Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Fitness Journey

A year ago, I started a journey that I had no idea I was beginning, nor did I realize where it would take me. A friend of mine, Megan Potter, was regularly posting pictures, quotes, and motivational blurbs on Facebook about how she had lost weight over the previous year. As these images and words passed in front of me, I started to wonder if I could have a similar experience or results. She talked about her journey and said things like, "I lost [x amount of] lbs in 60 days. What could you do in 60 days?" I was SO tired of not just being fat, but also of feeling fat. It wasn't just a physical feeling - it was emotional and internal. I hated how I looked and sadly, I let that affect how I felt about myself as a person. I know it's not right or ok, but that's where I was. So after all of her indirect encouragement, I began to think...60 days? That's nothing. I can do anything for 60 days. And so I decided to jump into it.

I bought a Beach Body Challenge Pack that included Insanity workouts, Shakeology, and an online membership. I never actually used the online membership because in the beginning of May I joined one of Megan's challenge groups. There was something really great about being in that challenge group. I could never motivate myself to stick with something long-term. I owned a great gym membership, but had only every gone sporadically. I think what helped me start this journey was that there was a goal in place - 60 days. Complete the Insanity program in 60 days. And then, having a group of people that I felt accountable to was huge. I felt like if I missed a workout, I wasn't just letting myself down, I was letting other people down.

Well that first day was a fit test. I thought I was going to die. Quite literally. I wanted to vomit and I told Megan I didn't think I could make it. She encouraged me to continue and I did. I finished Insanity and I was surprised that even though I was exhausted and hoped to never touch an Insanity DVD for a very long time, I wanted to keep working out and being active. I took a short break (due to getting the flu and taking care of a very sick baby) and then started doing the first month of Insanity again. After another month, I heard about T-25 (a 25 min Shaun T program) and jumped into another challenge group with Megan. I finished that and then moved on to P90X3 (a 30 min Tony Horton program). Shortly after starting P90X3, I joined a health group with another friend, Natalie Robison. Basically it is a competition where you put money in a pot at the beginning and can win money at the end by getting the most points (earned by making healthy choices such as: staying under your calorie limit, eating fruits and vegetables, drinking 64 oz of water, not eating any refined sugar, getting enough sleep each night, etc.) or by losing the most weight. I didn't win the first round, but chose to do it again because it was giving me great results. I also finished P90X3 and here I year later from when I started this madness. And yet, it's not madness at all. I couldn't be happier.

No one is more stunned by my results than I am. My physical results alone are huge. I have lost 42 lbs, at least 27 inches, and have gone from a large size 14 to a size 6/8. I honestly cannot remember the last time I wore a size 6 in anything.

I'm not gonna lie. It's a bit embarrassing to show these pics. 1) Because I can't believe how big I let myself get, and it's not flattering, and 2) because I'm showing a lot more flesh than I'm used to. ;)

These first pics are at my heaviest and lightest:
These pics are prior to starting Insanity and after completing T-25, but before P90X3. Apparently I never took after photos following completion of that program or my health challenge groups. Oops. But the difference is still noticeable.

What's crazy to me too is that I used to think I was so fat in high school compared to the size 00 to size 2 girls that I knew. A year ago, I would have DIED to be the size I was in high school. And now I passed that up and I'm even smaller! I started by ideally wanting to lose 25-30 lbs. Once I hit that, I was honestly happy. But I kept working out and making healthier choices, which has led me here. People ask me what goal/weight/size is I'm trying to reach. I'm not. I have no goal. I am 100% content HAPPY with where I am. Sure, I could be more toned and have more muscle. But who cares?! I'm healthy! I have never felt so capable in my body as I do now! I feel invigorated and strong and healthy!

I remember feeling as though at the ripe old age of 30 I was feeling old. I could tell my body was aging and was incapable of doing the things I could in my youth, or even my 20s. Psh! What a load of crock! I just wasn't taking care of myself. I didn't realize how I was truly sabotaging my health and the best years of my life by not exercising and by eating like crap. I've learned a lot of lessons about health and food along the way. Maybe I'll save that for another post. But I really am grateful for this huge learning experience.

