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Friday, March 27, 2015

What Would Your Mom Do?

I'm sure I'm not the only one that found THIS article circulating on Facebook.

I think it's actually very interesting food for thought, and agree with much of what is said. I'm somewhere in between the hovering, overly involved parent and an earlier generation mom (like the ones referenced in the article). I'm not so comfortable with the thought of locking kiddos outside and letting them run wild until dinner time, and I know I interfere and hover far more than I should. But I do hate to sit through playdates where moms feel the need to constantly jump in, "Timmy, Tommy was using that. Give it back..."

There are some common mom things that I just have tried to not get into the habit of...they may work for some, but for me, I worry about enough and my plate is full enough, and therefore, I axe things off the list I can't handle.

No candy until 20. Some moms I know refuse to give their kiddos anything sweet for what seems like years. I get it, it's not healthy or nutritious. But the fact of the matter is, Ronnie and I eat candy...and a lot of it. We have candy in the house. We will always have candy in the house. Mckenna is a good eater. There are very, very few foods she just straight up won't eat...and usually they are ones that take a lot of chewing/never totally break down (steak) and so she's a little worried she may choke (I supposed a valid reason for not swallowing). But she eats veggies, fruit, and lots of protein daily. And because that's how I eat, it's how she gets to eat. As long as she has had nutritious meals - has eaten lots of fruits and veggies; eaten what's in front of her; doesn't seem to be narrowing what she will try/consume - then I say, "sure, honey, you can have a piece of candy." Does she get the bag? No, but I often let "her pick" what is reasonable. If her initial suggestion isn't in fact reasonable, we talk about why not, and lessen it. I want her to learn moderation in her diet, not restriction.

Not letting her get hurt. No one call CPS please. We don't let her play with fire or knives. But we do let her get hurt, semi-intentionally. There are things she will want to do that we know full well will give her an owwie, but we let them happen anyways. Ronnie the other day let her "do the monkey bars herself". She wanted to. He knew she wouldn't be able to and fall. But wasn't going to battle her to say no. He knew she would figure out it was too hard, but why not let her give it a shot to see for herself? So there she hung, and dropped. Did it hurt? Maybe a little. But she felt proud that she held on for so long (never mind that's not the point of monkey bars at all). We let her jump off things that are maybe arguably a smidgen too high. I often warn her once first, and then let her decide. The other day she was tipping in a chair. I simply told her that she could tip if she wanted to, but to just know that if she fell backwards, there's a good chance she would get pretty hurt. What did she do? She stopped tipping. If she had chosen to tip, and had fallen? Well, I figured a cracked open head would likely be the worst possibility. I'd never heard of anyone dying from tipping in a chair, so I weighed the risks and decided to let her make her own decision. I want her to learn to take calculated risks and be ok with having to dust herself off if she fails.

Carrying everything with us wherever we go. This one I have some guilt over. I see moms with diaper bags fully loaded with everything the kiddo could need. It's nice to be able to pull out a bandaid at the drop of a hat. Hungry? Here are 5 snack options to choose from. Is there a bug? Here's bug spray. During playdates, do I feel bad that my kid mooches off other kids snack? Yes, a little. But 9 out of 10 times I appreciate not carrying an overstuffed bag with me. Before baby N came along, I carried nothing with me, anywhere, for 1.5 years. Before leaving the house, if it's a long excursion, I ask Mckenna if she wants a snack, if she does, great, she can bring it. I ask if she wants water, if she says "yes," perfect, she can get a cup, fill it, and bring it. If she says, "no," then when she says she's hungry or thirsty, I tell her she will have to wait til we are home, she chose not to bring anything. If I think she will really want a drink or snack while out, I just give her a heads up that I think she will want one and tell her why, and then let her decide. Hand sanitizer? This seems like a goodie. It's a great thought. I feel bad when I see moms sanitizing their kids hands and my kiddo is eating off hands that were washed questionably well the last time she went potty. But I don't sanitize my hands before eating or after the store, so I don't do hers. It's pretty freeing not to carry the house around in a bag! Our diaper bag has diapers, wipes, and trash in it...oh and a candy cane from Christmas. I want her to learn how to think ahead in life and bring what's necessary. I also want her to learn that sometimes you have to simply just wait.

