twelve or a dozen

Let me not to the marriage of true minds 
Admit impediments. Love is not love 
Which alters when it alteration finds, 
Or bends with the remover to remove. 
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 
It is the star to every wand'ring bark, 
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. 
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle's compass come; 
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 
But bears it out even to the edge of doom. 
If this be error and upon me prov'd, 
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

Sonnet 116
William Shakesepear



my roses are blooming. which can only mean one thing...

it's fair time! we went we saw, the gyro i ate conquered my insides and i vowed to NEVER AGAIN eat lamb at a county fair.

the kids had a fantastic time. I was impressed with the improvements they have been making every year and it is always enjoyable to see old friends.
ty and i went to the rodeo, i drooled over the manly cowboys in their chaps riding bulls for a split second. judge away, it's fantastic i tell you.

the kids are happy, things are winding down with school and i'm already dreaming of trips for the summer. we only have a month or so of piano, homework, and tight schedules! i know i can't complain, i'm in the minor leagues compared to most mothers with schedules, but i really enjoy less. less, less less.

i tried to catch lucy getting in piano quickly before going to school, it didn't work

i took the kids in to town and everyone got new flip flops...it's already getting warm. abby had another seizure (i haven't mentioned the other ones she's had on here) but we finally got an answer as to why they happen. good news: not serious and preventable! phew! 

i'm helping some friends do the 24 day challenge and it is really fun seeing people happy and successful. life isn't meant to be miserable you know? anyways, here is to spring! my favorite time of year!


24 day challenge details

I did a few things completely different this time. Instead of not telling anyone and trying to lose weight, I told everyone especially the kids. I told them that I was spending 24 days teaching myself how to eat healthy again and feel better and not (cranky mommy).

Obviously the thought of happy mommy excited them as they helped me make a paper chain that hung right in our family room/kitchen.
Let me tell you, I had no idea how much I would need that paper chain the first week. Actually the first 3 days were the hardest, but I would look at that chain and see Phoebe's little sweet eyes asking if I stuck to my "plan" for the day. Every day they tore off a chain we did a little victory dance. That really helped keep me accountable despite cravings.  Honestly, by the second week I would forget to tear off a chain, the days just kept going so quickly and I was feeling great sticking to my plan. I pulled off the last 3 days all together at once. ha

The second different thing I did was post on my fitness page my starting weight. WELP. That was NOT easy. I'm not a light girl. My weight has been a huge source of shame for me for the last 15 years. I finally want to weigh what's on my driver's license! The irony is is that when I renewed my license I did post my real weight, only to gain 20 more pounds in the next 6 months. bwahahahha. cruel irony, she is my favorite mistress.

Those two differences, along with the products really helped me. I wasn't trying to do something exactly the same, I was trying NEW ways and letting the SHAME go. I also had Heather and BJ Faas, my coaches support me all the time. Heather sent me email after email of encouragement, texts and instagram love all the time. That support was essential for me. I know they are weightlifters, parents and human and knew I would need support. That is just totally different than anything I've ever tried before.

I also cleared my schedule of stressful stuff for the first week. I have four kids, that's enough excitement and stress on a plate despite trying to start a new leaf with eating and addictions. That helped a lot.

The first 10 days is the cleanse part. I made sure to drink all of the water needed and stuck to the plan like glue. I followed all of the directions completely. The next two weeks was the max phase with the vitamin pack. I worked out more during this phase than the cleanse. I ate 3 meals a day and the 3 snacks. If you follow the plan you are GUARANTEED success.

So now that it's over here are my final two cents:

I had been taking all of these supplements for 2 years. I would buy them (along with protein powder) at costco, GNC and amazon whenever on sale. This doesn't have my BCAA that I was taking in the picture either.

So now, I am just taking these supplements (along with protein powder- although I'm ready to order the meal shake again from advocare bc it doesn't make me gassy like regular whey protein) and still having success. I weighed myself this am, after a week of finishing the challenge, Easter AND some fair food and I was down another pound. That is just huge success for me. The MNS has all of the supplements I was taking, plus a probiotic that helps keep me regular. 

I have some people ask about the caffeine in the spark. Yes, there is caffeine in it. I'm not a soda/coffeee/tea drinker at all so this was a worry of mine too. But I never got the jitters and with one spark a day I stay on my healthy eating all day long. Before the spark I would eat junk food all day (sugar/carbs) to get through the day. So for me, taking one a day and working out and eating healthy is a much healthier lifestyle change for me. I also don't take a pre-workout anymore for my heavy weight lifting days and those have a lot of caffeine in it. 

