Monday, April 30, 2012

Rain, Sun, Repeat

It's been over a week since I've blogged. I hate when that happens, but sometimes I just have other things on my plate that take precedence.  Like little boys who need to be fed, bathed, and loved on every day.  And a commitment to my own personal health and fitness that I just can't ignore.  My last post about my weight loss was a pretty personal thing to share, but I'm glad I did.  I've picked up jogging this week and have surprised myself with what I'm capable of.  I guess it's all those miles I've logged on our exercise bike.

Anyway, the weather has been kind of hit and miss lately.  One day it's warm and beautiful and the next it's dark and rainy.  It feels pretty unpredictable.  But I guess that's just Spring in Seattle.

I managed to capture these shots a few days ago when the sun was shining.

I really like the vibrancy of the first one, but the colors in the second one are much more my style.

Which do you prefer?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weight Loss

I've went back and forth in my head about whether I should write this post.  After all, my blog is mainly about my kids and my newfound love of photography.  But this has been such a big part of my life for the last few months that it seems like it deserves a place in my blog.

The day that I went into the hospital to have Lance, my weight was definitely at an all-time high.  And yes, I was at the end of a pregnancy and yes, I was about to lose some of that weight as soon as he was born, but my weight never should have been what it was.  To be honest, I didn't lose all the weight that I had gained during my pregnancy with Nate before getting pregnant with Lance.

I can't be too hard on myself.  After all, I only had about 13 months to lose the pregnancy weight before getting pregnant for the second time with Lance.  But still.  I should have lost it.  And I knew that.  When I went to that first doctor's appointment after finding out we were pregnant and was weighed, I knew I weighed too much.  I was about 20 pounds heavier than I was when I got pregnant with Nate.

Once Lance was born, I was pretty determined to lose the weight.  I started a low-carb diet (my go-to diet) and had some success.  In no time at all, I weighed 10 pounds less than when I got pregnant.  But then Thanksgiving came and my low-carb diet went out the window.  I gained about 10 pounds by the time Christmas came.  I was pretty upset.

At Christmas, I only fit into two pairs of my jeans.  The rest were just too tight.  I was only about 4 months post-partum, but not fitting into clothes is definitely a good-mood killer.  Around that time, Ryan and I decided to purchase an exercise bike as a gift to ourselves and it has made all the difference.

Since Christmas, I've lost a little over 30 pounds (and 70 total since right before Lance was born), and while I'm not at goal weight, I am definitely in a better place than I was just 4 months ago.  I actually weigh just under what I did when I got married.  All of my jeans are way too big.  I only have one pair of capris that actually fit without needing a belt.  And thanks to the exercise, my measurements are smaller than the last time I was at this weight.

These aren't the best "Before and During" shots.  I have a really bad habit of deleting photos that are particularly unflattering, but hopefully you can see the difference in my face. :)

What I've been doing:

1).  Exercise.  I ride the bike 6 days a week.  No excuses.  The only day I allow myself not to ride is on Friday.  Even if we are gone all day, get home at 10 pm, I still ride after I put the kids to bed.  And I don't ride at a leisurely pace.  I push myself really hard.  I am a sweaty mess afterwards. My rides are usually 45 minutes to 60 minutes long, although occasionally I ride 30 minutes or 90 minutes.  When I first started riding, my max resistance was set to 10 (out of a possible 20).  And that was hard. Now, I'm at max 15.  We keep an exercise log, which really helps me stay accountable and lets me track PR's and my progress.

2).  Sugar.  I've eliminated most of it from my diet, with the exception of an occasional treat.  But a treat does not entail an entire bowl of ice cream or brownies every day.  Instead, I may have a couple of bites of chocolate frozen yogurt (Ryan's new fave). What I've found is that other things, like raisins, are sweet enough to calm my sweet tooth.  I've been doing a lot of research and have realized just how toxic sugar is to our bodies anyway, so it really is for the best that I work on consuming as little as possible.

3). Artificial sweeteners.  Yep, those are basically gone too.  I used to easily consume 6-8 packets of splenda each morning in my coffee.  And Crystal Light? Don't even get me started.  I don't think I ever drank plain old water.  It was always Crystal Light.  What I've realized is that, not only are artificial sweeteners also not good for our bodies, but they also can start to act identical to sugar. So even though they help us consume far fewer calories, they still can get stored as fat.  They also have a sneaky way of making us crave other sweet things. So now, I drink as much plain water as I can every day.  I drink my coffee unsweetened.  My only vice with artificial sweeteners now is the occasional Diet Pepsi.  I just can't seem to part with those entirely yet.

4).  Low(er) carb diet: In the past, I've always pretty much done a no carb (or as little as possible) diet. This meant I would subsist on nothing but meat and veggies and a whole lot of artificial sweetener.  While I did see some results, I always hit a certain weight that I couldn't get past.  And then as soon as I quit the diet, the weight piled back on.

Now, I focus on eliminating sugar and wheat.  I do eat rice, sweet potatoes, and oats on occasion, which seems to have made this whole 'dieting' thing a lot more manageable.

So there you have it.  This is what I've been focusing on for the last few months.  I often choose to spend my (precious and limited) free time exercising instead of blogging or tweeting, which I'm sure we can all agree is a much better use of that time.  I'm not done.  I'm not where I want to be, but I'm a lot happier than where I was just a few months ago.

