Monday, November 21, 2011

Exercise: A Young Mother's Memoir

I like to think of myself as a fairly dedicated person.  While I may not be successful right away, I work hard to see something through.  And, I also like to think my dedication extends to the buzzing realms of exercise. 

It's true, I've always been active and I really enjoy playing and doing 'sporty' stuff.  In high school, I played tennis and I loved it.  I got to be on my feet, dodging back and forth on the green courts and swinging really hard at some sprightly yellow balls...not to mention the happy white tennis skirts!  I also played volleyball and loved it every bit as much.  While the court may not have been green, I was able to use raw force with those volleyballs and serve them up like they was fast flyin' hotcakes!  The knee pads were not *quite* as sightly as the tennis skirts, but hey, who doesn't love feeling like a pro when you dive around on the floor after a rogue ball?!  I LOVED playing sports.  I loved being active with friends and focusing my mind on fast moving, flying kept my attention, mostly. 

After graduation, I mourned the loss of my weekly matches/games and wondered how a girl stays 'sporty' without playing sports anymore....hmmmm.  So, I took up running.  It seemed like all the cool girls ran, and I wanted to be cool too, so I ran.  It was...well...alright, I guess.  I really didn't look forward to staring into space for 45 minutes while my feet pounded out a monotonous 2-3 miles.  And I didn't even have any fast moving, flying balls to chase after!  I was bored when I ran.  The scenery was lovely of course, but when you're not a born runner, the trees and ferns instantly appear to be gasping for breath and though to be mocking me in my voluntary state of cardio agony.

College came and my friend Amy introduced me to her company gym and we worked out together on her lunch break.  I still tried to run, and this time, I was introduced to the fabulous, new fangled world of the treadmill runners.  It seemed awfully cool, so I hopped on and ran.  Luckily, this time around there was no pesky scenery to get in my gasping trees and ferns to mock me, no fresh air, no sunshine, no nonsense!  I was focused!  Focused like the freakishly serious work-out-a-holics in the girly magazines.  My focus quickly turned to boredom.  So, now I was bored on the treadmill....and I even kind of missed my tree and fern friends....and sometimes, I even remembered those fast, flying tennis balls.

After one husband and two children, my need for physical activity increased, while my body's responsiveness to it has....decreased.  What a maddening irony of life..."Congratulations on your amazing husband and two beautiful children and countless hours of unpaid's your dumpy new body, complete with stretch marks, a mushy belly and flabby arms.  You're welcome,  MWAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!".  Yep, that's about how it feels.

So, I go the gym and for lack of any other creative exercise idea and for the LOVE of all things familiar, I silently roll my eyes and step on my old friend, the treadmill.  I am just about the slowest runner alive.  Truly, I don't even think I can consider it 'jogging'.  I pace myself at a 5.5, whatever that means and thump thump thump away.  I miss my tennis balls and I haven't even reached a quarter mile!  I see myself in the mirrors across the gym and through the fit and flabby bodies in between.  There I am.  My bouncing head and swaying ponytail.  The lighting is not my friend today.  The sway of my hair casts shadows on my shoulders and I look like I'm shrugging in agony.  The guy two machines over from me is so cool.  He's running really fast and he was running before I even got onto my machine...."Don't look at his display board, Samantha!  You'll only get depressed!".  Too late.  5 miles....the showoff.  I may be able to feel a little better about my running if I didn't keep looking into the mirror.  Half a face is here.  There is no hiding it.  I've always been a red-faced-runner.   I look like I've been running in a sauna and it isn't pretty.  No man would dare come near me now for fear I may be about to explode into a billion tears of shame.  But, I've really come to grips with my exercise-face.  When you've had two kids, I guess you just don't care as much what people think...especially about your face. 

But, I keep running.  Not because I want to run a marathon someday, and certainly not because I love it.  I keep running because it just *has* to be done.  I run because my fear of giving up and being weak outweighs my love of chasing after tennis balls and my dislike of that cursed treadmill.  I know I'll never look like how I used to look, but I MUST try.  I MUST never give up, even when, after all of my efforts, I gain weight.  I will not yield!  I will always keep trying and hope that in three months, when my body is truly my own again, I can whip it into submission. I may not ever be able to go back to exercising my little heart out on delightfully green tennis courts or squeaky volleyball courts, but I dream of running after those sprightly yellow tennis balls and diving for those leather-y volleyballs as I thump thump thump my mundane miles.  And sometimes, I even dream of those pesky trees and ferns mocking me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Disney on Ice

This past Saturday Marin and I had a mommy-daughter go see Disney on Ice!!!  I bought the tickets a few months ago and was able to get pretty good seats too...since then, I've had a little flyer for it on the fridge and Marin has been asking almost everyday if it's "On yet?". 

She brought her little " 'Punzel"  doll and was practically *skipping* as we walked to the arena, it was about the cutest thing I've ever seen...and then I heard her giggle with excitement, ah, what a funny girl!

Sorry the pictures are so grainy, I forgot the camera and all I had was my phone.

