Saturday, May 26, 2012

On the subject of Morality & Diet Breaking

Last night was a BLAST!  Hubby and I made a great escape and took off on our own for a hot date.  And let me tell ya... last night, he was definitely my arm candy ;)  He looked good, smelled good and... well... he had the money.  No worrying about how much things cost tonight... I was a girl again on a date with my hot boyfriend!  (It's so funny how cheesy that word sounds when you've been married for almost 12 years... but that's how it felt :)

We drove out to a really nice local countryside bar & grill that just happened to have a karaoke DJ running tunes.  If you know me, then you know that I love to sing karaoke.  I don't care if there's one person or a hundred in the house.  I sing because... well... in addition to eating chocolate... it's a HUGE stress reliever for me.

Hubby and I bellied up to the bar (tunes from The Unsinkable Molly Brown skipping through my head now...), and immediate honed in on the smell of hot wings.  Oh gosh... I REALLY enjoy me some hot wings.  And while hot wings are totally on my diet, beer... however... isn't.  And... when you're at your local bar... and you order hot wings.  It's the hot wings code of ethics that you absolutely HAVE to order beer to go with them.  And thanks to my morality, because I am a women of ethics, I was strongly compelled to comply with the code!

We had an absolute blast just sitting there people-watching and met some pretty darn cool people... of whom you will be hearing a little more about in another article :)

Right before we took off, I did my own rendition of the old classic, "Makin' Whoopie," and this mother of 5 had a BLAST as the whole place stopped, and I had the floor.  Oh yeah... I was Rosemary Clooney at one of those classic swanky joints in a black and white setting... crooning out the tune in my husky alto... "I guess I'll keep her.  Man, it's cheaper... than makin'..... Whoooooopie."

The 'standing ovation' following the last note that slid off my tongue was sa-weet!  And yes... I'm sure that some probably had their beer goggles on, but... nonetheless... hubby was there admiring me like crazy (which I absolutely, positively LOVE)... I got out of the house and had a blast, and even got to enjoy a little 'diva' moment.  (Yay!)

The result of this amazing, craziful night?  I'm now carrying much less stress on my shoulders and ready for a soccer-free weekend, gearing up to avoid all the temptations that will surely be coming my way for the Memorial Day celebrations.

In the meantime,  I'll keep up that mantra... I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can... and just hope that it does it's trick for me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beauty: Almost Perfect (But not quite!)

When my first daughter was 4 or 5, I'd be fixing her hair in front of the mirror, and I'd tell her what a pretty girl she was.  Right after, I'd look her in the eyes and say... "Honey, where are you the most beautiful?"  To which she'd reply in her cute little baby voice, "In my heart!"

Wouldn't it be awesome if we could all have that mentality?  Beauty is in the heart... not in the body... not in the hourglass, toned figures that are constantly staring out at us from the checkout counters at the store..

I'm a country girl, and I LOVE country music.  When I see Faith Hill's picture in the magazines, I'm instantly thinking how beautiful she is, often followed by a thought on how imperfect I am.  She's so thin, doesn't even look like she's a day over 25... 30 at most.  Her skin and body are... well.. perfect!

Then I saw this picture of her on my facebook feed.  Faith Hill truly IS a beautiful woman, but her body is not perfect.  I mean... whose is?  Okay... I'm sure you could start naming a few people here, but when you look at the average person out there, you don't find perfection.  It's like looking at a bouquet of flowers.  On their own, some flowers might be too dull or too yellow or too fluffy or too whatever.  But when you put them all together, they make a masterpiece... and the details simply don't matter.

So, what REALLY makes a person beautiful or ugly?  You see, I know the answer to this in my head.  I do.  And when I look at other people, I don't judge by those standards, because I really do know the truth of the matter.

The truth is... beauty starts in the heart.  In my opinion... those who have the most generous and least judgemental hearts are the people who shine the most and whose beauty is incomparable.  Some of the most beautiful people I know are not a size 4 or a size 6, but are actually more like between the sizes of 10 and 22.

Honestly?  It frustrates the hell out of me that our society has us so focused on size and weight that we can't see the forest for the trees.  It makes me angry that when we see these perfect magazine bodies and faces that some of our first thoughts are about how imperfect we are.  At least... that's where my mind goes.

I love that song by P!NK.  You know... the one about being perfect.  I belt that song out as I'm dancing in front of a mirror in my room (yeah... I'm crazy like that), and I sing it to my sisters and I sing it about my friends.  "You are perfect to me."  Don't change who you are.
They say that beauty is only skin deep... but they are soo wrong.  Beauty is much deeper than that.  Beauty is who you are... NOT what you look like.
Yes.  We all know this.  But do we REALLY know this?  I don't know about you, but as for me, I'm learning... it's taking time, but... I'm sloooowly learning that perfect isn't always, well... you know... perfect.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On the subject of Screaming Babies & Diet-breaking

Day:  Today
Place:  The Gym

Thank GOD for friends!  One of my 'Mom's Club' gals came over this morning and watched the kiddos for me so I could hit the gym, relieve some stress and work off some extra unwanted calories.  Wait!  Did I just say unwanted calories???  Now where the heck would I pick up some of those????  Hmmmmm....  Listen in for the gory details... If you dare!

