My Marathon Man

If you follow me on Twitter or we're Facebook friends then I'm sure you're well aware of how proud I have been of my hubby the last few days. It's true. He's kinda incredible.

That guy... He ran 26.2 miles on Saturday!

It wasn't his first time doing it and it wasn't even his best time doing it, but I was so ridiculously proud of him! Possibly because I'm currently training for a 5K, you know, 3.1 miles... 23.1 miles less than what he did on Saturday. And it's been stinkin' tough for me.

I mean, I'm always proud of him for his runs, and other things too, but this year the whole marathon thing just really impacted me.

As we approached a place where we would be able to catch Dipal twice during the race, one of those being at mile 26, we saw some of the first finishers of the marathon and it was so amazing. The toughness in their faces, the crazy muscles in their legs, some totally in the zone and focused on the prize, others throwing their hands up with the cheers of the crowd as they passed by. It was awesome. If you have never been to watch a marathon or been near the finish line, I highly suggest both, even if you don't know a single soul in the race. It'll make you want to go be unstoppable, after you wipe the tears away, of course.

I also couldn't help but think about what an amazing example it was for what life is suppose to be like. We're all running our own races. Sometimes we're up and feeling good and everything is smooth sailing, sometimes we're feeling the cramps, it gets hard to breathe, and we're doing everything we can to push to the finish without falling flat on our faces, and in either instance, it is so nice to have people standing by shouting, "You've got this! Great job, runner!"

And sometimes, you might even have someone who's been there before jump in and run alongside of you to see you finish strong like Dave Ramsey did for vlogger Shaycarl who had been a guest on his radio show the day before the race. To my understanding, Dave had already run the half marathon portion of the race, but then jumped in alongside Shaycarl as he was finishing the marathon. I'm just now learning about Shaycarl and his story, but I believe he followed Dave's plan to become debt-free and as he did, other things started falling into place as well, like his health. Even more reason why I love this picture of the two of them.

To all the runners of The St. Jude Country Music Marathon and 1/2 Marathon I say a big huge congrats!! You guys are inspiring and I really hope to be there with you next year running the half!

And to my real-life racemate, 

You're not only a running rockstar...

but an amazing hubby...

and father...

And we are SO proud of and thankful for how hard you work for our family and the ways you take care of us, motivate us, and push us to be better!

P.S. You totally "owned" that race. You're welcome! ;)

Stop and Smell the Roses: A Little More Time With a Good Friend

It's Wednesday! That means it's Stop and Smell the Roses day around these-here parts!

Stop and Smell the Roses

You know those times when you're looking forward to something, but you're not sure of the exact time it's going to happen, and then you find out it's about to happen?

Well, that's what happened to me this week. I knew a good friend and her daughter were suppose to be coming into town soon, but I wasn't exactly sure when. Then, I found out on Monday they were planning on being here Tuesday, and as luck would have it, just in time for dinner! :)

And that's what I'm chatting about in my little ol' vlog this morning...

I'll be linking this vlog up over at House of Rose with the rest of the Stop and Smell the Roses vloggers. Go check them out and feel free to join our little crew! It's a party every Wednesday! ;)

Hope you're having a great week!!

17 Day Diet Check-In {Week 1}

Hi friends! Hope you all had a great weekend!

We spent our Friday through Sunday in Chicago with family we hadn't seen in a while. {Since Thanksgiving!} It was great getting to see everyone and spend some time doing fun things we don't do so often around Southern Illinois, like trying new breakfast cafes and shopping at Ikea.

One of the hardest things about traveling for someone watching their weight can be sticking to your diet, but I think I did a pretty great job considering we were away from home. Before we left I packed things I knew would help me, like hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, and my favorite chocolate snack, Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp candy bars. These candy bars aren't exactly on the 17 Day Diet plan, but on days I'm craving something chocolate I let myself indulge in a little 110 calorie piece of deliciousness.

                                                                    Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

I also kept my water bottle and green tea bags with me wherever we were so I always had a little something to sip on. This might seem like a lot to keep up with, but it really only took a few minutes of preparation to majorly help me stick to my plan. Not to sound all cheesy, but I was so proud of myself as we came home Sunday night knowing that I had done really well instead of beating myself up over bad choices.

So, as of this morning, 8 days after starting the diet, I'm at 4.5 pounds of weight loss!

Woo hoo!! :)

Since this is the initial week of the diet I'm sure a lot of that is water weight, but I'm ok with that considering water weight can still make you look bloated and fatty, so anything that helps that out is a winner in my book.

