Hi friends! How are you today? Thank you so much to those of you who checked in with me regarding the safety of my family in Florida. We’ve been following the path of Hurricane Irma closely and receiving constant updates from my parents, sister and brother-in-law and Ryan’s parents. None of them live in an evacuation zone and while they are all among the 5+ million who lost power, they are all safe and we are incredibly grateful. It is devastating to see the destruction the storm has caused so far in Florida and the Caribbean and we are all absolutely keeping everyone in the path of Hurricane Irma in our prayers.
Today is also an important day in our country, and I am taking time to think of the lives lost and forever changed 16 years ago on September 11. You are in my prayers and I join my fellow Americans when I say we will never forget you and the horrific events that happened on this day.
Our weekend included a lot of updates from family and friends as we checked on the safety of those we love in Florida. We had beautiful weather in Charlotte which felt almost unsettling as we kept our eyes on the weather and the ever-changing path of Hurricane Irma. We had a lot of quiet moments this weekend – a boat ride on Friday night, an early night at home on Saturday, tossing rocks into a pond on Sunday morning – and I definitely felt an extra sense of gratitude for the things in life that are so easy to take for granted.
Our Friday night was a relaxing one. Earlier in the week, I requested a sunset boat ride on Friday evening and thankfully the weather cooperated, so we loaded our little gang up onto our boat after dinner and cruised around Lake Norman. I know our opportunities to get out on the water will soon becoming to a close for the year and we’re determined to make the most of the remaining weeks of boat season. Something about being on the water relaxes me in a way that seems to only be mirrored by the way I feel when I am in the mountains. It’s a peaceful calm and I love it so, so much.
As always Sadie served as our enthusiastic little lookout during our boat ride. Watching her ears flap in the wind and seeing her excitement basically explode every time we step out of the car and head for the boat dock brings me so much joy. She’s a water dog through and through!
Saturday morning began on the slow side, which was very welcomed. Ryan went to the gym, Chase shocked us by sleeping in until 7:30 a.m. and I was able to curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and my devotional and enjoy some uninterrupted quiet time. Once everyone was up and done eating breakfast we headed off on our adventure of the day!
For Chase’s birthday, his friend Carey gave us tickets to Discovery Place Nature Museum which I thought was such an awesome gift. You guys know by now that I am all about experience-based gifts for Ryan so I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this for Chase and his toddler friends, too. I LOVE this idea!! Discovery Place Nature was a lot smaller than I anticipated but for a two-year-old the size was perfect and we spent a solid two hours at the museum. (For the locals: Most of our time was spent in the outside play area and we easily made it through the inside of the museum in 45 minutes.)
We kicked off our visit to the museum with a walk through the butterfly garden before it was time for the 10 a.m. show in the planetarium. I wasn’t sure how Chase would handle the dark room, dome ceiling and the booming narrator’s voice but apparently he inherited his grandmother’s love for space because he was all about it and very into the show about the autumn sky and constellations.
I’m sure sharing a beanbag with Ryan helped increase his bravery level but the show seemed to be a good one for kids of all ages. Since the majority of the people watching the show were children, no one minded when kids yelled out the constellation shapes and had a little fun with the show which Chase also seemed to enjoy.
After the show, we made our way through the rest of the museum and our little animal lover enjoyed checking out the turtles, snakes, chipmunks, owls and more. Since the weather was so gorgeous on Saturday (low 70s and sunny) we were anxious to get outside to enjoy the museum’s play area and trails and spent over an hour watching Chase have a ball.
Our time in the outside play area lasted as long as it did because Chase fell in love with this little push-toy digger thing that he carted all over the place and through the trails.
Truthfully pushing that thing around seemed completely miserable to me but he was all about it. Whatever floats your boat, bud!
We arrived back home in time for lunch right before Chase went down for his nap. Ryan had plans to go mountain biking with a friend while Chase slept and I did some work. The rest of our Saturday was pretty low-key. We attended the evening service at our church, ate breakfast for dinner and rounded out the evening with Thursday’s episode of Big Brother that we missed last week.
