December 17, 2010

I know she is with us

Tricia, you are greatly missed. Three years ago, Tricia was taken from us. She was taken too early by breast cancer. I miss my sister-in-law. Though she is not present on earth with us, I know that she is here watching over us.

I was thinking of her this morning. As I was thinking of her something wonderful happened. Somehow she came to my rescue. I truly believe she was my angel to make things happen. We have been preparing for our move next week and I have been trying to arrange for Baby Bear's care so that I can focus on the move. Trust me it will be so much easier if she is not here, she is a busy girl and will most likely get into everything that she is not supposed to. I had most days covered except for Thursday, which happens to be the day that we move most everything. I got a call this morning from my mother-in-law and her appointment that prevented her from taking Baby Bear was canceled. This all happened as I was thinking of Tricia. Coincidence or not, I believe that Tricia was watching over us and helping to lift some stress from our lives. Thank you Tricia. I love you and I miss you.

December 15, 2010

So much to do this Holiday Season

I love the holidays. This year is no different despite the chaos. We are hoping to move into our newly remodeled home next week. Just days before Christmas. And yes we are going to spend Christmas in our home. We may not be totally moved in but we will have Christmas in our house!

Papa Bear has been working like crazy to get it all done. There are painters, electricians, and carpenters (oh my!) at the house. Everything is all scheduled and hopefully the rain will clear up by early next week so that we can move in. I am excited and overwhelmed all at the same time. I have so much to do, I have to pack, move, and then unpack before people come on Christmas day. The day after we are hosting a holiday party. I have to cook and bake, wrap Christmas presents, get a Christmas tree, decorate, and many things that I can't even wrap my head around.

It is hard to prioritize what to do since space is limited and many things are being packed up. Do I wrap presents now? If I do then where do I put them so they don't get ruined or lost while moving. I am not sure. I am trying to pack but is also hard to organize myself. I know there is much that we no longer need, so I should sort as I pack. It is just all overwhelming.

Overwhelming as it may be, it will all be okay. We may not be totally moved in but we will definitely have a memorable Christmas as a family in our house. That to me feels really good.

December 8, 2010

Our Kitchen: Refrigerator purchased

We bought our new refrigerator tonight. I am very excited and can't wait to use it in my new kitchen. We picked out the Samsung 28.0 Cu. Ft. French Door Refrigerator in Stainless-Steel. It is a really nice looking fridge and I really like the FlexZone drawer feature that will come in handy when Baby Bear is older. It will be a great place for her snacks and drinks. It has a lot of great features that we really liked. I hope it will work as well as we hope it will. It will be delivered next Tuesday!

Everything is starting to come together.

Our Kitchen: More progress

Lots of progress is being made very quickly. We are planning to host our annual Christmas party with a group of close friends. The evite went out on December 1st, so there is no turning back now. We are committed. We have been slated to host for years, but have put it off since we didn't have the space. This year we said we would be ready to host and Papa Bear is working very hard to get us there. These photos were taken last month and much more progress has been made since then. Here are a few photos of the kitchen.

The hardwood floors are in.

The glass tile backsplash was installed. It looks kind of green in the photo, but it is actually more of beige color in real life.

Since this picture was taken the dishwasher has been installed in that hole.

We are getting closer and closer every day.

September 10, 2010

The New Rules of Lifting for Women

My mother-in-law recently gave me a copy of The New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROLFW). I had heard of it before and wanted to check it out, so I was really excited that she had an extra copy and gave it to me. I finally got the chance to sit down and read it (it is not often in the last year that I have had the opportunity to read anything that was not baby related).

I really enjoyed what the book had to say. It dispels many of the myths of lifting weights for women. I have always known the benefits of lifting and actually preferring strength training to cardio, so I really liked what the authors had to say. I agreed with much of what they had to say and learned some new things as well.

