The Chuck Wagon’s Maiden Voyage

unnamed (10)

Camping. It’s not for the faint of heart. You get dirty, you get cold, you get hot, things don’t always go the way you planned. And that is exactly why we called our first pop-up camper trip a “test run”. As eager as we are to take the Chuck Wagon all over the place, we need to have some trial and error close to home first.

Going from camping in tents to camping in a pop-up camper (+ add in a 10 month old) is a bit of an adjustment. We booked our first stay at the Hancock Campground, which is roughly a 2 minute drive from our house. The long 4th of July weekend gave us the perfect extended stay that we wanted.

We booked our stay from Thursday the 4th – Sunday the 7th. On Wednesday I took the littles to the grocery store and we picked up all that we would need to get us through the weekend. Extra excited for what the weekend would bring, we went to sleep pretty early.

Thursday was the 4th of July and we weren’t able to check in until 2:00 so I took the kids to the 4th of July parade with my parents while John stayed back and prepped the food and got some camping things ready. Once we got back, with way too much candy, Luci went down for a nap and John and I packed everything away in the camper.

unnamed (7) As usual, we packed way too much stuff but better safe than sorry, right? 2:00 rolled around after Luci woke up from her nap and we took the 2 minute drive to the campground. Of course it was the hottest day of the summer so far so everyone was sweating while we pulled into our spot and unloaded. In all reality, it’s actually pretty “easy” to get the camper popped up, it’s just time consuming to unpack everything else.

Our friend Marie came up from Wisconsin to visit for the weekend and stopped by our campsite as we were done getting everything settled. My parents also came down to see how things were shaking out. Lincoln was hot and wanted to go to the beach (there is a nice trail that takes you to the beach right at the campground here). My parents took Lincoln to the beach but we saw some pretty dark clouds rolling in so we checked the weather and sure enough a storm was supposed to hit.

John and I tucked some things away so the rain wouldn’t get anything too bad and Marie went to meet up with some other friends. We then took Luci down to the beach as well but my parents already started heading back because of the weather. Once we got back to the site the rain had started but it was pretty light. Our camper came with a nice outdoor stove so we started up some hot dogs.

The rain came down a bit more so we all headed into the camper to eat inside. Although it was cramped with 7 people in a tiny pop-up, we made due and it was pretty fun to have dinner inside. Afterwards Lincoln wanted to play frisbee outside and John and Luci stayed in the camper. Shortly after, John said from the window, “hey, what’s up with this bed? Why is it so low over here?” I couldn’t really tell from just looking at it so I peaked under the bed and sure enough the bracket that holds one of the supports had just completely fallen onto the ground, screws and all.

unnamed (6)

Since it was getting late and raining, everyone was getting a little anxious from being confined in the camper for quite some time. We decided it was probably for the best to just close things up, head home, and fix the bed in the morning. A bit of a bummer, but I’m not gonna lie, after sweating all day it was kind of nice to go home and sleep in my own bed in my own room.

The next morning, Marie and I went down to Marquette for the day and John hung out with the kiddos. Once we got back into town, we headed down to the campsite for the remainder of the evening. John was fixing the support for the bed and making sure that the others were secure as well. My parents came down to the campground again and we made burgers on the grill and played some games and hung out around the fire.

We tried to figure out the right sleeping situation for everyone but it was a bit tricky. Luci didn’t exactly want to go in her pack and play so we let her lay in bed with us (which she literally has never done) so instead of it being bed time, she wanted it to be party time and stayed up until midnight. For a baby who sleeps through the night, she was up quite a bit in the camper. This will definitely be an adjustment for the summer.

unnamed (5)

On Saturday morning we slept in until as late as Luci let us (Lincoln crashed the whole night and was sound asleep even through the wake-ups. Alexander opted to stay at home since he worked until late the night before). John had to work Saturday morning so Marie (who slept in our tent) and I made some coffee. Luci was pretty antsy of being stuck in a high chair or being held so after we guzzled some coffee we headed back home so she could get some real rest in her crib and we could take some showers.

unnamed

After Luci’s long nap, the littles, Marie, and I ventured out to Hungarian falls for a short hike. It’s a bit of an adventure when you have a friend who had ACL surgery three months ago, me with a 10 month old on my back, and a 4 year old who wants to climb down every hill. But nonetheless we still had fun and it was a perfect day to be out in the woods.

