Monday, January 27, 2014

A Photo Challenge for YOU!

Take those cameras off the shelf because I've got a fun challenge for you!

The winter months have been a bit dull around these parts, so I decided to create a 30 Day Photo Challenge to give me a reason to keep snapping pictures.  I've geared it toward all things western because I thought it would be fun to see life through the lens of cowboy culture.

I'd love for you all to take the challenge, too! 

Not a photographer? Neither am I!!! It's fine. Snap your photos with your camera phone if you have to. Just play along for the fun of it because, really, what else is there to do in the dead of winter?

I'll be starting my 30 day challenge on FEBRUARY 1st, and I'll try my best to share my photos each day on both my blog, and also on Instagram.

If you're on Instagram and want to follow along or participate in the challenge there, just look for me. 

My instagram username is:  whoa_nellie

Also, if you decide to do the challenge along with me, please leave a comment on my blog or tell me on Instagram so we can all can hop on over to your blog/ Instagram to see your pics. I'd love to see what you come up with!!!! You can do this challenge however you'd like. Post your pictures daily, one week at a time, or whenever you feel like it. 

Just copy and paste the challenge photo above, and put it on your blog post if you'd like your readers to share in the challenge with you. Share it as much as you'd like!

Get creative! If you don't live in the country, it's OK! Just interpret the words however you'd like to.

I can't wait to see those photos! 

Get ready to start looking at the world through your camera lens next week,


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Cold, Hard Truth

When I was young and in the peak of physical fitness, I once witnessed an odd sight that I couldn't rectify in my mind.  I had been jogging around the lake, when a large lady passed me on the fly.  For an entire hour I marveled at the fact that an older woman who looked like she had the body of a potato with toothpick legs was kicking my booty and running circles around me.

How could it be?

Fast forward 15 years and three kids, and I am starting to become the potato lady.  I have been jogging 5 miles a day for nearly 5 months and have lost very little weight. I can do cardio all day long, but I'm not seeing the results that I'm looking for. I'm just not toning up.

I am living proof that you can still resemble a potato and jog 5 miles a day. It seemed impossible, but it's true.

So after 12 years of hitting the dusty dirt roads with a jogging stroller, I finally gave in.....

I joined the gym.

I need more than just cardio. I need nothing short of a miracle to help me firm up this body.

So 4-5 days a week, I hit the gym with 4 of my dear friends, and we subject ourselves to an hour of torture in a class called "Power Sculpting".

I go with my friends because misery loves company. We hold each other accountable to make sure we show up.

Yesterday I texted my work-out buddy:

ME: "Are you going to aerobics this morning?"
HER: "Ya I'll be there, but D won't be there. She's sick."
ME: " I'm sick, too....... Sick of being fat."
HER: "SOL!  (Snorting out loud)

The first day that I walked into the aerobics room was a big eye opener.  It was wall-to-wall mirrors.

Let me tell ya, there's NO better truth teller than seeing yourself work out for an hour surrounded by mirrors. You can suck in your gut for a few seconds while you check your outfit out in the bathroom mirror and tell yourself that you look fine, but I'm hear to testify that you CANNOT suck in your gut for a full hour while doing jumping jacks and burpees. You see every jiggle that you have. So many unflattering angles in those evil mirrors... If that doesn't make you want to work harder, I don't know what will.

So I'm crunching, squatting, jumping, jogging, twisting and lifting my way to a (hopefully) more healthy body.  I'm not aspiring to be one of those fitness girls on Pinterest with the 6-pack abs and perfectly sculpted gluteus maximus. I've had 3 kids. I just want to jiggle a little less, and slim down a little more.

After the first week of classes, I could barely bend down to sit on the toilet.  My new mantra is "Pain is weakness leaving the body. Pain is weakness leaving the body, Pain is weakness leaving the body..."

So I'm on a quest to look less like a potato and more like a... like a... oh I don't know. Maybe more like a long, slender stick of celery.  Ya, celery. I like that look a lot better.

Keeping it real for the other mamas who struggle,


Saturday, January 4, 2014

7 Random Things

Happy New Year, friends! I'm hoping to really get back to my blogging roots this year, because writing about everyday life is something I love to do. Plus, the whole reason I started this blog was to have a written journal for my family to look back on over the years.  I kind of got sidetracked with Facebook and Instagram, but you just can't preserve a story with hash tags and status updates.

