No Gym, No Problem


I've been a fan of working out at home for about 7 years now. It all started when I purchased my first set of The Firm videos on a yardsale page. I had been going to the gym steadily for months but I hadn't really been seeing the results I hoped for. Within a month of starting the videos, I felt like a totally different person.

Since that time, I've built quite the collection of home workout videos. I have just about every workout from The Firm, Turbo Fire, Jillian Michaels, and everything in between. I love working out at home because it's convenient, saves time and gas, and it is effective. It's also perfect if you have small children because you can get your workout in while they nap. I do currently belong to the YMCA and I try to go at least once a week, but 90 percent of my workouts are done at home. If you look back at my workouts for 2013 you will see that I am all about the videos.

That being said, I do easily get bored. It's really hard for me to do the same workout over and over. I really need variety in my life or I'm more likely to stop working out all together.

And that's where the amazing internet comes in. Do you know that there are hundreds of free workout videos online? Yes, hundreds! And most of them require very little equipment and a small amount of space. They range in difficulty and time so there really is something for everyone.

Lately, I've discovered some new favorites so I thought it would be fun to share. 

This Youtube channel from Lionsgate has tons of videos from some of my favorite instructors. Have you been dying to try Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred? Well,  here's Level 1. For Free! They add a new video every weekday and they have several programs/schedules you can follow. You can find the schedules available for download here.

They even have a few 10 minute workouts. I tried this one the other day and it definitely left me winded.

Next up is Blogilates.
I've seen these workouts floating around on Pinterest but I was always scared to try them because Pilates is HARD! :) But the creator, Cassey, has posted all kinds of different videos and they are all right on her You Tube channel. If Pilates is not your thing, don't worry- she has HIIT, regular cardio, yoga, and toning workouts too. She also provides workout calendars, meal plans, and recipes on her awesome blog, Blogilates. I love that the videos range in difficulty and length. If you only have 15 minutes to workout, you can definitely find a video on Blogilates.

And finally, my new favorite: Melissa Bender fitness.

You guys know that I have become a huge Jillian Michael's fan since completing Body Revolution. I love short and sweet workouts that are also intense. I've been making my way through all of Jillian's workouts but I could tell that I was starting to get bored. Luckily, my neighbor told me about Melissa Bender and I tried my first workout the very next day. What I love the most is that every workout is different. It's pretty hard to get bored when you do something different every day. 

She has a few different workout schedules that you can find here. You'll see that each workout includes a video and a breakdown of the moves. For most workouts, you complete 20 reps of 10 different exercises and then complete the circuit 2 more times.  So far, I prefer going through the video with her to complete the first round and then I do the next two rounds on my own.

I'm currently doing Month 1 of her Bikini Competition Prep. (No, I am NOT planning on doing a Bikini Competition. Wouldn't that be a sight!) ;) My friend just completed Month 1 and she has had AMAZING results. And after doing the second workout yesterday, I can tell you that they are effective. I can barely walk today. I doubt I'll finish looking like Melissa, but at least I know I'm getting a good workout in every day! 

Basically, I just want you to know that you don't have to belong to a gym to exercise. And you don't have to spend tons of money either! You can find FREE, effective workouts online.  The three sites I've shared could keep you working out for at least a year. But if nothing you see here interests you, just start Googling. I promise that you can find something you will work for you. Get a few pairs of weight and you are all set!

And if anyone knows of any other awesome YouTube channels or sites, please share! I'm always look to add some variety to my workouts.

The Weekend


Once again I did a terrible job at picture taking. I didn't get my big camera out at all so it looks like we'll be relying on iPhone pictures once again. Better than nothing, I guess.

I talked Jesse into watching Pitch Perfect. I LOVED it. And though Jesse doesn't really want to admit it, I think he liked it too.

Daddy and Eme had a father/daughter day while I went go get a haircut and do a little shopping. Jesse decided to take her up to his work so that she could see the planes.

They also had a McDonald's picnic at the park.
It was nice to have some time to myself but I sure did miss them! E was asleep when I got home and I couldn't wait for her to wake up so could give her a big kiss!

Oh, and I love my hair. I cut a couple of inches off and got it cut into more of a long bob. It feels so much healthier and softer now. These pictures aren't the best but you get the idea.

Here it is before:

And after:

That night we had a friend over for barbecue and we just hung out. When we were done I spent some time with my embroidery machine.

We decided to go to the late service so that we could take our time getting ready. Emerson got this little purse in her Happy Meal and she is obsessed with it. She has been carrying it around non-stop and insisted on bringing it with her to church.

 I am enjoying our church more and more each week and I am starting to feel like it could be our church home. I also started the application process to volunteer with the Children's Ministry. I'm excited and will definitely share more about that soon.

