1.26.2016

state of the family update

Philippa Florence - 2 and a Half Year Old Update

Trending in Pippa's world is any type of headwear - from hats to hoods to headbands,  Daniel Tiger songs on Apple Music, and the show Little Einsteins. She loves her afternoons at school with all her friends, and tells us stories of everything she plays and learns. She lights up whenever we pull into the church and school parking lot. She is learning all too quickly that I can look up anything on the internet and show her pictures. ("Mommy, we look at Disney World on you computer?") She loves paging through the picture memory books we make each year, and from our trips and vacations. I love watching her imagination flourish as she plays with her toys, talking to herself in different voices. Also, 2 and a half is a constant oscillation between sheer joy and outrageous temper tantrums, so life is an emotional roller coaster in our home.

She is quick-witted, kind-hearted, observant, and sensitive to the emotions of those around her. I just love watching her personality develop each month. This is going way too fast, you guys.


Pippa Quotes and Moments

+ "This is awful." (Not sure what this was in reference to. She just kept walking around repeating this yesterday).
+ "Spit stays in my mouth." (A lesson learned at school.)
+ "Buenos días! Good morning, Sweet Boy!" (When we go in Teddy's room each morning)
+ "It's NOT LAUGHING!" (AKA It's Not Funny.)
+ "Mommy, don't talk to me." (RUDE.)
+ "Mommy, you got a baby in you belly?" (Nope, still recovering from the last one.)
+ "You play with me?" (Melt my heart, baby girl).
+ "I can't doooooo it. I can't do anyfing!"
+ "I working. Oops! I need more coffee." (She said this as she sat in the spot on the couch where I normally grab my laptop and get some work done...you guessed it, while drinking coffee. She's watching and learning. Yikes!)
+ As she prepares some cake for me in her play kitchen, she lectures, "Mommy, you eat you cake first, and then you get a cooooooooookie!" (So yeah, we might bribe her with cookies sometimes I guess.)
+ "What's that sound? What am I hearing?" (There's construction going on in our neighborhood).
+ "That me! When I was a baby." (Whenever she sees a picture of a baby).
+ "What _______ doing?" (She asks this question a million times/day What Pablo doing? What tree doing? What friends doing?)
+ "We go to Mexico? Mommy and Pippa and Teddy and Daddy and Pablo go to Mexico?" (We went on a trip to Mexico last year to visit her cousins, and she has a photo book with memories from the trip.)
+ "Mommy! There's a ant in my applesauce!" (This occurs infinity times when she eats apple sauce - any small black spots she sees are "ants".)
+ We saw a dead lizard on the ground yesterday and she said, "What dat?" I replied, "Oh that poor lizard has an owie." She was quite concerned: "Oh no! The lizard go to doctor? He got a owie on the head."
+ "It's soooo cozy." (She loves wearing jackets, sweaters, and blankets wrapped around her shoulders. These are rare occurrences in Florida, but she seems to love being cozy.)
+ "It's Christmas time?" -"No baby, Christmas is over." "Oh. It's you birthday?" -"No, my birthday is all done." "Oh. It's MY birthday! Happy birthday! I get cake?" (Sure, why not. Any excuse to celebrate!)
+ "Mommy! There's an oregano on my finger!" (She calls any black spot on her food an ant. When we had pasta, I told her it was a spice called oregano. She then saw a black spot on her finger, started crying, and screamed in terror about it."
+ "Mommy, here's your earring." -"Um...where did you find that? And where is the other one?" "In my bed." -"Why did you have mommy's earrings in your bed?" "They my gold doubloons!" (Kid loves pirates and buried treasure...)

Theodore Scott - 6 month update

Oh, Teddy Bear. What's going on in your little life?

+ Teddy's still sleeping through the night consistently from about 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. I'll be very honest about his nap schedule - it doesn't exist. We're on the go a lot more than we were when Pippa was a baby, so I put him down in his crib when he's giving sleepy cues, otherwise he naps in the car or in the Moby wrap.

+ He is still exclusively breastfed 5-7 times per day, but is looking mighty interested in our grown-up food. I'm waiting for him to sit up on his own before introducing solids, although he goes "boneless" whenever I try to get him to sit up. He does seem to want to stand on his own, so maybe we'll just skip over the whole "sitting" thing.

+ Teddy's babbling is getting more frequent, and he has started using syllables like "a-da." He loves to flirt with the ladies, and gives a huge smile to anyone who will make eye contact with him.

+ He now reaches for his big sister, and watches her every move when she comes into view. She can make him laugh without too much effort. He just adores her. He also is content as can be as long as he's being held.

