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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 11 New Start--interconnected issues

Well, I am again finding that the more I focus on trying to drastically transform my body, the more my body image issues and things related to that arise.  Particularly when those include larger-scale changes in eating habits (I have been able to make many small, healthy changes to my eating habits over the past couple of years that have really gotten incorporated into my normal way of living--whole grains instead of process/enriched grains, 5+ servings of Fruits and veggies every day, drinking at least 8-10 cups of water a day, choosing raw/fresh/frozen over processed foods, etc...).

So while my overall eating habits concerning WHAT i put into my body have improved greatly over the past two year, I still struggle with portion control and emotional eating challenges.  I do not often talk about these in detail on this blog, though I have mentioned them on numerous occasions  I have to say that I am realizing how big of an obstacle the emotional ties to food/eating are in my life.

I could sit and try to figure out WHY--
do I associate food with love?,
do I use food to stuff down uncomfortable feelings?
Do I use food to keep from expressing anger?
Do I use it to bury shame?
Do I use food and body size to keep people (particularly potential romantic partners) at arms length?
Is it a form of self-sabbatog?
Is it an expression of self-hatred?
Is it a form of slow suicide?
Is it a buffer zone created to keep from being hurt emotionally?
Do I keep my excess fat as a way to have something to blame if people do not like me?
Is it a little bit of any or all of these things at different times?

But I have worked on looking at all of these different angels, and while they were important to identify (as it is not just one thing that creates my unhealthy relationship with food), knowing the potential "why's" does not solve the problem.  At this point, going round and round about the potential "why's" is really just a distraction, each one of the above is part of psyche of my fatness and body image issues.  The why's are not simple and straightforward, there is a lot of complexity, both to how those why's are formed, and how to understand them, but that can not be my focus right now.  Sure I do need to chip away at a variety of old, stale, untrue beliefs, and work through some experiences that I am hanging on to that cause me to react in self-sabbatoging ways (not just eating habits , but those can be worked on simultaneously while changing behavior.  They have to be actually, as the behavior and the experience thoughts/psychological reaction to those things are all intertwined.

What I need to focus on now though, is not the WHY am I fat, why do I eat the way I do, why do I make the choices I make--I already have a lot of those answers.  The focus now needs to be on HOW.  HOW do I change those behaviors?  How do I better cope with those challenging emotions/memories/thoughts that come up when trying to change my physical body?  HOW do i keep moving forward on the path towards better health?  What do I need to do at each step, to keep moving forward to a better transformation, a healthier me?

That is what I need to work on more, and let the why be processed as it needs to be.  Behavior modification I think, is going to have to become much more central to my process than psychological understanding.  While I have worked on both fronts, and will continue to, I think it will be the behavioral changes that are going to be a greater focus now....

Real quick--food journal for today so far--2 eggs scrambled with onions and green peppers, 3 cups of coffee with half&half, and 5 cups of water....time to pick up the kids....

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 10 New Start--

Well, I did not post yesterday, but that is okay.

I did weigh myself again this morning, after that weird weight from the other day and I am at 282, so DOWN 3 pounds from the initial day 1 weigh in.  Probably some weird water weight or something a couple of days ago.

Today's post is just that quick bit.  I hope to log in later when I get home to do my food journal and maybe some reflection, but for now,my time is short...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 8 New Start 2013--weird scale

Okay, so as I begin my second week of this new start to transforming my physical health, I stepped on the scale to see how my eating the last week impacted my weight, most of which was less than normal aside from two days that I went a little squirrely and ate like I had been eating, and I was discouraged.  Last week I weighed in at 285.2 lbs, so yes, I had gained some back over the holidays.  But I ate like a fool over the holidays.  Sure I kept up with the higher amounts of fruits and veggies, and lower amounts of commercially processed foods (aside from it any wonder my blood sugar has gone haywire?), but I did eat too much on many days and far too many simple sugars over the holiday season.  So it had not surprised me last week when I was back up to 285.  What did surprise me was that today the scale read 290.0 lbs, which does NOT make sense, as I have been eating less this week, and even doing some exercise.  So, yeah, I am feeling a bit discouraged, but also further motivated to push down two numbers--my blood sugar number and the number on the scale.

