Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Life Lessons from Vacation

Mike and I recently returned from our anniversary trip. We spent a week in Arizona, first in Phoenix visiting friends and then some alone time in Sedona. We had a great time and I learned some valuable life lessons along the way.

- Mexican food tastes 100 times better in the desert sunshine.

- I've always been a beer girl but a great cocktail is hard to beat.

- Spa treatments are an investment in my well being and should happen on a regular basis.

- I all of a sudden developed a paralyzing fear of heights.

- Mountains are beautiful but the ocean has my heart. (See above.)

- My ideal vacation must involve some sort of nature. I can only shop or museum(can that be a verb?) so much. I love being outdoors much more.

- A week is way too long to be away from my babies.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

E is Three!

I have a three year old and I still find that hard to believe. Three seems so much older than two. At three years old, E is wicked smart and has a very active imagination. The boy can talk and talk and talk. He's going to be a great story teller some day. The questions he asks and the things he remembers about his life amaze me. It's hard for me to believe he's only three.

His kindness just melts my heart. He dotes on his sister, calling her "Sweet Baby" and brings her toys when she first wakes up. Sometimes he brings her toys if she's playing with his toys and he doesn't like it. But the fact that he even thinks to bring her something in exchange is just a testament to how kind he is.

We had a great day celebrating E's third birthday. Just Grandmas and Grandpas and Auntie Andrea came to celebrate. We ordered pizza from Park Tavern and ate it off paper plates in the livingroom. We had construction birthday cake and ice cream for dessert. It was simple. The best part of the party was everyone sitting out in the yard on a beautiful evening watching E and Cora play so well together. There were no Pinterest decorations or fancy foods. In fact, I forgot to put out the watermelon but no one missed it. There was no stress making sure everyone was enjoying themselves or the food was done in time. The day was all about E and celebrating him turning three.

E's Birthday doughnut.

Opening his scooter from G&G McDonald

Birthday Construction Cake

Construction outfit from Auntie Andrea.

Friday, May 29, 2015

21 Day Fix, End of Round 1

I did it. I finished the 21 Day Fix. Part of me is surprised that I actually finished it and stuck with the plan. I did have one cheat day. On our anniversary I had a glass of wine and beer along with ribs. But I did swap out the fires for steamed veggies. Other than that, I stuck to the program and I'm pretty proud of myself.

I didn't take before and after pictures, nor did I take measurements. I did weigh myself at the beginning and end of the 21 days and I'm down 11 pounds. Mike was down 13. More importantly, I loved how I felt and that I can fit into jeans I haven't worn since before I was pregnant with Cora. That was my main goal, to not continue buying clothes in a bigger size because nothing I had fit.

All in all, I enjoyed the fix and I'm going to start Round 2 on June 12th. This will only be a 19 day fix because I'll end it on my birthday which is June 30th and then enjoy the 4th of July weekend and then most likely start Round 3 after the holiday.

In the meantime, I've learned that I still haven't developed enough will power when it comes to food. We had pizza from one of our favorite places for E's birthday. I ate it for the party and enjoyed it, however, I continued enjoying the leftovers so the pizza had to be thrown out. So after a five day hiatus from tracking and working out. I'm doing a modified version of the fix to get me through the next three days plus a week of vacation then it's onto Round 2!

My plan for the modified version is to continue tracking. Tracking helps me make sure I eat enough veggies which is a struggle and also help me monitor my carb intake. I'm not going to track my fruit because I love fruit. And let's be honest, am I really going to gain a bunch of weight by eating too much fruit? I'm also allowing myself two blues because I love both avocado and cheese and I was having a hard time choosing either or for the day. I don't have a fancy way of tracking, I just write out 6 G's, 4 P's, 5 R's, 4 Y's, 1 B, and 1 O for the day and cross them off after I eat a portion. It's much easier than WW.

Mike and I plan to continue the workouts during the hiatus because it's a quick 30 minutes and you do feel pretty good afterwards. While on vacation, we'll probably be more relaxed but since we're going to the mountains, I anticipate some pretty good hikes to keep us active. I don't plan on monitoring alcohol. It is vacation after all. But I do plan to be alcohol free until I get to the airport and have a Bloody Mary while I wait for my flight.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Our Nightly Prayer

We thank God for all of our blessings.
We thank God for this day.
We pray for our house that keeps us safe and warm.
We pray for the food that fills our bellies.
We pray for our toys that are so much fun.
We pray for our health.
We pray for our friends and our family because they bring us so much love.
We pray for God to help us be brave.
We pray for God to help guide us through difficult situations.
We pray for people to be kind.
We pray for there to be peace.
And we pray for people who need help.

Friday, May 15, 2015

21 Day Fix

Well, here I am trying yet another weight loss program. From Weight Watchers to Paleo to extreme exercising; I've tried many. But I'm 10 days into my 21 Day Fix and I must say, I'm not miserable and more importantly, I haven't given up.