Marin was just about *enraptured* was so sweet.

 They did a really nice job with the program.  They chose the classic Disney movies and did a VERY short synopsis with one or two songs, really well done.

 There were some of the Disney movies she hadn't seen, so I had to help her out a little.
 Marin and mama.
 Crazy faces!!!
 Silly Marin.
 Lion King.
 At the very end, they brought out ALL of the Disney princesses and their princes for a grand finale.
We had a perfect date and I hope I can always find time to take my little girl out mono-et-mono, so she always knows mama has time for *just* her.

Happy 9 Months!

I can hardly believe that my sweet little boy is 9 months old today!!  Such bittersweet feelings for a mother.  I am so happy he is growing and learning, but I know I will never get this time back with him.  I am so happy he has joined our family.  He has brought a level of sweet tenderness into our home that is just sublime.  His beautiful face, bright blue eyes, rosy cheeks and happy smile are just infectious. 

And I couldn't decide which of these pictures to post, so I posted them all....check out our cutest little fella ever!

 Hey mama!
 Look at that sweet face, he melts my heart.

 Awwww, buddy.....
 Mr. Happy

Happy 9 months little guy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nothing So Sweet As....

Truly, is there anything so sweet as a sleeping baby?!  It is RARE that I am able to catch a daytime glimpse of my sweet Owen, he is a ridiculously light sleeper.  Oh how I love this sleeping boy.  I know how quickly he'll be big and not so baby-ish anymore, so I have been making sure to savor every moment of baby-bliss that I can.  After I feed Owen at night before bed, he usually falls asleep in my arms and I snuggle his little head into my neck and rock and smell and kiss him until my mother heart has been filled to happiness.

And is there anything as sweet to a mother as her family?  Sunday morning the children piled on top of Daddy and got comfortable.  They LOVE Daddy, and I'm so glad I have a husband who really loves his kids and plays with them.  I'm such a lucky gal :)

In The Snow

A couple of weeks ago it snowed on a perfect Saturday morning, and while my husband may be a grown man, I saw a glimmer of boyhood in his ice blue eyes as he proudly looked out the window at the famous Salt Lake snow and loosed a small grin on his face.  I could tell he was just as excited as my little girl to go and play in it! 

Marin and Daddy, all ready to head out in the snow.

 We had about 4 inches!

 Those two, if they aren't peas in a pod....
 Daddy would make a snowball, and Marin would throw it at mama who was kneeling on the couch and taking pictures through the window.  Then I started to fall over on the couch when the snowball hit the window, she thought that mama was crazy funny!
 I *do* love my handsome hubs ;)

 More snowballs!
And, I do have to admit, the snow here in Salt Lake is about the fluffiest I've seen.  It is so dry and delicate and if 'soft' could have word, it would this snow.  As a rough-and-tough New York girl, I'm so used to wet and heavy snow, I was sure that was the only kind!  How wonderful to know that snow has a light and fluffy relative!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Family Updates

Haha, I'm SURE you are all super excited to read this post after a title like that, eh?  I just can't bring myself to download and edit pictures at this time of night.  "10:30 pm?!", you say?  Yes, I've two small children and it wears me OUT, phew!  So, here we go:

Kristoffer has a BIG test looming this Saturday, so PLEASE keep him in your prayers and thoughts.  He will sit for his series 7 exam which, in part, will allow him 1) to legally trade stocks/bonds and 2) to be more likely for hire at Zion's and unofficially 3) to spend more time with us....yeah.

He has been studying SO hard and has been so dilligent.  He's had less than half the time most people usually have to study for this test and has made monumental progress since he first started.  I can't tell you how very proud I am of him!  It's a 6 hour test, yikes!  He's had some encouraging news from his boss hinting at a hire after his internship ends and he passes his test, so we are keeping our fingers crossed!

I wish I had exciting news about myself.  Stay at home mom's rarely have excting news to share about themselves (truly).  It's always about the kids or the hubs.  The highlite of my day is going to the gym, and well, that just isn't encouraging anymore.  I had spent 3 months at the same weight, started working out, gained 6 pounds, then had lost 3, and now I'm up another 2.  So, whatever.  My clothes do fit a little better, so I'm toning up, but I feel like the weight is just redistributing...I would like it to distribute itself OFF my body.  My mother told me that losing weight would be harder after the second baby...she was right.  Why do mom's always have to be right?

Marin is a sweet little jabberbox.  She asks a million questions a day and is a happy girl.  We've been working on night training for a few weeks and she's been doing surpisingly well.  I limit liquids after 6pm and then I put her on her little potty before I go to be around 11.  She's been staying dry, so we are SO happy to only have ONE child in diapers, wohooo!  I relented and cut her hair the other day.  She had snipped her own hair about a month ago, plus she twirls her hair with her fingers on that same side, so it breaks and was a little shorter....she was looking a little scraggly, so she has a little bob now, and it really looks super cute.

