Category Archives: resolutions

I died…

Last week my life changed forever, I died.

Ok I didn’t completely and literally die, but after this last weekend I will never be the same. It all started a little over a year ago I began my healthy life crusade. Working out was a regular part of my schedule, I even found a tribe of women working out and supporting each other. We hiked and I shared part of my journey here.  I was preparing and planning for my very first Spartan race; hiking and weight lifting to prepare myself physically, especially hiking around with Baby K on my back. I could handle a little 3-5 mile obstacle course, no big deal! Ugh if I only knew then what I know now… I could not imagine what a life changing event I was in store for.

The original plan was to go with a group from Tribe, but this summer has thrown all of our schedules off and no one else was able to attend. AJ had previously volunteered with me at a race so we both had a free race coupon to use. His original plan was for a Beast or Super Spartan. Knowing I would be alone, I registered for my very first Spartan.

I knew going into the race there would be obstacles I was not ready to overcome, the rope climb is my ultimate nemesis. Even knowing this and knowing the 30 burpee penalty per failed obstacle, I was going to finish! My goal was to come in under 5 hours.  I know, 5 hours for 4 miles? Yes, 4 miles of up a ski resort mountain and back trails, cleared specifically for the race. Oh yes and 20 obstacles and doing 30 burpees per failed obstacle, this was going to take some time.

Race Map

To my surprise (and complete gratitude after the fact) AJ registered Friday night to race with me. He wasn’t doing it for him but for me! In reality, going into it I was not certain how nice I would be able to be. This might make or break our marriage. We would come out of this more in love or I’d be so raging angry and cranky I would say not nice things to him causing a rift in our relationship. 

Pre-race face

Morning of the race we were running late but arrived with time to spare. 8:30 am we climbed over the Spartan starting wall to begin our very first Spartan Sprint. Up the mountain we started, over 5 foot hurdles, yes while still going up the slope of the mountain, further up we went still. The first mile was the longest drudge to the peak. It was not a straight up climb nor was it a well worn path. There were some more walls to climb over but these I did on my own since they were on level ground. Although I did smack my ribs pretty hard on either these walls or the hurdles when I broke the mouth piece off of the camelpak I was wearing ugh! Bruised ribs SUCK! Over another wall, under another and through a third, yep through it, there were holes.

Miles 2 and 3 blurred together for me.  Hiking up and down hilly, rock covered, sprain your ankle terrain, intermixed with obstacles designed to push you to your physical, emotional and mental limits, you bet I lost track of what mile and obstacle we were at. Obstacles such as crawling under a cargo net in swamp mud fit for any wallowing pig. Then make it thru the crawl and slush thru a few more mucks of water to a dunk wall. Down into a pit of water, scramble up, back down into another and up again until the third time you’re down in deeper water facing a wall you now have to go under, the dunk wall. After the mud it was actually refreshing.

Back up the mountain we went to the slip wall. You’d think having a knotted rope to climb up a slippery wall (remember all the mud and water we just went thru?) would make it easy. Sure I did. I got right on up there, grabbed the rope and scrambled up the wall. I was about to pull myself up to the top when someone next to me lost his footing and slipped. I lost my concentration and footing as well. Then I felt the ribs, again. I was going to fall, until someone behind me stopped me. Someone was below me helping me to stay up, AJ up top reached his hand out to help me over the top and I made it! Dang slippery wall. There were more variations of walls and other obscene obstacles. Some were a cake walk for me, others… not so much. There was a sandbag carry, just like it sounds. Grab a heavy bag filled with sand, lug it up and around the mountain a bit and drop it back off. The Hercules hoist, using a rope and pulley system hoist a heavy bag up to the top of the rigging and back down again. Don’t let the bag free fall to the ground… not cool, or part of the challenge. The plate drag. This was cleverly designed on the side of the mountain with little holes dug into the path. All in all those were the easy ones for me, and the ones I enjoyed. Oh yes and lets not forget the bucket brigade. Fill up a 10 gallon bucket to the designated fill line (probably about 2/3 for the women) with small pebbles and carry it in front of you up and down the mountain. The biggest burpee maker of them all was the spear throw. You get one chance to throw a spear at a hay bale Spartan target. The spear has to stick. ONE. CHANCE.  Yep I came close but you know the saying… horse shoes and hand granades…

I learned very early in the race, this is not a place for “every man for himself” mentality. This is a place for first timers and experienced Spartans to come together, uplifting, supporting, cheering and helping each other all along the way. I cried so many times and for different reasons, heck sitting here thinking about it I still get a little teary. There were people who had finished their own race come back over and help AJ finish my burpees for the rope climb! I was so beat down I didn’t have the capacity to do more than 5 burpees without feeling like I was going to pass out. They knocked em out like it was nothing. Strangers boosted me up and pushed me over obstacles. Some held out a hand to help me up. Others gave me a conversational distraction from my fear of heights atop the A-frame cargo net. Another kind soul named Katie stopped and helped encourage me thru the barbed wire. Most people were rolling thru, we were crawling; that rolling crap for that long makes me dizzy.

