Monday, December 31, 2012

Auditioning for "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant (TLC)"

There's been a couple times I've been up way too late at night and that weird show "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" comes on TLC. You want to mock those women for so foolishly never knowing they were pregnant but the show just kind of sucks you in. I've always known within days of implantation, or the day OF implantation with Evie, so that show befuddled me.

Rewind to late May....we decided to try for another child. I called my Ob and her nurse sent in an Rx to my pharmacy for Metformin, Provera, and Clomid (100mg)- the exact same routine I did to conceive Evie and close (just a lesser dose of Clomid) to what I did to conceive Elly. It had worked well two times before and I was healthy, or so we thought. So, I started the routine and within a few days felt 'off'. Really, I felt terrible. Then I started spotting and that lasted for a month. And during the middle of all that I had a night where I thought I was dying and it was a large cyst rupturing. I really felt like crap the entire month and knew it was more than just the meds I was taking as I'd never felt so horrible on them. My Ob said yes, I could still conceive with all the spotting and the cyst rupture. It seemed unlikely but I took a test and holy cow, I was pregnant! I was so excited and couldn't believe it worked right away and in the midst of so much hardship as my mother-in-law passed away in June...after I'd already started all the drugs. I was thrilled to be able to surprise Craig as the other two times he knew exactly what was going on by the color coded charts on the cupboards. I ordered a special fortune cookie announcement off Etsy and decided to surprise him a week later when we went out for our 7th anniversary. Two days before our date night I started bleeding. A LOT. I believe I actually said, "Oh Sh**" when I pulled down my underwear to go pee. It was THAT much. I figured I was miscarrying but didn't know for sure since it had never happened to me. Of course if was a weekend and I had to wait til Monday to see my Dr. They had me in for bloodwork to check my Hcg/beta and also an ultrasound. My beta was high enough to be pregnant but low enough it was a threatened miscarriage. In the ultrasound there was a huge and totally empty uterus. Not a single sign of a baby. Then the tech was looking in my ovaries for a while and seemed a bit perplexed. She asked if I knew I had a Dermoid....."Uh, no, I have no idea what that is." She proceeded to show me the large tumor in my left ovary that made my ovary totally non-functioning. The right ovary was also in very poor health as every cm of it was covered with large cysts- between 5 and 6 cm each. My ovaries were swollen to the size of large grapefruits....HUGE compared to the chestnuts they should've been. I immediately started crying. Not only was there no baby, but I also had terribly unhealthy ovaries, worse then they'd ever been. In that moment I thought, "wow, I might be done with kids, forever." It was devastating. Add to this that not a single soul knew I was I told my mom and I told Craig. The nurse sort of confusingly told me to not give up hope til my hcg/beta followup two days later. Really my OB already knew I was miscarrying and it was not communicated well to me. Pretty sucky. So I waited til Wednesday and met with my OB. She said the baby didn't stick and my beta was half what it was two days prior (would've doubled or tripled if I wasn't miscarrying). She said I couldn't take Clomid or anything like it with the condition of my ovaries. As it stood the Clomid I had been taking was being funneled to the one functioning ovary which contributed to the ginormous cysts. The tumor rendered good 'ol lefty unavailable to work or balance out the distribution of Clomid. If my Ob had known about the tumor she never would've given me the 100mg dose. That was that.
I was sick. And babyless.

I had another appointment with my Ob a few weeks later to figure out what to do about the tumor. Dermoids are pretty much always non-cancerous. So much so that they don't even need to biopsy it prior to surgery. Many women, and even young girls, have smallish dermoids that don't interfere with their life and they can live with them for years. Mine was large and definitely interfering with my life. My ovaries were so big that intimacy had been uncomfortable for nearly a year. I sort of got used to it (if possible) and blamed it on the copious amounts of stress we'd been under. I also figured I just had some large cysts. A tumor never came to mind.

My Ob said I could wait 6 months and see what happened, but I wouldn't be able to try to actively conceive during that time and chances are things wouldn't look any better. The tumor might just be bigger. Add to the equation that DSHS kindly grants women 2 months of medical coverage after a miscarriage and it was a no-brainer to just do surgery right away and get it over with. It was a couple hour surgery and then I was released and crashed in bed at home. I was mostly normal the next day but still groggy and a bit sore. I strongly believe that surgery was life changing for me. We think I had the tumor for over 2 years, it had been slowly growing and messing up my hormones and life in big ways. Within 3 day after the surgery I felt like a different person. Like the old me. I could feel joy again. It was crazy how absolutely different I felt. On top of the tumor, which was nasty (I made my Ob take pics), my right ovary was twisted with a cyst making a candy cane pattern and effectively cutting off oxygen to the ovary. No wonder I felt like crap all the time! So, I recovered from surgery and wondered what would happen next. I didn't feel very hopeful about ever successfully having a baby again, but at least my ovaries were sort of normal looking. And the surgery was paid for (thank you for that, Jesus!).

At my two week surgery followup appointment everything looked pretty good in the ultrasound. A couple small cysts had already grown but nothing troublesome. My Ob said, "hey it only takes one time, you might get pregnant now." I sort of laughed it off saying, "yeah Dr.Q.....cuz that's ever happened in my 29 years!" She just smiled. I was told to wait a month and try to let my body have a period on its own. I wanted it so badly that I waited 6 weeks....hoping and hoping something would happen and my body would cooperate on it's own without drugs. But nothing. I played phone tag with the nurse all day and was just super irritated by the time night came and I had no resolve and hadn't actually talked to anyone. A miscarriage, surgery, 6 weeks of waiting and still....nothing. Craig and I were about to watch a movie that night and I went it to go pee first and whaddya period started. On it's own! I was a 29 year old with a huge grin on her face because my body finally, FINALLY, did something on it's own! I talked to the nurse the next morning and we agreed to wait it out and see what happened this cycle. We had no idea if I'd ovulate or not, but sure as heck wanted to let my body try. So, no more meds for yet another month. I took my temp every morning and charted on I notated every symptom and my cervical mucous. Fertility Friend said I ovulated on cycle day 17. So I waited a week and then started taking home pregnancy tests. Negative. Negative. Negative. For a week, 7 HPT's all said I wasn't pregnant. Then on Nov 18th I started bleeding again. I was kind of bummed that I didn't conceive but also happy that I was having a period. The 2nd natural one in my entire life. Fertility Friend started another monthly chart for me and I continued taking my temp every morning. My temps seemed kind of high and I kept waiting and waiting and it appeared I didn't ovulate. Very frustrating.

Then some things started happening:
*I nearly threw up trying to eat a steak for lunch. I spit out the one bite I took and had to throw the whole thing away.
*I had a really hard time breathing properly for a solo at our church's Christmas concert. It was like my brain and body weren't breaths were too shallow.
*I couldn't lose another lb. The scale was STUCK and that was maddening.
*I was emotional. I couldn't handle people and any petty crap. My tolerance was at a whopping zero.
*I was lethargic all the time. Coffee got me through the day...I felt so tired just talking to my kids was hard.

I mostly chalked all this up to being tired and having too much crammed into a few weeks time. I figured once I got through the Christmas concert and a couple parties I would be able to breathe again and feel normal. I went to my regular doctor and did end of the year labwork and everything came back normal; thyroid, cholesterol, liver, etc. I was super healthy but almost anemic. We chalked up my tiredness to me needing more iron. Part of me wanted to call my Ob's nurse and request her to send an Rx to my pharmacy....I didn't really think my body would work enough to conceive on it's own and I was afraid I was just wasting more time. With fertility friend saying I didn't ovulate I felt like the prior month's success was just a fluke and it would probably take drugs to make it happen again. But there was this still, small voice that kept asking me, "do you trust Me? Will you wait?" I wanted to trust Him. So I said, "yes Lord, I'll wait."

