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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reflections of My Bike Ride to Orchard Beach

Biking to Orchard Beach wasn't never one of my fitness goals. It never even crossed my mind to add it to my goals list. This Sunday I just that...biked to Orchard Beach AND City Island. When you map out the ride it really isn't a long trip, especially compared to the TA bike tours.

This time last year, if you want have told me that I'll be biking, I would have told you you were crazy. I appreciated the greatest gift giving to me last year. (I can't thank you enough Roxanne!) My Lenny has taken me through all five boros. I have biked miles all over the Bronx. I love this chubby (so to be skinny) bike chick I have become. I have learned so much about biking and junk. I still have to work on my speed and stamina but I have drive and that's what really counts at my stage in the game.

I can't wait to see what adventures hold for me and my bike.

Reflections of My Bike Ride to Orchard Beach

Biking to Orchard Beach wasn't never one of my fitness goals. It never even crossed my mind to add it to my goals list. This Sunday I just that...biked to Orchard Beach AND City Island. When you map out the ride it really isn't a long trip, especially compared to the TA bike tours.

This time last year, if you want have told me that I'll be biking, I would have told you you were crazy. I appreciated the greatest gift giving to me last year. (I can't thank you enough Roxanne!) My Lenny has taken me through all five boros. I have biked miles all over the Bronx. I love this chubby (so to be skinny) bike chick I have become. I have learned so much about biking and junk. I still have to work on my speed and stamina but I have drive and that's what really counts at my stage in the game.

I can't wait to see what adventures hold for me and my bike.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

All That Beautiful Hair Part 2

As my Facebook followers and readers know I am obsessed with Little Al's hair. I posted a call for help when Little Al's hair changed from baby hair to her normal hair. Since then I have asked every person I know, all ethic backgrounds and types of hair coarseness. Now let's go into from ethic background for myself and my girls. 

I am Puerto Rican. My parents are both from Puerto Rico and came to the mainland as children. I have full head of hair. I have enough hair to share with a few people. It grown very quickly. I usually cut it once a year. It's naturally brown with LOTS of gray hairs. The gray hairs are genetic from my maternal side. So what I have said in the past about my gray hair being related to my stress level was all lies. My maternal uncle and my mommy both started graying at a very young ages. My mother had a gray patch of hair that started off blond in her 20's and grayed in her 30's . It reminds me of a Disney villain. I am actually looking forward to the gray hair finally taking over. It's taking longer then I thought.

Becky is half Puerto Rican and half Salvadorian. Her dad's parents immigrated from El Salvador to the United States as young adults. Becky's hair is all Salvadorian. This is nothing about her hair that comes from me. It is thin and grows very slowly. I cut her hair very short about 4 years ago and it told about 3 years for it grown to the length that it now. Her hair is VERY easy to manage. It does quickly form knots but they are very easy to take out. I am spoiled with her hair. There's no more you can do with it. Up in a ponytails or down is pretty much all you can do.

Little Al is half Puerto Rican and half all mixed up. Her dad is American. His father is from Nigeria and his mother is from Costa Rica with a very mixed up background. It's some what too long to list. She that makes Little Al (and her brother Big Al) Costa Rican, Nigerian and Puerto Rican. She is her very own melting pot. As a result her hair is coarse. It can become very nappy if not treated with care. I have been told by MANY African American women that she had the "good hair." When Little Al was born I thought I was blessed with her having my hair. I know how to manage my own hair. I started to become very nervous when her hair went through the "change." It became course before she turned 2 years old. I had no idea what to do with coarse hair. I didn't want my baby to look like a mess!

I was not ashamed to ask my friends, co workers and random people I met with a daughter with hair like Little Al. I took to the Internet to see what was out there. I didn't find much at the time. The only way I was going to learn anything about her hair was by doing. Because of Little Al's sensory processing disorder washing her hair is like a war. I usually win the war but lost the battle of keeping dry. I purchased many, many products and found what works best for her. I figured out which brushes and combs work best too. All of this took time, patience and practice. Now I am able to control her long locks once a week for 90 minutes a sitting. 

This leads me to a conversation I had at our Mommy & Me class. One of the moms asked me how long it takes me to do Little Al's hair. I told her and she was impressed. I share some tips what type of bands I use. She was looking for a style to do on her daughter's hair that last longer then one day. Little Al's normal hair style last for about a week. Depending on how tight I make the twists I can push it to a week and a half. She said she is going to try it out because fighting with her daughter's hair every day is not working for her. 

This moment seems small. The conversation was least then 3 minutes long. I felt a little validated after this moment. 3 years ago I had no idea what I was doing and here an African American women, who should have way more knowledge about coarse hair, was asking me about Little Al's hair. I actually had tips to offer to her. Awesome!

I know I have a lot more to learn about coarse aka natural hair. It's been a hairy ride and I wait to see what I can do.

This post is made me think that I should post some of the things that I have learned about my baby's hair. Maybe it would help another mother like me. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Returning to the Softball Field

Gosh, it felt like ages since I've step foot on a softball field of any sort. I was invited to play softball at Central Park on Sunday. (Hi, Billy) How could I stay no to playing in Central Park! I am not sure if I wrote about my athletic past on this blog before. In high school I played 3 years of Volleyball and 4 years of Softball. I also played NCAA Volleyball and recreational Softball in college. By the time I reached my junior year of high school I was pretty awesome at both sports but my softball is my love. It was the first sport I had ever played. I was so horrible at it my 1st batting average was .000. #shame Here's a picture of me senior at bat.
I love this picture! Go Addams!

