Thursday, March 10, 2016

#40LentPrompts - Week 5

I have some new things I've been wanting to post about, relating to my weight loss and most especially about the boys' progress - Dominic in school and Christopher's therapies. Hopefully I'll do a 7 quick takes link up tomorrow!

23. How did the first part of Lent go for you? Wait, what? Lent is HALF over?! Yikes, that has gone fast. This Lent has been fruitful in ways that I didn't plan for, and of course I've failed in some of my Lenten promises. I wanted to make Daily Mass a regular part of our day during Lent, but I've definitely not hit that desire. I decided this morning that I think we should focus on a couple days a week for daily Mass. Maybe focus on Monday and Wednesday, and depending on how Christopher is doing possibly Friday evening before the soup supper. We've just thrown everything at him lately and it's a lot. He now has therapy 4 days a week, and we're kind of asking more of him. It's not just all play, but play based learning, which is super awesome, but I'm also pushing him more than I ever have. I'll definitely post more about this later, but it's caused our Lent to be fruitful in ways we didn't plan. Dominic is having to suffer a bit in that life is so focused on Christopher right now, and that's never easy; we're trying to make time for it to be all about Dominic sometimes, but that is hard as anyone with more than one child knows. This is not specific to a special needs kid, but is something that all families with more than one child has to learn. It's also been a struggle for me. Honestly, it's much easier to stay with what is comfortable; but I'm trying to liken what I'm dealing with to Christ in the desert. It would have been much easier for Him to be comfortable too, for him to give into temptation and turn those rocks into loaves. That's what I tell myself in moments of clarity, looking back at the the moment I'm usually like "ugh, why am I doing this, it's much easier to laze about and let Christopher play with his square all day!"

Check out Beth Anne's page and spread the blog love!

Friday, March 4, 2016

#40LentPrompts - Week 4

No, you didn't misread that, I missed last week. It was such a crazy week that I didn't manage to do any blogging. Then all this week, I kept thinking of doing it and posting it late, but it just didn't happen.

20. Did you attend Stations of the Cross this Lent? Yes, actually, Dominic and I have been twice. Our Parish does a Friday evening Mass at 5:30, then a soup supper, then Stations of the Cross. I tried meeting Jason there at 6pm after he went to Mass with the boys the first week, but Christopher was really not having it. That was just too much a change of routine for him. So instead now the boys and I meet Jason there after he goes to Mass, and Dominic and I stay for the soup supper and the Stations. It's been really great; I'm not sure how much is seeping in for Dominic, but I've been noticing that he picks things up without my actually forcing it on him. I don't make him stand and kneel at appropriate times, but I do make sure he is quiet.

21. How has your prayer life changed this Lent? Well, it hasn't much, honestly. I'm making an effort to say my daily prayers, but I wouldn't say I'm winning at that necessarily. I have noticed that we are doing better with our family Rosary, so that is a blessing. We do two decades with the boys, and then Jason and I finish. We are finally in a really good routine with that and the boys expect it in the evening. We have changed our homeschooling with Dominic to Seton, and I've noticed that since there is more a focus on the faith life in his lessons, I'm getting more Bible reading in, and I'm saying more prayers with Dominic. Just last week, we had to discuss sin and confession, and being sorry for our sins and we added a new simple act of contrition to his night time prayers and he has taken to it very well. The book suggested a slightly truncated Act of Contrition similar to what you say after confession, but I knew Dominic would never be able to remember that so I made one up. "Dear God, I'm sorry for my sins, please help me to be a good boy." It's really adorable to hear him say it and I think he's proud of it, because if you start to say it with him he'll say "no, just Dominic" or "my turn".

Go check out Beth Anne's post to see other Lenten posts and those other people who didn't slack last week! I know I'm going to!!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

#40LentPrompts - Week 2

I'm a little more on top of things this week since here I am doing my second Lenten link up this week!

6. What are your favorite Lent or Easter Books? I'm going to cheat a little, this is actually a booklet. We love the Magnificat Lenten and Advent companions, and we usually get the Kindle version because it is easier for us and we can share it easier. It not only offers a reflection based on the readings, but it also offers some small penance for each day. It's wonderful! I heard this year that they actually have an app, but it's only available on i-devices, so that's a no for us. ;-)

9. What almsgivings are you doing this Lent? We picked up a rice bowl from church and we are focusing on having Dominic put the change that would normally go into his piggy bank in there. We explain to him that other kids are hungry and not able to have enough to eat, and that this money will help them to be able to buy food. He acted really sad when we told him not all kids get to eat whenever they are hungry, and he's overall very sensitive so I think it touched him a bit.