Owen, oh he is a happy little guy.  He's army crawling *everywhere* and is really quite speedy.  He enjoys re-arranging my cookbooks, getting into the (clean) fireplace and turning up the volume dial for the speakers.  The last one is is favorite.  He crawls over there, and looks at me with his hand on the dial and GRINS ear to ear and squeels with anticipation as I call to him..."Buddyyyyy, what are you doing?".  He thinks it's quite the game.  Then he cranks it and thrills himself to alertness when he realizes how loud it is.  Silly boy.  Owen has been loving standing next to furniture and his play table, he's still a bit unsteady and needs help getting to the standing position, but it's good practice.  He loves eating cheerios and tasting whatever we're eating.  He smiles so much and I love his smiley face, it makes me soooo happy!

I hope to have some pictures....wait, I hope to have some *ambition* to download pictures here very soon.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Marin's Testimony

Today was a lovely day. 

There was nothing extraordinary about our early start due to daylight savings time, although, it did make our morning much less rushed.  Huh, imagine that!  We walked into Sacrament Meeting and sat in the folding chairs in the back with the other stragglers tip-toeing (?) in.  Some weeks we get to sit in a pew.

As we listened to the other members bear their testimonies, I looked at my little Marin and asked her, "Marin, would like to go up to the front and tell everyone that you love Jesus?".

She peered at me with her bright blue eyes and enthusiastically responded "Yes!", in her sweet squeaky voice.  So I took her hand and we walked.  Normally, the walk to the rostrum is always full of self awareness and trepidation, and today was no exception.  I held the hand of an excited little girl who was trotting happily beside me, and while the walk seemed twice as long, perhaps it's because I was already choking back tears.

We arrived at the pulpit, I lifted her up to microphone and she bore her very simple and concise testimony:  "I love Jesus 'cuz he is my friend."

I coached her through a few more lines and then took my own turn.  I truly felt the Spirit and was so proud of my sweet daughter.  I am so happy she knows that Jesus is her friend, and I hope she will always remember that. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grocery Help

If you are shopping on a budget (like me!), you know how challenging it is to get as much as you can for your money.  Especially as of late, the prices on things in the grocery store are just about reaching *ludicrous*!!  So, I thought I would share a little tip for my Utah friends. 

 My brother in law introduced me to the NPS store, and it is *amazing*.  I can walk out of that store with SOOOO much for my money, and that is WITHOUT coupons!  Check it out:

Before I went to NY in September, I snapped a few pictures of my haul.  How much did I spend on this spree?  45 bucks.  Yup, 45 bucks.  I KNOW!  I did use a few coupons, but I saved about 3 dollars with that.  I can't remember all of what's in the picture, but you can see: 8 boxes of cereal, 2 boxes of generic cream of wheat, 4 totinos pizzas (for the hubs!), 2 boxes eggo waffles, 2 tubs mayo, 2 cake mixes, 1 box protein bars, 2 jars peanut butter, 2 jars salsa, 6 cups of yogurt, 1 pkg raisins, 1 box fiber one bars, 1 bottle Ny-Quil, 3 small tubs of hummus, a pineapple, etc...I could go ON!  Oh, plus a bag of potatos I left on the bottom of the grocery cart :/  Meh.

Aaaan, this past weeks haul.  65 bucks for this one.  A little pricier, only because I bought a 9 dollar ham and an 8 dollar bottle of olive oil.  BUT, here you may see:  2 bottle of white grape juice, 6 pks of fresh strawberries, 4 pkgs of stuffing, 1 large tub plain greek yogurt, 2 small tubs cream cheese, 2-8 oz bricks cream cheese, 2 pks ravioli, 2 big bunches bananas, a LARGE bag of pears, 2 pks pepperoni, 3 lean frozen meals, 1 box oyster crackers, 2 pks eggo waffles, 2 bottle balsamic vinegar, 4 avacados, 2 pks marshmallows, 1 box cereal, 1 pkg raisins, and MORE.

Any of this purchased anywhere else would have cost you WELL over 100+ dollars!  The reason NPS is able to offer such low prices on so much, is that they are a salvage store.  They take outdated, close to outdated, kind of banged up boxes of stuff etc from a multitude of stores and YOU reap the savings. 

I do not recommend outdated mayo, I bought 40 oz for 50 cents, so it was worth a shot.  BUT, I've purchased outdate cereal, crackers, hummus, stuffing, yogurt, and it's all FINE.  Even stuff that isn't outdated, they have excellent prices on.  They do also carry regular products, so don't go in thinking that all of their stuff is super cheap.  A majority of their products are super low priced, so it is well worth it to check it out. 

You would never see this place from anywhere, you have to know what you're looking for and it's a kind of ghetto, but once you get inside, you'll see that all types of people shop there.

If you can get yourself to 17th S. and Redwood Rd, it's only a few turns away!

The NPS Store

                                                             1600 South Empire Road

                                                             Salt Lake City, UT 84104


You can check out their website, although, it's pretty bare and doesn't give a lot of info: