddy?" Me, nervous laugh, "What do you think, Silly?"  Esther, with huge, sad eyes, "I don't know."  The stinker didn't break character once.  I. Was. Mortified.

Not Esther.  But I wouldn't touch her Barbie's if I were you.

Have a great weekend!  I start my battle with Jillian tomorrow on day one of the 30 Day Shred.  Pray I don't kill her.  Or say a Monster Swear at my television.  (Whatever seems most likely.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to Lose 100 Pounds - Practical Tips Edition

Facebook Status: After cramping up at swim class I decided to start drinking my daily recommended amount of water. So far, the only difference I feel is that I feel I know the inside of my bathroom better.

So I promised today I would post some practical tips and helps for weight loss.  If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm not the best at following traditional weight loss suggestions that I think aren't fun are really difficult to implement. For Example:  I really suck at drinking enough water.  Good thing iced coffee is totally made out of a little bit of water and mostly cream, or I'd completely be missing the mark on this staple piece of weight loss advice.

I'll start with FOOD:

Don't drink your calories unless they are from iced coffee.  Unless you are making a meal out of a protein shake, most liquid calories are empty.  Meaning, they will do nothing for your body except taste good.  Now chill out, I'm totally not telling you what to do; if you want a glass of milk, dude, bottoms up*.
(*this is where I was going to link to Trey Songz video for Bottom's Up and then I took a minute to read the lyrics.  Sorry y'all, no link for you.)  I'm not a drinker, but I think the calories in my beloved iced coffee are comparable with a glass of wine.  So I treat those calories as treat calories. (Homophone alert!)(Not a slur.)(Google it.) They are still within my budget, but they're just calories that are used to make me happy.  Not used to provide adequate nutrition.

Fiber is your friend especially if you are taking your iron supplement.  I'm not gonna lie - the main reason I'm a fiber girl is because it helps me "go".  I own a lot of Benefiber.  Ideally you should get your fiber from real food, but ... whatareyougonnado?  The other awesome thing about fiber is that it slows down your body's absorption of sugar.  Why does this matter?  Let's pretend you eat a Krispy Kreme donut for breakfast.  It is delicious.  All that sugar rushes your system, LIFE IS GREAT, and then 30 minutes later you just want to take a long nap.  After another 30 minutes you are starving, so you eat something else.  (Probably a 400 calorie coffee from Starbucks.)(Probably.)  This cycle can continue unbroken based upon your food choices.

Now let's look at whole grain toast with peanut butter.  It's admittedly not as delicious as a KK, but it is more palatable than wheat grass, so, compromise.  The fiber in the bread will work with the sugar in the pb to slow the sugar rush.  This means no LIFE IS GREAT moment, but also no "must ... nap ... now..." moment, either.  And it certainly skips over the 400 extra calorie binge moment.  That's why I eat peanut butter inside of Reese's on my toast in the morning.  Nut butters run about 100 calories per tablespoon (this is where you measure) so I make sure I spread my pb when the toast is really hot.  This thins out the pb and I can cover all the toast with only 1 TB.  Genius.  (Note to self: I should totally patent that idea.)

*Protein* - It's good stuff.  It's good for a lot of physiological reasons, like building up muscle and something to do with amino acids, but honestly, I majored in music, so once it sounds too science-y I tune out.  (Oh my goodness - "tune" out? Music major? *giggle*)  It's the building muscle part I fully support, because more muscle = greater calorie burn.

Prep work is the best few hours you will ever spend.  (Except for watching Twilight.)  I try to plan as much as possible.  I make my menu for the week, make a grocery list I stick to, and *ideally* do all the prep work when I come home from shopping.  Since I'm doing this post on the fly, I didn't have time to photograph a beautiful example of some of my prep work.  Instead you get what is actually in my house right now.
Left baggie:  100 calories of almonds.  Right baggie: 120 calories of Chex Mix.
Scissors and lock of hair:  What Esther did during her quiet time today.  Again.
I rule at parenting.  

If I can take a few minutes on a Sunday night to portion out reasonable amounts of snack food, on Wednesday afternoon when I am mindlessly shoving food into my pie hole because maybe the four year old sneaked scissors and cut her hair by herself, again, then I have given myself the gift of self-control that I would not be able to have with a full bag of Chex Mix.

I also keep cut up veggies in the fridge, and spend extra money for store bought, cut up melon, because I freaking hate cutting up cantaloupe.

This Book was really helpful in shaping my overall weight loss philosophy.  It was written by a mother and daughter who were each significantly more than 100 pounds overweight.  They are both normal weight today.

Now on to WORKING OUT:

Find exercise you actually like to do.  I really don't like step-aerobics.  I am just too stinking uncoordinated.  I get most of my exercise in aerobics from standing on the step turning drunkily (I totally just made drunk an adverb) and looking vaguely like I'm thinking about My Little Ponies or something else completely unrelated to the task at hand, which is following the actual routine.  So I totally gave up on step aerobics and I pray blessings on the class as I pass it to go run.  (Lord, please protect these super coordinated ladies - and token male - from a pulled hamstring.  Amen.)  If running's not your thing, find what is.  It's not what you are doing, it's the doing that is important.

Change up your routine because it not only keeps you from getting bored, it helps your fitness improve.  Your body gets bored as well, and it's all, "this is old hat, I can totally phone it in today," but throw it some unexpected burpees and it's all, "The heck? Where have I been?  I better get my tush in gear."

Learn what it means to truly push yourself.  I was always so worried about injury. I was worried about puking.  I was so worried I never pushed myself.  Then I took that running class and I thought I was going to die.  Like, heart attack/gasping breath/vomit totally happening kind of dying.  I totally didn't die.  But I did discover a new level of normal for my athleticism.  And now I'm not afraid of a workout that ends with me shaky-limbed, flopping around on a mat on the floor in a puddle of my own sweat, because it means that today I brought it.

Announce your goals publicly.  I love me some Facebook for this.  Your goal is there, in print, forever.  Also, I love  This keeps a good record of what you are doing, and other people can see it and judge you, which makes you work harder.

Workout buddies will shame you if you don't show/do your best/have a good attitude (if they are good ones).  Working out is so much easier with a pal.  The accountability is priceless. Sarah is a treasure to me.  For realz.

Motivational stickers.  Because I'm a nerd.  A visual reward nerd.
"Kelly, those are lovely star stickers on your calendar.  Whatever are they for?"
"Why, thank you, you are too kind.  Every sticker represents a killer workout."