+ As for play, Teddy's still obsessed with his bouncer, and loves to log roll from one side of the room to the other. He does the "superman" pose, too! Toys hold his interest for a few minutes, especially the monkey toy on his carseat (one of those hanging toys that vibrate when you pull them down).

+ I would be remiss if I didn't mention teething. Poor guy has been teething since before Christmas, and one of his little teeth finally poked through on the bottom. I can feel two more on top trying to make their way out. We have tried every teething toy imaginable, but little man still prefers chewing on someone's thumb. Which is quite painful now that a sharp little tooth is in play.

+ Size 3 diapers, size 6-12 month , or 9 month clothes. He's lost a little of his baby chub, and is starting to look longer and thinner. Thankfully, though, his thighs still have rolls for days. And his face is still very round and  Charlie Brown-esque with big emoji eyes.

Justin + Emily


+ Justin is enjoying coaching some basketball this winter, and I am enjoying that the season is relatively short. It's fun watching our students compete in a sport they love, too!
+ Is anyone else still recovering from Christmas, even though it was a month ago? I have struggled getting back into a consistent routine, although maybe that has more to do with the amount of traveling we've been doing lately.
+ I celebrated my 28th birthday with iced coffee, a donut, and some quality family time. And awesome mail from my parents and in-laws! Now *someone's* 30th birthday is right around the corner, and we've got some big plans up our sleeves...
+ I just got back from a conference in Dallas with the health and wellness company I'm partnered with. It was an awesome learning experience, fun to see friends, and a little stressful with a 5-month-old.
+ Justin, Pippa, and I are in the throes of a fun little challenge called "toddler sleep routines."
+ I am starting a 90 Day Game Plan with my business this week. I'm working on being creative instead of making excuses when my plans get thrown off by my children. They are my WHY not my excuse.
+ Justin is throwing himself into his new fitness routine in the mornings, with the arrival of some fitness equipment and new all natural workout supplements in the mail last week!
+ We are truly appreciating living in Florida during this time of year. We have endured some brutal winters in Minnesota, and definitely don't take for granted the sunshine and relative warmth of the winter months here.
+ But also, we can't wait for beach weather again! (Especially me...I was 9 months pregnant, then postpartum with a newborn in tow last summer).

That's a wrap! What's new with your family?

1.18.2016

what it's really like to travel with a baby


Travel. It was so carefree and liberating as a young adult. I've had so many great experiences in other cultures, and look forward to passing that on to my children. Thank goodness it's fashionable to be a parent who travels with their children! Instead of feeling like your life is over and you have to "settle down," you can choose to share with your children all that the world has to offer.

travel with a baby
I love to bring my children along on trips, not because it's in vogue, but because I think it helps them realize they're not the center of the universe, and that learning another language has a function and purpose. Now, to the outside world, parents who travel with their children may seem easygoing and adventurous. However, I'd like to pull back the curtain a bit and share what it's really like to travel with small children. You may see the highlights on social media - the baby in front of that famous landmark, a family looking at the distant yonder sunset, parents wearing babies effortlessly through foreign cities - but you're not seeing the whole story. Tis anything but glamorous, my friends. Anything but glamorous. 

Having just returned from a weekend trip alone with my 5 month old, I had to share the reality behind the breezy pictures.
travel with baby

5 Moments That Show What It's Really Like to Travel with A Baby

1. That moment when you're in the window seat on a full flight, sharing a row with 2 burly men spilling over the armrests, and your child has a blowout of epic proportions. You make a show of sniffing your child's bottom, thereby assuring your seat mates that the infant is the culprit of the foul stench. You rise in shame, silently pleading the flight attendant with your eyes to allow you the dignity of changing your babe in the restroom. As if in slow motion, she shakes her head, and motions to the seat-belt sign taunting you with its soft glow. With a heavy heart, you acknowledge that your only option is changing your wiggly baby's diaper on your lap. While wearing a white shirt. 

2. That moment when you're nursing your baby in a crowded room or airport, but then you have to switch sides, and your child screams in outrage. Your whole body starts to get warm as heads turn your way, and you're trying to discreetly get your child to latch under a blanket that just won't stay put. You chuckle nervously as you lock eyes with curious strangers, and it seems as though the amount of people in the room has multiplied to infinity. "Where did all these people come from?" you wonder, "And why did I decide to wear boots and socks today? So sweaty..." The baby continues to writhe uncontrollably, and you start to wish you had the same number of limbs as an octopus. 

