Category Archives: Family Time

Happy 2017!

2016 was a year of crazy politics, a few big changes for us as a family, and unfortunately, a year of sadness.  We lost two close friends.  They both died too young, leaving those of us who loved them behind to try to move on through life without them.

Needless to say, I was ready for the new year.  I know that time marches on and January 1st is just another day, but it does always feel like a new slate and new beginning to me.

So far, 2017 has been fun.  For starters, our beautiful Katie Bug has turned 15!

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I do not understand how this has happened.  Because, for real, she looked like this yesterday, right?

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We had an awesome game night to celebrate her special day and then a family dinner out at her favorite italian restaurant.  I realize that she will soon be driving, but in a pretend sort of way.  I’m not really letting that in on the radar yet.  Because, as I said, she should still look like this…

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Brian was able to enjoy 11 whole days off over the holidays.  He had been working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day for a VERY LONG time and we had thought he might have to work through the holidays, but it turned out that he was able to be off and thank goodness for that because he needed a break.  We really enjoyed all the down time at home with just the 4 of us.  So thankful for his job and the security it brings, but it’s nice to be able to have a break once in a while.

I try not to set resolutions anymore because honestly, mine are always the same.  Be healthy.  Be happy.  So, it’s really more of a regrouping and refocusing for me.  With that being said, 2017 is going to be the year that I finally attempt Intermittent Fasting.

Say whaaaaa????

Yep, intermittent fasting.  It kind of goes against everything you’ve ever been taught about eating, so you may think I’ve lost my mind here, but bear with me.

What is intermittent fasting, you ask?  Well, to put it most simply, it is just fasting for a certain time period every day.  There are couple of different ways you can approach it, but I’ll just talk about the way I’ll be doing it.

Basically, I have a time window from noon to 8 PM that I can eat.  Nothing after 8:00 and nothing until noon the next day.  Pretty simple, right?  But now you’re wondering why I would do that when I’ve been preaching for the last 4 years about eating within an hour of waking!!!

Well, I kept seeing posts on Instagram from some of the fitness accounts I follow talking about Intermittent Fasting.  I ignored it mostly at first because…well….the whole “fasting” part sounded awful.  Then I started getting more intrigued, but didn’t really have time to fully investigate, so I just kind of read things here and there and kept it tucked away in the back of my mind.  I didn’t really want to jump into it without doing my research first.

Now that I’ve had time to research it, I’ve decided to give it a fair try.  And if you’re wondering why I would want to subscribe to this seemingly crazy method, well, I have two pretty simple reasons.

First, it is going to majorly simplify my life.  If you are a meal planner, you know how agonizing it can be to sit there in front of a blank piece of paper and come up with 3 meals a day plus snacks that are quick, healthy, and that you are not sick to death of eating.  Especially on days when I’m not feeling particularly creative or when I have a million other things on my mind.  I just sit there and stare at my blank meal plan while the seconds tick by and everything else I need to be doing gets left behind.  With intermittent fasting, breakfast is eliminated.  In the morning, instead of getting up and immediately fixing myself something to eat, I just fix a cup of coffee (yeah, coffee is allowed.  Black coffee.  My fave).  I then can do my morning chores, get the girls up for school, start a load of laundry, do my daily devotion, my workout, etc.

The second reason I’m giving IF a try is that working out on an empty stomach, in simplest terms, will burn fat that is already stored in my body instead of burning off the nutrients that I consumed at breakfast.  I’m not really changing what I eat but only WHEN I eat.  Obviously by cutting out a meal, I will be consuming less calories, but it’s not a matter of restricting this or that.  It’s just:  You don’t eat until this time.  And you stop after this time.  Way easier than dieting, in my opinion.

Are you worried about being hungry or feeling too sluggish to get through a workout on an empty stomach?  I was too.  The first two days, it did feel weird, I’m not gonna lie.  I have been a faithful breakfast eater for years.  I’m not a night eater, so not eating after 8:00 isn’t hard.  But I always eat first thing upon waking, so that has been odd.  But today was my 3rd day and I actually felt awesome this morning.  I think like anything else, it’s just an adjustment that you have to make.