After hiking, Marie went to lunch with some friends and the kids and I headed back to the campsite to eat. After lunch we went over to the beach for a bit. It was cloudy but decently warm so Lincoln hopped right in the water and played for a while while Luci and I watched from the beach. It was getting late in the afternoon and I figured I would try to give it a go and see if Luci would actually take a nap in the camper so we headed back to the campsite.

When we were walking back to the beach we saw my parents rolling into the campground to visit. I told them what we were up to and they asked if Lincoln wanted to hang out with them for a bit while I put Luci down to sleep. I successfully got Luci to fall asleep in her pack and play and hung out outside for a bit. Marie stopped over again and John got back from work.

Marie was going out to sushi with some friends that evening and even though we had packed a bunch of camping food, who can turn down sushi? We gave her a rather large order and she picked up some dinner for us afterwards.

unnamed (9)

My parents came back with Lincoln and ate sushi with us. We were all pretty tired from the past couple nights so we walked around the campground for a bit before we all called it a night. It was another long night with Luci as she is not used to sleeping so close to us. Every time she woke up during the night she wanted to party.

The morning came and it was a bit chilly. I made some coffee again and we started to pack things up. When it was time for Luci’s first nap, John took the kids back home and they stayed with Alexander while Luci slept and John and I got the camper back down.

Although we didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked actually “camping” or at the campground, I think it gave us a pretty good idea of the things we really needed and the things we probably could have left at home.

All in all, there were some ups and there were some downs (mainly just lack of sleep LOL). I’m so glad my parents were nearby to help out with the kids while we got our first trip under our belts. Now it’s time to plan for the next adventure!

unnamed (8)

Advertisements

Lucille Rae Hart: A Birth Story

Well, here we are.. Almost a full month later and I’m finally sitting down to write about Luci girl’s birth story. Time sure flies when it’s not your first time parenting a newborn. It might not even need to be mentioned but, this is a birth story so with that being said, if you don’t want to hear about things that would be associated with birth, feel free to click away now 🙂

On Saturday, August 25th, we celebrated John’s birthday. My due date was August 29th, but at one of my OB appointments, the doctor had said “I won’t be surprised if you go into labor early!” First of all, never tell a pregnant woman that. I had my hopes up way too high from that statement! I think the idea of John and Lucille sharing a birthday had unintentionally sent us up to the hospital for false labor. After getting ready for the day I had felt like maybe my water had broke, so to be on the safe side, we headed up to the hospital to get things checked out. Unfortunately for my pregnant self, my contractions were not consistent enough and my water had not broke so we were sent back home. We went about our day and ventured up to the county fair for the evening with my family. I was pretty sure something was going to happen that evening so we told my mom to keep her phone nearby in case we needed her to stay with Lincoln.

Spoiler alert, the rest of the weekend went by and nothing had progressed. On Monday I was started to get things ready for Lincoln’s 4th birthday (I had the same due date for both Lincoln & Lucille, but Lincoln wasn’t born until September 2nd). I wanted to get any party items and gifts wrapped before Luci did arrive. I got a phone call asking if I could switch my next OB appointment from Thursday to Tuesday and I had no objections. Tuesday came and I went to my appointment. My OB had asked if I was interested in being induced the next day on my due date. I decided to schedule an induction even though I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted it or not. I figured I would give myself the night to decide but keep the appointment just in case. I called my mom and let her know so that she could bring Lincoln to daycare for me the next morning.

I went home and continued to dwell on the idea. I decided to Google search elective induction and I still wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Everything that I read said that things could progress slowly and contractions could be stronger. As much as I was tired of being pregnant, I couldn’t decide on how I felt about the induction. We went to bed as normal and I woke up a few times during the night with what I thought were more Braxton Hicks contractions. Since I had been having them all weekend, I didn’t think too much of it. We woke up early and headed to the hospital for our 6 AM induction. After registering, we headed up to the Family Birthing Center and I had to stop in the hallway to breathe through a contraction. We got up to our room, got hooked up to the monitors and waited for the doctor to arrive. Once she arrived, we let her know about the contractions and she checked how things were going. It turns out that I was already dilated to 4CM and she told us, “well, you seem to already be doing this on your own so we don’t need to start anything for you!” I was so relieved because I was actually quite scared about being induced.

