Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fizz for Kids

Well, I found another use for Mommy Crack.  Fizz for Kids!  It just doesn't sound right to say Kid Crack.  No, kids do not need crack.  That would be terrible.  Just as terrible as looking into some other sport drinks for Little Man.

As he has entered into a more intense sports world (at age six...I know, crazy), he needed a little more than water at practices and games for refueling.  Steven and I already used Arbonne Fizz Sticks during runs and workouts to refuel.  Given Arbonne is pure, safe, and beneficial it's a much better choice for us to use a vitamin enriched energy drink with electrolytes than the other junk out there.  Frankly, I won't use a pre workout drink other than Fizz Sticks because I don't trust other ingredient lists.

When looking a bit more for our son, I fully trust the Fizz Sticks for Little Man (and sometimes Little Miss when she begs cute enough).  Fizz Sticks have the same caffeine source as green tea, but given all the chemicals and dyes in the other beverage choices out there, we are okay with green tea.  It is a great fit for our family.  All is natural.  He's getting a dose of B6 and B12 vitamins and avoiding artificial colorings.  All around a pretty win-win situation!

So when you see Little Man running around with a large Gatorade bottle or water bottle that is yellow, he's not drinking his pee (another little guy asked him that), he's getting a dose of vitamins and refueling naturally!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Little Miss Turns 5!

Like all parents, I remember this as if it were yesterday...

{Little Miss @ 2 months...Little Man at 2 years}

Look how little they were.  Look at Little man.  So proud to hold her hand.  Since she was born, he knew she was something special.  She's the spice to our life, but also the sweetness in this crazy world of boys.  She gives the best kisses and cuddles like nobody else.  She is as girly as they come, with a flare of tomboy.  Give her a princess dress and a mud puddle and she is a happy little thing.

It seemed like I blinked and we were celebrating her turning one. 


 Then TWO...

Then THREE...

Then FOUR...

I can recall the time I actually thought to myself, Five. When she turns five, she will be old.

She's now five.  Whaaaaa!  She isn't really old, but reminiscing through these photos certainly reminds me that my time with her is precious.  Our lives really are but a mist.  Children allow us to see that more readily.


Little Miss, you are turning into a beautiful little girl.  You've lost your baby face, but we see it.  You will always be our little girl.  You will always be loved and protected by all the boys in your life.  You will always be our princess.  You are bold and strong and determined and funny and spunky.  We love your laugh when you get really tickled and all the random things you say.  You are you and that's what we love.  We can't wait to see how you continue to grow and take ownership of your place in this world.  We know it will be nothing less than bold.  We love you!

Mom, Dad, Little Man, and Chubby Cheekers

Monday, October 28, 2013

Menu Monday

It's been a full week since I've been able to write.  So many happenings in the Torres house.  Little Man played 3 flag football games last week to place 4th in their division despite some pretty rough calls from the officials.  Let's just say being a private school did not help us one bit during the season.  However, the kids had fun and little idea what was going against them.

We also celebrated Little Miss' 5th birthday.  Having two children 5 and over is reality slapping you in the face.  I am not the college girl I sometimes pretend to be.  Like I'm a 33 year old trapped in a 22 year old's body.  A 22 year old's body that has produced 3 children.  Let's get real...I'm old, but I love this old life and I am so proud to be Little Miss' mama.  She is the spice to our life.

Little Man had a personal achievement last week too.  He finished out his first semester of first grade with all A's.  More than any sports award, Steven and I are so proud of his academic achievements.  He works so hard in every area of his life.  A true first born.  Love that guy.

Now I can't leave Chubby Cheekers out.  I must brag on him a bit.  This weekend we attended our church's Fall Festival.  I seriously LOVE our church.  So. Much. Fun.  For those of you who know Chubby Cheekers, you know sitting still is not one of his gifts.  He is always moving.  Always creating mischief.  Always talking.  Always, always, always.  However, on Saturday night he sat in his stroller for over an hour without any whines.  So content. So adorable in his chicken costume just dancing to the bluegrass music watching his family play games.  It was a fun night.  So thankful for our friendships and church.  Great night.

Now onto the menu this week.