So, that’s the biggest change I am trying to make in 2017.  And it’s really more of an experiment a this point.  I want to see what it does or doesn’t do for me and how it makes me feel/affects fat loss.  In the initial stage so far, I am just loving the fact that I don’t have to plan out as many meals.  It’s kind of pathetic how excited I am about that part of it, actually.

Today was chest and triceps workout.  I did 3 sets of 12 of the following:

Bench Press
Chest Fly
Push Ups
Overhead DB TricepsRaises
Skull Crushers
Triceps Kickbacks

I also walked my dog 30 minutes and tonight I’m going to do some yoga.  Yoga is something I’ve done sporadically over the years.  I know how important flexibility is as we age and after talking with Katie’s physical therapist a few months ago, he really convinced me that I need to incorporate it more on a regular basis, so that’s going to be another area of focus for me.

Oh and I can’t forget this simple yet tasty recipe I wanted to share today.  I love roasted vegetables in the winter.  Well all year, actually, but especially in the winter.  I know this picture isn’t the best but I was too lazy to try to make it look better.  Forgive.

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Just take 12 carrots, scrub em. I don’t even peel them, just wash them and scrub them well.  Cut ends off, then cut in half, then in half lengthwise.  In large ziplock baggie, put 1/4 C olive, carrots, salt, pepper and some thyme or other seasonings to your liking.  Roast on 400 for about 30-40 minutes.  I served them tonight with a chicken and broccoli casserole.  That’s it!  Easy and delish!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and wish you health and happiness in 2017!

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A Day in the Life

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When I think back to what life was like when I started this blog, I am amazed at how different things are now.  My girls were 6 & 3!  They are now 14 & 11.  Oh how the times have changed for this family.

I used to have time for lots of things like gardening, canning, cooking from scratch.  And while those things and those times hold a special place in my heart, the thought of doing that now makes me want to run & hide.

These days, I’m more into working out and being a professional kid hauler running from one practice to another, doctor appointments, school functions, softball games, etc.  I’m still cooking a lot, but I’m way more lax in how I approach nutrition.  I love to eat healthy foods, but I don’t have guilt trips or stress over eating the occasional junk either.  I used to make our ketchup, mayo, broth, jam, canned veggies & sauces, pickles, etc because I was bound and determined to let no unnatural items touch the stomachs of my loved ones lol.  And while those things are great, and I applaud anyone who is actively working towards taking care of their family in the best way that they can, frankly, I just don’t have time for that anymore.

These days our mornings are spent in a mad dash to get ready for school.  Once the kids are off it’s home for my one hour workout time.  This is one area I will never give up.  There are days when it has to happen at night instead of morning (which I hate, btw) but one hour of each day is all mine.  I have struggled to really disengage from the never ending list of responsibilities and chores that need tending to, but I really try to clear my mind and focus on my health and fitness in that hour.  My goals and expectations for myself, and my long-term health are the things I try to keep at the forefront of my mind.  Because I do want to be healthy and active and here for my family for as long as possible and I don’t want my health to be a burden to them.  I know that anything can happen to anyone at any time, but I’m going to try to ward off health issues for as long as possible.  My game plan for that is to exercise daily and find a good balance between great nutrition & the freedom of indulgence in moderation.

After workout time, if there isn’t anywhere I need to be, I try to tackle laundry & housework.  I’ve tried (and failed at) several different systems over the years, but what I have found that works best for me now is to divide it up throughout the week.  Mondays I clean both bathrooms top to bottom.  Tuesdays I dust (everything from baseboards to blinds & furniture, ceiling fans, etc ).  Wednesdays I vacuum & mop.  Thursdays are for meal planning / grocery shopping & errands.  Fridays are for tackling outside chores, when it’s nice, or just catching up on anything I missed earlier in the week.