In combination with the diet I've also been working on training for a 5k I hope to do at the beginning of June. Running has never been my strongpoint, but I do appreciate the benefits it offers, and I've loved the mornings I'm able to get out with my music and the pavement. I don't move fast, but every run I see myself doing a little better than the last. It's also given me a lot of practice in self-motivation. I don't think I've ever said the phrase "You've got this!" in my head as much as I have in the last 2 weeks of running!

Some things that have helped me stick to the diet this time...

Visualization - Visualizing where I want my body to be as well as things I would like to wear without worry (like a swimsuit) has really helped keep my motivation moving. Every time I start to feel the least bit negative about what I'm eating or whether or not I can keep running I think about what I'm trying to achieve. I've even thought about making some sort of vision board so I can actually look at something to keep my motivation up, but for now mental pictures have worked.

Preparation - Like I mentioned above, prepping some items to take on our trip with us really helped me stay on track. It also helps to have meals and snack ideas planned out for the week so I can get everything I need from the grocery store to keep me from cheating myself.

Transparency/Accountability - Blogging about my weight issue isn't my proudest moment, but it's real. I do it because it keeps me thinking about it and it's a place to share my struggles and my victories. (Hopefully, there are many victories to come!) It also keeps me accountable knowing I've told people I'm going to do this and I'm going to feel like a loser if I give it up. I hate disappointing others, but I'm also sick of disappointing myself.

Looking forward to next week's check-in as we'll be closer to the end of my first cycle of 17 days! Until then, here's a little "pincouragement" that I'm loving right now. (If you would like to pin the below pictures for your own motivation just click on the picture.)

                                                                             Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

                                                               Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

                                                                          Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

                                                                  Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

                                                                      Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

Stop and Smell the Roses: {Kinda} Healthy Food Edition

It's Wednesday, Wednesday, gotta link up on Wednesday! {Just imagine that to the tune of Rebecca Black's Friday. You're welcome.} :)

Today I'm sharing a couple of things I'm loving. One is a little something that is one of my favorite eats while doing the 17 Day Diet {Don't I look super excited to be holding a container of yogurt in that video thumbnail down there?}, the other is something my boys are loving, but {shhh!} don't tell them it's the least bit healthy or they might lose all interest!

Stop and Smell the Roses

Hope you guys are having a great week! If you have something that makes your heart smile why don't you film a little vlog and share it with the rest of us? You can do so over at House of Rose, and when you're finished take some time to check out all the other vlogs. It's a great way to spend your day avoiding all those boring things on your to-do list! ;)

Happy Wednesday, peeps!

My own Personal Version of the 'Hunger Games'

Did you join in on the hype known as "The Hunger Games"? It took me a while to get on board, but I eventually read the first book, liked it, saw the movie, loved it, and am hoping to start the second book of the series, "Catching Fire," soon. {Which means whenever I get enough stuff marked off my to-do list to sit down and read without feeling guilty.}

I don't want to spoil it for any of you who may not have read it yet so I won't go into major details of the story, but it involves a futuristic world made up of districts that each must send one boy and one girl to represent their people in the annual Hunger Games. These representatives must fight to the death until there is only one winner, which the government uses to remind the people that they are in control and there is no hope of rebellion.

Super awesome that this isn't exactly how things work these days, right?! However, I've been fighting my own little battle for the last few years and when texting a friend yesterday jokingly called it "our own personal version of the 'Hunger Games.'"

"The Hunger Hunger Games" :)
                                                                          Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

You see, sometimes I tend to become a little bit of a foodaholic.

Ok, that's probably a little extreme, but I do like to eat. For the longest time I was one of "the lucky ones" who could eat whatever I wanted and see little to no consequence. And then I had kids, two precious little boys to be exact. With my first pregnancy my short little 5'1ish stature gained about 50 pounds! While a good amount of that dropped off quickly after giving birth, those last 25 pounds decided to hang around like they owned the place. By the time I realized it was going to take intense work to get those pounds off I was pregnant with my second baby {Yep, they're only 17 months apart}. During my second pregnancy I gained only 25 pounds, but remember, I still hadn't lost those pesky 25 pounds from the first pregnancy. My youngest is about to turn 3 and those last 25 pounds are still hanging out, and further more, I think they started inviting some of their fat friends. Totally a party I am not digging. I've tried depending on myself to eat healthy and exercise - eating better and training for my first 5K run led to a 10 pound weight drop, but once I got burnt out I gained it all back plus a couple. This is probably when it was the most clear to me that my days of eating whatever I wanted with no affect were over, so I did what any responsible foodaholic would do, gave up. If I wanted a Dairy Queen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard, by golly I would get one. Stressed out and feel like baking some homemade snickerdoodles? For sure. My tooth is totally sweet.

Then, one rare day while I was in bed with the flu I was flipping through the morning news shows when I landed on Good Morning America and the hunky Cameron Mathison talking about The 17 Day Diet {You can watch the same video I watched that morning here: GMA ~ 17 Day Diet}. They totally reeled me in, specifically when interviewing a mom of three who had lost 36 pounds in 4 months, 13 of those in her first 17 days. She had tried several other diets, but always gained the weight back. This time she felt like she had a lifestyle change she could stick with and that's what I wanted. I knew that if I was going to lose the weight and keep it off I needed to make a lifestyle change, not just go on a "diet." That afternoon I ordered the book and researched every possible thing I could find on the internet about The 17 Day Diet. I even texted a friend about it and she decided to do it with me.

Here are some of the things that appealed to me about the The 17 Day Diet:
  1. 17 Day Cycles - I'm willing to try {almost} anything for 17 days if it will benefit me. It almost sounds like a money back guarantee. If it didn't work after 17 days I could always return to my old habits {and fattiness}.
  2. You're only asked to exercise for 17 minutes a day in the beginning, and walk at that. A 17 minute walk sounds so much more doable to a busy mom than a 30 minute walk, but FYI, since we've started the diet every walk has been 30 minutes or more. {Kudos to Dr. Moreno for coming up with the magic number 17. It really does make everything seem more doable.}
  3. The 17 Day Diet involved doing things I would like to do anyway, like removing processed foods and unnecessary sugars. I want to take care of my family and feed them things that are healthy and I felt like this would get us on the right track to healthy habits.

The book and the author, Dr. Mike Moreno

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about how I was getting back into the 17 Day Diet, but unfortunately that was short-lived. So this past weekend I had a chat with my friend and we decided we are getting down to business. We're going to take this seriously and get ourselves to a place that we're happy with! I can tell you from experience that this diet works, but like any other lifestyle change, only YOU are the one who can determine whether it's ultimately successful or not.

May the odds be ever in our favor! ;)

**If you're interested in the 17 Day Diet I encourage you to research it and see if it's for you. Check out the link I shared above to the video and read the first chapter of the book here.

A Little Encouragement for Your Friday

                                                                      Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

I saw this picture on Facebook yesterday as shared by Money Saving Mom and I just loved it. I know I am so guilty of throwing myself a pity party when I don't succeed at something, but that's just the time you have to give it more. The failing comes in the giving up, not the stumbling. {I hope that encourages you, but I'm totally talking to myself there.} How do you keep yourself motivated when you hit hard points along the path toward your goals? I would love to hear in the comments as I can use all the help I can get!

Also, I'm sure a lot of you have seen this link that has been spreading like wildfire, but my friend Jessica left it in the comments the other day when I was talking about the times I feel like I'm struggling and I thought it was great! Thank you so much, Jessica! {P.S. Say a little prayer for her as she just had her second little boy this morning!} :)

Your Children Want You by The Power of Moms

What have you been struggling with that you need to keep pushing past? Make a plan and do it!! Don't give up! You've got this!!

Happy Friday!

Faith, Family, Friends, and Coral Lipstick {aka Easter 2012}

My spirit was refreshed and my belly was filled which means Easter has come and gone, my friends.

As I mentioned in my vlog yesterday, we had a great weekend sharing some quality time with our friends, talking to the boys about how incredibly important the meaning of this holiday is to our family, and just breathing it all in for some rejuvenation. Being away from family on holidays like this always makes me sad, but our close friends and neighbors here in Southern Illinois have truly become our "family away from family," so being with them was the next best thing!

Saturday evening we had a cookout with several of our neighbors who all have kids around the same age as ours. The kids did an Easter egg hunt and played to their little hearts' content. Jayden learned how to climb trees from another little boy who was there and I think that was a pretty big highlight for him. I would show you pictures of all these things, except for the fact that I missed a large portion due to staying at the grocery store far too long. Later that evening we colored some Easter eggs with our friend, Elly. Actually, my friend and Elly's mom, Deana, colored the eggs while we watched, but she did a great job! :)

The kids did help dry the eggs after they were boiled.

Daddies being goofy with the kiddos

The boys' eggs
Elly wanted Jackson to jump to her. :)
After we got home we took some superhero stickers and boy-ified the eggs. 
We were a little tired by the end of it all. :)
We woke up super early on Sunday morning to attend the earliest church service I think I've ever been to, came home, relaxed a bit, and then walked over to our neighbor's house for Easter lunch. We stayed over there most the day so the guys could watch The Masters and the kiddos could play.

The Easter Bunny hid our colored eggs.
Jackson's were in the diaper cabinet that we no longer have to use! Yay for potty training! :)
Easter baskets, or buckets, in our case. The Easter bunny even brought a little something for Daddy.
Excited to see his basket!

