Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


You know how sometimes you have this huge internal struggle that you wrestle with for months?

And when you finally, finally decide "The heck with it; I'm balls in" you can't wait for the opportunity to tell all those you love?

Because you *know* all those you love will be shocked at the leap of faith you are taking?

But when you publicly drop the life-altering, life-changing decision you toiled over, all your friends and family are like, "Yeah, I saw *that* coming a mile away," leaving you wondering, "Am I really such a foregone conclusion?"

So that happened this month.

Yes, I'm talking about the decision to compete in my first powerlifting meet.

(Y'all saw that coming, too, huh?)(Apparently I'm last to the party on this one.)

At a recent training session, Kemper valiantly tried to argue one more time for the merits of going into figure competition. I finally trumped all his subtle coercion with the ultimate deal-breaker for me: modesty. There is no way around that one if I was going to go into figure competition. (Mom Those who may be wondering, figure competition is the one where you put on a tiny bikini and heels and stand on a stage to show the results of your months of strict diet and hardcore training.) Kemper conceded if modesty was my main issue then, um, yeah, figure wasn't going to work for me.

But if not figure, then what did I really want to do? I've spent the last twelve weeks working Kemper's 5x5 strength training plan. It was a total blast and hella effective. Here are the results from twelve weeks training:

Me getting ready to squat 170 x 5
Also, apparently I squat low bar naturally.
Because my traps are weak delicate.
I started the plan at 147.9 pounds (I'm 5' 3.5" tall) and 23.6% body fat.

I benched 65 for reps with a 1 rep max of 95.
I squatted 95 for reps with a 1 rep max of 155.
I deadlifted 115 for reps with a 1 rep max of 165.

Last weigh in I weighed 146 with 20% body fat.

I bench 95 for reps.
I squat 170 for reps.
I deadlift 165 for reps.

I have yet to test my new 1 rep maxes*, but I think it's fair to say Kemper's strength training plan has been fruitful. So what's next?

It's for STRENGTH GAINZ, geez.
The decision to go into powerlifting was hard for one simple, ridiculous reason. The scale. For me it started and ended with knowing I was going to need to change my diet to support my powerlifting goals, which meant I had to be okay with maybe gaining weight. Kemper used fun terminology like "calorie progression" to talk about eating for strength gains but I knew that was really code for "let's make you a nice, strong Chunky Monkey totally fluffified in time for all your Christmas photos". (Confession. The thought of Kemper actually uttering the words "Chunky Monkey" or "fluffified" kinda sets me to snickering.)(But it would be rad.)

This looks nothing like Kemper.
But the expression? Dude.
(Also, Random Thought For Free = I made Brian watch Brian and I watched The Fault In Our Stars Saturday night and Kemper totally has a facial expression twin. The actor that plays Augustus makes so many Kemper faces it kept taking me out of the imaginary world of Hazel Grace and Augustus (that was absolutely destroying me anyway, let's be honest) because I would be all, "Where have I seen that look..." and be mystified for all of three seconds before I was like, "Kemper freaking Sosa."

So what I was trying to say before Augustus Waters hijacked my life yet again, is that it took a fair amount of internal debate and reflection to see if I'm in a place to be able to mentally handle any body image issues that may arise because of bulking  becoming a fluffified Chunky Monkey  calorie progression. Finally I decided, "Dude, stop being a freaking girl and just go for it." So Imma do it.

What's the plan?

Baby Sister/Police Officer Extraordinaire
Full disclosure: Her name is Cassie.
But what kind of second rate older
sister would let the golden opportunity
pass to drop the nickname "Casshole"?
Not this one.
Firstly, I'm taking a three week break just to have fun. I'm sticking with the general outline of my strength plan (Mondays = chest and arms, Tuesday = yoga and sometimes run, Wednesday - deadlift and back, Thursday = chest/arms/HIIT, Friday = rest, Saturday = LEG DAY, Sunday = abs and HIIT) but I'm trying out a bunch of new-to-me exercises and machines. I'm training with Rachel Who Looks Like Meg Ryan on Mondays (and some Thursdays) and Powerlifter Sara on some Wednesdays and Saturdays. I trained with my baby sister (the beautiful and strong Casshole) last Thursday at LA Fitness. I'm playing around with stances and grips and throwing up new weights just because I can. HOORAH.