Things are a little more relaxed in the summer when school is out & I’m sincerely looking forward to that with just a little over month left of school.  More free time for fun with the girls & SLEEPING IN!

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After 13+ years of being a stay at home mom, I honestly am surprised that I haven’t tired of it by now, especially with the girls being older & more independent now.  And looking back, I know we sacrificed material things & vacations.  But I can’t say that I feel deprived or sad that we missed out on the things that others have.  The day will come when we’ll do those types of things, Lord willing, but for now I can only say that I feel so abundantly blessed to be able to do this every day.

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**Pictures courtesy of my awesome career choice & our recent hiking trip to Clifty Falls State Park**  😉

 

 

Dear Lord, please help me stop being a crazy person

If I weren’t a stay at home mom, I know two things for sure.

  1.  My house would be a complete wreck 24/7.
  2.  I would be mean.

We are closing on the sale of our house this Friday morning at 10.  We are hoping to close on our new house by the end of the month. (please let it be sooner!)

In the meantime, my house is a disaster.  I mean it.  Boxes everywhere.  Full boxes.  Empty boxes.  Halfway full.  It is making me insane.  I’m trying to be positive and all that crap, but seriously, it’s hard.

I like having a clean house.  It makes me happy.  And nice.  It does, it makes me a nice person.  Because it keeps the peace & balance in my life and right now, there’s neither.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I do.  Just a little longer and it will all be worth it.

And then, because I truly am a crazy person, I will probably go into a state of sadness & missing all the good ol’ times at our old house and just how in the world did 9 years go by so fast???  What happened to those little babies that used to live here? (which BTW, I’m SO SO glad I started this blog when we moved in here.  I absolutely LOVE going back and reading about our life these past 9ish years)

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BACK TO SCHOOL 2015

BACK TO SCHOOL 2015

Ah well…it’s a new season of life for us.  New house.  New neighbors and such.  Teenagers. (well technically just one, but another one quickly approaching it – yikes!)

Bring it on. 😉

 

 

Sometimes the ordinary days are the best days…

Yesterday was such a good day (except for the fact that I was in mourning over the previous night’s Walking Dead episode 😦 ).  Well it was good, kind of. I got a call from the school that Hannah wasn’t feeling well & had to pick her up, causing her to miss her first basketball game, so that part wasn’t so great.  But the rest of it?  Wonderful!  Wonderfully boring and uneventful.  And sometimes those days are the best days.

I started it off with a 30 minute walk/jog through our little town.  It was breezy, sunny, & cool…in other words, a perfect fall morning.

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After that I had an awesome back & biceps workout then took the pooch for a walk with my auntie.  I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning & doing laundry.  Lunch was a delicious spinach & feta omelet & apple.

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In the afternoon, I read a little, crocheted a little, until I got the phone call from the school nurse.  I snuggled up with my little sick kiddo & we watched cartoons.  She took a nap, then Katie & I made supper together which was baked pork chops using a homemade rub (delish!), peas, & PW’s au gratin potatoes.  More snuggling with the sickly child in the evening and early to bed.

Was there anything special about today?  No.  Not really.  But sometimes those are the best ones. ❤

What a Crazy Summer…and now…a Deep Sigh of Relief

Wow…this summer was a complete blur.  Truly.

Katie joined a new travel team and we were on the road more than we were home it seemed.  While I’m very grateful for the new friendships we formed and the great improvement in her game, we have decided that this isn’t the route for us.  The fees increase greatly next year along with the amount of travel and frankly, spending time as a family (all of us together) trumps the benefits of her being on a team like this.  Does she want to play in college?  Yes.  Does it HAVE to be a D1 school?  Heck to the no!  I’m fine with her going to whatever college is going to best help her realize her dreams and if she can play softball at said school, then fabulous!  But being able to watch my daughter on TV is not at the forefront of my wishes as her mother.  So, on that note, we said some tearful goodbyes to new friends and coaches and will go with a more local team but one that will still get her out there in that college exposure.

