The Beginning… again

I decided to change this blog and instead write about my weight loss journey, and struggles. I am a lifetime, yo-yo dieter. I started gaining weight early in junior high school, and just kept gaining and gaining. By 17, I was 200 lbs. I decided to lose weight and started Atkins. 50 lbs melted off! And then, came back with a VENGEANCE. At 20 I was 232 lbs. I decided to join Weight Watchers and started counting points. I was so excited, and doing awesome, but for some reason just lost momentum (ironic since that is the name of the program I was following). At 21, I decided to try again and started to lose weight, but then got pregnant with my first daughter.

When my oldest daughter was 8 months, I started again.. I was counting points, and walking. I lost 35 lbs. I changed to the Prism program and lost another 22. I was doing amazing, and then came baby number 2! I gained all of the weight back with that pregnancy.

When Madison was 10 months old, I started the HcG diet. I lost 65 lbs in two months! I felt so amazing. And then in 2013 I got injured at work, and depressed. I had a couple surgeries and gained back all that 65 pounds AND MORE. So now, at almost 28 years old, I am the very heaviest I have ever been in my life. I’m part of a little weight loss group on Facebook, and on my first weigh in, I almost passed out! 264 lbs… I’m not sure how my little 5’2 body can carry that much weight, but I’m not happy, and it hurts.

Instead of following a “program”, this time I’m going to follow my body. I’m eating around 1600 calories a day. I track all of my food, and I’m making much healthier choices, but decided against eating foods that I hate, and also decided to still include food that I like. When I deprive myself, I binge. Period. So including a little something here and there and making sure I have it planned out in advance so it doesn’t get out of control is the best way to keep myself on track.

I walk during my lunch break at work everyday, and I’m going to start running again. I plan on doing a couple races this year, even though I probably won’t be great at it, at first, I know I’ll get better again. I love running, the stress release of it, and the extreme accomplished feeling of it. I’m going to start slow, and work my way up, mostly on machines at the gym to start. I’ll begin running on the road again once the weather clears up a little more.

I’ll be using this blog for some of my favorite recipes, exercise motivation, progress pics.. and anything just in general about what I’m doing and the journey to get my healthy back, and KEEP it back! I’ll be taking a starting picture and measurements soon.. Wish me luck!

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Big Project = Big Community!

Today was a very typical day at the beginning. It is my day off, which is very much appreciated. We had plans to do a ton of laundry, and sort through it as we went. Dividing into our keep and give away piles. We have so much laundry to go through, which is ironic, because I swear I never have anything to wear! Yet, we have two closets full of clothes, plus a hallway of dirty laundry… it’s actually a little crazy.

While in the midst of all of this crazy, I got a call from a lumber place that I was interested in. They specialize in reclaimed wood. The idea of using an old barn as the inside of my tiny house is very intriguing to me, nothing goes to waste. It ties in very well with my love of all things natural. Well, the man told me that reclaimed barn lumber starts at $9.00 per square foot!!!! So that means, for my tiny house, I would have to pay $2,880. That is a huge chunk of budget just for a teeny floor that is literally smaller than my current living room.

Next, we talked about bamboo flooring, which starts at $3-5 per square foot. That’s a little more to my liking but would still mean over $1,000. It’s really not a bad price, but I’m looking to save money at any chance I can get. I mean the more we can save, the less budget I have to come up with, and the less I have to spend extremely long days away from my children.

I told him I would think it all over, and call him back if we wanted to purchase from them. I took a break from laundry, and had a cup of coffee. I was reading this story about a woman who built a tiny house for $3,500 but she got almost everything for the house for free from craigslist! I think that is just really incredible. Logically, the next thing to do was open craigslist and see what awesome scores I could find.. And that’s exactly what I did.

The very first listing I saw was for leftover bamboo flooring. It was a light color floor that is absolutely gorgeous and was tongue and groove. I love the complete simplicity of tongue and groove floors or walls. It really makes putting it all together so much easier for this DIY girl. I literally have not one clue about building things. Luckily, my husband, father and father in law, all have excellent building skills.

He said he had some scrap left because he is a contractor of some condos that are being remodeled in North Seattle. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I DETEST driving into Seattle. It is always the absolute last thing that I will willingly do. But, I had a good feeling about it. I called right away, and he said he still had it and I could come pick it up. I packed up the kids, and my hubby and we set out for the hour plus trip, in traffic. Ugh

When we got there, we found out that not only did he have “leftover”, but it is BRAND NEW floor that he just didn’t need at all. And, there aren’t just scraps, but enough to do the whole entire floor in the tiny home! OMG!!! I was freaking out on the inside! When I told him what we were planning to use it for, he also gave us a complete sub floor of cork! And even a beautiful light fixture for our kitchen. This little $20 trip to Seattle saved me over $3000 easily!

It is just astonishing to me. When people find out that you are doing a huge project like this, a sense of community immediately happens, and they want to help. That was part of the best advice I have seen so far through this project planning. When you meet someone who has free materials like this often, share your story. They may help again in the future. This man totally made my day. God used a complete stranger to make things a little easier, cheaper, and better for our family.

It’s people like this, which make you really feel good about people. That there are good people still, and they want to be helpful to others. People still pull together, and have a community. I love this. It gives me such a nostalgic feeling, it’s a bit hard to describe. It also gives me hope that even on a tiny budget, our tiny house dream will come true!!
Here are some pictures of our awesome flooring!

bamboo floor corkfloor floorinvan

Downsizing and Freeing My Spirit!

