Friday, July 20, 2012

About to go MIA

Two days. Lake Chelan. Bachelorette party. Jodie. Julie. Julie. Sunshine. Wine-tasting. Poolside for days. Six days. Cispus. Leadership camp. Happy place. 300 high school leaders. Forty awesome staff members. Learning. Sunshine. Mosquitos. Energy recharged. Back on August 1. Have a great week!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blogging 411

So, I'm days late in linking up with  Becky but a Princess Party got in my way!

1. How long have you been blogging? And what got you started on blogging? Has your blog changed?
I started blogging in 2007.   My friend Kate started a blog and I fell in love with the idea of an online journal.  I realized  I could use it as a way to show off my son's photos to family without clogging up inboxes. So I started Life with Alexander.  I also wanted a way for my husband to chronicle events that I would miss when I went back to work that fall.  I started my own blog in 2009 when I wanted a place just for me.  Maintaining two blogs is time consuming but I really enjoy it.

2. Did you go to college? If so where, and what did you study?
I went to Washington State University. I changed majors seven times and finally landed on education.

3. Where have you traveled?
Italy, France, Caribbean, New York, Washington DC, Florida, Arizona, California, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada

4. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?
A new (used) car.  And then I would hire someone to finish all the house projects that are partially completed!

5. What are your 3 biggest pet peeves?
When someone doesn't use please/thank you, when people don't RSVP, when someone won't take accountability for his/her actions

6. What is your favorite movie?
Fast and the Furious, Finding Neverland and any Disney movie that allows me to cuddle on the couch with my son

7. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea?
Captain and Diet Coke.  Every time.

8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?
Lay on the couch and watch TV.  Reality TV is a plus but if I can't find a show to watch, I'll pull One Tree Hill or 90210 up on Netflix and settle in for mindless entertainment!

9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, which store would it be?

10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past? Or present.
I've been racking my brain for an embarassing moment.  I truly think I have blocked all of them out!

11. What day would you love to relive again?
The day I found out I was pregnant

12. If your life was turned into a movie... what actor would play you?
Sandra Bullock

13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?
Subway, Blockbuster, Temp secretarial work

14. Show us a picture from high school or college.

15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?
Australia/New Zealand!
16. Show us the most current picture of you or you, or your family, or anything of meaning to you.

17. Where do you see your life 5 years from now?
Still married and in the same home (with completed home projects) with the same job.  Eric will be back to work so we'll be back to a double income (!).  Alexander will be in 4th grade so I'll be on the PTSA, making small talk with other moms, attempting to play a role in the PTSA political game. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Are you an organ donor?

I've been debating whether or not to discuss organ donation on this blog.  Most Libras avoid conflict because we are the fun-loving peacekeepers in a group.  I rarely discuss politics (even when my father-in-law pushes my buttons).  I rarely discuss money, religion, or any other topic that leads to high levels of debate.  If anything, I go out of my way to change the subject or make people laugh.   But not today.

I just hung up the phone with my dad and, as I write this post, I have tears streaming down my face.
 His kidney is working.

We are no longer in the "waiting for it to wake up, no sign of rejection" phase. We are in the "gotta go pee, everyone cheer" phase.  After three years of dialysis, a heart attack, multiple surgeries and finally a kidney transplant, our family can exhale and begin to heal.  Life is fragile and none of us know what the future will bring.  But the very thought that my father has a chance to see his grandchildren graduate from high school or get married, is enough for now. 

