Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beware: Nostalgia can lead to Chagrin

Since today is mine and Dan's 14th anniversary, I figured this would be a good time to post these pictures of Lily. When we were at my Mom's house a couple weeks ago I came across my wedding dress in one of the closets. I was feeling nostalgic or sentimental or at least not in a hurry to get to the next thing, so I asked Lily if she wanted to try the dress on. Her eyes got really big and she said, "Really?"

She had a great time all dressed up and posing like a little bride.

Such a little beauty!

So, you know I've been working out and dieting, right? Well, feeling a little sassy, I decided to try on my wedding dress and see how close I was to fitting into it. I pulled the dress over my legs and promptly hit a road block called hips. "Ooh, this is gonna be a tight squeeze." So I wiggle and writhe until the dress barely clears my butt when I hear a horrible sound. "Rrrrrriiiiiippp." Yup, I tore the seam just below the zipper.

Moral of the story? Don't even bother pulling the dress out of the bag until you're within 10 pounds.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Healthy Wife, Happy Life

Last week I joined 4 of the Queen Vee's daughters/daughters-in-law in a health challenge via the blog Healthy Wife Happy Life. I wanted to post a duplicate of my "about me" post here on my regular blog.

Hi, My name is Sue and I wear a Girdle

I am the 34-year-old mother of 3 and I live in rural Wyoming. I'm a little late joining the challenge; I wasn't sure I was willing to commit to counting calories. But after 8 weeks of exercising several times a week and seeing no results, something needs to change.

I met Audrey's husband Chris when we were teenage Army Brats living in Heidelberg, Germany. Audrey and I mostly just know each other online, but I'm hoping to crash the Carlson family reunion this summer and hang out with all the Carlson women!

My latest love affair with the girdle actually began with the Carlsons. I attended their Uncle Kirk's funeral at the end of September 2009 and it was the first time I had seen them in several years. I had a 9-month-old baby and was feeling super chubby. I didn't have anything nice to wear that didn't make me feel like a heifer (Audrey, totally hearin' you on the lack of Sunday wardrobe), so I spent two hours at my sister-in-law's house trying to find something suitable to wear. Everything I tried on showed the giant gut, which, when you view it in profile without sucking it in, sticks out further than my boobs. Not cool. Finally my SIL suggested I try a girdle. It's one of those corset types that would double as sexy lingerie if I actually had the bod for it. But I digress.

Here I am with Melissa, Victoria, Mindy and Samantha 5 months ago:

This is me just a couple weeks ago at my daughter's baptism (Audrey, I think Lily and Jonah are less than a week apart). I stopped highlighting my hair because it was a luxury I couldn't afford to keep up, but I'm thinking my natural dark brown actually makes me look fatter.

In January I decided it was time to get serious about losing the baby fat so I started exercising diligently. The sad, sad news is that exercise alone is just not enough at my age. A true tragedy. Over the last couple of weeks I have just tried to control my portion size and eat fewer treats, but that hasn't done much for me. So now I am committing to the tedious task of keeping a food journal and counting calories.

I am 5'5" and 158 pounds. After consulting the MyPyramid website I determined that my recommended calorie intake is 2000. I was pretty stoked and thought, "That's a ton, I can totally do that." Yeah, well, after adding up yesterday's calories (when I wasn't committed to this challenge) I discovered that I had eaten over 2700 calories. And I had even been somewhat "careful" yesterday. Today I have already surpassed 1200, it's only 4:00pm and I'm STARVING! This is going to suck more than I thought. Did you know that one measly turkey and provolone sandwich (on multi-grain bread, thank you very much) with mayo is 592 calories? Holy crap, that's almost a 3rd of my daily recommened intake. What a bummer! I expected the high calorie counts for things like brownies (which I made on Sunday and are now taunting me from the kitchen) at 170 calories for a 2" square, and frosted sugar cookies (my weakness) at about 200 calories a pop. But a sandwich and grapes for lunch hit over 700 calories? Ugh. This is gonna be hard.

But having had this calorie revelation, I'm now realizing why I haven't lost any weight. Like Sam said in a previous post, I guess it's not OK to eat all day, every day. And like Melissa mentioned, age is slowing down our metabolism so we really have to work a lot harder than we did in the glory days.
Ladies, let's kick this fat to the curb! My goal is to go from a size 12 to a size 8. Not in 3 weeks, of course, but I'd like to at least not have my jeans feel painted on when they're fresh out of the dryer. That would be a good start for 3 weeks.


