Saturday, August 20, 2011

Real Life: A Day to Remember

August 19, 2011.

A day to remember.

For one brief and exhilarating evening, I have been able to say that ALL of the laundry (except the clothes actually on our bodies) is clean and dry in the Campbell home. There isn't so much as a dirty hot pad left to be found around here! There is definitely something to be said for packing up an entire house. The dirty laundry seems to settle to ground level and get left behind when more exciting things like toys and sentimentals are being packed up. I was determined to not take ANY dirty laundry with us to the new home tomorrow, since we now have a laundry closet rather than a laundry room. We've had an entire laundry-garage here in this house. Yes. Laundry in the garage. That was ... ahem... effective? I was terrified of critters after dark so avoided doing laundry at night as often as I could get away with it. And the kids never did quite get the concept of putting laundry in the baskets in the garage and even after I'd painstakingly sort and separate stuff, we'd soon have socks on shoe shelves, towels draped across the bikes and dirty underwear in the toy bin; clothes were strewn about from corner to corner in the garage it seemed and it was a never-ending battle. So anyway, we now have an indoor (yay!) laundry closet (meh). I begged my friend to share her laundry tips with me since she has the same floor plan that we're moving into and she has one more child than me and she always seems to be so on top of her laundry situation. Her laundry routine is so simple and brilliant I kind of wonder why I never tried it her way. I've always had some kind of general laundry dumping ground where everyone piles everything and I just try to keep up with it so it doesn't turn into Mount Washmore. (I don't succeed, by the way. Hence "A Day to Remember - August 19, 2011") She gives each bedroom it's own laundry basket and one day a week to do their laundry. Brilliant. Simple. I'd like to say that even I can't botch that up, but I'm pretty sure I'll prove that arrogant little statement wrong within a week or two. But I figured if I was going to even give it a fair try I had to start with clean clothes and empty baskets.


Empty baskets.

I forgot to mention that while all the laundry in the house is clean (yay!) it's all still sitting in the laundry baskets in my front room (meh). Guess it's not quite bedtime yet! I've got some laundry routine prep to finish up! And since it's 11:30 p.m. and I know there's no chance I'll have the laundry all folded until after midnight, then August 20, 2011 can also be a day to remember!! That one will be "The day all the clean laundry was folded in the Campbell home"!  Exhilarating, I tell ya!

PS Please say a little prayer that everything goes smoothly tomorrow with the move, that the giant freak-out I had over our post-dated September rent check being cashed early will have been unnecessary because landlord reimburses us the money on Monday as he's promised, and that the cleaners come back to us with some kind of reasonable estimate for the cleaning job so we can actually afford to take advantage of their service. Mahalo!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Real Life: Chaos...

We are in some serious chaos in our house right now. We officially have keys to both our current and new house and we've started moving some things over to the new place. But I swear for every box of stuff-to-keep that we move over there I come home and find 3 boxes of stuff-to-toss. As we clear through stuff all the excess clutter and accumulation becomes even more glaringly obvious. It's exhausting. The good news is we've eliminated SO MUCH STUFF! We've taken two trips to the dump, a van-filled trip to Goodwill, had 2 weekends of yard sales, plus sold 5 garbage bags (so far!) full of little girls clothes. There's a whole lotta crap left but at least we're plowing through it. My goal has been to only take necessary items to the new place and we're doing pretty dang good. I've been really fighting my inner hoarder and just tossing tossing tossing. It feels liberating, but again - exhausting. I'm extremely excited to get settled in over at the new place and have all the loose ends and final steps done here. We've got to have carpet cleaners and pest control come do their thing. (I've never been required to show a receipt of pest control upon check-out before... gotta love Hawaiian living hehehe). Still working through getting the utilities switched. Wheeeeee. What an adventure. It's not like we haven't moved before (11 times in 14 years) but since we've been planted for "so long" (3 years) it's like doing it for the first time again. Royal pain in the butt.

