I'm Mandy, a mother of a handsome handful of a toddler. I'm the wife to a relocated Jersey boy at heart for almost five years. I'm a "youngster" in "Corporate Legal America." I'm one-seventh of a dynamically loud and loving family. I'm a woman with newly-diagnosed hypothyroidism, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Metabolic Syndrome trying to find a course of treatment that works. I'm a twenty-something trying to find her way on a journey to discover faith, friends and fitness. Most importantly, I'm me. I'm just trying to figure out who that is exactly...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Let the Ball Drop...

Out with the Old and in with the New!  The tree's been trimmed, the cookies have been baked (and eaten) and Santa has made his presence known.
2010 has been a truly wonderful year for me.  My pride and joy is growing into such a unique and wonderful individual.  My family has for the most part stayed healthy and happy.  My husband and I have reunited (and it feels so good!)  I have found a wonderful job with people who truly appreciate me and who I truly appreciate.  I have solidified some great friendships and started the journey to a healthier me.
However, with the end of each year comes many "shoulda, coulda, wouldas" and this year is no different.  Instead of focusing on the bad, I plan on turning them all into positives for 2011.
So, without further adieu, I present to you...
My New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Scrapbook at least one page a month for Cristian and go to at least one crop this year
2. Try not to pay full price for anything—use coupons and sales to my advantage
3. Control my PCOS, hypothyroidism and metabolic syndrome—get healthy and stay healthy
4. Complete some kind of a workout three days a week (i.e. Gazelle, YMCA class, Wii)
5. Participate in Weight Watchers for the entire year and do not let the scale get the best of me
6. Do not put myself down and instead do something out of the ordinary for me (i.e. a Boudoir Photoshoot)
7. Continue going to church at least twice a month and participate in as much as we can
8. Get out of the house once a month to be with some friends so I do not lose myself
9. Have at least one dozen scarves made to donate to the Giving Trees at church and daycare
10. Let patience in and show drama out of my life
11. Make one thoughtful blog post a week and gain some kind of following by hooking up with some of my own favorite blogs (Fatshion Chic, eatmovewrite, ohAmanda, BudgetSavvyDiva and MoneySavingMom, to name a few).
Thanks to you, my few faithful readers, for a great beginning to this blog.  Let's keep it up in 2011.  Let me know you are reading this and leave me a comment!

So from our house...
...to yours


Friday, December 17, 2010

Changes and Labels...

As you may or may not have noticed, I have changed the name.  I am no longer "Manda: In Training." 

I have curves.  I like carbs.  No matter what I do, these two things are never going to change.  I'm never going to be a vegan and run marathons.  I need to remember that Torrid is always going to be a store of choice and I will always reach for that second piece of bread.

Embracing who I am, my curves and slight carb obsession, will be a huge part of finding who I am.  I mean, obviously I am Cristian's mom and Blake's wife.  I'm Mark and Mary's daughter.  I am Kyle's older sister and Joe's niece.  I am Claire, Katie, Nadine, Jess, Leigh, Annie, Cathy, Renee, Lisa, Fe and Cassie's (just to name a few) friend.  I am a biller for GSH.  But other than that, who exactly is Mandy?  Behind the mask of labels, what makes me...me?

I know superficial things about myself:
  • Polka dots make the world go 'round.
  • I could live in flip-flops if they were work-appropriate and I didn't live in snowy Wisconsin.
  • I will always stop if I see a sign that says at least 50% off.
  • Dolphins are my weakness.
  • Ketchup goes with just about anything.
But, other than that, I'm kind of lost.  I don't even know if I'm good at the things I've been labeled.  I need to search deeper and find who I am.  That's my goal for 2011.  Expose myself (not literally) to, well, myself.

Do not get me wrong, many things about this blog are not going to change.  I am still going to post deals and pictures and crafts.  I am still going to rant and rave.  But there are times I am going to go deeper.

And there just might be a carb-infested goodie in my hand while I do so...

Cotton Candy Carbs?  Yes, please!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dear Maura Kelly...

I read this article from Marie Claire yesterday.  I quite honestly do not believe that I have ever been more upset reading an article from someone who does not even know what they are talking about.

