Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Easy Homemade Banana Strawberry Ice Cream

Banana Strawberry Ice Cream

This is delicious and CHEAP versus your normal DQ Blizzard or tub of ice cream.
Homemade ice cream is the best!

I froze two and a half bananas in the freezer (it's easier to peel and chop up when they are all mushy and then put in a freezer bag)

I then put the chunks of bananas in our Ninja
I cut up some fresh strawberries
I poured in Jackson's organic whole milk - maybe a 1/2 cup
Added 1 tsp vanilla extract
Threw in some tasty dark chocolate

Yep, that easy. And HIT THE SPOT!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Skin Check - You Are Your Best Advocate for Your Health

Don't Ignore Your Moles

For the past four years I’ve been getting my skin looked over. Why? Well, I think it all started when I read an article in Glamour about a 26 year old who faced melanoma. Her story shook me to my core. 

She died.

She never experienced love, marriage, being a mom or traveling the world. She wasn’t going to Happy Hours or running outside or joining volleyball leagues. Instead she was trying to survive another day. All because of one annoying mole that she ignored for years and many summers spent in the sun.
The mole on my foot that I pointed out to the skin doctor last Saturday. It's gone now.

Sounded very much like me. She was fair skinned. She had blonde hair. She had blue eyes. She fake-baked in her younger years (Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!). She ran outside as often as she could. She rarely used sunscreen…

I don’t think I slept for two nights. What if that was me??? Her story could have been mine.

The only way I felt better about things was making an appointment to see a skin doctor. Though I was scared half to death to go in. What if? What if? What if? And I was so worried I’d get lectured. No, I didn't wear sunscreen every single time I went outside. Yes, sometimes I tanned so much I looked like a dried up prune. I sucked it up though. I had to take care of me. I mean, I survived my parents lecturing me all the time. I could handle a doctor yelling at me.
My first appointment I was paired with a male doctor who was rather old. He did a full body scan with only his eyes. All the moles I pointed out he waved off. “Just keep an eye on them.”

Wasn’t I doing that though?

He never yelled at me either for being tan from my recent trip to Arizona, or our honeymoon to St. Lucia, or the trip to South Africa....

I was sent home with a clean bill of health. I relaxed a bit. Then mid-way through the year I was sent a letter that my skin doctor had retired and I’d have to find a new doctor. I’d take care of this when I had time, I thought. I was much too busy.

The letter gathered dust.

The next May rolled around (skin awareness month) and there were more articles in my health magazines about suspicious moles. They sure looked like the ones on my stomach—all jagged, dark and big—but the old-man doctor said they were fine. I was fine. I took a deep breath. Tossed the magazines to the side and told myself I was being a worry wart.  I went to Mexico with my in-laws and got all tan.

(Here are some pics of my moles on my stomach while vacationing on our Mexico trip.)

Then my brother called. Our good friend and travel partner, Erin, was diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma. What? How? She was never tan!!! There was a mole on her upper back that itched and bled on her backpacking trip to Australia. She had gone in and the doctors told her she was fine, but she told them to test it anyway. BAM. Stage IV Melanoma. Erin shares her story on her blog: Melanoma in the City.

I couldn’t sleep for days. I called Park Nicollet and asked to see someone new as soon as possible. Usually it takes months to get in, but they were able to get me in the NEXT DAY.

This particular doctor doesn’t mess around with melanoma. Her nurse’s husband passed away from it. A mole was found UNDERNEATH his fingernail. But they found it too late. UGH!!

The doctor never screamed at me for being tan from my trip to Mexico. Phew. But those worrisome moles on my stomach? GONE. One big one was removed THAT DAY. I had stitches coming out of my stomach like spider legs. (My husband gladly removed them two weeks later.)
I freaked out waiting for the results. It came back as atypical nevus. Basically these types of moles have an 80% chance of EVENTUALLY turning into melanoma because there are atypical cells swimming around the area. To ease my fears, the mole was dug out deep enough so I would never have to worry about it again. The drill freaked me out. The smell of burning skin, kind of gross. And yes, I have a scar, but I’ll take that over worrying. I was instructed to come back again in a year.

