Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Time for a gala! Bark After Dark

We are SO excited at my house to be attending the first ever Bark After Dark gala in Des Moines hosted by Bailing Out Benji. Dressing up plus a great cause? Yes please! Mindi, the founder of the group, has been a friend of my sister's (and now the family) for many years and her passion and drive are beyond inspiring. My daughter, an animal lover herself, has not only been able to attend evets like peaceful protests and documentary screenings, but also follow this amazing group of role models that transformed one person's passion into a national movement.

I've been struggling a lot lately with my own world (and political) opinions and points of view. It's sort of a "who am I that people are going to listen to me?" mindset. At almost 32 years old it's strange to me that I can have so much self-doubt as I try to talk to people about topics that are so important to me and my family. Then you have Mindi, who began her protests and activism at such a young age, always seeming so sure of herself as she speaks her truth, advocating for animals who cannot speak for themselves. I am so proud to be attending this event, I have been so inspired by Mindi and the entire organization.

Follow Bailing Out Benji and The Gym Mom on Instagram this weekend for all the fun updates from the event!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Off the Gridiron: Tanner Ibarra


AGE: 24

What's your favorite pro and/or college team?

Minnesota Vikings

What NFL player do you think you most play like? 
John Sullivan from the Rams. He's a small center height-wise, very smart in football and goes out there and just works. Or Brandon Fusco for the versatility. He can play any position on the line and does what he has to do to help the team win. 

What's your favorite sport that's not football?

Whatever sport my niece or nephew is playing 

When did you first start playing football? 

Haha my dad had a football in my crib before I could walk. But I know my dad had me in football when I was five or six. I remember being one of the smallest kids out there.

Why do you still play?

I love the game, it's a great stress reliever. My niece and family enjoy watching me do it, and I like the team/family concept of sports.

What are your goals for this year?

The goal every year is to help my team win a championship. Unfortunately, I can only do my best to lead the team there as the day of our championship is also my sister's wedding.

What's your favorite football memory?

Just playing catch with my dad in the backyard as a kid, he taught me everything I know about the game, built my work ethic, and just the time I got to spend with him.

Around the League:
I asked some other players in the league about Tanner's play.

Former teammate Justin Engh said, "Kid has the biggest heart I've ever seen. He might not be the biggest or strongest, but he won't back down from any challenge. I've tried to make him quit in the gym and he won't. He will do anything for a teammate, always there for you up or down. [He's an] all around great team player."

Competitor (and occasionally fellow center) Shon Osborn added, he's "not the standard prototype center. [He] knows how to beat you with his smarts... [A] leader, great competitor."

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Off the Gridiron: DJ Jackson

It's been a couple years since I've interviewed any of my adult athlete friends, and I wanted to pick a few more to talk to and ask them what they love about the game and why they still choose to compete at that level! 


AGE: 22

What's your favorite pro and/or college team?

NY Giants and LSU 

What NFL player do you think you most play like? 
Me personally, I feel like I play like Odell Beckham Jr. 

What's your favorite sport that's not football?

Soccer - I won my first ever championship in soccer. 

When did you first start playing football? 

I first started playing football at the age 10 after Hurricane Katrina’s in 2005 when I moved to Birmingham, Al. Then I moved around and played for different little league teams until I was older enough to play middle school football in the 8th grade

Why do you still play?

I still play because of the brotherhood and I love the sport. I love the process of getting prepared for a game and I love the support you get from the fans and families.

What are your goals for this year?

My goal for this year is to finish the season undefeated while winning a championship

What's your favorite Rampage memory?

My favorite memory is when me and Aaden do our handshake on the sideline and I throw him up 😀 lol fr that’s bomb.

I asked some of DJ's teammates to describe his play. Here's what they came up with:

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Date Night Log 2018: Mini Golf - Dating Divas Style

For Shon's birthday this year I decided to do something a little different for one of his gifts. Whenever I ask him for gift ideas or what he wants, he says "time with you." Sweet, right? Sure, but also annoying when you're trying to buy someone a gift. ;) So this year I got him exactly that - time with me! I bought him a "Year of Dates" from the Dating Divas. They have a sports-themed package that I thought seemed perfect for us, so I bought the printables and a binder and gifted him 12 dates - one per month - with me!

We started with April instead of January, and headed out for dinner and mini-golfing! After a rather glutenous dinner at Texas Roadhouse where I ate *all* the bread, we headed over to Perfect Games, which just opened its new miniature golf course for the season!  We had Evelyn with us this time because we try not to use too many baby-sitter coupons in a row with grandma, but she enjoyed the fresh air and watching all the people.

April's date included an invitation for him to our date explaining what it included, a scorecard so that depending on who won the hole, one of us won a "prize" (think things like 15 minute back rub or getting to pick the movie). The pack also has a journal at the end where you reflect on a specific prompt for your relationship, as well as a scrapbook where you can paste pictures, write down favorite moments, and include scorecards (Shon won by 2 this time). There are also date alternatives, like Frisbee Golf, and some other cute printables, but I didn't get around to using them all this time.

