Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Elephant Killer Bathroom

Half Bath Kills Elephants!

We have had two different fragile elephants figures in this bathroom, and well they have both meet horrible endings. I am thinking it has something against elephants.

The first one was an unfired clay elephant head wall hanging. We did everything possible to over-engineer how we hung it on the wall. Which by the way reminds me to say this - DO NOT use the 3M Command strips for anything that is breakable. We weighed the hanging and then used twice what they said to use for the weight. An hour after we hung the elephant head it hit the floor and shattered. I tried to glue it back together, but there were way too many tiny pieces. So, we bought a new one, but I haven't hung it up yet.

The second one was a plaster elephant plant stand that I have had for a couple of years. I will say that this isn't the first time this piece has broken. The head fell off before we moved into the house last year. I spent two days trying to glue it back together, and finally got that accomplished. Well, last night - in the middle of the night - I heard a LOUD crash that woke me up. I couldn't figure it out to start with, then I realized it was in the half bath. I opened the door and our shelf/ towel rack was on the floor and the elephant had lost its head. It also broke the place that a plant would sit. I am not going to try to glue him back together - the head re-broke along the same initial break, but now there are lots more pieces. 

I think the bathroom is telling me it wants to be decorated with something else. I am starting to think of some other ideas - involving paint and non-fragile items. I have seen some really cute ideas out there and a lot of them are inexpensive. This could be a fun project! I have wanted to redo both the master and guest bath, but I wasn't even thinking of touching the half bath. Maybe this is the right size space to tackle and try out some other ideas before I do them in the big baths.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Battle of the Bulge - Week 8

This has been an interesting week all around for me. I think I am going to do it list format just to make it easier since this post is late already:

1. I lost another 1.3 lbs. That puts me at 12.7 lbs total. Yippie!!!!

2. I discovered I was using the wrong weight officially to start the tracking. It should have been 234 and not 233. So, that is fixed on my tracker at the bottom.

3. I have lost a grand total of 8 inches off my entire body : waist - 3.5", hips - 2.5", thighs - 1", upper arms - 0.5", and neck - 0.5". 

4. I finally allowed myself to buy some clothes this last week. I needed some capri/ shorts for the summer. I don't think I have lost weight to be wearing smaller sizes, because I never allowed myself to really buy bigger clothes at my heaviest.  But even just loosing this weight makes me feel better in clothes because I know I am smaller than I was a couple of weeks ago.

5. I almost got into a size LARGE Liberty of London dress. I want a fun dress for a trip we are taking, and this one almost fits - so I bought it since they are now putting those dresses on clearance at Target. I also bought one that was an XL because it fit amazingly well right now, and I liked it (AJ really liked the way it looked on me when I showed him). The dress on the left is the one I got in large and the one on the right is the xl. Both pictures are from Target.

6. We traveled this weekend. I didn't track my calories. I survived. Actually, I think I did well because if I did go over it wasn't by much and we made an effort to eat our food. We had a hotel room with an amazing little kitchen set-up and went to Publix and bought real food to eat. That was really nice!

7. I started physical therapy. I found out that the exercise I was doing at home is almost identical to what they are having me do in therapy. Yay! I am really becoming committed to the idea of joining they local Y at the end of May. I don't want to be doing therapy and the gym right now.

8. Like I said before, I am starting to feel happier with my size. I have had to deal with the thoughts that if I hadn't ballooned up over the winter the way I did, I would be a whole heck of a lot closer to my real goal weight -  22 lbs from it. Instead of the really long way from it of 56lbs. I am making progress though, and I am excited that it isn't always easy, but a slip up here and there or a treat (I ate 1/2 a snickers and 1/2 a coke yesterday) isn't going to reverse all I have done.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Battle of the Bulge - Week 7 - Doing a Happy Dance

Today is a day of celebration! I have officially lost 10lbs! 
I am really excited. I did it!

