holidaze

It’s just the first week of December and we’ve already experienced a massive ice storm (everything covered in inches of ice, branches everywhere, and even trees broken in half!), some snow, a sunny 60 degree day, and more snow! Seriously, we never know what Mother Nature is going to throw at us here in the Midwest.

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All the snow and chilly weather has me really in the mood to snuggle under a fluffy blanket, watch some Christmas movies, and drink a big mug of hot chocolate! Thank God for the weekend, right??

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The last few weeks, I’ve been trying to adjust to the idea that the holidays are going to be very different this year. Living out of state makes it quite difficult to plan around everyone’s schedules and nearly impossible to make it to every little holiday event like we did in previous years. Josh and I have been trying to figure out when to head home so that we have enough time with both of our families. I’m excited to see everyone, to eat lots of delicious fattening food, and spend time with our nephews. But I’ve got to be honest- it’s really hard being the “guests” in town. The few times we’ve gone home, we’ve stayed with my parents. Who are seriously the best. They always have food and drinks and fresh sheets on the guest bed and they don’t mind helping us with Rocko. But it’s just not our home. There’s a level of comfort that just isn’t there when it’s not your own home- we have to tiptoe down the hallway so as not to wake anyone up, we have to make sure Rocko doesn’t get on the couch in the living room, we have to pack multiple days worth of clothes and shoes and toiletries and live out of a suitcase for days. And if my siblings bring their dogs, say goodbye to any peace and quiet- it’s just hours of running and wrestling and barking between the dogs. I had really taken for granted how easy we had it when we lived in the same town as both of our parents and could just drive five minutes to get home!

Another thing that’s different this year is that living in an apartment, there isn’t enough room for a full size Christmas tree. Decorating our tree is my most favorite part of alllll of the Christmas holiday. Since we were babies, my parents have given me and my siblings a super fun, personalized ornament for the tree. And even though I’m 30 and married and “all grown up”, I look forward to this every year. I’ve even started buying Josh a fun ornament so he can be a part of my favorite Christmas tradition too. So, when I realized we wouldn’t be spending an afternoon assembling the tree and hanging each special ornament on it, I was really bummed out. I maybe even cried. Ok, I did cry. I felt silly because it’s just a tree but it holds so many memories for me. It’s not the same, but we did get a tiny tree (about a foot tall) to sit on the table next to the TV. We don’t have any miniature ornaments for it (yet), but we did buy some battery-operated Christmas lights for a little extra sparkle. It may not seem like much, but a little Christmas magic goes a long way. And even though I may not love our tiny apartment that doesn’t have room for a big tree, it’s our home and I’m so thankful to be living there with Josh instead of a state apart!

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It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the little things, to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season. I know it happens to me! I’m doing my best to remember the true reason for celebrating at Christmas has nothing to do with the comforts of my own place or a big decorated tree or getting awesome presents. Christmas is about spending time with your loved ones, being thankful and counting all your blessings, and celebrating the birth of our Savior and through this the gift of being saved from death! 

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it’s my 5 year crossfitiversary!

I canNOT believe that I have been doing CrossFit for five (5!) whole years as of yesterday! I have never ever stuck with any kind of workout regimen/program for that long… I usually lose interest before a year. So this is a big freaking deal! I was thinking it might be fun to talk about 5 things I’ve learned from doing 5 years of CF.