Then another week goes by and I'm not feeling any better. In fact, I'm falling asleep on the couch in the middle of the day. SO not like me. Friday, December 7th, I fell asleep on the couch while the girls were napping and then again that night while the family was watching a movie. It was like a tidal wave of sleep would crash into me and I was powerless to stay awake. After waking up from the second coma I started thinking, "you know, I have one HPT left in the bathroom....maybe I should just take it for my own sanity. It'll be negative and I can go back to life....but what if in some crazy reality, it's positive?" I took Evie to put her to bed and had her standing in the bathroom while "mommy's just peeing on this stick real quick." She watched while I peed and it turned positive before I could even stop. I stared at it incredulously thinking, how in the world is this possible??? I just had a period and I haven't ovulated! I hollered at Craig and he came in and saw me standing there with a very positive hpt and a puzzled look on my face. I said, "go put Elly to bed and then go to Albertons and get two more tests. Get blizzards, too, or Jake will wonder what's going on."

He got back, I peed on another test and same thing- it was positive mid pee. Unbe-stinkin-lievable. The other test he got was a dud and didn't do anything. But having the two very positive tests right there was pretty evident what was going on with my body the last few weeks! I knew that the tests being positive so quickly meant I was a little ways along.
Of course it was Friday so I had to wait til Monday to call the Dr's office and they couldn't see me til Tuesday. I went in for an hcg/beta check and it came back over 29,800. WOW. That meant I was somewhere between 5 weeks and 12 weeks pregnant.

My mind was could I be so far along but I just had a period mid November??? I sat on the couch playing with my Fertility Friend chart and realized if I made the 5 days of bleeding look like spotting then it would be just one long chart, not split into two months. When it was one long chart I could see how my temps got high just a few days after my last negative hpt and that they stayed wonder I didn't ovulate, I was already pregnant! I didn't ovulate on cycle day 17, I actually ovulated on cycle day 25! If I'd waited a week to take those seven hpt's, they would've been positive. So, why did I bleed for 5 days what seemed to be a period? I don't know. We'll probably never know. What I do know is that I'm thankful I didn't know I was pregnant then because I would've assumed I was miscarrying again and that would've been awful.

The day after my crazy high beta level my Dr ordered an ultrasound immediately. I went in that same day, and there was a sweet little baby bean with a heart rate of 135. I was 6 weeks and 5 days already.

I was shocked, but really happy. First period ever and I miraculously conceive that cycle, with no meds. I always hoped and prayed that I'd get to conceive naturally someday but after 3 drugged conceptions and then a miscarriage it sure seemed unlikely.

I think the surgery made a tremendous difference in my health. I think losing 38lbs helped a lot. I think cutting out sugars and carbs helped a lot. I think mostly God granted us a miracle in this baby.

I wish it was as simple as, "I lost weight and got pregnant!" But that's far from the truth. I've weighed this weight or less for really the majority of my life. It's only been since I got married (sorry, Craig) that I've been heavier. And when I was first diagnosed with PCOS I lost 20lbs....still didn't even have a period. At 18 and 19 I was 20lbs less than I am now even, still no period. All I know is I'm really wowed by how things played out and really thankful God has blessed us with this little one. I'll be 10 weeks on Friday.

I think once you've miscarried there lives this fear in you all the time that maybe the baby isn't growing anymore....I check for blood every single time I pee. The innocence of thinking a miscarriage won't happen to me was lost. I'm trying to give up my fears to the Lord and pray for myself and the baby. I go back to my Ob on Jan 14th and I'm praying for a very strong heart beat then. If something does happen, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

I'll be transferring to a midwife and doing a homebirth again, but I still need to call the midwife :)

        This is how we told the kids.....Evangeline wore this shirt that said, "I Am The Big Sister."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mini Vaca

We decided to use up a bit of our leftover Christmas budget cash (uh yeah, that's real! Go Dave Ramsey!) and took the kids to the Silver Cloud Inn in Redmond for one night. It's a really nice, clean hotel with modern rooms, a great indoor pool, and the best free hotel breakfast I've seen. We went there with Evie last spring when we attended the homeschool conference. We packed up the basics and told Jake he'd need a swimsuit and off we went! We really just wanted to do something out of the ordinary and make some memories. I figured it'd be really tiring, and it was. But worth it. We checked in at 2 yesterday, got settled in the room and then went to swim for a bit. Then we had dinner at IHOP...I ate way too much....then back to the room and one more swimming trip. I went back to the room with the girls at 7 for bed for Evie but Jake and Craig swam for a couple more hours. They had the whole pool to themselves and decided to rock the girl's Hello Kitty goggles.
 Evie passed out after nursing and crashed in the playpen (her feet now scrunch against the sides). Elly and I snuggled on our bed and watched Say Yes to the Dress. She ate Pocky Sticks and I drank SO much water. I think the swimming really dehydrated me.....that or all the food I ate at IHOP :) I'd been nauseous for weeks and didn't love having to eat, that seems to have passed and food is now not a problem!

Elly and I shared a bed and Jake and Craig shared one. Worked out well other than the kids being the only ones that got to sleep. Elly is only 38lbs, but she used every ounce of that to shove me off the bed all night. I think perhaps she was snuggling and liked being able to feel me, but I nearly felt the floor most of the night. Jake is a violent insane actually. I'm surprised Craig doesn't have a black eye today. So yeah, kids won the sleep battle. This morning we woke to giggles as the pregnant lady passed gas (hey, sometimes you just gotta!) and Evie hollered out, "mama tootied!!!" It had been silent before the gas and after Evie's proclamation we were all in giggles. Pretty funny way to start the day. We got dressed and headed to the awesome breakfast. Belgium waffles, pastries, scrambled eggs, sausage, cereal, oatmeal, juices, yogurt, bagels and cream cheese, etc. YUM!

Even after breakfast and being fully packed it was only 10am. I lounged on the bed watching some I Won the Lottery [and blew it all in 18 months] show and wishing I was in a padded white room with a feather bed (SO exhausted). After a bit of insisting from Craig, we checked out, caught the ferry in the nick of time and were home before lunch time.

Things like this cost money, which we had saved all year, and take time and energy. But it was fun and I think the kids, especially Jacob, will remember it. And let's be honest, when baby makes 6 a trip like this will be a little harder for a while :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Have you heard?

We are incredibly blessed and thankful to announce that a new little Frazier will be joining the bunch soon.
We're taking off for one night to a place with a pool and amazing free continental breakfast (I mean, Belgium waffles for goodness sake!) and so I'll blog the details when we get home.
I waited as long as I reasonably could to announce but I was getting really tired of trying to wear clothes that would hide the bump....aka- had to dress frumpy. I feel like this pregnancy is going really well and so far everything looks beautiful. If that changes, we'll cross the bridge when we get to it. For now, thank you so much for celebrating with us and praying for the little grape when I come to mind.

What I'll say now is this: was I on any fertility drugs to make this happen? NO :)
Little miracle.

Monday, December 24, 2012

When the Holidays are Bittersweet

Today is bittersweet for me. Christmas Eve is an annual family part at my mom's house with great food and honoring why we celebrate Christmas- Jesus! It's also a super exciting time of year for the kids. Their Elf on the Shelf left them a teeny tiny goodbye note this morning and she made them an Altoids tin full of little donuts.
 They appear to be Cheerios dipped in powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate and sprinkles. She'll be heading home to the North Pole with Santa tonight, until next December. Craig and I are totally done wrapping gifts and that's a good feeling. We can breathe and just wait for tomorrow morning. Jacob is so excited he's afraid he won't sleep at all tonight. Christmas is special! I'm thankful for our church and the Advent season and how it helped refocus my heart on Jesus and the expectation of his birth, the birth of our Savior. I'm thankful for miracles and dreams coming true in my own life and my friend's lives. This time of year makes things feel so warm and extra-special for me.

But yet, it's also bittersweet. This day, one year ago, our brother-in-law, Jim, passed away suddenly from a heart attack. At 36. It was devastating news and left us all reeling. Our thoughts and prayers are with Craig's sister today. The first anniversary of a dear one's passing is tough. You can't just avoid it and not think about it, but thinking about it can open up the whole can of memories and sadness. Death is a weird thing for our human brains to totally wrap around. So today I have happiness and joy for Christmas and having all three kids under our roof for another year. But also tears as my brain remembers just how much has happened this past year. It's also our first Christmas without Craig's mom, Linda. It was weird not sending a Christmas card to her. Not buying her anything. Not going out to Red Robin or Red Lobster last week as we normally would have with her.

