Thursday, May 26, 2011

May in Oklahoma

"April Showers Bring May Flowers"  That's how the old saying goes.  In Oklahoma, though, April showers (or drought, depending on the year) bring May showers.  The bulk of our rain seems to come in May, and oftentimes, it comes with some pretty severe weather.  The state song of Oklahoma is "Oklahoma" from the musical, Oklahoma. (Very easy to remember!) Part of the song talks about how the "wind comes right behind the rain."  For anyone outside of the Oklahoma or the bordering states, that's a fancy, show-tunes way of saying, "When it rains, your gonna get some really nasty wind."

Rain + Wind = Tornado

Now, that's not the technical formula, but it's pretty close!  I've lived in Oklahoma most of my life, and I'm well-versed in tornado precautions.  I've been near them, and I've had close friends and family lose everything (including loved ones) because of them.  They are nothing to play around with.  And when you've lived in Oklahoma as long as me, everyone has their tornado story.  I have two--both with happy endings.  This is the second one:

On Tuesday, May 24th, I had 10 children in my daycare--four of my own children and six extras.  Since we are required to monthly tornado drills anyway, I decided to take them all out to the storm shelter.  I knew there was a chance of severe weather later in the day, and I wanted to be prepared. They did a great job, and actually thought it was pretty fun. 

As it got later into the afternoon, the forecasters started giving more intense and frequent updates, and parents began coming to pickup children.  Slowly, the ten dwindled down to six.  As the last dad came for his two boys, my father-in-law and mother-in-law came over prepared to head to the shelter.  Memaw came from next door too.  It was just minutes after the last child left that Poppy (my father-in-law) told us to head out.  Each child had an adult (plus one dog!) and we piled in just about the time our cousin arrived with her three children. 

Down into the storm shelter we went.  Poppy manned the door, and I was right next to him.  (I'm a little extremely claustrophobic.)  Being the true Okies that we are, we were waiting for the very last minute to shut the door.  As he and I looked out at the sky, we couldn't see this horrible monster that they said was coming our way.  We just saw a big black rain cloud.  It wasn't until we looked straight over our heads at the grey outer clouds spinning around that we realized that rain cloud WAS the tornado. 

We locked the door tight and listened. 

No hail.  No freight train. 

Our ears popped and we waited until the wind began to die down, and then we waited just a little more.  Poppy peeked out to see if it was safe to come out.  The storm was over.  As quickly as it had come, it was gone--off to continue its path of destruction.  The first sight we saw was another cousin's house:
Then there was the neighbor's shed:

So much damage in so little time.  We were spared.  Not only our lives, but also our home and vehicles.  Some were not.  Just a half mile down the road, some very dear friends lost all their worldly possessions, and they nearly lost their lives.  Thankfully, they are alive, but it will take a long time to heal and rebuild.  I cannot  fathom, nor do I even want to ask why. 

The storm took a path that spared some and destroyed some, but, in all of it, God is good.  He gave us each a place to be, a prayer to say, and a way to be a blessing to someone else.  Some bring chainsaws, some bring food, some bring water, and some take the children for the afternoon.  Strangers helping strangers, friends and family coming together to help, a community united around those who lost it all. 

It just makes me wonder how much better we could make the lives of those around us if we lived each day like it was the day after a tragedy like this.  What if we always prayed fervently for others?  What if we were willing to offer food, water or a change of clothes to someone in need?  What if we took a meal to our neighbors just because we wanted to be there for them?  How much would they see God every day--not just on the bad days?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sausage & Lentils

A friend of mine is having a frugal recipe contest on her blog, Coupon Newbie.  I remember a lot of things that my Mom used to cook for us, Roast & Potatoes (yummy!!), Breakfast for Dinner (my fave!) and Hot Dogs (always my birthday pick!).  Being the kid I was, I didn't know when she was serving a "frugal" meal, though.  I just knew what I liked and what I didn't. 

So, I called her to find out what she fixed when money was a little tight.  This is the one I remember and am going to start feeding my family (even if money isn't tight.)  It's that yummy!

I'm adding in prices so you can see just how much little it costs.

1 pkg. smoked sausage ($2.50-$3.00)
1 lb. lentils ($1)

Start cooking lentils according to package.  When lentils are almost done, cut smoked sausage on a diagonal and cook for just a few minutes in a skillet.  Drain on paper towels.  Add to the lentils.  Salt and pepper to taste.  (You can experiment with different seasonings to fit your family's taste.  My husband loves to spice it up with peppers & Tabasco; I prefer it with just some seasoning salt and onion.)

