Tag Archives: Adventures

Henry’s First Trip

Yesterday was monumental for Henry. He took his first ride in the car, out of the house to Mimi’s and Papa’s! It was actually my first time out of the house since he came too but it’s not as monumental for me. 🙂

I was really nervous. Was he going to hate his carseat and cry the whole 25 min drive? Was he going to be unhappy the whole time we were there because it was out of his ‘routine’? Would it throw everything off and make our night horrible? Would it do me any good mentally or would the stress make it worse?

Well I’m happy to report that it was a very successful trip! The moment we got into the car he fell asleep and stayed asleep the whole time. Then when we got there he ate good and then was happy while everyone took turns holding him. He took a little power nap while we were all watching Elf and then even and then fell asleep again on the way home!

And as for that night, he was dreamy. We got home and he ate again and then slept for 5 hours, ate again and slept another 3 hours. The excessive stimulation didn’t seem to upset him too much! So needless to say I woke up pretty happy today.

Tomorrow we are scheduled to have another 2 outings, the first to see our midwife for his 2  week checkup and then again to Mimi’s for dinner because Clarky is in town! Yay!

So today, I’m staying in my jimmies. We both are. It’s going to be a chill day sandwiched between what I hope will be TWO very successful outing days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In other news Lucie is here and we got some Christmas lights up! This will be a very memorable Christmas indeed! My whole family together with a very special addition.

I love my crew!

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Homeschooling Ben

When we moved to this house in Wellsville I started my research on schools for Ben. Of course there was the public elementary school down the street but the Wellsville school never really showed up on my list when I did my ‘best schools in Cache Valley’ search. I had conversations with his former preschool teacher who assured me that Wellsville school had just gotten a new principal and that her niece teaches there and had nothing but praises about it.

After getting the news that Ben didn’t get into a charter school we were hoping for (it’s lottery after all…what were the chances?) we decided that we would try the public school.

It started out good. He was so excited and so was I! His teacher seemed really amazing (she is). We got his backpack ready and all the anticipation and excitement of the first day of school was as expected. We were in it for the long haul. The programs, the homework, the volunteer opportunities for the parents, the school schedule and even all the germs that were being introduced those first few weeks! Ha!

I thoroughly enjoyed dropping him off and picking him up each day to hear all the cute girls in his class say, “Bye Ben!” as he would get into the car.

He really got along with the girls in his class. Not as much with the boys. He was just as his preschool teacher predicted, the teachers pet. He was a fantastic student. Before we pulled him out he was tested; I think they are called dibels or dimmels or something; and out of the entire cache county school district he scored in the 96th percentile.

But before that happened I started to notice something. Yes, his homework was too easy. He already knew everything they were going over. He was a bit bored. His favorite time was recess (which happened twice during a 3 hour period). But that wasn’t what concerned me. I know that a lot of kindergarteners are bored and already know everything at the beginning of the year. And ya, they weren’t cramming those 3 hours with learning only, which I wouldn’t want anyway…that’s too much for 5 year olds. It did seem like a lot of his time was filled with fluff but that wasn’t what bothered me the most either.

It was a day that the morning wasn’t going as smoothly as others and I probably threatened him that I’d keep him home from school if things didn’t change. In preschool that threat always got his attention and things changed. He loved preschool. LOVED it. It was an amazing school…his teacher was probably the best in the county which is why people didn’t mind driving long distances for her. Anyway through that experience he learned to love learning. We saw it happen before our eyes. We knew and his teacher knew that he is a very bright boy and it was such a perfect atmosphere to kindle that. He excelled. I know you might be thinking, he was four Anna! It’s just preschool. But it’s a fun experience when you see your child grow so much and do so well, even beyond his years.

So that morning when his response to my threat was, “OK, fine, I’ll stay home from school, I don’t care!” I knew something was off.

It didn’t happen just that one time either. He subsequently showed signs that he didn’t really care to go to school or that if he missed it it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Once or twice he even asked if he could stay home and play with William instead. Complete opposite of the year before.

And this is not because he wasn’t getting along with his classmates, or that he was being bullied. It wasn’t because he wasn’t doing well. A meeting we had with his teacher at one point made that all very clear. Ben was well loved by everyone and was an excellent student. But for some reason it’s like I could see his beautiful light of learning slowly start to dim. It scared me to death.

So that’s when the door opened in my mind to homeschooling. I never thought that door would open. I really didn’t. Not for me. I knew that someday when David had his dream of starting his own school come true that we would pull our kids out at that point and he would take over most of the grunt work. I never imagined that I would be doing it myself. I had a small belief that moms shouldn’t confuse their role as moms with that of teacher because it’s confusing for the kids. I knew that the social aspect of homeschool was complicated but despite all this and more I knew that it was the right choice for Ben.

A conversation with my family (mom, brother and sister in law) also really helped me take the leap forward. They also know how bright Ben is and helped me see how much more freedom we’d have with him at home. Yes, he could learn at a faster rate but more importantly we could facilitate the love of learning that public school just wasn’t doing….already.

We went in for another meeting with his kindergarten teacher to share our thoughts with her and ask for her thoughts about it. She was so understanding and kind, not at all like I was expecting. You know, judgmental and concerned about the ‘homeschool’ mindset. She understood where we were coming from with Ben and said that she didn’t worry about him as she does with others who do homeschool. She did in a way beg for us to keep Ben in school because she just loved him so much. She said if she could have 20 Ben’s in her class her life would be bliss. She said she would miss him.

