Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Around here..

Life has been so full around here. I sit back and reflect at the end of our days and I smile.  Seriously! Don't get me wrong. Not for one minute are things always rosy. I have three boys four and under for Pete's sake! There are fights, meltdowns, scrapes, tantrums, and days that really suck! But the sum of these days lately have been amazing!

Our schedule has been jam packed so here is the run down of what has been going on around here!

On Friday we had some friends over for a fire pit and some food! The yummy recipes I shared back here were a hit!

On Saturday, I woke up earlier than the family to get out the door to my Saturday Cize Live class. I had six new faces join me and we worked up incredible sweat as we danced our booties off! If you have not seen the craze of Cize, check it out!!

Nothing like a beautiful space to work up a sweat in.

I jetted out of class and drove home to help Andrew (my hero) finish getting the three boys ready for Hudson's first soccer game.  Can I just pause and say that I know it isn't babysitting when it is your own kids and my husband has never been the guy that says it is. But, it is a lot of work to get three little guys fed, teeth brushed, dressed, extra set of clothes for Hudson laid out, pajamas out for all three, diaper bag packed all by yourself when it is NOT your normal morning routine! See--hero is accurate. I'll explain later why we had to have pjs set out at nine in the morning. 

We got to Hudson's game and I can't even tell you how cute it was to see all the different teams playing. Hudson was nervous but so excited. They play three on three. He is on a team of five boys total so they practice subbing in and out.  At one point it was Hudson and two of his best buddies (boys of some of my best buddies) all on the field.  I think I teared up.

Hudson was so stinking cute. He kept looking over to us as if asking if it was okay to run after the ball; take the ball from another player; go fast; turn around. We had to eventually tell him on a water break to not look at us! Near the end of the game he scored a goal!! #proudparentmoment

After the game, we took all three boys to Andrew's parents house.  My nieces were in town for the day and I had planned a day date for Andrew and I. It is such a huge blessing that we have both sets of grandparents close who are always so willing to take our boys. Three is a lot to take on but they do it so graciously! #shoutouttomimiandgammy

Andrew and I headed about an hour and a half away to an event called Hobnob Market. It was my heaven, y'all! It was a huge event with antique, craft, vintage, you name it vendors! Over 200 vendors. Tents and tents of the best stuff! All right next door to a winery. Oh, and some yummy food vendors flooding the air with the most delicious aromoas. #heavenonearth

Andrew and I came with some ideas of what we were looking for and found so many other great finds as well! We left with a car full! I can't wait to show you some of the finds later as we get them all situated in the house!

We picked the boys up and had dinner and baths at Mimi's and headed home. They were wiped. Soccer in the morning, play day with cousins, fun at Mimi's with no nap kind of tired!

Andrew and I were planning on staying in but a good friend invited us to her father-in-laws house. He was throwing a get together and had hired a country singer that was traveling through town prior that week to come play. Like, a legit, "I-have-a-record-deal-you-may have-heard-me-on-the-radio" country singer. Now listen, if there is anything my husband loves as much as I love going and picking through "junk" to find my next treasure, is live music.  He doesn't really care who it is. He LOVES live music....

So I called a babysitter last minute who really just had to make sure our kiddos stayed asleep and we went to hang out and listen to live music. It was such a nice night.

Sunday was a typical day so I won't bore you with details.  ;)

I am reminded that each day with my family is a gift.  Not every moment is glamorous, fun. Some can be downright exhausting. But they are mine.  They are the heartbeat of my life.  I am choosing to look for joy in our days!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Favorites: Feeling Fall

The busyness of our week sure made it fly by.  That, and of course, Monday being a holiday and making the weekend extend into the work week. I love when that happens and we have an extra day all together!

Anyway, I'm linking up today and sharing some of my favorites from this past week and things that are making me feel ready for fall. 

{O N E} 
As I posted last week, I had a hair appointment to go darker and I shared some of my cut and color choices.  I basically went with the Megan Fox color and a really textured long layered cut.  My hair lady, Tonya, totally hooked me up and I love it. Here it is making it's debut on last weekend's date night. 

{T W O}
We survived Hudson's first week of school. You can read about his first day on yesterday's post.  I sure do love that sweet boy and his excitement!

