March & April

I feel like I'm not writing much lately, and it's true. I'm not writing much anywhere here or in the journals I keep for everyone, including Steve HAHA. I don't even know why. Life gets chugging along and then I realize that time isn't exactly standing still and here we are at the END OF APRIL??? How did that even happen? I don't know what it is about this year but I'm dragging. Maybe it's the lack of sunshine and the overabundance of cloudy skies? Maybe I'm just getting really lazy.... Anyways, here is a collage of a million pictures of what we've been up to.
Kalea and Brynlee are forming quite the sister bond, it's awesome. I love to see them play together, but mostly I like to see how they work out their arguments, it's pretty funny. I'd say Brynlee gets her way more often than not, but not until Kalea has tormented her. For example, we don't use sippy cups around here anymore but we have a few Powerade bottles that have the no-spill lid that the girls have adopted. Kalea couldn't find hers, so she stole Brynlee's basically right out of her mouth. Brynlee freaked out about it pretty quickly so I hid behind the couch and watched Kalea do the good ol' "Here Brynlee! Take it! It's okay, don't tell Mom!" Where in the world did she learn that? I'm now convinced it's just in every kids' genetic make-up. It was pretty funny, and I'm glad that half the time I don't really have to intervene- Brynlee is pretty dramatic, so it's pretty noisy all day, but it's not bad unless she comes to find me. They also refuse to go to bed without the other sister. Kalea is so smart that on the days when she's had a late nap and knows she doesn't have to go to bed yet, she'll still go to her room and pretend to go to sleep until Brynlee is snoring and then she'll come hang out with me and Steve for a bit before her real bedtime- how's that for sister love?

