Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Introducing......

 Miss Ellison Beth Ralls


Born on Sunday, March 2nd at 5:43am.

She weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces and was 21 inches long.

 She is perfect and beautiful and we are so, so very in love with this little lady!

And now, for those who want the gory details you may read on where I have recorded her birth story.  It's LONG and super personal, but there are pictures of my pretty babies.  :)

In the Spring of 2013 I had just started working out and training to run.  Not any big runs, just a simple 5k.  But it was something I'd never done before and I was so excited when I actually accomplished that goal.

That same day after coming home from my first 5k, I took a positive pregnancy test.  I was so unsure about having number four.  I was so nervous about sacrificing my body and emotions for nine months an then starting over with the sleep deprivation and diapers.  Jason and I were enjoying focusing on each other and I knew a new baby would force us to be on the back burner for a little while.  But I also knew that this was what Heavenly Father wanted for our family and that I would do what He asked of me.

It happened so quickly, and really almost miraculously.  I hardly had time to digest it.  But almost immediately I felt strongly that this little being had a divine purpose and I was grateful to be a part of it.

The first few months were rough.  I was sick and tired.  Then things got easy and I enjoyed being pregnant.  But reality smacked me in the face for those last few months.  No.  Not a smack in the face.  A kick.  Or a slew of kicks.  To the crotch and ribs.  All.  The.  Time.  I was big and miserable.  I had horrible heartburn.  I threw up daily.  I was emotional and tired.  I woke so many times at night to pee, shift positions, throw up, whatever it was.  I was so over being pregnant!!

Jason was out of town working for those last two weeks of this pregnancy, but one night I noticed bloody show (sorry for the TMI) when I went to the bathroom.  I knew this meant that labor could start any time, so I called my doula, Elisabeth, to see what she thought.  After talking, I decided to call Jason and have him head home from work a few days early, just to be safe.

I was 39 weeks pregnant on Thursday.  Jason got home in the early morning hours of Friday.  We spent the day getting last minute things done around the house.  We attended my cousin's daughter's baptism on Saturday and then I told Jason we were going to spend the day "running errands".  We were just going to go shop around or whatever and I was going to walk until the baby fell out. 

By the end of shopping on Saturday I was sore and tired and emotionally spent.  I just wanted to go home and go to bed.  And I did.

Then at 3am I woke up.  I felt a contraction on my way to use the bathroom.  When I sat down on the toilet I had two more.  They were more intense for some reason when I sat on the toilet.  I lost the rest of my mucus plug and was having contractions two minutes apart.  I knew this was the real deal, but it wasn't too intense yet.  

After about half an hour I decided to wake Jason and let him know.  We decided to get things ready to go even though I didn't think I'd be ready to head to the birth center for a while.  I kept telling Jason they weren't that bad and that this was definitely not going to be as fast as Lucas's birth (3 hours and 45 minutes).

Payson and Lucas both woke up while we were getting things ready so they laid in our bed watching cartoons.  I called my midwife around 3:45am and told her I wasn't ready to come in yet, but that I was definitely in labor.  She said she'd need one hour warning to get things ready at the birth center.  After about 15 minutes I called her back and told her to get things ready now.  I wasn't sure how long things would be and my contractions still weren't very intense, but they were only 2 minutes apart.  I wanted to play it safe.

I also called my doula and let her know what was going on, and then called my parents to have my mom come stay with the kids.

At about 4am, both parents and three of my 4 siblings walked through the door.  I had expected my mom who was watching the kids, and my younger sister, Madie who was planning to attend the birth.  But everyone wanted in on the action.  :)  We hung around and chatted between contractions for about 20-30 minutes. 

 Just before leaving, I had Jason and my dad give me a blessing.  During that blessing, I strongly felt the presence of my grandmother, my dad's mom, with me.

The birth center was about 10-15 minutes away and I had called the midwives at 3:45am, so we left at about 4:30.

Now, during each of my pregnancies I had said I wanted to try to do it naturally.  No drugs.  With Payson, my water broke a month early before labor began.  They eventually started pitocin and by the time I was at 3 cm I was ready to quit!  With Jack I made it to 7-8 cm before I asked for the epidural.  With Lucas, by the time I got the epidural I was actually 10 cm.  I was saying I needed to push while the anesthesiologist was putting the epi in my back.  I knew that Payson's situation was a little different, but I'd always been disappointed in myself with Lucas and Jack's births.  I was almost done!  I could have done it!