10. Share this weeks Lenten meal. This is kind of another cheat. :) We are trying to make it a point to go to our Parish's Friday services that include daily Mass, then a soup supper, and then Stations of the Cross. Last week Jason went to Mass and the boys and I met him for supper, but Christopher couldn't handle Stations so we ended up leaving after the 3rd station. This week, we might let Jason do Mass and then Dominic and I can stay for the soup supper and stations, and Jason can get Christopher out of there. Neither of them eats soup anyway. ;-) So every week a different group volunteers to provide the soup and crackers and bread. Last week I had this awesome chili cheesy potato soup and the rolls they had were amazing. My group isn't volunteering until March 4th and I'm still debating between a cream of broccoli soup and this amazing tomato basil soup with ricotta dumplings that I had when I went out of town with a friend.

So, that's all I'm talking about today, go check out Beth Anne's blog and share some blog love for the other people linking up!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

#40LentPrompts- Link-Up Week 1

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm going to be linking up with Beth Anne again during Lent. She gives some great prompts that really make me want to write! Just what I need!

I'm going to do a couple this week, I might not do one for every day of the weeks, I might pick and choose. This week, I couldn't decide so I decided to do multiple ones!

1. Ash Wednesday - So on Ash Wednesday this year, Christopher woke up coughing so hard that he was gagging. I knew that one of us would have to stay home with him, and Jason volunteered. That meant that I got to focus more completely on the Mass and it was a lovely start to my Lenten season.
I was too busy trying to make sure I got my Ashes in the picture, that I didn't worry about smiling much ;-)
2. What are you doing for Lent? I went back and forth about whether or not to share what I'm giving up and promising to do, but in the end, I'm going to share just so I have a bit of accountability. So, something that I really struggle with is moderation. In food, this means that I often glut; eating past the feeling of fullness because I'm enjoying the food so much, and eating often. But I also lack moderation in other areas. If I start watching videos online of shows that I enjoy, I can easily get caught up in that and ignore most everything else. No, that doesn't mean the boys don't eat or get clean, but it has meant in the past that they also spend a lot of the day engaging in video stimulation instead of getting out and playing or playing inside. It has also meant that I've neglected some household duties. You might be thinking, well then, just don't watch videos-read a book, listen to a podcast, even an audio book. But, my lack of moderation extends there as well. So, for Lent this year I decided to give up some media consumption. I'm trying not to listen to new books, reading only at bedtime, no online videos (not even cooking ones boo hoo!), and only one podcast episode at a given time. I'm also adding in spiritual reading throughout the week, and daily Mass. We've been attending daily Mass as a family since Jason went back to working at 8AM, but if he can't go for some reason I've been allowing myself the leisure of laziness. But not this Lent! I'm going to try to take the boys by myself...tomorrow is the first time this will happen, so say a prayer for me. I've also decided (a little late) to fast on Fridays. If you're wondering if my media fasting extends to social media, it does not. I find that I'm not so entranced by Twitter and G+ that I neglect other things. That seems to be a facebook specific problem, and as I'm not on facebook anymore, I don't have this struggle right now.

Check out Beth Anne's site to see who else linked up, and join if you'd like! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I Love Food...and Other Weight Related Problems

Wow, I haven't even posted since Advent! Good thing Beth Anne is doing another link-up, this one for Lent, so I can be a bit accountable for blog posts.

So, my weight. Man have I been struggling since the last time I posted, so much so in fact that I'm not even going to go back to look up those posts. I'll start with where I've been lately. I hit a heck of a plateau at around 264 with my weight going up sometimes to 268. At 269 I made a decision, backed by Jason, to give Nutrisystem a try. I know many people think that it is a bad idea because it does not necessarily teach you how to prepare your own food. That could be argued, based on the program you choose, but that's not the reason I'm writing this blog. Personally, I found it to be exactly what I needed. I struggle with moderation in many things, and food is where this most often manifests for me. I often snack when I'm not hungry, and I frequently continue eating past the point of feeling full because I love food so much. I'll be posting a bit more about this later this week when I weigh in on one of the Lent writing prompts, so I won't delve too deep now. But, suffice it to say, learning what an appropriate amount of food is, was incredibly important for me.

