Monday, May 26, 2014

Clean Eating Burrito Bowl

This was definetely a hit with my family! My husband and kids are very picky eaters but they devoured this meal (and what I didn't eat)! And the great thing was that it's clean! I got the orginal recipe from but I changed it up quite a bit.

Before it was mixed together!

This was the bowl mixed all together!


-1/2 cup brown rice

-1 chicken breast

-2 tbsp taco seasoning (recipe below)

-1 can of 50% less sodium black beans (drained and rinced)

-1 handful of green leaf lettuce shredded


-diced tomatoes


-grilled red and green peppers

-grilled onions and garlic

-Shredded cheddar, mozzarella, or Parm (I barely put any cheese on my bowl)

-Plain greek yogurt (optional sour cream replacement

Instructions: -Cook rice according to directions on the box or package. I added 1 tsp of taco seasoning to it to add extra spice.

-You can either rub your chicken with the remaining taco seasoning or if you already have cooked chicken like I did I just added the seasoning with the shredded chicken in a pan with 1/4 cup of water. I simmered it in the seasoning so it took on some of the flavoring. Next time I'll probably add the spices to the chicken and cook it in the crockpot to take on the flavor a little more.

-Assemble the bowl by laying the rice layer first. Top the rice with the black beans, grilled veggies and garlic, shredded chicken, shredded lettuce, avocado, cheese, tomatoes, lime, and greek yogurt.


Taco seasoning recipe:

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper

1 tbsp for every 1/4 cup of water

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My journey to health...

I've been wanting to do a post on my fitness journey for awhile now but didn't feel like I had achieved all of my goals yet or that I had any business giving health advice because who am I kidding, I'm still a newbie in the fitness world. But then I realized that I'm never going to achieve all of my goals and always going to be learning new things. I'm going to always be pushing myself to be better. So why not show my progression over the last few months?

A few months ago I started crossfit. Some of those that follow me on facebook probably are thinking, "WE KNOW ALREADY!!!" I know...I know... I'm just a TINGE obsessed with crossfit. If I can't make it to crossfit even one day in the week it literally ruins my day. I love it so much and have seen great results. I still have a ways to go but here are my results so far:

The first picture was taken a few months ago. I was not happy with my body but was able to accept I wasn't ready to start my journey yet. And I was really ok with that. I don't think you can really begin your journey unless you are completely ready. Nobody can make that decision but you. I gave myself plenty of time to recover from having my last baby and knew that it was time. And I don't regret giving myself that time, but man am I glad I got started when I did! The second picture was taken yesterday.

These show more of a progression of my stomach. It's amazing what clean eating and exercising does in just a few short months! What is funny is the first and second picture I didn't lose ONE POUND according to the scale.

When I first started my journey at crossfit I was very frustrated because I didn't see results right away according to the scale. In fact in three weeks of eating good, doing crossfit 5 times a week, and even working out most days at home on top of crossfit I didn't lose ONE pound. I would lose a couple of pounds and then the next day gain it right back. It was affecting my mood and I would just wonder what I was killing myself over if nothing was changing anyways. I felt my clothes fitting a little better but I wanted faster results.

So I called my sister Becky who is pretty fit herself for some advice. She told me to STOP weighing myself. It seemed so outlandish because I am totally a scale watcher. I mean how else are you supposed to gauge your sucess or whether you need to switch things up? I was reluctant to try it but I decided I would hide my scale in the back on my closet. My sister made some great points. One was even if I got to my goal weight what would that change? Would I suddenly love my body? What if I was the weight I was now but just very fit? Would that matter to me? Second was even if I got to my goal weight would I stop doing what I was doing? Wouldn't I just go right back to where I started? This was about a lifestyle change and the results come when they come.

As much as it was scary for me I decided to try it. I tried to forget about it and even when I had the urge to see if anything had changed I resisted. And what was amazing was that I found I was A LOT more consistent in my diet when I didn't weigh myself. Instead of feeling defeat and having the "who cares what I eat anyways since its not even working" mentality, I had the man I feel a lot better eating this way! I'm going to keep on going with this!

Also I haven't done any special diets, wraps, detoxes, juicing, etc. I started doing herbalife for a couple of weeks but it just wasn't working for me. It works well for some people and I'm sure if I switched up my plan I couldn've made it work but I just realized I wanted to learn healthy eating habits in general. One thing that was great about herbalife was that it gave me TONS of energy! And their cafe latte mixed with the dulce letche...ummm delicious! It's like a healthy latte that gives you tons of energy!

