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Mr. Miller – an interview

With the recent Father’s day, I thought it would be fun to interview Mr. Miller about fatherhood:

Me: Mr. Miller, you have four kids at the tender age of 32.  How does that make you feel?

Mr. Miller: Blessed.

Me: What would you say is the best part about being a father?

Mr. Miller: When I get home from work and my kids come screaming “daddy!” to the front door.

Me: Yeah, that really is the best.  Do you think you’re the favorite parent?

Mr. Miller: …. (laughs uncomfortably) Yes.

Me: That’s okay, someone has to be. (rolls eyes) *cough* I think Major loves me the most *cough* What advice would you give a new dad?

Mr. Miller: Be supportive of your wife. Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Be patient.

Me: Those are good, Mill.  Especially the “be supportive of your wife part”.  You’re good at that one.  Did you always hope to have a house full of children?

Mr. Miller: Yes.

Me: You did? Do you want one more?

Mr. Miller: Mill, come on!

Me: Okay, okay.  I think you’re good dad.  The best, in fact.

Mr. Miller: Thanks!

Me: You take your kids to church each Sunday, why do you think that’s important?

Mr. Miller: Because it’s essential in raising spiritually strong children – I want them to know God and recognize their blessings.  Without the power of God in their lives, life is much more difficult.

Me: Well said, honey!  Well said.  One thing you’ve always supported is me staying at home with our children.  Can you explain why that’s important to you?

Mr. Miller: I just think it’s important that my children learn from their mother, and learn from love.  I mean, if someone is going to raise my children day in and day out – who better than their own mother when that’s possible?

Me: Right!  I get that.  I’d even have another if you wanted one. ;)

Mr. Miller: I’m super uncomfortable.  Let’s move to the next question.

Me: Okay, deal.  What is the most important thing to teach your kids?

Mr. Miller: Probably how to be nice, how to start a fire with sticks and no matches…

Me:  Mr. Miller, you’re such a funny guy. :P Did you have a good father’s day?

Mr. Miller: Yes.  Very good!

Me: Well good.  We think you are the very best.  I love you, honey!

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this week

This week my little Millies have swimming lessons EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Let me tell you what swimming lessons looks like for Grae : A lot of kicking and screaming and gnashing of teeth.

It is the opposite of a relaxing day at the pool. :|

Yesterday she actually did REALLY well and only cried for about half of the lesson.  Praying today is even better.  (she better grow up to be an Olympic swimmer.)

So if you’re wondering why I don’t blog anymore hardly – it’s because swim lessons took over my life/mornings and we need the full rest of the day to recover from the anxiety.  (pray for me)

Oh, also it will be 117 degrees today at swimming lessons so that will be refreshing.

This is what I wish I was doing today:

(from our anniversary getaway over the weekend)

I’ll be back soon to write about fathers day and our anniversary!

kiss! kiss! (That’s for my sister who is in Amsterdam today!!)

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to market to market

Last weekend, after visiting Great-Grandma & Grandpa Harris, we took a stroll through our favorite little town – Mr. Miller’s home town – the town his ancestors settled.  We have been talking about our ancestors a lot lately while we’ve been reading the Little House series, so it was fun to give them a visual of what our ancestors achieved here.  We went to the famous Frei’s market and enjoyed a quiet Saturday afternoon.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get over how much I love having a family of my own.  Four gorgeous children, and a husband I adore, who loves our children, me, and God fiercely.  Sometimes the overwhelming blessings I have show up in the most simple and mundane of times.  Just like on this warm, sunny Saturday at the market.

 Not sure what I did to get so lucky.

(girls darling dresses handmade by Melon Monkeys)

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Catch us Outside

If you follow us along on instagram (which I KNOW you do – right?!), you know that the Miller Manor welcomed a swing set to the backyard collection this past weekend.

I had dreamed of a swing set in our backyard since we moved in – our last rental house had one, and I loved looking out my kitchen window out back to see my kids playing on the swings.  The swings were my favorite as a young girl, and I always envied the friends I had with swings in their yards.

