Sunday, December 21, 2014

Seven Years

So, today, it has been seven very eventful years of marriage to Graham.



I seriously cannot believe that it has been that long. Cliche or not, the past seven years have flown by (or crawled by in some instances). I swear, it was honestly yesterday that I was saying yes to marry Graham (we don't say "I do" in the marriage ceremony in the LDS temple).

I remember bawling my eyes out yet also listening to my stomach growl embarrassingly loud during the 3 PM (? is it weird I don't remember the actual time we got married) sealing ceremony.

I remember my panic and anxiety attacks pre-engagement.

I remember our first kiss in a church parking lot after seeing Spiderman 3 with friends.

I remember our first real date during the Cinco de Mayo festival on the Portland waterfront.

I remember saying I love you for the first time under the stars on the Oregon Coast.

And so many other moments in the meantime.. But I'm not going to go through all of the high- and low-lights of the almost eight years we've been together. I'm here to talk about what I've learned and felt.

Seven years is really not that much time in the long-term perspective, but in a 30-something's life span, it sure seems like a lot, especially considering that I got through college and grad school in the same amount of time.. And I changed and learned a lot during that time of my life. Although I gained a substantial amount of knowledge during my college years, I still lacked understanding of relationships and love. Marriage is one of the best teachers and motivators of change for personal lives (as long as you're willing to learn and change).

Graham has taught me, intentionally or not, about the power of forgiveness in personal relationships. Sure, there may be instances in which a personal relationship should be ended when offense has been given, but forgiveness can be utilized even in situations where irreparable harm has been done. Forgiveness has been given to us by God to truly free us from entanglements and resentments. When exercised to its full potential, we can move on, be free again to love others, and not be weighed down by our past. I never considered myself to be a particularly forgiving person, as I clearly remember when people have hurt my feelings or did wrong against me. But, after all I've been through, I feel like I can forgive people of their trespasses, little and big. Someone called me a "saint" for getting back together with Graham, but I don't even come close to meeting that description (HA). Marriage is fraught with interpersonal conflict, hurtful things done/said, and little annoying things that build up into big frustrations. By holding on to old hurts, pains, and resentments, it can cloud your view of your spouse and forever taint anything good or new they ever do. If you're always looking at your spouse with poop-colored glasses, you'll just forever be dissatisfied. Nothing your spouse will say or do will ever be right. Without regular acts of forgiveness, true love within a marriage is not possible.

Graham has taught me about honest, true love, and what that means as a married person. It does not mean that we will be blissfully happy and walking on clouds every day/month/year of our life. It doesn't mean that we will always be able to make each other happy. Sometimes, our relationship will feel more like work than love (or more work than fun). I don't get butterflies when my husband enters the room (I saw someone post that and I kind of rolled my eyes a little). Sometimes I want to wring his neck for doing something stupid. But, you know what actually makes me happiest and makes me love him the most? Serving my husband.. Doing something nice for him that he doesn't expect. Doing something for him that he truly appreciates. Giving him space to enjoy the things he loves (i.e. sports), no matter how much they annoy me. True love to me is when Graham wakes up early to start my car outside in the cold every morning.. without me ever asking. Love is feeling like home when I'm with him, no matter where we are. Of all the guys I've ever been with, I've never wanted to be with someone so much.. All day. Every day.

Graham has taught me how to be honest, in a hard way, I guess. I needed to learn how to be truthful to myself and to others about my feelings and intentions. It wasn't only with his issues, but mine as well. I am not a saint, nor will I ever be. I am trying every day to be a better person, and to be true to who I am and who I could be. When you're married, you can no longer hide your flaws and only put your best face forward. Your spouse can see everything about you--your weaknesses, frailties, your strengths, your kindness, your mean streak. And yet, they still choose to love you even though you are just a human.  Honesty is being you, the whole, imperfect yet still lovable you.

Graham has to taught me to be kind, and not just to your spouse. I never knew anybody like Graham that could be so nice to other people and yet still be able to understand my sarcasm. He has the empathy that a kind person has, and yet still can tease people. He offers to help people all of the time. He is nice even when I don't think he should be. He is such a good example to me of someone trying to be Christlike and loving to others. I was definitely not blessed with that trait, but I'm glad I married someone who did. His inherent kindness has even tempered my sarcasm and cynicism, something I never thought possible (me--the sassy teenage girl who once bragged she could make fun of any one at any time).

Anyways, marriage is slowly helping me become a better person by learning to forgive, be honest, and to truly love others. It's been a learning process, with some major growing pains for sure. At times, I've seriously questioned if he really was the right one to marry, especially considering the trials we've been through. And really, now that it's been done, why does it matter if it was the right decision or not? I've made the commitment to God, to Graham, and to my family, and now I need to live with my choices, for better or for worse. I'm not unhappy with my choice..in fact, right now, I am pretty damn happy with my choice. I couldn't have picked someone better for me. He loves me, and I see it whenever I look into his eyes. And because he has loved me, I will never be the same. (Oh boy, this is now teetering on the edge of being totally corny. Now busting out Celine Dion: I'm everything I am because you loved me.)



Here's to another anniversary and many more..

Friday, December 12, 2014

Mortifying Myself #2: Building my self-esteem

So, I was pretty insecure as a teenager, as many girls were. This has remained with me even throughout adulthood. Anyways, my junior high years were rough because I never felt like boys liked me, even though I did have a "boyfriend" at a different junior high in the area in 8th grade. So, in high school, I got a little more attention from boys, especially since I was a cheerleader (probably what I'd been hoping for). Every time I thought a boy was looking at me, or thought I was cute, I would write about it in my journal. That's how important it was to my self-esteem. I became friends with an older boy who played basketball on the varsity team, so we talked a lot and he would tell me some of these things..

Me at 15-16 years old:




2~8~1998
"Well, Friday nite, I found out more guys think I'm cute than I thought. Tom and Josh do, and so does Keith (since he always stares at me) and so does Peter.. (Ben probably does too, because he looks at me too.)"

2~12~1998
"Several guys on the varsity basketball think I'm cute, and I think I will be a babe when I'm older. Boy, I can't wait!"

2~14~1998
"He said he, Keith, and Ryan were talking about me at the basketball game. They were talking about how nice a body I have, and how great it will be when I get old. He said I was 'well made'."

3~7~1998
"Well Sadie Hawkins [a girl-ask-boy dance] was last night. Everybody else was excited, except for me. I didn't wanna dance w/ Doug! I ditched him on a couple of songs. Rian kept trying to freak with me and stuff, and I did for not very long, and I think Doug saw us. Maybe that should be a hint Doug!...All of the seniors said hi to me tonight. I just attract the older guys! Also, I didn't get to dance with Ben, so that was pretty bad. But, Aaron pinched my butt and I think Dustin likes me, so, Gottsta go. C-ya."

3~13~1998
"Well, I have found some more guys who think I'm cute, Doug ___,baby! He is such a babe!"

4~17~1998
"P.S. Josh said he doesn't like me; we are just friends. That doesn't mean he doesn't want me!"

5~25~1998
"I can't believe my freshman year is over!! I liked being a freshman. The year has gone by so fast!! The best part was the 2nd half, when I realized I was cute, and people would like me if they could."

Anyways, that's all I will torture myself with right now. You get the idea: I was obsessed with boys, and learning that I am actually attractive to the opposite sex.

Next installment: learning how to flirt as an awkward teenage girl.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

God will never let me be successful..

I don't know how many of you are as big Seinfeld fans as we are, but we know many quotes and watch the whole 9 seasons at least once per year. One thing that always makes us laugh is Graham's likeness to George Costanza in many ways. Graham may not be stocky like George, but he has other similarities (**cough cough balding cough cough short**).

--Graham has eaten out of the trash like George.
--Graham has to do the opposite of his natural instincts sometimes, like George.
--Let's not forget that Graham had to move back in with his parents for a little bit, like George.
--He also has had many many things go wrong for him, like George.


Related to that last one, our married life has often been a comedy of errors, with everything seeming to go wrong for us (like the day when Graham wrecked someone's ATV and I also washed his new Blackberry in the washing machine).. Or in Hawaii when Graham left his cell phone at the Dole Plantation, I left my cell phone at Sephora, and Graham went swimming/snorkeling with the rental car key in the pocket of his swim trunks.

And now, things are actually going suspiciously well.. Well enough for Graham to say something to the effect of, "God will never let me be successful", like George said in Seinfeld. It's not like we actually believe that, but our luck has never been great (related to coincidence or choices, I guess)..

