Workout Rut, Parenting Highs and Reading Triumphs

The past two weeks I've been feeling very blah about working out. I've been doing my six-day-a-week routine (which I mix up, so it's never boring), but my body is feeling fatigued. I've been finding myself not giving it 100%. This week I started with sculpt class on Monday, spin on Tuesday, hot yoga on Wednesday (I like to do yoga right in the middle of the week to give my muscles a break) and then sculpt again last night (I'm addicted to the weights!). Today I'm supposed to do Insanity at home. I've been doing month 1 Insanity (there are 2 months of workouts - the second month is harder) and am supposed to start month 2 Insanity today. But I just don't feel like it. My legs are a little sore from spin and sculpt and I'm just tired. I find myself overly exhausted every night after dinner and have been staying up too late reading to really get a good night's rest. So today, for the first time in almost six months, I'm taking an unscheduled day off from working out! I keep trying to find the energy to get up and go, but I figured, I'm allowed an extra day, right? My goal is 300 workouts in 365 days. If I take 1 day off a week for 52 weeks, that leaves me 13 extra days I can take off. I'm planning on taking a couple extra days off in Hawaii - especially travelling days - but after almost six months I have yet to take a bonus day, so today is it! And I don't feel too bad about it because I'm convincing myself that Sunday (my scheduled day off) will be the day I do Insanity. But we'll see. If I don't, that's ok too.

Anyway, what I'm really excited about today is that I have a special mommy/daughter date planned with Belle tonight. It's something that we've done before - just going to the mall to return things, having dinner together, getting post-dinner cookies from the cupcake shop and playing in the bookstore - but for some reason when I told Belle about our plans on Monday, she lit up and got really excited about it and has been talking about it all week long! She's even telling her friends at school about it and when she woke up this morning she came in our room and said "Today we're having our special mommy/daughter date!" She acts like we never spend time together, haha! It makes me feel a little guilty because the true reason for the trip to the mall is so that I can return a bunch of stuff I bought online. But I love spending time with just her.

Tomorrow is Belle's last swim lesson. This girl has some kind of gripping fear of getting water in her eyes that prevents her from putting her face in the water at swim lessons. And what is the instructor going to do? Dunk her? So she gets away with it and is now taking Beginning Swimming for the third session in a row with three year olds. And everyone has suggestions "have you tried goggles?" "have you tried working with her in the bathtub?" "have you tried just throwing her in?"... yes, yes and umm, no, I'm not doing that. She cries every time I wash her hair. Seriously. So we'll keep at it and hope that one day it clicks and she gets over it.

On Sunday we'll be at Fairyland with some family friends. I'm definitely getting our money's worth on that $50 annual family pass! And I figure between a mall trip tonight and Fairyland on Sunday that's equal to a pretty good cardio workout, right? Right?

Also, and I can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet, Justin and I have been catching up on Game of Thrones. We don't get HBO and can't get it where we live so we've been catching up on the first two seasons and are slowly collecting the newer episodes (I can't reveal our sources). Justin's not so into it, but I really am! It's not the best show I've ever seen (it can get pretty corny), but it's epic and compelling. Justin and I have this running joke if you've ever seen SNL and their weekend update skit about Stefon - the gay guy who talks about clubs around the city, he'll say, "this club has everything..." (and then he'll list a bunch of random crazy things). HERE'S A CLIP. Anyway, any time something crazy happens on Game of Thrones we say in our best Stefon voice "This show has everything... dwarves, dragons, magic, zombies, incest, evil kings..." Maybe you have to be there, but it's really funny. The show moves really slowly because there are so many story lines and I know a lot of people have read the books and are really into them. There are 5 books so far - there will be 7 when it's over - and each book is like 800 pages. I'm not really sure I want to commit to reading all of them but I think I might try to read the first one this summer. Stay tuned for that, Haha!

Speaking of reading, I finished Kindred (Justin's favorite book - he even teaches it in his summer class, he's been trying to get me to read it for years). And I loved it! It's about a black woman and her white husband in the 1970's who travel back to the nineteenth century to visit her ancestors who are slave owners. Being a black woman there, you can imagine how things go for her, but it's such a fascinating look at what life might have really been like back then from the perspective of a modern day woman. I'd definitely recommend it.

Now I'm reading Gone Girl, mostly because last summer everyone was going nuts over it and I borrowed it from a friend so now I feel like I have to read it. I have about 30 pages left and it's pretty good. Entertaining, not extremely well written, but a good, easy summer read.

What are your weekend/workout/summer/reading plans?


Cool Summer

It's only June 4, but I'm very excited for the summer to begin. It's already sort of in that transition-to-summer part. You know, the part when Justin is teaching summer school three days a week but Belle is still in regular school and I have to ask parents to bring her home? Yeah, that part of summer isn't so fun, but school is almost out for her and I couldn't be more excited.

