So This Is Life…

In my last post I was a stay-at-home mom of one 9-year-old boy who I home schooled and pretty much spent every waking moment with.

I am still a stay-at-home mom who home schools her 9-year-old son, I still spend all my time with my children (not always by choice! lol) but now I am a mom of 4… let me say that again, 4!! Not just a mother of 4, but my children’s ages are 9 years, 28months, 18months, and 9months. Yeah, I am C-R-A-Z-Y. Continue reading

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Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom

It is everywhere. In the mouths of new people I meet. On paper work at my new doctors office. On the forms for my son’s taekwondo class. The word I dread… occupation. It actually sends a little moment of panic through me when I have to answer the question of “What do you do?”.
The thoughts “I hate this question!”, “What will they think?”, “Does my kid look clean enough right now for me to admit I stay home all day?”, “Maybe they will assume I am uneducated and can’t do anything else!”, “Maybe they will respect me for it.”, “Oh, No! What if they think that I think I am better then they are?!”, “Watch the eyes… Glaring? Hmm, to soon to tell.”, “I can always claim my very tiny part time job…please, some career!”, “Should I follow ‘Stay-at-home mom’ up with a list of volunteer work I do, did, may think about doing in the future?”… all these and more flash through my head at once. Why is this such a difficult question to answer? Why does it make me feel so inadequate? And how can I over come and live in contentment?

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Now, I want to stop right here and clarify something. Being a stay-at-home mom is NOT the be all and end all of everything holy! I haven’t always been a stay-at-home mom and I don’t know if I always will be. I am right now because God made it very clear to me and my husband that this was His will for our family at this time. Far be it from me to know the mind of God, He could change this plan for us at anytime. Although I hope He doesn’t, I will follow Him into whatever He has for me.

Also, I have the utmost respect for mom’s who work outside the home. You know why? Because there is no such thing as a part-time mom! If you are a mom that works outside the home, your job is double as hard as mine! For you to work all day and raise your children properly is CRAZY hard! My life is full of working mothers who I could take some pointers from when it comes to raising kids, and without a doubt, housekeeping! This post… my life, is not about tearing you down! I honestly applaud you. This post is just about having respect and being humbled by the things God has called you to do. For me it is to stay home. For you it maybe different. Please take pride in whatever situation God is using you in right now.

Part of the reason for the feelings of inadequacy that I and other stay-at-home moms feel is because of media. From the very early years of childhood you are told that you are women and you are strong! Women have fought hard to give us the rights and freedoms that we have today! YES! This is all very true! And in and of itself is not a bad message to convey to little girls. The problem starts when we tell a child they are somehow less of a person if they depend on their husbands for anything, especially money! Or that if they stay home with their kids that they are making a mockery of what women have fought for. It creates a not-so-funny paradox of living in freedom but really you are only free to do what society finds acceptable.

What else makes us not content? Relationships! Friends, family members, even people you hardly know. You feel like they are looking down on you because you are “not normal”. Some people bully you into feeling that you are not as good as they are, other people make you feel guilty that you get to stay home. You have heard it all before! “Oh gosh! I would go crazy if all I did was sit at home all day!”, as if you do nothing. OR “I wish we could afford for me to stay home.”, as if you aren’t making monetary sacrifices. OR, “You are so lucky you get to stay home with your kids all day!” That one is true, but it makes me feel like such a jerk that I don’t always behave like I am blessed, and sometimes my son drives me completely batty!

It all comes back to the comparing game. Maybe I am not as smart, thin, rich, talented, interesting, likable, educated, or perfect as the person I am talking to. We think they are going to judge our life decisions. And yes, a lot of times they really do. I have been told that “people like me” think we are better than everyone else because we stay at home. And that my life style discounts what mom’s who work outside the home do. Of course, I immediately want to tell those people to shove it where the sun don’t shine and ask why they are so hostile when I hadn’t even mentioned anything EVER about their decision to work?! But, I guess that wouldn’t be very Christ like. Ever feel that way?