3. That moment when you're in a hotel room and it's 11:53 p.m. and the baby JUST. WON'T. SLEEP. Even though he sleeps 7 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. every single night without a peep at home. You try to nurse him to sleep, but his large bug eyes stare at you, alert as can be, as he proceeds to spit up the apparently unnecessary milk on your pajamas. Now soaked in spit up, you set him down to change your shirt. This enrages the babe, and the cycle begins again. Dante the security guard soon knocks on your door to inform you that your room is too loud. What good fortune that he has brought this to your attention so you can correct it. 

4. That moment when you're trying to get through airport security, and you're trying to figure out how to collapse your stroller with one hand while your baby slowly goes boneless and slides out of your grip. Suddenly it seems as if the crowd waiting behind you is closing in, and your fight or flight response kicks in. You've never been a sweaty person, but apparently traveling alone with a baby has changed your biology. The dazed smile never leaves your face as you make eye contact with the unsmiling TSA agent as if to say, "Isn't this fun? We're all having fun together! I'm definitely not falling apart here." 

5. That moment when you realize how fortunate you are to live in a time and place where you can hop on a plane to anywhere in the world. And you notice how kind and helpful even the most unlikely of people are when they see you struggling. And your sweet child flashes his delightful grin and big blue eyes, making strangers melt and coo. And as you pull into your driveway, you realize it was all worth it, but also that you never want to leave your couch again. (Except a week later you see that really good deal on a flight, and maybe if you use some of those miles you've been saving up, and the baby will be older...)

1.12.2016

anatomy of a smoothie

smoothie ingredients

smoothie in mason jar

I've always had a strange love for drinking my meals instead of eating them. It started in high school, when we had to write down everything we ate for a week for health class. The assignment was to carefully measure portion sizes so we could correctly estimate the calories we were taking in. Naturally, I got tripped up when it came to entering my smoothie concoctions, and for the remainder of the year was known as "Smoothie" by my health teacher.

I've come a long way since then. My high school smoothie recipes usually consisted of sugary fruit juices, frozen fruit, and flavored yogurt. So, basically a sugar bomb. My main priority was sweetness, and sweetness was indeed achieved.

Research has taught me a few things about making a smoothie healthy, filling, and tasty:

+ too much fruit can get very carb-heavy, leading to a sugar crash later. Make sure to include high-quality protein either in the smoothie, or in a small snack along with the smoothie.
+ berries keep the smoothie low-calorie and low glycemic. Although I'm not opposed to a tropical fruit smoothie in the depths of a Florida summer, a berry mix is my go-to frozen fruit.
+ I throw in as many handfuls of spinach as my blender can handle to up my vegetable count for the day. Tasteless and nutritious.
+ Apple juice used to be my liquid base - bad idea! So acidic and sugary! I now stick with water for my liquid base.

Now that we live in Florida, smoothies are a staple during the summer months for the whole family. I love playing around with different fruits and ratios to achieve the perfect texture and taste. No matter what ingredients I'm using, though, I generally "build" my smoothie the same way every time:

Step 1 - 8 ounces of water
Step 2 - one cup mixed frozen berries (I love the Antioxidant Mix at Target, probably Market Pantry brand)
Step 3 - 2-3 handfuls of spinach
Step 4 - optional add-ins: Replenish for flavor + vitamin boost, Greens to up the nutrition factor, PB2, flax seed, vanilla protein powder, unrefined coconut oil, fiber, and apple cider vinegar.
Step 5 - blend on low for 30 seconds, then on liquify for 30 seconds
Step 6 - serve with a straw and enjoy!

(If I'm sharing with my toddler, and I want to increase the volume, I add 4 oz water during Step 1, and 1/4 cup more berries and a banana during Step 2)

berry smoothie


My two-year-old can't get enough of these, and often steals my drink if she finishes hers first. She's a really good eater, so I don't necessarily worry about her getting enough fruits and vegetables, but it never hurts to have a little insurance that tastes like a treat, too!

What are your favorite smoothie ingredients?

1.10.2016

28 things


Happy birthday to me! I'm 28 today, and it feels wonderful to be celebrating another year. After all, our time of grace here on earth is short, and we must make the most of it!

I have acquired a certain wisdom in my old age, so today I would like to share 28 important lessons I have learned in my 28 years.

1. NEVER put on eyeliner in a hurry. Especially eyeliner of the liquid variety. This is a grave warning, and should be taken seriously by all.

2. Stop trying to dress like everyone else. Just accept the fact that you like flowy black shirts, buy one for each day of the week, and get on with your life. No one will even notice. (Except your teenage female students...they notice all things wardrobe-related). 

3. Make your bed.  

4. How your day goes is largely determined by your mindset. You choose to go on a downward spiral. You also can choose to look at everything as a beautiful adventure. 

