Blog Archives for category Health & Well-Being

So, we had our first housing panic today.

A house came on the market that seems just about perfect. It’s slightly above budget (but by the same dollar amount we’re over here so not a deal breaker) and there are no parks or playgrounds within walking distance (biking or driving, though). It’s really too early to snag a house, but if it’s perfect…

So we figured it couldn’t hurt to have our agent talk to the owner to see if he’d be willing to hold it for us in order to lock down a guaranteed 3-year military lease. He was intrigued by the lease length but hasn’t answered if he’d hold it yet. (According to the MLS it’s been on the market for awhile so we hoped there’s a good chance he would hold it just a bit longer for the guaranteed lease.)

We can’t imagine getting it done this quickly but wouldn’t it be nice? A bird in the hand and all that…but how can we tell the areas without even looking? There are just so many possible cities and neighborhoods that it’s hard to even start researching to narrow it down. We lucked into the house we are in now—with a community pool and playground around the corner—but we weren’t looking for those things! Now that we want to look for that stuff…it’s hard. We have a great agent, but she can only do so much. We Google each address and see what’s around via Google earth but that’s amazingly time-consuming.

We are totally willing to get the perfect house early (even though the extra rent would come straight out of our savings) but we also don’t want to jump the gun and take the first house we see that we like if it’s not perfect. House hunting three years ago in DC really messed with our preconceptions so we are now paranoid (back then we had a Top 10 List and by the time we had driven the five hours from Jacksonville to DC like six of them were gone!). If we knew what city (at least) we wanted to be in that would cut down our prospects, but we also don’t want to eliminate a perfect house if it’s in our third-ranked city. If it comes down to it and we are seriously considering it, Tom would fly out so it wouldn’t be sight unseen…but if we ended up passing on it, then we’ve wasted a trip unless he stays for some extra time and house hunts on his own.

We ended up telling our agent that we weren’t quite ready to fill out an application (it’s $70 a pop for each rental so it’s not like we want to do a bunch of them!) but that was a panicky 15 minutes while we were considering it.

I hate this part.

Owen’s 8-year well-visit

Yeah, we’re a little late this year. For some reason I was thinking we didn’t have to do yearly visits anymore… I tell you my brain is NOT the same these days. :)

The kids kept busy playing I Spy and messing around. I’m not exactly sure what they were doing here but they were having fun! The best part was when they thought they heard someone coming to the room, one would yell POSITIONS! and Katie would run to the chair and Owen would hop up on the table. :)

Height: 55″ — was 53″ at 7y
Weight: 85# — was 85# at 7y

Wednesday at the dentist. 

Katie is never nervous. She does amazing.  


Owen, on the other hand, is always really nervous (he thinks everything will hurt) and then afterwards he says “That was easy!” This photo is obviously after he was done. :)


Owen’s Special Letter

The second day of Owen’s “Me Museum” week was a sealed letter written by someone else about his special qualities. This is the letter I wrote.

Owen has many special qualities and continues to amaze us with his abilities.

Owen didn’t really start talking until age 3, but once he did, he never stopped! We were worried about him learning how to read, when one day he came home from Pre-K and just picked up a book and started reading it to me! He still impresses me with all the words he knows!

He got his first Lego mini-figure at age 3 and has never looked back. He can follow directions on sets above his age level and then tears them apart and builds his own super cool creations. He is our own Master Builder.

Owen has always been super nice and polite and makes friends very easily. Friends, family, teachers, and even strangers comment on how sweet and polite he is.

He is the best big brother to his little sister—he plays with her, gives her piggy-back rides, reads her books, helps get her breakfast, and makes her laugh.

He is very loving with all of our pets. He takes good care of our dog and gives cuddles to the cats.

Owen is good at swimming, baseball, and soccer. He is a Shark 2—the highest level of swimming (and I know he could beat me in a race). He always gives 100% at every lesson, practice, or game. During his first soccer season, his coach gave him the “most improved player” award.

Owen is a great kid and we couldn’t be prouder to have him as our son.


Getting old sucks, part 27

I picked up Katie to put her in the cart while shopping and I tweaked my back. Thankfully I could still move and walking around helped loosen it up some. Earlier this week, while away for work, Tom bent over to get something and threw his back out bad enough he had to go to the ER.


This sums up my feelings on the election entirely.