Swing sets can be pretttty pricey, and with all the work and projects we always have going on at this house, I didn’t want to fork out a few thousand dollars on a nice one.  So, I put the word out and kept my eye out for one that would suit our needs. (and pinned a bunch of DIY versions on my backyard board on pinterest!)

But on one fateful Friday night, the stars aligned with my mom found the PERFECT SWING SET on the local yard sale page.  I made an offer, they accepted, and we picked it up the next morning.

It’s an old schoolhouse swing set and it couldn’t be more perfect for us and our space.  We can swing as high as we want – and we do for the majority of our day!  (The best part of having your own swing set is being able to swing in your skivvies… just ask Grae.)

And just like that, this second-(or-third-or-fourth)-hand swing set became a staple part of the life we’re living here at the Miller Manor.

It really is the most SIMPLE things, y’all! ♥

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Building a Life

“She shaped her own world exactly to her liking when nobody was looking.”
– Author Unknown

A profound truth hit me when my oldest baby girl was just a few months old.  We had just moved into a cute little rental house, we didn’t have a lot of anything at the time, but happiness and contentment seemed to fill every room.

After a whirlwind romance, and an unexpected pregnancy, life had moved quickly for me in the last year and a half.  In fact, right before I met Mr. Miller, I was walking out of the darkest 4-year season of my life.

The light my life radiated now was a blinding contrast from that of the season I had recently left behind.  Only a couple of good choices had landed me here.  To take a chance on love, to say YES, to jump in with both feet into something that felt to be right in my heart.  On that one afternoon, as I swayed my baby to sleep in my kitchen, I realized that life truly can be whatever you make of it. 

From that day on, I have delved deep into the details of my life, filling them with things that make me happy.  I learned that following spiritual promptings is always a good idea, no matter how wild they may seem.  I learned that any amount of beauty can fill up a space, and make my heart happier.  I learned that a shortage of money only meant an abundance of creativity – and that often where you find simplicity, there too you will find happiness.  There was simply no excuse to not create a happy life.  And that’s exactly what I planned -and still plan- to do.

If I could share the one secret to a happy life, it would be this.  I’m so thankful that the Lord brought this knowledge to my life, and that I have a partner who trusts the inspiration I receive for our home and family.

Mr. Miller said to me recently as we drove home from our weekend trip to our trailer on the mountain, “Most of the inspiration for our family comes to you, I’m just here to help make your vision come to life.” and my heart filled right to the tippy top – because I know that the Lord is guiding us, and me as a mother to this family.  He knows my deepest desire to create a good, happy, beautiful life for my family and He is so faithful.  Always there helping guide me.  As the years tick by, we are doing just what we set out to do. Our life doesn’t come without the stresses and obligations everyone’s life has – but we chase after that light, we chase after the things that will make us happy – big or small.  We have come to learn the things that bring forth the fruit of a good life, and we go for those things.

“We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” – LDS Article of Faith 13 (my favorite AOF)

 

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friday wrap up

Friday:

12:24 : Stella writes her teacher a letter, “You are the best teacher EVER! Stay cool this summer.” (we love you, Mrs. Boshard!)

12:31 : I think of the lucky teacher who gets her next year (we’re ready for you, Mrs. Bastian!).

2:49 : The Miller ladies (me included) enjoy a cold popsicle on our 100 degree back porch (the misters were a nice touch, Mr. Miller).

3:17 : Stella dubs Grae “Sassy Frances”

That sounds about right to me!

5:05 : Offer of a SECOND date night this week comes in

5:06 : Decide to GO FOR IT after the day week I’ve had.

6:14 : Mr. Miller whisks me away to my favorite quiet country.

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Honest Abe

This year, Harlo got the “Honest Abe” award at school.

This did not surprise me one bit.  Did I ever tell you about that time I walked in to wake the girls up from school, but they were already awake and looked like a deer in the headlights?  I asked calmly, “Are you guys eating candy?” and Harlo immediately burst into tears, admitting that she had given her sisters candy.  I could hardly console her through my giggles.

Or the time I took the baby to the doctor, and she text me from home saying “I’m sorry mom but… I made a bad choice.  I used your makeup.  I know it was wrong and I am sorry.”  Precious girl couldn’t even wait the 5 minutes until I was home to break the news.

