Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas Meatloaf was a hit! As I mentioned in my post below, our Christmas plans were changed a little and at the last minute I ended up having to make dinner for just the two of us, well three if you count the dog but he only ate the meatloaf, he's not a fan of green bean casserole. Dinner wound up being really great. So great in fact that we had a repeat of it last night!

My meatloaf turned out delicious but I still have not mastered how to cook meatloaf for just two people. This thing was the size of Texas and fed us for 2.5 meals (and even then we had larger than life portions). My twiced baked potatoes were delightful. Marco had never had them before and I think it's something he'll be requesting again. It was the perfect mix of potato, sour cream, cheese and spices, topped with crumbled bacon and baked to perfection. It was also the first time Marco had green bean casserole and it was tasty as well. Simple is good sometimes.

Things that didn't shape up so nicely were a bit of a blessing in disguise I think...the desserts. Half of my Lemon Thumbprint cookies were ruined due to a bitter jam I used. There were only about 15 cookies that were left edible out of the whole batch and I'm pretty sure that over the course of the last few days I have been responsible for eating at least 10 of those 15. Bad Sarah, good cookies.

I didn't make the lemon tart after all. It just seemed redundant after the lemon cookies. I did, however, quickly whip up the oreo cheesecake truffles. It was quite a sight and that's not a good thing.

The recipe is simple, crush Oreos, blend with a package of cream cheese, form into balls, dip into melted chocolate and let cool. Simple right? I decided to skip the dipping in chocolate part mostly out of laziness but also due to time constraints. I crushed, mixed and rolled into walnut sized balls, dropped onto a plate and put them in the fridge to chill. After a few hours I took a peek and almost tossed my cookies, quite literally. Crushed chocolate cookies mixed with white cream cheese makes a lovely grey colored lump. The "truffles" looked more like old, dried out, grey, moldy meatballs. Who would even take one of those to try them? I decided maybe it wasn't too late to save the truffles so I melted some chocolate and rolled the lumps of death around in it, coating them thoroughly. I will admit they at least look edible now but after trying just one, they're not really all that good. So now I have an entire plate of them in my fridge and I just need to throw them out but it seems like such a waste of good ingredients. Oreos here are expensive I guess because they're an American product and cream cheese, well it's not expensive but it's just such a waste. Not wanting to "waste" food is no reason to pack on the unneeded calories though so tomorrow I'll toss them.

So food wise I didn't do nearly as badly as I had imagined this holiday season. Next year we hope to spend Christmas in the good ole US of A so I'll have plenty of opportunity to eat fantastic food cooked by somebody other than myself! I'm thinking some Christmas pizza a-la-my dad's fabulous recipes and maybe something on the gwill with Keith and Josher? Leave it to an (ex) food addict to already be planning for Christmas dinner(s) 2008!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Everybody!

(my spell check isn't working so pardon any errors you may find... okay you WILL find)

It's 9:11 am Christmas morning in Amsterdam. Like a couple of kids Marco and I couldn't wait until this morning to exchange our gifts so there's really not much for us to wake up and get excited over today. So I'm just sitting here drinking a cup of coffee, listening to my Riverdance soundtrack and waiting for sleeping beauty to decide to wake up and join me.

Christmas is a little different here than my experiences in the US. At home we celebrate Christmas Eve just as much as we do Christmas day. Here they celebrate Christmas day and what is called '2nd Christmas Day' (or Boxing day in Australia) which is basically just the day after Christmas. With no big plans, Christmas Eve was spent on the new couch snuggling up watching Christmas movies and drinking some (gross) hot chocolate.

Christmas day we had planned on going to my friend Alexandra's house for to have dinner together and celebrate the holiday and then 2nd Christmas day we would spend with Marco's parents and family. Well Alexandra called me yesterday to tell me she's very sick and that we probably shouldn't come for Christmas! What a downer but I'm really glad she warned us because, being pregnant, (and actually any time) I want to stay as healthy as possibly which means staying as far away as possible from Alexandra today. That also meant that I was going to have to figure out what to make for Christmas dinner for the two of us. Ugh. The plan was for Alexandra to make the main course and I'd bring some sides and dessert.

I braved the chilly weather and headed to the grocery store which was an absolute zoo. I have never seen it so packed with people. Some were friendly but some were just downright rude. I didn't need much so I didn't get a cart, just grabbed a little basket. Even with just me and my basket I could barely fit down the aisles without bumping into people and knocking things over. By time I found what I needed I was pissed off, pushed around, stepped on and just plain old irritated.

After all the grocery store hustle and bustle the Aarssen's are having some Merry Christmas Meatloaf for their main course. Yeah, I know it's not Christmas-y but we hardly ever have meatloaf and Marco and I both like it, it was fast and easy to grab and get the hell out of there. I'm also making twice baked potatoes, greenbean casserole, lemon thumbprint cookies, oreo cheesecake truffles and a lemon tart. Yes, there is just two of us but there was originally supposed to be 5 of us and I already have all the stuff to bake. I did leave out the sweet potato casserole so I have scaled back slightly. Plus I love baking. It's definately my weight loss downfall (one of them!) Most of the desserts are for Marco's parents house but I have a feeling the scale is not going to be so kind as it has been the last couple of weeks. Can I blame it on the baby? Probably not but will that stop me, probably not!

I must have been a really great girl for Christmas this year because I was given some really great gifts. Sunday we went and saw Riverdance (this was my birthday present) and it was fabulous. It was the 4th time (2 times Riverdance, 1 time Lord of the Dance) I had seen it and this was by far the absolute best one yet. They had live music, not a soundtrack, and it was just amazing. We had excellant seats and it was a breathtaking show. I already have the DVD but Marco Claus got me the soundtrack to listen to as a gift. It's been playing non stop ever since. I also got a new coat and hat. Marco and I got some DVD's to finish off our Seinfeld collection as well as some Christmas movies and some classics like On Golden Pond.

We also bought some new stuff for the house for Christmas gifts. We got the hall table we'd been wanting. We bought a new rug for the living room. We bought a new kitchen faucet (because I hated the old one). We bought other things that I just can't think of now but our house is definately feeling more like a home and not 'a new house that was just moved into'. We're still looking for some great wall art. I have my heart set on buying an original Greetje Feenstra (click on 'bloem' and then 6 to see the one I love) who is a local Dutch artist who paints tulips and landscapes but haven't found "the one" yet. We went through the open art market on Sunday and I found another local artist that I loved. His name is Paulo Ferreira and I just couldn't quit looking at his work. It's not very often that I see art and really am drawn to it, I just don't have the ability to really appreciate it I think, but with Greetje and now Paulo, their art does that 'oh wow' thing to me.

So that's our Christmas in a nutshell. Okay so a very large nutshell. It's to keep those rabid squirrels away, really it is. I wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season and I hope you have a wonderful and safe New Years and be healthy (well as healthy as you can when there are oreo cheesecake balls and lemon tarts to be dealt with)!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

So with all the uterine drama this week I missed my weigh-in once again. I guess better late than never. I hopped on the scale this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see that I've maintained again from last week (and the week before). Not bad, not bad at all.

As I've discovered time and time again... you can't plan your life out. If you do you'll only be frustrated when you're trying to turn a hard left and life is dead set on spinning you out to the right. I've learned to go with the flow a little more and not stress over things that are pretty much out of my hands.

So I can't exercise every evening because I'm in bed at 8:30 (would be in by 8 but they're re-running Seinfeld and I just can't miss it no matter how many times I've seen them). So what. Right now I just can't do it. There is no use in beating myself up over it. I'll play catch up in the second trimester.

So I can't sleep through the night because I wake up with my stomach growling and some wee-morning nauseousness and have to get up to have a small snack even though it's 3am. Yeah, I'm not usually an after dinner snack-er but this is an unusual situation and calls for an unusual solution for the time being. Am I going to wake up at 3 am after pregnancy for a feeding? Yes, but it won't be my belly I'll be filling. It's a temporary thing and I just have to live with it for now.

One "duh!" moment did come to me as I was laying in bed last night. I am having to eat about every hour, hour and a half, just something small, to keep the queasiness away. It's no big deal, I have some low calories snacks with me at all times for these instances. What this does mean is that I'm eat a lot more often but a lot less at one sitting...except for my meals. I didn't realize (and don't ask me why) that even though I was eating more often, at my main meals I was still eating the same amount when really I should be cutting these meals down to smaller sizes because I am eating more frequently during the day. So starting today I had a smaller lunch and a smaller size dinner. Breakfast was small to begin with so cutting back on that isn't possible. This downsizing should help stave off the weight gain and maybe even slide the scale down in the negative direction a pound or two. I can't believe I didn't notice it (or think of it) sooner. Okay everybody...say it with me.... DUH!!!!

Hopefully I'm not the only one out there in weight loss land living and learning by their mistakes. This is a learning process that's for sure... sometimes I surprise myself at the stuff I still have to learn!

I hope you're all having success in staying away from the Christmas goodies (or at least eating them in moderation) and I wish you all a healthy week!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Meet my uterus (not for the squeemish)

I went to the doctor today because I'd been having some bleeding. I mentioned it a few posts ago when I talked about my sonogram. Well the bleeding happened on Thursday. We had our sonogram on Friday and everything was a-okay. The woman said my cervix looked irritated which could be causing the bleeding, possibly I had a yeast infection. Fine.