The workout plan seems very doable. I have been looking to make a change in my workout routine and needed a good plan to follow to see better results. I have just been winging it in terms of my strength training. I knew I needed something that would fit into my busy schedule as a working mother. NROLFW is just what I need. It is a routine that is done 2-3 times a week and it is a full body workout that can be done in less than an hour. Perfect for my schedule. With my schedule and commitments, I have 4 mornings available to workout. The ideal is to follow their plan 3 days a week with a full rest day between workouts, however I only have 2 days with a rest in between to devote with my schedule. The other 2 days I have will be my cardio (rest) days. It is a 6 month program doing it 3 days a week, so it will be a little longer for me. That is just fine with me, I realize and understand that it takes time. My goals are long term.

I really appreciate that the plan is efficient use of time. They talk about doing functional exercises that not just isolate but work several muscles at a time. That makes a lot of sense to me. It really isn't an efficient use of my time to do bicep curls that only work my biceps when I can do a push up that works so much more. Plus, I actually love push ups. I know I am crazy.

So I look forward to going through this program and started this week and so far so good. My legs are definitely feeling it. I think I may need to increase the weight to feel it in my upper body. I do think I can keep this up. I am not very good at following programs on my own, but I really think this is something I can do. This program is very doable.

August 22, 2010

Our Kitchen: Before and in progress

The granite counter tops are in!!! Here are some photos with the new cabinets (still need to get the backsplash in):

Some close-up photos of the granite. I love it!

We still have to get the glass tile backsplash up. We had a sample of the white glass tile backsplash, but I didn't like how it looked, it was too stark white with the granite. We just need a color that is closer to the color of the granite, an off-white or cream, which shouldn't be a problem. There is still much work to do, but we have come a long way. Take a look at some before shots of the kitchen:

Here is a picture of the kitchen after Mr. Bear tore out the wall joining the dining room and kitchen.

August 2, 2010

Our Kitchen: The granite

We went to Arizona Tile in Ontario, CA to pick out granite for our kitchen counter tops over the weekend. What a great showroom and a painless experience. I thought that I had an idea in my head of what I wanted. I wanted lighter colored granite. But after walking around and looking at all the beautiful granite, I started to become unsure. There were many options and they were all so beautiful. Granite really is beautiful. Papa Bear told me to pick out what ever I wanted and he said that there really was no way to go wrong with granite since it is just beautiful. So it really was up to me to find the right fit for our kitchen.

I had found one that I really liked and Papa Bear agreed it was very special, but it had a lot of variations within the slab. It was called Typhoon Bordeaux; it started off with some browns and golds with burgundy on the top half and then gradually changed to a cream with gray, burgundy, and gold on the bottom half. It was indeed beautiful with all the variations in the granite, but Papa Bear reminded me that we would be using about a 2 foot part of the slab for the counter tops so not all of the variations that I liked would show up (the slabs were really big, maybe 7-8 feet tall and 10 feet wide). I am glad he brought that up. I really liked the cream part of the slab especially since I was sure I wanted to go with light granite; but we would have to get the entire slab. A little disappointed, I walked around more to take another look while Papa Bear went off with Baby Bear. He went and talked to the sales person and he told the sales person what I was looking for. The sales person mentioned that he had some slabs of that same granite that was just the cream colored part. It was the same but the cut of granite only had the lighter part.

Meanwhile, I walked around and looked at all the granite again. I found two lighter colored granite styles that I kind of liked and asked Papa Bear to look at a couple of them. He mentioned that the original one we liked came in just the lighter variation of the granite. So we asked them to pull out a few different slabs so that I could take a better look at them and make a final decision. We picked the Typhoon Bordeaux that was all cream. I am so glad that Papa Bear mentioned to the sales person what I liked because they only had 3 slabs left. We need only need 2 slabs but they like to reserve 3 slab just in case something happens along the way. Granite can break and when working with the heavy large slabs you never know what will happen.

Here it is.

These pictures are from the website (the second photo shows it close up):

The pictures does not do it any justice, it is really beautiful with some burgundy, gold, and gray in it. It really is special and exactly what I was looking for. I thought it would be so much harder to pick something out. And before I saw this one; I had narrowed it down to 2 others that I liked but but did not love. Thank goodness Papa Bear likes to talk to people, because as soon as they brought this one out, I told Papa Bear: "That is it!." I had no doubts. I can't wait to see it with my cabinets.

