8:34 PM Posted by Roo

When I was catching up on blogs tonight in Google Reader (I was behind 277 posts...for real...) I came across this one by Karena at Very Nearly Vegan.

Let me digress here by saying that I really admire Karena. She loves herself, her body, as is. I'm working towards getting to the mindset she's in because I truly think it's amazing and inspiring and, well, I wanna be like that when I grow up. *wink*

Back to where I was going with this...

She posted a gratitude list. How awesome is that? So I decided to post mine too. When I'm overwhelmed and exhausted and the kids are bickering I sometimes forget. I don't like it when I forget because I know that I am truly blessed.

I am grateful for...
  • healthy children
  • a hard-working husband
  • enough money to keep us clothed, fed and housed
  • a good relationship with my parents
  • the option to stay home with my kids
  • friends (my Shrinking Jeans sisters are some of the best friends I have)
  • the ability to see my children grow and hear them laugh
  • and so. much. more.
What are YOU grateful for?

pain-free in 2 weeks?

1:02 PM Posted by Roo

Possibly. My appointment to get the injection in my lower back is scheduled for Monday, July 5th. Keep me in your prayers. While I'm super excited to finally move past this, I'm a bit nervous too...

no surgery

4:58 PM Posted by Roo

I received the best. news. ever. today! NO SURGERY ON MY BACK!!!! This makes me so happy.

Shown on the MRI, it appears that the problem is a bulging disc in the L4-5 area of my lower back. It's hitting my L5 nerve thus causing the pain. Apparently I have short pedicles and not a lot of room to handle any type of bulging disc. He said that if I had long pedicles I probably never would've even realized I had a disc problem. Go figure.

So with that, I should hear from the pain clinic on Monday and they should be able to schedule me within a week for a steroid injection in my lower back. Doc said I'll be sore for a few days but after that I can do normal stuff.

I am beyond thrilled. There's a chance, of course, that this won't work, but at this point there's no nerve damage and it looks like I'll be able to get through this without surgery. The injection should take care of the pain and I can resume exercising and restart training for another 1/2 marathon.

My plan to try and participate in the Disney 1/2 in January? In the doctor's own words? "Completely reasonable."


shrinking days of summer: week 3

6:44 AM Posted by Roo

I run with the Sisterhood

No change for me this week. I did sign-up for Weight Watchers online again this morning. I'm going to follow the program online until we move at the end of the month. If I'm doing well I'll stick with online. If I'm not really sticking to it and need the additional support (which I very well might - Weight Watchers meetings are terrific for accountability!) then I will find a meeting in July and start going in person. Wish me luck!

biggest summer fear

6:44 PM Posted by Roo

My least favorite part of summer? Donning a swimsuit. The mere thought of it makes me shudder. And chasing my children in a swimsuit? Gah. BUT if I'm going to take my kiddos to the pool, play in the sprinkler, etc. a swimsuit is really a summer necessity. I don't have one yet but I need one.

The girls over at Shrinking Jeans are giving away 8 - yes, EIGHT - swimsuits from Lands End! I triple heart Lands End and before this giveaway was actually looking at purchasing a swimsuit from them. (Let's just say the one I purchased from Athleta, mmmmm, notsomuch.) But since there's a real chance I could win one of these from Shrinking Jeans & Lands End, I will be patient (I know, I have a serious problem with patience) and see if I'm a winner after Friday night.

Either way, wanna see the suit I love? This one. And if I actually WIN it and don't have to buy it? I'll post pictures right here on my blog. Oh yes, I will.

On second thought, maybe I'll just buy one...

i choose me

6:15 PM Posted by Roo

Since becoming a mom I realize that I tend to put myself last. A lot. This isn't good for me - nor is it good for my family. And you know how the saying goes...


But of course *this mom* IS happy? Why? Because I chose happy, remember? And yes, it's a daily choice to be happy but I will and I do. It's better for me and it's better for my kids.

But you know what I forget to do when it comes to choosing me? Put my health first. (Thanks Heather for the gentle reminder.)

Starting today I choose to protect my skin by wearing sunscreen not only on my face but also on my neck, chest, arms and hands.

