Story time

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This was story time.
Keeleigh says, “let’s read a story.”
Nolan, “Tay”
Keeleigh, “sit here”
Nolan complies
Keeleigh, “upon a time…”
Too much talking to capture after this but it will have to be recorded next time because it was so freakin cute. They stayed like this, Nolan holding the bear listening contently to Keeleigh and Keeleigh telling her story, both oblivious to the rest of the world for at least 5 minutes.
To live in a toddler world, to have an innocent mind while developing a sense of self and expanding their vocabulary every day. Their imagination is becoming more elaborate through each experience and they begin to discover the world around them and conceptualize problems and objects.
They are sponges soaking up every word and action in their everyday lives.
~A child’s play is not simply a reproduction of what he has experienced, but a creative reworking of the impressions he has acquired. ~Vygotsky

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‘What’s the point?’

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone falls. Everyone has disappointments in their lives. Whether it’s disappointments in their self, disappointment because of another person, or disappointment because a situation didn’t turn out exactly as planned.

Disappointments come in all shapes, sizes, forms, and depths. Out of our disappointments we can find lessons. We can find our strength. We can find that things don’t always go as planned and that’s okay. It’s okay to be weak for a moment. Even the strongest person will have moments of weakness and will question their ability. Not everyone will admit this, but I’m most certain it happens. Of course it might not be publicized or discussed because that may show a sign of weakness. And who really likes to feel weak?

But even if for a small second you have a question in your mind, that disappointment will start to grow. It starts with an insecurity so small that every passing second you think about it, it will continue to grow and become something so big that you’re not even sure how to handle it or which direction to head. Leading you to a block.

It’s easy to give in to disappointment, throw your hands in the air and say ‘you know what I screwed it up. I’m just going to continue to screw it up so it’s easier just to give up. I’m done. I’m finished. I have no strength, courage, time, or effort to continue on. I’ve already shamed myself. I’m embarrassed. What’s the point?’

There have been times that I wanted to throw in the towel, wrap it up in a box and ship it off to China not ever having to see it again. That’s kind of like tapping out before the fight even gets started. Like saying ‘I’m done’ and you merely only made eye contact.

Will you ever get anywhere else without falling? Will you ever have a new chance if you had shipped the towel to China? Do you want to make a difference in what you did wrong so that you can stand up and say ‘boo-yaa’? 👊🏼

The point of this is that you will have disappointments all the time. You will have the chance to learn from those disappointments and what you’re going to do different the next chance you get. Each disappointment is an opportunity to write out your worries and notice what went well within those disappointments and come up with a plan to try again. Don’t waste disappointments. Take time to notice the glass on the floor. However, sweep it up so that you will feel safe enough to rationalize within your mind and decide what went wrong and where you need to go next time.

In a moment of weakness, look for that smidgen of hope. Work out on that hope and build it up. Watch it grow and turn the situation all around. Failure doesn’t have to win. Even if it’s not failure, a slip doesn’t have to turn into a life-changing event. You don’t have to look at that and think ‘I just can’t do it’. Sometimes that tiny smidgen of hope leads to amazing things. Look hard. Work hard. No one should be working harder than you do.

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Be amazing.

You can.

I have learned that pain has purpose, which, at the peak of excruciating discomfort, brings me little consolation. Hindsight, though, has often proven pain’s value. In fact, I have found pain to be one of life’s most effective teachers. ~Patsy Clairmont

Do you ever wake hoping that the weight of the many problems lounging on your shoulders would be put to rest while you slept. Then upon opening your eyes as you sit straight up, reaching out above your head you feel that tense pain; the weight, the grief, the problems are still there. Sitting their fat rumpus on your head, neck, back, shoulders. You feel hopeless. The plan of it disappearing happens to be wishful thinking huh? Adulting doesn’t happen that way. Look the problems straight in the face and don’t let them win. Be bigger than the problem. Accept responsibility, don’t put the blame on someone or something else –> Be a winner. Do what you have to do (with morals and honesty of course). Make sacrifices, for one day you’ll be ahead of where you are today thanking God for the opportunities and troubled times that have came to pass. Don’t give up- just keep moving forward.

If you stop to address the doubters, naysayers, and cynics- you’ll be wasting time. Show them up. Do your best everyday because YOU want to. Be the answer to your problems because YOU want it. Stand up for truth because YOU know you can and its the right thing to do. Keep the truth in the open because then no one can knock you down. Don’t deny the truth or your mistakes. Accept responsibility. Truth hurts but lies and blame can destroy. Destroy EVERYTHING!

For the doubters chasing you, throwing stones- keep them. Put them in a box and stow them away. When you’re ready, use them to build a walkway to your future; a bridge to a better you. Someday is today. Let pain be your inspiration. You can-so do.

2016

What a year has taught me. Chasing dreams, changing times, and rearranging goals. Misery, love, pain, contentment, challenges, acceptance, set-backs, reaching outside your comfort zone, testing the unknown= LIFE. Never pass up a chance to make a change or to enjoy every second.

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January- March

I discovered that little things in life will make your heart grow. I realized that my 11 year old (now 12) son will soon be 18 and moved away and that paying for him to go through driving school just may be a darn good investment. And necessary for my nerves and anxiety. I also noticed just how close the little eyes watch every single thing EVERYONE does, how they soak in your mood and that the ears in this house DO work.

