workout log 9/20 – 10/3

As I look at these two weeks of workouts written out, I’m realizing it doesn’t look like much of anything.  But really that’s just because I’m comparing it to pre-pregnancy days, which is unfair and unreasonable to do.  Honestly, I’m happy with where I’m at 2 months postpartum.  Physically I’m feeling really good (though I could use about 100 extra hours of sleep).
We’ve hardly had a “normal” week around here yet since Roen was born and we’re just kind of getting to the point of finding any sort of schedule.  Even the days when I don’t get a set workout in, I’m running errands, cleaning, moving all around the house, etc. so it’s not like I’m only sitting on the couch or something.  I’m proud of myself for not getting wrapped up in that “get your body back” postpartum crap I see all over the media.  I’m just doing my best each day to enjoy my growing baby and my new role as his momma, which is pretty darn easy to do.  The movement comes in some form each day and my health is certainly still a priority for me, it’s just not an idol.

Sunday, September 20th
75-minute Walk

Monday, September 21st
30-minute Walk

Tuesday, September 22nd
60-minute Walk

Wednesday, September 23rd – Sunday, September 27th
we were traveling and there were no set “workouts” – just busy days!

Monday, September 28th
30-minute Walk

Tuesday, September 29th
15 minute Walk
5 times through, no rest:

10 push-ups
10 squats
10 tricep dips
10 alternating lunges
10 jumping jacks

(this was the first time doing a jumping move since pregnancy/childbirth – I could clearly tell my core is “soft” and not in shape for this, but I felt find doing the moves and it gave me some confidence that I can continue doing so)

Wednesday, September 30th
I was sick with a bad head cold so there was just no workout – rest was much more important

Thursday, October 1st
45-minute Walk

Friday, October 2nd
again, no set workout – that cold was still lingering and I spent all of my “free time” running errands and cleaning the apartment for company that was coming.

Saturday, October 3rd
just a bunch of walking around San Francisco

Roen: 2 Months Old

Roen 2 months old

Things that happened in month 2:

He met his graMelinda.

He lounged at the beach for the first time.

Unfortunately, daddy’s paternity leave ended and he had to go back to work.  Fortunately, mommy gets to stay home and take care of him.

He took his first bottle (given by daddy) and drank it like a champ!
(I’m pumping a bit each day now to build a supply for bottles when needed)

He went on his first airplane ride, attended his first wedding, and met a lot of family and friends that live in Minnesota.

He met other babies from mommy and daddy’s childbirth class at a class reunion.

He visited Dr. Amy for his 2-month checkup and received a round of vaccines.  He was very brave.

At 2 months old, Roen…

wears 0-3 months size clothing.

loves Zida (it’s a mutual love).

typically wakes up twice a night to eat after a 4-hour (ish) stretch to kick off the night.

wears size 1 diapers.

started wearing bibs because of all the drool he dribbles each day.

can lift his head, but after the lift the head becomes like a wrecking ball.

weighs about 10 pounds 6 ounces and is 22.5 inches long.

smiles in response to mommy and daddy when they talk to him!!

and just for fun, some blooper pictures:

roen 2 months blooper picture yawn

Roen and Zida - 2 months picture blooper

Baby’s First Trip

Last Wednesday, Roen and I made a trip to Minnesota.

I was anxious about flying with a 7-week old baby, especially by myself, but it all went well and Roen couldn’t have been any better.

Roen and mommy holding hands on airplane

while sleeping on our flight, Roen moved his hand and grabbed onto mine.  it was so precious I just had to snap a photo.

The main purpose of our trip was to attend our friends Jenna and Ethan’s wedding on Saturday.  I felt honored to be a bridesmaid for Jenna and just couldn’t miss it.  The wedding was absolutely beautiful – I look forward to seeing what the photographer captured.  I loved getting to see friends from where we used to live, and it was most fun to see just how happy Jenna and Ethan are together and how the Lord is at the center of their relationship.  We’re so happy for them!

jenna and ethan's wedding

julie, dawn, danica, roen, wedding

grandma kim and roen - wedding

the weekend would not have been possible without the help of my mother!

danica and roen - hoppenworth wedding

We flew back to California on Sunday, but we made the most of our time while in MN.  Truly, our days were full from top to bottom – there were a lot of people for Roen to meet!  I came home with a hundred pictures on my camera of different friends and family members holding him, and while I’m not going to post every one of them here, I have to share this special one.

Roen and his Great Great Grandma Mae

Roen and great great grandma Mae


We missed Jesse like crazy.  I was really sad to leave MN but, of course, thrilled to be back together.

Roen and daddy

Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies {recipe}

I’ve made a batch of these cookies at least five times now (and I plan to again tonight) and they didn’t survive past a few days in our kitchen.  Trust me, they’re delicious.  Enjoy!

Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

(and for anyone with food specificities, these cookies are gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free, as long as your chosen chocolate is free of those ingredients)

Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies


  • 1/3 cup almond meal/flour
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or molasses (or both if you’d like)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or a dark chocolate bar cut into chunks, as I did)


1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or grease it with coconut oil or butter).