When Dad was diagnosed with full renal kidney failure in Sept of 2009, my brother, my sister and I didn't really know what it meant.  I don't think anyone in the family really did. 
  Dad was on the kidney transplant list for almost two and a half years.  On June 17, 2012, my dad became an organ donor recipient.  The past month has been a whirlwind of emotions for everyone.  My brother is 3000 miles away in Florida, with a new baby, relying on his crazy sisters for information and daily Facetime reports with my parents.  He is the one I call when I need help talking Mom off a ledge and I think Dad is probably the most honest with Patrick.  My sister and I have gotten pretty good about sharing shifts in the hospital, making sure Dad has company so Mom can get a break, or sharing a cocktail together to de-stress the moment.  Of the three of us, I believe she struggles the most with the fact that Dad is so sick.  She keeps a lot of her emotions in and then she explodes.  She just wants him fixed and I can't blame her.  She and my mom are so similar in how they react to things that it is downright scary!  Mom is our foundation and without her, Dad wouldn't be alive now.  She just keeps going and going and has never given up hope that Dad would receive a kidney.   And me?  Well, I'm the oldest with a Type A control-freak nature.  So, I wait to react until we have answers from the doctors and then I decide how to deal with it.  Until there are answers, there is nothing I can do so I try to not worry or fret too much.  I think Mom worries that I keep it all in but I really don't. 

 When it comes down to it, the five of us have tackled this as best as we were able and we are all anxious for this new chapter in our family to begin.

As of this afternoon, the doctor's have confirmed the kidney is working and Dad has a new lease on life. 
Even in our celebration, I have no doubt my siblings and my parents are thinking of the family who lost their loved one.  I cannot begin to feel the pain of watching a loved one remain on life support so organs can be harvested to give life to a waiting stranger.  The stranger who is a dad.  A husband.  A brother.  A son.  The irony is not lost on me that, as we celebrate the kidney waking up, the family of the 44 year old woman continues in their grief.  She will never know the impact she left by deciding to become an organ donor.

But we do.

114,648 people are waiting for an organ.
18 people will die each day waiting for an organ.
1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives.

Please become an organ donor today. 
Please give someone, like my dad, the gift of hope.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weight Watchers Weigh In - Week 2

Week 2 went as expected. 
 1 lb. loss
TOTAL - 6.2 lbs.

I was super hungry this week.  Check that - I was starving.  I undercut my points last week so I was hungrier than I should have been on Monday and Tuesday.  As a result, I ended up overeating my points for a few days.  This is pretty normal behavior for me when I start a weight loss program.  I work a program hard for a few days and then slack off because the weight comes off.  Apparently, I think I can reward myself with food. I really should know better!

I'm happy to report by Thursday, I was back on track and determined to be healthy.  

For me, losing weight will always be more of a mental challenge than a physical one.  

Challenges next week:
1.  Stress of packing for leadership camp.
2.  Wed night evening picnic with friends
3.  Making sure I get out and exercise!

Next week's weigh in is Saturday morning. 
My goal - 2 lbs.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blog Makeover!

Did you hear me squeal this morning, like a 16 year old girl who has been invited to Homecoming by the boy she likes?  Do you even know what that squeal sounds like?  Cause I do.  Every October, without fail. For about three weeks in the weeks leading up to Homecoming, at least a half dozen girls pour into my little office, squealing and jumping up and down.  The energy is rather infectious and my inner 16 year old gets swept up in the excitement.  Every.  Time.
Wowza.  All that brown hair!
And that inner 16 year old may or may not have jumped up and down when she opened up her blog this morning to see the WONDERFUL makeover that Jen over at A Daily Dose of Davis had made for her!  I started reading Jen's blog when she was pregnant with her oldest, Addie.  And I gotta tell ya, she's the nicest person out there!  She has two adorable children, is a stay at home mom/part time teacher, and has the best organizational tools.  Not to mention, she just started a store with her mom and you know I'm a sucker for anyone who is willing to work with her mom.    In the past three (four?) years, Jen has graciously redone Alexander's blog for me and couldn't have been any sweeter about it.  She was just as sweet putting up with my high maintenance self as we worked to create the new look for this blog.

  Jen, I couldn't be happier with what you have done!  THANK YOU!!

We would totally be friends in real life.  For reals. 

If you have a minute, go check out Jen's blog.  You won't be disappointed. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Need a Book Suggestion! STAT!

Hi Hi!

As you know (or maybe you don't know, which means you must be new so now you know), I am an avid reader.  Not having a book in my hand or on the nightstand waiting to be read, is like a caffeine junkie running out of coffee on the morning it is most needed.  I've been that person, too.  It ain't pretty.

