Monday, May 21, 2012

Back to our roots

We went to the gym as a family this morning, which is one of the things I love most about Saturday mornings.  Also topping the list was the fact that I was able to sleep until 7:30 a.m. - thanks to my loving husband and cooperative little children.

But really, the gym was a close second.  

I normally do a full body workout on Saturday and it hasn't worked out since Caleb was born that Scott and I were on the same schedule to do one together.  So I was thrilled when he suggested we give it a go as a duo today.

After dropping the kids off, we sat in the sauna for 5 minutes and then warmed up with a mile on the treadmill.  HGTV and I did it in 10 minutes flat... booo...

Then, we headed upstairs to the indoor track and I proceeded to do my first, full scale Crossfit workout.

Let me tell you, I never thought I could do it.

It was 4 reps of:
500 meter run
20 Kettlebell swings
15 handstand pushups (I did regular pushups, Scott did the wall)
10 situps

I think we finished in about 9:30.

Then we did 3 rounds of 100 jump rope jumps followed by 10 wall ball's (which I had never done before).   With these, you pick a spot on the wall about 3 feet over your head and squat down with the medicine ball, exploding up while throwing the ball up to hit the spot.  As the ball comes down, you time your squat to catch it as you bend your knees.

I'm sure I looked graceful as all get out. 


I know I've said it before, but it's worth repeating that I truly advocate working out with your partner.  There is just something about putting in that physical time together that is powerful.  I've always thought it would be interesting to stage one of these dating reality shows in a gym...Biggest Loser meets The Bachelor.  For Scott and me, working out goes back to the roots of our relationship. 

He could have very easily left me in the dust during this workout, but he didn't.  During the first lap around the track, he took to my pace (which I didn't think was horrible, 9 weeks post-partum) and pushed me the whole time. 

Years ago, this was how our relationship started.  Being too poor to do much else, instead of dates, we went to the gym and enjoyed working out together, turning up the radio on the way home with the windows down and later crashing on the couch.

I had lifted in college and spent my fair time in the weight room, but Scott taught me so much more about technique and form and different machines and lifts.  And there was never a trace of impatience or irritation on his part in my lack of knowledge or questions.  

Looking back now, I learned a lot about the man I was choosing to spend the rest of my life with by how he interacted as a workout partner.  He was always encouraging and supportive, knowing when to say something or when to be quiet. When things got hard, he was never hateful or snapped.  And he demonstrated his trust in me by asking me to spot him or support him on heavy lifts.


As we walked a lap after the last wall ball Saturday, my mind drifted back there - to the beginning of us.  And how fulfilling to know that almost five years of marriage and three little kids later, he's still right beside me, supporting and building me up.

We "cooled down" by sitting in the sauna for ten excruciating minutes, daydreaming about future plans and talking about swim lessons for the girls, and then picked up our three little darlings to come back home and go through the rest of the weekend.  

I would tell you that the best part was the calories I know I burned or the fact that I plowed through a hard workout that day...and don't get me wrong, that was pretty high up there.  But being able to workout with my husband again was my greatest joy.

Life gets so busy sometimes and it's easy to get caught up in the dirty diapers and tantrums and frustration over not looking like I want fast enough...but I remain so grateful that God sends me reminders at just the right time to be thankful for this partner in life He's assigned to me.

Hug your love tonight and have a great one.

Chicken Pesto with Squash Noodles

By the end of last week, I was getting close to the end of my vegetable stash and didn't want to haul all three kiddos to the store so I began the grueling task of figuring up a meal with what I had.  

You know those shows on the Food Network where they give the contestants just a handful of ingredients to come up with something edibley awesome?  Yeah...I wouldn't do good on those shows.

So when Scott called and had a stressed out tone to his voice, I decided to go with chicken pesto pasta, which was one of his favorites.  The only problem was that I didn't want to eat spaghetti when I was just getting the scales to move in the right direction, so I started looking at some options with the summer squash I had on hand. 

(Now, before I go any farther, I will tell you that I did not feed this to my children.  In fact, I didn't even attempt it.  They got noodles and red sauce and were as happy as clams.  I just wasn't in the mood for a fight this particular night.)

Me:  "Rachel, eat your beans."  Rachel:  "What beans??"

Earlier in the day, I had thrown a whole chicken in the Crockpot with salt and pepper and set it for about 6 hours.  After it was cooked, I shredded the meat and then threw the carcass in the pot to make stock later.

I had three yellow summer squash and three zuchinni, which I washed and cut the ends off and then peeled into strips with the vegetable peeler.  I loved the look of the yellow and green!  After tossing them with salt, I put them in the strainer and let them drain for a while.

