September 24, 2022

My First Mammogram!

For some odd reason, ever since I was a teenager, I associated age 40 with having yearly mammograms. Maybe I heard my mom talk about it, or saw info about it on Oprah, or something like that--but it has stuck with me ever since. You turn 40 and you get a mammogram. 

Well, this was my year. I don't know why 40 is the magic number, but I knew on my birthday that sometime this year I'd have a mammogram. I wasn't worried about it or anxious about it or anything. It just feels like a rite of passage when you go over the hill. (I've always hated that expression, by the way--"over the hill"--yikes!)

I saw my gynecologist last week for an annual exam, and he said that it was time to schedule a mammogram. The hospital called and said they had an opening today at 2:00, and despite being a Saturday, I said sure.

I actually laughed about it with Jerry because I have very small boobs (yes, I should probably be mature and use the word "breasts", but I call them boobs). At this weight, I am an A cup! And that A cup is mostly loose skin from my weight loss, hahaha. So Jerry and I joked that the machine would just keep flattening my boobs until they were spread out paper thin--kind of like when you use a press to flatten pizza dough.

My appointment was at 2:00, but they said to get there 15 minutes early. I brought my Kindle with me to read while I waited, but I didn't even get to read a full page before I was called back. The woman who did the mammogram was super nice. She told me to undress from the waist up and she gave me a gown to wear.

It was such an odd feeling putting on the gown--I remember when I was 253 pounds, the hospital gowns wouldn't fit me. I had to wear two--one with the opening in the back and one with the opening in the front to avoid exposing myself. Today, I was swimming in the gown.

I always pictured a big, cold, white, sterile room with a huge machine. Instead, it was small and intimate and I felt totally comfortable. The only other person in the room was the woman who'd given me the gown. I told her I was a blogger and asked if she minded if I took a picture--it's always a little awkward asking people that! But I like to have pictures in case other people wonder what it's like as well.

We chatted while she "arranged" my right boob on the machine (which was actually very comfortable--for some reason, I pictured it to be extremely uncomfortable and cold). 

My gown was wider than the machine, hahaha

Then as it pressed down for the images, it just felt a little like a blood pressure cuff when it tightens around your arm, only it didn't feel *as* tight as the arm cuff. It wasn't bad at all! She had me turn to the side for another image, and then we repeated the process with my left boob.

And that was it! It was so fast. Faster than getting x-rays, even. I went back in the changing room and was surprised to see that my chest was red above where it was squished a little; it didn't hurt, though.

I got dressed, and was back in the lobby by 1:57--three minutes before my actual appointment time! I couldn't believe what a fast and easy appointment it was. I told Jerry I'd rather do that again than any other doctors' appointments (especially the dentist--I despise going to the dentist!).

I won't have the results for a couple days, but I'm not worried about it. What I *am* worried about? I also have to have a colonoscopy this year! Most people don't have to have them until they are 50 (some say 45), but after my mom had a colonoscopy, she was told that she had something going on (I think polyps?) and that her children should start having the procedure at age 40.

Everything about it is scary to me, but especially the prep. I've heard and read that it's awful and you have to start a few days before the actual procedure--eating a low fiber diet for a few days (I have no idea what I'll eat, because as a vegan, I eat a ton of fiber); then nothing but clear liquids for a day before. And the worst part--drinking some awful liquid that basically makes you poop your brains out until there is nothing left. After reading about the procedure, I feel like I'll probably need to set up camp in the bathroom.

I haven't scheduled that appointment yet, but I am seeing my primary care doctor soon for a wellness visit, so I'll likely schedule it then. I'm definitely not looking forward to it! If you're not too embarrassed, please feel free to share your experiences ;)

September 23, 2022

Friday Night Photos

Gosh, I got so used to not writing a post all week that now it feels weird to actually find the time to write one! I just got home from our first cross country meet (well, it was our second, but the first one was canceled due to a thunderstorm just minutes before we were supposed to start).

It's now 8:30 and Jerry is making dinner so I can write this post. Oddly enough, I don't have a ton of photos this week (at least not very exciting ones). Most of the pictures on my camera are of measurements and pictures of electrical outlets and things like that--so boring!--because I sent them to my brother and/or brother-in-law to ask if I was doing things correctly in the bedroom and bathroom remodel.