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March-May

I noticed that children can entertain themselves with junk and $$ is wasted on all the cool new gadgets and toys they play with once maybe thrice and it’s old news. I learned that even when you’re feeling upside down, there is always someone willing to love and comfort you. I came to the conclusion that the boys in my household enjoy making me crazy. I mastered my goal- school, one bachelors and associates under my belt! Woop! We were able to have a big (and unforgettable) celebration for my childhood bff’s wedding and graduated on the same day. I blinked and my sons appearance changed; every single time. Since growing up is inevitable, I’ve concluded that soaking up all the changes is necessary and sometimes I lose sight of cherish-able moments until it’s a second to late. (working on that….)

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May-June

Construction will forever be a thing around here and I have come to accept that. Nolan enjoys destruction and construction both. Destruction like Scott and construction like me.  I noticed for the 125, 764, 329, 098th time, my son is the coolest kid ever. I realized that I enjoy quiet time with my husband more than spending evenings and tons of money. Phase 10 reminded us of many more things than signing a check for an overpriced meal ever would. We found out that not only would I be an aunt again but that it was a girl! I just cannot wait! My nieces are the best.

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June

Summer, bedtimes and routines are near non-existent. Ice cream and messes are necessary. Friends and cousins are a must. Family and fun are impossible to pass up.

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July

Vacation was memorable and I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed it. Check out all the photos here:

Vacation, take 1

Vacation, take 2

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July- September

Surgeries, sickness, changes. Chase started middle school and with that school ball. I learned many more things than these pictures display. I realized, more and more everyday, that people’s actions speak louder than words. I learned that not everyone has the same heart as you and that IF you allow, they will take advantage of you every chance they get. I also realized that some are only out after their selfish best interest, despite who else is involved. And I also learned to never pass up an opportunity to stomp your feet in the puddles. Life is too short to stand on the porch.

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September- October

I witnessed a baby (or belly) growing, witches walking, my son growing, the toddler’s life lessons, and my heart growing, breaking and changing.

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October-November

My sons first shiner is in the books and boy, was it a doozie. Nolan transitioned into a big boy bed. I was ecstatic about my sons first F! God knows how much I love that boy. I realized I miss my nieces and nephew terribly so time with them is important. And of course that my grandma and grandpa are still 110% in love after 38 years of LIFE and not only do I cherish them but look up to them as well. My husband and I need to write life goals and see them through. And a big change in my life took place and all the support I’ve had has absolutely blown me away. I love my people.

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December

Change, challenges, choices and Christmas.

What a year.

5 tips from this dynamic duo.

Don’t laugh y’all. It’s really true. My husband and I are like a dynamic duo. Our marriage has been through many stages and changes and, boy oh boy, it’s been a ride. So , without further ado, here’s a little ditty about us.

He likes the shade while I like the sun. I like my coffee almost black while he likes a little coffee with his gallons of cream and sugar. He likes to travel by car and I like to fly by air. He likes to sleep in while I like to wake with the birds. He likes to spend money and spending money actually makes me extremely anxious. He doesn’t mind to let the grass grow and I think it has to be mowed the same day every week. He like his dressing with a handful of lettuce and I like a bare salad with dressing on the side.

We are two different people. We have two different minds. We have two different outlooks on situations. We have different likes.

He pushes me to build on dreams. I’ve pushed him to be more than he could have been. Several times I wanted to poke out his eyeballs. Many of times he’s wanted to shove a sock in my mouth. Somehow, we are still walking side-by-side, with all body parts in tack.

One thing is for certain- when my heart breaks, his breaks too. When a joyous moment fills my soul, it fills his soul. When I stress, he gets all frazzled right along in the mess. He leans on me and I lean on him. We don’t always level each other out. And that’s ok. Most of the time. 😉

He knows my smiles. He can distinguish between my laughs. He understands my facial expressions. He knows what my silence means. And he’s felt the wrath of each side of my personality. But yet, he still completely accepts me as his wife- every single day as the sun rises and still when the sun set- I’m his wife and he loves that.

For that, I’m internally, immensely grateful. I could never begin to explain, only stand beside him through every path and every walk of life.

He’ll always protect my heart. He’ll always carry his family. He’ll walk to the ends of the earth to make sure his family has their needs met. Despite the challenges we’ve faced, no matter the hurt that came between us, we came out still together.

With that being said…

Here are 5 things we’ve come to realize that are extremely important to keep our marriage healthy.

  1. He hears “I love you” as he should but he should also feel it. And vice versa. My husband works a crazy schedule. Out a week, home a week. More or less. Whether he’s home or away, our routine at home continues. School, routines, errands, plans… it all goes on. So, making him his favorite meal, sitting my phone down to give him my undivided attention, letting him sleep in, or put off a chore to sit beside him on the couch. It really is about the small things.
  2. Make time for dates. Day dates, evening dates, overnight dates. Time together alone, away from the children is VERY important. It can be easy to get so caught up in life that I forget to remember why in the world he is my best friend. Dates don’t have to cost a ton or be all candlelight’s and perfection, it can be as simple as going for ice cream.
  3. Communicate, concentrate, reciprocate. So, in the past year our life has went absolutely haywire. Remodeling, taking on a surprise child, family issues, change in schedules, finishing up a degree… so much change. There were several times I thought I was going to loose my mind. And I’m pretty sure I may have a little. Even though I had things on my mind, he also had things on his. He’s not the only one who needed work on his listening skills. He deserves my full attention just as I do his. Stop what you’re doing, make eye contact, focus, and pay attention. Hard lesson here, but it’s important!
  4. Make to-do lists together and set expectations. So there are things that my husband wants me to do and I put off, and put off, and put off. It’s important to him or he wouldn’t ask me to do it. I forget his needs are just as important as mine. Just like me, he forgets too. He forgets where his dirty clothes go, what needs to be done and that he DOES know how to load a dishwasher or start a load of laundry. Learning to respect one another’s wants and expectations are important. By following through with to-do lists, you are able to avoid bickering and nagging.
  5. I’m not always right. He’s not always right. Give and take. My way isn’t the only way and neither is his. (His toughest lesson to learn. It’s a work in progress.) Work together to figure out what’s best. If it’s a big decision, make time to sit down with undivided attention to discuss it. Marriage is about team work.