I also didn't do the zone diet or the paleo like a lot of crossfitters do. I decided that I needed to do this the realistic way and not something that was only temporary. So this is what I do basically:

I wake up in the morning and first thing I do is make breakfast. I try to make breakfast my biggest meal of the day. A lot of people want to skip breakfast but its a BIG mistake. You need the energy to get you through your day and your workouts! Usually I have something packed with carbs and protein.

Example: Plain oatmeal mixed with fruit (no added sweetners besides fruit) and a whole wheat english muffin with PB or honey. Another favorite is 2 egg whites mixed with spinach and cottage cheese, side of fruit, and a whole wheat english muffin. Sometimes I even make a little egg mcmuffin with the english muffin, an egg white, avocado, spinach, and a slice of turkey bacon.

After breakfast I will usually do a workout. Either at crossfit or if I can't make it in the morning I'll wait til Havey is asleep and do a workout. I'll take a home crossfit workout that I've pinned on pinterest, write it out in big print on a sheet of paper and then tape it to the tv stand and do my workout while I watch my favorite shows I want to catch up on. Killing two birds with one stone since I will admit I LOVE my shows!

After I workout I'll grab some water and shortly after grab a snack.

Example: I usually do fruit with a spoonful of cottage cheese (watermelon or oranges are the best). Or carrots with hummus.

In between workouts and snacks I try to keep active during the day. Either with the kids or doing chores around the house. I also try to pound down the water.

Lunch is my next biggest meal of the day but it's not as big as breakfast. This is the last time I try to have any starches or breads.

Example: Instead of plain whole wheat bread I like to get little whole wheat rounds (you can get them at costco). They are pretty thin and a lot less filling than bread. I will either take half of a round and toast it or if I'm really hungry I'll just use both halves. Instead of mayo I LOVE just plain avocado to keep my sandwich/burger nice and moist. Then I'll grill some onions, bell peppers, garlic and a lean turkey burger. I'll top it with dijon mustard and either spinach or romaine lettuce. Or I'll make a sandwich. I use low sodium deli meat FROM THE DELI! No packaged meats at all!

I like to incorporate garlic and onions into a lot of my meals. Jayda and Chase HATE the smell of it and that I am constantly adding it to meals but they are so great for you! They act as natural detoxers and are great for flavoring without all the salt.

A couple hours after lunch I'll have another snack.

Example: An apple and a small handful of almonds. I also love strawberry and honey greek yogurt mixed with half a banana and blueberries. I try to have an apple and blueberries everday. They are my favorite and they are so great for you! You might be tempted to stay away from greek yogurt because it has A LOT of calories and sugar. But if you look at the ingredient list it's got far less crap than "low calorie" or "no sugar added" yogurts. Plain greek yogurt is the best because it doesn't have the amount of sugar the flavored kind has but I only take a little scoop of it to flavor fruit or to make a green smoothie. Everything in moderation.

In general I try to look at the ingredients list of my foods and not so much the calories. If there is a large list of ingredients I stay away from them even if the calories are lower than something that has less ingredients. Also if I can't buy the ingredient as a whole food then I stay away from it. What is sodium erythorbate for example? Where do I go buy that? The answer is no where! Stay away from things like that!

I try to keep it simple for dinner. I ususally just have veggies and a protein of some sort or a salad. It's usually chicken because I'm not a big red meat eater. I don't eat pork at all (stay away from it!!) and I don't eat seafood of any kind. I sometimes wish I did because fish is so great for you but I just can't bring myself to eat any of it. Maybe one day!

After dinner I will either go to crossfit or do a home workout.

After my workout I'll come home and have a bowl of fruit and some herbal tea. I try not to have anything after about 7-7:30 but water or tea that way my body has a chance to burn off my food before I go to bed.

The first few days you'll probably feel a little hungry and you might get a headache. It's totally normal but it will go away after a couple days. After that you'll have so much energy! And before doing this plan I couldn't go to sleep earlier than 11pm. Sometimes it wasn't until 12 or 1. And when you have kids that wake up at 6-6:30am that can make you very tired and groggy throughout the day and starts a vicious cycle of tiredness. Now I have tons of energy and my circadium rhythum is stabalized!

After about a month I decided to weigh myself! Gasp! What is funny is I only lost about 10lbs from the before and after pictures. That's why watching the scale means nothing. I would've never thought that only a 10lb weight loss I would look so different. The number means NOTHING! How do you feel? How do your clothes fit? Pay attention to that and throw your scale away!!

