Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Encouragement

Well ladies...I think we are all well aware that tomorrow is Valentine's Day. For some, it may be a fabulous day. For some, it may be a pretty rough day. And for some, it may be a day that you don't even think twice about. Speaking from the perspective of a married woman who 100% loves and adores her husband, it is a day that I both don't really pay all that much attention to, but at the same time, expect it to be abnormally romantic. Funny how that works, huh?

In all honesty, I love the day because it is a holiday and I love all the decorations and excitement behind any me, I have an insane amount of Valentine's inspired pencils on my desk. What can I say, the Target dollar section just calls to me every time!! Back on track- I love Valentine's Day because I love any holiday, especially a ridiculously adorable holiday filled with fun colors and hearts. But, I have the same feelings about Valentine's Day that I have for New Years Eve. It's a little overrated. Believe me...I enjoy every opportunity I get to spend time with my husband, but without fail, every year I regret the pressure I put on the day. Even more so, I hate the pressure I put on Ben and the strain it can sometimes put on our relationship.

I am currently participating in a Bible study on Tuesday nights with a fabulous group of women. We are studying Exodus, in particular the 10 Commandments. Last night we went over the last 6 commandments. One in particular was very convicting for shall not commit adultery. Now, before you go jumping to conclusions, no...I have never nor will I ever cheat on my husband. What was so convicting to me was going back to the Sermon on the Mount when Christ talks about lust. I used to think that he meant that a lustful thought is the exact same as adultery. Now, I understand that what Christ is saying is that we have to cut our sin at the root. Lust or wishful thoughts are the root of adultery. They often lead to adultery and that is why we have to capture our thoughts and be careful with not just only our hearts, but our minds as well.

The reason this was so convicting to me is because I am a total hopeless romantic, and I often have to capture the thoughts I have about life being a fairytale. I want a fairytale, but I have to realize that because of the fall, life is simply not a fairytale. On a large scale, I thought I was pretty good about this. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, I decided easily not to read it. I viewed, and still view it essentially, as a woman's porn. No, I am not watching anything, but by reading something like that, I am essentially thinking exactly what a man would be watching. When I thought about this, I thought about how devastated I would be if I ever knew that Ben was doing this. That is just the large scale...I am not so good on the smaller scale. All those Nicholas Sparks books do the same thing, just not as graphic. By reading all the fairytales and watching all the fairytales, I am often wishing for the fairytale. Now, don't think that I am saying you can't read those Nicholas Sparks books or watch your chick flicks. I am not at all saying that. I just think you have to be careful not to hold your husband to that standard.

Cut the sin at the root. I would like to encourage all of you, especially all of the wives, to let your husband love you tomorrow. Let him love you how he loves you best. Don't hold him to expectations that he can never fulfill. Let tomorrow be a fabulous day for love to flourish! That is my goal. To encourage my husband and not to put him down. To let him love me because when I let him, he is so incredibly wonderful at it.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

30 Day Challenge

When 2013 began and we were headed home from vacation, I decided that I would do a 30 day challenge to kick things off on the right foot. I didn't follow any program or anything like that; I simply wrote down goals and strived to meet them. I started on January 2nd and finished up on Thursday, January 31st. I would say my 30 day challenge was a SUCCESS!! I am a fan of challenging myself and setting goals...this year might just be a year full of 30, 60 or however many day challenges! 

My Goals:
  1. Consistently add more weights into my workout routine
  2. Push myself everyday with my workouts 
  3. Less processed foods, more whole foods
  4. Plan school lunches ahead of time
  5. Quit chewing gum 
  6. Drink more (2-3 L) water daily
  7. Be consistent about digging into God's word 
  8. Get out of my comfort zone!! 
Lets go through these one-by-one.... 
  1. With the help of my personal trainer, aka my husband, I created a weight routine for each day of the week. 
      • Monday - Biceps and Triceps 
      • Tuesday - Squats, Lunges, Step-ups, etc. 
      • Wednesday - Back and Shoulders 
      • Thursday - Hamstrings, Quads, Calves, etc. 
      • Friday - Full Body Circuit - Burpees, Planks, Push-ups, Dips, Mountain Climbers 
I used Saturday as a day to run or do a fun workout. Sunday is generally rest day unless it is switched with another day where time ran out. I really really really enjoyed doing this! This cardio queen has now turned into a weights junkie! I find that I look forward to the time I get to spend in the weight room rather than the time I spend on the elliptical, treadmill or stairmaster. There were those few days when I just got in the zone and I went with it. For example, I had a 20 minute HIIT run planned + back and shoulders one day, but when I got on the treadmill, I just zoned out and ran 5.02 miles instead. I love those pleasant surprises!  

