Friday, May 17, 2013

Labor of Love

ABCrafts - Once upon a time my grandmother taught me to crochet, this was over 30 years ago. The most priceless thing I own is a table cloth she made for my mom. I use it for special occasions and it warms my heart when I think of the countless hours it took to complete. I can almost feel her warm hands on it :)

With 3 babies due in our family I decided to go back to the roots my seamstress grandmother taught me. For those of you who do not know she was a part of Chicago history, learning her craft & skills at Jane Addams Hull-House.

I plan an teaching my daughter how to crochet and have a year long special project we will work on together. I do so knowing her life might get complicated for a couple of decades just like mine did. I have faith she will also go back to her roots at some point in her life. ABCrafts is a combination of our names. We need to keep Mama Chayo's legacy alive!

I am finally ready to post the pictures of my labor of love now that we have welcomed 3 healthy beautiful babies into our family.

This is how I keep myself busy when Joe is out of town :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Time to break the cycle ...

My 17yr old daughter just recently had a bad day that was emotionally charged.  Her exact words were that she didn't feel motivated to get up much less work out.

Rewind 35 years having the stress of a 10yr old and dealing with Brady Bunch issues of growing up with 4 older sisters and 2 younger brothers.  My grandmother would bake something to cheer me up or even better, she would make 'Avena'.  Avena is the spanish word for oatmeal doesn't sound too bad but she would make it in a way that is possibly the must unhealthy way to eat it.  She would cook oatmeal with whole milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and tons of sugar.  It would end up being more like atole, similar to a porridge or gruel and 100% comfort food.

Comfort was always a hug, kiss, followed up by a great meal or at the very least a treat.  The cycle was started again when my son was young and I was a single parent.  I would come home from a long day at work spent away from him and I would not come home without a treat.  I would bring him a candy bar or doughnut from the El Station on my way home.  It was my way of making up not being with him.

On Tuesday we made progress to - Break the cycle!  I told my daughter these stressed times are the best times to go workout.  She needed to sweat the frustration out.  We ended up having an awesome Zumba workout and burned approximately 600 calories.

We have to take one day at a time, baby steps! My daughter's spirits lifted and she she took a picture of us after our class.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I married a Rockstar *

We had a great weekend and spent lots of quality time as a family and then as a couple.  I had an awesome 2 hour workout Saturday morning and burned 1250 calories.  The first hour was Zumba Toning and the second was Zumba.  My weekend always ends up productive when have a great workout.

I was also still on a high from going to the Barry Manilow concert on Thursday.  I went into the office for training and ended up being invited to the concert.  It was completely unexpected and totally meant so much to me.  I have a forever memory of taking my sister to her last concert, Barry Manilow, prior to her getting sick and passing away.

This weekend we did lots of purging, shredding, and I caught up on all my couponing.  While I was clipping away my husband was playing his new guitar.  I felt at peace and so content hearing him play.  I think back of when we were dating the first time around, approximately 25 years ago, and think of how I used to love it when he played the guitar while we were on the phone.  We would spend hours on the phone and he would play snippets of songs asking me to guess.  I lost at this game each and every time.  I was so impressed with his talent and his love for all kinds of music, I was entranced. 

Fast forward 10 years - Joe and I had a 10 year hiatus in our relationship we just grew up and grew apart.  I had my son and he had his daughter we ended up our own version of the Brady Bunch :)  One spring day Joe held the door open for me as I walked into a Dunkin Donuts and as they say, the rest is history.  For those of you who believe in fate, that morning was the only time I ever stopped there for coffee.  My sister and I never had DD for breakfast, our routine involved getting our coffee at a McDonalds located on the way to the expressway.  That particular morning my sister woke up with a craving for a cornbread muffin and that was the reason why we skipped McDonalds and went out of our way and changed our routine.  

Upon reconnecting, I was saddened to hear in those years apart he had stopped playing the guitar.  I encouraged Joe to start to play again.  I promised him that together we would replace his lost Les Paul.  The rest is history :)  12.5 years ago he wrote a song for me titled 'Anna will you marry me.  To this day he plays 'My song' it has evolved into a beautiful song.  Music is a very important part of our lives as a family.  

