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Why Did You Quit? Where Have You Been?

It's only fair, since I have been very honest from the start, that I am honest with you now.  Yes, I stopped going to kickboxing.  How, why?!?  I've been trying to avoid this.  Maybe I need to get it out in the open so I can move on.  Who knows, but here goes nothing.  It's definitely personal, so sorry if it gets a little sappy.

It all started in June.  I wasn't feeling right.  I was feeling lightheaded and couldn't shake it.  I even asked on Facebook if the weight loss would have changed my metabolism, and what I was used to eating, 1,200 calories, wasn't enough anymore.  It was bad when I almost passed out in class.  I was doing the normal laps around the gym and I had to stop.  I could feel my legs deaden and I could see stars.  If I didn't stop running then, I was going to fall over.  Luckily, from the first class with Maryann, I knew if I stopped completely I was going to pass out, so I just walked around the gym.  The feeling went away and I continued on.  I definitely did not give it 100 percent the rest of the class.  I knew at that point something was definitely off.  Not having health insurance, I didn't want to go to the hospital or the doctor's to see what was going on.  I know, stupid, but I wasn't looking forward to the $5,000.00 bill for all the tests.

I started eating more, healthy calories of course, and I seemed better.  I figured it was just that, not enough calories.  A couple days later, I was fine.  I figured it was a good idea, though, to get some health insurance.  There was only one other time that this happened to me, right after I found out I was pregnant with Tristan.  I was lightheaded for a week, just something I couldn't shake.  When this hit me, I made Travis run out and get me a pregnancy test --- which was negative.

Still a little scared of the fainting, I cut my classes back to two a week, not at full strength.  The fear of fainting had taken hold of me.

Two weeks later, something still wasn't sitting right with me.  I ran out to the store, got another pregnancy test, cheap one this time.  It was positive.  PREGNANT, what?  That's why I was getting lightheaded - now it clicks!!  I told Travis.  He made me run out and get an expensive one -- the cheap one is lying.  Three tests later, I'm definitely pregnant.  So, what did I do?  I cried.  Yes, horrible, I cried.  Now, don't get me wrong, I absolutely love children but I am a horrible pregnant person.  With Ary and Tristan, I was sick, in and out of the hospital with dehydration because I cannot stop throwing up.  My blood pressure will drop to 48/80, I cannot do anything.  The heartburn is horrible.  At some point the "all day sickness" stops but the heartburn stays.  This is how I gained all my weight, I ate bread.  Bread makes the heartburn not so bad, kind of soaks it up.  Imagine all the wonderful carbs just sticking to my bones, yep.  On top of all that, I'm lactose intolerant, so the babies take their calcium out of my teeth.  My teeth are insanely horrible, and while pregnant, they start cracking, chipping, and just hurt.

That's all I could think of when I saw the PREGNANT on the test, and I cried.  I wanted the baby, but not the pregnancy, does that make sense?  I just lost 50 pounds, seriously, and now I have to put it back on?!  Well, I was determined not to.  I was reading online about exercising while pregnant, and I read that you shouldn't get your heart rate above 140 so you don't overheat your baby.  So I researched it out and bought a heart rate monitor to wear to kickboxing.  **--This is not 100 percent true, talk to a doctor--**

I didn't even make it to class once with it.  I was outside working in the garden and I didn't feel right, something wasn't right.  I ran into the bathroom and this wave of dread washed over me.  I wanted this baby.  I didn't want it to go away, but I knew that was it.  I called the doctor and she said there's really nothing you can do.  Four days later I had a miscarriage.

...........

So everyone is trying to encourage me and it's not working.  "It wasn't meant to be" "It was God's will" "There was something wrong with the baby" "You have two beautiful children now."  I get it, and I completely understand that, but that doesn't help.  Yes, I've spiraled into a depression that I cannot even do things that I love to do.  It's not just that I lost my baby, it's the whole situation.  I cried when I found out I was pregnant because I was being selfish.  Selfish.  I took for granted a gift I was given from God, I complained about it, and now, it's gone.  How do you get past that?  And yes, I know even if I was happy about it, the baby was not strong enough, for whatever reason, and I lost her.  But now, whenever I think about this, the first thing I will think about is how I was unhappy and I didn't want to be pregnant.  Please, don't get me wrong, I would have loved her from the second I saw her, but the toll pregnancy takes on my body is terrible and I did not want to do it again.

All of that said, I'm not looking for sympathy.  I actually prefer to act like it never happened because I can make it through the day that way.  When I start thinking or talking about it, I can't stop crying, so this way is just easier.

Why am I posting this?  Well, for the few that have been following, it's only fair to know what's really going on.  Since not going to kickboxing for a while, I'm having a hard time getting back into the swing of things.  I did, however, stumble into running, which is a post for another day.

So, up 10 pounds, I KNOW, how hard I worked to get them off, and to just put them back on, it's very upsetting.  I'm going to trying and get back into a routine with kickboxing, get off the 10 and then continue on my goal.  So, yes, you'll see another 50 pounds post, HA!!  


SLACKER!!

I must apologize to the few who actually take the time to read my blog.  I have been crazy busy between the kids, work, my garden, the chickens, and family members coming over.  I missed at least a week of class, and yes, it sucked.  But here's an update for you.

Travis is really busy with work and so are my other sitters, so I haven't been able to get to kickboxing four or five times a week.  I think I was only making it two times a week.  Knowing I was only making it two times a week, I was afraid to step on the scale and avoided it like the plague.  It is beyond my control, so why get upset by stepping on it.

So, I finally worked up the nerve and stepped on the scale, WOW, I didn't gain, I lost.  I actually lost two more pounds.  But put it into perspective, two pounds in a month.  Wow, that really, REALLY sucks.  I'll never reach my goal this way.  But right now I have to be happy because I stepped on the scale and it wasn't more.

Even though I haven't been sticking to my diet, I have modified my portion size, which makes me extremely happy!  My whole goal was a life style change, not just weight loss.  Anyone can use a diet pill and drop some pounds.  But if they go back to eating the same thing, guess what, the weight's right back on.  My goal is to keep the weight off and I'm proving to myself that it is possible.  

I plan to get back into kickboxing.  I was able to go on Saturday morning and it felt great.  My legs did not agree yesterday, though.  I still have at least 20 more pounds I want to lose before my vacation.  I just may have to do it swimming until my babysitters have a little more time for me!

My children, the fish!  HA! 

