Lately

It’s been a melancholy week around here.  First the death of Kidd Kraddick and then a high school friend’s little 3 yr. old girl is losing her battle with brain cancer.  They thought she was out of the woods and then out of no where, it’s returned.  She’s been given 2-8 weeks.  Her 4th birthday is August 16th.  You can read Phoebe’s story “Atypical Miracle” here.

It’s the strangest feeling to be so sad about the death of someone I have never met.  I am not alone in this feeling.  We all have “I remember” stories about Kidd Kraddick.  Mine is listening to him on my way to work at Best Buy every morning.  I had a very long drive and he just about killed me with Pooladsanj.  That was by far my favorite.

I couldn’t sleep Sunday night/Monday morning.  I woke up just heart broken for Amey, Phoebe’s mother.  And I was heartbroken for Kellie Raspberry.  Losing her best friend, where does she go from here? What about Emma Kelly?

Finally I just had to turn off the show they did Monday morning….I had to focus on something else.  Or at least try.  It’s been hard to shake the feelings of melancholy.

Please pray, send good vibes, energy, healing thoughts to precious Phoebe and the Fair family.  I can’t imagine their heartbreak.  There are many many sick children and hurting families in the world, but sometimes there is one that really cuts you to your core.

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On a lighter note:

Aidan…..my sweet, loving, calm, smart as a whip, clingy, will probably live with me till he’s 30, introverted Aidan…..has been moved upstairs at church with the other 1st graders.  Well on Sunday we got up there at just the right time to catch everyone and their grandma dropping off or picking up kids.  It was chaos!  Now, I do not blame him one single bit for refusing to go in there.  I was a little unnerved by the situation as well.  So after trying to get him comfortable to no avail, I took him into the nursery with me.  I was volunteering and let our coordinator know the sitch.  We are in desperate need for volunteers so she was more than happy to allow Aidan to “help”.  He loved it so much!

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This little one was completely smitten with my Prince Charming.  Followed him around, tossed the ball, asked him to rock her, rocked him.  It was priceless. My coordinator said he could come in anytime he was having a rough day but now I am afraid every Sunday will be a “rough day”.  He was a little annoyed by all the fussing and fighting and diaper changing I was having to address, and wasn’t too happy about me not tending to him.  He’s been asking for a baby sister. Surprised smile  So maybe this put the kibosh on all that.  I know it does for me!

Jeremy cooked out for us last night.  YUM!

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We were super low on groceries so Luke and I went through my spices to find a good combination. We decided just to use several shakes of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute and several dashes of Worcestershire.  We had a blast trying to figure out how to correctly pronounce WORCHESTISHER!!!! WERCHISTSER!!!! WORCHESTSHIRE!  They came out scrumptious though however you pronounce it! This week I am going to add shredded zucchini and onion.  We also had some Alexia 98% Fat Free crinkle fries…..<——- NOT GOOD.  I added about a ton of seasoned salt and baked the mess out of them and they were still super mushy and not very crispy on the outside….

Anyway…..I was up early this morning for a run.  It was so lovely.  This summer has been so mild.  Poor Jeremy gives me the look of death when I say that.  I always have to say “RELATIVELY!” and that its been much cooler in the morning than years past.  He gives me that much.  I still don’t know how they manage to survive in those uniforms in 110 degree heat.  No thank you!

After my run I showered, ate an apple the size of my face and a Luna Bar then headed out for a much needed grocery trip.  You know you are hungry and grocery shopping when “Diet Food” ends up in your basket.

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I never buy stuff like this. Ever. Now before you go thinking “Ugh, eyeroll “Food Snob” my reasons are many but the biggest reason is that 9 times out of 10 stuff like this tastes like crap.  Sorry, but seriously.  So I was VERY pleasantly surprised to find (after ravenously tearing open the box, tossing one in my purse and then before even getting out of the parking lot, had half of it eaten) it was really REALLY good!  I will for sure buy more of them.

We were helping our friends paint inside their new house this afternoon so I was not in the mood to whip up dinner and we were all starving so we decided to head to Chick-Fil-A.  I was so hungry I forgot to snap a photo but I  have been getting something different lately.  They changed my usual side salad to something incredibly awful, so I had to find a new go to meal!  I love the Grilled Market Salad.  I switch it up a bit by asking for the reduced fat berry vinaigrette and asking them to leave off the blue cheese.  It is so delicious!  I love it.

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It really looks like this when you order it.

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Lately I have been noticing things randomly placed around the house.  I always think “You know you are a mother of boys when….”

The other day I found a plastic tarantula on the floor by Luke’s closet and just picked it up like it was no big thing.  I had to stop and giggle a second thinking that “You know you are a mother of boys when you don’t even flinch at a gargantuan tarantula nor do you hesitate to pick it up with out even kicking it a little, you know just in case”

Last night I found this just hilarious…..maybe it’s just me but the simplest of things tickle me pink.

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The Bully serves the Bullied

On one hand, given my past, it is making me very uncomfortable to have my appetite absolutely out of control the past few days. On the other hand, I know I need to put back on a few of the pounds I have lost over the last several weeks.  The rational side of me knows that my body is like “Ummmm hello?  Can we please eat now?”  But the former fat girl in me is completely freaking out.

Yesterday I felt like my appetite was returning back to normal.  Interested in food again but not constantly hungry.  That was until about 3:30.  At first I had a little snack

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Then a little bigger snack.

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This time I measured everything out so I wouldn’t over snack again and ruin dinner.

After this snack failed to satisfy me, I gave up.  On the bright side, the tortilla chips and hummus are gone and I wasn’t hungry anymore!  Annoyed

This morning I feel like my appetite is a little more normal.  I struggled to finish my oats,

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but I knew I needed to finish them so I wouldn’t be hungry an hour later.  I also wanted to be sure to get a good breakfast in because I am going to get out and enjoy this beautiful sunshine and “warmth” (only 40 degrees!) on a run.  I am planning on trying to increase my distance a little.  My legs and tush are super sore from Shred-It yesterday, so I am going to say it was a good workout, just light on the cardio.