My EVERYTHING was challenged and I came out on top! I still can’t believe it myself. I have officially conquered the mountain and finished a Spartan Sprint!

Let’s recap the obstacles:

starting wall: CLEARED with assistance
hurdles: CLEARED with assistance
walls: CLEARED
Mud Crawl: CLEARED
Rolling mud/Dunk wall: CLEARED
Slippery Wall: CLEARED with help
Barbed wire: CLEARED
Spear Throw: failed
Rope Climb: failed
Plate Drag: CLEARED
Herc Hoist: CLEARED
Olympus: CLEARED with help
7 foot wall: failed
Inverted Wall: CLEARED with help
A-frame: CLEARED
Twister: failed
Bucket Brigade: CLEARED
Multi Rig: failed

Fire Jump: CLEARED

I died. I have been reborn over the fire and now…

I’m not quite ready for a beast or super but there are other venues this summer for Spartan Sprints…. maybe! I said never again when I finished this one and I’m already looking at the schedule for this year! Oh man I’m in trouble!

Part of me will never be the same and I am glad for that. If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you right? I have been changed. The Spartan community is a unique creature in itself as well. I ended up finding out the names of most the Spartans who helped me on the mountain. Part of me will never forget them. They and that mountain were part of an experience I do not wish to soon forget. 

What is something you’ve done and conquered? Did it scare you? Would you do a Spartan?

Check 3 and 4 off of my 40 by 40 list!

I’ll Show You My… Resolutions!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we are doing a New Year Resolutions post! Follow along in our series as we show you bits and pieces of our lives and who we are in our Mommy & Lifestyle Blog Collab. This month Katie, Tracy and I are joined by Dara and Jamie.

Each New Year seems to bring with it hope of revitalization and renewal of ourselves whether it be mentally, spiritually, physically or all of these aspects. Some of the more common “goals” seem to be to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, quit sugar, read more, spend more time with the family, etc. Usually by the end of January most people have quit their New Year’s resolutions.

I am no exception! For the last few years we have sat down as a family to write out our personal and family resolutions. Each year a few of our goals are met but for the most part we have forgotten or lacked in one way or another. This year I have chosen a different approach. First AJ and I sat down and discussed things we want to improve upon as a couple and as parents.

  • planning out Family Home Evening (FHE) for each quarter
  • consistently saying prayers and reading scriptures as a family each night
  • say yes more often
  • slower to anger
  • focus more on the whos than the whats

Some of my personal resolutions are linked to my 40 by 40 goals.

  • continue working out to get into better shape and a healthier weight (my ultimate goal is currently 175 lbs but I will see how my body shapes out as I get closer)
  • participate in and finish my first Spartan race
  • read scriptures daily in my personal study
  • find and make more “me” time
  • make memories instead of stressing about cleaning
  • including more whole foods with meals (yep means more meal planning)
  • get pregnant – yes I said it, now hopefully it will manifest!
  • read more! in addition to spiritual enlightenment I want to read one self-improvement and one novel per month… realistically it’ll probably be once a quarter…
  • be able to interpret for ASL

I really am looking forward to finishing a Spartan race this year. Most of the time I am elated and can hardly wait… other times the thought terrifies me. I look back over the last year and realize I have become stronger and may be able to handle it. This incoming year shows much promise and room for growth. Whatever 2017 might hold I am waiting with open arms to embrace my future!

Tell me some of your resolutions or goals for 2017. What are you focusing on this year? Do you make New Year’s goals?


Revisit 40

I had a reality check moment the other day. I was filling out a survey and I had to select which age group I belong in. My age wasn’t in my normal bracket, I had to check the next box! Oh man, only 5 more years until I’m officially in my 40s!!

Which reminds me, how is my progress on my 40 by 40 goals? What?! I have not been putting a great effort into my completing my list. Sure, one here and there have been accomplished. The point of creating the list was to have life experiences. Let’s take a look at the goals and my progress. If you see something on my list you can help me with, please let me know!