That Took FOREVER!

Finally!  I am now down 50 pounds.  GEEZ.... It took me an extra couple weeks to break through whatever barrier that was.


Through all the ups and downs of the last month, month and a half, I'm starting to look on the brighter side again.  I found good motivation in looking at the positive or accomplishments so far.  I'll list some for you.

Positives of weight loss:

1.  I can now push-mow the grass without having to stop and take a break.
2.  I can fit a regular sized towel around my body -- I know, stupid things, right?!
3.  I'm starting to get calf muscle definition.
4.  My old clothes - pre-pregnancy clothes - are becoming loose.
5.  After finishing a Jillian Michael's video, my response was "that's all?"  - HA!
6.  I am smaller than my husband again.
7.  I can race Ary and beat her. - I know, I'm supposed to let her win.... but I don't.
8.  Lifting a 50 pound bag of chicken feed and realizing I just lost all of that weight.
9.  People actually noticing I have lost weight.
10. Building confidence back up.

Are there negatives to weight loss?  I can think of a couple:

1.  Having to buy new clothes........wait, nope, that's a positive.
2.  Husband won't leave me a lone........nope, that's another positive.
3.  Change of diet....actually positive.  This has caused me to try new foods that I never thought I would and LOVE them!


50 pounds, not as happy as I thought I would be.  BUT I still have 24 pounds to reach my goal.  PRESS ON!

 
Here's the measurements for, I guess this is the 6th month now:

Weight - 164 pounds - down 50 pounds 
Waist -  38 inches - down 10 inches
Hips -   41 inches - down 11 inches
Thigh - 21.5 inches - down 4.5 inches
Arm - 12 inches - down 4 inches

I am still working on blog posts from other people at kickboxing.  I've just been a little busy.





Monica Bodge, now weighing in at...........

Wow, you think I'm going to post that right off the bat?  No, ha!  I guess I'm going to have to eventually, though.


Hey, my name is Monica.  I guess you have to know the story to see the whole journey, so here's a little background for you.

At 18 years old I was (and still) 5'4" tall.  I weighed between 105 and 110 pounds.  I played basketball all the time.  I loved being outdoors, swimming, walking, occasionally running, going down to Philly and racing my Z-28.  I was all over the place, hyper as can be.  I met my husband, Travis, in July 2001.  We were engaged in 6 months.  We waited until October 2003 to get married.  When we got married my weight had gone to 150 pounds.  Why?  I have no idea.  Not caring, not exercising, not playing sports, stressed, working, take any number of reasons.  You think putting on 40 pounds it would have clicked, but it didn't.  I would just buy another size up in pants and go on.

First class, December 6, 2012

So, I did it, excuses and all.  I signed up for the three classes and a pair of gloves for $20.00.  I received an e-mail from the manager telling me a little bit about the program and the schedule.  He listed the names of the instructors, a woman and a man.  He didn't tell me who was teaching what days, though.  So I'm thinking maybe I should go to the man's class first because he's a guy, might have a little more compassion for an overweight girl than a woman would.  You know as well as I do, guys give in too easy to a girl in tears.  Women, however, are like "Just suck it up."

I told the manager, Rob, I would go in on Thursday morning, December 6, 2012, for the first class.  Alright, that's set, now to find a babysitter.  Travis' mom, Tina, said she would watch Tristan for me, okay, good, that's done.

Thursday morning I woke up early to type a couple of jobs that were due by 9 a.m.  I got my cup of coffee and typed for an hour.  I took Ary to school and came back home.  I'm looking around, what do I have to wear and what do you wear to something like this?  It's not like I go out to the store and buy myself clothes.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to go clothes shopping and have to face reality of how heavy you really are?  Ugh, I just avoid that whenever possible.  Digging through my clothes in the house, I found a pair of black pants and then I'll just wear one of Travis' t-shirts.  The sports bra that I have barely fits, wonderful.  I guess they'll be popping out all class.  AHH, Travis' mom's here early, no time to back out now.

Class Number Two

Yes, I had every intention of going to class on Saturday, December 8th.  But as you know, intentions only get you so far.  The class started at 8:30 because they had other things going in the gym that day.  Hmm, me, getting up at 8 on a Saturday..............like I said, intentions.  Not only did it suck waking up early, some of my muscles were sore and tender.  Maybe taking an extra day or two was okay.  I haven't exercised like this for a long time.  Walking on the treadmill and talking does not count.  Do you like my excuses?

So class number two happened on December 11th with Maryann again.  There's other people in the class this time.  Okay, the only thing on my mind was, do not pass out, just make it through the class.  Walk, jog, knees...yes, I do the low impact version of the knees.  I don't want my shin splints acting up, better safe than sorry.  This whole warm up has me out of breath, and now we stretch.  I love stretching!

Class Number Three, last trial class

Am I crazy?  I am actually looking forward to going to class.  Wednesday I didn't feel sluggish.  I was up and moving around more than usual.  This is a good sign.  I was thinking about going to Thursday night's class but going to an Eagles game with my sister-in-law, so Thursday morning it is.

There's three others in the class with me.  I need to keep my slower pace.  My abs and legs are sore.

You know it, "Walk, jog, knees" still low impact with the knees.  This time I'm not the only one.  I guess it doesn't really matter if I'm low impact or not.  I need to keep on the pace that my body will allow, not trying to keep up with others.

Starting the warm up, yep, add arms sore to the list.  It's not a hurt, painful sore.  It's more like I can feel every muscle I moved and toned sore.  This is a good feeling to me.  It's nice to exercise and know exactly what muscles were worked.

Help! I can't wash my hair!

After two days in a row, I need a break.  Between my arms, abs, legs, fingers, toes, LOL, not the fingers and toes but everything else.  I didn't go back for a week.  Now, if I was just going to a regular old gym, like I was before, this would have been the end of it all.  It starts with something, something clicks in your head and you're determined to lose the weight or tone up.  You're going strong for a week, two weeks, maybe get to a month.  Then you get busy or don't feel well, "I'll go tomorrow" and then tomorrow turns into the next day and the next.  Eventually you fizzle out, you just stop going.  

But there is something about punching and kicking a bag that gives me a rush of adrenaline.  I took a break for a week and it's all I could think about.  Call me crazy but I couldn't wait to feel the sweat running down my back.

My muscles are good, I need to get back to class.

