Make & keep your new year’s resolutions! Free Printable!

It’s that time of year again when we all take a step back and figure out what we want to do differently in the coming year. We take this chance for a fresh start to examine our lives and make changes for the better. We call them New Year’s Resolutions which is a fitting name since most of us forget about them by Valentine’s Day. Maybe a better name to encourage staying on track would be “Resolutions for the coming year” or even better “Goals”.

You can make goals for anything during any time of the year, and really you should edit your goals often. If you only make goals once a year, it’s more likely that you’ll only think about them once a year. Revisiting them and editing them to fit our current situation will keep them more relevant.

However, since you’re most likely thinking about resolutions for the coming year now, I wanted to share with you a great tool to coming up with realistic goals and staying on track until December of 2016.

New Year’s Resolutions Workbook

I made this little workbook for myself as a way to figure out what my goals actually are and come up with a manageable plan to keep up with them all year long.

First: Broaden your goals.

On the first page you try and broaden your goal to the widest encompassing, least specific thing. At first glance this goal might seem unattainable. But getting it as broad as possible makes it easier to refine it next.

For example:

BJ broad resolutions filled out

 

Second: Refine your goals.

Now that you have a broad idea of what you want to accomplish in the new year, take it down a few notches and refine it to something you can realistically accomplish. On the goals by month page, you can break a goal like “Be healthier” down into 12 steps to get there.

For example:

BJ goals by month filled out

 

Third: Plan the details.

So to be healthier in January, you’re going to exercise more. Great. Now plan what that looks like on a weekly and daily scale. Maybe weekly you’ll exercise 5 days. On the daily you might plan a certain time of day to get that done.

For example:

BJ details filled out

 

Fourth: Post Prominently.

Now that you’ve gone through the little workbook exercises and figured out what your goals are and how you’re going to achieve them over the next 12 months, write it out concisely on one page and post it somewhere you’ll see it everyday. I printed this page out twice. One to go inside my workbook and one to hang up next to my calendar to keep me on track.

For example:

bj resolutions last pg filled out

 

Now it’s your turn!

You can control your New Year’s Resolutions by planning out how you’re going to accomplish them. There’s no reason to give up by February. Saying, “I’m going to be healthier this year” isn’t very effective when you don’t have a plan to get to that healthier you. Or when you have no set idea of what a healthier you looks like.

Click on these images to download them, then you can print them as is or put them in a word document to make sure you have the sizing the way you want it and then print them out. I printed pages 2-5, double sided, then hole punched it and used brads to keep it together. (But remember to print out page 5 twice, one for the workbook, one to hang up.)

Then it’s as easy as filling it out and hanging the last page up somewhere prominent.

[Read more…]

Bossy’s Losing it Week 20: Sugar Fast Results

Apparently it’s either feast or famine with blog posts around these parts. But you know how it goes. Things get crazy around the holidays.

In case you are wondering the sugar fast went surprisingly well. The first 3 days were pretty miserable. I wanted ALL THE SUGAR. But around day 4, every time that craving came around I immediately remembered that I’m not eating sugar right now. The mantra I kept repeating was, “I can have sugar, I just don’t want sugar.”

Thanksgiving was my first day back on sugar and I was really conservative considering we had cinnamon rolls, candied yams, and two kinds of pie. BUT it only took a little over a week for me to just swing right back into my sugar eating habits.

I lost nearly 2 pounds the week of Thanksgiving and I attribute that to my successful sugar fast. And while the fast did help me during Thanksgiving and a few days afterwards, it’s long term effects were not as successful as I had hoped. Unfortunately, that outcome is what kept me from doing another sugar fast before Christmas. I kind of wish I had though. This week before Christmas I’ve kind of been losing control in terms of sugar consumption and that is the one huge thing that the fast did for me.

