Hello, it’s me

Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these days you’d like to me to blog
To go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to make ya write
But I ain’t done much writing

Oh, that’s not the Adele version you know? Weird. Holy moly blog hiatus!  I don’t know what happened there!  Actually, I do.  Last week, William and I both were battling a horrible head cold. I had no energy and went to bed shortly after he did every day.  By the time Friday rolled around, we were both wiped.  I put him to sleep, went to bed, woke up at 2:30 in the morning to William throwing up in his crib.  I brought him in my bed; he puked 30 minutes later.  I changed his crib sheets, threw in a load of wash for both of our sheets, and went to sleep in the extra bedroom.  He woke up at 4:30, I brought him in bed, he woke up at 6:30 throwing up on that bed.  Again, at 8:00 in the living room. And one final time at noon in the kitchen.  Gross, laundry, sanitize, sleep.  That was the drill.

William was feeling better Sunday when, naturally, I started feeling funky.  I’ll spare you my details, but I thought my insides were trying to leave my body for a good portion of the day.  Needless to say, I took the day off work on Monday.  Now, we’re both healthy and keeping all our food inside.  Thank goodness.

So HI! What’s been going on?!  Besides sanitizing the heck out of my house and doing a thousand loads of laundry, not a ton has been going on around here!  Here’s a photo to show you that I’m still alive and kickin’…

steph jan16

Stephanie often jokes about how William has no boundaries when it comes to nursing, yet she’s the one who comes in to take a sister selfie WHILE he is nursing!  Talk about no boundaries!  Can you spot his little hand?

We’ve had some crazy nice days of weather which we’ve been sure to get outside as much as possible, especially given the nasty germs inside.

walk jan16

William is talking up a storm these days.  My mom, his Yaya, gets him to talk the most and they converse in full sentences for hours on end.  He babbles and babbles and picks up and understands everything you say. He literally talks in complete sentences now.  It’s quite amazing!

You know how everyone jokes about the “Freshman 15?”  When you go to college and inevitably gain 15 pounds?  Well, the school where I teach looooves to eat. Instead of the Freshman 15, there’s our school’s 20… As delicious as the donuts are in the teacher’s lounge every week, they’re not so great for anyone’s waistline.  This is why I helped to start “Wellness Wednesday,” where we do a 15 minute workout in the morning and share healthy snacks in the lounge.  After National Popcorn Day, I reached out to SkinnyPop and asked if they’d like to sponsor a Wellness Wednesday.

skinnypop snacks

To say teachers were happy about the healthy snack that day would be an understatement!  That SkinnyPop went like wildfire!  Those individual bags are so perfect. I always love SkinnyPop, but sometimes it is hard to demonstrate restraint and portion control when eating out of the big bags. The snack bags are perfectly portioned at 100 calories.  Big thanks to SkinnyPop for being awesome and encouraging healthy snacks!

Robes.  I live in them.  First thing in the morning, I put it on, and it’s the last thing I take off at night.  Right when I come home from school, I undress, put my pajamas on, and then my robe.  I literally live in my robe.  My family constantly questions me as to why I’m always, always in my robe.  “Because it’s so darn comfortable,” I tell them over and over.  Well, for Chanukah, one of William’s gifts he received was a Thomas the Train robe.

robe jan16

This makes my heart so happy! #robes4life

Alright, that’s it for today.  Short and sweet, yes.  Let’s just ease back into this blogging thing. That was my longest hiatus in my four plus years of blogging!

Catch me up – what’s been going on?!

Who is there for you?

Whenever I go through certain situations, good or bad, in life, I am reminded of who is there for me.  The answer is always FAMILY.  Don’t get me wrong – I have the most amazing friends a girl could ask for.  Friends who will be there in the drop of a hat, friends who text and call to check in or just say hi, friends who are shoulders to cry on, smiles to laugh with, and hearts to celebrate with.  But there’s just something about family that provides an irreplaceable bond and everlasting love.

