Monday, July 22, 2013

Evolution of life & love in 13 years of marriage.

How does love & life evolve over 13 crazy years?  Here's a quick glimpse :)

Bathroom manners

Immediately after wedding upon move-in:
1.  Decide which way the toilet paper is supposed to face when put on the roll.  (Out.  That's the way hotels do it... there's a REASON for that.)

2.  EVERYONE puts BOTH seats down.  That way no one falls into the toilet in the middle of the night on a quick emergency pregnancy potty run.  (And no.  Of course that NEVER happened to ME!)

After 7 years & 3 kids:
1.  You're lucky if the toilet paper is ever put ON the roll.
2.  Falling in the toilet is a common occurrence at night, as is sitting on a wet seat.

After 13 years & 5 kids:
1.  You're lucky if you're not out of toilet paper.
2.  You've finally learned to check and wipe down toilet seat before sitting down.

Daily Schtuff

Immediately after wedding upon move-in:
1.  A practically gourmet and healthy meal is made and on the table every night.
2.  House is cleaned up thoroughly almost every day.  Laundry is mostly done.

After 7 years & 3 kids:
1.  A nice healthy dinner is made and on the table most nights.
2.  House is basically clean... thoroughly a few times a week.  Laundry is not too out of control.

After 13 years & 5 kids:
1.  Last minute scramble to throw something together and get everyone fed between soccer practice, Irish dance, etc.
2.  House dirties itself... thoroughly cleaned once a week... if lucky.  Laundry monster has devoured the basement.


Immediately after wedding upon move-in:
1.  We knew everything.
2.  Bed time would be strict.
3.  LOVED bed time :)

After 7 years & 3 kids:
1.  We knew some things.
2.  Bed time was strict.
3.  Bed was sometimes shared with baby.

After 13 years & 5 kids:
1.  We know nothing.
2.  Bed time?
3.  We wake up in the morning and the kids are all in our bed or on our floor.


Immediately after wedding upon move-in:
1.  Love is perfect.  We are perfect.  We are so meant to be.  Happily ever after?  OF COURSE!
2.  He is perfect.  Best man EVER.  I'm so lucky.

After 7 years & 3 kids:
1.  Love is tried.  Temptation to call it quits.  Not the dream first imagined.
2.  He is a man.  He isn't perfect.  What did I get myself in to?

After 13 years & 5 kids:
1.  Love tried in fire is refined like gold.  Love IS forever.  Happily ever after has begun.
2.  He is my best friend.  He is my lover.  He isn't perfect?  SO WHAT!  He is MY man, and I'm the luckiest girl in the world.


In my idealistic youth, I had this dream that my knight in shining armor would come riding in, sweep me off my feet, and carry me away in marital bliss.

The day I got married, I knew that Trent was the man for me.  What I didn't know was the trials and hardships that were ahead.  I didn't know that there were certain imperfections in both of us that would mar that dream of "happily ever after," and make for a rocky road ahead.

There was a day when it would have been easier to walk away than stay together.  But when that day came, we made a decision.  We decided to actively work on our marriage.  It wasn't easy.  In fact, at first... it was rather hard.  But God has blessed our faithfulness, and I can truly say that I have married my soulmate... my best friend... and the love of my life.

(I know that marriage does not always work out for everyone.  This is not a judgement on those who are unable to work out their differences.  This is simply a bit of my own personal story.   :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

My really big CHEAT. And NOPE... not feeling a bit guilty :)

Wait... is that ME in that picture there on the right?  ME eating that juicy scrumptious hamburger made with freshly ground local beef?

You bet your bottom dollar it is!  And I EARNED every single bite of it!

Yesterday was quite crazy... from the time I woke up and snuck downstairs (tiptoeing around the forms of my sleeping children on my bedroom floor), to the moment I crashed hard in bed.

It's a good thing that we took the fam to church Saturday night, because otherwise, we would still be working on our big project!

Why so crazy???  Recently, I was contacted by the Les Mills Combat team that works for Beachbody.  They asked if I would film an interview and some tracks of me working out to the program at home so they could consider using me for one of their success stories.  Needless to say... I was extremely surprised and excited to receive the email!  (My huge moment to be a star shining diva... right?  LOL)

So, needing some help from hubby for this project, we woke up early in the morning, snuck downstairs and enjoyed a cup of coffee before the minions arose (Ahhhh... just love drinking in all that peace and QUIET!).  

