Sunday, November 30, 2014

November in Review...

Where did November go?!?!

Update on my health journey...I am still going strong.
I will admit that this month was a bit rough when it came to my diet, but I have been working out harder and more often than I have since we started this journey.  When I cook at home, it's paleo, but I have failed to stick to paleo way more than I care to admit this month.

I am still staying away from the scale.  I don't see that changing.  However, I know I am still losing because my pants are getting looser and I am fitting into smaller sizes.  I'll take it!

We tried to run on a super cold sucked.  I need better cold weather running gear.

So we joined the Y and have gone almost every day since!

I like it because it's giving us other options.  We've tried some different machines to work some other muscles and I've noticed that it has helped my running!

I actually am starting to hate the treadmill a bit less...I still hate it, just not as much as I did a month ago.

It's so nice to have someone to keep my motivated.  It's funny...Sam and I are working SO HARD when we go work out.  We don't chat or anything, we talk for the 30 seconds it takes to walk into the Y and the 30 seconds it takes to walk out, but while we're there, it's all business.  Somehow though, just having someone there keeps me motivated and keeps me going.  I continue to be SO PROUD of us and so amazed at how far we've come!

We are often motivated by the crazy hardcore athletes we watch at the Y.  This woman, we named Beastmode...she's ridiculous.

We are "those people" that are constantly checking into the Y on Facebook and posting pictures of us at the Y.  It will not stop.  I NEED to do that to keep me accountable.  Sorry if it bothers you...I do what I do for me and to keep myself motivated and accountable and keep me on track.  Period. :)

This time of the year is the hardest with all of the yummy food and family gatherings and the hustle and bustle and being so busy that you can't find time to work out.  I don't want this time of the year to get the best of me.  We can't...we've worked too hard and come too far.

Apparently this is also the time of the year for sickness.  Tate had it bad...

He got a scary high fever and then spiked fevers for over 2 weeks off and on!

Turns out he had strep...not great for Wes to get exposed to!  We has avoided any major bugs so far, but just has a nasty cough that he has had for a month.  His labs have been less than ideal and so he has been getting frequent lab draws, some medication adjustment and lots of extra fluids.  We are awaiting some test results right now, so prayers would be appreciated!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family and then woke up SUPER early on Friday to head out to the Hawkeye game!  Hot coffee and Hot Hands hand and body warmers saved the was FREEZING!

It was so fun to have some adult time to spend with friends!

And this man...I love him.

Life is so busy and when school is in session for this busy sucks to not see her as often.  I miss her all the time.  It was SO NICE to get a whole day to hang out with her and just relax and have fun!

Jamie and I photographed a gorgeous, winter wedding a couple of weeks ago and I have completed my family sessions for the year.  It's been an insanely busy fall for my with photography and I am blessed to get to call this passion my career.

We have our trees up and decorated, my Christmas shopping is almost done, our elf Christopher Pop In Kins arrived yesterday morning and the boys are super hyped for Christmas!  We have fun stuff in store for Christmas and look forward to surprising the boys (and the Peakin girls) when we head out for our annual Christmas trip.  This will be our biggest trip yet and we cannot wait! :D

Sean takes his final test for this semester in a couple of weeks and then he'll have almost a month off of school!

Looking forward to what is to come in December!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

53.25 Miles in 9 weeks - A Running Update

11 weeks ago, in an extremely unhealthy state in my life, I started running.  Thank the LORD I had my great friend Sam to do it with me or I may have never stuck with it!

This was taken probably around week 4(ish)...

I had days where I DID NOT want to go.  The only reason I did was because of Sam and her motivation.

Even though I didn't want to do it, I was ALWAYS soooo happy and proud after each run!