You can fix this with potatoes ($3.00/5 lb.) or pita bread ($2/8) or a tossed salad.  Even if you fixed all of this (which would feed 6-8 people), you would probably have a meal for about $11.  Definitely frugal fare!!

Yum! Now I'm hungry, and I know what we're having for dinner!

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Guilty, and Now I'm Doing the Time!

As a teenager and young adult, I was fairly (maybe even extremely) healthy.  I worked out often, ate moderately healthy (because I couldn't resist pepperoni pizza!), and maintained a healthy weight.  After I got married, I continued this lifestyle even after I had children.  With each subsequent pregnancy--5 in all--I used my "condition" as an excuse to eat unhealthy instead of one to eat healthier.  You've probably heard this excuse.  I said, "I'm pregnant so those extra three or four cookies won't matter. After all, I'm eating for two!!"  When I should have been saying, "I'm pregnant so I should skip the cookies and have some veggies sticks instead."  I know we all have our little indulgences and those are fine in moderation, but pregnancy seemed to release all my inhibitions when it came to food!

So, after five pregnancies--one miscarriage and four healthy babies--I'm sitting here looking down at my scale.

It's scary......really scary.

For someone who's always been fairly healthy to realize that I am 32 pounds overweight is a very SCARY thing.  That's like carrying around a jumbo size bag of dog food on my body---ewwww!  There is absolutely no reason why I couldn't weigh the same as I did when I began having babies.  It was a healthy weight for my height. 

Now, do I expect my body to look the same as it did before I started having babies?

Oh my, NO!

That is physically impossible.  My body has borne children, and it has the scars, stretches, bruises and bags to prove it.  Honestly, the bearing of the children isn't even the hardest part.  It's the raising of the children that's really hard, and there is bodily damage that goes along with that too! 

So, being the crazy numbers person that I am, I figured out just what I need to lose.  I need to lose the birth weights of all four of my children.  8lbs. 1oz., 7lbs. 13oz., 7lbs. 9oz., and 8lbs. 1oz.=31lbs. 8oz.  (I'm really not sure which is scarier--the fact that I let myself go like that or the fact that I sat and figured that out!)

Thankfully, my children's birthdays are spaced out pretty well, and I'm beginning my journey TODAY.  I need to lose Abi (8lbs. 1oz.) by her birthday on June 12th.  I started making better food choices today, and hopefully that will get easier the longer I do it. PALEEESEE let it get easier!!!  I got up and did a mini-workout this morning with the free weights.  Mini, because I didn't get up early like I had planned to, but I wasn't going to NOT workout.  Weather-permitting, I will start running again this week, and I will get in at least three 5k runs before the end of the year.

Why am I telling all of you this?  Because you all care so deeply about my health and body image!

Ok, not really!


I am horrible about being accountable to myself.  I tried being accountable to my husband on this particular subject and it didn't turn out so well.  <Picture flying free-weights and someone strapped to the TotalGym being tortured with Whey protein powder!>  So, I am making myself accountable to you.  Thankfully, this blog only has a handful of followers so I'm hoping you'll be nice about it! *Hint!Hint*  I need some encouragment and someone to watch my kids (Ok, I'm just kidding about that last part. Sometimes.)

These are my goals:
  1. Lose each one of my kids' birth weights by their birthday: (Abi-June 12th-8lbs.1oz; Jada-August 1st-8lbs. 1oz; Hannah-November 16th-7lbs.13oz; Connor-April 24th-7lbs.9oz)  That gives me roughly a year to lose 32 pounds.  I think I'm being very generous with myself.
  2. Get into a regular routine of exercise (3-4x's a week) and running a consistent 5k(3-4x's a week.)
  3. Bring back those healthy eating habits! I am not brave enough to post my food diary on the internet, but I want to bring back my healthy recipes.  Thankfully, grilling weather is now upon us, and it's so easy to grill healthy!
  4. Run a half-marathon.  I'm not setting a definite date on this one, but I watched the Memorial marathon on TV this year and just about cried because I was sitting on my behind.  I would love to do it by next year, but we will have to wait and see.....
Today begins my new life sentence, and I plan on enjoying it!

Saving the best for last, I have at least three people that have inspired me:
  • First, a little girl from my old youth group who is all grown up now.  She's a runner, and she's amazing.  Jodie Smith makes me want to be young again!
  • Second, a woman I've never met, but I know through many conversations on the net, that is winning her own battle for her health.  Jenn Carr inspired me to get started, even a little step is a step forward!
  • Third, another woman I've never met, but has had three children and she ran a triathalon after her third.  Barbie Smith would be running another one this summer if she wasn't pregnant with her fourth, but I know she'll do another one soon!