Partying for a cause.

My Kids In Action

This weekend was special for me. I had been asked to do an event here in Utah with another instructor from Salt Lake City to benefit Susan G Komen-breast cancer society. I have a close friend affected by breast cancer who was there dancing along with us. She is a fighter and survivor in every sense of the word. Most of the participants dressed in various shades of pink, shaking it for a good cause…it was awesome. 
The class was held in the old Nordstrom space at the mall. They moved out so WE moved in! 😀 They brought in a huge stage, sound system, lighting, the whole nine yards. There were vendors from the mall selling their goods as well as other health promoting vendors and workout clothing. It was great.
Getting ready for this day I knew of two little bodies I wanted on stage with me, my little munchkins. I brought them in during one of our prep meetings, showed them what the room was going to look like and then told them what I was willing to give them for their performance. This was not an easy negotiation. These kids know how to get what they want. Hmm…wonder where they get that from? 😉
The night before the big day I set out D and B’s ZumbAtomic clothes adorned with additional “pink” for breast cancer society and had them practice. I turned up their song and watched them dance. Where did their smiles go? Where did their performance go? I gave them a friendly reminder that if they got up with me and didn’t smile or have big movements that they would NOT be getting their money. 
D has always been dead dog serious about ZumbAtomic. When I would teach, he was the sweatiest kid out their, focusing on the moves and trying his best. He has recently started taking hip hop and has an added level of dedication to the sport. B is such a high energy girl. She is bursting at the seems with personality and in her little dance concerts she does, she radiates confidence and happiness but when we walked into the space last Saturday she froze up. She got nervous and scared. Oh boy. 
I was on stage doin’ my thing and my husband (who hung out all day with me selling my Zumbawear and supporting me…what a guy! right?) came back stage and told me that B wasn’t wanting to perform anymore. He told me he’d work on her. Before you knew it I saw her back in the crowd dancing with a smile alongside her brother, my sister, brother in law and my mom. Yes, Zumba is a family affair. 
“Does Brian take my Zumba class” you might ask? Nope, he sure doesn’t . He comes and supports, sells clothes, keeps things in order but Brian is a man who knows his strengths and Zumba is not one of them. I let him take care of all the business side of things. Did you see that??? I “let” him. PLEASE! Brian has a full time job-aside from his real full time job just keeping track of things for me. He is for sure my smarter, less stressed, organized, more patient and better half.  He is athletic-any sport he plays he’s quite good at but dancing is my thing. I’ll gladly keep one thing I’m better at.  
Go time for show time. Our song came on and they nailed it! I was so proud of them. I had to do a couple of “friendly” reminders to my son as I shouted “SHOW YOUR TEETH” because he was tight lipped smiling the whole time but besides that they were the highlight of the day! 
Doing what you love is one thing. Doing what you love for a good cause with the people you love and the family you adore??? Now, that right there is really living!

Much needed update. :D

Life just gets busier. I keep thinking “after this event things will slow down” but you know what??? it doesn’t and there is stress and beauty in that. I don’t think we are here to stay stagnant, no. We can do more than that. Pushing ourselves to develop our skills, work on our downfalls, become better people, learn from our mistakes, this is what life is about.

Here are the things that have kept me busy the past little bit.

I needed a family trip, time along with “my” people, my little crew Brian, D and B for a few days. So we did just that. Brian booked us up at a hotel in Park City and we had a wonderful few days up there.

Park City Utah is beautiful-have you been? We have the slogan “Utah-greatest snow on earth” Many people visit PC for the great skiing and snoboarding but this beauty is year round. Fall in PC is something you’d see on a post card. Trees of every shade, golden yellow, greens, reds on huge mountains…It’s so pretty.

Our first stop in this beautiful town was Alpine Slides. I went on the Alpine Slides as a kid for family reunions. This brought back a lot of memories. Fun fun and more fun. You take the ski lift up the mountain and then in a sled, race back down in what is reminiscent of a bobsled track. You feel a little out of control yet eager to press the lever forward to accelerate and gain speed.  We topped off this adrenaline rush with some Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory chocolate. yummmm…..

After this adventure the hot tub was calling our names. We checked in to the hotel and played at the pool for quite some time til fingers and toes were raisins. Mmmm….snack time. Off to Smith’s for some unhealthy snacks we would soon regret as our tummies ached from the oh so tasty sugar.

While we were out we ran into some friends I have made through Zumba. Zumba is that strange “hobby” “lifestyle” “escape” whatever you want to call it, where you become instant friends with those you meet. The Phinneys were my instant friends and seeing them in their home town seemed to be meant to be-we have kids the same ages and with us not having much of a plan, they volunteered to show us a great time. We met the next day for bowling, food, “Scarecrow Walk” (a great display of scarecrows made from local clubs, companies, families…kids LOVED it) and visiting. Thank you Lisa and Chris!

