Thursday, July 30, 2009

I love me a nerd!

Whilst on vacation I am catching up on some reading. I just finished Gargoyle (Loved it!) I started The toss of the Lemon (Very interesting, just started and I am liking it).

I see vacation reading as an extension of my vacation. I like to bring along books I have been meaning to read, wanting to read, or even just a little book-candy, mindless reading. You know, light, fun, enjoyable reading... you know what I mean.

So, as I take over the wheel, David nestles into the co-pilot seat and pulls out his reading material. Within minutes I can tell he is fully engrossed in his book.

I glance over at his book cover, and do not recognize it.

"Whatcha reading?"
"Secrets of anti-gravity propulsion"
" it, um, good?"
"Ya, really good, it's a physics book."
"A physics book? A physics book is your vacation reading?......You're a nerd!"

Yep. I love me a nerd!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WW - Say cheese!

Today's Wordless Wednesday is actually also a Wordful Wednesday post.

While the photos I am going to post all speak for themselves - a young family, travelling across Canada on summer vacation - having the best time ever - they do not express my gratitude and pride.

So far, we have taken approximately 140 photos and I am in many of them. In fact, I volunteer to be in many and throw the camera at hubby so that he can capture a special moment. This is a HUGE shift in attitude. Before loosing my weight I shied away from the camera. So much so, that there are months, and many special occasions that you would be hard-pressed to find a photo of me.

People always ask me to post before and after photos - and the truth is that I have very few photos of me - especially in the last year or so. I was ashamed of how I looked. I protected myself by being the one taking all the photos. Never posing.

Now, as I upload our adventure vacation photos, I am so very happy. Now, I am part of the memory. I am not just behind the camera. I am in the action!

Now my kids will have photos of me. Photos of mommy smiling. Confident. Joking around. Enjoying life. Playing with them. Goofing off for the camera. Relaxing. Happy.

We will all have fun memories captured of a family trip that we all went on together - that we all enjoyed. Images of their mother are captured forever, not only in photos, but also in their hearts.

For more Wordless Wednesday entries click HERE!

Or if you prefer Wordful Wednesdays, click HERE!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Realistic, Attainable and Measurable

Yet another frustrating weigh-in last night. I am up a pound...well, actually, not "A" pound, but, "THE" pound. Yep. That pesky little bugger that I have been gaining and loosing for 10 weeks now!

Full stop.

Let's switch up our thinking, and look at this from another angle:

Hmmmm...... how about looking at it from this angle?

OK - that was not very pretty, but it did get me thinking of this whole weight loss journey a bit differently.

Those photos above? Well, those jeans are the same size I wore back in 2000. In fact, they are the smallest size I have worn since getting engaged - forget the whole multiple pregnancy excuse! ENGAGED!!!

(ok, my tummy is bigger, and the pants fit me a bit differently, but these pants were bought at a "normal" store, in a normal size, with no tears of frustration or feelings of just buying something cause it fits!)

So, perhaps I should not focus on the number on the scale, but on how my body is changing. I am leaner, stronger, fitter and I carry myself with a feeling of confidence that has been missing for a long, long time.

On Sunday I ran the furthest I have EVER run (15.8km) AND I purchased size 12 jeans.

Ya, the scale may be bouncing around the 166 mark - but I am not over eating, binge eating and I am trying to choose healthy foods. I am running 3 or 4 times a week, playing soccer, working full time AND being a full time SAHM. And my weight is not ballooning. It is not inching or catapulting up.

On Thursday our running clinic had a nutritionist as a guest speaker. She is a runner, and could easily relate to our running agendas, and she works with obese children. So, I really felt that she could relate to my struggles.

After a brief conversation she gave me a big hug and said, " Look at you! You look great! You are about to go for a 6k run! You have come a long way. But you are at a cross roads. It is very difficult to properly fuel your body to prepare and train for a half marathon while totally focused on losing weight. You need to decide if your goal is to reach your goal weight in the next 2 months or is it to successfully train, and complete a half? Maybe your new short term goal is to eat healthy and properly, and train - and then, after the race you focus on loosing the last little bit of excess weight. You may be pleasantly surprised how flipping your focus to be properly fueling your training and running your race to the best of your ability will allow your to meet your weight loss goals...but it will take more time. The key should be on refueling, repairing muscle and keeping healthy. Cutting calories and sacrificing your ability to train effectively will lead to huge disappointment. You need to set your goals."

