Tuesday, December 9, 2014

She's here!

Baby P has finally made her arrival and she's perfect! I was a Nervous Nelly for the IV and the Spinal because I'm a baby when it comes to pain and needles, but I made it through with lots of chuckles from my husband. Because of the nature of the complications I had with Baby E, I was not a viable candidate for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) so we had the day planned ahead of time and truthfully, I was okay without going through contractions again.

Three Surgeries In One
First, and foremost, I had the c-section but I also opted to have my tubes tied because my husband and I had discussed that this was our last pregnancy. I don't enjoy being pregnant and we also have plans to adopt from Africa at some point in the future, so we knew that we were more than okay with this permanent birth control method. 

The third part of the surgery that I hadn't anticipated was that I had another small cyst on my right ovary. Did I not just have a fist-sized tumor and part of that ovary removed in June?! My doctor said it's possible that there was a tiny piece left that they didn't see and the hormones from pregnancy has made it grow. He said that there may be more of these in my future but hopefully he saved me a surgery down the road. I'm not super thrilled that I'm possibly going to keep having cysts unless I remove the whole ovary, but at least we know they are NOT cancerous. That's really all that matters to me at this point.

As before, I have been lucky and have bounced back pretty quickly in terms of how I feel. My nurse was impressed when I wanted to move around the day of the surgery. An interesting thing that I did not expect is that my incision does not hurt. It doesn't burn or anything. I didn't have a problem standing upright right away whereas before I walked pretty hunched over for a day or two. My biggest pain has been inside my stomach itself. All of my organs feel like they were used at punching bags and I feel some slight pain where I can only assume my Fallopian tubes were cut. Other than all of the crazy water-retention, I'm feeling really good. I get so swollen everywhere from all the fluids they pumped into my for the surgery. I could only wear my slippers for the first three days. I've been wearing a post-partem wrap to help squeeze out fluid, make my uterus shrink like it should, and to "hold things in". I used one of these with my last pregnancy and I loved the stability it gave me.

Our first family walk!

I will be doing photos at two weeks post-partem so that I can document my body's reaction to my approach to round two's "baby weight loss". Last time, I ran A LOT and tracked my calories and feel that I got too skinny too quick, which may have contributed to my having to cease breast feeding at 4 months. This time I'll be mostly doing CrossFit to gain/maintain muscle with some running mixed in. Instead of focusing on calories for my food, I'm going to focus on quality and make sure that I'm eating enough. It should be a fun journey that I hope you'll follow with me. :) Until next time, I'll leave you with an adorable picture of my girls!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pregnancy and a Cancer Scare

I've been wanting to write a post like this for quite a while, but life happens. First of all, I'm now 9 months pregnant.  Eek!  I'm not really sure where the time has gone, but yet it has seemed like a long, miserable journey as well.  I guess it depends on the day.  I am not one of those people who love being pregnant.  In fact, I'm quite the opposite.  I think with my first to term pregnancy I was just so happy that I was able to continue in a pregnancy that didn't end in a miscarriage like my first two.  Pregnancy problems run in my family so I was concerned and really tried to "enjoy" or more like, embrace, my pregnancy with Baby E.  I had horrible back and rib pain but was still able to remain active.  I ran until I was 33 weeks pregnant and did some light yoga and weight training up until the end.  This pregnancy went from embrace to endure.  I know that sounds terrible, but with this second time of making it past 12 weeks I became more aware of the things I don't like about pregnancy. I'm not going to get into all of that now because I don't want to seem like an ungrateful whiner, but I do need to delve into this pregnancy a little bit more.  You see, everything is different about this go-around.  And here's why...

The C Word
When I was pregnant with E, my doctor had made mention of a small cyst on one of my ovaries.  No big deal.  A lot of pregnant women get them and they eventually go away on their own.  Fast forward almost three years to the beginning of this pregnancy and the cyst was still there or a new one had formed.  Again, I didn't think much of it until the ultrasound tech explained that it was about the size of my fist and couldn't understand how I wasn't haven't weird symptoms from it.  I've been having weird stomach problems for the last few years but I just chalked that up to my gluten and lactose intolerance.  The next time I met with my doctor, he addressed the cyst issue.  He pulled out the ultrasounds to show me the grey matter that was scattered throughout and that a normal cyst would just be clear liquid.  He said he had no doubt in his mind that this was a form of tumor, but whether it was malignant or not, he couldn't tell.  He actually said, "I can't look at you in the eyes and tell you that you do not have ovarian cancer.'  As I became numb to his words, he listed my options for surgery and the short time window we had to perform it because of the growing baby inside.  He also said that we could wait until my scheduled C-section at the end of my pregnancy to remove it but I would have to know that if it was cancer, 6 months could be the difference between my life or death.  I left his office and walked downstairs to my husband's office and repeated to him what I just heard and showed him the ultrasound of my now-tumor.  There I was, 30 years old with a two year old and another baby on the way and the most amazing husband and life going so perfectly...