The holidays are wonderful, yes, but also tough for a lot of people. Some families have parents who've divorced and that adds a whole sticky and sometimes icky element. Many people remember and can't help but count how many Christmases this is without a loved one by their side.

So hug your friends and family. Love them. Accept them as they are. Be gentle with yourself and with others.  Under smiles and joy there's often other things, too. Hidden tears or prayers that aren't exactly appropriate to air at casual holiday get togethers. Life is short, love much.

Merry Christmas dear ones~
Tonie Christine Photography

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My how they grow...

Eliana's new thing is drawing princesses....lots of princesses. She rotates between Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and the Queen (not sure which queen). I've been pretty amazed at her pictures, actually. The princesses have hands, crowns, heels, appropriate length hair for their character, dresses, and entire faces. It's crazy how all of the sudden you realize your child isn't scribbling anymore....they're actually drawing real pictures!

She asked for paper yesterday so I handed her scrap paper, not realizing she'd draw such a great picture! This is Snow White and the sun shining on her.

This is Sleeping Beauty with sun again :) And getting her to make a normal face for a photo is HARD.

Can't remember who she said this one is...I think Snow White.
She is amazing.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

5lbs are nearly gone :)

So, I posted HERE about what happened when I ate 'normal' for Thanksgiving and the 3 days after that. I gained almost 5lbs. If that's not a clue that there is something off with my body, then I don't know what is! A normal person might gain 3 at the most and probably because they had seconds at Thanksgiving and one too many slices of pie. I did neither.

Well, I'm back down most of it and now only .8 from my low weight on Thanksgiving morning :) That's the thing, we WILL fall off the horse. It's not IF, it's WHEN. Are you starting to get this? It's taken me and is still taking me years to understand it. We can't start a life change and think that every week for the rest of our lives we will be a smaller number on the scale (a la Incredible Shrinking Woman). Amidst working towards health and wholeness, life happens. Birthday cake, a bowl of spaghetti, Chinese take out....right? This journey is about the process. Figuring out why we eat the way we do. Boredom? Stress? Joy? Sadness? Sugar addiction? When we figure that out, we can really be aware of what causes us to eat all the ways we truly don't want to. Sometimes I just really want something and I understand it's not what my body really needs, but it's ONE meal and it's a choice. When we're able to not let one meal ruin our entire week or month- that is progress.

Today I waited too long to eat 'real' food. I had a cup of coffee this morning and a protein shake and then it became 2:30 in the afternoon and all I wanted was Doritos or pasta. I went past the point of 'kind of hungry' to full on 'starving and likely to make poor decisions'. But I didn't make a poor decision this time. I ate this, one of my oldest and least expensive friends:
Eggs fried in butter :)

Quick and easy source of protein and fat AND yummy!

I believe that I work best with goals. I actually don't like goals or the perceived pressure of them. Yet I'm starting to think maybe I do work best with them and so some part of my weird brain must like them??? I had this major huge goal of 35.5lbs to get to a certain, at this point in time unnamed, weight. Then I met it and I lost a couple more pounds and I've been at that weight for a while now. So I'm thinking, what if I lost 50lbs? What if I made that my new goal? That's only 12.3lbs away from where I stand today. So....there I shall tread.
~ Diana

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Judgy-Judgersons

I've seen a few comments today that I thought were weird....rather despising comments about those that choose to participate in Elf on the Shelf with their children. That it sends the wrong message, isn't a good way to parent, it manipulates children, etc.
I have to be honest, I did take offense at the words of strangers. Silly, I know.
If you Google a bit, you'll also find way too many blogs about how totally evil the elves are and how scandalous and secular those families that have an elf must be.

Here's the deal...we all have different ways we celebrate the holidays. Some of us love to spend time with our families, some people have major anxiety about the holidays with family, some people celebrate with Santa and his elves, some prefer not to participate in Santa things.....our families are all DIFFERENT. I think I have a hard time with strong judgmental comments about something that is so fun and such a special treat for my own kids. I'm not threatening them with spankings or telling them they won't get food if they are naughty. I'm not taking away their favorite books or yelling or swearing at them. I'm allowing them the chance to let their imagination go buck wild and to be beyond excited every single morning to see what their creative elf, Holly, is up to. They speculate about how she got up on the fan or how she found a lollipop to give to Evie for her birthday. They giggle thinking about her flying all the way to the North Pole to visit Santa every night. Holly is their little imaginary friend. She allows them to be kids the same way that Lego's, dolls, and toy trucks do. She becomes who they want her to be and in those moments they don't have a care in the world. This Christmas, that's exactly what I want it to be like for my kids.

On October 25th, 2011, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer. On December 24th, 2011, my brother-in-law Jim suddenly, and totally unexpectedly, passed away. Yes, you read that right- on Christmas Eve. It was beyond heart breaking for all of us, especially my dear sister-in-law. The combination of those two events placed this very weird darkness over the holidays for us. Thanksgiving was weird because we knew somehow it would be my MIL's last Thanksgiving and she was spending it sick in the hospital. November and December were spent on the phone for me, trying hard to keep my MIL's life back home going on while she tried to get treatment in Seattle, as well as trying to get answers about her treatment and dealing with her many surgeons. Then Jim passed and it just felt like, "Really, God??? NOW???" A family can only take so much, right? Craig and I tried to put on a smile and somehow strike a balance with the children about dealing with death and losing Uncle Jim and still allowing them to enjoy Christmas. We didn't tell the girls much. We knew they were too young to get it at 1 and 3. We did tell Jacob. His eyes immediately welled up with tears and I felt so deeply sorrowful that he had to go through losing a close relative so young and on Christmas Eve. My heart broke every minute for my sister-in-law and what the loss meant for her.
The holidays were heavy. Christmas didn't feel like Christmas. How do you celebrate with gifts and laughter when all you want to do is cry?

The new year, 2012, came and we were still muddling through....Jim's wake, more treatment and hospital visits to my MIL, and then she passed away in June, a couple weeks before her 57th birthday. It was like we were living under a dark cloud with no end in sight. Then it was a memorial service in June and July came only to find me diagnosed with an ovarian tumor. The next month I had surgery. Again, "really, God? NOW???"

So, what does our dark shadow have to do with the Elf on the Shelf????

I want my kids to just be kids. I don't want them finding mom in tears every time they walk in the room or finding dad there physically but not really there mentally because he's exhausted and trying to find the time to grieve amongst work and being a father. I don't want them worrying about money or food or who will die next. That was our life for 9 long months. Our sweet little elf, Holly, is about fun, fantasy, and a new excitement every morning when they wake. Eventually they'll understand that certain magical things don't exist in our world and that life is often shadowed by dark clouds, but it won't be this Christmas. I'm not manipulating them or neglecting them, I'm not teaching them that getting to heaven is about "being nice" or that God is only the Eyes in the Sky. I'm giving them fun and a childhood and in this particular moment in time, the Elf is fun.

Christianity is far too often full of Judgy-Judgerson's. They are oh so quickly pointing fingers and ready to tell anyone what they're doing wrong and how evil their behavior is. Here's the interesting thing....who were the Judgy-Judgerson's of the Bible??? Yup. The Pharisees. They were jealous of Jesus and His gifts. They were unable to applaud Him and so only chose to attack him. They judged Him harshly and anyone else that so brazenly dared to call themselves a Jesus-follower. I'm only 29....I'm not a pastor or a Bible scholar, I have a lot of life and wisdom still to live and learn. But I know this, the voice that comes and judges us with no grace or love and only seeks to make us feel guilt and feel poorly about ourselves is not Jesus. It's not His voice that condemns us and belittles us. He comes with Truth AND Grace. He speaks with clarity AND gentleness. Sure, He can be a lightening bolt if He wants. But most of the time in my own life, He's a small gentle voice that stops me in my tracks. I would never dare to be so clear and yet loving to myself as He is. My problem with the Judgy-Judgerson's is how totally opposite that worldview is from the way Jesus treats us. Judgy-Judgerson's stomp around carrying flashlights and hoping to shine their oh-so-wise bright light on the problem so that all the heathens will see the truth!!! But wait....isn't Jesus the bright light? Isn't it He that illuminates the problems and changes our hearts?