So this week, I am committing to redoubling my efforts.  I will not let emotional eating get the best of me, so instead of eating to feel better when attacked by strong and/or irrational emotions, I will:
--Stop and breathe, concentrating on my breathing until the flood subsides or at least lessens
--Get out and WALK, even if it is just 50 feet, to try to move the emotive chemicals in my body around and expend some energy
--Drink Tea or water

As a preventative measure to preemptively control challenging bouts of emotion which may increase the desire to eat for non-nutrient based reasons, I will:
--Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep a night (wouldn't that be something!?!)
--Exercise, walking or elliptical or step-ups, at least 45 minutes a day
--Pre-plan meals for the week, and stick to the plan
--Avoid stress-causing situations as much as it is possible to do so
--spend 10-30 minutes each day in meditation/prayer/contemplation
--make a reaonable to do list, amd focus on completing it
--Forgive myself for the tasks I did not finish today without negative self-talk

So today's food diary:
(Thus far 12:04 pm)
2 hard boiled eggs with salt
16 oz coffee with 1.5 TBS milk
5 cups water

Plan for the rest of the day:
3 oz tuna
2 small dill pickles
1 TBS thousand island dressing
1.5 cups broccoli crowns raw
3 cups water

1/4 cup almonds

3-5 oz lean steak
1.5 cups spinach, steamed
1 cup Kale, raw
1 TBS vinegar

snack 2:
3 celery stalks, large
1/4 cup salsa
1.5 TBS sour cream

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 7 what is working and what is not

Okay, so we are starting day 7 of the New start of this weight loss/life transformation journey, and I have been thinking about what has been working and what has not.

As I have started this new commitment to transforming my life and my health, I have found that quick changes do not work for me.  Honestly, for me, the idea of having a slim body is not enough to motivate me to better health, mostly because I know I am so much more than my body and up until recently, i have always been able to do what I wanted to do with my body the size and shape it is.  However, there are a number of things I am finding I am not able to do, like take long walks without getting winded (and by extension climb mountains) , easily climb up and over obstacles like snow banks (and by extension being able to tide pool), sit on the floor (and get back up) playing games with the kids without pain, sit anywhere for more than 15 minutes without pain, etc....  Over the past couple of years, my body, even though it has been overly large for most of my life, and all of my adult life, is progressively deciding that I can not do all I used to do.  I used to be a big woman that could still go for long walks, climb mountains without a problem, scramble over rocky, steep, and jagged shores to find fascinating tide pools (even if it mean almost being swept into the sea by a rouge wave from time to time), I could get through dense woods with no trails, I could play games with toddlers, getting up and down from the floor frequently and quickly, I could even sit and watch a movie without needing to constantly shift my position (though I rarely sit still anyway).  I was a big woman, but a very active and capable big woman, so size did not deter me from doing any of the activities that I wanted to.

So, these changes in my abilities to do all of the things I want to do have been a large motivator in this push to a new start.  Part of the timing also has to do with life circumstances--life is stable and calm enough right now for me to actually be able to focus on this without a million other stresses swooping in.  The house is done enough to live in, with a million small projects for improvement--which is normal for a house.  My routine is pretty stable and has regular down time in it that can be used for self-improvement and health focused exercises.  My routine is very flexible, allowing for me to meet the kids needs.  I have a mostly stable,though  low, income, and depend on a certain amount every month from various sources, which means I can do a living budget (while it is not enough to actually start paying off old debts, it is finally enough to make ends meet on a monthly basis--someday I will generate enough income to pay off back debts, but for right now, being able to finally make ends meet for basic living needs is a huge blessing).  I also currently have some external social/emotional supports which helps me to keep on an even keel.  While my social life is seriously truncated due to a couple of factors (mainly the fact that I have 2 kids with special needs that required a LOT more in a babysitter than most can offer at the price that I can pay).  So, in general, life is settling in to a more stable, predictable level, where I can move from surviving and into thriving.