I still have plenty of goals....bikini anyone? I'm so not there yet but I will be one day! And I have goals besides how my body looks. Some of those include: doing a pull up without assistance of a band, doing ring dips without assistance, doing a muscle up (LONG ways away!), handstand push-ups and lifting with the big 45lb bar. So in other words I just want to be stronger...not skinnier. The important thing to remember is to stay consistent but remember to reward yourself too. If I want a small treat I will have one and honestly I do every 3-5 days depending on the week. What I don't do that I used to is get down on myself if I do treat myself. I would have the mentality that I failed if I had one bad thing and so my whole day was therefore shot. But that's not true. So what I had a piece of chocolate? Now I'll do a little workout instead of gorging myself when I "failed". Luckily eating healthy you start to not even want your treats as much.

There will be hard days and some days where you just don't want to work out. Can anyone say box jump gone bad anyone...

But there will also be good days where you achieve your goals and see tremendous progress...

This is my first handstand hold! It took 3 months to get the guts (and strength) to do it unassisted. I felt so much pride achieving my goal! My next goal...banging out handstand push-ups without the backpack to assist me. It's not too far off!

If I know I'm not going to have the option of eating healthy for a meal then I will plan my day accordingly. Instead of having a full out meal for breakfast or for lunch I'll replace it with a green smoothie or just have something really small. I realize that by not going 110% with my diet its going to take longer than if I was very strict. But by doing it the realistic way I'm going to form good habits and have more long term results even when life gets in the way.

It's so easy to get intimidated when you are first starting out. I by no means consider myself a health expert and even one that knows a whole lot about nutrition. I do consider myself someone that loves to learn more about health and nutrition and take critism and put it to use. No one is perfect and you shouldn't hold yourself to those standards.

The first day I started crossfit I couldn't even do a full crunch. It was embarassing that I couldn't even do one unassisted. I had to use a weight to get up to my feet. Now I'm doing get-up sit-ups with no problem. It just takes time for your body to get stronger. There is no shame in that.

Lastly find someone to do your plan with. Having friends or a support network is essential! I love going to crossfit because of the people I work out with. I love having my trainers push me. I could do the workout at home and still find results but having people motivate me everyday pushes me that much further. And in crossfit there is healthy competition. If I see a girl who has the same althetic ability as me I try to push myself to keep up with her or pass her in my workout. And chances are she's doing the same. But even though there are all kinds of people there with different levels of atheletic ability I haven't come across one who is snoody or has a huge ego. Everyone is so nice especially if you are new! That's definetely a refresher from some gyms I've been to.

And this is not to say this would plan work for everyone. I have a lot of friends who are super fit and healthy who do things like herbalife. I think its awesome when people find something that works long term for them. My advice is to be completely ready when you start and find something long term that will work. Also be good to yourself! Don't expect to be perfect because you will be so disappointed! Plus NO ONE is even if they say they are! They are lying to you! :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

To my girls...

I've been thinking about writing this letter to my girls (aged 5 and 18 months) for a few months now. Sometimes I think about what I want out of my parenting experience and if I died today what pieces of advice I'd want to leave behind to my girls. I don't want to even pretend to know how to raise teenagers. I know I won't always take my own advice but in an ideal situation these are things I want to teach my girls. Not everyone will agree with my views or my values and I'm completely ok with that. So here is a letter to my girls from the bottom of my heart...

To my girls,

Right now you girls are still my babies. There are so many things I want to teach you that you just wouldn't understand yet but there are things I can instill in you while you are small. I'm not perfect and I make mistakes. What matters is I am trying. There is perfection in inperfection.

I think every parent wants their children to have better then what they had. They want them to not make the same mistakes. That would be ideal. But I actually want and expect you to make mistakes even if it kills me to watch you make them. It's a part of life and a part of improving.

If life were ideal I would tell you to not get married til you're AT LEAST 25. Go travel the world, get your degree, reel in several fish in the sea before you keep one, have a handful of friends that accept you for who you are, and just live life as free as you can.

By the time I turned 19, I was married. A year later I was pregnant. We really were just two kids who didn't know much about life except for the fairy tale we had imagined up for our lives. I'm surprised your dad and I didn't kill each other the first year of our marriage. We hardly knew each other and jumped into something because it's what we thought we were supposed to do. Although I don't regret marrying your dad or having you girls so early in life I don't want that for you. I want you to date the person you fall in love with for awhile. I want you to get an education and a great job before you settle down and have kids. If that's what you even want. I don't ever want you to rely on another individual, especially your partner, to be the sole provider. You need to have the resources for you and your children if it so be that you need that. It's your responsibility to provide that security if need be.

