Saturday, October 18, 2014

Our Peanuts

There is finally a chill in the air.  Mums and pumpkins adorn every porch on the block.... It's October!  And with October comes the annual family tradition of the haul out to the orchard to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown."  I think this has to be one of my favorite family traditions!  This is our 3rd year going, and I dread the day that the kids "outgrow" it.  Although, I also wonder if hay rides and Charlie Brown ever are truly outgrown?  I mean, I still have a good time!

Anyway, in typical tradition, we arrive to the orchard in costume.... and when I say "we", I mean Leeland and Hayden.  Although Leeland and his impeccable memory, DID recall Daniel and I participating in costume last year, and wanted to know where our costume was.  (In hindsight, Daniel and I could have pulled off Sally and Linus.... but thinking of that 30 minutes before it's time to head out the door doesn't get it accomplished.)  The boys changed their mind at least 6 or 7 times on what they wanted to dress as for Halloween this year-- really, Leeland changed his mind.... and Hayden went along with every single change.  They finally settled on Charlie Brown and Snoopy.  They came up with the idea ALL on their own, and it could not have been more fitting.  Once they decided that they weren't going to change their minds anymore, I bought the supplies to put together the costumes.

Aren't they the cutest Charlie Brown and Snoopy you ever did see?  The tail totally makes the Snoopy costume, every time I look at it, I smile.  Such a cute little Snoopy.  And Leeland is SO SO proud of his Charlie Brown costume-- I see this surpassing Halloween.

Once they were in character, we headed for the orchard.  First up on the list of things to do was the hay ride of course.

.... followed by hot dogs and smores.

... And then, they had a costume contest.  Neither of my cuties placed in the contest, BUT, my niece did win 3rd place and she was totally stoked.  And after the costume contest was the main event.... The Great Pumpkin!

Such sweet memories made snuggling up with blankets under the stars watching Charlie Brown and eating apple turnovers.  Seriously my favorite tradition!  We will continue going each year for as long as the orchard will have us, and as long as our boys will go....  And now we look forward to Halloween night, and for the great pumpkin to arrive! :)  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


It's always a surprise to many that Leeland wakes me up each morning.  While I would like to be one of those morning people who gets up and drinks her coffee and reads a book and works out BEFORE the kids are up.... I just can't.  The few times I've tried have either resulted in me hitting the snooze button on the alarm approximately 23 times, OR successfully getting up starting my coffee and discovering a little person who has now woken up earlier than his norm behind me because he has impeccable hearing and just knew someone was up.

So each morning, Leeland wakes up, and he marches right up the stairs to wake me and demand that it's time for his breakfast and that it's time for me to come downstairs "right now."  Some mornings I can talk him into snuggling with me an extra 20 minutes so that I get those last few minutes of shut eye that I desperately need, and some mornings he hops all over me and steals my pillows forcing me out of my slumber.

Recently he has been intrigued by time, so he gets enthralled in my watch, he asks me how many minutes it will be until I'm ready to get up, how many minutes until he eats breakfast, what time is it, what numbers are on my watch etc.  He also really loves the light on my watch and sometimes those last few minutes of shut eye are him pushing all sorts of buttons on my watch trying to find the light button.  In fact, he changed my alarm on my watch from 7:00 AM to 9:09 AM.  I have no idea how he did it, I no longer have the instructions to know how to change it myself, and so everyday at the most random time.... 9:09, my watch beeps over and over and over.  I'm not sure that I was even aware that my $10 watch had an alarm function when I purchased it.  Maybe my kid is a genius?  Or he just likes buttons.  Either way.

We had a very hard week last week-- I posted a very real and very vulnerable image on Facebook and Instagram last week of me sitting in the hallway in the dark with a cup of coffee in my hand.  That day was the worst, that was the day that I lost it.  The boys were pushing my buttons all last week-- arguing in the car, fighting over really silly things, instigating one another, not listening, not picking up after themselves.  I literally felt like they had lost all of their home training.
The arguments that particular day started over Leeland doing his reading lesson.  It should be expected by now-- we do a simple phonics lesson every single day.  Each lesson is only supposed to last about 15-20 minutes.  The day that I "lost it", it took us 5 hours to complete the lesson.  During that 5 hours, we started and stopped, there were tears, there were time outs, and there was a nap forced 2 1/2 hours early.  I feel like some of you might read this and think, "He's so little.  You're pushing him too hard."  But please trust that, in this particular lesson was nothing that he didn't already know, and that what was happening was his flat out refusal to do any work.  I didn't know how to handle it.....  If I gave in and chalked it up to a bad day, would he try these same antics the next day?  Or the next day?  Because he knew that he could get away with not doing his work because he acted a fool?  What was I supposed to do?.... So I pushed.  I pushed forward and expected him to complete the lesson, which we eventually did, and had a long discussion about how, if he does the lesson the first time he is asked, it frees up more time for fun.  We haven't had an issue since that day... but it was very hard.

