Sunday, January 26, 2014

Getting caught up....

Honestly, our life has been a mixture of craziness and boredom lately. Not anything significant and oh-my-gosh-i-must-blog-about-it, but not any time to sit down and tell you about it. :-)

A few weeks ago, Jake attended a birthday party at the local Science Center/Sciquarium. It was a lot of fun, and Jake had a blast.

I could have sat and watched those penguins for hours. So cute!

Jake pet a snake...
...and a rooster.

And made animal prints without even worrying about the snake slithering on the table across from him.

It was a nice afternoon with school friends and fun animals. I definitely want to go back in the spring!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Weight Check, Goal Check, and Did anyone get a Fitbit?

Since I did confess here that I managed to gain "only" 2.6 pounds while we were on a (one week) vacation in Disney World, I wanted to come clean about the 2 1/2 weeks that we were on our holiday vacation.

{insert sheepish grin here}

I managed to lose about a half a pound from December 16 to January 6.

Yes, LOSE over the holidays. Yes, eating pecan pie. And this amazing flank steak that my sister-in-law made. And Yum Yum's ice cream. And barbeque. And Christmas cookies.

You get the idea. It's kinda unheard of to lose over the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year's time of year. I'm not bragging by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I am no longer working to lose any more weight, so I don't get any "bonus points" for the loss.

But I do have the lifelong task of mantaining my current weight.

And guys, sometimes I think that's harder than losing weight.

Because of the whole "lifelong" commitment thing.

It's a balancing act. Eat right = Eat enough calories to sustain yourself but not too many to gain back weight (for me, that's about 1500 daily). And exercise regularly = Enough to keep your cardio regular and build your strength but don't exercise too much (or else we would see a repeat of Backageddon '13).

I worked hard for almost three weeks, fighting to just maintain what I had worked so hard to acheive in 2013.


My Zumba schedule was out of whack with everyone on vacation. And my trainer was also off for those three weeks.

It was all Biggest-Loser-contestant-goes-home-from-the-ranch. #holycrap

But, I borrowed a set of 15 pound dumbbells from the studio (thanks, Patrick), replaced the broken treadmill in our garage (long story), talked to a few friends about accountability and "group exercise" (looking at you, Em and Jess!), and dove into Christmas Break head first!

First, I set a goal. Remember how important those are?

My goal was first to not gain more than 2 pounds. I thought that was reasonable with such a disruption to my routine.

But then I thought to myself, "You know what, I'm better than that." I've learned so much the last 3 years, and especially in the last 9 months. I can do better than that. I changed my goal. My goal then became to maintain. No loss, no gain. Just maintain and stay steady where I am.

Then, I developed a plan. We had the advantage of not having any travel over vacation. Days were not rushed, and we had a lot of flexibility to our schedule. And the weather stayed pretty mild. So, I was able to incorporate exercise into my schedule 16 out of 21 days. I tried to vary the exercises, as well, so I wasn't just doing a bunch of running.

Two different days, I did this Pinterest routine:
Do that 3 times. Pretty fabulous total body workout. And those jumping jacks get your heart rate rolling pretty nice.
Yes, I did do a lot of running- some outside, some on the treadmill. A few days of walking. A few Zumba classes (I think 4). And about 4 days where I tried really hard to remember arm/weight/strength exercises.
I also tried to eat with the mindset of "will I ever see this food again?" If it was something seasonal, aka Oma's Lasagna, I ate it up without a second thought. Things like mashed potatoes, rice, rolls? Nah. Cake from a box? Probably not. But Oreo Balls. Yes.
Many many Oreo balls. 
I jumped on the scale every 4 days or so just to see how things were going and make sure that what I WAS doing was working. Some days I was up, some down, some the same. I didn't obsess but I was aware.
Awareness is also key here. Yes, it's easy to just not weigh and not be aware of your current state. Especially if you say things like, "It's the holidays. I'll start January 1. I'll do better later."
But what good does that do you? You are just harming yourself and pro-longing the inevitable. Later is NOW, people.
But NOW is a new year. And NOW is time to set YOUR goals. So, what's your goal for the new year? Or even, for the first quarter? Set one for yourself. And let me know about it. You get awareness + accountability all in one. :-)
And did anyone get a Fitbit for Christmas? If so, look me up! It's still super fun and really does spice up that boring old walking. :-)

Good luck in this new year! I'll keep checking in now and again about how I am doing (but I don't want to get redundant and long-winded and boring).

