Sunday, July 31, 2011

On this night, three years ago...

Maybe I should back up before I get to night time.

We were thrilled to become parents to Elizabeth Rose and even more scared to death thrilled when an exam before the July 4th weekend showed me already at 3 cm, more than 75% effaced, and several weeks ahead of our August 7 due date.

The doctor told us to just get ready and to expect her any time.  So get ready, we did.  And proceeded to wait an entire month for our baby girl to decide she was ready.

In case any of you haven't been 9 months pregnant in South Carolina in the heat of summer, it was a looooong month.

So, when I woke up the morning of July 31 with stomach cramps, I thought...maybe this is it!  I called in sick to work and we promptly went to the doctor's office since we had an appointment later that day anyway.  Hooked up to the monitors, we were contracting every 20 minutes.  

The nurses patted me on the back, told me to go home and put my feet up and assured me that she would indeed one day come out.

I could have died.  The mental anguish of waiting for "any time" for an entire month had taken it's toll on me.  I had stopped working out, for fear of having my water break on the treadmill.  I was still working, but between moonlighting as a librarian, enduring Braxton Hicks, and rushing to the bathroom at the end of every class period, it was getting trying.

So I called my friend Kelli, who was also my chiropractor and close friend and told her (in tears) about how they had sent me home.  Now, Kelli is a superb mom to seven kids so she's been around the block once or twice, and after hearing my voice, gave me the best advice I ever heard:

"If you want to have this baby, DO NOT sit down or put your feet up.  You better keep moving."

Don't you love just straight-to-the-point friends?

Now, let me just back up once again and say that I was very active with this pregnancy and coached and gave lessons for 8 months, rode on a golf cart with Dana Jenkins driving during a full week of softball camp, and made Tammy walk miles upon miles with me around the neighborhood after work each evening.  So I knew that I couldn't just walk around to get things going here.

We went home and I set to work.  After much haggling with my husband, he agreed to let me mow the grass (we had almost an acre...and a push mower)...and weed the front flower bed...and clean the house top to bottom.  We ended up getting take out from Copper River (which I still miss to the point of tears today...honey butter croissants...mmmm...did I mention that I gained 60 lbs with this pregnancy??) and watching Chocolate, which I had never seen and he hadn't seen in a long time.  

The day was so great that we had almost forgotten the disappointment of being sent home from the doctor's office earlier with no labor and no baby. 

At 12:30 a.m., I woke up to pee for the 20th time that night and my water broke.  Freaking out displaced any excitement I was feeling earlier, so I went about the task of waking up the daddy-to-be.  

"Scott,"  I whispered, gently rocking his shoulder.

Why was I whispering?  He didn't move.

"Babe!"  I said louder.  "Wake up."

Nothing.

What felt like an eternity later, I got my husband awake and let him know that my water had broken that we definitely needed to go to the hospital right away.  He nodded in agreement and then said, "I'm going to get in the shower."

I could have died.  The shower??  I was convinced that I was going to have this baby within the hour.  Never mind that I really wasn't have significant contractions or that I was feeling zero pressure in the nether regions.

So I did what any sane, first time mother who's water had broken and already had her bags packed would do at (then) 1 a.m...  I vacuumed the floor. 

What felt like an eternity, but in reality was 15 minutes, we were in the car and off to the hospital.  I was a bundle of nerves and all I wanted to do was GET there.  So I began to relax just a little when we checked in and successfully made it to the maternity ward.

Scott and I looked at each other and smiled.  This was it!  Maybe we would get to meet our baby soon!

The nurse on call came in and greeted us and said those little words every laboring mother loves to hear, "Well, let's check you and see how far along you are..."

I held my breath and said my please-please-please-please-pleases in my mind...

"Well, my dear," the nurse said, "Congrats!  You're at a three already!"

I could have died.  Still at a three...after a full stinkin' month and water breaking and mowing the grass... (In case you're not up on the birth process, you have to get to 10 cm until they're ready to go.)

So, we had a long night ahead of us...full of cheesy 80's movies and a drowsy, freezing hubby and a laboring mama...and around 12:15 p.m., we were blessed with our Elizabeth Rose. 





She was little and vocal and beautiful and the most perfect little baby we had ever seen.



Today, she remains on her own agenda but is still beautiful and one of the two loves of our lives.  Elizabeth is energetic and loves gymnastics.  She is quick to smile and gives great hugs and kisses.  She loves pizza and grilled cheese and all things princess and baby doll.  She is a great big sister and loves playing with her little side kick and helping mommy in the kitchen.  

We can't believe how fast three years went...even though you all warned us.




So happy birthday, Elizabeth Rose.  We love you so much.  Waiting for you was well worth the wait!

Friday, July 29, 2011

My husband's thoughts: Crossfit, Journaling and the Week

By Scott
 
I was pressed for time on Wednesday morning because of an early breakfast meeting (I AM in sales,  you know) so I decided to hit a short Crossfit workout that was mentioned as a challenge in last month's  Muscle and Fitness Magazine.  If you have never tried a Crossfit style workout or program, please do some homework on the net and give it a chance.  I have utilized non-traditional workouts my whole life and attempt to train 1-2 times per week with these types of routines.


Wed morning looked like this:

4:30 am – alarm

4:40 – 1 cup of coffee, 1 scoop of pre-workout supplement

5:00 – in sauna for a 5 min “cheat” warm up

5:10 – BW Circuit warm up 5 rounds (10 squats x 10 push ups x 10 pull ups) no break between rounds

5:15 – Crossfit challenge begins:

     1-      800 meter run (on indoor track)

     2-      Back squat x 315 lbs x 10 reps

     3-      800 meter run (indoor track)

     4-      Front squat x 225 x 10

     5-      800 meter run (indoor track)

     6-      Overhead squat x 135 x 10

5:39 am – finish.


