On Tuesday, August 24th my good friend Abby told me she had nominated me for a makeover through the Salt Lake boutique, Hip & Humble. She told me it was a contest where people were nominating others (or themselves) to get a makeover and they had to tell why they deserved it. (Abby said she pulled my "cancer card" and said she had to milk it for all it's worth. She made me laugh!) The next night Abby received an e-mail from Wendy at Hip & Humble, saying I was chosen to be one of the top 3 finalists and she needed permission from me to post my story on Facebook so people could vote. Voting went on for a week and it turned out I won by 200+ votes. Friends, family, old high school buddies, my husband's friends, online friends, Foreign Service friends, even people who have never even met me voted for me. It was quite overwhelming and humbling, to see so much support and love coming my way. The actual makeover was last Tuesday and I had a fantastic time. I honestly felt like Queen for a day, pampered and spoiled. People all day long were telling me how cute I was, how great I looked, etc. The positive energy was awesome.
I picked up my sister, Whitney, down in Provo on Tuesday morning so she could tagalong with me for the day. My sweet friend, Abby, babysat Emma and Josh until Jake got off work. Whit and I met at Hip & Humble at 12pm. All the H&H girls were there waiting for me, big smiles, so friendly. I was a tad intimidated, being around such beautiful and stylish women, but immediately they put me at ease and I knew the rest of the day would be so fun! Sheridan and Suzette (store managers and sisters) helped put my outfits together. I tried on a lot of outfits I would never in a million years choose if I was by myself, but that's what this whole experience was about... stepping out of my comfort zone. Every pair of jeans I tried on hugged my legs. (I was told that's in style now.) I guess part of my brain still thinks I'm that overweight girl and so anything tight scares me. Thankfully I had those sweet girls there telling me how fab (and tiny) I looked. They helped me feel comfortable in my skin, and I really appreciated that. After we chose "the outfit", we headed over to Dexterity Salon to get my hair and makeup done.
We arrived around 2:15pm and Jeff, the owner, got to work on my hair. He cut about 3 inches off and added some color. Nothing too drastic, but enough to make me look like I had been in the sun all summer (wish that had been the case!) Jeff had amazing fingers and gave the best scalp massage. I'm almost tempted to go back just for that! While he was finishing up, Janelle, my makeup artist, began working on me. She was great about sharing tips and tricks to help highlight different features on my face. I have never had anyone instruct me like that and I found it really helpful. She was so sweet and nice and did a great job. After my hair and makeup were done, I changed in the bathroom into my new outfit, was surprised with a new green purse, and then we all headed to Faustina's, a restaurant in downtown Salt Lake.
Sheridan and Suzette walked in first and I followed. Jake, the kids, Jan (mother-in-law), Katie, Mal, Allison (my sister-in-laws), Susi, Jaci, my girls: Abby, Selena, Amber, Kim, and Meighan, my cousins Tonya and Karyn, and Whitney were all there to Ooh and Aah over me. We took a ton of pictures, talked about my incredible day, and ate some yummy appetizers. After the night was almost over, Jake and I headed out to dinner at Ruth's Chris, a very nice and expensive steak house. (It was Jake's parents' treat.) As we got into the car and headed home, I told Jake I felt like I had been in a fairy tale all day long. I didn't want the day to end.
Thanks to all my family and friends for giving me this awesome opportunity. I couldn't have won it without you! And of course, thanks to the sweet ladies at H&H, Jeff at Dexterity, and Janelle Corey for making me feel like a celebrity for a day. It was one of the most fun days of my life!
To see more pics, just click the READ MORE link below:
We have a lot going on in the Schip household right now. We always have a lot going on, but it seems since school started life is pretty crazy. I doubt it's going to ever get less crazy, so I better just hang on for the ride!
Each morning Josh gets to hang out at the Gold's Gym daycare for 90 minutes and he actually enjoys it (as long as he has his blankie with him.) He constantly asks me to take him to the park or go on a walk. He loves being outside and I'm trying to take advantage of it before the weather gets colder.
Emma is loving kindergarten. Her teacher, Mrs. Armknecht, is the best. Emma adores her and loves having all her little friends in her class, too. Emma is also taking 4 classes at the Jazz Studio: ballet, lyrical, hip hop, and jazz. She loves it all. The other day we were talking about Ben taking karate and Emma said "Mom, I want to take karate!" I told her she could only choose one thing, karate OR dance. She sat there for a minute and then said "I want to do both." I said only one. She sat there for a few seconds and then quickly said "I want to dance. I love dance." And she really does love it. She likes to try and teach Josh dance moves and it's pretty comical.
