187 pounds

GOOD NEWS! When I weighed myself on Saturday morning, I was 187 pounds. That's 12 pounds down in less than two months, and while that isn't unheard of, amazing; I'm pretty excited! There are certain things, for sure, that have helped me since the end of January.

First, is the commitment to walking every morning with other ladies. If it were just me, by myself, there's no way I'd be getting up every morning at 6:10 to walk three miles. Not a chance. But, since there are other people expecting me, I show up, and showing up starts my day early and active.

Second, at the end of February I got a fitbit flex for my birthday, and this black bracelet has been all the incentive I need to help me stay active all day. Again though, if no one could see how many steps I was taking, I probably wouldn't take as many, but since other people can see through the phone app, and I'm competitive at anything I can win, I keep moving. This means the gym a couple times a week, a walk in the neighborhood at least once a day after the three mile morning walk, and a mall walk or something indoors if I need a change of scenery.

Third, I'd say that Matt's semester in school has helped me. Stuff that normal people might know, like BMI charts and what trans fat is, I've learned this semester through what Matt's been bringing home from school. It's common knowledge, but if you move all the time and eat more fruits and veggies, it really does help you lose weight. Less calories in and more calories out. I know now that I have to have a deficit of 3,000+ calories to lose a pound, which has me checking labels for serving sizes and such. Also, we've switched to whole wheat everything, turkey bacon, and added fish to our eaten more often meats. Little changes, all add up, and what Matt is learning in his nutrition and diet classes is helping our home.

I'm excited for the healthy habits we're beginning this year in our home. I can't believe it's March. If Christian hadn't been stillborn in January, this would be a different post. I'd be showing you belly pictures and screaming about how I'm due in three weeks, but instead, it's a weight loss post, because without a baby to show for the extra pounds, they're much harder to carry. Just an honest post. I'm excited because I've been faithful to move and eat well, and it's showing on the scale, but I'm sad still, off and on, because we miss our baby.



Healthy habits abound, and yesterday I walked over 20,000 steps. Each dot on the fitbit represents 2,000 steps (you can customize this), and the goal is to reach 10,000 steps each day. So yesterday, I doubled my goal! Here I'd like to insert audio from a Star Wars pod-racer video game we played as children.

The internet is a marvelous tool. How else would I be able to impose annoying voices on you? What an excellent way to celebrate my new step record for the year. Please play that for yourself repeatedly every time you accomplish something new.

I'll give you a weight update soon. Even if I've gained weight, I'll letcha know. This morning I made my favorite green smoothie, but I didn't have a banana, and though I swallowed it like a grown up, it was ick. Let's make bananas a grocery list essential, mmk?

Having a fitbit makes exercising competitive, and competitive is synonymous with fun around here. This work week, for example, myself and three friends are competing to see who can get the most steps. I walked over 20,000 steps yesterday, and I'm still only barely ahead. Blast you other competitive humans!

If you have a fitbit, let me know! I'd love to have more people to challenge/be challenged by.

I have this one, the Fitbit Flex, which syncs with an app on my phone for constant tracking of myself and the people I'm in competition with. Once I lose weight, I'm willing to be the fitbit spokesperson. Kidding. Sort of.


mine never did

Your baby kept you up all night, or woke you up six times. You're tired. You're grumpy. You have a full day today, and last night didn't go like you wanted it to. I want to say that I get it, but I don't. I don't know what it's like to hear your baby cry. Mine never did.

Your child won't stop nagging you, "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy." You have things to get done. Dishes to wash, clothes to fold, and hearing your name called for the thirty-ninth time in the last sixty seconds is too much. You snap. I want to tell you that it annoys me too, but I can't. I don't know what it's like to hear your baby call your name. I don't know what it's like to hear your baby speak at all. Mine never did.

I'm listening, moms. I hear you. It isn't roses and kittens to raise a baby. It isn't always fun, or happy, or desirable, but hear me too. My son never opened his eyes and looked at me. He never wiggled in my arms. He never made a mess, or colored on my walls with crayons. He never disobeyed, or threw a fit, or kept me up all night. I hear you complaining. I nod along. It'd be rude for me to shush you.

I want to share with you the annoyance caused by the life your child lives. I want to say, "Oh, I know! I hate it when my son ______." but I can't, because mine never did.

In fact, the problem you're complaining about sounds to me like the most beautiful privilege on earth.


three mile mornings

Go away, snow. I want to wear shoes that aren't water-proof, take pictures in the sunshine, and go for walks on ice-free sidewalks. This morning we walked our three miles on partially icy, well-lit roads, but soon the time change will steal our sunshine.

