I would not categorize myself as creative or crafty in any way, in fact, most of my days can be summed up by this ecard…
…but there is something about the holidays, and wanting to start family traditions, that has brought the craftiness out of me.
Last year, I made our first Family Thankful Tree. It kind of resembled a big stick. I call it my Charlie Brown Thankful tree.
I loved the idea of the thankful tree as a way to show thanks. I even think I got a little more crafty with my tree this year. The family thankful tree is a fun family tradition to begin on November 1st! Every day, each family member writes down on a leaf what they are thankful for and by the time Thanksgiving arrives, you will have a beautiful tree, full of thanks to share!
We are halfway into the month of November, so here is picture of our family thankful tree so far!
I think we have come a long way since the Charlie Brown twig tree last year!
I have been trying to talk to the girls about being thankful and why we say thank you. After a 2-3 minute discussion (which is a very, long time for a toddler), I asked Chelsea what she was thankful for, to which she replied, “A driver.” and “Shopping carts.” I have to agree, both of those are very handy, and definitely something to be thankful for!
Another creative idea I found on Pinterest, which I actually followed through on, was my felt Christmas tree! We just put the tree up today, so the girls could decorate and re-decorate. Yes, I put it up early, but there will only be a few years where they really get excited about it, which makes me excited to get it up early!
Right now, the Family Thankful Tree and Christmas Felt Tree are facing off in a dual on opposite walls of each other, and I am sitting in between them, feeling extraordinarily crafty!
I love being able to start new family traditions. Our next tradition to begin this year is the Elf on the Shelf! A parent’s secret to getting your children to behave for a month. Stay tuned for some mischievous elf adventures!
This morning, I left my house at 7 a.m., and headed for Angels Stadium to participate in the Big “A” 5K! It was my first race since I began the Fit4Mom Irvine/Tustin run club, 4 weeks ago, and now I am just 5 weeks away from participating in my first 10K, the Santa Run!
I’m a big Angels fan, so when I found a 5K at Angels Stadium, I was pumped! Warming up on the field was a lot of fun. Of course I had to play it out and do stretching/sprinting/warm-up exercises in the outfield, just like the Angels would for a game!
One minor mishap, it seemed like no one remembered to turn off the sprinklers on the field. So every now and then a surprise sprinkler would pop up from no where and soak some unexpected folks before the big race. I did get sprayed once, but managed to sprint away to avoid the downpour! No one wants to start a race soaking wet.
The race was ready to begin. Excited and ambitious, I was the first one in line before the crowds flowed in behind me. I had my earphones in, my MapMyFitness app on my arm, ready to go, and a goal of an 8:00 min split per mile in the back of my head. I was just waiting for the buzzer to start my race, and I would be off in my own little world.
Wait.. this is Hollie we are talking about here… you know the story wouldn’t be that easy, right!?
With a smile on my face I look down at my iPhone, and press “begin workout” on my app, split seconds before I glance up only to realize, I’m in a stampede! There were 30-40 guys who meant business and were not running, but SPRINTING full speed up the steep ramp to get out of the stadium. All I could do was SPRINT full speed to keep from getting run over.
I know the cardinal rule of racing long distance is not to start out too fast, and I sure broke that rule. When I finally got to the top of the (did I mention, very steep) hill, maybe 100 yards of a full on sprint, and made my way over, I could feel my chest hurting from the extreme dry air, and I was breathing very heavy. All I could think was, “Oh crap.” Not the best way to start off a race, but at least it was better I made this mistake at my 5K then the 10K.
I spent the first mile trying to get my rhythm back, and my breath. I already knew, after a start like that, this was not going to go down in the books as my most fun 3 mile run. However, I was determined. I was not going to walk. I was not going to slow down my current pace. My goal was an 8:00 minute mile and I have been consistently running 8:00 minute miles in my practice runs. I knew I would only be mad at myself if I stopped or slowed down. I made a stupid mistake in the beginning, but that wasn’t going to be another excuse to not hit my goal. I was not going to listen to that little voice in my head that says to give up or take a break. I’ve listened to that voice too many times in my life, so I just kept on moving. I’m okay feeling sore tomorrow, but I am not okay feeling sorry.
