Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Phat Girl Running

Last year, after I had number 4, I got a heel spur trying to run.  It was so disheartening, so say the least.  Here I was at 285 pounds and unable to exercise at all.  I got depressed.  Then just as I was feeling better and getting ready to go for it again, I found out I was pregnant again and my heel got worse.  My midwife banned me from running for the rest of the pregnancy.

 Slowly my heel healed, and I got the go-ahead to start running again at the 6 week postpartum checkup.  But here I was now at 325... The last time I was able to run at all, I was a good 40 pounds lighter.

Full of hope, I hopped on the treadmill telling myself I wouldn't stop until I did at least a mile!  I mean, come on, I ran a half marathon 3 years ago!  I got this!

 I didn't have it.  Not even close.

 I couldn't even run a quarter of a mile... And even then I thought I was going to die.

 I gave up. Plain and simple.

I was fat and that wasn't going to change unless I could run and I couldn't.  I hate walking.  I just hate it.  Once you start running, walking is ruined forever.  It's so slow and boring.  And my heart and soul longs for the speed and feeling of complete freedom that running gives me.

 So, I've been doing Just Dance and other Wii programs at night to get me going and ready to run again.  It's been okay.  I even challenged the family and kicked butt every time. But my true love is running.

 Today, I had a doctor's appointment and I weighted in at 303... Soooo... Since Doctor scales suck, I am guessing I am just under 300 now, YIPPY!  And even though I am still huge, it gave my spirit a burst of determination.

 When I got home, I put the Littles down to nap, and hooked the Tweedles and the Middie up with a Wii game.  Then I went upstairs to face the treadmill once again.  I dusted off the cobwebs and shoved all the toys over, and got on.  Turning on my jams, I faced the treadmill said a silent prayer, and made a goal.

  Cat, you got this.  Just one mile. Just. One. Mile.  I thought, giving myself a pep talk. I have to do this, I CAN do this, even if I am going a snail's speed.  

Remember: my body is mortal, but my spirit is divine!

I started out with a 3 min warm up walk.  Then I adjusted my treadmill so I had a slight decline, yes, my treadmill does downhill, how cool is that?  Every little advantage helps, anyway.

And I started running.

Okay, so my run right now is the pace that some people can speed walk.  But that doesn't matter right?  Since I am so chunky, to a bystander I look like I am booking it.

I was feeling good as I passed my 1 mile mark and thought, woo hoo! Going strong!  Let's go for 2!

And I did!!!

When I got passed the 2 mile mark, I thought, do I dare?  Do I dare go for the 5K??  I dare!!!

And I did!!!!!

I am a 35 year old mother of 5 and I weigh 303 pounds.  I just RAN a 5K.  Feeling badass.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Confessions, Goals, and Hope for the Future

Typically, I try to keep my articles upbeat and uplifting with a dash of humor and sarcasm... because that's generally me and what I am good at.  But if I am going to be completely honest with myself about some things I am struggling with right now, I need to be upfront and honest to you.

 Additionally, this is a really hard post for me to write.  I'm really putting myself out there today, about something I am combating.  I hope that you will be patient with me, loving, and understanding.

Those of you who have been faithfully reading my craziness these last eight or so years, have followed me though many, MANY adventures!  From student housing (the original Nutshell) to the Army life. From just 2 kiddos to 5.    Y'all followed us across the country from Utah, to Oklahoma and on to Tennessee! You've watched us and cried with us as struggled with our boys' special needs, and you've cheered with us in all their growing successes.  You have been faithfully following us in our daily shenanigans and all our adventures in public school and now homeschool.  You've been with me and supported me through all my weight loss and fitness journeys, from barely being able to walk up a hill to running up mountains and half marathons! You've watched our family grow and laughed with us, weep with us, and celebrated with us. I can never thank you enough, my dear friends, for all your love and support, and I hope that in some small way, our lives have touched yours too.