After this adventure the hot tub was calling our names once again. What I wouldn’t give for a hot tub at my house! I think I could possibly become the most unproductive person with a hot tub. All I would want to do is soak my sore, freezing body all day. Note to self-probably should not buy one as I have children to raise and a family to be with.

We stayed one more night there in PC. Slept in for one more day, vegged around in sweats, ate yummy food, watched movies, laughed, talked…heaven.

This weekend was fall break for our kids. I had an event close by today and so we stayed local instead of the majority of  Utah families which I am certain all went to Disneyland. The event went GREAT! With the traveling that I do I LOVE when I get to “work” from home-Utah, greatest snow on earth! 😀

I had two special helpers today on stage, my very own munchkins. They stole the show!!! Stay tuned-I’ll tell you all about it! pics and videos to come!

Sister Love

I am one of those lucky girls who has the “World’s Greatest Sister” for MY sister. I do only have one sister to chose from but she would win anyway.

My sister Emily is 6 years older than me. Some of my first memories are being propped up on her hip while she toted me around like I was her own life sized baby doll. I stayed close by her side long after I had outgrown her ability to carry me.

She was my stylist, my beautician, my counselor. Although most are, not all memories are fond ones. I remember her french braiding my hair with such force that once the braid was completed I needed pain meds. She could braid the worlds tightest braid. It would withstand even the most active recess or gymnastics lesson.

Growing up I looked up to her. She was always very interested in what I was doing, who I was liking and what the latest elementary school stories. I wanted to impress her. This continued until she went to high school. Then things were different. You see, she was a cheerleader and she had other things-or boys-on her mind. Luckily high school is only 4 years and we quickly picked up where we left off. Haha.

Most significant moments in my life Emily has had a hand in: hair stylist for Prom, wedding planner to help with all the decisions I was clueless on “What are my wedding colors? uhhhh…… what do you think Em?” even down to helping me through my deliveries with my babies. She’s the real deal.

Everyone wants to be Emily’s friend. She’s gorgeous, funny, smart, sweet, talented…If she wasn’t so kind some would hate her for all these traits. How does one woman keep it all together with such ease? It’s a mystery to me as I trounce around in my sweats and disheveled hair and she’s got a darling outfit on, great hair and wedges!

We both grew up, got married, had kids. She has 5, I have 2. And both got involved with teaching Zumba. With our crazy lives as moms and wives with family and church responsibilities this became something we could enjoy together as adults and keep us connected.

I became and instructor in 2008 and after a few years of probing I convinced her to take the plunge. I became involved with a more corporate side of the business and with my schedule and the traveling I do I needed a permanent substitute. Emily was such a great supporter. She was there in class everyday and knew all my routines. She was just the gal I needed.

She did more than just “sub” she shines! She makes every student feel special and appreciated and she has really excelled as an instructor.

It’s been so fun to have someone to share the craziness with. We talk Zumbawear, songs, choreography, and a whole slew of things only Zumba fans would understand or be interested in.  She even assists me at the Zumba Instructor Convention. She is the best supporter. She has been nothing but happy and encouraging to me. What would I do without her?

When I was in Pennsylvania for QVC and a Zumba event in New Jersey that same weekend. I was feeling really home sick. She must have had some sort of sister intuition because this is the text I received out of the blue.
“We have each other 🙂 isnt that great? 🙂 xoxo”
I responded. “In life?” to which she answered. “Yep”. So I said, “Oh that made me teary. I love you!!!!!. What made you say that?” then she said. “Just felt it. and wanted to pass it on. 🙂 Love you.” 

In life if I had a wish for every girl (besides having a great marriage :D)  it would be that they get a sister. Not just any sister but a GREAT sister.  One who lifts you up, makes you laugh hard, lets you cry a lot, knows you for who you are, that best friend kind of sister. I have THAT sister and what a difference it has made. Em…my sister…love you bigger than the sky.

Pics: presenting at Zumba Instructor Convention “Dancin Thru the Decades” class, just me and my sis, Daddy’s girls.

Highlight of the day

Something we do in our family is ask “what was the highlight of the day?” or “what was your favorite part of the day?”

So…what was my favorite part of the day today?

My brother’s son came over around 5:30pm to invite the kids to go to the park with them.  My kids were all about this and eagerly left the house.

Bri and I were folding laundry. With this change in plans, we took one look at each other and knew that we wanted to take advantage of this time.  We quickly got changed out of sweats and went on a mini date.

