Saturday, September 27, 2014

Taste the Cause

Tomorrow is the cycling event, Pedal the Cause, that I've been preparing for, and this evening we had the chance to go to a dinner that is a fundraiser for the same event. The dinner was called "Taste the Cause," and all the riders got in for free.  Kids under the age of 12 years also got in for free, so the only one of us that needed a ticket was James. We got to try food from several local chefs, and I think we will be visiting their restaurants.

 This was my favorite thing I tried: Roasted Lamb with Pumpkin and Edamame Salad. The lamb was really tender, and the salad was very flavorful. 
 The main thing that Samuel had to eat was Shrimp and Grits. That made me happy.
 He also loved the chocolate coconut macaroons from Cravings Gourmet Desserts.  I thought I'd had macaroons before, and didn't care for them - but these were so good.
 There was a live band, and he got up from our table to dance with his macaroon in his hand.
 The chicken entree that the FarmHaus had available was quite tasty. Samuel enjoyed some of their cornbread.
 Kaldi's Coffee was on site demonstrating the Chemex Coffemaker.  I had never seen this done before, and it certainly did produce a smooth cup of coffee. They were serving some their Kenyan coffee.

 There was a time for cancer survivors to share their stories, and as the crowd clapped for them, so did Eva Kate.
There is a huge wall set up for people to place a sticker and write the name of someone they are riding for.  Jon's name went on my sticker.

Jon is a friend of ours from college, and I just learned this week that he has traveled to Austria with his wife to under cancer treatment. This is his second battle with the disease, and there is a fundraising campaign going on right now to raise funds to help cover his medical expenses. You can read about his story here: Kicking Cancer with the Bufkins. Please pray for healing!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pedal the Cause is Almost Here!

I'm so excited to be participating in Pedal the Cause this year. I picked up my rider's jersey on Friday, and I got my bike tuned up.

Pedal the Cause is a cycling event in it's 5 year here in St. Louis that raises funds for the Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children's Hospital.  The money raised will go to fund cancer research at these two hospitals. These are both wonderful institutions, and I've had the honor of serving patients at both hospitals as a pharmacist.  The best calls I ever get at work are from cancer patients who are calling to tell me that they no longer need my services because they are in remission. That is always such amazing news, and how I wish I got more of those calls.  All too many times it goes the other way. Instead of a happy patient on the phone, and I have a saddened family member on the phone telling me that their loved one's disease has gotten worse and they are stopping treatment and going to hospice care. Both phone calls have brought me to tears for two very different reasons. One for joy, and the other for the briefness of life.

I'm only $50 away from my fundraising commitment.  If you'd like help me chip away at that by making a donation towards creating a world without cancer, here's the link: Pedal the Cause Donations. Thank you so very much for your support.

I've had a number of family members who found themselves grasped in the clutches of cancer. Two grandparents, an aunt and an uncle, my husband's grandfather. I ride for them. I ride for my patients. Here's to a world without cancer.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Six months of Weight Maintenance

It's been six months since I hit my goal weight with Weight Watchers.  I'm doing a few things differently, so I thought I would share the changes that I've made.  I had read somewhere that the first six months of weight maintenance are the most critical for making good habits stick to prevent gaining back the weight that had been lost.

That was my weight on Sept. 5th, and this morning it was 152.6. I've noticed that my weight can fluctuate 2-4 pounds in the course of a week, so I'm happy with where I'm at. Well, most of the time I'm happy. There are some days that I'd like to see the scale at 147, because that would be the 100 pounds-lost-milestone for me, but there's no real health reason for me to keep chasing that number. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I've still lost 97 pounds from my highest weight ever.

The biggest hurdle I've was our trip to Hawaii.  Seven days of eating whatever I wanted. Not so good. I was at 158 when we got home, and it took me a couple of months of get back down to 150.  Those eight pounds don't sound like much, but they made a big difference in how easy it was to get my pants zipped. I sold or donated all of my fat clothes, so if I don't keep my weight where it is it means buying more clothes. I'd rather not spend money on replacing a wardrobe that I didn't have the self control to fit into.

I joined a gym in April after my weight jumped up to 154, and I added weight training to my routine. I did almost no weight training while I was loosing weight. My primary form of exercise had been cycling or using an elliptical, so weight training was definitely new for me. I kept tracking my food with Weight Watchers for a while, but I canceled my account in August. I started using My Fitness Pal in July, because I was staying hungry all day trying to stick to Weight Watchers. With the weight training that I was doing, I found that I couldn't get in all the protein that I needed and stay within my daily points allotment. So far, so good with My Fitness Pal. I love that it's free to use, whereas Weight Watchers was costing me about $15 a month. That's not much, but $15 is $15. I'm still weighing or measuring everything that I eat. 

