Monday, December 31, 2018

Weight Loss Challenge, week 8

I won't have a video for today because I'm in hot mess mode but also because I'm cleaning my house and doing the big clean/purge as you do after Christmas. Lots of stuff are going and yet... I feel like nothing is really going. Does that make sense? I don't know. 

Well this week I'm up from December 1. 
Which is depressing. BUT I'm still down from my start which was 211 so it's not much but it's something. 

I've been doing my 10 minute workouts when I can squeeze them in. Admittedly, there wasn't much this last week because Christmas took over our lives, but I'll tell you that I worked my rear off. Not literally, clearly, but I went to bed every night beyond exhausted. 

This week I'm really working at moving furniture (trying) and cleaning out every possible place that holds stuff we don't need. I'm also going to do the 10 minute workouts still because I'm actually really liking them. I really don't like the guy who leads it because he's the over confident jerk you'd find at the gym, but it's only for 10 minutes so I can do that. 

My diet is going to get better now. I admittedly ate a lot of cookies. I can't help I baked some good ones this year. I got a LOT of candy for Christmas so I'm really pacing myself. I've been reading about a 16-8 Intermittent Fasting discipline.  I'm kind of already doing it without knowing it. I don't eat beyond 7 p.m. and I don't eat again until 1 p.m. when the girls go for nap. I almost never have breakfast or a morning snack. So why this weight isn't pouring off, I DON'T KNOW. But I'm going to finish my Pepsi in the fridge (3 cans) and I am going to quit soda. That's going to be tough because having a can at lunch is kind of my indulgence. But I'm going to quit and see what happens. I've been eating salads for lunch and adding nuts to it for more crunch, but I might find some other add-ins. I got the OK from my doctors but they were a firm no on Keto. Which is OK because I don't know that I would survive on that. HA! I do need to cut my carbs down a bit and that's going to be tough. It turns out I am living on carbs so that's going to be interesting. 

How did you do in December overall? How about this week? I give you a pass for falling off the wagon, Christmas made us do it. But get back on. We're going to do this in 2019. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Dancing us broke. But she's cute!

Let's talk about regular life stuff. I feel like so much is happening and I'm forgetting to document it and I'm getting things all mixed up in my head. The state of my scrapbooks is TERRIBLE and I really have to make it a priority in 2019 otherwise all my memories will be gone. 

So this year, Olivia continues with dance. We opted to switch her to the Duluth program mostly because they offered more classes for her to do, and she really likes dance. It's for sure her thing. So she is in Jazz, Kick, Hip Hop for the whole year, and then Ballet (technique only, they don't perform) and Lyrical (which was a special session so that's done unless they offer a spring special session of it). It's a LOT but she is absolutely loving it and it's been really great seeing her improve more in the three months she has been here. But this weekend, or the weekend before, (I can't remember) they had their recital and it was pretty great to watch. 

I felt bad for Liv because she had so many costume changes so she had like a minute and a half to do each one of them but she did it, so that was a relief! 

 The first dance they could wear Christmas colors or a Christmas sweater and we had been shopping at Michaels for craft stuff and by god- they had a flamingo sweater. I absolutely HAD to get that because she is my dancing flamingo. It was amazing. I kind of hope it fits her next year. 
 This was actually my favorite costume because I didn't realize how sparkly it was. The girls did SO well with every dance and really, it's only a few practices to learn a dance and these instructors go much faster than they did in Superior and I think that's what Olivia needed- a harder challenge. 
 Oh- this was lyrical and she looked beautiful. The dance was really great and she said it was her favorite one. I wish I had gotten more photos but the damn DJ would not sit down for nothing and I didn't want to stand up and block the view of people behind me. 
She was pretty exhausted afterwards but she did so well. I didn't get any good photos of her doing the hip hop dance but I had to talk her into the class and she really likes it. I think she had an idea of what it would be like from the Superior group and yeah... it's nothing like that. They actually dance in this one and it's totally different than everything else so she's learning different things. 