Next came the research.  Shockingly, I had a lot more symptoms of ovarian cancer than I had originally thought.  Did you know that ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer because there is no reason to have your ovaries checked unless you are having symptoms, which in most cases, is too late at that point? So yes, this was all very Debbie Downer and I would have moments when I was watching B and E play in the living room and would have to leave so they wouldn't see me crying because all I could think was, "He is the best dad.  If one of us has to go early, I'm glad it's me."  Which then leads to thinking of all the wonderful things in E's life that I could miss out on.  I wish that I could say that if I was told that I may or may not have cancer that I would be strong and not let it get me down, but it's really one of those things that you can't say how you'll react until it happens.  I had a lot of fear in those days.  We went back and forth between risking the pregnancy to remove the tumor then or risk everything else by removing it later.  Luckily, we were able to use a few connections and have my ultrasounds sent to main gynecological oncologist in the state of Idaho.  He had emailed my husband that afternoon and said he hadn't had a chance to look at my ultrasounds yet but most of the time in cases like this, they wait to remove the tumor at the time of delivery.  About an hour later, I get a phone call from this specialist who is supposed to be the best in the state and the second he starts talking to me, I get scared.  He asks me questions about my family's history with breast/cervical/ovarian cancers and why it wasn't removed after my C-section with Baby E.  He even tells me that there is one part of the grey area that if it isn't cancerous now, it very well could be soon.  Scary.  Very scary.  I asked him what I should do and he gave me the doctor answer of giving me the options when I cut him off and flat out said, "If I was your wife, what would you tell me to do?'  "Remove it now."  Two weeks later I was in a room getting prepped for surgery.

So why the negative attitude and certainty that the news I would get would not be good news?  Well, I have this thing with dreams.  I've always been a very vivid dreamer at night and I remember the craziest details and some of these weird dreams would come true.  For instance, several years ago I had a very disturbing dream about an ex-boyfriend out of the blue and the next day, I had an email from him talking about how unhappy he was with life.  One time I had a dream where I was staring at this shape that was made out of two different shades of white.  That was the whole dream.  A couple of weeks later I fell off of a ladder while painting the ceiling at my sister's house and it was that exact shape and the two different shades were where I had painted and not painted.  Weird, right?  So in high school I had a recurring dream.  Well, nightmare really.  Every time I had this dream, I would wake up crying and in a cold sweat.  This dream was that I was married to a tall, handsome, blondish, successful man that I never could see his face and I was in a hospital bed when the doctor comes in and tells me that I have ovarian cancer.  I didn't even know that ovarian cancer was a thing then, I just knew the dream terrified me to no end.  Obviously there is more to the dream but that was the gist.  12-15 years later and I was afraid that that dream was going to be a reality.  When you have such a powerful recurring nightmare like that, you don't just forget it when a doctor looks at you and says that you may have ovarian cancer.

Everything went well.  They did have to remove part of my ovary to avoid blood loss and they had to go ahead and put me under general anesthesia because I guess I started moving on the table.  They reopened my C-section scar and checked out both ovaries and flushed out my stomach so they could check out my lymph nodes as well to make sure there were no abnormalities.  The baby is fine.  They sent the tumor to the lab and the spot that they thought was cancer, wasn't.  In fact, my doctor told me it was a strange gelatinous thing that he had never seen before but the tests came back not cancer and that's all I really care about.  :)  Phew!

The photo on the left was before surgery and the one on the right was after. No wonder I started "showing" so early! It was just my tumor.

To learn more about ovarian cancer and what the symptoms are if you are baffled like me as to why ovaries are not things to be regularly screened like breasts and cervixes, go HERE.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Focus On What You Can Control

"Focus on what you can control."

That is my motto for the day and will be for the rest of this pregnancy and into post-partem recovery. You see, I've been a Debbie Downer the last couple of weeks and here is why.

Kicking Ass and Taking Names
Three weeks ago I was kind of rocking this whole maternity thing. I had just taken some time off from working out due to a sinus infection and then a vacation to visit the hubby's family. I was worried about my time off and what that would mean for my workouts, but I came back fighting. I performed in the 31 Heroes WOD to honor some fallen soldiers and did shockingly well for my current pregnant condition. The WOD includes running with a sandbag, rope climbs, and some thrusters (squatting and then pressing a barbell overhead). Everyone made me feel so good about how I did and I thought to myself, "It really isn't that hard to stay active during pregnancy." 

That weekend I was in a 10 mile bike race to bring awareness to SIDS and even hauled my two and a half year old on the back.

