September 29, 2018

Shout Out To Vitamix

Growing up our family had a Vitamix blender and we frequently made smoothies. Over the years my love for smoothies has grown and I basically can't live without them. Shortly after graduating from BYU I began working at Blendtec (a rival of Vitamix). I know that both machines have their pros and their cons, but I have to say I am a Vitamix girl through and through. For me it comes back to quality product, company culture and company values.

A few weeks ago Bubba was helping me make a smoothie, this is something we do often together. I turned a around for a split second and he bumped the canister to my Vitamix onto the floor. I turned around to find that the blade attachment had more or less blown out of the canister. I was crushed, my beloved blender was no longer in working condition.

I took a few pictures and emailed the company and explained what happened. They informed me that what happened to my machine was not covered by a warranty and would cost $150 plus shipping and tax to send me a new one. My heart sank when I read this because this is not something we can afford at the moment. I continued reading and the gal who emailed me said that because I was honest about what happened to my blender she would be willing to send me a new canister free of charge. Words cannot adequately express the gratitude I felt in that moment, I silently wept.

About a week and a half later my new canister arrived. Not only did this gal send me a new canister, she sent me a new lid and tamper. She went above and beyond in the customer service world, this is not something that likely would have happened had my blender been a Blendtec. I feel so incredibly blessed and my pregnant body is so grateful to have smoothies again.

September 17, 2018

Beauty Sickness

I'm not really sure how to start this post, but I know that I need to write it. The other night as I was laying in bed, my brain would not shut off. All kinds of thoughts in regards to this post were flooding my brain, it was sort of magical in a way. One thought would flow into another and another and another. It was amazing!

I guess I should start with what brought these thoughts to the surface. I participated in a conference earlier this year where a woman by the name of Renee Engeln spoke, she is a professor at Northwestern University. I was intrigued by the things that Renee was sharing. When I learned that Renee had recently written a book, Beauty Sick, I knew I needed to read it. I checked it out at my local library and devoured it. I read parts of the book out loud to Andy and we were both floored by the things we were reading and learning.

Over the years Renee has conducted A LOT of interviews and done a lot of research studies involving women and girls from varying demographics. Throughout her book she cites research that has been done worldwide regarding women and how they view themselves and other women. What she discovered was that as a culture we have a big problem, we tend to base a woman's worth off of how beautiful she is. Beauty is considered power and is something that is highly sought after. While this may not seem like a bad thing, it is. It leads to depression, disordered eating, bad spending habits, it takes up brain space-- meaning that we focus so much on how we as women look that we aren't thinking about the things that truly matter and are of importance in life.

Think about it for a minute, how often do you find yourself adjusting your clothes? How often do you look in the mirror? How much time do you spend getting ready? How much money do you spend on clothes and makeup? Do you read beauty magazines? Do you obsess over calories? How much time do you spend working out?

Now take a moment and think about what else you could have spent that time and money on?

Are you starting to see the problem? It's called Beauty Sick and it is a real thing.

One of the things I noticed in the interviews that Renee conducted was that every girl and woman she interviewed had a story. They could tell you when they first became aware that it was important to be beautiful and how that affected them. For the majority of the women this awareness happened when they were going through puberty. It was often times brought on by comments they overheard other women making or a comment that was directed specifically to them. This caused me to pause and think about my own life.

Beauty Sick Timeline:

The earliest recognition I have came when I was in Kindergarten, I would have been 5 or 6 years old. I wear glasses for reading and a boy on the bus called me four eyes.

During 4th Grade we moved and I started attending a new school. A group of girls in my class were "The Spice Girls" and they wanted me to bring my athletic clothes to school so another girl could wear them and be Sporty Spice. I wasn't good enough to be in the group.

In 5th Grade I was invited to an end of the school year party/sleepover with the popular girls. They asked each girl present to close her eyes and they would tell her what animal she looked like. Some girls were told that they looked by bunnies or peacocks, I was told that I looked like a possum-- that stung. I quickly learned that those were not the type of girls I wanted to be friends with.

By middle school puberty had started, I was self conscious about my developing lady parts and didn't want people (especially boys) to know that my body was changing.

In P.E. we had to run a lap around the track each day and I was usually the first girl to finish. Some of the older kids would yell at me, "Run anorexic girl run!" I had what we like to call the "Noack Skinny Gene." I was constantly hungry and I would eat all the time. It didn't matter what I ate, I could not gain weight.

High school was brutal in some respects. My brother was a wrestler and they didn't have anyone to wrestle in the lower weight classes, I was small enough that they tried to recruit me-- I declined. Cross country was my sport. One day our coach decided to measure our body fat, he didn't like that I was 18% body fat. I didn't eat junk food for two weeks and dropped down to 12% body fat. Hindsight is 20/20 and I didn't realize that trying to cut body fat isn't necessarily a good thing.

High school also came with lots of comments from those close to me that I needed to dress more feminine, that I looked anorexic and that I would want plastic surgery someday.

I let those hurtful comments roll off my shoulders. I didn't care what anyone thought of me. I was happy just being me.

During my college years I found myself in a bit of a different situation, I found myself living with someone who made it their personal business to point out all the things they thought were wrong with my body. I was told nearly everyday for four months that I was fat and that I had a stomach. This particular individual would proceed to parade around and talk about how sexy they were.

Up to this point I had only ever been called fat once in my life, but after hearing it everyday for months I began to believe it. I would look at myself in the mirror and think, if so and so says I'm fat then I must be fat. I soon found that I was putting myself down and criticizing the way I looked. I wasn't happy and emotionally I wasn't in a very good place.

I began seeing a counselor for other reasons and she suggested that I start doing the things I loved again. I began hiking, writing and exercising again. Zumba became of source of not only physical strength but emotional strength as well.

I distanced myself from the person who put me down all the time.

It's taken several years, but I feel like I am finally starting to feel like the younger version of myself. Carefree and happy. I don't dress to impress, I rarely wear makeup and I don't compare and I am happier this way.

Beauty sickness is a real thing. It is important to remember that each and everyone of us is a child of God. We are created in his image. Yes, we may have flaws and imperfections-- but God doesn't make mistakes. Instead of focusing on the things we don't like about our bodies, we should be grateful for the many wonderful things that our bodies can do. Our bodies truly are a gift from a loving Heavenly Father. He didn't create us to be miserable and critical of each other, he created us to have joy. Let's not only be kind to one another, let's be kind to ourselves.

September 8, 2018

Two Answered Prayers

In life we all have or struggles and our challenges. For the past two years or so, I have faced two challenges that at times were a test of my patience and sanity. Let's start at the beginning.

Shortly after we purchased our home, we could hear a lot of hammering going on late at night next door. We weren't sure what our neighbors were up to. We soon learned that they had built an unpermitted bedroom in their garage (this is against city code). Next thing we knew a troubled teenage boy moved into said room, then his girlfriend moved in and his friends began to come and go at all hours of the night. These minors would smoke weed outside our bedroom window and Bubba's window and wake us all up, it was really annoying and we didn't know what to do about it.

Fast forward to earlier this summer. My neighbor stopped me one day to tell me that she and her fiance had broken up (the troubled teenage boy was his). She had basically told him that she didn't want the girlfriend living in the garage and that she wanted him to lay the law down with his son, he didn't do it so she broke off the engagement. About this same time she lost her job. She wasn't sure if she was going to sell the house (it had nearly doubled in value), rent the house or stay in the house.

She decided to rent the house. She said she picked out a couple that she thought was close to Andy and I in age. She said they had a little girl around Bubba's age.

The first prayer that was answered was that we were able to go outside in our yard and not smell weed, we were no longer being woken up at night, the unpermitted room in the garage that had the potential to burn our house down was torn down and we no longer had to worry about teens breaking into our house to find money for weed.

Now to the second prayer.

Since we purchased our home I have made friends, but most of the people I am friends with are older than me and in different phases and stages of life. I have longed and cried and even pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me to become friends with someone who was in a similar phase of life as me-- pregnancy hormones have made these feelings of loneliness all the more intense. Someone who was religious, not necessarily LDS. And someone who would be able to go and do things on a whim without having to have it planned days in advance.

About a month ago my second prayer was answered. My new neighbor is a year old than me, her daughter is a month older than Sawyer. She is Christian and we have a lot of similar views on parenting and living a healthy lifestyle. She too has struggled to make friends with people who are in our same phase of life and hold the same beliefs that we do. We talk and go walking nearly everyday and our kiddos love to play at each other's houses.

I feel so truly blessed that a loving Father in Heaven has answered not only one of my prayers, but two. I feel so incredibly loved and blessed. A heavy weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. The answers may not always come according to our timetable or in the way that we want them to, but they will come in the way that he sees fit.

September 4, 2018

A Visit From My Sister & A Weekend Of Canning

I talk to my sister Sadie quite often, she is one of my best friends. Earlier this week she called and said, "I know you guys are going to be working on projects, but I was wondering if I could come down." I jumped at the chance to see my sister. I know, I've been getting lucky in the family visiting department lately.

I had previously made plans with my neighbor Tiffany to teach her how to can tomatoes on Saturday. Friday morning we loaded Bubba and his friend Ella into the car and headed out to my favorite farms. We came home with an entire trunk full of produce (150+ pounds of tomatoes, peaches, melons, corn, etc), the trunk was so full that I had to squeeze a box of peaches in between the two car seats in the back seat.

Saturday morning my sister arrived, Tiffany came over and we got to work canning. It was a lot of work and it took us the entire day, but we all had a great time. When it was all said and down we canned 70 quarts of tomatoes. Sadie and Tiffany were surprised by how easy it is to can tomatoes. They were both really proud of their work and are looking forward to using their tomatoes this winter.

Andy, Sadie and I took turns watching and entertaining Bubba while the canning took place. He did surprising well, not having someone play with him 24/7. Andy was even able to sneak some pressure washing in.

A clown outfit by Dad as we like to call it. Bubba loves to put things in the trash! Climbing is a close second.

I'm gonna be a cowboy someday!

Do you like my fishing pole? Check out the tan line on my feet.

Last summer we started pressure washing and staining our fence, we got half of it done but the other half still needs to be finished. I asked Andy if he could try and finish the fence before the baby comes, and he said yes. Here's hoping the weather holds out long enough for us to get it done. The projects that come with being homeowners are never ending.

On Sunday we went to church and Sadie entertained herself while we were gone. After church we decided that it would be fun to try walking on a new trail, Fall Creek. The trail said it was bike friendly so we opted to bring the stroller instead of the backpack-- bad move. We quickly learned that this trail was not paved and not bike friendly unless you were on a mountain bike. Andy was awesome though and he pushed Bubba as far as he felt he could. Bubba loved off roading in his stroller. We will definitely be heading back to this trail in the future, next time we will bring the backpack instead of the stroller.

Father & Son.

After our walk Bubba and Andy decided it would be fun to throw rocks off of the bridge and into the river, they both loved it!

Sadie and I stayed up late talking, sister bonding time.

Sadie & I making the face.

The next morning she left really early, she wanted to beat the Labor Day Weekend traffic on the way home.

Andy finished pressure washing the fence. We bagged up the last of the frozen blueberries, we froze the peaches, I shredded and froze all of our zucchini and canned two more batches of salsa. It was a busy day for us. We both felt though that we are making progress and that is a good feeling.