Don't ever let someone tell you that your only purpose here is to have kids and be a wife. I'm not saying those aren't incredibly fulfilling and important jobs. I've enjoyed doing that for the first years of your lives, but I've also witnessed countless women lose their identity, their sanity, and their individuality trying to fit in "the mom and wife box". It's easy to get so lost in caring for others that we forget ourselves. We've been taught in society that if we take care of ourselves before others that is selfish, but it's a lie. If you don't take care of yourself how are you supposed to care for others? If you've lost your identity how can you help shape your children's individual identities? You simply can't. When/if you become a mom remember that you and your partner are a team. Your dad and I share the responsibilty for you kids because we are both parents. Your dad has always been great at that. No one team mate is better or more powerful than the other. Never forget that.

Remember that health and fitness are important. Take care of your body and the things you put in it. You can add so many years to your life simply by eating whole foods and exercising. Make it simple, realistic, and more importantly fun! Your body and your mind will thank you for it. And never forget moderation, moderation, moderation!

Pick something you're passionate about and put your heart into it even if others tell you that you can't achieve it. But never forget to balance reality with passion. You can dream big but find a realistic way to achieve your goals.

Dont rely on others love to determine your happiness. The other day, Jayda, you told me that you were your own best friend because if you don't love yourself you can't love others. I'm so proud that at 4 years old you have already picked up on that concept because even some adults don't get it. But please have a best friend besides yourself because that's weird...

Always question authority because even they make mistakes. Look at both sides of an argument even (especially!!) if authority tells you not to. People will try to tell you how to think or what is true but it's your responsibility to search that truth for yourself. Think critically about every situation but try not to become a know it all that refuses to admit they were wrong. Always be willing to switch viewpoints. That's how we learn and obtain truth. Be skeptical but not untrusting. Sometimes it's a hard balance. And remember that just because we want something to be true doesn't make it so.

When someone tells you something that sounds too good to be true it probably is. When you see something is free it probably has strings attached.

As for religion, I want you to apply the same principles as anything in life. Be skeptical and question authority but I will never tell you what you should or shouldn't believe in. If I can help it I'll make sure no one around you does the same. Your religious journey is your own to walk and no one else's. You make sense of whatever you want and I'll support you 100% even if I came to a different conclusion. Just never conform your views just because it's popular or easier. That goes for things besides religion too. It could be politics, values, social norms, etc. If you go with the crowd you're cheating on yourself. That is a true tragedy in life.

I'm not going to lie to you. There will be hard times in life. It's just simply a part of your story. No good story is perfect, without its tragedies. The hard times make the good times that much better. Just never forget to communicate the way you feel to those that you love and trust. Holding in things is not healthy and leads to anxiety. But also don't dwell on the negative and learn to move past the painful experiences.

Learn to accept criticism and realize that not everyone is going to like you. You're not here to impress anyone and you'll learn in life who your true friends are. Those that are there for you through anything, even when they don't agree with your life choices, are the keepers. You can't waste your time with conditional friendships. They aren't worth the energy or head space.

Never be afraid to talk to me about something. I'm here as a guide, not to be your authority figure. You will have good and bad consequences for the things you do in life. I'm just here to enforce them.

When you go rock climbing you have a guide who knows way more than you do but they've also experienced the climb a thousand times before. They are there to help you get to your destination safely and to help correct your mistakes. It would be wrong of them to expect you to not make any. It would also be wrong if they forced your head in the direction they wanted you to look, or put blinders on the parts they don't want you to see. They don't control your climbing experience just like I don't control your life. You'll take different things from the same things we experience.

I want you to feel comfortable sharing with me your mistakes and your triumphs without the fear of judgment. I want you to be able to talk to me about boys and sex. Sex is a dirty word for so many parents but it's a very natural part of a relationship. Always be safe and smart. Be in a monogamous relationship and make sure you have the emotional maturity to handle such serious things. Bottom line, have respect for your body but never ever let anyone tell you what to do with it. Just remember that every choice has a consequence. Good and bad.

Heart breaks are completely normal even expected. It will happen probably more than once. One time after a boy broke my heart I literally threw up. Now I laugh at that situation and one day you will too. Try not to throw up though. That's gross and totally not worth it. I promise.

Don't take yourself too seriously.

Yes your body is fantastic. Stop analyzing yourself by a number on a scale. How do you feel? That's your best indicator of health and beauty.

Men can control themselves and their thoughts. You are not ever responsible for their thoughts and don't buy into it if you're told you are.