And finally, THIS:
I kinda wish I went to this gym.  I bet it's the most fun gym EVER.  (Definitely better than Lifetime.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to Lose 100 Pounds - Sweat Edition

So yesterday I posted about the nutritional side of my weight loss.  I tried to include the key aspects of my weight loss, like "iced coffee is a food group."  Today is dedicated to the physical side.  Once your food intake is on point, the only other thing to do is move yer butt.

So why work out?  Technically you can lose weight without it.  If you consume less calories you will lose weight.  But working out is the triumvirate* in the weight loss world.

1.  As your muscle mass increases, your metabolism (that crazy mechanism that burns calories) increases.  It's like taking speed for intense calorie burn.  (And who doesn't want permission to do speed?)

2.  It helps with the whole "loose skin" issue that Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition has so thoughtfully made known to the world.  Because it's not like Spanx was totally helping a sister camouflage the ugly side of losing 100 pounds or anything.  Now when people find out about a big loss, their first thought is about the "apron" of skin (how sick is that visual?) that must surely be hanging sexily (totally a word) from your otherwise rock hard abdominals.  Truth? Lifting weights has helped tone my body so much that I have very little loose skin.  Yes, I have a rockin' baby gut but I've also had four C-sections in seven years, so I feel I have earned that.  It's like a trophy I will proudly display until I can afford a tummy tuck.

3. When your husband tackles you with the intention of blessing you with a wicked fart tent, you can totally defend yourself and tent him first.  Exercise is a gift to your body:
     Swimmer's arms, shoulders, and backs.
     Runner's hamstrings, quads, and calves.
     Yoga/Pilates's *ahem* flexibility.
     Spinning's tush.
     Step Aerobic's unfailing demonstration of how little coordination you have

A Girl's Gotta Move

My extensive athletic history began after Ezra was born.  It was September, 2010, and my sweet #4 child was seven weeks old.  I thought that since I was already as sleep deprived and hormonal as I was ever going to be it was the perfect time to add calorie restriction and physical exhaustion to the list as well.  (Again, I'm a planner, people.)

I started with a 5K running class based on the Couch to 5K program.  I can't say enough about this method; it is awesome for non-athletes.  It was hella hard, I'm not gonna lie, but 2 years after I completed the program I am still running.  I ran my first 5K on Thanksgiving 2010, and finished in 37:47.  My goal was 38:00, so ... nailed it.  By my first 5K I lost 53 pounds.
Waiting for the start.  200 pounds and so freaking proud of myself.  Also?  Terrified to run this race.
My gym offered two free personal trainer sessions for buying our membership, and since my running class teacher was none other than Trainer Tom, I signed up with him.  Our first session was awesomely horrifying, and I will write about it sometime, promise.  The best thing about these sessions is that they got me into the gym.  Up until then I was using my gym simply for the running track, on which I dutifully ran literal circles to reach my 5K goal.

Tom got me into the gym, showed me the equipment, how to adjust it, how to use it, and how to wipe it off when I was done.  (Dude - it's not that hard.)(Seriously.)  He gave me routines to do, and set up some goals to achieve and a plan to dominate them. (These were really do-able goals like "lose five pounds by next meeting(one month away)", "hold plank for 45 seconds", and "do 7 girly push-ups".  They weren't goals like "lose the 70 more pounds you need to lose" or anything that would drive me to quit.

When I started getting bored with my workouts, I signed up for another 5K.  It was great motivation to keep moving.  My next 5K was finished in 33:51.  Whaaaa?  Almost 4 minutes faster?!  Jeah! (Say it like you're Ryan Lochte.)
Let's forget for a moment how incredibly photogenic I am, and focus on me weighing 174 here.
Once I got bored (again) I started taking the classes offered at my gym.  It took me almost two weeks to convince myself to even enter the studio where Ab Lab was held.  Now it's one of my favorite forms of torture classes.  When I got bored (again) I signed up for another race.
My oldest ran the 5k with me and we PR'd! 32:47.  152 pounds.  (I don't know what my hair ate for breakfast, but I swear I don't have a mullet.)
This year I decided the next boredom buster was triathlon.  Obviously.  I signed up for a triathlete swimming class and met Sarah, who took me under her triathlete wings and made me a supuh-stah. (Sound it out.)  I worked for months towards triathlon, and it was fantastic.
Oh, you haven't seen this picture yet? (Haha, this is a joke because if you know me/read this blog/are friends with me on Facebook you have seen this picture 4,000 times.)  148 pounds.
Now what?  I am challenging Jillian Michaels to a 30 Day Shred competition in September. I also have at least two races on the books for this fall.  After that I'll just keep moving.

How Does This Help You?

And therein lies the best advice possible.  Just start/keep moving.  I started as out-of-shape as you could possibly be.  I was postpartum, recovering from abdominal surgery, and more than 100 pounds overweight.  I was worried about injury.  I was worried about failure.  I was worried about how fat I looked while I ran.  I was worried I would fart/pee when I ran. (Totally did.)  I had four children, a husband, and a household to take care of.  I was tired.  I was overwhelmed.  I felt helpless.

But I have the heart of a Navy Seal and I wanted my life to change, so I started the only way I could: small.

It's so cliched but completely true that small changes make a big difference.  I started with just being faithful to run three ugly times a week.  I sloooowly added strength training.  I slooooowly added cross training.  The gradual changes are the ones you'll stick with.

All my fears about injury?  Totally realized.  At first I got shin splints.  Then I had hip pain.  Then knee pain.  Then lower back pain.  All these pains had a legit reason.  I was using my body in ways it hadn't been used before. (Also I needed new running shoes.)(That's the story I sold my husband and I'm stickin' to it.)

Working out hurts (if you are doing it right).  You should be sore afterwards; it means your body is getting stronger.  I honestly don't remember the last time I wasn't a little bit sore.  But the trade-off? I'm strong.  I burn extra calories.  I have endurance.  I can play with my kids outside.  I don't resent the baby when he drops his paci and I have to squat with an extra 20 pounds in my arms because Dude, I do squats in my spare time - I got this.

All my fears about failure? I only failed when I quit.  It took me three separate runs to be able to conquer the ten minute cycle of Couch to 5K.  I learned through exercise what it means to persevere and that I am (physically and mentally) stronger than I think.  (Raise your hand if you are a parent/child/employee/spouse and, at the end of your freaking rope, and have uttered the words, ""  Guess what?  After paying your dues as a runner you will say that a lot less.)

My fears about looking fat?  Um ... I was fat.  But every run put that stored fat to good use.  Farting and peeing?  Just a sign I am a real runner.  The kids, the hubby, the house ... they were all still there when I got back from working out, but I was a less stressed and way sweatier version of myself.

So, this is a little rambling-like, but I have a wicked paper cut on the tip of my middle finger, the hubs is watching politics on television, and I have my Ipod on to drown out the noise so I can freaking concentrate, cut me some slack, Dude.

