Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Just Life

I know I have a couple of regulars who check here every now and then, but I don't really post that much. So, this one is for you! (And hello to some of you who may have wandered from my home building posts.) Warning: this is a pretty random post.

--Our lives are pretty stable right now. Carter is playing youth sports, Sadie is going to start her first dance lessons, and I'm still working full-time.

--Graham has been working hard on a project at work. In fact, he recently got a huge bonus for his hard work. He is applying for a new position that will allow him to work on this project long-term (fingers crossed).

--Yeah, that huge bonus I mentioned? Spent. We just bought Leaf Guard gutters. That is expenssssive. But, where we live with all the trees and rain--we needed them desperately.

--I'll do an update on our new house, but I do have one recommendation: don't get Samsung appliances. Our dishwasher was already replaced in less than one year.

--Social anxiety. Do you have it? I do, and always have. I could literally write a whole blog post about this...

Using technology makes it better, but I can sit and analyze every comment and text message that I have written for hours. I will also STILL cringe about things that I have said over a decade ago. I not only replay past conversations in my head, but I will constantly prepare myself for future conversations and think of multiple scenarios and possible things to say in every day life. It's mentally exhausting thinking of every thing a person might say and what I would say in response, but hey.. that's what social anxiety is to me.

--Does this give me mom butt? I bought a new pair of pants and literally stared at my butt in the mirror for about 10 minutes. Normally I can make up my mind pretty quick, but this pair of pants had me stumped. I had to wait until Graham got home to help me decide. Seeing that my age is creeping up closer to 40, I must avoid mom butt as much as possible.

--Workouts and exercise. I'm on the "don't miss a day" schedule. Even when I was sick, I got my butt up at 5:30 AM and exercised. It's one of the beauties of working out at home. I also did a barre-style workout one day at work. I thought it wouldn't be too noticeable, but I was freaking sweaty by the time I was done. I am feeling good because I can finally fit into my pre-Sadie pants (my pre-Carter pants are too big). I can also feel and see some good muscle changes happening in my legs, booty, and arms from adding more barre workouts in my life.

Anyways, here's my most recent progress pictures (comparing April to August):

Look, a little bit of muscle definition!

--Youth sports. Carter is playing soccer again. He is somewhat athletic, but he is not aggressive. He is learning some skills, but you can't teach someone how to be aggressive. I just don't foresee team sports like this in his future. We tried gymnastics, and while he is athletic and could hold a handstand longer than any boy or girl in the class, he could still barely do a cartwheel after 4-5 months. So, we will try taekwondo and maybe even rock climbing at the local Y when soccer is done...

--Lash extensions. I have had them sporadically in the past, but they cost too much to maintain. I love the convenience of waking up and looking good, but I didn't have the extra money to keep it up. However, this summer, I decided to try them again. I found a good deal on Groupon, and I've been getting them filled every 3 weeks. I love the length and look of them, but with my makeup addiction, I find them to be annoying. My eyeliner and eye shadow both get gunked up in the lashes. So, if you are an eye shadow addict like me, lash extensions may not be for you.

--Makeup. My purchases have slowed down a lot. I have too many eyeshadows to use them all in a realistic time frame. I keep up on my standard products, such as foundation, powders, etc, and I've invested in a couple more items that I love. If you want an update on my favorite makeup products, let me know.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Weight Loss Update

Whoa, we're halfway there.. whoa-oa, living on a prayer..

I really can't believe I just quoted Bon Jovi. My sister would understand my disgust.

Anyways, I have reached my halfway-there weight loss goal: 15 out of 30 pounds! I am 5 pounds down past my pre-Carter weight, but I am 5 pounds away from my pre-Sadie weight. However, I am still about 12 pounds to my lowest weight in 2013.

April 4th       vs    August 7th


Today I finally passed the 15 pound mark! I'm now down 15.8 lbs over 4 months!

Once I get all the way there, I will be at my lowest weight since my freshman year of college.

I tell ya, it has sucked trying to lose weight. As a Registered Dietitian, I find it incredibly frustrating doing weight loss counseling with other people, and seriously I hate doing it with myself. It's a long-term game, slow moving, and takes a lot of mental and physical effort and commitment. There are no fast fixes to weight loss.. and if anyone tries to preach the keto diet to me, seriously go away.

This is what I'm doing to be successful:

1) Counting calories with MyFitnessPal. Yep. Weight Loss 101. Tracking your food can help you be more accountable and realistic. Whether or not you're trying to follow a specific way of eating (keto, whole-foods plant-based, Paleo, etc), it all comes down to energy in and energy out. BTW, I'm not citing sources on this one. I'm too lazy to do that, but there are plenty of other people that have done that.

