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Friday, January 30, 2015

Fitness Friday pt. 3


 Early morning cold run with Baby Boy. 

Happy Friday!!!
I really want to say "YES WE MADE IT TO ANOTHER WEEKEND!!!".
So picking up from last Friday, I got hooked on the whole sweatin buckets, being sore in places that I never knew could be sore, endorphin high that I got from laying the back patio daily in the Texas heat.
So once that project was finished I decided to pick up running AGAIN. I think each one of us goes through cycles in our lives where exercise is something we love or ignore :). Every time that I have embraced adding daily exercise into my life I begin with running. 

Its FREE, you can do it just about anywhere and it burns those calories at a pretty consistent rate. So, I did what anyone would do...I walked up the nearest field with my measuring tape. I measured out a little track, did some calculations ( on my phone, calculations in my head are scary wrong) and decided to run for 30 minutes.

That 30 minutes felt like an eternity and I decided on my next run that ,along with my measuring tape, I would bring water :).

I felt like every day was a new challenge to see how I could step up either my time or pace. I even drove around local parking lots in circles to see how many laps made a mile. I worked out my schedule to get in a run either before Adam left for work or right before dinner. 

In about 6-8 weeks I was able to run 5 miles without stopping. Now, after that 5th mile I stopped and dropped. It took a 2 hour nap, gallon of water and ibuprofen to regain any sort of normalcy for my day. But I wasn't satisfied.....I wanted to say that I could run 1/2 and full marathons. 

So off I went to get fitted for RUNNING SHOES. I realized that these 5 mile runs wouldn't be so awful on my feet if I had the right shoes.....get this, I ran about 300 miles in clearance tennis shoes from Kohls....you might say that I am a beast. or stupid.
My first pair of running shoes, Nike Flex were/are magical. Honestly. They were bright purple, a true sign of a committed runner right, obnoxiously bright shoes? They were wide around my toes, tight around my ..hmm, whats the middle of your foot called?, and as long as I wore socks with backlips never gave me a blister. Its crazy how much difference an actual running shoe can make in your life. In fact, its time for me to hang these up and get a new pair (they say that you should change shoes every 400-600 miles and I am way past due)...but I am reluctant to part with them. It would be like throwing away an old stuffed animal, that has gotten you through several ups and downs in your life. Cheese-tastic right.
My running shoes were the perfect fit for my Halloween costume as  Donatello. 
So, as of today I have run 4, 1/2 marathons and I haven't paid or signed up for any of them. I wake up, decide if my body is up for it that day and head on out. The thought of signing up for 1 single day of running, paying beacoups of money and being herded through one route with several other runners gives me instant pit stains. Its way too much pressure. What if I don't want to run that day, what if I am having cramps?, what if the weather is ugly, WHAT IF????? Its just not for me. However, when I am done running I always fist pump as if several others were watching me cross the finish line. Its normally just Goober though who knows that if he keeps mommies pace for these long runs he walks away with a starbucks drink as a reward. He grins when I fist pump, thats good enough for me.

***Soo, for all of my friends who have no clue what that word is in the last paragraph spelled beacoups, let me write it how I have always invisioned it as "BOOCOOS". I say this word at least 10 times a day. If you question that I have a student who tallies it daily in her sketchbook and I think I say it at least 5 times just in that one class. Anyways, this student is the one that educated me in the fact that BOOCOO is a french word and I was destroying it with my southern accent and misuse. I kinda thought it was a made up word and we all know you can use made up words however you want.
Enjoy the boocoos out of your running!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Interview with a Stud

I have noticed a current trend among bloggers to interview those who are fascinating, intelligent and spunky. Well, let me introduce you to the first person on my list to meet those criteria.

My handsome, creative, sensitive 10 year old boy, Goober.

1. Please describe yourself in 1 sentence. 

I am funny and athletic.

2. What do you think is your best quality?

I am good at playing sports.

3. What is your favorite thing about school and why?

My favorite thing about school is PE because sometimes we get to go play outside and run.

4. What is something that God is currently teaching you?

He is teaching me to honor my parents. When I see mom doing something I need to stop and go help my parents, like when you were carrying in all the groceries by yourself. 

5. What is your favorite song?

God's not Dead!!!

6. What is your favorite sport?


Football because you get to tackle people.

7. What is your favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Breakfast-Mom's Bullseyes, Lunch-Cheesy Fries from the fair, Dinner-Cilantro Rice and beans!

8. What is the craziest thing we have ever done as a family?

When we drove to Alabama, stayed one day and then drove back again.

9. What is your favorite memory of us as a family?

The Disney cruise with just me, mom and dad because I got to stay up really late and I got to eat pizza and the waterslide.

10. What does adoption mean?

Nobody wanted us but mom said that they wanted us even though y'all didn't know what we looked like.

Cue mom tears fo sho!

11. What would you want others to know about your adoption?

When I was leaving my other house I didn't know where I was going, but I was heading to y'all!

12. Who has had the biggest impact/influence on your life and why?



Uncle Chris because he was the first one who taught me how to be healthy and stay healthy.

13. What is your favorite TV show?

Slug terror because they shoot slugs that turn into kinda like monsters.

14. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A football player because the QB would throw the ball to me and other people would get to tackle me. 

15. If you could have a sit down dinner with anyone who has ever lived who would it be and why?

Babe Ruth because he could teach me how to be a really good baseball player.

16.Any closing thoughts?

Yes, my favorite dessert is tiramisu bluebell ice cream and we can't ever find it. Nothin else.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

At the risk of sounding crazy....

I have had several people ask me for some weight loss tips, so with the risk of sounding nutzo to all of you, here are some things I do daily.