So returning to play recreational softball was so awesome. Warming up with my new softball buddies was great. I lost my grip for throwing. I was throwing wacky. After some adjustments and I was able to focus my throw. When I warmed up at bat.....It was like riding a bike! I missed one pitch and fouled one. Not bad. When the leader of this softball meet up shared the line up I was very happy to see that I was 1st at bat and playing 1st base. I felt honored when the leader (I forget his name) said when need someone at 1st that can catch. That's when I knew I still had something.

A VERY bad thing happened that day....I didn't take any pictures! That was so unlike me. I didn't take no one picture. Bad Amy! I guess I was so involved in what I was doing I didn't think about pictures. Here's a screen grab of where we played.
I enjoyed the laid back feeling of these group of people playing. Everyone has their own level of abilities. No competition, just wholesome fun. I was invited to come back to play. I am definitely taking the invite.

The next day I was sore as hell. I actually had to run bases. I am not a runner so I felt it....everywhere. It was good pain. I posted this textgram on Monday.
I cant wait to go back.

Returning to the Softball Field

Gosh, it felt like ages since I've step foot on a softball field of any sort. I was invited to play softball at Central Park on Sunday. (Hi, Billy) How could I stay no to playing in Central Park! I am not sure if I wrote about my athletic past on this blog before. In high school I played 3 years of Volleyball and 4 years of Softball. I also played NCAA Volleyball and recreational Softball in college. By the time I reached my junior year of high school I was pretty awesome at both sports but my softball is my love. It was the first sport I had ever played. I was so horrible at it my 1st batting average was .000. #shame Here's a picture of me senior at bat.
I love this picture! Go Addams!

So returning to play recreational softball was so awesome. Warming up with my new softball buddies was great. I lost my grip for throwing. I was throwing wacky. After some adjustments and I was able to focus my throw. When I warmed up at bat.....It was like riding a bike! I missed one pitch and fouled one. Not bad. When the leader of this softball meet up shared the line up I was very happy to see that I was 1st at bat and playing 1st base. I felt honored when the leader (I forget his name) said when need someone at 1st that can catch. That's when I knew I still had something.

A VERY bad thing happened that day....I didn't take any pictures! That was so unlike me. I didn't take no one picture. Bad Amy! I guess I was so involved in what I was doing I didn't think about pictures. Here's a screen grab of where we played.
I enjoyed the laid back feeling of these group of people playing. Everyone has their own level of abilities. No competition, just wholesome fun. I was invited to come back to play. I am definitely taking the invite.

The next day I was sore as hell. I actually had to run bases. I am not a runner so I felt it....everywhere. It was good pain. I posted this textgram on Monday.
I cant wait to go back.

Week 54

This week went by very fast, and not in a good way. So much drama is going on I feel like I am drowning. Even when I try to run away from the drama it seems to follow me any way. My journey for happiness is a lot harder then my weight loss journey. I am doing everything that I can to bring any kind of joy into my life again.

Being active with the kids is a big part of that joy. I run the kids around to the local pool, park and eateries. All this running around really gets me tired but at the end of the day I still put in my daily workouts. (Fridays are my off days.) On top of the daily activity points plus I earn with the kids I make sure I earn 6 activity points plus. Some days I don't want to do it but I do it anyway. (Except high drama days)

I am also keeping up with my 200 sit-up Challenge app. I started repeating days because I do not like the vomit feeling I have been getting from the high number if reps. I am starting to feel the changes in my waist and hips. I have lost some inches which is always awesome. The scale hasn't been going down as fast as I want it to. A little bit of down it better then up. 

This week I also played softball. It was so awesome it got it's own post.

I am looking forward to the coming week. I have planned some fun things and I can't wait to share them with my readers.

Progress Picture:



Numbers & Goals Weight:
Start weight: 268.5 lbs BMI 40.3 kg/m^2
This week's weight is: 238.5 lbs BMI 36.3 kg/m^2
Change since last week:   -1.3 lbs
Change from start: -30.0 lbs 

Measurements:
Arms: 14.0 in. Change since start: -2.5 in
Hips: 44 in. Change since start: -5.5 in
Bust: 43in. Change since start: -5.0 in
Waist: 36.5 in. Change since start: -6.0in
Thigh: 25 in. Change since start: -3.5in

Week 54

This week went by very fast, and not in a good way. So much drama is going on I feel like I am drowning. Even when I try to run away from the drama it seems to follow me any way. My journey for happiness is a lot harder then my weight loss journey. I am doing everything that I can to bring any kind of joy into my life again.

Being active with the kids is a big part of that joy. I run the kids around to the local pool, park and eateries. All this running around really gets me tired but at the end of the day I still put in my daily workouts. (Fridays are my off days.) On top of the daily activity points plus I earn with the kids I make sure I earn 6 activity points plus. Some days I don't want to do it but I do it anyway. (Except high drama days)

I am also keeping up with my 200 sit-up Challenge app. I started repeating days because I do not like the vomit feeling I have been getting from the high number if reps. I am starting to feel the changes in my waist and hips. I have lost some inches which is always awesome. The scale hasn't been going down as fast as I want it to. A little bit of down it better then up. 


This week I also played softball. It was so awesome it got it's own post.

I am looking forward to the coming week. I have planned some fun things and I can't wait to share them with my readers.

