Thursday, October 31, 2013

What do we do when we fall off the horse?

“Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off and move forward.” 
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf 
Read the full talk here.

I've been trying for quite a while to adopt a healthier lifestyle. I'm not trying to become a super model, but it would be nice to be able to shop at regular retail clothing stores. I've been relegated to Lane Bryant and Catherine's for my entire married life. So, starting in November of last year, I worked out consistently for 8 months. I ate healthily with a (usually) small daily indulgence. I tried SO. HARD.

I only lost 11 pounds. In 8 months. That's it. No notable changes in measurements or dress sizes. Just 11 pounds. After all that hard work. Now, I don't need to see crazy fast results, but that's too slow for my taste. I got very discouraged. So I stopped going to the gym and I ate whatever I wanted for 3.5 months. In those 3.5 months I've only gained back 3 pounds. Not much incentive to start curbing my appetite and working hard at the gym again.

But, I was complaining about all this to my older brother whom I greatly respect, and he told me what I was doing wrong with my workout and eating lifestyle, that made it so I didn't get the results I wanted. Then he outlined a new plan for me. I started it today, and Holy Moly, it is HARD. Not in a, "Crap, I'm going to injure myself" way, but in a, "I'm gasping for air and my muscles feel like they're going to give out at any moment, but I just have to keep moving for 5 more minutes" kind of way. 

Here's what I was doing for exercise:
I spent an hour at the gym each morning, Monday through Friday. Tuesday and Thursday were weight training days where I would make 3 circuits through several weightlifting machines targeting different parts of my body. (Usually 2-3 machines for upper body, 2-3 for lower body, and 2 for core). On Mondays I would run on the treadmill for speed, trying to get my mile run time down, then finish out my 45 minutes on the elliptical and cool down. Wednesdays I would run for distance and endurance, spending my entire time on a slower setting on the treadmill. Fridays I would swim laps at the indoor pool.

Here is the new routine:
Instead of spending one block of time at the gym, I am doing 3, 20 minute workouts spaced throughout the day. They are designed to keep my heart rate up the entire time (minus warm up and cool down). 
1. My first (8:15 am) is a mile run (which took me 13:15 this morning (running up and down my hilly neighborhood). My legs and lungs were burning, I had a stitch in my right side, and I was shaking for probably an hour after cooling down. It's also the best mile run time I've had since the 5th grade (which was 11:22, in case you were wondering. It was also the last time I ran a mile until 2012). With warm up and cool down it got me to 20 minutes. Eventually, when my run time gets better, I'll have to up the distance to keep going for that long. 
2. My second workout (1pm) is more like weight training, but the purpose is to use big muscle groups instead of isolating exercises that are more used for toning. That means exercises like squats, push ups, sit ups, pull ups, jump rope, box jumps, etc. For 20 minutes without stopping. Today, I made circuits through 50 jumps with a jump rope, 20 sit ups (which turned into 25 crunches by the 3rd set), and 30 wall push ups. I determined the amount of sit ups and push ups by how badly my muscles were screaming at me during the first set. I cycled through as quickly as I could until 15 minutes was up and I could cool down. I was moving so slowly by the end of it but my heart rate was up the whole time. I also may have had difficulty even pulling myself up off of the ground near the end there...
3. My final session for the day (4pm) is supposed to be something fun, which works out well, because Avery will be home. She and I can dance to upbeat songs, play Zumba on the Wii, play tag ... just as long as my heart rate is up for 20 minutes. I could also do something more relaxing, like yoga, which I may do, depending on how sore I get, not that it's any easier, but a slower pace might do me good.

Here's what I used to do with eating:
3 meals with 1 snack
good days:
Eggs with bacon or sausage, or greek yogurt.
bad days:
Pancakes, cereal, ... whatever, or nothing

good days:
Open faced tuna salad sandwich with veggies or a salad
bad days:
Left overs, cup a noodles, whatever is easiest in the house, nothing

good days:
Cheese stick and a small apple
bad days:
whatever is easiest and yummiest in the house. May be multiple snacks.

good days:
Lean protein with a generous serving of veggies and a square of dark chocolate for dessert.
bad days:
starchy casserole, pancakes, fast food, restaurant

The new plan:
Five small meals a day, already planned and prepped in advance. Lots of vegetables and beans, a little fruit (and only in the morning), a little lean meat, VERY little grain (maybe 1/2-1 serving a day of whole grain), VERY little dairy or eggs, NO processed foods, refined sugar, etc. The occasional indulgence (meaning NOT daily) of a small portion of some form of comfort food.

