30 June 2011

P90X

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I’m finally ready to write about this. 

It’s been 7 long weeks since Morgan and I began this journey together. 

It started out as something he asked me to do with him.  My husband was craving an exercise routine.  Something that would kick-start him back into something more regular, for life. 

He’s also approaching a certain “middle age”, although you’d never know it.  He’s kind of a freak of nature (in the most loving kinda way). 

I easily agreed to do it, thinking it would be a good alternative to exercising outdoors in our summer heat.  Hikes are no longer possible and yappy dogs that bark and nip at 6 AM make running around our neighborhood, irritating.

I also thought, “Sure, it would be fun to work out together and encourage one another along the way.”  

Confession:  The first 2 weeks, I was miserable.  Everyday I was thinking, “Are you serious?  What on earth have I gotten myself into?”  90 days seemed like a lifetime away.  To say that I had a “bad attitude” during those first two weeks would be a gross understatement.  I complained, I growled, I dreaded, I hated it.  My whole body was sore.

Push-ups, pull-ups, Kenpo, who?  Plyo, what?    Seriously, who cares!!

Sadly, Morgan walked on egg shells during those first two weeks.  He would gently encourage me everyday and did everything possible to accommodate my schedule, as well as my mood.  Thankfully, we can laugh about it today.

If you’re not familiar with P90X, the X stands for X-TREME.  Each work out is 60-90 minutes long, 6 days a week.  Here’s a recent comment I read regarding P90X…

“I consider myself to be in great shape. I work out multiple times a week combining cardio and weight lifting. I figured if anything, P90X would serve as a good tool to help me kick it up a notch.

false.

P90X is HARDCORE. If you want to kick things up a notch, give the SHRED a try, not P90X.

P90X is structured for muscle confusion. Each day is different, targeting different sets of muscles and providing either a cardio or weight-lifting workout. In addition, each WEEK is different. It’s not like you just keep rotating the same DVDs in a continuous loop.”

That being said, before we began, I had never seen the infomercial or knew anything about it.  Apparently everyone else had.  I can see why so many people start and never finish.  Did I mention I was sore for two weeks straight?

Remember my exercise routine?  Yes, I exercise regularly and had done so for years but since becoming a mom, it was reduced to only 20 min./3x’s a week.  I pretty much did the bare minimum to make myself feel and look “healthy.”

In a short period of time after we began, Morgan started to see and feel results rather quickly and became encouraged.  No surprise here.  Let’s face it, he didn’t have that far to come!  I was happy for him.  He was on his way to reclaiming a new desire for healthy living and exercise.  Good for him.  Good for us!

Somewhere between the grumbling of week 3, the soreness in my muscles began to subsided.  And once we determined an early morning time and routine that worked best for us me, my irritation (and bitterness) began to fade as well.

Fast forward and here we are to Week 7. 

I can’t believe we’re finally over the hump!  I do a lot less grumbling these days.  In fact, I’ve even been known to get Morgan’s rear in gear.  This is especially true since he’s typically not a “morning person.”

So, what’s my goal after spending the majority of my summer (13 weeks) surviving P90X? 

My primary goal (from the very beginning) was and still is, to be there for my husband.  Admittedly, I failed at this the first 2 weeks.  He asked me on this X-treme journey because he wanted my companionship and encouragement.  He wanted to experience the highs and the lows- with me.  He wanted us to accomplish a goal- together.  Bottom line- he needed a partner and he wanted me. 

Believe it or not, my goal is NOT to be “ripped” like the people you see on the ads.  I like no, love! to eat and the time I devote to being an intentional mom and homemaker is very precious to me, and to my family.

However, once we’ve completed the 13 weeks, Morgan and I plan to stay on a maintenance schedule that includes 3 days of “not-so-extreme” work outs.  And as weather permits, we look forward to getting outdoors to do more fun activities, which of course, include the girls.

Lessons learned thus far:  For the first time in my life, I feel physically strong.  It only took 40 years but I  no longer feel like the scale and the size of my clothes define my mood.  In fact, I care less and less about what I weigh.  I haven’t weighed myself since after the first week (when I gained 3 lbs. and my hubby kept trying to tell me its muscle). Smile 

I have a new appreciation for how God designed our intricate bodies as well as the purpose and responsibility we have for a healthy and balanced life.  It’s amazing how physical and spiritual balance go hand in hand.  I also realized that I’m actually capable of much more than I thought I was. 

Most of all, these past 7 weeks have been a huge lesson in perseverance.  Like any worthwhile life endeavor, perseverance is a process that challenges, stretches, and then changes you- for the better. 

In many ways, perseverance becomes more about the journey, rather than the destination. 

At this point, I can’t see myself quitting (not that I ever was going to).  We’ve come too far and we’re almost there.  Besides, my goal in life (as well as in P90X), is to finish the race well- with the Lord’s help, to the very end, beside my man.

I’m thinkin’ the “P” in P90X must stand for perseverance!

God willing, 6 more weeks to go!  Bring it.

29 June 2011

Tea Party

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This gorgeous tea set was another garage sale find, gifted to us by my girlfriend, Hailey.  We love it.
I wanted to surprise the girls when they woke up from their afternoon nap (yes, they still nap and it’s wonderful!).
Before coming downstairs, I asked them to make sure they were “dressed up” (nothing new here). 
I told them I had a special surprise waiting for them.
They even got to wear my pearls.  Smile
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No afternoon tea is complete without finger foods! I made mini oatmeal raisin cookies and pb & honey sandwiches.
Mommy even dressed up for the occasion.  I broke out the vintage lace dress and pearls.
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Pouring Grace a spot of “tea.”  I used daddy’s Kiwi Strawberry Vitamin Water (mostly because it was pink!).
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Learning how to sip our tea like a fine young lady.
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I’m certainly no expert but we also talked about lady-like table manners, how to wipe our mouths with napkins and place them on our laps, as well as overall tea etiquette.  
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My girls are so sweet.  Several times afterwards, they kept thanking me for the party. 
When being tucked into bed that night, they said it was the BEST part of their day. Smile
What a privilege it was for me to watch my daughters as I  joyfully served them in this way. 
They beamed with love, worth, devotion, and graceful beauty.  They lovingly hung on my every word. 
I’m convinced!  We must do this again and somewhat often.  Every little (and big) girl needs a tea party.