I've learned that I have a problem with self control in buffet situations, so I try to avoid them. Baked goods are a weakness of mine, so I rarely bake. Another thing that I've learned is that I have a problem with sugar. Carb-o-holics meetings, anyone? Once I start eating something sweet, it is hard to walk away. I can keep a bag of chocolate candies in my house for months and not touch it, but once I cave - I'll eat two or three handfuls. Ugh. Some days, I pray for self control.

My nighttime snack looks a lot different now that it did with Weight Watcher's. Now I'm eating Greek yogurt, a serving of some type of nut butter (with no  added sugar of any kind), and almond milk. No more nightly chocolate or Weight Watcher's popsicles. I let myself have an indulgent dessert 2-3 times a month, and I've totally quit buying chips unless James asks for them. I don't like the chips that he eats, so there's no temptation there. I eat sliced cucumber when I want chips. I'm paying a lot more attention to the amount of protein that I eat at each meal, because it helps me stay full.  I've started eating Quest Bars for an afternoon snack, and I'm limiting my fruit intake to 1-3 servings a day. Sugar is sugar, even if it's coming from a fruit, and it won't keep you full like healthy fats and protein will.

When we do go out for unhealthy food, I'm more picky about what I choose to indulge in. Burgers? Smashburger, please on a pretzel bun with goat cheese. Pizza? A Chicago style pizza from Pi or something from Bellacino's. Ice Cream? Blue Bell from the Russell Stover store. Thankfully, none of these places are near my house.  Bellacino's is the closest, but it is still 15 minutes away. I've learned that I cannot eat calorie laden food like that every weekend and expect to maintain my weight. I'm trying to limit those indulgent meals out to twice a month. My go-to fast food places are Chick Fil A, Jimmy John's, and Jason's Deli. There are plenty of meal options at all three of those places for under 500 calories.

Weight maintenance is a battle, but it's worth it. For the first time in my life, I can leg press more than my body weight. I can manage an outing to the zoo with the two kids by myself without being physically exhausted afterwards.  If I don't take care of my body and eat healthy foods, I'm left with a body that won't allow me to serve my family well. My kids deserve a mom that can take them on bike rides, swim, and run around the park with them.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, James

I love you more every year.

Thank you for providing for us, so that I may devote most of my time to the children. Thank you for taking cake of the kids in the evenings from time to time so that I am free to pursue my hobbies and friendships.

Thank you for your steadfastness in waiting for these two gifts from God. I love watching you interact with the kids.
 Lily is thankful for you too. Because, let's face it. You're her favorite human. 
I love our time together, whether on a trip or at home. Our nights at Busch are always fun.  I love it when you wear your baseball cap backwards. It always takes me back to this night -
Can you believe that was 14 years ago? Twenty years old. A year away from being married. You had already captured my heart, but it was this night that my love affair with this city -and the Cardinals- began.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Celebrating Samuel's Adoption Day

Last Friday marked the second anniversary of the finalization of Samuel's adoption.  Friday was a work day for both me and James, so we celebrated on Saturday.  It was a time for me to reflect on the faithfulness of God in answering our prayers for children, and to pray for Samuel's birthmom. Her children call me Mom, and there is where the tragedy and beauty of adoption intertwine.

We gave Samuel a little gift to open on Saturday morning.  

He was given a Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head set. I had a Mr. Potato head when I was a kid, and I had a lot of fun with mine.
 He and Eva Kate both loving playing with these.  He calls them both "Dumpy." The only explanation I've been able to come up with for that name is that he made a connection to Humpty Dumpty because of the way they are shaped.

 Eva Kate's favorite accessory is the eye glasses.

After dinner, we let the kids have a cupcake - or rather half of one because these were big cupcakes.

We went to the Saturday night service at our church so we could have Sunday morning free to go to the botanical garden. Thanks to my husband's employer, we got into the main garden and the children's garden for free. We'd never been to the children's garden before because of the extra cost, so it was fun for all four of us to get to check it out.

 The Climatron is probably my favorite place at the garden. The daytime temperature inside is kept between 64-85 F and the average humidity is 85% - which is heavenly in the middle of February. It houses a lot of tropical plants, and this summer it has also housed an amazing array of Lego sculptures.
The butterfly was my favorite.

 Over 300,000 Legos were used in the sculptures.
 These are a few photos from the children's garden. Very fun.  Samuel was a little scared to walk across the rope bridge, but after being cheered on a little, he loved it.

We went to Mission Taco Joint for lunch, and it was really good.
 I tried the portobello mushroom, grilled fish, and duck tacos. My favorite was the mushroom taco, which I wasn't expecting.
 They make all their corn tortillas daily on site, and we got to watch a few of them being cooked.
We all had a really fun day together, and I'm so thank that Samuel is our son.