As I helped Zoe into bed tonight, I was studying two blankets that were carefully draped over her headboard.  She looked at me, removed the blankets and said, "Mom, look." I looked and discovered that, during quiet time, she decided to color her entire headboard with purple crayon.  Astonished, I cried, "Zoe!"  Her lip immediately pouted and tears welled up in her eyes as she quietly said, "I just wanted it to be purple and not white."  The tears became sobs and she fell into my chest as I wrapped my arms around her.   Surprisingly, I was not mad- not one bit.  Instead I remembered a book we have read often about a little girl who colored her new ice skates pink because white was so boring.  I smiled and pulled her little face into my hands and said, "Honey, it is OK to make mistakes.  I love you no matter what you do.  Thank you for telling me what you did.  What are we supposed to color on?"  She replied, "Paper."  We said a few more words and agreed to keep the crayons downstairs from now on.  Still she continued to apologize as I took the magic eraser (seriously, thank you whoever invented that!!) to her headboard.  I thanked her for apologizing and told her I knew she was sorry, that what she did was not OK, but that I wasn't mad.   

As I tucked her into bed, she kept hugging me.  I'm not sure if she was surprised that I wasn't mad and hugging me happily or hugging me for reassurance, but I gave her extra hugs and kisses before bed.  She told me she was happy to have a clean blankie and I told her I was so happy to have her.  After a song, a few more snuggles and "I love yous," I left her room and she fell asleep quickly.

In those few moments I became leaps and bounds closer to my daughter.  I can only imagine her fear as she pulled those blankets off to show me what she had done.  I remember having the same fear as a child when I decided to try to cut my own bangs.  I know I have failed to be my best self many times as a parent.  I yell more than I want to and sometimes say things I regret later.  I always apologize, but I live with a lot of guilt as I try to overcome my quick-tempered, natural tendencies. 

Tonight, I showed my child mercy, and I gained her trust.  I only hope I can keep it as she reveals far worse mistakes as she gets older.  I was proud of myself and how I handled it, and thankful that I was able to keep my cool.

A few minutes later, I thought of my Heavenly Father.  In order to understand Him better, I often compare parenting children to Him watching over all of us.  I think it is the closest I will ever come to truly understanding His love for me.  I mean, with all my imperfections, he blessed me with two of his most precious and beautiful souls to care for, to teach, and to love.  Just that alone shows me how much love He has for me, and how much trust He has put in me. 

Every day I fail Him.  Every day I make mistakes.  Each and every time I do, He wraps me in His warm embrace and tells me, "It's OK to make mistakes.  I love you no matter what you do."  He gives me trials to help me learn, helps me to see my mistakes and correct them, and provides more blessings to me than I could ever deserve. 

I hope to be more like Him in my parenting.  I know I won't be perfect, but I know it is how I want to raise my kids.  Tonight showed me that it is possible, and that I am learning to be better than I am.  I am grateful for that gift, especially after a long and trying day.  I am so thankful to know that I can be better, that I can do anything as long as I do my best and let my Father in Heaven make up for what I lack.  My greatest hope is that my children will always feel my undying, unconditional love for them, no matter what.

Not drowning...just barely treading

I know it's been a long time since I blogged. Why? I just don't have a lot of free seconds lately. Right now I am finger-typing this on my phone while I wait for Paige to finish her lunch and lay down for a nap so I can work.

Much of my free time since September has been spent elbow deep in preparing to sing/ play piano (one piece!) for The Messiah by Handel which my church choir will be performing selections from in a few weeks. I have enjoyed being so focused on music. It is hard work but also brings peace to my soul as I exercise the talents I have been given which, admittedly, are a bit rusty.

Zoe also started pre-school in September and the resulting schedule change has really thrown me for a loop. I still am not accustomed to it yet. Hopefully soon. Thankfully, Zoe loves preschool and really seems to be thriving. She has learned to write some letters, her name, many songs, and has made a few new friends. My favorite part of her school days is the discussion of what she did in class after I pick her up. She is amazing.

Paige seems to have blossomed overnight from a baby to a very tall, very sassy and smart two-year-old. She amazes me with her sentence structure, singing and counting daily. Also amazing? Her temper! Wow. Usually she is mild mannered and cooperative, though. She really enjoys our stolen minutes while Zoe is at school before and after her nap. She comes alive when she doesn't have to compete with her older sister. Still, she idolizes Zoe and follows her anywhere she can.

Don't worry, when they are not feeling sweet they definitely fight like cats and dogs.

Between all that, work and continuing to maintain a somewhat healthy lifestyle, I am one busy lady.

I do miss it here though. A lot. So I will try to be better about posting. Even if it is quickly composed on my phone during a stolen moment.

Thanks for still being here. Talk to you soon!

This Thing Called Life

I have been struggling a lot with balance lately.  I feel like I'm constantly running behind.  There is always too much housework, too many work hours to fulfill, not enough time for running, not enough time for playing, and definitely not time for blogging.  I truly feel like if I give up time to do one thing I am taking away precious time to do other important things. 

For example, I have kept up with running, but it has been sporadic.  The discipline is not there.  Nor is it present in my eating habits.  The problem is, I know exactly what I need to do and how to get there.  I just need to figure out the motivating factor.  A lot of it comes down to procrastination.  "Oh, I didn't get up early enough to run before working.  That's OK, I'll run tonight."  And then it never happens.

Procrastination has always been something difficult to overcome for me.  I love a clean house, but give me a good book and I can ignore the mess for a while.  I always feel like there will be time to "do it later."  Unfortunately, that's not how life works.  When I let everything get chaotic, or don't stay on top of things, something always happens that make me have to refocus and get back on top of things.  This time, that something has been my kitchen floor.

If you'll remember with me, I mentioned that we were redoing our floor in our main living space at the beginning of the year.  We completed the floor in a couple of weeks.  I spent weeks at a time after that doing little projects here and there to try and finish.  Once I got close, and had let everything else slip while I was focused on the flooring projects, my girls managed to spill enough water in the kitchen that it got under our floating, laminate wood floor.  So, I had to rip everything up in the kitchen and do it again.  I got it all put back together, except we never installed the trim that goes around the cabinets. 

I haven't posted pictures of this project because it was only recently that I got my house completely put back together, thanks to my brother-in-law.  All that was left was the trim.  Unfortunately, as I walked across the floor a couple days ago, it felt bumpy and not smooth.  I took a closer look and, to my horror, noticed the floor was warping in several places.  I am uncertain how water got underneath the floor this time as I took several precautions to keep water out.  It obviously did, though, so we have to rip it up again.

