Happy (Wake Up at 5:45 am and Run a 5K) Thanksgiving!

Today is a Thanksgiving like no other.

I woke up at 5:45, put my running shoes on and left for what I thought was going to be a 5K run. I imagined we’d stretch, do a warm up, do our run and then laugh and eat our breakfast together. But that’s not quite what happened. Instead, we stretched and then did a mini “Max Out” workout. (And if you knew what that was, you’d be all “ohhhh, damnnn!) and THEN we ran what was supposed to be a 5K, but turned into 3.5 miles because some of us got a little lost on the run and went farther than we were supposed to.

Awesome, right?

I read through all of your comments last night and I can’t thank those of you who took the time to leave me advice enough. Your tips and advice and encouragement were SO helpful while I was out there running. And guess what? I did it! And I didn’t die or lay down on the ground and cry!

I poured myself a giant mimosa when I was finished to celebrate. (We were asked to bring something to eat for a Thanksgiving breakfast after our run. Of course, I brought the alcohol. I know what’s up.)

On the drive home I was feeling pretty pumped about what I had just done. I was feeling so grateful to have found a group of men and women to workout with who inspire me, encourage me and push me to do my best. But then, it hit me.

People who mean the most to me in life won’t be here to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. My son is away completing his MOS training. Both of my beautiful, loving grandparents are dead. Giant chunks of my heart missing from my life today. It hurts, but I will try to focus on all of the blessings in my life. I’ve raised a son who is willing to give up the comforts of this life to serve his country. I had my grandparents in my life for most of my adult life. I have my children here at home, a loving husband who just went to the store to buy all of the ingredients to make a pumpkin dump cake, my parents, my sister and brothers, nieces and nephews, friends and a neighbor who is saving a bottle of wine so we can sit on the porch tonight and drink it all up.

I am blessed.

I am grateful.

And oh my GOD, I am sore.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Dear Everyone Who Does Not Suck at Running or Hate Running Like I do. I Need Your Help.

I do not like running. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I hate running. These are all things that I’ve said about running just before running or just after running.

“The thing that I hate about running is EVERY thing.”

“The best part about running is when I stop running.”

“Running is the worst.”

“I don’t trust people who (quote fingers) look forward (/quote fingers) to running.”

That’s how I feel every time I run. My lungs burn, my calves hurt, my boobs feel awkward and everything in me is screaming STOP RUNNING RIGHT THIS SECOND. There’s nothing about running that I like. But I know that running is good for me, and so during this session of boot camp, I’ve been trying to find a way to not hate it. In fact, these are my goals for this session of boot camp:

learn to not hate running.
strengthen my abs.
not feel angry when I run.
lose more than 5 pounds.
not suck at running.
lose more than 3 inches.
not want to punch everyone when I run.
not miss a single workout.
not cry when I run uphill.
push to my maximum every single workout.
To learn to like running maybe just a little bit.

Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving morning, I will be getting up at 6 in the morning to join my fellow boot campers for a 5K run. I’ve only done a 5K once before and it was on the treadmill. NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL. The farthest I’ve run is 2.75 miles. I have no doubts that I can do it, but I have doubts about how good I’ll be at it.

There will be uphill running and uphill running is what KILLS ME. I have both mental and physical issues with uphill running. (I have issues in general, with running, but ESPECIALLY the uphill running.)

Here is where I ask for your help.

Do you have any advice you can give me about running? Do you have any tips that will help me get through the mental aspect of running. Do you have any songs that I can download that will help keep me motivated? Do you have any words of encouragement you can give me that I can say to myself when I want to just stop and lay down on the ground and cry instead of finishing the run?

I look forward to reading what you have to say.

Mary Kay Review Plus a Chance to Win Your Very Own Mary Kay Gift Basket!

I love beauty products. I love makeup and creams and scrubs. I especially love finding new products and sharing the things that I love with friends. I was totally excited when I was asked to be a part of a Mary Kay campaign because I knew that I’d be receiving some new products to try and share with you all.

