Monday, January 28, 2008

You too can be a runner

I’ve gotten a lot of comments in my blog lately about my running. I get the feeling from some of my wonderful readers that they think running takes super-human strength. Well – I can personally attest that anyone can be a runner. If I can do it, you certainly can too. Here’s my response to some of those comments:

From Carrie:

I can't believe how much you run!! I'm jealous.... I'm a bad "jogger". ha ha I'm a champ on my treadmill though. ha ha, again. :o)

I actually do most of my running on the treadmill (or dreadmill as I affectionately refer to it). In the summer I am able to spend more time running outside, but right now I’m pretty much 100% running indoors.

From Janae:

I totally admire you for being a runner. I've always wanted to run. I'd love to do a half marathon one day, but I'm afraid I'm getting too old.

You can do it! And you’re not too old. I ran my first marathon at 32 – actually just a week before my 33rd birthday. I didn’t win any medals (in fact, I barely finished 2 minutes before the cutoff). And I spent ½ the day running with a grandmother who was running her first marathon. But let me tell you, there is no better feeling than running (or limping) across the finish line of your first marathon. (You can read my story and view my pictures here if you’re interested)

From Julia:

I think it is crazy that you can do everything you do and still have energy to run. I need to get back into actual physical activities.

Actually, running gives me more energy. I know that may sound completely crazy. I don’t run as fast/hard as I can every time. I maintain a steady and consistent “jog”. I feel healthier, more energetic, and I sleep better than I ever have. It also helps me cope with stress. There is no better way to get over a bad day than to “pound” it out with my feet.

I’m not kidding when I say that anyone can be a runner! I was one of those kids in school who brought a doctor’s note to get out of having to run the mile. I was asthmatic and had bad knees – full of excuses. But then I got knee surgery and medicine that controls my asthma, and suddenly I could do physical activity. I learned to snow ski and water ski (at the ripe old age of 18). I started backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, and doing the elliptical at the gym. But I was always afraid to run.

Then I had babies – 2 of them in 2 years. And babies were hard on my body. Despite puking every single day with both pregnancies, I managed to gain 65 pounds with the first, and 75 with the second (luckily I did lose a lot of that). Not pretty. I was so gross and disgusted with myself that something had to be done. Being that I don’t have much time every day, I needed to find an exercise that would burn the maximum amount of calories in the least amount of time, and it also needed to be something that I could fit into my schedule. Running fit both requirements. So, I googled “beginning running plan” and found the Couch to 5k in 9 weeks. I was hooked. I started the next week, and I’ve never looked back.

I’m finally, after a year, feeling like I can legitimately call myself a runner. I can run for 3 miles with little effort. I feel strong and healthy. My body has changed as well – I haven’t lost as much weight as I’d initially hoped (weight loss is mostly about diet I’ve learned), but my legs and butt are fit and toned. Most of all, I’ve found something that is for ME and no one else. Can you tell I love it?So, if anyone is interested, here’s a few pointers on how to get started:

1. Go to the running store and get fitted for running shoes. You will pay more, but its worth every penny.
2. Start out slow, and then go slower. The biggest problem with beginning runners is that they try to go out too hard too fast. Run at the same speed you walk. And don’t be afraid to take walking breaks – just don’t keep walking. Once you can breathe again, start running – slowly.
3. Wear the proper attire. While you’re at the running store, pick up a good bra (you and the sisters will thank me for it). And no cotton – cotton is rotton. If you’re running outside, dress so that you are a bit chilly at the beginning. And, if you're a bit on the larger side, wear something that adequately covers so that you're not hanging out and jiggling too much.
4. Once you feel strong enough, enter a race. It will inspire you to train, and it’s a lot of fun!
5. Keep a log. I am such a data geek, and there is nothing better than going back and seeing how many miles I logged in a week or month.

