All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!

1 Comment

The Second 10 Weeks

I am starting my second 10 weeks of fitness tomorrow.  I did my weigh-in and other stats today, so I’m off and running (I only lost 0.6 pounds this past week during transition, but lost 0.7% body fat).  I’m going to log my progress here (which is also in my main menu) so that no one has to deal with this in their readers – but you can check in if you want.  I expect this to be rather boring for most, but I want to put it out there to keep myself accountable.

I’m happy to report that my “wall of motivation” is doing its job.  I did not want to run yesterday – I was looking for anything to do but run, but when I walked into my closet and saw my B&A photos and Hottie’s card, I immediately put on my running togs and hit the pavement.  A picture is worth a thousand words, right?



The Little Brother

The little brother is so fun to watch – because he soaks up everything the big brother does.  Bryson does so much more, so much earlier than Matthew did at this age, and that’s because he has a fantastic big brother who likes to teach him and include him in (almost) everything he does.  They are best buddies, so it’s only natural that Bryson would be addicted to sports, balls, and music like Matthew is.

Matthew was napping well when Bryson woke up today, so I took him outside to play by himself.  I knew he’d go straight for the T-ball stuff.  But I didn’t know he’d first grab the ball and take it out to the grass, then return to the garage for the T, and then return a final time for the bat.  He set his game up all by himself, and then amazed me by putting the ball on the T, hitting it off, and doing that over and over again.  When it was time to go in, he returned each item to the garage, and into the T-ball tub, before grabbing my hand and heading for the door.

Big kid in a little kid’s body.  I love it!



A Week of Transition

Next week, summer will officially be over in this house.

I’m sort of sad about it.

We had a really great, busy summer – the type of summer I always envisioned with kids.  Weekend trips away, full weeks of summer camps, swimming lessons, trips to the parks and zoo, and a bunch of other random things thrown in there.  Bryson changed leaps and bounds and turned into a bona fide toddler – walking, more talking, stacking blocks, holding his own with his brother, and turning into quite the comedian.  Matthew turned into a big kid overnight – learning to be confident in the water, becoming an excellent talker (you’d never know there was ever a delay there!), mastering how to introduce himself to strangers and soliciting their names in return, and deciding that “I’ll do it myself!” is his preferred way to do EVERYTHING.  Hottie and I somehow found our way out of a rather concerning slump and ended the summer completely in love with one another once again.

So yeah – a little sad to see it end.

But with this seasonal change, our routine is changing too and that’s a great thing!  Matthew starts school again on Tuesday and will be going three half-days a week this year.  I’m going to be his “room mother” – something I’ve wanted to do since we started talking about school but knew it would be too much last year with a new Bryson in the mix.  Hottie’s role is changing a bit at work and he’s looking forward to the change, even if it means a loftier quota goal.  He’s always up for the biggest challenges, and never fails.  We’ll see how this year goes, but I have high hopes for him!  I’m full-on back into my own health and fitness and have a lot of goals of my own in that department, as well as goals to not make things all about me, me, me while sticking to my health goals.  I am a mother, first and foremost, after all!  If I can find time to go to the gym every day, I can find time and ways to keep my kids engaged and soaking up the good stuff that life has to offer!

So this past week has been about transition.

Hottie had to take a work trip to NYC to better engage one of his clients, all while taking part in this fiscal year’s planning meetings remotely.  The timing wasn’t great for him or his partner, but they made it work well enough.  Kicking off the fiscal year is always a time of stress and extra work for Hottie and all of his coworkers – but it’s also a time of intense energy and optimism!

Matthew had his sneak-a-peak at school on Wednesday and was very excited to meet his new teacher (and sad to finally realize that he’s not going to see Mrs. E and Mrs. Y every day – he loved his teachers last year!).  He did great meeting Mrs. S and Mrs. M and introduced himself to them like a pro!  His new classroom is twice as large as last year’s, and I’m excited for him to have more space to explore.  He’s already talking about going to Mrs. S’s “house” next week (everything is a house – the pork house, the chicken house, the yogurt house, Katie’s house (our hair stylist), etc.) and is super excited to play with his new friends!