I heated some olive oil in a skillet and threw in my squash for a couple minutes - just not long enough for them to get mushy.  I would love to tell you that I then whipped up my own pesto, but I didn't.  Not when Costco's is so tasty...

Topping the squash with the shredded chicken, I added about a tablespoon or two of pesto to each plate and then sprinkled the whole shooting match with a little bit of parmeasan cheese (making it technically NOT Paleo, but who's counting...).

Scott walked in the door during bath time (which was much needed, as I refer back to the earlier picture of Rachel) and, after getting the kids to bed, we enjoyed this dinner and a well deserved date night in our own dining room.  The verdict?  For the little bit of extra work, this is definitely something we'll do again.  It had more taste thank pasta could provide and really didn't take that much longer to make.  And I could even look my scales in the eye in the morning... :) 


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Workout with the Lawn

So here are the top ten reasons why I chose to workout with my lawnmower than in the gym today.

1.  It was a gorgeous day.

Isn't there something about sunshine that just gets you going?  We had to stick around this morning since the bug guy was coming by.  We've had a family of ants move into the girls' room and I had already called someone when Scott found a handful of pretzels Rachel had been hiding under her bed.  (Of course, the bottomless pit would store food...does anyone else swear that their toddler has a tape worm?)  So, with the sun shining and my baby sleeping in his crib, we ventured outside.

2.  The grass needed cut.

Well there is a duh statement.  This weekend, it didn't need cut, but after having rained all day on Sunday, today the grass was looking a little shaggy.

3.  Today was just going to be a recovery cardio day anyway.

Which means the ellipitcal and the HGTV network for an hour.  I probably burned as many, if not more, outside hossing the lawnmower.

4.  It gave me the opportunity to sun my cheese.

In the course of a year, my MIL lost about 40-50 lbs and is really an inspiration to me.  I've been meaning to write about her journey and will do so when I'm fully recovered from my maternity leave...ha!  Anyway, before she lost her weight, I'd call her and she'd be sitting on the back porch of her beautiful home, "sunning her cheese," as she put it (referring to her cellulite as cottage cheese).  It's always made me giggle, and now that my deflated belly resembles just that, I shall use the term as well.  Feel free to steal it. 

We have a privacy fence (thank God), so I stripped down to my shorts and sports bra and went at it.

5.  I get to have a front row seat to my kids playing outside. 

We have a good size yard and the girls run crazy in it.  One of their biggest arguments is over who is going to be "it" in hide and in, they both want to be it.  Crazy kids.  Wasn't it just the opposite when you were growing up?  I know it was for us...  They are going to be WAY popular when they get old enough to have neighborhood kid bashes. 

These pictures were taken earlier this spring (obviously, since the apple tree was blooming and I'm obviously not coordinated enough to mow and snap pictures at the same time!)  

Those are blueberry bushes that were here when we moved in.  The girls like to pick off the small blueberry buds and throw them at each other.  I know...awesome. 

Here are our raised garden beds, before we planted them.  I'll snap an updated pic this weekend - they are going crazy!

Here is Rachel throwing dirt out of the raised garden bed.  You know, expensive dirt that you pay for in the store?

Her daddy always yells at her to pump her arms...

Contemplating life...

6.  Push mowing is a workout!

Legs, arms, core, it covered.  Our backyard is pretty flat but I think you could triple your workload if you had hills.

7.  A loud lawnmower drowns out a whiny two-year-old perfectly.

Nuff said.  It also works out if said two-year-old is potty training.  My poor

8.  I am able to take at least one thing off my husband's plate this weekend.

Don't you love being able to do that?  

9.  Two words you rarely hear as a parent:  instant gratification.  

I can look outside and see exactly what I did.  Ah...

10.  I got my belated mother's day gift from my oldest:

Upon sizing me up with no shirt on, she said, "Mama!  Your belly's getting smaller!" 

Enjoy your

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's in a name?

Overheard this afternoon while I was nursing a baby...

Elizabeth (Pulling both panels of my living room curtains together in front of her and then opening them all at once in an exploding fashion):  Ta-dah!  My name is Deliah!  What is your name, Rachel?

Rachel (Scurrying off the potty, and ignoring my coaching to concentrate, she scooted bare-butt in front of her sister and closed the curtains in front of her.):  I'm Annie!  (Not me, mind you, but the character from Little Einsteins.)

Elizabeth (With curtain still pulled):  No, are (insert dramatic pause for effect)...Lipstick Jewelry!!!

Rachel (Throwing the curtains open):  Ta-dah!!!

Enjoy your Wednesday!  And yes, *sigh*, it is only Wednesday...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Meal Planning Adventures with Toddlers

Seriously, this is really a post more for me than for you.  Things always seem better once you talk (write) about them, right?  Well that's what I'm banking on anyway.

