Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Strong Strong Friends

I like hitting my PRs (personal record) on my squats, but I love being able to help the ladies at the Bootcamp make their PRs, too. It's really rewarding to help someone meet their goals and be a part of their journey as they improve their form and increase their weight slowly each week. They put in the work every week and it doesn't surprise me when they can squat their body weight or in some cases double their body weight. They've earned it through hard work and consistency.
This is my dear friend Willi. She has improved immensely. She use to lean forward so much and could barely hit depth. She use to die with one plate. Now she's able to squat nearly 200lbs, rarely leans forwards and hits depth consistently. 
This is Adriana. She's been dealing with a nagging knee injury for some time, but it doesn't stop her from getting her squats on. She has increased slowly over the past few weeks with the goal of hitting two plates (225lbs). She's extremely strong, but she's also mindful. It's great to hit heavy weights, but you have to be smart about what you can physically handle. Adriana is aware of her limitations, but she never lets them determine her outcome. Each week she challenges herself and amazes us all.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

Wrapping Up Our First Homeschool Year

It's the end of  April and we are heading into the last leg of our first year of homeschooling. I'm pretty happy with how this year has gone. It's been a learning experience for both of us. Some things worked out well while other things did not. I had good intentions of including certain things to our day but found that they brought more stress than joy. So, they had to go. And I must say, that's the beauty of homeschooling. While still meeting the requirements, it's wonderful to have the flexibility to change and modify our curriculum so that my son can get the most out of his learning experience. 

 We went to the Sacramento Zoo where Ronin was able to see firsthand how the animal kingdom and animal classification worked. He was also able to identify many of the mammals and explain how each of them were unique. It was a gorgeous day and we spent it learning without even knowing it. That's the best way to retain information isn't it - when it doesn't feel like work?
 Homeschooling has allowed us to grow closer as a family. While I was initially worried that too much time spent together was going to drive a wedge between us, it's actually done the opposite. We know each other so much better and can laugh heartily with one another. We've seen our son's personality blossom as he discovers his interests and those things that are meaningful to him. While not perfect, he's been more open to instruction and training not only academically but also training in life skills. He's in charge of the garbage, making his own snack, fixing his bed and soon-to-be vacuum master. 
 Visiting SuperBowl City turned out to be fun and educational. Ronin loved the ferry ride to San Francisco. He discussed how the boat operated and how it was able to stay afloat. He also discussed how the waves were created and why the engine was so loud. When we reached SuperBowl City he learned about the history of football and learned about the greatest athletes in the game. He also loved the dim sum lunch - which included his favorite thing to eat - dumplings!
Lastly, Ronin has discovered his love of animals. Watching him with animals, I've observed a calmness and control that I don't often see. He's careful and mindful with the animals and is open to learning tips on how to be better with them. Here he is with Lemon, my sister's family dog. He absolutely adores her. Seeing his joy alone might be enough to change my mind about getting a family dog, too. 

All this to say that homeschool has done more than just added a new responsibility to my life. It has enhanced our family life. It's brought my son a peace and happiness that we haven't seen in a couple of years. We are actively acquainted with all his interests and are happy to foster them the best we can. Mostly, I'm happy to see him thrive again. We are already looking forward to the next school year. 

Monday, April 04, 2016

Small Increases Each Week

Quick updates on my current goals. 

Squats - My last update, I shared that I was able to move 255lbs. Each week since I've been slowly adding weight and as of last week I was able to move 270lbs six times*. These are not huge jumps in weight, but they are significant increases for me as I chase the 315lbs that I'm hoping to hit by the end of this year. I've been really happy with my progress and have been making moves to get up to the heavier weights faster to save my strength for the heavy lifts. 

Nutrition / Whole30 - I completed my second round of Whole30. It was a great feeling to get through it again and a week later I made my last weight loss goal. I've been holding steady at the lowest weight I've ever been. After discussing my next goals with my trainer, we've decided that I won't be cutting anymore weight (yay!) and I will be focusing my efforts on building muscle and reducing body fat. To support my heavier lifting and my goal to add more muscle and decrease body fat, I will be adding more protein and allowing clean carbs for both muscle development and recovery. And cheat meals. I get to have those again, too!