And if anyone local is looking for a running partner, I’d love to run with you! I’m starting a training program today to run the Salt Lake City ½ marathon in April.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I know, I know. Two posts in one day. I just went back and re-read my post about poor Brynlee. I can tell I was frustrated when I posted that. She really isn't the monster that I portrayed. Yes, she has her "moments". But she can also be a sweet and wonderful girl - and she is most of the time. Right now she and her sissy are having a post-nap popsicle. When I handed her the popsicle, she gratefully said "thank you" and offered me the first lick. She is great at sharing. And she loves to hug and snuggle. I appreciate all of the wonderful advice y'all offered. I think the biggest thing I took from all of it is that I need to remain positive, and to use positive reinforcement to control behavior. As I re-read my post, I was embarassed by how negative it sounded - like all I did was yell and punish. Really, its not like that at my house all the time (sometimes, yes. I'll admit to that). Usually things are happy and calm. I think I've just been extra frustrated lately. Ben's been working about 70 hours per week, and its taking its toll on me.

Anyway - to my intended post. My discouragement regarding my weight loss (or lack thereof). Friday was the week 3 weigh-in for my Biggest Loser contest. The first week I lost 4 pounds - probably due to sugar and soda detox. The second week I lost 2 more pounds, so I was feeling really good about myself. But this past week was really rough. After skiing all day Monday and then shovelling snow for 45 minutes afterwards, I was up 2 pounds that day. Thankfully by Friday I had lost those 2 pounds, but I didn't lose anything else. Thats ok - a week of no weight loss happens every now and then - right?

I allowed myself to cheat a bit on Friday, and I had a really good run. In fact, I ran for 55 minutes without stopping (my personal best thankyouverymuch - I've run much longer before, but never without walking breaks). Saturday I only ate 1500 calories, and ran another 3.5 miles. This morning when I weighed, I was up 2 pounds again. What the heck? This is getting ridiculous.

I feel like I try so hard to eat well and exercise. I haven't cheated on my diet, except my scheduled weekend cheats. And I'm averaging 15 miles per week running. In fact, I think I'm "healthier" (diet and fitness wise) than about 90% of anyone I know. I guess I can chalk it up to genetics, but its still not fair. I guess I just need to vent a bit, because I'm really feeling fat and frumpy lately despite my best efforts to be otherwise.

I need to go intervene - popsicles are gone, and now the girls are fighting in G's room. Time to use some positive reinforcement.

Long awaited salsa recipe

What you will need:

6-7 ripe medium-sized tomatoes
3 medium jalapenos
1/3 large white onion
1 cup cilantro leaves (no stems)
2 cloves fresh garlic
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp liquid smoke

Slice the tomatoes in half and cut out the stems. Place both on outdoor grill. Cook for about 15 minutes - until the skin easily peels from the tomatoes and the skin on the peppers is blistered. Then remove from grill and allow to cool. Remove skins from the tomatoes.
Cut off the tops of the peppers and de-seed.
Throw everything into the blender and chop on the lowest setting. You don't want everything pureed, but finely chopped.
Chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Enjoy!

This is seriously the easiest recipe, and its so freakin' yummy. And can I just say how proud of myself for finally joining the ranks of the recipe posters!

Friday, January 25, 2008


UGH - I swear Brynlee has to be the most difficult child on the planet. (in actuality, compared to G, any child would be difficult, but who's comparing?) I know I've posted about her extraordinary tantrums - where she holds her breath until she turns completely purple and then she makes herself vomit. It doesn't take much to evoke a tantrum either. She pretty much loses it anytime she doesn't get her way. For the most part, I try not to give her attention when she acts that way. I just make sure she is in a safe place with a towel nearby, and let her freak out - a tactic that works well during the day. But now she's having tantrums at night.