Here are some photos, however...

I was SO COLD (I'm always cold) but I finally busted out my Detroit Lions onesie and even a winter hat to wear in bed, hahaha.


I have a Jeep Renegade, which is definitely not very big, but today I managed to fit a bifold door, 12 pieces of casing, 3 pieces of a door jamb, and a small bag of other stuff from Menards. I was pretty impressed with myself! Even more impressed that I carried the bifold door while pushing a cart full of the other stuff.

I made this General Tso's tofu a few days ago and I TOTALLY over-baked the tofu. I forgot about it in the oven until I smelled it--it was so overcooked that it had the texture of croutons. I tried to soften it with the sauce, but it tasted terrible and was still very crunchy. It looked great though! I'll try again another time and remember to set the oven timer.

I thought it would be fun to show this behind-the-scenes picture of my Wednesday Weigh-In selfie... since my room and bathroom are torn apart and there is stuff EVERYWHERE, I had to move this full length mirror someplace where it would be tall enough to see me, where the light wasn't causing a dark shadow, prop it up onto something so it was high enough, and put something behind it to keep it from falling over. This is what it looks like when it's not cropped! 

I went out to the garage to cut some drywall, and when I turned over a piece, I saw THIS ENORMOUS MONSTER on the drywall! We had our garage sprayed for spiders earlier this year, but I guess this one snuck in. I despise spiders and this gave me the heebie jeebies.

I was organizing some prizes for cross country and Chick decided that he could definitely fit inside this  box. (The buckwheat pillow in the box was not one of the prizes, hahaha--I got it for my dad for his birthday.)

I saw this on the wall in the garage and thought it was pretty--I couldn't figure out what was making it, though.

I saw this truck at Lowe's isn't it the coolest?! Even the color of it is perfect.

I wanted to burn the world when I heard CHRISTMAS music playing at Lowe's! And they were stocking the shelves with Christmas stuff. It's mid-September, people. Then I had Christmas music in my head all day.

Duck was "helping" me work on some cross country stuff. When I don't pay attention to him, he just lies on my binder so that I am forced to pay attention to him ;)

Duck doing his sploot. It never gets old!

My friend Jack, Jerry, and Noah all went disc golfing. I thought it was really cool that Jack and Jerry included Noah. He really likes playing.

I have no idea what I was thinking here, but clearly I was concentrating very hard. Or just looking at whatever it is I just messed up. I can't tell you how many swear words were uttered shouted while working on this bathroom. 

The baby squirrels that were born in the spring are getting so big! And very brave. They are coming closer and closer to the door for nuts now.

Jerry sent this picture to me--the bumper sticker is SO perfect for me! I really need it.

My parents' neighbors decided to cut down an enormous tree that was between their houses. It was pretty amazing! My dad was acting goofy here, like he pushed it over or something, haha.

These pictures kind of tell a story of how my sweet little Duckling is a genius cat...

It's 1:00 AM and I'm trying to sleep. I hear Duck playing with something in the bathroom, and since the bathroom has SO many tools and things in it right now, I got out of bed to investigate. Somehow, he found this string from a plumb bob that I'd put way in the corner of the counter (for the very purpose of keeping it away from the cats--we all know how much Duck loves to get into string). Well, that is what he was playing with--trying to get it out of the corner.

I put it in my tool box on the floor and tucked it underneath some stuff in there so that you couldn't see it. (no picture). Then I went back to bed. A couple of minutes later, I heard him in there again. I went in to see what he was doing, and he'd dug the plumb bob string out from underneath everything!

So, I tucked it back into the tool box and then put a hamper basket over the whole thing and went back to bed. Not even a few minutes later, I heard him again. Got out of bed AGAIN. Only to find this:

I swear, he is the smartest, most determined cat I've ever known. So, I just took the time in the middle of the night to take everything off the counter, put it in my closet, and shut the door.

Finally, this moment was a (small) "win" that I definitely needed this week. I hung two pieces of rectangular drywall, which was no big deal; but then I was trying to figure out how I was going to Tetris the heck out of the top part. 