We have several bits of good family news:

--Graham got a new job. And in fact, it's not just a new job--it's actually a career. He is currently going through a very strenuous and intense hiring process. I won't give too many details, but it's a stable government job, with lots of benefits and potential. It doesn't start out at high as if Graham has been hired on as an engineer, but definitely better than where he's working now. There are some negatives, but we will deal with them as they come (more on that later). Anyways, we are beyond excited for this opportunity. However, this does mean that we will pretty much live in this area forever.

--The even bigger news. This has been my dream for the longest time.. We are officially in the process of buying a house! Once we decided Graham wasn't going to finish his engineering degree, we had to be a little more realistic about where we could afford a house. That limited our selection a bit more, especially when it came to finding a house in a good school district. The schools around here are awful (well, maybe not all of them), so we found an area we like in a good school district a bit farther away.. The bad thing is that it will make my commute to about 25-35 minutes each way. Graham will be able to do a Park-and-Ride parking lot with a bus ride to work. So yeah, we are getting a USDA loan with an amazing deal on a renovated semi split-level home on a cul-de-sac. It has mostly everything that we were looking for, and I am so happy to finally have a place to call home. We should close by the middle of January and be moved before February 1st.

We are just sooooo happy that things are going well for us--FINALLY. Pray for us that everything goes well for Graham's hiring process and our USDA loan approval.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hawaii 2014

So, as many of you know, we took a family trip to Oahu this past month. My parents have a timeshare on Waikiki, and they were able to get 2 condos in a tower about 2 blocks away from Waikiki beach. Weirdly enough, it was the same hotel we stayed in when we went as a family in December of 1999. I wasn't super excited about going to Oahu again as I'd been there twice before as a teenager (I know, I know, I sound like a spoiled brat). I thought I'd seen and done it all, so while I was excited to go to Hawaii, I wasn't super excited to go back to Oahu.

To my surprise, I loved being so close to Waikiki as a mom. It was close enough to the beach, the hotel, restaurants, shopping, etc, and not that far of a car ride to anything else we wanted to see. It was kind of strange going to Waikiki as I felt like I was going back in time. I went in December 1999 with my family (and my high school boyfriend) and June 2001 for my high school graduation senior trip (that really makes me feel old). I felt kind of like a teenager again, and I distinctly remember strolling down the Waikiki strip with friends and walking down Waikiki Beach with my boyfriend. So, it was definitely weird to be with my husband and son walking down the same beach.

Anyways, we absolutely had the BEST time. Carter kept saying on our last day, "But I just don't want to leave Hawaii!" We know, Carter, we know... I'll just give you some brief descriptions of what we did (because I normally don't do this kind of thing--let's face it.. my life is boring and my vacations are usually to visit my family in California or Utah). I'll add some vacation pictures in here when I have better access (also posted on my Facebook and Instagram accounts).

Saturday: We arrived at the airport and my sweet mom arranged for us to get fresh leis by baggage claim. If you've ever been to the Honolulu airport, you'd know it is partly open air, so we loved that. The heat was quite shocking, though, when exiting the plane and walking through the jetway tunnel. We managed to find our family and made our way in the rental minivan to the hotel on Waikiki. We got to check in a little early, changed into our bathing suits, and walked over to the beach. The water was freaking bath-tub warm and felt amazing. We literally hung out in the water for over an hour, which isn't normally our thing. We hung out at the beach for a couple of hours and the kids had a blast. My brother Jacob's family went as well, and Carter was just in LOVE with his cousins, including Gabe, who's 17 and 3 feet taller than Carter. I don't remember what/where we ate for dinner, but I remember we did stop at Jack in the Box for lunch..  :/

Sunday: After taking an early walk on the Waikiki strip (I never really did get used to Hawaii time), we went to church at the Honolulu LDS Tabernacle. It seriously was an amazing building and grounds. Wow. It almost looked like a temple. It was their ward's primary program, which was good because we were missing our primary's program. Carter sang all the songs with the little kids. Totally adorable, except he started talking loudly about Godzilla in the middle of a prayer. We then went on a family train ride on Hawaiian Railway. We got an awesome, and very sunny, view of the West Oahu shoreline. It wasn't super exciting, but I know Carter had a blast. We then celebrated all of our family's birthdays in October and November (five birthdays!) with spaghetti and chocolate cake.

Monday: This was Pearl Harbor day. I'd already done this before, but this was on Graham's must-do list. Again, it was a touching and humbling experience and I teared up a bit during the video. Carter was actually pretty respectful as well and talks about the "ships being destroyed". My brother really wanted to get a Dole Whip (which was super amazing by the way), so we stopped by the plantation on the way to Haleiwa Beach. The beach was nice, but this was a particularly bad spot for coral. Ouch. All of our feet got torn up pretty good. We decided to avoid the traffic by taking the long way home and making a long drive around the island and the North Shore. We stopped by the Laie LDS temple to take some pictures, and we ate at this amazing taco place called North Shore Tacos.

Tuesday: This was the most chill day of them all. I worked out with my mom, us ladies got pampered by getting facials and massages, and I got my makeup done at Sephora on the Waikiki strip before my date with Graham. I chose Duke's, which is a totally touristy restaurant on the beach (as most places are on Waikiki), that I'd heard great things about. It was delicious and we had the most amazing sunset view from our table. Graham and I walked around the shops and hotels and had a great time without children.

Wednesday: This day was eventful and we planned to hike Diamond Head and snorkel at Hanauma Bay. The hike was really nice, and of course, provided an amazing view of the island. I was surprised at the ease of the hike, as I remembered it being difficult from high school. Anyways, we next went to snorkel and swim at Hanauma Bay. I am not a huge fan of snorkeling, as it makes me kind of claustrophobic and getting too close to fish and other creatures makes me panicky (I'm totally not an animal person, including fish). The bay was gorgeous, but it was freaking hot. We used a spray sunscreen that didn't work very well, and my sun allergy broke out really bad on my arms. Graham had a zig zag sunburn on his back from my crappy attempt at protecting his back with sunscreen. Also, Graham went snorkeling with the rental minivan car key fob in the pocket of his swimsuit. Miraculously, it still worked! Graham was lucky, or he may not have made it back home alive. Anyways, we did some Vietnamese takeout that night for dinner.

Thursday: Today was our zip-lining day. Not many of us had been before, so it was an awesome experience. It was practically a brand new course on the North Shore called Climb Works. They drove us up to the top on an ATV, and we took 7+ zip lines on the way down, including rappelling, climbing up a rope, and walking/running across a wood bridge. We had so much fun, especially since we died laughing at my mom trying to climb up the rope (you definitely had to be there). We headed back to the hotel, where Graham hurt his wrist playing basketball with our teenage nephew playing on a wet court outside. We all went out to Cheesecake Factory that night to celebrate my niece's 14th birthday.

Friday: Beach day. All beach. All day. I read the Green Mile that day and ended up with tears streaming down my face while on the beach. Totally normal beach behavior. Because it was Halloween, it was looking to be really busy on the Waikiki strip. We ended up ordering Round Table Pizza and eating in the hotel. We then dressed the kiddos up (Carter was Spiderman) and walked over to Honolulu Zoo. For $5, you could trick or treat there and visit their own Haunted House, Carter actually went in and wasn't very scared. He kept in character and kept trying to shoot spider webs at "bad guys" in the haunted house. A mad scientist character was holding fake brains on a platter and asked Carter if he wanted to see his brains. Carter replied, "No thank you!". We died laughing. Carter is even polite to haunted house people! Anyways, Graham and I took one last walk on the beach that night after briefly checking out the crazy dressed up people on Waikiki. Definitely not our scene.

Saturday: We went out for breakfast at LuLu's Waikiki, which is an open-air restaurant right across the street from the beach. We sat at the bar so we could all just stare out at the ocean (I know, it's the same Pacific Ocean that I have access to here in Seattle) and enjoy the delicious food. I ate Spam in honor of my last day in Hawaii (it's really good--I would eat it here more if it weren't so bad for you). We drove to the airport, all depressed and sad. We soaked up all of the sun and warm breezes that we could get before heading home.

I don't know when we'll be back to Oahu (let alone Hawaii), so it was definitely sad leaving. I will remember this trip fondly and will miss those warm nights and beautiful sunsets. Sigh...

And, just to see if you're still reading this.. We have some big news coming up...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

As Promised: My First Vlog Ever (#1 Mortifying Myself Vlog Series)

As previously promised, here is my first vlog in my Mortifying Myself series. This is just an entry that kind of illustrates how I felt about writing about my feelings and events. I thought it was a good introduction to the rest of my journal entries.