I spent about a day in outright anger at this turn of events.  We had just, read: that day, paid off all of our credit card debt.  Several great things were happening in our lives.  I felt like I would finally have time to catch up on everything.  Then this threw a huge wrench in our lives.  An immediate problem needing to be dealt with swiftly amongst all the other things I have been procrastinating for another day.

What have I learned from this?  It is worth it to make the effort to do a little at a time in everything.  It is better to only go for a 20 minute run than do nothing at all.  Keep my work schedule exact and don't to try to maneuver time around so I don't end up having to work a bunch of hours at the end of the week. Eat well every day with maybe a few cheats here and there, rather than to eat well sometimes and eat horribly at others.  Read a little bit every day instead of spending hours at one time.

Most importantly?  Life waits for no one.  Things happen every day, good and bad.  Being angry or even happy doesn't change a thing.  I just need to do my best to live out each day to my best ability.  Learning to let go of small things and focus on the big important ones is something I really need to master.  Procrastination only makes the job larger and more difficult.  A little at a time, all the time goes a long way.

Wish me luck with my floor!  Maybe I'll stop procrastinating and post some pictures when it's done.

How do you overcome procrastination?  How do you react to the unexpected?


This is going to be short because I'm blogging from my phone as we drive through Colorado's portion of the Rocky Mountains.

We just spent the last week in Iowa visiting Matt's brother and his family. I was just sitting here reflecting on our trip and feeling so relaxed.

Often, when we go on vacation, we get home feeling like we need another vacation. While the drive has been long, two days there and now two days back, it has been the most fun and relaxing vacation we have taken in a while.

We spent the first few days at their house, hanging out, talking, going to dinner, playing with the kids, and trying to keep cool (I had forgotten what humidity was like). Then on Tuesday evening we headed out to their lake house.

While there we had limited cell reception, no Internet access and we were surrounded by trees and a beautiful lake. We spent hours in the water swimming and boating. Matt and Zoe did some fishing. The girls weren't too keen on swimming but they played for hours on the beach.

There were limited things to do and it was so nice. No rushed, fast-paced living, just the quiet, calm of life on he lake away from the rest of the world.

It was healing for my soul. I feel relaxed and recharged. The best part is that I got to know that part of our family better. If you guys are reading this, thank you for everything. We love you!

Even now, on the long drive, I am relaxed as I have spent the hours with my nose in a book or taking in our beautiful surroundings.

A few more hours and we'll be back to normal life. Guess I'd better enjoy it while I can!

Five Minute Friday: Dance

It's been a while since I participated in Five Minute Friday, but here I am, blogging on my phone as we make a trek to Iowa to visit family. Please visit Lisa-Jo for the rules and to join in here!! 

Today's Prompt: Dance


We dance through the rhythm of young parenthood. The music and it's beat ever changing. 

Our halls cluttered with toys and the laughter and screaming of little girls. Our hearts full of the song of love we never knew we could feel so deeply. 

Sometimes we find ourselves slow dancing through a grownup movie or a stolen moment in the night.

Mostly we are moving endlessly- like we're part of an endless rave only the drugs are merely lack of sleep. 

We dance along and try to find our way when the music changes, getting up when we stumble and fall. 

Sometimes we get tired and want to stop, but the music never stops so we keep moving through the rough moments and eventually find the beauty in every melody. 

Of all the dances in our lives this is the most important. See, as we dance, little feet are picking up our rhythms, and learning their own moves. 


What is your dance?

Guess what I did?

I have been away from this space as the usual busyness of my life exploded into chaos. We are all fine, learning to manage things again. My Mom is in town visiting with my little brother. It is nice to have her here.  We are also preparing to leave on a trip to Iowa to visit Matt's brother the end of this week. It will be so nice to be away from home and work and spend a few of those days at a lake. And I am also about to have a four year old roaming the house.

Now that you've been updated, I will tell you what I did. As I prepared for the 5k I ran last month I created a habit of running four times weekly. I have fallen in love with this habit all over again after years of not running.  Recently I was approached to take a spot in a local half marathon. My first instinct was adamant refusal. I talked with a friend and experienced runner who had run the race before and she was sure I could do it. I thought about it for a few days and finally decided to try, simply to see if I could.

The last couple weeks I increased the length of my runs minimally and had planned to do a trial run last week. I woke up late and found out that I wouldn't be able to run it after all. I decided to only run 6.5 miles- the furthest I had ever run.  Then my friend said I could run in place of her sister's son. I was excited, especially after almost losing the opportunity. I was also nervous because I had no idea if I could even run that far.

Yesterday I woke up at 3:30 am and prepared to leave. I was a sort of nervous, excited the whole morning. We rode a bus from the finish line up the canyon to the start. I took in the beautiful mountain surroundings as I waited for the race to start.  There was a small voice in my head screaming at me that I was crazy for attempting to run twice as far as I ever had in a race. I reminded myself that I already had learned to run farther than I ever imagined and resolved to do my best.

The race started and I remembered to go slow on the steep downhill slope. I had to stop a few times for water and restroom breaks as well as to fix my shoes when my toes started aching at mile eight (from running downhill), but I ran the entire way until mile twelve when I has to walk a few steps because of my toes. I talked myself into running through the pain as I was not going to finish that race walking. I ran the rest of the way, frustrated at my feet as he rest of my body and lungs felt fine.

The elation as I crossed the finish line after running 13.1 miles is hard to describe. I received a medal stating I was a half marathon finisher. My official time was 2:16:22.

You guys, I ran 13.1 miles!!! I still feel so on top of the world!!

I am here to tell you that the you can do anything you set your mind to. You just have to be willing to try and prepare as best you can. I will do this again. I will keep pushing my limits.

I am a little sore today, but I can handle it. My body will recover and I will set a new goal. Who knows what I will accomplish next!

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

At 29 years old I still call my Mom "Mommy", something she insisted on for as long as I can remember.  She also insisted we keep our rooms clean, help around the house, finish our dinner and our homework, get good grades and make good choices.  We had many struggles, fights, yelling matches over some of those expectations over the years.  We have similar personalities but differing viewpoints.  Years after leaving home, I don't remember too much of that.

I do remember her coming into our rooms to help us set up giant barbie houses.  She made us tiny furniture out of all sorts of things.  Taught us how to braid their hair, and each other's, and detested naked barbies- they always had to be clothed. 

She would let us dig through piles of her old dresses and dance costumes and helped us cultivate our endless imaginations as we pretended to be anything from fairies to dancers to southern belles.  She would leave the sheets attached to the rafters in the garage (when we had garage sales to keep people from seeing everything we stored in our garage) for days.  Perfect curtains for endless plays that she patiently watched and seemed to enjoy.