So this better place in daily life, coupled with the loss of ability to do some of the things I always took for granted, have created a good space from which to focus on changing my body composition.  So, this first week has had its ups and downs.  There has been some trial and error about what is going to work for me eating wise, and what does not work at all.  I have had a number of slips into old habits this week, improving bit by bit.  It is a change not really of how I act, but more of how I think and perceive, which in turn changes how I relate to food and why I eat what I eat.  This week I have been able to do some perception shifting, and some good insight into why I eat what I eat, and how to change the why.  Changing the why in turn changes the behavior.  Action stems from thought, and just changing the action, like dieting as a short term solution, is not going to change the problem long term.  It is why many diets fail, even in people who are devoted and dedicated to the the diet, who lose 40, 60, 100 pounds while strictly adhering to the diet, and then once they reach their goal, gain back what they lost plus some.  It is because they (and I) have not changed an inner perspective, and inner relationship with food and eating.  So i am finding this week, that I am changing my relationship with food, which in turn is making it easier to change my eating habits.  It is not an overnight shift, it is a progressive shift, and I am on the path to making a permanent change in the way I relate to food.

Another factor that has really come to the for front over the past 2-3 days is my blood sugar.  It was up and down and kind of unpredictable for a while, ever since I found out I was diabetic a couple of years ago.  And it used to be easy to shift back down to lower levels with tweaks in my eating, so I did not worry about it too much, because even if it was stupidly high one day after a couple of days of bad eating, I could bring it back down into the "normal diabetic target range" with a couple of days of eating better.  However this week, I have found that even with much lower carb days, my blood sugar is staying consistently too high.  That, THAT, is scary to me.  I have been focusing on it a lot since September when I found out my wildly swinging blood sugar was negatively impacting my eyes, but through the holidays, I have not been careful AND not been monitoring it (that idea that if I ignore it I can pretend it isn't real idea that never actually works).  And now that I am back to monitoring it daily, I am finding it to be a bigger deal that it has been in the past.  So, I now have a number that is a thousand time more important than the number on the scale.  It is the number that tells me whether my life will be healthy and long, or painful and fraught with medical issues.  So THAT is a number I can get behind, that is a number goal that really means something to me.  So this week, the blood sugar scare works far better to motivate me to better health than any number on a scale ever could.  So that is one of my primary focuses now.

So, today's food diary is:
as of 10:15am:
3/4 cottage cheese
1/2 grapefruit
16 oz black tea
3 cups water

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 6 of a New Start 2013

Okay, so last night after dropping the kids off for their weekly overnight with A, the warm (>32 degrees F) rain was melting the snow and ice on the roof, and my bedroom ceiling was leaking horribly!!  I know the roof needs work, and I had hoped to get things done before winter, but had not had too many issues over the summer so figured it could wait until next year.  But the ice creates a dam and the melting snow  and rain backed up on the roof, and now I have a wet ceiling and wall and carpet (as it had been leaking for a couple of hours before I got home and put a bucket under the leak),and bubbling paint where the water was UNDER the paint both on the ceiling and the wall.  So I spent sometime crouching and crawling around in the attic last night trying to do some make-shift water re-routing to reduce the damage.

It was a good thing I did too, because there were sections where the insulation had not been laid back down after work was done in a number of places in the attic.    So I had been losing heat in a number of places through the ceiling,as there were a lot of exposed little pockets.  So it is now all laid back down, so hopefully I will not lose so much heat.My makeshift water routing did not work well,as the ceiling continued to drip for a number of hours after wards.  But at least my bedroom, which had been FREEZING to the point that  I have been sleeping in Josiah's room for the past 10 days or so (Josiah had been having trouble sleeping, so I had set the trundle bed up in Gonzo's room a few weeks ago, as he slept better when he was not alone, so he has not been sleeping in his  bed anyway).