July 30, 2010

Kitchen Design

Our new (new to us) custom kitchen cabinet are all in and Papa Bear purchased our cast iron kitchen sink and faucet. I am excited to have this large sink.

I have always loved the look of white cabinets with a white tile backsplash. But our cabinets are a beautiful cherry wood and so I had to do a little research on what look color counter tops to go with these cabinets. We will have oak wood floors put in to match our existing oak floors in the rest of the house. So that is a lot of wood and darkness especially considering that the kitchen doesn't have a lot of natural light; we only have one big garden window. So I thought that light colored granite counter tops would brighten up the kitchen and would go nicely with our cast iron sink.

I haven't found a picture of a kitchen that clearly depicts how I picture it in my head. This kitchen is fairly close. It has light colored counter tops and simple white tile backsplash, which is along the lines of what I am going for. Plus the island is white cabinets, which we have a cabinet that joins the kitchen and dining room that will also be white. This picture shows me that all those parts can go together.

I shared my thoughts with Papa Bear and while he like the idea of light granite to brighten up the darker woods, he wasn't too thrilled about the white tile backsplash. He had installed some under the cabinet lighting and he wanted a backsplash that would pick up the light and be a little more exciting. He wanted something a little more special.

He suggested glass tile. I wasn't quite sure about the glass tile backsplash, the glass tile I had seen are usually small and look like mosaics. While beautiful, it just wasn't my style nor was it the classic look that I was going for. Then he found this white glass tile backsplash (the white tiles beneath the cabinets in the picture below).

It is a white glass tile that is larger in size than the smaller tiles you usually see with glass tile. I love it. It brings a modern touch to a classic traditional white tile backsplash. Plus, the under the cabinet lighting will really make these tile pop and bring a little specialness to the whole design. Those are the ideas for now, as we go things may change as a I am sure they will. Papa Bear ordered some samples of the glass tile and soon we will go pick out granite. I may totally fall in love with something else as time goes by.

June 9, 2010

Home remodel back on track!

For three years, we have been living in the back apartment while the front house was undergoing a remodel. We put the remodel on hold when the recession started and Papa Bear's business slowed down. Then I got pregnant and we once again started on the remodel. But Papa Bear's work starting to pick up again and when there is work, Papa Bear has to work. We had hoped to be in the house by the time Baby Bear was born, but that did not happen since Papa Bear was pretty busy with work. It was a good thing that Papa Bear was busy because that meant income, which is important when you have a baby.

Now Baby Bear is a one year old and walking! Papa Bear is really motivated to get us in the front house and has told me that we will be there by Labor Day. Papa Bear has been working really hard the last few weeks and has taken some time off to devote to our home remodel (usually he is working on other people's homes, so our home usually falls down on the priority list).

Our house was built in 1913 and Papa Bear has had the electrical work redone in our garage, had the exterior paint touched up and finished, had the rock work on our chimney and porch fixed, and had our hardwood oak floors patched up. Papa Bear has made a lot of progress on our kitchen. Initially, we did not plan to replace our cabinets since that was out of our budget. So we were going to live with the old cabinets for the time being. But Papa Bear was able to get us some beautiful custom built cherry wood cabinets for our kitchen for almost free! A client was tearing out these beautiful kitchen cabinets and replacing them. Papa Bear offered to demolition the kitchen for free and in doing so was able to take the kitchen cabinets. So we got custom cabinets for the cost of labor to have some of his workers remove the cabinets. Papa Bear measured out all the cabinets and got out his trusty pencil, graph paper, and ruler to design a kitchen that would work with the cabinets and he did a wonderful job! It was almost as if those cabinets were custom made for our kitchen.

Over the weekend, Papa Bear demolished our existing kitchen cabinets with the help of his father and he installed the cabinets. The other day he purchased our new stainless steel LG kitchen appliances:

Aren't they beautiful. They go very nicely with the dishwasher that we got from the Ellen Show last year (which Papa Bear designed the cabinets around). I am so excited to have a beautiful kitchen. I can't wait to use them.

There is still much for Papa Bear to do: granite counter tops and tile backsplash, our bathroom, refinishing the hardwood floors, paint, etc. We are well underway. I will post some kitchen in progress pictures soon. I am so lucky to have such a talented husband.