1. Mantras-Yup, I talk to myself. Constantly. My inner voice has even more of a southern twang and at times it is quite annoying, but hey, whatever works.
     *Morning Mantra-GET UP AND WORK OUT, YOU ARE ONE DAY AWAY FROM 500 lbs.
         -Almost every morning my alarm goes off at 4:45 and I have a conversation with myself about
          how sleeping in until 6 would be so much better than working out. Then my morning mantra        
          speaks up and I realize that if I CHOOSE to not exercise self discipline I will be right back
          where I started. I was no where near 500 lbs but I did feel awful about myself and knew that I
          wasn't healthy.
    *Running Mantra-AN OBJECT IN MOTION STAYS IN MOTION.
         -This plays through my head at least 12 times in every mile I run. I have to remind myself to
           finish the stinking run and then I can get on with the rest of my day. BUT, if I stop then I won't
           start again, in fact I will feel the soreness even more and I will notice all of those blisters. Oh,
           and by the way, I didn't come up with this mantra :).
   *Weightlifting Mantra-BEING SORE=BEING AWESOME. Wow, someone might need a piece of
           humble pie eh?
         - My hardest days are my weight lifting days. I am not sure why but exhausting my body to the
           point of not being able to lift my arm long enough to write on my white board later on that day
           is mentally exhausting. I normally perform my weightlifting circuits 5x through and by the 3rd
           round I am done, like I want to sit and eat a whole apple pie done.
         -I have to push myself through those last 2 circuits, reminding myself that what I am doing is
  great for my body and I will live. I even channel my students, those 10th grade boys who yell "beast
          mode" while working out. (Lord, I hope thats not slang for something inappropriate).  Yes, I
          may have to use the stall wall to lower myself onto the potty all day or ask my kids to help me
          tie my shoes due to the soreness, but hey I am still awesome for getting through those 5
          circuits!! BEASTMODE
  *Dessert Mantra-Nothing taste as good as being healthy feels. (again, not my own).
         -I saw this on Facebook, or pinterest or twitter or some screen and instantly owned it. You know
          those times in life where you think "that cake was not worth the calories"...yup, been there
          done that. Now if its not a veggie/ fruit/ or lean protein, I stop and ask myself if its truly worth
          it? Did you know that running at a moderate pace for 5 minutes only burns around 45/50
          calories? ....I mean thats like 1/2 of some McDonalds value meals. (hehe, value). Now, don't let
          fool you, there are many desserts that I think are ABSOLUTELY worth the calories.....like my
          grandmothers peanut butter pie (TOTALLY) or a small Chunky Chocolate Cappuccino  
          Milkshake (2 please), but only if I have enough calories left for the day (a whole other post).

Besides Mantras, other daily "crazy" routines are
         1- E   A    T   I   N   G        V   E   R   Y       V       E      R    Y        S     L    O    O     O  W
          This alone has attracted many weird looks and comments from my co-workers. I am proud to
          admit that I have used an entire hour to eat one cookie. Darn tootin. If I am going to eat those
          calories then I am going to ENJOY every last bit of them for as long as I possibly can. Plus, by
          eating slower I never want seconds because I realize how full I am when I finish my last bite. I
          also cannot think of the last time I looked down and thought "woah, I woofed that sucker
          down", bring on the upside stomach later! Slowing down allows your body to digest the food
          easier and make better decisions, pure and simple!

       2-I enter every calorie I consume into the MyFitnessPal App on my phone. EVERY LITTLE
          CALORIE. Sometimes if I know what my day looks like I will enter everything that I plan on
          consuming for all 3 meals and then tweak it fit in my 1400 calorie a day goal. This is especially
          helpful for those days that end with a dinner out or a party. I can be very conservative at
          breakfast and lunch and then completely enjoy my dinner and time with friends without feeling
          guilt or giving up on my health goals.

       3-I say no to almost anything that can't be calculated into MyFitnessPal App. Unless I can see the
          box it was made from or know a food that is nutritionally comparable then I don't eat it. This
         allows me to say no to almost all baked treats in the teachers lounge and at parties. Once again,
          if I got in a 12 mile run that morning then you better believe I will enjoy a homemade cupcake
          but instead of guessing on the calories I type in "box cupcake mix" and choose the
          highest calorie option available, just to make sure that I am not underestimating.

I could and will elaborate more on just how helpful the MyFitnessPal App has been in my weight loss in another post. But for newbies, download and just play around. It is user friendly and doing something towards your goals is better then doing nothing or putting it off for another day.

Speaking of crazy....
This is my super crazy but super adorable hubby. He was Johnny Appleseed for the lower school this year as they celebrated all things Apple. He might be crazy but he is in good company :).



Can you see Ribbit's face? This is the most normal picture I got of her on a field trip one day. Her eyes are definitely crossed. So much for the whole "don't do that or they will stick" saying. 
See? Those little eyes crack me up!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Long Run 1/25

I try to get in a long run at least once a week.  Long can be anything from 6-14 miles, just depends on how much time I have and how my body is feeling. I look forward to my long runs because I get a ton of thinking done, ya know figure out some things for the next week, have crucial conversations in my head, figure out the worlds problems, nothing big.

I also get to listen to my jams. I am pretty stuck on the 90s iTunes radio channel. This morning's playlist was a walk down memory lane. "All thats she wants another baby" "Been around the world and I yi yi I can't find my baby" "Come on ride the train" " I don't know what you been told, it ain't the butterfly its the tootsie roll" "I saw the sign"....ahh, high school flashbacks. Awkward.

Anyways, here is a look at a normal long run day.

Well let me start with the prep the night before. I fill a water bottle, add a scoop of spark and put it in the fridge. I lay out everything I am going to wear, including band aids for my pinky toes (I get bad blood blisters and things turn ugly quick without a band aid) and my knee brace. I don't rely on my 4:45 am self to remember all of the details.

Today

4:45-my alarm goes off

5:00 I get to the gym (long runs are always on a padded floor or treadmill, my knees can't handle 2 hours of pounding pavement. Stretch, set up my water and phone. Eat 3 energy shots. I LOVE Clif Shot Bloks. I can't pick a favorite flavor. They are gummy like and 1/2 package is 100 cals. I have found that these are the only things that don't make me nauseous in my run but also satisfy my hunger pains. If I have a small dinner the night before a big run I will eat these before I run. If I am pretty full from the previous night's dinner then I will eat them throughout the run.

I also drank about 6 ounces of water with Advocare Spark (strawberry mango) on the way to the gym.

5:09/5:10 I turn on my music, note my time started and get my run on.

"A little bit of monica in my life, a little bit of erika by my side".

