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Monday, August 26, 2013

5 Reasons I need to lose weight

Sure, there's more than 5, but that's a good number to start with, yeah?

No matter how much wishful thinking I do, this weight doesn't lose itself.
I know, shocking, right?
So I'm back at it again.

Back in January, I started working out again and eating better.
My regime lasted until March and then I went back to being normal lazy.
Yup, I lost about 10 pounds in less than 2 months and then stopped working out.
And now 3 pounds have found me again.

But it's time. I am just not happy with myself and it's never going to change if I sit around reading and not moving enough a day.

So to motivate myself, and hopefully a few other people, here are my top 5 reasons why I need to stick with it this time and loss this extra weight.

1) I want to be healthy: Shouldn't that be at the top? I don't really like the idea of having high cholesterol, heart disease, or any of the other numerous health problems associated with being overweight.

2) I want to be a role model to my kids: It's sort of hard to lecture your children about the importance of eating right and getting enough exercise. Unless I want to be like my mother and adopt the motto "do as I say, not as I do". (Note: my mother is actually really healthy. She works out and eats almost nothing bad... which I find horribly boring and limited. She mainly used that motto when it came to driving and swearing.)

3) I want more energy: I would love to be able to run a half marathon... or even walk that far without looking for a big, fat Cherry Coke and some shade. I may never be a runner, but I'd love to have the energy to do it. I want to be able to play Tag with the kids and not quit so early.

4) I miss shopping: I haven't really bought myself any clothing in several years. I've bought a few shirts here and there but nothing else. I want to but then I think "if I lose weight in the next few months, I will have wasted money on these new items and they'll just head to Goodwill". So I just don't buy anything. BUT I WANT TO. And Fall will be here soon which means the jeans come back out. I had one pair that still fit right but they are no longer with us. I wore them so much, the material actually started to wear out and they just died at the end of this past winter. RIP, favorite 7 Jeans.

5) I want my confidence back: At one point in my life, I weighed between 130-135 pounds. I felt better about myself then and I miss that feeling. I want to be okay with my husband taking my picture on trips. I am making the kids photo books for this summer and I'm not in a single photo. Not one. (At Disney last summer, I had PhotoPass photos taken... and let's just say that Momma wasn't happy with the photos when they were uploaded and almost became a drinker. Also, wearing white just made me look even wider.)

I am updating the weight info when it changes in my Rocky Road to Healthy tab at the top of the page. I am honest about it... even if I don't like it.

Am I alone in this weight loss hell?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Up in the Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains, that is.

On the way home from Hilton Head in June, we detoured through Knoxville and headed into the Smoky Mtns. Our destination: Gatlinburg, TN.

I have been to Gatlinburg many times, due to its close proximity to my hometown of Chattanooga. Driving to Gatlinburg takes less than 2 hours and there's a lot to do there so it's a popular spot for vacations.

Last April, I took my husband there for the first time.
This year, it was time to take the kids.

There are 2 places that make up the area where the tourists flock into... Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
Pigeon Forge is at the foot of the mountain, the entrance to the Smoky Mtns. National Park.
Gatlinburg is 5 miles up into the mountains.
There is a ton to do in both places.

Pigeon Forge has the outlet stores, bungee jumping, go cart tracks, shopping, restaurants, motels, water parks, music halls, variety shows, Wonderworks, and Dollywood.
You could easily spend a few days there and never do the same thing twice.

Gatlinburg is where we usually stay. Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies is there and it's a great aquarium. (Eventually, I'll have the pics from the aquarium on here and you can see the shark tunnel which is awesome. I'm getting to them.)

Gatlinburg has shops, restaurants, putt putt, Ripley's Believe or Not, Guinness Museum, a car museum, a chair lift that goes up the mtn, and candy shops. Oh, the candy shops.
I can get my favorite, a chocolate caramel covered apple at Aunt Mahalia's. I love them.
And the best foot long corn dogs, Ogle Dogs. Oh, heaven.
If you ever get to Gatlinburg, stop by the Atrium Pancake House and get your breakfast on. It's open until 2pm each day and they have such wonderful food.

