Archive for the ‘Milestones’ Category

I’m trying to get back into the groove of posting regularly, and by regularly I mean more than twice a month, so I figured I’d kick off the second post this week with some good news.

I have finally lost the baby weight.

Mind you not all the weight I gained was from the baby (who is now school age and technically not a baby), but I did gain a good bit during my pregnancy. Fifty-five pounds to be exact. I lost some after giving birth, as most moms do, but I never got back down below 300 until last year. I hovered just above that awful number until I stopped nursing, and once I stopped nursing, my body figured out I didn’t need all those extra calories anymore. Unfortunately I did not also realize the same.

Then there was the knee injury that was instrumental in getting me to my Highest Weight Ever. Thirty more pounds there.

Thankfully it is all gone. In December, on Christmas Eve no less, I finally found myself below the weight I was when I first discovered I was pregnant nearly six years ago.

At least I took it off before she reached high school.

This calls for a celebration so I decided to host a modest little giveaway. This is actually the giveaway I was supposed to do when I finally got below 300 pounds, but not being the most organized or driven person, I sort of…didn’t do it. I also had a little trouble figuring out what to give away because I don’t know what you people want.

So I figured I’d just give away things I like.

Like I said, this is a very modest giveaway package and it’s worth around $50. The package consists of three things and they’re all going to one reader so I don’t have to post prizes to three different addresses.

I’m lazy, unmotivated and cheap. But I’ve taken off that baby weight. That’s key here.

So do you want to know what’s up for bid?

Alrightly then.

Item number one is a $15 iTunes card.

I love iTunes gift cards. I don’t buy much music, but ever since getting an iPod touch, and then an iPhone, I’ve been spending a little too much time in the App Store. I’ve been very tempted to keep this for myself, but luckily for you I’m quite happy with my Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies for now.

Item number two is a delicious bag of Good Life Granola.

Folks? I LOVE this granola, and how I managed to acquire a bag to give away is kind of a funny story. Well, funny in a sad sort of way because it once again highlights my complete lack of motivation.

So Nathan and I were out at the Holland Farmer’s Market last May and Mike, the owner of Good Life Granola, had his table set up with his samples. I introduced myself as @oakhollowmom because we had conversed back and forth on Twitter, as much as two people can in 140 characters or less, and he wouldn’t have known me from Eve had I introduced myself by my real name.

Since I’m not very comfortable asking for freebies to give away on the blog, I figured I’d just buy a bag myself. Then Nathan told Mike I was going to give the granola away here and Mike very graciously offered me another bag to do just that. But when he asked me when I was going to do the giveaway, I told him it would be when I hit my next weight loss goal.  As it turned out, I didn’t hit that goal until the end of June and, as I mentioned earlier, failed to do the giveaway at that time.

So Mike, I owe you a HUGE apology for taking so long to introduce you to my readers.

Did I happen to mention how wonderful this granola is? If you’re not a raisin fan, you’ll be happy to know this granola contains all natural ingredients, none of which are raisins. Just oats, pecans, almonds, brown sugar, Michigan maple syrup, canola oil, cinnamon, sea salt and vanilla. It’s a wonderful, wonderful mix of flavors.

And I’m sure Mike will be happy to know I won’t be passing on the bag he gave me last May. While I do still have that bag and have confirmed it’s still very tasty, I could not in good conscience give away a bag of granola that’s been sitting on my desk for eight months. The bag you will be getting was recently purchased at a local health food store.

And the final item is a gro-pak starter kit from Blue Avocado.

I was introduced to Blue Avocado a couple of years ago at BlogHer and could kick myself for not taking advantage of the generous discount they offered to conference attendees back then. I love their little pod bags and had no idea they actually turned into pods until I saw roommate Amy with some as she was packing up her swag.  I was all, “Oh, those bags do that?” and proceeded to scrunch and fold mine into a neat little pod shape. I also wish I would have followed Amy’s lead and gotten a couple more bags from the expo hall. Ah, well. You can learn from my mistake. If you room with a frugal blogger, don’t let her out of your sight because she has an amazing capacity to scope out freebies.