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“A strong marriage requires two people who choose to love each other even on those days when they struggle to like each other.”  ~davewillis.org

 

Healthy eats for the summer heat.

Grilled pesto turkey burger

Tonight, I was able to enjoy dinner at a close friends home. With ingredients in hand from researched recipes found on Pinterest, we prepped and prepared our meal together. With a glass of spiked lemonade (YUM), our small boys giggled, argued and played in the background as we sliced, mixed, and sizzled our way to dinner. It’s always nice to have some adult momma conversations, what little we were able to squeeze in between corralling kids and “what needs done now?”

Some of the recipes I tweaked and modified a little 😊, but I will share just where I found those recipes below.

What was on our menu? Lookie here.

  • Grilled Pesto Turkey Burger
  • Sweet Potato Fries with Chipolte dip
  • Summer Spinach Salad
  • Avocado salsa
  • Fruit Salad

I am not a burger lover. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have been criticized for this fact. It’s something about the grease, the sound and feeling it makes when you bite into it and then the chewing factor. HOWEVER, I love ground turkey. I have made turkey burgers before and they were very dry. Like, take a bit and powder would poof from your mouth dry. The recipe we used this evening, provided delicious burgers. We opted out of the grill outside and used the good ole’ George Foreman. I love anything grilled on an open fire just as much as anyone else, but George proved to be an upstanding option when our burger came off the “grill” cooked just right. We later added a slice of fresh mozzarella and the avocado salsa to top. MMMMMM, MMMMM good! You can find that recipe here: Grilled Pesto Turkey Burgers . We did minus the pesto and arugula but it was still scrumptious!

 

As our side, I washed and cut sweet potatoes into fries size slices. Mixed the bast and prepped them for the oven. Baked for 25 minutes and broiled for about 5, wall-a! Yumm! We also mixed the honey chipotle dipping sauce, willing to give it a try. Honestly, we all thought the dip tasted a little strange but once the dipped fry entered the taste bud world, ahhhhhhhhh, it just worked. It was delicious! You can find that recipe here: Sweet Potato Wedges with honey chipotle dipping sauce.

Next up was the avocado salsa topping for the burger. Since we opted out of the pesto and I LOVE avocado (really, I eat at least one a day), we thought we’d give this simple recipe a try. So basically, you cut up two ripe avocados, 1 English cucumber, 1 pound of roma tomatoes, and 1/2 a red onion then simply drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over it and the season with sea salt and pepper… oh and finely chop some cilantro. Stir and enjoy! I had the pleasure of using a cool kitchen utensil, a pair of herb scissors. I may just invest in a pair and I found some on Amazon for only $10.95! As much as I would use them, I would definitely get my money’s worth.

I just can’t even begin to explain my happiness here. Consider me strange but salsa’s are one of my favorite, as well as avocado, so this was an exciting thing for me. Okay, if I’m being honest, I love food so it was all exciting.  But for the real recipe, find it here: Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad. (Okay so they call it a salad, I call it salsa. No matter the name, it delicious!)

Next up was a simple summer salad. No real recipe here, just Spinach leaves, blueberries, quartered strawberries, pecans (you can candy them for extra sweetness, we like them plain), crumbled blue cheese and drizzle with my homemade (clean) Honey Mustard dressing. I actually found this recipe months ago and haven’t stopped using it since. I never liked honey mustard dressing. It was too creamy, or I don’t know, just not in cahoots with my taste buds. This new clean dressing is my new go to dressing. Find the recipe for that here: Clean Honey Mustard Dressing. The dressing paired very nicely with the salad.

Summer spinach salad

Super simple colorful dessert was loved by everyone. Especially the littles. In which case they ate most of everything on their plate tonight. Always introduce new foods to them. NO, not chicken nuggets instead of burgers, tater tots instead of french fries, taco instead of nachos and cheese. Right, we are all busy and sometimes a stop at the drive thru is necessary, but it is very VERY important that these instances are few and far between. You can find healthier choices on most menus when you do have to make that stop. My son gets treated every now and then. Nothing wrong with a treat, just don’t make it a habit. Learn about the food you are feeding your children. They deserve real meat, real vegetables, real fruits, very little soda if any at all (or sugar filled juice.) and no toxins or chemicals.

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Okay, okay, enough about all the health lecture, got off a little on a soap box. Seriously, this was a most delicious dinner. I dare you to try at least one of the most simple, familiar foods that your family just may well like if you just try it. Let us know what you think.

A big thank you to Tara over at Tara Nicole Photography for photographing the meal. Her belly was very happy to comply! If you get time, head on over to her photography site (here: taranicolephotography) for more pictures. She’s pretty amazing!