It gave me the feeling of control. I didn’t feel controlled by my sugar craving, I controlled it and I loved that. I never wondered if I’d be able to say no to the sugary treats that I didn’t even love that much in the first place, there was no question, I just wasn’t eating sugar.

I think I’d like to do another sugar fast and approach the aftermath differently. Maybe I’ll ease back into it and always keep control by always having a limit. For instance, when I start eating sugar again it will only be one sugar-y type something a day or every other day or something like that.

Things in weight loss land have gone a little down hill since my Thanksgiving success. It’s like I planned so much to not go overboard during Thanksgiving that afterwards I just lost it. I haven’t gained any but my loss hasn’t been too big either.

I’m pretty sure that’s because I’m building so much muscle in these weight lifting classes I’m doing at the gym (Power Pump and X Fusion). One week I was sure I had gained 5 lbs from all the Nutella I had consumed but was surprised to find out that I lost .2. Not huge, but better than gaining. I really think it’s because muscle helps you constantly burn more calories. amiright?? (I’m no health guru here…just making guesses.)

Maybe after the holidays I’ll join the rest of the free world and do some kind of sugar or juice fast or something to try and get in gear for New Year’s health resolutions. Or maybe I’ll just start tracking my points again. That would be a good idea too.

I haven’t been to weight watchers in a couple weeks because holidays got me feelin like I’ve gained back everything I’ve ever lost and I’m not really ready for that harsh reality. But next week I start training for my half marathon so I’m hoping that will give me the motivation I need to get back on track.

::

Total Weight Loss: -23.8lbs

A Thanksgiving Tree

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First of all, I know what you’re thinking.

This is just some lame excuse to put your Christmas tree up early isn’t it?

Why yes, yes it is. But let’s be honest, who needs an excuse anymore? My neighbors fully decked out the outside of their house for Christmas on November 1st. Like lights, wreaths, an enormous nutcracker on the front porch, the whole shebang.

I’ve been wondering where I would put my Christmas tree since before our living room even had carpet. Or walls for that matter. (If you’re new here, head on over to the home remodel to see what I’m talking about.) When the living room was more or less put together, I realized that it’s super tiny and there isn’t a whole lot of room for a big ol tree.

But the ceilings are high so I decided to get a tall and skinny one. And when I set my mind to wanting to buy something, I can’t really change focus until that something is in my living room, put together and plugged in. So here we are.

And that’s where Daniel Tiger comes in. All my fellow moms of toddlers raise your hands if Daniel’s in the house!! Daniel is in our house all the time. If you don’t watch the show, it’s a cartoon based on the characters in Mister Roger’s neighborhood and it’s full of catchy tunes that teach kids things like, “Grown-ups come back” and “Friends help each other, yes they do, it’s true” and my personal favorite, “If you have to go potty, stop and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way.”

But I digress.

On a particular episode of Daniel Tiger it was Thankful Day and the whole town (neighborhood?) gets together and hangs thank you cards on the tree to those they are thankful to. All the cute little characters draw pictures and whatnot to their parents, teachers, and mailman and that’s when the light bulb went off in my head.

Yes this is a children’s show, but that’s a good idea.

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what we have and apart from eating a crap ton of food (which I guess means we’re thankful for how much we have..or something) and going around the dinner table to say what we’re thankful for, our family traditions don’t focus a whole lot on gratitude. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great holiday for gathering and spending time with friends and family but when are we acknowledging our gratitude?

So here I am with this undecorated Christmas tree in my living room and this Daniel Tiger thank you tree idea in my head and BAM! The Thanksgiving tree is born.

The basic idea is to take time either throughout the month of November or just on Thanksgiving day itself and write a thank you note to someone. It’s a way to show your gratitude and help someone else feel appreciated. If you do it all November long, you could just set your cards on the tree as you write them, for decoration, and then mail them out later.

I love the idea of everyone sitting down and reading our cards to each other before we indulge in a lovely meal. And hey, maybe we’ll save the cards with the Thanksgiving decorations and each year the tree will get more and more full of cards and we can always look back and remember what, or who, we were thankful for in years past.

