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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer of Fun: Week 1

I don't know what it is, but even though I just have a preschooler (two days a week), the beginning of summer makes for a great time to start a new routine & add in some extra fun.  Maybe its the beautiful weather or the feeling of a "new start".  Anyway, I thought I'd share a list of what we're doing around here for fun & learning this summer.  The items that are bolded are specifics or topics we're going to do every week.  I'm trying to come up with an idea for each topic for each week.  These are the things we did last week:

Movie Monday -- something we started a few months ago & will continue.  The kids love to spread out a blanket & have popcorn while watching a movie.
Kids National Geographic -- learn about a new animal each week with the details, videos & soundbites from this website.  I'm printing out a card for each animal & we'll store them in a 3x5 card file box for each kid.
Computer Games/Activities --  Mr. Roger's Neighborhood
Hooked On Phonics & Letter Writing
Outdoors -- planting seeds, played in the water (blow up swimming pool)
Games -- Red Light, Green Light

Cooking -- made, frosted & added sprinkles to cupcakes
Additional Activities -- Just Dance on the Wii

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week 6 Weight Loss

Woohoo (as is my 4 year olds favorite thing to say these days)!  I'm back on track.  Not only did I lose my 2 "cruise pounds" but I lost an additional 2 pounds this week, for a total of 4.  However, the bad news is that we had to get a new scale, and just as I was afraid of, its showing a different number than the old one.  Its only 1.5 lbs higher, but that 1.5 lbs is a lot for me right now.  So, I'm going to go ahead and switch to those numbers on the new scale & only count a 3 lb loss for this week . . . still pretty good, right?!

This week was really tough.  I was back into my running (though that was limited a bit due to a muscle strain) and healthy eating and the numbers just weren't moving all week long.  I was getting discouraged & also feeling like I was actually gaining weight with the pants feeling a little bit snug, etc.  So, I was surprised, when I woke up on Saturday to a 2 lb loss and elated when I woke up this morning to an additional 2 lb loss.  Like I said, WOOHOO!

This week's SECRET WEAPON was my iPod.  I finally got a playlist to run to a couple of weeks ago & it definitely keeps me going & makes a huge difference!  I need to get a 2nd playlist & maybe even a 3rd so I can mix it up a bit, but here's the one I've been working with.  Its my country playlist:

"My Front Porch Looking" In by Lonestar
"Heads Carolina, Tails California" by Jo Dee Messina
"Would You Go With Me" by Josh Turner
"This One's for the Girls" by Martina McBride
"Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts
"Love Story" by Taylor Swift
"This" by Darius Rucker
"The Climb" by Miley Cyrus

8 lbs lost, 35 lbs to go!!!

Surviving & Thriving with Twins

I've been thinking about this post for quite some time, but am finally sitting down to write it.  The twins are 4 months old now and life has changed dramatically at our house . . . for the better.  To be truthful, I was miserable during the pregnancy but scared to death of life when they were "out".  I struggled when I had my first baby & again when the 2nd baby came along & couldn't even imagine life with 2 babies at one time and a total of 4 kids under the age of 4.

It took me 10 years of marriage & trying to have a baby to actually become a mother.  Those were very difficult years and I was surprised when that first baby came along that life wasn't just peachy.  I love my kids to pieces, but its hard to admit that I did not love being a mom.  There's a lot of difficult day to day stuff . . . the endless diaper changes and constantly picking up after & caring for little ones that just didn't seem very fulfilling to me, especially when it meant I had to make some big changes & limit the time spent in my business that DID give me fulfillment.  Its hard to admit all of this because, honestly, I felt like a failure a lot since I know that raising children is the most important job out there & I see a lot of women who do it very well & seem to be happy & fulfilled.

