You made it! Here it is... the blog where you get to sit back and laugh at - or be completely horrified by - life with 5 kids, 2 parents, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 guinea pig, & 2 turtles (and those are just the creatures we know about).


Tuesday's Tip (#42)

Here's a tip for you:


Mentally, I'm going to be at the beach today. I still can't believe summer is over. My kids don't go back to school until next week, but I've got a full week of professional development this week. Wasn't it just June 25th?? How is this possible? So, I'm in denial. I'm going to participate. I'm going to learn. But a little part of my brain is going to have her ass planted in the sand with an ice cold beer in hand. Changing my desktop background to this:


Maybe next week, I'll embrace this inevitable time of year and get a pumpkin spice latte. Until then, I'll be pretending to work on my tan. 

Have a tip to share? Or some imaginary sunscreen? Feel free to leave a comment below...

...& be sure to check back every Tuesday for a new tip!


Monday Progress Post #1

Every Monday during my #FleurtySummerChallenge I am going to post an update. I know I might not see too much progress from one week to the next, but I'm hoping that the differences will start to show themselves over time.

I had a great week this week to kick off the challenge. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the weekend. We had a family party to attend on Cape Cod so my in-laws got us rooms at an adorable motel for the weekend. Which meant we took our annual trip to Arnold's, a restaurant famous for it's lobster roll. And I had one. Complete with the side of drawn butter. And it was terrific. The one thing I did right this weekend was to log everything into My Fitness Pal. All million calories of it. I totally splurged. But, I'm making a plan for next weekend right now because I can't afford to undo all of my hard work every weekend. What's done is done - moving on. 

I'm back to work this week after having the summer off. {whimper} The one positive to that is following a schedule. It always makes keeping track of my eating a lot easier. To kick the week off right, I got up and got dressed for the gym at 4:30 this morning. I found myself smiling halfway through my run because I was proud that I had even made it there and glad that my workout was done for the day. 

Weight goals: 

I have an ultimate number that I would love to see again (for the first time since college), but I know it's a long way off. Holding out for that goal feels daunting and a little bit discouraging, so I've made quite a few smaller goals to shoot for. I'm going to work for losing 5% of my starting weight at a time, until I can get to that magic number.

Starting weight: 214.6
5%: 204
10%: 193
15%: 182
20%: 172
25%: 161
30%: 150
Ultimate goal: 145

I have no idea how long it is going to take me to check off each one of these goals, but I'm in this for the long haul and I am determined. I also know that the number on the scale isn't always indicative of change. There are other things I'd like to see, as well. Like collarbones. I had those once. Or biceps. I used to rock some serious muscle. So, I'm looking out for changes in my appearance and my clothing, too.

I took another picture today at the gym. It looks completely identical to the "before" picture. Obviously, I'm not expecting to see visible results for a while, but I'm hoping these pictures will help me notice differences over time. I lost 2.3 lbs this week. I'm pleased with that because my goal is to lose 2 lbs per week and - considering my weekend binge - I am on track with that. 

Thanks for reading and please keep cheering me on. It's what really keeps me going!



How's It Going?

The other day, I posted about a fitness challenge that I joined that was created by Jasmine at Fleurty & Fit. Today she invited eveyone (there are 40 of us!) who is part of the #FleurtySummerChallenge to be part of a Friday link-up. Basically, she's just checking in to see how it's going and how we feel during the first few days of the challenge. 

I have to say that I feel pretty encouraged. At the very least, I made it past Thursday, which is usually the day I give up on every diet I've ever started on a Monday. My struggle, now, is to find the time (major shortage of that in this house) to exercise. I went to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday at 5am. That's the only way I can fit in my run and weights and still get back in time for PJ to go to work. Unfortunately, since I go back to work next week, I'm just going to have to get used to that. It'll bring me back to my rowing days when the crew team would freeze our asses off on fall mornings on the river LONG before the sun came up!
My actual alarm settings.
One thing that Jasmine arranged was for all of us to have Fleurty Friends during the challenge. She paired each of us up with someone to help us have a buddy in this. My new friend, Leslie, and I have exchanged emails and texts to keep each other motivated. It's a great way to #StayFocused (that's Leslie's hashtag). 

The scariest part of the challenge, so far, was when I actually posted it to my personal Facebook page. I had no problem with all of my virtual friends on Instagram being a part of this. It was the real people who I know in real life that terrified me. These are people that might actually see me and would know if I quit. Amazingly, though, that was one of the best parts. I got so many encouraging comments, messages, and texts. It was truly motivating. I'm in it to win it!

Just a quick little update. I'm hoping this enthusiasm doesn't wear off any time soon. I plan on posting Monday updates every week, so if you don't see one, bug me about it. I need the accountability.


Click the button to check out the link-up:

Fleurty and Fit


Putting It Out There (so scary)...

It's time. Time for a change. Time for some accountability. We'll see how long it actually takes me to hit "publish" on this post. (Hold me, I'm scared.)

