Monday, October 24, 2011

TMI Warning.. Girl Stuff

A lot of young girls tell funny stories about laughing so hard with their friends that they wet their pants. As you get older however, and especially after multiple pregnancies, these stories become less and less funny and more and more of an inconvenience. I've had several middle aged friends tell me they can't run or exercise much because of bladder issues. This was a BIG issue for me after six babies, and two years ago I did something about it. In 2009 I had TVT surgery- you can google it if you want the details. My doctor was Leslie Rickey at the University of Maryland- I wanted a woman for this! All I will say here is that it was covered by insurance, required an overnight hospital stay and a few days of rest at home, and was TOTALLY WORTH IT. There is no way I could be running the way I am now if I had not had the surgery.

My other big obstacle to running and other activity was my chest size. I'd been big on top all my life, bigger after nursing six babies. I felt embarrassed running in public, and my back hurt a lot. Sometimes just standing up for a long period of time was painful. This June I had breast reduction surgery. I went to the wonderful Dr Brent Birely in Bel air, and I went from a DDDD cup to a small C. I was in the hospital for a few hours and was back to normal activity in a week, although complete healing took longer. This was also covered by insurance. I did, and do, have some ambivalent feelings about the surgery. I'm not a big fan of vanity, and I think people should accept their bodies the way God made them. I also don't want my daughters to be self-conscious if they end up well-endowed. On the positive side, my back pain is gone, and it is very fun to be able to buy medium sized shirts (instead of XL) and cheap bras from target instead of expensive minimizers off the Internet. I always try to dress modestly, so most people can't tell exactly what the difference is, but many people ask me if I've lost weight (sadly, no). You can judge the results in the attached pictures.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

How to become a (very slow) marathon runner.Because of my build (short, fat, well endowed), I never ran as a kid or young adult. I HATED running and would go out of my way to avoid it. I have delightful childhood videos of me finishing last in enforced races. But as a teen and into my adult years, I found I did like to exercise, spending a lot of time walking and later taking lots of exercise classes. About four or five years ago I saw a program on TV- something like “celebrity fit club” where an overweight actress said her goal was to run around the block. I wondered if I could run around the block, and I decided to try. The first time I did it, my heart pounded so hard I was sure it could be heard by my neighbors. But I persisted, running a little further each day until I was “running” 30 minutes fairly regularly. Let me add here, I ran VERY slowly. I signed up for my first 5K and ran it in 48 minutes- slower than most people can walk. I ran a number of other 5Ks, usually with walk breaks. I ran some of them with my children, which was great because I could blame my slow pace on them! My fastest 5K time was 36 minutes.
Fast forward to last November, when I saw contestants on the biggest loser running a marathon. They mentioned that only 1% of the people in the world would ever complete a marathon, and that inspired me. If they could do it, so could I! I set a goal to run the Ocean City Half Marathon in April, and then train for a full marathon in the fall.
The training plan I used was one by Jeff Galloway (Google him), who is kind of the spokesman for slow runners everywhere. He advises taking lots of walk breaks and running three times a week. I followed his plan, faithfully logging two short runs a week and increasingly longer runs on weekends. I ran in the snow, in the rain, in freezing tempatures. I was amazed to discover that however far you think you can run, adding a mile or two is no big deal. Soon I was running 6, 7, 9, 10 and eventually 13 miles.
The equipment I used for running was:
Asic Shoes
IPhone for music, an armband to hold my IPhone, and over the ear headphones.
An app called “Run keeper” that tracked my time, distance and speed and coached me through the runs.
A baseball cap from the running store (not sure of the brand)
Cheap running pants/shorts from Target.
(For runs longer than an hour):
A fuel belt for water
Cliff energy gels (I took one every half hour on long runs)
I fiddled around with the walk breaks until I found a formula that worked for me: 3minutes 35 seconds running, 10 seconds sprinting, 1 minute and 15 seconds walking. I would skip the walking on downhills or whenever I was feeling really strong.
On April 30th I lined up at the starting line in Ocean City. I was very worried that I would be slower/fatter/dorkier than everyone else there, but it proved to be a non-issue. I never actually saw the fast runners- they took off at the start and were back at the hotel before I finished. I did however see lots of people like me-middle aged, overweight, dedicated runners. I decided to concentrate on getting ahead of one of them at a time, and I ended up coming in ahead of 63 people. I discovered I didn’t need the walk breaks, and I beat my best practice time by 15 minutes. I did some stretching afterwards, put my feet in the ocean, and felt fantastic. I have a finisher medal hanging off my rearview mirror, and I am moving on to marathon training. I ran the first run of my new schedule the Monday after the half marathon.
I am still fat, by the way. I will probably always be fat. But I am done with letting my shape define me. The thing I have learned from all this is that anything you want to achieve, you can do, as long as you are not embarrassed to be at the back of the pack.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day, 3:34 PM

My house- did I mention we are having 30 people over here tommorow?

Julia making a pop up book.

Rachel and Abby playing Polly Pockets

Megan, in her sixth hour on the DS. You would think her hand would cramp up.

Daniel, asleep with his train set instructions in his hand.

Karen and I were forced to wear matching christmas sweatshirts and be in this picture. "Its your gift to me", says my mom. "Next year we might all be dead."
Grandma in a sunggie.

Kelly is not pictured- she stomped off mad at me because I wouldn't let her on the computer, and "Theres nothing to do here"!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Great Wolf Lodge!

