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.


Weight Loss Journey - Still On My Path

The journey continues!  I'm still making progress but wow, the holidays are tough.  I'm not eating badly but I feel like we're out of the house more often and yes we have had our hand at sweets passing through our home.  I made my ever popular Sweet & Salty nuts for the kid's teachers and for T's work and yes I had some.  Okay, truth is, more then some but I did not binge.  I'm not happy with my choice in having some because there is a lot of sugar in those nuts.  But it is now out of the house.

It's a new week.  No more sweets for me.  I'm strapping in and going hardcore for the next 4 days because I know on Christmas I'm having a holiday dinner with pals then again, its hardcore. 

I've  upped the exercise game.  With very few exceptions I'm plugging in about 2.5 - 3 hrs of exercise per day, eating well although not as frequently as I should which I need to fine tune and get back to routine.  But all in all i'm doing good.

I'm down 28 lbs and have gone down a few dress sizes.  I feel fabulous.  Energized and healthy.  I'm not at my goal yet and honestly I have 2 goals.  I have my goal weight for Hawaii and I have my real goal weight which continues when I get back from vacation.  Once I reach my Hawaii goal I would love to lose an additional 20lbs.  Is that realistic?  I don't know, maybe an additional 10lbs is more realistic and a healthy goal so we'll see, i'll probably reassess at each 5-10 milestone.

I have my days that I feel extra bloated and gross and I don't want to get on the scale.  This is one of those weeks, cause you know, lady problems.  It's disgusting how bloated you can feel as a result.  I'm also frustrated by my tummy.  We all have issues mine is my thighs and tummy.  Firstly my thighs, they are round and, hmmm, womanly.  Maybe its genetics, maybe its not.  I do lots of squats which tone it which is better then it being floppy but when I see skinny legs I can dream.  But slowly i'm accepting them for what they are and learning to love them.  Next is my tummy.  It's gross.  Look, I've had three kids and got pretty darn big with each pregnancy.  So i'm not going to lie I have a bazillion badges of honor, aka stretch marks and they aren't going anywhere.  They are deep and large and they are what they are.  But I also have a squishy tummy with some loose skin.  It's gross but has gotten a lot better looking since losing weight and toning the muscle buried deep under all that stuff.
I do what I can and one of the biggest things I can do is body acceptance and i'm working on it and its getting a lot better.  Seeing the change in my body had made me accept myself in ways I never thought possible.  Without my three babies my body wouldn't be the way it is and I'm okay with that because my babies are a huge part of my world and I know why I look the way I do and I change what I can to make me feel  healthier and happier.

Change is happening and my journey has been successful and will continue.


Life Got Really Busy!

Oooops....It's been a while since I've blogged.  Life got really busy just before Halloween.  But we'll pick up at Halloween.  Our neighborhood has a great little early Halloween kid event.  The Village closes off the main streets and all the retail spots open their doors to the kids to trick or treat.  The streets are filled with families all dressed up for the holiday.  T wasn't able to come home early so I headed down with a friend of mine and her two kids.  It was a great time!  We trick or treated for an hour or so, picked up a take out pizza and came back to my place for dinner.  Around 730, T and my friends husband took the kids back out to go trick or treating around the neighborhood as we live on the street with all the great big decorated houses so it was sure to be so fun for them!  And yes, I dressed up to take my kids trick or treating!
T had a birthday in early November, we just had a small at home birthday celebration that involved cake.  And a few days later mom arrived into town for the rest of November.  Thanksgiving was eaten out, as usual.  I'm sure we may have only a year left of this since the boys appetites are finally ramping up and I can justify cooking a full spread.  I'm not one for days and days of thanksgiving leftovers so that's always held me back with cooking.  Also in November we received our first snow fall.  The weather stayed so cold after the snow that it took about 4 days before it finally melted away.  It was damn frigid but we all enjoyed seeing the white stuff out our window.
Seemingly out of nowhere my kids seem to have gotten so big.  Normally I don't notice these things since I see them everyday.  But I am totally noticing it.  Big Red is getting big and heavy and his appetite is ferocious!  He's in to extracurricular activities now swimming and gymnastics and he's working out at home using the elliptical and a little bit of conditioning.  Donx has grown a lot, he's taller then his older brother.  He's been lean all his life and is now gaining a little bit of weight and its noticeable on his frame.  He is no longer looking like a little boy but really like an older boy.  He'll be nine in a week and a half but he acts 16.  Crash turned 5 last week.  She's gotten taller, she's so smart and very, very clever.  She's pretty amazing!  But so many changes in such a short period of time!
And of course the day after Thanksgiving we started decorating for Christmas and even had presents to wrap and throw under the tree to make us all excited!