Trying to downsize enough to get into a tiny house is TOUGH! We have a long ways to go before we are actually ready to move into a tiny house, since we haven’t even finished getting the budget together. But, we are still working towards it anyways. By the time we are ready, we will have our beds (to put in the house) some clothes, and some kitchen stuff to cook and eat with.

That means we are getting rid of 1100 sq ft worth of stuff! We will be reusing some of our furniture. I plan on using the foam from the coach to make new cushions for our tiny house couch. Our table may be packed as a craft table for Ted’s pipe making, with a few modifications. We will cut it down, remove the legs, and make it fold able .

The biggest thing to downsize is the TOYS!!! My kids have entirely too many toys. Most of them, they don’t even play with anymore. They just end up all over the floor, while they get to the few toys they do play with. This is the perfect teachable moment, to show them that we can give to other children who don’t have toys like they do. Also, going through clothes to get rid of the ones they have grown out of.

We also have a garage full of stuff that we haven’t used in forever, so that will all go too, after we sort through to get the few specials things to us out of it. It feels like a daunting task, since just about everything around us is going to be gone. However, it feels so good! To just PURGE is pretty freeing. It’s like getting rid of this load that you’ve been carrying forever. We have moved a lot in the past 6 years, and there is stuff that has never gotten fully unpacked. That stuff can just go without looking through, because if we haven’t missed it in 6 years, chances are we won’t. I forgot what’s even in them. We still have a ton more days to purge, and so much to continue to sort through. We wanted to have a huge yard sale, but that will mean that all of this has to sit in our garage until Spring. There is plenty that we are giving away, and a couple things that are being sold. At this point, it seems like there is still so much work to be done!

Here are some pictures of our purging process!

downsizing downsizing 2

Our Big Tiny Journey Begins!

Hippie.. That’s the nickname my family has affectionately given me. I have changed every aspect of our life about 5 years ago. We switched to homemade baby formula for our daughters, cloth diapers that were always so soft and warm for the babies after drying in the sun, and anything else natural that I could find to change.

I’ve spent hour upon hour researching every part of our life, from our homemade laundry detergent, and dishwasher soap, to our fluoride free toothpaste, and antiperspirant free deodorants. I’m starting to make natural soaps to use for our body, and have made homemade shampoo and conditioner. I love knowing that I’m doing something healthy and amazing for my whole entire family, and I can contribute just a little bit to making the world a better place.

My husband, Ted, was always very on board with everything I did. He’s very supportive, even through some of the out there ideas I wanted to try. He is super patient and listened to every reason I had behind the changes we would make.

We started to dream of a simple life together, one where we could have a little homestead with an off grid home. We wanted to have some chickens, a cow maybe, and a large garden where we could grow our own organic food. We want to know exactly where our food is coming from. We also dream of solar powered lights, and to know that all of the energy we are using is coming from the Sun alone. A composting toilet was the newest edition to our dream, so that we are not using water that could be precious to our garden, or our bodies. Instead we could compost, and grow a better garden. We have started to teach our girls the process of knowing where your food comes from, composting, eating, and then composting again. They love to learn about the chain of life.

In May, everything changed. Ted was playing with the dog, and grabbed his face in extreme pain. We rushed him to the hospital, and found out that he had a stroke that broke off into 5 separate places. He was hospitalized for a week. He seemed to be recovering well, but then had another stroke 10 days later. We spent weeks, and thousands of dollars, at specialists, getting testing done to find out what was causing all of these strokes at only 38 years old. We found out that he has a condition where he is missing an artery in his brain. You are supposed to have 4, and Ted only has 3. The three that are there, are very narrow and do not give quite adequate blood flow to his brain. They have said that if he has another stroke, that was any larger than what he has already had, he wouldn’t be able to survive it.

He is now on blood thinners and a fistful of other meds permanently. I’ve gone from being a homeschooling, stay at home momma, to a working full-time, not having much time with my kiddo’s kind of mom. I’m now working 50-60 hours a week, and a lot of those hours include 12 hour days, where I don’t get to see our children. They are sleeping when I leave in the morning, and then sleeping when I get home from work. With a 12 hour shift, and a 2 hour round trip commute, it doesn’t leave much time at home. If I’m at work, and I call and don’t get an answer, I immediately panic that he’s had another stroke and is incapable of answering the phone. I’ve had to call people to rush to the house to check on him. Our life has taken a radical turn.

Ted is now the stay at home parent, which has helped part of his dream come true of woodworking. He now makes beautiful hand crafted tobacco pipes, but it’s hard for him to not be at the job that he loved so much. He was previously doing plastic injection molding, making parts for airplanes, cars and simple things like hair dryers. It gave him a sense of pride to do that job. He was great at it, and everyone noticed. To go from that, to being the stay at home Father, has been a huge hurtle for him. He misses working, and feels like he isn’t doing enough, even though I know that his job is the most important.

We have been watching a show about the Tiny House Movement. I decided to write into the show, and tell them about our story, and what living tiny would do for our family. They loved our story, and gave us the opportunity to be on the show. They would build us a $70,000, house full of every amenity that we could hope for, in a beautiful, small space. One that is easily taken care of, and doesn’t waste a bunch of energy. We could have our solar panels, and composting toilet. Best of all, we would be completely mortgage free! I would be able to start spending more time with our girls, and have the time needed to home school them. Ted and I could spend more time just enjoying life together. My children could learn all there is about living natural, and being free to define what they want their lives to be. We have a few months to raise the $25,000 we would need to contribute to be on the show. We have started a fundraiser in hopes that we can raise that money and start to live our tiny house dream. We will be posting progress pictures, and updates through the process of downsizing, and selling and giving away everything. A link to our fundraiser is below as well.

4216867816725    http://www.gofundme.com/e2ydq8