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I have to share something that has been a such a huge help in our home recently.  As a mother of boys I have no shortage of carnage around here and apparently this is not uncommon.  I have found a site that has been such a source of comfort and encouragement for me. It has made me see that I am not alone in this work of raising boys.

The MOB Society

As a woman, I struggle to understand boys.  I don’t get the loud noises, the rough play, the fascination with Legos and video games.  The aversion to good personal hygiene.  The expression of affection by passing gas on each other, hitting & wrestling.  I can nurture them like a beast but when it comes to really understanding them…..not so much.  I feel so blessed to have two amazing boys who are really really wonderful.  They are smart, healthy and don’t have any behavior issues what-so-ever.

I refuse to accept the notion that “boys will be boys”.  No, I am raising my boys to be gentlemen, respectful men of God, ones who open doors and pay for dinner, ones who bring flowers for no reason, ones who are chivalrous, have manners, ones who will respect women and love them for the amazing creatures they are, ones who respect others, are kind and gentle in their ways, ones who put other’s needs before their own.

One of the issues we have is that the older brother likes to bully the younger brother.  It has been going on for what seems like forever & I have zero tolerance for it.  I can not stand rude & condescending comments.  Even though Aidan is just 5, I do not want him growing up feeling “less than”.  As parents we use our words to build up our children.  They get so much negativity thrown at them from the world.  We have the responsibility to do damage control and make sure they know how important they are regardless of what the world says.  So, I don’t need additional help from within! We have tried talking, reasoning, punishing, guilt,  none of it has worked.  It all came to a boiling point this last weekend.

Two weeks ago Aidan got a donut he didn’t like and threw it away.  Luke saved his so that he could have it for breakfast the next morning.  While Luke was eating his donut, he was adamant about being sure Aidan knew how much he was enjoying it.

“Hey Aidan, look, I’m eating my donut.”

Aidan really didn’t care.

“Mmmmmm this donut sure is good! Aidan…..MY donut is good!”

That pushed the “Crazy Mommy Button”.  After a looooooong lecture I had a brilliant idea!

“Luke, because of that rude behavior, you now get to SHARE your delicious donut with your little brother.”

Needless to say someone was not happy. <—–understatement.

I explained that a nice person would have had this thought pattern.

“I feel sad that Aidan got a crummy donut yesterday, I think I will share mine.”

The Bully Serves the Bullied

Last week I saw on the MOB Facebook page that bullying among brothers is not uncommon.  The way a lot of mothers handle it is by implementing a rule called “The Bully Serves the Bullied.”

Knowing how well the donut situation worked, I decided to try it in other areas.

Last Sunday Luke made fun of Aidan over a mistake he made on a video game that caused him to set his house on fire.

“You SET your house on FIRE!!! HAHAHAHAHA”

The next thing I knew Aidan was on top of Luke punching him, screaming and in tears!

I am laughing hysterically about it now but it was quite alarming to see my sweet and gentle Aidan completely flipping out!  Jeremy was having to hold him back from beating the mess out of Luke.  Aidan didn’t get in trouble because as I told Luke,

“It serves you right.  What do you expect from him?  You push him and push him and push him…..it was inevitable that one day he would push back.”

Now don’t get me wrong, we did talk to Aidan about hitting and controlling our anger but seriously…..the kid puts up with a lot….A LOT  from his older brother.

So…..since the “incident” Luke has had to tickle Aidan’s back twice, read him a book and pick out his clothes.  It has been difficult to get Luke to take it seriously and I have even had to take his iTouch away but I am seeing how it is going to make a difference.  He is learning and being humbled a little more each time he has been rude or disrespectful.   I am loving this new form of “discipline”.  Everyone wins!   Maybe one day he will quit picking on his baby brother all together.   One can only hope.

Sad

I am struggling today ya’ll.  I was good until I saw Aidan’s teacher.  I hugged her and then we both started crying as the feelings of helplessness arose once again.  I am trying with all my strength to NOT BE AFRAID.   Afraid for my own children who are innocently going about their day while I am spending every moment seeking comfort in Christmas music and constant prayer.  I didn’t realize today would be so hard.   I go through moments of peace and moments of sadness.  Needless to say I can’t wait to go get my babies today!!!!

It took a while to get an appetite worked up but I made a yummy lunch today!  I had an apple and a cheese stick with a piece of turkey wrapped around it….no picture, sorry….it was as I was trying to decide what I wanted…an apple is always a good way to start a meal.

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Carrots, hummus and sweet potato chips.  I had already eaten some before this picture but trust me there were more chips and carrots eaten!!!

Here’s your random silly photo for the day.

Mom: Take a picture with me

Luke: OK!

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I need to get some of my to-do list done but I am having a hard time getting motivated and moving forward.  Just thinking about the parents. Parents who won’t be able to give their babies their Christmas gifts that I am sure are already purchased and in a secret place. It paralyzes me.  I must though.  I must not live with a troubled heart.  Sometimes the very thing you don’t want to do is the thing that will make you feel better.  I must overcome evil with good.  Romans 12:21.  So I will go wrap my precious children’s gifts and maybe bake them some cookies.  I will pray for those parents who can’t and thank God for mine over and over and over.

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Random ramblings…

It’s a gorgeous day here in the Dallas area! I love this time of year, cold but not too cold which is why

I Red heart Texas!

After my ONE….yes just one cup…..of coffee, I made some breakfast.

Steel-Cut Oats

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1/4 cup steel-cut oats

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp. Jif Natural Peanut Butter

1 tsp. ground flax seed

1 tsp. honey

When I first made steel-cut oats I didn’t know that they don’t cook like regular oats.  I am telling you that if it weren’t for Google, we would be eating out of boxes forever.  I tried to make them like my regular oats.  Oh no, not the same…..

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Fun With Cats…..

