Lately - 04032015

I've been very bad at updating lately.  C'est le vie - no excuses just living life.

Life has been great.  I've been doing my thing, taking care of me and my family.  Spring break is around the corner and for the first time Crash's break DOES NOT coincide with Big Red and Donx's break.  It totally sucks, but this is what happens when one kid's school aligns with the private school calendar and not the public school calendar.  This will be the only year this ever happens.  I haven't really planned anything to exciting for the upcoming vacations.  Just lots of movie time, baking, board games and on sunny days beaches and parks.

We've had some amazing weather lately.  The sun feels so good after months of gray skies.  Temperature wise its not getting much higher then the low 60s but it feels amazing.
There was one glorious day last week.  I dropped off my tiniest little at preschool, grabbed myself a Stumptown Cold Brew and headed home to curl up in the sun and relax with a book.  The sunshine has my heart aching for summer!  The great thing about living in Seattle is when there is even the teeniest hint of sunshine its shorts and outdoor life living.  I love it so much!

Years ago the boys each received an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas.  We used it often when they were small but the last couple of years its been packed away.  I nearly forgot about them until recently and I introduced it to Crash.  She was beyond excited to use it and could hardly wrap her mind around the fact that we were going to bake with a light bulb!
We had so much fun making sugar cookies in the easy bake.  Crash felt so in control with the activity.  She mixed the bater on her own and placed three little drops of dough in the tiny pans and patiently waited for her cookies to bake.  You better believe that this bad boy will be used during Crash's spring vacation.

T's been working long hours lately.  This used to bother me but not anymore.  I've accepted it and as a stay at home mom this is one of the sacrifices you make.  I feel for him, though.  He's sleep deprived and stressed but he does like the challenges he's presented with.  He thrives on the challenge and definitely rises to the occasion.  I'm proud of him, he's grown so much in his career path and I know that whatever is thrown at him he can handle.  T is still riding his bike to work and he really loves it.  I think the bike ride to and from work is perfect for his work life balance.  It really allows him to commit to the time alone and to clear his head before and after the work day.  Plus he gets in some physical activity, nearly every day.  T's office has recently moved as well, for the better.  He was based off of Bainbridge Island, which is a 25 minute ferry commute from the Seattle Waterfront and now his office is right downtown.  Same bike commute just no ferry commute.  He'll venture out to the island maybe 1 a week or every other week but that's no big deal since its no longer a daily doing.  As long as T is digging his job we are all happy.

I've been really trying to enjoy the time with the kids.  They are growing up so quickly and one of their favorite things to do at home is family movie time especially when it involves some sort of fort, popcorn and "movie theater" candy.
We don't do movie theaters often, with 3-kids and 2-adults it can get pretty expensive pretty quick.  So we save the theater trips for extra special family movies.  But because we don't do the theater often many of the movies we can't rent online, that are more recent movies, are brand new for us.  So I feel like we always have choices.  With the boys being 10.5 and 9 we have much more movie choices with them.  We aren't committed to strictly "kid" movies.  Many times Crash falls asleep early or chooses to watch a cartoon movie in her room on a kindle, that allows us to watch things like Divergent or Hunger Games with the boys.  I know every family has movie night together and its a great thing to do.  I will drag on this tradition as long as my kids allow for it.

With the arrival of spring we have a whole new bunch of hurdles to cross.  Like allergies and planning for summer.  Summer.....that's another post for another day.


Weight Loss Journey - March Update

Since returning from Hawaii my body has been so out of whack.  I haven't gained weight, some daily fluctuation +/- which is normal, rather i've been maintaining my current weight.  This is necessarily a bad thing but its not moving toward my goal.  This has been going on for a month!  A MONTH!

I talked to my trainer about this and realizing what my workout routine is its been determined that its time to readjust the nutrition portion of my journey.  Not eating less but actually eating more.  My usual diet and workout routine are to much in sync now, like my body has become complacent, aka my metabolism needs to be jump started.