Bryson is getting more comfortable with his mobility and is making me very aware that parenting him is going to be an entirely different experience than was parenting Matthew.  He is so adventurous and always trusts that he’ll land on his feet (I hope he always does, literally and figuratively).  He is so hilarious, even though he only has 10 words.  He’s going to keep me very entertained when Matthew is in school!  Bryson is still needing two naps a day, but sometimes he takes just one.  Poor kid – he’s always in the car!  This fall is going to be one of big-time effort kicking that one night-time feeding and probably weaning him.  I just don’t think he’ll sleep through the night until he’s weaned.  He likes to have a visit from mama (and her boobs).

I’ve spent the last week fine-tuning my fitness plan and finally have it worked out to not interfere with school and to maximize my one-on-one time with Bryson while Matthew’s in school.  We bought a punching bag for the garage and I started running this week, so I’ll do those things on strength days and then serious cardio 3-4 days a week at the Y.  I’ll still be going to the Y probably 6 days a week, but at times that work better for the boys.  I’ve also taken a step back from a friendship this week that was becoming a bit toxic.  I need to write a post all about that, just to get it out, but it’s worth a mention because I’ve been trying to find a way to step back for months but finally found a way yesterday – during transition week.

Like I mentioned earlier, Hottie and I have really found our ways back to one another.  We left the boys overnight for the first time ever last Saturday in preparation for our trip to Colorado without them in two weeks.  We plan to leave them again later in the fall for a weekend.  We’ve been going out on more dates and have been really making each other a priority – and it feels great!  We’re getting back into fitness together – the entire reason we met in the first place – and are working out together whenever we can.  When I finished my 10 week fitness program on Saturday, Hottie and I went out for our night without the boys and he had a card for me that was so nice and so thoughtful – that I cried.  He texted me last night after the frustrating exchange with my friend and told me that I’m a great mom and “AWESOME wife” – something I’m not sure he’s said much in the last couple of years (man, having young kids is hard on relationships, isn’t it?  How do we forget to care properly for one another?).  I know I’m riding on a high here, but it feels like a great transition that we desperately needed.

Change is good.  Change is necessary.  Change is the name of the game.  I’m just glad we took a week to really focus on the transition and embrace what the changes mean.  So often, things change without us noticing, but I knew back on 8/1 that this week would be one of reflection and transition – and it’s been good!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




10 Weeks in Review

I don’t know what to say right now.  I’ve spent the last 10 weeks working my ass off and eating as intelligently as possible.  I’ve enjoyed it immensely and was completely wrapped up in the challenge.  These last 10 weeks gave me my “normal” self back – the Courtney I was before we found out that we couldn’t have babies the normal way.  The healthy and active Courtney I was before infertility became the focus of our lives (for 2+ years before conceiving Matthew, and then again as we ramped up for Bryson).

I feel like myself again in my own skin.  I feel good.  I feel strong.  I feel proud!

I didn’t win the $1,000 challenge.  My stats blew the winner away and the photos – well – they speak for themselves.  BUT – even though I was in it to win it (and I am so competitive with myself and others, it’s ridiculous), I’m so proud of what I accomplished in 10 weeks.

I’ve broken down the data in many ways because I know I’ll want to look back on this someday and not have to run all of the numbers.

Here are my 10-week stats:

2014 Stats

  • I lost a total of 21.5 inches over my entire body!
  • I lost 25 pounds exactly (but 26.2 on the gym’s scale)
  • I lost 8.1% body fat (23.9% of the fat I was carrying 10 weeks ago)
  • I lost 3.93 points in BMI and am now in the healthy range
  • I more than doubled my push-ups (ended at 78)
  • I did not double my sit-ups 😦
  • I gained 2.5 inches in flexibility
  • I took 2:21 off my mile time!

Here is a comparison of my first 10 weeks (over 8 years ago!) to this most recent 10 weeks:


  • I lost 2 inches more in my chest, 4 in my waist, 1 in each arm, and 0.5 in each thigh this time around.
  • My hips aren’t as small as they were 8 years ago (surprise!)
  • I started 6.8 pounds heavier this time around and ended up 5.6 pounds lighter!
  • I ended up 2.1% lower in body fat this time around
  • I lost 0.7% more body fat this time around
  • I finished way stronger in push-ups this time around
  • I beat my 2006 final mile time by 1:31 this time around
  • This 10 weeks was way more productive than my first 10 weeks!

