Swim Readiness: Then and Now

This post was sponsored by Speedo. Thanks for the products you sent to me and Emma Kate!

Before I had a baby, getting dressed and ready to swim was a fairly simple task. I only had to think about what I needed to do for myself, and myself alone. Oh how I took for granted those simpler times, because getting a child ready to swim is a whole different ball game! I wanted to take you through my step by step process of what it’s like now to get ready to go to the pool/water with a toddler.

The dance of the swimsuit:

First I have to actually convince my toddler to get into her swimsuit. This may or may not involve chasing, begging, wrestling, and crying (me, not her). Ok, so maybe I’m kidding a little, but once Emma Kate saw her adorable new sun shirt from Speedo, she asked me to immediately help her get it on. This sun shirt is quick drying. It also is UV50+ and provides protection from harmful sun rays. To learn more about this product, go to this page. Emma Kate was obsessed with the butterflies on it!

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The “slather”:

Putting sunscreen on a child is very, very important, but also extremely difficult. As a teenager, I worked at a local summer camp, and distinctly remember how hard it was to get squirmy four year olds to stay still long enough to coat them in the protective stuff. Inevitably, one would turn their head and sunscreen would get in their eyes, hair, etc. Thankfully, Emma Kate understands the importance of sun protection, and knows she will not get to go near the water without it, so she generally complies without too much fuss when I slather it on her.

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Swim Shoe shuffle:

We have a water table and kiddie splash pad we like to set up in the backyard. However, we quickly realized that when the concrete gets wet, it’s quite slippery. I immediately got Emma Kate some swim shoes from Speedo, and now she is much safer. They are also great for the pool or pool deck so their little feet don’t get blisters! We love the awesome colors too, and how easy it is to get them on and off with their four way stretch.

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Rules were made to be broken—er… followed:

I know Emma Kate is only two, but she had a pretty firm grasp on what is expected of her when we are near water. No running, no getting in the water without me, and always wear your swim vest/life jacket. We obey other adults and life guards and stay in the shallow water. Even at her age I feel it’s important to be consistently repetitive so she knows what is expected of her ahead of time.

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The rinse:

I always think it is wise to rinse off in the shower (most pools have an outdoor one nearby) before getting in the water. I mean, we are dealing with toddlers here, and at any given time there are five different kinds of food stuck to her face and in her hair, and we don’t want to get that in the pool.

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So on top of getting mommy in her cute Speedo swimsuit and cover up, (My new swimsuit has great adjustable straps on the top, and is stretchy and flexible. My cover up is super comfy and has a lightweight, cute racerback design) and getting sunscreen applied, there are a lot of other things to consider these days. I have to plan ahead, and make sure I have allowed enough time to get together everything we need for a fun and successful day in the water.

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Affiliate links are not associated with Speedo.

Emma Kate: Two Years Old

I can’t believe I am typing these words out. My little baby turned two years old on Saturday. It’s a bittersweet time for me, knowing that she is no longer a baby, but also very glad she is more independent (ha is she ever) and can do some things on her own. There is so much to say that I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s start with the stats.

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EK had her two year old check up yesterday, and weighs 31 pounds and nine ounces (96%) and is 36.5 inches tall (97%). Head circumference is 87%. She is in size 5 diapers, and clothing is a really wide range. She is mostly in 3T, but in some things can wear a 2T or a 4T. Footed PJ’s are a 3T. She is about to bust out of her size 6 shoes, I’m hoping we can get another couple weeks out of her sandals while we still have warm weather.

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Emma Kate loves to try to put on clothes and shoes, and always reminds me to put a bow in her hair. Poor child has been brainwashed by her southern mama to think she has to have one every day. Bless it.

We hit the terrible twos a long time ago, and girlfriend has quite the sassy attitude and loves to push the limits. We have been using time out, and she (usually) responds well to that. She likes to do things herself, and won’t let me help with her food, utensils, or when she can’t get a toy just right. She gets easily frustrated and likes to throw things down she she gets mad.