The starter pack consists of one pod bag, one pak carry-all bag and one veg produce bag. I need to add a disclaimer here because the set I picked up was not purchased directly through Blue Avocado. I acquired my set on the farm last summer when I was picking up my CSA share. It was only after I brought the bags home that I realized they were a little dirty after being displayed in the farm store.

But now I can tell you the bags wash really well.


And now you know why I don’t do giveaways that often.

If you’re at all interested in this package, you may earn a chance to win it by posting a comment below. The comment should include one goal you are very proud to have reached. It doesn’t need to have anything to do with weight loss. Have you run a marathon? Graduated college? Taught a monkey sign language? Tell me about it, but please don’t go crazy by barraging me with your awesomeness. Too much boasting in multiple comments will only cheapen your efforts.

In other words, one comment per person, please.

You can post your comments until 11:59 PM next Wednesday, February 16 (because Midnight would actually be Thursday, right?)

Thursday I will draw a winner and hopefully post the results shortly after.

If I remember to, that is.


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Dear N- family,

As we approach Autumn’s next life journey, I would just like to say thank you to you for choosing our center, and bringing her into my life. As far as my students go, there is no doubt that Autumn was my first love. I truly treasure the time we spent together and the milestones we achieved as she grew into a strong, imaginative, beautiful, and intelligent “big girl.” I am so proud to have been a part of her growth, and I know she will continue to excel throughout all of her school years and beyond. Autumn truly is a special, special person and I will never forget her laugh, her smile, her stories, or her hugs. In the coming years, as you face Autumn’s challenges,celebrations, and accomplishments, never forget that she is the very special person she is because of you. You have raised a wonderful person. Thank you.

Best wishes to you and to Autumn. She will do great!

Miss Mary

Pardon me while I sob. Thank God for allergy season. At least my puffy, red eyes can be passed off as hay fever.



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Can you guess who I met last night?


Details to follow shortly. And by shortly I mean later today or tomorrow.

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A new beginning

First day of school

This is my little girl standing in our driveway before her first day of school yesterday. I think every parent has this exact picture tucked away somewhere. Maybe the kid isn’t wearing a yellow skirt or holding a tattered old Spongebob Squarepants blanket, but the grin and the palpable excitement are pretty much the same.

Autumn had a blast yesterday. I was told she fit right in and got along well with everyone and I couldn’t be happier. I knew she’d do well because she loves being around other kids. She said all the ladies are nice because they pushed her on the swing and gave her a Dora tattoo.

One thing I’ve learned about life is that things are rarely settled. You can plan and make decisions based on an end goal, but life rarely travels in the straight line you imagined in your head. You don’t get from point A to point B without taking detours through Q and K. That’s just the way it is and you had better get used to writing those plans down in pencil.

Change can be a good thing, and while the transition from daycare to preschool did not go as I had originally planned, I know without a doubt that Autumn can only benefit from getting started three months early.

And now that she’s in school? I’m shaking my head and wondering what happened to this little girl…

Seriously. Where did she go?

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In the mood

This morning I woke up feeling a little ill. My stomach felt queasy, my head ached and I thought I might be getting a migraine. I had some unsettling dreams that stayed with me throughout the morning. I’ve been dreaming a lot lately and in most of them I’m either very angry and verbally attacking someone or being physically attacked myself. They’ve all made sense in a creepy Freudian kind of way, but I’d still rather dream of puppies and peanut butter cups. Unless, of course, I’m being attacked by said puppies or peanut butter cups.

Later in the day the queasiness gave way to sinus pressure and I sent Nathan a message that said I thought I might be getting a cold. “Well, it’s your turn,” he replied with as much sympathy as he could muster. He’s had a cold for about a week and Autumn’s had the ear infection and accompanying snotty nose. I’m the only one in the house who has remained relatively healthy so I guess it is my turn.