Who are the key members of my family, my roots that keep me grounded:

My mom, William’s Yaya.

yaya read books dec15

My mom is an incredible woman, everyone would agree.  She’s selfless, caring, wise, and always there.  It’s no wonder William asks for Yaya 5,000 times a day upon waking up every morning and before bed each night.  “Yaya?” he says.  “Yaya says, ‘Good morning!'” I tell him.  “Or, ‘Yaya says it’s time to go night night. All the little boys and girls are going to sleep now,'” just as she would say to him.  Yaya reads William books while he sits at the big boy table to eat.  She gets him to eat more than I ever can. We both smile and our hearts are full every time we’re with her.  All kids who know Yaya, whether they’re family or not, call her Yaya.

My sister.

steph dec15

Oh Stephanie. You can’t choose your family, but if I could I’d definitely choose you as my sister!  Stephanie has been my constant cheerleader, my best friend, my stylist, William’s second mom, my photographer, and I could go on and on. There’s truly no bond like sisterhood and she’s definitely the best.

My dad, William’s Pops.

pops guitar dec15

Smartest man I know.  Pops knows everything and can do anything.  He’s always right, never wrong (this is where I get it from!).  He’s been playing his guitar for William since the beginning, and William has learned a love of music from him.  I hope William grows up to be just like Pops!

My grandma, Mama, William’s great grandmother.

yaya mama pooltable dec15

I’ve always had a special bond with Mama. She was the first person I told I was pregnant. She can keep secrets better than anyone I know. Grandparents and great grandparents allow children to do things that normally would not be ok.  Putting William on the pool table is one of them.  Mama taught William how to roll balls on the pool table (as opposed to throw them as he does with every other object) among many other things.  When we go over to their house, getting on the pool table is the first thing William wants to do.  As you can see from his priceless reaction, it clearly makes him very, very happy.

My grandpa, Papa, William’s great grandfather.

papa first pool lesson dec15

William got his first pool lesson from Papa last week.  Papa has taught all his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren about pool and many, many other sports. While Mama lets William sit on the pool table, Papa has him stand on the bench he built over 30 years ago for small little ones to be able to reach. He shows William how to put two hands on the pool stick, aim, and hit the balls.  Everyone is continually impressed with William’s athletic ability and, undoubtedly, it comes from Papa.

Family is everything.

kootman

Just some of my mom’s side of the family.  Family get togethers are so special, and even more so as we get older and bring our own children.

My grandpa, Poppy, William’s great grandfather.

poppys 87 birthday

Poppy just celebrated his 87th birthday!  He’s the youngest and best looking 87 year old, eh?  I am proud to have William named after Poppy and carry on the “Williams” name.  As evidenced by the bottom photo, Poppy with his three sons, he’s instilled a love of family into his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  I know my siblings will have this same strong bond when we reach my dad and his brothers’ ages.

Audrey, my niece.

audrey couch dec15

Audrey is William’s youngest mother.  He is “her baby.”  She taught him pretend play and how to use his imagination.  In this photo, they were pretending to go to sleep.  Jacob wanted in on this photo, and she snapped, “No! William is MY baby!”  “You go up and I’ll go down,” she told William when posing for the picture.  She wants William all to herself and is the kindest and most gentle with him that I’ve ever seen her.  She’s four going on 14, so this is kind of a big deal.

Me & William

nap dec15

William has taught me so many lessons during his 21 months of being here.  He’s taught me unconditional love and has brought me more joy and happiness than I ever knew possible. He’s taught me to slow down and cherish every moment in life.  There’s nothing more important than love and everything else can wait.

bath nye15

Pure happiness. My little man. My everything.

Some days around here can be challenging, I’m not going to lie.  But William reminds me that everything happens for a reason. I need that reminder and I need to believe that.  It will all work out exactly how it’s supposed to. Regardless how it ends, my family is / has / will always be there.  Thank you, family.

Who is there for you?

very merry

Oh hello there!  It’s been almost a week since I’ve blogged, and I hope everyone has been busy sharing their time with friends, family, and loved ones.  We certainly have.  William hopes YOU…

pointing dec15

…had a very Merry Christmas, if you celebrate.  We don’t, but I couldn’t think of anything else creative to say while posting this picture of William pointing.