Today was a calmer day, hung out with the rabbits, cleaned their cage,did some laundry, did some dishes, and vacuumed the house, then went to A's house to pick the kids up (an hour away), drive home, made dinner, and now am about to put the rugrats to bed.  I did not get as much done today as I had planned, but that is okay, tomorrow is a new day.

I did, however do very well with my eating today, as my blood sugar has been scarily high lately, so I am extra motivated to get it down.  So, my food tracking for today is:

2 eggs fried in coconut oil
1 apple
3 cups of coffee w/milk
2 cups water

Tuna fish 1/2 cup
1 TBS thousand island dressing
2 small dill pickles
(the above all mixed together)
1.5 cups of raw broccoli
3 cups water

1 Breakstone Live and Active 4oz cottage cheese
1 cup coffee w/cream and 1 sugar packet

2 cups Shrimp Stir Fry (no carb underneath for me--kids had whole wheat egg noodles under theirs)
3/4 cup cottage cheese (regular)

Shrimp Stirfry Recipe
over medium heat:
2 TBS coconut oil melted in wok
stir in 3/4 cup chopped onion, caramelize
add in two cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
Add in 6 sliced fresh mushrooms, stir occasionally until slightly softened
Add in one broccoli crown,copped (about 3 cups)
Add 1 cup water, stir well
Add 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
stir well, add spices (I used tarragon, basil, and oregano tonight--curry is really good in this dish)
Add 8 oz frozen tiny or small shrimp (heads and tails removed, de-veined--I used precooked ones as they were on sale)
stir well
cover and let simmer for 5-10minutes
uncover for last 3 minutes and let cook down to desired liquid amount
serve hot, either as is, or over brown rice or whole wheat egg noodles.

ate a larger snack than I expected
--1 can condensed chicken noodle soup (I know processed crap)
--1/2 cup cottage cheese
--3 cups of herbal tea

all totaled though, I had only 1421 calories and 111 grams of carbs today, so mostly within my limits.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 5 New Start 2013

Okay, so I need to title these a little better, but for right now just ticking off the days as I enter this new phase of commitment to transforming my physical health is probably okay.

Have had an uneventful day.  had coffee and eggs with A when I dropped off the boys stuff for their overnight tonight.  I will drop them off there after school, but find it is easier to drop their stuff off separately.

As I have done nothing with my elliptical trainer this week, as I have a million things to do in the afternoon/evening after I get home, I have decided that I will add the new expense to the budget and sign up for the YMCA, which will become part of my my morning routine after dropping the kids off at school and before heading to the library to write.  My body needs to move, and when I was walking 2-4 miles a day I felt much better, my blood sugar was better controlled, and I was more motivated to continue to create good eating habits.  Since I have not been walking, I find everything is harder.  So to make my life easier, I NEED to adding daily exercise, so that my energy can flow through my body and through my life.  So, beginning Monday, the Y will be my first stop of the day.

Food tracking for today is so far (11:45 am): 2 eggs cooked with 0.5 TBS butter, 1/3 cup raw, natural almonds, 2 cups of coffee with half&half, and 4 cups of water.  i forgot to bring my lunch today, so I am going to swing by the grocery store.  My plan is to grab kale, cottage cheese (or maybe the tuna in a pouch), dill pickles, and apples--a much better plan both for my wallet and for my body than stopping and buying something already prepared--like fast food.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 4 New Start in 2013

So I slept fairly well last night.  This has helped in the feeling better category today.