There are several different Couch to 5K programs and ours started small...very small.  We needed that.  We weren't even going much more than a mile for the first few weeks.  We would run for 60 second stints with a few minutes of walking in between.  I remember when we started having to run 3 minutes seemed impossible.  Then, we went 5 minutes straight and we were HUFFING AND PUFFING and hurting BAD!  Then, we went 8 minutes...WHAT?!?!  That's when the 3 minutes was like a blink!  We were so proud and getting stronger every single run.  We were dedicated and determined to proving to ourselves that we could do it.  We have consistently gone 3-4 times per week rain or shine.

I started finding myself in the "active wear" section more often and found that investing in weather appropriate gear was imperative in making my running experience more enjoyable.  I actually know what I prefer to run it.  Dare I say that I am a runner?!  I am.  We are.  We are runners...and I can fully feel it and know it now.  I feel guilty on days I don't run.  I look forward to it.  We may be slow and we may have a lot of improving to do, but we are runners.

I love the time I have running.  Once we get in our "zone" (usually around 1 mile), we are able to talk to one another during our runs...we even laugh sometimes...we even take the harder, hillier routes sometimes, just because we know we can.

 And once I took my picture WHILE running...this was at about mile 1.5 in week 5 or 6.  I am still smiling.  And I remember that run was my best one yet.  I felt like I could go forever!  Isn't it funny how runs go that way?  One day you just can't get into your groove and it's miserable the whole way, when the exact same distance and weather conditions the next day, it seems so easy like you could go an extra 3 miles!  Crazy how that goes.

EVERY TIME we finish a run, we say the same words and we give each other a high five...every time!  "I am SO PROUD of us!  We kick ass!"  And we are...we are so proud.  Who would have thought those first days when we ran for 30 seconds and felt like we couldn't go a second longer that we'd be running for 30 minutest straight and smiling the whole way.  That we would run up and down the cul de sac 2 extra times at the end of the run JUST to get in that extra 1/4 mile.  We are amazed at what we're doing now.  We know that it's only going to get easier and we'll only be able to go farther and faster.  We believe in ourselves now!

Because we couldn't find a 5k that worked for the both of us to do this fall, we ran our own...last week.  And we killed it!  We did it for a great cause and you guys, WE KILLED IT!

Again, we were SO PROUD of ourselves!!!

We feel unstoppable.  We don't care if it's 40 degrees, if it's raining...we are running.  We know it's going to get colder and eventually, we will have to start running on treadmills (not looking forward to that!), but we are not stopping.  I have big hopes.  I would love to run a 10K and maybe even a half marathon!  Who knows!  All I know is that I am capable, WE are capable of so much more than we know.  I feel better than I ever have...between the food I am putting in my body to the work I am making my body do.  I feel healthy.  And I am proud of us.  I am SO GRATEFUL for Sam and her encouragement on those days I didn't want to get off the couch.  I am so grateful for Sam in those moments on our runs when I wanted to stop, when I felt like I couldn't go another step.  Her and I have never ever strayed from the Couch to 5K program we are doing...not once.  We haven't walked when we should have been running.  We haven't stopped early.  We have stuck with it 150%.  I could have never done that without Sam.

Friends...I am telling you...if I can do it, if we can do it, SO CAN YOU!  You find time for YOU, you find motivation from wherever you can...your friends, your family, the mirror...those jeans you want to fit into!  (I just fit into my first pair of GOAL JEANS 3 days ago! I now have a new pair of goal jeans that I would love to fit into my Christmas!)  I recommend you find a friend to do it with...a friend that is in the same place as you so you, that is as much of a beginner as you are.

DO will be SO PROUD of yourself!

Can't wait to say I have run 100 miles!!!  I will let you know when that day comes FOR SURE!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Holding myself accountable...I got weighed today.

I need to do this post to hold myself accountable...especially after today.

