May 26, 2016

Backyard Summer Fun!

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Mom It Forward Blogger Network and H2OGO! but all my opinions are my own.

Summa summa summa time, summa time.

That's the first thing that pops into my head on the first 80 degree day we have here in Ohio.  I love summer, I live for summer.  My kids are spoiled rotten with activities from about May-September and I make no apologies for that.  I want them outside all the time.  I want all the vitamin D.  I love the warm sun on my face.  I love the early mornings and the late nights.  Summer is my favorite.

Last summer we were flooded with things to do and while it was exhausting at times, I wouldn't change it for the world.  We made so many fun memories last year and I can only hope this summer can measure up.  We camped, we boated, we vacationed with friends, we hit up the beach, we ate too many s'mores but most of all we had fun.

One thing I want to do differently this summer is to have more backyard fun.  Going to the zoo and pool and splash pads {oh my!} are fun but so is playing right in our backyard.  The best part of backyard fun is it's far less stress.  Need to go to the potty?  Go right inside.  Need a snack? Let me grab one from the kitchen.  Ready for a nap?  Your room is right down the hall.  There's no packing a bag and snacks and change of clothes and enough water, we have everything right at our fingertips at home.  Plus, we have a pretty amazing yard.


Yesterday we had our first 80 degree, blue skies, sun shinning day so I told the kids we could finally set up the water slide they've been eye-balling since it arrived in the mail last week.  Day one of backyard fun commenced.  It was amazing.  They played on that thing from lunch until bedtime yesterday only to break for snacks, potty and nap {for James}.  They loved jumping on the "pillow".  Bear puppy was so confused, he thought the sprayers were a drinking fountain for him.

Last night, once we settled down for the night, Kendall said to me, "Mom, we have the best house.  We have the water slide, a sand table, a swing set, the bounce house, soccer balls, bubbles, chalk, jump ropes. We  have everything!".  And she's right, we do. We have it all right here in our backyard {here's a snap from our yard last night}.

video

Gorgeous right?  I mean we need a whole team of landscapers to come out and maintain it BUT it's so pretty in the summer.  It's shaded but gets sun in all the right spots {like right where I was standing/laying out yesterday}.  We have one acre but lucky for us it's all farmland behind/to the side of us so it seems like it's much bigger.

We live in the country, if you couldn't tell, so we spend a lot of time driving places.  Anything "fun" takes us at least 20-30 minutes to get to and while it's worth it some days other days it would be nice to just stick around here.  As Kendall mentions, we have more than enough to keep us busy here.  I am notorious for thinking the grass is greener when it comes to doing things outside of the home.  I always think everyone else has a better house, the kids have more fun here/there, and I have no real reason for thinking that way.  So this year I am determined to have an amazing summer right here in our very own backyard. Who knows, maybe I'll even get crazy and host a weekly family dinner under the string lights like The Bravermans.

Does this sound like a tradition you'd like to adopt too?  H2OGO! wants to help!  One lucky reader will be chosen to win the three person water slide that's pictured above.  To be entered to win leave me a comment telling me what YOUR favorite outdoor summer activity is. Good luck!

May 25, 2016

SO WHAT! Wednesday

This week I'm saying SO WHAT if...

  • I have never seen Bridget Jones' Diary or My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  
  • I thought The Bachelorette was a total snoozefest this week.  None of the guys are even THAT hot...
  • All I've had time for is SWW posts lately.  Sorry, guys.
  • We moved James to his big boy bed on Monday and I'm kinda loving it so far.
  • I think chevron is overplayed.
  • I love the way James talks right now and pretty much think everything he says is the cutest.
  • I prefer to hand wash my truck vs take it to a car wash.
  • I suck at returning movies to Redbox.
  • The Day The Crayons Came Home is my favorite kids book.
  • I laid out on the kids slip n' slide yesterday while they napped.
  • I am so ready for Kendall to be done with school. I know I'll be kicking myself for saying that in a couple of weeks but for now I can't wait.
  • We were away, alone, without any kids for just over 24 hours this weekend and it wasn't long enough.
  • The only reason I like pedicures is for the foot rub.
  • I've been reading the same book for months.  I keep falling asleep.
  • I missed Saturday of 22MHC and I'm OK with it.
  • I hate the word "haters".
  • I kind of look forward to nights when Jimmy works late so I can watch all the trash TV I want.
What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?