So here’s to a new Thanksgiving tradition! What do you like to do to show you’re grateful during Thanksgiving?

Bossy’s Losing it Week 16: Bye bye sugar!

  
This Bossy’s Losing It post is long over due. It seems like I only ever feel the need to update my weight loss progress when I’ve been doing horribly and then resolve to do better again. If there’s one main thing I’m learning from this whole process, it’s that a weight loss journey is not one straight path there is a lot of up and down and if you get discouraged at every uphill battle, you’ll never succeed.

Since my last update I have been on a big uphill battle. I found a workout buddy and started some epic challenging classes at the gym that I LOVE! Working out is definitely my thang! But my eating habits have plummeted into..well almost worse than when I was pregnant. Appalling, I know.

My aunt and mom came into town and I flipped a switch and was binge eating while binge watching Nashville which resulted in gaining 2 lbs in one week! Gah!! What is that?! It has been so long since I’ve lost 2 lbs in one week and now I’ve set myself way back.

But instead of missing my meeting and having a pity party, I decided to go into Weight Watchers and get re-motivated to kick this in the butt.

I’ve been thinking for a while now that I eat WAY too much sugar. Sure it fits into the number of points I’m allotted for the day but I can’t sustain this type of eating pattern for the rest of my life. I’m realizing that as I get older it will be harder for me to keep weight off, so I might as well develop some good eating habits now to carry me through those later years.

For a while, Chris and I were going through two cartons of ice cream a week. A WEEK! That’s utter nonsense. Between his high metabolism and me nursing, it hasn’t effected us too badly in the weight gain department. But like I mentioned before, we cannot sustain this lifestyle.

Then I watched this fabulous documentary that I highly recommend. It’s called Hungry for Change and it’s on Amazon Prime right now. Among other things it talks about how sugar is an addictive drug and it’s about time the world starts recognizing the havoc it wreaks on our bodies.

That gave me the extra push I needed to enact a sugar fast. We started yesterday and we carry through until the day before Thanksgiving. My hope is that this fast will kind of reset my body to not crave sugar as much. I need to realize that I don’t need a “dessert” after every meal and periodically throughout the day. We’re even saying goodbye to diet soda for the time being (and probably forever) because it’s essentially like drinking a glass of yummy crap. It might taste good and send happy vibes to your brain but it makes you crave more sugar and actually kills brain cells. Boo.

So far I’m doing pretty well, and so is Chris which is amazing considering he basically lives off free candy at the office.

Instead of saying “I can’t have it” I’ve been saying, “I can have it, I just don’t want it.” Reminding myself that I’m choosing to do this and I don’t need to feel deprived.

Last night instead of watching a show we had a gym date and worked up such an appetite that I had four eggs when we got home. All about that lean protein when trying to build muscle. I wasn’t even sad about not getting my bowl of ice cream.

Today I’m feeling the same way and I’m even loving all these extra points I have to eat that aren’t wasted on treats that leave me feeling hungrier than when I started. My meals have become more substantial and keep me satiated longer than normal.

Now here’s to hoping that I can keep this up for the next 7 days.

 

If I want to keep my lifetime status at Weight Watchers I have to lose roughly 12 pounds in 6 weeks! Eek! It’s time to buckle down and get to work. I always was did procrastinate.

And while I’m working on that, you go watch Hungry for Change. Seriously. It’s eye opening. ::

Week 16 Weight loss: + 2.2lbs

Total Weight loss: 18 lbs

Bossy’s Losing it Week 12: Getting back on the wagon

Confession time: I know you may think, since I posted about it a few weeks ago, that I have overcome emotional eating. Ha. If only writing about it on my blog made me an instant expert, that would be nice. But no. So the past two weeks or so I fell off the weight loss wagon a little bit.