So this time around I was very determined.  I knew I needed more support for a natural birth.  I read a lot of natural birth materials, got the hypnobabies home study course, hired a doula, and found a fantastic freestanding birth center with amazing midwives and midwife students where I would deliver.  This way I had no option to ask for an epidural.  :)

Anyway, we arrived at the birth center at about 4:45am.  The birth tub was being filled.  My midwife, Teresa was getting some paperwork ready.  My doula Elisabeth was there waiting and the students as well (Laura and Adrianna).

They got my vitals and listened to baby.  They offered to check me if I wanted, but I declined at this point.  I hadn't been checked at all this pregnancy, knowing that my body was probably dilated and effaced, but for me it didn't mean much.  With my others I was dilated up to 4 cm for weeks before labor began.  And at this point in labor I didn't want to be disappointed if I wasn't as far as I thought I "should" be.  

I kept wondering if I came too soon.  I knew I was in labor, but just felt like it was still early.  Should I have continued to labor at home?  I apologized to everyone for waking them and keeping them from church later that morning.  When I'd have a contraction, I would stand and wrap my arms around Jason's neck and sway or "dance".  At some point I started chanting "ooooh" or "oooooookay" through contractions.  I allowed my body to go completely loose and limp with mental cues/key words, the way I had practiced with hypnobabies.  Jason was the perfect partner, always emotionally and physically right there when I needed him.

At one point I sat down on a couch and my contractions stalled.  I mentioned this to my midwife and she casually suggested that I stay up then, if I wanted to keep things moving!  So I did.

After a few minutes I wondered about getting into the tub.  I wasn't sure I was ready, but I asked anyway.  Adrianna said she could check me if I wanted and I said yes.  When I went to lay on the bed, I almost immediately sat up.  I had another contraction and it did NOT feel good to lay down on my back!  I tried one more time, but the contractions were coming closer together at that point and I just didn't want to lie down!

Suddenly my contractions were right on top of each other.  I was on my knees on the bed and asked someone to grab my exercise ball and blanket.  I threw the blanket over the ball and leaned forward on the ball, going as limp and loose as I could through contractions.  I mentioned to Adrianna that I was NOT going to be lying down to get checked.  She mentioned that she could just check me where I was, but that I sounded like I was ready to get in the tub.

Someone helped pull off my sweatpants at that point so she could quickly check me.  Baby's head was "right there".  I remember being shocked at how close her head felt!  I hadn't thought I was that far along!  I asked if I could get in the tub and Adrianna said, "Oh, honey, if you're going to get in the tub you need to do it NOW."

But by the point there was no way I was going to get up and walk to the tub.  Teresa, Laura, and Adrianna left the room for a bit to let me continue to labor.  Madie was in the waiting area with them.  Jason tried putting pressure on my lower back through one contraction, but I quickly told him not to touch me!  It hurt!  I wanted to be left alone during a contraction, but he and Elisabeth rubbed my back between them, which helped.

It was really only a few moments that they were gone before I said to Jason that I felt the need to push.  He quickly told everyone and they all came rushing back in.  That's when my body took over.  It was not pushing like I did with the other kids.  No nurse counted and told me what to do or when to do it.  A contraction would start and my body would bare down.  I moaned through each contraction and Elisabeth helped remind me to keep my voice low and grounded whenever it got too high.  I could feel the difference in how effective the pushing was when she did this.  

I could feel my pelvis separating to make room for my baby.  I felt her moving down.  For a moment again I sensed my grandmother there, ushering my little girl from one place to the next.  It was a moment I will never forget.  There was an amazing spirit in the room.  My body, mind, and spirit worked together with this little girl and did exactly what it needed to do.  Jason and Elisabeth stood at my head, encouraging me.  Adrianna and Laura were behind me.  They quickly called Madie into the room to make sure she didn't miss this miracle.  