You are not a licked cupcake or a chewed up piece of gum. And if any man has a problem that you weren't abstinent before marriage than he cares more about his ideals than you. It's not necessarily his fault, he's just been taught that his whole life.

Which leads me to my final point. Always have empathy even if you can't understand someone completely. Actions are a consequence of thought. Thought is a consequence of upbringing. And upbringing is something we don't choose. Always look at why someone did something because there is almost always another layer to what we see. Not everyone questions what they were told to believe because they don't understand there is more than one way to look at a situation. And if they do they just want what's easier, not what's true. That's a bias of the human brain and not always a character flaw. But there is a difference between having empathy and being a doormat. Again it's about the balance.

"Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life you will have been one of these."

I love you girls more than anything so when I need my mama time don't take it personally. That's going back to having my individuality and space. Personal time and space is essential for your mental health. It has nothing to do with you. And if/when you become a mom don't feel guilty taking a break. You deserve it.

Keep a journal. One day you'll love to go back and read it and laugh at yourself and the problems you thought you had. And read my journal to compare notes. I'm sure we made some of the same mistakes so don't be scared to talk to me because I seem old. I probably will be able to relate at some level.

Remember this is advice you have the choice to take or leave. Choice is your right but consequences are not.

"Compassion is free, but respect is earned."- (The show you guys still have Netflix? If so, watch it!)

Love always and unconditionally,

Your mama

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Life as we know it

Well folks, life has been crazy lately. Isn't it always?

I'm movin on up in this world. I just got a new job. I'm now working at the Southwest Behavioral Center. I've only worked for one day and know its going to be right up my alley! I pretty much just watch kiddos, go to group therapy, do activities with them, and then go out to eat with them. Its a pretty awesome job and honestly it felt like I wasn't even working! In fact it reminds me of a lot of what I did as a volunteer at The Erin Kimball Foundation. Also, during the summer I get to go to girls camp! I LOVE camping and it sounds like its going to be a blast!

Then I have another job lined up with "Allies for Families" and its a partnership with DCFS. I would work with at risk families that are on the brink of losing their custody to the state. I would go in and work with them teaching them parenting/life skills so they can prove to the state that they can keep their kids. It sounds like it would be a fun/interesting job. The only problem is that during our home study the licensor said that they may not make any matches with us for foster care if I'm working for AFF because it may be a conflict of interest since I'd be working for the very families that may need foster care. So I'm not entirely sure this job will work out since in the end I'd much rather do foster care. We shall see.

We finally got licensed to be foster care parents!! I say finally but really it actually happened way faster than I was expecting! I mean we started this process back in February and we are already licensed two months later! Crazy! I don't think my house has been as clean as it was when we had our home study. I was stressing over the weekend that everything looked completely spotless. The licensor was such a gruffy guy and so chill that I think he hardly noticed.

We thought that we were only going to be approved for one child because our spare bedroom was like 2 ft too short for the requirements. The licensor measured Jayda's room and her room was almost at the cut off for the requirments so he said as long as we switch Jayda's room with the spare room we could be licensed for two kiddos! So of course we said yes. Now we just wait for Ben the caseworker in charge of matches to contact us to meet and get to know our family. Once that happens then it is just a matter of waiting for the call. It's crazy to think that everything may change as soon as this summer in our family dynamic!

In other big news, Jayda is starting kindergarten this year! We registered her last week and it was all surreal! She was so excited to go see her new school and when we went into the office she demanded to meet her new teacher and classmates. They of course said they couldn't do that because they didn't know but she didn't seem to understand. They thought it was so funny that this little girl who looked like she was 2 or 3 years old was talking like such a big girl. She may be small but her large personality makes people instantly gravitate to her. We met the principal and he seemed like a pretty cool guy. He even challenged her to a race down the hall. We go back on the 17th for assessments for which I'm sure she will do great! She's such a smarty pants.

Jayda is also into the phase of talking about getting married. She has a few husbands lined up and one week will be married to a classmate and the next week she will tell me she broke up with him. It's so funny but crazy that she's already boy crazy! She cracks me up!

She's quite the social butterfly too. Sometimes it scares me how social she is because she doesn't understand boundaries. The other day I found her outside on the sidewalk sitting next to this guy from baja talking to him. I dont know how many times I've talked to her about talking to strangers but she doesnt seem to grasp the concept. I told her to come here and said she shouldn't be talking to that guy because he's a stranger. She said, "But Mom, he smells good!" Talk about scary! I don't know what to do/say to help her understand that its not ok! She just sees the best in everyone that she can't fathom that anyone would do anything bad to her. I have to watch her like a hawk because of it.