I don't think this plan is for everyone, it is pricey and you have to be willing to put in the work and follow directions. But it was totally worth it for me and exactly what I needed. It took me 3 weeks to save up to buy the challenge. I didn't realize it but the money that I saved by not eating junk was worth it alone. And if I was a soda drinker I would have saved twice as much. Ty now takes 1-2 sparks a day, usually one, and has completely cut out soda and monster drinks. Yay!!!  Ty isn't quite ready to do the challenge, but I'm so grateful he isn't drinking all the crappy sugar and stuff in soda and energy drinks.  As for me I feel amazing and I'm so happy that I found these supplements to support my healthy eating and workouts. 


my favorite weekend

I love Easter. I think I almost love it more than Christmas. We were married on Good Friday so I think that affects my decision there also. Having our church's conference this weekend made it even more sweeter for my soul. On Good Friday the girls helped me make hot cross buns while friends were over to play. Saturday morning I went for a run alone and marveled at how lucky my life has been and grateful for our quiet and peaceful property.

This week was spring break, and we just played it super lazy. We had friends over Wednesday, Thursday AND Friday, which was fun but I was exhausted by Saturday. I love my kids but a week at home playing and there wasn't a clean corner anywhere. ugh!

Saturday between conference we had an Easter picnic at the wildlife refuge and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. It was like a little slice of heaven for just that little hour and I savored it completely.

Sunday was full of egg finding in our classy pjs, and the eating of candy baskets,chocolate and conference.

I made my sinful potatoes from pioneer woman, honey glazed ham, peas and deviled eggs. Lucy requested my carrot cake that hasn't emerged for over 3 years. I ate a piece of every candy that I liked, and left the rest alone. I ate a slice of carrot cake and all of dinner and felt just fine. I woke up monday morning feeling so tired from the sugar and fat and not tempted to eat any junk for awhile. I know that I can anytime that I want, I'm just choosing not to and that is a huge WIN for me. I am in charge of my destiny, food doesn't control me anymore and that is an answer to a lot of prayers over a lot of years. I have found over these past 6 months that I can feel good for a few minutes when I eat what i "WANT" or feel good all day when i eat to fuel my body.

It was a glorious Easter sunday of gospel truths and family all in one. I'm so grateful that my brother, who was perfect in every way, showed me the way to be baptized, and then atoned for my sins, and died so that I could live again.

Easter joy fills my heart with these two words: HE LIVES!


24 Day Success

I finished my 24 day challenge from Advocare yesterday. And I'm proud to say that it has been the most successful "weight" loss endeavor I have ever tried.

so here is my starting weight and my ending weight:

*i stalled in weight loss these last few days because of my {cough} cycle. but 11 pounds is still awesome and i'm really proud of myself!

here is my before/after:
non scale victories: losing 11 pounds in 24 days is pretty rapid weight loss, which usually means you lose water, fat and muscle. after this my goal is to lose 1-2lbs a week. i'm proud to say that over this challenge i didn't lose too much strength, i'm fitting into my jeans and need a belt! my underclothes (lol) are looser and i'm not yelling at the kids every morning because i'm cranky.

but honestly, i told Ty last night, yes all of those things are awesome feelings but there are two things that make me love these supplements and they are this:

1. THEY HELPED ME TO STICK TO MY GOALS. I slipped here and there with bites of the kids food and a few peeps (ha) but I didn't do all or nothing. we ate out 3 times and i just ordered things that would fit (which is really easy to do). I am normal, nothing is all or nothing and to get out of that mindset for me is groundbreaking. the feeling of accomplishing my goals is the best feeling in the world. i ate lean, whole proteins, lots of green veggies, complex carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal) and good fats (nuts, avocados etc)

2. I FEEL AMAZING. I wake up with energy, i have energy throughout the day. i'm the most regular i've been in years {cough cough}. i told Ty that I feel better on these multivitamins than on my anti depressants that I've had to take after the babies are born.

