Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

We are so excited for Christmas this year!!
This will be the first time in YEARS that all of my siblings will be home together at the same time. 
Coming together as a family is really the most special part of the Holidays for me. 
I mean the food and the music rank up there too, but spending time with your loved ones is truly the best. 
Here are our a few of our favorite snap shots from our fall family session!
My girlfriend Aly and I traded sessions and I am OBSESSED with how these turned out.
How am I supposed to pick which ones to print!?
I want them all on my wall, AH!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Francie's Dance Showcase

Frances started a ballet/tap dance class a few months ago and today she had her first little showcase!
We had to get her dressed up as a reindeer and I totally procrastinated getting her antlers for her costume. 
Thankfully, Pinterest came to the rescue and I pulled together some faux antlers from a stick we found in the backyard, LOL!
Her bows are made out of left over bias tape from and old craft project too. 
I'm pretty happy with how our last minute costume came together. 

She was SOOOO cute during her dance. 
She's come a long way over the past few months. 
She used to cry every time I dropped her off lol, so this was a huge accomplishment for her.

We love your francie deer 

And a special thanks to Ms. Andrea her amazing teacher! 
This girl has the patience of a SAINT. 

If you're looking for an awesome, affordable dance class for your kids in the west valley, she is your girl. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Card 2017

I'll share more fall family photo session soon! 
We've been SO BUSY over here.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

10 months with Wolfe

Dear Wolfe,
At 10 months old you legit do not feel like a baby anymore.
You walk around like you own the place.
You're trying to climb up on everything too which is why your face is always bruised lol.
You love to be outside, walking around and picking things up off the ground.
You are SO FAST.
Still not much of a fan of shoes, so for now, we just put on socks for outside (it's nice that it's not super cold during the winter here)
There isn't a cupboard in the house that you haven't explored.
Your favorites are the kitchen appliances and the tupperware drawer.
You drag the rice cooker around like a little pull toy, HA!
You also empty my bathroom drawers
You always stuff your mouth with cotton balls.
You are totally obsessed with phones after a nice lady at church offered hers to you to play with (we hadn't let you hold ours up to them) and now you scream your head off if you see a phone that you want but can't have.
You're waving "bye-bye" , saying "momma" and "dada" and starting to shake your head to say "no."
You HAAAAAAAAAATE the car seat.
It's literally a wresting match to get you situated and buckled in.
You enjoy family meals up at the table with everyone.
There hasn't been a food you haven't liked yet.
You're still nursing strong, no end game in sight.
I'd love to wean you at a year ideally, but we will see.
I seriously can't believe how fast this first year is going by,
We love you so much!
Can't imagine our lives without you dude.

Olsen Offspring 10 month comparison 
Rem, Olive, Frances and Wolfe

Friday, December 1, 2017

Snow Canyon Half Marathon

Just before crossing the finish line. 
So. many. emotions. 

A few weeks after I had Wolfe my momma asked me if I'd run a half marathon with her at the end of the year. 
I was like wait, WAT?
Then I thought, well why not, what can it hurt?
I figured it would be a perfect way to challenge myself as well as get my body healthy again after having my fourth baby in four years. 
I had run the half marathon distance (not an official race) for a college class project the semester David and I met (so like 8 years ago haha) and that was pretty much the last time I had trained for distance running. 

Essentially, I was starting completely over. 
I was 4 months postpartum, 80 lbs over weight and battling postpartum depression and anxiety. 
I remember downloading the couch to half marathon training program and feeling all sorts of excitement and nervousness. 
I was ready to make a change and hit it hard. 

The next 5 months I dedicated myself to the training. 
I think in that time frame I only missed one run!
My momma was my biggest cheerleader. 
We'd check in with each other after every single workout. 

I LOVED the training program.
It totally sets you up for success. 
The way it was set up was that you only had three runs a week-two shorter ones and one long one.  
That's it. 
It started with run/walk intervals that built up over the course of 20 weeks. 
I recorded my whole entire journey over on my fitness account @bigmommaolsen on Instagram. 
I documented every run and every distance. 
I had lots of awesome runs and lots of not so awesome ones but I kept going. 
Most of my training was done inside on a treadmill because the Arizona summer temps made it unsafe to train outside. 
As the weeks went buy I started to feel my body get stronger. 
I was still slow as CUSS, but I didn't care. 
I kept going. 
On the days I wanted to quit, I'd picture myself running across that finish line. 

