September 30, 2020

My Latest Audiobook Obsession

Ugh, I did not sleep well last night. At ALL. 

Thankfully, it wasn't because of the new mattress! The mattress is super comfortable, and I hope that I'll actually get some sleep on it tonight. Last night, however, Chick was driving me CRAZY. 

Duck likes to sleep on my head, but lately he's been sleeping on the couch in my bedroom and then jumping up to the bed (and onto my head) at around 4:30 AM. I honestly don't mind it! He's soft, warm, he purrs, and it's actually pretty comforting.

Chick, on the other hand, comes and goes as he pleases all night long. And the first thing he does when he jumps up on the bed is start licking my nose! I have no idea why--he just licks the tip of my nose, which clearly wakes me up. Then he starts walking around my head, trying to find a place that he wants to lie down (he likes to sleep right next to my head).

The answer, obviously, is to keep the kittens (well, at least Chick) out of my bedroom at night so that I can get some sleep. I just feel too bad locking Chick out without Duck; and Duck does NOT like to be locked out (he makes a chirping noise outside my door until I open it). 

I'm going to try locking them both out tonight and hope that they will sleep with Eli (he really wants them to sleep with him--he already has Joey and Phoebe in there!). Estelle sleeps on my bed and has for years, so I don't want to kick her out. Other than taking up a good part of the bed, she doesn't bother me at all during the night.

Anyway... kittens! They are always entertaining, if nothing else ;)

The weather today was PERFECT for a nice fall walk. I actually enjoyed my morning walk so much that I took a route that I knew was going to be about 10 minutes longer. I would have increased my second walk if I didn't have to pee so badly.

I'm also listening to an audiobook that I just want to listen to all day long! It's so good. I save my audiobooks for my walks, so after my second walk I was just left in suspense until tomorrow morning. I'm excited to listen again!

It's a psychological thriller called 'You Are Not Alone' by  Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (Amazon affiliate link)

This book showed up as a recommendation for me, probably based on the fact that I read a previous book by the same authors--'The Wife Between Us'. I don't remember anything about that book! I only rated it three stars on Good Reads, so I must not have loved it.

Anyway, I can't say that I'm going to love this book because I'm only halfway done with it, but so far, I really really like it. It hooked me from the very beginning. I don't want to stop listening, and it makes me want to go out and walk some more so I can finish it. (The narration is great, by the way; that makes a big difference in what audiobooks I'll listen to!)

September 29, 2020

A New Mattress! (So Exciting, I Know)

I'm going to keep this super short because I'd like to spend some time replying to email tonight. I hate that I let myself get so far behind! I love reading emails from readers, but I take forever to reply--and I apologize for that!--so I'm going to take the time to reply to some tonight.

There is no photo for this post, so I'll just post a picture of the new mattress Jerry and I got! We've had the same mattress (a Tempurpedic--the original, when they had the commercial of someone jumping on the bed with a glass of wine in the corner! Haha) for about 15 years. Lately, since Jerry and I have been so achey and sore, we've decided that it's our mattress and not the fact that we're getting old ;)

This is our new Saatva mattress...

Holy smokes, I had NO IDEA just how difficult it would be to buy a new mattress! Jerry was into it more than I was. We were looking at mattresses online, and some of them were $4500! I said that there are people all over the world who sleep on the ground, so we can certainly sleep on a 15-year old mattress... but I eventually agreed, we should get a new one. 

We decided on a hybrid mattress, after lots of "research" online. A hybrid mattress has a memory foam layer on top with an innerspring layer below. We chose one that was 14.5 inches, and compared to our 10-inch Tempurpedic, I had no idea just how tall this was going to be! Hahaha. (Our previous mattress went up to the bottom of the headboard I made.)

I have to say, the new mattress is AH-MAZING. As soon as it was delivered, Jerry and I laid on it and were thrilled. I love how it forms to my body, and Jerry loves how "bouncy" it is *eyeroll*. I am actually excited to go to bed tonight! ;) 

I even bought a new set of my beloved Brooklinen sheets for the new mattress. (I wrote not too long ago about buying some linen sheets from them, and sadly, I ended up returning them. As comfy as they were, they were just not pet-friendly--the kittens' nails snagged them like crazy. So I ended up returning them.)

We've had their Luxe Sateen sheets for a long time, and I LOVE THEM, but this time, I bought their Classic Percale. Jerry and I have been SO HOT while we sleep, even though the thermostat is ridiculously low, and the Percale sheets feel so cool against your skin (I had some pillow cases in the Classic Percale).

