The New Decade

Category : Christie

Happy first day of school parents kids!  In the social networking world, I can see parents rejoicing that the start of school is here and the busyness that it brings.  For me, it starts a not only a new chapter, but a new book in my life.  My dad loving calls it my retirement, but today begins my first glimpse of being a stay at home mom and freelancer.  Seeing that it’s only 1pm, I can say, it’s a fine balance.  :)

Gary and I like to do wild and crazy things around our 30th birthday.  Gary’s 30th birthday brought us his college undergrad graduation, signing on our first house and me being 4-5 months pregnant all without him having a job.  No stress, really.  But the Lord gave us the ability to buy a new home with minimal work to be done, an extended internship and finally a job at Calvin around Thanksgiving time and an easy labor and delivery with Anna!  For my 30th birthday, we decided to have me quit my job, buy a pop-up camper and try my hand at building Unity Design Group as my job all while maintaining the house, cooking and working on my patience spending quality time with the girls.  :)   Again, no stress.  In all reality, this is what I truly want in my life right now.  To be able to keep the laundry piles down, to keep the dishwasher loaded, attempt to make healthy and delicious meals, to take the girls to visit daddy on lunch, ride bikes, do crafts and domesticate them (we have kids to do dishes and laundry, right?).  I want to expand my freelancing to more clients, maybe get into the wedding world with invites, sell some crafts online and at craft shows, be apart of MOPS at church, use the talents God has given me in different ways rather than just at a desk job.

This past decade was filled with a lot of firsts, life lessons, joys and heartaches.  In my 20’s, I lost my mom to leukemia but gained new parental relationships and siblings that have blessed me beyond measure.  I fell in love with a man that I never dreamed of but has been more than I dreamed of, he’s my rock, my best friend, my partner.  I reached my highest weight of 267 (maybe more than that even) but have lost 81.5 pounds of that with a lifestyle change and I’m not done yet!  I had 2 beautiful baby girls who are the light of my life but have lost 2 babies that just weren’t fit for this world.  I’ve lived in dorms rooms, an apartment and now a beautiful home.  I’ve seen friends move away, lost friends but have gained so many more.  I’ve been challenged in my faith continuously and am looking forward to more challenges.

I’m taking on my 30’s with a hitch in my step.  To live it healthier, to be at my goal weight, to see my kids off to school each day, to support my husband in his dreams, to make our house a home, to love my family deeper and to become closer to our friends.  I’m so ready for this new decade and all it’s uncertainties.  So thank you 20’s for molding and preparing me for this new decade.

Oh, nice toothbrush, how I’ve missed you

Category : Family

We bought toothbrushes.  Expensive ones.  Ones with fancy settings, multiple toothbrush heads, even a sanitizer.  We spent over $200 on our toothbrushes!  There, I said it.  Who does that?  You could buy so much with $200 or pay down some debt.  We do, obviously.  Why?  Thanks for asking!  Let me give you a short back story (not sure if short is in my forte, but I’ll do my best).

I talked about Anna’s dentist trip awhile back and our history of the dentist but now about our toothbrushes.  :)   Exciting, I know!  Growing up we both just had your run of the mill manual-brush your teeth for 20 seconds so your breath smells of toothpaste so mom will think you brushed your teeth-toothbrush.  Gary and I had different dental experiences growing up but in the end when we got married and were talking about having kids, we had to start a routine of going to the dentist.  So we started out with the 2 for $10 Oral B and Crest Spinbrush battery operated toothbrushes.  They were great when we compared to our manual ones.  They got me through years of no cavities.  Then we decided it was time to upgrade only because Woot told us we should.  On one particular day they had a Two for Tuesday of nicer Oral-B (I think) rechargeable toothbrushes for about $45.  Perfect!  Those worked great for about a year or so until mine wouldn’t hold a charge anymore and Gary’s was running out of gusto.  So we tossed those.  We hemmed and hawed for months on getting the best out there.  So in the meantime, we went back to good ole manual and tried to brush for 2 minutes but it just wasn’t the same.

Our dentist appointments came around in November and there came our decision maker.  Well for me anyway.  I was on about year 4 of no cavities, no nothing.  Then I was hit with 2 cavities.  Granted they got this new fancy light that detects cavities even sooner than x-rays, but still….  And for Gary, he’s been cavity free for awhile but continues to battle with gum issues and other past neglect due to no insurance as a young 20 something.  Since then, he’s been the model teeth guy, brushing twice a day, mouthwash twice a day, flossing each night.  Gold star for the Gar!  Which brings me into our $200+ toothbrush purchase.