I had to complete the Overhead squats in 3 sets and they were ugly.  I grabbed my bag, was home by 5:50 and off to my breakfast by 6:30.  My legs were pretty sore, but a light run/stretch/sauna on Thursday got me ready to go for my kettlebell / pull-up / jump rope / versa climber circuit this morning.  I felt pretty good for my 50 min go and will plan on a grappling workout at lunch today.


For those of you wondering, I feel better now at 36 then I did in my “prime” (if I ever had one).  My current stats:

Height – 5’10’’

Weight – 203

Resting heart rate – 59 BPM

%BF – unknown but my guesstimate is 13-15% (I can still see my abs, but no oblique’s…)

Squat – 420 (strict and low)  Those of you who know me know that I am not lying about my squat technique!

Deadlift – 400

Bench – 320


I am journaling this because of my belief in tracking and metrics.  If you do not know where you are at, it is impossible to figure out a path to where you want to be.  I keep a similar list on my work stats and this trending information always gives me a good indicator of where I will be in a couple of months.


It was a great work week for me and I am continually impressed with the work ethic, follow-through, and professionalism of my new company.  As always, it was a whirlwind of activity at home and my beautiful wife has managed to keep us all functional, fed, safe, and out of the hospital for another week.  Annie and I discuss nightly our life situation and how blessed we really are.  I am looking forward to finishing the work week strong and spending some time with the girls and my best friend who is in Nashville for the weekend.


As always, comments are appreciated.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Daddy Headstands

I swear, as soon as the girls get out of the bathtub, their crazies come out.  Rachel, especially, runs around like a naked banshee and Elizabeth begins singing through her repertoire of songs with accompanying dance moves.  Somewhere in the mix, they get dressed and ready for bed, but mostly Scott and I just like sitting and taking it all in.

I'm not sure how we got started on gymnastics the other night, but donkey kicks turned into headstands and Elizabeth was so excited that her daddy could do one.  Yep...he's still got it.

You'll notice that she didn't ask her mommy...ooooohhhhh noooooo.  

And if you're wondering, yes, I warn Rachel daily...hourly...minutely...I warn her MINUTELY that she will pinch her fingers in those closet doors and she has about a million times.  It drives me crazy and all the bedrooms have those doors and for some reason, they like to play in them. 

Anyway...enjoy the headstand!  Well, and my husband being a great daddy...which he eternally is.  

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm too old to make these rookie mistakes...

Last week, the girls and I ran into Goodwill to look for a VCR.

No, I didn't stutter...those puppies are hard to find, as well as most of the Disney movies Elizabeth wants to watch on DVD.  Plus, I'm in the process of converting our home video VHS footage to digital.  So, per suggestion from Amanda, we found a great one at Goodwill for $9.

As I was plugging it in at the store to make sure it worked, I heard a noise behind me and turned around to see Elizabeth laying claim to a little doll baby stroller.  She's really gotten into her dolls lately and I've been meaning to get her a new stroller since the last one broke...so I readily agreed to purchase this $1.50 one.

Were there two in the store?  I couldn't tell you...I didn't even look.  It was like I was brain-dead from the euphoria of finding a VCR for $9.  Nor did I get Rachel an equivalent.  So in the house we walk with a toy for mommy, a toy for Elizabeth and nothing for Rachel.   Oh yes...you can guess the ruckus.  

Finally, after several minutes of threatening...begging...bribing...demanding that Elizabeth share, Rachel got a turn...I'm not sure the baby was very happy about this sudden turn of events.





I think this last one, she was actually trying to climb into the stroller...no wait, the baby's on the floor.  She's running over the baby.  Great...

Amazingly, a week later and Elizabeth barely plays with the stroller and it still remains a favorite of Rachel's.  So maybe it's a wise thing that I didn't get two??

That's what I shall keep telling myself.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lessons in Softball...and Life

I need to bore you a moment and talk about my lessons.

Let me begin by telling you that whenever Scott and I face a tough life decision, we pray together and simply ask God to lead us and make His will obvious.  We believe that's all you can truly ask for, as His plan always turns out better than our wants. 

So I was just thinking today, as I taught a lesson in my backyard, how much He has lead me through my lessons.  I can count 17 years that I've been teaching and this makes the fifth state I've taught in.  And I can look back now and see how all of my needs in each phase of life were met by my lessons.

I can remember the original ones and I how I learned a craft through teaching it to others.  I didn't start pitching until late...14, which is totally ancient by today's softball standards.  But I worked hard and had a wonderful teacher and a dad that was willing to catch and push me.  And I had a few pitchers who wanted me to teach them.  Isn't that crazy?  But I see now how I needed to be able to verbalize what I was learning to others in order to better myself.  Thank you Michelle and Whitnie.  Well, and Andrea.

And then I worked at the NCAA for a year out of college as an intern and my fingers started to itch around 2:30 (practice time) and I started daydreaming about being outside and not in the office...and I found wonderful, wonderful lessons there.  I started in a facility and ended up teaching out of an old church, a horse barn, and any place that had a backstop.  I even gained a second family.  Thank you Kristin and many others.

And when I decided to try my hand at coaching and make no money as a Graduate Assistant, I had a note on my desk the first day I walked in the office of someone looking to hire part time...which was the only way I was able to give lessons because of NCAA regulations.  So I was able to work and put food on the table and make such lasting friendships that I am now able to bring my children to their houses and call on them for anything at a short moment's notice and know that they'll be there.  Thank you Chelsey and Holly, Lou and Brittany, Emily and Alyssa.

