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Mamas have birthdays too, it seems, and this past Wednesday I had mine. It followed late-night-conference-night, so to say I was a little worn out is an understatement! Bradley took the kids to skate night on the Tuesday night while I was conferencing and Jude fell down hard enough to break his arm. On my birthday our boys headed to the doctor to get a cast on and stopped by with lunch and roses on their way home. While I don’t want my boyo to have a broken bone, I also loved the benefit of a midday kiss from his little sweet mouth! (His break is a minor one, more of a crack right at his wrist and he only has to wear the splint for four weeks, but he does take the award for the only broken bone in our family!)
After work I got lots of kisses and meal out at Veggie Grill. We came home to the best coconut cake in the world that I’ve waited over a year to make and eat, lots of snuggles, lots of love and the best bed ever. I mean, it’s always the best bed, but it’s worth noting, sometimes, how much I love my bed. LOL! Next month we will finish off my celebration with a Jordan Knight concert… A great way to turn 41!

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I was pretty sad that I didn’t make my personal weight goal of weighing in at under 200 by my birthday (I’m just chilling, forever, at 201.4) but I’m placating myself with the knowledge that at least I’m no longer obese! That is the best gift ever.

I Want Candy!

Lately I’ve had this big old head with a big, loud mouth attached to it saying things like, “I don’t have a problem with eating too much food anymore!” I’ve been marveling about that. In my lifetime, I’ve never been filled up- I’ve always wanted to eat and eat and eat as long as more tasty morsels still exist. I’ve noticed lately that I can eat most stuff and my mouth and tummy seem to know when it is time to stop. I’ll eat a piece of cake and stop long before I need to. I’ll eat a bag of popcorn and be satisfied. After my ice cream serving goes down, I’m good. After dinner, I drink a glass of water and feel satisfied. NO PROBLEM! Candy though…
Sha. Right.
My mouth just wants to eat it all!
This weekend we bought a gigantic tub of cheese puffs, a bag of candy corn, a sack of caramel and a Baggie of Hershey’s Kisses for my daughter’s sleepover party on Friday. Before the party, it was nooooo problem. During the party the candy and cheese poofs weren’t a problem either. Saturday morning, though, was a game changer. There were leftovers and my belly knew it! I woke up and went on the prowl! I ended up eating three candy corns, nine kisses, six caramels and several handfuls of cheezie-poofs. The candy overwhelmed my system- I immediately felt like I had a lead balloon in my stomach, but I still wanted more. CRAVED more!
So I’d say I still have a problem, at least when it comes to candy. I had to tell myself no all weekend long.
My kids have been put on notice. This year I’m going to have my kids treat their Halloween baskets like they treat their easter baskets- they need to be out of my sight and up in their bedrooms or I will inhale every chocolate-nut-filled-peanut-buttery-nougaty delight that I can unwrap before my anyone sees.
Seriously.
Because I still have a problem with some kinds of food, CLEARLY!
๐Ÿ™‚

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There is nothing significant about this picture. I just really hate it when I have a photo-free blog post, so here I am in street clothes! You have seen Halloween costumes and running clothes a-plenty. How’s about Tamarella in a new birthday top for a change, hmmm? ๐Ÿ™‚

Thinking and Running

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I had two veins of thought today during our run: one was an asthma play-by-play and the other was about gratitude…
Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that I can’t run as much as I want with my new schedule. I get home so late every day that I’m home just in time for dinner, then it’s family time, then the kids are in bed and I want to chill. I don’t have a lot of time to myself, or at least, time I feel okay about selfishly using to run. Anyhow, I’ve decided that my answer is to run further distances fewer times per week.
I’ve found that running in the fall definitely comes with it’s own set of challenges. Mostly, the air is soupy and thick with smoke, moisture and particulates, making it hard to breathe. I’ve gone on a few runs lately where I’ve forgotten to use my inhaler and paid the price! I get about a mile into my run and it becomes harder and harder to catch a complete breath. I can breathe on the surface, but I can’t get air deeper into my lungs. After a block or so like that, my lungs start to burn like crazy, my right shoulder and back starts to cramp up, followed by my rib cage seizing up and then I usually start to freak out. I snark nastily at Bradley, at this point, and then, as I calm down, I feel like a jerk and cry, usually from the relief of the asthma attack releasing it’s hold as much as anything. Sometimes when I have an asthma attack I almost feel like I’m having a heart attack- it’s kind of freaky.
The good news is that as long as I use my inhaler, I can run and run for ages without any problems. I’m realizing how important the inhaler is, how vital it is and how absolutely grateful I am to have such marvelous medicine that enables me to run through all the seasons.

