Thursday, August 4, 2016

I LOVE Style By Katy

As a creative artsy person it isn't easy to say this.. but I hate home decorating. I love the results of a nice home design, I just roll my eyes at the work. I just am not patient and and don't enjoy the process of picking out the stuff to make a room look nice. 

This stems from the fact that I never like the results and it seems like I always end up buying the wrong color, style, or whatever 15 times before I get to the right thing. So I don't. I end up with a room that isn't finished or is "finished" badly and live with it.

On the flip side, my sister Katy LOVES home decorating. She designed the decor of my old house and the results were stunning. But she has been uber busy with her children and life and work so I didn't want to bother her with my pathetic decorating needs.

But those days are OVER! Katy is now staying home with her young children and has started a home based business using her love of decorating and her savvy shopping skills. YES!!!

The process was amazingly easy. 

Here are some pictures of our first project together.

Take pictures of the space. I started with our hall bathroom. It is an eyesore with good bones.

I gave her my parameters. The fixtures couldn't be changed, the flooring is going to be changed in a couple of months to a dark ash grey color and I really wanted to keep the canvas that I liked so the colors needed to work with that.

After asking my preference on a few items, she sent me a design board along with all of the links to purchase the items from Etsy, Target and Lowe's. It was soo easy!

And so I began. Almost immediately I could see the paint was going to transform the room.

When I got to the new little shelves, I wasn't sure where to put them, so I sent Katy the picture with the options and she replied.


And while I loved the print that she suggested in the first place, I ended up getting another one that she picked out as an alternate because a different Etsy store was having a 20% off sale!

And there you have my hall bath makeover. 

Here is my spending summary:

Painting supplies for the walls, the cabinets (I went ahead and did a refresher of them since I was painting..) and the mirror: $55.

Soft Goods (including towels, bath mat, shower curtain, liner: $100

Hardware (shower rod, shelves) $40

Window shade: $20 

Accessories: $30

Total: $245 plus the $100 design board

Would I do it again if she wasn't my sister? YES!! I already have.

I can't wait to show you Lexi's bedroom. It is AMAZING!!

And here is my take-away... while it's hard to spend $100 on a design board that you can't actually use in your decorating. It is totally worth it! I have spent way more money on mistake decorating purchases over the years! A decent quality shower curtain is easily $40 and it doesn't matter the quality if it looks bad in the room!

So yeah, I'm sold.

Katy,I am so proud of you and what you are doing!

You can contact her at to start your own home decorating project.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I found freedom and grace in Weight Watchers

I rejoined Weight Watchers.. again.

The last month or so I have really been battling a head game and I while I needed the consistency and accountability of tracking my food, what I saw yesterday is that I needed the freedom and grace more.

I know. FREEDOM and GRACE while tracking food??? 


Here is why. When I'm just doing my thing and going with the flow, unless I am hard core shake in the morning, and totally healthy choices for lunch and dinner, in my mind, I have failed on the food choices that day. I start beating myself up over the cookie(s) that I ate or the whatever and I immediately go into a negative head space.

With Weight Watchers, I don't do that. I track my food and at the end of the day when I sit down with my glass of Pinot Grigio (4 points) I enjoy it.

So yes, I am back on the Weight Watchers wagon. I really like the updated app and options. I totally think that the WW mindset would be great for those that want to gain weight as well as for those that want to lose/maintain weight. Tracking food can be overwhelming and for people like me with obsessive personalities, counting calories can be addictive and push us into a negative head space as we use calories as a means of control. not good.

Here is a screenshot from my dashboard. With the latest WW update I get more points each day even though I weigh the same that I did in January when I deleted the app from my phone! I like more points. :) 
I also really like the updated activity log. I am a very active person and I never felt like the old activity counter truly recorded my daily life. But for example yesterday, I shoveled and hauled dirt around the pool for a long time. I recorded 65 minutes of hard labor and earned 16 points for my efforts. I like that!  I set my goal to earn 55 FitPoints each week. I figure that is a very doable goal for me. Even with a stress fracture on my left foot and no running. (bummer, but soon I hope!)

And there you have it. 

And in case you were wondering, yes I am still using Isagenix products. The IsaLean Shake is 7 points and that is a lot for me for breakfast, but totally worth it as I feel good and stay full during the morning. In fact, if I wanted to do Isagenix hardcore with Weight Watchers, I totally could as a shake for breakfast and lunch with healthy snacks during the day would leave me with more than enough points to have a quality evening meal. 

So there you have it. 

I'll keep you posted on the journey. For now, I'm going to go enjoy my cup of coffee with my 2point creamer. Yes, that is a splurge I will take every time!

