Saturday, July 16, 2016

4 kids and all...

I heard someone say the other day "you know... she's tired...she's kids...and all."  yeah... that pretty much sums it up.  4 kids and all.

When did summers get so busy?  And I don't even feel like we have a schedule quite like some of my friends.  June was full of a beach trip, VBS, doctor appointments for everyone, getting ready for 4th of July activities and birthday parties.  Then July hits.  Next thing I know I'm ordering new backpacks and school supplies.  Swim lessons, Kids' Camp, and our yearly summer trip to Tennessee to visit my family.   Bam.  School starts the week after we get back.  I had "plans" to clean out closets, swap seasonal clothing in the kids' closets, do some major cleaning out with baby clothes/items and decorating our master bedroom.  Not.happening.  ugh.

I've had another psoriasis flareup and I can't use pregnancy or breastfeeding hormones to help that out anymore.  I finally met with a rheumatologist concerning my psoriatic arthritis (seeing as how my psoriasis WAS under control at the time).  I have been taking methotrexate since March and they have increased my dose twice and I'm still not seeing a huge benefit yet.  The arthritis is slightly better but I caught strep at the beach and it triggered a flareup.  So obviously the mtx didn't prevent that (which it technically probably should have).  Next step is adding Humira injectable...and I was really hoping to avoid that.  But here I am with Mati Claire telling me it looks like I have chicken pox.

I started back on my Advocare and TeamFit plans.  Its INTENSE!  I feel like I spend most of my days either taking my supplements, planning my meals so I can be prepared on the go, or actually eating one of my six meals.  You definitely don't go hungry on this plan but its definitely not for the sissies.  We've discovered MuscleEgg.  When you there are certain days you can be eating up to almost 15 egg whites a day.... you will vomit egg whites when you exercise.   so we drink them now.  tastes like chocolate milk.  again, its hard core stuff!  But I'm dedicated to losing weight and getting in shape!  I would post pictures, but I'm not ready for that yet.  I have lost technically about 15 lbs.  put on alot of muscle too (so you can't really go by the scales).  I've lost a total of 12" all over so far.  I still have a long way to go, but consistency is the key and I'm hanging in there.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my 2 beautiful girls!  Mati Claire turned 9 and Merritt turned 4.  Being 5 years apart, its really hard to do a joint party when they are so different and in different times in their life.  Merritt is still a die-hard Mickey Mouse fan and Mati Claire wants preteen activities.  They may look similar but they are total opposites.  When Mati Claire begs and pleads with me to not have to share "her day" -- its really hard to argue with her.  BUT... this mommy is pushing 40 and I can not party for 2 straight days anymore.  With the planning, the cleaning, the gifts, the traveling to wherever, the feeding, and even the fun of it... I can't hang.  Soon next year we have decided we will do a joint swim party (now that Merritt isn't terrified of the water anymore).  I will even 2 separate cakes if they want, as long as its on the same day and same time - so I only have clean up ONCE in one location.

Getting in shape to be "40 and Fit" brings me to my next note:  Matt will be turning 40 next year!  How I wish the blog had emoji's!! hahahahaha!  Me being the planner that I am... and accepting the fact that he is NOT a party kind of guy (at all)... we are going on a trip!  Alone!  Well, together, but leaving the kids with my parents!  For TWOOOO whole weeks!!!!!!!!!  oh my goodness I'm so excited!  And I have a whole year to try to contain the excitement!  Flights are booked.  Trip/hotels are booked.  Now I'm nervous.  a whole year to contemplate how I'm going to leave Mason for 2 straight weeks = we will be Facetiming ALOT!

 We loooove our "Chachel" so much.  Mitt wasn't a fan of jumping -- but only if Chachel did it with her!  And Mason can spot frosting from across a room.  He goes crazy for cake!

 a Minnie party for our skinny minnie!  We love our Mrs. Ty too!  The world is a better place because of Mrs. Ty!  It is a Minnie miracle that the cake survived the car trip for an hour.  I think it was about to fall apart by the time we got to the lake!

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

My Cup Runneth Over!

I just realized I haven't posted since April 1.  wow.  I HATE the end of school years.  May is a m-a-r-a-t-h-o-n!  I don't remember school being that busy when I was a kid... but then again, I wasn't a parent then.  Is it me?  or have the schools added so much more "stuff"???  I was REALLY glad I only allow ONE after school extra-curricular activity for each kid.  Between ballet recitals, baseball games, I could not imagine adding anything else on top of school programs and parties.