I was thinking about how many pieces, where to cut, etc. Out of spontaneity, I figured, what the heck--I'll try to do the math and make the whole thing fit in one giant piece. It wasn't as simple as it sounds--the ceiling is angled, so I had to calculate the angle (4.4 degrees) and then cut out the shapes to fit the doorway.

I couldn't believe it when I saw it fit like a glove on the first try!

Clearly, I get very excited over the little things these days ;)  I've finished hanging all the drywall and now I'm working on taping and mudding.

And that's all I've got! I am going to eat some of the lo mein that Jerry made, get cozy in bed, and watch some Dexter. Tomorrow morning, my mom and I are headed to Eastern Market in Detroit (a farmer's market). We leave bright and early at 5:45 AM!

Have a great weekend! xo

September 22, 2022

Where to Begin? (My Wordless Week)

First, I have to say that this week went by SO QUICKLY. As a (hopefully quick) recap, I had been feeling extremely overwhelmed for the past couple of months for numerous reasons. When I wrote out my "to do" list, it felt like a mile long and I honestly had no idea where to begin.

I decided to eliminate any stressors that weren't time-sensitive, and blogging was one of them. Rather than skip my blog posts altogether, I did a "Wordless Week", where I posted a photo a day. Of course, I couldn't help myself but to write a quick sentence or two about the photo, but that was it.

When your tool belt feels too heavy, your mouth will do just fine

I let my family and friends know that I wasn't going to be available for the week--texts, phone calls, would be sporadic at best. Jerry offered to make dinner every day (and he did!--we both learned that he's got some cooking talent). He really liked cooking, so I think he'll do it more often. It's not that he never cooked or volunteered to cook before--he actually offers a lot--I just always considered it *my* job as a stay-at-home parent).

I started therapy a few weeks ago and it has helped enormously so far. I've learned that I have a very hard time asking for help with anything--especially if it's something that I feel like I should be doing--again, because I'm a stay-at-home parent.

Staying at home is not nearly as easy at it sounds, even though my kids are both old enough to take care of themselves. I do a ton of work at home: cleaning, organizing, meal planning, grocery shopping, running errands, making appointments, keeping track of everybody's schedules, fixing things around the house, taking care of the pets, planning out and adjusting the week's tasks, paying bills and keeping ledgers of our finances, and finally--blogging.

Blogging is how I earn an income, and there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Just yesterday, as I only had an hour before leaving for cross country, I got an email from AdThrive (the company that handles ads on my blog) saying that there was a problem with bots(?) causing some big issue--I don't understand computer language at all! I just followed their instructions and trusted them to fix it on their end, but I was completely stressed out about it.

I only earn a modest income from the ads on my blog, but I like to keep a balance for my followers the best that I can. I don't want to overload my blog with ads, even though I could earn a lot more money; however, I don't want to remove the ads, either, because it's my contribution to our family's finances. So, while I hate having ads on my blog, I really do try to keep it at the point where it's not TOO intrusive. I can't stand it when I go to sites (especially recipe sites) where you have to sift through dozens of ads to get to the content!

Anyway, the point is that blogging IS a job. I spend a lot of time on it--more than one would think--and in addition to all of the stay-at-home parent things that I do, I spread myself very thin when I have a lot going on. Adding volunteering as a cross country coach to the mix this fall threw me for a loop.

Then our bathroom/bedroom disaster happened (water damage on our subfloor, and now a complete remodel of the bathroom and bedroom) added an expense we didn't plan for. Not to mention what a time-consuming project it would be.

Eli hit a huge pothole with Jerry's car, requiring new tires and a rim (total of $1500)--again, not expected.

The house is completely cluttered everywhere because we aren't done with the remodel (we had to move everything from the bedroom and bathroom into our dining room, living room, and anywhere else we could put it).

Since I've been DIY'ing the disaster, it's taking longer than expected. Much longer! But this past week, I finished framing in the new closet in the bathroom and I installed most of the drywall yesterday. I'll finish that today. Then I have to tape and mud the drywall, sand it, and finally--FINALLY--I get to do the fun stuff! Painting, decorating, making it look decent again. (I want to stress that Jerry offers to help with everything; I just don't like to ask him to, because he usually works about 48-60 hours a week.)

