Monday, June 23, 2014

Hi there! :)

Hello!  LoveLaughSweatFuel here.  I am better known in my real life as Jen.  Been some time since a real blog post has been penned.  Since summer vacation is upon us and spending time with my kiddos is top of the list .. welcome back blog world!

I am a 41 yr old married mother of two.  I picked LoveLaughSweatFuel for a reason.  

1.  Love .. surround yourself with those you love and do what you love.

2.  Laugh .. daily!  A big old hearty belly laugh.

3.  Sweat .. daily!  Move.  Groove.  Live.  A body at rest stays at rest.  A body in motion stays in motion.

4.  Fuel .. who wants crappy fuel?  Eat well.  Eat healthy.   Enjoy.

 Some years back, I lost 75 lbs and have kept it off for 5 years now.  Talk about lifestyle change!

My official before!  

When my journey started it was because I felt fat and crappy.  I had two little kids.  I was tired.  I was uncomfortable.   I was absolutely positively miserable.  Irritated all the time.  Unhappy.  Just blah.  Guess what!  The adage "if momma isn't happy then no one is happy" is true.  

My kiddos and husband deserved so much more.   So I did what was needed!  I grabbed a firm hold of my "big girl gutchies" and made some changes.  Read.  Meditated.  Read more.  Changed my nutrition.   And decided that I needed to be me.  

I needed to find me again.  I had fallen into letting others bother the hell out of me to the point of frustration.  Now I am fully aware the thoughts words and actions of "others" have no bearing on my family or my life.  One of my favorite quotes is "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" from Eleanor Roosevelt.  

I had fallen into letting some make me feel inferior.  No more!  There are many goals and aspirations on my "bucket list".  We started with a 5ks.  Felt great!  It became several.  Now throw in a couple marathons and almost a handful of halfs and all is good.  

My hubby does not share my love of "movement and nutrition."  But he fully supports all that I do and is reaping the health benefits of the nutritional changes.  My biggest and ultimate goal is for my kids.  I want to show them anything is possible.   Work for it.  It will happen.   Plus, I wanna be here for the long haul.  Healthy.  Happy. Active.  

Last year, I decided to pursue my longest held dream.  Bodybuilding.  See growing up while others had pics of "heart throbs" on their walls or in their minds .. I had bodybuilders.  

These exact pictures.   I know there names and stats.  Since the age of 14/15 this is what I have wanted to do.  Always have found it stunning beautiful and awe inspiring.  In a quick conversation with my kids at the helm .. they stated I should follow my dream.  Now with the full support of my husband and children .. I follow my dream.  

It will take years.  I have nothing but time.  My closest goal is in 4 years.  Around my 45th bday see what my progress is and possibly stand on a stage.  My son is gonna rub the fake tan on my bumm.  He promised!  :)  I know it is not for everyone and I do not care.  There are already naysayers.   Let them talk.  Just noise in the background.

So that was a long introduction and I would love to upload todays picture for comparison but it will not let me.  :(  If you are interested in following along .. check in every so often.  You will get to see my personal progress.  My family adventures.  Stories about my kids.  Along with whatever else floats my boat!  

Thanks for reading! 


Monday, December 30, 2013

"The New Years Resolution" bullshit

All right.  Here we go.  We are all aware what "The New Years Resolution" is.  Every single year millions of people make the same resolution.  Loosing weight.  Every single year millions of people do not follow through on that resolution.  Makes me sad.  Very sad.  Now, I am all about anyone and everyone taking control of their life.  Loosing weight.  Getting healthy.  What ever your reasons are .. great! 

Go for it.  But this is also the time of year the sales people come out.  Selling their magic potions.  Powders.  Shakes.  Pills.  Drops.  Sprinkle crap.  Low fat.  Low cal.  Low carb.  No carb.  We all know the list could go on and on.  It is time to stop the insanity.  Really and truly.  Now by no means am I any type of expert and these are only my honest to goodness opinions on the subject.  Loosing weight is not rocket science.  Honestly, it is pretty easy.  The sad thing is all the "information" we are fed makes it hard.  You should eat this.  No no not that.  Only consume 1,200 to 1,400 calories a day.  Workout endlessly.  Count points.  Weigh and measure. 

