Christmas Recap

Because I teach, I usually have close to a week off work before Christmas. This year though, we were in school until the 21st. This meant a fast and furious weekend for my little family. The Bug missed school on Friday because she work up around 2:30 with a fever. J stayed home with her, I can't miss the last day of the semester, and took her to the Dr. Having a sick kid is no fun any time of year, and certainly not at Christmas!

I was really looking forward to this year because she actually understood everything. She got Santa. She was worried about being naughty or nice. She asked for everything she saw a commercial for, and I do mean everything! This has not gone away now that Christmas is over either. (I've spoken with other parents including my own, and I guess this is the age where this happens!) She oohed and aahed at all the lights. She sang all the songs (starting back in OCTOBER)! Then, she got sick. My heart broke for her! All that excitement coupled with a fever, and we had a crazy little girl on our hands. Her fever did not officially break until Christmas day.

We did decide to brave a movie on Christmas Eve, a tradition we are hoping will take, but she passed out about 45 minutes into the film. When we returned home, she wanted to watch Santa on the NORAD tracker. Finally, around 9:00 I convinced her to go to sleep. We set out the cookies and the milk, checked the tracker one more time, then headed to our room to sleep.

She slept in our room the entire night. My mom and step-dad drove up that morning, and we did not want A running out on her own looking for Santa. She actually slept until 6:45 which is later than I guessed. We managed to keep her in the room until 7:00, but the minute we gave her the all clear, she came running!

Santa brought her a Barbie jeep, Despicable Me, and some magnet dolls. Her stocking had bubble bath, fake finger nails, and a few other random trinkets. She honestly bypassed everything until I put the fake finger nails on her!
They lasted about 30 minutes!

We divied up the presents, then went to work! She received a Leap Pad 2, a few games to go with it, clothes, shoes, and books. All in all, it was a great day!

Then, things started to turn. Not for us, but for my mother-in-law and mom. They are both down with the flu at the moment. When A was sick, they tested her for the flu, but it came back negative, so now that she is fever free I am worried the flu will hit. I guess it is a good thing I have another week before I return to work!!

It also snowed on Christmas Day! This is a very rare occurrence here, but I wouldn't let her go out in it until today.
We hit all the important notes: icicles, snow angles, snow ball fight, and one near slip on the ice.

I am a little sad it is already over, but I am glad we had a great day.

The Trouble With Pictures

Lately I have been feeling uninspired. I don't want to make necklaces, paint, write, or any other craft projects. Mostly, I just want to read GOMI and waste time. Is that a lack of inspiration or just pure laziness? I suspect it is laziness...I am hoping that the upcoming Winter/Christmas Break will recharge me.

I haven't formally documented my continued journey to a healthy weight in a while either. I busted out the old before/during/after outfit for a set of shots yesterday and added them to my collage.

Obviously there is a huge space between the last time I posted specifically about weight loss and today. The actual pounds dropped isn't as huge though. I am okay with it, trust me, and am currently bouncing between 5 and 7 pounds from my 30 Before 30 goal of 50 pounds. I have been bouncing there for a good month, but because it is the holiday season, I am trying to stay positive.

If I can be honest (and seeing as how this is my blog, I think I will allow it), I got really down on Sunday. My family went to Ice, the amazing ice display in Grapevine. Before you go in they take a family shot, and because I am short, I was in the front of ours. It was truly a horrible picture of me. My sweet Bug is smiling and looking at the camera, J looks cute, my sis-in-law and the others look good too. But there I was, right in front, looking like all my previously lost pounds had found their way back to me. I contrasted that picture with the (very nicely edited and tweaked) pictures my friend Chelcie took. Then I became even more upset. Why couldn't the candid and day to day pictures look like the photos she took? (And in that instance it wasn't just the weight loss. It was everything. The hair, the makeup all of it seemed better.) I have been having a difficult time reconciling the me in person with the me in pictures, for both better and worse. It is a strange thing.

I had gone a very long time either hiding in pictures or avoiding the camera all together. I have had coworkers ask me on multiple occasions why I keep posting pictures of myself now. Obviously their questions are hinting at my narcissism, which I won't flat out deny (I mean I blog about my life so clearly there is a level of that there). I usually just evade the question with a joke, but it does make me feel like a preening peacock. It is not that I think I look amazing, mostly I just think I look different. I never know what the camera is going to show me. Will I look like the girl in this picture?

Or the one in this one?
Or worse, the girl in this one?

People talk camera angles, face angles, etc, but it is hard when you are still trying to learn a new body. What is reality and what is in your head? What do I actually look like to those that see me in the real world? What do I see? I know I see the bad way more than the good. I think that is true of most people though. (I hope it isn't just me!) The top picture is the best version of me I can hope to achieve, to the point that I don't think it actually really even looks like me. The middle picture is probably the closest to how I think I look now. Big stomach roll, small squinty eyes, and a too big nose are what stand out there. The last picture is how I saw myself before, and is also the picture that set this post into motion. It was all my worries in one moment of film. Forever frozen and saved.

So why post it again? Well, partly because writing helps me work through things. If all this stays in my head, it makes the rest of my life messy. The other part comes from trying to stay honest with myself and my readers. Losing the weight won't automatically shift you to a new place. That is an emotional work that (in my case) is taking longer than the dieting.

I Can Cook

Today's post is about a week late. I swear this time of year it so busy, I can barely keep up with my normal requirements! Today's post is also not low cal. It is not low fat. It does, however, taste awesome!

Spicy Romano Chicken, or as we call it my house "Minnie-Bows".

Ingredients Needed:
  • Minnie Bows, or as the rest of the world calls them, Farfalle pasta
  • Fresh mushroom
  • Oil-packed Sun dried tomatoes
  • Minced garlic
  • Chicken
  • Hard Romano cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Cayenne pepper

Boil your water.

Saute your chicken. (I am totally lazy and use the pre-cooked kind that Target sells next to the lunch meat. I like to saute it in the pan though with some Italian seasoning and minced garlic.)

Chop your mushrooms. The whole ones are cheaper than the sliced ones, but it is all up to you.

 Add your mushrooms to the chicken. Let them saute a bit. At this point, hopefully your water is boiling. If it is, put your noodles in the water.

Grate the cheese. It really needs to be the wedge kind, not prepackaged. (You know I am telling the truth since I have no qualms about using "the cheaters chicken".) The packaged cheese will not melt as nicely, and you will have a hard time finding Romano alone. The kind we use for this is up towards the deli section with the other "fancy" cheeses.

Drain the oil from the Sun dried tomatoes. Then add the whole jar (if you love these guys the way I do, less if you don't.) of tomatoes to the same pan where your mushrooms and chicken are.
By this point, your noodles should be ready to drain. Drain them, then add them to the chicken, mushroom, tomatoes. I had to switch to the larger pot rather than just a skillet, which was poor planning on my part.

Pour in the cream. I told you this was not a low calorie meal.

Mix it up!

Add the grated cheese.

Add the cayenne pepper. Cayenne is a slow burn, so you may need to play it safe to start.

Eat! Okay, not really yet, let the sauce thicken a bit, let the flavors meld a bit, then eat. My Bug loves eating Minnie bows! It also makes my family leftovers galore.