 It felt so good to be active and able to still do the things I love. I know what you're thinking...you're thinking, "Oh, she over did it and gets hurt." Well, I DID get hurt, but not from CrossFit or riding my bike. I got hurt from doing something that every mother in America does when they help their toddler get dressed. I was bending over her to get her legs into her pants and she grabbed my arms and decided to hang on them. I'm a little angry with myself because I know better to stand bent over like that with a rounded back without my core tight. I mean, that's the whole point of learning good deadlift form, right? Needless to say, I've been in excruciating pain that has involved many massages (not the feel-good kind either) and now a chiropractor and I'm just praying everyday that the pain in my SI joint gets better so I can return to working out.

Now back to the title of this post...

I've been so frustrated to not be active. I hate going to The Pack and just foam rolling or sitting on a lacrosse ball. But today when I was in the shower I looked over at my Goal Board on the wall and saw "Focus on what you can control." So this is my take away: I may not be able to go running like I desperately want to or pick up a barbell at this point and chances are that this may be the way it is for the next 9 weeks of my pregnancy. However, I CAN control some of my mobility. I can keep working on my hips, ankles, and shoulders as long as it doesn't hurt in the bad way. I CAN control what I eat. I've been really bad about my diet lately since everything I eat seems to give me heartburn. Veggies in general (with the exception of tomatoes and peppers) will not give me heartburn so now is the time to load up on them. As "over this pregnancy thing" as I am, I got this. I'm going to focus on what I can control and *try to be somewhat positive about the rest.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Moment of Weakness...

I know I haven't written in a while and I have a hundred other things to share about, but this is so fresh in my head (and stomach) that I thought I would share.

Finding out that you have a gluten intolerance is really crappy. Having to live through that while pregnant is even worse. When I first found out I was pregnant, I let myself eat whatever I wanted because I was bloated and felt like crap anyway. I quickly learned that clearly is the wrong path to take, especially while pregnant because it can cause less nutrients to get to the baby because my stomach is in overdrive trying to figure out what to do with the gluten. Again for what seems like the thousandth time, I said "never knowingly again" to gluten. I do have the occasional times that I've been glutanized unknowingly that I can tell within a couple of days because of the way my skin breaks out and how I feel lethargic and yucky.

Today I was in one of those pinches where I was running late to get home and have dinner ready so I ordered out. I was good at this point. I ordered a cheeseburger without the bun and everything. The problem was when we got home and my two year old refused to eat a perfectly good, mouth watering, grilled cheese sandwich. This is my favorite food so automatically I start reasoning on why I should eat it. It started out with "I'll take one bite and then make a big deal about how good it is so E will want it. One bite will not kill me." Then it turned into "Well, I already had one bite and she's still not interested so why not eat half?" Within seconds the thing was gone. As much as I would love to say that it was delicious, I can't even remember what it tasted like because I gobbled it up so quick. So how do I feel now?

Well, within seconds I was overcome with guilt and regret to the point where, if I was alone, I would have cried. Within minutes I had a new sore on the roof of my mouth. This could be coincidence but a lot of food allergies show up as sores inside your mouth. An hour later I feel sick. Sick like I ate too much and want to throw up. Sick like I just gained 10 pounds and inches in bloat. Sick like I made a few second mistake that will result in the next two weeks of misery. My coming days will be filled with stomach problems that I don't think you need me to go into great detail about, my jawline and neck being filled with painful cystic zits that are not poppable (meaning no enjoyment out of even popping them) and will probably cause me to shut myself in my house for a day or two when it is at its peak.

So what can I do to ease these symptoms? I'm starting off by taking a relaxing bath to let go of the guilt and ease some of my stomach discomforts. I'm also drink a cup of hot ginger-lemon tea which has known effects to help digestion and tummy irritants. I'll probably drink quite a bit of this the next few days. I'll also drink lots of water in the coming days to help flush out toxins. Eating as clean as possible (little to no processed foods) is a must as my stomach will be in healing mode. I'll still go in and WOD tomorrow morning even though chances are I'll feel sick and lethargic, but exercising makes me feel good and makes my body feel good.

And most importantly, I'll try to forgive myself and move on. I'll read labels and not let this spiral out of control. It's a setback to feeling good, but I will come back from this moment of idiocy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My First CrossFit Open

Six months in of doing CrossFit and the Opens came around. The Opens are the way to start off the competition to see just who makes it to the Games. They decide who goes to Regionals based on scores from the Opens. From Regionals, the best athletes go to the Games. Anyone can do the Opens. It doesn't matter if you're awesome or just started, for $20 anyone can sign up. The Opens consisted of five weekly workouts where they were announced on Thursday evening and you had until Monday evening to submit scores. To keep people honest, you have to have a judge who has taken a specialty course count your reps or submit a video tape. Now that you kind of understand the basics of the Opens, I'm going to share some of my experience in my first Opens ever.