The products arrived in a pretty black box with pink ribbon. Here is a list of what was inside of the box:

  • Mary Kay® Mineral Eye Color in Golden Vanilla, Truffle, Lavender Fog, Midnight Star, Sweet Plum and Black Pearl
  • Mary Kay® Compact Mini
  • Mary Kay® Mineral Cheek Color in Shy Blush
  • Mary Kay® Ultimate Mascara in Black
  • Mary Kay® Lash Love™ Mascara in Black
  • Mary Kay® Lash Love™ Waterproof Mascara in Black
  • Mary Kay® NouriShine Plus™ Lip Gloss in Mango Tango, Rock ’n’ Red and Café Au Lait
  • Mary Kay® Lash Primer
  • Mary Kay® TimeWise® Microdermabrasion Set
  • NEW Mary Kay® TimeWise Repair™ Volu-Firm™ Eye Renewal Cream

I have had enough time to try and use every product, and I have to say, I really do like them all, but there were a few products that stood out. My absolute favorite products were the NouriShine Plus Lip Glosses!

I’m picky when it comes to lip gloss. I hate glosses that are too thick or leave my lips feeling sticky. Let me tell you, these glosses are awesome. First of all, the colors are gorgeous (my favorite is Mango Tango). They are light, packed with moisture and go on super smoothly. Also? They’re super shiny. I love them and carry them everywhere with me. Because my daughter has the most amazing lips, I asked her if she’d be my Lip Gloss Model for this post. She hesitated at first, but when I agreed to let her put the lip gloss on all by herself, she happily agreed to participate.

Another product I love is the TimeWise® Microdermabrasion Set. I used it twice a week for the past few weeks and I absolutely notice a difference in the texture of my skin. My skin feels smoother and just generally more healthy. Unfortunately, I did not take a before photo, but here is what my forty-one-year-old skin looks like now.

I’ve also been using the TimeWise Repair™ Volu-Firm™ Eye Renewal Cream, and I do think my fine lines look somewhat diminished. What I love about this eye cream is the applicator– just press it directly on your skin and apply. Cool, yes?

I also love love love the Lash Love™ Mascara in Black. I used it with the Lash Primer and wow! Perfectly long, separated, non-clumpy lashes. It’s my new go-to mascara.

Another cool product is the Mary Kay Compact Mini. You can fit three eye shadows and one blush in it. You can also store the small brushes in the compartment in the back. I love that you’re not committed to the same three colors and that you can switch them out.

I’ve found several new products that I will continue to use in the future. Thanks, Mary Kay!

Would you like to try some Mary Kay products for yourself? If so then just tell me your greatest beauty tip for an opportunity to win a fabulous Mary Kay gift basket, courtesy of BlogHer.

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 19 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 11/19/12-12/31/12.

Be sure to visit the Mary Kay page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

I was provided with Mary Kay products to use and review, and was compensated for this post, however all opinions are my own.

The Most Unromantic Anniversary Post You Will Ever Read, I’m Sure.

November 17th was our 22nd anniversary of our wedding anniversary.

My (very) Big fat (really ugly) Germican Wedding. (which, you're totally allowed to make fun of because, HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A VEIL THAT BIG? OR GLASSES THAT BIG?)

This is what I posted that day on Facebook:

22 years of arguing about driving, emptying your pockets before you put your jeans in the hamper, how to properly load the dishwasher. 22 years of falling asleep in the same bed except for the nights when we’re mad at each other and one of us sleeps on the couch, or IN THEIR CAR. We’ve been madly in love. We’ve been on the verge of breaking up. We’ve been through so much together– Having babies, losing people we love, sending our first born son off to become a U.S. Marine. We are not a perfect couple, we do not have a fairy tale love story, but 22 years later, we still have each other, our health and our 3 close to perfect children. That’s good enough for me.

And then, later that night, I got dressed up and went out to a country bar to celebrate my friend’s 40th birthday party while my husband stayed at home so he could go to bed early.

We are the most unromantic couple and yet, somehow it works for us.

We argue about the dumbest things all day long, but at the end of the day, we kiss each other, say I love you and hold each other’s hands until we fall asleep. Or until one of us rips one and the other either laughs or gets angry and says something like “GET OUT OF BED TO DO THAT, YOU INCONSIDERATE JERK!”

Our marriage is far from perfect, but it works for us.

I’m grateful for the last 22 years and I hope we’re blessed with another 22.

Huggies Series Continued: The Mother In Law and The Nursery.

When I found out my third (and last) baby was going to be a girl, so many thoughts ran through my mind. One of those thoughts were “I AM GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN DECORATING HER NURSERY!”