I have always been embarrassed at my weight as I have not weighed less than 140 since my sophomore year of college. yes I'm a mesomorph, so I'm more muscular, but trust me, I have extra fat too. and when you are on the ballet company and you weigh 150, let's just say there is a lot of 'sucking in' going on day in and day out. every thing i've tried i usually lose about 5lbs and then gain back 6. before trying to get pregnant with Rodney I did break down at the doctor's office and he prescribed me phentermine, a super scary prescription weight loss pill. ack! it was awful. I took it for 3 weeks and that's about all my heart could handle. I couldn't sleep and my heart was pounding in my chest 24/7. But it helped get off the extra pounds before getting pregnant, but it was a drastic move. i'm sharing that on here because I know how desperate you feel when you just want to lose some weight. you are willing to do anything. and buddy, i've done a lot.

so when i say that i LOVE these products and they have helped me see the most success and offer a sustainable healthy lifestyle change, know that I've been around the block. and something that is sustainable for the rest of my life was exactly what i was looking for. i know that i can't eat paleo the rest of my life, or whole foods, or vegetarian, or or or fill in the blank. i do all of those and then fall of the wagon into a 4 month bingefest. but i do know that i feel better when i stay away from dairy, chicken and refined flour. and this challenge has helped me find the best balance between living the healthy lifestyle that i need and also being human.

*I'm writing a detailed post about the "HOW TO" of how I did the challenge: what i ate, how i worked out and the ups and downs during the challenge.
**Advocare is an online health and fitness supplement company used by professional athletes and just everyday people like you. for me, it's like bodybuilding.com but with costco quality products and without semi nude people everywhere. ha!  You can buy the challenge here and look at what these supplements can help you with here.


New and good things...

I sit down to blog, and then 800,000 things pop up into my head that I need to be doing first, so this hardly every gets done.

BUT...I want to quickly share some awesome things lately

1. Good reads

I read this last month and it was wonderful. I think every mother/woman/man should read it.

This talk sent to me by a good friend. It gives great perspective on having greater Faith in Jesus Christ

2. I still had 20 pounds to lose from the ectopic pregnancy last year and have had a hard time getting motivated since Christmas. I started using Advocare last month and I'm almost done with the 24 day challenge. I'm going to blog about that soon. I was a little skeptical at first, but I was desperate to try ANYTHING to get me back into my healthy eating and exercise habits. You guys, I loved the stuff so much I signed up to sell it the 2nd day! ha!!! This is the Costco of health supplements, everything is high quality and professional athletes use and recommend. I'm impressed with everything i've tried. Want to get back on track too? This is what I recommend:
 *the 24 day challenge (I've already lost 11 pounds) this is not a quick fix or *miracle drink , this is a healthy way to teach you good nutrition habits and stick to them. It honestly is some of the three best diets I've ever learned from and used all wrapped into one flexible way of healthy eating. It does cost $$, so if you aren't ready for that kind of commitment then try these other small things:
the Spark drink to start with to replace soday/energy drinks and that's a bad habit you need to kick. Sugar free, good energy, vitamins and minerals and no crash. I don't support a lot of stuff but this stuff is awesome. I like the mango strawberry (and Ty LOVES them way better than me, it's helped him kick his soda/energy drink habit on hard days on the job)
the meal replacement shake  this is great tasting, and has the carbs in it already so i don't have to measure out oats etc to put in my protein shake. i have a hard time with whey protein and this doesn't bother me at all. OH! and it has 6 grams of fiber. Um...that's a ton. I like both the vanilla and the chocolate and I don't like vanilla stuff
the fiber drink. again, i need lots of fiber (cough cough) and I have tried every fiber supplement on the earth. this one? Peaches and creme? it doesn't taste like grass and dirt. winning!

  My page is here and you can email me any questions, you know, if you want to.

3. Movie
My sister Danna and brother in law Guy were in town a few weekends ago and we all went out to see McFarland, USA.  GO SEE THIS MOVIE. It was amazing. True story, inspiring, clean and funny without being too cheesy. I'm planning on taking Lucy and Abby to see it soon to support movies like this being in the theatre.

4. I've hired my personal trainer again, Marisa. I took a little break for a few months and it has been torture! I just accepted that I'm someone that needs accountability with my fitness and that's ok. Maybe someday I won't, but for now I'm happy with how hard I work with a personal trainer and can trust her programming.



I saw this quote this week and it has been on my mind all day:

The first thing that came to my mind was all of the parenting techniques I've tried to do, and learn. Almost always the hard way and the painful way (for me) was the best way. And when we stuck to it it worked. And I'm proud of myself for being uncomfortable for a while for the reward when it was done. It definitely is not an easy task to sit at the dinner table for an hour waiting for a 3 year old to take one bite of spinach. *he loved it in the end

