A Butterfly Around Here

This weekend I took a (much needed) break from running around the house trying to organize, clean and downsize everything we have jammed into closets and extra bedrooms.  Truth be told, we don't actually have that much clutter or extra boxes around, but I am continually on a quest to make the house more organized, cohesive and stress-free.  For me, a box of who-knows-whats is something that aggravates me and stresses me out.  So I'm really trying to get as much of that out of the way as possible before baby comes (because I can only imagine all the additional stuff we'll have in the house in November!!)

Anyway, back to the point of this post.  I took a break from doing this cleaning out and watched a documentary that I had added to my list in Netflix.  If I'm going to take time to watch a show, 90% of the time it will be something on Netflix.  I love that there are no commercials and I can watch it much more quickly than on a normal station - plus, there's none of that "I'm going to flip channels for the next 20 minutes trying to find something remotely interesting, just to turn it on in the last 10 minutes of the show".  Netflix = timesaver.

And, once again, back to the point of the post.  I pressed play on a documentary called Paper Clips and the entire thing was, quite simply, breathtaking.  It is the story of a middle school in Whitwell, Tennessee that decided to learn about the Holocaust and the 11 million lives that were lost (6 million Jewish lives and 5 million other lives including homosexuals, Romani, the disabled and more).  The students started thinking about the Jewish toll of 6 million lives and realized they couldn't even imagine 6 million of anything, let alone lives.  

Paper Clips Documentary

They decided to make a collection, and that collection ended up being paper clips.  The students wrote to celebrities, townspeople, government officials and everyone in between to help collect the 6 million paperclips.  It was slow-going at first, but news of the project hit the media and interested parties started contacting the school.  Not only did they surpass their original goal of 6 million (at the end of the film they had received 29 million paperclips!) they were, in the process, changed.  

The students learned about the Holocaust not just from textbooks, but from survivors of the Holocaust.  They received letters with paperclips dedicated to the memory of those who perished and several survivors came to the small town to speak to them personally.  Watching these stories was incredible in an absolutely heart-breaking way.  The atrocities the survivors witnessed and lived through is something completely unimaginable to me - but something that I will try to not forget.  If you haven't seen this documentary yet, I urge you to do so.  You just might never look at a paperclip the same way again.

After watching it I was reminded of my time in Prague in college.  While there, we visited a Jewish cemetery and a children's art exhibit from Terzin, a camp-turned-ghetto where an unknown number of already-condemned Jews were sent en route to concentration camps.  While there, we walked through a memorial for the children who spent time here.  The children were unaware of what exactly was happening - though they were aware enough to know that it was bad.  They drew pictures, colored and wrote poems - and these were later put into a book called I have not seen a butterfly around here.  

I have not seen a butterfly around here

The book is something I hold dear but which also breaks my heart.  Under each drawing and poem is the child's name, date of birth and also date of death or the simple word 'survived'.  There are very few that say survived, and the thought that the little hands that drew pictures of princesses, wrote of butterflies and dreamed of going into "the far unknown, there, where no one kills another" is almost too much to comprehend.  

If you are able, I encourage you to visit Terzin and spend time there. I didn't get to visit the camp itself, but even just visiting the cemetery and the children's art exhibit will stay with me forever. But don't just walk through and see what there is to be seen - but to truly be there and experience it for what it is.  If you are unable to do that, I still encourage you to watch Paper Clips and spend a bit of your day thinking about how lucky we are to not be living the nightmare that so many had to endure.  Along with that, I stress that it is up to each of us to not take our blessings, freedom and the accompanying responsibility for granted.  The Holocaust was horrible, but it was not the only genocide and it was certainly not the most recent.  People deserve to live - and when that is ripped away from them for political motives or pure hatred, that is a stain on not only the perpetrators, but also those who stand by and watch.  

I don't normally post about these things on this blog, but the impact of this film and my memories compelled me to do so.  And, if we can't share who we truly are and what we truly feel, why share anything at all?