Here are some highlights:

"My initial response was: Hmm, being overweight is one thing — those people are downright obese! And while I think our country's obsession with physical perfection is unhealthy, I also think it's at least equally crazy, albeit in the other direction, to be implicitly promoting obesity! Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer."

Really?  And perhaps some people are naturally curvy, chubby, or *gasp* fat.  Guess what, I am as fat as Molly, and I am healthy.  Minus a THYROID PROBLEM which was not caused by my fat but is causing my fat.  And yes, the reasons why my family have been to the doctor in the past year: colds, flu, cataract surgery, bladder cancer, heart issues, have been caused by our being obese.

"So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair."

I find it displeasing to read this article.  After seeing your definition of "very, very fat," you would be displeased to see myself or my husband walk in front of you.  You would also be displeased to watch us kiss each other.  In public!  Our nerve!

"Now, don't go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I'm not some size-ist jerk. And I also know how tough it can be for truly heavy people to psych themselves up for the long process of slimming down. (For instance, the overweight maintenance guy at my gym has talked to me a little bit about how it seems worthless for him to even try working out, because he's been heavy for as long as he can remember.)
But ... I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It's something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.
(I'm happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it's cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you're getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there's plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me. It will take some time, but you'll also feel so good, physically and emotionally. A nutritionist or personal trainer will help — and if you can't afford one, visit your local YMCA for some advice.)
Then again, I guess these characters are in Overeaters Anonymous. So ... points for trying?"

Thanks for the pep talk and the action plan.  And yes, I am trying to lose weight.  But I am not trying to lose all of it.  I want my curves and love handles and pudgy parts.  And yes, you are size-ist.  You basically said in your previous paragraph that you prefer anorexia to being obese.  Having been anorexic AS A CHILD and bulimic as an adult, it sickens me that you think people do not try to lose weight.  Also note that there are many obese people that do not want to change, even if you want them to.

"What do you guys think? Fat people making out on TV — are you cool with it? Do you think I'm being an insensitive jerk?"

YES!  My husband and I were excited to watch Mike and Molly because in a world of Gossip Girls, 90210's and Desperate Housewives, we were excited to finally watch a show about people who looked like us.  And that show is our lives, in many, many ways.  Oh my gosh, fat people making out on TV -- run for your lives!  I would be much more concerned about the plethora of near-naked women, degrading comments (much like yours) about other races, sexes, genders and abilities, sheer violence for no point, and dead-beat parents and the children who suffer.  Just because fat people making out offends you, I will make sure that my husband never make out.  Ever again.  Got that, honey?

But wait...there's more...

"UPDATE: I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I've said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn't productive, either."

You were a bully the entire post, so how are people not supposed to feel bullied?  I, for one, did not feel bullied.  I felt furious.  And ashamed?  God made my curves, and I am going to flaunt them!  It upset people, like myself, because it was unnecessary and unproductive.  You went on a rant, about a television show you've never watched, to be mean.  You made yourself feel better, regardless of your insensitivity.

"I know a lot of people truly struggle to lose weight — for medical and psychological reasons — and that many people have an incredibly difficult time getting to a healthy size. I feel for those people and I'm truly sorry I added to the unhappiness and pain they feel with my post.

I would like to reiterate that I think it's great to have people of all shapes and healthy sizes represented in magazines (as, it bears mentioning here, they are in Marie Claire) and on TV shows — and that in my post, I was talking about a TV show that features people who are not simply a little overweight, but appear to be morbidly obese. (Morbid obesity is defined as 100 percent more than their ideal weight.)  And for whatever it's worth, I feel just as uncomfortable when I see an anorexic person as I do when I see someone who is morbidly obese, because I assume people suffering from eating disorders on either end of the spectrum are doing damage to their bodies, and that they are unhappy. But perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to judge based on superficial observations."

You're right, you shouldn't be so quick to judge.  Also, I have never seen an obese person FOR A GOOD REASON in Marie Claire, so I doubt that statement is correct.  There are plenty of BEAUTIFUL "obese" women nowadays -- Amber Riley from Glee and Nikki Blonsky from Huge and Hairspray fame are two women that I look up to because they do not apologize for who they are and they are not on the diet bandwagon.  You cannot feel uncomfortable about Mike and Molly because you have never seen the show to be uncomfortable.