I spent the afternoon moving all of my embroidery/sewing stuff to a storage closet next to the garage. I've had it in the laundry room but it was starting to take over! I love my new space. It's not the prettiest but it is definitely functional. Now I just need the rest of my fabric and supplies to arrive and I will be all set.

Once Emerson woke up from her nap we went to the playground and let her run off some energy. I will never get tired of having a park just steps outside my door.

And one of my favorite parts of the day:

Emerson was feeding her baby milk while Daddy read her a few stories. She is absolutely obsessed with the teacher in Brown Bear. It's so cute!
And that was about it for our weekend. Nothing fancy, but just perfect.

How was yours?

Three Years of Blogging


Three years? Three years! Is that really possible? It seems like just yesterday that I was talking to my friend Amy about her blog and she was encouraging me to start one of my own. And once we arrived in Africa, I made the leap and wrote my very first post. It's funny looking back at that first year. I would usually only post about once a month and every post would be a random mish mash of everything that was going on. As time progressed, I started writing more and more, and my blog, as cheesy as it sounds, really started to mean a lot to me.

Since then I've often wondered why blogging became important to me. I've wondered why it is the one hobby that I've actually stuck with. Not too long ago I came to the realization that it's because it has been a constant in our crazy life of change. No matter where we were in the world or what kind of transition we were going through, I could count on my blog to "be there."

I guess you could say it's been like an old friend at times when I felt like I really didn't have any friends. Being the new person can be really hard sometimes but I think the transitions were a bit easier than they could have been because I had this little corner of the world wide web. I know I sound like a complete nerd when I say that, but I don't care. Because it's true. 

Of course, along with the benefits of blogging come what I like to call blogger problems. These are all minor, really, but they are definitely true.

-I have a hard time telling new friends about the blog. I just don't quite know how to bring it up and I certainly don't know how to explain why I do it to a non-blogger. A lot of people just don't get it.

-Sometimes when I'm telling a friend something I can tell by the look on their face that they already know the story. I'll be certain that I haven't told it to them and then realize that they must have read it on the blog.

-Every craft/DIY project requires a multitude of pictures so that I can blog about it. All that picture taking can sometimes slow down the process of the actual process.

-Writer's block can cause me to waste too much time. Sometimes I just sit forever trying to think of something to write about. 

-It can be really hard to put yourself out there. Most of my writing is pretty light hearted and fun, but I do occasionally share a little more. There are times that I wonder if I might have over shared just a little bit...

-The judgies are out there. I haven't really run into this like the bigger bloggers, but I know it happens. No matter what you do, there are going to be people out there that judge you for one reason or another. I think that's just part of sharing your life with strangers.

-Blogging takes a lot of time. I'm not sure about everyone else, but sometimes a post can take me over an hour to write. This is especially true if it has a lot of pictures.  (During this hour I'm also known to click to about 10 different tabs, so that could be part of the problem too!) ;)

Obviously I don't take any of these problems too seriously or I would have stopped blogging. To me, having all of these wonderful memories to look back on is enough to keep me going. And with that I'll say Happy Blogiversary, my dear Little Moments Like This. Here's to many, many more...

Read More, Internet Less


I used to call myself a reader. It was not uncommon for me to read 4 or 5 books a month, especially during the summer. After Emerson was born I kept my reading up pretty well. I didn't read quite as much as I had before, but I often read while I was nursing her so I did make my way through several books. Once I weaned her, I guess I weaned myself from books too because I think I only read 1 or 2 books the last 6 months of 2012.  I'd like to say it's because I don't have the time, but let's face it. If I have time to get on Instagram, Facebook, or the blog then I have time read.

Anyway, I knew that I wasn't happy with the fact that I wasn't reading as much so I made it my goal to read at least 25 books in 2013. Here's what I've read so far this year:

And, of course, I've been sticking with my daily Bible reading using the YouVersion app. I am officially halfway through the Bible. Let me tell you, some of those chapters in the Old Testament are no joke. It has bee a challenge to continue reading through them and I probably can't recap a lot of what I've read, but I am definitely learning a lot as I go.

I'm also (sort of) reading two books at the moment. I say sort of because I just pick them up randomly and read, but I haven't really been reading every day.

At the rate I'm reading, I'm thinking I'll be able to reach my goal of 25 books AND complete the Bible. That being said, I still feel like I could read more. If I spent some of the time that I waste on Pinterest and other things online, I would probably finish my books a little bit faster. I've even developed quite a list of books I really want to read this year. Here's what's at the top of my list:

I really need to head to the library and see if they have any of these on hand. I love reading them on my phone but it would be nice not to spend 10 bucks per book. :)

Have you read anything good lately?

