Spring has sprung!

In the past twelve months I have lived in upstate NY where the snow and cold stays far past it’s welcome, and spent the Summer in Arizona where the heat is sweltering.  Needless to say, I am enjoying this beautiful, unusually warm Spring in Germany.  A light jacket is needed in the morning but most days it is warming up into the 60-70 degree range.  Perfect for running!  I’ve only been running a handful of times here but I finally got brave enough today to turn down a trail.  Running and biking trails are very common here.  Often you see a car or two pulled off the side of the road in what seems like a random manner.  I’ve now learned they are just parked at the start of a trail that they are either biking or running on.  I haven’t gone on one yet because it feels funny running on someone else’s property (the land has to belong to someone, right?) and the idea of being approached and yelled at in a language I don’t yet understand, well.  You get my hesitation, right?  But today I  saw another runner coming off of a trail and decided to go for it.  It turned out to be a shortcut so I ran the length twice and then finished my run but I ran beside a field of the most gorgeous yellow flowers!

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I could really get used to running trails like this!  There was a lot of uphill to get here.  About 1.5 miles to be exact.  I’d say it was worth it.  I ran a total of 3.35 miles at about a 10:15 pace.  Not bad considering I stopped to take pictures and ponder which direction to go!

Here are some more pictures from my run downtown last weekend.  I love seeing Spring blooms, especially in the middle of a city’s downtown!

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I’ve said it before but I can’t say it enough.   Running is a great way to explore a new place!

Has Spring begun where you live?

Grocery shopping

Grocery shopping once you have kids is always more of a challenge.  Some of us do it in the evening when our other half is home, some send our spouse to the store, and some of us brave the store with our kids and pray we’re not the only one with asl screaming toddler because they will be screaming.   Am I right, Moms?

Anywho, I don’t have my car yet (still) and when you need diapers and milk you need them stat!  I’ve been doing little grocery trips here and there and this is how it’s done.  We walk down the stairs tp the basement to get the stroller, load the kids in and walk to the store.  It’s about a 1/4-1/2 walk.  I really hacen’t clocked it.  I grab a basket and buy only what I can manage to hold in the basket as I push the stroller through the store.  After I check out, I strategically place what fits under the stroller and the rest in a reusable grocery bag and throw it over my shoulder.  We walk back home, move groceries from under the stroller into a bag and place at the bottom of the stairs.

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Then unload the kids and take the stroller back downstairs (& chase after one child who ran out the door.)

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Lastly usher the kids up the steps, grab the groceries, and up we go!

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Phew.  At least until my car gets here I think I’m still getting a workout everyday.

Quirks of Germany

Given my new adventure, living in Germany, I’ve decided to expand my blog topics beyond just fitness to include lifestyle and travel and anything else that may come up along the way.  No worries, there will still be plenty about fitness. 

Today I’m sharing a few quirks of our everyday life here in Germany.  If you’ve ever traveled to Europe you have likely seen these things, but I was interested to realize they are everywhere including homes, not just public places.

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Towel warmers.  I’m sure I will love this in the Winter but it puzzles me that they stuff then into even the tiniest of bathrooms.  Priorities?

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That huge piece of plastic way above the toilet is the flusher.  I love that my kids can’t abuse it like the little flusher on American toilets, but why so much plastic?

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All of our light switches look like this. 

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This is my guide to recycling.  I honestly have to refer to it everytime I’m about to throw something away.  I’m working on a recycle sorting system and I LOVE that they are so serious about it here!

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Last but not least I love the big, open windows!  I love, even more, that they lock so my kids are safe!

I’m sure there would be more quirks if we weren’t living in Military housing (trust me, we all but begged to live on the economy) but this is what I’ve got!  The perk of military housing is having both US and European plugs in our house.

I leave you with a picture from my run today.  Running is a great way to explore a new city!

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Quirks of Germany

Given my new adventure, living in Germany, I’ve decided to expand my blog topics beyond just fitness to include lifestyle and travel and anything else that may come up along the way.  No worries, there will still be plenty about fitness. 

Today I’m sharing a few quirks of our everyday life here in Germany.  If you’ve ever traveled to Europe you have likely seen these things, but I was interested to realize they are everywhere including homes, not just public places.

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Towel warmers.  I’m sure I will love this in the Winter but it puzzles me that they stuff then into even the tiniest of bathrooms.  Priorities?

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That huge piece of plastic way above the toilet is the flusher.  I love that my kids can’t abuse it like the little flusher on American toilets, but why so much plastic?