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Emma Kate has had an obsession with Finding Nemo for a couple months now, and we legit watch it every single day. She can say a lot of the lines, and is mesmerized by the fish. Never did I think my super hyperactive child would sit still and watch a movie, but she will sit and watch Nemo for 20-30 minutes. She still likes Mickey/Minnie mouse and Elsa, but as far as TV prefers to watch Nemo. She also has an obsession with YouTube Kids on my iPad and will ask to watch it all. the. time. (Gasp. I know, go ahead. Judge all you want, but sometimes mama needs 30 minutes and the iPad does the trick). She still loves dogs, and really all animals and making animal sounds. Lately, she has been singing a lot. Her favorites are the ABC song, and the happy birthday song. She still loves puzzles, and also likes to do anything I am doing around the house like sweeping, helping with the laundry, etc.  It’s funny how quickly things change, because I know in a couple months she may have totally different things she loves!

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As far as speech, Emma Kate is always talking, but I don’t always know what she’s saying, although I have gotten better at using contextual clues to decipher. She’s speaking in a lot more over two word sentences lately, and says the funniest things. If she bangs her head on the door, she will wag her finger at it and say “no no, bad door!” and she is always saying “hush Bella, get down!” to the dog. She loves going outside “outside mama outside!” and eating.

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Speaking of eating, she went straight from her highchair to a “big girl” chair several months ago, without a booster seat. Oh well. Saves me some money I guess! She loves to eat cheese, apples, strawberries, yogurt, lasagna, beans, and chicken. I kept sweets from her as long as I could, but now she asks for cookies. Whoops!

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Sleep is still going great at night. She is still in her crib, and goes to bed at 7:15, and waked up between 6:00-6:15 usually. Naptime still isn’t going great. I had hoped after she turned one and dropped that second nap that her one nap would get longer, but it unfortunately didn’t. An “average” nap is 45 minutes to an hour, and anything over that is considered “long” for her. I so envy my friends who have kids that nap 2.5-3 hours a day, but i’m also grateful to have a great nighttime sleeper.

The best is when she gives us kisses at night and says “I love you too” when we say prayers and put her to bed. I know I will blink and she will be 12, then again and she will be 22, so as much as I want her to get a little bit older so we can do more fun things together, I don’t want it to happen TOO quickly. We love you bug! Happy birthday!

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QOTD: What is something funny you did as a kid or something your kids do that your parents/you still talk about?

 

**The WINNER of the Keep it Chill gaitor is Lisa Schneider! I will shoot you an email.

Montgomerys on the Move

Well, the time has finally come to share some BIG news with you. I shared it first with my email subscribers yesterday, because I always tell them news first (sign up here), and I already felt so much better last night after getting it off my chest.

I explained to my subscribers that lately I have felt like I was doing something wrong by keeping a secret from you all. It has become difficult to share personal stories of things going on in our lives simply because if I did, it would give my secret away. I know my blogging lately has been sporadic, and unfortunately it will continue to be that way for a little while longer, because my friends…the Montgomery family is packing up and moving to FLORIDA!

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I cheated. This picture is from last summer.

Whew. Ok, now I really feel better for letting the cat out of the bag to everyone. Funny how when you withhold information, even if you have a good reason, it can feel like a lie/wrong doing. There was still a lot up in the air until recently (and frankly, there still is,) but I decided now felt like the right time to share, just…because.

Ok, so here are some of the details. I am not ready to share everything 100% yet for various reasons, but here is what I can tell you:

WHO: Me, Bobby, and Emma Kate, of course. We have been within 3 hours of our families for years, so this will be WAY out of my comfort zone.

WHAT: Moving. We already established this right? Smile with tongue out

WHEN: Sometime in mid to late November. So, soon. This is scary because our house is still on the market. We had an offer a couple weeks ago that unfortunately fell through. We can’t buy another house until this one sells…so you get the picture.

WHERE: All I am willing to say right now is “central Florida”. More to come. Stay tuned.

WHY: Bobby has gotten an awesome new job, something he has worked really hard for, for a long time now. Thankfully both of my jobs are work from home, so I will still be doing what I love!