The Dreaded Scale

This is the scale, see my face, LOL
One year for my birthday, I asked my mom to buy me a scale for a present.  I hated how much I weighed, so there was no way I was spending money on a scale.  My birthday came and we're standing in my mom's kitchen.  She hands me a gift and I open the scale.  Oh my word, yes, a little embarrassing to open a scale, especially when you're overweight.  But I asked for it and was excited.


The scale motivated me to do a couple exercises at home and lasted for about two months.  Then it got shoved in the closet.  Why in the world do I want to look at a scale all the time if I'm not losing any weight.  

Right before my first class of kickboxing, I got the scale out of the closet.  Let's see how much I weigh, OH, that sucks.  No wonder it was in the closet.  

First Month Weigh-in


Start date is December 6, 2012

Starting weight is 214 pounds
Waist - 48 inches
Hips - 52 inches
Thighs - 26 inches
Arms - 16 inches 

So at this point I've been to about 6 classes.  I missed a whole week due to Christmas and New Year's.  

Here it is, the first weigh in on January 4, 2013.  

204 pounds - 10 pounds lost
Waist - 46  - 2 inches lost
Hips -  50    - 2 inches lost
Thigh - 25   - 1 inch lost
Arm - 14.5  - 1.5 inches lost

Two Month Weigh-in


Start Date:  December 6, 2012

Starting weight - 214 pounds
Waist - 48 inches
Hips - 52 inches
Thighs - 26 inches
Arms - 16 inches 

At this point it is 19 classes on February 11, 2013:

Weight:  194 pounds - down 20 pounds
Waist:  44.5 inches - down 3.5 inches
Hips:    48 inches - down 4 inches
Thigh:   23.5 inches - down 2.5 inches
Arm:   14 inches - down 2 inches


Three Month Weigh-in


Start Date:  December 6, 2012


Starting weight - 214 pounds
Waist - 48 inches
Hips - 52 inches
Thighs - 26 inches
Arms - 16 inches 


At this point it is 30 classes on March 7, 2013:


Weight:  184 pounds - down 30 pounds
Waist:  43 inches - down 5 inches
Hips:   46 inches - down 6 inches
Thigh:  23.5 inches - down 2 inches
Arm:   13.5 inches - down 2.5 inches





Shhh... It's a secret!!

I cannot post about specific classes now because I have stepped up my game.  Instead of going to two classes a week, it's now three.  They all kind of jumbled together since I waited so long to start the blog.  I can give you a few bits and pieces because of what I posted on Facebook, but who really cares. We just want results, right?

Some classes I feel like I'm the only one sweating buckets.  Then Maryann tells me I'm doing well, combinations are good, getting the hang of it.  I tell her it's good and bad, it just means I have to do more reps.  More reps equal more sweat.  When I come home, Travis is like, EWW, get in the shower.  Some days I come home, take a shower and sleep.

Please.... Stop looking at me!!

As you know, at the beginning of a new year people like to make New Year's resolutions.  One of the main resolutions is getting in shape or losing weight.  With the big billboard on 663, lovely girl with the abs, there have been a TON of new people signing up for classes.  In the morning classes there have been a decent amount of people, maybe 10 or so.

I have been going to class three days a week, Tuesday night, Thursday morning, and Saturday morning.  I had planned on going Saturday mornings until spring hit and Travis starts working in the mornings again.  Saturday mornings are usually pretty full, definitely a two row kind of morning.  Knowing this, I had every intention of getting to class early.  Well, that did NOT happen, as usual.  I walk in and every single bag was out and gloves on top.  Hmm, now what?  Well, this is what you get for coming in late.  I wasn't late enough to miss the beginning cardio and the crab walks around the room.  Seriously, crab walks on a Saturday morning, thank you, Maryann!  I can't remember the last time I tried a crab walk.  My triceps have no strength at all.  I didn't even make it half way around the room.  At least I tried, right?  Stay to the inside of the bags and let everyone else go by, that's all you can do.

After we stretch out, Maryann's telling us to get to a bag.  I'm kind of just standing in the back of the room looking around, trying to figure out what I was going to do.  Then she calls off the combo and I try to wave her back.  She tells me to share the bag with someone.  There was a girl nice enough to let me share.  I just felt really bad.  I tend to move the bag a lot when I punch, so I was trying to punch lightly.  After the first three minutes I was looking at this man.  We will call him Bob.  I think that's what they really call him anyway.  I ask Maryann if it's okay to use him.  She said that's fine.

So, Bob is a dummy punching bag.  Found this picture online of him.  This should be interesting!


When you're throwing a jab, cross, hook, it's usually to the head.  Maryann says to mirror yourself on the bag or someone you don't like (HA, does help) and hit at that level.  Well, with Bob, you don't have to pretend at all.  He's made of some weird material that when you hit him, his head moves.  It's kind of freaky.  You see he doesn't have any arms, just shoulders?  Well, round kicks were really interesting.  You have a choice, either kick him in the ribs or up in the face.  I stuck with the ribs.  It was really weird kicking him in the face.  As I'm going along, I start really looking at him.  Look at his eyes...... AHH!  They started to creep me out.  I felt like he was staring at me and he was getting angry that I kept hitting him and he had no arms to hit me back.  Upper cuts to the ribs, now, that was fun.  Also, knees to the ribs, placing hands on the shoulder, that was great, I understand that now.   

Even though I was scared of him, I did learn a few things.  One - get over the face.  If a person was going to attack you, it's going to have a similar face to this one.  Two - follow through with your hooks.  When you're punching the bag, you're kind of forced to stop.  When you're punching someone in the face, follow through and get all of your body weight behind it, definitely.  Three - kick and punch higher.  Because I'm shorter, I need to remember to kick and hit a little higher than a mirror image of myself.  My front kick was barely into Bob's belly button.  Get that leg up higher!  

The last thing I learned is you should try using Bob at least once during your time kickboxing.  It really helps you understand form and placement!  

A Day Late And A Pound Short......Or Two.

My 30th birthday was on March 4th.  About two weeks before my birthday, I realized I was turning 30 and I actually was almost 30 pounds down.  What an awesome goal, on my 30th birthday I want to be 30 pounds down.  One problem, 5 pounds in a little under over a week, possible.

Well, time to step it up again, four days this week.  That should get to me my goal, you would think.  Monday night, okay, time to see Jeremy.  He killed my arms/shoulders once again.  But that doesn't matter, I'm on a mission.  You cannot just will the pounds off, you have to sweat them off!!