Enter the amazing-feels like you walked out of the dentist and more everyday-5 settings-sanitizer-rechargeable-not terribly cheap replacement heads-but so well worth it Sonicare FlexCare Plus and FlexCare (for me).

These toothbrushes have a 2 minute cycle with a 30 second buzzer to change zones so all your teeth get the same amount of attention.  They vibrate instead of spin and clean between your teeth to almost feel like you flossed.  So not to be dazzled by the features of the brushes, they were really to bring our teeth and gums back to where they were and hopefully a lot better!  Our perio charting which shows how healthy your gums are should be out of the 3’s, 4’s and 5’s and down into the 1’s and 2’s. All in all this was an investment into better dental care, to save us from awful root canals and cavities and the biggest one, their bills, in the future.

A remarkable difference from past toothbrushes, especially this last one, is what we’re hoping for come May/June!


Category : Christie

So I really want to keep up on this blog but for whatever reason I go into writing funks and I just don’t have the wit to write about anything.  I like to throw in a bit of sarcasm in my posts but for awhile now, I just don’t have it.  I think I’ve narrowed it down to why.  Some of it’s just me and I get that way, the other part of it is selfish and the last part is an uninspired location.

So for the me part, I’m an all or nothing type of girl.  So when I’m on a roll, I don’t stop.  But once something comes up that throws my entire “roll” off the counter, I can’t seem to get it going again.  Take my crazy “wanting to clean the pantry at 10pm on a work night” event.  So I pull everything out, ready to tackle this project, throw out expired items, donate that “I don’t think we’ll ever eat that” food to the local pantry, go through the cook books, organize the cleaning supplies.  All in one hour.  I can do this.  Kids are in bed.  Gary’s watching American Chopper.  So as I pull out all the baking supplies, I realize I would love to get glass containers for all my flours and sugars, oh and get custom decals made up at the local printer to put on the glass jars that I’ll buy when they are 50% off at Hobby Lobby.  Crap, they aren’t on sale this week.  Oh and I need more shelving to utilize the space so we can put in garbage and recycle cans in the pantry so I don’t have to look at it sitting out the kitchen.  So I need to get the shelving from the Re-Store on my lunch break.  Crap, I need to measure.  And buy the pieces to hang the shelves on the wall with…. at Home Depot.  Oye.  So what happens?  I do throw out and get rid that unwanted food, but it all goes back in the exact same way with it looking a little nicer but nothing has changed.  All because I have grand visions but a slow and/or no budget for it execution.

So back to blogging.  I love the idea of it.  I love reading blogs everyday but the process gets to be a little much and not as inspired in the remaining hours in the evening between the girls bed time and ours.  I’m not saying I’m quitting this blog.  Far from it.  I just need to find that inspiration again.  Which brings me to the selfish part.  I need a laptop.  Maybe it’s more lazy than selfish, either way it’s fact.  I don’t always want to sit in my basement at my computer like I have been doing for the past 8 hours that day writing up a witty blog post.  I want to sit on my couch, with my feet up, watching tv and working on a witty blog post.  All while uploading photos to Facebook and the blog.  So yes, I have a perfectly good computer, desk and 2 monitors to said blogging but I just want to veg.  The 17″ HP beast of laptop is just that, a beast who’s ready for recycling, our beloved laptop of yesteryears that’s been there with Gary through all his schooling, vacations and many a night in front of the tv.  ::sigh::  So I need a new one.

Finally, the up-inspired location.  Our half way for over a year basement.  I really can’t take much more of it.  It’s painted a color I don’t want anymore with no doors on all the rooms and closets, no trim along the floor, windows and sills.  This is of no fault of either of us, really.  We took it as far as we could last year and there is sat.  It’s wonderful having warm floors and place for the girls, but it’s so mis-matched, it’s hard to be creative.  I’m thankful for all of that but it’s time to just git-r-done.  So it’s in the talks that with our tax money, we get this basement very close to completion (aside from a built-in cabinet and a bathroom).  Dave probably wouldn’t agree with the talks of said finishing, but I think we all need it to be over.  So no worries Dave, we’re still on the debt snowball, the extra’s just may go to “Christie’s Sanity” fund this year.  :: Side note – we’ll formulate a post(s) on our get out of debt plan, debt snowball, “envelope system” soon as we’re quite passionate about it and would love to share!::

So, I guess you could call this a whiny post.  I am, believe it or not, been called whiny a time or 2 in my life.  I’m in need for some change, some inspired place to be so I can create great posts for all you 5 readers out there.  :)   ::Sigh::  I wish I was a full time blogger, wouldn’t that be grand?  Oh well.  Life still is awesome and keeps getting better (I think the lap top and finished basement will top it all. Ahem.).