Remember when I started this lifestyle change of mine?  It was in July...we started eating paleo and then 6 weeks ago, I started a Couch to 5K.  Before this, I was eating TERRIBLE and working out ZERO days per week.  The big things that I was doing differently this time (unlike when I had started dieting/exercising in the past) were I was not doing a "fad" diet. I was just trying to eat clean, not processed foods.  I gave myself cheats on occasion after the first month of being strict.  Also, I tried to be realistic this time.  I was making these changes mostly to FEEL better (eliminate headaches, digestion issues, etc.), but obviously knew that in doing that, I would lose weight which I also wanted to do.  So I threw out the scale.  I decided I would NOT weigh all.  And I haven't...until today.

I had to get weighed because of an annual health screening through Sean's work for a health insurance discount we can get if we participate.  And as expected, I was disappointed.

"The scale is the devil" ~Cassie Burback

Yes, it is.  It puts thoughts into your mind...

"I'm not doing a good job"
"What is wrong with me?"
"I should give up."
"This hard work isn't worth it"
"I can't do this anymore without better results"

It is the devil...he is getting into my head through the scale.

I lost 14lbs since mid July.  That's it. disappointing!  That number, it made me forget about the fact that I can run 2 miles straight now, without stopping.  It made me forget that I have gone down 2 pants sizes since then, that I no longer get migraines or have indigestion.  It made me forget that my blood pressure went WAY down and I am clearly a much healthier person.

I have a before and after picture, but honestly, I am too embarrassed to share it!  Plus, it's not my "after" picture.  My after picture will be when I meet my goal...and I don't even know what my goal is.  I will share it someday.  I am still too insecure with myself and how I look.  I am so proud of the progress that I have made, but damnit, I want to like how I LOOK!

So after speaking with several encouraging friends (one of whom actually makes a career out of fitness...thanks Tesi!!!) on the phone and getting some tips, I am going to step it up...start some new things.  I hope to join the Y to assist me in that!  Going to add a little something different in along with my running.  Excited to change it up a bit and hopefully see some more results!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Vegetable Soup Recipe

I posted this picture on Facebook of the vegetable soup I made the other night because it just looked so pretty!  Apparently it looked yummy to all of you as well because I got lots of comments and requests for the recipe.  The thing is that I made it up with all of the veggies in my fridge and on my counter so this is going to be a rough recipe because as far as seasonings go, I just kind of threw stuff in without measuring.  It was so delicious though and I will definitely make it again!  Oh, and it is EASY!

1 container vegetable stock (you could use chicken or beef stock though)
1/2 head of Cauliflower
4 stems of Kale
2 Sweet Potatoes  (I leave the skin on)
1/3 bag (the smaller bags) of baby carrots (cut in half)
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 can Stewed Tomatoes (or a few fresh tomatoes)
1 can diced tomatoes with olive oil and garlic (I used the HyVee brand)
3-4 small yellow onions (I used 4 small ones)
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
butter (ghee if you want it to be paleo)
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
red pepper flakes
Badia Complete Seasoning (this is what I use and LOVE, but I have to get it in Florida)

First, I chopped all of the veggies (except for the sweet potatoes and kale) very course.  Since there was not meat in this soup, I wanted big chunks of veggies.  In a big soup pot, I used approximately 1 TBSP ghee (or you can use butter or evoo or coconut oil) to saute all of the veggies (except for the canned tomatoes, the sweet potatoes and kale) and the chopped garlic cloves.  I just sauteed them to make them a little tender...maybe 5 minutes or so.  While doing that I seasoned with salt and pepper.  Then I poured the vegetable stock and canned tomatoes in and added some more salt and pepper as well as approximately 1 1/2 TBSP Badia and approximately 1 TSP red pepper flakes.  I let this simmer while I cut the sweet potatoes and took the kale off of the stems and chopped it into smaller chunks.  I added in the potatoes (I leave the skin on) about 30-60 minutes before serving because they can get pretty mushy.  I added the kale about 15 minutes before serving.  Throughout the cooking I was constantly tasting and adding salt and pepper as I went.  I did feel like when I was making it that I was putting in a lot of sea salt, but it needed it to get it to where the flavor was right. :)

It was SO GOOD, but just for fun when I make it again, I would maybe also add celery and even maybe mushrooms.  It would be really good with some sort of meat in there too!  If I didn't have Badia Complete Seasoning, I would probably put extra garlic in it, some extra salt (because Badia is salty), a bay leaf, basil or some other fresh herbs you like.  You could also probably just throw everything in a crock pot (and just skip the sauteeing of the veggies in butter) in the morning and then an hour before serving, add the sweet potatoes and kale into the crock pot to complete it.