HOW: That’s a really good question. There is a lot to get settled, so we would so appreciate prayers right now for a few key things to fall into place. I know God’s timing is perfect, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about all of the things working out in time for us to move. It gives me a headache just to think about it. I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about leaving our current town. This is where Bobby grew up, and we truly do love it here. In particular, our church and gym, and the friends that come along with both are going to be very very hard to replace, and I’m frankly not sure it’s possible. I have gotten to know so many great people who have helped me a ton, especially in the past year, and if I think about leaving them it really upsets me.

Change has always been hard for me, and I’m incredibly sentimental so this whole process has been overwhelming. Please know if I take a little longer to answer emails or seem out of sorts for the next couple of months, that I’m just super busy doing all of the things for all of the people, and I will hopefully get back into a new routine once we get settled. I have had a couple of people ask me why I haven’t been marketing my new book much anymore, and now you know why. I have been packing boxes, doing research, and so many other things as we prepare to move. I can’t wait to share a new area, new adventures, and a new life with all of you here in my little corner of the world! Thanks for hanging in there with me.

QOTD: How do you handle change? Are you sentimental? Thoughts on Florida?

Football, Running, and Miss America

Morning! We had a wild but good weekend visiting my family down in Louisiana. The drive down was fine, and Emma Kate did great. My dad grilled steaks for dinner, and we just hung out at the house. Saturday morning, I went for an eight mile run in my parents neighborhood. I got started around 7:45, and the run felt more like a swim. Someone needs to tell the weather that it’s post labor day and we are supposed to have cooler temps now, mmk?

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After the run, I went with my dad to run a few errands and I took a quick nap when Emma Kate napped. That run just zapped all my energy! How adorable is my little LSU fan?!?

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That afternoon, my buddy Jen and her family came over to eat dinner and hang out. The guys watched football and us girls hung at the kiddie pool.

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My sweet friend also brought me a daiquiri. One thing Louisiana does right is drive thru daiquiri stores. She got me pineapple and amaretto and it was amazing.

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We also watched the LSU game that night (they won!)

Sunday morning we took Emma Kate for a walk, and just hung out at the house. We left right after lunch so Emma Kate would hopefully nap on the way home (she did, praise the Lord!) I was super excited about Sunday night, because it was the Miss America pageant! My sweet friend Laura Lee is Miss Mississippi. She took boot camp with me this summer, but I have known her almost ten years. her big sister was my sorority little sis, we were in each others weddings, and our girls are just a couple weeks apart in age. Our boot camp class decided to have a watch party and it was a blast! We had food, wine, and lots of fun.

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They started the show by announcing the top 15, and we were all SO nervous. Laura Lee was announced LAST and we all lost it when her name was called.

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She did amazing and ended up getting 5th place! I think she deserved higher, but we are so, so proud of our sweet friend. She represented our state so well and I know she will go on to do amazing things.

Emma Kate spent the night at Bobby’s sisters house, so it was nice not having to be “on alert” for the night listening for a crying toddler (moms I know you know what I mean!) Overall a great weekend with family and friends. Is it Friday yet?

QOTD: Do you watch pageants? Who did you want to win Miss America? Did your football team win?

Frozen Birthday Party

On Saturday, we had Emma Kate’s second birthday at our yogurt shop, Orange Leaf. I was not nearly as creative as last year, and everything was kind of last minute, but we still had a great time! I feel like having a party at our house last year was a “rookie new mom mistake”. It was super stressful not only getting things ready for the party, but deep cleaning the house and then cleaning up after. Having it at another location is the way to go!

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We had a little bit of food like donut holes, fruit, chex mix, and deviled eggs (and of course cake and frozen yogurt!) We kept it simple with bottled water and kool-aid in a cooler under the table. The Frozen decorations were bought at Wal-Mart, and the utensils, tablecloth, balloon holders, and a couple of the plastic trays I got at the Dollar Tree. We had a helium tank from Wal-Mart leftover from last year’s party, too.

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The birthday girl was way too busy to smile for pictures.