{T H R E E}
One of my very best friends had her twin babies this week!!!! I am over the moon ecstatic for her and her family.  Mama ROCKED her pregnancy. She was considered high risk twins aside, and she carried them to 37 weeks like a pro! They were born both weighing over seven pounds! No tubes, no NICU needed! They are just champs and I can not wait to meet them this weekend!!! 

{F O U R}
I like to switch out my soaps with the season. I just love how it makes our moods change. My boys love making me smell their hands after they wash! {I'm just glad they washed, ok?!} I'll be picking up these three scents today while shopping for a few other things for the boys.

{F I V E}
We love a good night around the fire.  My husband would probably have a fire every weekend but me, I love to wait until the weather gets a little cooler. And tonight is the perfect night to kick off Fire Pit Fridays with our friends!! I am cooking up a new chili recipe and making this snack mix. If you want to check out more of what I love on Pinterest, you can follow me here

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hudson's 1st Day of 4 year-old Pre-K!

It's official! Our house is "back to school!" I can not believe Hudson is in his last year of preschool before Kindergarten! It is absolutely crazy how fast these years have flown by!

Hudson attended preschool last year as well, but because we moved halfway through the fall, there were no openings in our district's preschool program. Although we loved where he attended last year, I wanted to get him in district so we could meet other families and so Hudson could start building friendships with kids he would go to school with in future years.

His new preschool is a co-op. Parent involvement is a requirement which I love. Every day there are two parent helpers in the room that act as aides.  I can not wait to go in each month and be part of his day and see him in action!

Yesterday was Hudson's first official day. Parent, and then child, orientation took place before Labor Day weekend. But yesterday was him, on his own, with his teacher and classmates!

Tuesday night we read the "Twas the Night Before Preschool." My mom had gotten Hudson a little back to school gift and the book was included. We saved it to read. When the story was over, Hudson admitted that he was a little nervous about his first day too but a lot excited! :) We reassured him that he would have a great day and prayed about his school year.

I wanted his first day to be special and to make it exciting to help ease his nerves. After my workout and shower, I whipped up some Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins.  I found the recipe over at Mix and Match Mama a few falls ago. My boys have loved them from the very first bite and ask for them all the time! They become a staple at our house when fall hits. And since Labor had passed, I felt like we could officially call it fall!

Andrew stayed to have breakfast with us, and to drop Hudson off for his first day! (It was also my first day teaching my Cize class at a new gym! Overlapping times equals Dad to the rescue for week one!)

Our guy looked so sweet on his first day.

The little boys and I went to Cize Live. They played in the day care area while mama got her sweat on teaching a fantastic group!

After we went home, snacked and played, it was time to pick up our missing piece! He was so cute packing up his bag and was thrilled to tell us about his day. Beau held Hudson's hand as we walked back to the car and asked, "So, how was your day at school, Hudson?" Melt my heart, would ya?? So cute! 

Hudson got to choose where we had lunch and picked Culvers. As we were finishing up, another boy from his class came in with his mom and came up and said, "Hey Hudson, remember you went to school with me today?" 

I can already see so many fun moments like this happening. Love it!

We ended his big day by meeting some friends at a church outreach called Real Encounter. BMX bikers and motorcyclist stunt men showed off some tricks and shared their testimony.  The boys ate it up!!! 

That's it! First day of 2015 in the books! Here is to a year full of fun, memories, learning and growth, sweet boy!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Meal Plan and Week 1 of my Fit For Fall Accountability Group

Next week I am starting a BRAND NEW accountability with a group of ladies. The purpose of the group is really create a healthy lifestyle. Every day I see people trying this diet or the next fad that promises results. But so often, what they are trying isn't going to bring about a lasting change.  And that is really all we want, right? To be able to feel our best, look our best and have it last. Or at least, live a lifestyle that helps us maintain what we have achieved and worked hard for.

Each month, I work with my groups and one of my favorite parts of the group, is the meal planning portion. Each program comes with a nutrition guide that spells out specifically a plan for you that works in parternship with your workout program. I create meal plans cor my group members to plug into their plans so they can achieve their best results.  Even more than that, it teaches them how to plan!!! Sometimes we don't even know where it starts when it comes to food, eating healthy and making a plan work FOR us.

I just wrapped up CIZE (you can check out my review and results here) and am continuing on with PiYo. I love this program.  It has been almost a year since I began my first round with this program.  I was well into my second trimester starting my third trimester then and was concerned about if I would be able to keep up.  But the strength, stamina, and flexibility it gave  my body was amazing. And I could totally modify moves as I needed to.  It has been a favorite of mine ever since.

