Harry Potter and the Island of Sodor

PJ is knee deep in the obligatory toddler boy obsession with Thomas and Friends. My house is full of trains, shoes, books, clothes, and pillows plastered with Thomas’ face. And the movies – ohhhhhh, the endless plays of the movies!

And after the approximately fifty millionth time I had to sing the Thomas song, while also re-reading Order of the Phoenix and trying to tune out the workaholic Sir Topham Hatt, it occurred to me that James really IS vain but lots of fun. And then, well, THIS happened…

Ahem…

They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight 

Casting spells, annoying Snape

Dumbledore’s Army

Triwizards too

They’re the really useful crew

All with different roles to play

On Hogwarts grounds or far away

In the Forest, at the end

Haaaaarry and his friends!

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
Hope you liked this, writing it definitely gave me a laugh!

A Bedtime Duet…

  
Voice 1, (an out of practice Alto I):

Jesus loves me, this I know

Voice 2, (a warbling, baby soprano):

Cheese-Utz! 

V1: For the Bible tells me so

V2: Bi-ble soooooooooo

V1: Little ones to him belong

V2: Cheese! Cheese!

V1: They are weak but he is strong

V2 (silent and grinning in anticipation)

V1: Yes, Jesus loves me

V2: Awwwwwee! Awwwww! (Ferocious hugging)

V1: Yes, Jesus loves me

V2: Awwwwwe cheese! (Enthusiastic kissing)

V1 (slight pause to wipe face): Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so

V2: Bible sooooooooo. Cheese.

Thank you, thank you…we’ll be here all week!

PJ’s Diary: Toddler For Hire

I think it’s time I start earning my keep. Well, not really, but there’s more than enough cute to go around and why should Mommy & Daddy get all the fun? So here I am, your Toddler For Hire!

Previous Experience:

Toddler @ {Name Redacted} Residence, PA
Sept 14 РPresent 

Responsibilities Included:

– Iced Tea Inspector. I can tell you with a high degree of certainty whether your iced tea is sodium deficient and correct the error by adding an appropriate (to me) number of salty chips. In the case of a total loss, I can throw the entire glass into your lap and make it look like you peed your pants. You’re welcome.

– Grocery Helper. Eggs make such a lovely crunching sound when they are thrown from a conveyor belt to the tile floor. Or at least I imagine they do, my last boss was a mean lady who stopped me from trying it.

– Cat Twirler. I grab their tails and hold on. Sometimes they pull me around the room, sometimes I pull them. We’re a team like that and it’s always fun – for me.

– Tight Space Explorer. Did you know that a 1.5 year old fits perfectly in the shelf under the TV where my Pooh bear player lives? Neither did Mommy.

Special Skills:

Communication: I conveniently warn you when I’m about to do something bad by telling myself “NOOOOOO.” Then I do it anyway. I said I communicate, not that I listen.

Horror Movie Sound Effects: I can scream like nobody’s business. Just ask the doggies next door.

Lovin: I give GREAT hugs. And kisses. Did you know Eskimos kiss with their noses? Mommy taught me that. She gives good hugs too. And she kisses my boo boos when I fall off stuff or into dry bathtubs. And she gives me yogurts and animal crackers and let’s me play puppy games on her phone.

Hmmmm….

Application withdrawn. Mommy, can I have a hug?

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PJ’s Diary: Guess Who I Saw On A Train?

Boy, we spent a lot of time in the car lately!

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Today, Mommy & Daddy & Aunt Judy & me went to a place in the mountains where there were TRAINS! We stood in a long line to look at them oh boy!

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I thought we would go home then, but we went to a restaurant instead – fishes taste better when you eat them out of a dump truck, don’t you think?

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After lunch, we went back to look at the trains again. But this time, they let us go inside!

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I gave my ticket to a nice lady…

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And then THIS guy showed up! I KNOW HIM!!!

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I liked to watch the trees go by, and the water, and the rocks.

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Then I got a little sleepy.

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::yawn:: Trains are fun, but naps are better!

PJ’s Diary: Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh boy, I love Thanksgiving! My mommy and daddy taked me for a long ride in the car. I tried to sing my favorite “Up! Down!” song the whole way there,

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but I sang myself right to sleep instead. When we got there, you’ll never guess who was there…NANA AND POP-POP! I was soooo excited to see them! And they had FOOD to share with me, oh boy!

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This turkey stuff is…texture-y. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Oooooh, rolls! I show you what to do with them, Mommy!

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My PopPop got a funny present – it’s a hat that sings!

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He let me wear it, but I said “Noooooo thank you! Keep it over there!”

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Mommy was mean and didn’t let me have none of her grown up grape juice, but Nana gived me all the apple juice I wanted. So THERE, mama!

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Then we took another loooong car ride. This time, I didn’t feel like sleeping much, so I made Mommy play me all my favorite songs over and over (and over and over until Daddy said “No more!”)

