Do you remember our first blanket donation? Our babies were exactly one year old. We donated on their birthday. If you want to read about it, scroll down and see the menu on the right. You can read all about it. Oh, that was such a great day.
We haven't stopped donating! Every year we donate blankets. We gather the blanket donations all year and sometime close to the boys' birthdays, and close to Christmas, we donate. It's so rewarding to know that we are giving back and helping someone feel warmth and love.
We are taking donations still!! If you aren't local, then you can ship it to me! If you want to buy a blanket from Amazon, you can do that. If you want to make a blanket, you can do that! All sizes and all kinds of blankets are needed. Please. Donate a blanket if you can. It makes all the difference for the patient who receives it. (You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and use Blanket Donation in the subject line so I can find it.) Thank You!
School is back in session. We really didn't want it to come. We'd be happy if there was no school. But, to quote a song from the movie Mamma Mia, which I thoroughly enjoyed watching by myself, in my empty house, the day they went back to school, "rules must be obeyed".
2 Grade Schoolers. 1 Middle Schooler. 2 High Schoolers.
My kids were happy about school. They really were...but we made a fun video the morning of. Just for laughs.
The day Kamy turned 16, this spring, she applied at our local Chic Fil A, which was built about 18 months ago and we were all so happy to have this franchise in our tiny town! From that moment, when discussing future jobs, Kamy would always say she was going to work there...which was good, because:
When discussing future jobs, we would always tell Kamy the places she could work. The list was short. Chic Fil A.
However, after two months with her application on file, we hadn't heard anything. So, as attentive and concerned parents, we found ourselves in Chic Fil A one evening, and happened to be talking to the manager about what it would take for someone to get hired. Namely, our daughter.
"As much as I'd love to tell you that coming in here and checking back on the status of her application would help secure a job, what it really takes is a phenomenal application (on snagajob.com) and she would need to really stand out, in terms of community service, leadership, and social skills."
Well, we had her apply again; and this time, she inserted all of her school, church, and community interests, groups, and experience. You see, because she was applying for her first official job, she didn't have prior work experience to make her stand out. So, we had to put in all of her other experience, and highlight it so that she could show that she was an exemplary person. Which she is.
She was a choir group leader, a youth camp leader, a LINK leader at school. All good community leadership qualities. She had been babysitting for many years, had done housecleaning jobs, and is the oldest in her family ("My family has given me a lot of responsibility, being the oldest."-kamy). She also attends business meetings with her parents and has learned about personal development, leadership, service, and focus.
For months, whenever a new job listing would appear on snagajob.com, for Chic Fil A, Kamy would apply again. She probably applied between 5-10 times. We kept telling her, the more they see your name, the better!
Finally!! She got a call! Kamy was asked to come in for an interview. We looked up a lot of information on the company, how they like to hire, how to succeed at your first job interview, and how to act. She was ready!!
"Mom, I read a lot about interviews, and I don't think I should show up with my mom. Sorry."
So, I stayed in the car. For about 4 minutes. Then I went inside and ordered some chicken. And Lemonade. And fries. Ok, I ordered an entire meal. Then I sat, and waited, and watched.
While I was waiting, the hiring person came right next to me, and sat down by this nervous-looking boy, and started interviewing him. So I sorta listened in.
"What do you like to do in your free-time?" she asked the boy.
"Uh, I like to play xbox." he replied.
I almost snorted my lemonade. Bad answer! Chic Fil A is looking for people to represent their brand! Their culture! Their values!
Anyway, that interview didn't last long. Then, the lady grabbed Kamy, who was patiently waiting in a small waiting area, and they went outside to interview.
I couldn't eavesdrop, but Kamy looked great from what I could see, and without being a creeper mom, I tried to patiently wait until they were done...which was about 10 minutes later.
She seemed happy about the interview. I asked her if she was asked the question "What do you like to do in your free time?" and Kamy said that, indeed, she did get asked that question, to which she replied "I like to read books and go hiking with my family."
Ok, so Kamy was told that she would get a phone call at 3pm the following day, if she was hired.
If she did not get a phone call...that was her answer. No job.
We expectantly looked at our clocks all afternoon! We couldn't wait for 3pm! She must get a call. I mean...she MUST!! She is perfect for the job!
She didn't call.
Seriously? How could they not hire her?
And so, Kamy said "What do I do now? That's the only place I want to work!"
"So sorry, babe. I guess we start looking for other places to apply to." Kamy left...dejected, to go do her LINK prep at the high school to get ready for the incoming freshmen.
I get a call from Kamy.
