Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays from my Family to Yours

Photos by Scott Campbell Photography (this years xmas card)

From our family to yours, I hope you have an excellent Christmas and Happy New Year. We are gearing up for a fun one. This year it is just us 4 for Christmas Eve then my husband's parents are coming out for Christmas Day. We also get our annual date day and movie at Yardhouse on the 28th, to scarf up their holiday beers and relax. We intend to see some friends who are in town as well. Then we are off to Temecula to wine taste and relax at a house we rented. We will be joined by my sister in law and her husband and daughter Olivia. Finally I think they are at the same age where they can play together. So that should be really fun to watch.

Hopefully when we return there will be a major snowstorm so Claire can start some ski lessons. Any fun plans this week? Thanks to all who keep following along on my blog, I know I have been absent here and there as work was piling up. Ill just say my New Years resolution is to keep this going!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fitness Equipment to Help you Through the Holidays

So I have been super diligent about exercising and eating right (most of the time). Since this past summer I have lost about 5lbs and am slowly moving towards my goal. I decided to up the anty by joining the 6 month Transformation Diet on Basically you pay about $20 a month for 6 months. Whoever hits their goal at the end of 6 months wins a part of the pot. Right now my pot is at about $100k! Holy crap right?

Now there are monthly bets too if you just want to lose a small amount of weight. I want to lose 15lbs so I think that this will really help me hit that goal. I am already denying myself those extra wine calories during the week because of this bet.

Looking back I started to lose weight faster by giving up my hard core cardio routines. I am a cardio junkie and tend to gravitate towards kick-your-butt workouts that make you sweat a lot. Back in October I committed myself to going to The Bar Method 3-4 days a week and spend those two other days doing some sort of interval training. Now don't get me wrong The Bar Method kicks my butt big time but it is different. I find it harder obviously to participate in a class then it is doing a video at home mainly because I try to push myself as hard as others do in class. My legs shake and hurt so much during thigh work I have to stop for a second for fear my legs will give out. I have noticed some fabulous changes in my body. My stomach is much more flat and strong, I am seeing definition in my arms, and my legs have gotten smaller. All while not leaving class dripping in sweat. Its is a nice change and its great to change things up a bit.

With that said I will not be able to do much exercise through next week until New Years as we are going to Temecula with my husbands family. I do however have some ideas to do some quick moves here and there to hopefully keep my abs strong enough and my body feeling ok so I don't die when I return to class.

Here are some of my favorites, and wants:

1. I love doing abs on the Bar Method mat. There is something about the cushion that makes me really be able to focus on holding my abs in. Will be great to do along with the video.

2. A kettlebell. I love using these, they make you entirely out of breath and really help work your core. Here is a good routine: KettleBell Routine

3. Exercise Bands. I used these in a recent HIIT class and oh my lord did my legs and arms burn. Here is a good routine using the bands: Exercise Band Routine

4. And finally the Fit Bit Flex. I have this on my Christmas wish list and I really hope I get one. I love this because it tracks your sleep and calorie expenditure. I honestly don't think I get many nights of good sleep so it will be interesting to analyze and try to fix.

I hope everyone is excited for the holidays, I cannot believe it is next week! Are there any other at home devices you use to help keep your fitness on track through the holidays?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Elizabeth Street Feature

Elizabeth Street is one of my favorite online "mom" magazines. There are so many great articles for moms, kids, fashion, fitness, etc. I try to read it as often as I can.

Last month I was so excited that I was a chosen submission to be one of their featured moms. Not that I consider myself fashionable, but I do love clothing and accessories.  I have started to feel more comfortable in my clothing recently since having Tom 14 months ago and have started to dress like I did before I had kids. I can rock a pair of sweats like no one's business but to dress up or wear anything a little fitted made me self conscious (and still sometimes does but I am getting there). I have been working hard to get back to my old self and I am getting close so have begun to vary up my wardrobe, and I make sure I put together a nice outfit every day.

I am going back to work Monday-Wednesdays in January helping with my husband and parents firm. In addition I am continuing to help out with my old company on Thursdays, Fridays and weekends. Overall it will equate to a full time job. It will be an adjustment but I am ready. I miss working and the routine of it. I will miss being able to workout anytime I want and spending time with the kids but I will make out a new schedule, and spend extra fun time with the kids.

With that said I have been doing a little shopping lately as all my work attire is somewhat outdated. I will share some outfits in the future but for now just wanted to share this accomplishment.