As the race drew closer, I started to get super anxious. 
At that point I had already completed 3, 10 mile runs, but I didn't know how I was going to go additional 3.1 miles on race day.

Everyone told me things like,
"Don't worry, the adrenaline will kick in"
"It'll be easier than you think"
"Races are SO different from training, you'll be fine"

I took their word for it and pumped myself up for race day. 
Really, my only two goals for the race were to A. Finish and B. not poop my pants. 
(just keeping it real, yo) 
The night before the race I don't think I slept more than a few hours. 
My dad drove mom and I up to the buses where we would be shuttled to the starting line, up in Snow Canyon. 
I felt totally fine till we boarded the buses and then all the sudden I was like 
We got dropped at the starting line, and we had about 45 minutes to kill before the gun went off. 
It was dark, cold and super windy. 
and then it started to rain. 

I was like ok, I definitely did not train for this, lol. 
Mom and I said a prayer together and talked about our game plan/strategy. 
I told her over and over not to let me hold her back and that I would be totally fine if she went on and ran ahead of me, so she could beat her time from the year prior. 
She was totally conflicted as she wanted to stay and run with me.
I was much slower though and with my average pace during training, I was projected to finish in about 3ish hours.  
We found our pacer groups and got called up to the starting line. 
I was totally trying not to psych myself out. 
The gun went off and off we went. 
There was no turning back. 
Momma took off like a little hippy-hoppity gazelle running through the grass. 
I found my slow and steady pace and watched as the hundreds of runners passed around me. 
It was a pretty cool sight. 
I was surprised at how quickly I was separated from everyone. 
There was a giant gap between the fast runner's ahead of me and the really slow runner's behind me. 

Then all of the sudden it started to RAIN again. 
I'm talking downpour. 
I was SOAKED and COLD. 
It didn't let up for the first 3 miles. 

I'm SOOO glad I had bought a sweater the night before. 
I don't know what I would have done without it haha. 
So I get to the mile 4 marker and at this point I am 100% alone. 
Like I couldn't see anyone ahead of me or anyone behind me. 
The course went straight down into snow canyon from mile 4-9. 

I had heard it was a downhill course but I didn't realize that I would actually STRUGGLE with the downhill. 
It WRECKED my knees, which made my hips hurt. 
I couldn't figure out my pace as I felt like I was trying to keep myself from falling forward the whole time. It totally threw my body out of whack. 

Did I mention I was alone?

oh and the crappiest thing was MY MUSIC DIDN'T WORK.





I don't know what the deal was but I couldn't get my music to play at all. 
I kept retrying every few miles but for whatever reason, nothing worked. 

So not only was I alone, I had NOTHING to listen to. 
I was super annoyed but I tried to not let it mess up my rhythm. 
The canyon was GORGEOUS so I filled up my time checking out the scenery. 
I remember humming the line "there is beauty all around" from the hymn "love at home" over and over again lol. 

SEE- Proof that I was literally by myself. 
Not at all what I had imagined a race would be like. 
By mile 6 I started to finally warm up temperature wise and I pulled off my sweater. 
I tried my music again. 

By mile 9 the course starts to come out of the canyon and runs through the neighborhoods around St. George. 
I FINALLY started to see a few other runners. 
I saw my dad pull up and take photos on the side of the road. 

He asked me how I was doing and if I was ok. 

I said, "I think so!?"

Up till then, I felt pretty good physically. 

Miles 9-10 were really steep down hill so I slowed my pace even more because my body started to ache so bad from the impact.  
It was the first time I started doing walk/run intervals. 
Up until then, I ran the entire time :)
I had heard that the last few miles were up hill. 
They weren't freaking kidding. 
The course lopped around a golf course then up into some nice neighborhoods. 
I passed the mile 10 marker and for the first time felt like, omg I still have 3.1 to go, idk if I can do this. 

I chugged along walk/running and then I passed mile 11 and my body was just like 
N O P E.