Day:  Yesterday 
Place:  Home

Scene: 2  (I'm not even going to touch on Scene 1... just check out yesterday's post for details:)
House is clean.  Kiddos are behaving and somewhat quiet.  I'm happy and everyone's at peace.

Scene: 3
Four hours later...  Baby is screaming.  I'm scarfing down a bowl of Dutch Chocolate premium ice cream after polishing off all but one of the remaining miniature Heath bars.  (Thank GOD they're out of my house now!)

Now, why in the name of molasses did I go for the chocolate... AGAIN?  UGH!!!  Have you ever heard of letting babies "cry it out?"  I personally think that whoever invented this form of baby rearing was intentionally trying to create insufferable moments of "Mommy Hell" for those of us trying to figure out the 'right' way to raise these precious little persons. (Remember... this is traumatized me talking here....)

Baby #5 is very, very stubborn.  She already knows what she wants, and when she doesn't get it, she throws a tantrum.  And I'm not referring to a small baby tantrum.  Nooooo.... I'm talking about the arm punching, leg flailing kind, and she's only 8 MONTHS OLD! 

For instance... if I set baby down on the floor for a second, she'll start to scream.  I pick her up, she stops immediately, looks at me, gives me a huge smile and says "a-heh."  This same scenario happens at dinner time when she's not fed fast enough, and other times throughout the day when she doesn't get her toy fast enough, etc and so forth.

I have 9 sisters, and some of them have advised me on how awesome it is when babies learn how to 'self-sooth'.  So, I'm thinkin'... okay...  this sounds awesome!  I'll give it a try! 

Yesterday afternoon, baby was fed and changed and happy.  I needed to work on a few things, so I placed her in her pack 'n play.  Immediately, she looks up at me and starts to scream.  I'm thinking... this is an awesome opportunity to try this out.  So, I sat where she could see me.  I could talk to her, and she wouldn't be alone.  I'd just wait it out.  I sooo had this under control.

NOT!  She screamed.  And she screamed.  And she SCREAMED!  And I'm sitting there thinking... I got this... we can do this... Then, at one point I think I recorded the sound of her screaming and sent it to my hubby exclaiming, "You DID THIS TO ME!!!"  Okay... well, maybe that's being just a little over-dramatic... but I did send the sound bite so that he could appreciate how my day was going.

An hour and a half later, with baby still screaming I was ready to pull my hair out and in desperate need of immediate triage.  I kept thinking... "I'm not going to eat junk.  I'm NOT going to eat junk.  I'm NOT GOING TO DO IT!"  I think after that last one, I flew straight to the freezer to start instant chocolate therapy.

Once I calmed down... and once the baby decided to stop for... like... one second... I scooped her out of her play pen, and she was suddenly quiet, looked over at me with a smile and said.. "a-heh".  Yeah... *sigh*
After this harrowing experience, I think... um... I mean... I KNOW that I have decided that "crying it out" might be good for baby... but it is definitely NOT good for me. 
So... if you see me walking around with a baby in the Ergo on my back, it's not because I don't believe in letting kiddos have some individual play time, or that I think kiddos shouldn't learn how to self-sooth... but it's because baby and I have reached a treaty.  It's signed, sealed and framed on our wall, now.  Our treaty is this... I hold her...  she doesn't scream... and I don't indulge in unwanted therapies.

Oh... and by the way... thanks, baby, for helping me reach a new 5k record!  I ran the 5k in 35 minutes today.  Yeah... there was still quite a bit of stress left in me, only this time it worked to my advantage.  Oh yeah.  Oh yeah... Oh... (I think you get the picture ;)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday, fun-day... Pushing the reset button.

You know how they have the "Easy" button at Staples?  I seriously need a "De-Stress" button just like that.  And it would have to be red, because... well... I LOVE red... but red is the color that best represents how I feel when I'm stressed beyond all stressing... (and yes... I just made that up.)

This weekend was good... but it was absolutely CRAZY.  I enjoyed seeing my in-laws, however... our schedule was absolutely jam-packed with school interviews, soccer games (Saturday and Sunday), and play practice, in addition to all of that, the baby decided to wake up every couple of hours each night and systematically pull my hair out (while laughing thinking it was soooo funny...ouch!!!)!!!!

