2014

graceSo.

Blogging hasn’t been my thing lately.

There have been a thousand other things to do, and while most of the time there was just NO time, there were moments when I thought about blogging, and felt it would be a selfish use of time. Because saying “I got a blog post written!” doesn’t take care of the pile of clean laundry that hasn’t been folded; or the sink full of last night’s dinner dishes; or the mess in the car that has become a daily obstacle course challenge for my kids to get to their seats.

But, I miss writing. And this year, my theme is GRACE…not meaning that I get to do whatever I would like with my time, but when I want to write, or have something to write about, I’m going to do it. Usually I stress over thinking of a theme or series for my blogging, or try to make myself blog on regular basis. But I’m going to practice grace, and just promise this — I will write when I have something worth writing about. Maybe it won’t even be words – just a picture. Or a quote. But when it matters, I’ll post.

January is almost always a reflective month for me. I think I get that way after the holidays anyway. But add in that I’m about to turn 34, my son will be 7, my daughter will be 5, and our son that we don’t have home with us yet, will be 3 in a week…well, it leaves me with a lot to contemplate. So I’m sure I’ll have “stuff” to write about this month.

Until then, here’s to a year full of grace and being real. 😉

Catching Up.

Clearly, I stepped away from blogging for awhile. I haven’t really had much to say, because I haven’t had much time to think! Life stepped in and got very, very busy. But don’t worry – most of it has been really good.

Zach turned 6 and Rebekah turned 4 last month, and I’m still staring at thank-you cards that I need to mail out from Christmas (yikes), my birthday (embarrassed), and the kids’ birthdays (my mother did not raise me like this!). I WILL get them sent out this weekend.

I got certified last month in Group Fitness, and got my CPR certification as well. Now I am teaching a dance fitness class twice a week at Jess Dance Studio! It’s so fun, and I still can’t believe it sometimes, since 2 years ago I was just trying dance fitness / Zumba for the first time, and NEVER expected to end up instructing! But I guess it’s true – Never say never!

Our adoption of our sweet Daniel is still happening, it’s just a lot of waiting. The Korean government is making a bunch of major changes to their international adoption policy. So there is a lot of uncertainty right now. I’m thankful that the uncertainty is about WHEN we will get Daniel, and not IF we will get him. Daniel just turned two, and we are just hoping and praying that we’ll be able to get him this year. I can’t show you a picture of him, but we just got a couple of new pics, and I CAN show you the shoes he was rockin’ in the photo:

I am so thankful, however, that while we wait, we know Daniel is being taken care of, and loved in a foster family. Not in an orphanage. So many other children are waiting for the international adoption process to move forward, and are in much more dire situations. There is an organization, called Both Ends Burning, and they’ve put out a documentary called “Stuck”. They are currently touring the U.S. and showing it in different cities along the way. But you can also purchase the documentary online. This documentary is definitely bringing to light the issues within international adoption, and they do an excellent job of making this a human issue – not a political one. Governments with their processes and red tape, sometimes forget that behind all the paperwork are children and families that need each other. Anyway, I’ve included the trailer, and if you’re near a place where it will be screening soon, please go see it!

To Be An Athlete Again.

I’m addicted to Pinterest – I totally admit it. I’m not in denial. I could spend hours on there, pinning recipes, home decor and quotes. Luckily, I don’t usually spend as much time on there as I could, because I refuse to wear my glasses, and inevitably get a headache from staring at the computer screen. But I pinned something a few weeks ago that has stuck with me and really summed up my journey to getting back into shape:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You see, I have always identified with being an athlete. My first “boyfriend”, in 2nd grade, dumped me for beating him in a race at recess (I don’t think it was meant to be). Each school year, Field Day was my time to shine. I ruled the Jog-a-thon. Outside of school, I took karate and gymnastics back-to-back. I really, truly wanted to be in the Olympics someday.

Once high school started, I found my place in sports. I played volleyball, basketball, and [attempted] softball. I loved being on teams – practicing together, and working toward a common goal. My teammates were my friends. I looked up to my coaches. Sports kept my feet on the ground – I didn’t have time for a lot of the stupidity that is high school – because I was focused on sports. Even my crushes were on other athletes. When Tyler and I were voted Most Athletic in our Senior class, I envisioned us getting married and having amazingly athletic children, whom we would ski with, climb Mount Everest with, and scuba dive with. And we would be recognized world-wide as the Most Athletic Family. 🙂 I’m exaggerating a little bit, but you get my point.