We kind of kicked off summer last Sunday with an entire day (an entire day!) of just me and Justin. Alone. In Napa. With no kids. Oh.my.god, it was glorious. It was nice to be out and hear kids crying and not have to worry that they were mine! Haha. We started off at Oxbow market for lunch (and ended up buying way too many chocolate treats, you know, for later). Then we did some shopping at the Napa Outlets, I know, not exactly the relaxing Napa agenda most people plan, but Justin desperately needs some shorts for summer after losing so much weight (thanks to our insane workout schedules) and all of his summer clothes are comically large. Long story short, we found him some shorts. We still had some time to kill before our 6:30 dinner reservation so we decided to go to a winery. We always want to try new ones, but I threw out the idea of going to Mumm because it's one of my favorites, as cheesy as it is. Give me some sparkling wine and some indoor air conditioning with a vineyard view please! So we went to Mumm. We still had a little extra time so we headed to Bouchon Bakery (Justin can not go to Napa without a Bouchon stop - it's against his code of being). So just in case the chocolate from Oxbow wasn't enough, we headed to Bouchon, loaded up on more treats and then made our dinner reservation at Oenatri (thanks Tim&Michelle!) and then headed home. We got home right at 8 so we still got to say goodnight to the kids then spent the evening watching Mad Men. Oh, and let me tell you, those chocolates from Oxbow and Bouchon treats didn't make it past Monday.

Here's what's in store for the rest of the summer...

June 12 - July 2: Belle will be home from school and Justin will still be teaching Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, but that also means that Mondays and Wednesdays will be a little more flexible. I'm hoping to spend some quality time with Belle and enjoy some lazy days.

End of June: My sister-in-law is moving back to the bay area! She got an amazing job and I couldn't be more excited for her. She's been in L.A. for the past five years and has missed so much. She's been away from the family for Belle's entire existence! I'm excited for her to get to spend more time with her niece and nephew. I'm also excited to have a semi-nearby shopping buddy. She doesn't start her new job until the end of July so I've already planned a couple of shopping days for us before she starts working.

July 2 - July 10: I'm not sure if I've mentioned this (ha!), but we're going to Hawaii for my 30th birthday. I've been saying for years that I want to spend my 30th in Hawaii and if we end up leaving California next year, it may be our last chance to go for a while. So over the past couple years we've been slowly saving up for a trip for the four of us. Because we may be leaving next year and Justin's brother is likely moving away next year too, Justin's family decided it'd be a good year to have a big family vacation, so we decided to make our trip longer and now we're going with everyone for a few days and then spending a few days just the four of us after everyone leaves. It'll be like two vacations in one!

July 13: The weekend we get back I've decided I'm still going to be celebrating my birthday. I only turn 30 once! So we'll be having a big barbecue/party at our apartment. If you're reading this (and you know me in real life), then consider this your save-the-date, because you will be coming.
One of my college friends is also moving to our town that weekend! I'm so excited to have an old friend for a new neighbor.

July 15: Most of the big fun will be over by then, but Belle will be back in the summer program at her school and I'll go back to working there one day a week. It'll be good for her to get out of the house and be with her friends again.

August 19: Belle will be done with summer school and will have two weeks before her second year of preschool starts. I think Justin has a week off then too so I'm hoping we can plan some fun end-of-summer activities.

Once Fall starts again, we'll be planning our October trip to Disneyland! I'm so excited to take the kids for the first time. Hopefully at that point Justin will also be applying for jobs and we'll get a better idea of where we might be headed next year. Then in Spring when we get the good or bad news about Justin's job situation I'll start planning a little (hopefully celebratory) trip for the two of us for next summer.

What're your summer plans?


The last five

I have never been athletic. I have never been naturally thin. I have never been in shape. And I was always fine with that. When I was younger I (at least I think) I was always able to walk the line between curvy and chubby and I carried myself well. When I hit my twenties my weight gradually increased, but I wasn't too concerned. And then I had Belle. Not having a history of healthy eating or exercise, my post baby body left much to be desired. Nothing went back the way it was and not doing anything about it was making it turn from curvy to seriously unhealthy. When Belle was two I decided to work hard and get in some sort of shape, or at least get back to where I was. I worked out four days a week for three months, lost twenty pounds pretty easily and felt great! Then I got pregnant with Leo (not much time to enjoy my new healthier body). I did not exercise during my pregnancy. I did not eat healthy all the time (I didn't overload on junk food either). My pregnancy was healthy, normal. I vowed that once Leo was born I wouldn't waste so much time before getting back into shape. But then there was breast feeding. Two kids. A working husband. No time. When Leo was eight months old I stopped breast feeding and decided to put my body to work. Starting in December I began working out six days a week and have not stopped since.

The first three months were a breeze, just like the first time around, I lost fifteen pounds easily. I was working out much harder than I was the first time I decided to get into shape but the weight wasn't coming off as quickly. But my sizes kept dropping and I had a lot more muscle, so I was pleased. Then about two months ago, something changed. The pounds stopped coming off and my body stopped changing. So I thought, I need to ramp this up.

For the past two months I have been working out at least an hour a day six days a week. I have a good mix of cardio (twice a week), sculpting classes that incorporate yoga, weights and cardio all in a heated room (three days a week) and a hot yoga class once a week. I try to mix it up every week, I change my cardio routine and rotate three different Insanity workouts, sometimes I'll do a spin class instead. Sometimes I do two sculpt classes and two yoga classes, all of the classes vary slightly so I never feel bored or unchallenged. If you give me a punch in the abs you can feel that my muscles are hard and tight and my arms are getting defined. Unfortunately because I've been stretched to the hilt with two pregnancies the skin on my abdomen is not as tight as I'd like it and despite my muscle tone, my stomach still looks loose and wide.