I heard about the 21 Day Fix from several blogs that I follow and I became intrigued. The more I researched, the more I thought this might be a good fit for me. I liked the idea that it was only 21 days. You can do anything for 21 days. If I hated it, I would be off to have pizza and a Blizzard on day 22. I also liked that the premise was eating real food which is something that is important to me and I want to set that example for my kids. The downside was the exercise. In order for me to be successful, I would need to do a 30 minute at home workout everyday. Remember, I have an aversion to exercise, that "runner's high" everyone talks about doesn't exist for me. But again, I can do anything for 21 days and even if I half assed the workouts it would still be more than I was doing now. And they were at home so I could do them in the playroom while the kids played. Which actually didn't sound like a bad idea. It would get me out of doing yet another Paw Patrol mission.

I shared my research with Mike to see if he wanted to do it with me. I figured it would be easier if we did it together and I knew he wanted to drop some lbs as well. Sympathy pregnancy weight's a thing! Mike was on board so we started to game plan. Planning is an area where I've failed before. When trying other weight loss programs, I sign up on a whim and usually after a I've had several days of glutinous eating or have gone through my closet and determined nothing fits. WW is my default program. I've signed up more times than I can count and have seen some success, but I couldn't sustain it. I tend to think, oh I can never have a cookie or chips again and then I give up. Who wants to live life like that? I'll just be happy and fat. The 21 days was the real appeal to me. I can have cookies and chips again, just not for 21 days.

Once Mike and I both committed, I went to Amazon and made the purchase. Done. When the product arrived, the first thing I thought was that they had forgotten some of the food containers. Nope, they are just that small. Yikes! Mike was already second guessing this decision. We started reading through the literature to see what was on the food lists and how much we could eat. Once we calculated how many containers we could have each day we felt better. It looked like you got plenty of food. We also committed to no soda, no alcohol and only black coffee. No delicious creamer or half and half.

Now, when to start this 21 Day Fix? Easter was coming up along with Cora's birthday. Our anniversary and E's birthday followed shortly after. Yes, we wanted to enjoy food and adult beverages for these occasions so we wanted to work around those days. We decided to start May 1st which would be right after Cora's birthday and we would end right before our anniversary. But then Mike realized he had his NFL Draft boys' weekend at the beginning of May and wasn't about to participate in that without alcohol. So we decided May 6th was our start date and now here we are, 10 days later and we're still going strong.

Preparation has been key. I've always been pretty good at meal planning but now I'm strict about it. We stock up every Tuesday at Sam's Club so we have plenty of produce and sometimes make an extra run during the week. We do the workouts together with the kids hanging on us and it's turned into a family event. I love to see E get into it and am so proud we are setting good examples for our kids. I love to hear E say, "Exercise is fun!" The workouts do go pretty fast and they are tough. Yes, sometimes I half ass them, especially when it comes to push-ups. But I usually fight my way through. One alteration we did make was that we skip workouts on Sunday and Monday. With my work schedule, sleep is more important to me on those days.

I didn't take full body pictures of myself or measurements before I started the program. I didn't want this to be about weight loss. I wanted it to be about feeling better and creating healthy habits. I already do feel better and my pants aren't quite as tight which is a great feeling. I will weigh myself at the end just to see if I dropped some lbs. I'd be lying if I said it was easy. There's some days when I just want a Diet Coke so bad I can taste it. And on those beautiful spring afternoons we've been having, I'd love nothing more than to have a Sam Adams Porch Rocker while we play in the backyard. But I'm sticking with it and I feel proud of the commitment I've made. We'll see what happens when the 21 days end. Mike and I have already talked about modifying the plan a bit to keep these healthy habits going and if we feel we've gotten too laxed we'll start up again with another 21 Day Fix.  I'm so glad he's doing it with me, it's so much easier. And the lifestyle we're creating for our family is priceless.

My last meal, beer and glazed doughnut
 at 7am after work.

Here we go!

Sweaty workouts.

The kids love yoga!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cora at 1 Year

Last week Cora turned one. This was one of the fastest years of my life. I feel Cora's first year went a lot faster than E's. Maybe it's because life was busier with two kids instead of just one and I wasn't constantly monitoring milestones. With Cora I was a lot more relaxed and didn't worry as much about doing everything "perfectly". There's something to be said for "second child syndrome".

We celebrated Cora's first birthday pretty low key and simple. On the actual day, April 21st, we headed out to one of our favorite ice cream shops, Adele's. We don't go there too often because it's kind of a drive but it's so good and near Lake Minnetonka so the scenery is great. Unfortunately, it was a rainy cold day so we just sat inside and ate our ice cream and went home.

The following weekend Cora was baptized (this was the rescheduled date since she was sick in January when we originally planned it) and after the service, had family over for lunch, cake and ice cream. The simplicity of Cora's birthday celebration was wonderful. So much less stress than E's parties. I truly enjoyed the day and wasn't worried about getting people fed or introducing different groups of friends and family to each other. Just the grandparents and Auntie and it was perfect!