Ben is doing great in school. He is in the advanced math and reading groups and enjoys reading non-fiction. His favorite books right now are about lizards and sharks. Jake and I felt it was important to get him doing something extracurricular this year, since Emma has her dance. We asked Ben what he wanted to do and the only thing that he was remotely interested in was martial arts. I spent two weeks calling around, trying to find a place in our budget and had no luck. Then last week I got a flyer in Emma's backpack from school, mentioning a martial arts 10-week course at the high school. The instructor will be teaching taekwondo and the classes were well in our budget. Ben starts this Tuesday and is beyond excited.
We found out Jake passed the QEP two weeks ago which means he will be flying out to DC in November to take the Oral Assessment again, this time in the Consular track. I'm hoping to be able to go with him this time around, then I can be there in DC to support him in-person. Monday, the 27th we will know the exact date for his OA.
As for me, I already mentioned in my last post the CT scan. My primary care dr called Friday night and said a radiologist hadn't even looked at it yet, which he found very strange. Someone will look at it tomorrow, but my dr told me as far as he could tell, everything looked normal. Good news! (**Update: My dr called this morning and said the radiologist's report today said no recurrence. He did see a slight pneumothorax and fluid in my lung but said that's somewhat normal to see that just 3 months after surgery. My dr said that could be contributing to this cough I get off and on.)
I'm still working out and my lung capacity didn't seem to be getting better the past few weeks. I took a couple days off and went on Thursday to my favorite class at the gym, Body Combat, and it was amazing. I was able to push myself the entire class and not feel like I was going to pass out. I was winded quite a bit, but I still managed to push hard all the way through. I couldn't believe it when the hour was up and I wasn't completely mentally and physically drained. This gave me hope that I can get back to where I was. It might take a long while, but I do have hope! My running is another story. I'm having a harder time adjusting to that type of exercise. I'm most likely going to do the Wasatch Woman Love Your Body 6K next month so I need to get serious about my training. These next few weeks will be my test to see exactly where my body is at, physically.
I started my account rep job for Dr. Hess Udder Ointment August 1st. I'm getting the hang of it and feel pretty confident now, but the problem is trying to find balance. It's hard working from home! Josh is quite the needy guy and doesn't like to be alone. He's used to having two older siblings to keep him entertained so when they are not around, I'm the one he comes to for entertainment. I thought I would work during his naps but it seems his naps are becoming less and less frequent and not as long as I would like. So, quite often, my kid wins. Thankfully, my boss is awesome and understands my dilemma and encourages me to be a mom first. Sometimes I wish there were two of me! I have to admit, though, a few times a week I put in a Mickey Mouse movie, pop a huge bowl of popcorn, and plop Josh on the couch so I can get a few hours of work in. Not exactly "Mom-of-the-Year-Award" behavior, but sometimes there really is no other choice. I bow down to you working moms. It's tough trying to find that balance. If anyone has the secret to making it all work out perfectly, just let me know.
Just over two weeks ago I found out some devastating news about one of my close friends. I have been trying to help her in any way that I can and I just hope she knows I'm here for her, no matter what. She is an amazing woman and I'm lucky to have her as a friend. Love you, A!
Last Tuesday I had my makeover by a boutique in Salt Lake called Hip & Humble. I promise to write a whole blog post about it once I'm allowed to post the pictures. (I had to promise I wouldn't post pics on my blog or Facebook until Hip & Humble finished the video and uploaded that and the pics to their Facebook page.) I'm hoping they will get that up in the next few days, then I can write my post. I had a blast and loved being pampered for a whole day. Pics to come soon... I promise!
Our family went to the Ward Campout last weekend up in Heber and had a great time. We didn't get up there until after 7pm Friday, and left yesterday around 10:30am, so we didn't stay long but the time we were there was fun. We love our ward and all the wonderful people in it!