5. Pinterest fails are hilarious. 

6. Always carry a water bottle with you. 

7. Many minor problems, bad moods, or tough situations can be helped by a shower, a walk, or a good night's sleep. Also, Netflix.

8. You should just do that thing you keep putting off. This goes for little things like responding to that email. This also goes for big things like starting a business. 

9. School is important. But you can teach yourself an awful lot with a library card, the internet, and practice.

10. Any new skill takes time. You won't be great right away.

11. Learn a new language. Your world will expand.

12. Be a good tipper. People in the service industry work really hard. 

13. People will say really weird things to you when you're pregnant. About your body, your size, their own birthing experience, or parenting advice. They mean well... (looking at you, lady at the fro-yo shop who asked if I was having triplets). 

14. Babies will always choose the most inopportune times to have a blowout diaper situation. Try to laugh about it. 

15. Toddler tantrums are best endured by taking a video on your iPhone and putting it in slow motion. You won't win any parent of the year awards, but it will be hilarious.

16. Pay attention to the visa laws when studying in a foreign country. 

17. Under no circumstances should you leave Butt Paste, markers, or electronics within reach of a two year old without supervision.

18. Pregnancy brain is real.

19. Don't buy it on sale if you wouldn't pay full price for it.

20. If you're married to a teacher, you will frequently find paperclips in the washing machine. 

21. You and your spouse are on the same team. Act like it.

22. People will generally like you if you are kind and show interest in them...

23. Except if you're in high school. The social hierarchy in high school is terrifying, haphazard, and very Lord of the Flies-esque. Your popularity in high school is absolutely not an indicator of your future. 

24. On that same note, not everyone will like you. That's actually ok. But still a hard lesson to learn. 

25. Always err on the side of being overdressed. Look nice when you're traveling. Keep some concealer in your purse. 

26. Enjoy having meals or drinks on patios in the sunshine as often as you can. I truly believe that is one of life's greatest luxuries and joys. (It's our wedding anniversary tradition - drinks on a patio!) 

27. Text (or snapchat) your best friend and siblings often with ugly selfies, inside jokes, and screenshots of memes. 

28. Trust God's plan for your life. He knows more than you do.  

I'm in awe of the people God has placed in my life, the places he has allowed me to visit, and the opportunities to work and serve he has given me. Here's to another year in his grace!

What are some of your favorite quirky life lessons?

1.05.2016

my fitness routine



Exercise has always been a big part of my life. Growing up I was a competitive dancer, and involved in multiple sports. That continued into college, where I was the libero for my volleyball team. Now as a mother with 2 young kids, a part-time teaching gig, a health and wellness business, and a blog, finding time to work out has been challenging, but not impossible. All it takes is some planning and creativity, and most importantly, finding an exercise routine that excites me. I'd like to share my fitness routine, in hopes that it will help someone who is struggling to fit exercise into their life!

WHEN?

The biggest question for a parent of young children is when a workout can be squeezed into the day. Before Teddy came along, I found it easiest to get my workout done while Pippa was napping. Sometimes I would even have her exercise alongside me! With 2 littles, that strategy becomes more challenging. I decided the most productive time of day for me to workout would be in the evenings after the kids are in bed. I'm not missing out on any time with them, and my husband can actually be at home. I make it to the gym 2 nights during the week, and early Saturday mornings. I'm even looking to add a 4th day now that we're falling into a routine!

WHERE?

I made the decision to join a gym about 2 months after Teddy was born. Our home is not conducive to me working out while the kids are sleeping, and I really wanted to take my fitness to the next level. A gym just made the most sense to me. 

WHAT?

So what is my workout routine? What does a week's worth of fitness look like for me?
For awhile I was focused on HIIT cardio workouts using the treadmill, but I was bored out of my mind. After doing some of my own research, I decided to start lifting heavy weights again. As a college athlete I had followed a lifting program, but in the five years since then I haven't picked up anything heavier than a 10 pound dumbbell (besides my children). 

I do about 20 minutes of lifting, followed by 15 minutes of plyometrics. For example, if I focus on arms and shoulders in my lifting routine, I will do lower body plyos like box jumps, tuck jumps, and vertical jumps. My workouts are short and efficient, written out a notecard at the beginning of the week so I'm in and out in 45 minutes or so. 

As for cardio, I think my daily 2 mile walk with the double stroller and the dog counts. I love that time for personal development podcasts, or just enjoying the sunshine and nature!

There are some awesome resources online with sample weight lifting programs, and I would be lying if I said I didn't have to look up certain exercises on YouTube before heading to the gym. (I'm by no means an expert - just someone who loves to move and sweat!) 