Today I have not been very productive, but I have been spending time with a friend and a little bit with her other friends.  So, we have mainly been chatting and running her errands today (she has no car, so I help out from time to time) .  It was good to spend time with other people, and to laugh and feel good for a bit.    I am keeping this short today, as it is now late in the evening (though I started this post this morning, but am just now getting back to it) and I am going to drink a cup of tea, read a book and go to bed.

food tracking for day 4:
1 cup cottage cheese
2 eggs w/butter
3 cups water
1 cup cottage cheese
coffee w/half & half
2 1/2 cups of water
5 prunes
16 oz coffee with cream
chicken w/spices
1 1/2 cups steamed broccoli
1 cup macaroni and cheese
2 cups water
small handful of peanut M&M's
1 cup Rice Chex
1/2 cup milk
2 cups Chamomile Tea

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 3 New Start 2013

Well, honestly I am feeling very blue today, though I am not sure why.  I did not sleep well last night--actually have not been sleeping well for the past week or so, so I am sure that has a lot to do with how I am feeling.

Josiah had a great day at school yesterday, as did Gonzo. Gonz usually has great days lately, but for Josiah this was his first really good day since returning from the holiday break.  So that was wonderful.  Yesterday Josiah was upset in the morning because I did not make him waffles, mainly because he got up nearly half an hour after I started the whole wake up routine, and then asked for waffles and there was not enough time to make them, as I had to dress him quickly, and get him in the car and on the road for school, so he had to make due with cereal in the car (he does get breakfast AT school as well, but it takes over an hour to get to school, so I always make sure he either eats something before we leave or we take dry cereal to snack on in the car).  Anyway, so this morning, he popped out of bed on the first wake up call, and immediately asked if I would make waffles,which I did.  I am grateful that my father got me a new waffle iron for Christmas as it cooks faster and more evenly than my old one (which was from the 60's or 70's--so REALLY old for a kitchen appliance).  So, I made waffles for my little guys this morning before school, which seemed to make them happy.  I used to make them often, and now with the new iron,  I think we will resume the fresh waffles from breakfast habit.

I have found that when I feel blue, I do not make good food choices.  Even though I packed a good nutritious lunch for today. I did not eat the waffles this morning because I am trying to watch my carb intake, but I also forgot to pack a protein based breakfast.  That combined with my blues, I ended up hitting McDonald's and getting a breakfast value meal there (Sausage McMuffin with egg meal with a large coffee, cream only)--so out $5, up 620 calories, 45 gr carbs, 38 gr fat, and only 20 gr protein, not to mention far too many chemicals and preservatives!  But, what is done is done and tomorrow is a new day.

At least for lunch I brought turkey breast, cheddar cheese, cucumber, raw broccoli, and an apple.  So a much more diabetic friendly and health conscious meal than the wretched breakfast that I had.  Well, off to write some more in my book...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 2 of a New Start 2013

So, yesterday I was insanely scatter brained.  It was one of those highly distractable, high anxiety days for no good reason.  Weird the way our bodies and emotions react sometimes.

So I realized on the way home yesterday afternoon, that while I had gone to the gas station and paid for $20 worth of gas, I forgot to actually pump it!!  Yes, I was one of those overly distracted, stupid people who prepayed for my gas in cash, and then went out and got in my car and drove away without actually putting the gas IN my tank.    Which I did not even notice until about 3 hours later when I was driving home after getting the kids from school and the gas light came on.  So came the scrounging for change which got me $4.23 in gas until I got to the bank to get more and actually put $20 in my tank. Ah, the days of scattered mind processes.  On a good note though, i went back to the gas station this morning, to see if there was any chance of getting my money back and the manager reviewed the tapes from yesterday which clearly showed me NOT pumping my gas.  And even though someone pulled in right behind me and filled their tank with my $20, the manager was kind enough to let me fill up on the $20 in gas that I paid for yesterday, even though the person who pulled in after me used it.  So that was a huge blessing, as I drive so much (over 120 miles a day) that money for gas is quite tight.

So, my day this far has been good.  Much less scattered and anxious than yesterday was.

Yesterday was not totally crazy, I did get my grocery shopping done, and when I got home I did a thorough cleaning of the fridge, as there was a mysterious odor coming from one of the leftovers-turned-science-experiment somewhere in the back.  So now I have a nice, clean fridge, stocked with good food.  I also was able to bring my Dad some groceries.  I was not sure what he needed but I brought him a couple of his staples--corn flakes, 100% whole wheat bread, and peanut butter.  He said he needs to do a big grocery shop, so I need to find a day to bring him down so he can restock his cupboards.  But at least he has his typical breakfast and lunch for the next few days.  Next Monday would probably be a good day for that.

