Flooded Trails

We’ve gotten a lot of rain this past week. And for the life of me, I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me that the Nature Trails would be flooded but …

… they were.

We were able to cross smaller sections of water, Kevin took his walking sandals off, I did not and my feet are soaking wet in the picture above. But by the time we reached this section of the trail, we had to turn back.

We were supposed to be walking, not wading.

No. This doesn’t mean I’m back into walking. This does mean that I NEED to get back into walking. My poochy belly has baby poochies.

It sounds cute, I can assure you, it’s not cute.

I bought an armband for my Samsung Galaxy S5 the other day. That’s what you see on my elephant arms in the picture above. That was the first time I tried it out and so far, I like it. My phone didn’t completely fit inside it, probably because I have an Otterbox case on it to protect it. (Those cases are freaking expensive! But it would be more expensive to replace my phone … so my extravagant purchase is justified, I suppose). But I like that it doesn’t completely fit inside – I was worried it would get too hot and burn up. My last phone case (different phone) did that. It didn’t ruin the phone, but it got so hot that I didn’t feel comfortable using it anymore.

I’ve been researching hiking trails in our area. I’m sort of on a hiking trails kick. I actually saw a really cool one in Ponca AR, but I’m not sure I can talk Kevin into driving 1 1/2 hours to get there and back. We’ll see. I also saw one in Branson MO too, but again, not sure I can talk the old man into driving down to it. In fact, there are quite a few things I’d like to do at Big Cedar Lodge. Horseback riding, for instance. I’ve never been and would like to try it, at least once.

Maybe one of these years (months ..?)


The (Incredible?) Shrinking Woman

I’m shrinking.

My body is shrinking and I couldn’t be HAPPIER!!

Well, except for the boobage shrinkage – I’m not particularly happy about that part.

A few nights ago, I woke up at 2:50 in the morning, my skin on fire and just feeling uncomfortable. I had cashed in some of my credits at the tanning salon eight hours earlier and “upgraded” to a level 2 bed. I hated that bed. It closed COMPLETELY, which left me gasping for air, and the fans, well, they sucked, so I sweated, a lot. (Which is nothing new, I sweat all the time. But somehow, sweating in a tanning booth just FEELS gross, you know?) Even though the experience was claustrophobic, I have to admit, that sucker tanned the crap out of my skin and I won’t be using it very often because I have no desire to look like a walking leather bag when I get older. (And just so you know, I rarely tan. This is like the first summer I’ve tanned in years and will likely be the last time I tan in years. I just go through spurts when I WANT to. Thankfully, they are few and far between, so please, no lectures).

But I digress.

I alternated between hot and cold all night. I had the fan on me (which is the only way I can sleep in the summer time because otherwise the air feels so HEAVY and I can’t stand feeling like there’s a Mack truck on my chest) so I would cover up from the fan, but then would kick off the covers because I got too hot. Off, on, off, on until I finally gave up and got up.

I went into the bathroom and being awake and aware of my skin, I lifted my shirt to see how dark my belly was.

Dark. But what caught my attention was my boobs. I blinked. Then I blinked some more. Had they shrunk? They looked smaller … somehow. I turned this way and that way and examined them from all angles.

They were most definitely smaller. I was somewhat alarmed. For you see, I never really HAD boobs until I had children. Before children (BC), I was pretty flat chested. In fact, I was pretty much a walking stick – no chest and no hips. Then I had kids and WHAM, I suddenly had boobs! Happy! But I also suddenly had hips, Not so happy!

But it was a trade-off, see. I could live with that trade-off because the boobs I’d always wanted, and always dreamed of having in high school, were finally MINE! All mine (well, I had to share them with the husband, but you know what I mean).

So when I noticed they had shrunk, I was quite bummed out.

And then I noticed my arms. What the … was that … could that be …? DEFINITION I was seeing in my flabby grandma arms?! Holy cow! Where did those shoulders come from? And I was definitely seeing some muscle where there was no muscle before.

And where did my second belly roll go? Now, when I bent over, I had one roll where I used to have two.

I’m telling you, I stood in front of that mirror a full fifteen minutes admiring this strange, defined, SHRINKING body. I guess I thought that if I didn’t get an eye full at that moment, I would likely wake up from the dream I was obviously having and I would be back to normal – large (and when I say large, I mean a healthy size C) boobs, obese arms and the Michelin man waist.