To summarize:  Exercise?
1.  Just do it. (Just kidding, I totally stole that from a little company called "Nike.")

1.  Just do it faithfully.
2. When you get bored, do different exercises faithfully.
3. Repeat for the rest of your life.

Just for fun, to end this post I leave you with a picture my Sister Wife Rachel took at a wedding a few years ago of Rose and I.
I loved this dress.  It was totally cuter in person.  
And here is a picture of Rose and I at the recent Red Carpet Run 5K.
Suburban gang signs.  

Since this post turned into more of a generic shout out to exercise (What up, Exercise!), tomorrow I am going to do a Practical Tips post about specific helps for diet and exercise.  My "tricks of the trade" if you will.  And I have a lot of them ... because I'm tricky.

*triumvirate - don't hate me because I have a thesaurus.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Lose 100 Pounds - Nosh Edition

Guess what you don't do a lot of when you are
250 pounds?  Exercise take full body shot pictures.
In every picture I look back on I am either hiding
behind something/someone, or it is a head shot.

Facebook Status:  People frequently ask me how I lost so much weight.  And while the basic principles of "eat less, move more" reign supreme, my secret trick is that every so often I weigh myself and decide that it's okay to have a cupcake for breakfast.  And today was a delicious morning.

So, I used to be 100 pounds heavier.  When people learn that I usually get a lot of questions.  The most frequent is ... HOW DID YOU LOSE IT?  I don't claim to be an expert at weight loss.  I've failed more than I've succeeded through the years.   But this time it worked.  And it keeps working.  The quick stats:

BEFORE:  31 years old, three kids, 5'3", 253 pounds.  (All time non-pregnancy high.)(Pregnancy high, because you're dying to know?  267.)  

Say hello to my little

This was my sister's wedding.  I was really proud of myself because I'd lost
40 pounds for her big day.  210 pounds.

I'd either just gotten married or was about to.  Circa 2000-2001.
At Hosanna's birthday party in 2008.  I was excited to fit in a juniors extra-large t-shirt.

AFTER: 33 years old, four kids, 5'3.5" (because sometimes when you work out your back gets stronger and your posture improves and you might get a little taller - whaaa?), 148 pounds

Also, fun fact = Because all the pictures of me are winners, here is an especially awesome one of me the day I did the practice triathlon.  It was taken earlier in the day when I was still sick in bed with the flu.  Note the rockin' mom pony with elastic headband.  You better work.

Vacation run with my sis - of course my arm is raised in a victory cheer - it's a vacation run.
Okay, two things.  Yes, I am hiding behind a child again.  But also, it's  a super cute child and he is covered in cake.  So yeah, perfect weight loss picture.
December 2012 - 150 pounds, size 10 dress for Fancy Date with Lauren
I'm going to attempt to do this entire post without using the words "transformation" or "journey".  If I do this you each owe me four new followers dollars.

So, how did I lose 100 pounds?  First I had to learn basic math.  (Thank you, Elementary School.) The science behind weight loss is surprisingly simple when it's stripped down.  I decided to look at weight loss as budgeting.

Louis Vuitton Lockit MM Handbag.
Retail price:  $3650.00
Let's pretend you wanted to buy this Louis Vuitton handbag.  It retails for $3650.00.  If you are anything like me you would need to do some serious saving in order to purchase this bag, because, in the Land of Budgeting, there are no credit cards.  Or personal loans. You have two choices - save the money you are already earning, and/or go make more money and apply it to your Must Have Louis Vuitton fund.

So first, you figure out how much money it takes for you to live.  House, car, food, etc.  Then you figure out the difference between what you earn and what you need.  If you can save $500 a month you can have this purse in (approximately) 7 months.  If you want it before then, sister's gonna have to get an extra job so she can bank more cash.  With me so far?

You do the same with weight loss.  Say you want to lose 20 pounds.  If you can save 500 calories a day you can lose 1 pound a week, reaching your goal in about 5 months. But if you want to reach your goal sooner than that you need to hit up the gym and burn more calories to add to your Must Get Skinny Healthy fund.

That's the idea in theory.  I mean, you could always go and steal a Louis Vuitton handbag, wind up in prison, and eat baloney for the rest of your life.  Or, I suppose you could buy a rip-off L.V., but that's a little like this:

From far away you might fool me, but up close ... c'mon now.

So if you want the real deal - the $3650 Louis Vuitton, the decrease in twenty pounds that shows even when you are naked - how do you budget in real life?  What are the nuts and bolts of application?

A Girl's Gotta Eat

First, go to this calorie calculator and figure out your calorie budget.  Be honest.  (When I renewed my driver's license this June, I saw that the last time I had to report my weight I told a 75 pound lie.)(That's pretty ballsy.)(Or delusional.)(You pick.)  I use the 7 day calorie cycle (zig-zag) for regular old fat loss for two reasons.  1.  I can stick with that range forever.  With the extreme fat loss I can do about a week before I cheat. 2.  Zig-zagging my calories means that I don't plateau (just randomly stop losing weight) as much and I can look forward to a relatively "big" day once a week.  My big day is Tuesday, and I really really love Tuesdays.

Next, buy a calorie counter/download an app/search the internet for the calorie counts of everything you eat, and write them down.  This doesn't have to be all fancy and Pinterest-y;  I've used leftover McDonald's napkins before.  Oh, the delicious irony.  In the beginning I measured or weighed everything.  Now I can eyeball pretty accurately and save measuring for when my weight begins to creep up.  (And it does; how I love you, International Delight Iced Coffee, at 150 calories a cup.)

Finally, stay within your budget.  All the time.

It really is as simple as that.  If you are faithful, you will lose weight.  You don't need special food or crazy methods of eating.  I eat out (big surprise if you are a regular reader, hmmm?) and have never bothered with the specialty diets (i.e. macro nutrients, clean food, low-carb, low-fat, etc.)  The main reason I don't do them is I would never stick to them.  I can't eat low-carb forever so I don't eat low-carb in order to lose weight.  Once I've lost weight I want to keep it off.  And I won't keep it off if I go off my crazy low-carb (or whatever diet, no hate for low-carbers out there) and eat how I was eating before.  Because how I was eating before made me weigh 250 pounds.

A quick warning:  It is easy to get seduced by a "less is more" mentality.  The one that says "If 1600 calories a day helped me lose one pound this week, imagine what 1000 calories a day could do!"  Do you want to know what 1000 calories a day will do to you?  Make you miserable.  And about four days in, 1000 calories will make you binge.  You will eat 3000 calories in one sitting, erasing any deficit you built up and providing a healthy dose of guilt with a side of failure.  Take the extra calories up front; this is a plan for the rest of your life we are talking about here.

I have always chosen foods I love in order to stay within my calorie budget.  I'm not a big salad girl, I hate cottage cheese, and I really have to be in the mood for yogurt.  But I did start to notice (after obsessively responsibly tracking every bite) that certain foods made it easier for me to stay faithful. There were foods that kept me fuller longer, foods that took care of cravings for minimal calories, and foods that, conversely, royally messed me up.  (I'm not pointing any fingers, but um, yeah, any kind of bulk chocolate in the house, I'm talking to you.)

Now I know my body better and can make appropriate, informed food choices.  I've noticed that cereal doesn't really keep me filled up in the morning.  When I eat it I'm usually jonesing for more food mid-morning.  Breakfast is either toast with peanut butter and banana or cold oatmeal with whatever add-ins I'm in the mood for.  I also start every day with a huge splurge - my beloved Iced Coffee.

Lunch has always been a challenge.  I stay at home with the kiddos and we homeschool, so lunch just seems to sneak up and surprise me everyday. (Like, "What the heck, Lunch?  Didn't we just do this yesterday?) Leftovers are popular around here.  Or sandwiches.  I also probably eat one or two frozen diet meals a week for lunch, but I only eat ones I enjoy the taste of, because I will not shove crappy tasting food in my mouth to lose weight.

As for dinners, I eat whatever I am making for the family.  If we are having pizza, we are all having pizza. I just have to be mindful of my calorie intake.  Little Caesar's Hot-N-Ready pizza has about 280 calories a slice.  I can choose to eat two pieces and write down 560 calories for dinner.  But that's all the food I'm getting, so I have to really want that pizza.  (And who doesn't want pizza?)(This has to be the best weight loss post ever.)

So, what's left?  Oh yeah, snacks.  I'm not gonna lie.  I eat snacks whenever I can "afford" them. This might be because I'm a perpetually hungry person, or because I just think eating is fun. (The advice just gets better and better, am I right?)  Since I'm a "quantity" and not a "quality" person when it comes to food, I like things that I can eat a lot of.  Popcorn, grape tomatoes, strawberries, greek yogurt because it takes forever to eat (because I have a process)(because I'm weird), nuts, chocolate covered raisins (see how I sneaked that in?  Like a boss.) ... really, anything is fair game if I can afford it.

To summarize:  How do you lose weight?  Consistently eat less than you do now.

Tomorrow I will post on the other side of my weight loss, in which I had to learn what it was like to sweat like a dude.

If you have any questions, please comment or email me:

P.S. FULL DISCLOSURE:  I wrote this entire post eating a Snicker's candy bar.  It was 280 calories of deliciousness, and took approximately 29 minutes of running to burn off.  It was worth every mile.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Just Met You, and This Is Crazy ...

It's been awhile since I've been the recipient of a seduction attempt.  When you are in a long-term relationship, you take certain things for granted.  The need to impress diminishes.

I'm pretty content with my current relationship.  It's familiar, and I still feel that "I'm so lucky/slightly out of my league and can't believe this is mine/my needs are all being met" ecstasy of young love.  But then something came along and made me think "So this is how the other half lives...."

Of course I'm talking about my gym.  And that homewrecker Lifetime Fitness.

I love my current gym.  It is small but classy.  I recognize everyone.  Trainer Tom lives there, as does my favorite treadmill smack in the center of seven televisions, and, as you know, my favorite form of torture - Ab Lab.  I still get spazz-nuts-angry at the lifeguards every time I swim, but at least now it's dulled to the perpetual annoyance between squabbling siblings.  (But dude, two lap lanes for 12 people?!  Seriously?!)

My gym is home.

Last week Sarah brought me as her guest to Lifetime Fitness.  I met her in the lobby where I could decide to either eat at the delicious cafe, get a massage or a haircut, or actually workout.  My new best friend Steve, who met me at the desk in  tailored suit pants and a button down, gave me my very own key card because I didn't need to bring my own lock for the lockers.  Do you know what else I didn't need?  My Incredible Hulk towel from home because Lifetime provides warm towels they wash and dry for you.

It only got better.  Upstairs, before my unbelieving eyes, was a figurative sea of cardio equipment.  I am hard-pressed to believe you would ever have to wait for an elliptical at Lifetime.  Or think about waiting for an elliptical.  And?  You can play computer solitaire while on the treadmill.

What land had I entered into?

Sarah and I began our workout on said treadmill(s).  We did a really easy 15 minute warm up.  We planned to do one of Sarah's "routines" which I never put together really meant "intense circuit training from hell" until five minutes and a horrid ten exercises in.  I saw "burpees" clearly written on her card.  Having not planned for burpees and instead planned for the hip culture of Lifetime Fitness, my Fluorescent Pink Sporty Wicking Shirt was perfect for showing off my awesome mama gut every.single.time I jumped on the UP! part of the move.  It was super cute.

I literally flopped on the (clean and cushy) mat after we finished.  My arms and legs were shaking. This was the perfect time to get ready to swim.*

*I've really enjoyed the end of season swimsuit sales.  My super expensive TYR suit has served me well, but it has been officially retired after it completely changed color and began flaking away.  I bought a Speedo from Dunhams at almost 50% off - score!  It is comfortable and would be taking it's maiden voyage in the fine aquatic accommodations at Lifetime Fitness.

I indulged in a moment of horror as I struggled frantically to put on my suit because I thought I remembered it fitting me, but then I realized I was just super sweaty.  Dude.

Since it was gorgeous out (85 degrees at 7:00 p.m.) we decided to swim outside.  It was nice.  We finished our workout with 1000 yards in the water, and exited the pool as they were setting up a giant inflatable movie screen on which to show an outdoor movie to the younger patrons.

As we neared the locker room some young gentlemen were handing out more towels (clean, dry, warm, of course) and I almost got in a fistfight because the young man personally handing me a towel said, "Do you want two?" which I thought was a fat joke.  Clearly.  Turns out that because Lifetime isn't stingy with their clean, warm towels, many people take one for their body and one for their hair.  Oh.

When I stepped into my own private shower I heard dialogue from Pretty Woman in my head.  Julia Roberts said, "Kit, his bathroom is bigger than the Blue Banana."  She was so right.  My shower stall was so large I did could do the Macarena.  Exuberantly.  If I was so inclined.

I returned my key card on the way out, and Sarah and I discussed returning the following Thursday to fit in one more guest pass adventure before the end of the month.  Twist my arm.

A mere 14 hours after I left Lifetime, Steve, with his tailored pants and button down shirt, called me to sell the heck out of a possible membership ask about my experience.  Wow.  It's like Lifetime loves me so much they don't even care about the "wait two days after your first date" rule.  (Is that still a thing?  I've been married for-eva.)

Since I'm the faithful sort, I would never leave my current gym, but I must admit I am tempted to occasionally make a rendezvous to the other side, for "steak instead of chicken", if you will. Or a gluten-free protein muffin.  Whatever.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rant Of The Day: A penny for your thoughts?

*Cranky Old Lady Alert*
This keeps happening to me.

I roll up (not being hip, this just usually occurs at the drive-thru, so I'm literally rolling), order some food (fresco style tacos, let's pretend),  drive to the window, and hand the waiting employee my money. Since I'm fairly adept at math and even own a change purse, the amount I hand over is in close range to what I owe.  Sometimes really close.  Like, within a few cents.  I wait patiently for my three pennies back as change.  The employee skips over his side of the money exchange and hands over the food I've ordered and says, "Have a nice day," completely avoiding eye contact because he obviously knows he has stolen three cents from me. 

At this point I know I'm dealing with a shrewd-minded criminal who is working a master plan to rip off every cash paying customer by pennies so at the end of the shift he can collect his $2.11* (which, coincidentally, is the police code for robbery)(although I'm really thankful he didn't net $6.04, which is the code for throwing missiles).

Did I miss the memo involving new policies in consumer transactions?  Is there some new entitlement tax of which I am unaware?  Have we become a society that relies so much on our debit cards that we forget how actual cash works?  Or is Generation Y so freaking lazy it's not worth their time to return my three cents?

What the heck is this world coming to, y'all?

I do not appreciate the identity crisis I'm now faced with every time this happens.  Am I the type of person who would make a stink over three cents?  Is my dignity worth taking a financial hit of mere pennies?  I know this teenager will being thinking, "Dude, times must be rough if she needs coins that bad," but it's the principle behind it, young feller.

Besides, how can my kids ride the Meijer horse if I don't have any pennies?

Okay, that is all.

*You've seen Office Space, so we all know this is fairly conceivable.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Manipulation Fail

Scene: I am ranting under my breath to Brian who is sitting three feet away and on the computer while I clean up toys in the living room.  

Kelly: I don't know why I talk at all.  Everyone leaves their crap out anyway.  It totally doesn't matter if I say to pick up your junk, everyone totally ignores me.  I should just stop talking forever.

Brian: (responds after successfully ignoring my ranting for 11 years)  Sounds good to me.

Kelly: (jaw drops and I think, "Fine.")

Then we watch 21 Jump Street - the new remake, not the tv show,  and guess what?  Punishments totally on me as apparently I like to comment, quite frequently, on hilarious things that happen on screen.  I concentrate as hard as I can to win the silent war only I am fighting keep quiet and Brian enjoys a commentary free viewing.

Brian: We should do this all the time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Vicodin Diaries

"Hey Kelly, do you have any super embarrassing "first day of school" stories to share?"


I don't know how college is for most people, since I went to Wayne State University, which was primarily a commuter school.  I missed the whole dorms/sorority/party thing, and lived the dream with my parents.  (Who still did my laundry.)(And bought my food.)(And paid my car insurance.)  It was rough.

I also majored in music.  Majoring in music is not the 24 hour jam session I imagined it to be.  There is music theory.  And music history.  And practicing music you don't particularly care for.  And conductors. (*shudder*) Also, the music school is a tiny society unto itself.  The same 75 people have the same classes together Monday through Friday.  They perform together on the evenings and weekends.  Even Gen Ed classes (where you might chance to meet someone outside the realm of melody and harmony) are taken with other music majors because you have the same breaks in your schedule.  To summarize, being a music major is exactly like being in high school.

Imagine my surprise when I showed up junior year to an evening class and didn't know anyone in the entire class.

Let me back it up a smidgen.

I spent the prior evening at work feeling really ill.  So ill, I left work and made my way to Urgent Care around 11:00 p.m.  I had a condition called PCOS that caused painful cysts to form and I just wanted some drugs to make it better the pain to stop.  The Urgent Care doctors were incredibly accommodating, and solely based on my complaint of pain sent me off with a ton of Vicodin.  (Message me for directions to the clinic.)(Just kidding.)(I'm not a middleman but could be for enough money.)(Sheesh - IT'S A JOKE, MOM.)

The funny part of this is that I was straight-edge.  Does anyone remember straight-edge?  It's what hardcore teenagers were before they turned 21.  So I was totally prepared to be handed a ton of Vicodin without any instruction. 

The next morning was the first day of classes and I had the usual music courses in the usual music building, but also the evening class.  It was held on the other side of campus in a building new to me. I was excited.  New people!  New building!  VICODIN!

I took my medicine that day when I thought I should as directed.  I started feeling nauseous late afternoon, which was a different kind of sick than the "shooting pains in my uterus" that initially led me to Urgent Care.  I am a start-to-finish kind of girl, and I really didn't want to miss the first day of class, so I decided to tough it out and attend this New Class!  with New People!  in a New Building!

The class was filled with first/second year teachers that needed continuing ed credits for their professional development requirements.  I was a lowly aspiring music teacher and the only undergrad in the class.  I settled myself firmly in the middle of the classroom.  

This class had way too many desks for the size of the room.  As people trickled in to find a seat, desks got shoved around, and when class finally started, I was wedged in pretty solidly.  I knew after class I would have to free myself from the jumble of desks, much like an icebreaker. (The ship, not the party game.)

My teacher was a no-nonsense kind of woman, the type I immediately want approval from.  She was making it a point to remember our names, paying close attention to our demeanor in class (even as we just went over the syllabus), so I made sure I was attentive and wearing my Pleasant Face.  This was getting more and more difficult as I felt worse.  Class draaaaaaaaaaaaagged on.  With 30 minutes left in class I started looking around to see if I could make a discreet exit.  There were none to be had.  At fifteen minutes left I considered jumping over desks to get the heck out of the room. At three minutes left my teeth started to water and I told myself I only had three minutes and to chill out you can make it, dude.  Besides, how rude would it be to disrupt the entire room with only three minutes to go?

Well, apparently not as rude as bolting from your desk with 30 seconds to go, making it to the door and puking everywhere.  The best part of this was that I tried to catch it in my hands.  This did not have the desired effect of containing the vomit, but only ensured that I now had no way to open the door, as my hands were covered in my own regurgitation.  

Also, since I clamored for the door before we were formally dismissed, everyone was already staring at me before the real show happened.  My teacher, who would now never, ever fully approve of me, asked, "Are you okay?"  to which I replied, "I have trouble with my intestines," which wasn't even true.  It was like the Lie Fairy took over my brain and convinced me that anything in the world would be preferable than admitting to a Vicodin overdose.  And the Lie Fairy is really quick on her feet.