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Today we perfectly timed our run. The storm clouds were rolling in and we decided that we had better get going or it was going to be very wet! We managed to run 3.5 miles, and it wasn’t until the last 1/3 of a mile that the clouds unzipped and let loose all over us. It was a gorgeous run!
While on our run today, we ran past an elderly lady ‘s house. We’ve watched her house for years, curious first, as her holiday lights stayed up until May, then watching to make sure she was ok. Eventually her holiday lights came down, cars came and went, the lawn was tended… Then this summer her house seemed quiet, still, and this weekend her house was put on the market. We were saddened as we saw someone, most likely her daughter, standing outside her house, sorting this and that into boxes and moving them into a moving truck. I was saddened for their family’s journey into that phase, the one where your parents can’t live alone. I was also saddened as I considered the steps people follow as the elderly move further away from their independence. The triggers that set things into motion- a stroke, a seizure or something that makes children take notice and move their parents elsewhere.
Then I thought of an older neighbor of ours who, tragically, had a stroke and laid in her kitchen for a length of time (a few days) before she was found and taken to the hospital. I wondered what I would think of if I were in that position, to keep from panicking… I realized that I couldn’t readily remember things that are important; the stories about me, my greatest moments. When I want to distract myself, I go to fantasy, to what-ifs, to books I want to write and to my imagination, but what I truly love in life is my family. I realized I should have practiced moments from my life that I can call upon in moments where I need calm and focus. I started considering my bests:
*The moment Bradley walked into my apartment for the first time and I saw his lightning bolt of a smile, then engaged him in hearty talk about Noah and the covenant of the rainbow.
*On the day of our wedding we found ourselves, alone, at the venue, early in the morning. We held hands and walked around the park, stood quietly on the bridge and remarked that this intimate moment would be the most memorable and special one of the day. True.
*When each of my children were born, my husband sang a song and ferried her, then him, around the room, allowing me to plant the first kiss on each cheek of my babies.
The list goes on, but as I thought of my memories I realized how very rich I am to have such a lovely partner and wonderful life to share with him. Every best, beautiful memory is connected to my husband; my life was good before him and became amazing as soon as he walked into my apartment.
I stopped my husband, at this point in the run, and hugged him tight. I let him know how grateful I am for his companionship and we walked for a moment while I shared my thinking. We continued on and finished our run, arriving home very wet, quite happy and our gratitude for our life, health and happiness resolute.

Piggy & Kermie

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Halloween season is here and I have worn this costume twice this weekend. And no Miss Piggy is ever complete without her beloved Kermit the Frog. So Dreamy… We got to dress up once, to my school for the carnival, last night, and tonight we got to wear our costumes again for a Halloween party at a friend’s house. Halloween parties have been thin throughout my lifetime, and suddenly we are attending and hosting them with alarming regularity! It’s been really nice. We’ve been seeking community and friends for a long time and I’m starting to feel a sense of belonging right here, in my own neighborhood. It feels so very good. Isn’t it funny how just knowing one another’s names, exchanging the rare pleasantly and having a meet up once or twice a year among neighbors can shift that sense of self that comes from belonging to something greater than just your immediate family? ๐Ÿ™‚
***
I read an article recently that freaked me out about artificial sweeteners. Essentially, eating the fake sugars can lead to horrible diseases. Once again, it all comes down to consuming food in moderation, in this case, sugar.
I started my diet coke habit back when I started dieting years and years ago. My thinking was that a soda pop crutch was ok. I needed a treat, and at that time, I was in love with diet root beer. I could drink a root beer at night and feel like I was getting a real treat; thus was born my soda habit. I vacillated between a once a day drinker to a person who drank nothing but diet soda- If it didn’t come in a bottle or can, I didn’t drink it. I dialed that way back two years ago when I got horrified at my consumption and the environmental impact of driving my soda all over the country and went to the soda stream, then, last year, I went back to drinking soda just once a day. Three weeks ago I decided to wean myself off of diet sugars altogether, with the exception of one packet of truvia in my iced tea every day. The first few days were mildly challenging, but I was surprised at how quickly I got used to it and started drinking tea, water, and I have even had a few beers. I am surprised that, again, I was lead by my own unfounded fear of how I would react to giving up artificial sweeteners, especially soda pop, as opposed to how difficult it hasn’t been. For sweetness now, I’ve gotten really into grapes. They are amazing right now: crisp, sweet and juicy! I’ve been downing them like crazy, poor Bradley is amazed at how many he’s buying! We both agree, however, if grapes do the trick and keep me away from the artificial sweeteners, they are well worth the extra trip to the store.

Bobcat FunRun

I’m a Bobcat now. I’m a feral, crazy, vicious animal! All because I switched schools this year. I used to be a Husky, but now that I’m at my new school, I’m a wild thing! ๐Ÿ™‚ Today the bobcats had their fun run. I was rather impressed with my superstar second graders: they exceeded their goal of $750 and raised almost 1000 dollars for our PTSA! We celebrated that with an extra free choice time yesterday and a fun run today.