I debated writing anything and just letting this pass but I feel like I have to say something, even it’s just for me.

Where to start?

I don’t do politics. I don’t understand most of it (never have, never had any desire to—and still don’t LOL) so consequently never talk about it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate it, but I lean strongly that direction. I know the general climate of what’s going on—things just happen and life goes on. Status quo. That said, I do try to vote in major elections, but I don’t think I’ve voted in every presidential election that I’ve been able to.

So this last election has been a real eye-opener. Without going into detail (because, remember, I don’t do politics and hate talking about it even more), I will just say that this past election has been an unbelievable disappointment for me and most of my friends. And, truthfully, it’s been an even bigger shock to learn who has voted opposite me. It shouldn’t matter because it’s never mattered…but it’s different this time. You have to admit that.

I feel like my safe little world is turning upside down and inside out and being destroyed piece by piece and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Everywhere you turn every minute of the day there’s something disheartening happening. I have read more political news in the past month than I have my entire life. I am not an activist by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been a bit more politically vocal by posting (or reposting) news articles on Facebook. I was invited to the Women’s March but that’s just not my thing—you all know how much I hate crowds and people and going into DC (though I honestly have had a few regrets).

I try to remember that the people I know who did vote for him are intelligent people who thought he could achieve some type of good. And while we haven’t seen any of that yet, there is still a slight chance of it happening. Truth be told, I am not terribly hopeful after the first nightmarish week, but there is a sliver there. And this post I ran across on Facebook pretty much sums up everything I’m feeling.

As seen originally on Facebook.

So my fingers are crossed we don’t crash.

Jen’s Eye Trouble

I woke up as normal, dealt with the kids as normal, showered as normal, then went to put my contacts in as normal…and noticed they were strangely misshapen (almost like they were dried out).

The strange thing was this exact thing had happened yesterday, but since it was about time to switch out lenses, I just tossed them and opened a new pair. So when the same thing happened the second day in a row, it felt like something had to be wrong. I wasn’t sure what it was, though, and could think of no reason to NOT try putting them in, so I tried. When I finally got the first lens in after a few attempts, it felt very wrong in my eye so I took it out immediately—almost like it had been soaking in something BAD (but it was just the same contact solution I’ve been using for years). I tried the other lens in my other eye and that one went in much better and felt fine. So then I went back to the first lens and the first eye and nope, not happening. And now that eye was really red. I rarely use Visine but thought I would today to get the red out before trying to put the contact in again. So I dripped a drop in and HOLY SHIT DID THAT BURN. Wowza. Well, that definitely wasn’t a normal reaction, so I knew at this point I wasn’t going to be wearing my contacts. It was at this point I realized that my vision was hazy in both eyes—I likened it to being in a steamy room where all you could see was a blurry white haze. There was no pain, but something was definitely wrong. So I took out the other lens I had already successfully put in.

And then started having a minor panic attack.

I tried to find my bottle of plain saline solution (not contact solution) and it had disappeared. I put in a few drops of contact solution (better than nothing to try rinsing if something was in there) and that felt awful. I rinsed with cool water. No change.

I googled and, of course, every source said GET IT LOOKED AT IMMEDIATELY and the worst case scenario was detached retinas and cataracts. I was pretty sure it wasn’t either of those, but it was still concerning. I couldn’t even call my eye doctor because he had closed his local office like a month after I saw him and his new office is 30 minutes away (and I knew I didn’t want to drive that far with my eyesight in an unknown state—I could see well enough, but didn’t want to be caught off guard in a 30-minute highway drive with diminishing vision). I didn’t think it was quite worthy of an ER visit so I found two local optometrists and of course neither opened until 10. And it was only like 8:20. So I left a detailed message for one and crossed my fingers.

At this point everything was still hazy, though it was at least a bit more clear with my glasses on. And I was trying to stay calm while getting the kids ready for school and without worrying them. I texted both close SAHM friends to see if they could take Katie if necessary—or drive me to an appointment if my sight worsened—but of course both were busy so I crossed my fingers everything would be okay. And oh yeah, Tom left last night for a week away for work. I talked to him and he said he could come home in an emergency (he was only three hours away) so he was put on notice.