In preparation for the interview, we threw up a quick prayer for inspiration and then started filming.  Thank God that the interview didn't take that long... But little did we know how much we had ahead of us!

The Les Mills Combat team asked me to record myself working out to specific tracks... video from the front and video from the side on each one.  You know... sometimes... I REALLY wish I wasn't a perfectionist!  By the end of the day yesterday, this sense of perfectionism had totally kicked me in the booty!

Between hair changes, children interrupting, head being cut out of video, battery dying, etc... it took what felt like a million takes, and the better part of the day to finish up.

By the time evening rolled around, I was totally exhausted from doing the same workout over and over... and the only thing getting me through them was the vision of a gorgeous Spelunkers hamburger just waiting for me at the end.  I kept thinking about my first juicy bite!

When all was said and done, I didn't feel a bit guilty about eating that hamburger.  I even polished it off with fries and a coke!  I've been doing well, and I worked my tail off, so I can tell you... that it felt pretty darn awesome to enjoy every bite of that burger and not feel an ounce of guilt :)

Why no guilt?  Because that was the reward I chose for the extra hard work I put into my workouts.  I punched harder.  I kicked higher.  And I dreamed bigger.  Well... of a bigger Bacon Cavern Cheeseburger... of course!

It's about setting goals and rewarding yourself appropriately.  Work hard.  Get some good healthy eating habits into your life.  And every once in awhile.. reward yourself for fulfilling a set challenge.  And when you reach it?  Go enjoy that juicy burger or ice cream cone... or whatever your big reward is... guilt free.  

I know I certainly did!  :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

When the numbers just don't add up

Okay... I admit it... I'm addicted to my scale.  I know I'm only supposed to weigh once a week/month... but I just simply can't help it!  I've been soooo good lately, and when I'm being a good girl, and I see the numbers on the scale go down, it's like getting this huge pat on the back.  "Hey!  You did it!  GOOD GIRL!" (And yes... I enjoy a good pat on the back when I've done something right!  :)

Over the years, the number on the scale has sadly become my "Happy Meter."  When the number goes down, I become elated...  I know I'm going to have an amazing day and life is just good!  BUT... on the flip side... when the number goes up... I tend to feel down... and negative thoughts of failure flood my mind and give me a rough start to the day.

It sounds silly?  Right?  To let your mood be determined by the number on a scale?  From the outside, yes it does.  It is terribly silly.  And I whole-heartedly admit it!  But when you have a lifetime behind you filled with fears of 'getting fat.'  And you've been putting a good chunk of your self worth into whether or not you have a few extra pounds on you...  followed with that fear of becoming 'unloveable'... it's just not so easy to retrain the mind and the emotional reaction that follows.

I have nine biological sisters, most of whom have struggled with being very overweight over the years... my mom too.  And no.  Not once have I looked at my sisters and thought... "Man... she'd be beautiful if she only lost some weight."  And if ANYONE dared to make such a comment to any of them... I swear... I'd whip out all this Combat I've been learning on 'em in less than a second!  I LOVE my sisters and think they are beautiful.  So why the double-standards when it comes to me?

If you look at me and think... "She's skinny... she's beautiful... she needs to stop talking about her weight."  Maybe you're right, but first listen.  I know that it has frustrated my sisters quite a bit over the years to hear me talking about feeling "fat".  But you HAVE to understand something.  That just because a person isn't over-weight on the outside doesn't mean that we don't struggle just as much on the inside.  

Yes.  I'm TERRIFIED of gaining weight.  I have had so many love affairs with food in the past.  And although I've finally found a lifestyle that will help me to stay healthy and active, I can't just say "STOP!" to those fears and expect them to immediately cease and desist from invading my life.

As I mentioned above, lately, I've been doing pretty darn well.  My inches are down and my body has been forming muscles where no muscle has dared to go before.  But this morning, when I stepped on the scale, I was UP three pounds.  And that's a number that has been going up for a few weeks.  So given my history, you can imagine the immediate and automatic feeling of sadness that swept over me.