"Ew, that's dirty." I'm not worried about germs and dirt most of the time. My one exception is hospital floors...those gross me out..a lot. Otherwise, I'm not too concerned. If Mckenna wants to drink out of the hose, ok. If she wants to pick up some trash at the park to put it in the trash can, well done, my little tree-hugger. If she drops something on the ground, it usually still gets eaten. I don't want a kid that is afraid to get a little dirty or isn't going to jump into something because it's a little gross. I once heard a mom yell at her daughter for putting Mckenna's shoe on for her; scolding her for touching someone's dirty shoe. "Don't touch your shoes or anyone else's..." She yelled at one point in her rant. I sat there thinking, "really, her shoes even?! You will regret that rule when your kid is 15 and asking for help with her shoes." I couldn't help but think, "wow what a sweet 5 year old for helping a little 3 year old fix her shoes. I can't picture that Jesus made sure people's feet were fairly clean before he washed them, and that he then sanitized his hands after. I think we miss opportunities to help others if we are afraid to get dirty or germ-y. And I don't want her to miss those opportunities.

These aren't hard and fast around here. There are times I say, "come on, don't drink that" to a water bottle that's filthy. I sometimes pack a snack for her (though usually when meeting others so she won't just eat all their food). At times I make the call whether something is too dangerous and prevent her from getting hurt. But these are things I try to remind myself of and hold onto, for the lessons they teach are often bigger than the immediate potential consequence.

I think often times dads have this right on. They don't hover. They allow more chaos. They encourage more risk. They don't overprotect and over-prepare. They don't coddle. I think us moms these days often see it as a lack of skill or know-how. I think that's a shame. I watch Ronnie parent with admiration. Under his care, Mckenna seems happier, more carefree, and more independent. Sure, she's also dirtier, has a couple more owwies, and her clothes are that much further from matching, but really, who cares?! I feel the urge to bring Ronnie to the dark side, often...to "train" him. But the more I watch the dynamics of their time together and their relationship, I realize that my hubby isn't incompetent. He's a freaking parenting genius. All too often we think our hubbies are incapable to watch the kids because they don't bring a fire extinguisher and a four-course meal to the park with them. But I think if we took some pages from the daddy book, we moms would be a lot less stressed all the time!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Life Lately: Growth, Spunk, Colds and March Madness

Life lately has been busy...as you probably guessed by our 1 blog post a decade ;-)

Baby N is doing well. She's growing like a weed. She went from 6lb12oz to 11lb8oz in two months. Almost 5 pounds! She looks like a different child. She is about the smiliest baby you'll ever meet - giving gummy grins to anyone that will look at her happily. She is getting stronger and stronger. It's fun to watch her progress from such a tiny little thing to a strong, chunky monkey.

Mckenna adores her. It's so fun to watch them together. Mckenna can't get enough, baby N usually has her fill within a few minutes of their interactions. But just when you think baby N is slightly terrified by what may unfold when Mckenna approaches, you catch her staring at Mckenna from across the room, with a giant smile, trying to get her attention. It's pretty sweet. Mckenna tells her she loves her several times a day, usually accompanied by tight, overwhelming hugs!

Mckenna is growing up too fast. In just the last few weeks she seems to have aged several years. She is such a little girl these days, no toddler-ness to be found. She is about the most tender-hearted little sweetheart. She is so caring and loving. Yet, she has a fire about her that give her the attitude of a thousand inmates. That girl has got SPUNK. It's a challenge to parent, but will serve her well in life...assuming we don't blow it, and she ends up an inmate ;-) Lately, she loves to spend time playing outside, going for walks, playing at the park, coloring, dancing, reading books and doing Where's Waldo. I'm not sure what it means, but she usually finds things before I do. How she can so quickly spot a tiny little wizard so quickly, I will never know. The wizard is her favorite find.

