Tuesday, July 31, 2012

beachgirls

I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful our weekend at the beach turned out to be. It was the first time since I've been married that I've taken a pleasure-trip without Josh and the first time since the girls were born that I've been to the beach without them. It was surreal, but boy did we have fun! We pulled out in Amanda's mini-van on Thursday night and made it to our condo in Gulf Shores around 11:30. One would think we would head straight to bed, but that was the first of many nights we barely missed the sun rise. There were eight girls in a three bedroom condo and we had a BLAST.

At last... @ashawie20 @a2campbell @kaminw Poolside... 481044_649207975440_1179439673_n
there was lots of beach laying, poolside sitting and balcony people watching
Hello, sunshine! How does a two hour wait sound? More of the same today :)
we saw sun and rain, waited hours for dinner and read lots of books
Book 2 for today... Yummy! 603511_649318708530_1513998060_n
we rented expensive lounge chairs, ate ice cream and shared magazines
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there were pre-dinner pedicures, blue skies and insane platters of nachos
486592_649451402610_1577294326_n 487069_4416991029936_891874800_n .
there were dr. peppers, late night desserts, olympic cheering and sisters
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we took self-portraits, had bay-side drinks and shopped our way home

IT. WAS. FUN.


Thanks, Ashley, Kamin, Elyse & Amanda -- 
I high-jacked lots of your photos from Instagram/Facebook!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fitness Friday: Bits & Pieces

For whatever reason, I've really struggled with this week's fitness post. Maybe it's because getting back into a routine has been hard and I'm not quite ready for summer to be over. Maybe it's because I was leaving for the beach (last night) and I couldn't focus on much else. Either way, I decided not to bore you with the details of my week other than to say I've eaten pretty well and managed to exercise a good bit this week. Wednesday was hard because of Bible study and an impromptu lunch with my best friend. I didn't get home until after 8:30 and I still had housework and packing to do. On Thursday, I was skipping lunch to leave a little early and still needed to make Josh & the girls some chicken salad for the weekend, iron their church clothes and give them some goodbye snuggles. Monday and Tuesday were great -- I ran at lunch both days and did Insanity with SD after work. I was a little more winded than I'd like to admit, but I did it and felt better because of it. Today, my muscles are nice and sore and I've almost shaken the caffeine withdrawal headache. When I get back from the beach, it's full on.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share some of my favorite fitness-related things in case you were interested. First up, apps.

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The iPhone has been a life-saver when it comes to keeping me on track and their are four apps that help me do it. I'm sure you're all aware of My Fitness Pal by now, but having the app on my phone made life so much easier. Although I'm not counting calories these days, it's still a nice resource to look up nutritional information and get meal ideas from other like-minded individuals. I loved the support and encouragement from my friends and it really helped keep me accountable. Couch to 5k was the next app I implemented. There are several free versions of this same concept, but I loved Active's app and it was relatively inexpensive and was well worth it. I did an 8 week plan which got you from a sedentary lifestyle to running a 5k (approximately 3 miles) in 30 minutes. There are 3 workouts per week, but on weeks I wanted to run more often, I just repeated a few of the workouts to give myself time to adjust to each level of difficulty. Once I was consistently running for 30 minutes at a time, I downloaded the free version of RunKeeper. Unlike Cto5k, I could determine any distance or time I wanted to run and, using the phone's GPS, it would track my distance, speed and pace and update you throughout the run. You can manually input treadmill workouts and the app emails you when you reach a new goal. This is probably my favorite of the health-related apps. At the recommendation of a friend, I recently downloaded another free app put out by Runner's World magazine called Smart Coach. This is more of a scheduling app, but I found it really helpful. I want to begin training for a 1/2 marathon this fall and the app helps to customize a training plan. You can determine the length of your training cycle (up to 16 weeks) and the distance you want to run. You also input a recent race time (or run a mile and input that time instead) and it will customize the distances and paces of your daily workouts. I've already created my training schedule for the fall and I can't wait to get started in October. When it isn't 100+ degrees outside!

I've also read a few books and subscribe to some great magazines that help keep me motivated. I know I told you about Dr. Cordain's book The Paleo Diet, but back in the spring I read Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running by Dagny Scott Barrios. I loved how the book outlined everything you ever wanted to know about running from beginner to advanced levels. It was an easy read and was anything but boring. I also picked up Running for Women by Kara Goucher (an Olympic distance runner) and plan to start that just as soon as I cruise through the remaining stack of fiction novels I accumulated for summer. I also got free subscriptions to Runner's World and Women's Running for signing up for a race in this fall. I'll admit that I don't devour them like I do U.S. Weekly or the Anthro catalog, but they are nice to browse and include lots of information about other aspects of health and wellness, too.

Are you looking for a blog to read? Mama Laughlin is hilarious and posts every Monday about her weight loss progress. Skinny Runner is my favorite running blog (although she's fishing on the family boat in Alaska right now and doing some family posts instead) and does great race recaps, product reviews and gives wonderful advice. Janae at The Hungry Runner Girl is a girl after my own heart and takes pictures of almost everything she eats. She is very pregnant right now and documenting how she manages to run and exercise with a baby bump. It's like fitness blog meets mommy blog - very inspiring.

Do you have any other sources of fitness inspiration? Blogs to recommend? Do tell...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Yay, for big girl beds!

Super excited

We've been talking about moving the girls into the same bed, ever since we moved them into the same room. It is well established that my children sleep MUCH better when snuggled up next to someone. Hence the many nights each week that someone ends up between their mommy and daddy or begging for some snuggle time before bed. We were hoping that letting them sleep together would provide us with much better sleep and a later start to our weekend mornings.

