AHA Heart & Stroke 5k

Happy Monday Everyone!  As I was putting together my “to do” list and plastering pink post it’s all over my kitchen counter, my sweet girl said “add blogging to your list Mom”.  I guess that means she is not completely embarrassed by my hyper girly, easily excitable, spaz of a human and bloger that I am.  I love that girl!

Topic of the day…my first 5k race post stroke!

A little backstory about this event, it is the walk/run that I went to while I was still in a full time rehab hospital.  It is crazy to compare this year to last year.  In fact I think that is what I will do!

Here I am, about 3 weeks post stroke.  I look normal enough in this photo.  If you look closely though I am still wearing my hospital bling on my wrist.  I recall this pose being very difficult because my left arm was so paralyzed it wouldn’t bend easily and my hand was falling off my hip.  It also felt impossible to line up my shoulders.  My left shoulder was always shifted back, and not because I was being all cute and sassy:)

I was so nervous being at a crowded public event.  I even had a wheelchair because I had no idea how far I could walk before “lefty” aka “Buffy” would give out.  Yeah you heard that right, I named my left side Buffy.  It felt like a completely unattached piece of my body, plus it was a total uncoordinated ditz (no offense to any actual Buffys).  I was not yet capable of running so I walked, very slowly.  I also had a “catch” in my walk that was so annoying.  Needless to say, I made it around Sugar house park a full lap, which is about 1.5 miles.  I have no idea how long it took, but my leg was completely shaky afterward.

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Fast forward one year to 2015.  I created a team called “Vickie’s Glitter Army” and I was determined to RUN this race!  I worked on my gait everyday, no joke.  I can’t even tell you when it started to get better or “click” because progress was so slow.  My road back to running was hard.  In fact I still struggle with arm swing and some days my left leg just won’t create the movement I need it to, but I keep trying.  I’m definitely not as fast as I used to be. However, I find more joy in running now than ever before.

At the 5k this year I was not nervous, I was excited.  I knew I could do it and I wanted to show other stroke survivors, especially the young ones, that progress is possible.  I finished the 5k in 32 minutes 51 seconds!

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I will be back at this race next year, faster and with more sparkle;) The future is bright and I can’t wait!

Have a spectacular day.  You can do amazing things!  xoxo

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One Year Ago Today…

Holy cow it feels strange writing on my blog!  It’s been a loooooong time since I sat here with my thoughts, waiting for them to jump out onto the screen and become something worth reading.  I purposefully took a break from blogging to focus completely on me…for a whole year!  Why?  Well, I kinda had a stroke…ok 2 strokes…in one day.  I don’t really want to get into the deets about the cause and affects today, someday soon, but not today.  Today I want to just express my overall feelings about the past year and put them out there to document this moment.

A year ago today I honestly was lost.  Imagine being in your fully functioning body one second and then literally dying on one side completely.  The strokes made me feel like a shadow of myself.  I was alive and present, but only a fraction of my original self.  How would I ever live a normal life again???  I would ask myself this question repeatedly, constantly, for a very long time.

I woke up everyday and knew that I had to put the work in if I ever wanted to have a shot at a normal life.  This was, and still is, the hardest thing I have ever done.  Many days I felt like I was just going through the motions of therapy, both physical and emotional.  I did my exercises religiously, multiple times a day, obsessively.  Haha, I guess the stroke didn’t damage my obsessive nature :).  I fought with myself constantly.  I was literally Smeagol from Lord of the Rings!  I think I hid my multiple personalities pretty well, but they were there in full force, and still make occasional appearances.  I was up, down, forward, backwards, and inside out.  It was exhausting.  But I kept going.  I knew that nothing would ever get better if I chose to stay still.

Today I am looking back on the last year, proud that I made it!  Happy to say that I found myself again.  I no longer feel like a shadow.  I’m back and sparklier than ever!  I will not look back fondly at this year…it’s been hell.  But I will move forward with the same positivity and excitement that was in the “old me”.  That is what I am ultimately the most grateful for recovering…the feeling of  joy.  So as a reminder to myself and for anyone who stumbles upon this post, never give up.  As cheesy as it sounds, please don’t.  Whatever you are battling, keep going, there is light, things can get better.  Things may have to change, there may be hard work, tough times, and moments of utter despair, but it can get better!  Maybe not perfect, but much better.  Look for the joy.

