November 19, 2014

Bare-ing It All

The other day I came across an article about post baby bodies and how they aren't always as pretty as what you see in the magazines or, heck, even as pretty as your best friends flat, post baby stomach.  The article talked about our "battle scars" and how we should be proud because they're a symbol of something amazing, life created, our precious babies.  The girl who wrote the article is a small, fit girl but she just had one "problem area" that she could never seem to embrace regardless of how often she told others to embrace theirs.  The girl went on to show her not so favorite body part, her stomach, and it looked just like mine.

And then, in not so many words, she said she was having surgery to correct the "problem".

And I haven't been able to shake it since.  

I was sad, instantly, when I realized what I was reading.  Maybe a little part of me was jealous and that's where the sadness comes from.  But I like to think I'm not as shallow as to be jealous of someone else's tummy tuck.  Anyway...I was sad.  I was reading this story and thinking, "someone else like me" and how empowering this post was and then it was like someone popped a balloon.  I was mad at her for making me feel like I wasn't alone in the struggle to tighten up this post baby belly and then it was like she was "taking the easy way out" with surgery {not that she is taking the easy way out, that's just how it made me feel in the moment}.

Then it dawned on me, I will be the face of "ugly" post baby bellies.  Why am I relying on someone else to share their vulnerability for others to relate to.  Why don't I be that girl?  So here I am. 

This is my belly at the end of the day, what it normally looks like.  I have a very small waist and am the lowest weight I've ever seen as an adult but that lower part of my belly {and my belly button} still look wonky.  I'm actually starting to see a little bit of definition {abs maybe?} in the top part of my stomach but it seems like the bottom half, that pooch, is still playing catch up.  But you know what?  I've not given it my all either.  I haven't tried targeting that particular part of my body but I will start.  I haven't cut out grains and dairy long enough to see a change but I will continue to eat a Paleo diet in hopes that the results will follow.  You know what keeps me going?  The fact that even though it doesn't look perfect, or like what the magazines show me, or like my freak of a nature friends look like it looks better than it used to and I'm all about progress, not perfection.  

Surgery is not an option for me.  Most likely, if you're reading this post, it's not an option for you either.  Not only is it not an option but it's not something that I would want for myself either.  I am raising a daughter, a young impressionable girl, and that's not the image of beauty I want to portray to her.  If you don't like something, go under the knife and have it changed.  No.  Instead I'd rather portray an image of hard work and dedication and IF by some chance you still don't get the results you desire, well by golly you've tried like hell to get there.  And, chances are, the only one judging you is YOU.  

In light of the whole Kim K thing, you know the one, I've been thinking about how women's post-baby bodies are portrayed and it's not a good image.  Certainly I know that those photos are photoshopped to death but young, naive,impressionable girls do not know that.  They look to celebrities, like her, as inspiration and idolize that type of behavior and appearance.  I will be damned if that's the way my daughter views herself.  So yeah, it's a tough time for a woman's body, but it doesn't have to be. 

I think all of this has brought me to realize something I should have a long time ago.  I love my body.  No it's not perfect and it sure as hell doesn't look like it did 4-5 years ago.  But I've created two beautiful humans.  The apples of my eye, my greatest gifts, my pride and joys both came from this body.  Also, I'm not done yet.  I am not done seeing what my body is capable of.  I have come a long way in the 15 months since James was born and I know I can push my body further.  If it's just loose skin and this is how my stomach is destined to look forever, so be it.  

Love your body.  

That is all. 

November 10, 2014

Dinner With The Dews

It's been a while since we've done a Dinner with the Dews and since I've been back to cooking again I thought I should share some of my recent, yummy discoveries.  I was really craving comfort foods this week, I blame the fall weather, so I whipped up lots of soups and chili {I will be sharing this amazing paleo chili recipe later}. I posted this pic to IG last night and y'all went nuts.  I can't say I blame you because it looks as good as it tastes.

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 to 1.5 pounds)
1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
24 oz frozen vegetables (red bell pepper, zucchini, squash, carrots)
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut into small cubes (or sweet potato)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 – 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
6 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions
Throw everything into your crock pot {my chicken was even frozen when I made this} and cook on high for 4ish hours or low for 6-8.  I took the chicken out about an hour before eating it and shredded it and put it back in to soak up more of the juices. It comes out super hearty and very filling.  The best news, my kids even ate it- I call that a win!  