(Here is a link for the Brooklinen sheets--if you use it, you and I each get $25 off! Please use it :) I always want more sheets!)

I got the sheets a week ago or so, but I hadn't even opened the box until today (knowing the mattress would be delivered today). I threw the sheets in the washer and when the mattress was delivered, I made up the bed. I am thrilled with the mattress and with the sheets! I will report later, after I've slept on them, but I'm glad that Jerry talked me into getting the new mattress.

I really cannot believe how much of a difference the extra four inches of mattress makes, but I do like having a higher bed. 

Anyways, I'm going to write some emails now and then go sleep on my new sheets/mattress :) 

September 28, 2020

What I've Learned From Walking 90 Minutes A Day

EDIT 9/29: While I was trying to fall asleep last night, I realized that it was actually day 71 (not 70) of 75 Hard. My mind is just gone these days! ;)

I feel like this is a very odd thing to post about, but as I approach the end of 75 Hard (Friday is Day 75!), I've been thinking a lot about how all of this walking has changed me. (And I don't mean physically.) Here is my 10-week comparison. Not much change in the last few weeks--but I know it's because of the stress I've been under lately. I've been eating too much food in my eating "window" for intermittent fasting. I do love that my hair is growing back out!

When I started the challenge, I expected to begrudgingly do the two 45-minute workouts a day just to get them done and check them off a list. And here I am, 10 weeks later, with a completely different attitude.

For the last 10 weeks, I've walked twice a day for 45 minutes or more each time (there were a few occasions where I rode my bike instead of walked, but I think that was only 4-5 total out of 140 workouts). 

I haven't put any pressure on myself to walk at a certain pace or get my heart rate up or anything like that. My only mission was to walk for 45 minutes twice a day--fast or slow, easy or hard. The main reason for this was because I was worried that by going from zero exercise every day to 90+ minutes per day, I might get injured. So I wanted to keep it easy if needed.

I never, ever thought I'd be saying this 10 weeks later, but I really love my walks now! I thought I'd be counting down the days until I didn't "have" to do it anymore. Because I was going to be doing two workouts a day, I made sure to do the first one as soon as I woke up. And that habit has stuck--I am always out the door within 30 minutes or so of waking up (except for when the kids have to go to school twice a week; on those days, I walk as soon as they go to school).

I didn't start out loving the walks. I started out the same way I always have when it comes to exercise--dreading it and wishing I was doing something else. Soon, I was indifferent about it. I didn't dislike it, but I wasn't looking forward to walking, either. And then at some point, I really started to enjoy walking.

A big reason for this change is that I've discovered that I love audiobooks! I had tried to listen to them numerous times before when I was still running, but I could never pay attention to audiobooks while running. I was always playing little mind games with myself to make the run go by faster. When walking, I get totally absorbed in my audiobooks. When I get home, I'm always excited about continuing the book on my next walk.

Living on a peninsula doesn't give me a lot of options as far as routes go. If I walk the entire perimeter of the neighborhoods, it's only five miles. It took some getting used to--when I was running, I knew all the three-mile routes, four-miles, etc. With walking instead of running, and measuring time instead of distance, I had to learn routes that would be roughly 45 minutes. 

I have a few "go to" routes, but occasionally I like to just turn here and there as I go.

I've learned all the houses that have dogs, what breed of dogs they are, and whether they'll be inside or outside, leashed or fenced (Joey has learned it, too, and gets excited each time we pass a house where he expects a dog in the yard).

I've learned where the squirrels like to hang out and I always try to have a few nuts with me to toss to them. I've seen several squirrel picnic tables, which makes me smile. 

I've learned that people notice me as a "regular". A few people have commented to me about how they've seen me walking a lot.

I've learned to rotate shoes to strengthen my feet and ankles. I stopped getting ankle pain when I started varying my shoes daily.

I've collected a LOT of change. Each walk is like a treasure hunt! ;)

I've met people that I wouldn't have if I hadn't been walking. A woman named Katie with two boys lives just a seven-minute walk from me (haha--I know how long it will take me to walk just about anywhere). There is a woman named Denise who has a beautiful Australian shepherd named Tucker--she plays frisbee with him on one of my routes, and I've let Joey off leash to play with him. We've also met a dog named Roomba (love the name!). She was SO curious about Joey and wouldn't listen to her owner to come (she wasn't leashed). I ended up letting Joey off leash to play for a few minutes before Roomba's dad finally caught up to her. 