Saturday my peeved cervix was in a mood and I had some bright red blood again and a little bit on Sunday. I was still having some itching/burning so figured I'd call the doctor this morning even though there was no blood.

I went to my GP (you don't get an obgyn here unless you're high risk, you get a midwife and mine had yet to call me back) and she took a look. She told me she saw something "coming out of my uterus that looked like dead tissue but didn't look like a fetus either". Not something a pregnant woman wants to hear. She said she didn't feel comfortable making the call as this wasn't her area of expertise and wanted to send me to a gynecologist immediately. She wrote up a little description of why she was sending me and all I had to do was read the words "threatening miscarriage" and I was a basket case. I was there alone as I told Marco he didn't have to come because I was sure it was nothing. Good thinking Sarah. She made the appointment for me and sent me on my way.

We got to the hospital/gyno and waited for an eternity. I held it together in the waiting room but as soon as I was in the little room I broke down bawling. I was shaking like a leaf and just so scared I was going to lose this little one. A few pats on the back from the doctor and Marco and I stripped down to start the show. They immediately did an ultrasound and we could clearly see on the monitor that the baby was fine. The heartbeat was strong and it was moving around like crazy (I'm 9 weeks today according to ultrasounds). I couldn't believe how much the baby had changed since just Friday. He/she grew another 1.7 millimeters! What.a.relief. ANTM's second photo shoot was a great success.

Satisfied that the baby was safe she continued her search mission. She said that what had wasn't dead tissue it was a polyp and it was irritated. I'm really over things in my lower half being so bitchy all the time. Perk up uterus, it's Christmastime. She said as soon as she touched the polyp it started bleeding which was the blood that I was seeing not at all related to the pregnancy.

So she tried to remove it, thinking it would be easy or maybe it was loose (I guess this is what she was thinking) but couldn't get it. She then consulted other doctors and decided to leave it for now. They want me to come back so they can check and see if it has any malignant cells and will decide then if they will try to remove it or not. They don't know how far into my body is goes and are afraid it may extend to where it cold put the baby at risk if removed.

I've never had any problems like this and am totally in the dark. What's a polyp anyway? What causes it? What are the chances that it is/isn't cancerous? I asked her if it was common in pregnancy and she said no, which wasn't what I expected to hear. I expected and wanted was a cheery "oh yeah sure, it happens all the time, it's totally normal."

Good news, baby is fine. Whew. I have to go back either this Friday or on the 4th to get the polyp looked at again where the will determine if it's anything to be worried about and if it is cancerous or not and if they will remove it or let it be. So much for an uneventful pregnancy for me. I'm off to google polyps in pregnancy and scare the bejesus out of myself.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Teppanyaki yum!

We had our Legal Department Christmas dinner on Friday at a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. It's one of those places where you're seated around an enormous grill and the chef prepares your meal right in front of you. Our department is small, only eight of us, so this kind of meal is really great for us. It was my first time at such a place and what a spectacular time it was!

Let me start by saying that I just never know what to order at these types of places. I want to try everything so browsing the menu is always takes a painstakingly long time. The "menus" always look enticing, where you order #1 or #4 and get all 7 courses (or however many there are). Then you look at the "al la carte" menu and you want to try little bits and pieces of those menu items too. You also don't know what size portions they're going to be serving so you don't want to over order but you don't want to short change yourself either, especially when it's on the company's tab!

I ended up ordering one of the pre-made "menus" and it was great choice. My starter was a piece of chicken, a piece of egg/omelet and some anchovy salad thing that I didn't eat. When I say "a piece of chicken" that was literally what it was, a bite size piece of chicken. It was delicious but I always wonder if these sort of portions are more of a tease than anything. I mean if I really fell in love with that chicken I couldn't even have another piece.

Then my second course came out as my colleagues who ordered al la carte still sat without food. It was "clear soup" as stated on the menu. I was curious as to what clear soup was going to be because really, isn't clear soup just a bowl of hot water? Otherwise wouldn't you call it "beef broth" or "chicken stock" or something... not just clear soup? My clear soup had a piece of carrot, a button mushroom and a piece of boiled pork in it. The soup was indeed clear but definitely not just a bowl of hot water. It was tasty, a bit on the salty side and hit the spot.

Then the magic began as the chef started preparing all of the other food on the grill. It was amazing to see him behead so many prawns (jumbo shrimp in the US, I think) in such a short amount of time. Seriously, one second there are little eyes looking at you and the next minute... swoosh... it was gone! He was a whiz with the extremely sharp knife and in no time those guys were grilled up and served on a side of grilled cabbage/veggie mix. I didn't have any prawns but they sure smelled wonderful.

The cooking of the fried rice before your eyes was really kind of cool. I never realized how much work actually went into making a bowl of fried rice but it's a lot more complicated than I imagined.

My next dish was part of my main course. I had grilled salmon and grilled ______ (insert name of the fillet of white fish that I can no longer think of the name of at this time) and they were both perfectly seasoned and great tasting. I have never been a fan of salmon in the past, it was always too "fishy" tasting for me but I decided to be open minded about it and I was really glad I was. It wasn't too fishy at all and is quite good for you! This part came with a side of cabbage/sprout/veg mix that was okay but nothing to write home about. It also had some grilled zucchini, mushrooms and grilled white onions which were a perfect compliment to the rest of the dish. The zucchini was so delicious and I couldn't figure out why. I watched him cut it, grill it and season it and there didn't seem to be a trick but I know my zucchini never tastes that good.

Then I had a bowl of 5 veggie salad with sesame dressing that was really great. The veggies were all julienned so I'm not quite sure what the mix was but it was a nice salad. Just enough to leave you satisfied.

Next (yeah, we weren't done yet!) came my steak which was so tender and tasty. It came with a side of steamed white rice and I think some more veg. I enjoyed every single bite of it and tried all of the sauces available and liked every single one.

Lastly came the "grand dessert" as stated on the menu. I was expecting something tall, dripping with chocolate, whipped cream, possibly on fire with a name like "grand dessert" but it was actually pretty ordinary. It was slices of fruit (pineapple, melon) with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop (European scoops are WAY WAY smaller than an American scoop... one scoop is probably a tablespoonful here) of very yummy cherry sorbet, and a tiny slice of what they call here "cheesecake" but is nowhere near what cheesecake is to me. It was all very good though and after all of the other food I ate I really didn't need a mountain of flaming chocolate/fudge/carmel/toffee/cake whatever it was I had pictured in my head.

The whole meal took a whopping 3 hours but it was well worth every minute of it. I was in great company with great food, my tummy was satisfied, not overly stuffed, what I ate was healthy and I didn't gorge myself. I got to experience a type of dining that I've never experienced before and I look forward to doing it again! I highly recommend checking out a teppanyaki restaurant near you!

Friday, December 14, 2007

America's Next Top Model had his/her 1st Photoshoot!

For those who don't know why I refer to ANTM (so I don't sound do stinkin pretentious) I'll give you a little background. Wwhile we were dealing with our infertility issues Marco would always tell me after every appointment, every procedure, every failure, every success "you're one step closer to becoming the mommy of America's Next Top Model". I'm a huge fan of the show, haven't missed a season so it was fitting. It's been our running joke to lighten the IF load ever since.

So this morning we had the first photo shoot (ultrasound) with our little pumpkin and it went SO WELL! The baby is measuring 8 weeks 4 days (I thought I was 8w1d) so we're an early over achiever! The heartbeat was strong and beautiful and I am so relieved to have seen him/her. I had had some worrisome spotting this week and it was just great so see that baby is doing just fine. (The bleeding/spotting has since stopped). She did say my cervix looked "irritated' which could be the cause of my bleeding. I don't know what pissed my cervix off, but I hope it stops being so irritated with me soon, it scared the hell out of me!

So we're all a-okay! The baby looked more like a grey blob with a squiggly smaller blob attached and a little pulse but it was the most perfect blob of greyness that I could ever have wished for. WOOHOO!

We're one step closer to becoming the parents of America's Next Top Model! YAY!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No more, no less

That's what my weigh-in proved. I didn't lose any from last week but I didn't gain any either. I'm actually surprised that I didn't lose a little as I've (finally) been a bit nauseated over the past 4 or 5 days, off and on and haven't had much of an appetite. I've cleaned up my diet a bit more than I had been in the past weeks as well, adding in more veggies, more fruits, less bread, less cheese.

I haven't been sleeping well through the nights, up peeing 3 and 4 times, so that's made me unusually cranky (I'm generally a breath of fresh air, really I am) and sleepy in the evenings. If I stay awake past 9 it's a miracle. This cuts into the time where I would usually be exercising. I did manage one workout this week but that's nothing compared to what I was doing in the past. I'm not going to beat myself up about it quite yet. The second trimester is around the corner and according to what I've been reading my energy levels should be up then as well. I'll play catch up then.

In other news, we have our first sonogram on Friday and we're totally excited. I'll feel so much better after we see the heartbeat (not that I feel bad now, but you know what I mean) and it's just exciting.