Kill Doubt + Start to DREAM!

It is almost the end of JULY!!  Summer has been flying by but luckily we still have a couple months left to enjoy the sun and sand (or, in Minnesota this year, the rain and thunder!!)  When summer is in the horizon a lot of us will say it's time to buckle down, get our workouts in, eat well and lean up for the summer weather and outfits.  By the time the Fourth of July is over, though, it's easy to have slipped into barbecues, beers and not really watching what is happening to our bodies anymore.

It doesn't have to be like that, though!  On August 11th I am starting a challenge group specifically for people who want to knock their results out of the park for the last half of summer and really see some BIG changes in their bodies!  Just wanting a slimmer, healthier, stronger body doesn't guarantee that we will get it - we have to work for it! As I have learned, it's a whole lot more fun to work towards these goals when you have people supporting for you, cheering you on and helping you overcome those bad days and temptations (that we all have!)

So what exactly is the point of this group, then?  

Challenge groups were designed to give you the best nutrition, fitness and support available anywhere - with no gym membership required!  You can be in a challenge group from home, while on vacation and while working a full-time job with crazy hours and 2 kids at home, too.  

The goal of the group is to help you set goals and then reach them.  In the beginning of the group we will discuss goal-setting so you can not only reach your big goals, you can do it in a healthy and intelligent way.  A challenge group is not about a quick-fix or a short-term weight loss.  This is for people who want to change their life and their health and NEVER go back to where they were again.

What do you have to do?

To be in a challenge group there are only a couple things you have to do.  First, you have to want to change.  I, as your coach, will be with you every step of the way to help you get to your goals, but you have to make the decision that you will get there!!  Secondly, you will choose a Beachbody workout program and commit to drinking Shakeology one time a day for the length of the group.

Beachbody programs are not all the same - there is truly something for everyone.  If you're unfamiliar with the programs or just aren't sure where to start, I can help you pick the perfect one to get the results you want to see!  Throughout the group we will be crafting weekly meal plans, and incorporating Shakeology into this makes this process even easier!  Shakeology isn't your standard shake - it's not a protein shake, it is a tried-and-tested daily meal replacement shake that gives you incredible nutrition at an awesome cost.  Beachbody refuses to use second-rate ingredients or production techniques, so you will get first-rate results with first-rate health!

How do I get started?

To get started, all you have to do is let me know that you're interested.  Then, we can chat about how this can work for you and I can help you choose a program!  I will then add you to a closed online support group where we will chat daily throughout the course of the group.  My job is to make sure you get the results you want and I take that job seriously!

Every morning in the group I will give you a mini-assignment to complete, something to think about, a tip, recipe or general motivation - repeating this over 60 days can completely transform your life and your body (it did for me!)

Fill out the application below and you're already on your way!!

Online contact and registration forms from Wufoo.


21 Week Bump Date

Holy Hannah how is has are we already at 21 weeks??  Last week I was celebrating being halfway through the pregnancy- and now we're officially a week beyond even that!  This past week has been, in a word, busy!!!  On Monday our very first 'baby-inspired' shopping spree became a reality when our new furniture was delivered!  After finding out we were expecting I decided very quickly that the old sofa and loveseat had served their purpose and it was time for us to upgrade.  We are both so glad to have made this decision!  I absolutely am in love with our new furniture and can't wait to have the little one home with us to enjoy it as well!  

This is our new sofa (and pillows!) in all its glory!  I took a long lunch on Monday, as the estimated delivery time was between 11 and 1.  They showed up well within that time frame and moved it all in for me - I was pleased as punch!  Luckily, our old furniture also found a new home - without even having to put it on the front curb!  A woman I work with recently purchased new land in northern Minnesota, and she'll be using our furniture in one of her new living rooms - a perfect fit!  

I had a bad morning on Wednesday, but beyond that I have been feeling pretty healthy everyday - what a blessing that is!  I still have nights where all I want to do is fall asleep at 830, but even those seem to be less frequent than they once were.  