A week later Ben was home for good.

Most of the questions and concerns that I’ve had about homeschool have been resolved since then. For instance, concerning the confusion of roles, teacher or mom, I feel strongly now that that simply wasn’t true. Who else might I ask, is better suited to teach my child than me? And isn’t that the literal description of my responsibility as a parent anyway?

The biggest concern I still have is about the social aspect of it. I’ve actually been have a bit of anxiety about it the last couple days. I worry and wonder about what Ben is missing out on at school. What life experiences is he missing that could be super beneficial to his growth? Am I ruining him in some small way? Or big way?

I still don’t know the answer. But, I do know that we will do our best by getting him in activities like karate or soccer or music lessons. Also that we will have him in play dates and group activities with other kids. I also know that public school ‘socialization’ isn’t necessarily the best form of socialization out there so I can take comfort in that. I just have to have faith that even though I don’t know all the answers right now, this is still the best choice for Ben and everything will work out!

Plus he’s only in kindergarten. No better place to start right?

I’m grateful for this little learning journey I’ve been on with Ben and am excited about the ones to come!

Life Happens

Wow. I am not very good at this blogging thing. Life happens and I stop. Obviously it’s not the biggest priority in my life….or maybe it’s just that life has been extra crazy? I will catch you up and you decide.

Hmmmmm ……

It might not seem like a big thing but the cold!!! Ah! It’s been so cold and so wet here! It really dampens my mood. Ugh. My face tells you how I feel about driving in snow in April.

I guess we will start with our living situation. One normal night we were in our beds sleeping with the window open letting fresh cool air in and all the sudden I hear this horrifyingly loud noise coming from outside. I was frozen. Was it an earthquake? Was it a car crash? Was it a car crashing into our apartment? Was it something I just couldn’t comprehend? All I knew was I frozen for about 20 seconds . David however spring out of bed quicker than a cat and was at the window frantically trying to see what was happening.

Then it was over. We still weren’t sure. He said he was going to go outside and look around. I called him back and said I had a yucky feeling and that I wanted him to stay here for a minute.

After a while of looking out windows and speculating we finally saw our neighbors (who happen to be the managers) outside talking with our other downstairs neighbor.

Longer story, shorter…a drunken, high physcho boyfriend of our downstairs neighbor had kicked in her window, (2 layers if thick glass!) crawled through it (without hurting himself) and strated to beat her.

He apparently took off because his story to the managers was that someone else broke in and he had to chase them off. Eventually the cops came and questioned everyone and then the search was on. They caught him which was great BUT the darn judge set his bail very very low and so he was released that very same day. Now she has a restraining order for him.

They day they brought a photo of him around to everyone and said “keep an eye out for him and if you see him on the premises call 911 right away”…was the end if it for me. We moved out that night.

Thankfully my parents were kind enough to let us bunk with them if only temporaryily.

My sweet neighbor is doing ok. I feel pretty guilt about leaving her there but I knew sleeping good would be over for me if we stayed.  She had a good bruise in the side of her head but she is tough.

So now we are on the hunt for our own place.

We were planning on moving out this summer anyway, so I guess this experience just hurried things a bit.

The next big news is that we are expecting baby #3!!!!

I am about 13 weeks right now. I am finally starting to feel a little bit better.

During this whole scary moving experience I was not feeling well at all…it was rough. And all new to me because with my first two babies I felt pretty darn great.

Grrrrrrrrrrrr. This is hard. I have so much more empathy for women who are sick during pregnancy.

But we are so excited.

Around this time we also had to plan David’s Graduation party. I had sent out invites already and it was happening! Don’t get me wrong I was so happy this was FINALLY happening but since I had become pregnant and not feeling great my motivation and umph to get this party going basically disappeared.

THANK HEAVENS FOR MY SIL MERICAR!

She took over and saved me.

She is an amazing party planner and cook and the party was more than I could have imagined! I may have to save that for another post altogether.  What a great day !

This is where I announced I was pregnant to all the family and friends that were there. It was fun.

So anyway you can see now maybe why I have MIA from my blog.

The only stress I feel now is finding our own place which is not an easy thing to do in cache valley right now. The competition is fierce.

Wish us luck, send a prayer or two. I don’t know but hopefully things work out…I know they always do the way they are supposed to.

Southern Salvation

I’ve been struggling this winter.

So much snow. So cold. No yard. Stuck inside. Ugh.

About 2 weeks ago my mom and I were due to go to Southern Utah for the Lights Festival in Mesquite, NV.  It was going to be a quick but very enjoyable and needed break from the Northern cold.

But it didn’t happen. Last minute we decided that trying to schedule our driving times between 2 big snow storms was not worth it. Sad face.

So we planned a make up trip.

My cute cousin Ryan’s wedding + an available home = perfect!!

The wedding was on Saturday so of course we had to go late Tuesday so we would have all day Wednesday thru Sunday!

The home we were able to stay in was one of the many of my uncle’s, FIL. Beautiful. Big. Free. Freaking awesome.

Just across the street was a trail into the red desert where we could hear frogs and crickets.

Rock collecting was the mission of the boys.

Sun basking was mine.

Wednesday after we did the short walk across the street, the boys were drawn (without blame) to the hot tub on the patio. Although it wasn’t warm yet they had a blast splashing around.

First it was rolled up pants and ‘don’t get too wet!’ to underwear and ‘who cares!’

