Wednesday, October 8, 2014

That's My Jam!

I'm always curious what type of music really gets people going when they are working out. Are they listening to hip hop, heavy metal, country, rock? 

All I know is a good playlist is essential for motivating me and keeping me going. Music increases my endurance and makes the exercise experience much more positive. When I started out running I'd never make that first mile if I didn't have the right beats carrying me across the pavement. 

I'll even use my music to play mind games with myself, saying things like "just keep going until this song is over!" Or if I'm doing strength training I won't start my reps until it coordinates with the music. But that might just be the dancer/cheerleader in me. Ha!

Anywho, I love seeing other people's playlists because it gives me ideas of songs I may never have considered adding to my repertoire. I thought I'd share some of my workout hits for fun. I typically gravitate to hip hop and pop songs. They get me moving the most!

  1. She Came to Give It to You - Usher featuring Nicki Minaj
  2. Love Runs Out - One Republic
  3. Bang Bang - Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj
  4. Sing - Ed Sheeran
  5. How You Like Me Now - The Heavy
  6. Come Get It Bae - Pharrell Williams
  7. Work B**ch - Britney Spears (This song always comes on when I need it most!)
  8. E.T. (Noisia Remix) - Katy Perry
  9. Dirt Off Your Shoulder - Jay Z
  10. Ain't It Fun - Paramore
  11. Good Kisser (Disclosure Remix) - Usher
  12. Talk Dirty (featuring 2 Chains) - Jason DeRulo
  13. Imma Be - The Black Eyed Peas
  14. That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
  15. Up Up & Away - Kid Cudi
What songs make up your workout playlist? Do you play mind games during exercise too? 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up

We had such a fun weekend! A very dear friend of mine and her family host an annual Pig Roast where you camp out while the pig cooks, then the next day everyone feasts like a king! It is such an awesome event and while the pig should be the star of the show, in my opinion, it's the time spent with really great people where the laughter is thick and you just don't want it to end!

Hubs is such a stud!
This was a "no kids party" for the Hubs and I. We made arrangements for them to go to my parents Friday night while we set out on our annual pilgrimage to the fields of Longmont, CO. We pitched our tent and got right into the good times. Fun fact: The temps Friday night drifted down to freezing! Thank goodness we have the proper gear.

So, Friday night the Patriarch of this lovely family and our host for the weekend, spoiled us with homemade green chili, homemade refried beans and homemade Spanish rice. It was AMAZING! Then we all made our way around the campfire for a fun game called "Psychiatrist." Have you ever played that? It is a hoot!

Dancing Queen!
Of course there was signing along to classic songs (Sweeeet, Car-OH-line. BAH, BAH, BAH) and even a bit of campfire dancing! Seriously a great time. I made my way to bed in the wee hours of the morning and lets just say, I was draggin' my wagon the next day for sure!

Saturday everyone played corn-hole, and another great game called "Beerski." Since we had to leave that afternoon, we didn't partake in any libations on day 2. Being responsible is no fun. But after the game playing it was time to FEAST! The pork was so tender and flavorful and all the fixins to go along with it were perfect.

Goofing off with my man

People can stay another night if they are so inclined but we headed back into town to get our kids. They were exhausted from a super fun time with the grands and we were exhausted from partying like it was 1999 and forgetting how recovery time lasts much longer than when we were younger. Facts are facts.

Sunday the kids slept until about 7:20am. Can I get a hallelujah?!? After breakfast I wanted to get some exercise in and I took the kids out in the double stroller for a 3 mile walk and a pit-stop at the park for some playground action.

While we were playing at the park, one of the tires on the jogging stroller went flat and I had to make the kids walk about a half a mile, up a hill to get ourselves home. I practically had to lift up the back of the stroller to get it to move and by the time I made it home my back was definitely sore.

I took it easy the rest of the day and while the kids napped we took in a great Broncos game... Peyton Mannings 500th touchdown! And then I even whipped up a batch of these bad boys and they turned out great! I highly recommend the recipe.

It truly was a great weekend and I'm still not fully recovered from all of the fun!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything noteworthy? 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pain in my arse

Here's the thing... time just needs to slow the heck down! I'm serious. First of all, summer went by way too fast and as much as I love fall, I just wasn't ready to part with it. Secondly, my kids are growing by the millisecond and every day I'm thrown a new reminder of how my babies are now a toddler and a preschooler!

I can't believe it's been so long since I've shared anything in this space. I will say I stop here at least daily, stare at my blank screen then swiftly close out because I feel lost on what to write about. I have so many stories, ideas, tips, challenges, etc. to share but I just can't seem to get the words out. I haven't been able to pinpoint why I'm struggling so I thought the best way to get over it would be to get something out. Rip the band-aid so to speak.