Enjoy!

I modified this recipe, here.

November 3, 2014

Breaking The Silence

That ^ sounds like it should be on the cover of an US Weekly magazine or something, doesn't it?  My reality TV loving self wishes.

I'm not here with some big announcement or to tell you something profound, I wish...again.  Instead I'm going to give you a brain dump sort of post because after taking a...how long?...break that's all I have to offer.

I miss blogging.  I do.  I used to have ideas on top of ideas for posts.  Sometimes I'd even have to keep a list in my "notes" app just so I wouldn't forget all my "great ideas".  I don't have anything major going on in life right now, maybe that's why.  Life is pretty good, easy, uncomplicated, content at the moment and I like it that way.  But I do miss feeling inspired and I miss writing.  I've read other posts lately that convey the same message so maybe blogging is dying?  I don't know.  But for right now I'm OK with blogging whenever and feeling no pressure to do more.  

***
I'm going to start teaching PiYo this week!  I can't tell how nervicited {nervous+excited- got it from Pinky Pie on My Little Pony}.  I've been practicing PiYo for about  months now and I love it.  Coming off of T25 I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about something more low impact, less of a calorie burn, and overall slower but I underestimated it big time.  I drove three hours to Ft. Wayne IN last weekend and took an eight hour certification class and, believe it or not, they passed me!  And, yes, that means I did PiYo for EIGHT hours {8!!!} that day.  Ouch! But I learned so much about form, teaching, music, how PiYo is supposed to feel, it was awesome.  I've got an hour long routine and I've almost got it nailed down, almost.  My class is Thursday and as long as I don't throw up on the stage I think I'll be doing alright.  Wish me luck.  
***
I threw a surprise party for Jimmy's 30th this weekend.  It's the second surprise party I've thrown for him and I have to say, I'm quite good at it.  He had been saying how he wanted to do something BIG for his 30th this year and I kinda just brushed it off.  I didn't want a big party at our house because I hate cleaning, didn't feel like cooking for the masses and I was just really selfish about the whole thing, to be honest.  I did want to make this birthday special though so in a weeks time I set up a surprise party with twenty of our closest friends and family and it went off without a hitch.  I'm glad we got to celebrate my main squeeze the way he deserves, with good beer and good friends.

***
Are you guys watching True Tori?  Oh I was so excited when I saw it was coming back on {my inner reality TV whore is coming out}.  Can I just say it, they are a mess.  I mean I am really glad they decided to share this train-wreck with all of us, I really am, but MY GOD I'm thinking that maybe some of this should have been handled in private.  Am I right?  Last "season" I was all Team Tori because DUH he cheated on her, ruined their marriage, disrespected his wife and family, embarrassed them, abandoned them, was self-absorbed, the list goes on.  But this "season" I find myself feeling a little Team Dean.  Maybe it's because they're showing us a new side of crazy in Tori but geeeeez girlfriend needs help.  And that's all I'm going to say about that. 

***
Kendall and I had some mommy-daughter time this weekend and it was much needed.  It's not often I get to spend time with just her so when I do I'm always reminded how awesome she is.  We went to a roller skating birthday party and it was her first time on skates and my first time in a LONG time.  It was so much fun to teach her something new, to be silly, and just focus all of my attention on her.  She's such a little girl now!  She's no longer a toddler and she reminded me of that yesterday.  On our way home she said, "mom it was so much fun roller skating with just me and you" and at that very moment it was like she was reading my mind because I was thinking the same thing.  And did I mention she was like a pro in those skates?  She only fell a handful of times in two hours and barely held my hand except to be pulled every now and then {because that's FUN!}.  I really need to make more time for just her more often.  She rocks. 