Monday-Breakfast for Dinner...waffles, sausage, eggs...yum!
Tuesday-BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas and Corn Saute
Wednesday-Bacon, Chicken, Broccoli, Rice Casserole and Cresents
Thursday-Avocado Salsa Salmon, Grilled Peppers and Onions with Brown Rice
Friday-Mini Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Saturday-Sandwiches and French Lentil Soup
Sunday-Mom's Birthday Dinner

Have a Great Week!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Menu Monday

Guess what???  It's Menu Monday. 

Monday-Baked Seasoned Chicken Breasts, Steamed Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes
Tuesday-Hamburgers and Zucchini Tots
Wednesday-Turkey Veggie Spaghetti, Garlic Knots, Green Beans
Thursday-Sandwiches, Fresh Veggies, Berry Salad
Friday-Breakfast for Dinner
Saturday-Dinner at our church's Fall Festival
Sunday-Dinner at Mom's

I am so thankful for my mom.  She has to be the best.  Last Friday she called me at 4pm and invited us over for Chili.  It was rainy and cold and the perfect chili weather.  This Sunday I asked if we could eat dinner over there because I have a Holiday Open House at my home.  Of course she said yes.  I hope when Little Miss is older and living the crazy mom with kids life, I remember how wonderful it was for the extra help. 

And, just so I have the opportunity to see you, I want to invite you to my Holiday Open House.  It is Sunday, October 27th from 1-4pm.  Please message me at AmandasArbonne@yahoo(dot)com.

I will be here with my Arbonne Holiday line, Fit Essentials, Detox Spa,  Skin Care, Baby Care, Cosmetics, and Aromatherapy.  Everything will be on sale!

Other vendors will be here as well, including Scentsy, Velata, Grace Adele, Creative Containers, and Vault Denim.  It is an easy way to knock out a bulk of your holiday shopping before November hits.  Plus, each vendor will submit one or more items for a Holiday Basket Giveaway.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Marathon Weekend: Race Day

February 19th:  Chicago Marathon opens registration.  I registered Steven.
May 27th: Official Training for the Chicago Marathons begins.
October 13th:  Race Day

When I think about the 8 months that passed from the time Steven committed to the training until the time he actually ran the race, I am astonished.  He set a goal and he achieved it.  Erica set a goal and she achieved it.  Sarah set a goal and she achieved it.  40,000 people set a goal and they achieved it.  Watching dreams come alive as they ran was unbelievably touching. 

The actual day of the race, Mark, Erica, Steven, and I woke at 5:30am and headed downtown.  Since the spectators and racers were expected to be over 2.7 million, we decided not to take the rental car and use public transportation.  We took the bus a few blocks and then hopped on the train. 

 {Waiting for the train to Magnificent Mile}

When we came up the stairs to street level all you saw were runners...and spectators...and more runners.  It was madness.  The excitement was mounting whether you were running or not.  However, rarely do you pass the Art Institute of Chicago on your way to a race.  I had to have them stop for a pic.  At this point Steven had his 'race' attitude on.  Asking him to stop for a pic was a stretch, but he did it.  I'm sure now he is glad to have this moment captured.  There's a lot of emotion wrapped up in this pic...

{Mark, Erica, and Steven}

A few blocks away from this pic is where we dropped Steven off for his corral.  This is where I lost it.  I was getting ready to let my husband navigate through thousands of runners and begin the hardest physical challenge he has ever known by himself. By. Himself.  I held on to him, prayed over him, and cried.  CRIED.  I'm crying now thinking about it.  He worked so hard.  I was so proud of him, yet I was also so nervous.  As he turned to walk through bag check, I put on my big girl panties and walked with Erica and her husband to find Sarah.  After a few phone calls and texts we found her, snapped a pic and let the ladies get to their corral.

   {Jeremy, Sarah, Erica, and Mark}

From here Jeremy, Mark, and I walked a few blocks to catch the runners at Mile 2.  So many people told us it would be nearly impossible to see your runner.   We still stood there scanning through all the racers.  I'll let you figure out if we saw them or not...
Who is that crazy lady yelling for my husband?  Who am I kidding?  I was so stoked to see him running.  He looked amazing.  Proud wife moment for sure.  I was so excited about seeing him that when Erica and Sarah came I stuck out my hand for high fives, but didn't get a video of them.  I'm a bit mad at myself for that.

