Friday, April 18, 2014

Big Sis Bragging

Let me take a minute to brag on Big Sis.  Well, this could take a while. Report cards came home last week and we were blown away by her progress, again. Now, I know it's just first grade, but my heart is swelling with pride for this little girl.
She did great in every subject, but she is excelling in reading. As you can imagine, this makes me very happy. We are currently reading Little House on the Prairie together (it's like 20 chapters!) and I'm enjoying it as much as she is. The only semi-negative comment on her report card was that she still needs to stop talking in class and during times when she shouldn't. We have discussed it, but secretly, I'm really OK with it. Considering that the first day I dropped her off at school I wasn't sure she'd even open her mouth, this is improvement to me.

We've seen so many accomplishments by this girl, just in the past few month. She has her first pair of shoes with laces and can now tie them by herself. She can read chapter books. And, just this past weekend, she learned to ride her bike without the training wheels! This kid is growing up fast and I'm not sure I like it. But I know that her dad and I are both super proud of her, nonetheless.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Challenging Challenge

You know those little mind games you play with yourself? Oh, like "today I will quit eating sweets" or "starting tomorrow I will eat more vegetables?"  Come on, it can't just be me.  I do it all the time.

I've been trying to get in shape since forever. Well, really since the twins were born almost four years ago. But, let's face it, with three kids and a full-time job outside the home, the time and energy just aren't there--especially when the kids weren't sleeping through the night. I would start to exercise, do it for a couple of weeks, then just quit. It's always easier to quit.

I've always been (a little bit) athletic, but I wouldn't call myself an "athlete." I like to be active and actually enjoy some kinds of exercise. But again, time is not on my side. I work all day and then go home and work half the night; I'm tired. I know that some people will think that's just an excuse, and maybe it is, but that's my reality at this point in my life.
But something happened last month that got me motivated. I started keeping up with my friend Jasmine and how she set a goal for herself to run 50 miles in March. Now, first let me say this...Jasmine is in waaaay better shape than me; she plays roller derby and she runs.  I don't run and never have. My body just wasn't made for running. But I started watching her and, oops!, got a little bit inspired by her determination.
So I decided that I would challenge myself. I know that 50 miles of anything besides driving is unrealistic for me, but I decided to go for 30 miles in the month of April. For me, the miles will be mostly walking, but I have worked up to running a little bit--actually more than I ever have in my life. 

Here we are at the mid-point of the month and I've clocked 16.5 miles so far. It looks like I'm gonna make it! So, what am I doing?
For me, the exercise window is very small. I prefer to get the workout done first thing in the morning, while I still have full energy. Problem is that I'm home alone with the kiddos, so the exercise has to be indoors at home. Hello, 4:50am alarm! Another problem is that I like to sleep, so that 4:50am thing doesn't always work for me. Morning walks/jogs happen at 5:00am so I have time to get us all ready to go before 8:00am. I can realistically squeeze in two miles in the mornings. Weekends are more flexible with Lee at home, and now that it's getting warmer, I prefer to be outside.
Now that I've gone all public with my challenge, I hope this motivates me to stick with it. If I hit the 30 mark for April, then I plan to up the mileage for May. I'm feeling good about my progress, now I just hope that I start to see some results from all the hard work.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Twin Tuesday

Here's a photo from our Easter egg hunt at church on Saturday. I will have more egg hunting pics later. I really wanted to share a video of the kids throwing a big tantrum that Lee took on Sunday, but I cannot figure out how to load the video from my phone. It's really hilarious in a sad way.
Happy Twin Tuesday!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Anniversary Celebration

Hubby and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in March with a little adults-only vacay, and it was fantastic! This was our third trip to Las Vegas together and we decided to rent a car and see some sights that we hadn't seen on previous trips.  

Our first day, we drove out to Lake Mead and into Arizona. Lee managed to find a dirt and gravel trail that led us right down to the water. I would have been very okay with this if we hadn't been driving a rented economy car, when signs were posted that recommended four-wheel drive! Luckily, I didn't get carsick and we were rewarded with a beautiful, secluded view of Lake Mead when we finished the trail. In the past, I had only flown over the mountains and I was so surprised to see how pretty they were, even with no greenery and very little vegetation. The red dirt and mountains provided such a spectacular view and we found it hard to leave.

(click on the photos to make them larger)

After our journey down the trail, we back-tracked over to the Hoover Dam. As we crossed over the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, we noticed that there was a walking lane across the bridge. I couldn't believe that people would do that! Then, about two hours later, I let Lee talk me into doing it myself! Shocking, but I'm so glad that I did it. Look at these photos! We didn't take the Dam tour, but spent a couple of hours just walking around, looking and taking photos.

We spent some time in the casinos, eating good food and window shopping. I even scored half a day by myself at the pool! As usual, our resort did not disappoint. Look how pretty it is! We also visited the Las Vegas Welcome Sign, which we hadn't done before either.

Unfortunately, we didn't strike it rich so we had to return home to the real world. We are so thankful that Grammy was able to come stay with the kiddos so we could enjoy some time away. It's hard to believe that we've been married for ten, look what can happen in ten years!