She didn't worry about us getting dirty.  We would spent our days in our mostly dirt backyard, barefoot and wild.  We climbed trees, walls and swing sets, explored the mesa at the end of our street, rode bikes all day, played in the amazing playhouse my grandpa built.  We spent our summers camping where she would take us on hikes and teach us about nature.  Sometimes we would get so dirty she would have to hose us off in the backyard before we came into the house- pretty sure she grinned at our squeals in the cold water.

She brought music into our lives.  Something that I cherish deeply.  My childhood was filled with sounds of her and my family, even my Dad, singing and playing all our different instruments.  She started teaching piano lessons when me and my friends lost our piano teacher.  Music was almost always filling our walls.

She taught us to be spiritually strong.  To find what you believe and stick to it, unwaveringly.  I am daily grateful for her example of living what we believe.  For having a strong testimony for me to lean on until I found my own.

She was always there.  She was at every band concert, almost every marching band performance, and was a band Mom.  She was also at all my siblings sporting events, concerts, plays.  Anything we were involved in, she was involved in.  Anytime we needed to talk, she was there to listen.  How she has done that for all five of us is something I still can't figure out.

She is very crafty and handy.  She can do anything from sewing, drawing, scrap booking to building walls, tiling, gardening and beyond.  I have always been amazed at what she can do with her hands.  I got some of those traits, but not all of them.  Mostly I'm grateful to have been taught that hard work is a part of life, and that you can figure most anything out if you try hard enough.

My youngest brother is still home, living out his teen years.  Almost four years ago I made my Mom a grandma.  She holds both titles in high esteem.  My kids love her.  She is amazing with children.  Imaginative and patient, but firm- most of the time.

She has been through many hardships in her life.  Though she is far more emotional than me, her strength and faith through her trials is amazing.  She is too hard on herself, always.  So I want her to know that one of the things I admire most is her strength and her faith.

As an adult I have gone my own way on a lot of things, but she is still the rock that I lean on when I need to. She is still my roots when I'm trying to test out my wings.  I can only imagine how hard it is to let your children go and live their own lives, respecting how they live them, and still mothering where you can.  I think most of the time she hits that balance well.

Living far away from my family is hard, and I miss them so much.  I am grateful for the Internet and for phones and how they make that distance not feel so large.  I am grateful to have a place of my own on the Internet where I can celebrate her life thus far.

Today is her birthday.  I want her to know I am beyond grateful to have to her in my life. To be able to turn to her when I need her, or be there for her when she needs me.  I am grateful for her involvement in my kids' lives, and for her support of my decisions for my family.  I want her to know that, especially now that I am experiencing motherhood for myself, I think she did a great job of raising us.  I also want her to know that she is stronger than she gives herself credit for.  She has gone through so many changes the last few years and I know she can keep going.

Happy Birthday, Mommy!  I hope you know how much I love you and how much I wish I could be there to tell you all this in person.  I hope you have an amazing day and that you remember how many people love and cherish you!

Lessons Learned

The last few weeks I have been training for the local Susan G Komen Race for the Cure going on here next Saturday.  I am really excited to run it, especially since I discovered that I can actually run 3.1 miles without too much trouble.  This is no small matter to the girl who had trouble getting through all four laps to make up the required mile in my physical education class growing up.  I guess it just goes to show that size isn't everything.  Skinny doesn't always equal strong or in shape, any more than having bits of fat makes me weak.  This is an important lesson I have learned. 

Something else the last few weeks have taught me is that I need a goal to stay focused.  Losing weight isn't a goal, it's a benefit of living a healthy lifestyle- which is now my real goal.  I'm starting to not focus on the scale so much as focusing on making sure I stay active and try to make good, nutritious food choices.  I'm not perfect at this, and I've learned not to expect perfection.  Striving for perfection will get you nothing but failure.  And failure bites.  The result of this new mentality is that I'm happier with myself and my progress- which has also helped me in my relationship with Matt.

Since we decided to work things out and get remarried, I have been quite happy.  We keep working on things and they aren't perfect, but that's ok.  It's very normal and that is a good thing.  When we first got back together it was like we had just met all over again.  As time went on, I realized there was always this teeny, tiny fear in the back of my mind that it wouldn't work out in the end.  I have been struggling with that little fear off and on for almost a year now.  Matt has been so supportive whenever that fear surfaced. 

Having been reassured so many times, you would think the fear would go away.  It's hard to explain, but every time we had a conflict and feelings similar to the ones I had when things went south came back, I freaked out.  I brought up the past.  I worried that just because one or both of us were upset that we would be back where we once were.  I worried more about my appearance.  I did all the things you're not supposed to do in a conflict.  He would calm me down, we would talk it out and I would feel better again. 

A few weeks ago, Matt and I were talking about something and the subject of our future came up and he told me he wasn't going anywhere, that I would have to be the one to leave for us to end.  It may seem silly to some, but that was sort of a turning point for me.  The last little piece of my heart I realized I hadn't given back to him was suddenly his again.  My soul is calmer, my heart is sure, and my self-esteem is mine to deal with again.  Our love has grown deeper, and it shows in the little things we do for each other.

That man loves me, and I love him.  I gave him my heart almost 9 years ago and it has been his ever since.  We have our bumps and bruises, but they do heal.  We have been brought together so many times now that I truly believe we were meant to be.  Life teaches us a lot of lessons.  The most important one I have learned is that I can never take anything for granted.  Not health, not friendship, not money and especially not love.  Having the love of a man who gets me so completely, who makes me laugh, supports me and makes me feel beautiful in pajamas and yesterday's make-up, is something I will forever be grateful for.  I also have to remember to love myself.

I want to thank our families, friends and all the people who read this little blog for supporting us as we travel our many journeys together and separately.  The other day my in-laws thanked me for taking Matt back.  I was touched by this, but didn't quite know what to say back.  I will say now that I loved him nearly from the day I met him and I never stopped.  It was hard to figure some things out, but deciding to try again wasn't hard at all.  I know I made the right choice the first, second and third time I said, "I do." 

Marriage isn't always easy.  Life isn't easy.  Changing is especially hard.  Everything we do, our goals, the relationships we have- they all take work.  Nothing happens in life that we don't put a little effort into.  We just have to trust ourselves, learn from our mistakes, stay focused, follow our hearts and surround ourselves with people who support and empower us.  I believe that to be true of everything we do. 

What is your favorite relationship advice?  How do you attack your goals in life?  Who is your best cheerleader in life?  Have a great weekend!

Five Minute Friday: Goodbye

Time for Five Minute Friday, friends.  Please click over to the Gypsy Mama for rules and to join in.

Today's Prompt: GOODBYE


They sit silently in the car.  Itching to find something to say, knowing that if they open their mouths all that will come out is tears.  Their hands intertwined stubbornly, not wanting to let go.  The car keeps moving them closer to their destination.  Fingers squeeze tighter with every mile.

