Hard CORE!

Happy Friday! Who’s ready for the weekend??

I have been so pleased with the results I’ve achieved over the past few months in terms of the way my body is responding to my new lifestyle. I’ve lost weight and gained tone and muscle definition that I haven’t seen in years. As a mommy, my tummy is definitely a place that I try to put a good bit of focus on. I don’t necessarily plan to break out my old bikinis any time soon, but I would like to tone my tummy and obliques! Throughout my workouts with 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme, I’ve learned a LOT of awesome new core exercises, and I’d love to share a few of my favorites here!

Hopefully these can offer some advice and ideas for anyone out there who needs some variety in their core exercises! I actually do enjoy regular ole crunches, but it has been great for me to add this type of variety to make sure that I am hitting all areas of my core.

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Get onto your toes and forearms, keeping your back flat and your neck in a straight line. Raise your hips up, maintaining the flat back. Then lower back down to a flat position. This one is a pretty full-body exercise, but focuses on the tummy and also the shoulders as you raise your hips!

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Weighted knee drops
Lie on your back with your feet raised, knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Hold either side of a medium weight in each hand and rest your arms on the ground at your side. Slowly lower your knees to one side, keeping the 90 degree angle, then return to center. Repeat on the other side. This one is a great exercise for the whole core, including the obliques!

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Just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean you can’t work out! Even if you only have a few minutes, try a few of these moves and see what you think!

Wednesdays are Good For My Soul

I’ve been going to a bible study on Wednesday mornings that has been seriously life-changing. I honestly think that being in that particular study at the same time as my lifestyle transformation was the perfect combination for me in changing my life from the inside out. The bible study has been on prayer and was led by some incredibly wise women, and I have learned so so much!

Today was our last day of class and I feel so sad about it. For one thing, it has been my one day a week to have child care and some adult interaction which has been such a gift! Secondly, it has been an amazing weekly reminder of who God is, and who I am as a result. It has been sort of a “reset” button for me from week to week where I take a step back from my stress or worry or impatience and focus in on the Lord and how he calls me to live.

I realized as I was sitting in class today that I can’t just quit learning and moving forward simply because this study is ending. I realized that I was using the class as a weekly reminder of my need for prayer and intimate, consistent time with the Lord, but I need DAILY reminders of that. I need reminders THROUGHOUT my day of that! God wants me to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Why is it so hard to forget?? In the day to day, moment to moment hustle and bustle, I forget.

So I came up with a solution that I hope will help me. I’ve been drawing out scriptures and encouraging words (as you’ve seen posted here) and I feel compelled to COVER my home in those scriptures. I want to memorize as much of God’s word as I can so that it will never leave my mind and heart, so I will be less likely to forget. I want to go back through my bible study homework and pick out a bunch of verses to draw, print, and post all over my house!

I would love to make these scripture cards available to anyone who wants to do the same. I’ll try to upload a free 5×7 printable scripture card once a week – so keep checking back! Here is your first one – Romans15 13! Feel free to download and print, and let me know how you choose to use it!

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Victory over the Avocado

We had a full weekend of travel, a wedding, and family time. I always love weekends like that, but it takes me a good little while to get fully recuperated! I’m such a fan of routine (and also an introvert) that when the routine gets changed, even for things I love, it still really can zap my energy! So today, being the Monday following a busy weekend, was sort of a long and tired day. But I managed to get my workout in early (with a 2 year old as my audience and encourager… “mommy do it!”) which also meant that I got to shower during nap time and spend half of the day as a clean mommy dressed in clothes that were NOT yoga pants and a tank top. So that felt good and was definitely a win for today.

Another win for today had to do with my lunch. And the pesky little fruit called the avocado. I love avocado, and I’ve been loving it as a topping for my daily salads. Here’s the problem – I have a tendency to cut into avocados before they are ready. I KNOW what it should look and feel like when it is perfectly ripe. I know it should be dark with little to no green coloring on the outside. I know that it should feel slightly tender, and I should be able to squeeze it a bit with some give.

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Why, oh why then, do I always cut into it too soon??? I have this mental block. I want the avocado. I need it in my salad. I need it. Maybe it will be ok? Maybe, even though I know for sure it isn’t ripe yet, maybe it’ll still be ok. Maybe I’ll cut into it and it will be just fine. These are the thoughts that go through my head. And then I cut into it, and I know INSTANTLY that I’ve made a huge, huge mistake. It is hard to get the knife all the way through. Then it is hard to get the seed out. Then, through angry muttering under my breath, I struggle to cut the beautiful green inside out from the skin. If I manage to get it cut and on top of my salad, with the first bite I am kicking myself because it does not taste good. Not at all. I’ve ruined my salad… and my day.

But today! Victory! I had a little conversation with myself, telling myself that if I wasn’t 100% sure that this avocado was ready, I wouldn’t cut it. I couldn’t. Today’s avocado was borderline. It was almost perfect. I took the risk and cut into it, and I was not disappointed. I felt proud of myself and each bite was just a little pat on the back – I win, avocado. I needed those little victory today.

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Any favorite avocado recipes out there?
Any other tips for how you know when it is perfectly ripe?

Mercy

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Thankful to believe in a God who’s unfailing love and mercy never ends, and who offers it as a free gift. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16

Happy Friday!

6 Months!

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Last week, our precious Neely celebrated her half birthday! It is so hard to believe she has been with us for 6 months. We love her more and more every day!

