Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas!

On Christmas Eve, I told the kids that they needed to stay in bed until 7am just in case Santa was running late. After reading the Night before Christmas and "All God wants for Christmas," and prepping a plate of cookies for Santa, the kids opened their PJs that Santa brought early. We were hoping this trick would help them sleep! :) Then we let them keep their ipods over night so they could see check the time. Amazingly, this plan worked! I heard Asher stirring about 6:30 and got up and allowed them all to come downstairs. MUST do this again next year!

The kids all have their own wrapping paper from Santa. Alivia had Christmas Polka dots, Addison had Santa, and Asher had HO HO HO! That way, they all know their presents without opening the wrong ones. Works great every year.

Alivia got a bean bag chair, a lounger pillow, a karaoke machine, clothes and lego friends stuff. Addison got more lego friends stuff, a pet store shop thing, a chair from Justice, bean bag chair, and clothes. Asher got more nerf guns, clothes, samari castle and set, and light sabors. There big gift from us they opened later as we shared it with my parents. We gave Chris his energy drink he likes, jeans, north face fleece and I made him a calender and a photo book. The kids all gave him a present, too. Alivia gave him a subway gift card, Asher gave him a Spider Man t-shirt from Dicks and Addison gave him cross fit socks from Rogue Fitness. Oh, and Chris got an Ipad Air. Chris gave me jeans, north face fleece (we think alike), Victoria's Secret things things, and more. We were all happy with our things.

We went to 9am Mass this year. We arrived about 20 minutes til 9 and sat up front as normal. Father sang through Mass. At first it was pretty,t hen it made me anxious. I could not tell what he was saying so I found it frustrating. Boo.

Back at home the kids played and prepared for my parents and my Aunt Marsha to arrive. We had paleo chicken and shrimp for dinner. It was wonderful...but I am not sure what our guests thought. I did not hear anyone complain, but I know they think we are weird.

The kids let us chill a bit after dinner before begging for more presents. Marsha had them have a little scavenger hunt for presents, which was fun. She gave the girls cute things from Clairs and Asher some Superman darts and nerf guns. From my parents, Alivia and Addison got more Lego friends and Asher got more batman and samari toys to keep him busy. Then, it was time for the big gift. We walked them downstairs to an indoor big ol bouncer! It is made by blast zone, the same as Addison's bouncer pool slide she got for her birthday, and we are hoping it will last. I shopped for this for a while and was able to get it for $60 less than what it is listed for now with free shipping (and this thing is quite heavy!). The kids are jumping behind me as I type. It is a good investment for indoor activity for the winter. It sure beats watching movies under a blanket to keep warm.

As for Chris and I, Chris was stocked up on clothes and I was stocked up with running gear. My parents are more than generous as usual. And, my Aunt, she treated us to Netflix! We love that. It is a great family gift!

We could not have asked for a better Christmas. We have what we need and then some, health, family who love us and each ther. We can not take any of those things for granted on Christmas or anyday.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Cookie Baking Time

On Monday, the kids and I made a very cold trip to Iowa to my parents' home to bake Christmas cookies. We wanted to help break in their newly redone kitchen.

The baking was fun. The kids helped for maybe 20 minutes until they were full of cookie dough. Then they were off to play the piano and check out Grandma and Grandpa's house. Grandpa brought back subway after his Dr. Apt. Grandma and I did not think they would eat a thing, but they all finished their sandwiches! Then, it was time to frost and decorate. Let's say they are full of frosting and sugars! Definitely must brush your teeth after eating these!

It was a fun day. The kids said they had fun on the way home. Gotta love Christmas break!

Christmas with the Austins

Christmas started for us early this year with Christmas at Chris' parents' home with his parents and his Grandma Pat, who lives with them. We had been busy shopping and going roller skating that day, but the kids were still beyond excited to get the festivities underway.

Chris treated all of us to Mamas Pizza La Vista (yes, they have a La Vista location now! Move and they will come, right?! :) ). Then, it was time for the much anticipated presents.

Addison and Alivia received the Barbie dream house, barbies, clothes and new backpacks, while Asher (sharing with the girls) got an air hockey table, Nike clothes and more nerf guns (that boy has an arsenal of nerf guns!). Chris received a nice start to his hiking items neede for his summer summit up Longs Peak and I received a gift card to Costco where I can continue to stock up for our family. It was a nice to see everyone.

The next morning, at 5:50 AM, the girls woke to the Barbie dream house being complete. Chris stayed up late putting that thing together, perhaps saying a few choice words along the way. The girls really appreciated it, though. As Alivia says, The Dream House keeps us occupied. " Yeah for that, right?!


Friday, December 20, 2013

The Austin Family in 2013

We are grateful to have survived 2013 with our family intact. Admittedly, we had a rough year. Again, Chris has been front and center for most of the stress. He resigned from the Tampa position in early spring and took another job within Northrop Grumman. That made the move and travels to Florida off but job security was not good.   He then set out to get a new job. He landed a job as a UX Designer at Solutionary in Omaha. He is now doing something he enjoys and has professional goals for the New Year. He ended the year in a great professional place. In the meantime, he started working out at Cross fit Omaha, and Chris and I started eating Paleo (no dairy, no grains – meat, vegetables and a little fruit with some nuts and good fat is key). Since September 1, Chris has lost 20 pounds and is quite lean! It is crazy. We both like eating Paleo and will continue to eat Paleo at least 90% of the time. He looks and feels great, and that is the important part. When Chris is not working or working it, he plays soccer or play station with the kids.

Alivia is now 9 ½ years old and is in the 4th grade. She likes to play with her friend Lizzie, play Lego friends, or ride her bike around Shadow Lake. In 2012, Alivia ran 3 5K runs, one with Girls on the Run, one in my hometown of Shelby, Iowa, and one for Heart Heros. I ran all of them with her, which was quite fun yet challenging. Alivia is quite the little runner for her age! She plans to play soccer this spring and run with Girls on the Run.

Addison is now 7 and in the 2nd Grade. Addison is still seen walking around with one of her many stuffed dogs. She started taking piano lessons in the fall and is quite good. She loves to play Bella’s Lullaby from Twilight and is now playing Jingle Bells. Addison just had her first Reconciliation and is preparing for First Communion this spring.


Asher just celebrated his 6th birthday and is well into Kindergarten. He had no problem with the transition from home to school (that was just me!). He played spring and fall soccer and wants to play again. He is about to start basketball at the local YMCA. That should be interesting since Asher is about 5% in height! Asher likes to ride his bike (without training wheels he wants me to point out), play with his friends, and has an endless supply of boy energy to keep Chris and me quite active.

2013 has been a transitional year for me as I kissed all three kiddos good-bye as they all went to school. I have had a hard time just sitting still since. I have worked a lot of hours as a nurse at the Med Center where I still officially work “as needed” but am scheduled about 4 shifts every 2 weeks. I work at night and sleep all day until I pick up the kids. So, Chris and I rarely see each other awake while I’m working. I continue to run, work out to T25, cross fit and Turbo Fire and have a goal to run a full 26.2 mile marathon this spring. I can’t wait to get that checked off my to do list. J  

Pippa, our Papillon dog, continues to keep us on our toes. She just came back from being retrained and we are hoping it worked. Needless to say, I think we have 4 kids, one furry.

We did not do as much traveling as we wanted to this year with Chris’ job changes. He did take a hiking trip with his family in July while the kids and I went to my parents’ Lake home at the Lake of the Ozarks a couple times. Chris and I took our annual anniversary trip in August, this year to Estes Park. That is a very pretty place to hike and visit.