But if you drive right up the parkway in Gatlinburg, you can drive right up the mountain (all the way up) and you can come back down in North Carolina. And the views are just beautiful.

Like this:

The photos above were all taken at Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. And it's beautiful.
Also, it's about 10-15 degrees cooler on any given day. The day we were up there, it was right around 82 in Pigeon Forge, 79 in Gatlinburg, and 65 up at the Dome. It felt wonderful.

Back in Gatlinburg, there is a fun place for movie/car buffs. 
The Hollywood Star Cars Museum was a little more fun for the adults since our kids haven't seen most of the movies that have a car in the museum. But they still liked it.

In the middle: My husband being a dork in the Flintstone's car
Cars from top left, then clockwise:
Button in the Flintstone car, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Charlie's Angels, Batman, Jurassic Park, Peanut in the Flintstone car, Knight Rider, Twister, Beverly Hillbillies, Smokey and the Bandit, and The Munsters Dragula.

I LOVED Knight Rider when I was a kid. And the movies are favorites of mine, too.

There are more cars at the museum, including a cars that belonged to MJ, Elvis, and Dolly. Also, I think there was a Bond car.

Back in Pigeon Forge, we took the kids to Wonderworks. That place is crazy. You could spend an entire day in there and not do everything. There are more than 100 exhibits to try out. Also, when it's hot outside, that air conditioner feels like heaven.

From Wonderworks:

Top left: The outside of the building
Top right: The ceiling in the entrance
Middle right: Button playing with large bubbles
Bottom right: Space Walk
Bottom middle: The kids loved this. You stand in front of a screen and press different buttons on the wall that distort your body.
Bottom left: Peanut trying to make a big bubble

Last but never least.....
There are no Krispy Kreme doughnut places in MN.
(I know, it's a tragic thing.)
But in the south? Oh yeah.

The kids had never had what is basically heaven sent doughnuts so we had to fix that.
And of course, we made sure the Hot Doughtnuts now sign was flashing.

Here are the kids and their reactions to the deliciousness:
 Peanut gives them a thumbs up!

 Button looks like she may pass out from happiness.

And now all I can think about is food.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Happy Place

Back in June, we took off for a family vacation in South Carolina.
It was the first time the kids had ever been to Hilton Head Island, one of my most favorite places to vacation and relax.

Hilton Head Island is a small island, about 40 square miles total. It's about 30 miles from Savannah, GA and it's so different from other vacation spots in South Carolina.
Where Myrtle Beach, SC is a jumping place and full of lights and activity, Hilton Head is really quiet.
Most businesses, even fast food joints, blend in with the scenery.

There's no neon shining at you while driving across the island, even on the main highway.
Hell, there's almost NO light shining at you. It's dark at night.
Really dark.
There's a road that is found in the plantation that we stay that is almost pitch black at night.
I love taking first time visitors to the island and driving them down that road at night.
If no cars are coming, you can kill the lights on the car and hear them gasp at how they cannot see anything. Nothing. (I biked that road at night when I was younger. The only light was from a car driving by. It never dawned on us to use flashlights, I guess.)

Almost everything closes by 10pm on the island. I think one grocery store stays open until midnight but the others are closed and dark right after 10.
The liquor stores close at 7pm.
Most of the restaurants are deserted by 11.
Because it's a family destination.
Everywhere you look, moms and dads tote around children of all ages.
You see them biking, walking, swimming, shopping, and eating wherever you look.

I love it there.
When I was younger, I spent so much of my time riding my bike with a friend to Harbor Town, where we could shop in our favorite store, walk around the marina, and climb the steps up to the lighthouse.
We would also listen to a man named Gregg Russell sing each night under the giant oak tree. (He's been singing in Harbor Town for over 30 years.)