Harlo is the epitome of “painfully honest”.  I love this about her so much – she has the purest little soul.  I can always count on her for getting a straight story – even when she must tattle on herself to give it to me.

I’m sure lucky to have this little “honest abe”. <3

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Mom School

A few years ago, I found myself heavily researching home school.  We even home schooled for a short time, and I genuinely loved every second of it.  We made some sweet memories in our home schooling endeavor, and I found that it changed a whole lot about the way I mothered my children.  It was the mothering style that had drawn me into the home schooling lifestyle.

I often think of ways that we can incorporate home school into our daily lives – because that really is what home school is about.  It’s a shift in a lifestyle that is simple and lovely, full of imagination and learning in a big, beautiful world.  At least this is what I found in each home schooling family I researched.

As the summer drew closer, I realized I was going to have to get a bit more structured to entertain all the ages of my children each day, and that’s when the light bulb went off.  Summer would be the perfect time for me to incorporate those principles I found to love so much in home schooling homes.  It was the weight, and organization into subjects that didn’t pull to me as much, but with summer school, I can fill in the gaps wherever I choose.

I pulled out my old home schooling schedules and notes and pulled from that a summer schedule that will suit us.  This may be tweaked a bit here and there to establish what best fits, but here is what our schedule is like so far:

8am Breakfast and scriptures (I’ve been surprised by how well my older girls are reading along and understanding the scriptures!)
8:30 Light reading (poems), bible verses (Harlo had the great idea to try to memorize an article of faith each week)
9:00 Journaling (I’ll be setting writing prompts for the girls to journal each day)
9:30 Piano (we use a kitchen timer and set practice goals each week)
10:00 Life Skill (house chores first, followed by things like learning laundry, baking, meal prepping, grocery shopping.. whatever else we might be doing that day)
We will break for some exercise, lunch, and some play time, and then resume with reading in the afternoons.

I am hoping to establish a little book club with my older girls over the summer.  Perhaps we can each read the same book, or read one book together, and discuss it each week.  The girls are on similar reading levels now and both into chapter books.  We are loosely following Charlotte Mason’s reading list.  I love the Charlotte Mason method and have been so inspired by her teachings and have tried hard to incorporate her lifestyle methods into our home.  This will give us that little boost we needed. :)

I sit the littlest ones at the table with us to listen to our reading and discussions each morning, Grae has her own summer journal for doodling, practicing her shapes, name, etc.  They eat and play right along with us at the table as we discuss.

When Major naps, we’ll do our reading time and Grae can enjoy that as well.  This is also when we’ll do crafts or an activity that requires no one-year-olds ;).  The perk about “mom school” is that its really no pressure.  Anything is good enough.  The goal is to occupy my children’s day with wholesome structure, learning, and lots of time together.  Anything we want to learn about this summer, I’ll add  it to our “mom school” list.

The rest of our days will be filled with exploring and playing and looking for opportunities to learn wherever we are.  – And even if some days land us in front of screens, at least we did something with our days, dang it!

What things are you doing with your kids this summer?  I’d love some more ideas!

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stalling

Today I woke up to a swift blow to the mouth by Mr. Major Miller’s giant noggin.

Good thing that boy is cute, because after squishing his freshly diapered bod I wasn’t even mad.

After that, Mr. Miller climbed back in bed and fell to sleep.. because it is his day off.  I was sort of thinking it was my day off, too, but I guess not. ;)

I went to find my dog that is usually at my feet in the morning, but was missing.  Turns out he slept the entire night on the bottom bunk – bursting my heart right open.

Today I want to:

  • Hang Major’s mobile
  • Paint the laundry room
  • Find organizational bins for my pantry
  • Do the 12 loads of laundry from our cabin weekend
  • Finalize my plans for tomorrow’s “mom school” (more to come on that).

I have a big ol’ day in front of me?  Think I can do it all??

Right now I’m curled in bed besides a sleeping Mr. Miller and Finn (who came to find me after all) with my laptop.

I better get rollin’.