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Except when it comes to her daddy. She always smiles for him! her shirt is from Etsy, and her skirt is from Wal-Mart.

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Emma Kate was so good and sat in her chair and ate fruit, froyo, and cake the whole time!

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We had a lot of special friends and family attend, and the shop was a great place to let the kids run around and go nuts.DSC_0009

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My mom made Emma Kate’s cake. After paying $45 for a cake last year, we decided on the homemade route and it came out great! We did a boxed mix but used homemade icing which was amazing. I will forever use this icing when I make anything! (It may or may not have had 4 sticks of butter in it!)

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Lately, Emma Kate has been all about singing the happy birthday song, so she was mesmerized when everyone started singing it to her.

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She wasn’t so sure about blowing out the candles, and to avoid a spit on cake, Bobby blew them out for her. We used food coloring for two of the layers of the cake, and I think it came out great! The Frozen characters on top are from Amazon, and the banner on the cake is from Etsy.

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This pictures cracks me up. Unfortunately I didn’t think to do a photo with all the kids and a bunch of them had already left, but we rounded up who was still there and tried to get a photo. The parents were all jumping around trying to get the kids to look. It was awesome.

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The little boy, Emma Kate, and the little girl on the right were all born within a week of each other! So fun to watch them grow over the past two years.

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We had a great time celebrating our girl and can’t believe she will be two in a couple of weeks. I really loved the low stress party we did this year. We just have so many other things going around, I honestly didn’t have any more energy to put into it than what I did. I still think she had a great time. I know I did.

QOTD: Favorite party theme or location? Do you prefer a party at your house or somewhere else?

5 Things Friday XXII

We made it to Friday! I know my blogging has been a little erratic the last few weeks and I apologize. I have a good reason, hopefully I will be able to tell you all soon! For now, enjoy my 5 things for Friday.

1.) Hair Help: Confession. I haven’t gotten my hair cut in about a year. I was determined to not “give in” to the frustrating and oppressive heat that usually causes me to chop my hair off in the summer. While I am happy to say I made it through the worst of it, my hair has seen better days. It is so thick, that on my first day back at boot camp on Monday, even with two ponytail holders in my hair, my ponytail kept sliding down the side of my head due to the weight. I had had enough. Even though I was sweaty and disgusting, I drove straight to the salon, got a trim, and asked her to thin the heck out of my hair. When she was done, it looked like a small dog was laying on the mat. I wish I would have taken a picture. Anyway, I feel much lighter and better now that I got some hair help. Anyone else have to get their hair thinned?

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2.) Macros: My trainer at the gym convinced me to try out counting macros. I am usually NOT a fan of counting calories etc, it’s way too restrictive and time consuming for me and I would rather just go by how I feel, but after my last weigh in/body fat test last week I left feeling frustrated. I have lost 3 pounds since May, but my muscle mass has somehow gone done and my body fat is slightly elevated. I’m going to start lifting heavier, and she suggested I just try out counting macros for a bit so I’m giving it a whirl. What I have learned in two days is that I need to eat less fats and carbs but more protein, which I am finding difficult!

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3.) Olympic Emotions: Wow. This week was such a heart breaker for my USA volleyball girls April and Kerri. I really thought they would get that gold. It’s so tough to lose any game, but I can’t imagine losing such a huge match that you have worked so hard for. However, I’m super happy for my gymnastics girls, and proud of how our marathon girls represented last weekend. So inspiring!

4.) Flood Relief: The national news media has done a TERRIBLE job of covering the flooding and devastation in south Louisiana just 45 minutes from where I grew up. Y’all, it’s bad. Over 40,000 homes destroyed, 11 people have died, over 10,000 people in shelters. So many have lost everything. I have had a couple people ask how they can help. If you are local, there are so many places taking up items. Tomorrow, our local Lowe’s is having a “fill a truck” drive all day, and our gym is collecting things like diapers, toiletries, and wipes. My church is also collecting every day, and sending out several relief teams on day trips if anyone is interested in going. Samaritan’s Purse (they do the Christmas child shoeboxes that I love), are sending disaster relief teams and supplies, and you can donate to them online here. Do a google search or go to nola.com to see pictures and other ways you can help.