Joey LOVES our walks...

Speaking of dogs, I've learned that most barking dogs can be quieted easily when I just say, "Hey, bud, it's okay" in a sweet voice. They usually start wagging their tails like crazy.

When trying to figure out what to do about my front porch, I looked at every single porch on my routes for ideas. And now I've been looking for landscaping ideas for when we're ready to do that.

Most importantly, I've learned that there are reasons to exercise that don't involve weight loss or calories. I don't burn many calories walking, but it does so much more for me. When I am having a bad day--feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed--I like to walk while wearing a visor low over my eyes, looking down at the ground in front of me, listening to my audiobook, and shutting out everything else. It doesn't take away the "bad day" but it definitely helps me to forget about life for a little bit while I zone out.

Will I keep walking every day once I'm done with 75 Hard? Yes! I don't think of the morning walks as part of a "challenge" anymore. They are just a part of my life. I do, however, plan to cut out the afternoon walk (unless I really feel like going once in a while). I'd prefer to do one long walk in the morning instead of two walks a day. 

There are a couple of reasons for this: 1) I'm usually in the middle of doing some sort of project and the walk interrupts what I'm doing; and 2) My back pain gets worse throughout the day and by late afternoon, I'm ready to sit with a heating pad (I've had T10 and T11 vertebrae pain since I was a kid, so it's not caused from the walking). 

While I haven't followed 75 Hard perfectly, as it's "supposed" to be done, the one thing that I did consistently without fail is the exercise. I'm proud of this! I thought this would be the hardest part of the challenge, but instead, I learned that I really love walking. If I had to walk at a certain pace or heart rate, I know that I wouldn't have gotten to this point. I would still see it as a chore. But by walking based on my mood (sometimes I want to stroll, sometimes I want to go really fast), I've loved it!

September 27, 2020

A Look Back at My Summer 2020

I'm pretty sure that everyone is in agreement that 2020 is just not a great year in a LOT of ways. For me, summer went by so quickly because of COVID--the quarantine changed our way of life and I think that's why the time just flew by. 

The unusual way of life is still happening, of course. My kids are schooling virtually, which is just so weird. And super frustrating! I'm worried they aren't going to learn much this year. Wearing masks everywhere feels like something out of a movie. And speaking of movies, I miss going to see them! We didn't go often, but at least it was an option.

Since it's officially fall now, I thought I'd write out some notables from the summer. In case you missed it...

I rang in the summer with a summer solstice walk at 5:43 PM (the "official" start of summer). I felt very determined to complete the Cookies Summer Run/Walk Challenge this year!

I was determined to finish the garage--I'd started insulating and drywalling in the spring, and then I continued to work on it daily.

I continued making face masks after a quarter of the first batch I made ended up getting lost in the mail!

My brother, Brian, put on an amazing fireworks display for the fourth of July--and he's already planning out an even bigger show next year (not kidding--Jerry went over to help him build the "holder" things for the fireworks). He even got a special permit so that he could use some particular fireworks, hahaha.

I drove Eli to one of his favorite fishing spots at least a few days a week. He always wanted to get there early (like 6:00 AM!) and it's a 20-minute drive each way. So I would drive him there, drive home, go pick him up, then drive home. It felt like the school year when I spent so much time in the car! But I'm so glad he was fishing instead of playing video games or something. 

My first-born turned 16!! I have a 16 year old. I cannot believe it. (When we get cookie cakes, we always make them as wordy as possible so we get more frosting--hahaha! Hence, the Noah Benjamin...)

We cut down the giant bushes on either side of the house. They were way too high and we wanted to work on starting our landscaping over from scratch. It was fun to get rid of them!

I pulled my bike out of the garage, brushed off the last two years' worth of dust, and took it for a spin. I learned that my heart rate gets higher while biking than while walking, which was interesting to me because biking feels easier. However, I don't enjoy it as much because I can't listen to audiobooks (for safety reasons, I don't use headphones while biking).

I finished the garage!! About three months and roughly $2,000 and it looks a trillion times better. Here are all of the before and after photos.

My friend Adam convinced me to try a challenge called 75 Hard. I didn't do it to the extreme, but I've done really well with it. I started intermittent fasting, and I love it!! I'm actually almost done with 75 Hard--Friday is my last day.