    2.  SUCCESS - I started adding weight, reps and more circuits all on my own! It usually takes Ben going to the gym with me and yelling at me, but I wanted to see results! 

    3.  I really tried to plan out our meals and get more whole foods in my meals. On the nights when we  were both busy and there was no meal planned, I tried to choose better quick meals. I used to choose things like cereal, but this time I went with protein shakes, Amy's frozen meals, etc. There were a couple nights where cereal was just the best option and I didn't beat myself up about it.

Salmon, Quinoa and Roasted Broccoli
Roasted Kale, Sweet Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts with Feta and Black Beans 
I love Amy's!! My favorite is the Black-Eyed Pea Bowl!
Zoe's Kitchen Spinach and Chicken Roll-Ups...2 eaten for dinner, 2 wrapped up for lunch
These are just a few examples of my meals. I tried to make something on Monday's that could be taken for lunch during the week - taco soup, quinoa, etc. I was even proud of the choices I made at some of the events we went to. I stuck to vegetables, salads and things that were not cooked in large amounts of sauce or oil. 

     4.  Semi-succees. Like I mentioned before, dinners that could be taken in tubberware helped, but frozen meals that could be grabbed in the morning while running out the door did too. 

    5.  I would say this was an incredible success!! There have been a few days that I have chewed gum, but I no longer want piece after piece after piece. I was able to chew 1 or 2 pieces and then be done for the rest of the day! MAJOR SUCCESS!!!! 

    6.  Mostly a success - I struggle to drink water during the day while I'm teaching. I find it really annoying when I constantly have to pee during class. I can't exactly just leave my students, plus I am always cold and drinking water constantly doesn't help. I used my big Starbucks Venti cup to help and a 1L water bottle that I tried to fill up at least 2-3 times a day. Still working on this! 

    7.  Still working on daily quiet times, but I joined a Women's Bible Study that meets on Tuesdays and Ben and I attended Elder Led Prayer on Wednesdays. We also attended church on Sunday, but I would still really like to get into a daily routine. 

    8.  This, I have done. It was definitely not in my comfort zone to join a Women's Bible Study. I tend to stick with being around people that I am already comfortable around and who know me. I don't exactly open up easily, but I am have so enjoyed the 2 weeks so far that we have met. I just had to get out there and do it!! 

Also going along with getting out of my comfort zone, I am now doing a 30 day, maybe a 60 day if things go well, challenge doing INSANITY. I started yesterday with the Fit Test and already know that this is going to be killer! I am really excited and can't wait to share my results! 

Hope you have had a fabulous first 32 days of the New Year! Make this your year!! 

PS - Something else that has helped is keeping track of my meals and workouts in this adorable little spiral. I love feeling the accomplishment of writing down the really tough workouts! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bachelor Gulch, CO

After our crazy, hectic, go-go-go Christmas, we had a day to recover and put away presents before we were off again to Bachelor Gulch, CO. We left bright and early on the 27th to catch our flight to Denver. We then drove about 2.5 hours to our hotel. We've gone to Colorado with Ben's family every year since we got married. Our first year we went to Bachelor Gulch, last year was Vail and we were back in Bachelor Gulch. Why fix it if it ain't broke?!

View from the mountain of our hotel 
We got in around 3:00 PM, so we grabbed lunch at the Buffalo Bar, napped a bit...I'm horrible at napping, so after about 30 minutes, I hopped up and hit the gym. When Ben finally woke up, he met me down at the hot tub where my head absolutely froze because it was snowing, but going to the gym and then the hot tub is just something we do on vacation... always. 

We got a late start since we got there so late in the day, so we decided to simply order room service and watch some good TV. I was still full from the black bean burger and sweet potato fries I ordered at lunch, so I just had a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit before calling it a night. 

We woke up on Wednesday morning and headed down to breakfast. Ben's dad wasn't feeling very well, so he wasn't going to ski and his mom and sister didn't want to ski without his dad, so they went shopping. Ben and I wanted to get out on the slopes, so we changed, got my skis and boots and hit the slopes! 

After our first run, we had to stop to de-thaw my hands for a little bit. I have HUGE issues with my hands being frozen and I am not one of those people that can just grin and bare it. It hurts so bad when they thaw that I just crumble. There may have been some tears of frustration and pain as I was cuddled up to  Ben at the base of the mountain with my hands in his jacket, but after a minor break down, we had a fabulous day on the mountain! We skied for about 2.5 hours before coming in for lunch around 3:00 PM and calling it a day. I thoroughly enjoyed spending a day with Ben on the slopes! We haven't skied by ourselves before and it was so fun! 