Look at Jeremy.  He's saying "Come on, I'll help you lose the 5 pounds.  Just a couple of planks, crunches, kicks, you'll be great."  

Have you I told you how much I hate planks?  About 20 seconds into a plank my legs and back start shaking.  I have to drop to my knees, but I still try and keep going with the plank. 

Anyway, the next night, Tuesday night, I went into Maryann's class.  I begged her not to do anything that involves push ups.  Yeah, HA, Maryann's nice but not that nice.  She knew I was trying to hit 30 pounds, so she was pushing me.  At least I have one day to recover before the next class.  Meanwhile the scale says I've lost about 1.5 pounds.  Thursday morning comes and I'm sweating buckets again.  Keep the goal in mind, 30 on 30... you can do it!  I'm not going to lie, I was tired.  I took a nap on Thursday.  

Friday morning, I'm down 2.5 pounds.  Okay, this is kind of disheartening.  2.5 more pounds to go and only a couple days.  Now what?  Saturday morning class was with Jeremy.  Continuous round kicks for 30 seconds each side, that was hard, but extremely fun.  I want to do that again! 

Saturday night, what's for dinner?  SUSHI!  At Wegman's you can get those sushi packs that are like 300 calories.  Well apparently Fujiyama's sushi is a little higher in the calorie count.  

3 more pounds to go, stupid sushi.  I think the scale was messing with me.  I would get on and it would say the same stupid weight.  DROP!!  Monday evening for my birthday, I'm going to class.  

Sunday, I'm a little defeated.  5 pounds didn't seem like much of a task.  Apparently it was.  Let's go shopping!  HA!  This could be good or bad.  Let's start off with a size 20w, HAHA, nope, way too big now.  Okay, 18w, as Ary says "They're too big."  Give me a chance to try them on, geez!  Yep, she's right, to which she replies "Why do you doubt me?"  Little smart aleck she is.  WOW, I'm going down to a size 16.  They fit, that's great!  A little loose around the waist, really loose around the legs, but they fit!  

I bring them home, very proud, I dropped two sizes!  I try them on and show Travis.  He looks at them and says "They're too big."  No, they're not too big.  They fit, look!  He kept saying try the next size down.  OH, I have a couple pairs of size 14 in the closet, good, try those.  I think my mouth hit the floor.  I could actually pull them up!  (sorry for all the exclamation points.  I was very excited.)  Buttoning them, that was a different story.  Another inch and they will button good.  Travis, once again, said no, try and button them.  To my amazement, I could button them BUT with a serious muffin top.  Travis says just wear a big sweatshirt over top and I'll be fine.  Umm, no, sorry, I'm not sporting the muffin top.  

Even though I did not reach my 30 pounds on my 30th birthday, I was still able to find excitement in the fact that in just two and a half months I have dropped 27 pounds and two and a half pant sizes.  AND.......I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what I do, which makes it all better! 





Kiss The Floor

Almost every class you will hear Maryann say "Watch the floor.  It is a little uneven in some spots."  I joked with her, telling her to get a dry erase board so we can mark down every time someone trips.  

One day we were doing our beginning cardio.  There is a decent amount of people in the class.  When you know you go slower than other people, you're supposed to stick to the inside of the bags, let the faster ones pass you on the outside.  That doesn't always happen which leads to a "traffic jam".  Usually the other side of the gym is empty when this happens.  I noticed no one was there, I cut across the room and started back at my own pace.  Moving onto side shuffles, I started getting close to someone again.  This time my mind and feet did not work together.  My mind tried to tell my body to slow down, one foot got the message before the other foot.  My right foot stepped on my left foot just as I was picking it up, and BOOM, on the floor.  It was like slow motion.  I used to have these dreams that if I fell I would do some crazy roll out of the fall, not get hurt and everyone say that was amazing.  Dreams are dreams.  I hit the floor with a thud, face inches from kissing the floor.  Karma, that's all I can say.  That's what I get for suggesting the board.  I have been running around that gym for almost three month and had no problem.  I was ready for Maryann to start cracking up at me.  She just did her usual "Watch the floor" and acted like nothing happened.  

Lesson?  You fall, you get back up.  You gain a pound or two, don't quit, restart!  If you fall in class, I won't laugh because I did it too!  It only hurts for a second or two and then you're fine.  You miss the bag while trying a kick and almost fall, I've been there.  I know, the bag doesn't move, how could you miss it?  I don't know, careless, concentrating on the next step?  You got me, but it happens!  

This is Maryann's round kick--- 


I must have watched her demonstrate 15 times before I got the hang of it to the point I didn't almost fall.  They really help with your balance.  

After I got home from class one night, Travis and Ary were in the kitchen trying to see who could balance on their foot the longest.  Despite my legs being on fire, I joined in.  Ary did not last long.  Travis, on the other hand, is a crazy monkey, walking on a 2x4 wall two stories up.  He says "You can't beat me"........game on!  I told him holding the foot out to the front is too easy, turn sideways and hold your foot out in a side kick position.  YEP, down in three seconds.  I win, HA!  

I know, balance isn't really that important.  But I would have never imagined kickboxing helping with balance.  Just another reason why............. have I told you lately..........



I Love Pasta Too Much....and Pizza, Cake....

"I can't go on a diet.  I love pasta too much.  I can't give it up."

Yeah, I've said that a TON of times.  That was my diet excuse.  "I can exercise enough that I don't really need to cut out the good stuff."

Look how good this donut looks!  Just one won't hurt.
Donuts have contributed to my permanent fanny pack.  This donut has 280 calories, 35g carbs and 15g of fat.  15 grams of fat is half of what my diet allows me in one day.  An hour of kickboxing will burn 700 calories and that donut is almost half of my burnt calories.  So, if I expected to lose weight after eating this donut, I better not eat anything else that day.

You cannot cut every good thing out of your diet, right?  That would suck, and it does suck.  But if you are seriously trying to lose weight, like me, then of course, you have to.  When I first started dropping weight I was really excited, and then I wasn't losing as fast and could not figure out why.  I started jumping on the scale more to see how different foods affected my weight.  After a while I started to see a pattern, if I ate too much of one thing or it definitely wasn't the most healthy for me, I would put on a pound.  All the sweat and hard work I did, just to gain back a pound, UGHH, very frustrating and unnecessary.