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a good day

I should have known yesterday was going to be a good day when I woke up to this:

As fore-mentioned, the eldest of our Millies graduated first and second grade yesterday – nothing brings nostalgia quite like the last day of school – or more so, the first day of summer break.  Was there any better feeling as a kid?  I think not.  So I invited a few of their pals over, bought two big bags of popsicles, attached the sprinkler to the hose and we had ourselves a grand ol’ first day of summer bash.

I swear – the simplest of things can make the best memories and I hope I’m helping to create those kinds of memories for my children.

After all our friends went home, it was just about time for Mr. Miller to whisk me away on our date.  It’s a charmed life, I tell you what.

We drove to the DI to unload all the “spring cleaning” I’ve been doing this week,  ran a couple errands, and ate my favorite Mad Pita.  I don’t really care what we do, as long as I’m with Mr. Miller and have his undivided attention to talk about things – like my romper I wore yesterday on date night.  “It’s cute, it just looks like something Grae has in her drawer.” I’ll take that as a compliment! Thankssamuch.

I have some ideas up my sleeve for Summer for my little Millies that I’ll be sharing more about next week… On Monday for family home evening we will make our annual Miller Summer Bucketlist and I can’t wait for the adventures this year is sure to bring!

Adventure or no adventure, I’m just glad to have all my loves all to myself for a while.

My cute “momper” is from HERE.

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Last Day!

Today is the girls’ last day of first and second grade!

At Harlo’s end of year program, as she beamed at me from the front row, standing up to accept her achievement award, I couldn’t keep the tears from falling.  She is such a good girl.  I am so grateful for her, and for the great example she is to the others.  She is truly golden.  The whole program melted my heart, and made it well worth the sore arm I had from lugging around my 30 lb baby for an hour (stroller wasn’t in the back of my car like I had thought!)… let’s not even talk about the wandering, fit-throwing threenager I was dealing with, too. Yikes!  I’m sure I looked like a real hot mess there without my husband to help, but alas, my heart was just as full as my hands.

It has been a fantastic year for both of our girls.  We are feeling all the bittersweet feelings as this year comes to a close.  I for one, love summer and having all my children at home during the days.  I feel like I can finally breathe!  But they have both had such good teachers, and we will miss them dearly!  Harlo has been dreading the last day for weeks now.  She has loved every single day of second grade and being in Mrs. Scott’s class.  For Harlo especially, we have seen her blossom this year.  It is amazing to me how impactful these teachers can be.

Stella also has made the sweetest connection with her teacher, Mrs. Boshard.  She especially loves Mrs. Boshard’s hair and is always asking me if I can curl her bangs the way Mrs. Boshard does. ha! I love that girl so much.  Each time I see Mrs. B, she is always telling me how much she adores having  Stella in her class.  As a mama, there is just really not much more you can hope for with kids in school.  Sending them off for hours of their precious days with teachers that love them as their own.  We have had that with Mrs. B and I am so grateful!  We feel like we hit the teacher lottery this year, and I’m hoping next year can live up!

 

 

Happy LAST DAY to my precious big girls.  Tomorrow you are ALL MINE for the summer and I couldn’t be happier!! :D

 

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mothers day 2017

Mother’s day has quickly become my favorite holiday.  I don’t even care.  Those haters who are like “but mothers day is a commercialized holiday – we should be appreciating out mothers everyday..” yeah, well we aren’t.  So we need a designated day in the yearly calendar to be made breakfast, drown in homemade gifts, and be told in writing how loved and wonderful we are.  But to each their own here!  You do you, and I’ll be over here eating sub-par breakfast and crying over my girls fill-in-the-blank cards that say things like “If my mom had more time she would: twirl around in her fancy dresses.” (You get me, Stella.)

In all seriousness though, I tease a lot about gifts and Mr. Miller stepping things up – but this year looked a lot like every single other Sunday.  Running late to church trying to get my girls hair done, shoes found, snack bags packed.  Walking a fussy baby through the halls of church, teaching my young women’s class, hurrying home to feed hungry bellies, rocking the baby to sleep, tidying up the house for the dinner we were hosting, and hitting my bed that night full-hearted, and exhausted.

Mother’s day was not, and never is, a day-off for me.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  This work I’m doing is work I wondered if I’d ever be able to do.  It doesn’t always seem magical in the moments, but as I have time to process it all and think about it, I see the everyday miracles of my life in every little moment raising these babies of mine.

