Sunday, April 15, 2012

Some updates and pictures

Life has been crazy lately, but a good sort of crazy.

We are selling our house!  We have outgrown our starter house and we want to move to a more suburban (bordering rural) setting with better schools. We spent months decluttering and staging our home. We got an offer after 3 weeks on the market (Praise God!!!). And in FL, especially our area, this is an amazing and wonderful thing!! We have been working with the buyers to get this deal done but right now we are in a holding pattern (not the buyers fault, our fault!)

We found the PERFECT house for us. And when I say perfect, I mean: It fit all of the "must haves" as well as the "would likes!" The ONLY thing going against this house is that it is a short sale. The short sale process is anything but SHORT.

If you're not familiar with a short sale, it is basically a sale where the property is selling for less than the amount owed on the mortgage. The seller will walk away empty handed and the bank often times forgives the remaining amount on the loan. This is a very VERY common practice in Florida, since prices soared the fastest during the boom 2004-2006, and fell the fastest in the wake of it.

The people selling the house we want bought it in 2009. I guess the husband is military and got promoted very recently, so they are leaving the area earlier than anticipated. And since 2009 real estate prices have plunged even further, meaning they currently owe more on the house than it is worth.

Our experience so far: The people selling seem very nice. They definitely care about the house and have taken care of it. It was in very nice condition when we viewed it. They were very accomodating when we asked for a 2nd viewing later that day. We put our offer in to THEM first. That's the start. They decide whether they want to accept or decline or counter our offer. They accepted our offer after a few minor changes to the contract (for instance they want to take their fridge, washer, and dryer with them).

From that point, it is up to the BANK, and whether or not the bank will accept our offer or not. This is where the endless waiting began. Our seller-accepted offer was handed over to their bank over a month ago. We're still waiting to hear back whether they have accepted our offer or whether they want to counter. From what our realtor has told us, the bank will get an appraisal of the house first to see whether our offer is reasonable or not. Then negotiations between us and their lender will begin. Who knows how long that will take?

I'm getting nervous because the process is taking so long. Our buyers for our current house have been great and very understanding of the process. They are first time homebuyers currently renting and have thankfully agreed to a late close date if need be (we're talking end of June, ugh!) We have relayed to them through our realtor that we certainly hope this short sale process doesn't take that long. The ideal moving time for us would be end of May, first week of June. That way the kids are almost out of school (or out for the summer) and it would be a perfect transition time.

Please keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer for us that this all works out! Devastation wouldn't even begin to cover the emotional ruin I would be in if everything fell apart. But I have a good feeling that it will all work out. I just wish it would hurry up. I'm not a patient person and this waiting game is making me crazy!

Anyway, apparently I have a one-track mind and can only fully concentrate on one thing at a time. So for a year, I focused on losing weight. And I think I did pretty good. I exceeded even my own expectations.

But I've been slipping up. I've eaten when I know I shouldn't. I've eaten more than I should have when I knew I shouldn't.  :(

I weighed myself on the 10th of this month and I was up to 171. I cried. I know I haven't focused on calories as much and I haven't been as consistent with eating every 3 hours to keep my metabolism going. But 171 made me cry. I don't want to be a yo-yo dieter!!

5 days later and a little more attention paid to my daily intake and I am down 3 pounds again to 168. But that's still a 10 pound gain in just a few months! And I feel it. I feel like crap. I don't even need to step on the scale to be able to tell you I put some weight back on. Because I feel it in my pants, I believe I see it in my face and my belly looks more bloated than usual. Ugh.

But I did manage to dress up nice for my husband's department's awards dinner. I didn't FEEL so great when I dressed up, but some of the pictures came out pretty good (but really, it's the angle some photos were taken that was flattering my figure!)

Besides the house-selling thing (which has taken up the vast majority of my time) -  day to day life has kept me busy. My little girl is a firecracker! She keeps me very busy during the day while the boys are at school.

How is it that my daughter is now 18 months old? And my oldest son is 7 and already almost through 1st grade?

Anyway I need to end here for now and will write again in the next few days!

Here are a handful of pictures taken in last few months....

I have a jawline!! And even though this isn't the best picture, it perfectly shows my face's actual shape - and I like it. I never want to have a "round" face again!!! My face has been considered "round" since I was little, so this face shape is a first for me!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pinterest... oh no...and a quick update

I have become quickly addicted to Pinterest.