Now an update on my Weight loss Journey!
I'm still seeing my trainer and she kicks my ass on a weekly basis!  I love the workout pain.  My trainer gives me so much motivation and it holds me accountable to keep up with my journey.  I've had zero thoughts of ever giving up and am pushing through like a tiger!  I'm learning more about good nutritional habits and working out.  I'm doing a lot of light weights at home to grow my muscles and to tone up.  I've also learned to pick and choose my food battles around all these holidays and overall i'm making great choices in situations beyond my control. 
My favorite pre and sometimes post workout meal is avocado toast on daves killer bread with a protein coffee.  So let me clarify, i'm not totally stoked drinking all the calories in a smoothie anymore so i've now been adding my whey protein powder to my morning coffee, just the first cup.  That's 20g of protein in one drink, a drink that I have everyday.  Boom!  easy peasy!
Overall i'm feeling healthy and strong.  My energy is great and my stamina and motivation is fantastic!  I'm down 26lbs!  I can't believe it!  I'm super happy with wear I am now.
Hawaii is a month away and I have a mental goal in mind.  I'm working towards this short term goal for now and will deal with my longer term goal once vacation is wrapped up.  I have confidence I can do it and am working hard to hit it.  I'm working out 6 days a week, with daily 2hrs of cardio and every other day strengthening and weights so i'm hoping it won't be to long before I hit my first target!  
Wish me luck!!


Sartorial Thursdays: Team Spirit

Last week Saturday we went to the final Seattle Sounders game of the season.  They headed off against the LA Galaxy, my old home town and defeated them 2-0.  It was amazing and allowed the Sounders to take home the Fan Shield which was up for grabs that Saturday.  

The power and excitement of being at a professional soccer game is exhilarating!  The cheering, roars and smack talk to the opposing teams is so much fun that even my kids get into all the noise.  4.5 year old Crash was the loudest of my three kids, the cheering, yelling and stomping coming from her little persons really made me smile.  Topped with all the kettlecorn it was a great combination. 

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List 042 by seattlemom featuring a movie box
Team spirit is more then evident when at a Sounders game.  Thus, my Sartorial Thursday is all about Sounders Team Spirit.  If you have a home team scarf and a top you are set.  We bond together as fans supporting our team.  Even local brewer Red Hook, the official Sounders brewery, makes a special brew supporting the Sounders, ECS No Equal.  It's delicious!

Good Luck in the Semifinals Sounders!  


Weight Loss Journey - Training Day 9

*The above photo is 2 weeks old and i'm down a couple pounds since I took the week 6 photo.  As a reminder I was down 7 lbs in the week 3 photo and in the week 6 down about 10 lbs.

I missed my Training Day 8 post.  I was busy but it happened!

I met with my trainer day and it went great.  We did a nice assortment of small circuit groups and as usual it kicked my ass.  I sweat like a crazy person when I work out but all that sweat makes me feel great!

It's always so nice to hear my trainer complement my endurance and increased strength.  It really means a lot to me.  

My diet is going well.  Yeah, i'm a little bit bored of the flavors, especially the chicken but it doesn't really bother me. I've disconnected my need for food to be entertaining and social but rather fuel for my body to work out and gain nourishment.  I've introduced some carbs into my diet by way of the occasional sweet potato or Dave's Killer Powered Thins.  But i'll be tapering it down, I don't want to go to long with eating to much carbs.

I'm down 12 lbs and have been for 2 weeks.  A standstill! Grrrrrrrr......That being a pain point for me I'm doing a "two week reboot" and eating super clean, extra super low cal.  My trainer suggested this as she'll do it after the holidays to give her system a kick in the pants.  So i'm doing it so I feel rejuvenated and to drop a couple more pounds.  Wish me luck.  Weigh in is tomorrow morning and i'll do a "weigh out" two weeks form tomorrow.

Here to more progress!


List: Five Things Week of October 27

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List 041 by seattlemom featuring a fitted hoodie

Am I the last one to the avocado toast game?  Because I really, really feel like it!  IF there is anyone out there that has not tried this amazing combo you must!  It is delicious, filling and so comforting.  It's super easy to throw together, what you need:
A good bread (I like Dave's Killer Powerseed Thins which are only 60 cal per slice)
1/2 an avocado
Lemon juice
sea salt
pepper/red pepper flakes
olive oil (optional)

The how to:
scoop out the half of avocado into a bowl and mash it with a fork until desired chunkiness or smoothness
squeeze in a little lemon juice, i add about 1 tsp
toast your bread to desired cripiness
shmear your avocado mash on the toast
once shmeared, add sea salt and red pepper flakes.  if you don't like red pepper flakes you can add black pepper or even tapatio/hot sauce which I enjoy.  
(optional) if you like you can drizzle a bit of olive oil or if you don't want to drizzle you can add a couple of drops of olive oil into the avocado mashing process
eat and enjoy!

Seriously this dish is wonderful!

I recently stumbled upon the Jansport Swinger bag, which by the way comes in a few colors.  Free People offered it in a brilliant turquoise color, not me but still beautiful for someone else.  This is definitely something I'd love to have and have added it to my Christmas wish list so fingers crossed!  Jansport is such a classic line, I mean what child didn't have at least one Jansport backpack during their school career?  My son's school books have recently outgrown is Fjallraven Kanken so I bought him a large Jansport 'Big Student' backpack and its perfect.  So many compartments for all of his stuff.  Besides the bags we've all come to recognize as Jansport they also have a line called Heritage Series which I think is AMAZING!  It's super old school and retro looking and could definitely rival the Kanken's and Herschels (which really isn't super innovative to begin with.)  But that Swinger crossbody.....so cute!

Everything else makes their rotation into my wardrobe this season and will remain until we see warm weather again.  I've had a green parka for years and I love it.  It matches everything, casual or fancy.  It's cozy and super durable.  

Now I want to go eat some avocado toast!