So... not only was I sleep deprived and running around like... (yes... I'm GOING to use a cliche here...) a chicken with it's head cut off... but also trying to be a good hostess while running on empty.
It's a very frustrating truth that I am a stress eater. There... I said it. That's the first step to recovery, right? When my stress reaches the boiling point, I immediately reach for the first thing I can grab that I'm not supposed to be eating... and follow it by whatever else is lying around.  If there happens to be candy or chocolate in the house... I'm a goner... or should I say... it's a goner???  *sigh*
It's rather embarrassing to admit it, but my "stress o'meter" was off the charts last night and I went haywire crazy on the candy FIL brought to my house and the biscotti that I had just pulled fresh out of the oven.  Heck... I broke down and even had some crusty white Italian bread with my dinner.

Needless to say... when I went to bed, I was NOT a happy camper (with myself... that is), and when I woke up this morning, I was still not happy with myself... especially after the baby did the pull my hair routine again last night. 

My head hurt... I felt yucky... so, what did I do?  Went straight for the irresistible biscotti sitting in a pile by the oven, dunked it into my hot black coffee (before I could stop myself) and enjoyed the one thing that was helping to glue me together as I stared at my messy house.

We said good-bye to FIL & MIL, and then I went straight for the ginger snaps.  Thankfully, my sister caught a message on Facebook and stopped me after only one cookie.... and I'm so glad she did! 

I snapped out of it, and put the junk away... got my kiddos in gear and did an hour and a half cleanup on the house.
A clean house works very much like a de-stress or reset button.  I'm happy to say that my house is clean and my kiddos are quiet, and I am slowly triaging from all the chaos.  I'm staring at the pile of mini Heath bars left by FIL and am willing myself not to touch them.  And... you know what?  I think I actually might win this time.  It is Monday, after all... right?  It's time to re-start the diet!

(Insert... *ugh* *ugh* *ugh* I shouldn't have to "restart" so many times!!!)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Impromptu Parties & Self Control

Today we had a party for the kiddos.  FIL (Father-in-law) bought some rib-eye steaks, cooked by hubby.  We even let the kiddos have some soda for dinner... for which they were THRILLED, as they are not allowed to drink soda on a regular basis.

So, what were we celebrating this time?  Remember that little post that I wrote on volunteerism?  Well... Hubby and I volunteer as soccer coaches for the local soccer league.  Today, all four of our soccer-playing kiddos had awesome games, and each kiddo scored at least one goal today.  That means that FOUR of our soccer-playing maniacs scored at least one goal.  Soooo.... the title for our party was "Every Kiddo Scored Today Party."

Honestly... I could come up with a new reason for an impromptu party every day.  It could be something as simple as "Baby's first time to sit up party." Or.. "I survived another day as mom to five party."  "The house is clean party."  "The laundry is DONE party." (That party would HAVE to be a HUGE celebration, since it's such a rare occasion...)  My point here is that there always seems to be some reason to celebrate, and some reason to lose complete control over what I choose to eat.

When I was a kid, I remember my mom being VERY specific about us only being allowed to have two cookies when we went to a party where there were cookies spread out on a table.  We would eat our two cookies and then be done with it.  So, how do we find balance when our chaotic life keeps drawing us into situations where we just don't feel like having only two cookies?  We want three, or four, or... however many it takes to get us past that desperate "I gotta have cookie satisfaction mode." into a place where we are completely satisfied?

In the strictest of confidence, I'll have to tell you... I still haven't reached a point where I always know when to stop.  But, right now... with my history... I honestly think it has to be a calculated decision.  "At the party, I will only have two cookies."  "I will only drink two beers." 
It's about setting limits before you get into the situation, and then following through with them.
Tonight, FIL bought a huge loaf of Italian bread.  I LOVE Italian bread!  (Especially when it's slathered with a thick layer of butter or dipped in olive oil... YUM!)  Tonight, however, I had a different outcome from previous "encounters of the bread kind."  LOL  Other nights I would immediately go after the bread and butter and unashamedly eat until I was stuffed.  But tonight I made a decision before I sat down to eat.  I decided that I wouldn't even touch the bread.  And you know what?  VICTORY!  Yes... I won.  I ate no bread.  I allowed myself to enjoy a glass of wine with my steak, and headed upstairs to put #5 to bed feeling good about myself.

You're probably thinking... WOW... she's not that pathetic after all... and doesn't break the diet nearly as much as you'd think she would.  But, honestly... being able to blog and write about food and my journey has been such a help!

It might seem like a small victory... but for me... it all goes back to the theme on balance.  Something I'm learning... although the journey may be somewhat arduous and long... 

But I'm realizing something rather important.  When I make good food choices during the day, instead of kicking myself at night, I go to bed happy, and as a result... I have just a little more self-respect... and it feels pretty darn good.

