Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fun Weekend in Review

SO thankful for GOOD HEALTH and HAPPY WEEKENDS. 

I realized I was taking this for granted until Jackson got sick. Life sort of flips upside down when our little ones don't feel well. I totally cherished this weekend when Jackson turned around on Saturday and was back to himself. Thank goodness!!

This is what we've been up to!!

An hour-long bike ride in our new neighborhood!!! We uncovered another sweet park!!!

Cool park!!!

My boys!
My sweetheart!
Earlier last week...On the way to the doctors. This kid never sleeps, so we knew something was up

Doctor said LOTS OF COLD STUFF. 

CHECK! We ate tons and tons of cold stuff!
Germs flying around? I made sure to make us SUPER healthy stuff all week! STAY AWAY, GERMS!

One of my favorite salads in the whole world!!! Yep, made with real Mayo!
Another new park! I told Jackson we'd stop at a park on the way to Costco. Thing is, we both love Costco! SAMPLES!!!

Cool park!

Hey! It's me! 27 Weeks Preggers! (No make-up! EVER!)

Going for a ride in the front lawn!

YAY! AWESOME NEIGHBORS! Jess was walking by with her son Jason and wanted to introduce herself. HOW COOL! Made a playdate out of it! Our friends Jason and Katie stopped by too with their daughter! PERFECT TIMING!

When my friend Katie saw our master bath, she asked how many "tubs" I've taken. Answer...NONE. So I took her advice that night and DID IT! AHHH-MAZING!!!!!!!!!
For Father's Day, I had a friend out in WA gather up a bunch of beers ONLY sold out there that Karl might love and ship them over to us in Minnesota. BOY, he did not disappoint. This is Karl's favorite so far. Funny thing is when Karl and I traveled out west along the coast, we stopped at Hopworks and had a beer there! But this one was new to us and SO good. Made with quinoa!!!!! HEALTHY BEER!!!  ( Disclaimer: I only had two sips!)


HOUSE PROJECTS FOR THE WEEK

Some cool things we worked on:

These hanging baskets are turning out SO PRETTY!!!! Giving them LOTS of TLC.

Karl filled up Jackson's sandbox and put bricks down under his picnic table after I weeded! Looks SO NICE!

Yeah. Did you catch all the weeds back there? There are a TON! A TON.

I spent 3 hours with Jackson on Sunday weeding the back of our yard. WHOA! It's looking SUPER nice now! We made a game out of it too. The kid who lived here before must have had a toy BB gun and the yellow BBs are EVERYWHERE. Jackson calls them "corns" and collects them. 

We got a new microwave!!!!!!! Our friend in the cabinet making business came over quick, raised up the cabinets, helped Karl put in the microwave. DONE IN MINUTES. BOOM. LOVE THESE GUYS!

Hope your week if FULL OF FUN and JOY!


27 Weeks Pregnant

Getting Back into Workout Routine
This week, your baby weighs almost 2 pounds (about the size of a head of cauliflower) and is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended. She's sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing her eyes, and perhaps even sucking her fingers. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now. While her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if she were born now. Chalk up any tiny rhythmic movements you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and they don't bother her, so just relax and enjoy the tickle

With the move into a new house, it was SUPER hard to find time to workout. Plus, I would spend so much time moving and packing boxes, I was EXHAUSTED by dinner time. I didn't work out in the mornings because I needed to save my energy for packing and I didn't work out after, because I was SO wiped out. PLUS, I figured I had to be burning enough calories with the amount of moving I was doing from sun up to sun down AND I was chasing a toddler around. I also had to remember I AM creating life. I need to rest too!
Me working out during my lunch break! YAY!

We are moved in now. I feel like we're all adjusting really well. And I'm finding some more time, and that means time for WORKING OUT! I love it.

I know I need to devote more time to strength training and stretching. I can tell with my age and gravity, I'm not as toned as I once was. In a previous post you might have read that I became a Beachbody Coach. I am SUPER excited about this. Why? I get to try out ALL the Beachbody videos!!! First up, PiYo!!!! I was SO pumped to get this in the mail! I haven't tried it JUST yet because the weather has been AWESOME and I NEED the fresh air....and well, Jackson got SUPER sick last week.
Super pumped to try this workout!