May 24, 2010

Ran fo the Red!

I completed my 10K yesterday. My legs are a little sore today. I ran the 10K in 1:12 and I feel really good about that time. My goal was to do it in under 1:20 and I was hoping for 1:15, so I made it well within my goal. It is the first 10K I have done since Baby Bear was born and the last one I did was 4 days after finding out I was pregnant and I did that in 1:11. So I didn't do too bad.

It was a great run through the Claremont Colleges. Fortunately, I know the terrain well. No crazy hills, just a nice scenic run through the colleges. It was the first annual Run for the Red and for the first time putting on the event, it was organized very nicely and had a nice turn out. I think I will do this one again. It is close to home and it is at work. I run this area every week, so no real surprises. Just a fun run.

A few friends ran as well and did really well. For my friend, Aileen, it was her first 10K and she did a wonderful job. We had been training on the weekends and she does better and better every week as we add distance. I am very proud of her! What an accomplishment.

Despite being a little sore (I didn't really stretch after the run, which was a mistake), I feel great. It was nice to have Baby Bear and Papa Bear at the finish line cheering me on. I am ready for the next one!

May 5, 2010

10 years ago I met a boy

Ten years ago today I met a boy at Cinco de Mayo party. Seven years later on Cinco de Mayo I married that boy. After 3 years of marriage and a decade as a couple, we are still smiling and loving each other. Happy Anniversary my love!

Photo by Amy Squires

April 11, 2010

Time for myself

I need to remember to take the time for myself. I get so consumed with being a mom, wife, and employee, that I often forget to take time to just be me. I have carved out time to workout and go for runs, so that has been a start. But nothing more than that. Until today; I had a pedicure. The first professional pedicure that I have had in 10 months!! My last one was the day I went into labor. A professional pedicure is just so much better than painting your own toes.

I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful husband. He took Baby Bear for the morning. I went of a jog/walk with a friend, took a nice long, hot shower (it is nice not to rush through a shower), and got a pedicure. I also had time to vacuum and start a load of laundry without a baby yelling at me for my attention (I couldn't help it I had to get some chores done).

I love my Baby Bear, but sometimes I just need some time to myself to relax and unwind. Sometimes I need a little time without Baby Bear to pick up around the house. Baby Bear can be very clingy and demanding of my time. I want to spend as much time as possible with her, but a little time away helps me to be a better mommy. A person can feel a little trapped by having someone so dependent on you. And I was beginning to feel that way. I was beginning to feel like I had to run away. I do get time away when I go to work during the week, but I am work working. I needed time to just be by myself and relax.

To top of the day, Mr. Bear and I had a date night. We went to dinner, just the two of us. I had the chance to eat dinner without rushing through dinner. I even ordered a mai tai with my dinner. I only drank half of it, when I realized that I was feeling a buzz. Wow, it has been forever since I've had a real drink since I am still breastfeeding.

April 3, 2010

Run for the Red 10K

I signed up to run the Red Cross Run for the Red 10K. I've been running 3 days a week and working my way up to running a 10K. I decided that a 10K would be more challenging and motivating for me versus the 5K. I haven't ran a 10K since the relay triathlon that I did just a few days after I found out I was pregnant.

I don't have a particular goal except to finish the 10K. I would like to maintain an 11-12 minute mile and try to finish in about 1:15 or so. That is not a speedy goal, but I have never been a very fast runner and that has seemed to me my average speed right now, so if I can keep that up through the 6 or so miles I would be pleased.

I have been running with two different friends during the week. That has really helped to keep me accountable to getting out and running at least 2 days a week. Having someone to run with also helps pass the time. I try to get a another run in one more day a week on my own to get 3 days in a week. So far, so good. I have a little less than 2 months until the 10K so I have plenty of time to train. I am excited that I am getting back in the groove and help me to lose the last 5 lbs that seems to be holding on. Although it may hold on until I finally wean Baby Bear for breastfeeding, but a girl can hope.

February 17, 2010

The Desert Dash 5K

This weekend we went to the river. A few friends and I ran the Desert Dash 5K while we were out there. It is a 5k that ends at the Desert Bar. What 5K ends up at a bar? Well, Papa Bear and Baby Bear were at the finish line to support me. This is a 5K that Papa Bear enjoys to cheer me on ! Especially, since he gets to wait for me at a bar, LOL.