Progress Picture:



Numbers & Goals Weight:
Start weight: 268.5 lbs BMI 40.3 kg/m^2
This week's weight is: 238.5 lbs BMI 36.3 kg/m^2
Change since last week:   -1.3 lbs
Change from start: -30.0 lbs 

Measurements:
Arms: 14.0 in. Change since start: -2.5 in
Hips: 44 in. Change since start: -5.5 in
Bust: 43in. Change since start: -5.0 in
Waist: 36.5 in. Change since start: -6.0in
Thigh: 25 in. Change since start: -3.5in

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mommy & Me with Little Al

Finally...Little Al got to participate in a dance class. Last month Little Al started to realize that she was not dancing like her big brother and big sister. When ever I would tell her brother and sister to get ready for dance, she would run, get a pair of "old" ballet shoes and put them on her feet. She would hop around looking to go to dance too. She would cry when she realized that she wasn't coming with us. She was very surprised and excited when I told her it was time to get ready to go to dance class.

Big Al quickly put on his clothes for Pre-Tap and Little Al looked at me like I was crazy. She thought dance clothes meant only putting on the ballet shoes. Tights, leotard and tutu is what we need for whole set up, Little Al.  As I started putting her dance clothes on, which are hand me down from Big Bea  she couldn't help but to jump around like crazy. She kept repeating, "Dance, dance....I like to DANCE." (Insert Yo Gabba Gabba! song here.)

When we got to the studio she knew exactly where to go. She jumped around waiting for the door to open for her. She didn't want mommy taking pictures of her. She didn't want to stand next to her big brother either. Aren't they the cutest!

'
When all was clear she ran into "her" studio. The first thing she did was to stare in the mirror and enjoy she image. I asked her to say cheese to me and she said cheese to herself in the mirror.

Then she realized there was a whole room behind her. She started to turn around.
It was all over after that....she ran to the mat and started jumping like a crazy girl. She could not stop smiling.
When we started the class she could not stop laughing and smiling. She tired her hardest to follow along with my help. She just laughed and laughed. She loved laying down on the mat and kicking her feet up. (Psst, she wasn't suppose to be doing that.) I saw all the things she has learned in PT in school. She jumped, hopped and tapped her toes. When we were using scarf for some creative moments she stole mine! How can I be mad at this face?
Little Al was the oldest in the class but it was the right decision putting her in a class where I can really help her instead throwing her into the Creative Moment class. I am happy that BDT started offering this class.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Week 53

It's good to finally be back on track. Prepping for the Tour de Queens really helped me focus on my goal of weight loss and healthier living. I have successfully tracked everything that I bit, licked, tasted and ate. I am very proud of that. I have also been drinking water like a fish. Since now I am more active outdoors I do not want to dehydrate. I drink at least a gallon a day....you know what that means. I also pee a gallon a day.

On my drama-free days I am able to earn 11 activity points plus a day. Which is an amazing feeling. I have been on my stationary bike for 25-30 minutes at 22 to 25 mph. I am able to rack in the activity points plus with that. I have followed the 200 Sit Up Challenge on drama-free days. I am up too 245 sit-ups in a sitting. I have also started the 200 Squats Challenge. This is very challenging to me because of the stress it places on my knees. My knees aren't in the greatest of shapes. My right knee is the "bad" knee. I had a softball accident in high school. A catcher fell on my leg when I slid home. I walked it off and kept playing the game. I should have sat it out but I was trying to be a good captain. The weight that I have gained since then has not help either. I am starting with half squats until I can safely do a full squat.

Swimming has been reintroduced for the summer. I am signed up with Big Al in the Tots class at our local swimming pool. The pool is about 4 feet 3 inches tall. Doesn't seem like much but I get a good workout squatting in the water with Big Al. The class earns me 4 activity points plus and staying after class to play during public pool time earns me another 4 activity points plus.

My motivation has been on a high. Helping with this high has been the two challenges I have enter over at Weight Watchers Online. Challenges section is a new feature for online members. The challenges were created to "rally your friends and reach healthy goals together." Entered "Break the 200" and "Never too late for summer!!" challenges. I am the top 10 in both challenges. I actually lost the most weight for week one in the "Break the 200" challenges. I see my competitive side coming out to stay on top. That just what I need.

Progress pictures next week.

Numbers & Goals Weight:
Start weight: 268.5 lbs BMI 40.3 kg/m^2
This week's weight is: 239.8 lbs BMI 35.8 kg/m^2
Change since last week:   -3.2 lbs
Change from start: -28.7 lbs 



Measurements:

Arms: 15.0 in     Change since start: -2.0 in
Hips: 46 in         Change since start: -3.5 in
Bust: 43in          Change since start: -5.0 in
Waist: 36.5 in    Change since start: -6.0in
Thigh: 25 in      Change since start: -3.5in

Week 53

It's good to finally be back on track. Prepping for the Tour de Queens really helped me focus on my goal of weight loss and healthier living. I have successfully tracked everything that I bit, licked, tasted and ate. I am very proud of that. I have also been drinking water like a fish. Since now I am more active outdoors I do not want to dehydrate. I drink at least a gallon a day....you know what that means. I also pee a gallon a day.

On my drama-free days I am able to earn 11 activity points plus a day. Which is an amazing feeling. I have been on my stationary bike for 25-30 minutes at 22 to 25 mph. I am able to rack in the activity points plus with that. I have followed the 200 Sit Up Challenge on drama-free days. I am up too 245 sit-ups in a sitting. I have also started the 200 Squats Challenge. This is very challenging to me because of the stress it places on my knees. My knees aren't in the greatest of shapes. My right knee is the "bad" knee. I had a softball accident in high school. A catcher fell on my leg when I slid home. I walked it off and kept playing the game. I should have sat it out but I was trying to be a good captain. The weight that I have gained since then has not help either. I am starting with half squats until I can safely do a full squat.

