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Monday, March 31, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 40

I got up and really worked those weights this morning.  Our handweights only go up to 20 pounds, and that has gotten too light.  I will go shopping tomorrow for 25 pounders.  It was the most amazing thing, as I was focusing so hard (with my classical music urging me on -- that adds so much to my workout!) the answers to some concerns came so clearly in my head, as full sentences! It was SO encouraging ... and an answer to prayer that came at such a surprising time. 

Our wonderful Bishop and his wife had us over for dinner to see Cooper's missionary pictures from Brazil, and be with us before Cooper leaves on Friday.  She is a true health cook, and had fixed a delicious dinner with quinoa, chicken, and her own Ezekiel bread rolls with sprouted wheat.  She had a fabulous kale salad with raspberries, and She'd even made a dessert that I had a small taste of made with some grains, and a bit of powdered honey ... I'm not one to spend much time cooking, but her meal tonight was an inspiration.

I have a new book I'm so excited about:  "Joseph Smith and Natural Foods" by John Heinerman.  So many things have changed in 150+ years of course, but so many have NOT, and I'm excited to learn and share!

The scale is down another small notch or two, and the slacks that I was so tickled to wear to the Relief Society party two weeks, are VERY comfortable now.  A lovely day -- we will miss Cooper so much when he leaves the end of the week for BYU-I but it's a bigger thrill to watch your kids grow up and find their own paths :0) 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 39

Wrapping up the weekend.  I have got to get it through my head that if I want to exercise 6 days a week, I MUST get up early enough on Saturday to do that.  Sunday is definitely my day off from exercising.  A lovely, lovely Sunday at Church, then with Cooper's last Sunday with us.  We fixed his favorite baked chicken, sugar-free jello, and a big green salad.  Mashed potatoes and rolls for those who wanted them.  Yummy, but more than that -- yummy to the heart and spirit to just all be together before he leaves the end of the week.

It's Cooper's last week at home before heading off to Utah/Idaho and school.  There have been so many lovely invitations for us, and people we've invited as well.  One almost every day/night this week, and will be throughout this week too.

Last night we had a beautiful couple -- the wife who grew up in Brazil and the husband who went on his LDS mission to Brazil.  They met at BYU in the early 80's.  They are about our age, with grown children.  So talented and accomplished in their professions.  She brought a popular Brazailian bean and meat dish (fasjeida or something like that LOL) that is served over rice.  It was easy to make that work in the plan. I just had small servings of the rice and the lean beef.   We also had the popular soda that they drink constantly in Brazil called "Guarana" ... but after tasting it when Cooper first got home, I am back to  just water.  (Soda has not been a priority for me for many years)

Dessert was a chocolate Texas cake (Cooper's favorite), but we have become so comfortable saying, "Dessert and fruit" ... so everybody had whatever they wanted.  Cake or fresh strawberries and oranges.  It gets easier and easier and easier to just quietly pass, and at this point, nobody even really says a thing or thinks a thing when both Bob and I just have the fruit, or a little more salad from dinner.

I am ready to start the week with WORKING OUT HARD every day -- especially since there are special dinners Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with dear friends and family that mean the world to us.

The days of the challenge are clicking on by, and I know that the overall goal of the extended 10 (or 12 week as I am doing) challenge is to create a lifestyle.

Based on the ease of how easy it was to choose much smaller portions for our special meal last night, and not feel obligated to eat the chocolate cake or drink the soda with everyone .... I'm at peace, and not feeling deprived in any way.

Tonight I'm grateful for the wise choices I've made for many years that have laid a pretty good foundation for really upping it a notch these past several months.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 38

About the Protein Drinks:  Pumpkin pie anyone????

Gotta be honest.  I'm not really one for too much more than "real food" for weight management. I think it goes back to a crazy high school (oh, it's been a challenge all my life) program in one of my Mom's womens' magazine where they promised an unbelievable amount of weight loss on a crazy concoction of raw eggs, orange juice and vegetable oil.  One or two days did me for LIFE on weird drinks.

BUT -- I think things have come a long way since then, and I've been using a protein powder from Melaleuca where we are members for a long time.

Body For Life strongly recommends their protein drink for 2 or even 3 of the 6 mini-meals. Read further and it will say that it is optional, but all of those who were really successful on the plan credit the protein drinks for much of their success.