1. The things I struggled with were the things I thought we're going to be a piece of cake. 14.1 had double unders (jumping rope where it passes twice under your feet before they hit the ground again). In the last four months, I have worked my butt off to get stupid double unders down and had gotten to a point when I could consistently pop out 20-25 in a row. Not super great, but a huge leap for me who couldn't seem to break out of the single digits for the first few months of CrossFit. And we don't even need to discuss the whip marks you get when you're pretty terrible at double unders. So when 14.1 came out and I saw double unders, I thought, "Yeah! That part will be easy. I can focus more on the power snatches." And wouldn't you know that I was able to do my power snatches unbroken (not letting go of the bar) until the very end but I couldn't get the double unders for the life of me! I was only able to string 5 or 6 together with maybe a random run of 15.

14.2 had chest to bars (C2B) that is like a pull up but you have to pull high enough that your chest hits the bar. This is another move that I really like and am usually pretty decent at for still being a newbie CrossFitter. Whereas I had been able to put 5 C2Bs together before taking a break, I was only able to do 2 or 3 in the beginning and by the end I was only doing one at a time.

14.3 contained my very favorite move when it comes to CrossFit--box jumps. I'm a jumper. I was a volleyball player through college and the only reason I made it through on my height of 5'7 was jumping. I've been doing box jumps in the WODs (workout of the day) on 24" and 30" boxes for the added challenge, so when box jumps came up in the Opens WOD and the women's height is only 20" I knew I would fly through them. When the first round of box jumps came, I got no-repped (they didn't count) SEVEN times! It turns out that I hadn't been fully extending at the top with straight knees this whole time! This really crushed me, but I figured it wasn't worth the questioning every rep I did so I did step ups which is totally fine, but a little blow to my ego on something I could do with my eyes closed. Just kidding--I would never try that with my eyes closed, but you get the point.

14.4 was a chipper which means a bunch of reps of several different moves. You just have to get in there and "chip" them away, one at a time. I like chippers! Especially ones that don't contain a lot of heavy lifting, the ones where it's all about getting through the elements as fast as you can. My chipper was screwed from the beginning. I had had a head cold that week and that morning when I woke up, I had the sneaking suspicion that it had turned into a sinus infection. I took a ton of meds, did saline rinses, steam showers, a steam tent with White Flower, and anything else I could think of. Low and behold, my head and dry mouth got the best of me. The chipper started out with rowing and I almost got off of my rower to get a drink of water because my mouth was so dry and my head was pounding/spinning. By the time I got to Toes to Bar (T2B) I knew that it was not going to be good. My hand tore, my head hurt. I had vowed to redo it on Monday when I felt better, but that didn't happen. I spent Monday morning in the doctor's office to be seen about my sinus infection.

The sinus infection kept me out of 14.5. 

Now that I'm done with the negative things, let's move on to the positive! :)

2. There is a magic in the air that allowed me to do the things I thought were impossible going in. It is no secret that have terrible mobility on pretty much all of the key areas you need for CrossFit lifts like hips, ankles, shoulders, wrists, etc. I am not a big fan of the Olympic lifts that make up CrossFit--not even a little bit. I really want to love them and I think they're beautiful to watch, but I really struggle with them. In 14.1 they had power snatches. It was a light enough weight that I knew I could do it, especially since it was a power snatch meaning that I didn't have to go into a full squat, I just had to stand up. Even if my form sucked I knew I could still do the weight. Before I started my coach gave me the advice of "once you touch the bar, you don't let go". Meaning don't drop the weight to take a break, try to do the ten reps unbroken. I did really well at that for the most part. Any time I do an Olympic lift, I'm pretty pleased with that.

14.2 had overhead squats in it AND it was the very first component. I was prepared for my first score of a zero. I had never been able to do an overhead squat before. One of my coaches told me in one of my first CrossFit classes that overhead squats bring out everyone's weaknesses and since my weakness is my mobility, it had made these impossible for me. I couldn't even do them with a PVC pipe! The night before the Open workout, one of the coaches helped me with form and with my weight lifting shoes, I was able to get one rep at the weight prescribed for 14.2. My goal going in was to get one rep. When the time came, I got ten of those overhead squats and I am BEYOND proud of that!

14.3 had deadlifts. This is the only lift that I feel like I'm okay at. My previous 1 rep max was 185 lbs. and that was the third weight in the ladder. I hurried through the first two sets because I knew I would need all of my time to focus on this weight that was my max. I ended up doing it 16 times!!!

Like I said before, CrossFit has a magic in it and even more so in a competition setting where you're not given the option to modify.

3. Getting cheered on by your family and your workout family is a high all in itself. Who doesn't do better when you have your loved ones yelling at you from the sidelines. There is power in the words "you are strong" and "just pick it up".

4. Cheering for other people and seeing them crush their goals is even better.

5. Having my daughter watching her mom be strong and fight through tough things is awesome. She even loves to do her own workouts at The Pack.