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All of our light switches look like this. 

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This is my guide to recycling.  I honestly have to refer to it everytime I’m about to throw something away.  I’m working on a recycle sorting system and I LOVE that they are so serious about it here!

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Last but not least I love the big, open windows!  I love, even more, that they lock so my kids are safe!

I’m sure there would be more quirks if we weren’t living in Military housing (trust me, we all but begged to live on the economy) but this is what I’ve got!  The perk of military housing is having both US and European plugs in our house.

I leave you with a picture from my run today.  Running is a great way to explore a new city!

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Making Adjustments

‘The only constant in life is change.’

I have a love/hate relationship with this quote.  I know it is true and believe in it, yet hate when I have to apply it to my own life.  Some changes I like.  New pair of shoes?  Why yes please.  Losing weight, trying a new recipe, starting a new job.  Those can all be exciting changes to make though at first they may be scary, frustrating, or irritating.  Making adjustments can be hard!  Need to adjust your diet by doctors orders or just to be healthy?  Making adjustments in your schedule for family time/gym/dinner prep/an extra long commute to work.  Being an Army spouse, I’m used to having to make changes and adjusting to new places but these past few weeks have really forced me to make adjustments in every area of my life.  Honestly I’m still figuring it out.  Arizona, where I began this fitness journey, was my fit place.  Maybe it was the constant sunshine, ease of access to a gym, familiarity (we’d lived there before) but I had a system and it worked. 

Now we are living in Germany.  Instead of a house, walk-in closet, and garage I have a second floor apartment, with much more limited space and, of course,  no garage.  I have had my kids (3 years and 17 months old) 24/7 because it’s taken a while to get them registerd for daycare, which by the way has no openings for the entire month of April.  None of the gyms here have daycare either.  My diet is all out of whack from being in a hotel, and even though we are in our home now we don’t have all of our household goods yet, my car, or my license so my grocery trips have ben limited to the essentials that I can lug on the stroller with the two kids.  Am I complaining?  Ok, I guess I am.  But what I am realizing is that I need to stop hating the quote up above and embrace it. Embrace the suck. I need to make adjustments to my routine.  Eventually our house will be full again and I will have a car (& license hopefully!)  Eventually I’ll have my oldest in preschool and find daycare for the youngest so I can regain my me time at the gym. 

But for now I have got to make adjustments whether I like it or not.  If I’m not able to make it to the gym as often then I can adjust my diet and make sure I am eating healthy, sustsining foods.  I need to FIND time to sneak out for a quick run like I used to in my early days.  I need to take my own advice and hop back in the saddle of no excuses.  I ‘m a little ashamed at myself for making excuses again and not taking my own advice that I dish out to you.  It’s so easy for us to get into a comfort zone and react stubbornly when life pushs us out of it.  We just want it to be easy even though deep down we know that it is not going to be.

I am going to choose to see the positive in this challenge.  How to maintain my goals and fitness/healthy lifestyle with the moutains placed in front of me to climb.  That is the new goal.  Oh, and maintain my sanity while I have these kids all day long in a still mostly empty home! 

Challenge accepted.

My first week in Germany

Hallo.  I’ve been in Germany for almost a week now and I’m starting to feel human again so here is a little recap of our journey here. (For those who don’t know my husband is active duty Army and we have moved to Germany.  Our trip began early Monday morning driving from central VA to Baltimore, MD, where our flight would depart.  We were attempting to get into Baltimore early to let our kids burn some energy before sitting on a plane all night. Well the road trip took twice as long between the snow/ice storm, plow trucks, oh and both kids throwing up in the car.  Yeah, and those carseats had to come WITH us to Germany.  We finally made it, let the kids run, said goodbye to family (who thankfully took all the vomit clothes with them to wash and then mail to us) and then boarded the plane.  My 3 year old passed out right after takeoff, sleeping through dinner and most of the flight.  My 17 month old was happy, not throwing up and passed out for the rest of the flight.  My husband slept a little bit too.  He claims my eyes shut for a little bit too but I don’t recall.  I was so hot I couldn’t get comfortable.  Like short sleeve shirt, kick off your socks, almost panicky kind of hot.  I also watched Gravity without sound since my headphones died.  It was surprisingly interesting so I can imagine how good it is with sound!