I am splurging this time and doing something I've never done before. The idea is to ease my load and shrink my to-do-list a bit, but it may actually be stressing me out more than anything. We're hiring house cleaners to come do our final clean. I'd been wanting to do it but dragging my feet in a big way because I couldn't stomach the thought of paying someone big bucks to do something I was perfectly capable of doing (even though I really Really REALLY didn't want to have to do it myself...) Well I posted up a piece of furniture on Craigslist and indicated in my ad that we were moving and that's why we're getting rid of the furniture. I got a response from the sweetest girl. She and her fiance have recently started a housekeeping business specializing in move-out and real estate cleaning and offered to do our move-out cleaning and use the piece of furniture as a trade of sorts to off set the cost of their service! SOLD! It was just the nudge I needed so that I could let go of the idea that I can do it all and just accept some help. The problem? I'm horrified by the state of my home right now and I'm just a wreck over them coming today to see it so they can give me an estimate and determine the amount of time they'll need. As long as they don't laugh and shake their head at me and say "That'll be $2000 and will take us 72 hours" I guess I'm hiring cleaners. Crazy. And ugh! I know they've surely seen worse than what they'll walk into here, but I'm really truly embarrassed by the state of affairs in our house right now. I'm a lousy housekeeper anyway, but now we're adding all the bits and pieces of junk that settle to the ground when you're purging and packing. It's just a disaster. I don't know how to avoid this stage, either. It would be like that old saying about shoveling the walks while it's still snowing. Pointless. In any case, now I'm wasting precious purging and packing time to tidy for the cleaners. Who does that? I'm such a dork. (I'm also wasting precious purging and packing time to blog.... shhhh. I needed the break)

So anyway. There's our life right now. Chaos reigns supreme in the Campbell household right now. Can't wait to be done here, settled there and enjoying some central air! Thank goodness for some friends who've taken Molly for me so I can focus and work without distraction. (Someone should also take away my internet...) Anyway, back to work!! Wish us luck. I'm so ready for this to be DONE!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Real Me: Crying over pizza...

I've had a few rough days. Without fail, I find myself a few weeks into a renewed commitment to weight loss, experiencing moderate to even impressive success, and I fizzle. I could be feeling pumped up and energized and successful and powerful for three straight weeks and then BAM! Discouragement, laziness, despair? I don't know what it is, but something negative settles in and I'm so far off the track I usually can't find my way back on. I wish I could identify what the reasoning is behind this bizarre phenomenon. I have a few theories:

1) I'm impatient. Losing 17 pounds in four weeks isn't "fast enough". I always find myself hoping for more.
2) Even if the number is impressive, the mirror isn't. 17 pounds off a 300-ish pound body is barely a 5% loss and isn't even physically noticeable.
3) I miss donuts (or french fries, or candy bars, or pizza...) I miss them a LOT. They comforted me in a way that celery sticks simply do not.
4) It's a freaking ton of hard work to haul my body out there and work vigorously enough to make the scale move.
5) A girl can only eat so many salads, chicken breasts, brown rice and egg whites before she loses her will to live (let alone keep trying to lose weight).
6) The devil on my shoulder is mighty convincing when he says "Free day? Why not just take a free weekend? What's the harm in a few extra treats on Sunday, too?"
7) And of course there's this super awesome mindset: "I've never been able to get it off and keep it off before. Why should this time be any different? What's the point of even continuing?"

These are just a few of the battles I face pretty much on a daily basis as I try to stay committed to a healthier lifestyle and stay on the path to a healthier weight. When you play these awful mind games with yourself every single day you burn out. And you call it quits. Plain and simple. And even though there's nothing physically comfortable about living in a 300-ish pound body, the lifestyle that got and kept you there is what you know and it feels familiar and easy and, well, comforting in a really painful, destructive way. Stepping outside that comfort zone is HARD and you have to find a reason to do it every single stinking day. Every single stinking day for weeks, months, years... a lifetime. Losing a hundred-plus pounds isn't like dropping that pesky ten pounds of lingering baby weight. It's not like wanting to fit in a smaller dress size in time for your 20 year reunion. It's not something that can be satisfied with a quick fix or a few weeks of intense, focused effort. It's work and commitment for the long haul, and up to this point I've not chosen to make that kind of commitment.