  1. Being strong is beautiful! Before CF, I was super hesitant to wear certain clothes (ie shorts, bathing suits, tank tops, you know what I’m talking about). Now, I feel so confident in my own skin, especially since I have (slightly) visible muscles! Show off those muscles! Show off that hard work! You are investing in your own body and you should be proud…I promise it won’t make you bulky or huge, but it will make you healthy, strong, and confident (read: beautiful).   
  2. You CAN do it- mind over matter. A few weeks ago, I woke up and looked at the workout programmed for the day. I instantly had the worst attitude when I saw that “Fran” was programmed. Fran is a super yucky workout of 21-15-9 thrusters and pull-ups and I struggle mentally with it every time. I thought to myself “Fran is too hard. Maybe I’ll just skip today. I ate awful over the weekend, I’m tired, there’s no way I’ll do well.” All those negative thoughts in a matter of seconds. And then I thought to myself “No! There is absolutely no reason for this negativity. There is no reason for you not to go and just do your best.” I did grumble about it in my head still and when I stumbled on my first thruster, I really questioned if I would do well. But, I just kept my breathing controlled. I kept moving slow, but steady. And I got 14 seconds faster! I was so happy! Not only because I’m a little bit fitter, but mostly because my attitude and mental health have improved more than I realized. So, yeah, give yourself those few seconds or minutes to get all the negative and doubts in your life out, but then fill your mind right back up with encouraging, positive, “I CAN do this” thoughts! Choose your ‘tude!!!
  3. You get out what you put in. CF is one of those programs that is exactly how easy or how hard you make it. If you want, you can mosey about and just get the bare minimum done. And believe me, I have those days. But, if you push your limit to the max, you will be sooo rewarded. You might PR a max lift. You might get a faster time on a benchmark workout. You might do a gymnastics movement you never dreamed you were capable of. If you don’t put in the work, you will never know how much your mind and body are capable of. When you push your boundaries (in CF and in life), you just might be surprised what happens!    
  4. There is no better community than a CF community. You can push yourself harder/faster/further than you ever imagined you could with the help and support of your CF family. And don’t laugh- I really mean it when I say family. You spend a decent amount of time with this group of amazing people and every day they pick you up when you’re down and they push you to be your most healthy and best self every workout. You sweat together, you hurt during a hard workout together, you laugh together, and you’ll always be welcome no matter what gym you step into anywhere in the world.
  5. You are not your fitness level/ 6-pack abs/ backsquat weight/etc. I used to believe that I was only as good as the weight I could lift on the barbell. I used to believe that people would like me more if I had 6-pack abs. I used to believe I would only be accepted if I did the workout as prescribed. My gosh, I used to believe some really silly things! My mindset has changed since I started CF five years ago. Previously, I would be at the gym 5-6 times a week for 2-3 hrs every day. Now, I’m lucky to make it to the gym 4-5 times a week for 1 hr a day. The crazy thing is, I’m still getting PR’s in my workouts and I’m still improving every day. And guess what? Even if I wasn’t, my friends and family would still love me and support me just the same. They could not care less if I didn’t PR my Fran time or if my stomach isn’t ripped like a physique model. How awesome is that?! You are worth sooo much more! Embrace where you are in life, embrace your beautiful, strong, amazing body, and go out in this great, big, awesome world and live your best dang life!!!

For the Love of CrossFit

It’s one of my favorite times of the year in CrossFit world! Tomorrow is the start of the CF Games Regionals events. Every weekend for the next few weekends, athletes across the world will compete in several events testing their fitness to qualify for a spot at the CF Games (this is like the Olympics for CrossFitters). So, if you need me in the next few weekends, I’ll be sitting on the couch with my eyes glued to the TV watching everyone get their fitness on.

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If you know me at all, you know a huge part of my life is CrossFit. I have been CrossFitting since August 2013 (holy crap, that’s almost 4 years!!! Gees, time sure has flown by!). I first heard about CF from one of my best friends, Allison, who was an avid CrossFitter.  When I started at Kremers, I found out that Josh did CF, so I would go into the lab every day and ask what his workout was going to be, laugh in his face at how hard it sounded and how I would never be able to do anything like that, then walk out. It wasn’t until I went up to Chicago to be Allison’s date for her brother’s wedding that I finally got a drink of the Kool-Aid. We did a “deck of cards” workout in the hotel involving handstand push-ups, sit-ups, and air squats. While I struggled through the workout, doing HSPU off the bed (very scaled) and going slow as molasses, I watched Allison bust through the workout with ease (she might have been struggling, but to me she was a goddess). I was so sore for the following week, it hurt to sneeze or laugh… I. was. Hooked. Josh and I are beyond blessed to be a part of the community at CF Ripcord, where he coaches and we both attend classes. Some people may not understand why CF is such an important aspect of my life, so I’ve come up with a list of reasons exactly why I love it so much.