We enjoyed a visit from one of my best friends and her daughter last month. It was surreal to sit and watch our kids play together and get along so well, kudos to her I think her little one is one of the smartest kids I've ever met, and super outgoing. Kalea and Brynlee have enjoyed many a noisy dance party over the last few months too, usually while wearing my church shoes. Does it scare anyone else when their little girls are strutting around/spinning on 4inch heels? It's a test of my patience sometimes- it's the control freak in me, I just can't stop thinking that someone's going to break an ankle! It's super cute though, they love wearing dresses that spin and generally, even if I've dressed them for the day, they will find a way to revert back to a nightgown or play-dress without me noticing. Sometimes it's awkward when we have company and random articles of clothing find themselves under the kitchen table or flying down the stairs, such is life at our house. Easter was really fun for us with the girls this year. I didn't do so much leading up to it this year because I feel like my general overall energy is about a 2-3 on a scale of 1-10 lately, but I think I planned Easter Sunday perfectly. We woke up later than usual-thanks girls- had some breakfast, dyed some eggs had a bath, got ready and went to church, came home and distracted the girls with a movie while the Easter Bunny hid their loot. They did their hunt and then played the rest of the afternoon before we went to my parents' for dinner. Low-key and basically void of any stress. Since then, Brynlee constantly asks me for chocolate, no matter the time of day- even the other night transferring her from the car to her bed "Mommy, where's my chokmick?" PS she says chocolate so cute it's hard to refuse her. We've also been lucky enough to have a few days of SUPER NICE WEATHER! Wahoo! We got the sprinkler out on Monday because it was HOT, yes it was. It was so nice to feel the sun on our faces and see the girls fall back into their usual routines where water is involved, ie.shamelessly tossing their clothing aside and playing naked in FREEZING water. I have no idea where they get that from, I wouldn't even put my hand in the tap water it was so cold. Hopefully they won't be throwing clothing or diapers over the fence this year, that's always such a pain... Oh and Brynlee is finally getting her 2yr molars...Ahem... I give her medicine, cold stuff to chew on, she spends all day whining and crying and trying to nap and sleep all the while still whimpering... My head feels like it's going to explode from the sound of her, not that I don't love her, but her whiny sad voice is pretty grating on the nerves for everyone involved. Fun times.
I included one of my fun things in our picture collage. I still don't have a calling at church so they asked me to be on the decorating committee for our Relief Society party. It was a lot of fun, although I forgot to take pictures of everything when we were finished setting up, so the only one I managed was a quick snapshot before the food tables were attacked by hungry ladies. We made bunting and had giant balloons and made big coffee filter and tissue paper flowers for our centerpieces. It was a fun night, birthday party themed so we played some fun games and it was really nice to have a change of pace and a bit more contact with other adults! Sidenote, I am feeling super low energy lately, I'm thinking my thyroid must be out of whack or something. To avoid the question, nope I'm not pregnant, currently cycling and still on stupid birth control to regulate my cycle... Which worked for a bit and now I'm back to the usual, so probably time to make another doctor's appointment. I've noticed that I'm not getting the "high" from my workouts that I'm used to, but I'm still working out hard, and eating well and drinking lots of water, so I'm stumped. I found for a while that I wasn't getting the workout high until a long while after my workout was over so I had to switch from doing them at night to mid-morning, but now I'm getting nothing. Maybe I just need to change up the work out, if I can find any energy I will do that... Still losing weight though, so that's a good sign that it's working! I'm down 10lbs so far with not quite the effort that I was hoping to put forth, so that's not bad and seriously, I'm only doing 30-45mins a day, which seemed like a lot at first, but now it feels like no time at all, it goes by so fast. Now that the weather is turning I'm able to get out with the kids more, so that will hopefully help me get some more weight off through the summer. It makes such a HUGE difference being able to get outside, and with both kids out of strollers, now I'll be able to jog a bit while herding them down the trails, so that'll be fun.
I guess I should update on Steve too... He turned 31 in March and subbed by fluke for a volleyball team with an amazing setter who he now wants to be bff's with, so he is playing for them more often now. I'm just glad he's found someone who knows what they're doing so volleyball can be fun for him again instead of just an exercise in patience. Must be hard to be so full of athletic ability...Selfishly I'm just glad I don't have to hear about "so-and-so who likes to bash everyone even though she sucks the most out of everyone there" anymore :)
That's life at the moment, we are just gearing up for soccer season now and looking forward to a trip down to Cardston next weekend and a visit from my surrogate Aunty from England two weeks later.
Funny story, Brynlee is really interested in the clock lately so we were going around the clockface pointing to the numbers so I could get some pictures and the following happens:
Me: Brynlee, where's the number one?
Bryn: Right there (points to it, it's the only one she knows really)
Me: Good job! Hmmm let's see... oh, where is the number eight?
Brynlee: Oh no it's GONE!!!