We have big plans for 2014! I want to run a marathon, Chris and his brother want to summit Longs Peak in Estes Park, Colorado, Chris and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary in August, and we may plan a fun winter trip to Florida before next Christmas. We hope to make our home a 5 bedroom home starting in January, too, so Chris can have his much needed office when he works from home. It is going to be an adventurous new year!

From our Family to yours, Merry Christmas and God bless you in 2014!

Monday, December 16, 2013

November 2013 in Review

In November, we celebrated Addison's First Reconciliation, Thanksgiving and Asher's 6th Birthday. It was a busy month! Now onto the slow month of December (sarcasm. :) ).

Bring on some PICTURES!!! (click to review!).

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Saint Nicholas Day 2013

Friday was Saint Nicholas Day. To celebrate, Saint Nicholas, better known as Mommy, gives the kids an ornament and candy annually. I try to select an ornament based on their interests that year. They know it is from me and they have come to expect it. Not sure I like that. Okay, I don't like that.

This year, I have their packages all prepared for them when they got home from school Friday. Alivia saw them first and saw her candy, Dots, and said, "Can I switch? I don't like it." Really? I told her she could switch with me (aka, have nothing). Seriously, she was crying over the candy. Mayb she has outgrown the fun and spirit of it all, or maybe I have, I don't know.

Asher and Addison were excited by their treats. Asher got an airplane ornament and M&Ms, Addison a Lab puppy and Twizzlers and Alivia a peace sign ornament all from Pottery Barn (after Thanksgiving 25% off with free shipping!) along with the Dots that she was not happy about.

Most of the kids like this tradition, so we will try again next year. The ornaments are helping to fill our tree, and their trees someday, too!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Asher's 6th Birthday!

Happy 6th Birthday Asher Wade! Asher turned the big 6 years old on November 29, yes, Black Friday. He was so excited and sweet when he woke up raring to go. He opened up a little present of 2 shirts (one that says, "I go fast!" and a soccer shirt). He loved both of them.
The Superman Party was scheduled for 1-3. His 7 friends arrived right on time, 5 boys and 2 sweet little girls. Gotta love Asher. He is all boy and a total flirt!
The Superman party started off good and fun with Superman coloring, Superman tattoos and all the kiddos getting Superman Capes and running around in a Superman obstacle coarse. Asher's friend, Nick, did not likes Superman. So, Chris put in the movie just to show him a cool part so the little boy would see how cool Superman was. While the boys were watching a small snipit of the movie, one little boy swore, using the Lord's name in vein within the swear word. Okay, what?! He is 6! Then a little 5 year old repeated it and thought it was funny! Chris was not happy. He sped up the party then and there, shifting things to presents and cake, then outside to play and exert all that boy energy.
It went well after that. But, Chris and I learned why these boys spend their days in the safe seat at school. We also learned that if the parents do not physically bring the kid to the door, instead dumping them off in the driveway, the kiddo probably will not be the best behaved. Just saying. :)
Asher had a great time, and really, that is what we were seeking.
After the friend party, Asher had time to play with his new toys, get cleaned up for party number 2. Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Bob gave Asher his gifts on Thanksgiving (art supplies and roller blades), so it was just Grandma Bet and Grandpa Bill at the Mamas Pizza party on Asher's Birthday night. We were able to try out the new Mama's Pizza in La Vista. It was quite good. After an afternoon of cupcakes after a day off Turkey, even Asher could not eat much.
Asher then opened the remote control car from us and the green machine from Grandma Bet and Grandpa Bill. His gifts were very cool. He was excited.
Asher had a fun day and went right to sleep. That NEVER happens.

Asher's Favorites at 6 years old
Color: Black
Toy: Coloring box from Grandma Kathy (Asher loves to color and draw and does so every night before he finally falls to sleep).
Fruit: Strawberries
TV Show: The Middle
Lunch: Subway Turkey/salami with pickles, mustard, lettuce and onion.
outfit: Go fast shirt (that he just opened when I asked him these questions) and jeans.
Game: Connect 4
snack: Scooby snacks
Animal: Cheetah
Book: Little books from school
Best Friend: Cameron
Cereal: Chocolate Special K sans milk
Favorite thing to do outside: Ride my bike without training wheels.
Drink: Water
Holiday: Christmas
What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Little brown bear
Favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Waffle and bacon
Birthday Dinner? Mamas pepporoni pizza
What do you want to be when you grow up? A pilot.

Asher is a wild little boy who likes to play non stop, likes his ipod touch for quiet time watching netflix or likes to color alone in his room late into the night. Asher will not sleep unless his door and the door to our room is open and he can see us in there (so we can not go downstairs after he goes to bed). But, Asher stays up coloring and rarely gets to sleep before 9:30 even though he goes to bed at 8 PM. :) Asher loves his vegetables but will not eat bread, will drink milk out of a cup but refuses it in cereal and loves to give us hugs whenever possible.

Happy Birthday Asher! We love you!

Estes Park Photo Book

For Christmas, I made Chris a photobook of our trip to Estes Park this last August. I put it together in perfect timing considering Shutterfly is having a big sale now through Wednesday! (I finally finished our 2012 album and ordered that, too, while I was at it!). I'm excited for Chris to see the final result. But, he will have to wait. :)


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!
This year, we decided to mix things up a bit. We invited both Chris' parents and Grandma along with my parents for Thanksgiving dinner. My cousin and Aunt were also invited but were unable to come in the end.

We got up, got the turkey in the over no problem. We had the jello fluff ready for Alivia, the many dozens of dinner rolls ready for Chris' Thanksgiving cheat, potatoes, stuffing (in which I still stuff into the bird), cupcakes to celebrate Asher's birthday a day early, relish tray, and more. YUMMY!

My parents arrived at 11:15 and I was still in my work out clothes. Ooops! Chris's parents arrived to a turkey smelling house around noon. The turkey was done on time (Thank Goodness). It was a yummy dinner as expected.

After dinner, we celebrated Asher birthday a day early with a few presents. That kept the kiddos occupied.

The day went fast. It was nice to have everyone together. It's a lot of work, but it is worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Addison's First Reconciliation

In our Catholic Church, the First Reconciliation, aka confession, is to be done in a group with all the other kiddos going through their first reconciliation followed by their first communion in the spring. I would be okay with this, but there are probably 200 kiddos going through this, so the day/night of their first confession is overwhelming to me, let alone a kid. Chris and I knew when Alivia was going through it, she would never go up in front of other kids and state her sins. It is a private matter. So, we scheduled a private first reconciliation for Alivia when she was 7, and we did the same for Addison this go around (and we will do the same for Asher, hopefully). Our program leaders are not very easy to get a hold of (as I am sure they are overwhelmed with so many kids), and never returned my request to schedule a private one. I emailed Father Vogel who quickly go back to me and scheduled it for Tuesday, yesterday, right after school. He did Alivia's too!.

 We arrived at 3:30 and Addison did not seem nervous at all. We had practiced at home and she had a practice card to get her through her first few confessions. She was in and out and was off to say her Hail Mary. Chris, Alivia and I also went through a confession. It was a special day for Addison.

As an extra special treat, we went to DQ for ice cream afterwards. :)

Congratulations Addison! Now onto preparing for First Communion in the spring!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Family Photo Shoot

Chris was out putting up the Christmas lights a couple weeks ago when our neighbor Holly from across the street, whom we had never met, came over and told us about an article she was working on for the Omaha World Herald. She was seeking a family to do a photo shoot with. She is a contributing editor and photographer (check out her blog/webpage or find her on facebook) with the Omaha World Herald. I had wanted to take family photos, but getting all dressed up to take a picture seemed like too much work. So, she gave us a reason!

