Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Highlights

The summer is slipping by here so fast. Like most of the U.S., it has been incredibly hot. Everything is turning brown. I have never been concerned with spontaneous fire in Ohio, but this dryness leaves me a little leery. We did have a little downpour last Thursday night that left us quite cool and chilly at 70 degrees!

Moving has taken up a huge part of the summer, but most of the residual boxes are cleaned up, and we still have a few items left at the old house to wrap up so we can get it on the market. That will be such a relief to be done with!

I also started school a few weeks ago, which has worked especially well with this hot summer. Thank goodness for A/C! Most of our days look like this: wake up, eat, do seat work, lunch, wrap up with the "fun" part of school, play, read, swim, dinner, swim, read, bed. The kids see a lot of their grandparents, which is so nice.

We have made weekly visits to our small, local library. It really is a gem in this little town. This month, Skipper has been reading to a therapy dog, a big labradoodle named Lucy. The kids are also finishing up the summer reading program and eagerly awaiting the drawings to take place in August. And, see the little froggy below? He came from a story time tote to accompany the book, "Froggy gets dressed." 

Homemade muffins using fresh-picked blackberries and a little imagination... What morning could be more perfect? Ok, so the kids picked out all the berries (crazy kids!), but I thought they were good.

Playing with math blocks after school. I am not sure what this is supposed to be. Many of these pictures came as a surprise when I dumped my photos on my computer. My kids like to borrow the camera often.

Check out this neat moth my mom found right next door. That is Miss Bear's hand next to the moth. It was just chillin' there in the sun on my grandma's pink watering can.

And, big news, Miss Bear is potty trained! Stickers and new underwear were the magic key for her. So, yay, I am so happy with that!

One more thing... Remember how I said certain children love to borrow my camera? Check out this video I found on there:

Beachbody Update

Back in March (wow!), I wrote about trying and reviewing the exercise/shake routine of Beachbody. My brother is a coach and when they came out with a vegan shakeology (tropical - they now have added a vegan chocolate as well!), I decided to try it. Unfortunately, my household had quite a time with illness in the spring just after I posted it so my trial was delayed.

And now, my review can never be a complete one as I found that I am possibly allergic or at the very least, very sensitive to something in the shake mix. The first time I thought it was food poisoning, but when it happened again, well, it was much worse, and I am never having the shake again. However, I have heard positive opinions about the shake from others I actually know. The biggest plus was that it curbs cravings really well. I would add that it also adds more liquid to the diet and no doubt help keeps you regular. The downside for me? The cost. The vegan tropical is $130 for a month's worth. If you had a soda or a coffee habit (or sub a habit in) then, this cost will be nil as you are just replacing one thing for another. However, if you are like me, I only subbed the difference between the meal I would have eaten (breakfast) with the cost of the shake, which is more. Another downside for me is that I hate the idea of relying on a shake long-term for nutrition so while I can see the value of this for an initial program, it is not something I would want to maintain for life.

The exercise... To do the beachbody challenge, you drink a shake a day and complete one of the exercise dvds. There are many to choose from, but I chose the 10-minute trainers because one, I am so out of shape, and two, my time is quite limited. I will say the 10 minute trainers get your heart rate up quickly, and I felt better doing them. My knees started bothering me after doing the program day in, day out, mostly because of the sideway motion. I will say that if you have no exercise experience, and/or are completely out of shape, start with the 10 minute trainers. You can always add them up to make 30. The other programs seemed too much, too soon for beginners. One downside, again, is the cost. There are many other just as effective beginner dvds out there for less. For those with more experience, I have heard many good things about the program. Even for moms like me who have the extra baby belly. In the same breath, however, those moms also said they could not sustain the program due to the time commitment involved.

So, overall, this was a bust for me, which is more than a little frustrating. I have lost all the weight I am going to lose post-baby, I think, and I am nowhere near my starting pregnancy weight. But even more than the weight, I feel plain ugh most of the time so something has to give. After talking with my brother, he gave me a challenge - if I can run a 5k, he will come home next May to run one with me. This race is in memory of a military officer from our hometown, who died in Afghanistan. My brother, who is in the Army, has wanted to run this race since it was first organized. So, challenge accepted! I ran cross-country once upon a time so at least it is not unfamiliar. I am using the couch to 5k program, and have finished the first two weeks, with the plan to run a 5k in October with my niece. The program has a great phone app to help with the walking/running splits. Even better, it is only 3 days a week which is very doable, and does not leave me feeling a failure if I have to switch a day around because of last minute craziness. And, best of all, I love to get outside and it feels so good to be on the road again!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Latest Here...

I know I have been pretty quiet here lately, but life sure has been busy, and one of the first things to go, so to speak, is the virtual world. I hope to find more time soon to catch up in the Blogger world, especially as a new school year looms. We'll start on Monday for our first session. I like to take breaks throughout the year, and so that means some school during the summer. Though this summer sure is flying by!

What have we been up to?

Drawing, coloring, getting into the school shelves...

Heading to the library... Summer Reading program (with awesome kid prizes!). Like 4 passes to Great Wolf Lodge Water Park, fun books, learning toys, and more. The library has story time tote bags to take home which are perfect for the preschool set, and the boys love them too. They will be perfect to use for a little "school" with Miss Bear throughout the year. So far we have done frogs and bugs. The library also has educational toys to check out and take home, like the foam number puzzle Miss Bear put together below. We've also checked out a learning clock, play animal figures (farm and wildlife), screws/puzzles, and little magnetic cars.

Once home, we do story time in the shade of some large maples out front. The weather may be steamin' at 100+ heat index, but in the cool of the shade, it is actually not too bad. We are blessed with a nice cross breeze. 

And of course, we have been settling into the new house. The school shelves are up, the toy room is set, and most everything else is good to go. I have some odds and ends left. Plus, we have to go back to our old house for one last hurrah to ready it up to sell, have a moving sale, and bring home a few extra things we could not fit during the first move.

The only toys allowed in the kids' room are their stuffed animals. They sure love those cuddly creatures, can't you tell?

Naturally, with these hot days of summer finally on us, the kids have been swimming - even Miss Z and Mommy, it's been so hot! We bought a 2.5 foot high by 12 foot pool and it is perfect for us this year. The kids are loving it!

Oh yes, mowing the weeds with Grandma's help. I am mowing for the first time today. The last time I sat a rider I was 13 years old, and ended up in the ER with a burned leg thanks to a bush, a tree, and a patched-up mower since my Grandpa never gets rid of anything. But do not worry, it is going much better this time around! I had to take a little break to let some lightening and rain pass through.

The kids picked some fresh blackberries that are starting to come on, and I cooked us up some yummy muffins.

We have had too many late nights, but the kids had a blast watching fireworks Sunday night. Even Miss Z sat there wide-eyed and motionless.

What else? Doctor's appointments. Skipper with the GI but thankfully all his tests came back normal this time around much to our surprise, and we can go on with the diet as normal. Yay! Miss Bear had her 3 year check-up along with Miss Z's 6-month. It was a new doctor and the kids seemed to like it there. Both are very healthy, and Miss Z is a healthy 21 pounds! (And for those who will gasp at this, just know this is how my kids grow. Skipper was the largest at this age at 26 pounds!!!)

Now, we are preparing for a fun week with Daddy off work, even though we do have to travel a bit and work on the house. And, next week, we start back into a school routine - more on that soon, I hope!

Have a happy fourth of July!