Pull-ups - Once a week, I've been practicing my assisted pull-ups. I usually have a spotter to help me get my first pull-up in and then I try to support myself as best I can and get as many pull-ups in as I can - usually about ten. I find the chin-ups far easier from a hanging position than the pull-up.  I've also continued to increase my weights on back day to help support this goal. Building those back muscles so I can pull myself up one day!

*Update: This week I was able to move 280lbs three times. It was a tough one but I got through it. Gonna try for it again next week. 

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Wine & Dine

I had the pleasure of spending time celebrating a dear friend's birthday a few weeks back. We started the day off with wine tasting at Artesa Winery. It was my first time there and it was so beautiful. We were able to enter the club and taste several wines. In between tastings, we walked the grounds, took pictures and laughed a lot. We finished the day off with dinner at Bottega, one of my favorite restaurants and the birthday gal's special request. 

The best part? Getting dressed-up actually. We only ever see each other in workout clothes, no make-up and hair pulled back. When we saw one another we were almost unrecognizable. It was hilarious! Happy to spend my week with these gals, but even happier to spend a special weekend having a little fun!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Gym Time: Leg Day

Learning the ropes of training and weightlifting has been a very eye-opening and fun time for me. It's been so fun spending time with some fantastic people who put in the work to improve themselves physically and mentally. One of my (many) tasks each time is to be sure to spot my gals who go heavy on their leg days. Leg days always begin with squats. The gals have slowly been working on adding weight each week and improving their form. It's been amazing to witness them improve each week as they get stronger and stronger. 

For me, squats can be a far more mental challenge than physical challenge. Looking at the weight, you convince yourself that you can't do it. The weight is on your back and you just know it's not going up. And then you squat. And that's the test. Are you going to give up before you've even tried? Are you going to let that weight hold you down or are you gonna get it up? All these thoughts running through your head. Except the one you really need to hear. Which is, you can do it. You have the ability and the means to do this. You've been working at this and you are strong. That's what gets the weight up and that's what keeps you coming back every week ready to do it again and again. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Snow Day

During spring break, we were able to take our boys to Sierra-at-Tahoe to try their hand at skiing and snowboarding for the first time. We've been talking about taking our boys up to the snow and really making it a family tradition since the little guys were in my womb. Going to the snow every year was part of my childhood and some of the best memories I have. I wanted my children to one day experience the same. 

Lucas decided that he wanted to try snowboarding and Ronin decided on skiing. They turned out to be good choices for both of them, matching their personalities and abilities. They loved the instruction and couldn't wait to go up with us after lunch. It snowed steadily all day and it was quite chilly at the top of the mountain.  Junior and I both got a few runs in while the boys were in school. I love that skiing is like bike riding for me - you just never forget. Don't get me wrong, I love snowboarding, but sometimes I just don't think my body can take the bumps and falls anymore.  However, I promised myself I would give it a try if we get an opportunity to go up again. The boys are already planning our next trip up!

 In their snow gear and ready to go
 Selecting his snowboard
 Ready to head to snowboarding school
 First run up
 Skiing since I was kid - you never forget
 Junior is a natural on the snowboard
 The ski lift up left us covered in snow and freezing
 Taking a rest on top of the hill
 Enjoying the day and making the most of it
 What a cutie
Awesome day at the snow with the family

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Best Sandwich Ever

Everyone's got a favorite sandwich shop. That one sandwich that just does you in. You dream about it. You make plans to have it. Well, for me that would be the sandwiches they serve at Ike's Love & Sandwiches. They are a bit pricey (starting at $8.99 and up), but so worth it. It also takes a bit of time to get your sandwich, but it's really worth the wait. The one above is the Matt Cain (most sandwiches are named after famed Bay Area or local athletes). Pastrami, roast beef, turkey with provolone and  godfather sauce and veggies. Unbelievably delicious. Go now. Go often. Well, maybe not when I go, cause then that means I have to wait longer. ;)

Lawrence Hall of Science With The Boys

We spent a gorgeous day in Berkeley this week where the boys were able to do fieldwork at the Lawrence Hall of Science. One thing I've been really looking forward to since starting homeschool has been getting out of the house! What I mean specifically is learning by exploring and discovering by getting out of the textbooks and into the real world. I love that many of the exhibits at the Hall are units that we have covered so far this year for science so the boys feel a real connection between what they are learning and how it applies in real life. For the next few months, we plan to make a few more trips to other museums and parks around the bay area. Cheers to real life learning!