Sunday, September 28, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake & Other Ups and Downs

Last week was a week of ups and downs for me, physically, emotionally and topographically.

The first week off of sugar and eating healthier, I lost 5 pounds. Then I spent last week wobbling between this one pound. I knew (from prior experience and watching Biggest Loser) it would slow down during week 2, but it was still a little frustrating. I just told myself I wanted to lose one more by the end of the week, and I did. So I was happy about that. Of course, that was yesterday, the day of the cake buffet, so it was right back on this morning. But I expect it to be gone very soon.

So, Tuesday, I had a huge breakdown (or as I learned from Jim Carey on Oprah last week, a "breakthrough.") It started at the gym after running 2.1 miles. I started crying and pretty much didn't stop all day. I seriously haven't had a day like that since college (or maybe the day after our first Valentine's Day as a married couple, but that's another post). Any little thing set me off, like when I discovered Nate had taken the fajitas I had been looking forward to all day to work for his lunch, and then had the nerve to say "they're just fajitas." I hung up on him and burst into tears. I was crying for several reasons, which were all related to this new "lifestyle," but it was intensified and dramatized by hormones. I figured out that I was mostly morning my old relationship with food and the feelings I got from it. As dumb as it sounds, it was like missing a dear friend. I really think I need therapy, but instead I turned to friends and family (lots cheaper!) and after many words of encouragement and advice, including all the scriptures on strength I could find, I felt a lot better. As Jim Carey also said on Oprah (it was the Mother Warrior show, one of the best in a long time) I had to feel it to heal it.

Last week was my second week in a row of working out 6 times. We also started a new adventure -- running outside. Which includes hills and wind -- two things which make running even harder than it already is. But I saw a lot of life lessons in it. Running up the hill is so hard, but you know it's going to end and then it will be easier. After you've run up a hill running flat is much easier than if you hadn't run up the hill. And usually after you run up a hill, you get to run down a hill, which is such a relief and darn near fun. I'm sure you get the analogies. . .

Now for the highlight of the week: The Cake Buffet. After much discussion, anticipation, strategizing, and fantasizing I have to say it was a little disappointing. That's only because I tend to get my expectations way too high on things. I really wanted to taste about half the cakes there. I think I ended up eating the equivalent of 2 (or 3) pieces total, but that was only 7 different cakes. 7 out of 40. I was so sad when my stomach started to hurt and the sweetness stopped tasting good. People had been telling me that would happen and I didn't believe it, because this is me we're talking about here, but they were right. Thinking back on it, they were all delicious and getting to taste 7 different cakes in one night is pretty great. Of course, after all that sugar, I was dying for salt. Since a few of us hadn't had dinner, we topped it all off by going to Costa Vida (Cafe Rio knock off). That tasted wonderful too, as did the leftovers I had today.

So here's a picture of Jenni and me -- two girls who met their goal and earned their reward! Unfortunately, I was way too focused on cake to take any at the beginning, those were just the treats she was taking to her kids (one of those didn't exactly make it. . . and I'm not talking about the pear!)
So, I'm back off of sugar for now. I think I'm going to splurge once a week. Depending on if I can get away with it. If I keep gaining and losing this exact same pound, I guess I'll have to splurge less. For the record, the goal is 10 more pounds by Christmas, and 21 total. And I am sure there are many more ups and downs to come. I'm just hoping for more emotional ups than downs and more weight downs than ups.

I promise the next post will have nothing to do with fitness and/or weight loss!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Giving "Picture Perfect" The Boot!

I spent the last week getting ready for our family pictures. In typical Michelle fashion, I tired to do it as cute as possible for as cheap as possible. Yesterday as we were getting ready, I became increasingly uptight and bossy. Nate almost boycotted the whole thing. I'm sure I'm not the only mom who takes family pictures very seriously. So some of the prep included hair cuts for all of us (three of which we did ourselves to make up for one professional one, guess whose that was). I made two different bows for Elizabeth's hair, because I didn't like the first one. I shopped for several hours last Saturday. I got Harrison a new outfit which was not on sale (much to Daddy's dismay, but really honey, it was Old Navy, not Nordstrom), Nate a new shirt from the clearance rack (he was happy about that), and a new shirt for me, which I will be returning because I ended up borrowing a different shirt from Jenni (thank you!) that was way more flattering. I knew I wanted to borrow a dress for Elizabeth from Shauna (thank you!) and I had really wanted to get her the most adorable black patent leather boots from Old Navy.

