Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A perfect little Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day is one of those days.
One of those days I intentionally slow down.
One of those days I pause to remember.
One of those days I stop to reflect.
One of those days I sit back.
One of those days I soak it all in.
One of those days I vow not to take anything for granted,
but to think about and meditate on the liberties and the freedoms I get to experience every single day,
and the sacrifices made and the lives lost that afforded those very things.
Things like stripping this little love down to his skivvies for a watermelon date
at our backyard picnic table, then teaching him to launch the forbidden seed in our seedless melon into oblivion.

Things like laughing with a whole body laugh until your breath is lost and your belly aches.
Things like lawnmower rides in this boy's neverending quest to be just like Daddy.
Things like friend time hovered over shrimp and sausage and potatoes and corn.
Where laughter perfumes the air and time seems to disappear.
These women share my biggest secrets, by favorite memories, the best parts of my past.
I love them fiercely.
Things like splishing and splashing and dunking and cannonballs and pruny toes.
Things like watching these hunky men thrive as husbands and daddies.
These three are especially incredible.
Things like sleepy summertime snuggles with my littlest.
And pallets made on the edge of the pool for toddlers who try to hang with the big boys,
and wee little piggies that always sneak from under the covers, whether in the bed or beside the pool.

For all the things,
big and small,
I am grateful for the sacrifices that allowed us to have a perfect little Memorial Day weekend.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Advocare - 24 Days Later

Brian and I survived our Advocare 24 Day Challenge!
I am so proud of our final results!

Brian lost 12 pounds and 5 inches!

I lost 4 pounds and 5 and 1/2 inches (I saw a greater number of pounds lost on a previous Challenge, but since I have been eating clean, my diet really didn't change a great deal).

As much as I loved the results shown on the scale, and the results felt in the way my clothes fit, I most enjoyed the results that came in the form of energy gained!

Over the past two years, Brian has lost a total of over 50 pounds!
Summer 2012                                            Summer 2014
 There are no words for how proud I am of this man!

A Typical Day on the Challenge
Wake up and Workout

30 minutes before Breakfast
Spark + Catalyst + Thermoplus

Breakfast Options (within an hour of waking)
  • Egg, Turkey Bacon, Whole Wheat English Muffin
  • Whole Wheat English Muffin, 2 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter, banana
  • Oatmeal, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup Almond Milk, 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • Advocare Meal Replacement Shake   
  • Egg White Veggie Omelet
Snack Options
  • Rice Cake with 1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
  • Fruit
  • Handful of Raw Almonds
  • Spinach Shake (Sounds gross. Tastes incredible. Try It. I Dare Ya)
  • Banana and Nut Butter
  • Edamame
30 minutes before lunch
  • Spark + Catalyst + Thermoplus
 Lunch Options
Snack Options
30 minutes before dinner
  • Thermoplus + Catalyst
Dinner Options
 After Dinner Snack
Four Most Commonly Asked Questions
1. Can you really not have coffee/wine/soda/fried chicken/etc.?
No. You really can't. Prove it to yourself that you can go 24 days without said vice. You can do it, I promise. I promise, promise. Don't be the person who sacrifices energy and weight loss and amazing results because you "can't live without ______."
2. Do I have to workout?
Nope. But you should. You will be taking supplements that increase metabolism and enhance energy, it would be a shame to waste that. Plus, Scandal is on a hiatus, the winner of American Idol has been announced, so hit the road, Jack! You'll be glad you did.
3. I don't eat vegetables, or salad, or fruit. In fact, healthy food makes me twitch. Can I still do the Challenge?
You can. I challenge you to try something new everyday. My meat and potatoes hunk of a husband now asks for roasted green beans, hummus, and couscous. I know, it shocks my socks off, too. He swore those things out of his diet before trying them. Now, he's hooked. You'll be surprised how your tastes change over time and how you will begin to crave good-for-you-foods over less healthy options.
4. I don't have time to cook/I don't know how to cook. What do I do?
I have found the most success comes with a great planning. This applies to the Challenge also. Brian and I planned our weekly meals on Sundays. We cooked in bulk so we would have leftovers for lunch the next day. If that option is not available, Advocare offers conveniences that allow you to stick to the plan while on the go. Two choices are the Meal Replacement Shake and  Meal Replacement Bar. The only caution I have with those, is that they aren't sustainable indefinitely. Advocare promotes a healthy lifestyle so Day 25 is no different than Day 10 or Day 24. Rely on these if necessary as a convenience (hello baseball season!), but don't let your entire diet subsist of only bars and shakes.
I found Pinterest to be my best friend while on the Challenge. I didn't have time to reinvent the (meal) wheel. While I was never one to copy others' homework in school, this has been different. I decided to copy off the smartest, most fit, most successful and mimic their actions and cook their recipes. Do it just like they did it. Although, it's clear Brian found some better sources since he yielded even better results on the final test!  
Now that we are finished with the Challenge, I have indulged some. A girl can only go so long without a bowl of birthday cake ice cream! But, mostly, I am trying to adhere to the healthy habits created over the past 24 days - clean eating, working out, and taking supplements.