I'd love to hear your thoughts of getting fit(er) after pregnancy and while raising kids. What do you do to stay in shape?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Warmer Days

My body craves warm days.  Days when we don't need to wear hoodies unless we want to, our toes don't feel cold when wearing flip flops, and Nate can play by the water for as long as he wants.  

If it's in the 60's, toss me a pair of capris, some flip flops, and I'm good to go.

We had a few days like that this weekend.  

Lance is getting closer to nine months.  He watches his brother like a hawk and seems to just be itching to do the things his big brother gets to do. Ignore the animal cookie crumbs on his face and sweater.  I didn't notice them until later.  

Like throw rocks into the water. 

Maybe we should start teaching him how to skip rocks.  That would keep him entertained for hours.

 then, she {snapped}

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Egg Coloring

One of the best things about having kids is watching them experience things for the first time.  Nate is 2.5 now, so I thought he might be able to handle coloring Easter eggs.   The funny thing is that I bought food-coloring packs last year, but chickened out.  I just imagined colored water all over the floor and fingers, broken eggs, and a melt-down in the making.  I think I was smart to wait a year.

Nate absolutely loved it.  At one point, he was jumping up and down saying, "I'm so happy!" Luckily, I used cups with lids to minimize the mess.  He was able to pick up the cups and look at the egg inside

He was pretty set on dropping each egg into the water and retrieving each one.  He did not want me to have any part of it.  But he was very patient while waiting for each egg to finish.  Sometimes I swear he looks and acts older than 2.5. 

I guess the egg-retrieval thingy reminded him of a bubble-wand because he kept picking it up and blowing through it.  Funny guy.

I hope you had a great Easter!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I'm an Apple lover (not the fruit, but the computers).  I've had a Mac since 2007 and know that I could never go back to a PC.  We have an iPod and my husband has an iPad, but just this week we made the leap to the iPhone.  My first thought? Instagram!  :)  If you want to follow me (of course I'll follow back), you can find me under the username, Shondra_W.

Ok, onto this week's hunt.

We got a new kitty this week and named her Katniss (obviously after the main character in The Hunger Games).  Ryan and I just finished reading the book and watched the movie, so the name was fitting.


This weekend has been beautiful.  We took Nate to the park, which was bursting with activity.


It was super windy on Saturday (perfect for kite-flying).  Because of the wind, I kept smelling the smell of other picnic-ers barbequeing.  Yum.


Pink? Yeah, right.  I live in a house full of boys.  :)


Look at this smiling baby.  He's obviously happy with his new kitten.  :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

COOL WHIP whipped topping: Every Day Treats

I'm a fan of turning the ordinary into something special.  I don't need fancy treats. Save the pies and cakes for the holidays.  However, I do love to use COOL WHIP Whipped Topping to spice up our treats.

Every morning, I wake up, open all of the curtains, hope that the sun is actually shinning, and start the coffee maker.  As I start sifting through Google Reader, email, Twitter, and Pinterest, I can't wait for my coffee to be ready.  I grab my favorite mug and pour my coffee and some half&half.  Adding a dollop of COOL WHIP with a dash of cinnamon on top is all the sweetness that my coffee needs.  It's the perfect wake-up call first thing in the morning.  The thing about adding COOL WHIP is that I don't use it every day.  I only use it when I want that special cup of coffee.

Doesn't it sound delicious?

Lately, Nate has been more interested in playing than finishing his meal.  He'll eat five or six bites and then start saying, "Me all done!" So I've been using a bit of creative parenting and reminding him that once his food "goes bye bye in his mouth," he'll get a treat.  

One of our recent favorite treats is butterscotch pudding.  It is so delicious! Add a few banana slices or vanilla  wafers...yum! One way to make this ordinary treat special is to make butterscotch mousse.

Here are the steps:

-Whisk Butterscotch pudding mix and 1.5 cups of milk for 2 minutes.

-Fold in 1.5 cups of thawed COOL WHIP.

This mousse can be used in so many different ways.  Pie filling, fruit dip, graham cracker dip, bribery, or just eat it plain like we do.

Not only does the added COOL WHIP turn the pudding into something special, but by adding a dollop on top it ups the ante.  It becomes a creamy, dreamy treat.

Nate loves the mousse.  It's definitely a treat that he finds is worth the wait.  In the past, I've let him help me make it.  I scoot his high chair up to the counter and let him add the ingredients and do the whisking.  It can get a little messy, but he absolutely loves it.  He asks me if he can help me cook.  How cute is that?

Adding COOL WHIP whipped topping to any dessert is a great way to turn an ordinary treat into something special.  I'd love to hear how you use COOL WHIP in your desserts.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Rocks in the Water

I've mentioned this before, but Nate's idea of a perfect day involves being down by the water with lots of rocks for throwing.  I'm guessing this is just a result of his age, 2.5, but it certainly makes for cheap entertainment for us.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Scavenger Hunt Sunday time again.  I'm always amazed at how quickly a week can pass.  

This doesn't have anything to do with today's hunt, but I thought I'd share Nate's latest phrase.  Whenever we tell him to do something, he has started saying, "I can't do that..."  It's pretty funny.  This morning, he woke up and started yelling, "I can't go back to sleep!"  Makes me laugh. 


Sun Flare:

Seven: (seven bed rails?)

 High Angle:

Low Angle:

I'm a pretty big fan of getting down on their level to take pictures.  Whether their face is in focus or their toy, I usually end up liking the lower level pictures much better than the higher angles.

Thanks for stopping by!