To do this I need to increase my macros.  Upping my carbs, fats and proteins which is an overall increase of calories.  I towards my macros not necessarily my calories.  because you know the macros added up equals the calories.  It's strange eating so much MORE carbs and finding good places to find it.  Bready foods are still not my first choice but yes, some times i'll eat some bread or a small bite of pasta but mostly i don't.  One of the biggest changes with this whole "eat more carbs" thing has been my breakfast routine.  As you may already know, my Greek yogurt/chia/honey/fruit combo has been a staple in my morning's for years.  It's my happy place and really gets my day started on the right foot.  But not anymore.  I strive to get my carbs in all by 3pm, which is no easy feat.  My new go to morning staple has become a third of a cup of oatmeal with a little honey, a lot of cinnamon, and a sliced up banana (typically around 70-90g which gives me between 16.5-20g of carbs) and of course a big 'ol mug of protein infused coffee.  

This new nutrition portion of my diet is still new to me, i'm still tweaking and figuring of the correct food choices and what I actually enjoy eating, since you know, I kind of eat the same thing every.single.day.  Not a bad thing, its just what I have to do.

It's been working, so far.  I've had less fluctuation which is good and I have actually gone down.  The real measure for me, that really brings all this home is how my clothes are fitting.  Yes, so many things are to big for me, and I love it but its getting hard to get creative with my to big clothes.  I'm not at a place I really want to start buying new items because my journey is not over.  I've picked up a few pieces to supplement but until another large drop i'm saving my cash and making due with what I already have.

In other news, my elliptical is dead.  There's a slight chance its something we can actually fix on our own, and we'll pry the casing open to take a look but if its not, well, its a good thing we will be receiving our tax returns soon.  Until then i'm sticking to my 2-cardios/day if the weather is nice I can run (ugh!) but most likely i'll probably be doing a series of tabata's to burn enough calories that i'm satisfied with.  

Let the journey roll on......

Here is March 1 progress photo in case you're curious:


Inner Monologue

I feel as though I'm a good person.  A good wife, mother, daughter and friend.  I do what I can when I can.  If it's possible to drop everything and run to a friends or neighbors need I will but truthfully its not always the case.  But again, I do what I can when I can.  

My life is busy sometimes verging on chaotic.  It's okay, though, I accept it as it is and I go with the flow.  I have to.  I'm the head of the casa and need to make sure that no matter how crazy things get my family has their needs met and the chaos doesn't seem as nuts as it really is.

As a wife I listen, love, respect, provide balance and grow with my husband.
As a mother I listen, love, respect, teach, empathize and create warm, fun and memorable days for my kids.
As a daughter I listen, love, respect, help, teach and continuously learn.
As a friend I listen, love, respect, show compassion, empathize, share and learn.  

All of the above I consider family.  Family to me is not just blood but people I care for.  Friends that double as family is precious.  But sometimes I feel like I let people in then get burned for it.  And maybe I should have just left them as regular friends rather than allowing them into my inner circle.  Live & learn, right?

I don't understand when friends are going through shit and then ice you out rather then accepting your offer to listen.  I've gone through BS like this with more then one friend over the years and I just don't get it.  Maybe its not my place to get but I don't like seeing my friends in any kind of pain and if I can lend an ear and maybe even offer some advice (or not) I'd love to do what I can.  I'm not one to enable and I think my friends know that about me which is maybe why some of these friends turn my offer down.  I understand the need for space and will happily give that.  But when to much time passes I can become concerned.  When I get shut out I can only assume why.  The hot and cold that is put out can be taken questionably.  I feel like its high school bullshit but what can I do.  I'm not going to poke around and be nosey about it.  I'm not going to embrace the need for fishing for answers nor will I feed into false empathy.  I've offered my words of compassion, offered my ear but nothing.  I will not do this everyday.  Maybe twice total and then i'm out, no more reaching for this related problem.  If i'm not needed here I have kids that need me elsewhere.


