New Shoe High and The Treehouse Museum

It's Friday!! That should mean happy things for those of you with weekends off! 

I started my morning with a cold and windy run. I'm getting pretty tired of the rainy weather here in Utah, but I have to admit, it sure is pretty. 
I took my new shoes out for a quick 5 mile run this morning. It's funny how you don't realize how bad your old shoes were until you lace up new ones and feel the difference. It was amazing! 
I started out pretty slow. I expected some lag and pains from having ran 20 miles only a day ago. But after I warmed up I got the new shoe high and somehow got tons of energy to push it hard the last 2.5 miles back. I was super happy about that best pace! I usually can't hit that on flat terrain for very long, so it was exciting to see, even though I really should have just taken it easy today. Oops. 
I came back and got cleaned up and we all had breakfast.
My mom made French toast and sausage; two things I totally hate. I knew that was coming though, so I brought along my yogurt and berries, and tried mixing straight protein powder with my almond/coconut blend milk. It was good! I have protein shake camping options now! 
But then I froze my freaking butt off!! I was cold from the run and had the cold breakfast, so the two just froze me inside and out. I finally snuggled up in my moms covers in her trailer bed for a while to warm back up. 
I wish I was as snuggled up as this little cutie. 
After everyone got ready, we headed to Ogden to the Treehouse Museum. Kennedy went there last year with her preschool class and was excited to go back. Cory, Brynlie, and I had never been. That place is incredible! They have so many fun things to do! I took a billion pictures so I grouped some together to avoid spraining your thumb scrolling through them all. I support thumb health. You're welcome. 

We worked up quite the appetite for lunch. Since we were close, we drove to Roy to try out the Burger Bar. I saw this place on a KSL news list of best places to eat in Utah, or something like that. I've been wanting to try it out but never had a reason to go to Roy until today. 
It was really good! The Big Ben burger was basically the size of my face. And their fries were amazing as well. You can trust my review on that because I am a major French fry snob. We all dined in the back of the truck and thoroughly enjoyed our lunch. 
I'm not doing so hot at hitting my macros these last two days... But sometimes a burger and fries is just called for. 

We went back to camp and did camping things, like:

Playing with worms
Climbing trees 
Going "hiking" (walking around the campground)
Playing in the dirt 
And having a campfire while being so dirty it makes you grumpy 
We had tin foil dinners and s'mores and then everyone decided to go to bed earlier than last night. I think we all wore ourselves out. 

We go back home tomorrow. Although I'm really excited for a hot shower, I'm always sad to leave the care-free life that is camping. I love it. See you tomorrow! 


Willard Bay

It's perfectly normal for 15 family members to go camping at Willard Bay, in April, when we don't even own a watercraft, right? 

My brother really wanted to go camping while he was here and my mom wanted to make that happen. It's still too cold and snowy to hit the mountains and we didn't have enough days to head south, so we opted to stay close where the weather would be ok. Hence, Willard Bay. So we're kind of having a stay-cation. It's been pretty fun so far. Prepare for a buttload of pictures. 
Interesting, no? 

We arrived shortly after leaving the house and quickly discovered the mosquitos are out in full force. Thankfully they're nothing some bug spray can't handle, but Cory happened to have these in the trailer and they've been put to good use. 
We discovered today that my niece is allergic to bug spray, so she's been wearing one of these every time she goes outside. And since she's doing it, Kennedy has to, too! 
I told Kennedy tonight as we were walking to the bathroom that I felt like I hadn't seen her all day because she's been playing and that I missed her. She squoze my hand and said, "Well you just have to tell me that!" She's growing up so fast! 

How many men does it take to set up a tent? 
Since we were 5 minutes away and none of us had ever been there before, we decided to check out Smith and Edwards, which is a HUGE store in a small town. 
They literally have everything!! This is about 1/3 of the store. Can you tell it goes WAAAAAAYYY back? 
When I say everything, I mean everything. 

It was pretty darn cool, and we walked away with some stuff we didn't know we needed until we saw it, like these Moon Pies. If you're a fellow Simpson's fan, you'll appreciate this. They were gross, by the way. 