2) Increasing my non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Back at OHSU in 2007/2008, I had the pleasure of hearing a lecture by a renowned British researcher, James Levine, MD, PhD. He had a dry British sense of humor I loved, but his ideas about increasing non-exercise activity have always stuck with me. Currently, I walk during my work breaks, I dance with my kids (the Just Dance app is perfect for this), and I do a mini neighborhood walk after dinner every night. I use my Fitbit to track my steps, which is a huge motivating factor to me to keep moving.

3) Working out 6-7 days a week. Yes, 7 days a week sounds like a bit much, but 1 day is stretching or yoga. What I've started doing is stretching on Sundays as I've found that my muscles are way too tight. I've also started switching up my routine. I was doing 5 days of RIPPED workouts and 1 day of Barre-style workouts, but I wanted more specific muscle toning. Now, I'll be doing 4 days of RIPPED and 2 days of Barre (plus some additional cardio those days to burn more calories). I'll let you know if this change will help with my body composition and muscle toning.

4) Decreasing portion sizes, not making baked goods as much, and trying to increase protein at breakfast. I'm experimenting if increasing the size of my breakfast meal will help me eat less at lunch or dinner. We shall see, but it worked yesterday!

 Anyways, losing weight is hard. I wish it could be easier, but I believe that making small, simple changes can be sustainable over the long-term. I know I'll never be thin, I'll always have "man shoulders" from my dad and a soft stomach from becoming a mom, and my arms will never be small. This isn't negative self-talk, just my acceptance of my limitations. Going through pregnancy changed my body drastically and irreparably, but hey, at least my boobs like tripled in size! (Is that even appropriate to share here? Oh well.) One day, I just hope to be comfortable in my own skin. Oh, and I guess improving my health is a bonus as well.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Old-fashioned Family Update

Hello, my loyal readers (all three of you)!

I realized that I hardly ever do family and/or vacation stories or updates, so here you go.. Warning: this is a picture-heavy post,

Our big summer vacation this year: Utah and Idaho. Yeah, I know.. sounds lame. But, it's our longest road trip yet, and we decided to make the most out of it.

Carter's last official day of school was Friday, June 21st (it got pushed out from the Seattle Snowpocalypse days in February), but we had our nephew's wedding in Utah on the 21st.. so we literally drove alllll night through Washington, Idaho, and Utah to make it to the wedding. It didn't take nearly as long as we thought--we left at 4 PM on Thursday, and made it to Orem, UT by 6 AM (Mountain time), making it only as 13-hour drive. Apparently, the speed limit in Idaho on I-84 is 80 mph!! It was awesome, but I didn't feel safe going much over that in the dark on an unknown road.

We had every day packed full of visits with friends and family. I have one brother and Graham has one sister that live in Utah, so we made seeing them a priority. We had the wedding on Friday (btw, the Payson, UT, temple is amazingly beautiful), visits with my family and Graham's sister on Saturday, fun with cousins, 2nd cousins, and old friends on Sunday, visits with old college roommates and Graham's aunt and family on Monday, and we finally did some typical sightseeing in Salt Lake City at Temple Square with one last college friend visit in Utah before driving to Idaho.

Here are some pictures of our visits and activities. By the way, Carter now calls Utah the "cookie monster state" because of all the cookie places there. I totally agree. WTF Utah? How can you support a cookie place around every corner?

Not a bad random family photo. My mom usually cuts off our heads in the camera.

Just to get a scaled idea of how big and beautiful this temple is.

The happy couple!

Swig cookies--just kind of meh. I wasn't super impressed to be honest. Their soda mixes though--wow--I got the diet soda mix a couple different times, and all were delicious.

I'm officially a great-aunt now. How weird is that?

Graham and baby Brecken. Graham loves naps with babies.

Baby Autumn, who is the baby of Graham's "baby sister" Grace.

We hiked the Y. For those of us that live at low elevation, this is a tough hike at 4550 feet above sea level! Sadie did NOT want to walk or sit on shoulders, so Graham had a really tough hike.

We all lived in the same town from 2008-2011 when we were newlyweds and newly parents. Now in 2019, almost all of our old friends have moved out of our town.

Here's us gals in 2009 for our first "girl's night out". 

The guys. 

3 families worth of kids.

Kelley, Julane, and me in 2019. We were BYU roommates for two years. We all have two kids: one girl and one boy. How random is that? We haven't been all together since 2006. Kelley and I were friends and roommates in Portland after BYU.

Me, Julane, Kelley, and Tiffani in 2005. We totally look the same, right? Motherhood hasn't changed us a bit.