I gave my shrinking body one last, lingering look and went back to bed.

Ah well, a girl can dream, right?

Only, when I woke up the next morning, I was greeted with the same small-ish body.

*blinkblink* Had all of my working out FINALLY paid off?

For those new to this blog (welcome!), I’ve sort of been on a working out spree. I’m a big walker, in fact, I LOVE to walk on my treadmill and watch DVD’s – kill two birds with one stone, right? I’m all about multi-tasking. In addition, the husband and I stumbled onto an infomercial a few months back for Turbo Jam. Usually, we roll our eyes at each other and change the channel, but something about this program caught my attention …

It looked fun. I have always loved dance-y, athletic-types of workouts and all of the punching and kicking caught my attention. So, we ordered it … and have TOTALLY gotten our money’s worth.

Now before ya’ll think I’m some sort of health freak, let me set the record straight. I like to eat. Specifically sugary, fattening donuts and chocolate. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say I’m addicted to this stuff. I’d be the size of a house if I wasn’t constantly making deals with myself: All right, Karen. You had a glass of A&W Root Beer this afternoon, which is like 20 teaspoons of sugar. Since you chose to have this glass of soda, you may not have any chocolate for the rest of the day. Or … I’ll eat something pretty healthy, like salmon for lunch, and then reward myself later (because I’m really not a big fish eater but WOW, the protein is an awesome pick-me-upper), with a 3-Musketeer bar (because if I’m going to eat chocolate, why not pick the kind that has less fat, right?)

In addition, if I binge myself on junk food (which happens), then I MAKE myself work out extra hard to work off the calories – it’s a constant give and take with me.

As a result of these deal breakers, it appears that I’m constantly working out. Well, okay, I am constantly working out. But now I’ve become addicted to it – more on that later.

But what REALLY motivated me to start working out again was this one photo.

Normal Family Before Pie
(I’m the fat chick in black on the left-hand side).

One photo where I look like a beached whale with chipmunk cheeks – attractive, no? It was a picture we had taken last Thanksgiving at our house with my husband’s family. I like my husband’s family, really. But they drive me crazy to be around because they are all beautiful, THIN people. And then, there’s me. Whale woman.


My sister-in-law posted this picture on Facebook and the family has really had a great time making fun of themselves – especially me. Because really, if you can’t laugh at yourself, what’s left? Tears? I don’t DO the feel sorry for myself bit. I just don’t. I’m a proactive sort of person.

But seeing this picture again disgusted me, not just because of how I looked but because at the time, before I saw how this picture turned out, I thought I had looked fine. In fact, I had felt pretty good about myself. But then I saw this picture and my self-confidence flew out the window like someone’s still-smoking cigarette. WHOOSH. Perception was burned to a crisp.

(My husband, trying to make me feel better, said, “But honey, that photo was taken with a wide-angle lens.” It doesn’t matter, I’m still whale woman – hear my whale cries of anguish).

I think I have the reverse of anorexia nervosa – where I think I look great but then I see a picture of myself and it’s like, WHAT THE HELL?! It’s so depressing.

So, I’ve been working out extra hard, that photo always in the back of my mind to motivate me to continue even when I feel like my arms are going to fall off or my lungs are about to explode.

And apparently, all of this sweating it starting to pay off. The husband commented the other night that I was indeed building definition in my arms. And that I was definitely skinnier overall. And yes, he admitted, after much coercing from me, that my boobs were indeed smaller.

*sigh* A “small” price to pay to look better, I guess. (Get it? Small? HAHA).

I had the presence of mind to measure myself when I started using Turbo Jam – I did not, however, have the presence of mind to put the DATE on these measurements (idiot) so I’m guesstimating here, but it’s been at least two, possibly three months, since we bought the program. Here are the results:

Chest: Lost 2.5 inches (see! told you!)
Arms: Lost 1 inch
Waist: Lost 3.25 inches (!)
Hips: Lost 2 inches
Thighs: Lost 1 inch (which is disappointing)

Weight: I don’t weigh myself. I keep track of inches because to me, that’s what is more important.

Now, because of these results, I’m working out harder. I’m motivated to continue because dog-gone it, it’s making a difference!