Friday, May 18, 2012

On the subject of In-laws & Ice Cream

If I could take you on a tour of Rome, it would go something like this.  (In my best Texan accent...) "This here is the Vatican, and right off of the right arm (as you're looking at it), you will find a scrumptious little gelati shop."  "That over thar is what they call the Spanish Steps.  Just around the corner is an awesome gelati shop with tons of flavors!"  "This pretty little building is St. John Lateran, and across the street and down a bit, is where you can get a delectible 'fragola e limone' gelati."

See where I am going here?  I have a completely embarassing love affair with ice cream!  I have been to Italy several times, and I STILL think about how the Spanish Steps are near the best gelati shop... not about how the best gelati shop is near the Spanish Steps.

I swear my first son was completely made up of cappaccino heath blizzards from Dairy Queen.  I used to be a level 3 Linux technician (Gotta love penguins :) with a company that hosted hosting companies (Yeah... I SOOOOO have a geeky side... and I LOVE IT!).  It seemed that almost every day when we would have our meetings, someone would volunteer to make a DQ run.  Of course, I HAD to order... right?  Oh, it was sooo good!  Now, I do think that further into my pregnancy, I eventually started to order healthier blizzards (is there such a thing???). You know... ones that had pinapple and strawberries in it instead of the heath and coffee... so I'm sure that was better for me ;)

One of my favorite ice cream treats is to get some really yummy vanilla ice ream (gotta love that Texas Blue Bell schtuff!), pile on the fresh cut up strawberries... follow with some chopped up pecans... pour on the hot fudge, and then slather it all with whipping cream.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Yummmmm....  Why am I doing this to myself?!!!

So... what does all this addictive ice cream history have to do with my In-Laws?  Well... they are here this weekend and EVERYTHING is thrown out of wack.  Over the years, I have conditioned myself to be able to say no to ice cream.  On a good day, I can easily go for some of my Chocolate Yumminess recipe and not think twice.  But... when the chaos and/or stress is high... my ability to say no instantly flies out the stinking window.

Today we were out at a couple of meetings and happened to have an hour and a half between them.  Mom-in-law was hanging with us, so I decided to take the kiddos and hubby's mama out for some ice cream.  I'd LIKE to say that I actually thought about not eating ice cream, and that I had a horid battle raging through my head that was eventually lost.
The truth of the matter is that from the very second I thought about taking them to this uber yummy & somewhat famous frozen yogurt place nearby, the only battle going on in my head was whether to get the small or the medium one!
*SIGH*  (Or should I say... **BIG SIGH**)  Well... I have so far behaved myself this evening... so does that count for anything?  I DO think that maybe that means I've found a bit of... wait for it... WAIT FOR IT....  BALANCE!!!!  Yes!  I said it... balance. 

Well... we are about to start family night, so I guess I get to go downstairs for a little "balancing practice."  We'll see who wins this one!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From the Heart: Body Image

The Woman in the Mirror

I woke up this morning all smiles.  Life has been GREAT. I've been watching what I eat and basically staying out of diet trouble, so the first thing to cross my mind was... "I'm going to love what the scale says today!"  And after I weighed myself, I was ecstatic.  The scale was the lowest it's been since baby #5, and I felt beautiful and confident.

When I take a step back, and review the above scenario from the outside looking in, I can't help but do a double take.  Not long ago, after going through a really stressful couple of weeks, I was TERRIFIED to step on the scale.  I'd wake up in the morning and tell myself that I wasn't even going to think about stepping on the scale to see what damage I had done... but no matter how hard I tried to avoid it... I'd always weigh in anyway.
On the days that I weigh more and the scale confirms it, I feel disgusted... frustrated... irritated and discouraged. 
It's a fact that throughout the day, I am constantly plagued with thoughts surrounding my body image.  "How much do I weigh this morning?"  "Make sure breakfast is on the diet."  "How thin do I look in this outfit?" "Oh gosh... my arms look HUGE..."  I pick out a part of my body that's not perfect in my eyes, and I'm downright mean to myself. 

There is no way that I'd think those things about another person... but when it comes to myself, anything less than perfect is failure.
I have to wonder... why do I even care so much about how I look?  Heck... there was once a period in time when it was attractive to be a little chubby. Boy, do I wish we still had that mentality... It would be no holds barred with me and chocolate on a regular basis... that's for sure! 

Honestly, though... what's the big deal anyway?  My husband finds me to be extremely attractive, and people are constantly telling me that I'm a beautiful and talented woman.  That should be all that really matters, right? least society conditions us to think otherwise.  Ever since I was a little girl, I was conditioned to think a certain way based on the movies I've watched, the books I've read, and the friend's I have encountered... 

Heck just take a look at the mentality many men have toward women and the perfect size 6... or is it now the perfect size 4???  In our society, it seems as though you have to be practically showing your skeleton to be seen as the "perfect size," and essentially... to be considered beautiful. 
My goal is, and has been... to fight the current culture and be happy with who I am... in the size I am... and know that I am loved and lovable regardless of my latest pants size.
The funny thing is that as I'm writing this... knowing my success of this morning... I'm still stealthily sabotaging my healthy day by eating a handful of mini Kit Kats and Heath bars that my Father-in-Law bombed my house with this evening.