After the doctor had left, my blood was drawn, and more paperwork was filled out, it was about 8 AM. My contractions seemed to be getting more consistent but were still tolerable. The nurse had asked if I wanted to be able to walk around and I thought that sounded good so she started to set up a wireless monitor. The other OB doctor came in and checked how things were going and decided to break my water for me. After that was over, I asked if I was able to get an epidural soon as I was starting to feel a lot more pressure. They called the anesthetist and told me that it would be about a half hour before she arrived. I figured it would be a good time to get up and use the restroom and John decided to go down to the cafeteria to get some breakfast. As I was in the bathroom, I had three very intense contractions. I kept trying to make my way back to the bed but there seemed to be one contraction on top of the other. I finally took advantage after the third one and headed back into the room. John came in with his plate of breakfast and I annoyingly complained about how bad my bathroom experience was.

I climbed back into bed and told the nurses how bad the contractions had been and they figured that since I was going to be getting an epidural and not walking around that they would put the regular monitor back on. Things were getting quite painful at this time and the anesthetist had finally shown up. They sent John out of the room (apparently this anesthetist doesn’t allow others to be in the room at the time of placement). They had asked if I could sit up but I was continuing to have contractions that seemed to be coming one right after the other so it took a moment to get there. I was able to get myself up so she began to start the numbing process on my back. It felt like things were taking a million years at this point and the doctor had made her way back to the room. I told her that I really wanted to start pushing. I wasn’t even sure if my body was ready but I just really wanted the contractions to stop. She told the anesthetist to stop the numbing process, we never even had time to start the epidural). John made his way back into the room and I laid back down and the doctor said I was dilated to a 9 and that if I felt like I needed to push that it was okay to start. With the thought of getting the horrible contractions to stop, I pushed with all my might. After two pushes, Lucille made her way into the world at 9:20 AM, weighing 6 lbs 12 oz on her due date (August 29).

I still cannot believe how fast everything went. When I woke up that Wednesday at 5 AM, I sure did not think that I would not need to be induced and have a completely un-medicated, natural delivery 4 hours later. I definitely thought that both of my labors would involve an epidural, but I guess Lucille had other thoughts in mind. I’m just so glad that she was small, and everything happened faster than my brain could process it, ha! At noon that day, I looked at John while holding Luci and said “how in the world have we only been here for 6 hours?!”

Because of the successful labor and the fact that Luci and I had no complications, we were able to leave the hospital the next evening. I would definitely have to say that exercise, eating healthy foods, drinking lots and lots of water each day, and having regular chiropractic appointments made all the difference in my pregnancy and delivery. I still can’t believe that on Saturday she will have already been in this world for a whole month. I couldn’t imagine our lives without her anymore. Our family is complete.

40293638_10217617918260505_8225985952464502784_o40387304_10217619806667714_3314712006497402880_o

hart-3552
photo credit: Riutta Images
hart-3720
photo credit: Riutta Images
hart-3765
photo credit: Riutta Images
hart-3931
photo credit: Riutta Images

42194654_10217776392982274_3553621705526083584_n42562190_10217825423728012_5045146375776370688_n

My Current Fitness Routine

New Year, New Me? Nah, still just the same old me trying to keep up with some sort of a fitness routine. If you’ve been following me at all, you might know that I’ve been working my way through many different fitness routines after having Lincoln. I’ve written many blog posts talking about my weight loss journey, transformations, meal-prepping, etc.

