Happy 80th Birthday Mom – HaliPawz

My mom is turning 80 today.  As a writer, I want to convey all of my thoughts, my emotions, into the perfect masterpiece to share with her today, but I find myself critiquing every word. How do you say Happy Birthday to someone you thank God for everyday, someone you feel blessed to still have; someone you are fiercely protective of, yet want to encourage as much independence as you can? “Happy 80th Birthday Mom” just doesn’t seem enough.  

Happy 80th Birthday Mom. Looking forward to many more adventures!


As my mom enters her octogenarian years, I think back to how our lives, our relationship has changed.  As the youngest of six, I truly feel lucky to have had older parents.  I would find it funny when my friend’s grandparents were the same age as my parents.  I was ok with my mom & dad being older and parents, not best friends.  I think I always felt just a little closer to my dad growing up. I wanted to be with him more.  My mom was a stay at home mom until I went into first grade, then she started working.  Since she would work until 4, my dad would get home earlier so I just alway seemed to be with him when he was home.  My parents were more relaxed with me. They had raised 5 kids already. They were on “autopilot” with me. 
I learned some interesting lessons from my mom, long before I even realized they were lessons.  The older I get, the more I realize how much I am truly BOTH of my parents. I used to think I was so much of my dad’s daughter, but there is more of my mom than I would have ever imagined. 

I learned to be there for others when they needed you.  Growing up, mom would always be the first to volunteer to help someone, to recognize a need in others and help.  I didn’t realize these were lessons when I was younger. I used to think…why are you spending time with them or spending time doing that; instead of with me, or me and my sister(s).  It wasn’t until I was older, I realized she was always there for others, sometimes when no one else was. 

I learned tea is more than tea. True friendships are solid. The world could get along better with tea. My mom’s best friend, Pat, comes over about once a week, and has for as long as I can remember.  My mom would turn the teakettle on and they would proceed to get caught up on family, politics, neighbors. No topic seemed taboo. I never heard them disagree about an opinion.  I never see my mom drink hot tea except when Pat was over.  We grew up going on vacations with the two families. Pat is usually at any major family events when she can be.  They both may be getting older, but tea time still takes place.  They each sit at the exact same spot at the kitchen table they always have, and they still solve the problems of the world, or at least the problems in their worlds, their communities, their families.  

My whimsical, non-sensical, side is all her. From her passion for Hallmark Christmas ornaments, to her cute knick knacks. She has a flair for finding the cute, the different, the unique….and loves it.  I never realized until recently how that transferred over to me. It is this side, combined with my science & math side, that makes me so great in optical, in problem solving in general.  I can look beyond the part that makes “sense” and twist it to make it perfect.  I can see past what is in front of me to picture what is needed. 

Mom with the whimsical statue she liked at Omaha Zoo


On the Train at Omaha Zoo


Mom has a sense of adventure I never saw as a child. She is always willing to go somewhere.  She is always willing to experience something. The past few summers with mom have been the highlight of my summer.  She might not be able to walk very well but get her in her scooter and she is ready to go! She has lasted all day at Disney World, she has gone to the rodeo, she has survived days at the zoo in 95 + degrees. She loves doing things. You can always see a smile on her face when she is out seeing what the world has to offer.  Her willingness to just go, to just do something different is amazing to me.  Might even be why I was willing to go pick my nephew up at 12:30am so he could join me and my niece on our quest to find Pokemon.  

Representing Marysville Michigan in Florida


Her love for family is strong.  Her family, including her extended family, is the most important thing to her.  When asked what she wanted for for 80th birthday, she said, “for all of her kids and grandkids to be with her”. She didn’t want a big party. She just wanted us all together.  So guess what? Every one of my siblings and their kids and grandkids will be together with her celebrating the amazing woman she is.  My mom is such a trusting person. She looks for the good in others and believes in them. I am a cynical person by nature. I question. I dig. It is because of her I’m often willing to forgive. To give a second chance. 

Mom with Birthday Cupcakes after her surgery

Happy Birthday Mom


Mom is always willing to accept those as they are.  I used to say she looked at life through rose colored glasses like it was a bad thing.  Now, as an adult, I realized it is a good thing. It makes you accept life as it is.  It helps you navigate through the tough times.  

My mom is stronger than I could ever imagine. From the pain she endures because of her arthritis to the emotional scars she has from life in general. Losing both of her brothers fairly young, to caring for her husband as Alzheimer’s took his mind before his body. She took those moments. She bore the pain. She came out stronger on the other side.  It is because of her, her strength, I know I can get through anything as well.

Mom and Cayla Omaha Zoo

I am so blessed to have the amazing mother than I have.  I look forward to celebrating her 80th birthday with her and my family today and look forward to many more summer adventures with her and many more birthday celebrations! 


HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY MOM! 

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Carginia Cambogia, my experience with it -HaliPawz

I am trying to lose weight.  I was at the doctor’s office, stepped on the scale, and was saddened by the weight they were recording.  I had gotten off track and it wasn’t good. I’ve always been overweight. Sometimes it bothers me, most of the time it doesn’t but this time, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed to do something NOW. I really needed something to help me kick-start my weight loss. I had read about Garcinia Cambogia before but honestly, I thought it was a gimmick so I brushed it off. I went back and started doing more research.  It seemed to have mixed reviews. One thing that seemed consistent in all my reading is the purity of the product really made a difference.  I looked at the product at Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart but it was only 50% pure.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have been using Amazon more and found a product that claimed to be 95% pure and had a 4 star rating based on over 1600 reviews. I decided to dig a little deeper about this product.  Let’s face it, they couldn’t buy that many positive reviews. It was worth reading a few of them.

I was pleased with the reviews, found them to be credible, and decided it would be worth the $20 to try it. I spoke with a co-worker who decided she wanted to try it as well, so we ordered two bottles.

The day I placed the order, I decided to start watching my caloric intake before the product arrived.  I logged into the My Fitness Pal app and updated all of my information. It calculated my daily allowance of calories at 1732 based on my current weight with a desire to lose 2 lbs per week with a sedentary lifestyle.  I decided I was going to start realistically and then any exercise I did would just be a bonus.

About 2-3 days after ordering, I received an informative email telling me how to get the most out of the product.  It stated to take 1-2 pills 45-60 minutes before eating on an empty stomach. Of course, my skeptical mind thought….oh sure, just a gimmick to get me to buy more because my “month supply” just turned into a 15 day supply if I wanted to “Maximize” my results.  I decided it didn’t matter, I was going to follow their instructions and track my results.

The product arrived and I started taking it on February 24, 2016. The bottle looked just like the pictures.


The capsules were fairly easy to swallow. The only complaint I have is, since they are gel capsules, they sometimes seem to lodge themselves in your throat and you have to drink 2+ glasses of water to get them down.  This doesn’t happen all of the time and I can’t explain why it happens sometimes and doesn’t others.

I knew I was stopping at Chipotle for dinner so I didn’t really eat lunch that day.  I had a handful of cashews with sea salt for lunch.  I needed extra calories because I wanted to be able to have chips with my dinner!  I took 2 pills in the parking lot, went in to order dinner, then headed home. To be honest, I didn’t notice a lot of difference.  I ate my normal Chipotle meal. I was full when I was done, but I usually am. (Side note….I LOVE Chipotle and could eat it 1-2 times a week…am I the only one who wishes they have a “frequent diner” type card?)  To be fair, I had only waited about 35 minutes because I didn’t want my food to get cold.

The next day, we had a meeting at lunchtime and we were having Panera.  I ordered a salad along with some Macaroni & cheese.  I took 2 capsules 45 minutes before the meeting was supposed to start.  It ended up starting a little later, so I was closer to the hour before I started eating my salad.  I finished my salad and started on the macaroni & cheese.  I couldn’t even eat half of the first container! (Panera puts the to go Mac & Cheese in 2 containers). I was shocked.  I closed it up and put the two containers in the refrigerator.

After the meeting, I went back to work and had no desire to snack on anything during the afternoon.

Over the weeks, I tried diligently to keep my calorie count under my daily goal. I tracked every mint, every tootsie roll, etc. I still drank my Coke, I stillate my Chipotle and chips, I would still stop at Culvers….but I also cooked more at home, made smart decisions to balance my calories for the day.  I would have 1 day a week where I wasn’t as careful and would have about 2000-2200 calories but I would also have days where I only had 800 calories.  For the most part, I stayed around 1500 calories.

Some things I noticed during those times….I didn’t have cravings.  I wasn’t starving, even on the days I did the lower calorie counts.  I would balance the number of pills I took based on the size of the meal I was going to eat.  For example, if I was going to sit down and eat a full size meal, I would take two pills, but if I was just going to run through McDonalds and order a Crispy Chicken Snack Wrap, I would only take one. I do have to say, if you need something quick and tasty, those are one of the best 350 calorie items.  They are tasty, they are filling.  You can also order them grilled for a few less calories.   I think by balancing the pills, planning my meals, I was able to maximize on the effectiveness of them.

One day in particular was especially evident.  I had been taking the pills for 3 1/2 weeks and noticed some pleasant changes:

Saturday March 19, 2016

I spent the day with friends at Horsefest in Springfield, MO. I took my pills but I did not take them while I was there due to time constraints with meals and just not planning efficiently. I had also decided I wasn’t going to track my calories for the day. Here are a few things I noticed.  I wasn’t in the back of the pack struggling to keep up with my friends.  We went down a flight of stairs to look at some vendors and I noticed when I climbed back up them I wasn’t winded or felt like it was a struggle to do so.  Does this mean I am gaining more lean muscle like it claims? I’m not sure. What I do know is I felt better about myself and my movements.

