Update: Photos from Today

Ready for school!

“Can we go to class yet, Mom?”

We saw a pill bug in the parking lot and played with it for a while.

This is the first time I have EVER seen them hold hands!! Do you know how amazing this was to see?


Quick Update: Busy Month!

March is shaping up to be a pretty busy month! We’ve got two 5k races, the Easter Eggstravaganza at the park, an oyster/catfish fry, a fair fundraiser dinner dance, plus my bowling league every Monday. Phew! Hopefully I’ll remember to take lots of pictures.

We are really excited about our new backyard fence! When we bought our house, the yard was partially fenced and we just now pulled the funds together to finish it. We are so happy! If the weather would warm up a little, so could take the girls out to REALLY enjoy it! Summer should be a blast… I just know the girls will love running through the sprinkler and playing outside all day. I’ve been looking for a little mini-castle type toy that has a slide and a place to climb but they are all so expensive! I’m hoping that I can find a good deal on one soon.

Ella and Emma still love school. They are doing GREAT! They are fascinated with the school bus that leaves every morning and wave to it and say “Bye school bus! See you later!” Today the bus driver rolled her window down and she and the children on board waved to the girls and said “Bye Ella! Bye Emma!” They were so excited! They really need a toy school bus. They’d love it!

I recently gave the girls all their books back. I took them away because they were chewing on them, but I worked with them with one book at a time and they finally stopped chewing on them…hurrah!  They both just sit in front of the bookshelf and pull each book down and carefully look through the pages. If anything, it keeps them entertained for a good 15-20 minutes!

Kyle and I are starting to pick up on what we think is a twin language between the girls. I’ve been trying to catch it on camera but haven’t been lucky yet. It’s so neat because we have NO idea what they are saying but they are definitely communicating back and forth. I’m really excited about this because they girls have never been really “twin-y”. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing (they don’t have separation anxiety with each other, they don’t have to sleep by each other, etc) but I do like to see them actually bonding with each other.

Well, it’s bed time! Hopefully I’ll have some pictures to post soon. 🙂

Update: What a Weekend!

The Citzler Family had a jam-packed weekend of adventure! Saturday morning we went out of town to our friend’s birthday party at an indoor bouncy house facility. After they got over their initial fright of the bouncy castles/slides, the girls had a blast! Kyle and I took turns taking them up and down the big slide.


Emma is in blue, Ella is in pink

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Then we headed to Academy so I could get my new workout clothes since I hit my weight goal by my birthday. Woohoo!






That evening my family gathered together at a local restaurant to celebrate my birthday. As always, we were loud and crazy. We had a frozen Oreo cake and the girls REALLY enjoyed it.








Sunday was my actual birthday. We piled in the car and headed to the Houston Zoo to meet our friends. We had a blast and the weather cooperated with us the whole time!


Kyle decided HE wanted to ride the carousel, too.


I was VERY excited about the zoo!


The girls got “mingos” from the zoo

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We got to feed the giraffes too! It was so neat!





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Kyle decided he was going to take “selfies” with all the zoo animals. What a goober. Here are a few…

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Then we headed to Olive Garden for lunch. We had to wait a while for our dessert so we entertained the girls by “getting” them with the salad tongs. The girls even starting feeding their food to the salad tongs. Never a dull moment with us! After TWO double wardrobe malfunctions, we ended up going through all the extra clothes I brought and had to change the girls into their new shirts from the zoo.






IMG_9780I had a great 30th birthday and we all had a great weekend!

How I’ve Lost Almost 40 Pounds

Last April I made a pact with myself to never weigh more than I did at that time and to get fit. I had been steadily gaining weight since the girls were born and I realized was using them as an excuse to be overweight. I flipped that thinking and realized I need to be fit FOR them. Since then, I’ve lost almost 40 pounds and two pant sizes. I recently decided to set a goal to be below 200 pounds before my birthday, February 22nd. Well today I stepped on the scale and it said 199.6! I did it! YEAH!!!! Lots of people keep asking me how I’ve done it so I decided to write it all down.

**I’m not a doctor or a dietitian or whatever. This is just my personal experience. You should always talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program or change your diet. So that’s what’s up.**

Here we go!