Soon I became pregnant. Moles have a way of changing during pregnancy, but I kept an eye on them. Though I was doggone tired that first month after Jackson was born and clueless as to what I was doing, I still went in for my yearly appointment. Yes, I was leaking all over but I now take my skin seriously. I'm a mom and I need to be here for my son. I don't mess around.

TWO more moles were removed. Two more sets of spider legs coming out of my stomach (try nursing a newborn with your tummy cut up.) A total of three scars on my stomach. Same results: atypical nevus. Then I was told my skin doctor was moving to a different clinical. NO! I’d have to find someone else!!

A year blinked by and it was May again and I didn’t have a skin doctor. Shoot. Time slipped away. My great friend Jenna told me about a FREE skin clinic Park Nicollet was having at Methodist hospital. I dragged Karl with and the three of us went. We had to fill out paperwork before we undressed and met with a dermatologist. Again, they asked if I ever fake-baked. Why did I ever think fake-baking was cool???

Two more suspicious moles caught the attention of the dermatologist, but one of them I pointed out. I noticed a mole on my foot growing in size (see pic above). To her, a mole on the foot is unusual and the fact it was getting bigger is a huge red flag. The second one was on my upper back and looked similar to the ones that were removed from my stomach.

This time it took almost two months to get in to get them removed. They couldn't remove them at the clinic. I went in last Saturday morning. And instead of drilling into my skin and stitching me up, they numbed the spots and took razor blades to a large area around the moles. Let me tell you, it’s something weird looking at a dish and seeing your mole chilling in it.

I also had THREE separate doctors look me over, AND a nurse. WHOA. All asked me if I was feeling OK. Maybe I should have put makeup on that morning. I did look a little rough.
The head doctor stopped on a mole on my leg. She questioned me right away about it. It was tiny, but DARK and a little raised on one side. She wanted it gone. There are three similar ones on my leg so I took a picture of those so I could compare.
Similar mole on my leg of the one that was sliced off and tested.

I get the results on Friday. All the doctors told me I should go home with a clear mind versus an anxious one. They weren’t too alarmed about any of them, though the one on my leg seemed odd. So we will see. I couldn’t help but think of my friend Erin because the doctors told her the same thing…

As I wait, this is me encouraging all you readers of my blog to GO in and get looked over. PLEASE. Why? Skin cancer is the MOST COMMON CANCER in the UNITED STATES. And it doesn't matter if you have darker skin, lighter skin, blonde hair, brown hair...etc. 

I asked the doctor who his most frequent patients are. Most right now: teenage girls. All who fake-bake. All skin types. But a lot of his patients are twenty/thirty something people too. All skin types. Most skin cancers (even melanoma) are treatable if you get to it early enough.


Monday, June 24, 2013

FREE Friday Night Fun in Minnesota

A Fun FREE Friday Night Activity

Now, I probably wouldn't categorize this as a FAMILY event, but our favorite liquors (Marketplace Liquors) store offers FREE wine and beer/liquor tastings on Friday and Saturday nights. Pretty awesome if you ask me. I know it won't be like this for long for us, but for now, we're enjoying!
Leinie Lounger Chair

Leinenkugel's was on tap for tasting Friday. ALL FLAVORS (even the Big Eddy). What fun!!! Delicious. And plenty of swag and sandwiches too. I love this place!!!
Cuddle time!

Our Sports-Minded Action Jackson - 14 months

Finding Room in a Townhome with an Active Toddler

It's hard not to want to live in an actual house versus a town home with a postage stamp as a yard, but I'm trying to find the positives. One being that we have a roof over our heads, a huge bonus!! Secondly, we don't have to shovel our driveway out or have to buy a snow blower in the never ending winter months. Thirdly, we don't have to mow our lawn or go out and buy a lawn mower. And we do have more time to do other stuff (like go on 7-mile bike rides) than take care of our yard... Though I would LOVE it if we had a garden (but we do have several herbs and tomato plants growing on our deck). And we live right across the street from a grocery store and Dairy Queen, which is quite convenient.
Jackson is number 1!!!!!!!

