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11.23.2014

Spinal Fusion Back Surgery FYI - Pain in yo Back is WACK!

For those of you who follow us on Instagram you may have caught this photo in our feed a few weeks ago.

Below is a post ALL about Cason's back pain.
Why?
Because it's important to me that we tell our story. Because SO MANY of you have asked tons of questions. Because when we went "googling" for answers, someone took the time to write out their experience, and it really helped us.

FYI: I'm not sugar coating anything. This is our real experience with back pain, the steps we went through to get relief, and finally our entire process with an intense spinal fusion surgery. 

WARNING: There is a picture towards the end of this post of Cason's back incision. It is a bandage with stitches (nothing too graphic), and I show it so that people can know what your back may look like, and how large your scar may be if you end up having a similar surgery. 

Like a lot of people (I've found out) Cason suffers from horrible back pain, and has for the past 8 years. He didn't fall, get in an accident or gain tons of weight suddenly, he just... has crappy back genetics. 

Even though Cason's lived with pretty bad back pain for the last 8 years, it wasn't until about 2 years ago that it started becoming unbearable. The nerves in his back were being pinched and shooting pain had started to not only plague his back, but now his legs; especially the right one. So much so that he could barely walk or even sit sometimes. He was always hunched over, and after about a year he had started losing feeling in some of his toes and parts of his legs.

For those of you who have had to, or currently ARE suffering with this type of pain in your life... I am SO sorry. For Cason it was maddening. Some days were better than others, but being in constant pain almost EVERY day, not being able to workout, lift more than 20 lbs, or even walk with your back straight, is something that NOBODY should have to endure.

For the past two years we've tried countless things to help with Cason's back pain. Strong pain meds, physical therapy, oils, medicated shots into his spine... you name it. 

Cason was frustrated, and to be honest, I might have been even more so than him. I know that doesn't sound fair to say, because YES, the person who is in pain all the time should be MORE angry and annoyed than anyone, right? But try seeing it from the other side as well... the person/spouse who has to hear about and see someone suffering all the time! Having to change plans, or even miss out on doing things with that person who has horrible back pain, just because you CAN'T get them relief!

It was a few weeks ago when we took a road trip to Oregon/Northern California (more on that trip soon), that I had absolutely HAD it.

We'd stopped at a really fun hike that I had been waiting to go on for a few days, to see all the amazing forest and massive trees that surrounded us, and Cason couldn't even make it across the parking lot to use the restroom once we got there. His body was in so much pain that he looked completely crooked as he slowly and painfully worked his way towards the bathrooms, only taking small, little baby steps.
Luckily we had been able to stop at a trail off the road a day before, and snapped a bunch of cool pics, so it wasn't a total bust.

While the girls played around outside the gift shop, I sat on a bench and cried. I was so angry, frustrated and mad that Cason couldn't enjoy this moment... and that we couldn't enjoy it WITH him, because he had to lay down in the car just to get relief!
I was furious that his stupid back pain was going to control our plans that day, and that it was SO unbearable for him, that we couldn't even do this ONE thing as a family that we had just drove 13+ hours to do!
Once Cason returned from the restroom we all got back in the car, kids upset that we weren't hiking, and me giving everyone the silent treatment for a good hour. 

Now let me explain, before you think I'm a heartless (you know what)... 
I know that it sounds like I'm being totally insensitive, but I wasn't mad at Cason at ALL (even though it may have come off that way at the time... yes I apologized immediately). I was pissed at his BODY!!! I was angry that we were STILL dealing with this problem after dishing out thousands and thousands of dollars from our own pockets, and ridiculous amounts of time, trying to fix something that seemed basically unfixable!

We were both beyond angry after that incident, and called for an appointment the very next day to get in to see a surgeon. The ONLY and last thing left on our list of "ways to fix this crippling back problem".

After another round of MRI's and x-rays , the doctor took one look at Cason's horrible back and told us that a spinal fusion was pretty much our only option if we wanted a shot at living with a lot less pain, for a long period of time.

11.17.2014

All About that Juice Cleanse + Weight Loss Thoughts

I mentioned on Instagram a couple of weeks ago (while posting a pic of chocolate chip cookies, ha!) that I was starting a juice cleanse and was a bit worried about it. A few of you have asked since how it went, so I thought I'd share my thoughts with you. Good AND bad!