Swimming has been reintroduced for the summer. I am signed up with Big Al in the Tots class at our local swimming pool. The pool is about 4 feet 3 inches tall. Doesn't seem like much but I get a good workout squatting in the water with Big Al. The class earns me 4 activity points plus and staying after class to play during public pool time earns me another 4 activity points plus.

My motivation has been on a high. Helping with this high has been the two challenges I have enter over at Weight Watchers Online. Challenges section is a new feature for online members. The challenges were created to "rally your friends and reach healthy goals together." Entered "Break the 200" and "Never too late for summer!!" challenges. I am the top 10 in both challenges. I actually lost the most weight for week one in the "Break the 200" challenges. I see my competitive side coming out to stay on top. That just what I need.

Progress pictures next week.

Numbers & Goals Weight:
Start weight: 268.5 lbs BMI 40.3 kg/m^2
This week's weight is: 239.8 lbs BMI 35.8 kg/m^2
Change since last week:   -3.2 lbs
Change from start: -28.7 lbs 



Measurements:

Arms: 15.0 in     Change since start: -2.0 in
Hips: 46 in         Change since start: -3.5 in
Bust: 43in          Change since start: -5.0 in
Waist: 36.5 in    Change since start: -6.0in
Thigh: 25 in      Change since start: -3.5in

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Welcome Back to the Pool Big Al

Big Al and I started our season at the pool for our free (my favorite word) Tots swimming class. It's like a Mommy & Me class but in the water. We did the Tots class last year but since Big Al is still 5 years old for one more month, I am still able to enroll him in the Tots class and be in the water with him. I am still weirded out with knowing that they may not let me in the water with him once he turns six. I am sure I can jump in with him after some talking to the instrutor.

I was very please to know that this summer's instrutor for the Tots class was the same guy from last year. He remembered me and Big Al right away. Who can forget an awesome mom like me? (Sorry for the inflated head moment)

Before we jumped into the pool Big Beaand Dominick (my nephew) had her advanced swim lesson. It's fun watching them in the pool. They are so comfortable in the pool. Awesome. Big Al waits with excitement pool side for his and mommy's turn as he plays with his Legos.

When it was to time to go in the pool the high pitch noises and giggling started. The sounds that he makes sometimes, reminds me a lot of Mort from the cartoon Madagascar. I think I am going to record it to share with my readers. It is very cute.

"Time to go in Big Al."

"OOOOOK...Mommy, it's so cold."

"It's ok, Big Al. Keep moving your feet."

Of course the instrutor tells the moms to jump in first. I jump in taking not to show Big Al how flippin' cold the water is to me. I don't want to scare him. Some of the other moms said, "I have to do what?"

The instrutor used me and Big Al was example. He would come over and asked me if I remember something from last year's class, I would do it and he would tell the class to follow what I was doing. It was pretty cool. Especially, since I do not know how to swim. #shame

It took Big Al about 5 minutes to get used to the cold water and the sensory input to his entire body. He fought, pushed and grabbed me the entire class to make sure he was doing the moves correctly and safe. He moved around so much so I slipped backwards in to the water when he feet pushed the side of the . I didn't freak out because the water comes up to my elbows.

I can really see the improvements Big Al has made since last summer in the pool. He has matured some that he is able to control some of his emotions. He had not one meltdown even with all the fighting to get the moves right.

I can't wait to see his swimming improvements throughout the rest of the summer.


Guest Post: How to Avoid Shame and Blame


Guest Post by Sarah MacLaughlin, Excerpted and adapted from the award-winning Amazon bestselling book, What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children

Sometimes adults don’t mean to use shame and blame in their interactions with children. These approaches can sneak in when we are least expecting it. Statements like, “You should know better than that,” or “What were you thinking?” come to mind. When we become overly focused on a child’s behavior—what they do—and less focused on our relationship with them—who they are—we have gone off track. Below are four examples that are good ones to avoid and along with some freshened-up ways to approach a child that are more connection based.

You just never learn.
This phrase reminds me of the father in a great movie, Muriel’s Wedding, who has a habit of describing all of his children as “useless.”The main character has taken her dad’s shaming assessment to heart, but she eventually changes the way she sees herself—and changes her life for the better. If you give a child a limiting judgment as a starting off place, it puts her at a huge disadvantage. These are words that sting and can hinder emotional and intellectual growth.

If a child is failing to learn a new skill or task, reassess your expectations. Talk to her about a repetitive mistake or omission she may be making: “I notice that every time you get undressed you leave yourclothes on the floor. What do you think would help you to put them in the hamper?” This fosters learning and growth rather than shame and defeat. “You can do it” and “Keep practicing” are ways to speak encouragingly to a child whose efforts have not been successful thus far. Have realistic expectations, keeping personality and temperament in mind, and give her time.

What’s the matter with you?
Because a small child’s view of the world is so self-centered, this reaction to misbehavior only intensifies that. She may think, I don’t know, maybe everything! A critical question is likely to leave children feeling defective, unfixable. It’s better to respond to each situation specifically without questioning a child’s character. If you found your three-year-old cutting up her new pants with wild abandon, you might assume that something had indeed gone wrong.