Goals. My goals.

Well, for almost 10 months my goal has been to loose weight. Period. PERIOD. Perhaps I am suffering from tunnel vision?

I really want to train and succeed at completing a half marathon. Can you imagine the feeling I will have crossing that finish line - exactly one year from the time I could not run around the soccer pitch or run up two flights of stairs?

I have come a long way. Ten months ago, I could not even fathom running 1km let alone 22.5km!

OK. So, I need to set new goals. They need to be realistic, attainable and measurable.

What a coincidence, the weekly challenge at Amy's 15 Week challenge is all about goal setting and rewarding yourself for short term and long term goals.

Here goes:

Short term goals and associated rewards:
1. Run 3 times a week while on vacation (getting in each of my LSD Sunday runs as per my training program. REWARD - A new, cute running outfit!

2. Journal everything I eat while on vacation - The good, the bad, and the ugly. REWARD - A new sleek black coat I have been eyeing for a few weeks.

3.Enjoy my vacation and get to at least 1 WW meeting in the 3 weeks. REWARD - A pair of AMAZING red shoes I saw at Winners!

Long term goals and associated rewards:
1. Run the half marathon in September - and cross the finish line with a smile, or simply beaming with pride. REWARD - a day at the spa.

2. By Christmas day be 160 pounds. REWARD - Treat myself to a boxing day shopping spree.

Well, I think those are all realistic, attainable and measurable!

Your encouragement, support and well, prayers, are all appreciated.

I am not in a race to lose weight, I am building, defining and reconfirming who I am and what I want out of life, but embarking on a healthy lifestyle and a commitment to me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WW - You've come a long way!

I have been asked for another before and after comparison - so, for Wordless Wednesday, here you go!

Me, on July 18, 2008.

The new me on July 21, 2009.

For more Wordless Wednesday entries click HERE!

Or if you prefer Wordful Wednesdays, click HERE!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Making Mom Proud

Our HUGE family vacation is fast know, the one where we put a 5 year old, a 4 year old and a 2 year old into a van and drive clear across the country. Ya, the one that Map Quest indicates takes 51 hours and 12 minutes (one way, not including washroom breaks, sanity checks, false washroom breaks, WW3 diversions, playground stops, middle-of-no-where-stops, traffic jams, bad weather, ferry wait times and whatever other types of stops a young family is forced to take in a 4602.46 KM/ 2860 mile car ride). Ya. That one.

Anyways, my mom (who gives Martha Stewart a run for her money in many areas) is a woman of lists, organization and efficiency. While, in daily life, her mutant gene hardly wears off on me, it does when I am vacation planning. I make lists of lists, I stay organized and well prepared.

So, I am happy to report, that while we are still a week from departure, packing and organizing is coming along.

I have a spread sheet that includes 234 rows and almost half of those have little check marks. COMPLETED. PACKED. READY. (I am not sure if being packed or if having a spread sheet of 234 rows or even having room for 234 items in our van is the more impressive feat!?!??!??!)

Yep, while one can never be fully prepared for a epic, crazy-a$$ trip of this sort, I am doing my very best!

Madigan, or line item 154, packed!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekly Challenge Success

Amy's 15 Week Challenge has been keeping me motivated. After an initial weight gain the first week, I am happy to announce that I am down for the second straight week. At my last WW weigh in I was -0.5 pounds! Yippeeee!!!