I hope you have a healthy week!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Wildly Snoozing

After another wacky night of dreaming I decided I had to start saving these things. I've begun a second blog to log my strange dreams. I've named it Wildly Snoozing and you can check it out here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Now THAT's my kind of eating! (Negative Calorie Foods)

I just read a great article that was emailed to me and wanted to pass it along to you guys.

You can read the article Negative Calorie Foods: 15 Foods That Actually Burn More Calories Than They Contain here and feel free to post it on your blogs as well.

The great thing about this article is that I love most of the items on there and quite a few of them are already in my daily intake. I was surprised to see oranges and strawberries on there. Those are two of my favorite fruits and I have one or two of them every day. (I've been on a orange kick since finding out I am pg).

Carrots were another one that shocked me. You always here about how carrots a one of the carb veggies and should be eaten in smaller amounts than other veggies so I'm glad to see that I don't have to worry about the few sticks I have in the afternoons for snack. (not that I really worried). I could be wrong here but I think Atkins diet even asks you to avoid carrots for a bit of time. I believe you would have to be eating raw carrots to actually get the negative calorie effect though.

So take a looksie at the list and next time you're choosing a snack you'll have a good idea of which foods will help you best. Have a healthy day everybody!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I totally forgot to weigh in yesterday. Geesh you get off the scale for a few weeks and it all goes down the drain, doesn't it? I did hop on the scale this morning though. The last time I weighed in, the day I got my big fat positive pregnancy test, November 15, 2007, a day forever etched in my mind as one of the best most exhilarating days of my life, I was 105.3 kilos or 231.66 pounds. So in the last few weeks my weight has gone up to 106.6 kilos or 234.52, a gain of a little under 3 pounds.

I'm still bloated, especially my cankles, but I put the blame where it really belongs... vacation eating. Three pounds is more than manageable to get back off but really I ought not to put on anymore and in fact can safely continue to lose.

Lets get serious for one minute. I'll be 7 weeks pregnant tomorrow and as of week 6 the baby starts sharing what I'm eating. This means I have to be on my bestest behavior. As I'm not having any pregnancy symptoms at all (besides sore breasts but that's easy to forget if you're not constantly feeling yourself up, which I've been trying to stop doing) sometimes it's easy to forget this. I do want to make a better effort to remember that our little pumpkin seed needs a balanced day chalk full of nutrients. Cup-o-soup and a cheese toastie isn't exactly chalk full of anything but sodium and fat (well calcium as well I guess).

On a less serious note I have been having some wickedly weird dreams, which I've read is normal throughout your pregnancy. This is not to say I didn't have wacky dreams to begin with but these ones are extremely vivid and more than a tad bit disturbing. I'm contemplating starting another blog just to log my pregnancy dreams. One of the most recent ones I had while in Brugge included me thinking I was going to miscarry only to find Marco had a special flashlight that could see into my belly. When he shined the light on my stomach I could see our little girl (she was a girl in the dream, we don't know if we're having a girl) in there sitting on a little three legged stool in a cotton sundress drawing on a board. Everything was kind of a peach color and her face wasn't defined or anything. She did have little wispy chicken hair on the top and sides of her head. When she spotted the light Marco was shining at her she turned her little head to us (actually it was kind of a big alien type of head), smiled and waved real big, as if to tell me she was okay. Then I woke up. Yeah... what did I smoke before bed?

So okay. This week I am concentrating on really excellent nutrition, getting in some exercise that doesn't raise my heart rate too high (I have a problem with this as my heart rate goes into the 160/170 range rather easily) and laying off the hallucinogens before bedtime.

I hope you all have a great and healthy week!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Vacation takes it's "Toll"

This is our last day of vacation and it's been a wonderful week off together. I don't know how wonderful it's been on my waistline though. We did walk tremendous lengths while in Brugge and actually since we've been back in Amsterdam we've done quite a bit of walking too but I don't know if the exercise has "outweighed" the food intake.

There is just something about vacation that makes you want to be bad, isn't there? If it's not food-on-the-go then it's "I don't feel like cooking" syndrome that gets ya. I've given into both of these scenarios all to often this week, I know. I just keep telling myself, "next week we'll be back to normal and I'll be so much better" and I really do think it will be.

Last night was the great crescendo of thoughtlessness to really finish off our vacation with a BANG! (or it's probably sounding more like a PLOP!). Just three little words is all you need to read to know exactly what I mean.

Nestle. Toll. House.

Yeah, last night I decided to play Suzie Homemaker and baked some chocolate chip cookies (made with Belgium chocolate chips of course). We all know how that goes. You make the dough. You about make yourself sick from eating raw dough but it's just so good. You start to bake the cookies. You have to taste one fresh out of the oven even if it does burn the hell out of your mouth. You try to recreate the visions your remember from the commercials as a child with the warm cookie stretching, oozing out the chocolaty goodness. It takes a couple cookies to get it "just so" but eventually the resemblance in uncanny.

You bake another batch and repeat the burning of the mouth ritual. You really make yourself sick eating them. By time the last batch is in the oven you're praying to the porcelain God that you just make it through the night and you swear you're not going to touch another cookie. The site of the batter bowl makes you dry heave as you clean up the kitchen.

The remaining cookies slide into their cookie container to taunt you the next day. You're weak from the severe drop in blood sugar and decide you'll have just one. You have it for breakfast and that familiar sick feeling comes back to your belly. Now what in the world are you going to do with all these freaking cookies? Nestle Toll House. Great. Idea. Sarah.

So that's the demon I'm facing today. If anything, they'll go in the trash can. I think I can take them to work tomorrow for "Monday Morning Tea" but is it fair to subject my colleagues to the same torture that is Toll House? Sure it is!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

We're back from Brugge

We're back and we're better than ever! Well, we're actually back and pretty much the same as we were before we went but alas, we're back. Our trip was so much fun. It was relaxing. It was exactly what we needed.

Click the link to see the pictures we took while we were there. Unfortunately shutterfly ate most of my commentary so I'll repeat it here!

The first twelve or so pictures are from the awesome Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival. It was AMAZING. It was probably one of the coolest things I've seen in my lifetime. If any of the readers that are in Europe can get to Brugge I highly recommend it. I think it will continue on until January and I really just can't say enough great things about it. It was probably the highlight of my trip. Unfortunately we ran out of batteries halfway through the exhibit so didn't get to take pics of everything (stop rolling your eyes, it's not like we meant to!). You didn't get to see the gi-normous ice slide that we got to go down or the ice bar where we warmed up with some hot chocolate. It was seriously fabulous.

The next group is just different pictures of the unique buildings in the city. I think we've captured the cuteness of the city and all of the old, sweet buildings. When the city is quiet at night I swear that I'm on a movie set, not in a real city. It's something that you just have to experience to really fully appreciate I think.

They are all ready to celebrate Christmas in Brugge and have their open Christmas market up and running along with an open outdoor ice skating rink. Neither Marco or I can ice skate so we didn't make fools of ourselves but everybody else seemed to be having a ball. We saw a great fire/juggling/comedy act in the streets one evening but only got one really good picture of one of the fire guys.

Pay close attention to the lone Christmas Tree picture. If you look hard you can see there is snow falling from it! The tree sits in an umbrella that has a vacuum that sucks the little "snow" balls shooting it out of the top of the tree again so there is a constant snowfall.

Then you have more pictures of the city, buildings, neat trees and canals. Finally we finish up with some pictures of me at the Diamond Museum (the nutcracker looking guy is a robotic diamond making machine, the only working on in the world according to the museum) and the Chocolate Museum (complete with shot of chocolate boobs).

The last picture is us celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary with a nice quiet dinner in a cozy restaurant. The dinner was perfect up until the waiter spilled my hot chocolate all over my leg. Of course he apologised profusely but oddly enough he didn't take anything off of the bill to make up for it! Yes, we even paid for the spilled drink! Now I was expecting a free meal but when you spill a drink on somebody (a CHOCOLATE drink that could stain, at that) don't you usually offer to not make them pay for at least THAT drink? It was odd but what can you do. It was a great meal and we had a wonderful time so it was worth the chocolate leg.

We did enjoy some Belgian chocolate but not until yesterday. I'm fairly certain that in the small window of time I had to eat the chocolate yesterday I've eaten my share for the year! We bought some beautiful lace/flower doily type things which, unbeknowst to me, Belgium is also famous for. Overall it was just a wonderful trip, we had a fabulous time and we highly recommend that you see Brugge if you're ever in the neighborhood!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Look out we come!

Monday, the 27th of November is our 3rd wedding anniversary so I thought I'd surprise my husband with a little surprise getaway. I've been looking into trips and such for months now and decided that Brugge, Belgium was the place for us. I arranged all of this days off with his work and Monday we're off for a four day fabulous getaway! It's our first vacation that doesn't involve a 10 to 14 hour trek across the ocean and state of Illinois and a 3 week frenzy of running around trying to spend as much time as possible with everybody and I am soooooo looking forward to it. (I'm originally from Gillespie/Benld/Highland/Springfield/Edwardsville areas for the reader who asked)

A few months ago I was playing the "where have you always wanted to go but never been" game to get some ideas as to where Marco has and hasn't been and where he'd like to go and Brugge was high on his list. After checking it out online and discovering they have a chocolate museum I was sold. HAHA No but really, the city is supposed to be absolutely beautiful and this is a great time of year to go. It's also helpful that it's only a 2.5 hour car ride away!