*thank you to Coach Becky for the beautiful pictures at some of the most not-beautiful times. :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

14.1 And How Far I've Come

This morning I did my first Opens WOD, 14.1. It was exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. I didn't do as well as I had hoped and have been pretty bummed about it. As the day has gone on though, I've reflected on just how awesome my accomplishment actually is. Here's why:

1. I used to be a little overweight. I don't have a dramatic cool transformation of 100 pounds or anything, but when I graduated from high school, I still ate like I was in a gym for three hours a day. The freshman 15 turned into about the freshman 30.

2.  I was in a car accident that screwed my body up pretty bad. My neck, back, and hip may never be the same because of it, but when the chiropractor told me that I would most likely never be able to play competitive sports again and that I should take up power walking, all I thought was "Challenge ACCEPTED!" I decided that nobody can put limitations on my body without my approval. I started running, spinning, weight lifting, lost the excess weight, and went on to play college volleyball at the age of 21! I may have spent more hours in the whirlpool, with ultrasounds, getting taped up, and having ice taped to me than I did on the court, but I did it and earned some pretty awesome awards.

3. I got in ANOTHER car accident (not my fault) that brought up all of my old injuries that I had to work through with another chiropractor.  

4. I had a baby. This is not a bad thing, but it can cause the strongest people to fall into poor lifestyle habits. I vowed that I would be a good role model for my daughter and teach her how to eat healthy and enjoy exercise.

5. I broke my ankle less than a year ago on a hike. This picture was on the two mile hike back to the car when I was trying to convince B that I was fine. I had a lot of rehab for this in order to run in my half marathons two months later.

Back to today. Yes, my double unders sucked but it's something I can work on. It was just another WOD and I will always have a chance to redeem myself on another day. I've come a long way and have overcome some obstacles and I'm pretty freakin' proud of that!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

It's That Bittersweet Time Of Year

In what seems like a lifetime ago, I was married to someone else. He is a good man, but there are sometimes people in your life who bring out the worst in you--we were that person for each other. After about nine months of marriage, we separated (my fault, I'll admit to it. I couldn't let go of the past) and were apart for a few months. After I realized that the past should stay there and a couple of families were almost ruined, my ex-husband and I got back together. I knew that I hadn't done everything I could to save us (like I said, my fault) and we got back together to try and not be another statistic. After just a few weeks of being together again, I got pregnant (whoops!). We were both still unhappy in the marriage although we wouldn't admit it to anyone, including each other. Selfishly, I saw that baby as someone who would always love me even if my husband didn't. That's a horrific thought pattern, but that thinking pulled me out of depression and saved my life. 

I had a pretty rocky pregnancy from the start with horrible morning sickness that left me sitting in front of a high-powered fan praying "Please Jesus, don't let me throw up!" I don't throw up. I hadn't thrown up since I was younger and the prospect every morning was terrifying. I had terrible cramping where it hurt so bad I had to fold in half until the pain subsided. When I googled symptoms, it said cramping was normal so I just thought it was normal. At 8 weeks my then-husband and I went into the doctor where she gave us all of these books and talked about what to expect. She had some time before the next appointment so she went ahead and did an ultrasound. From the moment she had it up on the screen, I knew something was wrong. She stopped chatting and smiling like she had been minutes before. I could feel my heart leap into my throat as I fought back tears. I had a blighted ovum which means I had a sac that was growing, but the baby had stopped developing. Usually the sac is crumpled looking or misshapened and mine was perfect. The doctor thought that maybe we were off on our weeks so she scheduled me for another ultrasound the following week and I had to go in for blood tests every three days to check my HcG levels. My levels were rising normally and the sac still looked normal at my next ultrasound so the doctor was hopeful that we were still off in weeks although I think we all knew that couldn't be true. My then-husband quit going to my appointments after that. The process still continued with weekly ultrasounds and blood tests every three days. The last appointment she started discussing D&C's and other medications that would help the miscarriage process along. I couldn't bear to do any of that in case were all wrong so I waited. The pregnancy symptoms grew worse with heartburn and fatigue. I don't know if there is a worse feeling than your body telling you you're pregnant in every way and your head and heart knowing better. I started miscarrying just after 12 weeks. I was at the movie theater watching G.I. Joe. It's funny how I can remember those details. The miscarriage itself brought on other problems. I had lost too much blood and was so weak that my then-husband had to carry me around. It was a weekend so I felt guilty calling my doctor. The next week when I was still in severe pain that should already have gone away, my doctor yelled at me for not going to the ER and said I had been lucky. The nurse that scheduled that appointment told me on the phone that what I was describing people had died from. That baby was due on March 1st, 2010. 