Now hopefully, when we take the next Thanksgiving picture, I won’t dread it but will be proud of how I look in it.

Of course, that’s what I thought LAST THANKSGIVING …


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D.C. Trip – Day Five (Final Day)

Need to catch up?

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four


Day Five – Wednesday

Did you breathe a sigh of relief when you read the title of this post? Go on now, you can admit it, you’re getting tired of hearing about our trip, right? 😀

I apologize if this has been boring for some of you, but considering I blog to journal my life, and our vacations are a big part of our lives (because we’re homebodies, for the most part, and when we get out, it’s a big deal to us), I, of course, have to chronicle our adventures and record my thoughts about said adventures.

That and if I don’t write it down? I’ll forget it in like two weeks. *sigh* I WISH I were kidding.

We had done so much by this time that we were sort of at a loss as to what to do next. I had mentioned something about the National Geographic Society’s Explorers Hall (NGSEH) being fun because the book described it as such:

It’s like walking through a couple of National Geographic TV specials. Located on the first floor of the National Geographic Society’s headquarters, this small collection of exhibits showcases weather, geography, astronomy, biology, exploration, and space era castles under siege, to imaginary monsters and manipulated photographs.

Doesn’t that sound like something a couple of teenage boys MIGHT be interested in, if only for an hour?

Uh, no. Either the person who wrote this review was on crack and IMAGINED all of these cool things, or the NGSEH changed their exhibit because when we got there? It was the entire history of China.

Now, nothing against China, or it’s history, but we weren’t expecting to see huge photographs of cute little China children or read about the history of trade relations with China. We were expecting … well, I’m not sure what we were expecting, but it wasn’t what we saw.

Oh sure, the model ships were cool to look at …

National Geographic Museum

… but other than that? Snoozeville.

To top it off, this exhibit was on the ground floor of the NGSEH headquarters, which meant, it was swarming with business people … trying to go about their, er, business, and here we were, in the middle of them all, smelling like warm flesh, gritty from sweat and dressed comfortably (i.e. like tourists, i.e. sloppy and without one thought to fashion).

Can we say … AWKWARD? I couldn’t WAIT to get out of there. I felt so embarrassed and totally out of place trying to be a tourist and navigate myself through the sea of suits. I think we might have stayed for 20 minutes, tops. We zipped right out of there and back onto the streets faster than it takes you to fast forward through a National Geographic special (oh come on, you KNOW you do it).

We found ourselves back on the streets of D.C., in the business district, with nary another tourist in sight. I’m telling you, it was weird and we all felt pretty uncomfortable. And we were getting that snooty once over that people give each other whenever they are feeling superior to one another.

It was close to lunch by this time so we thought we would grab a bite to eat. We went to Potbelly. This was a new place to us, we had never even heard of the franchise before laying eyes on it, but we went in, ordered some sandwiches (which were DELICIOUS, btw. I had a tuna sandwich on toasted wheat bread – doesn’t that just make your mouth water??), and sat down to eat our meal. About ten minutes later, the whole place was crawling with suits. And our table was near the door, which meant we were literally surrounded by D.C. business people.

*sigh* I’ve never felt more self-conscious in all my life.

We quickly finished our meal and headed back to the Metro station. We hopped on, transferred lines, and hopped back off at the Archives Station (we really were becoming pros at the whole Metro system).

FINALLY. We were back in the land of tourists and I began to relax once more. We walked to the National Archives and got in line. The line wasn’t too bad when we got into it, but as per usual, the line increased about ten-fold shortly after we arrived. (This ALWAYS happens to us – we arrive someplace, it’s not that crowded and then *BAM*, suddenly the place is packed! It’s like, “Oh look! The M family has arrived! And they are so cool! We MUST do what they are doing so their coolness will rub off on us!” Seriously folks, it’s kind of creepy how everywhere we go, it gets busy. I’m sure it’s a coincidence, or is it ….? Sort of like how every time we go to a new restaurant, and we like it and we SAY we like it, it goes out of business three months later. Weird.)

So, we’re in line at the National Archives and we’re about to see the Declaration of Independence. The Archives hadn’t been on my list of must sees and I don’t really know why. I guess I was thinking the boys wouldn’t really be all that interested in seeing actual documents of our nation’s history …

Oh, how wrong I was.

Continue reading “D.C. Trip – Day Five (Final Day)”