Friday, August 31, 2012

Paydays = Busy Days

One of the few downsides to budgeting is that you have to make the time to do it right!  This includes making the time to organize all your "envelopes" (both real envelopes and digital ones) on payday.  Today is such a day. 

My husband gets paid every other week and a commission check at the end of the month and I get paid every other week.  This month was one of those rare three-paycheck months.  So, we not only both got paid our paychecks today, but we also receive my husband commission since it is the last day of the month.  This means that their is even more information to organize!

I've spent the last couple of hours updating our budget and putting money in the correct categories in our budget software.  I've also paid all our bills that needed to come out of this check and our commission. 

Thankfully, I had everything planned out beforehand and I didn't just need to guess where the money needed to go.  I'm also really glad that we have a plan going forward.  I know for a fact that I will have enough money for our kids' birthday party next Sunday and that I won't have to worry about having enough money for food.  This makes it so much easier to spend a few hours of concentrated effort on our budget on payday and then just a few minutes downloading our activity and updating our budget software every other day.

So, despite all the time that it can take to do things right, it is very worth it in the end!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why We Homeschool

When people find out we homeschool, their first questions are often about why we chose this. Normally, it is with genuine curiosity. Most people don’t know anyone who homeschools and want to know more. Occasionally, it can be a bit judgmental or people look at me like I’m crazy. But, overall, my experience with talking to people about homeschool has been pretty positive.

The question itself – “Why do you homeschool?” – isn’t an easy question for me to answer. There are many different reasons. And it seems that, each year, the list of reasons grows. But, there is one reason that first made me think that homeschooling might be a good option.

I love learning. As a kid I devoured books. Historical fiction was my favorite. I loved all the details of history and life in the past that you can learn from such books. But, I also loved learning in school. I eagerly took notes, I engaged in classroom discussions, I asked questions, and I loved mastering skills and concepts.

At the same time, though, I really disliked school. I was very often bored (interesting discussions only took up about 1/4 of class time throughout the year – if that). From the beginning, I tended to be ahead of my classmates. I finished my work before the others, I understood the lessons more quickly, and I was ready to move on long before the rest of the class. As a kid, this resulted in getting in trouble for talking (or even reading). As a high schooler, this translated into never studying and rarely doing my homework. Why put in all that effort when I could pass my classes with a B average just on my test scores alone?

By the time I got to college, I was a lazy student! I had no study skills and very little personal discipline where my schoolwork was concerned. Needless to say, what let me get by with a B in high school wasn’t sufficient for college!

When my kids were three, we decided that I would teach them preschool at home. We didn’t see the need to spend money on something I could do myself. This decision led to two things happening at the same time.

First, I started searching for lessons and games for my babies. I quickly realized that the fastest way to find the best materials was to search for “homeschool preschool.” The more I visited these sites, the more I learned about homeschooling. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know. The idea fascinated me!

As I was learning more about homeschooling, my kids were quickly progressing with their schoolwork. It wasn’t long before I had to search for “homeschool kindergarten” instead of preschool. That is when I realized that they were already ahead of their peers. When they started school, they were already going to know the lessons. And, in a public school, their teacher was not going to continue to work with them at their level. It just wouldn’t be possible. They have an entire classroom of kids that they have to think about. Instead, Bub and Sis were going to have to wait for the rest of the kids to catch up before they could continue on and learn new things.

The possibility of them skipping a grade did not appeal to me at all. They were already going to be the youngest in their class. Since their birthday is just ten days before Kentucky’s cut-off, they would still be four years-old when they started kindergarten. They would likely be a year or more younger than many kids in their grade. If they skipped a grade, they would be two whole years (or more) younger than their classmates. The age difference might not be a huge deal in early elementary, but by the time they were 10 and their classmates were 12 or 13, that would be a huge gap!

So, this is when the idea of homeschooling became more than just a fascinating idea. This is when it started to seem like it might be a good option for us. The more information I gathered and the more I prayed for direction, the more I became sure that this was what was best for our family.

That conviction hasn’t changed in the 3 years since. In fact, it has grown stronger with each year. What started as a simple desire for my kids to be able to work at their own pace and not be held back, became so much more.

I learned more about the academic benefits, the social benefits, and the spiritual benefits that homeschooling can provide.