Neely’s personality has really blossomed this month, and she is becoming super vocal, and she thinks she is quite hilarious. She is making some new noises, and her favorite babble is “bah bah bah.” She is most entertained by herself and her big brother… mommy and daddy only sometimes 😉

Neely fought an ear infection this month and is proving to be like her brother in having stubborn ear infections! After 2 rounds of antibiotics, at her 6 month check her ears still weren’t 100% better. But no more medicine, just hoping they clear up. We’re wondering if the ear infections may be to blame for her inconsistent sleeping patterns this month…

She is in the 93rd percentile for weight, and still has every bit of baby chunk on her body! She is so squishy it is amazing. She’s rolling around like a champ, and sitting up unsupported for minutes at a time! She reaches out and grabs EVERYTHING so watch out if you’re wearing jewelry, or drinking from a cup, or using silverware… or anything! She will grab it!

Her head is covered with hair now, and she doesn’t seem to have inherited the super blond spiky hair that her daddy and brother had! It is light brown and so far, seems stick-straight like her mommy 🙂 She is looking more and more like her mommy in the face as well! It is fascinating to watch them grow – she and James were identical as newborns but she is definitely growing into her own little person now!

Neely experienced her first snow this month, and she’s also now getting to experience her first bit of spring weather too! Along with getting better at eating solid food with a spoon (still just rice cereal) Neely has also learned to love the bottle, which is a huge relief to this mommy!

We are so thankful for this precious girl in our lives and can’t believe we are the lucky ones to get to raise her!

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30 Day Challenge #2 – DONE!

I did it! I completed my second 30 day challenge, and as with the first, I feel FAN-TASTIC! This time around was different for a lot of reasons, but mostly in that my confidence was so much higher, I didn’t have any doubts that I could finish as strong as I started.

My goals for this challenge were:

1) Wake up early
2) Get all 7 workouts in every week.
3) STICK TO THE MEAL PLAN!
4) Stick with this blog

I am really pleased to say that I actually almost met all of these goals! Most weeks I ended up getting 6 out of 7 workouts in. And I probably woke up early 5 out of 7 days each week. But I still consider those victories. I’m not going to beat myself up over small failures here and there, but rather celebrate the HUGE victories I’ve accomplished!

3 month check-in

One of the biggest changes I’ve made in the midst of this journey is deciding to become a Beachbody coach. As a coach, I am no longer simply a participant in these challenge groups, but I am helping to run the groups and make them happen! I am able to invite others to come and join me in this life-changing journey. I get to be an encourager, a motivator, a listening ear to folks who are just like I was when I started – scared, self-conscious, unsure. My hope is to share my story with anyone who will listen, and offer those listeners the opportunity to have their own experience through this lifestyle change. My story is different from your story, but I would love to be a part of your story!

People who are perfect for these challenge groups are people who genuinely want to live a healthy lifestyle. Or they are people who want to lose a few pounds before summer. Or they are people who have never quite figured out how to combine working out with eating healthy. Or they are people who don’t have time to go to the gym. Or they are simply people who are in need of community, positivity, motivation, or accountability.

If you fall into any of these categories, I would LOVE for you to join me in a challenge group. Please let me know of your interest, and I would love to talk with you and answer your questions.

Becoming a coach has been a challenge because my journey is far from over. I am certainly not the poster child for perfect health or a perfect body. But I try to be honest about who I am and where I am, and ultimately, I feel that the Lord is transforming my life through this health journey, and I have to share it for His glory, not my own.

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Who has the time??

In the past, time (or lack thereof) has always been an easy, yet valid, excuse as to why I couldn’t exercise on a daily basis. I work from home and have a toddler and a newborn. Enough said. Not to mention attempting to stay on top of housework, laundry, meals, etc… the days fill up FAST! So I’m having to learn how to prioritize my time and fit the workout into the busy schedule. I had to just make it a priority, a non-negotiable, and somehow it has been fitting into my day for the past two and a half months, practically every single day.

Basically, my 2 year old takes a daily afternoon nap, so it is easiest to fit my workout in while he is asleep. That is also when it works best for me to do my freelance work, prep dinner, clean, do laundry… well, you get the picture. His nap isn’t long enough for me to finish absolutely everything, but I put him down for bed and immediately go turn on the DVD player and do my workout.

Thankfully, my sweet, precious 6 month old is pretty laid back and easily entertained. If she is awake during my workout time, she hangs out in her exersaucer, happily watching me sweat and burn. Having her around actually makes me work a little harder and cuss at the TV a little less 😉

But I’m also learning that it’s important for me to incorporate my kids into an active lifestyle, for them not just to be spectators but to include them in the activity. I got to go to a Mommy & Me yoga class a few weeks ago, and it was SUCH a fun way to include my daughter in my workout. She had a blast and I learned some really great moves that I can do with her so that I can work out and she can have my full attention, and lets face it, we both have some fun.

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With my son, he has energy like crazy. All we need to do it go outside and run free! I’m realizing how much he follows my lead. Recently we went outside, and I stuck right beside him, I kicked the ball to him and ran, I put him on my back and galloped around, we threw leaves and collected treasures. He loved it. I sat on the steps, he came and sat right next to me. I pulled out my phone to snap a quick picture, and he wanted to see it. He was like my little shadow and I realized for the millionth time that I have such a responsibility to set an example for him! If he sees me being active, eating healthy, taking care of myself, he will do the same.

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