Monday, July 18, 2016

Pat's 40th Birthday Celebration

This year has been a milestone for many of my friends as we all turn 40 this year. I'm happy that so many of us have remained dear friends over the years and that we've all had some amazing lives that have included building our families, moving to new places, jobs that have been rewarding and growing and learning so much about ourselves. Mostly, it's nice to reach that age when you feel comfortable enough with yourself that the world becomes a welcomed back drop as a opposed to a judging audience. 

We spent the evening with our dear friend Pat in Berkeley where he spent the early part of the day doing one of those escape rooms (failed) and had dinner at The California Pizza Kitchen (yum). We met up with them later in the night where we took them to Skates on the Bay and had dessert and drinks. We talked and laughed and caught up with one another. To be honest, we don't feel "old" - we talk and laugh like we did in high school. It's easy. It's fun. It's like home. Having friends like that are precious. So, despite time and distance, hold on to them. Happy birthday my friend! 

 Junior, Me, Pat and Lisa
So chilly and windy! Gaaah, is it even July?! 
Junior, Me, Pat, Lisa, Ryan and Charity

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Just Keep Moving

Westwood Hills in Napa is one of our favorite places to go when it's time for our outdoor workouts. It's topography is perfect for climbs that get your heart rate moving. The inclines are great for timed runs and the trails lead to a great vista point at the top of the hill.

After a heart-pumping climb to the top we like to take a break at this great hideaway in between two large trees that offer shade and a makeshift swing. 

 The view at the top was particularly breathtaking on this gorgeous morning and rewarding after a hard climb up. 
 The last cardio workout - jumps!
Working our way back down the hill and getting ready for some grub.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Camping in Cloverdale

I have a love and hate relationship with camping. It changes depending on what I'm doing. If I'm setting up camp, I hate it. If I'm relaxing on my cot and reading a magazine, I love it. If I have to touch dirt, I hate it. If I'm going on a nature walk, I love it. I'm in constant flux.  But really, I do it for the boys. And by boys, I mean my husband and sons. Because if neither existed, I probably wouldn't give camping a second thought. 

That said, my husband has been very good at making concessions for me so that I'm comfortable enough to enjoy camping - my way.

Yes, that is a rug. So I don't have to touch the dirt or stub my foot on a stone or rock. 
The whole family has their own cots. We tried the inflatable beds, but those just suck. Unless you like to sleep on a bubble that deflates throughout the night and kills your back.
My newest acquisition - a table in the tent to make reaching for necessities easier. Now, I don't have to rifle through my backpack every time I need something and kill my back bending down to reach for EVERYTHING. 
There was a pool at this KOA. It was awesome to be on top of a hill and oversee the wineries below. 
Little Amelia staying hydrated. 
The nature walk was easy enough that the kids came along and enjoyed it. We even had a deer cross our path!
One thing I did love about our camp site was the large tree that provided shade throughout the day. It was so nice to come back to a cool tent after baking in the sun. And it also provided hours of amusement for the kids (even the big ones). 
We left camp for the day and headed to Lake Sonoma for the afternoon. Super hot, so I stayed under the canopy most of the time. It was fun people watching and seeing all the folks on the water. 

Overall, it was a great holiday weekend camping. There is definitely a list of things I hate about camping, but I'm not a total scrooge. I have my moments of clarity. Being with friends and getting to know new ones was a definite highlight. Enjoying meals together and having meaningful conversations  fills your belly and mind. Laughing until it hurts late into the night while the kids make smores well you can't knock that. And of course, making memories with your family and friends is really what it's all about. So until next year!

Trying That Meal Prep

I've been meal prepping for the last few weeks and have found it very easy and convenient to do. Now, you'll need a few hours to do it all, but if you plan ahead, it can be a very straightforward process. I make sure that the three main components are covered: a protein, a carb and a choice of vegetables.  Below is my first round of meal prep. 

My menu is a variety of food to fit my clean eating program. Now you can customize your meals to fit whatever program you might be on: Whole30, Paleo, ketogenic, etc. I keep the recipes pretty basic so that depending on what I feel like when I have the meal, I have a variety of sauces, marinades and spices that I can add to it. For me that could be salt & pepper, hot sauce, a special marinade mix, Asian dressing, etc. So though the meals look similar, they don't always have to taste the same. 

Above is last week's meals. I didn't get a chance to really shop so I just used what I had in the fridge and pantry. And I also didn't have much time and started my prep in the middle of the week. Either way, it's good to meal prep whenever you can - it will make eating healthy so much easier. I like that I don't have to put much thought into what I'm eating because it's already prepared. I also make better choices when I know I've got something healthy waiting for me. And if things get busy for you during the week like it does for me, there's no excuse to eat bad. 

And given my bent to be organized and neat, I LOVE these meal prep containers I got on Amazon from Fitpacker. They are easy to store and clean. And they look so darn cute in the refrigerator!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Six Flags Part Deux

Little heartbreakers...
Little Amelia ain't so little anymore (sniff, sniff)
On top of the world...or is it on top of the tree?
Excited to ride the Ark again
Finally convinced Lucas to ride and he loved it!
Man, stop growing dudes!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Finding Dory on a Chilly Night

No summer is complete without a movie at the drive-in theater. But man, was it cold! I was expecting a warm night under the stars watching Finding Dory. Instead, I was freezing under layers of clothing and a heavy blanket. My hood was pulled tight over my head and my feet tucked under the blanket and still no relief! Honestly, I tried my best to follow the movie and from what I could gather it was pretty good, but all I wanted to do was run into the truck cab and hide for the rest of the night. And really, if your own gal pal has left you out in the cold by yourself while she is tucked away in her minivan, well, I'm out too!

The kids comfortable and snacking
Jackie waiting for the movie to start - got her Pixar pillow ready
Before the wind chill got really bad
We're smiling but it's hard when you can't feel your feet.
The chill in the air got us loopy
Lily and Ronin always camera-ready
When you love them no matter what

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Nascar Race

Ronin has been begging me to take him back to Driven so he could race go-karts again. Since his cousins were staying with us, I thought they would all enjoy a go around the tracks. Even Lucas, my hesitant child, joined the fun. They completed 13 laps in about 15 minutes, but they talked and talked about the race all day after that. They were given print-outs after the race showing the breakdown of their stats relative to one another. They laughed about the near-miss crashes and the fact that Lucas drives like an old lady cutting people off. 

Getting ready to start the race
Lucas Puke-iss
Navigating the sharp turns
Lucas making his way around slowly

Monday, June 27, 2016

Pool Day

It finally feels like summer when it's a pool day. I took my boys and my niece to the local city pool where we enjoyed the warm weather and cool waters. My young niece was so funny. She wanted to sunbathe with me because she wanted to get rid of her pale feet. After 10 minutes, she was like, "Are they darker yet?" Haha. Girl, it's gonna take a lot more than 10 minutes to darken those pale feet. 

Desires her feet to match the rest of her skin tone. 
Lucas and Lily loving the sun and fun.