He's a pretty cool dude. :)
Found his eggs!

Sweet brothers!

Loving on my boys and rockin' some coral lipstick.
Daddy and his two favorite little boys ever!
"Papa Joe" playing monster with the kiddos.

The obligatory Easter family photo. :)

Hope you guys had a great Easter and are having a great week!

Stop and Smell the Roses: Faith and "Framily"

Hi everyone! Hope you're having a great week!

Just wanted to share my Stop and Smell the Roses vlog, a few minutes where I stop and take some time to talk about what I'm thankful for this week. This is a link-up hosted by Mandy from House of Rose and I know she would love for you to go over and check it out, better yet, film your own vlog and link up! It doesn't have to be professional and it's super fun!

Stop and Smell the Roses

Today I'm talking about some of the things that have stood out to me most in the last few days, like my faith and friends that are like family. I even got to have my sweet little Jayden join me! He decided to throw in a few words of his own. ;)

Also, just wanted to share my YouTube subscribe button just in case you would like to do that. Just hit "Subscribe" below. Easy peasy!

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Love Wins, Spring is Coming, and He is in Control

The last few months haven't been my most shining moments. There's been sadness, I would even dare to say depression at times, and on any random day there's been about a 50% chance of gloominess.

I always feel guilty when I admit things like this. I have so many things going right in my life that I feel like an ungrateful jerk for expressing any frustration or struggles. I know we all have them, but so many people appear to handle these hardships so much more gracefully than I do.

These feelings hinder me from being all the things I want to be; a supportive and loving wife, a mother who is patient and a great role model for her children, an involved daughter and sister, and a listening and giving friend. Most of all, it tears me away from my foundation of faith. I begin to doubt what I believe in and doubt my worth. My body can be in a room full of people, but my soul feels absent and isolated. It becomes exhausting to smile and be happy, even just to carry on conversations, and those close to me start to see it firsthand. And to ask for help? That is one of the hardest things for me to ever do. Trust me when I say if I ever ask you to help me in any way it has taken me lots of working myself up to do it. I can't stand the idea of being anyone else's burden.

It's why I so often mention my husband in my Stop and Smell the Roses vlogs; because I see his effort in trying to give me breaks and help with the kids, and I appreciate those times he comes home from work and doesn't say a word about the fact that I still haven't showered that day or touched the laundry and/or dishes because I just don't have it in me. It's also the reason I have enjoyed doing the Stop and Smell the Roses vlogs at all; I love taking the time each week to think about what I'm grateful for.

As Easter came closer and closer this year my soul really started to revive. Maybe it's been the warm, sunny weather, but I believe it goes a lot deeper than that. I spent time with the boys talking to them about the true meaning of Easter and what it meant to our family. In my desire for them to learn I was reminded of the stories of the last days of Jesus. Good Friday came and thoughts of Jesus dying on the cross flooded my mind. To think, he did that for us, because He loved us so much and wanted to do the Father's will. Then Sunday came and it was a time of celebration. Knowing Sunday was coming was what made Friday bearable. Despite enduring intense pain and torture Christ defeated evil and Love won the battle. For those who loved Him, those were three very long, hard days, but He came back to show them the fulfillment of God's promises and love. No matter how lost everything may have appeared in the perspective of those following Christ here on earth, God was in control all along.

To my weary spirit this was a strong reminder that Love wins, Spring comes, and God is in control of it all. Why he allows certain things to happen I can't tell you for sure, but I know that when I come out of these times of gloominess I learn things about myself and why I need Him in my life. I'm reminded that I can't do it all in my own power.

I heard a song the other day that really hit home for me. I actually saw it on an encouraging blog I like to read called Inspired to Action. It's a song by Britt Nicole called "All This Time" and it says, "I hear these people asking me how do I know what I believe? Well I'm not the same me. That's all the proof I need!" I've seen God take the hard times in my past and shape them into great things. When I was young and moved to Tennessee I thought my world was over, but it was there that my faith was strengthened, where I met my future husband, and some of my best friends. When I found out I was pregnant and not married I was incredibly scared of the what the future held for me, but that pregnancy gave me one of the biggest, most incredible blessings my heart could have ever desired.

These guys? They are my little reminders that God has put some pretty amazing blessings in my life and each day is worth working through. It's worth going through the winter to get to the Spring. And God? He works ALL things for good.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Stop and Smell the Roses: Brought to you by the Color Orange

Stop and Smell the Roses 

Today's Stop and Smell the Roses vlog is a little late, but here none-the-less.

Be sure to check out more SASTR vlogs over here!

Have a great week!


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