The day I stopped saying, "just one more."

It started in a hotel room the day after Christmas.

You know how they have those humongous, fills the entire wall mirrors and one on the back of the door. And the lighting. Could it be any more unflattering? As I was changing into my pj’s…no need to look away, that’s as graphic as I’ll ever get…I caught a glimpse of the stranger staring back at me in the gigantic mirror.

She was scary.

Not only was she, well, more than 50 pounds overweight, her skin was blotchy, the bags under her eyes would run her $50 to take on any plane, her nails were bitten down to the quick, and she just looked seriously…tired.

We stared at each other for a few minutes, she and I. Sizing each other up. I looked away first. It was that or throw a brush at her too-much-white-roots-showing head.

That was forty-two days ago. It has taken me that long to truly come to terms with it. Sure. I’ve been flirting with the notion that it was, “time to really get serious about it.” Being butt-ugly tired all the time. A bonafide couch potato, NCIS-watching, slug.

Day after day. Night after night. It’s been the same thing: just this one time and then I will start tomorrow.

Start tomorrow. Just saying it out loud now leaves a bad taste. Today is yesterday’s tomorrow. I think the final straw was walking through the parking lot at Best Buy to get to Bertucci’s for dinner with My Man and My Girl. They were way ahead of me and the distance was growing and I was hoofing it. I realized that my feet hurt; my legs hurt; I was winded and I was pissed. Thoroughly, utterly pissed that I have let it get this far. Sending me over the edge to tomorrow-I-start-for-sures-ville, however, was My Girl’s comment to her father. It went something like, “why is she so slow?” She was me. And she was right. I was slow. Even though I was hustling.

How had it gotten to this point? Overweight was bad enough. But this out of shape? I allowed myself one more tomorrow I start because I knew I was going out the next night and I wasn’t going to have a choice on the food and drink and it was all going to be ohsobad yummy. That was last night. So one last time I said, “tomorrow I start.”

And I did.

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The One Where My Baby Turns 18.

My first words to him were, “There are two before you. But you are the Prince. For one year. Then you are on your own.”
He interpreted that as, “I rule. All bow down to my wishes.”
He was right

.

He didn’t sleep for the first three years he was on this Earth. Just as we were ready to turn him back in for a new model, My Man headed off to the War College, The Wild Boy and I came to an understanding. Sleep returned to our household and he was content to sleep back in his own bed when dad came home for visits.
He wanted to play football and bugged me until I relented because I was convinced that he would get hit once and never want to play football again.
Hitting was his favorite part of the game and he complained until the last day of his Senior year of football that he should have been a defensive player so he could block instead of a wide receiver.
He is a true Wheeler/Smith in that he loves animals; has a wicked, sarcastic streak; when he loves, he loves big. And when he is hurt, he is hurt big.
He was putting words into sentences at age 1.
He was running around the house at age 1.
His mother was one exhausted 30-something.
He was the funniest kid. I hear rumors that he he still is, but for the last 4 years or so, his interaction with his father and I has been pretty much grunts and stares from his side.
He was born on January 30. 
His mother was born on January 31.
He was the best birthday present I have ever had.

Part 2…2014

Today was a really. long. day. After a really. long. night. Very little sleep until about 5:00 am, which coincidentally happened to be when my *could-very-soon-be-ex* husband finally left for work. I feel bad for him…he has a cold and he coughed and snored all night long. He also kept his wife awake. All. Night. Long. Three hours of sleeping like the dead is better than nothing, I suppose.

So my entire day was thrown off from the get-go. I managed to salvage it and get a lot done at the office. Had planned a stroll or 20 around the parking lot as my workout today but I neglected *in my sleepy stupor* to grab a hat, gloves or jacket when I headed out the door this morning.

So far, this post is a whole buncha whining.

Moving on. Now. To some fun randomness. Or as Mrs. Lady D likes to call it: “a list without numbers.”

Tomorrow is Day 3 of the New Year. Already, time is flying by! There are exactly 28 days until my Wild Boy turns 18 and 172 days until he graduates from High School. Stop the craziness!

It is currently snowing outside. I love snow. We have four “man vehicles” aka four-wheel-drive so if y’all need anything…give a shout out. As I have been sitting here, in the living room with the fireplace going, a plow truck has gone by four times. We have exactly 3 cm of snow on the ground. Where was this guy when when we Snowmageddon? We NEVER had a snow plow on our street, except for the one that got stuck at the top of the street and My Man and Boys helped pull him out. At which time he promptly drove away without ever plowing our street.