Can you tell I'm being grateful for what we DO have? This helps when I start thinking how badly I want a house with a yard Jackson can run around in and so on. It'll all come when the timing is right, right?

ANYWAY, our little active Action Jackson loves getting his hands into everything and I have to watch him every second he's inside AND outside since cars fly through our back alleyway. I thought I'd introduce him to a bunch of sporting activities because he started to play with three kids a few houses down from ours who are renting for a couple months (their house caught on fire...scary). They gave Jackson a hockey stick and he played for an ENTIRE hour. I couldn't believe this. Hockey!?!?! He was in heaven. I couldn't believe it!!! I wish I grabbed a pic but I was too busy making sure he didn't clock anyone...

So I grabbed a pic of Jackson practicing these sports:

Soccer stud?
Working on his soccer skills!
Bend it like Beckham, baby!

Volleyball star?
Bump, set, SPIKE! Just like mom!

Tennis anyone?
Andy Roddick who? LOVE!

Broomball action?
Not mom's favorite sport...

Boxing... (ha, ha)

That's right...boxin

Mr. Cutie himself

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (Gluten Free)

OK...this is GOOOOOOOOD! Cauliflower as pizza crust? I know what you're thinking. Seriously, though...can't tell. I found a bunch of recipes on Pinterest and made it our own.
Looks like your normal pizza, doesn't it? Tastes like it too!

Goes like this:

  • A head of cauliflower, rinsed and pulled apart into smaller pieces
  • Throw pieces of cauliflower into Ninja and chop until cauliflower looks like rice flour and put in glass bowl
  • Mix in bunches of basil in Ninja too
  • Microwave cauliflower and basil in glass bowl (cover with paper towel) for 8 minutes
  • In a separate small bowl, mix two eggs, 2 tsp of Italian spices and 1 tsp of garlic powder together
  • Preheat oven to 450
  • Mix in egg mixture and 2 cups of Pizza cheese with hot cauliflower
  • Spray cookie sheet pan with non-stick oil
  • Flatten cauliflower dough on pan
  • Bake for 15 minutes
  • Set oven to broil on high
  • Top crust with pizza toppings
  • Stick back in oven for 5 minutes
Here is cauliflower crust before it's baked!

Be prepared for house to smell good and your palate to be tricked. YUM!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Favorite Family Activity - 14 Months

Bike Riding

So I've totally gotten use out of our BOB stroller. From running to trekking through the snow to taking it in the terrain to even traveling by plane with it, I ADORE OUR BOB. I try to find all kind of fun ways to be active with it.
Bike riding fun!! Yes, we do have helmets.

Last winter Karl bought a bike trailer off of Craigslist. AND, right around that time one of my awesome co-workers gave me a SWEET Trek bike because he wanted to get rid of all memories of his ex-girlfriend. The only bad part was his roommate took the bike out and hit a car.... Oops. It needed fixin.

Karl took it in to his mom's cousin's bike shop and it was good as new. Never before have I had such a nice bike!

As the weather keeps getting nicer (YAY!), Karl and I are getting out more and more. Even though he was on-call last week, he actually got home early one night and we hopped on our bikes, found a new trail right in our front yard and off we went.

JACKSON LOVED IT!!!!!!!! I think I loved it more!

The best part is the cart turns into a running stroller for two!! (Slow your thinking down! No two kids just yet!).

How do you stay active with your young ones?

Done Done Done with Breastfeeding - 14 Months

Done Nursing - Bittersweet

I am done with nursing. I quit at 14 months. Why am I so bummed?

I mean, nursing is a LOT of work.

A lot.

I won't sugarcoat it.

I will also tell you it's the most amazing bonding experience.
I'm still happy:) P.S. One of my daddy's patients made this train for me.

The first time I experienced nursing I spent several LONG minutes, sometimes HOURS trying to figure it out each and EVERY time...and there were a lot of times (try 11+ times a day).