I know this is not a very "official" recipe, but that's because I just made it up on a whim to get rid of a bunch of veggies I had in our fridge before they went bad! :)

Hope you all like it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Paleo and Running

So I started a Couch to 5K with my friend Sam 5 weeks ago.  Day one we were huffing and puffing and tonight we ran and after 2 miles and my best pace yet, I was still able to carry on a conversation.  I don't want to be braggy or go on and on, but you guys, this is a big deal for me and Sam and I am so proud of us!  Sam just had a baby 2 1/2 months ago and I was just so out of shape it was embarrassing!

I want to be healthy.  I started with changing my diet to paleo...and I am proud to say that I am still going strong.  Sean is too!  And I have a meal once every week or two that is not paleo...and that's ok.  I am back at it the next day.  I only cook paleo and only have those "cheat meals" when we got out.  And I feel good...the running has really helped that as well.

It has been so amazing to have a running partner and I could have never done this without her.  We were in the same place...we both are running at the same pace and we motivate each other.  It's such a blessing!  We balance each other seems as though when I am not feeling it, Sam is there to push me.  And when she isn't feeling motivated, I am there to push her.  It's incredible how far we've come in 5 weeks!  We can't wait to run our first 5k together!

As far as an update for our Paleo diet.  There isn't a whole lot to report aside from the fact that we're still going strong! :)  I made the most amazing Paleo Pumpkin Spice Granola the other day which we are enjoying and we are thrilled that it is now "soup season" because there are tons of yummy paleo soup recipes that I am looking forward to making!  I am trying 2 different soup recipes in the next week or so.  Can't wait!

And I STILL haven't weighed myself!  I have no desire to.  I am noticing a difference in my clothing and honestly, the number doesn't matter to me.  I want to be healthy, I want to FEEL good and I want to feel good about myself and how I look...and I want to look better.  Not going to lie...I want to feel good in my clothes...and I want to decrease the size of my clothes!  I am working on it hard and get so excited when I notice in a piece of clothing, but I have a long way to go!

I am going about this so differently than I ever have before though and I attribute much of that to the fact that I'm not weighing myself.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.  I want to lose weight the right way...the healthy way.  I don't expect to be 3 sizes smaller in one month, but I would LOVE to be 3 sizes smaller in one year! :)  And rather than my goals being a number on the scale, I am goaling myself in other ways...a quicker pace on my mile, working out that extra day in a week than I want to, fitting into the jeans I wore LAST winter, this winter.  Realistic goals I think.

Right now, I am feeling motivated, I am feeling more motivated than I even did in the beginning of trying to get healthy.  I am determined to do this.  I don't even really know what my ultimate goal is...and I like that I don't have a final goal.  I guess I just don't want to stop, I want to keep pushing myself.  I am running 2 miles a few times a week now, so once I am running 3 miles a few times a week, I want to start trying to go farther.  Maybe I'll try and do a 10k next year.  Who knows!  Once I get bored with the food I am making, I will find new clean, healthy recipes.  This is my plan.  I have always struggled in the past to stick with my healthy kicks and make them a lifestyle change...I want to do it this time.  I want to succeed!  Pray for me...I don't have the best track record! ;)  Ha.

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's been busy in these parts...

Every year Jennie Peakin Photography gets a little bit busier.  I love it...I still can't believe I get to call this passion my job.  I cannot imagine doing anything else.  Fall is crazy this is what I've been up to for the last month or so...