After a nice little pat on the back was the next question, "what are my comforts today that keep me from achieving my goals?"
-my electrical blanket. Oh that sweet cloud of warm goodness, it's disaster to my alarm every morning.
-gossip. I know it doesn't sound like a "comfort" but it is. It gives me a false sense of esteem and accomplishment when I can talk about other's failings. Judge away, I know I'm not the only one here in this.
-nighttime, by the time we have done our nighttime routine ty and I are just flat out toast. But there is always a little voice that wants a book read or to show me a picture or or or or, and I just want to curl up one the couch and relax. Lately I've been saying "no" and just vegging out watching Frasier or reading. 
-tv, it's a comfort. It keeps me from accomplishing EVERYTHING
-food. Food. food. Enough said.
-time for myself. It's easy and comfortable to whine and complain about how little I get to do things or go places instead of making time and effort to plan, save and actually do things. Or buy a pair of pants that fit 



I think that's the word I could use to describe motherhood. It is swift. They are born, they grow and grow and whoosh! Everything is different! Good different and difficult different. Last week I desperately needed a costco run, and I thought, "Hey! the two littles kids are getting so much bigger, I bet this will be easy." Disclaimer: I loathe shopping, and trekking an hour drive into town and running errands with two toddlers is like, an inner ring of hell in my opinion.
So we drove in, and they were awesome! And I thought, "Geez annie! Why don't you do this more often? It's not that bad at all!" and then, about 3/4 of the way through the costco list I could hear the fizzle going out in my head. I.can.not.do.anymore. We quickly made it a race to find the last few things, bought some slices of pizza, fought 800 senior citizens for a spot to eat and LOST. So i let the kids sit on a rock and eat pizza while I loaded the car. Two spilt drinks, and one dropped slice of pizza, lots of tears, and exasperated whines from me and we got  back into the car. I had two more stores to go to. We didn't. We filled up on gas, bought 3 things from walmart, washed the car and headed home. I felt like I was hit by a mac truck. WHY? WHY? WHY? did i do that?

Oh well, that's how you learn. I am not someone that can shop a lot with my kids (or alone), and that's  ok. Luckily I took this short video of the total adorable cuteness that is Rodney and Phoebe right now in this stage of life. I'm going to miss it dearly. (ps: this is R's first time not crying in the car wash, and he loves Star Wars if you caught the Han Solo  part)


Church isn't for good people

love being with the women in our ward who share their struggles and trials and lift me up.


weekend thoughts

things are busy, and are not busy over here at the Leavitt house. last week the girls were all in the Missoula Children's Theatre play "Rapunzel". Oh, it was too much! Just the cutest little thing you ever saw, and it had everything to do with my kids being in it. haha. It also made last week just crazy hectic. This week has been nice and relaxed.

It is spring here and the weather is not disappointing. I have gotten absolutely nothing done around the house because the little kids and I are spending most of the time outside. I have been working out in the mid mornings while they play and ride bikes. The older girls have finished their "big" projects and reading goals so the tension is a little more relaxed around that too.

Here are some pictures of the play. Swoon!


motherhood done right

A few weeks ago I popped onto Facebook after about a week hiatus. The first thing I saw was an article about sleep training your children. I groggily clicked onto the article and read a blog post by a woman (who is not a mother) that used some studies to say that because i sleep trained my children i had ruined their lives. it should be noted that the horrendous examples they gave in the article were nothing like what we used for our sleep training but it still sent me into a complete tailspin. {it should also be noted that my period started approximately 3 hours after reading the article hahahaha}

anyways, ty came home from work while the 5 year old and almost 4 year old were in hour 3 of their naps. i told him, "well, i read something that said I ruined the kids." he just laughed and laughed, "Yup, it's over" he chuckled and walked away. i was able to look back and laugh at the situation, i had slipped into being 25 all over again. i was POSITIVE that because someone said something or some "study" reported a statistic i was either a good mom/bad mom. ugh, i do not miss those days.

once i surfed down from the crimson tide i realized that i absolutely LOATHE articles that bash motherhood choices. you know what i'm talking about, either it's one that tells you you are doing it right and everyone else is wrong or vice versa, they are all just garbage. because guess what?

you are a great mom. yes, you dear reader. whether you are a friend, family member, stranger or one of my own daughters reading this, you are an amazing mother. you that had a natural home birth with enya, you that has scheduled c-sections, that breastfed/formula, binkie/no binkie/thumb sucking, blanky/no blanky, co-sleeping/sleep training, homeschooling, boarding school, special needs kids, soccer mom, working mom, introvert mom, loud mom, crafty mom, fitness mom, artist mom, teacher mom, cooking mom, non-cooking mom, all natural, organic garden mom or chef-boyardee ravioli mom: You are the BEST mom to your kids.

that's it. there is no magic formula. God sent you your  kids because they needed you and you needed them. only you know what is best for them and how to figure that out. no one else. nada. zilch. zero other people.