Check it out! By clicking on the link above, it should take you to my boards... just in case you are interested. I want to kick myself for wasting time. I am walking away from the computer.... in 2 minutes. I'm going to blog for a minute and then walk away. Really. I've spent every moment of my child-free (read: when they go to bed) time on pinterest for the past 2 nights.

And on a weight-related note...
I need to get back on the weight-loss bandwagon. I have been holding steady for several months and I'll admit that I haven't been really working at losing weight the past few months. Here's why:

My hair has thinned a lot - or at least, I feel it has. And I know it is because I have lost such a drastic amount of weight, therefore, regardless of how much nutrition I am giving my body, it is NOT as much as I WAS giving it when I was so big. So I needed these past few months to just maintain and let myself not stress so much about calories.

Family and friends around me insist my hair doesn't look any different.

Which makes me feel a little bit better....

But it doesn't change the fact that I KNOW my hair has thinned. I can feel it when I brush it. Drying it with a hairdryer doesn't take as long as it used to, even though my hair is still pretty much the same length. I have to put volumizing mousse in it every single day and I use volumizing shampoos and conditioners otherwise I feel like I'm really going bald.

Anyway I am incredibly distracted... the news is on and I just realized I have a ton of stuff to do before I go to bed! Busy week ahead; I hope to update more soon. And I plan to get back on the weight loss bandwagon very soon too.

Here's a few recent pics; I hope you all have a wonderful 2012!!
Ok seriously, I don't know how to stand/pose lol. Taken 12/25


Me and my hubby, 12/25/2011 taken by my son

Me and my babies, 12/25/2011

Friday, January 6, 2012

Interesting site....

I came across a site that I thought might be worth mentioning on my blog. It's called and I think it's interesting! Granted, you are relying on the honesty and truthfulness of other women, but I think it's easy to spot out those who are clearly misrepresenting themselves. I didn't see too much of that.

I spent some time browsing. Here are my thoughts:

1. Your height really plays a huge role in how your weight (#) looks on you. I know this is a no-brainer, but it is so evident when looking at the pictures of different height/weights. 130 on 4'11 is vastly different from someone who is 5'10 - and even very different from someone who is 5'2 or 5'3!

2. I wish the site had two extra options - one that could account for having had children, and also an age-range option.

I can tell you - without a doubt in my mind - that even though my weight is now the weight range I had in high school - my body is not the same AT ALL - and the weight is not distributed the same, either. I can't tell if that is because I've had children? Or if it is because I am not 17-18 anymore? Or because I gained and then lost weight? But regardless, I think there is a difference in how one carries weight at different ages.

3. Every person is different!
With that said, based on the overall look of the different size ranges for my height (5'2) - I would like to look more like the average appearance I see in the 120-130 range.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mad at myself

I started writing this post saying that I have been "stuck" for the past several months. I guess this is what they call a plateau? Or is it just complacency? I reached my goal of getting back to my high school weight. But the fact of the matter is - I wasn't HAPPY at my high school weight. In high school, I was constantly beating myself up for being one of the bigger girls in school. I was always stuck in the double-digits for pants size: 11, 13 (juniors sizes). And I hated it.

When I reached the 200+ mark and kept heading up, I kept saying I'd do anything to get back to that "high school weight" and that it wasn't so bad.

Now I have reached it... and stopped working so hard. But I don't want to be this weight!!

I will admit that part of me thinks this weight might be what works (best?) for me.... but I want to know that for SURE. I want to lose this extra weight and get down to the slimmest I can be... and decide from there. Because maybe 140 pounds would look even better on me than 160. Maybe 130 pounds would look even better than that! Maybe 130 would make me look sickly - or maybe it wouldn't! But I want to get down to that weight first and decide for myself.

Going back to my first paragraph - I started writing this post complaining that I have been "stuck." Because that's what I perceived. But what I am actually doing - is heading down a slippery slope. Because when I looked back at my weight progress to say that I have been steady at 161 pounds - that's not what my last weigh in said!!!!! I was 159.5!!! Well I am sad to say that I have gained 2 pounds, because my weight fluctuates between 160-162.5 pretty regularly, many times stopping at 161.5.

And seeing the previous weigh-ins... that's really NOT OK.

On a positive note, yesterday was our first day at the YMCA. Our local one offered a "groupon" for half the price of a month's membership. My hubby and I each purchased one so we will have 2 months (for the entire family).