She wakes up screaming, usually right around 3:30 am, with her body rigid and fists clenched. And she screames with such a fury and rage that I have often wondered if she isn't being possessed. I wouldn't be suprised if her head turned around, just like in the Exorcist. At first when these episodes started happening, I assumed she was having night terrors. But the more I read about them, it really doesn't describe what she is doing. I'm convinced she's just having tantrums at night.
The problems with tantrums at 3:30 am, is that I don't know how to deal with them. Letting her "cry it out" doesn't really work when she wakes the entire house. Poor Daddy is working 2 jobs, and needs all the sleep he can get. And her screams upset Burton, who stands outside her door and barks. She's already had 3 of these episodes this week. Its turning our house into utter chaos. And Mommy is t-i-r-e-d!
Last night she woke up asking for a drink. So I went in with a cup of water, fully expecting her to drink and go right back to sleep. But she decided she was finished sleeping, and proceeded to scream for 10 minutes. I want to teach her she has to sleep at night, and that she must be in her own bed. But I was so frustrated with her last night that I caved. I picked her up out of bed, and took her out to the computer. We listened to Barbie Girl by Aqua on iTunes about 3 times before I convinced her it was time to go back to bed.

I just don't know what to do.

Then there is the issue of her beating up her big sister. She hits, pulls hair, yells, etc and poor Gracelin is too sweet to fight back. I've tried disciplining her every way I can think: time-outs, yelling, etc. Nothing gets through to her. She doesn't even seem to understand that she's in trouble. With G, I could yell or put her in time out, and she'd be completely devistated. Bryn doesn't even seem to care when she's sitting on the naughty bench - sometimes she laughs at me. One particularly bad day, after the 1000th time of Bryn pulling G's hair, I sat the girls on the couch next to each other. I told G that she had permission to pull her sister's hair, so show her that it hurts. With tears in her eyes, G looked up at me and said, "but mommy, I can't pull her hair. It will hurt". This from a girl that had a bald spot from having her hair pulled out.

I feel like I'm at my wit's end. The other day, I even did something I said I'd never do: I slapped her hand. Even that didn't faze her though - she looked at her hand, looked at me, and then LAUGHED! And I'd slapped hard enough to make her hand turn red. All it did was leave me feeling awful.

Ben and I have always said that we will never hit our kids. It stems from an experience we had when we were newly married, and living in our old neighborhood. We were having dinner at a neighbor's house (a neighbor who shall remain nameless, because any of my Jordan Meadows readers will know them). At the dinner table, the brother hit the sister. Nothing serious - just typical brother/sister stuff. But the dad pulled his arm back, and slapped the brother on the side of his head hard enough to make both Ben and I very uncomfortable, as he exclaimed "don't hit your sister". Waking back home that night, we discussed the hypocracy of teaching your children not to hit by hitting your children. I'd always known that I didn't want to hit my kids - that experience just solidified my opinion. (I'm not trying to condemn anyone for spanking, etc. I'm just saying its not for me).

At any rate, I'm out of ideas. I don't know how to teach Bryn to be well-behaved. Its almost as if she has no understanding of proper behavior. One minute she's a little angel, and the next she's the Spawn of Satan. So, moms of toddlers (or who have at one time been moms of toddlers) help me please! I need all the suggestions I can get on how to deal with her behavior before she turns into a monster.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Snow day part deux

Thank you Martin Luther King Jr for having a birthday today, so that I could be off of work. Powder days like today happen once in a lifetime. It was wonderful to be MAKING MONEY while I was out in the snow.
Even if we did sit for 90 minutes waiting for the canyons to open up. It did mean we were some of the first people in the canyon.
And some of the first on the slopes.

There was no wait at Molly Green's for the famous plate of diet-ending nachos.

*Sorry to any of my blogging friends who have a dial-up internet connection. I promise that after the novelty of my new camera wears off, there will be significantly less pictures.