I thought maybe an external motivator like the Win, Lose or Blog competition would at least get me through seven weeks before shutting down and falling apart. I made it three. I hit my first bigger-than-I-could-physically-handle obstacle on week four day one of the Couch to 5K training, but I told myself (and my blog) "No biggie! You can work past this! You can revise and keep pressing forward!" But that's not what happened. I went out one more time, did an extremely lackluster and unfocused C25K "workout" and then threw in the proverbial towel for the rest of the week. I ended up taking three days off exercise and had a full-blown free day plus a follow-up unfocused food day. Now I know in the grand scheme of things this is not earth-shattering. But it represented every other time I've gotten to this point and flaked out on my commitment to myself. I could feel the spiral approaching and I could feel the excuses building up in my brain, all the lies to myself, the "reasons" why this wasn't going to work. I struggled through today trying to get back on my eating plan and and trying to prepare myself for a workout this evening.

And then I was running late after some errands.

And I got pizza for the kids.

And I thought "I've had a really solid nutrition day. I can take pizza home for the kids and it won't even tempt me. Willy and I will eat something else. No problem!"

And then Willy wasn't home yet. And the kids were chowing down. And I walked by the table and grabbed someone's piece and bit off the tip of the triangle.

And I felt the tug toward the downward spiral.

But I walked away and tried to shake it off.

Then I had another bite of someone's pizza a few minutes later when I walked by the table.

And I started mentally rationalizing and arguing with myself. "One piece can't possibly have enough calories to "ruin" my day... I'll just eat one piece instead of my last two small meals of the day... I'm going to exercise tonight anyway so I'll burn it off... Ugh, I don't want to eat heavy pizza and then try running... If I run after eating pizza I'll just get sick... I've already had two bites, I may as well just eat the pizza and skip exercising today... Man it would feel good to just chow down on this pizza..."

Then Willy got home, heated up some of the pizza and sat down to eat.

And that's when I cried. Not big sobbing tears. But my eyes filled up and my heart just dropped. At first the emotion was truly because I felt so deprived! How unfair that I couldn't even have a stinkin' piece of pizza without being overcome with feelings of guilt and self-loathing. And then I realized what the emotion bubbling over the surface really was. It was desperation!! Desperation to overcome this horrible addiction to food that makes me CRY about not eating pizza. It was desperation to abandon the terribly sedentary lifestyle I live and find joy in moving my body. It was desperation to keep a commitment to myself at least!! Forget the external motivators I've tried to surround myself with! I absolutely MUST keep promises that I make to myself, for goodness sake!

Desperate. I've finally reached desperate. This is apparently what it feels like to want to change more than you want to stay the same. That's always been a nice cliche. Suddenly it's like a living, breathing reality. I don't want to feel like this any more. I don't want to be controlled by food and laziness. I don't want to be held back by physical limitations that I've brought on myself. I don't want to live with constant worry and guilt regarding the lifestyle examples I'm setting for my children. I don't want to be ashamed of quitting before I've achieved my personal goals. I don't want to lie to myself or live life making excuse after excuse any more. I've reached desperate. Surprisingly, it doesn't feel terrifying. It just feels real.

Tonight I grudgingly put my sweats and shoes on. I reluctantly turned on my Couch to 5K app and got my water bottle. I dragged my feet and headed outside at 9:30 p.m. And I re-did the very first C25K training workout. And I realized that the workout which had originally made me hope for a swift death out there during my 60 second running intervals was suddenly kind of ... well... easy? Okay, okay. Not easy. But so doable! When my timer went off I thought "Oh crud. There's a glitch in the app. It can't have already been 60 seconds!" But it had been! And those 60 second intervals were so doable that I *think* I even looked like I was running, not just walking with an ever-so-slight bounce in my step! Apparently the effort I've put in over the last few weeks has actually done something.