And then, as I pursued an assistant coaching career and began my journey into marriage and even motherhood, it was my pitching families who not only financially made our life possible, but emotionally for me as well.  Their moms were my friends.  Their dads called after games.  We became interlinked through connections and bartering lessons for things we needed and they were very much my life.  I still haven't quite gotten over having to leave some of them and they are impossible to list completely.  But you know who you are.

And don't even get me started on my college girls and the bonds I made with them.  I loved looking back through my wedding pictures at all the former players and pitchers that were there (Scott and I both). I still think about my Gardner-Webb pitchers whenever I go for long runs and the Furman pitchers whenever I hear Disney songs (because of them belting them out the one year at Spring break...and because of the look on Dana's face when I joined them.)  And poor Lana, who had to last a season with a very pregnant and hormonal coach...

And then...we moved to Tennessee and we knew no one.  I missed my lessons, but they weren't an option, mainly because I didn't have the childcare...or the home mound.  And I suffered.  I needed them from so many angles:  friendships, finances, basic human interaction outside of children under two... I think it's harder for an adult to make friends than teenagers...not that they would believe that...  But I missed my friends and I missed my pitchers.  I was very ready to get back into a stable routine with this move.

So I was thinking about all this as I watched Shelby pitch today.  She is 13 and is one of the most unique pitchers I've ever met...in that she does everything I ask.  If I ask for a change, she makes it.  She doesn't question, doesn't roll eyes, doesn't look at me like I'm speaking Spanish...she just does it.  And she is already getting so much better.

I love Shelby.  I can't even get my two year old to do things the first time I ask...

I spent two hours talking to new pitching moms and dads last week because I've truly missed them since the move and I haven't been able to see them since (summer is tough for lessons because the girls and families travel so much).  And I realized...God is providing for me even now.  This coaching and teaching need that is so fundamental in me, He has met through these wonderful girls and their families.  I'm not in the position anymore that I can pack my schedule full or throw them back to back because I have dinner to make and books and puzzles to pick up and a little two year old that wants to pitch every time a big girl gets done and a 1 year old that wants pushed in a swing.

But more than this, I see my daughters looking at these female athletes with such a look of wonderment and I love that God is providing these role models.

"Mama, you got lessons tonight?  Who's coming tonight, Mama?  Can I pitch too?"

So today, I am eternally thankful for Shelby...and Cheyanne, and Sophie, and Bri, and Caitlyn, and Hailey...and all my future pitchers and all in my past.  

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 25, 2011

At what age do they learn sarcasm?

I've told you that Mondays are crazy, right?

So I was scrambling around this morning, trying to get the oatmeal out of Rachel's crevices and clean up breakfast dishes and get another load of laundry going when Elizabeth ran in the kitchen, crying about not being able to do the hula hoop with her pj's on.  

Absentmindedly, I said, "Then take them off, honey."

I was far too distracted to see her sprint back out of the room.

Oh yes, you guessed it.

credit goes to my best friend, Amanda for the little black box!
Later, I walked into the living room to find her happily hula hooping in the nude...I mean, happy as a clam...because I guess it's easier with no clothes on.  Oh, and yes, Rachel is just wearing a diaper because she caked her pj's in oatmeal.  

Have a great Monday! 

And if it's not great, you could always try naked hula hooping...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My husband's thoughts: Journaling, take one.

By Scott

I'm back!  

It has been some time since my last post, but my recent life changes have illuminated the need for me to get some of my thoughts back in writing.  I have written a few posts for Annie's blog over the last year (mostly at her urging) but have not had the internal motivation for consistent writing for some time.  The job change and our family's move have provided the incentive for me to begin posting on a more regular basis.  

For a period of time in my life (1995-2002), I kept a very detailed personal journal.  Nothing overly emotional, mostly a technical record of my training, schedules, events and activities.  It started as a training log and turned into a valuable teaching resource for me when I entered the world of teaching and coaching full time.  It allowed me an outlet to put my goals and the action steps I was taking to reach those goals into a single point of reference.

Since 2002, my individual journaling has been very inconsistent for reasons too numerous to list here.  My new position, as well as my ever-growing desire to be a great husband and father, has re-incentivised me to get back on track.  I am going to use this public format as a method to exert some external pressure on myself to journal my thoughts and actions, which consequently should drive me to reach some of the goals that I have for myself and this family.

My old wrestling coach at West Liberty, Dr Vince Monseau, once told me that you can tell a lot about a man by what he is reading.  I have always agreed with the statement and I wanted to provide you with a little glimpse into what is on the current Shipman reading menu.

I have been spending a lot of time recently in training (work, gym, and at church).  Since my professional move, I have been going through intensive technical training on network infrastructure, cloud computing, information security, unified communications and application development.  Throw in a very detailed sales training program as part of my "onboarding" process, along with day-to-day interaction with a veteran group of account managers, and some of the sharpest technical engineers in the business, you can see why I feel that I am at the beginning of a very long journey to competence...  

I moved companies because of this opportunity, so my previous comments are meant to be viewed in a positive light.  I am currently doing a number of online technical tutorials on my way to some certifications, as well as reading two sales books at this time. My immediate goals are to become an asset as opposed to a liability to my employer as soon as possible.  This company is allowing me a significant ramp up time, but I am committed to becoming productive as soon as possible. 

The family and I have started attending a new church and are enjoying the teachings and interactions that come with a new congregation.   I am working my way through the book of Proverbs currently (thanks to the recommendation of my friend Steve Cashion) and I complete a daily Fellowship of Christian Athlete Devotional.  I am working on learning to pray better and I want to be an example of a Christian man to my beautiful wife and daughters.