They park and he opens her door.  Their eyes meet and they exchange wan smiles.  She clings to him in an unexpected hug.  He melts into her.  Eventually they pull apart.  Time continues ticking.

They unload the car and walk tentatively towards the open, automatic door.  They discuss schedules and plans.  They get checked in and move towards the gate.  He stops and meets her eyes.  They are welled up with tears that spill over as she catches his glance.  His eyes sting as he takes her into his arms.  They cry together through hug-muffled I love yous and prayers for safety. 

Then he meets the eyes of his children.  Red with tears they all tackle him in one giant hug.  He wonders how much they will have grown before he sees them again.  He kisses each one and gives them words of advice and reassurance as he embraces them. 

He takes his family in his arms one more time.  With strenuous effort he releases them, kisses his wife, and walks heavily toward security.

She watches him until she can't see him anymore- catching one last glimpse of him in his combat uniform.  She waves as her heart crumbles and walks away with her kids.  Gathering up her well of strength, patience and love to get her through until they meet again.


For my friends who have to do this today, and for all the members of the military and their families who make this sacrifice more times than anyone should have to.  Thank you for your service to our country.  My love and prayers go out to you all. 


I find it difficult to blog lately.  Not just because I've been dealing with flooding under my brand new floor, finishing projects, work and all the normal stuff, but also just because I don't really feel like I know what to write about.  So, please excuse my jumbled thoughts.

Lately I've felt a sort of disconnect from my life.  I feel so off balance.  I know this is partly because the projects on our house have imposed on our normal routine.  Also, I haven't focused on my health as much lately.  Or my spirituality.  I guess that's the problem.  I'm not focused. 

I'm working toward a goal of getting all these little house projects finished.  And while they are important, and will be nice, they are eating up time I would have spent working on my goals.

I spend my days ticking off boxes on endless to do lists.  While this does give me a sense of accomplishment, and I have been working hard, it leaves me feeling like I haven't done anything real.  At least nothing that will matter in the grand scheme of things. 

I feel a little bit empty and not very happy.  It doesn't help that I feel terrible about all the TV my kids watched while we were redoing the house.  Or that I haven't been taking care of myself the way I want to.

Today I spent some time playing with my girls.  I only got half the things done I wanted to, but I felt a little better for having spent some meaningful time with my children.  I really focused on keeping a kind tone and it was amazing the difference we felt in our home today.

Which made me think that the direction I need to take is to go back to the basic important things in my life.

I feel it's time to prioritize again.  I need to figure out what goal I want to focus on right now and set aside time for it.  I need to remember to keep my Heavenly Father as a close friend in my life.  I need to spend real, quality time with my family.  I REALLY need to spend some quality time on me.

It seems sort of silly to write about my struggles to find balance and peace in my life on this blog.  But I guess that is part of the journey to finding equipoise.  I know that a perfect state of balance is impossible.  I also know that I've been a lot closer before than I am now.  It's a work in progress.

I guess I just needed to vent...and come up with a plan.  And now I have.  So, thank you for that.  I'd like another favor though.  Tell me, what do you do when you feel disconnected or unbalanced??

Five Minute Friday: Brave

It's Friday!  Which means it time to write for five minutes with no worry about whether it's just right or not.  Please click over to The Gypsy Mama to join in!

Today's Prompt:  Brave


Two curious girls show me bravery every day. 

Paige's bravery shows up in her toddler world.  A world where there are so many words and names for things she does not know.  She fearlessly keeps trying to speak through the frustrations of knowing that I can only understand most of it.  Still, her curiosity never ebbs.  Constantly pointing at things to hear the words and trying to form them herself.  Her bravery comes in facing the unknowns like sharp winter grass on bare feet, bugs, and new foods. 

Zoe's bravery is different.  She knows more about the world, and picked up speech rather quickly.  She has trouble with change and the unknown.  Her courage is shown through facing her fears.  Trusting that she has the strength to crush that bug in her path that seems so scary.  She can run through the darkness of the yard without her hand in mine.  She can face the shadows in the night that look like monsters. 

My children teach me so much about how to trust yourself.  How to follow your heart.  How to know when it's just too much to face and you need to find a hand to hold.  How to know when to ask for help after you've tried and failed too many times.  How to face your fears.  How to deal with change.  How to walk into the unknown with bare feet and hope for the best.  How to be brave.


What examples of bravery do you see in your life?  If you have kids, do you notice their courage?  What can you do to be fearless today?

Pack Your Bags!

We're going on a little trip! 

Today I have the privilege of guest posting for a blogger I highly respect.  Adrian's blog, Life Before the Bucket, has become a daily read for me.  He is a kind, charitable person who isn't afraid to take a stand and do what he can to improve himself and the problems in this world.  He writes thought-provoking posts on world issues, religion and how he tries to live a full life.

I am honored that he let me take over his space for a day to write about how I have tried to live life to the fullest.  (Thank you, Adrian!)  Please click over to his blog for today's post.  Feel free to leave a comment!!  While you're there, please take a moment to check out some of his posts.  You won't be disappointed!

For any of you that clicked over from Life Before the Bucket, welcome!  Thank you for taking the time out to find out a little more about me.  If you like what you read, please find a way to follow me using those buttons to the right.  I would love to hear from you!  Please feel free to leave a comment or email me.

Ready?  Let's go!

In the quiet...

...there's a storm brewing.  I've been away from this space for a week doing a very large DIY project on my main floor.  We're putting in all new flooring and painted the entire area.  It's been a lot of work full of mishaps, unplanned expenses, way too much time and even some really bad customer service that actually got us some great perks thanks to my husband.  After a week of ripping up carpet, flooring, tack strips, filling holes, painting, discovering we had to lay new sub floor in part of the area, purchasing NEW baseboards instead of being able to reuse the old ones because of poor installation by the builder, and painstakingly laying flooring board by board, we are exhausted and still have so much to do.  So!  I decided to share some pictures of our progress so far and I'll post another update when it's all done and I have time to write a real post.  Have a great weekend, friends!!

The state of my kitchen when we laid the new sub floor...

Living room with part of the new sub floor installed.

Like my new dining table?  Ha ha.

Progress of flooring after two nights of work...

Closer look at the flooring.  I love it!

What we have left.  So not looking forward to the kitchen!
It's been stressful, but to go from having stained carpet in the living and dining room to this beautiful floor will be well worth it.  Wish us luck that we'll complete it this weekend!!! 

Five Minute Friday: The Ache of Love

We took a break from Five Minute Friday for a bit, but now we're back.  Click over to The Gypsy Mama to join in and write unedited for five minutes.  Or just to read all the beautiful posts.