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And as for Hannah – this was her last year of 10U.  She moves up with the big dogs next year and it’s a totally different ball game.  I’m so excited to see what the future holds for her, as well.  And extremely grateful for the Red Alert 04 softball family that we’ve come to know and love along the way.

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And now that summer is winding down and we are preparing to gear up for a new school year, I feel like we can finally take a breath and settle down into a somewhat normal routine around here.

I keep vowing that I’m going to do better about keeping this blog updated with pictures and stories of all the wonderful memories we are making and I keep failing to do that.  I have decided that at least for the near future, I won’t be running any more challenge groups so that I can focus all of my attention on my family, so hopefully that will translate into more blogging.  I think I started this blog back in 2009 maybe?  And the girls and I get a huge kick out of going back and looking at old posts and pictures, so I know I need to focus more attention here so that they’ll have this as a wonderful way to look back on their childhood.

Cherishing These Moments

Yesterday was gorgeous.  The sun was shining and though it was a little windy & cool, it made for the perfect day to spend outside at the ballpark with Bug.  We (she & I) are big IU fans (B & Hannah are UK fans, but we’ll leave that disgusting topic for another day ;)) and this was our second game in two weeks.

A fantastic day that will be one of my favorite memories with my daughter.

A fantastic day that will be one of my favorite memories with my daughter.1

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A grand slam by #77!

After the game, Katie was able to participate in a skills camp hosted by the coaches and players.  It was awesome seeing her out there with her favorite player.  She’s been to IU a few different times now for games and camps.  We will definitely be back for more.

Making fun of her sunglasses :)

Making fun of her sunglasses 🙂

This is Rachel O’Malley.  She’s the short stop for IU and Katie’s favorite player.  For my girl, who lets very little emotion show ever, I can tell you that the smile on her face here is pure joy.  She’s one of the most even-keeled kids I know.  Whether she’s extremely happy or extremely mad/frustrated during a game, the look on her face is usually the same. Seeing her with this big grin on her face was awesome to me.

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We were able to spend time with old friends today too, which was such a blessing.  It may sound cliche, but softball sisters are sisters for life.  I know this because I still feel that way today about all of the girls I played with from the time I was 6 years old until well into my 30’s.  I know it will be the same for my girls.  I love this sport so much, not only are my girls learning valuable life lessons that they will use later on in their adult lives, but because it’s one of the most drama-free sports out there for girls.  Most of the girls we are spending the majority of our time with are serious athletes, there is no time or desire for teenage drama and it SO refreshing.

We <3 our Summers' girls!

We ❤ our Summers’ girls!

Mini Vacation

We took a little overnight trip to the Newport Aquarium.  I’m not sure how we’ll ever survive a typical 7 day vacation.  I’m completely exhausted after just that.

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We walked around the aquarium for a few hours, which was really neat.  Then we stopped at Dick’s Last Resort to eat because it really was our last resort.  We walked around for 30 minutes trying to decide where to eat and it was the last place we came to and we just went in out of frustration.  Let me just tell you that it is NOT the place to eat after you’ve exhausted yourself.  Actually, it’s not the place for me to eat EVER.  I get the whole “rude waiter” attraction for some people, the novelty of it, but I just found it all completely annoying and the food was terrible.  So…lesson learned.

We had a nice hotel to stay in and it had a hot tub, which is just the thing for me & B.  We sat in that while the girls swam in the pool.  Then we went to the DQ which was right next door for some ice cream.

We were home by noon and they talked me into heading to the outlet mall for some shopping.  I hate shopping, but it was beautiful outside, so I didn’t mind walking around outside from shop to shop.

It was a nice & much needed getaway but again, I don’t see how people do multiple, lengthy vacations every year.  We know several people who do this 2 or 3 times a year.  Maybe it’s because we do a lot of weekend hotel stays with the girls’ ball schedules, but I much prefer my own bed.

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