The weekly challenges this week were pretty easy.
First, we had to fit in 20 minutes of running. Well, training for my half marathon allowed me to easily meet this requirement. Actually, Wednesday I participated in the 20 minute challenge at The Running Room. It was great fun and I got a cool running hat too!!!
The healthy eating challenge was also easy. Why? Well, just look at the recent shots of my gardens!!!!! The challenge was to eat "clean". As few processed foods as possible.
This is my second year gardening. I have 5 little plot that each measure about 5 feet by 8 feet. I cannot wait till all the plants are ready to harvest.
For breakfast I used fresh raspberries from my "fruity" garden to make an amazing purple-green monster! YUMMY!

Then I harvested fresh lettuce and spinach and swiss chard from my "greens" garden.

I made simply delish tossed salad. I added a some cottage cheese and left-over ham to make it really yummy good!

For dinner I decided to make a shrimp stir fry. I raided my "climber" garden for snow peas, green peas and a few beans.

Combined with fresh herbs from my "flavour" garden" I made a very tasty dinner!

Yes, it was a very lovely, clean diet all day! For my morning snack I ate an assortment of radishes from the garden and in the afternoon I used spinach from the garden to make another green monster.
This challenge really got me thinking. And I am now committed to decrease my consumption of processed foods and enjoy fresh fruits and veggies.
Thanks Amy!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Skirting the issue

The last few weeks of my weight loss journey have been a bit disappointing and a bit frustrating. The scale has gone up one, down one, up two, down 2, you get the picture.

I was feeling a bit bummed. I reached a plateau - in my opinion, not the weight loss plateau some people believe in, but in a attitude plateau. When I studied my food journal, I realized that many of my food choices and snack selections were actually sabotaging my success.

So, I have decided to really focus on my attitude and selection process and get back on track. My half pound loss this week takes me that much closer to my 100 pound goal. I need to think positively and I need to keep motivated.

I have to also focus on the positive and on how far I have come so far - I have lost over 80 pounds in 10 months. That is no small feat!

I decided to celebrate this and do a bit of retail therapy.

Last summer I stumbled upon a sale at a favorite store and when I tried their largest size, well, let's just say I did not buy anything, I did not even have the OPTION of buying anything - NOTHING fit.

Well, this past weekend I saw the big sale tent up again. Hmmmm...should I check it out? I know they have some cute jean skirts in their flyer, and that was an item on my wish list.

So, I headed into the dressing room...only to be disappointed. Every item I chose to try on was too BIG! Yep, too big - what I realistically thought was my new size, was too big. Oh what a happy-frustrated feeling that was! So, I went back to the racks, went down a size, and well, see for yourself...... I got myself a cute little jean skirt...

I forgot how much fun shopping can I can browse, compare cuts and styles. I have choices (just like I do in what I chose to eat!) now! Before I began this weight loss journey I had to buy whatever fit. Now, I can be more choosy.
I am so, so, so glad I found a jean skirt, you know....cause the one I did own is now a bit big on me!

I am no longer a size 22!!!!!

OK, now, the next time I think of having a second helping, or sneaking a cookie or a hand full of chips, I need to remember how far I have come.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WW - Good summer eats!

DJ showing off our first harvest from our garden!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Throwing my hat into the ring...ring of the the alarm clock that is!

  • Cool job - not many people can say they hand deliver a report to the Prime Minister of Canada every day!
  • Nifty work - I get paid to watch the news! Oh, and write an overview
  • Do not need childcare
  • Allows me to be home during the day
  • Full time pay
  • Permanent federal government position with all the benefits
  • Will allow us to save more, faster - you know, to pay off mortgages, van payments and even take a fun vacation or do home renovations
  • New ability to do some of the work from home


  • I will basically be working a full day, BEFORE some people even get up!
  • I will have to adjust my bed time - getting to work for 3am sucks!
  • Saturday hours - YUK!
  • Not having human interaction since most of my team are not in yet, or work form home

So, after much thought and discussion with hubby - WE decided that applying for the new position at work was the right thing to do. Yes, the hours are STUUUUUUPID crazy, and I have to work 6 days a week - but with David's job being so unstable, the economy so rocky, and the possibility this job will open new doors - the right thing to do was to apply.