Was it a hard transition for anyone going back to work after having some time off with the kids?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Disneyland Tips for First Timers with Small Children

My family and I just got back from a trip to Disneyland. I hadn't been since I was younger and a lot has changed. Claire had such a blast and Tom well he was a little indifferent but I would like to think he had fun.  Claire has been quite girly lately and so it was really cute to see her get excited to see the Disney princesses.

The fact that there are multiple areas to meet the disney characters is really amazing, and I don't recall them having that when I went years ago. The park itself really caters to people with children of all ages, especially strollers and babies. 

We stayed at the Grand Californian and it was conveniently located walking distance to the park which made things super easy when the kids needed their naps. The hotel had story time at night by the fireplace, christmas carolers, and Santa Claus!

Here are some things I learned that I will use next time we go to Disneyland, which I hope is often!! 

1. Obviously bring a stroller and a blanket. Thomas powered through the second day so I reclined his stroller and covered the opening with a blanket so he could relax. 

2. Take advantage of the PhotoPass. There are stations all over Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure Park, and the Grand Californian Hotel. You get a card and they scan it at every station and you can get great quality images at all your stops. Beats lugging around a large camera like I did. The photo of all of us in front of the Disneyland entrance, the Santa photo, and Claire with Tinker bell were all from Photopass.

3. Go during mid week if you can. We went on a Monday and a Tuesday and the parks were manageable, as in the longest line we waited in was 30 minutes.

4. Do the park hopper pass. We jumped from park to park and had a fabulous time.

5. Download the MouseWait app. It has a crowd index and wait times for each ride and restaurant and literally dictated which rides we went to. 

5. Use the switch passes if you have a baby that way your significant other, friend, or family member can go straight to the front of the line when you are done with the ride. 

6. Bring a backpack instead of a purse. I lugged my baby bag around and it was a pain the first day so we used my husbands backpack and it made a word of difference. 

7. If you really want to get your full day (s) I recommend skipping a dinner reservation and just grab food as you go. I made a reservation our first day and felt like we wasted precious ride time. 

8. If your daughter is into princesses see about purchasing them a princess dress to wear into the park. Claire wore hers all day long and loved admiring herself once she knew the princesses all wore gowns. (we just couldn't pry the thing off of her). Get to Fantasy Faire early as the line can be about an hour or longer wait. We went at 9am and waited 15 minutes. Also if your daughter is over 3 they do a whole princess makeover in the salon! The breakfast at Aerial's Grotto is a princess breakfast and Claire met all her favorites. You can make reservations here: Aerial's Grotto

9. The World of Disney store in Downtown Disney has a ton of items in one location so if you want you can save your shopping until you get to this store. 

10. My 14 month old son hated Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes its not an hardcore ride but the dark and the noises freaked him out so we stuck with the castle rides for him after this experience. Claire on the other hand loved everything and she is 3 in February.

11. Enjoy every minute. I wish we had done a 3 day park hopper but we took advantage of all we could in the 2 days we were there. 

12. Go during the holidays if you can, the park is so very festive and the weather is cool.

13. Finally, bring some serious hand sanitizer and wash your hands often. My entire family sans Claire and I ended up with either a cold or the stomach flu after our adventure.

Monday, November 25, 2013

November Highlights...

 Yes I have been majority MIA lately. But for good reasons. :) this past month has been quite busy, but a fun busy. I have been picking up much more work then usual and I feel like I am constantly running around town. I was also out of town for 3 weekends this past month. I was in San Francisco visiting some girlfriends, then we were in Carmel doing our family photographs, which was a blast, and finally we made a trip up to the cabin to relax.

We are hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year and I have finally finished all the ideas for the day. Now to actually execute them. This should be interesting. I have a few good recipes I pulled off of Pinterest which I think will turn out great.

Speaking of  Pinterest, I attended a Pinterest party last saturday, which I think is one of the best ideas I have heard of in a long time. Basically you pick a craft and a dish and bring 10 craft items to the party for a gift exchange. I am not crafty at all but managed to make some really cool chalkboard cheese plates! It was actually pretty fun and I now want to do more crafts!

This is short but I wanted to share some highlights over the past month or so:

My son the Viking for Halloween

Halloween with my friend Jessica and her family
Here is Claire and Tom with their buddy Bradford just kicking back before trick or treating
Claire in her princess attire for her school party. 

Claire's very first school photograph!

Was so happy to hang out with my friend Erin in San Francisco. Was a blast catching up

Eating lunch at the ferry building next to the creepiest doll I have ever seen

Sweaty dancing out in SF

Claire insisted on wearing goggles. She has been going through a big phase where she wants to pick out her outfits and continually do costume changes throughout the day.