Take the scissors away, but then back up for a moment before accusing her. Recently she was playing in the sewing room while you used your scissors to cut fabric for a pair of pants. The reason for her actions is now a bit clearer. Remain calm and restate the boundaries: “Your scissors are for cutting paper, and only when a grown-up is there.” Sometimes there’s no reassuring explanation for children’s behavior— they just like to experiment. That’s small consolation when a budding scientist drips glue onto the cat’s fur! Talk about why this was not a good idea and clean up the kitty together.

This is all your fault.
It’s normal for young children to be self-centered, and they may readily believe that things are their fault—news coverage of Hurricane Katrina reported some children blaming themselves for this natural disaster.

When things don’t go right, give kids clear feedback about their behavior and share your feelings with them: “I am frustrated that we are late to our appointment. Next time, we will go the first time I tell you we need to leave.” If you allow a child to distract you from leaving on time with his activities or preoccupations, it is actually your fault.

Because I said so.
We resort to this staple when a boy or girl won’t stop making demands. While such a non-answer may not be damaging, it’s curt and dismisses the child’s feelings. It hinders a loving connection between adults and little ones. A similar and often used line is, “Because I’m the grown-up, that’s why.” This may work when a child is three but is hardly a permanent solution.

It’s more productive to keep open communication with children from an early age, even if this means extended conversations about family or classroom rules. When a difficult situation arises, explain your reason clearly: “We are not going to stop for ice cream because it’s late and we’re heading home for dinner.” If a child persists you can say, “I’m not going to change my mind, but I will listen to your feelings about it.”


Try to remember that a child is doing their best in any given situation with the tools (and still not fully functioning brain!) they have. Also, keep in mind that is it perfectly okay for a child to have strong feelings about a limit that is set. It’s a good idea to maintain self-care for yourself so you have the wherewithal to weather the storm of those emotions in a calm and loving way.


Special Giveaway!
Please comment on this post with your thoughts on avoiding blame and shame. Your comment enters you in the eBook Giveaway -- to win an ebook copy of What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children, in the format of your choice: PDF, epub, or Kindle format. Sarah will be giving away one copy at each blog stop and will announce it on the comments of this post tomorrow. Be sure to leave your email so we can contact you in case you're the winner!

Other stops and opportunities to win during this Blog Tour are listed on Sarah's blog here: http://sarahsbalancingact.blogspot.com/p/blog-tour.html.

Also, you can enter at Sarah's site for the Grand Prize Giveaway: a Kindle Touch. Winner will be announced at the end of the tour after July 15th. Go here to enter: http://sarahsbalancingact.blogspot.com/p/blog-tour.html

About The Author

Sarah MacLaughlin has worked with children and families for over twenty years. With a background in early childhood education, she has previously been both a preschool teacher and nanny. Sarah is currently a licensed social worker at The Opportunity Alliance in South Portland, Maine, and works as the resource coordinator in therapeutic foster care. She serves on the board of Birth Roots, and writes the "Parenting Toolbox" column for a local parenting newspaper, Parent & Family. Sarah teaches classes and workshops locally, and consults with families everywhere. She considers it her life's work to to promote happy, well-adjusted people in the future by increasing awareness of how children are spoken to today. She is mom to a young son who gives her plenty of opportunities to take her own advice about What Not to Say. More information about Sarah and her work can be found at her site: http://www.saramaclaughlin.com/ and her blog: http://sarahsbalancingact.blogspot.com.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tour de Queens 2012

Yesterday I completed my third bike tour, AWESOME! I was so happy I was able to participate in this bike tour. I was very sad that I couldn't do the Tour de Brooklyn last month because of schedule conflicts. This was the first time I wasn't nervous the night before. I guess after completing the Five Boro Bike Tour the Tour de Queens was nothing to be nervous about. It was only 17 miles around the beautiful neighborhoods. (When I signed up the website said 19 miles..I feel robbed of my 2 miles. Ha!) Another awesome thing about this tour I was joined by my friend & co-worker, Levonda (Hi, Levonda) and my friend, Billy (Hi, Billy!). It was nice to have company on this tour.

I started my day off at 6 am with a breakfast. Raisin Bran and soy milk, yummy! I re-packed my bag and headed out the door at 7am. I rode 1.1 miles to the E 174 Street train station. The streets were empty and it took me 7 mins to get there. I love the cheers and looks Lenny & I get in the neighborhood. My biggest fan is an older Black man in a electric wheelchair. Every time I roll pass him he shouts, "Yeah girl! Get your fitness on!" That always puts a smile on my face.

I always enjoy getting on the train with Lenny. It always means an adventure is waiting for us when we get off the train. Here are some pictures of my awesome day.
Lenny on the 2 Train.


Lenny's first ride on the 7 train. 

My cool sticker and Snow White in the background.
I am very bad at picking people out of a crowd if they are not my kids. I am happy that
I found Levonda.

Lining up to start.

Laverne, Lenny and Snow White at the rest stop. 
Lenny's first car ride.
You can't leave Corona without visiting the Lemon Ice King.

I really enjoyed this tour. It was a little hot but not as hot as I expected. Towards the end of the tour I started to feel the heat. I had to pull over and fuel up and hydrate a little. The time I stood off to the side put me at the very end at the tour. It was awesome riding along side the NYPD vehicles.

The next tour for me is the Century Tour in September. I can't wait.