The latest, and not so greatest, news with me is that I'm currently dealing with a back injury from my attempts at getting healthy and losing weight. I started running while I was unemployed and was steadily improving since that time. My workout program consists of alternating days between walking, cardio on the eliptical or stationary bike, strength training and running. I've been feeling good for the most part but I started to experience some lower back and sciatic pain from time to time.

Then one day I really pushed myself because I had been dying to break a 10 minute mile. I finally hit my goal and was beyond proud of myself!

It truly was a sense of accomplishment because running has been hard for me, but I kept at it knowing it would help progress my weight loss goals. The day after I boasted about my achievement on Instagram, I could barely move without serious pain attacking my back and sciatic.

I went slightly over two weeks waiting for the pain to subside with no luck. I threw my arms up and hobbled my way into the doctor's office. The first thing she told me was to stop running. And the second, go see a physical therapist.

This is going to be a very slow recovery process which has me very frustrated. Here I am doing something good for myself, trying really hard to finally be in the shape I want and this is what I get. I can't hold my baby girl for more than a nanosecond, I can't do normal everyday tasks around the house and I definitely can't run.

Oh, and part of my treatment involves trigger point dry needling (TDN). Every heard of that? Basically the physical therapist shoves an acupuncture-type needle deep into the muscle that is troubling you in order to make it contract and then fully release. Since my pain is coming from my backside, on Tuesday I had a needle shoved directly into my buttocks and let me just tell you, it was the oddest sensation I've ever felt!

I'm encouraged to continue my workouts limited only to walking, eliptical, stationary bike and mild strength training. I'm also stretching like crazy and not pushing myself too hard when I do exercise. It is going to take me some time to heal the aggravated muscles and then to strengthen them back up to provide me the support I need to be active. I've had back issues since I was a cheerleader in high school with symptoms flaring up at random times over the years. Throw in a painful second pregnancy as well as this most recent flare-up and I am so done dealing with it and ready to move on. I just wish I had addressed the issue before it got to this point. Oh, well! Live and learn.

I look forward to feeling better soon and in the mean time I'm trying hard to stay active at a level I can tolerate and still determined to hit my goals. It just may take me longer than I had originally thought. No big deal, right?

Have you had to overcome an injury in order to stay on track with your health goals? Have you ever done dry needling?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Job Update

I've been at my new job now for two months and really liking it! I think what I'm enjoying the most is being in a big office with so many great people. At my last job I was one of 4 in the same office, day in and day out, for seven years. Some co-workers came and went but the small office environment was constant. The new gig however, is bustling with energy and opportunity which is exactly what I was hungry for.

Oh, and the perks! There is a cafeteria onsite which serves really delicious and reasonably priced food. There's a gym which I've been using regularly since my second week here. I no longer have to dress in a suit and we get to wear jeans every other Friday. The workday is from 8:30am - 5pm. I can't tell you what a difference it makes not having to be at work by 8am!! And the biggest perk of all? You are treated like a professional adult. Yeah! That's a thing. Without getting into too many details, I will say that this is one of the biggest changes from where I was before. It is night and day!

Most of the perks I listed are probably pretty common but I'm telling you... if you weren't used to that sort of environment in the past, it is a game changer for sure!

The role that I've landed in is also a good fit and everyday I'm learning not only my specific job duties but also so much of what goes into a collaborative marketing department. While I mostly focus my efforts on managing a "process," I'm also called on for creative input as well as input I bring to the table from my previous work history.

Everything I've mentioned so far is wonderful and I'm beyond grateful for where I am. But it hit me the other day why I really love this new opportunity. It's beyond any perk or job description. It's about me! I am at this new job. Not a "version" of me or the me that I think I need to be to fit into someone else's interpretation. I am authentic and that is above all what I've been in need of the most.

This work environment encourages you to have a voice and it fosters unique personalities to shine. No one is like the other and that is so refreshing!

I know I'm still in the "honeymoon phase" of being at a new job but I'm feeling really optimistic that this is going to be my place of biz-nass for a long time. Career development and progression are still at the top of my mind as I embark on this journey within a large company. How to navigate my way through it and how to stand out among so many talented people is going to be my biggest challenge. But if I'm able to enjoy where I work and what I do on a day-to-day basis, then I think I'm most definitely up for that challenge!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Daycare Switcharoo... Again!

Today our kids started going to a new daycare. Due to our recent move we had to switch centers to one closer to the new house. This makes me super sad because we absolutely LOVE where the kids went before. It was privately owned and a nice small size which made for a real family-friendly vibe.

