Monday, November 19, 2018

Doughnut Fractions

I'm pretty sure that if someone taught me fractions with doughnuts I would have mastered them much sooner than when I did (at thirty years old)! xo

Monday, November 12, 2018

In Celebration Of Martinmas

This year we kept our lantern walk small- just our family. Lanterns were lit, a Martinmas story was read and then we headed out bringing our light into the darkness. As we walked we sang and when we were done we headed back in for molasses cookies and spiced cider. No matter if it's just the four of us or a much larger group, it's always such a sweet and simple celebration and one that we look forward to each year. xo 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

On Veterans Day

We spent some time after church today helping to set up for the veterans dinner tonight, and then we spent a lovely evening at church celebrating those who had served in our armed services. I had the honor of working the check-in table (while Grace, along with the youth group, helped serve dinner and then did clean up after, and Emma was the raffle ticket girl). Many times during check-in I was treated to some wonderful stories from those who had served. Even all these years later, the pride that radiated from those who had served (especially from members of The Greatest Generation) was still very evident. During dinner we were fortunate to sit with a lovely family. The husband and wife had been married for seventy-three years! They married while the husband was home on leave during World War II, and at ninety-two and ninety-three definitely had some wonderful wisdom to impart.

And so, on this veterans day, we would like to take a moment to thank those who have served our country. We extend our deepest thanks to every man and every woman who believed so completely and so deeply in our country that they would choose to answer the call, take up arms and defend our freedoms.

Thank you, especially to my father and brother, both of my grandfathers, and to my uncles who believed so fiercely in this country that they would be willing to risk their lives for it. It is because of the service of patriots like them that America continues to remain a beacon of hope and freedom. Today, and every day, we salute you. xo 

Monday, November 5, 2018

On Saturday

 Twelve weeks ago (well, really, thirteen now) on a warm summer Sunday in August, I, along with seventy-eight other women (and one man) gathered at The Fitness Asylum in Hudson to begin what was sure to be the most epic of challenges yet! The eighty of us would make up the Fall 2018 bikini team. We would spend twelve weeks eating beyond clean, training harder than we ever had before and finding strength, confidence and determination we didn't know existed within  us prior to joining the team. On Saturday, all that would come to a culmination as we got on stage and put all our hard work on display! 
Saturday, 6:00am. Spray tanned and bikini on, ready for my glam squad to arrive. 
 Gretchen had no idea what to make of all of this. Either that or she had no idea who I was since I was so much darker than I normally am! 
 My glam squad consisted of my best friend Cher and her amazing daughter Morgan. Hair, make-up and nails by these ladies was the perfect way to begin this incredible day. 
 Stage ready. 
 I'm pretty sure I look better at forty-two than I did at twenty-two. 
Anyone else think we should renew our vows?! 
 I sent this picture to my mom who promptly replied: "Will this be on the Christmas card?!" 
Stay tuned to find out! 
 Thank you, Cher and Morgan, for all your love, support and encouragement during my first prep, and thank you for making me stage ready! My transformation from caterpillar to beautiful butterfly was made complete by you both! 
 Besties. I don't know what I would do with out this girl! 
 Packed and ready to go. Grace's Rac N Roll came in very handy!!! 
 You gotta have glittery nails on show day! 
Gail-  beloved instructor, 
 beloved coach, 
 and fixer of boobs! 
There are no words to adequately express what this woman means to me. Gail was the first instructor I had when I walked in to the Fitness Asylum and she instantly took me under her wing! Her wisdom, encouragement and support has meant more to me over these last fourteen months than anyone will ever know. Having her as my coach throughout my first prep was the cherry on top of this sundae. Thank you, Gail, for being my instructor, my coach and absolute inspiration and my friend! I am beyond grateful!
Kisses! 