Thank you for listening.


2 under our belt!

Category : Running

Well we did it.  We did our 2nd 5k of the year!  Who knew running could be so addicting?!  So after we ran the 5/3 Riverbank Run in May we were craving to do another run later in the summer/early fall.  Being a novice in the running world, I didn’t really know where to look for a good list of local runs so I suggested we do the Chicago 5k, spend a weekend with the ‘rents and let the girls have some grandparent bonding.  This one felt a little different only because we hadn’t trained long and hard as we did for the Riverbank Run and we all were a little hesistant going to Chicago for a race with 20,000 along with the other millions that live there already.  But…. we’re so glad we did it!

We had been maintaining our training throughout the summer but throw in a vacation/planning and some summer colds in there, we were not as prepared as we hoped to be.  I (Christie) had been picking up the pace on the treadmill in recent weeks and even ran a full 5k on the track the Thursday prior to the race so I was feeling good.  Gary has been battling a pesky sore throat/cold for awhile so couple that with a busy summer work schedule, his training had been less than stellar too.  Either way, we were running it!

Saturday we (Gary, Angela, Alex and I) headed to Navy Pier to pick up our runners packets which contained our official bibs and t-shirts.  The cool thing about this race was that they printed our names out on the bibs…. well all but Alex.  :)   We checked out the expo for a bit, ate some lunch and headed back to SoHo.  We packed in a carb filled dinner of spaghetti and garlic bread and headed to bed early.

The alarm went off at 5am.  Surprisingly, we got up with a bit of ease that morning.  The girls stayed sleeping (but grandpa hit up the couch when we left to keep an ear out for their “I need go potty, mommy” cries), we ate a light breakfast and headed out the door at 5:45am in full running gear with Ryan as our chaperon.   We made into downtown around 6:30am, got shooed out of the parking lot and hit up the meter knowing that when we left, the crazy lady from Walgreens wouldn’t have our car towed.  We headed toward the starting line through neighborhoods and parks, following the loud speakers and music.  As we walked, we gathered more people until we arrived at home base to find around 20,000 runners along with their fans getting ready to put all their training to the test.

While the 18,000+ half marathon runners (13.1 miles, people….) lined up to be herded through the starting line, we hit up the blue boxed bathrooms, checked in our bag of goods and started to get stretched out.  There was such an energy in the air, the temperature was perfect and the sun made it a touch warmer.  We chatted, admired and wondered how we’d do compared to others around us.

We lined up all together as there wasn’t a breakdown of mile times (6 minutes miles, 7 minute miles, etc).  Soon there after, we started moving forward.  Alex jarted around most of the pack, Gary and Angela split and ran closely in their minutes and I found a couple girls to pace myself with.  I had a goal of obviously finishing (as I hadn’t trained as much as I did for the 5/3 run) but an unspoken goal of not stopping.  I was quite confident that I’d beat my 5/3 time by a few minutes and was feeling really good about how well I was running.  It was a nice run through the neighborhoods, along Lake Shore Drive and I was passing people.  In the end, Alex finished in just over 25 minutes and place 90th out of almost 1400, Angela did really well herself and ran it in her record time of 29 minutes, Gary didn’t quite make his goal of under 30 minutes but with being sick, he did it in 31:16 and I finished 3 seconds slower that my first time.  Ugh.  But really, it was awesome that I never stopped and I pushed myself the last 1/4 mile.  We all had a great time, loved the experience and are planning on doing more next year together!

Pics from the official photographers (our own will come this week hopefully):

Christie Vs. the Scale

Category : Christie

I would like to do a series of posts recounting my battle with my weight but instead of dwelling on the negative right now, I wanted to get this post out there because of what it means to me.

I’ve been on a slow and steady road of weightloss starting in September 2005.  There seems to be a trend over the years where my weightloss has been broken into 3rds.  The first third was between the time I started and when I got pregnant with Anna.  I lost about 25 pounds.  The second third was between Anna and Izzy along with the 10 months after she was born was another 20 pounds.  Then in October, Gary had a wake up call with this yearly physical and blood work.  His triglycerides were high and we needed to make a change.