I sat in the hallway in the dark that day drinking my coffee and crying.... I felt bad.  I raised my voice, I got angry, I was not so ginger when carrying him to his room for that forced nap.  A nap that he desperately needed, and woke up in a much better mood, but I felt terrible.  I hate to yell.  I hate the sound of anyone yelling.  I don't want to be that mom.  I don't like to be that mom.  Discipline is a necessary evil, don't get me wrong, but I just sat there beating myself up thinking that I could have handled my actions better.  The thought that kept running through my mind was how I had literally just put on my prayer request sheet the day before at my small group was "better patience with my kiddos,"  and how I seriously just BOMBED that test of my patience.

This month I have been thinking a lot about grace.  This month I celebrate 10 years knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  10 years ago on a cold October night, I was baptized in a portable baptismal pool outside of my church.  I joke that I got a real cleansing that night and that they literally boiled my sins away, because they had filled the tub with boiling water knowing that it was cold out and expecting it to cool down during service for me to get in after.... but nope, it was still boiling water and they had to add cool water to cool it down for me to get in.  As I was raised out of that water in the chill of the evening I was surrounded by smiling faces and greeted with warm towels right out of the dryer.  I accepted Christ and was made new.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 
-2 Corinthians 5:17

At the end of that day, the day that I lost it, I curled up with Leeland in his bed and we chatted.  We chatted about his behavior, we chatted about my behavior, we chatted about expectations.  But most importantly, I forgave him.  And I asked him to forgive me as well.  

I went to bed that night being thankful that we would have a fresh start the next day.  Thankful that Leeland and I have a relationship where I can humble myself and admit where I am wrong.  Thankful for grace from Leeland, and also God's power for me to be able to extend grace to him.  But more than anything, thankful that I didn't bomb that test of my patience.  Thankful that the Lord is teaching me new things each day and that He extends His grace to me.  Only by His grace and His power will I do better next time.  I've come a long way in 10 years, but the important thing is that everyday there is room for even more growth and more learning as I walk this walk with Christ.

And as for that pesky alarm at that random time of 9:09.... Well, for now, the alarm stays.  For now it reminds me that this is only a season.  It reminds me that the time will come one day when I don't have kids in my lap for reading lessons or reading books.... that the good days FAR, far, FAR outweigh the "bad days,".... it reminds me of grace and extending that grace to my children.... It reminds me to enjoy every single moment and to hold each moment with these precious ones HE has entrusted me with dear.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

What's Next?

I love that as soon as I finish up one program, I almost immediately get the question, "What's Next?"  Speaking seriously here, not being sarcastic, I really do love that!  I love it because I have been told by so many that I have inspired them, or motivated them, or gave them inspiration, when in actuality, you guys are motivating me!  When I hear that "What's next?", I think... "I've gotta hop to it!"  What's my next challenge?  Gotta get another free shirt, right? Ha!

So to answer the minds of the curious, today I began day one of the Les Mills "Combat" program.  It is a 60 day program, and so far day 1 went very well.  I felt like a total badass ninja warrior this afternoon in my own living room punching and kicking at air.  It was amazing! Seriously.  I don't know a whole lot about the program, and I pray that I continue to enjoy it, but one thing I did notice today is that cardio wise, it is not the intensity of Turbo Fire.  Granted that's judging day one, so we'll see what the rest of the program has in store, but in actuality less cardio in the program could be a good thing because it will push me to add in extra running which I need to do anyway.

I have 2 races coming up in November-- a 10k on November 1st, and a 5k on November 22nd and I'm shooting for a PR on the 5k so I definitely need to get out and do some running as well.

I also plan to continue eating per the 21 Day Fix guidelines, because I'm hooked on it and until I get a hang of portions visually and feel equipped to go sans containers, I will continue using my little containers to portion my meals.  And I also plan to continue with some of the 21 Day Fix workouts because I really love Autumn's ab routine and her upper and lower body weight lifting routines.

So that is what's next in the world of fitness for me-- I'm a little nervous, I'm not gonna lie.  Last year at this time was about the time that I picked up Turbo Fire and then I didn't finish it.  Thankfully I got back up and continued on when I began half marathon training a few months later, but there's something about cooler weather and the holidays that makes the commitment so much more difficult. The chill in the air makes me crave "comfort foods" which are not so great for me, and then we get to the Holidays and we get busy hopping from celebration to celebration and I miss workouts and eat traditional holiday "junk food."  It's tough!  My goal is to conquer this season.  To learn from last year's mistakes, and push through this busy season in our lives.  Are you with me?   :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Turbo Fire Results

So before you scroll down to the end and see the changes in photos in measurements, I want to give a little update of how this last month has gone for me.  I continued to add in Abs 10 on my HIIT days, and on one day I added in a family run, yep Daniel joined me along with the jogger stroller full of our two sweet little boys and we went on a run.  But I'm not gonna lie, this month was a struggle.  I missed probably a total of 5 workouts-- one was expected because family was visiting, one I was sick and that was also expected, but the other three were just tough days.  So no, I'm not super woman.  I have days that I'm exhausted.  I have days that I lack motivation.  I have days that I just want to sit and read a book instead.   I also got a little lax with eating habits-- there were a few celebrations with family where I indulged in cake, and with the increase in metabolism this month came the munchies, and sometimes I succumbed to a few "not so great for me" snacks.  It happens.  With all of that said, I still remember that this is a lifestyle, and that sometimes life just happens and it's what you do about it afterwards that counts-- you get back up and you get back on the clean eating plan.