Count calories, yes, but not just calories, what type of calories.  Just say for dinner you have this amazing pasta dish that is a little under 500 calories.  Is your body going to have enough time to work off all of the carbs in the pasta before you go to bed?  Probably not, and with what I've found, definitely not.  White flour is the devil!!!

BUT you also cannot diet alone.  You have to exercise.  Not just exercise, though, exercise till the sweat is rolling down your face.  Okay, I guess some exercise is better than none, but if you're aiming for results, kick it up a notch.

The great thing about kickboxing is it's fun, TONS of fun!  I've never had so much fun exercising before and seeing awesome results at the same time.  Every time Maryann says "lightning round", I'm telling you, I can't believe it went by that fast.  Where else do you get to go and hit a bag, take out all your day's frustrations, have fun and lose weight at the same time?

Lesson of the day....

You are what you eat.....


And if you want more results....

Step up your game, sweat!  If you don't like the sweat, I will get some 80's style sweat bands and rock them out in class with you!!

First My Sides, Now My Butt..........

FINALLY!!!!!!!!! Someone decided to come with me to kickboxing.  My sister-in-law, Brandy, came with me to class this week.  She absolutely LOVED it!

Brandy lives up in the Scranton area.  She told me she was coming down to visit, I told her she was coming to class with me.  She said okay.

It was Travis and Brandy's grandmother's birthday, 89 years old and still going strong!!  For her birthday I made an AMAZING dish that my sister created.  I'll show you because I could eat this all day long....

Gemelli with Chicken and Vegetables

Pink...Really?

When I signed up for kickboxing, I paid for three classes and received free gloves.  Free gloves are good because I wouldn't have the slightest clue where to start or where to buy them.  I'm sure you can get some at the local sporting goods store but they're probably not the greatest.  I had the choice between red or black, so I got the red ones! 


The first two or three classes I didn't really pay much attention to the sweat inside the gloves.  One day after class I asked Rob what to do for the sweat inside the gloves.  He sold me on a pair of hand wraps, I think that's what they're called.  You can put them on under your gloves and they pretty much absorb the sweat.  After class you can take them home and wash them.  

Then I stood next to someone named Sharon one night....

She had these white gloves on and I just kept staring at them.  Finally I asked her about the gloves.  The sweat, not so bad.  That's what I'm looking for!  But they didn't look like they had much padding on them.  Was it going to hurt when you punched the bag?  

The bags, there's black ones, blue ones and red ones.  The black ones are the softest of the bunch.  The blue ones I guess you could say are in the middle.  The red ones are like punching a wall.  HA, not really that bad but it will take more effort to get the red bag off the ground then the black one.  With my red gloves on, I had worked my way up from the black bag to the red bag.  Okay, let me correct myself, the black bags with Century on them, they are the same as the red ones.  The black ones that say Wave Master on them, they are the softer ones. 

Back to the gloves....Once again, happy birthday to me! HA!  The hand wraps just aren't cutting it for me anymore.  I saw some purple gloves online that I liked.  I went in and told Rob I wanted to order some.  He gave me a catalog to order what I wanted, except no purple gloves.  So, what did I buy... 

PINK!  The picture kind of makes them look purple, but they are definitely pink.  I bought pink gloves, yep, the girl who hates pink.  

My hands do not sweat as much as the red gloves and definitely does not have as much padding.  The first night I used the gloves, I decided to use the red bag.  I was already using it, so why not.  

This is my hand about 30 minutes after class.  My knuckles are still red.  My poor hands.  I'm glad I started using them on a Friday night and had a couple days to rest before the next class.  I did consider going back to the red gloves on Monday night but I toughed it out.  

What I did learn.... (there's always something new to learn!!)... is that I was punching the bag more on the outside of my fist then the middle.  With the red gloves on, you cannot really tell because of all the cushion.  I have readjusted my punch.  Oh yeah,  I'm back to using either the black bag or the blue bag for a while, HA!  

Whose Stupid Idea Was This?!

It all started on Monday.  A friend of mine told me he is doing free archery lessons for ages 8 and up.  Of course I'm in, well, for Ary.  Then he told me it would be good for both of us, kind of a mother, daughter thing.  So, that means for eight weeks I'm going to have to start missing my Monday night class.  I'm sad but happy at the same time.  I love them both.

Monday night, class as usual, same as Tuesday night.  Travis then tells me he has an appointment on Friday and I cannot go to class Friday night.  Hmm....this is really starting to get annoying.  I like my four days a week schedule.  So I decided to try to sneak into class on Wednesday night.  That's a no go.  My neighbor's well pump died and Travis went over to replaced it for them.  No Travis to watch the kids, so I asked my mom and of course she said yes.  As I'm getting ready to leave, Ary runs to the bathroom, doesn't feel well.  Too many signs telling me to stay home.  I stayed home.

So, Travis came in and ate dinner.  He felt bad that I wasn't going to be able to go my four times a week.  I told him it was fine, I'll go in the morning or tomorrow night.  Then he looked at me and smirked.  What is your problem?  He laughed and said "What, can't go twice in a day?"  Umm.... what does that mean?  "I don't think you have the dedication, the drive to go twice in one day."  Oh yeah, that's what you think?  Game on!!  I'm going.

BUT there's a catch.  I can't go to either class and only give 50 percent.  I has to be normal 100 percent.

Thursday morning, it's time.  Ary doesn't have school and I was caught up on my work, so I decided to sleep in.  I woke up about 8:45.  Oh geez!  Travis' mom will be here in like 15 minutes to watch the kids.  Oh well, did my normal morning routine and she arrived before I even got dressed.  Ary and Tristan were still asleep! HA!  What a lazy day this was turning out to be.  Getting ready and forgot to eat something.  I'm all out of bananas, so I make a quick smoothie.

Get to class and start running around the gym.  Man, my legs are TIGHT for some reason.  Is it anxiety or sore from Tuesday night?  Shake 'em out, keep running.  Start warm up punches, yep, there's my hand.  It's killing me this morning.  That's when I realize, it's anxiety.  I'm getting myself psyched out for tonight.  Focus, get through Maryann's class and get home to rest for a couple hours.  Punches, kicks, abs, more abs.  I have never been more happy to hear her say stretch it out.  Seriously, she kicked my butt this morning.


Yeah, gotta love it though!  

