Down 8.2 lbs

So I am just doing a quick check-n as promised.  I was really dedicated this week to my health, nutrition and exercise.  I made sure I drank buckets of water and I didn’t cheat.  I am down 8.2 lbs. this week.

I was even good at my birthday dinner last night at the Cheesecake Factory!  Lettuce and Crilled Chicken and NO DESSERT!

I also have managed to stay away from any and all soda this week (which if you know me personally, you know this is huge).

This was just a quick check-in.  Hubby is almost finished getting ready and now its my turn to get dolled up for Easter.  And I can say that since I stuck to my plan this week, I am feeling much more confident in my skin to do so!

I will write later with news and results of my first book signing!

XOXO

I feel so vulnerable today!!

I think most of you are aware that I recently published a book called, No Cheese Please.  It is an adorable children’s book that I am extremely proud of.

I am proud of the content.  I am proud of the final copy.  I am proud of the audaciousness I had to muster to let it go out into the world.  And here we are….

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It is almost here.  Or there- in the real world where you all are.  It is available on Amazon and the presale has been tremendously successful.  Thank you all you out there who have already bought a copy or two, or 5 or 7… you know who you are!

Why do I feel most vulnerable today?  Today I began the arduous tasks of actually stepping out of my creativity (a place I am SUPER comfortable in) and into the world of “selling/promoting”.  This is a place where I am not at ease.  Please don’t misunderstand me, I BELIEVE in this project and I am CONFIDENT in what I am sharing, it just is HARD, you guys, when you ask others to come along with you and sip some of your Kool Aid! And to buy into it, literally.

So today I created the invitation to my Book Launch Celebration where I am inviting my friends and family to come and help us celebrate this really cool thing.  I am so excited but I have to be honest, when I hit ‘Send Evite’, I had heart palpitations.  All these negative thoughts crept in my head.  Or rather, if I am going to be honest, they didn’t sneak in- I was the one saying them.

“What if no one comes but you, you husband and your kids?”

“What if people presume you have no talent and don’t want to buy anything you made?”

“You have some nerve making something and then thinking anyone would PAY for it!”

The list of self-doubt and self-hate questions kept going.  I was so nervous.  I am still.

And then I got to thinking… Do I want these books to sell?  Absolutely!  I think that will be amazing and exciting and I will be honored that anyone would invest their hard-earned money into something I created and released into this crazy world.  BUT, I am not doing it for that.  I didn’t make the decision to focus on my writing for the accolades.  I decided to do this for ME!   The positive reviews and the excellent reception thus far is the cherry on top for me.

Will some people out there have negative thoughts about me?  Or about my audacity to do this thing?  I sadly presume so.  I can’t change them.  I learned from experience that people make up their minds about you typically with or without any action or evidence from you.   And those people, aren’t people you want around anyway.

Getting back to this party- I am still nervous.  I am still wanting everything to be a huge success and I want everyone to leave feeling empowered to do whatever  it is they want to do.  But I am doing this thing.  And the feeling I get from THAT…from the actual DOING supersedes any negativity I can spew at myself.

Thank you for letting me share my vulnerability here.  This community has come to be place I feel safe and free.  Kudos to you all for that.

XOXO

 

Capsule Wardrobe? I think so!

I know the upcoming book is the latest buzz here and BELIEVE ME, I am so unimaginably excited for that but I wanted to take a break from that briefly to tell you all something else big I have been pondering.

About a year ago, I heard of someone online who created a “capsule wardrobe” with 37 pieces of clothing for each season.  I distinctly remember thinking, “That is a great idea!  Take a minimalist approach and make getting dressed each day easy-peasy.”.

For any of you who are not aware of what a capsule wardrobe is, let me enlighten you.  A capsule wardrobe is when one has limited number of ‘classic’ essentials that all tie together to create nearly endless outfit combinations. As I mentioned above, the particular organizer I came across had the magic number of 37 (including coats, purses and shoes) articles of clothing.  Undergarments and work out clothes don’t count.  You have a capsule wardrobe for each season which would leave someone with a max of 148 articles of clothing for the whole year.  Not a lot.   Believe me.

