Goodbye Weeds

Dear weeds that have taken over my garden.  You have been here for a long time. Way too long. Today, I decided to conquer you. I’ve tried to conquer you before but you always overwhelmed me and beat me down. Today, something came over me and I decided enough was enough.

I started ripping you out by the handful. You were everywhere, hiding my beautiful rose bushes. I have neglected my roses for a long time.  I lost one rose bush about a year ago and today I saw that another one had died. Part of that was your fault and part of it was mine. I failed to water and nourish them. I relied on sporadic raid clouds to take care of them. Three of the rose bushes are hanging on for dear life. One of those three has new life breaking through, determined to stay alive. Determined to show it’s beauty.


I received so much satisfaction as I pulled, tugged, dug and ripped you nasty weeds out from your roots.  I felt better as each handful was shoved into a paper bag which would then be sent to sit on the curb until the yard waste truck took you away forever.

After an hour and a half I stood up and looked at what I had accomplished.  For a split second I wished I’d taken a picture before I started. But then I realized that I didn’t want to remember what it looked like before. I didn’t want to remember how badly you ugly weeds had taken over. How you hid my once blooming rose bushes. I didn’t want to remember the neglect.

I stood back and relished in the glory of my rose bushes being free to thrive again. I didn’t get all of of you, though. There are still some in the background to be tackled another day. This was too big of a job to finish at one time. It is going to take another hour or so to finish. And I know you will be back. But I will not allow you to grow so big. I won’t allow you to take over. I will not allow you to hide the beauty of the roses that bring me so much joy. I will rip you out as you come up and enjoy the satisfaction of not allowing you to take over my garden again.

Yes, there will be times that I slack off.  I always do. But something clicked in me today. When I first walked outside to tackle you hateful weeds, it was to fix the mess that I had allowed. My husband bought me those rose bushes along with a gnome bird bath and gnome fountain. I didn’t take care of his gift and almost ruined it. Although I wanted to fix it to show him I appreciated his thoughtfulness, I decided I needed to fix it for me. After all, he never would have bought them for me if I hadn’t expressed how much I loved my mom’s roses and helping her in her garden when I was younger. I needed to fix it for me.

It’s going to take a little time for the beauty to come through. I need to dig in the dirt some more, spread mulch to help ward off you tenacious weeds and give the rose bushes good nutrition. With care, love and persistence, I know new buds will bloom and light up the world again.


So goodbye giant mess of weeds. I know you will try to creep back in but I have had enough. This is MY garden and I will no longer allow you to ruin it anymore. I will no longer let you ruin my rose bushes and the incredible joy I feel when a new bud appears. I am going to take a stand against you and relish in the fact that those roses are beautiful and you will never again cause them to be ugly. Today, I am doing something I should have done a long time ago. Today, I am taking back your power.

Goodbye old frumpy shirt


This shirt represents a lot.  It’s time to say goodbye to many things in my life and this shirt is a symbol of those things.  I’ve been a jeans and t-shirt mom for 24 years.  I’ve raised two absolutely amazing daughters who I am so incredibly proud of.  I also have a thirteen year old son and an eleven year old daughter who are just wonderful little human beings.  I’ve given all of my adult life to them.

But (isn’t there always a but?) I have put them before me.  This is normal as a mom.  This is what we do.  We put our children before us, most times before our spouses, too.  The kids don’t need me as much any more.  I’m only 44 and still have a lot of life left in me.  It’s time to focus a little (okay, a lot) on me.

I’m tired of being a frumpy mom.  I’m tired of being a lazy housewife.  Yes, laundry gets done, dishes get washed (most of the time), dinners are made, blah, blah, blah…but I do the bare minimum.  I can blame my ADD but I know how to conquer that I don’t want to live that life anymore.  I want to live more.  I want to do more.

So, goodbye grubby shirt.  Goodbye lazy life.  It’s going to take some time and there will be ups and downs, but (there’s that but again!), hello new me!

Stop trying to be a “Pinterest” mom!

Gina W is a 57 year old grandma who has raised 4 sons with friends coming and going over the years, 8 pets at different times, a full life of school and church volunteer work.  She was what we call today, a “stay at home mom.”

She had a powerful message (in my opinion) for today’s moms:

Stop trying to be a Pinterest mom!