You will sweat and your neck begins to hurt, your back aches. Your nips go raw, they bleed....they scream at you in pain. Then you finish a session (success!) ONLY to do it all over again an hour or two later. Your life REVOLVES around nursing that first month (OK...Truth? Try more like the first 6 months), or until you get the hang of it. It's nuts. Then you start pumping. And you are so doggone tired that the last thing you want to do is wake up in the middle of the night to PUMP after a nurse session. But you do. And you don't know how you're doing it. You don't even know who you are anymore. A feeding machine? A milk maker?

Then you have pump parts to clean. And bottles to wash out and bags to fill with milk and label and to stack just perfectly in the freezer. Then you move those into a gallon bag and mark it up and put it in the deep freezer...and wash more pump parts and bottles. And not to mention the HUGE pump bag you have to carry to and from work every day, along with lunch and your coffee or tea... Heaven forbid the wires pop off in the parking lot. And the times you have to leave a meeting or go pump throughout the day at work. The comments people will make...You learn a different approach to working.

So yes, nursing is a lot of work.

But it's also amazing. It's between mom and baby. You learn to SLOW down. To APPRECIATE your body. Appreciate LIFE. To LOVE your body. It helps you transition into a motherly role more... Or at least it did for me. I was forced to sit down. I was forced to stop and focus on Jackson and Jackson alone. I studied him at all hours of the night. We bonded in a way nobody else will get to. There are other ways besides nursing to feel that connection, but it truly has been a special time. And in the bigger realm of things, it's only a year. I look back and I feel like that went fast. But I also look back and get nervous about having to do that ALL OVER AGAIN in the coming years... So yes, it does feel like a year, but no it doesn't. Did I clear that up? Ha.

After Jackson's first birthday, he was only nursing in the morning and night. I took away the morning nurse and kept that nighttime feeding for as long as I could. Then last Wednesday came and Jackson decided to use me as a chew toy. And the next night. And then the next. I couldn't take it anymore so I stopped. He went down just fine. We instead read books and snuggled. Then did our nightly prayers and he was out. Just like that. Since he's been born, I've let him take the lead and it's worked out great. But he is also a very strong-willed little man.

Now for me... OUCH. My right side is fine, the's a bag full of marbles and huge. I just hope the pain goes away...

All I can say is I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yiiippppppeeeee!!! Now, to enjoy this summer and have a few cocktails without too many worries. Don't worry, I'll behave:)

Father's Day Fun! - 14 months

Celebrating Father's Day

OK, getting back on track here with the blog. Father's Day. A GREAT weekend. The weather was ridiculous. As in AWESOME.
Daddy and Jackson. Buddies for life.

Dad is my hero...

My parents came up Friday. I know, you're probably wondering what are they doing up again!?!? Karl's dad has been going through a few surgeries on his knee and is unable to watch Jackson, so my parents have been coming up lots to help. Five hours up and five hours back. PHEW. We owe them a LOT! Karl's sis has been helping us out a lot too. We owe her too!!! We'd be kind of screwed without family up here.

If this doesn't just melt your heart... Pa-Pa and Jackson

We are keeping my parents BUSY! My mom even fell asleep when I was talking to her! That's how exhausted they are by the end of day... It's rough getting old!

Ahhh. Just copying daddy.

On Friday Jackson and I walked over to the liquor store where I had him pick out six craft beers for his dad. I knew Karl would LOVE this gift, and especially because the beers were hand picked by his son. We also strolled over to Wal-mart where Jackson hand picked his daddy's card. It was either between the one with pancakes on it or fishies. We got home and I hid the goods in our closet. But I made sure Jackson signed the card...and then my leg.

ANYWAY, I baked a rhubarb cake, which turned out delicious to kick off Father's Day early. My parents brought up our favorite pizza from Roscoe - Pietro's. YUM!!!

Saturday Karl and my dad went to Crate and Barrel where Karl bought a bunch of fancy drink glasses - you know what I'm talking about - the fancy square ones and special beer ones and all kinds of cool glasses. He was in heaven. Then he bought a bunch of containers from the Container Store for all the flours he buys to make his specialty pancakes on the weekends. He even made my mom gluten-free pancakes!