But they were $20 and I couldn't bring myself to do it considering I usually get the kids' shoes from Target when they're on clearance for $2.50. Well, a few days later a friend told me the boots were 40% off. So I went and got them. I was so excited about her wearing these boots in the picture. And they were going to be her black Sunday shoes for the winter. I tried them on her, and she could barely walk in them because they are a size too big (smallest size they come in) and because she has the shortest legs ever. I started to get worried that this may not have been the best idea. But I tend to place fashion over function, so I just hoped for the best. Well sure enough, she hated wearing the boots, kept asking for them to come off, saying "all done" and "no thank you," and crying incessantly. I was one disappointed Mommy when she ended up in white socks for half the pictures. Bare foot would have been better than white socks, but no, she wanted the socks.

I guess no matter how hard you try, when it comes to an almost 2 year old, there's no such thing as picture perfect! Somehow, Melissa still managed to get some great shots. Thanks again, Melissa! Check it out on her photoblog The post is called "The Winners." Notice how I'm trying to cover the white sock with my hand in the family one!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sweet Dreams

I guess my subconscious misses sugar more than my conscious, because the past three nights I have had dreams that I'm eating sweets. Usually midway through gobbling up the cookie or candy or what-have-you I realize what I'm doing and say, "Oh no, I shouldn't be eating this!" One time I said, "Don't tell Jenni." (We're both off sugar until the cake buffet). I usually realize it's a dream and then just keep eating. How could I harness these dreams so that I can stuff my face in my dreams all night? Wouldn't that be awesome if we could totally control our dreams?

We went to the pool today as a family and I swam around a mile, I think. I got all mixed up when counting the lengths and laps (probably due to the lack of oxygen). Nate swam 200 meters (he had already lifted weights for over an hour). He wants to be able to swim a mile without stopping. I just want to be able to swim a half mile without stopping (after almost every single length!) I told Nate that this should be our Saturday morning tradition. The kids love it and it's great exercise for us. That makes the 6th day this week that I have worked out and that is a personal record of mine! Watching Biggest Loser today was motivating. In the past I always watched while eating a bowl of ice cream, but things have changed!

We also attempted to take family pictures today with Melissa Howell (Remember the contest I encourage everyone to enter? Well, Jenni won and I had referred her, so I won too! Yeah!) I say attempted, because with a tired 4 year old and an uncooperative, unbribeable 20 month old, and lots of wind, it was more difficult than I had imagined it would be. I'm sure there will be some good pictures and I'm excited to see them. More details on the photo shoot to come!

P.S. Our camera battery is dead and we're waiting for the new one to arrive, that's why there have been no pictures lately. And my cell phone died once and for all when I dropped it for the hundredth time. So I'm waiting for a new one of those in the mail too.

Anyway, may we all have sweet dreams tonight!

Friday, September 19, 2008

No Sugar Rush

Okay, I have to brag. Since cutting out sugar on Tuesday (and being conscious of portion control and eating way more fruits and veggies) I have lost 3 1/2 pounds. I must say, that this is the first time I have had self control when not on a "diet." I dieted all through college and was miserable when on and more miserable when off. So I told myself I wasn't going to do that anymore, and I haven't for about 6 years. This time I am just using all the things I know and making good choices. Other than straight up sweets, there's nothing I am depriving myself of. I had my version of a Cafe Rio sweet pork enchilada with green sauce and creamy cilantro dressing last night. But I had one and then I was done for the night. I feel like this is the only way that I will be able to have success and really stick with something. I have to keep eating normal foods and just have self-control. Also, I plan on still indulging in sweets and enjoying life, on special occasions. Just not throwing my own private parties every single day and having dessert after every single meal. I'm not exaggerating.