Week 27 of pregnancy was a ROUGH week. Jackson came down with enterovirus. We THOUGHT it was Hand, Foot and Mouth, when in fact it was the other strand. VERY similar to HFM but NO sores on feet and hands (just in the mouth!). AND he can get this over and over again. NEAT.

Jackson was CRABBY. Like worse than I had ever seen him. If he drank something wrong, he'd cry. If something touched him wrong, he'd cry. If I didn't get to him quick enough, he'd cry. If a pancake was on his plate wrong, he'd cry. He wouldn't sleep. He was SUPER clingy. Meltdowns happened every few minutes. He wasn't eating. He threw up in my hair and in our bed. He had a temp of 104. Being I work full-time, I was home with him THREE FULL DAYS last week plus the entire weekend. WHOA. WHOA. WHOA. That was something. It was a VERY hard week last week. VERY. And yes, I panicked..."What were we thinking having two!?!?!? How am I going to do this??"

Our breakfasts these days!!! YUM! I LOVE Karl's homemade HEALTHY pancakes. He makes double so we pack them away and freeze them for the week. That way we can all enjoy pancakes throughout the week. Jackson LOVES them!

Somehow, you come together as a team. You figure it out. You let go of everything else going on around you and try to do your best. It was one of the LONGEST weeks of my life, but....

WE SURVIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Saturday was the FIRST DAY Jackson was back to himself. THANK THE LORD. This morning he was his SWEET self. Ahhhhhhhhhh. I can breathe again. I can sleep.

If I wasn't able to squeeze in ONE gym visit, I would have been a MESS. Working out SAVES MY LIFE!!!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

EXCITING NEWS!!!

READY TO LOSE 5 POUNDS DURING THE MONTH OF AUGUST?

Let me HELP YOU! I AM OFFICIALLY A BEACHBODY COACH!!!

You all know I love health, fitness and nutrition. I obviously love trying new recipes and sharing them with you as you can tell by this blog and by my Facebook page and Twitter feed, and well, by talking to me! I've always loved working out thanks to volleyball and my upbringing. These things bundled together are what make me tick and SHINE. I am 100% HAPPY when I get to be active, I'm in shape, feeling good, eating well and spending time with those I love. I can FEEL the light radiating off me after I get a quick run in or I played an awesome game of volleyball. 


I think HEALTH is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect in our lives. Without it, we have VERY little, if anything. 

Think about it. 

I also think Health encompasses many things, not just our bodies as they look on the outside. We could look incredible but could be an emotional mess on the inside, or could be smoking 3-packs a day, or could be drowning in credit card debt or stress or fear. I'm talking the whole package here when I talk about our HEALTH. 

So yeah, I don't mind sharing my struggles with life, motherhood, health and wellness, and pretty much EVERYTHING in this blog (I am human!) or even how much I weigh right now at 27 weeks pregnant. It's weird for me to be gaining and coaching but that's what happens when you create life:) If you're curious... At 27 weeks, I weigh as much as I did in college. What does that tell you about my diet back then? (Hello beer and pizza!) I have come a LONG way. I have learned A LOT about exercise and nutrition. 

I also don't mind sharing my frustrations... like the fact I have veins popping up all over my legs from the extra weight. For the record though, the average weight gain around 27 weeks is about 23 pounds. I'm at 24 pounds. The average weight gain for an entire pregnancy (depending on where you're at when you start) is about 25-35 pounds. I gained 39 pounds with Jackson (my son). My goal was to NOT hit 200 pounds. If it helps...I'm 5'10.
  


Anyway, I'm officially a Beachbody coach. Yay! I couldn't be MORE excited about this! Why? Well, THIS IS MY PASSION. I get to HELP people GET healthy. HELLO!!! Is this NOT me?? I've been doing it for years, but now I'm held accountable and I get to see RESULTS and I can see how FAR I can go with MY OWN BUSINESS in the health and wellness field. FINALLY!!!! I will get to see firsthand the healthy difference I am making in people's lives. This makes me so excited I can barely sleep at night! I can't wait to get going. I can't wait to CHANGE THE WORLD.