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Isn’t this just ridiculous?  I took Trixie in for grooming yesterday and they brought her out with this thing around her neck.  I ended up putting it around her belly like a skirt because it was huge around her tiny little neck.  So this morning I thought it would be fun to put it on Rya.  The funny thing is that she just walked around like no biggie.  I am more than sure she is thinking “I hate you so much right now.”  I love you too huss.

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I have a lot of people ask me what I feed my kids, how do I feed them, how do I get them to eat healthy food, etc..  The answer is simple.  I provide healthy food for them.  If they don’t want it, I don’t make them eat it. But the only other option is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I used to send them to bed hungry but I never could get right about it.  Then one morning Aidan woke up not feeling well and as he went to sit at the kitchen table for breakfast his hands and legs were shaking.  After he ate breakfast he was fine.  From that point on I decided to never let them go to bed hungry, but if they don’t eat what I make, all they get is a sandwich, nothing else.  Whereas if they ate my dinner they’d get a bedtime snack of a piece of fruit or a granola bar, bowl of cereal….

So what do I pack them for lunch? Some combination of the following:

  • Sandwich on whole wheat bread – turkey and cheese, natural peanut butter and all natural jelly or honey.
  • all natural yogurt such as Simply Go-Gurt or Trix.  Believe it or not they are making an all natural one. The kids love it.
  • pretzels
  • baby carrots
  • string cheese
  • unsweetened applesauce
  • fruit
  • goldfish
  • water (for Luke)
  • 100% apple juice for Aidan
  • Sometimes a Quaker granola bar if we are short on options

That’s pretty much it.  I am not one of these mom’s who packs spaghetti or quesadillas or hummus wraps.  They wouldn’t eat that anyway.

So this was Aidan’s lunch today.

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Orowheat sandwich thin with Jif Natural Peanut Butter and Welches all natural strawberry jelly, unsweetened applesauce, Trix yogurt, pretzels and apple juice.

And this was Luke’s

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Same sandwich as A, string cheese, an orange, pretzels and a full bottle of water.

Then I pack an ice block to keep it cold.

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Easy peasy!

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Today I needed to go shopping for a new workout top to wear on Friday for my super exciting thing that’s happening.  I can’t wait to share the news.

Outfit

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Top: Ross

Jeans: American Eagle

Boots: Payless

I was trying to show the side of my boot but it didn’t turn out so well…..Thumbs down

I was able to find two awesome shirts on sale at Marshalls and Target today! I will be outside and you never can trust the weather report in Texas to be accurate.  To be safe I bought a thick one and a light one. I love the lighter blue one because it has has thumb holes and a light fleece lining.  The darker one has a super cute ruching on the neck and cuffs as well as a hood.

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SCORE!

After Marshalls and Target we headed to Chick-Fil-A for one of my favorite lunches.

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Side salad, sunflower seeds, berry balsamic vinaigrette, and a small fruit cup dumped on top.  Delish!

After lunch I had a cup of Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice tea with a tsp. of honey.

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Since the cleanse I have stopped eating sweets after my meal, actually stopped eating sweets all together.  Even though the cleanse really helped with the cravings, the habit is still there.  How do you get rid of a bad habit?  Replace it with a good one!  So I have been making a cup of herbal tea before my meal.  While I am eating, it’s cooling and ready to drink when I am finished in place of dessert.  It’s warm and comforting.  It signals my brain that the meal is over.  It also fills me up if I am not quite feeling full yet.

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So I have this crazy thing about weird and fantastical chotchkies.  I wish I could have a little closet full of them.  I love them.  The best place to find them are TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross.  Lucky me, I frequent those places often!

I found this little gem today!  I couldn’t stop staring at it.  I am so fascinated by this one’s moobs.  The nipples were sharp!!!!!

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I found this one last week at TJ Maxx.  I SOOOOO wanted to buy it!!!

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Since I know better than to spend money on stuff like this (lest I be thought of as strange)……I have to settle for a photo album of pictures.

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Please click below to meet your cuteness quota for the day!!!

Cute Babies!

Not for the Faint

I am quickly realizing that I have serious OCD tendencies.  I have always known this but they are rearing their ugly little heads as of late…Jeremy does too by the way.  His psych exam for the PD even confirmed it!  He’s my lobster.  Anyway, I digress…..Ok, so not the kind where I open and close the door 20 times, but the kind where I obsessively think about things over and over and overrrrrrr. I never ever solve anything this way. I always kick myself in the butt though for wasting so much mind energy on these things.

Take this for example.  There is a particular house I am IN freaking LOVE with…..and I check the status of it like 20 times a day.  Has the price dropped?  Has it gone under contract?  Regardless of the fact that I would immediately get an email if either were the case……I still check it.  I have issues.  So the last few days I have really been working on not trying to control the situation.  If it’s meant to be it will be, if not, there is something better for us.  It’s all about trust in the one who’s really in control of my life here, and it isn’t me.

We listed our house officially on Saturday and Sunday morning as I am walking into church I get a phone call asking to approve an appointment for that afternoon.  I thought “Oh dear God already?  That was quick!”  I mistakenly got my hopes up that for some freakish reason we would sell the house that day.  Hey, it happened to my friend!  Sadly we didn’t hear anything back and I got a little sad.  Nor have we gotten anymore calls to see the house since.  Our realtor (Mike) uses a professional photographer and we are having to wait until tomorrow to have photos taken.  I know once those are up, (hopefully) I will have to be vacating the premises many times a day (hello Target) so people can look through my cabinets and closets.

I haven’t been able to workout for 2 weeks since I had the stiches put in.  Without that outlet, being able to focus on something else other than keeping my house spotless, I am sure my anxiety is super elevated which contributes to the OCDing over houses.  I am normally super laid back but lately I feel like a rabid dog!

Buying/Selling a house = not for the faint.