On the way home I'm thinking to myself I don't know, I'm tired.  I get in the house, sit down, talk to Travis' mom for a bit.  Then I let it slip out "I don't know if I'm going to be able to do another one tonight."  See, my mind's setting itself up for failure!  Where's the positive outlook?  I have a couple hours to rest, work and make dinner.  I should be fine by then.  Maryann told me that it is easier to work out twice in a day then to work out once every day.  Going twice in one day, your muscles will not have enough time to register the soreness that you usually get the day after.  

Clock moves fast when you want it to go slow.  

Get to class, there's a ton of people there.  Of course, as you know, I'm usually there right before everything starts.  So, I'm all the way in the back tonight.  I'm thinking this is going to be good because if I fall over, pass out, then everyone won't really see.  I'm going to get the wake up taps from Jeremy, definitely not looking forward to that.  

Start running around the room, legs, ehh, not too bad.  Let me say, it's hard to actually do the warm up with so many people in the class.  You kind of have to stay the pace of the person in front of you.  You don't want to be the rude one cutting everyone off around the corners.  So, I just cut them off when we did the lungs around the room, HA!   

Start punches with just jabs first.  This is really odd because I'm used to jab cross, not just jab.  My arms are starting to tighten up.  Now he says cross, yep, feels so much better!  "I'm going to be a nice guy today.  We're going to work on abs."  Really?!  Come on, hopefully Maryann's right and they won't be sore yet.  Oh, nope, I'm definitely feeling it and it's just the first round for abs.  

I'm really trying hard not to tell anyone that this is my second class of the day.  I want to keep going at my 100 percent and just do what I love.  

"Jab, cross, jab, cross, SQUAT, three front kicks."  Come over here, Jeremy, stand right in front of my bag, would ya.  AH!  "You can feel it in those squats to kicks, well, I guess you'll find out, haha."  Seriously, just come here and say it, please!!  "Why do we have you squat?  You're getting out of the way of someone throwing a punch.  So, you don't want to half squat, you need to squat.  This is why I have the motivator."


Yeah, I could have done without the motivator tonight.  My legs are on fire.  They really didn't get much of break from all of Maryann's kicks this morning.  Now we're burning them up some more!   Don't forget, he's killing the ab work in between each round.   

Almost done, we have to be almost done.  I can't see the clock from all the way back here.  Then he has us work with a partner, not normal but okay.  As long as we're not doing wall sits, I'm good.  

Hey, SURPRISE, put your bags away and stand against the wall.  OH NO!! He's making us crawl again.  Yeah, not that.  Military style something or other.  I don't really remember what he said, I tuned him out.  One push up, get up, run the room, back down for two, run, three, run, four, run, all the way to ten.  After three I think I was done.  My arms were on fire, my back, my shoulders, I'll say it, TOO MUCH IN ONE DAY FOR ME!  I finished and when I was done I just sat my butt back and stretched it out.  I didn't want to move.  

After all this I still had a little energy left.  I got up, walked around the room, stretched it out and went out to change my shoes.  Sat on the arm of the chair, trying to catch my breath.  I'm exhausted, starting to get shaky.  The sweat, it just wouldn't stop.  Didn't help that there was a ton of people in there either.  

You know what this made me realize?  (Once again with the learning thing)  I can do two classes in one day at my 100 percent.  Now I need to start going over my 100 percent in one class.  It's amazing what your mind will will your body to do.    BUT you won't see me there twice in one day for a while, HA!  


FREE?! I Like Free!

I've had a lot of people ask me about classes and what they're like.  BUT I've only had two people actually come with me to try it out, and yes, they love it!


So, I am giving away a new pair of gloves and three free classes at the Gilbertsville location.  Instead of e-mailing me and telling me to enter your name, just share my blog on Facebook with your friends and I will write your name down.  I will use random.org to pick the winner.  

So, you'll have three free classes, new gloves and TONS of fun!  






Obsessed? No........Well, Possibly

Travis, my mom, Travis' mom, and myself have all worked out a wonderful schedule to watch the kids so I can have my hour class four times a week.  As stated in my last post, Ary and I started archery classes on Monday nights, which are really cool but throwing off my schedule completely.  Now I'm trying to rearrange my schedule for the classes without having to disrupt anything else.  It's not working out too well.  It looks like I'm going to be taking two classes in one day, Thursdays, until archery classes are over.

Time to change the calendar page.  Travis and I are going over the schedule.  I'm trying to figure out the days I can go into class and he's laughing at me.  He starts calling me obsessed.  He says "I'm surprised you're not going every day of the week at this point."  Listen, Travis, I'm not obsessed.  He can't stop laughing.  I'm glad he can make himself laugh.  Maybe a good round kick in the jaw would make me laugh, let's try it.  HA, yep, made me laugh picturing it.  You know, I'm not the only one benefiting from my weight loss...just saying.

I will admit, I'm obsessed with my results from kickboxing.  I have a goal weight loss and I'm trying to stick with it.  I want to get to 145 pounds by August.  If I continue at the rate I am going, 10 pounds a month, I will make it!  I cannot make 10 pounds a month if I start cutting classes, it doesn't work that way.  There is no easy way to lose weight.  Hard work, sweat, dedication.... yep, that's the word.  I'm not obsessed, I'm dedicated!!!!

When I first started selling Thirty-One, my director wanted us to come up with a WHY board, why do you want to sell Thirty-One.  I never did it, SHAME ON ME!  It would be really easy to do, just put a picture up of a keyboard with a big X on it.  My job now is typing and I am tired of typing.  Now I'm going to steal her idea and make a weight-loss why board, kind of.  I'm going to  put pictures up of why I'm doing this AND what rewards I'm going to get for different achievements.  My next reward for losing 40 pounds is getting my hair done.  We all know that I need to get my hair under control!  It's too long, puffy and my highlights are, well, almost not there anymore.

I'm going to make my WHY board and hang it up somewhere in the house that everyone can see it.  This way when Travis wants to laugh at me and call me obsessed, I can just point to it and say this is WHY.  I'm going to work on it this week and I'll post a picture up.

It Figures, But I'll Take It!!


30 pounds, 30 years old was the goal....nope, didn't happen.  Of course, that's my luck.  It also doesn't help when you sit at the computer working and snack on everything under the sun.

Birthday was on Monday, March 4th.  I am short 2 pounds.  Punishment?  Go into class on your birthday.  That's at least what I told Travis, HA!  It's not really a punishment to me because I LOVE IT!