Just a heads up. It's not a great quality video. It's with my old webcam with me just sitting at my computer desk. Also, I'm not used to looking straight at the camera so I kept looking at the screen at the image of my striking face (haha--yeah right). Anyways, I plan on doing this again over the next month or so for another random journal entry. I have a kind of funny one about my first boyfriend, my first kiss, and a memorable date in college. What do you guys think? Any requests?

Here's the vlog:

I really love the thumbnail YouTube chose.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Times, they are a' changin.. Again

Well, if there's one thing I know how to do, it would be how to adapt to new situations. Unfortunately.

However, this is a somewhat good change. Graham was working swing shifts weeknights with one additional graveyard shift on Friday nights. However, some things changed at work, and his hours were reduced back down to 28 hours if he wanted to continue swing shifts, or 30 hours if he wanted to work three 10-hour graveyard shifts. (The company doesn't want to hire full-time employees for these shifts so they don't have to pay for healthcare--love these new laws). So, he took the three graveyard shifts. This means I now go back to working at a normal hour (7:30 or 8:30 AM), and my husband is actually home for dinner every night! So, even though his hours are less, we spend less on gas, I get more sleep, and I have my husband home for dinner every night. There are definitely some blessings to this change.

Also, I don't want to jinx anything, but Graham has an interview at a local Naval base today. This is a big opportunity, and if it happens, it means more life changes as well. We are beyond excited for this interview as he has been applying here for months!

Anyways, I promise I'll get my vlog up soon. Like I said, things have been changing here and I hardly ever get on my computer at night. It is already done--I just have to upload it. I also have an upcoming blog about something I've been thinking about a lot--modern marriage and the play of power and control between spouses. I've been really thinking about how I want to word it because it's been on my mind and something I feel pretty strong about.

Until then, we are off to Hawaii next week! Woohoo!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fitness Frustration

Ugh, I've mentioned in previous videos that I've gained some of my weight back over the past 6 months. It all started when I started a new birth control that made me dizzy and very fatigued. I couldn't exercise as hard and I had to lay down a lot. It took me two weeks or so to get back to feeling better after I discontinued the birth control. (P.S. If your doctor tries to convince you that the Mirena is not causing dizziness, but that it's related to allergies that have never caused anything like this before, sometimes you gotta trust your gut and say no.) Also, Graham started working in the evenings, so I don't like cooking as much, so I probably was snacking more. More, I was eating like crap over the summer, eating wayyyyy too many dessert items. Lastly, this new electronic medical record system at work makes me spend much more time at the computer and less time walking around the hospital.

So yes, I am heavier now (probably 5-7 pounds more) than I was in March, and it has ALL returned into my gut. Like seriously, I feel like a stuffed sausage in some of clothes. Being so short, 5 pounds is a LOT on my frame, especially when it is all in one freaking area. My pants that I've bought in the past 2 years since I've lost weight feel tighter and really make me angry and frustrated.

I have not stopped working out. The only workouts I have missed were when we went camping, when I didn't have any videos available, and going for a run would only mean that I was running from wildlife. I have recently started doing some double workouts to help increase my calorie burn and steps during the day. I was doing TurboFire HIIT workouts every other day, but now I'm back to doing RIPPED workouts 2-3 times per week, with an additional 30 minute express Physique 57 workout before each one. I do the full 57 minute Physique 57 workouts 2 times per week, with an additional day of cardio and/or booster workouts from Physique 57 (if you want to be sore and hardly be able to walk for 2 days, try the 30-minute thigh and seat booster.. seriously so sore). I bought the P57 workout videos off eBay as a reward for consistently doing barre-style workouts 3 times per week for 6 months. After the full 57-minute P57 workouts, I do a 20-minute Turbo Jam workout to get my heart rate up and increase my steps for the day (I have a FitBit pedometer for a work health and wellness program). If you've even read this, just know that I have been working HARD (at least, fitness-wise).

Anyways, I have to remind myself that fitness is a journey. Life doesn't just get better all of the time. There are ups and downs, and that also applies to fitness and health. I can't expect to constantly get skinnier or more toned, although I definitely have gotten stronger and better, especially at push ups. Right now, I'm in a fitness valley, and I just need to get my nutrition act together so I can at least get back to where I was. It's just very frustrating because weight loss was easy (nutrition-wise) because all I did was starting exercising and wasn't very restrictive with my diet. I was also maintaining my weight kind of eating what I wanted, of course in moderation. So now, I have to be more careful about what I eat. Graham and I have been discussing a diet for us both before we go to Hawaii in a month. We'll see how this goes.

If you're interested in my Mortifying Myself series where I share or read some of my journal entries, I'll be posting a video within the next week. It's just an intro to my journal entries, but if it works out, I may read and vlog some of my more memorable journal entries (like my first kiss).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stitch Fix Review #5

So, my theme this month was providing some extra pieces for my upcoming trip to Hawaii. I didn't want any extra clothes preparing for fall because I already have plenty (well... I could use more work pants from Banana Republic...). This is my last buying hurrah because our expenses have increased a lot over the past few months (repaying Graham's student loans, new car, and Carter's preschool). Anyways, here is the review.

Please excuse the terrible pictures (the quality and the subject: me). Seriously, I was NOT having a good day. I do not look photogenic in the slightest in these pictures, and I look about 20 pounds heaver than I actually am. Just be glad I posted these at all, ok.. I had my camera set on a timer on the desk because Graham was working. They were looking awful, so I ditched this set-up and used my iPhone for bathroom selfies.. The worst selfies of them all. Oh, and I didn't style the outfits at all. I am literally wearing workout pants on the bottom.

Papermoon Lupita Colorblocked Cross-Bank Tank: $48




The colors were really cute, and I loved the cross-back details on the shirt (which of course you can't see because of my long hair.. Sigh.). However, it was that extreme hi-lo style that I hate I'm not a huge fan of , and I'd always have to wear something under it because it's see-through. Also, the fit wasn't super flattering, and I couldn't see myself wearing it other than on vacation to Hawaii (Seattle isn't the best place for sheer, flowy tops).

Verdict: PASS

Daniel Rainn Becky Abstract Houndstooth Sleeveless Blouse: $68




I LOVE houndstooth patterned items, but this top was a complete failure from top to bottom. (I guess I should note that I liked the color and kind of distressed style.) The top was too tight in the arms/shoulders, making the shirt wayyyy too tight across the chest and pull right across my boobs. Then, it flared out at the bottom, making me look pregnant. I have stated before in previous reviews to avoid shirts that flare out at the bottom. Because I have such large shoulders and arms, anything that emphasizes that feature is NOT flattering. Lastly, it was that damn hi-lo style again! Am I the only person who doesn't want to hide my butt, or is it because I don't wear leggings with these tops and I don't need to cover up my sheer leggings with my top?? I will be updating my style profile to say NO hi-lo tops. I already have this in my style profile to remind my stylist about my larger upper body:

"No joke, I have broad shoulders, muscular arms, and a full rack of ribs. 
Beware of shirts that are tight in this region that don't have any stretch!"

I don't know what it'll take for them to listen. Just say NO to hi-lo tops, kids. And say no to acid-washed, high-waisted jeans and shorts while we're at it (anybody else disgusted by this throwback trend going on right now??). Anyways, moving on..

VERDICT: Hell nahh

En Creme Saffron Striped Beach Cover-Up Dress: $44





This was just ok. The fit was kind of boxy, and the material was super thin. It didn't feel like it would hold up past one summer season. I did like the drawstring, though.. And, I have this amazing AND flattering swim/cover-up dress from Athleta that just killed this one (picture down below), so I couldn't justify another swim dress purchase, especially when it was so inferior to the one I already have.



Verdict: PASS

Gilli Kamile Jersey Ruched Detail Dress: $64



Love Carter's naked photo bomb. That ended the photo session right there.
I really liked the fit on this dress and the option to dress it up or down. However, the army green color kind of changes, depending on the light. Graham thought it was a poopy brown. Also, it was really thin and felt cheap-o and something you could get at Target on clearance (I'm assuming that, as that's not somewhere I really shop for clothes). This dress's quality was not nice enough for $64. But, I was looking for a dress for a friend's wedding, and something light for Hawaii, so this one fit the bill. Plus, I didn't want to lose my $20 styling fee.

Verdict: KEEP

Bay to Baubles Quincy Fringe Collar Necklace: $36




When I looked at this in the box, I wasn't very impressed. It looked like a plain silver necklace. However, it looked really nice when I tried it on with the dress. I was considering buying it, but my car got broken into and I was thinking about replacing my Bluetooth for about the same cost as this necklace. So, I sent it back.