Haven is getting so big! Well she's really not THAT big or as the doctor said at her last appt, "she's not breaking any growth records either". I think she was like 20lbs at her last appt. What is funny is Jayda is only about 6-7lbs bigger than Haven so to me Haven is huge! She is teething right now she she is straight up miserable. When she was a baby she was so chill but she's gotten quite the sassy little attitude. She lets me know if something is bothering her and isnt afraid to let her sister know who is boss. Jayda will try to give her a hug and she will just push her away and yell and then immediately come to me and give me a hug instead. Poor Jayda is just a sweatheart and gets her feelings hurt but I think Haven is just going through a weird phase right now. When she does give her sister a hug though it is precious and Jayda gets so excited.

Haven also doesn't like to say mama. I ask her to say mama and instead she'll smile and say, "Daddy, da-da!"

Haven currently loves to climb on EVERYTHING! I'll find her on the coffee table, on top of the jayda's kiddy table messing with the lights, the top of the couch, on top of the bed, etc. Then she gets pissed she can't get back down. So I have to put anything she can step onto high up so she can't climb anything. She also loves to play in the toilet and so I know if I hear splish splashing its Haven playing in the toilet when someone (cough cough...Jayda) forgets to close the lid. Also, she's pooped in the bathtub more times than I can count. Nothing like vacating the bath only to go poop fishing with a plastic cup. I don't know which is worse, tons of pebble poop or the runs. Yuk!

She also likes to sprinkle tuperware all over the house. I literaly can track her movements by tuperware lids.

Also, why did we buy new furniture? How could we have been so naive. Never again!

This is from the other week when we decided to go down to vegas to see the cousins! We were planning on going to Zions but it was terrible weather so we decided last minute to go down to vegas for the day.

As for me, lately I've been obsessed with crossfit and eating healthier! I'm determined to whip this body back into shape! I've been neglecting myself and my health and I need to change it. I've been going to crossfit almost everyday during the week either early in the morning before Chase goes to work or in the afternoon after he gets home. I've been at it for almost a month. I was getting super frustrated because I was working my butt off at crossfit, plus working out at home, and eating healthy and I hadn't lost a freaking pound! I definetely noticed a change in my body so I know that I was building up muscle tone but it was still completely frustrating working so hard and not seeing number results.

But this weekend I talked to my sister and she told me to toss my scale away or to have Chase hide it! So that's what I'm going to do. I'm also going to start eating completely clean this week and not eat something unless they have just a few ingredients on the label, sticking to whole foods, and not obsessing over calorie counting but trusting the process. The problem would be that I would step on the scale and see no progress and by the end of the week get so frustrated that I would just say who cares what I eat its not working anyways! So I think by throwing away the scale I wont get discouraged anymore. I mean how sad is it that a number on a scale dictates my happiness and mood for the day? The fact of the matter is I have felt AMAZING since becoming healthier and everything else will naturally follow.

I'm also proud because Chase has been coming to crossfit too. He screwed up his knee and it was all swollen so he had to back away for a bit but he's going to get right back to it. Its so addicting and I love going there because the trainers are awesome and the people that go are strong but not "in your face, better than you" kind of people. It's been really fun to watch my growth and myself getting stronger. And since starting about a month ago I've never done the same workout twice. I highly recommend it to anyone that is curious about it.

Chase is still doing the same ole same ole. Working his butt off as usual. This week has been extra hard for us because he's been working both jobs constantly so we havent seen much of him. But hopefully this next week wont be as bad. His girls (all of us) miss him but we gotta do what we gotta do sometimes! We're also trying to track down either an SUV or van. Yes I said that right. A mini van. We've come to that point in our lives where we just turn in our cool card for the old lady who doesn't care what people think and actually cares about economics and space card. So everyone can just suck an egg! We will rock that mini van...hardcore.

Welp that's life as we know it. Until next time. Click.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Big Life Decision #576

Well Chase and I have been busy, busy, busy!

Recently, we made a huge life decision. I know...another one!

Just know like all of our other decisions we didn't come to this lightly, without weighing the pros or cons. We've thought about doing this for awhile, but it was never the right time for our family.

Recently, Chase and I have decided to become foster parents!!!

I know, I know...that probably came out of no where! But this has been something we've discussed doing since before we were married. After we had Haven we quickly came to the conclusion that we are done-zoids when it comes to having more children naturally. Sure, its partly to do with my mean old uterus, but a lot of it has to do that we are just purely content in having just two kids the ole natural way. I know, not very normal in Utah, but then again I don't claim to be a normal Utah resident.