My sister Stephanie had William last week when his school was closed and I still had to work.  She made an impromptu stop at the studio with William and her kids.  Well, Stephanie has always been a briber, especially when it comes to getting kiddos to smile for the camera.  Apparently, she bribed William to smile (though clearly unsuccessfully here… good thing he’s cute!) with M&Ms.  She thinks it’s hilarious since I literally don’t feed William anything like that at all (personal preference).  I’m not mad because how could I be mad when she takes William to the studio for pictures? But… I was sure to load up her kids on sugar last time I was with them.  Yeah.  You’re welcome. 🙂

The night before Stephanie watched William, Audrey woke up in the middle of the night and told Stephanie, “I know how I’m going to get William to smile!  I’m going to say ‘what what chicken butt!'” Oh the mind of a four year old!

audrey dec15

They’re both getting so darn old.  These two plus Jacob make the three musketeers.

jacob aud dec15

Doesn’t that look like the cover to a CD or something?  No?  Just me.  Alright…

How about the three of them on Christmas?  When we actually celebrated Chanukah with my immediate family.

christmas 2015

linking up with katie and erin

Back to studio shots…. and the best baby ever…

best baby ever dec15

…with the wildest hair ever.  I know I say this at least once a week, but he is turning into such the little boy.  His words increase by the hour (literally!) and he grows bigger by the day (literally!).  Looking back, the newborn stage went by quickly, but this toddler stage is FLYING by.  I know I’m biased, but in addition to being extremely smart, silly, loving, and sweet, William is quite possibly the most beautiful baby ever!

black white dec15

Stephanie knows how much I adore black and white photos.

Anyone and everyone agrees that William is definitely a “Williams” (my maiden name).  He has all the classic Williams features, so it’s no surprise that people repeatedly mistaken him for a brother of Jacob and Audrey.  Do you see it?

jacob audrey william dec15

Such cuties!  I adore all of them!

How has your last week been?  

all photos by stephanie cotta photography

Orangetheory Fitness

Have you heard of Orangetheory Fitness?  I feel like it’s the hot new workout as locations are popping up left and right all around the country.  I actually first did an Orangetheory class back in 2012 in Arizona.  As I was looking at my old recap post, I was laughing because I ended it by saying, “Now if only St. Louis could get an Orangetheory Fitness…”  Haha, I guess good things really do come to those who wait!

Anyway, my younger brother Justin and his wife Dana periodically do Orangetheory classes in Austin, and it was their idea to take a class as a family when they were in town over Thanksgiving.  All my siblings and I went on Friday, and it was a fantastic way to work up a sweat after our big meal the night before!

family orangetheory workout

Stephanie, me, Justin, Dana, Amy, & Jason

Orangetheory Fitness claims that they’re the best one-hour workout in the country by saying, “We are Orangetheory Fitness, the energizing group interval fitness concept that has been named one of the best workouts in the world. This one-of-a-kind workout is divided into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training, designed for maximum energy and calorie burn. Our trainers guide you through a 60-minute workout using treadmills, rowing machines, TRX suspension training™ and free weights, to tone and strengthen your body.”

You have your choice of starting on the treadmill or the rowing machine.  Because of arriving on the later side, all of the treadmills were already taken when we arrived, so we started on the rowing machine.  It was an eight minute segment where we alternated rowing 200 meters then doing 50 bicycle crunches, then rowing 300 meters with 40 bicycle crunches, and 400 meters and 30 bicycle crunches.

The other group remained on the treadmills while we moved over to the strength training portion.  There were two different supersets.  We used the Bosu ball, dumbbells, and our own bodyweight.  One of the exercises included doing plank taps.

orangetheory taps

My body certainly felt it the following days!

Everyone wears a heart rate monitor during the workout.  Your weight is plugged in ahead of time and everyone’s name is displayed on a screen. There are different colors which relate to how hard you’re working and what your heart rate is.  It’s pretty neat and a different way to train!  It’s also an awesome way to push yourself because your heart rate doesn’t lie!