We tried very hard to figure out a way to keep them there but the commute was just too much for us to handle. Especially in the peak of rush hour! No thank you! 

If you are a working parent then you know how hard it is to find child care that you are truly happy with. Leaving your whole world in someone else's care for 8 hours a day is only possible if you have confidence and trust in where you are leaving them. I have to say that where they've been going did just that for us. 

A bit of back story: The very first daycare center we took Little C to was fine. We liked it and his needs were being met. But now when I think back on it, there was a lot of turn-over in the infant room and that was hard for us to feel comfortable leaving him especially after we'd just gotten used to the teacher before. I did LOVE the director of this particular center, she was on top of it and always addressed any concerns or questions we had.

When I was 9 months pregnant and told they were closing their doors, we were forced to find a new center stat! Luckily we came across the perfect place literally within walking distance from our home. I've mentioned before that it took Little C quite some time to adjust but once he did we all were loving the new center! For me the shining star was the infant room. The teachers had been there forever and had such a gift when it came to caring for babies. There was never any turn-over in that room and leaving 4 month old Baby D-Nut wasn't an issue at all.

Then there were the parents. We met some wonderful people and a couple of them I now consider friends. Both kids made good friends and we've had a blast attending birthday parties and play dates. It really was a special place and making the decision to leave was hard for Hubs and I but it simply had to be done.

This morning they were off to their new schools respectively. For the time being Lil Miss Mayhem has to go to a different location until there is room in the toddler class at C's school. I'm so bummed they can't be together at first, not only because of convenience, but because I know it helped them knowing their brother/sister was right near by.

The way this center is organized they put Little C into a preschool program which is totally different from where they went before. He was so proud with his new "big boy" backpack this morning and was chattering away in the car ride to school about how excited he was. Unfortunately, as we entered the school and eventually his classroom, he had clammed up and wasn't saying a word. Which is VERY unlike him! He clung to my leg and it took some distracting to get him off. He never cried and as I peeked into the window as I was leaving I could see he was sitting down to breakfast with his new friends.

I was so proud of him! This new center is much larger than where he was before and today it seemed bustling with energy. It was kind of noisy and the hallway to get to his classroom must have felt like a mile long to a little 3 year old boy!

Lil Miss had a much harder time from what Hubs told me. She was screaming at the top of her lungs when he tried to hand her over to the teachers. He said it was so hard leaving her but he knew he just had to go in order for her to calm down. Now matter how many times you go through it, it never gets easier to leave your child when they are so upset. I know if I had been dropping her off I probably would have needed a tissue in the car on my way to work!

We did take the kids to their new school the week prior to starting so they could have a "discovery day" and see what it was all about. They spent time in their respective classrooms, met their teachers, and the kids in their class. It went so well and we were crossing our fingers that it would help the transition. I do think it helped Little C tremendously, plus we had been talking it up with him leading up to the big switch. But Lil Miss Mayhem is at an age where no matter how much we explained things she just can't fully grasp the concept of what we're trying to convey.

I did call in a couple hours after drop-off just to see how they were doing. Both had acclimated at that point and were doing great! It was so nice to hear.

I hope the rest of the week gets easier for them and I hope we are all going to like this new center. We've had so much change lately that I'm really looking forward to falling into a groove and officially settling in. I really have been impressed with how well the kids have been adjusting to everything and I think the fact that we moved houses first and waited about a month before switching schools was definitely a good idea.

I can't wait to see where our journey leads next!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

18 Months: A Baby Donut Update

People always warned me how time would go faster with my second child. Boy were they right! It is insane to me that this is Baby D-Nut's 18 month update. Last night I peeked into her crib before heading to bed and I couldn't believe how big she is!

"Baby Donut" is not an appropriate nickname anymore because our sweet girl is hardly a baby. This girl is full-on toddler! Plus, her brother has stopped calling her Baby Donut, as if it really was her name, and has now started calling her Little Bagel. I have no idea where he gets this stuff!

We lovingly refer to her as "Lil Miss Mayhem" because she is constantly up to something. She is always on the move and will NOT sit still to save her life. Half of the time she's simply playing and having fun but the other half... she's usually causing trouble! Whether its climbing on something she's not supposed to, touching or eating something she's not supposed to, knocking over her brother's towers, taking toys from him, running behind the cats while pulling on their tails, etc. You seriously cannot take your eyes off of her for a second.

Having said that, she is also the sweetest little love bug ever! She loves to snuggle and she will give you a random giant hug around your neck which pulls at the heart strings like crazy. I love this about her because even though she's all toddler, her cuddling keeps just the right amount of baby for us to enjoy.