I have some good news!!! TODAY…..I got the stiches out & steri-strips in!  Fun times!  Annoyed The other good news is that she said I could wait to have those other two spots biopsied at my normal 4-6 month check up.  The 3rd good news is that she cleared me to start running again!!!  Jillian & her plyometric torture will have to wait a while but running is ok’d!  I found it interesting that the skin is only at about 15% strength right now.  I still have to be careful and keep the area bandaged for further healing and reducing scarring.  I keep thinking I am very lucky this wasn’t in a visible area because it’s really not pretty!  SUNSCREEN my friends!  SUNSCREEN!

I would like to publicly thank my amazing husband for holding my hand through both processes.  The man deals with the most gruesome of situations like a champ, but felt slightly faint seeing his bride get cut up!  Sweet thing.  What a man!

Skin Cancer = not for the faint

I haven’t really eaten anything new and exciting lately except for two new shakes.  Aidan is still being a complete brat about anything that isn’t peanut butter, honey and bread or Chick-Fil-A so I am just over trying new recipes right now.  He threw a tantrum on Sunday because Luke and I wanted to go to Sweet Tomatoes and he didn’t.

“Chick-Fil-A isn’t open on Sunday Aidan James!  We are going to SWEET TOMATOES!”

When we got there he ate two bites of pizza bread and two bites of ice cream.. *EYEROLL* Steaming mad

So my shakes…..

This one was Dashing Dish inspired

“Lemon Cream Pie Protein Shake”

I used her base and added 2 tbsp. sugar free lemon pudding mix, & vanilla (to taste).   I also added 1 tbsp. chia seed.  I loved this one!

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This morning I made her Caramel Apple Pie Protein Shake

It was so spot on!  Delish!

I used Walden Farms Caramel Syrup instead of caramel extract because I couldn’t find it.  This was a GREAT substitution.  I was going to use sugar free caramel syrup but I saw that there were 90 calories in 2 tbsp. and there was no way that was going to happen.

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So my boys…..my boys, my boys……

Luke's $ Ring

We have discovered Luke’s hidden talent.  Yes, that is a dollar bill folded into a ring! You want to know what he did with this?  It went into the offering tray the next day!

We won’t talk about how I witnessed him ALMOST getting hit by a car while he was riding his bike and crossing the street without looking (<—–knows better) while I was walking Trixie and Aidan was riding his bike in front of me.  No, we won’t talk about the complete come apart I had out in public in our neighborhood.  You know the kind where you are so freaked out that they are in trouble out of love and fear? He isn’t allowed to ride his bike ever again (<—- blatant lie).

raising kids = not for the faint

This would be Aidan’s report card…..

Aidan's 1st Report Card

Yes, my kindergartener. I don’t even know how to begin to explain it. It took two cups of coffee to get through and I’m still having to go back to it to make sure I understand what it’s saying.  He is doing great and even exceeded expectations in the Social and Emotional evaluation!  Way to Go A.J.!!!!  I must mention that while Luke’s wasn’t quite as spectacular of a presentation, he did make straight A’s!

I am really looking forward to getting a little bit of a jog in tomorrow.  I am sure it will be more of a walk but at least it will be a little something!  Slow and Steady!

A few hot minutes

Testing, testing…do I remember how to do this?  It has been a few hot (literally, I live in Dallas, remember?) minutes since I last blogged.  It was a whirlwind of a summer.  The break was so nice but if you know me….you know I love a schedule.  The lack of one left me in a bit of a funk for a little while.  I found myself sleeping in later and later….not going to the gym…..eating out of boredom.  It was too hot to do anything.  Aidan is such a homebody that when we did go out somewhere all he wanted to do was come home!  I can understand that.  The gym was crowded beyond belief every single day. It was such a chore to go and TRY to get Aidan a spot in the KidZone.  There was a 30 minute wait one morning.   I feel like we did everything and nothing at the same time.  The days seemed to blend seamlessly……..But ALAS! school is back in session and we are all thankful for that!  And by we, I mean ME!

We are getting up at the crack of dawn again, and getting our day started right.

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Aidan loves to get up with me (5am) but that just can’t happen. I have to have at least 2 cups of coffee and 2 hours before I want to see anyone but my cat. So he is really trying to wait until his alarm goes off at 7am. It’s an act of congress I am telling you. I need to start some sort of reward system.

Speaking of Aidan getting up….he has to get up because my sweet little baby is a KINDERGARTENER now!!!

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1st day of school!

Waiting in the car because it was pouring down rain.  He wasn’t nervous or apprehensive at all until this point!

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Picking out his locker.  The 1st one of course.

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With his sweet teacher.

I didn’t expect to start crying my eyes out beginning at 7:30am but I did.  I didn’t stop until almost noon when I had to say to myself “Ok, Amanda…..get it together!” I would have taken more pictures of the first day but I was doing well to get these few.  It was not a good day.  I listened to the Lullaby Station on Pandora all day.  Why?  I don’t know, because it made me feel all ooey gooey over my kids and sometimes you just have to feel your feelings ok?

The second day was much better.

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It was not raining this morning and we were able to walk to school.

Luke is a big 5th grader now!

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Bless his sweet heart.  5th grade is proving to be a lot more of a challenge than he expected, but he is doing great and adjusting well.  He is playing the violin this year!  So far we are only plucking the strings so no ear plugs required as of now!

Someone had her 6th 29th birthday!!!

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I love getting older.  I really do.  Each year I am more and more grateful for my beautiful life.  I am so blessed beyond measure that I just have to shake myself sometimes to believe it.  I feel better at 35 than I have ever felt in my life.  I took a real age quiz on my birthday and it said my real age is 23!  Well, how about that!

One of my birthday presents was a Bodybugg!  If you aren’t familiar with it you can read up on it HERE.

This was my readout from yesterday.