Now depending on how my body feels and how long I have to run I set a base pace. Today I knew that I was in it for the long haul, unless my body said otherwise, so I started out at my base pace, which is what I can comfortably do the whole time. For me that is about an 8.8 or 9 minute mile.
There are tons of apps that can help you figure out your base pace. I use RunKeeper and/or just the timer on my phone to figure things out.
My Goober always comes with me on long runs so he can practice bball and ripstick in the middle of the gym. He snapped this without me knowing. Look at that form :/

6:00ish I stop and drink the rest of my water, another 6 ounces, check my time and change pace. My right thigh is starting to cramp so I straighten up. I tend to hunch over and push my body into the run but changing positions allows me to look ahead the whole time and keep my spine straighter. This instantly puts more pressure on my calves, taking some off of my thighs.

"I'm blue, da ba dee"

6:52 I ask Goober to check the time and note that I have 17 more minutes to go and regardless of what my legs are saying I am going to push through. During the last mile my left calf started throbbing so I again changed pace and went into a longer stride which put the weight on my hips, taking it off my calves. Sometimes I even find that changing the direction in which I run helps my legs last longer.

7:00 I stop for water one last time and head outside as the sun rises to finish up my last mile. I tell Goober to watch the clock and let me know when its 7:09. I can feel my legs burning as he yells 7:09 and I run over and high five him.


7:09 I immediately begin to jump, this is what I have found to really help me stretch out my calves. I jump as high as I can in the air and point my toes. Then I press my heels into the ground to stretch out my knees. Then I sit and do some stretching and toe pointing, all while noticing just how stinkin sweaty I am. I never ever notice my sweat until I stop and then it seems to pour out in bucketfuls. Attractive right?

After stretching I tally up my miles. I NEVER look at my mileage until after a run. I more or less aim for time and then push myself to see how much I can accomplish in that time. I was thrilled to discover that in 2 hours I had run 13.6 miles. A little more than a 1/2 marathon. It was not a PR for pace but I'll take it, considering that only 4 months ago I was elated that I could run 2 miles without dying. I also remember my first 5 mile run in early August and how I napped for 2 solid hours afterwards :).

After a run the first thing I do is shower. I get the water as HOT as possible and let it beat on my legs for a nice chunk of time, or at least until one of my kiddos notices I am home and begins asking me questions through the door. You know, those questions that their dad can answer but they bypass him on the couch and come to me instead. "Yes, you can have cheerios, no you can't have a dessert, Yes you can have yogurt, Stop stealing your brothers monkey blanket". WHERE IS YOUR FATHER??
Adam says they come to me because they know that his answer is always No. That man is pure genius.

BREAKFAST-I think breakfast is THE most IMPORTANT meal for someone who works out first thing in the morning. It sets the pace for the whole day, replenishes your fuel and gets your metabolism going. On days that I weight train I normally eat a protein bar and fruit or egg whites for breakfast. On long run days I normally eat Kashi cereal, yogurt or oatmeal. Since today is Sunday, I also knew that I would be getting lots of protein from my usual Starbucks drink before church so I went for a lighter breakfast.

1 package of Pumpkin and Chai oatmeal, mixed with 2 tbsp of PB2 (I could eat this stuff on anything) and one braeburn apple cut into chunks. HEAVENLY!!!!!!!!!!!
If Starbucks wasn't in the picture then I would have probably added in another packet of oatmeal.

Then off to get ready for church, Starbucks run (Chai Latte for Adam, Skinny Vanilla Latte for Me, Jr. Hot Chocolate for Goober (his reward for keeping my time this morning).

Church was awesome, but sitting that long after a run always makes my leg ache. I tend to stretch and move around, all without trying to distract everyone.

I eat a whole wheat bagel with 2 tbsp of cream cheese for lunch, along with LOTS of water!! Gotta replenish and stay hydrated!!

As soon as the kiddos lay down for a nap I grab my heating pad (its one of those gel pads that forms around your legs--you boil it after it has cooled off) and plop down on the couch to heat up my calves and get them ready for tomorrows workout. I have found that icing my joints (knees, ankles, shoulder) and heating my larger muscles (calves, thighs) is what restores me the quickest. I have heard others say that ice is their only go to and that heat has no effect on their soreness.

I should also mention that I wear a knee brace on my right knee for most long runs. Its a weighted one that velcros around the bottom of my knee. As I like to say, "my knee doesn't hurt, it just reminds me that its there when I run". This brace has helped me the most and normally I am fine as long as I am wearing it. I bought it at Lukes Locker for $17.

So thats it....., how I prepare, push through and recover from a long run.





Friday, January 23, 2015

Fitness Friday

HALLELUJAH ITS FRIDAY!!!!

Really the only, and I mean only bad thing about weekends is that I sleep in and then scramble to get solid workouts in. I normally resort to taking the kids with me to the gym on Saturday and letting them play in the middle (scooter, tricycles, coloring, eating) while I literally run circles around them. On Sunday mornings I can usually convince Adam to go with me to the weight room before church or if I have time I can normally get in a good 2 hour run on Sunday morning and still have time to recover before church. Regardless, its always torture on Mondays to wake up at 4:45 and get going after two days of sleeping in until at least 5:30/6.

So as I said last week the 24 Day Challenge from Advocare really retrained my body and tastebuds. I ate every 2/3 hours and every meal had a veggie or fruit alongside a lean protein. I used the advocare meal replacement bars (LOVE the Gingerbread and Apple Cinnamon), the meal replacement drinks (the Mocha was my favorite) and drank Spark (strawberry mango) every morning. I actually still use Spark in my spinach NutriBullet smoothies or on its own if I need a zap late in the day!

I started out at 151 lbs, on my 5 7' frame before the 24 day challenge and at the end was at 142. I lost 9 pounds and noticed an immediate difference in my clothing (especially my jeans).

In Week 2 of my 24 Day Challenge I began to add in exercise in the form of laying a 800 square foot flagstone patio in the backyard. I made it off limits to my husband, as in LET ME DO IT ALL!!!!! Once we figured out the basic shape of the patio I leveled it all, then carried in wheelbarrow load by wheelbarrow load of over 3 tons of pedestrian pebbles and leveled that out as well (leveling ain't no joke). You have to put this down under the flagstone for proper drainage. I then began the grueling task of laying each and every stone , leveling it and working each one in like a puzzle piece around 3 trees and around our raised garden beds. Then I dug a trench around the exterior and laid skinny stones as a border. YUP, all little ole me. I would do  it every morning when it wasn't so hot and the kids could play outside on the playground or in the sprinkler. Then every afternoon during their nap I would head back out. It took me a full month.