The only way we will be happy in whatever our situation in life (and not bite peoples heads off for their off color comments) is to go from comparison to contentment. The first step, as with everything, is to give it to God. Remember He wants you here, therefore He put you here. He has a plan for you to accomplish, so get to work!

Second, realize that you can’t be everything! I remember when I was a young teenager I was asked what I wanted to be. At that point in my life I honestly couldn’t decide, so I replied “Everything!”. The ‘be everything’ mentality really tripped me up for a while. I wanted to be everything, anything, except a stay-at-home mom. No glitz, no glamor, no me! It was a few years into fighting this stay-at-home mom thing before I realized it wasn’t a punishment but a privilege. I can’t be everything that people want me to be. I can’t please everyone. But I should only be trying to please God anyway, and He has made my path clear. The clear direction He gave me is a blessing all it’s own. The job wasn’t what I planned. But then, it is rare that His plan is ever ours.

Third, understand that staying-at-home with your family is not worthless! The memories that I am blessed with making with my son, the influence I hold over his education, the ways I can help my husband with his work as a pastor, and the opportunity I will soon have to be a mom to children in foster care, are special and needed. Can a mom be what her family needs and work outside the home? Yes, I believe she can if that is what God has called her to do. But does that discount what I do? No more than my staying at home discounts her influence on her family. Plain and simple.

Forth, remember that you are not perfect. Sometimes we stay-at-home moms struggle with wanting to look perfect. We think that since we are home all day that we should have it all together. Well let’s face it. We don’t. Years ago, at a ladies meeting, I expressed my struggle with keeping my house clean. One lady glared at me from across the table and said, “Why? What do you do all day, Stay-at-Home Mom?”. I was floored by her response, and utterly embarrassed. When faced with people thinking you should be perfect it is very hard to not fake like you are. This isn’t a news flash to anyone who knows me but, I am a mess! My house and car stay in constant array, my hair is always a mess, I am over weight, I lose my patience… all the time, my family likes junk food and I rarely say no to them eating it, I watch T.V shows and movies I shouldn’t, I doubt God will make all things work for good sometimes, I want to be liked so badly by others that sometimes I won’t stand up for things I know are right, I yell at my husband, I have been known to be jealous and untrusting, I like to look wise and like I am close to God but most of the time I lean on my own understanding instead of giving everything to God, I HATE to mop and dust, I have family I never call because I simply don’t like to talk on the phone, I would like to be friends with people but I am to afraid of being rejected to invite them somewhere. And the list goes on and on. I am not perfect. And you know what? As much as I think it would be awesome to be perfect, I don’t want to be. If I was perfect, what would I need God for? All of my imperfections show me how much I need Him, and they show the world too. And when they look at this stay-at-home mom who just cannot seem to have it all together, I hope that they look a little deeper and see a girl who is just happy to be living in the plan that her God created especially for her. Because that would mean that I am content. And when we are content to just be what God has set out before us, it is then that we are moldable for Him to form us into more of His image. And that, no matter your occupation, is all that really matters.

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The Big 3-0!

I finally hit the big 3-0! Weight loss, not age… yet.
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I have been dying to write this post for weeks! I have been so close to 30 lbs. down I could taste it! I guess I might have tasted it a little sooner if I hadn’t tasted so many donuts, pizza, candy, and sodas the past few weeks. It was slow coming but it came none the less!
I have gotten behind on my set goal of 40 lbs. down by June, but I am determined that I am going to hit this mark by my birthday (July 3rd). To do this I am going to have to tighten the reins A LOT! It is completely possible to lose another 10 lbs. in 3 1/2 weeks but it is going to take some major focus.
Right now my calories are sitting at 1461 a day. For the rest of the month I am cutting these down to 1000. Don’t freak out, this is plenty for me to live on! I usually end up eating about 400 calories of junk food throughout the day anyway. This June plan will just cut out the junk.

I plan on not counting calories or exercising on Sundays. I want to make sure my body doesn’t “lock-up” on me. So I am giving it a rest from diet and exercise once a week. I will still watch what I eat on Sunday, I am just not going to stress about only eating 1000 calories.