After the girls passed we headed to the train to try and get a glimpse of them at Mile 8 near Wrigley Field.  As soon as we arrived, I quickly learned Steven had already passed Mile 8.  I hung around for Sarah and Erica and we got to see them.  They looked amazing. After them chunking their outerwear at us, we headed back to the train.  This is when I realized if I hoped to see Steven again I would have to separate from Mark and Jeremy.  Jeremy, being the only one who has lived in a big city, showed me the best way to catch the train by myself to see Steven.  I was so thankful for him taking the time to get me where I needed to go.  I got to Mile 23 and waited for Steven.


By this time I could tell he was hurting.  My heart hurt.  Seeing your loved one in pain is not easy.  Maybe that's how he felt as I was popping out his 3 kids...

I hopped back on the subway by myself and headed to Mile 26.  Right when I got off the train my phone died.  I thought for sure I would catch Steven at Mile 26 right before he turned the corner to the finish line.  I waited and waited and waited.  I saw many runners he was with at Mile 23.  I waited a bit longer.  I never saw him so I headed to the Runner's Reunite area to wait for him.

He never came there either. I stood there by the 'S-T' sign for 2 hours.  I was afraid to leave.  I had no phone and was surrounded by foreigners waiting for their loved ones.  My only thoughts were, "If I leave here, we'll never find each other."  So I stayed.  And stayed.  And stayed.  It was the most awful wait ever.  I began to think something happened.  Why wasn't he coming to the Runner's Reunite area?  Just as I was beginning to find a race worker or Chicago PD I spotted Erica's husband.  He knew where Steven was and took me to him.

Just as I was about to wrap my husband up and tell him how proud I was, he grabbed me and CRIED! Steven didn't recall the conversation we had about a meeting spot.  When he realized I was no longer with the husbands he looked up the location on my phone and saw it was at the train station.  He thought I had been taken.  Like the movie Taken.  He called his uncle, a retired Chicago detective, and cousin, a current Chicago PD officer, and they were beginning to contact other officers to find me. 

Now it's funny.  Then it was not.  My heart hurts that at the time he should have been celebrating his biggest accomplishment, he was so stricken with fear that his wife had been kidnapped.  On the other hand, at least I know he cares.  OR, maybe he was worried that he was going to have to raise these hooligan kiddos all by himself.

Once he realized I was safe, he let his guard down and began to show how hurt he was from the race.  His hammies cramped up during the race right after Mile 23 causing him to stop and stretch them out multiple times, and his knee was in bad shape.  It was hard to watch him in so much pain, but he did it.  It completed a goal he had been working on throughout the entire summer and beginning of fall.  What a man!


The above picture was taken by Steven's aunt and uncle.  They were able to catch him out of the exit gate.  I am thankful for them traveling from IN to cheer him on.  We seriously have the best families ever.

Steven,  I am so proud of the work you put in.  Your determination and mental toughness makes me strive for better personal achievement.  You set the example of toughness and a 'Can Do' attitude for our children.  Thank you for pushing us all to be better.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Marathon Weekend: The Pre Race

Let me be very clear.  I did NOT run a marathon.  My man of steel husband and tough as nails friends ran a marathon.  Instead of pushing myself to physical exhaustion, I decided to relive the past.  I became a cheerleader...again.  Only this time I did not wear a uniform (no one would want to see that).

Just mulling over the things I would like to share with you has a lump in my throat and big crocodile tears wellin' up in my eyes.  I can't even begin to describe to you how incredibly proud I am of my husband and friends.  The opportunity I had to train halfway through allowed me to get a minor glimpse of how incredibly difficult the physical and mental aspect of this race would be for my husband and friends.  I am thankful for that knowledge.  It allowed me to appreciate them all the more.

But, let me start at the beginning...

We left early Friday morning for Chicago.  We were all so excited to navigate an airport sans kids and kid gear.  We got to our local airport in plenty of time to have some coffee and talk. This is how cool parents act when they are childless.  They decide to take pics of themselves.  Most of the passengers waiting to board the plane were staring.  I'm sure they thought we were celebrities.