2.  Except for the chocolate, combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Stir until combined.

3.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.

4.  “Drop” the batter onto the baking sheet by the spoonful, though don’t place them too close to each other because they’ll spread out a bit as they bake.

5.  Bake for 10-18 minutes, or until the cookies look ‘set’ and are done to your liking.

6.  Allow to cool for a few minutes on the pan, then…

7.  Enjoy!

workout log 9/13 – 9/19

Sunday, September 13th
30-minute Walk
Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown – level 1 – 35 minutes

Monday, September 14th
60-minute Walk

Tuesday, September 15th
rest day

Wednesday, September 16th
30-minute Walk
this workout, 5 times through:

just the basics full body strength workout

Thursday, September 17th
rest day

Friday, September 18th
60-minute Walk

Saturday, September 19th
the following upper body workout, only I skipped the jumping jacks part and tacked on 15 medicine ball crunches and 15 leg raises:

Upper Body Non-Stop Strength Training + Cardio Workout -

5 things from this “first week”

Jesse went back to work this week so it was my first time parenting solo.

Here’s a glimpse at how the week went…

  1. This transition was a bit tougher than both Jesse and I expected – for him to mentally get back into “work mode” and to be away from Roen all day, and for me to just figure out how to manage everything on my own without too much pressure on myself about “getting enough done” while taking care of Roen.
    What made the beginning of the week toughest was that Roen woke up 4+ times a night for 4 nights in a row.  rough.  But now, the last two nights, he finally went back to his “norm” of 1 wake up, which made Thursday and Friday easily better from the get-go.  We’re all happier when Roen sleeps well during the night!

roen 6 weeks

(recognize this shirt?)

2.  Due to those rough nights, I’d like to thank this cup of tea for helping me get through Wednesday.  You know I’m tired when I go for a caffeinated beverage.

starbucks, stroller walk3.  I’d also like to give a shout-out to this bouncer seat for keeping Roen comfy enough for me to take lightning-fast showers.

Roen, bouncer, nap

4.  I joined a MOPS group that had its first meeting on Tuesday.  It was surprisingly refreshing to hang out with other women/moms for a couple of hours

5.  This one is the best part of the week: Roen has started smiling in reaction to us!!  It’s the cutest most wonderful thing.  It makes me feel a lot more connected to him as well, if that makes sense.  I just love his big grin!

roen smiling

Thanks to the people who gave me a little encouragement this week.  You were right – each day got a little bit better!  I’m totally in love with my new job as a “stay at home” mom/wife.

What a year…

Exactly one year ago today, on September 15th, 2014, we said goodbye to our home in southeastern Minnesota to move across the country to California.

Jesse had been offered a fantastic job he’d dreamed about and worked incredibly hard to get.  For years we’d talked about living “someplace else” to gain life experiences outside of Minnesota – not because we didn’t like living there, but because we knew there was a world out there MN just couldn’t offer and this seemed like the prime time in our lives to go on an adventure before really staking roots for the long-term.  We wanted to gain some different experiences and do something outside of our comfort zones.  This was the opportunity brought to us.

It was so hard to say goodbye see you later to our family and friends, but we just knew this move was right for us.

It’s difficult for me to explain, but from the second I got off the phone with Jesse after his interview in San Francisco with the company he now works for, I broke down in tears and talked to God.  I told him that I knew this was the move we were going to make, I just felt this was the exact direction he was guiding us, and while I didn’t understand why exactly (nor do I now, maybe I never will), I promised to follow His lead no matter how scary it seemed.


Jesse’s job has been nothing but great for him, but it didn’t overshadow the difficult time I had immediately following our move.  For the first 2 months in CA, I literally cried every single day because I didn’t feel happy here.  I desperately missed my friends, our family, our church, my job at the nutrition center, even our house, and to be frank, I was a little frustrated with God.  Why would I be so sure this was the right move for us when I now felt so unhappy?  I repeated to myself every day that I just had to give it time and heavily relied on His provision.


On November 25th, 2014, I saw positive results on two pregnancy tests.  The next day, I confirmed the pregnancy with six (yes, six) more tests.  Jesse and I were going to have a baby!?!

I’ll never forget the insane roller coaster of emotions I went through during that time. First and foremost, I felt pure JOY, but I also felt fear, nervousness, excitement, and even a little anger.  Why now?  Why are we having a baby when we’re thousands of miles away from our loved ones?  It didn’t make the most sense, but I obviously wasn’t interested in wishing for anything different than that little poppy seed growing in my belly.  I was shocked God had this in store for us, but again, I continued trusting in his goodness.

It’s been my lifelong dream to become a mother, and while the circumstances seemed a bit “off” according to what I imagined, I was over-the-moon grateful for our little miracle.  My pregnancy felt like a bit of a saving grace to me.  It was also a big smack in the face saying “don’t think for a second you’re in charge here…trust trust trust!  follow His lead.”

As the year continued on, so did life.  There were funerals and a wedding, visitors and new friends, job changes for me and another move for us.