We pay off our two car loans between now and August of this year. Already, My Man is on the new-to-us car hunt. Or, new-to-me car hunt, rather. Apparently my back and forth mile to the office every day is racking up too many miles on the truck. So we are going to park it and buy something for me to drive. Call me confused, but why can’t I just drive the truck? It won’t matter come mid-August anyway as I will have the Red Jeep back as my very own since the Wild Boy is heading off to college. *did anyone laugh out loud with me when they read that?* We all know how that’s going to play out.

Last night My Man and I stood out in our front yard watching a bunch of those candle balloon luminary thingies launch from somewhere on the other side of Etta. I was wondering if it was the Steven’s family who released them. Does anyone in the OH ‘Hood know? We tried making our own whilst at the beach last summer. Also known as the OBX Fire of 2013. Just kidding…they dropped straight to the ground like a flaming rock.I just googled them and discovered they are officially called, “Sky Lanterns.” Fancy.

I’ve been fighting this whole writing thing. You know I have aspirations to be a “serious writer.” Apparently, it’s just not my thing. God has been talking to me about being who He created me to be…there goes the snow plow again, fyi…and that I need to stop being someone/something I am not. So it’s taken 52 a few years to figure that one out. You can teach a new dog…yadda yadda.

Tonight I began the big office clean-out. My goal is to go through and purge pictures this Winter. Every single time we went to the zoo, My Man took several rolls of film. How many pics of the two zebras and 1 camel at the National Zoo do we need? Also, tons of blurry, light back in your face shots of snakes through the glass? All of them are headed straight for the dumpster.

Stay safe and warm tonight. 

Part 1…2014.

I wrote a post this morning. I hated it. It was my typical yakkity-yak, blippity blah, frou-frou crap. *Sorry for using “Crap”…you know I like to use it now and then. A lot. Today is that day.* So anyway. I scrapped the crap post this morning and went on my merry way taking down the Christmas Tree, packing stuff up, cutting heads of hair (My Man and The Wild Boy), then headed out for some shopping. I bought this awesome Columbia red hibiscus (more orange-y) hat for my Winter walks. I’m seriously in love with this hat.


The day included a last hurrah meal at Coastal Flats…Lobster Bisque (please make sure there are lots and lots of chunks of lobster meat) and Lobster Roll. Oh. So. Yummy. A nice long grocery store run, stocking up on healthy, whole fruits and veggies and seafood.

But the crap post kept creeping into my thoughts. What was I supposed to do with it? I hadn’t a clue.

I was checking my email and saw a New Year’s Day post from Beth Moore. The more I read, the more I realized what I was supposed to do. I had to be honest with y’all.

I try to pick a word each year that describes my thoughts and goals and plans for the upcoming year. After a few days of thinking and planning one word kept coming back to me:

Revive.

Merriam-Webster online dictionary lays out these awesome definitions:

: to make (someone or something) strong, healthy, or active again
: to become strong, healthy, or active again
: to bring (something) back into use…
: to restore to consciousness or life

: to restore from a depressed, inactive, or unused state :  bring back
: to renew in the mind or memory
Yes. All of these.

You see, God and I have had this on-going discussion for the last year or so. There is some stuff I need to do in order for Him to allow some other stuff to happen. Thus far, He has held up His part and I have been a real slacker. Oh, I’ve made a few changes here and there and He has been extremely generous and merciful. My fibromyalgia has been pretty quiet. That right there is a TGF (Total God Thing). And now, it is time for me to jump in, fully obedient. It is some pretty scary stuff. But y’all have my back, right? Keep me accountable. Keep me honest. Keep me open and vulnerable. See?

Scary. Stuff.

Also, here is My Man and I last night before we headed out to have a New Year’s Eve Dinner with three of the four women (and their spouses) who keep me in line and accountable. This is definitely a new fave pic of us that I guess I will be printing and framing. Seriously…this Man gets more and more handsome as he ages, agreed?

Love you guys.

THE Best *insert anything here* EVER!

Just scrolling through my yahoo emails and noticed a trend. Several subject lines began with…”The BEST (salad, sock people, workouts, weight loss pill, pie recipe, organization tools) EVER!” Several more assured me “The ONLY (recipe, workout, personal plan, husband) you will EVER need!