While there we're going to be staying at a cute little B&B Karel de Stoute, visiting places like the amazing Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, the aforementioned chocolate museum as well as Brugge's Christmas Market! I think Marco's a little excited to enjoy a few Belgian beers while we're in the neighborhood. When I planned the trip I didn't know I would be pregnant and was expecting to try some of their cherry beer (and other fruit flavors) I'd heard about but alas it's not going to happen this trip and I am just fine with that!

So that's what going on in my life this next week. I will be taking TONS of pictures and will be sure to share when we return.

Until then...have a very happy and healthy week everybody!

P.S. In case anybody was wondering, we (obviously) don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, as it's an American holiday, so I didn't stuff myself silly last Thursday. As a matter of fact I had a Thai curry chicken and rice dish that was nothing remotely close to the delectables my momma makes. It bubbles in the microwave for a mere 6 minutes where the turkey roasts for hours and hours and yummy hours. I do miss the holiday, spending time with my family, cooking with my mom, seeing everybody together, pumpkin pie, stuffing, sweet potatoes... but I sure don't miss the calories!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My name is Sarah and I'm hear to say...

My name is Sarah and I'm hear to say...
Weighing in with my .02 is here to stay!

Cheesy enough for ya? Did you expect anything less from me? So... I've decided to just keep on blogging through my pregnancy with this blog and stay as "on task" as I my body will allow me to. So far it's going well. I've been hit by the "exhaustion bus" (no, not the short bus that you guys rode growing up Keith and Josh) but otherwise I'm feeling really great. I've been resting when I can and taking it kind of easy since getting the news.

I wasn't quite sure what to do on Tuesday morning with my weigh in. I know I'm carrying some water around with me because my pants feel a little tight in my lower belly region and I've read that many women experience bloat in the first few weeks. I did get on the scale and it read 105. 3 which is less than a kilo more than the week before. Not bad for bloated. I think I'll continue my weekly weigh-ins just to keep myself in check. Like my so so smart cousin (and also a successful weight loser) Lissa said in her comments, being pregnant doesn't mean you sit on the couch and ring a bell all day.

I'll admit my appetite is a bit off right now. Breakfast doesn't appeal to me in the least but I force something in my tummy, usually fruit, along with my vitamin just so I have something in there. I usually have a snack bar around 10:30 and that holds me over until lunch time, 12:15. Lunch is about 1-2 portions of veggies and a cheese sandwich. I've been having a snack or two in the afternoon (snack being a piece of fruit or another snack bar) at about 2:30 and then again around 4:30-ish. Suppers have been my typical meals really but I don't seem to need as much to get that full feeling in my belly. It's kind of odd but in a good way. So like many of your brilliant ladies said, I'm eating less but more often. It's working.

I've been doing a lot of relaxing in the evenings which could easily be the death of me. My lack of exercise routine has been haunting me for months now. I used to be a gym-3-times-a-week girl but since having to stop our membership I've been horrible about putting exercise back on my priority list. I'm still holding out for Dance Dance Revolution to end up under my Christmas tree this year as I really think I'll like that but until then I'm going to have to up my free dancing and maybe start walking or something else and make exercise my priority again. Why do I always dread doing it but once I do it I feel so much better?

OK, so there you have it. You can now step back from the ledge... I'll keep blogging. LOL

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Firstly, thank you all for the super sweet comments you all left on my "announcement" post. I really appreciate each and every one of them (with the exception of the smartass comment left by my incredibly un-funny friends Keith and Josh... jerkfaces).

Well I really just don't know what to say. I'm not sure if it's quite sunk in all the way yet. Friday I went to work and carried on like normal. I mean, I guess it is just normal, but it just seems like I should be un-normal or something.

Other than the line on the "magical wonder that is urine on a stick" (they don't sell THOSE at the state fair!), another pregnancy test that said I was pregnant and some sore boobs I really don't have any "proof" that I'm gonna be a mom. Our little pumpkin (which is the sickening sweet way I choose to refer to the baby since it was conceived on Halloween) is only the size of a sesame seed right now so it's all a bit abstract. It's just so surreal.

I will admit that I have been alarmingly tired at inopportune times... like at 10 in the morning when I should be running around in the house getting things done and then again at 2 in the afternoon when I should have been shopping and playing with the dog. I've taken the advise given and rested when my body is telling me to rest but I just feel like I'm cheating or something. It's not like I have this gigantor belly that I'm hauling around which is wearing me out (although I did that for the last 30 years and never needed a nap. haha) so why the sudden need for nappy time in the afternoon? Well, I looked it up. Apparently the size of pumpkin has nothing to do with why I'm feeling so run down. It's because my body is creating a hormone "progesterone" that makes you feel tired. I don't know if this is the same hormone that, somewhere down the line, will also make me weep at the knowledge that the make-up counter is no longer carrying my shade of lipstick but for now it is doing it's duty as a nap inducing super hormone.

I'm a bit torn as to what to do with my blog at this point. I've toyed with the thought of starting a new blog that will be all about my pregnancy because, really, who wants to find a "weight loss" blog and then only read about some hormonal woman who sleeps a lot? After the birth of baby .02 (which is another cutsie name I thought up... we also call it "baby double A" since our last name starts with AA but then that's a bit alcolic-ish isn't it? Or Energizer-ish? WARNING: Be ready for a plethora of cute names even if you don't think they're cute.) I will be back on the weight loss wagon and could continue this blog. But then again I want to maintain my healthy lifestyle that I've been striving for over the past year and a half throughout my pregnancy, so that is health related if not weight loss related, no?

If you have any opinions or preferences please feel free to let me know (with the exception of aforementioned smartass friends Keith and Josh... your opinions are not needed although I am just certain they'll be shared cleverly under the title of "anonymous").

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ik ben zwanger!!! (Dutch for...)

Translated: I AM PREGNANT!!!!!

We found out this morning that our first round of inseminations worked and I am now 4 weeks and 4 days along! We are absolutely ELATED. Just thrilled. So happy. Over the moon. Doing cartwheels! Overjoyed. Flabbergasted! There's not even a word to describe how freaking McHappy we are! Baby .02 will be arriving sometime around July 24th 2008!

I woke up bright and early with a nice full bladder this morning and took a "line" test where if two lines show up you're pregnant if only one line shows you're not. Well that line was there. It was weak as hell but it was there. I needed further convincing before doing my happy dance though. Marco had bought a digital test (actually a three pack) the night before because I just knew I wouldn't believe just one test.

I dipped it in my collected specimen (I've gotten VERY good at aiming... I don't even get my hand anymore!) and laid it on the counter covering it with paper so I couldn't sneak a peak. I came in and set the timer for three minutes. When those 3 years... oh wait... minutes... were up Marco and I met at the bathroom door, held hands and prepared for whatever it was we were about to see. On the count of three we lifted the paper.




LIFT! Oh my GOD! It says "zwanger (pregnant)". Not "niet zwanger (not pregnant)" but ZWANGER!!!!! I reacted a bit differently than I expected. I'm a bit of a weeper and expected the tears to automatically start flowing but instead I started jumping up and down screaming "YAY! YAY! YAY!" in a pitch that I'm pretty sure only bats and werewolves can hear. As I jumped I also hugged Marco and continued to yell "can you believe it? can you believe it?". He was too busy grinning from ear to ear to really answer. It was the most exciting moment we've had in a very very long time. The screeching of yay continued for a while longer before the tears came but of course eventually they came.

I've spent the rest of the day planning cutsie ways of telling our parents. I had a little lamb candle and pink and blue balloons sent to my mom at work and called her right after to talk to her. We bawled. I told you... we're weepers in my family. She is in charge of telling my dad, who will also be thrilled for us.

We bought Marco's parent a build-a-bear gift card and attached it to pink and blue helium balloons and took it over when we had dinner with them tonight. The card said something along the lines of "here is a gift card to make me a stuffed animal to snuggle with when I arrive in July 2008" or something like that. His mom just kept saying "echt? echt? echt?" (really, really, really). She even jumped up and down a little even though she has bad legs which was totally cute. It was a wonderful moment to share with them. I am so glad we got to tell at least one set of parents face to face.

Since telling our parents we've shared the news with all of our friends and family and now I'm sharing it with you all as well. You all have been so sweet and supportive every time I have posted about our fertility problems and I really appreciate it more than you will ever truly understand.

I'm feeling absolutely perfect right now. No "symptoms" to speak of with the exception of some sore breasts that seem to be the slightest big larger already. WOOHOO! I always wanted big boobs! I hope to continue this "feel great" path on through the rest of the time but won't be surprised if it's not all smooth sailing. I'm ready for it. Dare I say "bring it on?" Nah.. I won't tempt the pregnancy gods.

