Monday, August 30, 2010

Friday Night Football

School + Too Much Traveling + No Time for Running = This. 

I'm really, really, really missing my daily run. It's been so hot outside though, and when I get home my mind wants to run but my body is like "No way!" Tomorrow we are going for sure though! 

Anyhoo- sorry I'm going out of order. I know I told you Robert's graduation would be the next post in my catching up series, but I decided to add his ordination to that and the pictures just aren't quite ready. Next in line- Friday night football! This past Friday we had our first home football game at KHS. It was fun, but hectic! I was sewing together a skirt 10 minutes before everyone was due at the track. And we lost. And we fumbled the ball nine times... but hey! Who's counting?

I was there for these ladies. :) My dance team! I'm so proud of them and they look so darn cute in their uniforms. My choreographer and I think the skirts ended up a wee short, but who cares- they're wearing seriously opaque tights and shorts underneath.

Robert also came with me and tried to teach me what a screen was and a bubble play or something like that... As much as I dearly love football (and I truly do), I can't ever keep those play names straight. (Go #29! That's one of my freshman from last year. He asked me to wear his jersey because I'm his favorite teacher ever. Sorry I missed his JV game tonight though! Hope it was better than the varsity one!)

And I think I'm going to keep this post short and sweet so I can get some rest and be fresh for my students tomorrow! Y'all have a happy Tuesday. Go Beavers! :D

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Lot of Catching Up To Do

Working 10+ hours everyday, visiting with family, and maintaining my sanity means I haven't had much time for posts. I really miss posting too! And it also means my pictures are backed up like you wouldn't believe. To prevent you from having to read a novel about the past week, I'll break the three major events that happened this week into different posts. 

First, let's begin with my family's visit. Robert's graduation was this past Tuesday (that's for another post), so my sister's family and my mother decided to come out Friday night and make a bit of a holiday of their trip. 

Right after the 5k that we beasted, we left for Gatlinburg. We ate pancakes and then walked around the shops for a few hours. We also went to the Apple Barn Orchard and Winery in Pigeon Forge at Johnny's request. It was a really cool place! I didn't take any pics though, so you'll have to take my word for it. I hope we can go back sometime and eat at the restaurant, because we hear it's really good. We were so stuffed from the Pancake Pantry that we just ate apple pie and toured the winery. 

Paisley, my niece, is super cute. She wanted to wear my heels here. Although I was probably distracting her from eating breakfast- I couldn't resist a photo shoot! 

She likes to steal glasses from her daddy and then pretend to be a dentist as well. :)

And this little booger is pretty cute too eh? That's Zero, the mullet-ed guinea pig. He came out of the piggie mansion for a visit with the Pais. 

Sunday afternoon (after an epic lunch failure) I took everybody to World's Fair Park while Robert was at Maryville College promoting the church. Here's the famous Sunsphere that was built during the fair. (If you're a Simpsons fan- No. There are no wigs up there, ha ha! Google it if you don't know what I mean.) 

In the park, there's a playground I didn't even know existed! It was really cool, and Paisley had a blast. She lives for Chick-fil-a and playgrounds apparently. We literally had to drag her away. 

Now, the splash pad next door? She was not a huge fan... I think the big water jets were scary to her. Oh well- Back to the playground we go!

Monday, they took the little animal to the zoo! Robert got to go this time, but I had to miss out for work. Boo.

Prairie Dogs! Robert says she was tickling them, tee hee! I'm telling you- She's darn cute! 

I'm so happy they came out here to see us! Of course I crashed every night around 8:30pm from exhaustion, but it was a really awesome visit. If you haven't realized it by now- I live for family. If I don't see them for a while, it's an issue. Welp- I'm exhausted from a long, long day. I think 11:11pm is the perfect time to head for bed.

Next post to look for: Robert's Graduation!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Will Run for Pancakes

I got a new personal record on my 5k this past Saturday! Actually Robert and I both beat our previous times by at least 2 minutes. I still don't know the official chip time, but according to the clock on the finish line I finished in 34 minutes and 40 seconds! My family is in this weekend, so Robert and I were really motivated to run the race quickly, get back home, and go to Gatlinburg and the Pancake Pantry. Mmmmm... Will run for pancakes! 

The morning began a little too early for both of us. Paula, Mom, Johnny, and Paisley hadn't gotten here until 11pm the night before, so getting up was not easy. However, I was really excited, and I somehow managed to pry Robert out of bed. We grabbed a simple breakfast and managed to make it to the race site about 40 minutes early so we had plenty of time to grab our race packets and stretch. 