I choose to make my health a priority again. It's taken a back seat to too many things. (Oh! Hello there, Weight Watchers, my long lost friend!)

And I choose to love myself and my body at every. single. stage of the game. I only have one body and one life so I WILL make the best of it. (Even when my back is screaming at me.)

How about you? What do YOU choose?

Have you heard of the American Cancer Society's Choose You movement? It's all about making the commitment to live healthy and make early detection a priority through regular health checkups. Click HERE to learn more.

thursday 3 - summer

11:57 AM Posted by Roo

What I'm looking forward to this summer (it's tough to limit it to just 3 things, but...)

(1) Not having to rush out the door every morning to make the school drop-off run.
(2) Play dates with my kids and my sister's kids.
(3) Going to the beach. At least once. Even if it's for the day. I love, love, love the ocean and would love nothing more than to immerse my toes in the sand, close my eyes, relax, feel the sun on my face, listen to the waves and smell the saltwater. Yes, I used the word love a lot. But really, the beach? My favorite place to be.

shrinking days of summer: week 2

11:48 AM Posted by Roo

I run with the Sisterhood

I'm up for the 2nd week in a row - 1.6 pounds. Not being able to exercise stinks. MRI results will be in next week. I'd love to get the green light for some activity even if it's light activity. Something is better than nothing. The end.

lawry's taco spice & seasoning

5:21 PM Posted by Roo

Whenever I have a recipe that calls for an envelope of taco seasoning mix I always use this instead. It is amazing and so much better for you than those store bought packs.

Lawry's Taco Spice & Seasoning

(Equivalent of 1 oz package of taco seasoning mix. To make a large batch use the measurements in parentheses. Guide is 4 tsp for 1 lb of ground meat.)

1 tsp chili powder (8 tsp)
1 tsp paprika (8 tsp)
3/4 tsp salt (6 tsp)
3/4 tsp dried minced onion (6 tsp)
1/2 tsp cumin (4 tsp)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (2 tsp)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (2 tsp)
1/8 tsp oregano (1 tsp)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

To use this for taco meat:
In a large skillet, brown 1 lb ground beef until crumbly; drain fat. Add spice and 2/3 cup water; mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook uncovered, 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has cooked off.

I originally found this recipe HERE. It is actually a modification from one of Todd Wilbur’s Top Secret Recipes.

corn bread taco bake

4:59 PM Posted by Roo

I love trying new recipes and when I find one that's a keeper (especially when it's super easy and quick to make) I can't NOT share it. This one received a stamp of approval from all 4 of us including the 5 year old who would prefer to stick with the basics of cheeseburgers, pizza, mac 'n cheese, etc. I totally spaced out taking a picture but trust me it's yummy.

Corn Bread Taco Bake
Serves 6

1.5 pounds ground beef
1 can (15-1/4 oz) whole kernel corn, drained*
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 envelope taco seasoning*
1 package (8.5 oz) corn bread/muffin mix (I use Jiffy)
1 can (2.8 oz) french-fried onions, divided
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese*

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the corn, tomato sauce, water, green pepper and taco seasoning; mix well. Spoon into a greased 2-qt. baking dish.

Prepare corn bread mix according to package directions for corn bread. Stir in half of the onions. Spread over beef mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 400 for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and remaining onions. Bake 3-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and a toothpick inserted into corn bread layer comes out clean.

*I used frozen corn in lieu of canned. I don't use envelope taco seasoning mixes. I have my own recipe that I prefer to use and will post that separately. And I used a Mexican blend cheese instead of cheddar. I also think I'll up the green peppers to a whole one next time just because I love green peppers and extra veggies is always a good thing!

Recipe is from Taste of Home - the busy family cookbook. Definitely worth picking up a copy.

If you decide to try it let me know what you think!

i am an addict

5:42 PM Posted by Roo

I am addicted to sugar, bad carbs (think cake, biscuits, etc.) and caffeine. And I don't know how to stop it. Re-join Weight Watchers so that I am accountable for the number of Points I put in my mouth daily? That's all well and good but truthfully I can work the addiction in to my Daily Points Allowance. I've thought about counting calories as well. Then there's always clean eating and the idea that if a food has multiple ingredients don't eat it = an apple is an apple, an egg is an egg, etc. Truth is I'm not sure what to do. I know if I just pick something and stick to it the weight will come off. And regardless of what direction I take I need to break the addictions.