After that we headed to Zions. Wearing the same shirt btw.

The boys fell asleep on the way so we decided to take a Sunday drive. I’ll admit the purpose of where we went was to catch a glimpse of a property for sale in Virgin that I’ve had my eye on. 100 acres for oh only 2.3 million! It looked like paradise. A girl can dream!

So off onto the dirt road we went! Google maps on our side we did our best to decipher where this place could be! About 30 mins later on the dirt road (a rough one at that!) we came to a fortress of a mountain with a pretty iron gate in front of a perfectly manicured gravel road that went up, up, up!!

Probably about 1 mile of switchbacks up the side of this mountain is was brought you to this property. Nope, we didn’t get to go up there. But it didn’t matter. At that point I knew that this is somewhere I’d never want to live. It was way too secluded.

So it was a memorable adventure. Without photos of course.

Zions was wonderful. We saw the 4 Patriarchs and then we did the back side of Emerald Pools. Ben was a champ. He hiked the entire 2+ miles all by himself! Apart from the last little chunk where Mimi gave him piggy back ride because his feet were wet and sandy (crossing river mishap).

William enjoyed himself most of the time on my back in his little carrier.

It was hard to leave but the time came and we headed to IN N OUT for some hamburgers (and shake for mama).

Thursday was a bit more rough.

Let me back up a bit.

Before we left for our trip I was determined and felt inspired to do my best at making it a ‘worry free’ trip. As of late I have been so over worrying. It feels as though worry has consumed my being so there is nothing left but all the horrible possibilities around me.

I have been making progress and getting better. And this trip to me was the perfect place to really put it into use.

Enter Thursday morning. Now, if you asked my mother she would tell you that it wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was. We are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to worry. It’s a wonder we all made it as kids to adults. 😉

William was in the hot tub with his cousins (they came down the night before to spend some time). He had his floaties on and I was close by because I knew that he wasn’t perfect with them yet.

Sure enough I noticed (thankfully because it could have been SO easy to miss because he looked upright) that his mouth and nose were under the water and he just couldn’t get in the right position to get out of it. I ran over as fast as possible and those few feet felt like a few miles. I pulled him out and he was struggling. Panicking and coughing in a manner that was concerning…sounded more like barking/vomiting.

Immediately all the what if’s running through my mind. I had read stories of kids who died from second hand drowning. It doesn’t take much water..and chlorine can highly complicate it. Or that’s what ‘they’ said. How much did he get? How would I know? What if? What if? What if?

Worry-free goal down the drain. Flush.

The next hour I was in full fledged worry mode. I spoke with David on the phone. I watched him like a hawk. I read things. Maybe we should give him a blessing? Nope. My gut, whether it was the irrational worry side of me or not said to take him in.

So off to instacare we went. Got there and the line was slow and so non-urgent. I felt uncomfortable.  So back into the car to the ER.

My only other experience with the ER was when Ben broke out in hives late at night as a baby. We didn’t know what they were. My experience here was as positive as it could be. I wanted to run away but knew that I couldn’t.

The doctors and nurses were amazing. They told me that I did the right thing (at least I think they did) and ended up doing a breathing treatment for him. After having that they wanted to monitor him for 2 hours. So that’s what we did!

Another champ right here. No crying at all except to tell me he was really hungry.

Meanwhile brother was with his cousins having a blast at a new park.  An amazing park. A dinosaur park with a life like volcano and a train!

The next day we went back so William could experience the fun and Ben was more than happy to show us around and of course ride the train again!

The doctor said I should look out for pneumonia that could possibly set in a day or two after but luckily as predicted he was just fine.

Thank you Heavenly Father.

I’m still trying to figure out what my lesson was supposed to be thru all that.

I feel like I did a pretty good job with not worrying after that. It was all about fun and memories. Suckers at Christensen’s, Children’s Museum, cartoons on the big screen, dinners at restaurants and more!

The wedding on Saturday was wonderful. I had never been to the Las Vegas temple and in March it was just perfect. I had the littles so I couldn’t go in for the ceremony but it happened so fast that I really didn’t mind.

Look at this cute couple. They don’t get much cuter than that.

I love my family all so much. It’s always great when there is an event like this where we can see each other for a while.

We just did nap times in the car mostly.

After the delicious luncheon we headed back to St. George but first we had to stop in Logandale to see Rob and Chelsea’s new place! And we ended up staying waaaay later than planned. But hey, I wasn’t worried right? 😉

I even let my kids jump on the raised trampoline at 8 pm in the dark, unsupervised. Roll around in the dirt? Sure! 8:30pm? Whatever!

But just like my brother pointed out these will be memories forever in their minds that they just cant help but feel happy about.

AND THEY HAD SO MUCH FUN!

Sunday was church in our old ward which was nothing like we expected because it has changed too much. Then lunch with the family up at Grandmas house. More catching up and connecting with loved ones.

Did I mention my joy ride in my Brothers rental?

Ya, he rented a brand new mustang for the trip. He left it with his wife for a few hours. She was in the shower for a few minutes. I was revving down Dixie Dr.

I figured if something happened to me my SIL could say that I didn’t ask her to take it…she didn’t know! HA!

Oh what a beauty.  I do have a weakness for nice cars. I blame it on growing up with boys.

Anyway….

Monday morning we were doomed to be heading back to Logan.

BUT……..

My mom graciously saved our souls for one more glorious day. Afterall we hadn’t even been to Snow Canyon yet!