We ran in honor of Robert's mother who had thyroid cancer a few years ago. Robert apparently forgot this though; he saw the red ribbon that read "Peggy Ashby" and said, "Liz. That's not you." The race registration lady looked at him like he had to be kidding, and I just cracked up!

Poor Bobert- sleep deprived and a little loopy. :) He ran on ahead of me, and finished just under 28 minutes. That gave him a bit of time to go get the camera from the car and wait for me at the finish line. 

I don't look like I'm running very fast here, but believe me- I was booking it! Robert was about 40 yards or so in front of the finish line, so I sprinted as soon as I saw him. That was a bit of a mistake since it was uphill at this point, and I didn't realize I had 100 yards to go! 

I finished happy though! So excited about my new PR! 

It was an excellent race! The best yet, in my opinion. I didn't stop to walk once!  It may have been hot and ridiculous (Poor Bobert got sick at the finish line), but we had a good time. We ended the race exhausted, but happy... then headed out for pancakes! :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Party Animal

This week has felt a little like this... 

That's me. Being a zombie. Most people think that summer break is the best part of teaching, and in a way it is. However, I would definitely prefer to go year round. Having 3 months off with nothing to do but lie around your house baking and watching the X-files, then being expected to have your classroom together and prepared for students in one week is too much. It takes me one whole week for me to re-learn how to get up at 6am! (I still haven't managed to get up before 6:40 this week.) Not that I'd complaining- Ok I am. I'd just prefer to go year round and have 3 months on then 1 month off. But work is good. I'll have before and after pics of my classroom and a recap of this weeks fun in the near future. We have all new principals, and so far I like them! Worst part is definitely not having Mary around. It's incredibly depressing to find someone you get along with so well and then not have them there anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love Amanda and Anne a ton. But I miss sitting in my room with Mary listening to obscure music and complaining about our "little angels." :)

Speaking of little angels- We got a new camera! Quincy loves it! Or not.

I also cut off my hair in preparation for school. I wanted something kind of drastic, but it ended up being my same old cut. (I promise I asked her for something different!) To be completely honest, she gave me a bit of a mullet at first until I told her to take the bottom inch off. Good grief! I really hate finding people to cut my hair. But she was fun to talk to and I do like my hair, so I would go back again.

Tonight Robert and I partook in one of Knoxville's most fun traditions- Feast with the Beast at the Knoxville Zoo! It was a lot of fun. It consists of walking around and sampling food and beverages from local vendors. Most of the food involved some sort of meat of course (welcome to East Tennessee), but we did find some gems! Our favorite was a deep fried mashed potato dumpling thing from the Roaming Gnome. OMG! I wish I had taken a decent pic, but I ate them before I even thought of it. Here's the best pic I got- They burned a batch, so here are some waiting to be cooked at the tent. They would be the things that look like coconut sno-balls. Seasoned mashed potato rolled in bread crumbs then deep fried and served with sour cream or ranch dressing. How could that not be delicious? I only ate two of these and about a bite or two of everything else that was meat free. It didn't seem like a lot,  but boy do I have a food baby! Groan!

Probably the most interesting (and popular) vendor of the night was a legal moonshining company. Now, Robert and I are both from the south and neither one of us have had the opportunity to try this, so we had a moonshine soaked maraschino cherry each. Robert said it was like "drinking fire!" Ha ha! He wasn't kidding. We also had tiny sips of the apple pie flavor and the lemon drop as well; they were pretty good actually! Much less "fire-y" than the plain corn moonshine. Not my favorite thing ever, but a nice cultural experience for us. Later, while laughing hysterically at the man on the merry-go-round who was literally spanking his carousel eagle, we came to the conclusion that a lot of people were enjoying a bit more than just a cultural experience! 

Here's a really cool tree lady on stilts! More laughable mischief: Random guy walking past says, "Does that tree have a face or have I had too much moonshine?"

We couldn't help but take a carousel ride after we saw how much fun the "eagle spanker" was having. :) I was kind of miffed that they charged us a dollar after we paid so much for our ticket, but whatever!

I chose a gorilla while Robert snagged the coveted "Republican Sponsored" elephant. 

See? I'm not lying. And even though I looked for a Democratic Party sponsored donkey, it was non-existant. Welcome to East Tennessee, again. 

This just makes me really regret that I didn't take a photo of the life sized cardboard cut-out of Obama that I found in a Bearden High History classroom during inservice on Thursday. It made me laugh a lot, because it was really out of place! I wish I had a picture. Actually I'll be completely honest; I wish I had one for my classroom!