I have also worked out everyday this week and today did something I never, ever imagined I could or would do. We ran 2 miles straight and 3.1 total. That's a 5K. Now I just have to take out the two short walking breaks we did and I will have reached my first long-term fitness goal. It has also been decided that I will for sure be doing the triathlon in June, which is my ultimate fitness goal for now. I have to give a shout out to my friend Jenni, who is the best work out partner ever. She knows how to push me and we have so much fun. She has much more mental strength than I do and that is something I'm working on. In the past I have been one to give up easily and talk myself out of things with a very "oh well" attitude. I am seriously praying everyday for mental strength, because with exercise and food, it's all mind games for me.

On my birthday this year I told myself that this was my year to get it together. That by the time I turned 30 I was going to have my life under control. At the time I mostly meant cleaning my house and not yelling at my kids. So, the cleaning has not improved at all, the yelling at the kids is a work in progress. But I am getting it together physically. Which does effect other areas. I come home from the gym, read my scriptures and get dressed. So by 7:30, all that's done. (Minus hair and make-up). For someone who was always still in bed by then, this is a big deal. There were days I never even got dressed (and there may be more of those, but at least I will have worked out). So I am feeling more ready for the day and ready to be productive, which eventually might help me clean my house. Anyway, the point is that I am feeling like by the time I'm 30 I really will have changed and gotten some things under control.

For those of you who don't know, my best friend Kelly and I have this plan to go to Oprah for our 30th birthdays. We've been planning it for 5 years and next year is the big year. Even though Oprah will never know, I feel like this life-changing stuff is totally her kind of thing and she'd be so proud (I think of her as my black mama/best friend who doesn't know it yet -- even though over the past few years those feelings have subsided a little). So, Chicago better watch out, because a somewhat together, somewhat skinner 3o year-old is coming to town!

**8 more days until the cake buffet!**

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh When Will They Ever Learn?

Please sing the title to the tune of "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?"

So, we got a flyer on our door for a free $25 gift card to the store of our choice. I knew there would be a catch, but as a SAHM with a lot of time on my hands (who LOVES Target) I thought, I may as well look into it. So I called and they said that someone would come by to show me a eco-friendly product and have me fill out a 10 question survey about it. I should have gotten suspicious when they said my husband would have to be home too. So when they called to confirm I asked if they were selling something (of course they were) and how long it would take (45 minutes).

Long story short -- a cute Meg Ryan look alike who has two kids and is an inactive member from SLC shows up to sell us a "Home Defense System" AKA over-priced vacuum called The Patriot. This is the 3rd of these vacuum presentations we've sat through - one for a "free trip" (that we never took) and an as seen on TV salsa maker that we used once and it was a piece of junk. The next for a "free carpet cleaning in one room." Mind you, he didn't clean the entire room, I'm sure to leave a nice line of demarcation to show the filthiness. And here we go again for the $25 Target Gift Card.

I have to say, this was the best presentation of the three. She only stayed an hour and a half compared to the 2 1/2 hour Kirby guy and the 3 hour Rainbow guy. It was definitely the best product, she was the best sales girl and I did want it. But not for $2,000. They have all done the white filter demos to show us how filthy our carpet is, shown us the pictures of dust mites, etc. I know vacuums don't work and I do want something that works. But I also want braces (again), the house painted, Harrison in gymnastic and music lessons, etc. etc. etc.

I think I have finally learned my lesson once and for all. You can't get something for nothing and if it sounds too good to be true it is.

Nate said we should have told her we'd buy it if she'd come back to church.

Does anyone have a "home defense system"? If so, was it worth it and can I borrow it?

Oh well, Target, here I come!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

3 Things

So I don't know if I'll ever get to my vacation posts, but I am going to keep moving forward.

#1 - Swimming
Today we added swimming to our work out regimen. In order to do this, we had to add Tuesdays and Thursdays to our work out schedule, and get up 10 minutes earlier. That means I am now going to be getting up at 5:30 three times a week and 5:20 two times a week. Yikes. Today we ran for 15 minutes straight (a new record for me on time and distance) and swam for 25 minutes, with a lot of breaks. I think I did 20 lengths (1000 meters). I haven't done laps since college when my cousin, Suzanne, talked me into swimming with her two summers in a row. I can see that this will be a good work out and it's the 2nd step toward doing the triathlon in June, but I don't think Micheal Phelps has anything to worry about.