I was lamenting this fact to Eric when he said I should tell people on my blog that I need book suggestions.  
Not a bad idea.

 You can see from the list on my sidebar what I have read in the past year.  Those books are what I have read with my book club and at our last meeting, we were so engaged in a debate about which actor would play Christian Grey in a movie, we forgot to suggest new books for the summer!  I still say the actor will be a new face but I may be alone in the that thought.  

 I have also read a bunch of other books in the past year, because that's just who I am.  To name a few... The Help, The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones (LOVE), Girl with a Dragon Tatoo series, and a bunch of educational-type books that my vice principal made me read as part of our staff development last year. 

Can you suggest a book or two for me to read?  I like just about every genre of writing.  Plus, if I read your suggestion, I'll give you a friendly little shout out for suggesting it to me!
Happy Wednesday!

PS  Wishing my Daddio a very happy birthday today!!

Book Review - Amercian Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

I was thoroughly surprised by how much I liked the book.
The story chronicles the life of a young woman, a librarian.  From a tragic accident that occurs in high school to her days living as the wife of the most powerful man in the United States.  At times, it felt like I was reading about Laura Bush but that's ok.  Even my democratic self didn't feel there were strong political overtures throughout the book.  It was more of a love story. 

Through it all, I found myself pulling for the heroine and really thankful I don't live a life in politics. 
It was a pretty good read and I suggest.  3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sketcher Go Walks

I do love me a new pair of kicks.  I think it is the PE teacher in me.

These lovelies showed up on my doorstep today. 

OMG.  I. Am. In. Love.

I have worn them all night.  Around the house.  On a walk through the local Farmer's Market.  To my in-laws.  Out to dinner.  And recieved several compliments on them.  I may wear them to bed.  Eric may not let me.  I may not listen to him and do it anyhow.

How did they come into my possession?  Well, I was looking for another pair of Sketcher Bob's.  I have grey ones, love them to death, and wanted a pair of black ones.  My eye locked in on these shoes, I read a few reviews about their comfort, and I was sold. 

They are beyond comfortable!   As you can see in the pictures, I won't wear them with socks.  The fabric is super soft and comfortable.  The shoes have loads of cushioning and the back doesn't rub up on my ankle, which is always a concern with my feet.   One might note there is not a ton of arch support but I don't care.  I am sure they will get dirty but I don't care.
I love them.

Every time I glance down and see the splash of color on my feet, I am happy.

If I had any money, I'd buy another pair and give them away on my blog.  But I don't.  So, you'll just have to trust me and go buy a pair of these.  Today.  Do not wait. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Non-Traditional Roles

My husband and I have created a home that has rather non-traditional gender roles.  Hubby is a stay-at-home-dad.  He does all the cooking, grocery shopping, the raising of the child, and other misc "housewife" chores.  I go to work, pay the bills, and help maintain some sense of organization in our home.
One can't get less traditional than that, right? 

I know not every family has these roles and I totally respect that.  For us, they work because my hubby has infinite patience required to be a stay-at-home parent and I require work to feed my control issues.
So, if son wants to wear a princess costume, who am I to tell him he can't?

It occurred to me this morning, as I was mowing the lawn, that there are certain areas in my world where I want traditional roles.  I want the boy to mow the lawn.  I want the boy to do all the "car stuff".  I want the boy to take out the garbage, unload the dishwasher and put a new garbage bag liner in the garbage can.  I want the boy to scrub toilets.  If he does all that, I'll do my part and wear lingerie more often.

Seems like a deal to me.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Weight Watcher Weigh In - Week 1

Sunday is my weigh in day. 

Clarification and a little history of Michelle and WW:  
 I don't attend meetings.  In 2000, I recieved all the paperwork and information from my mom (who is a lifetime member).  I lost and kept off 20 lbs for six years.  Alexander was born in 2007 and I have carried an extra 10 lbs ever since.  In the past few months, I floated up to where I was in 2000 and I have had enough.  So, here begins my journey with Weight Watchers.  Once again.