I also changed my eating habits, which I knew I needed to do. Every morning I have a latte and yogurt or a banana or a protein bar or a bran muffin (depending on the day) for breakfast. I eat a Trader Joe's salad for lunch (different ones, all light on the dressing, all full of veggies, chicken and grains). For dinner we always have chicken, usually in a salad, occasionally with pasta, or salmon with veggies and once or twice a week we treat ourselves to tacos or pizza which I try to eat in smaller portions. I've limited myself to soda only once or twice a week, the rest of the time it's water or half lemonade half water. After dinner I always have a massive sweet tooth so I've been limiting myself to fruit and nuts only. Sometimes I have a small bowl of kettle corn (that I pre-measure to make sure I'm not over doing it) or a small handful of chocolate covered raisins. I don't snack between meals - I've never been much of a snacker. I try to not deprive myself too much, I just try to make healthier choices most of the time.

All of this and my weight has not budged in two months. Don't get me wrong, I think I look great and I'm perfectly happy with where I'm at, but my goal was five more pounds. Five more pounds and I'd be at my ideal weight, well within "normal" on the BMI scale. I'm already in my ideal clothing size, but I'm just not understanding why these last five pounds will not come off. I'm not conventionally thin or at the lowest weight I've ever been, I'm still a healthy, curvy size, there's still some room to improve! I'm just not sure what else I could possibly do to get rid of those last five pounds. I'm not willing to diet or go on a cleanse because I know the loss would only be temporary and I'm looking for more of a permanent lifestyle change that I can maintain. I'm definitely not willing to make myself go hungry for many reasons but mainly because I have a daughter and the most important thing for me as a parent is to show an example of a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body image and five pounds is not worth making that big of a deal about.

I'm really ok if those last five pounds never come off, I'm just slightly baffled. I see so many girls around me who eat relatively healthy but still indulge once in a while and they exercise maybe occasionally and they are rail thin! How does that work? Is it genetics? Are they hungry all the time? I just don't understand. What am I missing here? The other thing I don't get is that every thin girl I know has a full time job and is at a desk most of the day. I am busy with kids, cleaning, doing laundry, on my feet for all but a few hours each day, I'm very active even when I'm not working out.

In the meantime I'll continue on with my goal of 300 workouts in one year (I'm already at 125!) and keep eating healthy and just see what happens. And if I stay this size forever, then great! I think for being (almost) 30 and having two kids I look fantastic, no complaints. I guess the point of this post is to ask the question of girls who may be reading this that have fantastic bodies (which of everyone that I know that reads this, definitely does), what do you do to stay in shape? To stay healthy? How do you stay thin without killing yourself over it?
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a silly string of unfortunate events

The past couple of months have been slightly frustrating for me. You know the feeling when  you are trying to take care of things, be an adult and tend to your responsibilities and everything just goes horribly wrong? Seriously, everything. No? Just Me? Well anyway, these past couple of months have been like a comedy of errors in the not-so-funniest way. I don't want my blog to be a series of complaints because my life is really good. Really, really good. But it also wouldn't be honest if I didn't also share the harder parts. The frustrating parts. Some of these things I've mentioned before, but now there's more...

- With Justin being a graduate student and instructor, the school covers his healthcare, but not mine or the kids'. Crazy, I know- thanks UC Berkeley! So because we make so little money, the kids are covered through the state (children under 18 are guaranteed medical coverage in the state of California - thanks Hilary Clinton!) But have you ever applied for any social service? It is impossible! Every year they send you a packet to fill out to make sure you still qualify, so when Leo turned one they sent it to us, I filled it out and mailed it in. Well, supposedly they never received it and I got a letter saying that Leo no longer has medical insurance. Also, Belle was covered through a program called Healthy Families so we pay a monthly fee for her healthcare but apparently Healthy Families is no longer a program - California budget cuts - so apparently they sent her information to medi-cal so she could get coverage like Leo's... but they never received her paperwork either. All of this to say that a couple of weeks ago Justin had to take a day off of working/writing so that I could drive to Oakland to social services, sit around for three hours to fill out a piece of paper to get the kids the healthcare coverage that they already had. Then I get 4 letters in the mail telling me that they do/don't qualify for different programs. I call my case worker (one that I can actually get on the phone!) and she clarifies everything and then asks for me to mail Justin's proof of income - to prove that we really don't make a lot of money. A week later I get a letter saying they didn't get the proof of income that I mailed to them. I call to clarify that it actually was received - and it was. Finally! Something went right in this process. Then the case worker asks if the pay stub that I sent from Justin's job is a weekly paycheck or a monthly paycheck... Sadly I laughed and said that indeed, that's the amount of money he makes monthly. And now we wait for further instructions... 