Look for more food shares in the future! This was too fun not to.

Slides, Caves, Cages… Oh my!

Yesterday, we traveled to St. Louis  for a day out because of my son’s upcoming birthday. We decided to visit the St. Louis City Museum. There is so much to do in this 10 story building. The creators of this place have put forth so much effort to make this an enjoyable and exciting place to go, for people of all ages.

Since our last visit about 6 years ago, there are so many new holes, tunnels, slides, exhibits and additions. There has also since been some exhibits eliminated but the fun is still ever-present. It’s not only fun for children but for the whole family. Some of the activities may be limited due to the fear of claustrophobia or because your knees can’t handle the crawling. It all depends on the person. I, myself, thoroughly enjoyed it. As did Chase and his friend. There wasn’t a face I passed while there that wasn’t smiling or seeming to enjoy themselves.

We first visited the tunnels, crawl spaces and tree-house like structures. Apparently, its called the “Mezzanine”. I don’t even know how to properly explain all the structures and explorations you’ll get yourself into. There are concrete caves and tunnels. There are tree like places to climb up and metal bars to cross while you look down at what lies on the floor. There are beautifully and creatively tiled floors, walls and pillars. There is something that will be sure to catch your attention anywhere you’ll look.

You never know what you might find hiding in the darkness of the maze like caves.

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Oh look, a frog.
City Museum- St. Louis
I have no idea what’s eating Chase…

The countless hours that have been put forth to this crazy yet amazing museum is mind blowing. It was, “Oh look at this.” “How in the world did they do that?” over and over. We next found our way to the other floors. There were more mazes, a small train, many crazy fast slides, a museum of individual art work, and strange seats that can make you loose your lunch.

City Museum- St. Louis

City Museum- St. Louis
There were somewhere between 40-45,000 little plastic people holding up the glass platform the boys were standing on.

There is a room so that you can creatively express yourselves by adding to something that has already been started, like the castle pictured below, or use their supplies to create something on your own. It is all up to your imagination.

City Museum- St. Louis
A room for creating anything that your mind and fingers will allow.

We also paid the extra cost to do the roof top. Yes, the roof top. Something I had stated earlier in this post was that it was 10 stories of fun. I should correct myself. The full 10 story building isn’t filled with places to explore but by the end of the day, you will feel as if you have been on each of the 10 floors with all the spaces and places to go.

First thing we did was the 10 story slide of course…. 10 stories of twists, sliding down, on your back, around and around. I was a bit dizzy when I reached the bottom. But I also giggled and would have done it again.

City Museum- St. Louis
10 stories up.

It was back to the roof top once we found our way out of the maze. Yes, we got lost trying to find our way back out. We went up, then down, the circled around and finally… we found the exit. Alive. 😉

Infamous school bus on the roof.
Infamous school bus on the roof.

The rooftop has a school bus teetering on the edge of the building. No worries though. It is bolted and completely safe to sit in the driver seat and even open the door. Cages, bolts and safety structures let you have the thrill of the height but also settles your shaking knees since you know it won’t be going anywhere.

City Museum- St. Louis

The rooftop provides so much more than the school bus. I wish I could share video’s here of the boys going down the large metal slide, it was quite comical. They first had to pull their way to the top using a rope of the metal bar railings (there was an easier way, but I didn’t let them in on the secret, haha. I made them work for the fun.) Then, they sit and slide insanely quick to the bottom in a rather disorderly yet entertaining fashion.

There is also a Ferris wheel that allows you to see the surrounding buildings and sites. What an amazing experience. I’ve never been in the Arch so this would be the closest to it I suppose.

Last stop of the day was back down to the airplane. I’m not going to lie, crawling through the cage from one place to the next made my knees weak, my movements slow and my breath short. But… I’d do it again.

I didn’t get near enough pictures of all the fascinating and unbelievable creativeness that has came from the inventive and ingenious minds of the museum’s creators. Yes, you will smell weird smells (I’ll leave this to your imagination), bump your head or scrape your back (Thomas and I both did), go through places that you are completely unsure of where you’re going, BUT it is a good time. If you haven’t yet or even if you have, you should check it out (again)! I think there are new things being built and added all the time. I haven’t even touched on all the impressive and fascinating things you will see or experience. You’ll just have to go experience it for yourself.

Just a little advice from me:

  • So many people had knee pads and that was a smack-yourself-on-the-forehead good idea.
  • You can pack your lunch and go out of museum to eat lunch but they do have places to eat inside the museum as well. They sells pizza, sandwiches and more. I would personally bring bottled water next time. As hot as you get exploring, you need plenty of fluids.
  • Wear tennis shoes and t-shirts.  No sandals or tank tops.  (However, this isn’t a must.)
  • A headlamp would be a good idea. Some of those places are DARK!
  • Pay the extra $5.00 for the rooftop access.
  • AND go prepared to be a kid again!

Click below to go to their home page. There you will find pricing, admission and hours. It even states you can have birthday parties here AND sleepovers.  Go explore…..

St. Louis City Museum

 

 

 

What is happening here?

I woke this morning with the devil under my heels. Something was creeping up my body and I wasn’t sure how to handle it. I’m uncomfortable. My feelings are in a bind. Should I throw my hands up and give in to the overwhelming feeling of struggle? Or should I react and give a what for?