Like I said, my life is busy.  I do what I can when I can.  I can't be there, on call, for someone who may or may not want my help.  

I try to create balance in my life.  Being present for all those in my life.  Allowing the wheels in my life to roll smoothly.  Coupled with that I've also carved out a great little space for just me, an area that was previously lacking.  Sometimes its tough but I don't strive to make everyone happy, every day all the time.  That's not the point in being a good wife, mother, daughter, or friend.  It's really about the balance because there is no way for everyone to be satisfied all day every day.  

Doing what I do, I feel makes me a good person.  I don't need to be a perfect person nor do I want to be one, I just want to be a good person.  Good people make mistakes, learn from them and improve.  I pick and choose battles typically erring on the side of taking the high road and just backing away.  I choose not to waste energy on people and things that don't need my help or presence.  I divert that energy into other areas of my life areas that will thrive off the energy.  But i'm here if needed and i'll do what I can if I can.  That's all there is to it.

I don't spread myself thin, I know better then to make that amateur mistake.  But i'm here.  I'll listen, i'll love, i'll teach, i'll learn, i'll empathize.


Update through February 9

So my laptop died. This is the second time I've had a laptop die. This specific laptop was a hand me down MacBook Pro from my husband. I'm grateful for not needing to spend money on a new device but from the day he gave it to me I knew it's days were numbered. There were familiar hums, and excessive heat and fan noises, not to mention weird quirks with the screen illuminating when it felt like it.  It's not even a year and it's dead.  It's expected it's old.  I have an iPad but it's not the same thing.  I honestly hate typing on a screen.

My husband took off to a developer conference in San Francisco on Friday afternoon.  He won't be back until the end of the week.  Spending these days alone with the kids have been fun. It's different now because the boys are much older and we have so many more things we can do now to spend time together.  When T used to travel when the boys were in preschool it was beyond exhausting! Our days started early and ended late and juggling two babies and a full time job was rough. I envied the timeT was away and often wished it was me that got to leave the home front and sleep I disturbed in a hotel.  It made me resent him and his job.  Not so much anymore.  We still have stressful days but it's few and far between and as the kids get older I've learned to appreciate this time with them.  

My weight loss journey is still looking up.  I cam home from Hawaii about 1.5lbs heavier, yes I know that's not much, but I kept track. I'm back on the straight and narrow working out, eating right and generally being as active as I can in any given day.  Life has changed dramatically since losing weight.  All those things people say about feeling energetic is so true.  My energy levels are at its peak, my mood is generally positive (except for when I'm hungry!), and I have so much ambition in any given day it's fantastic.  I want this lifestyle to stay with me for the long haul.  It's important to me to feel this way not specifically for me but for my kids.  I want to keep up with them and do all the things they want me to join in with them.  For me, it makes me feel a lot younger and makes me want to do things I didn't think I would really have the energy to do like try boxing!!!

One of my goals for 2015 was to go through all our stuff and minimize.  I've started the process and am starting with those items I can immediately purge, storing the items I can sell and am planning on spending one day listing all the items i want to sell.  It felt good to drop off a trunk load of items to donation yesterday.  I know there is more and I look forward to go through this process and releasing those items that are unnecessary and putting an end to being slaves to our stuff.

So that's where I've been.  Hopefully I'll get a new MacBook and can update more frequently because this typing on an iPad truly sucks!


Back From Hawaii

We had a fabulous 2-weeks in Hawaii.  We look forward to our annual trip back to the islands every year and no matter if our visit is 7 days or 20 days its never long enough.  Maybe you know, but nearly all of our family still live on Oahu so the trip is always a reunion of sort.

We spent many hours at the beach and the kids all got a nice golden tan.  I of course got a slight burn first followed by a nice rich tan.  It's always awesome coming back to seattle with a winter tan, we barely need to remind people where we took flight to for a couple of weeks.  Like last year friends of ours flew to the islands with us the only difference was I flew alone with the kids because T was in NYC for the first few days of our HI vacation.  He flew in direct from NY.  