Our neighbors probably thought I was being tortured by my husband. We are in a very friendly area of town and people are constantly walking/ jogging/ walking dogs/ outside chit chatting to their neighbors and so daily I would have someone come up and remind me to drink lots of water. Our older neighbor across the street offered me his much better wheelbarrow several times and asked if he could carry back the larger stones for me. I tried to explain that I chose to make this my project but I still got several scowls and "honey, take a break, its too hot out here for that". Bless them.

After I finished that patio I was hooked on the "get nasty sweaty" but still feel awesome feeling I got daily and started looking for another form of exercise that I could do daily.

To be continued....

Goober's artistic view of the pedestrian pebbles and one of the four pallets of flagstone.

Baby Boy and Goober enjoying scores on the patio right before we camped in the backyard.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Le Fashion Coach-Peach Pickin

Le Fashion Coach



Have you seen the large winnebago around town called "Le Fashion Coach"? You kinda can't miss it due to the awesome design work on its exterior and its two very welcoming owners. Le Fashion Coach is a boutique on wheels, selling everything from headbands to purses, from trendy tops to unique handmade jewelry organizers. On their website lefashioncoach.com/about you can find out where they will be stopping next as well as how these two friends became business partners.
As you can see Ribbit LOVES the "bus shop" and can't wait to go back. She convinced Dana, one of the co-owners to take selfies with her as well as several posed pictures in front of the boutique. You can see the inside of the shop somewhat in the background. They have gutted it and turned it into a sleek shop, complete with a fitting room!




I ended up buying this beautiful long gray open sweater with fringe. I wore it the next day to church with black pants, boots and turquoise jewelry and received several compliments. They have something for every budget and for every occasion. YOU MUST STOP AND SHOP!!!! They even have an option for you to host a party at your home, thats right, they come to you....(Now, if we can just convince Kroger to develop an at home shopping option, right????) Sounds like a fun GIRLS NIGHT OUT TO ME!!!!

I'm pretty sure this little one is their biggest fan. She has asked me several times "mommy, when are we going to go shop again on the bus?". 



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Great British Baking Show

Y'all, have you heard of "The Great British Baking Show". If not, you are missing out!!!! I stumbled upon it while looking for the newest episode of Downton Abbey and I was immediately intrigued (and not just because they devoted a whole challenge to Tiramisu, the MOTHER OF ALL DESSERTS!!


You can find it on the PBS channel on Apple TV. I have always gravitated towards any and all food shows and food competitions but this one is quite different from American cooking shows. How? 

1. EVERYTHING sounds better when it is said with a British accent. I'm pretty sure I don't like curd but I would TEAR IT UP after listening to them describe a "Biscuit with a lemon chiffon curd and apricot coulis". They also talk about how blonde or brunette the "bake" is and I personally just call that done or burnt. 

2. Biscuits mean crackers, but they look like some of the best stinking crackers I have ever seen.....they are huge and crunchy and look like they may be better than those pumpkin sunflower seeds crackers at Jasons Deli (don't act like you don't shove 3 packets of those in your purse for a to go snack)!!!

3. The show focuses on, get this, THE BAKING!!! There is no drama between the bakers....none, they all high five and hug each other when one is declared top baker and they cry when one is asked to leave. This past week I thought we may see some drama after one of the ladies pulled out another contestants Baked Alaska and left it to melt on the counter. It ruined the dessert and ultimately sent that contestant home.....BUT, he never once said anything rude to her or threw her under the bus when the judges asked for an explanation. This would never happen on an American cooking show, PUH-LEASE, they sabotage each other left and right and snicker when someones cupcakes don't rise. 

4. The judges are there to judge, not insult. They encourage the bakers to take risk, tell them exactly when they mess up and wish them well in their baking journey as they are booted off. They are never rude, condescending or appear to be baking gods. Its very refreshing. 

5. It makes me want to quit everything, run to COSTCO and buy the biggest bag of flour they got and go to TOWN!!! Now, I would be as lost as last years easter egg trying to figure out how to use a convection oven or knowing whether my bread needed kneading or leavening or both. And don't get me started on how this ARTSY FARTSY momma would begin converting all those grams into ounces but I would "give it a go lad". They make baking look so fantastically classy and respectable with fancy ingredients (caster sugar, and glace cherries) and those presentations, WOW...I would honestly eat a hot dog (my most hated food) if they piped some of their fancy meringue on top!!!

So far they have covered biscuits (crackers), baked alaska, Sauce serving cakes or puddings (think anything resembling a molten lava cake) and cakes. Check it out!!!









Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Peach Pickin

Another weekly topic will be Peach Pickin, where I will share a product/ food joint/ recipe/ entertainment spot that either we as a family enjoy or individually. I hope the cheesy title doesn't turn you away right now ;), but you have to admit Peach Pickin is hard to forget!!
I literally thought about the first pick for days, like during my burpees in the morning I lost count due to the stress of this pick. Should I promote only things that I like? What about products that my kids love? What about products for men? I finally had a moment of clarity while snacking on my breakfast one morning of rice cakes, laughing cow cheese, egg whites and spinach.
Seriously, MOTHERS WHOLE GRAIN RICE CAKES are FANTASTIC!!!  After about 2 months into calorie counting I discovered that I prefer crunchy over any other texture and find it the most satisfying. All 6 of us in the house LOVE these things and use them as the main transportation in many different meals! We aren't gluten free but if you are then these are perfect for you, they are also super low in sodium and 35 calories a piece, meaning that I NEVER EAT JUST ONE!!!

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cake (9g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 0
Calories 35
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat -
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 15mg1%
Total Carbohydrate 7g2%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A -Vitamin C -
Calcium -Iron -
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The three ways in which we use them the most are as follows:
1-Peach Momma Breakfast: 
2 Mothers Rice Cakes (70 cals), 1 Spicy Pepper Jack Laughing Cow block cheese divided between them (35 cals), 2/3 cups egg whites (80 cals) and a handful of baby spinach (normally cooked into the eggs) (7 cals). Sometimes I eat this like a sandwich, other times as two separate open faced cakes of goodness!!!!!

