Dec 19, 2014

Happy Holidays and an Update

Hey loves! Popping in to say hi!
Our Christmas cards turned out awesome! Here is the front:

and back:

Not much going on around here for the holidays. Bryce is at his dads for the week and we will be traveling to Northern VA to spend a couple days up there next weekend with my parents and siblings. We usually do our gift exchange with them right after Christmas. My mother in law is coming over on Christmas day since she lives near us and I'm cooking, as usual, nothing extravagant since it will just be the three of us. 

We don't do much for New Year's Eve. We get a couple bottles of bubbly and some sparkling bubbly for the kids and have fun in our pj's all day and through the next day. I haven't been out on New Year's Eve since before I had kids. It just doesn't appeal to me anymore lol. Hell, I'm just trying to stay awake to watch the ball drop. So boring. I know. 

New Year's Eve 2013

I decided to revamp the blog over the holiday and get back into blogging a couple times a week. Once we get through the holidays I am going to fill you in on all that's going on with my workouts/diet/competing. If you follow me on IG you know I met with a coach 2 weeks ago. He's perfect and I'm in a great place. I also found a couple comps that I am interested in around Sept/October and he thinks 9 months to get where I want to be is great start. I decided after giving IIFYM a try, it's best for me to go back to the strict eating that helped me lose the bulk of my weight in 2013. No, I wasn't eating cheeseburgers every day because it fit my macros. There is nothing wrong with IIFYM, it just isn't for me; right now. Losing weight on it was slow and sometimes none at all, even when I gave it my all, and it was depressing. So for me, going back to my strict eating {chicken boobs, sweet taters, tuna, tilapia, veggies, grapefruit, oatmeal, boiled eggs etc.} gives me the results that make me the happiest. I gave it three months {did pretty well since my Disney Cruise} but the results were slow and again- nothing wrong with it, just not for me. 

I've had to remind myself- this isn't a sprint. Sometimes you have to try new things but no matter what, I will keep going. There are going to be setbacks. Being honest- this shit is hard. Yes, strict eating seems to work better. Yes, HIIT gives me a better burn than running lost distances. I've given different things a chance for 90 days and been unsuccessful, so back to what I know works for me. Even through a plateau, I can keep eating my strict foods but switch up my workouts. 
I was taught from Day 1- learn your body. 
I've set attainable goals, month by month and I'm going to give it my all until I get to where I want to be. I've come pretty far and made some long lasting GREAT habits. I just need to trust the process and kick my own ass! 
Happy Holidays everyone! Any big plans for the holidays?

Nov 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Traditions

A week from now most of us will be enjoying time with our families for Thanksgiving. A holiday where traditions that have been passed down are dusted off and enjoyed. I remember waking up with my mom at the butt crack of dawn to throw our turkey in. It's something the two of us did for years. I remember my dad sneaking into the kitchen to taste food in between the Lions and Cowboys games. I remember being sooo excited to see all the floats during the Macy's parade. This was our thing. We ate around 3 and again every hour after that, lol!

Once I became an adult, I tried to keep up with the traditions. Even moreso when I had kids. I wake up early, put in the turkey and watch the parade with my kids and later the football games with the hubs. My best friend and I would leave around 11:30pm to stand in line at stores to get the best deals. It was our thing. You see, back then {because it was so damn long ago} stores didn't open until midnight and some at 4am on Friday. It was something we enjoyed. There was a time or two we battle the crowds at WalMart and Target but mostly it was Old Navy, Gap, and Abercrombie that always had the best deals.

This is us a few years ago sitting out front of Gap, alone, eating Cinnabon waiting for them to open at 5am.
This tradition that my best friend and I made is something I will always treasure. Our kids were asleep, husbands in food comas, laid out on the couch and then us. Enjoying girl time, hopped up on sugary cinnamon rolls and Starbucks waiting to snag a pair of jeans for our kids for $5. We would get home around 7, just in time to cook breakfast and then we would crash for a couple hours. That's how it went. I was sad to read that Old Navy was opening its doors on Thanksgiving at 4pm. What happened to family time? What happened to my best friend and I sitting out front at 5am Friday waiting for the doors to open and laughing about how crazy we were to be the only ones out there. You're opening on Thanksgiving? Hell, at 4pm I'm probably just finishing my second plate of food. It saddens me. There are tons of stores opening on Thanksgiving and I refuse to shop there. If I miss the deals, oh well. There are some things you just don't mess with. Family time is one of them.

So many people aren't able to spend the holidays with their families. I'm going to cherish every moment with my family that I can. I thank the thousands of men and women who are doctors, nurses, hospital staff, firemen and police who work these holidays. They are saving lives, taking care of people who are sick. The sacrifice is appreciated. I also thank those in the military abroad and their families back home who can't spend time together for the holidays. You all, as well, are appreciated.

