Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Seeking Balance as a Mom...

One day this week I was scanning my Facebook timeline and scrolled over a video of Jada Pinkett with her mother and daughter. Intrigued by the caption on the original post I decided to give Jada and her girls a few minutes of my morning.

I'm so glad I did.

Lately in my quest to become more fulfilled and balanced I have been trying to figure out exactly what I need to do to feel more well rounded. How can I feel that I have given my best each day? Is it possible to not feel like something or someone didn't get enough of my attention?

Through lots of trial and error (and the use of a planner) I realized that on the days where I actually feel like I've checked off all my boxes are the days where I have purposely taken the time to pay attention to myself.

Whether it means going to the gym, taking the time to pamper myself or getting something done on my personal to-do list I found that I am more at peace when I have done something for me. I'm not as stressed and things do not seem to bother me as much when I am taking care of myself.

Doesn't this seem like an obvious observation? You can not give what you don't have. And even though I have known this to be true doing it has been a struggle. It's no one's fault but my own if I'm not making sure that I'm truly happy and feeling good.

Sometimes it's so hard to remember to make that time for myself. Then I'm reminded that I have to be an example to Savannah. I know she's watching me. I don't ever want her to think that as a woman your life should be spent only focusing on those around you (even if you love them immensely) and never focusing on yourself.

As a role model for her I want to be a woman who does it all without becoming undone. I think the only way to do that is to make sure I'm not cheating myself out of anything. I need to continue to pursue my own dreams and do things that I enjoy.

And I know it sounds strange but I handle things so much better when I feel like I'm getting it all done. Because I'm not carrying around so much resentment, frustration or anger I'm not easily unraveled when my baby cries for an hour (or more) non-stop. I don't feel like pulling my hair out when Savannah wakes up with an extra dose of sass.

I am unbothered. Completely.

So Jada's answer to her daughter's question resonated with me because I have found it to be true for myself. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2015 Goals Part One

I mentioned in another post my decision to become a Certified Personal Trainer in 2015. This is something that has been on my mind and heart all year. After having Little Mike I really wanted to get back into shape and be healthy.

Being motivated to workout and participating in the Operation Snapback run challenges really reminded me of my love for fitness. When I think back to my high school days I remember being one of a handful of girls in my physical training class.

I remember being able to lift weights and squat just as much as some of the boys in my class. Then life happened. I went to college, got married and started having babies.

In an effort to stay true to myself, I slowly got back to a place where I was eating right, drinking my green tea and working out when I can. All year I tossed around the idea of being able to help other women like me. I don't necessarily want to be a body builder or a bikini model but I do want to be healthy and look cute!

After researching many different certification organizations I decided to go with the American College of Sports Medicine. I chose them because they were the first organization to certify fitness professionals and they establish the guidelines that all other certifications use for training. I also liked that their resources for preparing for the exam were affordable.

I plan to get two certifications. One for personal training and another for group exercise classes. 

Now. I also love saving money so imagine how happy I was to find all of the books I needed on eBay brand spanking new for only twenty-eight dollars with shipping!!!

If that's not a sign of confirmation I don't know what is!

I'm looking forward to this journey. Not only will I learn more about something I'm passionate about but I can also help others and even make a little bit of money doing so. HA-LAY-LEW.

Have you thought about what you may want to do in the coming year? I'll be sharing my other 2015 goal a bit later.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Thought Bubbles

A few weeks ago these two went on a date to see The Fresh Beat Band…

My monthly grocery shopping plan is actually working. I'm surprised…

I've been wanting a fur vest since last year and every time I see them they are sold out in my size…

I can't believe Little Mike is about to be 18 months. He's a busy little something…

He also gets extremely grouchy when his sleep is interrupted. If you know us in real life you know what I'm talking about…

Little Mike also broke the glass top on an end table we've had forever. Look closely enough in the pic below and you can see it…

Meet Stanley our Elf on the Shelf. He decided to take a swing in the living room one day last week…

Elf on the Shelf

I have been unsuccessful in every attempt I have made to stop breastfeeding. We might have to try the cold turkey approach. Weaning isn't getting it…

Our pre-lit Christmas tree is 4 years old and the lights are starting to fade out. Please stay lit 'til Christmas…

The weather here lately has been giving me life. We have been outside so much lately…

I am so ready for my husband's holiday vacation to start. I am going to enter a straight chill zone…

Savannah got glasses and she has done so well with them….