***
James is...James.  He's still a handful and reminds me that boys really are different than girls.  Jimmy and I are always saying, "Kendall never did this".  He's a boy through and through.  He climbs EVERYTHING, gets into EVERYTHING, and loves his mama.  If you give him a pile of toys to play with he will gravitate towards the cars and trucks before anything else.  He sleeps with a stuffed teddy bear now and when he sees it he grabs it and hugs it as tight as possible and sways back and forth.  Pretty much the cutest thing you will see ever in your life.  His first and only word is, "whoa" or sometimes it comes out "wow" we're still trying to decide if he's saying two separate words or if they're the same to him.  He can "jump" now and he thinks he's pretty cool when he does.  He's a pretty great sleeper, most nights, knock on wood, and is usually a solid 7-7+/- schedule.  He's definitely the cutest baby I've ever laid {layed?} eyes on and that's just a fact.  I say, at least once a day, "OMG he's SO cute!".  And I mean it.  He's SO CUTE!  He will definitely give me grey hairs and a heart attack but MY GOD he's cute.

***
Fall hit us in the face with some winter like temperatures this weekend and it reminded me of what's to come.  Winter.  Snow.  Ice.  Never leaving the house with two small kids because all the coats, all the hats, all the cold.  I hate it.  I will never be a fan of winter except on Christmas.  I try to convince my husband that we need to move to a warmer part of the earth on a regular basis.  He doesn't even roll his eyes anymore or listen for that matter.  I always thought people were being dramatic when they talked about S.A.D. but guys it's a legit disorder.  I've never been a fan of the winter months but being a mom in the colder months is like a dying a slow death.  I rely on park dates, swimming pools and all the outdoor things for my sanity.  Take those away and I'm a crazy person.  

***
Speaking of... I saw about 6 billion Red Cups {capitalized because apparently they are THAT significant} in my Instagram feed this weekend.  Instead of making me want a big ole cup of Peppermint Mocha it made me want to boycott The Buck altogether.  Why?  Red Cup=Christmas time.  We didn't even get to devour our Halloween candy and these guys are celebrating Christmas?  No, Starbucks, it's not time.  Respect the turkey.  

***
And there you have it, I broke my silence to talk about reality TV stars and Starbucks.  Happy Monday friends.

October 17, 2014

Five On Friday

It's been a hot minute since I've participated in a link-up {even my own} and this one is fun and easy and quick.  Just like I like em.

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG
1.  Coffee.  We had a Keurig fancy pants coffee maker a while back but something happened and it stopped making a full cup of coffee.  After de-scaling, calling Keurig for advice, trying every Pinterest trick out there we finally gave up and went back to our trusty ole Bunn coffee maker.  At first we LOVED having a full pot again {months of a teaspoon of coffee will do that to you} but it grew old really quickly.  Last week I bit the bullet and bought another Keurig and I'm so glad that I did. I know, first world problems for sure, but this has seriously made my mornings so much better and easier.  Here's hoping this one doesn't crap out on us.


2.  Coordinating PJs. I am never one to match my kids.  Hell, I'm lucky if they both get dressed on a daily basis. But PJs?  I'm all over coordinating PJs.  I just love it.  I love new PJs in general but coordinating ones take it to a whole new level.  Kendall kinda loves it too.

3.  PiYo.  I'm not going to harp on this program, you all know how much I love it.  I love it so much that I'm getting PiYo certified this month!  Actually, next weekend!  I also have a "job" already, starting the Monday following.  I'm nervous beyond belief.  I don't think I'm awesome enough to teach this but I'm going to try my hardest.  I really believe in PiYo and so I'm happy to be able to bring it to people who might not otherwise try it.  Fingers crossed that I don't puke on my first day.

4.  Birthdays.  We have had 7 birthday parties since the beginning of September.  I'm tired.  I'm birthday-d out.  I feel like I've bought every boy and every girl toy imaginable and shopping for things that your kid likes while your kid is with you but you're not buying for her is HARD!  Did you follow that?  I love this season of life and celebrating but I'm ready for a nice relaxing weekend at home too. Also, what is your budget for birthdays for kids?

5.  Purging.  Don't worry, I don't have an eating disorder.  I just cleaned the playroom and my closet and loaded up the Expedition with TONS of stuff.  Jumperoo, infant toys, playmat, bumbo seat, boppy, inflatable duck tub, clothes, shoes, you name it!  It's gone!  It felt good to do a little "spring cleaning" in the fall.  Basically I just made room for more/new but whatever.