And because you can't go to the zoo without hanging out with the animals... 

Ball python! 
I hope that he was named Monty.

Robert's favorite- the elephants! :D

They also had a giant white rat you could pet, and we spent some obligatory time with the rhyme-nocerouses. Most of the animals were off exhibit for the evening, so we had to make due with watching the drunken homo sapiens. It was just as entertaining, ha ha! All in all- a really fun night! Even if we did leave before 10pm. *Cough* Losers! *Cough*

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Last Road Trip of the Summer

This past Friday, Robert and I took a final summer road trip to Nashville to visit his sister Jenny. While we were there, I got to experience a bunch of really exciting (and possibly very nerdy) firsts! 

The First First- A trip to Whole Foods! It was everything I'd ever dreamed of and more. Beautiful displays, bursting with delicious looking foods, and way too expensive for me to afford. Ever. But luckily, my BFF Abigail had gotten me a gift card for my birthday! 

This was my loot- A seasonal recipe book and two delicious bars of chocolate.

The Second First: Robert and I got fitted for "real" running shoes! The tennis shoes I've been using were purchased on sale for a penny. Needless to say- they aren't very good shoes, and my left foot was subpronating like crazy! Robert's shoes were just worn out. Our knees were hurting us a lot after our run on Thursday, so we took advantage of tax-free weekend to invest (and I do mean INVEST- those babies are expensive!) in some nice shoes. The men that fitted us were experts and extremely helpful. One of them had a personal best of 2 miles in 9 minutes, 38 seconds! That's incredible! We ended up getting the exact same shoes (just women's for me and men's for him), and we used them last night for our first long run. Thankfully there was no knee pain! I took an ice bath afterwards (which felt surprisingly wonderful!), and my knees feel great today. 

The Third First: Well, it was supposed to be a first- going to a "Vegetarian" Cafe. However, it ended up just being very organic and vegetarian friendly, but it was still delicious! Here's my meal- brie, green apple, mustard, and arugala on foccacia bread with a side of couscous, greens, and the most amazing balsamic vinegar I've ever tasted! 

Jenny and Robert got chicken sandwiches, and everybody agreed the food was really yummy! A funny thing worth mentioning happened outside before we ate. I was taking pics of the sign, and a lady sitting on the steps said to me, "Oh. Are you gonna blog about this?" Ha! Since when do we see a camera and think "blogger" not "tourist?"

After lunch we went to a really neat science museum! It was mainly for children, but we're museum nerds and I got in free as a teacher. We thoroughly enjoyed pretending to be kids for several hours! Bobert enjoyed making some music in a giant guitar...

What food blogger doesn't love the digestive system?

And for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to climb through all the little kid tunnels. Here's the issue though- I'm very claustrophobic! I had a few mini freak-outs, but it was still fun to me that I actually fit! 

Here's Jenny playing wheelchair basketball! I was kind of concerned that we were having so much fun pretending to have a disability, but the museum did a really good job of showing you how different your life would be if you were handicapped. As happy as I am to be blessed with the ability to walk, it was fun to ride around in the wheelchairs (at least temporarily). 

Today I had to go back to work, and my classroom is a mess! I also really miss my friend Mary who is unfortunately not at KHS anymore. :( It's going to be an adjustment without her! But at least I'll see her on a regular basis after school. She and her husband are coming over this Friday for a Make Your Own Pizza Party, and I'm very excited! It's helping me cope with having to wake up before 8am again.

 Back to School? Yuck! 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How far I've come

 I need a pick-me-up. Someone (quite innocently) asked if I was expecting the other day, and I hate how much it bothered me! Honestly, 1) They didn't know me very well at all, 2) I had on an empire waist dress with a cheese fry food baby, and 3) I'm a married woman in her 20's which seems to be the time most people have babies, so it's not that big of a deal. However my first reaction was to laugh and say "Oh no! Not for a few more years. I'm just a little fat!" 

That statement horrifies me. Truth is- I'm not a little fat. Yeah, I'm an apple shape so any extra weight makes it to my waist and not my legs or arms. Yeah, I've got a little tummy, but I'm definitely NOT fat! So why was that my first reaction? And why did it feel like such a non-chalant and normal response? When did fat-talk become more than self-degradation and climb it's way up to an acceptable social response? And why is it still bothering me?!? 