Yesterday I spent time on the treadmill. Spent 1 minute walking, 1 minute running, 1 minute walking. Walked at the treadmill speed of 3.0-3.2 and ran at 4.7. Not sure if that is something to be proud of, but I AM. Because to be able to spend essentially 10 minutes of a 20 minute treadmill session RUNNING - is not something I have ever been able to do before. I know I could have run for more than the 1 minute interval, but the machine was automatically setting it for me since I pressed "weight loss mode"on the treadmill. Next time I think I am going to manually do a workout. Those pre-selected ones can be annoying.

I also found my favorite piece of gym equipment from back in high-school. I have been looking for it for a long time.

The YMCA has this equipment. I think all gyms do, lol. But anyway I love it. It works out your back, and I could use some back strength. It also helps with the back love-handles....and I've got those.

So today is our resting day since we don't want to overdo it on the exercise and then be too sore for the next week. I am feeling pretty good today and I felt great after the workout yesterday (which was more than 20 minutes - 45 total but I'll work my way up to an hour).

So I am setting my goal now: 1 month from now, I need to be at least 4 pounds thinner. I don't think that's unrealistic at all. I'd like to be much more than that but I'll keep it at 4 since that SHOULD be easily attainable.

Not heading down that slippery slope. Not me! No. No. No!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Picture heavy post

I have made probably 10 "draft" posts but never take the chance to finish and publish them. Life has been busy lately. My baby girl is over a year old now. My oldest son just finished flag football so that FINALLY frees up some time. Time is just flying by. And now we're less than 2 weeks away from Thanksgiving, and less than 2 months until Christmas! Craziness. My weight hasn't really dropped, but I will admit I haven't been working very hard at it. I need to get my mojo back and lose this 30 more pounds!!!

 Anyway here are some recent pics (not in order apparently):

My baby cow! :) (One of two halloween costumes)

September 2011

Sep. 2011, Mommy and Daughter

Sep. 2011

Mommy and the Birthday Girl!

K's 1st Birthday!

Me and my hubby (Sep 2011)

Me and my baby girl (Sep. 2011)

Walking around the neighborhood (Oct. 2011)

Happy Halloween! 2011

Walking around the neighborhood

Add caption

Posing (again) for a picture (Oct. 2011)

Halloween 2011

My cute little Minnie Mouse!

....And this was 1 year ago (Sep. & Oct. 2010):
Oct. 2010

288 pounds (I had only gained 5 pounds during my pregnancy!)

Yes, this was me! Brand new baby girl Sep. 2010

Sep. 2010

October 2010

Oct. 2010

Sep. 2010

And these pictures were from the same time of year (Sep./Oct. 2009)

Highlighted hair

Dyed hair

Oct. 2009

Dancing with my son Oct. 2009

I liked this picture (still do) because I felt it masked my weight well. I was straining my neck out (to avoid double-chin) as much as possible. Oct. 2009

Oct. 2009 - notice the majority of pictures are only face-shots

Sunday, October 16, 2011

::Sigh:: (information heavy post)

I promise I am not going to give up on blogging. But I haven't posted in awhile, I know that. :(

So my most recent update (in regards to the last post): Probably not going to dress up for Halloween. Would love to(?) but since my hubby and I don't really have anywhere to go.... and we can't seem to decide what we'd want to dress up as... I'm skipping this year. I'm disappointed, but I've got other things to worry about.

On a side note: Costumes run RID-FREAKING-DICULOUSLY small!!!! Talk about a kick to the ego! I have tried on several costumes.... and besides the SuperGirl costume pictured below.... pretty much every one that I tried on... XL was TOO small. So ironically.... I go and lose over 100 pounds.... yet I'd still need to buy a plus-sized costume (which, in one outfit.... the XL was too small, but the 1x available in plus was too big.... go figure).

Anyway.... I want to add a TON of pictures as soon as I get a few minutes. I feel like I can never get a grasp on time.

And on a more serious note.... I am beginning to wonder if this is related to other issues I have been having.

To make a long story short, after I had my daughter, I didn't feel quite right. One of the most notable things I dealt with was an extremely flushed face. It was hot to the touch and it bothered me. Here's a pic of me when it was close to being at its worst (this was taken Dec. 11, 2010 - a month into my diet, but the face flushing had started before I ever started the diet). Not sure it looks as bad as it felt (and this is a HORRIBLE picture, makeup smearing and all lol) but it was very uncomfortable all of the time!