I tried to say no, but... well... *sigh*  I can only be strong for soooo long... and, we all know that my ability to control myself when my stress o'meter is off the charts is pretty much zilch. 

My promise to myself?  Tomorrow morning, I will NOT step on the scale, and I'll hope that my in-law's don't sabotage my diet any further with their visit. (And yes... it is THEIR responsibility for me making poor food choices... it most certainly couldn't be MY fault, now could it? ;) 

In the meantime, I'm realizing that the best way to stabilize my body image is summed up in one word... balance (And I say this only after I've eaten about a dozen mini Heath bars.  *sigh* )  Some day... I'll learn.   :)  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Decaf anyone?

I'll admit it.  I'm a spoiled brat.  But, I think that being the middle of 10 girls... and feeling lost in the mix... I completely deserve to be spoiled... right?  Well... at least a little ;)

Every morning, I start my day off with coffee in bed.  I couldn't imagine having my day begin without my hubby (Thank GOD for my sweet, thoughtful hubby :) tapping me on the foot to wake me up and announce that a fresh cup of hot decaf coffee is waiting for me.  Wait... did I just say DECAF????  Yes, I most certainly did... and yet... I still can't start my day without it!

Now, what on Earth would possess me to drink decaf?  Well, first of all, the Suzanne Somers diet has a 'no tolerance' caffeine policy.  I'd say that I gave up leaded coffee when I first started the diet, but the truth of the matter is that I gave up caffeine years ago... and have given it up several times since. 

The beauty of giving up caffeine is that if you really do end up needing a mid-afternoon or nighttime jolt... a little caffeine goes a LONG way.  A great example would be family trips. 

It's a good 24 hours of straight driving to get to my parents house, and with 5 kiddos, I really don't relish the thought of splitting it up and driving two full days to get there.  It's enough to make everyone cranky.

Introduce caffeine into the scenario and an entirely new picture is painted.  Hubby and I team up to drive the 24 hours straight through.  We leave around 11am while the kids are fresh and excited.  Hubby usually drives until 1:30 or 2am, and then this is where the caffeine comes into play.

Even though it's the time of day when I'm usually thoroughly exhausted, all I have to do is crack open a Dr. Pepper or drink a caffeinated coffee, and within minutes, I'm wired...  I'm jumping up and down in my seat and talking a million miles a minute. 

Yes, my dear friends.  THIS is why they invented caffeine.  I start driving, and at 6:30am when I see dawn start to spread over the horizon, I'm still hopping in my seat.

We arrive at Grandma & Grandpa's around 11am the next day.  The kiddos have missed out on about 12 hours of driving, and crankiness is at an all-time low (Well... for traveling, at least!).  Now... isn't that a heck of a lot less painful than the alternative?  I certainly think it's worth it :)

Yes.... decaf coffee... you are my friend.  I drink you... a lot... and don't get the jitters... or irritable... or have my eye do that crazy twitching thing that happens when someone drinks too much caffeine.  Then, when I need to stay awake... I can... I just have to cheat on you for a short period.  But don't worry, my friend... I'll be back!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Volunteering & the Self-Esteem Connection

I just spent seven and a half hours at a training session for our local hospital in order to give away four hours of my time on a semi-regular basis at the Women's Care Center there. 
Now why... WHY... would I... a woman with 5 kids, who is already coaching (and co-coaching) two soccer teams, volunteering at a local nursing home and playing full-time mommy, school-teacher, and maid, volunteer at the local hospital?
It would sound so wonderful if I made up some elaborate reason about helping further the kindness of humanity... but the truth of the matter is... I get a break!

I love my kiddos to pieces, and I could never be without them for very long, but even I need a break every once in awhile, so that I can come home and just bask in the joy of them running out to greet me as I pull into the drive.  As a bonus, while I'm away,  I get to be an adult for a few hours, see tiny little newborn babies, have intelligent conversation with grown-up human beings, and for at least 5 hours of my day... and I get to be ME... not mommy.

Truthfully... I really do enjoy helping others.  And it's not just only because someone else's life is being enriched... it's because MY life is being enriched.  When I'm able to help someone else, I feel good about myself.  Instead of focusing on my own life stresses, I am able to put that energy towards helping someone else to feel good, or to relieve their stress.

Now, what does all this have to do with food or dieting?  The connection is in self-esteem.  When I am helping someone else... when I'm offering part of my day to give someone else a smile... I'm not so "me-focused."  And with that focus being pulled away from myself, food is suddenly not so important.  I don't really care if I skip the bread and just eat the ham, lettuce and cheese for lunch, because I'm so wrapped up with the conversation I'm having with my retired friends, Pipp & Bill, that the food I'm eating is no longer the highest priority on my lunchtime agenda.