**Fun historical side note** The phrase “on the wagon” originated during the height of prohibition in the 1890s. It was originally “on the water cart” or “on the water wagon”. A water cart was used to wet dusty roads in the summer. People would say, “Yes I’m thirsty, but I’d rather climb aboard the water cart for a drink than break my pledge to stop drinking.” So if they started drinking again they had fallen off the wagon. Interesting or nah?

Every couple days I would remember and try to eat well but I had no desire to go grocery shopping so we were eating out a lot and I worked out maybe twice in two weeks. I started reaching this point where I forgot why I wanted to lose weight. I was looking in the mirror and thinking, “I think I look good enough…there are plenty of attractive people who are the same size as me. Who’s to say I need to keep working at this?”

What I learned this week:

choose your hard

I didn’t go to weight watchers for those two weeks because I didn’t want to know how much weight I had gained. THIS WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA! If I had gone and gained weight it would have motivated me to do better. If I had gone and lost weight it would have motivated me to keep going.

In my daily facebook scrolling a few days ago, something popped up on my timeline that was a major “Aha!” moment.

“Losing weight is hard. Being over weight is hard. Choose your hard.” I’ve started applying that to every aspect of my life.

Getting up early to work out is hard, but trying to find time to work out during the day is hard. Choose your hard.

Eating right is hard. Having a body running on junk food is hard. Choose your hard.

It helped me remember that I’m not only losing weight to look better but to feel better too. To get back my confidence. To be able to run that half marathon. To comfortably fit into the clothes that I love.

Going back to Weight Watchers this week was the first step. I had lost 3.6 lbs. It was the motivation I needed to jump back on that wagon and get my eating and workouts in check.

So here I am friends. I am flawed but I am trying. It doesn’t matter how slowly I go, as long as I don’t stop.

Stay with me. I know that it’s hard to keep motivation all the time and it’s okay when you fall off the wagon. Just make sure you don’t stay off.

When you get a flat tire do you get out of the car and slash the other three? No. You fix the one and get back on the road.

::

Week 12 weight loss: 3.6 lbs

Total weight loss: 18 lbs

[Subtle] Winnie the Pooh Nursery

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Since I was pregnant with Evelyn I knew I wanted to do a Winnie the Pooh nursery for her. Well now she’s two and she has a little brother sharing her room but I finally made the nursery that I had originally planned.

I love the imagination and stories of Winnie the Pooh and thankfully Evelyn does too. But I didn’t want it to be like WOAH! WINNIE THE POOH IS ALL OVER THESE WALLS! EEK!! So I did a more subtle version as opposed to just buying all the Pooh paraphernalia ever created.

Instead of covering the walls with images of that silly ol’ bear, I tried to capture the essence and silly fun of the hundred acre wood.

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The pinwheels were my way to bring in a little extra color and whimsy. It makes it feel like you’re playing out underneath the blue sky in the hundred acre wood.pooh nursery 004

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“Once upon a time, a very long time ago now, about last Friday, Winnie-the-Pooh lived in a forest all by himself under the name of Sanders. What does “under the name” mean? asked Christopher Robin.’It means he had the name over the door in gold letters and lived under it.'”

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There is no hundred acre wood without at least one beehive.

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The bookshelf is the main focus of the room and it contains that only “toys” not put away in the closet. I want my kids to have the same love of stories that I do and I figured it’s best to start them young.

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The banner over the mirrored closet doors is my ode to Winnie the Pooh’s hero party for saving Piglet. If you don’t know the story, I highly suggest you read the book.

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My gallery wall is a mix of family pictures plus some Pooh Bear fun. I have maternity photos from both pregnancies, plus each of my sweet newborns next to their initials.

The quote is by A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh, “Did you ever stop to think and forget to start again?”

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A page photocopied straight from the original Winnie the Pooh book.

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The shelves make it easy for this little button to see all her books so she can decide what to read next.

