Friday, February 28, 2020

How I Kicked My Caffeine Addiction

I have been drinking caffeine since I was in the womb. I have vivid memories of coming home from half-day kindergarten and sitting with my mom while she folded laundry and watched Days of Our Lives and I would steal sips of her Diet Pepsi.

Fast forward to May of 2018. I knew I had an addiction but I just didn't realize to what extent. I knew that if I didn't have caffeine by about 2 pm I had a raging headache. RAGING. And I had joked about going off of caffeine for what seemed like forever but never thought about doing it seriously. But one day after searching the couch cushions, the car, and my purse for spare change so I could get a 44 oz fountain Diet Pepsi at the gas station by my work without Parker knowing because I was using cash and not caring if stopping to get pop would make me a couple minutes late to work, I knew something needed to change. And I know that this sounds so silly but I was hiding it from my husband and showing up a few minutes late to work all for a stupid drink and that wasn't like me.

I originally wanted to go a week without caffeine just to see if I could do it. And when I survived a week I decided to try for two weeks, and then a month, and two months, and then I thought, "I've gone this long. I may as well go a year without caffeine." And so on May 2, 2019, I celebrated one full year of no caffeinated beverages!

Me in my beloved Pepsi shirt. Gosh, I love it.

So if you're like me and find yourself addicted to caffeine, here are some tips and tricks that helped me kick this addiction to the curb:

1. Recognize that you have a problem and be inspired to change!

I've tried to kick this habit before but I didn't really care enough. I truly think that it was when I realized I was hiding things from Parker that I felt guilty and the reality of the situation actually dawned on me and that made me want to change for real this time. I simply didn't want to be an addict anymore.

2. Be prepared for terrible headaches. 

Withdrawl headaches are real and they're THE WORST! The headaches were on and off for the first two weeks so I had ibuprofen on hand and allowed myself to take it when I felt like it was necessary during those two weeks. After that, I've hardly had any headaches since which I feel is totally related to not drinking caffeine!

3. If you crave the carbonation, let yourself to have caffeine-free pop.

I had caffeine-free Diet Pepsi on hand all year long. My favorite way to drink pop is from a fountain machine and caffeine-free Diet Pepsi is SO HARD TO FIND ON FOUNTAIN. It was super frustrating. But caffeine-free Diet Coke isn't as difficult to find - anywhere that has the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines (Wendy's & Five Guys for example) have caffeine-free options and I found that most Speedway gas stations have caffeine-free Diet Coke which works as a sub when in need. And if you buy 5 you get 1 free (or something like that....they don't have Speedway in freaking Boston so it's been a while lol)!

Once an addict, always an addict. I've been very wary of falling back into my caffeinated ways so I try not to have caffeine as often although I have had it since May 2, 2019. We have it in our home and I can easily resist it so I'm quite proud of myself.

Also, who thinks I need this? If our apartment wasn't so blasted small I would have bought it when I saw it but there is literally nowhere for it and we don't have a use for it at the moment. But someday, when I own a house and have space for it, you bet your bottom dollar I will own this bad boy. SO CUTE!

Again, as silly as this sounds, if you have a caffeine addiction and actually want to break your habit, I'm happy to support you in any way that I can! It's not fun to feel like you HAVE to have something to function and the feeling of pride knowing that I beat it is quite liberating! If you want to do it, you totally should. I believe in you and I'm cheering you on!

xoxo, Chelan

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Mighty Five | Southern Utah Hiking Trip

Out of all of our adventures we had planned for our two-month traveling stint in 2019, this hiking trip was the one I was the least excited about. I was actually quite afraid of it. I'm most scared of two things: snakes and heights. And I was positive that we would have run-ins with both of these fears several times throughout the week. But I'm happy to report that there were only tears one time and that was because of a scary, slippery heights situation and I didn't see a single creature that I didn't want to see. It probably helped that I was constantly (and I literally mean CONSTANTLY) praying in my mind and heart that I wouldn't see any nasty animals. #blessed

So while this trip was one I honestly dreaded, it ended up being the one that surprised me the most. I LOVED IT and I was shocked that I enjoyed it so much! I've decided that I need to get rid of some of my limiting beliefs like "I don't like hiking" and "I'm a bad cook" because I've actually enjoyed both of those things a lot in the last year.

Some reasons why this trip was as great as it was:

+ The company we had was top notch as was the weather.