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I wish that everyday could be like this, but they aren’t.  I jogged in the morning for over an hour and then did housework all day long.  I had gotten behind on it over the weekend.  Add to that walking to and from school, plus an extra trip because Trixie pooped on the sidewalk at the school and of course I didn’t bring a bag.  So I ran home, grabbed a bag, ran back, picked it up, ran back home.  Embarrassed much?  I was mortified because I just KNEW every parent saw what happened and was going to tell the principle and she was going to announce it over the load speakers!   Anyway….about the Bodybugg…..I LOVE IT!  I love all things fitness related and this is just over the top awesome.  It is kind of a bummer that I have to wear it all the time on my arm.  I really don’t know why they made it that way.  I mean for real….It makes me look like I am being monitored by the police or something.  Why didn’t they do a chest strap?  I am sure there is a very good logical reason, but I can’t for the life of me figure that out.  Maybe it is for advertisement?  Who knows.  I don’t care though.  I love it and wear it all the time now.  I do take it off at night and times when I am not really concerned with my “performance”.  It took a while to learn how it works.  I am still learning how to use it.  The operating system isn’t very user friendly but thank goodness I know a super smart man who can figure anything out.  Mainly because he has the patience of Job.  I, on the other hand; was ready to send it back the second day I had it!

Also for OUR birthdays (Jeremy’s is one week to the day after mine!) we had a little over night stay in Dallas.  We stayed at The Adolphus.

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It is a beautiful hotel!!!

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This sofa couch thing was on our floor….I could have sat there all day.

Went shopping at the Northpark Mall….well ok we WALKED around the Northpark Mall.  Then we saw The Words.  OH MY WORD it was good.  And not just because Bradley Cooper is in it.

Bradley-Coopervia

What? ….just sayin!

We went to the Dallas Farmers Market….interesting….and I can’t wait to go back!

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We also walked over to the area where JFK was shot almost 50 years ago!

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Fascinating.

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Thanks so much to Jeremy’s momma for coming down so we could getaway!!!

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So this morning I wanted to go for another long run jog in the park.  Having Aidan in school now means I can!  The weather is so wonderful in the mornings now. Just thinking about running on the treadmill makes me want to stick a fork in my eye!

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Ahhhh, therapy.

For breakfast before my jog, I had a Nature’s Own Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Thin with 1 tbsp. of Jif Natural Peanut Butter and my daily vitamins.

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After my jog I had a protein shake.

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I have been enjoying these shakes all summer.  I ran across a new blog that I am totally obsessed with now.  Dashing Dish.  She has AMAZING recipes and I have tried just about every single one of her protein shakes.  Life changing.

My shake today had these ingredients in it.

  • 1/2 cup Fat Free Cottage Cheese
  • Lots of ice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 packets stevia
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1.5 tbsp. Hershey’s cocoa powder
  • a few drops coconut extract
  • a few drops almond extract
  • a few shakes of cinnamon.

So YUM!

A few hours later it was lunch time.

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Gala apple and a Panini made with a sandwich thin, 1 tbsp. Wholly Guacamole, 5 slices of turkey pepperoni and 1 slice provolone cheese.  This is my new favorite sandwich!  I had one yesterday, and will probably have it again tomorrow!

It feels good to get back to blogging!  I need to thank my sweet best friend Cheryl for the email this morning that lit the fire under my britches!!!  Love you friend!

Of interest:

Talk to your self to stay motivated – Greatist

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New & Old Faves + a plea from me

Things are back to normal around here finally. I am so glad. I thrive on a routine and schedule and so do my kids. I have found it really remarkable that all last week while the boys were away, I didn’t need a nap or feel the slightest bit tired at any point. Yesterday by 2 pm, I crashed and burned. It may have had something to do with the fact that I got a solid 8-9 hours of sleep every night last week and then Sunday night I was up every hour with a small child who wouldn’t stay in his bed. Could it also have had something to do with the fact that BOTH children were up at 5 am with me? Even though I could really use a nap right now, I am so delighted to hear them playing with army guys in Luke’s room right now. I know for a fact that the break was so good for my mental and physical health. I have found myself calm and assertive instead of screaming with a headache and frazzled nerves. THANK YOU MIMI AND PAPA for taking them for an entire week so I could re-charge!

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Sunday night I made a new recipe from my Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook

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New Favorite Recipe:

Taste of Home Baked Tilapia

This was incredible. THIS COOKBOOK is simply the best.

Old favorite breakfasts:

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These were my breakfasts the last two days

Above: 1/2 sandwich thin with 1 tbsp. JIF natural peanut butter (yesterday morning)

Below: 1 tbsp. Justin’s Maple Almond Butter on a banana (this morning)

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Microwave the banana and nut butter for 30 seconds for a warm delicious breakfast or snack.

Old favorite post work out snack:

Dannon 0% Greek Yogurt in Blueberry w/ 2 tbsp. homemade granola

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I had this yesterday after the gym along with an apple

New Favorite Meal:

This was dinner last night and most likely I will have it again tonight. I am not a fan of a heavy dinner so I REALLY like having this low calorie/nutrient rich smoothie.

Healthy Smoothie:

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • ~ 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 scoop EAS Lean 15 Protein Powder in Vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds

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Old favorite workout:

Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.

Over our vacation last week I decided to take an extended break from my workouts. Meaning I didn’t workout for 7 days. The break was nice. Very nice, but I was more than ready to get back in the gym Monday morning. Much to my surprise…I was not able to do what I had been able to do the week before! Imagine that. My heart rate was crazy high so I had to keep it slow and steady. I broke a sweat after just 10 min of jogging at 5.0 mph. I guess it was a good reminder of my humble beginnings. Yesterday and today I have been easing back into my old workout routine by breaking it up a little. Yesterday I jog/walked on the treadmill in the morning for 30 min and then in the afternoon I did level 2 of Shred. Today all the treadmills were taken so I had to use the elliptical machine. Thumbs down I just did 30 minutes on that and then when I got home I popped in Shred again. Aidan loves to workout with me. I have a secret prayer that we will be running buddies someday!

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and listen…if my 5 yr. old can do it….SO.CAN.YOU!