Here we go...

1. Reservations about getting started on a Juice Cleanse.
I was VERY unsure about how I'd do on a cleanse where all I did was DRINK for 3 full days. I mean... chewing and food are two of my favorite things ;)

 That being said I was really looking forward to emptying out my bod of all the not-so-healthy stuff that I'd been pumping into it. I just felt bloated and gross, so that definitely helped me to commit. Another big help was the fact that a friend at work was doing the cleanse with me too. It's WAY easier to stay on track with something when someone else is around to hold you accountable.

2. I got all of my juice from a local juicer named Dani.
If you're in the SLC valley you can find her on Instagram under @dvinejuice. Here's a link to a blog post she did on all of the flavors she offers.

These aren't all of my bottles, I had already done one day of cleansing at this point.

Every day I was told to drink 6 different juices; 2 protein based drinks (made with almond milk) and then 4 others that contain fruits and veggies only. I told Dani that I wanted a mix of flavors, and to surprise me. 
Here's what I ended up getting: (although I took kale out wherever it was listed, because I'm allergic)
Power Green - spinach, kale, arugula, watercress, celery, cucumber, pineapple, mint and lime 
Classic Green - Power green + kiwi, pear, orange, nectarine (seasonal), strawberry and blackberry(seasonal)
Power Orange - kale, cucumber, orange and carrot.
Power Red - power orange + beet and seasonal berries. 
Green Lemonade 
Hot Lemonade - lemon, cucumber, mint, dash of cayenne and agave.
Summer Raspberry - raspberry, pineapple, orange, mint, strawberry.
Almond milk - chocolate, peanut butter, cinnamon and coconut.

Obviously I had doubles of a few juices.

3. The three days was tough.
I had a juice every 2 hours or so, and drank a TON of water in between. This helped curb my hunger pains and made me pee like CRAZY. haha!
Yes, I had hunger pains quite a few times. Are they pleasant? No. But I was committed, so I just powered through. And oddly enough, it felt good to feel "empty" for once, and not bloated.

ALL of the juices were really yummy, except for one, in my opinion. I actually had a bit of a hard time with the Power Orange because I'm not the biggest fan of carrots, but that was NOTHING compared to THE HOT LEMONADE. 


Guys... Hot Lemonade was just NOT a good time. It was a weird combo for me, and lets just say, it was hard to swallow. 
Because I love you, I'm letting you witness this totally unattractive video that my friend Alisha took of me in the car, after daring me to just "chug" the hot lemonade, so I didn't have to sip it for so long. 

yeah... not pretty (or safe probably, mostly because I dropped the cap to my drink and started to go for it while I was laughing and driving all at once, ha!) but hey, this is an honest post about juice cleansing yo! So stop judging okay? :-P

WARNING: chugging a spicy drink WILL make you burp like a dude.

4. Juicing gave me results and more importantly made me feel AWESOME!
After the 3rd day I had lost 8lbs. Do I think it was actual fat dropping from my thighs and stomach... nah, probably more just a plummeting of yucky from my bod that had built up. That being said, I DID lose about 2 inches from my gut. Again, probably from the bloating, but man, it felt SO great!

5. Tips and final thoughts:
- Do the cleanse during the week. I can't imagine doing this over the weekend when I'm tempted by lots of chances to cheat and just wandering around my house with food at every turn.
- Find a juicing friend, so you can complain a LOT to each other about how much you miss food... even the healthy kinds. This will be especially nice when you're having to "drink" meals you WISH you could eat, and your willpower is low.

- Gum is your friend - especially on day 3. When you get to your last day you'll start thinking... "Eh, it's almost over anyway, I'll just go ahead and eat." DON'T DO IT! Finish strong and chew any kind of gum you can find. haha!
I know someones going to tell me that this is probably counterproductive because there's sugar in some of these gum selections, but I say a couple of jumping jacks to burn 10 or 20 calories is worth it!

- Don't blow all of your hard work after you're done. 
The morning of my 4th day I ate 3 smallish protein pancakes (recipe coming soon) and drank a huge glass of water. I thought I was gonna pop. I felt SO full, but in a GOOD way! Ever since then I've chosen to not eat white bread, only drink water and cut way back on sugars. It's been about a week and I'm down another almost 4lbs!
I feel really good, even though I know I have a LONG way to go to get back on the crazy workout routine I was doing and into my "skinny jeans" again. 