Here is my exercise log from the last 10 weeks.  Expect to see something almost equally aggressive in the next 10 weeks:

Workout Tracking

  • My goal was to workout 6 days a week – I exceeded that goal by 3% overall and 13% in the second half of the session
  • Many days had multiple workouts
  • Doing this helped me plan my work for the next 10 weeks

Here is my weight tracking over the 10 week period:

Weight Tracking per Week

And here are my before and after photos.  Please note that the before photos were really hard to prepare for because I NEVER stand like that in real life.  It’s amazing how much our daily posture holds us together in our mid-sections.  I had to think really hard about letting it just hang out like that.  The side view of the before photo nauseates me, but that after photo makes me SO PROUD!  There was no sucking it in in the after photos – just flexing those abs and arms!

WP_20140824_09_49_03_Pro (1) WP_20140824_09_49_22_Pro (1)

I worked really, really hard at this, and near the end, it really felt like my job (a job I loved).  Hottie viewed it the same way – we talked about it on Saturday.  I said that I felt like the last 10 weeks was all about me getting back to how I like to feel, how I view myself, etc. and that it felt like a true job, and he agreed.  Hottie was SO supportive, it was amazing.  I don’t know how many mornings he sat up with Bryson in the rocker while I kicked bags at class.  On many occasions, he rushed home from work so I could get to a late afternoon class because I’d been up all night with Bryson the night before and just could not get motivated to go to class at 6:15 AM.  He admitted on Saturday that he got nervous about “the gear” purchases but didn’t say anything because, “I knew it would help you stay motivated, and I wasn’t going to mess with that” (he also said he was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t buy a ton of stuff!).  This really was a team effort, as fitness always is in this house.  It was awesome to both be so focused on my success at this!

1 Comment

Paleo Week 5 – Last Big Week!

This is the final week of my 10-week fitness challenge and our fifth week of being Paleo.  I told B that we need to stop eating pork this week and focus on lean meats.  If we focus on lean meats but don’t worry about the rest, good things will happen.


Sunday, 08/17/2014  *** Chipo.tle ***

We got back from Chicago around dinner time, and both kids were EXCELLENT in the car the entire time.  We rewarded them with their favorite thing (and our favorite thing – so that worked out!) – Chip.otle!  Because it was a day of limited food, and because it was technically my free day, I had the soft corn tortillas with my tacos and they were great!

Monday, 08/18/2014  *** Pan.era ***

Tonight marked the last night of Matthew’s swim lessons at 7:00 at night, and I had preschool orientation at 5:00, so we decided to just go out to make it easy on us all.  There was no time between both activities to get us all together around our table for dinner.

I kept it Paleo-friendly with a cobb salad with avocados.  It was good.  It always is!  B had some Paleo bowl with eggs, spinach, olive oil, bacon, and lemon.  The boys had chicken.  

Tuesday, 08/19/2014  *** Greek Chicken (Again) ***

Our Greek Chicken hiatus is over.  This one was the best so far.  I remembered to cook the breast side up so that B had lots of crispy skin to enjoy.  We made asparagus again, but knowing that Bryson would eat 3/4 of it, I popped some rainbow carrots in with the chicken with 45 minutes left to go.  I just salted and peppered them and tossed them in.  They were divine.  Absolutely perfect!  Matthew even ate them – we told him they were candies and he agreed!  As expected, Bryson ate 3/4 of the asparagus.  There was no chicken left – Matthew polished it all off.  This meal is a hit!

Wednesday, 08/20/2014  *** Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Pineapple Tidbits (AKA Srirachi Shrimp) ***

Yep – we did this one again!  We both love it and it’s easy.  Because of my lean meats rule this week, I only had the equivalent of 2-3 strips of bacon (which I entered into MyFit.nessPa.l as 3 strips to be safe) but it was still awesome!

I made green beans again and once they were soft in the steamer, I then tossed them into the bacon grease to finish them off.  I thought this would be terrific.  It was just OK.  I’m trying to shake up our green beans a bit, but this is not the way to do it.  Wasted calories.  They weren’t the worst thing in the world, but they weren’t worth doing again.  I figured that the fat grams from the bacon were already included in MFP with those 3 strips (nutrition information is pre-cooked, so accounts for all fat content before cooking it off), but it wasn’t necessary.

