Thursday, April 17, 2014

Swim Team

April GNO at Abuelo's. I had a delicious gluten free dinner of fajita steak, refried beans, rice, and chips and salsa. Yum!

Silas, Drew, and I saw this super long worm - almost as long as my foot!

The Sister Missionaries spreading cheer to our family!

Anna ready for her first Stake Activity - Olympics! She was SO excited! Is it just me, or is she getting tall?!

Playing outside on a glorious day!

Anna won a "gold" (chocolate) medal. 

Calvin and I making GF breadsticks. 

A paper that Keith brought home from school. I love the family portrait and the answer he gave to this statement: The people in my family are - friends. That just does my heart good. I love my boy!

Dominos has become a family favorite.

We woke up to SNOW two days ago. Crazy!

Tuesday was 1/2 price slushes at Sonic and we took advantage!

Anna is now on the swim team! She is loving it. 

I went to a cheese-making class Tuesday night at the church. I learned how to make mozzarella cheese. It was delicious! I am excited to practice this skill.

We are waiting to hear if the receiving base will accept us to be there or not. We should know by next Tuesday. ::fingers crossed::

We are working on getting some things repaired on our house. We have accepted an offer and will close next month. Feeling very blessed by Heavenly Father. I know He is watching over us. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Within 12 days

Within the next 12 days, we should know whether or not our receiving base in CA will accept us or reject us. This decision is based on the fact that we are an EFMP Family (Exceptional Family Member Program). Basically, if they cannot meet the special needs of our children, they will reject us from coming to their base. It is likely that they will reject us because it's in the middle of the desert and far from medical care. I am hopeful that they will reject us - this was not a location we sought after and we certainly don't want to have to drive up to an hour for therapy, doctor appointments, etc.

If the receiving base rejects us, then we will get a new assignment somewhere. Then they will also have 2 weeks to decide if they can supply our needs or not. Tyler graduates in late June, so I hope we can make housing plans soon.

Despite our close timetable, I feel peaceful that everything will work out. I know that God is watching over us and will help us.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Spiritual Slushes

A week or so ago, Anna was having a rough day. She was super emotional and highly irritable. She was frustrated about her family members. She had a list of things that she didn't like about every single one of us. As I pondered what I should do, I had the thought to take Anna out for a slush at Sonic. I packed her up and off we went. As we sat in the Sonic Drive-In, we talked about the nature of her family. Obviously our family is not your typical family, and Anna feels this acutely. I talked with her about how Heavenly Father has guided her Daddy and I to adopt her younger siblings and that this is the family God wants for her to have here on earth. 

The conversation seemed to flow and as we talked, Anna's mood softened. She gave me a new list with something she liked about every member of our family - even Calvin, who she doesn't get along with at all. When I felt it was time, we set off for home and Anna was all smiles. The rest of the day, Anna was a different girl. She was kind. She played with her siblings, even Calvin! Tyler wanted to know what I said to Anna to make her act so differently. I don't know that I said anything that I haven't mentioned to Anna before, but I feel as though God blessed her to understand my words more deeply. I am so grateful for inspiration.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Tiffany Rae

This is the amazing story of my friend's BFF, Tiffany Rae. I just had to share!

Fitness pro, mom of 2 awarded top bikini honors in Helsinki
By Elizabeth C.
Mar 30, 2014

For nearly 15 years, Tiffany Rae has been a presence on the world fitness stage. Although she’s competed in numerous federations and racked up trophies and titles, an international first place finish still eluded her. Until now. This month, the wife, mother of two, volunteer, coach, choreographer, and writer took the stage at Fitness Helsinki in Norway and won first in Bikini Classic, then took the Overall Champion title in Bikini Class. The stage veteran credits her win to clean eating, consistent workouts, rest, and a secret weapon—Choffy.

“People assume that I must live in the gym, but I’m a mom. Raising my boys is my top priority. I only work out three days a week, but I have years of training, building muscle, and figuring out what foods work for me. I eat as cleanly as possible, but I’m still a mom who sometimes licks the spatula on the cupcake batter for her kids!” said Tiffany.

Tiffany’s career in fitness began in high school with gymnastics and diving and has grown to encompass coaching experience in gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, varsity tennis, and of course, fitness. When injuries recently prevented her from training in her favorite category, she decided to take a chance and branch out to the bikini competition.
Unlike fitness, which scores competitors on a swimsuit and physically demanding active stage routine round, the bikini competition is more focused on a physique’s proportion, symmetry, and balance. Without her standout tumbling performances, Tiffany knew clean eating would play a key role in honing her physique for the Helsinki stage. There was one problem, though—a big sweet tooth. A friend introduced her to Choffy and she didn’t look back.

“The addition of Choffy to my diet has been a welcome healthy treat. I seriously love chocolate, and this helps me indulge without the fat and calories,” she said.