I had my first follow-up CT scan this morning. It was a strange, and yet familiar feeling as I put on my hospital gown. It's been over two months since the last time I had to put one on. It's slightly humorous, and maybe a little sad when you know the drill too well. You know exactly where the hospital gown ties in the back. You know without being told where the locker is to put your clothes and purse in. You tell the nurse which arm to poke because you get a better vein there. The nurses don't give you much instructions because they know you already know what to expect. This is going to be my life for awhile, probably a long while. But you know, as I laid down on my back, the contrast dye injected and my body moved through the scanner, my main thought was "I can't let this fear control me. If it does, the cancer wins. Instead of filling my head with worry, I need to just live."
So, as I bite my nails, waiting for the results, I just have to remind myself that so far up to this point I have been watched over and protected. God hasn't forgotten me. He knows the desires of my heart. He knows my strength. And so, I take great comfort in that.
Radiology... see you in another 6 months. I'll be ready!
I think we as women need other women. It's just a fact. We are social creatures, much more than our counterparts. Jake could care less if he had a night out with the boys. Sure, it could be fun, but does he crave that social interaction? Nope. Me, on the other hand, I crave GNOs (Girls' Night Out). I look forward to the weekly playdates, not just because the kids get to be social, but because I get to interact with my girlfriends. I get excited when I find out someone in our neighborhood is pregnant, because it means I get to help plan a baby shower (another excuse for a GNO!) I just love hanging out with my friends.
I've been so lucky. It seems that everywhere we move, I find women who become my dear friends. They teach me about compassion, they help me be a better mom and wife, and they inspire me to be a better friend. We have lived in North Salt Lake nearly three years now and lately I have felt so lucky, to move into such an awesome neighborhood with amazing women all around me. The longer I live here, the more I realize we really were brought here for a reason. I have met people here who have touched my life and helped me to be a better "me."
Speaking of dear friends... last fall a few girlfriends and I set-up a GNO. The ones who came loved the time away and we all decided to keep the tradition going, so each month we plan a GNO at someone's house. We come with the intention of popping popcorn and watching a movie, but 99% of the time the movie never gets started and we end up talking until 1 or 2am. These women have become my sisters. It seems that Heavenly Father put these sweet girls in my life at this time so they could help me through my trials, and so I could help them through theirs. It's so true that women need women. I call Abby, Amber, Selena, Meighan, and Kim "my girls", because they truly are that. We have helped each other through so many things this past year, things we never would have dreamt could happen. These girls are tender mercies in my life and I love them all so much.
Kim, Selena, Meighan, Abby, Amber, and me. Meighan was Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and we were all able to be there and cheer her on (even though she didn't need our cheering. She was already awesome to begin with!)
Amber, Selena, Kim, Abby, Meighan, and me. We all went to Vegas in May for a weekend and had one of the best vacations ever! We saw a Cirque du Soleil show, gambled a few bucks (Selena won enough to pay for our valet!), shopped, ate great food, and enjoyed staying up late in our hotel room, talking about anything and everything.
My girls carried me through the week that led up to my surgery, and of course, way beyond. They provided meals, babysitting, and plenty of support. They all made lung cancer awareness bracelets (and they still wear them often!)
Kim, Abby, Meighan, me, Selena, and Amber. They planned a "Hospital GNO" and stayed until 1am. They brought me flowers, visited multiple times, brought treats, took my kids for playdates, bathed me, rented movies for me, let me borrow their books, etc. Such great friends!
They were my "Team Jamie" and supported the 5K I was supposed to run, but couldn't because I was still in the hospital. My mom took my place and ran with Abby, Meighan, and Kim, and Amber and Selena cheered and took pictures for me. Afterward they all came up to my hospital room and told me all about the race.
All these great ladies helped to put on one of the best garage sales I've ever seen. It was huge and took a lot of people to make it happen. In the end enough money was raised to pay for our medical deductible this year and enough to pay for my two CT scans next year.
I know I'm incredibly lucky to have such beautiful, capable, talented, amazing women in my life. I hope they know how much I cherish each of them. Love you, girls!
Boy do I feel lucky! I found out last Saturday that I won a makeover (free clothes, haircut, and makeup) from the cute Salt Lake boutique, Hip & Humble. Thanks to my sweet friend Abby, who nominated me, my sister Ashleigh who rallied the troops, and many of you who voted for me on Facebook. Just reading the comments of those who were thinking of me and supporting me made me teary-eyed more than once last week. I won the contest by more than 200 votes. Crazy! Thanks, everyone. It means more than you will ever know. The actual makeover will be Tuesday, the 14th and I promise to post pictures after it's all done.