After we wore ourselves out at the store, we came back to camp and played lots of games, had a fire, cooked hot dogs, and just hung out. 
She is an adorable, devious little she-devil. Poor little Brit never saw it coming. 

Some of us got more tired than the others. 

Hopefully we all get a good nights rest tonight so we can party hard again tomorrow. I'm ready for more adventures!



Final Long Run

This morning was my final long run before tapering. 20 freaking miles. 
I opted for a tougher route this morning. Except for about 2 miles, the whole thing was uphill or flat. I'm obviously not a fast runner, but that pace on 18 miles of hills feels pretty dang good. I also had an unexpected route change due to an obscene amount of mosquitos on a trail I was going to run, which lead to me getting lost, which lead to me having to finish on an uphill. It wasn't fun. I also got super hungry towards the end and the last two miles I got really sick and dizzy and shaky. BUT, I did it!! It's done! And I ran 20 miles almost 30 minutes faster than I did last year on an uphill route. That leaves me feeling more ready for Ogden but a little scared about how sick I got. Hopefully with food at the aid stations I'll be alright. 

It was also the final run with my first pair of Hoka's. I had to hit the "retire" button on my shoe tracking app. I felt like someone should be playing Taps on the trumpet as I put them away in a box; their final resting place. 
But when I pulled out the bright, amazing-smelling new ones, I was less sad. Out with the old, in with the new. 
Cory picked me up and I made him buy me a Betos breakfast burrito, that I played a disappearing act with. Now you see it, now it's gone. I gobbled that thing up in about 2 minutes. And it was absolute perfection!! 

A few hours later, my brother arrived!!! Kennedy was super excited and has been nothing but happiness and smiles since they got here. It's been much noisier and crazy with 6 kids in the house now, but we love having them over! 

I also got my hair done again tonight, a little more how I wanted it. My friend Jana did it this time. She did a fantastic job! The only problem is she had to bleach over some spots that were previously dark, which left some brassy looking blonde streaks, but I think by the next time it'll look perfect! 
It actually looks super yellow in this light... I promise it's not that bad. 

That's all I've got for you today. I'm pretty wiped out and I have to go pack to go camping tomorrow. But I'll be back with more stuff soon. 



Monday Madness

Sometimes I am just blown away at how much God loves us. It's unreal. 

Saturday was a very hard day for me. After I blogged I sat in the dark, alone, and just sank deeper into the self-pity and unexplainable despair that had crushed me that week. I decided to go to bed but first opened my Gospel Library app to read my scriptures. It was opened to Elder Hollands most recent talk (which rocked my world) that he gave in general conference a couple weeks ago. I planned to read it again a few nights ago and ran out of time. I decided to read it. Can I just say, it was just what I needed? I know his main focus in that talk was referring to gospel related trials and such, but when I applied it to my current feelings and weird situation, it fit perfectly, and I was flooded with peace and strength again. 
I don't know what took over my life. It was like a blanket of darkness. I honestly have no explanation for it, except maybe I have more struggles with depression than I realize? I don't know. Either way, it was just what I needed. I'm not struggling to think positively anymore. Yippie!! 

I pulled out my Kindle last week, that I haven't used in months, to buy and read a book. Brynlie decided it was hers, and I've had to hide it ever since. She does look cute playing it though. 
Also, after all the trauma it went through, Kennedy's seed has sprouted! She is so excited!! 
She's been saying the funniest stuff lately. Yesterday I was brushing her hair and she had tangles and screamed, "Don't! You're going to pull my head off!" 

Brynlie may not be saying as many funny things, but she's sure doing a lot of funny stuff. 
Those girls of mine are the best. And they sure love their Aunt Natalie. 
And Uncle Collin is growing on them, too. 

Ok, enough randomness. 