My girl, Jasmine, over at Fleurty & Fit (who makes those awesome headbands I told you about) is sponsoring a challenge. And I want in. Because if I don't do something right now, I don't know where it'll stop.

Jasmine and I found each other on Instagram. She has been losing weight and getting fit by following her own simple motto: #StopEatingCrapAndMoveYourAss. This week, she is hosting a challenge to get people motivated for these last few weeks of summer. Which is ideal timing for me, since I have done nothing but binge all summer. I desperately need something to stop me in my tracks, because I am a hot mess.

I never gained much weight being pregnant. It's having kids and a job and life in general that has helped me pack on the pounds. I don't even know what's happened to me in the last two years. I guess my body finally rebelled after hosting and feeding all of those babies. And now I don't even recognize myself. Enough is enough. I've officially hit bottom (or top if you're counting the pounds).

Here are my personal goals for the next six weeks of the #FleurtySummerChallenge:
  • Log all of my food into MyFitnessPal
  • Drink at least 100 ounces of water a day
  • Exercise at least 4 times per week
  • Use my blog and Instagram account to post updates
  • If, for some reason, I slip up, I need to get back on track IMMEDIATELY (not next Monday)!

I've started plenty of Mondays with the idea of doing the right thing and failing by Thursday. But... I've never shared my plans with anyone. That way, no one would know if I'd failed or not. This is very scary. I'm putting it right out there for the world to see. I'm even posting my BEFORE picture and starting weight {gulp}. That's it. It's time to take serious action. Please hold me accountable.

Here's to hoping for some decent AFTER pictures at some point!


On The Other Side

I had a revelation this summer: I'm coming out on the other side. 

I have (finally) gotten past the most needy stage of the kids' development. They are really independent now. (Well, as independent as any five kids under the age of 11 can be.)

From February of 2003 to April of 2012 I was pregnant, nursing, or sometimes both. Add another year for when Charlotte was still a 2 year old and you've got ten straight years of neediness. This summer was when I realized that stage is over. 

We've gone on two vacations this summer. I had a revelation on the second one while I was sitting near our fire pit late in the evening. The grown-ups were enjoying the fire, good music and conversation and it was getting late. So I told the kids to go up to bed. And they did! They all just walked up the stairs, brushed their teeth, and went to bed. I could still hear them goofing around from outside, but that quieted down as they dropped off to sleep. It's amazingly liberating. 

I enjoyed every minute of having babies and toddlers (why else would I have had so many?), but this stage is quite nice. When I say, "It's time for the beach," they get their own bathing suits on. Even Charlotte. And hers is only backwards thirty percent of the time! I don't really know what to do with myself. But, I do know enough to enjoy it while it lasts. 

Because I know all of you moms with older or grown children are laughing at me. You know what's coming next... moody teenagers. That's why I'm going to revel in this brief lull in parenting duties while I can!

That's freedom, right there!


Wordless Wednesday - Annual FOAM DAY!

It's Foam Day, again. This is my annual post where I tell you that I'm never bathing my kids again after they spend a straight hour in foam that smells like liquid Dawn...

No, they're not all mine - my niece is there, too.
I'm fairly certain these are the six kids I brought, but it's really hard to tell.
Regan is in there somewhere.
Sophie & Lucy
We even ran into our other cousins that we hadn't seen in ages: Cameron, Tyler, & Ryan!


Tuesday's Tip (#41)

Here's a tip for you:

Preview your playlists.

A couple of weeks ago, Sean had a play-date with one of his little friends. I don't know the parents all that well, so, when they came to pick up their son, I invited them in. I had the speaker out on the deck and it was hooked up to my phone playing some random "Top 25" playlist from Beats Music. Basically, it's just the top 25 pop songs for the week. It didn't even occur to me that there would be a song on there that had questionable lyrics (or that these aren't the "radio edits"). 

So, there I was chatting politely - and totally tuning out the music that is on the radio - when PJ started making crazy eyes at me. I assumed he was trying to tell me I had food on my face or something when he kept looking at me urgently with those crazy eyes.

I seriously wasn't getting the message. He just kept looking like this and I kept wiping at my face like I must be covered in something. (Thanks, Crazy Eyes, for helping me illustrate my point. OITNB)

I just wasn't getting his hints when my friend, Dawn, saved me with, "Wow. That's quite a song." Up until that point, I wasn't even focused on what was playing. And then I heard it. Not just a few bad words, but really explicit rapping all about what some nice young gentleman would really like to do to some fine young lady. I flew into the kitchen to grab my phone and skip to the next track and prayed these poor parents weren't listening too well. 

So, the next time you're having company (especially people you barely know), preview your playlist. Unless you like to make a first impression with sexually explicit lyrics. Then, just hit shuffle and see what happens.

Have a tip to share? Or a Wiggles CD? Feel free to leave a comment below...

...& be sure to check back every Tuesday for a new tip!