Once we finished the strength training portion, it was time for the two groups to switch places.  We headed to the treadmills and chose if we were going to be a power walker, jogger, or sprinter.  (You can see the chart for the recommendations in my old post.)  I decided on a jogger, but had to power walk at times in order to catch my breath.  I am so out of shape!

orangetheory run

It lasted 25 minutes and was filled with intervals, hills, and active recovery periods.  The instructor coached us through the entire thing and told us how and when to change the incline or pace on our treadmills.

I wish I could have started on the treadmill because I found that portion a lot more challenging.  Next time I’ll know (and I won’t arrive so last minute!).

The instructor explains your workout summary when the class finishes.  The screen displays a lot of information including how much time you spent time you spent in each zone.  You want your bars to form a pyramid – looks like I was right on target!

orangetheory summary

When we were finished stretching and the room was clear, Stephanie and I went back in so she could snap some photos that I could use in this post.  Well, little Audrey who waited so patiently throughout the class wanted to do some yoga with her favorite person.  I happily obliged as we downward dogged together.

orangetheory downward dog

Have you tried Orangetheory Fitness?  Does this type of workout interest you?

Thanksgiving 2015

As expected, Thanksgiving 2015 was awesome!  It’s 9:30 on Sunday evening and I’m hoping to get to bed relatively soon, so this is going to be more like a photo dump post with a few comments.  The long weekend was magnificent.  It was a nice break to be off of school, and it was even better to spend so much time with family and friends – the people who matter most and what the Thanksgiving holiday is all about!  Without further ado, here’s what’s been up the last five days:

My family went out to dinner at Bricktops on Wednesday evening.  All but my momma came as she was at home busily preparing to host 30+ people for Thanksgiving!

justin steph nov15

No family photo that evening, but Stephanie and I were just so happy our baby brother was in town!

There weren’t many candid snapshots taken on Thanksgiving.  I guess that’s what happens when you have so many little ones running around!  Stephanie did set up a Thanksgiving photo booth again this year, so I’ll be sure to post those fun pictures once they’re available.  We tried to take one whole family photo, but that wasn’t until 9:15 in the evening when some of the kiddos <<cough cough William>> were more than ready for bed.  Next year we’ll be sure to do that FIRST! (Right, Mom?! #notecard)

In my family’s true fashion, my siblings and I met at an Orangetheory Fitness bright and early on Friday morning to burn off some of that turkey!  The class was challenging, and we had a great time sweating together!

family orangetheory workout

We hung out at my parents’ house for a good chunk of Friday, ate leftovers at least a couple more times, and the kids cuddled up with Stephanie for story time.

steph reading

Kids always gravitate towards her and there’s always room for everyone on her lap – just how our own mom is!

linking up with katie and erin

Jacob and William’s new thing is piggyback rides.  Even when I tell them that’s enough, William literally crawls on to Jacob and demands “uppy!”  Jacob more than happily obliges and whizzes him around the house!

jacob piggyback

As if we didn’t eat enough on Thanksgiving or the days following, on Friday evening we went to Crown Candy for the first time.  Crown Candy appeared on The Food Network for their BLT (there’s seriously a pound of bacon on it!), but their milkshakes made with real ice cream is what stole the show for me!

crown candy

I really don’t give William sweets (like, at all. I just see no reason to.  He will have his whole life ahead of him to make those decisions on his own!), but very occasionally I’ll give him a bite or drink of something extra delicious.  This chocolate marshmallow milkshake was one of those times, and we both approved!

Saturday was a day to recover (holy cow was I sore from Orangetheory!) and relax, although I didn’t really relax as I got a good chunk of my holiday shopping done.  Chanukah comes early this year… like in six days to be exact, so shopping and wrapping was needed!  It was a productive day, that’s for sure!  I ended the night early by watching a movie in bed – something I haven’t done in years, literally!

Sunday was the perfect day to end the marvelous weekend.  We took William to the St. Louis Science Center for the first time ever, and it was unbelievable!  I think this is where we’re going to spend our winter weekends since there is so much to do!

human hamster wheel

Human hamster wheel?  Yeah, I had just as much fun on that thing as he did!

William loves fish, mainly because he gets to feed the fish in Yaya and Pops’ pond.  However, I think all kids are captivated by fish.  I’d get some for our home if I didn’t have to change their water and clean their tank so frequently, haha.

fish

The weekend concluded with a big family dinner at my parents’ house to celebrate one of my grandfather’s birthdays.  We had such a good time with my family.  William was in an especially good mood.  He loves loves LOVES being with his cousins.  He even got to sit at the kid table (which worked out perfectly since most days he boycotts his high chair).

thanksgiving kidstable

Clearly they had more fun than we did.

thanksgiving kids table

I know I say it all the time, and other parents certainly know what I’m talking about, but he is growing up so fast!  He had on the cutest outfit, too, with a denim button down shirt, navy slacks, and slip on boat shoes.  Ah, can’t handle the cuteness!  Oh, and he even brought his plate to the sink when he was finished.  What?!

Naturally, Stephanie and I had to snap a sister selfie:

steph nov15

Couldn’t ask for a more unbelievable sister!

And Yaya.  Oh, Yaya.  Yaya has a way with kids.  (That’s an understatement.)  All kids ADORE her, William especially.  He asks for Yaya all the time at home.  If he’s upset, I’ll ask him if he wants to call Yaya. “YEAH!” he happily replies!  When asking him to say hi to Pops, often he will say, “Yaya?”  Last night was no different.  Yaya had William full of belly laughs multiple times.  In fact, it was so hard to capture a good photo of them because they were all blurry!  But I think I got one sweet one:

yaya nov15

Those belly laughs didn’t stop all night.  My Uncle Steve was pretending to drop a baby doll and William just thought it was the most hilarious thing EVER.

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What a wonderful weekend.  I hope you had a special Thanksgiving filled with delicious food, good health, and being surrounded with those you love.  I know I did.

What were some of your Thanksgiving weekend highlights?

Hello, short week!

Hello, short week!  It’s a two-day work week for me, and the rest will be filled with tons of time spent with family, friends, and the best food ever.  Thanksgiving is my family’s favorite holiday, so to say I’m excited about it is an understatement.  I’m sure there will be plenty of turkey talk later this week.  For now, I’ll share a bit about my weekend, though few photos were taken.  The highlight photo was definitely William and Pops jammin’ out on their guitars on Sunday night.

pops guitar nov15

My dad used to be in a band, and one of William’s absolute favorite things to do is listen to Pops sing, watch him play, and jam out on the mini guitar right alongside with him.  Pops has been playing the guitar to William ever since he was born, and the photos just keep getting cuter and cuter.  William gets so excited!  I don’t have a musical bone in my body, so I’m very grateful he gets this time with Pops!

Let’s back up and I’ll recap the weekend with the few photos I did take.  It was completely low key sprinkled with a few times with family and friends.  Friday night was spent at home, in bed early, catching up on sleep.  Saturday morning included a breakfast date with William’s two girlfriends, Carly and Emily.  With all three little ones it was a bit chaotic, though they all did great, so unfortunately we did not get a picture with them at the restaurant.  We went to First Watch which is one of my favorite places to eat.  Fun fact: First Watch was my first real job as I was a hostess then a server!

A few errands were run on Saturday, followed by an impromptu play date with William’s bud Wolf.

wolf nov15

They were fighting about who got to push the grocery cart, so I suggested one of them get in it.  When I Instagrammed this photo, one of my friends commented, “This is like baby MTV Ridiculousness!”  LOL.  These two will definitely be trouble as they get older!