Now in other news, while I'm mostly pleased with my photos and measurements this go round, I also want to say that I'm extra ecstatic about one "non-scale victory."  So my clothes have been literally falling off of me for a couple of months now-- seriously, Hayden yanked on my shorts to get my attention in a store, and it could have ended very badly if it weren't for my cat like reflexes.  So I finally got up the guts to hit the dressing room with a pair of jeans.... because yes, even after you shrink and find a little self-confidence with shedding weight, the dressing room is still VERY intimidating.

My recollection of dressing room moments include me sweating profusely and nothing going up over my thighs or hips.... ever....  So one night we were out and about at a shopping center and I talked Daniel into going into Old Navy where I marched into the dressing room with a large stack of "skinny" jeans while he watched our wild boys try to grab things off the shelves and make as much noise as possible.  (Thanks honey!)  The large stack was because I had no idea what size would fit... AND, for anyone not familiar with Old Navy, they have several different styles that are supposed to be for different body types and I had no idea what my body type was.  Well, I walked out that night from the store buying my very first size 8's in a VERY VERY long time!  I don't even remember being an 8 in High School.  Maybe middle school?  I've always been in the double digits, and just for reference, last year when I started my journey before P90x, I was wearing a size 14.

So dear friends, if you are also out there working hard, please take note of those non-scale victories!  How your clothes fit, the amount of energy you have, how you are lifting heavier weights than ever before.... all of those things are victories.  The scale doesn't always tell the whole truth, so take note of those victories and celebrate them along the way!

So just for reference, these photos and measurements include 12 weeks of Turbo Fire, and I added in the "3 Day Quick Fix" meal plan for 3 days right after I finished Turbo Fire.  The 3 day Quick Fix was the one part of the 21 Day Fix program that I didn't get to at the end of it, and I had been wanting to try it, so I just tacked it on to the end of Turbo Fire for "fun."  Though I will say it isn't a whole lot of fun.....  For those who may not know what the 3 Day Quick Fix is, it is a strenuous high protein eating plan, like what a bodybuilder or bikini competitor might do just before an event.  6 meals a day, every one laid out a certain way, each one with very specific proteins, steamed green vegetables, very little carbs (only in 2 meals), absolutely NO salt, and downing it all with a gallon of water.  So for the past 3 days, I've been daydreaming of a spoonful of peanut butter!! MMM....  Yes, peanut butter.  I guess you've made it in the fitness world, when peanut butter is your special treat?  You can bet that this wonderful Friday morning, I'm taking great pleasure in my spoon of peanut butter while typing this friends.

Now to the final measurements and photos that you have all been waiting for.... OR maybe you didn't even read any of the above paragraphs and just skipped right down to this... either way....

Chest- 34 1/2 inches
Biceps- 12 1/4 inches
Waist- 29 3/4 inches
Hips- 39 inches
Thighs- 24 3/4 inches
Weight- 157 pounds
Chest- 35 inches
Biceps- 12 inches
Waist- 28 1/2 inches
Hips- 38 1/4 inches
Thighs- 23 1/2 inches
Weight- 146.8 pounds

As you can see, I had to get a new outfit for my photos because the mint shorts and black bra were falling off of me.  Down 10 pounds and a couple inches.  I'll take it!! 

And just for fun, here's a share of the beginning to current....  I began this journey 15 months ago!  I have been overwhelmed with an outpour of support, love and kindness by so many while I have been on this journey to a healthier me.  AND, I also get loads of questions and messages from friends and family who are just starting their journey.  I will not claim to know it all, because I DO NOT, but I am so happy to share what I do know with others, and am amazed that my story has inspired so many.  But dear friends, please remember that it takes time!  Many of the messages I've received have been frustrations over results or the lack there of, and to that I say, give yourself grace (most importantly) and give yourself time!  This change didn't happen over night, I've been at it for fifteen months. 15!! Don't compare your beginning to someone else's end-- if you are eating clean, and working hard, keep doing it... just give it time!  

And the winner is.....

You guys!!!  While I'm so shocked that the entries were so low for the Albion Fit Giveaway, I still just absolutely love giving stuff away.  Those who have been following me for a while know that I, myself, am just a little bit crazy about entering giveaways, but never did I imagine how much more fun it would be to host them!

So first, thank you to all of those who entered and pinned their favorite items.  I really enjoyed seeing what everyone liked from Albion Fit.  ALSO, you can still get 15% off of your order until September 28th with the code "dana15."  But without further ado, I used to pick a number from the amount of comments on the post and then counted down the comments to see who won, and the winner of the $25 gift card to Albion Fit is......
Lauren Childrey!!!! 

Congrats Lauren!!  I will be in touch about getting you your prize.  And thank you again to all who entered!