Sunday, July 31, 2016

Never Too Late to Start Something

The August Accountability Challenge is officially underway. I just posted the first weekly challenge for the month and we currently have 14 people committed to working on it. The first day of the challenge is tomorrow!

The first challenge has just rolled out and I swear I haven't paid this much attention to my health and wellness goals in, well, as long as I can remember. I will be thinking about my goals every day in August because I'm being held accountable from this group. I feel like this group challenge is exactly what I need right now. We have about 30 people in our private accountability group and I am so excited for each and every one of us to succeed.

photo from our Sunday Fun-day bike ride with our friends

I am so fired up and so happy for each member of the group. Just yesterday there was a member who admitted they were struggling with being overwhelmed and some members from the group chimed in with different ideas on how to help. This -- this is what I love about working in a group. The support we are getting from each other is priceless. Not to mention, it really is free anyway. This isn't one of those deals where you have to buy something to get in. It's just a group of people who want to be held accountable to their goals, and a lot of us really want to help each other reach those goals, too.

While we've all got different goals (which I had the members share a couple days ago in the group), we all have the same goal in mind. We want to be healthier, we want to live well, and; since we're all in it for the same reason, we have nothing to do but help each other out. It's easier to reach our goals, together. I am so excited to see what this month brings for me and all of my group members.

If you want to join in on this group challenge, it's not too late. It never really is too late for much of anything, is it? You can start today, you can start tomorrow. Just make sure you start something to better yourself. You're worth it. I believe we all are!

Join the challenge, here: August Accountability Challenge

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Best Date Night

Last night, after Nick and I put Piper to sleep, my sister came over to watch the monitor so we could sneak out for a little date night. 

We didn't decide on what we were doing for date night until we started to drive. It was one of those nights where you ask, "right or left?" as you're sitting in the car at the end of the driveway. I said, "let's just go right" and before we knew it, we ended up driving right up to a local putt putt golf place.

I'm not sure, but I am fairly certain that it's pretty much impossible to play putt putt golf without a smile on your face.

We arrived at the greens right as the sun was starting to set. The weather was absolutely perfect, it was a warm summer night and the view was unbeatable. I felt like we were in putt putt heaven.

Nick and I played putt putt until it was dark. We had so much fun, we laughed until we cried. It made me feel like we were back in high school, again. I feel like that's one of the best things about being married to your high school sweetheart; when you're alone with them, it's easy to forget what age you are. We definitely didn't act our age last night.

After we were done with putt putt golf, we drove down the road to a local restaurant that is situated right on the lake. Almost all of the seating is outdoors, which makes for a really beautiful dining atmosphere. The lake was beautiful at night, I loved watching the lights surrounding the lake danced on the water as the two of us drank some beer and shared a pizza.

The best part of the night was actually at the restaurant. There was live music that was playing as we sat there at the restaurant on the lake. The musician turned out to be someone that use to sing in a band that Nick and I use to listen to when we were in high school. 

Hearing his voice was like a blast from the past. We couldn't believe it was him, and we couldn't believe that he was singing that night at that restaurant where we randomly decided to spend our date night. Nick kept looking at me saying, "this is the best date night ever" and "I can't believe we get to hear him sing live again". I couldn't agree more. This was the best date night we've had, yet. So much fun!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Energized and Motivated

I can't tell you how excited I am about this August challenge coming up. I haven't been this excited about a challenge for as long as I can remember. There's just something about working together in a group setting that fires me up. It makes me feel a sense of camaraderie; like we can do this because we're doing it together. I feel energized and motivated to reach my goals again!

I must say, too, I am so proud of each and every person who has signed up for the August Accountability Challenge Group. I mean, let's face it; Summer is a hard time to lose weight. Summer often means wedding season, graduation parties, family picnics, late night ice cream runs and so on. Sticking to any kind of health and wellness goal in this summer can be hard. I think it's great that so many of you have decided to make your goals a priority this coming month. You're worth it. We're worth it.