I am so happy, that that joy & fulfillment with motherhood are finally mine!  As crazy as it can be around here, I am so happy with being the mom of 4 kids, age 4 & under, and I thank my Heavenly Father every day for this opportunity & blessing in my life.  Along with that change in my attitude, has come a more organized & happy household.  I am finding time to get projects done -- a little at a time -- and doing more activities with my older kids.  Life isn't perfect & there are still days when I want to pull my hair out, but now those are fewer & farther between than they once were.  I thought I would share some of the things that are making a difference for me:
  • I thought I was busy before, but adding newborn twins to the mix which required 8 hours of feeding babies a day (at first) just left me with a lot less time in my day.  With my other babies, I fed them on a schedule, but now the whole house runs on a pretty tight schedule; I even printed it out & posted it around the house!  I have to know exactly when to be doing what (getting older kids dressed, exercising, reading scriptures, doing household cleanup) or it doesn't get done.  They say that if you want something done you should ask a busy person.  Well, I really get that now.  I feel like I have to make the most of every minute of my day so I am able to accomplish a lot more than I did in the past when I felt busy.
  • We start each day by listening to some of the music that the kids are learning in church while they eat breakfast.  It really helps us get off to a positive start.  I also like to open the blinds (& the windows when the weather is nice outside) and light a scented candle to help set that right tone for our day.
  • I have an awesome husband that is a true partner at home.  It took some time to figure out, but we have a great schedule that allows him to take on some of the duties around the house.  He gets up at 4am to get ready for work so that he can be home from work around 3 or 3:30pm.  Most of the time, he takes the last 2 feedings of the day for the twins and will also do a lot of the care for the older kids on certain days of the week so I can either run errands (grocery shopping, etc.) or work on my business.  We have a 1 hour block set aside, after the older kids are in bed & before the last feeding of the babies, to spend with each other;  it doesn't seem like enough, but one day it will get better!
  • Prioritizing is HUGE!  My home life is my priority right now.  I still work my business & give service through church, but I know that those things have to be worked around my life at home.  I always knew that mothering was the most important job that I had, but sometime in those first few days after we brought the twins home, I felt a tangible change in my heart.  I knew, without any doubt, that my most important job was in my home & that I could find fulfillment in it if I did it right.
  • I MAKE time to exercise every day.  Sometimes that's me heading out to run as soon as my husband walks in the door from work.  Other times, we take the kids out for a walk -- 2 adults & 2 double strollers (we're quite a sight!).  There was a while there when that exercise was the only thing that was keeping my energy level high enough to get through the day.
  • PINTEREST!  Okay, it might sound crazy, but I love Pinterest & I really think it makes a difference in our home life.  I find great ideas for new recipes, organizing tips, crafts & activities for the kids.  And I don't just "pin" those things, I'm actually using them to improve our life & give me a creative outlet.
  • I'm a competitive person by nature.  I think I feel a little bit like I've been issued a challenge or a dare with 4 kids age 4 & under.  When people hear that I have that many little ones that close together, their jaws usually drop.  I think the fact that it sounds hard to people has given me the drive to do it better, if that makes any sense at all. 
  • I have a new appreciation for good health.  I felt miserable for most of the pregnancy & even before it began -- we did InVitro which includes a lot of injections about a month prior to & the first 3 months of the pregnancy that leave me hurting and feeling pretty sick.   Honestly, once those babies were delivered, I felt like new woman with a renewed amount of energy and strength.  After feeling awful for so long, the feeling good felt that much better!
  • The last & most important, is that I don't feel like I'm doing this alone.  I really feel like I am partnering with my Heavenly Father to raise children who will love Him & keep His commandments.  There is a greater weight & importance to the things I do and I feel His help with me as I pray for my kids & for myself to be a better mom.
I am by no means perfect at this.  We still have the occasional "movie & pajama" day or days when I just feel the need to get out of the house for a few minutes. Every day is a test and adventure for me but I am sure enjoying the ride, most of the time.   I LOVE MY LIFE with 4 kids 4 & under!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Week 5 Weight Loss

Last week we were on a cruise!  We hired some great, trusted babysitters to stay with all the kids and got to get away for a vacation with my parents & siblings & their spouses.  We had a great time on the cruise ship and ended the vacation with a trip to Disneyland. 