As for exercise, I have not done any today yet...I am torn between using the membership-reduction scholarship that I got from the YMCA (thus having access to a wide variety of exercise options, though still at a cost in a very tight budget) or getting my elliptical machine oiled up and working out at home for free.  It is a good machine (cost nearly $600 when we bought it nearly 7 years ago).  And it is in good shape for the most part, still safe and functional.   I am torn for a variety of reasons--one of the primary ones is the money, as even with a scholarship from the YMCA, it is still another monthly line item in the budget which is barely staying afloat as it is, secondly, if things go belly up with my car and I have paid for a membership, I will be unable to use it, and thirdly, I am more comfortable exercising at home than I am with other people, many of whom are far more fit than me (self-image issues), though the Y would be a great place to meet new people and make new friends, which is something that I have been wanting to do for a while now. decisions, decisions...

Anyway, I need to get to work, have many pages to write before my time to pick up the boys arrives...

Oh, food tracking as of 11:40am--1 apple, 1 Cumberland farms Sausage, Egg, and Cheese sandwich (neither good for the wallet nor the health goals!), 2 cups of coffee with half and half, & 1 small cocoa, and of course 3 cups of water.

There reminder of the day food tracking: 3 cucumbers, 1/2 cup hummus, 3/4 cup of veggie bow ties with collard greens and kidney beans, 4 oz roasted turkey breast (not cold cuts, roasted a whole, fresh turkey breast), 1 cup roasted red potatoes, 1 steamed broccoli crown, 3 steamed cauliflower florets, 1 cup cottage cheese, 1 bowl Captain Crunch with milk. another 7-8 cups of water.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 1 New Start for 2013 *Updated*

So, it is a Monday, the first full week of our "regular" routine after the holiday craziness and the New Year, so it looked like a good time to start again, refocus, recommit, and move forward in a more planned way toward the life I am creating for myself.

So, back to focusing on attaining a healthy weight, increasing my overall fitness, and reducing the physical issues that limit me in doing that which I want to do.

So for January,my goals are:
1) to lose 10% of my body weight by Jan 31st
2) exercise regularly for 45-90 minutes each day
3) reduce intake of processed food and refined sugars more
4) Eat 7-9 servings of fruits and veggies a day
5) Drink 8-10 8oz cups of water daily
6) Write 30-40 pages in my book
7) research social activities and begin making child care plans so I can attend some
8) Create a reasonable budget based on needs and average expenditures, and evaluate my relationship with money and debt to see what attitudes need to shift
9) Seek out more consistent income generating activities
10) Spend 20-45 minutes a day in Seeking God through prayer and Meditation
11) Play a game (board, card or other non-video) with my kids 4-5 days a week
12) Organize SOME Area of the house each day even if it is only a 2ft x 2ft square (once I have a place for everything established it will be easier to keep things in their place--thus reducing the chaos of clutter at home)

I am also going to start keeping a food journal again, and will probably use SparkPeople (username: truthfrees) again for the mathematics of the food, but I will post a list here as well.

So for today thus far (11:15 am) I have had 2 apples, 1/2 a cup of pistachios, 1 cup of coffee with 1 TBS half & half, and an now working on one 16 oz 1/2 cocoa 1/2 coffee with 1 TBS light cream (I know, too indulgent). I also have had 3 cups of water.

I did go grocery shopping for about an hour, though that barely counts as exercise.  Tomorrow I plan to go to the YMCA, I was granted a partial scholarship to reduce the membership cost, so I think I am going to take advantage of that, as this time of year, it is easier to exercise indoors.