Verdict: PASS

Summary: So, this box was a little disappointing. I had a different stylist this time, so maybe that was it. They did listen to my request for some Hawaii and vacation items, but the fit of the clothing was mostly terrible. I do have an abnormal body type, though, so I can't hate on them for that. I know it's hard to find clothes for my large, broad shoulders and chest, straight waist, and smaller hips with an altogether athletic body frame. I must note that the quality of the clothes doesn't always match the price. I know they do have to make a profit somehow, but I feel like I can get much more tailored and higher quality clothes on sale at Banana Republic or Ann Taylor. It is exciting to get this package in the mail, but I don't know if I'll honestly continue doing it. Maybe I'll try it again if I'm looking for something special. If you are interested in trying this service out, please use my referral code.

Here are my previous Stitch Fix reviews:

And, to remind myself that I truly haven't gained 20 pounds, here's a recent selfie

Much better.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

One of those days..

So, today was just one of those days.. Ugh.

I realized on the way home from work today that my car was "broken into" (i.e. Graham left the doors unlocked) last night. My Bluetooth connector and my CD's were stolen, and some random things like my YMCA daycare punchcard.

Then, I stubbed my toe on Graham's weight set when I was trying to take pictures of my Stitch Fix clothes. Hard. Ouch.

And, the pictures did NOT turn out well. I'm debating whether or not to even post them because they are so hideous and I don't look good in them. I ended up ditching my timed DSLR camera for bathroom selfies on my iPhone. Yikes.

So anyways, I'm kind of in a funk today/tonight, so I don't know when I'll next post about whatever I've been up to.

And yes, I survived my camping trip!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Camping

So, we are going camping this week for the first time in over 4 hours. Last time we went, I was pregnant, it rained, and drunk people kept us up all night. It was not fun. I am a bit apprehensive because let's face it, I'm kind of an indoorsy person. I don't like being dirty, I don't like public showers, and I don't like wildlife.

We are going to a campground near Bend, Oregon. It's near a lake and stuff, so we should be playing in the water a lot. We are also planning on floating the Deschutes River around Bend, something I've been wanting to do since my family first visited Bend in 2005. Here's a picture of it, courtesy of Sun Country Tours.



Anyways, I am not really excited to camp, but I am excited to have days off work. Hallelujah. I have literally gone into work 16 days in a row. I am DONE with this place! So, I won't be back until Sunday, so hold on tight until then.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Journal update

So, I spent ALL of Friday night typing up old journal entries that I thought were funny or interesting enough to put on future blogs. I was at the computer for over four hours typing this crap up. Hopefully, it'll be worth it! Some of the categories I'm thinking about writing about include the following:

  • Flirting
  • Attracting the opposite sex
  • Self-reflection
  • Marriage
  • What I want in a guy
  • Personality traits
  • "Positive" self-talk
  • Physical intimacy (this one is a little sketchy.. I've had to edit and cut a lot of things out)
  • First date(s) and first kiss
Is there anything else I should include? Any topics that you guys would like to hear about? First love? Spiritual stuff? College stuff?


So, I also did a trial run of a vlog of a journal entry about a date I had, just to see how it'd turn out, even though I didn't shower this morning and I'm dressed in junk clothes.

This pretty much illustrates it:


And, if you don't know me very well, you wouldn't know I have a very expressive face. I was cracking up watching myself talk because I pull some weird facial expressions.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mortifying Myself

So, like I said, I might do a regular installment on my blog with some excerpts from my old journal entries.

I can't find my journal from elementary school and junior high, so these journal entries start in 9th grade when I was 15 years old. This was in January 1998. And honestly, if you read my journal from high school, you would have NO idea what kind of person I was. I was an honors student, a cheerleader, active church goer, sister, youth cheerleading coach, and good friend. Would you know any of that by reading these journal entries about endless names of boys, boys, and more boys? No. Ugh. So, here is 15 year-old me in all my teenage awkwardness. As my friend Hila said, this is wonderful, cringe-inducing awesomeness.

Here's not a bad picture of me from freshman year with my date and ex "boyfriend", Jack. I am almost 15 in this picture.



I'm going to start out with an entry about my freshman year crush named Ben. He was a tall boy that played basketball that was in my geometry class. He might have thought I was cute, but we definitely did not go on a date or out together at any point in time. Although, as I recollect our relationship, he was one of the boys who called me Mrs. Ed and wrote about my teeth in my senior yearbook. This is taken word for word, just to show you my thought process as a teen girl.

"Well, Ben is still my boyfriend.. and I love him as much as ever. Everyone on the internet loves me, so why can't Ben? We're good enough friends, we know each other, I'm not ugly, etc... I guess some things are just not meant to be. That sux in my case. I really love Ben, zits and all. He is so cute when I look at him. When other people look at him, they probably just see a big, nice, friendly guy. That's how I used to see him. Now, I see the real him: GREAT personality, cute, sweet, everything I have wanted in a guy. I think he is one of the most perfect boyfriends you could have, and he even won't try to take advantage of you. Cool! He's my kinda guy. Well, I've been thinking: I wanna get married to Eric (not ___) b-cuz he is so nice and cute! Well, gottsta go. C-ya."

The reason why I took this one word for word is to show you how shallow my entries are, and just how quickly I went from Ben to Eric (who I don't even remember) in the same entry. Also, see my online speak, such as b-cuz, gottsta, and c-ya. And can we also call attention to the comment about the people on the internet? This was in the time of AOL and Instant Messenger, and I had online "friends". In fact, I talked to many of the guys I mention on my journal on AIM.

Next up on my Mortifying Myself section: learning if I was actually attractive to the opposite sex or not.

"I don't like being sweet 16 and never been kissed! So come to me Brian!"


Friday, August 8, 2014

Natural Disposition

Get ready for one random blog post. Graham has now started working double shifts on Fridays, which means he works from 3 PM - 8 AM. It is nice for us because he is now practically full-time, but is only gone 4 nights a week. But it also means that I'm alone all Friday nights with things to ponder (total flashback to Zoolander here).. And so, I've felt particularly inspired to blog tonight. Yes, I know not many people really follow my blogs with much anticipation, but I still really like to write about my thoughts, feelings, and my normal life activities. It provides a nice outlet. However, I won't be writing too long tonight because I just started a new book (The Giver, if you're interested).

Speaking of providing an outlet for expression, has anybody heard of the documentary and movement called "Mortified Nation"? It's where people stand up in front of strangers and read old journal entries from their childhood. Now I have some pretty embarrassing journal entries from childhood and my teen years. This documentary inspired me to read some of my old journals. Should I post some excerpts of previous journal entries? What do you think? Do you think it'd be fun to read?

Anyways, I felt inspired to write tonight after mine and Carter's visit to the park tonight. This is an interesting park because there's a diverse socioeconomic population of children and families that play at the park. So, there's some pretty good people watching going on there. For example, there was a group of goth teens, a political fundraiser with elderly people, and a couple of young families. There was a single dad there with his two boys. The younger boy was maybe 4 or 5 years old, and was sitting in one of the swings that is for babies and young kids. He was stuck and no one was pushing him, so he kept repeating, "shit shit shit". I was dying inside, trying not to crack up, and a little glad that it wasn't my kid cursing like a sailor at the park. Anyways, there was a little 2 or 3 year old kid just crying at the side of the park. Carter took notice, and approached him a couple of times to see if he was ok. I was honestly so proud inside of my little, empathetic, observant boy. I got a little teary-eyed just thinking about my sweet boy. He was the only kid at the park who noticed this sad little boy, and tried to help him. It was just a natural instinct in him.

This got me thinking about Carter's natural disposition. Since birth, he has a been a fairly easygoing child with a sweet disposition. Every where Carter goes, people always tell me what an awesome, well-behaved, mild-mannered child he is. I tell them that he's just naturally this way. He is cautious, kind of like me, and empathetic and sweet, like Graham. He apparently helps others without being asked, which is like both of us. How much of what characteristics does he have that are inborn versus learned behaviors? Are children born to be a certain way, and as parents, we just need to do our best to not screw them up? I am unbelievably lucky to be Carter's mom, and I think of it every day. Sometimes I am just inexplicably filled with joy and gratitude when I just look at him or when he says something adorable (which is often). It's always nice to get reminders of how blessed I am.

I am in very dangerous territory right now. I am looking at old family pictures on the computer, and I'm getting more baby hungry by the moment. Can we take just a second to appreciate these photos while I go cry myself to sleep because my baby boy is way too grown up??