Sleeping In Her Bed


Well guys, it's official! Emerson is finally sleeping in her toddler bed and loving it. I want to document the whole process here just so I can remember it and refer back to it with our next little one.

When Emerson was a baby I never really thought about how long I'd keep her in the crib. I had heard other parents had to transition their babies into toddler beds pretty early because they started climbing out of their crib. Luckily, Emerson never even attempted to do so. She seemed happy and content in her crib so we were happy and content to leave her there.

Then in January we scheduled our move back to the U.S. We knew that the movers would come a few weeks before our actual departure and we wondered what we would do without a crib for Emerson. We didn't want to keep the Pack N Play because we knew it would be one more piece of luggage we'd have to check. My friend offered to let us borrow one but I never got around to picking it up before packing day.

So, after the movers left we decided to move a mattress from the guest bedroom into E's room. A few of my friends had experienced success by transitioning to a mattress on the floor so we thought we'd try it. Emerson, at around 20 months, acted as if nothing had changed at all. She went right to sleep that night and continued to sleep on the mattress until the day we left Abu Dhabi.

I think it's important to note that her room was completely empty by this time so there wasn't really anything for her to get up and play with. Despite that, we did have a few naptimes where she would get off the mattress and run around the room and play. Usually I would just go in there, lay her back down and tell her not to get up.

Once we left Abu Dhabi we stayed with my parents for a few weeks. Since there wasn't really a spot for a mattress on the floor, we decided it would probably be best for Emerson to sleep in a Pack N Play while we were there. She seemed fine with it and slept pretty well during our visit.

When we arrived in California we stayed in a hotel for about 5 days and then we moved into our house, but we still didn't have any furniture. During that time Emerson slept in her Pack N Play up in her room. When our furniture arrived we went back and forth over whether we should set up her crib or go ahead and set it up as a toddler bed. We decided that since she had done so well on the mattress, she was ready for a bed.

When we first put it together, she loved it. She sat on it and played with her toys.

And even when it came for bedtime she seemed content to lay down and snuggled up in her new bed. But the minute we turned off the light and shut the door she started screaming at the top of her lungs. She yelled, "No! I don't like it." and "Momma, where are you?" When we went back in to check on her she seemed traumatized! We decided to set the Pack N Play back up. 
For the next month she slept in the Pack N Play for every nap and every night. I hated it because the "mattress" in that thing is as hard as a rock and her feet and her head touch both ends. I just didn't see how it could be comfortable. Every nap and bed time I would ask her if she wanted to sleep in her big girl bed and she would say. "I want this one." and point to the Pack N Play. We even tried taking the bed out of the room and letting her sleep on the mattress but she would meltdown every single time.

Then last Monday I decided to try the big girl bed again during nap time. I moved it over to the opposite wall to see if maybe that would help and  I told her if she slept on her bed during her nap, she would get a surprise when she woke up. (No, I am not above bribes...) ;) And just like that she got in her bed, snuggled her doggy, and went to sleep. I couldn't believe that we had finally had success and I was worried that bedtime wouldn't go as well.
Of course, like toddlers do, she shocked us by going right to bed in her big girl bed. It's been over a week now and she has slept in her bed every time. I really think that all of the changes were too much when we first tried it and she just needed some time to adjust. Now that she's been in it a week I've noticed that she is sleeping longer, probably because it is a million times more comfortable! Once she wakes up, she stays in her bed until I come and get her. At this point she still doesn't have any of her other furniture or toys in her room so I think that might deter her from getting up. We'll see what happens when our shipment arrives and she has new things to explore.
When we first started trying the transition, I was so worried that she would fall out of the bed. I bought one bedrail but it didn't fit the bed correctly and I felt like that was more of a hazard than falling so we took it off. Up until yesterday she hadn't fallen out of the bed once- and I'm still not ever sure that she did yesterday. But when I went to get her yesterday morning, I walked in and she was nowhere to be found. She likes to hide in the closet in her playroom so I thought maybe that's what she was doing. I could hear her talking and laughing but I couldn't see her. Then I realized that the noise was coming from under her bed! When I peeked under she told me that she was stuck. She had her blankets and her stuffed animals and it looked like she had slept under there! The spot was even warm so I have no idea how long she was there. I don't know if she crawled under there or fell off the bed during the night but it obviously didn't bother her too badly because she never cried or called for us.

And that is how Emerson made the switch to her big girl bed. I'm thankful that it wasn't too painful of a process and I'm still in love with how adorable she looks tucked into her bed!

Things You Should Know About Me


Hello Monday! You sure snuck up on me. We had a great, laid back weekend. I didn't take very many pictures so I only have one to share today. It's the perfect example of just how our weekend went.

Since I don't have much of a weekend recap for you, I thought it might be fun to share some random facts that you might now know about me.