Today's Prompt: Ache


Heartstrings gently tugged.  Feet padding towards the doorstep, hands clasped.  Chance meetings become the promise of forever.

Black and white attire.  Rose petals and a cake.  Two symbolic rings.  Do you?

Rugged hands on soft skin.  Lips and limbs intertwined.  Rapid heartbeats.  The cusp of that sweet release.

Round and swollen.  Forehead beaded with sweat.  Breathing, breathing.  Crying.  Pushing and contracting.

Helpless. Tiny fingers and toes constantly growing. Immobile cries become sprinting sentences. Tugged between past memories and future promise.

Quiet, empty rooms once filled with laughter.  Experienced hands rediscover each other.  A new chapter.

Twisting, turning, tumbling internally. Heart pounding in deafening tones. Rivers falling from red eyes. Oceans formed on sweaters.

Lost and lonely. Heart squeezed between invisible hands. Hollow cavern in the stomach. Shallow breaths.

Aching to join him.


Happy Anniversary

One year ago today I remarried my husband, Matthew, ready to give our love a second shot.  It hasn't been an easy year.  We have weathered many storms together.  Sometimes I feared that things would fall apart again.  Every time I did, he reassured me.

Over the last year I fell in love with him all over again.  We found trust and respect for each other.  WE learned to understand and forgive the past.  Learned to love and support our differences and our hobbies.  He is my best friend.

I am so grateful that I was brave enough to agree to a second chance.  The choice to remarry him was the right one.  Our family is closer than it has ever been.  We are closer than we have ever been.

Marriage isn't always easy.  Two people facing the world together will always result in differences of opinion.  We are learning to use conflict as a tool to bring us closer and help us to know each other better.  We are far more open with each other than we ever used to be.  We are not afraid to ask the hard questions, to bring up issues, and deal with conflicts.  We have been in the worst place a marriage could ever go, and never want to get back there.  Ever.

I love Matthew with a love deeper than I ever thought I could feel for another person.  He gets me and he lets me be myself.  He supports me in how I choose to spend my life and my time.  He is a good father and a wonderful husband.  He helps me with the dishes.  He works incredibly hard to support our family.  He helps us to make and keep the goals we have together.  He confides in me and lets me confide in him.  He lets me see all sides of him and trusts me with his heart.  He loves me and shows it daily.  I couldn't ask for more, and I try to do the same for him.

There is no other man I could imagine spending the last eight years with.  I am so proud to call him my husband, and so grateful to have him by my side through this life.  Happy Anniversary, my Love.

An Experiment in Self-Love

To be honest I don't really know what I'm going to write about as I sit down here in front of my computer.  I'm coming back to you after a break caused by a surprise visit from my sister and her little family.  My last couple weeks were spent  soaking in every second of them being here and getting to know my newest niece who was only six weeks old when they got here.  They have only been gone a few days and I already miss them fiercely.

I just erased three paragraphs of nonsense and complaining about this funk I'm in.  Instead of going into all the details about how I feel right now and why, I think I would rather just try to get myself out of it.

I have GOT to get rid of this feeling of hopelessness!

If I don't I really will NEVER get back on track in my journey to health.  Or to anywhere else, really. 

So, as I type this, I'm going to think of 10 good things I did today and hope they outweigh the crappy eating and no exercise I've been going through (among other things) the last few weeks.

Here goes:

1. Held Paige on our couch all morning while she writhed around uncomfortably, crying from her fever and stomach bug.  Did my best to comfort her and give her the care she needed to feel better.

2. Got out of bed and got my work done this morning.

3. Praised my three-year-old for all her help, good behavior, and patience as her sick sister threw a wrench in our plans for the day.

4. Had the intention of making today a fun day with my girls and not focusing on my house.  Zoe and I picked an activity to do and everything.  I owe her one tomorrow.

5. Cut out Zoe's tiny, detailed paper dolls so she could play with them.

6. Got through my laundry folding quickly so I could sit down and blog/ hang out with Matt and talk while he plays his video game this evening.

7. Drank all my water for the day.

8. Read my scriptures.

9.  Gushed to my friend about the beautiful gift Matt bought me for our Anniversary and how amazing he's been lately.  (He's been extra amazing.)  And now I've gushed to you guys!

10.  Finally sat down and blogged, even though I didn't feel like it because I didn't feel like I had anything good or important to say. 

Wow, you guys.

 I actually feel a lot better. 

Not like I'm cured of the funk, but definitely better.  You wouldn't believe how hard it was for me to think of good things I did.  Amazing how hard I am on myself.  I literally stared at the computer screen, after writing the first one, for a good five minutes. 

Maybe the answer to beginning to love myself is learning to recognize the good that I've done. 

That's a really new concept for my perfectionist self.  Off to ponder. 

Thanks for being my sounding board.  I know you dear, sweet people that come here don't really like to participate in these little experiments of mine, but I truly hope you will this time.  It was enough to put a smile on my face after a rough couple of days.  Maybe it will be for you too! I would love for you to join me. It doesn't have to be 10, but think of at least one good thing you did today or within the last week and share it with me. I know I'm not the only one with self love issues, and I know I'm not the only one who is in a funk or needs motivation, so please join in. You can write your own post and leave me the link, or just leave your good thing(s) in the comments.  Thanks, people. 

The Appointment (part two)

Even though I didn't get any response to the first part of this repost I still wanted to go ahead and finish this story from my past.  Or maybe it's just that I got a surprise visit from my sister, Nell and her husband and new baby and I'm a little busy soaking in as much time with them as humanly possibly.  Either way, this will be the last repost for a while.  Thanks for bearing with me on these writing dry spells!

I’ve been trying to find a minute to get on here and write about friday’s appointment, I finally found time just now, so bear with me as I try to get all this out.

My emotions were a little raw the rest of the day Friday. I just…I don’t know. I was so nervous-I’m talking fidgeting, shaking, pit-in-your-stomach nervous- all morning to go to the appointment. I thought they would do all these tests and tell me what was going on and I’d have somewhere to go from there- but I got there and all he did was talk to us, tell us that Matt needed to give a sample, gave us a couple options and said, “Everything looks normal and I’m confident you will be pregnant within the next few months.”

I suppose I should have taken that as good news, but I felt like nothing was really resolved and I was still recovering from how hard it was to even go to that appointment. I just shouldn’t have had all those expectations when I really had no idea WHAT to expect. Part of my problem is, if there’s nothing wrong with me at this point, why can’t I just get pregnant? Why didn’t they do tests on me too? Why didn’t they give us a drug, or something to try in the meantime? I went to the appointment expecting answers, and left with more questions. I suppose I should have gotten all my frustrations out while I was there…but I just felt like I was off in another world…it was the weirdest feeling…almost like having an out-of-body experience, like I wasn’t supposed to be there or something.