She did an amazing job. We are more than pleased. If you need family photos taken, seek her out. She is fun, relaxed, has a good eye and is quite patient. Addison was so wild and by the end all of the kids were, and Holly never skipped a beat. Thank you Holly!

Click here to see the photos...Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Disguising Tom Turkey

Another weekend, another Kindergarten Family homework assignment. This time the assignment was to decorate a turkey so he does not get eaten for Thanksgiving. :)  Asher, being the Superhero lover that he is, wanted to make his a Superman Turkey.

Off to Hobby Lobby I went, to collect feathers, eye balls, a napkin for the cape and more. Daddy and Asher did this project together (I did the shopping :) ). Daddy even got a little sad as they decorated our last Turkey. All our turkeys are growing up!

Anyway, it turned out amazing! I can't wait to eat lunch with Asher on Friday and see all the other decorated Turkeys at school.

Here is Asher's Superman Turkey.

Did your kiddos do this project? What did you make? Come back and post a picture! We would love to see.

For more ideas, here are the girls' turkey projects, too.

Alivia's Clown Turkey
Addison's Spidergirl Turkey

Decorate a Turkey Feather

Asher had a family Thanksgiving project to do a couple weeks ago. The assignment: Decorate this naked feather as a family. Asher decided he wanted to draw pictures of the things he is thankful for, such as trips to the lake, mommy and daddy, grandma and grandpas, santa :), our home, church, friends, and our dog Pippa. Well, drawing seemed too difficult. So, Asher selected pictures, we printed them, added some feathers and here you have it...a decorated turkey feather! Stay tuned for Asher's decorated Turkey!

Christmas Shopping 2013

It is not a secret that I do not like winter (the cold, the wind, the snow...need I say more?!), crowds or shopping, so Christmas shopping does not come easy for me. Luckily, someone smart created online shopping!

Every year is different. One year I decided to buy the kids 10 gifts each. What was I thinking?! This year we created a budget. MY CHRISTMAS BUDGET tuned out to be a great tool! I plugged in each person we had to buy for and a budget, plugging in the real values in once purchased. LOVE this tool!

I started by taking the kids to the toy departments and stores and had them look through catalogs to select toys. They were beyond thrilled to get to do this. Asher kept his list short while the girls selected everything. Between the catalogs and the stores, I had a good list to start with. I took their dreams to online shopping to find the best deal, which turned out to be Amazon with free shipping and no up front sales tax.

At 9, Alivia is very selective. She asked for soft pillows and a bean bag chair, Lego friends things, soft PJs and, believe it or not, Alivia and Addison asked for a Barbie Dream House. Never too old for the big dream I guess. She already has the best gift ever, her ipad Mini. I would totally recommend the mini, too. It gets the most use of anything we have purchased for her (aside from her ipod touch that she had first).

Addison, At 7, also asked for a bean bag chair, Lego friends things but also asked for a Pet Shop and a Rainbow in my room. Addison had a difficult time narrowing down all the things she had to have. :) She would be overjoyed with an ipad mini, but with her history of breaking her ipod touch within 3 months, it just is not going to happen, says Santa Claus.

Asher, at almost 6 years old, was more specific on his wishes for Christmas. He selected Lego's (way beyond his developmental age, like 8 and older legos!), Nerf guns, and a dragon set. He also asked for a green machine! Boys will be boys, right?

Chris even provided a nice list this year. On the top, a new ipad air with stylus. Really? Where does he think I work?! :) Otherwise, his list was exercise related asking for weights, after workout drink, jeans, and the north face fleeces. Most days are casual at his work with jeans, so he loves being able to ask for and be able to wear jeans!

I made a list this year. After getting the napkin holder for my birthday, I decided I needed to make a list. I'm not sure why now. As I was shopping, I spotted things I liked. I called Chris to see about sizes for his family and he told me, "Just go ahead and buy your things, too." So, I did as I was told. :) So far, I am getting some really nice things. Ha! I also want an apple macbook air. It would be my first mac (OMG!). I wish to have one for photo editing and keep up my bookkeeping. Yes, I still keep track of where every penny goes. I think it is a lost art. I actually think Chris may get my the macbook because he wants an new ipad so bad so he can draw on it for work. :) Good thing we have Apple stock.

We found some cool things to give our parents this year and the great grandparents will get the annual picture calender.

We are most certainly not buying what is on everyone's dream list, but we want them to dream, right? Santa has something big to go under the tree this year for the kids to enjoy this winter that he may be sharing to give with the Great Santas this year, something I told the kids they for sure would not be getting. It will come as a big surprise.

Feels good to have it done just as the Christmas trees and ads start on TV. No offense, but I do not get into the commercialism of the day at all. I like the quiet day at home with family opening presents giving thanks to God, without commercials. Now, we can sit back and enjoy the season, completely stress free, right?!

The Austin Life in 2013

This year is quickly getting ahead of me. What happened? First it was January, then all of a sudden it was August and all our babies were in school, and now November?!?!?! Really, SLOW DOWN!

The kids are each busy in their own ways. Alivia, who is almost 9 1/2 now, keeps busy after school with her math homework, reading and playing with her friend and neighbor, Elizabeth. Alivia loves her ipad mini and likes face timing her friends. Really, I don't like to see my face and don't want anyone else to see it. It is so funny to me how kids communicate now. Addison tends to keep more to herself after school. She started taking piano lessons in September and is slowly catching on. The bad memories of practicing came rushing back to me. But, Addison is hanging in there and LOVES her teacher, which helps a lot. Addison also got into making rainbow loom bracelets and can still be found playing babies or with her many dogs. Alivia just kindly gave Addison her old ipod touch, giving Addison that to play with. Addison likes to have a playdate usually once a week, too. Now Asher keeps busy following and pestering his sisters. When not doing that, Asher likes to color (usually staying up late at night coloring in his room), play cars, or play with his sisters. Asher has playdates maybe 1-2 times a month. His friends are a little more tricky to meet up with, I guess.

Chris is getting into things at his work. He is essentially the only one in his field at the new job, so the tasks keep coming in, which is good. He joined Crossfit Omaha mid September and has been kicking it. He is one lean guy I'm telling you. It is good for him to have found something to make his mind and body feel better. When not at work or the gym, he is still cooking paleo for the most part and tries to keep up with all the homelife activities.

I'm boring. I have started working A TON, but on my own terms. I got offered a job at the NICU where I work but it required 5 months!! of daytime orientation. I did not know how to pull off 9-12 hour days without daycare, so I had to turn it down. If the orientation was part time nights as I applied or, I would have taken it. In the meantime, I have been picking up about 4 eight hour shifts every 2 weeks, working 3 in a row one week and 1 shift the next week. I try to work Sunday-Tuesday nights or Monday-Wednesday nights and then pick up Sunday or Monday on the short week. When working, I sleep most of the day or lay in bed hoping to be sleeping. I am working a lot between now and when the kids take winter break from school, when I will take vacation (and am totally excited about it!). When not working, I keep busy running errands, cleaning, etc. My latest task was to do the Christmas Shopping, which I completed for the most part on Sunday. I just have to buy Chris a pair of jeans, which I hope to do this week. My time off seems to fly by as it gets filled up with Doctors appointments, carpet cleaning, etc, and before long I am back to work. I'm not sure I like the fast pace of being a working Mom. The extra money, I have to say, is really nice, but it comes at a high cost.

Meanwhile, we just put in a ton of money into our van. Chris and I do not do car payments, electing to pay cash for our vehicles. So, writing a $30,000 check is not something we want to do, like ever. The van is doing okay at the moment, still needing about $500 in tires. So, Chris hangs at home until I get home when I work so he does not have to drive the van to work. Not sure how much longer it will make it.