Sunday morning began the sweaty way! On Saturday night, I signed up for my first CycleBar class, a new boutique indoor cycling studio that recently opened in our area. (They have locations all over the United States but it’s new to our area.) So many people have been absolutely raving about it so I wanted to see what it was all about and couldn’t pass up the $5 rate for a first-time rider. I signed up for the 8 a.m. class and anticipated an experience similar to SoulCycle which I’ve tried a couple of times in the past when I visited New York City. (Fun fact: Chelsea Clinton was in my first SoulCycle class!)
The class was super high-energy and a lot of fun. It was a 50-minute ride that incorporated hills, sprints and some light arm work with a four-pound bar. Truthfully I have mixed thoughts about incorporating arm exercises during a spinning workout – specifically doing the exercises while you’re on a bike. Through my Spinning certification, it was pretty well ingrained into our heads that doing arm exercises on a bike (especially while pedaling) can be dangerous and lead to injury. When I did SoulCycle in the past, it was before my training and so I wasn’t sure what I would think of CycleBar since I have a bit of a new perspective on the format. (Yes, I know the workouts are quite different but from an outsider’s perspective, there are many similarities.)
So what did I think? To be honest, I liked it. Would I consider CycleBar a full-body workout? No… but they definitely don’t claim to offer a full-body workout on their website or promotional materials which focuses heavily on CycleBar delivering a good cardio workout. Do I wish we would’ve just stopped our bikes and hopped off for the arm portion of the workout? Absolutely. (The instructor did and I was hoping he’d tell us to as well!) But would I consider CycleBar a fun cardio workout? Yes. Would I go back? Yes. Would I recommend it for someone brand new to fitness? After my first experience, I wouldn’t. Honestly, I think CycleBar is best for someone who is already comfortable on a bike (no one came in to help me get set up on a bike or review the various positions which was a little shocking and – I’m hoping – unusual for CycleBar) and someone who also has the knowledge that upper body workouts and indoor cycling probably shouldn’t go hand-in-hand for the most effective combination. (Basically if you’re looking for an upbeat and intense indoor cycling workout and are prepared to pretty much take the arms part of the workout with a grain of salt, you’d probably like it. ) The workout was fun and there’s no denying that CycleBar completely nailed the energetic ambiance I love in a fitness studio. To really be able to give the workout a full and complete review, I would definitely need to take more than one class, but I still wanted to share my initial impression with you guys and would love to hear what you think if you’re a CycleBar fan or have ever taken a class in the past.
Once my workout was done, I chatted with some people at the studio before heading home. (Everyone from the woman who checked me in to the instructor was very, very friendly and welcoming and I didn’t get that “too cool for school” vibe I’ve seen at other small studios.) Chase and Ryan were playing with trains when I walked through the door and when Chase saw me, he immediately ran over to his kitchen helper stand and said “help cook!” I figured I’d use his interest in cooking to my advantage and we whipped up a batch of banana muffins before spending the rest of the morning at a local park.
We played on the playground for a bit, but the highlight of our morning occurred at a nearby pond where throwing rocks into the water entertained us for a little too long!
Clearly Ryan and I are way too into Big Brother these days because we ended up making up our own mini Head of Household (HOH) competition while we were tossing rocks. We said the first person to get a rock to land on the wooden platform floating the lake would be HOH (and win a massage!) and it was WAY harder than it looked!
Even though Ryan hit the platform a lot more frequently than I did, I’m happy to report that one of my rocks stayed put first and I was crowned HOH. Yessss!
(Ryan snapped that pic before I could put up the number one… and I think that was on purpose.)
Once we made it back home, we ate a quick lunch, put Chase down for a nap and Ryan went off to the gym while I worked on this blog post. Chase woke up crying less than an hour later and seemed really fussy. Chase rarely wakes up crying so I took his temperature and was relieved when he didn’t have a fever. He also didn’t seem to want to go back to sleep so we just laid low for a bit at home while he calmed down and started to act more like himself.
The rest of our Sunday was pretty relaxed. Our friend Ben came over and we grilled out, threw toy airplanes around outside with Chase and called it an early night.
Plans for today include preschool in the morning for Chase and a doctor’s appointment for me. I had some blood work done two weeks ago and apparently the lab didn’t get enough blood for the tests they needed to do, so it’s back to the doctor I gooooo.