So what happens to my blog now? I'm obviously not going to try to lose weight anymore by "dieting" but I am going to try to lead the healthiest lifestyle possible to ensure I don't gain unnecessary weight. Actually all along I haven't really been "dieting" I've just been eating healthier. Pregnancy isn't a reason to get lazy or slip back into my old habits of comfort food, elation eating, boredom eating etc. A pregnant woman only needs an extra 500 calories per day so there's really no "eating for two". I'm willing to take any suggestions that you ladies (and men) who have been through this have for me. I'm going to try mostly to just roll with the punches and do what I can when I can.

So that's that! I'm going to be a mommy! Marco's going to be a daddy! We're going to be parents!!! YAY!!!!!!!!

(And before anybody warns me that it's a bit early to be blurting it out on my blog please first know... We have been through infertility hell for the past 2.5 year (36 cycles). We have had disappointment after disappointment after disappointment. We have had scare after scare after scare. I want this one moment to be worry free and to be absolutely elated... so please... I know the risks...I know what "could" happen... I think everybody does... I just ask that you please don't make it your duty to warn me (or any pg woman for that matter) that I may miscarry. I just want to be happy for a while. And I think I deserve it. Should something go wrong I would need your support more than ever so it's all the better I share this news. My life has been an open book to my readers and I don't want that to stop here. Thank you so much for understanding.*stepping off of soap box*)

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Every once in a while on this journey to a 'new and healthy me' I have to reflect a little. I think back to where I started...301 pounds... I think about my hilarious attempt to do step "firsts"... my aches and God... it's been a roller coaster, hasn't it?

Yesterday I was reflecting over something a little different though. It was a reflection of a more literal sense. I saw my reflection in a full length mirror and once again I didn't recognize myself. Unlike my "rock bottom" picture, the woman staring back at me didn't send me home to Marco to cry myself to sleep. It was a little shocking but not the 'sticking your finger in a light socket' type of shock. It was more subtle... more of a "put a piece of gum wrapper on the electric fence to see if it's a conductor" type of shock (yes, I've done that and yes gum wrappers will get you shocked) I saw myself in a mirror and I saw a women who looked pretty normal. I saw somebody who blended in with the other people in the store. I liked what I was seeing so well that I spent another fifteen minutes looking in different mirrors. Side view and turn...front view...and turn. I even did that weird little side-turn-look-over-your-shoulder-thingy that we women do to try to get a good look at our own asses. Wow. I looked pretty alright. Not perfect but then again I was never striving for perfection.

Now many of you are probably saying to yourself "well duh, we've seen pictures of you... of course you look normal" so please allow me to explain.

When you've been "livin large" all your life as I have been, you tend to look at yourself as you've always been... in my case I've always been super sized. So even though I see pictures of myself, even though people say they see a difference in me, even though I go down in pounds on the scale and down in numbers in my clothing sizes... even though all of that proof that I no longer am the woman I used to be is staring me in the face...I still saw myself as that 301 pound woman... until yesterday.

I wasn't wearing anything special. Jeans, t-shirt and my new coat. I checked and they weren't having a sale on 'special effects' mirrors. I wasn't in a fun house but I sure was having fun! I finally see the person that I really am and I'm pretty okay with her. These next 30 pounds are going to do me a world of good and I think once 200 pounds is staring up at me when I step on the scale I'm going to feel pretty darned good. Heck, I already do.

Here's a picture we took today while out. Again, I'm not wearing anything special. There hasn't been any touch ups (the pale-as-a-bare-ass-skin-tone and the badly parted-frizz-hair makes that statement obviously obvious). It was actually taken as a joke in anticipation of the up coming Starbucks that will reside in the airport. But even in the picture now I see myself as I really am. I look pretty "normal". I always felt like I looked a bit giagantic before being tall and big. But now I don't think I look like I should be dating Hargrid or have a "wide load" sticker plastered on my ass. I look overweight but I don't look OH MY GOD OVERWEIGHT anymore (at least to me). I don't look like I did at 301 pounds. I'm really glad that my mind has finally caught up with my body.

As you wish...

At Amy's request I'll do a little Holland vs. US post. Before posting this though I must say that I don't buy into stereotypes much. Some of the things I will list will be "stereotyical" Dutch or American and obviously doesn't account for each and every person in the two cultures. For every one American who has a big mouth and makes an ass out of themselves when they're abroad (this is a stereotype of Americans if you didn't know) I know another American who is open minded and willing to live a culturally diverse life. For every Dutch person who is "straightforward" (which is a stereotype of Dutch people, they're a bit... well... they can be uncomfortably honest) I know one who is kind and considerate of your feelings. So keep that in mind when you're reading this.

Let's see... if I would have written this post when I first moved to Holland it would have went something like this:

1) I hate it here
2) the weather sucks
3) The language is impossible
4) I hate it here.
5) the US is the greatest
6)I miss my family
7) I miss American food
8) I hate it here
9) I hate it here

So yeah I had a bit of culture shock mixed with a bit of homesickness when I was fresh off the boat. Now I've been here for a little over 3 years and I definitely feel quite a bit different about the country. Some things will never change though such as;

1) I miss my family and friends... greatly. It never gets easier to miss birthdays, holidays, special occasions or just every day occurrences. It's hard to be away when there is illness, births, emergencies or if I just need a hug from my mom. Thank God for the internet and telephone but some things just are not the same. I get home for about 3 weeks at a time about once a year which isn't nearly enough. I could go for months at a time and it would never be enough. Unless you have ever lived away from your family I don't think you can really understand how much you can miss them. I have yet to find a group of people that I "click" with like my friends back home. I don't put much effort into finding new friends though so part of that is my fault.

2) FOOD: I miss American food... but I'm glad I don't have it a my disposal. It makes weight loss so much easier when fast food is not readily available. I am glad I don't have to fight American sized portions when we go out to eat. I am glad I'm in a culture that doesn't revolve around food. I'm glad there is no food channel on tv.

That said, "typical" dutch food is what the Dutch call "pure" or otherwise known as "bland". No spices or very very little spice is involved int he cooking process. A typical dutch dinner will consist of a vegetable cooked until mushy, boiled potatoes (no salt no butter and definitely no gravy) a some sort of meat, usually fried or boiled in a vat of grease. The grease is sometimes ladled over the potatoes but I pass, thanks. Dutch people tend to eat a lot of "stampot" or vegetables cooked to mush and then mashed together with potatoes. Some typical combinations of stampot are red cabbage and potatoes, cauliflower and potatoes, carrot and potatoes, envdive, onion and potato mixed. Keep in mind none of this has salt in it. Salt and pepper shakers are not on the table.

As I have said many times in my blog Dutch people eat heaps of bread for breakfast and lunch. It's nothing to see a mom pushing a stroller and her child chopping away on a mini loaf of bread as his or her meal or snack.

Holland is the land of cheese and many different kinds are readily available. They all seem to fall under 2 categories though. You have old cheese and then you have young cheese. You can have 15 varieties of "old" or "young" cheeses on the table but when asked what kind of cheese it is you'll get the same reply, it's old or young. It all had to do with the maturity of the cheese but a Dutch person knows which old cheese they like and which young one is their favorite. As a foreigner... you taste them all to figure out which tickles your taste buds. I've yet to meet a cheese I didn't like. It's all freshly cut off of the wheel and just delicious.

Heineken is not a German beer as many people think it is. It's actually Dutch and they are quite proud of it. Beer or wine is often drank with lunch (even if you're lunching will colleagues and have to go back to the office) and dinner. The Dutch have a much more laid back approach to drinkin with meals. Kids often begin drinking at the age of 14 and the legal drinking age is 16.

You almost always have coffee in the evening after supper. Nobody seems to suffer from lack of sleep from the caffeine rush. I've become accustomed to this and can now also drink coffee in the evenings without being wide awake in the evening.

The Dutch do have very good pancakes. They are the size of a pizza and very thin like a crepe. They are typically topped with things like bacon, ham, egg, mushroom or sometimes ice cream and apples. This is one thing you should try if you're every here.

Enough about food.

3) WEATHER: The weather does suck here. It rains a lot. People don't seem to mind or notice though. Kids still play outside in the rain and nobody ducks and runs for cover when it starts sprinkling. Strollers are fitted with plastic covers to keep the babies dry because life has to go on even in the rain. Men and women still ride their bikes to work in the rain.

Kids in the Netherlands have to be given vitamin D supplements because of the lack of sunshine. I lived in Illinois though so I don't miss tornado season in the slightest.

Hardly anybody has air conditioning so when it does get hot it sucks. Even in stores you can sweat like crazy. Thank goodness the hottest season only lasts a few weeks or so.

4) LANGUAGE: Listening to the Dutch language used to make my ears bleed. It really isn't a very pretty language to listen to at all. It's very throaty but if you have a cold you'll be fluent in no time. It's very difficult to learn and you need to really put effort into it to get it right. The reason being that very few Dutch people cannot speak English. In the bigger cities you don't even need to ask "do you speak English" in the stores because it's just known that they do. Many people will hear you stumbling though Dutch and automatically speak English back to you. At first I thought that was freaking awesome. YES! I can speak English... then I realized the impact it has on my learning Dutch.