Friday Jake and I had a mini date night at a local state park.  It was great!  After work we headed south of Mankato to Minneopa State Park, had a picnic dinner and then walked around to see the falls and the river.  We did this same date night last year in the fall and the waterfalls were barely trickling - it had simply been so dry that there wasn't enough water to fall!  This year, though, the water was absolutely rushing!  It was really cool to see the difference between the two years.  The water was shockingly green, too - it reminded me of St. Patrick's Day in Chicago with the river turned green!  This was all natural, though, of course :)

It's strange to think that last year when we went we had no immediate plans to start a family.  This year, we obviously are well in to the journey!  Next year we will have to make sure to go and bring the little one along!  Three years with three entirely different family situations - pretty cool!

Saturday I did a bunch of stuff around the house - but that's for next week's post ;)  For now, here's my week 21 baby bump picture!

Weight: 195 (+10 pounds from 185)

Sickness: Horrible morning sickness on Wednesday, but other than that I've been great!  I woke up feeling super dizzy, which could be attributed to the early dinner I had on Tuesday.  I went a long time without eating, which can definitely screw you up a bit!  Breakfast on Wednesday didn't stay down, but I was able to rest a bit and go into work for a couple hours at the end of the day at least!

Cravings: Last week it was blueberry muffins, so I had those throughout this week, but beyond that I didn't have any cravings!

Food Aversions: Nothing new this week!

Clothing fittings: I've been wearing the heck out of the clothes I bought last week, but I'm also still able to fit into the majority of my pre-pregnancy clothes so I have been alright on this front.  Black pants?  I still hate them (and probably always will!)

Sleep: Sleeping has been getting better, but it's still not great.  I have essentially created a fort of pillows on our bed - one pillow under my butt, one between my legs and three layered behind my head.  It's an improvement!  I've heard a lot about these pregnancy pillows - has anyone ever tried them?

Movement: I'm still fairly convinced that the *pops* I've been feeling are, in fact, the baby, but that could just be me wanting it to be true ;)  I've definitely noticed that they happen more frequently when I'm laying down and calm - which would make sense, since that would be the easiest time to feel them.  We go in for an ultrasound on Tuesday so we'll see how much movin' & shakin' the baby is doing then!

Emotions:  I've been pretty even-tempered this week for the most part and I love it!

Workouts: Piyo has been absolutely incredible to have throughout this week.  My shoulders, upper back and lower back have been so tight and sore, and being able to workout with Piyo has been awesome.  I love the stretching that I have been able to get out of the workouts - it's a huge help!!

Next week's bump date will be pretty darn exciting for me!  Changes to the nursery (a nursery! In my house! I love it!!) as well as ultrasound pictures!!  Until then,


New Living Room

On Monday one of the most exciting things EVER happened!  It has been a month or two in the making, but Jake and I are the proud owners of brand-new living room furniture!  About a month and a half ago we decided to go looking at various options for furniture, and a week later we went back and made the purchase!  It was just delivered on Monday and I have been very much been enjoying our new living room!  Between the desk makeover, nursery makeover-in-the-making and this furniture this feels like a whole new house lately!

The furniture we had before was good furniture, it had just been a hand-me-down (times two or three) and once we learned that we'd have a new family member in November I really started wanting to replace the sofa and loveseat.  It's still super comfortable, it just hit the end of its life for this house.  Our plan is to put it out on the curb in case anyone would like it (it may sound like a strange thing to do, but we've actually been able to get rid of several pieces of furniture this way!  If it were in horrible shape I wouldn't do it, but if someone is just moving into a new apartment or home and can't afford to buy new furniture on top of everything else this would be a fine addition to their house!)

So, in honor of the old couch I did a little collage of some times it witnessed in our house.  It's seen laughter, tears, heartbreak and incomprehensible joy.  It was on the sofa that I spent many mornings while dealing with morning sickness.  It was on the sofa that I learned an old friend had unexpectedly passed away.  This couch saw an engagement, new babies and old friends.  It was used for a baby shower and it was a place where people passed out after one too many at the bar.  The loveseat originally had a home in the dining room, but eventually got upgraded to the living room.  It was great furniture to have - but I'm excited for the new furniture we have and all the memories that it will witness!!