Tools for Success, click here
This website contains a 24 Day Challenge Guide, a Fitness Assessment, and instructions for downloading the 24 Day Challenge App

To see what great results await you, click here!
Email me at

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Baker's Two Year Checkup

Baker had his two year checkup with his pediatrician yesterday.
Some days I still cannot fathom my precious boy being two years old!
On May 10, he was my little one year old.
With the turn of the calendar, and the change in number of fingers he now proudly displays,
my son became a skinned knee sporting, rock toting, bug finding, chick magnet.
In the waiting room, he hugged and kissed an adorable six year old girl; although I'm hoping left whatever germs she was being seen for safely in her care.
He is also head over heels in love with our four year old neighbor.
I am beginning to see a trend with older women.
Baker weighs 26.1 pounds, and is 35 inches long.
He is in the 24th percentile for weight and 72nd percentile for height
on the typically developing growth chart,
and in the 75th percentile for weight and 100th percentile for height
on the Down Syndrome growth chart.
Grow Baker Boy, grow!
Baker was so silly at the doctor.
They usually only see us when Baker is sick.
The doctors and nurses loved seeing him so animated.
He babbled, and walked, melted a few hearts, and brightened a few days.
It is a joy watching him interact with others.
I can see people's mood change and their demeanor soften when they see Baker.
He gravitates to people, and they to him.
It is really a joy to behold.
It is truly a blessing to be his mommy and watch the impact he has on others.
I can only hope I have such a positive impression on those around me.
The lesson I learned from Baker's two year checkup today was not from the doctors about his diet, or medications, or therapies, it was from my child.
Leave others better than you find them.
Make a difference in someone's life.
In all things, smile. It's more contagious than any germ.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sweet Saturday

After a very busy couple of weeks and weekends,
we have been looking forward to a couple of low-key days at home.
Last night, we had a impromptu dinner date with some of our best friends.
We are finally finished with the 24 Day Challenge and indulged.
Chips and cheese dip and fajitas, OH MY!!
I am planning a 24 Days Later post for later this week to share our success on the challenge
and some go-to recipes we enjoyed.
Some sweet friends gifted us with a family membership to the Birmingham Zoo for Baker's birthday.
Baker is very interested in animals and I couldn't wait for our first trip!
It was amazing watching him explore.
He is a sponge, soaking up everything around him.
He is signing "elephant."
The African exhibit was his very favorite.
The elephants put on quite a show for us. 

We packed a stroller full of goodies for our day.
He would have no part of it.
This boy is a walking machine.
I love it so much.
Saturdays with this boy are especially sweet.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Our Buckaroo is TWO!

We had the best time celebrating Baker's Second Birthday this past weekend!

I love a good party, especially one that celebrates this little one!
Brian threw on his favorite boots, I tied a bandanna around my neck, and we put hats and boots and burlap in every nook and cranny and had a stompin' good time!

 The theme, Our Buckaroo is Turning Two, was perfect for our blue jean wearing cowboy.

 It was a fabulous day to celebrate our Baker Boy.



This was my father-in-law's toy box when he was a little boy.
The picture is of Brian when he was two and the tractor was his favorite toy.
No surprise there!
We had some very special friends and family join us to celebrate Baker's special day.


I loved watching him open presents.
He was such a ham!

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to our Baker Man,
Happy Birthday to you!

If a cupcake and ice cream don't require a wardrobe change, you're not doing it right.
Clearly, Baker has mastered the art.

Happy Birthday to my favorite little buckaroo!