Overall it was really great. As tiring as it is sitting at the practices for hours and the drive (which I didn't think would be fun in the winter and I was 100% right on that), she really enjoys it. She's been able to keep up with homework and do dance so I look forward to another few months of dance. They'll compete twice this year for Jazz and Kick, and I kind of wish they would compete with Hip Hop because their team is actually really great. 

We'll see. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder. It's a real thing, apparently.


I know that was kind of a long one and it was kind of rambling, but that's just how my brain works now. I can't really fix that. (Thanks, stroke!) But if you want to learn more about Depersonalization or Derealization Disorders, you can go HERE and HERE.

Like I said in my video, I am really struggling with this piece and I feel a mix of, "finally- it's a diagnosis!" and "are you kidding me- what ELSE is wrong with me?!". I mean, on one hand it's great to get a diagnosis because you can always work with that, you can find a fix or a way to cope with it. This kind of feels daunting because the big thing to fix this is talk therapy, but I've been doing that for two years and I just.. I feel GREAT going to that but I feel kind of stuck.

There is also EMDR or CBT therapies to help with PTSD available. What my insurance would cover... I'm not sure. My next concern is I've had a stroke, so I am really nervous about doing anything that might make post stroke symptoms worse or giving me another stroke. I have read a lot of information about both and it sounds safe but I don't know... something in my gut is telling me no. It might be paranoia but I feel like my body isn't stupid. I knew something was very wrong my entire pregnancy with Lucy and I blew it off and look where that got me.

I also mentioned in the video above that I have lost a lot of friends over the last two years. Honestly, I don't blame them. It's really hard to relate to me and I know I have a hard time being the friend that I used to be. I think you get used to someone being a certain way and then they aren't so you break up with them like you would a boyfriend or girlfriend. I get that.

It doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

I try to "reach out" but part of my issue, a big part of it, is I don't really know how to. I don't really know what I need to be better and I wonder if that makes it seem like I'm doing really well? I tell my therapist I try really hard to not let people see me struggle. I don't want to be seen as helpless, or stupid, or let people see me cry for no reason or wince in pain, all of it. I don't want people to feel sorry for me.

Then she asked me why not? If that's my reality, why am I hiding it?

I don't know if it's because it's a pride thing or if I don't want to make other people feel uncomfortable. Because I know I always felt awkward when someone was disabled in some way and its like, do you hold the door for them? Help them sit? Do you ask if they understand the menu? Like what do you do to be helpful without being rude and assume they can't help themselves?

Even with my family or the people who interact with me fairly often, I hide it. You don't see me cry a few tears in the bathroom because I just can't do it anymore. Or I'm just around the corner wincing in pain and breathing through it. Or I'm biting the inside of my cheek because my stomach hurts so bad I can barely breathe. Or I'm so physically exhausted walking my kid into preschool that I want to burst into tears. Or I'm so exhausted that I want to sleep the rest of the day and I'm desperate for someone to just take over for me. I can't call in sick. I have help and people I can call but I hate being dependent on people. I hate burdening them with my issues. They didn't ask for this. I didn't either, but it's my cross to bear.

So it is really hard. When I say I'm hanging in there, it's all of this and then some. I'm having a hard time juggling all of it with my appointments. I'll be honest and say there are times I'm SO EXHAUSTED by it all that when a doctor asks how I am I just say fine because where do I start? Every single thing is awful. I don't know what is worth mentioning, who I tell it to. No doctor wants that person to show up on their list that day. They must dread seeing my name come up. And I get it. I feel like a burden to medical people now, too.

So that's how things are going for me.

Ha.

Do you have questions about any of it? I guess I can answer questions better than just blindly talking about stuff. You can ask here in the comments or shoot me an email: sarastrand9438 AT hotmail DOT com.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Weight Loss Challenge ep8 (vlog where I learn something new about my junker of a body)


So yeah, that's the vlog for this week. In case you wanted to know which workout I was talking about on Beachbody, it was the 10 Minute Trainer Workout.