Piyo, Pregnancy and Week 1 Meal Plan

As I mentioned on Monday in my 20 week bump date update, I started a Piyo-specific challenge group on Monday with a group of 5 other women who are all ready to kick start their health and fitness journeys, get more flexible, stronger and see some results!  I had already been doing Piyo but I decided to start the program over again for a couple reasons.  Starting over would allow me to be doing the same workouts on the same days as the rest of the group, and even though I had been doing Piyo, I wasn't able to stick completely to the schedule.  I am planning on being much more consistent this time around!

Piyo and pregnancy

Because I am pregnant, I am going into this program and challenge group with very different intentions and goals than I have had before.  I used to start a new program and have goals for weight loss, being able to stop using the modifiers and to really see how far I could push myself (safely, of course!)  This time, though, I am going into the program knowing that I will gain weight, that the modifiers are very important and that I can't push myself too far.  I am doing the program to stay healthy, flexible and strong during this pregnancy - I don't want to do anything to cause any harm to the baby or myself!

So this is my thought process in week one.  I want to stay fit, healthy and help myself stay strong throughout the pregnancy and after so I can take care of the new little one the best way possible.  I will be sticking to the workouts, but if I have to take an extra break here or there, that's what I'll do - because safety (whether you're pregnant or not!) is the number one most important thing.  Regardless of whether children are in your immediate future or not, it does us no good to push our workouts so hard that we end up having to skip the next day!  

Fit Pregnancy Quote

I have also created a meal plan for this week, but, again, this isn't set in stone.  My body will tell me if I simply can't eat something or if I need to eat more than what I have been eating!  I have made this meal plan fairly bland taste-wise, just because I had such difficulty with morning sickness in the beginning and I'm not 100% ready to start re-introducing crazy flavors and textures into my diet.  All the food on this meal plan though?  I love it!  Individually they are some of my favorite foods, so all together it's even better.  None of it is expensive or difficult to find or make - things that are very important to me!

Piyo Week 1 Meal Plan and Pregnancy

I don't mean to preface this Piyo journey with all these exceptions, but I really want to stress a couple things:

- It is absolutely, completely possible to keep up with your health & fitness while pregnant.  You don't need to throw in the towel for nine months and say you'll worry about your weight and health once the pregnancy is over.  Being healthy, eating well and working out (as long as you have your doctor's ok, of course) can all be very beneficial to you and baby!  

- Just as we shouldn't throw in the towel health-wise, it's also not a good idea to expect that you'll be able to do everything to the exact same level as you could before pregnancy.  Some people are able to continue running marathons, and that is awesome!  This girl?  Not one of them!  I'm really trying to listen to my body and just do the absolute best I can do.  Once nugget is born I can get back into the full swing of things - and be a great role model for living a healthy life!

Do you find yourself in a similar boat?  Perhaps you have already had your baby/ies - or maybe there aren't any in the near future for you but you want to live a healthier life now!  Challenge groups aren't only for women, people who have already started their health & fitness journeys or even for people who have a great deal of weight to lose.  They can be tailored to your specific journey with your specific goals in mind - they provide support, motivation and help every step of the way - along with helping you CELEBRATE your successes!!!

In a few weeks I will be starting a brand new challenge group that is not workout-specific!  You can choose your workout (I can help you with this as well!) and we will work together to make sure you get the results YOU want!  The first step?  Just letting me know that you're interested!  You can contact me through this blog by commenting below with your email address, commenting in the pop-up box on the bottom right corner of this screen, or emailing me directly at ashleykrek@gmail.com - it's seriously that simple!  We can discuss whether a challenge group would be a good fit for you and how I can help you get where you'd like to be!

I can't wait to share your journey!