Fast forward 13 years, and I was married to Tyler, and we have two wonderful children that are extremely competitive, but at 5 & 3, we haven’t yet been able to fully test their athletic prowess. Although Rebekah is excellent at falling down the stairs…which is why she’s now taking gymnastics, in hopes she will learn to stick the landing instead of face-planting.

Somewhere along the way, I had gone from Most Athletic to Most Definitely Not Athletic. I had put on weight from eating junk and two pregnancies. I had gotten sedentary after a knee surgery. None of my clothes fit right anymore, but I refused to buy bigger sizes…so I looked ridiculous in my denial. I hated how I looked, but I told myself this was the new normal – that I needed to get used to it, because I was a mom now. Like somehow, moms are supposed to be overweight and miserable?! Sounds ridiculous now. I was no longer an athlete.

Part of who I was seemed to be gone.

It was embarrassing to post pictures on Facebook of myself, because I envisioned my old high school friends seeing them and gasping at how different I looked. I would have moments of motivation – I got on the Atkins diet really seriously for a few months, and lost a lot of weight, but gained it all back pretty quickly once I made friends again with carbs. I did the couch to 5K program with Tyler and my neighbors, which was good exercise, but I found myself just eating more to compensate for the extra work. So I didn’t lose any weight. Finally, as I’ve talked about before, I started taking a dance fitness class. It was fun, and a challenging workout. I started to lose some weight. That  sparked hope in me that maybe I could change myself. I joined the gym, and started working out. And each day, I started finding that part of me I thought I’d lost. I found my athlete in pushing myself to do that last set that burned. I found my athlete by dragging myself to the gym on the days it seemed too cold, or I was too tired, or there was no one there to workout with. And over the next year, the athlete in me has revealed itself more and more. I feel great.

I am an athlete again.

I wanted to write this to encourage you. A lot of us were athletes in high school. We were active, strong, and motivated. You may have lost your athlete over the years like I did. But you can be one again. It hasn’t been permanently lost. If you want to be an athlete again, start today. Do something to find it again. You won’t regret it.

 

 

October Photo Challenge

The October photo challenge at Rock the Shot is “Something Orange”. Luckily, there is a lot of orange found in the fall colors, as you will see in the trees in my photo. I took the kids out to a new part of our neighborhood – they’ve cleared it for homes, but haven’t started building yet, so the tall grass and backdrop of trees are great for photos. Happy October!

www.rocktheshotforum.com

 

 

 

And So It Begins…

This Boy…

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Is staying home this year…

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But he’ll be starting kindergarten nonetheless…

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So we needed some photos…

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For remembering later…

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Because these days are moving ever faster…

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And in the blink of an eye, childhood will be a memory.

 

An Apple A Day…

…Doesn’t really help keep ZumbaMD away. True story.

Welcome to our second installment of ZumbaMD – where I attempt to identify, explain and warn you of common injuries associated with Zumba! In our first post, we dealt with 1 through 4 on our silhouette. Let’s look at the next few injuries today!


5. Back. Is your back sore? Does it hurt to sit up in the morning? Does it make interesting popping noises? You may have injured your back. In Zumba, the back is integral to many of the moves. It can be tweaked quite easily. You may intend for your lower body to go one way, and find your upper body not cooperating. At that point, you will injure your back. Additionally, you can hurt your back by trying to hard to “pop it”. This is a dance move that I am completely unfamiliar with, and cannot speak to its dangers. But any inquiries can be sent to Calla.

6. Abdominal Muscles. Do you find yourself unable to move from a reclined position into a sitting position without shaking or sharp pains in your stomach area? You have sore or injured Abs. This can occur from doing Zumba correctly, and/or staying for an abs challenge after class. Greatest offenders are sit-ups and planks. Personally, my abs have been extremely sore from watching myself do Zumba, and the uncontrolled laughter that follows. This is why I prefer a class without any mirrors – my abs just can’t take it! Luckily, abs recover quickly, and you should be able to sneeze or cough without crying within a couple of days.

7. Latissimus Dorsi Muscle. Or Lats for short. When these muscles are sore or hurt, it almost feels like a rib is injured. Your ribcage may actually feel sore to the touch. The song/routine to beware of this injury? Rocketeer. Another potential way to injure this area is to stand too close to someone during a song with side kicks. A swift, solid kick to the side will definitely leave this area sore. Ways to avoid this injury in the future? Keep at least a legs distance away from other dancers.

To Be Continued…

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there – and especially to the one in this house! 🙂

The kids filled out a questionnaire about their dad as their gift to him – thought you’d enjoy seeing their answers:

June Photo Challenge: Dads!

Rock the Shot is having a June photo challenge. Since Father’s Day is coming up, they are asking for pictures of dad + child[ren]. This is the first photo I thought of, since I snapped it last weekend at the beach.