Tour de Queens 2012

Yesterday I completed my third bike tour, AWESOME! I was so happy I was able to participate in this bike tour. I was very sad that I couldn't do the Tour de Brooklyn last month because of schedule conflicts. This was the first time I wasn't nervous the night before. I guess after completing the Five Boro Bike Tour the Tour de Queens was nothing to be nervous about. It was only 17 miles around the beautiful neighborhoods. (When I signed up the website said 19 miles..I feel robbed of my 2 miles. Ha!) Another awesome thing about this tour I was joined by my friend & co-worker, Levonda (Hi, Levonda) and my friend, Billy (Hi, Billy!). It was nice to have company on this tour.

I started my day off at 6 am with a breakfast. Raisin Bran and soy milk, yummy! I re-packed my bag and headed out the door at 7am. I rode 1.1 miles to the E 174 Street train station. The streets were empty and it took me 7 mins to get there. I love the cheers and looks Lenny & I get in the neighborhood. My biggest fan is an older Black man in a electric wheelchair. Every time I roll pass him he shouts, "Yeah girl! Get your fitness on!" That always puts a smile on my face.

I always enjoy getting on the train with Lenny. It always means an adventure is waiting for us when we get off the train. Here are some pictures of my awesome day.
Lenny on the 2 Train.


Lenny's first ride on the 7 train. 

My cool sticker and Snow White in the background.
I am very bad at picking people out of a crowd if they are not my kids. I am happy that
I found Levonda.

Lining up to start.

Laverne, Lenny and Snow White at the rest stop. 
Lenny's first car ride.
You can't leave Corona without visiting the Lemon Ice King.

I really enjoyed this tour. It was a little hot but not as hot as I expected. Towards the end of the tour I started to feel the heat. I had to pull over and fuel up and hydrate a little. The time I stood off to the side put me at the very end at the tour. It was awesome riding along side the NYPD vehicles.

The next tour for me is the Century Tour in September. I can't wait.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Me & My Belly

For a long, long my belly has been the one area that I completely hate! Other areas that I dis-like are my thighs and my upper arm fat but I do not hate them as much as my belly. I have been hiding this area for as long as I can remember, even when I was "skinny."

Here's what I looked like when I was 19.

Not much going on in the mid-section. Back then I thought I had a beer gut. (Side note: I hate beer!) My brain told me that I looked bigger then what I actually was. I guess because the numbers on the scales told me that I was huge. Also, I was heavy into playing sports and my college coach told me that I need to slim down frequently. 

Now I look like this:
Please note the mid-section. I've had three children and have endured a lot of stress during the 13 year difference between the two pictures. Here's an article about Stress Raises Belly Fat by WedMD. The stress of raising three children, two of which are special needs, is enough to make any person go batty. Now the added stress of work, relationship and money....I should look like I am 10 months pregnant all the time.

My belly now is the smallest it has been since about 2003 or 2004. All the cardio that I have been doing has aided in the melting of the fat. I do enjoy seeing the fat melting but darn it...I hate looking it. See...

This is a direct shot of my belly. When I took this picture my son asked me what was I doing taking a picture of my belly. I told him, "I am taking a picture of my belly fat." He replied, "Silly Mommy, there's a baby in there." :-O Thanks Big Al for telling mommy that. 

Actually, is not too much of a bad picture of my belly. You can't really see the miles of stretch marks across my stomach. I got 99% of those marks for my 1st pregnancy. 

My belly is going to be my focus. I am going to do what it takes to make this belly smaller. WedMd, suggest four keys to control this type of fat: exercise, diet, sleep and stress management. 

I CAN DO THIS! 

P.S.: Sorry for blinding my readers with the sight of my belly. 


Me & My Belly

For a long, long my belly has been the one area that I completely hate! Other areas that I dis-like are my thighs and my upper arm fat but I do not hate them as much as my belly. I have been hiding this area for as long as I can remember, even when I was "skinny." 

Here's what I looked like when I was 19.

Not much going on in the mid-section. Back then I thought I had a beer gut. (Side note: I hate beer!) My brain told me that I looked bigger then what I actually was. I guess because the numbers on the scales told me that I was huge. Also, I was heavy into playing sports and my college coach told me that I need to slim down frequently. 

Now I look like this:
Please note the mid-section. I've had three children and have endured a lot of stress during the 13 year difference between the two pictures. Here's an article about Stress Raises Belly Fat by WedMD. The stress of raising three children, two of which are special needs, is enough to make any person go batty. Now the added stress of work, relationship and money....I should look like I am 10 months pregnant all the time.

My belly now is the smallest it has been since about 2003 or 2004. All the cardio that I have been doing has aided in the melting of the fat. I do enjoy seeing the fat melting but darn it...I hate looking it. See...

This is a direct shot of my belly. When I took this picture my son asked me what was I doing taking a picture of my belly. I told him, "I am taking a picture of my belly fat." He replied, "Silly Mommy, there's a baby in there." :-O Thanks Big Al for telling mommy that. 

Actually, is not too much of a bad picture of my belly. You can't really see the miles of stretch marks across my stomach. I got 99% of those marks for my 1st pregnancy. 

My belly is going to be my focus. I am going to do what it takes to make this belly smaller. WedMd, suggest four keys to control this type of fat: exercise, diet, sleep and stress management. 

I CAN DO THIS! 

P.S.: Sorry for blinding my readers with the sight of my belly. 


Revisiting Some Summer Goals

Now that my summer vacation is in full swing, I can't help to think about the summer goals that I created back in week 47. Now that things are not as what I execpt them to be I have to revisit those goals and change them accordingly.


