Green thumb

When Marv deployed back in June 2013, we had basically just moved into our house and had barely enough time to completed renovations.  Being left in our new house, with just myself and the kids, I decided I would use the deployment time to make the house a bit more ‘homey’! Since the inside of the house was pretty much “done” this meant I could focus my efforts on the backyard.  Here was my garden space BEFORE:

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With LOTS of help from my dad (who has a serious green thumb…), we set out together to create my own little slice of garden heaven.  Thank heavens for Home Depot being just down the street from us….  First came purchasing some more cement blocks to create a raised barrier for the added soil and nutrients that we (and by “we” I mean my dad…) would be mixing in.  Maya was a big helper with this.

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Next came prepping the soil meaning [my dad] had to uproot a pesky tree stump, take out countless roots and grass vines, and mix in extra nutrients to ensure my new garden would have fertile, nutrient-rich, plant-growing soil 🙂  Milo was a big helper with this. Boys and dirt go hand in hand…

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Finally, the much anticipated PLANTING could begin!  To begin with, I planted a clipping of basil taken from my parents’ garden. For this one, I clipped off a 10″ or so branch of basil, then placed it in a cup of water on my windowsill for a good 1-2 weeks to give the roots some time to sprout. Once the roots were established, I then planted it right into my garden along the fence.  I planted a mini tomato plant (that was a volunteer plant from my parents’ back yard, 3 japanese cucumber plants (purchased from Home Depot), a small section of green onions (from my parent’s garden), and a small section right next to that of garlic chives (a random hybrid of chives that taste exactly like garlic!…purchased from the Hawaii Kai farmer’s market from an entirely organic booth)

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Every day, we’d go outside to check on our garden, weed it, water it, and DIG in it, lol.  I have the best helpers anyone could ask for.

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Before long, our “starter” garden started to produce!

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Within a couple months, my little garden turned into a full service farmer’s market!

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I had beets, broccoli, carrots, heavenly scent gardenia plants (that were hidden amongst some overgrown bushes right next to my “garden” when we 1st moved in…it’s amazing what a little pruning and TLC can do!), and can’t forget our dwarf avocado tree!

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SO, I’ve had my mini garden now for just about 8 months. As a recap, so far I’ve grown basil, green onions, garlic chives, carrots, beets, broccoli, and japanese cucumbers. My garden TODAY includes some of the aforementioned in addition to cantaloup vines, strawberry plants, cilantro and taro (that one just randomly popped up on its own, go figure…).

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I ALSO have papayas (that also randomly popped up in the back corner of my yard…) 2 pineapple plants (grown from pineapple tops), and can’t forget our trusty dwarf avocado tree that’s STILL giving us avocados. I’ve been eating delicious avocados now for going on 4 months…. 😀

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It’s just amazing the fulfillment that you get from being able to walk outside to your backyard and pick things from your very own garden! It saves money, you know that no harsh chemicals or pesticides were used in growing them, kids are more likely to try eating fruits and veggies that they may otherwise avoid when they’re the ones nurturing and growing them! (Milo LOVES raw broccoli picked fresh from our garden and eaten on the spot!….who would’ve guessed?), and it’s FUN watching things grow!  Can’t wait for our cantaloups in another month or so (the vines have flowers now!) since that’s Milo’s favorite fruit, and our 4 strawberry plants all have white flowers on them with little strawberries starting to bud in the center of those too!  Now the next question will be….WHAT TO GROW NEXT?!

7 days out!

Well, my 1st week as a mommy of THREE has officially come to a close. And I must say, having Marv back from his deployment has been a HUGE help! Not only am I loving having HIM back and enjoying his company and companionship, but he’s also able to take care of the two “big” kids while I can focus on little Monroe.