SO -- I've been doing the drink faithfully a couple of times a day for nearly every day of the program.  I like the simplicity.  I like feeling like I'm drinking a milkshake.  I don't plan on doing this for the rest of my life, but I WILL do it 'til the end of the challenge.  I don't get hungry with them.  Feel very satisfied.

Almost every morning I make a delicious green smoothie with the protein powder (chocolate or vanilla), plus 1/4 cup of tea concentrate, some flax seeds and a whole serving of baby spinach leaves -- about 4 cups.  I add some Truvia.  The spinach really has no flavor when mixed like this, it just adds VOLUME and BULK, which are terrific in my books.  It tastes wonderful with either chocolate or vanilla.

IMPORTANT:  I always use 1/2 cup of crushed ice and cold water from the refrigerator dispenser. This is what makes it COLD & THICK.  If it is not enough liquid to process in the blender, I add some more cold water and use a wooden spoon to finish processing it

But this morning I read about a recipe for a pumpkin pie protein shake, and couldn't wait to try it.  Oh, my goodness!  I feel like it's Thanksgiving and I'm scraping the bowl of the pumpkin pie filling. SO GOOD!  Reminds me of the time or two when I've splurged when McDonald's and other places have a pumpkin milkshake for about 9,000 calories. But this is a nutritious MEAL!

Use the vanilla protein powder.  Add 1/4 to 1/4 scoop of canned pumpkin, a bit of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to taste.  Truvia (my go-to sweetener) and blend.  DELICIOUS!  It tastes just like pumpkin pie filling before it is baked.

This is definitely a repeat recipe, and inspires me to try some other ways to super-charge both the nutrition and the satisfaction of the protein drinks.


Friday, March 28, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 37

Although the dates on the calendar don't match up -- with the week I didn't record things with all the family, I truly am at DAY 37 in my success journal. It's a slow success -- got to admit.  But there's no denying the changes in how my clothing fits, the strength and intensity increasing in my workouts, etc.  The best feeling of all is just DOING it every day.

There are several days to catch up on.  I always have so much going on in my head it's hard to know where to start.

I wrote the Dear Glenn Beck article for Meridian a week ago.  My heart really goes out to him, and so MANY people I know, even very, very close friends, who can no longer eat normally with everyone else.  Their bodies just don't process food normally. They come to social things, but "not to eat" as my friend and the mother of two children with food difficulties, told me. What a bummer!  What a lifestyle change that NOBODY should have to embrace  ....

One of the comments at the end of the article said "I am really getting quite sick and tired of all the silly hype about avoiding sugar. When you get older things continue to go wonky. So be it."  Others have said similar things to me ... and that's just fine.  Everybody sure gets to do what they want to do!  Even my own grown sons drink more soda than I'm happy about.  But that's their deal and they are fabulous regardless!

This is my choice -- and as I watch these same wonderful sons of mine have one or 2 cookies, or a little candy, and then forget that it's there -- that's when I KNOW that they operate on a different mentality than mine.  I'm so grateful.  YAY for them!  YAY for anyone who can eat and enjoy sweets and treats without it taking over the evening, or the good time. 

Just because I've learned for me (and me only) that often eating sugar opens the door to more-more-more-more-more doesn't mean it's that way for all.  But for too many times through too many years  I've lost my freedom for an extended period of time -- sometimes for a few hours or a day or so, others for extended weeks or months,doesn't mean it works that way for everyone else. 

I'm so glad for them!!! And so glad that I'm at last finding my way.

General Conference is next week.  That means it's just over 6 months since I began this life-changing journey.  One of the blogs was even about looking forward to April Conference, and that I would have made it through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. And it's true!  I have.

It's such a relief ... on a daily basis.  To have put sugar in a quiet place that doesn't shout at me anymore.  I know too well it doesn't stay there without diligence and awareness ... but I know too, that I CAN and I AM managing just fine.

No drama.  I'm moving on to more important things in life.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

12-Week Challenge Days 35-36

Shopping With Kelly

I have the cutest 20 year old daughter.  She is the prettiest girl, petite in height at about 5'3" ... which is about 4" more than her Mom has. Thank goodness for that.  Like me, she really watches her weight, and we are both envious of our friends who eat all they want without gaining an ounce.  Not so for us!  Never has been, never will be.  For both of us, it was at about age 12 when it becameVERY clear that weight management would be part of our lives, although it's not that way for her sister or her brothers.  C'est la vie! There are far worse things to have to deal with in this old life.