We often hear moms say/complain that they are drowning in housework.  According to Gina, and many older moms, they only have themselves to blame.

Moms of today, you overextend yourselves with playdates, extravagant birthday parties and the Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat/Pinterest lifestyle.  There is no need to one up anyone else. Parties and living rooms don’t need to be perfect. Your one year old isn’t going to care what the party decorations look like. Ask a teen or 20 something.  I’m willing to bet they will tell you they not only don’t remember their first birthday parties, they don’t care.  I had my first two babies when the internet was brand new and the second two just before MySpace.  For all four, my in-laws were there, the kids had a few gifts then we set them on a trash bag on the floor, put their cake in front of them and let them have fun.  There was no fanfare, no “smash cake” no posting everywhere for the world to see.  All four kids turned out just fine.  They love the simplicity of their pictures. They love, just the love.

The advice from the moms of yesterday to the moms of today- Get back to the basics!  Simple living. Before bed every night, Gina does a “zoom cleaning.” She pics up clutter (shoes, papers, folded laundry, etc), folding blankets on the couch, making sure the kitchen is tidy, the coffee maker is clean and ready to go for morning.  The little things that matter. She doesn’t have matching towels, a perfectly decorated bedroom or little paper cutouts sprinkled across the walls.

Don’t beat yourself up because you’re not perfect.  It’s impossible to be the perfect mom.  Find joy in your children, your home and all of the messes.  Every year on National Pizza Day, we buy dough from Publix.  I sprinkle flour on our glass-top stove, roll out the pizza, toss it in the air (hoping I catch it), let the kids put the toppings on, slide it in the oven, then we have a flour fight.  We get flour everywhere!  My kids love those memories.  We all help cleaning up the mess, after they toss more flour on me and each other.  No Pinterest needed.

pizza <—- my family (half of us, anyway)

notmyfamily   <—-definitely NOT my family

Some days I’ll walk away from the piles of dishes, dirt and dog hair on the floor, toilets that need to be scrubbed, laundry that’s swishing in the washer and take the kids downtown.  We’ll go to Dough Nation, get pizza at NY NY Pizza or Eddie and Sam’s, walk along the Riverwalk, peer up at the skyscrapers and just live in the moment.  We take silly pictures not caring about our hair, what we look like or what others will think.


If I post the pictures (okay, when), I wait until later in the evening, when the kids are in bed.  I don’t add any filters to the pictures.  I just post them how they were taken.  I might or might not have cleaned the kitchen, switched the laundry or scrubbed the toilets. I did, however, make some lasting memories that weren’t planned, weren’t scripted and were just as memorable and happy.

Live for you.  Live for your family. Live in the moment.  Enjoy today. just as it is.

Week 1 recap- Arbonne 30 day detox

This was a tough week.  The easiest part was switching breakfast and lunch to the protein shakes.  No more trying to decide what to have for breakfast or what to make for lunch.  Dinner was hard.  We are still recovering from Hurricane Irma where we lost almost all of our food.  I’d just done our grocery shopping for the month the week before. I also didn’t print out the “avoid list” so I forgot what I wasn’t supposed to eat- which was a lot of what I did eat. I was a little defiant one night with eating popcorn and we had pasta for dinner a couple of nights but it wasn’t too bad.


The worse part of Week 1 was my body dealing with all of the new changes.  Gone was the sugar. Gone was the bad fat. Gone was the gluten (for the most part). It only lasted a few days but for those few days I was exhausted, grumpy and lightly nauseous. None of it was extreme and none of it kept me from doing my daily activities. I only worked out once but if you know me you know I hate working out so that wasn’t much of a change.

The best part?  I started this detox at 131 lbs and at the end of Week 1, I was down to 126.  Not bad for one week of changing my eating habits!  What you may not realize is that I’d been stuck at 129-132 lbs for the last 2 years. I just couldn’t find the motivation or the drive to get past that hump. When my friend Nicole approached me about being a sponsor for my Real Fit Mom challenge, I never knew it would be a life changing moment. I never want to see the numbers 13_ on my scale again. I’m quickly approaching my goal of 125 which I wasn’t sure I’d ever reach 4 years ago after hitting 153 after a car accident. Each pound I lose results in setting a new goal. The more I lose, the more I see that I have to lose. I’m so, so tired of carrying this extra weight around. I know, many women would love to be in the 120’s. But what you have to understand is that all of our bodies are different.  Even other women who are also 5’4″ have different body structures. These are MY goals for MY body.  I spent years sneering at fitness models and I know there are women that see my pictures and sneer at me. I get it. I do.

