Thursday, November 12, 2015

Everything Has a Season

Things have been quiet here around my blog.

Everything has a season, and it's not blog season in my life.

It has been a season for celebrating Monkey turning 9...

And Hubster turning 40...

And for 80s parties...

And for Color Runs...

And lantern festivals...

And friends visiting...

And long autumn runs...

And hikes way up into the mountains...

And for building tree houses...

And for adopting a new kitten...

And for making Doctor Who Halloween costumes...

And for making big career choices and painting bedrooms and reading anesthesiology journals and rocking Duck to bed and getting not enough sleep and being behind on laundry and visits with family and game nights and menu planning and long parent teacher conferences and middle school science projects.

I'm still working on that elusive work-life-family-exercise balance that I'm more and more convinced doesn't exist. I've been pulled in more and more directions than every before. How did I ever have time to just sit and write before?

I may find small quiet moments (like I did today) to share a few moments. But mostly, I'm taking a break from one more thing on my to-do list. Because all the story times and evening workouts and over night shifts and crock pot meal preps and just being there for my children is what is important right now. It is the season for just being there. It's the season for being present.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Our Pumpkin Tradition

Between the flurry of adjusting to new work schedules and new school and the ridiculous amount of homework that comes with older children, we are still trying to keep our family fall traditions.

It's actually felt a little hard to do that this year.  Fall is making me extremely homesick for Iowa.  I miss the apple orchard and fall walks about the lake. I miss the small town pumpkin patch.

This year, we made our way to a huge corn maze.  The boys enjoyed the very large maze, which was actually a little challenging.

There where quite a few other activities- slides, trains, and such, which were don't with varying almounts of enjoyment (Duck did not like the slide or the corn pit). 

However, as the afternoon progressed, the area got very crowded and we all became overwhelmed by the number of people. We decided to call it a day much earlier than anticipated.

We did still get pumpkins from a local farm. 

This weekend, we sat down to carve them.

Our traditional, slightly over the top pumpkin carving is even more fun now that the older boys can pick out their own patterns and clean and carve their own pumpkins (although they both are surprisingly squeamish about pumpkin guts.)

Monkey choose a simple Minecraft Creeper face, because he wanted to make sure he picked something he could do himself.

Bug carved Grumpy Cat.

Hubster carved Wall-E for Duck (and this one is probably my favorite.)

After waffling between several designs like I do every year, I picked a Weeping Angel to match my costume this year (we are doing a themed family dress up this year, and I'm obnoxiously excited about it.)

Hubster settled on Gollum (after I didn't give a enthusiastic response to his Dumb and Dumber stencil.) Gollum does seem to have a little more creepy Halloween feel anyways.

Now, the pumpkins are settled on the front porch, with all of us just hoping that they make it to Halloween.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Still Going: Fitness, Food, and New Pants

Several months ago, I shared what I consider the beginning of my fitness journey. I say beginning, because it was the first time I have felt successful with changes in my lifestyle. I've tried in the past, multiple times, without any real results. But after getting serious back in the spring about my health, I've really made some progress.

I'm still on this journey.  After multiple starts and stops, I was starting to feel that I would never been able to change my body, that I would never be able to lose weight or meet certain fitness goals. But now, I'm seeing results and changes and am determined to keep going.

I'm still as in love with my FitBit as I was back then. I've only missed my step goal a few days in the last couple months. The competitive nature, both with myself and with other FitBit users, really motivates me to get out there and move to meet my goals.

I'm still logging my meals into MyFitnessPal. I've missed up couple days here and there, but currently have a 95 day streak going. With all the awareness on what I'm eating, I'm making healthier choices, adding more protein and less junk. It's much easier to pass on the doughnuts and rice crispy treats at work when I see how many calories they add to my day.

I'm still running. But I'm adding in new workouts. I found an online fitness group that has provided so much inspiration and motivation. Because of the great advice I've gotten there, I've added weights to my day (free weight reps and push ups while watching TV in the evening).  I can finally do a push up with my knees off the ground, which I was never able to do before. I've added intervals to my runs, which has increased my pace and endurance. I've started Bikini Body Mommy, which despite it's rather silly name, is a great, short workout. And I've convinced Hubster, Bug, and Monkey to do the workouts with me.

With all these changes, I was able to reach my first fitness goal of a normal BMI. I rewarded myself with a small little trip to Sephora.

I'm still losing weight. I'm down over 30 pounds since I started. I'm much stronger and am starting to see actually muscles on my previous noodley arms.

My pants, which I had previously had to jump and wiggle into, not only started to fit, but then got much too big and even a belt didn't make them wearable (but rather like I was wearing pleated, drawstring jeans.)

I finally gave into to the realization that I would have to buy new clothes (which I know sounds ridiculous, but I seriously hate clothes shopping.) I tried on pants and realized I fit into pants 2 sizes smaller! I haven't worn that size in 8 years!

I still have more work to do. I have a goal of losing another 20 pounds, which will put me at pre-second baby weight. I'm not aiming for pre-all baby weight, because I was actually underweight before I had my children.

But my goals are just those I can see on the scale. I want to do more push ups, a real pull up, run a half marathon, and maybe have some visible abs. I want to run around with my kids and not get tired. I want to set positive examples on healthy eating and body image for my children.

I want to make these changes not a temporary diet, but an ongoing lifestyle.


Posted, not just as an update on how things are going, but as part of the 12X30 challenge, hosted by Kenzie at Chasing My Extraordinary, and Angie at My So-Called Chaos.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Road Trip Recap Part 5: Arriving in Utah

September, and the end of summer, is now upon us, so it looks like time to wrap up this recap. About time, I know.

After our three wonderful, phone-less, internet-less, days in Yellowstone, we started heading south.

Our initial plan trips had included a day at Grand Teton National Park. However, we had used that day to spend extra time in Yellowstone. So our time in the Grand Tetons included a quick stop along side the road to change Duck out of vomit covered clothes while the older boys balanced on a rickety wooden fence over a ditch, neither of which didn't make me very happy.

After gazing at the stunning mountains for a few minutes, we promised ourselves we would return and give this national park its due diligence.

But breakfast at Jackson Hole was calling very loudly, so we headed on to the charming town, complete with it's antler arches and excellent pastries.

That afternoon, we crossed into our final state: Utah.

We took a small unplanned stop at Flaming Gorge to let the boys go swimming, since we had made excellent time.  The hot weather, red rocks, and water made for a great break from all the driving.

Our last night on the road was spent in Vernal, Utah.

The next morning, we back tracked a little to Dinosaur National Monument.

With the promise of fossils and petroglyphs, it was easy to see why our boys were looking forward to this stop. Even though none of us could have guessed that Duck's favorite part was going to be the shuttle ride to the viewing center.

The encased rock wall saturated with fossils was an impressive sight. The amount of preservation and detail awed my boys.

Getting to touch an actual dinosaur fossil was the cherry on top.

We then drove through the desert, stopping to view ancient petroglyphs (all while keeping a tight hold on the toddler who apparently had destruction of ancient history on his mind.)

With our last planned stop completed, it was time to head to Salt Lake City and our new home.

We hit the valley right at rush hour. As we sat there, stuck in traffic, with smoggy air partially obscuring the mountains from view, I had a small moment of tears, wondering if we had made the right decision. Everything seemed loud and busy and dirty and overwhelming.

Hubster, seeing my momentary distress, held my hand until we pulled up to our new address, a place we had only seen twice before.

We managed a quick family picture before the chaos of unloading and moving in began. One quick snap shot commemorating the end of the trip and the start of everything else.