For me, personally, I have come to the realization that all of it is complete and utter bullshit.  Yep, I called bullshit on this whole weight loss situation.  Let me start with "the products" ... you don't need to spend $$$ on drops, shakes, powders, pills, sprinkle crap, and all the like.  It may make you lose weight in the beginning and as long as you are taking it.  Seriously, think about it.  Most come with a special diet.  If you follow the diet and take our expensive "insert item here" then you will most assuredly lose weight. 

Follow just the diet, I bet you lose weight.  Most of these items are a great way for those selling to make $$.  Quick weight loss.  Don't have to do anything.  Again, I call bullshit.  Yep, look at those results they are great!  Check back in a year or two.  Check back after the wallet has run dry.  Check back after the "hey, I can do this on my own" kicks in.  Most gain it all back plus. 

It is drummed into our heads, especially women, that less is more when it comes to food and more is better when talking exercise.  I call bullshit again!  Go to your doctor.  Read any miracle weight loss article.  Yep.  You are to consume 1,200 calories and the weight will melt away.  Again, I call bullshit.  That is starvation for anyone out there.  And guess what if you are exercising or training for anything and only consuming 1,200 calories a day .... bullshit. 

I read so many stories of ladies following a 1,200 - 1,400 calorie diet and exercising an hour + every day.  When you stop losing weight .. reduce calories .. exercise more .. nothing happens .. why not .. I need to get extreme .. spend hours .. eat less .. why no pounds off .. I give up.  Your body is starving.  It is saying "Whoa Nelly, I am holding onto every thing.  I am not getting enough to do all this and I am not burning a thing."  Simply put, you must eat to lose.  Simply put,  if you are not training for anything in particular then exercising over an hour is not really worth it. 

Really any thing over an hour is unnecessary.  And if you do workout more than that .. tbh .. you had better be increasing your nutritional intake.  Having been around the block a few times.  Yep, I tried this and that.  Never any of the pills, shakes, drops, powders, etc.  But one of the bigger weight loss companies.  I lost weight.  Around 60 lbs.  I also came out with a screwed up metabolism.  Thank you _____.  I came weekly.  Paid my dues.  Stood on the scale.  And for it I got a screwed up metabolism.  Nice.  Luckily, it can and has been mended.  And yes, I did keep it off, lost more, and kept that off. 

If I was going to do it all over again, in my honest and humble opinion, I would simply figure out my TDEE.  TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure.  Know what it takes to figure it out?  A google search and some honesty.  No money.  From there you can figure out your calories needed for maintenance, lose, and gain.  Quick easy and painless.  Then hook yourself up on a tracking website.  I personally use MyFitnessPal.  There are tons of others.  Again, the cost .. free.  Adjust the goal .. don't follow the one the calculator tells you.  Log food.  Enjoy. 

I detest tracking but it is a necessary evil.  Currently, I sit at day 75 of logging in continuously.  That is a record for me.  I call my log .. The Good.  The Bad.  And The Ugly.  LOL  Now there are some other items to consider.  I mean you have to change your eating habits.  Some need to figure out their relationship with food and why it is the way it is.  Yep, most of the time if you are overweight there are underlying issues.  Yes, there are some caused by medical issues but most weight gain is due to poor control or crappy food.  You can eat "clean".  That means different things to different people.  You can follow IIFYM.  Which is If It Fits Your Macros.  For me personally, it is my version of "clean".  I just feel better. 

Again, the views expressed in this blog are mine.  I am no expert.  I do not claim to be.  I just have opinions.  We all have them  We are all entitled to ours.  If you want help figuring this stuff out .. let me know.  If you need an accountability partner .. let me know.  Honestly, there are a few I hope read this and ask for help.  I so want everyone to get healthy. 


I wish you luck in what ever you resolution is.  I hope you are one of the few that stick to it.  Meeting your goals.  Exceeding even you expectations!  Go get it in 2014!