And then as quickly as it began, it was done!  There was intense pressure and pain and burning and then nothing.  Adrianna had guided my baby to the bed and I stayed, a little shaky, leaning on the exercise ball.  I kept saying, "It's over?  We're done?  I did it?  She's here?  Is it really over?  Did I really do it?  I can't believe I did it!"  Over and over and over again.  I was amazed!  Amazed at what my body and this little baby had just done.  Just completely in awe of the entire experience.

I was so grateful that no one rushed anything.  I was allowed those moments of awe before my baby girl was passed through my legs and we were helped into a comfortable position, lying there together, still connected.


I just stared at her tiny little body and features, still wondering and amazed.  I really couldn't believe it!  It was 5:43am.  Just an hour had passed since we'd arrived at the birth center.  I'd only been awake for 2 hours and 45 minutes!  And here she was, my sweet baby girl, in my arms already!  And she and I had done just what our amazing bodies were meant to do.  We had been an amazing team.

After a little while, I delivered the placenta, easily.  Jason and Madie cut her cord together.  Ellison was weighed and measured.  I got cleaned up, went to the bathroom, and got dressed.  I was a little tired and shaky, but I felt amazing!  I climbed back into bed with my sleeping baby and we all just stared at her and talked about what had just happened.  I'm still pretty amazed at it all.


Eventually Brennan, Maren, Jack, and Payson came to meet Ellison.  Lucas had fallen asleep and was home with Grandma.  These two were beyond thrilled to meet their baby sister.

It was only about 3 hours after her birth that we took Ellison home.  There she met big brother Lucas and Grandma.


We spent the rest of that day with the family.  Uncle Devin and Grandpa (who had to leave for bishop meetings earlier) got to meet our little sweetheart.  We lounged around and snuggled the baby and ate yummy food and just enjoyed every moment of the day.

I was thrilled to not be pregnant anymore!  I cold fully empty my bladder, eat as much as I wanted without heartburn, and hug my husband without a belly between us!  It was wonderful!

 (Ellison, dressed to come home, just hours old)

And now today Ellison is one month old!  A MONTH!  I don't know how the time has flown by so quickly!  My recovery went so well.  It was quick and easy!  She is a relatively easy baby.  We are sleep deprived, but otherwise so happy!  Everyone has adjusted to this new addition pretty easily, even Lucas.  :)

Immediately after her birth I could not imagine how I ever almost didn't want another baby.  My life would be so incomplete without my sweet number four!  I love this little girl with all of my heart!  She has us all completely smitten.  


I am so lucky to have these babies of mine and watch them grow!  I love them so much!  Jason and I are lucky, lucky, lucky to have them and to have each other.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Nobody Blogs Anymore...Including Me.

Life is generally busy and we have plenty going on, so why is it I find it so hard to keep up with blogging these days?  I don't know what it is, but the rest of you aren't doing it either so I feel less guilty about my lack of journaling.

So much has happened since I last blogged and I still have to upload pictures to my computer from half of the big events.  

We had a great Halloween.  Jack was a cowboy, Payson was an Indian Princess, and Lucas was Peter Pan.  They were adorable and had a blast at class parties and parades, and trick or treating in Grandma and Grandpa's neighborhood on the trailer behind the four-wheeler.  Although this year the four-wheeler broke down halfway through and the kids were devastated to learn they would have to WALK like the other neighborhood kids.  Poor things.  :)


Next was Thanksgiving which was just at Grandma's this year.  We've gone out of town every year for the last several years and it was nice to just be home this year.  Apparently I have no pictures uploaded of the grand event yet.

Up next was Christmas!!  We kept things super simple this year.  We didn't change any of our Christmas traditions, but we kept the getting to a minimum and focused on the giving.  I thought the kids would be disappointed with how little they received but they were beyond grateful and even said it was the best Christmas ever!  I was so proud of their giving attitudes this year.  I think they were right.  This year may have been our best Christmas yet.


After Christmas we celebrated New Year's at home.  We were all sick.  I bought a few party hats and blowers and some treats and things for the kids, but it was just them and mom this year.  Jason was working, close family was out of town, and we didn't want to spread our germs.  Despite everything, we all had a good time ringing in the New Year.