Sadie and Graham's aunt Cindy at the ranch.

The kids got to meet Graham's uncle's horses.

Temple Square

View from the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

I love the big and ornate doors.

Shannon and I were friends and dorm mates in 2001-2002 (crazy long ago, right?).

We drove to Council, Idaho on Tuesday. Graham's grandma lives there. Population: ~800. What? You've never heard of it? Weird. Here it is..

There's obviously not much to do in Council, but really we just wanted to see Graham's sweet grandma. We hung out with cousins, played croquet (I'm not a fan), played horseshoes (I sucked, but not as bad as croquet), and relaxed.

On Thursday we made the windy road trip up Highway 95 to Coeur d'Alene (CDA). We were prepared to give the kids dramamine, which did help them sleep and not be as motion sick as last time we drove on Highway 95. The whole purpose of this trip was to end our longest road trip ever up at Silverwood (the biggest amusement park in the PNW). Graham has been dying to go for ages, so we finally decided to do it.

On Friday, we did some hiking around and swimming in lake CDA. I definitely did not put my head under--that's too cold for me. The lake was beautiful and the 2-mile hike at Tubbs Hill was perfect for our kids. We also saw Post Falls, ID, ate at a Cracker Barrel, and got some huckleberry ice cream.

Cracker Barrel had some games for us to play before we got our food.
Post Falls
More Post Falls
Other side of the falls.

Us hiking at the lake in sandals

They even had a mini suspension bridge

Sadie wasn't super interested in the water.

We spent Saturday at Silverwood. It was expensive, but was perfect for our age of kids. They had a LOT of kiddie rides, so Sadie went on the most rides of all of us. I rode the big roller coasters and had a lot of fun. One was freaking awesome, but I was scared to get motion sickness, so I closed my eyes until I felt the roller coaster slow down.. HAHAHA. That was right before it ricocheted backwards and upside down. Certain swear words came out of my mouth in that moment. We hung out with Graham's cousin and her family, so my kids got to meet more of their 2nd cousins. We didn't really enjoy the water park because we spent most of the time looking for Carter and his 2nd cousin, and I recovered from the roller coasters by laying in a inner tube on the ground. I got really dizzy in the lazy/crazy river. Yes that's right--it's ridiculous, but it only exacerbated my motion sickness from the roller coasters.

The infamous Aftershock roller coaster.

Before the roller coaster madness

Sadie and her second cousin.

Second cousins and giant scoops of ice cream. Perfect way to end the night.

The lines weren't long at Silverwood except for two rides: the ferris wheel and bumper boats. Carter had to ride on both of them, of course. It was at least a 30-60 minute wait for both.

Dinner in bed. I was so done with sleeping in the same room as my kids by this time.

Did I mention that the Iron Man was in CDA the same weekend? Some people asked us if we were there for that. I don't think I've laughed that hard in a long time. Graham last worked out in January...

The drive home was supposed to only be about 5 hours, but we had freaking traffic starting in Cle Elum, WA, before even getting to Snoqualmie Pass. Anyways, we had a great time with friends and family despite driving a million miles. Funny enough, Graham and I are about to drive back to Utah for another family wedding in 2 weeks. We are not bringing the kids this time, though. 

The drive home, armed with tablets, markers, coloring sheets, and gummy bears.

All in all, it was a great trip, and now we won't fear long road trips as much. Our kids were pretty good. We just accepted that passenger seat is now called the "slave seat" to serve our masters in the back seat. Sadie was the worst task master. Peace out Utah--until next time.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The answer always is... Texas Caviar

What do I bring to a potluck?

What can I eat with tortilla chips?

What can I pack for lunch?

How can I increase my fiber intake?

.... Texas Caviar (or otherwise known as Cowboy Caviar)

I tried this recipe from Cook's Country on a whim a few years ago for an afternoon at a picnic with some friends. I had no idea how it would turn out, and I was a little nervous about bringing basically a pickled bean and pepper salad.

Oh my goodness, this recipe is GOOD. Us 6 adults easily polished this recipe off in an hour. I bring it to work with my multi-grain chips, I bring it to church activities, and I recommend it all.the.time as a dip and side dish. You can always adjust the spiciness with the jalapeno. Anyways, I highly recommend this bean dip!


Texas Caviar

1/3cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp Salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
2 (15.5-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed
6 scallions, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 jalapeƱo chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1) Whisk vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper together.
2) Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
3) Let flavors meld for at least an hour before serving (in refrigerator). Serve cold or at room temperature.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Life-Changing Revelation

When we were getting ready for bed last night, I told Graham that I had a life-changing revelation today. His first response was, "is this serious, or are you joking about makeup or something ridiculous?"