My vision was blurry and I was seeing stars. 
I couldn't even walk in a straight line. 
I knew exactly then, that this was what runners referred to as "hitting the wall"

I didn't understand why it happened because I had been so good about staying hydrated and keeping up on my energy goos. 

I was straight up SOBBING. 
and then I started DRY HEAVING. 

I was stumbling down the road, one wobbly leg in front of the other, wondering if I just succumbed to the pain and laid down on the pavement to rest, how long would it be until anyone found me? 

I felt like I was going to pass out. 

I legit have no idea how I kept going because I was so freaking out of it. 

I couldn't stop crying. 

Mile 12 was an aid station and the cute little high school age volunteer boys were cheering for me as I wiped snot across my face and asked for a cup of gatorade. 

My hand was shaking so bad I could barely hold up the cup to my mouth. 

I continued down the course and saw the mile 13 marker. 

I saw my mom and my brother waiting on the side of the road, yelling and cheering and jumping up and down. 
I was sobbing, uncontrollably, wanting so bad for it to be over. 

I turned the corner to the track and my mom came to my aid. 
She kept saying, "Jess, you're almost there, you're doing it, you're doing it!"
She ran the last 100m with me, supporting my weight as I felt like I would collapse at any second. 
I heard them announce my name and she pushed me ahead to finish on my own. 

This is the moment I had been envisioning in my head for so long. 

^^My favorite photo from the race. You can see my mom cheering, my brother running along side me and David, the babies and my cousin and sister in law cheering in the stands^^ 

I crossed the finish line and received my medal. 

^^This right hereeeee...all the feels. 

I could barely stand. 
I was so overcome with emotion. 
My family surrounded me, 

I was so angry guys, 
I don't know if it all of the crappy mc-crap crap stuff from the last few hours just came to me at once, but I was MAD. 

I sat down to catch my breath, still sobbing and shaking while David grabbed me something to eat. 
I was annoyed at everyone's intense positivity. 
I proclaimed that "I am never effing running again" 
"That was AWFUL"

Angry, I'll tell ya what. 

I went to lay on the grass so I could try and process a bit. 
The babies were confused at why I was crying and so upset. 
To be honest, from this point till I got home and into a shower,  it was a little fuzzy lol. 

David kept handing me food to eat and milk to drink so I could start replenishing my stores. 
I didn't' feel like eating and my head was still spinning. 

I had zero interest in posing for photos, but I knew I'd regret not taking them. 

Afterwards my mom was like, ok, lets go get lunch!
and I was like
I'm going home to shower and sleep for 10 hours. 
I feel like I've just been drug behind a semi truck for 3 hours AND I smell like a college football locker room. 

We went home and I laid in a walk in shower for legit 45 minutes. 
I could feel my muscles starting to get stiff but all I wanted to do was climb into bed and sleep for the rest of the day. 

I was still pretty upset with how it all went down. 
I called my BFF Kate to debrief and i was like mark my damn words, I am never doing that again. 
I don't know if I just set my expectations too high?
Why was I so angry?
It was not like ANYTHING anyone told a race would be like. 
It was one of the hardest things i've ever accomplished in my entire life. 
The pain was worse than my 4 med-free births, I kid you not. 
I was mad that I was mad about it lol,  like HELLO you just RAN 13.1 MILES!

So now you can understand, when i came home and everyone wanted to hear about it. 
I just could-not-even. 

I needed to process it all myself first before I could share. 
So there ya go. 
My first half marathon experience. 
Oh and I did NOT poop my pants. 
Super proud of that. 

In conclusion, I wanted to share what training for this son of a gun race did for me-
Over the 5 month period I clocked in a total of 235.5 miles. 
I lost 35 lbs of weight. 
I gained confidence.
It gave me an outlet and helped me overcome the darkness that was postpartum depression. 
It brought me closer to my momma-our relationship, stronger than ever. 
It reminded me to be thankful for my health.
and most importantly, it showed me that with hard work and dedication, I can accomplish ANYTHING. 
I can do hard things. 

and yes, if you were wondering, I am signing up again for next year. 
I'm making Snow Canyon my bitch.

The end. 

**Also huge thanks to my Dad for taking these AMAZING PHOTOS!!! 
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