Friday, January 27, 2012

Perfect Night

A late night around our fire pit after the babies were tucked in bed was just what this girl needed.

Time with just the hubs to talk about the future.
Our house plans.
Growing our family.

Oh and several s'mores.  S'mores consumed with my man around an open flame.  Perfection. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Feeling Hard Pressed

The past couple of weeks have been tough. 
Last night my husband asked me what was wrong and I told him that I felt hard pressed.  I told him that I knew there was a verse in the Bible that said something about being hard pressed on every side and that's how I was feeling.  I'm feeling defeated in my parenting, attacked in my marriage, depressed, failing at friendships, seeing friends walk away from marriages and God, frustration in my fitness and diet, exhaustion, and the list goes on.  Like I said, hard pressed.  Right now it seems like I can't find a way out of the hole that I'm in and it's dark and filled with nastiness. 
I hate being here.  I hate it.
Today I decided to actually look up the verse I was thinking of and see if God had anything to say to me about this feeling of being hard pressed on every side.

Oh did He have something to say.  Thank you Lord, for saying something. 
Here is the scripture in the entire context of the chapter:
2 Corinthians 4
1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Twice this passage says "we do not lose heart".  Oh how I needed to read those words.  I've been losing heart.  God can renew me if I'll let Him.  I've been turning my heart from Him and seeking my comfort in other things.  Why didn't I turn to Him?  He's the only one that can heal this broken heart I've got inside of me. 
He reminded me today of the path He's brought me down, this life He's allowing me to live.  It's not been easy and yes, at times I feel hard pressed.  But friends, I am NOT crushed, I am NOT in despair, I am NOT abandoned, and I am NOT destroyed. 
The light of Jesus shines in my heart and I know that He is my only hope.  I hold on to that hope with white knuckles never letting go. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Green Monster Smoothie

I've been seeing Green Monster Smoothies all over Pinterest recently and finally decided to give it a try.  I found this recipe on Iowa Girl Eats used it because I had almost everything it called for already in the house.

Here's my Green Monster
I made this with a couple of variations to the original recipe.  She used frozen bananas, but I didn't have any, so I just used a fresh one.  Also, she used greek vanilla yogurt and I used fat free regular vanilla yogurt.  Other than that everything was the same.
Truthfully I was a little leery.  I mean I combine spinach with apples and carrots all the time and juice it, but I've never just put in a blender with something else.  I really thought it wouldn't taste good, would be gritty, just yucky.  Guess what?  It wasn't.  Actually, it was really good.  Very peanut buttery, which is a plus in my book because I'm not a huge banana fan. 
I'm having a really hard time getting all my fruits and veggies in everyday, so this is a great way to sneak some into my diet.  I'm not sure it will be an everyday thing (it's about 350 calories), but definitely a couple of times a week.
So, if you haven't tried a Green Monster Smoothie, go ahead and try it.  You won't be disappointed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Biggest Loser Cookbook Review

Recently I was browsing through the cookbook section of our local Half-Price Books (it's a used bookstore, in case any of you haven't heard of it).  I came across The Biggest Loser Cookbook and it was $7.98.  After flipping through it and seeing some good looking recipes I decided to bring it home.

I've made several recipes out of this cookbook and they've all been great.  We particularly liked the Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin and the Strength Builder's Stuffed Mushrooms.  All the recipes I've made so far (about 10) have been very easy to follow and easy to make.  I also appreciate that the recipes include how many servings each recipe makes and then the nutritional value for each serving.
So, if you're looking for a cookbook that's got some healthy meal options, that are also delicious, go pick this one up.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

**Just to be clear, I wasn't asked to do a review of the book, or given the book for free by anyone associated with it.  I found it at the bookstore, bought it and tried it at home.  I just wanted to share a good cookbook with you all.**