Sometimes I can’t resist the temptation to bite back. Lashing out and achieving revenge. Other times I giggle a little at the tickle and simply let it go. It doesn’t deserve my attention or reaction. It seems that drama is always lingering somewhere in the air. Breathe it in and lavish it’s smell? Or exhale and blow it away?

But listen….

Drama does not just walk into your life. Either you create it, invite it, or associate with it.

Right? The choice is yours.

Humans are quick to give their thoughts, opinions, make assumptions and judge you without knowing what stands behind thoughts or actions. Too many times I have been ridiculed for my opinion, thoughts or how I handle a certain circumstance and all without being asked “why?” You ever been in that boat?

Well, I know personally, I don’t take all sides into consideration. Just like the judger, I am quick to make assumptions. I act without much of a thought. I am human. Doesn’t make me a bad person for my quick thoughts. Doesn’t make the other party a jackass (for more than a second) for getting all hot in their seat and lashing back at me for mine. My inaccurate, careless and negligent actions, thoughts or facts are simply uneducated and not well thought out. Is that wrong? No. Is there a lesson to be taught here? Yes. Could you be the uneducated and inaccurate one here? Maybe the fault lies within your opinion and knowledge. It could go either way. Maybe neither one is right. Who’s to say? Opinions are opinions. Yours is yours. Mine is mine.

Instead of instantaneously hating on someone, take the time to educate and share your opinion and give the other person a second to take in what you have to say. But more than that, listen to their side and the reason behind their behavior, thoughts or attitude. Sometimes they don’t see your bigger picture. Maybe they are merely seeing through the small pinhole of the situation in front of their face.

Just a thought, but if you don’t really care about other people’s point of view, why should they care about yours? There is so much hate and despise, criticism and belligerence, hostility, animosity and DRAMA in this world that people are walking around always looking over their shoulder for the next person who is out to stab them in the back or attack them from behind. I, for one, do not want to live this way or worry about my children living this way either. What a hateful way to live? It’s sickening, repulsive, maddening and obnoxious.

I really can’t be the only one who cares about everyone. I want to know why you think what you think. I want to know why you do the things you do. I am curious, passionate and considerate of others. Despite what some might say. Maybe, just maybe THIS is my problem. I am also imperfect, ignorant, misinformed and naive. So, your judging me for that? What kind of person does that make you? Imperfect, ignorant, misinformed and naive. Think about it.

 

I forgot, have you?

I forgot my why. I forgot my goals. It all became unimportant.

I have time. I can make time. I can do it. It’s so easy to find an excuse. Lazy is lack of a better term, and dang it hurts to classify myself as lazy but it’s so damn true. You just have to start somewhere and began dismissing the excuses. Dismiss them one at a time, until they are no longer a problem.

Accountability is what I’m looking for. I need an accountant. Not for my money but to keep pushing me to be a better person. Anyone else in the same boat?

Sure, I have MyFitnessPal that can tally my calories, fat, and sugar intake. But I am doing just fine in the eating department. Working out on the other hand, I need some accountability people. My why was tossed to the wayside and I really had to search my inner soul for the reasons and purpose again. So I dug deep and sat in quiet as I could concentrate on my why…

I thought about how many months that my Instagram feed was filled with what was suppose to be inspirational posts of “that body”. At night I laid my head went to sleep thinking of that goal. When I woke, I turned to notice my once flat butt was still in fact flat. I was looking in the wrong place for inspiration. Would it be nice to walk around with a perfect goddess body that looks as if it was made from a mold? I would answer yes to this on some days but truth is, no. I wouldn’t. We are all made differently and I don’t want a perfect body. I have no real complaints about my body. I really am in no competition with anyone but myself. I just know that I want a healthy body that can carry me through my life.

As we age, our bodies change. Our health is also changing as the years pass by. You should do all that you can to keep yourself healthy now. Healthy doesn’t mean you have to be a size 2. It can be a size 8, a size 10, a size 5. Heck! Size does not matter at all. Being healthy does!

Find a way, not a way out. Find time, not a time out. Find your strength and dismiss your weakness. I don’t want to be skinny, I want to be strong. I want to be healthy and feel good, everyday. I want to be positive and kind and spread my knowledge and gather knowledge and support from others.

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I began to write my purposes out on a picture I had taken just after a workout. I’m going to plaster them somewhere I’ll look everyday. I suggest you do the same. Sit down and think of your whys. Why should you change the way you eat? Is that even a problem? Why you want to be healthier. Or are you the healthiest you’ve ever been and there’s no room for improvement, but you may enjoy sharing your knowledge? What are the reasons behind your why? Have you even had the slightest voice saying, “you need to do something” but maybe just haven’t convinced yourself that you need to start anything? Could it be that you know someone struggling and want to be a guide for them? An encourager, a coach, a directory for them to follow. Whatever it may be- Start here. Make a list of all your whys.

Then hang them somewhere you’ll see them daily: on the fridge, above the stove, on your dresser, your mirror, the bathroom wall. Look at them and read them each time you pass by them. It’s okay to need reminders. Don’t be ashamed of your goals. Be proud you’re willing to make a change. It may take hundreds of times of reading it but encouragement is needed everyday. Remembering your whys are important!