Because PiYo is a high intensity, yet low-impact workout, I have to eat for results.  I try to follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to my eating. I am pretty strict when it comes to my meals.  Dinner has a little more flexibility but that is because I believe in cooking only one meal. Which means, what I eat, my family eats. I have to account for the fact that I am feeding three little ones (one VERY little one) and I that I hate wasting food and having empty tummies leave my table.

Below, is the meal plan I am following for results. When I run an accountability group, I share my plan with the entire group and then go over how to adapt the plan to fit individual needs based on different calorie intake, program guidelines, etc.

You notice the menu is color coded. I do that for those members who are doing the 21 Day Fix/Extreme or use the containers for their meal plans. It keeps it very simple.  (More info about the 21 Day Fix here)

Being part of my groups has it's perks, including me sharing some of my favorite recipes from my go to cookbook, Fixate by Autumn Calabrese. (more info on that here)

I want every person I work with to find success. I want them to take steps towards reaching their goals.  Even more important than that, I want them each to realize that working out and eating healthy is something they have to do to check off their list.  But it is something important to do for themselves. Not just to get results, but to feel their best! 

If you are interested in learning more about how my accountability groups work, meal plans specific to your needs, or any of the programs mentioned, visit my facebook page and let's connect! 

Monday is the big day! Here's to hard work, being prepared, and kicking butt!! :) 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Favorites

Weeks are just flying by and trying to fit it all in is beyond crazy! This week was packed with fun and as I wrote out or September calendar, it seems like all our weeks are going to have the common theme of being packed!!!

This week I am just sharing some of my favorite moments from this past week!

{O N E}
Both our big boys are playing soccer this fall. Hudson moved up from Little Kritters to the U6 level. He has 45 minute practices once a week and a game every Saturday. He is the youngest on his team but plays with two of his best buds and the coach is one of our great friends.  It is so exciting to see them try hard and gain skills.

Beau is starting with Little Kritters. We do soccer through MidState (a popular program in our area that focuses on skill). The coaches are absolutely amazing. It is a half hour, once a week, and they learn how to control the ball, work on balance. I look forward to it every week!

Beau was a little leery so wanted me close by but he did awesome!

{T W O}
This summer I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone and became a certified instructor for Cize Live. Cize is a brand new program from Beachbody. Cize Live takes the concept from the Cize at home program and puts into a live group fitness class format.  I was actually part of the first group of instructors to be certified and got to do my training with the creator of the program, Shaun T. and his crew.

I'm in the gray Nike tank! So much fun!

This week, a local gym scheduled me to teach class twice a week and an occasional Friday evening class! I am beyond excited! I LOVE this program and saw great results when I did it last month! I can't wait to share it with others even more!

If you are interested in the at home program, customized meal plans or an accountability group to help you get healthy, let me know! :)

{T H R E E}
Some of our closest friends found out this summer they were expecting their first baby! They had been trying for some time and so it was such wonderful news when they told us!! This week they found out the gender of the baby so another friend and I threw together a "Sweets and the Sex" gender reveal party. {I say threw together because I got a call late Monday morning that we were doing a gender reveal in just a few days! HA!!)

We served a variety of sweets and since mama and daddy to be were a dancer and football player in their earlier years, we decorated with a Tutu's or Touchdown theme.

I added letters for the Touchdown or Tutus theme.

Excuse the terrible flash. Guests voted what they thought the baby's gender was.

Dipped everything was my contribution! 

{F O U R}
I have naturally darker hair. It isn't a beautiful hue and so have colored my hair since college. I have gone light and dark but always love being dark. This summer I went lots lighter (my husband loves blondes! ;) ) and today I am going back to the dark side!

Is there anything more glorious than hair appointment day??? Here are some of the ideas I am throwing around.
My hair is no where near this long but I like the color.

Love this whole thing. I really like dark.

My hair is pretty close to this length. I love the layers. And her eyebrows. are they not on point??

Why must it take so long for hair to grow? I am dying for my hair to get longer but it isn't happening as quickly as I'd like.

That's all I have today! I hope you all enjoy your l-o-n-g weekend! We have a whole lot of nothing going on. Date night tomorrow, cookout Sunday. Sounds pretty perfect to me!