I re-joined the gym this week. What a grown up sentence. With my three mile mornings and some time at the gym every day, I should lose weight faster, which will be encouraging. Yesterday I did my three miles outside (icy roads and all) and then did three miles on an elliptical at the gym. I brought my sister Bekah, for her first trip the gym. I thought we'd go slow, but Bekah saw I was going the tiniest bit faster than her (not competing, I assure you) and felt pressured to blow me away. So we did three miles in half an hour, which isn't breaking any world record, but is much faster than I was intending for us to go. My calves would like me to tell you how much they enjoyed the three mile walk this morning while still recovering from the gym. My calves are sarcastic.

I'm loving having a fitbit to remind me how many more steps I should try to get in and to cheer for me for having so many active minutes and meeting all of my goals. Because I'm getting up earlier than I used to, I feel like there's more time in the day to accomplish housework, and we were talking last night about how I want to finish writing my book and start some new hobbies too. You can make time for so much, and I want to do more things I enjoy. My days are certainly as full as they've always been, but full of walking instead of sleeping, and ellipticals instead of ice cream. Man, I miss ice cream.

Where do you fit in working out? What did you have to sacrifice?



This morning I woke up with a black kitty on my feet, and my husband singing a birthday solo, before breakfast and presents in bed. There are thick sheets of ice, masquerading as snow, spread across the ground, and the temperature is a whopping eleven degrees. That's not a normal birthday occurrence for me and, frankly, not what I would choose weather-wise, but we'll ignore it. After work, we're getting dolled up (snow is a good excuse to wear fur) for a night out.

Earlier this week we ate cupcakes filled with strawberry bits and played an intense game of dominos with my family. They got me a fitbit to help me track my steps and keep up with this weight loss thing. Last night, to the tune of homemade strawberry cake and vegetarian lasagna, we had a Nowak family night that centered on me, and the presents were on point. I lost a game of Catan: Cities and Knights, but I had three secret victory points (on top of the eight points on the board), and having secrets makes life full of small smiles. If you don't play games with your friends or family, I think you're missing out on some of the best smiles you can collect. If you need recommendations, I've got some. Spoons is a recently rediscovered classic that I enjoy even when I lose.

I had hoped (and by hoped, I mean expected) that I would be pregnant this birthday. I would have been. I should be almost eight months pregnant, and I'm not. That makes today less sweet than it otherwise would be. I've heard people talk about how hard it would be for us to be pregnant again. Terrifying, sure, but the best possible thing we can imagine. If you're brave enough to ask in faith, ask God for us.

In case you missed the transformation in the pictures above, my husband shaved his beard yesterday. Some ladies are all about bearded men, and I'm a fan of it in looks and principal, but if it's someone I get to make-out with, the beard is like the raisins in trail mix: just an obstacle on the way to the good stuff. So, yay for smooth kisses! That's a birthday gift in itself!

I've finished my first quarter century. It rushed by, packed full of moments. I'm thankful to God for the people I've shared the moments with.


191 pounds

One of my favorite parts of weight loss this year has been getting up over an hour and a half earlier than I used to wake up. At 6:25 we begin our three mile walk, and before 7:30 (today it was 7:07), I'm home and throwing an egg in the cast iron pan.

Obviously, I also sort of hate that part of losing weight. The walking, biting wind, blistered feet, and rainy mornings are rough, but they pale in comparison to the loss of sleep. If we aren't crawling into bed by 10:30, my grouch-o-meter starts to rise.

But if I had to force the early rising into either "pro" or "con" category, I'd stick with pro. It's nice to be dressed, awake, have exercised, read my Proverb, and eaten breakfast before a time when my alarm would have just been beginning to sing.

So, eight pounds this month. Not setting a world record there, but I'm happy. We're still eating well. No desserts or junk food at home. No seconds. More fruit for sure. No cereal. More water. I'm also mall-walking every Thursday night. It's a good start to something good.

Print from Katie's Pencil Box


our finished bathroom

This room took less work than our kitchen, but let's be honest; it makes me just as happy! Originally there was wood paneling in this room too, so after we re-drywalled, we gave it a couple coats of our favorite color: white. White is so under-rated. Even in a house with two black animals, you couldn't convince me that white isn't the best choice.

We left the white speckled tiles that were already there. Even though they're not perfect, they're serving their purpose perfectly. We did re-tile the trim. It used to be a sea-foam green, and while there are worse colors, the black and white is the timeless look we were hoping for.

We've made it modern with a trashcan from Fab, a shower curtain from Target, a light fixture from Lowes, and a mirror and shelf from IKEA. The art is a watercolor I painted to add a dose of color in a mostly white room.

If you're going to have a house with only one (basically tiny) bathroom, make sure you give it all the attention and love you can!