Friday, February 27, 2009

My New Teeth

So I have a genetic condition that causes my lateral incisor teeth (the teeth on either side of "my two front teeth") to be extremely small. Once all my adult teeth came in, it caused me to have a fairly large gap between my two front teeth since they migrated out away from each other. When I was 12 or 13, I had brackets put on my two front teeth to pull them together and then had veneers put on the two side teeth to make them look more normal and to keep the space from reforming. These were supposed to last about 5-7 years. Well 5-7 years later, I was in college, then went on a mission, back to college, got married, put my husband through graduate school, had two kids, needless to say the veneers were looking pretty shabby over 15 years after they had been put in!! They had yellowed quite a bit and had also degenerated somewhat so that a small gap had begun to form between my two front teeth again. Finally, I was able to have them fixed yesterday and I love them!! I think the dentist did a great job of matching them to my other teeth and he even filled in the gap again. I love Dr. Ellis!! (Just in a fabulous dentist kind of way, mind you!)

Here are some before and after pictures to give you an idea of the state of my teeth (something I know you were all dying to see...)


Oh, and just for fun, I was talking on the phone one night when Jason brought Landon down looking like this...
I thought it was caused from the static when pulling off his onesie, but then I smelled hairspray in his hair and realized that Jason had styled it this way. Crazy husband!!!

"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful!"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Grieving Heart

My heart is so heavy right now and I needed someone to share my feelings with so I chose you all, my wonderful blogging audience, to get all of my feelings out.

I am grieving today for a family and for a boy I hardly even know but who have really pulled on my heartstrings these last few months. It is a family that lives just a few blocks over from us. I met them when we first moved to the area and we went to a playgroup that this family had been invited to attend. I remember them well because we both had ties to Katy, Texas (where we had just moved from) and they had a little boy named Henry who was just a year older than Abigail (Henry was the name Abby would have been if she had been a boy, so I always seem to pay particular attention to boys named Henry for that reason.) They seemed like such a nice family and we all had a fun day of playing at Greenbrier State Park together.

A few months later, I found out from another neighbor that their little boy Henry had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor. It is always so hard for me to hear that anyody has been given the diagnosis of cancer, but to hear that a child has developed it seems to be ten times worse for me. Perhaps because they are so young and have so much life yet to live that I find it particularly hard to imagine it being cut so short.

I have been following their blog the last few months and particurly during these last few weeks as Henry has steadily declined and the family (particularly the dad who is the author of their blog) has gone through this terrible grieving process. Each time I have read their blog entries, it makes me appreciate my own children and their health so much more.

Yesterday morning, little 4-year-old Henry took his last breath and passed from this life into the next with both of his parents by his side. I have been crying in grief for this family since I found out the news. In a way I feel kind of silly because I really hardly even know this family. But in another way, it makes perfect sense. We are all part of the same human family and I feel attached to them and grieve with them as I would with any parent who loses a precious child. My heart aches for them, but feel I grateful that little Henry can be spared the suffering that he has endured during these last final moments of his young life.

I don't want this post to be too depressing and sad because through the gospel of Jesus Christ, I know that there is so much joy to be had even in the passing of a loved one. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have that life does go on after death...that death is merely a "see you later" and not a final goodbye. But my heart still aches for this little family that must now live out the remainder of their mortal journey without their precious son.

I'm not sure why I had the need to post about this. Perhaps because if it gives anybody else the opportunity to sit back and look at their own precious children with more love and affection than ever before (it has certainly done this for me), then maybe Henry's suffering and death will not have been in vain. So give your own little rugrats a great big kiss and hug and let them know just how special they really are.

(If anybody would like to read a bit more about their journey, their blog can be found here. WARNING: It will most certainly make you shed a few tears.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Best Life Diet

Some people have asked to see some pictures of my weight loss efforts thus far, so here I am in all my glory!! I still have a bit to go to get to my goal weight (I haven't been there since high school, so we'll see!!) but I'm pretty happy with the results thus far. A lot of people have asked me how I have done it and I have to say that it comes down to eating right and exercising more (duh, right?)

Doing my "tough-guy" poses. I think the smile ruins the "fear-inducing" quality of these photos!!

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Anybody who knows me at all knows that I love to workout. It's like a drug to me. I'm definitely addicted to it and my husband can testify that I am a much happier person to be around if I have gotten in my workout for the day. I have a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from BYU and I love to read magazines and books on fitness and find ways to improve my workouts. I am not a casual exerciser either. I workout for about 2 hours every day except for Sunday (usually 90 minutes at the gym and another 30 minutes after the kids go to bed at night.) I work hard and I love the way that exercise makes me feel. As much as I exercise, you would think that I should be super-model thin. I am definitely not that skinny however, as I have another passion in my life....EATING! I love food (maybe even more than working out!!) I have a huge sweet tooth and my biggest downfall is by far cheese and ice cream. I know moderation in all things goes a long way, but I am such a dairy addict (and a carb addict for that matter too.) My voracious appetite also explains why I don't where a size 2. I come from a family of big eaters. I remember being shocked when I went to a friend's house for dinner when I was younger and they only had five hamburgers for five people. When my family would go to McDonald's, we could easily down 15-20 burgers between the six of us!! I'm kind of scared at times at how much food I could consume if given the chance. And unfortunately, it is a rare occasion when I crave broccoli or carrots!!