 

  1. It lead me to my husband. Josh and I knew each other from work, but it was really only in passing. When I began CF, I saw him for a few hours every day at the gym and we began spending more and more time together. We would do the 5 pm class together, then decide we both needed to stay to watch and cheer on the 6 pm class…which was totally unnecessary, but gave us more time together. It only took me about 5 months to realize we were going to be more than friends and now we’ve been married for almost 2 years!

  

  1. It has boosted my confidence. I walked into CF very hesitant. I wasn’t friends with anyone and I was not athletic at all. I was manager of the swim team and statistician for the basketball team. Let’s just say those aren’t very physical positions. I had never touched a barbell, done a pull-up, or ran a 5k. There was so much I had never done. But each day I learned something new and pushed myself and now I do things I never imagined possible before- such as bar muscle-ups, handstand push-ups, and olympic lifting. Before CF, I would work out in baggy PE shorts and a t-shirt. Now, I’m proud to wear booty shorts and a sports bra around and show off the hard work I’ve put in. I love that I have thicker legs and muscley arms all because of CF!  

 

  1. It has made me stronger physically. Like I said previously, I was not athletic. Doing CF has pushed me more than I could have imagined. I started out not being able to do one push-up or pull-up, let alone lift a 35# barbell properly. With a lot of drills, progressions, and coaching I can now do a set of 20 push-ups, sets of strict pull-ups, and lift a barbell over my head that weighs more than me!   

 

  1. It has given me another family. This community surrounding CF is one of the most encouraging and supportive I’ve ever been a part of. Walking into CF for the first time is so intimidating, but you realize very quickly that everyone is there to get stronger and be their best. You never have to push yourself through a challenging workout alone. Someone is always there to coach you, cheer you on, and pick you up when you’re having a rough day. I truly have made some lifelong friends through CF and can’t imagine my life without them.

 

  1. It helps me stay healthy and be prepared for life. Before CF, I felt like I was in decent shape. I used to run on the treadmill and do P90X. I soon realized, I was not in shape at all! CF has helped me become stronger and healthier. Functional movement is what CF is all about. These movements have made me more efficient and have helped prevent injuries in my everyday activities. Something as simple as sitting down at your desk involves squatting which we do almost daily in some form in our workouts. Picking up a bag of dog food is similar to a clean. CF has also lead me to a healthier diet. I now eat to fuel my body and recover properly, not just shove my face full of whatever food is available. I feel better, workout better, have more energy, and look better all because of CF!

 

  1. It allows me opportunities to travel. There are CF gyms and competitions around the entire world. I have traveled as far as Los Angeles for the Games and Miami for Wodapalooza to watch people compete. This summer, we’re traveling up to Madison, Wisconsin for the Games. It’s such a great experience to travel to a new place, meet new people who are just as passionate about CF as you are, and discover new cultures and communities.
  2. It has made made me competitive. Having not participated in sports throughout high school or college, I didn’t know I was capable of being competitive. It’s not even about being competitive with the other people in the gym, but more so pushing you against yourself. It’s exciting to see a workout be programmed again and to push yourself to lift a heavier weight or put up a faster time. And while it’s not about beating the person next to you, it is so much more fun to have a friend beside you that is at a similar skill level to push you to finish fast and strong.

 

  1. It makes me work on my weaknesses, while maintaining my strengths. There are so many movements in CF and every workout is different. There is no way to only do movements that you are good at or that you like. There will come a time when something is programmed that you can’t do or don’t like to do. Those workouts show you what you’re really made of. Instead of pouting or skipping class, I choose to perform drills and do progressions working up to that movement. And then when I finally can do that movement, I feel so proud that I worked on my weakness and didn’t let it get me down.  

 

  1. It takes me out of my comfort zone. Do you think climbing a 15 foot rope or walking upside down on your hands isn’t scary? Well, you’re probably crazy, but that’s ok. They’re scary to me (along with a few other movements), but I still try them. I love that CF pushes me to do “scary” things and even if I fail, I had the courage to at least try and someday I will succeed.  