Oh, and want to know what my goal is? To drop my body fat percentage by 7%. yep. Sounds crazy doesn't it.  But, my body fat percentage is too high. yuck. And it lives on my abdomen, thighs and the underside of my arms.  A 7% drop won't even put me into the "fitness" category for body fat.. it will just be in the middle of the acceptable range! OUCH! 

In order to lose the body fat I know that I will lose some on the scale too, but that isn't my motivation this time around. I'm not worried about what the scale says, nor am I interested in dropping clothes sizes. I really like my size 6. I just want to be healthy.

Thanks for joining me on this path.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Art, Theatre and Photography Camp 2016. Done!

I love Art, Theatre and Photography Camp. 

It is a hard four days, but so worth it! The kids have a great time and the parents are always amazed at what we are able to produce from the campers in such a short amount of time.

This year's theme was "Broadway Battle."

We had 116 campers spread out over a morning session and an afternoon session. That is a LOT of kids. Especially when close to 30 of those kids are 3 and 4 years old! 

We also have a dozen or more teenage volunteers. We couldn't run the program without them, but they add a level of "drama" to the camp as well. :)

Here is a panorama right before we started the production. All of those orange shirts... yeah, that's a lot of bodies to manage!

Over the four days, I probably took close to a thousand pictures. No kidding.

Below are a few of the highlights from the art portion of camp!

I LOVED working with the kids on their paintings. Given that they had only about 45 minutes total to work on them, I think they did great! Their paintings were done over three days.

(Sidenote.. Bleeding Tissue paper is the WAY TO GO if you want a really cool, cheap and easy background for a watercolor painting!)

We also screenprinted. Of course we did. I guess that's my signature event! It is messy and crazy and the kids LOVE it.

Look at Kylie's concentration. The memories.

And how can Lexi be this big? 

They also made scratch art. One of the workers mentioned that he couldn't believe that the kids were willingly without a fuss painting black over their drawings and "ruining" them. I explained that the kids have learned over the years to go with the flow! 

(Sidenote.. making your own scratch art is fun and messy. scratching off the black is REALLY messy..)

We also did weaving. I changed to weaving with pipe cleaners this year. Less mess. And they can create a 3d weaving project. It was really fun!

And there you have it.

Another year complete. My take away this year is the realization that one of my goals for the kids is the gift of artistic surprise and to be willing to experience new things. My goal each year is to push the campers out of their comfort zone and force them in a fun way to try new things. Even if it means utter failure in a project. I try to get them to understand that the PROCESS is the goal, NOT the product!

This isn't an easy task. These kids expect their work to be perfect. They are not used to being told that "failure" is actually a win. And this is the reason we have to have events like this camp. So much of our kids lives are wrapped up in "doing things right" and working toward a perfect product. This mindset ends up freezing the kids mid-project and I have to work with them to just keep going. You would not believe how many projects are thrown in the trash as soon as camp is over, not by the parents, but by the kids. Sadly, they have bought into the lie that unless it is perfect, they don't want it. And I'm talking about 4 year olds!! Ouch.

So my gift to the campers is the opportunity to explore and create in a safe place that is not tied to a test a grade or an expectation. My mantra that I say over and over is the only failure is refusing to try.

And I know it's working. You just have to look at these kids faces!

Want to see more photos? Check us out on facebook.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My Runniversary

Another Healthy Lifestyle and Runniversary!

In honor of my journey.. I like to look back and see the consistency and dedication to making myself a priority in the craziness of life.

In May of 2012 I decided that enough was enough, but it took me a month to get in the right mind frame for a complete lifestyle overhaul. I consider the Tuesday after Memorial Day to be my anniversary of a healthy life!

May 29 2012

  • Weight.. over 170 maybe 180... 
  • Clothing Size: 14/16 pants, large/xlarge shirt
  • 1.96 miles at a 14:17 pace.

May 27 2013
  • Weight:  145
  • Clothing Size: 6/8 pants, medium shirt
  • 4.69 miles at 11:06 pace.

May 24 2014

  • Weight: 143
  • Clothing Size: 6 pants, medium shirt 
  • 4.3 miles at 10:46.

May 25 2015

  • Weight: 140
  • Clothing Size: 6 pants, medium shirt
  • 4.5 miles at a 9:50 pace. 