*** If you wanna look for me on FB or MyFitnessPal just look under LoveLaughSweatFuel.  ***

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Monster Dash 2013 picture edition

Sunday, October 20, 2013 was the 2nd annual Monster Dash at our children's school.  It is an haunted obstacle 5k and kids mini-dash.  Both opted for the 5k length.  Here are a few pics from the race.......

The lone participants in the 3:30 pm heat! 

These are some big spools! 

I always worry in the tires.  Very easy to twist your ankle! 

Got this mom! 

Goodness, he was in the woods for a long time! 

Yes, they have to scale that wall down there. 


There were assistants! 

More tires! 

She definately needed help! 

Killer being a goofball! 

Up and over the many hay bales! 

Through the mini spider web! 

Short tunnel! 

Just walking gingerly in......

Gotta get wet.....

Don't wanna fall......

I lost a shoe! 

Don't pay attention to the clock ... this side ran continuously.

Hey, did you know I lost a shoe?  Guess what!  So did I! 

Two shoes down.  Lots of moans and groans.  A few laughs.  Water.  Apple.  Candy Bag. 
Fun was had. 
Next year, the whole family will do! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2013 Wineglass Marathon .... unforgettable experience .... lengthy

This past weekend the 32nd annual Wineglass Marathon, 3rd annual Wineglass 1/2 Marathon, and 2nd annual Wineglass 5k were held in Corning, NY.  This particular race has become an annual event for my family.  My brother currently resides in the Corning area and it makes for a great family visit and event filled weekend. 

This year, we decided to make it as full of a family affair as we could.  My children, Hadley and Payne, were in the 5k.  My father had originally planned to but he is in need of knee replacement from an injury he sustained in his teens and opted to be the families photographer.  My brother, husband, and I were in the 1/2 marathon.  My mother in the full marathon. 

On the Thursday prior to the race, there was an email sent out by the race director about weather conditions.  In our experience from the past two years, it was 38 degrees and rain in 2011.  And in 2012, it was a comfortable 50 to 60 degrees.  For 2013, we were warned of heat, humidity, and the need to hydrate.  Great.  You never know.  It is all a roll of the dice. 

On Saturday, the Wineglass 5k was scheduled with a 8 am start.  We arrived early.  Hadley and Payne were excited.  My husband and I planned to run with our assigned child but the kids were in charge of what happened.  Sorry!  Our kiddos were not running in a strange city all by themselves.  We gathered at the start line with the other 446 entrants.  I don't know that I've ever run in a 5k that big! 

It was hot.  In the past several years, I have ran in several races but none that I remember sweating this much for a 5k in 45 minutes.  Payne crossed the line at 40:38 was #399 out of 448.  Hadley crossed the line at 45:04 was #418 out of 448.  She did well.  Her face was red.  She was covered in sweat.  We stopped and drank at the water station.  She was in charge to a point.  Then momma kicked in.  Afterwards, she looked at me and said "You know I am really proud of myself.  I ran my first 5k marathon.  That really wasn't easy.  I'm proud."  For you runners reading this .... you know why that entire statement is not only funny but wonderful and 100% truthful. 

We went home cleaned up and spent the rest of the day sight seeing.  That evening we decided to pass on the normal carb loading at a local restaurant.  We opted to have pasta at my brothers and hang out.  All were in bed by 10 pm.  Early morning the next day.  The four runners had a 5:30 am wake up call.  The races had an 8 am start but the shuttle buses stopped at 7 am.  We were all up.  Prerace fuel was had.  I think my hubby was nervous.  He was up about an hour early. 

Myself, hubby John, mom Julie, and lil brother Norm
We were ready.  Arrived at the finish line to catch the shuttle.  We said our goodbyes to our momma.  She headed to the full bus and the three of us headed off to the 1/2 bus.  The shuttles were very nicely done.  Orderly.  Fast.  Efficient.  Great.  We arrived at the start early of course.  Everyone needed to hit the port-o-potties.  We watched the bomb sniffing dog check everywhere.  And I noticed some of the other new security measures.  It started to rain and the crowd groaned.  But it ended up being short lived.  The clouds started to part a little and blue was out.  I started to think about taking my shirt off and doing just the bra thing BUT Jen is apparently not that comfortable!  Originally they were going to have a two tier start for both races based on your reported times.  That was nixed.  They did have us slightly funnel to the start as there have been issues with people going around the start mat and their timers not registering.  We sandwiched ourselves between the 2:30 pacer and 3:00 pacer.  In that time frame was great for John and I.  Plus, we knew Norm could just pass people as he wanted.  There was no doubt he would be much faster. 

