Thursday, September 29, 2011

21 down

(*Not my image)
283 WAS my highest weight. Two hundred and eighty three pounds. You gotta' love PCOS, the ovarian syndrome that I have that causes weight gain, more hair on your chin/face, less hair on your head, issues with my monthly cycle, troubles having babies and the list goes on. Pretty exciting stuff huh? Well, I've decided to take control of this disease and work on my own insecurities. I know that beauty comes from within blah blah blah :-) But when I met my handsome husband 16 years ago, I was a sexy 120-125 I'm more than double that. He loves me big or little, but I need to make sure that I still love me. Plus with five children and this beautiful farm...I need to make sure that I'm around to enjoy all of these gifts.
So...that image above!? See the large blob of fat on the bottom shelf? That's 20 pounds of fat...As of this morning...I have lost 21 pounds. I've lost just a touch over that blob. I feel really good about that. I still have another 120 pounds to lose (at least)'s not going to be easy, but I feel confident that I can do it. So how am I doing it this time? I'm tracking every bite of food that I put in my mouth. I have a great excel spreadsheet - it's definitely time consuming - but worth it. I eat similar foods every day, so once I list a food and have all the nutrition facts then really it is just copying and pasting the information. I try to stay within the recommended daily allowances for things like calories, saturated fat, iron, fiber, protein etc. I also found an excel equation to determine your Weight Watcher points. I'm not doing WW, but I think that it is just another way to make sure that you are on track. Here's the equation for anyone needing it:  =(Calories/50)+(Total Fat/12)-(Fiber/5). I've also been working out when I have time, but that is definitely something that needs to be stepped up. I'm worried about plateaus though. So I'm stepping into this program. First, get my food down, then have blood work done to see how my levels are working for (or against) me and then get the exercise program going. The food seems to be pretty well shaped, although I have my times, sometimes a couple days in a row where I'm not sticking to the diet...but I'm ok as long as I jump back on the wagon before too much damage is done. When I went to the doctor, I found out that I'm anemic - so I've been taking iron supplements. The doctor also put me on Metformin, a drug made for diabetics, and although I'm not a diabetic (yet...and hopefully will not ever be one) - because PCOS is associated with insulin resistance the Metformin helps my body understand how to process the insulin it should help with weight loss. I want to make sure that this weight never comes's so hard to get the weight off. I'm taking it slow and being smart about it, although at times it is very frustrating that I'm not losing Biggest Loser kind of weight. But 21 pounds in just shy of 3 months isn't too shabby.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Living In Extremes and Finding the Balance

Mark and I are the least extreme people that you will ever meet. We know what we feel is right for ourselves, each other, our children, our family as a whole, our animals and such; however, we don't ever want to designate what is right for others. We see such extreme behaviors as, well...extreme. That being said, we seem to live in a world of extremes. We have this huge, most significant part of our lives which is our family and creating the farm living space. In our hearts, we are on the edge of becoming sustainable farmers, providing for our family in a natural way. We are hard working, strong and treading as lightly as possible. There is another part of our lives that is my career. I work in Energy Efficiency and, at times, need to travel from Ohio to Portland for team building (which is always a wonderful experience to be around my co-workers, but difficult to be away from life here (Mark, children, farm etc.). I love my job though...and frankly, it pays the bills and keeps us insured. We have another part of our lives that calls us to far away this year, we have traveled to Philadelphia (twice), Pittsburgh (two or three times), NYC/Brooklyn (twice), Portland (once), New Jersey (twice). At times we get to play dress up, drink cocktails and snack on hor d'oeuvres and other times we are elbow deep in mud. It's hard to find the balance...knowing where our hearts are...but knowing that we need to nurture these other, very significant elements of our lives. Friendships, careers, extended family that all need and deserve a portion of our hearts. Here's a glimpse into our extremes...
Mark and I at Hueston Woods, a State Park just a few miles from our home. Hiking with the kids. Photo taken by Ms. Cora (*note the height of the photographer).
Mark and I at my friend's wedding, in Brooklyn. I had the amazing honor of being the officiant of the wedding. I am so excited to be a part of her memories, forever. She will be an amazing wife. 

The kids at Hueston Woods. It's truly beautiful land.

The Bride and me! Although it is hard to tell, the new bride is also about to be a new mama! I can't wait to witness her in this new role. She is a wonderful soul and, I'm sure, will raise her son to be a kind, open-minded, open-hearted gentleman.
Snuggle Time with Belly and me!

Brooklyn Bridge, breathtaking during the day and even more so at night. My friend's wedding was at a beautiful venue, just below the Brooklyn Bridge, on the Brooklyn side. The wedding was outside and we had the Manhattan Skyline as our backdrop!

The kids, our dog, Blue and me enjoying a round of push up Popsicles, after a hard day of planting trees.

Who needs a pick up truck when you have a mini-van??!! We've hauled so much for our farm between a mini-van, a Yaris and an old Accord. Our latest haul, and possibly our most money saving haul? We got over 1100 Ball canning jars for FREE off Craigslist. They need just a little clean up and will be perfectly for next year's canning extravaganza!