You can read more about the academic end of things at the website of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) where they have an independently conducted study of homeschool test stores which you can view.  Below are a few more links you can check out that contain links to studies of homeschoolers.

CBS News
Huffington Post

Also, with homeschooling, we have more control over who influences our kids. While we don’t intend to keep them in a bubble, we do want to protect them from many things during their formative years. This way, we can present information when they are ready to handle it and in a way they are equipped to deal with it. We can prepare them for facing things like sex and drugs before they are thrown to the wolves. We know that we won’t be able to keep them from these things forever. We are simply seeking to first teach them to handle these situations in a godly way before they have to face them.

Along with this, homeschooling provides us an opportunity to teach from a Biblical perspective. They can learn about the wonderful world that God has created and how it works. They can see His character in the beauty of nature, His orderliness in the concepts of math, His perfect plan throughout history, and His love, grace, and mercy through it all. These are not things they would have the opportunity to learn every day if they attended public school.

These are the biggest reasons that we chose to homeschool our kids.  But, there are plenty of other reason, too. For me, personally, I love that I get to combine two of my greatest loves - teaching and my children!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Meet my Kids

I've told you a little about my kids over the last couple of months. But, I thought it was time I really introduced them and shared a bit about who they are as people.

Two Peas in a Pod?

When you have twins, one of the first things people always ask is, “Are they a lot alike?” I’m sure there are some twins out there somewhere that have similar personalities. But, mine definitely aren’t it.

Even before they were born, my kiddos showed very distinct personalities. While in my belly, Bubby was calm and relaxed. Every once in a while he’d move just a bit to let me know he was still there. Sissy on the other hand, practiced gymnastics on a regular basis, using my ribs as the uneven bars.

When they were born, Sissy came out screaming, but Bub couldn’t even breathe. They whisked him away to the NICU until they had him breathing normally and brought him to me about a half-hour after later.

Since that time, that has pretty much been the way of things at our house. My little boy is laid-back and takes things in stride. But, my princess is full of drama and emotion.


My serious little guy
Bub is my curious one. He has a tender heart and often cries when his sister gets in trouble. He also tends to take things very literally. A few weeks ago, I said something jokingly and he didn’t understand that I wasn’t serious. I laughed and said, “How many times have I told you, you can’t take everything literally?” He answered, “I don’t know. Fifteen?” I laughed some more and I said, “Bub, you just did it again!” To which he replied, “Oh, now I’ve done it sixteen times!”

He is a great person to have on your side. He’s always willing to work harder for other people than he is for himself. But, he has a tendency to be lazy in general. It is something we are constantly working on!
Bub doing his "silly dance"
While he can be very serious at times, he tends to have a goofy sense of humor. He tells corny jokes, does silly dances, and loves slap-stick. Tom and Jerry is one of his favorite cartoons.

He loves drawing (mostly cars and planes), and will build with any materials you give him. He loves He loves Legos and Transformers. He gets a lot of excitement from detailed instructions and will spend hours following them to put together his projects perfectly. This is a lot like my husband who taught himself to work on computers by taking one apart and putting it back together using a book from the library when he was a kid.

His favorite sport to play is tennis. My sister started giving him lessons this summer and he caught on pretty quickly. He is also a Boy Scout and loves working on his patches and beads.


Little Miss Attitude all gussied up for her dance recital.
Sis is a drama queen. And I mean that in a completely positive way! She is full of life and passion. She is also full of emotion. In this way, she takes after me. While it can be a bit much to handle at times, I really love the way that she goes for life with everything she has.

She is also my little "mommy." She loves to take care of everyone around her.  Sometimes she drives her brother nuts!  But, she is always there to lend a hand when he needs it.  She is also a great helper around the house.  She actually likes to clean!  In this way she is not like me at all!

She is also a perfectionist.  She loves having everything "just so" and can become frustrated when something goes wrong.  But, she will work hard until things turn out right and never give up.

Pretty in Pink
Even though she really enjoys playing in the dirt, she is a very "girly" girl.  She loves sparkles and bows, painting her nails and playing with makeup.  Her American Girl is her constant companion; often with matching clothes.