Joe told me I brought the music back into his life when we walked into each other's lives again.  This is why Joe has always been and will always be MY rockstar.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Good Morning from Chicago

Good Morning!  I had an awesome workout last night, Zumba was amazing.   I burned 600+ calories and had a blast with my daughter and sister-in-law.  As a result I slept like a baby and feel well rested :) 

I am normally a telecommuter and appreciate the ability to work from home.  I am in the office today for training and only realize how much I miss the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago once I'm in the midst of it.  Yes, I can appreciate this even at 6am.

I have every intention of making it home on time to make my Zumba class but if I can't, I'll be sure to get a run in.  Have a great day!

Here's a pic of my beautiful city <3

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Half-time is over, beginning of the 3rd quarter!

I ended last year with a goal in mind, to make the year 2012 the absolute last year that make it a goal to lose weight and get healthy.  I was tired of wishing for a little black dress that I could not wear, I was tired of feeling exhausted from going up two small flights of stairs after doing laundry, I was done being uncomfortable because the airplane seat belt was expanded to the last centimeter.

My son had gone through the same revelation January of 2011 at the age of 21.  He started eating healthy, working out, and drinking water.  No magic potion or spell involved.  As of this writing he has lost over 100lbs.  He looks and feels amazing, so much that he hopes to be a personal trainer or physical therapist to help others start to feel better about themselves.  

I had a conversation with my son and then came to the conclusion that no one would take him seriously if his mom was not living a healthy life - in essence his family is his billboard.  It was then that I knew what I had to do.  I had to take the time and put in the effort to take care of myself.  

I started exercise slowly by walking and an occasional run of 2 to 3 minutes.  My dear sister-in-law and her sister called me from the car and on speaker the last week of October after a Zumba class they had just attended.  They invited me to a free class and their last words were - we will NOT take no for an answer.  Damn... now I had to go ugh.

I went to my free class and have not looked back!  Approximately 60lbs,  5 dress sizes later and 6 inches lost from my back, I'm still going strong :)  Special thanks to my Zumba instructor, Julie Ramirez!

In January I joined a 6 week weight loss challenge at Studio Energia (the Zumba studio) and won! The coveted prize was 5 months free of unlimited Zumba.  Thanks to membership specials I am literally paid in full for the rest of 2012.  I also log my meals on my iPhone using the LoseIt app, to be honest at times I get a bit lazy but it the calories really do add up.  

Losing all that weight has allowed me to continue to improve my running distance and time.  I am now able to run up to 2.5 miles non-stop. What..what... Anna is a runner now?  Never in a million years did I think I would ever be a runner.  I have never run ever in my life ran as a sport much less enjoyment.  My husband has been my main support system, my current weight is the lowest he has ever known me to be.  Last week we ran 2.5 miles 2x while on vacation in Vegas when the temps were 108.  We ran at 7 and 8 in the morning so it was a balmy 80.  

So here we are at the 1/2 mark and I have accepted yet another challenge from my RockStar cousin.  The challenge is to eat healthy and work out 6 out of the 7 days for the next month and a half.   

I will be working out for 2 hours a day 3 days a week.  Weight training the first hour and Zumba the second hour.  The days I have only one hour of Zumba I will run 2 miles during my lunch hour so working out 2x a day.  I will give myself a day off on Sunday.  The days I do weight training I make sure to have a protein shake to ensure I'm eating enough to keep losing weight.  Kinda crazy and I know sounds totally like BS, but when I didn't eat enough I stopped losing weight.  

I'm posting my before and NOW pics.. can't wait until I post my before and AFTER pics :) Stay tuned!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

It's been almost 7yrs since my mother passed away.  That was 3 years after my grandmother and 4 years before my sister died.  These 3 angels were so important to me and directly affected who I became as a mother, wife, sister, friend and co-worker.  This Mother's Day I decided to not be sad.  I would still miss them terribly, as I do every day, but I was going to enjoy spending some quality time with my husband and kids and celebrate the living.

I bought a bouquet of the favorite flower of each one of them, my Mom (Estela) - Easter Lilies, my grandmother (Mama Chayo) - Sunflowers and my sister (Mary) - Lavender/purple flowers ;)

I miss them so much and nothing can ever replace them but I am grateful to have such a wonderful husband that made sure I had a day full of laughter and joy.  The picture I posted has the three flowers and in the background you can see my mom's portrait as an 18yr old beauty!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy Star Wars Day!! Love, Darth Phoenix!