My physical training has been going great.  I feel as good at 36 (37 in less then a month) as I have at any time in my life.  Annie and I are loving the new YMCA and this facility gives me access to some training opportunities that I have not had since training on campus at GWU.  I have began some increased involvement with the local MMA and some local wrestling clubs to get my fix in that area as well.  I am going to compete in a powerlifting event in September and grappling event later in the fall and I expect to be competitive in both events.  I am currently reading two powerlifting manuals based on the famous Westside Barbell Conjugate Method as well as my usual lifting, running, wrestling, and MMA magazines.  For my personal American history fix I am also reading a book on the Battle of Bunker Hill along with Dr Bill Bennett's American Patriot's Almanac.

Because this is first and foremost a training blog, here is my workout for today.  I shot over to the Y during the girls' naptime this afternoon:

Sauna - 5 min
Airdyne Bike - 5 min
Calisthenics and athletic warm-up outside in grass field - 10 min
10 min of the following complex:
5 tire flips (400 lb) followed immediately by 10 jumps onto the tire followed immediately by 15 pushups with feet on tire.
I was able to complete 8 "rounds" of this complex during the 10 minute go.
Rest 5 min
Another 10 min tire flip / tire jump / push-up complex in which I completed 8 total rounds.
I finished with 10 minutes of additional movement drills and was on my way way back home in 68 minutes from when I pulled out of my driveway.

Starting this week I will begin to document how my training is going in all three of my current focus areas along with some additional detailed discussions on goals, etc.  I will appreciate the feedback and direction that comes from doing this publically.  

If anyone feels the need to send a sympathy note to my wife because of her decision to marry and have children with a man like me, you know where to find her...

Here we go.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Randomness

I love Friday.

There's some sort of freedom in the day before the weekend.  An excitement in being able to spend the entire next two days as a family.  I love it.

And you know what else I love?  Dance parties...need some jams?  Here's some old school Wheels on the Bus and Old McDonald coming your way.  Just wait for it...she gets into it.


Have a great weekend, my friends!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My husband is trying to kill me - the Thursday workout

My husband's a morning person.  At least, he plays the part well.

He tip-toes out of bed at 4:30 a.m., goes downstairs, drinks coffee and watches Sportscenter, then heads to the gym.  He gets back around 6:30 a.m., just in time to great his girls bouncing their way down the stairs and kiss his lovely wife (and by lovely, I mean hair everywhere, one eye still closed, groping for the coffee pot, with one baby wrapped around her leg wanting a sippy and the other asking what's for breakfast...LOVELY.)

I think I used to be a morning person...and then I had kids and I lost it somewhere along the way.  

But anyway, this morning, Scott was able to stay and have breakfast with us - which is one of our favorite things about living this close to work.  Plus, we get to have actual adult conversation while the girls are engrossed in Mickey Mouse and eggs and toast.

This morning, he told me about how he did the 300 workout this morning and about his plans for the day.  And then came the moment of truth...

"What are you going to do for your workout today?"

Now, I just wrote my plan out yesterday, which I knew he had read but at that particular time in the morning, I had a touch of soreness from lifting legs yesterday and the new Martha Stewart magazine came in the mail and I was honestly thinking about just doing the elliptical for an hour while I flipped pages and watched the morning talk shows.

"Mmmm...hadn't really thought about it,"  I answered, wiping my crazy hair out of my face and starting on my second cup of coffee.

"Well your blog said that you were going to do cardio and abs today..."  My loving husband with the stupidly good memory mentioned.

I cringed.  I hate abs and I did them Monday and was really thinking that that might be enough for the week...but then my thoughts were interrupted with,

"You know what you could do..."

And so this was my husband's "off the top of his head" cardio and abs workout for me today.  Perhaps you are in the mood for punishment as well...although it ended up being better than my bad morning attitude had expected and I was done in 45 minutes and got to spend an hour in the pool with the girls afterwards.

http://www.versaclimber.com
 
Here is a picture of the VersaClimber, just so you can get the full picture here.

Perform the following circuit 5 times with no rest in between exercises.

2 minutes VersaClimber followed by an immediate
1 minute plank (the third and fourth time around, I did side planks here and died just a little bit)
2 minutes jump rope
1 minute Kettlebell swing with sumo squats
1 minute rest / get a drink / swear someone keeps messing with the wall clock to make my work minutes go slower and my rest minutes go faster

You.are.welcome.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Deciding on workout plan

I have definitely been cruising in my stream of consciousness workout mode and decided to settle on a plan before I get too far gone.  I'm not sure what specific exercises I'll do on each day just yet but the basic outline is as follows:

Monday - Sprint intervals for 20 minutes; lift chest and back  (A couple notes on Mondays...we have gymnastics in the morning, which messes with our normal schedule and the gym gets pretty packed in the afternoons.  Lately, I've seen this as a fine excuse not to go...however, I'm thinking that maybe I need to push past my anti-socialness and workout anyway, especially since I take Sundays off.)

Tuesday - Run 10 minutes, elliptical 10 minutes; lift abs and full body; stair climber 15 minutes  (I always mean to do abs within my regular workouts but I always leave them for last and then skip them entirely.  So to do them on Tues and Thurs as "rests" from my full body lifts will be the focus I hope to make a difference!)

Wednesday - Sprint intervals for 20 minutes; lift legs

Thursday - Elliptical warm-up 30 minutes; lift abs and light full body (Taking into consideration that I'll be dead from Wednesday's legs workout)

Friday - Sprint intervals for 20 minutes; lift biceps, triceps and shoulders

Saturday - Workout with Scott

Sunday - Rest

Keep in mind that I have an hour for these workouts, because the girls are in the nursery and that's pretty much their limit.  Plus, I like having the freedom to go to the pool afterwards, if it's nice outside.