So stepped up the physical activity with Gary working out a couple days a week, we changed our eating habits by taking out the juice and junk and traded it for veggies and more water!  I was finishing up a work out class and had the hair brained idea of doing some sort of event in the spring, like a 5k WALK.  Well Gary thought we should start strong and do a 5k RUN.  So I agreed, joined the GVSU gym and started training the week between Christmas and New Years.

So with all those changes in just a short period of time, I lost another 21 pounds and have reached an incredibly huge milestone in my journey.  I’ve entered, what Weight Watchers groupies call, Onederland!  I officially saw 199.5 on the scale, the first time ever I’ve seen that on the scale as I never really weighed myself before my weightloss.

That was only last Tuesday and the changes in my mind and body have been incredible already!  My self esteem is far more than it has ever been.  I don’t feel like I’m with the heavy crowd anymore.  I try to encourage other family members and friends that they can do it and have heard that I’m an inspiration!  Wow.  I never thought I’d hear that as so many others are an inspiration to me.  We went to a waterpark yesterday and I walked around in my bathing suit all day!  I’m usually running to get covered up by a towel or cover up, but yesterday I felt like I reached the other side and am ready to keep up the momentum to continue on my journey.

I have another 30-40 pounds that I’d like to lose but in the meantime, I’m going to hold on to this huge accomplishment, 67.5 pounds down and under 200.

I’m pretty pumped if you can’t tell.  :)

(Don’t mind the horribly painted toes or the lack there of…..  I have kids.)

I’m an addict

Category : Christie, Running

Ok, maybe “addict” is a strong word but I have a new “want” in my life.  I ran the 5/3 Riverbank Run on Saturday in 40:50 and I want to do better!  Did I just say that I wanted to run another 5k?  Sheesh, what has come over me?  Despite the 40 degrees, the misty on and off rain, the 5:15am wake up call on a Saturday morning, the stupid cold that started the day before, an emotion came over me that I’ve really never experienced before.  I was among thousands of others ready to beat their best time or to say they actually did a 5k in their life, it was a goal I never knew I had in me, that I never thought I’d do in my lifetime.  Maybe it was my weight, that I never thought it was obtainable or the way I talk myself out of pushing myself that much farther?  All I know is that is was amazing to be apart of this, to have my husband, my brother and my sister-in-law cheering me on the whole way, not just on Saturday but way before that.  It truly was a life changing experience for me.

Friday, Alex and Gary picked up our runners packets at DeVos which came with official runners bibs.  It was surreal that one of them was mine!  We all spent the night at our house, taking in a rip roaring game of Settlers and prepping our shoes with our electronic timers.  It was really fun to be together the night before, talking about how excited we all were.  We left the house around 5:50am so we could beat all the road closings and to prepare ourselves mentally for the crazy weather Michigan threw at us that morning.  We gathered with the thousands of others downtown GR, checking in our bags, taking in the excitement and anticipation of the hardcore runners in their “outfits” and the hesistant looks of those who may have been talked into this event.

We starting lining up around 7:15am as our race started at 7:30am.  They were broken into paces from 7 minutes to 12 minutes.  Alex split up from us joining the 8 minute mile pacers while Gary, Sheila and I slowly became enclosed by all the 12 minute mile pacers.  Next to us was a line up of Marines that were sure to whiz by us as we began.  They actually kept a good pace that we followed for a bit while we listened to their chants – just being with them for a few minutes you could hear in their voices how they push past whatever is in their head to keep going in training and out keeping our country safe.  A very cool experience.

The whistle blew at 7:30 and just a few minutes later we were jogging down the road.  Gary said we were in this together, so we would start together and end together and that we did.  The first mile I was doing alright, feeling pretty good, sticking with Gary and Sheila no problem.  Then we started to come to some hilly areas and I started to lose momentum and I eventually told myself I needed to walk a couple minutes.  Not for very long, but I wanted to run the whole thing if I could.  So I picked up the pace again shortly there after and ran a little bit more.  I ran up a hill but at the crest walked a bit again.  Finally Gary told me all we had to do was round the buildings and we’ll be at the finish.  I kept telling myself that I need to finish strong.  When I saw the finish, that was all I needed.  Gary asked if I was ready to run and I said yes.  We started passing a bunch of people, he grabbed my hand so we could finish together.  And we did it!  Gary, Sheila and I crossed within seconds of each other.  Alex caught up with us right away and congratulated us, asking if we heard him screaming us on.  I said no!  I was so in the zone I didn’t hear him.  It was truly an experience I’ll never forget.  For the first time I felt like I was in the same ranks of ability of someone half my size.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m about 30-40 pounds away from my weight loss goal and that is another story for another time.  But for once, I did the same thing as my skinny mini, crazy metabolism little brother did and that felt awesome.  This is only the beginning for me to do more than I ever thought I would and could do and that’s motivation enough to move forward in this new life Gary and I decided to take on.  And for that, I’m ecstatic!