- Lose between 15-30 more pounds. That means I would have to lose 1-2 pounds each week.
This goals is still in reach. I have been very focused on my tracking all my foods on Weight Watchers Online. I have also earn least six activity points each day for the pass six days. I can't wait to see what the scale says on weigh-in day.

- Change from an Online Weight Watchers member to a meetings member for at least 8 weeks.
I will be unable to commit to this goal. I do not have the close enough babysitter to watch the kids while at the local meeting and be on time to the kids dance classes. I am not going to give up on the Weight Watchers Online community. I have enter two online community challenges to help stay focused on my goal.

- Complete the TwoHundredSitups 6 week training program.
I am successful complete each day of this training program. The higher the number of required sit ups gets, the greater the feeling of throwing up gets. I've never worked out to the point of vomit or even the feeling of vomiting. Some may say that's a good thing, others think that I am insane! *Insert evil laughter here*

- Start and complete Insanity.
I have yet to start. I think Monday, July 9 sounds like a good day to start.

- Create a gym schedule and a home workout schedule that's easy to stick to.
I have created a home workout schedule that's been working for me. For the last six days I have been doing an intense workout. It consist of 20 to 45 mins of 25mph pace on my stationary bike, TwoHundredSitup training and TwoHundredSquats training. I have already made small changes to my calves and upper ads. All changes, big or small are always awesome. My gym schedule is still in the works. 

- Attend a Zumba class...I think I didn't like it when I tried it because I was doing it alone.
Did not happen....I think that is not going to happen....ever. It's just not my thing.

I feel that this summer is going to be very successful!

Revisiting Some Summer Goals

Now that my summer vacation is in full swing, I can't help to think about the summer goals that I created back in week 47. Now that things are not as what I execpt them to be I have to revisit those goals and change them accordingly.


- Lose between 15-30 more pounds. That means I would have to lose 1-2 pounds each week.
This goals is still in reach. I have been very focused on my tracking all my foods on Weight Watchers Online. I have also earn least six activity points each day for the pass six days. I can't wait to see what the scale says on weigh-in day.

- Change from an Online Weight Watchers member to a meetings member for at least 8 weeks.
I will be unable to commit to this goal. I do not have the close enough babysitter to watch the kids while at the local meeting and be on time to the kids dance classes. I am not going to give up on the Weight Watchers Online community. I have enter two online community challenges to help stay focused on my goal.

- Complete the TwoHundredSitups 6 week training program.
I am successful complete each day of this training program. The higher the number of required sit ups gets, the greater the feeling of throwing up gets. I've never worked out to the point of vomit or even the feeling of vomiting. Some may say that's a good thing, others think that I am insane! *Insert evil laughter here*

- Start and complete Insanity.
I have yet to start. I think Monday, July 9 sounds like a good day to start.

- Create a gym schedule and a home workout schedule that's easy to stick to.
I have created a home workout schedule that's been working for me. For the last six days I have been doing an intense workout. It consist of 20 to 45 mins of 25mph pace on my stationary bike, TwoHundredSitup training and TwoHundredSquats training. I have already made small changes to my calves and upper ads. All changes, big or small are always awesome. My gym schedule is still in the works. 

- Attend a Zumba class...I think I didn't like it when I tried it because I was doing it alone.
Did not happen....I think that is not going to happen....ever. It's just not my thing.

I feel that this summer is going to be very successful!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Some Summer Planning & Global Developmental Delays at the Playground

Now that summer vacation is in full swing, I have a lot of free time on my hands. Well maybe not a lot but more then normal. Becky spends half her summer (alternating weeks) with her dad and Little Al spends most of her summer days in summer school aka extended session. This summer is the first summer where we do not have any E.I. home-based services. It feel kind of weird not having to schedule anyone coming into my home.

This is also Big Al's first summer with no services. Since he doesn't not have a 12 month IEP so he is not entitled to services in the summer months. This is very scary. It's going to be a lot of work on my end to make sure he doesn't have a summer slide. (Summer slide is when a child loses knowledge during the summer months because the lack of use of the brain.)

I have the application for Summer Reading at the New York Public Library ready to go. We are going to activate the card once Becky is back with us. That's just in case we run out of books to read. I doubt that we will, especially since we were gifted a bag full of books at the last two Family Literacy Nights at Becky's school.

Reading at least 20 minutes a day each and every day will cover the ELA. I have lots of Math materials and apps to attack his math skills. Museums, garden and zoo trip will handle cultural enrichment, science & social studies. To cover PT and OT biking, tap dancing, swimming and lots of time at the playground is the plan. Of course there will be built in down time from it all. 

Since Little Al has been sick for about a week now we haven't been able to kick off summer awesomeness as quickly as I wanted. We were stuck indoors with Baby Coughs-a-lot. Today she was finally well enough to go to school. That left me and Big Al alone....weird. It's very weird to have one child around. Things are so much more easier. Shhhh...don't tell the kids that. 

Today I decided after a great breakfast, we were going to head to the local playground. Big Al got on his bike and got going. Biking is very hard for him because of his over all low muscle tone. His PT wants him to be enrolled into very physically demanding to help with his muscle tone. One step at a time Mr. Thomas. We are going to try out some martial arts school in September. 

When we got to the playground he asked right away if he could get wet because he was very hot. How can I say no when he forms awesome full sentences. Off he went. He quickly made "friends" with a girl that was having fun getting wet. They ran all over the place. I was in on the fun but I didn't want get wet. Big Al's plan was to keep going in the water so that I could leave him alone. I got the hint when he told me to go away. So I sat on the side where he wanted me to be. 

Next thing I know some lady starts saying "Hey, hey you!"