2-Caramel Children Lunch-2 Mothers Rice Cakes (no cals here because A) they don't care and B) they NEVER STOP MOVING and therefore need as many cals as possible), Peanut Butter and Jelly. Impressive huh? Stick them together and you've gotta crunchy sandwich for lunch!!

3-Peach Momma Dessert:
2 Mothers Rice Cakes (70 cal), 2 tbsp of PB2 (45 cals), sliced banana (90ish cals) and 1 tbsp of Walden Farms marshmallow cream (0, yup zero cals). 

Peach Daddy LOVES the caramel flavor cakes and eats them as a snack or dessert by themselves. 

I love how thick these cakes are compared to others that honestly make you feel like you are on the skimpiest diet ever. I also love the fact that I can normally find them at our local dollar store (the 99 cent store, honestly one of my favorite places to shop). 

What is your favorite rice cake recipe?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Indulgence

As I shared in my first Fitness Friday post, I truly believe we are a very indulgent society, my home included. We indulge in food, entertainment, gossip, clothing, gimmicks, sports, etc.....basically everything except the one area that we are free to indulge in, our Faith.

My prayer for the past several months has been "Father, make me desire you above all things, give me a taste of what your word offers to my life and remind me to INDULGE in you constantly." I love the thought of indulging ourselves in the word, in prayer, in praise, in fellowship, in community with other believers. Its like putting a big ole pile of pumpkin spice doughnuts in front of me and saying "SISTER, HAVE AT IT!!! TEAR THEM SUCKERS UP, EAT THEM ALL BECAUSE THEY ARE CALORIE AND SUGAR FREE"...except its ten times better and if I indulge in the Lord I will never want for more!

There is no limit to how much we should indulge ourselves in the Lord. We should crave it, soak in it, lick the bowl clean if you will!
So how do we do that?
(long blank stare and pause)
I have no clue. I think it starts with a commitment. As I mentioned in my New Year Resolutions post I have a daily planner where I document, brainstorm and set goals for all of the compartments of my personal health. ITS ALL IN PEN, no pencil here. It's a commitment. As I shared with my 8th grade girls bible class (yup, the bible teacher struggles to indulge herself in the Lord), I want to schedule in a daily wake up call with the Lord so that my conversation with Him begins the minute I wake up. I'm not talking about an allotted 15 mins where I read 2 chapters, annotate on the side, sip coffee and check if off. I am talking about a lifelong habit where I wake up, thank the Lord for being mine, ALL MINE, a God that I can indulge in and then I continue that conversation and relationship all day long.

 It looks a lot like spending time in the word, praying before making decisions, listening for answer to those decisions, spending time with my family in prayer, speaking truth from scripture into my children daily, asking others to pray over me, going before the throne for others, SERVING my church, community, workplace and like Romans 12:10 says " Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor". OUTDO each other! INDULGE in HIM and you will be able to OUTDO one another by showing honor. Now for this southern competitive girl out doing others is something I can handle. Challenge accepted :).

Would you pray with me that we would learn to indulge ourselves in the Lord in 2015? That we would have a heart that yearns to desire Him and seeks to truly get to know Him!
How do you indulge in the Lord?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fitness Friday

My Health Journey Part 1

In the hopes of sharing some of the MANY things that I have learned over my recent weight loss/health seeking journey I decided to focus on fitness every Friday.

I'll start with how I got to where I am,  or at least my theory.

Ready? It's actually a mind blowing concept. Get ready to wet yourself.

I do not have ANY self control. None, zip, zero, zilch, none-ya.

This is not a slam to my parents (the two best parents a girl could ask for in fact) but I was never taught self control either. Stop, think about it, is any American taught or MADE to show self control? We live in a society where anything we want is within our reach. When we deny ourselves something (like dessert) we call it a sacrifice for crying out loud. We live a life of INDULGENCE. We indulge in our behaviors, our speech, our food choices, our recreation life, our spending, etc and instead of realizing the effect it has on us we like to think that WE DESERVE IT ALL. I deserve this luxurious day at the spa because I am a full time teacher and mom . I deserve this cheese covered pasta, wine and chocolate cake because I made it through another whole week of life. I deserve to indulge in this gossip filled conversation (ouch) because I have knowledge that others aren't privy too or because I need others opinions on it (geesh).

I started thinking through all the different ways that I wasn't showing self control in my life and realized that I indulged myself in almost every areas of my life instead of the one area that deserved it, MY WALK WITH THE LORD.  Proverbs 25:28 A man (or woman) without self control is like a city broken into and left without walls. --MY GO TO VERSE FOR OVER INDULGENCE (thats another post). So, I made a plan and enlisted others to help me learn how to live this life with "self control".

I of course waited until the day after we got back from Disney. Hey, don't judge me, we had a paid for meal plan, sister was not going to turn down a Darth Vader Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake with every meal!!!!

But then friends, I got serious! My sweet, very supportive, very encouraging, very willing to to tell me how proud he is of me (daily) husband bought me a 24 Day Challenge from Advocare. Now you need to know two things about me to understand why this was the best first step for me in my health journey. One, I am a FRUGAL beast. That challenge is not cheap so when I saw the cost I had a nice long chat  with myself about how I was not going to cheat one iota (like I didn't even lick the spoon when I made a peanut butter pie--thats serious) during those 24 days. I am also competitive. Okay, there I have said it. I entered a weight loss contest with a monetary prize at work that coincided with the time I would be on the 24 day challenge and then for 6 weeks after. If I am challenged and told that I will not win (which I was) I will fight with everything I have to prove others wrong. I walked away from that weight loss challenge as grand champ and with a nice $250 in my pocket...which by the way paid for the 24 Day Challenge and then some.

As much as I would love to, I can't say that Advocare is the reason why I am where I am now, 20 lbs lighter, running on average 12-20 miles a week, weight lifting 3x a week, sprinting until my thighs burn, wearing clothes that I haven't worn since 9th grade, etc. Nope the 24 day challenge retrained my body and my mind as to what healthy, nutritious food is but the biggest step to my success has been learning Self Control.

More to come...


Lub You-An old post with a great video :)

First things first, some documentation....