As I said in the vlog, I learned this week that secondary adrenal insufficiency and hypopituitarism means I have to exercise differently than say.... a normal person. I have to increase my steroids so my body doesn't go into adrenal fatigue or worse, adrenal crisis. So I'm learning VERY slowly how to read the cues from my body. But the good news from this is that at least me being completely exhausted doesn't mean I'm a total lazy ass or I'm THAT much out of shape, it just means my body doesn't recover like a normal body would. Which.. I think I can work with that. I mean, I'm trying. So this week I'm going to try to do two workouts and increase my steroids on those days and see if I notice any kind of difference. Maybe play around and see if I should take it before or after to see the most difference.

How are you doing on your challenge? Oh! The other surprise? Is I'm finding I have almost no appetite. Even when I do eat it quickly become unappealing and I don't want to eat anymore. So calorie wise I suppose I'm doing really well. I haven't even binged on Christmas cookies. Even my favorites. Unheard of.

BUT- pants are still tight and I'm not noticing any kind of difference anywhere so I guess we continue.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Need a gift? These are guaranteed to be one of a kind!

I have some VERY hard to shop for people on my list, I'm sure you do too. I also come across something in my travels online and I think, I know someone who needs this in their life I have my set list of who I buy for every year but sometimes I come across a gift that is so absolutely perfect for someone that I can't pass it up. I just can't.

I follow some of my daughter's friends on Instagram (or rather, they find me and add me) and that's fine because these are all really good kids. But she has one friend she's had since Kindergarten and they are in dance together. Her name is Haley. She's just the nicest kid ever and I adore having her at our house, and her mom is just awesome, too. Well on Instagram Haley posted something about Christmas and I casually asked her what she wants Santa to bring her. Her response? "A potato".

Well GUESS WHAT??

You can 100% send a potato to someone using Potato Parcel! It took me less than 15 minutes to find, and it's amazing. I just sent her a potato that says, "Merry Christmas Haley, from Santa". HAHAHAHAHA! I'm amazing. I found a code on Facebook for 15% off (FBPotato) so it was under $15 to send it. You can get a potato with a message or a photo printed on it, they have other random upgrades but I went plain jane, just a simple printed message. It's going to be so great.

So next up was my dad. He likes technology things, he likes weird things, hates most things. So he's REALLY fun to shop for every year. *eye roll* Then as it happens, I got sucked into a YouTube wormhole and suddenly, I'm watching a LOT of videos for this Storm Glass Weather Prediction thing.

You guys- it's sorcery. I don't understand how it works but I kind of want one just to obsessively watch it. So I got one for my dad, Matt's dad, and a teacher who is all about nature and science. (I got the teacher a smaller one to better fit a classroom.) 

The next option for my dad was going to be this breakfast basket thing
He has a slight obsession with breakfast and makes a big production every morning making all of the works, and his thing with my kids is to take them out for breakfast. So I thought maybe it would be cool to do something like this. This is my "standby" gift for him in case the weather glass thing looks dumb. 

I'm on the fence with kid gifts because I have to 100% be even with number of gifts and I really, really want to get Jackson this Harry Potter wand and book about wands he almost cried over when we were in Barnes & Noble on Friday, but then I'm uneven with Olivia. Sigh. But then I saw this Rainbow Lamp and I'm SOCLOSE to getting it. She would lose her mind. 

Remember when we were kids and there was that thing, The Clapper? (Clap on, clap off, THE CLAPPER). Yes, you know what I'm talking about. Well now they have that but you talk to things. So you tell Alexa to turn on your lamps and it'll do it with this Magical Plug. This is going to be the gift for someone you don't really know but you want to be cool and trendy. It's like you care about making life easier for them, and you want to get the hot thing, but you don't really give a crap and you're coming in under $25. It's a win for everyone. 

I can't remember if I've told you about this, but again- the YouTube worm hole led me to it so it's obviously meant to be. I know I come to you every Monday with my Weight Loss Challenge so it seems nuts I'm asking for this, but if you love someone, when you really love someone, you give them an Ice Cream machine. I used to work at Dairy Queen and Culvers. I'm a professional. 