And I know if I keep my pace going and don't get caught up talking or resting too long between sets, I can get done plenty in an hour. 

My goals?  In this household, it is simply to keep up with my children and my husband!  It's so funny how Elizabeth changes every day and takes in more and more.  She notices when I'm getting dressed and makes sure to announce that her mommy is going to exercise.  I see how she mimics me in her every day speech and behavior and it inspires me to be accountable for my speech, tones and actions (not that I'm always successful in being patient, but I think about it a lot more!).  

Of course, I'm always forgiving with my plan of action if "life" happens, but I think I'll go with this schedule for about 6 weeks and see how it goes.  By that time, I'll be ready to switch it up again.  
I'd love to hear about you...your plans and goals, no matter how simple or complex.  These things tend to be easier if we're in them together, after all.  

Ah...also I have three motivational mamas on my radar that I'm hoping to get to before September.  If you have someone in mind that you would like to nominate, please let me know!

Happy Wednesday!

 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meatloaf Makeover!

I had a little bit of a self-confidence problem in regards to the kitchen going into this being a housewife thing. 

It wasn't that I didn't know how to cook, it's just that I didn't do it a lot.  We were coaches and our evenings were spent on ballfields and wrestling rooms - so quick and easy was normally how we did dinner.

One Sunday, after making the full time shift to mommy and homemaker, I was planning out our weekly meals and asked my loving husband if he had any requests for the week.  (Since coming up with new meal ideas ranks right up there with curing cancer at times.) 

"Why don't you make you specialty?" he suggested.

"What's my specialty?"  I asked. 

"Meatloaf."

"Meatloaf??  Seriously??"  I wanted to cry. 

"What's wrong with that?  I like meatloaf!"

This sent me, hormonal and then very pregnant with Rachel, into a crying mess - horrified that in my husband's eyes, the best thing I could make in the kitchen was meatloaf.

Now, I've come a long way since then but since many of you posted a couple weeks back that one of your favorite cold dishes was meatloaf, it put me in the mood...and also in the mood for a new recipe.

Let me pause to tell you that I have become slightly obsessed with the Pioneer Woman.  I read a blurb about her book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - A Love Story on another blog and saw it one day as I was chasing Elizabeth down in the library and decided to grab it on the sprint.

I couldn't put it down.

She tells the story of how she met her husband, left the ambitious career world, and settled down to raise babies.  (Hard to see how I could relate!)  Her writing is wonderful...funny and descriptive and I literally read it in a few days and then immediately went to her blog to see if I could find out what happened next.  Her blog is one of gorgeous pictures, fun stories, mouth watering recipes and the whole thing takes on her spin of ease and humor.  

Even better, the first meal she made for her future husband was a complete disaster...much like the hockey pucks steaks I grilled Scott for an early date.  However, she now has her own cookbook now...while my meals are simply edible!  ha!

So one night last week, when I was searching for a new drug for my meatloaf, I looked to her.  And wholly moly, was it ever wonderful. 

I had to substitute some things because I didn't have everything on hand, but the flavor and moistness of the meatloaf  was unmistakable and this will be how I make it from now on.  Note to anyone looking to try turkey bacon instead of real...don't.  It isn't even worth your time.  I had some in the freezer and thought I'd give it a go...  eck.

Not to say there isn't a place in this world for turkey bacon...I just haven't seemed to find it yet.


You know, if you're in the market for a change, or just some entertainment.  Have a great day!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Late bloomer


Can you see her?  Isn't she cute?  This is our first little crop.  Our little baby tomato.  Elizabeth loves to sing to it and talk in baby voices to it.  We were late getting our plants in the ground due to the move, but they are taking to this dirt like they love it.  Mom helped me lay them out and plan their spacing (I've never done this before...can you tell?).  The girls are both good "helpers" in watering the plants and playing in the water hose and keeping an eye out for dog poop.  


Here's another angle.  They left these raised beds in the yard...can you believe how lucky we were??  Tonya gave me a tutorial in staking, which I still need to do with a couple of these fellas.  But mom had brought the cages with her on her last visit so we decided to go ahead and use them.






We have tomatoes in the back and jalapenos in the front and marigolds to the side...because my grandma said they attract bugs and will keep them away from the veggies.





The other bed (from L to R) is a salad mix (which always makes me laugh thinking of Donna's adventures with lettuce and bugs), green peppers and basil.  I'm wondering if I need to stake the green peppers or if they'll just be fine on their own?  What do you think?


Here is the blueberry patch.  I'm not so sure I've done justice to this one, as it bloomed and produced fruit but they didn't get real big or colored...not that I was really sure what to look for but they just didn't look ready for muffins.  So, I'll just keep my eyes on these guys. 

Ah...summer...I love it!  Well, and Fridays too!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Creating change...

Yesterday, I had three pitching lessons.  

And then I died.

My feet hurt from standing, I was dehydrated and my throat was scratchy from instructing.  And don't even get me started talking about my shoulder...

For a moment, I was confused...I used to do this all the time.  And I mean ALL THE TIME!  At one point, I carried 20 lessons a week, on top of work and practice and working out...WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME NOW?

And then the realization hit me that that life was over two years in the past and that even though I had spent so much time being accustomed to that routine, now my body was molded to this one.

Isn't it amazing how hard our bodies fight to stay in neutral?  Given the choice, I would much rather jog than sprint, cruise than speed, keep things the way they've always been rather than mix it up.  And I guess sometimes that can be good but other times, we need to rock the boat in order to create change.  Especially because our mind seems to stay linked to the past in that we always believe that we can somehow currently do what we USED to be able to do without exception.