So, after one week of the challenge I am feeling SO much better about my level of health. Turns out counting calories is really the secret to losing weight. I've always tried to convince myself that exercise was enough because I just didn't want to watch what I ate. I forgot to weigh myself before breakfast this morning, but I have lost at least 3 pounds in the last week by staying below 2000 calories. In 8 weeks of exercise I fluctuated up and down only a pound and a half. The first day of calorie counting felt like sheer torture, but after a week, it is so much easier to eat healthy! For the first time in a long time, I'm not just eating because I have a taste craving or because it's simply an activity to engage in. I feel hungry again, a sensation I'd become mostly unfamiliar with in the last couple of years. I'm making much better food choices and I've become aware of what a bad example I've been setting for my children. I let them eat WAY too much candy; instead of a special treat, it's an everyday expectation. They've been eating more fruits, veggies and dairy now that I have it in the house.

In addition to losing 3 pounds, I got my haircut and that always makes me feel like a new woman.

(Thanks, Monica, for taking my picture after the haircut!)

I'm looking forward to week 2 of the challenge. If you're so inclined, PLEASE join us! Just leave a comment on one of the recent posts here and Audrey will hook you up. It helps so much to have this community of friends working toward a common goal and supporting one another.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cowgirl #2 in the making

Things are starting to thaw around here. But don't mistake that for Spring, I'm certain there's more Winter waiting around the corner to burst our bubble.

With the thaw comes plenty of mud and thoughts of summer horseback riding. Dan's been thinking about who's going to ride what horse this summer, and he decided that for Lily to improve as a rider she needs to move up in horse. Apache is a great kids horse and ideal for learning to ride on, but for competing in barrel racing and learning to be a better rider on the ranch (accelerating and turning a lot and being able to "cut" cows to separate them), Lily needs to advance to the next level. Dan says she needs to get an "intermediate" horse that's better than Apache but not quite as good as a 4H quality horse because we can't afford one of those right now. I'm not sure at this point what an "intermediate" horse is, but Dan is on the lookout.

We've always planned for Amelia to inherit Apache when Lily outgrew him, but Amelia's only 3 and not quite ready to ride Apache. So Dan put the word out that he was looking for an older, gentle horse that he could mostly just lead around. A buddy of his from Idaho, who Brian does a lot of horse trading with, said he had a 20-year-old horse that he mostly used for pack trips. Because of the horse's age, he couldn't really sell him for much of anything and he didn't want to pay to feed him anymore, so he just gave the horse to us. The horse's name is Mouse and we'll share him with the Nates. He is an awesome little horse and perfect for getting kids used to being in the saddle. As you will see from the pictures, Mouse gets his name from his large stature.

On Saturday morning Dan took the girls riding.

Amelia was nothing short of giddy at the opportunity to ride a horse all by herself. Equipped with her bike helmet she was all ready to ride Mouse with Daddy guiding them with the lead rope.

Dan and the girls did a little "ride-by" so I could take their picture as they headed around the block to the dirt road that runs along the railroad tracks.

This abandoned trailer sits across from our dirt (mud) driveway and although it's an eyesore, it faces east and has the one advantage of reflecting nice warm light into our back door window early on summer mornings. We keep hoping the owners will donate the trailer to the fire department so they can burn it down in a training exercise. If you look on the left you will notice the nice dish mounted to the side of the trailer. It always makes me chuckle; I wonder how much the cable bill was in relation to the rent? Them folks loved 'em some TV!

"I riding all by myself!"

Mouse is still nice and furry with his winter coat.

And here's Lily, the old pro. That girl would be happy riding a horse 8 hours a day.

Riding past our little white house with the red roof. Amelia had to hold on tight with her hands because the stirrups were way too long for her legs. We're going to have to find a different saddle!

Lily has fantastic posture and holds the reins just right. She's really quite a confident rider. Mouse is the ideal horse for a really young rider because he just follows the other horses, you really don't even need to steer him.

This picture really shows how small Mouse is. Apache is a fairly small horse and he totally dwarfs Mouse!

I love this picture of the ranch dogs, Millie and Skyley, chasing after the riders. They've always got to be chasing and herding someone or something!

These pictures represent one of my very most favorite things about living in rural Wyoming. My kids would have never had this opportunity living in the city, and it gives Dan great joy to teach them to ride and spend time with his kids on horseback. I often smile and think of my Gram and Grandad and how they surely are smiling down from heaven on the next generation of cowgirls and future cowboys.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Woobie Love

Amelia's well-loved Woobie finally started shredding and falling to pieces in January. Our dear friend Brooks Wynn attempted to give Woobie a makeover, but it was in such bad shape that she just started with new fabric and kept a couple of the old ribbon tabs from the original woobie. I intend to post more pictures, but I wanted to post this sweet one for now. I was worried that Amelia might reject the new Brooks Woobie because it didn't have the original fabric, but she is totally in love with it.