I'll meet with Kemper the first week of October to go over THE NEW TRAINING PROGRAM. You know, the one that prepares me for my first ever powerlifting meet. *throws up in my mouth a little from fear* I found a meet in January that is relatively close by; unfortunately it is only a push/pull competition, which means I will only be doing bench press and deadlift. (No squatting this time.)(Which I actually think might be a nice way to ease into this sport.) I'll start The New Training Program October 13, which gives me roughly 12 weeks to prepare. I'm also attending a meet in Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 11 to see Powerlifter Sara compete, which will give me some idea of what to expect when it's my turn.

I'm nervous, guys. I'm freaking out a little. I'm worried I may be the weakest person there. I'm worried I won't make my lifts. But this is good freaking out, and healthy fear. This is the fear that pushes me to try new things, to be better. These are the nerves that challenge my Navy Seal dreams. Second place is FIRST LOSER.

In conclusion, (I love that dropping that phrase always makes me feel like I've actually made some cohesive points) here is a picture of me hitting a new PR for deadlift on Sunday morning that has nothing to do with any of this post, and everything with just wanting to post a ginormous picture of myself deadlifting TWO HUNDRED POUNDS.

True story about this picture: Lifetime Fitness is relatively empty at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, which made it the perfect time to play around with a sumo deadlift stance and see how much I could lift. I did some light sets of ten reps to warm up (at 95# and 115#) and then started rocking out two reps every 10#-20# increase. My previous 1 rep max lift was 165#; after Kemper's strength training plan I could do 2-3 sets of 5 reps each at 165#. But I'd never done more than that. When I got to 175# it was a big deal. A NEW PR! But I kept going. 185#. Then 190#. I was all, "THAT'S A 25# PR!" Then I thought, "A 30# PR would be nicer." So I did it. Then I reasoned, "I'm only 5 measly pounds away from 200 - which is a really nice number." So I pulled 200# and freaked the heck out.
 Then I proceeded to ask every single person within a fifty foot radius if they had a camera with them and would someone pretty please with a cherry on top take a picture (because: proof) and email it to me?!?!
Thankfully my new best friend Toni (a.k.a. previously a perfect stranger) ran down to the locker room (oh yes, she did) to grab her phone and take the lovely shot above which she emailed to me because she loves and supports other women who lift. And I am super, super grateful.
The End.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

TBT - Zoology 101

Who remembers this gem? Throwing it back to 2012.

This is why we rule at Family Dinner.

Scene:  We are all noshing on penne with spinach, tomatoes, and bacon. Broccoli is served as a side dish.  The adults in the room have had trying days and are being overly bright to compensate out of consideration of everyone else in the room. Whom they love dearly. The children are all, "Mmmm, bacon." Then, this:

Hosanna:  What's the name of that animal?

Brian:  What animal?

Hosanna:  You know, it's erectile.

Kelly: *snorts Diet Coke out her nose*

Brian: (eyes twinkling) Like it's dysfunctional?

Kelly: STAHP.

Hosanna: The one where in the water it looks like a log floating.

Kelly: *giggles like a teenage boy*

Brian: What did you call it, Nan?

Hosanna:  The erectile.  Why is mom laughing so hard?

Eve:  Oh, I get it.  It's a wrecked tile.  *laughs uncontrollably* AWRECKTILE   AWRECKTILE

Kelly:  Dude.  Stop.  Nan, do you mean a crocodile?

Hosanna:  The tail whips back and forth.  Erectile.

Kelly: *tears coming down her cheeks*  Do you mean reptile?

Hosanna: Um, yeah. A reptile. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It.Was.Bananas. - How to Lose SIX Pounds in One Night

It all started with a craving for a banana.