I have had about 12 months since I came upon that little gold nugget on the world wide web.  Where am I now all that time later?  Inundated with clothes that are too big, clothes that are too small and clothes that I haven’t worn since Bush was president!  While not the first Bush it is still a long freaking time ago!   I have been hoarding these clothes and I have also been adding to the pile.  As a matter of fact, I seemed to do a complete 180 from what it was I was so intrigued by last year.  I went the complete opposite of minimalist and now have a walk-in and 2 full dressers filled.  And I mean FILLED with clothes.  People, I have 39 cardigans.  I went through a brief (but huge) LuLaRoe legging surge – I shudder to even tell you the number.  But since we are all friends here, I can tell you- 28 pair of LulaRoe leggings.  If you are familiar with this brand, you will know, they go with NOTHING.  They are wild prints in wild colors.  Not conducive AT ALL to capsule wardrobing.

So I got to thinking again about capsule wardrobes and came to this realization that I had gone so far in the opposite direction that I had to ask myself why.  Really ask myself.  The get into your own head and entertain no bullshit kind of self-talk.  I think I came up with a few valid answers to this situation.

  1. Still being unhappy with where my body is physically after all these kids and all this unhealthy eating, shopping is NO FUN.  Heck, even getting dressed isn’t fun.  As a result, I kind of rush through it and buy, buy, buy without taking the time to buy what will look good.
  2. This is a big one, I keep telling myself that I don’t want to buy anymore clothes until I am where I want to be weight-wise.  That is great in theory but detrimental for me and I will tell you why.  Yes, on paper it makes sense not to spend money when you have every intention to lose weight.  However, when someone gets dressed each day and truly doesn’t like what they see or how their clothes feel, it kind of keeps them in a dark place.  And as a result, they neglect their journey to health and hot mama living.
  3. The LulaRoe.  I think I can describe that pretty simply.  One, they are comfortable as ALL GET OUT.  Seriously.  Totally like butter.  Number two, they are so colorful and the prints are so fun.  But not 28 pair fun.  I think that was almost a way to (subconsciously?) distract people from how I was feeling about my looks?  How could I possibly feel bad or sad when my pants were screaming vibrant joy?  I think one pair is good for my capsule wardrobe.  Check eBay for some hot sales on these leggings worn only once.  🙂

So I have decided that I will be purging the bulk of my wardrobe and will be creating this capsule wardrobe for myself.  Today.  The body I have today.  I will focus on building a beautiful and complimentary wardrobe.  I believe completely that by beginning my capsule wardrobe today, it will help me get to the body I want tomorrow.  I need to feel good about the body I have right now.  I mean, people still see me, right?  Shouldn’t they see the best version of myself I can put together?  More importantly, shouldn’t my husband and children?  I want them to be proud of me.  Proud to call me theirs.

I am doing this and I am going to be documenting this and I hope you all will find it fun and perhaps even inspiring. I want to go to my closet and be confident that whatever I choose; goes together, looks great on me and makes my family nod and say, “That’s right, she’s with us!”

First round of business- a serious purge deadline.  And I have done it.  I have requested that Purple Heart make a Pickup on 02/11.  I am going to be donating clothes, shoes, bags, etc.  This is gonna be so nuts but so exhilarating as well!  Hope you follow on the journey!

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Spicy is Four!

It happened!  My baby has turned a corner.  I don’t know about you all but I feel there is a huge change from 3 to 4 years old.  One is still considered a “baby” and the latter?  A little person.  A child.

My Spicy is four today!  She is so excited and ready to take on the world!  She seems to be acting older today.  Could this metamorphosis take place in the short nine hours she slept?  Because I swear when I tucked her little sweetness in last night, she was a definitive three year old.  Time flies!