I love Mother’s Day for what it represents to me; that I am a mother.  That my heart’s utmost wishes came true in the form of four darling children.

  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Harlo, Stella, Grae, and Major,

I love being your mother EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Don’t you ever forget it.

(P.S. Mr. Miller did get wise and ordered from my handy email.  I hope you had as much luck!)

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Because every family needs a dog

This week has been an exciting one here at the Miller Manor.  You see, Mr. Miller and I both grew up with dogs and firmly believe that no family is quite complete without a family dog.  And this past weekend, we brought our very own family dog home.

You can’t imagine how much time we took thinking and researching, preparing our home and our lives to be ready for this step – it feels like a big one!

I found our sweet guy looking online for dogs up for adoption.  When I clicked on his photo, I felt something special.  I showed Mr. Miller and he agreed, “yep. That’s our dog.”  He’s a 16 month old Llewellin Setter (I grew up with Irish setters!), he was still available, just waiting for the right family to love him well.  I assured them we were the right family, and two days later, he was on his way to our home.

He took about zero time to warm up to us completely.  He laid on the floor that night while I rocked Major, snuggled in with the girls while we read books, and slept on the side of my bed all night and hasn’t left my side since.  To say we are completely in love is an understatement.  It feels like he’s been ours all along.

As I went to pick up our new family pal, Mr. Miller worked hard finishing the backyard fence he built with his own two hands.  (Mr. Miller is not the romantic one in our relationship, but that romantic gesture of building a fence for our family was not lost on me – all the heart eyes over here!) As we sat on the back porch that night, it felt a whole lot like living our dream.  A cute little house, four kids, and a dog to run around the yard.

I am living my most favorite chapter yet – the dog is just the cherry on top!

Welcome to our family, Finn! ♥

 

 

 

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major and his mama

There is a boy who I am spending quite a lot of time with these days.

As I scrolled through my photo albums from the weekend, I found various pictures the girls have taken of me over the last few days – all of which this handsome honey is in my arms.  (You could say we like hanging out together.)

Friday dinner making:

Saturday porch sitting:

Sunday after-churching:

Then this picture popped up from “This time last year”.  Remember when we looked like this together? :

I told Mr. Miller that maybe that last pregnancy wasn’t as hard as I thought it was?  He assured me, it was.

Maybe it was.

But it was sure worth it.

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a little bit fit | finding a workout plan for beginners

First, I’d like to thank you all for the kind words you shared on my body image post.  It took all the courage I could muster to post that – I had been sitting on that post for weeks.  I felt truly inspired to share it, and I hope that it touched anyone it needed to – at the very least, I hope it presented a new perspective in how we think and talk about our own bodies.

Following that post, I will talk a little more about my actual fitness journey.  For starters though, I want to chat a bit about finding the right workout plan for me – because I thumbed through quite a few until I found something that worked.  For me it didn’t look like starting one thing and sticking with it – it looked like experimenting several different things until I found something that stuck.

*** This post is long, but I always wanted to know how people GOT in shape, not just what they did to STAY in shape, so I’m going to write down all the details.***

Years ago, after my miscarriage with a bruised and broken body and spirit, I enrolled in a yoga studio that was just around the corner from my house.  Here is where I found complete bliss in working out.  I looked forward to that yoga practice every single day, and I practiced EVERY single day.  That daily yoga practice healed me in ways I didn’t realize I needed to be healed.  I thought for sure this would be my life practice.

And then I got pregnant.

The hot yoga, which I had been doing for months and had built up stamina to, made me terribly sick, throwing up after each session.  Some women find great success with practicing hot yoga during their pregnancies, however, I was not one of them.  It made me so sad to step back from that yoga practice, but the sicker I got in my pregnancy, it became apparent I would not be doing ANY kind of yoga, or anything else for that matter that required me getting out of bed.  Bless my heart, Grae’s pregnancy was hard.  By the time I was no longer pregnant, I was anxious to get back in the flow of yoga.  However, my beloved hot yoga studio just around the corner from my home had moved across town.  Try as I might, I could not get it back into my daily routine.  The class times were off, or I would be too late driving through traffic, or – oh yeah – I had a baby who wouldn’t go longer than 45 minutes without nursing, so that also put a damper on things.  Reluctantly, and depressingly, I let my yoga pass go.