I met Meg a few years back when she was getting into the Beachbody business. She's been VERY OPEN and HONEST and REAL - three qualities I ADORE in people. She asked if I was interested then in Beachbody because she knew how important working out and eating healthy was to me. The timing felt off. I thought I was too busy. Baaahahaha. If I only knew... I basically hopped back into my comfort zone.


Basically the past few weeks, Beachbody has been popping into my head a ton. Although the timing feels a little off being pregnant and getting ready for life with TWO (I have NO idea how I'm going to manage the insanity that's about to hit) and just moving into a new house, when ideas or people pop in my head more than a few times, I truly believe God is working in us and through us. 

We've all heard of P90X and Insanity .Right?  I have friends who SWEAR by it. I've seen tons of posts about Shakeology too, especially in a lot of the "healthy mom blogs" I follow. They are these incredible shakes with ALL NATURAL ingredients that aide in weight loss and toning up muscles. Beachbody also PROMOTES and SWEARS by CLEAN eating. I do too. I can't stand all the foods out there that have a million ingredients in them that I can't even pronounce. I think by eating clean, I was able to drop a bunch of weight around our wedding (5 years ago) and keep it off...even going through (almost) two pregnancies. 

You ARE what you EAT!

My goal is to HELP others like YOU live out HEALTHY lifestyles by giving you ALL THE RIGHT TOOLS you need. Sick of being tired? Sick of the same ol' routine?? Sick of not fitting in your clothes? Sick of the same ol' food or not knowing what you should be eating? Sick of always thinking about who you could be but don't know how to change? Or are you just sick of being sick? I get it. I was there. Oh man, I was SO there!!! 


So here's the deal!!!!!! 
MY FIRST CHALLENGE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Starting Aug. 4, Meg and I are running a GET HEALTHY KICK-OFF challenge. I have 10 spots open for anyone who wants to lose 5 pounds in the month of August.  It's time to feel ALIVE and healthy again! You will GET results. You will TONE up. You WILL be held accountable. And best of all you will have a BLAST!!! 

We are having an AWESOME prize too!!! We are giving the person who loses the most inches over the 30-day period, a FREE Polar FT40 Heart Rate Watch. You are able to track calories during your workouts. I have one and IT IS AWESOME!!!!!  

PRIZE
Imagine this on your wrist when you work out!!

You will be introduced and challenged into a new healthy way of living. That is the best part. Good things happen when you fuel your body and fill your life with GOOD! You can already be a healthy person too and sign up! Heck...I'm PREGNANT and I'm going to participate too!!! I want to be RIGHT next to you through this all, cheering you on! Why? Cuz I know YOU CAN DO IT. I KNOW YOU will feel AWESOME and realize life is WAITING for you to shine, to be THE BEST YOU!

To read more about Shakeology visit my site!
To join my challenge group, sign up on my site!

Interested in hearing more about this challenge? Email me at christie.koester@gmail.com or message me below!!! I can't wait to get started!

It's going to be GREAT! You're going to BE GREAT!

Monday, July 21, 2014

House Projects and Hand Foot and Mouth

FAST WEEKENDS
Anyone ever notice how the weekends go SO fast? I have Fridays off (I am SO grateful for this!) and the weekends STILL feel extremely fast! Having Fridays off truly save me/us. I'm able to get all the housework done (and save on a cleaning lady...not sure how I feel about that!) and get us a little more organized. I also put Jackson to work! 
Before I steamed our floor

After. Can you even tell? The SHARK vacuum!


But before any of this started, the DREADED NOTE was on the door at Daycare. One case of Hand, Foot and Mouth in Jackson's classroom. OH NO. I just KNEW...KNEW...it was coming our way. We have a finger sucker. How could it not? It's going around like wildfire right now.

This weekend J was acting a little punk. I noticed he was sleepier than usual before his nap on Friday. We kept busy though, even stopping at a nursery down the way. We scooped up fresh green beans and Jackson munched on those (JUST LIKE ME!!) instead of his beloved fruit snacks. I loved this. I spent WAY too much on flowers and veggies, but couldn't resist! I was too excited to go home and get planting.
Some extra pots from our town home dying for some flowers!