Cheers to another year!

xo, Vickie

Japan Adventure Part 1

 Hey there everyone!  Happy Monday!  It’s taken me long enough to figure out why I couldn’t upload my pictures to the blog!  I’m outta space, ugh.  Guess I better get savvy and learn how to make my pics smaller:).  But until then I’m just deleting duplicates and boring stuff to squeeze in a few more posts, haha.

Let’s get to this trip report!  We left SLC on a Wednesday and were super excited to be heading out on this amazing adventure. So excited that we all only slept a few hours then night before.  I basically took a nap and then ran a bunch of miles because I knew I would be sitting on a plane for a very long time.  I’m not very good at sitting still for long periods.  I get quite irritable, antsy, and downright annoying.  So the more wiggles I can get out before having to hold still, the better.

This is the age we live in.  Charging away before we take off.

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I did bring some non electronic entertainment as well.  We had a little cry baby challenge on the flight.  Who ever dissolved off the sour from 2 pieces first, chewed their gum, and blew a bubble was the winner.  I won:).  These really aren’t as sour as I remember though.  Or I’m just getting old and my taste buds are not as sharp.

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Jumping ahead 14 hours!  We made it to Japan!  I actually survived, it was a miracle.  We took care of currency, luggage, reserved train tickets, and headed to the first hotel.  

Our #1 priority though was find real food!  Luckily there was a ramen shop right across from our hotel.  From what I remember it was pretty good.  But I was delirious from being awake for 2 days straight so you probably could have fed me anything I would said it was great:)

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When we got back to the hotel I was ready and in bed in literally 2 minutes.  I fell asleep and didn’t move for 8 hours.  Of course after those 8 hours…it was 4am.  I was wide awake.  So I did a little workout in the room, figured out how to use the water warming gadget, made tea, drank tea, organized our bags, watched tv, and waited very impatiently for a normal hour to roll around.

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We had plenty of time to get ready and wander the hotel, which was nice.  There were some lovely areas.

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We also sent Cam to the Sev to pick up breakfast.  OMG the convenience stores in Japan are awesome!  They were one of my favorite things, seriously.  Strawberry milk, yes please.  And interestingly enough they do cream and jelly instead of peanut butter.  It was really good.  Not very nutritious but really good.

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We headed to the train station after checking out and I loved how everywhere is like a mall!  Not kidding.  Stores and food are just everywhere.  It was pretty much heaven for a foodie shopaholic like myself.  

Our first encounter with plastic food was fun!  Total tourists.  But it is just so cute!

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Quite a long train ride later we arrived in Kyoto.  We were checking into a traditional Japanese ryokan.  These places are small, usually run by families, cook you Japanese meals, and have all the traditional provisions.

I was pretty tickled to see my name in the welcome area, despite the spelling:)

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When we checked in, a cute little Japanese grandma showed us our room and even dressed Valie.  Val felt like a total princess having someone dress her and tell her a million times how kawai (cute) she is.  Everyone got house clothes and slippers, it was so fun.  

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After taking a brief rest, we headed out to explore Kyoto.

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We got to see Nijo castle.  It was closed already, but still fun to see.  It had a giant moat!  So cool.

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As soon as we took the pic with the castle it started to rain.  And by rain I mean poured buckets!  We wanted to see this cute light festival that went along the river though, so we got soaked.  We even stopped for umbrellas, but those only help so much.  If it had not been pouring the lights would have been much more enjoyable.  By the time we made it back to the ryokan we were exhausted.  No wonder people in Japan are so skinny, they walk like 20 miles a day!

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And so ends part 1 of our adventure.  I will try to get more posted soon, but I have a little project I’m working on…baby girls 11th birthday!  So I may be hit and miss for a bit, but I will be back with lots more stories from Japan!  As a sneak peek, those stories may include a typhoon, Mt. Fuji, and Tokyo Disney!

Have a great day! xoxo

Gearing Up For Adventures!

Hey there! Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! Mine was productive, I got a ton of stuff done, but now I can’t believe it’s Monday and our week is going to totally crazy. My girly starts paleontology camp today, we have appointments almost everyday, I’m nannying, and we have to get everything ready to go for our trip! We are heading to Orlando with my hubs this weekend to tag along for his business conference:). I’m super excited because we are going to do Universal Studios this trip and the new Harry Potter expansion just opened up! (insert squeal of delight)
I just need to take my patience pills along with a double dose of caffeine and I should make it to Friday.