October 3, 2014

FIVE

Today is my five year wedding anniversary.  

This relationship is the reason I started this blog in the first place.  It was the reason I choose the title of my blog. I was a newly engaged twenty-something and I was just so excited about our upcoming wedding.  I wanted a place where I could share my wedding planning and keep my bridal party on the same page.  Over the past five years this blog has grown into something I never dreamed of but my marriage has grown even more. 

In five years we've lived in two different homes, gone through three different vehicles, had two babies, four different "jobs", gone on two husband-wife only vacations, and countless other memories.  We've had our ups and downs but no matter what we always come back to each other and remain a solid partnership.  

You know when you get married you never think about the life stuff that's going to take place down the road.  You don't think about the sleepless nights when your babies are small.  You don't worry about the possibility of your pipes freezing in the dead of winter.  You don't wonder how you'll pay next months mortgage.  But you also don't think about how much more in love you will be in the coming years.  

On my wedding day I was for certain that there was no way I could love my husband more than I did in that moment.  He was everything I loved about a man and damn he looked handsome standing at the alter.  He had a all the qualities I dreamed my husband would have.  He's artistic, he's hard-working, he plays the guitar {major swoon}, he was sensitive but still manly, he gets along with everyone, he is a provider in every sense of the word, and did I mention he's handsome?  

And then I've seen his role change from boyfriend, to fiance, to husband, to father and my oh my has my love grown stronger with each of those changes.  As a boyfriend he was fun, the life of the party. I never had that kind of fun until I met Jimmy Dew.  He was a little bit of a party boy and I had never partied a day in my life, not like that.  He taught me how to just relax and have fun and I loved that about him.  As a fiance he showed me patience.  Wedding planning is no joke and something that can make a lot of us girls go crazy over.  I know I had my share of "OMG wedding emergency" moments but throughout all of my freak outs he was calm.  He always knew that everything would work out and taught me how to just take a deep breath.  As a husband he has been the provider in all areas of our lives.  He will do whatever he has to to make sure his families needs are met.  He's the hardest working man I know and while some times it drives me crazy I know that he does it for us and I cannot argue with that.  Dad Jimmy is all encompassing.  He's fun, he reminds me to not take everything so seriously and he teaches me patience every day. 

My husband is an all around great guy and I'm lucky to be his wife.  He's my voice of reason, my biggest supporter and my best friend.  Not only am I thankful to be married to such a gem but also that my babies get to call him their dad.  

I may not know everything but I do know that I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend, lucky to have been where we have been. 

September 30, 2014

Let's Talk PiYo...

Lately I've been using Instagram as a mini blog for me.  It's easy, it's fast, it's instant and THAT I have time for.  Until I share things on there that I wish to elaborate on, here, and never get around to it.  That's when it dawned on me, the other day, that I never shared my results from PiYo with my blog readers.  

I know the suspense has been killing you.  ::sarcasm font::

OK so here's the deal.  Prior to starting PiYo I had done three rounds {alpha, beta, and gamma} of T25.  I was feeling really good but I was excited to see what PiYo would do for my body.  It promise to give you a long, lean look with no jumps and no weights.  After gamma T25 I was ready for something a little more low impact.  

I had never done a Chalene Johnson program before so I had no idea what to expect from her.  I big, pink, puffy heat love Shaun T so I was worried Chalene wouldn't live up.  Well I am happy to report that I was wrong.  She is awesome.  No, she's extraordinary.  She's got such an amazing, positive, inspiring, attitude and you can tell that she's just a happy person.  When I grow up I want to be Chalene.  

So about the program.  It starts out slow with 20 minute, beginner type workouts.  After a couple of weeks you build up to the "harder" workouts that will seriously make you sweat!  The workouts range from 20-45 minutes and the 45 minute ones will leave your whole body feeling like Jell-O {in a good way}.  The program lasts 8 weeks and then, if you're like me, you'll start over because it's THAT good.  If you're thinking, "but yoga is too slow for me..." think again.  Yes this program combines elements of yoga but it's anything but slow.  

This was after I finished gamma T25 and then PiYo...