Ronnie is doing well. Unfortunately, the girls have each had a few colds (I think I have sucked baby N's nose out every day for her entire existence), and Ronnie, has gotten each of them. However, I think he is on the mend. We are hoping that since spring has sprung, there will be less colds brought into the house. Though I have to say, I do enjoy seeing him dead asleep (thanks, Nyquil), and stumbling through our room to get up for his turn to feed baby N. I'm fairly certain most nights he had no idea he was actually standing up and walking. He's about as happy as ever, since March Madness is in full force. It's his favorite time of year.

As for me? I, thankfully, didn't catch a single cold that the girls brought home (thank you superhero immune system)!

Pictures from the week:

Keni took a crazy fall at the park...silver lining? I got snuggles!

I had to smile that she tried to fix it, but man it was hard to get more than a square!

Ronnie had Mckenna pick a bracket - he gave her the two teams, she would pick. Then she was sure she needed to write one of her own!

With March Madness in full swing, this is what is looks like at our house whenever Ronnie is on daddy duty.





Monday, March 16, 2015

Fun in the Sun

It's been really heating up in AZ. The highs have been in the high 80s and low 90s. It really feels like summer, so we are in full "summer mode" around here. Last week I blogged about how we had been playing out front.

The end of last week we decided it was so stinkin' hot we needed to start in on water play. So Mckenna started out by washing her water table and getting it into working order to play with after a year in the garage.
Working hard "spring cleaning" her water table toys

Enjoying her hard work...I'm pretty sure there is a warning sticker somewhere regarding this very usage of the table. But she came out alive.

This weekend we spent Sunday afternoon at my parents' house playing in the pool and laying around outside eating popsicles. It was so nice to enjoy the sunshine and the company of my parents.

Then this morning Mckenna, Ronnie and I decided to get out of the house for a little family time while baby N was at her visit with her mom and dad. We walked to the circle K about a mile from our house and got slushies! On the way home, we went by the park to play for a bit and then headed home. 
I'm pretty sure most pediatricians would agree that drinking 32oz of pure sugar is really healthy for kids, so no problem there :)




Monday, March 9, 2015

A New Favorite Pastime

The weather here in Arizona has been beautiful lately; chilly in the mornings but really heats up as the day goes on. We have been trying to spend as much time outside as possible lately because, well, in a few months we won't want to be outside very much.

We have discovered a great pastime, playing on the driveway. Nevermind that we have a great backyard with lots of grass and super comfy furniture, Mckenna would rather play outside out front. Here's a photo recap of how that looks:

We walk our dolls and stuffed animals. (Can you tell who picked out her outfit?!)

We manhandle toys in the stroller.


 We "jump rope".

We eat apples.

We drop those apples on the ground more times than mommy wants to admit.

We pick them up and ask if we can still eat the apple.

We triumphantly raise our apples to the sky when we realize mom doesn't care what's on it.

We ALL eat...though Baby N's snack isn't as filthy.

 We play with water...watering rocks, plants, and ourselves.

We play tug of war.

 We sit with the sun in our eyes and pretend it's like a half-nap since our eyes are slightly shut.

We all have a blast out there. There's nothing better than playing outside in fresh air and sunshine!! Ok, maybe a real nap outside in the fresh air and sunshine would top it...but this is pretty close!











Friday, March 6, 2015

A Healthy, Tasty Lunch

I'm just like every other women in the world, I love find new recipes on Pinterest. Some I make straight up, some I tweak. Here's a tweak, that is DELISH!


1 Everything Bagel Thin
1 Tbsp Fat Free Cream Cheese
Cucumbers
Tomatoes
Pepperoncini Slices
1.5oz Shredded Chicken
1/4c Avocado

Toast the bagel thing. Pile high. Get ready to enjoy every bite.