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I painted the dresser this bright coral color. I was a little nervous that all the bright colors in the room would be overwhelming but I think it turned out very happy. And my crudely recovered rocking chair ties all the colors together.

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pooh nursery collage

Free Printables for Weight loss motivation

So my Bossy’s Losing it posts have been a bit scattered. I had a little lapse in motivation but don’t worry, you’ll get a new one on Saturday and it will be loaded with what to do when you just don’t feel like staying on top of it.

Until then, I’ve made some free printables for you! Yay! In the last Bossy’s Losing it post, I listed several suggestions to use as your own weight loss mantra but I only posted my mantra as a printable. My lovely mother requested that I turn the rest of those mantra suggestions into printables as well. So I did.

And here they are for you! Just click on the photo and you can print it right from your browser or download it to your computer and then print it from there. Happy weight loss motivation!

I printed a couple of these out to hang on my fridge which is where I go when I want food. When I see them there they give me a chance to rethink my food choices and make healthier ones to stay on the right track.

better than where i was

ask yourself

do not stop

 

eat to live copy

 

hard things

 

kinda v really

 

success

suck it up

 

will you

 

mantra collage

Meal planning made easy

Meal Planning made easy

Getting married was totes awesome and exciting as a young nineteen year old. It was full of new adventures but with that came a whole crap ton of new adult like responsibilities. By far the worst of these that I was burdened with as a wife was meal planning and grocery shopping.

I have spent countless hours over the past 5 years trying to make this process as easy and painless as possible. I tried talking my grocery list into my phone so I didn’t have to write it down. I tried copying and pasting recipes into a word doc to print out ingredients. I’ve tried complication spreadsheets of recipes and food groups and ingredients. In the end everything I tried was miserable and torturous and left us eating random cans of food in the pantry in an effort to avoid the process altogether.

That was until I found this app that TOTALLY changed my life. My. Whole. Life. Go to the app store right this instant and get MealBoard and your life will be changed too.

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So here’s why it’s so fabulous

Upload Recipes

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The app has a handful of recipe sites that it partners with and you can go to those sites and choose any recipe you want and hit the import button and BOOM it appears in your little recipe section of your app. Why is this necessary? Because from your list of recipes you can drag them into the calendar so you know what days you want to eat what. It even gives you the option to say what’s for breakfast lunch or dinner (if you’re one of those crazy people who plans ALL THE MEALS).

 

But Jocelyn, I don’t like recipes from any of the websites that partner with this app. I want my own recipes on there..this will never work..wahhh.

Stop your whining! The app gives you a little code to let you login online and sync it to your computer. Then it’s as simple as copying and pasting recipes from other websites or manually inputting some from your favorite cookbook. Yes this part may be a bit time consuming but you only have to do it once and then you’re done for like ever.

Speaking of time consuming but only doing it once, this app has another feature that seems really cool but I have yet to use. You can take an afternoon (or month depending on how much you have in your pantry) and use the pantry tab to input all the food already in your house. That way when you’re shopping you don’t keep buying more of the same thing. 16 boxes of lasagna noodles anyone? No? Ok.

Grocery Shopping List

But wait, it gets even better! Then you click on the little ‘shopping’ tab and you can sync your calendar of recipes to your shopping list. If you planned for the whole month, you can choose which days should sync to your list so you don’t have to shop for the whole month if you don’t want to. But that’s not even the best part.

The only thing I hate more than meal planning is grocery shopping. I’m always carrying around this massive list and end up leaving an aisle before I got everything I needed and having to go back and forth across the store like 50 times and it takes forever and then you add two babies into that and it’s a nightmare.

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Then this app syncs the ingredients to your recipes in the grocery list, it also organizes the food by category!!! WHAHHH?!?!? I’m totally forreal right now. So there you are in the produce section of the store and you just scroll down to the produce part of your list and get everything there and walk over to the deli knowing that you didn’t forget ANYTHING!