I went to class Monday and Tuesday night.  Let's get back on track with the meal plan.  I am starting to realize, in order to stay on a meal plan, you really need to try to plan out.  Let's say your snacks in between a meal is blueberries, portion them out in little baggies or containers so when it's time you don't have to stop, you just grab and go.  You can do the 100 calorie packs.  But someone explained to me, I don't remember who, you can portion the food out into 100 calories by yourself.  Why pay the extra money?  


Enough about food....I keep talking about food because I need a lunch break!

Thursday morning I stepped onto the scale, 184 pounds!  It did it!!  It figures it would be a couple days afterwards but WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm now officially down 30 pounds! 

30 pounds on my 30th would have been great.  BUT I did hit 30 on 30 in a way. 

I lost 30 pounds of weight in 30 classes of kickboxing!!  That's crazy.  So that ends up being one pound lost per class!  

Okay, time for the comparison pictures..............(I hate pictures!)




                                            214 pounds - before kickboxing                                 184 pounds - 30 kickboxing classes



Weight:  184 pounds - down 30 pounds
Waist:  43 inches - down 5 inches
Hips:   46 inches - down 6 inches
Thigh:  23.5 inches - down 2 inches
Arm:   13.5 inches - down 2.5 inches


*~I am excited~*



***Thanks for putting the pictures together, Celeste!!***

Off The Wagon

Stress, I HATE stress.  I'm sure everyone can agree that it sucks!  What do you do when you're stressed out?  Because I have been trying to be really good with my diet, yes, I said diet, so stress makes me shop.  I spend a little more money then I should.

Well, this week.... I fell off the wagon.  I have no idea what's wrong with me this week.  I've been doing nothing but craving AND eating junk food.  Usually in a week I lose about 1.5 to 2 pounds.  This week, I gained a pound.  I went to class four times this week, worked my tail off but still ended up gaining a pound.  I didn't step on the scale for TWO days because I knew I'd be mad at myself.

I think it all started when I took Ary out to eat.  We wanted to go to Red Lobster for dinner.  I looked up online the nutritional information so I knew what I wanted to order before we got there.  Hour wait.  That's not going to work, it's already 7 o'clock.  I really try not to eat after 8, so we wouldn't be seated at a table until 8.  We ran over to Chili's, an hour wait there, too.  We ended up at Jake's Wayback Burgers.  I've never been there before and it wasn't as busy as everywhere else but I felt pressured to buy something quick.  I ended up with the Philly burger and Ary got the chicken Caesar   OH MY WORD, the grease from the sandwich and the fries was crazy!  I haven't had fast food since December.  I was only able to eat half the sandwich because it was making me feel sick, very heavy in my stomach.  After we finished there, we ended up going to Kiwi Yogurt.  I just keep adding it on, right?!  I'm not going to lie, the sea salt caramel is AMAZING!  Yep, this is where it all went down hill.  All the sugar and the fat that I had out of my system for months, it's back and continued all week.  Chick-fil-A, pizza, Cheez-its (kept eating them while working), chocolate chip bars, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.

Now what?  I gained a pound, maybe two, even with going to class all week.  Should I put the scale away?  Should I get depressed and upset?  NO! 



Sometimes you fall off the wagon but you have to get back up.  There will always be set backs, which suck, but you cannot let that ruin the months that you have already worked so hard for.  Dig deep and get back on track.  As for me, I'm going to hit the trail today, try to clear the junk out of my system.  SO CLOSE TO 50 POUNDS!!


I'm knocked down now, but it's time to get back up and show that I can do this! 

Is It Rude?

Before December, I frequented a local Chinese place that I LOVED!  My parents used to go there a lot and they know me by my parents, so they still call me by my maiden name. Travis and I went for a drive today and had the windows down because it was GORGEOUS outside!  We drove past a Chinese restaurant and Travis wanted egg rolls.  MAN!!  I've been trying SO hard to stay away from Chinese food.  Unless you get the steamed veges, there's really nothing else for you.  *****If you know of something I can eat, please, let me know!******

I told him okay and started to make the drive down the street.  Uggh, what can I eat?  Okay, they don't take credit cards in there, so I'll run over to Redners, pick up some more tuna and have a sandwich (LOVE TUNA!!) and everyone else can eat the grease.  That's some good parenting right there, HA!

I'm getting to the point...

I walk into the restaurant and pick up the menu and start marking off what I wanted.  All of a sudden I hear "Dyson?"  I look up, yes, hi!  She goes on to say how she hasn't seen me in a while and how everyone was doing.  She tells me ten minutes and I go out the door.  Let me tell you, I used to drive my car from the Chinese store up to Redners because I didn't feel like walking.  Man, how lazy was I?  It was nice to walk up there and back.  Yes, also nice to stop and get me some VINO.

Four Months Already?!

I can't believe I've been kickboxing for four months already.  It doesn't seem like that long.  I am now going four times a week.  I know I'm going to start slowing down with the weight loss, but I'm still going as of now!!

Here's a pic of my daughter and I walking on the trail this weekend.

Last summer I tried walking the trail with her and Tristan, I ended up turning around because I just couldn't do it.  I was tired and sore and...... say it..... lazy.  I just wanted to sit down.  This time we walked the whole trail and I wasn't tired, sore or slowing down.  I am able to finally keep up with my kids.  That's the greatest accomplishment for me!  Ary looks at me and says "Mommy, your face keeps changing."  HA, she's cute. 


I know, totals, that's the only reason you're here! 

Weight - 174 pounds - down 40.... 40 pounds in four months, INSANE!! 
Waist - 40 inches - down 8 inches.... SERIOUSLY! 
Hips - 43 inches - down 9 inches
Thighs - 22.5 inches - down 3 inches 
Arms - 13 inches - down 3 inches


It took me ONE YEAR of going to planet fitness to lose this much weight, one stinking year.  I've lost 40 pounds in four months of kickboxing.  I don't think I would have ever believed it if I wasn't going through it myself.  


50 pounds, we're all celebrating, party at my house!


Still...............Nothing

My last post was about me falling off the wagon with my diet.  Well, apparently the wagon ran me over and is now running circles around me!!  Two classes into the week and I've stayed the same weight.  I am usually down half a pound by now.  What's going on?

It dawned on me this morning.  I know I've been eating horribly, stupid Frito's and cookies.  I need to stop snacking on horrible stuff.  Why am I snacking on such crap when I have TONS of fruits and veges in the fridge?  I'll tell you why.... I have not taken the time to cut them up yet.  I am waiting TOO long between my meals to eat anything.  "Eat at least six times a day between snacks and meals."  Umm, no, don't think so.  I'm going to gain more weight, right?  Wrong.