It's a super healthy lunch and really, really tasty. The only catch is that it's a bit messy (it kind of landslides). So grab some napkins.

We gave Mckenna a deconstructed twist on this (sandwiches that aren't held together with PB or melted cheese usually end up that way anyways). I told her it was an "appetizer plate" so she wouldn't wonder why I gave her such a mash up.

For her plate, we swapped out the chicken to cottage cheese, so she could use it like dip for all the goodies (avocado, cucumber and tomatoes). We also threw in some veggie straws for added dipped pleasure. I'm not sure that she loves cream cheese, as she ate the least amount of the bagel and cream cheese (we rarely have cream cheese, so I'm not sure if it was a fluke or a preference). But the rest went down the hatch joyfully. She loved it so much that she requested an "app plate" for dinner with the same stuff. I switched it up a bit (swapping the bagel and cream cheese for some apples and bananas). I had never tried the "app plate" angle in the past (she's had random meals full of finger foods in the past, but never gave it a name) and boy did the name stick. Give it a shot. We found it's a good way to pile small amounts of left overs all onto one plate :)





Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Story To Make You Smile

If you ask Ronnie, or anyone else in my family, they'll tell you I read too many stories online. And they're probably right. I'm a sucker for all those shocking headlines that pop up on my Facebook newsfeed. Most of them get read in the middle of the night when I'm up feeding baby N or have been up for one of the kiddos and can't fall right back to sleep. I love the sad ones, the happy ones, and the shocking ones. But most of all, I love the ones that genuinely make my heart happy.

I saw a story tonight that made my heart truly happy. It's about a 91-year-old woman that started working at a top design firm. I'm not sure what made me the happiest. Maybe the fact that that sweet little old lady had the courage to apply for the job in the first place, or maybe that she gets there taking public transportation and using Costco ski poles she modified. It could be the fact that she works sitting on a couch. But mostly, I think it's the fact that they send a company-wide email announcing her arrival so everyone can greet her on her one day a week, to give her a hug. I also love the fact that they seem to really value her wisdom. I can only imagine the how valued it must make her feel as a person and how spry she must feel on Thursdays (her workday) regardless of how she feels other days of the week.

This is a great reminder of the value elderly people can have in our communities if we were to give them the opportunity to share what they know. It's also a great reminder that sometimes it's less about doing what makes sense, and more about what enhances the lives of people around us. Because I'd say everyone is winning in this story!

Check out the story HERE!


Monday, March 2, 2015

Guilty Pleasures We Love to Eat

For those of you who know the Sharpe clan, you know we have some major guilty pleasures when it comes to snacks and foods. We like to eat fairly healthy, but we do have some favorites that we tend to eat (read: OVEReat).

Thin Mint Cookies - Thankfully this is only 1 time a year. But my all time favorite are Thin Mints. I've been known to polish off a whole box in a day....yes, you read that right. I try to limit myself to 5 or 6 boxes a season. Don't do the math on the number of calories that is!

Birthday Cake - This one is Ronnie's FAVORITE. We have bought birthday cake on many occasions when no birthday was anywhere to be seen on the calendar. On Ronnie's birthday this year, Ronnie ate cake for all his meals and snacks, except breakfast. You call that overkill? We call that commitment.

Costco's Fruit and Nut Medley - The old classic. People like to pretend trail mix is healthy. And we like to convince ourselves of that. And while trail mix isn't bad for you, it does pack a mean caloric punch. A bag of this stuff doesn't last long in our house...which means in a very short time we consume enough nuts and dried fruit for a lifetime.

Mints - This one is mainly Mckenna's guilty pleasure, but Ronnie and I partake. Wintergreen mints are usually the preferred mint. I actually have a theory in which I can pick out the softest of the batch, and those are my favorite. It's pretty sick...and I don't mean sick as in cool. Mckenna will choose mints over pretty much any other candy, if given the choice.