That's it in a nutshell. Thinking January should be a time to slow down a bit. Oh, I am hoping.

October in Review

And...I'm caught up (well, kind of, but not really) on pictures. Really, I am never caught up! Anyway, October was yet another busy month. Asher finished up soccer just as it got too cold to watch, we started to enjoy the weekends we now all have off work and school, Alivia ran another 5K with the family and, we can't forget, Halloween!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

September in Review, Finally

Catching up...onto September. Splashed in the last of the summer heat, ate paleo, Asher kicked the soccer ball around a bit, hiking into fall. Enjoy!

September Pictures

August in Review, FINALLY!

Finally, August Pictures, even if they are still mostly unedited!
We had a wild month! We tried to squeeze in the last of summer fun at the zoo, splash pad, the forest, the safari, the zoo, a baseball game and more. All 3 kiddos were off to school for the first time, Asher in Kindergarten, Addison in 2nd grade and Alivia in the 4th grade! Chris and I then took a small weekend trip to Estes Park to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary while the kids stayed behind with Grandma Bet and Grandpa Bill. I'm not sure who had more fun?!?! It was a wild month...with many memories.


Monday, November 04, 2013

Happy Belated Halloween!
Halloween is always so much fun. The costumes, the smiles, the running from house to house, the candy. This year was no exception.

We left our house at 6 pm after a couple brief pictures. We have to get out early because it gets cold so quick. The kids ran from house to house. Asher was usually in the lead, with Alivia right behind him, followed by Addison and then Alivia's friend Elizabeth who came along with us this year. Unlike last year when Asher would look at the candy and decide whether he liked it or not, this year he was less selective. Addison and Alivia are not selective up front but are quite selective when it comes to eating it.

The favorite houses: The ones who handed out BIG candy bars, the lady who gives out $1 bills with candy, the houses that give out treat BAGS filled with candy, and the guy who hands out beer to the parents. him. The kids, of course, love hitting up the grandparents house. The temps turned out to be okay, maybe in the upper 40s, but were fine with winter gear.

We arrived home about 7:45. Superman, aka Asher, ate a HUGE Nestle Crunch bar in no time and was ready for bed. The girls picked out a few smaller things. Alivia loves peanut butter cups and nerds and Addison likes twizzler pull and peels and tootsie roll pops (oh, and Daddy likes his share of snickers! He is so skinny he has room to eat some, too!).

The kids were showered and tucked into bed by 8:45. Chris had all the Halloween stuff down outside by 10. Pretty impressive!

Happy Halloween. May you all enjoy your candy without cavities. :) (Oh and P.S., we came back from trick or treating to find no big candy bars and about 25 granola bars! I'm thinking the granola bars were less than a hit. :) ).

Superman, Veterinarian Zombie and a cat. :)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

2013 Austin Haunted Home

Chris and his crazy Halloween Decor! This year, he added a nice little creepy cemetary with ghouls and I have no idea what the heck that thing is coming out of the ground! Looks totally creepy and gross to me. You would have to pay me to go to our door. But, we have some BIG candy bars (plus about 60 granola bars and a few small candy bars as fillers just in case). Looking forward to a frightful and maybe even a little cold night.

Happy Halloween from the Scary Austin Family!

Vala's 2013

It is a tradition that we visit Vala's Pumpkin Patch this time of year. It was more complicated to get there this year with all the kids in school and Chris working a new job and unable to break away during the week. I snagged a 4 pack from a KETV deal and forked out the big bucks for an extra entry with only the $1 off coupon on website and we were off.

There should be a warning at Vala's: Visit here on weekends on your own risk.

Enough said.

We arrived at 9:30 on a Saturday morning a couple weeks ago and knew it was going to be bad. Police lined the parking lots and cars lined up behind us to get in. Really? This is crazy. The kids ran from fun thing to fun thing, the jumping pillows, the tractors, haunted houses, the new BIG slides. Before long, the crowd was almost too much. Okay, it was too much. We caught up with our friend Jill (so nice to see you!) and our friends Michael and Michelle. I do believe everyone we knew was there, but who would no it?! It was beyond crazy. There was a line at the jumping pillows and then the kids were limited in time how long they could jump. For real? And, we paid extra to come on a weekend?!

Going between all the people in the crowd got old. We ate our picnic that Chris ran to the car and got for us. It was nice to find a somewhat quiet spot and sit.

We left the wild place called Vala's just before 4. The line to get into the place was from the entrance all the way onto 370. Beyond nuts. We were tired, dirty, but had mostly fun getting that way.

We will go back next year (although Chris says he has had enough for his lifetime). But, we will not be going on a weekend!

PS There Kettle Corn is so good and worth the Paleo cheat. But, we will not be going through the upstairs of the Vala's store next year because Addison just can not take it. Enough said. :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Picture Day 2013

Yesterday was picture day. This is a fun day to see personalities shine.

Alivia: "I want my hair curled today and I want to wear THESE earrings."
Addison: "Can I wear the new shift from Von Maur with my hair braided and I can put the braid over my shoulder?" Addison just happened to select the same shirt as Alivia. Alivia was not pleased but kept quiet about it to my surprise.
Asher: "Spike my hair this way." I asked, "What shirt do you want to wear?" His response, "What do you want me to wear?" Awwww....always a Mommy pleaser.

The results...

Work Out Like a Girl!

Getting my abs after 3 kids!
We are keeping up with the Paleo Life now, but I am also trying to keep my workouts fun, fresh and effective. So, what am I up to?

When I work, I am doing beachbody's T25. It is only 25 minutes and is a mix of strength and cardio. I may be really, really tired after working and barely sleeping, but I can do 25 minutes, right? Most days I try to pull it off. I like it as something added to my workout bag, but I would not be able to do just T25 I don't think. It is about the mix for me.

Next up, This is FREE! Yes, entirely free!!! Coach Kozak has 2 workouts that I like among many to chose from, his 90 day High Intensity or his 90 day warrior. The warrior was the first one I did, and he just added the high intensity one. The warrior workout plan is strength and cardio and high intensity interval training in one. They are short workouts for the most part with a 30 minute one thrown in there occasionally. The Intensity one I have not done in its entirety. I started and got side tracked (it has only been available a short time). I have done many of the workouts included in the plan already, though. The workouts may be longer as some days it is suggested to put in 60 minutes of cardio. With that said, I do 60 minutes total of whatever I am doing every day with the exception of my rest days and days where I worked and am too wiped out (which become my rest days).

And then there is I have been following them for a while. I go in spurts, doing their workouts for a while or through a challenge, then going back to Hasfit for strength. They are different but I find many of their moves are similar. Bodyrock does seem to need more equipment, but I get by with my weights and equalizer (well worth the investment I may add, although I got mine on Amazon.). They are now doing a 30 day challenge and I am loving it. The workouts are longer, but she jump ropes. I love jump roping. It is such a great workout! I worked out so hard last weekend I broke my beloved jump rope, so I am shopping for a speed rope so I can do double unders some day. :)

I also throw in Beachbody's Turbo Fire, but I do more of this during the winter.  This is more cardio for me.

My cardio rounds include any of the above (bodyrock jump ropes between workouts, so that's great cardio!), running (my route is almost 5 miles and I run 2-3 times a week, usually 2 now adays), biking (Chris got me into speed biking. I like biking, do it and get it done. I use different muscles for good cross training)), and jump roping. I often times bike or run, come home and jump rope until I crash (maybe a song!). I really love jump roping if you can not tell. Addison now wants a speed rope so she can jump fast with me. :)

As I mentioned, we are still mostly eating Paleo. I had not heard through my ongoing research that once you cut out sugar, you suffer horrible headaches when you do eat it. I made cookies, eating dough of course, and had to go to bed afterwards (it was 9 at night anyway, but still) because of the headache. I also had my beloved tea which is artificially sweetened and had a headache unlike any other AND my lips and the area around my lips became all swollen! I will no longer drink the tea, which makes Addison happy as she will drink the rest of my supply. Chris has had similar response to the sugar. We have both had dairy and have been okay. OMG, cheese never tastes so good! Now...back to moderation and mostly eating Paleo.