Tom being cute in his baby towel

Our cool Thanksgiving plates

Nik getting out on the golf course while my friend and I sat back and sipped bloody marys.

And we FINALLY painted the dark red room and Claire's hot pink room yay!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fab Fit Fun VIP Box Review

I haven't done a box review in quite some time. I am absolutely loving FabFitFun's quarterly or shall I say seasonal boxes. The price is around $50 bucks and you get so many amazing items. The good thing is that it comes every 3 months or so rather then monthly. To me that in itself is worth the splurge. To find out about signing up you can go here:  FabFitFun VIP

This season's did not dissapoint. I could not get over how much value the items inside the box were. With the Standing Slim DVD by Barre 3, one of my favorite workout DVD's there is a voucher to get 15 free days of their online workouts! Here are the highlights:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Potty Training take 300

Ok so I am not sure if you have small children but if you do going on a vacation for a week can really mess up their routines. I have really learned that my kids are big routine little people. I guess that is normal but I didn't think going on vacation would put a huge dent in my potty training of Claire. We were so close to being 100% potty trained.

Claire however has decided she never wants to go number 2 ever again. Long story short it has been a stressful process to even get her to go in her diaper and with that we have had to put her on children's laxatives.  It has been one month out and she is still having issues. So we had to put potty training on the back burner. Putting it on the back burner I realized set us back to square one.

Now that we sort of have her number 2 issue under control (I really hope it doesn't last much longer because it looks like it really stresses her out) I decided to give potty training a whirl again.

The great people of Potty Patrol felt my woes and let me try their product out for myself. The starter kit comes with a pack of 24 diapers specially made to hold onto the potty alarm. (as shown below)

I hear twinkle twinkle!

So Claire woke up from a nap and wanted to color. I put the alarm diaper on her and she colored away. All of a sudden she stopped coloring and looked at me when the alarm went off. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star played and I instantly grabbed her and put her on the potty to finish her pee. Success! If the alarm had not gone off I wouldn't have known she went pee. It has really helped getting us back in the swing of starting from square one in potty training. If you want a starter kit you can find them here: Potty Patrol Starter Kit.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thomas in One Year and the Bar Method

I hope you are all are doing great. Thomas turned one a few weeks ago and I put together a fun collage of the boy with his monthly stickers. It is shocking how fast babies grow in one year.  He is walking like a champ and talking somewhat. Saying mama, nana (banana), dada, ball, dog, you know the important things in life.

Big boy in the making.

On another note I have been going to a physical therapist because my pelvic floor is incredibly weak from my pregnancies and back surgery. She told me that I really need to focus on my core and really get it strong to strengthen my posture. (plus would be nice to get rid of my stomach sticking out from weak muscles) She gave me some exercises to do each night but also that the Bar Method is a fabulous addition to my routine. That or pilates. The Bar Method just opened here in town and I bought their one month unlimited pass. I have gone 3 times this week so far and let me tell you I LOVE it.

Back when I lived in the city (SF, Chicago) I would go to the Dailey Method (very similar philosophy) a few times a week and just loved how hard yet relaxing it was. Does that even make sense? I am so used to going to these hardcore, high impact, kill myself workouts. That I forget that even the tiniest movements that the Bar Method focuses on will kill you as well.

Sure I have done these workouts at home and its a fabulous edition but to go to a studio and have someone correct your posture (which they do a lot to me), give me props to help my abs (I am one of the few that needs help :( ), is so beneficial because I have really started to feel my abs so much more and know I am getting an effective workout.

My goal this month is to go to the studio 3-4 days a week and if I go 3 then do a video at home for the 4th. I also would have to go at night when Nik gets home from work which is a huge motivation killer. Mainly because I like working out in the morning but I think I am motivated just enough to do it.

After my first month is over the price shoots up a good amount so I really need to figure out if I am able to continue going (hopefully so).

In any regard I will let you know my progress after this month. And if you haven't tried the Bar Method or any other similar workout I really suggest you try. Don't be intimidated either. Most people in class are just as new as you and the teachers are really there to help you perfect your moves. Also if you want a good video for home they have a great selection!

