Today I am thankful for... (#27 & #28)

#27) Yesterday we got a call for a showing. When I let our realtor know he informed me we already had a purchase agreement to review...

#28) The showing didn't produce anything. Today we signed back a counter-offer to the purchase agreement. It was accepted!! Our closing date is February 28. So very excited!! Praising God for His goodness in providing just what we need... in HIS time. 



For a long time I've intended to blog about Tim's weigh loss journey.  Tim pointed out on Sunday (we began this post nearly 3 weeks ago...) that January 6 was the two year anniversary of the medical physical that started it all.  We planned to sit down Monday (while he had a paid snow day because of the extreme cold here) and get this done, but somehow the day (and the next 3 weeks!) got away from us.

Here are some pictures from past years.  People who went to school with us, or knew us before we moved to St. Cloud, will remember Tim like this.  Everyone who has met us since we moved to St. Cloud remembers Tim like this.  Even I still think of him like this sometimes... until I look at him. ;) (Story continues below...)

April 2006
Easter 2006
June 2006 (with Levi)
May 2009
December 2010
13 year class reunion

At the beginning of January in 2012 Tim went in for his first medical physical in years.  One thing that prompted him to go was his weight.  He knew something needed to give.  Over the years he had tried adjusting his eating habits, he was very active in his job, but no matter what he did the weight seemed to stick (or even increase).

There were physical issues that were beginning to crop up.  One in particular was symptoms similar to those of a diabetic when glucose levels run low.  He would get very pale, often feeling like he was going to pass out, and would need to rest and eat something sugary before he would start feeling better.  Constant heartburn was the bane of his existence.  He was going through antacids like crazy.  He had also been diagnosed with sleep apnea and used a CPAP while sleeping.  Prior to the diagnosis and use of the machine he would snore horribly and I would hear him stop breathing for short periods of time.  NOT a pleasant experience!  He was run down, tired, no matter how much he slept.

We discussed all these issues with the doctor and he let her know he really wanted to work at losing weight.  She suggested an app he could use with his iPhone called LoseIt!.  LoseIt! can be used online as well.  To begin she wanted him to simply eat as he had been, while logging everything on the app for the first week or two.  It only took about 2 days of logging to discover the major issue... Even though he'd been cutting back portion sizes for a while, his calorie consumption was MUCH too high.

After seeing those results he immediately cut back further.  The app allows you to set a goal and then gives you a calorie limit for the day in order to reach that goal.  That goal can be adjusted if necessary (for instance, I used it while pregnant and simply added 300 calories to my daily goal to provide for the baby's needs).  He was hungry for about 6 weeks, but stuck with it.  At this point he hadn't weighed in since the physical (292 lb.) because he was afraid he wouldn't lose anything and would get discouraged and quit.

The first time he stepped on the scale - about the 6 week mark - he was down nearly 20 pounds!  If he was beginning to lose motivation to continue, that took care of it.  After that he did weekly weigh-ins and was consistently losing 3-5 pounds a week.  (Side note:  It really stinks that guys can shed weight so much more quickly - in general - than women can.  Yes, I hated on him a little.  LOL)  His current weight hovers between 175-180 pounds.

Along with the reduction of calories, Tim took up cycling.  It began with the thought that he would get a bike so he could commute to work when the weather was nice.  It very quickly became an obsession, erm... a passion. ;)  He cycled to work as often as the weather allowed, and began taking 10-15 mile rides once or twice a week.  Now his "fun rides" are 18-45 miles long (I'm not kidding, he thinks 45 miles on a bike is FUN! Ugh -- and check out the caption on the final picture of this post!).  He purchased studded tires for what has become his commute bike, bought cold weather gear, and until the recent spat of sub-zero temps was commuting to work every day - even when it was zero.  Again, ugh!  His second (newer, better) bike spends the winter in the basement on the trainer.  He would LOVE to ride more often, but manages a couple 45 minute "rides" each week.

So there you have it... it really IS diet and exercise.  Sorry.  No short cuts. ;)

Sept '12
Oct '12
The "before" picture here is from the church staff pictures taken about 5 years ago.  The "after" was taken in April '13 right after he shaved off his beard. :)

May '13
Tim said when he looks at the photo above he thinks, "Huh, some random guy ended up in that picture."

Oct. '10
On the North Shore
May '13
On the North Shore
Aug '13
Feeling great after a SEVENTY-ONE MILE RIDE!!
He rode from our home in St. Cloud all the way to Pillager.

Today I am thankful for... (#24, #25, #26)

#24)  I am thankful for the God-given ability to provide all the nourishment my babies need.  I have had the blessed experience of doing this 9 times, with each child nursing anywhere from 8 months up to well over a year.  I even had one "baby" (over 24 months old) who stopped for a while and then started again for a few months after a new baby arrived.