-I'm obsessed with looking at before/after weight loss and fitness pictures. I find it incredibly motivating and amazing how you can change your body with hard work and dedication.

-I read every single comment on my blog but I am not always the best about responding back. I feel terrible about it and after every post I promise myself that I'm going to get better. Please forgive me and know that I cherish each and every comment!

-I love doing embroidery but when I mess up I usually won't touch my machine again for at least a week. 

-I read books on my iPhone. It's small but it's surprisingly comfortable for reading.

-I adore cute shoes but 9 times out of 10 you will see me in Rainbow flip flops. They are just so comfortable and make chasing a toddler easier. I've tried wearing some of my cute flats and sandals lately and I just come home with blisters and sore feet!

-I'm a huge animal lover and I kind of wish I would have studied something animal related. I don't think I would have liked to be a vet, but maybe a zookeeper or something.

-Window shopping is fun for me! I don't mind browsing and not buying. Obviously my window shopping is pretty limited this day because Emerson doesn't feel quite the same way about it as I do.

-I feel intimidated talking about my faith with people who are more knowledgable about the Bible than I am.(Pretty much everyone- I have a lot to learn!) I'm always afraid I'll look dumb or have no idea what they are talking about.

-I'm always reluctant to try new trends. When colored pants first came out I said there was absolutely no way that I would be wearing them. Guess who bought her first pair of mint capris over a year later. That would be this girl.

-I hate making phone calls. Obviously not to friends and family, but to companies. I tend to put it off until I just have to do it. For instance, I really need to call the cable company but I don't want to because I know they are going to try to talk me into something I don't need or want and I just hate the hassle.

-I think that the two most amazing sounds in the world is the sound of your child's laugh and their voice saying I love you. I could cry just thinking about it!

And I guess that's enough random for today. I'm sorry for a practically picture-less post!

5 Things on Friday


Happy Friday everyone! Is it just me, or did this week fly right by? It's going to be May before we know it. Anyway, I have 5 randoms for you on this lovely Friday.

1. We have 0 plans this weekend and I kinda like it! I'm sure we'll get out and do something but it's nice  to know we can just relax if we want to. (Well as much as you can relax with an almost two year old wreaking havoc.)

2. Speaking of almost two year olds, yesterday Emerson turned 23 months old. We are just one month away from the big TWO. I just can't believe it. We have something fun planned for her birthday and I'm really looking forward to it.

3. I went to Zumba again this week and I am obsessed. It is so much fun! I've always wondered just how much of a workout it is so I wore my heart rate monitor and it says I burned almost 500 calories in about 50 minutes. I think Zumba has the potential for more calorie burn but the instructor in our class stops between each song. Right now I'm only able to make it once a week because of E's dance class but I'm hoping I'll be able to start doing it more often. It's so much fun it doesn't even feel like a workout.

4. I am on the hunt for new bedding for our bed. I want a feather bed, a down (or down alternative) comforter and a white or light colored duvet set. Does anyone have any suggestions? It needs to be super soft and comfortable! Here are a few of my inspiration pictures on Pinterest.

5. I haven't talked much about it but I am still working on my verses for Beth Moore's Siesta Scripture Memory Team. At this point I can say them all but I have to look at the verse number to jog my memory. I've loved doing this and I find that my verses will pop up in my head and random times. It's pretty neat! You can go here to see my verses.

Zoo Day


Yesterday Emerson and I paid our second visit to the amazing San Diego zoo. This time we went sans stroller and it was a completely different experience. We were able to take a lot of the paths that wind throughout the zoo. They are hidden amongst greenery and trees and we found more than one waterfall along the way. 

Since I didn't take the stroller, I had to pack light (I actually carried E's little toddler backpack) so I didn't bring my big camera. All of the pictures are from my phone. It's just so much easier and quicker.
Since E has not stopped talking about the porcupine after our last visit, that was our first stop. Luckily he was up and moving around so she actually got to see it with it's quills out. She was in heaven! Later in the day we went to the other porcupine in the children's area. He was in the exact same position he was the last time we came. I kind of wondered he was even alive but he did actually move. Emerson didn't mind too much that he was sleeping!
One of our favorite exhibits was the polar bears. They had some life-size statues and an ice cave for the kids to crawl through.

I think Emerson loved the Skyfari (gondola) the most. We rode it twice and I think she would have stayed on it all day!

 A lot of the day was spent playing with the animal statues. They have them scattered all throughout the zoo and we had to stop and examine each one.

 Our last stop was the petting zoo. I'm sure those poor goats get so tired of little stick hands rubbing all over them, but Emerson sure loved it.

This little guy even got a kiss!

 I still can't believe that we have this amazing zoo right in our own back yard. After two visits we still haven't seen every exhibit. I'm already looking forward to going back!

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