The race began and ended on Angels field, with the final lap around the warning track before crossing the finish line. Running around the entire field, was exactly what I needed to amp up some energy for the last part of the race. It was awesome!
As I crossed the finish line, I hit end race on the MapMyFitness app to find out how close I was to my goal. I was over the moon to find out that I hit my goal after the most unpleasant start.
That feeling of accomplishment is the reason I love running (which 5 weeks ago I would have told you I hated). I never thought I could run much further then a mile. My head was wrapped around the fact that I was a sprinter, and I just couldn’t run long distance for fun. I’m still trying to knock that thought out of my head. Running is not going to get any easier so I just need to train hard to get better.
So, I have tackled the 5K, my first running milestone. I have 5 more weeks to train for my 10K and I won’t lie, that one makes me a little nervous, but I’m determined. I’m done looking for excuses. I’m going to do this for me. The 10K is something I never thought I could do, (or wanted to do) but now it’s time to prove myself wrong!
Time to lace up!
“This Girl Is On Fire!” (current favorite running song)
The year, 2013, is finally here. The year I turn the BIG, 3-0. I have made a New Year’s Resolution to get into the best shape of my life, and I knew that was going to take a lot of hard work and dedication.
A year ago, I went to a mother of twins conference in Temecula, and I will never forget one of the guest speakers, a plastic surgeon, who was there to talk to moms about having a tummy tuck. He said that our tummy’s have stretched so far, our abs have detached, and all the exercise in the world will never get us back in our bikini. My jaw dropped. I guess my fate was already written, and I started to accept the body I had.
After having twins, I knew my body would never be the same again. It was hard to find any me time, and I was brilliant at coming up with excuses to avoid my personal time, but I realized that was not healthy. Inside, I was depressed, that no matter how much work I did, I would never get my body back.
I battled the weight loss for a year and a half after having the girls. When I finally thought I was “acceptable,” I bought new clothes. After the holidays, and eating a lot of junk food, I came home only to find out that those same clothes were feeling snug.
Enough, was enough.
It was time to change. It was time to get healthy. It was time to prove that it can be done. I was not going to accept someone telling me, what I can and can not do. I decided that it was time to change.
This New Year’s rolled around, and I lost the excuses and I made the time. I started off doing Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD on January 5th. I remember week one, I thought I was going to keel over, but I pushed through the pain, and I remember the tears of joy rolling down my cheek when I powered through Day 7 of Week 4 like I was in the DVD. It was the most amazing feeling to complete.
In mid-January, I joined Stroller Strides, an hour-long stroller fitness program for moms. (see my blog post). This class literally changed my life. The support offered by the other moms gave me inspiration and motivation to continue working my butt off and I love that the class is offered 5 days a week. Since the girls come with me in the stroller, an excuse was not an option.
I have been doing Stroller Strides in the morning and when the girls go down for a nap, I have cycled in additional Jillian Michaels DVD’s, sometimes doing two a day. I finally turned on the treadmill and started using it for more then just a place to throw laundry. I optimize my time and when the girls go down for a nap, I workout.
Working out gives me the energy I was missing. It’s not just about being healthy, it’s about being happy, and right now, I have never felt better.
A couple of weeks ago, I found a Groupon for 10 Kickboxing classes at the 1-2 Punch Family Martial Arts & Fitness Center. I went to my first class last week, put on my boxing gloves, and began the most intense 60 minute workout I have ever experienced. it was amazing! Three months ago, I would’ve been face down on the floor, but now, it is the most exhilarating, fun workout, I have ever tried. I am hooked!
I have six months left until I turn the big 3-0, and in the past 3 months, I have lost 20 pounds and 2-3 dress sizes. Today, I bought a bikini. The bikini that the plastic surgeon said I would never be in again.