The most important part of all of this though is not my physical change - it's my heart and my mind. I still don't like that some of my feelings of self-worth are connected to how I feel about how I look. That is a life-long work in progress. However, separate from that I do feel more confident. I feel capable. I feel dedicated. I feel at peace. I feel PROUD. I like who I am and I like that I recognize I am worth the effort to take care of this incredibly ABLE body my Heavenly Father gave me. I could have been born with impairments or disabilities. I could have acquired them through life. Yet I have been blessed with a strong, able, healthy body. Why should I hurt it? Why should I abuse it? Why should I throw it's abilities away? No more. I want these changes to stick for good. So this journey will not end. It's a journey of a lifetime.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Family Planning

When I hear young or inexperienced couples talking about "family planning" (how many kids they want and when) it sometimes both irritates and amuses me, basically for the same reason. Our ability to determine such things is (the majority of the time) completely out of our control! Ok, maybe not completely. And definitely not for everyone. I know there are some people who get pregnant just looking at each other. So maybe that's where my irritation (possibly jealousy? Sure.) comes in. My fertility is determined by numerous doctors and nurses and lab technicians, and ultimately, God. And yet, here I planning. Granted, since mine does involve so many parties, and serious financial investment, I guess it makes sense.

Shortly after I had Elsie, I remember having a distinct feeling that I wasn't done. Not necessarily in that spiritual "there's another child/spirit waiting to come to our family" kind of way. It was more of me just feeling that I for sure wanted at least one more, and I wasn't ready to call it "quits" at two. Owen and Elsie are about 2 years and 5 months apart. It's been a good gap. Not too far and not too close. They play well together (sometimes) and love each other (on their own terms) and seem to enjoy being siblings (for the most part). I've enjoyed watching them learn and grow together. Nothing warms my heart more than to hear my children giggling with each other, or when they spontaneously give each other hugs and kisses. It is The.Best. So...why not add another to the mix?

Well, I've been contemplating this for a while. Elsie has been a more easy-going baby than Owen, so I considered having them closer together. However, Elsie is also still my baby, and I don't feel any rush to make her grow up. Yet with our infertility issues, it does take some advanced planning to make anything happen. So back in January, Miles and I decided to go in for a consultation with our doctor to discuss our options.

Currently, we have two frozen embryos. Dr. Heiner said that they both looked good and our chances of having a successful pregnancy with implantation are good. He asked about our timetable. At the time we were discussing plans to travel abroad to Japan and/or Germany. We thought we had dates settled for that, so we talked about working around our trips to avoid traveling while in my first trimester. That meant that we had to do a transfer within two months time. I was still nursing Elsie at the time, and the doctor said I had to be done with that so my medication would not get into the milk and transfer to Elsie. He also told me to schedule another saline sonogram to check and make sure that my uterus was looking good for a transfer. He said I didn't need to do any other tests. I was very happy to learn that Miles and I could waive STD testing. It's so unnecessary and expensive! I think the only reason we could bypass it was because it wasn't a fresh cycle. I guess that's a plus.

In February I went in for the saline sonogram and they said everything looked fine. However, I started weaning Elsie and she was having a hard time with it. It made me sad to force an end to her nursing when she (and honestly I as well) was not ready for it. So I made a decision then that I was not going to do a transfer until after our trip to Japan. Well, within a month our plans changed and travels were put off until the fall. This meant I could do a transfer sooner, but it also didn't have to be right away. So it changed to May.

Here I am May...awaiting cycle day 1 to begin this process. I don't know exactly what it will look like this time. Sadly our nurse, Katie, no longer works for RCC and the new nurse was not as happy to answer all my questions. However, I do know that it will all be fairly fast and painless. At least that is my hope...

A dear friend of mine who also goes to the same office recently did her third fresh IVF cycle. She got a positive pregnancy result, but found out at week 7 that she was going to miscarry. My heart aches for her. Deeply. Struggling with infertility is something that has been so hard. And yet, one of my greatest fears is having that hope of a life to come, only to have it taken away just as quickly. At least with negative pregnancy tests, there's no life and no hope to crush. We have been so blessed and fortunate to have success each time we have done IVF. Yet it's never a guarantee.

So here I planning. And while I have all the ability in the world to plan around trips and seasons and birth dates and sibling separations, it is still completely out of my control. Here we go again on this crazy roller coaster.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Angels & Demons

Today was a polarizing day. It started at 4 am with Owen coming to my room and quietly waking me and asking to snuggle. He joined me in bed (I sent Miles to the guest room so he could get uninterrupted sleep for the remainder of the night) and the wiggling began. Normally I wouldn't allow it, but I knew he was sick and not feeling well. He coughed on and off for at least 30 minutes, and just as he was finally settling down and I was heading back to sleep, Elsie woke up at 5:15 am. (I should mention that last night we put both kids to bed at 6:30 pm because they were hot messes. They both cried non-stop for the previous 30 - 45 min, and we knew they needed their rest. So I suppose it shouldn't be too surprising that both woke early.) Unfortunately for me, it took me a good hour to get her back to sleep. I got about one more hour of sleep before Owen woke me to get up. And thus our day began.

One cute moment of "baby in a box" in the midst of craziness:

Our morning was slow and painful. Both kids were off and cranky. Owen was so sensitive and anything and everything would send him into fits of tears. To shorten the day's recap, I will give the "highlights."