So this is what I'm going to do and if you do it, I would love to hear about it. I'm going to take my kids to the hospital near us and the fire station and do something nice for them. Just a thank you to those who HAVE to be at work saving lives. Thank you to those protecting our country who can't make it home. You all deserve a little of my family time on Thanksgiving.
I won't be shopping on Thanksgiving.

Nov 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Sydney!

Ahhh, my baby girl is 5. I can't believe it. Can someone tell me where the last few years have gone. Honestly, I'm drawing a blank from age 1 to 4. I remember delivering her {that's a whole nutha post in itself,} I remember the sleepless nights, bottle feedings, expensive ass diapers and formula and then that's it. I don't remember her crawling, walking, saying her first word. It's all just a blur. Until now.

She's so sassy but sweet. She has a big personality and an even bigger heart. She loves animals and is a great student. She's just my little ball of energy and she completes this family. Here are some pictures from the last 5 years.


1st Birthday
Minnie Mouse and Georgetown Cupcakes

2nd Birthday
Abby Cadabby Party

3rd Birthday
Pancakes and pajamas with Hello Kitty

4th Birthday
LaLa Loopsy

5th Birthday
Brave Bowling Party

I love that my kids are old enough and just tell me what they want. Sydney loves to bowl, so it was a perfect place to have a party. Each of the party guests got to take home a kitty cat as a favor. I didn't want to just do a bag with pencils, stickers and candy so I got these little kitties from WalMart and they loved them! Thanks Pinterest! Now to plan Bryce's 9th birthday party at Rebounderz in February!

Happy 5th Birthday Sydney Beans!

Nov 10, 2014

Our Holiday Cards

It's a big thing. For me. I was once that parent that took pictures of their kids every other month. It drove the hubs crazy. So we met in the middle. I was able to take a vision, create and send out 200,000 holiday cards every year. Ok, maybe not that many. Only 200 this year. It seems like a lot because I hand write the address on each one. We now take professional pictures only once a year and I have FULL control over the outfits, scouting locations and designing the card. It's the one time of year the other three {who are FAR less excited} get to just shut up and show up. Alas.... our holiday cards.

As I stated in my previous post, this year I decided to build something; #killme. I hate all DIY projects and crafts. Always have. I'm that person that buys EVERYTHING off of Etsy or eBay. I was never that person that could go to Michael's and buy a bunch of glitter, construction paper and modge podge and come up with something amazing. All the stuff you see at my kid's parties has been bought by people who like doing that shit. Like this:
Isn't that centerpiece amazing? I mean, do I get pats on the back for buying the mason jar and filling it with cereal {it was a pancakes and pajamas birthday party.} No? I didn't think so- eye roll. I had four of those. So someone much more talented than I, actually enjoyed making sixteen of those exacto knife cutouts for my kids party to be used as centerpieces. It seems simple enough but that looks like advanced calculus to me. But anyway.. moving on. I built this cocoa stand with my bare hands; blood, sweat and tears. I'm totally not being dramatic. Ok, ok, the hubs helped by using the power tools. I wanted it to look like kids made it and I actually think it turned out nicely. No Pinterest fail here. 
Here are a few pictures I can share with you from the day that aren't going to be used on our card. 

My photographer for the last few years has been Amanda from Amanda Manupella Photography. We met when she was second shooting our engagement session. We decided to make Amanda our family photographer and every year we get some great lasting memories. You can find her website at the link above or on Facebook. She tells us how to stand and snaps away! Most who know me personally, know I like to be different. Although there is nothing wrong with the "big coats, boots, standing next to a Christmas tree" photos, I use these photos around the house too, so I didn't want them to JUST look like holiday photos {hence the street pose.} We need a new family picture in our living room that I am going to blow up and put on a pretty canvas so stay tuned! LOL, yes, another DIY project. Why, Valerie? Why???

Some of you have asked for all the details of the shoot so here ya go:
My shoes are from Just Fab, skirt is from The Limited, jacket from eBay here and my shirt is from NY&Co. 
Charles' shirt and jeans are Rocawear. 
Bryce's shirt and jeans are from Abercrombie & Fitch. 
Sydney's top is from Target and skirt is from Etsy shop Melanie Rose Designs and can be found here. I loved working with her. Her skirts are so adorable and I'll definitely be back to get Sydney more goodies! 

For the cocoa stand:
All the wood/spray paint came from Home Depot. The snowflakes, food items and mason jars came from WalMart and the reindeer mugs came from Target. The red cover is a tree skirt I cut in half from the dollar store. The letters, burlap {behind the letters} and initial stockings came from Michael's. The ornaments in the small vase behind the chocolate powder were my own. Also, I covered the whip cream can with my own wrapping paper. 

Later this week I will blog about my fab stationary chick who creates my gorgeous cards and share with you the previous work she's done for me! Have a great Monday!
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