But here's the thing... I KNOW that those numbers should not matter.  It's SO hard for me to retrain my brain to remember that muscle weighs more than fat!  Yes!  I feel good in my skin... in fact... I've been feeling pretty great!  And compared to me back in September... I think I look pretty darn amazing.  But my physical reaction to that number is still the same.  Scale goes up... negative feelings take over.

I've been debating getting rid of my scale... or at least having my hubby hide it for awhile.  Because this isn't good for me... and I know it!  Believe it or not, I'm really embarrassed to share this stuff ... but I can't help but think that I'm not the only one out there who feels this way.

So please remember... just because someone is active in fitness and trying to eat right, it doesn't mean that we don't share the same heartaches and fears, and that those feelings aren't valid.

This is a journey.  And I've said it before... it's a very personal journey for me.  It doesn't matter how fit I become, or how healthy I eat.  I. Am. ME.  This won't change.  I'll have to battle these fears.  I'll have to struggle to stay on the wagon.  But the fact is... I'm doing it.  And with that, overall, I really do have a great sense of peace!  I just have these little battles here and there that I still have to fight!

That being said... I can only hope that by becoming a little more transparent with these struggles, that maybe I can help someone else to find peace with themselves... or at least to help you realize that you are not alone.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Diet-KEEPING: Independence Day Style!

Proud of my two nephews, currently serving in the Navy!
It's Independence Day!!!  A day of picnics, parades and parties!  A day of family fun and celebrations!  

But most importantly, the 4th of July is a day when I often find myself getting choked up thinking about the men and women who have given their lives, and their hearts in order to make my life peaceful.  To give me the opportunity to follow my dreams and to never have to see the horror they have lived.  How blessed are we to live in a country where men and women give of themselves FREELY?

That being said... today is a day of celebration, and I have done a little research and came up with some desserts that are both healthy and full of the good ole red, white and blue!

Stars and Stripes 
Watermelon Fruit Bowl

When I saw this fruit basket, I thought, YES!  Something fun I can do with my kiddos, and at the same time, enjoy a yummy healthy 4th of July snack!

We've decided to hang out as a family today and party it up as a tight unit of seven :)  After a quick run to the grocery store, we'll be carving watermelon and whipping up a variety of salads to enjoy in the afternoon and evening.

Red White and Blue Quinoa Salad

How about some protein?  This fruit salad with "staying power" will get you through the afternoon or evening as a balanced snack or dessert!

Quinoa Almond Berry Salad
Serves: 4
3/4 cup dry quinoa
2 1/2 to 3 cups (1 pint) strawberries, sliced
1 1/2 to 2 cups (16 ounces) fresh blueberries
1 cup cherries, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Place fruit in a large bowl.
2. Mix maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, and salt in a small jar and adjust to taste if necessary.
3. Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork and add to fruit. Stir to combine. Pour on dressing, add almonds, and mix well. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator until serving time.
Nutrition score per serving: 322 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated), 58g carbs, 9g protein, 9g fiber, 80mg calcium, 65mg sodium, 27g sugars

A kiddo favorite!  Fruit on a mini spear! :)
During soccer season, one of our players brought the mid-game snack, and it was fruit on skewers.  Needless to say, before the game was over, the kiddos on the sidelines were coming up with all sorts of "dangerous" sword-play!  LOL
That being said, kids just love virtually anything skewered on to a stick.  Of course, we all know the marshallow favs... but this a great way have a fun and healthy snack in the spirit of the holiday.

One of my favs!  Anything with granola, yogurt and fresh berries... YUM!  Love country look of the glass jars and the fruit layers in this dessert :)
I'm signing off to spend the rest of the day with my hubby and kiddos!  
I hope you have an amazing Independence Day and don't forget to stop for a minute and remember every man and woman and family who has given their lives, their family members, and their own sense of peace and well-being to give us our freedom.


(If you know of any military families who are suffering as a result of the affects of deployment, please tell them about Camp Better America, a civilian run organization with a heart and a mission to give back!  And if you really want to help these families, please consider making a one-time donation, or donating on a monthly basis in order to help these families to stay together.  Donation information is on the front page of their website,  THANK YOU!!!  :)