The lucky streak continues! I found out today that I won an awesome sports bra from Handful Inc. My good friend and elite athlete, Leslie, posted on her blog about this drawing for a free sports bra. This bra sounded like something I could really benefit from, because it not only supports but also has padded inserts. Yep, the 'ladies' need a lot of help in this area. TMI, I know. I just ordered the pink one and can't wait to give it a try! (Now, if I could only get the girl's body in the picture, too, then I would be set! ;) )
And I guess I have to post one UN-lucky thing here, just because it's slightly humorous, and to even out the good luck. Balance in everything, right? On Monday, Labor Day, Jake and I decided to do something fun with the kids that didn't cost any money. Well, we drove the kids up to Big Cottonwood Canyon and hiked Donut Falls. It was my first time, the kids too, so Jake had fun showing us the ropes. Once we got to the falls, Ben and Jake hiked to the very top (a little too dangerous for Emma and Josh). When they got back, I hiked up by myself, because Jake insisted on me seeing it since it was a pretty neat thing. He was right. It was cool and I was glad I did it. Well, fastforward 20 minutes later when we get to our car, and lo and behold, a $75 (yes, SEVENTY-FIVE) parking ticket. Yes, we knew we were parked right next to a "No Parking" sign, but so were 20 other cars because there was no where else to park. It was super crowded Monday, being a holiday and all. The most frustrating thing was, there were no other tickets in sight. Our car was the only one with a ticket. Nice. So, what first started out as a cheap, fun family outing, ended up costing us a whopping $75. Argh. Oh well. We still had a fun time, despite that little detail.
I received this e-mail from a very good friend of mine:
I keep thinking that I will probably always be fat because I can't beat the food! Then I think that if I could be so intensely attached to exercising like you, the food thing would not be an issue. I had a membership to the local pool last year because I thought I would do that, which I did, but only for a few months then stopped, then went again, then got pregnant, now....I haven't done anything! That expired in May, then my husband had some health issues and now we own a treadmill. We bought it Father's Day, and I have used it all of once! (I know I'm pregnant, but that doesn't mean I should be totally sedentary!) I come up with all kinds of excuses-like I work, my kids take all my time, I have so much to do that I have no more time to exercise! I need help!! My husband has been slowly losing weight, and I told him that if he ever weighs less than me, I will kill myself! It sucks that I am still gaining as he is losing! I told him I will have to hit the treadmill as soon as the baby pops out, but I don't know if I will!!
I wish you could be my trainer! Anyway, do you have any advice for me? I really don't want to stay fat, and now I won't have pregnancy as an excuse since this is our last one!!
It's been a few days since she sent it and I haven't responded until now. I decided to share this on my blog because her e-mail really hit home for me, like it probably does for so many others. (I've kept it anonymous, though, editing the message to make it a little less identifiable. Not sure my friend wants to be singled out.) I know that hopeless feeling all too well. That was me a few years ago. I'm sure some of you out there reading this might even feel just like my friend. Just know, there is hope. And to my friend, don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you, just have been thinking a lot about this and didn't know exactly what to say until now.
First off, let me say I'm not a pro by any means. I'm no nutritionist or fitness expert, but I do have the experience of being overweight and unmotivated, and then going through the journey of becoming fit and motivated. That has to count for something, right?! So, with that disclaimer out of the way, here is what I think.
It's all about motivation. What motivates you? You have to find what that is and hold on for dear life. Without a doubt this will be one of the hardest things you will ever do. When times get hard, you have to remember why you are doing this. Why you work out so hard you almost puke. Why you do an extra 5 reps, even when your arms feel like they will break. I had this moment today. I decided I would run 1 mile without stopping. I didn't care so much about the time, I just wanted to make it 1 full mile without walking. I have to say, exercise-wise, this was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done (right up there with running a half marathon with major knee and hip problems!) My head kept telling me to stop. My lungs kept telling me to stop. But I dug deep, and my heart won. I did it. I actually got teary-eyed when the treadmill hit 1 mile. Time: 10 1/2 minutes. Not my fastest mile by a long shot, but you know, that didn't matter. It's all about pushing ourselves. Those moments when you're tired, you feel you have nothing left to give, that's when you show what you're really made of. So, what motivates you enough to get you to that point? You want to fit into your skinny jeans. You have a high school reunion coming up. You want to run your first 5K. Whatever it is, hold onto it. Motivation and drive will get you where you want to go, you just have to take that first step and begin the journey.
