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Happy New Year!

And happy new decade…can you believe that one!?! Yet again it’s been way too long since I’ve written and I’m not really one for resolutions…so I will not resolve to write more. I’m just going to do it. A lot has happened since the last my post. I did the 9k race that turned out to be more of a 6 mile. It rained and I went a lone, but the course was nice and other then the distance issue it was a great race. I did much better then I thought I would, 129 out of 910 over all and 12th out of the 95 in my age group.

We went to Bakersfield for Thanksgiving this year, spent the holiday with Ev’s family. I always enjoy going to Bakersfield – I know nuts right?! – but I like Bakersfield, and I like Ev’s family 🙂 People usually make the place for me. I had my first black Friday experience while we were there. Toysrus was opening up at 10 Thanksgiving night and I thought I’d do a little shopping. HA, ummm yeah I had no idea. Luckily I had the foresight to show up two hours early, but not to bring a chair or a partner in crime. Ev’s dad brought me a chair and ended up staying the 6 hours the whole thing would take. It was insanity. Not at all grab what you’re looking for and get out. No, it was grab what you’re looking for and stand in line to pay while being led through the entire store for 3 hours. They should have just made people just stay in line, I mean we went down every single isle. You could have just picked up what you needed on the long journey to check out. Pop and I watched in awe as the group of ladies in front of us in line continued to fill their 4 karts for hours and hours. They must have saved all year for the shopping spree they were having. I do have to say that while standing in line for 5 hours is ridiculous, I did get most of the kids Christmas presents for half of what I would have had to pay other wise. I think this is my future, with 4 kids you have to get creative and I don’t think it will always be fun ;p But because of those 6 hours my kids had an amazing Christmas. It was definitely worth it and I will do it again. Next time I will be prepared, I mean some of these ladies had store layouts! All and all a once in a life time experience and I got to share it with my Father in law, not something you can say every day right?! And he was still speaking to me the next day 🙂 Thanksgiving was wonderful, good food and good company. Our visit was great, I even got a run in. It was relaxing and went by way to fast.

The weekend after we got home I did my first 10k trail run with Eileen. It was raining off and on, but the course was so beautiful I didn’t really notice. The first 3 miles of the race just went up and up and up. I was pretty sure I was going to be touching clouds and my thighs were going to burst into flames. It was so hard, and so amazing. As they say what goes up….I flew down. It was an amazing feeling, I just let gravity take me. My legs moved on their own, so swift and easy. I have a new appreciation for trail running, I understand why people fall in love with it. This was the hardest race and really run I’ve done. I placed 71 out of 128 and 15 out of 27 in my age group. Not amazing but definitely not bad. I don’t think I’ve mentioned before but about a year ago I started playing soccer again too. A friend of mine from church came across an indoor league for women and asked if I wanted to sign up with her. I’m not awesome and indoor is a lot different then outdoor, but it’s fun, good exercise and a nice break.

It’s like I woke up one morning and felt like it was ok to get back to some of the things that make me happy. I love being active and I think soccer and running are full filling that need. The rest of December was a whirlwind of Christmas preparation. We hosted Christmas this year and it was so fun. We managed to fit in all the traditional stuff, Tron, some shopping, and opened a ton of gifts. I think everyone had a good time, and it was a memorable holiday. I feel blessed to be a part of Ev’s family. They accept me and treat me like one of their own. Holidays remind me of this, and make me appreciate them even more.

2010 was a good year for my family. It definitely was not lacking in bumps and disappointments, but with the support of a wonderful family you can over come anything. I have an amazing life. I can only hope 2011 brings more of them same.

A new decade too, which blows my mind. A decade has gone by! I’ve been in California for 10 years. I’ve been married for almost 10 years. In the last 10 years…I graduated from college, moved 3000 miles twice, got married, had 4 beautiful children, and so much more! It really seems like the blink of an eye. I hope the next 10 years are as wonderful and exciting as the last.
I only wish my mom was still here to see everything. I think she would be proud of me, and so in love with her grandkids. I miss her, and while not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, this time of year is the hardest. I’ve been feeling like I needed a place that I could put flowers or just sit and talk to her, probably sounds strange. My own little memorial, so I made one. Ev’s mom gave us a stepping stone kit last year so the kids & I used it to make a stepping stone in her honor. I was originally going to do it by myself, but my mom would have let the kids help – so I did. I think it came out perfect. We put in the backyard and are going to plant around it in the spring. I think the first thing is going to be Aidan’s paperwhite bulb. So here’s to a brand new year and decade of possibilities!

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Quest for Balance

Last June I started a journey (read about it here). In the 10 months that have passed since then many things have changed. Probably the most noticeable is my 38lb weight loss. June of last year I was a 173lb size 12 and as of this morning I am a 135lb comfortable size 4. SIZE 4! If I may for just a minute…I have never in my life been a size 4!!! I would like to say it was easy…but I can’t. I can say that it is possible, and my brain was ready for the change my body so desperately needed.