I only posted this one because it's a reminder of how far I've come with weight loss. This is obviously before I lost any weight. Yikes!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Challenges

No, this is not a serious post.. I just wanted to write about my self-imposed nutrition challenges this month. This may be a little boring for some of you, but for women who like dessert and struggle with self-control, you'll know what I mean. This was inspired by some minor weight gain I've had recently. I've probably gained about 3-5 pounds back in the past 3 months. Ugh. That's not very much, but on my 5'2.5" frame, it is! I could feel it in my stomach and lower abdomen the most. I was seriously hating my life, feeling like a stuffed sausage in some of my pants. Not happy. So, after I reflected on my diet, I realized I'd been eating wayyyy too much dessert lately. Normally I never buy ice cream because I lack self-control around it. I can eat two giant bowls of the good stuff (Tillamook ice cream is the bomb--PS has that saying really gone out of style?, because I refuse to say something like "epic"), and not even bat an eye.

Anyways, Graham and I decided to do a "no dessert" week last week, and then end it with a milkshake from a great burger and shake place. I stuck to it pretty hard core, but I still allowed myself a daily candy I get from pharmacists' offices at work. It seemed to be pretty easy for both of us, until I asked Graham how he was doing. His response was, "Huh, I thought you meant only at home!" He was eating 3-7 cookies and/or brownies every night at work. Yikes. Anyways, I resisted eating even homemade zucchini chocolate bread because it was too dessert-like. Drinking that milkshake Saturday night definitely made it all worth it!

Then, as I snacked on a sugary Chex Mix on Sunday, I decided to try no added sugar this week. I won't be avoiding bread, even though it often does have added sugar, but I plan to avoid most other things, including peanut butter and my Kashi cereal. We will see how I do. I am kind of dying right now because I'm bored at home with Carter in the evening. There is no such thing as a sugar free frozen treat (ok, maybe there is, but I think it's cheating), other than like frozen fruit, frozen broccoli, or just plain ice. So, I'm probably overdosing on diet soda to prevent myself from eating anything more.

I realize that this probably isn't going to be life changing, or be equivalent to a self-imposed challenge like running a marathon (which I will never do anyways), but I just thought it'd be a fun experiment for a Dietitian like me.

Oh, and something exciting. I found $12 shorts on clearance at LOFT for my Hawaii trip (it's funny how uncomfortable I feel in shorter shorts now). AND, I signed up to do another Stitch Fix before my trip, with the request of some pieces for the trip. I'm pretty excited! I just hope it's not a bust, because the first time I signed up, I asked for some things to my trip to San Diego last year, and I ended up with this. Yikes. Anyways, I will post about that next month when I get my Stitch Fix package. Have you guys tried it yet? It really is a fun experience! If not, try this referral code.

Oh, and I apologize for the lack of pictures on most of my posts. If you look at the Instagram feed on the right, you can see what we've been up to.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Otherwise known as... My Unglamorous Life

I wanted to blog tonight about something, but I couldn't really think of exactly what I wanted to talk about. My blog is kind of all over the place, anyways, as I talk about widely varied topics such as my crazy but boring life, makeup and beauty, and nutrition and fitness. Graham is working until midnight tonight, so I have the house all to myself (kinda) until then. Carter is asleep and I have a lovely can of Diet Pepsi at my side.

It has been a looooooooong week. Our hospital just adopted a new electronic medical record system (EPIC, if any of you readers work in health care) on Sunday, so I worked a full week last week, I was on-call last Saturday, and I just worked 50+ hours this last week from Sunday through today. Stick a freaking fork in me. I'm done. I'm still getting used to the new system and getting a more efficient work flow. The biggest problem was that the analysts only gave us access in the system to look at diet orders and allergies, like we were kitchen workers (which, I'm sure, most people think that's what Registered Dietitians do anyways). This was a problem for TWO FULL DAYS at work. So, I got paid for two days in which I didn't do any real work. If any of you follow me on Instagram, you'd have noticed I did a Barre3 workout in my office on Monday. My co-worker was cracking up the entire time while I was doing lunges, squats, and arabesques in our tiny sardine can-sized office. We also watched the movie Memento on Netflix while they fixed the problem.

Sigh. I was on the phone with my mom on Wednesday night, in which I mentioned that we hoped Graham's car would last us another six months so we could buy a new car then. And guess what call I received an hour later? Graham's car died on the freeway. His car is an old, beat up Honda Civic with multiple dents, a taped up window, and rimless tires. I'd put up a picture of this POS, but I don't want all of you to get jealous of what an amazing and glamorous car I get to ride in. Anyways, we had to jump it twice for it to make it another mile to a friend's house. The car is only worth maybe $300 to a junk yard, and the repairs would be $250, so we don't think it'd be worth it to invest more in the POS. So, we are car shopping tomorrow. We need a dependable sedan with good gas mileage that's affordable. We don't have a real plan, other than considering a possible lease with Nissan or Chevy. We will see. I'm not excited because I was more excited to pay off debt--not incur more!

Speaking of my sexy and glamorous life, my co-worker and I had a good conversation today about what real life is and how people can ruin it with their big expectations of what they think their lives will be like. We were talking about the show "Say Yes to the Dress" on TLC, where women spend $5000+ on wedding dresses for one day. We were specifically talking about the women who go in for a $3000 dress but end up trying on a dress over $10000, love the expensive dress, and somehow talk their family into buying it for them. I just think that's setting them up for disappointment of what life is really going to be like, especially marriage. I kinda grew up thinking once I got married, trials wouldn't be as hard. What a joke. Marriage and life are not fairy tales in which everything you wish comes true. Sure, I'm a little jaded and cynical, but I consider myself to be a bit more realistic than anything. A true marriage is not glamorous. It is coming home to the same person every day, dealing with little annoying and mundane things like honey, why the hell can you not leave your shaving cream and eye drops on your side of the sink?, and of course, the big, glaring problems that I've gone through. If you think your husband is always going to treat you like the princess you think you are, then you have some serious growing up to do.

This also made me think of my sister's friend who flew to Hawaii from California for the weekend just to be proposed to. I was like, seriously?? As if getting engaged isn't exciting and wonderful enough, you have to be in Hawaii for a day or two just to pop the question?? I said, the rest of her life is just going to be a disappointment if this is what she thinks her life is going to be like. What is her first childbirth going to be like? Is she going to pull a Jessica Simpson and request a renovation and special room in the hospital for herself, surrounded only by the most beautiful flowers in a spa-like setting? Will her child only drink the finest breast milk? (Sorry, I had to quote Chappelle Show.) Every event in life will not be amazing. If you think life will be this way, you really will be unsatisfied. I cannot emphasize this enough.

If I thought this way, my life would be extremely unfulfilling right now. I mean, honestly, my life is pretty dang boring and kind of sucks sometimes. I see my husband when I'm awake for about 10 minutes a day. I have six hours of toddler time, in which we build LEGO's, read Pete the Cat books incessantly, and play with trains or construction trucks. I make dinner every night, for which I am never thanked by my child. I practically have to bribe him every night just to eat the food that he doesn't appreciate. I get maybe six hours of sleep because I get up at 4:55 AM every day, but if I want to talk to my husband at all, Graham gets home at 10:35 PM every night. Ugh. I am truly exhausted as I type this. Anyways, I am happy with my life, because I don't expect my life to be amazing, glamorous, or even fun all the time. As I've been reading, life is often full of suffering, and I've come to embrace that.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

FabFitFun Summer 2014 Review + $15 Coupon Code

So I've tried only two subscription boxes before: Birchbox and StitchFix (see my old reviews here). I've seen other lifestyle boxes before, like Wantables, PopSugar Must Have, Fancy Box, etc, so I wanted to try one out. You can almost always find coupon codes online, making these pretty affordable (Birchbox is only $8-10/month, depending on your coupon). You can try new stuff and feel like you're getting a present in the mail. I love that!

Anyways, I decided to try FabFitFun VIP out. It's a quarterly box, meaning you receive a new box every season. If you get a coupon code, it makes the box about $35, which is less than $12/month. You receive full-sized items in the fitness, beauty, and lifestyle arena.

Spoiler Alert: 

This is what I received this month (here's a link with a list of all the received items):

They say this box is valued at over $225, but that all depends on how you, as the consumer, would value these items. For example, the Thursday Friday canvas clutch is valued at $35, but I honestly wouldn't buy it at all. I don't know who I'd even give this to, other than my 12 year-old niece. Who wants a clutch with a picture of a cuter purse on it?! Anyways, this is now my new bag for makeup samples I haven't used yet (i.e. it's hidden away in my bathroom where nobody can see it). UPDATE: Someone on Instagram saw my picture and wanted to buy my bag. Score! She paid $10 minus shipping, so that made my box even more worthit!