She loves to dance and has been taking tap and ballet classes since she was three.  She also takes piano lessons.  She practices every day without me ever having to remind her.  She seems to have a natural talent and I'm excited to see how she progresses.

Like her brother, she also loves drawing.  But, instead of cars and planes, she doodles flowers and hearts.  You can often find her creating a card for someone special in her life just to say "I love you." 


Even though they are so different from one another, Bubby and Sissy are best friends.  There is no one that either would rather play with.  They often talk about how much they miss each other when they have only been separated for a few hours.

In so many ways, their different personalities compliment each other perfectly.  Where one is weak, the other is strong.  Where one fails, the other can pick them up to help them succeed. 

I was never a person who thought, "I hope I have twins someday!"  But, God knows what we need so much better than we do.  Despite the work of two babies at once, I would never change this experience for the world. 

I am so blessed to have two wonderful children who I don't just love, but I truly enjoy as people.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Starting From Scratch

I’ve mentioned several times that I am a horrible housekeeper. The picture of my kitchen “pantry” yesterday gives a little bit of a glimpse into the truth of that. But, that is just a tiny portion of my overwhelming clutter and disorganization problem.

When I think of my dream home, it looks a lot like the “after” houses on the show Designed to Sell. You know, ready for strangers to walk through, free of clutter, and very “fresh” looking. Except that in my dream home, I would have lots of family pictures everywhere.

The problem is, I’m a bit addicted to stuff. Not just any ole stuff. My stuff. The stuff that has memories and meaning. Or the stuff that might be useful someday. Oh, yeah. Someday. Maybe.

But, with school starting again, I know that I really need to do something about this. Just this week, I’m working three nights and going to church another night. That means that three nights this week, I will be going straight from teaching school to leaving for work. No time for cleaning all day. But, if there was less stuff to keep neat and I could keep up by cleaning as go, having less time for concentrated cleaning wouldn’t be as big of a deal.

I always have elaborate, detailed plans to do this. But, it never happens. Or at least not for long. I’ll do great for a few days keeping up with everything, only to have it crash and burn, leaving me feel like a failure.

So, I’m starting over. I’m getting rid of the lists. I’m throwing out the schedules. I’m taking a cue from Nony over at A Slob Comes Clean and starting with just one thing. One thing that must be done every. single. day. One thing that is non-negotiable.

Kitchen counter before...
For now, I’ll take care of everything else as I get to it (or not). But, I’m not going to make a list of routines a mile long that I’m never going to stick to. Instead, I’m going to develop a habit. Just one. Then, in a few weeks, when I have my first task down so that it seems like second nature, I’ll add something new. But, not until then.

So, I'm starting with cleaning off my kitchen counter every day. I only have one small counter, so it shouldn't be a huge deal.

I know that I won't be able to just plan to do this before bed. On days I work, I'm way too tired and on days I don't, I walk away from the kitchen to spend time with my hubby and never look back. So, if I'm going to be working, it needs to be done before I leave for work. I know it will likely be messy again when I get home because my husband will cook dinner. But, at least his mess won't just pile up on top of the mess that is already there. On evenings that I'm home, I will do it immediately after dinner.

I started today. Here is my counter before. This is actually pretty good compared to how it normally looks. I had to clean it off this morning so that I could get my griddle out and make pancakes. But, there are some dirty dishes that managed to make it as far as the counter, but not actually in the dishwasher (even though it is right there - you can kind of see in the bottom, right-hand corner). I also have the spray cleaner that I left out after wiping the counter down this morning. It just belongs under the sink, so why didn't I put it back? Oh, and the salad spinner with the red lid toward the back? I used that two days ago, but still haven't rinsed it out and put it away.

If I weren't intentionally choosing this as my new habit, it would have stayed like this. Then, when my husband was finished with dinner tonight, all those dishes would have joined in. Heaven only knows when it would finally get cleaned up. But, I can guarantee that it would have to be to the point where not a single thing more could fit on the counter before I'd finally just clean it.

Here is what it looked like less than 5 minutes later.  And, I also loaded the dishwasher and started it, cleaned out the sink, and actually cleaned the griddle and the salad shooter and put them away.