"MoM!! Chic Fil A called me! They want me to come in again for a second interview! Tomorrow! I said 'Of course' and so, mom...they called me back!!"
And so, tomorrow came. I brought Kamy in for another interview, which really, wasn't an interview at all! It was a "Hey, we think you embody the brand of Chic Fil A and we think you are perfect for who we want to represent our culture and values. You are going to be a cashier/customer relations"
...and so. My baby girl got her first job! She starts next week!
I love Instagram. Anyone else share my feelings?
My username is Shainanunnelly
Feel free to look me up! That's where I post the most about my family. I mean...seriously. I post on Instagram the most, out of all the social media sites I have. Come have a look! Instagram/shainanunnelly
I'm not sure why it's so hard for me to lose the weight.
I do know that my thyroid and hormones are off balance.
After Kimble, it's no surprise. Stress is not my friend.
But I have managed to lose some weight. The picture below shows me at my heaviest, when Kimble was 1 year old. I lost 40 pounds, but it took a few years to do. And I worked my butt off.
Over the past few years, since that "after" picture, I've been up and down with my weight, gaining and losing the same 20 pounds over and over again. I'm currently in a "more weight" mode but I'm working on it. Same song different verse.
I've done a lot. I'm working on a lot. But right now, I'm focusing on consistency and good thoughts. Positivity goes a long way. I THINK it into action. And of course, Action comes before Results.
So, my mentality is, if I keep on going, I'll achieve it. Nothing will happen if I stop. So, I keep on going.
I prefer running outside. I love nature and the scenery it offers, so I switch up my route a lot, look for trails, and I run places that aren't crowded with people. Sometimes I run in the morning. Sometimes it's closer to midnight. I actually found that I have more energy later in the day, so I get faster times and enjoy it more, the later I run. I like running in the darkness too, and most times, The Husband will join me when it's dark. He likes it too.
The biggest thing I've discovered, is that there is an excuse for everything and everybody. You need to have your goal be bigger than the excuse. That is when the magic happens.
Again, I like it when Then Husband joins me. He definitely has to slow down his pace to match mine, but I'll get there.
Find joy in whatever goals you have, and then go after it with a vengeance. I'm happy with the path that I'm on, and I'm really looking forward to looking back and seeing how far I've come. Enjoy the journey.
I use a lot of products. I'm a great consumer. Really, most of us are, and we probably have something in common: We like to share a good thing.
We do it naturally. We do it often. We probably don't even realize that we are doing it. We tell other people about what we like, what works for us, what tastes good, what is a good deal, and we help each other promote products in other businesses.
I have a few products listed, that I love using/eating/drinking/wearing. Nobody told me to promote these, or asked me to do it. I just want to share a good thing...or two. Or five
1. Pueblo Green Chili Sauce.
I was recently shopping at SAM's club when I stopped by a product demo, and when I say recently, pretty much every week I am there. Sometimes a few times a week. Sometimes everyday. Ok. Back to the demo, which was a table filled with chips and salsa. Now, I don't think there are many times in my life that I have ever said no to chips and salsa, and so before my cart was completely stopped, I was making eyes at the lady who was about to change my salsa-loving life. I just didn't know it yet.
She was kind enough to give me a sample (and then two more when I asked for more) and it tasted so delicious, that I happily added a big jar of heaven salsa to my cart. I do love salsa, but I've never been keen on chunky salsa. I prefer my tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc, to be pureed. So I was extra happy that this salsa was thick, but nicely pureed and blended.
Now, it had a little kick. A bit more kick than I normally enjoy for my salsa-loving tastebuds, but the flavor is so intense and seasoned perfectly, that a little bit of salsa goes a long way. The heat doesn't come all at once, and so if you have more self-control than me, you can stop eating the salsa and only experience a mild salsa effect. However, if you eat and eat and eat and eat...like me....then you will begin to notice some heat. But it's not unbearable. It's really quite enjoyable.
Anyway, I think this salsa is pretty amazing. I haven't seen it demoed again at SAM's, but upon checking the label, I found a website. Being from Colorado, and living so close to where it comes from, I'm even happier to promote it. So, now everyone can enjoy this salsa and buy it online, at their convenience. You should buy this. It's delicious. Here is the website: www.parsnaturalfoods.com You can thank me later. And believe me, you will. Let me know what you think.
LushLips is a natural lip hydrated and plumper. The main ingredient in LushLips is hyaluronic acid, which is what our body makes in all of our lubricated areas, to keep it hydrated, mobile, and healthy. It's basically the world's best chapstick, and those of you who have been reading my blog long enough, know how addicted I was to chapsticks.