*I made up “husband” but you get the idea*

The funny thing is, lately I’ve been focusing on just that. The Best. The Only. The One. I think I’ve been pretty up front about my desire to streamline stuff in my house in 2014. To spend the year focusing on getting rid of; organizing; paring down. So I have been thinking a lot about how I am going to do that. How am I going to determine which is The Best. The Only. And getting rid of that which would be considered The Lesser. I am totally not looking forward to it. Stuff is my idol. My Baal, as Ann Voskamp so convincingly convicted me of the last couple days. To further drive that home, I am now going to confess a huge, huge thing:

I cannot find our Christmas Stockings.

There, I said it. It’s out there now. I had a few moments of panic the other day about it. After all of us have searched the entire house; the attic and even the storage bin. I am certain (fairly certain) that they did not accidentally get tossed out. They are always the last things I take down. I am positive I tucked them away somewhere. Somewhere that I thought at the time, “I will remember.” And, clearly, haven’t.

As we were talking about the Great Christmas Stocking Hunt yesterday, I realized that My People were more upset about this than I suspected. I jokingly said, “well, I guess we can’t have Christmas now.” And they nodded in agreement. I had to remind them, “okay, people, we are talking Christmas Stockings here…it’s okay…I will just use Christmas-y bags.” There were a couple horrified gasps at this, but Get. Over. It.

My point would be this: 1) we have so much crap in our house right now that I can’t even find the stinkin’ Christmas Stockings; 2) Christmas Stockings are, obviously, going to fall into The Best; The One; The Only category; and 3) I have passed my Baal of loving stuff onto my children; 4) or at least, my love of Christmas and what is important…stockings.

Yeah. That last one. I’m going with that.

Love you guys. Send me pics of your stockings when you put them up. It will make me My People feel better.

Comfortable in my own skin.

This is one of my “serious pieces of work.” Men, and those with a queasy stomachs, look away now. Ready? I’m going to talk weight. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

I’m going to be 53 years old come January 2014. If there were ever a time to finally decide to get healthy, it would be now. My struggle with my weight has been on-going since my teen years. I’m sure that is not a revelation to anyone who struggles with weight. Or struggles, period, for that matter. The funny thing is? I’m actually an active, healthy, exercise-loving person. I’ve just buried that girl under years of trying to deal with my tendency to worry, stress, panic and put an OCD touch on everything.

Let’s be real for a moment. I can blame my over-eating and weight gain on legitimate, actual events and causes in my life: grief, medication, stress, worry. And it is true that those things have and are occurring. I’ve tried to deal with them on my own. By eating. By allowing myself to sink to some pretty serious and dark depression. By not getting up off the couch and addressing this stuff in my life in a healthy, constructive manner.

Do not misunderstand me. Taking control of my eating, exercise and weight will not magically make the reality of my life disappear. But, it will help me to manage these things in my life in a healthier manner. It is a circle. Grief, stress, worry make me want to self-medicate with food. Unhealthy food makes me tired and draws me down. Which contributes to stress and worry and depression. Eating healthy foods, exercising, handling my grief and stress in a positive and constructive way will, I know, begin to pull me out of this cycle.

January 1 is always a time of resolutions, new beginnings, changes. I’ve always scoffed at the notion. This New Year, however, is going to bring changes; beginnings and yes, even the resolution to get back on track and get healthy. That Girl, the younger me, would do it to look better. Period. This Girl sees the bigger picture. Now that my kiddos are all grown up, essentially, I’m looking ahead to wanting to do things with My Man, just the two of us. I’m looking forward to grandchildren and keeping up with them and enjoying them. No guarantees, of course. But I sure do up the odds if I take better care of myself. And, honestly, I am beginning to feel the effects of my unhealthy living in my joints and energy levels.

I’m thinking now is the perfect time to get back on track. I intend to share with y’all as I step out on this journey. I’m hoping it will be encouraging; honest; insightful and of course, real. Don’t worry, I won’t be posting any “before” shots of me in a bikini. That would be just icky.

Love you guys.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick good morning and wishing you the happiest of Thanksgiving days.

Our house is quiet and still. For ten minutes more. At 9:00, the troops will be roused and the quiet will be broken with teen and twenty-somethings moaning and groaning and grumbling. And I couldn’t be more happy to hear it in my home.

I finally fell asleep around 6:00 this morning after tossing and turning all night long. It’s my own fault. I wouldn’t turn off the brain. Please know that every single one of you reading this, whether I know you or not, was thoroughly prayed over last night.