Besides, he's super busy being a nerd. His new hobby is putting together/building a Ghostbusters outfit (he doesn't like me to call it a costume!).

Something I've learned in therapy is that it's OKAY to ask for help, even though I feel like I should be the one doing it. My kids can certainly do more chores around the house (something I felt bad about asking). They can cook their own meals on the days that I coach cross country, which is always hectic for me. I can make a schedule that includes my top priorities and then put the ones that aren't time-sensitive on the back burner.

So, that's why I chose to take a week "off" of blogging. I have blogged every day since January 1, 2020, and I really didn't want to break that streak, which is why I still posted a picture a day. But it was a huge weight off my shoulders knowing I didn't have to dedicate so much time to it.

I know that I can cut down the amount of days that I blog, but I really do enjoy it (most of the time). This past week, though, I decided that I'm going to do a "wordless" post once a week to take some time and get other things done--or even take a day of total rest! I can't even remember the last time I did that. Probably when I had COVID, so it wasn't even a "fun" day, haha.

Something else I need to work on is not feeling guilty for everything. When Jerry cooks dinner, for example, I feel guilty that I'm not doing it. When the house isn't clean, I feel guilty asking the kids to clean the bathroom or dust the living room, etc. I feel incredibly guilty when I don't cook dinner.

I feel guilty spending money on myself, even though I am thrifty (I think every item of clothing I own--aside from underwear and a few hoodies that I got for $8 at Kohls--came from thrift stores). Thankfully, thrift shopping is something I LOVE. I don't even know where people go to buy new clothes! Haha. 

Last year, I even felt guilty for the doctor visit co-pays when trying to figure out what was going on with my chronic pain. So, the guilt is something I'd like to work through in therapy as well.

I have quite a bit of blog content for this week, I think, because I haven't written in a while. So, I'll end this here. Several people have been asking me about my recent weight loss, what I've been eating, and how eating vegan/plant-based has affected my weight, etc. I've been planning that post for a while, taking photos of a lot of my meals, so I will do that soon. I also hope to post some progress with the bedroom/bathroom, and even some things I learn in therapy.

So, Friends, thank you for sticking around this past week! I definitely plan to do a "wordless" day once a week, on a day that is particularly busy or I just don't feel like I have anything to write about.

In the meantime, please send me some reader email that I can share in a weekly or bi-weekly (or even monthly) post! I'd love to hear about things like having a baby, running your first race, adopting a pet, a great thrift store find, a new haircut, etc. I want to have a nice, positive post to share from all of you! You can send it (with a photo, if applicable) to me at: katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. I'm no longer doing Transformation Tuesdays, but if you have a transformation to share, I can always add it to the reader email post!

I appreciate every. single. one. of you. Truly. xo

September 21, 2022

Wednesday Weigh-In: Wordless Week Day 7

I wasn't sure if I should just post a regular Wednesday Weigh-In today and get back to the norm, or if I should give myself the Day 7 of "Wordless Week". It turns out I needed this extra day. So I'll just post my weigh-in, and then catch up tomorrow!


And of course a piece of my hair would fall on the scale before I took the picture!

I'll get back to writing tomorrow. This week went by SO FAST.

September 20, 2022

Wordless Week: Day 6

Not exactly *wordless*, but a quick explanation...

On Sunday when we were on our way to pick up Luke and Riley (Jerry was driving), I decided to do the Wordle. On my lap, I was holding a plate with a plaster of Paris skeleton Luke and I made. The Wordle ended up being TIBIA. What are the odds?!

September 19, 2022

Wordless Week: Day 5

The door behind me actually isn't installed--it's just leaning against the wall while I finish framing the closet!

September 18, 2022

Wordless Week: Day 4

A very intense game of Connect Four at cross country practice... (the kids have to run to the top of a hill and grab a game piece for their team, run back down and place their piece--until one team gets four in a row).  I can't count how many times I've been crashed into--hence the look on my face as "C" came flying down the hill toward me.


September 17, 2022

Wordless Week: Day 3

My dad teaching Noah how to take over as the family car mechanic one day 🥰

September 16, 2022

Wordless Week: Day 2

Jerry's birthday gift... 😇 😈

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