Thursday, 08/21/2014  *** Cilantro Lime Chicken Breast with Browned Brussels Sprouts with Maple Butter Chic.k-fi.a-A Dinner ***

I chose this meal for tonight because it’s super easy – at least the chicken is.  Matthew has a haircut at 5:45 so we’ll be rushing home to cook quickly and eat (we usually eat at 6:00 sharp).

The cilantro lime chicken breasts came from the meat counter at our local grocery store.  They’re really good.

If you know me at all, you know that I love, Love, LOVE brussells sprouts!  I don’t really care how they’re cooked as long as they’re not just steamed – they need to be crispy.  When we were at our new favorite place here in town a week ago, we had their brussells sprouts that are cooked in pomegranate molasses – whatever that is.  I don’t care what it is – it is AWESOME!  We won’t use molasses in this house, so I had to find something that was similar in sweetness to satisfy my need.  I found this little dandy while coming home from Chicago because I was looking up recipes for Maple Butter Syrup (had some of that while in Chicago and holy hell – it’s divine!).  I’m not sure that this is a good match for the chicken, but I could care less.  I’m doing it!

Scratch the above – we were way too busy tonight to get dinner made!  With 10-week testing coming up, we decided to go to for dinner since they have the easiest healthy options for Paleo folks and because they were right next to Matthew’s stylist’s studio (he had a long-overdue haircut!).  I got the 12 piece grilled nuggets and fruit, and then ate an extra 3 nuggets that the boys didn’t eat from their meals (we all get grilled nuggets – they have never even tasted fried chicken).  This meal is low in calories, but high in protein, so it was a slam dunk.  It was great!  Good ol’ Chic.k-fil-A!

Friday, 08/22/2014 – *** Greek Chicken (Yes… AGAIN!) ***

This meal does wonders for the scale, so we’re doing it all over again before final weigh-in Saturday morning.  Greek chicken with plenty of garlic?  CHECK.  Lots of asparagus for Bryson?  CHECK.  Tons of carrots for us (“candies” for Matthew)?  CHECK.

The carrots were awesome again!  I swear by using green-top carrots because they’re just fresher and taste WAY better than bagged carrots.  We’ll never get bagged carrots again.  I kept the skins on this time – a secret I learned while in Chicago and dining at the Gran.d Lux Ca.fe.  Keeping the skins on is AMAZING and even Hottie loved it!  We’ll never skin carrots again!  Bryson switched his preferences to the carrots, leaving lots of asparagus for us.  I hardly got any carrots, and we cooked two bunches of them.  Next time – 3 bunches of carrots, no asparagus, and a bigger chicken.  These boys are eating me out of house and home.  No leftovers!

Saturday, 08/23/2014 – *** PARTY ***

Tonight is celebration night – I am eating whatever I want, whenever I want.  The end!

(Back to our regularly scheduled Paleo lifestyle tomorrow!)

Week in Review:

  • Weight Lost This Week:  3.8 pounds
  • Weight Lost So Far (in 5 weeks):  12.2 pounds
  • Fat % Lost This Week:  0.8%
  • Fat % Lost So Far:  3.4%
  • Noteworthy Points: We’re converted.  Eating this way is so easy and so worth it!  I have not missed my secret trips to for my “large #2 with pickles and cheese only please, with a large Diet”  I have hardly missed our many-nights-a-week trips to D.Q.  I don’t miss much.  I kept Diet Pe.psi and Diet in my diet because asking myself to give that up is just too much.  I haven’t had fried food in 10 weeks (not even on my free days) and I’m thrilled about that.  THRILLED!  Sure, I’ll have McDon.alds again someday – but not any day soon.  Sure, I’ll have fries again – but it’s going to take a lot of desire to actually order them.  And yes – at this point in the game, I’m dying to go to D.Q for a blizzard with ore.os.  And I will be getting myself a cupcake (or 2) on Saturday after final testing.  But those things aren’t going to be regulars in my life anymore.
  • How I feel:  GREAT!  There is no other word to describe it.  Well, maybe there is… PROUD!


Goal: Achieved

I did it.