My mom and I went SHOPPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know...Happy Father's Day to US!!! It's been a LONG LONG LONG time since my mom and I went shopping. So long that my favorite store had moved out of Southdale over a year and a half ago!!!!!!! OMG. So embarrassed. BUT, that meant we HAD to hit up the Mall of America:) YAY! I finally own a pair of those red hot pants!
Looking for Morel Mushrooms with dad!

Sunday - the REAL Father's Day. We went on a walk, hit up the park, played with a bucket of water on the deck....took a trike ride. I went running. My brother had us over for steak spinach salads. Then we met Karl's family for dinner at Woolley's - our favorite place!! They had a deal - 50% off all steaks and FREE craft beer if you're a dad!! SCORE!
The Three Stooges

What did you do for Father's Day?

My Birthday and the Horsetrack - 13.5 Months

Horsetrack Fun

Ask Jackson what a horse says, and he’ll tell you. He makes me laugh. He’s way too cute. He’s been to Canterbury twice in his young life and loves watching the horses and the tractors spray down and till the dirt after each race, and he loves watching and playing with all the kids. And of course, his favorite thing in the world – he gets to be outside.
At the horsetrack for mommy's bday!
I figured out a system by my second trip to the track so I was actually able to enjoy a beer or two. It helps meeting a good friend (Hoover!) and having a helpful brother! And thanks to our brewery tour last weekend, I enjoyed a Summit. Ahhh. Minnesota beer. My older brother spoiled me for my birthday and bought my ticket in and my beer. Win-Win for all. Karl was on call and had a slew of patients to attend to. Boo. At least he was able to experience Jackson’s love for horses the first time we went to the track.

First time we went to the horsetrack! Jackson LOVED the horsies
Petting the sweet horse!
I turned 34! How am I in my 30s? I can’t even comprehend this. I had a great birthday. The sun was SHINING. F-I-N-A-L-L-Y. I swear I feel like we live in London. It was sunnier in Seattle when Karl and I visited. This spring has been so depressing. But my bday came and the sun was out. I saw the darker clouds coming so maybe it was a good thing we were up at 5:00 a.m. So we had a delicious breakfast and went on a walk. Then headed to the park where Karl got paged. Boo. We headed back so Jackson could go down for his morning nap and Karl could get ready. I quickly escaped and ran 2.5 miles. It felt SO good. Sun on my face, music in my ears, fresh air filling my lungs. It’s been awhile since I ran by myself and it was just what I needed. I quickly hopped in the shower and Jackson was up!
Playing with water on the deck. Loves drinking the water.
Karl and Jackson made me a special birthday cake bread. Get this: banana, zucchini, carrot, coconut, almond, oats and oat flour birthday bread. Can I say it was excellent? It really was. They sang to me and Karl was off working the rest of the day.
The masterpiece birthday bread daddy and Jackson made for mommy!
Jackson and I played. We mowed the grass. Ha. We walked more. And then we went to the horsetrack. I was WIPED by the end of the day, but overall…GREAT birthday!
Jackson and his g-friend, Hoover

Mother's Day - 13.5 Months

Mother's Day Weekend
(a month after the fact...)

Super fun weekend!!! Anything beats last year when Karl had to leave for his orthotics exam on Mother’s Day - leaving me with a three week old - like I knew what I was doing… I have a better grasp on things this year, that's for sure.
Mom thinks I'm awesome.

I was excited we were able to spend time together as a family this year. Sure, it was a little cool and cloudy but for the most part we spent the day outside. Karl didn’t have to work (Yay!). Everyone was feeling great. Jackson was sleeping through the night. (Hence the emphasis on the word WAS.)
I love my trike!!! I could ride this all day long.
We headed to the park. My mom and dad came up later in the day and we headed to the park with them. Jackson LOVES the park . LOVES.
Had fun at the park with GLAMA!
I gave Pa-Pa a workout!

Poor Karl nailed his head on one of the metal bars chasing after Jackson and swore he gave himself a concussion. Hey, it happens. This kid is FAST. He keeps us on his toes.
Just had to take care of some lawn mowing quick.
Jackson was picked as Baby of the Month at his daycare!!! He's kind of a big deal....