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Ruined Date Night

As you know, one of my personal goals for 2012 was to plan 12 great date nights.  Last night was one of those nights.  We met some friends at a very nice restaurant for dinner and then went to see The Civil Wars at the Paramount Theater.  Amazing, right?
Wrong.  I ruined it.  It all started when my husband was running a few minutes late.  Instead of chilling out and getting things ready so that we'd be good to go when he did get home, I got stressed and mad, and frustrated and mean.  He walked in with pizza for our sitter and boys and I told him we needed to go.  No "glad your home, honey," no "thanks for getting the pizza," no kiss.  Just, "we need to go."  Then he walked back in the house with flowers.  Some of my favorite flowers.  I think I mumbled a thank you under my breath and repeated that we needed to go.  We got in the car, fought traffic in silence, and finally made it to the restaurant where we were meeting our friends.  It was packed, so I start to get more frustrated.  I'm short with him when he asks me questions.  I'm short with him when he makes some suggestions.  I was so unkind.  I knew he was upset and I really did absolutely nothing to make it better.
Then, we headed to the concert at one of the most beautiful theaters I've ever been in.  The opening act was AMAZING!  Seriously check them out, The Staves.  Then The Civil Wars came out and they rocked it.  One of my favorite concerts.  They're so good.  And the whole time I'm sitting there thinking about what a complete jerk I've been to my sweet husband all night and how this should have been a great night seeing one of our favorite groups perform live, and I'm ruining it.  Of course we're in the middle of a sold out performance, so it's not like I can lean over and apologize and try to make things right.  It just sucked. 
We had both been looking so forward to this night.  We paid our babysitter a lot of money to enjoy some time together, and we didn't really enjoy it.
Why did I do this? Honestly, I have no idea.  That's a lie.  I have an idea.  I haven't read my Bible in a few days and my attitude with everyone has been foul.  I'm short tempered, I'm cranky, I'm miserable to be around.  Notice the lack of blog posts this week?  Yeah, there's a reason.  I'm in no mood to air my crappy crapfest to anyone. 
We got home late and went to bed.  We got up this morning and went our separate ways.  I've got major repairs to do tonight to our relationship, but I'm not going to bed until they're done.  My husband deserves so much better from me.  He is my best friend, my biggest supporter, my warrior, my prince charming, my rock and roll heart throb.  And I'm his...well, last night I was his adversary.  I tore him down and stomped on him.  I love this man of mine and he's worth every apology I need to make, worth every tear I'll probably shed, worth every bit of me, and worth so much more.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'm Still Around

I'm so sorry I haven't been posting.  Thank you to everyone that's been reading my blog.  Life got super super busy over the last several days and I just haven't had time to sit down at the computer and write up a blog post.  I haven't been slacking on my big goals though!
I've been reading my Bible daily (can't wait to share some of things I've been learning).
I've been spending lots of great time with my hubster and my kiddos.  We even went to the zoo!  So much fun to be had with those little guys.
I'm counting calories and seeing some changes and I'm getting in all my water.
Oh, I'm also working on the Couch to 5K.  I did week two again today, but I think I'll be ready to move on to week three by the end of this week.  Woohoo!  I'd really like to read some running books (you know, how to start running and avoid injuries, how to increase your speed/distance, etc).  So if any of you runners out there have any recommendations I would love them.  I've got an amazon gift card that I can't wait to use!
Again, sorry for not posting, but life is great.  I'll try to get back to regular posting asap.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Encouraging My Husband and Counting Calories

So, one of my new years resolutions was to encourage my husband more.  I am so thankful for all he does for our family, but I know I don't let him know how much I appreciate him nearly enough.  I decided that this year I would be consistent in showing him my gratitude and appreciation.  I've been sending him texts throughout the day just to let him know I'm thinking about him, love him, miss him, etc.  I've also been making sure to have his favorite drink ready with dinner (since I usually only drink water sometimes it's easy to forget to make his stuff), making sure he's got clean clothes, you know just stuff that makes him feel good.  Well, he doesn't read my blog, which is totally fine with me.  So, he had no idea that this is one of my resolutions, but I can tell that he's noticing.  His moods when he gets home have been a lot better (usually he's just really tired and wants to go unwind in a room alone, but now he's coming home and hanging out with us).  He's been super affectionate towards me and the other day he stopped on his way home and picked up a little something for me.
The Adele 21 album!!!!  I was so excited.  I've been wanting this cd for a while, but we're trying to be wise with our money and so I haven't bought it.  It meant so much to me that he got this for me.  It was encouraging to me because it meant that he was thinking of me during the day while he was away.  I didn't resolve to encourage him more so that he would do things for me, but this sure was nice : )

In health/fitness related news, I've decided to start counting calories again.  I haven't done this in a while, but I realized that I really have no idea how many calories I'm actually eating each day.  When I lost the 75 pounds 4 years ago I counted everything.  So, I know that, for me, in order to see the numbers on the scale getting smaller I need to do it again.  It's a pain to figure everything out, but in the long run it's totally worth it.  Counting calories also really helps me be conscience of what I'm eating and not just randomly eat through out the day.  I think it's gonna be a good thing.

Speaking of calories (and because I just want to share the pictures), we consumed some extra calories last night in honor of the littlest man's birthday.

Isn't he just the cutest thing ever!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Littlest Man!