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When we got out of the car, we saw my Grandmom and my Grandpop’s! It was Grandpop’s birthday, but all I know how to sing is “Up! Down! Up!” so I sang him that and showed Mommy how to use a spoon. None of this one handed stuff, it’s only fun if you get real real messy!

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Then we had to go home and go to bed. I stayed up real late talking to Bunny, and Michael, and Stinky. There was so much to tell them, I hope we have another Thanksgiving real soon!

A Tale of Two Selfies & An Unpodcast

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been struggling hard to keep up with my life and feeling this knot of doom hanging over me about the holidays coming up and how am I going to do it all, be everything that everyone needs me to be, and have enough of me to put out all the fires that keep popping up. It was exhausting. I haven’t been sleeping well, and having a hard time keeping myself from eating all the bad things!

Since I started PiYo, my morning workouts have been where I work through those emotional leftovers from the day before, but for the past two weeks I could barely drag myself out of bed for them and I just didn’t feel that “ahhhhhhhhhh” moment afterwards. My success partner, Lacy, and I made a commitment to post our sweaty selfies as a way to be accountable to each other and our clients. Here’s mine from Wednesday…

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I took TEN and this was the best smile I could manage. I just wasn’t feeling it. I was too wrapped up in what I knew was coming in the rest of my day, and it wrecked my ability to make the most of my morning. I wasn’t wrong about my day, either. I have a recurring project that was assigned to me a couple of years ago that gives me a lot of anxiety because it’s pretty far outside of my strong skill set. I have begged and pleaded for reassignment with no luck. Meanwhile, it keeps growing and getting more complicated, and at one point on Wednesday I locked myself in my office, put my head down and cried like a baby because I felt like it would never end.

On Thursday, I didn’t even bother getting out of bed to work out. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I considered calling out, fantasized about quitting, and eventually dragged myself out the door and into the office. I listen to podcasts in the car, and happened to be listening to the Unpodcast that day. And Scott Stratten said something along the lines of “I don’t spend time working on my weaknesses. I think that just wastes time I could spend on getting great at my strengths.”

And I was like – WHOA. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing to myself. I’ve been feeling like there are so many things about me that I need to fix, that I need to work on, that I need to get better at, that I need to just manage, that I haven’t put any time into the things I’m GOOD at. No wonder I feel like crap about myself if all my energy is going into things I can barely scrape together and whose only role in my bigger plan is to eventually GO AWAY.

So I pushed the nightmare project off to the side, took care of the things that were on deadline, and spent the entire rest of my day on a project that I love and that I excel at. And you know what? It worked. It freaking worked! I rushed back from lunch to get back to it, and was almost late leaving for the day because I had to get one last thought down into my notes – which I brought home for the weekend because some of them can be reused for my coaching business.

When I got home, I had quality time with PJ and Paul, and I slept like a rock. I woke up this morning excited for my workout, and I nailed it. It was FUN again! Here’s today’s selfie:

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On the FIRST try too. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, not that I won’t ever try to learn a new skill or get better about something I’m not good at, but I’m definitely going to be more guarded with my time to make sure that these things don’t take over my life again. Life lessons from (un)marketers for the win!

7 Apps That Make My Life Easier

I confess, I’m something of a scatterbrain. I’m primarily an ideas person, and when it comes down to execution, I trip myself up on details all the time. Since I had PJ, I’ve been trying hard (really, really hard) to get myself trained to be better about managing my time and my environment because I don’t want him to grow up in chaos. I’m still a work in progress, (she says while sitting next to Mt. Laundry), but these are the apps that have helped me the most so far in this ongoing project that is my life!

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Fruit & Yogurt Teething Pops (plus a bonus kitchen tip!)

It’s been a little while since I checked in, I’ve been working hard on some projects lately and had to take a break from something to make it all work. Even though everything in the works is a positive development I’ve still missed you all! So I’m popping in today with a new recipe – I hope you enjoy!

Fruit & Yogurt Teething Pops

PJ has been teething like a fiend lately, which has not been fun for any of us, to put it mildly. Teeth Are Not For Biting is now required bedtime reading. He finds it hilarious.

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I’m trying to keep cold things on hand, so I made up a batch of these babies today. Start with plain, low fat yogurt. Add a little coconut water to thin it, frozen fruit for flavor, and a teaspoon of extract to round it out.

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Then I blend it all up to the consistency of a smoothie and pour it into Popsicle molds. I have two sets now, one that is soft and squeezy and one traditional type with a stick. PJ prefers the squeeze kind because he can (mostly) feed himself with them.

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At this point, he realized what I was doing and insisted on a taste test – how pitiful is this face?!

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It’s probably a good idea that he did, because he let me know very quickly that I forgot to add a sweetener – oops! I use honey if I’m making these and not freezing them, or organic cane sugar if they’re going in the freezer like this batch. So after I added the sugar and poured them into the molds, I had the dreaded blender cleanup ahead of me, ugh!

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Bonus Kitchen Tip!