Muddy Buddies - These are mainly my favorite. But Ronnie and Keni will house their fair share. I've been known to make a couple cups of it at a time to eat as dessert, a snack, or even (shhhh) a meal.

Candy - This one I won't even narrow down because, well, we don't discriminate, really. If it's found in the candy aisle, we probably overeat it. Jelly beans, jelly bellies, candy hearts, snickers, twix, smarties, chewy sweet tarts.

There you have it...the yummiest list of goodness that if you're looking to put on some unhealthy weight, this may be a perfect place to start ;-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What We Ate: Skinny Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

For dinner last night we made this delicious recipe. It makes for a perfect hearty winter meal, but is a little lighter and lower in calories than traditional pot pies. Here's the recipe:

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4-8 hours
Yield: 9 servings

Serving size: 1 cup




Ingredients
6 small red potatoes, peeled (optional) and cubed
1½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders
2 – 10.5 oz cans Campbell's® 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup skim milk
1 cup water
1 small onion, diced
½ cup celery (about 1 ½ stalks), diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp parsley
½ tsp thyme
10.8 oz bag Birds Eye® Steamfresh® Frozen Mixed Vegetables
Optional*:
1 can Pillsbury® Grands! Jr. Flaky Biscuits
*Optional ingredients are not included in the nutritional calculations.

Instructions
1 Placed the cubed potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place chicken on top of the potatoes.
2 In a small bowl, mix together the soup, milk, water. Pour over the chicken and potatoes.
3 Throw in diced onion and the celery.
4 Sprinkle in seasoning.
5 Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
6 About 30 minutes before you are going to serve, remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and shred with fork. Place back in slow cooker and stir in frozen vegetables. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
7 Make biscuits (optional) as directed on package. For each serving, split a biscuit and place in a bowl. Stir chicken mixture well. Top biscuit with the chicken mixture.

Modifications
We made ours with half the potatoes, added more frozen veggies, and upped the chicken.

EAT UP!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Leaving a Lasting Legacy

A year ago, today, my Grandpa passed away. But don't be fooled, this is anything but a post filled with mourning. Sure, we all miss him like crazy, but I usually don't feel sadness when I remember him. My Grandpa was an incredible man of faith who has set an example for our family on how to live, and how to die, and for that, I am SO thankful. I miss his big hugs, his wit, and his ability to make a meal last hours, but what I remember most is what he taught me through being a living example.

Put God First - There was nothing he put between himself and his relationship with God. He served Him. He studied Him. He obeyed His commands. You knew that when he woke up in the morning, that was his goal for the day. This is the big reason I don't feel sad when I think about his passing. I know he is exactly where he always longed to be, and is reaping in heaven what he sowed while on earth.

Treat People Well - This one seems like a "duh." We all know it, but very few of us truly live it, day in and day out. But my Grandpa was the exception. He treated everyone like they were family. For him, that meant being willing to give you the shirt off his back, share a joke, and never expect someone to do something he wasn't willing to do himself.

Live Below Your Means - My Grandpa was about as frugal as they come. We are talking to the point that it was a bit painful to watch at times. But the part I find the coolest, is that he was so frugal, not to store up money for himself in his old age, but it was so that he could leverage all that he could for the Kingdom. He tithed faithfully, supported missionaries, supported charities, you name it. Perhaps the most telling is that the last check he wrote, was to the church!

Love Intentionally - My Grandpa never let a visit or conversation go by without verbally acknowledging how much he loved you, how proud he was of you, and how much he appreciated you. But I don't think this came naturally to him. He was raised during a time when dads weren't all mushy gushy with their kiddos. But he made the effort as he became the head of his own family to switch that. I have never heard anyone so intentionally shower their loved ones with love and praise. In fact, my Grandma had a difficult time making the transition herself, not able to verbalize "I love you"...so he would actually speak FOR her...that's just how intentional he was in showing us all love.