January is a big birthday month in our family.  Mom and Dad plus Grandma and Grandpa and Payson all have January birthdays!  So we end up doing Payson's thing and one big family dinner birthday party for the month and call it good.  Payson chose to celebrate with her friends at Color Me Mine this year.  The kids had a blast painting and we had pizza and cupcakes, per her request.  I just love this 9 year old girl!  I love watching her grow up.  She's a pretty amazing kid, but you already know that if you know her.


February has been a pretty busy month so far as well.  We've spent these last couple of weeks prepping as much as possible for this baby girl to join our family.  I'm now about 38 weeks pregnant and feeling it!  Just about everything that can be done in preparation for the baby is done.  Everything has been pulled from storage and washed and set up and packed and whatever.  We're down to the waiting part.

Here's the kicker, though.  I've got about 2 weeks to go...and Jason left for work this morning...for two weeks.  Awesome.  So I'm praying that either baby waits for daddy, or my labor is just long enough for him to make it home.  Worst case scenario, if Jason happens to miss it I have a great support team and I'm sure things will go fine.  It will make for a story to tell later.

So I'm physically and emotionally prepared for an early delivery as well as the torture of a late one as well.  And with my track record lately, the next time you'll hear from me here is when baby girl is about 6 months old!  Ha!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gender Reveal Fun

First baby's are magical.  It's like Christmas when you are a child and your dreams of Santa have not yet been shattered.  Every baby after that first is then like Christmas once you know.  It's still exciting and fun, but that little bit of magic is missing.  It can be a bummer.

Fourth baby's are no exception.  No one really cares anymore.  It's old news.  Our lives changed dramatically with our first.  This time around, there will be very few changes.  We'll be a little busier, the budget will be a little tighter, the minivan will be a little fuller.  And our hearts will be bursting!  But it's still old news.

So to make things a little more exciting this time around we did a gender reveal!  I didn't want to make a huge deal out of it.  I know no one cares as much as we do about this kiddo.  So we just invited my immediate family (luckily everyone was in town!) and our little family.

Earlier in the day, Jason and I took Lucas with is to lunch to pass the time.  We were anxious and still had an hour or two until we needed to be at the ultrasound appointment.  Then we went to see baby!


Here's a horrible picture I took of the ultrasound picture on my phone.  Baby has its arms up by its face and we can sort of see little features that look very similar to brothers and sister.

After the ultrasound, we got things ready for the party!  We picked up balloons and silly string and everything we needed, then headed home to prep it all.  After it was all ready, we picked up the kids from school and headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house!

When it was finally time and everyone was gathered, we had everyone tell us first what they hoped baby was and then what they thought it was.  I was surprised to hear that with the exception of two people (who said they didn't care what gender the baby was) everyone was hoping for a girl!

I have to add that it seemed most were hoping for a girl from the beginning, which got me (hormonally) defensive.  I was worried that my hypothetical son wouldn't be good enough and everyone would be disappointed, which broke my heart because I ADORE my sons!  So I was a little nervous to let everyone down Tuesday morning.

Anyway, back to the story.  So after everyone's guesses, Jason and I gave them their first clue.  A rhyming nursery rhyme clue that would lead them to their next and the next until they found the surprise at the end.  It was super cheesy, but we knew the kids would love it!  I'll share, just in case anyone wants to do a super corny gender reveal scavenger hunt one day and needs ideas.  :)

#1
We’re glad you’re here to share the news!
To find the surprise just follow the clues.
Solve the rhyme if you want to know,
Then off to that location you’ll go!

Let’s start off with a nursery rhyme.
Maybe one about a time
A mouse ran up a fancy clock.
You know it, Hickory Dickory Dock!
(the coo-coo clock)

#2
The candlestick maker, the butcher, the baker
Were all three very good mates.
They floated along.  Try singing their song!
And find where your next clue waits!
(the bathtub)

#3
The first nursery rhyme most of us know;
We roll it and pat it.  Now how does it go?
(the oven)
*This is the one that stumped them.  They checked in the cake pans, where the cake mix was in food storage, etc.  It was fun to watch them hunt.  :)

#4
Now Stella and Louis are two lucky ones,
Unlike Mother Hubbard’s dog.  That guy had none!
(with the dog food/bones)
*Louis and Stella are the family dogs, in case you were wondering.

