Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Unexpected Blessings...

For those of you that aren't following my collaborative blog 31 Rubies, you should be:-)

This is "Blessings" week- I'm blogging about the circumstances that led me to Greenville, NC. Stop by and register to win Laura Story's new CD, "Blessings".

Have a GREAT Tuesday!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hop on Over...

So I said I wouldn't abandon our family blog once I started contributing to Thirty One Rubies.  Life, I'm figuring out, is pretty busy these days.  We are on the homestretch of 3rd grade, we are flirting with potty training, and we are trying to sleep through the night.  And that's just the kids.

I did post this morning on my suggestions for summer reading on "31"- you should check it out, dust off your library card, and meet me on the beach!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Premiere Day

Today is the launch of  "31 Rubies", a new blog I am so blessed to be affiliated with.  check us out!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hold onto your Hats... March 1st is approaching!!

What do a panoramic window, a honeymoon negligee, and a great girl friend all have in common??

They are most appreciated and enjoyed when they are TRANSPARENT. 

Yeah... I'll let that sink in for a minute. 

I think everyone is longing for authentic, "down-and-dirty" relationships with people.  I think God puts a desire in you to accept others, as well as BE accepted, faults and all.  Looking back over my life, I can identify a few friendships that either suffered or ended because I was trying to "fake it".  And that can be E-X-H-A-U-S-T-I-N-G. 

I was recently approached by a new friend about being a contributor to a blog she wanted to start.  Apparently she saw me as a flawed, sinful, struggling, HONEST mom that could help encourage others.  And I love her for it!  She has assembled a crackerjack group of women to come together on-line and write about marriage, kids, money, work, weight, books, home- anything that is relative to our lives.  We are launching this March 1st and I hope you will come by and check it out.  We have lots of great giveaways coming, as well introducing you to the team and our features.

Never fear, I will not be neglecting my occasional rants on our family blog.... this will just be an opportunity to collaborate with others to reach a larger audience.

March 1st- mark your calendar & double your meds- you're going to want to follow us...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trying to Lose a Toddler...

Most of you know that I gave birth to a beautiful little girl back in September.  I don't know if it's my age or the fact that it was a c-section, but the pounds haven't just "fallen off" like they did with the last two.  Before I catch any flak, let me say that this isn't a superficial thing for me.  I've watched enough Oprah to know that all women are gorgeous, no matter what size they are, blah, blah, blah.  For me it's a clothes thing- they don't fit.  No one wants to celebrate their baby's 6 month birthday still wearing maternity clothes.  I miss my jeans!
It's also a health thing.  I read somewhere that most people gain 5-7 pounds between Halloween and New Year's and it rarely comes off- it just keeps compounding over the years.  Scary.  I know that obesity is epidemic in the US and am doing my best to keep it bay around the Bost Homestead.
Who wants to her my news???

I've lost (drum roll, please...) SEVEN glorious pounds since January 3rd.  I have a friend trying to shed 120lbs (that's a Backstreet Boy!), so 7 seems like a drop in the bucket, but wait for the real news...  it really wasn't that hard.  Here's my plan- so easy even, well, I can follow it...
  1. I joined a gym.  I know- so cliche to join a gym the first week in January, but Hey- I'm predictable!  The downside is that it is 15-20 minutes from our house and not near any of our usual errands or destinations.  Regardless, I have gone.  Let me break this part down for you
It has childcare.  A MUST for a stay at home mom.  My husband's schedule is too unpredictable for me to count on going in the evenings when he gets home.
It has an indoor pool.  My kids beg everyday to go- whining is a great motivator.  Some days we swim, some days they are in the nursery while momma works out, but they are an encouragement to me to get off the couch!
I met with a trainer my first time there.  I was honest- I told him I hated the gym, I hated sweat, and what specifically I wanted to accomplish, and he set me up a plan.  There's nothing more intimidating than walking into a room of 40 medieval-looking torture machines and grunting ex-linebackers.  He showed me how to use 6- count 'em SIX machines.  That's it.  I know some people feel they are paying for all of them-they need to use them... knock your self out.  I want to spend as little time as possible in there, achieving the maximum results I can.  I can do that circuit (doesn't that sound gym-y?) in about 25 minutes.  20 minutes on some sort of cardio machine- I only use ones that have magazine holders- and I'm done in less than hour.
It was relatively affordable.  We are paying a little over $40 a month for everything- that includes childcare.  That's the cost of a dinner out for my family- easy to give up when put in the proper perspective!