Anyways, we landed, had to sit through nearly two hours of Army briefs, got our luggage and and finally loaded into a van with our sponsor for a 1.5 hour car ride to our new home – Wiesbaden.  According to my husband, my neck was bobbing the whole car ride as I struggled to stay awake. (If you have ever road-tripped with me I’m a great partner because I usually NEVER sleep in the car.)  By the time I reached the hotel I felt drugged.  We loaded everything into our room, showered, and all passed out from about noon to 2pm.  Everyone advised us to power through the day and don’t sleep.  They are fools.  ;) 

In the middle of our nap, though, my husband nudges and tells me someone is at the front desk for me.  He also claims it sounds like the name of a girl we knew back in AZ.  In my drunken, jet lagged, sleepy stupor I thought he had lost it.  In what seemed like 30 minutes of stumbling to get dressed, figure out where I was, and wander downstairs to the lobby, sure enough someone sees my confused look…Mrs. Mays?     Yes? 

We then had a 10 minute conversation about what I don’t remember except that she was from ACS (Army Community Serivces.) I feel like I need to go by her office and apologize for my appearance and state!

Fast forward to the first night and the kids went to sleep at 8pm.  Success!  Until they woke up at 10:30pm, starving.  We were up snacking and watching tv until about 1:30am.  It’s taken me a lot longer than I expected to adjust to the time difference.  A week later I finally feel ready to resume some normalcy.   We are still living out of a hotel until we secure housing, and traveling on foot mostly (& not far obviously) until we pass the German drivers test and get a car.  It will likely take a couple of months to get bck into a routine but we’ll get there!  Here are a few pictures from our first week in Germany!

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Me fighting jetlag.

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German pizza & beer.

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Downtown Wiesbaden.

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Hotel life.

It’s okay to rest

It’s funny, when I began this post-baby fitness journey 9 months ago I never would have imagined I’d have a hard time coping with 5 days straight of rest.  Yet here I am on day 4 of 5 that I will not be exercising and I have to keep telling myself it will be ok. 

9 months ago it was a struggle to MAKE myself workout everyday. Especially those first few weeks just getting my shoes on and out the door took such great effort.  A couple of days later when every muscle in my body aches?  Yep, even harder then.  So why is it so hard to let myself have a few days of rest?  I was beating myself up about taking a 5 day break while we are spending quality time with family.  It feels a little bit like failure.  Like by taking a few days off what little muscle I have gained will be just disappear and be replaced with pounds of fat.

But you know what?  That’s not going to happen.  It takes time to lose it and it takes time to gain it back.  You can’t reverse 9 months of hard work in 5 days.  In fact, this rest might actually be good for my body.  It’s very hard to relax, rest, and just enjoy life, family, and food without hoping to the gym.

But, that’s exactly what I will be doing for one more day.  A routine and a exercise are keys to a long, healthy life.  Memories made with family and just as important.  Watching my nieces dance, stuffing my face with delicious foods I won’t have for a few years, watching my kids play with Mamaw, Papaw, and Mimi.  That is what really matters. So today I’m disappearing from cell service for a while, headed up to ‘the country’, aka family land, to spend some quality time with family and a little target practice too.

I’ll get back to that workout routine tomorrow.

Nine month progress

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I’m sharing with you my latest ‘before and after’ and a few thoughts on my progress:

1) It took me 9 months to get here, to this fit place where I now stand. We all know and expect our bodies to change over 9 months of pregnancy yet we expect we will bounce back in just one.  It is important to know that although some may, most women do not return to the pre-baby weight or fitness level right away.  In fact, although this journey has been 9 months in the making my youngest is actually 16 months old.

2) Getting fit takes hard work and persistence.  It is a SLOW process and sometimes you don’t notice how far you’ve come until you look back at an older picture.  Take pictures of yourself, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you!  No, you don’t have to share them on a blog or Instagram as I choose to do but months down the road you will return to these pictures and smile at the progress you didn’t realize you had made! 

3) As awesome as I look and feel (yes, I did just toot my own horn) I have areas that I want to improve on.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t love my body.  I absolutely do!  I think my problem area is a typical post baby problem.  My mummy tummy IS getting flatter, but it doesn’t seem to take much to bloat or make it stick out.  Like at a moments notice it’s going to revert to pregnant muscle memory or something.  I also have the expected post-prego loose skin.  Part of me kinda hopes I don’t totally lose that though. :)

4) I have only lost 15 pounds between my before and after picture.  I am actually still 10-15 pounds heavier than I was pre-baby and where I thought I needed to be to be happy.  Don’t trust your scale or a number you think you need to be.

5) I am choosing to make this fitness routine and healthy eating a way of life.  That means I don’t get to jump off the bandwagon when I reach a certain goal or number on the scale and scarf down a bathtub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  I try to let myself have treats along the way and I have weeks where I indulge a little too much.  My journey ebbs and flows but that is what keeps me moving.