Friday, January 18, 2008

12 hours in photos

This post is inspired by Jill in Alaska and my new camera. Here's 12 hours of my day yesterday.7am - The day started with my weigh-in for the biggest loser contest. I was down 3 pounds this week - yay me. I moved up to 10th place in the contest. Hot, skinny mama here I come.
The girls and I had breakfast, and then made our beds.
Bryn spent lots of time on her potty seat. She's doing pretty well for an almost 2-year-old - she peed twice last week. And she asks to go (although usually she asks as she's going in her diaper - but she's learning).
At 8am it was time for our weekly trip to the grocery store.
Who said grocery shopping isn't fun?

9 am - Gracelin went to play at a friend's house for the rest of the morning, so Bryn resorted to playing like a dog. For some reason she LOVES playing in the dog kennel - can't figure out why though. ITs so gross in there.
Then, she played with Burton the snow dog (appropriately named)
She helped me do the laundry, laundry, and more laundry.
Then Bryn helped me to make some chipotle-style salsa . . .
. . . and helped me eat it. Yummy.

12 pm - G's back home now and has a few mintues to play "Bella" with her sissy before lunch.
1 pm - Another tantrum for "angel" Bryn. Must be nap time.
Both girls took 3+ hour naps. I actually woke them up so they'd be tired at bedtime.
Nap time = treadmill time. Then shower time. Then dinner for the kiddoes ( was running late so I neglected my picture taking)
7 pm - The day ended with a girls' night out - dinner with some of my good friends while daddy stayed home with the kids. What a nice way to end the day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Don't send in the clowns

(edited to add a less scary clown - didn't want to sway the vote)

Ben and I have an ongoing debate: he loves clowns (wishes he could be one) and I hate them. I think they're scarier than all get-out. Who knows what psycho is hiding behind the white paint. He's always told me that I'm paranoid - I'm the only person in the world that doesn't like clowns. Then today, I read this article on Yahoo frontpage:

Bad news for Coco and Blinko -- children don't like clowns and even older kids are scared of them.

The news that will no doubt have clowns shedding tears was revealed in a poll of youngsters by researchers from the University of Sheffield who were examining how to improve the decor of hospital children's wards.
The study, reported in the Nursing Standard magazine, found all the 250 patients aged between four and 16 they quizzed disliked the use of clowns, with even the older ones finding them scary.

"As adults we make assumptions about what works for children," said Penny Curtis, a senior lecturer in research at the university.

"We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable."

Its good to know I'm not alone. As it turns out there's even a clinical term for people just like me: Coulrophobia. So, what do you think about clowns - funny or scary?

Monday, January 14, 2008

I won!

Until today, I'd never won anything in my entire life. So, imagine my suprise when I got a call from the HR department telling me I'd won a drawing for participating in our exercise contest. I won a digital camera. I'm so excited too, because on Saturday I was telling Ben that we needed a small digital camera that we could take with us when we go skiing. (the digital we have now is huge and this one is smaller than my hand) Anyway - I'm so excited to have actually won something - and its something that I TOTALLY wanted!

Date night

Ben and I rarely get a date night. After having the girls in daycare 4 days a week, I feel guilty leaving them with a sitter on the weekends. But on Saturday when my mother-in-law called and offered her babysitting services, we couldn't pass it up. And we knew exactly what we wanted to do: night skiing at Snowbird. From 5:30 - 8:30 they have their "bunny hill" open. But its only $7, and its skiing (or snowboarding for Ben). Where else can you get that much fun for only $14. Even if it is just the easy hill.

So, we dropped the girls off and swung by my parents' house to pick up our gear (we store it there since they live so close to the canyon). Then, we were on our way. The drive up the canyon was fun, because there were coyotes on the road chasing our cars - just like regular dogs. We got there quickly, and before we knew it, we were on the lift.