The big ticket items were the clutch (which, I'm sorry, is kind of fugly), a flash facial exfoliator, and a moisturizer with 30 SPF. I was really excited about the exfoliator, which is reported to have $95 value (again, there is no way I would pay that for anything beauty-related). I tried it last night--I didn't really notice a huge difference, but then again, my face isn't as dry as it normally is. I'm sure this will do good for my skin in the winter. I used the moisturizer this morning. It's nice to have one with 30 SPF, but the consistency and smell of the formula reminded me of the normal Coppertone sunscreen lotion. Maybe it was just me thinking about the SPF.

The other smaller, un-sponsored items included nail polish, a water infuser bottle, popchips, and hair oil. The nail polish color is kind of a orange, pinky-red, so it'll be fun for summer. I'm going to use the water bottle today at work, and I used the hair oil this morning. We'll see if it does anything for my frizz. I ate the popchips last night. I've eaten them a couple of times at work. Meh, nothing special.

Also, there's flavored chapstick with complementary flavors (I received lemonade and strawberry) called KissTix. I would be excited about that if I were like 10 years-old. I made my husband try them last night and he was like, what the hell are you doing? He was obviously less than thrilled about it, although he was a little disappointed to find out I was kissing him just to try out the chapstick.

The big stink about this box is the presence of three sponsored items: pantyliners, shaving cream, and a slimfast bar. They do this to cover some costs of the box, so I understand that, but really.. pantyliners?! There is nothing fab fit or fun about pantyliners (or shaving cream for that matter)! If I don't want to use these items, however, I'll just donate them to a women's shelter. I ate the slimfast bar this morning. I used to eat the chocolate ones, and yuck.. I can't believe I used to do that. They are so chemical tasting. The birthday cake flavor I received was definitely different than the old chocolate one I used to eat, but no, I would not purchase it again.

My overall feelings: I am a little underwhelmed by this box. I think I will definitely use the big items and it was worth the $40 I spent on it. However, I feel like the big ticket items were over-valued. Also, there was nothing summer-related in here. It could have been a box for any season! Also, I think a water infuser bottle as a fitness item is kind of lame. In the past, they (and other boxes) have included videos or online subscriptions to workout videos. I may try this box subscription again if I get a good coupon code for the fall. If they fail again, I am out.

If you are interested in trying this out, use the coupon code 3475994 at FabFitFun's website. This coupon gives you $15 off, and gives me a referral credit as well.

Just a reminder, I bought this with my own money. FabFitFun has no idea who I am. I just thought it'd be fun to blog about this.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Yeah, about that...

I am left alone for the weekend again. Carter and Graham went down to Portland for his brother's baby blessing this morning, but I had to work today and tomorrow. So, I'm bored and watching Hulu all by myself tonight, and I felt inspired to blog.

I guess I feel like I don't really have much to blog about, just some random things. So, I'll do one of my old-fashioned mind dumps.

1) We just got back from a road trip to my hometown in California. It's about 800 miles to my parent's house, so we drove through the night on the way there so Carter would sleep through the night.  We listened to an audiobook of Divergent on the way down while he slept. It worked out really well, but neither Graham nor I slept very well in the car. We were BEAT when we got to their house. Let's just say I slept very well the whole time we were there because I was making up for the lack of sleep. We didn't do anything big, we just played in the pool (my mom got Carter shark fin floaties--he loved them and swam all over the pool in them), played with cousins, and shopped a little bit (I found an awesome swim cover-up dress from Athleta). Can I just mention really quick how great Carter was? Seriously, this kid is such a blessing. He's so easygoing and mild-mannered, and yet adorable and hilarious. He was amazing on the drive home (he only slept for a little bit on the way). He had a little LeapFrog reader, some trucks, and some other random toys, but he mostly sat there in silence, looking at the window. He didn't complain and only had to go potty quickly once. I guess this means we can take more road trips if he's going to be so awesome!

2) Speaking of swim dresses.. Guess who's going to Hawaii in October?? We are! My parents have a timeshare on Oahu, and we are going for a full week with them and my sister. We are so excited. We haven't been on a real vacation since our honeymoon to Kauai in 2008. But now, Graham will probably have to work Thanksgiving in exchange for not working a full week in October.

3) I hosted a girl's night a couple of weeks ago with some friends. We were trying to think of ideas, including going shopping, hiking, eating at the Melting Pot, mani/pedis, etc, and I volunteered to host a fondue night to save money. Not thinking it all the way through, I chose to make a traditional Swiss fondue (with a white wine base). I only realized this mistake when the ladies asked me for the recipe. Number one ooops: I didn't ask if they'd be ok with having white wine base (we're all Mormon and don't drink alcohol). The cheese fondues at Melting Pot all have an alcoholic beverage in it, so I didn't think anything of it. Number two ooops: one of my friends is pregnant and shouldn't consume alcohol (the alcohol doesn't all cook out, sorry). Yeah, I felt like an idiot...

4) I am really loving my barre-style workouts right now. I downloaded the Barre3 app on my phone for like $5, and they have free 10-minute workout videos available on the app. I've been picking and choosing different little sections for do a 60-70 minute workout, and it's been nice to kind of switch up the routine a little bit.

5) Work is going to be kind of crazy this summer. First of all,one of my co-workers is getting married and got another job in Seattle. Friday was her last day. Ordinarily, it wouldn't be too terrible, but my other co-worker is on vacation this next week. So, I will be working by myself for 4 days next week. Super excited. Plus, our hospital is getting a new electronic medical record system in like 3 weeks. so, double suck. Short staffed and new system=recipe for disaster. But, the silver lining is that I don't have to work any more weekends this summer unless I get called in. Woohoo!

6) Some newer beauty products I've tried is a men's shaving cream from Sephora and a body wash gel from LUSH. The shaving cream is the bomb. I mean seriously, Graham's face stays soft for 2 days when he uses it, when normally his beard is all scratchy by the end of day 1. So, I had to try it myself, and it works wonders on me too! This means less shaving, softer skin, and less overall product used. The body wash I got is in a citrus scent and it really helps wake me up and feel fresh in the morning. I would highly recommend it, but my favorite one is still Foam Call wash from Sephora. That one is my favorite scent ever and I feel like it's really moisturizing.

7) My mom totally spoiled me when I visited her. She surprised me with eyelash extensions! They're a little more fragile than the ones I got for my 30th birthday, but they're lovely. I'll have to take a picture and post it on Instagram.

8) Carter's personality is really like a mini-me. He's kind of a contrarian sometimes and likes to argue just to go against the flow. For example, I would not wear flip flops in high school because everybody else did, and everyone wore the ones from Old Navy. I think I got a pair from J.Crew literally the week after I graduated. Anyways, my mom was talking to Carter about making good choices in life and to CTR ("choose the right" she explained), when he responded with "No, I C-L. I Choose the Left." He really is clever, that one.

Anyways, we don't have anything really planned over the next month, so who knows what the heck I'll blog about. I mean, I shouldn't complain about my life not being eventful. I've definitely had enough fodder over the past year to keep my blog entries plentiful.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Fitness Progress

So, I blogged about my new plan for fitness starting in the end of February. My plan was to do advanced Bar Method DVD's 3 times per week, along with 2-3 sessions of other workouts (I do RIPPED workouts at the local Y). I really wanted to see if I could sculpt my body like Bar Method claims it can.

It hasn't been easy to commit to this workout plan for the past 3 months, due to changes in schedule, family visits, out of town weekends, etc, but I completed my number one goal: do the Bar Method workouts at least three times per week. I had some major bumps along the way. I got a new birth control method that gave me severe headaches for a week. So bad that I actually cried through my workouts because the pain at my temples was so terrible. Then, I was severely dizzy for the next 3 weeks. I tried to fight through it, mostly working out like I planned, but my intensity wasn't there. So, I stopped the birth control and I'm mostly back to normal, but I've lost some progress from not being able to work out as hard.

Also, my nutrition has kind of sucked. I've been addicted to sugar, requiring dessert almost every day. The dizziness made me lay on the couch and eat way too much. So, my waist line has hardly improved.. There was some initial improvement after 2 months, but not so much this last month. I did take before pictures, but I'll wait to post them after 6 months or something because I'm just not feeling it right now.