Saturday night was another night in complete with Thai food carry-out for dinner.  We’ve totally been digging this one place in particular.  I want to try to make some Thai food.  Anyone have any good recipes?  Their red curry seafood dish is my favorite!

linking up with katie and erin

On Sunday morning, we headed to Wolf’s birthday party which was located at Toy Tyme.  It’s basically a big play room for kids with tons of different toys.  It has everything from trains and cars to kitchen accessories to dress up clothes to a trampoline to chalk and crayons and markers.  I thought it was a great place for a birthday party!  We had only been once before for a play date in the summer.  William loved the kitchen area.  That’s his favorite pretend play right now.  My parents are getting William a kitchen set for Chanukah which will be the most perfect gift ever!  I need to look into getting some of the accessories for his other gifts!  Maybe a shopping cart, too?

grocery cart

And Sunday ended with a lovely family dinner.  On my last post someone asked how I always captured pictures of William smiling that aren’t blurry.  Ha!  I responded by saying I literally take 100 (usually), but there are instances where William is too busy or has no interest in stopping playing for a photo.  Last night was one of those times.

sundaynight

Silly gooses.  So much love between those three.  We missed Jason and Jackson last night, especially because it was Jason’s birthday yesterday!  Happy birthday, Big Brother!  We will celebrate this week, for sure! Love you!

Besides his momma of course, the other two people that William absolutely adores and makes him SO HAPPY ALL THE TIME is his Yaya and Pops.

yaya pops nov15

They are really and truly the most amazing people ever.  If you know them, then you know what I’m talking about.  Literally, in every way possible.  I’m so grateful for them, for everything they do, and for their constant love and support.  There’s nobody like them in this world.  They are one of a kind.

Have a good (and hopefully short!) work week and get excited for Thanksgiving!  Clearly, I am!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Halloween 2015

Obligatory Halloween 2015 post NOW!  Few words, lots of cuteness, here we go!

halloween2015 thomas train

After not wanting to wear his Thomas the Tank Engine Halloween costume for a few weeks prior, William cooperated on actual Halloween and kept it on.  He wanted no part of the conductor hat and bandana, but hey, the shirt was the big part of the costume, so I’ll take it!

The tradition in my family is to go to my grandparents’ house on Halloween with all the cousins and take picture in front of the infamous tree that William is standing before.  For decades (literally), kids and families have been getting their picture taken in that exact spot.  All the St. Louis cousins:

halloween2015 cousins

William would have preferred that I hold him (momma’s boy!), but one of his cousins held him in place long enough for Stephanie to snap the picture.  I love all their different costumes!

Mama and Papa with 11 of their 14 great-grandchildren:

halloween2015

How amazing?!  We were just missing the three Houston cousins.

linking up with katie and erin

William was quite a trooper on Halloween.  St. Louis does “trick or treat” (I don’t understand why other cities don’t do this…) where you have to tell a joke or do a trick in order to get your treat.  William’s trick was saying choo-choo just like Thomas!  And he actually did it for several houses!  He was loving walking around from house to house; I couldn’t believe how much he walked!  And momma was more than happy to take / eat all his candy.  Since he doesn’t know what candy is right now, I figure there’s no reason to introduce it to him this young.  He’ll have pleeeenty of years to discover it and eat it.

halloween 2015

And one last picture since you all know how much I love my niece Audrey.  This picture Stephanie took of Phil throwing her in the air is just awesome and will make your day.

audrey halloween

All photos courtesy of Stephanie Cotta Photography

What did you do on Halloween?  Did you or your kid(s) dress up?  I went to a Halloween party on Friday and dressed up as a nurse!

crystal inspired leggings

I had this great idea for a post today.  I’m running a race on Sunday, and I just got a new pair of crystal inspired leggings which are awesome.  So I planned on putting together a really fantastic post full post beautiful photos suggesting various yoga poses for runners.  A few days ago I was at my sister’s and demanded politely asked if she would snap a couple shots of me.

My all time favorite / most needed stretch is pigeon pose.  My hips have always been tight, but especially so lately.  I feel like I have no flexibility in them, and at times, they ache when I try to do different movements.  Pigeon pose is a great way to open your hips and stretch them out.