There's a thing called the glycemic index (GI).  To make it easy, it's about good carbs - low GI and bad carbs - high GI.

Start with the bad, get it out of the way!  The bad carbs - high GI- are rapidly digested and absorbed, causing fluctuations in your blood sugar level.  You eat something, let's say those 100 calorie pack crackers. They are high GI, so your blood sugar is going to go up for a little bit, you'll feel fine and then it will drop drastically, making you tired and hungry again.  Then because your body cannot wait for more food, you're grabbing whatever you can that's quick to get rid of the hunger.

Good carbs - low GI- digest and are absorbed slow, resulting in a gradual increase in blood sugar level.  When your blood sugar is increased gradually or maintained at a certain level, you tend not to feel as hungry. How do you keep your blood sugar at a constant?  Eat more frequent low GI meals and snacks.  If you want, you can check out a food's glycemic index value online.  It is ranged from 0 to 100.  Low GI is 55 or less.  Moderate GI is 56 to 69.  High GI is 70 to 100.

So, let's break it down.  What would be good for me as a snack in between breakfast and lunch, one green pepper and maybe a handful of almonds.  Green peppers are low on the glycemic index - 40.  Almonds are even lower on the GI - 10.  You have to be careful with eating nuts, though.  They are high in fat content.  A handful, 1/4 cup is all that is needed.  I throw the almonds in for some protein.

It seems really complicated but once you get the hang of it, it's okay.  I just have to remind myself over and over, this is not just about dropping weight.  It's about a lifestyle change, becoming healthy.

So, note to self, stop snacking on junk and get back to the good stuff!




Are You Hitting Properly?

As you know, I bought new gloves for class.  My knuckles were turning red after every class and I figured I just had to break them in.

It has been about a month now of using the gloves.  Thursdays I was going twice a day.  By Thursday night class I could barely hit the bag.  I kept shaking out my hand, trying to get the pain to stop in my ring finger knuckle.  Jeremy was walking around the room and saw me shaking out my hand.  He asked me what I was doing.  I told him my hand hurt.  He says "Are you hitting the bag properly?"  Yes, I'm hitting the bag properly, thanks!   I told him it was the gloves ---because he never comes on here to read the blog--- and he walked away.  After class I showed him what I was talking about.  He told me there was a blood vessel there and I should rest it for a week.  REST IT?  I can't skip class for a week!  HA, they didn't mean skip class for a week, they just meant hit lightly or not at all with the one hand.  

It's FRIDAY, best class because it's members only, people coming for a while and, yep, definitely tougher than the rest of the week.  Jeremy showed me an new, AWESOME way to hit the bag so I don't hurt my knuckles.  I felt really bad the whole class.  He had to keep helping me every time he changed the hits, well, not every time.  It mainly involved the side of my wrist... really cool, though!

So, what's the big deal?  My knuckle actually is starting to feel better.  So the rest of the week I'm not going to use it and hit a little different than what Maryann or Jeremy are calling out.  Just don't look at me funny in class!  It's my best option because we all know I'm not missing class.  

AND..... ACTION!!

A lot of people are interested in trying the kickboxing class, but for some reason or another they are hesitant.  Friday night I decided to take in the video camera.  I didn't want to miss class (yep, junkie!) so Wendy was kind enough to bring in her tripod so we could set the camera up and let it run.  It is kind of strange to see myself in the video, but it's really good at the same time.  My squats are absolutely horrible.  I need Jeremy to stand there with the motivator for one whole night, just to make sure I am doing my squats properly.

Well, here it is.  Some of the music may conflict at times.  I didn't take the background music out because I wanted you to hear Jeremy talking.  





Thanks for letting me record you guys!!

Five Month Weigh-in......and STUCK!

Yes, I have been complaining for a good two or three weeks now.  I'd step on the scale and it would say 170.8.  Then it went up to 172.5...........BOO!  It's the snacking that kills me.  You know when you sit down and watch a movie or TV, all of a sudden you're in the mood to snack on something?  That's what happens to me when I sit down at the computer and work.  Why?  I have no idea.  It doesn't help that I can see the kitchen from where I'm sitting.  So last week I did a mini detox.  No junk, just good food.  It finally worked! I pushed past the 170 mark and moved the scale down to 169!  UNTIL North Carolina, yep, put a pound back on.  BUT I'm not going to talk about that just yet.

Through all of this back and forth stuff with the scale... yes, definitely my enemy this month... I've tried to stay positive.  I'm not going to lie, it definitely got me down.  I was ready to hit a wall yet.  I kept saying I knew I would but I wanted it to be closer to my goal mark than I am.  Then my sister sends a picture of me she found from last summer.  IT'S HORRIBLE, but just enough to put my mind in perspective.  I've already come so far... no reason to get depressed now.

Here's the horrible picture....



The only thing I can say is, how in the world did I not realize how big I was and why did I wait SO long to do something about it?!

Okay... I'm taking a picture of myself right now, 5 months after starting kickboxing...


Yeah, I turned sideways so you can kind of see a difference in the first picture.

Weight - 169 pounds - down 45 pounds
Waist - 38.5 inches - down 9.5 inches
Hips - 41.5 inches - down 10.5 inches - YAY! 
Thighs - 21.5 inches - down 4.5 inches
Arms - 12 inches - down 4 inches

I didn't hit my 50 pound yet and that's fine.  Look at the results I already have.  I have secret pictures that only Travis and I look at each month.  Maybe one day I will get enough courage up to post them.  HA!  You really should see the picture from right before I signed up.  It's WORSE than the one Celeste sent me.

Anyway, the good thing is ilovekickboxing.com is having a body transformation contest.  Hopefully this will motivate me to push past this slump and get me back on track.  Here's a link for the contest if anyone is interested!!

http://www.ilovekickboxing.com/blog/you-could-win-5000-introducing-our-45-day-body-transformation-contest/


No Pictures, Please!

If you know me, then you know that I'm always the one behind the camera.  I don't like my picture being taken at all.  That's kind of a problem when you are doing a blog about losing weight.  Everyone wants to see YOU... blah!

How am I going to take pictures of myself IN class?  I was thinking about having Ary take the pictures, but I know I'd probably see blurry images.  A friend of mine, Sharon, takes my family pictures.  So, I decided to call her and see what she thought about it.  Of course she said yes because she's awesome!