Kitchen counter after

Why do I put off doing these small jobs?! I think that part of it is because, in my mind, it isn't a small job. It is a HUGE job. After all, cleaning off the counter means doing dishes, pulling out cleaners and rags, moving things around, putting things where they really belong, and then putting the cleaner and rags away again. But, for now, I'm not going to worry about all that stuff. I'm just going to make sure my counter is cleared and wiped off. No big elaborate cleaning project. If I'm running short on time and there are dishes on the counter, I will just quickly put them in the dishwasher or even on the stove. I just want my counters clear. I'll worry about the stove later.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: The Verdict, So Far

For the past month, I have been working on lowering my grocery bill using the advice of Kate Megill from Teaching What is Good and her new e-book, Cut it Out!  How I Feed my Family of 10 for $500 a Month Without Coupons.  I've learned a lot and I've done a lot of work on planning my rotating menus and setting up a price book.  But, I still have a long way to go.

My "pantry" shelves in my garage.
My kitchen "pantry" selves.
My grocery bill this past month wasn't really down from the month before.  However, I have to stress that I did a TON of stocking up this month!  My "pantry", my fridge, and my chest freezer are all full.  You can see in the picture to the left that I am well stocked with all kinds of non-perishable items.  I have enough cans of veggies to last several months.  This is my "pantry" shelf in my garage. 

I also have two other similar shelves in my kitchen that serve as the rest of my "pantry" (pictured on the right)  These are equally full, but almost too messy to photograph!  I straighten them up every few months, but they always end up looking like this again.  They take up one whole wall in my tiny kitchen.  Since we only have two cabinets, this is where most of our food is kept.

Here is the rest of my food shelves.  This is the only cabinet space where I can keep food because I need a place for dishes.

And, finally, my fridge.  It is in a corner, so I can't open the door any wider than that for a better picture.  But, you can see that it is completely full.   The freezer side and my chest freezer in the garage are equally full.

So, what's so great about all these full shelves and a stocked fridge?  Well, first of all, all these shelves were practically bare just at the beginning of the month.  Secondly, it has been a complete week since my last grocery trip and I still have lots of food left.  That means that almost all this food was purchased for the same amount of money that we normally spend every month on just enough to get by.  It also means that we have plenty of food to get us through, not only this next week, but a long time to come.

I can't wait to see how much my grocery bill decreases next month!  Speaking of all this food, here is what I have planned for this week:

Monday - Sausage & Perogies, Peas (I work, but DH can make this)
Tuesday - Stuffed Shells, Salad, Garlic Bread (I have to work, so I need to make these ahead)
Wednesday - Chicken & Dumplings
Thursday - Breakfast: Bacon, French Toast, Scrambled Eggs
Friday - Baked Rigatoni (I work again, so this is another make-ahead meal)
Saturday -  Chicken Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Sunday - Grilled Chicken, Fried Rice, Veggies

I'm linking up over at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekly Goals: 8-26-12

Whew!  What a week I just had!  So many new beginnings.  First, we started school on Wednesday and then I made my big decision yesterday.  Now, I have some more new changes to make!

From the beginning, the reason for this blog has been as a tool to help me in my quest to become the woman that God would have me to be.  In every area of my life.  But, I haven't been very organized about it.  With so many different topics, the whole this has been very haphazard. 

Now, I don't really want to narrow my focus to just one subject, because I need to work on every area of my life, not just one.  But, I do want to be orderly in how I go about it.  So, I'm going to make some organizational changes.

My plan is to set up a schedule and focus on a different goal area and/or topic every day of the week.  Here is what it will look like:

Sunday: Spiritual Life/Church Life & Weekly Goals. 
I plan to do two separate posts - one for my Spiritual Life/Church Life and one for Weekly Goals.  I'm grouping Spiritual Life and Church Life together, not because they are the same thing, but because they are both subjects that I might not have things to share on every week.  Sometimes I have special things going on at church, but not always.  Plus, they do tend to overlap in many ways.

Monday: Menu Plan Monday
This will likely include some recipes, money saving tips, and my search for healthy, good tasting food to help me lose weight.

Tuesday: Home Life
On this day I'll focus on homemaking.

Wednesday: Homeschool Life
Lesson plans, school organization, and field trips will all be covered on Wednesdays.

Thursday: Family Life/Social Life
Once again, I'm pairing some categories together.  These are two other categories that tend to overlap.

