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Enchantment

Apparently today is my anniversary with WordPress, which means I’ve been doing this little blog thing for two years now. That seems crazy, but then I have to two year olds, which is even crazier. 🙂

We have had some insanely busy weekends lately. It seems like we’ve always had something schedules for at least the last month, if not more. This weekend wasn’t really any different, though the busy schedule belongs to Ken and not to our family as a whole. As the school year winds down and graduation starts to cast it’s momentous shadow over the land he is going to be a very busy guy. I am trying to squeeze in family stuff where I can. This past week for example he was home Monday and Tuesday night, gone Wednesday, home Thursday, but was sick so I don’t feel like that counts, gone Friday night, will be gone tonight, and is working most of tomorrow. That’s a lot of time away from his girls.  And a lot of time for the girls to be away from him. I feel like if we go and do things then we are able to focus more on spending time together whereas when we stay home dishes/laundry/housework/fixing things all seem to weasel their way into our focus.

There’s a little… amusement park, I guess, just south of Salem called Enchanted Forest. I have very found memories of going there as a child. It’s quaint and little, but still entertaining for young kids. As Ken put, it’s Disneyland Lite. 1 Beware: there are very few pictures of the girls faces. Getting them to look away from everything and at me was a challenge, but I’m also a little obsessed with the back of their heads at the moment. I cannot begin to explain why. There’s something about their blonde heads next to each other (YES! They are both blonde now.) that I just adore. Like they are constantly in cahoots with each other.

2FYI, this park is exactly the same now as it was 20 years ago.

3I love that the girls are still free when we go to things like this. I am going to be a sad momma when they turn three and we have to pay admission for them.

4See? Two blondie bears. I miss Hazel’s brown hair. The blonde is beautiful, but I was in love with how dark her hair was when she was born.  I’m still interested to see if Haley’s hair will darken like everyone thinks or stay brown. With how much the girls like to be outside and summer just around the corner, I pretty confident I will still have two yellow haired girls in the fall.

5Peeking in Snow White’s cottage. I love this. They adore Snow White and Hazel was walking around singing “heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho”. They also had the dwarves cave to walk through with black light and colored rocks and a vignette of the dwarves working away. And then there was this.

PicMonkey CollageHaley refused to go in. Ken and Hazel went, but when I asked him what was inside, he couldn’t remember.

6How gorgeous is Oregon in the spring?!?! Yes, it is a little chilly, and wet for what seems like an endless amount of time, but it is beautiful. And in my secret heart of hearts I think I would miss the rain if we ever left. But don’t tell anyone. 🙂

 

9Their first (kinda) ride! I’m having Splash Mountain flashbacks looking at Haley’s face. Now I understand why my mom loves that family photo so much. This is a winner. I am going to keep it forever and ever and use it for their high school graduation, wedding, and any other important life events that require a photo slideshow.

There is also a western town, and a medieval village, but I quickly forgot about taking photos because I was enjoying having fun with the girls and I didn’t want to hassle with the camera. They do have some rides. One is a Matterhorn knock off that Haley is tall enough to ride, we didn’t try it, but I do want to go back and see what she thinks. Hazel needs to grow an inch before she can go on it, or I need to buy her cowboy boots before we go back. There was also a log ride, but the height requirement was 42″. And then there was a kiddie section with bumper boats, a mini ferris wheel, a frog hopper, and (ding ding ding! we have a winner!) a little train. Which they loved and wanted to ride again and again and again.

10Have I mentioned lately how much she loves her daddy? They have such a great bond and it makes me so happy that he has someone who loves him best of all. Especially after going through a very mommy-centric phase (which Haley is still in, by the way), it’s nice that there is a girl for both of us.

After the train ride, we only had four ride tickets left. Which was just enough for Ken and Hazel to go in the haunted house. The creepy, run down haunted house. I still cannot believe Hazel went in with him. But Ken was saying he really wanted to go in and Hazey piped up with an I go too, Daddy. They walked up the stairs to the house together. About halfway up a werewolf howled and Hazel stopped on the steps and looked up at the house. Ken asked if she still wanted to go in and she said yes, bless her little heart.

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If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve already seen this picture. The haunted house is right next to the Western Town.

Haley and I parked it on a bench near the exit and munched on popcorn and dried cranberries while we waited.

12She came out in Ken’s arms, but wasn’t in tears or even seemed to be afraid. Ken said she flinched once when something moved and watched most of the house with her head resting on his shoulder. I’m so proud of her. She’s so brave and I’m so happy Ken has a kid to do the haunted house/roller coaster stuff with, and that I have a someone to keep me company while they are gone.