We went to dinner, Jason’s Deli-one of my favorites b/c I can stuff my face with the all you can eat salad bar guilt free. Eating with just the two of us was great. No fighting over food, no complaining about having to eat vegetables…just good conversation and good food.

So there it is. My favorite part of the day. I’m sure tomorrow has something great in store for me as well.
Until then…

Add it to the list!

There are certain things I am very good at keeping clean and organized and then there are many places where I fall short.

Growing up my room was nothing to be proud of. In fact, when Brian and I were dating my room was repulsive and somehow I still managed to get him to marry me.  Clean clothes were strewn about when trying to find just the right outfit, things shoved under the bed, never wearing matching socks-that would have required more organization than I had…BUT once I got married things changed.

My mom is really organized and clean. I am afraid I inherited more of my dad on that end but once I had a place to call my own, a reflection of me and not my mom I kicked it into high gear. Yet, there are two areas that I cannot seem to keep clean:

 #1 My van. Yes I drive a van. I drive the worlds greatest red mini van-it’s trustworthy, runs great and it’s paid off. Can’t beat that. Brian once told me (and I am embarrassed to admit this haha) “If I didn’t know you and I saw the inside of your van I would think you had NO personal hygiene!” Of course the kids contribute to this and now that he drives them around more than he used to I think he’s getting a dose of empathy because his 4 Runner isn’t so sparkly clean as it once was.

#2 My purse. I can’t keep this thing organized. I accumulate all sorts of crap: receipts, candy, gum, snacks, money, change, spare hair elastics, bobby pins, earrings, random kids things…You name it and it goes into the black hole. Anyway, in some magazines there are those articles of actors or models titled, “What’s in your purse” or something to that effect.

So I’ll ask you, what’s in your bag? Here it is…this is a picture of my purse the other day. It’s pathetic. I’m not proud, but after the pic I did clean it out, thankfully.

Don’t judge people. Like I said I have other areas I keep very clean. Maybe in time my purse will be something I add to the list.

In my defense this was taken right after traveling for the Zumba 2012 Instructor Convention. Here are some items I can identify:
water bottle, 2012 convention presenter pass, water retention pill for my swollen feet when traveling, Vaseline (a must for my dry skin), a pen, receipts, Chill Pill travel speakers, herbal tea, Brown Sugar perfume roller so I can feel like me when I travel, back stage pass to So You Think You Can Dance, Zumba Nail Stickers.

What can I say??? I don’t like to feel unprepared when I’m out. 😀

Heaven

As you know I travel for my job with Zumba. If you know me or follow me on facebook, twitter or instagram this comes as no surprise since my posts range from “I’m in Montana for trainings” or “in PA for QVC” to “heading to Japan for a AFAA conference”…you may even wonder if I am actually EVER home.

My husband holds down the fort while I’m away. He is not just your typical guy who “manages” okay while the wife is away-this man is remarkable!

He does it all-cleans, plays with the kids, helps them with their homework, even down to braiding our daughter’s hair for school all while holding down and job of his own.

Something he does for me to make me feel more connected and not so home sick while I’m away is to send pictures throughout the day of what he and the kids are doing as well as sending me funny sayings the kids come up with.

Today I got this message, this is Miss B talking to Brian. “The cool thing about Heaven is that you can’t fall out of cars, because there are no cars!”

I’m wondering if there are certain details my husband is choosing to leave out when we have our talks and catch up on the happenings of the day. Perhaps like our daughter falling out of a car and her newly spiked appreciation for heaven and it’s lack of automobiles.

If this is actually the case I may have to start leaving out my trail of purchases in Targets around the world that entice me with their great bargains and mom friendly clothing.

Something to consider. 😉

Example of a pic I got. Kids and Aunt Heather climbing a tree. Priceless.

Celebrating the difference you make

 My sweet friend Kaera is one of the most thoughtful people I know. She dives into serving others instead of letting hardships get her down and she’s had more than her lot.

I have been the recipient more times than I can count of this great service. She used to run a very successful deli before recently changing to a different position and any time I even let on that I was in need of some extra love she was there. If Brian was sick there was chicken noodle soup, rolls, and an assortment of desserts. If I was dragging there were lemon bars-sometimes industrial sized pans of these treats at my door and I would savor each and every one of them. My kids have been adored and spoiled by Kaera numerous times…The list goes on and on.

One of the gifts I received from her is a book titles “Because of You. Celebrating the Difference You Make” Don’t you love that??? It has tidbits and sayings that can enlighten and brighten your day.

These are some of my favorites:
Encourage each other to become the best you can be. Celebrate what you want to see more of.

Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.

In the end you can only teach the things that you are.

The best minute you spend is the one that you invest in people.

The last one makes me think of my dad. He was the master people person. He made everyone feel unique, special, and uniquely special to him. I actually said those very words while speaking at his funeral. It was the truth. He found the BEST in people. He didn’t enable people by thinking so highly of them, he brought out the best in people because they wanted to live up to the standard and level he had placed them on. That make sense? I wasn’t the rebellious type. I was Mike Akin’s daughter and he thought so highly of me I didn’t want to disappoint.

His life motto was “To love ALL people, in ALL places, at ALL times” I think that saying right there is the quote that didn’t quite make it in this book but sure should have.

Vacation-body style???

I have taken a vacation. I needed it. It was a good break, felt nice, but it’s time to get back on the wagon.

 Yes folks, I have taken a break from eating good and sensible portions. I have relaxed and enjoyed cookies, crumb cake, and ice cream and that was just yesterday! I have seen the works of these efforts on the scale. Although this break was needed, (and won’t be my last I’m sure), the X amount of pounds spread around the body is not creating more happiness for me and with me feeling like junk from a cold and cough I feel enough is enough and I want to feel healthier all around.

 So, with the “diet starts tomorrow” attitude I have had for the past month (or 3) how will I get myself out of this lazy funk? I remember watching Charles Barkley on Sports Center talking about his weight loss and he said “When I eat junk, I get into a funk and it doesn’t make me feel like a hunk”. Well said Charles. Well said. I am going to adopt this mantra -minus the hunk part. I’ll replace that with a sexy woman word once I can think of one. “and makes me feel like I’m sunk” ??? Hmm…I’ll keep at it. 

Anyway, I’ll be reporting on this healthier me throughout the week and weeks to come. I am going to stop eating earlier and stop eating foods that make me feel like I’m in a slump. If this doesn’t make me feel better physically and it’s just this cold that’s getting to me than bring on the brownies baby!

 Family night report- My sister in law is deathly sick, pregnant with her and my brother’s 4th baby. Instead of heading up to the canyon for family night (had to take a literal rain check b/c of the weather) we ended up with 2 more kids and stayed inside and made oatmeal cookies instead. Twas a great night anyway.

Beautiful Utah

 I was born in Concord California. Growing up I wanted to be a Cali girl. I love the sunny weather, the beaches, boys on skateboards or surf boards, it seemed perfect. My family moved to Utah from California when I was 8 to be closer to family and have a change of pace.

I was not a fan of the snow or colder weather and still freeze but one thing for certain is I have grown to love Utah especially because it’s a wonderful place to raise a family.  My favorite time of the year is the fall. Don’t get me wrong I love summer with boating, swimming, vacations and kids out of school but there is a certain relief that comes with Fall. It cools down, you can snuggle up, go for drives up the canyon and see the leaves turning, it’s just beautiful.

I was looking through old pictures of what my family and I were doing exactly one year from today and we were up at Sundance Ski Resort having what we call “family night”. We drove up to look at the leaves-bright red, yellow and orange and just enjoying each other’s company and the beauty of nature. This is the same Sundance where Brian proposed to me over 11 years ago so it holds a special meaning to us as well and we love to drive to the exact spot and retell the story to the kids.

I wasn’t sure what our plan was this evening for family night (we tend to have it on Monday nights) but after seeing these pictures I know just what to do.

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Morning madness

I am on my way home. Are you an Ozzy Osbourn fan? I’m singing “Mama I’m coming home” and I can’t wait to see Bri and the kids.

What looked like a rough start to my trip home ended up quite nice. Great in fact and for the following reasons.

My flight was booked without my standard window request as well as without my sky miles number. Now before you start calling me “Diva” consider this: I travel so often that the window seat makes all the difference in the world! Sleep is a must, my time to catch up. I can’t be bobble heading the whole five hours ahead of me, AND sky miles is how I get those awesome upgrades to first class if available and free bags.

After talking with the ticket lady when getting my boarding pass I was skeptical I was going to get a seat change at this point. It was a full flight and nothing she could do at this point. Ok, that’s ok. This is why I travel with a pillow and blanket. If I hurry, really hurry I may be able to get a change at the gate.

I rushed like a mad woman to gate D15. I possibly would have used the “batt my eyes and smile approach” to get a better seat but due to the fact that they’re swollen and bloodshot I didn’t think this would fly.

Turns out-It’s a great day after all. I’m upgraded, window seat, and got a yogurt parfait to boot. Need I say more? Mama I’m comin home! Better yet “Kids, your Mama is comin home!”

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