Today’s lunch was YUM! Maybe a new favorite.

I put a Morningstar Asian veggie patty on a FlatOut flat bread and grilled it in my Panini Maker, along side some strawberries and baby carrots.

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……and THEN these came!!!!

NEW FAVORITE!

We found these at the Allen Outlet last week but they didn’t have my size. So we ordered them and they came today!

Nike Women’s Flex Trainer

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super light and comfortable.

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they came with hot pink laces that I will be putting in ASAP.

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Nothing better than a new pair of running shoes!!! I do love my K-Swiss Tubes, but it was high time for a new pair! The tubes will retire to my running shoe graveyard.

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I wanted to share a really great post that I read on another healthy living blog that I love.

“You Can’t Out Exercise A Bad Diet”

She hit the nail on the head with this post. I couldn’t agree more with everything she said.

Now it’s time for me to get on my soapbox. I try not to give advice on here, only what I have experienced personally. Everyone is different and different things work for different people.

I see time and time again people jump head first into a fad diet (think low or no carb), excluding entire food groups. Start an intense workout regime like P90X or Insanity when they haven’t so much as walked a full mile in ten years. They expect their lives and bodies to change over night or they believe they have found a miracle! I know there are a lot of exceptions but I think 9 times out of 10 they have set themselves up for failure, defeat, gaining more weight, feeling hopeless or unworthy.

I have done the same thing. I have done it all. Adkins, South Beach, Hydroxycut, Xenedrine, Weight Watchers, starvation….. I have learned one thing. I must do everyday what I know I can do for the rest of my life. Can I live with no bread? Can I do 2-3 hours of a workout 5-6 days a week? I could, but would I want to? It isn’t sustainable. I have seen time and time again (myself included) people start out sprinting on Monday, but then peter out by Friday because they are burned out already. And rightly so!

Then there is the diet situation. You can’t out train a bad diet. You can workout all you want but if you don’t change your diet, cut waaay back on drinking (or better yet, quit all together), quit smoking, quit staying up all night….working out isn’t going to do a thing for you. DIET & Exercise. When I lost the first 30 lbs., I wasn’t working out at all. It wasn’t until I hit a plateau that I started working out. It’s been said, 80% diet 10% exercise and 10% genetics. This is the absolute truth.

So I am going to get off my tangent now and just pray that if you are serious about getting in shape and getting healthy, you will take a look at the entire picture. Look at what needs to change, what you are willing to change for a lifetime and start there. Start by just going for a walk, then a jog….start by weaning yourself off soft drinks or for crying out loud quit stopping at fast food joints, better yet, quit eating out all together. Most would be floored at the calorie bombs these places serve up. Horrific. Educate yourself on what you are putting in your body & get real & honest with yourself.

I guess it’s about time

that I finally post something!  It’s been a full summer thus far but I think it will be slowing down here in the next week or so.  Luke is going to be going to his dad’s for the month of July beginning Friday so it will be just me and Little A most of the time after that.

Last week the boys went to stay with Jeremy’s parents for the week.  On Monday we met at Chili’s, had lunch (I got a cup of the Chicken Enchilada Soup, so YUM) and then we drove back to Dallas…..alone.  It was so quiet that it was just plain weird.

We had planned to get some things done Monday afternoon when we got back into town but I was so tired by the end of the drive and had a headache from reading in the car.  All I wanted to do was lay down.  So I DID!  It was glorious!

Tuesday

Tuesday we got to go somewhere that I had been wanting to go for a really long time.  The last time I went to the Allen Outlets was a few years ago and I only got to go into one store.  Jeremy and I made a day of it and got there first thing!  We shopped around a while, finding nothing and getting hungry so over lunch I devised a plan of attack!

I circled and labeled all the stores I really wanted to go to and when we got back we started on one side and worked our way to the other.

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FINALLY,  I found the first of many purchases at Kenneth Cole.  I love the tagline on their shopping bag….Everyone Needs an Outlet.  Yes, and shopping is one of mine!  Thank goodness for Jeremy’s sake I am a bargain shopper.

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I couldn’t believe I found these, they look almost exactly like my ones from Target!  These are better because my Target ones don’t have the braid over the ankle and my heel slips off the back when I walk.  These feel much better made although I have a blister on my big toe now.  It’s ok…they are cute enough to endure the pain!  Winking smile

We had lunch at Mimi’s Café.

Tomato Basil Soup & Fresh Turkey Sandwich

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Would you like some turkey and bread with your lettuce?

I asked for no tomato and mustard instead of mayo….I guess they heard no tomato sub lettuce, no mayo sub lettuce.  Either way it was really good!  I ate half the soup and half the sandwich and it was a perfect portion for me.  I hate the huge portion sizes they serve at restaurants.  It’s so hard to leave half on my plate even though I KNOW that even just half is usually too much.  I think every time…..such a waste, there are people starving.

Wednesday

Reality of Love

I think the original name was “I Want to Marry Ryan Banks” but I guess they changed it at some point.  Good move, I want to marry Ryan Banks is cheese.

Reality of Love

I LOVED this movie!  I love it so much I want to buy it!  It was adorable and honestly, who doesn’t love Bradley Cooper?  If you don’t, you should see someone.  I want to watch it again.

Thursday

We went to breakfast at La Madeline.

I ordered the Breakfast Sampler.

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Fruit Salade (no, I didn’t misspell), Mini Chocolate Croissant, Oatmeal with brown sugar and toasted almonds

This was REALLY good.  I ate half the oatmeal,  half the croissant and all of the fruit.  It was perfect and filling.

Then we caught the matinee of Snow White and the Huntsman.

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Love, love, loved.  It was freakin loooooong but I had no clue.  This says a lot because I have the attention span of a 5 yr. old.  I think Kristen Stewart did a great job.  Clearly she has had some acting lessons since her Twilight days.  Charlize stole the show for me though.  Evil Queen indeed!