don't let an article or book make you feel like you are failing. don't let other families successes mean anything about you, because they don't. don't let your failures mean anything either. failing means you are trying, it's much more scary to never try and never fail. don't let some remarks from other moms or family members get you down.

i can't tell you how hard it was to sleep train my children, it was excruciatingly difficult with each one (except abigail, who is an amazing sleeping unicorn sent straight from heaven). it was not easy, but i knew it was important. there were many times when people and family questioned my methods and pointed out that i was crazy. there were also many times when friends and family wanted their kids to sleep like mine, but couldn't do it the way we did and got defensive. but here's the thing, i knew it was the way that my kids needed and what i needed and that is all that matters. i'm very happy that i listened to my gut and followed through, because it did turn out to be exactly what our family needed. that doesn't mean that's what other families need either or that they should do what we did.

in my 20's i would run all over the place trying to convince everyone that my way is the best way (said like the Queen of Hearts) and you should be doing it too! but now? oh, i couldn't give a flying fart as to how you train your kids, or don't train them. i don't care! have a cotton candy disco party on the trampoline at midnight and eat pot brownies in the morning if that's what you think is right. More power to ya!

i'm happy i don't fall into the comparison trap as much anymore, but it goes to show that i still can fall prey to it pretty easily (note to self, don't get on social media the week of your period). i imagine it will get better and better as the years go by. my mom said that just about when that goes away, is when your body starts to fall apart. OH JOY!!!!!

here is a short clip of the daily dinner time struggles we have here with hot rod (turn your volume down):



it's march. can you believe it? The year is just taking off like a rocket around here. on hard days i find myself reminiscing on our trip after Christmas. i haven't blogged about it yet, but we found dirt cheap flights and last minute surprised the kids with a trip to Kentucky to see their Curtis cousins there. It had been 3 years since they had seen them and we were long overdue for a visit. Aunt Sarah lives there now too so it was a two for one as far as family trips go.

it was such  fantastic trip. the kids played perfect all week long it was just great to be with my siblings. soon i will write more about it, but for now i will let you know a secret. we passed this grandiose horse farm on our way home from lunch one day and it is on my mind all of the time. Elmendorf farm in Lexington, Kentucky. just look at it!

all of the horse farms (miles and miles and miles of them) were just breathtaking and unbelievable, but this one was so stunning we immediately googled it (thank you smart phones) before we forgot the name. could you even imagine raising your kids in a mansion like this? i can and it's dreamy.

have a happy week!


zumba: the good, the bad, the ugly

I certified to teach zumba in 2010. I had just moved to our small hometown where there was NO gym and my husband's schedule limited when i could go and run. We had 3 small children and only a double stroller. haha, how do you do that?

anyways, I grew up dancing ballet and almost finished my major in it (i switched to english last minute) at Brigham Young University where I was on the Ballet Showcase company my sophomore year. I have a deep LOVE LOVE LOVE for dancing. it's a large part of who i am.  zumba was a perfect fit for me, i had to exercise and i loved dancing. boom! done! also, i love helping people live healthy lives so that filled a large cup for me too.

i met so many amazing women over the next 4 years. i can't imagine my life without knowing all of them. every walk of life you could think of, we all had a blast just dancing away together. just writing about it makes me miss it! ah crap. i miss them.

dancing for exercise is still my favorite form of cardio, just amazingness all around. so much flipping fun. i also got in the best cardiovascular shape of my life (read: pant size)when i was teaching 3-4 times a week and had my regulars that were getting in awesome shape as well. super amazing to watch their dedication and smiles every day.

i think my most favorite part also was teaching the kids. SO MUCH FUN. it was awesome to see how fast they picked things up and the fun clean songs were my favorite. did i mention it was FUN? i'd love to teach another kids camp every year, but not zumba. annie's own dance factory or something fun like that. ha!

i had a neighbor that taught zumba when we lived in provo. she still does, she is amazing and super dedicated to a lot of forms of fitness. anyway, one day i saw her walking to go teach her class in the funniest outfit i and ever seen. oh! the neon! the tassels! the baggy pants with one leg scrunched up! what?! just silliness all around. "I will never be caught dead wearing something like that" i said. good gracious, it was brainwashing at it's highest form.

guess what? 

just a mere year into zumba i had bought all of those clothes. and i loved them! i fit in! i looked cute! who cares the tank tops were 30 DOLLARS. sheesh. i was a sheep and i was following the flock, the scantily clad flock. i didn't realize how sleazy the clothes were getting until i went  to a convention with Beto! The founder! and holy nudity, i couldn't count the amount of early 40's women wearing as little clothes as possible. eek!