And finally, the gift you give someone you don't really like but you have to get them a gift because it would be rude not to given the setting. OR it makes a good White Elephant gift. I give you.... the lip plumper
I'm not kidding. Go to this page and look at the photo with the woman who has it on. Tell me you don't have a person come to mind immediately that you want to see try this out on Christmas Day. I can name three right now. You're welcome. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Book Review: I'll Be Your Blue Sky

I haven't been giving you a lot of reviews lately and that's because I'm just not reading as much. I'm hoping to get one, maybe two more in for this calendar year and then I'll pick it up again in January. I can't stay away long, that's for sure.

I'll Be Your Blue Sky - Marisa De Los Santos

On the weekend of her wedding, Clare Hobbes meets an elderly woman named Edith Herron. During the course of a single conversation, Edith gives Clare the courage to do what she should have done months earlier: break off her engagement to her charming, yet overly possessive, fiancé.

Three weeks later, Clare learns that Edith has died—and has given her another gift. Nestled in crepe myrtle and hydrangea and perched at the marshy edge of a bay in a small seaside town in Delaware, Blue Sky House now belongs to Clare. Though the former guest house has been empty for years, Clare feels a deep connection to Edith inside its walls, which are decorated with old photographs taken by Edith and her beloved husband, Joseph.

Exploring the house, Clare finds two mysterious ledgers hidden beneath the kitchen sink. Edith, it seems, was no ordinary woman—and Blue Sky House no ordinary place. With the help of her mother, Viviana, her surrogate mother, Cornelia Brown, and her former boyfriend and best friend, Dev Tremain, Clare begins to piece together the story of Blue Sky House—a decades-old mystery more complex and tangled than she could have imagined. As she peels back the layers of Edith’s life, Clare discovers a story of dark secrets, passionate love, heartbreaking sacrifice, and incredible courage. She also makes startling discoveries about herself: where she’s come from, where she’s going, and what—and who—she loves.

Shifting between the 1950s and the present and told in the alternating voices of Edith and Clare, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is vintage Marisa de los Santos—an emotionally evocative novel that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart and illuminates the tender connections that bind our lives.

This is an author I so badly want to love because the covers of her books always drag me in. Every single one. Then I start reading the book and it's always something, just a little something I can't name, that just doesn't grab me. Something just isn't enough to hook me on. This time I really think it was the flip flopping between generations, and I really think if the book had been just about Edith or just about Clare, it would have been fine. But trying to combine the two stories and somehow making it one didn't quite jive for me. The other thing that I noticed was a lot of the dialogue and conversational areas in the book read oddly to me. Nobody in real life would have a conversation like this and it made it really hard to read but also to visualize these scenes as you read them. 

I will say, the greater part of the story is living a life with a possessive partner (perhaps in their own way, not outwardly obviously so) was really great. I really liked how the author brought this on subtly, so subtly that you wouldn't pick it up immediately. Clare begins the book trying to list all of the great qualities of the man she's set to marry and she really gets stuck on nine. Then as she thinks more about it, there are little things that he does that are just peculiar enough to seem strange, but not enough where you'd assume anything bad about him. My favorite line in the whole book is so quick but I really thought about it long after: "No one should live with someone who scares her." It just reminded me of the countless books I've read taking place in the 1940-1950 era that featured a woman who was in a terrible relationship but just couldn't get out because that was the time, you just didn't do it. There was another line, "The ones who look like home are home. That's where you go." and that reminds me so much of my husband. If you had told me I'd feel like this ten years ago I would have thought you were nuts, but it makes so much sense now, the older I get.

This is a romance, kind of, but there is a much larger story around that so don't go into this thinking this is a Hallmark movie romance playing out. It's not really that at all, but there are a lot of things that pop up seemingly connecting Edith and Clare together and some of those are a bit much, but it's interesting enough to keep you reading to see how this all ends.

Overall I'd give this one 3 stars. It's a really slow start, it's an interesting story, and this would make a really interesting book club read.