+ We stayed in good, warm, dry places with beds and flushable toilets and hot showers. That was my one requirement if I was to be a good sport and accompany Parker on a trip like this haha. While I love camping, I figured that would be a little much for my first legit hiking trip. Lol, we'll work up to that someday....maybe!

+ We ate some great food and watched all the Harry Potter movies in the evenings to unwind.

+ I don't know if I've ever gotten such good sleep because I was so blasted worn out at the end of the day from walking what seemed like 500 miles ;).

+ While I tend to enjoy the scenery found in areas like Glacier National Park with all the pine trees and the Rockies a little more, I can't deny that Southern Utah is so pretty in its own way and we saw some beautiful sights!

+ I knew my limits going into the trip and I wasn't going to do anything I didn't feel comfortable with. Parker knew not to push me too far and he was so sweet and helpful when I did feel a little afraid.

+ And I just felt good! So many endorphins from all of the exercise and I was so proud of myself for conquering some of my fears and actually enjoying the result!

Onto the photos! And don't forget to watch the video at the end because that's my favorite part!

 I decided slot canyons are my favorite hikes. No heights and it was really fun to scramble! ^^

Parker helping me with said scrambling lol
 That is actual fear on my face haha. I don't know why standing up on that rock like that freaked me out so much!
This day ^ we were hiking in Arches National Park and decided for some reason to do the 'primitive trail' to make one gigantic loop through the park. This didn't seem like a dumb decision at the time but oh boy did I regret it after... kind of. Because we had taken this route, Parker was able to save someone's life so that was good. But it scared the crap out of me in the process. 

The primitive trail is just that, primitive. It's not a well-marked trail at all.. just had some cairns and arrows here and there to help you stay on course. There's no railings or stairs carved into the trail or anything either which, after our experience, I should seriously write a strongly worded letter to someone about this. 


So we came upon this large curved rock part of the trail and as we were climbing on top of it we saw that it's a really, really steep slope on the other side and we had to somehow get down there to continue on. I started to get really nervous because I don't like steep. This is sandstone, might I add, so very slippery if you don't have proper hiking shoes and prior to this trip I did not consider myself a hiker so I never knew I needed hiking shoes. Our friends had hiking shoes and made it down no problem. To get down this slope, you basically have to face the slope with your toes on the teeniest tiniest "ledge" and lean into the mountain and slowly inch your way diagonally down on this ledge to the flat part at the bottom. I wish I'd taken a photo so you could understand what I mean because it's hard to explain it. Parker started to go down ahead of me so he could help me out because I was scared. I started to make my way to where Parker was but began to shake out of fear so I decided to climb back up to the flat part at the top and take a moment before I tried again. 

Meanwhile, there was an older couple (who had absolutely NO BUSINESS being on the primitive trail) that were waiting to make their way down the slope as well. Parker offered to help them since he was going to have to wait for me anyway so the old man started to make his way toward Parker. Rather than turn into face the mountain, he put his heels on the "ledge" and leaned back. Suddenly his entire body started to shake a ton as he realized he was stuck and he started to slide down the slope. Nick was at the bottom and had positioned himself below the man in case he was to slide/fall all the way down so he could somewhat break his fall. And luckily Parker was still in a position to help so he managed to grab the man by one arm and held him there until the man had somewhat regained his footing. At this point, I'm at the top just SOBBING. I had turned around and cried into my hands when the man started to slip because I didn't want to watch someone die and possibly take my spouse with them. I stood at the top violently crying thinking about everything that could have gone wrong: this man could have fallen and seriously hurt himself, if not died. Parker could have been taken down with him and also been hurt. I would have to do the same part of the trail in order to get down off that blasted rock! 

Finally, the man and his wife got down with Parker's help and continued moving along and out of our way so it was my turn. I couldn't see because of my tears and sweat, I couldn't breathe because of my crying, my whole body was shaking. But Parker basically moved my feet for me and held them against the mountain so I wouldn't slip at all and we slowly but surely made it down to safety and lived to tell the tale. As awful as it was to experience that fiasco, we were overall grateful to be in the right place at the right time to help that couple make it safely down the slope. 

Luckily that was the only issue we had the entire trip so overall it was a smashing success and so much fun!

 I spy Parker!