The point of the matter here is... the more that I focus on the well-being of others, and the less that I draw attention to myself...  the facets of life that push me, and tempt me to break the diet, just fade away.

Essentially... in the end, I believe it all boils down to a self-esteem connection... The psychology behind it... well... I'm still working on that one ;)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chocolate-Covered Stress

It often seems that whether or not I've broken the diet completely depends on the level of stress in my life.  The more my stress o'meter goes up, the more I make poor food choices. 

I have several modes when it comes to stress.  Light stress is usually appeased by a nice nap time for the kiddos and some of my diet-friendly chocolate dessert.... but what I want to talk about today is when my stress o'meter goes beyond the normal everyday stress and pushes into the red zone... or should I say... the chocolate zone.
The stress that drives me to immediate and necessary chocolate intervention is the kind that creeps up from my stomach, into my throat and forcefully pushes it's way up too and almost out of my mouth.
It seems that when my stress factor rises above the coping zone, the only thing that can appease it is a handful of chocolate chips... usually followed by another handful... and another... and then... another after that. 

The euphoric sensation of chocolate melting in my mouth, dripping down my throat, and the virtual hug that ensues... (Yes... the consumption of chocolate actually releases the hormone oxytocin, which is the same hormone released when given a really good hug.) helps to release a bit of steam from my interior stress pressure cooker.... so to speak... leaving me with a delightful sensation of peaceful bliss.

I know full well that it's only a momentary reprieve from the stress that seems to forever haunt me... however... it's a bandaid that I will gratefully accept.  In my opinion... chocolate-covered stress is sooo MUCH better than stress all by itself.

Now, that being said... where's the chocolate???

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day! Time to take a break :)

I LOVE Mother's Day!  I get to sleep in, and then all my kiddos and hubby "surprise" me with breakfast in bed :)  I get 5 cards with the sweetest messages from each of my kiddos and my hubby. 

I'm SO proud to be a mother and love each one of my 5 kiddos like CRAZY! 

Today, it was breakfast with a smile.  Hubby made me an omelet, and the kiddos helped to turn it into a beautiful smile.  And the best part?  There was enough to share with everyone, so when the kiddos started asking for bites, it was easy to be generous :)

Even though breakfast was totally on the level, every diet has to have some scheduled breaks, or they would be completely impossible to follow!  So, today, I'm taking a break between 3:30 and 6:30 when some of my "Fro Ro" besties come over to hang and share some Mother's Day festivities.

I'm going to make dessert... haven't decided quite what, yet, but it will be wickedly off the diet.  That's for sure!

If you're a mama, I wish you have the best Mother's Day!  I'm going to relax and enjoy the reason I'm celebrating today... my kiddos :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On the subject of Aliens & Diet Breaking

Photo from
Now, you might say... "She's breaking her diet just because she wants to have something to write about."  *SIGH*  How I wish that were true.  The truth of the matter is that I really do make up these elaborate excuses to either eat or drink something that is normally forbidden.  On the up side... I will probably never lack for content for this blog.  Which brings me to the subject of... you got it... Aliens.

Thank you, TJ, for enlightening me on the subject of Aliens and getting me to watch that movie called, "The Fourth Kind" as well as a few episodes of "Ancient Aliens."  Of course... I just had to move out into the middle of NOWHERE, and now in the deep darkness of night, when I'm outside, it's no longer the snakes and creatures I fear.  Nope.  It's aliens! 

When hubby is home, and there's a flash of light outside, my first thought is... lightning!  When it's dark outside and I'm all alone, a flash of light could only mean one thing... ALIENS!!!

Last night, my hubby went out with some friends, leaving me alone at night for the first time in our new house that's on top of a mountain, snuggled right up next to a rather large forest.  The kiddos went off to bed, and then it was just me.  Me with my WILD imagination, in a large house with windows that do not yet have curtains on them.  Before I knew it... I was seeing deranged hikers breaking through the glass with an axe, ready to murder... and aliens landing in the clearing behind my house.

If I had hair on my back (Thank God I DON'T!)... I'm sure it would have been standing straight up.  I called a few friends... but everyone already had their Friday night plans in play.  I had to do something!  If you've ever seen the movie, Anne of Green Gables, you'd understand my plight.  I can completely relate to how she was feeling while walking through the forest with Diana Berry... her imagination was simply out of control.  To be honest... I'm not even sure if I fully do believe in Aliens... but I do know for a fact that my imagination does.