Until then!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Back to Reality...and Missing Some People Like Crazy

Work and school started up again this week. We also said goodbye to my brother and sister-in-law on Friday as they traveled to Wilmington and then back home to LA.

[insert sad face here]

But, we had an incredible visit with them, and the kids just had a blast with their aunt and uncle.

People may complain about technology sometimes, but I'm telling you, nothing is better than hearing your daughter (on her own) Facetime her Uncle Eric on her iPod just to show him around the upstairs of the house and say hello/goodnight before she goes to bed.

True Story. Happened this evening.

I heart technology. Especially Apple products. :-)

Here are a few photos from the holiday season with Aunt Caroline and Uncle Eric.

My kids are very lucky to have 2 sets of amazing uncles and aunts. And even though 50% of them live on the other side of the country, and it's usually 6 months between visits, when we do see them, it's like they live right next door.

Quick fun comparison: Brooklyn and Eric in January 2009 and then again on the same couch about a week ago. :-)

New Year's Eve- Brooklyn's first time making it to midnight!

And the kids even convinced them to come for a sleepover the next night!

Sometimes the kids even let us talk to Uncle Eric and Aunt Caroline, too. :-)

And of course, we played many Hasbro games. :-)

Thanks for visiting, Uncle Eric and Aunt Caroline! You are ALWAYS so incredibly energetic, happy, loving, fun, compassionate, and silly. Even after days of traveling, jet lag, time changes, and just keeping up with my two crazy kids. We love you and can't wait to see you again in a few months!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Post-Xmas but Pre-New Year's

This post wraps up 2013 for me.

I think.

I may go back through my iPhone photos and realized I had forgotten something. :-)

As I mentioned before, all of our family Christmas's happened prior to the 25th, so we tried to do a lot of resting on the 26th.

I was able to catch up with 4/5 of my Carolina Girls for lunch on the 26th at PF Chang's. Yummy cashew chicken + fabulous conversation + 1/5 of a Wall of Chocolate = a perfect afternoon.

On the 27th, I took Brooklyn and Allie to see Frozen. What a great movie!! I encouraged Brooklyn to download some of the songs on her iPod (yes, selfishly, because I loved them but also to start replacing the Katy Perry songs that probably are not entirely suitable for an 8 year old).

And later that evening, we enjoyed Carter Brothers BBQ and some Wii Just Dance with Eric and Caroline before they headed to visit her mom in Alabama for a few days.
It was a great period between Christmas and New Year's. Now I feel like vacation is flying a bit too fast now. SLOW DOWN, vacation. I'm not quite ready for routine and work next week.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas Night- Celebrating with 40 of our family and friends!

Christmas night was spent at my parents' house with both sides of our family and all my extended family (plus some great friends). It was a wonderful night with lots of laughter...
...and silliness...
...and love...
...and babies...

...and twinsies...
...and more Claire loving...

...and eating delicious casseroles...
...and DIRTY SANTA...


...and selfies (because after all, it was the 2013 "word of the year")...
It was a wonderful night...but definitely tired a few party guests out. :-)

I hope you and your family had the merriest of Christmas's!

(And maybe got a few little naps in there when you could.)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Where was I? Oh yeah, Christmas Morning!

Year to year we never quite know when we will be celebrating Christmas's with our families due to our brothers' families' schedules. This year, we actually did all of our Christmas's before the 25th so Christmas Day was pretty much Christmas finale. We were very excited for Santa to come Christmas Eve night and set out cookies and milk.
And Brooklyn made a sign.

I managed to snap one pic before we tore into the presents. :-)

And Jake was happy to see that Santa enjoyed the snack we left him.

I thought with wrapping everything individually, we could stretch our morning out. (That, and I told Brooklyn to not even think about waking me up unless there was a "7" on my clock.) The kids slept til 7:20 but I think the presents were done by 8am.

Brooklyn had made her own presents for me and Chad. Mine was this awesome cake plate with her hand print. Love it soooo much!

Jake was ecstatic to receive the "Toy Airplane" that he asked Santa for.
And the "stuffed animal that is a dog." (He was very specific in both requests.)

Chad loved his new Dr Dre headphones.
And Brooklyn was unbelievably over the top excited beyond belief that Santa brought her an iPod Touch.
It was a fabulous Christmas morning. Since the kids have been born we have made it a priority to stay at home the morning of the 25th and just "be." This also allows them to play with presents and for mom and dad to hang out in their pajama pants as long as possible. We see our entire family later that afternoon so it always turns out to be a great (and balanced) day.


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