This morning, My Man and I did a small part in taking back our community. We refused to hit the Starbucks for our usual morning-off brews and drinks. With all five us home, that was quiet the chunk of change we saved and, hopefully, served as a message to Starbucks that we aren’t happy with them being open on Thanksgiving Day. I also noticed that I am short on half and half and whipping cream. Oh well. We suffer through with milk in our mashed potatoes instead of half and half and will have to ration out the homemade whipped cream. Can you hear the hint of sarcasm in my tone? I feel ridiculous even typing that knowing how over-the-top blessed and fortunate we are. And I am worried about not having enough half and half? I am so very thankful for all that we have; our family, our freedoms, the problem of too much stuff. In 2014 I am going to be looking for ways to bless others as I have been blessed. Won’t you join me?

I totally blame my friend, Fran for this poking in the eye. I also totally thank her.

Love you guys. Happy Thanksgiving!

Feeling a Tad Overwhelmed.

So I am consumed with all of my stuff these days. Consumed with wanting to get to work on it, clean it out, get rid of it, etc.

But The Holiday Season is upon us. Senior Football Banquet is tomorrow night. I have tons to do at work. A crowd of family is coming to my house for Thanksgiving. I’m feeling a tad overwhelmed.

I always do this at this time of year. I think my obsessing about Christmas is my coping mechanism to make this Season more joyful. Even I had to read that sentence a couple of times to make sure it made sense.

My mantra for 2013 was, “Just Say No.” So, how did I end up being in charge of all of these things? I have a people-pleasing problem would be what some of you will say. I think it’s more a selfishness problem. The things I took on have been all about The Wild Boy…helping with Football Spirit Wear; being in charge of the Senior Football Banquet; being on the board for FCA at West Springfield High School. I am really trying to eek out every last second of Wild Boy teenager stuff before these days are gone.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about that. I am actually complaining about letting my house and accumulation of stuff get to this point. But, the light is at the end of the tunnel. I told TWB last night that the first week is head’s out off to college, I am gutting his room. While that really isn’t going to be the case (mostly because My Girl jumped in and said, “I thought we were doing my room first?!”…and we are), I am taking a stand and taking back the house. Chances are, TWB will be back in four years, just like his brother and sister who don’t seem to be making any plans to move out on their own anytime soon. *Secretly, I’m okay with it…shhhhhhhhh.* At least until My Man retires in two years and we figure out the What Next. My mantra for 2014 will be “Just Say No” and mean it. And also a few other things that my Quiet Time has me thinking about letting go/changing.

By the way, I’m not ignoring your suggestions about what I should write about this month. I am actually saving your suggestions for January when I will be planning out my writing and getting more serious about it. I hope. I think. No, I am going to.

Thank you, all of you, for being so encouraging and supportive. When I end my posts with “love you guys” it is because I truly do.

Love you guys.

It’s all about the gifts, baby. Santa, Baby, that is.

I texted The Children this morning and asked them to text me some ideas for Christmas presents for them.

So far, I have this response from The Big Boy, “idk. i haven’t even looked yet.”

This response from My Girl, “Don’t care. lol. Let you know if I think of something.”

And, typically, from The Wild Boy, he sent me two pictures:

Both of which, by the way, were on MY Christmas list to My Man Santa this year. 
The Wild Boy also texted me the following items for his list, “cigars & ammo, PS4, BF4, C4 (yes, the explosive).” 
And y’all wonder why I refer to him as “The Wild Boy.”
I’ve been working on my Christmas Planner/Binder. I wanted to have up a video or at least some pics today, but that’s just not happening since I’ve been down with the stomach crud. So I am just going to share my dividers with you:
Receipts (I’ve put these in a zippy pencil pouch)
To Do (everything I need to do, including, “put together Christmas Planner/Binder” which now looks like this, “put together Christmas Planner/Binder”.
Christmas Gifts (a blank page as of this moment)
Christmas Meal (because we are all about the food here, this page is pretty filled up)
Christmas Baking (ditto)
Christmas Card List

All of my dividers are written in red sharpie. I am using red, green, silver and gold Sharpies and pencils for all of my Christmas Planner/Binder entries because I am OCD festive like that.
Once I’m feeling better, tomorrow morning at the latest is my self-imposed deadline for feeling better, I will at least post pics if not a quick video.
If you decided to create a Christmas Planner/Binder, let’s see some pics or at least hear about what you did!
Also, remember we are going to do this beginning the first week of January. If there is enough interest in participating, I will even set up a site for us to share and chat on!
Love you guys.