If you haven't already...LIKE Jennie Peakin Photography on Facebook to keep updated and you can also check out my business blog at

Also, we are picking up quite a bit and booking lots of weddings (a couple are this fall!) with my partner Jamie and my new wedding photography business, Vantage Nine19.  LIKE us on Facebook HERE and check our our website and blog to keep updated!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's been a while...

I haven't just posted random thoughts on here for a while.  Turns out, having 3 kids and a photography business is a lot of work!  Who would have thunk?!  :)

So what should I write about?  Hmmmm...

Well, Jennie Peakin Photography is going to be featured in the October edition of Quad Cities Gold Book thanks to my lovely friend, Leslie who writes for the Gold Book. :)  I am excited to continue to grow my business.  I am quite busy with Jennie Peakin Photography, but would love to expand out a bit and get some more birth sessions (my favorite!) and would love to continue booking weddings for Vantage Nine19.

Today I was contacted about an exciting event!  A couple of years ago, we walked the Kidney Walk for the National Kidney Foundation...a foundation near and dear to our hearts.  We were honored to walk and raise money for the NKF and awareness for all who were willing to hear. :)  Well, I was asked to be on the planning committee for a new NKF Eastern Iowa Kidney Walk that will be held in the QCA!  I can't wait to do all I can to help make this event a success not only this year, but in the years ahead.  So be will be hearing a lot more about this event as things come together.  And to all of my family and friends, I hope you will join us at the NKF Eastern Iowa Kidney Walk this spring!

School being back in session (for all FOUR boys) has gotten us back into a routine a bit more.  We are thrilled with PV Schools still and love sending our kids to school each day.  They love it.  I am happy that we are back in a routine and thrilled that I have a few hours alone each day to get editing, housework and errands taken care of.  Wesley starts soccer in a couple of weeks and I think that Tate is going to be in Cub Scouts!  Finally something he says he wants to do!  Well, as of tonight he wants to, but he isn't always terribly excited and willing when things all come down to it.  I feel like we are approaching a new chapter in our lives where we are going to be running our boys to sports and cub scouts and revolving our schedules around their event schedules.  Wesley wants to be in every sport possible, so I know that he is going to keep us busy!

Speaking of busy...we are getting to that time of year!  You know, Sean's birthday, my birthday, our anniversary and Tate's birthday...all packed within a 3 1/2 week period of time!  It's always nuts.  And then there is the weekend Hawkeye game watching that happens every Saturday...which we LOVE!  We are ready for some Hawkeye Football for sure!!!  I cannot believe Tate is going to be EIGHT!  His birthday parties have gotten a bit out of control and when I counted up how many people would be invited, it was pushing 45 people!  With the move into our new home and the setup we have, we just can't accommodate that many people as easily as we could have at our old home.  Our set up at our old home with the large screened in porch space was so much better to spread out in and if the weather isn't good, we won't have a place to go outside like we did when we lived in Davenport.  Sean and I tossed so many ideas back and forth and Tate REALLY wanted to have his birthday at HOME.  So we decided to not do the big bash this year like we had in the past.  We will celebrate that day with all of his local friends (who happen to be our family friends, so their parents will be coming as well) and then we will be doing a couple of other separate celebrations.  Not sure how much better it will be...lots of celebrations or all done in one shot with a super big one, but we're trying it out this way this year!

Wesley wants to have a bowling or Monkey Joe's birthday party this funny how those two are SO DIFFERENT!  It's crazy to think that we are even THINKING about Wesley's December birthday!  We already booked our Annual Christmas vacation with Mike and Sarah and family too!  Nuts how quickly time flies!

I am not ready for the COLD, but I am definitely ready for some cooler not 90+ degrees.  I could deal with sweatshirts in the evenings.  I love fall...aside from the ridiculous allergies that take over me this time of year!

Happy Fall everyone!