In case you haven’t heard the story, I’ll make it short and sweet. I was always quite athletic growing up, I gave just about every sport a try. In college I began to make rather poor food choices (like most 20 year-olds do), and it eventually started to catch up to me. When I got pregnant, I was already at the heaviest weight that I had ever been. I kind of took the whole “eating for two” thing a little more seriously than I should have. After Lincoln was born, I was pretty upset with myself for getting to be as unhealthy as I was. It took me a little while to get started but at first, but eventually I tried a lot of different at-home workout programs since Lincoln was a newborn and I didn’t have much time to leave my house. I would go back and forth, doing them here and there, never really sticking to one. That pretty much went on for a year until I eventually just flat out felt gross. And I’m not even talking about looks here, I just literally felt unhealthy. I was eating and drinking a lot of junk and my belly was trying to tell me that. I realized that I definitely needed a change mainly because I just wanted to feel better. In November 2015 (I think, man, the years are really blurring together now), John and I decided to commit to the Beachbody program “Insanity” and stick to meal-prepping. Somehow, we made it happen, finished the whole 60 day program at the start of 2016, and lost quite a bit of weight equally. I think doing this program from start-to-finish and realizing how good my body felt, made me realize that it was possible to feel good again. Over the course of the next year, John and I took up running as a hobby, completed a couple different 5k and 5-mile races in the area, and stuck with different at home programs in our own time. Around this time, I had lost about 50(+/-) pounds since having Lincoln and I felt great.

I’m really glad to say that I never went back to eating the way that I did before Lincoln and I stuck with many different fitness routines. I’ve been able to keep all of that weight off and I feel really great, mentally and physically. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t indulge in sweets, pizza, and burgers. Sometimes I have them multiple times in a week even! I still have good weeks and bad weeks, but it’s the balance that I’ve found that makes it easy to stick with.

Now that I made the story probably much longer than I had planned, and to get back to the point of where I was trying to go with this post: my current fitness routine. In October, I decided to muster up the courage to buy a gym membership. Now for some, getting a gym membership isn’t a big deal, but for some reason, my head made me think that it was. After doing so many at-home workouts where I followed an instructor on the screen the entire time, I felt like I had no idea what to do in a gym. I decided to choose one of our small fitness centers that the average member age was about 65+. Somehow, this made me feel a little bit better about what I was doing. Since October, I’ve continued to renew my monthly membership at the gym and I really do enjoy it now. It’s just become part of my morning routine. Wake up, get Lincoln ready, drop him off at daycare, go to the gym + listen to my podcasts, and then go home to get ready for work.

As mentioned, I was worried about not knowing what to do in the gym when I got my membership, but then I remembered a couple summers ago during my at-home workout phase, I had purchased an e-book called “The Forever Fit Guide” from Ledbetter Inc. Sadly, I tried to look it up to attach it to this post and it seems that they no longer have it for purchase. But, it’s an 8-week gym course that gradually challenges you each week. There are four different weeks and each one you do twice, consisting of a upper body day, HIIT day, lower body day, cardio day, and a full body day. It’s nice because that means I only have to spend Monday-Friday in the gym and on the weekends I typically try to get outside to get some exercise, and sometimes I just don’t do anything at all.

I’m currently finishing up my second round of this 8-week course and I’m looking for something different. What are some of your favorite fitness routines? Where do you find all of the workouts you do in the gym?

Home for the Holidays

Today is the second day of 2018 and I am exhausted. Which is of no surprise since I went back to my day job today after a nice week at home. Although I still worked a couple evening shifts at my serving job during the holidays, it was so nice to spend some much needed time to myself and with family.

The holiday break started for me on the Friday before Christmas with a nice snowshoe hike with one of my dear friends, Emily. It’s so nice to spend time with friends when I actually have some free time. We went hiking to a local waterfall site and it was the perfect temperature. We sat and drank hot chocolate, took some photos, and listened to the half-frozen waterfall.

After this day, the temperatures began to drop rather quickly. On Christmas Eve, I worked in the morning and then we spent the evening with my family eating a lovely ham feast and exchanging gifts. My mother gifted me a Letterfolk board, which I had been bugging her about for months. I’ve definitely already written up quite a few quotes on it.

On Christmas day, my parents came over to watch the kids open their presents from Santa and we FaceTimed with John’s parents while we opened the gifts that they sent to us. One of the best things about technology is being able to share moments with those so far away. (John’s parents live in Florida and we live way up in the tippy-top of Michigan). Alexander went to his mother’s house after we opened gifts and Lincoln played for hours with his new hockey rink. In the evening we went back to my parent’s house for another family meal. Sadly, Lincoln ended up getting sick after dinner so we headed back home and cuddled up on the couch before bedtime.

The day after Christmas, the temperature did not get much over 1 degree. John was working for the morning so my mom, Lincoln, and I went to see the movie Ferdinand. Lincoln was already in much better spirits than the night before and he had a great time munching on popcorn and laughing at the movie. It was nice to get out of the house for a little while so we didn’t get cabin fever.