If you have seen the show, you know that they are two beautiful people with good hearts who are looking for love, much like yourself.  People are people.  They are not unhappy because of their size, they are unhappy because they do not have someone to love.  So know the details before you judge.  My grandfather often said that "if you assume, you make an ass out of u and me."

"To that point (and on a more personal level), a few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that's an accurate insight."

If you are a recovering anorexic, you of all people should know that words affect your choices and lifestyle.  You should have known better.  Children will read this article.  Struggling adults will read this article.  Your words are now a trigger for someone else's battle with anorexia and bulimia.

"People have accused me of being a bully in my post. I never intended to be that — it's actually the very last thing I want to be, as a writer or a person. But I know that I came off that way, and I really cannot apologize enough to the people whom I upset."

To now quote my mother, "be careful what you say because you can ever take back your words."  Had people not commented about this as they have, would you have given your thoughts a second thought?  Would you have apologized if your words just offended one reader?  Most likely not.

On a final note, beauty is skin deep but ugly is to the bone.  You may be pretty on the outside, but you have a very ugly soul.  I wish you true love because perhaps that will allow you to expand your horizons and open your mindset.  I also hope that your soulmate is a "healthy size" so you do not have to make out with a fattie...

Blake and Mandy

Mike and Molly
...but DO NOT stop Molly and I from making out with ours!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

From Where You Are...

Nine years ago yesterday, one of the first loves of my life passed away. One of the greatest women I will ever know would have been seventy-six today.

“When I get where I'm going
on the far side of the sky.
The first thing that I'm gonna do
is spread my wings and fly.” – Brad Paisley (When I Get Where I’m Going)

I miss them terribly. I see Cristian and I want so badly for his great-grandparents to see him grow into the little man he is. I want them to hug and kiss him and take him to all the places they took me growing up.  I want them to meet Blake and for them to love him as much as I do. I would have loved their advice last year when I needed it so badly, and I want them to see that we made it--even when the world was against us.  I want them to see what I am doing with my life—because it’s completely different than when they left me.

I want them to know how much I love them and think about them each and every day and more so if possible on these two days of the year. I want them to know how much I appreciate having two of the best angels in heaven on my shoulder, and I want them to know that I am trying my hardest to make them proud.

When you love someone so much, losing them is an exhausting and exhilarating experience all at once. It’s emotionally exhausting but it’s exhilarating to know that they are no longer hurting and one day you will be together again. If you understood how hard it was for me to see them both as sick as they were, you understand how happy I am that they are together and healthy. They were both such amazing people with never-ending love and passion for life and family.

If I can be even an eighth of the woman my nana was, I will be so incredibly successful. Between her and Mom, I have had some of the best role models on being a good mother, wife, and woman.

I want Cristian to know how hardworking his great-grandfather was and to instill that work ethic in him early. I want him to realize how important family was to Papa, and how important family should be to him.

I will always remember our last family dinner at Andrea’s Restaurant. It was a joyous time with no discussions of ailments or heartaches. We enjoyed each other’s company. Even though the restaurant no longer exists, my memories will be as concrete in my mind as if the building stood strong.

I am hoping to visit their crypt sooner than later so they can meet their great-grandson face to face. And I want to shed a tear on their flowers and place the flowers next to them so it permeates through the marble and into their amazing souls.

Nana, I miss your smile which could pierce even my worst of days. I miss the way you called me “Mouse.” I miss our trips to the mall for pretzels and chatting. I miss the way only you could comfort me and let me know you were always there for me. Most of all, I miss you.

Papa, I miss your amazing blue-grey eyes. I miss the times I could sit in your lap or by your feet and hear incredible stories. I miss your catch-phrases and sayings and that belly laugh. I miss the way you made me know you were so proud of me. Most of all, I miss you.

And I love you both more than you’ll ever know.

“I miss the years that were erased.
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face.
I miss all the little things.
I never thought that they’d mean everything to me.
Yeah, I miss you,
and I wish you were here.” – Lifehouse (From Where You Are)
Two of the greatest loves of my life.  May you rest in peace.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Second chances...

I have guest posted on my new friend, Amy's blog, while she is on her honeymoon.  Since she's on honeymoon, I thought it would be great to reflect on mine and Blake's and what wasn't. 

As you may or may not know, we are going to Vegas for our fifth anniversary, so I wrote about second chances and how this is ours.

You can check out the post here.