With all of that going on, I was warned that weight GAIN was in my future instead of weight LOSS for the week, especially with all the buffets and yummy food on a cruise.  Well, "they" were right.  After getting home, I had a 4 lb weight gain, but after just one day, I lost 2 of those pounds that I'm sure were due to travel -- my ankles had swollen up and I was definitely retaining water.  So, I'm claiming a 2 lb weight gain for last week and getting right back on track this week to lose those 2 lbs.  And really, I feel pretty good about that.  I was careful with what I ate, but did enjoy Chocolate Melting Cake each night after dinner.  The amount of whole grains available as food choices was almost non-existent and there was no greek yogurt to enjoy each day.  I did get to enjoy 3 workouts during the week on the track at the top of the ship and tried to get a lot of movement in by being involved in lots of activity . . . walking around Disneyland, climbing to the top (as high up as we could) of Catalina Island, and enjoying the water slide on the ship!

Last Week's SECRET WEAPON was Accountability!  Knowing that I would have to check in here about my weight and would have to check in about my running to the leader of our running group definitely had an impact on what I ate and the running that I was able to fit in.

5 lbs lost; 38 lbs to go!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Week 4 Weight Loss

It was a great week this week!  My husband & kids have been passing around one cold after another for the past month & I had managed to evade it until this week.  I did end up getting sick but was only out of commission with a fever & everything for a single day.  I really feel like I owe that to the more healthy lifestyle --- well, and maybe to the fact that mom's just don't get sick because there's no time for it!  Our running group went to a running clinic at a local running store which was a huge help for me & I got new running shoes that I can't wait to try out next week!  I felt great, overall, and lost another 2 pounds!

This week's SECRET WEAPON to help me stay on track was getting some new workout clothes.  After a losing just a few pounds, I am starting to see a difference & wearing cute workout clothes just makes me feel better when I'm working out than the sloppy t-shirt I was wearing before.  I discovered the DANSKIN line at Walmart when I was pregnant and actually wore their yoga pants through my whole twin pregnancy, instead of struggling with maternity pants & I LOVE them!  What I love most is that they have some "relaxed" fit stuff instead of everything being so tight.

So, this week's Secret Weapon was feeling good about the way I look during exercise with some new workout clothes . . . I highly recommend it!

One of the great new shirts I got -- Danskin, from Walmart!  Online they're listed as $12, but I got mine for only under $7 each!    

7 lbs lost; 36 to go!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Week 3 Weight Loss

Oops!  I totally forgot to check in on Sunday night; we've been busy, busy planning for an upcoming cruise with my family (just the adults, no kids), so I spent the evening on skype with my mom & a couple of my sisters.

Anyway, back to the weight loss thing.  I've been enjoying the slower pace of my workouts.  Instead of 2 heavy workouts a day, I'm not just focusing on the running thing through a program with Stroller Strides.  By the way, I love Stroller Strides & highly recommend it to any stay at home moms.  I would still be going if I had a stroller to accommodate all 4 kids!  But I was able to sign up for this 8 week running course.  We meet on Saturday morning for a run/walk workout and then have "homework" workouts during the week to do on our own and an optional group run/walk one evening a week.  My goal is to be able to jog for 30 minutes straight by the end of the 8 weeks.  Its tough, but I am pushing myself and doing as much as I can each time because I know it will work.  I also know, from past experience, that jogging is the only exercise that makes the weight start melting off, honestly, for me it just melts off, LIKE BUTTER -- and that's a pretty good motivator to keep it going!  So, in addition to my jogging, I am doing a 13 minute stretching video & 12 minute abdominal video each day.

I lost 1 pound last week, but the greater results is that I'm starting to see a difference when I look in the mirror.  No change in clothing size yet, but seeing a difference is great motivation to keep working at it!

5 lbs lost, 38 lbs to go!

I love the running/motivation pictures on Pinterest; here's one that I've pinned: