Guest Post: Alison of Mama’s Weeds: Her Success Story!

How’s everybody doing today?  Hopefully good and that your week is winding down and you’re feeling at peace with Christmas just around the cornerRead: If you’re purchasing gifts for others, hopefully you’re well on your way to completion!  We don’t do gifts anymore for holidays, birthdays, or our anniversary.  Scott and I have been together 10+ years and there’s nothing either of us “needs” and we save our money and skip the gifts and travel instead.  It’s not the right choice for everyone, but it works for us.  But something tells me that Santa’s Gifts for Skylar made it into our luggage.  Priorities, I tell ya!

I am sooo glad you liked my post yesterday on all my Aruban Grocery Store Finds.

And the Pool Pictures


Thanks for all the nice Hot Mama in my Bikini compliments you left in the comments section!  You sure know the way to a soccer mom’s girl’s heart!

And the Beach Shots

We are having a great time and it’s with pleasure I am blogging a little less I turn over the floor to Alison of Mama’s WeedsA true friend, a mother in the trenches with me, an educated, amazing woman who “gets it”, who knows what it’s like to parent mindfully and respectfully, and I just love Alison a ton and appreciate her post for me so much!  Thanks Alison!  Enjoy and I’ve got a few more fresh beach pics at the end of this post so read on….
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Hey Averie fans – I’m Alison and I write a healthy living blog called Mama’s Weeds where I share random and ridiculous tidbits from my adventures as a stay at home mother of two and my ever evolving journey to health and wellness.

Today I want to share about the journey that resulted weight loss success but also ended up being so much more.
I have never been seriously over weight. I have though spent 15 years doing the on again, off again weight loss roller coaster thing. Throughout high school my weight crept up from the 120′s into the 130′s and then the 140′s by the time I graduated from high school. At only 5’3″, 145 wasn’t terribly unhealthy, but I could still stand to lose a little weight. I have always been able some lose weight with exercise and eating right, but was never quite able to get all the way down to the happy weight I really wanted to reach.
After high school and into college I continued to gain weight slowly, maybe a couple pounds a year. I would see the scale go up, I would pay attention to what I was eating and would focus on being more active and would lose a couple pounds. Healthy eating and exercise have always come easily to me, but it was just as easy to let other things get in the way. I would always get a few pounds to come off and would stop paying attention and the weight would slowly come back on.
Again, I wasn’t seriously over weight. I wore a size 10 or a size 12 and always wished I could lose 10 or 15 pounds to be more of a size 8 or even a 6.
After college graduation and getting married my weight crept up into the 150′s. In 2004 I became pregnant with my first daughter and gained 40 pounds during pregnancy, tipping the scale at 195 in my last month of pregnancy. My post-partum weight hung out in the 160′s until I did my usual “cut out junk, exercise more” routine. I also started to run right about this time, believing that running was the quickest way to lose the baby weight. And it was – I was back into the 150′s and my size 10′s in no time.
Fast forward to 2006 and pregnancy #2. The story was practically the same.
Weight: 150′s
Pregnancy weight gain: 40 pounds
Scale the day before Baby #2 was born: 195
Postpartum weight: 160′s
Focus on losing some weight, start running again –> back into the 150′s and into my normal clothes again.
For all the times I’ve lost weight, whether I attempted to lose weight as a teenager, before kids or after kids, I was never able to lose as much as I wanted. The story was always the same. I would reach a plateau, maintain for a while. Unable to lose any more weight I would lose motivation and focus and the weight would creep back on. I eventually concluded that I was just built to be “thick”.

In early 2008, with two small children to care for and making no time to take care of myself, my weight had crept back up 165. 165! My post-baby weight! Are you kidding me? 165 and no cute baby to show for it? My BMR was bordering on obese. It was time to get serious. I was about to to turn 29 and felt like my 30th birthday was breathing down my neck. I knew that if I was ever going to have the body I always wanted, it was now or never. I was determined. This was it. I was really going to do it this time!
165 lbs
Before

The end of 2007, the month before my healthy living wake up call

Christmas 2007

Like so many times before, I cut out junk food, stopped eating candy and drinking soda. I focused my diet around healthy, whole foods and started running regularly again.
And again like so many times before, the weight came off but I hit my plateau of 150 and the scale stopped moving. Despite maintaining my healthy eating and exercise habits I could not manage to lose any more weight.

Plateau

I complained to my very wise mother about the stubborn scale and she asked me how many calories a day I was eating. I had no idea. I was eating healthy foods though, isn’t that all that mattered? She suggested I spend one day counting calories and see where I ended up.
OK, I’ll count calories, what do I have to lose? Besides an additional 15 pounds that is.

With a little digging around on the web I found an online calorie calculator that told me what my calorie goals should be to lose weight based on my current weight, height, age and gender. I’d never before cared about calories, I’d always looked at fat grams when reading labels and believed that was all that mattered. I could all the gummy bears I wanted for a treat because they were “fat free”, right?
Without worrying about my calorie goals just yet, spent a day eating normally, calorie counting all the way. I was SHOCKED to discover I was eating the exact amount of calories to maintain my weight.
Amazing! I now had the answer to the question I’d asked myself so many times before: why do I always plateau? Because I was eating too many calories! It didn’t matter if they were healthy calories. Calories are calories and they still add up.
I spent the next 2 months journaling everything I ate. Once I finally figured out that the answer was calories, I started paying closer attention to portion sizes, listening to my hunger cues and stopped eating when I was full. If I slowed down and listened to my body about about how I was really feeling, I didn’t need to eat so many calories. I didn’t need to go back for seconds, pile huge portions on my plate or eat simply out of boredom. Even if I made healthy choices, those calories still added up. Food journaling was my ticket to mindful eating and held me accountable for the quantity of food I was putting into my body.

I kept up my exercise routine and with my new found way of eating, the weight fell off. Within 2 months I lost an additional 20 lbs, reaching my healthy weight of 129. I was now wearing size 4 and weighed less than I did in high school. That same summer I trained for my first marathon. After breaking through my plateau and losing an additional 20 lbs, I started to find that running was getting easier and I was getting faster too. In the fall of 2008 I completed my first marathon in 4:14:59.

Marathon 2008

All Done!

Food journaling and calorie counting for a couple of months allowed me to become a more mindful eater and in the end, healthier and happier too. It was what the answer to what I’d been missing and helped me solve the weight loss plateau struggles I’d battled with for nearly half my life.

Today

Thanks Averie for the chance to share my weight loss success story!

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Averie Again Now:
No, Thank You Alison, you amazing woman, you!


Skylar says thanks too!

Yoga Today is an Astavakrasana Variation

Tip of the Day:My Bora Bora Foods Give Away!!!   It ends tomorrow (Friday) so get in on it now!

Have you Entered Yet?  Winner will be announced Friday (tomorrow!!).  Go get yourself in on the Bora BoraAction!!!!!!!!!!

Also wanted to pass along some info about Amazing Grass:

Wanted to give you a heads up that Amazing Grass is having a holiday sale, 25% off all products, Dec. 17th through Dec. 20th.*
 Use coupon code “HolidaySale”. 
 *Sale does not include Combo’s and Sample Packs.
 

Stay Tuned for the Winner of the Bora Bora Bars…


And More Awesome Guest Posts AND more Vacation Foods & Photos (since you told me you wanted to see them!)

   

47 Responses to “Guest Post: Alison of Mama’s Weeds: Her Success Story!”

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    Jess (Fit Chick in the City) — December 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Lovely beach photos! You guys must be having a great time!

    I'm somewhere in the middle on the whole Christmas thing. I really think its just a great time to celebrate life and the people you love.

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    *Naomi* — December 21, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    have I mentioned I am SUPER jealous?> I think I have I just needed to express myself again!! ahh it is so georgeous there!!

    as for teh holiday season, I dont really feel a strong connection to this time of year. I celebrate hannukah (as you know) and in the jewish religion is it not really a big holiday, it is just made out to be because it falls around xmas time. WHen I was younger i couldn't WAIT for hannukah, the presents, more family parties and food, but these days now that I am older, it is much more toned down, get a few presents and light the candles, usually one big family meal and thats that! I still LOVE it though!