Although, I don’t have the “perfect” stomach, and still have some extra skin or beauty stretch marks, I am in better shape now than I ever was before.
It’s been an amazing journey, and a journey that I never want to end. Fit for 30 is just the beginning, it’s time to be fit for life.
Being a new mom, especially of twins, can be a very isolating experience. It’s hard getting out of the house with two active toddlers and going to the park is very overwhelming when the girls are running in opposite directions. I found that we were staying home more and more, just because it was easier.
Last month, I joined Stroller Strides, and it has been a complete life changer for me!
Stroller Strides is the country’s largest stroller fitness program for moms, offering pre- and post-natal fitness classes, and the best part is, you take your baby or toddler to class with you!
Stroller Strides is an hour long fitness class that combines intervals of power walking (or jogging), and body toning exercises using an exercise tube, the environment and your stroller. The class is taught by certified instructors and the workouts are great!
It is a complete win-win for me because I am getting out of the house, doing something good for myself by exercising, and after class, the girls have their time to play at the park with the other kids. It is the perfect way to start my day.
Aside from the workout, a big part of the class is the support that is offered by the other moms! Every month, Stroller Strides offers a Mom’s Night Out, additional play dates, occasional crafts after class, holiday parties, and healthy snacks!
Here is what one mom is saying about Stroller Strides:
”Stroller strides has introduced my daughters and I to some of the most amazing people I know. It’s such a unique experience as a mom to be able to get to workout, socialize, have your kids make friends, learn from other moms and be a part of a wonderful community. I couldn’t imagine motherhood without Stroller Strides!” ~Tamar
Stroller Strides is a nationwide fitness program and best of all, the first class is FREE! For more information, visit their website http://fit4mom.com and find a class near you!
“Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go.”
A lot of planning went into the decision to travel with two toddlers to Central Oregon for Christmas, but what would elaborate plans be without bumps along the road? (pun intended, read on).
Let’s start at the beginning. We decided it was best to pay the extra money, and purchase four seats on the aircrafts. There was no way, our 1.5 year olds would sit on our lap for longer then 3 minutes, let alone, 3 hours in flight time. We found a great deal on United, flying from Orange County to Central Oregon, departing December 24 and returning on January 4.
A few months after booking our flight, I received an email that said our itinerary has changed. After logging in to United to view the changes, I realized we went from a 60 minute layover, to a 5-hour layover in San Francisco, on our way North. This was not going to work, so I immediately called the airlines, and had our flights changed to leave Christmas morning. Potential crisis averted!
Bump #2 (pun intended)
Our original plan was to drive the mini van to a friend’s house on Christmas morning, and they would drop us off at the airport and leave the van at their house while we were gone. Two days before Christmas, we were driving to Brea to show the girls some amazing Christmas light displays. A commercial tire was in the car pool lane, and there was no way around it. End result, my car is out of commission and was towed to a repair shop that night.
We talked to our insurance company about a rental car, which we obviously did not need until we would return home from our vacation. They agreed to pay for a shuttle service to pick us up and take us to the airport Christmas morning. About ten minutes before we were supposed to be picked up, we got a call from the shuttle company that our driver had been in a car accident and would be unable to pick us up, but told us they would try to locate another driver.
The shuttle company finally called back and said they would send a taxi to our house, and he would be there in 15 minutes. We asked if they could please make sure the cab was big enough to accommodate two large convertible car seats, two adults and all of our luggage. A few minutes later, our taxi pulled up, and just when we thought we could no longer be surprised anymore, we walk outside to see the Toyota Prius parked in front of our garage. I ended up in the backseat, sitting sideways, on the edge of the middle seat.
We finally made it to the airport and through security. (That will be another post) We got some lunch, which the girls refused to eat, and we took our seats on the airplane. I breathed a sigh of relief, we made it. Sitting on the runway, the captain’s voice came over the loud speaker. He announced that there was a mechanical problem with the aircraft. They will need to have their maintenance team come out to clear the plane for takeoff. It should be about 20 minutes.