When we arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon, we went straight to the Runner's Expo.  That place was every runner's dream.  Nike, New Balance, Saucony, and Mizuno gear, stretching equipment, snacks, refueling products, videos, technique training...anything and everything related to running was under one roof.  We walked out with a race day outfit and The Stick (thanks to a sneaky friend).  We also walked out with some major excitement.  So many runners picking up their packets and so much anticipation. I got nervous, and I wasn't even running the race.

{Steven and Erica at the entrance of the Expo} 

{Steven checking in to get his race day packet}

{Nike's cool photo op}

{Erica, Steven, and Sarah...the runners with the course map and distance}

After we had explored the Expo we headed downtown to enjoy Chicago.  There is something about walking the streets of Chicago that ignites my inner 'city girl'.  Let's be honest.  I'm an OK city girl. In Chicago, I'm a country girl.  It's all relative.  Of course we did the tourist pics making all the locals wait before they could cross in front of us.  YOLO!

 {Erica and I in front of the famous Chicago sign}

 {Seriously?  Do you see that hunk next to me?!?!}

{Sarah, me, and Erica at Giordano's Pizza.  These two ladies are beyond selfless} 

{Gigantic Chicago style pizza.  Can I get a holla for my husband's facial expresssion?)

After a morning of travel, the Expo, sight-seeing, and shoving our faces full of Chicago style pizza we were all ready for bed.  We headed to Steven's uncle's home right outside downtown for some rest.  

The next morning we were up and ready for a morning of shopping at Lululemon.  If you have never experienced the feel of Lululemon on your body, you are missing out.  As frugal as I am, I will splurge on Lulu attire.  Good news...they have a clearance section.  I helped myself to a new jacket, running shorts, and two tanks. At first Steven rolled his eyes until I handed him a pair of men's running shorts and insisted he try them on.  The look on his face when he opened the dressing room door was priceless.  Needless to say, he gets it and now owns his first pair of Lululemon running shorts.  

{Erica and I being brand snobs with our Lulu bags}

Once we had our fill of shopping and realized Erica and Steven needed rest, we headed back to the house and prepped for race day.  Steven taught Erica his pre race ritual...laying out his race attire and gear the night before a run...


The jitters were really beginning to set in.  The next day was going to be the most challenging physical feat for Steven and Erica.  I slept very little.  My stomach was in knots thinking about what they were about to do.  Words cannot express the emotional roller coaster of watching your loved ones push themselves beyond pain and suffering.  

Tomorrow I'll share race day, then on Friday you can read about post race day.  Erica is working on writing a post from the actual runner's stand point.  It is all very different for her.  This is all completely from my spectator view.  However, being a spectator is no joke! 


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Be Present

Phone squished between my shoulder and ear, spreading peanut butter on bread, logging in an order, and whispering for child #2 to hurry up get her shoes on her feet.  Four things all at once.  Not really focusing completely on one specific activity.  Not really present.  Hurried.  Busy.  Stressed. 

Am I the only one here?

Life is full.  Life is blessed.  Sometimes those very blessings can be overwhelming if not put in check.  Take my phone for instance.  It is amazing.  Information at my fingertips.  Money saving information.  Maps. The Bible.  So many good things about my phone, but very quickly my good thing can consume me.  It can eat away my time.  I can distract me in the middle of rare, but focused moment.

I found myself in this 'distracting' area a lot lately.  I could be in an in depth meaningful conversation with an adult, and one of my precious, lovely children interrupts with a life-altering situation.  Child 1 has inflicted the worst infliction in the history of infliction on Child 2.  Come to find out Child 1 picked up a toy to play with.  The very toy Child 2 was contemplating using.  Bam. I'm distracted.  I'm no longer focused on the moment with my friend.  I robbed her.  I wasn't present.

Situations like this began to occur more and more.  If I didn't make a conscience decision to make a change, my busyness was only going to get worse.  Even though I realized exactly what was wrong, I had not one clue on how to fix it.  Until...

Until, I took a weekend to quiet myself, shut down my busyness, and listen to what God had to say to me.  Turns out it was two words.  A two word solution. 

Be Present.