DONE! 


Have you ever planted anything with a toddler? Whoa. I'm lucky I didn't get a shovel to the head or had Jackson popping the fertilizer like Pez. Jeez! This kid. I did have dirt all over my lap, feet and hair. It's OK. We survived! And it was fun. 
Love these beautiful flowers in our backyard!

Love this little dude!

Got us some Tiki torches! Those bugs are BAD!


I had to finish planting the veggies and I knew the Schwan's Man was coming AND I had a conference call coming through. I thought for SURE Jackson would take longer than an hour nap. NOPE. Wow. Juggling takes on a whole new level. But again...found a way and survived. Little J-man felt hot to me and was acting SUPER crabby. I chalked it up to little sleep.
My veggie garden. We'll see what happens this year since these are SO late. They were 50% off...


Saturday came and I was getting the same clingy, crabby Jackson. What gives? I gave him plenty of chores to do. One was making mommy and daddy coffee. He loved this. I didn't even mind that half the grounds ended up on the floor. But still. We had a family reunion to go to. He napped MAYBE 15 minutes in the car and we were off running around at the park. He was quite the pistol for us the remainder of the day. 
Homemade salsa I made for the reunion. ALL garden fresh veggies!


When J woke up on Sunday, he felt warm. He ate a pretty good breakfast but then was off. He wasn't running around. He was sitting on my lap when I was weeding. He was sitting down on his picnic bench. He was whining and crying and rubbing his eyes. He wanted to be held. What on earth? Then he got HOT. VERY HOT. Like 103 temp. I immediately gave him fluids. Maybe too many because he soaked his bed during nap and then at night too. 
I was able to get through one area of weeding this weekend!


The rest of the day he just wanted the couch. That is CRAZY. We have NEVER EVER seen him like this. He kept telling me, "fever, mommy!" Poor dude. But then he'd tell me his tooth hurt or his cheek. So after bath, I took a look with a flashlight. Sure enough...red spots and speckles in the back of his throat, side of cheeks...roof of mouth. Oh no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAND FOOT AND MOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tickling dad

Helping dad with bricks so he can sit on his picnic table without getting muddy feet!


Looks like he'll be hanging out with us the rest of the week! Poor dude. I pray for a FAST recovery. This stuff is terrible. Yuck! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

26 Weeks Pregnant

Hello! It's me at 26-Weeks Pregnant

The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he's born and takes that first gulp of air. And he's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about 1 2/3 pounds and measures 14 inches (about the size of a scallion) from head to heel. If you're having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take two to three days.

26-week's pregnant and officially the weight I was in college. 

Tons of kicking going on right now. I love it. And the weather has been great. Next week it heats up, so we'll see where I'm at with all that humidity. I can't imagine being pregnant in the summer in the deep south. Woof.

I don't know what happened last night but I was completely and totally wiped out. To the point I had to sit down a few times as I made dinner. I fell asleep on the couch while Karl gave Jackson a bath too. This NEVER happens. So after I read and prayed with Jackson, I put myself to bed and tried to crash for the night. Didn't work that well, but that's OK. My mind is always racing.

The good thing is I found time to make it to the gym last week. YAY! Yep, felt like a new person once again. So I'm carving out time this week too and am super excited for this "me" sweat-time. I did stair stepper for 25 minutes at level 8. Not bad for being away from the gym since mid-May. I swear moving into a new house was my workout the past two month. If you only saw the sets of stairs we had in the town home, you'd understand.

NO leg cramps this past week!!! (Knock on wood.) I have been drinking TONS of water and eating TONS of fruit and more walnuts this week. Is this doing the trick?? Something must be working. I also have been really focused on making and buying HEALTHY meals for the family.