Then you can check it off bing bang boom. The grocery shopping feature is nicer than other lists I’ve used because it doesn’t delete a checked item right after you check it off. I’ve had problems of accidentally bumping into the check mark and losing an item before I realize that I still need to get it. On this app you click the trashcan button at the bottom and have the option of deleting all items or just deleting checked items. Or if you like to see a job well done you can just leave them there and be happy with all that’s in your cart.

 

If there are certain things you like to buy at different stores you can have shopping lists for each store you like to go to.

If you have items that you need to add to your list that aren’t in one of your recipes, no sweat man. You can add the item, input what aisle it’s in, the quantity you need, etc. But to make things go faster a lot of normal items are already inputed. Say you wanted to add bananas to your list. The app knows that bananas are in the produce section and it even predicts that you were typing bananas after only the b-a-n and just like that it’s added to your list.

No more fumbling with a piece of paper and pen. No more forgetting to get something in a certain aisle. It’s a beautiful thing my friend.

The only thing I’ve found that can be a little tricky is that sometimes the app gets confused and will put something in the wrong section of your list. Like one time 28 oz of tomatoes ended up in the produce section of my list instead of the canned section and I got a tad confused. Like how do you buy 28 oz of fresh tomatoes? But I digress.

Meal Plan On-the-go

 

The reason Meal Board works so perfectly for my situation is because it has eliminated the 3o minutes to an hour that I would have to sit down and plan our meals for the week or month and make a grocery list. In fact, I hardly plan at all anymore.

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Often times I’ll update my grocery list as we run out of something because my phone is pretty much always on my person. Then when I’m out doing things with the chillins and think to myself, “Hey self, you should run to the store and grab something for dinner tonight. But what will you cook?” I don’t have to resort to something boring like spaghetti. I just choose a recipe, sync it to my grocery list and before I know it I’m loading my bags into the trunk of my car while my son sleeps in his carseat and my daughter noshes on some M&Ms because the trip was short that she stayed happy the whole time and earned herself a treat.

Now yes, the app does cost a little bit of money, $4.00 to be exact, but if you’re wondering if that’s worth it than you obviously didn’t read the above post thoroughly enough. Go back and don’t skim this time…I’ll wait.

So what are you waiting for. Go get it and plan how you’re going to spend your extra 30min to an hour that you save every week. I think I’ll use that free time locked in a dark closet with headphones in listening to anything other than crying children. I can’t wait!

**I was not paid to write this, or asked to write this, heck, I paid to get the app myself. That’s how amaze balls it is.**

A little bit of fear and adrenaline

It’s important to do things in life that scare you. I don’t like to get too comfortable in the day to day. I want to mix it up and feel challenged. When you get scared, you get adrenaline and that’s something that makes life more exciting to live.

As summer came to a close I went on two little mini vacays which was nice since I didn’t get to much else this summer, what with having a newborn and all. Both of these trips allowed me the opportunity to push out of my comfort zone and get my heart racing. I’ll present them to you in two separate stories below:

**Note: I most likely did not probably make up or exaggerate most and or all of the following details in the two stories below. More or less…ya feel me?**

Story Number 1:

That one time I nearly got eaten and mauled to death by a carnivorous mountain bear of doom

 

 

For Labor Day weekend we decided to pack up and head into the mountains with some friends for a few fun days of cabin camping. Our group consisted of two burly mountain-ish men, two girly toddling toddlers, two mamas-one of whom was great with child, and a babbling, bubbling 2 month old tot. Hence the plan to camp in a cabin with actual beds and not in a tent with non actual bed-like aparatusi.

The night grew pitch black as we drove a ten passenger van up the windy mountain roads. At times it was hard to navigate and without cell reception, we were only guessing that we were going in the right direction.

My heart was beating fast as we took one hairpin turn after another in a vehicle that did not seem conducive to the road conditions. The road took a steep incline and we went up, up, up past a teeny outhouse looking building right off the side of the road.