   

Monday, December 10, 2018

Weight Loss Challenge, ep. 7

So last week was a dud. I have some goals for this week and I set some alarms on my phone, and left myself some notes about what I need to do during the day. It sounds really dumb, but just because I know what my alarm means today, doesn't mean I'm going to remember on Thursday. The only day that might be a challenge for me is Wednesday because Penelope has a parent activity day at school and I'm going to that. Then on Thursday it's Lucy's play day at the community play group so we are going to go. Olivia also has her band concert that night! With that said, I'll have to put a reminder up so I can remember to change my alarm those days to sometime during nap time. Which I think I can do.

What's really cool is I found my resistance loops! I bought these online a few months ago and I remember using them for I think the prenatal/post natal workout on Beachbody on Demand and they are no joke. I was using the easiest one (the green one) and I'm not kidding, my thighs were screaming the next day. So if you're looking to make your regular workouts harder, put these on your legs as you do various things, it doesn't feel like it's doing anything but the day after you will notice.

My next challenge? I have to finder lighter weights. I have small 3 pound weights right now, but to be honest? Those are too much for me. I have to go lighter and I feel 100% stupid going into the store to do that, so I'm going to get these after Christmas on Amazon.
The unexpected win from this week? I've been hip deep in making Christmas cookies and treats and I've only had three cookies. That's it. I'm just not into them this year. So let's hope this a trend that continues. Have four kids and a husband who like them all helps a lot. Ha! 

Alright, tomorrow I have a book review for you, and I've got a couple other posts for you later this week, including one I'll share from the Duluth Moms Blog about Christmas organization. Stay tuned! 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The wish list books. I narrowed it down from ALL of them.

The other day I shared my regular wish list, but if you know me at all you know I also have a completely separate list just for books. 

Brittainy C. Cherry - Elements series
      

This was a cool book I heard about this year. This small bookstore owner set up a typewriter in a back corner of his store and anyone could type whatever they wanted on it anonymously. This is the published version of all of those confessions. 

I read the first book in this series a few months ago and was BLOWN AWAY. I absolutely must read this one. 

I am a big fan of J.Kenner and I saw this one on Instagram and instantly added it to my wish list. 

This duo
I'm a big fan of Meghan Quinn and read a couple of other books by her this year and really liked them, so I'm excited to read these. 
  

Again, Mia Sheridan was a new to me author this year and I am such a fan. This is one I don't have in my collection and it looks good!

If you know me at all, you know I am a BIG fan of Michelle Obama. I wish she was my bestie and she would show up at my house to shoot the breeze with. 

You could also look at my want-to-read list on Goodreads and look at how insane that is. 

I also have to share this because this is my absolute FAVORITE Christmas song now. I hate the original, but I love, love, LOVE this song so much when Kelly sings it. Yeah, that's right, I think The Sound of Music sucks. I thought it sucked when I was in school and had to watch it in music class and I think it sucks as an adult. But I love Kelly Clarkson and her version is so great. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Weight Loss Challenge, ep. 6 (Month 1 weigh in!)


Alright, so I know you want to see what my weight in is. 

If you look back on my first weigh in (here) you'll see I started at 211.4 pounds. So I am down 2 pounds. 

It's not ground breaking for sure, but it's progress, and that's the name of this game. 

I'd really like to maybe lose two pounds in the month of December too. Five pounds would be the super goal but two is my realistic goal.

Clearly my challenge this month is going to be baked goods but I'm trying to tell myself I can have baked goods, and exercise, and be OK. 

The other development is that I did talk to my Endocrinologist about maybe reducing my steroid and he did not give me the go ahead on that. I mentioned how tired I was every day and how I feel sick to my stomach all of the time and that basically sealed the deal on that. Normally you would lower your dose until you felt sick, and that's when you would know what your threshold is. Given that I'm having the symptoms now technically means I should go up a little bit but I'm not going to do that. I'm going to manage my symptoms and do what I can on this dose. Which is frustrating and disappointing. 

My diet this month wasn't stellar but it definitely wasn't horrible either so I'm going to try to do a little better this month. I've been trying to eat more salads at lunch time because it's better than nothing but also because I need the roughage. We won't talk about why, but let's just know that I'm going that route for other reasons. 