I love this. So true. Our health should be a huge motivator. The day I realized I could actually run up the hill with my kids, sled down, then walk back up, over and over, without feeling like I was going to die, it was a huge wake-up for me. I didn't want to be the mom who sat on the grass watching her kids play because she physically couldn't run around with them. I have a life to live. So do you. We only have so much time here. Why waste it feeling unhappy? The benefits of exercising are invaluable. Heart, muscles, lungs, brain... they all get stronger when we exercise. We know all this, right?! Then why don't we do it? Because it's hard. You know though, hard things make us strong.
I know the "love of food" thing. I had the same problem. I could never say 'no'. I remember thinking about the next thing I was going to eat before I even finished the food that was already on my plate. It took a lot to make me feel full, and when I got 'full', I was sick to my stomach. That's how I ate, though. I remember eating a cheeseburger and fries for lunch, a Costco blueberry muffin and king-size Milky Way for a snack, then eating a 7-layer burrito, a beef supreme gordita, and mexi-nuggets at Taco Bell for dinner, and then some snack right before bed. No wonder I couldn't lose the weight! I was eating way too much, and the food I was eating was horrible for me. Know what you're putting into your body. Be accountable. Write it down. I remember asking my dr why I wasn't losing weight and he in return asked "How many calories are you eating per day?" I couldn't answer that. I had no clue. Go to livestrong.com Start tracking your food. Set a caloric intake goal, and stick with it. My trainer once said losing weight is 10% exercise, 90% diet. Diet is HUGE! And you are right, once you start an exercise routine and you start seeing results, diet becomes a little less of an issue. You really don't want to eat 3 slices of pizza because that would un-do everything you did that morning at the gym. Food is a hard thing to overcome, but we just have to remember, food isn't our enemy, we are. Food is fuel that we need, we just have to pick the right kinds and have portion control.
Set some goals. It's a lot easier to push yourself when you have something you're working towards. Tell people about your goals. Being accountable to someone will help you stay on track. And celebrate your accomplishments, big and small. (But don't celebrate by awarding yourself with food. Go out to a movie. Buy a new shirt.)
I just have to say my top motivator, and goal, is to be a better, healthier ME. I don't do this for other people. I really do what I do because I know it makes me feel better and look better. What person doesn't want that? For too long I hated myself. I couldn't look in the mirror and see one good thing. I hated it all. My self esteem was down the toilet and no one could change that, except me. Now when I look in the mirror, I actually can point out things I like. That woman looking back at me is happy. No food can make you feel like that... and if it does, it doesn't last long. I remember the day I began my weight loss journey, June 26, 2008. It's been a hard road. That first month was a killer. I was so sore after every workout. I started out slow, running 1 minute then walking until I felt ready to run another minute. Slowly I increased my running time. Slowly I increased the amount of reps and weights. This isn't something that happens over night. You might hate it for awhile, that's ok... but stick with it. Once you start seeing results (write down your measurements and take pictures each month so you can see your progress), and you see muscle definition, and feel more toned, that's when you realize it's worth it. Setbacks come, and it sucks... but the good days make up for all those bad days. When you realize exercise has become apart of who you are, and it's not just something you "have to do", that's when you realize you've changed.
I could say so much more, but thought my past posts could speak better than I can right now. Relive my journey. Hopefully it will stir up some thoughts, emotions, and questions. Feel free to e-mail any time. You know I'm always here.
GOOD LUCK! Stay strong. Be committed. I know you can do this.
PS If there are others out there with advice for my friend, feel free to chime in.
The kids were so excited Monday when they found out uncle Justin was coming to visit for a few hours. Justin ran his first half marathon over the weekend up in Idaho, and then he was traveling through SLC, before he headed to Vegas to spend time with Collette's family. Justin played plenty of games with the kids on the tramp and had dinner with us. We loved having him here, and just wish he could have stayed longer.
I'm a strong-willed woman, wife, mom of three, LDS, U of U grad, runner, gymnastics fanatic, card maker, piano player, slightly OCD, singer, chocolate lover, office manager, cancer survivor, and friend. I started this blog to keep in touch with family and friends, and it slowly turned into my own personal therapeutic outlet. Nothing better than typing out your thoughts, trying to make sense of life.