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Whenever there is an opportunity to work out while on the clock, I always jump at it. So this morning, I woke up, got dressed, and packed the clothes I would need for a solid run into my go bag and prepared myself to run for real at the fun run.
The first roadblock happened on the way down the hill away from my house, still in my car. I realize I forgot my inhaler in my bathroom. I put my brave face on until I got into my classroom, read the schedule and realized that I was going to be outside for nearly two hours. I either had to run for the entirety of the run, or I had to run for a portion of the time and then stand around outside in the cold air, and I had failed to pack my running jacket. I was going to be standing around in my humongous PTSA t-shirt, running pants and my dress jacket on the track, or shivering. Classy. But still, I thought, no problem. I can do this.
During my morning break I whined to Bradley via text. Ever my superhero, he sprang into action and brought me my inhaler and two jackets. Two old jackets. Two jackets that hang in my closet because I loved them when I was a beginning runner and I’m sentimental about them, but they are huge. Coupled with my huge sail of a Tshirt (there was a size mixup) and I felt heavily laden with clothing. Again, my superhero sprang into action, went to Target and bought me a brand-new running top! He wished me a happy early birthday and took off to deliver Gigi’s helmet before gym class. Our hero…
It certainly changed my outlook.
The run itself was very fun. Our awesome PE teacher set up a bunch of stations around the track. While mileage was encouraged, the idea was simply to stay active for the whole time. Kids could run obstacle courses, do ball kicks and a bunch of other stuff, and enter their data into a drawing for prizes. It was really neat. I ran almost the whole time. I forgot my inhaler in my classroom and had to run back to get it, but after that got taken care of, I ended up running about 4.5 miles, or 17 laps. I had one little girl who stuck it out with me for well over a mile. I was so impressed with her tenacity and willingness to take it slow, rather than burning out in a sprint. I kept turning in surprise that she was still there with me every time I turned around. What a sweetheart!
It was so much fun to run and play and sweat with all of my students. I had several kids who I didn’t know who ran with me for a bit and made conversation with me. I felt very included in my new, school community, today, and just plain good. Today started out a little bit hard but ended up just totally excellent. Thank you, Bobcats!

Holla!

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Did you look outside today? If you’re from the Seattle area, you know that we had an unseasonably warm day today. In fact, as we were headed down the street in our turtle necks, scarves and vests on this lovely 70 degree day, we started to kind of feel silly… But how else are you supposed to dress for an autumnal harvest festival among friends???
But I digress. I’m giving a holla because today I did something that has been looming menacingly in front of me ever since I became a runner: I ran to St. Edward Park and back. It wasn’t a terribly far distance- just under 5 miles- but the hills terrify me. St. Edward Park is located in a fairly hilly area and, before I started considering exercise a thing in my life, I just wondered how all those crazy people were climbing up and down those hills. I would watch people riding their bikes down to the park and I would silently warn them in my head of the job in front of them: if you go down, you have to come back up… So the distance is not so hard, in my mind, it was the altitude that had scared me all those years ago.
I needn’t have worried. It was a lovely run. I promised myself that I only had to run there- I could walk back. When I reached our agree upon stop point, I took my heart rate and found out I was at 178 BPM, so I took a little walking break to calm it down, but I managed to run, pretty much, all the way home, too. It was a really proud accomplishment for me. Next time I want to run down to the water’s edge too! It felt wonderful to beat that big, scary challenge, and even better to go a different route, to see different things, the colors of autumn… What a great run!

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To top things off, when I checked in on my WiiFit today, I found out that at 202 I am NO LONGER OBESE!!!!. I’m simply ‘overweight’ now! I’ve been clinically obese for 20 years. I never expected to not be obese- the nastiest, grossest word ever: obese. I hate that word. It’s like ‘panties’ or ‘moist’- just one of those words that gives you the hoovery-cooveries. Anyways, it is incredibly freeing to be out of the obese category. I burst into tears, as I am wont to do, and spent a moment celebrating in shock.
“Hey, I’m Tamara. Guess what, I’m no longer obese.”
Weird.
In a good way. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunny Autumn

I got home again today and got another surprise on the scale:

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Uh-huh! That would be 201.8!
So close I can almost feel it! To top it off, I’m now less than ten pounds heavier than my husband! Why that matters, I don’t know, but it feels important. All that stuff about weighing less than the man, and I’ve never. It doesn’t matter. Really it doesn’t. But it does. Does that make any sense? I don’t think I’ve ever been in a relationship where I’ve been the smaller one and I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what that is like. It doesn’t matter, like I said, but I’m still looking forward to that moment when I pass him on the scale!