Fast forward two years and I had myself another newborn.  I had a strong appreciation for my body and a desire to take good care of it – which my body needed as that fourth baby really wreaked havoc on my bod.  I developed diastasis recti during my pregnancy, which is when the stomach muscles are stretched so much that they actually separate.  So what used to be my abs were now a very jello-y feeling substance that didn’t work properly.  The first step in healing diastasis recti is to do absolutely nothing.  You want the muscles to come back together before you start building them up again – otherwise, they build up separately and stay that way.  So now, along with less time for working out, I had less capability of working out as well.  But still, I needed (and wanted) to do something.

Then one fateful day, I loaded up my two babies in a double jogger that I had purchased from a facebook yard sale page, and walked around the block.  That day changed the course of my fitness journey.  In each day that passed, as I pushed my two babies in the stroller, I felt grounded.  My baby took his first morning nap in that stroller, while my ever-busy two year old sat still and quiet for the only time of the day.  I didn’t multi-task.  I didn’t email, or tidy, or feel like I should be doing something else.  I just simply put one foot in front of the other, and those moments of stillness and simplicity fueled me for the rest of the day.  Just like my yoga practice those years before, I found love for exercising.  In fact, it didn’t feel much like exercise at all – which is what I loved the most about it.  I looked forward to it each day.

This is how I got “in shape”.  And by that, I mean walking is how I got my body out of that sluggish, out-of-breath state that happens when you haven’t been working out for a long while (or ever).  So that is all I focused on in that time.

Then winter hit and going for daily walks with two babies got a little tough to do consistently.   So back to dabbling I went.  I toyed around with youtube workout videos, did a free week trial at the gym near me, but didn’t find anything that made me feel that grounded-ness like my morning walks or yoga had done.

My sister does BBG (Sweat With Kayla workout program), but she’s an actual athlete (runner), so I was intimidated, but figured I would give it a free week trial anyway.  To my delight, going for walks is a part of the workout plan, so right off I felt good about it.

I have found that with little ones and tight schedules, home workouts work really well for me.  I also love that it was only 25 or so minutes long.  The workouts are tough – in fact I couldn’t even get through one entirely for a couple weeks, but I did my best and found a new groove.  I do resistance workouts in my living room 3 days a week, and go for walks 3 days a week (or more because my babies love walks!).

There are a few reasons I love BBG – First because I can do it at home (but it also works well with the gym if you’re a gym gal), with very little equipment.  That makes it so doable for me.  Another thing I love is that it’s all women based, and there is a HUGE #bbg community on instagram.  The girls are always so helpful and forthcoming about works for them – not to mention inspiring!  I love seeing the progress pictures people post and the tips and tricks they share.  I also SUPER love that it’s highly encouraged to not focus on a number on the scale.  Progress pictures are recommended, which I feel are so much more productive anyway.  I don’t do scales, so this worked really well for me.  It’s the type of positivity and encouragement I feel good about – there is no body shaming, everything is so positive.

And last, and very importantly, is that it has really worked.  I just finished week 11 and I have seen such a change in my body.  My legs, abs, and arms are more toned – I’ve slimmed down a bit, but mostly just tightened up which is exactly what I was after.  I can tell I’m getting stronger each week as I can do more and more all the time, which is rewarding.  I’ve taken things really slow.  I’m hoping to make a real lifestyle out of exercising – so I was careful not to “crash and burn”.  I have weeks where I kill it (this week), and weeks where I skip more workouts than I’d like (last week), but I take it all in stride.  I’ve got a looooong time to get it right, no rush.

Most importantly, I’m enjoying it.  I’m feeling good in my own skin, I’m feeling stronger, and I have more energy.  So for now, this is a great fit for me.

There is a lot more to share about this – so I’ll be popping on to chat about this type of stuff here and there.  If you have any questions or would like me to go more into detail about a certain thing, leave your comments here and I’ll round them up for another post.

Here’s to HAPPY and HEALTHY living!

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