The start horn sounded.  We wished each other good luck.  Off we went.  My goal was to keep a good pace.  Run as far as the pain in my foot would allow.  Then walk as needed but resume as quickly as possible.  I would be drinking at all aid stations.  I wore no watch or Garmin.  I had no cares.  My brother was gone.  Not to be seen again until the finish.  My hubby was behind me.  The first several miles, I was doing great.  At the second aid station, as I grabbed a water, my hubby passed me.  He would continue to be in eye sight until around mile 8.  I ran.  I slowed in pace but really tried to keep moving as long as the pain was bearable.  After mile 8, it started to get worse.  So, the walking came into play.  I made sure it was a fast walk.  I never stopped.  My legs felt great.  My cardio was fine.  My mind was in a good place.  Around mile 11, I decided that my pace might be very slow but I was not going to let anyone pass me from there on out.  I held to that.  It was hard but I did it.  I was sun burnt.  I was so hot.  I smelt so bad.  I was never so happy to see a finish line.  It ended up being 86 degrees, sunny, and humid. 

Here are our results ....
My brother finished in a mat time of 2:09:03 and chip time of 2:06:05 ... see how terrible his not training is.  GAG!  Does anyone else wanna choke him?  He came in as #668 out of 1,854 total runners in the 1/2. 
My husband, John, finished in a mat time of 2:41:49 and a chip time of 2:38:40.  He did not train at all.  Not even a run to the car.  He came in as #1517.
My results were a mat time of 2:51:23 and a chip time of 2:48:24.  I came in as #1616.  This was basically the same time as my last 1/2 which I hated and loathed.  This was the best race that I have ever ran at any distance.  Across the board.  For me this race was everything that I have ever wanted from racing.  It showed me how strong I am mentally.  How strong I am physically.  And that I am completely capable of so much more.  I enjoyed each and every single painful moment of this race.  I learnt more about myself and what I need from running in Corning, NY than I can ever explain.  I enjoyed the no watch or Garmin.  I enjoyed just running.  Just doing.  Just doing what I need for me.  
I could hear my husband yell.  Of course, my brother.  You can always hear the both of us.  And my dad.  I crossed.  Had my medal placed on my neck and made my way around the barricades to get to them.  I was met with a sick daughter.  She was fevered and not feeling well.  I grabbed some money from my father and headed down the street a few blocks to get medicine at the grocery store.  Yep, still sweaty, smelly, and in full race gear.  She napped in the car.  I arrived back and gave her some meds.   
During this time, the three 1/2 runners had planned to hit the local YMCA for showers and then head back to wait.  Hubby had already put on his dry clothes and was sitting with our daughter as she slept in the car.  I forgot to put clean undergarments in my bag so taking a shower and placing a gross sweaty bra back on was not on the top of my list.  Norm headed for the shower.  I opted to dry in the parking garage and put on a few articles of dry clothes.  I changed my shoes.  My poor pinkie toe was the size of my big toe.  Talk about swelling.  Explains the amount of pain.  I threw on my Nike slides....this is noted for a reason.  After a little while, we headed back down to cheer and wait for our mother to come across in the full.  We saw a finish line proposal.  Watched Burt Yasso cross the finish line.  And watched so many amazing people complete an amazing feat no matter their finish time.  I realized during this time that one of my 2014 goals is to volunteer at a race.  It will be done. 
My mother ran the full last year with a goal time of 6 hours.  She crossed in 6:18.  She was pissed.  I knew she would try another but didn't think it would be this year.  She run/walks and it works for her.  Her run and walk are not that much different in pace but does it really matter.  She was out there on this hot day in all black.  And we were all hoping she got her goal.  As the clock ticked, I was standing with my father.  He was starting to worry.  I was starting to worry.  My son was starting to worry.  There were a few "Come on Julie."  A few "Come on mom."  And a few "Come on Grandma."  The clock hit 6 hours and she was not in sight.  My dad said "She wants to beat last year.  She has to do this.  I know she can, right?"  I responded "Yep."  We have all watched her train for this race like no other.  Him especially.  We knew her goal and that she would not stop.  We reached the 6:15 time and I started to really worry.  I just felt that some thing had went wrong. 
Around 6:30, I could see the look on my fathers face.  He was worried.  My hubby and son had already walked to the end of the street to see if they could see her anywhere.  My father looked at me and said "I need to find out how long this clock runs.  If she was hurt wouldn't they bring her back here?  No one has called my phone."  And he checked his phone again.  He and my children had been in the same place around the finish line since around 9:15 am.  So the race volunteers kinda "knew" them at this point.  Some commented on us still being there.  He went up and asked about the clock.  He came back and reported that it would run until the 7 hour mark.  He said "Here is my stuff.  I'm going out."  I told him that John and Payne had already went.  He kinda looked around.  In that few minute period the two race volunteers he spoke to got the race director.  She found my mom. 
