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.  :)

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)

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)

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.  :)

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.

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)

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.  :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A million years ago we went to Disneyland!! (And I'm finally on the last day!!)

So it's now four months later and I'm finally finishing posting about our Thanksgiving break vacation.  Obviously, I'm really on top of things!

Our final day, we packed up our hotel room and checked out, then headed to the beach house for one last morning at the ocean.

Here are two of my three handsome boys soaking up their last day in the sun!

The kids caught sand crabs with Grandpa.  Lucas was especially fascinated!

Jack was buried in the sand and turned into a very muscular merman, sea shell nipples included.

My gorgeous sisters played and played and played with the kids.  They LOVE their aunts!  And their aunts love them.  We have such a great family!!!

The old folks hung out in beach chairs for the most part.  

I snuck in a little sister time.  I really can't say enough how much I love having these two as my little sisters.  They are the best sisters EVER!!

My handsome boys.

Can't remember what was so funny, but I just love this face!

Grandma, the eternal photographer.

The kids fed the seagulls and pigeons plenty of goldfish crackers.

Last, we took a shadowy family picture and wrote our names in the sand before saying goodbye.  :(

We were so sad to leave California and head home!  If it weren't so expensive, I think we'd move there in a heartbeat.  Farewell California!  Until next time!!

Three months ago we went to Disneyland (Day 10)

Day 10 was our last full day on vacation.  We started the day with a super fun breakfast in Crystal Cove at the Beachcomber!  At Crystal Cove, there's a parking lot on the east side of PCH, then you take a 1 minute shuttle ride down, then a quick walk to the cafe.

It was a cool morning, but the Beachcomber is prepared for that!  We all bundled up in blankets at our table while perusing the menu.

Lucas especially enjoyed this one legged little guy under our table.

After dining on french toast and beignets and omelets and hot chocolate and all kinds of deliciousness, we headed for a walk along the beach.

It was pretty foggy, but none of us cared one bit!  It was still beautiful.  The kids ran and chased waves.

Lucas and his cute sandy toes walked with Grandma and Grandpa.

All along Crystal Cove are old beach cottages.  The ones on the south end have been restored.  They are amazing!  Most of them are rentals now, but this one is a museum.  Recognize it?

It's the house from the movie "Beaches"!

It wasn't open that morning, so we just peeked through the windows and hung out on the front porch.

While walking along the shore, we found lots of seaweed and taught the kids all about popping the seaweed poppers.  :)

They also enjoyed dragging it through the sand and seeing what designs were left in the trail.

We played in the rocks and found some anemones and other critters in the tide pools.

We watched the waves come in.

Jack got a tiny bit wet.  :)

And Payson collected shells.

Jack also showed a little crack!  His pants got so wet and heavy they were a little hard to keep up.  :)

Lucas conquered this big round rock.

He was pretty proud.  As was his mama.

And Madison danced in the sand.

My sisters are my favorite.  They crack me up.

That was just the south side of Crystal Cove.  After that, we headed back towards the north end, past the cool, old, dilapidated cottages.  Eventually these will be restored as well.  I want to volunteer to take one and redo it all in exchange for ownership.  :)

The kids thought it was pretty fun to watch Grandpa play in the sand.  As a kid we used to do this all the time.  Stand on the edge of the sand and wait for it to collapse under you.  It's so fun to share those things with my kids now.

I called dibs on this cottage.

The kids all jumped over incoming waves for what seemed like all day.

Jack got a little wetter.  Oops!

Eventually he just ditched his pants.

We stopped by the little gift shop on our way out and bought some fun souvenirs from our trip.  And of course, posed with the surf board sign.

Then took the long way and walked pack up to the cars, through this cool tunnel full of paintings about Earth Day.

We got a little cleaned up back at my parents' beach house and had some lunch, then headed to the beach down the street for the rest of the afternoon.

The kids played in the cold water with their aunts, while I soaked up the sun with my toes in the sand.

I spent the afternoon mostly dreaming about living in one of these ocean view homes.

Lucas played in the sand with his daddy.

And even ventured into the water.  Only a tad nervous.  :)

Jack practiced his boogie boarding skills.

Then Grandpa taught the kids for real!

This awesome girl was excited to try and caught on right away!  She caught several waves and just kept going!

Jack was pretty nervous, but eventually Grandpa convinced him to give it a go.

Of course, there was sand castle building.

And more adorable sandy toes on this kid.

And there were some sisterly sandy toes too.  :)  We found this beautiful little yellow butterfly that was stuck in the sand.  It died after just a minute.

We spent all that day just exploring the beach and relaxing.  It was so perfect.  I wish I could spend every day like that with my favorite people!