I'm trying it. We'll see how it goes. I'm trying not to base this on my own will power, because I don't have any follow through, but instead, to focus on the will of my Savior. My goal here isn't to become a size 6 or to weigh 130 pounds. My goal is to care for my physical body, and to grow spiritually through the process of learning moderation and self mastery. Pray for me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Great Advice and New Years Resolutions

So I've been thinking a lot lately.

New Years Resolutions. Last year was the first year I felt like I'd actually followed through with my resolutions. Normally I make a long list of all the things I want to change about myself and progress with, (and somehow expect that I'll make them all happen 100% perfectly from then on), but last year I followed some great advice on picking my resolutions, and that has made all the difference in my year. I was encouraged to pray about the one goal I could make for 2012 that would have the biggest positive effect on my life, and focus on that.

After praying and pondering, I finally decided on two, because they were both too important to wait for 2013. :)
1. Be a reliable and loving visiting teacher.
2. Study the Sunday School and Relief Society lessons before church each Sunday.

I wasn't perfect, but I put in an honest effort throughout the year. I spent time re-evaluating my goals during General Conference (1st week in April and October) and my birthday (1st week in July) - serendipitous how that worked out, right? With New Years it equals out to once every three months. :)

I truly feel the difference in my life because of these resolutions. I have seen the Lord blessing me because of my study and service. I've seen him preparing me, and giving me greater opportunities for growth and learning.

So what's next, then?

Obviously I want to continue my goals from 2012. But I followed the same advice for this year, and this is where I've felt drawn *gulp*:
1. Read the entire standard works (Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) by the end of the year.
Want to see my schedule?
2. Write in my journal at least once a week (I almost wrote "at least every other day" but I chickened out.)

Line upon line, right? I feel a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of my reading resolution, but it equates to about 6-7 pages of scripture per day. Totally doable, right?

The reason I feel drawn to writing in my journal is because of my Grandpa, Nephi Bushman's example.  He is 83, and has been faithful and consistent in journal writing for most of his life (just like his father was before him). He has recorded so many wonderful, important, and sometimes heartbreaking memories in the precious pages of his journals, and I hope to someday pass on a similar type of legacy (albeit in much messier handwriting).

We also set family goals:
1. Take one family name each to the temple each month.
2. Read the entire Book of Mormon together by the end of the year (roughly 15 verses each day. Easy peasy.) Here is the nifty reading calendar we're using!
3. Index at least 365 names each by the end of the year.

So there you have it! What are your resolutions? Feel like taking on any of my challenges with me this year?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Preparing and Coping With Kindergarten

A blog update from Avery's first day of Kindergarten that I never posted.

I have to preface by saying that this post is really more about my day than Avery's, since for one of the first times in her life, she and I were in different places and had separate experiences. That is such a weird concept for me. I can't tell you how her day was, because I actually wasn't there. Now there will be this huge portion of her life each day that I can only hear about second hand. Also, I left her with a woman I'd only met once before! Excluding the Ikea playroom for two separate  thirty-minute intervals, I've only ever left Avery with people that I've know for months or years - people that I knew I could trust, and that I knew loved her for the special little girl that she is.

Don't get me wrong, this is a good thing. Avery is a very independent girl with her own style, her own way of doing things, and her own developing set of problem-solving skills. We will both grow enormously through this experience. Fostering independence is SO IMPORTANT. 

It's just hard.

She is my life. My whole world revolves around her. So this was really difficult for me.

We seriously debated homeschooling, but came to the conclusion that I am too much of a hermit to be able to give Avery the social interaction that she needs in her stage of development, (plus the whole fostering independence train of thought I typed out earlier). So we made the decision a while ago to send her to public school, researched, and moved into the best district we could find. We have been trying our hardest to prepare her and keep her excited about school, and I really think it has paid off so far. Here are some of the things we've done to help get her ready:

We've talked with her a lot about what to expect at school, prayed with her (and ceaselessly for her) about it, read through and discussed the school and district handbooks with her, made an appointment to visit with the principal during registration, made a big deal about shopping for school clothes and supplies, and went to orientation where we visited her classroom, met with her teacher, toured the school, played on the playground, had her use the school bathrooms, etc. Erik gave her a father's blessing before bed the night before (which also turned out to be a great comfort to me). We discussed with her how she could react in different situations, how she could be a friend and an example to the people she meets, and some of the different ways she could cope if she had a hard time. On the day of we sent her with some little things that meant something special to her - I packed her a lunch with one of her favorite treats, Erik crocheted a special blanket for her to snuggle during nap time, she wore her ctr ring, and right before we left the house I drew a heart on her palm, kissed it, and told her to look at it if she missed me, and she would know that I was thinking about her and that I love her.