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I had on a cute top under this jacket….but since I get cold if its 85 degrees and there is a breeze, I turned into a fashion DON’T before our movie.  Good thing we were in a dark theater.

We decided on lunch at the Chick-Fil-A in the mall.  It was 2 pm and I was getting hangry.  So I figured it would be a good idea to get something quick.

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We found a sunny spot to thaw out under and enjoyed lunch.  I got my usual side salad with fat free honey mustard.  I added all the sunflower seeds and croutons.  This time I decided to add my fruit cup on top instead of eating it separately.  I didn’t like it as much…I don’t like the honey mustard on my fruit.  I think I will do this next time but change my dressing to the vinaigrette.

…and then this happened

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Jeremy made me do it…..but really, it was inevitable.

I didn’t eat it ALL…..just about 3/4!  It was REALLY good, but as expected not as life changing as I had imagined.  I could totally make this at home and in fact, have made something like this before with plain M&M’s, granola, raisins, and some sort of cereal.

That night I got to watch the week’s episode of Dallas!!!  I am so excited to have a new show to watch!!!  I never really get attached to a series because I never have time to watch them.  But this is appointment television for me!  Scandalous!  I vaguely remember the show from when I was little, but I want to buy the original series and watch all of them!!!

Friday

I can’t really remember what we did Friday, but I DO remember dinner!

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Crunchy Onion Barbecue Chicken w/ Alexia Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries.

I can’t even begin to tell you how good this was.  I have yet a THIRD go-to recipe from my new cookbook!

Friday evening we watched this movie.

In Time

In Time

Great storyline, just waaaaaaay toooooo long.  I fell asleep but was rudely awoken several times by sounds of gunshots. Thumbs down  I’d recommend it, just know it’s really long.

I just remembered what I did Friday. Confused smile DUH!  Jeremy worked his extra job so I had the day to myself!  I slept in late, cleaned the house a little and then went to exchange some things from Ulta & Target.  By Friday I was REALLY missing the boys.  I was honestly sort of depressed.  It’s funny because when I said goodbye to them on Monday, I thought….gee I am not sure 5 days will be long enough.  Clearly….. I needed a break.  By Thursday I was getting pretty bummed and by Friday I was just depressed.  I really missed my little boys.  It was so incredibly quiet Friday morning.  The energy they give off is tangible.

Saturday

Finally FINALLY it was time to go get them!  The drive there seemed endless.  We met again in Abilene and ate lunch a Chili’s.  I had the chicken enchilada soup again!  So YUM!!!!

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The best mom/mimi in the world and her boys!

I am so glad they are back.  We all slept late this morning and had a great day today!  Fussing, complaining, fighting and all!  It was music to my ears. Tomorrow is back to reality and a regular schedule.  I hope the treadmill doesn’t kill me after a week of ignoring it!

A Civil War and a Great Wolf Adventure

I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t prepared for the summer break. I didn’t know I needed to be. My children love each other. Or so I thought. Last week was like a civil war around here. Do any of you know how mentally exhausting it is to be a peacemaker? I didn’t, but I do now! Thankfully Jeremy is on vacation now and the boys will be going to Mimi and Papa’s house next week. Vacation! Couldn’t have come at a better time. I love my kids more than anything but…..sometimes, a sistah needs a break!

On to happier times…..

Monday-Wednesday the past week we took our little family to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Tx.

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We stayed in a Wolf Den

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This picture in not mine, it was taken from the website. But this is what it looked like. The boys were in heaven in that little den. I guess I could have climbed up on the counter for a shot? Next time for sure!

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Enjoyed a beautiful view from our room. That’s the Gaylord Texan in the distance.

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Slid down these slides not nearly enough.

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Got splashed by this thing that howls and sprays water every 15-20 minutes.

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Mom and Dad attempted to work on their tan while wearing SPF 50,

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and watching the boys swim their little hearts out.

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They made me laugh with these goggles

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The first night we ate at Fuddruckers. I was absolutely starving by this point and forgot to take a picture. So I took one of what was left. This would be the pattern over the next few days. I got the turkey burger and fries. I divided the meal in two, ate half and boxed up the rest. Which I never ended up eating. Thumbs down

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There were cuddles with the little one,

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….and the big boy was attached at my hip the entire time.

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Ice cream at the Bear Paw Sweets & Eats.

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the little one was attached to Daddy’s hip the entire time.

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I am not quite sure why he has started with this all of the sudden…Confused smile

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The Iron Horse Fitness Room in the hotel was really great. I was so excited to use their fancy treadmill! We all worked out Tuesday morning and on Wednesday morning I got up super early to work off those ice cream cones. Yes….THOSE…as in plural. As in two to be precise!

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There was a small crisis that my brilliant son averted.

“Jeremy….I left my running shoes by the front door yesterday morning….”

“Mommy, you can wear my shoes!”

“Oh my gosh….Luke you are brilliant! I CAN wear your shoes.”

They were a little big believe it or not, but they did the job!

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In order to still eat healthy while on vacation, we always pretty much pack our entire pantry…We also went to the grocery store to stock up on cold foods that we kept in the refrigerator in the room. Minus the Fuddruckers and breakfast Wednesday morning we snacked all day and had cereal and sandwiches for our other meals.

This is also a good idea if you are the type who is not inclined to spend a small fortune on food.

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Aidan and I enjoyed our “Waterpark Picnics”

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Not wanting to wait a few minutes before swimming….he decided to ignore us.

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There is a game called MagiQuest.

They love it. They actually were able to finish the game this time! The last time we went, it was for only one night and they didn’t get nearly enough MagiQuest time.

The game is described as this….

“With a magic wand in-hand, you’ll explore an enchanted kingdom and join in the ultimate adventure as you enchant objects, befriend a pixie, learn from an ancient wizard, battle a goblin and outwit a dragon. We guarantee this live-action adventure game is unlike any other you’ve ever played. You’re sure to become legendary when the getaway you planned becomes epic.” – Great Wolf

It is like Zelda except its in real life! Super cool. They have these wands that you point at different objects through the entire hotel. The objects talk to you and do all kinds of cool stuff. That’s all they wanted to do….