Andrea and the crew

Amy and Karli

Monday, August 31, 2015

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! Our day today was jam-packed with Gabe's one year well baby visit, the grocery store, soccer and my fitness class. Luckily I had dinner in the crock pot of it is the week of our sweet cleaning lady to visit! After our busy weekend, I am ready for a fresh house!

Friday morning we had Hudson's preschool orientation. It was an hour long where he and I got to see his room, meet his teacher and classmates, and go through some fun activities. He is so excited for preschool and I think he is going to have a great year!

We spent the rest of our morning running errands; going to the store, the post office and taking Lexi to the groomer. By the time we got done with all of that it was time for lunch and naps! While the boys napped, I caught up on some work and housework.

Naps ended all too soon and we picked up our girl from the groomers. Andrew left early afternoon to head to our good friend's bachelor party so it was a night with just me and the boys! We baked brownies, went on a long walk, and decided on a pizza picnic and movie night together! The boys chose "Home". I love listening to the big two laugh at funny parts. I think it is so fun to watch them understand humor.

After the boys went to bed, I took a long shower, did my nails and read in bed. It was a pretty perfect night!

The boys and I woke up and had breakfast and readied for the day. I got all their things ready and took them to my parents' for a play-date/sleepover.  I love that my boys' love spending time with my parents. I also love that my parents are always willing to keep all three boys, even for an overnight. I know three little guys can be a lot of work but they always  handle it like champs.  And it was just my mom this weekend. So she really had your hands full.

Thankfully my mom sends lots of sweet updates so I don't have a chance to miss them too much. :)

The day was chilly for August in Illinois and quite overcast but the plan was an afternoon of boating and that is what we did.  All the ladies met up and drove to the marina.  It was a fun afternoon on the lake.

Heading out

Super sweet swag bags. 

Most of the girls

After the lake we drove back to the hotel and got ready for the night. We chowed on pizza and showered the lovely bachelorette with some lovely goodies to get her all ready for married life!

Before going out. Loved the cute tanks (and that it was a comfy, low key attire, night)!

Then we went out for the night. It was fun to hang out with some great girls, many who I hand't seen in a long time!

Sunday morning I got home pretty early and cleaned up around the house. Always in mom mode! But my mom took the boys with her to church so I had some time to kill. Since it was quiet and the house was clean, I turned on the TV and found Step Up had just started. You better believe I sat myself down with a bowl of cereal and enjoyed that little flick. I love that movie!

I headed to my parents' where the boys and I stayed for lunch, played some and then headed home for naps. Andrew got home shortly after that and we spent the rest of Sunday playing and hanging out together.

It was a pretty great weekend but I can say that I love when our whole family is together. It makes it hard to be a part.

Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Favorites- An {exciting} list

Oh happy day! It is Friday!

I am especially excited about this weekend because it is one of my dearest friend's bachelorette party this weekend! {Wahoo}

Can I just be honest about a few things?
1. I have only attended a handful of bachelorette parties in my life.
2. The last being while pregnant with our firstborn.
3. None of which have come after a week where two days were spent with sick kiddos (and by sick I mean pukey.)

Her oh-so-cute sister, and MOH, planned the whole thing and I can not wait for a whole lot of spoiling of the bride-to-be to ensue!

Besides the weekend, other things that have me excited...

{O N E} 
Hudson is starting 4 year old preschool up right after Labor Day. We are in the district he will actually attend for preschool this year so I am really excited to meet lots of other moms and kiddos that he will be doing the school thing with for years to come!

I know how hard teachers work and will always appreciate what they do! I like to send a little something their way the first day to let them know how much they mean to us as they care for our littles and help them grow into brighter kids! 

I took this cute idea and adapted it a little. I put the "C" essentials in a tumbler instead of a mason jar. I seriously can never have enough tumblers, especially when I taught! 

{T W O}
Do you feel that change in the air?? Fall is coming and I couldn't be more excited! My pinboard has been growing by the day. If I could live in a season of clothes I would always and forever choose fall. Layers, boots, scarves, plaid, vests, texture. It is all just too much! Some of the looks I am coveting right now are (and by coveting I mean sitting in my virtual shopping bag waiting on me to checkout):

Not this exact one and I should have shown the back but I love a good layered look. 