Big hugs in bed

To say they were excited is a little of an understatement! They knew on Friday that it was their last night in separate beds (although we're leaving the crib up for a few weeks in case of an emergency). On Saturday morning, we loaded up and ran to the storage building to pick up the bed frame and mattress that we've had since buying our house eight years ago. It's a full sized iron bed with lovely chippy green paint and plenty of rust showing through. Ella was confused about why I didn't want to paint it, but I am in love.

Reading in bed 3

We're using the striped quilt from her twin bed until I can find a replacement. The duvet cover is a floral Pottery Barn Kids number that was handed down from an older cousin several years ago. I just put a down blanket in it that I found on clearance at Walmart for $21. The white pillow cases have pink embroidered trim and were my great aunt's. I plan to have their initials monogrammed on them at some point. The ballerina sheets were a fast find at Homegoods on Friday afternoon. They were $24 for the set and we LOVE them. Even Sophie, who boycotts blankets most nights, wants to sleep under the ballerinas.

Ella & Sophie's new bed

On Sunday morning, Sophie walked into our room at 7 o'clock. If you know Taz, then you realize that it's pretty late for her. Ella had to be begged out of bed at 8:30 to get ready for church.

Reading in bed 2

On Sunday night, I realized after several hours that I forgot to replace Sophie's big girl panties with a pull up! I went into their room to quietly change her and found them all wrapped up together like a pretzel. I unwound them and changed her without waking anyone and as soon as I covered them back up, they turned into each other and wrapped their arms and legs around each other again. Success.

Reading in bed

I am working on a few other changes to their rooms in the next few weeks and hope to have a good old-fashioned room tour to share very soon. For now, here are a few of my favorite Instagram snaps of their new (old) bed!

Guess who's getting a big girl bed tomorrow? In progress... New sheets are in the dryer :). Ballerinas, owls and cabbage roses. Mix & match at its finest! .

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fiesta with Friends

On Saturday night, I got to help throw a Mexican-themed housewarming shower for my brother-in-law and his bride to be. They just bought a new house and have been renovating for the last several weeks. Somehow I managed NOT to take a picture of the happy couple, but I did get some great snaps of the yummy nacho bar we served.

Ashley Kristin Caycie & Beth
Ashley, Me, Caycie (my future sis-in-law) and Beth
Me with two of the other party-throwers and the bride to be, herself

Fiesta table 5

our scrum-dilly taco/nacho bar

Fiesta table 4

we served pulled chicken and seasoned beef with soft shells and corn chips

Fiesta table 3

we had Texas Caviar and fresh salsa

Fiesta table 2

homemade guacamole, cilantro mayo, taco sauces and pico de gallo

Fiesta table

 although I failed to photograph them, we also had a s'mores station
and a margarita bar set up outside, alongside fun games of
corn hole and washers for the boys to play while Caycie opened presents!

Kristin & SD at the Fiesta

a few of my favorites Instagram shots from the night

Throwing a party with @ashawie20, @bpscott, @caycie and @iluv88_ !! Sweet friends :). Yummy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pensacola, Round 2

Saturday is the day of the actual airshow (although Friday is exactly the same, it is technically the "dress rehearsal"). Crowds are heavier on Saturdays, you have to stake your spot on the beach at daybreak and you don't drive anywhere. If you plan on eating dinner on the island somewhere other than your condo, you should be prepared to walk there.

Unfortunately, it was only after we paid $45 each for three sets of beach chairs that we realized it would rain. ALL. DAY. LONG. We packed it up about 30 minutes into the day and ended up doing lots of reading, cartoon watching and balcony sitting. The majority of the airshow was cancelled, although we heard on the radio the Blue Angels might do their low show a few hours late. Bummer.

I had bought the girls super cute new patriotic bathing suits to wear for the day, but because of the rain they never even got unpacked. I was so sad, but we'll be sporting them for Labor Day instead.

After lunch, we were sitting on the balcony doing some people watching when Fat Albert flew by out of nowhere! The girls new exactly what that meant and they all scrambled to throw on a clean t-shirt and we ran downstairs to try and catch the action.

Air Show Family Pic


our attempt at a family picture / it was windy and Sophie was uncooperative

Ella & Ella wait


ella & bella hamming it up, as usual

Sophie & Ella


you've seen this already, but it might be my favorite picture with this girl

Sophie waits


sophie waiting very patiently for the Blue Angels

Sophie covers her ears


ever prepared...

Ella & Bella spot the Angels


the big girls spot them flying in over choppy water / see them just above Ella?

Blue Angels - Saturday 4

Fashion Faux Pois


i'm sorry to be mean, but I couldn't resist / this was straight out of 1982

Daddy & Sophie - Saturday


can you believe she fell asleep again?

Blue Angels - Saturday 3

Blue Angels - Saturday 2

Blue Angels - Saturday


Waiting for the Ferris Wheel Ella & Bella


all weekend the girls begged to ride the Ferris Wheel
Ella is a scaredy cat, so I expected her to bail at the last minute, but she did great!

Ferris Wheel Family Pic


family pic, complete with big beach hair ;)

Bull, Caycie & Bella


caycie, isabella & bull

Ferris Wheel with girls 2


three VERY excited little girls

Ferris Wheel View 3


a view of the public beach

Ferris Wheel View 2


the shorter condo building is where we stayed

Ferris Wheel View

Ferris Wheel with girls

Ferris Wheel at night

isn't it pretty at night? you can get an idea of its size when you see the palm trees!


Our trip was way too short, but we had a wonderful time. We were lazy and ate great food and got to spend some great quality time with our grandparents. And, as usual, we managed NOT to get them in a single picture. There's always next year, right?