Monday morning we went on a short hike with some family. The familiar smell of sage and red dirt was like manna to my soul. Why do I love this place so much?!

This day we did do real nap times and boy oh boy did they need them!

After that it was back to Snow Canyon to play in the sand dunes!!

Really, if William was given the choice to do only one thing for the rest of his child life it would be dirt. Anything to do with dirt or sand. Just as long as he’s playing in it. It would be a toss up I’m sure between that and coloring or drawing though.

I do have to throw in this funny story though….

Monday afternoon before we headed to the dunes I wasn’t feel all that great.  A week of eating the way I was (restaurants etc) my guts were feeling it. So I asked my mom if she would stop in the nearest store to get me some fresh ginger I could chew on.

At this charming little market near Snow Canyon out the door comes this cute store clerk with a ginger drink that he swears by….Kombachu. There in the parking lot in my car he lets me look at it and tells me all about how it comes from fresh ginger and how it’s carbonated so it helps with indigestion etc. He was even going to open it up so I could try it! It sounded perfect! So I said, “I’ll do both!”

On the way out of the lot, I unscrewed the lid and took a swig. EH. Something was weird. I screwed the lid back on and looked at it closer. This is what I saw…

Notice the paragraph at the bottom?!

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

My mom says, “Too bad you read the label you would have had a lot more fun tonight!”

HAHAHAHAHA!

I said, “I thought it smelled funny!

Holy cow, I almost got drunk in St. George. That would have been a funny story to tell the hubby when I got home. And no, I’ve never had alcohol before so I really would have been drunk.

So instead of getting a buzz in the dunes I just chewed on my piece of non alcoholic ginger. And felt much better.

The glorious sun eventually went down behind the mountain and we dragged ourselves home. A simple dinner of carrots, bell peppers and yogurt with oatmeal was had and then bedtime.

The next morning was cleaning time and getting read to leave. For real this time. William hid in the closet. I wanted to join him. Do we have to!!?

It was a wonderful time and really was my salvation at a dire time. It breathed new life into me and I am grateful for that. Next time I just have to bring my husband so I don’t have to miss him.

Thank you MOM for an amazing time!

Sun!

One day last week it got up to somewhere around 54 degrees. Holy smokes people that is warm around here.

So what did we do?

Dusted off our ‘outing’ clothes and the boys led the way!

They wanted to go where they had found snail shells last fall but I had to remind them they were still 4 feet deep under the snow. But we still had an amazing time.

It felt so good to be out and breathing fresh air and feeling the sunshine on our faces! I felt so happy and I can bet my boys felt the same way.

This winter has been hard…

I hate being cooped up indoors for days on end! And that’s coming from a homebody! It’s just not healthy.

This winter has definitely brought more of my mom out in me….Die cold and frost and snow!! Where is the sun so I can worship it?!

That day got me so excited for sun and warmer days that I became giddy and needed more! I’m a bit ashamed to say it but I even went and lay in a tanning ‘death’ bed so I could feel my pores opening up in pleasure as the warmth was accepted into their deprived little orifices. Oh the vitamin D! It was amazing. And I’ll probably do it again before the snow melts.

Don’t judge. Maybe you should do it too. You could use the Vitamin D.

Now just you wait until the summer heat hits and I’ll probably being singing a different tune…but I can’t imagine it. Not now.

I am grateful for sunshine and for this beautiful earth we get to explore…even if it’s just in little Logan right now.  And I’m grateful for healthy happy boys who love to explore with me.

Worst nightmare come true

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Do you see the grip I have on that coat?

Thursday afternoon I was filled with a desire to have an adventure with my husband.

We don’t have a lot of alone quality time because of his busy schedule and many demands and when we do spend time together it’s usually doing the same kinds of things.

I’m a big advocate that experiences of husband and wives are what keep the flame burning. You learn new things, see different sides of a person you live with and just have opportunities to fall in love over and over again.

So when I suggested an adventure to my hubby he was on board but now was the hard part of figuring out what we would do.

I suggested rock climbing or a haunted house…cuz hey tiz the season right?

He enthusiasticly replied with haunted house!

So the plans were made, I did the research for possibly the best one in town that was still tasteful and where they don’t touch you but one that was still scary and we dropped the boys off at my parents and took off.

I should mention however that we almost didn’t go because between the time we planned and the time we actually got ready to go my mood had changed and I wasnt feeling it as much.

This is when my darling husband informed me that he had never experienced a haunted house and this would be his first time…ever! He wasn’t pressuring me but it was enough to swing me back over to the excited mood and looking forward to our adventure.

So off we went. To the 10th west scare house.

We tried to get my brother and his wife to come cuz the more the merrier right? Or the more the safer? Right?

Anyway on the phone with him he asked if it was the one he was thinking of out by a certain area and I said ya. He said, “You know there is a big clown our front right?’

Oh crap. No I didn’t know that. And no this isn’t why we almost didn’t go. But it should have been.

I should have known.

But nope, I was going to be brave and have an adventure with my husband.

And an adventure it was.

I guess I was a little less worried after we experienced the inside portion of the house which didn’t contain any clowns at all. It was very frightening and I lost my voice from screaming so much but it was a fun kind of scary, not clown scary.

So I thought, “ok, maybe it’s fine and there’s just the one big clown out front as their first and only scare tactic and maybe just maybe they have one clown moving around and scaring everyone. I can handle that. I enjoyed the inside, I assumed as much for the outside.

I was so so very gravely wrong.