Mischievious Little People

There was this time that I thought, "my girls seem to be growing out of their old tricks", but I was wrong. They are still the same crazy kids that were born to me, only their crazy antics seem to be saved for times when I am most stressed/busy/rushed/tired instead of just being an everyday activity. Let me illustrate for you...
Brynlee has found herself taking after her older sister, although instead of destroying my expensive scrapbooking supplies (ie. ink pads, etc...) she likes to paint herself with her sparkly paints. In picture 2 you will notice red stuff on the floor, that red stuff would be a WHOLE container of simulated bacon bits, seriously. I was washing dishes upstairs and all of a sudden I could smell bacon? At first I was thinking I was losing my mind and then I remembered the huge tupperware container full of food storage that we had inherited from my sis-in-law. The night previous I had asked Steve to put it in the storage room... it only made it to the bottom of the stairs- awesome. I'm happy to report that our basement has finally stopped smelling of bacon, a month later. Also, Kalea's hair was getting super long, and then she decided to hack different spots, so I cut it into a long-ish bob, not pictured. Cutting it myself was fairly therapeutic though, and now it goes more wavy/wild, so it's cute- besides the rooster bit on top, but that's her fault not mine.
I also was under the false impression that my kids didn't do crazy things in public anymore, really really underestimated Brynlee on that one. A few Sundays ago Brynlee and I ventured to church solo because Steve and Kalea were pretty sick. I thought to myself how nice it would be to get to pay attention since Brynlee is my easier child, BAHAHAHA! She sure had the wool pulled over my eyes. At one point she ventured away from me and ended up doing a full lap of the gym, squealing with delight. Awesome. When she came back to me I took her into the hallway to let her get rid of some energy. I foolishly thought that the chapel doors were too heavy for her to pull open, so when she ducked into a doorway, I thought she was just playing peek-a-boo... Yeah, nope. She ended up sitting on the comfy chairs at the front, next to the pulpit, and not just sitting there. I opened the door to flag her to "come here now!" to which she responded by patting the soft chair and saying "Mommy come sit with me" while a nice man in our ward was trying to bear what I'm sure was a heartfelt testimony. At this point I wasn't about to go get her because I knew she'd probably screech and be more disruptive than she already was, so I closed the door thinking she'd come to it because that's what she does whenever I close a door at home, I mean, technically her instincts are normally to run to a closed door and try to bang it open. Yeah, that didn't work. PS the whole time I'm waving her to come towards me, etc... the chorister (aka bishop's wife) and the organist (aka relief society president's son) are watching and able to see the exchange, I am pretty sure they were highly entertained. So after a quick "please inspire me with some amazing parenting skills" prayer I open the chapel door to find Brynlee leaning over the front of the pulpit area this time. Grrrreat, so much for being less disruptive. So I go sit where Brynlee wanted me to sit in the first place, when she turns around and comes towards me I pull her in close and whisper very sternly that "You will hold my hand and we will walk down the stairs and out that door, got it?" to which she cheerfully replies in the high pitched tone that only she can use "Ok Mommy!" For reals. Sorry if the whole thing ruined sacrament meeting/testimony meeting for anyone. Kalea NEVER did anything like that, I had no clue that Brynlee would have the guts to, especially with that many eyes on her, she was way too comfortable for her own good. Did I also mention that the Stake President was sitting with the Bishop too? The same man who at one point in my life was conducting a sacrament meeting where my phone went off in the middle of the sacrament being passed, to the tune of "crazy coconuts"? He must be so impressed with my contribution to "the rising generation" LOL If anything, my kids are always good for a laugh.


Mind, Body & Spirit

I have had many a conversation with myself that involved a lot of ingratitude for the gift of a body, but things have changed dramatically in the last 10yrs, physically, emotionally & spiritually.
A Spiritual Foundation: Or, what has always been in the back of my mind
From a young age I was taught that my body is an important part of God's plan for me. With this body I will be able to enjoy physical activity, food and even experience discomfort and pain. I will use my body to make sacred covenants and to serve those around me. If it's part of Heavenly Father's plan for me, I will be able to bring children into the world, and thus create new bodies for spirits eagerly awaiting their opportunity to face all that life on this earth has to offer them. My body houses my spirit and I will have a family, and no matter how the children I have come into that family, my body will house that spirit that has attributes central to the nurturing and care of those children. I was also taught the importance of respecting the gift of this body by not doing anything to defile it, or the spirit within it. I have been taught to care for my body by abstaining from substances that could potentially cause harm or result in addictive habits. In terms of food, I was taught the principle of "everything in moderation", and the importance of regular exercise.
These are the things that I'm also trying to teach my children, because I recognize now, just how important having those things ingrained in me has been to my own progression through some of life's learning moments.