I learned what "sploot" means--I had no idea it was a thing! Joey does it, but when I saw Duck laying like this on the floor all the time, it cracked me up. I posted a picture to Instagram, and learned that it's called a "sploot".

I caught the boys spending quality time together! They were making some sort of brownie cheesecake in the kitchen, and I was so happy to see them talking and working on something together. They are such opposites that they don't spend a lot of time together.

My parents went on a biking adventure for their anniversary, only to have their bikes STOLEN. I was SO mad that someone would do that. I posted about it on Facebook, and behold the power of social media, they were found!! They had some mild cosmetic damage, but my parents were thrilled to get them back. I wrote the whole story here.

We went on a little vacation up north to my sister's property, and we stopped in Mackinaw. Jerry took the boys to get some lunch while I went on a walk with Joey. We found the perfect spot! It was so pretty with the Mackinac Bridge in the background.

While up north, I had the chance to catch up with Shawn, my brother-in-law. I hadn't seen him in three years! We worked on cutting down boards to make shiplap. Totally in my element ;)

Jerry and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. I was horrified when I saw the photos that Noah took of us, and was almost too embarrassed to post them. But our anniversary is about more than my weight--duh--and how I look. Seventeen years is something to celebrate!

Riley turned two years old! She is the cutest and SMARTEST two year old ever. (This is Riley with my dad...)

Finally... Jerry turned 40 on September 14! We started dating as teenagers, so this was a big (scary) milestone. But he looks great for 40, right? ;) 

There are several other things I'm remembering but don't have pictures of. Even though it feels like the summer was uneventful, all things considered, it flew by and we stayed pretty busy. I'm really hoping that fall is going to be great--and that things with COVID will start turning around!

September 26, 2020

RECIPE: Black Bean Enchiladas

This was one of my favorite dinners when I was losing weight back in 2009-2010. It's super filling because of the fiber, easy to throw together, and has lots of flavor! 

Black Bean Enchiladas

Black Bean Enchiladas

2/3 cup water
1 package dry enchilada seasoning mix
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup sour cream, divided
6 (8") flour tortillas
1 (10 oz.) can enchilada sauce
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

sliced green onions
shredded lettuce
chopped tomato
sour cream

Heat oven to 375 F. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Stir together water and seasoning mix in 10-inch skillet until combined. Stir in beans. Cook over med-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup sour cream (save the other 1/2 cup for topping).

To assemble, spread 1 Tbsp. enchilada sauce on 1 tortilla. Place 1/6 of the black bean mixture in center of tortilla. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. cheese. Roll up tortilla (carefully, because the beans tend to fall out). Place in the prepared pan, seam side down. Repeat for five more tortillas. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over filled tortillas, making sure the sauce covers all parts of the tortillas. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through. Uncover, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Continue baking, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

To serve, top each enchilada with dollop of remaining sour cream, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, and green onions.

September 25, 2020

Tips for Success for 75 Hard (or a similar challenge)

I've read a lot of comments lately about how hard certain "rules" are for doing 75 Hard (or even my simpler take on it, Cookies Fall Hard). I started 75 Hard on July 20, and it's now September 25, so I've been going for over two months*.

(*Technically, if I "break a rule", I'm supposed to start over again. I've broken rules but I haven't started over. I have followed most rules for most of the time, though.)

As I wrote recently on my post, "Fear of Failure", I haven't been perfect. But I've been doing SO MUCH BETTER than if I hadn't started the challenge at all! And I have some tips for those of you that are struggling with particular goals during the challenge. 

Here are the 75 Hard Rules (followed by my modified rules for Cookies Fall Hard):

1) "Follow a diet, including no alcohol" (my version: "Follow a diet of choice")

My advice: This one is hard to advise, because everybody has a different plan. However, because this is a "challenge", it doesn't last forever! There will be days where it doesn't feel worth it, it feels "stupid", you will question why you're doing such a dumb challenge, etc. However, with self-discipline, you CAN get through it! The whole point of the 75 Hard (or my own Cookies Fall Hard) challenge is more about self-discipline than it is about anything else. 

You will feel great about yourself when you are able to stay disciplined enough to go through 75 days (or 92 days, in my Cookies Fall Hard challenge). Even if you're not perfect, you'll be much better off than if you hadn't tried it at all. It's only a challenge--not the rest of your life! ;) 

As far as alcohol goes... I think that if you can fit it in with your diet, go ahead. For people who enjoy a drink, cutting out alcohol completely might keep you from even trying this challenge. As long as you're not binge drinking all the time, and alcohol isn't a "problem" for you, then I'm not going to make that a "rule" like 75 Hard. 

2) Take a progress photo every day (my version: Take a progress photo every day)

My advice: Do this first thing when you wake up and get dressed. I go for a walk first thing in the morning, so as soon as I change into my "walking clothes", I take a selfie in a full-length mirror. It isn't pretty--trust me! But I don't have to share these with anyone (except the entire internet, haha!). 

Make it habit to take a photo (I do a full-length mirror selfie, knowing that I don't have to show it to anyone unless I want to. I promise they are not flattering photos, nor do I try to make them flattering. I just snap a pic and that's it.) I have a folder on my phone that is specifically for my 75 Hard photos--I have them all in there, in order, so I can flip through them whenever I'd like.)

3) Read 10 pages a day of a non-fiction, self-improvement-type book (my version: Read 10 pages a day of any book you'd like)

My advice: Do this first thing when you wake up--you can even do it before you get out of bed. It takes me a long time to read 10 pages (usually a half-hour or more) so I like to get it done early. If it's a book I'm really into, then I'll read more of it before bed. But if I do it first thing in the morning, then I know I don't have to worry about it during the day.

And here, I just HAVE to plug my Kindle Paperwhite. It's one of the best things I've ever bought! (This is an Amazon affiliate link, but I swear on my life I recommend this as one of my Top 5 gifts/purchases ever!). I didn't read much at all for more than a decade. And then I finally got a Kindle Paperwhite (they were having a sale, and my sister had recommended it more than once a dozen times.) I had always liked the feeling of a "real" book in my hands and just couldn't imagine switching it out for a digital copy.

However, when I got the Paperwhite, I was shocked at how much I loved it! It was lighter than a paperback, it didn't have a glare while reading outdoors(!), I could store literally thousands of books on it, and the battery life felt infinitely long. Even if you are a hardcore hardcover/paperback lover, I PROMISE you will be surprised at how much you love the Paperwhite.

I haven't read this much in God-only-knows how long. And it's all due to the Paperwhite. (I have the 10th generation, by the way... that's what I linked to). If you watch for sales, you may be able to get it much cheaper. I think I paid $85 for mine! It was a "flash sale". I'll bet they'll have sales on it soon as we get closer to the holidays.

4) Drink one gallon of water a day (my version: Drink one gallon of water a day).

My advice: Get a quart-size water bottle. Here is my favorite! (Amazon affiliate link). I even bought a brand new one in my favorite color (orange) for this challenge.

Four quarts equals one gallon, so you only have to drink four of these per day. Because of the wide mouth on the bottle, I can chug this pretty quickly. 

I chug a quart of it when I first get up in the morning. Literally, I chug some immediately when I sit up in bed (I keep it on my nightstand); then when I brush my teeth; then as I'm getting dressed; and finally, I finish it before I go for my walk).

Then I go for my morning walk. When I get home, I chug another quart. I'm already halfway done with my water for the day! I know that "chugging" water may not sound appealing, but it gets done quickly and then you don't have to worry about it. The wide-mouth bottle helps a LOT. I also use tap water at room temperature (actually, it's slightly less than room temp... I just turn on the cold tap and fill it that way). 

I always drink another quart between lunchtime and dinner (I'm usually very busy in the afternoons, so I "chug" a quart about an hour or so before dinner). Actually, as I'm writing this, I've chugged about eight ounces every 15 minutes or so. And then after dinner, I'm pretty full. So, I wait until a couple of hours after dinner before chugging my final quart of water for the day. 

At first, if you're not used to this much water, you'll be peeing what feels like constantly. However, your bladder will get used to it! And eventually, you will literally CRAVE water first thing in the morning. If I don't drink my water when I wake up, I definitely don't feel great during the morning.

And drinking a ton of water always helps me to lose the "bloated" feeling--if you eat a salty or heavy meal, drink extra water and you won't retain as much. I promise! Just yesterday, I had pizza and breadsticks for dinner, which usually makes my weight go up a few pounds just in sodium alone, but my weight was exactly the same as yesterday. And I didn't feel puffy!

I know that upping the water intake so much is extremely difficult. But the easiest way, in my opinion, is to do four quarts a day and just chug each down within a matter of a few minutes.

5) Exercise twice a day for 45 minutes each time (at least one must be outside). (My version: Exercise for 60 minutes a day, with at least 30 minutes outside. This is can be all in one go, or divided into two segments--it's up to you.)

My advice: Do the first workout (or whole workout) as soon as you wake up. It gets it out of the way early enough that you won't even realize you did it! (Frequently, I have a bit of amnesia about my first workout of the day). I've learned that I actually really ENJOY my first walk of the day. 

I like to listen to audiobooks, and when you find one that you really get interested in, you might discover that you WANT to go out for another walk so that you can listen some more. I never, in a million years, would have thought that I'd want to go out for a walk for exercise (I've just never enjoyed exercise) but now I find myself getting excited about going out and listening to my audiobook!

Right now, I'm still doing 45 minutes twice a day, and I HATE having to do the extra workout. I'd much prefer to do it all at once in the mornings. As soon as my 75 days are over, I'm going to switch to doing it all in the mornings (my version of the plan). However, I feel committed to this challenge so I'm going to finish it out. 

This is what September looks like... each of those yellow boxes on each day shows a walk of 45+ minutes--so there are two per day! August looked the same. 

6) This isn't a rule on 75 Hard, but I decided to make it a rule of MY version: Write in a journal every day, even if it's just one sentence.

My advice: Do this first thing in the morning just before you read your 10 pages. I use a "Some Lines A Day" journal, and I LOVE it! (Amazon affiliate link). I literally write in it before I even get out of bed. Then I don't have to worry about it later. If you have to, then set your alarm for five minutes earlier than usual and use that time to write in your journal. 

You'll love looking back on it when the challenge is over, I promise! (The "Some Lines A Day" journal is a five-year journal, so next year, you will be able to see--on the exact same day--what you wrote on the previous year. And this goes on for five years!

Photo from Amazon

Okay, I realize these aren't miracle pills to getting through the challenge, but I hope that my advice helps a bit! Some of these are much harder than others, depending on the person. Put them all together, and it makes for a tough challenge--especially through the fall season, when most of the holidays occur!

But I really do believe that you can do this. And if you're having doubts, read this post: Fear of Failure.

Best wishes! :) 

September 24, 2020

How early is TOO early to go to bed?

 This sounds completely crazy, but I think I'm going to go to bed now. It's only 7:00, but I'm super tired (I haven't been sleeping lately) and I took an anxiety med earlier, which always makes me tired. I've been feeling so much pressure lately (hence the anxiety).

Jerry has a three day weekend, so we are going to try to get as much done as possible around the house. We need to finish the porch, pull up all the grass that was next to the landscaping, build Noah's desk, *possibly* pull out the Asian pear tree in the front yard (I've had it for like six years and have never gotten fruit, so I give up), level out all of the dirt to prep for new landscaping, and several other things. It's going to be a LOT.

Is this even an Asian pear tree?

I looked it up before and it looks like one, but I ain't never seen an Asian pear on that tree in six years. Our apple tree (on the other side of the yard) has only gotten a few apples that get eaten by birds before we can even pick them. I've always wanted a fruit tree, and an Asian pear tree would be my DREAM. But I just feel like it's not meant to be.

Remember this funny story with my dad?! Hahaha!

But anyway, I did great on Day 3 of Cookies Fall Challenge, so I'm happy with that!

September 23, 2020

A Sticker Chart (Nerd Alert!)

My friend Emily LOVES sticker "award" charts. I never really understood how stickers could be motivating to us as adults.

When I was actively doing bullet journaling, I did enjoy filling in charts and things--and I LOVE checklists! I don't know what gave me the idea to make a large poster board with sticker charts for my Cookies Fall Challenge, however. But I like how it turned out!

I've actually found it pretty fun! I look forward to finishing eat item and putting a sticker on there. The challenge is 92 days long, which is why there are 92 boxes for each item. I printed out one for each of the "rules" of the challenge and then glued them onto a poster board.

I also have a chart for keeping track of my weight (once a week) and for my daily running mileage.

Finally, I have a bunch of photos on there that I particularly like or that give me a good feeling inside. They make me want to keep going and not give up.

Yes, I'm SUPER nerdy... but how fun is this?! (I still need some tacks to hang it on the bathroom wall). And this is in the master bathroom, where nobody goes except for Jerry and me!

I did great again today on the challenge--checking off everything on the list. I had a bad day mentally, though--I am frustrated with a few projects that I am feeling pressured to get done (the front porch and Noah's desk). I've run into problems with each, and they shouldn't have been difficult!