The entire outside portion of the house was themed and centered around clowns . There wasn’t a turn or stretch of this thing that wasn’t about clowns or where one jumped out at you. And followed you. And did their creepy clown thing.

I hate clowns.

And they could smell the fear on me and that fed into their creepiness even more and they really didn’t leave me alone. And I bet they all told each other and had little creepy communications with eachother, hey that girl right there is super scared of us….

Oh man. And then there is my husband who can’t stop laughing at me the whole time but when he could control himself he did a pretty good job at protecting me.

Somehow I survived and it ended. I did pee my pants just a little. For the record.

Was it an adventure? Yup!!! Did my husband and I grow closer together? Absolutely! So I guess in the end it was worth it.

But for future reference I will assume to stay away from haunted houses if there is a big clown out front. Duh.

 

California Dreamin’

We got back from our Newport Beach California “vacation” a week and a half ago. Maybe you are wondering why I put “vacation” in scare quotes. Well I’ll tell you why.

Unfortunately this trip could not be defined to me as a vacation. I guess technically, if you were to look up the definition of vacation yes it would be…I did in fact vacate my permanent place of residence for a period of time to participate in recreation or whatever elsewhere.

But to me a “vacation” is also something oozing of relief from current cares and a time with significantly less stress than you were experiencing at home…a recharging of batteries.

Now don’t get all offended. Especially my family. I did have some serious moments of recharging and relaxation…but truthfully they were fleeting and oh so short; overshadowed by the stress and worry accompanying the trip. And yes these small moments were worth every bit of stress.

I’ll just jot it all down and get the negativity over-with asap. There was the 12+ hour drive with restless kids, a potentially carsick teenager and a ticking time bomb of a husband with all his back and hip problems. The struggle of familiarity of food and trying to be healthy so we all felt good, the outbursts of not feeling good because of said food, trying to keep the 3 Sherwood ghosts from frying like dried worms on a sidewalk and from being swept into the strong ocean currents constantly! Oh ya there was a shark sighting! Sleep oh essential sleep…just yikes. Cooking and cleaning too! Hello that’s not a vacation! Random and seriously unfortunate spout of Lucie throwing up (poor girl) and then of course all the car troubles! More on that later! But now for the positive stuff! Cuz it really was fun amidst all these things!

It started out with a night at Grandma and Grandpa’s and the kids pulled out their legos. It was a family affair. Plus we love visiting this home and the people in it.

 

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When we got to Vegas David was in dire need of deadlifts which are the like the one thing that make him (and his hips) feel better. There was nothing to be found by way of platform and barbells around so we got creative and tried to deadlift the back end of the cars. He got them up but he couldn’t straighten out his hips at the top which is the crucial part so it didn’t really work. 🙂

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We ended up going to a local gym on the way out for about 20 mins so he could deadlift. And it worked! He was miraculously good for the remainder of the trip to Cally!

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And so were these boys.

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This is me attempting to relax and read on the beach. Fleeting. I don’t think I ever got past chapter one.

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Toys in the beach house were ALMOST more entertaining than the beach. Almost.

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Walk from our house to the beach…not far at all.

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Watching the sunsets

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Lucie and Lachlan were champion boogie boarders. And they had fun doing it.

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Sandcastles of course!!

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Papa taking a turn!

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We tried to make planking and push ups a nightly tradition. Can’t decide if sand makes it harder or easier!

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Olive makes the cutest photo bomber ever!img_20160928_182523

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Twirling in the sand!

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And we all fell down!

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“Mimi, will you take me to the water!!?” William

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Our last few moments in the sand and water. It was bittersweet for me. And on the way home our trusty Acura decided to give up the ghost in none other than ‘Death Valley’. It’s like the most unoriginal thing ever. But man did it make for good memories.

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Waited for our tow truck a little over 2 hours while we sent our kiddos off with Mimi and Papa. Tow truck took us to the rental car place where I jumped out and not so easily rented a car to take us to Ogden. But not before we emptied our car and tried some last ditch efforts on our car that were unsuccessful. We drove tired eyed to St. George and crawled into bed.

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Next morning we packed the kids in the rental and headed home. Before we had to drop Lucie off in Salt Lake we were lucky enough to meet this cutie at a gas station in Beaver and have some fun with him.

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Instead of renting another car in Ogden to Logan my awesome brother came and rescued us with his big ol truck…transfer all the stuff…again!!!

All in all a pretty fun time for the kids. I need to learn how to relax a little more on vacations because not taking them in not an option.

Despite my blog title I’m definitely not California Dreamin right now. Just Dreamin. 🙂

Road to 300#

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I haven’t felt much like writing lately. I couldn’t tell you why exactly but I believe it has something to do with the fact that I’m off social media. I’m going through a transition period.

About a week ago I went through an epiphany of sorts, a personal crisis where I confronted the reality that not only am I addicted to social media but that I actually sincerely dislike it.

I noticed that every time I logged off social media I always felt worse. Darker. Lower. You get the idea. It was not uplifting.

Yes of course there are benefits to social media. Marketing for businesses, missionary work and the spreading of good news, and others. Social media is not the same for others as it has been for me. I realize that. But FOR ME these benefits did not outweigh the injury.

Not only was I addicted to constantly checking at the ease of a button on my phone, the endless scrolling and mindless activity of ‘connecting’ with those around me but it left me feeling like I was losing who I was and what was important.