I promise I will be back soon with a new post.  Lots has happened since my last post: daycare changes, continuing the weight loss journey, saving $80.00 at one trip to CVS, my best friend's birthday party, keeping my love affair with hockey alive and more!  Maybe I will post about the massive transformation I am going to partake in this weekend...


Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Forever Road...

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. . .And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Photo taken by Roob Photography.
On February 11, 2006 those words were spoken on one of the greatest days of my life. I knew that I was marrying my best friend and that in front of our friends, family, and God that we vowed to be one. I, quite honestly, have not understood the true meaning of those words until just recently.

Life isn’t perfect. It’s a rollercoaster. There are ups, downs, twists, turns, and bumps along the way. Our relationship has proven to be the same way. We heard that we would never last, and that the terms of our courting had set up our doom.

At the beginning of 2009, I was beginning to determine if those who did not believe in us were correct. There was no passion. No sense of belonging. No sense of that deep love we felt for each other. Did we move too fast? Did we skip key points of our relationship? Could I really spend the rest of my life loving this one man? Had I truly missed out on dating and was he the soul mate I said he was?

I know the same doubts were going through his head. Mistakes were made on both parts in an attempt to find ourselves. A lot of these mistakes were made on our parts to intentionally hurt the other person and to get back at them for making us feel the way we did. I know that I have not been innocent in our summer of “candy-coated demise.” Instead of trying to mend what was stretching and tearing apart my heart, my past, my future, I was trying to get that sense of belonging and being wanted in other places.

Before jumping to conclusions, there was no adultery committed in the physical sense. But in the mental sense, we were both to blame. But yet, we were putting the blame on the other. Instead of being there for him, I tried to get back at him. We were told about a book from a movie. We both put our hearts into the Love Dare, but not fully. It was when I found the book from the movie, Fireproof, and read it that I was changed. He then read the book. We watched the movie. We hashed out everything that happened.

And all the wrongs were forgotten. We rejoiced in the truth. We realized that we hadn’t protected or trusted. It was when we did that, with the help of hope, that our love persevered the hardest thing we had ever done. We didn’t give up on each other when it was the easiest thing to do. Many of our vices and temptations are gone now. We now know that there is no greater friend and no greater truth than in our spouse. We realize that mistakes are just that. Mistakes. Disposable.
Or so I thought.  Christmas Eve 2009 was one of the worst days of my life.  Prepared to give him a copy of the new Love Dare book, I found out that things had not changed for one of us.  The actions he was partaking in the past had reared their ugly head not even a month after our heart to heart.  For the first time in our marriage, I was fully ready to give up.  Take the ring, move out, but I get the child.  I spoke those words as I threw the book at him.
"Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave,
may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight
but it's something worth fighting for.”

You could have cut the tension with a knife.
Photo taken on Christmas Day 2009 by my father.
I'd like to think that those actions, along with long talks with our pastor and my father brought him to the light.  It's as if a switch has been turned on and he is a new man.  2010 has been a true blessing to our love and devotion.  Love is worth fighting for, if you have the right person to fight for.

Let me take this moment to say this. Blake, I now understand the true meaning of love. You have given me that. I fall more in love with you each day. You have given me the most amazing gift of your love and I am eternally grateful. I eagerly anticipate our life together, but I now realize that each and every moment must be cherished. I thank God for seeing us through the difficult times, and for helping us pave the forever road to our Happily Ever After.

"Don’t worry baby,
I ain’t no maybe.
Rain or shine,
this love of mine is for you
Let my arms remind you that
I’ll always be beside you
holdin’ on until this ride is through.
So away we go, down that forever road"

Photo taken by ShawnaMarie Photography


Thursday, September 16, 2010


When posting a comment to another blog, I realized that my comment would make a good blog post of my own.  This isn't just about weight loss, but it's about my training for life.

If you would have told me that at the age of 25 I would be married to a Jersey boy that I met on the Internet, the mother of a 2-year-old, and a Billing Assistant at a law firm, I would have laughed you out of house and home.

Let me explain...