My doctor ordered blood work about a month after I had my daughter since I was complaining of these symptoms. Turns out my LIVER enzymes were elevated (AST & ALT levels). Strange, right? Especially strange considering my blood taken just days before I delivered showed my AST & ALT levels were completely normal.

So that was clue #1 that something was off. Doctor did some other tests, including tests for certain antibodies... and my "Smith" antibody came back high, as well as my cardiac C-reactive protein. GREAT. 

My doctor's first guess was lupus. Sjogrens was thrown around too. By this time I had started going to my diet doctor, and she thought it could just be some weird post-partum hormonal thing. My body was attacking itself. The antibodies showed that my immune system was attacking itself.

Anyway, the readers digest version (I'm trying here lol): After a while the face flushing wasn't *as* bad. Liver enzymes inexplicably returned to normal. I've been seeing a rheumatologist ever since the doc though I had lupus. Although I showed *some* markers for lupus, I was missing a lot of them, especially key ones, apparently (in terms of blood tests, etc). So she ordered more tests.

In the meantime.... this whole time I have been losing weight, I have been waiting to feel better physically. And I do... overall I feel great! But some of my lingering issues (that have been present since BEFORE I gained all the weight... and actually have been there for as far back as I can remember) never went away.

One thing that has plagued me since  I was a child is what I had once referred to as "growing pains." I would get these horrendous pains in my arms and legs. I suppose the pains were coming from joints? But the pain radiated to such a degree that I couldn't tell you exactly where the pain started from... just that the whole leg or arm would hurt. When I was little my parents chalked it up to growing pains. The ONLY - and I mean ONLY - thing that ever relieved it was ibuprofen, and sometimes tylenol. My parents tried everything before resorting to meds. I began to believe this wasn't just a "growing pains" issue when I was in my late teens/early 20's and still had them. No rhyme or reason to them really. At that point, I started looking for answers, and my doctor at the time said it sounds like fibromyalgia. But the only place I ever had the pains really was my arms and legs. Sometimes my hips, but very rarely.

So for  about 10 years, I thought I had fibromyalgia. Well it turns out it's not fibromyalgia.

My rheumatologist diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis.

I guess my rheumatoid factor numbers came back high, so she believes this is what I have.

The name can be misleading (at least, to me it was!) because rheumatoid arthritis doesn't just affect your joints. That's typically it's signature, so to speak, but it doesn't just affect your joints. It (as in, your own immune system) can attack your organs. Wonder-effing-ful!

So to make a long story short.... I am beginning to wonder if time flying the way it is - (flying by moreso for me than even my friends who also have 3+ kids and crazy busy lives) - could be something neurological. Something going on in my brain. Perhaps my immune system is beating up my brain. I'm not entirely off-the-wall for thinking this, and here's why:

My memory continues to decline. It has gone from the occasional embarrassing moment because I forget a detail here or there.... to me forgetting lots of details, forgetting important events and dates, forgetting a LOT. I cannot begin to tell you the AMOUNT of times I have been on the phone with a friend, telling them the same story as if I had never told them before, only for them to remind me that I have told them at LEAST 4-5 times before, each time forgetting about the previous times. More than 1 of my friends has flat out stated they are worried about me because my memory issues have gotten redonkulous. It goes beyond just repeated conversations, or forgotten memories of events (most especially short-term).... I also feel like I have lost my ability to speak without sounding like an idiot! I am constantly at a loss for words, for remembering certain words or forming sentences properly. I will use words in the wrong context or jumble them. It happens a LOT. And it keep happening more and more often. For someone who was/is a total grammar nazi... for someone who used to read the dictionary to expand my vocabulary... this has been upsetting to say the least.

If I don't write something down, it is forgotten. Sometimes even if it is written down it is STILL forgotten about. For instance, yesterday there was an open-house at my son's ABA school (my son J receives ABA therapy twice a week.) They "highly encouraged" all parents to come check out the new classroom, meet the new teachers, etc (basically we NEEDED to go there). Guess who forgot? And it was written down in my planner. Good going, mom. :(

It's been an ongoing joke that I am scatterbrained or have pre-alzheimers (not something to joke about, but it's been suggested lightly by friends/family). It's gotten to a point that none of this is funny anymore. The level of frustration I feel is so high I can't even put it into words.