So, since I’m no longer pregnant, I decided to do another video  – “Post Baby Fitness – Part 2” – going a tiny bit more in depth with things I did during pregnancy to keep me active, and how I’m doing now at 7 days post partum:

 

Basically, here’s what I’ve done during this pregnancy:
– KEPT busy! Got involved more with crafting (did a craft fair), sold some of those crafts on Etsy (hats and jewelry),  started sewing, made kids Halloween costumes, playdates, playgrounds, etc.
– Joined Beachbody and started Shakeology while 6 months pregnant
– Tried to stay active walking – going on daily walks with the kids around the neighborhood and also intentionally parking farther while out doing errands
– LOW impact exercise (mainly watching and preparing myself mentally for when I’d be able to physically do those exercises in the months to come)
– my daily Shakeology seriously cut down on any junk food and sweets cravings I had and all I wanted to eat were “clean” things like fruits, veggies, and whole, healthy foods. I was therefore eating much healthier this pregnancy than I was during my other 2, allowing me to gain HEALTHY pounds with great quality nutrients instead of just “weight”.
– AND – I should also throw in there – taking care of 2 kids who love their mama…and love for me to pick them up….constantly, lol. My arms got some serious workouts holding my 23lb 2 year old, and my 33 lb 3.5 year old. Who needs to lift weights when you have kids, right?

7 days out, I physically feel fantastic and just about 99% of my “normal” self.  I credit this in LARGE part to my daily Shakeology shakes in addition to staying active, getting outside and MOVING! 🙂  Ready for the scary part?! Well….for me anyways. Since I’m trying to be real here, and prove how confident I am with crediting Shakeology to helping me physically bounce back after having my 3rd baby…….here’s some photo proof!

Here’s me the day before I gave birth (yes…I helped my husband hang our new garage “gym” mirror…that thing is HUGE!):
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The next morning, leaving for the hospital since my little Monroe decided to make her appearance:
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Just about 5 hours later, welcoming little Monroe into the world (entirely all natural!):
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2 days Post Partum at the hospital just before we were all discharged to go home:
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AND….scaaaary…..me this morning at exactly 7 days post partum (almost down to the hour)…I normally NEVER show this much skin unless I’m at the beach, so, scary! :
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Anyways, every ‘body’ is different, every pregnancy is different, but this was my experience during this 3rd pregnancy and what I did that kept me healthy and active during it that I feel really contributed to my overall wellness now, 1 week after having Monroe.

For more info on Shakeology, visit my FB Fitness page HERE and message me. I’ll be happy to give you TONS of info on it!  You can also browse my Beachbody site HERE to get more info on it. 🙂

Balance Ball Chair….yep….Balance Ball Chair

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Balance, Ball, and Chair – do all those words belong in the same phrase?  Well, apparently YES. A few months back, while my husband was still deployed, he added this random item to our Amazon shopping cart: a Balance Ball Chair. I thought it was the funniest thing – like an “as seen on TV” item…someone who apparently thought a balance ball would make an amazing computer chair and began marketing it.  After laughing for a little bit, I emailed him asking if he was serious about this “item”.  And well….yes, yes he was.

A few months went by (I think I removed it from our cart that same day it initially showed up in there) and low and behold, it shows up via my buddy UPS delivery guy early this week.  Kids of course were excited because this “thing” looks like a fun toy to bounce around on. I just had to shake my head and laugh…again.  Once set up, it resembled a bouncy ball throne – HOW COULD THIS THING POSSIBLY BE COMFORTABLE?!  Well…know that saying “never judge a book by its cover”?  —> Never judge a bouncy ball chair by its appearance!  This thing is squishy and comfortable, it helps with your posture and core muscles since you need to sit centered and balanced to keep from falling off (keeping your core engaged and your back straight), and it’s AH-MAZ-ING for rocking a newborn baby on it 🙂

Here’s my video review:  

Since I know you’re now just blown away by this ingenious invention – we purchased it (or rather my HUSBAND purchased it…) from Amazon and it’s called a Gaiam Balance Ball Chair. The price at the time he got it was $55-ish but it constantly fluctuates, so my advice would be to stalk Amazon for a few days (or weeks even) to get the best deal/lowest price possible.  Currently it’s roughly $75.  Here’s the amazon link for more info! 🙂

21 Day Fix LAUNCH!

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So, I’ve mentioned it here before but being as how the LAUNCH of the 21DayFix is riiiiiight around the corner (Monday, Feb 3rd, 2014!!!!)…why not do a brief video explaining just how AMAZING this program truly will be!  Combining fitness AND nutrition, the 21DayFix will incorporate 30 minute workouts, 7 days a week, for 21 days straight, with a straightforward, portion controlled, nutrition plan to give you maximum impact in a minimal amount of time – TWENTY-ONE-DAYS people!

