Erin’s Weight Loss Journey – Part 1

Please welcome Erin.  She will be sharing with you her emotional weight loss journey.  It is amazing and inspiring.  Believe it or not, Erin was a student at the high school I used to teach at.  I have always had a special place in my heart for her, and I knew her story would be perfect for my new blog venture.  Leave her some love in the comments, this is a tough story to tell, and this is only Part 1 of 4!


The first time I ever lied about my weight I was in the third grade, I was 90 pounds. A friend of mine asked me how much I weighed after our school ‘, I lied and told her 30lbs less than what I really weighed and she laughed at me. By the time I was in middle school I was constantly teased and bullied about my weight.  In the sixth grade there was a boy in my science class who used to sit next to me and poke the rolls of my stomach, and by the time I was in the seventh grade, there was a boy who used to follow me all the way home after school calling me “twinkie,” and asking me if I wanted to meet his friend named Jared (I think referring to the subway commercials).  He followed me home everyday for a year.  I started to beg my grandma to drive half an hour everyday just to pick me up from school so I didn’t have to walk with this kid behind me for fifteen minutes.

When I left 8th grade I weighed 200lbs, and the summer before high school I was determined to lose weight so that high school would be nothing like middle school.  I started running everyday, and continued to eat less and less.  I used to have competitions with myself trying to eat less than I did the day before.  I had lost 20lbs by the time freshman year started.  I was freshman class president, and everyone knew who I was.  No one asked me about my weight or teased me about my weight.  I started to make so many new friends.  Throughout high school I couldn’t keep the weight that I lost off.  I continued to gain the weight back and by the time I graduated High school I was 220 lbs.


(220 lbs- Graduation day with Danielle and Rachel)


(220lbs- My friend Kammwrin helping me move to Grand Junction right after high school)

My freshman year in College I gained 30 pounds.  I was extremely unhappy with where I was living; I stayed up all night, and slept through my classes all day long.  I barely passed, and finished my freshman year of college, and came home weighing 250 pounds. I was becoming heavily involved in drinking, and I hated myself.


(250lbs Erika and Danielle came to visit me in Grand Junction)


(250lbs Erika and Danielle came to visit me in Grand Junction)


(250 lbs- Visiting Danielle before start of weight loss)

It’s the Shingles. Sh*%

We met our new pediatrician last week for a check-up and a flu shot.  Yes, we are late on it, but we moved over the holidays and my brain was elsewhere.  When our pediatrician was checking out the kids medical records he noticed Collin’s.

Collin had A-Typical chicken pox when he was 1.  He got them three weeks after he got the chicken pox vaccine.  To be clear, he only had about 10 total pox on his body, and he got a low-grade fever.  Still, it concerned us, but we dealt with it and all was good.

This past fall, my little guy got the shingles.  It was horrible, miserable and so sad.  We noticed a small rash on Friday evening, and by Saturday afternoon, he was in Urgent Care.  I had a pretty strong feeling it was the shingles:  Red rash, on one side of his body, in the rib area, seemed painful.  We wanted to get the doctor’s opinion though, so to Urgent Care he went.  This is when the doc tells Rian, “Shingles don’t hurt in little kids and it will clear up in a week.”  I was shocked.  He definitely seemed to be in pain.

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Collin wouldn’t let us LIFT HIS SHIRT for an entire week.  The faintest little brushing of fabric on it hurt like crazy.  He wanted to be held, but we had to be extra careful not to pick him up near his rib area.  On Tuesday, three days after the urgent care visit,  I took him to our pediatrician for a follow-up.  Thank goodness.  He assured us it did hurt Collin a GREAT deal and gave us some lotion to rub on it and some ways to help him with pain.  The actual rash lasted almost three weeks and at the end of November he still had a little red and scarring from it.  He did not itch it a lot, thank goodness, or there would be more scarring.

Our new doctor here in Cali did say that it could possible be the only time he gets shingles, or he could get them again.  So, boo.  We’re hoping this warm salty air does our boys some good and that we won’t be getting anymore weird diseases.

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Tastes Like Cheap Chicken – #2

She’s back and better than ever! In case you need a refresher, here is Tastes Like Cheap Chicken #1.