I felt strong!

And empowered.

And apparently desperation suits me just fine. If that's what it takes to push me toward action and positive change, I'll take it. Tonight I managed to beat down my theories and excuses and just pick up where I left off a few nights ago and keep going. And I'm going to keep going.

Even if it involves crying over pizza every now and then.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Real Family Fun: Dinner Table Conversation

To keep the conversation moving at our dinner table we play a lot of question-answer type games. "Would you rather...?" is a favorite, but almost always moves into topics that are less than appealing at meal time (our boys go straight for potty humor every time.) We always ask "What was your favorite thing about the day?" and discuss. On Sundays we ask what everyone's Sunday School and Primary lessons were about.

Tonight Brady asked an interesting question that we've never fielded before. "What would you name your kids if you had two boys and two girls." Here are everyone's answers:

Boy 1: Brady
Boy 2: Jim
Girl 1: Tiffany ("Ooooh Brady! Who's Tiffany?! Is that your girlfriend?")
Girl 2: Samantha ("Whoa Brady! Brady loves someone named Samantha!")

Boy 1: Brady
Boy 2: Baby Ben (she added Baby Toby when Toby indignantly squealed "What about Toby!?")
Girl 1: Molly
Girl 2: Molly, too.

They were the only ones who took the question a bit seriously. Here are the rest of the family's answers...

Boy 1: Grandpa (so his full name would be Grandpa Campbell you know...)
Boy 2: William Danger Boy
Girl 1: Shaniaquanita
Girl 2: Sarah Plain and Tall

Boy 1: Thunder (in all fairness I think he was entirely serious about this one...)
Boy 2: Bolt
Girl 1: Molly
Girl 2: Cheese (and then he whispered encouragingly for everyone else at the table to also name their babies Cheese.)

Boy 1: Salt
Boy 2: Pepper
Girl 1: Paprika
Girl 2: (He gave up. Apparently we didn't have enough spices on the table to help him out. And there was no Paprika on the table, so I can only assume he actually got his inspiration for these name from Blue's Clues.)

Won't we have fun family reunions with little Grandpa Campbell running around and playing with Cheese? Thunder will tease Paprika, and Shaniaquanita will have to step in and break it up. Aunt Molly will have a hard time keeping her daughters Molly and Molly, Too from trying to swipe cousin Molly's Molly American Girl doll. Uncle Brady will help Brady Jr hold cousin Baby Brady. And William Danger Boy and Bolt will always be sneaking off plotting against Salt and Pepper, who get into more mischief than Sarah Plain and Tall, Jim, Tiffany and Samantha, combined.

And in case you were wondering? Apparently when you close up the baby making shop your baby naming skills also shut down. By the time it got to my turn, no one cared any more anyway. They were all laughing about Toby whispering "Cheeeeeeeeeese!! Name it Cheeeeeeeeeese!!!!"

P.S. Jeremy (Remy for short), Jeffrey, Cecily and Tierney. Sticking with our long e sound at the end of the names, of course.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Real Family Fun: B-Boy Brady!

After just three lessons in his new breakdancing class, Brady got to perform with his teacher Remedee and his class at a Dance Showcase on Saturday night at the dance studio. He's having a blast participating and even though he was still a little unsure of the choreography (three weeks people!!! just three weeks!) he was totally in his element on stage in front of the crowd. I was thrilled to see that he'd found (and mostly stuck with) the beat. He's always been a bit... ahem... rhythmically challenged so this is great improvement and I'm just so happy that he's getting to do something he's always enjoyed casually and that he's having a chance to improve on his natural skills.

Enjoy! We certainly did :)

  Getting his certification for participation:

With his B-Girl teacher "Remedee"

I wish this photo had come out clearly. This is him exiting the dance floor, all attitude and swag. Totally cracked me up.