There you have it, work it 60 minutes 6 days a week, rest one (but keep it an active rest with a family activity that day at least), and eat clean. We have never felt better.

What do you to work it?
Got Abs there somewhere!

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Paleo Verdict

Today marks the final day of the Paleo Eating Challenge. Wow, we really made it. That totally amazes me.

* Weight Loss * Lean muscle mass * Feel great * Healthy Eating * Great example for our kids * level energy levels

* Shopping more (although I have gotten good at the shopping. It may take a month just to figure out where to shop! I love HyVee's health food area for almond meal, enjoy life baking chips (non dairy, no soy, no nuts and the occasional larabar if I am in a pinch and can't get them quick enough online)
* Meal Prep time
* Meal Clean up
* starting eating Paleo: Let's face it, the initial side effects and detox are awful!
* Rigid, difficult in social settings. Chris went to a family birthday party during this challenge and ate an apple. They had hotdogs, potato chips, cake and icecream. He felt left out and hungry. If going to a social setting, we have to learn to bring a Paleo dish that we and our friends can enjoy. Shoot, while we are at it, bring dessert, too!
* Cravings make eating Paleo difficult to follow
* EXPENSIVE: All the fresh fruits, vegetables, grass fed meat, and zero nitrates bacon come at a HIGH PRICE! You do not want to know my total for groceries in September!

Chris lost weight that he did not even realize he wanted to lose (but feels much better now that it is gone) and is leaner than he has been since college. He is now down to his college weight, if not just above his high school weight. He maintained his weight in the last week but also dropped his workouts substantially.

I am below my high school weight but not at my lowest adult weight by any stretch (that I was at while breastfeeding and working full time but I looked like crap, too). I finally achieved the 6 pack abs that I have been striving for, if only they were not under layers of clothing now for Nebraska autumn. I know they are there, and I am thrilled. Finally! After having 3 kids in a short period of time, I did not know my body was even capable anymore.

We both feel good physically. Mentally, we still miss our favorite foods. We will be going 80/20 for now. 80 % Paleo 20% non paleo. Non Paleo does not necessarily mean non healthy, either. Yes, Chris can't wait to have a Mamas's Cheese pizza with extra sauce. But, he also would like to have a turkey sandwich, pretzels and a Greek yogurt. We are going to not count Greet Yogurt as a cheat and have it on an occasional basis. We both need dairy if our body agrees after this month detox.

As for me, I have some tastefully simple pretzels that I have had for a few weeks that will be coming with me to work tonight (after midnight they are mine! :) ). But, really, I feel like I found my new way of healthy, clean eating. I can eat whatever I want and not feel guilty. I don't have to count calories, just eat. LOVE THAT!  I learned that a calorie is not a calorie anyway as I can eat a ton of veges, fruit and healthy meat and lose weight! That is crazy considering I know I was eating way more calories than I was accustomed to eating. But, my mind (and maybe my body, too) felt starved without my sugary treats and my carbs. The way I feel outweighs the cons to me, so far. I will try 80/20, but I may push towards all Paleo with 3 cheats a week. I am okay with that.

Like I said, I am amazed we both completed the 30 days. We have learned a lot about healthy eating, reading labels, and the importance of what goes into our (and our kids') bodies. Our kids have benefited, too, eating a mostly Paleo dinner with us, and including some paleo snacks. It can only be a good thing. And, they all love cauliflower now!

Wanna join us? Have questions? Ask away! I don't have all the answers, but I can refer you to places that do. Happy clean Paleo eating. :)
Mark's Daily Apple
Nerd Fitness (has a great ap too where you type in the food and he says if it is Paleo or not!)
Robb Wolf
Everyday Paleo Great recipes
Paleo Porn Bad name but has some good recipes and tips

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Paleo Challege Week 3

I know, I said I would not post an update until we were done. But, week 3 is the pivotal week. Mark's Daily Apple has only a 21 day challenge. It typically takes 21 days, they say, to create a habit. We are at day 21 today.

Results: Chris was down another 4lbs this week! He started his new job and had less access to snacking. Additionally, he did not eat much of the dinners that I spend 1 1/2 hours preparing alone. Yes, this bothered me big time. He said he was sick of my cooking after I spend most of the afternoon preparing it. I was done then. :) Chris is back to his college weight of 155lb, losing 10lbs total. He says his body feels much better but not his mind. I believe he is still craving all the foods he loves, like bread and pizza. Chris looks very lean. I can tell when I hug him that there is less of him there. He is very lean and muscular now. He has lost body fat and maintained his muscle growth. He looks great!

Me. I lost a pound this week. I worked 3 nights in a row and slept little, decreasing my appetite. With that said, I decreased my workouts a lot and still lost 1 lb. This week I only work one shift, so I'm sure I will level out. Oh, and this week, we received our shipment of Larabars from Amazon autoshipment. :) So exciting! FOOD! I can now see my 6 pack abs. I knew they were there somewhere! I feel very lean. I'm feeling much more confident.

I'm loving paleo now. This is why. I can eat whatever I want as long as it is paleo, and I never feel guilty about it. Before, I would eat too many cookies or pizza and feel horrible physically and mentally afterwards. Now, I do not feel guilty because what I am eating is all good for me. And, maybe I needed the extra helping of vegetables or shrimp. :) Yum, shrimp. I am also learning to love the cooking part, and I am learning more and more about paleo cooking. Chris still does a better job at the meat (shrimp or chicken). So far, Chris does not like Cod or Salmon, so we are very limited on meat. We will have breakfast for dinner at least once a week so we can break up the dinners a tad.

One week plus to go. We will finish up on the 30th I think. Chris says he is done next we will see what we do. But, I will continue to eat paleo with some greek yogurt and 3 cheat meals a week at least. I like the results, how my skin looks and feels. I just have to be careful to drink half my body weight in water at least and to eat plenty so I level out here soon (thinking this week). Chris should be careful as he loses weight quickly!

One week to go! Wish us luck. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Adjusting to Working Life

Today marks a month since we sent all three of our kiddos to school. Really, a month already?!

I have gotten very little of my to do list completed and I have yet to be bored. I have been working more to fill my time (so I sleep during the day if I work all night). One week I work 3 nights in a row (8 hr shifts) and then I try to pick up one shift on my off week. Looking ahead, my first week off will be the week of October 20 when I decided not to pick up on my week off. I really should sit back and catch up on stuff, right. Working all these nights is a killer as I still do not sleep well between shifts.

As it is now, I work either Monday-Wednesday nights (so I sleep through Thursday) or I work Sunday-Tuesday nights (sleeping through Wednesday). On the precious days I have off, I go to the grocery store and run errands one day and I frantically clean and do laudry on Fridays, leaving little time to sit down and breath. Even on my week "off" where I pick up the single shift, I stay busy. I nap the afternoon before my shift and I sleep the day after, so working one night takes up 2 days really. On the remaining 3 days, I run the errands one day and clean one day leaving only one day to catch up. Last week during that one day, I stained the playset. It looks so much better. I was happy to finally get to my neglected to do list. Next on the list, shopping for my Dad's birthday next month and Christmas shopping. I have already started Christmas shopping, getting my mom almost done and the kids and Chris started. It's a start anyway.