Nothing profound.  Nothing seemingly life-altering.  Just the simplicity of being present.  That's what I love about God.  He's not complicated.  We make things complicated.  He simplifies.
So here I am working on being present.  If it is time with my kids.  That's where you will find me.  Focused solely on them.  Phone put away.  iPad away.  Friends away.  Kids up close and my attention on them. I'm working on this for all areas of my life.  My phone doesn't interrupt me.  It has it's place, and when I have to use it the kids understand.  We had our uninterrupted time.  A short 30 minutes of phone calls or Arbonne work isn't such a big deal anymore.  Instead they hear, "Mommy has a few phone calls to make.  I will be focused just on who I am speaking with.  Is there something you need before I call?"  And then I am present in what I'm doing at that exact moment.

For most of you, this is probably a, "Seriously, she spent time writing about this?"  For me, this has been a struggle.  I am so much of a multi-tasker that if I am not working on 3 things at one time, I am wasting time.  Focusing on being present has allowed me to be a better mom, a better business woman, a better wife, a better friend.  That's what I love about God's wisdom.  It teaches me to be better.  The better I am, the better I am able to serve others.

So I'll close with this.  I am not one to drop pics of myself.  I see beautiful pics of my friends, but I just feel awkward posting pics of myself.  On the other hand, I want my kids to have tangible memories of their mom.  Our everyday moments captured in pic.  A pic with me in it.  Even if it means a no make-up selfie on the floor.
My Baby Cakes


My Kissy Cuddly Princess

I still have to tackle the oldest football lovin' boy to get a pic with him.  He's too busy running routes out back with his daddy to sit a moment with his mom.  I guess that's all the more reason to capture those rare moments with him.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Menu Monday

It's here!!!  My vacation is just around the corner.  I am  so thankful Steven decided to run a marathon so I could get a four day break.  Chi-town here I come!

Since we'll be leaving this week and we are loaded down with family events we are going with easy dinners.  Trying to get everyone fed and out the door by 6 is a marathon in and of itself.  Psh!  I need a 26.2 sticker for my car just for everyday life.  Right?

Monday-Mexican Casserole, Taco Dip, and Salad
Tuesday-Greek Chicken, Green Beans, Parmesan Biscuits
Wednesday-Grilled Chicken Salad and Honey Croissants
Thursday-Grilled Cheese and Creamy Tomato Soup
Sunday- Chicago: RACE DAY!

All prayers will be appreciated for Steven, Erica, and Sarah.  All three have made so many sacrifices training for this ONE day.  Since June they have dedicated themselves to training.  Please keep them in your prayers for healthy bodies and the ability to complete the course within their selected goal times.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank those of you who have encouraged, prayed for, and sent little sentiments as all three accomplish a major life goal.  I am so lucky to have these people in my life, and call one my husband and the others my friends.

Last but not least, thank you Mom and Michael for rushing back from your Maine vacation to stay with our munchkins.  They are excited for a little Grammy/Grampy time!  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fan the Flame

Great.  We were all made to be great.  Not a one is a mistake.  Imperfections? Definitely.  A failure? No.

So often we get wrapped up in someone else's success.  We focus on their high moments and compare them to our lows.  We forget our journey.  We forget what we were supposed to learn. We forget we were supposed to grow.

I want you to know if you are in my life, or even reading this as a complete stranger, there is greatness inside of you.  Find it.  Find it through serving others.  Find it by building others up.  Find it by affirming others.  And lastly, find it by affirming yourself.  Remind yourself you were created with purpose.

How many of you have tried to start a fire?  I have.  It's rough.  Years ago when Little Man was a baby we had the most horrendous ice storm.  No snow.  Just ice.  It rained and rained, then sleeted forever and soon enough all the trees were covered with inches of ice.  As trees began to crack and power lines were down everywhere our entire city was without power for a week.  Some areas as long as two weeks.  It's a whole different ball game when you are a new parent.  Where before we'd tough it out, we couldn't ask a baby to do that in the freezing temps.  We made a fire.  The flame was so small to begin with and easily went out if we did not fan it.  So one of us fanned the flame while the other added little bits of newspaper until we had a roaring fire.  Once the fire was in full force we could enjoy the warmth.