When I get my hands on some of that new proactiv…

How is it that one second my house can be spotless and the next minute it's a hot mess…

I actually got to start reading through my CPT textbook this weekend….

I'm thinking about doing a 2015 vision board. The last time I did a vision board everything on it came to pass….

A friend of mine introduced me to Buddy-Bot. If you have kids and love hip-hop music Buddy-Bot is a must. We have been jammin' to his kid friendly rhymes and hot beats all weekend...

Whenever I see a screen shot I always look at how much battery the person has. LOL!!!

Do you have any breastfeeding weaning tips for me? Have you ever done a vision board?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hello December...

It's the last month of the year and I can not believe it. Where did 2014 go?

I hope your Thanksgiving was delicious. Our's was great. Very low-key and chill. It was perfect. After dinner we put up our Christmas decorations. I have officially jumped into the Christmas spirit even though it's just beginning to look like Fall here.

Fall tree color

I've been playing Christmas music and doing holiday themed activities with the kids. This week Savannah and I are talking about the Advent calendar. I really should start wrapping their gifts but there's something about procrastinating until Christmas Eve that I enjoy.

On another note, I have been reflecting a lot about this space. My goal for 2015 is to be more consistent (which was also my goal for 2014 - don't judge) and to really allow this blog to be a reflection of my life. In 2015 I also hope to become a certified personal trainer. My textbooks and study resources have been ordered and I am anxiously awaiting their arrival. Highlighters would be an awesome stocking stuffer for me this year, hint hint.

More on how I came to the decision to become a CPT later. Have you already started on your goals for 2015? I know, I know, we gotta thru Christmas first, right?

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Chic Thanksgiving: My Cooking Plan

Now that we've made a menu and gone to the grocery store let's talk about our plan of attack. How are we going to get all this done? With little kids and no one to help it can be difficult to cook such a large meal. To keep frustration and rushing to a minimum I start prepping days in advance. Doing a little bit each day helps me stay organized and in the holiday spirit. 

To start off the week of Thanksgiving I normally check (and double check) my grocery list and recipes to make sure that I have everything. I do any last minute store runs and get all of my fresh produce. If I plan to buy flowers or anything like that I go ahead and make those arrangements too. Or I take note of what my grocery store is offering for decorations. Normally when it's the week of Thanksgiving you can get a pretty good deal on anything Fall/Thanksgiving related.

On Tuesday, I do my mise en place. (Can you tell I'm a Top Chef fan?) I chop up all my celery and onions. I clean and shuck my corn and cut it off the cobb. I cut and clean all my veggies. Once everything is clean and chopped up I place everything in a zip-loc bag or a tupperware container. Everything goes back in to the fridge.

Wednesday afternoon, maybe around lunch I'll start cooking. I make the cornbread for my cornbread stuffing. While that's in the oven I start on my pie fillings and appetizers. When my pies are ready for the oven I get all my veggies going. After my collards, corn and green beans are on the stove I make my potato salad. So by the time Wednesday is over I've cooked all my desserts, the potato salad and all the veggies. If you're like me and you only have one oven then you know it only makes since to make some this stuff a day ahead. 

I normally wake up at about five on Thursday morning because I like to have my dinner ready around one or two. I make my rice and dinner rolls the day of too. Thursday morning is all about the Turkey and casseroles. I make the Turkey last. While the stove is working hard I mix up the lemonade and make sweet tea. I begin heating all the veggies about half way through the Turkey's cook time. Once the Turkey is done I let it rest for a while and then it's time to eat!

This is how I tackle getting all that cooking done. I plan to have Savannah help me as much as she wants. I know it may seem like a lot but splitting it up really helps. I have been asked about sharing the recipes for the Thanksgiving menu I created. I am working on that and hope to share it early next week. How do you prep and plan for big dinners?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Chic Thanksgiving: Grocery Shopping List

We have all been there. It's Thanksgiving Day and you're knee deep in pots and pans when you realize you forgot to buy something, you're about to run out of something or you don't have enough of something. It sucks. The last thing you want to do is try to find a store that's open. And God forbid you have to ask your husband or some other unwilling family member to run to the store.

