Friday, August 31, 2012

30 Day Challenge: Week 4 Check-In

Having a 30 day fitness challenge wrap up on Labor Day was either my dumbest idea ever...or my most brilliant. I can't decide. 

For me, the next 4 days will be filled with hotdogs, hamburgers, beers and s'mores and it just doesn't seem right to not participate in all the deliciousness. As soon as Eric lights that fire my mouth will be watering for what's to come. And you know damn well he isn't roasting a salad on that fire :-)

4 weeks ago, I would have said, "Who cares! It's a holiday! I'll work it off after the weekend!"

But now that I have been exercising and trying to eat healthier for
 27 DAYS STRAIGHT...

There is no turning back now. I would be so angry with myself if I just threw all that hard work out the window right at the end of this challenge.

So you see...this was a BRILLIANT idea!! We've all worked so hard...none of us are going to want to give up now!!! At least that's what I hope the rest of the group is thinking. Ha!

Now, it's not like I'm going to turn down a hotdog or a s'more this weekend, but I am definitely going to eat those things in moderation. I have already camped once during this challenge and I know I can do workouts in the camper. We also plan to do lots of swimming, canoeing and running around so that will help too. And of you know what the BEST motivation is for me to finish strong?

The fact that I have lost those pesky few pounds that kept me from fitting into my SKINNY JEANS!

That's right guys...I zipped those bad boys up tonight and they fit just the way I remembered them back in May. Oh, it felt so good. I wish I would have had somewhere to go tonight...but I didn't so I slipped back into to my sweats. But at least now I know that when it's time to put them on for school this week...they will zip and I will feel comfortable and proud :-)

I know that losing some weight is exciting, but like I've said a million times throughout this challenge, the real goal was just to exercise more and eat healthier and hopefully make it a routine. I can honestly say now that this new routine is going to stick around for a while, but ONLY because I have this fantastic group of buddies in the Operation LGN {Look Good Naked} group that have been motivating me in SO MANY ways. 

So that's why we are going to keep the group alive even after this challenge ends on Monday. The new group name will be Operation LGN For Life and we are taking new members!! Ha! If you have been checking in with me over the last few weeks and really want to jump into the group, we would love to have you. I think we have all decided to set our own personal goals for the next 30 days. Several ladies are either starting or completing the Couch to 5K program and I know they are all doing great supporting each other and sharing their successes. I will be in full-blown Half-Marathon training {again} so my goal will be to continue that and work extra hard on my cross training. I know my Mom is still hoping to lose some weight (as are a few other ladies) so that will be their challenge for the next month. 

And since I have really, really enjoyed checking in each week, I thought it might be fun to do a little Fitness Fridays segment on the blog. I know the title is nothing original, and I am sure somewhere in the blogosphere there are others doing the same thing. But oh well! It's a catchy name :-) I just thought it might be fun and motivating to have a day where I post any success stories, share recipes and workouts, post a couple motivational quotes I've pinned on Pinterest, etc. And if enough if you are interested, we could even make it a link-up thing?? It's always fun to share :-)

And speaking of sharing...I thought I would post a couple things for all of you before the weekend.

If you are like me and planning to camp and/or attend a barbecue for Labor Day...here are some great tips I found on FitSugar for cutting calories...


And...if you are looking for a great new workout to try at home this weekend, I just completed Jilian Michael's Yoga Meltdown and LOVED IT!!! I bought the DVD from Target, but one of the workouts is actually online for free!!


Now don't be fooled or intimidated by the name. There are yoga poses in this workout...but it's Jilian Michael's style so she will kick your bootie. I loved it and so did Addie. Would you believe that little chick did the ENTIRE video with me? She even learned the word Namaste today :-)


What a doll.

Well that's all I have for you today guys!! Thanks for following along with this challenge! I will do a final 30-Day Challenge post after the weekend and hopefully post a bunch of the great success stories from all my new fitness buddies :-) Yay!

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

That Time I Went A Whole Day Without the Internet

Last night, my students and I had the greatest conversation about the Internet.