Hawaii in a nutshell was filled with family, friends, lots of beach time, hikes, dinners, cocktails, island time relaxing.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  

The above two photos were taken at the ruins of King Kamehameha III Summer Palace (circa 1845).  The hike was super short, once we realized we were lost aft 2 hours and back tracked our steps!  But we were not giving up until we found the ruins and it was worth it.  A nice amount of the original structure is still there and so are the foot prints of some of the other structures that were also at this location.  What I read is that this is the only remaining ruin of any structure from Kamehameha III's reign.  Well worth this short hike, and one of the highlights was the walk through the amazing bamboo forest.
While looking for the summer palace we missed a crucial fork in the trail and ended up hiking through this amazing forest and mountain.  We peered down a waterfall, followed the water back through its ponds and hiked a big 'ol mountain until we ran out of trail.  We dodged spears of bamboo and scaled giant boulders.  It was amazing.  Then we realized we took a wrong turn, back tracked and started over and found the palace within minutes.  It was the best wrong turn I ever took and you know what, wrong turns are never wrong when it leads you down an amazing adventure!
We spent days upon days at the beach and it was amazing!  There are no words that need to be said about lazily laying about the beach just being free.
One of the greatest things we did was hike the Pu'u Ma'eli'eli trail in Kahaluu.  The hike took about 45-min up and 30-down and we were the only people on the trail until the very end when we saw to ladies starting their trip up as we were on the last leg of ours.  Not going to lie, there were some pretty steep climbs up and at one point there was even a tow rope in place to help you pull yourself up, but nothing I couldn't handle.  I loved every grueling minute of it and actually wish I had time to do the hike once more.  There are 3 pillboxes at the top of the hike.  The first is not exposed to the beautiful coast line but the other two are sitting at the edge of the hillside with the most amazing panaromic views of the windward side. The views stretch past Chinaman's hat all the way to Kailua.  This has got to be one of the best uncovered hiking spots, my research definitely paid off.  Disclaimer:  I have recently learned that this is not a public spot, although people do the hike and if you chose to do so, be respectful, be quiet, be clean and dont bring a ton of people to trample through the property.

I was able to pick up a free 7-day pass for the gym while in Hawaii.  It worked out perfect as I was able to hit the gym every other day for my entire trip and the days I did not go to the gym I chose to hike or jog.  It felt great to keep up with my fitness routine while I was there and was able to walk away with only gaining about 1.5lbs, although my goal was to stay exactly the same.  But 1.5lbs is not bad.  


2015 Is Here

Seven days into a new year and its been busy.  I wrote out some goals I liked to accomplish this year and it really runs the ambit.  I've got everything from learn to knit and run a 5K and so much in between.  Much of my goals are centered around me first.  As my kids have gotten older I've started to regain a lot of independence and it feels good.  I believe I never fell into that trap of just being so-and-so's mom, I was first always Amber and yes, these little people are my children and yes, I am their mother, but I am also Amber.  I didn't lose myself in being a mother it just enhanced who I was overall but I digress.  Having me time was not something I ever really took advantage of.  I did stuff which included my kids or included my entire family but taking even an hour per day for me was not something I normally did.  This past September I made a conscious effort to make sure I made time for me, hence the trainer.

This special time I have carved out for me has been life changing.  That's a different post altogether which I promise I'll write about.  But now I see how having this time feels and how it impacts my life and those around me.  

Now as a result of this I made sure that much of 2015 goals are for me and me only.  I'm excited to start working down my list all of which I hope will make me a much better person.  A more well rounded, happier, enlightened person.