I have always been up front and honest.  I am not ashamed to admit my failures, my struggles, and my life lessons.  Every time I write things down and share them, I do it for me.  It helps me to put things into words and organize my thoughts. This blog has helped me grow in more ways than I can ever begin to say. So, I am going to start my journey of healing once again by sharing with you some of the things I am going through right now.  I could really use a "You got this, Cat!" or "Praying for you, girl!"

 It is true that I have been very, VERY busy lately with the new baby and all the homeschooling going on.  I feel immensely blessed to have 5 healthy boys, a beautiful home, a loving, hard working, studly husband -- but some times I feel that if I share my struggles and even complain a bit, I am being less than grateful for the wonderful things in my life. This simply isn't true. I want you to know that I am SO grateful for all my many blessings.  I have a good life, and I love it.  And I owe God for all that I have.

 All that aside, the main reason I haven't blogged very much in the last couple years, is that I don't feel good about myself.  In fact, I am so humiliated by the way I look right now, I hardly leave the house. And even the very thought of leaving it makes me panic.

There, I said it.

 I worked very VERY hard to get my weight off originally, then again after I had number 3.  I was able to keep it off and maintain it for 3 years!!  I had no problem doing it.  But I don't know if it was my thyroid, my age, or just the fact that I was having kid number 4, but the weight gain with that baby was almost 100 pounds.  I kid you not.  I ate EXACTLY like I did while I was maintaining.  I ran the WHOLE pregnancy.  In fact, if you remember, I ran myself into labor!  I was absolutely flabbergasted each time I went in to weigh.  The doctors would roll their eyes whenever I told them I was eating right and working out.  They gave me this whole lecture about calories in and calories out until I wanted to punch them in the nose!!  It isn't that easy!  My body has really been through the ringer with these babies and my metabolism and thyroid are shot.  When I found out our surprise baby was on his way, my heart just fell.  Sure I felt very blessed that we were having another even if it wasn't planned.  I know that God knows I can handle it.... Every baby is a blessing and a miracle.... but my selfish side knew I would be packing on more pounds, again.  And I did.  Although, this time I only gained 35... which makes the running total of 135 pounds gained in two years.

 Moment of absolute truth:  When I weighed in AFTER I had baby number 5, I was a DEVASTATING 325 pounds.

Three hundred and twenty-five pounds.

 Let that soak in.

 Less than 3 years ago, I was in the best shape of my life running a half marathon.  Today, I am in the worst I have ever been in.  And I am so ashamed, I can't even look in the mirror.  I don't know that face I see there. Who is that sad person that stares back at me?

When I left Utah, I was at my best, now, next month we are going back to visit family and I am absolutely sick about it.  I love my family and want to see them more than anything, but I am so embarrassed about my appearance. And the most frustrating thing of all, is that I worked harder than I ever have to keep the baby gain down and it was like my body just totally freaked out.  It doesn't seem fair!  And it kills me to think that my family and friends might be judging me for it.... even though I know they love me and probably wouldn't judge me... but I judge myself.  

Sometimes, I think God is letting this happen to me because I took too many selfies when I was feeling good about myself...  Don't say I didn't warn you! Seriously. Now, I won't let anyone take ANY pictures of me. At all. In fact, I can get downright nasty about it.

Now, on the up side.  Those of you who know me, also know that I am not a quitter.  I don't just roll over and take it.  No. I stand up and face my issues and gosh darn it, I do something about it!!! Change begins with US.  This begins with me.

These last few weeks, I have stopped feeling sorry for myself and started working out again.  I know what I can and can't eat, and I have been cracking down harder on my portions than I ever have before.  I have taken into account that my metabolism is slower than it was after having two more kids and have adjusted properly.  I am taking the bull by the horns and getting my life back!

I have finally started getting out more, and try to swallow my humiliation that all my church clothes are ill-fitting and make me look like a sausage.  Instead of hiding on the back row, I force myself to sit up front and comment at least once. I am, as the military calls it, embracing the suck and soldiering on.

 I make myself put makeup on at least twice a week -- allergies permitting.  And I do my hair... Sometimes.

 Baby steps, my friends... baby steps.

