Sunday, February 16, 2014

Update: 60 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Today is the anniversary of my mom's death. My mom passed away from breast cancer at age 36. I was only 8 years old when she died. I have been thinking about her today and the challenges she faced in fighting cancer. And thinking about her young death makes me think of my own mortality. I want to be around for a long time for my husband and children.

I have to admit, I haven't been doing the greatest job of taking care of myself lately. I was doing really well last year. Do you remember when I wrote about doing a weight loss challenge? One of the main reasons I joined the challenge last year was because of my mom. Her weight fluctuated off and on for as long as I could remember. I am sure that it played some role in her cancer. I am turning 35 this year and I am increasingly concerned about my health considering my mom's history.

I was by no means obese, but the extra weight had started creeping back on after I stopped nursing my youngest daughter. I knew what I needed to do to get healthy, but I needed the extra push to get motivated. I can be competitive and I am certainly a perfectionist. So, having a point-based system and a team that I didn't want to let down was perfect for me to succeed.

I ended up losing 16 pounds and 10.5 inches overall.

60 day weight loss


After the challenge ended, I thought for sure I would be able to keep up with the challenge requirements on my own. Unfortunately, with dealing with depression and being busy for the holidays I started to gain a few pounds back after the challenge was over.

I joined the maintenance challenge over the holiday season which kept the pounds off but, I wasn't as committed to that challenge, as the first one. After it was over, a couple more pounds crept back on. I wish I could say that I was still losing weight but I am not.

So, for the next few weeks, I am going to try to do what I was doing before when I was in the first challenge. If I can't stay motivated on my own, I will be joining the challenge again in April. It is important for me to stay at a healthy weight. Not only for me but to set a good example for my kids.

Two of the tools that are really helpful to me are the MyFitnessPal app and the MapMyFitness app. With My Fitness Pal, you can track what you eat, how much you are exercising, and how much water you are drinking. I use Map My Fitness on my phone with the GPS when I walk to track my progress. And now, you can link the apps together to have your exercise imported into My Fitness Pal from Map My Fitness.

I know what I need to do. I just wish it wasn't so hard to stay on track. Even when I know how much better I feel when I eat right and exercise, it doesn't come easy for me. I am an emotional eater. And battling depression has made it difficult to stay on track with making good choices, both with eating right and getting in the amount of exercise I need.

For more information: 60 Day {Body, Mind, Spirit} Challenge

What tips do you have for getting and staying healthy?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Honoring the Fallen

My heart has been heavy these last few days. As some of you may know, I live just outside of Prescott where the Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters were from. I know this story has impacted our nation, but it has especially affected me because it is so close to home. One of our best friends is a firefighter and although I am thankful to say he was not up here when tragedy struck, it still shook me to know he 'could' have been.

Source: via Heroes Memorial Fund

My husband knew one of the firefighters and I have many friends who knew or went to school with some of those men. And even though I personally did not know them, I am deeply saddened by their sacrifice. I have been very distracted this week, so I haven't gotten the posts up I had planned. I cannot seem to escape all that is going on here. My personal Facebook page is flooded with outpourings of support and heart-wrenching stories about the families. Our local news is filled with images of the fire and the men's faces.

I will be the first to admit I am not very religious, but this whole tragedy has humbled me and I have been praying. 

Praying for the wives, children, parents, families, girlfriends, and friends of the firefighters to find strength.
Praying for the lone survivor of the Hotshot crew to find peace about losing his 'brothers'.

Praying for rain to come and the winds to calm so the remaining firefighters can safely contain the fire.

Praying for the 250 families that lost their homes to this fire.

Praying for our state of Arizona during this scary wildfire season.

Praying for the families of firefighters everywhere that were so vividly reminded about how dangerous the job of these men and women can be.

I am blessed and grateful to live in a community that is able to come together in a time of tragedy and show such a great outpouring of love to honor the brave men that died on Sunday. Last night our community had a candlelight vigil to honor the fallen men. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but thousands of people from the community banded together to show support for the families and honor those brave men.

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you. Words cannot really express all the things I am feeling. On my personal Facebook page last night I shared that I would love to give each and every one of the wives, children, girlfriends, parents, brothers, and sisters of those brave men a huge hug.

We honor those 19 men for their courage, bravery, and selflessness in order to keep the rest of us safe.

Friday, June 21, 2013

We Love Otter Pops and Otter Art

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Jel Sert. All opinions are 100% mine.

True story. When I was pregnant with my son, I was so sick. I had terrible 'morning' sickness. But you couldn't really call it morning sickness. It should have been called morning until night (and sometimes while you are trying to sleep sickness). I had an awful time keeping anything down. For a while, Otter Pops were the only thing that I could keep down. Something about the sugar and the cold, I guess.

So, needless to say, I have a certain fondness for Otter Pops. (I used to joke with my husband that my son was going to come out as an ice-cube!) My kids definitely love Otter Pops, too. My daughter's favorite is Alexander the Grape (mine, too!) and my sons is Louie-Bloo Raspberry.