What good mother doesn't let her son climb a wobbly ladder, with a saw to saw off the lower branches of our pine trees? Oh wait! Get down Drake!!!

TIMBER!!! We have downed 8 pine trees (one that was ginormous!) on our property. Seven of them were dead/dying, one just took up SO much space and made our front lawn a little claustrophobic. A chop, chop here and a buzz, buzz there and down they all came. Of course we started with the largest tree and I must admit there was a moment of panic when the tree started to fall and I had the "what if it falls the wrong way" thought. Not to worry though, they all fell exactly where they were supposed to and no one has gotten hurt.

It helps to have friends in high places. Our friend Matt used to work for a landscaping company...and anyone that knows Matt, loves Matt. He's a good guy with a great heart and he offered to borrow one of the awesome tools that the landscaping company has and bring it to our property. This Dingo, with the Auger attachment, dug 23 HUGE holes in our land in no time at all. All I had to do is go around and point and Matt was able to plunk the auger in the hole and dig perfectly sized holes - something that would take Mark and I FOR-EVER to do by hand. Not to mention it was awesome to witness the raw power of that amazing tool. It has a bucket attachment and lifted a few of our pine trees and tossed them onto the brush stack in the back of the property like they were feathers.

I also found it fascinating how the auger would pull the dirt out of the hole and toss it around the outside. You have no idea how easy this tool (and it's awesome driver) made our lives.

It may not look like much, but that tree is going to feed my children some awesome Apricots, some day. Drake, and the rest of the kids, helped out so much on tree planting day.

Mmmm....Pear! Drake and Daddy did a great job getting this one in the ground and covered up.

Does it count as "child labor" if they have a great time and look so freakin' cute doing it? Not to toot my own horn, but that is my favorite skirt of Cora's - Dia de Los Muertos - Sugar Skulls cover the skirt and it twirls in just the right way. Cora is the perfect mix of punk rock girl, tomboy and cheerleader.

Gage and Drake helping Daddy fill holes and water our trees.

Special thanks to the kids and Blue who stuck it out to at least monitor our progress even after they got tired and sick of planting trees (who can blame them, 23 trees in one day is a LOT for anyone's attention span.

Good and watered! We have nearly all of our trees/plants in the ground at this point. Now we need to sit back and take stock of what we need and where we have space. 

Our first, of hopefully many, FRESH as can be Peaches. Isn't it perfect?

Other things happening in our world?
The kids at the pool at my parents' camp. They store their RV at a campground that they have grown to love. A couple of times we took time out to go and visit them and beat the heat with a dip in the pool.

One of our favorite spots, Glen Helen area of Yellow Springs/Clifton Gorge.

Nice cool water after a long hike...perfect.

All good things must come to an end. This summer was a doozy, but the kids have been back to school for a couple of weeks now. With the first official day of Fall coming and going, the leaves changing colors and falling over our freshly cut grass, a crispness in the air and hoodies always close by we look forward to see what this new season brings to us. We are blessed to have this warm home and dream about all the projects that await us for next Spring.

 Wanted to mention that I am so lucky to live this life with my best friend. I was only 21 when we met and I find it incredible that we still love to hang out with each other. I still have the BIGGEST crush on my husband...Look at him...Who wouldn't????

I love all the new creatures that we get to see out here. This beautiful butterfly fluttered right onto Drake's fingers.

We had a ton of the Yellow and Black butterflies throughout our property this year...I hope that continues. 

I don't know what that little guy is...but he's cute.

I'll leave you with this...THIS is the biggest spider I've ever seen in my life. She is a mama Wolf Spider. How do I know that she's a mama? See those dots all over her backside? Those...those are babies. We counted around 100! She's outside, in our shed/barn, she's not aggressive by nature and will only bite in a defensive mode. We decided to let her live...and someone recently pointed out..."so that means you have 101 of these on your property" - perhaps I should have squashed her with my shoe (I was just afraid she'd fight back!). Really though, I think she is cool. I'm proud that we can teach our children about these creatures that we wouldn't normally be able to expose them to.

In the end, I know that we will continue to work on finding that balance in our life. We do really well with's just another challenge that we face. This is the life we chose, the path that was created for us - it's an amazing journey and I'm so glad all of you are along for the ride.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

...and where do we want to put the goats?

This summer has been incredible. I could never have imagined us owning our own home, especially not one this amazing. I am so thankful that we were able to work out our credit/financial situation to be able to afford this home. I keep promising myself that I will go around this home and take pictures of what it looks like now...because I want to see how it changes and morphs into our space. However, each day runs into the next and pictures don't get taken. I'm hoping to do it this weekend though. Perhaps Sunday.
Last weekend we did accomplish the task of laying out our land on posterboard - we were able to figure out where the goats and chickens are going to go (the red square at the top, near the center), we layed out where all the trees are going to be planted (all the green circles), our circular drive runs through the property, the blue portion is where our house sits and to the left of the house, near the bottom of the image is our garden...our big, amazing garden to be. Above the garden is going to be our deck - for entertaining, outdoor moving watching, hopefully a small firepit and outdoor general seating. I love it!