It’s up to YOU to set your realistic goals and it’s up to YOU to get off your ass and reach them. My motto- slow and steady wins the race. It took me a year to get out of the 150’s to the low 140’s. It took another year to get from the 140’s to the low 130’s. This Arbonne detox is what finally helped me get my life back and start to find the real me.

Day 4 Arbonne Challenge- Feeling better

My energy is returning, the nausea is completely gone and I don’t have anymore headaches.  Week 1 is the worst!  I know it would be even worse if I’d printed out the Avoid List AND if I’d been prepared.  Both are vital to great success.  I almost said success but you’ll see in a few days how well I was able to do even though my dinners were full of no no foods and I had some cheats.


I’m SUPER excited that I finally found my Fitbit charger.  I had to dump my bedside table drawer to find it and I found several other things I’d been missing. 🙂




Breakfast: Smoothie with 2 scoops Arbonne protein powder, 1 scoop Daily Protein Boost, 1 packet Digestion Plus, 1 scoop Greens Balance and 5 chunks of frozen Dole mangos*

Lunch: 2 scoops protein powder (I miss the peanut butter but the shakes are really good just mixed with water)

Snack: 2 meatballs, baked chips

Dinner: small bowl of leftover pasta

Cheats: small bowl of leftover pasta, small handful of baked potato chips


Day 3 Arbonne Detox

Today was not good.  I’ll be honest!  I know it’s all about getting the toxins out of your body.  There is a long list of foods to avoid and most of them are in my cabinet.  They say to throw out all of the bad.  But when you’re on a budget, lost a lot of food after being without power for almost 5 days after Hurricane Irma and had limited funds to replace food- you do what you can.

I am still tired, still getting headaches but the nausea is fading, thankfully.  I still hate the Detox tea although it was better without the Fizz stick.  I am fully aware that sugar, including honey, are on the avoid list but I’ve found it’s the ONLY way I can tolerate the tea- which I chug.

Breakfast: Smoothie with 2 scoops Arbonne protein powder, 1 scoop Daily Protein Boost, 1 packet Digestion Plus, 1 scoop Greens Balance and 5 chunks of frozen Dole mangos*

Lunch: 2 scoops protein powder, 1 Tbsp peanut butter*

Dinner: Spaghetti and meatballs (on a lunch plate which is about half the size of a dinner plate)


Snack: Air popped popcorn with butter and honey caramel glaze (I can’t wait until I can have honey and popcorn again as it was absolutely amazing)

Cheats- spaghetti

Whoopsie- mangos and peanut butter

Weight- 128.1

*If you’re just joining in, I’m a week ahead of these posts. Day 3 was when I finally looked over the Avoid List again and realized peanut butter and most fruit were on the list.

Day 2 I’m grumpy, tired and pissy

Conversation with my husband this evening:

  • Hubby: Why did you take a shower instead of a bath tonight? (I usually take a bath; it’s my Me Time)
  • Me: Because I’m grumpy, tired and pissy
  • Hubby: Why?
  • Me: This detox.
  • Later…….
  • Me: Sigh
  • Hubby: What’s wrong?
  • Me: This detox sucks.
  • Hubby: Then why are you doing it if it’s making you miserable.
  • Me: …………………… Because I want to feel better……….

And I have a headache.  And I’m nauseous.

Breakfast: Smoothie with 2 scoops Arbonne protein powder, 1 scoop Daily Protein Boost, 1 packet Digestion Plus, 1 scoop Greens Balance and 5 chunks of frozen Dole mangos*

Lunch: 2 scoops protein powder, 1 Tbsp peanut butter*

Snacks: 1 Cheeto, 4 bites of lasagna (I was hungry)

Dinner: Parmesan crusted pork, penne pasta with Basil Alfredo and corn on the cob

Cheats– Cheeto, lasagna

Whoopsie– Parmesan crusted pork, penne pasta with Basil Alfredo and corn on the cob

Weight- 129.1 lbs

*Again, I’m a week ahead and on Day 3 I finally revisted the Avoid List.  Thus my Whoopsie confessions.

avoid list


Day 1 Arbonne 30 Day Detox- ACK!