Live Boldly - In the last few months of his life he prayerfully made the decision to move from his longtime home out to Arizona to be near all of us. His was scared of the change and feared the unknown. But he felt God answered his prayers telling him to "GO". For an old man who's lived in the same pace for 20 years, it is not an easy move. But I am so thankful he chose to live boldly. It gave all of us 2.5 months together, in the same city. It gave us his last Christmas together. It gave us countless visits. It gave us the opportunity to hold his hands as he took his last breath. That bold move is a great reminder to follow God's answers, even when we are afraid. His choice to live boldly was perhaps the best thing he did for himself in the last few months of his life, and for us.

He was an incredible man, and I cannot wait to see him again!

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Favorite Cardio Exercises

As we've mentioned 3942803 times on this blog previously, we do a class at the gym that does primarily High Intensity Interval Training. Every class is different, but many of the classes integrate similar exercises. We have some favorite exercises that really get our heart rate going, so we figured we'd share the wealth in case you're looking for some awesome ideas to integrate into your workout.

Kettlebell Clean and Press - These are a great way to get a bit of strength work, while getting your heart rate elevated. It works your legs, shoulders, and back. As well as your lungs. If you're not panting like a dog after 1-2 minutes of these, I promise you're a robot.

Squat Jumps - These blast your legs. We are talking complete exhaustion. It'll kill your legs and leave you gasping for air. 1-2 minutes straight of squat jumps and you may decide your workout is over. Be sure to squat low and jump high.

Sprints - For obvious reasons this one will work the ol' windbags. Doing sprints between exercises (cardio or strength exercises) is a great way to get your heart rate up there. Sprints for 1-2 minutes should be as fast as you possibly sustain for the time period.

Frog Hops - I think anything with jumping is a good bet to kick your behind. Frog Hops are no exception. Pick a certain distance, we do between 2 speed bumps in the gym parking lot, and do 2-4 lengths of that distance. It takes about 2-3 minutes to complete the 2-4 lengths. It's good to get your heart rate up and works on your balance too.

Burpees - Oh Burpees, how I love thee. Burpees are a good exercise that you can do anywhere and they pack a punch. Be sure to add a push up at the bottom of your burpee so you get some good chest and arm work in there at the same time.

Give them a shot...all in one workout! I dare ya!




Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Early Bedtime & Toughness

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for an early bedtime…and I’m not talking about for the kiddos (although they have early bedtimes also). Ronnie and I have been getting in bed super early the last few nights, and it feels SO nice to get to sleep early. We are usually in bed at 9PM…and the best part? I’ve been falling asleep on the couch BEFORE getting into bed. #Winning!

I’m thankful for booty-kicking classes at the gym. There is nothing better than being in and out of the gym in 45 minutes and feeling like you got a great workout. We occasionally stay a little longer and do additional things, but it’s nice to be able to have gotten a complete workout in 45 minutes.

I’m thankful for fun with friends. Last Friday night, we met some friends at the park by our house, had our kiddos dawning bathing suits, brought sand toys, and had the girls build sand castles in the volleyball court sand. For hours they played like they were on the beach, even running through the water that sprays out to keep the dust down on the court. By the end of the night, the kiddos were sandy, and filthy, but SO wound up from all the fun they had playing “at the beach.” I’m so thankful for fun friends and fun times!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for Nyquil. I've been downing the Nyquil at night to get to sleep early while battling what might be three consecutive colds. I've been hacking it up for almost three weeks now and I'm just hoping this thing runs it's course very soon. Honestly, it's getting a bit annoying at this point :)

I'm thankful for cereal. Sometimes, when I'm not feeling so hot, I fall back on some "comfort foods". For me, that usually looks like bowls of cereal. I just had a bowl of Raisin Bran and I must say, it was deeeeelish. I still make sure to get my protein and fat in for the day, but sometimes carbs covered in milk is just right.