So with my emotional nosedive last week I also failed to keep my diet. I've been looking over my food logs and have found most of my sugar consumption has been in my vanilla yogurt, bananas, and condiments. The yogurt was an easy switch, I'm just eating plain Greek yogurt now. For my bananas, I've decided to only use 1/3 in each protein shake I make with a banana, which means LOTS more to bag and freeze. 
Condiments were tricky. I love BBQ sauce, ketchup, salad dressings, etc. I've seen on Instagram people posting about stuff from Walden Farms, which is a company that makes calorie, sugar, fat, gluten, and carb free condiments like BBQ sauce, dressings, syrups... You name it. I decided to order some and give it a try. 
Now, I'm not stupid. I know clean eating means nothing processed or with preservatives. Clean = natural and these obviously aren't natural. But, I figured with the small amount I'm actually using of them, for now, that will be fine until I learn how to fine tune things like that in my diet. I used the honey BBQ sauce for my lunch today and it was good! 

I have to do my long run earlier this week (Wednesday) because my brother is coming into town this weekend! Yay!! Because of that, I'm ditching the gym this whole week. I'm not happy about it, but I know it's wise for me. So today we didn't do our usual gym thing. But I did get in 4 slow and easy miles on the tready
And finished with some push-ups, just for the heck of it. 
My legs felt pretty good while running and I wanted to push the pace so bad! But I had to keep reminding myself that I needed to take it easy and I could push it on Wednesday. 

Today I also met with a nutritionist-type guy to discuss my diet since I am doing so much physical work. We tweaked my macros even more and I get to meet with him once a week for the next 4 weeks and get scanned to see if they're working. They have a super fancy machine that scans body fat percentage and muscle mass and all that jazz. I'm thrilled to have someone with a physical, scientific way to measure that, AND to check and see if it's working. I've had a couple people calculate my macros and send me on my way without caring if they're right. Plus with his count I get to eat more calories, so, win!! 

Kennedy is beyond excited to see her cousins! Two more days! I'm sure I'll have plenty to blog about while they're here. 



Well That Sucked

I elected to get up at 5:00 am on a Saturday morning and go running... In the wind... The strong wind... 

To say it sucked is an understatement. 
12 miserable and slow miles this morning. The way out I had huge wind gusts from the east trying to push me over, the way back was uphill and against strong headwind. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger... Right? 

This was hands down my worst run of this training cycle. It wasn't just the wind, either. Because I've been so emotional this week, I've also been super hard on myself and haven't been eating the best. I felt that today. I have lots of songs on my running playlist who's lyrics remind me of where I've been in my past, so those emotions can push me and help me see how far I've come and what I've been able to conquer in my life. I tried to listen to those today and help me feel more accomplished but it didn't work. I'm not sure what the deal is. It's starting to weigh me down a lot. Maybe it's the constant change in seasons here in Utah? Yesterday it was in the 80's, today it's in the 40's and rainy. That's been happening a lot. 

After I stretched, we got ready and went to see Grandma Hunter who just had shoulder surgery. But first we went to the store to buy her flowers and some essentials, like bouncy balls. 
Brynlie kept walking around the store and holding her ball up to everyone she saw and would say "ball!" with a huge grin on her face. This lady was NOT impressed. I kind of wanted to push her. 
We had fun visiting with Papa and Grandma and then came home for lunch.

My mom babysat Allison again today. My Dad asked to hold her and I had to go downstairs and start crying after I snapped this photo. 
He sat there with her for probably about an hour while she slept in his arms. I started crying because I know my dad can't see her face. He can't see well enough to know what any of his grandkids look like, and that deeply upsets me. My dad has been through so much in his life. He has put up with a lot and still has a lot to deal with regarding his eyesight. But he has never rolled over and given up because of it. He has always worked harder and longer to make sure he matters; to make sure his kids matter and to provide for us. His sight is nearly gone now (that hasn't always been the case) and I find it so unfair and so cruel that he is robbed of the chance to enjoy watching his grandkids grow up. After all he's done, he deserves to see that. But, even though he can't, he still gets involved and enjoys them in any way he can. He still loves them and tries to let them know that. My girls know he's special and they are super protective of him. I'm so lucky to have a dad like him and have such a great example of what enduring to the end really looks like. He had better have mountains of rewards waiting for him in heaven, because no one I know deserves it more. I sure love that man. 

The rest of our day was incredibly boring. I spent hours on the couch visiting and watching it rain while the kids ran around and laughed and played with their bouncy balls. I'm more sore than I expected to be, so hopefully all that built in wind-resistance training is building plenty of muscle haha! Oh and also, this made me freak out a little bit.