Obviously my first marriage didn't survive and I knew I had done everything I could to try and save it, but sometimes we make mistakes and we really just shouldn't have gotten married in the first place. I grew up in a super religious extended family and divorce is a big no-no and I'm not condoning divorce, but sometimes you have to realize that life is too short to be that unhappy. You may be wondering why I am sharing this. The truth is, I'm not really sure. I'm not looking for sympathy. In fact, your sympathies will only make me uncomfortable. Maybe if I share this next story about that baby I lost, you'll understand why I want to keep that memory alive...

The night before Brian, my now-husband, proposed, I had a dream. And I'm warning you now, this dream is WEIRD. I was sitting on a hill in the grass on a sunny day and I was crying. I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked up to see a little girl about 5 or 6 standing there. She was dressed in a white dress with sleeves and the hem went to her feet--very old time-ish. She said, "Don't cry for me Mama. Jesus is taking care of me." This girl had my ex-husband's beautiful Italian coloring and black curly hair that fell to her waist. She had my green eyes and she was beautiful. When I looked at her, all I could think was "Ella" which was the girl name we had picked out for that baby. Weird, right?! The next day while Brian and I were skiing, I was completely in a funk. I was cranky towards him and couldn't get that dream out of my head. Brian was concerned and kept asking what was wrong but I just told him that I had bad dreams that didn't allow me to sleep well. We went to the top of the mountain for the last run before the mountain closed and he proposed. Poor guy! I had been rotten to him all day and that was the day he was proposing. Haha! No wonder he kept asking me if I was okay. He wanted to make sure he wasn't the reason I was upset. I never told anyone the details of that dream until I read a book called "Heaven is For Real" about a boy who almost died when he was four and said he went to Heaven briefly and he met his sister that his mom had miscarried before he was born and what she said to him about Jesus taking care of her was almost the exact same thing that Ella had said to me in my dream. Super eerie! That's when I started to tell a couple of people about that dream. You can believe me or not or just think it's coincidence but I really believe that dream was given to me for comfort. 

Now you're probably wondering why in the world I'm sharing this in a health and fitness blog. Well, I run from things. Literally. I accept that. When I'm having a hard time, I run. I get a sense of clarity about life. There is healing in a pair of running shoes. I ran a lot towards the end of my first marriage and after that miscarriage. Running was therapy for me then. Now I actually enjoy running although I do have the occasional bouts of being down that can be helped with a run. I don't only run when I'm sad or unhappy, but I always run when I am.

Obviously all of this comes to mind this time of year because it's almost March 1st. I'm sure I'll have a bag (or two) of Peanut Butter M&Ms since that seems to be my drug of choice. I don't know where my life would be had that baby survived. Would I still be married to my ex? My life now is perfect. My husband is amazing and we have the most amazing little girl. Ironically, we are having her 2nd birthday party with Brian's family on March 1st in Seattle. It's funny how things turn out.

My take away after this loooong post if you're even still reading is this: no matter how sad or bad your life is, things always have a way of working themselves out if you allow them to.

Protein Oatmeal Raisin "Cookies"

I was in the mood to experiment a little last night with a breakfast cookie recipe involving oatmeal, raisins, and bananas.

I don't know if I can really call this a recipe because the measurements will vary based on the size if your hand. So here goes:

2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 scoop of French vanilla protein powder
Approx. 1 cup of oats (you can feel this out for your desired consistency)
2 handfuls of raisins
1 handful of flax seeds
1 handful of chia seeds
1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Mash bananas in medium bowl.
2. Add protein powder and stir well.
3. Add oatmeal and stir.
4. Add the raisins, chia seeds, and flax seeds and stir together.
5. Add cinnamon to taste
6. Put on cookie sheet by spoonfuls (mine made 11 cookies)
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the edges start turning brown. 
8. Let cool and enjoy! 

I store these in the fridge but you could make bigger batches and freeze them as well. They may be a little sticky when you take them out of the fridge or freezer.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Magic and Empowering Women

I admit, I used to be one of those gym junkies who was always on a treadmill, rower, or spin bike or in the weight room with my head phones on and a Post-It Note on my forehead that read:  "PISS OFF! Talk to me or disturb my workout and you will see 50 Shades of Bitch come out!"  Obviously, that last part is not true, but I wore that look.  I didn't want to be bothered, especially by muscled guys who thought I needed a spot on the bench press. Their lurking was always insulting and I definitely showed them with my glare after I had no problem with whatever weight I was benching.  Yeah, I was THAT person.  Then something happened...