the music: when i first started receiving my cd's (you get one a month as an instructor) there were 1-2 spicy songs on them. they labeled them with chili peppers...cuuute right? so you knew and you could look up the lyrics and know what they were saying. my spanish is muy mal so i would just skip the spicy ones altogether. by the time i quit teaching in 2014 about 4-5 out of 10 songs would be spicy every single month. I hadn't even realized how different the music and clothes had become just over 4 short years. it was all about being sexy, looking sexy, dancing sexy. ugh, i get sick just thinking about it. here i was paying them money every month to get this. I started more and more just relying on my own songs and choreography to make up classes and that was working. but overtime, listening to those songs 24/7 (I have to memorize them) just wore me down. i had had enough. i didn't want to listen to all of that anymore. i missed the days of just npr, classical music and a little beatles after dinner to do the dishes. i am so high strung as it is, i don't need music pushing me over the top also. plus, my kids were listening to it all in the car and at home. the videos? i had to watch in my room from the beginning, i wouldn't let my kids see those girls bouncing around half naked.

ok, here is the ugly truth. do you know what it takes to become certified? all you have to do is pay $$$ and show up for 8 hours. that's it. no test, no certification, no anything. just sign a paper. DONE. ugh, do you have any idea how many insanely under qualified and just crap zumba teachers there are out there? that is just scary. scary. scary. when i went and "certified" to teach "toning zumba" in san diego, California, the instructor, who was awesome, just straight up said, "You guys, if you want to be buff so people will want to come to your class, you have to LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS."  i couldn't believe it, i just paid $$$ to have someone tell me i'm selling other people a crap class and i just bought one too. sure it would break a sweat, but it couldn't give real results to anyone. ugh.

I couldn't keep paying a company money that i didn't agree with their moral values and goals at all. i know i am unique and not many people share my personal morals and values, but they are mine and part of who i am. if i'm going to pay to be a part of something, it has to align with my beliefs also.

i also knew that lifting weights is essential to getting strong and lifelong health and knew i couldn't teach that in zumba. yes, i got into great shape, but at a great cost also. spiritually and mentally i was at an all time low. all i cared about was being "small" and being "sexy" and i'm positive i don't have a body just to have that be my life long goal. and even though i was "small" i wasn't strong at all.

and so, here i am a little heavier, a lot stronger and on my way to reach my goals. all of them: mental, spiritual, and physical.

i don't want to be "small" or "sexy" anymore. i want to be...me. the best and strongest version of just me. and i am getting there by listening to church talks while i workout and johnny cash. my kids can watch me work out and i'm not embarrassed. i'm helping other moms find out how to lift weights and get strong. do i miss zumba? yes, i always will. do i wish someone who wants to teach cardio will teach here? YES! I'd love to pop into class for fun every now and then, but i couldn't have it a permanent part of my life anymore.

right now i'm focusing on my growth and my family's needs. yes, it has been hard to not have the extra money that i made that i would spend on myself (read: clothes and makeup!). but right now i'm spending more time on my house, husband, kids (not in that order) and really digging down deep to change my life. lifting heavy 3-4 times a week makes me so happy, trying to get cardio in (yuck!) is a necessity and figuring out food in a mentally healthy way also.

being healthy has always been important to me, and it always will. having an active lifestyle used to be just about "looks" for me, but it's about so much more than that. it makes me happy, it makes me whole. and zumba wasn't doing that for me.

 the end.


licking lab rats

in honor of joshlyn, who just had her 4th lab rat
For the past two years I have been praying to know if we are supposed to have another baby. For the past two years I have been struggling a lot, mentally and spiritually. It's like a WWF wrestling fight going on inside my frizzy head on a daily basis. And I mean, a full blown lights, camera action, spandex WWF fight. Somedays after an epic dinnertime battle with the 3 year old I would tell Ty, I don't think we are supposed to, and he would quietly agree. And then I'd see a cute baby, that was probably sleeping, and say maybe we should! Blast those cute sleeping babies. This is when he calmly tells me he doesn't feel like we are supposed to have one right now, and then he quietly lists all the medical reasons why he is afraid of me having another (besides that I battle post partum depression for 2 years after each one).

When we found out we were pregnant last Thanksgiving I thought, "Of course! This is it, I was meant to have another baby". I wasn't happy about it the initial few weeks, but at least my question was answered right? And then when I finally got excited about the baby we found out we were losing it. drum roll please.