 But I got this.  Only I have the power to change my life.  Pull myself out of this dark place I found myself.  Sure, it wasn't all my fault, I tried my best to keep the weight off.  But it WILL be my fault if I don't do something now.  I need to believe in myself again, feel like I am worth it... and you know what?  My boys think I am worth it, and my husband, bless his heart, tells me every day how sexy and beautiful I am, and he thinks I am worth it.  And I know that the Lord loves me, he knows my heart, he knows my pains, and he knows my will to not give up!  With all of their help, I can do this!

 I don't need to be skinny -- I just want to be able to run again and feel healthy and good about myself again.

 Already, I am starting to believe in myself again... and writing this post is my first step to really facing this head on.  I'm going to do this... I know I can!

 So here are my starting goals and I am counting on y'all to hold me to this:

 Run a 5K without walking by the end of June.
 Run a 10 K without walking by the end of Aug.
 Run a Half Marathon by Thanksgiving.

 That's it.  I'm not making any weight loss goals.  In fact, I made Ben hide the scale.  I am focusing only on my fitness... and the weight loss with come with it, I am sure.  I truly believe that if I give it my all, I will be feeling like myself again by Christmas!

 Thanks for being here for me!


 PS:  Just in case you have it in mind to mean well and try to get me to join your Beach Body whatever, the answer is no.  I love you, but no.  I know exactly what I need and how to get it.  And if I don't, my husband is a personal trainer.  I don't want any diet pills or promises of a quick fix.  There are no oils or body wraps to fix me.  It's hard work, exercise, and sacrifice.  Plain and simple.  And when I cross that proverbial finish line, I want the satisfaction of knowing it was all me that got me there.  And I say this with all the love I have and no snappiness intended.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The 3 Flat Brothers Project

Yesterday, I mentioned in my homeschooling update post, that we were going to do a Flat Stanley geography project based on the books by Jeff Brown.

If you have no idea how it works, it's like this:  Flat Stanley is this kid that gets smashed by a bulletin board and becomes flat.  So his family sends him all around the world in an envelope -- why CPS isn't involved is beyond me -- and he has many great adventures.

Many class rooms around the globe for many years have participated in the Flat Stanley project by sending out their own Flat Stanley's or Flat Kids out to friends and family and have them passed around.  I thought it would be GREAT fun for the boys to do it as a year long geography project.  They can follow along with their adventures on a big huge map I have yet to buy.  I decided to take the project a step further and create a Facebook group, The 3 Flat Brothers, for friends and family to follow along on the journey as well.

I couldn't decide how I wanted the boys to make their Flat people.  Well, I could just print out the formula ones on Pintrest.... or I could have them make their own, like a little girl did that sent us one while we were living in Oklahoma:

But I wanted to do something new and original.  So I found a Flat Stanley body on Pintrest that I liked, cropped the head off in Photoshop, and then I sketched my boys' heads in an illustrator program and copied them over onto the bodies.  After I sized them, I printed them out on card-stock and let my boys color them.  Jake, my 5 year old, then refused to give his up, so I let him make another one to keep... little cutie.

I posted on Facebook asking if any of my friends wanted to be the first destination.  I was completely blown away by the responses!!  So off they go into the mail tomorrow!  Can't wait to see where this little journey takes us!

If you would like to follow along on our little Flat Brothers' adventures, come join our Facebook group.

Flat Mama out! (I wish....)


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Homeschool Awesomeness!

Most of you may remember we started homeschooling last November.  I was really nervous and scared and afraid I was going to mess up my kids even worse.

But here we are 6 whole months later!!  And loving it!  Here are some of the highlights since we started:

If I Were Trapped inside a Snowglobe writing activity:

Count down until Christmas charts and elf-themselves:

 How to draw Christmas stuff pictures:

 Giant snowflakes:

 We made Nativity ornaments for family and neighbors for Christmas:

Nephi drew these Minions... LOVE THEM!

Art Class is an all time favorite!!

These Van Gough's are my FAVORITE!!!