Mati Claire is my bookworm.  She received 3rd place in the entire school for AR points with a total of 369 points!  She was first overall in her class.  She decided this was her last ballet recital.  :(


Merritt has finally decided to show some interest in learning to write her name (and letters in general).  She also FINALLY decided to participate in her end of the year program at preschool.  She also did GREAT on stage for the first time at her first ballet recital!  What???  Is that a light I see at the end of this tunnel we call "terrible 3's"  --> age 4 is ALMOST here and I couldn't be happier about that!

We left on the last day of school for our only vacation this year:  Universal Studios in Orlando and then a week at the beach in Sandestin, FL.  We took my 2 oldest nieces with us and had a great time!
It wasn't entirely busy, but I always feel I need a vacation from my vacation.  Just glad to be home and I may spend the entire summer just catching up on laundry now.

Biggest news from our vacation is that Mason decided to START WALKING!!!  Noooooo.. :(  Matt turned 39 and we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary!!  Big week!

 What else have I been doing (since I'm always talking about my kids)?
EATING and EXERCISING.  Have to acknowledge Advocare and TeamFitMom here.   This plan is i.n.s.a.n.e.  But, drastic change called for drastic measures.  I was desperate to start losing weight and knowing that I will NEVER have any more kids -- I was ready!  I also have such bad psoriatic arthritis, that I can't walk more than 0.5 mi.  I am 38 and couldn't imagine taking a family vacation without hurting all over.  My elbows began to lock up in the shower while I washed my hair.  I wanted to lose weight, but can't exercise because my knees hurt so bad...and as a mom of 4-- who has time to swim?   I considered myself 30 lbs overweight.  I was pushing a size 14 that i have NEVER worn in my life (size 12 is my "fat size" and a size 8 I get told I look anorexic even though I feel great, so I'm happy to be in a size 10 usually).  So size 10's are my goal.  I don't usually make a weight goal bc I hover around 145.  138 is my all-time best.  Being 5'10" ain't easy.  So I quit comparing myself to others.  Women doing these plans would drop 10 lbs in a week or two.  I actually GAINED 5 lbs during my first month of this plan.  What??  Totally discouraged, but thanks to my coach, Kristen...I kept pushing on!  I started seeing a rheumatologist also for my psoriatic arthritis and started a new medication that we are still testing out.  We've increased the dose once but still waiting to see how it works out overall.

I can't give the TeamFitMom plan away obviously, but I eat EXTREMELY clean, carb rotate, and try to workout like a beast!  I've definitely had to re-prioritize things...putting myself before a few other things.  Do I feel guilty?  Sometimes.  But there is a saying "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  I wasn't happy and my self-confidence was fading.  Now I have energy to keep up with the 4 kiddos... I take them jogging with me.  They see me eating healthier and the effects on the body.  "Mommy, you don't look like you have a baby in your belly anymore!"  That's always a good confidence booster.  The biggest adjustment is eating 6 small meals a day.  There is a whole new level of preparing and planning it takes to do that.  I spend most of my day eating, working out, and taking my Advocare supplements!

Do I enjoy eating clean?  Heck no.  But do I feel better?  Heck yes!  I would love to run to the nearest fast-food place and inhale a giant cheeseburger.  But I remind myself that I had ZERO energy and found myself napping on the couch literally ALL day sometimes.

After 8 weeks on the plan, I've lost a total of 9" all over and a total of 13 lbs.  After my 8 weeks, I took a week off the menu for vacation and about 3 weeks off exercising because I have had a sick kid almost every day for the past 3 months!  I can't go to the gym when I have a sick kid so that has pushed me to do more at-home workouts.  Luckily, they came out with a new "at home" plan now! yay!

so here are a few pics of before and afters at just 6 weeks.  This was probably 6 weeks ago, and I think I look better than this now, but haven't updated my pics yet.  Anyway, I WILL be 40 and Fit!  Its hard, but so worth it!

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Friday, April 1, 2016

March Madness

March has been crazy busy!  I guess that's every month for me now though.  :\

Tried to relax during our Spring Break.  Mattox's birthday.  He's 6 now if I didn't post about that.   He had a very low-key birthday this year and didn't mind his lack of a big party as long as he still got some cool birthday gifts.  Nerf guns!