- Our car registration expires in May. Typically we get a notice in January to pay it, however, possibly because we moved, we never received our notice. But being as proactive and on top of things as I am, I looked up our registration on the DMV website and paid our registration. In March. I also updated our new address. Well, halfway through May our registration stickers were still not in our mailbox. I looked up our registration information on the website again and it says that they mail the stickers within five days and at this point it had been two months! So I call the DMV - the part of the website that gives instructions for lost stickers apparently doesn't work, go figure! - finally get someone on the phone and they tell me that I need to come into the DMV - to do what I already did online. Luckily I was able to make an appointment so I didn't have to wait in those horrid DMV lines, but the only DMV that had an appointment within a week was one in West Oakland. I live in North Berkeley, so not close. So Justin graciously took another day off of working/writing so that I could drive a half hour down to the Oakland DMV to get the stickers that I already paid for. 

- You probably remember in this post about the traffic ticket that I paid for in December was accidentally used to pay someone else's ticket and I had to spend another entire day driving down to Fremont (an hour away), standing in line for two and a half hours to get it all sorted out. Sidenote: there seems to be a theme of me needing to take entire days to sort things out that I've already taken care of, it's like the universe is telling me "you don't have enough to do, let's make things harder". Anyway, another day was wasted and the ticket was finally paid correctly and fortunately I was eligible for traffic school to keep it from showing up on my record. So for the past two weeks I've been doing traffic school online a little bit every day, usually while kids are crying at me or needing me to help with something. So you know, I've been able to really concentrate and take it all in. And knowing my luck with such things, I ended up paying extra money for copies of my certificate of completion and confirmation that the traffic court received and approved my traffic school completion. I did the eight hour course and at the end you take a test and need at least a 70% to pass. After two grueling weeks of the most boring course I've ever taken in my entire life and not being able to concentrate on it for more than five minutes at a time, I passed with a 76%. And now I question my intelligence. 

- In that same post I mentioned how I took on the job of summer school administrator for Belle's school. It has turned out to be somewhat of a nightmare. You see, at Belle's school each family is responsible for participating one day a week so that on any given day, between parents and teachers, there are about seven adults for a class of 26 kids. It's a great system and it keeps the parents involved in the school and really fosters a sense of community. Except when it comes to summer. Long story short, the school also offers aftercare and naturally parents sign up their kids for aftercare on days that they are not participating. No one told me that there's a maximum number of kids that can do aftercare on any given day, so when I found out, I had to contact the last families to sign up to tell them that there was no spot for them in aftercare for those days and naturally it affected their participation days. I guess if you don't know how the school is run, it's probably very confusing, but anyway, summer school starts in five weeks and people are still trying to change their aftercare/participation requests and some families are trying to pull out of summer school altogether because they cannot get the days they need. This means the staffing and the budget for summer school is now all screwy and it's up to me to fix it. 

- And it keeps getting better! I went to check our bank account on Monday so that I could update our monthly budget and I found almost $300 worth of small purchases over the weekend from Walmart, 7-11, McDonald's, Jack in the Box and Rite Aid! First of all, I have never been to a Walmart in my entire life. I have also not been to a 7-11 since high school (12 years ago!) and have not eaten fast food in more than six months. I also do not live anywhere near a Rite Aid. Looking at the purchases, they were all made in Fairfield. I have never been to Fairfield. So I guess my debit card that expired that I cut in half and threw in the trash was found, taped together and used! Multiple times! I immediately called the bank, had the card cancelled and had to file a report claiming that my card was stolen and used without my consent. To the tune of almost $300. Luckily the bank is really good about this stuff and issued us a temporary credit for the amount pending an investigation. Provided they cannot find proof that I authorized the purchases (which they most certainly can't because I most certainly did not!), then they'll refund all the money permanently. They also said that because the purchases were all made in the same places that it's likely that they'll find the person and would I be willing to press charges? Um, yes! 

- We are also slowly getting news that five different friends and family members are in the process of coming back to the Bay Area all within the next year! This is really exciting to me because I love having everyone be close, but it really makes me sad to think that a year from now we could be moving away and leaving even more people behind. We've really come to love all of our friends and family that live near us and I am really excited for that circle to grow, but in the long run we'll have to do what is right for Justin's career, and hey, we'll always be able to come back and visit and it'll be awesome to have everyone in one place. 

So that's what I've been dealing with the past couple of months, every day something new. When the bank account thing happened, I though "of course!" Because everything else is finally sorted out, why wouldn't this happen? I really just have to laugh because at the end of the day, I have my family and we are all healthy and happy. We have food in our bellies and a place to call home and really that's all that matters. I just take each crisis one day at a time and luckily I do not stress out very easily. 

But in better news, I am really looking forward to our three day weekend! This weekend we have a lot going on (as usual)...

- On Saturday we are going up to Napa (for the second of three Napa weekends in a row - woohoo!) to eat lunch at our favorite chicken and waffle place and to celebrate the third birthday of one of my favorite boys in the whole world, Marco Amadeus! I can't wait. 
- On Sunday morning, Belle's school is having a music fest - if you live in the East Bay, email me and I can give you the info if you'd like to come! And in the evening we are going to Justin's adviser/friends' home for some drinks (with the kids).
- On Monday we are going to a Memorial day barbecue and pool party at my in-law's house for the day. 

I can't wait! And only 40 more days until Hawaii - 47 days until I turn 30!!!