Many may not know that I have a degree in Psychology and that one of my main interests during school was of children who have been through trauma. I also plan to become a caseworker in either adoption or for CPS. Eventually I want to get my LCSW but dont plan on pursuing that until my kids are in school. So I am not uneducated in what we will be faced with as a family and I know that foster care isn't for the faint hearted. It's going to be hard work. It's going to require sacrifice of our time and attention, but its something we are both extremely passionate about.

I also believe in the training we are recieving from DCFS and the support system they have set up for foster parents.

When we were dealing with infertility we briefly looked into doing foster care to adopt. It was a cheap way of adopting and we liked the idea of helping children in need. But our hearts weren't ready to be broken when they were already broken into pieces over not being able to concieve. When it came down to it we wanted a baby and we wanted one that was going to be ours with a ZERO percent chance of being taken away. In foster care that just isn't ever a guarantee. We had to deal with our own baggage before we brought that into an already difficult situation.

Our hearts were just not ready for it.

I'm so glad we waited because our lives are in such a different place right now. We are completely content with our two children. And we are going into foster care with the perspective that our main goal is for reunification to the birth parents, not for adoption. We are very open to the possibility of adoption if that is on the table but its not what we are seeking.

One big hurdle was also the fear that I would be so heartbroken if reunifcation occured. But I had to change that perspective because in reality thats very selfish. If you only help people for the prospect of what you may or may not get out of it then you aren't thinking about the person in need but only about yourself. It's an understandable concern and I'm sure when that happens to us it will be difficult but I see no reason for that to be a reason NOT to do it.

Another thing...I understand why people may have reservations doing foster care especially when having young children. You don't know what these kids have been through and you wouldn't want to invite these kids to cause physical or emotional harm to your biological children. We understand this concern but we have taken the adequate provisions within our power and with our caseworker to prevent this. I have worked with children that have had traumatic pasts so I am not naive to this concern. And although these children can be a handful its important to remember that these kids need love and attention too. They aren't black sheep who need to be turned away. They are CHILDREN. Most of them are absolute sweethearts in a sticky situation.

In foster care they have 3-4 levels of placement difficulty. The first level is the easiest and most basic physical/emotional needs and up to the most difficult of 3-4. For first time foster parents they almost always match you with level 1 placements. As DCFS trains you more and you gain more experience they give you more difficult placements if that is what you want.

When I was in high school we had a family member come to us in need for a friend to have a place to stay for awhile. It was a man who had a family and was traveling. He was in a sticky situation and needed a temporary place to stay and so they thought of us. We had 3 open bedrooms and 1 open bathroom. We had plenty of space. My dad and I were very reluctant. We didnt know who this guy was and I was a little creeped out that he would be living near me--a teenage girl. I let fear get in the way of not helping this guy who was in need of help. My dad said the final say was up to me since I'd be the one who'd be in the same area of the house as him. I told my mom absolutely not! Then my mom said well I hope that when we sing the hymn "Because I Have Been Given Much" we can keep a straight face. I stuck my nose in the air and said "Too bad! It's just not smart."

Sure, maybe I saved myself from a lot of heartache and a bad situation but I still think about that man very frequently. I let my judgments and preconcieved notions get in the way of helping someone out. I really regret turning away that man that needed help. And have decided to not let fear stand in the way of helping others.

Does that mean that I won't be smart and put my children in a bad situation? Absolutely not! We've decided that teenagers are out of the question for the time being. We have asked for children from the ages of 0-5 and no older than 10 if in a sibling pair. We will be able to hear the background of every case before we accept or decline (as much as the caseworker knows of course). And we are asking for the most basic of needs to begin with. I won't ever put my kids in a situation that could put them at risk. My children will never be alone without my supervision. In fact our trainer said the first 6 months of any match he suggests watching the sibling interactions very very closely.

With that said, I know there are reservations and frankly people can think what they want. I understand foster care hasnt been a positive experience for everyone but we've done our research and feel comfortable with the decision we've come to.

We hope to expand our family through adoption of older legally free children but we're not going into it for that reason. We want to teach our girls to love unconditionally even if there is a chance that child wont get to join our family.

We appreciate others kind words of encouragement, but frankly I don't want to hear anything negative about our decision. We get its not for everyone and some people may disagree with our decision but if you feel that way please keep it to yourself.