So... how do I take control?  By simply introducing a few comfort foods.  They tend to stifle my imagination, reroute my brain cells and calm my nerves.  They DON'T, however, help me to reach my pre-summer swimming suit goal :)
Fortunately, my hubby came home just as I was finishing my treat.  I was now safe from the aliens, but caught red-handed breaking my diet... again.
I just have to remind myself of what Miss Stacey said to Anne (in Anne of Green Gables)... "Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it."  Yeah... that's why I'm starting my diet again... tomorrow...

Friday, May 11, 2012

MNO - They MADE me do it!

Okay, so... what is MNO?  Mom's Night Out... of course!  I'm a member of the local "Fro Ro" Mom's Club, and let me tell you... these ladies are AWESOME!  Last night some of us decided to meet up at a sort of unofficial Mom's Night Out at Vino de Formaggio on Main Street in Front Royal. 

Now, let me tell you... the owner is extremely flamboyant, and the restaurant was out of quite a few things... no lemons... no beef something or other... and no... well, you get my drift.  The funny thing is... you really don't care what they're out of, because the place has such a strong character appeal, and I think that's actually part of it.  LOL

So... what did they make me do?  (They are SOOOOO merciless!)  I was doing great!  I ordered a cheese and meat platter... gave the ladies my bread.  Water was on the menu (with no lemons, mind you!  LOL). 


Mr. Flamboyant (owner dude) walks over and asks me if I'd like a drink.  Mind you... all the moms are enjoying a glass of wine or beer, but I was happy and content with my water.  Now... here's where the "force" came in... my gal, Michelle, leans over and says... "It's your night out!  Have some fun!"

Cruelty... real cruelty at it's best.  *SIGH*  So... with my arm twisted behind my back, I enjoyed a nice glass of red wine... don't really know what kind it was... Mr Flamboyant took care of that... but it was good... real good.  It touched every inch of my palate.  And of course... Mr. Flamboyant made sure to refill my glass when that one was empty (only once... mind you :).

After Vino de Formaggio, a couple of the girls and I moved on over to TGI Fridays for some... yeah... you got it... karaoke :)  Beer was on the menu. (Only one... mind you.)  No one had to twist my arm this time.  I hadn't been out in awhile, so Girl's Night was fully in swing.  A few songs... a bit of harmonizing... some fun dancing... great girl talk (BTW, what is said at TGI Friday's stays at... well... you know...) and two hours later we were gleefully headed home with an awesome night behind us.

So... thank you Mom's Club for forcing me to break the diet.  With all the fun we had last night, I must say... IT WAS WORTH IT!!!!  You guys rock :)

In reparation for what I have done...

I am now going to sit home tonight and babysit the children (and maybe catch a chick flick on Netflix... :)  while Trent goes out and enjoys a friend's birthday party at a joint downtown.  I just couldn't take two nights of diet-breaking in a row!  I'd lose all sense of diet control.  Well... that... and I just couldn't find a babysitter.  :P

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chocolate Yumminess "Sanity Pill" Recipe :)

My sister asked me for the recipe for my "Sanity Pill"... so, instead of sending it in one LONG text message, I decided... what would be better than just posting it here?

This recipe originally came from a Suzanne Somers dessert recipe my sisters made.  I have never seen the original recipe, and ended up adapting the recipe a bit anyway.  When I'm feeling weak, it's my definite goto. 

What is it?  It's like a chocolate mousse... or so I think :)  Sometimes I use almond flavoring in place of the vanilla... and if you really want to get adventurous, the original recipe adds a couple tablespoons of amaretto or grand marnier to it right before it's whipped up.

Chocolate Yumminess Recipe

1/2 bag special dark chocolate chips
2 sticks butter  (yeah... it's for a nice fat-loving diet :)
1 tsp vanilla
6 eggs (separated)

Melt chocolate chips and butter (sliced up for easier melting) in a double boiler.  (I use my 4 cup glass Pyrex measuring cup sitting over a large sauce pan with simmering water)

Mix up the separated egg yolks on a high setting until they are creamy. 

Once the chocolate mixture cools a bit add the egg yolks and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and stir in.

Clean out your bowl and then mix the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Add the chocolate mixture to the egg whites, stir in, and then set the mixer on high for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, the dessert is finished!  You can enjoy some at room temperature or refrigerate first (which is recommended).  It all just depends on how desperate you are for that chocolate fix!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Keeping it real... my "Sanity Pill"

Sometimes it's REALLY hard to stick with it.  Right now, I'm on day three of not cheating on the diet... and remember... this is a diet I've been on for three years now.  *Sigh*  Hence, the blog.... 

It feels really good to stick with it.  Especially when I step on that scale in the morning.  I know... I know... you aren't supposed to step on the scale every day, but I just can't help it... I just HAVE to know if all my hard work is paying off.