Here I was again, very confused as to what the plan was for me. I know that 4 is a butt-load of kids for most people, but I am the youngest of 7 and I've always wanted to be a great mom. Growing up for me, having kids and being a great mom went hand in hand. Hence, my internal dilemma.

A few months ago Ty ended up having to work on our Saturday temple day. I was mad at him for some reason or other so I still went by myself, I really needed a few hours of quiet and sanity. It was just what I needed and I felt very peaceful that there isn't a need to have another baby right now. Believe it or not, I never thought that NO could be an answer to the baby question. But it was. As I drove home I tuned to NPR because Ty wasn't in the car (hehehe)

Yes, I'm a closet nerd. The program was a biology study all about these mother lab rats and what makes a "good" mother rat and what makes a not good mother rat. Of course I laughed at the similarity of the topic on air and the WWF fight in my head. Anyway, they studied a large group of mother rats and their babies. They noticed that the good moms licked their babies more than the crappy moms. In fact they licked them a lot more. A ratio that was large enough to easily measure and quantify. The licking stimulates the babies' (and this is where it got nerdy) brains and hormones and made neurological connections that permanently affected their DNA. This in turn made their female babies turn into good mothers that would lick their babies a lot and so on and so on. And so the chain of good mother rats continues for all humans to enjoy.

At this point in the program I'm bawling driving home. I DON'T LICK MY RAT BABIES ENOUGH! You can imagine how happy Ty was after work to have a hysterical wife explaining that we aren't supposed to have any more lab rats. Somedays I think he deserves an award for patience and sanity. Heaven knows God gave him enough of both for us to share.

So here is where I am today, the WWF fight has calmed down a lot in my head. It is now more like a quiet talk show between two old ladies. Super boring and you fall asleep most of the time listening to them. The annoying one with purple hair whose name is Comparison says things like, "All of your friends are having babies, what's wrong with you?". Or, "Look, that mom has 5 kids and she's doing a great job, you could do that if you worked harder, were thinner, ate better, were more patient etc. etc. etc." I think it's time to set her hair on fire and kick her out. The other one's name is Envy, she says stupid stuff like "Look how in love those parents are! It's because they have 12 kids!".  Envy is delusional and off her meds.

Despite these crazy brain ramblings, in all honesty even though i am peaceful about my answers, it's painful for me to be not having kids. And I don't think the pain of seeing pregnant women will go away anytime soon, and that's ok.  I know this ache that comes when being done is natural, and every woman experiences it. Whether they have zero children or 40. It's just not your time to be having babies, and that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with it. It is normal that it hurts, and it is a process. It also doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with moms who are having more kids and who have lots of them.

I do know this, I have four beautiful lab rat babies. And most of the time I've tried to lick them as much as I can. I'm realizing how many licks I have in me, how many I missed out on, and how many I can muster up for the rest of their lives and their children's lives. And I'm going to be happy about my gorgeous kids and the peaceful answers I've received (and the funny ones). My Heavenly Father knows my sense of humor,  knows what my children need and knows how much my husband can handle. We've always known when it was time to have another baby, and I'm going to keep trusting myself today and try and turn off the tv show in my head.


phoebe before kindergarten

where do i begin about this little firecracker? i would be completely remiss if i didn't write down all the wonderful joy this little girl brings into our family.

this summer, around August, i started to regret our decision to not send Phoebe to Kindergarten this year. her birthday is 6 days before the cut off date, so when to send her had been a hot topic. i started to flip out and luckily my friend is the  K teacher here, she offered to do a quick analysis of Phoebe and where she is, but we were camping. of course. I had a lot of prayers and in the end stayed with our first feelings that she should stay home. we had had such an amazing summer that i was sure she would be bored to tears staying home with just me and the little dude.

fast forward 6 months and i couldn't be more happy with our decision. phoebe and rodney have formed a great friendship because they are the only ones home. i know this friendship wouldn't have blossomed with her gone in the mornings and napping when he naps. yes, they both nap still, i'm a sleep natzi.

their favorite game that they (i think she) invented is called "Mother". She is "Annie" and he is "Tyson". They go get groceries, and run errands, they clean the kitchen and basically "annie" has the stroller full of toys/food and bosses "tyson" around and everyone is happy all morning. when the weather is nice i love to keep the kitchen windows open and hear them chit chatting in the tree house while playing pretend. i think unmonitored play time like that is worth a million dollars to a healthy childhood.