I am also upping my workout to an everyday event, instead of every other day (or lately, a whenever I feel like it) event. This will be the hardest thing for me to change. As you all know, I H-A-T-E exercise! I thought the more I did it or the lighter I became then the more I would like it but no. I still dread every time I have to step on the treadmill or do a push-up. I just don’t enjoy it. I have “better” things to do. I don’t like being sweaty and it hurts. Yeah, I am a baby, and there will probably be a whinny post about exercise in the future! Exercising every day is going to be a fight. But I REALLY want to hit this first goal!

I am proud of what God has helped me accomplish so far with eating and exercising but I know I can do much better. Bringing my body under subjection and becoming more disciplined is a hard thing to do. But we are told to in the scripture. Does that mean you can never eat cake, pizza, or hot Cheetos? NO! Does that mean if you are a little out of your “optimum weight” range that you are a blasted sinner? NO! Obsessing over every little thing you put in your mouth or every ounce on then the scale is self-absorption and is just as much a sin as not caring at all!

We as humans are too often extremist. We either have a “don’t care” attitude, or we nit-pick and tear down ourselves and others. Both ends of the spectrum are wrong. God made you who you are. He is the one who allowed your body to do things that cause you to gain or lose weight. He is the one who didn’t give you much of a butt, or gave you to big of a chest! He doesn’t want you to fill your head with what the world says you should be. Instead he wants you to understand and appreciate your body. Take care of it and treat it like it is something God entrusted you with. Exercise because it makes you strong. If needed, lose weight because it makes your body healthier. And when you are doing your part, rest in what God has given you. Maybe you are older and can’t get back to your 30-year-old weight, maybe you had a baby and find your hips are bigger now. Even as a little girl I had HUGE calves! That’s not going to change and it’s okay! Do your best for God and be happy with what He gives you.

This endeavor to lose weight may have started as a “have to” but it has quickly opened my eyes to being what God wants me to be and not stressing about the rest. Sure, I get caught up in “does my butt look big” just as much as the next person. But when thoughts of not being good enough pass through my mind, I am learning to just let them keep on going. In one ear and out the other. If I am pleasing God with my eating and exercising habits, then I am on the right track!

I’m not doing the full body “look how fat I was” thing. LOL. But here is a before and after headshot ūüėČ (Pete has lost 40!)
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I Have Become Pathetic

I woke up today with every intention to write a¬†very up beat post about how excited I am that I HAVE LOST 20 LBS!! Yeah, that’s right! I am¬†1/2 way to my first goal, and a little less than 1/4 of the way to the big goal! I am very happy about reaching this milestone, but today was not an inspiring day to say the least.

I really wanted to spend the day feeling like this …

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But reality was more like this…

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All last week I had an awful sinus infection that kept me from doing any of our work outs, since I couldn’t breathe very well. I was supposed to start back today, but I seem to be trying to relapse. It’s the truth! Don’t judge me.

I started out doing the work out with the boys but it¬†began¬†with jumping jacks and I HATE those! I mean, they aren’t hard or anything, it’s just that well… any girl who is “bigger” knows why. Anyway, that was when I gave up. Yeah, I sat down and blogged while they worked out. Defeated… or sick. We will go with sick.

I woke up feeling like poo and the day itself was very frustrating. I wanted to get a lot done for work and around the house today, but everything just seemed to move slow and go wrong. The highest point of frustration today was the point at which I lost my phone. After retracing all my steps and talking to everyone working at the places I had gone, I am still without my phone.

Now, I am an emotional eater. Days like today really put me to the test! WELL…¬†my¬†phone has my¬†Lose¬†It app on it.¬†I mean how can I count calories without it right?! I totally justified that I could really eat whatever I wanted until I got the app downloaded on my tablet. And this decision revealed a new truth about myself. It is now more a habit for me to be conscious about my food choices than to not. Even after I decided to splurge and eat whatever I wanted, I ended up choosing low calorie options instead of all the candy I have in my freezer or the peanut butter I REALLY wanted. In my rebellion I ended up consuming about 325 calories¬†(yes I was¬†keeping a running tally in my head).¬†I knew I had over 1,000 left from lunch today and supper was only 400 calories so I am sitting right now under my calories by about 300.