It’s been 2 weeks since I started this post. And in those 2 weeks I’ve been starting small and working at my goals with proper rest days in between. I honestly forgot how good sore feels. It’s energized my day. The short time I gave to myself in the morning kept me going, unlike before when I wanted to use nap time for my personal time or quiet chores. I feel better subconsciously because I didn’t give in to the voice saying, “maybe tomorrow” or “maybe later”. We all know tomorrow may not come and later will be forgotten.

Do it now. Start today. Open your eyes and say, I’m going to give myself 30 minutes. Start small. A friend has been an posting #onesimplechange. Starting small doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means that you are ready. Starting small and making one simple change is better than making no change at all and then later wishing you had.

There are a few ladies that I religiously follow. One workout I’m currently doing is Sore to the Core with Alexa Jean Fit (her website but move to the bottom of the page to connect with her through other social media. She also shares videos). She not only shares her workouts, but she truly has an inspirational soul. Another wonderful inspiration is Natalie Jill Fit who shares monthly workout plans you can subscribe to and she even has YouTube videos to accompany for how-to’s. She started out as an over weight single mother focused on work and then completely turned her life around. She shares her story on her page. Here’s an example of one of her YouTube example video’s- Best Lower Ab Workout. Another one of my favorites who just so happens to be from Australia is Emily Skye. Each one of them started somewhere and gained all their knowledge and are willing to share it with the world.

Those ladies are just a few of my favorites and all of which are on Instagram and Facebook. A large majority of their workouts require no equipment unless it’s a ball, weights, kettle bell or a resistance band. They focus more on using your body weight and resistance. I love this because I can do any workout from the convenience of my own home instead of carting around a toddler or looking for a sitter.

So let me ask you this… Do you know your why and would you be able to hold your yourself accountable alone? Or would you possibly benefit from joining an accountability group?

Accountability and sharing your experiences will take pure raw honesty. The downfall to working out from home is that it requires major determination and liability on your part. You are responsible for your own workouts. You are responsible for the food you put in your body behind closed doors. From home, no one will really be aware how hard you worked, if you completed the entire workout or whether you even started it. Be honest and you’ll eventually be rewarded. There are people like you who can relate to your struggles, you are not alone.

Whether you find someone to join the journey with you on a personal basis or you join an accountability group, you will more than likely push yourself further. If you had someone or a group that you can send daily updates to, wouldn’t you work harder? A person or group text of people you can share encouraging thoughts, inspirations, recipes, a completed workout picture or routine to. Or simply failings from the day. You will have bad days, struggles, set-backs and let downs, BUT DON’T LET THEM KEEP YOU DOWN! Also, remember just because you know, doesn’t mean someone else does and it may be information they have been looking for. Share it!

Facebook is a place for every little type of information. Both negative and positive. I would like to start a private group on Facebook, somewhere that we are all familiar with and have easy access to by the click of a few buttons. Even if you’re not ready to start today, someone may share the information there that will change your mind and eventually your life. We are all knowledgeable creatures and what I know, someone else may not and vise versa. I want it to be a friendly, empowering, encouraging and supportive atmosphere.

SO- Would you be willing to join an accountability group?

If so, let me know you like this and I’ve already got it in the works.

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Vacation. Take 2.

Day 4 ¹/2

Scott is a magnet for trouble. Since Sea World, he broke out in hives. Everywhere. On his legs, arms, stomach, back and neck. At first we thought it may have been his sun allergy but it was’t the same rash. Maybe an allergic reaction to the darn $16.00 sunscreen from Sea World? Nope. The doctor at a knock on the door house urgent care (I know, I know… I didn’t go with him or he wouldn’t have went there.) said it was a heat rash. Makes since, it was hot hot hot and the sun was beaming.

While Scott and Chase was running around trying to fill a script, Kendall, Nolan and I went about exploring the other pools.

Then for dinner and celebration for Father’s Day, we went to Medieval Times for dinner and a show. The food was delicious and the show was great. There were 8 Knights, each with their own color. We were part of the green Knights cheer crowd. Jousting on horseback, horseback sword games (because I don’t have a better name for it) and sword fights on the ground. Each Knight challenged another until all it came down to the two winners. It ended up being the red and black knight and the GREEN! Talk about some excited boys. It just so happens our Knight was the champion. And then, another man in brown strode out on his horse with two men at his side with swords in hand. He was some type of evil emperor from another realm and it just so happens he was there to challenge our GREEN knight. The battle began. There were loud cheers and some boos. There were sparks flying and clinking sounds of clanging swords. The green Knight eventually fell to the ground from his horse and the man in brown followed suit. The clicking and clanging continued as did the sparks and cheers. The green Knight fell and rolled away just before the evil emperors sword came crashing down onto his stomach. Quickly retrieving his footage, the green Knight vigilantly went after the brown and some quick movements later, the evil brown man fell in a reversal move and was “slashed” on the stomach by none other than the GREEN knight. Our man won! Even more cheers and roots and excitedly waved flags came from our crowd.

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Kendall didn’t sit down, Nolan LOVED the corn on the cob, Chase demolished his chicken and Scott bought “sangria” thinking it was like our sangria at home. Boy was he wrong. Instead, a man brought a glass vase filled with red sweet wine to our table. I laughed knowing Scott couldn’t even sip it because it tasted too much like Ste. Gen wine. Apparently, there was a September night long ago that involved an empty jug of Ste. Gen wine with a story to tell.

It was a successful dinner and show.