“The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.” ~Margaret D. Nadauld

28 June 2011

summer, skirts, and feminine glory

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Fact:  I wear more skirts and dresses in the summer. 

Fact:  I can’t deny how distinctly lovely and feminine I feel when I do!

About a month ago, I came across Deuteronomy 22:5. 

“A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.” 

I’ve been pondering on the verse ever since.

Immediately, I thought about how my own girls love to play “dress up” and wear dresses.  If given a choice- they would choose to wear a dress everyday, every minute of the day- hands down.

It got me thinking…

How wonderful it is that God purposefully designed a man and a woman (from a very early age) to have obvious and distinct differences?  Brilliant!

I’ve always been a bit of a girlie girl but I also own my fair share of jeans, shorts, and other pants.

About two weeks ago, I decided to make a conscious effort to dress more feminine. 

I know what you’re thinking. 

That’s no huge stretch- especially since it’s summer and well over 100 degrees where I live.  But for me, it became more about deciding to embrace the Word of God and His true, divine purpose behind Deut. 22:5. 

When I informed Morgan about my decision, he first wanted to know why. 

I told him. 

Then he answered, “I like you in skirts.”         

I’m pretty sure he likes me in anything. Smile 

My guess is that most husbands would respond in a similar way.  I believe if given a choice, husbands would want their wives to look like lovely women, not men. 

A woman’s strength and beauty is her glory.

I’m not saying that I’m never going to wear pants again.  And you probably won’t see me in an ankle length skirt or bonnet anytime soon (if that’s you’re style, I’m not judging!).   I am, however, going to earnestly start praying about it.

I love how I feel when I’m dressed in a flowing skirt or dress.  Light, breezy, joyful, softer yet strong.  Dare I even say…  sexy?    

God certainly knows what He’s doing and had specific gender roles in mind when He designed a man and a woman.  He even thought it was important enough to include how we should dress in the bible. 

I figure the least I could do is pray about it.

One day, I might even let you know where God’s will and my stubborn surrender meet.

Until then, I say, “Vive la difference!”

27 June 2011

Palm Desert Aquatic Center

There’s something new to do in our town!  The much anticipated PDAC opened this weekend. 

It’ll be open year-round and it just happens to be practically across the street!

Splash play area for the kids…

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2 waterslides for the big kids (that’s Morgan, halfway up the stairs)…

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A competition pool that goes from 4 ft. to 16 ft. deep.

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For the competition pool, a swim test was required for the little ones.

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The girls had to swim about 25-30 yards without stopping.  Then they had to tread water for 10 seconds. 

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Test completed and passed! They got their big girl wristbands for the day.  Pretty funny that people were cheering them on from the sidelines. 

Faith asked afterwards, “Why was the test so easy?” Little fishies, I tell ya!

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First time on a diving board (first with daddy)…

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Yes!!  We have smiles!

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After that, you couldn’t stop ‘em!  They went over and over and over again…

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Look at my little, I mean BIG girl waiting her turn in the diving board line.

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I couldn’t let the kids have all the fun.  I needed to show ‘em how it’s done…

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Believe it or not, this jump started out as a beautiful split toe-toucher!  Yeah, right… hilarious!

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Ok, this is more like it.  Can you say… “Show off?” Smile

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There she goes!  Daddy watches from the sidelines…

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Proof- if you truly trust someone, anything is possible.  My brave Gracie on the high dive!

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It’s always nice when there’s something new to do in your town.  It’s especially wonderful when it’s family friendly and inexpensive.  For residents, it was only $13 for our whole family ($4/adult and $2.50/child).

We’re sure glad we didn’t buy those Knott’s Soak City passes this year!

Grilled Pizza

On my “to-try” list this summer- Grilled Pizzas!  Here’s my first (but not last) attempt.   
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I thought I might burn my first couple of tries so I opted to use premade dough instead of making my own.  The whole wheat dough from Fresh & Easy was delish.  I’d definitely use it again.  
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No need for round pizzas.  Odd shapes add to the homemade and rustic feel.  These are approx. the size of my hand. 
Save the rest in an air tight container.  Freezer ready.
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Some toppings:  Fresh mozzerella, pineapple, smoked ham, sliced tomatoes, basil, and baby spinach.  For the pizza sauce, I used evoo and roasted tomato pesto.
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The key to grilled pizzas:  The 3 T’s-  Timing, Temperature, and Toppings.  It’s a fast process once you put the dough on the hot grill so timing and temperature need to be closely monitored.  The last T is for toppings (less is more).  You wanna pick things that cook fast.
The grilled chicken was for another yummy dish.  
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Indirect heat works well to melt/heat the toppings.
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Looking for a crispy, golden brown crust.
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It definitely had that smoky grilled flavor and chewy/crunchy crust.  Overall, for my first attempt it wasn’t too bad.  I only burned one piece of dough that had to be thrown away. SmileI saw lots of potential for future grilled pizzas!    
Most importantly, my family enjoyed it, so that’s all that matters.  Buon Appetito!     
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