#5
Your next clue is just over there.
To find it, match this silly pair:
Cat plus fiddle, cow plus moon,
The dog is laughing, and the dish plus who??
(in the spoon drawer)

#6
If knowing the baby’s gender is your wish
Just thinking of Humpty!  He sat on this!
(the wall, a brick fence outside around the property)
*We needed them to end up outside for the final reveal to keep the mess out of the house.

#7, Final Clue
  We know you’re excited as can be!
But wait so everyone can see!
We’ll count to three and then you’ll spray
The pink or blue string we brought today.
Then we’ll all know girl or boy
And celebrate this bundle of joy!

After a few clues throughout the house, and only one clue stumping them on location for a moment, they finally found the last clue outside!  We had some pink and blue balloons waiting with lots of cans of silly string, wrapped in brown paper and lids removed so they couldn't see the color.  There was also a box of our favorite cupcakes that had the final clue attached to it.  I just needed an excuse to have cupcakes that day.  They had pumpkin flavors and they were magical!!!

Anyway, so we got the camera ready, counted to three, and then everyone started spraying!






It was really fun to catch their reactions when the **PINK** string went flying!!  Jack and Payson ran off chasing each other with their cans, so they aren't in most of the pictures I caught.  Lucas was somehow clean, so I grabbed a can and sprayed him a little to see if he would think the silly string was funny.  I think you can guess how he felt about it by his reaction here.




This was such a fun way to tell the family that we were having a baby girl!!  Everyone is super excited and I was relieved not to have to disappoint.  :)

Now we're all dying to go shopping for fun girly things, since our girl is almost 9 and we gave away pretty much all of her stuff ages ago!  I love the excuse to do a little shopping.  :)  Jack is thrilled that he doesn't have to share a room with TWO little brothers.  Payson is super excited to have a sister!  Although, I think she's also a little bummed to not be the only girl anymore.  I had the exact same feeling when my first sister came around when I was 13 or so.  But she's still excited, especially about helping mom shop and redo her room to share with the baby!  Lucas is still convinced that he is the baby.  :)  I'm okay with that, since he will always be my baby.  He'll be forced into reality soon enough, so I'm content to let him live in denial for a few more months.

I am so excited to meet this little miss!  I can't wait to hold her and smell her and kiss her and love her and introduce her to this awesome family she's getting who already loves her so much!  Now if anyone who still reads this blog would be so kind as to contribute name suggestions, we would much appreciate it!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Life as of Late

Since I've been awful about updating the blog with our activities and such, I'm giving myself a free pass.  No trying to update the past.  It's too overwhelming.  Maybe I'll get to it sometime, maybe I won't.  Instead, I'm starting fresh.  I want to document our lives and I like journaling.  I know it's important, but I'm horrible at it.  I tend to go in spurts, updating frequently for a while and then not at all until a day like today when all of the sudden I start again.  So here we go again!

We'll start with these three.  

This picture was actually taken back in May, so it's several months old, but it's cute and I haven't put my pictures on my computer in way too long, so this is what I've got.

Lucas is 2 now.  His birthday was in July.  He is talking more and more every day and he cracks us up all the time.  He is sweet and sensitive and crazy and we love him to bits!  He loves to follow the bigger kids around and mimics just about everything they do, which can be good and bad.  He used to be a serious daddy's boy, but lately he loves his mama just as much and I sure enjoy the extra snuggles!  Although he still loves to play ball and wrestle with his dad.  This kid just lights up our family!

Jack turned 6 this summer and just recently started 1st grade.  He is such a smart kid!  Although he is still my firecracker and can be a serious handful.  He is active as can be, always playing with friends and coming home from school sweaty most days.  He is a fantastic big brother and lets Lucas follow him around most of the time.  Although he hates doing chores, he is easily monetarily motivated.  If he knows how much a chore can earn him, he'll get it done quicker than you'd think, and he generally does a great job.  I can't believe how quickly he is growing up.