pigeon

On Sunday, I’ll be running the Great GO! St. Louis Halloween Race.  Any race put on by GO! is sure to be a winner, and I’ve been lucky enough to be chosen as a Chipotle runner again.  There is a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and a 1-mile fun run / costume contest.  I’m just going for the 5K on Sunday.  I’d like to have done the half marathon.  I’m not fully trained for it by any means, but I learned that’s ok last April; I could have powered through.  But due to some time restraints I’m faced with on Sunday, the 5K is the only one that will work.  And you know me, I love racing.  I’d rather race something rather than nothing!  I did this same 10K a few years ago, and it’s always fun to see people running in costumes.  I’m not that brave.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve run a 5K race, so I’m eager to see what my time is.  The excitement of race day always pushes me to run faster.  My obvious goal is under ten-minutes, but I’d really love to be under 27-minutes, if I’m being honest.  That’d really be pushing it for me with the kind of shape I’m in right now.  We shall see!

dancers pose

So these new leggings I got are from Confused Girl in the City.  Where did the name “confused girl” come from?  Confused Girl is about accepting yourself just as you are at this moment. This acceptance will lead you to your TRUE NATURE.  I love it!  That’s completely in alignment with everything I believe in!

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”

Confused Girl has the most beautiful patterns and aren’t like anything I’ve ever seen before.  They are crystal inspired leggings; how cool is that?!  The pattern on the leggings I’m wearing are images taken from a beautiful Brazilian agate geode crystal. As a stone of harmony, one of the things agate does is balance yin/yang energy. Agate increases energy.  Some of the key features of Confused Girl leggings are:

  • 4 Way Stretch
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Breathable Material
  • Eco-Friendly: Water-based Ink
  • Composition: 90% Polyester/ 10% Lycra
  • Made in: Los Angeles, CA

downward dog

Downward dog – such a classic pose.  It was about this time in the evening that Jacob, Audrey, and William really were wanting to get in the picture.  You know how I feel about that.  Yoga for everyone!  At first I thought there was no way that I could get William, 18-months old, to go into downward dog.  And then this seriously happened:

kids yoga

HOW AMAZING?!?!  Of course Audrey is there striking a pose on her own, trying to be the spotlight instead of doing what we’re all doing.  Silly girl, such a unique character.  She’s always been a yoga lover though and has been doing tree pose with me since she was just two years old.  William and I will definitely be practicing yoga more often!

Then things continued to get silly as William wanted me to hold him, Audrey wanted to get on my back, and Jacob is never one to get left out.

audrey jacob yoga

I love those babies!  Alright, so here’s the deal:

  • St. Louis friends: sign up for the Halloween race with me this weekend!
  • If you’d like to get your hands on (or your legs in!) a pair of the beautiful crystal inspired leggings, you may use the 15% off coupon code “Bye Felicia” and get FREE domestic shipping!

Are you racing this weekend?  Will you wear a costume in a race?

it’s the simple things

Today on September 11th, it’s important to remember this day that changed our country forever.  The lives that were lost, the families that were affected, and the many heroes who will always be remembered in our hearts.  Never forget.  While I don’t have any magnificent words of comfort, I’d like to ask you to hug your loved ones a little closer, appreciate the freedom we have, and say a prayer for those who are grieving today.

Days like today serve as a good reminder to acknowledge the small things in life; it’s the simple things that bring the most happiness anyway.  Along those lines, I have just a few photos to share from this week that have brought me happiness amidst a challenging time in my own life right now.  You really never know what someone may be going through or how they may be affected by certain events.  So like I said, hug your loved ones a little closer and offer support to those who may be in need.

This face, those curls, that smile:

pajamas

So much happiness.  Some days I absolutely cannot fathom that this precious baby grew inside me and has turned into a little boy what seems to be overnight.  Everyday he grows bigger, learns new things, and never ceases to amaze me.

Walking with Pops:

pops walk

The simple things in life, like walking with a loved one, should never be taken for granted.  Those of you who know me understand why this picture is extra special right now.  William loves the outdoors, and he loves his Pops even more!  And with good reason, too!  I always say that my dad is the smartest person I know.  Not only is he smart, he has the kindest heart, an immense strength within, and the ability to learn, persevere, and achieve success at any and everything he puts his mind to no matter how simple or grand.  I’m proud to call him my dad and a role model for William.