So, what do I do when I hit that mid-day crisis?  You know... the one where the kids are FINALLY napping or being quiet in their rooms (Honestly?... I LOVE that time of day...) and the first thing I do is think... "Hmmmm.... what can I eat that will send me into that 'I'm so completely fulfilled' contentment?"  I make my cup of decaf black coffee (and yes, I'm thinking about that swanky little song sung by Julie London when I say 'black coffee'  :) and get myself a bowl of some homemade delectable chocolaty yumminess that is most certainly ON my diet.  (Nope... no fake sugars... just some really dark chocolate mixed up with the best schtuff!)  I sit on the couch with the baby, turn on Netflix and lose myself in a couple commercial free episodes of "Glee" (my current amusement). 

Speaking of Julie London... I think I'm going to go make myself a cup of hot black coffee (Can you hear the swank?  Ka CHANG!)... listen to some Jazz... and just wonder what the scale has in store for me tomorrow.  I'VE BEEN GOOD!!!  Now that's something to shout about :)


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I simply HAD to try it :)

What did I have to try?  Weeeeeeeell.  Here's the deal.  I have three kiddos that are on a gluten-free diet.  One HUGE problem with this is that my fav goto for the kiddos for lunch is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches... or ham sandwiches... or whatever kind of sandwiches, because it's quick, easy and doesn't make a huge mess.

So.... today I FINALLY decided to try making some gluten-free bread from scratch in my brand new bread machine given to me by one of my girlfriends. 

Honestly, I expected a disaster... BUT when the bread came out of the pan, it looked simply amazing!

Now, this particular bread is not on the diet, but... I simply HAD to try it!  And... who eats bread hot out of the oven without slathering some yummy butter on it?  Not me!  No sir... not me :)  Let me tell you... it was good and TOTALLY worth it.

What's different about today is that, I'm not planning on completely killing the diet just because I messed up once... we'll see how well that works out.

As for now, however... for these and all my snitches... I am definitely sorry... well... mostly sorry ;)  LOL

Monday, May 7, 2012

There is always a reason to cheat...

There is always a reason to cheat. That's my motto. I have been on the Suzanne Somers diet for three years now, and it has been such a love/hate relationship.  I LOVE the fact that I lose baby weight and retain a certain figure... and HATE the fact that it takes certain sacrifices to do so. 

It seems that I'm constantly 'starting the diet' or coming up with a new day to 'start the diet.'  The longest the diet seems to last is about a week... two if I'm lucky!  The goal is always the same, and the desire is there.  It's the weakness that gets me.

You know what a dog is like when he sees a squirrel, right?  It's like... la ti da ti da... meander along... then... SQUIRREL!!!

Yup.  That's me with chocolate.  Me with good carbs.  Me with beer on a hot day or wine on a cold winter's night.  I'm walking along... doing GREAT with the diet, and then... SQUIRREL!  It's all over.

This blog is about my struggle to follow a healthy lifestyle, and the battle between the forces of the good and the not so good... My fight with choosing between a beer on a hot summer night, or deciding to go with that lime seltzer water sitting in the fridge... yeah...  someday I'll win, but for now... I've got that stash of Easter candy that I know is hiding in my hubby's nightstand. 

The question is... will I walk away or give in?  It totally depends on my day.. on how well the kiddos are behaving... on whether I'm feeling good... whether I slept last night... whether... well... I think you get it.  So... here's to making good decisions and sticking to it... the diet... that is :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hamburgers, Ice Cream & Cocktail Hour

There is always a reason to cheat... right?  Soooo...what's the excuse for today? I had a headache. I bought a Jr. Hamburger fully intending to eat the insides... But I had an extreme headache and eating the full hamburger... bread included... seemed to be a valid cure.

Shortly after the burger was safely masticated and secure in my belly, the girls started complaining that my 4 year old's ice cream was melting everywhere and she no longer wanted it. The solution? Eat it of course. The ice cream was promptly passed up to the front of the car and quickly devoured by yours truly. *sigh*

Well.... The diet had been thouroughly broken, so... well... to hell with it...   If there was one saying that could define me, it would be... "There once was a girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very, very good. When she was bad, she was hored." If I'm going to be bad, it's going to be all the way. Ugh.

When I woke up this morning, I had every intention of 'being good'. Oh well. I almost fell asleep on the way into town, so I had to stop and get a coffee.... Caffeinated of course.   Well... If I was going to stay awake, I'd need something of great interest... right?   So... Peanut m&m's it was... *sigh*   Good sense... Why did you leave me??????

I wish I could say that was the end, but the hotel stay included free cocktail hour. M&M's were followed by cranberry and vodka (a few times over) and several very yummy and very forbidden carb snacks. Oh how I wish that was it... but unfortunately.... we ordered out for dinner, and the evening was finished with a slice of pizza and a cup of Dr. Pepper.... And oh yeah... A chunk of chocolate.

I think that's all I have to confess tonight... Thank God tomorrow is a new day... And I fully intend to eat right... starting tomorrow that is...