The little engine that could

Category : Christie, Running

Gary declared earlier in the week that would be doing a family (including the girls and my sister-in-law) 5k run Saturday morning.  I’ll be honest, I tried to find ways to get out of it (too wet, too cold, too busy, etc) but when the morning came you couldn’t really pass up a little cloudy, 65 degree, little breezy Saturday morning for a trial 5k run.  We had Sheila stay the night, the night before as she watched the girls for us.  She was going to run with us but wasn’t feel well that week and didn’t want to chance it, so Gary and I were able to run together.  It was great!  He’s a driving force in my motivation to push myself a little farther and I did!  I only walked for maybe 4-5 minutes at about the 1.5 mile mark and did a last minute sprint at the end of our block to our house.  Let me tell you, I was tired as it was and running faster was a complete out of body experience.  It was an amazing accomplishment for me as I usually find a way to justify quitting long before I did.  It really gives me a big motivation for this weekend’s 5/3 Riverbank Run downtown GR, knowing now that I can do it and I’ll have Gary by my side every step of the way.


Smart or Crazy?

Category : Cooking

So instead of us running the Calvin 5k Classic on Saturday morning in the iffy 60 degree weather, we decided to prep a little more for the big OAMC day!  Sounds like a pretty exciting thing, right?  Well it is.  It stands for Once A Month Cooking.  I put out a distress signal on Facebook a couple weeks ago to see if there was anyone interested in doing it with me and I got some great responses!  Most of them were out of state except one, my friend Nisi of A Foody Craft and a long time friend of ours.  She loves cooking and I love the idea of cooking and having fast but tasty meals for my family ready after work, so it was the perfect marriage.  I’ve seen books and a few other blogs I frequent talk about this but haven’t really loved their recipes.  Now to all my wonderful family who still thinks of me as a picky eater, I’m about to wow you with the recipes we did.  But first, I found a blog a couple months ago aptly named Once a Month Mom and started going through her (Trish’s) site.  First of all, she is an amazing Christian woman with 2 little ones of her own and she does all this.  It’s truly amazing what she’s set at no cost to her readers.  If you go by her breakfast, lunch and dinner plan monthly, she has the entire grocery list made up, the recipes, packing and preparing instructions and labels!  On top of that, she made an AB plan, where she goes through what person A should be doing while person B does this on the day of.  Very cool.

After talking with Nisi, we decided based on our own needs, we really only need dinners.  So Nisi went through this years menu’s, made a list of recipes that sounded good to her and her family and narrowed it down to 7 this month.  The remaining recipes will wait till we do this again because we will.  :)   Nisi complied a list of ingredients, we chatted together on Facebook to figure what we already have and who was getting what.  We both had quite of a bit if the more common things like spices, corn starch, honey, etc but needed quite a bit of the meat and fresh items like pineapple, peppers, chicken and pork loin.  So we both headed to Sam’s and Meijer before we met up at our house at 1:30 on Saturday afternoon.

We corralled all our food on the counters, the kids were off playing already and we started in on the hot beef sandwiches that need to go in the crockpot.  From there we cut up chicken for the chicken spinach parm pitas, sweet and sour chicken, chicken broccoli pineapple stir fry and the chicken ranch pizza.  I know, lots of chicken.  We had a total of 30 pounds in house (don’t worry, we each took home a full package).  We chopped fresh pineapple, peppers, lots and lots of onions and garlic.  Boiled many a noodle for the cannelloni and made a chimichurri marinade for the grilled pork tenderloin.  All in all, we made 16 dinners for each of us to take home and feed a family of 4 in about 7 hours give or take.  Keep in mind this doing our own AB system and working together for the first time.  We hope next time we’ll have some prep work done and all we have to do is chop and assemble for the most part.

Overall I think it was a huge success.  Nisi was great to work with, learned a few more things and had a fun family day!  Thanks to the dads for watching the kids all day – they were troppers too!