Friday: Financial Life/Mental Life/Work Life
These are my final pair-ups.  So far, I having had much to share in the last two categories, so it seems fitting they would be paired up with something I have more to say about.

Saturday: Physical Life & Weekly Review
Once again, these will be two separate posts.  Saturdays will be the day that I post an update on my weight loss journey.  I will also do a quick review of my weekly goals.

So, there you have it.  My new blogging schedule.  If something important comes up, I'm flexible enough to post about it even if it isn't the regularly scheduled day.  But, for the most part I plan to stick with this.  I'll tweak it as needed.  My goal is really just to give more order to a blog full of various topics.

Now, on with this week's goals!  Like always, the goals with a * are ones that I need to work on from last week.

Spiritual Life

  • *Read Bible daily. 
  • Be consistent in praying for requests on my list

Family life

  • Not much time for anything this week.  Sadly, it is going to be a full week!


Home life

  • Finish all laundry! Even though laundry day is officially on Monday, I am starting it today.  Between school and work, I wouldn't have time to finish it tomorrow.
  • Clean kitchen
  • *Clean off my desk
  • *Wipe down bathroom daily 
  • Finish gathering everything for the yard sale on Saturday!
    • Take everything to my parents'
    • Get tables
    • Make signs
    • Go to bank and get change
    • Get permit from the city
    • Post on Craig's List


Church Life

  • Attend church Wednesday
  • *Call and schedule meeting with Pastor about Harvest Fest

Physical Life

  • *Measure all foods to make sure I am eating the correct portion.  
  • *Track every bite I eat.
  • Lose at least 1 pound. 
  • Try to get to bed by 10:30 every night I don't work, 12:15 on the nights I do.  
  • Drink at least two bottles (refillable bottles, not disposable!) of water/day. 
  • Put on makeup every day
  • *Stay more active throughout the day.  I know I won’t have time to actually exercise, but I can stay active!

Social Life

  • No time for socializing, either!

Financial life

  • Update budget software daily
  • Do not overspend!
  • Pay bills  
  • Plan budget for next month and have a budget meeting with DH. 
  • Finish Yard Sale plans

Mental life

  • Continue working on blog  
  • Teach

Homeschool Life

  • *Print out materials
  • Gather all materials for first-day science experiment
  • Introduce the rest of our subjects.


Work Life 

  • Work on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.

Weekly Review: 8-19-12

Here's what my week looked like (results in blue):

Spiritual Life

  • *Read Bible daily.  Planning ahead is going to become more important once school starts.  We do Bible lessons in school everyday, but I don’t want to neglect my own personal study time.  Once again, I didn't read everyday.  I did have a really good time of studying last night, though.
  • Be consistent in praying for requests on my list  I think I'm doing pretty well on this one.  As stated, it is pretty ambiguous.  I may need to make this more concrete.

Family life

  • Make rice krispy treats and brownies with the kids  We made brownies, but the rice krispy treats are going to be done this week.
  • Take my cousin and his girlfriend who are visiting from Wisconsin to the zoo on Tuesday Check!  We had so much fun.  But, after 5 hours of walking up and down the hills of the Cincinnati Zoo, my legs were killing me!
  • Make invitations for the kids’ birthday party and deliver them to our church friends Invitations are made and one was delivered.  The other kid wasn't their today.  So, it is in my purse to take again on Wednesday.


Home life

  • *Finish all laundry! Check!
  • Clean kitchen Check!
  • *Clean off my desk  Half-done.  I just need to find a real home for some stuff.
  • *Wipe down bathroom daily Didn't happen.  I did clean the bathroom, but I haven't wiped it down daily.
  • *Vacuum steps I'm going to do this today, I promise.  I actually just got up and put some vacuum powder down.
  • *Work more on playroom/schoolroom.  It needs to be ready by Wednesday! Check!  The room looked good!


Church Life

  • Attend church Wednesday Check!
  • *Call and schedule meeting with Pastor about Harvest Fest Didn't do this again.  I promise I'm not doing this intentionally.  I just always remember at really bad times.  Like as I'm going to bed.