Payson is now 8 1/2.  She was baptized in January and started Activity Days, which she LOVES!  She is the sweetest, most helpful girl I know.  She is a great friend, a wonderful helper, and the best big sister around.  She started third grade this year and I have no doubt she'll be at the top of her class, as usual.  I love watching this girl grow up and develop into an incredible young woman.  It makes me sad to see her leaving her littleness behind one day at a time, but she makes me so proud!

I can't even describe how much I love these three littles.

I guess that means I'm next.  I would describe how busy I've been lately, except that I've spent most of my days in bed or on the couch the last few months.  I'm now 13 weeks pregnant with baby #4 and haven't felt too great for most of the first trimester.  Blech.  Now that the sickness and exhaustion are slightly letting up, I've been slammed with the flu.  Can't a girl catch a break?!  Wah!!!!!  Luckily, I think I'm finally starting to feel a little better and I'm hoping to be back to myself soon.  And I'm sure Jason and the kids are hoping just as much as I am!  They have been so amazing at picking up my slack.

Which brings me to Jason.  Have I ever mentioned that I'm the luckiest girl in the universe?  Jason works his brains out for two weeks away from home (around 100 hours a week) just to come home and take care of his lame, sick wife and crazy kids.  This week while I've been coughing and hacking and fevering and such, he has spent his time cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping, getting kids ready for school, etc.  Basically he is mom and dad.  And while he's doing all of that, he's bringing me soup and crackers and lemon honey tea and giving me back rubs and running to the store for medicine.  So I guess he is more like mom, dad, doctor, nurse, caretaker, magic husband.  Not once has the man complained.  I don't know what I did to deserve him, but I am so much more than grateful for all of his love and support.  He's kind of amazing.

And that's where we are now.  Mom is hopefully on the mend, busy cooking a baby (due to arrive early March), kids are in school and busy being kids, and dad continues to work and serve us and just be his wonderful self.

I'm getting so excited for fall to come and for the holidays approaching and anticipating this little baby joining our family after all of that.  I'm hoping to be better about keeping our lives up to date here in the next months as I'm sure there will be plenty to document!  Until then, my heart is so very full.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Scale Addiction

My name is McKenna and I'm a scale-oholic.

Hi, McKenna.


Seriously.  I'm an addict.  For, well, for forever I have weighed myself daily.  I didn't think it was a huge deal.  It was just what I always did.  And then Lindsey told me to put the scale away.  Which I obediently did.  

And then the next morning, I woke up, went to the bathroom, and stared at the door of the cabinet that I knew my scale was hiding behind.  I tried so hard to justify pulling the scale out really quick.  I did.  Quickly.  And that's when I realized how addicted I was.

After that I put the scale away and made it 3 whole days before pulling it out again.  After hat I promised that I'd wait until my check-in date, one week later.  After that I had planned to only weigh in every two weeks, on check in days.  That lasted a whole week.  But at the very least, I've gone from daily to weekly and that is a significant improvement!

When I was weighing myself daily I found myself getting so frustrated with the number on the scale!  If there was a tiny gain, no movement, or even a small loss I would feel frustrated because I expected more from my body.  Then I would spend the entire day feeling down.  And I rarely realized why!


Now that I'm stepping on the scale much less often, I don't think about numbers anywhere near as much!  I mean, sure I still do.  More often then I should, I'm sure.  I can't pretend that numbers don't matter to me.  They still make me very anxious.  BUT my focus has spread a little to other aspects of my health.  Like how I feel after a workout, how my clothes are fitting, the fact that my wedding ring is a little looser and my boobs are shrinking!  (I can tell because the bigger one...oh, come on, we all have one that's bigger than the other!...isn't muffin topping out of my bra anymore!)  :)

I'm tracking more than just the number on the scale now.  I track my nutritional compliance.  (Rather than tracking every single thing I eat, I just tell Lindsey "yes" or "no" if I stuck to each meal on my nutrition plan.  So much simpler than tracking everything I eat!)  I track my measurements.  I track the weight I'm using when I workout and how I feel after each set.  I'm able to focus on my overall progress, instead of just that stupid number on the scale, which saps so much less of my energy!

  I'm definitely still addicted.  I still feel the pull from that cabinet every morning.  But I'm getting better at resisting it.  And I'm learning that my health is about so much more than the scale!!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Goals and Rewards


I'm guessing that anyone who has ever tried to lose weight has heard that you should set goals and treat yourself to some kind of reward when you reach those goals.  And I agree.  We all need to give ourselves a gold star when we achieve something hard.