     2.  I am eating better.  This was actually harder for me than the gym membership.  I love to eat and I love to cook.  My idea of heaven is granite countertops and hungry orphans.  Seriously, nothing makes me happier than feeding the people I love.  And there's nothing that says "love" in raw spinach wraps and egg whites.  This has been a whole mind shift for me.  I've decided that if I can eat healthy breakfast and lunch (lots of shakes- not the "milk" kind, smoothies, raw carrots, & lean turkey) then I can cook a good dinner and eat in moderation.  We've switched to brown rice and whole wheat pasta and use venison & elk, both incredibly lean, for spaghetti, chili, and tacos- our Triumvirate of Dinners. 

    3.  I am drinking gallons of water.  I mean enough to scare Noah & his crew.  My sweet hubby has been on me for years to drink more water with no success.  Then I read that drinking 17 ounces of water with a meal will increase your metabolism by 30%.  (Gotta start speaking my language, babe!)  I have mapped out bathrooms on every route I drive through Pitt County and visit them shamelessly and frequently.  Not only does it help you feel full and aid in digestion, it helps your skin look younger.  Until Barack's health care plan includes chemy peels and Botox, I'm on my own.  Cheers!

    4.  Finally, I am tracking all three of these things (exercise, food, & water) on line.  If I bite it, I must write it.  I am using www.myfitnesspal.com but there are dozens of FREE sites out there to provide a whole community worth of fat, out of shape people to encourage you.  I'm not a message board person, but MFP has a very active one if that's your bag.  The cool thing is that you and a friend can both utilize this nifty little tool and then "friend" each other and monitor each other's progress.  Kind of like your own little Jiminy Cricket.  I have never tracked my eating before, but this has become a huge motivator for me.  One side note... my sweet hubby did some research on what a nursing mom's caloric intake should be everyday.  We figured that I'm burning about 300 calories a day by nursing.  I was able to create "nursing" as an exercise on MFP and now every morning I plug that in, gaining me some extra calories to eat! 

So that is phase one of my self-improvement plan.  Honestly, it's been the area in which I have had the most success and am the most excited about.  I'd love to hear from you- what has worked, where you need motivation, any comments, or just to congratulate me on how proud you are of me:-)

Now I'm off to the gym, sucka's!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Kinda Wish I Were a Smoker...

When I woke up the morning of January 1, the first place my mind went to was RESOLUTIONS.  Like most Americans, I see a new calendar as a fresh start- a page turned- the day to finally improve yourself.  By Monday, January 3rd, I had compiled a list of 6 improvements I desired to see in myself, as well as set a few measurable goals.
While I would NEVER have aired these so publicly then, I am a month into having tackled a few of these with a modicum of success. So now I get to brag.  Seriously, I hope to encourage anyone out there that may struggle with any of these issues, as well as to solicit feedback and advice for me in the areas I'm not as successful. I'll spend the next week or so outlining my specific resolutions and the changes I have made to achieve them.  Here goes:
  • Lose 20 pounds by March 31
  • Get my house more streamlined & organized
  • Foster a more independent, self-sufficient homeschooling environment
  • Get my house clean-ish (seriously, weekly cleaning is something with which I struggle)
  • Trim down our expenditures to be able to move $100 extra a month into savings
  • Read through the Bible by March 31
So.... get rich, thin, and more Godly.  Pretty typical of most Americans in my demographic (30-something stay at home moms), I'd bet.  How have I done??  Tune in over the next week to look at my progress thusfar.

By the way- I can't remember the last time I smoked a cigarette, but was considering taking it up so I could successfully quit, helping me to feel a tad more accomplished!

Thanks for holding me accountable!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Because I'm the mom, that's why!