Thanks to the poll input from some challenge participants, I have decided that the August Challenge will be running on a couple different challenge formats, of which you can choose to follow. My goal for this August Accountability Challenge is for all of us in the group to thrive and to be held accountable for reaching our health & wellness goals.

Since there was interest from the group for both Daily and Weekly Challenges, there will be both formats available for you to participate in. The amount of Challenges you participate in {and amount of *points you earn} is ultimately up to you.

If you're interested in signing up for the August Accountability Group, there is still time. You can do so by clicking "Interested" in the Facebook link, below.

Once I see that you're interested, I will send you an invitation to the official {and private} group. I made the official group private so that anything shared in the group, stays in the group. It won't show up on your news feed, your friends news feed or anything like that.

>> Once you're apart of the group, you will be able to join in on the group challenges. If you want to join in on a Challenge, all you have to do is "like" the Challenge post. If I see that you "like" the Daily and/or Weekly Challenge post, I'll count you in on it.

>> The way you're held accountable to finishing the Daily and Weekly Challenge {and earning a *point for doing so} is by commenting on the same post with your results. (i.e. if the challenge is to walk for 30 minutes that day, comment when completed).

*For those of us who thrive on competition, I have developed a point system as a little extra incentive. The more Challenges you participate in, the more points you'll get. Each Challenge completed is worth a point! I'll be keeping track. {If they are interested, the person with the most points by Saturday morning will get to pick the group's Weekly Challenge for the following week! If there is a tie in winning points, I will break the tie by picking the name out of a hat.}

This group is a group challenge, but you can make it your own. Pick and choose what you want to participate in, and get support from the group along the way. Challenge starts on August 1st. Let's do this!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

August Group Challenge Announcement

If you're on Facebook, I have some news for you! 

A reader suggested that I make my weight-loss challenge for August a group challenge and I couldn't agree more. Working toward goals in a group setting can be very motivating! And so, if you'd like a little extra push in reaching your own goals and possibly joining in some group goals with me, I'd love to have you join in on my August Group Challenge.

The challenge starts on August 1st which just so happens to be on a Monday! I love challenges that start on a Monday -- it's like a little extra boost of motivation, starting something new on the first day of a new week. I love it!

Right now, there are a couple polls on the discussion page in which you can take part in. I'm still trying to decide the exact layout of the challenge, so, if you get in early, make sure to weigh in on the polls. You can help decide exactly how this challenge will work!

What challenge layout would help you thrive most?

Daily Group Goal with daily check-ins
Daily Group Goal with weekly check-ins
Weekly Group Goal with daily check-ins
Weekly Group Goal with weekly check-ins
3 Group Goals for the entire month with weekly check-ins
3 Group Goals for the entire month with daily check-ins

Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer Weight Loss + Spotify

It's the last week of July {already} and I'm starting to think ahead to August. I didn't really do anything in terms of trying to lose weight in July, and I'm okay with that fact. Piper and I had a lot of fun this month and we stayed fairly active despite not having any challenges to do so. You can either find us going on a walk, on a family bike ride or swimming in Grammie's pool on these hot summer days!

While I didn't lose any weight in July, I didn't gain any weight, either. That's a total win for me seeing how last year at this time, I was working on a 15 - 20 pound gain during the summer. This summer, I'm working on maintain and hopefully in August I'll even see a loss on the scale! I'm planning on doing some sort of weight-loss challenge in August, and I'm going to take the rest of this week to think about what kind of a challenge it will be. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Random change of thought here: who all is using Spotify to listen to music these days? I don't know what kind of a rock I've been under all these years, but I just recently joined Spotify after years of using Pandora and I can't tell you how much more I love Spotify! 