We would normally go out to Wendy's for lunch on Saturday or Sunday as a family when we run errands, and we haven't done that at all in November. That's saved some money but also, less fast food, and that's always a good improvement. 

Oh! Real challenge is still my weak ass bladder. You guys, I should not need a pad or special underwear to work out in. I'm not kidding. Drip, drip, gush. It's becoming a real issue and I'm tired of it. It used to be jumping jacks and that's fine because those suck. But light jog in place? That should be do-able. 

It is not. 

I refuse to buy Depends, even the "fancy" ones. Does anyone make adult diapers on Etsy or something? I'm too young for this crap. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

What a girl wants... for Christmas

It's been brought to my attention that I have not posted my annual Christmas wish list. Matt has already started shopping and though I had given him access to my Amazon wish list, I hope he doesn't go rogue and get me a gift he thinks I'll like better. Like the time he got me a tool box with my own tools and I never got to use it because he used the tools and never put them back. All I have is an empty box.

This year my list is kind of long because I've been told I don't give very many options so I'm trying to please the masses. I feel like I'm the easiest person to shop for because I just like opening presents. The more the merrier. HA! I'll have to make an entirely different post on the books I want because who wants to read an actual novel for a blog post?

(If you click on the photo or the bright green text it'll take you to the Amazon page should you want this for yourself)

4x6 Photo Keeper

I am trying to get back into scrapbooking but because I am SO behind, my pictures are in piles and are becoming really hard to manage. I need one spot to store them in so I'm not getting them all mixed up.

A Fancy Fanny Pack for Walking/Running

A major obstacle I have when I go for walk/runs is that I have no place to put my key, phone, ID, whatever. I need a fanny pack. I don't want a dorky one.

A Laptop Bag

I know,  you're like, "Sara, you hardly leave the house, why do you need this??". To that I say, I'm at dance for three hours on Mondays. I could be using that as dedicated time to write my book. I have to bring my laptop. My laptop does not have a good battery (it has to be plugged in always) and if I want to bring all of that, I need a bag. But a pretty one would be nice, right?

An Instant Pot

I'm going to jump on the bandwagon. I'm finding that I have become really lazy. On days I don't use a crockpot for our dinner, I just don't cook. By the end of the day I just can't muster the brain power it takes to cook. I'm exhausted. I'm hoping this is a solution. But if I'm going to have something hanging out on my counter, it should be pretty. This one matches my kitchen decor.

Socks

Aren't these socks amazing? Who doesn't want these socks??

Hair Straightening Brush

It doesn't have to be this one, but I want to try one of these brushes. I prefer my hair straight but I need to block off 45 minutes to do it and it still is wavy. My arm goes numb, so this is becoming a problem. Have you tried one of these?

NudeStix

These lipsticks are SO cool. It's like a color pencil and you color your lip in. You legit cannot screw this up. Unless maybe you can't color within lines and then I say you've got bigger problems in your life than your lip color.

Makeup Brushes 

I need one of these kinds of foundation brushes. I have a tapered one and it's TERRIBLE. Who uses that?! I need one of these.

Mint Shampoo and Conditioner

I'll take either one of these, but I have become obsessed with mint conditioner.


Night Cream. I'm serious. 

It has come to my attention that I am of the age that a night cream to fix my face is in order.

Lap Desk

Let's be honest, sometimes I want to write away from my kids and family. I'd like to do it in my room and I need a desk so I don't lose my snacks in my bedding. Also, I have somewhere to put my laptop. But snacks are the priority.

Foundation

I won't even tell you what I use for foundation. Some actual foundation would be kind of nice.

Nightgown

I'm an XL. Again, if you saw what my nightgowns look like, you would be ashamed.

Glide

I don't want to talk about it.

Those are just a few of my favorite things. Honestly, I like any gift I get. I feel like people put thought into things and if you thought of me when you were at a store and thought it was something I'd like, then I'm going to like it.

What's on YOUR Christmas list?