Physical Life

My goals in this area changed a lot this week.  I posted yesterday that I signed back up for Weight Watchers Online.  So, that changes a lot of what I originally planned.
  • Focus on portion sizes and not getting seconds (or thirds)  I didn't do so good with this until yesterday.  After my post yesterday, I started measuring my food and didn't get seconds.
  • Lose at least 1 pound.  I did actually lose a pound since last week.  But, I had gained quite a bit before that.
  • Try to get to bed by 10:30 every night I don't work, 12:15 on the nights I do.  Check!  The only sleep problems I had were Friday night/Saturday morning.  I had trouble falling asleep and then I woke up at 5:00 am and couldn't go back to sleep.  But, all the other days I felt much better and was able to get up and going like I needed too.
  • Drink at least two bottles (refillable bottles, not disposable!) of water/day. I didn't do this every day. 
  • Put on makeup every day Check!
  • Stay more active throughout the day.  I know I won’t have time to actually exercise, but I can stay active! I did a pretty good job on this.  I already mentioned all my walking at the zoo.  I also had very little time to sit all week.

Social Life

  • Other than the zoo trip with my cousin and his girlfriend, I’m not going to have much time for socializing this week! I did end up going shopping with my BFF yesterday, too.  We always have a good time.

Financial life

  • *Update budget software daily  I did better on this.  I also got everything caught up and I'm back on track.
  • *Do not overspend! I did better this week.
  • Pay bills  Check!

Mental life

  • Continue working on blog  Check!  I have actually made some blogging decisions that I will talk about in my next post.
  • Teaching is going to provide the rest of my mental stimulation this week!  I always learn things when I’m teaching.  And it did.  I didn't have any time for much more than that!

Homeschool Life

  • Finish planning the first month Check!
  • Print out materials I have next week ready to go, but I want to get further ahead than that.
  • Gather all materials for first-day science experiment Check!  If you didn't see it, be sure to check out our "Dancing Oobleck" experiment.
  • Create or find an age-appropriate lesson plan I just came up with a short little lesson.  No papers or anything.  Just a description of sound waves and how they work.
  • Make new workbox schedules (I’m trying something different this year) Check!
  • First day of school! Check!  It went great, too!
  • Help the kids get back into the swing of things and develop a routine Check!  They were excited to jump right back in!


Work Life

Work on Monday (I’m there now ;) ) Check!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

It's Time

Two things happened to me yesterday.  First, I edited the video for our "Dancing Oobleck" experiment.  Then, I went to the doctor for an allergy shot.  Both of these things served as a serious wake-up call.

I don't know if this happens to you, but I never really picture myself in my mind the way that I really look. Unlike the normal idea of body dis-morphia where people see themselves as being much larger than they really are, I see myself as much smaller.  Not thin by any means.  But, definitely not the way that I really am.  So, when I see a picture (or video, in this case) I'm a little shocked.  I know that I look in the mirror everyday.  But, until I see a picture, I just don't really see it.  Like Cher said in Clueless, "I don't rely on mirrors, so I always take Polaroids."  Mirrors just aren't reliable!   I'm also disgusted with myself for letting my weight get that bad. 

Part of the problem is that I tend to carry my weight well.  Meaning that no one every guesses how much I really weight.  My whole life, people have been surprised when they learned my weight.  Below are a few examples.  The picture on the right was taken my first day of high school (No, that isn't Sis in the picture with me.  That is her doppelganger - my baby sister.)  I was 14, 5' 7 1/2", and weight 145 lbs.  The picture on the left is of my Senior Christmas Ball dance a few weeks before I turned 18. My height was still 5' 7 1/2".  I weighed 185 lbs.  Yet, in both of these pictures, I look smaller than that.  In fact, in the right-hand picture I was actually in the overweight range by about 20 lbs.

14 years-old (1994), 145 lbs
17 year-old (1997), 185 lbs

 Later, at the doctor's office, we talked about my weight.  When he brought it up, I knew that I was in for a lecture.  How could I not be?  He was very kind, but he did encourage me to work on losing weight and gave me a goal to strive for.  He made some suggestions to help, too.  He also told me my BMI. 

So, it's time to get serious!  No more waffling around and saying, "Yeah, I really need to lose weight" and just sort of hoping it happens. 