It is extremely difficult to learn a language in a culture that is so used to dealing with English speaking people that they all easily switch back and forth. Oddly enough, my inlaws are some of the few Dutch people who do not speak English so I have had to learn the language in order to communicate with them. It was a blessing in disguise. Many times in stores when I speak Dutch, a Dutch person will answer me back in English but I continue in Dutch thinking they'll get it, I want to practice my Dutch but low and behold they continue in English. I don't give up though... I just keep speaking Dutch back to them and for the most part they'll just keep speaking English to me. It's bizarre.

I realize this is getting long but there is just so many differences. I'll quickly name some of my more favorite things about living here:

Pets are part of your family and treated very well. They're welcome in almost all public places, stores, the post office, buses and even including some restaurants. You will never see a dog tied to a chain sitting out in the rain. You don't have dogs being kept in cages outside never to be played with or walked properly(meaning every single day). You hardly ever see stray animals running the street. (I've never seen it) Living here has changed my whole attitude about the way animals and pets should be treated and respected.

Public transport is everywhere. In Illinois you just have to have a car. It's not necessary here.

Bikes are used as everyday transportation, not just leisure. It's nothing to see men in suits and ties peddling their way to work. You don't bat an eye when you see a woman in a skirt and heels pumping her way into the city on her bike with her friend side saddle on back. It's the fastest way to get around in the city. It's better for the environment and it's a great way to get in some exercise! There are bike "roads" all over the city though so this makes it safer to ride you bike in Holland. In the US you ride at your own risk for the most part and it's just not set up for this kind of cycling.

Multi-cultural events. In central Illinois you don't have a lot of diversity or cultural happenings. I love the diversity in Amsterdam. From Van Gogh to the theatre to the concert hall to street musicians... there is always something going on. You never have to be bored here.

College and University is affordable. You don't have to go into a life time of debt to get an education.

Social medicine has it's good an bad points. I love that I never have to worry about not having insurance. I have a ton of benefits if I am on maternity leave or already have kids (the government pays a monthly allowance for children and you don't pay for insurance for any child under 18). There are safety nets in place if you lose your job or become disabled (that don't make you live in poverty or squalor). There are no homeless here (if they sleep on the streets it is by choice not because there isn't someplace for them to go). You pay the highest taxes in all of Europe here (40% of your wages go to taxes roughly) but there are many social programs that benefit from these taxes. Of course if you never need any of these programs then you're paying taxes out your arse for nothing. Social medicine sucks when you have to be on a waiting list for medical procedures. It sucks when you have to accept "older" treatments when newer ones are available to keep costs down.

WOW this is so long! There is so much more I could say though but I'll leave it at this.

Ok so if you have anything specific you want to know just post a comment and I'm more than happy to explain or give my .02 on it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

This post is out of guilt.

I always feel guilty if I don't give you guys something to read at least once or twice a week besides my little weigh in blurbs but this week I just cannot think of anything to write about.

I thought about writing about this new spinach salad I found at the local grocery store that is absolutely delicious but how interesting is it to read about greens? (it's baby spinach, crumbled blue cheese, pear, grapes, pecans and red cabbage with a walnut dressing).

I thought about writing about my exercise routine again but how many time can one say "I've been jumping rope and free dancing like a maniac in my living room". (the more I jump rope the less painful it becomes for my abs, thank God).

My food choices haven't changed. I still do well one day, falter a little the next. Nothing ground breaking there. No major meltdowns but nothing to brag about either.

The truth of the matter is my mind has temporarily checked out of my head and is now residing somewhere in a cabbage patch far far away but will hopefully be back shortly. I've been spending the evenings in warm baths reading books and exfoliating. I've been filling my moments in between thoughts about babies with... well more thoughts about babies. I'm trying not to get my hopes up but even just a little hope is like throwing your mind and emotions into a blender and hitting the "pulse" button. Waiting for 2 weeks for some results is just cruel.

So there you go... that's what I've been up to this week. I hope you're all having healthy weeks and please hang on with me for just a little bit longer... I'll snap back... I promise.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Not bad...not bad

That's how I felt when I stepped on the scale this morning... not bad... not bad at all. I did gain this week but it was less than a pound (0.8 pounds or 0.4 kilos) which is WAY better than things were going go, at least in my head. I did manage to clean up my act over the weekend and yesterday and did exercise three times this week so who knows, maybe that made all of the difference I needed.

So as of today I am 71.06 lbs (32.3 kilos) in the negative. I can live with that for the time being.

I hope you all have a wonderful and healthy week. I'll check in a little later as my mind clears and I think of something witty or worthy or not ovulation related!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

** Danger** Danger** Please take cover***

I am declaring this week a weight loss disaster area. The siren and whistles are a blowin. My mind is elsewhere (mostly in my uterus, I'll explain later) and food, healthy eating, exercise and discipline are last on my list of things to think about. Once again I feel like I'm having an out of body experience where I'm just going through the motions of the day and watching myself from the outside.

And to some this may be a big fat excuse and to those who think it, is I'm flipping you the bird right now. As I mentioned a few posts ago, we've had some positive news regarding our fertility treatments. Well this week was our first round of inseminations. After 2.5 years of trying to have a baby this is the very first time we really have a chance to become parents. Without boring you with my entire history and a lesson in "how to make a baby" I'll just say that Halloween was a very fertile time for me and we hope to be growing our own little pumpkin soon.

Wednesday was the first insemination and although I know I'm supposed to relax (a little story on relaxing below) I was wound up like a freaking clock on coke. I left work at lunch and didn't end up going back. We had our second insemination the following day so of course Wednesday night I didn't sleep, at all. I was up until 3 am and when I finally did go to bed I didn't really sleep. I called my boss at 7am to let her know that I wasn't going to make it into work that day due to having a case of the crazies and she was really very understanding.

Both appointments went well and my mind has done nothing but race ever since. Food is pullin up the rear in the mind race. We don't want to get our hopes up too high because the success rate with IVI is very low (below 10% each time you try) but you know I'm just a simple human and can't help but have a little hope. We've waited long enough and have been through enough... it's our turn. I'm trying to relax and take it easy as much as possible and keep my mind occupied on other things but as I'm sure you can imagine it's a tough task. Let me tell you a little story about relaxing. Just imagine...

You're sitting on the couch eating your TV dinner and the state lottery comes on. You race to the fridge to pick up your tickets to see if you've won. The numbers start rolling out. There's only 6 to match so your odds are good right?

Here comes the first ball...

You have 17! Wow that's kind of neat!

WHOA! You have 23. Little hairs on your neck stand on edge. 2 in a row… you’re doing well.

5 is your lucky number... you have it! Your palms sweat.

Oh. My. God.... it's on there!

No.freaking.way. You know you have 3 because 3 is the number of children you wanted to have before you started having to jab yourselves with needles pumping yourself full of hormones and before your husband suddenly was more turned on by a plastic collection cup that you. This is amazing!

You only have to match one more number! Those balls are flying around that little popcorn machine like mad. You're about to win 80 million dollars and pay for IVF for all of your friends whose insurance companies don't think that fertility medications should be covered!

One more match is all that stands between you and a lifetime dream of happiness. You can finally pay off your mortgage and get that new car you've been needing. You can pay off your parents bills and send them on a vacation that they've never ever had. You can start the college funds for your kids. You can tell your a-hole boss to stick it! This is amazing!

It's time...the ball pops up and starts its quick descent to the little tube at the end... this is it! You're big moment! Your heart is pounding in your chest. Your fate is a mere seconds away... the moment that can change the course of your life is almost here! Roll little guy roll! But before you can see if that little white ball is your lucky number 32... the last matching number on your lottery ticket... the electricity in your house goes out. You’re sitting in pitch black darkness.

Now YOU relax!!!!!!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pardon my lack of blogging this week

It's been nutso around here this week in ways I can't even begin to explain here. I've had a crap food week too so NOT looking forward to Tuesday's weigh in, although I can run some "damage control" this weekend for sure. Ugh, and after such a great weigh in last week! Poo.

My friend Alexandra made homemade cookies and brought them in to work on Wednesday. Coconut macaroons, chocolate chocolate chip cookies and orange cookies OH MY! I didn't resist either. I was like a cookie monster. Yum Yum Yum gobble gobble gobble. I had a total of 6 cookies throughout the day which isn't going to kill me but it sure doesn't help the cause either.

I have a new colleague who seems to have it out for my waistline. He seems to be working as a food trigger for me. He is a bottomless pit and is always hungry. He is also not over weight, of course, bastard! (just kidding, he's really nice). He is constantly announcing his hunger to all of us in the office (it's small and open area so you hear everything). So every time he opens his mouth to say "I'm starving!" or "is it lunch time yet" my stomach starts thinking "yeah, I'm starving too" or "FEED ME" when usually I have no problem whatsoever waiting until lunch to eat. Afternoons with Mr. Metabolism are just wicked. One hour after lunch the hunger announcements begin. This is becoming a real problem for me, talking about food all day long. I don't really know how to handle this situation. It's not like I can sit him down and say "hey colleague, due to a lifetime of horrible eating habits I am unable to function like a normal human being. When you talk about food all the time I want to binge eat. I would like you to shut your pie hole so I can also shut mine!" I wonder how HR would view that conversation? Any suggestions guys?