I don't eat a lot of fruit. When I do partake it's usually in the form of raspberries or blueberries because they are delicious lower on the glycemic index. I watch my blood sugar kind of closely and count the mess outta carbs, so bananas have been on my "not an everyday food" list for a while. This has not really impacted my life in any great way, since before I started training with Kemper my favorite way to eat a banana was baked in some quick bread and topped with Nutella. Because duh. But Friday found me craving a fresh, real banana in the worst way.

***Minor Tangent totally related to this story***

Pigeon pose with a fold.
Also, if I did yoga outside the chances of me
getting into pigeon pose and *not* getting pooped
on by an actual pigeon are slim. Because I am a
bird poop magnet. (You need to click that link.)
I've noticed lately that I've been having muscle cramps in my abdominals* whenever I try to forward fold during yoga or stretch after a workout. (*Confession = it happened at my last training session with Kemper. As I was contorting my body into a variety of delightful positions to try to loosen the cramp - picture me hula hooping without an actual hoop or any discernible rhythm - I was all (enter my "I'm totally trying not to freak out but this kinda sorta really hurts and I'm worried I might FREEZE UP LIKE THIS FOREVER" voice), "KEMPER WHAT IS THIS THAT IS CRAMPING?!" as I jabbed repeatedly at my abdomen. Kemper was all, "Your abdominals, Dummy." Have I mentioned how good I am at logic?) I've also noticed that my feet are cramping up when I do pigeon pose. (On a really fun day I get into a folded pigeon pose and then it's a giant party because everything cramps at once.) Since I used to get muscle cramps quite frequently during triathlon training, I assumed this meant one of two things: either I was dehydrated or I needed some potassium. With the dawn of the banana craving on Friday, I deduced potassium and decided to listen to my body, making plans to consume a banana sometime in the following day.

Big mistake. Huge. Because y'all? My body is a big fat liar

Mine was consumed at 72.5 hours.
It started out a very promising endeavor. Friday is my grocery shopping day, so I bought the most perfectly ripe banana with the plan to have it with my dinner. It was bright yellow, firm, and smelled so fresh. I entered it into MyFitnessPal and arranged all my other food around this one luscious piece of fruit. I counted down the hours until dinnertime when I could enjoy it. Then I received a phone call.

*lightning flashes and the lights dim dramatically because it's time to foreshadow the trauma of the night*

Brian was calling from work to let me know he was going to be home really late. He'd hurt his back again (this happens about once a year) and needed to go to the company clinic after his day ended. "No problem, Babe, you take care of you," I said naively, still unaware of the hellish nightmare in my future.

With the timetable of the night suddenly a bit different, I had to rework the timing of my original food plan. Now I would eat the banana as a snack around 5:00 p.m., take the older girlies to their Friday night teen group, and come home to eat dinner with the littles around 6:45 p.m. 

When 5:00 rolled around I savored the heck out of that banana. It was amazeballs. And I'm not even the type of person who said amazeballs even when it was still current. But that banana was worth every hour I waited for it ... until about 5:30 p.m. when it liquefied every hint of matter residing in my gastrointestinal tract and demanded immediate release from the captivity in my body.

There are no words to describe the next eight hours of my life. I drove the girlies to their event solely because I had no room for rational thought when my brain was just pleading for death for the horrible stomach pain to stop. By the time I got home with Esther and Ezra all I could do was stumble back and forth from the bathroom to the couch, whimpering incoherently all the while.

Esther was a complete rock star during this time. She made sure Ezra had everything he needed as he ate his dinner, and then challenged him to a pajama contest. Which was a genius way for her to get his pajamas on. I hovered in and out of consciousness, but did hear Brian walk in the door around 8:00.

"Oh, Babe, what can I do for you?" he wondered in concern.

"Don't make me talk," I croaked from under a blanket.

