Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Okay - so a few weeks ago, my sister and I took my mother to see a play called 'Christmas Catechism.' This was the second time I have seen 'Sister.' If this EVER comes to your area, buy a ticket as fast as you can. Basically the show is set in a Catholic school room and you learn a lesson. The Sister is absolutely hysterical. She is really big on 'No Gum.' It is highly suggested not to chew it, because she will find you and she will make you spit it out.  Anyways... we saw it at the City Theatre in Pittsburgh and had a great time. We laughed until we cried.

From there we went to meet the rest of the gang at Tavern 245. It's a new local establishment in downtown and it's absolutely amazing. (I have some fun pictures when someone finally decides to download the pictures.) Anyways.. I stole these from my Mom and Sister.
This might be my most favorite picture of the year. This is my mother, celebrating her birthday. I've never seen my mom like this. Ahh made me so giddy! How adorable are my parents. I mean really.
Here's the group shot... after dinner...

From there - my sister's family and Mr. Wonderful and I were going to go Ice Skating at PPG Place. Unfortunately the line was long and we had two small children with us. Soooooo we decided on other activities instead.  However, here's a picture of just the Christmas tree in PPG place with an ice rink around it.
This is Pittsburgh's way of attempting to be NYC. Close, but not really.

Here's Mr. Wonderful and I.. I was all ready to skate... my old skates and all!

Next we headed to the 'Winter Garden within PPG where they have the Santa's from around the world and the most amazing candy houses I've ever seen. They also include a train within the display. Here's the kids checkin' it out.

Seriously. Look at the houses in the background. Incredible. Absolutely incredible.
The final activity of the night was the horse carriage ride. Now. Typically a wait out in the somewhat-really-cold-weather isn't terribly bad, however, when you add in two small children... the game changes.
We worked hard to entertain them until Sammy fell and cried... That was almost the end, but she really wanted to ride with the horsey.. So the wait ended up being around 45 minutes, which wasn't horrible. We were the second to last round! Luckily we made it. While we were waiting the kids loved to look at this new Christmas tree displayed in Market Square.
It's these big balls that light up.. They do a light show every 30 minutes in Market Square. Kinda neat to check out if you are downtown at night.

So that was that. This just previous weekend Mr. Wonderful and I finally took the kids ice skating. For their first time. Surprisingly not a single tear showed up. I'll post pictures later for that.

Just in case any of you out of towners wondered, there is soooooo much more to do in Pittsburgh than Steel Mills, Football, and Hockey. I promise!

Weekly Words To Inspire!

Hello Gang!

It's the last full week before Christmas!
I was at a training yesterday (sorry for the delay!)
I wanted to send out Christmas Songs for this week... but there is one song that I just absolutely love. So I'm sending that along.
I would like to Thank my mother, for playing this for as long as I can remember. It's not Christmas without it!

Listen to it. It's by Kenny and Dolly (best duet couple ever.)

I Believe in Santa Claus
I believe in Santa Claus
I believe there's always hope when all seems lost
And I believe in Santa Claus
I believe in Santa Claus, I'll tell you why I do
'Cause I believe that dreams and plans and wishes can come true
I believe in miracles, I believe in magic too
Oh I believe in Santa Claus and I believe in you

I believe in family, in country and in smiles
I believe in turnin' negatives to positives in life
I believe in lookin' farther up the farther down we get
I believe when someone hurts us we should forgive and forget

And I believe in Santa Claus
I believe in Santa Claus
I believe love should prevail at any cost
And I believe in Santa Claus

I believe in saying what you mean and meaning what you say
I believe a better attitude can make a better way

And I believe in viewing life as a journey that we're on
And lookin' at our troubles as another stepping stone

And I believe that everything in life is what it's meant to be
I believe there is a God somewhere although he's hard to see
I believe I am so therefore I should do all that I can
To be a better piece in the puzzle of God's plan

And I believe in Santa Claus
I believe in Santa Claus
I believe there's always hope when all seems lost
And I believe in Santa Claus

(I just checked my iTunes.. that songs have over 1000 plays. I apparently REALLY enjoy it!
Have a great week everyone!!!! As we are preparing for the holidays, please be mindful of safety.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Jazz Hands Anyone?