My new blog friend, Erin, sent me a great link to learn how to make the images bigger on my blog posts. Thanks, Erin! I found her while browsing for posts about Project Life. She is doing the paper version and I am doing the digital version. I'll have a post about that in the next week.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lily's Baptism

Our beautiful Lily was baptized on Sunday, February 28th.

How did we get to be parents of such a big girl? All day I kept marveling at her grown-up smile and how beautiful she looked all in white.

Lily was baptized by her Daddy, which seems normal to most people, but because I did not have that privilege as an 8-year-old child, it is especially important and precious to me to have a husband worthy to administer priesthood ordinances to his family.

Just before taking this picture I said to Dan, "It's been awhile since you've taken one of these photos, huh?" 17 years since the mission days. Wow.

We were blessed to have lots of family and friends at Lily's baptism.

Liesel Wynn, Lily's best friend from Utah came up with my Mom. She was such a big help with Mack the whole time she was here, always holding him and playing with him. Amelia was thrilled with her new-to-her purple dress given to her by her cousin Avelyn Larsen. Avy was decked out in a froofy pink dress that she was all too happy to pose for a picture in!

In addition to Liesel, some of Lily's friends from Cokeville came to her baptism, Kendra Cook and Emma Teichert. Kamille and all of the Nate cousins also came.

The service was simple and brief (much to Dan's liking) with talks by Lily's cousin Dani Allred and Grammie Lois Ann Garlitz. It was such a thrill for me as a mother to stand over the font and watch my husband baptize my child. Amelia was tickled by the whole thing and talked excitedly about how she's going to get baptized when she's older. In fact, she nearly dove into the font when the ward mission leader said the little kids could come right up front to watch. Bishop Dayton made a nice save! Lily's confirmation blessing was beautiful, blessing her to find her place in the gospel and increase her testimony.

As you can see, once the service was over, reverence and decorum prevailed in the foyer:

The girls had lots of fun spinning in their twirly dresses.

Avy's dress was definitely the most spectacular for twirling.

Cousins Avy Larsen and Connor Allred. I think this is the only picture Connor stood still for.

There's that toothless grin! I'm noticing Lily's rosy cheeks; it looks like she was wearing blush. But really, she was just happy (and probably a little flushed from spinning).

Cousin Sedona Donnell and Grammie. Remember this gorgeous baby? Well, she's almost 2 now and even more beautiful. She was a little overwhelmed by the number of people, especially spazzy kids, and more than once she was found kind of standing off to the side just taking things in.

I love this picture of Lily and her Grammie. In Mom's talk she pointed out how many people came to see Lily be baptized and how she can always know there are people who love her.

This is Keith and Lynette Nate, Lily's Wyoming grandparents. We love them so much and they treat us just like their own.

Several of my clan made the trip to Cokeville (photo taken by Liesel- way to go!):
(back) my Aunt Elizabeth Cox, Lily's cousins Gilean Allred & Dani Allred, my sister Becky Allred with baby Emma (and baby #5 set to arrive April 6th), my Mom Lois Ann Garlitz, Dan and Mack Richardson.
(front): 2nd cousin Avy Larsen, my cousin Chris Donnell & Sedona, my cousin Katy Larsen, Lily (looking thrilled to pose for another picture), Amelia and me.

Our little crew with an always wiggly Amelia.

Can you believe how tall this girl is (and I'm cheating and wearing chunky heeled boots)? She's going to be taller than me by the time she's 14.

Liesel and Lily. If you click to enlarge, you will see the girls are wearing matching horse necklaces. Liesel sent one to Lily for Valentine's Day and she has the matching BFF necklace.

I found this great scripture bag for Lily online. I ended up calling the manufacturer, Cedar Fort, and ordering directly from them because for some reason they were back-ordered at several of the distributors. The bag, with shipping, was only $10 and got here in 3 days. Nice! Inside the bag is a brand-new quad set of scriptures embossed with Lily's name. She has been waiting for her own set of scriptures for a long time and was thrilled to get them. Now I want a cool bag like hers, only I have the large print scriptures and the bag only fits the regular size. Bummer!

We are so proud of the kind and happy girl Lily is. She has a great desire to show love to other people and she's never met a person who wasn't a friend. We're thankful she had the desire, in her own words, "To follow the example of Jesus Christ and to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus again."