In 2010, the program changed to PointsPlus.  I'm sure there is nothing wrong with the new plan but I want the old plan.  It works for me.  I spent time online to see if I could find it and voila, I found an awesome website to help me on my journey.

People have told me WW won't work without meetings.  I suppose the support is helpful, the accountability of checking in is helpful, and you do have access to WW snacks and tools.
I just can't justify the cost of the meetings when I KNOW I can do this on my own.

Week 1.
How did it go?

Well, I lost 5.2 pounds!

 Most of it is water weight and I don't expect to lose more than 2 pounds a week. 
But I feel this was a great start and encouragement to keep going!

Challenges during the week:

1.  Drinks with Ryan on Monday.  Alcohol can suck the points away before I realize it so I planned accordingly.  Only two drinks and I still went over my alloted amount of points but didn't beat myself up over it.  Next time, I'll choose something other than beer!

2.  I realized when we have guests or at social events, cocktails are a natural go-to drink. 

 We had guests on Tuesday, Wed, Fri and Sat.  That's a whole lot of alcohol points that I had be aware and plan for!  I did it but it was a challenge.  Next week there are only two social events planned so I should be able to avoid the alcohol pitfall.

3.  Choosing a variety of healthy foods to avoid eating the same thing over and over again. I love routine but I'll binge if I don't find variety.  This will be an ongoing battle as the weeks pass.

4.  The 3:00 witching hour.  This is the hour I want to snack!  I have to make sure I allot points for that time.  If I deny myself the snack, I will binge eat at night.  So, I'm going to try almonds, pretzels and veggies this next week.

My energy level is good.  My attitude is one of commitment and willpower.  And I have a strong support system with Eric, my friends and family.

Have a great week!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bridal Shower Recap - with a WHOLE bunch of photos!

Last weekend, I hosted Jodie's long awaited and highly anticipated bridal shower at our house.  Since her worlds were going to collide and bridal showers can be awkward, we decided to go over the top with the theme.  The two of us love our Captain and Diet Cokes.  Eric suggested a pirate theme and Jodie immediately agreed to the idea. 

Naturally, I did my part and started on the most important business at hand - emptying Captain Morgan bottles!
For decorating purposes, of course.
The boys lent their skills and created this masterpiece.
Other decorations included
a sweet treasure chest, filled with coins, gold beads, gems...and a Captain bottle.
Of course.
A door covering that I used to cover a picture in our kitchen.
I asked the Moms to send baby pictures of Jodie and Zak and hung them in the kitchen for all to see.
 Jodie loved the pictures of she took a couple pictures of them for herself!

And a poster I created. 
No big deal.
I stole borrowed pictures off of Jodie's FB page and had them printed in 5X7, printed off the letters, and put together the best poster this super non-creative lady could do.

My awesome sister and brother in law did all the food for me.  I have to admit, delegating that piece of the party was a HUGE relief.  I just hate working with food.

It was DELICIOUS!  All of our Jodie's favorite snack treats.
 And my sweet niece even lent a hand to help with the set up.
Instead of cupcakes, cookies or cake, we had bowls of candy.  I forgot to take pictures of the bowls...probably too busy easy the candy out of them.

The guests began to arrive to shower Jodie with loads of love!

Jodie's newest niece, baby Adelaide, made an appearance.  Being born two days prior to the shower couldn't stop this party girl.  Or her mama.
 Fidelia is a bridesmaid and there was NO WAY she was going to miss the shower.
And, I might add, there is NO WAY I looked that good two days after giving birth.
She's amazing.

I have about a million pictures of Jodie opening gifts.  I just couldn't help but keep snapping away because I love her and her expressions.
Here are just a few of my favorites.

I just love this girl so much!

A few more pictures with Zak's family members.
And that was it.

Oh, one more picture...
This may be the WORST picture the three of us have taken together.


Guess we will have to make up for it with loads of photos at the wedding! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

High Five Friday

I'm jumping on the High Five Friday bandwagon. I have 10 minutes to post before we head out for our family hike today so this is what you get.