- Directly disobeyed me and found and ate treats (by diligently searching) three different times after being told "no treats."
- Spilled a cup of my chocolate shakeology I had given him all over his pants and the blanket his Grammy made for him. This happened because he did not follow the "eat in the kitchen" rule.
- Screamed at his sister (a fairly regular occurrence in our home).
- Took a huge pile of sticky tack and put it in the toilet, prior to pooping and peeing in the toilet.
- Was overall defiant, disobedient, angry, and whiney.

- Scratched Owen's face
- Splashed in the toilet
- Pooped in the tub
- Caused general havoc wherever she went (a fairly regular occurrence in our home)

I sent out numerous SOSs to Miles and my friends seeking some words of wisdom and support to help me get through my day.

My one reprieve was nap time.

Elsie climbed in bed and wanted to be covered up with him. Owen didn't want a picture.

Then when he did want a picture, Elsie was done. You can see Owen's sad, red eyes from crying all day.

It's amazing how sweet they look when they are sleeping. It can make all the other stuff go least until they wake up. ;)

Elsie's awesome "bed head" post nap.

And then something happened. I have no idea what. In the midst of dinner and bath time, Miles had to leave. I was dreading doing bed time by myself after the day we had. Owen wanted to take a bath, but I told him that he couldn't tonight because Elsie had pooped in the tub, but that he could take one tomorrow. I expected him to throw a fit, but he didn't. He asked if he could play and I said yes. He said, "Thanks, Mom!" I was shocked. Not because this is abnormal for Owen, but it was completely unexpected based on his behavior from today.

While the kids played happily, I did some laundry, cleaning and general pick up. They didn't whine or complain, and they played nicely. It was so wonderful to hear "sure, Mom!" when I would ask Owen to help Elsie with something. And to hear Elsie say, "day-do" (thank you) to Owen. When Elsie would come over to play with Owen, he didn't shoo her away or get angry when she messed something up. I couldn't believe that I had a good 45 min+ of happy play time between the two of them.

Then, I told Owen it was time to do some clean up. Both kids helped happily and willingly and were so proud of their accomplishments. When I took Elsie off to bed, they hugged and kissed. Elsie didn't fuss about bed time, and went down easily. Owen was only upset for a brief moment when it was his turn, but quickly changed to a happy, sweet boy. We read from the Book of Mormon and I explained that what we had read was about the atonement. He saw a picture of Jesus and said, "It's Jesus! Why is he sad?" I told him he was sad because he was suffering for our sins and could feel each time we made bad choices. He said, "He doesn't like it when I'm mean to Elsie." I said, "Nope." He said, "He doesn't like it when Elsie scratches my face." I said, "Nope. And he doesn't like it when you don't listen to Mommy. Or when Mommy yells at you, and I'm sorry I got upset with you earlier." He said, while hugging me so tight, "It's ok, Mom! Now Jesus can love you!"

It was such a blessing to end this horrendous day on a beautiful, high note with my kids. Some times days like this make me wonder if it is worth it, or if I am doing things right. And then my children show me their love and innocence and sweetness. Even with it all, I would most definitely do this day again.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Since we moved to Lehi last March, our condo down in Provo has just been sitting there. Empty. We talked some of getting renters, and while I was open to the idea, I wasn't too excited. I really didn't want to be a landlord. And honestly, I just wanted to be done with it and sell it. However, we had some thing that still needed to be done (paint the doors, replace the carpet, patch large holes in the walls, etc.) before we felt comfortable listing it and having it show well. Unfortunately, when we moved, Miles was working an inordinate amount of time and I was taking care of two kids while trying to get settled into our new home. So neither of us was really available to get the work done. Occasionally I would bring it up (bitterly) and say we needed to do something about it so we weren't just paying two mortgages every month. We had a friend give a bid to do the work and we were about to jump on it when we got an interesting offer...from Miles's parents. They mentioned they might be interested in buying our condo, as they are often in Utah for a good 4-6 months out of the year (on and off) and have been wanting to have their own space while they are up here. After we gave them a sale's price and they looked the place over, they accepted. I was ecstatic that it was no longer a constant worry in the back of my mind. AND...we would no longer be making two mortgage payments each month! Yay! We came to an agreement that they would start making payments in November and purchase it sometime in the near future. Well, that future is here and it is officially in their names as of last week. Hurray! I hope they are as happy as I am. :)

I have to say, it's actually kind of nice thinking of them "living" there. Our condo in Provo holds a lot of special memories for our family. It was a good place for us in starting our married life, and our family. We made a lot of good friends, had positive experiences, and were happy with the location and our neighbors. I love that even though it will be different and is no longer ours, that we can still visit our first home.