She loves: stuffed animals, blankies, park slides, dancing, singing, "helping" mom and dad cook, dogs (aka - pup pups), juice, all carbs, all fruit, making her big brother laugh, and playing "this little piggy goes to market..."  

She dislikes: vegetables, most meat, when the dog eats her snacks, and mornings. Lil Miss is NOT a morning person. 

She is starting to talk more each day, although a translator is usually needed if you aren't used to how she says things. Her hair is growing and it appears to have curly ends. It will be interesting to see if they stick around as her blonde locks continue to get longer.

Where her older brother is a calculated risk taker, our little girl is fearless! She also has tremendous tenacity which I sincerely admire. For example, I've been close behind her as she attempted to climb onto a bench (or something similar) and she wouldn't make it on the first attempt... or the second.... or even the third. But she was insistent upon getting where she wanted to be. Instead of helping her up I could see the determination in her eyes so I usually let her work it out. It finally clicks with her on what needs to be done to get her up and before you know it, she's perched on top of that bench with a look of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Her facial expressions have us in stitches and I'm just going on record to say Miss Mayhem is the cutest 18 month old on the planet!! But I'm not biased or anything. ;)

Happy 18 months, sweet girl! Keep right on being fierce, funny, and lovable. And please, keep right on melting our hearts.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mental Digest: Our Impending Move

By this time next week we will have vacated our current house and will begin the settling process into our new domain. We will be living among boxes as we slowly, but surely, unpack our entire domestic lives. We will join the ranks of many homeowners before us and begin turning the new house into our home sweet home.

The excitement surrounding this change is palpable yet surreal. Hubs and I have rented together for years carving out cozy abodes that we loved but this time it’s truly ours. The weight of this responsibility does have me nervous only because it’s unknown territory, but overall I am welcoming this change and ready to take it head-on.

Then there’s the location. As we drove to dinner on Saturday night after an exhausting day of packing, we took in the surroundings of our familiar neighborhood and we couldn't help but feel sad to be leaving. The physical neighborhood our current house is in isn't so much what we’ll miss. You see, we've actually had no business living in such a wonderful place as it is the type of neighborhood we will aspire to settle in one of these days, many years down the road. What we will miss is the surrounding area that we've grown to love.

We've lived in our current house for 5 years and we lived in a house close to this area for 4 years before that! Now we are moving to what feels like the boonies and neither of us are too familiar with the new area. It’s in… 

The suburbs! 

We know it will be great for the kids but it will be a major culture shock for us at first. There are pros and cons, as it is with any place, and exploring the area while soon finding our bearings will be part of the fun! We are on the end of a cul-de-sac which I’m really happy about for the kids and we even spotted some indicators of similar aged children in surrounding houses.

“It is going to be great!”

That is what I keep telling myself through the anxiousness and nerves that surround our “relocation.” I honestly know that it will be great but all this build up for the move, the logistics and then the literal closing of one door and opening of another, just needs to get over and done with so I can start coming to terms with everything.

And speaking of coming to terms with everything… the kids! Baby D-Nut (who is hardly a baby any longer which is an entirely new post on its own) is going to be just fine. As long as she has us by her side and her favorite/familiar things, I think being in a new home will not faze her at all.

But Little C? Whole different ball game. Our poor, sensitive, change adverse, Little C. He is already showing signs of distress over the move and we are making every effort to ease his trouble-filled little mind.

Side note: I don’t know where he could possibly get this from??? Ha! Read: Every post I’ve ever written about any life change big or small. Poor kid. ::shakes fist in the face of genetics::

Anyway, we are fielding questions like, “is my bed going to be at the new house?” “Will Baby Sis be moving with us?” “Mom, will you still rub my back before bed at the new house?” “You won’t leave me behind, right guys?”

My heart breaks for him because I think he is worried instead of excited. It is understandable considering his age and I’ve looked up numerous tips and tricks for easing a toddler/preschooler into a move so I hope some of it is working. He is having a very hard time going to sleep lately and he’s started having numerous potty accidents which is very unlike him.

Keeping our boy at ease has been our biggest worry so far. All of the other stuff we will work out and is minuscule compared to making sure C transitions smoothly. I think back to when he had so switch daycares or even had to switch rooms in the daycare he was already familiar with! Those were both rough patches and I just wish we had a secret weapon to unleash that could help him instantly.

I know we’ll all get through this big life change and I can’t wait for the dust to settle. It really is a beautiful home and I can’t believe it will be ours by the end of this week!!! 

Have you ever moved from a place you loved to uncharted territory? Do you have any tips for easing your kids into a move?