Most of us can relate to this as far as body image.  I think we all WANT to look like an image in our head, however, we may not WANT to change very much about our convenient lifestyle (and by convenient, I mean simply what we know).  And before you argue that striving towards a perfect body image is unrealistic, I think it all depends on your mindset.  I don't think you should ever stop STRIVING for perfection in the healthy areas of your life:  eating well, working out, learning as much as you can, building your spiritual growth, fostering your close personal relationships (as long as you keep a healthy perspective of forgiveness when perfection isn't achieved).  I think it would be much more dangerous to become stagnant in those areas.

But back to our convenient lifestyles...I am as bad at this as anyone else.  Given the choice, I could eat pretty much the same thing every day.  I would be happy just doing my same workout day in and day out.  And I would give into temptation with my huge sweet tooth for whatever I craved and made for dessert that day.  

And I would never see the body changes that I desire.  

When you look at that scenario, they don't seem like huge fixes, do they?  Plan different meals, plan different workouts, plan either healthy desserts or don't make them at all...

Either way, I have to  have a PLAN.  

So let me ask you today...what do you want and what is your plan?  I guess I could open up a huge bucket of worms with that one, but fitness specific, what small changes can you make to help achieve your goal?  

  • If you're a walker, maybe it means adding a couple jogging intervals to your routes.
  • If you're an endurance trainer, maybe you want to mix in some weights or plyometrics.
  • If you're a junk food junkie, perhaps it means just getting a sandwich and no fries or drink the next time through the drive through.  
  • If you're inactive, what is your first step to get moving?
  • If you already are active, when was the last time you mixed things up?
I admire my husband for many reasons, but especially because he is continually looking to change up his workout plan and make it better.  He is a true student and is always reading, or looking for videos on You Tube or Body Rock (which I linked to off the FB page - she is super challenging), and basically looking for new ideas.  You would think that someone in as fantastic shape as he is would be tempted to cruise, but I've never known him to be that way...and maybe that's what pushes me to keep up and work these ideas on the forefront of my mind. 

We also have to remember that true change takes time and we have to be forgiving for our backtracks and conscious of falling back into what was once comfortable.  I have caught myself drifting back to my favorite running routine far too often these past few weeks.  I've been too busy to plan for the gym and it's just so easy because it's already memorized and I know I can live through it...need I also mention that I also have a couple pairs of shorts that I have recently been unable to button?? ha!

It's also going to take time for me to get back into working shape, which is funny for a stay at home mom to say...especially when I feel like I'm on the run all the time. 

So go ahead and plan your goals and your steps...even if you just know the first one.  Well, because we all have to start somewhere!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

First Juicing Lesson

When my grandparents moved a couple months ago, they got rid of a lot of their kitchen utensils and pots and pans since they were moving to a facility that would provide their meals.  So I laid dibs on a lot of older kitchen tools that I really liked and/or needed, one being an old metal juicer.  I have a couple drawers that the girls are allowed to completely empty and scatter all over creation play in and yesterday, Elizabeth was carrying the juicer around as her personal microphone.

I was in the middle of nap time bargaining / threatening / hugging and kissing so I promised that we would make orange juice when she got up from her nap.  Contemplating, she was good with the offer and went down without a fuss.

Let me tell you, we had so much fun, although I don't think we're going to get any calls from Tropicana with the proceeds from a single orange...but they were really cute and seemed to really like the juice.

Suited up in our aprons, Rachel tests the equipment to make sure it is juice worthy.  This included banging them together about 297 times.

Elizabeth tested the squeeziness of the subject...

While Rachel tested the temperature of the juice to make sure it was drinkable.

With a little assistance from mommy, we twisted and squeezed....
And had juice!  "Look Rachel, Mommy said don't touch it, so I will just touch it and keep it safe from you."

Drinks were poured...about 4 ounces total.  Why yes, that is a shot glass in front of my baby.  HA!

My big girl taste testing the fruits of her labor...well, literally!
We bought a small juicer earlier in the year and haven't pulled it out of the box yet, so I told the girls that maybe we would try making some more juice this weekend when daddy is home.  So if any of you have some tried and true juice recipes, shout them out!   (And nothing with spinach...I'm a rookie at this juicing stuff yet...HA!)

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Housekeeping...

So, I was talking to my best friend today and mentioned something about this blog and she interrupted me and said, "Wait!!  I thought you were shutting it down!  I haven't been checking it!'  Which made me realize that we need to catch up.

I was going to shut down the blog...but when I announced it, I had a couple new people join and then I had such wonderful responses of people asking me not to that I decided to just take a hiatus until after the stress of the move wore off. 

Upon returning, I decided to write for a couple weeks and write not only stories about working out, but also content regarding our children and life in general.  Your response has been wonderful and I was excited to see the numbers as far as page views. 

So, I guess you're stuck with me after all...  ha! 

I'm going to create a Facebook page again so my FB friends are not always stuck with seeing my postings...they'll just be stuck with ME!  Ha!  Plus, it just made it so easy to update with little deals...like the one Groupon is running today for GNC that is crazy good (in case any of you are like us and own more shakers in your house than wine glasses...ahem.)  Just keep an eye out for the little like button on the side bar and do your thing, if you want.

I may look into some advertising and giveaways and stuff like that, but to be very honest with you, I'm just praying my way through it right now.  I appreciate your loyalty through the move and should you have any suggestions, please just let me know!

Take care!

Have you jumped lately?

Speaking of cheesy 80's music...