Although it was just the "bunny hill" we had so much fun. On the side of the run, we could get into some fresh powder and even ski a bit through the trees. Someone had also built a descent jump there, so Ben gave me the courage to try going off the jump - something I'd never tried before. Imagine a 30-ish, slightly chubby mom going off a ski jump with all the teenagers. I'm sure it was a sight to see me flailing through the air - it was probably pretty freakin' hilarious. I never actually landed a jump, but I gave it my best and came pretty close to landing a couple of times. And at least Ben was there, landing 360s to balance me out.

It was a great night. We laughed. We goofed off. And we even made-out in the car like teenagers (until someone walked by the car and freaked me out). It was wonderful to reconnect with my husband. We're good at the fun stuff. Unfortunately, we're not always so good at the day-to-day stuff, like bill paying and house cleaning. So often we get frustrated with each other. We need to try and reconnect more often to help us get through the monotony - Saturday night was just what we needed.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A bad omen?

(this post is a bit old, and for some reason I never posted it)
I am such nerd. I love perfect numbers, and so when my car was close to hitting this milestone, I carried my camera in my car for about a week hoping to snap a picture. I was worried the big event would happen while Ben was at the wheel, and it would go by unnoticed as he doesn't grasp the significance. But no, lucky me, I got to witness this momentous event. I pulled to the side of the road (I didn't want to be a traffic hazard you know) and snapped a pitcure. I am a bit sad that its blurry, but it was dark outside.

One may wonder where I was heading, and whether or not 66666 would be a bad omen. Well - I was on my way to Instacare with Gracelin. True to form, she started feeling sick on Friday afternoon, and after a sleepless night dealing with a fever of 103, I decided she probably needed to see the doctor. So, I ran her to Instacare (luckily its really close). I was relieved when the doctor told me she had strep and an ear infection (her tubes have fallen out for a second time - ugh!!), and I made a comment to the (female) doctor that I was grateful she had something easy to treat, and not a virus.

I am sure that every parent reading this will understand me. I mean, who wouldn't rather have a simple infection where I can give my child some antibiotics and she'll be better quickly. Isn't that much better than a "virus" where who knows when they'll be feeling better, and who know what you can do to make them feel better. If my child is going to be sick, I'll take something I can cure with medicine any day.

But, apparently I'm a stupid idoit (or so that doctor would like to make me think). Following my off-handed comment, she proceeded to give me a 5 minute lecutre on the dangers of strep - throat absess, scarlet fever, blah blah blah. I stopped listening pretty quickly. I'm an intelligent person - I know there are rare complilcations to strep, but usually when they go untreated.

Still, I'll take it over a mystery "virus" any day.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Now I feel like the biggest loser

Yesterday was day 1 of the Biggest Loser 3 competition, organized by my real-life and blogging friend Tiburon. I started the day off with my weigh-in - which was a discouraging blow. Last year, I also competed in Biggest Loser 1 and 2, losing a total of 22 pounds. I know 22 pounds isn't much, but I'm a slow loser. Yesterday when I weighed-in, I was only one pound lighter than when I started BL 1. That means it took me 8 months to lose 22 pounds, and 8 weeks to gain 21 pounds. I know I'd been lax lately about eating whatever I wanted (especially during the holidays). But I didn't think it was really that bad. I still eat relatively healthy - but apparently not as healthy as I've deluded myself into thinking.

So - I was motivated. I emailed Tib the pictures of me in my underwear, and decided I was going to win this thing. I drank only water all day - and lots of it. I ate my bowl of Dee's Cereal for breakfast, followed by cashew butter on wheat with a cup of soup for lunch. By dinner time, I wasn't particularly hungry, and I was expecting to eat a small amount of dinner. But, Ben suprised me by bringing home my favorite meal - a Cafe Rio salad. I know he meant well, so I didn't have the heart to tell him I couldn't eat it (I didn't have the will-power either). I did share most of the whole-weat tortilla with Gracelin, and Bryn ate most of my beans and rice. I also left off the guac and dressing. Maybe I didn't do too badly (although that salad has 1800 calories!!! Who said salad is healthy?)