This last week has been a really crazy crazy week! We were traveling and then we had lots of different people staying at our house. This was lots of fun and I really enjoyed seeing our friends and family. It just meant that I was on no regular schedule for eating at all. That little fact made it easy to almost overeat and no real time set aside for exercising. I also had a computer crash and lost the data for two days of my food journal. 

 Also, today I started therapy. I found out that I shouldn't be doing some of the moves/ exercises that I  was doing because they can make the back situation worse. That means that I am probably going to hold off on some of the work-out videos for a couple of weeks (or at least until I get some more info from the therapist). I want to get back into doing the aerobics.  I hate it when I am doing it, but I really miss it when I am not. The other thing I am hoping will come back when I get better is riding my bike. I enjoyed that last year before all this got really bad.

The other neat thing is that AJ says he can see a difference in my body of just loosing the 10lbs. I needed to hear that from him. I also put a pair of pants that are too big for me into the pile to take to the thrift store. That was exciting, too.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Home Ownership - Year One

We closed on our house on April 15th, 2009. We moved into our house on April 18th, 2009. It seems like the year has just flown by. It is also neat to see how much our house has evolved in just a year. Some rooms have changed frequently, and other have been slower to change. Here are some highlights of the journey.

The Entry Way - Inside & Out


Evolution & Now:

I really wish we had a front porch. We don't we have a really small entry area, but that doesn't mean we can't fake a porch area. I really like the way that this has evolved. I also like having the rocking chair by the door to put stuff on while I am trying to unlock the door. It still has a ways to go, and I have some fun ideas for it.

These are from two different areas of the entry way. One is the space that you see when you first walk in (the top picture) and the other is behind the door when you walk in. They have evolved differently, but are still part of the same whole. I love this quote.

The Dining Room:


Evolution & Now:

This room has been one of the biggest transformations in the house. It has evolved from a formal dining room into our library. We discovered we are not formal dining room people even though we kept trying to be. We are still working really hard on this room because we didn't start the conversion until last week, so I am interested to see how it really looks in the end.

The Garage:



We have a workshop for AJ in our garage now. It looks really amazing, and it really changed the way the garage looks. Our garage has also varied between really clean and organized to really chaotic.

The Kitchen:


Evolution & Now:

The kitchen one of the other rooms that has really changed in a year. We got appliances to start with. Then we painted it this amazing blue and added this fun back splash. I love our kitchen!

I am not so sure of the eat-in kitchen right now. We just moved the dining room table into the eat-in and I still need to do some tweaking. I also found some crisp white curtains that need to be hung. I think having the curtains and the other table cloth I really want to use will help a bunch.

The Living Room:


Evolution & Now:

The living room hasn't changed much other than we bought these bookcases and tv stand from Ikea. We love the way it looks in there. I have flipped the couches and chairs a couple of time, but nothing really major.

The Guest Room:


Evolution & Now:

I thought I was going to hate this purple paint color, and I did initially. Now, I really like it and it looks great with the guest room set up this way. My mom has had a great time "playing" with this room and she is the one who has driven a lot of the decoration of this room. We have a fairly good relationship with this room, I bring home random things that shouldn't fit together, and then she makes them all fit together.

Molly's Playroom:


Evolution & Now:

I did hate the pink on this room. I promptly painted it a cheery yellow. I love the way it came out! I love having a craft room (even though it is only ever this clean when I am taking pictures of it).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Battle of the Bulge - Week 6 - Attacked by Stress

Arg! This was so not the way this week was supposed to go! I maintained my weight this week. I am mostly happy about that fact, but not really. 

I was so looking forward to getting to post that I had hit the 10lb mark this week. I did accomplish that goal, but I didn't maintain it. I know that sounds strange, but there is a lot going on with it. 