Choffy, which is a drink made of ground roasted cocoa beans (instead of coffee beans), is a perfect choice for athletes. An 8 oz cup has more antioxidants than nearly 2 servings of blueberries. Instead of caffeine, the stimulant in raw cacao is theobrimine, which doesn’t have the same “crash” effect as caffeine. The theobromine is a myocardial stimulant as well as a vasodilator; it increases heartbeat, yet it also dilates blood vessels, causing a reduced blood pressure and greater blood circulation. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Choffy contains phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide. PEA is an adrenal-related chemical that aids alertness. Anandamide is the chemical present in our brain when we feel good. It causes changes in blood pressure and blood-sugar levels, leading to feelings of excitement and alertness, without being addictive.

Tiffany’s win was particularly sweet since it came at a stressful time in her personal and professional life. Job conflicts, injuries, and her husband’s work schedule were all working against her, but she prevailed.

“Yes, the commitment is worth it. I used to see myself as the athletic gymnast, who could only shine in the fitness category. It was such a surprise for me to win not only Bikini Classic, but Overall Bikini at this prestigious international competition. I'm still in awe it happened!” said Tiffany.

To learn more about Choffy or to place an order, go to

Monday, March 24, 2014

Anna's FROZEN Party

Anna started attending Young Womens (a program for girls from 12-18 years in the LDS church) in January. I was not expecting her to have such a hard struggle in YW. She was so nervous that the first two weeks involved her in the bathroom crying her eyes out. Her sweet YW teacher, Ashley, called me and we hatched a plan: an activity in our home - a FROZEN party! This was in January so I had 2 months to prepare for it. I found some cute blue/silver Christmas decorations on clearance and did looked for fun recipes on Pinterest. The result was a super fun night!

All the girls. Tyler & I cannot believe that Anna is growing up so fast!

Cupcakes with blue "ice" made by my awesome friend, Stefanie, who just wanted to help so she could come watch the movie. :)

I made a punch with Blue Hawaiian Punch, Sprite, and Vanilla Ice Cream. It was quite tasty!

FROZEN Jell-O "Ice" Cubes. Recipe found here

Blue corn chips, Queso dip, Carrots (Olaf's noses), Ranch Dip, Lindt Truffles, and Peppermint York Candies.

The spread.

Anna and I cut these out and gave them along with small bags of blue/white candies. I was so impressed with Anna for her first time hosting a party. I guided her to greet each guest, to make sure everyone felt welcome, to pass out these cards and candies at the end. In fact, she got up and read this quote and then explained what it meant to her in her own words. I was so proud of her! Then she saw everyone to the door when they left. She commented on how much work it is to host a party - and she's right! - but she did so well. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The 400s Club, Part 1

Last night as I was falling asleep, I had the idea for this blogpost: The 400s Club. You should know that I don't expect to weigh 406 pounds for the rest of my life. Yes, I know I have been in The 400s Club for about 4-5 years now. That is a long time. 10 years ago, I never thought I would weigh 400 pounds. It definitely affects my life to be this size, so I thought I would type up those things now so one day I can look back and reflect upon this time in my life.

Most people who weigh close to my weight don't take pictures of themselves. They are embarrassed and don't want to remember this time in their lives. But what if they stay in this weight for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? No pictures of your time on this earth for 20 years? That doesn't make sense to me. These lives of ours are worth recording. I don't care how much you weigh. Each and every one of us are special. Each and every one of us are attractive. We have talents. We have hobbies. We have fun senses of humor. And we like to eat - but how many people hate eating? - but I digress.

Some things I have to focus on because of my size (that I imagine typical weighted people don't think about)
-Will I fit in that chair?
-Will this chair hold my weight?
-I have to limit how far I can walk (no theme parks for me) or my ankles swell up.
-Will those shoes support my feet/body?
-What is the weight limit on that ride/massage table/MRI table/etc?
-Putting my shoes on without sitting on a couch or bed to pull my feet up to tie the laces.
-Finding clothes that are modest.
-Finding clothes that are stylish.
-Excessive heat causes me to develop heat rashes (exercise can also cause this).
-Exercise can cause injury.
-I have to prioritize my activities so I don't overwork my body.
-Social embarrassment that my children feel due to my weight.

If you are reading this blog and you are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese - take heart. You are special. You are important. And this post has nothing to do with making you change your body. I want to support you and encourage you as you tackle this world with a body that is weighed down. I know how you feel. And I want to reach out and give you cyber hugs and let you know that you are loved. You are beautiful/handsome. God created you and gave you your body. I have said prayers of gratitude on many occasions thanking God for giving me such a strong and stalwart body. He has blessed you with the same. I am not condoning the idea of overeating. I am reaching out and saying that You Have WORTH just as you are today. May we all find peace in how we look, how we feel, and how we are made. We deserve to be loved.

Calvin's shamrock

If I caught a leprechaun, I would tell him to build a giant robot shamrock.

By: Calvin Pierce