 

  1. It is an awesome stress reliever. Throwing some heavy weight around, sweating, working hard, surrounded by a bunch of awesome people has helped me out on several crappy days like nothing else could. Let’s be real that even on an awesome day, going into the gym can improve my mood.

 

I am so blessed for all that I’ve gained through CrossFit and I absolutely can’t wait to see where it leads me in the future! Here’s to staying fit, hitting new goals, and building a bigger booty!

 

{celebrating} Mother’s Day & a Marriage

Who doesn’t love a weekend full of celebrating love? I’m so super excited about this past weekend still! Saturday morning was filled with lifting and lots of fitness and fun with the class. I got in some cleans, clean deadlifts, front squats, and walking lunges for my Hypertrophy templates. After mobility, we tackled the workout which was a weighted team sled pull (my team pulled 255#, not to brag or anything, but that was the heaviest sled in the whole class), 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 double unders (each person), then another sled pull. I absolutely love partner/team workouts because it makes me push a little harder so as not to let anyone down. This was so fun and I hope we do it again sometime in the future. After class, I headed home to get all our meal prep done while Josh taught his first class in his nutrition series. He had five people sign up, which was really exciting! We got some downtime Saturday afternoon and watched part of the USA Weightlifting National Championships before heading up to Columbus for my friend, Torrie’s, wedding. This girl and I have been friends since 2011. We met at Columbus Regional Hospital when I took a job there and Torrie was a medical technologist. Soon after starting, I walked right up to her and gave her a big hug…I didn’t give her any choice but to become my friend! We quickly learned that we had a lot in common, most especially our love for TV (she introduced me to the concept of putting all my TV shows into a spreadsheet categorized by date, time, and channel). How could this girl not be my soulmate? Fast forward six years and celebrating her and Brian getting married! The wedding was beautiful (I loved all the decorations with big red roses and white carnations) and Torrie was so gorgeous all dolled up and in her wedding dress. It was so great to catch up with my friend, Tim, and all my old co-workers from the hospital. There were lots of laughs and stories to tell. It’s possible that I ate 4 pieces of cake, too…I had to try all the flavors. And I did share with Josh! The best part was the photo booth they had set up at the reception. It was so fun putting on different masks and accessories and being extra goofy with everyone.  

Today was Mother’s Day. As I get older, I appreciate more and more what all my mom has done/does for me. I was adopted the day I was born. I’ve always known, it wasn’t something my mom and dad felt like ever hiding. There was never any doubt though that I wasn’t loved or that I wasn’t a “real” part of the family because of being adopted. My mom often told me “Never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart, but in it”. I love that saying to this very day.

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Growing up, my mom never ever let a day go by without telling us how much she loved my siblings and I, whether it was through words or home cooked meals on the table every night. She still helps us out any time that we need, taking off work to help us move to a new house or talking to us on the phone for an hour when we’re having a bad (or good) day. And you can always count on tons of food all over the kitchen if you’re hungry (or even if you’re not). Celebrating Mother’s Day at my parents house today was no exception. We spent the afternoon outside enjoying the most gorgeous sun shining down with a light breeze, playing corn hole and spike ball, and lounging by the pool (my dad opened their pool this week, but it was FREEZING so even though the crazy boys got in, no way was I) while the pups all ran around the yard peeing on everything and wrestling with each other. It was crazy and loud and I couldn’t imagine my home life any other way! After a few hours playing outside, we were all starving, so we came in to enjoy a delicious dinner of stromboli, pasta salad, fruit salad, homemade fudgy brownies (I made them from scratch for the first time ever all by myself, yay me!), my mom’s homemade Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and a homemade strawberries ‘n cream cake roll (by my talented baking hubby). Josh and I tried our best to be good, so we brought our own meals for dinner…and then enjoyed all the wonderful desserts!

I hope we succeeded in giving my momma exactly the day she wanted- a day filled with all her kids (we missed you, Kylie!) and their pups, laughing, playing outside, and enjoying each other’s company over a scrumptious meal. I can’t think of a mom more deserving of all the love (and crazy) we have to give! Happy Mother’s Day, Momma, we love you so much!     