When was the last time you jumped?  And I'm talking about two feet together...with an arm swing...JUMP!  
Elizabeth is in a jumping stage and Rachel is in a wanna-be jumping stage.  She bounces her butt and swings her arm, but the feet never leave the ground.  Elizabeth is gaining some real distance and cleared a man hole (covered of course...ha!) the other day on our walk.  Of course, then she had to jump over them every time we saw one.

When Mom was visiting last time, we were lifting together and she wanted to do some exercises in between lifts to keep her heart rate up.  We were close to a step (used for aerobics) so I suggested that she jump up with both feet and land on the step.

She just looked at me.  "Really?"  she said, doubting her oldest daughter.

But up she jumped and landed on the step.  "Now step back down," I said.  She did.  

"Now do it again...10 times."

By number 10, she was out of breath and said, "I can't believe how hard it is to just jump with two feet!"  

But unfortunately, we aren't called to jump that often...unless we're athletes...or run across a man hole on the street.  Therefore we can use it as a tool to get our heart rate up quick...and burn calories even quicker.

It's no wonder that it works...think about it.  Your body has to go into action to leave the ground, all pistons firing to take off and then appropriately land and balance yourself, sending a surge in your heart rate. If you have very little time to devote to your workout, then my friend, this is your ticket.

For instance, today, I was racing the clock.  I told the girls that we'd go swimming, but they were moving like pokey little puppies to get out of the house and we had to be back on the road by a certain time to make lunch and get down for naps.  So...after a 20 minute interval run on the treadmill, I had 20 minutes to lift.  Here was my workout:

3 x 10 box jumps alternated with 3 x 12 Dumbbell bicep curls (15 lbs)
3 x 10 jump lunges alternated with 3 x 12 cable hammer curls with the rope (45 lbs)
3 x max reps hanging leg raises (jump up and hold onto a bar with your hands and hold) - 10, 8, 5

Because I was short on time, to do something while standing still during my break from jumping helped me recover but still work a body part - in this instance, biceps.  Those hanging leg raises were so hard for me because I had to hold onto the bar and maintain my grip and control my body while lifting my legs straight out in front...making it a lot harder than if you did the same exercise on a Roman chair or supporting your arms in straps.  You could do this workout at home, jumping up on a front stoop or step and doing the leg raises off a monkey bar on a playground.

Although you don't have to limit it with this...we do bunny hops on our walks to try to suffice my child's obsession.  Or bunny butt bounces, as Rachel prefers.  I like it because it can give me a little extra workout during my children's treks through the neighborhood...which normally run at a snail's pace. 

Of course, anytime you jump, you want to always make sure that your knees stay soft (not locked out) and that you jump off the balls of your feet, landing with your entire foot on the surface.  I prefer to always step back down instead of jumping down because it lands better on my knees...although Scott always jumps down.  

And for goodness sakes, pay attention.  It just takes your mind a second to shift focus to, say, a little blog post on jumping to make your left foot go lazy and miss the box all together so that you trip and fall on your face in the gym, banging your shin in the process...  I mean, not that I would know...  ha!

Enjoy!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hot or cold...that is the question...

I love Just another Manic Monday...

And those who truly know me and know my love for corny 80's pop music are rolling your eyes right now.

It's on my ipod...in my workout mix...right after Fame and Walking on Sunshine...

Yes, I have a problem. 

But the tune applies to today and I'm going to keep this short as we just got back from gymnastics (where my daughter was not only good, but also wore TWO pony-tails!) and I'm going to try to fit a video workout in while the girls sleep so we can run to the DMV after they wake up (double joy).  Oh, and do about a million loads of laundry...

Does laundry multiply like rabbits in your house?  I swear, I had it all done Saturday.  I took Sunday off and today, I have four full baskets of dirty clothes.  Summer clothes even!  Which I love because they don't take as much space up as winter clothes...  It's like the law of laundry physics don't apply here...

But back to hot or cold...

Are you the type to eat things cold out of the fridge and what is your favorite thing?  My mother in law loves Long John Silver's fish out of the fridge.  As I try to control my gag reflex, she always claims that it's delicious.  My husband likes to have all his desserts cold...even ones that get ice cream on them, like cobbler.  So I always make birthday cakes far enough in advance so I can stick them in the fridge.

Heaven forbid I judge because I have to admit that I, too, have guilty pleasures straight from the ice box.

My top one right now?  Leftover corn on the cob.

mmmmmmmmm

Scraped off the cob after dinner is done, popped into a Ziploc bag or leftover container, put in the fridge...  I am salivating.  


What brought this up?  Well, one, I tried to pawn it off on my kids the other day at lunch.  And two, I was looking at a recipe today that called for frozen corn and was suddenly mad that my beloved corn never makes it to the freezer!  Guess I need to start buying extra.


Here is my little bird, coming to beg while I fix anything in the kitchen.  She just pulls at my leg and says, "Mmmmmmm!!!"  That means, "Give me some food, woman!!"  (And yes, Frankie, that's that little dress you got her so long ago!  Isn't it cute?!)


Giving her a sample of my delicacy... She ate it then.


But you can see that it failed the lunch-time selection committee.  They chose to go with the cheese sandwich and oranges and leave the corn to ride solo on their trays instead.  

So are you a hot person or a cold person?  And even if it's just pizza, share your guilty pleasure so that I might actually save some corn for winter.  ;)

Ok, gotta run.  Jillian is screaming for me to get my butt moving from the living room.  Have a great manic Monday!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sick, Rainy Friday

Well, we woke up this morning to a sick little punkin.

One visit to the pediatrician and a rainy forecast later and I think we're just going to lay low - which is just fine with me, considering I am so sore from getting back into my workouts this week that I can barely move.  