Back story - I weigh myself every morning (yes, I know I am not supposed to do that, but I do and it gives me some comfort) and it is helpful to me in some ways. Since I track this number daily I can see exactly where my weight is (but I only officially record the weight on my chart weekly). Early this week I lost 1.3lbs, and it put me under the 10lb mark. Then about Saturday, my weight spiked up 1.5lbs, so essentially gaining back what I had just lost. Well, I will admit I freaked out! How could that happen? I have been under my calorie counts and working out, so what happened? 

Well, I gave it a couple of days and it was still there. So, I started looking at all the other stuff going on around me. My back has been in excruciating pain since Friday. I haven't been able to do much lately, and what I have done has been a sheer act of will to not be sidelined by the pain. I am not sleeping much at all at night (maybe 5 hours) because I keep waking myself up due to the pain. I also noticed that my ankles and feet were really swollen up. These two facts combined make me think that it is entirely a water weight gain and isn't a real gain. So, I did some research and found that physical stress aka pain can make you retain water because your body is protecting itself. Yay, glad to know that! I didn't do my measurements this week because I am fairly sure they would be off with the swelling.

I am hoping the numbers look great next week, if I can get the pain under control. I am hoping that I will get the boost from last weeks lost included in the loss from this week. That would be really cool. I am really hoping that next week isn't a bomb on my weight loss like last week has been. 

I will say it has been a learning week. I am glad I keep track of things the way I do so that when stuff like this happens I can prove to myself that it isn't something I did to fail, but I can use the data to help pinpoint what is going on. I know that because I stuck to my calories and exercised it wasn't a surplus of food or lack of movement (there was lessening of movement, but that is because moving in someways can't be physically done right now), but it was something that I can't control - my body's innate reaction to pain.

Pain in the Back!

I haven't talked much about the pain I have been dealing with lately. But, we are starting to get some answers and pieces of the puzzle are starting to really come together. It has been a really long slow journey, and it has been wrought with much frustration. 

I have been to an endocrinologist, a rhematologist, and now a neurosurgeon. The endocrinologist didn't find anything, but he could at least see something was wrong. He did all the test that he could, but when that failed he recommended I see an rhematologist. The rhemaologist was great! He actually looked at me and examined me. He couldn't figure anything out, but he was really surprised that no doctor had done x-rays, MRI, or certain blood test on me. He promptly remedied that (as in as soon as I walked out of his office I walked into the lab area and had blood work done and x-rays). The x-rays didn't show anything abnormal, but he wasn't convinced about nothing being wrong, so he sent me for MRIs. He couldn't find anything wrong with my hip (which is where it feels like the unbearable pain is), but they did find something in my back.

I have a major ruptured disk between my L4-L5 and a bulge in my disk between L3-L4 in my spine.  This is a picture I borrowed from: Connell Chiropractic Clinic. It is a good one to show what is going on. A normal disk looks like the top left corner. The bulge is the top right corner and the rupture is the bottom left corner.

This in incredibly painful. Though, now I understand why my hip and my leg hurts so bad. I get frequent boughts where I have shooting prickly pains down my leg (it feels like someone is driving nails into my muscles and nerves). The location of the disk that are ruptured affects where the pain is. In this picture from The University of Maryland Medical Center highlights the areas in red that affected.

Here are examples of what my MRI looked like both taken from The University of Maryland Medical Center:

You can see the bulges/ ruptures in both these pictures pretty clearly. I am not sure that my actual pictures are that clear, so I am using really clear pictures.

The other thing that might be going on, on top of the ruptured disk, is that some of my blood work for the rhematologist came back "off". I know that is a vague term, but the rhematologist didn't want to jump to conclusions as to what might be making those results outside the normal range. He is fairly conservative in his diagnosis, which I appreciate. He said that some of the results could be elevated due to the pain in my back, but also because of my weight. He was really happy that I had lost the 7lbs that I had when I went back last. So, his plan of attack on the blood work is for me to keep trying to lose weight and get the back worked on (and maybe something done about it), and then in a couple of months we are going to be re-testing my blood. If it still comes back outside normal we will address it then.  I don't know officially what he thinks it might be, but I have a couple of ideas (based on which test came back high) - neither option is great (because there is no "cure" but just treatments), but at least that might explain the muscle spams in my upper body and why my hands will "freeze" and ache.