#2 - Sugar
is my drug of choice. I have decided to go off of sugar until the General RS Broadcast (which is in less than two weeks) at which our stake is having a cake buffet afterwords. I will be indulging in the cake buffet and then we'll see from there. Basically if I lose weight, I'll probably go back off sugar. If I'm cranky with no results I'll go back to my sugar junkie ways. I need to clarify that I am still eating fruits and normal things that include sugar (like salad dressings, etc.) But I am NOT eating candy, chocolate, ice cream, baked goods, graham crackery type things, etc.

#3 - PROTECT Our Children Act
Most of you were probably smarter than me and chose not to watch the very disturbing Oprah yesterday (I did fast forward the parts that were way too much, but I heard enough) on child predators and child pornography. Basically it's even worse than I imagined and they have the technology to track these people down and put them behind bars, but they don't have the resources. If you want to help make this happen, PLEASE read this and follow the instructions.

Hundreds of thousands of children are victims of sexual abuse each year. Due to the sheer lack of resources, law enforcement is unable to follow up on the majority of leads they have.The PROTECT Our Children Act will:
Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.
Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.
Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.

Act Now! Your U.S. senators will be voting on the bill soon, so it is crucial you contact them immediately.Go to to find contact information for the senators in your state. Search for your senator by name or state by clicking on the arrow from either drop down menu. Contact information is provided here. To send an e-mail, click on "Web Form" below his or her name, and e-mail your letter to make a difference!
Call Your Senators
If you choose to contact your senators by phone, be sure to tell them, "Vote yes on Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act."
Write to Your Senators
If you choose to write a letter, fax, telegram or e-mail, you may use the following sample letter—and modify it how you see fit.

Dear Senator:I know that you believe, like I do, that we must do everything possible to protect children from sexual predators. That is why I am asking for your help.Last year alone, U.S. law enforcement identified over 300,000 criminals who were trafficking in movies and pictures of young children being raped and tortured. Experts say that one in every three of these criminals has local child victims. Child pornography trafficking over the Internet has given us a trail of evidence that leads straight to their doorsteps, but the vast majority of these children will never be rescued because investigators are overwhelmed, outnumbered and underfunded.As your constituent, I urge you to do everything in your power to pass the PROTECT Our Children Act (S. 1738, Biden-Hatch). This bipartisan legislation passed the House 415-2, but it is now the victim of petty partisan politics.Now that we know where these children are and how to protect them, there is no excuse for the Senate to fail to take action this session.(Your name here)

I did this last night and it took less than 15 minutes. I'm not a big political person, but this is one thing that I feel VERY strongly about. And I didn't do it just because I want to be best friends with Oprah either!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hilarious Harrison and Another Thing That Cracks Me Up

Harrison's new thing is to give me a tight hug and say, "Sooo squishy." I don't know where he got that, I guess he's probably smart enough to come to that conclusion on his own. Sad, but true.

His other new thing is to give up arguing fairly quickly, do a big overly dramatic shrug and say, "Whatever." I need to get it on tape and put it on here, because it's pretty funny. It's one of those things that won't be funny for long though and I should probably nip it in the bud.

TMI Warning! The other morning Harrison was in bed with us and said to me, "Excuse me Mommy, please don't let your gas out on me." Apparently, he has much better manners than his mother.

He told me that yesterday in church they learned about Lazarus. Matthew got to be Lazarus and was wrapped in paper toilet (H's word for toilet paper) and he got to be Jesus and said, "Lazarus, come forth." I have to say that Sister Amison is a wonderful teacher and we love how much he is learning in Sunbeams!

He is also very good about reminding me that we need to read Book of Mormon stories before he goes to bed each night. We have one of those old-school comic strip style ones and he loves it. He is obsessed with all the bow and arrow pictures and stories. (I never realized how much violence was in the Book of Mormon -- I guess the Bible too, until I saw it through the eyes of a 4 year-old boy). He especially loves the story about Nephi's bow and wants to read it every night. The other night he said, "I'm going to pray to Jesus that he can get me a new bow and arrow like Nephi." Keep praying, little one, you're not getting it until Christmas!