It's the same for our lives.  We all have a little flame inside of us.  Fan it.  Remind yourself of the positives.  Affirm yourself with positive beliefs.  Remind yourself what God says about you even if you don't believe it.  Speak it.  Speaking it brings life, and life more abundantly.  After all the fanning, your flame encompasses your whole life.  You become a warm person.  You offer that warmth to others.

Recently, I began focusing on speaking positive affirmations to fan my own flame.  It wasn't always easty to speak these affirmations, but I did it.  Here are some of mine:
  • I am blessed to be a blessing.
  • I was made to be great.
  • God created my hands for helping.  Helping is what I will do.
  • I have gifts and talents that are uniquely mine.  Share them.
  • To be great you must serve many.
  • Tough times don't last.  Tough people do.
  • Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
So many of the ones listed above are not my own affirmations.  They are ones I picked up along the way and made them mine.  Don't have your own?  Steal mine.  They are written on here for a reason.

In fact, I was reading Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst last night.  I underlined very powerful section from the first chapter.  I even put it as my Facebook status.  She says,

Progress. Just make progress. It's okay to have setbacks and the need for do-overs. It's okay to draw the line in the sand and start over again-and again. Just make sure you're moving the line forward. Take baby steps, but at least take steps that keep you from being stuck. Then change will come. And it will be good.  

Is that not so true?  Honestly, I get so caught up doing it the right way all the time I forget it's about progress.  I begin to talk down to myself instead of fanning the flame. News flash!!! We will screw up.  Dust yourself off and draw your line again.  Just keep moving forward.  It's a great reminder to myself.  Especially on days I drive off and leave a stroller in the school parking lot because I was so busy trying to get 5 kids loaded up and home so I could deal with the blow out diaper that I had no wipes for.  Yes.  That was me.  I screw up.  It's okay.  I had to draw my line again. 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Whatcha Got To Say

Say something and it becomes challenged by the enemy.  I spoke so much of guarding my peace, it became challenged.  Stressful situations were coming out of the woodwork. Chaos surrounded me.  I did not handle it well.

I also had a weekend trip I had earned through Arbonne scheduled for the weekend.  Something I worked very hard for and was excited about.  The joy got robbed there too.

Satan knows how to throw in some nasty curve balls.  If I had followed my feelings, if I had let my head talk me out of staying on track, I would have lost out on exactly what God was trying to teach me.

First off, I'm no respecter of persons.  I respect people.  I just don't respect people because of a title in front of their name.  People are people.  Whether you make $100,000 or $100 a month, I don't really care.  I want to know the character of the person.  When I earned the Rt 66 Challenge, I heard how amazing it was to be at the top Arbonne income earner's home.  I was excited to go and learn from her, but I had no idea it would be so much more.

Although I learned so much about my own business, I learned more about myself.  Everything Satan was working to steal from me. All the joy killing.  All the stress.  It all came to a halt.  Little divine interventions began to unfold.  Little messages came toward me like pieces of a puzzle.  By the end of the weekend, the puzzle pieces were placed and I could see the big picture.  All of it together.  I have a clear direction for areas of my life that needed to be pruned and changed. I also left with changes I couldn't wait to share with my husband and family. 

Arbonne isn't just cosmetics, skin care, and nutrition.  Of course, on the outside they are amazing products that I do enjoy sharing.  However, Arbonne is a vehicle to reach my family's dreams.  Dreams to change the world and the circumstances of this world far beyond the people around me.  Changing lives of people who could never repay me.  Making a lasting, eternal changes in others.

Consider this your warning.  My booty has a fire lit under it like never before.  I see a vision so far beyond me that I will ask anyone, anything Arbonne related.  This Arbonne bus has only begun to take off.  I'd love to take you with me.  Yes, you!  In the back of your mind you may have thought, "Could I do that?  Could I do what she does?"  You know what?  You may have what it takes. I can help you figure that out.  Can I take you out for coffee or tea? Yes, YOU!  Coffee, tea?  Anyone?

On a lighter note, you know how I mentioned I'm not respecter of persons?  I'm still not, BUT I have respect for this woman. 


Not because Cecilia Stoll is the most successful woman EVER in Arbonne, but because of her values and heart. All I know is I will bust my tush to get to her home again next year.  For the growth of my business and for my own personal growth.  I would love to show you how to get there too.