However, I have noticed a lot of positive improvements:
--My muscle tone and shape.. my thighs, hips, and arms have never felt so good. I'm kind of obsessed. My booty is totally lifted. My triceps are tight and muscular. My legs are actually shapely (not that they were a big problem before). Some of these improvements won't show so much on the camera, but I feel them for sure. One problem is that I definitely still have some meat on my bones, especially in the shoulder and rib cage area.. so muscle definition is not quite there.
--Fitness improvement. My push-up ability has vastly improved. Doing slow push-ups eliminates momentum, so it's all you and your muscles. I can actually do tricep push-ups now too!
--More focus on my posture. I shrug my shoulders really bad, and it causes some major knots in my shoulders, so this should help after a long time of practice.
--Feeling more feminine. I love the shape my muscles are taking. It's not manly to be lean and toned.. I like to look graceful!
--Confidence. Because of some of the changes in my body, I'm feeling more confident about myself.

Anyways, I am a believer in this workout method! I did try a couple of other barre-style workouts as well: Physique57 and Barre3. P57 was intense, but I didn't think it had enough stretching. Barre3 was kind of a sneaky one because I didn't think it was very intense while I was doing it (although it did make me sweat), but I was definitely sore afterwards. All 3 of these workouts have online videos, so check them out if you're interested! One negative I do find is that some of my pants are a little tighter in the legs and the booty than they used to be, so I'll have to find a cut that fits me better now. But, if I have to sacrifice some of my old jeans for a new, lifted butt, I'll do it..

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Loneliness

So, it's been interesting dealing with the side effects from having an opposite schedule than Graham. We still sleep in the same bed from 10:30 PM-5:00 AM, with a very brief chat when he gets home, and a brief one when he drops Carter off at my work at 2:30 PM. We have weekends together sometimes when I'm not working and Wednesday evenings, but it's been difficult to not have someone to come home to. I'm not much of a talker, but now that I don't have it, I realize what I'm missing.

Usually, I have friends at work to kind of curb the loneliness, but that hasn't been available lately. As I've mentioned before, I had some drama at work earlier this year. It had nothing to do with my job, but more like a friend from work. She and I had a major falling out, and now she and her husband can't even hardly look at me in the eye. I was friends with both of them and enjoyed talking with them at work, and now I've lost two friends. It's been almost 6 months, and only today did it really hit me how much it has affected me to lose friends, especially ones that helped me through hard times. I've been angry and sad about it, and I can't do anything more to make it better.

I'm not a phone talker, so that doesn't really make me feel better. I used to kill the loneliness with shopping, but I've really been cutting back on that a lot. So now, I'm fully feeling my emotions more than ever. I guess I just have to learn to deal with it like an adult..

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why I stayed..

Sometimes, I wonder why I am where I am in life... Why have my decisions led me to this current place (literal and figurative)? Is this just for my personal growth or is it all coincidental or consequential?

I didn't really give much background into why we made some alterations in our life plans, but some of it was related to things that happened last summer, and some stuff from like 4 or 5 years ago. Obviously, not stuff I'm going to share, but anyways.. When I think about some things that my husband did, I honestly want to wring his neck. It's so frustrating to be so mad at your spouse for things that have happened a long time ago, and not get adequate resolution about the old problems. I have forgiven him for many things, but man oh man, some of these things make me want to slap him silly...And just to clarify, I do not advocate domestic abuse (even in jest). I've made some mistakes where I've felt the same way about myself.

But, I continue to love him and stay with him. Even he asks me why I do.. why I continue to accept his faults and love him through all of these problems. When this issue came up back in 2009, he was very depressed, and I wrote him a letter that he kept in his wallet. It detailed all of the reasons why I loved him. He still has it, apparently. He also did the same for me for Mother's Day last year after this all went down, and I keep it at home.

So, to be a little sappy, and to remind myself and my followers of why I'm still married (and happily so), I'm writing a list of why I love my husband (I'll try to keep this appropriate, *wink wink*):


  • He honestly makes me laugh. Every day. He's silly, he's clever, he's a little sarcastic but sometimes cheesy.. I love it. His sense of humor perfectly complements mine.
  • He takes me seriously. He's not one of these men who shakes their head bemusedly about their "crazy wife". He tries to understand what I'm feeling.
  • He does the dishes every day without complaint.
  • I love the way he tells me every day that he loves me. That I'm attractive. That I'm enough..
  • He's such a great dad. Honestly. He gets down and plays with Carter. Carter absolutely adores him. I love seeing Graham as a father, and seeing him lead our family. I could go on and on about this, but I won't.
  • He's very supportive with my activities and hobbies.
  • He kisses me on the neck romantically.
  • He loves me even with all my faults and mistakes. I have never doubted how much he loves me.
  • He allows me to be myself. There have only been a few people with whom I've truly been 100% myself, and he's one of them.
  • He wakes up and gets out of bed every morning just to turn my car on and get it warm before I get in the car.
  • I love him for the man he is and the man he can be. I can't just love him for the best he can be--I also need to love him even through his worst times.
  • He doesn't mind me teasing him (or annoying him, depending on the day).
  • He's very personable and friendly.
  • He's like the only person that I know that I can be with 24/7 and never get sick of him.
  • He gets me. He understands my point of view. 
  • I love that he is actually creative, partly because I don't have a creative bone in my body. Not only can he tell crazy spontaneous stories to Carter, but he also composes his own music. One of my favorite things to do is lay down and listen to him play his own re-mixes and original music on the piano.
Anyways, I love him more than anything.. I want to make things work because he is my wonderful, loving husband, and couldn't imagine life without him now.



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

One Full Year

It has been one full year since Graham and I separated, and life has kind of come around full circle.

It's been interesting going through my old blogs during the hardest time of my life. I'm sure some people thought I was crazy blogging about such personal events, but it was really therapeutic and it has a good reminder of the hell I've been through.. the tears, the disappointment, fear, jealousy.. you name it.. I felt it.

I remember going through the first few months of our separation, I was set on divorce as practically the only option. I had a date set in my mind: May 2014.. The time that it'd be official. This was also the date that Graham would've initially graduated from college, so it was symbolic in a way. But then, as the months went on, my thoughts and feelings changed about my options and future. I mean, I committed to this guy for eternity, right.. through thick and thin, better and worse.. no matter how fundamentally flawed he is.

But something I've come to realize myself is that I'm just as flawed as he is.. just in different ways. I can't expect perfection from him when I can't do the same. Just because someone's sins and imperfections are more obvious than someone else's doesn't make them a worse person. Anxiety and depression are very real to me. Just because I don't suffer from a mental illness doesn't mean I can't try to understand my husband better, and at least try to relate to him.

Anyways, Graham has been back for almost five months now.. And although there have been some major bumps along the way, there has been much joy as well. Anxiety (for both of us)--yes. Fear--yes. Frustration--yes. Happiness--yes. It honestly makes me cry to think of our family apart.. how close we almost came to losing everything. There is such a huge difference in Carter's countenance when we are all together, especially since we flip-flop Carter during the days and evenings. He is so much happier.

Even though things can be hard sometimes, we can always find joy and happiness in our struggles. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. Every pain, every fear, every trial, every weakness.. can be made better through Him. When people ask me how I got through this, I honestly have no idea. I'm pretty sure the only way I was able to get through last year is because He carried me along the way. For those of you that don't have the same beliefs as me, you know what power and strength it gives you to have faith in a higher power.. to know that there's a greater purpose.. and to know that there's someone who cares about me more than I could imagine.

So yeah, it has been quite the eventful year. I've gained friends, lost friends, joined a gym, learned more about myself, gone on vacation with a toddler solo multiple times on a plane, and gained a greater appreciation for forgiveness and marriage. Can't say I'd like to re-live this year ever again.

And if you're not familiar with my saga: here are some of the links to previous blog posts.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Watch out ladies..

Carter's on the prowl!

So, Carter's favorite new movie is our wedding video. He loves watching it, and will even watch it more than once. I didn't think too much of it, until he started talking about getting married himself.

One of our friend's daughters (Cora) is a year older than Carter, and they've played together a couple of times over the past few years, but not a lot of times or anything.. But, apparently she's made quite the impact on him.

"When I get bigger, Cora and I are going to get married!"

"When we get bigger, Cora and I are going to kiss! She's going to dress up like a princess and we'll get married!"

I can't even tell you how long I laughed at the last statement. Seriously, so hilarious. So, that's what weddings are like to a three year-old, huh?

I texted my friend and warned her that her husband may have to get out his shotgun..  ;)


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Life... Ugh

I cannot believe I've somehow waited almost another month before blogging again. I swear, it doesn't feel like I wrote the last one THAT long ago. Time just kind of slips by, doesn't it?