We were on the subject of social media and almost the entire class was in agreement that social media has enriched their lives in some way. One woman found her husband online, another handful of students said that social media is the only reason they've kept in touch with family and friends, several others said that it's opened up fantastic career opportunities, etc.  

But like all conversations about the Internet...things quickly went in another direction. Suddenly we were talking about Dateline's To Catch a Predator and telling horror stories about Facebook. We started talking about people who have been fired from their jobs based on things that were written online. We shared our fears about our children and what they can do online now. A student also informed me about the millions of websites that teach people how to make bombs.

Scary freaking shit.

And then anther student, one of my adult learners, said that what disturbs her most are all of these people who are sitting around blogging about their lives instead of actually LIVING them. Now...this student has no idea that I blog. I obviously don't share that information (for good reason) but I felt like she was speaking right to me. Like those words were for me and me alone.

I felt guilty.

Early that morning, when Addie saw me checking Facebook on my phone, she rolled her eyes at me.

SERIOUSLY!! She rolled her eyes at me. The same way Eric does when he sees me on my phone. And I know I'm on it too much. I always try to defend myself by reminding him that I run a business online. That I manage a class website and communicate with my students online. That I manage our finances online. Blah blah blah.

And even though all of that is true...I know I am guilty of wasting time too. I don't need to check in on Facebook and Twitter every damn hour. I don't need to sit and pin recipes while my kids eat lunch. I don't need to sacrifice a peaceful evening with my husband to make freaking holiday printables.

I don't need to ANY of that.

Some days I do it because it brings me joy. I like to brag about my kids and post cute pictures. I like to read other's people's blogs and get inspired. I like to browse Pinterest and feel productive when I've planned next week's menu. I like start Facebook fitness groups and check in every day to cheer people on. The Internet does bring me a lot of joy. Which is why I will never give it up for good.

BUT...what this student said last night really struck a cord with me. I realize I don't have to give up all these things I love to do online, but I do need to find balance. I need to learn to put down my phone, shut of the computer, and remember that no one cares if I didn't post a status update or blog all day. The world will still go on.

So that's what I did today. I left my phone in the other room, I shut my computer down for the first time in weeks and just hung out with my kiddies. We ran errands, played outside, packed up our camper, took a little scooter ride, cleaned the house, did some coloring...and I didn't take one Instagram photo or post one update about the day (even though I wanted to show everyone Addie's latest drawing).

And strangely enough...I didn't really miss it! It actually felt kind a nice to step away from it all. The blog. The shop. Facebook. Twitter. All of it. I accomplished so much today and I just felt like my head was in a better place.

But then 10:00 came and since my house is clean, my workout is done and everyone is asleep...I figured it wouldn't hurt to hop online now. Right?

Right :-)

Clearly I've learned nothing today. Haha!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A "Good Morning Chart" For Toddlers & Preschoolers

One of my absolute FAVORITE blogs to read is I Heart Organizing. I have been following Jen for a while because she is so adorable, so organized and so put together...I just love all her fresh ideas and if I could hire ANYONE (besides Martha Stewart) to come decorate and organize my house...it would be her :-)

Well this week, she is having a fabulous link party that is right up my alley and I thought it would be fun to join in!

IHeart Organizing

This week on her blog, Jen is sharing all of her amazing back-to-school organizing tips, along with a lot of great free printables. And since free printables are sorta my thing...I though I'd share one of my own this week for the link-up!!!

If you've ever visited Jen's blog before, you know that she already created a fantastic morning and bedtime chart for her kids (and many of you may have already pinned them on Pinterest). I actually printed the bedtime chart for Addie ages ago because it follows our usual bedtime routine.