She came over and told my father that mom was last.  She was three miles out.  The truck was following her.  She had sent out water to her.  A cyclist was with her and mom had asked her to ride ahead so she could focus on her.  She seemed strong at this point and that she would not quit.  We all kinda laughed.  The race director continued to talk but I have no idea what she said.  I threw my stuff on the ground and left.  I said "See ya."  I was going to find my mother.  The race director yelled to me asking if I needed water.  I just remember yelling "No."  There was no stopping me.  I was going to get her.  I was going to make sure she was okay.  I was going to help her in anyway possible.  If I had to carry her I would have.  I went out in those Nike slides ... which I no longer would recommend!  I passed my hubby and son.  I gave them the quick rundown as I plowed by.  I told my husband "I'm gonna find her."  I passed a few other competitors and told them to keep moving and they were doing great. 
When I saw her in the distance.  Her walk was slow.  Her head was down.  Her shoulders were slumped.  I started to cry.  The not pretty cry.  I stepped in the street.  Threw my hands in the air and yelled "HEY SLOWPOKE.  COME ON MOMMA!"  I continued to walk.  The cyclist saw me and rode up.  She made sure I was there for her.  I confirmed it as I walked.  She explained to me that she was now worried because my mother had stopped talking and seemed to be shutting down.  I told her to let me get to her and I'd go from there.  She handed me all the extra water.  When I got to her .. I so wanted to cry but I didn't.  I didn't want her to worry.  I asked for her water bottle and rag.  Gave her some cold water to drink and put some on the rag.  She told me hungry.  Food was so wrong.  She had sweat dripping from her nose but her hair was dry.  She had "chicken skin".  Her legs were swollen over her knee braces.  She said "I'm gonna finish."  I wanted to hug her, pick her up, and carry her.  I gave her a distance reference.  She was sun burnt.  I keep asking her is she wanted a drink, etc.  I knew I couldn't stop her.  John and Payne arrived.  They both told her she was doing great.  Payne walked ahead so she could focus on him.  She was wobbling.  She complained about the amount of pain in the back of her knee and it would "catch" every so often.  We rounded the corner and walked across a large bridge.  She told me she wanted a Diet Coke and hamburger from Burger King when she was done.  She covered her head as we passed over the bridge.  She has had some vertigo issues recently. 
We made the turn for the finish line.  The sweeper truck honked and used its lights.  The race director had left the finish line up.  The clock was still running.  I explained to her that it was all done for her.  It was all still there simply because of her.  People on the sidewalk cheered.  Runners from restaurants lining the streets came out and cheered.  There were runners that stayed at the line because they knew she was out there.  Everyone yelled.  My brother hollered and it echoed down the street.  We all know that something amazing and crazy happened that day.  The look on my fathers face was one that I have never seen.  My brother hugged her.  I went to grab her as she bent over.  The medal was placed around her neck and a resounding "You earned this today" was said.  They had taken away the food and drinks.  In our families fashion we joked.  Pictures were taken.  She was hugged by strangers.  We told her now she had to walk up the steps in the parking garage to get to the car.  Don't worry ... we brought the car down.  The staff wanted her to go to medical but she said no.  My brother is a nurse.  He joked no mouth to mouth would be given.  Anything but that.  In the car we went and off to Burger King it was! 
No smalls today baby!  One large Diet Coke and a crappy hamburger was all she wanted.  When we got back to my brothers.  She sat there.  She looked at me and said "If I hadn't seen you I would have really been hard pressed not to quit right there on that street.  I really would have quit."  I explained to her about the runners staying there.  The people in the restaurants.  The line and clock being left up.  About it all being because of her.  For her.  And due in part to my father.  I know that day she did not fully comprehend it.  One day she may.  I know we all understand it.  I will never ever forget the 2013 Wineglass Marathon.  She was also excited to tell us that she spoke to Burt Yasso at the start.  What I learned that day about strength and perseverance is unmeasurable.  I will never be able to fully express my gratitude to the race directors, volunteers, support staff, and running community in general for that day.  I have heard from a resident of the city that cheered her at mile 21 and another at mile 24.  It is amazing. 
This lady is my mother.  Her name is Julie.  She is amazing.  I love her more than she will ever know.  She finished in 7 hours 44 minutes and 49 seconds.  She missed her mark by 1 hour 44 minutes and 49 seconds.  She was the last competitor to cross that line.  Three bus loads full of competitors in the full stopped and called it at the half mark.  Over 1,000 either did not compete or finish that day.  Some people will say she should have stopped.  She should have listened to her body.  None of us live in her body or mind so we can not judge.  And unless you have towed that line in no way shape or form should you ever judge someone on their race decisions.   
I have never been so proud to say my mother finished last in the 2013 Wineglass Marathon.       
So now the question is  ....  WILL SHE DO IT AGAIN?  She says no more fulls.  Only halfs from now on.  But in the next breath she said if I would have done this or that.  We will see from here!   


