Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cabin Getaway

I have something special to share with y'all today. 

Last year my parents decided to buy a cabin so they could enjoy a weekend getaway. As soon as it was theirs, my parents went in and did some major updating. I don't mean replacing a few things here and there. They went in, painted everything and decorated every square inch. Now that things are finished, I wanted to share the before and after pictures with you.

This was the cabin exterior before:

My parents extended the porch so that they could enjoy a view of the river. 

I am absolutely in LOVE with this outdoor furniture. It's beyond gorgeous!

The living room before seemed pretty cramped. 

Mom ordered new wood furniture with custom cushions. This is how it looks now with plenty of seating:

The kitchen before was plain and lacked any decor:

Mom used the empty space above the cabinets to display her cabin decor. She cut out a vinyl black bear with her Cricut and applied it to an old toaster. 

Her main colors throughout the cabin are black and red. She made the valances herself. 

Mom and Dad put knobs on the cabinets that have beautiful trout on them. 

I love how everything ties in together now. 

This was the master bedroom before:

And after Mom tackled it: 

She replaced the furniture with a beautiful natural wood set. 

The master bath is probably one of Caleb's favorite parts. He just loves the big jetted tub in here! 
Before it was very dated and desperately needed an update. 

Mom carried the black and red decor through the master bath as well. 

I love that everything is clutter free! It's amazing how organizing totally changes the look of a room. 

The guest bath was an absolute nightmare. I remember calling Mom while she was working on everything and how frustrated she was. This room require extensive drywall repair. Luckily, my mom knows how to do all that. She was raised right! 

Not only does it look great now, all of the walls look just as good as the decor! 

This was one of the guest rooms before:

I'm not even going to comment on anything in this room. My mom taught me if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all....

After completely stripping the room and painting, Mom transformed this into a room for her grandbabies! The twin bed in here makes the room look so much better! The bottom slides out and has another twin mattress so both Caleb and Zoey can sleep over. 

She used her Cricut here to cut out the vinyl black bears and trees for the walls. 

The toy box holds all of the kids' toys. How cute is this room? 

The second guest room needed a lot of help as well. 

Mom and Dad replaced the furniture in here with a natural wood set. It's just gorgeous! 

This is the hallway going to the laundry area. 

This is the laundry area before:

And here it is now decorated and decluttered:

Mom now has cabinets above the washer and dryer to keep her supplies stored nicely. 

The cabin had a nice screened porch:

Dad installed plexiglass windows so that this area could be used year round. 

Belle totally approves of this warm area now! 

The parking area located behind the cabin needed some work and it had no fire pit. With the help of some friends, my brother and my husband, Dad built a large retaining wall. 

He filled the area with new gravel and made a fire pit. 

With a lot of fresh paint, a ton of patience and plenty of hard work, Mom and Dad transformed this place into their perfect mountain getaway. My mom is so crafty and can make just about anything. She has put so much time into getting everything just right.

We have all enjoyed spending family time together here. My parents have worked so hard and this is exactly what they need to relax!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What It Took

Since having my son in 2009, I had always wanted to lose weight. I had done it once in my early 20's and I thought naturally I would lose the pregnancy weight. After pregnancy, my body completely changed. Yes, plenty of women warn you about that but I honestly didn't believe it.

When my child turned 2, I was only ten pounds shy of weighing the exact amount at the hospital before I gave birth to Caleb! How was that possible?? Oh, yeah....must have been the nasty eating habits, limited amounts of physical activity, and tons of denial. I remember that well....

When I was carrying a lot of extra weight, my legs and feet would swell often. I would also have unbearable, often uncontrollable heartburn every day.


That was my life then. It went on for so long it just felt normal. I didn't seek medical treatment. The last time I mentioned weight related problems to my doctor, he told me I was a candidate for surgery. I was too far in denial to consider it.

My family took a trip to Panama City Beach, Florida. It was Caleb's first trip to the beach and I was beyond thrilled! I was so looking forward to capturing photos of every special moment.

Ryan and I planned to drive during the night so the kids could sleep and the drive wouldn't seem so bad Since I didn't want to wake Caleb up, we didn't stop much at all.

Ryan and I stopped for a break in the early morning hours and found a place to stay. We unloaded the kids and crawled into bed. An hour later, I lay awake with excruciating heartburn. I knew the long ride and the swelling were complicating matters, but at that time it was just a normal part of my life. I figured I would eventually fall asleep...

Nausea hit me and I found myself huddled in the tiny bathroom floor. I tried to stay quiet while I vomited the stomach acid up. Acid and blood were the only things that came out. A lot of blood. I was shaking and didn't know what to do. I didn't want to wake up Ryan and then scare the kids. I cried silently sitting in the floor and pleaded with God to make it all stop.

I prayed that I wasn't dying. I had heard about a recent story of a man passing away from a ruptured esophagus due to chronic untreated heartburn. I was so afraid that I was killing myself.