Chase and I are beginning the 32 hour training every tuesday and thursday for the month of Februrary. After that we will get a homestudy and background check done and have to fill out a mountain of paperwork. They also have great support groups of other foster care parents in our area which I think will be such a vital thing to have. At that point we will then just have to wait for a match. It could take awhile to get a match or it may take no time at all. We are very excited for this next chapter in our lives!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Here we go 2014!

I know this is a bit late but we've been going non-stop the last few weeks that we hardly even have time to talk to each other until late at night!

I'm so excited to begin a new year! I feel like its been wiped clean and we can begin fresh. I'm not going to lie last year was especially difficult for me. At the same time, I grew so much as a person, mother, and wife. I wouldn't have changed it for anything. Some days I feel the need to move on but then it's difficult to change a mindset that you've had for 25 years all while your surrounded by people who believe as you used to. It's not that simple. My motto for this year is:

One thing that I've tried to focus on is to...

I know it's easy to get caught up in the day to day, but when I look back in life I want to say I lived for every moment. I don't want to just exist or to endure life, I want to live every day. There will be some bad days, some great days, and some days I just want to snuggle up on the couch, watch Scandal or my Real Housewives and just eat chocolate. That's the beauty of life.

Chase and I have also set some personal financial goals. When we first got married we were just kids. I was just barely 19! I seriously cannot believe I got married that YOUNG (not that I regret it of course)....but STILL! AND I thought I was getting too old! So bizarro! I'll admit when we first got married we were terrible with our money. We just spent it because we could. After we had Jayda, I was too proud to buy second hand things and as a result flushed a lot of money down the toilet. Money we didnt necessarily have or spend wisely. We both had good jobs but just were stupid.

Then Chase lost his job at State Bank of Southern Utah when his branch closed down because of the economy. I was a stay at home mom who was going to school. It was a rough time for us financially and for Chase as a provider for our family. He got a job at Red Robin but it hardly paid the bills. At the time we were already having troubles getting pregnant and I wasn't going to stop trying to get pregnant because I had no idea if I ever could get pregnant again. Some people judged us for that but honestly they can go suck an egg for all I care. Luckily by the time I got pregnant I graduated with my psychology degree and Chase got a great career opportunity and became an insurance agent for Farmer's insurance. He still works 2 nights a week as a bartender at Red Robin (makes way more than a server)because he likes it and likes the people he works with.

And recently I decided I needed to get out and started serving at Red Robin three nights a week (monday, wednesday, and Friday). I planned on getting my masters degree in social work but unfortunately there are no local options at the moment and online degrees are upwards to $50,000! I also could get a caseworker job with my bachelors degree but I find it important to not leave my kids at daycare. So when both of the kids are in school I will go back to work and school. For the moment though, I was finding myself really antsy to get out and have a break to be an adult once and awhile and we thought this was a good option.

As a result of our stupid spending early on in our marriage (and maybe even past that), we're still paying for it. Literally.

We've paid a lot of our debt off, gotten off assistance (thankfully when we needed it after Chase lost his job we got it!), and now our next goal is to save for a down payment for our own house. We're hoping by the end of the year we'll have a big chunk to put down so we'll have some equity right away.

I'm super stoked to be able to contribute financially and to see the debt going bye-bye! It's also made me realize that it's ok to go through rough patches. It's ok to get help when you need it. And working with some people who are not finacially ok, but are also some of the most hard-working people has changed my perspective. Some of the people I work with at Red Robin have two jobs, work their butts off, hardly see their kids and are still barely making it. It's given me the perspective that not everyone who takes assistance or help wants to...they HAVE to.

As far as the kiddos go...they have gotten so big!

Haven is sleeping better but still not necessarily through the night. She is teething right now and so she's pretty miserable. She's 14 months and STILL NOT walking! haha She's so freaking lazy! She's her own person and is such a little cuddler.

Jayda starts kindergarten later this year! She's so excited, but I'm sure she'll be sad to leave her friends she's had for the last couple of years. Luckily we have 4 more months before we have to worry about that. Recently her only friends on our street moved and she's had a rough time with that and has been pretty lonely. We're hoping a young family with kids moves in. She is very inquistive and loves going to the library to pick out books. She likes learning about space and she's been going through a "My Little Pony" phase. She'll do chores to earn money and will spend it at DI for little toys and ponies she finds there. She's still a bean and as always people think she's only 3, even though she's 4 1/2!

Chase is doing great at Farmers. He makes his quota every quarter and is actually getting a big raise in March. He also sold enough life insurance to win a trip to Disneyland for the two of us in September! He's a hard worker and never complains!

So that's about it for our family! Here's to a brand spanking new year!