When I would feel ‘confident’ enough to post something myself it was always at the expense of my pride and vanity. Meaning it made it worse. Somewhat unknowingly I was trying to portray a certain lifestyle and picture of who I was. And yes everything I did post was of me and my life but in a weird sort of twisted way. Instead of feeling more connected with those around me I felt farther away and that my ‘friends’ didn’t really know me at all.

I knew something had to change.  So I logged off. For good. If I’m being honest I’ve had one slip up since then. I logged onto FB for about 30 seconds. It was meaningful however because it solidified what I already had been noticing. I DON’T MISS IT AT ALL.

Ironically this was all just after I had decided with the help of my trainer to ‘document’ my journey to a 300# squat. I was going to do videos, pictures, posts galore on what I ate, how I trained, sleeping etc.  Sorry Atticus. Hope I didn’t disappoint you too much.

Which brings me to my point here for this post. No, I wont be doing a document my journey to 300# on social media. But I would still like to do a bit of it here on my blog.

If you haven’t already noticed I love powerlifting. I should specify. I love powerlifting at Blacksmith Barbell. I know I wouldn’t find the same progress, the same soundness and integrity anywhere else. My body is achieving things that I didn’t think it was capable of doing.

Do you know how fun that is?!!!!

Atticus, my trainer believes that I can reach my goal of 300# by Halloween. I’m not sure that’s true although he does have a weird way of always being right about these things. We are however taking two 1 week vacations before then so I wonder how that plays into it.

Nevertheless I will get there eventually. I don’t really care when I just care that I do. Learning more and more each day….like how to not brace the deadlift bar on your knee on the way down…whoops.

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We’ll start at my 230# rack pull last Friday. Sort of like a deadlift but instead of pulling from the ground, pulling from the pins near the shins.

This picture isn’t my max but it’s all I got.

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I feel like I can finally make progress unhindered. My shoulder which was causing pain for the last 3 ish or more months is finally subsiding and now my wrist which I hurt in a non gym related way is making progress too. This means my bench will improve which means everything else will too.  As long as I take care of myself and keep loose.

That’s a whole other post.

300 here I come.

 

 

 

 

 

What the heck is powerlifting?!

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Early October 2015 I was at our animal food warehouse refinishing a headboard my mom found at the D.I..  I was so perfectly unaware of this world called powerlifting, weightlifting, bodybuilding, Olympic lifting etc …until I turned my head down the alley to where a bay door was open in our same complex and silhouettes of people were working out.

When my mom was near by I showed her what I saw and we wondered together. But soon our wondering became stronger and turned into full blown curiosity. She wanted to walk down there and see what it was about. I was hesitant. Who knows what they were…a private gym, or something else. I’m always a bit reserved when it comes to approaching people (save the 18 months I somehow did this everyday) so I really didn’t want to just pop in on them but my spontaneous, fun mother convinced me to anyway.

We took the short walk down there and when the silhouettes turned into full people with faces and full dimensional bodies we saw what was a few extremely strong (and gorgeous) human beings. The owner of the gym walked over to us and asked us how we were, we said something like, “What are you guys?” “What is this place?”

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He then began to explain more about his gym and I wish I could remember this conversation but I can’t. It was significant enough that I decided then and there that I wanted to join. One of the gorgeous men working out I recognized as a trainer from the Sports Club that we had memberships to for the last year which had just expired.

I found it very curious. He was an employee (taught yoga and other classes) of this sports academy and no doubt got access to the equipment and amenities at his club, why was he paying extra money to work out in this hole in the wall place with no air conditioning?

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When he was in between sets we got his attention and I asked him why. In a manner that was as loyal to his employer as he could be he explained that this place was different because 1. he felt that it wasn’t about appearances here (for example there are no mirrors) and being haughty and macho like it tends to be at hoity toity clubs like his. The biggest difference though was that the trainer who introduced himself as Atticus knew his stuff and since working with him has had no knee problems which is something he’d suffered from for a long time.

Ok! It was more than enough for me! Add on that Atticus was going to let me come try it out a few times for free to see if I liked it and I was sold.

Well……I didn’t just like it.  I looooooved it.


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For the next several months I would pull up to this ‘hole in the wall’ (it’s really not that bad but you get the idea) place lift heavy weights and push my body to it’s limit for 1.5 hrs and leave with just a little bit more confidence and strength. It became apparent very quickly that Atticus truly did know what he was doing and that was very refreshing. And not just about the right way to execute each movement so as to maximize growth but also how everything was connected in the body and how it affects the other. Ailments that were brought to his attention didn’t make him squirm or falter. You could tell he was working thru it in his mind and then he’d figure it out and make it better. He knew(knows) what he was doing.

Since middle school I have suffered from a bad shoulder. When I would type at a computer or carry a backpack it would burn and ache and all I would want to do is take a spoon and dig out the pain. I visited massage therapists and even had an exercise therapist who told me that I needed to build muscle back there but wasn’t really successful at doing so with me. It persisted throughout my whole life off and on….until now.

Turns out I have terrible posture (duh) and my bad postural habits have caused these and other problems. But Atticus has shown me that there is hope and that by building muscle in the right spots (my back and my neck) this will fix itself eventually. Specific movements and workouts to target those spots have changed my life.

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I came home each day and told my husband how impressed and amazed I was and it wasn’t too long before he was signed up too.  We knew that Atticus would probably be our last resort at being able to fix his back.

