Playground Progress

Allen put together a special tool box just for the girls. Inside, is a pair of safety goggles. The wind here has been horrendous so Lexi wears her goggles while we dig to stop the dirt from blowing in her eyes. The child still couldn't resist striking a pose.
All hands on deck! 
Maybe not the most appropriate footwear for digging...
but we get the job done!
Mid week progress.

By Saturday morning, all but one corner of the area was dug out.
Our new mountain of dirt.

At the ready!
At this point, we started to get excited.
And then we opened the box with the directions. The recommendation was to put the lumber into piles by "step". 
There are 50 steps.
I also put the hardware into plastic baggies by "step" so that Allen wouldn't have to waste time sorting screws.
The girls did amazingly well for being mostly ignored all weekend. We let Lexi have a small hammer, some scrap wood, and all the nails she wanted to keep her occupied. I may have yelled, "We hammer nails and wood, not bodies and heads!" once or twice.
MAY have.
Grandpa Bob got this swing set for the kids so we invited him to come help (we bribed him a bit with the promise of a BBQ at the end of it all). 
We made it to step 10 by the end of Monday. Only 40 more to go!!!


Annie Aftermath

It's done, dear. All done.

Time has marched on. Life is back to "normal" (and I do use that term loosely).

I've been reflecting on the experience and this is what I've concluded:

The show, as a whole, was a resounding success. I think we sold out, or nearly sold out, every performance. The cast received standing ovations at the end of each show. Around town, I've run into friends and strangers, alike, who couldn't believe that such a professional production could come out of a community based theatre group.

After bows, the cast would make their way into the lobby of the theater to greet family, friends, and fans.

I was asked two questions after every performance:

1. Are those fake eyelashes?


2. Will you do it again?

I'm not sure about that.

Don't get me wrong; I had fun. And I felt confident about the acting once we got to production. However, I don't think I got bit by the acting bug. I didn't feel the acting "high" that I'd heard about. My guess is it's like the "running high" people talk about - I've never gotten that either.

The feedback I received was from biased individuals, but the overall response I got was that I did a good job as Grace (I did have a lot of help to get there). I was believable and worked well with the other characters. I was told I had stage presence. I had to improv a bit and did it successfully. Allen actually looked at me when we got home after opening night and said, "Anything else you want to tell me about yourself that I'm not aware of?" He had seen a side of me I'd never been brave enough to show him (or anyone else, for that matter) before.

I did overcome a huge fear of mine. Yes, singing and acting in front a crowd of 400 plus people for two weekends in a row will get a person past stage fright.

I'd remained virtually tear free until the night one of my besties showed up.  As we caught sight of each other in the lobby, her eyes welled with tears. She handed me my flowers and simply said, "I'm so proud of you."

And then I cried, too.  The anxiety and stress and insecurities took physical shape and spilled over onto my cheeks. She saw my heart and she knew what it was like for me. She's a bit of a perfectionist, too. And she knew what it took to try something new - to risk being imperfect. Because it really was hard for me. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I felt inadequate a lot of the time.

I didn't do it perfect. As hard as I try to accept it, I just don't swallow"I did my best" as well as "I was the best (Grace)". I can still recount every line, note, or inflection I didn't hit just right. Even now, when people come up and tell me I did a great job, I wonder what performance they were at because I can remember exactly what night I didn't hit the note that is only a 1/2 step down, the high notes where I didn't pull out my big girl voice, and the line I forgot on closing night.

I wouldn't mind doing acting on occasion if the situation were right. I do think that the more good people who choose to get involved in things of this nature, the better. Sometimes, the arts have a certain reputation that isn't exactly family friendly. This theater group is changing that a bit and it's our job as members of the community to support and grow that if we want to see it succeed in our area. I do want that type of activity here for my family so I do feel a sense of obligation to stay involved in some capacity.

I'm not sure I want to sing in front of other people again. I would need to make a concerted effort to develop my voice. I'd need lessons to gain better control, sing from my diaphragm, and, oh yeah, read music. I'm not sure if now is the time to devote to growing that talent. I'm certainly not the next Meryl Streep (as Allen put it so delicately for me), but to ignore that I could do something more doesn't feel right to me. When Heavenly Father gives you a mustard seed, you're supposed to grow that into something. The church choir is always looking for willing voices and what more appropriate way to show my gratitude for the small talent I have than through hymns?

 I think time will sort that all out for me, though.

I do have a sense of accomplishment and quiet pride about the whole thing. I'm grateful to those who saw, as they put it, "talent in embryo" and were willing to take a risk. I'm grateful for the patience of my fellow cast members, crew, and the like who put up with my ignorance and foibles. I'm grateful for the friendships I made and the feeling in my heart when I recount the many nights of laughs we shared. I'm most grateful for the door that has been opened for Alexis and the time we spent together doing something special.


Before and After

As I considered this post, I found myself perpetually holding off, waiting for the day that I hit my goal weight and had months of toning under my belt. I wanted to have the perfect photos taken with perfect lighting and perfect hair and happy, smiling faces all around.

And, well, that's not gonna happen any time soon. Life is just that: life. While perfection is a great goal to strive for, accepting reality -  I get my picture taken by a 6 year old, by my husband trying to corral the kids while begging for smiles all around, or I do it myself, in a dirty mirror with hat head - is probably going to be a much wiser choice.