1)   I downloaded the MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper apps on my iPhone. I also bought an activity tracking wrist band called the Jawbone Up24 band. It was about $130. It tracks my steps and sleep patterns and reports to my iPhone instantly via Bluetooth. That data is sent over to MyFitnessPal and deducts my activity from my calories. http://jawbone.com/store/buy/up24 They just came out with the Up3 and I am really interested in it. It also tracks heart rate in addition to steps and sleep. It costs $180 and right now there are only two colors that I’m not too impressed with. Maybe I’ll upgrade if they offer different colors in the future.

2)   I cut out sodas, cold turkey. I maybe have a soda once a month if we go out to eat and the water tastes nasty (but I can take my drops and add it to the water and it’s fine.) I add Grape Kool-Aid drops to my water during the day. They are sugar free and calorie free. I know it still has chemicals and whatnot in it but for me, it’s better than drinking soda or empty calories. I have typically been drinking 3-4 Tervis Tumblers of water a day with is about 9 to 12 glasses of water.

3)   I track calories. Every single meal and snack that I eat goes on MyFitnessPal. This helps you be cognizant of portions and how everything you eat adds up. The MFP app allows you to scan barcodes on packaging and has tons of food pre-populated so adding food is a snap. It’ll help you track calories and activity for each day. You can also track your progress of weight and measurements, which is nice. Plus it keeps track of how many days in a row you log in as an additional motivator to keep using the app. The MFP community is very supportive. I’m friends with a guy who lost 145 pounds and he helps motivate me on a regular basis.

4)   I cleaned out my panty. Don’t have it in your house if you don’t want to eat it. Don’t want to eat snack cakes? Don’t buy them. If your kids want to eat them, find something that’s a better alternative for you all to eat. Try different combinations of healthy snacks that you’ll want to eat. My go-to snacks are: roasted garlic hummus and raw carrots, red grapes and sharp cheddar cheese, blueberries and cantaloupe, and cinnamon swirl raisin bread with whipped cream cheese.

5)   I used to go walking about 4 times a week for 30 minutes to an hour, pushing my girls in the stroller. Just walking… no jogging or running. I would turn on my RunKeeper app and it tells me how long and how far I’ve walked. We got out of that routine when the time changed. Now Kyle and I wake up earlier and do a 30 minute cardio workout video together. I try to get at least 8500 steps a day (tracked by my Up band.) I also have been doing planks and glute bridge holds. I focus on holding my form and breathing. Once the time changes, I’ll go back to walking in the evenings with the girls in addition to the 30 minutes of cardio. They like when I run so I’ll do intervals of “power walking” and “wimpy jogging” until I reach 3 miles.

6)   I made a motivational poster with pictures of my kids and husband and wrote stuff like “Do it for them!” and “One day at a time!” etc. It’s hanging on my bathroom mirror. I also printed out motivational sayings that really strike a chord with me. My favorite is “I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I’m saying it’s going to be worth it.” My other fav is “It took longer than a day to put the weight on. It’s going to take longer than a day for it to come off.”

7)   I take it slow and easy. I know that if I get all crazy with it, it’ll be much harder for me to stick to it. It took a long time to gain the weight and it’s not going to magically disappear overnight (even though that would be awesome!) Slower weight loss is better for your body anyway. It usually means you are making healthy decisions instead of following some random fad that really isn’t a long-term fix.

8)   I don’t “diet.” I realize that I need to make healthy lifestyle changes like smaller portions, drinking plenty of water, eating more fruits and veggies, and 30 minutes of activity a day. I think of food as fuel for your body. I’m not a dog…food shouldn’t be a reward. I still eat foods I like but just in moderation. I can have cake but a small, sensible slice while making healthy choices the rest of the day. I realized that I don’t really like celery? So you know what? I don’t eat it! I found something else that I DO like so I’ll actually continue my healthy eating habits. I absolutely hated raw carrots my entire life until I dipped them in hummus and now I crave them. Now I try foods with an open mind and do my research. I read labels and track what I eat.

9)   I weigh myself regularly but I don’t worship the scale. I keep in mind that my weight will fluctuate daily for various reasons so I don’t stress out if the scale shows I gained a pound after a great day. I know that I just want to see my weight trending down. I log my weight in the MyFitnessPal app to keep track. I want to note that I feel a better measure of my success is how I FEEL and how my clothes fit. I have noticeably more energy since we started working out first thing in the morning. I also feel stronger and breathe deeper which makes me feel energized. I’ve lost three pant sizes and actually feel attractive!

10)   I don’t tell myself that I CAN’T have something. Yes, I can have cake… just a sensibly sized piece. Yes, I can have a soda. But maybe just one a month! Or if I eat a giant apple turnover, just know that I’ll need to cut back on supper or be a little more active that evening to make up the calories.