What I didn't realize, is that chapstick doesn't heal your lips with hydration. It only masks your lips. Lushlips actually penetrates to the cells in your lips to rehydrate them with the hyaluronic acid, and in turn, the cells get fat and happy because they are hydrated, and thus your lips plumpen and are more full because they are hydrated. Pretty cool, eh?
Lushlips also gives a nice sheen, which doubles as a lipgloss and as a protector for your lipstick, helping the color stay truer longer.
The pictures below show a 1 month difference, a before/after picture, of my lips, the day I started using lushlips (remember, I was a chapstick-aholic at this point) and 30 days later, using LushLips once or twice a day. Honestly, I noticed a big difference the first 24 hours.
I had no idea how wrinkled and unhydrated my lips were before. Chapstick does nothing. If you take anything away from this blog post, take this: stop using chapstick on your lips.
Ok, so you can actually buy LushLips through me. It's so good. I know you will love it, and it lasts a super long time. My first tube lasted 9 months. Here is the link to the website: https://shop.avisae.com/theroadtofreedom
3. Wella Bar
Another product I found at SAM's club, only this one wasn't demoed. I'm always looking for a good protein bar that I can grab on the go, and especially one I can use after a workout to give my body the protein it needs to recover. These were in the refrigerated section, which means that they are "fresh protein bars". They are organic too. They come in a 12 pack. 4 Powerful Peanut. 4 Cranberry Crunch, and 4 Peanut Cacao. My favorite is the Powerful Peanut, but all of them taste very similar. Lots of peanut-goodness here, so if you are allergic to nuts, stay far far away.
I couldn't find a place online where you can buy them, but here is the website the packaging links to: http://lockhartfoods.com You can contact them through that link and ask about where you can buy them. I hope our SAMs has them permanently. They taste very delicious and make me feel well-nourished before or after my workouts.
4. Avia Workout Pants (With Side Pocket)
I bought these capris a year or two ago, because of the side pocket. When I work out...and everytime I run, I bring my phone with me. I like to have my phone easily within reach, while I am running, so that I don't have to slow down my pace to check my mileage, change a radio station, or quickly answer a text...and these side pockets are perfect. I slide my phone into the pocket upside down, so that the earbud jack is facing up. I thread my earphone underneath my shirt, up to the top of my shirt, where I can easily grab them and put the earbuds in my ears. This way, the cord doesn't get in the way of my arm pumps as I'm running.
I bought these pants at Walmart. However, when I tried pulling up a link for you, I couldn't find the pants on the website. I couldn't even find them on Avia's website. So, I pulled up a few on Amazon that are made by a different company, but have the side pocket action that is so fabulously must-have. Here is the link to the amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field keywords=workout+legging+capris+side+pocket&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aworkout+legging+capris+side+pocket
I wear these almost every time I run. I wish I had more pairs. I will definitely be looking through that Amazon link and ordering some more. The side pockets are amazing. Totally the best.
5. Salomon Fellraisers Trail Shoes
I bought some new running shoes about 4 months ago, and while I picked out a good pair, I came across these trail shoes. They looked like they would solve my traction problem that I have when I'm running down the Colorado trails...namely The Incline. I'm always slipping and sliding on the loose gravel, and very paranoid to go as fast as I want to go. The bottoms of these shoes are awesome and grippy and I decided that I would come back and get them another time.
Fast forward 4 months, and I haven't been able to get them out of my mind, so I finally went and bought them. It was a belated birthday present for me. The Husband knew that I've been drooling over them, and he agreed that they were awesome shoes. So, I took them out on the trail the next day. Not on The Incline, but on one of my running trails, to see how they would do with the loose gravel. I wanted to work them in a bit before I took them for a stroll on The Incline.
Oh My! They are awesome!! They truly are. Totally my favorite shoe ever. They are grippy and comfy and agile and they made me feel super cool. I'm pretty sure they helped me be super fast too. I am crazy about them.
My feet feel so good wearing them. That part was a bit shocking. I normally really hate the feeling of shoes on my feet. I can't get them off fast enough, when I get in the house....but these Salomons. So comfy. They feel really good.
So, here is the link to the shoes. I normally wear a full size bigger than what I regularly wear, when I'm running-shoe shopping. However, with the Fellraisers, I was only half a size bigger, and there was still plenty of room for the toes to wiggle while running downhills. Here is the link:
Ok, so that is my list of reviews for some of my current favorite products. I'm sure I'll do this again. Give me a few weeks to find some more great products to share. If any of you do decide to try out any of these products, let me know!
Kimble is healthy and happy and is now 6 1/2 years old.