She is a student in Rexburg Idaho. Last Mother's Day (Spring 2013) I went out to be with her and other family members.  We went shopping at one of the amazing 2nd hand thrift stores that are HUGE and FUN.  Though neither of us are really "overweight" it was distressing how the clothing fit!  Since we are both so short, it is VERY difficult to find dresses that work.  If it fits in the shoulders, it's too long in the waist.  If it fits in the waist, it's too small elsewhere ... 5-10-15 pounds would have made a big difference, and we both knew it.

This particular trip was especially disappointing.  Depressing, actually.  I don't think either of us bought anything new to wear ... I left with some cute placemats and dishes. But what I really needed was something fun and new to wear to Church, or on a date with my handsome husband.

Kind of like cable TV -- how can there be SO many shows and not something good to watch?  How can there be SO many items of clothing, and NOTHING that fits or looks cute? So FRUSTRATING!  It seems so unfair that men can just go buy slacks and shirts.  But for women.  OH, the variables in our figures that make finding a great outfit so difficult. 

And when you're less than 5 feet tall, it's impossible to hide a single pound.  In addition, as I have aged, my shape has REALLY changed too.  What a bummer to watch everything literally drop and spread over the past several years. I am encouraged to find that working out over the past 4-5 weeks with weights is very slowly but very surely making a difference in re-shaping my body and how clothes fit. 
For both Kelly and I, one of our goals is to re-do that shopping trip when we are together later this summer for our big Family Reunion the end of July.  We're both EXERCISING and BODY FOR LIFING every day with a conscious goal of going to that SAME STORE and being able to put on things that look a whole lot better based on our dedication to strengthening our bodies.

You know, it's bothered me for a long time that I would rather go buy something for my house, or a new book, or something for my kids or grandkids as a fun little treat for myself, rather than something new for me to wear.  I want to be excited about shopping for ME and feeling like I look MY best -- even if I am turning 60.  Make that ESPECIALLY since I am turning 60!

It's just been SO discouraging for such a long time to find anything other than sweater sets and loose fitting pants and skirts (usually black) that is flattering. 

I have every intention of changing that with Body For Life, losing 5-10 pounds, and reshaping what God has very graciously given me.  I have every intention of seriously upgrading my style!  I don't want to wear sweater sets and black slacks/skirts for the rest of my life!

While this is not the Number 1 priority for doing Body For Life, as I think about it, life has been easiest and happiest at the times when I could find attractive, stylish things that fit without it being a production.

Sign me up.  I am in this for the duration, and the 12 weeks are going to be the foundation of a very sound personal investment on every level.

It all feels mighty good to me and I'm committed!

Monday, March 17, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 32-34

Life has settled down and we had a lovely weekend.  Just Cooper at home, for another 3 weeks, then it will be just Bob and me.

I had another fall on Saturday morning.  Not serious, but it was an eye-opener.  I left the house in the early morning darkness to take friends to the airport.  I didn't turn on the front porch light, but missed a step on our brick front porch.  All of a sudden - just falling.  Last summer we put a pretty railing on the porch, not really for support but curb appeal. But was  I ever grateful for that railing!

It was a renewed commitment to do my best with strengthening my body and agility for ME, but to also know that lots of things are out of our own control.  (And for heaven's sake, to turn on the porch light!)  I know a lady who missed a step from the kitchen to the garage one morning while rushing to leave for work.  She ended up breaking BOTH ankles and was out of commission for months.  Her weight played a part in it, and you better believe it was very difficult for her to manage her weight having to stay at home and off BOTH feet for that extended time of healing.

Yesterday, with the snow forecast, it seemed like we should bake a treat, some kind of a healthy "something" -- but we sort of never got around to it.  A cup of sugar-free hot chocolate more than did the trick later in the evening.  It continues to be a surprise and a relief that I don't need to overeat one day a week as I used to.  Even with the Body For Life program that allows a day off that is unmonitored.

It's been 2 weeks, so I measured again this morning and am down fractions of inches that add up to about 2-3 inches since last time I measured.  Not gonna set any records, but I'm the tortoise not the hare this time! 

No doubt about it, my clothing is definitely roomier and more comfortable.  Staying put at about 5 pounds lost since starting 5 weeks ago. I am encouraged about all of it, but most by the steadiness of spirit I am feeling in making the meal pattern and foods plus the exercising a  livable lifestyle/habit. 