Therefore it is quite a blessing that I love to exercise or I think I could easily be over 200 pounds (especially after two pregnancies.) I have worked hard each time to get the baby weight off and then some, but I felt like I still needed to battle my food addiction. I didn't want to pass on my same bad habits of overeating to my children and I wanted to start setting a good example of healthy eating for them. I knew that I didn't want to go on a diet per se (to me a diet is something you go on and off of), but I really wanted to change my eating habits so that I would learn to tune into what my body was really needing to eat and how much of it would suffice to satisfy my hunger without overdoing it.

I found what I was looking for in Bob Greene's book "The Best Life Diet." He goes through a three phase process to change the way people eat and control portion sizes. Everything in the book makes sense to me and after seven weeks of following the program I have lost almost 12 pounds. But more important than the numbers on the scale, I have gained enormous amounts of energy and my running speed has improved tremendously (I have dropped over 8 minutes from my 5K (3.1 miles) time from 33:00 minutes just after Landon was born to just over 24:00 minutes today!) I am running farther and faster than ever before and I feel like I finally have the energy to keep up with a very active 3-year-old and 8-month-old! I also feel like I am making much better food choices that serve to fuel my body rather than just bloat it up!!

I would encourage anybody who wants to learn to eat better to look at reading this book, regardless of if you want to lose a few pounds or not. Here are some of the main points that he encourages people to follow during phase one of the plan:

1. Increase your activity level -- He has a fitness scale that he uses from 0 (coach potato) to 5 (Lance Armstrong-like). You find your current level of activity and strive to increase it by one level.

2. Stop eating at least two hours before bed. (This was a big one for me that I think has made a world of difference.)

3. Eat at least three meals and one snack each day, including a nutritious breakfast (I actually snack 2-3 times per day because of my activity level and the fact that I am still nursing. Basically I eat 5-6 times a day so I never feel hungry and I keep my metabolism going throughout the day with lots of small meals rather than two or three large ones.)

4. Eliminate six problem foods from your diet (These foods can be worked back into your diet after phase one, but he encourages everyone to eat these foods moderately. These six foods are: alcohol, soda (regular & diet), fried foods, foods with trans fats, high-fat milk & dairy, and white bread.)

5. Stay hydrated.

6. Take a daily supplement.

As you can see, none of these objectives is too over the top, its all about making small, healthy changes in your life. I am now in phase two of the plan which focuses more on portion sizes and hunger levels to determine when to start eating and when to stop. I have also kept a food journal which I think has helped greatly. It's always a good idea to stay accountable for how much you're eating, even it it is just to a piece of paper in a book. (It has also helped me to avoid eating Abby's leftovers from her plate since I know I will have to write it down!!)

Anyway, I am a big fan of Bob Greene and his book. I love the fact that I am starting to live my "best life" and I feel really good. I hope this will help other people who may be trying to eat and live better, but just need a place to start.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Our Baby Turns Three!!!

It's hard to believe that our little girl is now three years old. Jason took the day off from work on Friday and we had a great time celebrating Abby's birthday together. She had been looking forward to her birthday for a while and kept saying, "I want my birthday to be here already....come, birthday, come!!" Needless to say she was pretty excited when Friday, February 20th FINALLY rolled around!

Here are some pictures of our little cutie-patootie on her big day!!
We had decorated the house the night before and she was so excited to see all of her Disney Princess decorations and pink balloons...
We opened up a few presents (her one request for her birthday was "pink high-heels"...she is very much a girlie-girl and does way better walking in high heels than I do!)

Then all of her friends came over for a little party. We ended up with over 20 kids and 10 moms. It was definitely a houseful but a lot of fun!!
After her party, we headed over to Baltimore to take advantage of our National Aquarium membership. We had a great time watching the dolphin show...

And seeing all of the interesting kinds of fish...
Of course Abby was entertained by anything with buttons!
And Landon, in typical baby fashion, was entertained by his yummy food!!

("Ahhhh, food at last....I was STARVING!!")
("Hey Dad, can't you see I'm trying to eat here?")("Ughhh, I think I overdid it a bit!")

After the aquarium, we headed over to the Cheesecake Factory for Abby's birthday dinner. Fortunately for you all, our camera ran out of battery life at this point so you can be spared the pain of drooling over our yummy and enormous quantity of food!
Happy Happy Birthday Miss Abigail....we sure do love you!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!

To all of our blogging friends and family members...

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

100 Miles!!!

Well I just passed my first 100 miles on my way to running 1000 miles during 2009. And even more exciting than that...I've lost 8 pounds since January 1st!!! Wahooo!!! I've been following the "Best Life Diet" (not so much a diet, but a way of eating) in order to help me eat healthier, more wholesome and filling foods. I've also amped up my workouts during this last month and I've seen some great results!! Part of the "Best Life" plan is not weighing yourself at all for the first four weeks so I had no idea I had lost so much weight. My clothese were feeling looser, so I knew I was getting smaller, but it's always nice to see some validation on the scale too. I can now fit into all my "skinny" clothes and I'm a few pounds less than my pre-preggo weight. I am now the thinnest I have been since college. I am trying to see if I can get back to my high school weight, so we'll see how I do this next month. Anyway, I'm totally excited about this and really feel like I'm starting to live my "best life." If anybody wants any details about the program, I'm a HUGE fan of it to I'd be happy to share the details. (By the way, we recently purchased two new workout videos that I would recommend, especially if you're a "Biggest Loser" fan...we love the show around here!! One is the "Biggest Loser Bootcamp" and the other is "Jillian Michael's Shred." Both are pretty good and great for those days when I can't get to the gym. Just thought I would share!!)