So without further adieu, here is my first "7 Random Things" post of 2014!

1.On my birthday, I woke up and took a good, long look at myself in the mirror. Scary, I know. I decided that it was high time that I start taking care of my skin. For heaven's sake, I am now in my mid 30's and I'm still using teenager facial wash. It was time to say goodbye to junior high, and get a grown-up skin care system. I have the worst skin on the planet...sensitive to everything,  it breaks out like a teenager once a month, it's dry as the Sahara from the teenage soap, and I'm ALWAYS working outside in the sun. I took one look at my leathery, chapped hands and realized I was one decade away from the same look on my face. I wear sunscreen/ moisturizer everyday, but I needed to re-vamp my whole routine.

(I have tried a ton of  Pinterest face wash ideas and none of them worked. If anyone even says the word coconut oil in the comments, I will give you 10,000 lashes with a wet noodle. It works on body skin, but did not work on my face. Tried it. Breakout city.)

After some research, and the interviews of several older women with flawless, porcelain skin, there was one thing they all had in common.  They used "Philosophy" skin care products. I decided to throw caution to the wind, and used my birthday money to order some kits.  I have to say that it's been a month and I am really noticing a big difference in my skin. It's softer, healthier, and more even in tone.  I've never had this many products in my life, but they all have different purposes, and so far, I like every one. They seem to last a long time, as well.

2. For Christmas, I was given footwear for all seasons.

My husband bought me a new pair of Bogs for winter. They make my old mud boots seem like dollar store purchases. They feel like warm, fluffy pillows for my feet, and they're good for temps down to -40F. For 15 years I've worn un-insulated rubber boots with wool socks while my toes froze off in the mud.  I can't believe I've gone so many years without them. I didn't know what I was missing, that's for sure! I may never be able to go back to my old boots, again. My husband spoils me rotten.
Bogs Ulta High boot 51537 outdoor high boot

On the flip-side, my brother got me some flip-flops, and every single day I stare at them wishing it was sunny and 75 so I could wear them without snide remarks from strangers about my toes freezing off.  Just 5 more months to go!

3. The kids hooked me up in the kitchen department this Christmas with a little help from Dad.  You know, I'm a sucker for kitchen gadgets. You can never have too many.  I got a new waffle iron, flat whisk, biscuit cutters, and a dough scraper/cutter thing-a-ma-bob.  I've always wanted one of those for cutting dough into rolls, and making bagels. I'm sure my knife would have continued to do the job just fine, but why settle for a knife when you can cut dough with some other gizmo?

4. For the first time in years, we stayed up and rang in the new year with friends, and I barely made it. I'm too old for that party 'til midnight stuff. Our son said he never wants to stay up that late, again. He's an 80 year old trapped in a 12 year old's body. What kid doesn't want to stay up 'til midnight?

5. We have had several weeks of temperatures in the 50's. That is absolutely unheard of this time of year.  We've been taking full advantage of the sunshine with some January hikes on trails that normally have a foot of snow on them by now.  I feel torn because I know we need the moisture and snow pack, but without a cheap source of heat, these mild temperatures have really saved us some money on our heating bill.  I'm sure we'll make up for it with snow in June or something ridiculous like that, but for now I'm soaking up sunshine.

6. My husband and I just finished reading two Dave Ramsey books from the library to start our new year off on the right financial foot.  We read More Than Enough, and The Total Money Makeover.  We've followed Dave Ramsey's financial principles for many years, but it's always a good refresher to go back and review things.  Whenever I get a case of the wants, Dave Ramsey reminds me to simmer down and be content with what I have. 

7.  I'm absolutely in puppy love with Tater.  He is an amazing dog, but he definitely has his naughty moments.

He chews on people...

And toilet paper...

And art supplies.

But he's getting better every day. Goodness, that dog is smart, but he has the impulse control of a toddler.

He likes to sleep in laundry baskets,

and Chigger's bed,

and in the middle of the Nativity scene. 

But his favorite thing to do is eat a little horse poop snack, roll in cow manure, and dig in the mud.  He doesn't understand why he has to have a bath. He works hard to smell like a cow dog, but Mom just keeps trying to make him civilized.

Happy New Year!