So I have to admit an addiction I have… I’m addicted to Jazzercise. My love affair started back in July, when I got a Groupon e-mail that was for 2 months unlimited Jazzercise classes for $39. My thought at the time was it would be a nice change of pace and maybe it would help me slim down for vacation in September. I was slick enough to coax two of my good friends into it.. Well as it turns out, I absolutely fell in love with it. Jazzercise is one of the hardest and best workouts I’ve ever done. Literally. I can tell you after two months of doing no other cardio other than Jazzercise I was able to do 5 miles without much of a problem. (For those that know me, I know you are shocked, for those others… let’s just say.. I was a goalie in soccer because I didn’t want to run.. yeah.. 5 miles, big deal for this girl!)  I had to take a month off for a sickness that prevented me from going... but I started back this week.. I have gone 3 consecutive days and it feels sooooooo good.

So a little bit about it.. No we don’t wear leotards and heck no we don’t wear leg warmers! We do dance to new songs… for instance, Stuck Like Glue by Sugarland and Club Can’t Handle Me b Flo-Rida are two songs currently on the playlists. It’s fun. There are no mirrors, so I cannot see how ridiculous I look while I am doing it. Don’t worry, I know I’m ridiculous. My ‘friends’ don’t mind telling me that! The great thing about it, is you can make the workout as difficult or as easy as you want it to be. I obviously go all in and it pays off. One of my trainers always mentions how she didn’t have a behind before she started… I thought she was just trying to sell me a story… Low and behold less than two months in and I was like ‘OH MY. Too much booty in the pants!’ but in all honestly, it’s a really great workout. My class age ranges from me to people in their 70’s. The great thing, is it works.

The structure of the class starts with aerobic workout for the first 35 minutes or so (which does include stretching before and after the more aerobic songs) and then you do a brief period of strength training. Typically for the Tri’s, Bi’s, Shoulders, and back.. During this time is when you really focus on Abs. Let me state this. My abs have NEVER been stronger than when I’ve been doing this workout. It is ridiculous how strong my abs have gotten by doing these routines, I actually have muscle. It’s insane.

So basically from the dancing part you work your calves, quads, hams, inner and outer thighs, and behind.. if you are really good your abs will get a very good work out as well.

Then during the strength sessions, you focus on the upper body and abs. Everyone so often they throw in songs for the inside and outside of thighs.. Feel the burn is an understatement!

There is also an additional class that my studio has when is a Body Sculpting class. Try it. It’s challenging. This is coming from the girl who still lifts 3 times a week AND does this… Body Sculpting really focuses on different muscles and does a lot of reps with light weights… It’s a lot less aerobic than the Jazzercise class. Try it. That’s all I am saying!

Moral of the story. Find a Jazzercise class and try it. They have coupons in the Entertainment book… or at least they used too. Trust me. You are in for a great GREAT workout. There isn’t a workout that I don’t come out dripping sweat.  Don't worry if you aren't coordinated, I've always found that there are people a lot worse than I could ever imagine myself... That keeps me coming back :)

p.s. yes I’ve tried Zumba… but only AFTER I got involved with Jazzercise and I am not as big of fan as others… My perspective is Jazzercise moves are purposeful and work certain parts of the body… at Zumba I felt like I was ‘shaking it’ for 40 minutes… I didn’t feel like I really got anything out of it.. I do realize that my instructor might not be the best… but anyways – that’s my 2 cents.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekly Words to Inspire - Christmas Movies

Frank Cross: It's Christmas Eve! It's... it's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we... we... we smile a little easier, we... w-w-we... we... we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." ~ Dr. Suess

Home Alone
"You can be too old for a lot of things but you're never too old to be afraid." - Mr. Marley

The Santa Clause
"Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing."

Muppets Christmas Carol
Ebenezer Scrooge: [in tears] Ebenezer Scrooge! Oh please Spirit, no! Hear me, I, I am not the man I was! Why would you show me this if I am past all hope?...


Ebenezer Scrooge: I, I *will* honor Christmas, and try to keep it all the year! I will live my life in the past, the present and the future. I will not shut out the lessons the spirits have taught me! Tell me that I may sponge out the writing on this stone!

Bells of St. Mary
"If we don't fail sometimes, our successes don't mean anything. You must be strong." - Sister Mary Benedict

Miracle of 34th Street
"Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to." Doris Walker

White Christmas
"When your worried and you can't sleep. Just count your blessing instead of sheep and you will fall a sleep faster counting your blessings." - Bob Wallace