Test group participants have lost up to 15 lbs (in 21 days!) but perhaps more importantly, people are seeing results in how they feel and losing INCHES off their body. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, this program offers something for everyone and allows for you to go at your own pace.  But don’t just “read” my words about it: watch this short video to learn more 🙂

AMAZING right?!  For the month of February you can take part in the fantastic introductory release price of just $140 (compared to the regular price of $160) as well as FREE shipping.  Ready to take the next step?  Comment below, for more info; message me via my FB Fitness Page HERE; or visit my Team Beachbody Site  to read up more on it.

Miss Monroe

After 40 weeks and 3 days of waiting, little miss Monroe Eve Yamada has arrived!  Fashionably a little late, but with an unforgettable arrival, she officially makes our family a party of FIVE!

Without going too much into detail, here’s how it all went down:

Labor started early Monday morning (Jan 27th) with uncomfortable contractions around midnight (nope, didn’t get to sleep that night at all), and painful contractions starting around 2am. After waiting for family to come and watch our 2 and 3.5 year olds, who were sleeping soundly and unaware that they’d be having a new little sister that day, we finally headed out to the hospital around 5:20am.  Traffic was already horrible (YES at 5:20 in the morning!) so good thing we left early while everything was still bearable.  Got checked into triage at just after 6am – was still laughing with my husband and the midwife at this point although actively in labor – then quickly moved to my L&D room.  Here’s the last “normal” pic of me pregnant! Taken just before we headed off to the hospital (right before a contraction…):

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With the help of the jacuzzi tub for about an hr (AMAZING) , an ice cube feeding-chapstick applying-picture taking-supportive husband, and my experienced, knowledgable, to-the-point midwife, we were able to welcome beautiful Monroe Eve into this world at 10:11am (just about 4 hrs after checking into the hospital). It was such a beautiful experience and I still can’t believe I was able to do it with NO pain meds at all! Entirely, scarily, yet beautifully all natural.  She was the biggest of all 3 babies, at 8 lbs 7.2 ozs (Milo was 7 lbs 15 oz and Maya was 7 lbs 11 oz).

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Big brother Milo and big sister Maya couldn’t wait to meet little miss Monroe and were both very insistent on holding her 🙂

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At 24 hrs old, her bilirubin levels were slightly elevated, so instead of getting discharged, we needed to stay an extra day in the hospital with baby Monroe under the phototherapy lights. I called it her tanning bed. She hated it.

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And yes, I even snuck one of these in while waiting that extra day for her levels to right themselves (vegan tropical strawberry Shakeology):

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Luckily, the blue lights did their job and we all were released right around the 2 day mark with a clean bill of health.  She hated her car seat, lol, but quickly got used to it and fell into a nice deep sleep to brave the afternoon traffic home.

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Our sweet girl is now 4 days old. Physically, I feel amazing and strong and just about 95%. Got the ok to start exercising at 2 weeks (probably start with walking) – so be on the lookout for more follow up Post-Baby Fitness entries to come!

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Budget-friendly (pregnancy) fitness attire

Baby. There’s so many thoughts that go through your head once you know you’re pregnant and a BABY is coming! Joy, excitement, anticipation, dreams….finances…..  WELL, I could go on and on about baby talk, but let’s narrow it down and focus on clothes. Specifically – pregnancy WORKOUT clothes.

Just because you’re pregnant and fall into the “maternity” category doesn’t mean you have to “spend” like you’re shopping in the maternity section!  During all three pregnancies, I avoided maternity stores because, let’s face it….they’re EXPENSIVE.  And forget trying to even find “maternity workout clothes.” Do those even exist? Well, these were my pregnancy workout attire criteria:
1) Comfort – would comfortably stretch to “grow” with my body
2) Fully cover Belly – I didn’t want the dreaded under belly mid-drift action
3) Functionality – needed to be able to workout in them
4) Cute – not all “pregnancy appropriate” clothes are created equal…I wanted basics that served their purpose but looked good too…
5) Longevity – needed to be able to wear after baby came too
6) COST! – did I mention we love Dave Ramsey and are on a budget?