The next morning, I was able to tell Ryan what happened and he was so upset I didn't wake him up. We all loaded into the car and headed to the beach. While the kids were playing in the sand, I looked over at Ryan and told him I had to make some major changes to my body. I simply could not continue this way or I was going to die.

Looking back, I know that is what changed my life. I began losing weight in November (just three months after the beach trip) and I haven't stopped. I am absolutely terrified to let myself go again. After losing the first twenty pounds, the heartburn and swelling completely stopped. I have had mild heartburn maybe twice in the past year!

I hated every single picture of myself from the beach. I wanted to capture all of those memories, but every time I look back on them I see how poor my health, self esteem, and out of control life were. It is now my goal to take Caleb back to the beach and get some better pictures together. I can't make up for the first ones, but I can make sure every single future one is better and healthier.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Aspiring Loser

I thought I'd do a quick weight loss update this week. Over the weekend I was able to drop a little more weight. Considering how much I worked, I'd say that was to be expected when I was on my feet most of the time! It's difficult when you get out of your normal routine. It's much easier to eat anything that's convenient when you're super busy. Luckily, I planned around some of that.

I brought one of the Special K protein bars along with me and it actually tasted pretty good. I hadn't found one I liked very well in the past, but the chocolate one I tried was pretty good. It gave me enough energy to get me through the day. I appreciated the fact that it didn't taste like cardboard!

I also brought along some dry cereal to snack on. Much easier than binging on chips, hot dogs, and pizza the entire time. I love cereal because it's low calorie and helps with some of the sweet cravings that you get.

So, I'm officially 13 pounds away from my goal! How awesome is that??

My parents gave us some money at Christmas. Ryan and I ran across a deal on a home gym last week that we simply could not pass up. It was on sale and I could not believe the price. He assembled everything this past weekend while I was away, so we cannot wait to start using it this week! It does everything I loved to use at the gym when I used to go.

Now that I have my elliptical that Ryan got me for Christmas and this home gym, I have no need for any kind of a gym membership. Which is extremely fortunate since I have absolutely no time to go to one! Plus, who wants to pay that kind of money every month when you can buy the equipment once? I was able to get the home gym for the same amount two months at a local gym would cost us. I got the elliptical for much less than that. If you're looking for equipment, check Craigslist or your local sporting goods stores in January.

So many people want to know how much I've worked out to lose almost 50 pounds. I didn't at all....but it took me a little longer to get there. I wanted to show that I could completely control the weight and lose a significant amount of it by making healthier choices in my diet. It was one hundred percent food and portion control. I very rarely eat fatty, greasy, salty or sugary foods. I drink a regular Coke maybe once a month. In the past, I could drink 3 a day! Now they taste way too sweet.

Even though I've lost a lot, it's time to get in shape. I have all of the tools to get me there, but I have to find the time to do it. I've really struggled with the whole balancing act. I am working full time (and then some),  co-raising a wild toddler, trying to play housewife and chef, and spending time with my husband. By the time, I cook and clean in the evenings after Caleb goes to bed I am absolutely worn out. I think for me to be able to fit in working out, I am definitely going to have to organize my day well.

I know I definitely need to work out at this point. I want to be toned now that I've lost weight. The weight will also continue to drop since muscle weighs less than fat and you burn more calories at rest the more muscle you have. Once I develop a working schedule of my day I will share with you how I adjusted our lives to include more physical activity. Deal?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Boat Show 2013

I've been MIA for a few days while I was working at the Chattanooga Boat Show with my company. By the time we're finished, we are all worn out but totally pumped up with boat fever! Everyone is ready for spring and to get back out on the lake for some beautiful boating. The boat show always signals to me that spring is right around the corner!

This boat show was pretty special for us at Island Cove. A very well known professional fisherman who only fishes out of Nitro boats (one of the Tracker boats we sell) stopped by on Saturday for a meet and greet. I was a little star struck, but I soon realized the Edwin Evers and I had a few things in common. Not only do we love Tracker boats, but we both have three year old little boys. He is also a Christian man who gives glory to God for all of his success! He was down to earth and super nice.

How awesome is that? 

Our Tracker rep, Mark, came out to show the show. On the left is our local Nitro guy, Greg. 

Ryan brought Caleb to to the show so we could see each other for a minute. The most difficult part of working such a long weekend is missing him. 

Caleb loved the Z-9 and Edwin Evers showed him how to drive it. 

I had really missed my husband too! Ryan and Caleb had some major guy bonding time together while I was working. They built forts and passed a baseball around the house. 

Before Edwin Evers left, we got pictures with some of the Island Cove crew. 

Sunday evening is always a mad house when it's time to tow all the boats home and break down all of our stuff. It's actually a lot of fun! 
I'm glad to be home and back to normal after a long, busy weekend. 


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