In a show of mercy, someone opened the door to air out the putrid smell and I made a hasty exit, but not without first witnessing my classmates hopping over my barf to escape the room.

So, all my New Friends! in my New Class! in my Newly Christened Building! would forever know me as the Girl Who Pukes in Class.  And THAT'S why you should Just Say No to drugs.

The End.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sister Wives -R- Us

No hate for Utah here.  I love Utah.  It's the only
place in America where I can consistently get caffeine
free Diet Coke in a restaurant.  Thank you, Mormons.
I have two friends whom I love dearly. Mary and Rachel are wonderful mothers, gorgeous women, can cook healthy and delicious food, and each have a knack for thrifting and decorating.  Now that I write about them, all their good qualities seem a bit excessive.  Like, if you are going to make tasty meals and serve them in your beautiful home, it's only fair if you are ugly.  But nope, beautiful, both of them.

The other day Rachel and Mary took a road trip together.  I learned of this the way I learn everything in life, via Facebook status.  Rachel's status shared some of the fun adventures had and ended with the declaration: "If I were into the whole polygamy thing, Mary would totally be my first choice for a sister wife."  My first thought?  Dude.  If Rachel and Mary get to be sister wives, I won't have any sister wives left to decorate my house

I did what any normal woman would do in my situation:  take the status as it was meant, as a funny shout out to friendship, and get on with my day obsess for hours over whom I wanted as sister wives.

(We should probably take a moment to recognize that when I think about polygamy I am glossing over the whole "share your husband with another woman" part, and focusing entirely on "how extra women in the household would make my life better" which I'm pretty sure is what polygamy is really all about.)

I realized that if Rachel claimed Mary, who is an amazing vegan/vegetarian cook, then I'd better hurry it up and get dibs on our friend Robyn, because girlfriend can also cook.  And not just, "Yum, this is a tasty meatloaf" kind of cook, but a "Wow, what a weird tropical fruit I've never heard of, and you've made some fantastic homemade ice cream with it" kind of cook. (True story.)  So the first thing I did was formally claim Robyn as my sister wife on Facebook.  Done.

But then I thought of Lyndsay, who not only raises goats, but makes her own soap from their milk. Also?  She's a genius stain fighter, and can also (coincidentally) make a really tasty meatloaf. (Seriously, I helped her organize her kitchen one time and she has like three different meatloaf pans that she employs regularly.)  So, yeah, I want Robyn and Lyndsay.

My Sister Wife's Goat's Milk Soap.  It is awesome, for realz. 

I spent the next hour a few moments reviewing my friends in my head, weighing their strengths against my weaknesses to assemble the Best Polygamous Family Ever.

I was sad to see that some of my potential sister wives were disqualified simply because we are already family.  Two of the most fashionable women I know, Nicole and Tracey, are Brian's cousins, which is a major bummer because not only would I be much better dressed if they lived with me, I would also avoid a lot of embarrassing clothing mishaps.  (Yeah, thanks Scarf Fad for needing a degree in Dexterous Magic to be able to fashionably drape you around my neck.)(And seriously, black and brown flip-flops look remarkably alike when you aren't paying attention are in a rush to get to the dentist.  But thankfully the really nice hygienist will bring to your attention you are wearing one of each.)

Also, my bestie got disqualified for similar familial-like reasons.  While not technically related, her husband is like a brother that I talk smack to as much as humanly possible shares my birthday, so he and I are pretty much twins.  Except that he already has a real-life twin, so we are really like triplets.  So Lauren and I are pretty much sister-in-laws.  (I may have received a C- in Logic and Reasoning at WSU.) Lauren, with her eye for the latest styles and tasteful implementation of said fashions, would also keep me from leaving the house in my current state of dress most days on occasion, and she's really good at teaching.  And listening.  And researching/making informed decisions.  And making me laugh.  And she has a horse.  So, there's that.

Then I thought about what I might bring into a potential Sister Wife relationship.  I am pretty good at bossing people around and I like to work out, so I could act as an in-house personal trainer.  Since personal trainers are a lot of money, and even more expensive if they live with you, having me as a Sister Wife would save a girl thousands.  Millions, even.  Another bonus is that I am really good at Pinterest, so I have a lot of ideas.  My main attribute is that I'm mad organized or was until I had kids.  If de-cluttering were an Olympic sport it would be retired because it would get boring watching me sweep it (haha) every two years.  (Because purging isn't just for summertime.)(Not a joke about bulimia)(because that would be in poor taste)(*snort*).

My "needs some improvement" areas would include:  fast food consumption, which honestly could be helped tremendously by Robyn cooking for me everyday. Also, I'm a tad (searching for another way to say "bat-sh*t crazy") melodramatic about certain things.  My lack of interior design aptitude and inability to hang anything on my walls (Brian has actually forbidden me from doing so)(excuse me for not knowing what a level was for)(must we be punished for our mistakes forever?) means my home needs some design help.  (Which means Pinterest has become a way for me to improve upon myself.)(It's like a  form of continuing education.) (And it's free.)(I just got a Continuing Education Scholarship while blogging by myself.)(That kind of "make it happen" spirit has to be an attractive quality for a potential sister wife.)

At the end of the day, I had 23 sister wives picked out.  That seems a bit excessive, even for me. And my poor husband!  Can you imagine trying to navigate through 23 menstrual cycles?   So I've decided it would be best to stay happily the pair of us in our monogamous relationship, and just keep all my sister wives as friends.  Who help me with interior design.  And fashion.  And the occasional meal together.  Everybody wins.

Monday, August 20, 2012

It was like perfume. Stir-fry perfume.

Scene:  I am calling my mom-in-law.

MIL:  Hello?
Kelly:  Hey!  How would you like to contribute to the wellness of a marriage by babysitting for a young couple so they could go on a date?
MIL:  I would love to. (She might have also said something to the effect of, "How long have you been working on that line?" to which I replied, "This magic flows freely without thought or plan.")

That is how Brian and I ended up on a real date this weekend.  Because we are completely "out of the box" people, we went with dinner and a movie.

Our date began with seeing the newest Bourne movie.  We got there just in time, so we fully enjoyed about 30,000 previews (I am so going to see Chasing Mavericks, but not with Brian, who looked at me with complete disdain and implied I may have poor taste in cinema when I voiced my enthusiasm over the movie trailer.)