Very early in the morning, before the dreams, the headache and the queasiness, I rolled over in bed and felt something snap in my knee.  It was incredibly painful and I gasped loudly.  Nathan woke and asked me what was wrong but I couldn’t talk.  It was the most painful thing I’ve felt since recovering from surgery (a year to the day) and an unpleasant reminder that I’m not yet healed.  The incident didn’t affect my ability to walk throughout the day, but it sucked all the same.  I don’t know what the hell happened, but I hope it doesn’t happen again.

I think today would have been a good day to work on the phones. Usually when I find myself in a bad mood at the start of the work day the phones tend to lift my spirits. I think it’s the human contact, but lately I’ve found myself off the phones more than on and have chosen to just plug into my iPod and plug away at my work. I’ve been able to catch up on a lot of my favorite podcasts that way.

I know this mood will pass. It may take a couple of days or I may wake up tomorrow and feel completely refreshed.

But then again, there’s always the threat of those killer peanut butter cups.

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This past Friday marked the beginning of the Ultimate Blog Party hosted by Five Minutes for Mom.  As usual, I’m a little late to the party because I suck at time management.  If you’re here, that means you successfully waded through the twelve hundred other entries to find me, so welcome!

My name is Heather and I’ve been writing this blog in one incarnation or another for the past three and a half years.  I created the blog when I was pregnant with my daughter Autumn, who is now nearly three and a half and a complete delight. She’s independent, spunky, defiant, charming and a petty thief.  Just today she stole several grapes from the produce section of the grocery store and would have continued on to the bulk chocolates had I not intervened.

Autumn and I live in Michigan with her father Nathan, the man I’ve been married to for nearly twelve years.  Nathan and I met at our local Target store back when we both worked there.  I didn’t like him much at first because he was kind of a dork and tried too hard to be funny.  One evening he made a joke at my expense and I gave him the cold shoulder after that.  He is nothing if not persistent and it turns out I’m really attracted to dorks so here we are.

Our dog Molly rounds out our motley crew and she is, perhaps, the most interesting one of the bunch.  Molly eats just about everything (and I mean everything) and enjoys roaming the neighborhood whenever the gate to our backyard pops open.  She’s a stellar Frisbee catcher and a hellacious shedder and is the reason I will never, ever own another dog.  Seriously, she eats EVERYTHING.

As of right now the four of us are just hanging out waiting for spring.  Yeah, I know it is technically spring already, but around these parts you can never be sure you’ve seen the last of the snow until June.  I personally cannot remember getting snow in May, but there are some folks around here who will swear it has happened.  Whatever the case, it’s been one hell of a winter and we’re ready to embrace the warmer temperatures.

While I have been starting to test the entrepreneurial waters with this blog, I mostly just like to write for fun.  Having fun is what has kept me going for three and a half years, so I’m not really looking to stray too far from the established format.  Besides, if this started to feel like a job I’d probably not want to do it anymore.  I’m kind of a slacker that way.

Again, welcome to my home on the internet.  If you’d like to read some of the better (in my opinion) posts I’ve written, feel free to peruse the “Best of Oak Hollow” section.  They may give you a better idea of who I am and if you’d like to keep reading.

Thank you for taking the time to visit!

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She makes it to three

Three years ago today I was in labor and delivery.  I was laboring a little but wouldn’t deliver until my c-section later in the afternoon.  At 5:05 pm Autumn finally made her appearance.

Every year so far I’ve posted a video montage of my favorite pictures of Autumn from the past year.  As of 11:00 last night I had yet to make the video, so I sat down at the computer, opened iMovie and proceeded to splice together the past year of her life.

Well, if you heard a scream of horror just after midnight, that was me.  I learned a very important lesson about creating anything of importance on the computer; save your work and do it frequently.  I had every photo in place and every transition inserted and was watching my work for the first time when iMovie crashed on me.  I had to practically start over from scratch.

It was after 1:00 am when I finally finished.  I uploaded the video to YouTube and Facebook and proceeded to cry like a baby as I reviewed the videos I made the previous two years.

I can’t believe she’s three.

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