Meanwhile, Chris is now into day 3 at his new job. He feels like he is getting pulled in so many directions. Last night, for example, he raced into the door at 5:25 just to leave again to take Asher to soccer practice (he insisted I not go. Pretty sure he does not trust me to be good around his brother, Asher's soccer coach). After practice, he slammed down his dinner, waiting 20 minutes and went off to work out. He is crazy. I got the kids cleaned up and put in bed before I saw Chris again (and I was in bed by then, trying to nap again before work).

Quicking I am remembering what it is like to be a 2 person working household, and I am not even working full time. I HATE IT! It is so chaotic. Between my shifts, I am scrambling to make lunches, pack up the backpacks, help the kids with their homework, get the breakfast stuff ready for the morning to help Chris out, etc, etc, plus keep the house picked up and cleaned and the laundry caught up. I just want to step back and say, "Why are we doing this again?" Then I remember, I don't have to do this, so I will take the week off. :) So happy I am not commited yet as I am finding I am just not ready for the fast lane yet.

I am just not one of those super moms and I am proud to admit it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Halfway Marker: Paleo 30 Day Challenge!

Stir fry vegetables...always with a meet and a little fruit.
Today is day 15. Wow. What do I say?! I can't believe I have gone 15 days without sugar, dairy, bread or grains! Amazing.

Results so far. Let's start with the positive.
Chris has lost 5 pounds and one spot on his belt inward without doing anything different except eating Paleo. Chris lost only a pound this last week, but this last week is when the belt went in a notch. He is beginning the training classes at crossfit, but they are not actual workouts. He is just learning proper form and stuff. So, his workouts are essentially the same (A mix of Hasfit, his personal weight training, a little light running and intense biking and an occasional Crossfit WOD with the neighbor). He feels the same, but I think he appears leaner. He is 5 ft 8 inches and now 160lbs. He was not out to lose any weight, mind you. He is muscle mass, not fat at all.

I have lost 2 1/2 pounds. I lost a 1/2 pound this much better than the 2 lbs I lost last week. I feel my stomach is maybe a bit less full looking...? Everyone has their body dislike areas and mine is my lower abs. I can see my upper ab muscles, but my lower abs I have never liked. This may sound funny because I am such a small person, but I feel like I have lost my butt padding a little. I know, it is only 2 pounds. But, I did not have 2 extra pounds. I am 5'4' and 99 pounds now. I know, however, given one cheat day, I will be back to my 100-101 range. :) No worries. With that said, I do feel a bit learner, like more of my weight is muscle vs body fat. I don't know. I do know that I feel more confident wearing formed fitted things now versus before. I know, I am weird.

I can't speak for Chris, but I am still exhausted. I have problems making it through my night shift without having to pace to stay awake. I have so little energy that I have had to scale back my 1 hr workouts (I typically work out for a hour, mixing up cardio and weight training, 5-6 times a week. When I work, my workouts our scaled back to a half hour if I can handle even that on 4 hours sleep). I usually run twice a week. On Saturday, my feet were moving, but I felt like my head had to will them to move. It was a weird sensation.
I feel anxious, like I am waiting for something, much of the time. I also feel energized (by starvation?) for some reason. I feel my house has not been cleaner in a while. Weird. Come 8:30 though, I am ready for bed. Kids in bed...and so am I! I just can't keep my eyes open another second. Sleep comes and I can't say that my sleep has improved (as many have reported on this diet). I have horrible cravings for things I never ate before. Get this, during Mass Saturday night (a good Homily at that), I was thinking about Cheetos and a chocolate shake! Seriously! I typically do not eat Cheetos or get chocolate shakes! What is going on with me!
There were a few days when Chris was getting up at midnight to eat because he woke up hungry. We have been so busy different activities, our dinner is 7 or later some nights. So, he has not had to wake up to eat (although I have to wake up to go to the bathroom and never return to sleep some nights!).
That is another thing. If you do not have access to a bathroom, do not go paleo. I don't know if I am still detoxing, it is all the water I am drinking (which is about 50 oz a day...still not enough) or the Paleo diet...but the restroom and I are close pals lately. It is easier to go, too. That is all I will say...enough said, too.

 We have learned more about healthy eating, food prep, better cooking. We have to cook and prepare every meal. We made Lobster for Chris' last day. In the past, it would have been Mamas pizza. It is a toss up which is better. Right now, Mamas Pizza sounds amazing. Anyway, I have made the paleo chocolate chip cookies a few times. Chris loves them. I'm not set on them. I have it set up through Amazon to have our Paleo Larabars autoshipped to us once a month! I know, crazy! But, I was shopping all over the place for these things and they were so expensive! If you sign up to have them autoshipped, they are cheaper and I don't have to go hunting for them (like the hunters and gatherers!). Oh, and check out the ingredients on labels. Here is an example.
Larabar Label: See dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts and rasins. Thats it! All natural stuff.

Goldfish Ingredients. That is insane. Look at all that crap in there! Now, I won't buy them.
I had bought the kids snack cakes for 99Cents at HyVee on Sale for dessert and treats in their school lunches. I usually homemade a cookie or something, but I can't do that without eating some dough. Seriously, the smell of a brownie would be the end for me. I bought these snack cakes and Chris looked at the ingredients. We about died. It looked like I was feeding them poison. Maybe I am?! What is all that stuff in there?! Here, check it out.
What is all of that stuff?! If it has that many ingredients, I will not buy it anymore.

Cooking, constant chopping and food prep, and shopping at so many stores. I now know where to buy things. For example, Whole Foods (which is super far from us) and Bakers both carry almond flour/meal. Whole foods only carries the paleo chocolate chunks. Farmers markets are perfect to buy the veges (for now, but we only have that for a couple more weeks. BOO!). I buy a lot of fruit from HyVee or Walmart, but fish, not farmed, I can only find at whole foods or Hyvee. All of the fish at Costco was farmed. So annoying! Chicken and bacon that are Paleo are also difficult to find. The lack of energy is a big negative. And, the time spent shopping, meal prep and cooking is a huge negative. And, I am sure this is way more expensive. I'm not sure as I was spending a lot of money in the cereal aisle before, now we are eating eggs.

This week Chris returns to work away from home. He has been working from home, an easier environment to prepare meals in. This will be a bigger deal for him. I am thinking he may have a cheat day in there, too. Who knows? New job is always questionable. He will probably drop more weight this week I am thinking.

Next paleo update will be when we complete our challenge! Come joins us on the clean side of eating!

Friday, September 13, 2013

End of An Employment Era

Today was Chris' last day working at Northrup Grumman after 15 years! He got this job before he graduated from college (with his masters) and has only had one job. To say good bye was not difficult. It was a long time coming. Bur, for the weekend, he is unemployed. Funny, he said it feels good to be unemployed.

Monday is a new day. The new job is at a company near the Westroads. So, he will have to drive a long way compared to the 2 miles we are from this last job. Bummer! Also, for now anyway, he will not be working from home. I, for one, will totally miss having him around to talk to,eat lunch with, etc. No more Chris at home! NO! I will officially be home alone now. Really, there have been very few days that he has gone into work since the kids have gone back to school, so leaving will be a huge adjustment, too.

Congratulations Topher on the new job! Let's open the new chapter and see what is inside! :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Asher In Soccer Take 3

Last summer (talking 2012), Asher signed up for soccer with Chris as the coach through the local YMCA. It was not pretty. Asher lost enthusiasm quickly. Again in the spring (now 2013), Asher signed up for soccer through our church. He liked it a little more and was slowly picking it up.