Have an amazing birthday, Spicy.  And an amazing life!  I am so happy God chose me to be your mommy!

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XOXO always!

“Mommy, will you sing my song.”

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Clever came to us in August.  He was well passed his due date and if you saw me, you would have thought I was getting ready to deliver a football team!  I was as round as I was tall.

I went to the hospital to be induced.  Hours passed and nothing happened.   I remember my husband asking, “Is the baby really big?” and the doc telling us no.  He had delivered thousands of babies and this particular one was not big.

More time elapsed when the doctor realized this child would not be coming out on his own OR with the help of my body.  So, I was prepped for an emergency c-section.  Funny, I wasn’t happy about it at the time, in hindsight- its the way to go!

The baby, Clever, came moments later.  After I was “stitched up and ready to go”, we were taken to a recovery room.  My hubby went out to tell waiting family the fabulous news- that Clever had arrived!  All 10 pounds 5 ounces of him!  Good thing the doc was right about his size- NOT!

As I laid in the room, just me and this amazingly cute little boy, I was overwhelmed by EVERYTHING.  I had been so nervous JUST THAT MORNING that I would never be able to love another child as much as I loved Studious.  Yet, here he was.  A little (well-maybe not little by baby standards but as far as the whole human population went…) boy who was captivating me.

I began whispering in his ear all the sweet nothings we tell our children.  And I sang a song to him.  Within the first few moments of his life, I softly sang, “Baby Mine” from Dumbo.   And I kept singing it in the precious moments when we were alone during our 5 day hospital stay.

When we got home, even through all the commotion and emotion of a new little one, I KEPT singing Baby Mine to him- everyday at nap and every night before bed.  It was such a special thing to me.  I looked forward to it nonstop.  That little moment where we would snuggle close and I could whisper-sing (its a thing) into his ear this song that summed up our life together.

I knew these times were special to me and Clever certainly loved any and all snugglin’.  But, I remember the day I realized our song meant as much to him as it did to me.

He was about 18 months old, he was running and playing in our living room, distracted by all things little boys are when I started singing his song, “Baby Mine don’t you cry…” from the sofa.  He STOPPED in his tracks- I mean complete halt- and RAN to me- hopped up into my lap and instantly snuggled up to me for the duration of the song.  It was amazing.  So much so that I kind of treated it like a trick for a while.  When my hubby came home, I said, “You gotta see this!” and sure enough, each time I started singing it, Clever would come at me wide open from wherever he was, climb onto my lap and lay his head on my heart.

That is the heart of the good stuff, you guys.  This is what makes it ALL worth it.

Today, six years into life and Clever is still going strong with his song.  Each night, I kneel next to his bed, we say our prayers and he says, “Will you sing my song?” and every night, I do.

He tells me when he is 101 and he lives with his wife, he will still call me over at night time to come over to his house and sing “his song”.  Of course, I will be happy to oblige!

This was such an amazing thing for Clever and I that when Dapper and Spicy came, I did the same thing with them

Dapper’s song is “Close to You” from the Carpenters and Spicy’s is “I just called to say, I love you” from Stevie Wonder.  The best part is, they have the SAME exact reaction as Clever.  It is our special thing and they ask for it ALL the time.  It is one of the daily practices I started that I am SO VERY THANKFUL for.  It has just created such a special moment for us each day.  It lets them know how special they are to me.

“Mommy, will you sing my song?”

Always my little loves. Always!

XOXO

Its a Blizzard Baby- Watch out for those Blizzard Babies!

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I had to laugh this am.  As the nation knows, the East Coast is getting ready to be hit by the Blizzard of 2016.  It promises to be an epic storm of severe proportions.  The media can speak of nothing else and bread, milk and eggs are getting scarce.  We live in MD so we are right in the “ZONE” this time for massive snowfall.