Today is a crazy busy day--between doing paperwork with A this morning, hitting the grocery store, being here at the library, next heading to a "keep my head on straight" appointment, then picking up the kids from school, dropping off the paperwork I did this morning, checking my mail and hopefully going to the bank with a check, then over to dad's to drop off some groceries for him, and hopefully getting some cleaning and reorganizing done at home in the evening.  Have a great day all!

*Update*  The remainder of the food journal --2 small cucumbers, 16 coffee with cream, 3/4 cup cottage cheese, 1&1/4 cup shrimp, green bean, macaroni & cheese casserole,  3 TBS Hummus with 5 saltine crackers, 8 cups water, 1/4 cup pistachios, and then 2 bowls of Captian crunch berry cereal with milk (moment of weakness in late night snacking)

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 to 2013 shift

I have written a blog post/reflection about the 2012 to 2013 change over due to the New Years Holiday.  You can access it here:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Happy New Year

I saw a MOOSE!!  This morning on the drive to school.  I have always wanted to see a moose, even living in the mountains for the first 17 1/2 years of my life, and for the past 3 1/2 years have been back here, and had never seen a real, live moose in that whole time.  So I am very excited that I have seen a moose this morning.  I think it is a sign that bodes well for this new year.  Now, on to the actual post...

Well, the holiday bustle (insane craziness?!?) is over, the multiple celebrations of Christmas were wonderful and amazing.

The first celebration was with A's family the weekend of the 15th, which i mentioned previously. Then was Christmas day itself with myself, A and A's friend L, and the boys for the morning.  My Mom and step-dad came over for breakfast and present opening.  Which we did in that order, the opposite of what we normally do. As usual we all opened stockings when we first got up.  L was surprised by a stocking for her as she was just a visitor, but I told her that Santa knows where everyone is, and no one in my house goes without a stocking on Christmas morning.  After that we hung out and ate candy and waited for Grandma and Grampa Jim to arrive.  Josiah was getting antsy and really wanted to open presents.  While I was making coffee I heard a ripping sound followed by "wow, cool" as Josiah went under the tree, found a present with his name on it and opened it.  Luckily he was calm about waiting until it was time after that.

So we had a great Christmas morning, had fun opening presents, had a wonderful Christmas breakfast, and my Mom cooked which was an unexpected surprise.  Then we just hung out and played at home for the afternoon.  I got a turkey in the oven and got the house set up for  having everyone come for Christmas dinner. So in the evening My mom and step-dad, my dad, my brother, our family friend JoAnn, My sister S and her husband and 4 kids, and my sister A with her 2 kids, boyfriend and boyfriends mother all joined me, A, L and the boys.  We had a great time with lots of food, laughter, a nerf dart crazy playing time, and just an all around good time.  It was the best Christmas that I have had in years.

Then Friday my sister C and her husband and 2 kids came up from South Carolina, and we had a great day.  We went sledding at my father's house (who has a huge hill in front of his house that is GREAT for sledding on), and had hot chocolate (and coffee) , cookies and popcorn. Then we went to my Mom's house for a great ham and chicken dinner, and a lot of gift opening as that is when we do out big family gift giving time.  Aside from one little conversation that dug at me a bit, the overall day. family visit and celebration time was amazing.

My best friend who was supposed to come out for a few days between Christmas and New Years was unable to come due to car trouble.  So I got a few days of just the kids and myself at home, relaxing, doing laundry, playing with our new toys and such.  New Year's eve was quiet and peaceful. New Year's Day was spend getting ready for the start of school, and then a quiet dinner with my mother as my step-dad had to go out of town for work.  So a great soup and roll-up dinner, good conversation, and then home to put the kids to bed.

Then the longest night of insomnia, not the "oh I am so overtired but I can not sleep" kind of insomnia, no, the "I am so awake and alert and have all sorts of ideas that I can't get myself to sleep" kind.  So I am fairly tired today, as I barely even napped on and off last night. So today the kids are back at school, I am back to my running around, and I have many new ideas for how to keep the transformations of my life going in the direction I want them to.   I will share those in another post...