Going to the Park in Minnesota - 13.5 Months

We’ve been busy over here at The Koester household. All good fun though. See below:)

Park Fun!
So as Jackson’s mom, my goal is to introduce Jackson to lots of parks for as long as I can. Karl says Jackson will be burned out on them by the time he is five. Hey, they are free. And FUN. They are fun for me too :). I do push ups, pull ups, squats, lunges...all kind of fun things.

There are tons of parks all over. Another reason I love Minnesota. Below are pictures from all our park adventures this past month.
Here comes Jackson
That was FUN!

Hello, up there!
I LOVE Pink cars!!! Varrrooooom!
Mastering the slide!
Another one to fly down! Yipppeeee!
Look, mom! Big boy climbing up all by myself!
This park has a piano!!! Sweet! My favorite thing to do. Play music!
I kind of like this cute little house. Just for me!
Ohhh! Something else to climb over other than the coffee table!
Come get me, mom!!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

I'm 34, Now What?

I’m 34 now. Yowza.
When did that happen? Wasn’t I just 24? Where did the last ten years go?? Kenny Chesney is on to something with his song, Don’t Blink. Thankfully I've had toothpicks in my eyes this past year due to all the sleep I didn't get. Not a whole lot of blinking going on here.

Anyway, another year older means time to set some resolutions. I know this is more of a New Year thing but I like to do it around my birthday to keep myself in check and reaching for the stars! Some of my goals sound more like dreams, but dreams are GOOD to have. They keep us going.
Being silly at 34...

Here is what I’d like to happen before I hit 35 (in no particular order).

1.       Run in a Road Race as a Family
That means YOU Karl. Sorry, beb. Time to lace up those runners and push the diabetic grandpa shoes aside. (Yes, he has these. No, he’s not diabetic. Yes, I let him leave the house wearing these. No, he wouldn’t stop wearing them even if I told him to.) I want to sign up for some kind of race together as a family. It could be a 5K or 10K, whatever. I think it’d be fun. I used to do them all the time. I miss them.  They motivate me to keep going and push myself…and the energy these races radiate is so contagious. Plus, I think Jackson would like staring at all the runners and the doggies. My dear friend Jenna asked me to do the TC Marathon this year. Am I ready for that? No. The old Christie would have been like, SURE! Sign me up! The new Christie knows there is no time for proper training. And trust me, I NEED training. Running up and down our stairs with laundry baskets isn’t going to cut it.
Out running any chance we get!

2.       Start looking for a house (and maybe buy one)
I bought my (now our) town home when I was 23. I adore it, but I want Jackson to grow up in a house with a yard. I want a garden, and apple tree…a deck or porch with a fire pit. But a house means more expenses and more time dedicated to the upkeep,...and where is that going to come from. A lot needs to happen before we move anywhere, but just the THOUGHT of looking excites me. On the way home from the grocery store, I took a different way home and came across the most beautiful neighborhood. By golly, I found our dream home while I was at it. Not for sale, but enough where I swear the heavens said, “You will be living here someday.”  BOOM.
The dream house I came across...

3.       Travel someplace new
Karl and I have always been huge travelers and we haven’t gotten out much these days. I’m the one to blame here since I can’t imagine leaving Jackson longer than an 8-hour work day, but I know it’d be good for the both of us. And it has to happen sometime. I get excited thinking about traveling somewhere with my main squeeze. I have no idea where. I'm kind of thinking anywhere with a soft bed at this point. Ahhhh...sleeeep.

4.       Spend more time on strength training
One thing I noticed after having Jackson was my muscle tone when south. I can do all the cardio in the world and eat healthy, but my butt still sags, my arms even have some dimples in them. Say wha? I need to devote more time to strength training a few times a week. Problem is: time is so tight these days. I read a quote that resonated with me though. "We ALL have 24 hours in a day - some are just better at utilizing those hours." True. True. So I’ve been ripping pages out of magazines and I need to start DOING the exercises. I also want to start getting up earlier so I can start my morning off right, but Jackson seems to keep getting up earlier and earlier. Hello 5:00 a.m. What gives? AND, just when I think I’m well rested, J starts getting up throughout the night. Mama needs her sleep to function at work and at home, so sleep wins. Always. At least I eat healthy….