I'm signing back up for Weight Watcher's Online.  I'll use my mad money so that I'm not taking away from the family (DH and I each get $25/pay period to do with as we please and call this our "mad money").  I mentioned that I've done WW before with lots of success (see Physical Life).  I lost 60 lbs in about 6 months. The pictures below show you what a huge difference it made!  Yes, Hubby also lost about 50 lbs (and looked so handsome!).

Before and after pictures of the last time I did WW.  I lost 60 lbs and DH lost 50 lbs.

So, what happened?  Well, around the time of the second picture, my husband started having severe stomach pains.  After lots of doctors and emergency room visits, he was diagnosed with diverticulitis.  We spent the next year in and out of hospitals and seeing specialists as he had flair-up after flair-up.  Between the emotional stress, the lack of routine or time to cook, and all the fast-food meals between the hospital and picking the kids up from my parents', the diet went out the window and I quickly started gaining the weight back.  Even after they were finally able to keep the diverticulitis from flaring-up long enough to do surgery and do a bowl-resection, I still didn't have the will to get back on the program.  When I gave up, so did Hubby and he gained his weight back, too.

But, I know that it works!  I know that, if I have the willpower (that comes only from God!) and I stick with it, I can lose weight. 

So, I'm going to do it...and I'm going to blog about it.

Honestly, this scares the bejeezes out of me.  The idea of posting my weight for the world to see makes my stomach tie up in knots.  Posting pictures and measurements makes me want to throw up.  Plus, what if I fail?  Do I want to fall on my face in front of everyone?  That thought brings me close to tears of panic.

I even considered just trying it in secret and not letting anyone know.  I'd take pictures and track my progress and then, if I started to succeed, I'd post about it.  That way I could avoid the embarrassment of the "before" pictures with out the "after" pictures to celebrate and I wouldn't have to worry about letting anyone down.

But, I'm going to step out in faith.


Faith that, with the Lord's help, I can do this.


Faith that blogging about it will provide motivation.


Faith that anyone who happens to read this will be cheering me on and not waiting for me to fail. 

So, here is goes.  The ugly, honest truth...

As of today, I weigh 263.3 lbs.  My BMI is 42.  I am morbidly obese and that "morbidly" part frightens me more than the idea of sharing all this information with the world.

Here is a chart of my starting weight, BMI, and measurements:   


Yes, my height in those old pictures was 5'7 1/2" and my height now is 5'6".  I've managed to shrink 1 1/2 inches over the last 10 years or so.  A lot of that probably has to do with my weight.  But, I was also on a medication that can reduce bone mass for several year and my scoliosis keeps me from standing completely straight.

Also, I included my bra size because that is something that I am desperately hoping decreases significantly.  That should help with my back pain.

Here are my soon-to-be "Before" pictures:

Full front view.  Notice how it looks like I'm leaning to the side?  That is the scoliosis.  By the way, I promise I would never go out in public wearing this!

Full side view.  No, I'm not pregnant.  Although, I've been asked.

Close-up of my chest, belly, and hips.  My hips are very uneven due to the scoliosis.  You can also see why I'm hoping my bra size decreases.

My bum.  I'm completely mortified.

Close-up of my back (rolls).  You can see the deep grooves on my shoulders from my bra straps.

Front view of my double chin.

Side view of my double chin.  It was very temping to do a little airbrushing on my zits, but I'm going for honest here and seriously, after that bum picture, who is going to care about zits?

My flabby arm.  Sadly, that is me trying to make a muscle.  Pretty sure the top is supposed to be the rounded part when you do that.

So, there you have it.  My shame laid bare for the whole world.  I will admit that I also took a photo of my bare belly.  But, because of modesty, I'm not sure I want to share it here.  I need to do some more praying about that one.  I can tell you that, due to having twins, my skin is stretched out beyond anything that exercise can repair.  It would take a tummy-tuck to ever get rid of the stomach flap.

My plan from here is that, each Saturday, I will post on my progress and update with new measurements.  I might not do new photos every week, but I'll try to do them often. I know they will be an important part of my motivation.

My final goal is to weight 155 lbs.  This will put me right inside the healthy weight limits for my height.  You can see from the photos at the top that this will make me look pretty thin. 

I have 108.3 lbs. to go until I reach my goal.
If anyone reading this has any encouragement or words of advice, I'd love to hear from you!  Please pray for me as I begin this journey!