My entire life I wanted to be a teacher.  I only played teacher with my friends, and I would never settle for being a student.  School shopping was often the highlight of my summer and I LOVED school.  I was not a "teacher's pet," but I genuinely loved helping my teachers.  I had everything planned out.  I first wanted to be a special education teacher.  I was accepted into a prestigious program at a good university.  Family tragedy hit, and I moved home.  When I transferred to a university closer to home, I dabbled in social work.  I was working with adults with disabilities, but realized that wasn't a career.  I went "home" to education.  This time, however, I went to early childhood education.

I was fully immersed into the program and got into the School of Education.  Excitedly, I started my first semester in the program and realized that there were so many politics that I could not handle it.

At the same time, I got a job to pay the bills as a Medical Biller.  I thought to myself that when my fiance' (now husband) and I had children, I could do that on the side and give up teaching for a bit to raise the children.  His mother did that, so I thought I could as well.

It hit me that instead of doing medical billing on the side that I could go to school for that.  So I did, and graduated from a local technical college with an Associate's Degree and a certificate.  I worked my way up as far as I could at my job, until my age proved to be a barrier.  Being 25 apparently meant that I was not management material.  It was then and there I realized that it was time for me to move on.

I started looking for a different position and a job recruiter asked if I was opposed to billing in a different field.  When I said no, she told me about a job billing for a law firm.  I shrugged and thought that there was no harm in going to the interview.  I interviewed twice and did not get the job, again because of my age.

Not discouraged, I began looking for other legal billing jobs because through the interview process my interest peaked.  I happened to find one, interviewed and the rest is now history.  I know bill for the second-largest minority-owned law firm in the United States.

I love what I am doing and I love that I can be a full-time mom and focus on one child (with one more in the future, God willing).  After our local school district laid off hundreds of teachers, I knew I had made the right decision.  After being a mom for over two years, I also realize I could NEVER be a stay-at-home mom.

Am I where I thought I would be?  Of course not.  I thought I'd have my Bachelor's and would be going for my Master's.  I never thought an Associate's degree would satisfy me.  I never thought that I would be working at a law firm.  But I also never thought that I would be happily married to a man from New Jersey with a beautiful child at 25.

I've quickly learned that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.

In the closing scene of the Broadway musical, Rock of Ages (starring one of my FAVORITE American Idol alumni, Constantine Maroulis), the narrator states that "sometimes the dreams you come in with, may not be the dreams you leave with."

Thanks to Elle for the picture!
Eye candy aside, that's how I feel about my life.  Whatever dreams I do have, however, are slowly turning into a reality.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Define "Plus-Size"....

This is Crystal Renn.  She is a beautiful model who is well-known around the world.  I do not hold that against her.  I do, however, hold the fact that she is known as "plus-sized" against her.

She is not plus-sized.  Anyone who thinks that she is plus-sized should be rudely awakened from their dreams.  The media for letting people believe she is plus-sized should be ashamed of themselves.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to plus-sized...

I am plus-sized.  I always have been plus-sized and always will be plus-sized.  Even though I am losing weight, I will still be plus-sized.

I am round and proud.

I am not trying to lose weight to be skinny.  I am trying to lose weight to be healthier.  Let me get that straight right now.  I am not a skinny girl ready to break free from my shell.  I have hips and curves that I know how to use and would be lost without them.

The fact of the matter is that this is why there are eating disorders in this world.  Girls are being raised (by the media) that she is plus-sized.  And unfortunately, in our society, there is a stigma that plus-sized equals laziness, overeating and sloth.  Never do we think that there are genetics involved.

That is why I am writing this blog.  To prove that plus-sized bodies deserve plus-sized (and not narrow-minded) beliefs.  If I have even changed the mind of one person, I have fulfilled my purpose.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'm so...

If you're a 90's child like myself, you know this Saved by the Bell video.  And you've laughed at it, undoubtedly.

But think about it for a second.  Haven't you ever felt like that?  Let's be honest here, we all have.

Examples, you ask?
-Graduating high school and going to college
-Meeting the one and getting married
-Having a baby
-Finding the perfect job

You are all excited at first.  Life is great and it couldn't get better...and then the anxiety kicks in.  What if college isn't all it's cracked up to be?  What if that person isn't the one?  What if I'm a horrible parent?  What if I do something to screw this job up?  Now you have completely scared yourself.

Well, my friends (and hopefully slowly growing faithful reading audience), I have managed to get myself into one of these pickles yet again.  Except I went from fear to hope to a combination of both (depending on the moment, quite honestly).