5.) Happy Birthday: Emma Kate’s birthday is September 24th, but we have decided to have her party early, on Labor Day weekend. We will be having a Frozen themed party at our yogurt shop (get it, frozen yogurt? haha). We are going to keep it fairly simple, just a fun time to hang out and eat some snacks and yogurt with friends. Emma Kate loves princess Elsa so this should be fun!

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QOTD: Any frozen party ideas? Thoughts on the Olympics so far? Do you count macros?

5 Ways to Tame Your Kid Clutter, While Teaching Them Valuable Lessons

I don’t know about you, but one of the hardest areas of clutter to tame in my house has to do with the tiny dictator that runs our house. Our almost two year old somehow has more stuff than my husband and I combined! Her birthday is coming up soon, so I know that will bring even more stuff. I decided to do a major overhaul of her things recently, and here are some tips that not only helped me, but I’m hoping are teaching her some valuable life lessons as well.

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1.) Get rid of a toy before bringing a new one in: We have a rule where if we buy our daughter a bigger toy (not talking about Happy Meal toys here), that she has to get rid of something before the new toy comes in the house. Right now she is too young to understand, so I just pick something for her. Luckily since she is changing so quickly right now, she “outgrows” a lot of her toys so it’s easy to choose something that needs to go. As she gets older I plan to let her do the picking.

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2.) Don’t buy toys every time you go in the store: I know a lot of parents use toys as a reward for good behavior while shopping, or to keep a kid quiet in the cart for a few minutes. However, in my opinion, this is a bad habit that leads to an expectation every time you go into a store. Sure, there are times Emma Kate gets a special toy or treat, but certainly not every time. We avoid the toy aisle, and I make sure she has things that she already owns to keep her occupied while I shop. Not only does this teach a good lesson, but it keeps random toys you weren’t expecting on having from popping up all over your house from impulse buys.

3.) Find a cause and donate: There are some great organizations out there that will take gently used toys, furniture, books, etc. There may be a family in need in your community that would love to have your child’s toys. Check with a local church or daycare, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Again, this is a great way to teach your kids about families less fortunate than yours, and also get rid of some of the toys they no longer play with.

4.) Have a home for everything: This applies for everything in my house and I discuss it in my book, but I have found when I don’t have a specific “home” for something, I end up just throwing it wherever and that leads to clutter. We use lots of bins and baskets as well as shelves for Emma Kate’s toys. If something doesn’t fit or have a home, we either get rid of things to make room, or create another bin/basket so the toy doesn’t just get lumped in with random things.

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5.) Teach you kids to enjoy experiences and not things: Emma Kate is still a little young to understand this concept, but we would much rather do something fun with her than buy her things. She loves simple things like the splash pad and the playground at Chick-fil-A. These things are entertaining for hours and don’t clutter up your house. Our kids really just want our time and attention anyway, so save yourself some money as well as space in your home, and expose your kids to new experiences. Those memories will last forever!

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QOTD: What is your best tip for taming kid clutter?

runDisney Star Wars Runners!

Guess what? Yesterday, I registered myself, Bobby AND Emma Kate for the runDisney Star Wars races! Yes, we haven’t even taken Emma Kate yet to Disney (she is going in October) and we are already planning a trip back in April for Star Wars!

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Bobby and I decided to just run the half marathon (my parents will be there to watch EK) and then she will do the kids race on Saturday. We have had our fill of challenges from Goofy to Dopey and me doing Glass Slipper, that we are fine just doing one race this time so we have more time (an sleep! and money!) on this trip.

I will say, I had quite the scare yesterday when I was trying to register the family. I registered myself just fine, but when I went to register EK and Bobby, it said they were already registered! I panicked, but after being reassured by some folks on Facebook, was told to wait a few minutes and try again in a different browser. I did, and was finally able to get all three conformations.

I have done many, many runDisney races, and offer lots of advice in my runDisney section, but the kids races will be a FIRST for me. So, I need all your best tips to make this the best possible experience for Emma Kate. Fire away, I need your help!

