Spring Break 2015

Hey guys!! I’m so excited to finally have enough time to sit down and update y’all!

The surgery has really changed me. In small ways and in big ways. Some of the small ways: I hate pickles. I hate soy sauce. I love tomatoes. I get cold really easily now (and I love heat- which used to be my worst enemy). Trust me, they may sound small but to me they’re quite a change! Some of the big ways I’ve changed: I have crazy massive impressive amounts of energy. I’m more daring/brave/courageous. I’m even happier then I was before. Okay, now let me elaborate.

Last week (March 21-29) was spring break and since Timur and Alex work in schools they both had the week off. We planned on maybe going to Canada for spring break but everyone in my house (except me) was sick with the flu. Since Canada is so far away we would need about 4-7 days for a trip like that but since everyone was sick until Tuesday we thought we should push off the trip until May. Plus the weather in Canada wasn’t so great so that’s another reason we pushed it off. But I’m very excited for May! We will be spending 2-4 days in Toronto and 2-3 days in the Niagara Falls. Woohoo! So anyway on Tuesday everyone felt better and we were all kind of sad about not going to Canada. Out of nowhere I said “let’s pick a place and just GO.” So we packed up our bags (yes, we packed before we even picked a place) and then I started looking up destinations. I’ve always wanted to go to St. Louis but I thought it was too far, but when I looked it up and saw it was only 4.5-5 hours I realized we could definitely do it. So we picked up Soph and hit the road. We made fantastic time and spent two days exploring the city (and the suburbs since we stayed about 30 minutes away from the city to save money on the hotel). St. Louis is beautiful! It was so clean, everyone was so kind and polite, and we just had the best time! Some of the things we did on the trip: went up St. Louis’ famous arch, went into the capitol building, went to the most incredible interactive museum (it’s called City Museum), walked around the city, went swimming and hot tubbing.

We decided to spend a couple days in Springfield, IL on our way back. I’ve never been there and we thought it would be neat to bring Autumn (especially since Lincoln is one of the only President’s she knows by face- George Washington and President Obama are the other two!). Springfield was really fun too! Actually Alex liked Springfield more than St. Louis! He said it made him feel extremely patriotic (plus Timur and him are into history so they loved the history behind everything). We saw the old capitol building, the new capitol building, Lincoln’s tomb, Lincoln’s family home, went into a souvenir shop, etc. It was a really cool trip. I feel like I learned a lot and we all had a lot of laughs and fun exploring. I will admit that by the end of the day I felt a little like Lincoln’s stalker 😉

This trip taught me a lot about my new endurance. In 4 days we walked 14.49 miles! And I was honest-to-goodness fine. Not once did I get too tired to continue. It was absolutely the most eye-opening and incredible thing. I feel like a different person! Nothing is holding me back anymore! I’m not afraid of walking too much and being burnt out and in pain. I’m not afraid period. Another huge difference is my bravery and willingness to try new things (that I would never have tried before). For example, the City Museum in St. Louis was a highly interactive museum. You climb all over the place (kids and adults), go down huge slides, play in ball pits, sit on weird chairs that spin like tops, etc. And I tried everything. I was squeezing through bars and climbing and playing. I tried the chairs that spin like tops. I climbed higher than I’ve ever climbed before. I sat in the ball pit and played with everyone. It was freakin magical. I realized honestly for the first time that I’m a normal human being now. No more strings. My health is good and my abilities are great.

This trip has made me addicted to traveling! Now we have a bunch of trips we’re planning. Here’s my current list of trips I want to take soon: Door County, WI. Milwaukee, WI. Wisconsin Dells, WI. Indianapolis, IN. Louisville, KY. Columbus, OH. Cincinnati, OH. Nashville, TN. Mackinac Island, MI. Bloomington (Mall of America), MN. Montreal, QC, CA. Toronto, ON, CA. Niagara Falls, ON, CA. Ottawa, ON, CA. When I first went in for a surgery consultation (almost a year ago!) my surgeon said “I find it’s always good to have a reward system for yourself. Like every 10 pounds you lose you can buy a piece of jewelry or new clothes or whatever you want to reward yourself- as long as it’s not a food reward.” I never did this because I’ve been too busy getting angry with myself for not losing as fast as some people have. But I’m no longer angry. I see how far I’ve come and I’m marveling at my own hard work. On vacation I didn’t gain a single pound. In fact, I lost 5 ounces. The old me would have eaten so much crap, gained 10 pounds and not even given a damn. Not anymore. And these vacations/road-trips are my rewards. I have never been so certain of the fact that this surgery was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Okay so on a side note, we finally took the side off Autumn’s crib. So she’s starting to bed train. We did put a little gate in front of the door so she can’t just come and go as she pleases (recommended by her doctor). Eventually we will remove the gate and buy a full-size bed but for now… baby steps. On vacation she slept on a travel cot that we got for her. She was totally fine. She actually really liked having her own bed. At home it’s a little different. She does try to get up after we read to her, but when she see’s the gate in front of her door she goes back to her bed and sleeps (or sometimes cries and then sleeps). The potty training, however, is a different story. She’s really not taking to it as I had hoped she would. Some days she’s really good and takes off her undies and pants to go potty but some days she pee’s on the floor or right in her undies. Those days are very trying haha