I am excited to share how I did it too, I feel like I struck gold. This is so cheesy but it’s true what they say “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” But I’d like to change that a bit to “Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels!” In the end it’s not about what the scale says, it’s about your health and how your feel.

I started my very successful weight loss with calorie counting. It is as easy or as complicated as you make it. First you need to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. This will help figure out how many calories you need to consume (or not) to lose weight. This website is also a great diet and exercise info source. There are also a million sites that calculate, track and log calories for you, applications for your phone, and then the tried and true side of the box + note book and pen. I use an application for my phone called LoseIt, it has a massive data base of foods including specific brands and restaurants. You can log what you eat, it keeps track so all you have to do is check back to see where you’re at. You can also log your exercise and it will subtract that from your calories used-more you exercise the more you can eat! It also creates a weight loss plan for you estimating the calories you need to insure weight loss.

I like to keep things simple, so I looked at the the foods I like to eat and looked for ways to modify them to fit into my calorie set. To start with there are just some foods that weren’t worth it for me…like cheese. The calories verse portion size just wasn’t worth it. I also got myself some measuring cups. Ok it might seem insane to measure your food, but when you have a seriously dysfunctional relationship with it, it’s very necessary.

Heading down this road you aren’t just counting calories, you are literally changing your relationship with food. You will learn portion size, and if you’re like me, start to look at what goes into each bite. But that’s a post for another day 🙂

So what did I start my calorie counting with…Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oatmeal Two Bag 110 Plus Serving Mega Value Box for breakfast. Fruits and veggies as snacks. Lunch was either a small can of Chicken of the Sea Tuna Chunk Light Water, 3 Ounce Tins (Pack of 24) (with mustard and relish) with Ak-Mak Sesame Crackers, 4.15-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12) or turkey on a Arnold Select Sandwich Thins Multi-Grain 12 oz (Pack of 4) and fruit. Then I would just eat whatever I was making for the family for dinner and modify it to fit my calories. There are also plenty of 100 Calorie Packs Mr. Salty Chocolate Covered Pretzels, 4.68-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6) snacks and desserts these days so you don’t feel deprived.

The first 10lbs fell off, and so did the next 10. Then I hit a plateau. This is getting pretty long and I have so much more to share so I think I’ll do a little at a time. End of weight talk for now.

The family is doing wonderful. The boys are about done with school for this year and we just started sports again. Lennox is playing T-ball and really loving it! Aidan was too young so we signed him up for soccer, and so far he’s pretty awesome at it. Goals coming out of his eye balls! Both boys are thriving in school, two very eager learners. Next year all the kids will be in school of some kind or another…the girls will be going to pre-school. They are so ready. Cora is counting to 10 and they’ve just about got all their letters. Smart cookies those two!

Last weekend we had everyone up for Easter and a friend who happens to be a great professional photographer came over and took some family portraits for us. The last family portrait we had done, Madi was the only kid in our now very large family. The pictures came out beautifully and we are so Thankful to David! He did an amazing job.

courtney Ev

It all started with some juicing

A few years back Ev & I bought a juicer. We used it a lot at first but eventually it found it’s way into a dark corner of a cabinet and sat lonely as years quickly passed. Recently I came across and decided to pull it out and dust it off. After looking beyond the recipe book that come with it I’m finding I enjoy juicing much more then I did before. The internet is proving to be a pretty awesome resource for juicing recipes and info. I’ve learned a lot more about food and the effect each has on our bodies. Juicing, even when I only do it once a day, makes me feel good. I mean really good, like I saw a difference in my energy level and mood good. So good that I don’t mind the clean up after ward. I strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a little extra something in their day. I wish I could get the kids into it…they see what goes in the juicer and refuse to even smell what comes out.

So what’s with the juicing….well there’s been a lot sadness around here lately. It feels like a big rain cloud over a pit of mud that I’m stuck in. I walk around with the thought “what does it matter any way” in my head most days. Those thoughts and feelings don’t make me the best person I can be. So I decided to get healthy in body and mind. I started with my diet, a close friend of mine who looks amazing let me in on a little secret. Well it’s not really secret more of a “duh, I knew that but was in denial”. Her looking amazing almost 33 year old wear a bikini at the beach after three kids secret…counting calories. It’s like a diet but really its not- because really –it’s a whole relationship change with food. You can still eat everything you want, as long as you don’t go over what you’ve decided is your calorie in take for the day (be realistic and healthy in that decision). I realized one thing right away…portion control. Did you know that if you ate half a cheese burger meal now and then the other half later your body would process if different then if you ate the whole thing at once(not that splitting it up makes it ok to eat junk-just a good example). When you over eat your body goes into store mode and starts packing away the fat. I’ve decided that is something I would like to avoid. I also make better choices, healthier things have less calories (for the most part) which means you can eat more. Fruit and veggies are my friends, they always have been. When I was little that was all I ate, literally. I refused red meat and chicken on the bone, which while I was growing up were my main choices. I just needed to get back in touch with them. It’s amazing the wealth of energy and patience that come from eating right and drinking plenty of water. Two things I could use a stock pile of.