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!  How in the world are you 2 already?  These two years have flown by.  You are a complete joy.  Always happy (except when football or basketball games get interrupted by commercials), a huger, a giggler, a singer, a precious little bundle of energy.  You keep up with your big brothers and amaze us all with your independence.
Thank you for being a part of our lives.  God's got big things for you.  I pray you'll grow to love Him with your whole heart.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Favorite Candy of All

Oh my goodness.  It's that time of year again when every trip to the store is a test in will power, a struggle to stay in control.  It's time for Easter Candy.  My favorite candy in the whole world are Cadbury Creme Eggs.  These little things are like crack.  As a kid it was the only candy I got in my Easter basket because all the other junk was worthless to me.  So, when I walked in the grocery store and saw the little section of Easter Candy already out (good grief we just finished Christmas and haven't even had Valentines yet!) I got a little giddy.  Folks, I've been known to buy a 4 pack of these little beauties and eat them in the car on the way home.  It's bad news for me.
However, I fully believe in moderation not deprivation.  So, I bought one and only one.  I knew if I bought more to have later I'd never make it to later.  I didn't devour it in the car on the way home.  I waited until I got home and enjoyed it.  I might buy another one before the Easter season is over, but being deliberate about just purchasing one and not going crazy like a starved maniac really put me in a good mindset.  If I have another one it's no big deal, but I'm perfectly content with the one I've had and I don't feel the need to rush out to the store to get more.

Look!  Isn't it pretty? : )  I know, I have a problem.

In other news, I started week 2 of Couch to 5K.  It was hard.  I wasn't feeling great and I ran and walked slower than I did during week 1.  Oh well, at least I completed all the running segments, so I guess at this point it doesn't matter how fast or slow I go.

Here's my stats on the run.  I know you're probably not interested in this part, but putting it on the blog helps me keep track.

I also did some lower body weights (for the first time since my hernia was hard) and then I got on the elliptical machine, but just for 10 minutes because I was hurting from the weights.

Have a great Tuesday everyone!  My littlest man turns 2 tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Working On My Goals

Last week I started working on the goals that I set up for 2012.  Overall I think I did fairly well.  
Here's a quick run down on some of the things I worked on. 
Personal Goals 
Love Jesus More--It's really neat to see how God really knows our heart and wants to give us what we ask for.  I know Jesus wants me to love Him more, and He knows I want that too.  I lead a mom's group through my church and this morning we had a leadership meeting.  We're getting ready to start a new book and they told us that the main goal of this time we're going to spend together is that we will love Jesus more.  I love it!  

Read the Bible Daily--I've done better on this one than I ever have in the past.  Usually I make it two or three days and then start skipping, but I've read my Bible every single day this week.  I can honestly say that it's made a huge difference in my attitude and affected working on my other goals.

Read the Bible to My Boys Daily--We've only missed one night of reading the Bible to the boys and that was because we were out really late and they were exhausted and ready for bed.  They're loving the time we're taking to read to them and they're asking lots of questions about the stories were reading.  I love seeing their enthusiasm for God.

Read 12 Books--I'm currently reading Missional Moms, so that will be the first book I complete this year.  I'm going to review it when I'm done (I've got three chapters left).

Plan 12 Dates with My Hubs--I've started brainstorming different ideas for fun dates (not just dinner and a movie) and I think I've got some good ones.  I've already got January's date all planned out and I'm working on February.  I can't wait to post about them!

Plan 12 Family Days/Nights--We spent Saturday hiking around Lake Georgetown as a family.  It was so fun.  The weather was perfect (mid-70s) and we had a blast spending time together.  

Say Yes to My Kids More--The boys are always asking to go to the bike park.  It's a huge pain.  It used to be better because I had borrowed a friends bike carriage and could load up the little two and we'd all ride to the park together, but I had to give that back because they needed it and so now I don't have one.  So, I have to load the bikes in the back of my car (they barely fit) and haul it all to the park.  However, I decided to stick to my goal and say yes.  I picked the boys up at school on Friday and surprised them with already having the bikes in the car and taking them to park.  We spent a great afternoon racing up and down the dirt tracks and hills.  I'm so glad I said yes!

Keep the House Cleaner--Um, this is a work in progress, but I am working on it.  

Encourage My Hubs on a More Consistent Basis--I haven't been great about this one.  My goal for this week is to do at least one unexpected thing that encourages him.