And even though my kid's sleep schedule is going to take some serious work over the next week or two, our biggest challenge this school year is going to be our morning routine. Addie is in school 3 days a week and Blake and I are going to have our own schedule to follow. This summer, the kids have had the luxury of staying in their jammies until 10:00am (or all day), we've missed some morning teeth brushing sessions, and we are still working on the potty training with Blake (and still having to remind Addie to go before we leave the house). So as much as I would love to just use Jen's fantastic morning chart, I needed to make one that suits my younger kids just a little more. For example, getting dressed is the last thing we do before leaving (because between brushing our teeth and eating breakfast...the kids are sure to slop on their clothes). Going potty is also towards the end of our routine so that we can take care of that right before getting in the car. I also added one little morning chore because I think making their bed is something they can both handle (or at least we will see :-)

Also, you will notice that my chart has spaces for either check marks, smiley faces or stickers. My kids are VERY sticker-motivated and I thought it might make the routine that much more fun for them.

So here is a peek at the charts I made for the kids. I made them their own, of course, because they will want to put on their own stickers or check marks :-)



And if you have toddlers/preschoolers in your house that aren't quite in full-time school yet, hopefully you will find this Good Morning Chart helpful too!! So with that in mind, I also created some blank charts that you can download here for a girl and here for a boy!



Happy Back-to-School everybody! Be sure to check out all of the other AWESOME back-to-school organizing links on Jen's post. My printer is gonna be busy today :-)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Weekend in a Nutshell: A Laid Back Anniversary

Happy Monday everyone!! For the first time in a long time, I don't have 8,000 pictures to share from our weekend. We did celebrate our anniversary, but we did it in a very low-key way this year.

Okay...maybe it wasn't totally low key. Eric did take me to the Sox vs. Yankees game on Wednesday :)


We had Diamond Suite seats and let me just tell you guys...it was the best view I've ever had at a sox game. So freaking awesome.


And the best part was that they won, sweeping the Yankees :-)


I thought the baseball game (and the incredible dessert cart) was a great way to celebrate our anniversary alone. But we really did look forward to celebrating it again with the kids over the weekend.

Because we had such a busy week with the game and Nia's birthday party, we decided to just chill friday night. Eric watched ESPN, the kids watched the Lorax and I finally caught up on all my magazines :-)


And then Saturday was our special day!! I woke up early and made Eric breakfast, and he came in and surprised me with something pretty special...



These are the Frye boots I have been dying over for probably two years. I have always held back because of the price (I mean...you can honestly get 3 nice pairs of boots for the price of these bad boys). But I mean just look at them...they are GORGEOUS!!! And everyone who owns Fryes tell me that they are worth every penny because you will have them for years and years. My mom's friend Lynne even told me that I would probably still have these boots to hand down to Addie. Well that was enough to convince me to keep them. But there was just one problem...

THEY DIDN'T FIT! 

I have bigger calves and boots have been a challenge for me in the past. Well now that I have been running so much, it seems they are even bigger and these beautiful boots just barely went over my bare legs. That means no leggings or skinny jeans would ever work in them. I was CRUSHED!! And so was Eric, who thought he had scored the perfect gift (which he did).

Now, I did see that they make this style in an extended size for larger calves but some of the reviews said they were too big. So who knows. I ordered the new size and I am going to give them a go. If they fit, WONDERFUL!! If they don't...I'm taking it as a sign that I don't need them. Fingers crossed!

***

So after a nice breakfast and a boot fashion show, Eric and I decided we should probably take advantage of our day off together and get some stuff done around the house. We cleaned our garage (which felt wonderful for both of us), we cleaned the basement and I found another HUGE stack of things for my blog sale AND we cleaned up the backyard. We are retiring the kid's blow-up pool for the year because we have sufficiently killed enough grass with that thing. Ha!

Eric and I figured it was okay to spend the day doing chores because we would have all night to eat pizza and watch our video with the kids. But unfortunately, Eric got called into work for an emergency and ended up getting home a little late. But to make up for it, he cooked us a DELICIOUS steak dinner last night and all was right with the world :-)

***

Now, we may have had a laid back weekend around here, but the week ahead is look the exact opposite!!! Lots and lots to do, all leading up to our last summer camping trip at our club. It's the last weekend the beach is open and we really want to take advantage of it, especially since Addie is back to school next week too.