Ok, so I do joke a lot about important and stupid things... which is kind of what this blog is about.

Maybe you already know this, but it took me 36 years of my life to realize this.. Guys don't like funny girls/women.

Why was this such a shocker for me?? Even as a woman, I personally don't like a lot of female comediennes, but this is different. I like guys with a good sense of humor. I always have. I'm not unique in this trait, but I always assumed that because I found a funny guy attractive, that a guy would also be attracted to me because I am funny.

My journal entries throughout high school and college are filled with the mystified thoughts of why guys didn't like me because I was: 1) smart, 2) funny, and 3) cute. I thought these traits should make me irresistible, right? Some of my journal entries from high school and college are written below:

“I just don’t understand why I am a friend girl to everyone! I thought guys liked funny girls.. 
I thought being myself would help also. However—nothing seems to work!"

 "I just thought guys liked funny girls… 
From my track record, that would be a loud, resounding NO.”

I came to the conclusion in my 20's after I was married that most teenage boys and college guys absolutely do not give an F about #1 and #2. Some might, but most are concerned about looks.

And finally in my 30's, I have realized that most boys/guys/men do not want a woman who is funny in her own right.. and this is backed by science. There are many psychological studies that demonstrate that women find humor attractive in a male, but this is not reciprocated by men. Men find a sense of humor attractive, but it falls under the category of "humor appreciation". This means women who laugh at men's jokes are found to be more attractive. Men find some funny women (especially those with a male or aggressive sense of humor) to be a challenge or a threat, whether it's to their ego or whatever.


The same study states, however, that some men find funny women attractive. These men are usually older, more educated, and have higher self-esteem. Maybe you're a guy and you're reading this, and you're offended by this because you like funny women.. Good for you. More power to you. I like you already.

Also, I wanted to clarify that the study does specify that while men may enjoy jokes from women, they "rarely want to marry them". That's a sad generalization.

As I've gotten older, I've also realized that the kind of humor I employ has an effect on others. I love self-deprecating humor. I make fun of myself a lot, and sometimes I assume others do too... Poor assumption, I know.

Case in point... I was at a young single adult church activity with some friends and some people I had never met before. A guy I had never met was calling a girl to ask her a question about something. She didn't answer, and the guy said, "oh, she missed my call", to which I teasingly responded, "Oh, she's probably just avoiding your call". He gave me a look of death and asked rudely, "Do I know you?" I should have known that joke wouldn't be funny to him--he was a law student. He was much too serious to laugh at himself.

Another example... I was at another church activity. It was field day races, and a cute guy was on my team. We were doing potato sack races, and when our team won, I flirtatiously remarked, "Oh, you must be good in the sack." He laughed nervously, and then never talked to me after that night. Turns out that some Mormon guys are uncomfortable with sexual humor. Awk-ward.

I also learned that sarcasm can be a little funny, but is not really desirable in a long-term relationship. In high school and college, I was probably wayyyy too sarcastic and mean. I had some self-esteem issues that made me insecure (still do actually), and sarcasm was my deflection technique. I dated some sarcastic guys in college, and while they made me laugh, it really wouldn't have worked out. Eventually sarcasm can be mean and degrading from a romantic partner.

Thankfully, I met Graham. While he admits that he was a bit intimidated by me (I am older, funny, and smart), he has enjoyed my humor since we met. To me, Graham has the perfect mix of all my favorite kind of senses of humor: goofy, self-deprecating, and some sexual. He made me less sarcastic and less mean. Is that what love does to humor? Is your sense of humor dependent on your mood and your relationship?

Anyways, I still love to joke with men.. just to mess with them a little bit. I love some good clever and witty banter. But the last thing I'm now wondering about me is if this is considered to be flirting...? I'm going to chew on that for a bit.

I'm willing to say that most of it is based on the situation I'm in. I do joke with my patients at work to make them feel comfortable, but I don't joke flirtatiously (although I'm fairly certain some of my male patients have taken it that way). As far as my interpersonal relationships with men and other friends, I try to be really careful with how I joke because sometimes I take it too far (just ask Graham's family).

When it comes to my sense of humor.. I'm going to leave this journal entry from 2003 to describe how I feel...

“If I wasn’t myself, I don’t know how I’d live. 
If I didn’t find humor in everything, life would seem so bleak.”

I'm too embarrassed to post any photos of me doing totally weird stuff to be funny (I have lots of those), but here's a good example of how me and my roommates tried to be funny and creative in college. 

Just Life

I know I have a couple of regulars who check here every now and then, but I don't really post that much. So, this one is for you! (And h...