I also managed an hour on the dreadmill after the girls were asleep. So all was not lost. I surely could have done better. I'm not going to win the $575 pot this way either. I've got to buckle down.

Anyway - just so I can keep myself on track I'm going to write down my plan.

1. Eat only whole foods, with no partially hydrogenated or high-fructose anything. No white flour. No white sugar. Eat lots of fruit and veggies. Limit my calories to less than 1500 per day.

2. Spend at least 1 hour doing cardio 5 times a week, and 2 days of strength training.

3. Drink only water

4. Get enough sleep (I find the days I struggle the most are when I'm tired)

That doesn't sound too difficult, does it?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Missed opportunities

There was a shooting at a local church on Sunday. Apparently the husband and wife were getting a divorce. On Sunday morning, he opened fire on her when she got out of her vehicle in the church parking lot. Her mother was in the car. Other people were in the parking lot. They all watched the dad and husband gun his wife down in cold blood. It is such a horrific event, that I cannot imagine how it could happen - especially since I know the family.

We lived in the same neighborhood a couple of years ago, and we knew the family well. Ben played basketball with the husband, and I sang in the choir with the wife. I'll have to admit that I never got along with her very well. She was Type A, and I am too. She was outspoken, and I always felt that she was also a bit snobby. She and I were pregnant at the same time, and her poor little boy was born around the same time as G. Actually, now that I think about it, she and I had a lot in common. Maybe we could have been good friends, but I never took the time to even try. I can remember more than once telling Ben that I didn't like her - that she "rubbed me the wrong way". And every time he would tell me to be nice, give her a chance, etc. I never took his advice.

Then, I checked Carrie's blog this morning, and she had also posted about this. As I read on, it really suprised me to realize that the very qualities that annoyed me about this girl, were the qualities that made Carrie want to be her friend. I felt very guilty and ashamed that I'd never given her a chance.

There are so many missed opportunities in this life - to be a friend, to help a person in need. And how often do we overlook those opportunities, because we're too concerned with ourselves. So many times, I will get a thought or a feeling that I should call a friend, write my grandmother, stop by a neighbor's house, etc - but more often than not, I'll ignore the thought. Or think that I'll do it later, when its more convenient.

I really do need to be a better friend. I know that I've been complaining about my neighborhood a lot lately. I've been trying to figure out what it is about where we live now that is different from any other neighborhood, and nothing seems different. I've started thinking that maybe the problem is me - I'm too busy, I've put on weight and don't feel comfortable with myself, everyone already has their friends. Excuses, excuses. So I decided this week that I was going to try and be a better friend. I sat by some women at church that I knew, and we chatted. I even offered to help one of the girls out next week for her lesson. After church, one of them called to borrow an onion for her family's Sunday dinner. I was so happy to help.

I really do need to reach outside of myself.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

In the doghouse now

This is Burton. Burton is a dog - a cocker spaniel in fact (just in case you couldn't tell). Right now he is living at my house. Let me tell you why:

Burton belongs to my brother, who is having a difficult time right now. He's had to move into a place where he cannot have a pet, and he couldn't bare to lose his best friend in the midst of the rest of his crappy life. So, being the benevolent sister that I am, I agreed to "doggie sit" for an extended amount of time. I'm not sure why either, because I'm SOO OO not a dog person.

Don't get me wrong - I love all things cute and furry (and they seem to love me too). But dogs are so noisy, and smelly, and they take lots of time and patience. And they chew everything (at least in my experience). I'm much more a cat person, but that is beside the point.

Really, Burton is a good doggie. He's obedient for the most part, and is housetrained. He's calm and patient with the girls, and he lets them maul him all day. I'm just not a dog person (have I mentioned that already?) For some reason, Burton has become extremely attached to me - like he won't venture more than 3 feet from my side. Its actually very cute and extremely annoying at the same time. He even watches me pee - I can't go anywhere without the poor guy. I already have 2 girls who are pretty much attached to my hip - I don't need a 3rd wheel (or 4th?). Regardless, my patience is growing thin.