1.  A fabulous visit on Monday with my parents and my friend, Ryan.  Good times.  So good I'll repeat the activity on Monday...and add Lyle to the mix.

2.  SUNSHINE!  The sun finally decided to show itself on the great PNW sooooo that means I'm spending my afternoons soaking up the rays.  I do love laying in the sun and reading a mindless entertaining book.  Have one to suggest?  I'd love to hear about it.

3.  I've stayed on track with WW, even with the temptations of drinks on Monday, s'mores on Tuesday, and a huge 4th of July picnic on Wednesday.  It's paying off and I'm feeling good!

4.  I was in bed by 9PM and after 11 hours of sleep, I feel like a new person and super rested.

5.  Even though the doctor admitted my daddio into the hospital yesterday, it is only because of minor complications.  In fact, the doctors think the kidney should start working by the end of the weekend.  I know I said it was working before but it has been a road full of complications and the kidney is being a stubborn.  But there is NO sign of rejection so we remain hopeful that this long journey will have a happy ending.  Sooner or later!

Ok, I'm off to join my boys for a hike.  And enjoy me some sunshine!
Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The UnPerfect Me

Sometimes I come across a blog and think to myself, "that person can't be real.  Her life is way too perfect.  Where's the shizz in her life?".  Maybe her life really is that great but I doubt it.  No life is perfect. 

Which leads me to today's blog post.  10 reasons why I am not perfect.  I accept every single one of things as me.  Maybe I'll do another list on another day as to why I am pretty great but let's be real.  No one is perfect.

1.  I use the F word.  A LOT.  And I love it.
2.  My house is typically messy.  Right now, there is clutter all over the kitchen counters, the island, and the floor needs to be swept.
3.  I am forever and always consumed by the thought of food.  My emotions determine what I eat.  But I do try to not let Alexander see this obsession because I know it is very unhealthy.  Doesn't stop me from stepping on the scale every morning and having my weight determine my mood, though.
4.  I am very quick to make snap judgements of other people.  And the snap judgement is usually about what a person is wearing, how their hair looks, or how bad/good their make up is. 
5.  I do not spend enough time playing with my son.  Instead, I let him watch cartoons while I blog or read.  I'm definitely not Parent of the Year when it comes to spending time with my child.  And I could never be a stay at home parent.

6.  I am not always nice to my hubby.  I attack him when I'm upset over something and that's not nice.  Thankfully, after 15 years of marriage, the guy is pretty used to it and can snap me out of it in a matter of minutes.  Which is why I love him.
7.  I'm catty and I like to gossip.  Especially after having a couple of cocktails.  I'm pretty sure I could be a Real Housewife...which is why I love that show.
8.  I'm brutally honest.  This is not always a bad thing and those who know me well, know that the honesty comes from my heart.  But I am learning that I have to soften my tone at work and that is really hard for me to do.
9.  I'm bossy, have a Type A personality and want to be in control.  Always.  This can also be a source of contention between hubby and me.

10.  I hate being 40 and getting old.  In my head, I'm anywhere between 28-32, or even 16 again.  But I definitely am not embracing getting older.  Someone told me my 40's would be great.  They lied.

There you have it. The UnPerfect Me.  Love it or leave it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Just a quickie

I'm on my way out the door to see my folks and meet up with a leadership camp friend. 
This guy.
This is our annual "these kids are driving us nuts" camp face.

Makes me laugh.  We'll discuss some camp business and then I'm going to get down right nosey and ask him when he's getting married.

Speaking of married, Jodie's shower was a smashing success!  Pictures coming soooon! 

And here's some new news.  I started Weight Watchers.  Ok, ok.  You might be saying to yourself, "didn't she JUST start the 17 day diet?"  Yea.  That was me. The Girl Who Changes Her Mind.

The 17 day diet doesn't work longterm for me.
In 2000, I lost 20 lbs on Weight Watchers and kept it off until Alexander was born.
It works for me.
I love it.

Well, I actually hate it for the first week but after that, I'm totally used to it.

20 pounds.  That's my goal.
I can do it.