The thing I love most about Spotify is that I am able to pick exactly what kind of songs I want to hear by putting them into their own playlists. I have a playlist for "Summer", a play list of all the songs Nick and I use to listen to while we were in "High School" and I have a play list for when I want to have a "Dance Party". I'm working on building up all of my playlists but if you want to check mine out as they are now, you can listen to the songs I'm currently listening to by clicking this link:

Readers, do you have any weight-loss challenge plans for August? If so, please share in a comment, below!

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Day in the Life at 18 months

The last time that I did a "day in the life" post was when Piper had just turned 12 months old. Since Piper is turning 18 months old this week, I figured now would be a good time to share how our day typically goes during this stage of life.

Sometime around 4:30 - 5:30 a.m. - Piper wakes up for a morning bottle of milk (9 oz). Nick takes care of this bottle and lets me sleep in because he's getting up for work at this time. I try not to take this for granted and will offer to do this feeding from time to time but, he keeps assuring me that he loves to do it because it's one of the few one-on-one moments he gets with Piper during his workday. He's such a great dad! After he feeds her and changes her diaper, she falls right back to sleep for an hour or two and he gets ready for work.

Sometime between 6:30 - 7:30 a.m. - Piper is up for the day! Sometimes I wake up before her but, more often than not, I let Piper be my alarm clock. When I go into her nursery, the first thing she usually says to me is "hi". And trust me, it's the sweetest "hi" you ever did hear. I usually say "hi, good morning, did you sleep good?" and she jumps in her bed happily. I turn off her sound machine, change her diaper and more often than not, I've been bringing her back into the big bed with me in our room for about 15 minutes worth of cartoons. I love our morning snuggle time in the big bed! It's the best way to start my morning.

Sometime between 7:30 - 8:00 a.m. - we make our way downstairs where I turn on the Today show and grab a cup of coffee from the pot Nick made that morning. Piper runs around the living room, playing with her toys, the dogs and bringing me different books to read to her. This morning she found her hat, which she loves to wear anytime she can.

Sometime between 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. - I make us breakfast. Piper gets a bowl of fruit to start with while I make her scrambled eggs with ham and cheese. This particular morning, I made myself an English muffin with cream cheese and ham.

While Piper finishing up her breakfast, I throw a load of laundry in the washer and bring up the load from the dryer. I empty the clean dishes from the dishwasher, too. I have been running the dishwasher at night so I can start my day with an empty dishwasher. It makes clean up so much easier. As I make meals throughout the day, I put all the dirty dishes right into the dishwasher, leaving my sink empty and clean. Dishes haven't been piling up as much this way.

After Piper is done eating breakfast, we "brush" teeth. She loves to brush her teeth; some days she brushes three times a day, just for fun. Anytime we go into the bathroom, she asks to "brush". Piper has all of her teeth in with the exception of her two year molars. She is a teething champion!

Around 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. - We go upstairs because Piper is ready for another diaper change and I get her dressed for the day. Upstairs we have three rooms; our bedroom, Piper's bedroom and her playroom. I open up all the doors and let her run from room to room. This morning she played for about 15 minutes while I folded some laundry.

Sometime around 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. - we go on our adventure for the day. When Piper was younger, this time of day was reserved for nap time but, since she is only on one nap a day (and has been since she was about 13 months old), we are more free to explore. It works out perfectly for us to enjoy even more summer fun! This time of morning is free for whatever we decide to do that day. Every once in a while we'll use this time to go to the beach or the zoo, but more often than not we use this time to play out in the yard or go for our morning walk.

On this morning, we took a pit stop during our morning walk at our local park. We are so lucky to live within walking distance to two local parks. Piper is a typical busy toddler and so I've never been more grateful for our local parks than right now!

Sometime between 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - we get back home and inside for a snack. Piper watches a show with her snack (kiwi, blackberries and cheerios) while I fix her some lunch. I made us both burrito bowls for lunch today with rice, black beans, corn, and avocados. (I added sour cream and some cajun seasoning to my bowl.) If Piper's food portions look big that's just because most of her food ends up on the floor and the dogs sitting on the couch behind her will get their snack, too. A lot of food is ending up on the floor these days, and so I've never been more grateful for our dogs (aka the cleanup crew).