After going back to the neurosurgeon yesterday, it looks like we are going to try a month of physical therapy first. He said that about 85% of people respond really well to therapy to the point that they "completely" recover and that is the end of it. He said I should also feel a huge improvement after 2 sessions. Though, if it doesn't look better after a month we are going to really talk about surgery. I will honestly admit that I am TERRIFIED of having my back cut into, but I don't want this to keep getting worse and worse and interfering with my life and my plans for my life. So, if that is what it takes then we will do it. 

Hopefully, in a month I will be able to post that everything is working great and surgery isn't in the cards! If not, that is a journey I will tackle then.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring is Springing

This wonderful weather has really felt like Spring. I know that sounds like a silly statement, but living in Florida we frequently don't get a Spring (or a Winter or Fall, either). It normally goes from hot to REALLY hot, then REALLY REALLY HUMID & MUGGY. I always thought it was interesting that Floridians have lots of words to describe the humidity and rain fall. But, that is besides the point at the moment.

The point right now is that it is BEAUTIFUL weather! It has made me want to decorate the house with Springy stuff and play in the yard more. So, I thought I would share some pictures and spread the cheer.

The dining room - I don't think I have posted pictures since we painted the dining room. I am still having some issues getting it to look the way I want, but things are coming together. I found some curtains at Ikea on clearance that matched perfectly (they have the same color yellow stripe in them. The Easter baskets are for a friend's little girls that are coming to visit this weekend (I LOVE after holiday sales).

I really wish we had a front porch, but since we don't I have made a fake one on the little alcove that is the entry way. I love the rocker! I also love having the galvanized bucket there for flowers, they just need to get bigger now. Does anyone have any suggestions for things I could put on the walls to give them some life? The little trees aren't a permanent thing, either. I just wanted them there to mildly create a visual break between the entry and the yard.

This isn't really a Spring update, but we did downsize our fish tank this Spring. We went from a 50 gallon tank to a 10 gallon. I like where it is at now. It is also a lot quieter.

I did update the decorations in the bowl next to the fish tank. I found these great eggs and stuffed bunnies at Jo-Ann Fabrics on clearance. They are so cute! It also was a really easy update.

We have our first strawberry of the year on our plants. I don't know why some of the leaves have turned such a vivid red. I did read something interesting the other day though about strawberries. It said to pull off the blooms and fruit the first year so that the plant will put all its energy into the root system, and the second year the plant will be healthier and stronger and make lots of fruit. Anyone else ever heard this? Anyone know if it is true?

Strawberry blooms. They are so pretty.

I have blooms on my tomatoes too! They are getting really close to making tomatoes. I am so excited.

I also have the start of berries on my blueberry bushes. I wasn't as excited about this because they had some white berries on them when I bought the plants, but now I am starting to realize that they are now putting on brand new berries. I still am not sure they are going to make it, but I am really happy how they are doing now.

These are what my momma would call "volunteers", meaning that they have volunteered to decorate my yard for me. They are technically weeds, but they are so pretty. I love the little purple flowers from the top picture. They are everywhere in our neighborhood. I am dreading AJ mowing the lawn again and getting rid of the pretty flowers.

I know this picture isn't spectacular, colorful, or even that interesting, but to me it is AMAZING!!! My in-laws bought us these two trees for Christmas. They had these amazing blooms on them when we planted them in December, but then we got hit by a major cold winter for our area and it really hit these trees HARD. I have been so worried about them, but I noticed today that one of the trees has new growth coming out on it. These trees only put on blooms from new growth, so this is awesome news.

Here is what the trees will look like when they put on blooms. I borrowed this picture from Leaves of Grass. Isn't it pretty? It is going to look amazing in our yard when they get bigger and have blooms. I am so excited that we finally have some new growth and we are on our way to pretty trees.