At Cora's 12 month check-up, she weighed 19.6lbs and was 30 inches long. She isn't walking yet but she crawls everywhere including on the cement driveway. Nothing stops her. She loves being outside and digs in the dirt and sandbox right along with her brother. Mike and I got Cora her own pink and purple dump truck for her birthday so she doesn't have to borrow E's anymore.

She's a champion eater and I hope she keeps this up. She'll try anything and likes just about everything. Her favorite goods so far are grapes, scrambled eggs, chicken, and pizza! She doesn't like bananas or avocado. I guess I'll be the only avocado lover in the family.

Cora says a few words; Momma, Dadda, boat, book, bubble and hello. She knows how to tell us what she wants without words, she'll point and grunt until we figure it out. She's also a swatter when she doesn't want something. Don't try to help her with her bottle, she'll swat you away. Mike and I call her our wild woman.

Cora has always been a horrible sleeper and I was hoping with age she would get better. Nope, if anything she's regressed. She did sleep through the night for a few months but that was a while ago. She usually ends up in bed with Mike and me and she's such a light sleeper if you try to move her she's back up. We play musical beds in our family. For now it works and maybe someday I'll have the heart to let her cry it out.

That's my baby girl at 1 year old. Happy Birthday Cora Lee! You are the sweetest sassiest girl and I love bunches and bunches!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Where I've Been, My Blogging Hiatus

I'd like to say I've been off traveling or doing creative wonderful DIY projects around my house. But I haven't. I'd like to say I've been focusing all my time on potty training or sleep training my almost 1 year old...again. But I haven't. Nope, I've been spending any free minute to binge watch Scandal. I jumped on the Olivia Pope bandwagon shortly after the holidays and I was immediately hooked. I would sacrifice sleep to watch just one more episode on Netflix. When I got caught up to the current season, I paid my $1.99 per episode on Amazon Prime and now I'm caught up and look forward to my weekly Scandal fix. 

I'm a sucker for any political drama, but with Scandal I get so much more. The chemistry between Olivia and Fitz is addicting and then there's Scott Foley. Need I say more? It's like a I'm a teenage girl again watching Felicity

So yes, the past 3 months have been filled with lots of TV watching. Isnt' that what MN winters are for? We've also been keeping busy as a family with a trip to Florida in early March, both kids are in ECFE, church activities, and a 2 week stint of flu/cold that got the entire family. Now with spring upon us and my binge watching addiction in the past, I'm ready for days spent outside, bedtimes pushed back and the simplicity that warmer weather brings.

Friday, January 2, 2015


This Christmas was filled with lots of family, food, gifts, blessings, and some sadness. I had two weeks off from work which allowed me to be fully present for the holidays. My house was festive and my meals were planned. I love Christmas time so I had been decorating, baking and listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving (yes, I'm one of those). My parents came up the Tuesday before Christmas and the plan was they would go home the Friday after then we'd head out to Mike's mom and dad's for the weekend and come back Monday. We'd have the reaming of the week to relax and have fun. Well, God had other plans. On Christmas Eve, my lovely Grandma Ruby went to heaven. She was 97 years old, lived a very full life and went peacefully. She went to sleep and didn't wake up for several days and then she was taken home. 

When my mom and dad arrived, we knew it was only a matter of days before Grandma would be gone but we decided to go on with our plans because that's what she would have wanted. We enjoyed a lovely Christmas Eve service at our church and came home and opened presents that night. Mom and I were stayed up late watching Christmas with the Kranks (a favorite). We finally decided to go to bed and as I was getting ready for bed, Cora woke up. I rocked her and was having a hard time getting her back to sleep. I heard my Mom's phone ring, it was shortly past midnight now, Christmas Day, and I knew Grandma was gone. I believe Cora knew too, that's why she wasn't sleeping.

Mom, Cora and I snuggled on the couch and talked about Grandma and how much fun she was, how much we would miss her but how happy we were together during this time. I'm so glad my last memory of my grandma is from this past fall when we visited her. E was playing basketball in the community area of Grandma's nursing home and whenever the ball would roll by Grandma, she would try to jump out of her chair and get it for him. I kept telling her not to do that! I'm grateful I was with my mom when she got the call about Grandma. This will be one of my most cherished Christmas memories, although sad, it was a special night of four generations being together. 

Mom and Dad left Christmas Day to take care of arrangements but we still had a wonderful Christmas. We had to cut Christmas short with Mike's family, we went out just for Saturday then headed to Iowa on Sunday for the funeral on Monday.  

Despite the sadness this Christmas came with, I still feel it was one of my best Christmases. E was totally into Christmas, enjoying Christmas movies and books and the decorations. He loved driving at night seeing all the houses lit up. "Do you see any Christmas lights Mommy?" he would ask. Then when he saw some he would shout, "Christmas lights!" It was also special because it was Cora's first Christmas. She wasn't into it much but she did enjoy eating the pine needles from the tree and pulling off the ornaments.

I think the reason I enjoyed this Christmas so much was because I was with family the majority of the time. We were able to carry on the Christmas spirit during a sad time because we were together. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas with ones they loved.