Monday, September 16, 2013

Just a couple of snack recipes!

Even though we purchase minimal boxed and canned items here in there Brereton household .. we still like snacks.  My kids are still kids.  My husband is still my husband.  LOL 

So, I've been on the search for some minimal ingredient good tasting quick snacks.  Here are the recipes for two of the most recent.  I will write each recipe as it was written and then note how I changed it to meet my/our needs. 

Banana Oatmeal Cookies
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups whole rolled oats
1/2 cup veggie oil
1 tsp vanilla
Oven at 350*, mix all ingredients and let sit 15 minutes, drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheet, bake 20 minutes, makes roughly 36 cookies. 
My Banana Oatmeal Cookies
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups whole rolled oats
1 cup natural applesauce
Oven at 350*, mix all ingredients and let sit 15 minutes, drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheet, bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned, makes roughly 36 cookies.  I doubled this recipe due to my bananas falling apart.  Added a dash of cinnamon to the second half of them before baking. 

That is all you need! 

Yes, they are small! 

But they are mighty yummy!

My family LOVED these.  I planned to freeze half of them.  Unfortunately, I did not have any large freezer bags.  So, I placed them in a container and threw them in the freezer.  Planning to pick up bags the next time I was at the store.  By the time Saturday rolled around and I was ready to freeze them.  There were a total of 10 left.  My husband loves these things!  He popped them like candy.  Kiddos are waiting for me to make them again.  I will freeze some this time around.  PROMISE! 
Energy Bites
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup whatever your favorite nut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup flax seed
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all - chill 1/2 hour - roll into balls - enjoy! 
Will last in fridge for 1 week
Recipe from:  Staying healthy, fit, and inspired -
My Energy Bites
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup nut butter
1/2 cup flax seed
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Mix all - chill 1/2 hour - roll into balls - enjoy! 
My family does not like honey.  No matter the amount used they always seem to think it is really really sweet.  So, I set out to make this minus the honey.  I originally mixed it up using 1/2 cup of nut butter.  My almond butter is pretty dry so I had to add some more.  It mixed up well.  Chilled.  I have a metal tbsp that worked great for popping them out.  I tried rolling at first but it was a little messy.  So, I just made them flat on one side.  Hey, as long as they taste good that is all that matters!  Right? 
They are great!  There is no doubt in my mind that the kids and hubby are gonna love them. 