One of the goals I have set that isn't me-centric has to do with shedding the things we do not need.  I touched on this on my last post and have really thought about it a lot.  Living minimally is something I have really wanted to do.  I feel that this lifestyle opens up so much of the world to you.  You are no longer owned by your things but are able to own yourself.  You are not tied down by your things.  You are allowed to be more creative with what you have thus opening up your mind to endless thoughts, ideas and possibilities.  Over the course of the last few years I have been teaching my kids that it is not a right to own everything you want.  Kids are consumers, they want what their friends have or the newest, coolest toy/gadget/game/shoes etc...I want my kids to understand that having these things aren't necessary and if there are ways for them to earn it themselves then fine but as a parent I have made the choice to not always buy them these  things just because they want it.  When it comes to the boys, especially, I buy out of necessity not want.  I try to buy 2nd hand if possible and even better if we can borrow or acquire for free.  There is nothing wrong with buying something used and my kids know this and totally understand.  Donx's feet are growing at super speed and soccer cleats only last a season and that's it.  He totally understands why I take him to a second had sports store to buy "new" cleats every year and he is even surprised by how much we save doing this.  This is living smart and consuming less.  

We'll be going on vacation soon and upon our return my big project is to start sorting our belongings, probably on paper.  I want to inventory all that we have and organize into "definitely keep" and then into sell, keep for now and donate.  We've already got a pretty nice pile in our garage.  Letting stuff go will be good and we are long over due.  Every time we've moved we purged about a a quarter of our belongings and it feels so good.  

We have bigger dreams then just being happy in Seattle.  We have dreams of wonderlust and T and I are constantly plotting how to let go of our daily life for the bigger adventure we are destined for.  Becoming minimal is part of that plan.  Making ourselves better individuals is part of that plan.  Becoming a whole unit that is in sync is part of the plan but even more so the result of acting on that plan.

Living simply and living minimally is nearly as important to me as the goals I have laid out for myself.  My me-centric goals will make me a stronger, more self-sufficient, less stressed, more honest-with-myself individual and I cannot wait to make it all happen!



2014 was a good year. Sure there were bumps but doesn't that happen to everyone?  Looking back I have no complaints.

Some of the happier points:
T found a great new job that allows him to challenge himself everyday, learn new things and provide the career growth he so longs for
Big Red is developing into a great swimmer and it is the one place I see his confidence shine and his desire for more swim time makes me smile
Donx is really shining bright at school.  He is in advanced learning and it's all great for him.  He's challenged and doesn't give up.
Crash has entered the competitive track at gymnastics.  Her ability and strength are impressive and her desire to continue with the sport is fantastic.  Her focus has gotten better with age and I envision this skill will carry with her for years to come.
I made the decision to get healthy for me and on my terms and I'm doing it! I've stuck with it and changed my life.  I'm much more conscious of what goes into my body only allowing for the good and on special occasions allowing the bad/treats.  I gained a new found love of working out with cardio and lifting. As a result I feel energized, healthy and my confidence has improved a lot.

Some of the lower points are not worth mentioning.  We, as a family, recognized and did what ever we needed to do to improve the situation.  This is what we do now.  We identify, Suss it out and immediately rectify.  Life is so much more then dwelling on low points.  We know it's best to pick ourselves up and do what we need to do to make a bad a good.

As we head into 2015 I want to keep our family moving in a positive, forward momentum.  With that I'd also like to work towards some of our more lofty dreams, and by that I mean taking baby steps to reach those future milestones.  I want us to get back to the roots of family time, playing board games together, making something in the kitchen, snuggling together for movies and popcorn, making adventures and having a lot of fun as one family.  I have hopes of minimizing our lives and shedding those things we don't need or use or can live without.  The thought of all the buying and acquiring has reached a level of disgust for me.  We have things we don't need or use and first and foremost they are things and I want to teach my family this. Things! Things we can live without we don't need to keep. Discarding these things will only work for us and push our life in the future direction we, as a family, dream of having someday.  It's going to be a great year ahead!

I look forward to sitting down for a couple of hours jotting down my personal goals and dreams and ideas for the coming year.  And if I'm feeling sassy maybe I'll even share some of them.