Encourage My Boys on a More Consistent Basis--I actually read an article last week that talked about how to encourage your kids and it had some really great information.  One of the things it said was that as the kids get older you have to get more specific in your encouragement.  For instance, when my oldest held the baby's hand in the parking lot instead of saying, "thanks for helping" I said, "thank you for holding his hand.  It made it a lot easier for me to get everyone in the car and I really appreciated that you took care of him without me having to ask you to do it."  He's taken his little brother's hand every single time we've been in the parking lot since then.  That one statement made a huge impact to him.  I've also been doing similar things with the other two and I'm seeing great results.

Manage Our Money (Stay on Top of the Budget)--Again, working on this one, but the book I'm reading has some good ideas and I'm looking forward to sharing how I put them to practice when I review the book.

Find a Way to Get Involved in the Fight Against Human Trafficking--I'm doing lots of research and I've done a blog post about this.  I'm also praying that God will provide opportunities for me to get involved.
Health/Fitness Goals
5+Fruits/Veggies a Day--I haven't done well in this one yet, but that's because of my wisdom teeth surgery.  I saw my oral surgeon on Friday though and he gave me the go ahead to eat normal food, so this should be better this week.

100 ounces of Water a Day--I haven't reached this yet, but I'm definitely seeing improvement.  I think it will happen this week.

Exercise 5 Times a Week--DONE!  Woohoo!  I hit the gym four times and I'm counting our hike as exercise because it was almost two miles.

Run a 5K--I am doing the Couch to 5k program and it's going great.  I think I'll be moving to week two this week.

Run a 10K--Still working on the 5k, but I know I'll get there.

Run a Half Marathon--See above.

Get Under 150 pounds--I lost 4 pounds this week, but I know it's because my food intake was pretty limited due to my wisdom teeth removal, so I'm expecting a little bit of it to come back on.  I know I'll do this!

Try Bikram Yoga--Not yet, I need to get a little more confidence.

Try a Body Pump Class--See above : )

Try an RPM Class--See above : )
Complete a 10 Day Detox--I'm trying to decide when a good time to do this will be, but I'm thinking sometime before Valentines.

Blog 5 Times a Week--Working on it : )

Here are some pictures from our fun times this weekend.

At the bike park!

 Enjoying a family hike!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stop Human Trafficking

Did you know that today over 27 million men, women, and children are held as slaves?  Yes, modern day slavery exists.  Until last year I had no idea.  I live in a bubble.  I take my kids to school, I go to the grocery store, we go to church, and I don't know what goes on in the world around me.  It's shameful.

Last year a group came to our church to sell fair trade goods.  I'd never heard of fair trade goods.  Why would someone need to sell them at my church.  That's when I first hear about human trafficking.  I bought some gifts for family members, got a cute purse, and went on my way.

Several months later I went to another fair trade sale to pick up some more items and saw a booth where they were selling bracelets for $3.  $3, now I can hang with that.  I went to check it out and found out it was The Red Thread Movement.  I found out they help stop women and children from being sold into slavery in Nepal.  I found out that it is estimated that 30-40,000 women and girls are being trafficked from Nepal to India every year to be sold into sexual slavery.  WHAT????  How did I not know this?  How did I not realize this was happening?  I bought my bracelet and several other things and felt a little better.

Then I came home and started doing some research.  I found out nearly 2 MILLION children are exploited in global commercial sex trade.  2 MILLION!  This is heart breaking.  Oh, and it's not just happening in far off countries.  It's estimated that over 100,000 children are exploited here, in the United States.  That is sickening.

Here's a quick fact for you:  After drugs, human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world.  That's huge people!

The more I read, the more I researched, the more sick and angry I became.  Then I was at my parents and something came on the news about human trafficking and my dad said, "I don't get it.  What is this?  How are people trafficked?"  That's when I realized that it wasn't just me that didn't know about it.  There are tons of people in the world that are unaware that people are sold into slavery every single day.

Well, I'm sick of it.  I'm sick of sitting by and feeling helpless and praying that God will send Jesus to take us all home so that all this will end.  I'm sick of feeling like I sit in my bubble and can't do anything.  I can't do it anymore.  It's time for me to fight.  It's time for me to get passionate about something that breaks my heart.

So, this year I've resolved to do something about it.  I won't sit by while people are sold into bondage.  Apparently, the President agrees with me.  President Obama has declared January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.  There are so many ways to get involved and you're going to start seeing lots of them here on my blog.  Start by checking out International Justice Mission.  They've got lots of good resources and ways to get involved.  Stand up for people that can't stand up for themselves.  Make a difference.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Off on the Right Foot

Well, today was the first day after I made all my Resolutions and I have to say that it went fairly well, considering. You know, considering I just got my wisdom teeth out, so I can't eat solid foods, and considering we had a mild crisis and ended up taking a kid to doctor. Yep, pretty well considering.