I love starting this blog post with that sentence. He definitely is our miracle boy. Since many of you began reading this blog because of him, I thought I'd give you a little update.
Kimble and I went for a little outing last week. Just the two of us. He wanted to ride his new bike, as I ran on the trail. So that's just what we did...with lots of stops to look at stuff along the way.
Kimble finished two years of preschool, which was half a day, and last year he transitioned to a full day of kindergarten. It was not an easy transition. He didn't like being away from me all day, and his full-blown crying episodes almost every morning led us to reconsider public school. However, right about the time that I was going to keep him home, we worked out a few things with the school, that included a wonderful teacher by the name of Mr. Richards who personally helped Kimble adjust every morning. I also joined Kimble for lunch on difficult days, when he was at school but really missing me, and we also allowed Kimble to have a day or two home, every few weeks, just to spend with me.
Now, I don't think Kimble is antisocial, nor does he have problems making friends and playing with others. He doesn't have to be by me to function. He just really had a hard time transitioning to a full day of school. However, as the school year progressed, Kimble did better and better.
He is still a bit behind developmentally, but he has made leaps and bounds this last year. He still can't read, and doesn't write much more than his name, but he is now drawing pictures and coloring. I'd say he's about 9 months behind the average kid his age, but he is progressing, and will be starting first grade next month.
Physically, you wouldn't really know Kimble has the heart defects that he does. He doesn't let anything stop him. That being said, he does take a bit of extra time to recover if he pushes himself hard. But that's what we want. We want him to push his heart. After all, it's what helped his heart grow and adapt and begin to pump blood.
And so, Kimble runs and jumps and hikes (although we don't take him on higher altitude hiking) and he loves riding his bike and he is learning to swim without his life vest this summer. He is fearless and fun and we love playing with him.
Kimble has recently gotten back into the VeggieTales movies, the StarWars movies, Harry Potter, and Toy Story. Finding Nemo is currently another favorite, and he is excited to go to the theater to see Finding Dory. He also likes the Jurassic Park movies. (You can tell that he has older brothers, with the movie selections he watches!)
I think this Fall, we will have another cardiac followup appointment, and we will see where his heart function is and if we will be leaning towards surgery again. We really don't know what that visit will entail, but we have certainly enjoyed these last 5 years without surgery, and are thrilled with how "normal" his heart function looks.
We love our little heart baby. Our miracle boy. He has completed our family.
We are still gathering blankets for donation to the Denver Children's Hospital. We like to donate close to the boys' birthdays as we can, in November. Please consider donating a blanket or two to children in need. Just leave a message with your email and I'll gladly reply to you with an address to send it to. Thanks.
Has anyone ever ran a race at one of the Disney parks? A few months ago, my sister and I did. Let me tell you the backstory.
The summer of 2014, my sister Shavonne started running. She began pinning things to Pinterest about running. She started talking about it on Facebook. She made herself a wall of running related quotes, inspiration, and motivation. Then she called me.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing from her. She was excited to go running! She was bubbly and enthusiastic and telling me that I should start running.
I have never been a runner.
I have never wanted to be a runner.
I really don't enjoy it.
I fail miserably at being a runner.
But darn it. She just sounded so excited.
Before the conversation ended, she got me to commit to starting a running routine. I was about a month behind her, in terms of when she started, but that was ok. I already had the couch25k app on my phone, from previous good intentions, and I also downloaded the couch210k app. I made the commitment to try.
We also joined Runkeeper, and added each other as fitness friends, so that we could keep track of our runs and be each other's cheerleaders. Even though she lives in Washington and I live in Colorado, it could be like we were training together.
This was in June. The very last few days in June. By August, we were doing pretty well. I can't say that I enjoyed running yet, but I definitely enjoyed when the run ended. Shavonne calls up.
"I think we need a big goal. Something to motivate us to keep on running. If we are working towards something, then it'll make it easier to get out there and run."
Well, her big goal had us registering a few weeks later, for a Disney Race in Disneyland, that would be the following May, 2015. Here's the part that blew my mind. Not only were we registered to run the half marathon, but we signed up for the Pixie Dust Challenge, which meant that we were running a 10k race the day before the half marathon.
Well, we let that sink in, as we continued to train. The 10k will just be a great warmup.
The very end of September, Shavonne had a 10k that she had registered for. Even though she was in WA and I was in CO, we ran together. At the appointed time, Shavonne began her race, and I began my run. It was cool to know that Shavonne was experiencing the same thing I was.