So yeah, maybe this isn't really about any of our little elf's about the bigger picture. Our judging doesn't show Jesus. And like we talked about in my awesome mommy book group this week; we ALL have a story. A history. Pain we've lived through. We can so easily judge another person thinking our own problems have relevance and importance while theirs are just 'Meh, made up and not that big of a deal'.

People can't understand what last Christmas was like for us. Heck, sometimes I don't even understand it. All I know is that it was hard and this year, as always, we're celebrating Jesus birthday and that He was born in a manger and came to save us. We're also enjoying how Santa fills our stockings and that our elf, Holly, likes to surprise us every morning with silliness. Both offer opportunities to talk about how the gifts of God and the love of God are free and come with no strings attached. Both are OK.

Monday, November 26, 2012

the downs and UPS of losing weight and the life of a fat cell

Guess who has gained almost 5lbs in no more than 4 days??????? Yup, me. I didn't have seconds at Thanksgiving, I had 1/2 a piece of pie and during that 4 days I had fast food only 1 time. BUT, I ate carbs. I skipped my normal morning protein and coconut milk shake, and I ate snacks in the evenings. Lightening speed weight gain is a part of life when you have my body and the inability to know what to do with carbs and sugars other than turning them into fat. Now I must wean myself off sugar again and it's not easy. My brain is screaming for sugar today. Seriously. Thanksgiving morning I was at my lowest weight in probably 8 years, a 38.5lb weight loss for me. So, now I begin again and hopefully I'll be back there in about a week. I imagine the nearly 5lb weight gain since Thursday is a lot of bloat and puffiness, and water and protein will clean that out.

Why am I admitting this failure to my blog faithfuls? Because we all fall off the band wagon sometimes. I think that is truly one of the hardest parts of losing weight- learning to get right back up. We so easily think, "well, I'm already up 2lbs, I'll just eat this Swiss Roll tonight and start again tomorrow." And then tomorrow we want sugar again. So, what do we do now? Well, don't beat ourselves up. We don't punish ourselves like we've been 'naughty'....we don't talk to ourselves in terms of 'being good' or 'being bad'. It's JUST FOOD. Let's not give it so much weight in our lives, OK? Pun intended.
Let's love ourselves enough to see food as fuel and really truly want to nourish our bodies the best we can.

It's not fair how quickly I gain weight. It's not fun that my body can't handle carbs and sugars. But it's life, it's my life and I'm making progress in learning to take care of me.

Last night before bed I looked in the mirror and thought, "holy cow, my skin looks terrible. I look puffy, too." That was pretty amazing to me- to be able to so clearly associate my physical appearance, other than weight, to how I'm eating. When I eat correctly for my body I have clear skin, bright eyes, a non-puffy face. Just 4 days of a little crap food and my face already is showing it. Imagine how my insides must feel? That's the thing about Swiss Rolls and mashed potatoes and spicy hot Cheetos......It's just. not. worth. it.

I read this article in the December Reader's Digest today and wanted to share it with you all. It's a very fun and quirky read about life, as written by a fat cell. All credit goes to Reader's Digest and the author- Marit Mitchell.

Weight-Loss Story: A Day in the Life of a Fat Cell

A talkative bit of blubber exposes the surprising ways we steer the body wrong.
By Marit Mitchell from Reader's Digest Canada

It’s shortly after 10 a.m., and The Body—all 237 pounds of him—is in his cubicle, sifting through e-mails. I’m wedged next to his liver, sifting through the metabolic remains of his morning drink: Vitaminwater. It calls itself a “nutrient enhanced” beverage, a nutritious cocktail. Ha! It’s mostly sugar in a bottle, and I love it. It sneaks past the digestive system and lands in the liver, which converts it to fat and sends it straight to me. What a bonanza!
It’s a great time for me and my brethren fat cells. After millennia of toeing the line and giving up our stores whenever the muscles and nerves called on us, we’re now taking over. You don’t have to take my word for it. You can see it on the streets every day. More than 35 percent of adult Americans are obese. Not just overweight—obese. Cardiovascular disease? Type 2 diabetes? Cancer? Not my problem. I’m livin’ large.
By 11 a.m.,The Body’s starving. That muffin he had for breakfast provided plenty of calories, but they don’t satisfy him the way they used to. See, it’s my job to send a hormone signal—called leptin—to the brain so it makes The Body feel full. It used to work like a charm. But these days, I pump leptin like it’s a Middle Eastern oil well, and it just floats around in the bloodstream, aimless. With all that excess insulin swirling around to help The Body sop up his extra sugar intake, the brain doesn’t receive my usual leptin signal and issue the “you’re stuffed, stop eating” message. So he’s more apt to feel hungry soon after he finishes eating.
Life is sweet—saccharine, really. But it wasn’t always. I remember 40 years ago (The Body was barely a teenager) when I was born along with many of my fatty friends (puberty, the school nurse called it, which is when most adult fat cells should finish forming). I’d wait all day for some spare fatty acids I could store. Back then, most of the nutrition got used up. We fat cells would swell slightly, then shrink again. Those were lean times.
But I’m not going anywhere. I mean that literally. Fat cells never disappear. We’re virtually indestructible. The Body can deprive me of the greasy good stuff, and I’ll wither—but when he hits the drive-through again, I’ll rebound faster than he can say “Supersize me!” In a normal body, fat cells are mostly done forming after puberty. But if you’re obese, your fat cells plump up so much that new ones can be created. And lately, my neighborhood’s been getting a little crowded. Every time a fellow fat cell fills up and hits its maximum storage capacity, a new fat cell pops up next door. I’ve heard that a normal body has around 40 billion fat cells, but The Body rolls deep—in here, there are 80 billion just like me!
I’m pretty lucky. Back when The Body went off to college, he developed a soda habit. At almost every lunch, he’d knock one back. It was a special treat, and I’d snag a few fat droplets from the liver each time and store them up. He liked the caffeine, too, the pep it gave him in the afternoon. Soon enough, after The Body graduated and found a job, he needed another can of soda just to push through the midafternoon slump. That was the start of my glory years.
Hear that? The Body’s opening a can of soda as he digs in to his low-fat microwave lasagna. He’s trying to cut back, shed a few pounds—and hey, if you’re trying to lose weight, it makes sense to eat less fat. But have you ever tried lasagna without butter or oil? Tastes like cardboard. So there’s extra salt and sugar to compensate, and it’s still easy for me to convert some of that sugar to fat and squirrel it away. He has no idea!
The poor sap. Back in college, when The Body skied or cycled almost every weekend, his weight was under control. His diet had a lot less sugar, and his brain listened to my leptin warnings, quashing his hunger whenever I managed to plump up. I’d get a little ahead after a big weekend of beer and wings, inflate a tad. Then the next day he’d eat a bagel and apple for breakfast and jump on his bike. His muscles burned up all the handy glucose, and I’d be forced to break down some of my precious self into fatty acids and glycerol. I’d give glycerol to the liver, which would convert it into glucose to burn, and the fatty acids would go straight to the muscles for energy. I’d deflate and hunker down, waiting for his next binge.
Now he polishes off the lasagna tray in six bites and swivels back to his computer, clicking and clacking through the afternoon. When he heaves himself from his chair to head home at 5 p.m., it’s the hardest his heart has had to work all day. I’m not worried, though—there’s plenty of fuel in his muscles to provide energy, so I never have to offer up any of myself to help. I’m lying low, laughing, confident I’ll never be called on to liquidate my stash.
I get to relax during the hour-long commute home. What will I have for dinner tonight? Fried chicken? Burgers? But when The Body sags into his chair at the dinner table, he sees grilled chicken and salad. Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers… and what the heck is that, toasted pine nuts?! Oil-and-vinegar dressing, not even creamy ranch. Unfortunately, the salad’s fiber slows his digestion of the sugary dinner roll he snags from the basket. What gives? he asks. We’re eating healthy, says his wife. No more junk for dinner.
This could be bad for me, but I know The Body, and true to form, he cracks a beer. Sweet relief! I can score fat out of a beer as well as a can of soda. The ethanol it contains is a derivative of sugar, so some of the boozy goodness goes through the liver and converts to fat. After dinner, he takes the dog out for a walk. Thankfully, a casual stroll won’t exert enough energy to dip into my storage. Even better, when he gets home, he plops down to watch the game. Conditioned to snack at night, he grabs a Rice Krispies square, a tiny sugar boost for me. He slides into bed around midnight, hoping for his usual six hours of sleep. While The Body snoozes, I get to relax too. He doesn’t rely on my stores during the middle of the night, so I’m waiting for morning and already pulsating. I know his lack of sleep will make him stressed, hungry, and more likely to crave sugary, high-carb foods. Mmm, maybe doughnuts for breakfast?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A little Elisabeth Elliot for the day....