I love a good button down. 
Add a vest. 
Throw a sweater over it. 
Wear it open or buttoned.
A scarf. Can one ever have enough? 
The correct answer is no. For our friendship, the answer is no.

{T H R E E}
Speaking of fall fashion, my Fit For Fall Fashion Accountability Group is kicking off soon and I am really excited to get started with the ladies that have already made the commitment. I think we can get so wrapped up in being fit for summer that we forget that our bodies need proper nourishment and activity all year long.  It really is a lifestyle to be lived out!

Interested? There are still a few spots left!

{F O U R}
My friend got me started on essential oils.  I had heard all the chatter for awhile and have been on the fence but her love of her oils and just her knowledge base pushed me over the edge. I got my oil starter kit in last week and have since already placed another order for other oils I want to add to our stash. I can tell this may become an addiction.

{F I V E}
This is one I need some help with...
The excitement part--one of my good friends is getting married at the end of September! It is a going to be such a blast to watch him say I do and share in he and his fiance's special day. It is at a vineyard and will be such a beautiful day. They are both so laid back and in love I couldn't imagine a more perfect pair!

The help part...
I can NOT find a dress! I haven't come across anything I like. So--suggestions? Have you seen a fabulous dress that would be great for an outdoor wedding at a vineyard? End of September here in the Midwest?? Send your suggestions my way! I would be forever grateful (and stylish)!

That is it for me! Hope you have a fabulous weekend! I will be posting up a recap of our shenanigans from the weekend, I'm sure. And did I mention my husband is off to a bachelor party this weekend too (for said friend who get's married at the end of September?) What are we even going to do with ourselves??? :) 

Linking up

Andrea and the gang

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Favorite Summer Reads

I love books! Reading has always been something I have enjoyed. I could literally devour a book in a day. I hate putting a book down and will often trade sleep to keep reading. 

Sadly, between motherhood, running my own business, teaching group fitness and just all life has in this season, I don't get to read as much as I like.  In the summer months however, I seem to be able to get more reading done. Whether that is because of time spent in the car traveling to weekends away or vacation, time out in the sun where I can read (and watch my kids play) or just a more lax schedule, I read books like it is no one's business. 

This summer was no different. I got to read several books and had some that I really loved and others that left me a bit disappointed. 

In case you are looking for some good reads to add to your list, here are my favorites; in no particular order. 

1. Nobody's Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle 

Last summer I got hooked on Melanie's first two books. When I saw she had a new book out, I immediately added it to my Kindle and got to reading. The style of her writing; the way she can tell a story so you feel like you know the people involved and were actually there; the friendship she creates with her readers through pen and page, all reasons I love reading her books. 

This book about friendships had me in stitches from laughing so hard and then in deep reflection over my own friendships, both past and present. 

Nobody's Cuter Than You is one I will read again and one I am picking up for some of my besties!

2. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty 

Liane Moriarty was an author who I'd never read before this summer. I read two of her books and enjoyed both. Her character development was wonderful. The twists and turns in this story, and the next on my list, were ones I appreciated. Sometimes when reading, we can call the plot twists from just chapters in.  Not with this book. The story took it's time to develop but also never drug on. I love suspenseful books and this one didn't disappoint. 

3. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Another great read! Completely different. I was so enthralled with the concept of this book and Alice's situation I couldn't put it down. 

4. You're Made For a God- Sized Dream by Holly Gerth

One of the aspects I love most about my job is the emphasis put on personal development. To continue to grow and learn and strive to be your best possible self is not something that we all naturally do on our own. Often, after schooling, we stop seeking ways to improve in our lives. Not just in what we do professionally but also as people. I try to read at least 10 minutes each day in whatever personal development book I am in at the time. This summer, I picked up the book named above and I LOVED it. I felt like the book was written to me, for me!

If you have ever had a dream placed in your heart but doubted yourself, the dream, if it is God's will, how to attain it--pick up this book.  One aspect of the book I probably loved most was that the dream itself wasn't what made it God-sized.  That not everyone is called to cross the ocean and be a missionary.  Sometimes being called to motherhood is the God-sized dream placed in our heart. 

Seriously--pick this one up! 

I am going to try to attempt keeping up my reading throughout the remainder of the year.  My goal is three books a month. One personal development, one parenting or devotional sort of book, and one for fun!

What did you read this summer? What are some must reads?