Yes, there are warnings abound about exposure to the elements, power outage possibilities and making sure your home is well stocked with the essentials (food, meds, toilet paper, etc.)  I have YET to hear anyone mention to be cautious of…The Blizzard Baby!

You know what I mean?  You and your sweetie are all snowed-in.  No where to go, no where to be.  Cabin Fever rushes in and then you realize you can only watch so much TV and play so many card games.  Am I right?  🙂

I speak from experience.  We have a Blizzard Baby.  The Blizzard of Feb 2010 brought Dapper to us in Nov of 2010.  We threw caution to those Blizzard Winds and in came the stork just 9 months later!

As you know from an earlier post, there will be no more Blizzard babies for us…But lots are soon-to-be in the making!  Mother Nature at her finest!

Enjoy and be warm and if need be- be safe and protect yourself from more than the elements if necessary!  XOXO

On Your Mark, Get Set…

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Splash! As if in slow motion the brisk water envelopes me inch by inch. My form is perfection by any swim instructor’s standards. My fingertips are immersed first, followed closely by my precisely cupped hands. My arms glide in succession as though following along in a tightly formed marching parade. My carefully tucked and capped head charges in next followed by my elongated torso. My legs descend into the water remaining together as if one unit. Last, my feet and pointed toes torpedo into the water completing the swift dive.

The refreshing feeling I am engulfed with comes not from the water itself, but rather from the exhilaration I derive from the knowledge that I am where I belong; where I have indeed always belonged.

In truth, I don’t even remember learning to swim. If there were indeed formal lessons, they were surely successful and useful, but also long ago forgotten. I remember receiving my favorite doll at the
age of three and I remember the day I learned to tie my shoes but I have no recollection of learning to swim. I used to fancy that I was born with the skill and instructions, formal or informal, were unnecessary.

I presume I learned from a culmination of places that were significant to me in my childhood. The Atlantic Ocean that cascades onto the beaches of Long Beach Island, New Jersey, the lagoon behind my grandparent’s home and our family pool located in our back yard. Likely, it was a collaborative effort from many people at numerous places in my life which have made it possible for me to propel and excel in the water. I wonder if any of them knew just what a miraculous gift they were presenting to me, this
knowledge and skill called swimming?

There is a funny story told of me as a young girl. Our mother would let my siblings and me outside to play. It would be accurate to say we had the run of our street. They were charged with the task of minding me but were easily distracted with friends and fun so I was able to venture some on
my own. Every day that I wanted to go outside, I had to wear a life jacket because no matter what marvelous happenings were taking place in our neighborhood- building forts, riding bikes, or playing ball- I’d find my way to AND into our pool. My mother knew I couldn’t resist the water. Did she hear it calling me too? Probably not. She most likely saw me as a mischievous child looking for trouble. Most people would.

I cannot recall a moment in my life that the water and I did not have a relationship akin to that of old dear friends. The friend you truly considered family even though there were no blood ties. I have
always felt an intense draw to the water. Whether salt water, fresh water, chlorinated pool water, I had no bias. I wanted to be submerged, to ask it to commune with me, to allow me to be a part of it, if only briefly, for a few moments a day. I once saw sea turtles hatch and make their way instantly to the water. I felt we were kindred spirits as I understood their urge and instinct to give into it. I believe the draw intensified when I learned at a young age that the water would always make room for me. It was never too full to let me in.

When I am swimming laps my arms are carefully forming the proper strokes to push me forward. At the same time, I hear my thoughts so clearly and loudly. It is as if there is a giant microphone right next
to my brain picking up every thought. Some of the most brilliant answers to some of my most dire questions have been answered while I was submerged. The water follows my lead. When I want to float, it supports me. When I want to release stress and anger and swim hard until every muscle is burning, it provides just enough resistance to challenge me. When I want a break from the solitude, it is there to offer fun and splashing games with my family.