Anyways, I've been meaning to do a family update for some time now. Carter is almost three and a half, and is seriously growing up way too fast. He says the funniest things, and is really the cutest little guy I know. He is very clever and witty, especially for a three year-old. He loves to run, play with trucks and trains, and is a total daddy's boy. Now, though, that we have 6-hour long stretches alone together at night, he has grown more attached to me. He is still pretty little (about 27 pounds, < 5th percentile), but he's finally picking up in height. He's finally wearing size 3T clothing, and even starting to grow out of those pants in height as well! He is a fairly obedient child, as long as we are being consistent in our parenting. If we set a timer for bedtime, nap time, etc, he will usually do it with no whining. His favorite time of the day is story time at bedtime, so if he doesn't want to brush his teeth, he is at risk of losing that.. so he almost never protests. He can sight-read a couple of simple words (mom, dad, dog, etc), and knows all of his letters and sounds. He is very playful, and likes to tease. He often says "I'm just messing with you.." (Obviously, something that is said very often in our house.) He's not very athletic, much to our disappointment and surprise. Graham and I are both fairly athletic and competitive people, so we'd hoped our kids would be the same. However, Carter CAN hit a ball from a tee, but he runs slow (he runs a LOT, just slow). Maybe it's because he's so small. Either way, Graham is thinking of ways to try to make him more athletic.

Let me give you an example of how clever he is:
Graham: "Carter, get your feet off that plate!"
Carter: "Ok!"
He takes his feet off the plate, but puts his left foot back on the plate.
Graham: "Carter, I told you to get your feet off the plate!"
Carter: "My FEET aren't on the plate. My FOOT is on the plate!"

Another:
Carter: "Daddy, don't do that! Don't put that there!"
Graham: "Carter, you can't tell me what to do."
Carter: "I'm not telling you what to do.. I'm telling you what NOT to do."

So anyways, Graham has been working in the evenings from 3-10 PM, 4 days a week. This means he drops Carter off at my work at 2:30PM, and I take him home for the rest of the night. I work at 6 AM almost every day now, which sucks, but it's something I have to do for my family. Carter was going to daycare for 2.5 hours 4 days a week, and full-time for one day a week. This means I am a single mom most nights of the week, which sucks. When Graham and I were separated, I dealt with this by going to the gym almost every night. Now that I've changed my workout schedule and have gone back to working out at home 3 nights a week, I've had to deal with this "single parent" situation a lot more. I can't say it's fun. I totally admire single parents. It has been super hard for me.

And, if you noticed, I said Carter WAS in daycare. And now, as of today.. he no longer is.

What is the change, you ask..

Well, we've made a very difficult life decision. If any of you faithful readers remember, Graham and I found out that that he'd have to be in school for at least three more years from last August to finish his bachelors degree in Engineering. At that time, we had a very lengthy discussion about if it was going to be worth it to continue on. I told him I'd be supportive in whatever he chose. I suggested thinking about a different path, perhaps a trade school or something, but Graham said he wanted to continue moving forward. But now, we've finally come to the decision that Graham is going to change his course and stop pursuing a bachelors degree in engineering. It's not that he's not smart enough to do it.. it's just not the right fit for what he needs. He will continue working at his evening job until he gets accepted into a program that meets his needs. There's a naval shipyard in our area that is hiring hundreds of "helper" and apprentice jobs that will be trained and educated in a certain trade and shop, whether it's as a welder, machinist, etc. There's no hurry right now, but he's applying for positions this week.

So, Graham will be home with Carter during the day, and work in the evening. I will work during the day and Carter will be home with me in the evening. I have felt for a long time that this would be a better position for him.. working in a shop, with his hands.. We just continued along the BS in Engineering route because that's what I thought he needed as a man to feel good about himself. But, since school isn't the right fit for him, I think a career that is fulfilling that pays adequately (no, we're not talking about 100K jobs here) will be enough. Yes, I will probably work for the rest of my life.. and that's ok. I'm educated and I like my job enough to keep doing it. And no, we will probably not have a big family. I'm getting old, and we can't afford another one for a while.

It's been an extremely emotional day or so, and we've let our parents know what's going on. It's been disappointing, relieving, exciting, stressful.. many many emotions.. We've cried way more than we should. Again, it's our lives, and some of you may think our decisions may not be right (and we've heard and thought both ways), but we are moving on. Whew. I'm still emotional as I type this.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Insecurities

All right, so I've been putting off this blog for a while.. Not because I've been too busy, but because I've been thinking about how I want to word this blog. I've also been exhausted from work (this flu season has been CRAZY at the hospital). So, I apologize for the lapse of time between my last blog and this one.

Graham and I were talking about our insecurities recently, and that many of our lives' problems stem from these. Graham's main one is that he wants people to think he's a good guy, and that he wants people to think only good things about him.

My insecurities are that I'm not enough.

I'm not thin enough
I'm not pretty enough
I'm not smart enough

Part of this comes from my parents' obsession with weight growing up (sorry mom). My mom and dad often focused on losing weight, being healthy, and eating healthy food when I was young, and even now. I can't blame this on my parents though, although this obsession with weight and health did contribute partly to my insecurity about myself. I was always self-conscious about the way I am or the way I look, even when I was young. If you read my journal from early on, I was always focused on which boys liked me, didn't like me, or how few friends I had. I was one of the smart kids in class, and one of my journal entries when I was only 12 years old focused on the fact that nobody called me unless it was a question about homework. I was overly concerned about my appearance, whether or not it was regarding my social status or my looks.

I was obsessed about boys even from an early age, and I even had a few "boyfriends" in elementary school. However, in junior high, the awkward social times and awkward looks hit. I had braces, a long face, and lots of freckles. I liken my junior high face to Butthead (as in Beavis and Butthead). I had a huge crush on a boy in junior high, who didn't even know I was alive until someone told him that I had a crush on him. When a girl from church asked him if he liked me, he replied, "hell no!". And, that's when my complete and utter insecurity about my attractiveness to the opposite sex began. When I got my braces off in 8th grade, I immediately felt more pretty, but some boys in my classes (including one I had a crush on) started calling me "Mrs. Ed" (as in Mr. Ed, the HORSE), and saying "it's all in the teeth" (meaning I had big teeth and a long horse-face). Man, this is all sounding extremely terrible when explained all at once. The "Mrs. Ed" and "it's all in the teeth" comments continued periodically throughout high school. In fact, one of the boys actually wrote it in my senior year high school yearbook. Even though I was a cheerleader, I wasn't popular, but I had my own group of friends. I was in all of the honors and AP classes, and I participated in weekly church activities, but I never really felt like I fit in anywhere. I had a boyfriend my junior year of high school, but that was the only year where I actually got asked to a dance.

So, from all of these years (very formative years, mind you) of insecurity, I still have issues about being attractive to the opposite sex. Even though I'm married, it's still a struggle for me. When I was younger, if some boy even showed a minor interest in me, I would definitely take note and they were more attractive to me.. just because I thought they might like me. Kind of ridiculous. Eventually, I grew into my long face and it filled out a little, and I think I've definitely gotten more pretty as I've gotten older. But, these insecurities remain, even after all these years. It's especially evident when I go back home. When I go back to Folsom, I feel like I return to my old, insecure, high school self. Now that I'm up here in Washington, I feel like I've made a name and home for myself, no matter my history. Obviously, with my recent foray into fitness and beauty, I've become a bit more obsessed with my appearance, which may or may not help with my insecurities. I can only hope that one day I will be less concerned about my outward appearance and more concerned about who I am on the inside, no matter how cheesy that sounds..

And now, for your viewing pleasure.. some awkward pictures of myself growing up. I had a lot of fun picking some of these out.. previously unpublished on Facebook or anywhere else!
Look what my school district gave me when I graduated high school. Adorable, right? I mean, a big gap between your two front teeth and freckles are cute only when you're 10 years old.

 Oh, the braces..

Me and my best friend, Heather, in 8th grade after I got the braces off. Can I go back in time and remove the white eyeliner and copper lip gloss? Oh, and in case you were wondering, we were wearing tank tops, but they're hard to see. You would not believe the rumors that went around our school..

 Freshman year homecoming dance. Not fun.

Junior year of high school, when I used to rock lighter hair.


My first day in my college dorm.


My last day at BYU!

Me now.. flirty, 30, and thriving..?

FYI, this post is not a "pity me" or "compliment me" post. It's just a big part of who I am and why I am the way I am.

The good, the bad, and the ugly..

One thing Graham and I always ask each other on our conversations.. what do you want to hear first: the good news or the bad news? We almo...