May 20, 2016

Currently...

Currently I am...

  • Reading: The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty.  So I've been reading this for a while now and I'm still not even a quarter of the way through it.  That's not to say I'm not enjoying it though, I am.  There are a lot of characters in this story and it's kind of hard to remember who's who {probably b/c I fall asleep every time I read it}.  I am very much enjoying the story, though, and it's definitely keeping me wanting to read more.
  • Watching: I said the other day that I'm hooked {again} on Grey's Anatomy.  The past, I don't know, 2-3 seasons have been a snoozefest {for me} and the only reason I've kept watching is because I've seen every episode since March 27, 2005.  But this season is like whoa!  Winning me back, reeling me in, and I love it.  I love the dynamic between Amelia and Owen. I can't wait to see what happens with Jackson and April.  Miranda and her husband, OMG.  I mean I am obsessed {note I have not watched last nights episode so shhhh...}.
  • Wearing: Do you have a signature scent?  I do- Philosophy Amazing Grace.  I've literally been wearing this same perfume since college.  I love it. It's simple, clean, fresh and a little bit girly.  Any time my mom smells it she thinks of me and now she says Kendall smells like it when she sees her too.  
  • Following: I've already told you I'm addicted to Snapchat lately {late to the game, I know} and there are two people I just love following- Bethenny Frankel and Brett Eldredge.  Bethenny keeps it real.  She is a business woman when she needs to be, a mom when she needs to be and hilarious all the time.  I love her.  Brett is just hilarious.  Like I want to call him up for a good time because his snaps alone make me laugh.  Oh and his bedhead jams?  Major swoon!
  • Working out: If you follow me on social media you know I've been doing 22 Minute Hard Corps for the last {almost} two weeks.  You guys I had NO INTEREST in this program when it was released.  Everyone on my team was so excited about it and bought it the day it became available, not me.  Then when I posted, asking for suggestions for my next program, everyone started saying "22MHC!!!!" and I cringed a bit.  BUT I cannot say enough how much I love it.  I've always said PiYo was my love language but I'm starting to rethink that now.  This program delivers!  I am already seeing results in less than two weeks, it's ONLY 22 minutes, and it's a total body, serious calorie burning workout.  I cannot wait for my end results.  
  • Drinking: Gimme all the coffee.  Literally I alternate between coffee and water most days {sad but true}.  Because I'm trying to be more mindful with my food I am working on perfecting my Starbucks order {no more caramel macchiatos for this girl}.  So currently I'm doing a grande Americano with three pumps classic and it's pretty freakin' good.  Sometimes I'll add a splash of coconut milk if I'm feeling frisky.  
  • Counting down to: DAVE MATTHEWS BAND tomorrow!  Tomorrow morning Jimmy and I are dropping the kids off and headed two hours north to see DMB and I cannot wait.  I mean I love DMB but I am more excited about 24 hours kid free, with my best friend.  We even got a hotel room and man do I love some continental breakfast!  WOO!
  • Craving: Organization.  I am so not a list person but I've been making a list all week and checking things off.  I also found this article on Pinterest and need to implement a lot of these tips into my daily life.
  • Listening to:  Tristan Prettyman.  She's kind of me and Jimmy's "thing".  He introduced me to her when we first started dating and asked me to be his girlfriend while playing her song 'You Got Me'.  We saw her in concert once and she was awesome.  Lots of Tristan Prettyman will be played on our road trip tomorrow.
  • Obsessing over:  Have you guys heard of Sand Cloud Towels?  They are the most gorgeous towels/blankets EVER.  they are committed to preservation and 10% of sales go toward protecting beaches, oceans and marine life {I love companies like this}. And when you use my link you get 25% off your first purchase! Check out their IG for some amazing photos. 
Do you like these types of posts?  My friend Laura posted one the other day and I enjoy seeing what other people are loving right now and find lots of new products this way!  Happy Friday!

May 18, 2016

SO WHAT! Wednesday

This week I'm saying SO WHAT if...