“What is that,” I pondered.

“That’s where Jason Voorhees keeps the bodies.”

Just then a tree branch grabbed hold of the van’s windows with a loud screech. The loud gasp that escaped my mouth was apparently hilarious to my companions.

We unloaded the van using only the light of the full moon. On one of my trips back to the van I found myself outside alone. I grabbed a big bag of food and struggled to carry it toward the cabin when a rustling in the bushes not five feet away got my attention. I whipped my head to the right but nothing was there. When I brought up the strange sound, the rest of my friends agreed that they had heard it too. With that realization we locked the cabin doors and each hunkered down in one of the four side by side beds in the loft.

That night, our friend’s cute toddling tot woke up shrieking in what appeared to be a night terror. No amount of hugging, comforting, or assuring would calm her down. Magically she didn’t wake up the other kids. Not long after she finally relaxed back to sleep, us four adults were awakened by the the abrupt sound of hail pounding on the tin roof. The noise was so loud that Chris and I had to yell at the top of our voices to be heard and we were only a few inches apart. Once again, by some magical force, none of the kids woke up. Little did I know that this restless night of commotion was only a small foreshadowing to the terror that awaited me early the next morning.

On Saturday, being the fitness goddess that I am, I set my alarm early and woke up to workout. After a 30 minute Jillian Michaels workout DVD I was feeling pumped and energized and ready to start my day. I sat out on a wooden swing on the large wraparound porch, breathed in the cool mountain air and enjoyed the quiet stillness of the morning. As a mama of two littles it was a feeling I didn’t get to experience often.

I was feeling so jazzed about life that I decided to go for a quick little jog before everyone else woke up. The morning was so breezy and quiet and the view so pretty I figured it was the perfect atmosphere. I started my descent down the steep gravel driveway at a quick walk. The road was so steep that I was afraid I would slip if I sped up my pace at all. I went past the ‘Jason Voorhees’ shack, which didn’t look nearly as frightening in the light of day, and down the rest of the driveway where I found myself in a cul de sac. I stopped for a minute to look up at the beautiful trees that framed a gorgeous morning sky.

I pulled out my phone and began to take pictures of the mountains and trees and that’s when I heard it. A sound I can only describe as a loud exhaling of breath from the nostrils of a large beast. I gave myself whip lash as I turned to see where the sound came from. Just up from where I was standing, a few feet over from the subject of my photos, was a mass of black fur. I stood frozen in fear for what seemed like minutes. Then it’s head shot up and we locked eyes. It had seen me, the largest most ferocious looking bear I had ever seen outside of a natural history museum. It took me seconds to realize what I needed to do and I took off running back up the steep incline of the gravel driveway.

hike

^^The bear was just out of the right side of the frame of this photo

It seemed like the bear was quite a ways away from me but I had no idea how fast they could run or if my sudden movement would catch his attention. My thighs burned from my workout as I ran faster than I thought possible up the steepest incline. I had barely gotten halfway up the driveway when I heard the gravel crunch behind me. His steps were quick, something I’d compare to a gallop, and I knew he wasn’t far behind. I pushed on harder and faster, the cool air that I was just enjoying had begun to burn my lungs as I heaved in breath after breath.

I started to fear that my legs might give out at any moment but I knew that I couldn’t slow my pace let alone stop. I neared the top of the driveway and turned the corner to see the cabin in view. I was so close. As I turned I caught a glimpse of black fur in my peripheral vision. I tried to speed up but it was no use, my legs were weakening and I was losing momentum. I couldn’t help but slow down the tiniest bit and it was just enough to give him the advantage. He got close enough to me that I could hear his breath and nearly feel it on my back.

That gave me a shot of adrenaline that propelled me up the front porch and into the front door. I slammed it hard just in time to hear his massive body crash into it. My fingers fumbled in an attempt to lock the door as if that could somehow keep him. It was still for a moment and I thought he left but my peace was fleeting as only seconds later his body once again smashed into the door, harder this time.