I have been a quitter all of my life.  I feel like the first thing I really accomplished something bit was last year when Jason and I paid off all our debt.  I mean, I've accomplished little things, but that was the first time I really set a goal, mapped out a plan to reach that goal, had a method to track the goal, achieved the goal, and we rewarded ourselves for that goal.  I feel like that was one of the biggest reasons that we succeeded at that particular goal.

So now I'm trying to recreate that process with a new goal in mind.  Weight loss.  I feel like if I do it right this time around, I'll definitely reach my goal, just like before with debt.  But I feel like I'm doing it a little backwards.  The goal is too general.  There are no rewards in place.  There is some organization and planning, but not quite enough.  And there are no rewards.

In fact, I've reached a few little goal marks so far with no reward.  :(  No gold star for me.  Not because I didn't earn it.  Not because I didn't want to celebrate it.  Simply because I didn't plan for it.

I have thought of about a gazillion ways to reward myself for my hard work and progress.  There are always the typical mani/pedi, some kind of new workout gear, a new bag or accessory, a facial or a massage.  But none of those really work for me.  I do my own manis/pedis.  If I need new workout gear, I budget for it and buy it.  If my body hurts enough, I go get a massage or make Jason do it.  :)  So I've been trying to think outside of that box.

It finally came to me today!  The one thing I have always wanted to do when I reach my ultimate weight goal (and something that will be a need, too) is to go on a huge shopping spree for a whole new wardrobe.  Picture What Not to Wear.  I've always dreamed of being nominated after I lose all the weight I want to and getting that $5,000 to buy all new stuff with Stacy and Clinton.  I'm so bummed this is their last season!  

But I digress.

I can't wait to be able to shop in any store I want and buy the things that I like now, but don't ever buy because they aren't in my size or won't look good on my current body.  My body will change so much between now and then that I'm going to need all new clothes anyway, right?

What I'm thinking is that I should figure out how many pounds I ultimately want to lose exactly.  (Right now there's just a general numerical range in my head.)  Then figure out how much money I want to spend on all new clothes (think underwear, shoes, socks, pajamas, workout clothes, dresses, accessories, bags, EVERYTHING!).  And then divide the amount I want saved by the number of pounds.  Then every five or ten pounds (whatever I come up with) my reward will be to set that amount of cash aside towards my big spending spree.

It's going to be a whole lot of fun to watch the number on the scale go down and the amount in savings go UP!  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Beginning


Just because I know no one likes a post without pictures.  So here is a picture of me holding a 6 month old baby kangaroo at Roo's-N'More a few weeks ago.  Kind of one of the most amazing things ever!


Maybe eventually I'll catch up on Christmas and birthdays and other events and holidays that have passed since Christmas.  Maybe I won't.  In the mean time, I'm posting about this with no real promise to catch up on the past.

Four years ago my mom decided to start running.  Just out of the blue.  She put her mind to it and accomplished some pretty big things!  She ended up running a half marathon and also participating in the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay.  It was inspiring.  And then she stopped running.  I don't really know why, but she did.

So a couple of months ago she started asking the family if any of us maybe wanted to run the half with her this year.  I laughed.  Nope.  I just didn't.  No desire.  None.  I'm not a runner.  And on top of not being a runner, I'm fat.  No thank you.  P.S.  What on earth made you think you could convince me???

And then I thought about it for a couple of weeks.  The only reason I didn't want to commit to this race with her was that I was scared.  I was scared I couldn't do it.  Scared if I tried, I would fail.  Scared I would commit and then back out and disappoint someone else or myself.  SCARED.  That was my reason.

Something sparked.  I refuse to live a life of fear.  REFUSE.  So I looked into something less overwhelming.  No races.  No sprinting.  Just the Couch to 5k training that is so popular.  I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but it was a challenge I could handle.  So I started.  And it was HARD!!!  My lungs and legs were angry with me.  Did you know that running also uses muscles in your arms and back and other parts of your body that are not your legs?  I didn't.  Until I woke up sore after day 1.