#25)  I am thankful for the unique experience of delivering 4 of my babies in our home.  It's one of the things that makes leaving this little house bittersweet.  I wouldn't change that for the world!

#26)  I am thankful that Tim had an idea he had wondered about for a while which actually worked when put into practice... After church today we stopped to pick up pizza.  On our home Tim stepped on the brakes for a red light and the van began to slide.  There was a mini-van already stopped ahead of us.  Knowing we'd never stop before hitting them, Tim threw the van in reverse and hit the gas.  The tires spun crazily and eventually stopped our forward momentum... about an inch from the mini-van's bumper.  I'm fairly certain the occupants of the other vehicle were blissfully unaware of what almost happened.  I told Tim I was glad that the first time he tried it, it worked! ;)  Now, let's hope we never have to use that particular method again!!


Today I am thankful for... (#23)

I know, I'm a few days behind. Sigh. Story of my life. ;)

I'm thankful I live in a world that contains "pony bear" and "quackopus". Small children make life fun with their interpretations. These are Phoenix's words for polar bears and platypuses. 



Today I am thankful for... (#22)

This post should have gone up yesterday, but here goes... I am thankful that Tim generally works minimal hours on Wednesdays.  It meant that yesterday, when things were just NOT going smoothly with my day, he was here for help and encouragement.


Today I am thankful for... (#19, #20, #21)

#19) We had another showing on our house yesterday afternoon.  We found out about it on Saturday night, so had the opportunity to clean on Sunday.  It's always interesting getting everything done with the bigger boys gone... But, we managed to get it all done.  The showing was at 2pm which worked perfectly as we had to pick Alex and Chase up at the church around 2:30pm upon their return from Blizzard.  Our realtor feels the showing went well, and now we are just waiting to hear if anything comes of it.

#20)  I am thankful that we were blessed with good neighbors.  I'll miss them when we move!  During the winter we don't see them much, but during the summer it's always fun to chat with them in the backyard.  In the 11 years we've lived here there have been some changes in a few of the houses, but all of our neighbors have been friendly.  I know that's not always the case!  No one is noisy.  No one complains about our kids (though they often ARE noisy ;).  One house has boys near the same age as Alex and Chase.  Having met some of the neighbors in what will be our new neighborhood, I am hopeful that we will continue to have positive neighbor experiences.

#21)  While naps/daytime sleep seems to be an issue lately, I'm thankful that Tempe sleeps well at night.  There is usually a 6 hour stretch followed by a 3 hour stretch, and then one more stretch of 1-3 hours.  The other night she even woke up once briefly (about 5 minutes) but then put herself back to sleep!  Nighttime sleep has been an issue aver since Levi joined the family  EIGHT AND A HALF YEARS ago... It's nice to finally get some sleep again. :)


Today I am thankful for... (#18)

Tonight Tim and I will have the opportunity to head to church for the Wild Game Dinner, sans kids.  Our older "babysitters" are gone at their annual winter retreat with the youth group, but Dad and Mom are heading down to watch the kids so can attend the dinner.  I'm looking forward to time with Tim, as well as trying some unusual wild game dishes. :)


Today I am thankful for... (#15, #16, #17)

#15)  I am thankful for our children's ministries at church.  The kids have an opportunity, mid-week, to spend time with their friends, play games, and most importantly, learn about our great God and Savior.  Opportunities to hear about God's nature and His love for us, as well as learn verses and "hide them in their hearts", warms my heart.

#16)  I am thankful that Phoenix has slept better the last several nights.  Even though he was sick and slept most of the day yesterday, he slept all night last night as well!

#17)  I am thankful for our family doctor.  She respects our opinions, and shows genuine care for our family.  She is willing to squeeze one more in when I already have two kids scheduled, and is always answering questions regarding other family members when we are there for another.  Today we get to see her for well-child checks for two kids and wart removal for another.  The kids even love going to the doctor!  They get excited when I say it's their turn. :)

I had parts of this post written in my head over the last few days and they were composed so much better than this post!  My brain is somewhat scattered... please excuse the poor example of writing. ;)


Today I am thankful for... (#14)

There are people in my life that I count as friends who have been where I am and offer advice or a listening ear from time to time.  I am thankful for these mentors.  They don't judge.  They tell it like it is.  They talk me out of the occasional "funk".  Most are mothers.  Many homeschool.  They have experienced (or are still experiencing) the ages and stages.  They know that "this too shall pass".  They pray... out loud.  They build me up and encourage and let me know that I'm okay.