Fast forward to now and Chris signed up Asher to play soccer through Papillion Rec this time with the big boys, boys 6-7 years old! Dang, they are big! Asher is tiny anyway for his age, but looks quite tiny compared to those a year older. But, he is fast! He moves all over this big soccer field like a bullet, with good running form and some enthusiasm. New shoes, new jersey, new team, new coach. He may actually stick with it and be like his Daddy (maybe. Daddy rocked it in soccer from what I hear). He has practice twice a week and games on weekends. So far so good.

One tiny hiccup. Chris signed up Asher to be on the same team as his cousin Henry with his coach being Chris' brother, someone I have not spoke to for years and someone I have no desire to talk to...ever. Awkward. I know, life is too short, blah blah blah. I have heard it all. I shut my mouth with a pin and went to Asher's game because I wanted to watch him play.

I sat down, kept my pin in between my lips and watched, took pictures and watched. My sister in law, who I never thought I would have to see again let alone hear, talked to Chris right in front on me. Okay, majorly awkward as I am not going to be polite and speak to someone who nearly tore our family apart. Who knew...I'm still hurt? It was all I could do to sit there quietly when all I wanted to do was get up and run home as fast as I could.

That night, I expressed to Chris how I felt. In a sense, I felt like Chris and I went through an affair. However, neither of us had an affair per say. His brother and his witchy sister in law stepped between Chris and I ripping us apart just as an affair did. I would say I have the same feelings towards his sister in law as I would towards another woman if this were an actual affair situation. Seriously, there is no love.

Chris has not sent me the soccer schedule, so I do not know how many games we have left. Chris starts his new job next week leaving me to take Asher to his practices alone with the girls. I am completely dreading this already. And, I have a feeling Chris has a plan to continue to have the boys play together. I want Asher to love soccer, but of all the teams, can't he play on another one?

Otherwise, I better jump off the paleo diet and start drinking on Saturday mornings and twice a week before practices. Any suggestions? :)

Monday, September 09, 2013

Paleo 30 Day Challenge, 1 week In

Chris and I are a week into our 30 Day Paleo Diet Challenge. The first few days were brutal. We were weak, hungry, tired, and craving all of our favorite foods. As the week went on, things got better. We found more things to eat and try. I made some homemade paleo crackers that were a total bust, but found some Paleo Larabars that are quite amazing (totally recommend them, too!).

Breakfast usually consists of egg white omelet (we can have whole eggs and it is encouraged, but Chris and I like the whites better. We are about out of them so will be moving to whole eggs). We just eat the eggs whipped up plain right now. We tried putting peppers into them but found we liked the plain ones better. Chris usually has a couple pieces of bacon and we both have fruit, like watermelon or blueberries. Today I tried turkey bacon as I am so hungry and weak. It was okay but had to slam it down. Not something I would eat if I was not so hungry. It did help fill me up. I have also been making smoothies. Alivia likes to drink these with me. I make them with almond milk, strawberries, blueberries and a little banana. They are good and filling.

Lunch either a salad or, if we are on the run, a larabar and an apple. The later is not the best but it is all we could do on the run. The salad is 3-4 cups of Kale and Spinach, homemade dressing with veges on top like cucumber, carrots, olives, peppers, etc. I have been known to throw some fruit on mine. Chris eats an apple on or with his salad.

Afternoon snack is usually a Larabar or more fruit. I like apple slices with almond butter. I need protein for my ongoing weakness and hunger.

Dinner is some kind of chicken or shrimp with grilled veges. We do not eat red meat for the most part, so we are getting bored. The wild caught shrimp I bought from Hyvee tastes gross, so we are off to find something better this week. Chris does not like much for veges, so he is getting bored. We grill peppers, onions, zucchini and summer squash. I like steamed broccoli and cauliflower (my go to lunch for work) or steamed winter squash. I'm up for trying anything...I ate bacon for goodness sakes! Yuck! I just want to feel satisfied.

First week results.
Chris lost 4lbs! I could tell right away that he had lost weight. He can't see or feel a difference.
I, without trying, lost 2 lbs. Considering I am not in a position to lose any weight, this loss was obvious to Chris by Thursday. I had lost more on Thursday, but managed to gain it back by the Sunday check point. And, I never weigh myself. But, in order to make sure I am not losing a ton, I am monitoring myself closely. I do feel my abs are showing through more, but Chris thinks my arms appear weaker. Maybe bacon will help.

And finally, I guess the Paleo diet is a good way to pick up men (and I am not looking). I had a guy hit on me while buying only bacon and my paleo larabars saying I was, "a women after his own heart," and "Enjoy your bacon and larabars," along with other small talk. I believe he was a crossfitter. I think I will leave all of this freaking shopping to Chris! Since the first of the month,  I went to the store 10! times, Costco, Walmart, HyVee, Bakers, Trader Joes and Whole Foods...all for this diet! Processed foods sure make life easier!

1 week down, 3 weeks to go. Still waiting to feel amazing!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Paleo Day 2

No, I am not going to update this every day on the Paleo challenge. I'll be brain dead in a few days on this diet anyway.

Really, there are side effects to eating Paleo that we did not fully appreciate before giving up the foods we love (dairy, chocolate, sugar, processed foods, grains, etc). We are feeling sluggish and lethargic,headache, sore joints, shaky, have a little memory loss, and HUNGRY with serious cravings! I guess this is to be expected as our bodies are adapting to using fatty acids as a source of fuel as opposed to glucose (carbohydrates). This stage is to move forward and then we will feel amazing, supposedly. It is like we are in detox, detox from our rich and yummy diets. :)

Day 2.
Breakfast: Eggs whites whipped with a handful of red pepper.

Worked out: Turbo Fire 60, Hasfit 10 (with Chris) and abdominal burn (Hasfit again) with Chris, followed by an intense bike ride (with Chris). Chris wore me out. I would have been fine with the turbo fire 60. :) But it felt good when I was done.

Kale/spinach salad with veges and homemade paleo dressing
homemade almonds

Tried to nap (because I work tonight) but I was too hungry to sleep.

Apple, grapes and more almonds

Fresh Caught Shrimp and vege (peppers, onion and zucchini) stir fry.

After dinner (while the kids had popcorn): Grapes and a few more almonds

I miss EVERYTHING. I miss drinking my Lipton Green Tea. It was so yummy just a little slushy out of the freezer. Slushy water just is not the same. We both miss our Greek Yogurt with blueberries. It is so good! I just got Chris to start eating it, too. We both miss cereal. I ate Kashi Go Lean Crunch for breakfast (dry) and a couple times a day sometimes for snack. I miss it! We miss FROYO. Yummy! We may have rode our bikes to Orange Leaf today and gotten some, if only we were not being all Paleo.

Oh, and get this. Yesterday, while I was starving my butt off, Chris ate many chocolate cookies out of the freezer. I'm sure he thought I would never know, but I made those and froze them for the kids' lunch. I KNEW! He admitted it. NO FAIR! I want chocolate!! But, I'm being good. Chris claims this was his only cheat. So far, I have not had a cheat. I can only dream.

Getting through night shifts is really difficult on this diet. Tonight I brought grapes, an apple, and squash. I wanted to bring leftover dinner, but there was not any dinner leftover!  Let's hope we begin to see a difference real soon or I am running back to my old ways. Shoot, I felt pretty healthy before. Now I feel like crap. :)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Paleo Challenge

September 1, 2013.
Just another day, right? Oh no, not just another day.
Today is the day Chris and I have started the Paleo Challenge.
What is Paleo you might ask? Please do because I have been researching and nothing has prepared me for today like living it has.
It is a healthy diet focused on lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. The idea is that we are eating similar to what the caveman ate...but not really. All the food we eat today is nothing like it was then. The cave man could not have a banana (without a bunch of seeds in it) and fish in the same day, more than likely, because the caveman had to hunt and gather and that does not include grocery shopping at the local Whole Foods Market (and what a joke that place is! For another post maybe).