I have become pathetic. And awesome. And¬†pathetic. ¬†Exactly what I never wanted to be, and yet exactly how I need to be! It is good for me and depressing for me. I know, I am bi-polar LOL. Maybe only a¬†fatty¬†like me understands this conflict. But¬†hey,¬†yay for¬†losing 20 lbs. right!? ūüôā Here’s to a better day tomorrow!

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Things To Remember

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When we think about dieting or counting calories, most of us automatically feel ourselves go into starvation mode! We start imagining all the rich, yummy favorites that we are sure we will have to give up! We envision ourselves munching on celery and suffering through flavorless salads for every meal until we reach our goal. I believe this reaction is a sure fire way to FAIL!

I have a little list of things in my head to help me remember when my new life style seems hard. These five things really help me stick to my plan. Maybe they will help you too.

1) It is going to take a long time to lose everything you have to lose ~ Get over it! You didn’t¬†gain the weight¬†in a week and it won’t come off in a week! Instead of being discouraged, be encouraged that you are working to be better.

2) Don’t compare yourself to other people, or day dream about how good you WILL look. This is really just a discouragement when you look in the mirror and don’t see what you want to see. You become upset and stressed and want to eat. Instead,¬†accept the fact that you have work to do to be healthy and love your body for what God made it to be. I will never be a size 3, probably not even a size 6 but as long as I am taking care of my body the way God intended I need to be satisfied with what He made me to be.

3) Food is good, enjoy it! Just because you are limiting your intake and taking control of your body doesn’t mean what you eat has to be uncomforting and flavorless! Be creative!¬†Most of the seasonings in your cabinet have zero calories. Think flavor not fat!

4) Saying no is OK! Sometimes it is really hard to say no to empty calorie temptations when everyone else is eating them, or when they are sitting in front of you just begging you to eat them. Remember that it’s not the end of the world to turn away. It really ISN’T going to kill you to not eat the pie or chips and dip.

5) Saying yes is OK! Completely removing the “fun foods” will only drive you to lose your resolve and go crazy with calories! When you really must have that cookie, have it BUT count it! If you don’t have enough calories to¬†eat it then save it and make it part of your eating plan the next day.

Remembering these few things has really helped me to not feel stressed, starved, deprived or discouraged. I hope they help you too!

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To Feast Or Not To Feast

We started our new eating plan a month and a half ago. I have lost 13 lbs. and Pete has lost 15 lbs.! We are both so excited about our weight loss. Seeing such good results makes it easier to stick with it everyday. When I REALLY want chips and dip I just eat an amount that will fit into my calorie budget (which is now down to 1570 a day) or if everyone is having ice cream and I am out of calories for the day it is easier to pass it up when I know I will see results on the scale because of it.

Some days I do allow myself to go over¬†my calories by 100 or less, but very¬†seldom. Mainly I don’t want to stress¬†so much about it that I¬†make it harder for my body to lose because¬†I am stressed. Some days you¬†eat at a¬†friend’s house and have to¬†guestimate¬†calories or measurements,¬†or you just really need something little to get you through to the next meal. These are the things that I don’t stress. I also don’t do these little “cheats” everyday, probably more like once every one or two weeks.

When we began this new way of life we decided that we would allow ourselves “feast days”. These days wouldn’t be a time to pig out but more a time to break from counting calories and yes, treat ourselves to higher calorie, “old life” favorites. We have planned these out far in advance so that we could have something to look forward to, and so that we aren’t tempted to gorge ourselves randomly and call it a feast day! Our planned feast days are usually major holidays, birthdays, and our anniversary.

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Tomorrow is our first feast day! I mean who can count calories on Valentines Day?!? I am just saying, there better be some chocolate in my hand at least twice tomorrow. And then there is the dinner! We ALWAYS go out on Valentines Day and this year won’t be any different. The baby sitter is booked and my mouth is watering. I asked Pete today what he wanted to eat for our first feast day and had to make him stop giving suggestions because I was about to break! Everything we used to eat danced in my head like sugar plumbs! Hmm, I have never had a sugar plumb but I bet they are good!