Another upcoming adventure I want to share with you all that I haven’t mentioned on the blog yet is coming up quickly. My extended family and I are all going to Japan! Can you believe it? I can’t, and I’m the one who planned it all! We leave next month and I’m freaking out just a tad. I finally have almost every detail taken care of, but I keep finding more things to do! My little family has to cram all the Japan we can possibly manage in just 10 days. So needless to say, our itinerary is madness.

Just a brief summary of what we are doing…
Day 1- Fly to Japan
Day 2- Arrive in Japan, take train down south
Day 3- Meet up with family and tour the city our ancestors are from. Take evening train to Kyoto
Day 4- Tour Kyoto (golden pavilion, manga museum, shopping district)
Day 5- Take train to Mt. Fuji and start climbing it. Sleep in a hut on the mountain!
Day 6- Climb to the summit and back down. Take train to Tokyo
Day 7- Tour Tokyo- Shopping, Ghibli museum, exploring
Day 8- Tokyo Disneyland!
Day 9- Tokyo Disney Sea!
Day 10- Open to tour anything that we really want to see before leaving
Day 11- Head home

That is the condensed version. My family would probably laugh at this little blurb since I just sent them a 6 page detailed itinerary, plus they are getting a packing list, maps, and several pages of tips, haha! Every family has that one member who is just a tiny bit obsessive. I happen to be that family member 🙂

I wish we could have more time for this trip, but you know, that’s life. I’m just so grateful that I get to go and make amazing memories with my family. I can’t wait to share all the insanity with you guys when I get back from these trips!

K. I’m off to make the most of this Monday! Hope you all have a fab day! xo

Tomorrow is the Spartan Beast!!

Happy Friday Everyone!  

So I am pretty much having a total spaz right now.  Tomorrow is the Spartan Beast!!  I’m so excited and just now I’m getting a bit anxious.  Not nervous, but anxious.  Like I just want to run out the door right now and start the race!  Maybe that is due to me tapering my workouts this week and I have a bunch of built up angst in there:).  Who knows.  But I can’t wait until tomorrow!  

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I wish I had time to fill you in on my current fitness, diet, training, and how I feel overall going into this challenge.  But I have a giant list the isn’t going to check itself off, so my babble with have to wait for the race recap.  Wish me luck!  I’ll be back on Monday with a full report of how it went!  

 

Recipe: Butterscotch Bacon Popcorn!

Even though I’m trying to eat all clean and stuff, I still have to share this quick and fabulous recipe I tossed together for Father’s Day. I had seen caramel bacon popcorn recipes on Pinterest and wanted to try something just a little different. I had butterscotch chips sitting on my shelf just waiting for the perfect recipe to come along. So I thought I’d give them a go with bacon popcorn.

The result…sweet, salty, and totally addictive!  It’s a perfect party or gift treat. And so easy!

Ingredients:

12 cups air popped popcorn

12 ounce bag butterscotch chips

12 ounce package bacon

2 tsp. salt

optional: peanuts or any salted nut

Directions:

Cook bacon until nice and crispy. Cook anyway you like, oven, stovetop, microwave, it all works. Place on paper towels and blot to get rid of all excess grease. Chop the bacon up into small bits and set aside. Try not to eat all the bacon before popping the popcorn:)

Pop your popcorn and pick out all the unpopped kernels. Melt butterscotch chips in the microwave by heating them in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval. Once melted, pour over popcorn and toss until coated.

Spread popcorn out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and bacon. Lightly toss. I didn’t add nuts, but I wish I had! So if you have nuts, add them now.

Let the popcorn sit for about an hour until the butterscotch hardens then dig in! But if you are anything like me you will have to eat a little and then take it somewhere to share, otherwise this could be a dangerous treat to have just lying around:)ImageGive this one a try, seriously, it’s delicious.

 

Back at it with Meal Prep!

Ok, so I was a major roll with fitness and nutrition for a couple of months.  Everything was great, results were amazing, and then ya know, I tripped, fell in the mud, and am still trying to wash the dirt out of my hair:).  Oooo that was a good analogy, haha!  

This weekend I really decided that I needed to quit doing this! (See pic below)

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And start back up doing this! (again, see pic below:))

Treats are my weakness!  It takes me a good 5-7 days to really detox from them.  So if I am crazy for no reason this week, you will know it is due to treat withdrawal.