What is okay to eat? Fruits, veges, lean meats, healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, fats from fish), seafood and nuts and seeds. We have to avoid all grains, dairy, processed foods and sugars, legumes, starches, and alcohol. We eat three meals and a snack or 2, whatever we are hungry for. No measuring, no calorie counting, just eat Paleo. Easy right? Um, think again!

Shopping to eat Paleo seems easy at first, just stick to the outside of the store, right? Then I set out to buy the ingredients. Where is the coconut flour? almond meal? and finding natural almond butter (like peanut butter but with almonds) sure did feel like I was hunting! (HyVee health foods area has the almond butter. It has to be pure almond butter without vegetable oil. A rare thing I guess).

Today, day one, we started off good. I ran, biked and did a 10 minute HASFIT workout (yes, I need to blog about HASFIT because it is amazing). I was ready to eat! Chris and I had been preparing, so Chris had already made a couple of good omelets with onions and peppers in it. I had intended on having that this morning, but was too sick to eat it by the time we got around to breakfast. I had watermelon.

By lunch, we were hungry. Lunch was a Kale salad with homemade dressing and chunks of apple. The dressing looked awful but tasted wonderful. Who knew, we can make our own salad dressing. We did not measure our salads and they were not big enough. And, we were missing protein. We were starving by 1pm. Chris and I also always have a little treat after our meals (bad, I know). Something small usually, like a Werther or a Dove Chocolate. So, right away, we were missing something sweet to top our meal. Remember, no sugar.

By 2, I needed to go to the store to get ingredients for our planned meals for the week (yes, this diet calls for more shopping! I HATE SHOPPING!). I could not find anything. I was standing in the check out line on the verge of tears because I was hungry, tired, and I just wanted a freaking piece of chocolate! :) I went to one more store before coming home to find Chris dragging like I was from lack of food.

Chris and I spent longer in the kitchen preparing our fresh dinner. I created another Kale Salad to go with our new Chicken Recipe, Balsamic Glazed Chicken drumsticks from the Paleo go to site, Mark's Daily Apple. The sauce, again, looked awful, kinda like tar, but it was very good. I had baked squash with olive oil to go with my salad and had a little chicken. I have not had chicken legs since I was pregnant with Addison (long story), but this chicken was very good. The recipe was good, but the organic chicken tasted better, too! Finally, Chris and I were full. He had 5 chicken legs! and his salad.The kids had hamburgers by their choice. :)

For a small dessert, I made Paleo spiced almonds. They are very good, too, and will be a great snack for us. So, already today I have made three new successful recipes. I would have made more if I could only find the ingredients!

Day one has been tough to say the least. We spend most of the day hungry, tired and hunting for a caveman maybe? :) We were so hungry that plain natural nuts were eaten like candy when I found them in the pantry. As the month goes one, we will find new snacks, new meals and get used to this new lifestyle.

As for the kids, they are eating dinner with us but will continue to eat cereal and waffles for breakfast and whatever they want for lunch. Alivia said there is no way she will give up candy for a day (or a month!). I don't blame her at all.

This idea came to Chris as he starts his new workout routine, at Crossfit Omaha. He went with our neighbor after much encouragement from me. He needs it for his mind, body, confidence and a social place without me. He needs it. And, after one hard core workout, Chris agreed. His one on one starts on September 10, so we have a few days to get this eating thing down so he can make it through their brutal work outs (where their mascot is Pukie the Clown because one works out so hard they "Pukie." Nice, huh?

Why am I doing it? In my research, I found this Doctor presenting in Iowa City. It may be a long video, but watch it when you get a chance. It convinced me to try it, at least for 30 days. That is all I am giving it for now.

Tomorrow is off to day 2 where I will try my first ever omelet. I will miss my Kashi go lean crunch and my oatmeal, but I will give this a go. We already miss our Greek yogurt with blueberries, too, but I have eaten my fair share of frozen fresh blueberries today as I didn't know what else was "paleo."

By the end of September, I hope to have this Paleo thing all figured out and look glowing. :)

Our 14th Wedding Anniversary

Most of our friends and family predicted our marriage will never last. A few times, I'll admit, I was not so sure, either. But, here we are, 14! year later. Amazing.

To celebrate, Chris booked a trip for us in Estes Park at the Deercrest Resort where he stayed in July on his trip with his Dad, brother and nephew. I really had no idea what to expect, but I was excited to get away together for our now annual anniversary trip.

We took the kids to school on Friday morning, August 23, and set off on the 9-10 hour trip to Estes Park. The drive is one of the longest drives. Nebraska is so boring to drive through. But, Chris and I were able to talk, uninterrupted, which may not happen again until our next anniversary. :)

We arrived to Estes Park around 4. The resort sits right on the Fall River and our room was right by the waterfall. It was beautiful. The room was older, I will say that, but we did not care. The scenery was fabulous, the resort is adult only and non smoking. Perfect. :) The air smelled so fresh. It was cooler there, too. It was not cold, just cooler, in the 70s.

Friday night we walked around Estes park and did a little shopping before stopping at Poppy's Pizza for dinner. Believe it or not, we did not order pizza. I had a very good raspberry salad and Chris had a Chicken sandwich. It was good and fun to eat local. We chilled the rest of the night and prepared for our hike the next day.

Saturday morning started very early, too early for me. :) We were awake at 5:15 to slam down some Greek Yogurt before hitting the trails. We set out to the Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance and then to the Bear Lake Trail head. Chris had been there the month prior, but we set out to see even more, hiking a total of 10 some odd miles in all. It was beautiful, but it was effort. We did a little climbing up and a little climbing down to see pretty lakes and waterfalls. It was gorgeous.

After our hiking, we got in the car and drove Trail Ridge Road up to the Alpine Visitors Center and hiked up the many stairs to the top for an amazing view. I am not a fan of driving on roads that have cliff drops on either side. Chris sure had fun making fun of me and trying to scare me more than I already was. Anyway, after a day of hiking, we were exhausted. Time for some pizza! We stopped at Picnic in the Park for some wood fired pizza. I was AMAZING! We ate the entire thing. Mind you, we only had trail mix, apples and cereal all day through our hiking. It was a fun day.
Longs Peak Trail

Sunday was our last day there. We slept in and walked to Big Horn Restaurant for some home cooked breakfast. This was Chris' favorite. Our walk to and from the restaurant helped relieve our achy bodies from our hiking. We thought we were in shape, too! We jumped into the car and set out to the Longs Peak Trail head. Chris has it in his mind that he wants to summit Longs Peak. We will see about that. The place was really crowded as we got there mid morning not anticipating hiking much after our big day on Saturday. We got there and decided to hike the trail a bit (good thing we came prepared with our packs!). The trail was STRAIGHT UP over boulders. It was crazy! It was not busy on the trail like it was the previous days as you have to be in amazing shape to set up on this trail. We hiked up about 3 miles and then we could see Longs Peak. The view was beautiful as well as the view of the Rocky Mountain National Park. We were above the treeline at almost 11000 feet. We could have set up farther, but we were not equipped to summit (which is 6 hours up and 6 hours back I believe). So, we set back down. At least it gave Chris an idea of the terrain if he ever does return. This hike was beautiful, too. But, the trail did us in.

We relaxed at the resort until it was time to leave the next morning.

We had a wonderful anniversary trip. The kids had a blast with my parents, too, going to Shelby Fun Days, eating out two times and playing with their dog Kota. So, we all had a little vacation!

Until next year...