11)   I set small, reasonable goals. I have a goal weight so I put that in my MFP app and it helps me set my caloric goals plus tracks my progress. I set small goals so that I can celebrate my success along the way. I set challenges for myself like: “I bet I can walk to the high school and back” or “I bet I can go a whole week without a soda” or “I bet I can hold this plank for a minute.” I also made a list of my weight goals and figured out a reward for each level. Here’s a quick lesson on goal setting. Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Time-based. Right now my current SMART goal is that once I hit 199 by my birthday, I’ll go get a few new workout clothes (new pants, maybe a new shirt) from Academy. I’m hoping to go after we go to the zoo.

Once I hit 189, I’ll go get a few new shirts/outfits (goal is by 7/5/15).

Once I hit 179, I’ll get the sheets I’ve been wanting (goal is by 11/15/15).

Once I hit 169, I’ll hire a maid to come one time to deep clean the house (goal is by 4/10/16).

Once I hit 159, I want Kyle and I to go on a mini-trip somewhere (goal is by 08/28/16).

My time frame for these goals is adjustable because I’m basing it on losing half a pound a week.

12) I changed my thought process. I can tell you that if you don’t change your thought process, you won’t see long term results. That’s the problem with diet pills… I took them before my wedding and lost some weight but as SOON as I stopped the pills, I gained it all back because I hadn’t learned how to BE healthy. I started this all last April. I really slacked off with exercising since the time changed, but since I still had my good eating habits I didn’t gain any weight. Now I know what my goals are and how I’m going to meet them. I also know what motivates me in case I get disenchanted along the way.

13) I try to not multitask while I eat. I try to focus on savoring the flavors of the food I’m eating. I think about how good is tastes and how it’s going to fuel my body for the rest of the day. If you are playing on your phone or watching TV while eating, you aren’t going to pay attention to what and how much you are eating. That’s bad news for portion control.

14) We hardly ever eat at restaurants and when we do we try to make good choices or at leave half of it for leftovers. I also avoid fast food like there’s no tomorrow. Not only have we saved a lot of money (and our sanity… restaurants are a little stressful with twin two-year-olds) we are better able to track how many calories are in the meals we make.

14) I stopped making excuses. “Well I have twins…” “Well I don’t have time…” “Well it’s going to be hard…” Yeah, I have twins. Two more reasons to get up, move, and play! Yeah, I’m busy. But I make time for MYSELF now. Yeah, I thought it’d be hard but I was WRONG. It’s only as hard as you make it.

15) I make my snacks the night before and get it all laid out and ready to go. There’s no way I’m going to wake up even earlier to get my stuff together when it only takes me less than ten minutes to do it the night before.

Here’s a quick run-down of what I typically eat during the week:

6:45 – HEB Caffecino Chocolate Protein Shake 190 calories

9:00 – Sunmaid Raisin Bread with Whipped Cream Cheese 125 calories

10:30 – One cup of cantaloupe and a handful of blueberries 81 calories

12:00 – Hard-boiled egg with Mrs. Dash Salt Free Garlic & Herb Seasoning 65 calories

Roasted Garlic hummus and raw baby carrots 78 calories

Frigo Light cheese stick 50 calories

2:30 – 13 red grapes and 13 little cubes of sharp cheddar 140 calories

6:00 – Whatever we are having for dinner 🙂

So that’s how I’ve done it. I didn’t get a gym membership. I didn’t buy anything except the Up band, a yoga mat, new shoes, and healthy food. Oh and a water bottle that easily fit my stroller cup holder. It wasn’t always easy but it’s been worth it! I made mistakes but I forgave myself and moved on.

By the way, heart disease is the number one killer of women. One in THREE women will die from heart disease and stroke.  IT’S THE NUMBER ONE KILLER OF WOMEN! The best ways to combat this is by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. That’s my motivator. I don’t want to die young and leave my kids without a mother and my husband without a wife. This is the American Heart Disease website and it has lots of great information on it. Please check it out. Please start taking care of yourself! You are worth it!

I’m going to make it happen…

I have two main reasons for writing this blog post…accountability and motivation. I’m a pretty determined person. Once I really set my mind to something, I’m going to eventually get it. Last April, I finally got fed up with my weight and overall health. I realized that if I wanted to be the best wife and mother possible, I needed to take care of myself. I set out to make big lifestyle changes.