Also I once mentioned that I’ve been feeling exhausted all the time and that I’m a coffee addict. I am still pretty addicted to coffee but I’ve cut down my intake significantly because I started to suspect that actually coffee was the culprit for my exhaustedness (not a word but I’m using it anyway’s). And I think I was right. Now that I’m drinking less coffee I feel a lot less tired! More updates on that to come.

Love and happiness to all!

Dimand Girl

“The secret to living your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possibly can.”- Mike Dooley

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”- Unknown

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”- George Addair

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^^Autumn’s “bigger girl bed”^^

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^^St. Louis trip!!^^

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^^All the climbing and craziness at City Museum!^^

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^^Springfield trip!^^

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^^Look how “normal” I look!^^

Alex’s Birthday Extravaganza!

Hey everyone!

Quick warning: There’s a high probability that today’s post will be very long. I haven’t updated in almost two weeks and a lot has happened!

In the last two months Autumn has had two “firsts”. Her first visit with the dentist, and her first real haircut. The dentist didn’t go too well. She was happy at first, but she pretty much cried her way through the whole appointment. It was actually pretty funny (does that make me a terrible mom?!)! Her first haircut she handled like a champ! She watched a Minnie Mouse video and let the stylist snip away without any tears or complaints. I was a proud mommy! And her hair looks exponentially better! Plus they said a trimming will help it grow out.

So Alex’s 27th Birthday was yesterday (Sunday March 15th). We spent the weekend celebrating him and it was a fantastic weekend! On Friday night we went to dinner at The Capital Grille with his parents, Timur, and Autumn. It was a really good time! My father-in-law and I got pretty drunk and we were laughing a lot. Good conversation and good food! It’s actually really funny because ever since my surgery I get drunk really fast! I mean one glass of wine fast, or 3/4 of a beer fast. It’s insane, but fun! After dinner we had our friends over to open gifts for Alex. He got amazing gifts! One of his gifts was the game Cards Against Humanity, so we played it with our friends. It was fun and absolutely hilarious!! If you haven’t already, check it out! On Saturday Alex’s parents watched Autumn while we (Alex, me, Sophia, and Timur) went out. We went to Star Cinema Grill which is a theater that serves food while you watch a movie. We ate lunch there and watched the new Cinderella. It was fantastic, I now recommend that movie to everyone! After the movie we went to Wolff’s Flea Market in Palatine. We walked around and bought a few cool things (Alex got some foreign currency- he collects it). After the flea market we went to an antique mall. Then we got Autumn and ate dinner. It was really fun but we were pretty tired by the end of the night.

Sunday was his actual birthday and it was a very long but very fun day! My sister watched Autumn (thanks again sis!) while my friends went to the city. It was Dinah, Sophia, Timur, Alex, and I. First we went to The Art Institute of Chicago. We got there at 12pm and didn’t leave until 5pm! We had lunch there and walked around the entire museum. We saw every exhibit (except a couple that are closed for the season)! After the museum we went to dinner at Hub 51. It was really yummy food, but the service took forever. We wound up being at the table for 2 hours. It was still fun though and we were dying of laughter the whole time so it pretty much flew by anyway. After dinner we walked back to the parking complex. We stopped and saw the river. The city is even more beautiful at night. It was a lot of walking but it was so so so worth it! After our walk we picked up Autumn and headed home. I checked the Fitbit at night and it said we walked just about 6 miles! I admit that I was pretty sore at night, but before surgery I wouldn’t have been able to walk that much in one day without being completely miserable. I had to sit down on a bench in the museum a few times, but after a minute of resting I was fine again. The difference in my energy is absolutely incredible! The night was actually pretty magical. Still, after a long weekend of movement it was nice to come home and just…. sit. All-in-all Alex’s birthday weekend was a booming success!