Here is the lovely scoop: I use to work 4am-8am- then our project started to get a higher profile and we had quality issues - so, to solve the issue they decided to "go to competition". So, I was "invited" to apply for the new full time position. Instead of contract and part time - the new position is full time and permanent - a huge deciding point for us. I know I am going to be tired (who is NOT tired when they have young kids??) and I know the weekend hours will make for a long week. But David and I will work together to make it work.

So, I have entered the competition for my own-old-new job. Wish me luck...with getting it, and with staying awake AFTER I get it! Who knows? There are currently 3 of us on contract and only 2 permanent positions will be staffed...I may not even win the competition...and that would be ok too!

Friday, July 10, 2009

One day left

11PM - Leave for work
7AM - Deliver media report to the Prime Minister's Office
8AM - Breakfast with hubby and kiddies
9AM - Relax in bed and try to get to sleep
2PM - Wake up, eat lunch, play with kids
5PM - Make dinner
6PM - Exercise
8PM - Put kids to bed
9PM - Threaten kids
10PM - Wink-wink, nudge-nudge (or cuddle-cuddle, or mindless TV, or blog)
11PM - Leave for work

REPEAT for 2 weeks.

Happily, after tonight, only one more night, then my co-worker returns from vacation. THANK GOD! (though, I must say, there have been SOME benefits to this new schedule!)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

15 Week Challenge - Week 1 review

I am always up for a good competition - heck, I never really understand why the guy next to me on the treadmill never realizes that it IS actually a race! So, I really thought I was pumped for Amy's 15 Week Challenge.

Well, let's just say, with one week down, I am doing myself NO favours!

In most competitions, tipping the scales in your favour is a good tactic to win...except when you are TRYING to lighten the scales. Yep, remember my lament about the pesky one pound I keep loosing and gaining - and then finally after 6 weeks, I lost 2 pounds???

Well, today, in my weekly challenge update email, I had to admit to gaining 2 friggin' pounds this week. Oh ya! I sure to win the competition with this great start!


I am happy to report that I did complete Amy's Wednesday Workout. It was great - sure made me miss my boot camp course. In fact, I ended up doing this great ab workout on Wednesday and Friday and again today!!!!! Yah for me!!!!!

I am also happy to report I successfully completed the weekly challenge. We had to recreate one of our favorite sinful recipes to make it figure friendly.

OK. I started with a family favorite - Salisbury Steak - Without going into too much of the fattening detail, just think TABLESPOONS of BUTTER, and OIL, and a can of CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP, WHITE BREAD CRUMBS, and MASHED POTATOES...oh ya, just picture 9 billion comfort food calories on a plate!

So, here is what I did to make it very tasty, and a bit more healthily!

Ground Turkey
Chopped up spinach, onion, red pepper & garlic
Shredded carrots and zucchini
Ground up mixture of All Bran and Oatmeal
Black pepper, oregano, basil and chili flakes
3 tablespoons no-fat cottage cheese
Ground flax seed

Mix all of this together and form your patties.

Spray your pan and then lightly sear the patties.

In a bowl mix in 1 cup broth, shredded onion and garlic and a little bit of spelt flour. Whisk and then once both sides of the patties are brown, add to pan.

Simmer till sauce thickens and the patties are cooked.

As the side dish, I omitted the regular mountain of butter-rich mashed potatoes and instead had a mountain of long green beans and one half a boiled potato.

Ok....DELISH! I think the secret ingredient was the ground up oatmeal and All Bran mixture - it gave the patty a wonderful texture since not off the pieces were ground up - and the taste with the sauce was very good! I am very pleased with how this old-time family favorite was tweaked to be more figure friendly!

Well, that is it for my week one update! I am looking forward to week 2 - and I am hoping the scale will show my hard work and all my running this week! Today, in fact, I ran 13.8KM...people, that is the longest run I have EVER done!!! I am so proud! In fact, I am even starting to feel confident that with sticking to my training schedule, the half marathon in September will be a very realistic goal!!!

Have a great week!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Did you have a great day too?