Alrighty, it’s Day 1.  I got this.  Well, I kind of got this.

Today started out great.  I woke up, weighed myself (131 lbs) and got my Arbonne shake stuff together- 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (smells ah-mazing), scoop of the fiber boost, scoop of greens and a digestion plus packet.  I added a small handful of frozen Mango cubes from Dole.* It looked tasty until the green stuff went in.  Bottoms up! Tasted decent.


Then things went downhill.  <enter shameless plug>


My 11 year old daughter wanted to attend a model search for Oh La La Dancewear at Dance Tampa.  I figured most people went on Saturday so we piddled around then made our way to the store. They had more people today than yesterday.  Whoops!  We ran into some of Maggie’s dance sisters and they’d already been there for an hour.


We got hungry.  I pleaded with my 20 year old to make me a shake and bring it down.  She didn’t wanna.  So she heated up the chicken honeyaki I’d made for dinner the night before and brought it down. It was only about 3/4 of a cup so it’s not like I ate a giant plate full but I was still disappointed.

When we got home it was already time to make dinner.  Yes, I should have had a shake for dinner but I was starving, tired and wanted ONE taco, damnit!  So I ate one.  A couple of hours later I was hungry so made a shake with just water and the protein powder.  It was so, so delicious!

Day 1 didn’t go the way I expected.  But, tomorrow is another day!

Reality- Technically, this was last Saturday.  I wanted to be a week ahead for reasons I can’t really remember but it made sense at the time. Kind of stole the idea from Bikini Body Mommy.

*Print out or write down the Avoid List!  I forgot so-

Cheats– taco, chicken honeyaki (although the latter really wasn’t my fault)

Whoopsie– mango chunks

Stats– weight- 131 lbs, waist/belly 31/33 in, BF%/BMI 28.8/22

OMG, I almost forgot about the detox tea and Fizz sticks.  I’ll be honest, I dipped into the Fizz sticks on Friday after I picked up my kit from Nicole.  They are awesome.  Caffeine only makes my heart race so I’d been looking for something to give me energy.  Found it!  But the tea. I despise tea.  Cold tea, hot tea- blech.  It was suggested that I add a Fizz stick to the detox tea.  I’m not doing that tomorrow to see if it’s worse or better.  My daughters thought I was going to throw up. I almost did. I was running around trying to find something, anything, to get the taste out of my mouth. I ate a mango chunk.

My last food and testimony

Tomorrow I begin the Arbonne 30 day detox.  But today, I shall have a FOOD PARTY- which reminds me of the song Me Party so it’s been in my head all day.

I grew up eating sugar cereal with whole milk.  So, I figured what a great way to start the day with Apple Jacks!  I’d pretty much gotten out of the habit of having cereal for breakfast a few years ago. It was one of the hardest habits to give up when I started my weight loss journey in 2009. It had been my staple for about 40 years! I do allow myself the pleasure about every month or so which works out well and helps avoid cravings.


Lunch time in our house on the weekends isn’t typical mostly because the middle two kids sleep in late (the youngest has to be at the dance studio at 10).  My father-in-law recently made a trip out west and stopped at Honeyville in Durango, CO.  You wouldn’t believe all of the goodies he brought back!  The pancake mix is thick and fluffy, the Butter Pecan Syrup and Apple Cinnamon Honey glaze are amazing and if you melt them with butter and regular syrup?  Heaven.  So, that was my lunch.  I also made sausage but forgot it on the counter. Our puppy, who loves to eat paper towels, grabbed it and was delighted to find a treasure wrapped inside. My delicious lunch was topped off by a tall glass of chocolate milk.

Dinner.  I love Chinese!  I made chicken teriyaki with Honeyaki glaze from Honeyville.  It had onions and broccoli in it served over fried rice.  After dinner, my youngest daughter made chocolate chip cookies while I made sopapillas (also from Honeyville).  I sprinkled them with cinnamon and oh my gosh were they yummy!  Sorry, dinner was eaten up quickly and I forgot to take a picture.