Breakfast:
I switch days.
One morning is oatmeal and Malt-O-Meal mixed together with flaxseed, walnuts, fresh fruit, 2% milk and a little brown sugar and maybe 4 oz of coffee
Or else it'll be eggs with organic uncured Canadian bacon, sweet peppers and cheese and two of Karl's HEALTHY pancakes topped with flaxseed, fresh fruit and organic syrup

Snack:
The days I have oatmeal for b-fast, I have a boiled egg and a banana for my snack
The days I have eggs for b-fast, I have walnuts and a peach for my snack

Lunch:
LEFTOVERS in glass containers (not plastic) and yogurt

Dinner:
A lean meat, lots of veggies, fresh fruit. And I make enough that we have leftovers for lunch. I make the QUICK stuff. I have to. And then we EAT OUTSIDE! Oh...and sometimes I'll slip in an ice cream sandwich or a freezy!! Jackson loves these:) Me too! I forgot how good these are.

I have been feeling pretty good. I must be in the nesting stage - getting a ton of house stuff done. I get tired though. I still pee at least two times a night and wake up around 4:30/5. I try to go back to bed, but my brain won't let me.

I had my mole appointment yesterday and the skin doctor said she wasn't going to remove the five suspicious moles a volunteer doctor spotted. She said she is learning my skin and moles and gave me TWO to watch. If they grow at all, I have to get in ASAP. If not, I can wait another year. I was naked, under lights, scanners - they took notes and read my results from the moles I had removed last year. I felt good about it. Whew!!!!!!!

I weigh now what I weighed in college. 169 pounds. There you have it. Gulp. And I'm at 26 weeks. So yeah...I could push 200 pounds this time around. I cringe when I see that number. I am 5'10 and maybe have bigger bones but still.... We will see. I KNOW I'm being healthy though. It's the portions. I eat BIG BIG healthy portions. And loads of dark chocolate. Oh man.... It's OK. It'll all come off.

I keep thinking we're having a boy. A feeling came over me on this one over the weekend. I think it might have been when Jackson dropped his shorts and undies and ran around all proud, yelling..."Jackson nakens!!!"

I feel boy all of a sudden. We will see:) Our house will be HIGH ENERGY for sure. I also think I'm carrying the same again.

Thanks for reading! See you at 27 weeks!



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Skin Cancer Prevention - Mole Removal Take III

Preventing Skin Cancer
Early Detection

Here I am again - a year and five more moles later - and more skin carving. Fun stuff. This is my mole/skin post from last year. This will also link you to my mole/skin post from the year before that!
The moles we don't like this year


This past May, I went to the annual skin clinic sponsored by Park Nicollet with my friend Jenna again. (TOTALLY FREE during skin awareness month!) Thinking I might actually be in the clear this year, I instead left with a sheet that looked more like a PeeWee Herman connect-the-dots game and instructions to get in with a skin doctor as soon as I could to get my moles looked at further and cut off. Shoot!

So here I am about to go in and get sliced and diced. Our poor Health Savings Account. But this is why we have insurance, right? This is what that account is for... That, and the delivery of another baby. It'll be an expensive year for us. New car, house, baby, medical costs. Am I missing anything? Why not throw it all together in a nice neat package?

Yes, I do realize moles do change during pregnancy. However, I also know I am my best advocate and because of my awesome friend Erin who is fighting Stage 4 Melanoma, I don't take my moles or my skin lightly anymore. Not one bit. She if fighting for her life every single day. SHE was the one who saved herself!!

I know all the moles that were marked as suspicious very well. They were the exact moles I'd been watching because each one of them grew in size in a year's time. You know when you get that little voice inside you telling you something isn't right? Yeah. I'd get that voice with all these moles. Is it weird that the volunteer doctor picked them out too?

Mole growth is one of the early signs of skin cancer. They are small now (smaller than a pencil eraser), but are a lot bigger than they were last year. I decided to choose piece of mind over worry. (Come on, like I have time to worry about another thing). Once these are gone, I should have nothing to worry about until the next year when five more moles come off. :)


And for your enjoyment, here are the moles coming off! I couldn't get a photo of the two on my upper back and was going to ask Karl to take the photos but the All-Star game was in Minnesota and his favorite baseball player was involved (Pat Neshek). I knew what that meant!!! DO NOT DISTURB.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on the results! Do me a favor though - PLEASE get your skin checked today.

Leg

back of arm

Front of leg

Upper thigh