  • Character clothing doesn't bother me anymore.  I know a lot of moms cringe but whatever, makes my kids happy and less drama getting dressed.  Happy kids=happy life...wait...
  • We don't own bikes and I want to start being a bike-riding family.
  • I just found out about Kodiak Cakes protein pancakes and I've eaten them every day for a week now.
  • I am hooked on Greys Anatomy all over again.  The past few seasons have been a snooze but this one is winning me over again.
  • I keep checking the forecast hourly to make sure  the weather is going to be nice for DMB this Saturday.  CANNOT WAIT.
  • I can't get enough coffee in my life lately.
  • I'm back to counting macros full time and loving it.
  • I really hope they pick a new co-host for Kelly {Live! With Kelly} soon.  I hope it doesn't take as long as it did when they picked Michael.
  • I'm selling all baby items and declaring us done having babies.
  • I have a slight obsession with growing my hair out right now.  I have been taking maximum strength biotin and just got shampoo and conditioner that's supposed to make your hair grow too.
  • We are going to transform James's room into a big boy room this weekend.  I have a love/hate relationship with this transition.
  • I have a Nook but I prefer to read physical books.
  • I kinda sorta want a new engagement ring/upgrade.  Shh...don't tell Jimmy.
What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?

May 11, 2016

SO WHAT! Wednesday

This week I'm saying SO WHAT if...

  • I've only done two days of 22 Minute Hard Corps and I am IN LOVE with this program.  My goodness I didn't think it was possible.  
  • I'm eating leftover stir-fry for breakfast.
  • I dropped the ball on ordering Mother's Day gifts and they are arriving this week.  Better late than never, right?
  • I had no idea Pinkalicious had other books {Aqualicious, Purplelicious, Emeraldlicious} until yesterday.  So we got one of each from the library.
  • I don't see what the big deal with Justin Bieber's face tattoo.  Are we really surprised by anything he does anymore?
  • I want to be friends with Brett Eldredge.  Do you follow him on Snapchat?  Flipping hilarious!
  • If it rains one more day I might die.
  • I thought the 6ft iPhone charger cords Jimmy bought were stupid.  And then I was on the treadmill and charging my phone and realized it's freakin' genius!
  • I'm anxious to see if they do anything special for Michael's {Live With Kelly & Michael} last day on Friday
  • I'm obsessed with the playlist I'm making for Jimmy and I to listen to on our way to the Dave Matthews concert next week.
  • I want a new blog design again. already.
  • Jimmy and I are on a total purge kick right now.  I want all the clutter gone.  Last time we did this we rented a dumpster and filled it.  I kinda want to do that again.
  • I'm so bad about backing up my phone and I have no idea what the cloud is.
What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?


May 10, 2016

T25 Round Two

Last week I finished my second round of Focus T25 and I feel great.  It's been exactly two years since I did the program entirely and man did it feel good to sweat and be sore again.  I missed it, truly.

Through the winter I literally get SADD.  I haven't been diagnosed or anything {WebMD to the rescue} but I know my mood changes from about Nov-Feb.  I have little energy, I don't want to go outside, I want to just go to bed and wake up when it's warm.  It affects all areas of my life and I hate that {one day we will live in a warmer state}.

This winter I literally wanted nothing to do with working out.  I didn't want to break a sweat.  I didn't feel like exerting myself physically.  I definitely had no interest in cardio activity.  That was when I turned to yoga.  I need some sort of physical activity in my life or my waistline would pay for it and yoga was right up my alley.  It was just what I needed at the time and I am so thankful I spent two solid months practicing.  I learned a lot about myself during that time.  It was a beautiful thing but once March rolled around I knew I needed more.

I started seeing my T25 pics showing up in Timehop from two years ago.  I started to feel motivated by myself- which is so crazy.  I get emails and comments all the time from people who say that my journey has inspired them but never, not once, have I ever felt inspired by myself.  Seeing all that I accomplished back then, the changes I made, the way my body responded, the motivation I had, it all lit a fire in me that I hadn't had for months.  And so I started T25 again.


I wasn't thrilled with these before pictures. I was mad at what I had let happen over a couple months after finishing my yoga practice. I just started eating whatever, not really tracking when I know how important it is {to me} to track my food.  So the belly fat, the back fat, the cellulite, it was all bad, bad, bad.  But I was hopeful T25 would "fix" all of that.