Lincoln went back to daycare for the rest of the week on Wednesday so I took advantage and went showshoeing with my mom. (The temperatures were too cold to keep kids out for much longer than they needed). We tried out a trail that we had never gone on before and it was so lovely. There was so much snow covering all the trees and the sun was shining just enough to bring a little extra warmth to our faces. Afterwards, we enjoyed a lunch at a local coffee shop.

Thursday I definitely took advantage of as a rest day. After venturing out to the gym in the morning, I decided to stay in for most of the day, other than joining John at work with some lunch. That evening, Lincoln and I met up with my family at the local Holiday Hockey tournament.  My dad coaches the High School hockey team in my town (hence Lincoln’s love of hockey). His team ended up losing in the championship game and Lincoln even cried because of the loss 😦 Such a sweetie.

One of my favorite days of the holiday break was Friday when my mom and I rented some cross country skis. Surprisingly enough, after downhill skiing/snowboarding since I was 3 years old, I had never given cross country skiing a try. It’s safe to say that I am now in the market for my own pair!

The weekend consisted of me working two different shifts so my time was pretty occupied. On Sunday night we had my family over for Chinese take-out and we spent some time together before it was time for all the kiddos to get some sleep. John and I stayed up late enough to ring in the New Year with each other on the couch and it was perfect.

I already know that 2018 has a lot of exciting things in store for our family and I can’t wait to see what else it brings.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and has a happy, healthy new year!

Our First Year with Jerry

If you’re a parent (or even if you’re not) you may have heard about that little ol’ elf that keeps showing up at family’s houses around Christmas time and causing all sorts of problems. Well, if you’re crazy like me, maybe you’ve even participated in this madness. Now that Lincoln is 3, I thought it would be a good time to try out this tradition. I was always loving every “Elf on the Shelf” post that I would see on social media, and I felt that I was creative enough to take on this challenge.

We (I guess I should say I since my husband thinks I’m crazy) brought our Elf on the Shelf out a couple days after Thanksgiving. I bought the bundle on Amazon that has an elf and the book. The first night I had set him up on top of Lincoln’s racetrack that he likes to refer to as his “Lookout Tower” (thanks to Paw Patrol). I set up the elf with a little note saying “Hi Lincoln!” and the book resting on the tower.

Needless to say, Lincoln was very confused when he came downstairs that morning and I told him he couldn’t touch that toy or the elf for the whole day. I made a note to myself after the first day to try not to use particular toys that he loved so he wouldn’t mind leaving it be for the whole day. We read the book together and I could tell that he understood it to a point. I tried to give him some options of different elf names, “Larry, Gary…” and Lincoln went with “Jerry”. I’m not sure how he even knew that was a name but now that is the name of his elf. To be completely honest, I’ve actually really enjoyed setting Jerry up in different places each night. Some require a little more time and effort than others but it’s cute to hear Lincoln every morning say, “silly Jerry!” whenever he finds him.

Here are the different places Jerry has been in the past couple of weeks. Is Elf on the Shelf a tradition in your home, too? What other holiday traditions do you love to do each year?

What You Might Have Missed..

Hey guys, it’s been a while! This sure has been one busy summer. Let’s see, what are a few things that have gone on so far.. Well, we started out our summer by getting married (!!!), which took place in Northport, MI. I started a new job, we celebrated the 4th of July, I turned a year older, Alexander came back from his trip across the country, we ran a couple races, had quite a few adventures, went to the beach, and Lincoln started day care! And now you might be able to see why I haven’t been on my computer so much this summer.

It’s been a lot of fun and summer has been going by way too quickly (as usual), but things are starting to slow down now for us. We found a day care for Lincoln close to our home that he started this week. He is currently going part time to adjust, but that leaves me with some time all by myself! Today is actually the first day that I’ve been in the house for more than a half hour without anyone else around. It sure feels strange.

I’ve decided that I want to spend the time doing something that I’ve been missing a lot lately, which is writing. As you know, I am very sporadic with my blog posts and I hope to get better about that. Before, I never really “scheduled” when I would write something, I pretty much just wrote when a topic came to my mind. I figured what better time to write some blog posts than the days that I’m home all alone. So that means you can look forward to some new blog posts each week. It might only be once a week but at least it will finally get me back into the swing of things!