Yes, my belly was full but I wasn’t finished yet!  If you know me, you know I LOVE pizza.  I could eat it every day (which I used to when I waitressed at Pizza Hut).  I had my daughter go get me a slice of pepperoni pizza from New York New York Pizza– my new favorite since they opened in Carrollwood about a year ago.  I paired that with a giant Screwdriver and enjoyed both while soaking in the tub and reading.  

As I curl up in my bed tonight, I have a smile on my face.  I don’t regret a single thing I ate today.  Not one.  I know that I will not be able to follow the detox 100% but I am going to do my best. That may tick off some Arbonne people and it’s nothing against the challenge.  I know that there is a science behind why the foods listed above need to be avoided but I also know me and my personal situation.  I also know that if I absolutely forbid myself certain pleasures, I will say f#ck it and quit.  So if I want a bite of a cupcake, I’ll take a bite.  I’ve also been known to spit a bite back out. 😉  I will be posting about my progress daily.  I’ll list my cheats and my whoopsies as well as any losses I occur.  That’s one of the “real” parts of Real Fit Mom- I’m brutally honest.  It’s time to relax and get some rest. Tomorrow I start a new adventure!!

Hurricane Irma- My Story

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a week since we finished boarding up the windows to our house with any wood we could find, emptied interior closets in case we needed to hide, bought last minute ice, bread and snacks.  It’s been a week since we were glued to the tv switching from one station to the next watching Hurricane Irma head north, west, north, east, west, west, west, then jog east at the last minute taking the worst part of the storm away from Tampa.  We sat in horror as the pictures and videos came in from the devastation of the islands Irma decimated not knowing if we were next.

It’s hard to believe that in a few hours it will have been a week since we stood outside, watching the winds gain strength, seeing the bands whip in and reach over 80 mph and watched our neighbor’s pine tree sway ferociously before cracking loudly and falling to the ground with a loud thump, barely missing their house.

It’s almost impossible to believe that in a few hours it will have been a week since our power went out at 9:30 PM Sunday night.  My husband and I were sitting in our living room surrounded by boxes, bubble wrap and tape protecting the breakable items that were most dear to us.  The lights flickered once, twice, three times. Then the entire house went dark. Everyone had their own flashlight and my husband yelled out for everyone to stay put.  He walked around and made sure all three kids were safe and not scared as I finished wrapping. The kids went to sleep just after the power went out.  My 13 year old son and 11 year old daughter felt safe on the floor of our closet surrounded by their pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and our dog. My 20 year old chose the hall closet close to her bedroom where her cats were. We knew tornadoes were possible.


My husband and I walked outside about every thirty minutes, protected by the cover of our car port.  He was keeping a close eye on a tree behind our house, one in the front and a few of our neighbor’s trees.  There wasn’t anything we could do if they fell, but we watched nonetheless. I watched in awe of Mother Nature as sheets of rain fell in sporadic batches and winds shot in from the east, suddenly switching direction, stripping branches off the trees. We watched the water in our yard rise closer and closer to the house, grateful for the sand bags we’d kept from two years ago.  All of a sudden the rain would almost stop allowing the water to recede only to pick back up again. I stayed up as long as I could but was exhausted from all of the preparations we’d done over the previous three days and was recovering from oral surgery.  Around 1:30 am I gave up and went to bed asking my husband to wake me if he went back out.

yard      downtree

We slept off and on watching the news on our cell phones, watching Irma skate back and forth, not knowing exactly where she may travel. We woke up about 8 am and quietly slipped out of the house to assess the damage.  Tree limbs, branches, leaves and pine needles blanketed our lawn and covered the road.  My husband walked across the street and breathed a sigh of relief to see that the giant pine barely missed the house.  Slowly, more neighbors began making their way out to see the damage.  We soon learned who had power and who didn’t.  There was a small pocket, about 6 houses, that were out due to a tree that fell two doors down.  The wire was still live so I called TECO immediately to let them know.  They said it would be a priority.


As the sun rose higher in the sky, I looked around and realized how lucky we were with only limbs and branches down with only one row of roof shingles barely lifted.  I thought about how fortunate it was that Hurricane Irma hit Tampa as a Category 1, not a 3. I knew how incredible blessed we were that our only inconvenience was that we were without power.  But that’s another story…