I finally got a whole week of meal prep done!  My families meals are the ones on the top and middle, mine are on the bottom.  I don’t always meal prep for everyone, but it’s a busy week and I needed the extra leg up.  

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I am also playing around with myfitnesspal for the first time.  I usually track my food for the first half of the day and then get busy and don’t finish.  So I’m hoping that the novelty will of myfitnesspal will last long enough for me to get on a roll again:)  My Spartan Race is in 12 days!  Gotta get my diet cleaned up for optimal performance!  

Wish me luck:)  

Hope your Tuesday is fantastic!!

Girls on the Run 5k

This year was my second time coaching Girls on the Run at my daughters school.  I love getting to know girls in grades other than Valerie’s.  There are so many cute girls at her school and I was privileged to coach them and spend time with them every Monday.

The 5k was at Sugar House Park again this year.  I’m not sure how much longer they will be able to pull this venue off.  The program is getting so big!  It was like a pink explosion!

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We painted faces, did temporary tattoos, glitter, and hair accessories.  The girls had tons of fun.Image

The race course was packed!  I’d love to see an early race and then a later race, just to help give the runners some breathing room.

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I also wish we would have tied florescent yellow or green ribbons in our girls hair.  It was impossible to spot Oakwood girls in the sea of pink.  I even lost Val a couple of times, but I figured as long as I kept going, I would run into her eventually:)

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When I see these pics of us together I can’t believe how grown up my baby is!  I think 5th grade will be the year she catches me in height.

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My girl finished the race in 38:40.  So proud of her!  Even with the crowd she pushed herself and ran a fantastic race!  So glad to call this cutie mine.

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Today is Valerie’s first official day of summer!!  I’m sure I will be posting all about our crazy antics.

Happy Friday Everyone!

 

 

Hawaii Day 6: Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Shave Ice, & Starlit Hui!

Day 6 of our Hawaiian adventure was very busy.  We were all up pretty bright and early, ready to take on another day in paradise.  I headed to the gym, while the family spent a little more time poolside.

I ran a bunch on the treadmill and then decided to give some of the weight equipment a try.  Um, I couldn’t find a taller box jump to stand on, so I improvised:).  Several dudes watched me like I was a crazy person.  But I had to get my pull ups done! #shortgirlproblems

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After the gym I headed out to the beach for a little bit of boot camp.  Working out in the sand is hard!  I got my booty handed to me every class because the sand was just such a challenge for me.  Of course that is a good thing.  I had to burn off all those treats!

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So after a nice morning, we all got cleaned up and headed over to Pearl Harbor.  Did you know that you can reserve tickets to the USS Arizona online?  There is a $1.50 processing fee, but then you don’t have to get there super early and stand in a giant line.  Totally worth the buck fifty.

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Valie got a nice history lesson.

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It was crazy to think that I had been here 12 years ago.

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So cool to visit the memorial again.Image

After Pearl Harbor, we grabbed some lunch to fuel up for our next activity.

A little afternoon hike up Diamond Head!

I was pretty stoked about this activity.  It’s not everyday you get to hike a giant volcanic crater!

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We hiked up up up, and then through some dark tunnel, and up up up some more.Image

And then, Woohoo!  We made it to the top!  It wasn’t that far, a little steep at times, and dark, but a nice quick hike with an amazing view.

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We took a bunch of pictures!

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It was so cool to look out over the city and the beach and the actual crater.  I highly recommend adding this to a Hawaiian itinerary!

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Alright, now that we are all sweaty…again, time for a refreshment.Image

SHAVE ICE!!  What did people do before iPhones and urbanspoon?  I’m guessing they didn’t eat as much shave ice and drove around in circles a lot:)

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After shave ice and a long traffic filled drive back to Aulani, we were all pretty tired, but we couldn’t miss the Starlit Hui!  Aulani does a fun show a couple nights a week for guests.  We could see the stage and hear the music from our balcony!

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We didn’t really care if we were close to the stage, but if you had little kids I would get there early so they can see better.  Our party was there more for the experience and atmosphere.

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They lay out mats for your family to sit on and everything, so fun.

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Singers and dancers come out and entertain the crowd.Image

The ukulele guys were pretty awesome!

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After the show a big dance party started.  Characters came out and a DJ, it was lots of fun.  We danced for a bit before heading out for a late dinner.  It was a great way to end another action packed day.

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Hope everyone is having a great week!!  See ya soon with Day 7 of our trip!!