 I did get up early and read my Bible. That's one of the biggest things I want to accomplish this year. Consistently reading the Bible in the mornings so that it will set the tone for the rest of my day. I'm reading through John and I'm approaching it more like a book rather than just picking a couple of verses or a chapter to read. It's going much more smoothly and a lot of things make more sense to me when I read it like that, so it's good. I also signed up to do the Hello Mornings Challenge over at Inspired to Action and I'm super excited about it.  It's another way to keep me accountable to spending time in the Word and exercising.

After my time reading I got the boys up to get ready for school and made them breakfast.  They were supposed to be getting dressed, but when I checked on them my oldest was laying on the floor in just his jeans.  I asked what was going on he said his heart hurt.  Now, this is a kid who never complains about being sick, never wants to miss school, etc, so I knew to take him seriously.  Honestly, this has been happening more and more frequently (about once every 10-14 days he'll say his chest hurts and want to lay down, but then in a few minutes he's fine and ready to I didn't worry about it too much), but it scared me today so I called the doctor.  Our pediatrician got us in and listened and looked at everything.  He's not sure what's going on so we're seeing a pediatric cardiologist tomorrow.  If you pray, I would appreciate your prayers.  I'm a scared mom.  It's his heart.  It's scary.

We ran a few errands and had lunch at Panera so that I could have some soup.  Broccoli Cheese soup counts as a serving of vegetables, right?  I am beyond ready for my mouth to heal and be able to eat real food.  Jello and soup is not where it's at.

This afternoon we went to the gym and I rocked it.  I repeated yesterday's run, since I didn't finish it well yesterday.  I did all the runs and intervals and never felt like I was going to die.  It was hard, but I wasn't about to hurl.  I did 1.9 miles in 30 minutes.  Not too bad.  I've definitely done worse during week one before.

After the run I was still feeling good and so I got on the bike and pounded out another 6 miles.  It felt great to get in more exercise.  I've been missing it.  Oh, don't let the time elapsed  number on the picture fool you. It reset after 28 minutes because of the program I was doing.  I went for 31 minutes and 25 seconds.

So, I didn't meet some of my goals, but I did meet several of them and that's great with me.  2012 is off to a good start.

Twelve in 2012!!

First off, I made it to the gym today!  It's been forever (at least it feels that way) and it was so good to get back.  I'm determined to do the Couch to 5K program, so I started it over (again).  Unfortunately, I didn't finish what I had planned.  I wanted to do all of Week 1, Day 1 today, but 20 minutes into it I thought I might throw up so I stopped running and just walked the last 10 minutes.  I have to say I'm actually proud of myself for not stopping all together.  I think the problem was with what I had eaten today.  I'm still to scared to try solid food, since I'm not totally healed from having my wisdom teeth out.  So, all I had eaten was two scrambled eggs and some chocolate pudding.  Yep, not great things to be sitting on your stomach while you attempt to run for the first time in ages.  Oh and have I mentioned that the anti-biotics pain meds may be doing a number on my stomach too?  Good times here people, good times.
Anyway, I went back.  It felt good.  I'm going back tomorrow.

I'm not usually one to do big New Year's Resolutions, but I decided this year needed to be different, so I came up with a 12 in 2012 list.  It's actually, 24 (12 personal goals and 12 health/fitness goals), but for the sake of sounding better it's 12 in 2012.  Just go with it.

Drumroll please...(in no particular order...except the first)

12 in 2012

Personal Goals 
Love Jesus More
Read the Bible Daily
Read the Bible to My Boys Daily
Read 12 Books
Plan 12 Dates with My Hubs
Plan 12 Family Days/Nights
Say Yes to My Kids More
Keep the House Cleaner
Encourage My Hubs on a More Consistent Basis
Encourage My Boys on a More Consistent Basis
Manage Our Money (Stay on Top of the Budget)
Find a Way to Get Involved in the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Health/Fitness Goals
5+Fruits/Veggies a Day
100 ounces of Water a Day
Exercise 5 Times a Week
Run a 5K
Run a 10K
Run a Half Marathon
Get Under 150 pounds
Try Bikram Yoga
Try a Body Pump Class
Try an RPM Class
Complete a 10 Day Detox
Blog 5 Times a Week

These are all things I desperately want to do this year.  I'll probably explain some of them in future blogs, but some are pretty self explanatory.  I am excited about 2012 and have full confidence that it's going to be a great year!