    I always love spending time with my family!!

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    Jessica — December 21, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Um, I never wanted to spend Christmas in a warm place until NOW! I always thought I'd miss the snow but your sunny pics look so delightful. :)

    I think you know how I feel about Christmas. I love it. I have an incredible family and we spend tons of time together, but there is something even more special about the season. Either way, I know it's because I am incredible blessed!

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    Jess — December 21, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Averie, I love your openness! When I first became a vegan I found a couple online communities for support but left them soon after because they were very condescending about being a Christian! It was all very "you *must* be very left wing and atheist to be vegan" and a huge turn-off.

    Needless to say, I'm a Christian. I grew up in a legalistic Catholic family and converted to a denominational Protestant faith when I went to college (born-again).

    As for the holidays, I hate how commercial it is. I always send a religious card to everyone as a reminder. As a Christian, the meaning of Christmas FLOORS me – not that God came to Earth, of course He could do that if he wanted, but that He would do it because He LOVES me (and you, etc) so much – even knowing He came to die. Wow.

    I am new to yoga, and was planning on doing it on the Wii Fit today but I will do a full Sun Sal on my mat in honor of the Solstice – I LOVE sunlight so I can celebrate the days getting longer without it being a spiritual thing for me!

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    theemptynutjar — December 21, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I admire people with such faith also. It must be so enriching. I am searching myself to find out what or where my true faith comes from.
    In terms of today being a possible day of "rebirth"…that is interesting…in a comment on a blog today I said I was going to work doubly hard on halting my sad type of thoughts. Funny, that today is kind a "day" marking that.
    You and Skylar look georgeous. Keep safe.

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    ChocolateCoveredVegan — December 21, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I love your take on microwaving. Driving yourself crazy is probably MORE harmful!
    Butwhat I love even more is Skylar with her advent calendar. It brings back such happy memories of my sister and me eating the chocolate out of those things. Aren't little kids just so precious?!

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    GF Gidget — December 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    YAY for family time!
    I consider my religion to be more of a relationship with God. Christmas holds deep spiritual meaning for me and my family. That's probably what keeps it from getting too commercial for us. The focus isn't on the what gifts we are getting. I do love giving gifts to people, though. Gift giving is one of my love languages!

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    Molly — December 21, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    108 does sound like a lot, but I can try and fit in as many as possible whenever I have some free time!
    For me, running cross country and track in college is something I never thought I would be talented enough to do, but here I am!
    Growing up, my mom was Catholic and my dad was an atheist. He kept it to himself because it was important to my mom- daddy just didn't go to church with us.
    We later moved onto a more general Christian faith (dad still atheist), but now I don't really identify myself as Christian. Still trying to figure that out!

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    katherine — December 21, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I did grow up in a fairly religious household, but my family has always encouraged me to find my own path. They set the groundwork and now it's up to me to develop and refine my own faith – whether it's traditional or alternative is up to me!

    I really like to idea and significance of 108 sun salutations. I just don't think I could get them done at the gym on my 40 minute lunch break while still being mindful ;-)

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    greensandjeans — December 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Both of my parents grew up in very religious households, but neither of them are very religious. They decided that they just wanted to raise us to be "good people." We DO celebrate Christmas, but more as a time to enjoy each other!

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    shannonmarie — December 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    If the kids let me, I'll be trying to get in 108 sun salutations. Maybe I can get Jacob to do it, too :-)

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    Karin — December 21, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I grew up in a protestant / buddhist household even though my mum wasn't really all that religious.
    I love the Christmas time even though I'm not incredibly religious either. ;)

    Wow 108 sun salutations.. The "idea" of it is wonderful but I wonder how long it would take to do 108 sun salutations.. :)

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    Jessie (Vegan-minded) — December 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Great beach photos! It look like Skylar had a great time. :)
    I am not a very religious person, but I do consider myself to be pretty spiritual. I think it would be amazing to do 108 sun salutations, but I know for a fact that I would lose count (or interest for that matter) before I finished. I wish I could be that committed to yoga, maybe one day!