The month of October wasn't good for Shavonne, in terms of running. She started really feeling some pain in her shins and feet and hips. She started seeing a physical therapist and it was determined that she needed to be off her feet as much as possible for a recovery period of about 12 weeks. (Shavonne, if I'm getting this part of the story wrong, then correct me.)
So Shavonne had to stop running, and quite honestly, my running began diminishing as well.
In January, I had a major surgery. Shavonne was still in the "no running allowed" recovery, and I also found out that I had a business conference the same weekend that the half marathon was scheduled. So, we made the decision to defer for a year, and run the races in 2016 instead of 2015.
Towards the end of 2015, with our running careers hit or miss, we got re-motivated. After all, it was an expensive race and we didn't want to waste it! We backtracked dates, from May, and made a training calendar of how far we needed to be running every week, and how often, in order to complete our races. We had a lot of conversations about how were were going to run it, and in the end, decided to do the Galloway method, and have run/walk sessions timed out throughout the race,
We also invited our sisters to join us for the weekend, and cheer us on. We decided to get 3 Day Disney Passes and make a great adventure out of it. We had three sisters who decided they wanted to join us. Kim, Sharon, and Karissa. So fun!
Another development happened in the spring! Shavonne found out she was pregnant again! This didn't necessarily change our plans for how we were going to run the race, but it definitely sucked some motivation and energy from Shavonne, during the last 6 weeks of our training.
So the first weekend in May came, and we arrived Thursday morning. Shavonne and I went and picked up our race packets and then we spent the rest of the day walking around Disneyland and utilizing as much of our Day 1 pass as possible.
Friday we woke up super early and spent the whole day walking around between California Adventure and Disneyland. Shavonne's fitbit said we walked close to 10 miles. Wowza! Shavonne pulled her foot tendon or something on Thursday night, so although she was with us much of the day, she ended up resting a lot throughout the day, and by late afternoon, she went back to the hotel to rest.
Saturday morning, we needed to catch the last early morning shuttle bus by 4:15am at the latest. The race started at 5:30am, and we were in the 3rd heat.
Shavonne and I started off good. We were happy to get moving...we had been sitting under an underpass for more than an hour, in the cold and wet weather, and the noise of everyone talking sounded like the climax of a zombie attack.
The 10k consisted of a running course between and around and through Disneyland and California adventure. Below is a screen shot of the route, from my Runkeeper. Shavonne and I stopped quickly at a bathroom by the Matterhorn, to empty our bladders and take a picture!
About halfway through the race, Shavonne's foot was really hurting her. She sent me on ahead, to finish the race, not knowing if she would finish it herself. She was hobbling pretty good, and in a lot of pain. So I finished the race alone. My sweet sisters got up early to cheer us on at the finish line, but they ended up missing it because of the crowds, re-routed streets, and overall craziness of what was going on.
We were texting each other the whole time though, and a little while later, Shavonne said she was close the the finish line! She had decided to finish the race! Yay!
After that, we all went to Ihop for breakfast. That was a delicious breakfast!! Shavonne's foot was really really hurting her, so by the time we made it back to the hotel, she had opted to stay put and rest her leg. We still had the half marathon the next day!
The rest of us went back for Day 3 at the parks, and boy was I tired! We racked up another 7 miles of walking. I started to get a pretty bad cramp the length of my calf. Sharon massaged it a bit, but it was really hurting by the end of the day. I hoped that rest would help, and that it just needed to get stretched out.
We got back to the hotel late again that night, and it was evident that Shavonne was in no shape to run the half marathon. So the next morning, I got up and went alone. This time, I was in the 4th heat and I was a bit more prepared for the zombie noise.
By mile 4 into the half marathon, my calf started seizing up and it hurt so much. I couldn't walk without limping, and I couldn't run anymore. I wasn't sure if I could run anymore, but I thought I could keep on walking.
By mile 8, I was hurting beyond words, but by that point, I was in the middle of Anaheim and I wasn't sure what to do, other than keep on going. So I kept walking, but by this point, it was a very bad limp/walk.
I finally finished it, and with plenty of time to spare before the cutoff time, mostly because I had a good pace for the first 4 miles. Although I could barely walk by that point, I was very proud that I finished it and didn't quit.
My calf ended up getting torn, pulled, and stressed so much that if someone had offered crutches, or even better, a wheelchair, I would have gladly taken it.
So, while I am upset at how the race turned out, and although I was determined never to sign up for a half marathon again, at this point, a few months later, I think I need to give it another go. I need to have a better experience with a half marathon.
However, I'm not sure I'd sign up for another Disney race again, but if I do, then I'm not going to have a 3 day park pass before the race! I think all that walking is what pulled my calf and made the race unbearable.