I will always think of Gail as my own personal fairy godmother! My own, Glinda, if you will. There is a meme that I adore that says "you had the power all along, my dear" which sums up Gail and I perfectly. So, so, beyond grateful for her. 
Pumping up before we head to the stage. Some of us pump up in heels, 
 and some of us don't! 
I didn't get nervous until my feet stepped on to the stage. 
But then by the time I made it to my spot, my nerves had calmed and I was ready to go! 
 It was the moment that we had all been waiting for.....
 And it was amazing!!!!
Almost one year ago this super cool chick (pictured here in the pink bikini) says to me at bootcamp one morning:"Hey, are you doing the winter body challenge in January?" And I replied: "That's my plan!" and she goes on to say to me: "It would be fun to be on the same team again!"And just like that an incredible friendship was born! It's one of those friendships that they write movies about and it's one of those friendships that will no doubt last a lifetime! I started talking to Sharon about doing bikini even before the winter body challenge had ended and I was determined to convince her to join me on that adventure. I could not imagine doing that without her and for awhile there I was pretty sure I was going to find out what that would be like. I am so happy she decided to take the leap and join the team. And I am even more grateful that we got to stand next to each other on that stage and shine brightly together. It was a moment I will treasure forever. 
 Scenes from my individual model walk. 
 I wobbled in a couple of spots but at least I didn't fall!  
 Proud to be representin' homeschool moms the world over! 
 Headed out to see our fans! 
 Other than our wedding day, I'm not sure we've looked this good in a long time (or ever)! 
There are no words to adequately thank this guy for all he did during my first prep. For all intents and purposes it was as if I had my own personal "live in coach". There were many times I would say to him "Is Bonnie paying you to do this?!" From making sure my water bottle was constantly full (and being consumed), to prepping my protein for the week, coming for walks with me and staying on top of what was coming in the packet you'd think that Dave was the one competing and not me. It was absolutely remarkable.  His support, along with that of the girls, was hugely key to my success! 
For years I have longed for a tribe. I have longed to be part of a group of women who truly cared about each other and supported each other through thick and thin. Little did I know that I would find such a tribe when I arrived at FA but that's exactly what happened! All of us in this picture were part of Team Jill during the winter Body Challenge last year. The magic that happened on that team was nothing short of miraculous (and perhaps even an answered prayer) and from that moment a Tribe was born! Being able to go through our first prep together was such a gift. And having other members of the Tribe in the audience cheering us on made the day all the sweeter!
 These cupcakes, baked by my dear, sweet friend and bikini sister Cindy are easily some of the best things I have ever eaten. I could bathe in that peanut butter frosting. It. Is. So. Good. 
 This picture sums up post-stage life perfectly. Sitting around, looking glamorous, checking Facebook and eating treats. 
 Us 5:30am girls couldn't pass up the chance for a picture together! This is a far cry from how we usually look when we are together (at bootcamp)! 
Seven years ago when Grace and Emma started at Center Stage I had the honor of meeting Cindy. She was one of the studio owners and teachers and I knew from the moment I met her that she was someone I would love to be friends with. And yet, I was pretty sure she was way too cool to ever want to be friends with me! Three years ago, she joined Fitness Asylum, completed her first Body Challenge and impressed us all! I reached out to her, shared my struggles and my story and our friendship quietly began. When I was toying with joining FA, Cindy was there, answering all my questions, encouraging me and sharing her story with me. I wouldn't take the leap and finally join for about six months (because I'm an idiot an was too nervous) but once the Hudson location opened I knew that it was finally time to see if the body challenge would work it's magic for me too (and we all know how that turned out)! As I started my second body challenge, Cindy began her first season on the bikini team and once again we all watched in awe as she transformed into an even more beautiful butterfly than she already was right before our eyes! I had confided in Cindy that once I reached a certain weight I'd join the team and she took me under her wing a little more than she already had, I think keenly aware that I would achieve that goal sooner than I might have been prepared to. And so, when I found myself joining the team I was thrilled that Cindy would be there too and that we would get to do this together. Her wisdom, advice,encouragement, support  and gentle ways (especially on those tough days) means so very much to me. Getting to know Cindy all those years ago was an honor, getting to call her my friend all these years later is truly a gift! 
Finally, it was time to head out and celebrate! Talk about a perfect ending to an epic twelve weeks! I cannot wait to do it all again! xo