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I decided to go for a run to keep up the momentum- plus it was beautiful out- and I rushed out as soon as I got home, but I forgot to use my inhaler before I went! I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal… Talk about a tough run! The thick, autumnal air with my lack of consistent exercise and no puffies (it’s what I call my inhaler) made for a horror of a time. Breathing was hard so my heart started beating like mad. My chest constricted down and I just started feeling intense. In my panic, I snarked at Bradley, making him kiss me on the cheek and take off running, leaving me in the dust. I finished the run, but when I got home I couldn’t get my body back under control- slower breathing and heartrate were slow in coming. It felt like it was my first time again. That said, I was happy to have done it, and I learned how important consistency is. I was also happy to get a kiss of forgiveness when I walked through the door. ๐Ÿ™‚
We will try again tomorrow, with puffies, and hopefully the weather will be as lovely and sunny as today and I will be able to enjoy my run much more.

It’s Another Disney Adventure!

It’s been busy! Oh my goodness! I kept sitting down to write over the past few weeks and found that all I was writing were lists of tasks that I had to complete or a litany of complaints that I felt just served to inject negativity into the world. No one needs to read about my bad day, right? So I took a break from writing…
And went to Disneyland again!

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Yup. We used our passes one last time for my daughter’s birthday when Bradley found a screaming deal online. It was a great trip after spending August and September in a vortex of insanity. Getting going in September is difficult any year, add moving schools and grades and adding new curriculum and my head was spinning out of control. I also managed to lose a few pounds through September, so my hormones went bonkers when I had to process them from the fat loss. With the onset of PMS, I was an imbalanced nightmare (fat stores lots of toxins and, when morbidly obese like I was at 340 pounds, it also stores lots of hormones which kept me from having cycles at all. Now I process all of the hormones as I get smaller and smaller with each PMS cycle and it ain’t pretty!)
Disneyland was a great break!

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When we are Disneyland, of course there is a lot of walking. I banked between 15,000-22,000 steps per day and was on my feet for about 12 hours a day. It was in the mid to upper 80’s while we were there, so food didn’t sound so good. We generally eat a light breakfast then subsist on granola bars, fruit leather, water, cheese sticks and veggie chik nuggets until afternoon when we eat a later lunch, then usually get something back at the hotel for dinner. We move a lot, eat lots of fiber, solid protein and the result is…

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I left 1.5 pounds in Disneyland! I have two weeks to meet my goal of 199.9 by my birthday on October 29th! Two weeks to lose a little over two pounds! If there has ever been a call for the weightloss warrior in me, this is it! I’ll walk tonight and start running again tomorrow. I’m determined to get there or, at least, as close as possible!

Super Saturday

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We ran a 5K today. Collectively. We, the Lj’s, got up super early, tied on our sneakers and headed out the door to run with a mob of my fellow school district supporters, kids and adults. This race is my favorite. It is so fun to run along, and because it’s a-there-and-back race, you see EVERYONE you know, either coming or going! It’s like a high school reunion, except you don’t stop and have long conversations because you’re running! I ran with current students, former students, current colleagues, former colleagues, Bradley, Guinevere and Jude. It was an amazingly social event. It was surprisingly emotional, too, as I saw my friends (colleagues, former students and families) from my old school. As I hugged them hello, I got very emotional and started crying. It was like breathing, again, to see them and feel their love. I loved running that race. ๐Ÿ™‚
Performance-wise, it was not good. I think my finish time was a little over 40 minutes. It was difficult to look at that number, but I decided to be a mom-runner this time round and ran, first, with just Jude, and later with Jude and a current student. Welp, they got tired and there was a lot of walking during that 5K. It was good for me to have my student with Jude. I really worked on being patient and coaching the boys along rather than hustling them along like I usually do with Jude. Instead, they picked the intervals of when they would walk and run, my goal being to make this race fun with my son. I’m not sure I made it nearly as fun as the cheerleaders did, though. Jude really turned it on high gear when running past all the foxy ladies!
I love this picture of me crossing the finish line, running to Bradley. It was a nice moment that was captured by a friend… I only wish that lady wasn’t right there in front of me! And can you tell how giant Bradley and I are?! We look freakishly tall. I had no idea! LOL!

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A non-scale victory happened recently. Bradley heard about the Brooks Running Outlet store clearance event that is near our house so we went to check it out. We ended up with a case of crowd anxiety and a t-shirt that Bradley bought without trying it on, assuming it would fit. He put it on and it looked super girly on him, super tight. I said, “It might fit me.” Because it did look like it might fit me… But I was dubious, so we put it on Gigi. It fit her like a nightgown. Again, I thought that it might fit me, so I snatched it off the child’s body and put it on my own. Guess who got a new shirt that was too small for her husband? That has never happened. I’ve always been bigger than him. Unbelievable.

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All of this is nice stuff. It’s good to have a few victories. This week was a killer. Oh. My. Goodness.