Our little boys of summer

The little boys of Leger Lane, like children everywhere, love the outdoors. When Maximus was 18-months old he used to sit at the sliding glass door and cry because it was winter and he couldn’t go outside. Quinten, at 2 1/2, is almost always out on the deck when it’s raining. Their love has no bounds.

Chasing a caterpillar into hiding

Chasing a caterpillar into hiding

EVERYONE in the house was excited once the weather got warmer this spring. Everyone. There are only so many toys you can play with in the house and chances are high that you will fight over a toy with your brother. Or maybe that’s just our house? 😉

Our favorite summer activities:

  • Play in the backyard – dig in the dirt and move dirt from one spot to the next
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Go to the pool
  • Go to the park
  • Go for walks – ok, not Maximus’ favorite, but the rest of us like it!
  • Play baseball – not a surprise if you know my family! 🙂

Bryan and I have a shared favorite activity this summer – riding our bikes! It’s a little difficult to find time to ride together, but I’m excited that he shares my love of riding! I’d also put softball on my favorites list. It’s always been one of my favorites, but this year I’m having a lot more fun and enjoying it more than usual.

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Lunchtime ride

Maximus put together a Summer Fun list, which I dictated. Later, he made me add go on a Vacation to China. “Have we been to China?” “No, we went to Minnesota.” “Oh yah, put that on the list, too.” Apparently Bryan’s work trips to China are nothing but fun and also the only place to buy Cars t-shirts. #priorities

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2015 Summer Fun

We’ve gotten a good start on our Summer Fun list and are about half done, minus the China vacation. We’ve spent more hours outside than inside. We’ve missed bath night more times than I can count. Or rather, we’ve gone more nights without a bath than the number of times they’ve been clean this summer. The boys have gotten into a routine of wearing their clothes to bed {and don’t always put fresh clothes on the next day}. They fight bedtime because it’s very much still light out when they go to bed. And they wake up far earlier than anyone should because the sun comes out nice and early. We’re loving summer hard and giving it our all. Dirt under our fingernails, sand in our hair, new freckles on our faces, farmer tans on little arms, and skinned knees are the proof. We’re unanimously voting for 12 months of summer!

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My personal goals: health and fitness

I’ve read a lot of blog posts about health and fitness, so maybe that makes my post a bit cliché. However, I have put a lot of time and effort into myself this year. Primarily my health and fitness, but spending a little bit of time on the fun things like hair, nails, and clothes. 🙂

I used to think doing things for me was going out with friends or shopping. Then I realized there was a whole part I wasn’t focusing on and that was my health. It doesn’t always look like something for you, but it really is. Health and fitness help your confidence and self-esteem. What’s not to love about feeling good about you?! I wrote about my switch to clean eating here. Before the food changes, I had a semi-regular exercise regime. However, with the food changes, I really focused on an exercise routine. All of a sudden I was planning out my meals and workouts.

I’m in an accountability group that really helped me get a routine and new lifestyle in place. Seeing my friends continue to eat healthy gives me new food ideas but also keeps me accountable. Hence the purpose of the group! 🙂

After almost a year of a pretty strict schedule, I’ve learned to let go a little. Letting go means I don’t get up to workout every morning. Some days my workout is a softball game at the end of the night. Some days my workout is a bike ride at 5 am or a Body Pump routine in my living room. And other times it’s a Yoga workout during nap time. I’ve learned that it’s important to put variety into my routine and that rest days are just as important…as long as they don’t last more than one day! While the varied workout times isn’t working well with my morning routine, I’m adapting. And not feeling guilty that I start some days without a workout.

I’m not sure why it took me this long to realize that health and fitness are ways to take care of me. I suppose that the hectic lifestyle of little humans and a full-time job finally took its toll and opened my eyes to the more important things. After all, when your time is limited you are forced to pick your priorities. And I don’t think I have many friends who are willing to hang out at 5 am. Wait, I have a couple of friends who enjoy riding their bikes with me at 5 am! Guess, that’s a double win!

I started 2015 with what I felt like were attainable goals of healthy eating and a focus on strength training. Halfway through the year, I am more than pleased with my accomplishments so far. I’ve never felt more fit and healthy. And that makes me feel even better when I do my hair, nails, or get a new piece of clothing! Here’s to a continued focus the next six months so I can end the year with a checkmark next to Health Eating – less processed, more clean & more hydration and also Exercise and Strength Training.

More clean foods and less processed

I know this isn’t a new concept. Lots of people have been eating well for years. Here’s where people throw things at me. I never thought I needed to eat healthy because I’ve always been small. How ridiculous is it that I thought eating well depended on your size. Or maybe it was more that I just never considered changing my diet because I wasn’t looking for ways to better my body. Still ridiculous. Of course I was active when I was growing up. Sure I “worked out” and “lifted” in college. I got a little more serious after college. {What else does a newly graduated person do who has a full-time job and lots of free time?! Raise your hand if you MISS those days!} Enter kids and all ideas of working out were gone. Let’s be honest, I was in survival mode for quite a while.

Last spring, I decided I needed to change my eating habits. Part of it was this nagging feeling that if I cut out processed foods I might decrease the number of migraines I had. I tested a clean eating plan, tried new foods, and had a weeks worth of clean food ideas. I ate from that menu about 50% of the week, but really got into a clean eating plan this fall. That means I’m eating organic when I can, but focused on vegetables, fruits, proteins, and non-processed foods. I’m looking at labels and looking to avoid more than just high fructose corn syrup or enriched flour. {My previous knowledge.}

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I’m not perfect, at all. I’m following the 80-20 rule. I eat healthy 80% of the time and can eat cheat meals 20% of the time. That leaves room for a Starbucks here or there and a lunch date with my husband every once in a while. I try to eat healthier versions when I do go out, but don’t beat myself up or jump back on the unhealthy bandwagon if I eat something that’s “bad.” I also don’t try to eat unhealthy 20% of my week. It’s just there if it happens. I know myself too well, I know I can’t go 100% healthy.

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I have a sweet tooth, but have been pleasantly surprised by how well my taste buds have adjusted. The only way I can make it work is with meal planning and food prep.

HOW I MAKE IT WORK

MEAL PLANNING
I like to spend the morning hours on the weekend looking at meal options for the week. I look at our schedule and pick leftovers or crockpot days for the nights we are busy. I try to bring in a new meal each week, usually something I have pinned.

GROCERY SHOPPING & MEAL PREP
I try to grocery shop on the weekends when I have more time to get everything I need. I usually prep my snacks and lunches the night before. Depending on the snacks and the space in my fridge, I may prep the entire week. That usually only works for fruits or small vegetables. I don’t usually make dinners ahead of time unless life is really crazy, but I do make sure to look ahead to the next night so I can make sure I have everything ready.

What are your favorite healthy recipes?

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It’s not always easy

It’s been one of those days. It ended with Quinten spitting on my sweatshirt when I put him to bed. That’s a pretty accurate summary of his day. Some days can be such a challenge. Or maybe those days when you’re the only parent are really the ones that are challenging. Yesterday was A Day in itself. A super tired preschooler gave us both flashbacks to his 2-year-old days. So many tears at so many random things. We all thought today had to be better after a full night of sleep. It kind of was, except during the night Maximus lost all of his listening skills. All of them. I can’t count how many times I repeated myself today. Or how many times I said, “please use listening ears. Mommy doesn’t want to yell or repeat herself. Please listen.” I can count how many times Quinten was in time-out…three. And how many times I found him on the deck, going down the stairs, or in the grass…three. By the way, it was cold and rainy all day. Not a good day to play outside, even though we all wish it were.

Sometimes at the end of a long day, happy meals are the only answer. In an effort to feed them before they got hangry {hungry + angry}, I stopped on the way home and used it as a distraction. It’s a little out of character for me and maybe the second time I’ve been involved in them getting happy meals. It did result in a couple of cute brother moments, but only because Maximus didn’t complain {this time} about Quinten sharing his chair. I also didn’t have to threaten to put Quinten in his highchair during that meal! Maximus was also pretty nice when he offered the rest of his sandwich to Quinten {who had been asking for more sandwich.} Unfortunately, it didn’t buy me as much quiet and togetherness time as I’d hoped. In fact, it resulted in one of the Quinten escapes into the grass.

I know there’s a learning experience all kinds of character building in the 2-year-old and 4-year-old ages, but some days it’s hard to make it through a day without raised voices. Not that they help any. It doesn’t seem to matter if I talk quiet or loud or repeat myself many times, those little ears are not into listening right now. So I take the Starbucks as they come, try to sneak in a couple of minutes of reading, and be calmer the next time I’m repeating myself for a second and third time.

These moments help

 

Traumatizing Our Child with Santa

Now that the craziness of Christmas is over, I have time to share our Santa experiences. The boys had many this season. Thankfully, we worked on our wish list early. Maximus and I took it very seriously, he told me what to write down and we put it up on the fridge. The awesome thing about four? His list didn’t change! And he always remembered what it was when people asked him. 🙂 {Plus, it was a reasonable list!}

We went to breakfast with Santa at our church {also Maximus’ preschool}. We walked right in and got our pictures taken with Saint Nicholas. One of Maximus’ teacher was helping and as soon as she saw Quinten, she suggested we do a family picture.

Good call, Miss D. Good call.

Good call, Miss D. Good call.

It turns out that a family picture was a very good idea. He wasn’t happy about it, but a grumpy kid is better than the alternative. Maximus didn’t get to talk to this Santa, but he was happy to get a picture taken.

Next up was the daycare Christmas party. Each kid buys for another kid and she gives them each a gift also. {We obviously give her gifts also. I mean, she’s dealing with The Naughty One. Ahem.} We talked about the Christmas party and Maximus told us what to buy for one of his friends. That’s also the cool thing about four! He told us what the kid said he wanted. 🙂 I didn’t mention that Santa would be there, even though I knew he would. The pictures we got were exactly what I expected. Maximus told Santa he wanted a combine. And, well, Quinten probably just told Santa NOOOO!

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Maximus (4 1/2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quinten (2), Maximus (4 1/2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quinten wasn’t traumatized enough to talk about it when he got home, so I guess it was just an unhappy moment. Heh. That poor man who was trying to hold on to that wiggling child. I have a hard time holding on to him when he’s throwing a fit.

Our next experience was full on planned out. We wanted to have a family Santa experience. Maximus got a little confused about what to tell Santa because he’d already asked for a combine, but he decided he’d ask this Santa for a tractor. We struggled a little deciding where we were going to go so we had to explain why some Santa’s were busy and why there were other Santa’s we could go find. He decided that there were many Santa’s helping because there were lots of places they could live. {I love four-year-old logic about homes. Our pediatrician also “lives” at his work.} We eventually made our way to Ames, a Santa that Maximus had seen before. We pulled up right as Santa was walking into Jimmy John’s to grab a drink. I held Maximus as his mouth dropped open and he just stared. He whispered, “Santa’s in Jimmy Johns. Why?” Well, we soon found out that he was going to feed the reindeer and would be back in an hour. AN HOUR! What the heck do you do with two children in a mall for an hour?! We had one final gift to get and made a cookie stop. What better thing to do during nap time?

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A happy cookie monster. No sharing for us.

When Santa came back, we got in line with the rest of the families. Bryan tried to talk Quinten up and they looked at Santa. I heard Quinten say, “No lap.” Heh. Guess he didn’t want to talk to Santa. I asked Quinten what he wanted from Santa, “Truck. Car. Tractor.” Spoiler alert: he asked for none of those things.

As the two-year-old handbook says, “Thou shall not make nice with the scary Santa man.”

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Maximus hopped up on his lap before I could even stow the stroller. He was talking away when I came in close. He asked for a tractor. “What kind of tractor?” “A green one. A John Deere one.” {Because the 8 that we already have aren’t enough.} Then, Bryan put Quinten on his lap and the above happened immediately. I told the girl not to worry about getting a smile. And we picked the best cry face picture! 😉 While Maximus smiled away and didn’t pay any attention to his brother.

Also in the handbook, “Thou shall always say thank you when Santa hands you a coloring book.” Yep. He screamed at the jolly man and did the slow sob when Bryan picked him up. {You know, the deep breath, skip a breath, and hiccup thing.} Santa handed each boy a coloring book and Quinten quietly said, “Thank you” between sobs. Manners unlocked.

Quinten fell asleep within five minutes in the car, but it was 3:30 so he was a little tired. We drove the slow way home and enjoyed driving through our college town and seeing what had changed. Maximus eventually crashed also and we headed home. Santa visits completed with a picture that is a pretty accurate depiction of our life right now. Maximus trying to look like the “good one” while his brother wails next to him. Ah, four and two may be the most challenging combination we’ve experienced.

My face. Bryan's thumb. Sleeping boys!

My face. Bryan’s thumb. Sleeping boys!

 

 

One screw short

Everyone loves feet, right? Wait, almost everyone hates feet. Well, feet don’t really gross me out. Not that I like looking at feet that aren’t pretty though. Anyway, my right foot has been the topic of many blog posts. I broke it, I was on bed rest for six weeks, and then it started bothering me again. After many weeks, I finally decided to have my foot looked at. I was 85% sure there was actually something wrong and 15% sure he was going to raise his eyebrows at me and tell me to stop being a baby. So I did what I didn’t want to do, I went in right after softball started. An x-ray confirmed that one of my screws had started backing itself out. It was super sensitive to the touch, but wasn’t affecting my physical activity. So I had it taken out.