I've been reading from Elisabeth Elliot this morning....I love her spunk and the blunt way she sees and states things. In the following passages she's speaking about AW Tozer and his writing on 5 vows for spiritual power.
Here's a few wonderful quotes in regards to how do we handle/ what does the Bible say about trying to defend ourselves against wrongdoing....we've all been there, right?

The third vow of spiritual power is never defend yourself. Hum--that's not easy, is it? We're all born wanting to defend ourselves. Thrusting our fists heavenward and drawing our things around us, and sort of fending off other people. Well, Tozer suggests that we should never defend ourselves. We're all born with a desire to defend ourselves.
If you insist upon defending yourself, God will let you do it. But if you turn the defense of yourself over to God, He will defend you. He told Moses once in Exodus 23, "I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, an adversary to thine adversaries."

If you'll turn yourself wholly over to God, He will defend you completely and see to it that no one will harm you. "No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper," He says, "and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgement thou shalt condemn."

"Oh what peace we often forfeit. Oh what needless pain we bear all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. Have we trials and temptations?" Who of us hasn't? "Is there trouble anywhere?" Of course there is. But "we should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer.
"Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share. Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge. Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dear Santa,

Today while at the mall with the girls, Eliana spotted the gold mail drop for Letters to Santa at Macy's. I explained that she could write a letter and we could send it to Santa. She immediately started saying what she'd like her letter to include; " I would say hi Santa, I love you. Will you please bring a balance bike for my little sissy? Cuz I have the one you brought me last year and she doesn't have one."

Oh man, this cracked me up. I thought it was darling that Eliana's request wasn't even for herself. Love that girl :) And SO excited for Christmas!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Goodwill Goodies

I took the girls to Goodwill today, looking specifically for a red or green blouse for an upcoming concert. Found neither :( Everything in those colors was either matronly or street walker. I'll have to try the mall, without kids, in the next week or so. BUT, I did score some other awesome stuff :) Wanna see???? Of course you do!

Parents Brand Battat wooden cube. I have no idea what this was at retail, but I've seen them used on Ebay for $50 or even up to $100 at Target. We paid $3.99.

Movies!!! Eliana is super into princess stuff right now so I've been letting her watch the classics. Of course DVD's are easier, but VHS movies only cost .49cents. The books (like a vintage Curious George) are all .79cents. I'm pretty stoked about the collection of Serendipity stories we got :) And the top right book is a collection of princess stories in a beginning reader format.

This is a little 'kitschy', no? But I like it. And I LOVE Christmas :) It was $3, I think, and seems a tad Scandinavian, which is always a win for me.

This is a squishy bat that's also hard in the center so it holds it's shape. The girls can only hurt each other to a point with it :) I'm sure it'll get lots of abuse use once it's baseball season for the Frazier's again.

Sofft brand-spankin'-new high heels. In ladies size 12. I don't wear a 12, but these were such an amazing deal I bought them to resell them. That's how I roll :) PS. They retail for $100.

Clothes for Evie! The sweater on the left is a brand new-with tags on- United Colors of Benetton sweater. It was $3. Retail is over $50. The top on the right is a super cute Gap shirt for next summer. It was $1.99.

A dress for me! This is Joe Browns brand, which is a European designer. So great! They range from $50-$100ish in the US. It smelled like patchouli, which I personally am really not a fan of, so I had to wash it asap. Funny the smells on clothing at Goodwill...makes you wonder the life the garment had before you met it :) This dress is SO cute and perfect for tights and boots. The neckline is sweetheart, which is kind of surprising for this style. It's perfect, like new, and was $7.99.

Eliana has this exact dress in black and white with a green sash. This one is for Evie and I like the colors even better. So sweet :) It's originally from Target, was probably about $14.99 or more. I paid $3.99.

Cozy velvet Osh Kosh dress for Evie, in red. $2 I think.

I also scored a Nicole by Nicole Miller little black dress for me, thinking I'll wear it for Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve. It's super cute. It was tagless so they told me $5.99. Yes, please!

Goodwill is a mixed bag, for sure. Some things are priced really well. Others, not so much. You have to be willing to sort through the racks and think outside the box. I've learned to just try things on because you never know! Especially since it's such a broad range of brands. And that's the thing, I know brands. Like ALL the brands. How? I don't really know. It's the same way I know car makes and models and approx what they retail for. I'm not Rain Man or anything, my brain just retains that kind of stuff. So as I'm sifting through racks and touching fabrics, I know I will NEVER spend $4 on a Garanimals shirt, since it was probably $3 retail (at Walmart). I'll spend money on brands like Gap, Osh Gosh, Janie and Jack, designer (MJ, United Colors of Benetton, Juicy, etc), Alfani, INC, North Face, get the drift. Some brands are neither terrible nor wonderful so it really depends on the item- like Cherokee, Merona, American Living, etc. Knowing brands, where the item was originally sold and what it sold for makes the decision of whether to buy it used and for how much that much simpler. It's possible to get ripped off at Goodwill (although not their intention, I know!), but by knowing brands and values that doesn't happen!

Once you get good at finding the deals and the brands it makes Goodwill a tad addicting. New stuff is always being put out so you could every day and find something new. The price tags also have the date the item was placed on the sales floor. That is fun info to me. If I buy something that was just placed that same day (like the Battat cube), I feel victorious. haha!

Happy shopping!!!
~ Diana

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Facebook, drats!!!!

I was REALLY enjoying my life sans Facebook. Like way more than I thought I would. But I'm fundraising for a friend and hosting an event in a few weeks and none of that stuff shows up if I'm not on FB anymore. Really lame. The whole thing is set up so that we have to be on it! I much prefer just blogging and communicating that way, rather than the gossip, talking behind people's backs, ignoring messages passive aggressive-ness that I've been dealing with on FB. So I'm 'active' now, but don't be offended if I don't respond to your messages in a timely manner.

Freebie carseat cover!

Free carseat cover from, you pay shipping only. Your total ends up being $12.90- it honestly would cost more than that to buy the fabric and make it yourself :)

I have the "Reagan" in hopes that someday I'll have a baby to use it for.

Freebie Code: thanksgiving2012
Can be used over and over, just open new browser windows!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Truth about FAT, as I see it :)

It's Thursday, November 8th, and I'm enjoying a quiet day at home. The girls are playing and watching Beauty and the Beast on VHS (49 cents at Goodwill!). I'm currently drinking coffee and just ate 3 (yes, 3!) fried eggs. In butter, of course. I've lost 37.7lbs and just keep chugging along. My blog the other day about What I Eat in a Day was pretty insightful for me and made me realize most days I'm not eating enough. I had heard it's sometimes hard to get enough calories when you eat whole, real foods, but now I'm experiencing that first-hand. The day after that blog post I only ate 400 calories, and not on purpose! I think maybe I haven't been eating enough and that has partially slowed my weight loss. So I'm trying to put fat in where I can, like eggs fried in butter :) I had bacon and oranges for dinner last night. I heart bacon! The truth, friends, is that fat is not your enemy. Eating fat doesn't make you fat. I greatly encourage you to read the gazillion studies and articles by The Weston A. Price Foundation . You can search the site for anything- soy info, the truth about fat, etc. It's awesome and you'll find it's pretty much opposite of how Americans eat. It takes a little bit to wrap your head around it, but read with an open mind and soon you'll be headed down the rabbit hole!

'Diet' foods often are full of carbohydrates and sugar, but toted as "HEALTHY" because they have 120 calories. Who flippin' cares about the calories when you're eating soy isolate, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and 30g of refined sugar? Nasty! We poison our bodies with this overload of chemicals, and don't even get me started on GMO's....

Eating REAL food is not about how many calories you're eating. Here's the deal, if you're not regularly eating store bought ice cream, Pringles, fast food meals, Rice-A-Roni (yes, I know it's delicious!), chicken nuggets, pizza, and other processed foods, it's likely you don't have to worry about calories. I'm the perfect example of that. I couldn't care less how many calories a Tbsp of peanut butter has in it or how many calories that blob of butter I just fried my eggs in has. My body needs those calories and needs that fat. There is a tremendous difference between the fat of 4 candy bars and a big, juicy steak- even if 'by the numbers' they are the same. Our country in many ways hasn't figured that out. All fats are not created equal. All calories are not created equal. Knowing that, I can pick and choose how I want to spend my calories, fat, carbs, and sugars. Would I rather eat a small cup of Tillamook yogurt (about 30g of refined sugar) or a Snickers bar (also about 30g of refined sugar)??? DUH, given the choice of ingesting an entire days worth of sugar...I'll take the candy bar over the yogurt. But, ask most people which is 'better' for you and they'll pick the yogurt. Why? It only has 100 calories!!!! Are you starting to get this? Fewer calories does not, in many cases, mean it's better for you. Yes, yogurt has live cultures and all that jazz, but really, the yogurt and candy bar are on the same playing field in many ways. I'm not saying you should forgo yogurt and eat a Snickers every morning. I'm suggesting that just maybe, neither one is a good choice.

 Low cal/low fat meals are often (not always) full of processed crap and the flavor is being made up in sugar, salt and chemicals. Dr. Oz talked about this a few years ago and I found it fascinating. Basically, when your tongue tastes something sweet, your brain knows to look for those calories and put them to use or storage. When your body finds no calories, think diet soda and everything aspartame, it has to keep looking for them, so you actually crave sweets more. I used to be mind-boggled that some of the thinnest girls I worked with in banking could drink real, non-diet soda every day. Not that it was a good beverage choice, but by not trying to fool their brains with fake sugars, they could drink it and be satisfied. Those of us fatties drinking diet stuff were never satisfied.

When you do eat real foods, you often have to find ways to put fat into it. It's a strange, but cool concept that is 'new' to most of us. Like my eggs....I could've used pan spray, but I needed healthy fats. Butter is actually a healthy fat (again, read Weston Price). Should I eat 4 sticks a day? Not so much, but in moderation it actually helps me lose weight and preserve muscle mass.

When I saute salmon or turkey burgers or veggies, I almost always saute with a healthy blob of organic coconut oil. Coconut oil has 14g of fat and 120 calories per Tbsp. Again, that's a healthy fat and one your body wants! Margarine, pan spray, vegetable oil.....eek- not natural healthy fats for your body.

I know a few people who are already totally on board with this way of living, very much Weston Price style. They have seen remarkable changes in their health, energy, weight, AND fertility. And here I am, doing it also and I had my first ever period and I've lost nearly 40lbs. I think we're on to something big. Think if instead of trying to thin out America's obese children with low calorie, sugar-filled, sandwiches and 100 calorie granola bars, we started feeding kids avocado and chicken and veggies in coconut oil and butter......I am positive there would be big changes!

OK, so much more I'm thinking about, but this post is enough for now. I hope you're intrigued and if I'm flipping your brain's 'food script' on it's head, YAY!

~ Diana
PS. I'm planning to try my wedding dress on soon. I think it'll be way big :)

Facebook....friend and enemy

A couple days ago I reached this weird place of feeling like every time I got on Facebook I was hurt by something. Someone's thoughtless comment, someone's purposeful 'blocking' or ignoring a message from know, things we all deal with on a regular basis probably, but I just didn't want to handle it anymore. So I made the 45 second decision to deactivate my Facebook account. I can go back to it at anytime, but I have not been on my FB since Monday morning. My husband's FB is now linked to my business page so I can keep it up and running, but that's about all.

It's been really nice. I feel like life immediately got slower, more peaceful, less drama-filled. Some people might think I unfriended them when they can't find me on FB and for that I'm sorry. But this was about me and me needing to set a healthy boundary. Sometimes the easiest way to deal with passive aggressive people is to just walk away. For the FB world, that meant me stepping away for a time. I don't know if that time is a  week or 30 weeks, it's just one day at a time as I take care of me.

I already notice I listen to my kids more. I'm more aware of the things that need to be done in my house and I'm starting to break the mental pattern of 'taking a picture to post on FB' or thinking 'oh that would be a good status update'. Facebook so easily becomes a huge part of our thoughts and lives, even if we tell ourselves we're hardly on it and only quickly check it here and there. How often do we go to Facebook before we've gone to God? Does Facebook act like a buffer between us and real, genuine relationships?

There are a lot of people that are really positive in my life and on my Facebook. And others that live far away and I love being able to stay in touch and aware of your life and your kids and such. Facebook is great for that stuff.

So, I'm on a breather, and enjoying the space :) I hope I see you all at the Bazaar this weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


This weekend will be my first holiday bazaar as a vendor and not a coordinator or just a shopper. I'm excited and I really hope people love my stuff. I have 33 tu-tu's all tagged and ready to go and to think of all the hours that went into I'll also have over 35 scarves available and a couple dozen awesome jewelry pieces. Like so awesome that I won't be too sad if some don't sell ;) Part of what's important to me in a business, right now, is feeling like I'm offering a good deal. The tu-tu's are still only $20 each, even in size 8-10. The scarves will be $8 or 2 for $15 at the bazaar, which is a steal because they are $8.50 and up plus shipping on my Etsy site.

I'll also be able to accept cash/debit/credit at my booth!

I hope the bazaar is successful for me, meaning I have a blast with one of my best friends (does she know I call her that???) who is sharing a booth with me :) And that I make some money.

Feel free to come visit me and check out all the great vendors this Saturday, November 10th, 2012 from 10am to 4pm at Gateway Fellowship in Poulsbo, WA- 18901 8th Ave, Poulsbo WA 98370.
~ Diana

Monday, November 5, 2012

5 Ingredient Crockpot Pulled water and BBQ sauce :)

Diana’s Crockpot Pulled Pork

1 frozen meat pork or beef roast put in crock pot
Add sea salt, whole peppercorns, garlic, a sliced sweet onion and water to cover the pork about half way.
Cook on low a LONG time. The longer the better. Usually about 10 hours.
Cooking on high for half time doesn't seem to produce the same result.

When the meat is fork tender, take the meat out and pick off any fat and then use 2 forks to string the meat. Dump on your favorite barbecue sauce over, always Sweet Baby Rays here! Craig likes the cooked onions dumped on his. Great with sweet potato fries.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I did it!!!

This weekend was a milestone in my journey to being a healthier me.....I met my big goal of losing 35.5lbs :) Why the .5 added on? I needed that .5 to put me into a weight category I haven't been in a LONG time. I think we all have that weight, right? The one that is what we hope for but that sometimes seems out of reach. I would like to lose another 20lbs, but God willing maybe I'll be pregnant before I get to that point. In the meantime, I'll keep doing what I'm doing, cuz it's working!