Just. Keep. Moving. Forward.

Swag Tag Tees – a customer service review

I have been following a particular company on Instagram for quite a while now.  In my news feed there it was, this workout tank top that said

‘Made in the Gym’

                   with a barcode above it. 

I immediately loved it but didn’t order it for months.  It’s silly really, but I would tell myself I’m in the beginning of my fitness journey and I certainly don’t LOOK like I was made in the gym so I would probably look foolish to wear the shirt.  So, I kept following Swag Tag Tees, looking at pictures of muscular and cut people wearing their ‘Made in the Gym’ shirt with pride.  A few weeks ago before we left Arizona it finally hit me.  Those people are proud because they know the hard work they have put in.  I’m putting in hard work at the gym everyday and that is reason enough to rock this shirt!  So, I ordered it and waited excitedly for it to arrive!  The day in came in the mail I pulled it straight out of the package, put it on, and went to the gym.  And you know what?  I got lots of compliments! 

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Now onto an unexpected positive customer service experience.  I posted a picture of me in my new shirt on Instagram and was shortly there after asked to contact the company.  It seems that from my picture the shirt design looked slightly off and if that was the case they wanted to replace my shirt because they pride their company on quality for every single product.  This, my friends, is excellent customer service.  It turns out the graphic was ever so slightly off.  So slight, I hadn’t even noticed!  The matter was further complicated as I was leaving Arizona in just a few days.  I gave a new address and by the time I arrived in Virginia I had a new package waiting for me.  A pretty pink version of the shirt and an adorable pink watch!

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I mean really, how cute is this watch?

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It’s safe to say that Swag Tag Tees went above and beyond in customer service.  In today’s world where customer service seems to be lacking it’s nice to see a small business with such care for their customers.  You can see all of their products at http://www.swagtagtees.com .

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So my first lesson of the day is to reward yourself for hard work. In the gym, at work, or wherever.  Only you can judge you.  The second lesson?  Support small businesses who provide excellent customer service!

*Disclaimer – I purchased from Swag Tag Tees and this was my experience.  I was not paid or compensated for this blog post.

California (moving) Vacation

I talked a little bit about our California (moving) vacation in my last post, My Last Week in Arizona.  My husband is active duty military and we are moving to Germany from Arizona but first will stop in California, Baltimore, and Virginia. Got that? I’m attempting to keep myself somewhat on track with food and working out but not totally rob myself of vacation indulgence.  I was, however, taking Emergen-C since both kids had colds that turned into ear infections (thank goodness we found that before boarding a plane.)  I eventually turned to Zicam determined to fight off any sickness, but more on that later.

We began our trip in San Clemente, CA.  One word – Gorgeous!  We had planned to drop-in at a local Crossfit Box but were unsure about the childcare situation.  Since my husband and I both wanted to workout we decided to not chance it, load the kids (age 1 & 3) in the stroller and see if we could find the Ocean!  A gorgeous 4 mile walk along the beach, pier, and up a huge hill later we were in love with Cali!  That evening my (crazy) husband suggest we take turns doing a WOD.  I groaned but did it!

The next morning we drove down to San Diego and dropped in at Crossfit Invictus.  The workout was a partner WOD where 2 people work together to complete the workout. 
The workout – 5 rounds
   50 kettle bell swings
   50 burpees
   800m run

The hubs and I teamed up (of course) and came in 4th out of about 15 teams!

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It was a long, grueling, 40 minute workout. We had a great first drop-in experience and look forward to more!

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  After our workout we cleaned up and took the kids to SeaWorld and that’s where the sickness started.  No amount of Emergen-C or Zicam could have saved me.  Turned out to be, I think, food poisoning.  Likely from the fish tacos the night before.  Uggh.  It was a rough night and I mostly laid in the hotel room recovering the next day while Hubs took the kids to play on the beach.  I managed to feel good enough to go for a short jog on the beach Today but the only food that appeals to me right now is processed carbs and salt.  Why is that?!?

Anyways, tomorrow we’ll be on a plane most of the day and hopefully the next day we can make it to the gym that we’ll go to for our 3 weeks in VA.

So if you were keeping track I worked out 3 out of 5 days of our California trip and my diet, well.  It WAS on track.  Hopefully my stomach will feel 100% soon.

I’m enjoying the journey but honestly I am already looking forward to being settled gain!

Until next time, keep sweating!