This song is appropriate! While we didn't actually walk 500 miles it sure as heck felt like it. Especially the last day. All of us had sore muscles and sore joints and our bodies were seriously exhausted. Good thing Parker and I had a relaxing cruise up next on our agenda!

Thanks Nick, Devin, Carson, & Taelyn for joining us on this trip! We love you guys and can't wait for our next adventure together!

xoxo, Chelan

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Our Love Story: Part 17.2 | First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

"Here's the thing about this love story of ours. It's long. And drawn out. And mushy-gushy. And even a bit cheesy. But it's true. And I've decided to take my time writing it, capturing all the special details of those moments I never want to forget. So if mushy-gushy, cheesy love stories aren't your thing, I totally get that. Just know that I'm writing this as a gift - to my family, and my children, and their future children - and also, for [Parker] and me - so that on those days when the kids are screaming, the laundry is overflowing and the bills are rolling in...on those days when it all just seems so hard, we'll have this to remind us of those first moments when we fell in love. And if sappy, detail ridden love stories are your thing, well then you've come to the right place." -Ashley Stock

To read the beginning of Our Love Story, click here.



When we exited the temple all of our friends and family were standing around and my favorite photo from the entire day was captured (it's actually a little bit Pinterest famous so that's fun!). I love this photo because I think it truly shows how over the moon happy we both were to finally be married and to start our lives together <3. 

We had a little time between the temple and the reception to take some photos with family and friends/the bridal party. We were so grateful so many people were able to be there to celebrate with us! 

 I was so excited to be an aunt!!

The reception was BEAUTIFUL! My mom should have been an event planner because her attention to detail is amazing and it was everything I had hoped for and beyond! And she basically did it all without my input so that was awesome. Parker and I showed up to help set up but she directed traffic and created the magic you're about to see. I know I've already said it multiple times but THANKS MOM! 

LOL these two have changed SO MUCH since then!
My Nana made every one of those candle cozies and she also sewed the ruffles on the edges of every table runner! I still use both of those items in my home decor to this day and they make me so happy!
Nana also made the beautiful afghan you see in this photo. It has a place on our couch at this very moment!
My Grandma McMurray made this quilt for us and it is still one of my most prized possessions! My mom and I had a lot of fun picking out the fabric for my grandma to use and I truly think it's one of the most beautiful works of art my grandma has created!
This was another one of my favorite little details in the decor. How adorable is that mailbox?! And I loooooove that our letters from Parker's mission match the decor and were featured in such a cute way!

Onto the festivities! We started the reception with the receiving line. We knew we didn't want that portion of the evening to be very long so we strictly capped it at an hour. I was very grateful because at that point I was so ready to sit down and to EAT! And eat we did! Cheesy potatoes and ham and it was one of the best meals of my life! haha, I don't know if I was just extra hungry or if it was my happiness bubbling over into that meal but seriously, I remember that part of our wedding day fondly. 

Our friend Deej was the DJ for our wedding and he did such a great job! The program consisted of songs from my sister Camrie (she says she blacked out for her performance lol), my McMurray cousins, the Olsen twins, my bridesmaids, and then an awesome toast from Parker's groomsmen. I so wish I had the program on film because it was so fun and tailored to us! The groomsmen's toasts were a highlight for both Parker and me. They are usually such a group of goofs but they said some really touching things and were so eloquent with their words that it was really special. My dad and Parker gave short speeches as well and they both made me cry. We showed the below video next: 

Wasn't that darling?! Our friends Cody and Sutton put that together for us for our wedding and it still makes me smile ear to ear watching it to this day. After the video, we cleared the floor for dancing and were surprised by a beautiful dance number featuring dancers from Jodi's Dance Academy, where I danced growing up. Such a special performance!! 

My dad and I danced to Forever For You by Hall & Oates and then he handed me off to Parker for our first dance as a married couple. We danced to Never Stop (Wedding Version) by SafetySuit. Then everyone joined us on the dance floor to bust a move. This portion of the night also consisted of the bouquet toss (which no one caught it the first time so I had to do it twice hahaha) and the garter toss. 

Then we had our magical sparkler send off to finish off the evening! Our wedding day was so US and it went off without a hitch (at least none that we were aware of) and we are still so grateful for all of the time, money, and effort that was put into making that day one that we would never forget and would cherish forever!

And we are living happily ever after <3.

To read the beginning of Our Love Story, click here