I also wrote a guest post on the Arkansas Women Bloggers website about our trip. If you want to see more photos, click here to see the post. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Conversation With My Kids

I had another fun bedtime conversation with Girl Twin last week that I want to share.  I'll be honest, bedtime is not always fun for us simply because we are outnumbered and we have three kiddos who require a lot of assistance and attention.  Mainly, the little ones like me to lay with them (in separate rooms, of course) while they fall asleep.  While there are about eleventy million other things that need to be done during that time, I put them aside and lay with my kids.  This is when we have some of our best chats.
This particular night I was with Girl Twin and we got to talking about vacation.  Of course, she requested a trip to Disney.  I told her about the time we went when she was a toddler and promised a return trip when she's a little bigger.  We talked about the trip we are planning to "the lake" this summer and about swimming.  I then told her we might even try to go to Tulsa a few times.
Her:  "I like Tulsa dip."
Me:  (confused)  "Did we have Tulsa dip?"
Her:  "Yes! I like the red dip!" 
Ahhh, salsa dip!  Haha.
The same night, we laid in bed talking about school.  She said, "Why is it taking so long to get to Walker?"  (That's Big Sis's elementary school).  The kids are so ready for kindergarten!  I told her that she had to be able to spell and write her name before she can go to Walker.
So, I asked her to spell her name for me...which she did, flawlessly.
Then, I asked her to spell brother's name.  Again, easy peasy.  Then, I asked her to spell Big Sister's name.
"B-E-R-L-E-Y!"  (I think she thinks everything ends in LEY!")
I love that kid.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Guest Post: The Red Hot Life

I'm continuing my series of guest posts this month to let you meet some of my favorite bloggers. For March, in honor of her birthday month, I want you to meet my friend Liz Taylor (not that Liz Taylor).  Unlike the other bloggers who have posted here, Liz is not part of the Arkansas Women Bloggers group (although I'm sure she would be if she lived here!)  I actually knew Liz IRL before she even had a blog.  That's "in real life," mom.  Liz and I used to work together and she is a fellow mom of twins, so that right there is reason enough to love her.  Please check out her blog Live A Red Hot Life and show her some love!

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The Red Hot Life
By: Liz Cerami Taylor

There's nothing quite like a birthday to help you take stock of your life.
In 2010, I turned 40. To mark that milestone, I did something I'd been wanting to do since I was 11: I signed up to meet Rick Springfield, my first love. It was amazing, and he was as cool in person as I thought he would be. The photo of us together can be described in one word: bliss. Well, that's how I would describe how I felt at the time. He might remember it differently.
That day was really more than just a "girl meets her favorite rock star" moment. It was an epiphany. I had spent the five years leading up to it devoted to the needs of my family (like Rhonda, I'm a mom of twins) and to my job. I rarely took time for myself. I believe with all my heart that self-care is essential to surviving in this life, but I had been doing a lousy job of it. On that day, I did something for myself and it felt great.
Over the next year, I did a lot of soul searching and it became clear to me that I wasn't happy. I began a quest for a "Red Hot Life" -- one where I felt truly alive. Because if I wasn’t happy and full of life, how could I be the person I needed and wanted to be for those who depended on me? Sure, some people do it, but to me that’s not really living.
I decided that I needed to make some pretty big changes in my life. So I did. And I did them pretty much all at once -- I'm crazy like that. In 2012, I reluctantly ended a marriage that was not working, and I left my job of 18 years and found a new job that allowed me to move back to my home state with my kids to be closer (but not too close) to my family.
It's been about a year and a half since I made those changes, and I'd be lying to you if I said it was easy. I made a list last year, My 2013 Red Hot List, of things I needed to do to overcome some of the challenges I faced in my new life. I haven’t completed it yet, but I'm making progress.
People have told me how "brave" and "courageous" I am to start over. I think what they mean is "you're nuts," but I appreciate the support nonetheless. I have tried to use my experience to help inspire others by blogging about my story. My posts are infrequent because life is hectic, so when Rhonda graciously asked me to be a guest blogger here, I wasn't sure if I really qualified! But I am very grateful for the opportunity to encourage others, so thanks Rhonda!
It has been four years since the day that started off my journey to a Red Hot Life. In fact, I turned 44 earlier this month. A few days before my birthday, I asked my friends on Facebook to describe me. I wanted to see if their perceptions matched with my reality these days. They used words like "smart," "in love with Rick Springfield," "funny," and "successful." One word that was missing? Happy. But that's OK. Because the only person who really knows if I am happy is me, and that answer varies by the day. That's just the way life is. I know that I'm on the right path, and I plan to stay on it and see where it leads.
Liz is a working mother of three boys, including fraternal twins, who lives in Virginia. Read about her pursuit of a Red Hot Life and her love of Rick Springfield at Live A Red Hot Life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Twin Tuesday

I found a cute little picture of the kids from our dentist trip a few weeks ago.  These two just have so much fun together! I hope they always love each other this much.
Boy Twin Funny:  He has started to refer to himself in the third person.  This is totally hilarious to me, as neither of the other children have done this before.  I probably enjoy having a conversation with him more than I should, especially when he's requesting a drink or volunteering information about his day at school.