Summer is the perfect time for a cold treat. We love to go out on the porch in the afternoon to have a little snack. I love that Otter Pops are self-contained in their own wrapper. Regular popsicles on a stick always end up dripping in a sticky mess all over the floor, and all over hands and clothes!

In honor of our love for Otter Pops, the kids decorated their very own otter coloring pages I found online.

I got out a bunch of art supplies and let them be creative!

Quick, impromptu art projects are a huge sanity saver for me over the summer months with both kids at home all day. I think the kids spent almost a full half-hour on their masterpieces! Aren't they cute? (My daughter is a fan of the HUGE google eyes!)

otter art collage

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

 Happy Mother's Day to all the mommies and mommies-to-be out there! 

Today always brings mixed emotions for me. For those of you that are new here, you may not know I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was 8 years old. She was only 36 years old. I am approaching my 34th birthday next week and I can't even imagine that. I knew she was young when I was little, but the older I get the more I realize how young that truly is. I was only 4 when she was diagnosed. 

So, every year on Mother's Day, I miss my mom. (If we are being honest here, I miss her and think about her every day, but holidays and anniversaries always sting a little harder).  I wrote more about my mom here.

But, I am also so joyful! I have two great kids of my own now. My focus has shifted on this day to not spend my entire day mourning my loss but celebrating the fact that I am now a mom myself. It has been the most rewarding, frustrating, incredible, trying, and amazing journey I have ever been on. My kids teach me things about myself every day. Like, I have far less patience than I thought I did (oops!). Also, I have so much more love in my heart than I ever could have imagined.

I remember shortly before my daughter was born, wondering how in the world I would ever love another person as much as I loved my son. I was so worried about not having enough love to share with them both. But, your heart is an incredible thing. The more you give, the bigger and stronger it gets!

I am blessed to have other moms in my life. Of course, no one can ever take the place of my mom, but I have all these wonderful women in my life that make it a little easier. I have had a few friend's moms take me in over the years at different stages of my life and I appreciate each and every one of them.
I have a great stepmom. Our relationship was rocky at first (mainly because of the loss of my mom), but we have grown to be friends over the years and I wouldn't have it any other way! Today is her first Mother's Day without her mom, and I know how hard that is. So, I am sending her a little extra love today. 
My stepmom and her mom

And now, my husband surprised me with a spa day today, so I get to go and get pampered. I don't get much time away by myself and this will be a wonderful way to recharge my batteries. I am sure there will be a lot of laughter and joy today, as well as a few tears shed.

I hope all of you enjoy your Mother's Day. Celebrate your mom, either here on earth or up in heaven. Celebrate being a mom and what a joy that can be. Just celebrate! And thank you to all of you, who come here and allow me to share a little of my heart with you. I am so lucky to have made some of the connections I have from this blog.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dear Olivia ...

Dear Olivia,
Three years ago we welcomed your sweet face into this world. I was so thrilled to have a little girl. I couldn't wait for the day when we could play dress-up, dolls, and Barbies. Those days have finally arrived!

You are such a little girly girl! You love to dress up like a princess. It is a daily occurrence that you will put on a princess dress, fancy shoes, a tiara, bracelets, rings, and your wand. Then, you will come to me and say, "Will you dance with me, Mama?" Yes. You say, "Mama." Just a few months ago you started calling me Mama instead of Mommy. It is so sweet and melts my heart every time.

Even though you are so into dressing up, Barbies and dolls, you love to rough and tumble, too! You work so hard to keep up with your big brother. One of my favorite things to watch is when you two play together. You fight monsters, hunt bugs, and play in the mud! You are not afraid to get dirty and you are certainly not afraid of bugs. This summer it was common for me to find bugs all over the house that you had brought in from outside - even picking up the grasshoppers with your bare hands!

You are a stubborn little girl. If you don't get your way, everyone in the whole house is going to hear about it. You are so persistent in whatever it is you want. I was like that as a little girl, too. So now I have a little insight into what my parents went through. (Sorry, by the way!)


You have such an infectious laugh. Especially when you find something funny to do out of the blue. Like the time you asked everyone at the dinner table to "watch this" and crossed your eyes at us. One of the funniest moments we have had at the table!


You have a heart of gold. You are always willing to share with your brother and all of us anything you have. You take care of us when we are not feeling well. You are the first one to pass out hugs if someone gets hurt. 

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! Mommy loves you so much. 

Love, Mom 

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Life-n-Reflection. I receive products to try out and review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Thank you to Kristy at Life-n-Reflection for the great Parisian storyboard and wallets I enhanced my photos with for this post! To create the first photo collage, I used the Life-n-Reflection Dreamer Storyboard. For all of the other photos, I used the Parisian Photo Wallets. Aren't they beautiful? 

Click the following tutorial to learn how to create a storyboard like the one above in Photoshop: Quick Page Video Tutorial