We went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse (you can read about a previous experience here) and yes, I ate a few of the rolls. I said I wasn’t keeping a calorie count for the day, I was out with friends and I wanted to enjoy myself.  The interesting thing is….I wasn’t able to finish my steak dinner! I took about half of it home. In the past I would have ate 3-4 rolls AND finished my steak.  The less meat consumption was even with me not taking any pills all day, so it is obvious my stomach has shrunk slightly. Even with the additional calories and not taking the pills, I only gained 2.2lbs from the day before.  I will admit though, I had a difficult time losing those 2.2 lbs.  Seemed to take me 3-4 days.  Makes me wonder if it would have been that difficult if I had taken the pills before eating that large of a meal.
Here are the results after taking for 4 weeks (28 days) exactly.

14.6 Lbs lost

2.5 Inches lost in my waist

1 Inch lost in my hips

0.4 Inches lost in my neck (no clue why My Fitness Pal tracks the neck but it does)

Now, those changes aren’t overwhelming, by any means….but they were done simply by taking the Garcinia Cambosia and watching my caloric intake on a track designed for 2 pounds of weight loss per week. I wasn’t perfect with that track. I probably had 6 cheat days, including one where I drank a can of Coke and ate 5 Girl Scout caramel delight cookies….and let me tell you, they WERE a delight! But I paid for it in the calories that day!


So I consider inches lost and pounds reduced to be a win. I am continuing with the Carginia Cambosia.  I am getting ready to spend a week in Orlando, going to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World where I do not plan on watching my calories as closesly as I have been, but I do plan on continuing with the Garcinia Cambosia.

I have also recently read that they work better when you pair them with Pure Green Coffee Bean Extract which I have decided to order from Amazon.  I did see some at Wal-Mart where the percents were too off, so I will be trying them while I’m away but won’t share my true experiences until I have tried the strong, purer, product.  I will be sure to share them.

I do want to say at the time I am posting this, I have currently lost 19.8lbs.  I wish it was more, but again, for only taking a little over 4 weeks and not including any major exercise, I am pleased with the results.
Have you personally tried Garcinia Cambosia? Have you tried the Green Coffee Bean Extract?   I would love to hear your experiences, both good and bad.

 

Unfair expectations of children set by adults who forget who THEY were as teens – HaliPawz

As I am sure in many families, when everyone gets together for the holidays, topics of discussion can range from the most mundane to heated debates.  My family is no different.  We started a discussion about some high school students who were “kicked off” their various extra curricular activities because of behavior their school deemed “inappropriate”. Short story, they got drunk at a party and got caught.  

I do not think teenagers need to drink and get drunk.  If you are a patent, it is up to you to have those discussions with your child(ren). My surprise was how the school chose to handle it.  As we discussed more, I learned many schools take this stand and I think patents need to step in and be more of an advocate for their child and stop letting this happen.  

It all stems from the fact that many students are required to sign a “code of conduct” in order to participate in the extra curricular activity of their choice. Allegedly, the students were reported drinking by another student and many of them were removed from their sports and academic events.  Because some of them were seniors, not only does it affect their last year of high school but could also affect their chances at scholarships, college choices, etc.  I found this to be a very harsh punishment for a mistake.  I went and researched other school’s published Code of Conducts and saw many of them clearly had their punishments laid out for first offense, second offense, and third offense.  None of them went right to removal of the student from the activity.  When I went to review the code of conduct for the school we were discussing, I found it interesting that the page had been removed! 

 

Code of Conduct Page Removed

 
Since I cannot comment on their particular code of conduct, I want to share some of my thoughts regarding a Code of Conduct and the punishments behind them.  

I understand playing a sport or doing an extra curricular activity is a privilege and not a right.  I understand schools have to right to set some expectations for those representing their schools.  My concern is when the expectation is greater for a minor than it is for adults.  Some of the CofC I read expected the kids to be perfect.  I wonder, how many of those adults responsible for WRITING the CofC would have been guilty of not following it when they were teenagers?

  
Another concern is the zero tolerance for making a mistake? You go to a party. You drink. One person finds out, reports it, and you’re off the team? Off Student Council? Is that really fair?  It was not a school event.  It was just teenagers being dumb. 

One CofC I read said you could not be loitering anywhere where alcohol or drugs were present.  I think back to my high school days.  My sister (college aged) would have a party when my parents were out of town.  I would be home and at those parties sometimes.  There was alcohol. According to these CofC, if a picture circulated with me there or someone reported it, I would be in trouble.  There doesn’t seem to be a gray area. 

Another question I have is; how are these even legal? How can they be upheld.  If an adult can not go into a legal, binding, contract with a minor, how can a school? I understand parents have to sign as well, but, in reality, there is no consequence for the parent, other than their son or daughter no longer being on the team.  

I understand there should be expectations and consequences for actions. I can see why the schools would have them in place, all I am saying is to take a step back and really look at the expectations and the consequences.  Does the punishment fit the crime? Are we, as adults, setting higher expectations for children than we set for ourselves? Are we teaching them there is no room for mistakes? 

At the end of the day, there is a reason the laws are different for those under the age of 18. Perhaps some adults need to review those reasons.