With all the blending I do for my morning shakes and these pops, I got really sick and tired of all that blender cleaning. Then I found this tip and it changed my life. I really wish I remembered which site I saw it on to give them credit, but it was months ago and I forget – sorry! If anyone knows, please tag them in a comment!

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After a quick rinse in hot water, I fill the blender about halfway with hot water, add a teaspoon of baking soda, and a squirt of dish soap. Then zhuzh it up like this…

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I don’t have to tell you to keep the lid on while zhuzhing right? Anyway, afterwards I dip out some of the foam to clean the lid and the counters, and when I dump it out I wipe out the sink too for good measure. It takes way longer to write all this out than it does to make, and Mommy and Daddy have been known to sneak a “teething pop” or two for a snack – they’re delicious!

Teething Pop Recipe

3/4 container of plain or vanilla yogurt
1 tsp flavored extract
1-1/2 cups frozen fruit
4 oz coconut water
Sweetener to taste (honey for smoothies, sugar if freezing)

Put everything in the blender and blend until smooth. Freeze for 2-3 hours.

Big Reveal – PiYo Round 1 Results!

This is going to be one of those posts where I have to shut my eyes to hit send. I’ve got some photos to share with you today that are pretty embarrassing, but I hope they’ll help other people realize that “you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

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At the beginning of July, I took a big step out of my comfort zone and ordered one of those Beachbody kits – you know, the ones from all those infomercials. I had seen the infomercials for P90X, Insanity, Body Beast, and was so intimidated by all those buff bodies that I never really considered that I could do something like it! Then I started seeing the 21 Day Fix spot and thought “Now that’s more my speed!”

So when I called my friend Pam, who has had AMAZING results with several Beachbody programs, especially T25, that’s what I thought I’d be doing. I was all set to get 21 Day Fixed, and started saving my pennies to order the full challenge pack with Shakeology. Then I called her back and told her I was almost ready to order, and she said, “Before you do, I wanted to let you know that Chalene Johnson [creator of TurboJam and TurboFire] has a new program that I think you will LOVE! It’s called PiYo, and it’s brand new. If you want to wait one more week until it’s released, we can both order it and do it together.”

When she explained that PiYo is a pilates/yoga inspired workout that is focused on building strength and flexibility using just your body weight, I was intrigued. I’ve always enjoyed both pilates and yoga, and loved the idea of having someone to go through the program with. So I placed my order and joined Pam’s challenge group at the beginning of July.

One of the first things she told me to do was take “before” pictures and measurements as well as weighing myself. I was REALLY not happy about this, for reasons that all be obvious when you see the pictures a little later on! But I did it, and now I’m glad I did because changes are so gradual that is really hard to see any other way.

The program itself was great. There are multiple workouts on three DVD’s, so even though I was working out six days a week, I wasn’t getting bored with the repetition. The pack even included a calendar so that I didn’t have to try to figure out which workout to do next or when it was time to move on to some of the more advanced routines. And within each workout, Chalene and her team of instructors demonstrate each move with modifiers for the beginners and also for more advanced people.

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That girl on the right is Modifier Michele – she’s my new best friend. No offense to my current best friends, but Michele and I hung out for at least one move in every workout for the last 60 days. I kind of feel like I owe her a Christmas card now! But I hardly ever manage to get cards in the mail anyway, so hopefully she’ll just see this blog and know that I appreciate her haha.

Finishing the program this week was bittersweet. There was a HUGE sense of accomplishment, and I am thrilled with my results…but I’m going to miss waking up and seeing Chalene’s smiling face every morning! There will be a round two of PiYo in my future, but after this weekend I’ll be moving on to the 21 Day Fix to mix things up a little.

Here are the three main pillars of the program as I followed it:

– 30 minute PiYo workout, 6 days a week

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– 1 Shakeology daily

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– 4-5 small meals a day based on clean eating principles (the challenge pack comes with a nutrition plan)

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It really was easy to follow, I would do my workout and shake first thing in the morning and go about my day. I did well with eating clean, although I’ll never claim that I was perfect at it! I would probably have even more dramatic results if I had been perfect at it, but I was never aiming for a total transformation in only 8 weeks. I’m looking at this as the first 8 weeks of the rest of my life, and I will always need to make room for imperfection, because that’s how life works, right?

So how did these three pillars work out for me? Take a look and see!

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I set a goal to lose 10 pounds and 10 inches in my 8 weeks on this program.

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I missed one goal by a little, but I smashed the other one! I lost a total of 7 pounds and 16 inches by the last day. Most of the inches came off of my waist and my thighs, which is a-ok with me!

So there you have it, my “after” photos for PiYo, that have just become my “before” photos for 21 Day Fix! If you’re considering starting a fitness program, there is no time like the present. I’ve become a Beachbody coach as part of my journey, and would love to help you reach YOUR goals! I can hook you up with any of the workout programs Beachbody offers, and I’ve got challenge groups set up for the month of September, send me a message and I’ll get you enrolled!

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