This past week was Halloween. I started the day out thinking I wouldn't have any sugar and would keep to my new way of eating. I passed over all the delicious cookies, scones, and pie at my morning book group and ate my usual healthy lunch. Then for whatever reason that night, I kind of went, "ah screw it!" And I ate A LOT of candy, mostly chocolate. Then, truth be told, we had fast food burgers and fries way too late into the night also. BARF. And like I expected I was 2lbs heavier the next morning.

We had scheduled a photo shoot with my very talented photographer friend, Tonie, for I knew I had to overcome my Halloween whoopsy and get it back under control. This couldn't be a, "well, I screwed up last night I might as well eat what I want all week" kind of thing. I've learned being that way is so self-defeating and that the best thing you can do is pick yourself up and dust off right away. Waiting to be healthy usually means you don't really want to be healthy. *Stepping on toes I'm sure* Really just talking about me the last few years, as I'm really only an expert on ME :)

So, Thursday morning after Halloween I was all dusted off and ready to plow back into health. Amazingly I craved sugar ALL day and I really had to fight it. It's nuts how quickly sugar gets into our system and tells us we NEED it. I resisted and stayed healthy. So, yesterday was Saturday, the morning of our photo shoot. I very nervously got on the scale praying I'd see the number I've worked so hard for. The culmination of 3 months of hard work and taking care of me. What do you know....I stinkin' did it. 35.7lbs....I actually beat my goal of 35.5! It felt surreal and amazing and I'm really proud of myself for doing it. My journey is far from over and I'm by no means at my perfect weight. Another 20lbs would be ideal for me and I will shoot for that. But, that being said, I feel good about myself, I do acknowledge that I look healthy, and shopping is sure as heck fun again. Even if it's pretty much just Goodwill.

I'm not brave enough to tell you all what I actually weigh....maybe someday, err...never.

I've been belatedly downloading photos off our digital camera onto my laptop from months ago because now that I finally have a smart phone (HTC Sensation) I pretty much take pics on that only. I found a photo from this past June when my father-in-law came for a visit and I got to meet him for the first time. That was SO wonderful, healing and all around awesome. The photo of me, not so much. I want to throw up looking at this photo and somehow wish and wish that I never actually looked like this. But you know what? I did. And accepting that is part of moving forward. It's OK, you can say it with me in sloooow motion, "wowwwww".

I'm very happy to say, that's not how I look anymore. And I remember how miserable, beat up, and BLEH I felt back then. I'm even happier to report I don't feel that way anymore. I think I believe (right now anyway) that our outsides are often a reflection of what's going on inside. I know that can go the other way and we can paint the barn real pretty to hide the rotting beams inside.....but for most of us, the weight is covering something, literally and figuratively. We have to come to the point that we realize we matter and we're worth investing in, getting to really know, and taking care of ourselves like we do our spouse and children. Would I ever want to let one of my children be this unhealthy or unhappy? Heck no! So, why did I let myself be this way? That's the million dollar question, moms!

Alright, here's some happier photos, taken today :
Excuse the messy's mostly the norm around here. 
That, my friends, is a real fur coat. But it's vintage so I promise I didn't kill any animals to wear it...someone might have 60 years ago though.

Wrap dress!

These shorts are Underarmour workout shorts, ladies size M. They are baggy and that blows my mind.

The girls had to get in on the shot :)

I hope I can encourage and inspire you. Not to say, "aren't I awesome?" 
But to say, "YOU are worth it....and if I can do it, so can you".

~ Diana

Friday, November 2, 2012

What I eat in a day.....

I've had several people ask, "what does a day look like for what you eat?"

I decided I'd just show you :) Every day is different (aside from my breakfast), but this gives an idea.

This is my morning, pretty much every morning. Sometimes I use whole milk or 2% if I run out of coconut milk or can't find it for a good price. This protein powder is from Central Market and the vanilla flavor comes in bulk which makes it about 80cents a serving. The Blender Bottle is my dear, dear friend. Totally worth the $7.

This is a salmon burger from Costco. SO good. Also 20g of protein. I pan fry it in organic coconut oil. Takes 4 minutes each side, super easy! Then I put 1 slice of Jarlsberg cheese on top :)

Pepsi Max is NOT, I repeat NOT, a normal part of my eating. haha! But I had this smallish glass today. I got the soda free last week at Albertson's as a promo when I bought chips for Jake's lunches. 

Ok, once again, not a normal food choice. Figures the second I decide to photograph what I eat today I realize I have to photograph flippin' soda and Cheese Nips. HAHA! This photo has a serving size of cheese nips on a salad plate. Mad at myself for eating this (I actually had less than a serving size), but oh well. This is why it's hard to be a mom and only eat whole foods. Kids don't want steak and asparagus....they want crackers. lol. At least you know my photo journal is being honest, right?

My afternoon snack (4pm), a Rise protein bar. 20 grams of protein and only 3 ingredients: whey protein powder, almonds, and honey. Very dense and chewy and sweet. I got it on Amazon and this was my last bar. boohoo :(

Today I made a crockpot soup for the fam. I pretty much never measure anything, but it had carrots, celery, sweet onion, rutabaga, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, chicken stock, and a little heavy cream. I added in roasted, diced chicken and whole grain vegetable rotini during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
I dished up a bowl, picked out all the pasta and gave it to Evie and ate about 1/4 of this bowl:
Sometimes it's hard to finish a meal with the girls as we're constantly trying to keep them focused and eating. I just wasn't feeling the soup, so most of it got tossed (from my bowl).

We just went to a harvest festival at Jake's school and all three kids got candy for playing fun games. I didn't have a single piece, yay! It's 8:50pm, which is fairly early for me, but I'm going to try to just have water the rest of the night. Maybe a snack size Tillamook cheese.

Today's protein count: 71grams plus whatever chicken I ate from the soup
Today's carb count: 40grams (dang you cheese nips!!)
Today's sugar count: 14grams

Calories (these I NEVER count, but was curious): 800, holy cow, this is the biggest surprise! No wonder I'm feeling hungry right now. I think I'll have another protein shake or maybe a can of tuna before bed. 800 calories is not enough! Or does this mean I can eat more Cheese Nips??? NAH, just kiddin' :)

UPDATE the next morning: I chose to have a hard apple cider last night to the tune of 200 my calorie count made it up to about 1000.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

IBCLC Re-Certification for Katie, the boob whisperer!!!

There's an awesome lady, who has helped me SO much with breastfeeding both Eliana and Evangeline. She came to the house when Evangeline wasn't even a day old and took calls from me for weeks after that. Most of the time I was in tears or close to. I call her the boob/baby whisperer because she seems to have the special gift to get nursing back on track in just about any situation. I've never met anyone like her in my entire life :)

A group of us are starting a small fundraiser for Katie to pay for her upcoming IBCLC re-certification. Taking the cert again means she'll be a board certified lactation consultant for another 10 years and will continue to serve, help, and bless mothers for free. She has helped HUNDREDS of us in Kitsap County and beyond. Think if everyone gave just $2. It would add up fast :)

We have three months to fund raise for her as we're hoping to have all the needed money by the end of January. Our goal is $400. Totally doable, right? I think it'd be rad to have it by the end of the year.

You can write a check to Katie Dunning, give cash to me or Katie or Dr. Niran Al-Agba, or click the 'donate' button below to give via Paypal/credit/debit. Please visit our fundraising website and feel free donate there! Go HERE FOR THE FUNDRAISING WEBSITE.Thank you!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Weight of it All

This photo is amazing. That is 30lbs of butter next to my beloved Paula Deen. As you probably know, news broke a while back that the butter-loving Paula Deen was having issues with her diabetes. A diet and lifestyle change followed the major negative press (poor Paula!). She made the cover of People Magazine after losing 30lbs, which is shown in the photo in the form of blocks of butter.

I love Paula. I always have and always will. After reading her biography several years ago (I want to read it again), I decided she is rad, super successful, hilarious, and I'd totally hang out with her given the chance. 

Paula and I have a few things in common. Most notably right now, we both had health issues and decided to make some positive changes and take care of our bodies.