Everyone knows (or at least SHOULD know) that diets don’t work in the long run. Yeah, you might lose some weight for a few weeks…maybe even months…but you’ll most likely end up gaining it back and then some. So I made myself a motivational poster for my bathroom mirror with “pump-me-up” notes and pictures of Kyle and the girls. I cold-turkey cut out sodas and coffee. I used the myfitnesspal app to track calories and monitor portions. I made a point to try to be active one way or another each day.

From last April to today, I’ve lost 30 pounds and three pant sizes. I slacked off on exercising when the time changed and we couldn’t go on walks but that was just an excuse. But thanks to my other lifestyle changes, I still continued to lose weight.

Yesterday I decided that I was going to lose nine more pounds before my birthday on February 22. That will put me at 199 pounds. I’ve been over 200 for a few years now and having the twins didn’t help. My plan to lose these nine pounds is to continue to monitor portions, utilize the myfitnesspal app, replace at least one meal a day with a protein shake, and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week. I know I can do it.

After I reach this goal, I’ll set another short-term goal to help me on my way to my long-term goal of weighing 155 pounds. I am confident that I’m going to make this happen.

I’ll include updates with my progress as the next few weeks pass. I GOT THIS!

Update: Development

Ella and Emma have been doing GREAT lately! Last night they were both in good moods and played with us for a long time. I’m so surprised at how much they learned in just the past couple weeks! They both know plenty of words and can appropriately use them. We play a game every day where we ask what noise different animals make and they answer.

Cow: Mooooo! (while throwing the head back)

Rooster: DODDLE DOO! (while throwing the head back, too)

Dog: Ruffruff

Cat: Meow (always real short and to the point.)

Sheep: Baa

Chicken: Bockbock

Dinosaur: RAWR! (with claw-hands)

Frog: Bi-bit (with a little hop)

Bunny: Pop-pop (hop-hop… with a little hop too)

Duck: Quack Quack (this one involves the whole body tensing up and hopping)

Pig: Oink!

Bird: HoooHoooo or peep peep

They can name and point to: eyes, ears, nose, teeth. (With ears, they gently turn your head to touch both of your ears.)

They say sock, shoe, and jacket. Ella can unzip her jacket.

They know “I’m a little teapot,” “Itsy bitsy spider,” and “Ring around the rosy.” Ella sings “Happy Birthday.”

They can say and sign “eat”. They say milk, water, cookie, fork, and cup.

They follow simple commands like “Bring me your blanket” or “Put the doll on the chair.”

They totally interact with each other while playing.

They pretend play like there’s no tomorrow: playing with their kitchen, pretending to eat play food, pretend feeding their dolls and toys.

Emma routinely initiates and plays “Peekaboo” which she calls “PeekBoo.”

They both love looking at books and have pretty much stopped chewing on them.

They eat at a picnic table next to our tall table and use regular forks and open cups (mostly.)

There is a school bus that takes older children to the different school campuses around town that usually leaves right when we get to school. The girls just LOVE watching the school bus back up and leave. It beeps when it backs up and the bus driver always waves. When we pull up, they start saying “School bus?” As it leaves we wave and say “Bye school bus. See you later!”

They also know the names of some colors but not which color is which. Currently everything is pretty much “Lellow” or “Nreen.”

When they mispronounce something, we repeat back the appropriate pronunciation so they know the correct way to say it.

They both say Ella (Lella) and Emma (Memma.) They both respond correctly to their own name but don’t always correctly say their own name yet (sometimes Ella says she is Emma and vice versa.

They don’t have too many temper tantrums and they are usually just when they are tired, didn’t get their way, or they are fighting over a toy. Since they are able to communicate better or at least take us by the hand and take us to where the issue is, life has been much easier.

They had their 2 year check-up on Monday where they ran a blood test. Yesterday the nurse called to let me know the girls are both “non-anemic iron deficient” and that we need to start them on iron supplements. I’m also working on incorporating more iron into their diet and pairing it with Vitamin C-rich foods to help with absorption. We go back to have the blood work checked in six months. Other than that everything is great! they are both around 28 pounds and are 34 inches tall.

Eating supper at the picnic table

Eating supper at the picnic table

They got these bouncy cows for Christmas and are GREAT for the sensory input they need!

They got these bouncy cows for Christmas and are GREAT for the sensory input they need!

Bouncy cow "action shot"

Bouncy cow “action shot”