Keeping in mind, that we only have an hour layover in San Francisco, I was keeping my fingers crossed that the plane would take off soon. Finally the captain announced that we have good news and bad news. The good news, the plane has been cleared for takeoff on a mechanical level. The bad news, the air traffic controller will not let us off the ground for another 20 minutes, due to traffic regulation.
Saving Grace: Our flight in San Francisco had a minor delay, allowing us enough time to run through the rain, hop on a bus to take us to another terminal, change the girl’s diapers, and jump on the next plane.
Alas, we made it to Central Oregon! We may have had some bumps in the road, but nothing was going to keep us from having our white Christmas.
So, we finally made it and we have had a great visit with our family! I’m not overly excited about the plane trip home, but what would our life be without a little adventure?
Looking forward and staying positive! Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
I love Christmas and putting up the Christmas tree is one of my favorite things to do around the holidays! I was excited to put up the tree this year, but also a little nervous having twin toddlers see it for the first time and not knowing how they would re-act.
We decided to put the tree and decorations up at night, after the girls went to bed. My reasoning was if they saw us put individual ornaments on, they would know those same ornaments can come off. This reasoning paid off.
Much to my surprise, the tree has been up since Thanksgiving, and the girls are just in awe by it. They have not touched any of the decorations and enjoy looking at the lights! We did play it safe by keeping the bottom half of the tree, toddler friendly, with stuffed animal ornaments that they enjoy pointing out.
Since the girls were not able to participate in the tree decorating this year, I wanted them to have a tree of their own to decorate, so I decided to make them a felt Christmas tree, from an idea I found on Pinterest.
The tree was very easy to make and cost around $5 in materials. I bought a yard of green felt from JoAnn Fabric ($2.99) along with some small rectangle pieces of color felt, which cost .34 cents each.
I cut a big triangle out of the green felt for the tree. For ornaments, I decided to make different shapes since we are working on learning our shapes and colors, but you can make decorative ornaments out of felt too.
The girls are definitely enjoying decorating their own tree!
In addition to the Thankful Tree, we have started another fun, family tradition with the Felt Tree!
Saige Nicole’s is a family-owned, unique boutique, based out of Orange County, but sold across the globe. From upscale baby boutique clothing and gifts, to whimsical baby and toddler gifts, it is definitely a fun place to shop, when you are searching for something special!
This family is passionate about what they do and it truly shines through. It is great to find a business that cares as much about their customers as they do here!
Our baby shop caters to today’s savvy parent who is looking for high quality kids boutique clothing, and baby and toddler clothes with a unique flair and function. Our on-line baby boutique is known for our unmatched selection of baby boutique clothing and toddler clothes by some of today’s best indie designers.
Saige Nicole’s has also been featured in numerous magazines including Parenting OC, People, and Baby Talk!
Since the holidays are in full swing, now is the time to think about family pictures. There is a super cute Special Occasion / Christmas section on the Saige Nicole’s website, where you can shop 24/7, to find something fabulous for those portraits or holiday gatherings!
In the spirit of giving, Wendy Navarro, owner of Saige Nicole’s, has graciously offered to give one lucky reader, four personalized, holiday t-shirts, and there are several styles to choose from. Although they are mainly a baby/toddler boutique, the holiday shirts come in all sizes from newborn to toddler to adult!
The t-shirts are 100% cotton, available in short or long-sleeve and range in price from $28-$34 each.
My favorite personalized holiday shirt was the penguin, and I think the girls would agree!
These shirts are just adorable and will be a hit this holiday season with family and friends! So, I am very excited that one of my readers will win four customized holiday t-shirts too!
To enter, simply visit Saige Nicole’s Specialty Baby and Toddler Boutique, and let us know what your favorite item is (it can be anything), by leaving a comment below. One winner will be randomly selected on Sunday at 10 a.m. PST. Good Luck and have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
This is a great family-friendly event, but since my girls are so little, it would make for a great date night or girl’s night out too!
For those of you who have never seen The Nutcracker, here is a little preview from a previous year.