There was a girl that started working out at the Y the same time I did and she was a badass.  She had these beautiful muscles and moved through the gym with such ease and this may sound weird, but I desperately wanted to talk to her.  I wanted to find out why she lifted so much and if she was training for anything and just to tell her that I envied her arms, her thighs, her butt.  I realized that these were some of the things that people would stop me to ask and I always found so annoying.  Hmm, reality check.  I stopped wearing headphones and would start smiling at people more.  I started noticing the personal trainers. I was in the middle of getting certified to become a personal trainer and I wanted to see how they interacted with people.  I was absolutely appalled that they never said "hi" to any other gym members, they never returned my smiles, and a lot of times they would train their clients next to each other so they could have social hour with their co-workers.  I vowed to not be that way. I dreamed of smiling and saying "hi" to everyone and in between sessions, learn some of the regulars' names when I became a personal trainer.  Well, this never happened because we moved and I joined CrossFit.  Ahh, CrossFit.

The first few times I went, I was hooked.  Not because of the amazing workouts, although that is always there, but because of the relationships.  Our coach for On Ramp was fun and my husband and I were allowed to just be ourselves and joke around.  It was socially a good time. I've been going to The Pack CrossFit now for 7 months (wow, that went fast!) and I'm noticing something. Women talk about each other.  I always hated that gossipy thing that girls did growing up and tended to hang out with the guys and as I got older, became more of a loner because I wasn't like that.  I hate the "Did you see what she was wearing?" or "Oh my gosh, did you see her haircut/how much weight she's gained/*fill in any snarky comment here*?" I felt that way at the gym I used to workout out. When I got weird looks from other women I wondered if my shorts were too short or tight or if my shirt was too tight and I had a bulgy stomach after a food binge. Is that not the most annoying thing?!  Now I know I shouldn't care what other people think and I preach that philosophy whenever possible, but the truth is I'm human.  My fatal flaw may just be that I'm self conscious.  Maybe I was teased and bullied too much as a kid (middle school was particularly bad) and that has had a lasting impression on me.  Who knows!  But I digress...women, in general, tend to talk about other women.  However, there is a magic that happens at The Pack (and I really hope at other CrossFit boxes around the world).  I now hear and say things like "Did you see her abs when her shirt came up while doing handstand push ups?! They are amazing!" "Were you there the day she got her first muscle up? Man, she fought so hard for it!" "She has the cutest Lululemon pants that make her ass look ah-mazing!"  Do you see how that is magical?  In a world full of criticism that has made me shy away from social situations, here are these amazing women EMPOWERING each other.  It's not about your size or your looks.  It is about how far you have come and the things you do well.  That is incredible!  THAT is addictive.  For the first time, I have no problem going up to people at the box I don't know and saying "hi" or cheering for them in a WOD.  I have no problem telling someone that they are so strong or that their muscles are things to be envied.  Everyone is so accepting of your strengths and your flaws.  I'm fully aware that I'm terrible at Olympic lifts right now, but I'm also aware that I'm pretty awesome at handstand walks, running, and box jumps.  It's not about age because I can name a few women at our box that are older than me that can beat me in a WOD 9 times out of 10.  I always hear about how people who don't CrossFit get annoyed by those that do because they talk about it all the time or are always posting pictures.  It's because they haven't had a taste of the magic. When you are around the most encouraging, fun people you have ever met that become like your family and love you where you're at, how can you not talk about it?  Magic...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kid Food

Let's face it--it is super hard to get kids to eat healthy, clean foods in a world full of Goldfish, PopTarts, cereal, and chicken nuggets! Can I get an "amen"?! I have to say that I was incredibly proud of how well our daughter ate the first year and a half of her life. Being married to a baby doctor, I got kind of the ins and outs of ways to get your kids to eat right. Things like: First food should be a green veggie with a unique taste. Have your kids eat what you are eating. And so on.

Here are some pics of EG in those early, veggie lovin' days:

Yeah, she's freakin' cute. I spent (okay, my husband spent) hours making delicious baby food. She loved it all! As she got older, she still ate it all! Salmon, asparagus, hard-boiled egg whites, peppers, plain oatmeal with chia seeds. It was amazing! Then this crazy thing happened: family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles...I get it. Food makes you cool. My sisters started sneaking E cookies. One of our nephews was having macaroni & cheese and everyone was dumbfounded when we said that E had never had any, so of course, she got some. At first, things were okay. She still ate great with us, but then she would start asking for juice and cookies--things that we never let her have. After my irritation subsided of her now not wanting to eat vegetables or meat anymore, I realized that this is life. Obviously I cannot shelter her from the cupcakes of the world but I can teach her about healthy foods and every-once-in-a-while foods.

Another problem we face with E and food is that she is not able to eat what we eat for dinner anymore simply because she goes to bed at 6pm (yes, go ahead and hate me. Why do you think we have not had another child yet? We couldn't possibly be lucky in the sleep department more than once). She eats her dinner about 5 o'clock and that is too early for B and I, mainly because I'm scrambling to thaw chicken or whatever else I forgot to prepare in the course of the day. Because of all this, I go for convenient, healthy food. If you have young kids and need some fresh ideas for meals or snacks, here are some photos I've taken over the last few days. Yes, I'm aware that I'm not perfect with some of the foods she eats, but I try to do my best with what we have as I'm sure you do. :)

Yogurt, strawberries, cucumbers, red peppers, and canned chicken.