Two weeks ago, Aaron went to Columbia for the weekend, taking Gavin with him. I was left at home with a 4-month old and an 8-year old- both of whom are GREAT road-trippers.  After Hub's Saturday basketball game, we jumped in the car and headed for Raleigh.  I wanted to check out the homeschool store there, as well as kill a few hours at Crabtree.  Being on a budget, we rarely eat out and frankly, I miss it.  I know it's usually unhealthy, as well as a colossal waste of money, but there's something about a little man bringing you food that you don't have to cook or clean up.  It's even better when you don't have a two year old climbing all over you. 
Hub, as he is my child, has developed some pretty expensive tastes.  While he still will get excited over McDonald's and Chuckie Cheese, when I asked him what he wanted for lunch that day, his reply was "sushi."  Atta boy!  We enjoyed a delicious lunch, semi-adult conversation, and then spent a few hours window-shopping.   
We arrived at the Homeschool Gathering place about 30 minutes before closing.  While I was browsing, I heard other women paying and being offered candy from the "Mom Jar".  Then, they would offer their children candy from the "Kid Jar".  There seemed to be a method and reasoning behind this. $125 later, it was my turn.  After signing my receipt, a huge jar of small chocolate bars appeared in front of me. I mean the good stuff- Mr Goodbar, Skor, Hershey's Dark Select, & Krackle.  I was told to help myself. 
God bless him, Hub was hovering expectantly around the register, waiting for his invitation to partake.  After grabbing a few pieces (for the road... duh!), the sweet lady pulled out the Kid Jar.  When we were little and trick-or-treating, this was called the Crap Candy- it was fake Skittles.  Before she could even offer it, Hub politely said, "thank you, but I think I'll just have some chocolate."  Now anyone that has ever shopped here knows what happened next.  Hub was informed that he wasn't being offered chocolate- the chocolate was only for the moms.  "But that's not..." he trailed off as he looked at me.
"No, honey, it's not fair," the clerk told him, "but when you are a homeschooling dad and your wife sacrifices her very sanity to educate your children, then come back and I'll give you all the chocolate you can eat."  Ok, so maybe she didn't say that part about his wife's sanity- but the message was clear.  She went on to explain about how children these days view themselves as miniature adults, entitled to all the same privileges as grown-ups, with NONE of the responsibilities.  We laughed, Hub got a handful of Skittle-ish sugar, and left.  But the damage was done- as my sushi started doing flips in my stoimach, I was convicted.
I thought all the way home about this.  Now anyone that watches "Toddlers & Tiaras" may say, "oh, I'm not that bad- I'd never spend the money for my 3 year old to have a manicure!" and feel pretty good about themselves, but we normal moms unnecessarily empower our kids everyday and don't even realize it.  When was the last time you went through the Starbucks drive through and caved to your kids' requests for a $4 milkshake?  It happened to me more recently than I care to admit.   Why, as parents, are we scared to tell our children "no"? 
My husband & I don't spoil our kids, compared to most of their peers.  My 8 year old doesn't have a cell phone, nor does he own anything motorized to drive around the neighborhood, but material possessions aren't just what I'm talking about here.  I'm talking about the perception that they are running the show.  Let me give you an example... most nights, when I was single mom, I'd pick my 3-year old up from day care and ask him where he wanted to eat dinner.  On a good day, I honestly didn't have a preference and on a bad day, wanted to avoid a fight.  I certainly didn't set out for his desires to trump my own, but that ended up happening.  His perception was that his opinion was superior to mine.  Single moms are at a serious risk for this, followed by moms of only children. I can say this because I have lived both of these lives and been this mom. 
In 2006 I met a man that nipped this in the bud (thanks, baby!).  While courting me and reminding me that I was the most wonderful thing ever, he was also instilling in my son that he was second tier.  Momma didn't like this at all, but here we are, 5 years and two kids later, and I am so grateful that Aaron showed up and helped me put "everyone in their place", so to speak.  Yes, we still have our subtle power struggles- what blended family doesn't- but they are few and far between. 
My challenge to you?  Look at the way you interact with your children.  Make sure that while you are allowing them special experiences occasionally you are not allowing them to run roughshod over your marriage or other siblings.   Human nature is to be self-centered but as the mom of a kid that was well on his way to becoming a prima donna (as well as the ex-wife of a full-fledged attention hog), I encourage you to remember that God made YOU the parents and that your kids will be better off in the long run if there are things that are yours, solely and completely. 
Sometimes kids just need to hear "no- because I'm the mom and I work hard and deserve the... (Moccachino, ribeye, last cookie- fill in the blank)".  Enjoy your treat!  If your life is anything like mine- you deserve it!