We all know how that turns out. They either can't find what you need or they get the wrong thing. Even though episodes like this are the stuff that holidays are made of I try my hardest to avoid them. I like being prepared so that I can enjoy my time in the kitchen and my husband can enjoy his football.

You remember that episode of The Cosby Show when Claire kept having Cliff run to the store...

Love that episode. I don't want him to end up like Cliff so I start shopping in advance using two separate grocery lists. A list for non perishable items and a list for my fresh produce and items. I carry the non perishable list around with me and whenever I go to the store I grab a few things off the list. By the time Thanksgiving week comes I only have to buy what's fresh.

Tailor your list to what you're making. Here is an example of my non perishable list. 

We have limited freezer space so I'm not able to freeze much in advance. So, I buy my turkey fresh. I do freeze my butter though. 

Now. These are just examples. By looking at this I can already see where I need to add sour cream. Make your lists based on what you choose to make. I make my own Turkey broth so you'll notice there isn't any broth on my list. Do what works for you and your menu. If you plan to use coupons start getting the paper on Sundays if you don't already. I have already purchased my cooking soups, extracts and some spices because the coupons were in the paper last week. Last year there were several ways to save on a turkey and that's another reason I wait to buy my bird. Those coupons normally come out a bit closer to Thanksgiving. 

I like doing my shopping this way because it allows me to buy little by little. I don't have to worry about being in the grocery store all day or running around at the last minute to find special ingredients. Cuts down on stress. What do you think of this shopping plan? How do you get your Thanksgiving dinner shopping done? 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Date Night Taught Me...

This past weekend my husband and I got out for a very rare date night. We normally only get out for dates when family comes to visit. Because of that I have gotten pretty good at creating date nights at home and had become extremely comfortable with that.

Maybe too comfortable.

Anyway. When a friend of mine offered to come over so that we could enjoy a night out I happily accepted.
Ocho Havana Hotel romantic restaurant
At first I was so worried about how the kids would do and if my house was clean enough to have a friend over in my absence. Then I remembered that the last time we went out as a couple was in February… when we were in Vegas. 

It then occurred to me that I have become one of those people who gets into a routine and never looks left or right for a little spontaneity. My routine and schedule had literally become everything to me. If it's not in my planner the chances of it happening are pretty slim. 

Ocho restaurant salsa platter

Our date nights at home are fun and convenient (and necessary) but nothing beats getting all dressed up and going out. I had no idea I missed getting dressed up so much. What was even more shocking was that I had no idea how much more I'd feel like myself. Like the old me.

statement necklace

I didn't know I was missing the old me. I had no idea that I'd feel different after going out but I certainly did. Even though I'd like to think that I haven't lost any parts of myself apparently some part of me had been slightly stifled. 

Because I have been operating on auto pilot it never crossed my mind that I actually needed to get fixed up and get out of my house after seven. I learned that putting on cute mommy outfits and going to the grocery store and Target are not the same as being done from head to toe for a night out.

That's where I got it twisted.

Family time and running errands isn't the same as a true date night. Even though we're always together nothing is like going on a real date. I had forgotten what that was like. When you're a military wife this is an easy rut to fall into. You get use to the idea of not being able (or feeling comfortable) to go out. 

Before you know it you have trained your mind to forget about tapping into that side of yourself. Or at least that's what happened to me. 

all black date night outfit

Having a schedule and routine is great. For me, it is absolutely necessary. What I learned from date night was that I must also pencil in some time to be the old me. It's okay to accept the help of a friend and rely on someone else to give yourself a break when you need it. I didn't know that I needed to unplug but my friend did. 

Think about the last time you had a chance to unplug. If it's been more than a couple months plan a night out. Don't be like me. Our trip to Vegas was nine months ago. I was long overdue for a night out. 

How often do you get out for dates or time without your kids? Have you ever been blind to the fact that you needed to unplug? Share your stories with me in the comments! 

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