Day 2 was worse.  I was still tired and sore from day 1.  It was not easy.  But I did it.  Barely.  And then something magical happened.  I handled day 3!  It wasn't a nightmare!  I mean, I didn't love it, but I did it without feeling like I was about to die!  I saw improvement!  I could run (jog...slowly) for one minute increments!

Week two was tough again, but I pushed through.  And then I made it through week 3.  I was really excited to be making improvement!  But I didn't feel great.  I had decided to start eating better and I was losing weight.  But after my run and by about 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I was done.  I had zero energy.  I didn't want to cook or do homework with the kids or bathe them or do bedtime.  I just wanted to sit and do nothing.  My body just wasn't working right.

At first I was a little confused.  I'm exercising and eating healthy and losing weight!  Isn't this the part where everyone says they have more energy?  What's going on?  And then I started wondering about my nutrition.  Sure I was eating low calorie.  And mostly fruits and vegetables and whole grains.  But I don't know how much protein I need or how many carbs or where those things are coming from.

So I took a leap of faith and enlisted some help from a neighbor friend.  Lindsey did a super thorough assessment and then came up with a personalized nutrition plan for me.  It's a plan based on my weight and age and height and goals and likes and dislikes.  And when I saw it, I wasn't sure what to think.  But I decided to give it the first two weeks and see what happened.

For two weeks, I ate exactly what Lindsey told me, when she told me, how much she told me.  She also gave me a personalized workout plan, worked around my Couch to 5k training.  I did every workout, just like she told me.  (With the exception of yoga pushups, which I am trying so hard to be able to do!)  I emailed Lindsey often with questions, concerns, and panic attacks.  

At one point she made me put my scale away until it was check in day.  Watching the scale was driving me insane.  After putting it away, pulling it out the next morning, then putting it away again, I had myself convinced that I was gaining weight and getting fatter.  I was eating SO MUCH FOOD!  I was so full all the time.  And I didn't look any different in the mirror.  My clothes didn't even feel different.

Finally, check in day came.  After two full weeks of sticking with my running and lifting workouts and following Lindsey's nutrition plan 100%, it was time for the moment of truth.  And the truth was great!  I had lost 5 pounds plus 4 inches all over!!  In just two weeks!

Numbers aren't the progress being made over here!  All of the sudden, my metabolism has kicked into high gear.  "All that food" that I was complaining about before, is now just enough.  I find my body getting hungry just before meal time.  And I'm getting stronger.  So much stronger!  Okay, compared to others, maybe it's not much stronger.  But it's a big improvement for me!  My muscles are less sore after workouts (although still sore enough to know that I pushed myself).

And here's my favorite sign of progress:  On Saturday, my running (again, jogging...slowly) workout was to run for 20 straight minutes.  I woke up sick to my stomach.  Early that week I could barely hack 5 minute increments.  Then I almost died over 8 minute increments.  And now I was supposed to do 20?!  HA!!!  I procrastinated all morning.  Then I finally started.  I turned on some music and started around a trail in our neighborhood.  Once my body warmed up and my lungs got into their rhythm, I was fine.  And by the time I was finished, I was better than fine!  I was ECSTATIC!  I cried.  Not got teary.  I cried.  Tears streaming down my face, cried.  It was hard.  But I did it!  I called and texted everyone who I could think of that would appreciate how hard it was.  I even posted about it on instagram, because I'm a nut.  But I was just so excited to have accomplished something that had seemed SO impossible just a few weeks ago!

So yesterday, I got up the nerve and officially signed up for my first 5k.  It's the most casual, laid back 5k in existence, so there's no pressure to do anything extraordinary.  My goals are to run without stopping, finish the race, and to ENJOY the experience.  That's all.  No time goals.  Just that.  And instead of being scared, I'm actually EXCITED!

And there you have it.  The beginning.  The beginning of me quitting dieting.  The beginning of me getting healthy and fit.  The beginning of me setting goals and accomplishing whatever I set my mind to, even if it seems impossible.  Because right now, running that half marathon my mom ran a few years ago feels pretty impossible.  But I have a feeling that in a few months (or maybe a little more than a few...) it's not going to seem so impossible.  :)