On a side note, for the last few months Autumn and I have been doing arts and crafts during the day. It’s actually really fun and it’s a good way to entertain her for a while! I sometimes catch myself starting to take over (so I can help perfect the project), but I’m trying really hard to let Autumn do as much work as possible. She has a lot of fun though! I go on my Pinterest and let her pick which project she wants to do together. I think that being creative is a really great quality to have so if I can help it I would like Autumn to have the creativity gene.

Happy early Saint Patrick’s Day to everyone that celebrates and Happy belated International Women’s Day to all of you incredible women out there!!!

Happiness to all,

Dimand Girl

HW: 330

SW: 310

CW: 250

For Alex: “Age is merely the number of years the world has been enjoying you.”- Unknown

“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.”- Mandy Hale

“I would rather be exhausted from success than rested from failure.”- Unknown

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^^Happy International Women’s Day!! We celebrated by taking out all of Autumn’s female toys (and Alex’s historical women figurines) and showing Autumn that women come in all different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds but we all have the ability to be whatever we want to be. She loved it!!^^

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^^Autumn’s first dentist appointment^^

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^^Autumn’s first haircut^^

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^^Our most recent arts and crafts projects^^

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^^Alex’s Birthday Weekend!!^^

Egg Muffins and Cauliflower Tots

Who doesn’t love breakfast food? Today’s recipe will make you love breakfast food more than ever! And these recipes are quite healthy also!

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(^^not my picture, but it looks pretty similar!^^)

Egg Muffins:

-2 cupcake/muffin pans

-2 whole eggs (I use organic)

-5 egg whites

-1/4 cup of skim milk

-salt and pepper to taste

-about 1 cup spinach leaves (frozen is fine)

-1 cup of chopped mini bella mushrooms

-1 or 1.5 cup of chopped sweet peppers (any color)

-either 4 strips of turkey bacon or 4 turkey sausage patties

-1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine egg whites, whole eggs, skim milk, and salt/pepper to taste. When mixed, spray the muffin tin with crisco or pam and start pouring the egg mix in. Each muffin cup should be only half way filled (to save space for the rest of the ingredients). For me this will make between 6 and 8 egg muffins.

Put the chopped peppers (I use red, green, and yellow for color), chopped spinach leaves, and chopped mushrooms in a pan and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, or until mushrooms and spinach are cooked down. Set aside. In a separate pan, cook turkey sausage or turkey bacon to your desired crispness (I like mine softer). As you let the meat cool down, start adding your mushroom/pepper/spinach mix to each egg cup. I add a large spoonful to each. When the meat is cooled, cut it into pieces and add desired amount to each cup. Finally, add about a spoonful of cheese to each tin. Lightly stir each cup. Put in the oven for 20 minutes. When finished, use a circle each tin with a butter knife to loosen the egg muffin. 

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(^^not my picture, but it looks pretty similar!^^)

Cauliflower Tots: 

-food processor (or you could use a knife)

-1 whole head of cauliflower

-1 cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

-2 eggs

-1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut cauliflower head into florets. Cook florets using desired method (steaming, boiling, etc- I steam them). Set aside to cool. When cooled, pulse the florets in the food processor until they are about the size of rice grains (maybe a bit smaller). If you don’t have a food processor it’s perfectly fine to chop the cauliflower yourself. In a large mixing bowl combine cauliflower, breadcrumbs, cheese, and eggs. Mix well. Spray a baking pan with pam or crisco. Form small cylinders (or really any shape you like) and place them side by side (not touching) on the pan. When you’ve used up all the mix, place into the oven for 15 minutes. Flip the tots and put in the oven for another 12 minutes. Done!

There’s a lot of versatility to these recipes. For the egg muffins you can really just create your own. You could add tomatoes, onions, the list goes on and on. For the tots, you can really serve them with anything… even steak! They are a great accompaniment. Happy eating y’all!

Love and good food to all,

Dimand Girl

“There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food.”- Ron Swanson

Diary of a Coffee Addict

Hey guys!! I’m really trying to stay on top of these blog updates lately.

I still don’t have that much to update y’all on. I lost a pound. I’m sitting at 251 now. So close to the 240’s. I haven’t been eating great lately though. I’ve been eating some frozen dinners. I’m cutting them out again. I’ve also been eating pasta here and there. Only a little since it’s very filling to my new tummy but still… I shouldn’t be eating any. I’m cutting that out again also.

I’ve been struggling with snacks like crazy lately. The biggest snack recommendations I get are deli meat, string cheese (or other lite cheeses), or yogurt. I’m sick of all three. Lately I’ve been feeling super stressed out with finding healthier snacks. It seems like every snack in the world is loaded with either high calories or high carbs. It sucks. Alex has been telling me to go to Trader Joe’s and try finding stuff there. I’m going to do that soon. Do you guys have any suggestions? Last night I got some “healthier” junk snacks. Like skinny cow ice cream (100 calories, 15 carbs). They are good for a sweet tooth, but I’m still not finding any snacks that I can just munch on and not spend 30 carbs doing so. Please…. help me!

So as of late I’ve been exhausted. I don’t know why. Before surgery I had (probably self-induced) insomnia. I would try to sleep at 12 am or 1 am and my mind wouldn’t shut off until 3 or 4 am. It was hell. Autumn is a very good sleeper so she doesn’t usually wake up until 9:30-10 am. She goes to bed at 9 pm (she won’t nap though 😦 ). So before surgery I was always tired, understandably. But now things are a lot better in terms of falling asleep. I never stay up until 4 am. I am usually asleep between 12-1 am. Sometimes I’m up until 2 am. I fall asleep a lot easier. But (there’s always a “but”) I’m not feeling well rested at all. I wake up tired and groggy even though I’m getting more sleep. And somewhere between 7 and 9 pm I start feeling exhausted. Sometimes I get so exhausted that I pass out (take a 30 minute nap). I’m really not understanding why I’m getting more hours of sleep and feeling even more exhausted. WTF. And no, I don’t have sleep apnea (spelling?).

Alex thinks it’s because now that Autumn’s older she’s much more work. That very well might be what it is. A year ago she would entertain herself by playing with her toys, coloring, whatever. But now all she wants to do is play with me. And it’s exhausting. I wake up, feed her, let her watch 1-2 episodes of a tv show (usually Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood or Super Why!), play with her, color with her, read to her, play with her again, read to her again, dance with her, sing with her, count with her, etc etc etc etc etc. We’re also in the middle of potty training her which is hard work (for obvious reasons). Alex is probably right, it’s probably because of that. Just listing all of that out was exhausting! Either way, coffee has become my best friend. My motto: the stronger the better!

Feedback, tips, and/or advice appreciated!!

Love to all,

Dimand Girl

HW: 330

SW: 310

CW: 251

“Coffee. Because crack is bad for you.”- Unknown

“A yawn is a silent scream for coffee.”- Unknown

“No amount of sleep in the world could cure the tiredness I feel.”- Unknown

“The greatest work we will ever do will be within the walls of our home.”- David O. McKay

Quick Update

Hey y’all!

This post will be very short and simple. I just wanted to check in, do a quick update, and give a big “thank you” to all the support and positivity I got after last week’s post!

I got a lot of incredible feedback from my post “My Feminist Agenda“. I am so grateful to have so many empowered men and women backing me on this issue! I did get a couple negative feedback’s as well, but it comes with the territory when you express your opinions (basically someone said “if women get equal pay then the company’s will start laying people off so they don’t loose money”…. to that I say HORSESHIT). But mostly I got tons of positive feedback from women and men saying that they 100% agree with me. I felt unbelievably supported and proud… I still do! The time for change is NOW!!

Everything’s great over here! Been doing some cooking (mainly chicken). Also we’ve been cleaning through all the closet’s and trying to organize everything. I’m getting excited (also nervous but mainly excited) to start school at NIU. There’s been a lot of chores lately so I’ve just been trying to finish all of them so I can relax and not have a 50 mile long “to-do-list”. Alex’s 27th Birthday is in two weeks so I’m trying to figure out what to do for that. Since we have a very close-knit group of friends (there’s 6 of us), for each persons birthday we celebrate together. Sometimes we go to a hotel and spend the day swimming, opening gifts in the room, and then go to dinner. Sometimes we spend the day on a road trip and then have dinner at Dave and Buster’s and play games for hours. Each person picks something different but we always celebrate together. It’s one of my favorite traditions. For Alex we’re either going to spend the day at the art museum and than do dinner downtown, or we’re going to do a hotel and a roadtrip (plus dinner). Not sure yet but I’ll keep y’all posted!

I’m still getting some email requests to start a youtube channel, so I just wanted to remind you guys I already did! I rarely make a video (I think I’ve only made like 4 or 5 so far), but here’s the link in case you want to check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoxON6VS58kjL1a8J3mXang

Peace and love to all,

Dimand Girl

“Life is all about perception. Positive versus negative. Whichever you choose will affect and more than likely reflect your outcomes.”- Sonya Teclai

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”- Tim Fields