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    glidingcalm — December 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    awwwwwwwwwwwww skylar is just adorable!!! with her fabulous bathing suit and the advent calendar ! yay yay yay

    those salads look AMAZING and peppermint patties oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    so jealous of the beach time!!!

    HAPPY MONDAYYYY!

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    bhealthier — December 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Just found our blog- really great! I love all the photos at the beach- makes me daydream far away from this cold!

    I love the bit about why 108 salutations- I will definitely try to do 108 today and see how I feel! Thank you for the inspiration

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    K from ksgoodeats — December 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Skylar is SUCH a cutie pie!! I can't take it! I'm now craving a baked potato. I haven't had one of those in far too long!

    I'm not very religious, my sport often held practices Sunday morning so I didn't grow up going to church. I view the holidays as quality family time. A time that everyone (usually) can come together and enjoy each others company.

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    Bliss Doubt — December 21, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    You are the only blogger I follow who has covered, among the pageant of winter holidays, the winter solstice. It is a sacred day for me, but having been raised protestant, I feel that the christian story of the birth of the divine child represents something that happens in each of our hearts at the darkest time of the year, when the sun of the new year is born. It is the inner birth of that prince of peace who brings us comfort and joy.

    Thanks for the post, and happy solstice to you and yours.

    Reply

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    VeggieGirl — December 21, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Seeing how happy little Skylar is with you on the beach brings a smile to my face – you guys are so fabulous and hooray for family time!! **hugs**

    Reply

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    Susan — December 21, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I'm going to yoga tonight! There won't be 108, but I'll definitely be thinking of this while I do my sun salutations :)

    My family is Anglican, and my mother's always been really good about keeping some old English traditions in our Christmas. We always went to church Christmas morning, and sang old religious carols on Christmas Eve. If anything though, I just love it because it's the ONLY time of year my immediate family is together in one room :)

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    Andrea@WellnessNotes — December 21, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    I love the pictures of you guys on the beach!

    The meaning of this time of the year? I grew up in a fairly religious household and went to church regularly growing up. At this point in my life, I'm not part of an organized religion, but I think I am more spiritual than I was in the past. I try to simplify this time of year and not get caught up in all the craziness. It sometimes feels like people get so overwhelmed and stressed out that they are actually less kind this time of year than the rest of the year… I don't want to be one of them… And this means no gifts and only a very casual get-together with a few friends.

    And I grew up with an Advent Calendar, so I bought one this year for the toddler (he just turned 2), but he insisted on opening multiple windows at once (even though he had no interest whatsoever in eating the chocolate, but melting it in his hands and "painting" with it was lots of fun), so I made the calendar "disappear" after a few days (and a lot of cleaning up), and he hasn't asked for it since. I know, not the most patient thing to do… Maybe next year… :)

    Enjoy the beach for me! :)

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    Living and Loving in L.A. — December 21, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I'm so glad you are having fun on your trip!
    I grew up celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas. In my opinion, it's the best of both worlds!!!
    My step-dad was Jewish, and now so is my boyfriend!!! So the traditions continue! I, however, am a Christian. Luckily, my boyfriend just LOVES Christmas. And ME.
    I love Christmas and Hanukkah and every other holiday. I'll be celebrating all holiday's with my future children.
    Can't believe Santa is coming in only 4 days!!!
    I bet Skylar is so excited!!!

    Reply

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    healthhappinesshope — December 21, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    I did know that there was a big significance between the winter solstice and yoga, but I never knew the background on it or about the 108 sun salutations. Such intriguing info… thanks for posting about it! I'm definitely going to be doing some yoga myself this evening before my surgery, so I'll be thinking of that during my practice.

    Oh!!! I used to LOVE advent calendars!!! My brothers and I would always fight over who got to open the last one, so eventually my mom made us take turns and wrote down on the normal calendar whose turn it would be the next year. ;) What a great tradition for Skylar!

    xxoo
    Heather

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    Julie — December 21, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    waaaaait a second you mean that the advent calendar is about something else other then chocolate…

    hahaha i keed.

    girl i use microwaves like its. my. job. i seriously can't even believe that my family didn't have one until i was about 15! yeah!

    enjoy your moooonday girl!