I swear the next 90 minutes was one of the longest waits of my life. At 10, the optometrist called back, we went through the details, and she told me it didn’t sound life-threatening, the doctor wasn’t in, but she could make an appointment for tomorrow at 11. My heart sunk. Then we realized they didn’t take our insurance, so she recommended an ophthalmologist a few doors down. I called and got an appointment at 11. THANK HEAVENS.

So I get to the appointment and they take pictures of my eyes and give me a quick vision test where she asked what letters I saw and I said “What letters?” Yeah, I couldn’t even tell there were letters there—though with the glasses and both eyes I could make an educated guess. It didn’t take her long to come back and tell me I had whatever the technical scary-sounding term is for, basically, dry eye. My first thought was Phew, I’m not going blind! She showed me the picture and told me that my eye basically looked like sandpaper.

severe dry eye

This is a similar photo of dry eye. A normal eye should be completely clear of all those pockmarks.

We discussed how this could have happened—and her best guess was a batch of bad contacts (since the same thing happened to two pairs two days in a row) OR it could have been a combination of bad contacts and bad contact solution (I had just switched to a different bottle of the same stuff that was technically expired but she said it shouldn’t have caused this amount of pain and she had never seen contact solution cause contacts to shrivel like that). So she was honestly clueless. She did say I should contact the office where I got them and see if they would replace them (which is fine and logical, but UGH, that’s at least an hour round-trip now).

By this time my eyes were starting to hurt. I was sent to get both prescription and OTC drops. The doc didn’t give me a brand—she just said “tear drops preservative free” which of course no bottles actually said that so I had to Google while standing there in the aisle. I started using them as soon as I got home but 1) it hurt when I put them in (I definitely wasn’t expecting that—I had envisioned a calming cool feeling of relief) and 2) they didn’t seem to be doing anything. It was awful. I just wanted to cry—and I actually did try crying in case that would help but it didn’t at all. And it actually felt like it got worse as time wore on. Every blink was torture. And my vision wasn’t even coming back! I actually called the doctor back to ask the questions I forgot: 1) when I should start feeling some relief and 2) when my vision should start coming back. She assured me that I should be feeling better pretty quickly and if I wasn’t better by Friday to call her. FRIDAY? IN FOUR MORE DAYS? Lordy I hoped it felt better before then. She also said my blurry vision was normal and would go away.

I have just never experienced anything like this in my entire life so it completely freaked me out. What was even more odd/disconcerting is that at one point, one eye felt completely fine and the other felt like someone was scratching it with sandpaper. Both were fine last night AND upon waking up so that just blew my mind. And once I started thinking about it, I’m sure I’ve had dry eye issues for quite some time now but I never realized that’s what it was (the doctor hinted at this as well). But it only seemed to manifest in the later evening and I just assumed it was my contacts bothering me after being in all day…and my eyes always felt fine in the morning. The doctor said it would be like putting a Band-Aid on every morning—it helped it feel better but it wasn’t taking care of the underlying issue.

I told Tom “You know, it’s funny. Every time something wonky happens you think ‘Oh this is the worst thing ever!’ A bad back, a constant cough, a hurt knee, etc. But I think eye stuff is officially the worst.”

In posting on Facebook and getting advice from LOTS of friends who have similar issues (huh! who knew?), they were surprised I wasn’t prescribed something more permanent. I am assuming when I go back for my follow up there will be more talk of a future plan—today was more of a let’s just fix the immediate issue plan. And I may go back to my old brand of contacts that I was using before switching to the new ones last fall.

I ended my day going to bed when I put the kids to bed. I figured having my eyes closed would feel the best—except by that point, it actually hurt worse to keep them closed! WHAT?! I just couldn’t win! So I took two Tylenol PMs, put a cool compress over my eyes (it actually felt better than a warm compress) and it also helped me keep my eyes closed.

FOLLOW UP: I was out by 9…and then slept 10.5 hours!!! And upon waking, my eyes felt better! It felt like a completely new lease on life after yesterday’s hell.

Also, I’m interested to see what, if anything, our insurance covers. I have only used insurance for exams prior to this. I don’t even know if it covers anything else—it doesn’t even cover frames or contacts or anything typical like that so I don’t have much hope of it covering any of what I was seen for. I could research to see but it doesn’t really matter at this point because I had to go and get looked at.

As a final note to my birthday weekend…

I weighed myself this morning and…I lost 4# while I was gone and I’m now at my all-time low! That’s what getting back to the principles does. Yay for Naturally Slim!!