First, a little background.  Went to the doctor for a physical in June.  My thyroid level was extraordinarily high, so I was put on thyroid medication.  After discussing things with my mother, who also has thyroid problems, I went and saw her endocrinologist.  In addition to the perceived hypothyroidism my primary care physician diagnosed, I magically contracted Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and metabolic syndrome as well.  I hit the proverbial hormonal jackpot.

Two new medications and a threat to lose 80 pounds or else consideration for bariatric surgery later, and I am scared out of my mind.  Backed by a wonderful support system of family, friends, co-workers, and the like, that fear turned into hope that I could in fact do this.  I set up a profile on My Fitness Pal (MamaMandabear -- feel free to add me as a friend) and started really watching what I ate.  I also really started a fitness plan.  The elliptical is now my best friend (and watching SBTB this morning is what prompted this whole entry, actually).

I can't help but shake the feeling that I will fail, inevitably, as I always have before.  I lose the weight for a bit and then gain it all back plus an added bonus of a few more.  I don't want surgery.  I also do not want to go back to bulimia.

Being a bulimic was probably the lowest point of my life.  Sneaking around, shoving my hand down my throat, hiding the scars on my knuckles and blood shot eyes.  And for what?  Nothing.  I quite honestly have no idea what I was trying to accomplish.  Bulimia is not like it is in the teenage movies where the weight magically comes off.  I got nowhere fast, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't give it up.  It became my drug.

I thank God each and every day for Cristian.  Becoming pregnant with him helped cure me once and for all of my bulimia.  Without him, who knows how much longer I could have kept the charade up.

Bottomline, I want to be in this for the long haul.  So if you get sick of my posts on Twitter and Facebook, I suggest we end this friendship now.  Not because I am an attention whore.  But because I need support.  Support is my lifeline right now.

My wrist says FAITH.  I suppose I should have some in myself.  That's always been difficult for me.

So at the risk of sounding like a bad 90's sitcom.  I'm so excited.  I'm so excited!  I'm so...scared.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sooner or Later...

I watched this amazing video via Parenting on Twitter and it really made me think.  My life has become such a routine, I forget how things were.  Before Blake and Cristian.  Before my job.  Before bills.  Before graduating.  Let me just say it, before LIFE happened.  Somehow I am twenty-five and an adult.  How did this happen?  I don't think I authorized this!

But I did.  We all do.  When we look forward to tomorrow or the next day or Christmas or our birthday, we are wishing our lives away.  When we want a day to end and to never be remembered again, we are wishing our lives away.  I am not saying this to depress you.   Just to make you think.  After reflecting with some of my co-workers about 1990's trends and fads, we realized that we missed our childhoods.  When we were head-first in our childhoods, we wanted to be where we are now.  Too much wishing and hoping for the future does not allow you to enjoy your present to the fullest of your ability.  Now that we're here, we want to go back.

If you could go back in time and tell yourself things at certain times, would you? Would you go to your five, six, or even seven-year-old self? Your twelve or thirteen-year-old self? The pre-high school you? The bachelor/bachelorette you? The person you were before children? If you would, what would you say?

I would go back.  There are a few things I need to tell myself:

*At 7: That little boy calling you "fat" is not a good enough reason to starve yourself.  Do not do it.  You get caught and do not even get to spend the money you saved.

*At 8: He was a jerk for throwing your brother in the pool, but you should have known he was a jerk.  What a waste of a first kiss!

*At 13: These friends you have will not be your friends in the future.  Do not change yourself for them.

*At 14: You are smart, but you don't need to take special tests or have a special diploma to do it.  Do not worry high school away.  Enjoy it.  It all works out in the end.

*At 15: Do not stop being friends with Renee.  I can't even remember why you stopped being her friend in the first place, which obviously means it was not worth it.

*At 16: He's gay.  Do not take him to prom because he is going to ruin it for you.  Go alone.

*At 18: You should have tried to work your friendship with your best friend in high school out.  You tried to run away from the problem, but that did not work out so well.  You were supposed to grow up together, not separately.  You didn't always have to be best friends, but you could have settled for a friendship of some kind.

*At 19: Yes, he is scary. And you do not understand all of what he's saying.  And he won't stop touching you.  But Mom is right.  It does all work out in the end.  By the way, they are all lying about him because the little one is trying to break you up.  Watch out for her.  And for his "best friend."  They are both nothing but problems.