5.       Write a new book
You all know my dream is to become a published author and write for the rest of my life. I wrote my first book, and well, I'm guessing you haven't seen my book at Barnes and Noble yet? Yeah, me neither. 
I had so many great bites and suggestions from agents, but then April 2012 hit and life really got busy so I wasn’t able to give those changes my all. So it sits. The question is: Do I go back and revise the book I’ve already written? Then do I send it out again? Do I self publish? OR do I set that book aside for now and start over with a new book? I’ve also been told a few times by agents that I should take my first novel and turn it into a screenplay. I can see that. I’ve been thinking of that more too. But I have a new storyline for a book brewing and I want to run with it. I do know how much work is involved and that intimates me. And then there is the dilemma of branching to Young Adult or even Middle Grade. I have story ideas for both of those genres.
I guess I can say I’m just glad that the fire is back and I WANT to do this again.

6.       Add to the family...MAYBE
Now, before you read TOO much into this. I have a whole entire year ahead of me to think about this. Right now, I’m happy where things are at so there isn’t any rush. Last year kicked my a$$. Never saw that one coming. UFDAH.
But yes, I know I become high risk the minute I turn 35 and I'm not getting any younger. But this is why I’m adamant about eating healthy and my fitness. I think these two things combined helps… Well, I hope it helps. We’ll see. When the time is right, it’ll all happen. For now, I’ll enjoy our family of three!
What keeps you dreaming?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Is a Gym Membership Worth It?

OK. I can’t even believe I’m asking this question. But I have to. Do I really need my gym membership?

I’ve now been a mom for a year and in a year’s time a LOT in my life has changed. One of those big changes? I barely EVER get to the gym.


1.       I’m dying to see Jackson as soon as work is over. By the time I see him, it’s 4:30. We get home around 5. And he starts getting ready for bed at 7 p.m. I can’t imagine even less time with him than the little two hours I do get during the week. Ugh.

2.       The weekends haven’t totally allowed me to go to the gym whenever I want just yet. Karl was working most weekends or family was up or we had stuff going on. And now Karl’s going on call. Boo.

Excuses? Perhaps.

For one, there is a childcare provided. But I never use it because I feel incredibly guilty passing Jackson off AGAIN to another person, which I’ve already done all week long. Also, in the three years I’ve been a member, I have yet to use the gorgeous pool. So why am I paying nearly $60 a month? I don’t know. I can’t even get the 12 workouts in a month so my insurance will pay half.

However, when I DO get a chance to go to the gym, it feels like I’ve stepped away to some resort. Yes, it feels THAT good to me. The steam room. The stair climber. All the weights. All there.  In one place. All shiny. The smell of sweat. Ahh. And feeling that way is worth it to me…

I think.

Here’s the deal. I no longer have a trainer. He moved away on me and I can’t afford one now anyway. I only have a membership that allows me to workout at ONE location, so it’s hard to go after work since it’s slightly out of the way. I haven’t been to a class since almost a year before I got pregnant. I never use the showers, though I tell myself I will every time.

On the flip side, we have some light weights at home and I could purchase a couple kettle balls. We have an elliptical in our basement. I have a bosu ball and an exercise ball. The weather is getting nicer (I can work out outside). I’ve been ripping out pages of workouts in my magazines. It seems like a no brainer. I could save almost $700 a YEAR. Helllloooooooo.  

Our downstairs is SUPER crammed though. It doesn’t feel the same. And will I make time?? I force myself to work out when I get in the car and drive to the gym. For some reason, I feel like I’ll choose the couch over walking downstairs to hop on the elliptical. I told myself months ago I would get up at 5:00 every morning and run outside, but it’s been raining pretty much every morning or else I’m STILL trying to catch up on the sleep I lost this past year. I keep choosing sleep!

It’s just since college, I’ve never NOT had a gym membership… It feels weird. It feels like I’m allowing myself to stop taking care of myself or something. I’m not holding myself accountable anymore. Weird, I know.

What would you do? Gym membership or no?
Just remember, once winter comes it gets DARK and cold here making most outdoor activities tough.