1. Get to a healthy body/lifestyle. I am still a work in progress. I have reached my pre-pregnancy weight from Baby K. 

2. Complete our family. Still no news on this front. 

3. Run and complete 5k. Done in combination with #4.

4. Complete a MudRun/FunRun/WarriorDash race. DONE. I “ran” an Insane Inflatable 5k a few months ago. 

5. Go on a cruise.

6. Visit at least 1/3 of the LDS temples, in America. 

7. Be free of unsecured debt and have rainy day fund built up comfortably. 

8. Travel to Jerusalem.

9. Read all Jane Austin’s novels. 

10. Go sky diving, at least once.

11. Go to a major league sports game with AJ.

12. Go to a movie alone.

13. Go camping with just the husband. 

14. Visit the beach/ocean/shore on the East Coast. We visited the Chesapeake Bay last month, walking on the beaches there, water from the Atlantic…

15. Attend a show on Broadway. Does Rockettes count?

16. Go to a concert in a park.

17. Write a letter to myself to read in 10 years.

18. Go scuba diving.

19. Learn a foreign language, fluently. 

20. ID and permanently remove a bad habit. Bad habit TBD.

21. Visit and help out at a food kitchen. 

22. Go to a mystery dinner. 

23. Learn to crochet. 

24. Organize all my old pictures and put them with my new ones into albums/scrapbooks.

25. Take a dance class. 

26. Actually make at least half the crafts on my Pinterest craft board.

27. Send notes/cards for every birthday, anniversary and event during one year for all my close friends and family.

28. Randomly send 12 “just because” gifts to unsuspecting friends/family members.

29. Donate my hair. DONE

30. Learn how to play the guitar. 

31. Learn and be fluent in ASL. In progress

32. Take a weekend trip to Vermont during the fall.

33. Go rafting and/or canoeing down the Delaware River.

34. Hike part of the Appalachian trail. 

35. Be more self-reliant on fixing my car. 

36. Really learn how to sew on my sewing machine.

37. Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

38. Learn to surf, and do it.

39. Start a garden to grow own produce, and keep it up.

40. Take time out of my day, at least once a month to catch up with an old friend, via phone, visit or letter.

Oven Cleaning

When was the last time you cleaned your oven? What do you use to clean it? How often do you clean it? Is it gas or electric? Do you have a self cleaning option?

Welcome to oven cleaning anonymous where we don’t judge how long it has been since you last cleaned your oven. Who really wants to get in there and clean the oven anyway? NOT ME! It has been at least 18 months since my oven was last good and cleaned. When it was cleaned I used Oven Off or Easy Off whatever that chemical clean oven in a can spray is called, lemon scented. Lemon scented chemicals…

Yesterday I decided enough was enough! I got off the bandwagon and pulled out all the stops (racks, pieces, doors, you get it). I pondered cleaning with baking soda and vinegar, or maybe even the chemical in a can, but then I remembered BKF! Yes Bar Keeper’s Friend! I have some on hand for getting the iron stains out of our bathroom (well water is spectacular for iron deposits). With cleaners, gloves, sponges and rags at hand I began taking apart the stove. First out were the racks and into a large trash bag with ammonia tied up and outside for a good soaking.

The bottom of my oven has what appears to be a lady scratched into the surface. This made me hesitate to use anything too abrasive as I didn’t want to make it worse. After three bowls of dirty water and barely making a dent I decided the sponge was too gentle. Out came the big guns, steel wool pads. First I used the softest I have 00, then upgraded to coarse, level 3 for removing paint and rust. Steel wool 03 and BKF was the ticket! Bye bye guck!

I didn’t get everything off as well as I had wanted but it was a definite start. To see the difference, the left side was after I had finished scrubbing and the right had not been touched yet. After scrubbing everything as well as I could (and breaking my oven light in the process) I put it all back together. I didn’t want to leave the chemicals in the oven so I ran the self cleaning option to burn any excess off. Hopefully it would also remove any stubborn stains I couldn’t get out with the elbow grease. It was my first time using a self cleaning option on an oven; I was not certain of what the results would be.


That is one dang good looking clean oven! Now that I have scoured and completely cleaned the oven I will be using the self cleaning option more often. So much easier to keep something clean in the first place! UGH lesson learned on that one!

A Place for All Things

Hello, my name is Christina and I am a hoarder.

I’m not a hoarder to the point where I need serious intervention but I will admit I have a problem. I have been slowly purging things here and there from our home but nothing completely. My worst space is probably my attic. However I can find things tucked away in almost any room of my home. I do not like it!

A few days ago I mentioned Konmari, and a friend told me about A Bowl Full of Lemons. There are aspects of each method I want to incorporate. Maybe eventually I will be able to completely organize and decluter my home. For now I will take bits and pieces.

Let’s start in the closet. Our master bedroom closet currently houses clothes for myself, AJ, and Baby K. We have a five drawer dresser outside the closet as well. It is a tall dresser as opposed to a long vanity dresser. Most of our clothes are on hangers, making it easy to purge, but you know I don’t.

Konmari suggests dumping everything out of the closet completely and only putting back what you absolutely need/want. The book talks about emotional ties with items, and an item bringing happiness. If an item no longer brings you happiness and is in good using condition, donate it so it can bring happiness to someone else. Those aren’t the exact words, but the jist. Then sort into piles and organize back into the closet in a now clean organized manner. The point of this is to declutter (a lot) and simplify. I am all about simplifying but I don’t think Konmari understood the necessity of a four season wardrobe! I am not going to wear all of my clothes in a three or even six month time span.