It took some searching, price/sale watching, creativity, and thinking outside the box, but I was finally able to narrow down a ton of cute, inexpensive, comfortable clothes that function pre pregnancy, during pregnancy, after pregnancy, etc. These are all “normal” clothes (NOT maternity clothes). I honestly feel like once the word “maternity” is added to a clothing label, the price goes up 3x’s…  I purchased these all either in my regular size or in a size up. They all have stretch, and were all $12 or less per piece. Watch the video below to find out where I got my fully stocked stash of pregnancy workout attire. I’ll just go and pat myself on the back now 🙂

Do you have 21 days?

Did you know it takes 21 days to form a habit? (good and bad) This is probably why so many New Years Resolutions fly out the window within the first month. Oftentimes it’s hard to find the patience to stick with things for much longer than a week or 2! WELL, if you were wanting to get into shape and seriously jumpstart your health and diet, and could commit to 21 CONSECUTIVE days……what would you do if I told you that you could seriously lose up to 15 lbs….in just THREE weeks.  I know, I know, sounds like it’s too good to be true, but wait – hear me out!

21DayFix

Coming February 3rd, a new Beachbody program will be launched called the 21 Day Fix. This program focuses equally on exercise AND nutrition – getting you in shape and TEACHING you how to sustain a healthy diet. The key as far as nutrition goes is focusing on portion control and not otherwise depriving yourself of food.  Of course it focuses on clean eating via the included eating guide, but also doesn’t rule out an occasional treat – provided it fits in your container!  The fitness portion consist of 30 min workouts lead by trainer Autumn Calabrese. Every single workout has a modifier – making this a great program for a beginner or an advanced level. You simply watch the trainer who’s at your ability level and progress up/down as needed.  Here’s a snipped of what to expect from this brand spankin new program:

Looks amazing right?! So what exactly does this program include?  The 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack will include a 21 day nutrition guide, all your portion controlled containers, your workout program and program manual, Shakeology, and a Shakeology shaker cup, reduced shipping, a discounted price, and ME as your personal coach for accountability, support, and guidance.  This program launches on Feb 3rd (I WILL be purchasing it!) and I will be starting a private FB Challenge Group for it on Feb 17th – the 3rd Monday in February. No one will have access or be able to see anything posted in this private FB group unless you are a personally invited 21 Day Fix Challenge participant.  (for peace of mind) This Challenge Group will allow you connect with like-minded participants, gain encouragement, support, guidance, and be accountable to not only yourself, but others who are in the same boat as you as well.

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Ready to get started with the complete package – fitness and nutrition/eating right all rolled into one? To begin with, go to my site to create a FREE Account. This will start you off with me as your Beachbody Coach. I am determined to get YOU to your health and fitness goals and look forward to motivating you on your journey! Next, fill out the Challenge Group form below. Remember, this Challenge Group will begin on Feb 17th (3rd Monday in Feb). The only cost to you will be the cost of the Challenge Pack which will give you everything you need to get started right.

Strawberry Shakeology Review

The brand spankin new flavor of Shakeology – Strawberry – was released just last monday (1/13) and, after much anticipation, my order came in and I was finally able to try it today!

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I usually drink my shakes with just soy milk and ice (shaken up in a Shakeology Shaker Cup), but mixed this one up with:

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–  5 ice cubes
– 15 oz ice cold water (1 serving calls for 8-12 oz liquid, but we prefer our shakes with a little more liquid and not as thick)
– 1 serving Strawberry Shakeology (whether you have a bag and you use one scoop, or use a packet like I did as shown above)
Shake, shake, shake everything up in the shaker cup and…..

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…it was creamy and delicious! (this was just with water and ice mind you) I can just imagine how yummy it’ll taste with my organic soy milk 🙂  What I will add is that it’s not quite as “smooth” as the chocolate flavor. Whereas Chocolate would be 99% a smooth consistency (in my opinion), Strawberry was about 95% smooth. There seemed to be a tiny bit of ground strawberry seeds(?). Not a big enough deal to get stuck in my teeth or anything though. TOTALLY ok with all of us….my husband and I thought it made it feel more natural and authentic. Remember…Shakeology has NO artificial ingredients in it. Strictly ORGANIC.

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Overall review from myself, husband, and 2 year old daughter = YUM!  I strongly believe Strawberry would be an excellent flavor pick for the Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse (since your shakes during the cleanse can only be mixed with water….and the strawberry flavor with water is still YUMMY!)