I'm off to exercise this weeks cookie and chocolate intake off. Hope you all have a healthy weekend!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

*Kate Nash*

If you haven't heard her music, you should. I heard one of her songs on the radio last week and immediately loved her. I didn't catch her name on the radio but remebered some of the lyrics and with the magic of Google I found out the song was called Foundations and her name is Kate Nash. Then tonight I downloaded (legally of course) a ton of her songs and wow, she's such a fun and interesting artist with great lyrics. I believe she's British (thick accent) but would be Welsh, Scottish or Irish... I'm bad with telling one UK accent from another. Anyway... wanted to share my discovery with you all.

Is this thing on? Cause you're gonna wanna hear this!

I had a 5.5 pound drop this week! (2.5 kilos). Yes, you read it right... that's 5.5lbs down from last weeks extremely crap weigh in. WOWZO! I'm a flying pretty high right now I have to admit. This is the biggest drop in numbers I've had in one week ever... since the very beginning.

As I said last week I was retaining some water due to it being that TOM so I'm fairly certain 2 - 3 pounds of this weeks loss was water related but the fact of the matter is that I am now at 229.24 pounds (104.2 kilos) even after the weeks befores Elation Eating problem. WOOHOO!

I am now 29 pounds away from my biggest hugest goal! I am a mere 29 pounds away from what started this whole thing. I am 29 pounds from being the healthiest I have ever been in my life! 29 small tiny insignificant pounds are all that is standing in my way to finally have won this weight loss battle for the first and last time in my life! If I can keep the excitement that I am feeling right at this very moment up for the next few months by golly I think I could really pull this off. WOW! What a great way to start my day.

I hope you all have a wonderful and healthy week!

p.s. I'll have to update my stats later today as I'm runnng out the door for work now.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weight Loss Tips (the website)

I was recently asked to be interviewed (via a q&a form) for a weight loss website. My interview is now posted so I thought I'd share! Click here to read my interview!

If you've been with me from the get-go you probably won't learn anything new that you didn't already know about me. I think most of the tips I have already shared here but for those of you who maybe new to my blog it gives the scoop on where I have been, what I've done and what I hope to do.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday's food

Breakfast: 2 coffee's w/ Splenda. 1 cup f/f vanilla yogurt with a small sliced up banana.

no morning snack today.

Lunch: a deliciously fabulous Thai curry stir fry packed with fresh veggies (and pineapple) made with beef. It had zucchini, cabbage, onion, mini-corn-on-the-cob things, a little leek and that's about it. I was glad to get in so many vegetables after yesterdays dismal veg intake. The dish did have noodles in it and I did eat a most of them but not all. One large diet pepsi to drink.

snack: an ice cream cone! YAY ok so not healthy but yummy none the less.

supper: 2 egg omelet with a teaspoon of cheese (it's like a cream cheese only not cream cheese) and one of my frozen yogurt snacks.

Water: 6 - 8oz cups so far (it's still a bit early I'm sure I'll drink more)

So I had plenty of low fat dairy once again. My vegetable intake was good. My fruit portions were great. My protein was good. My carbs weren't over the top so that's good. Not too much fat just some in the cheese, a little in the lunch (to cook the meat) and in the ice cream of course. Overall today was much better than yesterday. I got in 45 minutes of exercise so that means I've met two of the three workouts for my weekly goal so far.

It'll be interesting to see what happens on the scale Tuesday.

If anybody who uses Blogspot could please tell me why I have to go into HTML and manually put in paragraph breaks even though I type them in my text I would really apprecaiate it. Please explain in short dumbed down sentences. I is not smart with computers.

Richard Simmons 101

I don't believe there is anybody out there who has struggled with their weight all of their life who doesn't know who Richard Simmons is.

He's well known for his passion for weight loss, his Deal a Meal cards, his Sweating to the Oldies videos, his little bitty afro and too-short-shorts, amongst other accomplishments and fashion faux pas. Back when I was 18 or 19 he was this big girls weight loss hope when nobody else seemed to understand. He always had an encouraging message. He knew I could do it. He had faith in me. He made me feel like I could really be a weight loss success story.

I sweated to the oldies in my old apartment that I shared with my friend Pam. I loved that even though I was so over weight and so out of shape that I could keep up with his tapes. I loved that other unthin people were on his videos. I loved the part at the end where they all told how much weight they had lost. I loved it all.

Of course I wasn't dealing with my emotional eating issues at the time I was dealing myself a meal and sweating to the oldies so I was never one of Richards prodigies. I did lose some weight just from the exercise but once I got tired of "Build me up buttercup" playing over and over in my living room the tapes took their final resting place in the cupboard to gather dust.

Today I was browsing my cd collection looking for some music to do my "naked free dance" to (I'm still too sore to jump rope) and ran across a cd named "Richard Simmons 101". It was a cd my friend Louis burned for when we were about 23 or 24 years old. I hadn't listened to the cd in years but I remember when he made it for me. Once again I was trying to lose weight. We were frequenting many-a-dance-club in those days and this CD was filled with songs from that time in our lives.

I popped it in, set the timer for 45 minutes and began free dancing all over my living room. The more I danced the happier I became. The songs that I was shaking and shimmying too had positive lyrics and were upbeat and my attitude followed right along. Listening to those songs took me back to the fun times I used to have with my friends in those clubs.

I like to incorporate some moves from the old videos into my "free dance" workouts to make sure I'm working out my muscles and not just my heart. As I remembered step-ball-changing and cha-chaing with Richard I started thinking about how much fun I was having.

As I shoulder-shook and shimmied through Unspeakable Joy (great positive song, you should download it) I started thinking about all the blogs I read and how so many people out there are so self conscious about their weight to the point that it hinders their ability to exercise. It's such a shame. Here I am, 230 pounds of woman, half naked (sports bra and boy shorts only) in my living room dancing around like a total yahoo, thrilled to death, having a blast and there are some people who would love to lose weight but are too ashamed to take those first few steps to do it, even if it is with the shades closed in their living room and nobody else can see them.

So of course that led me to think, why in the world aren't there more video's like that out there? I don't want to sweat to the oldies. I'm only 31 for pete's sake. But why isn't there something out there for people who are out of shape, who love to dance or just want to start moving? Why aren't their big people videos out there for us big people MADE by big people? Why isn't there a fun, up to date dvd with fun up to date music for fun people who just don't know where to start? I'm not talking about an hour long totally choreographed dvd that you should take dance lessons for but why isn't there a "Naked Free Dance" video out there for people who are really just beginning? I started as 301 pound women and even those beginners dvds with modified moves were sometimes too much not to mention I don't want to look at thin women in their leotards while I'm sweating like mad in my over sized workout clothes.

Mr. Simmons had (has) some really good ideas and I think he really did (does) touch a lot of people's lives but I think we need somebody fresh, young and new that connects with today's younger generation. Any volunteers? Anybody? Any one? Bueller? So I guess what I'm asking is where is OUR generation's Richard Simmons hiding? Can't somebody make us "sweat to the current tunes"? Am I going to have to make a video of myself free dancing and post it on here to only end up on youtube as the joke of the week before somebody will stand up and take action (please don't make me do that, it would be u-g-l-y).

Surely there is a need/want for this in the diet industry? Where is our knight in shining short-shorts who will take us by the hand, let us know that we're ok, we're worth it, we can do it and that he/she is there for us? Will the new Richard Simmons please stand up?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Skippin with Sarah

It's been a while since I've disgraced myself with one of my poems-a-la-Sarah. I believe the Ode To My Kneecaps was the last. Since taking up jump rope once again I thought it was a perfect time to write myself a little weight inspired jump rope song. I tried to keep the pattern of the songs I used to sing as a kid while skipping rope and I think it'll work. I'll call it "Skipping with Sarah".

Een, twee, drie
Let's burn a calorie

I'm hoppin like a bunny
And I'm sure I'm looking funny

Come and jump along with me
We know that exercise is key

skiping rope is so fun
when you don't like to run

I like jumpin rope
and there's no time to mope

We'll get our hearts a pumpin
with our ropes we're a jumpin

and now our song will end
and we'll do it all again!

I have no shame. :o)

Food for the day.

Today I have eaten:

Breakfast - F/f vanilla Yogurt w/banana and 2 cups-o-joe w/Splenda. (adding a cap full of vanilla to your coffee grounds before pouring the water through is yummy. Subtle but noticeably different)

Lunch: Tuna salad, lettuce and cheese on a wheat roll that had seeds baked into it (sunflower and some other kind of cracked seed). One can of diet coke.

Snack: Some fruit and frozen yogurt cup thing that I am addicted to. It's got bits of pineapple and raspberries on top of a little cup of frozen yogurt. It's sweet and sour and oh so delicious. It's about 80-100 calories.

Supper: This is going to sound totally stupid but I have no idea what this thing was that I ate. It's a Turkish food. There's a big Turkish population in the Netherlands so I end up trying new things lots of times and have no clue what they're called and of course there is no English equivalent. This was a sort of flat bread with a tomato and pepper paste smeared over it. It's got some sort of hot spice on it (sambal I'm assuming) and I think it's meatless. I baked it in the oven and as always it was tasty and filling. The only thing I can compare it to is a cheese-less slice of pizza.