I sat next to a five year old who dumped his popcorn into my purse three times.  (If you didn't catch all that was unsaid in that last sentence, let me rephrase:  Someone brought a FIVE YEAR OLD CHILD to see the Bourne movie and at the end he commented it wasn't as good as the others.) Aside from the popcorn mishaps (which I am willing to blame on literal butterfingers) he was polite and said, "Excuse me"  every time he burped out loud.  I did my part to not get in a fist fight with his parents remain socially acceptable by refraining from ordering him, "Cover your eyes!" or "Plug your ears!" during certain scenes.

The movie was okay.  It didn't change my life like Pump Up the Volume, which fanned into flame the true idealist revolutionary I have become today.  Bourne movies make me feel:

1.  Confused.  I'm never really sure what is going on, but I am convinced that being genetically altered to be more like a Navy Seal would be the epitome of rad.

2.  Incompetent.  Should I know how to make fake passports?  Or ride a motorcycle down a staircase while shooting a huge gun?  At the very least I should learn to speak German.  Or French. Or, since I live in America, Spanish English.

After the movie I dashed to the bathroom, weaving in and out of other theater-goers because I was reenacting the motorcycle chase scene really had to go.  The theater had toilets that flush themselves so enthusiastically I thought, "TIDAL WAVE!" as the water came dangerously close to escaping the bowl.  I might even have jumped back in surprise, fully body slamming the stall door and sending a ripple effect down the other fifteen stalls to which it was connected.  At this point I was tempted to feel embarrassed, but instead I thought, "It's like I started The Wave in the bathroom by myself," which, admittedly, is unexpected and awesome.

We went to dinner and I devoured some BBQ Chicken Quesadillas while Brian enjoyed chicken and artichoke pasta.  Our waiter was kind enough to weigh in on a debate we were having about if Miami was a family-friendly vacation destination.  His two cents were, "Miami has a lot of Cubans."  So it's totally settled, we are going there so my kids can finally have an authentic Cuban Mojito Medianoche.

We concluded our crazy date night with a trip to Meijer so I could buy some hydrogen peroxide. This is where the night took a turn.

Kelly, why did you need hydrogen peroxide so badly that you allowed the need to crash your romantic date night?  THIS:
This Pinterest Pin connects to this website.  This is where I got the recipe for the detox bath
I haven't mentioned my head cold I'm miserably suffering with, mainly because as I read through different posts it feels like I'm always complaining about being sick.  But this information is pertinent to the rest of the story, so stop judging me.  Pinterest informed me of a wonderful detox bath that would be the cure-all for my head cold.  All I needed was to add three pints of hydrogen peroxide and two ounces of ground ginger to a hot bath, soak for thirty minutes, and I would be cured.  I planned on doing this detox bath when we got home, but my end-of-the-world supply of peroxide had dwindled down to the normal amount of one 16 oz bottle that we've owned for a year or two, so I actually needed to purchase three pints of the stuff.

Meijer had peroxide on sale this week, which meant there were only six bottles left.  After some frantic calculating, and a thankful shout out to God that I taught second grade math this year and therefore knew how many ounces were in a pint (ok, full disclosure, I totally panicked and did the math wrong and bought twice the amount needed) I got the peroxide and headed over to the other side of the store for ground ginger.  We may have gotten sidetracked by 1. 30 percent off work boots for Brian.  2. 20 percent off cargo pants for Brian.  3. A documentary called My Run for me  4.  A Meijer employee lamenting to a coworker that someone POOPED in the lamp aisle.  Of course we giggled like teenage boys had to look. Finally we got the ginger and went home.  (The ground ginger. We didn't kidnap a redhead or anything.)

My detox bath looked like swamp water.  I was a bit concerned about immersing my lady bits in such a mess, but the desire to breathe using my nose was greater than any fear I had about contracting Weird Detox Bath Disease, so I got in.

I felt the peroxide right away.  It bubbled up and around my whole body while I thought, "Please don't let this end horribly." I am a bit skeptical about holistic/natural/not approved by the FDA/not tested on things other than me methods of healing, which I attribute entirely to the Great Supplement Debacle.  I waited in this bath, letting the steam from the hot water open my sinuses and this is when I realized my bath smelled like stir-fry.

So yeah, date night ended on a pungent note; me, with my fragrant Asian cookery soaked skin and rockin' "mouth-breather all day due to stuffy nose" breath, and Brian with his "Sorry, Kel, the pasta is worse than Corona and shrimp" (a combination of food I have henceforth banned from his body due to the assault the manner in which it exit's his body launches on my olfactories.)  We were like our own special brand of perfume. Which you can apparently buy at Walgreens:

Friday, August 17, 2012

20th Century Fox = Me ( ... Wait for it ...)

This was me after about five minutes of trying
to make a Facebook page for this blog.
It's another glorious Friday.  Do you know what makes this Friday wonderful?  I won't be camping.  Usually on Fridays I revisit some of my Facebook statuses from throughout the years, and today is no different.  You're welcome.  But this will be the last Facebook Friday for awhile, mostly because I'm running out of material ready for something new.  

I decided the theme for this Facebook Friday would be TECHNOLOGY, in view of what happened yesterday.  (Full disclosure : The Hubby does all the technical stuff for this blog. Yes, I did manage to choose a template through the step-by-step instructions a monkey could follow that make it easy for anyone with a computer to have a blog (thank you, Blogger), but Brian does all the stuff for me like add widgets (not a typo).  So it was pretty driven of me to take it upon myself to try and create my very own Sublurban Mama Facebook page all by myself.

Of course I messed it up.  Royally.  I messed it up so bad that even my questions about what I messed up didn't make sense.  But it's finally there.  And you can like it.  And subscribe to it.  And tell everyone you know on Facebook about it, so maybe they will come to my blog and learn about what to do when leeches attack.  Or their toddler throws a fit.  Or they meet cuh-razy people out in public.  So really, you aren't promoting my blog, you are probably saving a life.

Anyway, here are my Facebook statuses about Technology.

On Me and Technology

We got a new phone for our land line.  It has audio Caller I.D.  This is awesome because Brian customized his number and whenever he calls a disjointed, automated voice says, "Call from ... Big Daddy."

Confession #1: We still use rabbit ear antenna to get television reception.  Confession #2:  I'm about to have a heart attack because ABC won't come in and it's time for Expedition Impossible.

I love that my internal grumbling about all the chores I have to do is really internal grumbling about pushing a few buttons so a machine can do the work of the chores I have to do.

"Duh" Moment of the Day sponsored by "Don't worry Dude, your car's not broken":  No matter how high you crank up the defroster, you won't get rid of the fog outside the car.

I think there needs to be an app that would lie to you about the calorie counts in your three favorite foods.

The two year old showed me how to open the child-proofed cupboards today.  Tomorrow I'm hoping she'll show me how to load my Ipod.