Day 5 1/2

On our first evening a tragic event happened just a short 9.5 miles from our resort. “An American born man who had pledged allegiance to ISIS came in with an assault rifle and killed 49 people… The deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nations worst terror attack since 9/11” according to CNN.com. Not only did he kill 49, he also injured 53. An act of terror and hate. And I say he, the man-Omar which was his name- was responsible, not the gun. But that’s another conversation. We decided to travel to downtown Orlando to the site. “Club Pulse”

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Nothing but cops and news cameras had S. Orange Ave shut down for blocks.
On the travel to downtown, the opposite side of the highway was shut down with a cop about every quarter mile. We couldn’t figure out why, until it was too late. Sitting in traffic just off S. Orange Ave, the radio announced that President Obama was coming to Orlando and that there were back-ups and delays due to the shut down of the highway for his motorcade. That would have been something to see.

After sitting in traffic jams, it was back to the resort for more swimming, sand Tic-Tac-Toe, as well as races and fort building.

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Day 6 ¹/2

Last full day of vacation. I’m not sure we’ve been here as long as it seems.
With a slow start, Kendall and I walked the trail around the whole resort. We found a rather sketchy part of the trail. No railings, grown up bushes and the fear of what may be lying in the unknown of the swampy surroundings.

As you might have also heard, there was a toddler that was taken from his mother and father because of a 7 foot alligator. He was innocently splashing in the shallow water at the resort they were staying at. The resort just so happens to be 8.3 miles from our location. I can’t imagine their devastation and grief. The parents even tried tackling the alligator to save their son with no success. My heart breaks for them. The little boy was Nolan’s age. Many prayers for their devastation. May little Lane fly high and watch over his mommy and daddy.

We quickly turned around and headed back to the room.
Bet you can’t guess what we did next… If you guessed golf, you were wrong. More swimming as requested.

There was something huge that happened on this day. Something so enormous that it deserves its own slide show. Kendall lost the floaties and took off swimming.

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We also discovered that Nolan loves the water. Like LOVES the water. And what a little swimmer he is.

He may move at a snails pace but by golly he can “oggy” paddle like an Olympian.

Chase on the other hand, is quite the accomplished swimmer already. Beat Scott every time.

After nap, adventure to Downtown Disney and Rainforest Cafe was calling our names.

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Last night swim and then bed.
7:00 Saturday morning would be coming early.

Day 7 ¹/2

Belongings packed. Sleepy eyes present. Bellies rumbling. We’re ready for home. It’s a good thing that memories don’t take up room in the vehicle. We wouldn’t have room to ride home.

Just a few extra pictures…

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Are we there yet?

That question is pretty typical when traveling with young children. Surprisingly, I only heard it about 4 times on our travel down. On the other hand I heard, “Tonna, ah you doin’?” about every 2 miles for most of the hours Nolan was awake. Lots of giggles, watching of license plates and movie switches. There was also ear tingling loudness but I shouldn’t expect anything less. I mean, there were 4 boys under the age of 34 in a van together for ONLY 23 hours.

As we pulled in closer to our destination, the toll roads tripped us up. Thank goodness for the good ole GPS! After many u-turns and side roads, we made it to the address. The resort seemed abandoned from the road. I was a little worried when I glanced towards Scott as he said, “Is this it?” A half mile in, down a concrete road with trees and freshly landscaped bushes, we came to an opening. Tennis courts to the right and a large pond to the left. The resort is beautiful.

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After we checked and finally found our way through the many lefts and rights and parking lots, we found what would be our get-away for a week. 3rd floor. Next to the elevator. Made it a bit easier to unload the very packed van.

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Ate dinner out at Hurricane Grill and Wings. They had the best steamed garlic-Parmesan broccoli! Delish! Then pool time. Nolan discovered that licking the water was gross. Chase was proud he almost choked out Scott and Kendall wouldn’t stay in one spot long enough to get a picture. We were all happy to be out of that van and in Orlando, Florida.

DAY 1 ¹/2

We decided then that the next day would be spent lounging at the pools and exploring the very large resort. There were 4 pools, kiddie pools included, a golf course, a game room, exercise room, activity room, spa, basketball courts, paddle boats, fishing, sand volleyball and so much more. We chose an easy pizza dinner by the pool and relaxed well into the evening hours.

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DAY 2 1/2

Next up, Sea World. Just 1.8 miles from our resort. The sun was pretty brutal by 9:30 and the heat that came from the sun was ferocious. Sunscreen and plenty  of fluids was a must! I forgot the sunscreen and didn’t realize it until we were parked. We had a darn good spot so… I bought a $16.00 bottle there. :O We ended up buying a cup for $13.00 and refilled that sucker for free all day long.

The boys really seemed to enjoy the aquarium exhibit. Large Stingrays that wouldn’t fit in my bathtub, school of fish, crazy looking seahorses and Nolan even found Dory! (I cannot wait for that movie!! I hope it does not disappoint.)

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The Stingray Manta ride- Oh. My. Lanta! I about lost it on that ride. Upside down, backwards and laying on my belly, so to say, all at a high rate of speed. What a ride! I recommend it if you like the type of excitement that makes you gasp for air and pinch out a scream that sounds more like a squeak. Nolan and Kendall tried out the seats while they waited for Chase and me. A little more growing is necessary.

We walked clear across the park to catch the Shamu show. But along our way we saw a group of three men performing in the street. They were hilarious. Kendall laughed so hard I’m pretty sure he had tears. I had one of those laughs that makes you look all awkward so you glance around the crowd to make sure no one saw you.