You can’t get healthy by just changing your eating habits…it’s only half the equation. You have to get moving. Get your heart rate up, blood pumping and in the best situation get plenty of fresh air. I don’t have a solid work out plan yet. I haven’t been consistent, which means I haven’t found something I enjoy doing yet. I think that’s the key to keeping with it…you have to enjoy it and you have to have variety. I’ll let you know when I figure out something that works…then I‘ll let you know when I change it….haha.

I haven’t figured out the mind yet either. That one’s going to be a bit harder. I need some goals and some things to look forward. Coming up with those things, I think will start me in the right direction. Everything that’s been happening around us has me taking a hard look at myself and how I’m living my life. I realize with everything passing year I am a stay at home mom my money making skills decrease. What if, one day I need to support my family…what would I do. That freaks me out. I need a skill, a profitable one. Even if I don’t use it I need it to feel secure. So how do I get it? Well I’m working on that to. Lots of things floating around in my dusty skull, hopefully I’ll be able to share them with you along the way.

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I can not believe it’s already June!? Time just seems to move faster and faster, even the slow lazy days don’t go as slow as they used to. Things in the mooshoo house, like time, are just flying along.

Lennox finished preschool and is now officially a kindergartner! He is so so excited and I’m not so so so excited… well part of me is. Part of me is excited for this time to start for him, part of me knows he will do wonderful, be extremely charming and have a million friends. Part of me knows all the worries I have will seem small and silly. You know that part of you that worries that kids will make fun him, he will get hurt feelings and I won’t be there to make them go away. That part of me that is afraid after all our hard work and therapy his teacher and classmates will still have a hard time understanding him. And because of this he will finally get frustrated and start to withdraw. Those parts keep me up at night. Then the other part of me that knows it’s all worry for nothing, and he will be fine. He will grow and thrive and be the amazing person I already know.

Aidan is also starting his path to school, officially a preschooler! He will finally have his own friends, and make memories that have nothing to do with me. He will learn to trust people outside his family. He is going to explode in preschool. He loves people so much, any people, all people, just give him people! Like Lennox I think he will have no trouble in the friend department. Having the opposite of shy kids makes life so much easier…esp when making this transition to school. That first day he will kiss me goodbye and not look back. And that’s ok because that means I’m doing something right.

The ladies had their first hair cuts today. Cuba was awesome; she sat very still, so still the lady actually cut layers in her hair. She was amazing! Cora wasn’t a fan at first but quickly got into the groove and was super happy to receive a sucker at the end. They both look so cute. Cuba has a short bob with short bangs. Cora’s got short bangs to, but because her hair is wavy it doesn’t really look like a bob. They are just adorable. It’s amazing how much they are changing, every morning they look more grown up. Chatting up a storm and repeating just about any thing you ask them to. They let me fix their hair and love to play dress up. Grandma Cindy got them some princess shoes and it took them no time at all to figure them out (they have to fight Aidan for them). Girls are so different then boys. We have also started the potty training process, slow and easy. They just sit on the potty every night before getting into the bath tub. Its fun and they have actually gone a few times…I’m pretty sure more good timing then anything else. It’s insane to think being diaper free is in my not to distant future! We have come such a long way from dragging the hiking backpack every where to now just taking a few diapers, wipes and sippy cups. Soon I will be diaper bag free!!!

More soon…

courtney General mom mother

Sometimes sharing with the world is the way to go

I’ve been thinking a lot since the last post about my mom. Thinking about the way my father and sister responded, the things they said. It was not the reaction I honestly thought I would get, but now I know. There was never a discussion about what I wrote just lots of not listening and ugly threats. So many things said that can not be taken back and I will never forget. To say that I was hurt would be an enormous understatement. It’s still painful, I don’t know if that kind of pain every goes away, you just find a place to put it and try not to dwell. As it turns out all the ugliness was for the best, because it freed me. I walked away from it all, and in the process discovered I had a whole family I was never allowed to know. It angers me that I missed out on them and now I have to get to know them as an adult rather then in the less complicated time of childhood. I wish I could have grown up knowing them not marred by lies. My mom passing really threw everything I thought I knew out the window.

My father said something to me several times… “You are only a daughter”. I can only imagine he meant my tie to my mother was not as important as his. I find this very sad because in the end, you can fall in love again, remarry, find a new best friend, but for all of us there is only one mother. She can not be replaced.

I am not writing to illicit a response, I am doing it for me. Every time I write I feel empowered. This is me putting my foot down, speaking from my own mind about my own feelings. I may have lost my mother, father and sister but I found myself. This is my soapbox.