Heading home after an amazing weekend! 


Getting ready to board!


Everyone was absolutely wonderful and I look forward to keeping in touch with the new people I met! And where do I start with Marcia? She is so lovely and warm and gracious and generous that I feel so extremely privileged to have met her and been able to spend the weekend with her. I will never forget this weekend!

On my way…


That’s about 140# of coconut oil!

Or what I’ve lost thanks to Naturally Slim! (Thanks to friend and fellow NatSlimmer Brad for helping!)

I originally wanted to do this with tubs of Crisco but just never got around to it at home. Then I told Marcia about it and we were going to stop by Sam’s Club but we just never seemed to have enough time!! So after lunch at Ida Claire, I asked my Brad Uber if there was a Costco between the restaurant and the airport and if we had time…and he said yes! We did get a few strange looks while we were unloading and rearranging the buckets, but not one single person said one word!

Recording my Naturally Slim testimonial!

First and foremost, I finally got to meet Bryan! I’ve “known” him online for about 10 years on the Tivo forums but we’ve never actually met. Come to find out last year—long story short—he lost 140 pounds on Naturally Slim and has kept it off for three years now. He was one of the two people who were initially responsible for me joining NS. :)

Bryan befire and after Naturally Slim

He is a videographer/producer by trade (617 Production Group) and had been doing the videos for the program and after many years he had an AHA moment and never looked back. His company no longer does the official program videos but Marcia does call him in for stuff like this. And especially for my testimonial since I know him!

We were recording it at Bryan’s church because it was the most convenient place. The sun was in my eyes…

…so this is apparently my look as I’m figuring out if this new spot will work.

Getting ready to start!

A pic Bryan snapped during the filming.


The whole thing was just…odd. And surreal.

First, even though Marcia was asking me questions, you won’t ever hear her asking them…so you have to rephrase/include the question in your answer. So if she asks “What was the easiest thing about Naturally Slim?” you’d have to start your response with “The easiest thing about Naturally Slim…” Of course, not every question led to a response that was that easy to formulate and I often had to take a moment to think how I was going to respond to get the question in. The good thing (which took some getting used to) is knowing that it will all be cut and edited for the best sound bite, so even though everything was recording, it won’t all be used. That was also helpful when I was answering a question, yakking on and on, and then suddenly losing my train of thought or realizing I had veered violently away from where I’d been headed with my answer and I would just stop and say “Yeah, that’s it. I lost it.” Marcia had told me to just pretend I was having a conversation with her, but honestly, it’s a lot harder to answer questions when you know someone is counting on you to give sound bite answers. That said, every so often as I answered a question, I’d see Marcia do a mini fist pump showing she loved my response. After one (which I don’t even remember what I was talking about), she said she really wanted to use it at the end of week one! So who knows, maybe I’ll actually be in the official videos!!

Second—and I touched on this above—is that I often veered totally off course as I was answering a question. I remember a time or two when I’d be talking and talking and then suddenly I was also thinking “Wait, that is NOT anything related to what they asked.” I would ask if they wanted me to start again or try another take and the answer was generally no, because even if I didn’t answer the specific question, there was still usable sections or they liked the direction I went. I did have to retell a story once because I mentioned IKEA and they said I couldn’t say that just in case a competitor ever used the program. So then I worried about telling the story again and hoping I got all the same excitement and inflections…and who knows if I did or not. Time will tell.

Overall they said it went very well—even though I felt I was completely ridiculous and out of my element—and we talked for about 30-40 minutes. I know Bryan’s company can work magic, but I am still crossing my fingers that I come off natural.

Afterwards, I asked Marcia and Bryan who wanted to get in my pants. :) Seriously—I had brought my FAT PANTS and had thought it would be fun to get two people into the one pair of pants. (This did not surprise them—they had both been forewarned.) Marcia is SUCH a good sport and agreed to do it. First, though, Bryan recorded a snippet of me trying on the pants, so hopefully I’ll get to see that in the end. And then this happened…they were stretched out a bit more than when I actually wore them, but STILL. Two of us in one pair of pants. Good times. Again, SUCH a good sport.


I have no idea when I will see a finished product, but you know I will let everyone know as soon as I see something. And don’t get your hopes up that it will be a 20-minute piece. It is likely to be a 20-second snippet here or there in a compilation of other testimonials. Fingers crossed!!