13We left pretty quickly after that because the girls were starting to get tired and a little over stimulated and Ken is still recovering from a nasty cough. I think we will definitely go back at least a couple more times this summer, I know my mom really wants to go with them, and I would like to try some more of the rides. They do live outdoor performances of fairy tales as well and I think that would be fun to get the girls use to the idea of going to the theater.

Does anyone have suggestions for other lesser known things to do this summer?

Happy Easter

This was the Easter I was hoping for last year. You know, when Haley had a temperature and was an absolutely miserable mess. This year was different. This year everyone was healthy, the girls were excited, engaged, and absolutely loving all the fun that comes with holidays.

1Their baskets were pretty low-key. I learned my lesson at Christmas. It doesn’t take much to keep them entertained and if I try to show them too many things they get overwhelmed. So, it was just little things and then Snow White for them to share (which we are watching while I write this). After they went through their baskets, we did a trail egg hunt in the playroom to practice for later. What’s that, Mom? You want us to go pick up eggs with candy in them? Don’t have to ask us twice!

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3Ken’s parents had flown in on Saturday and so after the girls ate as many jelly beans as they could sneak past me, we loaded up and started the two hour-ish drive to his sister’s house. I think this was the first holiday Ken’s entire family has been together for in maybe four years? Maybe five. Certainly since all the grand-kids have been born.

The girls were really excited to see everyone. They love their cousin Eva something fierce. We didn’t waste too much time before letting them go into the backyard for another egg hunt. I think these photos speak for themselves, so I won’t slow anyone down with my words.

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9And then this is probably my favorite picture of the day:

15This caption for this photo is: Touch my candy and you die.

I did put aside most of my food issues (hooray!) and eat lots and lots of yummy food that I normally don’t eat. It was glorious! I loved every bite, but I am definitely feeling a little food hungover today (is that a thing?).

16I did miss getting to see my family, but my mom did babysit the girls Friday night so Ken and I could go to Cirque Du Soliel (amazing!!!) and the girls got Easter presents from my mom that night. They had so much fun that they didn’t even say anything about missing me the next morning. The first thing they said was “Where Gramma go?”. I’m chopped liver.  But I’m okay with that.

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19Hazel helping Ken fly the remote control helicopter his dad had. She loved it. I have back yard envy. There’s a fence, it’s safe, and it’s small enough that I could see the girls from inside, but large enough that they had plenty of room to run. Sigh. Someday.

I hope everyone had a great Easter, as well!

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photo

Haley: Um…  yeah.

Hazel: Um, no.

Haley: Um, yeah, sissy. You do like pancakes.

Hazel: Thanks, sissy!

 

Turning to look in the potty after she got done pooping.

Hazel: Whoa! Big!

I have a 12-year-old boy’s sense of humor. I thought this was hysterical. She sounded so impressed!

 

We just taught the girls how to do the Marco Polo call and response. We use it at the playground mostly, when one of them goes into a play structure where it’s hard for us to see them. It’s really cute. What’s even cuter is when they do it with each other, because then it usually ends up being something like this:

Haley: Marco!

Hazel: Polo!

Haley: Polo!

Hazel: Marco!

 

Haley: Hello, what you doing?

Hazel: Twirling.

Haley: Oh, can I do too?

Hazel: Sure!

 

Haley: giggle I naughty.

Me: You’re naughty?! Why are you naughty?

Haley: Because I being a stinker!

Hazel: I stinker too! And piglet.

 

Ken: Are you a wild child?
Haley: No, I a girl name Haley.

 

Hazel: Don’t eat my banana, Daddy! Eat you banana.

  • There are not enough hours in the day. I mean, there kinda is because I’m absolutely wiped by the time the girls go to bed, but there’s not because I have this long list of stuff I want to do and I rarely get past the first two or three. I’m talking about stuff I want to do, not the stuff I need to do…. It would probably help if I didn’t spend nap time getting sucked into the Facebook vortex.
  • Speaking of the great time suck, I deleted the FB app off of my phone and am training myself to only check FB on the computer. It’s cut down how often I am on, which cuts down how much residual drama stress I take on. Also, there is a direct correlation between how much I am online to how fussy the girls are.
  • I am ridiculously excited to take the girls to Disneyland next year. Like… can’t even focus on anything else I’m so excited. Pray that this passes quickly cause it’s still 8 months away and I have other things to think about between then and now.
  • I’m really excited for Easter this year. Haley had a high temperature last year on Easter and was as miserable as can be. I feel like we didn’t even really get to do it last year. I have all sorts of plans this time around. Hopefully, everyone will stay healthy!