The Happiest Mother's Day

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Every day at some point I stop and think about what a miracle it is that my strong body was able to create, grow and birth two perfect and healthy human beings. I did that. With a little help from Justin of course. I look at our children (children!) and think, we created that, those people are little pieces of us. They are a combination of love and genetics that cannot be matched. I know people have been having children for millions of years and babies are born every day, but my body was able to do it twice (and hopefully will again in the future) and because of that, I am in awe. In awe of myself and in awe of all the mothers I know that have done it too. It's an elite (although large) club we belong to. We know the feeling of little kicks coming from below our ribs, we know the overwhelming love we feel when we first touch those soft cheeks that have just been born from us. We know what it is to have love for someone that we have never been capable of feeling before. To take care of and watch these little people grow into miniature versions of ourselves. Being a mother is an awesome thing and there's not a day that goes by that I am not grateful for the gifts my body has given me to be able to have these children. 

Although it was far from my first Mother's Day, Justin and the kids had a few tricks up their sleeves to make my weekend special. We knew that on Sunday we'd be visiting our own mothers, so Justin made sure that Saturday was a day that was all about me. Typically Justin and I trade off sleeping in on weekends, I usually get Saturdays and he gets Sundays, but because it was Mother's Day weekend, I got to sleep in on both days (heaven!). Justin also knows that my favorite breakfast is pancakes from Bette's Diner so he got up early on Saturday and took the kids to get me some flowers and pancakes. I told Justin that all I needed for Mothers Day were the two "f"s - flowers and food. And he delivered on both. Saturday morning I took Belle and her friend Abby to swim lessons, which Justin offered to do "Do you want me to take the girls and you can stay home with Leo?" "NO!" I'm with Leo all day every day and I'm pretty sure the boy has some teeth coming in because he has been whiny! Swim lessons sounded so much better. After swim, I dropped Belle off at home and enjoyed an afternoon having lunch and shopping by myself. Maybe I'm strange, but I love my kids more than anything, but I'm with them all the time and sometimes I really want to go somewhere without them. I rarely get to go to the bathroom by myself. So for Mother's Day all I wanted was a little time to go do something without dragging the kids along with me. So that's what I did. After that I came home to change and then went to a sculpting class and was home an hour before the kids went to bed. I spent that last hour with them, dancing, playing games and soaking them in. And take it from a mom who is with kids all day long, children are much more tolerable and enjoyable when you've been away from them all day! After tucking them both in to bed Justin and I ordered our favorite takeout (Picante) and relaxed. 
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The other thing I really wanted for Mother's Day was an apple sauce cake from Virginia Bakery. It was the smash cake for Leo's first birthday (that he ate exactly none of) and the caramel frosting on it was so delicious that I still have dreams about it. So Justin made sure I had one to snack on for the week. Because calories don't count the week after Mother's Day. Or so I hear? Belle also wrote me a big sign that said "HERZ DAY HAPPY MOT" because letters don't need to go in any particular order. She also drew a picture of her and I holding hands dancing and I may have shed a tear or two. Especially when she kept telling me that I was the best mommy and she wanted to be with me all day.

On Sunday we headed down to San Jose to have brunch with my mom, then to Justin's parents' house for dinner. We got home last night in time to put the kids to bed and watch the Survivor finale. It was the perfect weekend and I wish I could repeat it at the end of every week. 


The world's most boring fashion post

Complete with horrible quality cell phone pictures!

Being at home with kids all the time gives me little reason to get dressed every day. But I do. In  hopes that my fellow day time Target customers, moms at Gymboree or people walking by me on the street appreciate the small amount of effort I put in to matching my clothes for the day. Because these are the only people (outside of my family) that really see me. Until now! Because I know you are dying to know what I wear every day while I'm making sandwiches, doing laundry and vacuuming, don't worry, this post is all about solving that mystery. Enjoy.

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1. similar Destructed Always Skinny Jean (GAP), similar Luxe Jersey Boatneck Tee (GAP)
2. similar Always Skinny Jean (GAP), Threadless Key Tee (GAP)
3. similar Legging Skimmer Jean (GAP), Mossimo Women's Pullover Sweater (Target)

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4. Mossimo Supply Co. Junior Knit Skirt (Target), Mossimo Women's Microrib Tank (Target), Mossimo Women's Ultra Soft Cocoon Cardigan (Target)
5. Legging Skimmer Jean (GAP), similar Mossimo Juniors Graphic Tank (Target)
6. Women's Everyday 3.5" Khaki Shorts (Old Navy), Women's Lightweight Racerback Tank (Old Navy)

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7. Clean Front Eyelet Shorts in Navy (GAP), similar Women's Print Sleeveless Blouse (Old Navy)
8. similar Always Skinny Jean (GAP), similar Mossimo Junior Scoopneck Tank (Target)
9. similar Always Skinny Jeans (GAP), similar Xhilaration High Low Top (Target)

A few notes:
1. Anything that says "similar" is because I bought that item so long ago that it's no longer available online. I know it will be very heartbreaking for those of you hoping to emulate my original fashion choices.

2. None of these pictures show my head because they are usually taken right after I've showered so my hair is probably wet or pulled back sloppily and I have zero makeup on, which after a year of not having a good night's sleep - Thanks Leo! - isn't so pretty. Except #4 - that was date night so I was obligated to do something with my hair.