No, I'm not in the ideal shape yet. I still have 15 pounds to drop. There have been days where I've been completely successful. There have been days I've succumbed to the cravings. All in all, I've made steady improvements and watched the scale dutifully move toward the weight I hope to achieve.

BUT - I've lost 60 pounds since July 2011. I started at a size 22 (stuffing myself into stretched out 18's). I currently wear (in most lines of clothing) a 12/14. I was an XXL on top. I'm still an XL in most tops, but occasionally, I find an L that fits nicely. In dresses, I wear a 14 when they are sized numerically. If they are sized alphabetically, I wear an L.

For those of you who follow this blog, many of these pictures will be familiar. I still want to get it down on "paper" in a comprehensive way and acknowledge the achievement rather than only see what's left to be done.

Last summer at Six Flags. This was my "skinny" outfit. Meaning, I felt this outfit made me look the best out of all the clothes I owned at the time.

That's my tummy in the edge of the picture.
And just in case you couldn't see it in it's full glory in the above picture...

 And now:

Hiking at Del Valle.

"Ice skating" in Tahoe.
Here's me in the same outfit as the last picture from above. 


If Only I'd of Known...

Go to school, they said. Get an education, they said.

If only I'd of known how impractical all that experience would be for motherhood. Save yourself the time and money. If you're planning on pursuing a career in momdom, I recommend these occupations if you want real life training:

Bus Driver
Hostage Negotiator (to aid in stolen toy recoveries)
Short Order Cook
Emergency Room Nurse
Dog Washer/Groomer (bathing young children is a lot like bathing animals, trust me)
Sanitation Worker/HAZMAT specialist


Weight Update

I've not lost any additional weight since my last report.

My goal was to make it through production at my lowest weight yet and I did that. Since then, I've been maintaining.

I've kind of hit an interesting place with regard to the Medifast program. I could sing the merits of the program from every rooftop in the world. It is nutritionally sound. It is reasonable. And the results cannot be argued with.

There is one downfall: the price. To be on the program as designed will set you back $300 a month. (Gasp! Shock! Oh my!)

I think it's worth every penny.

But, I've hit my financial limit. We are making one and a half house payments and our financial surplus is, well, almost non-existent. I have to be really choosey about where to put those extra dollars. I can continue to buy the program in full or I can buy my kids shoes and underwear when they need them.

I've had my chance and done well. I can't, in good conscience, continue to use such a signifiant part of our resources for myself at this juncture.

I still have 15 pounds to lose to get to goal.

I do have a shelf full of Medifast food, and I pull from that for most of my nutrition. When that is gone, it's gone, and I'll be "on my own".

I know that I can get to goal. I think it will be a slower process, but it's still very doable.

Something else that has been on my mind as I've begun to move into another phase of my journey is exercise.

Now that I've shed the weight, I want to tone my body.

My plan is to incorporate 3 days of HIIT (high intensity interval training - think P90X and Insanity type stuff). My favorite work out so far is a Mommy Boot Camp video. You can burn 200 calories in 20 minutes. In that time, you get cardio, core and weight training done. Plus, I don't have 45 minutes to myself most days of the week. Twenty minutes, for me, is much more realistic.

I will keep you posted on my progress. I think it helps me to stay motivated and I hope that someone out there who is fighting the same fight might find strength knowing that getting healthy is possible and, we are here, sweating it out even when it's a struggle.


Annie in Pictures

Laura (Mrs. Greer), Hannah (Kate, the orphan), Traci (Grace Farrell), and Lexi (chorus orphan) 
Annie, Warbucks and Grace (at our first dress rehearsal)
Annie, Warbucks, and Grace at the Mansion
Lexi and Me backstage
Lexi with Katie (Lilly St. Regis)
Hannah and Lexi
Bekka (music director) and me in the lobby after the final show
Final Performance Bows


Weight Update

- 2.

That makes for a total of - 10. It's been slow going, I'll admit. Easter was touch and go, and it was my birthday so I did indulge a bit.

My goal was to be down the last 20 pounds by production and I've clearly fallen short of that goal. I felt really discouraged, but I didn't give up.

I've been especially careful this last week: no soda, very few carbs, lots of liquids, etc. because of the Annie performances. I feel way more confident when I know I've been eating right.

Wish me luck! Hopefully, I'll break a leg.


Cloak of Invisibility

Silence can be very loud sometimes. 

Like when your child is raiding your purse. 

And the lack of noise is a clear indication that something has gone terribly wrong.

"Hiding". See how she's pulled the coats over her eyes so that I will not see her ransacking my things?

Is the coast clear?




Allen helping me as I pack my costumes for dress rehearsals this week.

Allen {holding up a wire hanger}: I found this; do you need it?

 Me {my best Joan Crawford impression}: 


 (Photo credit)

 Pop Culture Reference: Fail

Not Quite

Last night there was a buzz in the air at rehearsal.

The of months of hard work, memorization, singing and singing and singing showed it's merits as we finally practiced with the live band.

The musical innuendos were clear and the harmony of drums, sax, bass, violin, piccolo, flutes and piano was amazing.

Those who had last minute concerns about their parts felt relief as it all came together.

It was glorious.

During break, one of my cast mates, reveling in the thrill of it all, asked me: "So, have you caught the bug?"

With horror, I responded, "What BUG? Are people getting sick? I hadn't heard!"

A slow smile spread across his face, "NO! The acting bug!"

Um. I think that one passed me by. 

About Me

My photo
What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.