Reading with Yaya:

yaya read sept15

My mom has read with William from the very beginning, and is probably responsible for his love of books.  While I read with William on a daily basis, as well, there’s a bond between a grandma (well, a Yaya) and a baby that is unlike anything else.  William learns so much from Yaya every second he’s with her.  After all, my mom (and dad) did a pretty darn good job raising us four kiddos, so I let her work her magic on William whenever possible!  I know William is learning from her, but what he doesn’t know is that his momma is, too!  I try to emulate my mother in every way possible.  She’s just amazing, and anyone who knows her would agree.

Back to the simple things, this outfit:

cardinals onesie

William spilled milk all over his outfit yesterday, so when I picked him up from school, he was in this Cardinals onesie with his sneakers.  It was too funny not to laugh and snap a photo.  Oh, and by the way, I’m pretty sure William is the fastest baby ever.  He’s running, legit running, all over the place these days!

Other simple things that are making me happy this week which should always be considered part of a healthy life include the rest of my family (my niece Audrey told her mom, my sister Stephanie, that she wanted to nurse like baby William nurses me… she’s almost four years old lol), my friends, my health, good food, fitness, enough sleep, reduction of stress, my coworkers, my job, and my life in general.  It’s the simple things, not materialistic things, that matter most.

So tell me, what simple things are making you happy today?

Durango to Silverton Train

One thing my family likes to do during family vacations is stay busy.  We went hiking.  Our latest adventure included the Durango to Silverton Train.  It was a great way to see some beautiful sites, explore the town, and make memories by having new experiences.  In our group, there were nine adults and six kiddos.  Doing anything with that large of a group is sure to make an adventure.  We drove a short distance from our resort in Durango, hopped on the train for a two and a half hour ride to Silverton, ate lunch and walked around the town, boarded a bus, stopped at Molas Pass, and headed back to Durango.  It was a busy day, everyone was worn out by the end, but it was an experience we certainly couldn’t have had in St. Louis.

When we first got to the train station, we had a short wait.  The area was covered in rocks, and if you know anything about the children in my family, they love rocks.  They pick out “special” rocks to save, ask every adult to hold them for later, and love searching and sorting for the biggest, shiniest, and coolest rocks.  Although William is just 15 months old, he, too, joined in on the rock collection fun.

rock train

Look, Momma! A rock!

We put all the rocks in a pile “for later,” and the excitement peaked when we heard the train approaching.  I got a quick picture before the adventure began, and we were on our way for William’s first train ride.

train colorado

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad winds through spectacular & breathtaking canyons in the remote wilderness of the two-million acre San Juan National Forest for an unforgettable year-round adventure. Experience the adventure of traveling by a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive on the same tracks miners, cowboys and settlers of the Old West took over a century ago. Relive history with the sights and sounds of yesteryear for a truly spectacular journey on board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

The train ride was fun with countless spectacular sites.  Everyone’s eyes were glued to the outside, and between all of us, probably hundreds of pictures were taken.  We stopped a couple of times, and of course Stephanie captured it perfectly.

river

Like I said, every sight was spectacular.

Linking up with Katie and Erin.

When we stopped in Silverton, we were ready to get off.  The town was quaint and bustling with people ready to eat, walk, and explore.  We snapped a quick photo of most of the group (sorry, Dana and Justin, you missed this one).

train

We walked around before finding a restaurant that could accommodate our large party.  We ended up at the Shady Lady Saloon which was built in the 1880’s and was the last brothel in Silverton.  The last madam, known to the trade as Jew Fanny, permanently closed her professional doors in 1947.  The food was mediocre, but it filled our bellies and we still had some time before the bus came.  We walked some more and ended up on a rooftop of another restaurant.  Arm wrestling and other shenanigans took place.

justin dad arm wrestle

The bus driver suggested stopping at Molas Pass on the way home because of the view.  He was certainly correct, and we stretched our legs, snapped some photos, and took in the fresh air for a short time before getting back on the bus.

yaya pops

William with his Yaya and Pops.  So lucky.

With the beautiful view in the background, I had to attempt a handstand.  It had been far too long since I’ve gone upside down somewhere cool.  Not the best, but it worked:

handstand colorado

What kind of adventures do you go on during vacations?