*At 20: There are two types of friends you should get rid of.  One being the kind you should have never had in the first place because she is vicious and nasty and will cause nothing put problems (except for meeting the future Godmother of your child).  Second being the kind that you grow up with but grow apart from.  Cut her off sooner than later and you will save yourself a world of hurt.

*At 21: Drinking that whole fishbowl by yourself was not a good idea.  Do not ever do that again.

*At 22: Enjoy your sleep.  You are making the right move by switching careers.  Your heart is in education, but not politics.  You will find your way to a great job.

*At 23: Take weekly belly bump pictures.  Savor your time at home with him.  Watch him sleep.  Don't wish he start walking until he's ready.

*At 24: He loves you.  He just has a lot going on.  Don't doubt that he cares about you, but make sure you take care of yourself.  Get your finger from down your throat.  It's not worth it.

*At All Ages: Don't eat for comfort.  Working out is hard, but there are ways you can make it more enjoyable.  Cherish your moments with Nana and Papa -- you are going to miss them more than you can ever realize.

I fell victim today of realizing I had fast-forwarded through my son's first years of life.  All of a sudden, he's a toddler reaching up for me and crying "Mama no go!"  If you know me, you know I could not be a stay-at-home Mom.  But I really wanted to sit with him and play all day -- at least the moments he's a good boy.  I can't let that happen.

Yes, I am working out and eating healthier for myself.  But I'm also doing it for him.  So I can be there for the long haul.  To enjoy all of the little things.

So I won't have to go back and tell my twenty-five-year-old self to live for the moment.  I, as a twenty-five-year-old, am going to do just that.  The dishes and the laundry and the bills and even sleep can wait.  Before I know it, he will be twenty-five.  I will have missed out on not only his life, but mine if I do not live.

In closing, my mom has a statement that she always says.  Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.  Stop worrying.  Just live.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Baby Steps...

Diets?  Been there, done that.  For most of my life.

Not anymore.

Yes, I said it.  I refuse to diet.  Why, you may ask, am I doing a blog about becoming healthier if I refuse to diet?

I am taking baby steps to become a healthier me, permanently.

With the help of this website, I am tracking my daily calories and exercise.  This is making me much more aware of what I'm eating.

Case in point.  Instead of going for two big plates of pasta and a small bowl of salad at a church dinner (more about that later) yesterday, I opted for the opposite.  I savored the pasta instead of inhaling it.

However, I am not going to deprive myself completely of ex-"trigger foods."  When donuts were brought in today, I took two Munchkins.  And tracked them.

Baby steps can seem like great leaps, however.  For instance, I downed my 8 glasses of water yesterday without thinking twice.  A little Crystal Light flavoring and I'm good to go.

Speaking of baby steps, it seems like yesterday when my Pooh Bear started taking his.  Today was his first day of preschool.  I really thought he was prepared.  We had been reminding him and coaching him for a week.  We got a new backpack, a new outfit, new shoes.  When he got there, he seemed okay.  Until it was time for me to leave.  He was not happy.  I know with time things will get easier.  And no, I did not cry.  It probably had something to do with him acting up before the big drop off.

Since it was his first day of preschool, it was my first day of a new routine.  Wake up earlier than normal.  Get both of us ready and out the door.  Drop him off at preschool.  Head to the Y.  Half-hour on the elliptical watching Saved By The Bell (90's TV seems to make the time go faster).  Shower.  Head to work.  Today ran smoothly, and hopefully (*knocks on wood*), it becomes the norm.

Half-hour on the elliptical went well.  I hope to increase the resistance and really make that half-hour work for me.  When I'm not laughing hysterically at how cheesy a show I idolized was, I do some thinking.

Today's thinking was about "The Learning Community (TLC)," a new program my church has started.  It's more than Sunday School, it's a real experience for both the children and the parents.  I was lucky enough to be considered as one of the teachers, and last night was our introduction into the program.  It was really nice to see everyone come together for a common good, despite our differences.  I am excited to teach the children, because I was an education major.  I did not want to deal with the politics, and now I am in an environment where I can teach without them.

So there you have it.  Today's lesson is about baby steps.  We all have to take our first steps before we start working in overdrive.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Getting to know me...