Snack - another frozen yogurt cup.

This is a typical menu for me on the weekends. Of course the foods are switched up, sometimes I'll have a salad or we'll go out for dinner but over all this is how my weekends go for the most part.

I'm taking a look at it all my weekend diet is still lacking some essentials... like veggies for instance. Other then some lettuce on my salad I didn't have one single vegetable today. Well the tomato pepper spread on the flat bread is a veg I guess but there was less than a tablespoonful on there so not even a full portion of veg. Not good.

Other than tuna (and it wasn't a full portion of tuna) I didn't have any protein (with the exception of protein that may be found in the unidentified seeds and flat bread thing). Not good.

I did get in my dairy with the yogurt, cheese and frozen snack. Yay me!

I got in some fruit with the banana and fruit bits on my frozen snack, although they don't add up to a portion. Okay.

I got my carbs with the roll and flat bread. Ugh.

I got fat with the mayo in the tuna salad (although it was quite dry) and seeds. ACK!

How can I miss out on veggies but be sure to get in my fats and carbs? How can I be short on fruit? I like fruit! Why am I not eating more of it? Protein is supposed to make you feel fuller longer and you should try to eat some at every meal. I hardly had any protein all day long. I am all for eating low calorie but I also believe your calories should come from nutrient packed foods. I'm hardly eating anything nutrient packed on the weekends.

Journaling my food has really been an eye opener. I'm going to have to make a better effort for healthier weekend eating.

The Bread Brigade

So I've mentioned before that it's tough to live in the Netherlands and not eat heaps of bread. Yesterday was a prime example of what I'm talking about. Here's how the day went.

I put on make-up yesterday which took up the time I usually spend eating breakfast. Sometimes you have to sacrifice to be beautiful I guess and since I wear make-up about 4 times a year I guess it's alright this time. I knew I could just grab something on my way to drop Marco off for work. So I had a pistolet (a football shaped roll) with cheese from the shop right across from his work. (Bread #1)

snack: It was somebodies birthday at work so we had pie. I don't skip these occasions to eat pie. They don't happen often and a slice of pie every once in a while isn't going to kill me. My life will not be without pie, cakes, cookies, chocolates and the sorts on OCCASIONS so I don't torture myself and not participate. If I would never participate in the birthday celebrations I really feel like it would lead to me binging later. I don't want to go back down that path any time soon. No depriving for me.

Lunch was typical Dutch lunch in the canteen (and please let me know, do you say canteen in the US? I don't think so but my English and Aussie colleagues always call it the canteen so now I can't remember if we do too. I think we just use cafeteria.) so a buffet of breads and spreads. I did manage to skip any bread here and just had my cuke/tomato/red bell pepper/feta/pesto salad. (bread #2)

snack: one orange

Dinner was to be at Marco's parents house. We go there about once a week for supper. Usually it's a typical Dutch hot meal consisting of veg, boiled potatoes (no salt, no pepper, no shit) and meat (usually beef in my family's house) but last night was an exception. They were watching our nephews, Jordi and Milan, so they didn't want to cook a real meal so what was the alternative? BREAD of course! (bread #3). I was starving by time we got there and over ate by quite a bit. I had an open faced egg and bacon sandwich (fried ACK!), a small beef steak (fried ACK!), and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (fattening ACK!). I followed it up with a cup of vanilla and chocolate pudding mixed. ACK! ACK! ACK!

So in the course of one day I could have eaten bread at all three meals! And before I started making a conscious effort to eat less bread I probably would have eaten bread at all three meals on more than one occasion. Granted my food intake yesterday sucked big time but it could have been worse had I not had the salad option for lunch. So yesterday wasn't a gold star winning day for me. It was a "put your name on the chalkboard and if I have to do that twice in a week then I get detention" day. Lousy lousy lousy.

But today is another day. I just keep going and keep yesterday's choices in the back of my head when I make today's selections. I started with a lovely breakfast of f/f yogurt with a sliced up banana and coffee. Good I just need to keep the momentum going.

In other news... if I thought my abs hurt yesterday then I was in for a rude freaking awakening last night and today. OH MY GOD BECKY! Every time I would roll over in bed it would wake me up from the soreness. Crazy to think all this muscle soreness was caused by a simple 25 minute jump rope routine. I have a little tenderness in my calves but otherwise it's just my tummy that's kicking my arse. I'm going to try and jump again today and see how it goes.

Have a great healthy weekend all!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hoi skipper!

When I think of skipping rope I think of being in 3rd and 4th grade on the playground singing little rhymes as my friends and I skipped ourselves silly. "Cinderella Dress in Yella" and "Fudge Fudge call the Judge" were a few of my favorites songs. We used to laugh as we chanted "texaco texaco over the hill to Mexico". We even learned double Dutch which too way too much concentration to even think about singing cute songs.

Last night's skipping wasn't quite the merriment I used to remember it being. Oh it was fun at first but 10 minutes into it I wasn't singing "Fudge Fudge call the judge" but I was crying out "Marco Marco GIVE ME OXYGEN". Oxygen doesn't really rhyme with much.

I had set the time on the stove for 30 minutes because that seemed like a good starting point since it was my first time trying it since my school yard days. I had googled 'jump rope for exercise' before I began and most sites recommended skipping for 20 counts and resting for 20-30 building up your stamina slowly.

Twenty counts seemed a bit simple so I decided I'd skip for 50 and rest for 30. That was an enthusiastic goal I learned quickly. I jumped in my living room on the carpet to try to help with the impact but it did bother my knees a smidgen. My legs were burning nicely fifteen minutes into it and my arms were getting a bit fatigued. Surprisingly enough I was actually sweating. I continued on my 50 jumps but began needing to rest for 30-40 counts in between sets. I found that by counting up to 25 and then backwards down to 0 it helped to make it seem like time was going quicker. Sometimes you just have to play head games with yourself to make it through.

I ended up having to stop at 25 minutes because I was getting a bit dizzy. I'm all for pushing yourself but you also have to know when enough is just enough. I really felt the workout all over my body though. My legs and feet were tired (I jumped in socks to try and strengthen my foot muscles). My forearms were a bit tired for all the rope twirling but what really surprised me most was how bad my abs hurts afterwards. I could feel the burn within minutes of stopping the workout and I still feel the soreness in them today. Apparently jumping rope is a really good full body workout.

All in all I was really pleased with the workout. It took no time and I feel the results. Not to mention I can feel good that I actually did some movement this week. It's something that I can do and bring with me anywhere and I can do it in the house too. I'm really glad I decided to try it out. Now I just need some clever little rhymes to make the time pass quickly... "Sarah and Marco sitting in a tree..."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In a nutshell...

Here's the low down on my food intake for the whole day:

Honey Nut Cheerios with Non-fat Milk with a small banana sliced up in it. (YUMMY! I know cheerios aren't the healthier breakfast cereal choice but I really like them so I'm willing to take the caloric hit for them every once in a while. Usually I'm a Fruit and Fiber girl but those little honey nut o's called out to me.)

snack: One forest berry fruit bar (I don't know what the equivalent in the US is but one bar is around 125 calories. I try to keep all my snacks to between 125 and 150 calories).

Lunch: one dönor kebab (shaved lambs meat sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cukes, sambal and garlic sauce on a fresh roll) and a spinach/feta pastry pie thingy.

snack: another forest berry fruit bar (I usually have a piece of fruit for snack at this point in the day but due to unusual circumstances I wasn't able to get any)

supper: Chinese beef stir fry. We ate it minus any noodles or rice and it was really good. I didn't miss the extra carbs at all and I'm equally as satisfied afterwards as I am when I eat the noodles with it. Interesting don't ya think?

Drinks: 2 cups of coffee with splenda, 2-8oz. cans of diet coke and 7-8 glasses of water.

Overall I think it's a pretty good day for me. I usually eat more veg with lunch but had to eat out (again due to unusual circumstances) so they weren't available to me.

We've been opening our minds and mouths to a bit more Asian influences lately, trying some new dishes and they've all been pretty tasty. They're packed full of veg which is great and usually we have chicken with it so it's fairly healthy. We get them in prepackaged amounts so there is only two portions which helps me with portion control.

I haven't exercised yet this week (it is only Wednesday and my week starts on Tuesday) but as soon as I'm done here I'm going to try out my new jump rope. I got it last night and like a gi-normous kid I skipped all over the aisle in the store to "test it out". I'm going to google 'jumping rope' to see if there are any exercise regimens out there that include it. I'll let you know how it goes.

I didn't think I would like it as well as I do but posting my food intake for the day has really helped keep me on task. I never have been a food journal keeper because it tends to make me food obsess which is something I'm trying to avoid. Doing it this way doesn't seem to make me feel so "oh my god should I eat that? It has 5 calories in it and I just had 20 calories 4 hours ago and I'm only allowed 1200 per day and it's only noon"-ish. A slight exaggeration but you get the point. And THANK YOU TEALE who left the brilliant comment "if you bite it, write it!". It really cracked me up.
Alrighty, I'm off to skip some rope!