3. I am not wearing shoes* for two reasons - 1. If I don't have to wear shoes I will not. I prefer to be barefoot in all situations. In fact I only put on shoes when I leave the house. and 2. We don't wear shoes in the house because street gunk on the bottom of your shoes is not welcome on our pristinely clean and frequently eaten off of - again, Thanks Leo! - floors.

4. Yes, all of my clothes do come from GAP, Old Navy and Target! All of my shopping is either done online or at the place I go to buy groceries once a week.

5. If you click on the links and think, man she frequently pays $70 for a bunch of GAP jeans that look the same! Fear not, I shop there so frequently that I usually have 30% off that I use only on sale items. I've never paid more than $40 for a pair of jeans from GAP. I know how to work the system.

* I am wearing shoes in #4 and #6 and if you're wondering what they are, they are Michael Kors Plate Thongs that I bought in 2006!

Inspired by  Emily at Jones Design Company and her posts on her adorable mommy-style.


Goodbye April!

I started writing this post last week and never finished it, so although we are a week into May, here's my update from last month...

April was my month of getting things done.

* I finally finished reading The Corrections after a year of off and on reading spurts. I love me some Franzen, but he is tough to get through! Now I have a long reading list I'm trying to get through this summer - see picture below.
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* I did my 100th workout of the year! My goal is to do 300 workouts in 2013 in  hopes of being in great shape, well, just because! I've still been doing sculpting classes three days a week, a couple of regular hot yoga classes and a spin class or some other sort of cardio one day a week. A couple weeks ago I stared doing two Insanity workouts a week, two scultping classes and 2 yoga classes just to up my game a little. The Insanity really helps with my endurance in a way that yoga really can't but the hot yoga keeps my muscles loose. So far I've lost 15 pounds but haven't lost anything in the past month which is why I started doing some Insanity. I'm hoping I can lose 5 more pounds to get to my goal weight and from there it'll just be maintaining that weight. I'm so close!
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* We finally bought our family pass to Fairyland (thanks to Living Social it was 50% off) and have already been there twice. I see a lot of Fairyland trips in our future.
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* I blogged once or twice.

* I took on the role of Summer School Administrator at Belle's preschool and let me tell you, it's been like having a part time job! Every morning when Leo is napping I put on cartoons for William and spend a couple hours answering emails only to have a new batch to respond to during afternoon nap time.

* And I must be a masochist because I also agreed to be co-chair of the board at her school for the next school year.

* I'll tell you what I haven't done yet and that's my court ordered traffic school. I have one month left, I better get on it.

* Although I haven't come to terms with it, I did celebrate my little boy turning one! And of course ordered some adorable invitations. Every year I say it, but I think this year I picked the cutest invites for both kids' parties than I have before.
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And now I'm off to tackle May!


Liebster Award

My friend Adrian over at Happy Girls are the Prettiest Girls awarded me the Liebster Award (thanks Adrian!) What is a Liebster Blog Award? 

"The Liebster Award is for blogs with under 200 followers and the rules of the award is that the nominee must link back to whoever nominated them, write 11 random facts about themselves, answer 11 questions from the award giver, and then nominate another 11 bloggers and make up 11 questions for them to answer. It's a great way for new and undiscovered bloggers to meet new people, get more followers and find some blogs that they want to follow."

Here are Adrian's 11 questions for me:

1. Share something that always makes you laugh!
My son! He is such a ham. Belle is pretty funny too, but mostly in a sassy way.
2. What impresses you most, or makes you want to follow another blog?
Simple designs, fashion posts, moms with kids around my kids' ages. 
3. What is your perfect day?
Sleeping in! Having no real plans. Maybe some shopping, going out to dinner with the kids and relaxing at home with Justin watching movies after the kids go to bed.
4. What would your dream home would be like?
The perfect size for our family how ever big it might be. Nothing too spacious but not too cramped either. Right now our little 3 bedroom apartment is perfect for us. I'd love a home that's older and has been renovated or to do renovations ourselves. Something near a big city, preferably on a coast.
5. What makeup products can't you live without?
Mac Stuido Finish concealer (in the second lightest shade they make), Benefit Posietint, Benefit They're Real mascara, and Sugar Lip Treatment in Rose. Those are the only things I use. Most of the time it's just concealer and Posietint.
6. What is your hair routine like?
Ha! Routine? I wash it after I work out because I sweat a lot and usually I just let it airdry. It's a big fluffy mess naturally but if I put enough Curl Conscious Calming Creme in it it will wave nicely. I only blowdry and straighten it if I'm going somewhere.
7. Have you had any embarrassing hair "incidents" or experiments?
A million of them! Like trying to blowdry my hair straight as a kid (before straighteners were invented) which just made it puffy. That Mariah Carey spiral perm my mom let me get when I was 12. Sporting blonde/dark brown skunk stripes back in the 90's when it was cool (but was it ever cool?)
8. If you have a significant other, how did you meet?
He got my AIM screen name (remember AIM?) from my best friend's boyfriend because he saw me and thought I was cute. We chatted online for a while before I figured out who he was and once I did I knew I was definitely interested. Eleven and a half years and two kids later, I still think he's pretty cute.
9. Share a link to your favorite recipe!
Recipe? As if I cook. I don't. Justin is an excellent cook though but his recipes are more ad-lib.
10. What is your current favorite song, artist, or album? 
I'm still pretty obsessed with Locked out of Heaven by Bruno Mars. Man can that guy write a catchy song! I also am loving Heart Skipped a Beat by The xx, Feel So Close by Calvin Harris, Carry On by Fun., Can't Hold Us by Macklemore, Take a Walk by Passion Pit, Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men, Girlfriend by Phoenix, Stay by Rihanna and Get Free by Major Lazer.
11. Do you have a fitness routine? Share it!
Oh boy. I've been going to CorePower Yoga studio for about four months now, six days a week. I do their sculpt class (hot yoga with weights and cardio in a 96 degree room) three days a week, then I do two days of level 2 or 3 hot yoga (100 degrees) and an extra day of either a spin class or a Hot Power Fusion (a lot like Bikram yoga). I go six days a week and my routine varies depending on what I have time for. With Justin working a lot at home and Belle in school and me nannying full time, our schedules change all the time so every Sunday I make a plan for the week of what classes I'm going to and we work around that. I try to go in the late afternoon when I can but sometimes I go to night classes when the kids are in bed.