My Mason man turned 1.  I blinked and he's 1.  Why is it the harder you try to remember every little detail about everything during those first sweet months, that when you look back - it seems like a blur?  He pretty much sums up the definition of being the baby.  Looks up to the older ones, tries to do what they do.  He never lacks for entertainment!  He is ALL boy...and getting a little aggressive... he likes to hit and scratch at you.  Getting rough already!  I stopped breastfeeding about a week ago.  I cried and sulked for 2 days.  But its time to move on.  He was NOT happy about it, but finally taking the sippy cup.  He also quit baby food and only wants what we have for meals (another Merritt??)  If my pregnancy was any indication, then he won't have any trouble with foods!  He weighs 21 lbs and is 31 inches tall.  He FINALLY started sleeping all night on a regular basis!!!!  Hallelujah!  Will pull up, but not walking yet (thank goodness).  Seeing as his birthday is the day after St. Patrick's Day, I'm afraid he will always have a little green in his birthdays!   It rained that day, so we had alot of the decorations planned for outside - had to move them in - so they didn't get the same effect they were meant to.  :(  but he LOVED his cake and was my only child to dig into it!  He thought it was hilarious that I was actually letting him throw it everywhere!

(his pics below)

Merritt spent a week with Gigi and Poppy in Tennessee.  It was a REALLY nice and much appreciated break from her.  I did feel guilty.  But then again, all my other kids have spent a week with them in the summer (usually all together) -- so it was her first time!  I keep asking myself if its her age (terrible 3's) or if its her personality.   At the moment I think its a little of both.  But  I am mentally drained by the end of each day from her alone.  I love her to death and would do anything for her, but her voice sounds like nails scratching down a chalkboard most days.  Constant, loud, and shrieking usually.   I feel like I'm attempting to break that free spirit of hers (with no success), but I honestly don't know what else to do.  She also has to learn to behave and the rules of certain settings.  That's such a fine line to walk.  According to everyone else, she's an angel.  Yeahhhh.... they don't see her at home.  Not buying that for one second.  But here's a pretty angelic picture of her, right? ;)

And Mati Claire is the best big sister that ever lived.  She helps.  She entertains.  She excels at school which makes my job easier.  She behaves.  Just an overall joy to have.  I would be lost without her.  

MC and her best friend Brooke at their 80's class party.
I stopped breastfeeding, and started my Advocare.  I also started my exercise plan for the next 12 weeks through TeamFitMom (  You can tell its been 2 years since I've worked out!  But will post before/after pics if and when the time calls for it!

My local store/lady "Meme's Bakery" made this and it turned out perfect!  Delicious too!

"Mommy doesn't like for my hands to get I'll try it like this..."
"Wait, she's going to let me do it anyway?..."
"and this is just the beginning...this is awesome!"
My sis and me.  excuse the medicine cabinet behind me...but that's real life!

We LOVE our "chachel"
Shenanigans is definitely his middle name!
my "wee one" with her Ty!
"the Luckiest Big Sister" and she knows it.  she loves her siblings even though she won't admit it.  

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Springing Forward

I have got Spring Fever.  It can not come soon enough.  I have so many plans for the months coming up and so excited that I can't wait for them to get here.  Because...

1)  I just started weaning Mason.  I've only cut out one feeding and I cried all day.  Something about knowing he's my last baby and it breaks my heart.  I want him to stay a baby forever!  I see why my older sister always complained about me getting whatever I wanted all the time (of course I didn't see it that way at all--I got hand me downs all the time).  As much as I LOVE breastfeeding, I am also excited to be moving on past this stage.  So I can...

2) Lose that baby weight!  I ordered my Advocare 24 day challenge... and I'm weaning myself off the bad junk food I've been eating lately.  I can not wait to get started again.  Looking forward to having energy, sleeping better, eating better, feeling better!  I love Advocare products and they WORK as long as you stick to healthy clean eating.  It is hard, but worth it.  Because I want to be 40 and fit with 4 kids!  My hubs is turning 40 next year (I'm not far behind him).  I have 3 years to reach all my goals physically:  still fit into my wedding dress, get into my favorite jeans, I'd prefer to wear my size 8 clothes again, and I'm not worried about the scales as much... but I'd be happy with my 145 lb weight goal (even better is my record 138 but I've been told I look anorexic at that weight even though I'm happy with it and feel great at that weight).   So that is a 30 pound weight loss goal!  Yep, I put on 40 with Mason---wow!  20 year high school reunion will be coming up next year -- so I hope to be close to my goals by that point!  Not even sure if I'm going or if we will have one, but just in case.   But I'm putting my goals out there so I'm held somewhat accountable.