Add that to the fact that this dog likes to chew. He's only 8 months old, so still in the puppy stage. But its becomming very annoying. Last night, I hopped into the shower after my run. Of course he sat on the floor of the bathroom to wait - or so I thought. Really, he was just biding his time until the glass fogged up enough that I couldn't see him any longer so that he could rummage through trash. By the time I got out of the shower, he'd chewed up and spit out several used tissues. I spent the next 20 minutes cleaning up regurgitated tissue. So not fun.

My poor kitty doesn't like him much either. They fight like - well, they fight like cats and dogs. Burton wants to be her friend, but kitty wants nothing to do with him. He chases her, she growls and hisses, and then he runs away crying. It would be comical if I didn't feel badly for my poor kitty. I think she's feeling displaced and neglected.

He also wakes me up in the night. I haven't had a full night of sleep since he came to visit. Apparently he can hold his pee all day while I'm at work, but in the night he has to go every 3-4 hours. Nice. Add that to the fact that Bryn still wakes at least once every night, and he has to accompany me into her room. She thinks his doggie tags are jingle bells, and she'd rather play then sleep at that point.

I'm so tired - and so not a dog person.

He is cute though, and the girls love him:

I'm just not a dog person . . .

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy 2008

Fist things first: Pictures of my New Year's babies. Aren't they so cute? We had lots of fun at Aunt A's New Year's/Uncle M's birthday party. Of course we had the kids home in bed by 10:30, but it was great fun! Ben and I rung in the new year while playing a bit of xbox.

With the new year, I suppose its time for my annual list of resolutions - many of which look very similar to other resolutions I've made in the past. Maybe my first resolution this year should be to keep my resolutions, so that next year I have a new list. I think I'll post a monthly report of my progress to help keep me honest. Anyway, here goes:

My resolutions:

1. diet and exercise: I would still like to lose about 25 pounds. Starting next week, I'm going to be competing in Tiburon's Biggest Loser 3 Contest. I actually competed in BL1 and BL2, losing about 25 pounds over the course of roughly 8 months - and in the past 8 weeks, I've gained almost 20 pounds back (not something I'm proud of). I need the motivation. Although the contest doesn't start until next week, I'm technically starting today by swearing off sugar and soda, my 2 biggest vices. Wish me luck!

As far as exercise, I plan to compete in our exercise challenge at work, and I'm going for the gold - in order to complete the challenge, I have to work-out a minimum of 60 minutes per day, 5 times a week, for 3 months. If I succeed, I will get a $20 gift certificate. I also want to keep running. In 2007, I started the Couch to 5k in 9 Weeks plan, and now I run several times a week. I would like to be running 20 miles per week on average.

2. run more races: I don't know if I plan to run a full marathon this year (training takes so much time with small kids), but that doesn't mean I haven't been dreaming about running the Mayor's Marathon, that takes place in Anchroage Alaska on the Summer Solstace. I am pretty sure that I want to run a couple of halfs - definitely the Salt Lake City and the Provo Half. There will also be some smaller races in there as well, as money and time permits.

3. get back onto my bike: I have no aspirations of becoming this girl, so I think I'll wait until spring, but I want to get back onto the bike. At one point in my life, I did a lot of mountain biking. Now that the kids are getting older, I need to get back out there.

4. get out of debt: unless we win the lottery or a rich relative dies and wills us a fortune, it is pretty much a dream to get completely out of debt. But I'd like to work each month to get further ahead in my financial goals.

5. keep up on my laundry: I'd like to get dressed in my closet every morning, not the laundry room. 'nuff said.

Ok - I'd better stop there, so as to keep things realistic. I don't think any of these goals are too lofty - most are attainable with a little effort. Anyone with similar resolutions wish to be my "cyber buddy"? A little friendly competition keeps things fun.