It is always important to start your summer vacation off right. Our first day of summer vacation plans had been in the works for a few days. The boys had decided that to truly celebrate the end of the school year they wanted to take a bus adventure. All year they took yellow school buses to school, passing the red city buses.

So, on Friday, with a huge bag packed we set off on our adventure.

We started at Baseline Station, where we bought Mommy $4 worth of tickets (all three kids were free!). Then we waited for the #95. Oh, the excitement was mounting!

The bus pulled up and our squeals of delight brought smiles and chuckles from even the most hardened public commuter!
It was all so exciting! With transfer in hand, the bus pulled out of the station. You cannot believe the excitement a little boy has when a bus pulls off the main road and goes onto the transit way - Little Anderson was looking out the window and then he started to shake, "Mommy, Mommy, look it, we are going onto the big bussie roads! Only RED BUSSIES can go on these roads Mommy!"

We arrived at Bayview station, and excited the bus. Have you ever tried to get off a crowded bus with a 5,4 and 2.5 year old??? Let's just say, it is a bit challenging, to say the least - especially when you throw in a 20 pound picnic/supply bag!

We walked from the bus stop to the O-Train platform. Here in Ottawa we have a bus system and then a new fast train system - well, I would not call it a system, it is actually one line! None, the less, we were off for stage 2 of our public transportation adventure!

We got onto the train. It was basically empty, but apparently, great care must be taken when choosing the perfect seat!

And then we were off. All three kids LOVED it. When we went through a tunnel, you would have thought we were on a big amusement ride at Disneyland!

About 10 minutes later we pulled into the station. Just for fun we exited the train, then made our way to another train car. We all switched seats, so those who had rode backwards, were now forward and those originally forward, were now seated going backwards! Fair, is fair, you know!

And off we went!

As we pulled back into the Bayview station, I asked the conductor if my transfer was still valid. Yep. I had another 45 minutes. So, I hustled the kids back up to the bus station and we hopped onto the first bus heading downtown.

We arrived downtown. We were making our way towards, what I thought would be an ideal picnic spot. Instead, we stumbled upon a promotional concert for the upcoming Jazz Festival. So, we grabbed chairs, broke out our sandwiches, fishie crackers and apples, and enjoyed a wonderful free concert.

We then hiked (yep, hiked, since I took a wrong turn) to a local establishment. My work was having a summer BBQ lunch and my boss had encouraged me to stop in. So, my plan was to drag all three kids! Little did I know that the excitement, just would not stop!

As we made our way to the restaurant, a fire truck sped past. Then, imagine our surprise when we discovered the fire truck stopped right in front of where we were going. (Apparently the BBQ set off the fire alarms!)

Well, the kids were in heaven! I could not have planned it better. And you know firemen, they are soooooo cute, I mean friendly. They let the kids look at the truck and chatted with them, and even let them stand on the back!

Anderson, came over and hugged my leg and exclaimed, "Mommy, I think this is the best day ever!"

I assured him, it was not over yet!

We joined my work gathering, and the kids were great! They were friendly, well behaved, and kind of cute in the mix with all my co-workers!

After hotdogs, pop and cookies we made our way to Chapters. This is a huge book chain that has a kids section that features a Thomas the Tank Engine play area. The kids played, I read, sipped a coffee and we all had a great time.

Then we walked up to Sparks street. Cannot miss Ottawa Ribfest! We all voted on which vendor smelled the most tastey, had the most trophies and which had the best decorations. We found our winner and waited in line. I bought a full rack of ribs with all the fixings - oh ya! Dinner would be SWEEEET!

We walked to the ice cream store. All chose our favorites, and then headed back to catch a bus home.

We climbed on board a packed train. I looked at all the weary, tired, annoyed commuters - all heading home. I lovingly looked down at my three, exhausted, but very happy (and sticky) children and smiled. This is what summer time is about. Fun and adventure.

These smiling faces sum it all up!

DJ stuck up a conversation with a fellow commuter, and he detailed his day. The love, happiness and excitement in his voice was amazing! My heart swelled when he ended his conversation with, " So, I had a great day, it was the best day ever in my life, how about you? Did you have a great day too?"