I had a harder time than she did. I got (almost) all my crying out the night before (ended up losing it after packing her lunch), so I was able to stay strong when we dropped her off. It was so hard to leave the classroom though! I just kept turning back around once I got to the door and waving goodbye (again), giving her teacher last-minute instructions (Erik finally said (very sweetly), "Honey, I think she's done this before ..." to which I responded a little helplessly, "I know she has, but ... but I haven't!") And the house was so quiet!! Erik took me out to lunch (which was super sweet and helped pass the time), but I still spedwalked the 4 1/2 blocks to her school when it was time to pick her up. (Seriously, I made the 15 minute walk in 7 haha).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Avery's Birthday Donation Drive Results!

So, it all started when we were teaching Avery about service, and how she can serve others, even at her young age. We gave her a few suggestions, and one of them was the idea of using her birthday party as a way to help collect donations for people in need. She caught hold of the idea, and decided she wanted to help children. "I want to help children in Africa. Or maybe I want to help children in China!" We told her that it was her decision, but mentioned the fact that there were even children in our town that need help. She replied with, "Really?! Okay, I'm going to help them!"

We researched on the internet and found the Safe Homes of Augusta, Inc. I contacted them about the idea, received a donation needs list, and we got to work. The theme of the party was, "Give a Hoot!" and Avery and I sewed toy owls that the kids stuffed and finished at the party.

We sent out the donations needs list with the invitations to the party,

through Facebook, and through Erik's work. We set up a bin on post, and people have been dropping off donations all month. The party was cute and fun, and the response we received has been MUCH more than we expected.

We ended up collecting 712 items in new or gently used condition for donation!

We made this sign to give to the Safe Homes as well. We had everyone who donated sign it. :)

When we dropped off the donation, the ladies up front all took the time to talk to Avery about what a wonderful thing she did. Then they brought out their executive director, Amiee Hall, to thank Avery.

They also put Avery up on their Facebook page. All in all it was an AMAZING EXPERIENCE. Avery says, "Thank you for donating things. It made me feel happy to have a birthday party and to make other people happy and help them."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Donation Drive for the Safe Homes of Augusta Inc.!

To celebrate Avery’s 5th birthday this month, we are hosting a donation drive for the Safe Homes of Augusta Inc., an organization that helps women and children who are victims of domestic violence. The list of needs is attached here. If you or someone you know live in the area and have any of these items in new or gently used condition that you would like to donate, please send me a message! I will reply with my address in Grovetown where you can drop off your donations anytime from now through March 27th. If you don't live in the area but would still like to help, the link above also includes an option for monetary contributions through Paypal, where you can specify that you’re donating for “Avery’s Birthday Donation Drive” under the “Add special instructions to the seller” option. Every little bit helps! For more information on the Safe Homes of Augusta Inc. please visit their website. Thank you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Visits with Family and Friends and a VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!

On Tuesday night we had dinner with Erik's brother David, his wife, Jami, and his daughter, Kelsey. Mmm, ranch burgers. We played board games and watched Tangled. Avery would run over to the table when it was her turn to roll the dice in Farkle. She had the cutest look of concentration on her face when she picked up all 6 dice and threw her arms out to drop them on the table. :) She was also super cute dancing along with the movie and running in circles around the coffee table and jumping over the computer cord. Yeah, I'm one of those moms who thinks everything her child does is cute. Don't judge me. :) Erik tried to brag with subtlety (and didn't pull it off) when he won Farkle, and David and Jami took turns kicking our butts in Scrabble Slam. Jami won The Logo Game, much to David's chagrin, and Erik made up for lost time by teasing Kelsey mercilessly. One of the funnest nights so far this year. :)