Here are our Picasso's: 

For Valentine's Day we did scientific experiments on candy hearts:

 We also started our garden!

World history is also a favorite!!

Here they are making cuneiform tablets from the Mesopotamian times:

Next was ancient Egypt and we mummified dollar store Barbies:

We even made them some death masks... I still can't look at them without laughing myself silly!

Right now we are learning about ancient Greece and Rome.  Just finishing up these Trojan horses:

Between all the fun stuff, we do math, reading, geography, science, grammar, spelling, etc.

When I took my boys out, they were so behind.  I didn't know if I could do teach them.  Who am I to a trained, experienced teacher??  How the heck was I going to do this with a 4 year old, a toddler, and a new baby to boot!!! But I am most pleased to report that not only have my boys caught up with the public school kids, they are already well into the math for the next grade level up!  They are reading on a 6th grade level, and above all, they are HAPPY!

I wish I could take credit for their awesomeness, but I know I can't.  They worked hard all on their own.  I was only there to give them ideas and directions.  I am so proud of them.

We have decided to work through the summer on a shortened schedule.  But we are filling the days with fun stuff.  Our first big summer project is called The 3 Flat Brothers.  We decided to do the whole Flat Stanley project with a homeschool twist.  I took a Flat Stanley I found on pintrest, cropped the head off and sketched each of my boys's faces on them.  I honestly can't believe they turned out!! I will post more on this project tomorrow.... I think it deserves it's own post.

This summer and next school year I will homeschooling my 3 oldest... little Jake is kindergarten age and totally pumped to join in the fun officially.

For those of you who want to know what curriculum I am using, I use many.  I have had to twist and change things to the needs of my boys.  Most of it is now on the computer or iPad.  ADHD kids focus so much better if the stuff is on a screen for some reason.  But we also do lots of hands on things.  For history, I focus on world history and start from the beginning.  I add in some bible teachings and also stories from the Book of Mormon.  One day a week, the boys play a game on the iPad that focuses on geography.  Workbooks didn't work for them in school, and they didn't work for them here.  We did try, but it was a bit of a nightmare.  But that's okay, that's why we are homeschooling!

For those of you who are thinking of taking the plunge and homeschooling, don't be afraid.  If you are even thinking of it, chances are, you'll do just fine.  I love it.  It was the best choice we could have ever made for them!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Introducing #5

I can't believe it's been 5 months since I blogged!!  Bad me!  I'm so sorry!  Christmas was just CRAZY and then Baby numero 5 made his debut in Jan.  With having two babies under 15 months old, homeschooling the Tweedles, and keeping up with my preschooler -- this house has been wild!  I have had very little time to even check my email (20K unread messages, I kid you not!) let alone blog.

However, blogging has been an important part of my life these last 8 years... (Wow!  Can you believe it?!) And I have resolved to jump back on the bandwagon.

I will start with introducing the newest addition.

Moroni was born the first week in Jan, at 7 pounds 11 ounces, 20 inches long.  I went into labor the night before (at 38 weeks and 5 days), and was admitted into the hospital around 2 am.  It was a long labor. He was determined to float around up top, the stinker.  But finally, after about 15 hours, he fell down and I gave birth around 3:30 in the afternoon.

Baby MoMo, as we call him, was born not only with a tongue tie (his tongue was completely attached underneath to his gums), but also a huge inguinal hernia.  For those of you who have no idea what that is, it means the lining that separates his intestines from his reproductive organs wasn't developed properly and his large intestine had fallen down into his scrotum stretching it out and down to his knees.... it was about the size of tennis ball.

For the first two weeks of his life, he was in and out of the hospitals.

Finally, after surgery at Vanderbilt in Nashville, we were able to take home a healthy baby.

He has been a joy to our family!!

And today, he is a very happy and healthy 4 month old!
I still can't wrap my brain around the fact that I am a mom of 5 boys and we are a family of 7!!!  I hardly had time to get used to being a family of 6.... but I wouldn't change one thing about us!!  I love my life, and I love my boys.