My foot was numb, my mind NERVOUS

My foot was numb, my mind NERVOUS

He stuck me with a needle a lot of times to numb it up. {I may have had tears in my eyes and used labor breathing to survive.} It was after the pain of the needles that I really started to get nervous about the procedure. It was supposed to be nice and quick, but it took him a long time to grip the screw head. Yup, makes sense when you hear why. MY BODY GREW AROUND THE SCREW. HE WANTED TO TAKE IT OUT. Those two elements don’t work together. So he used tool after tool and right about the time I was concerned that I’d start to feel what he was doing, he used a thread {or something} to guide the screw driver in there. I kid you not, he took one hand off my foot and used both hands to unscrew it. He was using all he had. I couldn’t feel it, but it wasn’t comfortable and I was very excited for it to be over. The whole thing was pretty uncomfortable. During my mini panic attack, I wondered if he’d ever get it out and I was fairly confident that I wouldn’t have the nerve to come back in there. Or into the OR. Then he finally got it out! I hobbled out with my orange foot and went back to work.

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Rocking the iodine sock at work

One day of limping, five days with a bandage, and I was good as new. Other than the procedure itself, I never experienced any pain! I still don’t understand how that’s possible, but I’m thankful that his recovery period was accurate. 🙂 After two weeks, we made sure the screw had been the cause of my pain and he instructed me to keep it constrained for a while so I could make the bump go down.

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Four weeks post-removal

I’ve been wrapping it a few times a week since it’s summer and I’m barely wearing shoes. I’m more than surprised to see that my bump has actually gone down! I’ve always had a calcium bump, but I feel like it’s smaller now than it ever was after the surgery.

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Healing nicely!

I’m a month out and one screw lighter. I’ve heard my share of screw loose jokes and I’m happy to report that all is well. 😉 My foot healed as it should have with the screws. The only reason I had one removed was because it was coming out. I don’t need either of them, but the procedure would be more invasive {with a longer recovery} to remove the one that is still where he put it. So I’ll continue on with one screw in my foot unless something happens to it. All of the vibration from volleyball and running are probably the causes of that screw backing itself out. Once I started softball and riding, it only made it worse. I noticed a difference in how uncomfortable it was the two weeks I had to wait before the procedure. Summer’s in full swing and I’m pretty active between chasing my children and doing recreational activities. I thankful for a quick recovery and happy to report that I slid my foot out of my shoe today and felt no pain!

Celebrity Bowlers! {Sponsored Ad}

Disclaimer: I was contacted by BowlingShoes.com and BowlingBags.com to post the below article. I have been compensated for posting this article. 

You may or may not know that I used to be on a Friday night women’s bowling league. I was on it for at least three years before we all kind of lost the drive or had too many responsibilities at home. We had a lot of fun! A standing girls night was a great way to pass the winter months. When I was contacted by BowlingShoes.com and BowlingBags.com, I was very interested in their article. And it made me think that maybe it was pretty cool to bowl with a bunch of my friends on Friday nights! 😉 I own a pair of bowling shoes from BowlingShoes.com. Those white and pink shoes have gotten me through a lot of Friday nights! 🙂 I purchased them myself and got to use them last Friday night. It took me a few frames, but I’m happy to say I got a 127 on my second game. 🙂 My average fluctuated a little when I was bowling regularly, but I know that’s a really good game for me! Enjoy the article. 🙂

Leave a comment and let me know what you think of the article. Are you a bowler? 

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Well-Known Celebrities Who are Surprisingly Good at Bowling

There are many passionate bowlers out there. This has evolved from a casual pastime into a real phenomenon and celebs have not been immune from getting sucked into this world. Here is a quick look at some celebs who are not only self-confessed bowling fans, but also happen to be quite good at the sport.
1. Vince Vaughn
The actor has appeared in many movies where he portrays the exuberance which is meant for a much younger man and he has always been able to do this successfully. This shows that the man is very active in his regular life and enjoys a variety of different physical activities. It just so happens that bowling is among them and the man appears to be quite skilled at it. In fact, one celebrity bowlers list organized by US Bowler Magazine included him in a Best of the Rest section which singled out particularly talented bowlers who aren’t professional athletes.
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2. Nelly
The rapper was featured in the same list compiled by US Bowler Magazine. He has a great physique and has stated on numerous occasions that he enjoys a number of different sports and other physical activities.
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3. Bill Murray
It should come as no surprise that Bill Murray would make such a list since he did star in the premiere bowling movie “Kingpin”. In it he actually plays the bad guy, but he also plays the guy who ends up winning the big game at the end of the movie. He was able to display his natural talent for bowling in the movie as very few shots needed to be altered.
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If you are looking for a good place to find cheap bowling bags and other bowling accessories and equipment, visit BowlingBags. There you are guaranteed to find exactly what you were looking for and within your budget, as well.