On Wednesday we drove down to the valley to visit some of our friends and family before heading to Georgia. The drive down was fun and mostly uneventful, except for the bit between Payson and Mesa where Avery said she was going to throw up and I cut off a white truck going 70+ MPH to get to the side of the road. Whoops. She was much better after a little fresh air and we were on our way again. We spent the afternoon at Arizona Mills, buying clothes at the outlets there. Avery was thrilled that she finally got a pair of pants with a BELT. She also chose sneakers in pink and brown over the ones in purple and silver. It may not be super interesting to anyone who reads this, but I love watching her develop her own sense of style. We spent the evening visiting our friends, Christian and Denise Olson and their kids. It was just like old times. Avery had a BALL running around screaming and playing with her Hawaii friends, and Erik and I had a delightful time catching up and joking around with Christian and Denise. I love traveling and living in new places, but I'm really starting to look forward to settling down in Arizona again so we can see all our loved ones more than just once or twice a year. We left Christian and Denise's well past their kids' bedtime (sorry guys!), and made our way over to Nick and Brittany's apartment (my older brother and his incredible wife, for those of you who don't know), where we stayed the night. Brittany made this super yummy lemon-lime chicken, and we stayed up talking into the not-so-wee hours of the morning. (I am just not as spry as I used to be. I'm still recuperating from only getting 5 hours of sleep. I'm such a lightweight.) It was worth it though. The next day we studied scriptures together, ate lunch at the Oriental Buffet (mmm), and spent a few fun-filled hours browsing Deseret Book, where Uncle Nick bought Avery her first CTR ring (it's pink). She was thrilled, and absolutely REFUSES to take it off. (Not that anyone is trying to make her.) It is going to be a keepsake forever.

Next we visited Erik's sister, Misty, her husband, Todd, and their two girls. We had such a good time catching up with them again and Avery just LOVES playing with her cousins. After that we dropped Nick off and headed over to my sister, Jami's house where we talked and had dinner with her, her husband, Adam, and their baby boy. Jami made these amazing (and apparently super easy) enchiladas that were to die for. I loved getting to see my sister and left her place with a determination to keep in better contact with her. She is such an awesome lady. We spent the night again with Nick and B, but only stayed up until 12:30 that night, since I kept nodding off while Nick showed us a fun computer game. (Like I said: lightweight.)

The next morning we received some VERY IMPORTANT AND EXCITING NEWS! Erik got promoted to E4! He is now a Senior Airman! He earned this thing called Below The Zone (BTZ), which is an accelerated promotion schedule that is awarded for Airman Excellence, based on Military Volunteer Work, Community Service, and Personal Improvement (like continuing education). Very few people qualify for it, but Erik did! I am so proud of my husband and I am so glad that his hard work is paying off! Congratulations, Baby!

After celebrating the good news we hung out with Nick, transferred a bunch of his music collection over for us (thanks again, Nick!), ate at Souper Salad, (OhmyGOODness it was good. It always goes back to food with me.) and were on our way back up the mountain. We drove on Bush Highway until it met up with the 87 and it was gorgeous! We took a little detour so Erik could show me Strawberry, which is a cute little town where Erik says he wants to settle down, since the mountains and valleys around there are so pretty. We got back to my parents' house and Joey was having a sleepover with a friend. They invited Avery to join in, and they all had a ball playing Toy Story Mania and sleeping on Nana and Papa's floor in their sleeping bags. (Well, Avery decided to come back into our room in the middle of the night, but that's okay.) :)

And now, today. Today is a day for packing and preparing to leave. We're going to the temple one more time tonight and going to church tomorrow with my parents before we're off on our journey across the country. I'm thinking my next update will be when I'm in our new house in Georgia, and then I can write about all of our shenanigans from the trip. :) Wish us luck!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Well ... It's been a while, to say the least. So much has happened since I last posted. It has been nearly two years and we have moved *counting...* three times since then. Crap. We move around a lot. We went from Hawaii to Monterey, California where we were reunited with Erik and I got a lot less depressing. :)We met some wonderful people (including one of Erik's old mission companions, his lovely wife, and their adorable sons.) Life got even better once the awesomest of my non-relatives on earth, Jenni Denney, got to Monterey too. We were there until September of 2011, then it was off to San Angelo, Texas for three months. The ward and all the people we got to know were amazing. We were sad to leave them so soon, but also excited to get Erik a well-deserved break! 22 months of training and he's finally operational in the US Air Force! Congratulations, Baby! We are also VERY excited to get to our first permanent duty station and put down some semi-permanent roots. We will be in Augusta, Georgia for 2-4 years, and are looking forward to some exciting new changes that are coming our way. I will try to keep you posted more often.

Avery's update: i am avery. i am 4 years old. i have lots of toys. i like the zoo.

She's growing up so fast!

Until next time!