Truth is, I think I'm frustrated with my current weight loss efforts. Back in June I documented a post about the 10 pounds or so I gained this spring, and how I was starting Weight Watchers again to hopefully finally find my happy weight. It's been 3 months and I'm still in the 150's. I'm getting so close to my beloved 140's but it's taking longer this time than it has in the past. The weight came on in less than a month, but it's already taken 3 times that amount to loose half. To be honest, deep down I kind of feel like a failure, but that's crazy! I've just forgotten where I've been, and I need to remind myself of something- I have come so far! 

February of Sophomore Year

Here's where I started (or at least the closest picture I could find to my starting weight, as I avoided the camera in those days). I was 172 lbs on my barely 5'5" frame. According to healthy weight recommendations, I was 22 pounds beyond my maximum healthy weight and I was creeping towards obesity. I was unhappy with my body. I was uncomfortable in my clothes. I was unhealthy, and I needed to do something about it. So on September 11th of my Junior year, I attended my very first weight watchers meeting. I worked my butt off for six months both at loosing the weight and at learning to be a teacher. Probably a volatile combination as you'll see in a bit, but the weight came off quickly and by the end of February/beginning of March, I was down to 142lbs- within site of my 135lbs goal. 

Pretty soon though, the stress of student teaching had become too much. I wasn't following the Weight Watchers Plan the way I should have, and a 2 pt bag of popcorn was a frequent dinner when I had spent all my points on too many processed foods and barely any vegetables. On top of that, I was sick. Physically and mentally. My hair began to fall out, I was anxious beyond anything remotely normal, I stopped sleeping, and I cried every morning before going to school to teach. My sister staged an intervention- she said she was worried about me and she thought I may have an eating disorder. I remember feeling so defensive when she said that, but after we hung up the phone I knew she was right. I wasn't anorexic. I wasn't bulimic. I even hate calling it an eating disorder because I think that what I experienced was nothing close to what millions of women experience, but I was extremely unhealthy. I was obsessed with food and losing weight, and it was taking it's toll. 

So I quit. I don't remember if I slowly backed off of meetings or if I just decided I needed to focus on teaching and stopped finding the time to go weigh-in. I got help for my anxiety, and I ended the summer much happier than I had started. And of course since I had been dieting unsustainably- I put on weight. My size 4 jeans that had that winter no longer fit by the fall. My body slowly floated towards the 150's yet again without me noticing. Senior year I was too concerned about my wedding and living at home (read: processed food and cookie paradise) to really try to get fit. At my wedding in May, I was back up to around 158, but I really didn't care. As long as my dress fit (as you've read in a previous post) I was going to be happy. 

After the honeymoon I was relieved to be away from my mother's house so that I could have more control over what I ate. I signed up for weight watchers again and began to slowly drift back down. By January of this year I had finally gotten down to 146 and I stayed there. That's the thing that I forget. That's what is truly amazing now when I think about it. I stayed there. I don't remember another time when I could maintain a healthy weight for several months, but I didn't see it that way then. I wanted nothing more than to be 140, and now I want to be 146 again! Geeze! Women! Aren't we all crazy that way? 

A cheese fry addiction and feeling lax around my birthday caused a slow gain of about 8 pounds. Now I'm back to watching what I eat again, but I'm doing it differently this time. This time I'm eating real foods. This time I'm reading food blogs like KERF, Healthy Tipping Point, Oh She Glows, Peas and Thank You, and Carrots 'N' Cake for inspiration from healthy, real women. This time I've run two 5k's and I'm training for a half marathon. So who cares if someone mistakes my food baby for a real baby? Look at me know! I feel great. I feel strong. But most importantly...

I feel healthy. :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What I should be doing...

I should be ordering Zebra Print lettering for the dance team uniform tops...

I should be calling all the girls to make sure they know when dance camp is...

I should be calling my dad to let him know he can take me off their car insurance...

I should be straightening the house for my mother-in-law's visit in 3.5 hours...

I should be finishing my afghan or Robert's scarf that I began knitting 5 years ago...

But I'm not doing any of those things. Instead I'm baking...

(My slightly modified and healthified version here. Original more decadent version here.)

*And so that you aren't mislead, I haven't tried the real recipe but mine didn't taste exactly like a donut. But then again, when I think of donuts, I think of the original Krispy Kreme glazed, and these are more like the cake type of donut.