I was so excited that on my way home from my ultrasound appointment, I stopped by a few baby stores to start the search for a theme for my baby girl’s room. It didn’t take long before I found what I wanted. It was Wonderfully Girlie. It had pink and purple and blue and yellow and there were flowers and ruffles and TINY LITTLE DRESSES. (Ahhh, tiny! little! dresses!) I was so excited, I wanted to show everyone what I had chosen, so I took my mom and my mother in law to see what I had picked out. They both loved it and thought it would be perfect for our nursery.

A few weeks went by and I decided it was time to start buying All of The Things for our nursery. I asked my husband to go with me to purchase the bedding for the crib. He tried to talk me out of it. “It’s too soon! We don’t need to buy that stuff just yet.” he said. “What are you talking about? The sooner we get it and start decorating, the better.” “We need to talk.” He replied. He sat me down. “This was supposed to be a surprise, but since you’re insistent on going to buy the bedding, I have to tell you.” I was a little bit nervous. “My mom decided she wanted to give you something special as a gift, so she’s going to make the bedding and all of the accessories by hand.”

….. ……. ………

I know this sounds awful and makes me look like a very bad person, but I was FURIOUS. I was in love with this bedding and there was no possible way that anyone could duplicate it. It was perfect in every way and although I knew his mother could sew beautifully, there was no possible way she could duplicate what I had my heart set on.

I was angry with my husband for allowing her to do that. “Why didn’t you tell her no? Why DID YOU LET HER DO THIS TO US?” (I know, BAD, AWFUL, HORRIBLE PERSON.) He told me that she was almost finished and would be bringing it over for me to see very soon. I cried a little bit (okay, a LOT) because I was terrified that I was going to be disappointed, that it was not going to look anything like what I wanted and there wasn’t going to be anything I could do about it because it would hurt her feelings.

The big day arrived shortly after he told me about The Great Baby Bedding Surprise. She came over to show me what she had made. I was so nervous, hoping that if it was awful, I could hold back my tears and fake a smile. I was not going to hurt my mother in law’s feelings when she had went out of her way to do something so thoughtful and kind. She told me what she had done. I acted surprised. And then, she showed me what she had made. I couldn’t hold it in. I started to cry.

But they were not tears of disappointment. They were tears of relief, of happiness because what she made? Was perfect? In fact, I think it was better than The Real Thing. It was exactly what I wanted. I hugged her and I thanked her for her labor of love. Soon after, we painted the room and set it up.

And it was perfect.

Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.

Fitness Boot Camp, Week Eight

This week will be my last week of a 9 week fitness boot camp session. Friday we will test out. (Test out means we’ll get measured, weighed, and tested on our push-ups, sit-ups and timed mile.)

Have I lost weight? I have no idea. After week four, I decided to stop weighing myself. I absolutely refuse to let the numbers on a scale mess with my head. I am putting in the work, five days a week. I am giving it all I have. If the scale doesn’t budge, and with my thyroid condition, that’s a huge possibility– I don’t want it to discourage me.

Have I lost inches? I can’t be sure, but I think so. I can feel my body changing. Clothes definitely fit me a little bit differently. People have started making comments like “your waist looks smaller” and “you have more definition in your legs” or “Damn, girl, you’re ass is looking REAL GOOD. Come over here and let me feel it!” (One guess who said that. He gives the BEST compliments.) But I have not done any measuring of any kind, so I can’t be sure.

Do I feel better? Absolutely! I remember the very first class I attended 8 weeks ago after not having worked out for MONTHS. When it was time to do a run, my instructor sent me with the advanced runner group. (The advance runners always go longer distance than the beginners.) I was stunned– surely I belonged with the beginners! I hadn’t run for months! I was out of shape and huge and no possible way could I run 2 miles, uphill, NO POSSIBLE WAY. “Are you sure I belong with that group?” I asked, while trying not to cry. “Oh, I’m sure.” She said. “You’re stronger than you think. You can do it.” As I was running uphill, I felt like I was going to die. My lungs were burning, my legs were aching, I couldn’t catch my breath. I started to walk. “Come on, you’ve got this!” My instructor said. “No! I don’t. I feel like I’m going to die!” I replied. “You’re not going to die. Just push yourself. You’ve got it.” He was right. I did have it. It hurt and it sucked, but I did finished it, and NOT in last place, and best of all? I DIDN’T DIE. Since then, I’ve improved tremendously. I am running 2.5 miles at a time without an issue. I mean, it still sucks because IT’S RUNNING AND RUNNING IS THE WORST. But I’m doing it. I’m not the best, I’m not the fastest, but I am better than I was 2 months ago.