Fiestas & Family

Fiesta like there’s no mañana! There couldn’t have been a better theme for this Cinco de Mayo weekend. It was packed full with a Cinco de Nacho community workout at the gym Friday night, Cinco de Drinko game night at Ethan’s casa Saturday, and Cinco de mi Momma’s birthday Sunday. Ok, so maybe that last one was made up. Doesn’t matter. The weekend was awesome, the end (How adorable is our little monster?!).

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Friday was Cinco de Mayo. It also happened to be the first Friday of the month, which is when CF Ripcord hosts a free community wod and pitch-in. We host this in hopes of getting our name out into the community and bringing in new people that are maybe cautious about trying CrossFit for the first time, but also for all our current members to get together for fitness, fellowship, and tasty food. It was quite possibly my favorite community wod we’ve hosted thus far, in large part because my bestie, Des, and her hubby, Chris, surprised me and came up to workout with us. I don’t get to see her very often, so any time together is much cherished. We had a fun team relay workout set up involving a rower/assault bike, GHD sit-ups, dumbbell snatches, air squats, and handstand walks. One of my favorite aspects of CF is that absolutely anything and everything is scalable, which means that any movement can be scaled back or modified. Not every person who walks into the gym has touched a barbell before or is capable of doing a pull-up or bar muscle up, etc. There are several different progressions and skills that can be done until that person feels comfortable and can perform the prescribed movement with proper technique. I am unable to do handstand walks (upside down and walking on your hands…are you kidding me, that’s scary! The fear factor there may or may not be why I still don’t have a handstand walk lolol) at this time, so I did bear crawls instead. Some people had never been on a GHD so they did abmat sit-ups instead. No matter what version of the movements was being done, people were pushing themselves and working hard. It’s such an experience being surrounded by friends working through a tough workout together. After the workout, we had a Cinco de Nacho nacho bar complete with chips, homemade salsa and guacamole, chicken/turkey/beef, queso, and all the other toppings you could want. Don’t think we didn’t have some delicious desserts to share too- homemade white chocolate macadamia nut and chocolate chip peanut butter cookies as big as your face and moist pumpkin white chocolate chip cookies being my favorites. As much as I love the workout part of our community nights, the time spent sitting cross-legged on the gym floor in a giant circle talking and eating with everyone tops it all.

Saturday was the last day of our deload week on this cycle of our RP Hypertrophy templates. I’m very much ready to get back into the swing of things and do regular CF class on top of our accessory stuff, although I must say it has been kind of nice getting home “early” every evening and having more time to just chill together. We got our lifting in then jumped into the mobility class lead by Ryan. I love that class! I never realize how tight or sore I am from a week of lifting and CF until Ryan starts leading us through different stretches. Swole and flexy, people, you can’t have one without the other. When we got home, we started right to meal prepping for the upcoming week- pork loin, broccoli, green beans, and veggie “chili”. We’ve got our routine down pat now after meal prepping for ~18 months with RP. I portion out all the meat while Josh cooks up the veggie chili. Once the chili is done, I portion that out into as many meals as possible, then fill in the remaining meals with green beans and broccoli. Voilà! It’s as simple as that. We had plans to go to a taco party/game night later, so I made some seven layer dip while Josh whipped up a batch of scrumptious Berries & Cream cupcakes from Life, Love, and Sugar’s blog (PS she has the cutest blog with the best sweet treats, please do yourself a favor and go check it out). These moist vanilla cupcakes with a whipped almond filling and a mixed berry frosting are definitely at the top of my favorites list now.  