Oh how I can't wait for that!!! ROUTINE!!!! Oh how I've missed you :-)

So...what did everyone else do this weekend?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

6 Years & Counting: A Peek at Our Wedding Day

It's amazing to think that Eric and I have already been married for six years. It feels like only yesterday that Dana was setting the two of us up on our first date :-)

I realized not long ago that I have never really blogged much about our wedding. Sure, I've had some pictures here and there, but I've never really given any details of our big day. So with that in mind, I thought it might be fun to take a little peek at our wedding day to celebrate our anniversary :-)

***

Like most girls...I had been dreaming about my wedding day since I was a little girl. So when I had finally found the love of my life, it was only natural to move things right along. Eric and I were engaged just 10 months after being set up on our first date.


And because Eric and I liked to go big or go home, we planned our wedding for August 25th...just 7 months after he popped the question. It meant we had to get moving with plans right away.

My BFF Tara was also getting married so we wasted no time hitting the bridal shops looking for the perfect dress.


And then before I knew it, it was time for our showers and our families spoiled us rotten.


And really...what's a wedding without a bachelorette party?? This is the only picture appropriate enough for my blog. Just saying...


And then the big day came and despite being a little hot...it was everything I dreamed it would be.

Our ceremony and reception were held at the same place in a beautiful mansion in our hometown. 


We had our reception outside in a gorgeous garden...



And our reception inside in the mansion's ballroom. 


I know it's silly, but one of the things I stressed most about when planning the wedding was deciding on favors. I wanted the PERFECT favor and when I finally came across little wine bottles that we could customize with our own label...I was sold. They also made little bottles of cider for the underage crowd :-)


My wedding cake was absolutely gorgeous and exactly what I asked for. I told her I wanted polkadots, plaid, swirls and flowers...all of my favorite patterns...and she totally delivered. It was almost too pretty to eat :-)


And then of course there's the most important detail...the dress. 


Oh my dress. I fell in love with it the minute I saw it.


The sash, the bubble hem, the buttons...every detail was perfect. 

In fact, the whole DAY was perfect!!! We spent it with our families...



And our closest friends...



All of which were there to celebrate with us, support us, and help us with our shoes...


Eric and I would have loved to have asked every friend and family member to stand up with us, but we kinda only had room for 8 on each side (plus our ushers). Haha! But seriously...have you ever seen such a good lookin wedding party?


There are so many moments from that day that I can't remember (like what I had for dinner, where I put my shoes at the end of the night, etc), but there are a select few that I will never EVER forget.

Like watching everyone arrive...


Or walking down the isle with my Daddy-O...


Seeing Eric at the alter for the first time...


Looking out over all of our friends and family...


Kissing Eric for the first time as husband and wife.


The father/daughter dance...


The mother/son dance...


Our first dance to Train's "Get to Me"...



Our wedding party dance to Dean Martin's "Ain't That a Kick in the Head"


The speeches our Maid of Honor and Best Man gave...


Slicing into our beautiful cake...


Laughing our butts off when my brother Adam caught the garter. He married Di three months later :)


I suppose the reason I don't remember much from the rest of the night is because I was busy dancing my bootie off.


And making ridiculous faces while doing so.


In fact most of our wedding guests were on that dance floor all night. 


And some of us even had a few routines planned. Ha!


And when the cocktails started flowing and everyone was busting a move...


My Uncle Jimmy came out to play the accordion...which is a huge Mueller tradition.


We polka...


And we do "The Hokie Pokie"


I mean...that's what it's all about {clap clap}

After a night of celebrating and dancing...everyone was pooped. We found our parents having a beer outside...


And that's when Eric and I made our escape...


But not before one last smooch.


Well I hope you guys had fun taking a walk down memory lane with us! Tonight, to celebrate our anniversary, Eric and I are ordering some pizza and then we are going to watch our wedding DVD with the kids. I think Addie will get a kick out of watching it and we hope it puts Blake to sleep. hahaha!!

6 Years of happiness and counting...