Do I feel stronger? Last week, I pushed a truck, uphill, across a parking lot, THREE TIMES. Hell yes, I feel stronger.

I’ve chosen to make this journey all about improving myself, learning lessons, about not being afraid to fail. I want to be healthy, I want to be strong, I want to be fit. Mostly, I want to strive to be better than I was yesterday.

Getting leaner, weighing less than I do now, will just be a bonus.

A Simple Request

Andrew recently graduated from Military Combat Training at Camp Pendleton. We were going to drive out for his graduation ceremony and would get to spend a couple of hours with him before he was shipped out to MO to continue his training.

“Would you like for me to bring anything for you, son?” I asked.

I was thinking maybe he’d ask for me to bring food, or his favorite candy.

“Please just bring my guitar so I can play for a little bit before shipping out.” he replied.

I was so moved by his simple request.

I brought his guitar as he requested. After the ceremony was finished and photos with the family had been taken, my son was able to play for a few minutes before shipping out to MO.

I can’t wait until I can hear him play again. Hopefully in time for Christmas.

I Just Wrote.

Write something. Write anything. Just write.

This is what I tell myself every day. Then, I sit down to write and I’m frozen with fear. Overcome with insecurity. Paralyzed with self-doubt.

I’m not smart enough. I’m not funny enough. I’m not clever enough.

I’m irrelevant.

But you love to write. I tell myself. So, just do it. Just write.

There are so many things I want to write about, so many things I should write about.

Like the heart warming visit I had with my son at Camp Pendleton this weekend. Or the conversation I was forced to have with my daughter about wearing deodorant at eight years old. Or how I have committed to another six weeks of fitness boot camp.

I should write about everything. I should write about nothing. I should write like I used to. I should write like I love to. I should write like I want to.

Tonight I’m doing it. I’m writing. But more importantly, I’m going to hit publish and then do it again tomorrow.

Even if no one is reading. Even if everyone is reading.

Write. Just write, dammit.

(Not a) Wedding Photographer

A couple of months ago a friend of the family told me she was getting remarried and asked if I would be her wedding photographer.

“I just love your photos.” She said. “I know you’ll do a wonderful job.”

This woman has been like a second mother to me. I love her dearly, so I wanted to say yes, of course I’ll take your pictures! But, I’m not a professional photographer and well, it’s a wedding. A wedding requires a professional.

I told her that I was flattered, but I also reminded her that I was not a professional, that photography is something I love, but not something I get paid to do.

“I trust you.” She replied.

Because she is dear to me, and because she did so much for me growing up, I agreed to do it. I had no intention on charging her because again, not a professional. I was going to do it because I love her and because it was something she really wanted me to do.

The wedding was on Sunday. On Saturday night, I’m not sure I slept for more than 3 hours. I tossed and turned all night. I was terrified, nervous and insecure. I did not take this job lightly. My called my sister and expressed my concerns. “Be confident, own it and kill it.” She said.

I arrived an hour earlier than they asked me to be there so I could check the venue out. I was sweating before I had even taken my camera out. I was nervous as hell.

The bride arrived and I just started shooting. She didn’t have specific requests (aside from traditional family type poses before the wedding.) So, I just watched and tried to capture the beauty and details of the day. I’m telling you, the next day, every muscle in my body ached from standing, squatting, laying on the ground and running. My respect level for wedding photographers went up by the BILLIONS.

I posted the album of photos the day after the wedding. I was nervous, afraid I had missed things or not done a good enough job. Then, she left a comment (and later that day, left me a voice mail) that said the following:

“Yvonne I don’t know what to say… Every picture is perfect. You are the best! Another talent you have you have been blessed with.”

It wasn’t until I read those words that I realized just how stressed out I was. I actually cried with relief to know that she was happy with what I had captured. I was happy to do that for my dear friend, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again for anyone any time soon, or probably ever. I’m way too big of a wimp to deal with that kind of pressure.