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After all the food prep, we got in some lazy time, catching up on TV and cat-napping before heading up to Ethan’s. We loaded our plates up with cecina tacos, Bailey’s cookie balls (Steve has really been holding out on us with his whole “I don’t know how to cook/bake”persona because these cookie balls were great), seven layer dip, cupcakes, and margaritas before heading out to the backyard for some friendly games of cornhole. Poor Jess and Jake had to carry me every round because I was lucky if my bean bag even grazed the board. We got a lot of good laughs about mine and Steve’s attempts at throwing though. Note to self: telling Steve to give the bag a little arc results in the bean bag being thrown straight up into the air and not getting anywhere near the board. When it got too chilly, we headed inside to play Joking Hazard, which is a super fun game where you build your own three-panel comic strip from a deck of cards. Super inappropriate and hilarious for sure. My favorite part of the night was the Jenga game Dell brought. It was just regular Jenga but she had written different “cues” on each block, such as “thumb master” where everyone had to put their thumb on the table when the thumb master did and the last person to do so had to drink. Or cues where the shortest or tallest person had to take a drink. There were so many good ones, I definitely can’t wait to play again. There really is nothing better than a night of games, storytelling, and laughing until your stomach hurts with truly great friends. And hanging out with Bear, of course. 

Sunday morning was spent at church singing praise songs and beginning a new study on prayer. The sermon was a great reminder that God is with us no matter what and there is nothing too big or too small for Him to handle, you just have to ask. Sunday was my mom’s birthday, so after church we met my parents at El Nopal for lunch to celebrate. And really, why not have Mexican food for the third day in a row? There is no such things as too many tacos. We caught up about all the gossip and family matters and it was just nice to have a relaxing lunch together. We came home to finish up all the fun adulting stuff like laundry and tidying up the house. A few weeks ago, Josh had made homemade dog treats and they were such a big hit he decided to make more. We recently got the cutest little bone shaped cookie cutter from a friend and couldn’t wait to use it for these treats. We headed over to my parents house to share the delicious cupcakes Josh had made on Saturday. My mom loves cupcakes, so it was the perfect treat to take for her birthday. It wasn’t long after we got there that we all had to scarf one down. There really was no eating it slow and savoring it, it was just too darn good! Ariel and Rocko got to try the bone shaped treats, so they didn’t feel left out. Somehow the weather was picture perfect (we’ve had like a solid week of rain and gloom and flooding)- fluffy clouds dotting the bright blue sky with the sun shining down, so we sat out on my parents’ back patio and soaked it all in. I can’t wait to have a finished backyard like theirs someday, so we can just relax and enjoy the outdoors whenever we want. Now onto a new Monday, new week, new goals!  

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Springtime & Salvation

You guys, is it just me or is spring not one of THE best times of the year?! There’s just something about waking up every morning to the sound of birds chirping, the smell of freshly cut grass, and the colorful tulips budding all around. Of course, spring also means lots of rain showers, mud, and allergies, but you can’t have the good without the bad, right? Which brings me to the part of spring that I really love which is celebrating Easter and Jesus’ resurrection with my family. How amazing is it that Jesus was sent here to this world to live among us? That he was then crucified by us? That three days later He conquered death and rose again? That by doing so, He forgave us all our sins even when we didn’t deserve that in the least? It’s something that I struggle to wrap my head around often and something that I can never be grateful enough for!

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It was always tradition in my family for my brothers, sister, and I to wake up early on Easter morning, wait patiently for Mom and Dad to check that the Easter Bunny had paid a visit, then rush down the stairs to see what goodies awaited us. The Easter Bunny never let us down, filling our baskets with toys and lots of Cadbury Eggs and Reese’s Eggs. After the excitement of digging through our baskets, we always got dressed up and went to the Easter service at church. Even though we’re all adults now, Josh and I have continued the tradition of getting each other small baskets of goodies from the “Easter Bunny” then going to Easter service. I look forward to it more and more every year, combining small traditions from my childhood with his, treasuring each moment that we have been blessed with because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

 

 

This year, we celebrated Easter yesterday with Josh’s family and today with mine. We ate lots of yummy food (check out the amazing cake my sis-in-law, Kena, made above) and played a riveting game of Catan with Josh’s family. At my family’s, my mom had baked egg shaped sugar cookies for us to decorate. I mean, dyeing eggs would have been fun too, but if you have to choose between hard-boiled eggs and cookies, cookies win. Every. Time. Between the three dogs barking, running around, and wrestling with each other and the ten different conversations going on at one time between everyone, it was a circus! Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way!