And there you have it, this week's...

True Confessions

i choose happy

5:16 PM Posted by Roo

I realize that for the past month I've really been down. And I know I have every right to be upset, depressed, bummed, mad and disappointed. But just because I have the right to feel that way doesn't mean I have to feel this way nor should I feel like I'm entitled to feel this way. Does that make sense or am I just rambling?

Regardless, I hate pessimism. So why am I being so ridiculously pessimistic? Ok, so I'm hurt. Ok, I couldn't attend the 1/2 marathon I worked so hard for. Yeah, it frustrates me but I can continue to dwell on it and be a big ole grump or I can get over it and move on.

I'm choosing to move on. I'm choosing to be happy. And I'm choosing to be thankful that my injury isn't worse than it is. Cause you know what? I'm still alive (although not kicking - that hurts!), I can see, I can hear, I can speak, I can walk. My children are healthy. My husband is keeping the house up as best as he can while working full-time and coming home to take care of everyone. I have a home and a beautiful family.

I choose happy.

PS: If you catch me being a Debbie Downer, please feel free to give me a quick knock upside the head. Just remind me that I choose happy. Period. And to stop sulking.

the whole story

12:50 PM Posted by Roo

Around early May I went out to do my 7 mile walk/run for Team in Training. I only made it a few miles and had to stop because of extreme pain in my hip. From that point forward every time I tried to exercise I couldn't. The pain was unbelievable.

I finally went to my doctor who diagnosed me with sacroiliac strain and/or SI joint sprain with a secondary diagnosis of sciatica. He ordered x-rays and sent me to physical therapy. I followed-up with him yesterday. My x-rays are good (great news) and the physical therapy hasn't helped my pain (not-so-great news). I am scheduled for an MRI on Wednesday evening. Depending on the results of that I will either be referred out to a specialist for for further treatment (cortisone injections or back surgery because he's guessing it's a bulging or herniated disc in my low back) or we start over.

I met my fundraising goal for the 1/2 marathon but I can't physically participate in it (it's this Sunday). My entire team is already in San Diego enjoying the beautiful weather and each other's company and I sit at home in Pennsylvania. The doctor and physical therapist both believed that travel would set back my recovery and I would be miserable trying to travel. I know they are right (because I am in pain 99.9% of the time) but my heart is there this weekend. I worked so hard on the training and the fundraising to not be able to be there at all and that's hugely disappointing to me.

The funds I raised are currently sitting in limbo right now. I have 6 months to recommit to a new event with Team in Training. Regardless of whether or not I participate in another event LLS WILL get the money - no worries there. The thing is I WANT to. I know so many people in my life don't get it. But this is what I was working for and I still want to do it. Depending on the severity of my back problems, I am looking at the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon in October with Kirsten and her hubby OR the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January 2011 with a few ladies from Shrinking Jeans. (I would be doing the 1/2 there as well - not the full marathon.)

Once I get my MRI and we are able to figure out what's wrong and what treatment course to take I will then be able to decide which event would work out best in terms of being able to get back on track with a training schedule.

Thank you to everyone that supported my journey for Team in Training and LLS. I am still accepting donations on behalf of LLS because unless I am physically not able to do it, I am going to recommit to another event with Team in Training in the near future.

shrinking days of summer: week 1

12:39 PM Posted by Roo

I run with the Sisterhood
I weighed in on time Wednesday morning but am just now getting around to posting. I am up 3.0 pounds. Gah. I know why (injury = no exercise and depression = me eating crap). Now to figure out a game plan and tackle it head on. Just because I can't exercise until my injury is figured out and on the mend doesn't mean I can't take care of myself. And to be perfectly honest, I haven't been taking care of myself. I've let the doom and gloom of being physically broken take over my life. Enough is enough. I'm working on a game plan to get back on track. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. (Oh and for those not caught up I will be posting an injury update soon.)