It was the first 5K I have ran since having Baby Bear. I have been getting back into running, so I was excited to run this 5K. It was a pretty tough course; the terrain was rough (being that we were running a dirt road in the desert) and the majority of the course was uphill. I did pretty well for the first 2 miles, but that last uphill mile was killer and I ended up walking the majority of the last mile. I don't know what my time was because I forgot to check. But I was just proud of myself for finishing and making an attempt to run as much as I did (especially with it being a lot of uphill running). It felt good to get a 5K under my belt. I still have a ways to go to get myself back into shape. Although I do not know what my time was, my time was pretty slow. Plus, the fact that I started to poop out during the last mile tells me that I need to work on my stamina more.

February 3, 2010

Tennis elbow - Confirmed

Last year, I found myself injured and self-diagnosed myself with tennis elbow. Well, I finally went to the doctor and she confirmed it. The treatment, other than anti-inflammatory medications, is to change the way I use my right arm. Easier said than done, especially with a baby in tow. What I find myself often doing is carrying around Baby Bear with my left arm and using my free arm to lift and do everything else. That is most likely what led to the inflammation in my elbow. With Baby Bear so clingy lately, it will definitely be hard to change things up right now. But I really don't have much of a choice if I want it to get better.

Sadly, for now I have to lay off lifting weights, which I actually prefer to do over cardio. My buff biceps will have to wait. Hopefully, I can heal before the weather warms up so that I can tone my arms before the tank top season comes.

February 1, 2010

Run time

My run time has once again improved! My mile time today was 11:40. Not the fastest time in the world, but then again I was never the fastest runner. This is pretty close to where I used to be. I am very proud of myself. Now that I have improved time and ability to actually run a whole mile, I need to work on distance to get myself 5K ready.

It feels good to be moving again. Now if only I can sleep more again, but that is a whole other story.

Yay, it's February!!

My favorite month of the year!! Why? Because it is my birthday month and it means that 27 days until my birthday! Wohoo! It doesn't matter that it is a short month or that my birthday falls on the last day of the year (except on leap years, where I get an extended birthday). It is just hands down the best month of the year!!

I am turning 35 this year and that is kind of crazy. A lot of people freak out when they turn 30, but I welcomed my 30's. I have enjoyed my early 30's. It was a great time. Turning 35 is something different. I can't quite pinpoint how I feel about it. But there is something about it. I will have to reflect on this a little bit more.

Here is to February!! Although shorter than the other months, the best month of them all. After all, good things come in small (shorter) packages. :)

January 20, 2010

Run time improvement

After being sick and the rain, I wasn't able to get a run in earlier this week. I finally got one in today after dropping Baby Bear off at daycare. I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill and my mile time has drastically improved since last week! My mile time was 12:22, that is more than a minute off my time from last week.

Even with missing a running session earlier this week, I was still able to improve. Yay!! I have been getting two short runs in a week, although I have been hoping to get three in. I missed out on a run on Monday since I was sick. Usually, I would workout even when I have cold, but since it was raining outside and I had Baby Bear with me, I didn't want to take her out in the jogging stroller in the rain. I am hoping the weather will be dry on Friday so I can get a run in again. I have been running about a mile and half each time I am out, I hope to get some 2 mile runs in. As my time improves, I should be able to. My time is limited so as I get better I should be able to run farther. I am very happy with my progress.

January 13, 2010

Back in the swing of things

Lately, I have been pretty sleep deprived and have been choosing sleep over exercise. Considering the little sleep I have been getting in the last week, it is all for the best. This morning, I felt decent enough to get to the gym and run on the treadmill before work. I still running pretty slow, but am working on it. My mile run time was 13:55, at least is was under 14 minutes, but still pretty slow. I am thinking about doing a 5K in March and so that will be a great motivator to get me back in shape. If I can get more sleep, I am sure I can bet back in the swing of things and back to a regular schedule of working out. I really want to get back to it, since that is my alone time and I miss that time to myself.