Last night we had a pizza party for the end of the season for my club volleyball team. I ordered Goob and I a medium pizza and figured I would end up taking home some to Adam and Ribbit. However, I put one slice on my plate and started talking to parents and players. I knew that Eli was hungry but when I turned to get another slice about 10 minutes later our whole pizza was gone and there were several pieces of crust on Eli's plate. HE ATE THE WHOLE DAGUM THING!!!!

Usually we have to tell Ribbit "love you" first and then she repeats us. Tonight, she was helping me cook, she counts along with me and plays with the measuring cups. In the middle she looked at me and said " LUB YOU"!!!! Melt my heart!!!

We put ABC decals above Ribbit's crib and we point to them and sing the ABC song as we put her to bed every night. Now, she will just start pointing to the air and sing " A E D A E ".

Goob is getting really sad about the idea of leaving school for the summer. He had a little meltdown today when he was telling the seniors bye. Two seniors are assigned to each Grammar school class and they go on field trips with them, come hang out with them and help them with field day, etc. Today was their last time together and as they were saying bye Goober just cried and cried. He has such a sweet little sensitive heart. I am dreading having to watch him tell his teacher bye...he literally runs to get to her every morning and give her a hug...its going to be bad!

Heres a video of Ribbit eating corn on the cob....pretty comical!!!

video

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Why Peach Parents?

Over the years we have been invited to share God's story for our lives with several different audiences. Its something that makes my mind go into shutdown mode because there is so much to tell yet it seems so sacred. Why? Because there are parts of our story that make me ugly cry and parts that make me grin from ear to ear due to God's redemptive powers. There are parts of our story that really belong to my kiddos and are things that I would rather them choose to share with complete strangers. There are also a lot of time periods where we have to fill in the information due to what we were given. About two weeks after Goober and Ribbits homecoming we were handed a box with 3 thick binders and told "here is your child's history". It makes me sick to my stomach even now thinking about how much documentation and lack thereof was in that box. You see every piece of paper seemed to represent something awful that happened to them, around them or in front of their little innocent eyes. Or that piece of paper represented another home where they were told that they would not be a part of that forever family. Or that piece of paper showed how little people really cared about my children and how much information was still missing. I remember getting through one binder and feeling nauseous. I had to put the box away and mentally prepare myself to pick it up at a later date. Adam still hasn't read every paper and its not because he is lazy or doesn't care....those are tough things to read about your own children, yup OUR OWN children.

So, when we do get asked to speak we normally speak about the things that we have been taught by the Lord or through our children in this whole journey. Recently I was asked to speak to a group of men who meet at our school early every Thursday morning for bible study and prayer. To say that I was intimidated is a huge understatement. (in fact, the first time I was scheduled to come I had to call and cancel due to throwing up and developing the mother of all migraines the night before......I blamed Fuzzy's Tacos from dinner but as my husband quickly reminded me " you did it to yourself") I'm not dramatic at all. The title of my spill was "Lessons for a Peach Parent" and I will explain that to you as I did to them early that Thursday morning.

There are moments in our journey that I will never forget, that will never fade, that I can still close my eyes and picture every detail of. One of those is being in one of a million foster/adopt classes we had to attend and test out of  and being taught to not push labels such as "mom" or "dad" too quickly. Therefore on that COLD February day when we were introduced to our forever kiddos I remember telling Goober to pick out what he would like to call us. Since Christmas was still fresh on his mind he chose Rudolph for me and Santa for Adam. (Imagine the next day in Target when Ribbit threw up all over the aisle, cart and us....we sent Goober to find someone who worked there to help us clean up and we hear him yell "HELP US, SANTA AND RUDOLPH NEED HELP, THEY ARE COVERED IN THROW UP". Anyways, we answered to those names for sometime. Ribbit, only being 18 months and still not talking didn't call us anything for a while but then went straight to mommy and daddy.

One week after their homecoming Goober started school (on Valentines Day) and in all irony tore my heart to pieces. He walked in very timidly, was hugged by the sweetest/ gentlest teacher we have ever met (I'm totally nominatin her for sainthood the next time I am asked), and started handing out his valentines. I stood at the door swallowing a very large lump and wanting to stay with him the whole day. This child that I had only known for 1 week already had a huge part of my heart and I felt that purest mommy feeling that we all know about those first days of kindergarten and releasing them into the wild. Later on that day I went back to check on him (for the fourth time) and tried to keep him from seeing me, kinda, I was secretly hoping for a hug or a "mommy I missed you, lets cuddle!". However, his friend saw me and pointed. She seemed confused and said " who is that?" Without missing a beat, he answered, "thats my peach parent!". Cue more tears!

So since that glorious day of Goobers first day of school we have had many many labels. We have been told by our children that they are caramel and we are white chocolate. Last summer as Goober examined the tan line around his waist he declared " hey mom you are my BUTT COLOR" (the little stinker gets a killer tan every year as Adam and I are lucky to go from a glowing white to pasty). As he has become older and wiser, or a smartypants, he has revealed that his first thought about seeing us on his homecoming day was "Aw man, I don't want creepy white parents". Creepy, us? So out of all of those I felt like the title of "Lessons for a peach parent" was the best. I don't think many people would show up for a lecture titled "Lessons for a butt colored creepy white girl". Thus, the name has stuck.

For some time now we have been called by our most favorite names in the world....Mommy and Daddy. Sure, it may make us grit our teeth after the 4056th time we have heard it in one hour but we wouldn't trade those labels for anything. How honored and blessed we are to have three little creepy caramel kiddos to call us that!!


Here is (in my most humble opinion) the most stellar family picture ever!!! I have begged Adam to let me get it blown up onto a huge canvas and display it proudly on the mantle but it hasn't happened yet. Its probably a good thing as I honestly lose it each and every time I look at this picture. I'm trying to hold Ribbit who is deathly afraid of the Smoky the Bear hot air balloon that is rising to the left of us. Goober is his usual happy, darling, big man self and Baby Boy has no clue what is going on and is quite annoyed at the actions of it all. We were a hot sweaty mess that day but its still a fantastic memory!

Peach Momma

Monday, January 12, 2015

NEW BLOG!!!

We will now be hosting our blog on thepeachparents.blogspot.com.