So I lost weight very fast at first and then it tapered off to about ~1/2 lb-1 lb a week. I had a couple weeks that I took off, thinking I was ready, and I gained back 3 pounds. I shortly thereafter reordered my meals and I'm back on track again. I know that my long term goal is to not always eat prepared meals, so I'm thinking of postponing my next order to see how I can do on my own.

And now to the numbers. I'm going to go ahead and give my measurements here too, as it helps to give an overall idea of how things are going.

Pre-Nutrisystem                                     Now
Weight: 269                                          248.8
Neck: 15.75                                           14.75     
Chest: 43.5                                            39.75
Waist: 43                                               38
Hips: 53.5                                              49
Thigh: 27.5                                            25
Calf: 19.5                                               17.75
Bicep: 14.75                                          13.5

*Don't mind my horrible lining up there...I should have inserted a table or something, I just don't know how. 

This is actually the first time I've seen those measurements lined up besides my weight. That is some impressive loss in inches also! I have much to be proud of here, and still a long way to go. When I got my most recent shipment from Nutrisystem I saw that they changed (or I missed it before) some suggestions, and if you have more than 100lbs to lose, they have you add in a bit more food. It hit me just before I started this round, that I don't. I no longer have over 100lbs to lose. That is a huge milestone for me, it has felt like I had over 100lbs to lose for so long. I'm also light enough to jump on the trampoline now, and I'm sure many other things with a 250lb weight limit. That has seemed so insurmountable for so long, that it seems surreal to be less than that now. 

So, that's where I am. I do still have a long way to go, but I wanted to take a minute to express that I'm genuinely proud of myself. I'm working hard, and it's paying off. Continued prayers requested that his weight loss jump starts better health that ends our secondary infertility. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Advent Post #4

Oh wow! It's not only the last week of Advent, but it's only TWO days from Christmas! How exciting! I'm linking up with Beth Anne again this week, and so excited, I think she's going to do a Lent link-up too. Lots of fun, with great ideas on what to write about.

I'm going to write about a couple of the prompts, because I couldn't decide. :)

Share your favorite Christmas foods and sweets: we don't have any real traditions regarding our dinner/lunch, I'd love to start some but it's hard with Christopher's strange tastes. I remember when my brother's ex-wife called my mom asking for a recipe for Blinna pancakes which are a German version of crepes, much thicker and with yeast. They are delicious. My brother apparently told his wife that it was a tradition that we always had those for Christmas morning, and he wanted to do the same for their kids. My mom, was like "um what? Who does that much work on Christmas?!" Ha! So, we didn't have any breakfast traditions, but I remember it was usually small. Our little Spano family does have a breakfast tradition for Christmas morning, I've made it at least the last three years and plan to make them this year. My homemade cinnamon rolls, with Jason making hand whipped buttercream frosting. This is something that everyone eats! We have done various things for Christmas dinner, but this year I'm making steak, with crescent rolls, and chocolate cobbler for dessert. I'm allowing myself to cheat on Christmas from my nutrisystem plan, but even though I've been planning on this cheat all month, I have finally settled on something not so bad.

Reflect on how prayerful your Advent was or wasn't: We actually did a great job as a family this Advent. We lit our Advent wreath nearly every evening and prayed one decade of the Rosary with the boys, then Jason and I would finish the Rosary and do the Advent reading from the Magnificat  Advent Companion. We didn't do it every night, but pretty close. That's impressive for us, as we often find it hard to keep that routine, hopefully this is something that we will can continue.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Advent Post #3

Here I am, linking up again with Beth Anne. It's been my best way to make sure I actually do a blog posts, I should link up every day with someone different!

I am going to share about some of the cool Christmas experiences we are doing this year. Christopher is a part of an agency in town that helped us get his medicaid up and running, and we attended the Christmas party a few weeks ago. The really great thing was that there were no "looks" when Christopher got upset; and actually, he handled it really well and didn't even get upset. There was food, Santa, presents, and Bingo. It was a fun night!

This past weekend we took the boys to our local "Enchanted Forest" which is a park in town that has Santa's workshop as well as a train that rides all around the park stopping at different games. It was extremely cold, but the boys loved it! Dominic participated in the games and saw Santa, and Christopher was happy to ride the train the whole time with daddy. The only down side is that now whenever we go by that area in town, Christopher points that way wanting to go ride the train again.

It's hard to keep these kinds of things fun, and still honor Advent and the waiting. So we talk a lot about how we are "waiting" for it to be Jesus' birthday. I made our own Advent calendar, where Dominic is moving the lamb each day until it gets to Jesus' birthday, which he seems to really be enjoying.