May 28-31 2016

  • Weight: 137
  • Clothing Size: 4-6 pants, small shirt
  • Saturday: 9 miles at an 11:05 easy pace
  • Sunday:  11 miles on the bike and 30 minutes of heavy weight training
  • Tuesday: 3.14 miles at a 10:07 pace

I have to remind myself is that the difference between last year's pace and this year's pace is negligible due to the humidity and that I am stronger and leaner than I have ever been. Even when I was "skinnier" (in high school and college) I was starving myself and had little muscle tone.

My goals for this year? I'd like to lose another 10 pounds and I'd like to run a 25 minute 5k. I guess the question is, do I want it bad enough?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Finding Strength

Let me be blunt.

This week has been HARD.

I say this not to get a woe is me. But to just be honest about the struggles we face in our house. I feel like all week I have been on the constant verge of tears. I'm holding on by the tiniest wisp of a thread.


Well. Maddie.

Last week at this time, we were at Disney World with the band. It was touch and go up until we left on Thursday morning if we would be able to go as Maddie had been really sick.  But with lots of meds and a couple trips to doctors leading up to the trip. We went.

We rented a scooter for Maddie and she rode her chair all around the parks. It was exactly what we needed as Maddie couldn't even walk around the resort without help.  We even did breathing treatments before and after the plane rides in the airport with her sitting in a wheelchair. Yes, she was that sick. And yes, I know we took a big risk letting her go on the trip, but quality of life is important too. And being able to go on a trip with her peers was one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips!

Doug and I went along as well as Maddie's support team.

It was a lot of fun.

But this was the price.

We got home from Disney on Sunday night and Maddie went to school on Monday. She had missed a number of days prior to the trip and then one school day for the trip, so she was really behind and knew that she couldn't miss another day.  As she struggled to make it through the day, she came to the realization that there was no way she would be able to try out for the leadership team for her colorguard group next year. She was just too weak to practice the routine that she had created and been practicing for months. That was hard.

Tuesday she went to school even weaker than she was Monday. And then the shakes started. Her poor left hand and arm just shook. And not like tremors. These shakes were jerky spasms. Convulsions. By 6pm she was not good.

So I took her to the ER. They immediately took her back and got her hooked up to monitors. Her heart rate was jumping from 60 to 300 then down to 150 and up to 240 and so forth. It was very scary. And it lasted for a couple of hours! It took the combination of a big dose of steriods, a very potent breathing treatment and a dose of Benadryl to get her body to slow down.

The doctor we had was absolutely the most compassionate ER doctor we have ever had.  (And we have seen a few..) Maybe the most compassionate doctor Maddie has ever seen. She was exactly the doctor we needed. Thank you Dr. Brister

After running a number of tests and such, the doctor just sat down next to Maddie's bed and smiled at her and patted her hand and said, "when you get sick, your entire body just gets really sick." I realize that doesn't mean much to most people, but given how many times we hear, "all the tests look good" and "your symptoms don't match what we know about ______" it was nice to just have Maddie's place in life validated. No judgement. No aside comments to me. Just validation to Maddie that she is sick and Maddie is not responsible, nor can she control her body's response to illness.

Later, after making sure that Maddie felt okay, we went home. With no answers.

The next day (Wednesday) was Maddie's 16th birthday.

She spent it in bed. Alone. 

In the afternoon she felt well enough to sit on the back porch for dinner.  

Thursday she was back in bed.

Friday I took her to the specialist in Dallas to have a "challenge test" with the antibiotic she had been on. Because she is so highly allergic to other antibiotics, we had to make sure that she wasn't allergic to this medicine as she felt like this drug was what caused Tuesday's problems. 

Well, she's not allergic to the drug. But the drug can cause the side effects that sent her to the ER.. of course these are very rarely occurring side effects, but that is Maddie's world.

Today is Saturday and she hasn't been on the drug since Tuesday. She's feeling better. The infection in her body is still there, but too bad until at least tomorrow.

Cause tonight is PROM. And she is going. And she is going to be able to enjoy it. I am DETERMINED!

Monday she is back to Dallas to see the cardiologist as this latest tacychardia episode is the second in two weeks.

And in the midst of all of this? 

Lexi and Kylie participated in the colorguard minicamp that Maddie wasn't able to go to. They performed on Thursday evening and were adorable! Maddie sat in the bleachers while her friends led the campers. 

Then, Lexi had field day on Friday and her two individual races. And I wasn't there.

Today I'm doing 20 loads of laundry and I need to clean house.

Here is a snapshot of what my entire house looks like.

Yeah. Ugh.

But the dishes and the dirt can stay. Cause today my sweet 16 is going to feel like a princess and that is worth more than a clean house any day. 

And in a life defined by struggles, pain and illness, today is PROM and she will find strength for it. And so will I.