five for friday: 08.17.12

five things that are making my life better right now…

This boy is back, and he says things like…

“Aunt Sam, it’s a good thing I came back. You need me! I smell things”
(while helping me cook)

“Oh, what a cute hamster”
(when looking at a picture of himself, of course)

“Finally! That’s where I’ve been sposed to be.”
(upon stepping on my scale and hearing that he weighs 38.4 pounds)

And this one started high school.

High school.

And so far, after one whole day, she’s loving it. All of her classes have at least one friend, she knows her schedule already and she’s excited.

She’s also the fifth generation in my family to attend DPHS, and I think that’s kind of amazing. Half of her teachers taught when I as there, though I never had any of them. And Aunt Carrie also happens to teach freshman English, and it’s just nice as a mama to know you’ve got someone watching out for them.

This one’s had a rough summer, after a rough year. He’s having some severe stomach issues – that he’s undergoing some extensive testing for – and some other stressors, and we made the decision last week to do virtul school with him. I’m not totally comfortable with the decision yet, but I know it’s what he needs right now. He’s been so sick since we moved back to California, and ultimately I know we need to find out why. His first day is a week from Monday, and he’s truly looking forward to school. After a long year of fighting to get him there each and every day, that’s enough.

Still loving Turbo Fire, almost seven weeks in. Also, loving my Polar FT4 heart rate monitor. And yes, that’s duct tape on the toes of my shoes – too much friction to do some of the turns and kicks without it. I’m a little frustrated that I’m still losing weight so slowly, but I can’t believe how much stronger I am and I know I’ve had some serious muscle development.

recipe here (big thumbs up from us)

And I’m still loving my paleo/primal/ancestral/anti-inflammatory way of eating, and considering another Whole30 soon. I love that I have energy and clarity of mind to deal with all of the craziness life throws at me. And seriously, if you’re interested in learning more about what it’s all about, please pick up a copy of Practical Paleo. Out of all of the books I’ve read on the subject – and there have been a lot – this one is just incredible. I wish it had been out a year ago when I started my own reading. Awesome recipes, solid info, infinitely adaptable…amazing.

What are you loving today?

And I promise – more regular blogging coming…soon. Still trying to get our new school year schedule figured out.


August goals

It’s August.

We did a little back to school shopping yesterday, for my freshman. I can’t tell you how over-whelmed I am by that. I am not possibly old enough to have a freshman in high school, and she is not possibly old enough to be a freshman in high school.

I always wonder how our lives can possible get crazier…and then they do. Back to school for the kids, a second church to pastor for Tom, more needs to fit in our busy hours, and hopefully back to school for me. I’m still not sure how it’s all going to work or what our days will look like, but I do know I’ve got to be on track with my eating and exercise to even attempt it all.

So I set a few goals for August.

Because, you know, my summer ones have just gone so well.

And by well, I mean mostly not at all…except the house isn’t a disaster and we’ve actually been eating fairly well.

But for myself, this month I plan to:

  • continue with month 2 of my Turbo Fire plan – which is harder and longer and will require me being up by 6 once school starts
  • lose 5 pounds – although more would be nice, but I’m being realistic
  • walk or swim 3-4 evenings a week – which seems to be helping me sleep better, burns a few extra calories and just seems to help my mental health in general
  • keep eating the way I have been, but cut back to 2 servings of fruit a day – funny, I think this will be the hard one. all of the fruit I love is in season right now, but I know I need to keep my sugar and carbs a little bit lower than I have been.

Have you set any goals this month? I’d love to hear about them! If you want to share, I’ll try to post a weekly check-in.

5 things Friday: Turbo Fire

A few months ago, I stumbled across a blog post that talked about Turbo Fire, and it just sort of tucked itself away in my brain. It looked like fun, sure, but it also looked a little bit insane. There was just no way I could workout that hard.

Was there?

I’ve been looking for a workout I could love and stay consistent with for what feels like forever.

I like running, but only outside and only first thing in the morning…which doesn’t always work with my schedule or the weather. I like the elliptical…for about two days and then I’m bored out of my mind. I’ve tried different workout DVD’s…for years…and I last about a week before I’m itching for something new.