The water is a constant, a necessity. For all living things, great and small, water is a basic need. Without its consumption, all would perish. For me, it feels so much more than consuming is required. Immersion is a mandatory component. I must, just as the sea turtles, make my way to the
water. It is where I find myself and can clear my thoughts and hit reset, each and every time. When swimming parallel to the beaches I find contentment, awe and God. When swimming laps I find discipline, solitude and peace. The simple truth is that in any body of water, I am
filled with joy.

After my dive in, I rise to the surface amidst bubbles large and small and begin forging ahead with my concise and timed strokes . It is at this moment while my body is forcefully charging through the water that I discover something, a realization of epic proportions, my own little secret. I look around to my fellow swimmers. Some are free-styling, others are doing the butterfly, and one is just floating by on his back. I smile at my wonderful and amazing enlightened discovery. I laugh out loud and my jubilee echoes throughout the enclosed pool deck. My pool mates are now looking at me, the lifeguard too, completely unaware of what could possibly have me so bemused. I am holding on to the side of the pool giggling while adjusting my blue mirrored goggles. I slide my nose plug down. I place my feet upon the wall, almost directly underneath my hands and launch myself backwards and a huge wake is created. The water seems to move over for me at the same time it embraces me. I am elated! They are completely unaware that we are all doing something extraordinary. They do not realize we are flying.

But I do.

©Jennifer Woolford 2014

So, this happened yesterday…

Driving through our lovely town in Maryland, I came across this:

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An adorable Little Free Library.  This made my heart so happy.  Overjoyed, really!  I have heard about them but this was the first I ever saw in person.

It made me wish there was one in every neighborhood.  A ‘Take One, Leave One” free library where we could all benefit from the joy of a new book.  New to us at least.  Anyone who knows me and even those followers on here who do not “personally” know me can attest to the fact that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE books for all ages, on all topics.  I believe so deeply that reading for enjoyment is equally as important as reading for knowledge.  I believe this in my core.

Back to this Little Free Library, I showed the hubs this photo and said, “I want one in our yard”- naturally.  But as he very wisely pointed out, we live on a road which gets basically zero traffic and therefore, our library may be a little lame.

It is cute though, right?  This glorious little box that is the epitome of sharing, knowledge and neighborhood kindness all in once adorable Little Free Library.

Build one.  Share it with me.  I may even have a donation to add to it in a few months (HINT TO THE BIG NEWS REFERENCED THE OTHER DAY).

XOXO

 

Helpful Hint for Holiday Food Prep

blogpic.JPGHey there.  As you know from my earlier post, I am changing my eating habits in an effort to get healthy and hot.  🙂  But it is hard, right?  Especially during these upcoming holidays.

We have tomorrow- Thanksgiving- which is the day where it is socially acceptable to gorge ourselves with any and all food products (and even some questionable “food” products) and it is totally cool.

I know we personally have a huge Christmas party the following weekend and then of course, Christmas day.  I am nervous thinking about it.

Tomorrow we are lucky enough to go to family’s for dinner.  I volunteered to bring an appetizer, a dessert, sweet potatoes and rolls.  To help myself with one little thing, I decided that I was going to add Pecans to the sweet potatoes.  I realize to many of you, this is normal.  I, however, do not like pecans and would typically not make the casserole with them so I could gorge on them (see above).  However, by making the small decision to add something I don’t particularly like, I have taken sweet potatoes off the menu for myself- no cheating happening there.  Its a small victory, but I will take it where I can get it.

Now to be clear, I am not telling you to ‘jack with the food’ so that it doesn’t taste delicious to family and guests.  I am merely saying- perhaps bring popular items that you aren’t a fan of and serve them.

For example this weekend we are having a small Christmas Tree decorating party day- I bought 2 flavor pies that I don’t care for.  They will still be decadent to my guests, but it takes the temptation away from me.

It helps me and if it helps you, well than, that’s awesome!

Happy Thanksgiving!