The door came crashing into me and knocked me to the floor into the kitchen. I briefly used the door as a shield until his claws managed to pierce the wood and come within inches of my face. I managed to roll out from underneath it and grab the only weapon I could find: a broom.

The beast came charging at me, jaw wide, saliva spewing as he roared. I used the broom to brace open his gaping mouth and keep it from closing on me. We struggled for some time around the kitchen, him attempting to claw and bite at any part of me he could reach and me using every bit of strength I had left to push him back with that surprisingly useful broom. At last I was knocked against the fridge where a thought popped into my head.

Holding the bear off with the broom in one hand, I yanked the door open and ripped open a package of raw beef meant for our dinner that night. The bear took one whiff of the dripping package and tried to leap for it. I managed to throw the thing with some force out the front door and deep into the forest.

My hungry foe had lost all interest in me and ran straight for the meat, forgetting his original target. I stood there in the suddenly still kitchen panting, staring at the destruction and wondering what we were going to eat for dinner that night.

 

Cabin

Story #2

That one time I almost fell to my death from the top of a steep, slippery desert mountain side

 

Chris and I spent a lovely weekend in Colorado visiting his family and getting to see his brother who had just returned from a two year LDS mission in Virginia. We decided to take our time on the 6 hour drive back home and take in some sights to make the drive more enjoyable. Plus it would give the kids more time out of the car.

[Read more…]

Welcome Fall

welcome fall

It seemed like a normal summer morning, just like any other. My beautiful summer had been filled with mornings kissing the sweet cheeks of my new son and days tickling the chubby feet of my little princess. My summer newborn limited the season’s activities. Instead of sunbathing I was relaxing and recovering and nursing and cleaning and figuring out what it meant to suddenly be a mom of two. Many a Saturday morning was spent roaming garage sales and furnishing my newly finished house. I missed going on vacation or spending days at the pool, soaking up the rays. I wanted this summer to roll on indefinitely.

But then this morning came and I walked out onto the back deck, unassuming and it hit me. Fall is here.

My senses were overwhelmed. I could smell it in the crisp scent of decaying leaves. I could feel it as I closed my eyes and the breeze brushed across my face with a slight hint of chill. I could see it in the leaves that were slowly turning my yard red and yellow. And just like that I was done with summer.

All it took was a few minutes in the fresh fall air to remember why autumn is and will always be my favorite season. It’s getting to spend time outside without turning into a puddle of sweat. It’s the new colors that appear in nature right when you seem to have forgotten that the world could be anything but green. It’s the smell of pumpkin and cinnamon and baked goods that make your home feel the coziest. It’s that desire to cuddle and read all day. It’s coming inside smelling like smoke after spending an evening basking in the glow of a campfire. It’s the satisfying crunch of stepping on leaves. It’s the chance to redecorate your home in celebration of the new season and pull out the boxes of fall clothes that you forgot you had.

all my senses for fall

Amazingly, this feeling makes me nostalgic for the start of school. I always loved back to school shopping for a new fall wardrobe to show off to my friends and a plethora of office supplies. I know school has been in session for a month or so but it’s only now that I almost wish I could go back. Maybe it’s time to take a trip to the store and stock up on some notebooks and pens, for old times sake.

This year I’m ready for new traditions with my young family. I’m ready to introduce my toddler to hay rides and corn mazes and pumpkin patches. I can’t wait to see her eyes light up as she learns about all the magic that fall brings. I’m excited to share with her my love of Halloween and get to relive my childhood through her tiny self.

its the new colors

It’s okay for autumn to be a time of nostalgia and remembering all the beautiful childhood memories that shaped me into the person I am today. But that nostalgia is the fire beneath me, motivating me create similar moments for my kids that will beautiful memories for them when they’re building families of their own.

Welcome Fall. Won’t you stay a while?