To hopefully avoid the cheesy introductions, let me get straight to the facts.

-It says Amanda on my birth certificate, but you will most likely call me Mandy.  You will only call me Amanda if I'm at church, at work, or you're my mother and you're mad at me.

-I'm a 25-year-old Taurus and my stubborn ways won't let you forget it.

-I have been married to Blake for a little over 4 and a half years.  We met online and were engaged and married within a year.  Being his wife hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it.

-Together we have a two-year-old named Cristian (C.J.).  When he is not throwing things and tantrums, he is the light of my life.  Armed with my eyelashes and Blake's blue eyes and dimples, I am going to be chasing girls down on the playground.

-Blake, C.J. and I live with my parents, my younger brother and my uncle.  I have lived in the same house for eighteen years.  We have two dogs.  I know nothing different.  Blake knows nothing different.  We want C.J. to know nothing different.  Our family has been through hell and back and are the true testament to familial love.

-I currently work as a Billing Assistant for the second-largest minority-owned law firm in the United States.  I went to school originally to become a teacher.  Yes, I still wonder how this happened some days.

-I have always been a big girl.  I have not always, however, been proud of my curves.  I am both a recovering anorexic and bulimic.  The anorexia hit at the age of 7 and my bulimic phase lasted for about a year until I became pregnant with Cristian.

-I am an avid scrapbooker, despite not doing it as often as I'd like.  I really had no choice to get into the hobby, considering my husband documents our lives moment by moment via film.  It's relaxing and it's the first crafty hobby that I've been able to keep and maintain.

-I am Mexican, Sicilian, and Polish.  This means I am fiesty, loud and strange.  I'm definitely okay with this.

-I'm not necessarily a born-again Christian, but finding a church to call home and Christian music have helped me find my faith.  I think that this was a missing piece of my personal puzzle for a long time.

Why start a blog, you may ask?  I am looking for a way to document the journeys that life has taken me on of late.

-My son is starting preschool tomorrow.  As a new mom, I am excited and terrified all at the same time.

-My husband and I are planning our first trip away from him for a lengthened period of time.  We are planning to renew our vows in Las Vegas for our fifth anniversary.

-I am getting more involved in our church.  Teaching Sunday School, taking part in workshops, getting hands-on in other activities.

-I am finding that crafty bone in my body and am contemplating going into craft fairs with my mom.

-With preschool taking a chunk out of our budget, I am finding new ways to be thrifty.  I do surveys, get freebies, and clip coupons.  I get some pretty good deals.

-Lastly, and most importantly, I was given a rude awakening to health problems I have.  Very recently, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and Metabolic Syndrome.  With a new medication regimen, eating healthy, and working out, I am going to get healthier while still embracing the curves God gave me.

You'll be introduced to the cast of characters along the way, but there are some people you must know.

Blake - Husband
Cristian (C.J.) - Son
Nana and Papi - Parents
Kyle - Brother
U.J. - Uncle
Shiloh and Bronx - Dogs

Mom and Dad R. - Blake's Parents
Sabrina and Anthony - Blake's Sister and Brother-In-Law
Claudia, Samantha and Leigha - Nieces
Grandma - Blake's Grandma

Claire (Mike), Leigh, Annie, Cathy, Katie (Andy), Fenesha (Matt), Cassie (Chris) - Best Friends in Wisconsin
Nadine (Mike), Jess, Lisa - Best Friends in New Jersey

Matt - Kyle's Best Friend (My "Brother")
Kirby and Gary - Blake's Best Friends (who aren't attached to one of my friends)
Emily, J.J., Juli, Lorna, Craig, Aubrey, Ethan, Gaige, Garrett - Some of C.J.'s Friends

There are some things you should expect to see along the way.

-Food logs, workout recaps, recipes and health updates

-Mommy contentments and frustrations (i.e. making it through your son's "Terrible Twos" with everyone alive)

-Insight into typical twenty-something thoughts about faith, friendships and finding myself

-Tips and tricks for saving money, as well as great deals I find

-Crafty realizations and showing off my newest creations

-The joys and sorrows of planning a Vegas vacation

-Lots of pictures, how-to guides, and anecdotes 

There you have it.  My life in a nutshell.  It's definitely going to be an interesting ride.  Glad you could join me.