We’d been to chiropractors, massage therapists, spinal therapists had x-rays done and found a herniated disk. Spinal therapy was expensive and not really working. Surgery was to be avoided at all costs. This gym and Atticus Smith could not have come at a more crucial time.

The journey of Atticus with David is something that I wish I would have recorded somehow. It’s been fascinating and incredible. It’s in explainable. David has been like the jumbo rubix cube from hell and Atticus the patient steady handed geek trying to put him right again. Or maybe David’s a humpty dumpty that been smashed into a million pieces and Atticus is a kings men who COULD put humpty together again. Or the man trapped at the core of a huge layered onion trying to get out and Atticus the master chef shedding each layer one by one.

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The journey is not yet over but the amount of layers that have been shed, the number of pieces that have been placed back where they belong and the twists and turns that have been made to set the colors in place have been life changing so far.

Picture this: In October 2015 a 35 year old(healthy) man slowly moving both legs over the threshold of his car to slowly and painfully stand up, I’m talking like 20 seconds this excruciating process took. And once up on his feet painfully trying to force his back and hips to straighten out and then slowly starting taking painful steps…groaning with each one. He would have to be extra careful to not trip or get his toe stuck on a ledge or curb(which was hard because he couldn’t bring his feet up as high as he should) as this would cause pain to pulse through his whole body.  Fast forward a year to that same 36 year old man who is SPRINTING up Old Main Hill in the morning, zig zagging his way thru to dodge the sprinklers all around him. Picture him bending over and picking up 400# off the ground!!!! With no pain! Amazing right?!

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October 2015

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It’s been a painful and long process as you can imagine for poor humpty dumpty.  An experience that most people would give up on and say “just leave me here in pieces!!!” But my incredible husband has bore it with such a positive disposition that any outsider would never know he’s only gotten on average 4 hours of sleep at night for 2 years or that he hasn’t been able to relax and sit on a couch or a car to visit family for over 2 years and thru it all been in such excruciating pain that it makes him sweat and groan.  Yet come morning sun he still has smiling face though his eyes be sleep deprived and puffy.  He always has a kiss for me and  warm hugs for the boys. He still works harder than most men I know especially when it comes to healing his body. His dedication and hard work for this cause alone is inspiring. And thank God for Atticus Smith.IMG_20160213_180555

Now it’s been 10 months since I’ve been with Blacksmith Barbell and 9 for David. It’s become such a big part of our lives (my awesome mom too)! When Lucie comes she knows that mom and dad will be going and enjoys going herself sometimes! Now we look back to our life before that October in 2015 and wonder what we ever did before we were powerlifting. How did we cope? What did we look forward to? Where did our energy and strength come from? What hope did we have of becoming stronger as we age instead of weaker. How does anybody live their life without powerlifting with Atticus Smith? Sound silly? It’s really what we think….that’s how incredibly life changing it’s been.

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Wikipedia defines powerlifting as this:  Powerlifting is a strength sport that consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: squatbench press, and deadlift.

Powerlifting at Blacksmith Barbell is so much more than that however because Atticus has taken the knowledge he has gained throughout his training career and life, from Westside Barbell and others and tweaked it to concoct the perfect formula and program. And it’s not about being big and looking sexy or lifting more than your neighbor (although these things are just natural consequences) , it’s about being strong IN THE RIGHT PLACES for the benefit of your own body. Forget big pectoral muscles, quads and biceps…that’s not functional nor does it make sense physiologically. It’s all about the back, the triceps and the hamstrings. Physics and optimal health are what’s important at Blacksmith.  Not just looking strong…actually being strong and having full range of motion and flexibility and working for loose tendons and ligaments so everything can be where it’s supposed to be and stay there long term.

This is my very basic understanding of it anyway in the short time I’ve been there. I love learning more each day I go. My pre 2015 self never thought this sentence would come out of my mouth but I LOVE POWERLIFTING. Yes I do.

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Frontsight

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I finally did it!! Took long enough gosh!! Oh my heck it was so fun!

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This is my gun and I love it. It’s a Springfield Armory XDM full size 9mm. It’s technically a competition gun. I special ordered a stainless steel slide so it shines…mmmmm so pretty. But anyway moving on. Once I got my gun and ammo and other gear I was ready! Unfortunately, I had to wait almost a year before I could go.

It was hard because I didn’t shoot it that whole time (OK, once right after I bought it cause come on!) because I didn’t want to learn or make bad habits. Boy am I glad I did that. So many go with well ingrained habits and most bad.

Uncle Joe and I commiserated Thanksgiving 2014 to go and in the meantime we recruited and tried to recruit more people to go. In the end it was UJoe, my sister in law Mericar and UJoe’s friend Jim and I.

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I tried to go without any expectations.  Was it going to be scary and hard? Were the instructors going to be militant? Were my arms, wrists and hands going to be able to keep up with the long days? I started to get really anxious as the time got closer.  I had no idea what to expect.

Our trip started out on a great foot. About 10 mins into our drive we heard a really loud sound and realized quickly that we had a flat tire. 🙁 So glad we were with two men that could change it in a flash!

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We got to stop in St. George to see Grandpa Sharp and have dinner. Uncle Joe hit it off with our waiter but who doesn’t hit it off with Uncle Joe?!

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Pahrump, NV. Never heard of it? THAT’S  A GOOD THING. Apparently it’s one of the only  spots in the country where prostitution is legal. Ya. Living, breathing brothels exist here. So wacko.