So somewhere in our multiple conversations this weekend, my loving and possibly slightly demented husband mentioned that perhaps our small children did not need to eat cheese sandwiches or pizza or mac and cheese for lunch every day.  In fact, I think he said they didn't need to eat cheese every day.

I know...he's cute...

You know, now that I think about it, this must have been Sunday, when he fixed lunches while I nursed Caleb and the girls threw a fit over a lack of cheese and chose taking hungry naps over eating the very Paleo-friendly spread their daddy had put out for them.

I've told you that we've decided to undertake this eating lifestyle which is basically high on fruits and vegetables and meat and low to void of grains and dairy.  We haven't been fanatical about it, but are amazed at how much we feel better.  Even small, nagging health issues with the girls have cleared up once I got them off cow's milk.  

But the whole cheese factor has been their hard limit. 

So through this journey, I honestly haven't been as strict with the girls and normally fix them a kid-friendly lunch with a fruit and vegetable side, which they normally reject.  I figure I make it up with fruit or something healthy for the afternoon snack and give myself a C for the day. 

One day last week, I foolishly thought a fun activity would be to peel our own hard boiled eggs.  After I had cleaned floors.
So after getting this recent challenge to further apply the Paleo diet to our children, I thought it over and decided if I was really going to make this work, I had to extend my meal planning to breakfast and lunch - not just dinner.  I think I've told you that my mom was possibly brilliant by having a different breakfast every day of the week and keeping the same schedule through my entire childhood.  In fact, I'm sure if you popped in on my parents on a Saturday morning, you could still snake some waffles.

So I've decided to try the same thing in my house with the following schedule:

Monday - pancakes
Tuesday - scrambled eggs and toast
Wednesday - sprinkle oatmeal
Thursday - hard boiled eggs and muffins
Friday - waffles
Saturday - eggs ala daddy
Sunday - whatever we can stuff in our face before church

Now, I'm not going Paleo yet for breakfasts simply because I'm not mentally ready to think that hard for three meals a day and also, with my kids opting out of most dinners, I feel better if I fix a breakfast that they like and will eat.  So all of these apply.

I splurged and bought a dry erase weekly meal magnet planner thing at Staples off the new Martha Stewart line and LOVE it.  So far, I've been using it to plan my dinners, but I'm going to start planning lunches too.  The reason for this is two-fold.  One, I need to make sure I have enough food in the house (a big problem for me when we started eating more fruits and veggies...I ran out a lot!) and two, the less I have to think during the day, the better.  I can whip up a cheese sandwich in 2.0 seconds flat, which is one of the reasons we have them a lot.  

Well, and they are darn tasty.  

But anyway...

Today, we ventured home from the Y and I was racking my brain about what to fix for lunch and got an idea to do a best friends lunch.  So I got out their little trays with the dividers and put "best friends" in each one.  Carrots and ranch dressing.  Apples and peanut butter (which is not Paleo, but I have a huge tub that I refuse to throw away).  Sliced hard boiled egg and just small slivers of cheese (because we really can't quit cold turkey).  I also gave them each a handful of Craisins, just because I had one little space left on the tray.

As my leg-huggers marched around the island chanting Mac and cheese!  Mac and cheese!  I announced that we were having a new best friends lunch and it was going to be SO MUCH FUN!  The chant stopped and they skeptically climbed into their chairs and surveyed their trays.  I demonstrated how each food was grouped and you eat them together so they don't get lonely...blah, blah, blah.

They listened.  They nodded.  They smiled.

Then they dive-bombed the cheese.  

Once it was gone and they were sufficiently convinced that I wasn't giving up any more, they moved on to the rest of their tray.  I was actually pretty pleased that Elizabeth ate all her eggs, 2 carrot sticks and a piece of apple.  Rachel, on the other hand, was a mess.  After screaming for more cheese, she took to sticking her finger and licking ranch off.  Upon getting fussed at, she then began dipping her apple in ranch.  Once my dry heaves eased up, I talked her into trying the carrot.   And so she did...and proceeded to spit little orange, carrot, chewed up pieces all over.  Eventually, she ate all the apples and peanut butter off her and her sister's tray and that was about all she wrote for the fussy two-year-old.  


And so begins my journey in improving my children's diets.   

Not me yet!  I still eat at Mom's!

Got ideas??  Let me know!  Here are a couple great resources I've found, in case you are on the same road as me...

Super Healthy Kids - This blog has great ideas and yummy looking recipes. 

Paleo Parents - I love the recipes on this blog and we recently purchased their book, Eat Like A Dinosaur.  It is fun to read, the recipes are easy to follow and are kid approved!