And that's it! 
I'm not sure who to nominate, but if anyone is looking for a blog post idea, answer the same questions I did and link back in the comments section. 


What's been going on...

I really should retitle this blog, AOG Monthly because that's all I seem to have time for lately. No one tells you that when your kid starts school and you add a baby to the family how much extra work it is. It's crazy how little free time I've had lately and I don't think I've ever been so exhausted in my life. I feel like every blog post is just explaining how busy we are, but I think of this blog as an online journal where I like to document what our life looks like right now. And right now I am dreaming of the days when our kids our teenagers and are out of the house all the time and sleeping until noon on the weekends and Justin and I can go out to dinner and movies whenever we want and not have to trade turns sleeping in on the weekends. Man, that sounds like heaven. But I know when that day comes I'll be wishing the kids were babies still that wanted to snuggle and play with us. So I'm trying to enjoy the stage we are in now, as crazy and tiring as it is because I don't want to blink and miss it.

Anyway, here's what's been happening...

The big picture, the bad news:

- I am spending a crazy amount of money on private health insurance because two years ago I didn't qualify for Medi-Cal. Now Justin has taken a big pay cut and we are living partially off of grants he's received and mostly off of the money I make babysitting. Long story short, I now qualify for Medi-Cal but have spent months, I mean, since December trying to get ahold of someone in our local Medi-Cal office to check on my application and have had zero luck reaching anyone. They are only open on weekdays and are twenty minutes away in downtown Oakland so finding a day that Justin can take off from working so I can drive down there has proven difficult.

- Speaking of Justin's work, he has spent months working on an article he is hoping to get published. As well as writing his dissertation, applying for conferences, etc. On top of being a superstar dad and husband helping out around the house and taking Belle to and from school everyday. I won't get into details but he's been hitting road block after road block lately and the bad news keeps coming for him. It's so discouraging especially because he'll be going on the job market this Fall and getting bad news now is not making us optimistic about the future. I'm hoping we are just getting all the bad stuff out of the way now so that good news will come our way later this year.

- Justin got the wheels of his bike stolen. The bike that is locked up right outside of our front door. He bought the bike used off Craigslist a while ago and at this point it's cheaper to just buy a new bike than to replace the wheels.

- I got a speeding ticket in December and paid it online right away. A couple weeks ago I got a letter in the mail saying my deadline to pay it had passed and if I didn't pay it within 5 days a warrant would be issued for my arrest and the bail amount would increase. I also got the ticket in Fremont which is almost an hour away from where we live. So I spent an entire morning driving to Fremont, standing in the traffic court line for 2.5 hours to sort the whole thing out. Turns out I paid someone else's ticket (I don't even know how that's possible), and they had to transfer the money I paid to my ticket. I also barely made it back to Berkeley to pick Belle up from school that afternoon, I was gone for almost four hours total. And Justin had to take the morning off from working to stay home with the boys for this useless event to happen.

- I got suckered into being the summer school administrator at Belle's school. Which means I run summer school. It is way more work and a much bigger headache than I anticipated, but I am enjoying it. It's taking up a lot of my free time.

- Leo keeps getting sick, like every other day. He got really sick again right after Belle's birthday and was back on his inhaler. This poor kid can't catch a break! He's been healthy for almost three weeks now but has recently developed a hacking cough that is resulting in some vomiting and lack of appetite. So that's fun.

- He's also still waking up every night at 4 AM for a feeding. He's 11 months old. This should not be happening.

- Belle fell at school yesterday and scraped her face up. Then later fell in the street on the way to gymnastics and scraped her knee up pretty bad. She kind of looks like she's been hit by a freight train, poor clumsy little thing.

The big picture, the good news:

- This summer we were planning to buy a family pass to Fairyland in Oakland. Belle loves it there and it's great for kids ages 1-10 and a family pass for 5 people is only $99/year. Living Social has a deal right now that an annual family pass is only $49! So we bought it and I'm excited to take the kids there this summer since I'll have Belle, Leo and William most of the time by myself. Plus, it's close to Uncle Bryant's house, so we may have to visit him more.