Now that I am older, I find that my favorite part of the vacation is sitting out on the giant screened-in porch. It's got a ceiling fan to combat the heat, it's secluded, and there's a set of speakers out there so that you can listen to 80's and 90's music from cable.
Also, we sit on the most amazing chairs. Ever.

Yes, my kids are nuts. Yes, they wanted to be 'trapped' by daddy. And yes, those chairs are huge.
And so comfortable. It's a good bet that I'll nap on one at some point during the day, especially after swimming. Almost everyone that's stayed at the house and used the chairs has napped happily.
It's just that nice and peaceful out there.

Other than taking it easy, we eat.
Some of my favorite restaurants are on that island.
Frankie Bones is fantastic. If you are ever in HH or Ashville, NC, you should go eat there. Delicious!
And I love the decor. It's very old school Vegas... overly large booths, nice bar. And they will bring S'mores to your table for dessert. The kids LOVED that.

Marley's Island Grille is also a favorite. They have a crab cake dinner that I would eat everyday if I could get away with it. Attached to the restaurant is Marley's Ice Cream, handmade each day. he flavors are always different.

Wreck of the Salty Dog is in South Beach Marina Village, a place that's great even if you don't stop to eat. No matter where you are in the country, you've probably seen a Salty Dog shirt on someone you know or someone you saw out one day. I have several. (Note: Salty Dog Cafe in HH is TOTALLY different than the Salty Dog Surf Shop.)

And my most favorite...ever.
Giuseppi's Pizza in Sea Pines: It's a tiny, family run place. Did I mention that it's tiny? There are 3 booths inside and 3 or 4 tables. Outside on the patio, there are a few more booths.
They make a killer philly cheesesteak and great pizza.
But the best part of eating there?
Skinny Stix.
It's so simple: pizza dough topped rubbed with garlic and butter, topped with mozzarella and provolone cheeses. Simple yet one of the best things that I have ever eaten. I have taken many people to Giuseppi's over the years and they all fall in love with the Stix.
(Note: This Giuseppi's is in Sea Pines. There is a Giuseppi's outside of Sea Pines that has nothing to do with the other. Owned by totally different people and the menus are not the same.)

I love it there. While on the island, stress is just a word in a dictionary.
I swim, I eat, I shop, I nap. Every single day.

I'll end this post with a collage of kid pics from their first trip to the island.

Large pic: Button and Peanut at the top of the light house in Harbor Town.
Small pics, starting from the bottom left:
1) Ready for dinner a the Wreck
2) Peanut eating S'mores at Frankie Bones
3) Button eating S'mores
4) My husband playing with food at Marley's. (That's a lemon in his mouth.)
5) Ready for dinner at Frankie Bones
6) Being 'normal' in the vacation van
7) Peanut chilling in the van, loving sitting in the 3rd row.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

We Finally Came Home

Hey all!
I am finally getting around to getting photos edited and watermarked for the blog. Yay!

We traveled down south 2 times this summer, once in June and again in early August. 
Our destination was Hilton Head Island, SC. It's near Savannah... at the southern tip of South Carolina.

I started vacationing there with my family when I was around 8 years old.
Years later, I started going with my friends.
Once I met my husband, we started vacationing there once a year, in the summer, without the kids. It was our 'alone time'.

And now, we are starting the tradition of taking our kids to the island.
Boy, did they love it.
But then... how can you not?
It's quiet. It's peaceful. And really family friendly.

You can bike across the entire island, swim in the ocean, tan on the beach, play golf, play tennis, eat great food, walk 114 steps up to the top of a lighthouse, take a dolphin tour, kayak, canoe, ride jet ski's, and so much more.

Although, we basically just ate, swam in the pool, and napped on the screened porch. LOL.

Hopefully, I'll have most of the photos edited tomorrow.
But I'll leave you with the photos that I took on the way to the island.
(I have a thing for sunsets. And driving through flat, open areas like Iowa and Illinois is a sunset lovers dream.)

Do you see the face in the top right photo? Let me know if you do!