NUTRIENT TIMING

So this is actually a fairly new concept to me, and I still have a lot to learn about it, but I really want to capitalize on the short time I have at the gym with my food and supplements. I go right after dinner, so I'm naturally getting carbs and protein from whatever I've cooked that day to give me a burst of energy during my workout.

On the way to the gym and during my workout I sip on some Replenish to hydrate, fuel my performance, and replace electrolytes. I love that it doesn't have any artificial colors or flavors, and is enriched with vitamins.

I follow up my workout with a high-quality protein shake to rebuild muscles. If I go to the gym late enough, my post workout recovery drink doubles as a bedtime belly buster if I decide to mix it with IsaFruits - double whammy! 

There are several other supplements I look forward to trying when I'm done nursing Teddy, but for now he is the main priority :) 

Here are some articles I read on nutrient timing:


If you are reading these words, I'm impressed that you stuck with that novella of a blog post. I would love to hear how everyone else squeezes workouts in with a busy schedule! Do you use nutrient timing? If so, any tips?

1.03.2016

recovery

It's 8:30 p.m. on Sunday night, and I feel like I'm just now sitting down and recovering from Christmas break. The bonus of being a teacher (and being married to one), is the generous break for the holidays, which we used to drive from Florida to Wisconsin and back. With a toddler, a 5 month old, and a dog.

The extreme exhaustion from driving through the night and the gigantic dark circles under my eyes were totally worth it to see family, participate in Christmas traditions, and play in the snow with our babies! Although, tbh, Teddy and I walked out in the snow, took a few pictures, then retreated for some hot chocolate and snuggles, so... yeah. At least Pippa appreciated it! And it reminded me not to take for granted the luxury of wearing my $2.50 Old Navy flip flops year round in Florida. 

So here I am, sitting in bed with my laptop trying to catch up on lesson plans, blog posts, and my business with half-unpacked suitcases scattered about the floor. But my calendar is color-coded and filled up, my One Word Theme for the year is chosen, and my husband and I are ready to start our 30 Day Systems tomorrow to ease ourselves into a healthier lifestyle, get rid of some accumulating Christmas cookies around the middle, and boost our energy (although mine will be modified since I'm still nursing Teddy). 

A few things of interest as you ease yourself into the New Year:

+ If anyone is interested in some guidance in your personal Bible studies, our pastor has started a Read the Bible in a Year group on Facebook. It's an awesome community of people encouraging each other, asking and answering questions, and growing in faith together. 

+ The 30 Day Systems mentioned above have free shipping until January 17th! We've got an awesome group of people with similar health goals getting started this week. If you're not sure you're ready to commit, we have a Facebook group with healthy recipes, workouts, encouragement, and healthy lifestyle tips so you can watch and learn more. Who wants in?

And now for a barrage of holiday photos for your viewing pleasure and for posterity's sake:






And finally, back to this:


Hope everyone's New Year is off to a great start!

1.01.2016

prepare

Last year I did mini resolutions - and I loved it! It was so much easier to make small changes in my life rather than doing a complete overhaul on January 1st and expecting it to stick after the feeling of motivation had passed. I did very well with my monthly goals until we had a baby, moved, and started new jobs in the same summer. Then the goal was survival.

This year I have decided on a One Word Theme à la Gretchen Rubin. My word is prepare.

I chose this word because I dislike urgency and love to linger. But my lingering is causing me to be unprepared for my day, which causes me to rush around like a crazy person shoving diapers, wipes, and power bars into my bag, 10 minutes late for wherever I'm supposed to be.

It doesn't have to be like this!

As with many things in life, the more structure I have, the more freedom I am allowed. So in addition to scheduling my week ahead of time, I will prepare by laying out clothes the night before, packing lunches, packing bags, and enacting a 10 minute clean up before bed. I think the most important component to fixing this issue, though, is waking up earlier, and getting my makeup and hair done before the day begins.

I am so sick of feeling irresponsible and rushed. I'm unkind, brusque, and stressed when I'm running late. It has to change, and it has to change quickly.

On the flip side, when I prepare for my day, I can linger without guilt. I have more time for the things I enjoy, I am kinder to my husband and children, and I actually feel like a responsible adult.

I will still have goals to hit throughout the year, just not in the form of resolutions. I'll be reading the entire Bible in a year with a group from my church. I want to use less creamer in my coffee. I need to drink more water. I will be leading a personal development book club in which we read one book each month. I have huge business goals. We are continuously improving our budgeting process. I know this will all be achieved with small changes as the year goes on, though, and not all at once.

Just typing this up is getting me so excited for everything that's coming up in 2016! It's going to be an incredible year!

Do you pick a One Word Theme for the year? What's yours?