I am thinking of it all as a TIME INVESTMENT that will pay off for the rest of my life.  Who doesn't have 10-12 weeks to do that?  And what better time than now.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 29-31

The party's over ... (I'm hearing the old tune that Nat King Cole sang in my head ... ) all the family and company have gone home.  My 92 year old Mother who lived with us for the past year and a half has moved to my sister's in Texas.  It has felt like 78 RPM (for those who remember the old record players) for longer than I care to even THINK about. 

The time has FINALLY come when I can do more for myself and for my 10-in-10 challenge buddies!  It's time to schedule some conference calls, start sending out a short message each day, etc.  YAY! 

Throughout the past week, with all the company and special happenings, I have not followed the B4L (Body for Life) 6-meals exactly, but generally, and this morning the scale was down another little bit. Just over five pounds in 5 weeks.  I exercised some, but not every day, and may put my finish date one week later with the big week that it was ... but I didn't bail on it at all, and it was SO fun to be trimmer and more energetic for this special family time!  To wear a size smaller ... and to forget about myself as we celebrated Cooper's return from Brazil together.

I'm well aware that this may seem like "nothing" to most of the world, but for an under 5 footer turning 60 in a couple of months, with a slowing metabolism, this is AMAZING!   I have tried for at least eight (maybe ten?) years to lose these 5-10 pounds. Nothing seemed to make a difference at all.  I am CONVINCED it is the Body for Life strategy of 6 small mini-meals each day, a little more protein and alternating the aerobics with the strength training/weight lifting.

With things settled down, I am committing to the Youthin as well.  I haved used it in the past, but not for more than a few days or a week at a time.  I have printed out all my own "Let's Do It!" handouts, and will do the Youthin through the end of my 12 week challenge.  What I loved about Youthin in the past was the nice energy flow AND that my skin looked brighter and younger. I'm excited to see how it goes for using it for the next 7-8 weeks!

I have a hard time remembering to take the 3 o'clock fat burner and capsule, so I've set the alarm on my cell phone as a reminder.

ANOTHER BIG THRILL:  For the monthly ladies night at Church last night, I wore a pair of fitted slacks that, like the dress last Sunday, I'd purchased a couple of years ago.  They were snug when I bought them (why do we even buy things that are too small?)  and I never wore them, but they were too cute (and too expensive) to just clear out of the closet and give away.

It felt so fun to wear them last night, with a cute top/sweater that I hadn't even realized matched them.
HOORAY!  I put them on as a lark, then found the top, and they were both  extremely comfortable all night! 

SO! It's five weeks into the challenge for me, and has already paid off in lovely ways.  I don't know that anybody else notices or cares, but it's not about THEM. It's about ME.  And I know how I can concentrate on others when I feel good about myself.

MORE THAN ANYTHING ... it's given me a bright and shining window to look forward to.  Definitely more energy and clarity.  And an improved VISION of what I'm all about  What if it turns out that my favorite exercise (lifting weights) is one I can do on my own terms on my own schedule at my own house, and that it results in stronger BONES and looking/feeling a whole lot better?

I'm thrilled to have a fun group with me as well, and committed to being as much of a support to them as they will let me be through daily messages and phone calls a couple of times a week.

Life is good :0)  Body for LIFE!

Monday, March 10, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 26-28

As I write this on Monday Morning, I am starting WEEK 5 of my 12 week challenge.  So much happened last week between snowstorms, tea business matters, and most of all the arrival of our son Cooper from his mission!  Our daughters from Utah and Idaho arrived, along with 2 granddaughters, a son and daughter-in-law from Texas, and other family and friends that are "more family than family" ... through it all I could have eaten (and in the past have) anything and everything that came my with all the hub-bub. Double and triple portions in a "celebration" mode/excuse. But I did not.

And it was just fine.  How far I have come since last fall with managing sugar!

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART:  Cooper and the great, (and extremely fun!) blessings of all our kids being together for the first time in three and a half years.  "Families can be together forever" felt very, very real this weekend, and I will never forget the great spirit of it all!  I wish I had a picture to post here, and will get them from my daughter-in-law today to post ASAP.

As I got up yesterday (Sunday) morning at 5.AM (so early for Cooper's report to the Stake President and his group) ... I thought "It is all such a special -- how I wish I had something cute and new to wear!"  I thought of a dress I had purchased a couple of years ago for "inspiration"  -- more fitted than I usually wear, and definitely a size or 2 to small.   I had not even put it on after squeezing into at the store, and it has just been hanging there for 2 years!

I PUT IT ON -- and it fit!  Just comfortably and wonderfully!  It was so worth every effort of the past five weeks to have that little dress and sweater.  I wore it from 6 AM until about 10:30 PM, when every last guest (we figured 75-100 church friends and neighbors) who came to our welcome home party last night for Cooper.  That little fitted dress was COMFORTABLE ALL DAY!

Far more important was Cooper, his address in Church, our family, dear friends/neighbors and the great spirit and celebration of the day, but feeling good in that dress was a delightful bonus that I will not forget!


FRIDAY-SATURDAY BEACH TRIP: We went for a quick overnight to the beach, mostly for our favorite-in-the-world pizza and fun clothes shopping for Cooper at the outlets, and a chance to all be together in the car for several hours up and back.  I found that 1 piece of pizza was more than enough, and a lot of salad with a little dressing on the side.

THE FAMILY DINNERS: We returned late Saturday, for our oldest son and daughter-in-law from Texas who had just arrived. We served an old family favorite:  make-your-own sub, and tomato soup.  I just forfeited the bread, and had a dandy little meal.  Once again, no one REALLY cares what you eat.  I can eat to suit myself!

ON Sunday we had lasagna (the frozen ones from Costco that everyone loves, especially the kids), and I had a small piece, but will do better on that one next time, as I've found I really don't care for it even all that much. But still fun.

THE WECOME HOME PARTY:  Of course we had the Costco cake, that in the past has been a huge problem ... but I didn't have any -- and didn't even care.  There's some leftover, but I know it won't be the problem it was in the past.  We baked a whole 6-7 dozen of the Nestles chocolate chip cookies from the tub -- where I used to eat the cookie dough.  But somehow they all got baked, served and were gone -- and I didn't have one.  I did have a few chips. .... People brought rich cookies, lemon bars, etc.  Those sugary things came and went without me even tasting.

We served WATER to drink, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies as well.  And that was that!

The FUN of all those friends, guests and family far surpassed any thing we served, and the day is one I will treasure for eternities. 

I will post a picture later today or tomorrow. 

My FAVORITE people in the world are my husband, grown children and the beautiful families they are building.  I will do WHATEVER it takes to spend every possible moment with them and do whatever I can to build, strengthen and add to their lives and  joy so that our goal of being a forever family will continue be a great desire for all of us ... What a difference it makes to be at a greater sense of peace with my health and body.  I can forget myself and just enjoy them, and be there for them in the ways that matter most.
FOR FUN:  A dandy new outfit never hurts ...  and a desire to be IN the pictures rather than just TAKE them is a gift all by itself!

Friday, March 7, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 23-25

Oh, my goodness, what a FUN roller coaster ride this week. Our missionary son Cooper (serveing in Santa Maria Brazil since March of 2012) arrived just two days ago! Our daughters from Utah and Idaho arrived later that afternoon with our 2 little granddaughters.  We spent the day driving in the car to both airports, (BWI and DULLES) Emily and her little girls were a surprise for all, so it was just a blast.

Cooper is amazing and wonderful!  Our daughter in law Cydney made the loveliest video that I am sharing here.

That meal at the end?  Chipotle.  And me?  The burrito bowl -- without cheese, without sour cream, without guacamole, without a lot of things but mostly veggies, a little rice and little beans, and it tasted fabulous.  Next time I'll have the put half in another bowl to take home.  All OK.

We made the traditional family Texas Cake to welcome home (hello 3 sticks of margarine ... and me nibbling half of it to death for years,) but now it's Friday. That cake has come and gone without a blip on my screen.  What a joy and a relief.

As far as exercise, my weight training stuff is in the downstairs family room, where everybody is sleeping.  No room there, so I've turned to the old stair-stepping machine in the garage.  Cold, yes.  But a BETTER aerobics workout.  I've been enjoying high stepping on the trampoline, but this is working the old legs and heart even better.  I won't be giving it up.

The most important thing is my darling FAMILY.  All together for the first time in nearly four years, and the time together is just so rewarding for parents.  To feel so good physically is a tremendous blessing as well, as the demands on our time the past 2 weeks have been absolutely unreal.

YAY 12-Week Challenge!   YAY 5 pounds down!  Life has never been sweeter ... without sugar.

There are nearly 75 people getting launched on the challenge, and starting MOnday, I'll be sending daily messages.

WELCOME ALL!  Enjoy this fun video of us at the airport on Wednesday ....