Apple Gate turkey hot dogs (no preservatives, nitrite and nitrate free), pickles, celery, and apples

Banana, minimally processed jerky, and cashews

Scrambled eggs with green onions and chicken-apple sausage, and strawberries

Simple Truth minimally process turkey lunch meat, whole grain crackers, kalamata olives, and cucumbers

Frozen peas, strawberries, string cheese, Apple Gate turkey hot dog

Sunflower seeds, orange bell pepper, kiwi, and Greek yogurt

Brown rice cake with all natural/no sugar added peanut butter, pears, string cheese, and celery

Homemade grain-free graham crackers, cashews, and a banana

Things I Always Try To Have On Hand
Fruit: raisins, dried cranberries, frozen blueberries, applesauce pouches with no added sugar, and whatever fresh fruit that's on sale at the store. E loves fruit so this is not a problem area for us.

Veggies: frozen peas, cucumbers, carrots, celery, pickles, and whatever else that is on sale at the store. Bell peppers can sometimes be a hit. A lot of times E will only eat her veggies if there is something else that she wants more of. I am not above bribery. If you have any ideas of how to get kids to eat their veggies--please share! Or write a book, because you could make millions, I mm sure!

Healthy Fats: peanuts, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, olives, organic whole milk, non-gmo yogurt like StoneyField, all natural/no sugar added peanut butter, and chia seeds

Grains: plain oatmeal, whole grain crackers (always check labels on these, they may not be as healthy as you think), popcorn kernels for our air popper, brown rice cakes

Protein: Greek yogurt, "Popsicles" aka frozen Greek yogurt in the tubes, eggs, jerky, canned chicken. Sadly, E only likes processed meats like lunch meat, hot dogs, bacon, etc. so I go to the health foods section at the store and read labels. Apple Gate brand is really good as far as the processing and preservatives go.

Drinks: When E is home with us, she only gets organic whole milk with meals and water with snacks. I think she gets juice at preschool with her snack, but rarely gets it at home. Every once in a whole we'll spike her water with a little apple juice or a squeeze of lemon so she thinks she's getting juice. She doesn't know the difference and doesn't get all the sugar.

If you have any ideas for mommy-convenient and healthy foods, PLEASE SHARE! Know that in no way am I trying to come across as "look at how good my
Kid eats" because it is not like this all the time. I'm simply compiling a list that I wish I had when E started eating regular food. :)

Oh yeah, and we go through a crazy amount of Larabars (fruit & nut bars).

Friday, January 24, 2014


Who doesn't love a good vacation, right? My hubby and I celebrated our third year wedding anniversary on the 19th so we decided to get away (childless) for the week. We went to Sandpoint, Idaho to have a little ski vacation at Schweitzer Ski  Resort. This is where B and I got engaged, so the area is very special to us.

We also reenacted our first date to Kootenai Falls in Libby, Montana. Isn't it beautiful? There was a lot less ice and snow than the last time we went. :)

Of course, I had to stop and do a pull up on the bridge. Not as easy as it looks since I was wearing snow boots and there was a few inches of a drop off of that concrete.

The real reason I'm writing about this vacation is because it is really hard to eat well and train while on vacation. Here are a few tips I have come up with to make vacations not completely derail any hard work you've been doing.

1. Pack snacks. I had several Larabars and jerky in my purse for the days that we were traveling as well as any breakfasts or snacks that came up. This helped me to not get too hungry and choose less healthy options for convenience.

2. Pack an empty water bottle. Because of the new rules for flying with liquids, you are often forced to buy spendy drinks or water once you get through the security gates. If you pack your own water bottle, you can fill it up at the drinking fountain for free and not be tempted with sugary drinks. However, disregard if you are afraid of tap water. I am not.

3. Research restaurants. Because of my food intolerances, I was really nervous about going to my old favorite restaurants when I couldn't eat the foods I used to get and love. Looking up menus ahead of time made me feel better about the options (or find somewhere else to eat) and helped me not to *gulp* cave in and get the foods that I knew I'd be paying for later. I was delightfully surprised by all the gluten-free options that were available. 

4. Research places to workout. A lot hotels have a work out room in them, which is always nice to utilize if you're pinched for time. Most gyms allow people to pay a drop in fee to work out for the day. I found a CrossFit box that let us workout a couple of times in exchange for buying their t-shirts, which I was wanting to get anyway. We also did a short hike to the Kootenai Falls, walked from our hotel in Sandpoint to downtown to explore the shops and not worry about finding parking. And, of course, we skied! A lot of times I look up running trails in the area we're visiting because I think it is a great way to explore. We didn't do that this time, but that is always a really fun thing to do. 

And lastly, HAVE FUN!!!