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We sat in the soak zone at the show and didn’t get wet but soaked in our own sweat. Did I mention it was 92 degrees and so flipping hot? Poor Nolan was trying so hard to go with out a nap. Dang near lost him to a snooze and then the show ended. No matter how hot, we enjoyed the show. It amazes me how well trained those killer whales are. Impressive.

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Kendall got to ride his very first roller coaster and unfortunately we didn’t capture that memory because Scott’s camera roll was full and I ventured off to the slides with Nolan, but I am happy to report that he loved it. Rode it twice. We were able to see the dolphins in the dolphin nursery but no good pictures were captured. Darn it. Also, Kendall, Chase and I rode the Wild Arctic simulator. We “rode” a helicopter and while I was trying to stay focused on not getting sick and containing my dizziness, Kendall cackled. I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed that too.

 

Chase and I was able to ride the new “Mako” roller coaster while the other two stayed with Scott at the smaller rides. The “Mako” just opened on June 10th and is the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster in Orlando. With only a 40 minute wait, we jumped in line. Let me just tell you about our experience there. I had the following thoughts as we stood in line…

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The furthest this fella stood from us.

Dear sir,

Why do you not have regards for our personal space? I’m pretty sure I smell and I know you do. For goodness sakes, I’ve been sweating for the past 6 hours. It’s 92° out. We are standing in close enough proximity of one another in the blistering sun while we are all waiting just the same amount of time to ride a ride. It doesn’t make me feel comfortable for you to stand so close I can almost hear your nose hair rustling around as you breathe. Sir, I’d much appreciate you stepping just one step backwards and stay out of my swamp rump. Not only are you so close to me that I can feel your breath on the back of my neck, you are now forcing me up the swampy mess of a sweat crack standing directly in front of me to try to get space from you. Please back off. You are invading my bubble. The bubble that is now not only rolling in my sweaty smelling stench, but now has an invasion from you and I am about the pass out from trying to limit my intake of air due to the fact all the combined smells could put someone to sleep for days.
The smell I can handle but the fact that you think you have to be so close is weird. You have now almost assaulted me 5 times by brushing your hand across my butt cheek and it’s quite awkward and obnoxious. You may only mean it as an innocent gesture or as no gesture at all but it is not welcomed nor appreciated here. Also, if you’re going to rub my butt at least wink at me. If not, again, please back off.
By the way sir, the kiss you nearly planted on my cheek due to the simple fact you were, once again, invading my space nearly scared me to death. There is only one man and very few boys that are even welcomed that close to my face and it’s not you.
So if you are babbling on about how rude you may think I am because of the looks I continue to send your way or because I won’t just let you around me, I can promise you it doesn’t hurt my feelings in the least. Just because I can’t understand what you’re saying because I cannot speak your language doesn’t mean I cannot understand looks. Body language is usually the same in every spoken language. Please take my hints and back away.
Oh… And enjoy your ride.
Sincerely,
Perturbed sweaty rider in front of you.

And then,

He ended up in the same row as Chase and me. Turns out he was just so excited to ride the Mako roller coaster that he couldn’t wait in line well. I’m not at all kidding about how close he was, him brushing my rear or nearly kissing my cheek when I turned to look beside me. His lady was just as pushy as he was but she followed his lead.
I nearly lost it during the ride. No, not my lunch, but laughter. He was throwing his hands all around and even in the wrong direction. Poor Chase could’ve came out with a bloody nose had he not moved his head back just in time. I still have no idea how he avoided that near slap. His excitement continued as we pulled back in to be dropped off. He was bouncing up and down and hitting his seat continuously. I’d say he was happy. I’d also say that maybe that was his first coaster ride. So maybe he was overly-excited and ready to ride again.
No matter his excitement, I still have personal space to be respected.

DAY 3 ¹/2

It’s beach day! I was most excited for beach day. Scott wanted to travel further south to Clearwater Beach, FL so that we could make a stop at Hulk Hogan’s beach shop. He is and has been a big Hulkster fan. I don’t get wrestling but hey, whatever. image

Then lunch… imageWe stopped at Cooter’s because I had to pee, it was close and the name was catchy. But, sadly we were disappointed in lunch. Maybe they had an off day. Who knows. It was fuel for the bodies… On to the beach. Oh, AND the kids got a free frisbee with their lunch.

After finding a parking spot we walked to the white sand beaches. It was SO packed. But, it’s the beach on a hot day. How was the water? EH! Not trashy from pollution but from sea scum. Kendall figured out quickly that the taste can make you want to throw up. Again, trying to capture a good picture of that child is a task all in its own. He doesn’t stand, sit or look still for more than a millisecond. He had a great time. Nolan loved chasing the seagulls, smashing the “tastles” but he did not, however, like the moist sand on his toes. Interestingly enough, he would dig his toes into the wet sand and enjoyed it, then after noticing the sand on his toes, he’d “EWWWW” until I helped him wash it off. Chase stood in the waves, crashing into them, riding them in and waited for the next one to come. He said it wasn’t his favorite beach but he was kind of spoiled with his very first trip to Santa Rosa and Destin beaches. We made the best of the beach we were at and left a few hours later.

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Oh, I forgot to share that Kendall may have been a little scared of the seagulls. He closely watched his back and I just so happened to capture his face when one came a little too close. It was comical.

We finished our evening with watermelon. YUMMMMMMY!

Stay tuned for more to come.