PAST: I squandered a lot of time telling myself that I wasn't perfect enough in a lot of areas, mostly physical. How annoying! I went through a period of really harsh self-judgement although now, I can't explain why, other than the fact that I must've gotten really caught up in some worldly messages about what the body should look like. Around 21 I started to re-align my thinking and stopped being so critical of my body, and tried to enjoy it, not worrying about the scale or the calories and just enjoy having such a healthy body. During a stressful time, I lost a lot of weight and became concerned with how most people responded by telling me how great I looked... Scary since I was literally so emotionally worked up that I couldn't eat more than a handful of food at a time, and then would end up dry heaving if I cried too much when I went to bed- I had enough will power not to let myself throw up anything that I ate, but my body was literally trying to reject any amount of help I could give it. I was super concerned with what was going on with my body during that time, but instead of people asking me if I was okay- which I wasn't- they asked what my secret weight loss strategy was. That experience changed a lot of what I thought I knew about the body and I began to realize the connection between a hurting spirit and the body housing it. I became less concerned with how I compared to any other body and more concerned with getting my body healthy and strong again, and shocker, I started to obsess a bit about the number on the scale going UP so that I didn't look so emaciated. Once things were back on track emotionally, my body started responding, I started to enjoy eating again and my weight returned to normal. A small number on the scale doesn't mean "healthy" anymore than a big number necessarily means "fatty", that was a huge lesson. With this experience I also learned there is real power in connecting with yourself by using positive self-talk. I literally had to talk myself back to normal, and since then there hasn't been much room for the negative self-talk that used to invade my thoughts. I also wasn't as healthy as I could have been during my pregnancies, although by the time I was done puking with Kalea, I didn't have much energy to do much else other than lie on the couch. With Brynlee I kick myself for having a much easier pregnancy and not being as active as I could have been. I gained a lot with each of those pregnancies especially having them so close together, and that has made it a lot harder to "bounce back" like everyone said I would- ha thanks for the false hope people! Kidding, I was super lazy or I probably would have bounced back sooner.
PRESENT: I've spent probably the last few years on my own kind of "health crusade", discovering the things that work short term and aren't necessarily very healthy, discovering different kinds of workouts that I can do at home, trying and loving a difficult yoga practice and learning how to balance all that out with healthier eating. When I had Brynlee I gave myself a very HUGE time frame to get myself back to normal, haha I told Steve that I would be back in shape by her 3rd birthday if I didn't get pregnant before then, that means I have until November but with my 10yr high school reunion fast approaching, I'm hoping to be closer to my goal by the end of June. So far 2012 has been good for this on all fronts. I'm working out consistently now, my body is responding and I'm feeling way more energetic and sleeping better. I'm finding myself more willing to do for others because I have more energy to get things done. I'm not huffing and puffing up the stairs anymore and I feel like I have more energy to play with my super active kids. Scale wise I haven't lost that much weight yet, but physically you can see where I've lost inches and gained muscle, which is insane. Even at my "prime" I don't think I was this healthy/strong, or maybe I just blocked that out of my mind so I wouldn't feel bad about my current state. At any rate, I'm feeling much better now than I ever have, so that counts for something. I feel more balanced and more in tune with what I'm doing on a regular basis. I find myself more centered and open to promptings than I have been in the past, maybe that's because my mind isn't so foggy? I'm learning that the more I take care of my body, the more clarity I have in the things that I want to achieve as a parent, and the more ready I am to act when prompted or take time out to meditate, pray, read, journal, etc... Win win.
FUTURE: I'm hoping that I can remember the "body lessons" as I get older, and as my kids grow. I hope that if I ever do get pregnant again, I can go through it a lot healthier than I did with my first two so that I can feel better sooner than 3yrs later. Steve is finally jumping on my bandwagon, so we're hoping to do a 5k later in the summer. Much later because, as we all know, Allison is not a runner, the only reason this one is appealing is the fact that it's mostly about having fun and mostly NOT about how fast you are. So in prep for that we're going to start on of those "couch to 5k" programs. Should be a hoot, right? I think Steve and I are both realizing that at one point or another, both of us were a lot more active than we have been lately, and we've been "gifted" with very active children, and if we don't keep up with them then they might lose that desire to be active and turn lazy like us- gasps of horror! We are now much more interested in fostering that in them because we know how much it will add to their life experience, and ours- hello, I get to be a "soccer Mom" this year!
Basically, all this to say, we're on track to reaching some goals for a healthy and active lifestyle as individuals and a family. Hopefully our kids will appreciate the effort when they're old enough to understand it, for now we'll feel good that we're maybe teaching them something about how to take care of these awesome little bodies that Heavenly Father has given them.