I looked over quickly because every one was quiet. All you hear was children playing. 

"Hey, you can't put your hands on little girls. Don't use your hands to talk to her."

"Excuse me, don't talk to my son like that." as I walked quickly toward her.

"You don't understand what I am telling you. No hence con los manos."

"Excuse me, he doesn't speak Spanish and stop raising your voice to my son."

"He shouldn't be pushing on the playground." 

"I am sorry Madam that he pushed your daughter."

"He needs to learn that he can't touch girl."

I looked down at a scared Big Al and asked him, "Why did you push the little girl?"

The dumba** women started to talking over me to talk to Big Al. "Just say something, don't you talk?"

"Listen lady, I am trying to get him to talk and say sorry to your daughter. He doesn't talk as quickly as others his age. He can't express himself quickly."

"Well how old is he? He has to be 8 years old."

"Excuse me, I am walking away now."

"You are not teaching him anything by walking way."

"Listen, I don't make excuses for my son's behavior but since you want to be in the business. My son is 5 years old and he has autism, sensory processing disorder, speech impairment and global physical delays. I am going to deal with this situation the way it should be handled."

As I started to walk away said she, "You should let anyone tell you that your son can't do anything. They teach dogs how to dance."

"You compared my son to a dog? No thanks."

"No I didn't, I am a special education educator, I know what I am talking about! I work with kids like yours."

"No thanks."

"Your son can talk. You shouldn't be so negative and close to suggestions. They can teach a bear to ride a bicycle, they can teach your son to talk."

"Why are you comparing my son to animals? No thanks."

"I am not! You don't understand special education and the needs for your son. I have to protect my children."

"No thanks, I don't want what you are drinking."

She finally walked back to her seat. Big Al was in tears. He said, "I sad. She is mad to me. Mommy I sorry."

"It's OK Alexander. She is a mean lady, who is not nice."

"I sorry Mommy. I sorry friend."

"Why did you push your friend?"

"She not listening and she yelled at me." (Hmmmm... I wonder who taught her to yell?)

"Don't use your hands, come to Mommy for help ok."

"Ok Mommy, I want to play. She is not my friend anymore."

We stood at the playground for 15 more minutes. Big Al stood clear of that little girl.  I had time to think about that interaction. I think I did the right thing. I showed Big Al that you don't have to lower yourself to stupid people. I so wanted to curse her out and go nuts. That would have got me no where but probably to the police station. While we stood there our extra 15 minutes, it turns out that dumba** blondie is a local babysitter. She was "watching" about 6 kids at the playground. I wouldn't trust her with my kids. She is poorly dressed, has horrible make-up and a very bad dye job. She also looks likes to hits the sauce too. (Why belittle them in person when you can do it on the interact? Five high for cyber bullying...lol..I guess it's not bullying if we don't know each other.)

I pat myself in the back for not blowing up on her and showing Big Al the right thing to do.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Year One!


One year ago I hit the restart button on my weight loss journey. I wanted the attempt to REALLY count.  So to make myself accountable I made this blog public! Something that I thought I would never do. My weigh loss struggle always made me feel vulnerable. I didn't want the public (especially, my friends) know what was going on my brain when it came to body image, food addictions and feeling fat.

This last month of year one was especially difficult. I have been hinting around on to what has been going on. It's time to stop hinting. My relationship with my husband has been slowly breaking apart. We are currently separate. This has caused me to slip into a depression. I didn't want anything to do with Weight Watchers. As much as I tired to refocus it was very difficult. The stress of it pushed me back into my binge eating food addiction. Eating endless calories and bad foods. I was eating and drinking way too many calories. As much as I was so proud of all the hard work I had put into Changing Amy, I lost hope for a while. I eat everything in sight resulting in....



... A 10.4-pound gain in one week!!! I didn't believe it either. I couldn't very bare to blog about it when I was suppose to. How the heck could I do this to myself? I let the stress win. What's even more upsetting is I reached my lowest weight within this year of 234.4lbs two weigh-ins prior.

I wanted to start week one of year two with a bang but this wasn't the kind of bang I was looking for. I am not going to beat myself up about this too much. I have made a lot of progress over the last year. Time for a list! Here are the top things have proudly accomplished over the last year. 

5- I didn't give up on this weigh loss blog even when things weren't the best. 
4- I've learn the ins and outs of Weight Watchers Online and e-met some pretty amazing people with amazing stories.
3- I went vegan for five weeks. I didn't enjoy it but I am proud. 
2- I am able to fit into a size 16 pair of jeans! 
1- Rode two biking tours with the greatest gift anyone has ever given me, Lenny the Bike. 

The one of many things I have learned over this year is you can just look at the numbers. The numbers are great to track progress (or the lack of progress). I did loose sight of what the numbers really mean. Last week I found a picture of myself from 2007 in my web photo albums. I was shocked! I didn't realized how big I was. I have a few pictures on this blog when I was at 290 lbs but in this picture I looked bigger then that. I took the picture and did a Before and Current picture. The feedback I got from all social networks were great. Here's the picture. 
On the left is me in June 2007 and the right is June 2012. The numbers on my weigh tracker may not be moving down as fast as I want them to be but the results are there. You can see that I have worked hard for this about 50 lbs I have lost. In 2007, I didn't even own a scale to truly know how much I weigh. Maybe I did reach the 300 lbs mark and didn't even know it. I never want to go back to that size. 

Now I have the pleasure of re-starting my weeks. 

I am determined to make this summer count!