I hope you continue to follow along as we have big plans for the blog over the coming up year. We plan on not only documenting our crazy life, but also all the many remodel jobs we are currently in and working towards on our home, fitness Fridays and some "favorite things". You probably noticed the plural "parents" part of the new name...that's because Adam will also be posting as well, like 10 times a month, or at least 1x a month right honey?

Please encourage your friends and family to follow along!



Sunday, January 11, 2015

This is a test.

We are currently making some changes to the blog so this is a test run ...you probably won't even see the changes :)


She has amazing selfie skills!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Goober's report card

SUCCESS!

We are so  proud of Goober! We got his report card today and ALL, I repeat ALL of his grades came up from the first semester. Some, even by as much as 10 points!!! All of his conduct grades either stayed the same or came up as well. THIS IS HUGE. I literally read his report card, tore out of my seat (during planning period) and went to get him two gourmet cookies, NOT 1 BUT 2. I wrote him a celebratory note on top of it and took them straight to his building so he can know how stinking proud of him we are at lunch today. As I was telling other teachers at lunch our good news several asked how this was accomplished...like how did I work this miracle?, teach me teach me! I just smiled because as I have said in other post we have learned that no amount of lecturing or yelling or grounding will change his behavior. We have to appeal to his heart and encourage him to listen to the Holy Spirit and then PRAY. Adam does a great job of appealing to his heart in our discipline style and dinner devotions, asking him questions and then we both lead into an application time where we ask "how does what we just learned" apply to our current situation. 
Its funny because Adam has several scriptures posted on his bathroom mirror and Goober has some of his own posted on LARGE construction paper on his mirror that say "Think before you speak" and "think before you do". Not scripture, but great advice!!
Goober can also read people like a book. He spots in-genuineness from a mile away. Most kids do but he is able to discern how people are feeling, who is upset with who and why a loooonnnggg time before other kiddos his age can. That's probably why he repeats every stinkin thing I say, he LOOONNNGGSS to be a part of the grown up conversation. At our New Years Eve party with several other school families he chose to sit with the older bunch as we played Catch Phrase instead of watch Toy Story upstairs with the little ones. He didn't have a clue as to what we were talking about since it was the generation Catch Phrase and for almost every category he couldn't relate but he still tried to be a part of it all and laughed when everyone else did. I think this is why he also gets in trouble a lot for "parenting" the younger children. He really does discipline them in the same exact manner and verbiage as  we do but then gets REALLY aggravated when his siblings don't listen and blow him off. Overall though I think this skill will be really useful in his story, being sensitive to others and being able to pick up on social cues and hints that others completely miss. 

Ribbit didn't want to go back to school. I didn't blame her but her whole " my stomach hurts" and "my tights are too tight" and "its too hot for a jacket" in 30 degree weather made me a little less compassionate. I think the dress up days are  helping her ease back into school and getting to see her friends. We met with her teacher yesterday and are heavily leaning towards keeping her in kindergarten again next year. She is the youngest by far and isn't really into this whole reading, writing, learning the alphabet thing. In fact, if the words aren't "let it go" or have something to do with Frozen then she ain't gonna do it. There is a Pre-1st option but after seeing what kids are heading that direction we feel like she would still feel behind and never gain that confidence she needs for 1st grade. As I thoroughly thought it through during my run this morning I realized that by holding her back we also get to keep her at home one more  year which makes my heart super happy! However, Baby Boy will never have the option of repeating any grades...he is our last kiddo (well for now :)) and we will want him out of the house, right? 
Ribbit's problem isn't a learning disability at all, just an effort one. She doesn't really live on this planet at all times, for the most part her head is in Arendale helping Olaf get warm hugs and declaring her love for all things blue and icy...I'm  not kidding, if she can relate something to Frozen she does it. If they would just put the ABCS to the tune of "let it go" we would be skipping 1st grade next  year!!!
Baby Boy is actually ok with staying at home with Chelsea now. He does ask if he can go to school with us everyday but now that we can promise him that next year he will be with us it eases the morning exit. He always gives us kisses, grabs my hand and like a gentlemen leads me to the garage door. He allows us all to exit then yells " BYE BYE EYEBALL STINKY FACE" and slams the garage door like a boss. It also helps that he has 432,920 new toys to keep him busy during the day. At night he has started telling us that he is just too tired to go to bed, or that his neck hurts or asking "mommy can I have you?'. Some nights that works and he ends up on the couch asleep on me, other nights he sneaks and makes a whole bed in the foyer between his and Goobers room and sleeps there....but regardless every night around 2/3 he comes into our room, declares that its to dark to sleep in his room, cuddles up to us and falls back asleep in our much darker room :). 
Thats all for now!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

WWWAAAAAHHH

I am really not looking forward to going back to "normal" tomorrow. Today was inservice and it was a tease since we were done at 10:30. I made myself stay until1 and get stuff accomplished, like some emails sent out, the printing press set up and wiping off all the paint that my kids got on the tables as we went to my room often for art projects. Then I went grocery shopping so that the kids don't go back to school with crackers, half a banana and a rice cake. I call that a good lunch, especially when I stick a note on the crackers that say "love you, mom" ;), too bad the kids don't agree.

As I recap the break, overall things went well. Hosting Christmas for 2.5 solid weeks is a little overwhelming. Planning activities, cleaning, cooking, keeping up a workout schedule, avoiding huge calorie meals and making sure everyone has enough presents under the tree is daunting. My husband got to hold me while I just cried myself to sleep on the last day of our official break. I was exhausted and just wanted my kids back. It sounds weird but not being the one to put them to bed, and not being able to just have conversations with them and cuddling with them before bedtime makes me very jealous for their time..I mean its our family break too right :). Grandparents also have a way of making excuses for poor behavior which means that we have endured two days of nightmare behavior. I sound mad about that and I honestly get peeved when people allow them to behave poorly but on the other hand I am sure that is why I loved my grandparents so much too. However, even Chelsea commented today on how bad the kids behaved for her and she could tell that grandparents had been around. Its a balanace eh?

I think next year we will just go on a Disney Cruise, no seriously, I am already looking into it. We leave on Christmas Eve and get back 5 days later. No presents to balance out, no decor to put up, no activities to plan besides do we want to meet Goofy or Daffy tomorrow at 2 and going somewhere warm SOUNDS FANTASTIC :).