As I wrote on my blog, I had some ovarian issues in July. During that time I also experienced my first miscarriage. During an ultrasound to look for the baby, I found out I had a large benign tumor and also TONS of large cysts and it really shook me. I mean, it's just not even fair that someone who already has PCOS, a miscarriage ALSO gets a tumor. I didn't do anything to deserve it and I'd already had one heck of a hard year. The tumor news amongst losing the baby made me feel really sad. I cried about it all and was frustrated that once again, my body was letting me down. The thought that I might never carry a baby successfully again broke my heart. 

After a couple days of being really bummed....that's an understatement, I woke up one morning with a big thought. The kind of big that makes you realize God is throwing you a lifeline. It was this, "maybe I should actually take care of and care about me for a change. Maybe I should take this bad news and use it as fuel to do whatever I need to do to be healthy."
I immediately felt motivated and like I could turn my sadness into drive. I started reading more about PCOS diets, chatting with friends who were successfully fighting their PCOS, and was really at the point that I wanted to change enough that I was willing to actually make the changes.

For me, this meant no pasta, bread, tortillas, white potatoes, crackers, candy, sugary drinks or juice, and basically no refined sugar. Sugars from fruits and veggies are OK, but not in juice form.

I remember a friend telling me she was doing this a couple years ago and I thought she was crazy. I mean, who gives up pasta? Is that even sustainable??? lol

The other BIG part of it all other than giving up carbs and sugars, is the importance of eating a lot of protein. 80grams a day is ideal, no less than 60grams for sure. Eggs, whey protein powder, salmon, chicken, turkey burgers, steak, beef, lunch meat, etc. Protein is key!

A lot of PCOS'ers give up dairy. I'm currently not one of them :) I drink milk and eat yogurt and cheese. For me, still eating dairy makes this something I can do long term. It majorly broadens my snack options and makes making meals for the whole family much easier. When I can find it at a good price, I buy unsweetened coconut milk and use that for my protein shakes. I use Show Me the Whey powder from Central Market as I avoid soy. Soy contains estrogen- not good for PCOS'ers who are already having hormone issues. Weston Price has done extensive research on soy. To read more about the soy-hormone issue, go HERE . So anyway, I avoid soy, which is tricky as most protein bars, especially the cheap ones, contain it. And soy isoflavones...the ones used in most protein bars, are actually the waste product of soy. I mean, think of super cheap hot dogs and the waste meat used. Pretty much the same thing. Not good! To read more on soy isoflavones, go HERE .

I started my food lifestyle change on July 19th. I hoped I'd see results quickly, but I had no idea as my body doesn't have a great track record of losing weight. When Eliana was  1 1/2 years old I took to walking 6 miles 5x a week (the hills in Manette). I did it for 3 months and I lost a whopping 8lbs. Then I was so pissed that I wasn't losing weight that I quit. I didn't realize that my body wasn't going to lose weight if I still have spaghetti or a baked potato or a quesadilla. I just didn't really get it. After the crap hitting the fan in July, I got it.

It's been three months. I've lost 33lbs. Some days I feel amazing and really proud of myself. Some days I feel frustrated that it's coming off slower as I get smaller and that I still have weight to lose. But I'm pressing on and seeing the plateaus as challenges and not allowing myself to give up even when I have 2 weeks of not losing anything. It seems like it ebbs and flows. I'll be stuck for 2 weeks and then BAM, lose 3lbs.

I haven't been this size in a very long time, like 8 years probably. I am 99% sure my wedding dress would be too big. I have more energy, I feel good about myself, shopping is fun again, and I don't feel invisible anymore. It was a shift in my thinking and way of life to put importance on myself again. I hadn't done that in way too long. My energy and time had to change a make room for me. It was an adjustment on my whole family. Trying to balance thinking and cooking and living for my health with also still doing all my motherly and wifely duties. Then there's the emotional side of losing weight. We can bury ourselves physically and emotionally under fat and baggy clothes. When those come off, things come to light and we either work through them or there's a good chance all that weight will come back on.

For me, with PCOS, I could gain back the 33lbs REALLY easily. If I were to eat 'normal' for one month....pasta, bread, desserts, etc. I would likely gain it all back. That's scary and frustrating, but it's my life.
I try not to impose my choices on other people. Craig still loves ice cream and brownies and the kids still eat pasta and tortillas. I just don't and that's OK.

The first couple of weeks were really hard. I felt super cranky for one thing. Then I read a study about how eating sugar releases serotonin, which is a brain chemical that makes feelings of contentment and happiness....and it was a light bulb. I was probably self-medicating unhappiness with eating sugars! ACK! And then you factor in that I have PCOS and my body doesn't know what the heck to do with sugars (and CRAVES them) and it just made a big fat mess for me. Literally. So I kept on and hoped the crankiness would subside. It did. Probably after the sugar remnants finally made their way out of my body and I no longer CRAVED them like breathing air.

A lot of people ask what I've been doing. I have heard the best compliments from people and that really encourages me. "You look like the Diana I knew 10 years ago." "Your skin looks so great and you look so healthy!"  This is all no doubt related to the kinds of food I'm eating. I feel like when I eat protein like crazy and truly don't eat the rest, I see a major change in not only my weight, but how I lose weight. It comes off in the places it should. My bra cup size has decreased by two full sizes. That is a hallelujah! I mean, I still have huge boobs unfortunately....but they aren't as huge :)

I was at the Gap with my mom the other day and tried on a darling coat in an was huge. So I tried on the L and it was great and not even snug (although about 2 inches too short). For me, being 5'10" and having a very large chest, fitting into a size L with room to spare, is pretty stinking awesome. I can wear juniors jeans and I'm almost (soo close!) into a single digit pant size. Also notable, my feet have shrunk a whole size.  I had to buy heel inserts for my Merell heels because I cannot bear to part with a $100 pair of super comfy stacked heels.

I've basically had to completely redo my wardrobe. I've sold almost everything on Ebay and have been going to Goodwill and sales at Kohls and Target to get things. Even my underwear is too big, but I'm waiting for the next Victoria's Secret sale :)

So, here' the gist of my changes:
Carbs should be max of 60 grams per day.
Protein minimum 60, goal is 80 grams.
Calories 1600-1800  (although I don't count).
Avocados are great.

Coconut oil is the best oil for cooking with.
Eat whole foods:
Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, etc.
2 tbsp of flaxseeds per day...that is huge for PCOS women.
Dark green veggies.
Only 1-2 servings of fruit per day. berries, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, and citrus
all other fruit is too high in sugar.
64 oz of water per day.
Supplements to take: fish oil, Ovablend, and Femrebalance, multi vitamin, and kelp.
Braggs apple cider vinegar helps lower sugars and helps with weight loss.
Organic cocoa powder and stevia for sweetening things (avoid artificial sweeteners).

I found the supplements to be cheapest on Amazon. Ovablend and FemRebalance are awesome and specifically made for people with PCOS.

There you have it!

I feel better than I have in years. The surgery was SO needed and helped me a lot. Being tumor free and mostly cyst free is a huge plus. Adding to that the diet changes and weight loss, wowza! 
I'll be 30 next July. Which kind of freaks me out, but it's a fact. Imagine being 30, a woman, and never in your life having had a period. That was going to be me! BUT, this woman has had her first ever not-caused by any sort of medication or residual clomid, period. Unbe-stinkin-lievable. Tells me for sure that my body is liking the changes and it encourages me to keep on. Who knows, maybe I'll someday get to have a baby without any fertility meds :)

***UPDATE 5/7/13 on the first ever period- I actually conceived that cycle and am expecting a baby boy in early August 2013!!!!

There aren't a ton of pictures of me from the last 8 years. Sadly, that's on purpose. I've been miserable and hated the way I've looked. This is really hard for me to it's embarrassing, gross, and just plain awful...but this is a picture of me on July 4th, 2012: 

Hard to believe I seriously looked like that. This was me a couple weeks ago, in my favorite coat from 10 years ago: 

And this was me yesterday:

Thank you, dear friends, for encouraging and supporting my journey. I will keep on keepin' on!

~ Diana