I'm thankful for a tough little girl. Mckenna is tough. No doubt about it. She wiped out on her bike yesterday and after a short cry, her next words were, "Can we try riding down that hill now Daddy?".

What are you thankful for today?  

Monday, February 16, 2015

An Interval Workout Worth Trying

Last Monday I said I'd post different workouts we do in our class. They are all pretty good, but I figure I'll post the ones that are good that would be easy to do at home with little to no equipment or at a gym with what most gyms have around on the floor. All you need is a jump rope and kettlebell for this workout.

Warm up (each exercise 40 seconds) - DO WARM UP TWICE
Jumping Jacks
Sprints
Jump Squats
Sprints
Push Ups - with a cross-shoulder tap at the top.

Block 1
Jump Rope - 1 Minute
Inch worm push ups (Start in a pike position, walk hands out until in a push up position, do push up, walk hands back) Repeat for 30 Seconds
Jump Rope - 1 Minute
Mountain Climbers - 30 Seconds
Jump Rope - 1 Minute
Burpees - 30 Seconds

Block 2
Kettlebell Swings - 1 Minute
Flutter kicks - 3o Seconds
Kettlebell Swings - 1 Minute
Bicycle crunches - 30 Seconds
Kettlebell Swings - 1 Minute
Toe Touches (On back, feet in air, reach arms to touch toes) Repeat for 30 Seconds

Do Block 1, Block 2, Block 1, Block 2 (or flip it if you're so inclined. Just do each block twice)

Core Work
Plank hold - 1 Minute
Praying Crunches - 30 Seconds
Russian Twists - 1 Minute
Double Crunch - 30 Seconds
Spider Plank - 1 Minute
Reverse Crunch - 30 Minute

And there you have it. It's an awesome workout. If you don't have a kettlebell, you can do air squats or jump squats instead of kettlebell swings. Same with if you don't have a jump rope, just do some kind of squats or lunges - essentially you can do anything for those two as long as it's using your legs and gets you breathing!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"God made us small sometimes..."

Ronnie shared this story on Facebook, so some of you may have seen it. But for those not on Facebook or that missed it I'll share it again and give the full story.

Lately Mckenna has been taking offense to people calling her small, little, or tiny. Sometimes we are there when it happens. Usually we are not there, and she reports it to us later. I have to say, I am very sensitive to the fact that girls are prone to body issues. So I am always very careful in how I talk about her body. When she says, "look how big my tummy is..." (usually said while blowing it out or after a big meal...and usually said giggling), I just respond with something like, "it looks perfect to me" or "God made it just right for you." It happens all the time that she will mention something about her body, and I'll usually respond with one of my stock answers. Sometimes I randomly make note of something on her - her eyes, her freckles, the fact she has two legs - and I'll mention how perfectly God made her, for who SHE is.

Here's Mckenna next to a peer for comparison:
Mckenna with her BFF, Harlow...who's on the other side of the growth chart

But this experience of others saying something that she takes offense to is new, and has been interesting. It's been happening for a couple months now, so much so, that I actually ordered a book on the topic (a kids book about being (too) small...which in the book ends up not being (too) small at all. So anyways. Back to the topic at hand. Mckenna usually tells us it has happened in a sad or frustrated voice, which as a mom, tugs on my heart. Now, please note, Mckenna is small, little, and tiny. That's just reality, so my response cannot be that her stature is not as such. Because, well, it is. That's how God made her. And it's not debatable. I think she sits around the 5th percentile for height, so she, in fact, is one of the smallest kids her age. What I feel my job is, is not to argue with the truth, but to make her comfortable with it. There will always be things about her body or appearance that may bug her from time to time or be dependent on a life stage. Some things are subjective or a matter of opinion, other things won't be. For example, I have freckles. You can't argue that. It's fact. I need to be comfortable with that. So each time she mentions it, we talk about how God makes everyone different. That height is all relative to who you're standing next to. Her friend Harlow is taller than she is, but her other friend Taylor, is taller than Harlow. God made each of them a different height, a height that is perfect for them. It helps that her mom is a shrimp, so I usually compare myself to one of my friends, who is a solid 8 inches taller than I am. I say, "just like God made mommy short. Think about mommy and Ms. Steffi. Ms. Steffi is WAY taller than mommy, right? Because God made us each perfect for who we are." (Thank you, Ms. Steffi, for being so much taller than me, it helps that there is no question regarding the fact that her mom is a pip-squeak when I barely come to your shoulder...PS, will you come help me put away my dishes on the top shelves of my cupboards? Lol!)