Sometime between 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. - Piper gets another diaper change and goes down for a nap. During Piper's nap time, I started working on this blog post. If my Etsy shop was open for business (we're currently on summer break), then I would get to work on some of my orders. Since I don't have any work to do for the shop, I get the laundry that I put in the washer this morning and hang it up on the line. While I'm outside, I sit and enjoy a little peace and quiet. No part of summer is being taken for granted over here!

After a bit, I go inside to prep dinner. I've found that if I want to chop vegetables and do dinner prep without a toddler tugging at my leg, the afternoon nap is the time to do it.

Sometime between 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. - Piper is up from her nap. I change her diaper and bring her downstairs. Lately, we've been spending a lot of this time outside. This is when the countdown for "dada" to get home begins. On this day, Piper ran around the yard; we played with chalk; we picked vegetables from the garden, and I pushed her in the swing until Nick got home.

Sometime between 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. - Nick gets home from work! When he gets home, we all go to greet him. I think this is Piper's favorite time of day!

On this day, we spent a little while catching each other up on our days before Nick took Piper with him to mow the lawn. While they mowed the lawn, I started getting dinner ready and took the clothes off the clothes line outside.

Sometime between 5:00 - 5:30 p.m. - we all eat dinner together. On this night, I made a stir fry over noodles. Piper loved the mix! I marinated steak tips in oyster sauce and minced garlic for two days, and it made the meat so tender. I drizzled the sauce over the cooked mushrooms, broccoli and noddles for extra flavor while I cooked it all. The dinner turned out really, really good!

Sometime after dinner, around 6:00 p.m. - we do something as a family. We either go for a walk, go on a bike ride or visit family. This evening we went for a bike ride to "grammie's house".

Piper had a lot of fun playing on the trampoline at Grammie's that night!

Sometime around 7:00 p.m. - Nick gives Piper a bath. While Nick bathes Piper, I use that time to get her nursery ready for bed. I make her a bottle and feed it to her in the rocking chair in her nursery. When we rock her, Piper needs to have her binky and "lambie" close by. She loves to feel the silk from her lambie on her face while she drinks her bottle. She also needs lambie (actually two of them) for sleeping.

After she drinks her bottle, I rock her for about 10 minutes. This is a luxury that I didn't get for so long, and I'm really enjoying it now. Piper is very independent and she use to want to go right into her crib after the bottle. Now-a-days, she'll cuddle with me for a little bit. I'll sing her songs (You Are My Sunshine; Baby Mine; Three Little Birds) and she'll point at my eyes, nose, mouth and ears; naming them and giggling tiredly until it's time for "night night".

Sometime between 7:30 - 8:00 p.m. - Piper is asleep for the night and it's time to spend the rest of the night with my husband. Lately, we've been enjoying some drinks on our stone patio by the pond and around the fire pit. It's one of the best, most relaxing ways we like to end our night!

The days are long, but the years are short.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Phone Dump

As I was going through my phone, I found some pictures I wanted to share with you. They're completely random pictures from our time together these past couple weeks. I wrote a little caption for each photo.

Sunday morning cartoons in bed

Shade tent for our beach days from Nina and Papa

Afternoon snuggles

Her new favorite spot to watch TV; on her horsey.

Stroller rides by the lake

Stroller rides around the neighborhood

Sunsets at Nina and Papa's

Picnic at Nana and Papa's

Kisses for daddy

Watching the clouds in the grass

Big enough to color her own picture now

Back when our living room was still dark green

We made some changes this weekend

Dark green to light tan - let there be light!

Happy with our brighter living room :)

Snapchat fun after Piper goes to sleep

You can see more randomness on my snapchat: username: "goaloflosing"

That's all for now, have a good weekend!