  • Does anyone have thoughts on when to transition to big girl beds? Everything I’ve read recommends to just keep them in their cribs until they climb out or seem uncomfortable, but we have some traveling to do this summer and Haley has learned how to climb out of the pack and play. Would life just be easier if I moved them out of their cribs before hand? Also, toddler beds or twin beds? Thoughts? I know I’m over thinking this, but that’s what I do! I would love advice from parents that have been there, done that.
  • I lost 5 more pounds, which makes a total of 15 pounds lost since January 1st. This also means that I now weigh less than I did in 8th grade! I have five more pounds that I want to lose to get to my goal and then it’s just maintaining/building muscle. I’m in love with my muscles! I saw my oblique line the other day and had an epic dance party over it. I feel strong with muscles, and sexy and empowered and like Wonder Woman/Catwoman(Michelle Pfieffer, not Halle Berry)/Mystique all combined.

  • That being said, I had a wild mushroom flat bread pizza last night that was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten and panna cotta made with goat cheese and my mouth died and went to heaven without me.
  • Spring is here. I love it!

PicMonkey Collage

The girls’ language skills have really blossomed in the last few months. Ken and I are still needed to translate for everyone else on the planet, but we understand almost everything they say and marvel at the sentences they are able to come up with.

 

Upon coming outside to play.

Me: Yikes, it’s kind of cold out here.

Haley: Yeah,  I know, Momma.

And yes, she said that with all the attitude her little body possesses.

25Me: Haley, did you see what pajamas you have on?

Haley: Penguins! I. Love. Penguins.

Me: I know. I washed them for you.

Haley: Thanks, Mom.

24Hazel’s new thing is to say “I don’t know” when you ask her a question, even if she knows the answer.  Like “What do want to eat, Hazey?” “um, I don’t know. Banana!” And speaking of bananas the ladies almost never just call them bananas. They call them “bitabanana”. Which is toddler speak for a bite of banana.  It’s pretty cute. But then, let’s face it. Everything they say is cute, even when it isn’t what I want them to say. 🙂

But this is the conversation that melted my cold, cold heart into a puddle of goo.

Haley: I little bit scared, sissy.

Hazel: It okay, I protect you.

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Wow, writing this second post has been really challenging. I guess it’s just proof, right? That it’s so easy to complain and be negative, but to talk about the positive stuff, to compliment yourself (and mean it!) is so hard. I have been struggling to find the words I want to write because this second part has been the most important to me, it has made such a difference in my life and I want to make sure I represent it correctly.

Around the time I decided that I needed to change my habits (e.g. not working  out, eating fast food at least once a week, sometimes more if Ken was working a lot) Cassey Ho at Blogilates.com announced that she was going to be holding a 12 week new body makeover challenge. I know I’ve mentioned her website before and let me tell you why I decided to go for it: Cassey makes it so easy to start the ball rolling. She personally designs a monthly workout calendar. A free calendar. She’s a free personal trainer who is positive, motivating, and does what she tells you to do. For the 12 week challenge she also paired up with a nutritionist to design a meal plan. Which was also free. All the tools were right there, I didn’t need to think about it, to plan, I just had to do it. The only hurdles I had to jump were the mental ones, which, let’s face it, are the hardest. I started on January 1st, praying that I would stick with this program and not fizzle out like I had on so many others.

January 1st stats:

Weight: 145lbs.

Body fat: approx. 26%

Waist: 30.5 inches

Hips: 38 inches

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I did the calendar which was an hour of pilates 6 days a week and followed the meal plan which consisted of three meals and two snacks a day. I drank 8-10 glasses of water a day. I did not starve myself. I pushed through exercises when I wanted to quit. I tried oh so hard to not feel guilt when I didn’t finish a workout or ate something that probably wasn’t the healthiest.  I was not perfect and it was definitely a challenge. I don’t really consider myself a sweet tooth person, but the cravings have been intense! Especially when Ken brought home three boxes of girl scout cookies three weeks into the program! I don’t even want to talk about it.

I started to research nutrition in February and I am completely fascinated in the the food as medicine aspect of eating. If you follow me on Instagram (hsquaredblog) then you probably saw the pictures I posted from some of the books I was reading. I still have so much to learn, and more I want to know, but I find it incredible that people who are on medications for high blood pressure, heart disease, even diabetes, can free themselves by changing their diet. It blows my mind. And it makes Ken really nervous that he’s never going to see steak in this house ever again. It’s everything in moderation here right now, but to get the girls started on the idea that having broccoli for a snack is totally normal now? (And yes, they do ask for it on their own) To set them up to have a healthy relationship with food and not use it as an emotional crutch like I did? It means everything to me. This doesn’t mean that we’re better than anyone else, or that we’re snobs. The H’s and I still love nothing better than a big ol’ basket of french fries, but we’re working on making that something special, not the norm.