Anyway, here is my problem. I have settled in very¬†well into my new eating habits. I have lost weight. I feel good, and look different. I DO NOT want to mess this up! I am not really worried about gaining weight from our feasting (after all it won’t be gorging) but I am more afraid that once I taste those more fattening favorites it will be hard to go back!

It will be a great personal victory to be able to allow myself to indulge and to rein myself back in afterward. I have a big problem with that in every area in my life; money, family scheduling, dieting, everything. God has been trying to teach me to keep my body in subjection for a long time.

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Here is my statement of determination:¬†I will feast tomorrow, and I will enjoy it. I will go back to limiting my intake and will not be bullied by pizza, chocolate, bar-b-q, or sodas! I will pass this test!…Until the next feast day ūüėČ

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I Can’t Believe She Doesn’t Use Butter!

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Last night I wrote a post about how I only spend $210 on groceries (you can find that post here) and in that post I mentioned that I have almost completely stopped using butter. This apparently struck a nerve with a lot of people! I have been getting Facebook responses and texts all day asking why and how I have cut out butter and butter substitutes from our meals.

First of all, I want everyone to know that I am not against butter! In moderation it is fine. However, just like many other things in our lives, butter is not usually used in moderation. We all¬†use butter¬†for¬†frying,¬†saut√©ing, baking, and¬†even as a seasoning!¬†I didn’t realize how much butter we actually used until I tried to cut it out.

For me there are two reasons to cut out butter. 1) Save calories. One TBSP of butter has 100 calories in it! That is a really sneaky way to load up on empty calories! 2) Save money. We only used real butter which can get really pricy! At a grocery store you pay upwards of $3 a pound. I usually purchase butter in bulk at SAMs where you can get 4 pounds for $8 making it $2 a pound. That is how much I spend on meat! I just seemed like an obvious place to cut for both reasons.

The first thing I cut butter from was our garlic toast. When we make garlic toast we just put butter on sliced bread, sprinkle with garlic salt, shredded cheese, and basil. I used to use a TBSP of butter for every slice of bread (100 calories of butter a slice!). At first I cut the butter to 1/2 TBSP, then 1/4. When we didn’t see much difference in taste I decided to drop the butter completely and see if anyone noticed. They didn’t!

This got me thinking about where else I could cut butter out. I used to use butter or oil to coat the bottom of the pan while cooking. I switched to only using non-stick spray instead. This is probably the only area I can tell much difference. Foods are a little more dry but not enough for me to justify using hundreds of calories for butter. I do like to use things like soy sauce, Worchester sauce, and lemon juice, which have little or no calories to help keep meats juicy.

The easiest ways to cut out butter has been in the places where butter was more of a seasoning than anything else. Mashed potatoes for example. I never would have thought that you could make mashed potatoes without butter, but I have and everyone loved them! I used only milk to help make them smooth and then added seasoning such as garlic salt and black pepper.

Up till now I have still used butter in baking. Most of our bread recipes for my machine don’t use butter so that saves calories there. I made cookies a couple of times and following the recipe used quite a bit of butter. This month I am going to try using healthy¬†butter substitutes like applesauce in my baking.

Now, don’t go thinking that I am some sort of butter snob. There are still some places that we use butter and will continue too.¬†For example, no one wants a dry baked potato! I use sour cream (and pickle juice, don’t judge me) on my potato but the boys don’t like sour cream so I put 1/2 TBSP of¬†butter on theirs. And there are a couple bread recipes that I have used that require a TBSP or two of butter.

There¬†are three pounds of butter in our freezer right now and that will last us a good six months or more! In our house butter¬†has¬†become a¬†“use sparingly” option instead of a¬†staple.¬†¬†My husband, wanted to make sure everyone knew that he still loves my cooking and hasn’t missed the butter ūüôā

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