The other possible-neurological thing that has been going on: My sense of taste and smell has changed in a very drastic way. I don't believe it was gradual. It started pretty suddenly, at least that's how I remember it. My husband and I had Applebees for dinner. It had been awhile since I had Applebees. We ordered the 2 for $20 meal deal.

Earlier that same day (in late July of this year), I remarked that there was an overwhelming "smoke" smell throughout the house. It is one of my most hated odors - I hate the smell of cigarette smoke something fierce. My parents are both heavy smokers so I remarked to my hubby: "Did my parents move in or something!? Where is that god awful smell coming from!?" He thought I was crazy. Then that night, having Applebees - it didn't taste right. I remarked that they must have changed their ingredients. Doug said "tastes the same to me."

I tried ignoring these changes. Figured maybe it was sinuses, or maybe it was something I had recently done or changed. Was it the new volumizing shampoo/conditioner I started using? Was it the multivitamin I started taking a few months prior?

Anyway the smell/taste thing is still a big issue. When I mentioned it to my rheumatologist, and asked if that could just be sjogrens related (because yay, I have that too along with rheumatoid arthritis) - she had a split second look of concern, then went back to doctor mode and said she didn't think the changes were sjogrens related - not the way I was describing them. She then said she wants me to see a neurologist, and when I call, tell them she's sending me over there (even though my insurance company doesn't require referrals to see specialists).

SO... I have a neurologist appointment on the 19th.

Scared. Just hoping that there isn't something even more serious than RA going on! :(

As far as treatments for the RA, the doc wants me to take methotrexate. This drug is extremely heavy duty. So much so, that it is essentially a toxic poison. I don't like having the choice of "pick your poison" - either let the RA do what it's going to do, or take the methotrexate and deal with the host of problems that represents.

I have decided that methotrexate simply isn't an option for me right now. It's not an option I am willing to take. I told the rheumatologist this. She said I could try plaquenil, which is usually something she prescribes in conjunction with methotrexate when methotrexate isn't enough.

When I see her in 2 weeks, I think I may go ahead and try the plaquenil, which is generally well tolerated and not many side effects. It is not as aggressive at treating the RA, but my thought is let's take the most conservative method possible and see how that goes.

So to sum up:
  •  It's been a hell of a few weeks
  • I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • It could be attacking my brain, causing various symptoms
  • Appointments are upcoming.
There are probably a lot of lacking details, so feel free to ask me any questions if you have even read this much! Sorry there aren't more pictures - they usually help break up a post and make it more appealing to read.... at least for me, lol.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Friend Makin Mondays

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
FMM: What’s your favorite holiday? And why?

It's hard to say, really. I have always traditionally loved Christmas. Growing up I had always loved the family get-togethers at my Grandma's house, with my cousins and aunts and uncles. It was a little slice of heaven for me, really. Sadly, those days have been over since the 90's. They will always be in my memory and I will always yearn for that. At this point, we don't have family we are close enough with to have the sort of get-togethers from days past. I still enjoy Christmastime, but it's not the same. My family is still young, and we are still creating our own traditions. I love Christmas, but I think I am beginning to equally love Halloween.

I love Halloween because it's a fun time of the year. The kids get to dress up in their favorite costume of choice.... we get to pick pumpkins and decorate the house.... it's fun!

.....And for the first time in my adult life - I can say - I love Halloween because it's an opportunity for me to DRESS UP in a way I would not usually dress. ;) I have not dressed up for Halloween since I was like, 12.

Now... I'm not saying I am going to intentionally dress.... provocatively. No, screw that. Yes, I AM saying that. Here it is in bold: I intend to wear a sexy costume. Because for the first time in my life, I feel like I finally CAN.... and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to "get away with it" (aka not get horrified looks when I walk by).

The funny thing is, I don't even know how to dress sexy! I mean, not really?! I have spent my entire adult life trying to "hide" as much as I can. The thought of showing off anything is a little scary.... yet exciting!
A "marine?"
A sexy cop?

A vixen pirate, maybe?
Or maybe a nurse.....

Of course, anything I decide on will probably still be on the more conservative side. And I'm short so the skirts will not ride up as high on me as they do on the models.  But looking around at all of the options out there is definitely amusing. I'll let you know after October 31st how I feel about Halloween. But I'm thinking it could be my new favorite...if only because it is the most fun! :)