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I think I had just told Zach that we would stop for ice cream on the way home, and this is the reaction I got. 🙂

I processed the photo with {Pretty Presets}: Safari Sunset.

If you’d like to participate in the photo challenge, go to www.rocktheshotforum.com  and check it out!

Full Circle (Kind of…)

I know I haven’t posted in a long time, but to say we’ve been busy is an understatement.

I have many updates to share – on our family, our adoption, and various other things (like my obsession with Pinterest). But today, I wanted to give an update on me.

A year ago in April, I started taking a Zumba/dance fitness class. Many of you laughed along with me as I recounted my lack of ability. Unfortunately, no amazing ability has been found on my part, but I kept going to class, kept working hard, and started making a change.

I also joined the gym, and along with a couple of good friends, I generally workout in the mornings, and then do Zumba as well.

June, 2011. I cried when I saw this!

 

Here is a photo my husband took of me at the beach last week:

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I know it’s not a full body shot like the first one, but TRUST me, everything looks a lot better! I’m not where I want to be, but I’m getting a lot closer than I have ever been.

Today, I had my annual checkup with the doctor. The last time I saw her (see the before picture), she told me “Jen, you need to drop some weight”. That was hard to hear. I knew she was right, but she was the first person to actually say it out loud to me. Today, when she came into the room, she asked me how I was feeling. I started to answer her, and she said “Never mind the pleasantries, how did you lose all that weight?! People never listen to me when I tell them to lose weight! You lost 35 pounds!” It was so great to have objective proof of a year of hard work! Aside from my weight being down, all my vitals looked better too (and they weren’t that bad to begin with!). I told her about Jess’s class, and the gym, and now she wants to know more about Zumba. Ha!

Writing a post like this is a double-edged sword. I am excited to show my progress, but embarrassed to admit how far out of hand I let my weight get in the first place. But I need to post this – just to remind myself of where I’ve been, how far I’ve come, and to ensure that I never go back! So there you have it. Today I came full circle, and got to change a doctors appointment from something I dreaded because of the lecture — to something I enjoyed because of the recognition of achievement. And guess what? I can’t wait until next year when I go back – maybe I will have a 6-pack by then. 🙂

If you are reading this and you’re local, please consider checking out Jess’s class. It’s so fun, and the women in the classes are wonderful. You can get the info here: Jess Dance Into Fitness

Jess’s own story will make mine seem boring. She’s a great instructor, and will motivate you to make good changes in your life! If you’re not local, then you should be! Ha! 🙂

Have an awesome weekend!

Adoption Update!

I know it’s been a looooong time since I’ve written an adoption update, and blogged on a regular basis. We’ve been thoroughly enjoying the beautiful spring weather, and basically, haven’t been inside very much! Nevertheless, it’s time for an update!

As you can see from the picture above, we have our official referral for our little boy. I can’t share his actual name with you, but from now on, I’ll refer to him as Daniel since that is what we will most likely call him (we’ll use his Korean name as his middle name). We wanted to use the name Daniel (God is my judge), because of several things – Daniel was taken to Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem. So he was in a foreign land that was not his own. In spite of that, he was faithful to the Lord, and ended up being delivered from certain death because of his faith. He had an amazing testimony, in spite of the challenges he faced – and pointed many people to the Lord.

I wish I could show you a photo of him! He’s very cute. Again, because of privacy agreements, we can’t until he’s officially adopted. But here is his hand 🙂

I wanted to show you his little hand, because, at least for me, it makes this whole thing so much more real. We’re not just pursuing an adoption, we’re pursuing the adoption of Daniel. This boy. A real child that is waiting.

So for now, we are filling out the mountain of paperwork that comes with the referral. We also have a bill for a little over $18K. Yeah. We have been approved for an interest-free loan, but they typically range between $5,000-7,000. So we are now applying for grants (which typically are in the $3,000 range – if we get them). Hopefully we can get the money together quickly. The Korean government is curbing the number of international adoptions, so our window of opportunity is getting smaller. I’ll feel a lot better once we have paid the money and have everything done on our end so that when the Korean government approves it, we’re not held up by anything!

I know many of you have been praying for us and with us. Please continue to do that. Please pray that we will have the patience to fill out all this paperwork quickly – it is very overwhelming sometimes. Also pray with us that these grants will come through, and that we will be able to fund raise. We have some ideas that include yard sales and auctioning off some items. But when we’re looking at a bill that large, it seems like an impossible number to reach! If you are interested in donating toward bringing Daniel home, you can contribute directly through Paypal. Just click on the “Adoption Fundraising” link at the top of this blog.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!