QOTD: Are you doing Star Wars? Any kids races advice for me?

August 2016 Goals

I can’t believe it. I actually have a monthly goals list ready to go on the first of the month! Hooray! I have been a few days behind lately, so I was determined to be on time for August. Before we see what my August plans are, let’s see how I did in July:

1.) Clean out my work closet: C+ I did half of this, but there is just so much to do I didn’t get to finish. It’s carrying over again for the third month. I’m determined!

2.) Finish boot camp strong with more muscle mass: A+ Yes! While I haven’t actually done my body fat test yet (I decided to wait and do it before we start our next round in a couple weeks) I KNOW I finished strong. I have more muscle in my legs and arms, and I weight less than I have in years. So gaining muscle AND losing weight is really all I can ask for. Happy with my progress.

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3.) Get my eBook launched on time: A+ This was a big one, and I am happy to say everything went really well! With the help of some amazing people, I was able to launch my book on time and get the word out. It’s so much fun to wake up in the morning and check my book sales. You can check it out for yourself here.

4.) Read my Bible every day: A- I read my Bible almost every day, except Saturday. Saturdays are just hard for me for some reason. I guess because I am not in my normal work week routine?

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August is going to be another crazy month around here for some reasons I am hoping I can share with you very soon, but I just can’t quite share yet. Because of that, I can’t share every single monthly goal I have, so my blog list will be a little shorter. Trust me when I say I’m bursting at the seems to share and will do so as soon as I can! Also remember, I will share my news first with my email subscriber VIP list. You can sign up for that here, as well as get free printables to help you track your monthly goals and fitness progress.

August Goals:

1.) Finish that darn upstairs closet: Carryover from the past two (sigh) months.

2.) Stick to my training schedule: I mentioned last week that I started training for fall and winter races. I will be honest and say the thought of running a half marathon right now is daunting because it’s just so hot, but I know I have to start training now in order to be ready in October/November/December. This is making it hard for me to want to get out and run and follow a training plan, but I really need to in order to stay on track.

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QOTD: What is a goal you have for August? Did you meet your July goals?

Excitement

Ok y’all, so there is a lot of negativity going around the social media world right now. I can barely stand to get on Facebook because it makes me so sad. Because of this, I felt like doing a fun not so serious post today to remind me of all the happy and excitement that is still going on. Maybe you can take a quick break from reality with me today. Get excited!

1.) Olympic Fever: I can’t even begin to put into words what a HUGE Olympics nerd I am. I will be glued to my TV the entire time. it really doesn’t matter what sport it is. I just can’t get enough! That being said the two I am most looing forward to are Women’s Gymnastics, and all the volleyball action. I have been deleting things from my DVR to make sure I have space to record all the things.

4.) Birthday girl: Recently my mom asked if I had started planning Emma Kate’s 2nd birthday party. Uhh….no? I can’t believe her birthday is in two months, so I need to get busy. What do you think would be a good theme for a 2 year old?

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Photo from her 1st birthday party

3.) News this week: I would really appreciate your prayers on Thursday. We are finding out some information that could be a huge deal for my little family on that evening. That’s all I can share right now, just know it could be really good, or really disappointing, so I’m going to think positive!

4.) 3 months until Disney: Three months from TODAY we will be checking into my happy place for five days of fun! This will be Emma Kate’s first visit, and I can’t wait to see Disney World through her eyes. So much planning still to be done! You can bet there will be some matching shirt action happening as well. Oh just wait my friends. We are so going to be “that family”.

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5.) Affiliate fun: The launch of my eBook is going well, and I would love to offer up something to anyone who is interested. I am opening up an affiliate program for my eBook, where you would earn 35% of every book sold through a unique link I would set up for you. If you are interested, please email me at heather@heatherslookingglass.com and put the word “affiliate” in the subject line. I would also provide you with some photos if you would like to set them up on your blog or use them in social media posts. Let me know!

QOTD: What Olympic event are you most looking forward to watching? Any party theme ideas? Anyone heading to Disney this fall?