I had purposely lifted heavy legs yesterday because we were planning to meet our good friend Frankie for a visiting / recovery walk today.  Sometimes you just need those...for the body and the spirit.  Good thing that good friends readily give out rain checks.  

So it'll be the house, my children and my old buddy Clorox this afternoon.  Good thing I have a helper with the laundry...

You'll notice Butch is supervising in the background

Hmmm...I wonder if mom will mind if I just mix up these clean and dirty baskets...

To wear or not to wear...

Here, Mama...I think these are yours!
Thank you for everyone who made suggestions on my curtains yesterday.  I'm not sure why this is such a mind-numbing process.  Perhaps I watch too much HGTV for my own good, which causes me to put such high pressure on something as minute as curtains.  

Although I'm really not the type to change furniture around or switch up window treatments often, so chances are, we're going to have to live with this decision for a while.  Thank you so much for your feedback and I can't wait to go through the rest of the house with you!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Help me with my windows!

I've gotten a lot of requests for pictures of the new house and it's not that I don't want to share them, but I'm waiting on blinds to be delivered...and installed...and the friendly Lowe's people to call me back to tell me when that might happen.

Window treatments to me are like mascara...which is pretty funny, considering that I rarely wear mascara, with one child pulling all the contents out of my vanity drawers and the other latched firmly around my ankle.  Maybe one day I'll get back to it...sort of like plucking my eyebrows...

But I digress.

So I hate to put up pictures of the house until it's finished.  Still, I am at a standstill on what I want to do with my front windows and I need your help. 

To fill you in, we ordered thick white blinds to go on all the windows.  I'm not sure if you would call these plantation or not, but I believe they are about an inch thick.  Keep that in mind when looking at the pictures.


Here is the subject at hand.  I'm not sure if you would call this an official bay window, but it is curved and I took the picture from a distance so you couldn't see the snot and hand prints from my lovely little children, looking for their daddy to come home.  That both irritates my Windex toting side yet pulls so hard at my heart strings that I normally don't care. 


Another angle...

Let me show you the rest of the room so you get an idea.


Couch, complete with the Princess and the Frog Seek and Find book that Rachel was attempting to rip to shreds earlier in the day.


I love this blue behind-the-couch-table and was thinking of looking for curtains that carried the dark brown of the leather with the blue of the couch.  My children have really gotten into playing, "Go to Sleep" - which is why there are blankets all over.  They take turns laying down and kissing and hugging each other and their stuffed animals goodnight.  This is especially funny considering that it has become quite the daunting task to get Elizabeth to go to bed lately.  It also normally winds up in a battle for one of the blankets.


And Rachel has obviously found the canning jar grabber thing.  Sigh...


And my oldest is reading and playing the princess piano book with her feet.  I swear, never the dull moment around here!  But back to the windows. 

I'm concerned about the curtain rods.  I liked this article and woman's idea from A Little of This - A Little of that.  She spray painted and used PVC pipe instead of expensive curtain rods and I think that looks nice, but do you think it would work on this window?

I also liked these curtains from The Yellow Cape Cod.

http://www.theyellowcapecod.com/2011/01/bold-striped-diy-drapes.html

But do you think that would be too bold for the brown and the blue?  Also, do you think two curtains on each end or I was kind of thinking of putting two panels on each window.

Sort of like this...

http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/windows/window-buying-guide/bay-windows/#page=4
So really, tell me what you think.  I can't wait for them to be done because I think it'll help complete the room and also give us privacy from the road.

Thanks for your help!  And of course, I'll give you pictures through the process!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It looks like spaghetti...sort of...

I still remember the first time my grandma fixed us spaghetti squash.  My sisters and I loved spaghetti and it really didn't taste that much different in a meat sauce, so we gobbled it up and sang the praises.

My children, however, are suspicious of everything.  If it is unrecognizable, they won't touch it...especially Elizabeth.  Just last night, I made potato salad that she refused to touch and then I caught her putting dirt in her mouth during our walk...

Makes me real confident in my cooking, people.  Real confident...

So you would imagine my surprise when I made spaghetti squash last week and both children ate almost an entire plate.  If you're watching your carbs, or counting your veggies, it really doesn't get much better than this.  I can't credit the recipe, since we saw it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but I did add a few tweaks. 

One side note, if you have any tricks in cutting your squash in half, please let me know.  I swear, I almost went out to find the chainsaw, this puppy was so hard!

Start a pot of water with some salt and drop in your squash, cut in half.  For my family, I actually used two spaghetti squashes (what in the world is the plural of squash??  Squashes...squashi...)
Boil for 15 minutes - now, I have always baked my squash, but this was quicker and gave it a little different taste.  Depending on the size of your squash, you may need to go 20 minutes. 

I chopped up some Italian sausage and began browning it in a pan.  Once it's ready, add a jar of your favorite sauce and heat through.  You could also do browned hamburger or turkey.

At the same time, cut up your veggies and heat up a large saute pan with some olive oil.  Here's where you can choose...but I added onion, green pepper, carrots, celery, broccoli and asparagus.  I cooked them until the onions went clear, but the broccoli and asparagus were still crunchy. 
Then add in your sauce. 

Once the squash is cooked, remove it and spoon out the seeds and innards.  Then, take a fork and scrape out the "spaghetti."  

Combine spaghetti and sauce with vegetables in a 9x13 casserole dish and top with mozzerella.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until gooey...

mmmmm...


The TV show didn't add the meat, but I thought that really gave it a good flavor...especially since it's all vegetables.  I would show you a picture of my children, but trust me...it wasn't pretty.  Spaghetti never is in our house.


Case in point...

Day 2 leftovers were phenomenal...enjoy!