In July, I happened upon an opportunity to read and review a book called Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong.  Just to be clear, I wasn’t asked to write a post about this book or share it with you here at all, I just don’t believe it was “coincidence” that an advanced copy arrived in my mailbox when it did AND that the book’s release date was today – exactly one year since our big move.
The tagline of the book’s title:
“Truths to Carry You through Life’s Transitions.”

Friends, this book was exactly, and I mean exactly what I needed to read.  I’m thankful for the words Kristen shared and the Biblical truth from God she conveyed in her words.

The biggest and greatest change of our year was the arrival of our sweet baby Roen.  And as parents, I know that particularly unpredictable change will surround us for the rest of our lives.

Truthfully, change surrounds us all, it’s inevitable, and it’s not all bad like we often make it out to be.

Life looks very different right now than I imagined it would by this point in my life, and yet I’m so happy I can (and sometimes do) cry, simply because I feel overwhelmingly blessed.

This past year was chock full of lessons and it’s grown my faith more than anything in my past ever has.

“…the Giver of all good things wouldn’t allow you to be in your current environment today unless it brings you to a better tomorrow.  If something is happening that you never fathomed – then God is working out something unfathomably good for you and in you.  You may not be able to fill in all the puzzle pieces or connect all the dots, but together we can trust God with the parts we don’t see.”   -Kristen Strong

In times of change, I cling to the truth that if God asks us to “plant a stake in new ground” and trust in him, he will bless us.  I don’t know what that blessing entails or who we’re here to possibly meet or help, but I trust that it’s what’s best.  It doesn’t take long for me to open my eyes and see his goodness surrounding us.

HE is the constant in the change.

From time to time my grandma reminds me that a life with God doesn’t promise smooth sailing, it just means that he’ll never let us fall.

Only God knows what this coming year will bring!  So instead of fearing change, I’m embracing it.


workout log 9/6 – 9/12

I mostly walked this week for workouts – that always works best when we have company.  I did, however, get my first postpartum strength training workout in.  I was sore (that great kind of sore) for a few days after – loved that!

I had my 6-week PP visit with my midwife and she said that I’m healing great and all seems to be well.

Looking forward to more of a variety in workouts this coming week!

baby Roen in the stroller

Sunday, September 6th
30-minute Walk

Monday, September 7th
60-minute Walk

Tuesday, September 8th
rest day

Wednesday, September 9th
30-minute Walk
and this workout from Julie…this was my first postpartum strength workout and I loved it:


Thursday, September 10th
rest day

Friday, September 11th
60-minute Walk/Hike

Saturday, September 12th
45-minute Walk

Beach Baby

Roen made his first visit to the beach yesterday!

We went to the Half Moon Bay State Park Beach and it was absolutely gorgeous.

half moon bay beach

When we first arrived Roen ate a bit, and then he slept in my arms for the remainder of the time we were there.  I’m certain the relaxing sound of the crashing waves and wind off of the ocean soothed him – a real life “white noise machine.”  :)

Roen's feet at the beach

baby Roen sleeping at the beach

half moon bay beach

jesse, danica, roen at the beach


Roen turns 6 weeks old tomorrow!  The time is just flying, needless to say.

Jesse’s mom has been here visiting this past week – the final week of Jesse’s paternity leave.
He returns to work this coming Monday and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dreading it a bit.  I’m sad he won’t be here during the day with us, but I’m incredibly thankful he had that much time to bond with Roen and learn everything I was learning about our newborn baby boy.  I know it’ll be good for us all to start getting into a bit of a “normal routine” this next week, too.  I’m *hoping* it’ll allow a little more time for me to blog!

Hope you’re all enjoying this very beginning of Fall (it’s a ridiculous 100 degrees here right now).

The Mental Side of Postpartum Fitness {workout log: 8/30 – 9/5}

I added in a couple yoga sessions into my week of (now) regular stroller walks.  I don’t know how many times I’ve done this video, but it’s probably a couple hundred – it’s my favorite yoga workout and I’ve been doing it for years.

When I did the workout this week though, what was once a good and semi-relaxing stretch, now had me all sweaty and a bit sore the next day.

A little voice first told me how pathetic it was that this video had me so worn out, but it was quickly silenced by reality – I gave birth just 5 weeks ago, and my fitness level significantly changed during the 9 months leading up to that, for good reason obviously.  I’m grateful for my health and proud for getting some exercise into my baby-consumed day.  I also think it’s exciting that I have a ways to go to get to the fitness level I want to be at – it’s a good test for my competitive-with-myself quality.

I loved the yoga sessions from this week…I’ve missed the sweaty feeling of finishing a challenging workout!

We have company here again now this week, so my plan is to still get in several walks and hopefully a session or two of yoga in there, too.

yoga - jillian michaels yoga workout

Sunday, August 30th
35-minute Walk
10 minutes of Yoga/Stretching

Monday, August 31st
60-minute Walk
Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown Video – level 1 – 35 minutes

Tuesday, September 1st
30-minute Walk

Wednesday, September 2nd
50-minute Walk

Thursday, September 3rd
Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown Video – level 1 – 35 minutes
30-minute Walk

Friday, September 4th
rest day

Saturday, September 5th
30-minute Walk