The last thing that is cracking me up is that Nate got this in the mail from his school.
I never thought of Nate as a person "of color" before. I guess that anyone who is not white is included in this group. It cracks him up too. Unfortunately, we can't go, so we won't get to mingle who all the other minorities at the school. I'm excited for when the kids start applying for college and we can milk this "of color" thing for all it's worth!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Buffalo and Chicken Obessions

Today is the first day I've had in weeks that I have absolutely nothing going on and I can actually sit down and blog. I had a stress-induced breakdown Saturday night and amidst all my crying I told Nate,"I haven't even blogged in two weeks and have only watched one hour of TV." For me this is a big deal, and apparently devastating. I have realized over my insanely busy summer that I am one who loves and needs down time, and as I look at my relatively empty calendar over the next few months, I am happy that I will be able to enjoy it again. So, I have a ton of posts I need to catch up on. I'm going to start with the most recent and work my way back.

Sunday night, my younger brother, Travis and his wife Kat (sorry, Kat, I don't think I can switch over to Kate) came to stay with us for a few days as they are moving from Virginia to California to start his first job out of law school. When we were trying to plan out what we wanted to do while they were here, his main goal was to see buffalo. For those who don't know Travis, he is a really cool guy, who is also quite quirky and that's what I love about him. For instance, he explained to me how "Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo, buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo," is a legitimate sentence and encouraged Harrison to tell his pre-school teacher that. Anyway, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to help him meet that goal, because googling "Buffalo in Colorado,"didn't really help. So, yesterday on our way to Colorado Springs he said he was going to look for buffalo the whole way there. Sure enough, he spotted some. So I immediately got off the freeway, put my SUV to the test and off-roaded to as close as we could get to them. Then we proceeded to take a bunch of pictures and observe the "tatanka."

Here are Kat(e) and I showing how the trusty Pilot got us out into the middle of that field with the freeway in the background. This is Elizabeth and me at the Visitor's Center of Garden of the Gods continuing with the buffalo obsession. Here are Trav and Kat at the "Balancing Rock" at Garden of the Gods.Our favorite rock formation was "Kissing Camels." So of course we had to take kissing pictures in front of it.
Trying to get a 20 month old to take a successful kissing picture was not an easy fete, but we did it!
Then we went to the Olympic Training Center, which was pretty cool, especially with the Olympic Spirit so fresh in our hearts!

It's probably a toss up whether the highlight of the day was the buffalo sighting or this next part. For me, I think it was this. Most of you are probably aware of my obsession with Chick-Fil-A. Well, it's now official. Last night we went to the party I won for being a "Chick-Fil-A Raving Fan." A few months ago we were there, done with our food and waiting while the kids played on the playplace. I saw a little sign that said something like, "Tell us why you love Chick-Fil-A in a hundred words or less." Well for me, a hundred words is not enough, but I thought I'd give it a shot anyway. I proceeded to write a short essay while Nate made fun of me the entire time. A few weeks later I received a phone call from Chick-Fil-A and thought, "Oh my goodness, could I have possibly won the contest?" Sure enough, I did. Now, I figured I won a free meal or something of the like. No, I actually won a prize that comes close to reflecting the amount of love I have for the place -- an all you can eat party for 30 friends and family. For those of you wondering why you weren't invited, they wanted to have it on a Weds. night, which is mutual, so I started with the young women and the other leaders (and their families). I wish I could have invited all of my friends and had more family there. But I do have 5 coupons for free food, that we had to raise our right hand and promise we would give to someone who had never tried Chick-Fil-A. So, if any of haven't, first repent, then let me know and I'll give you a coupon so you can become a "raving fan" and possibly have a Chick-Fil-A part of your own one day.

We ate ourselves silly. I figured we probably each ordered $10 worth of food, so it was almost $300 total! I'm sure I've spent at least that much there in my lifetime though, so at least it wasn't some half-hearted "fan" who won.

P.S. So much for my totally free day. The elders just called to remind me I signed up to make them dinner tonight. Oh well. At least now if I happen to hear the song, "Have you done any good in the world today?" I won't have to say no. Maybe tomorrow. . . :)