3) Vacations.  I plan to start taking some new medications (I'm terrified to try them) for my psoriatic arthritis.  I can't walk more than 0.5 miles without my knee feels like someone is stabbing me with a knife.  My elbows throb in the shower while I wash my hair.  All my joints hurt most of the time.  I keep psoriasis in my hair even if I'm not having a flare-up on my skin.  I am so tired of it, and willing to try one of the new approved drugs even though there are several side effects I'm scared of.
I'm 37 and can't walk more than 1/2 mile -- what would I do when I'm 40 and we want to go to DisneyWorld again or another country where you walk everywhere you go?

4)  Cleaning out.  Yes mam.  Now that Mason and Mitt are outgrowing the last of the clothes - I can clean out my attic!!! Hallelujah!  If you know me, then you know clothes are a bit of my obsession.  Plus when you have older nieces, it all adds up!  Can not wait to get rid of all these plastic boxes that have taken over my house!  And baby gear.  I am drowning in a sea of toys!  I will be selling and donating a TON of stuff this summer.

All of that needs to happen June ;)  jk

Valentine's Day was very low-key for us this year.  I was a horrible wife and didn't even get Matt a card.  Told him I would make up for it by cooking whatever he wanted one day this week?  Does that make up for not being able to get to the store last week because I've had a sick child?

Merritt has been sick for 1 full week and then woke up running a high fever this am.  Ugh.  so this is as good as the pics got yesterday.  You can see Mason wasn't up for getting his pic made (nap time!).

Only way to catch his picture is while he is asleep and not moving!

and just for fun... since everyone seems to like his Mohawk hair...mati claire calls it his "chicken hair".  :)

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Omphalocele Awareness Day 2016

Sorry, I'm a little late in posting.  O Awareness Day is Jan. 31st each year.  Its amazing to see a showcase of these babies.  Even remembering the ones that have passed.  In the MOO group, we get to know each other, whether through the multitude of questions posted or being located physically near another MOO (moms of omphaloceles).

This past year, several states have had the day legally recognized by the state government as Omphalocele Awareness Day.  Definitely on our way to be nationally recognized!

Awareness?  Yes, we need to let each mom that gets the diagnosis know that it is not a reason to terminate the pregnancy.  They will have struggles.   It will be hard.  Its heartbreaking.   The baby may make it or not make it.  In the words of my own OB/GYN, "it may or may not be compatible with life."  I'd say in MOST cases, the baby will be ok.  Or at least in my experience (despite what the statistics may say).  But you have hope, you have the MOO group there for you to answer your questions that most doctors can't, and you have an increase in modern medicine and technology on your side.

We've seen articles where the CDC says cases of omphaloceles and gastrochisis are increasing.  I might agree with that.  In the 4 years that I've been a part of the world-wide MOO group, membership has gone from around 400 to thousands!  Granted, some of those are GOO's (grandmothers or grandfathers of omphaloceles), DOO's (dads of omphaloceles), etc.   Most of us do NOT agree that so called "risk factors" are true.  There are SO many of us that had none of these existing factors to cause such a defect.  Personally, I don't smoke, I'm not obese, I don't do drugs, I wasn't taking any medications, and I'm not African-American.

It was just God's will.  Why you ask?  No, I don't think God is cruel, but He does allow trials and tribulations to test your faith.  John 16:33 says you have trouble in this world, but you will also find peace in Him.  I will go as far as to say, your family won't understand.  At times, your spouse/partner won't understand.  Your friends won't truly understand.  Who will you turn to?  God was my rock.

Merritt is a happy, healthy 3 1/2 year old who eats everything in sight.  Just the other night she put down 3 oysters, 2 shrimp, a salad, chicken, onions, mushrooms, grits, pasta, and milk.... at one meal! Yes, I wish my other kids would eat like she does!  I have no idea where she puts it, but food has never been her struggle since she was 2 weeks old.  She's odd for an O baby like that, but I know several other similar to her.  My point is that every O baby is different!  Some may have trouble with their lungs, their hearts, their stomachs, or have other genetic abnormalities.  In Merritt case, she has a VSD (hole) in her heart.  But it does NOT hold her back at all.

Merritt, we love you and thank God for you!  God is using you in great ways!  "Your people" love you!

Saw this on a new t-shirt the other day:  "Who needs bellybuttons anyway?  They just collect lent." :)

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