Today, I’m feeling ok about it. Matt took his sample in to the lab this morning so we’ll wait and see if the problem lies in that department. Once we find that out, the doctor wants to do a dye test on me- basically they flush a colored liquid through my tubes to make sure things flow freely and everything is clear. After that test, they will test to make sure my cervical mucus isn’t killing off the sperm. If that is the case, they will do artificial insemination (by the husband) to get the sperm past the cervical mucus so they will have a better chance. So, we have a plan. I feel like everything will be ok. I am trying not to worry about artificial insemination and it’s cost-since we haven’t even gotten that far yet, but it’s hard for me not to worry.

My hope is that it will be something simple. I am hoping that something like fertility drugs will fix the problem, or if there is no problem, I am hoping that Heavenly Father is sending us a child soon, that he’s just waiting for something specific to happen first. Right now, I’m just waiting- like I haven’t done enough of that in a year- to find out SOMETHING. I appreciate your comments and well wishing on my behalf, and I will continue to keep you posted.

Originally posted April 2007

The Appointment: Part one (A resurrected post)

I know I promised new stuff this week, but I'm neck deep in house updating and upkeeping stuff and I just can't muster up a new post today. So, I thought it would be interesting (especially to all my newer readers) to repost a couple posts this week from my infertility journey. We all know that I eventually conceived and now have two little ones, but the path to that point was hard. This post was after a year of trying on our own...

On Saturday Matt and I went on an amazing walk (finally) on the trail behind our house. We have decided to continue to walk there…often. I have decided, though, to write about it another day. I have to warn you, things will get a little up close and personal from here on out, so if you don’t want to know…stop reading.

Today, I am feeling a little on edge. Up until now, I have only slightly hinted at the fact that we have been trying for a baby. To say that this has been a fun and wonderful process would be an overstatement at this point. I am certain my friends and family have had it with my complaints but today, I just need to get it out.

I feel like my body is playing tricks on me. I was supposed to know today whether or not we accomplished pregnancy this month. If you think it’s funny that I used the word “accomplished”, you have never tried for a year to have a baby. Instead of knowing, I got a little trickle of the evil red stuff, no cramps and instead of the tenderness of “the twins” subsiding-as it usually does on day 1- it got worse. So, of course, my mind starts racing…trying to find one good reason for me to think…”maybe, oh maybe”…nope…gotta block that thought.

You see, I have become well trained in the art of stopping myself from thinking about the unthinkable. After the MELTDOWN last October, I’m not allowed to think “that” until I have a straight faced doctor to confirm it…twice. However, just because I have trained myself to stop those thoughts, it doesn’t mean the mind won’t try. It’s been eating at me all day…festering deep inside my brain…and tearing at my heart. I even considered buying a test…but who knows how much money I’ve spent on those already.

I am sure there are many women who have gone through the same thing I am going through. My question is…did your body play tricks on you? This isn’t the first time things like this have happened. In fact, I think there has been about 1 month out of 11 that things played out normally and I had a definitive “no”. Every other month there has been a pause and then a lot of questions. It has been absolute torture. I am not a patient person…and it is bad enough that 11 months have gone by…but does my body have to re-open the wound each time with a serrated knife?

I have almost become numb to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if/when it happens and I don’t believe it. I will be staring right into the doctor’s eyes as he tells me and I won’t believe him. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I’ve decided I am incapable of this…maybe motherhood through this route isn’t my path…or maybe, I’ve just heard “no” so many times…”yes” is a far-away, forgotten word. Either way, none of these things are the reason I am on here.

Today, I made a call to the doctor…and, admitting defeat, scheduled the dreaded appointment:

Nurse: “What kind of appointment do you need to schedule?”
Me (timid): “I am not sure, I was just told to call and schedule a fertility appointment after we had been trying for a year.”
Nurse: “What date marks a year?”
Me: “April 12th, so probably something anytime after that.”

My appointment is April 13th…8:15 am. It seems so final. I know there is a road ahead…but I never thought conceiving would be so hard. You grow up thinking, “Well, when I want to have a baby, I will.” It doesn’t work that way…at least not for me. I know, I know…there is still hope. Maybe my body isn’t playing tricks on me this month…we do still have next month…but today…all I can think about is April 13th…and I’m scared.

Originally published March 2007

Self Esteem Saturdays: Journey to Health Featured!

Self Esteem Saturday Jia, of Untypically Jia, is a great friend (real life and virtual) and an amazing person. I knew her growing up through church and school and reconnected with her through blogging years later. Such a small world! I am constantly inspired by her writing and her willingness to share so much of herself with others. 

She has given me the opportunity to participate in what she calls Self Esteem Saturday where she has featured my post from last week. I would love the support if you want to stop over and say hello and I'm sure she would love to meet you as well. While you're there, click around and read some of her stuff. I promise you won't be disappointed. She is a wonderful writer and great storyteller and all around fun person. You will like her, I promise. 

If you are visiting me from her blog today, hello and welcome! Please take some time to look around and feel free to comment. We're pretty open around here and love to make new friends. If you like what you read please find a way to follow using those little buttons over there to the right. So glad to have you here!

Click here to see my post and hang out and to read some of the other Self Esteem Saturday posts. See you back here next week!

P.S. I know we've really hashed out that post a lot this week. It's just because it's so important to me. I promise to be back with new stuff next week. Happy weekend!!

Five Minute Friday: Real

I took a break from Five Minute Friday last week to post one of the hardest posts I have ever written.  But I am back in the swing this week and it's time to click over to the Gypsy Mama and join in on this wonderful writing exercise.

Today's prompt: REAL


Real can be amazing.  I decided this week to be real with myself and all of you.  I spilled my guts.  Put all my feelings out on the interwebs and posted pictures I would normally keep to myself.  It was scary and extremely hard, but I'm so glad I did it. 

Because REAL means I get to be encouraged by all you wonderful people that visit me here.  REAL means I get to hear your stories.  REAL means that you know I'm not perfect, and I know you're not perfect, but we love each other more for our imperfections. 

This week I received so many beautiful comments from you wonderful people.  And many more pageviews.  I hope sharing my story helped you or inspired you as much as your words and your visits inspired me.

It can be difficult to put our real selves out there.  Hard to present the real picture to the world.  We have so many perceived expectations of what people want from us.  From this experience, and many others, I've discovered that mostly people just want to know that everyone else's lives are just as beautiful and messy as theirs are. 

Real is what connects us.  Forms friendships.  Helps us to grow.  Helps us to become more of who we REALLY are and be better for it.  So thank you for letting me be real here, for your kindness, and for being real back.