I experience Rage Against the Machine completely different as an adult.  Like when the DVD player refuses to work while I'm desperately trying to make dinner with three extra appendages in the form of little girlies - I look at the DVD player and I truly Rage Against the Machine.

How did it get to be 2012 and we still don't have turn signals on our grocery shopping carts? Consider this my personal request, Meijer.

On Others and Technology

If you walk into the bathroom and hear what sounds like the pipes under the sink about to burst - DON'T PANIC.  Your two year old probably turned on seven electric toothbrushes and left them running inside the drawer.

To the sweet elderly gentleman driving next to me:  I'm sure in your day you were quite the looker.  I bet when a young lady pulled up next to you and tried to get your attention, you would give her the "How YOU doin'?" look you gave me, along with that adorable wink.  But today I was just trying to tell you that you were not driving on the road.  P.S.  Please hang up your phone when you hear the rumble strips.

When the husband is working on a home improvement project and after many sounds of exasperation finally asks for (in this order) Velcro and Popsicle sticks should I be worried?

If the car companies took some anti-theft device cues from Fisher Price, the police could get rid of the department for Grand Theft Auto.  Just lock up the steering wheel with those twist ties ... it would deter me.  Sheesh.

Here are some completely unrelated camping pictures to end your week:

Don't worry, it was short term.  The kid can totally breathe under that bright orange rain poncho from Target.  I was keeping him dry on the extremely short walk to the Field House like a good mother.

My friend Mark is 6'9" tall and uses his height for good, not evil.  And by good I mean putting toddlers on top of minivans so we can re-enact parts of Teen Wolf.

This is my good friend John V.  He is awesome.  And this is an awesome picture of the pair of us.  Just hanging out, (directly facing the sun) being awesome together.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all.  I'll see you Monday!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Camptastic: The Helicopter Rescue*

Note to REI : add "helicopter
safety harness" to your Camping
Needs list.
After all the drama camping has wreaked upon my life, you would think that once the weather broke, it would be smooth sailing (or whatever is the camping equivalent).  I had hope when I returned to the tent after the baptism and discovered that Brian, a.k.a. Best Husband Ever, had sopped up all the water inside and aired it out completely, that camping might turn into the fun so many people declare it to be.

Hosanna asked if we could go on a little date, just the two of us, to hike the trails she had explored earlier with some of the "big kids". The sign at the trail head said, ".19 miles", so I grabbed my camera and off we went, thinking we would return in, oh, about five minutes.
"Hosanna!  Put the camera away and
rescue your mom who is falling down
this steep, cliff-like, slightly
declining hiking trail
mountain pass!"

The woods were beautiful.  It felt all cocoon-like ("safe", not like the movie Cocoon), was very green, and very quiet. Hosanna and I took some awesome adventure shots of us doing some extreme hiking.


We continued on in this fashion with Hosanna leading the way, until the girl tried to convince me the way back to camp was the right fork of a trail that would necessitate me belly-crawling through the woods and it wasn't even the Warrior Dash.

(*Confession:  I have been suffering some FOR REAL condemnation over my lack of Navy Seal attributes lately.  First, with the leeches.  I know Navy Seals wouldn't be scared of leeches; leeches are a fine protein source maybe even more so than Nutter Butters and probably grace the table at the occasional Navy Seal Potluck.  Then, this whole camping thing is really outing me for being a giant weenie.  I've probably lost my made-up, self-proclaimed standing as the Most Like a Navy Seal Without Actually Being One, due to my latest posts.  Lesson learned?  Honesty = ruins your life.)

In response to the belly-crawling trail, I pulled rank on Hosanna and in my best decision making thus far said, "No, let's turn left and see where it goes."  (You get chills just reading that, right?)

We walked a bit, still having fun because we were ignorant.  We walked some more ... and some more ... and some more.  Even Hosanna started to get nervous.

"Um, Mama?  Do you think we will get back to the tent soon?"
 "Probably!  Isn't this fun?  It's like we are on the most fun adventure ever!  I'm absolutely sure we are not going to die here."

But in my heart I knew this was exactly like the Blair Witch Project.  I even heard, verbatim (well, kind of, I haven't seen the movie in over ten years), Heather saying (in my head), "It's virtually impossible to get lost in America.  It's even harder to stay lost."  But look what happened to Heather, dude. (For those of you who haven't seen the movie, *Spoiler Alert*, she totally stays lost forever.)

I know the main rule of being lost in the woods is to stay put and don't move, but I was pretty sure we were within a half mile of our camp sight, and I was feeling scared enough to keep moving adventurous.  I took stock of my supplies, which included my camera.  If you are waiting for me to list the more helpful supplies like my cell phone or water, I didn't have them.  But if we were going to be attacked by the Blair Witch a raccoon I would be able to capture it digitally, and maybe it would be a You Tube sensation.  Maybe we would even be invited to be on the Today show and I could make things all awkward and bring up Ann Curry.  The possibilities were endless.

We kept walking and I started seeing signs marked "perimeter".  I choose to follow them until the trails they marked got less "trail-like" and more "traipsing through brush so thick a machete would come in handy*."

*this might be a slight exaggeration.  But I did have to step over like, a lot of logs, and the grass was getting really high and was also wet from the rain, so yeah, it was rough.

At the next fork, we stopped and I thought about our options.  I knew then the only way out was by helicopter rescue, which was on one hand super exciting, but on the other, not the way I imagined first meeting the Navy Seals. (Please indulge me and do not remind me that Navy Seals predominately do high profile/really dangerous missions water rescue.  The woods were wet, so hey, a girl can dream.)

I was trying to figure out how long we would have to wait before our rescuers arrived when I noticed some deep tire tracks off to the left.  Well it totally turns out that if you follow those tire tracks for about three minutes you are back at your tent.  So I didn't need the Navy Seals after all, which is extremely disappointing, but the way it has to be if you are going to redeem your Most Like a Navy Seal Without Actually Being One status.

Upon our return from nearly succumbing to the woods, guess what?  No one knew we were missing. It's like there wasn't even a real problem.

At least the day ended well.

This is my marshmallow.  Looks good, right?  What you can't see here is that those marshmallows to the left, on the two-pronged roasting stick?  Were done to perfection.  It was like I was sitting next to the Overlord of Marshmallow Roasting, but everyone just calls him Greg.  He kept dropping little nuggets of wisdom that I immediately tried to implement, like, "Using coals works best."  *my mind is blown because this actually works way better than my method of "catch them on fire because you think they cook faster but all it does is char the outside and leave the inside stuck to the stick when you try to pull it off"* I might be super jealous of his impeccable roasting skills, except that he was making those for his wife Tiffany who was pregnant with their fifth child and camping.  So, yeah, roast away Marshmallow King

*that never happened.
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