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Sunday, September 28, 2008

All Around CHAMPION

Congratulations, Caroline!


Caroline and I traveled to Euless, Tx on Saturday for a Gymnastics Meet where she brought home the Gold for First Place on Bars, Beam and Floor. She also brought home the gold for First Place ALL AROUND... Hooray, Caroline
!







Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Today, My hubby, my one and only, is 37! Happy Birthday, Baby!
37 of my favorite things about Chad Castle... my man! (in no particular order)

1- I love that you're excited about taking me with you to North Carolina.
2 - I love that you keep me grounded and remind me that the important things in life are the people and experiences and not the "stuff".
3- I love that you are willing to be "Coach Chad" to all four of our children.
4- I will always remember immediately after Kate was born and you standing by my side. I remember saying... I'm fine... Go meet our daughter. I loved how you wanted to be with me.
5- I love how you were standing right beside me during all four deliveries. You never fainted.. and always told me I was your hero.
6- You are an excellent father who our kids will always admire.
7- I love how you compliment our girls and help nourish their self esteem.
8- It was so much fun at our first apartment our first Christmas when you decorated the outside with Christmas Lights for the complex competition. We SHOULD have won!
9- I love that you appreciate traditions and encourage them in our family.
10- I love that you didn't yell at me when I got the truck stuck in the mud at HOT soccer.
11- I will always remember and appreciate you loving and supporting me through that fourth pregnancy. I needed the "you can do it" boosts.
12- I love to wake up and feel you beside me every morning.
13- Hearing you pray for me with your arms around me is priceless.
14- I appreciate that you know my stubborn side and are always the one to reconcile after an argument.
15- After 13 years of marriage, you are still a gentleman. You open my door, pull out my chair, order for me... etc.
16- You are so cute in your suit and tie.
17- I appreciate that you work hard to help our family be debt free.
18- You are a true servant and a blessing to everyone you serve.
19- I love that we can look at each other across a room and immediately know each other's thoughts.
20- You know all of my secrets and love me despite them.
21- I so appreciate that you are the household "homework checker". It keeps me from having to relearn 5th grade math.
22- I appreciate that you always encourage our children to be their best!
23- I love your sensitive side that comes out during life's precious moments.
24- I love how you can stop me mid sentence to tell me you think I'm beautiful.
25- Which leads me to... I appreciate that you ALWAYS listen to me as I tell you every detail of my day.
26- I love that you are so smart and so successful in your job.
27- I so appreciate that you ALWAYS write the bills and handle the checkbook. THANK YOU!
28- I am so thankful that you never question me when you see me pulling tags off of new clothes. You just say it looks nice and rarely ask the cost. :)
29- I love when you walk up behind me and put your arms around me.
30- I'm so thankful that you're willing to spend the money and take our kids fun places.. ie.. Disney...:)
31- I love that you always eat my cooking...even when it tastes bad.
32- I love that YOU cook for ME.
33- I love that you are willing to "get" anything that the girls and I deem "scary".
34- I am ALWAYS proud to be your wife.
35- You appreciate Date nights... thank you.. I live for them... I like our evening walks too!
36- I love that you are showing our sons what a godly man looks like.
37- I so appreciate that you chose to spend your life with me. You are my life's biggest blessing and my very favorite thing. Happy Birthday, Baby! I love you!
Kes

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Expectations

Why do we put so much pressure on each other and ourselves to meet expectations? I've been thinking about this today.. just about the expectations that I put on my spouse and on my kids and about the expectations that are put on me and that I put on myself.

It reminded me of the Christmas just before Chad and I got engaged. I spent Christmas in Baton Rouge with my family without Chad. I remember several long phone calls where we discussed him going to look for engagement rings. Knowing that we were definitely in love and meant for each other, I was just sure he'd bought one, kept it a secret, and was going to give it to me all wrapped up as a huge surprise when we exchanged gifts back in Texas after Christmas.

So, the day came to exchange gifts... I carefully chose the outfit I would wear. I certainly wanted to look perfect for my engagement pictures. We sat down at his mom's house and there was a big pile of presents there waiting for me. I just KNEW there was a ring in one of those presents. So, I opened the first one. It was a trunk Organizer... Yep... you know the kind that fold up, but when opened hold all kinds of things that could help keep a clean car. Yippee!!! Then I opened a roll of Shop Towels to go in it. I was still thinking that he'd hidden the ring somewhere. A few Armoralls and Windexs later, I realized there was no ring. And not only that, the gift I was given was in NO way romantic, sweet or sentimental in the way I expected it to be. It just did not meet my expectations. It was years before I told Chad about my disappointment. I would never have wanted to hurt his feelings.

However, as I later learned, my now husband actually spent quite a long time in the store trying to get the perfect gift for me to help keep my car organized. It was a nice gesture, but because I had my "expectations" set, I couldn't see the thoughtful treat that it really was.

Sometimes expectations are an unnecessary evil. The expectations that we build up in our heads of our children and our spouses, or of the dream day we're going to have together. Or the fun vacation we've planned that ends up being the trip from hell... the fantastic meal we're going to have at our favorite restaurant that comes out cold and all wrong!

The pressure we put on each other to make lots of money, cook perfectly healthy, organic meals for our families, serve on the PTA, serve the church, keep up with laundry, be polite and welcoming to everyone,look healthy, keep a tidy house,... you get the idea. It's just too much! If we'd just be thankful for what we get, we'd never have to be disappointed! Trust me.. the expectations I put on MYself are much greater than the expectations anyone could EVER put on me. So, I just remind myself to be cautious with my expectations and pray that the same is done for me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lemonade Stand




The call to earn money just screams at my children all the time. They are constantly looking for something... anything... to do to make money. One of their favorite things to do is set up a lemonade stand in the front yard. We don't live on a busy street at all, so clientelle is minimal! It's usually a Saturday or Sunday occurence that mostly consists of the neighbors who are doing yardwork walking over or the one of two passerbys that feel sorry for them stop.


I honestly think it's a pretty messy scene. I've looked out the window to see one of my children sticking his hand in the ice and then placing it in a cup while his sister pours lemonade from a pitcher on it. YUCK..

Well, the last time they had a stand, Kate decided to make some strict lemonade stand rules. I guess in order for them to be strict, she had to type them up on the computer and make an official document out of it. So, I thought I'd share the rules with you. As you read them, just notice the two quiet girls taking advantage of their outspoken little brother.




Jobs for lemonade stand

Cort: you hold up the sign and yell lemonade. You also watch for me to point my thumb up and yell we except tips!


jobs for lemonade stand!

Caroline: you help me pour the lemonade and help hold up the signs.

Jobs for lemonade stand!
Kate: pour lemonade and help count money!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Determination


I just wanted to share a video clip of Caroline doing her bar routine last weekend. To an untrained eye, like my own, it looks like a simple little routine that any kid could just hop right up and do. It so is not. It takes a lot more than it looks like.



video

These little girls spend 14 hours a week in the gym working to compete in gymnastics. They do lots of strength and conditioning, running, and all of the stuff that isn't always so fun. It is a huge commitment and takes a lot of determination to keep at it. We're so proud of Caroline for sticking it out and always giving it her best shot.


Caroline received a third place medal for this routine last weekend. Her team also won Third Place all around.




Way to go, Caroline!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Skinny Genes

I don't have them.... Skinny Genes that is. I wasn't one of the lucky ones born with a metabolism that runs like a race horse. I have to work for mine to wake up and get going.

I've always been intrigued by people's before and after stories. Having been a little chubby girl growing up, I appreciate the before picture because I realize what the person in the before picture felt like. And, of course, I appreciate the after picture because I realize all the struggles and hard work that went into looking good for an after picture.

Well, I thought I'd share a before and after pic and post about my most recent weight loss tricks. I'm going to get real with you and just tell it like it is.

First of all, I'd like to say UP FRONT that it's all a matter of where you come from. Perspective I should say. Do I think I look fantastic now and have a hot bod.. NO.. If you know me well enough, you know that goes without saying.

Someone who was born a little skinny thing and has stayed a little skinny thing, will not be able to relate to this post. You know who you are. You're the girl who is a size 2 on your chubby day, but still only wear full tankinis with a skirt, while those of us who have worked our heine off to be a size 4 with problem areas, wear a two piece. It is all perspective. Where you're coming from. So, this is where I'm coming from!




This is a picture of me when Clayton was 6 months old. That's about the time I realized that any weight that I was going to lose just because of giving birth was gone. The rest was going to be work. I had given birth to four children, did not wish for any more, but was still feeling bad about where I was physically. This is the no exercise Kesleigh and just eating whatever was easy Kesleigh.


I'm so proud to show my picture 20 pounds lighter. I know what you're thinking... and NO, I am NEVER done toning up and trying to lose a few more pounds. It's where I come from and how I think, but I would say all in all at 36, I'm pretty okay with my size.... most of the time.



I sometimes have people ask me what kinds of things I eat and what I did to lose weight. It started with Metabolic Weight Loss. I did not go there. I did not buy the products. I had a copy of the diet and followed it. The first ten pounds came off quickly and I was sold on the program.

As I was doing that program, I realized that exercise was going to have to be a major part of my life, so I go to the YMCA at least 5 times a week. Sometimes I even catch myself doing light weights, push ups, situps and squats while I watch tv at night. I have just realized that anytime you can be moving is much better for your body than being still. I like to do step aerobics and was doing body shaping religiously until my schedule changed. I highly recommend aerobics classes rather than exercising alone only because having people around you doing the routines encourages you to keep going.

I also learned to realize how many unnecessary calories I was taking in. I realized that I was snacking while talking on the phone and not even thinking about it. I was getting up for seconds and never realized I was doing it. Just mindless eating.

I also weigh myself every day, religiously. It keeps me in touch with if I'm gaining or not. I have a digital scale that is always on full battery and always available in my bathroom.

Now, I don't live on Metabolic Weight Loss. It's not a plan meant to live on. But, I do have to maintain somehow. So, I modify. The plan is always on the back of my mind. I know it well. I eat a ton of salad.. only Spinach leaves with different toppings. I love the Kelloggs protein drink mix and HIGHLY recommend it to everyone. And, I also recommend the South Beach Bars. They are high in protein and that helps you stay fuller longer. AND, they're really good. I highly recommend the Light bread at Braum's restaurant. Any time we are going through Hillsboro I pick some up and freeze it. It's delicious and is only 40 calories per slice versus the 90 calorie regular bread. And, I must admit it, I live on Diet Pepsi. It's my treat and one luxury I afford myself.


Again, as a person who spent the better part of my life heavier than most people around me, I will always consider myself bigger and will always be on a mission to take control over my physical self just to prove that it's possible. I'm always "on a program". It's just who I am, but that's not to say that I can't enjoy a good piece of pie every now and then. And, it sure did feel good to go to my annual OB/GYN appt, weigh in and realize I weigh less now than I did 4 kids ago.

Thanks for letting me share...