The live Facebook Q&A with Naturally Slim!

So the Live Facebook event was actually going to take place at the combined offices of Holmes Murphy and ACAP Health, both new partners of Naturally Slim. I was VERY anxious about the event, but Marcia assured me I would do just fine. I was put a little more at ease when she told me it would only be about 20 minutes long—I had thought it would be an hour or something! Phew!

We got there early and Marcia showed me around the offices and introduced to many, many people…most of whom were all like “Oh, wow! I know you! You’re Jennifer Hudson! I recognize you!” It was VERY surreal. They were just as excited to meet me as I was to meet them! The offices were super fun and trendy, with named meeting rooms like the Vineyard (with a wall of bookcases and wine racks) and the Bead Room, which is where we ended up filming—yes, a “room” in the middle of the office space with floor-to-ceiling hanging beads encircling four chairs and a table!

Getting ready to start!

Our view during the event:

And then we were off and running…

Live Q&A with Marcia Upson, President of Naturally Slim
[iOS users, if Safari isn’t showing the Facebook video below, try Chrome]

And suddenly it was over! What?! Already?! Wow that went fast! I had a lot of fun and the time just flew by—I probably could have answered questions for an hour! Of course watching the video later I noticed things I didn’t like (like my roll of belly fat and a few strange looks I made) but overall I think I did pretty well!

And then on the way out, I got to meet Todd (Todd Whitthorne, President, ACAP Health—he’s in quite a few of the program videos)!! And just like Marcia, he was just the same as in the videos, too. And boy was he tall (I’m 5’9″ and you see how he towers over me)! :)


What a memorable way to spend my 43rd birthday!!

The in-flight magazine knows.

I’ve been talking about how this weekend has a lot of stuff planned that is outside my box…so how ironic I saw this in the in-flight mag.


A peanut data point. 

My package had 18.5 peanuts.  


Two flying firsts!

1. Well, the first time in about 15 or so years that I haven’t needed a seatbelt extender.

2. And I can cross my legs at my seat!

NatSlim shared my update again!

Sorry for the little glitch in the screen cap–it’s too much work to do it manually on my phone and I’m not sure why the app messes it up like that.


I’m finally normal…BMI!!

I DID IT!! I finally reached my goal of normal BMI (the top end of which is 169)!  I know you all know by now but I have to say it again: I couldn’t have done it without Naturally Slim!!

Oops! That’s hard to see on that background…so off to the garage!

And then I didn’t want to wear that out and about so changed into a new shirt (with my new jeans from the other day).

And the collage I posted online…and Naturally Slim shared!

Now I have to see if my body thinks it should lose another 15 or so so I can claim that I lost half my body weight! :)

It’s time for new glasses.

It’s been two years since I’ve had an exam and I’m on my last pair of contacts so it was time. (I’m supposed to go annually but I made my contacts last extra long to save money.)

So I was trying to be cost-conscious and asked if they could use my old frames and they can but it would still be over $200! What? Yuck. So I asked about a clearance section and picked out the best [of the worst] from the very limited $199 selection. Can you pick the same ones I did? (Highlight the rest of this sentence to see which one: I picked #1.)

I picked # 1.

Then I looked around and of course found a regular-priced frame I liked a lot better. Gah.

This is me trying out different hairstyles to see how they looked to try and make my decision. I liked that they were plastic frames (versus metal) and that they had blue on them. And they just FELT right.

So, so much for being cost-conscious—after the military discount, the glasses were about $450. And I still have to buy the contacts. Now you see why I try to make them last longer than a year. (And yes, I could have just gotten new lenses for my old frames at that price point, but they’ve been stepped on and aren’t in the best condition. But had he price been right, I would have.)

But on a good note? My eyes have gotten slightly better. :)



Owen’s reward for being bored.

I had a doctor’s appointment at the hospital this morning—plus lab work—and even though I told him to bring something to keep busy, he only brought his Pokémon book and he quickly tired of that. It was a long wait to get my blood drawn (almost an hour) so when we were done, we went Pokémon hunting…and he won the same gym twice! (Well, at least that’s what I’m pretty sure happened and what these pictures mean!)



Ralph Lauren. Clearance. $29. SIZE 10. What?!

Now we just need to go out somewhere I can wear this!