There are thirteen scheduled performances, beginning December 14:
Guest Artists and Schedule
Irina Dvorovenko & Maxim Beloserkovsky
American Ballet Theatre
Friday, December 14, 2012 @ 7:00 PM
Saturday, December 15, 2012 @ 2:00 PM
Saturday, December 15, 2012 @ 7:00 PM
Sunday, December 16, 2012 @ 1:00 PM
Sunday, December 16, 2012 @ 6:00 PM
Carla Korbes, Pacific Northwest Ballet & Fabrice Calmels, Joffrey Ballet
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 @ 7:00 PM
Thursday, December 20, 2012 @ 7:00 PM
Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 7:00 PM
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 2:00 PM
Stella Abrera & Sascha Radetsky
American Ballet Theatre
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 7:00 PM
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 1:00 PM
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 6:00 PM
Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 11:00 AM
Tickets are on sale now and are $40 for adults, $37 for seniors, and $35 for children. December 19 and 20 is Family Night, if you buy four or more adult tickets, they will be discounted to $30 each. Buy your tickets and choose your seats here: http://www.festivalballet.org/fbt/nutcracker2012.html
The Festival Ballet Theatre is known for attracting the best performers in professional dance. This performance of The Nutcracker is highly anticipated and expected to be phenomenal. I look forward to seeing it myself and now one lucky reader can too!
It is hard to believe that November is officially here and the holidays are upon us. We sure do have a lot to be thankful for again this year!
I love family traditions, and now that I have my own family, I want to make special traditions that my children will look forward to each year and remember forever.
My friend, Heather and her family create a thankful tree each year, and she is where I got this wonderful idea.
Beginning on November 1st, family members will write on one leaf what they are thankful for and then place the leaf on the tree each day. By the time Thanksgiving comes around, you will have a beautiful tree, full of leaves, sharing so many things you and your family are thankful for!
I made my tree out of construction paper and hung it on the wall near the entry way.
Next, I made the leaves.
And finally, an envelope that holds the leaves, marker, and double-sided tape, to make it easy for family members to stop by and share what they are thankful for!
I am so excited to start this family tradition and look forward to future years when the girls can help create the tree too! I will post a picture of my tree full of thanks at the end of the month!
I think it is safe to say that Fall is finally in the air, and I love this time of year! Before having children, I used to love having the daylights scared out of me at spooky Halloween events, and my husband and I had a blast attending the Haunt each year at Knott’s Scary Farm. Now that I am a mom, and have small babies, I am always on the lookout for events that are family-friendly.
Today, we had the opportunity to visit Camp Spooky and attend Snoopy’s Costume Party at Knott’s Berry Farm. Camp Spooky is a “knott-so-scary” Halloween event that takes place during the day, between 10am – 5:30pm, every weekend in October, through the 28th.
The event is geared for children ages 3-11, but my babies still had a blast meeting the Peanut characters and trick-or-treating for the first time!
Admission for Snoopy’s Costume Party is included in the regular admission price, such a good deal! Here are just a few of the fun activities for the kiddos:
Spooky Ookie Scavenger Hunt: Answer each riddle correctly, and find a treat at each of the five trick-or-treat locations.
The Great Pumpkin Hay Bale Maze: I would have to say this was our girls’ favorite part of the event and I think they could’ve played in there for hours!
Kooky Cookie Painting – Show your creativity and decorate your own cookie or smear frosting around with your fingers and get messy like Chelsea does!
Scary Stories at the Lodge – When you arrive at the park, make sure you find out the story times so you can gather around the artificial fireplace to listen to some silly ghost stories.
These are just a few of the events going on at Snoopy’s Costume Party in Camp Spooky. Kids can also take part in Snoopy’s Costume Contest and Parade, explore the creepy crawler critter cave, jump in the bounce house and more!
We had a blast at this fun family-friendly Halloween event, and the girls were exhausted after just a couple hours of fun! I think they were asleep in their car seats before we even got out of the parking lot!