This time, after a little rest, we hit the gym together before relaxing in the hot tub and grotto. After getting ready, we headed downstairs to Spago, Wolfgang Puck's restaurant. It was the last night he was there and we enjoyed talking to him once again. He is so so friendly and kind! 

Spago is always absolutely wonderful! I started the night with my favorite pomegranate martini while we waited for our reservation. The lobby is the absolute best, so we had a blast people watching, chatting and reading down there before dinner. I had the scallops at dinner and I obviously had a pretzel roll. Wolfgang Puck's pretzel rolls are to die for!! 

Everyone felt much better the next two days, so we all skied together. The temperatures were almost unbearably cold, so I won't lie and tell you that we skied from lift open to lift close, but we got in some runs and had fun! I'm not exactly a Winter skier...I prefer Spring Break skiing when I can ski without worrying at all that I will get cold. One layer of clothes and I'm good to go!! 

We visited Ben and Tony's favorite restaurant one night, I believe it's called 1800. It's in Beaver Creek at a different hotel and we always enjoy going over there. Ben and Tony always rave about the elk and I tried it last year and loved it, so I went with it again this year. Again, why fix what ain't broke? The hotel was still very festive with Christmas decorations, so while Ben and Tony explored a little to find a restaurant for the next night, Katie, Karen and I enjoyed the tree and fire. 

After the usual routine the next day, we were pretty excited to watch the Cowboys game at a little bar that Tony and Ben found in Beaver Creek. I love watching games with lots of people around, so I absolutely loved it! There was a little drama with a customer, great people watching, and some fun camaraderie with other (about 2 or 3) Cowboys fans! They also had great guacamole and tortilla soup, so it was a win in my books! 

The last day that we were there, New Years Eve, we all took the day off from skiing. Ben's family drove over to Breckenridge to get their favorite calzones. Ben didn't feel like driving the hour, so we had another little date day! We took the shuttle over to Beaver Creek, did some shopping and then holed up in Starbucks. I graded papers and worked while Ben read. Have I mentioned that I love spending time with my husband?!?! I love date days! 

My hot hubs waiting for the shuttle! 

We spent New Years Eve at the hotel in the Buffalo Bar. We had a bit of an interesting dinner where our waitress forgot to put our order in before her shift was over. We ended up with a free, but very late dinner. It was probably a good thing, because no one other than me was planning on staying up until midnight, but we finished dinner about an hour before the big countdown, so Katie stayed up as well! 

We had a great time in the lobby with our little blowers! We had fun doing the countdown and then about 12:05, we headed upstairs and put on our pjs! Yes, we are lame!! We blame it on the altitude! 

Bachelor Gulch 2012-2013 was a successful trip! We had a lot of fun while getting a lot of relaxing done. I know this sounds so dumb, but one of my very favorite things about vacation is the workouts. Ben usually works out with me and I love it! I think he just likes seeing me in pain, so I employ him as my trainer and he puts me through killer weights workouts. I LOVE IT!! 

Warming up by the fire after a day of skiing! 
So in love with this man! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our little family to yours!! 

I have been ready for Christmas Break since the moment I went back to work after Thanksgiving Break. I was more than ready to head home from school on the 21st, and could not wait for some free time to really get into the Christmas/Holiday spirit. When I was thinking about it, it seemed like I had a lot of time off. I was in for a rude has been go go go from the moment I walked out the door on the 21st til I woke up this morning. I am beyond excited to spend the next 4 days catching up and cleaning up before school starts again!! 

Yes, we've been busy, but we also had a fabulous Christmas and New Years! We got back late last night from a trip with Ben's family to Bachelor Gulch, CO. I will take some time to recap our trip tomorrow, but here are a few pictures from before Christmas up to our trip. I am truly blessed with two fabulous families to celebrate Christmas with!!

 Ben and I made The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls for co-workers together...Holy Yum! 

Co-worker's wedding with another coach and my principal - I love my school! 

The two cutest nieces you did ever see! - we met my whole family for a Christmas Eve breakfast at Northpark 

Might be my favorite picture ever! 

Before Christmas Eve church service - we celebrate on Christmas Eve with Ben's family

A very Berry (my maiden name) Christmas! 

My crazy mom and her fabulous Baylor pom-pom gloves! 

"Dance" aka jump on the bed party! 

Baylor's first Christmas and first snow! 

Getting ready to play in the snow! 

Starting early - her first Mercedes!
Ben got an Xbox and immediately started playing! 

I love getting to look back on our Christmas and realizing how blessed we are! I am so thankful my Savior was born so that I might be saved and get to be reunited with him one day! All of the festivities during Christmas are wonderful reminders of all that Christ has given us and how thankful I am for my faith! 

Merry (late) Christmas and Happy New Year!!