What experiences have you had when you decide to be real with yourself and others?

The Journey to Health: Part Two

You'll want to read yesterday's post before you dive into this one.  These are my memories as they come to me.  Seen from my point of view.  The things that have stuck with me and created this mindset.

I was the skinny kid.  All arms and legs and knobby knees.  For the most part, I was a happy kid with a happy childhood.  But, for as long as I can remember, I've never felt comfortable in my skin.
I think I was maybe seven in this picture

My earliest memory of body hate was an offhand comment by a ballet teacher that I was too tall for ballet.  I remember feeling awkward next to all the other, shorter, more graceful little girls.  I remember always being one of the tallest girls in school, taller than several of the boys until they finally passed me in middle school.

I remember sitting on the bus in elementary school and hating the way my thighs spread out across the seats when I wore shorts.  To say that I was skinny growing up is an understatement.  Yet, I had these thoughts.

Sixth Grade

As I got older, and taller, I could never find pants that fit right.  I couldn't shop at regular stores and buy any pair of pants.  They were always too short for my long legs, and too baggy for my shapeless hips and lack of a butt.  I had to buy my pants at the department stores.  I remember having to buy Arizona Jeans.  The slims.  Everyone else was wearing the super baggy jeans that were the style back then and I was in school in my slims and my white canvas tennis shoes.

For the most part I stuck with my friends, who didn't care what I wore.  But I remember the jeers and comments I got from the few on my attire.  I remember hating being so thin for many reasons, but mostly because everyone thought it was really funny to tease me for it.  Most of them didn't know for years and many still don't know, until maybe now, that the teasing gave me a complex.  How is a young girl to feel comfortable in her changing body when she gets teased for her tiny boobs and gangly arms?

Seventh Grade
Once I entered high school, I finally gained a little bit of weight, but was still teased incessantly by well meaning friends.  I played it off well.  I pretended to love myself, to present a confident front.  Mostly I was unsure of myself and eager for the attention of boys- the only thing that seemed to make me feel that I was desirable.  I had a series of boyfriends.  I kissed them all too early. 

I remember never liking my body shape, even when I was thin.  I wasn't athletic and didn't have a lot of muscle.  Back then it was merely good genes.  I wasn't healthy.  I liked to run, but didn't do it regularly.  I ate nachos and soda for most of my lunches.  I had what I would call a boyish shape when I was thin, and an apple shape now that I carry some weight.  My waist and hip measurements have always been very similar, and my shoulders always seemed too wide for my body.  When I was young it wasn't as noticeable.  Now I can't help but see it every time I look in the mirror.  In my face I can recognize my beauty, but not anywhere else.

Senior Portrait

I remember hating the way several of my pants fit in high school.  Trying to fit my butt, my pants were always so tight around the waist the front button tended to roll downward.  For some reason pants were made for people with hips.  For the most part they still are.  And if I managed to find some that fit me in the waist and hips, they were usually too short.  I have never enjoyed shopping for pants.

My confidence didn't get any better in college.  I gained the "freshman fifteen".  Looking back at those pictures, I just looked healthy.  For a girl who had been rail thin all her life, this was a hard thing for me to deal with.  Never having gained weight, I didn't really know what to do about it.  Many who knew me then never knew I struggled with confidence.  More than once I had a guy reassure me that I was beautiful...or sexy.  I never fully believed them.

When I met Matt it was the first time I have ever been with someone who was equally infatuated with me.  All my previous relationships had been off balance in that way.  I knew he was the one simply because it was the first time I felt loved and appreciated just as much as I loved and appreciated him.  No more, no less.  I built my confidence through him.  He was sweet and complimentary. 

October 10, 2003

I, of course, married him.  We spent several years in (mostly) marital bliss.  Still, I never felt confident or sexy in my skin.  In the beginning he reassured me often.  But, as is the case in many marriages, when you deny what they say enough, when you won't take it to heart, when you feel like "he's just saying that because he has to", eventually they will get tired of having to tell you all the time.  He never stopped completely, but it slowed and my confidence waned.

Christmas 2006
As the years went by, I slowly gained weight.  I weighed 115 pounds when I got married.  When I got pregnant with Zoe four years later I weighed 152.  I was 157 when I got pregnant with Paige.  Forty pounds to me, who will forever have my thin frame in mind as the "right frame", was quite a lot.  For too many years, I hated it, complained about it, came up with all sorts of fantastical ways to do something about it.  For too long, nothing worked quick enough for my impatient, perfectionist mind.  Not to mention the fact that I now had numerous stretch marks from carrying two babies.  Gestational diabetes during my pregnancies made me feel even worse about the state of my body.

Two months before conceiving Zoe.
Still, I always depended on the fact that he would love me no matter what.  I set my confidence on that foundation and kept going.  I didn't love myself.  I didn't feel sexy.   But as long as he loved me and thought I was beautiful, that was enough.  Until it wasn't.

Zoe's first birthday.  The picture that made me realize how out of shape I really was.
When we went through our rough patch last year, that foundation crumbled and I found myself face to face with all that body loathing, along with all the self destructive thoughts I had tried to push back for too many years.  Initially my thoughts were that if he couldn't love me, then no one could.  Especially a 28 year old nursing Mom with two kids. 

Just after having Paige.  The next one was two months later.
Then, due to the stress, under eating and nursing a baby I dropped thirty pounds in several weeks.  For the first time in years I was able to find reasons to appreciate my body.  I fit into clothes without bulging in places.  I noticed people checking me out when I went places.  I had my confidence back, hooray!
My lowest weight in years.
Unfortunately, when you drop weight that quickly it's rare to keep it off.  When Matt and I got back together I had recently quit nursing because I wasn't producing enough milk.  Then I got on birth control.  Then I relaxed a little and my eating habits went back to normal.  Twenty of those Thirty pounds came piling back on.  All my confidence still residing in my thinner body.

Easter, just starting to gain the weight back.
With trust, intimacy and love in rebuilding mode it was imperative to me to get back to that thinner body.  I had to get my confidence back.  And so I started my journey to health.  Gratefully, I learned a few things while on my own.  I learned that being a perfectionist all my life didn't have to define me, that I could change.  I learned that I needed to work towards what I wanted out of life and stop letting life pass me by.  So I set goals.  I got excited about life!  And I tried to tackle everything at once.

You can see the weight in my face.
And I failed to accomplish much of anything.  The goals that were supposed to help me build myself up and help me achieve my dreams were suddenly crushing me.  So I took a step back, evaluated which goal was the most important to me, and I went for it.  I am proud of my accomplishments in regards to my health last year. 