Kevin Smith, you gave us Clerks so Imma extend
you a little bit of trust here...don't do me wrong.
The next few hours were a blur. There was a lot of Drama Queen moaning while The Horrible Sickness controlled my body. Finally, around 11:30 p.m., just in time for Jimmy Fallon, I started to feel some relief. I rolled over onto my side without feeling as if I were reclining on broken glass. I smiled at some of Jimmy's antics. I started sipping water, and, because Jimmy Fallon, I even laughed out loud at the ridiculousness that is Justin Long's new movie Tusk. (A man kidnaps another man and turns him into a walrus?! Whut.)

"Say Yes to the Best"
It's like I had no choice.

By 12:30 I felt well enough to try some cereal because I was suddenly hungry as all get out. (Yes, Kemper, the bad cereal on top of my fridge that I feed my children.)(But it was organic cocoa crispies, so it was healthy sugar.)(#hownutritionworks) It must have been healthy because I kept it down (#proof) and I went to bed at 1:00 a.m. because Seth Myers is a terrible late night host.

Saturday morning I woke up at 8:30 and felt completely fine. But when I stepped on the scale later that day I discovered I had lost six pounds in one night. (And yes, of course I gained it back by the next day once I was rehydrated, but can we take a moment to celebrate the only upside (albeit a short lived one) to the misery I endured on Friday night?)

So friends, that is how you lose six pounds in one night.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Five on Friday: Before and After Pics

This is my basement before the Great Sewage Flood Clean Up of 2014: 

So much floating...

Everything floooooooats...

This is my basement after the Great Sewage Flood Clean Up of 2014:

"Kel - that's an AMAZING home gym! I can't believe your friends Mike and Jenny gave that to you! And what's that other stuff? Did someone also give you a stationary bike *and* a punching bag?!"
"I know, right? My friends are AMAZING."

"What about all those new dumbbells and adjustable dumbbells? And the curl bar?"
"They were gifts from my Aunt Bonnie and my friend Gerry."

"Is that an adjustable bench (with a plate rack thing and a ton of other stuff you probably don't even know how to describe) that someone GAVE YOU FOR FREE?!"
"Yep. Gerry is the jam."

This is Esther before the I'm Tired Of All These Snarls And The Resulting Tantrums When I Brush Her Hair Haircut:

Finally lost her first tooth!

This is Esther after the I'm Tired Of All These Snarls And The Resulting Tantrums When I Brush Her Hair Haircut:

Fantastic Sams is fantastic. (Also, don't hate on FS; $11.00, yo.)

This is the Living Room before we turned it into the Homeschool Room (post flood when all our crap had to be stored upstairs):

"Um, wow Kel, it's totally like you were a hoarder."
"Post flood I was ready to call A&E myself."

This is the Living Room after IKEA threw up all over it we turned it into the Homeschool Room:


So studious. Much learning.

This is my lovely toe before Hosanna a child dropped a ten pound dumbbell on it:

All sweet and unsuspecting.

This is my lovely toe after Hosanna a child dropped a ten pound dumbbell on it:

Three days out. Oh, and even after having four kiddos, a dumbbell on the toenail = the WORST pain I've experienced in my life. Sometime I'll share the horror story that is drilling into your own toenail with a safety pin to release the blood in the hopes of saving it.

These are my lovely Sister Wives and I before we grew another year hotter wiser:

Sister Wife Rachel, Sister Wife Lyndsay, me, Sister Wife Rose
September 2013

These are my lovely Sister Wives and I after we grew another year hotter wiser:

Rachel, Lynds, me, and Rose
September 2014
(*Bonus points if you spotted my bandaged toe*)

Happy Friday!

Monday, September 1, 2014

When Hate is a Good Thing

Powerlifter Sara and I have created a new rating scale on which to judge a particular workout. Since she pushes me so hard while we are lifting, it's based roughly on how much I hate her the following day. It ranks as follows.