I still don’t know what made me order Turbo Fire a few weeks ago. I’d been starting to look for a DVD series that I could do here at home, knowing that school would be starting up again soon. One of my summer goals was to get into a sustainable workout routine that would survive the kids – and me – going back to school. I searched online, found Turbo Fire again, did some more research and one night in June finally pushed submit on my order.

And I love it. I do have a few difficulties – my inability to do roundhouse kicks, trying to navigate a high impact workout with sneakers and carpet (just call me Agador Spartacus), on occassion I do in fact punch myself in the face – but I wake up every morning excited about working out.

That’s big.

5 reasons why I’m in love with Turbo Fire:

  1. Once my order was processed, I was sent a link to a video online of the Fire Starter (beginner’s) workout. The DVD’s shipped quickly – in less than a week – but I was able to get started learning the moves and getting a solid workout immediately.
  2. 14 workouts on 10 DVD’s means I’m not getting bored. Other than the days I did the Fire Starter workout, every day of the week is different which means I’m staying engaged and my muscles are getting nice and confused. Some days, it’s a long cardio workout…others it’s a 20 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and others focus on sculpting or deep stretching. The DVD set came with a class schedule, and I’m following it explicitly…even when I don’t want to. I’m sure I’ll deviate at some point, but I’m committed for at least 12 weeks to do exactly what it tells me to.
  3. I like the trainer, Chalene Johnson. Actually, I really like the trainer – she’s upbeat, does every single move with you and is encouraging. I feel like I’m working out with friends, and if she says to kick two inches higher…well, I kick two inches higher. After three weeks of workouts, I still think she’s someone I’d like to hang out with.
  4. I do the Stretch 10 class, almost every day. It’s helping my flexibility but I think more importantly, it’s kept me from having lingering muscle pain and stiffness. Unlike other DVD’s that leave me unable to walk the day afterwards (coughcough30dayshredcoughcough), I’m working out harder than I ever have before and can do it again easily the next day.
  5. I’m seeing results. In the first two weeks, I was down nearly 4 inches. More importantly, I’m improving. Yoga poses are getting easier, my punches are getting faster and my flexibility is pretty impressive. Every day I feel stronger.
    And I don’t feel quite like dying at the end of workout anymore.

What’s your favorite workout right now?

Just a note: I’m not affiliated with Beachbody or Turbo Fire in any way – just a fan.

the summer crazies


I’m afraid to check the date on my last blog post – I know it’s been a while.

Just checked and it’s worse than I thought: it’s been exactly a month.

In my defense, can I just say that – short of months when I had new babies or was moving – it’s been the busiest month I can remember.

We had our churches annual conference and were out of town for four days…and I’m still pondering and praying about that and hoping to post about soon.

Followed immediately by Vacation Bible School…which I’m still pondering and praying about and planning to post about soon.

There was the Fourth of July and doctor’s appointments…a lingering cold…special church meetings…more doctor’s appointments even further away…culminating in a fun day yesterday with my parents and nephews to Old Town Sacramento to visit the Railroad Museum.


All of my brilliant plans for the summer have been thrown out the window…mostly. The kids are helping with chores quite a bit and earning rewards, but our schedule has been a mess our of necessity. I think we’re finally moving into a slower season of this summer, and I’m so thankful.

I’m also kind of impressed with myself, I have to admit.

I chose to go hardcore paleo again about a month ago, after realizing I felt like garbage and my weight was slowly starting to creep up after the stress of this spring. I also made working out a priority again, starting with a Couch to 5K app and then moving on to Turbo Fire for the last two weeks. I’ve also been tracking my eating for accountability on My Fitness Pal (my username is skwidlund if you want to friend me). More on all of this coming soon, I promise!

And while I’ve lost a few of those pounds again and absolutely love Turbo Fire, even more importantly, I’ve made it through this crazy month without any sort of emotional breakdown or anxiety – and even with an annoying cold, I’ve had consistent energy levels.

Those are the biggest wins of all.

I’m not just surviving what’s been a crazy summer, I’m thriving through this crazy summer.

That’s huge, knowing that come August our lives are going to get a little bit crazier.

I’m comfortable – for once – saying bring on those crazies!

I’m ready.