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    Katie — December 21, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Are you seriously going to do 108 sun salutations??? I can't even imagine how long that would take!

    I don't feel strongly connected to the holiday season, except that I love to shower my friends and family with gifts (but I do it all year long at unexpected times). I make all my gifts, and for me, it is more about thinking about the person and what they mean to me while I am making their gift.

    Reply

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    Jenny — December 21, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Today certainly feels like the shortest day of the year. I could have sworn I just woke up 10 minutes ago.

    though I love the holiday season for it's ability to reunite my family and provide us with the opportunity to just spend time together, free from distractions, and relish in the good company – I don't have an incredibly religious attachment to it. We do go to church, but I feel as though that's more so tradition than a product of our religious devotion.

    p.s. in response to your comment on my blog – girl, you are head popular chick (think Rachel Mcadams in mean girls..except much sweeter and hotter) You prob. just missed out on the linkage going around. I was all over that shizz 'cause you know I love me some pressies ;)

    Happy Winter Solstice gorgeous! <3

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    Nance — December 21, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Merry Solstice, Sweetie. And Happy Holidays to you three! Aruba looks delicious and so do the veggies. I have the makings of two malas from scratch…just have to learn how to knot them traditionally.

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    Bekah — December 22, 2009 at 12:00 am

    This is also another reason why I love ya Averie- you don't judge/discriminate, and you're genuinely interested in all of our lives! I love the questions you ask, and the attitude in which you approach certain topics.

    I love this post for all the beach pics, advent goodness and SUN SALUTATIONS! :) I'm gonna have to check that 108 thing out.

    I'm a Christian, so naturally, you'd think I celebrate the birth of Christ? Well, of yes, I do- BUT, my family never did Christmas. Nopee, no presents/tree- we mainly just chill, and live our holiday time stress free. (Except not in Aruba! Damn.) I will be whipping up a fun dinner/lunch though and I think we're going on a hike that day.

    Love all the salads in this post- they look extra yummy for some reason.

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    Biochemista — December 22, 2009 at 12:12 am

    What a great site! I can't wait to read more!!! So informative and cute!!

    Feel free to stop by mine and say hi sometime :-)

    http://www.Biochemista.com

    Reply

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    Emily — December 22, 2009 at 1:41 am

    I love those pictures on the beach – she is so adorable!

    Christmas is meaningful to me and I feel that more people need to take the time to appreciate it. Everyone gets caught up in the material things and seems to forget about the true definition of the holidays.

    Have a good night!

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    Pam — December 22, 2009 at 1:48 am

    What an awesome vacation! Luv the beach scenes!

    Enjoy!

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    burpandslurp — December 22, 2009 at 1:58 am

    I'm definitely religious…but I don't really like the term "religion". I don't think my faith is a "religion", but a fact and truth in life. I think of it as a real and personal relationship with the living God. :-)

    My, you sure look warm in there! Can I join you? I'm freezing and hugging my hot water bottle right now!

    Reply

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    eatmovelove — December 22, 2009 at 2:13 am

    Wonderful wonderful post!
    You are wise young Averie! Your daughter is so adorable and it looks like your enjoying life. I hope to attain that peace one day. My mind is so scattered and stressed and always thinking of what needs to be done or what I messed up…that it just gets to be downright overwhelming. I wish I had time to 'figure' myself out.
    Namaste.

    Reply

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    Paige@ RunningaroundNormal — December 22, 2009 at 3:28 am

    Peppermint Patties?! My mother would LOVE those.If I find some time, I need to make these, and your creme de menth bars for her.
    Skylar is SUCH a cutie. Looks like you two are having such a blast.
    Hooray for winter solstice!! I can't stand when the days are so short! It's very hopeful now knowing that the days are going to get longer and longer now:)

    Reply

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    Lauren — December 22, 2009 at 3:50 am

    Christmas is incredibly special to me. I try to not let the running around, gift buying, places to be, etc. take away from reflecting and celebrating that Jesus came to this place to show EVERYONE God's unconditional love and how we can have a real relationship with him. Not a religion with rules to follow, or a church building to go once a year, but a real, living relationship with God. My life was completely changed when I felt like my eyes were opened to this truth about how badly I needed my forgiving, loving and powerful God.