So yesterday the beginning of the story was no different. We left the gym, and as I was putting her in her carseat, she disappointedly said, "some kids called me small at the gym again. I'm not little!!" To which I responded, "Well, Keni, your body is kinda small! And that's awesome! Was it big kids when you were looking to play with them?" (usually is) "Yes, they said I was too small," she told me. "Honey, God made your body little...and compared to older kids, they're that much bigger because you grow as you age. That doesn't mean that you're not a big girl though. They said it just because they were concerned that you may get hurt." "But mommy, I'm not small." "You're not a little girl, you're a big girl, but your body is little...that's how God made it, and it's perfect for you. Think about mommy..." (and then I launched back into mommy is so much shorter than Ms. Steffi) Then I began comparing many of the other adults in her life. "Think about daddy! He's smaller than Mr. Rhett" (that's steffi's husband...clearly they tower over the Sharpe clan). "Think about Papi and Uncle Josh...they are way shorter than Uncle Grant and Uncle Shmeegs..." (enduring nickname for Ronnie's brother, Andrew). "...Think about Nana...she's pretty short too...We are just a small family, honey, so you will probably be pretty short compared to your friends. That's just how God made us!! And you know what? One day I think you'll like it!! I like it!! Think about it...mommy can still fit in the little cars with you (those little electric ones that you pay a quarter to ride) and I can fit in little hiding spots so you can't find me even as a grown up!!" That seemed to lighten her mood a little bit. I kept driving home from the gym, and from the backseat I hear a made up tune:
"God made us small sometimes. God made us small sometimes. But He is always in our heart. But He is always in our heart."
My heart exploded. "I love that song, Keni!!" I told her and began to sing along. "No mommy, I'm singing it, you don't know the words..." she snapped. That was my que that our sweet mother-daughter moment was over, and she was back to being her sassy, "threenager" self! Problem solved, for now!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Fun, Fast Workout

Ronnie and I post all the time about our classes at the gym that we love, so I'm sure this will be a bit repetitive, but they're so good they merit another post.

We take two classes:

The first is Force: Training full Force at a High Intensity is proven to be the fastest way to reach your goals. Our Afterburn coaches motivate you to give your all with advanced movements designed to challenge your entire body during this team training session. High intensity anaerobic exercise burns more calories than simply doing cardio so join us in Force to blast the fat faster!
 
The second is Power: Designed specifically to build strength, POWER will take you through timed intervals that focus on quality and increased power through the movements. Participants will be challenged through multiple levels of load while perfecting their technique in order to achieve the optimal amount of strength through all ranges of motion.

One is more focused on cardio, while the other does more strength. They are both 45 minutes and have you doing 45-120 second intervals of each exercise. They are serious tush-kickers. But the best part, is that it's just 45 minutes and even though it's brutal, it's non-stop, so it goes quickly. We will start posting some of the workouts on the blog so you can re-create them yourself at the gym...because they don't require much equipment, and most gyms have the equipment needed. I'd also encourage you to look at your gym for classes like this and sign up if you're not taking classes now...it is really the best workout you can get in 45 minutes, in my opinion.

The other cool thing is you choose you weight and pace...so the class can be modified for anyone. And as you get more fit, you just pick up your intensity.

Watch for workouts to come!