Hopefully I'll sleep well tonight and see them with fresh eyes tomorrow.

September 22, 2020

Cookies Fall Challenge - Day 1

Today was off to a great start! 

I'm planning to do all three challenges--the Cookies Fall Hard, Cookies Run/Walk Checklist, and the friendly mileage competition. I wanted to start the day off strong, so I completed what I could as early as possible.

Even though the Cookies Fall Hard Challenge is a modified version of 75 Hard, I'm still planning to follow the exercise rule for 75 Hard--I haven't broken the streak at all, so I'd like to finish out the full 75 days. After that, I'll switch to the Cookies Fall Hard version.

For 75 Hard, the exercise "rule" is two workouts a day for 45 minutes each, and one of them must be outside. For my version, I chose 60 minutes total for the day, with at least 30 minutes outside. So for a couple more weeks, I'll still be doing 45 minutes twice a day.

I went for my first walk as soon as it was light outside, at around 7:30. First, I took my progress photo for Day 1. I'm going to try to dress in the same clothes, or something similar, every week for comparison. Lately, I've been wearing bulkier clothes because it's been colder outside in the mornings, so my comparison pictures aren't very, well, comparable.

I walked Joey through the park and apparently we went slower than usual, because we ended up walking for 55 minutes instead of 45. As we were walking, I realized that I was supposed to do my walk at 9:30 AM, because that's when fall officially starts--and the plan was to walk from summer into fall.

When I got home, I decided to work on a couple other items on the list and then go for my second walk just before 9:30. I wrote in my journal, I read my 10 pages in a book, and I drank a quart of water. 

Then I headed out for walk number two. Right as the time hit 9:30, I happened to be at a small beach area so I stopped and took a picture of my Garmin--it's officially fall! (Sorry for the bad picture)

I even got to check off two items on my Fall Checklist--first the fall equinox walk and then the "two-a-day" walk (meaning I walked twice in the same day). For today's mileage, I got in 5.77--not bad!

I was DREADING this afternoon because I had a dentist appointment to get a couple of fillings. I absolutely despise going to the dentist--ever since I broke my jaw, just the thought of the dentist gives me anxiety. I canceled my appointments for the last two years because I just couldn't bring myself to go!

I actually had to have a root canal in 2016 on a tooth that had cracked when I broke my jaw. I was absolutely terrified! But afterward, I took this picture of me trying to blow a kiss (to text to Jerry), and it remains one of my favorite pictures--hahaha! I looked similar today, but definitely not this funny.

I found a new dentist (my previous one that I really loved had retired) and went for a cleaning yesterday. The hygienist was SO nice and gentle--that was the best cleaning I've ever endured. But I had a couple of cavities and the thought of getting my mouth numbed is what I hate the most. I asked the dentist if he could do it without numbing me, and he said that the top cavity could be done without numbing, but the bottom one would need to be. *cue anxiety*

I made the appointment for today so that I wouldn't have time to chicken out and cancel. I couldn't believe how bad I was shaking! I asked if I could wear the heavy lead apron (used for x-rays) during the procedure because it helps with anxiety (kind of like a weighted blanket). Even with that, I was shaking so badly and was nearly in tears.

I'm sure the dentist thought I was crazy (but hell, I actually AM crazy, so...). The thing is, I'm not actually afraid of the pain... I had a horribly broken jaw and my teeth wired shut for six weeks, so a minor dental procedure is nothing to me on the pain scale. 

The reason I have so much anxiety is because of the ANTICIPATION of pain. When my jaw was broken and the surgeon would mess with the wires around my teeth, it was extremely painful (despite being on loads of pain killers). If I KNOW that something is going to hurt, I can definitely handle it. But when getting a tooth drilled, I am always anticipating the drill hitting a sensitive spot and searing pain shooting through my mouth.

I was hyperventilating through my nose when he was drilling and I was so sure I was going to have a panic attack. I had my eyes squeezed shut and I was concentrating on clutching my hands together under the lead apron. 

I was so so so relieved when it was finally over. I hated the fact that the lower right side of my mouth was numb, especially considering I had to go to Lowe's. But thankfully, I had to wear a face mask so it covered up my crooked mouth!

Anyway, that was a long, uneventful story. Today went great as far as the challenges! I stayed within my intermittent fasting eating window and I got in all my water, too. I hope everyone else who is doing a challenge had a great day, too!

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