We decided to surprise the kids with a weekend at the great wolf lodge in Williamsburg. On Thursday (June 25th) we told the kids we were picking dad up at work so we could go out for a special dinner. Mark and I had secretly loaded the car the night before, but we told them all the extra stuff was for the upcoming scout camp. We picked Mark up about 3pm. By 4:30, as we were circling the DC beltway, the kids clued in that this was a LONG way to go for dinner. We finally spilled the beans at 6pm, when we stopped at a not so exciting 5 guys to eat.

The Great Wolf Lodge is a huge "log" hotel with a waterpark inside. We checked in at 8pm and were in our swimsuits and into the park by 8:20. The waterpark has a huge climbing structure, 9 water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, a surf ride, and two themed pools plus one more outside (in warm weather). The temperature in the water park is 84 degrees year round, and the water is also comfortably warm. Our kids were the perfect age for this, since our toddler was able to enjoy the climbing structure and kiddie pool while the older girls went on all the slides. We also spent a LOT of time as a family in the wave pool (I felt slightly seasick after the second day).

The Lodge has regular family "suites" plus lots of themed rooms. We stayed in the kid cabin suite, which featured a log cabin with bunk beds for our kids to sleep in, plus an extra queen bed for Mark and I . The kids loved the room, but I thought the bed was a little saggy, and I would appreciated dishes in the mini-kitchen.

GWL is loaded with additional activities, but we only signed up for two. One was tie-dyed t-shirt making in the kids club. This was really fun, at at $15 a kid not a terrible price for a shirt (the shirts also had the great wolf logo on them). The other was Magic Quest, which is basically a scavenger hunt; you buy a magic wand, then point it at a tree, which comes alive and tells you to go to a treasure chest, where you are told to go to a painting, etc. My kids LOVED this and spent hours on it, and I kind of enjoyed the exercise- who needs a treadmill when you are running all over the lodge? We also watched the nightly show in the lobby, where the clock tower comes alive and animatronic characters sing a very cheesy song.

We chose to bring our own food to the lodge, since the restaurants are pricey. I bought one snow globe in the gift shop. Overall, we loved the great wolf lodge. Two nights was plenty (we were all exhausted, but I wish we had more time to spend in Williamsburg. (Mark had camp the next Monday)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day

I always feel kind of weird about Mothers day. On the one hand, who doesn't love macaroni necklaces and handmade cards? On the other hand, I didn't become a mother to get thanks- I had my children and care for my children because I love them. My payoff is happiness AND frustration, in equal measure. I know that I am a devoted mother, but I also no that I'm not very good at a lot of things, from cleaning to being patient, so I feel strange during mothers day talks. Today for example, Mark spoke in church. During Mark's glowing tribute to his mother, Daniel flung himself off the pew multiple times, knocked down the hymnbook rack twice, tried to stab the girls in front of us with a pen three times, took off his shoes, pulled off my earrings and sang his ABCs at full volume. We ended up in the church kitchen, listening to Marks talk over the intercom. Afterwards as I tried to exit the church with my six children and boxful of mothers day "gifts", I was blocked by all the youth giving out flowers that I will kill within the week. I felt a little sad, a little amused, but mostly tired- what I really wanted was a nap. At home, I got the nap, plus more homemade gifts, plus dinner made by Mark and the girls, and now I am full and rested but have a trashed kitchen to work on. I LOVE being a mother a lot of the time, hate it sometimes (mostly when there is vomiting involved), but mostly I am just doing my best. Happy Mothers day to all the moms in the trenches.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dance Class

Megan, Abby and Rachel took Ballet, Tap and Hip Hop dance at the college this winter. Meg had to drop out because of her broken leg. Last week the rest of us (except for daniel) showed up to watch their last class.

Kelly got a little bored.

She hung her webkinz from the dance bar.

Julia and Megan got tired.

Rachel and abby dancing.


I stress out about grocery shopping for four reasons.

1. I am supposed to choose foods that help me lose weight (a lifelong battle) and be healthy.

2. I am supposed to have a huge food storage for emergencies.

3. I am supposed to buy food my family enjoys and will eat.

4. I am supposed to spend the least amount of money possible doing all of the above.

My solution to all of the above is Aldi (no, they are not paying me for this). Aldi is a mostly all generic (store brand) grocery store. They have most of the same things you find in a regular store, just one brand of each thing. One brand of ketchup, one brand of mayo, one brand of peanut butter, etc. The food for the most part, tastes just like the name brand stuff.

The store is set up like a small warehouse, with food stacked on pallets instead of shelves. This is great for food storage, since you can buy whole cases of stuff at a time, but unlike stores like BJs, you don't have to. You are welcome to take just one item from the case. They also have dairy, frozen stuff, some meat, some produce, a few kinds of bread, but no extra departments- no deli, no bakery, no flower shop, etc. There are usually only one or two people working. You bag your own groceries, and you must buy or provide the bags. (they cost 5 or 10cents each). You also have to pay a quarter to get a cart, and you have to return your own cart to get the quarter back.

I love Aldis mostly for the prices, which are super low- $1.69 for cereal, $2.50 for milk. I also love the simplicity of shopping in a store where I don't have to compare brands to find the best price- its all the best price. I dislike Aldi because waiting in line for one checker and then bagging all my own stuff takes a long time. Add the 25 minutes it takes me to get there (each way) and an Aldi shopping trip becomes a half day project. Also, since Aldi stores are usually in low inclome areas (mine is in Edgewood), I have the guilt of pushing my overflowing cart next to elderly shoppers trying to make $20 stretch as far as possible. (I always let them check out ahead of me)

I like almost all the food there, but one of my favorite things is their fit and active brand- low fat popcorn, light yogurt and fruit, protein bars, and my new favorite- whole wheat pasta. I LOVE their frozen fudge bars. The bread and produce are just Ok. I wish they had more flavors of yogurt. But in general, I love Aldi.