Thursday, September 27, 2012

My friend, Manda

I am returning to the blogging world for a quick post about my friend, Manda, for Kelly's Korner's Show Us Your Singles.

(I have exactly one picture of Manda where she's not being silly. Oh, and I have some pictures of us from camp when we were 9 & 10. But, I don't want to die, so I won't post those)

Manda is amazing. She really is. I have know here since I was 3 and she was 2. Her sister and I are the same age and we've all grown up like sisters. She is truly one of my favorite people and will hopefully continue to love me even when she sees this :)

First of all, the physical stuff. Manda is beautiful. She comes from a family of beautiful people. At Christmas, there's just a sea of beautiful people wandering around admiring each other's beauty at their house. Oh, I kid, they're modest about it. But, she truly is beautiful. This is not one of those "oh, she has a beautiful soul and her face is ummm...okay". She has a beautiful soul and face. She is 33, but doesn't look it. Not that 33 is old, but she looks 25 at the oldest. I try not to hate her for this. It's a daily struggle.

Manda loves adventure. She loves traveling, trying new things, new restaurants, new cities, you name it, she's up for  it. She's no shrinking violet. If she decides she wants to do somethings, she does it. And she does it well.

She is hilarious. There are not many people on this earth that can make me laugh as much as she does. When she comes into town for the occasional girls' night with me & her sister, I'm as excited as a 16 year old on her first date, because I know I will have a great time! She lives in Nashville, TN. Which also makes me jealous, because I want to live in Nashville. Manda is pretty much my hero. Or, I'm her stalker. Eh, potato, po-tah-toe.

Manda is an extremely hard worker. She has her MBA from Union University (one of the top 100 private universities in the country...I'm just saying that because I attended Union too and bragging about it makes me feel better about the asinine amount of money I spent on an education...but I digress). She is really smart. She can carry on a conversation about anything. My husband LOVES Manda, he loves talking to her about politics, current events, The Office, anything.

By day, she's a Senior Healthcare Analyst. I have no idea what that is, so you would have to ask her if you want more details. I know that she's important at work and goes to lots of meetings :)

Manda is very honest, giving, moral, has an extremely high work ethic, and is just an all around winner. She is one of the most honest people I know. If I want an honest opinion, I ask her. And she will tell me the truth, but in a nice way, so that I don't feel bad :)

She has lots of nieces and nephews that she enjoys spending time with and spoiling and they WORSHIP her. Kids love her, because she treats them like people. My daughter always loved hanging out with Manda when we lived in the same town, because Manda was one of the adults that treated her like an equal. She will be an amazing mother one day, but don't panic, she's not one of those "OMG, my biological clock is TICKING, let's discuss baby names over dessert" kind of first dates.

So, that's my beautiful, smart, funny, all around awesome friend Manda. If you're interested, leave a comment or email me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Blogging Hiatus Over!

Wow, it's been almost a year since my last blog entry! What a year it's been. We've adjusted to being a family of five, we've had some ups and downs, and the kids have grown like you wouldn't believe! Matt is going to be the runt of the litter, I believe. He turned 1 on May 27th and weighs about 20 lbs. He is still wearing some 6-9 month clothes and is just a little peanut. Phillip finally hit the 40 lbs mark and it wearing size 4T clothes. He is tall and thin. Olivia is now 5'5 (at 11!!) and weighs a whooping 105 lbs, so she's obviously tall and thin too :)

My whole world! Look how much Phil looks like his Daddy. And Matt looks just like Olivia!

Speaking of thin, Mike and I are well on our way to being thin, FINALLY! I started on a new healthy lifestyle in January of this year and I have now lost 65 lbs and 50" of FAT! I've gone from a size 24 to a size 14/16. I still have 50-60 more lbs to lose, but I feel great! Mike started in March and has lost 55 lbs (MEN!!) and more inches that I can keep up with. He is BUFF! He has been working out an hour every day and looks amazing! He's gone for a 42/44 waist pant to a 34/36 and from an XXL shirt to a M. It's amazing!

I need to update this picture, as I have lost more since then, but I like this one :)

We feel so much better. We have energy and stamina, it's like a whole new couple! Doing this together has been so helpful. Together, we've lost 120 lbs! Mike only wants to lost 25 more and I believe by the end of the summer he will be at his goal. I plan to be to my goal (size 6/8) by December. I'm trying to slow down my weight loss a little, as I don't want to have tons of lose skin to deal with.

One more....

We're losing weight with the help of Advocare and one of the products that I take is Catalyst, which helps pull in the skin. So far, it's worked like a charm. I've lost 9" off my waist and I really expected a saggy, loose belly (like it is after you have a baby), but everything is firming up nicely. Hopefully, it will continue that way.

The pictures on the right are from this past Christmas, we were miserably FAT, the one on the left is from date night in May. Mike has lost quite a bit since then.

We have some exciting plans this summer. Olivia leaves for Youth Camp on Sunday. She will be gone 4 days. It's the highlight of her year (as it was for me when I was young). I'm excited for her, she will make memories that last a lifetime. After camp, Olivia and I are headed to NYC with my Uncle Phillip (yes, my Phillip is his namesake). Uncle Phillip is taking us on a neice's trip and I am so excited!! We are going to have a blast. Then, after that, Mike and I are headed to Dallas for an Advocare Success School and a mini vacation. We love getting away together and I've never  been to Dallas, so I'm super excited. The grandparents will be dividing and conquering the grandchildren :) Thank GOD for grandparents!!!

Then, come August 1, Olivia starts the 7th grade! Where in the world did the time go? I'm amazed! She grown into a very sweet, tenderhearted, smart young lady. And, in my opinion, she's a beauty! She has the whole package. We've tentatively decided to hold Phillip back and have him start kindergarten when he's 5 almost 6, instead of 4 almost 5, so it will be a couple of more years until I have another in school. By the time Matt starts school, I'll have an 11th grader, 2nd grader, and kindergartener. How funny is that?

Well, that's the update on the Bells. Life is so good, we are so blessed, and looking forward to the last half of 2012.