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I always poke fun at them (Jeremy included) for being video game nerds….

This is my impression of them!

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Aidan was exhausted one evening so while Luke and Jeremy played the game, we went back and pretended to swim in the ocean with our “Snerkle”

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I indulged in my own personal guilty pleasures!

Over-priced coffee and gossip magazines? Yes please!

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Wednesday morning we went to I-Hop for breakfast. I got the Simple and Fit Whole Wheat French Toast. Once again I was starving and Luke said “MOMMY! You forgot to take a picture!”….soooo once again this is what was left.

Our first visit to Great Wolf was for Luke’s 9th birthday.

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Trust me, I was mortified when I saw that my child had his mouth on the bears nose. Mortified.

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It was such a great time and we are going to (God willing) make this a yearly trip for as long as we can! I don’t think the boys will EVER out grow it.

Last Date Day

Aidan’s last day of school was yesterday and it was our last “Date Day”.  The boys will be going to spend a week with Mimi and Papa over the summer so we WILL get to have another date or two over the summer, but besides that…this was it until Aidan starts K in the fall.  Then we will have tons of them!  It’s so crazy to me that we are finally moving into the next phase of our lives.  I was changing out some of the pictures in our frames last night and found one of Luke at age 5.  Then I put Aidan’s 5 year picture next to it and thought….Wow, where has the time gone?  Cliché, I know, but it’s the truth.  Seems like yesterday……It’s so bitter sweet.  I am happy, relieved, hopeful, excited about the future.  Being able to finally do some of the things I have only dreamt about being able to do over the past 10 years, having sense of freedom.  But at the same time, I am sad that my baby boys are growing up so fast.  It makes me want to savor every moment and sad that life is so busy and hectic that I can’t.  I just pray I am not missing valuable opportunities to teach them, love them and nurture them.  I pray that I am not making mistakes I will regret later.  I pray that they will grow up knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love them more than anything and that our house and our family is their sanctuary in this messed up world.

Ready for our date!

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Breakfast

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Orange and not pictured, a bowl of oatmeal.

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp. Ideal Brown Sugar Blend

Outfit

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I tried on about 27 things before settling on this….I don’t know why I even bother with more than a t-shirt and jeans….it’s what I always end up wearing anyway.

  • Shirt: American Eagle
  • Jeans: New York & Company
  • Sandals: Target
  • Watch: Fossil
  • Bracelets: Charming Charlie

Our first stop was to Sephora.  I finally picked a new fragrance after trying the ones in the Sephora Fragrance Sampler that Jeremy got for me a few weeks ago.

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 Michael Kors Gold

“This fragrance brings together iconic yet complementary scents to create the perfect accessory. Exquisitely alluring notes of magnolia and freesia blend with delicate violet flowers to cast a brilliant sparkle that commands attention. The headiness of tuberose and the peppery hint within peony meld together for a sensational presence at the fragrance’s heart. The finishing glow of ambergris drapes you in a sexy aura of gorgeous, glimmering gold.” – description of the scent on Sephora.

Who writes these?  I love it!

Then it was time for our movie.

The Avengers

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I wish I was like everyone else and could say this movie was the best movie ever made, but for me it was not.  Let me just say first that I really like super hero movies.  I love the witty humor. I love the heroism. And of course there is usually a love story.  My favorite super hero is Iron Man.  Robert Downy Jr. is just adorable.  I loved the first part of this movie, but by hour 2, I was bored.  All I could think about was how much longer would this be going on and what I wanted to eat for lunch.  It was so freaking loud and the violence was just way over the top for me.  I was getting a headache.  I know….what did I expect?  I just have a short attention span and anything longer than two hours is just too much.  Over all it was a good movie, just (IMO) did not live up to the hype.  Definitely a guy movie.  My favorite part was when Hulk smashed Loki like a rag doll.  I couldn’t stop laughing.  There have been a few people I wish I could have done that to.  Smile  KIDDING!!! not really.

So all I could think about during the last part of the movie was this salad. Actually, not this salad but THIS salad.  The Chick-Fil-A in our mall didn’t have it so I settled on the regular one.  I should have ordered a fruit cup and put it on top.  Definitely next time!

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Chick Fil A Chargrilled Chicken Salad

I added the sunflower seed and crouton packets and used fat-free honey mustard.

and then this happened…..

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Small Snickers Blast from Sonic

I am not sure what got into me.  I don’t think I have had something like this in….well, ever.  I think I was wanting a Blizzard from Dairy Queen but we don’t have one around here.  I had been craving one since Sunday and suggested….(during the movie) we take Aidan to get a milkshake to celebrate his last day of school.  What was up with that too?  I never “celebrate” with food.  At least I try not to SAY we are, even if we are.  Sadly, this wasn’t even that great, but you better believe I ate all of it and had a stomachache afterwards.  At least I got THAT out of my system!

I spent the remainder of the day chillin out on the couch or just putzin around the house.  Jeremy and I stayed up too late and since I was still full (and nauseous) from the Sonic treat, I had skipped dinner.  Of course by 10pm I was starving.  First I had an apple.  That just made me hungrier.  Then I had an Annie’s PB&J granola bar & finally had a bowl of cereal.  Not exactly the best things to be eating right before bed but it’s whatever.

We don’t have any plans today besides going to the gym this morning.  I do need to catch up on some housework and about billion other things.  Hopefully I will be able to get all those things done for my sanity!

I stumbled upon this article yesterday while I was in my sugar coma on the couch from the Sonic Blast

Best Health and Fitness Apps – Greatist

I downloaded Stress Check, Epicurious, ShopWell and Fooducate.  Then I scanned almost all of my food items obsessively.  Thankfully they all came up with good scores!

I hope everyone has a BEAUTIFUL Friday!!!