It’s about 45 mins outside Vegas. Middle of no where. Then go from Pahrump about another 25 mins in the middle of the desert and you are at Frontsight. Awesome.

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We had to be there at 7 am Friday morning for registration and weapons check. We were given a range number (so we could drive to it later) and then we were shown to a friendly worker who took our weapon and ammo and ‘suited’ us up. I didn’t realize that my magazine pouch (the thing that holds my extra magazines (thing that holds the bullets)) needed my belt to go thru it so I had to take my belt off and put that on…embarrassing.

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He checked my gun (‘nice gun’ he said..hehehe) and inserted it into my holster for me. Told me I wasn’t allowed to take it out or touch it while on the range unless told otherwise.  Ie: if we were loaded and needed to unload off the line then we had to have one of the instructors do it for us. We could never touch our gun unless on the firing line. Smart.

Meanwhile my Uncle Joe and his friend Jim were going thru the same process and my sister in law, Mericar was renting a pair of ear muffs.  You can rent basically anything from them if you didn’t bring your own gun, ammo etc.

Once we met up we drove down to our designated range. Range 7. It’s a HUGE place. Range 7 was close.  On day 3 we were moved down to range 15 and that wasn’t even the farthest.

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We met our instructors and got a good look at the other 34 or so people in our group. Then we went back to the main hall where we would be given our first lecture. There were almost 800 people in that hall. Crazy! And this was just in our 4 day defensive handgun class…there were other classes going on at the same time!

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I had no idea it would be so big.

I wish I could remember what they said. I don’t. Welcome. Be safe and have fun…something like that probably.

People of all shapes and sizes, age and ability…here to learn how to be safe and defend themselves with a gun. One of the best forms of self defense.

The first 2 days was lots of lecture, demonstration and learning. We practiced what we were taught in between but the majority of our time was in our chairs. The next 2 days it flipped. We spent most of our time shooting. FUN!

The lectures were really interesting. We learned about being in yellow awareness which means instead of being dazed, unaware and clueless, in our own world kind of thing we need to be keenly aware of our surroundings and what’s going on. Looking when we’re walking. Noticing the details and the changes around us.

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Criminals target those in awareness white which is the dazed, own little world one I talked about. Talking on your cell phone, texting, daydreaming etc. You don’t want to be caught in awareness white. You are in trouble.

We learned about all the many true and made up scenarios that might happen when forced to defend yourself or your loved ones. The ethics behind your decision and the consequences.  Basically if you and anyone else around you, the jury for example would say, ‘who wouldn’t have done what you did?! Who wouldn’t?’ Then you know it was the right direction.

Very interesting and eye opening.

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We also learned about approaching a house or building with a bad guy inside. How to clear a door, a room etc. The choices….does he have a hostage, is he harmful, should I shoot, where should I shoot?

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We learned how and what to yell at someone who is challenging you. Stop right there!!! or Stop or I’ll shoot!!! Now there are witnesses.

We learned so much there is no way I could detail it all out here. The goal of the course was that we could pull the gun from our holster, take 2 controlled shots to the thoracic cavity and optionally the head in under 1.8 seconds. Ya. crazy huh?

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Everything was very impressive and well worth every bit of money and time it took.

I can’t wait to go back in the spring.

It will be warmer then. Yes, it was cold. Very cold. Especially the last 2 days. It was windy too which made our skills test very interesting! But oh what good memories! I really cherish the time I got to spend with my sweet sister in law and get to know her better. I love you Mericar!

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Some random fun things that happened, memories that I want to keep….

  • Mericar dropping her magazine in the latrine. Plop! Yuck! HAHAHA (don’t worry if you want to go they have flush bathrooms too)
  • Eating less than sub-par sushi at a CHINESE buffet in PAHRUMP, NV. What??
  • The old farts in our group swinging their guns around like bats and everyone taking cover behind Hilary the big guy or just dropping to the ground.
  • The annoyed but friendly instructors reprimanding them
  • Jim shooting off a negligent discharge during malfunctions and just continuing on like normal. Afterwards saying, “I was hoping no one would notice.’ HAHAHA
  • ‘What you missed in History class’ podcasts
  • Mericar’s victory dance
  • Mericar’s fast as lightning draw
  • Me losing against uncle Joe in the 3 target hostage competition and the audible ‘ahhhhhhhhhhhhh’ from the crowd when I shot the hostage.
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  • Uncle Joe winning the 3 target hostage competition.
  • Jim and his salt
  • Valley’s and peaks (something we all experience while learning)
  • Paris attacks happened…ironic as Paris is a gun free zone. Shooters acted at ease and took their time while taking peoples lives because they knew no one would be shooting back. Hello!!!!!
  • Jim asking us everyday as we entered FS if we were carrying clubs or guns.(loaded or unloaded)
  • Yoga in hotel room with Mericar the master.
  • Tape on fingers and wrists=hardcore 🙂
  • Nearly freezing temps and amazing wind speeds that kept us from using concealment on two occasions.
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  • Hearing my boys’ little voices on the phone and thinking how much cuter they sounded after being away for a few days.
  • 600 rounds of ammo from just my gun alone and wondering how much $$$$ was blown up each day on the ranges
  • Our amazing instructors. Dan, The Hulk from Germany (Hulger) and the others.
  • Waiting for the day when I could go back and do it all again!

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Who wants to go with me?!!!

 I never expected to feel so confident with my gun and have all my fears about being helpless go away!

You can too!!! You have the right to defend you and those around you!!