 The recipe made twenty today.  The others were already in a bowl.  A few of the ones that I balled are a little large.  Next time, I expect it to yield at least 24.  Will report on my "tweaking" of this recipe as I try and find a way to make it 100% workable for my family. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

"Those People" .... part 2

Bed Bugs!

Only "those people" get those!  OMG!  How in the world did we get bed bugs?  No vacation this year.  How gross!  How dirty!  How just UGH!  My hubby grabbed a flashlight and started his examination.  Our $1600.00 couch.  Our first couch purchased from a furniture store.  I can not properly write how this makes one feel.

We looked up bites.  Remember that allergic reaction?  Nope.  Bed bug bites!  DAMN!  We sceeved out.  We didn't know what to do.  Plan to make a call to the exterminator in the morning.

Bedtime.  I can honestly admit to sleeping maybe 3 1/2 hrs tops.  Just thinking about them made me ill.  Knowing that they were biting me!  Seriously?!  Me!  Why me?

Hubby called the exterminator.  Confirmation.  We have bed bugs!  OMG!  This only happens to "those people".  I clean.  I sweep.  We are not dirty.  Why? 

A complete and thorough inspection is needed.  Manned with flashlights and gloves, we went in.  We were instructed that the beds needed torn apart.  Inspect furniture cushions.  Detachable legs.   Curtains.  Behind pictures.  Basically everywhere.  We are thankful that we live in a small home.  I would not want to deal with this in a large house.  Can't imagine two or more floors.   

Playroom.  Check.  Daughters room.  Check.  Sons room.  Check.  Laundry room.  Check.  Our bedroom.  Check.  Bathroom.  Check.  Living room.  Check. 

It was explained to us that these bug pick one individual and "feed" off of them.  Where they go.  Eventually the bugs will go.  Guess who the lucky "buffet" is?  Me.  Only me.  The one that goes everywhere.  Touches all the laundry.  Cleans every thing.  I could easily carry them everywhere.  Drop an egg here or there. 

Our huge and expensive living room furniture seems to be the "home" for them.  I sit there are night after the family goes to sleep.  I know.  I know.  Didn't you see them on you?  Didn't you feel them on you?  They are almost translucent when they "hatch".  So no, I did not see them.  I told my husband several times, in the previous weeks, that when I sat on the couch it felt like things were crawling on me.  He thought I was nuts.  Now we know that I wasn't.  We thought it was the chemicals. 

I sat on the couch and folded clothes.  OMG!  Every ones clothes could be affected.  NO! 

We received our instructions from the exterminators.  Clothing.  Bedding.  Curtains.  Remove them all.  They must be washed in a commercial washer and dryer.  Your home washer and dryer do not reach the level of heat necessary to kill the buggers. 

We had a few days before they were coming.  I cannot explain how much none of us wanted to stay in this house!  We continued to monitor the situation.  Avoiding that room like the plague.  At first we were gonna tell no one.  Then I came to the realization that my parents needed told.  My dad comes over at least once a week and sits on that particular couch.  The thought of passing those things on just _________________. 

Then you start where did we get them?  Most people think you get them from hotels and on trips.  We hadn't done any of that.  We called the exterminator.  They explained just how easy they are to bring home.  Do you go to the movies?  Yep, you can get them from the seats.  Do you try on clothes in a store?  Yep, you can get them from the person before you.  Do you do yard sales or previously owned stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.)?  Yep, you can get them from there.  Does your spouse travel?  Yep, you can get them from there.  Does your spouse work in various locations?  Yep, you can get them from there. 

A single egg is all that is needed to start.  A single adult or juvenile is all that is needed to start.  We learned that 1 in 5 houses has them.  Most unaware they are there.  Most unaware they are there until a major infestation is detected.  We felt defeated.  There were UGHS.  There were WHY?  There were WHATS from others.  There were "did you bring them to our houses?"  Like we know that?  We didn't know we had them!   

I know this post is scattered.  That is how we felt.  That is how our home was. 

"Those people" .... part 3 tomorrow.  I will be sharing pics.  They may be gross to some!