    I really appreciate how you ask your readers questions and don't judge. I like the deep thoughts! It's not just a food blog, it's kind of your life blog too! :) Have a wonderful vacation with your beautiful family!

    Reply

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    ktbwood — December 22, 2009 at 5:40 am

    wow averie thank you so much! goodness gracious-this means so much because i respect you a TON. you are such a wonderful mother, and so passionate about sharing your lifestyle with others and your love of yoga! i LOVE that! i love you girl!!

    Reply

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    Libby — December 22, 2009 at 9:05 am

    You are in my google reader.

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    Libby — December 22, 2009 at 9:07 am

    I'd love to try the Nutridel cookies b/c they sound delicious and kinda healthy too!

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    Pam — December 22, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Those peppermint patties look SO yummy!

    Enjoy!

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    Victoria Hart — December 22, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Wonderful photos, as usual!

    And I'm a Christian, but I don't practice by going to church etc, so I think that my Christmas is generally quite secular and one which is more focussed on family gatherings and presents (shamefully)!

    xxx

    Reply

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    traynharder23 — December 22, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    THANKS FOR THE HI! =D i'm doing better, still having some mehhh days, but i'm praying for myself too! =D

    Reply

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    kilax — December 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I sometimes have posts that don't publish. I hate that!

    We are buying less this year, and it feels so much better. Becuase I DO feel like the holiday is TOO commercial. I just want to have fun with friends and family!

    Reply

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    Katie — December 22, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Great post, A! I wish I'd read this yesterday so I could have attempted 108 sun salutations… although I didn't end up getting home until late. Maybe I can make it work tonight, even if it's a little tardy.

    I did NOT grow up in a religious household. My mom was raised Christian but doesn't practice, and my dad is a nonreligious Jew. We celebrate Christmas in that we have a tree, spend time together and exchange gifts, but we don't go to church. I just like that it's an excuse for us all to celebrate each other,

    Reply

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    Holly — December 22, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    averie my love!

    sooooo glad you are enjoying everything! those raw peppermint patties look amazing – they are one of my favorite candies :)

    i just like the holidays because it brings people together – you get to eat, drink, be merry and celebrate with loved ones. there is nothing better than that :)

    Reply

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    TheFitnessFreak — December 23, 2009 at 5:56 am

    LOVE advent calendars! My husbands great aunt use to send one to my boys every year. She passed away and it was so sad to not have it come in the mail anymore so my mother-in-law kept up the tradition and started sending it.

    I am a Christian so Christmas has a lot of significance for me. I do get sad seeing everyone caught up in commercialism but it is what it is. We all ca get caught up in it. makes me want to move away and be alone with my immediate family. Nah, I enjoy all of my extended family too much : )

    Reply

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    Alison — December 23, 2009 at 8:06 am

    OMG your beach pictures are amazing! What a wonderful place to be at such a great time of year.

    I'm in the same place with my feeling on Christmas. I am not a Christian and only really celebrate Christmas now because of tradition. If it weren't for my father and grandmother I would simply celebrate the solstice and leave it at that. I don't sweat it too much because really, to me, this time of year is about being together, keeping our spirits bright in spite of the lack of light… it's a magical time no matter what you call it. Great post mama.

    Reply

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    Allie (Protein Girl) — December 24, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    What a wonderful family trip. Sand, memories and chocolate!

    As to your open question, I do yoga (Forrest Yoga) and weight lifting – two things I never would have considered years ago.

    Reply

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    Janetha — December 27, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    hey sweet cheeks. just about to catch up on 8 posts and so probably wont click out to comment on all of them BUT i wanted to say i love the advent calendar photos, my niece had one this year and it is so cute to see the excitement of opening a new door each time.

    off to read about your fabulousness!

    Reply

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