Yet, it is so easy for me to sink back into self loathing.  One month of falling off the wagon (much of it out of my hands) and there I was hating myself for my choices, hating my body for what was happening to it, yet being unable to find the drive to fix it.  Hating getting dressed in the only jeans that fit my hips and butt- low rise- which I am constantly pulling up and they let my Mommy-pudge and back fat hang right over the top.  (The alternative being purchasing jeans that sit higher and either cut me in half, creating worse bulges and discomfort or give me a baggy butt.)  Then I remembered, again, that my life is in my hands and got back to work.  The progress feels good.  Just working towards my goal and being relatively close makes me feel better about myself.

I hate this picture

But what hit me, what disturbs me, what I can't get out of my mind, is that this last episode of self destructive behavior made me realize that I need to learn to love myself. 

Myself NOW. 

Not the self that lives in a 125 pound body.  Not the self that finally learned to ALWAYS speak calmly to her children.  Not the self that figures out how to cross off everything on her list.  Not the self that finally learns to balance everything. 

Not she who is the perfect wife.  Not she who doesn't get nervous in front of people.  Not the girl who never messes up musically- or never buries her talents. Not perfection in any way. 


ME.  M.E.  Me.

A couple weeks ago, still had some muscle definition. When I look in the mirror, all I see is that middle part.
The me who has trouble getting in the shower at a decent time everyday.  The me who will probably always have at least saggy skin on her belly.  The me who's clothes never fit quite right.  The me who yells at her kids sometimes.  The me who is the perfectionist.  The me who is not.  The me who is trying hard to get her talents back.  I want to love the me in the process.  Because really, I will never be perfect in every way.  I don't want to be.  I am not Mary Poppins.  I am me.  And I need to learn to not just be ok with that, but to be happy with that.  To be confident in that. 

I'm not sure how to get there.  I do know that I have this goal on my list for the year.  "Be happy with myself."  Now that I've realized just how self destructive I have been.  I want to change it.  I want to have the kind of confidence in myself to know that I'm strong, worthy and beautiful no matter what behavior I exhibit and no matter what weight I am.  I don't want anyone or anythings else to have to carry my confidence and happiness for me.  I want to haul it myself.

Because a journey to health, I've discovered, doesn't just mean physically.  It also includes the mind.  I need to collect my thoughts, and please, your ideas, on how to accomplish this goal.  When I do, I will write part three of this series.

My feelings are a bit raw right now, I'm a little afraid to actually click that "publish" button up there.  I have tried a few times in my life to express these feelings just to be told that I shouldn't feel that way because I have a thin frame.  Looking back at all those pictures of my youth, I see nothing wrong with that girl.  I'm not sure why I ever had the thoughts I did.  Other than many offhand comments.  Perhaps we should all be really careful about what we say to those with impressionable minds.  Obviously I've realized that I shouldn't feel that way, but these feelings are real to me.  They hurt and they run deep.  I decided to go ahead and write it out because I think there might be others with a similar story.  I think that even if the story is different, so many others can relate to these feelings.  I think this needs to change, and the first step to change is admitting the problem.   So here goes...please be nice.

The Journey to Health: Part One

It's been a while since I posted about exercise and my eating habits (or posted at all).  I was doing really well for quite a while.  I saw some amazing changes in my body.  More importantly, I felt them.  It feels good to exercise and eat healthy foods (for the most part).  So good that I got to a point where fast foods and sweets were difficult to eat.

In December my family got hit hard with illness.  It started with my girls and then we all just kept passing it around.  Initially, even through caring for sick little ones, I was doing well at keeping up with my workouts and good eating habits.  Then I got some form of their virus that took me nearly four weeks to completely get over.  An upper respiratory virus completely destroyed my ability to workout.  Believe me, I tried.  I couldn't breathe and was so run down afterwards that it just wasn't worth it.  Not to mention I felt so much worse the next day.  Then Christmas came with all the sweets, vacations, living away from my home and environment and my eating habits went out the window too.   You see where I'm going with this.

Since returning home I have continually tried to get back into the swing of things.  I have been drinking 100 ounces of water almost daily for months. I haven't had a carbonated beverage in ages.  But I kept giving into cravings, excusing myself from workouts, eating five sugar cookies instead of one.  Needless to say that, though I haven't gained any weight, I know I've lost tone and muscle definition.  At this point, it feels like I'm starting over, though I know that's not completely true.

Yesterday I decided to put the excuses away and get back to work.  It started with a good workout followed by another this morning and a great day of eating.  Tracking what I eat, writing it down, making myself accountable to someone.  I know what I need to accomplish my goals, I know how to get there, it's just kind of a mind game sometimes. 

Mind games, I think, are the hardest part of weight loss, body acceptance, controlling cravings, and making good choices.  For me, if I have a bad meal I will often give myself permission to have an entire day of poor eating choices.  If that day happens to be a Friday, I will sometimes give myself until Monday to shape up.  I know I should just make better choices the next meal, or at least the next morning.  I also find that I'm ashamed of it.  Not wanting Matt to know I ate a whole thing of red vines, or cookie dough.  Not because he would be disappointed, but because I am and don't want anyone to know.

I deal with a lot of this every day.  I have to talk myself out of raiding the girls' candy stash from Christmas.  I have to make myself eat a piece of fruit instead of something sweet.  I know it gets easier.  I have already been on that side.  It's just pushing through this wall of doubt that I can't make it to where I want to be.  That wall that taunts me to go back to the days of eating what I feel like instead of being in control of what enters my body.

As I've chiseled away at this wall, and struggled with a bit of depression at losing ground I had already covered in pursuit of my goals, I've discovered a few things about myself:

When I get depressed about my lack of self control regarding food it causes me to want to eat more.  And it's always sweets that I crave at these times. 

What I eat for breakfast really sets the tone for the rest of my day.  If I have some eggs or Greek yogurt and some fruit, my days seems to go better.  If I have a healthy cereal without some solid protein, it's so much harder to make good choices throughout the day. 

When I am consistent with exercise I am less tempted to eat poorly.  I suppose this is because I don't want all that work to be wasted. 

I really enjoy the endorphins from exercise.  When I don't get them, especially if it goes on very long, I miss them to the point that I feel run down, deflated, and even sometimes depressed.  This usually leads right back to poor eating habits.  Kind of a vicious cycle if I don't keep up with things.

Last, and most important.  I have NEVER felt comfortable in my own skin. 

I think I always knew this deep down, but I didn't realize it fully until the last few days.  It's kind of unsettling to me.  And something I need to figure out if there is ever going to be a point where I'm happy with the state of my body.  Tomorrow I will dive into this.  I hope people will be kind, and understand that people of every body shape have their struggles. 

What are your fitness goals and struggles?  Can you relate to any of mine?