I'm pretty happy my results.  Heck I'm hella happy with these results!  Don't ask why but I didn't take a side pic this time and I'm kicking myself for it.  I feel like I got more muscles with PiYo than with T25- which still boggles my mind because of all the weights in T25.  I also feel stronger after PiYo.  I'm noticing muscles in my arms/shoulders that I didn't know where there before.  As for my stomach, it's still a work in progress but hot damn if it's not getting tighter- finally!

I loved this program so much that I'm getting PiYo certified next month!  Hopefully I'll be able to teach it at a studio here or around Columbus very soon.  I'm very excited about this new venture and I can't wait to see where it takes me.

If you've been considering PiYo I highly, highly recommend it.  It's low impact so it's great for people who have injuries or aren't quite ready for something like T25.  It still delivers great results {obviously} and no weights and no jumping no extra equipment required.  Chalene is such a great motivator and has a positive attitude throughout which just makes me happy.  

September 18, 2014

Fall Family Photo Outfits

I love having our family pictures taken.  It usually only happens once a year and it's always in the fall.  That is the only time I am actually guaranteed to get professional pictures taken.  It's mostly for Christmas card purposes, if I'm being honest, but I do love to change out our pictures in our house every once in a while too.

I do not, however, like trying to find coordinating outfits for us all {families bigger than four are laughing at me right now}.  In this day and age the idea is to all wear outfits that coordinate but don't "match".  Gone are the days of everyone wearing jeans and a white top.  Today we want to look more casual as if we just happened to look this cute while we were at a park and stumbled across a professional photographer.  Right?  Wrong.  

The whole coordinating but not matching thing is cute, looks great in pictures but boy oh boy doesn't it cause me a lot of sleepless nights.  I know, I know {hashtag: firstworldproblems}.  I mean I didn't literally lose sleep over it but I did have many text conversations with my friend over it {I'm lucky she still speaks to me after that debacle}.  It just stresses me out.  


I knew I wanted to wear THAT dress. I got it a few days before, fell in love with it, loved the fit, it was perfect.  I was able to coordinate Jimmy and baby James with no troubles but Kendall?  She had nothing in the orange, olive, black/white department.  I was struggling.  Again hashtag: firstworldproblems.  I'll say this, if you are looking for something black and white for a little girl, think again.  It basically doesn't exist, I looked everywhere.  So I had to figure out a new way to tie us all together, because I was wearing that dress, damnit. 

Enter the denim vest.  Seriously people, what did I do before this 1990s throwback?  I am obsessed.  I wear it pretty much every day that I get dressed in real clothes.  I love it.  So throw that on and all I needed was a denim dress for Kendall, some orange accents and a pair of brown boots and we're good as coordinated.  

I also knew I wanted to get some pictures of just Jimmy and I because the last REAL pictures we have together are from our wedding, everything since has been family.  So then our outfits had to look good together but also with the whole family.  You guys I think way too much about this stuff.


Our pictures were a bit different from last year.  Last year James was just a tiny baby.  We didn't have to worry about him looking at the camera because, who cares, he's a baby!  He also wasn't mobile at the time either.  Now he's mobile in the sense that he does whatever he wants and also is too young to listen so that's fun.  But my sweet friend Sarah was so great with my kids.  She knew what to do to get them to look at her, made them smile at the same time and when she shot this picture I knew it was going to make my heart melt.



It's safe to say I want to start a gallery wall with just canvases from this shoot because I am in love!  When Sarah sent me my slideshow I cried, literally.  So beautiful.  I didn't even care what the outfits looked like together anymore.  This is my family and my whole heart.  I know that the days seem long but the years are short and these photos reminded me of that.  Kendall is four and James is one and I can remember the day each of them was born as if it were yesterday.  I am so incredibly lucky to be their mama {or "mom" as Kendall calls me these days}.  As for Jimmy?  He's stolen my heart all over again.  He's the one who keeps me sane, the one I can be silly with and the one who has my back no matter what.  I don't know where I'd be without him.


Outfit details:
Jimmy- Shirt//Jeans {similar}//Boots {similar}
Shannon- Dress//Vest//Boots {similar}
Kendall- Dress//Bow//Boots
James- Shirt//Pants//Shoes
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