It has been one hectic week with me picking up more work and both kids were sick. Potty training has taken a back seat because after our trip to Chicago, Claire has decided she doesn't ever want to go to the potty ever again. Back to phase one people. I hope you all are doing great!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week in Illinois, Tom's First Birthday, and Traveling with Kids

We just got back from a fabulous week visiting Claire and Tom's grandparents, great grand parents, and our friends back in Illinois. It was a long week but went by so fast as we were so busy.  Nik and I's first weekend was spent kid free for the first time since Claire was born. We got in Thursday and  Friday headed to Chicago. We stayed with our friend Caitlin and her husband Trent and it was so nice to not have to stay at a hotel. During our first day we walked all over the city just Nik and I and pretty much drank wine and ate good food. (I was in no way on my diet or exercise regime and did not care, sometimes a break is a good thing). To sit at a restaurant and not have to swat away little hands, eat at the speed of lightening, and stop meltdowns was in itself a vacation.

We met up with our friends when they were done with work and got some cocktails at the Paris Club then headed to dinner at the Boarding House. We sat at a table with our group totally away from the rest of the restaurant. Normally I would love that but I couldn't see any of the incredible decor of this massive, beautiful restaurant.

with friends at Boarding House

The second day we again went to a sports bar so Nik could meet up with some of his college friends and then we just carted around the city meeting up with old friends. That night we went to a party and stayed up until 3am. I cannot believe I was able to do that. But when in the company of old friends I haven't seen in a while, I was just excited.  

The week on the farm was fun but busy. Below are some trip highlights. It was Tom's first birthday and we celebrated by going apple picking on a local farm. My sisters good friend from college and her kids came out to meet us which was fun to catch up with her too. Only problem was that Tom was not interested in apple picking, or playing on the farm, and wanted to sleep instead. No problem, he slept, we gave him treats all day, he rode a tractor, and had some pie. All in all a great first birthday.

Unimpressed with his pie 

Bringing daddys beer to him

(not sure why the last few are fuzzy)

Ok so I am no traveling pro considering I don't travel much anymore but I have learned some lessons from this trip that I will use next time we fly with two young children. But what I learned about flying with a 12 month old and a 2 year old. The 2 year olds are pretty easy if you have games, ipad, treats, milk, and coloring books (at least for Claire). 12 month olds if they are walking only want to cruise the airplane and walk and smile at people. I could not for the life of me entertain Tom. He only wanted to walk. He screamed for a bit and squirmed a lot. It was really stressful for me, but thankfully people were so nice on the plane. I thought they would sleep on the flight because it was at night, but instead they fell asleep right as we were landing and Claire screamed so loud when i woke her up and cried until we got home pretty much. Cranky pants city. I felt bad but plan to leave and fly in the morning if we are to fly again. They don't always sleep as I thought they might. 

I hope everyone is doing great. I have some fun recipes coming up as I am doing a 21 day clean eating diet through a nutritionist that is sure to help my eating going forward. I had the worst stomach aches from eating bad all week so I am more then ready to get started!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Weekly Recap

Hello. I realize I have been bad at consistently blogging lately it's not that I don't want to anymore, I just am not having as much free time as I had before. I am considering revamping the look of the blog but I weigh that with how consistent I can be with my posts. I do have a lot to share, I swear :)

Today is my husbands birthday and we are going out for pizza to celebrate. It should be fun and rather mellow. We are heading to Chicago next week so I have been telling Claire all week that we are going to ride in an airplane to see grandma and grandpa and she seems to have some excitement for it all. We will see when we board the plane!

On another note the weather here has just been gorgeous so I have been looking for some clothing to get Claire and Tom. Tom is easy because he can still wear all Target until he stays at a more consistent size for a while. For the last year Claire has remained at a size 3T but has recently moved up to a 4T. I found this great website that carries really trendy cute comfortable clothing for babies, toddlers, and older children and just fell in love with this outfit. The pants are only $22 which is such a deal! The company is called Arrow and Aspen and you can find this outfit here: Harem Pants

I also found a pair of little riding boots for claire that are so cute from Gap.

You can find these boots here: Gap Toddler Boots

Claire and Tom have been really into holding hands lately and she loves to say she is "walking the baby" she does this around the house, outside wherever she can grab a hold of Tom's hand and walk him. I personally love it and think its really cute. They are getting old enough to interact more.

Last Sunday morning I caught the two doing this while watching morning cartoons

And this week I participated in some free Bar Method community classes which they were holding until their studio opens. I am still so sore from the class and can't wait to partake in the classes and hope to become a member (if I get a job and my husband agrees to the steep $140/month price tag) but I swear this type of workout has always gotten me so toned, so ack I want to. Anyways on my second day of class the local news station came in to film. Um my worst nightmare. I literally rolled out of bed took Claire to school, left Tom with a babysitter and went to class with zero make up on (obvi) and not feeling so great in my workout gear. I just have to laugh because seriously you couldn't get a more worse shot to show all over the news. Oh well F it :)

sexy no?