If you haven't visited the Dating Divas yet, they don't just have great marriage and relationship ideas, there are family packs, too! The kids don't know that I have monthly activities planned for "family dates," too! I'm hoping once school is out I can start theirs and we can get into a routine before the craziness of school starts back up again in the fall!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Date Night Log 2018: The Buffalo Tavern

You all voted and we listened! We took our pre-movie date meal to The Buffalo Tavern in Burlington (they also now have an expansion in Fort Madison). The Buffalo is located south of downtown and is a great space for playing pool or darts, enjoying a family meal, or watching the hot sporting event of the season. There's an outside patio, TouchTunes (where I tend to spend more of Shon's tokens than he'd like on country music and boy bands), and a serving staff that knows what they're doing.

While we are not strangers to the Buff, especially Shon, we always seem to find something new to try! This isn't just the place I once beat Shon at darts (like how I was able to drop that in there?), this is home of the Buffaloin (tenderloin with buffalo sauce). Yes, it's as good as it sounds, but this time, this time I really went for it. If you've been following the blog/my IG you know that I'm in the middle of Beachbody's 80 Day Obsession. Typically this means I'm eating clean and focused on health and nutrition, but since we don't get back to Burlington often, I made an exception so that you all could benefit from the experience ;) - okay, or maybe I just wanted to eat some junk food.

But here it is.

My dinner. 

My fellow Iowans (and the rest of you), seekers of the next best Iowa tenderloin, I present to you: The Buffalo's Tenderloin Horseshoe (with a twist - I asked for mine to be done buffalo style and the added kick is well worth any heartburn you may experience later).

Served on an open face bun, this tenderloin is covered in peppers and onions, jalapenos, Monterey jack cheese sauce, fries, ranch, and for me, buffalo sauce. I'll be honest. I gave it a valiant effort. I really tried, but I was only able to finish about half of it. Of course, we also happened to have ordered the Mac and Jack Brew Bites (macaroni and cheese, bacon, and pepper jack cheese breaded and deep fried), so I'm sure that didn't help my situation, but it was worth every delicious calorie.

 Next time you're in southeast Iowa, or if you're just up for a tenderloin road trip (yes, I know people who do things like that), I can't recommend this stop enough!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Date Night Log 2018: Beer & Bread

Last month's Living History Farms Cabin Fever Series event was "Beer & Bread." I'd been to this one a couple times in the past with friends, and it's by far one of my favorites. I love how much the microbrew scene in Iowa has exploded, and we're always up for trying something new. While I prefer lighter and fruity beers, Shon is a huge fan of IPAs (although neither of us are drinking much of either these days as we continue the wedding countdown). 

LHF had a great selection of breweries this year, although fewer "breads" than I remember in the past. We had some great stuff from South Union Bakery though, and our favorite brewer of the day was Firetrucker. I was actually able to work with them to get drinks for our wedding based off of what we tried and heard about! My favorite of the day was their "Cat in a Tree" ginger beer. They were back at Cheese Festival this month (our April date) and I got to have it again. I've been looking for it in stores, but they said that they've been running a little low on that one lately. The Machine Shed was once again on site, and did NOT disappoint! Their beer cheese and pretzels were a giant hit for us - which they served at Cheese Festival also - and we can't wait to have it again!

Friday, April 27, 2018

5 Signs You're "A Little Bit Obsessed..."

I got home from work today with *just* enough time to squeeze in leg day before I had to pick the baby up from daycare. I logged into my Beachbody On Demand and... it was gone. All gone. All the Autumn was gone! For a short period (20 minutes-ish) BOD had a glitch and I couldn't find my workouts. It was in that moment, as I sat contemplating what to do without day 42 that I realized that I am on my way to being "a little bit obsessed" (which is conveniently the name of her shortened version workouts of 80 Day Obsession.

I came up with 5 signs you are "a little bit obsessed" with healthy living:

  • You have multiple apps on your phone to track your food, workouts, sleep habits, water intake, and overall well-being. I use FitBit, My Fitness Pal, and 21 Day Fix. 
  • You recommend exercise to your friends who are stressed out - TAKE TIME FOR YOU! Invest in yourself! You'll feel better after you're done. Yes, I'm that annoying person.
  • You analyze your day to figure out when and where your workouts best fit in, even when you have a crazy busy schedule - even if that means asking your kids to join you so you can be healthy together while you spend time together. This qualifies as "a little bit obsessed" because if I were a lot obsessed I'd find a way to prioritize the workout. Like wake up early... yeah, no thanks... 
  • Your meal planning calendar is full of chicken and green beans
  • You spend your free time researching the affects of different types of macronutrients and the timing of eating them on your workout and your day as a whole