I Bought A Benz With A Coupon

I love me some coupons (also pronounced “Q-pons” if you are feeling fancy).  I use them wherever and whenever I can.  I whip them out for groceries, restaurants, entertainment, travel and I even used one to purchase a brand new car.  Yep, I had a coupon for $500 off the purchase of a Mercedes-Benz.  Jumping into the couponing world can be a little overwhelming, so here are some of my tips to get organized and on the right path to save some serious money in 2014:

  1. Have the right perspective- channel your inner Kenny Rogers.  You got to know when to hold ‘em.  Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away.  Know when to run (that may be a bit overdramatic for couponing, but you get the idea.)  Couponing is most effective when you use them in combination with sales and promotions AND when you use them for items that you actually need or want.  I throw away about 30 or so coupons every month that have expired because the right deal just never came along.
  2. Start by getting organized.  Crumpled coupons shoved in your glove compartment that you never remember to bring into the store are not very effective.  Some people (the “visual learners”) use a big binder with slotted protective sheets so they can view all the coupons easily and keep multiples together in the same compartment.  I like the more discreet and compact accordion-wallet version that fits in my purse.  Label compartments with different categories that make sense to you (Frozen Food, Health & Beauty, Beverages, Foods Shaped Like Circles, etc.).  This will help you find them quickly.  When I am going to redeem a coupon, I move it to the very front compartment of my pouch while I am shopping so they will all be together and ready to hand to the lucky cashier.
  3. Think “layers”.  It works in fashion and it works in couponing.  Not only do I keep an eye on weekly ads for my favorite stores so I can match up coupons with sales, I also use store reward cards to earn gas points, use a credit card that automatically saves me 5% on everything I buy and use coupons where I earn extra rewards when they are redeemed.  Some stores (i.e. Target) have their own store coupons that can be used with manufacturer coupons to double your savings.  Shop at stores which double manufacturer coupons to maximize savings as well.
  4. Bulk is bad (unless it is free bulk).  Another fashion analogy that works for couponing.  Buying the bulk product while using a coupon might be a good deal, but if you use your $1 off coupon for the smallest size product allowed while it is on sale, you might be able to get if for free or loose change.  That’s a better deal!
  5. Stock up.  There are so many different resources for clipping, loading or printing coupons- take advantage and get multiples when you find a good one.  One free pouch of tuna is cool, but loading the pantry with 5 free pouches of tuna is super-cool.

Stay tuned to the next installment of TLCC- I’ll break down some of the best resources and ideas for hunting down the right coupons for you.

Please feel free to ask any questions, leave comments and tips or just complain about the price of milk.  I have a psychology degree that I haven’t really used in the last decade, so let me be your Cheap Counselor.


Big Blog News!

I went back and forth over the holidays wondering if I wanted to blog anymore.  Do I still like it?  Do I want more readers?  Do I do it for fun?

The answer.  Yes, I like what blogging brings me, in the future.  A few weeks ago I sat down and read almost my entire blog over again.  I loved it.  I loved that I have my memories in this format.  But, I also like the feeling that other people might be interested in what we are doing as well.  This leads to my new plan.

Personal Stories Blogazine.

I have tons of friends that I always think, you should write a blog and tell your story, or that little story that was a snippet of your life.  Luckily, I have some awesome friends who are willing to help me make this happen.  So starting this week, I will be gradually introducing you to new writers for the blog.  They may or may not have a blog of their own.  They may be using my site to test their “stuff” to see if they want to start their own blogs, they may just be doing this to be nice to me because I begged them.  I have talked (read: bribed) most of them into doing a series of posts, so it will cover a span of time.  My hope is that these interesting stories, infused with my Mommy blogging, will bring some new life to the blog.  I am already more excited than I have been in two years.

So stay tuned over the next few weeks and get introduced to some new writers for the blog.  They are 100% worth your time.

Silhouette Shots

California. Sun. Warm. Sunsets.

My new jam is taking silhouette shots of my family with all of the aforementioned things. I do these all with my iPhone.

Here is a little how to (warning: it’s super easy):

1. Find a sunset. It’s typically better to do it RIGHT after the sun has set. The sky still has the light, but not the bright sun.
2. Put your person in front of set sun.
3. Get lower than your person. I had Cam stand on a rock and then I stood about ten feet away and squatted.
4. Auto focus your phone on the sky, not on the person. This means you tap your finger somewhere on “the sky” area of the photo for it to automatically focus in on.
5. Take picture. Take more than one. Keep trying until you get a perfect shot! I have way more out takes than I do one perfect picture.
6. Send picture to your family and have them marvel at how great a photographer you are.






What I Am Doing:

Watching: The Australian Open. I love the top 4 men’s players right now. We are in the midst of the greatest.

Reading: Columbine by Dave Cullen. Almost 15 years later and it still makes me sad, disturbed, scared and mad.

Listening: The Story of my Life by One Direction. I will forever love pop and boy bands.

Making: A Kiki for baby Cambry and finishing up my 2013 Project Life album.

Feeling: Excited for the Super Bowl!

Planning: all the various Doctors and Dental appointments needed to register Cameron for Kindergarten.

Loving: Having Rian home for dinner every night.