How has everyone’s summer been going so far? Do you like the new title?? I’ve been wanting to use it for quite some time but haven’t been able to until now 🙂

What I eat in a day

IMG_1934

Eating takes up a large part of our day. We even plan different events around when we will be eating that day. We talk about food, we think about food, we look at food, we eat food. Food can either fuel us or it can harm us. Sometimes we don’t even realize how much our body tells us about what we’re eating. Do you ever feel really tired or sluggish after a meal? That’s a signal your body is giving you! How about when you feel energetic after having a meal? Another signal. And so on, and so on.

Everyone’s body is different and, in turn, reacts differently to different foods. I get asked a lot about healthy recipes or what I eat and so forth. I decided yesterday that I would document everything that I ate in a day. I am currently on a plan where I count my daily macronutrients. This means that I allow myself to have 113 grams of protein, 150 grams of carbs, and 50 grams of fats a day. To be honest, when I started this plan last week I thought it would be hard for me to get all my proteins, but I’m actually finding it hard to get all of my carbs in a day! I’m still trying to figure out a good balance of what to have at each meal so that I don’t end up with a ton of “leftover grams” at the end of the day.

You would be surprised at how much food that I actually eat in a day and lose weight. My meals are simple and I usually try to prep a majority of the main ingredients (like bake chicken) on Monday so that I don’t have to worry about it all week long. Anyways, enough babbling, here is what I ate yesterday. (I had the day off of work so I was able to put a little extra time into what I ate.) Also, each day is different, I don’t always have the same thing every single day but the meals do tend to be similar. I try to get each of my macronutrients into each meal.

IMG_1907
Before I eat or drink anything else, I start each day with a mason jar filled with warm water and a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar. If you haven’t read up on the benefits in ACV I recommend you Google it after reading this!
IMG_1908
For breakfast I had some leftover egg white casserole that John made me for Mother’s day. Along with a cup of coffee!
IMG_1917
We did a little shopping yesterday so when we were out & about John and I shared a complete cookie for a snack. A serving size is half of a cookie and that has 8 grams of protein! They are also delicious. I usually get the snickerdoodle kind but we tried this one out yesterday.
IMG_1918
Also, don’t forget to drink your water! This water bottle from Walmart holds 40 oz and I fill it up 2 times a day. I also have another 20 oz water bottle when I’m working out so I tend to have about 116 oz of water a day (including the warm h2o & ACV in the morning)! You should be drinking half of your body weight’s worth + some for what you sweat out during exercise. We really don’t realize how beneficial drinking water is!
IMG_1920
For lunch I made quinoa, 4 oz of chicken breast, brussel sprouts, and a wedge of laughing cow cheese. My lunches tend to look a little something like this. (I eat a lot of chicken!) I switch up the quinoa for things like rice or pasta noodles), and I also change up the veggies a lot. Some days I will have a salad or something left over from dinner. Gotta change things up so I don’t get sick of it!
IMG_1921
Since I’m having a hard time getting my carbs in, I decided to have some veggie straws for an afternoon snack. A serving size is 38 straws. These things are addicting though so be careful!
IMG_1924
For dinner I had some homemade mac & cheese. I used Barilla Protein Plus noodles, chicken, spinach, and some shredded Kraft cheese. It was so very good.
IMG_1929
I made these tasty Fro-Yo bites for dessert last night and had one when I got back from my evening walk. If you’re interested, I have the recipe of my Facebook and Instagram pages. They were so delicious (and they are healthy!)

(I forgot to take a picture) but to round out my macros at the end of the day I had a rice cake with a wedge of laughing cow cheese.

So as you can see, I really do actually eat a lot of food in one day. I never feel deprived or starving. I actually sometimes struggle to eat all of my food for the day. But, I’m also not sitting there eating junk food all day long. Eating healthy is definitely a lifestyle and it becomes a habit. Once you consciously pay attention to what you’re putting into your body and the signals it gives you, it actually becomes really easy to know what to eat.

If anyone ever has any questions about food or recipes don’t hesitate to ask me. I am definitely not a nutritionist, but I do give some pretty good advice 🙂