As of this morning, prior to any workouts, water, or food, I weighed 155.6 pounds. I was only expecting to see 156. I hit my 25 pound weight loss goal with a full day of health and exercise ahead. I am shocked!

Even more surprisingly, my body fat is officially down 8%. I’ve lost 23.6% of the fat I was carrying 10 weeks ago. I was shooting for 9-10%, but I’m over the moon with 8%. To lose 10% in 10 weeks, especially being female, is REALLY hard to do. I’ve only seen one woman ever do it, and she started out with a 40% body fat percentage (I started at 33.6/33.8). Regardless, I wish I could have hit 10%. “Hard to do” has never stopped me! 😌

I’ll be posting final stats, before and after pics, and my exercise log on Sunday. Until then, this photo will have to commemorate this day (taken after some serious weight lifting… Still working on that body fat percentage!).

Thank you all for your encouragement here, on myFitnessPal, and via text messages! Fitness is always a team effort!!!



It’s not a REAL adventure race, but it’s a great challenge and we’re signed up! I even got us matching shirts since we’re a team, Hottie and me! (I’ve decided to call B “Hottie” on my blog since that’s what I call him in real life. Well, that or “husband,” which isn’t as fun as “Hottie!”)

3 miles of kayaking, 3.5 miles of running, 12 miles of biking. Honestly, I’m most worried about the run part because I haven’t really run in a long time. Watch – the paddling will break me right out the gates. Ha!

There’s another race in November that we want to do, and it’s a REAL adventure race complete with orienteering (Hottie’s job). It will take at least 8 hours so we need to line up a babysitter now before we register. We’re pretty committed to it… I mean, we do already have the matching team shirts!


We Keep On Trying

We got a wild hair to bring the boys to Chic.ago for their annual air and water show. We booked it just a couple of weeks ago and before finalizing, B asked, “are you sure you want to do this?” Vacationing with a bad sleeper is hard, and B knew it would fall on me.

But I always say, “we do this so we can say we did and we end up stronger in the end.” Ha!

Right now, Matthew is asleep with B and Bryson is in the GoCrib (for now). I’m not delusional, it’s just a matter of time before Bryson’s in bed with me. But right now, I feel like I’m winning just a little.

Leave a comment

Paleo Week 4 – Keeping it Simple

It’s time to get back at it and stop screwing around.  Last week was off and on, but this week is going to be back to what we’re used to in this house and that’s family dinners that are Paleo and balanced!  I missed having dinner with my family last week.  Sure, the time off was really nice, but I missed our time around the table together.  I grew up eating with my family every night, and it’s something that’s very important to me for my own family.  I’m glad to be back with them each night!

I’m going to try a couple of new recipes, and repeat a couple of our favorites.  I was thinking back to my childhood and the amount of different recipes my parents made each month.  We grew up on grilled meat (burgers, chicken, steaks, pork chops) so there wasn’t a lot of variety.  My mom would shake things up by making tacos or spaghetti once in a while (my dad did 90% of the cooking), but for the most part, my parents rotated between 5-7 meals.  Thinking about this, I realize that it is OK to repeat every couple of weeks – no one expects a new recipe every night!

Sunday, 08/10/2014  *** Eate.ry A ***

We kicked the week off well – at our new favorite restaurant!  B and I went to this place a couple of weeks ago and it was so good, and then I went with my girlfriends on Thursday and once again – SO GOOD!  After a very active day at the Iow.a St.ate F.air, where we stuck with our Paleo lifestyle completely, we decided to try our luck at getting in to this new hot spot and taking the boys.  We ate on the patio, had wonderful food, and had a really nice time!  I had the best Brussels sprouts of my life – they are just divine!

I will say that for the first time in 7+ weeks, I’ve been missing DQ.  We used to go there a lot and we all love it.  I miss it.  I can’t wait to have it again in a few weeks – just as a fun treat!

Monday, 08/11/2014  *** Shrimp in Horseradish Mustard Sauce***

This recipe was ridiculously easy.  I bought a bag of frozen, wild-caught large shrimp and thawed them out a couple hours before it was time to cook dinner.  I mixed up the sauce (sans the green onions because they froze in our fridge) and then put the shrimp on the stove.  They aren’t kidding in regards to how quickly this meal is ready.  The shrimp were done in a few minutes, I poured the sauce onto them in a big bowl, and POOF!  Dinner!  (My sauce was super thick – the finished meal did NOT look like the picture, which was fine by me because the picture worried me that the meal would be boring.  There was NOTHING boring about this meal!)