We're off to a fun overnight at a favorite beach place, and his homecoming is on SUNDAY MORNING.  Don't know if I'll have time to blog before Sunday night or Monday morning, but I'm IN THERE, and eating right ... for every right reason.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 18-22

Whew - so much has happened since the last post, I hardly know where to start.

MOST EXCITING:  As I prepared the lists for the 10-in-10 Challenge, there are over 50 participants!  Woo-hoo for all!  I'm tickled to have powerful messages to share every day, starting tomorrow.  But today is my own update:

I was all set to post on Thursday, my own Day 19 of Body For Life, when the power went out and was gone for 5 hours.  It surely made me grateful to live in the USA where this is an exception.  It was our night to finish getting ready to take Mom to Texas the next day, so instead we visited with neighbors (coming to bid her good-bye) by candlelight -- how they have loved her!  Guess which was more fun?!  Packing or visiting???  One brought cookies, and she said, "I know you won't eat these, but maybe your Mom will ..."  It's kinda fun to know that's my reputation!  People seeing me as a healthy, disciplined eater who doesn't do cookies.

In any event, we got up at 4:30 the next morning (power came on at midnight) and it all got done before I went to my little day job.  I am so GRATEFUL for the 6 mini-meals. It has made a huge difference mentally to know that I can eat that much.  The scale is doing great.  For me.  Others, I know, wouldn't be thrilled with this nearly 4 pound loss as I am for this many days on the program,  But these are pounds that haven't budged in YEARS (as in 5+ years) so I'm thrilled.  It gives me hope that I really CAN get down, and into clothes that I've given up on.

I wore my jeans on the plane, and they were COMFORTABLE the whole time!  These are ones that I put away last Spring, as they were way too tight.  By the end of the sugar-free cravings month of October, they were wearable, and now they are just comfortable.  Happy times.

We stayed with our married kids in Austin, Texas, who live just 20 minutes from my sister where Mom now is.  Justin & Brooke, and their 6 darling little kids, ages 10-2. 

In the past, I've just eaten whatever while we've been there -- lots of kids stuff, cereal, chips, etc.  But not this time.  Just the fruits and veggies that Brooke always has.  I passed up with no problem the big fresh doughnuts that were there at the end of the kids' community basketball games.  Then neighbors brought over a huge plate of chocolate iced cookies, that were no problem to just leave ... all in all. 
What a CHANGE from past trips where I just ATE the whole time.

I did have a FALL:  I went to the playground with Luke (nearly 2) and Lexie (4 1/2) during one of the basketball games when the little ones were bored.  The play set was wet from an early morning rain, and I just plain missed a step that I didn't see.  Wow.  I fell on all fours, landing hard on one hand, but was just fine.  Such a wake-up call, however, that this is what my efforts to strengthen myself are all about.  And it will be WORTH it to do whatever I can.

I did miss my 6 mini-meals, my protein and more veggies that I'm used to when on my own.

I know I've expressed it before, but I can't get over that at the end of this VERY stressful stretch of several months with more challenges than this blog is about -- I'm at a lower weight than I've been at for years and so on top of my health game, so much more interested in healthy eating and cooking, so able to just ignore the sweets and treats that have dominated my life -- especially during stressful times.

The energy that comes from this renewed focus and self-management is really a mood lifter!

Taking on the Body For Life challenge is helping me address the remaining carbs cravings, and helping me to fill them with complex carbs (fruit and whole wheat) in such a better way.  (I said good-by to the "C"s as in candy, cake, cookies, cream frostings, ice-cream, etc. in October, but really ate more bread than I knew was wise.)

Now I'm taking that on too, and it just feels SO good!

Now we're busy getting ready for COOPER to come home tomorrow!  Outside is a frozen winter landscape ... and it's been a lot of work to get our house back to normal -- moving Mom's hospital bed, couch, etc. to storage.  Getting the dining room table out of storage, etc., etc.  We love her with a all our hearts and will do ANYTHING for her ... but it makes me more determined than ever to not have my kids need to do this much for me.  Anything I can do to address my own needs is my personal choice and priority for my later years!

She was just darling as she watched the preparations for the trip, but feels so sad, knowing how much is required to care for her in our homes.

We've turned the page for a new chapter now, as Cooper comes home for a short stay before heading off to BYU-I.

This is our WEEK! With Cooper's return, my daughers and granddaughters coming from Utah and Idaho, Spencer & Cydney here, and Brooke & Justin also coming!  ALLL my children... how I love them all and want the best for each of them!  And for ME not to EVER be a burden on them!