anyways, phoebe's love language is GIFTS and ACTS OF SERVICE. since she was two she has been drawing pictures for daddy and leaves them on his pillow for when he gets home. it is so sweet, and even sweeter i know ty has all of them lovingly stored somewhere and he looks at them. one horrific day, ty worked overtime and then had a last minute auto project that had to be done that night..and it was cold out. so by the time he finished at about 1am he came in to the cutest little hand drawn picture with hearts all over it. it literally made everything a thousand times better. right now her current drawing obsession is unicorns, flying unicorns, flying unicorns with rainbow tails (it actually looks like the unicorn is powered by rainbow farts...haha). she also likes to get into the disneyland change jar and tape money onto pictures for you too. she is so thoughtful.

my dmv companion a few weeks ago

her recent acts of service have turned into cleaning. she's always been eager to help with windows, but a few months ago she started arranging the bathroom after the girls went to school. now she makes all the girls' beds, cleans up the kitchen (and washes dishes and puts them away..i don't even want to know eek!), folds towels and loves matching socks. she is full of such a desire to please people and make the house nice and i'm not complaining one bit.

her favorite time to help is at the grocery store, she holds the list and helps me find things. she unloads the cart with me, pushes the buttons and then helps me unload the car. if you haven't met phoebe she is quite tiny, the grocery checkers always smile with this teeny girl poking her head inches above the conveyor belt and lifting an entire gallon of milk up there.

last week we had to go into town for dr appointments and i picked her up a new stuffed pony. if you know me you know i hate "stuff" but i knew her little heart would just burst. and it did!

we all love this little girl so much and can't wait to see all she accomplishes in this life.

her physical skills are impressive too


take heart


The Keys of the Watchmen

My good family friend Kathleen C. Perrin wrote a novel, a real book! I'm so incredibly impressed. But I was even more honored when she sent me a copy to read and review for my blog readers. I received the book right before the COLD OF 2014 struck our house and my 2.5 week headache attacked my brain night and day. So sorry Chick it took me so long to get this review up but here it goes: The Keys of the Watchmen:
In all honesty, at first the book was a little slow for me, especially with a teenager as the focus, but I was intrigued with the setting and it definitely kept me interested. Kathleen weaves history and facts seamlessly into each chapter and I found myself learning so much more about this beautiful and historic place page by page. It doesn't hurt that I have wanted to visit France my entire life. Now Mont Saint Michel is added to my bucket list of MUST SEE places in Europe. 

But the book quickly sets pace around 100 pages and then I couldn't put it down, especially when the romance starts up (yup, I am your typical female reader). The kids kept prying it out of my hands and asking "Mom! What is that book about?!" By the time I finished the book I was more than ready for a sequel. 

I know a book is good when I keep thinking about if for days after finishing it, and that is exactly what The Keys of the Watchmen did for me. If you are a lover of history, travel and little bit of romance (hehe) you will LOVE this book.

Here is the official review from Amazon:
Katelyn Michaels plans on hating every moment of her visit to Mont Saint Michel with her father's new French wife. Once there, she is confused when she experiences sensations of déjà vu as she and her younger brother explore the medieval village and abbey. She is even more disturbed when she is confronted by two unusual young men, one who insists she has a sacred mission,  and the other who will stop at nothing, even murder, to stop her from fulfilling her destiny.

When the oddly-dressed but alluring Nicolas slips Katelyn a strange medallion, she is whisked back through time where her Watchmen hosts tell her she is the only hope to save Mont Saint Michel. Even worse, she learns that those trying to destroy the mount are led by a fallen angel intent on learning the mount's closely-guarded secret.

Katelyn is torn by feelings of anger at being taken back in time, inadequacy at finding a modern solution for a medieval problem, and responsibility for the mount's starving inhabitants. She is also perturbed by her surprising attraction to the ill-tempered Nicolas. Will she stay to learn why she was chosen by the Archangel Michael and find a way to save his mount? 


abby's baptism day

in our church, at the age of 8 you have the choice to be baptized a member of it. our little abby leigh made that choice yesterday! it was a great day. i remember the feeling of lucy's baptism and just being totally swept over with gratitude and at the same time an immense sense of responsibility. i am raising real human beings who are going to be real adults someday. it's pretty scary sometimes.

abby and i had a great time this week picking out her new scriptures and scripture case and dress for her big day. she was pretty happy to have her trusty dad there to baptize her and be there for her, he is always a good guy to lean on.

after she was baptized all of the family came over for dinner and just hanging out. the kids had a great time and i love when my house is full of laughter and kids running around.

i'm so grateful for the opportunity to have a home and a family to share it with. we missed my parents and more of my family being there, but really grateful for aunt danna and uncle guy making the long drive to be here! thank you!

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