Today I am thankful for... (#13)

Yesterday at church a friend who has frequently blessed us with hand-me-downs had FOUR large bags FULL of clothes for us.  I was able to use about 1/2 of it.  The other half TJ had already outgrown. ;)  Because of the generosity of this friend, TJ has been outfitted in cute clothes for every size.  The rest of the clothes I can pass on to another friend with a little guy who is a bit older but a bit smaller than TJ.  Double the blessings!

^TJ in just a couple of things that have been in previous bags^
(really it was just an excuse to post cute pics of my kid *grin*)


Today I am thankful for... (#11 & #12)

#11) I am every so thankful for the warmer weather that has allowed the kids to get outside to play.  Heading out the door without covering every square inch of skin is really nice as well!

#12)  I am thankful for an unexpected visit from my brother Joe and his family this afternoon.  How fun to see the cousins play, and to catch up with Joe and Mandy.  They also got to meet Tempe for the first time.  God has blessed me with the relationship I have with them.


Today I am thankful for... (#10)

Today was my turn to not feel well. I felt light-headed and miserable most of the day. I am thankful for the older kids I have who are capable of keeping everything going while I'm down. I was able to sleep most of the day, but everyone was still fed and changed as needed. Maybe tomorrow I can be thankful I'm feeling better? ;)


Today I am thankful for... (#9)

I'm thankful that we have a large van big enough for the whole family.  Even if we grow by a few more we'll still fit since we have one seat currently removed to allow for cargo space.  We were able to remove the foremost seat so there is room, in wet or cold weather, for everyone to get inside and then find their seats while protected from the elements.  Of course if we're camping that doesn't work... I thought I posted about this, but went back through the archives and didn't find it.  Maybe it's in my drafts (or maybe it's just still in my head!)?  Here's a couple pictures of the cargo space when we went camping this summer -- there was even cooler in the way that had to be removed every time the kids exited/entered the van. LOL

She's beastly, and not all that pretty (getting a lot rustier by the year), but she gets us around.  Now if we could figure out how to improve traction in snowy/icy conditions... there has been more than one occasion (several just recently) when we've had to make the decision to stay home rather than attend an event we've committed to.  When you spin your tires just trying to leave the driveway it's generally a good sign you should just stay home!  Currently we are looking at snow tires, so maybe next year it'll be a bit better?


Today I am thankful for... (#8)

There is a difficulty in choosing because there is a part of me that wants to *explain* every choice in depth.  I've decided to take the pressure off by allowing myself to just be thankful, provide some small details for all of you, but know the *whole* story in my heart.  If you have more questions I guess you'll have to ask. ;)

Homeschooling.  I am so very thankful to live not only in a country that allows us the freedom to homeschool, but also to live in a state that makes the process relatively simple (from a reporting standpoint).

It's not easy to be with your kids 24/7/365, but it is rewarding. I certainly have experienced plenty of failures, but the positives outweigh the negatives by a long shot.  There is much fear of failure... perhaps that will ebb after I've graduated one or two? (Please, God, let that be the case! -- And if you homeschool, have graduated a few, and know that to NOT be true, please allow me to live in my current state of optimistic ignorance. ;)  We believe wholeheartedly that this is the course God has chosen for our family.  I know, despite my human imperfections and ineptitude, He will bless this venture.

(Wish I had a great picture of us schooling to insert here, but I do not.  Perhaps you would like to come see us in action?  LOL)


Today I am thankful for... (#6 & #7)

Why is it that I'm having such a difficult time doing one post every day?  LOL  Today is another twofer...

#6) I am so very thankful for God's gift of reconciliation.  Specifically, I am thankful that he restored my marriage to Tim.  Words are not enough to explain how blessed I am to have Tim in my life.  He loves me, even when I'm crazy.  He helps out around the house without "keeping score" -- laundry, dishes, cleaning, childcare, and more are done with a willing spirit.  He works hard to earn a living, keeping us fed and clothed with a roof over our heads.  And did I mention that he loves me despite my insanity? ;)

#7) I am thankful that Tim was able to lose a substantial amount of weight, and has kept it off for more than a year.  He's a great guy (see #6) and I like the idea that he'll be around for a lot longer now that he's living a much healthier lifestyle!

Did I mention he's also a great dad? :)


Today I am thankful for... (#4 & #5)

Since I missed a day yesterday I now have to find two things to be thankful for.  It's not a lack of things that makes this difficult... it's deciding which of the abundant options to choose for the day. ;)

#4)  I am thankful for technology that keeps me connected with friends and family even at a distance. Texting is one way that I keep in touch with so many people.  I text far more than I talk on the phone or email. I appreciate the convenience of a short sentence or two when I don't have the time for a full conversation (which every phone call turns into).  Those texts turn into full conversations, but if it needs to take all day for everything to be said... a short response here, a quick question there... it's okay. ;)  So, if you want to keep in touch with me on a more regular basis, feel free to send me a text!  If you don't have my phone number, email me at qfmama@gmail.com and ask. (I originally just posted my phone number but then decided perhaps that wasn't the smartest plan...)