OK so maybe it didn't "fix" everything but it did get rid of that back fat!  My belly is more firm/flat {I doubt it will ever be FLAT}.  My skin altogether looks tighter/less doughy.  But this transformation isn't HUGE, I know that.  The thing the pictures don't show is my endurance.  My stamina over the last ten weeks has been a huge change.  I was carrying James on my back, uphill, last week and I wasn't even slightly winded. Heck, I was even singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while I did it and I was thinking how ten weeks prior it would have been a different scene. It's the little things like that where I'm like, "OK changes are being made, even if I don't see them".  

I love T25.  It gets your heart rate up, keeps it up, burns insane calories and is great whether you are a beginner {there's a modifier} or more advanced.  It mixes everything- cardio, weights, full body, and that's why I love it so much.  Shaun T is an awesome motivator but I found that muting him and turning on my own workout mix helped me get more amped up and I actually found that I burned more calories when I did that vs when I listen to his cues {sorry Shaun}.  And, it's only 25 minutes, everybody got time for that. 

Now these "after" pictures are becoming my "befores" as I started 22 Minute Hard Corps yesterday.  This program is the first new program I've started in nearly two years and I am excited.  I've done a few of Tony Horton's workouts, here and there, but none of them in their entirety so I can't wait to see what he's all about.  Everyone raves about him so I'm sure I'll love him too.  

Stay tuned!

May 5, 2016

All Worth It

Mother's Day is this weekend {yay moms!!!}.  For as long as I can remember I've wanted to be a mom.  I can remember being as young as 8-years-old, sitting on my best friends living room floor, going through the JCP catalog picking out all the "stuff" for my "baby".  I would circle what crib set I would buy, what stroller I thought was the cutest, outfits, highchairs, carseats, you name it.  I couldn't wait to become a mom.

I became a mom five and a half years ago and my world was forever changed {cliche mom saying}.  All I wanted to do was be with my baby and be a mom.  My dream of becoming a stay at home mom happened almost exactly four years ago.  It hasn't been all that I thought it would be but it is worth it.  There have been days where I've thought, "maybe I should go back to work, this 'ish is too hard".  I have cried, I have felt defeated, I have yelled, I have acted exactly how I tell my kids not to act.  This is by far the hardest "job" I have ever had.  We have our challenging days {lost of them, actually} but they are barely a blip on the radar compared to our amazing days.  The good outshines the bad every time and I know this is where I am supposed to be.

Every morning when I pack Kendall's lunch I have a "OMG I'm a real mom" moment.  Every time.  Same is true for when I say "yes" to becoming a co-leader of Girl Scouts {more on that later}.  If you're a mom you know what I'm talking about.  Those defining moments in time where you know it is worth it and this is IT.  This is what you've been waiting for your whole life.  Or maybe that's just me.

I know some people think the dream of being a stay-at-home-mom sounds predictable, unfulfilling, mundane, rinse & repeat- it's not for everyone, I know that.  But this is what I wanted.  I wanted the sleepless nights, the days of not showering, the trips to the pediatrician, the loud and annoying toys, the days where the crying seems endless.  But I also wanted to be the first face they saw when they woke up, the one to come to all the school parties, the one who gave a mid-day snuggle, and the one that listens when they come home from school and had a "bad day". Those things make it worth it to me.

I didn't have a stay-at-home-mom when I was younger.  Both of my parents worked and my babysitter was our next door neighbor.  I love and appreciate my parents and wouldn't change a thing about my childhood.  I am thankful they both worked to provide me with everything I needed {and wanted at times}.  I never went without anything.  I never felt any less loved or less wanted or less cared for because I had two working parents.  I didn't think my mom was any less of a mom because she worked outside of the home eight hours a day.  For our family it was worth it for my mom and dad to work and I know that to be true of many families today.

Moms come in all shapes and sizes.  We all have our own way of doing things.  Some of us co-sleep, some of us cloth diaper, some of us are baby-wearers, some of us believe in spanking some of us bottle-feed, and some of us home-school but we all have one thing in common; we are all moms.  We all have our things that are worth doing for our kids.  We are all doing the best we can and the best we know how.  

So, whatever type of mom you are, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY.  You're doing it and you are doing one hell of a job.  YOU deserve to be celebrated however you choose whether that means spending the day with your kids or having a completely kid-free day.  You do YOU, mom.