I did roast up some asparagus (it was really good – finally!) prior to making the shrimp.  That was a nice complimentary dish.

I’m super excited about this sauce because it tastes very similar to the sauce at our favorite BBQ place that I put on the smoked chicken and sausage I get twice a week.  I’m glad to find that it really is quite Paleo-friendly.  I’ll be making some up next time I have leftovers of my smoked meats!


Tuesday, 08/12/2014  *** Fiesta Chicken Soup (Again) ***

I am trying to get a better variety of meats into our meal plan each week, so I wanted to have a chicken dish but NOT the Greek chicken (we’re all needing a break from that one).  We loved the Fiesta Chicken Soup from Week 1, so I planned that for tonight.  It was just as good as the first time around and we ate more of it this time, leaving only enough for lunch leftovers for 1 person.  It is just so good with the avocados and lime added at the very end.  We both just love this!

Wednesday, 08/13/2014  *** Meatballs and Sweet Potatoes Chips ***

The boys love meatballs, so it’s time to try making some of our own.  This recipe calls for spaghetti squash too, but I just wasn’t in the mood for that.  I decided to go with sweet potato chips as a side.  Because of the fat content in the sweet potato chips, I passed on those and made baked sweet potatoes instead.

The meatballs were good, but the sauce was AMAZING.  I love pizza and pasta sauce, so I was really excited when it turned out as great as it did.  It was just so good!  The meatballs were a bit tough, so I’ll use veal (yes, veal) next time instead of the ground beef.  I did over-cook them a bit.  I should have pulled them off the stove when I tested them and there was just a hint of pink in them, because they did continue to cook and that would have cooked through.  Cooking them in the sauce took WAY longer than the 10 minutes she states in the recipe, but we had lots of time so that was no big deal.  I would say they cooked for 25 minutes in the sauce.




Thursday, 08/14/2014  *** Mexican Beef Skewers with Chipotle Cream Sauce and Basil Pesto (Again) ***

It was time to make this little dandy again, including the Brussels sprouts skewers, from Week 1!  We used beef tenderloin tips instead of sirloin this time just to see how it would be different.  Oh, and we added mushrooms to the skewers!

I am happy to report that the skewers were awesome once again!  I do prefer them made with beef tenderloin tips like we did tonight, but that is expensive.  We have a local (within-state) meat service that delivers grass-fed beef once a month and when I saw the beef tenderloin tips, I figured they were worth the try.  They weren’t much more than our service’s grass-fed sirloin, so it was pretty much a wash and I’ll order them once a month.  But when you compare them to grocery store (corn-fed beef) sirloin, they’re a lot more expensive.  Since we’re committed to as much grass-fed beef as possible, we accept this as a “cost of our Paleo choices.”

We also decided that we should make 1.5 times the recipe for the chipotle cream sauce (see Week 1).  There was more than enough pesto, just like last time, but we could have used more chipotle sauce.  There isn’t any leftover for our two leftover skewers.  Sadness.

I can’t recommend this recipe enough!

Friday, 08/15/2014 – Saturday, 08/16/2014 *** Road Trip – I’m Not Cooking! ***

We’re heading to Chicago for their annual Air and Wa.ter Show.  We will be minding our Paleo lifestyle rules, but will obviously not be cooking!

Week in Review:

  • Weight Lost This Week:  2.0 pounds
  • Weight Lost So Far (in 4 weeks):  8.4 pounds
  • Fat % Lost This Week:  0.0%
  • Fat % Lost So Far:  2.6%
  • Noteworthy Points:  I feel good to be back at it! The results already show with a 2 pound loss before a Saturday weigh-in. I was hoping ri see a drop in body fat too, but that usually happens on Saturday or Sunday. Because we’re traveling today, I’m taking Friday’s stats.
  • How I feel:  Awesome! Sore! But more energized! Some days see 3 different opportunities to exercise, which has been awesome! I’m working my plan for the next 10 weeks!!!