Not sure what Shakeology is? Click HERE to visit my Beachbody Shakeology site for more info on it 🙂 (“What is Shakeology” post to come soon!)

Post Baby Fitness – Part 1

Hold on, YES, I’m still pregnant!

But I decided to start a video diary/blog diary of my journey to getting fit once baby gets here – STARTING with now! On this journey, I’m sure I’ll chronicle daily struggles  – time management with THREE kids, energy, physical endurance, emotional struggles? etc. My goal in all this is to keep myself accountable with my ultimate end goal – as seen in my post here of getting into the BEST shape of my life in 2014!

So, anyways…..here’s to the beginning of this journey. Follow along with me!

So this is paradise…

I’ve lived in Hawaii for most of my life. Growing up in the islands, it’s so easy to take for granted things that you’ve come to accept as “normal.” A fresh flower lei, a beautiful scenic drive around the island, a lazy afternoon spent watching the sunset while sitting on a cool sandy beach, attending a luau, going parasailing, swimming with the dolphins…all these things are so easy to do living in Hawaii yet oftentimes get overlooked. I’ve fallen into the trap of “oh that’ll always be there for me to do” or “I can just do that later” and literally YEARS have gone by.

With Marv being back home now, we’ve been soaking up family time (of course) and decided that we’re going to live each day in 2014 as if it were our last. We’re going to accomplish things we’ve been putting off, experience things with the kids that will build fantastic memories, and live with no regrets.  First up on our list: spur of the moment (literally purchased our tickets 2 hours before the show on a whim….) LUAU! We live just 15 mins away from Paradise Cove Luau and have driven by many times in the past on our way to the beach at Ko’Olina, yet have both never been. Tickets were a bit pricey for our budget minded selves, but – having money saved up in my own personal “spend” account, and being Marv’s BIRTHDAY(!) – I decided to treat us all 🙂  **For Military out there, make sure to visit your local MWR ticket office! I saved $50 PER ticket just by purchasing through their ticket office… **

We arrived right when our invoice told us to – 4:45pm and were literally one of the first families in. It turns out that although the gates open at 4:45, the actual luau show doesn’t start until closer to 7:15, so that leaves you about 2.5 hours to do all their activities – there’s only so many activities that can keep our kids occupied and 2.5 hours worth was a bit much for us! Backtracking though, we were greeted by beautiful fresh flower leis (and shell leis for the kids), a welcome drink (Mai Tai for Marv and Guava juice for me – YUM!) and a welcome picture. What a nice inviting entrance! We then were able to spread out and do all sorts of activities: make flower bracelets and headbands, get tribal “tattoos”, play traditional Hawaiian games, outrigger canoe rides, learn how to hula, watch a man carve tiki statues, and perhaps MOST importantly for the kids – play in the sand…

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Once the beautiful sun set over the beach – the “pre” luau festivities began! First up was watching Chief Ma’eva (the future fire knife dancing guy) husk a coconut, followed by a coconut tree climbing demonstration and a shower of fresh tropical flowers from above, followed by a net fishing demonstration, some live Hawaiian music, and finally the ceremonial removal of the pig from the imu (underground oven). FINALLY – the LUAU!

Dinner was a delicious spread of a variety of salads, taro rolls, poi, lomi salmon, fried chicken, kalua pig, macadamia nut crusted fresh island fish, and a HUGE desert table! Needless to say, we were all stuffed. This all in addition to my 2 (virgin) lava flows shared with the kids – they just love those parasail umbrellas – lead to full, satisfied bellies ready to be entertained…  Next, onto the show! (Did I mention we literally had the BEST seats in the house? Front row and center, directly in front of the stage. Didn’t even have to zoom in for any of these picture – they were all taken one handed while holding Maya on my lap…which is probably why they’re a bit crooked… 😉 )

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It was a good 1.5 hours of non-stop dancing, singing, and overall entertainment with so many fancy costume changes! I thought for sure Maya would fall asleep, but nope. She stayed awake the ENTIRE time watching them. Not bad for a 2 year old 🙂

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What a great way to start off our pact to live each day to the fullest.  LOTS more tasks to accomplish and memories to build…