#5)  In line with #4... I am thankful for Skype and the ability to keep Grandma visually involved with the kids even when she is in AZ for the winter.  We don't Skype often, but the kids always love it when we do.  I'm pretty sure Grandma enjoys it too. ;)  This year it has meant that she got to "meet" Temperance even though she was already in AZ when Tempe was born.  It also means that when she comes back in the spring Tempe may actually recognize her.

A bit of an update on Friday's post:  Tim came home from work for the day about an hour after I hit publish.  He went straight to bed (about 3:45pm) and didn't get up until the next morning.  He was feeling much better by Saturday morning and we were able to go out grocery shopping.  While we were gone Chase texted that Alex had gone to bed "for no reason".  Turns out that he had a reason (he was just being a stubborn teenage brother and saying "because" when they would ask why he was going to bed rather than giving them an actual reason)... he was feeling sick as well.  He stayed in bed from about 1:30pm yesterday until this morning.  Thankfully neither of them were throwing up, and it didn't last more than 1/2 a day, but it's still no fun to feel achy and miserable!  Still so many reasons to be thankful.


Today I am thankful for... (#3)

I had a few things in mind to post today, but I'm going with good health.  So many around me are/have been sick lately with really *yucky* bugs.  Even several of our kids were hit, though not nearly as bad as I've heard from friends... Through it all I have remained healthy (despite a bout of mastitis which left me feeling a bit *off*).

But that's just the small picture.  Looking at the big picture we (Tim, me, and the kids) have all experienced good health.  There are no *big* issues we've had to deal with.  I truly am grateful for the blessing of good health.

Back to the small picture... living in small quarters certainly increases the risk that we will all be exposed to a bug once it's brought in.  In 11 years living in this house, with only one bathroom, we have rarely had instances where an illness requiring frequent use of the bathroom hit, and when it did happen it was never more than one or two people at a time.  God knows our circumstances, and He cares -- even about GI junk. ;)

Thank you God for your provision for us in regard to our health.  My prayer is that even the "small picture" stuff would be minimal for the rest of this season that brings so much illness to so many.  We are reminded how blessed we are on a regular basis as we see the suffering of those around us.  My hope is that I will know how to be a blessing and a help to those who need it when they are ill -- whether it be with "small picture" stuff or the really big stuff.

(I don't feel like I'm doing a great job putting my thoughts into words here.  I hope that I am understood despite my lack of articulation.)


Today I am thankful for (#2)

Our house, while it is quite small, keeps us warm during these bitter cold days.  I look forward to the day when we can move into our larger home, but will miss this house too.

Thank you, God, for providing for our NEEDS and teaching us to appreciate the things we have.


31 Days of Thanks

According to today's edition of Our Daily Bread, which I receive in my inbox each day, January is National Thank You Month.  Today's verse: Psalm 136:3 "Oh give thanks to the Lord of lords!"

How good it is to thank the Lord,
And praise to Thee, Most High, accord,
To show Thy love with morning light,
And tell Thy faithfulness each night!

I will begin today by saying "Thank You" for the gift of parents who love me, love my spouse and children, and have invested in our lives.  They give unconditionally.  They love unconditionally.  I know we are so blessed to have them in our lives.  God's love shines through them.  I give thanks to Him for the gift of them.

New Years and Netflix

Last night was our big New Year celebration... I fell asleep with the baby on the couch at 8pm while Chase watched a movie.  Apparently Tim sent Chase to bed at 10pm and followed soon after.  I woke up about 12:15am and headed down to bed with Tempe.  And that was our big celebration.  LOL

Levi and Alex were at Grandpa and Grandma's.  Levi stayed up until about 10:30 playing games and putting together a puzzle with Grandma.  They all watched a Ken Davis DVD, and then Alex stayed up with Grandpa to watch the ball drop.

This afternoon Levi and Alex came home.  We had Subway for supper, courtesy of Grandpa, and then visited for a bit before Gpa and Gma headed home.  Then the kids sat down to watch "Turbo".  Most of them watched it yesterday as well, but Levi and Alex had missed out everyone watched again.

Several months ago we got rid of cable and just use Netflix for all our TV viewing.  It's a much cheaper option for us, and I love that there are never any commercials to deal with!

This is what movie viewing looks like with one couch and nine kids :)