- I've still been working out six days a week! I've been doing three sculpting classes and three yoga classes and it's really starting to pay off. I'm not sure if my body shape is just curvy or because I've had two kids, my body is slow to respond, but after three months I've only lost 10 pounds and have gone down 2 sizes. I'm still happy with what my body is doing though, I definitely have more muscle definition in my arms and legs and my baby bubble on my stomach that is the hardest thing in the world to get rid of is almost gone. I'll always have a little tummy pouch though, the difference between being 9 months pregnant with Belle (the most I have ever weighed in my life) and where I am now is a difference of 60 pounds, so I'm  not sure my abs will ever be tight and I'm ok with that.

- Belle has been amazing lately. No tantrums or arguments, she is behaving so well and is so in to having mommy around. She wants me all the time and I am loving it. She is so sweet and playful.

- Leo is cruising around everywhere and is such a little joy. We're working on feeding him more solid foods but he's pretty picky. If he sees us eating something he wants it, but put it on his high chair tray? No thanks!

- I did our taxes this week and our tax return is going to be awesome! I am excited because our savings account has been slowly dwindling this past year (with Belle's tuition, the extra expense of another baby and our rent increase) so this will give us the little boost we need.

- Losing weight and working out means new clothes (in smaller sizes!) and buying cute workout outfits (Lululemon and GapFit are really doing well thanks to me!).

Day to day life has been ridiculously hectic. Here's what a day for me looks like...
7:00 AM - alarm starts going off, Belle comes into our room to snuggle.
7:30 AM - get Belle dressed, make her breakfast
8:00 AM - get Leo up, change him, feed him, pack Belle's lunch for school
8:45 AM - get Belle out the door, clean the kitchen (was dishes, put food away), etc.
9:15 AM - tidy the back of the house, make beds, gather laundry, put things away
9:30 AM - put Leo down for his nap, set William up with milk and cartoons
10:00 AM - start laundry, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast
11:00 AM - Leo wakes up, switch laundry, fold laundry, keep boys entertained
12:00 PM - make lunch for Leo, William and sometimes Justin, feed Leo
12:30 PM - clean up kitchen, wash dishes, etc.
1:00 PM - Belle comes home, set her up to finish lunch, talk to Justin about plans for the rest of the day
1:30 PM - start getting everyone ready for nap, diaper changes, story time, milk, etc.
2:00 PM - clean up toys in the living room, eat lunch, check email. If Justin is home I'll run errands otherwise I work on summer school stuff, pay bills, make phone calls, etc.
*4:00 PM - everyone is up from their nap, I get dressed for yoga, get everyone snacks, etc.
4:30 PM - I leave for yoga
5:30 PM - Justin feeds the kids dinner
6:00 PM - come home, take kids back to the bedrooms to play so Justin can workout
6:30 PM - bathe whatever kid needs bathing, I try to do one kid each day, switching off
7:00 PM - put Leo to bed
7:30 PM - get Belle ready for bed, read stories, snuggle, etc.
8:00 PM - take a shower
8:30 PM - finally eat dinner with Justin
9:15 PM - clean up toys, wash dishes, tidy, etc.
10:00 PM - finally sit down, watch tv
11:30 PM - get in bed and read
12:00 AM - lights out
4:00 AM - Leo's up, feed him
4:30 AM - back to bed

* most days I go to a 7 PM yoga class so our afternoons look like this:

4:00 PM - everyone is up from their nap, I get dressed for yoga, get everyone snacks, etc.
4:30 PM - run errands with the kids or if there isn't time we'll just start putting dinner together
5:30 PM - we all eat dinner together
6:15 PM - bathe whatever kid needs bathing while Justin washes the dishes
6:45 PM - off to yoga
... Justin does the bedtime routine while I'm at yoga then does his workout at home...
8:30 PM - home from yoga, take a shower
9:30 PM - Justin finishes his workout, we finally get to sit down and watch tv together
11:30 PM get in bed and read
... and the rest of the night is the same

On top of all that I have started taking Leo and William to Gymboree on Thursday mornings and Belle and Abby are taking gymnastics on Thursday afternoons.

And our weekends are not any less hectic. 

- Last weekend Belle and I had hair appointments first thing Saturday morning and we got back around lunch time. We fed the kids and put them down for their naps while Justin's parents came up to babysit for us. After their naps Justin and I got ready, fed the kids dinner and went on a date to Mission Chinese, then for some dessert at Yogurt Park and then to his professor's house for late night drinks with some other academic types. We got home close to midnight but we had a really fun day! The next morning I went to an early yoga class, then took Belle on a playdate at a park with one of her friends from school. We spent most of the day there, even eating lunch at the park. I had a great time chatting with her friend's mom and they had a great time playing. We came home for nap time and then after naps we had some friends over for dinner. They stayed until 10:30, so by the time they left we were ready to clean up and go to bed!

- This weekend we have an open house at Belle's school on Saturday and I'm planning on going to a lunch time yoga class. Then our friends from Napa are stopping by for a visit. On Sunday we are having a mid-day playdate at a family friend's house for brunch and will likely have some laundry and grocery shopping to do.

And that's what's been going on with us. I am going to make a sincere effort to do a blog post every Friday with updates, but we'll see if I can keep it up. Right now my goal is just to get a good night's sleep at some point!