Well let me end all of that with a bah humbug and move on ;).

Nothing like pictures of cute kids to turn the blog from negative to positive huh.

Heres the loot from Santa. Each kiddo got name art, clothes and a pin board with all of their pins they collected from Disney. Baby Boy got a bookbag to start school next year with, a ton of remote control semi trucks, art supplies and fire trucks.
Ribbit got the name art, pin board, clothes, art supplies, boots and the full set of dolls from Frozen.
Goober got name art pin board, clothes, black paper with glow pens, a new backpack (he is sooo rough on his), some glow in the dark boards for his room, art supplies and superhero ring pops.
Showing off his muscles in his Mr. Incredible suit
Showing off her favorite clothes from Santa.
He is a true boy and didn't want to change into his favorite outfit.
Holding up their name art.
Showing off his tools and toolbelt from Uncle Chris.
Outside in the freezing cold wearing his boots and monkey hat from CC and Papa and playing with his remote control car from them.

I'll have to upload more pictures....For now, its time to get these kiddos to bed so I can head that way myself...tomorrow starts my countdown to summer break :), just kidding, not.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015

We rang in the New Year all together, all awake :). We had a great time with 3 other families from our school playing games, eating wonderful Mexican food, telling stories and watching movies. The kids threw the pop fireworks, chowed down and stayed up until midnight....and then there were several meltdowns :). They slept until 7:15 this morning and then took looooonnnggg naps today :).

Adams parents came up late last night and we had our Christmas today. The kids were once again spoiled but I did see a huge change in Baby Boy from our first present extravaganza of the season. He actually handed out other presents, helped other unwrap their presents and never once asked "where is more for me?".

The rest of the day consisted of football for the guys, cooking and workouts for me and Goober and playing with all of the new loot while it continually rained outside.

I have been thinking a lot about our accomplishments over the past year and our goals for the upcoming year. Its really super hard for me to not set a whole bunch of new goals for this year as I have seen myself accomplish so much in personal wellness this past year. I have a planner devoted to my career and another one (thanks mom) devoted to my personal goals and my daily fitness.

Accomplishments of 2015
-I am down 20 lbs from June 2nd, almost 6 full pant sizes and honestly pretty stinkin proud of myself. I can lift weights with the best of them, handle pull ups and run 12-13 miles on any given day. I no longer stand in the mirror wishing for more self control. I no longer look at fit people and think "it must be genetics"..i now think "they have learned self control and discipline". I have learned how to listen to my body and know what days it can handle a good hard drench and what days it needs light cardio and stretching. 
- We have paid off of ALL of our student loans and continue to be debt free besides our mortgage. Adam continues to slowly renovate our home himself which is so rewarding as we are 1)saving boocoos of money and 2)allowing us to customize every inch of our home. I love how our home reflects us entirely.

-We have decided to eat out only 1x a month as a family so that we can increase our giving. Giving has always been something I have personally struggled with as I want to see exactly what our money is going towards. However, after serving in our nursery more I am able to see how much we need a new childrens building at our church and God has softened my heart towards giving blindly and trusting Him to use it.

-We are spending more time in God's word, having consistent devotionals at dinner, with lots of interruptions for children wanting dessert and not knowing yet how to sit still. However, we are constantly amazed at what God is able to teach them through these short sessions. It will show up in their attitudes or responses days later but we can see God speaking through his word to our kiddos.

Goals for the New Year
-Personally I am looking for balance. I want to have as much self discipline in my spiritual life as I do in my physical life. I normally listen to worship music and think through scripture or sermons when I run but its not as focused as I would like. I need to plan out my times with the Lord just as much as I plan out every single workout the night before. I want to balance out my time with my kids with my time I spend cleaning up after my kids :). I want to balance my need for constantly serving others (i can't say no) to developing the relationships I already have. I have a handful of people that I really need to pour into but I spread myself thin among several other organizations and service opps (all of which are great) but investing in people is the start to leading them to the Lord. As goofy as this sounds I want to balance my reading time with my TV time...for our kids too. I want to read to them as much as they watch TV which is less than 30 minutes a day so its totally do able. I want to balance my impulses to buy things with impulses to show gratitude and thankfulness to the Lord.

Christmas Eve service with my whole family :)
They both love Baby Boy's new motorcycle. They will spend hours riding on it and pushing each other through the house.
Annual gingerbread house contest. Goober and Uncle Chris were on a team, they made a storm shelter :)
Daddy and Baby Boy made Batmans house, car and a melted Riddler. They definitely deserved to win for creativity!
Mommy and Ribbit made Queen Elsa's Imagination Island...we won for our name and that cute little girl :)
Putting out cookies and milk for Santa by the fireplace ;)
Showing off our annual reindeer cookies for Santa!
This picture needs lots of explaining. I always make handprint ornaments or gifts for the couples in our families. This year I used the kids hands as the camels for the 3 wiseman. Since Uncle Chris and Aunt Micah are getting married in June we figured next Christmas they will need some Harvell handprints hanging up for Christmas :). This is honestly my favorite thing to do with the kids each year and I LOVE looking at all of their prints every year when I pull out our Christmas decor. Also, Adam finished the built ins that are bare in the background of this picture, they are beautiful! And, we have new lighting and white trim ;). Anyways, to all the great grandparents, aunts and uncles reading this we sent your handprint gifts with our parents so when they get back to Alabama make sure you get them :)
Another perk of staying at home for Christmas is that we got to start our own family traditions. I have always wanted to celebrate Jesus' birthday before opening the gifts, really just to remind ourselves of what is important and to give Him honor. So I woke up super early and in Adam's words " as quiet as a ninja" and made a huge batch of birthday sprinkle pancakes for Jesus!! We hung up tablecloths to block off the tree so the kids wouldn't see it before breakfast. We stacked it with birthday boy candles and sang to him! We also went around and said one thing we would all give Jesus as a gift this year. Goober said he would help his friends and parents more. Ribbit and Baby Boy said they would both try to obey the first time more. Mommy and Daddy said we were going to only eat out 1x a month to give more money to the church. CC said she was going to work on taming her tongue and Papa said he was going to give up smoking. Uncle Chris was still asleep :). I love this tradition and want to do it every year. It definitely got me in a more grateful mood and I hope it did for my kids as well.