Enter the Christina purge.

I have clothes I know I will probably never get rid of; my wedding dress and some ball gowns (hello! I’m an Army wife – we have to have those!) will always be lingering in the back of my closet.

Aside from those items I look through my clothes to determine what I really don’t like anymore. This yields maybe three items. Instead of dumping my clothes on the floor or the bed I turn my hangers around. WHAT!? Yes my hangers are backwards on my rods. As I wear my clothes (wash and hang them back up) the hanger is turned around the right way. This allows a visual of what I do and do not wear. After a year (again, four seasons!) Whatever items are remaining on backwards hangers MUST go. Now in the meantime if I find clothes still backwards and I won’t wear them, then out of the closet they go! Closet space is a precious commodity!

Bam, done! OK not quite. I treat each person’s clothes individually. Baby K isn’t going to be in his clothes long enough so I simply clean out clothes he has grown out of and put in a bin for storage (we plan on having one more). AJ’s clothes were the first to be hung backwards so his clothes are already purged and cleaned out.

Unfortunately while in the abyss (attic) I found three space saver storage bags packed full of clothes, my clothes. ugh! Those came down and were sorted thru. This I did as a dump and purge. Three packed bags became 1.5 bags now under my bed instead of in the abyss.

While my closet may not be up to ABFOL or Konmari standards, it is a start. Eventually there will be a place for all things and all things will be in their place.


Begin 2016!

Happy New Year!

A new year is upon us, 2016. This last year went by too quickly, as proof, #3 decided to turn 9 month old this last weekend! Oy vey where does the time go? His check up was great. I love our pediatrician, Dr. Sarah Little. Frog snorts (AJ’s nickname for #3) was born at a healthy weight and still is healthy, only on the lower end of the scale. Dr. Little assures us he is on his own curve and steadily growing. As his food provider I can guarantee you this kid eats! Nine months old, 16lbs 14oz and he is 28 inches long! When she checked his hips “Wow do you see that!?” She was referring to how stiff and strong his hips and muscles have become. This happens when a baby is ready to walk. Did I mention NINE MONTHS! He is grabbing and walking along furniture all day long, so when he does take that first step it will not be a surprise.   For comparison (I know not all kids are the same) #1 (now 15) started walking around 15 months, with #2 taking her first steps around 18 months. Now of course I can’t keep either of them down and #3 is soon to follow!

My goal (resolution, improvement, or whatever other word you wish to use) for this year is to have a cleaner home. No I do not expect to have a magazine picture home I have little ones! I do expect everything to have a place and a place for everything. Being a slight pack rat does damage to my closet and storage space. As such I am decluttering, cleaning up, and cleaning out.  Many of you may have heard of the Konmari method. I have not read the book but have gleaned some information on other blogs and from friends who have read the book. One of the biggest pieces of advice I find myself using is tackling it all at once. Usually when I clean I will move from room to room cleaning as I walk around. This is great but I never end up with a completely clean house. I will write a more detailed post later but after spending only one day purging my room I feel I have cleared so much from my home and mind. As a bonus, I donate items where they can and will be used by those who are in need. Win-win in my book!

What are some of your resolutions to improve yourself this year? Do you have one big goal for the year or several small short term goals? Tell me about them, I’d love to hear what 2016 has in store for you!

Tis the Season!

Merry Christmas! Yes I know that was last week but between baking, being pregnant, finishing up on Christmas plans and just being myself I did not post for Christmas. I have a few fun posts coming up. So stay tuned for some NEW adventures in baking, Christmas events around our house, traditions, lia sophia, jamberry as well as one or two giveaways! Who doesn’t like free stuff? Psshh…. you know you do so stay tuned!

40 by 40 update

I’ve been thinking about my 40 list. Some of these things are in progress

#6: I am trying to find a way to track the temple visits. I might also make that just temples in USA, not worldwide as I do not see myself traveling internationally any time soon.  Below is a map of all the temples and using it I am going to mark off all the ones I have been to.

united-statesunited-statesAs you can see from the city names on the map, I haven’t actually been inside and participated in services in too many of the temples. I have seen a lot of them from the outside but have not been inside for ordinances. I’m just thankful we don’t live in the mid west. At least we have a temple being built in Philadelphia, slightly closer to home than our currently assigned temple in DC.

29. Donate my hair. This is actually something I am currently working on, does it still count?This one is done! On Halloween I had an appointment to get a trim, my hair was getting gangly and too much was falling out, signs of a much needed trim. I wasn’t ready for the full monty so to speak so it was just a trim, until I let myself, Katie and my mom talk me into just getting it done.

Before – check out that length!
My donated hair braid.
After, I was in shock still at how short my hair is now.