 

March 15th stats:

Weight: 135lbs.

Body fat: approx. 21%

Waist: 28 inches

Hips: 37 inches

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I am so thrilled with the changes I have seen in the last three months. The weight loss even isn’t the best part. Guys, I have muscles now. It’s really exciting! Before when I use to work out I would just do cardio with maybe a couple of biceps curls and some crunches, but I was totally clueless about how to use weights. Doing pilates and following women on Instagram who lift has changed my view of weights. I love my muscles and I love the change in my body fat because that means it’s easier to see the muscles. If I’m going to work my butt off to shape these babies, then I want the world to be able to see them. And for the world to be able to see them means I need to pay attention to what I am putting in my body. I also am working on my booty. Genetics have given me a very flat butt, but squats, man. Squats can raise up even the most concave butt there is and the curvier my butt gets the more I dance in the bathroom. 🙂

More important then the weight loss: I have more energy, I’m sleeping better, I have more patience with the girls, and I am stronger. And I’m not done yet. My fitness journey has just began and I can’t wait to see what new changes I can bring.

BEFORE

March 27, 2012

March 27, 2012

AFTER

 

March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014

 

1

March 31, 2014

12 Weeks

Last November I was not in a happy place.

If anyone who use to read this little blog is still around, then you will remember that I was participating in NaNo and trying to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Creatively it was great for me and got me over the non-blog writing hump I had been stuck on, but I wasn’t feeling great about myself in general and I could see it seeping into the quality of my writing. What didn’t I feel great about? My body. I know, it sounds so typical, but let me give y’all some back story and maybe some people will think I’m being silly, but if I can offer any inspiration to anyone else then it is silliness well spent.

I have never been a small person. I have been heavy ever since I was in middle school. It came about as a result of hating school. I would go and be stuck in the same room with 30 kids I didn’t like and who made it very apparent that they didn’t care for me. I was bored in school and made fun of and the way I handled it was to come home and eat two bagels smothered in cream cheese or three bowls of cereal or whatever food made the last 6 hours of the day fade a little bit. This pattern continued into high school and even though I did swim team all four years and dance, my eating habits out reached any physical effort on my part. I wanted to be smaller, to not have as much fat on my body, but not enough to let go of the food I had come to rely on to comfort me.

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That’s me on the left when I was 17.

College was better. Socially, college was an entirely different world, but by that point my relationship with food was pretty firmly established. Also, I didn’t know jack about nutrition. I mean, obviously, I knew an apple was better for you than french fries, but the french fries tasted better and came with ketchup. Which, I think we all know, is a gateway drug to harder condiments.

I battled with my weight and my food intake off and on through college and then moving back home after I graduated. I slowly started to get in shape after I met Ken, partly because I was biking around Portland to get to work or rehearsal, and I also started taking dance classes. Ken and I joined a gym and would sporadically go workout. But guess what, nothing really changed. Are you sensing a reoccurring theme in this journey? Let me give you a little snippet of something I have learned in the last 12 weeks. Your diet (as in the type of food a person habitually consumes, not a temporary change) is 80% responsible for how your body is shaped. 80%! Exercise and genetics are only 20% of that equation. Isn’t that wild? But I digress.

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1.5 months postpartum

Fast forward four years and the details you all already know (engagement, marriage, pregnancy, and twins) and you’ll find me sitting on the couch at 6:30 in the morning last November staring down at the skin on my belly. Skin that has been stretched past what I ever thought was possibly. Skin that has miraculously helped carry two babies to 38 weeks and change. It is skin I am grateful for and that I don’t regret for a second. But it was also causing my self esteem to go down the drain. I tried to change my clothes in the bathroom because I was embarrassed for Ken to see my stomach. I didn’t like going out in public and taking to people. I just wanted to hide. But I have two beautiful daughters who I want to spare this horrible insecurity, if it all possible. I don’t want them to grow up with a mother who is ashamed of her body. And as I sat on the couch mulling all this over in the dark, my mom’s voice came floating into my head:

Don’t be a victim.

It’s something she has always told me, quickly followed by the insistence that if I don’t like something I have it in my power to change it, to make it better. So, I did.

 

Stay tuned for part two!

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