Our very first leg workout earned a DESPISE level, so it's become the standard against which I measure all other workouts. Nothing has come close to that first workout. Then, this weekend happened... *enter ominous music*

On Saturday we met to have a lovely little squat session. Kemper's* strength training plan called for squatting, leg press, lunges, and a superset of hamstring curls and single leg bridge extensions. (Normally I view leg press as a throw away because it's not squatting I don't really enjoy it as much as squatting. Sara, however, is a leg press DOMINATOR. She can leg press over a thousand pounds, which means she pretty much maxes out all the machines at Lifetime.) 

I ran a half mile to warm up and then met Sara on the seated leg press. She had me do 4 sets of 8 reps as heavy as I could handle. She told me to push through my heels so I would feel it in my quads as much as possible. The weight was heavy enough that the last few reps of each set I could only concentrate on breathing and pushing and lowering the weight. Then, because Sara is a BEAST she had us do single leg presses. I dropped the weight in half and did three sets of ten reps with each leg. My quads were quivering. (That sounds like the title of a really bad powerlifting romance novel.)(Note to self: Quivering Quads as a debut novel?)

Next we headed over to the squat rack where HISTORY WAS MADE.

It started like any other squat session. I did some leg swings (even though I was really warmed up from leg press, I'm a creature of habit) and some hip openers. I squatted the bar 10 times, focusing on form and explosiveness. I did the same with 6 reps of 95 pounds. Then we went straight from warm up to our working set. It went a little something like this:

1 set of 5 reps at 135. 1 set of 5 reps at 145. Start to feel nervous because the heaviest weight I've ever squatted reps at is 150. Start to think about the 3 full sets ahead of us. Feel like maybe I should try to convince Sara we should do another set of 145 so we don't get too ahead of ourselves. Attempt to enforce this plan. Am FULL ON DENIED as Sara takes us up to 150.

Do 1 set of 5 reps at 150. Smile like a neeeerd because 150 was easy. Do 1 set of 5 reps at 155. Do 1 set of 5 reps at 160. Freak out because *that* is a new PR. Look at Sara. Her eyes are twinkling and she says, "Let's do ten more. 170."

Thinking about it. "Dude, it's just 170. It's only 25 pounds more than your entire body weight. You got this or you might crap your pants."

This is the moment my career as a booty dancer in rap videos started.
#tushie because #suburbanmom
Sara put down the camera to spot me on this lift because one hundred and seventy pounds but guys? I squatted 5 full reps at 170 pounds. PR #2 of the session.

Next was walking lunges (I used 25# dumbbells and we walked the length of the free weights back and forth twice) and then superset 3 sets of hamstring curls and single leg bridge extensions. My hamstrings were screaming at me during the last set.

We finished up the workout with some cardio. I ran on the treadmill while chatting with Sara. I daydreamed slightly about iced coffee, and realized that since it was LEG DAY I was totally going to go to McDonalds and get it. Lifting: making your daydreams a reality.

I waited all the next day for the workout to rate DESPISE level, but it never got there. Part of me thinks it was because I spent a fair amount of time foam rolling and stretching afterwards, and part of me thinks it was the BCAA's I've been taking after my big lifting days. (Also, don't tell Kemper because maybe I haven't asked him about that yet.)(But I am feeling a difference since I added BCAA's to my post workout regimen.)(I just giggled because I have an actual post workout regimen.)

Even with the Squat PR this workout only rated a solid LOATHE on our super scientific scale. Which is still really really awesome.

Today is a rest day which means yoga is happening. *Commence happy dancing* 

Enjoy your day, y'all!

This is Super Fine Brother
Oscar's Little Brother Kemper.
He's fit, fun, and a family man.

*Laaaaaaadies - Kemp is on the market. And since you all have been so quick to inquire about Kemper's Super Fine Brother Oscar (three marriage proposals!)(I'm a little disappointed there weren't more)(because he's totally Super Fine)(and a good hugger)(and plays guitar), I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that Kemper is *enter my singsong voice* avaaaaaailable. Email your proposals to  (If this results in an actual relationship I am charging Kemp a finder's fee and I get to sing at the wedding. I can rock out some Ave Maria like nobody's bidness.)
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