A year or two ago losing weight was my MAIN focus... and for good reason, it NEEDED and needs to still be a priority, but letting it completely rule my life on a daily basis, just isn't an option for me right now. I have work, kids, church, blog... and obsessing about EVERY little piece of food that goes in my mouth, wether or not I'm down another pound this week, or all-together abstaining from ANYTHING remotely bad for me... just ISN'T how I can sustain a healthy weight loss routine.

So please excuse me if my updates about this curvaceous bod are less and more spread out... it's not that I don't want to talk about it, or still struggle with this problem daily... but more that sometimes telling the world that I'm yo-yoing back and forth between the last 20lbs I've lost, is hard, borderline embarrassing and well... just not so fun to blog about. haha!

A ton of other passions in life thrust my positive energy forward. Creating things, working on projects, brainstorming new ideas to help our business move forward at work, spending time with my hot hubby and cute kids, blogging, hanging out with friends, throwing parties... 
Sometimes letting my world SOLEY revolve only around ONE thing, can make me feel dull and bored. Frustrated and somewhat depressed. 
I need to find balance in continuing on my weight loss journey AND pursuing daily awesomeness in other areas of my life... and I can't let something just completely fall to the wayside as I pursue something else!

Juicing helped me kick my insides back into shape. It forced me to be accountable for what I eat (drink) again, and made me practice self control.

Juicing isn't for everyone, I totally get that, but it was a great jumping off point for me and I'm glad I tried it! It helped me get back on track, get into a routine again, and I DO recommend it for those of you who are looking to get serious about feeling awesome and wanting to make some little OR big changes in how you eat.

Next... trying to find time, energy and ANY kind of motivation to get back to the gym.
(insert visual of a 4yr old throwing a temper tantrum here)... ugh

11.11.2014

Kids Thoughts Captured - Let's record it OneDay at a time.

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I love how moments can be captured so beautifully in a photo or video, and I'm so thankful to OneDay today, who is sponsoring this post and helping me create memories with my family that will last forever.

Remember when your parents used to pull out that big honkin' video camera... mostly at Christmas time and birthdays, and then record everyone doing mundane things or being completely obnoxious in front of said camera, all just to really capture the few important moments that really mattered in that day?
Oh man... technology has come so far. ha! Fashion on the other hand...?

Well, I DO!
Batteries that never lasted longer than an hour or so, sore arm, perma-ring-around-the-eye... but guess what? We all go back and watch those old videos now, and admit it... YOU LOVE THEM! And most of the stuff that we end up laughing hysterically at or remembering forever, are the goofy questions asked AFTER the candles have been blown out, or the presents have been unwrapped. It's the silly little thoughts shared by a passing kid and the random crazy brother in the background making funny faces that we cherish the most. Am I right?

All of this being said, I only WISH I had taken more videos of my kiddos when they were small. They just grow up SO fast, and you don't realize in the moment how precious and perfect they are in that very specific time of life.
LUCKILY though, with all the crazy-awesome technology we have now, capturing video is a breeze, and I've found one of the cutest, easiest, FREE apps to help me do just that - OneDay.
It's an instant movie maker that you literally need NO editing or video skills to operate, because it does everything for you! There are lots of different story sets and questions that you can ask your kiddos to get them chatting away, and then once their answers are recorded through the app, OneDay stitches the video clips together, adds music and makes it an adorable video!
Check it out...


So cute right!?
You can make up your own questions too, which is pretty great, because then you can customize the video clips for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc.

Because Cason and I are working all day and the girls are in school, I've set the notification function in the app to alert me at certain times, so that it reminds us to take video during the moments we're together. I flippin' love this feature!
Mostly I just do a clip or two in the morning before school, or at night, and then save them to stitch a whole video together later.

Her poor future husband! #ihavecreatedamonster ha!

I don't know what's better - actually making the videos, or letting your kids watch them once they're done. Hilarity I tell ya. Who knew kids could make THEMSELVES laugh so hard? LOL

Seriously, you've GOT to download the OneDay app, it's quickly becoming one of my very faves. It's totally FREE, so all you need is a few minutes to make a short clip or video of your own, and then you're makin' movies like a pro, yo!

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OneDay

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