- 1 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoons each of nutmeg and cinnamon (I had no cinnamon, so I used apple pie spice)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (I just used one of those little "pack in your lunch" containers)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 3/4 cup unsweetened Almond Milk (Or you could use regular milk if you wanted)
For the topping...
-1/4 cup of Smart Balance Buttery Spread (or your brand of choice)
-1/4 cup of brown sugar (or you could use white)
-1 Tablespoon of cinnamon (I had none, so I left it out and used the brown sugar instead)

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and seasonings in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine apple sauce, sugar, egg, and milk. Add wet to dry and stir just until combined. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (mini-muffins) or 15-20 minutes (standard muffins). Meanwhile melt the butter on a plate. On a separate plate spread out the brown sugar (or mix the white with the cinnamon if you're going that route). While muffins are still hot, dip just the top in the butter and then into the sugar. Let cool if you can.

Makes 12 large muffins or 24 mini-muffins

Ohhhh Yeaahh...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Day I Felt Most Beautiful

Change the way you see. Not the way you look. 
This is a statement that I've been contemplating for a while- trying to think of a creative blog post idea to spread the word about an amazing blog/book/project that I believe in with my whole heart: Operation Beautiful(And Caitlin- I just got so excited because I had to italicize that since it's the name of your book now! You rock! Congratulations!)

If you've never heard of Operation Beautiful, I strongly encourage you to go to the website and check it out. It started as a small idea to brighten someone's day and has snowballed into something amazing that I know can change the lives of women everywhere.

This week, August 2-7, is a week dedicated to changing how you see yourself. So many women, including myself, suffer from bouts of low self-esteem and poor body image so we diet and exercise ourselves to exhaustion or burn-out. We're never ok just being happy the way we are, and it's truly a crime to miss out on your life because you think your thighs are huge.

So while mulling over this concept, I decided to do a blog post that terrified me a little. You see, I have a bad habit of seeing a picture of myself and wrinkling my nose in disgust because I think I look "terrible." I can't tell you the number of times that Robert has sighed at me in exasperation and said that I was not allowed to delete the picture because I didn't look "terrible," I looked "beautiful." I decided that it was time to change my disdain for myself on film by posting pictures that I "hated" and instead write things about them that I actually liked or maybe even loved.

Now, it sounded like a great idea, and really it was- but I ran into a little problem... I couldn't find any pictures that I really, truly hated. I was shocked and a little proud that I could even look at a no make-up, double chinned, bad angle photo and be able to say that I wasn't horrifically embarrassed by it. This fact really hit me while going through my wedding photos. Specifically, I thought about how most women diet and starve themselves to their slimmest self on their wedding day, and (while I had good intentions to lose a few) I actually gained a couple pounds in the weeks before I said "I do." Did I notice? Well yeah, when I was rolling in the grass on a blanket taking photos and the eye hook of my dress popped, I noticed. Did I care? Nope. (Well unless you count being slightly unable to breathe in my dress, but I got used to it pretty quickly.) Do I stare at the pictures with regret because I think my arms are flabby? No way. Seriously, There could have been a picture of me with milk flying out of my nose or a zit the size of everest and I would have thought I was beautiful in my wedding dress. And I was. I really was. See for yourself!

This reminds me of those "Stars with no make-up pics" on Tabloids, but despite the greasy hair and soft neck that I so graciously inherited from my daddy, I can look at this and remember the anticipation and excitement of getting all "gussied up" and marrying the love of my life!

I love the sheer joy in this picture. I love that my nose crinkles when I'm laughing. I love that I have baby hairs around my face that spiral softly. And I love the happiness radiating from my face. 

My eyelashes are gorgeous in this picture. Usually I don't like pictures where I'm taken off guard, and years ago I may have not liked this one- but now I see it for what it really is: beautiful.

My face in this picture is the spitting image of my mother's. She's my best friend in the whole world, and for that reason, I will always find this picture beautiful.

My daddy means so much to me, and it was overwhelming emotionally to walk down that aisle. I couldn't tell if I was crying or smiling or both. From this picture you can tell that it was clearly both. 

Despite the crazy hair from the wind, all I see is love in my eyes. 

Quite possibly my favorite picture of the day. This is me.
 A little crazy. A constant kid at heart. A bit dramatic. 
And an all around beautiful girl. 

I'm happy I finally realize that. I can't help but find these pictures wonderful because I remember how I felt. And I think that's a big step towards changing how you see... by first changing how you feel. If you can look at a picture and think about how much fun you had that night or how in love you were, you may miss your "big nose" or your "muffin top." And you'll see that you are beautiful too! And you truly always have been. Changing the way we look is difficult. Changing the way we see is a little easier. But changing the way we feel (or even just remembering the way we felt) may just be the key to it all.