So that is that I hope you all have a great weekend!!! Happy fall!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Results at the Gym aka Feeling Great During Your Weight Loss Journey

Ok so ignore the fact that I have goblet of wine and a decadent desert in front of me, it was my birthday :)

The last few weeks I have been so completely drained I feel as if I have another newborn. I have kept up my workout routines going about 5-6 days a week. 3 days in a strength training class (usually me and a few dudes) a HIIT class and a spin class. I was noticing after class I was feeling exhausted, drained and wanting to go home to sleep. I am eating well (minus last week) and trying to not drink during the week. I have my juiced juice in the am and a shakeology shake.

Shocker to myself that my weight loss is slow as molasses, but that is ok, since I am weight training I don't expect my weight to go down much. My clothing is still fitting better but I do still have a ways to go.  I went earlier this week to get my thyroid re tested (as I do every 3 months). While being on two medications the test came back and my numbers were low, showing the medication wasn't working well. That completely explains the total fog I have been in, how tired and lethargic I am, and how hard my workouts have been feeling as if I am running on fumes. It is shocking that I lived for a few years just like this without taking any medication (before I ever had my thyroid tested). It explains my lack of focus for long periods of time and how after a 8 hour stint of sleep I couldn't get my head out of the fog or wake up. It also explains why it has been SO hard to lose weight. I have my new dose and I am hoping in a few days I will have my energy back.

Anyways back to why I think results at the gym aren't necessarily based on the scale. I have become so much stronger lifting weights I am able to do body pull ups (something I could barely do before), I leg press easily 150lbs (on the leg press machine), and I can squat up to 40lbs, possibly more. I can do burpees like a champ and sprints are becoming doable, not debilitating. I am so happy with my progress other members in my class have commented how strong I have become. It really is a milestone, the last time I was this physically fit was back in 2005. The only difference now is obviously my thyroid issue and my body after two kids. Other then that I don't see much difference in my endurance and stamina (except for the last couple weeks due to my thyroid). It feels really good and I am glad at how far I have come. I still have a few outfits I want to get back into and I do believe it will happen but only with the continued dedication I have had to fitness and trying to be overall more healthier in my eating, with a few celebratory times inbetween, aka life.

This time last year I was 9 months pregnant counting down till Tom bomb showed up. Crazy. I hope you are all having a fantastic week. If you lift weights, how long was it before you noticed a difference in how strong you were becoming?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Great Shoes for your Toddler

Running downhill with a need for speed (and a tumble)

look at the wind whipping through her hair
So when I was thinking of what to write today I decided to go with something that I have been dealing with this week. There are a bazillion kids shoes out there and I have finally figured out what types of shoes to purchase for my toddler each season. (it is shoe buying season in this household)

When Claire first started wearing shoes I would get her the cheap sandals at Target which was perfect for when she was walking and not really being too adventurous. Once I bought her her first pair of sneakers that again I got at Target I noticed she would trip and fall a lot. It was skinned knee city. I have such a hard time spending a good amount of money on anything for the kids only because I know they will grow out of it fast. But if there is one thing you should invest your money in is a good pair of tennis shoes. Well that and a good coat but I have yet to buy her one this year since its still hot.

I can't take Claire to get shoes because she screams bloody murder but I was able to get her foot measured when I was getting Tom some shoes. She is a tall one and a current size 10 in Todder shoes. But her growth has slowed down so her shoes last much longer then before.

I went onto Zappos which to me is one of the best companies to shop with because they have videos of all their products, the best customer service, and hassle free shipping and returns. After looking at multiple videos online I decided to go with a pair of New Balance's. The cost was much higher then I had spent on shoes for her before but it was so well worth it. In the pictures above she was running up and down a hill, she near fell once but overall kept herself grounded. They literally helped her balance.

Claire wore the heck out of these shoes and now I am considering purchasing the same pair but in a different color. I also was thinking of trying another brand but we will see. After watching various reviews I have narrowed it down to these two:

Pumas at Zappos

Same pair of New Balance's she has on now

So there you have it if you are looking for new tennis shoes for your little one I do highly recommend some New Balances. 

On another note my birthday was yesterday and I am a little slow going today but have a nice date night with my husband at Flemming's. It should be a great time. I love date nights especially because we don't get to take them very often. We are also moving Claire to a bigger car seat and Tom will be inheriting Claire's current seat. Tom just celebrated being 11 months old, less than one month until he is 1. Time sure does fly. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!