Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I don't know what to blog about

I have a ton of random stuff on my mind right now.  Here's a look inside my odd little brain at present:

I ordered a bunch of adorable fabrics the other day, and they'll be here tomorrow!  I'll be using them to make headbands to relaunch my Etsy store, and I'm totally stoked!!

I ran 5 miles on the YMCA treadmill today, and it felt good.  My pace averaged 9:05, which felt even better.  I love that I'm finally speeding up!

Hubby is about to begin his training for his first half marathon, and I'm stupidly excited.  Like, much more than he is.  Go figure.

I'm learning alllll the muscles of the body right now.  It's tough, but pretty cool.  I can't wait to put the knowledge to good use.

My weekend long runs have been crap.  Between travel and the heat, I've barely kept up with my training.  I hope it doesn't come back to bite me in the ass later.

The boy is finally happy in the Y childcare!  It took a few weeks of reluctance on both our parts, but now he's going in and out of there like a champ.  It'll make my daughter's transition to kindergarten easier on him, I hope.

Omg, my daughter will be in kindergarten.  In under a month.  Holy freaking crap.  Mama needs wine.

Mama has cut back on wine and beer.  Mama has almost completely cut out soda.  And mama has been PMS-y  lately.  Maybe this is why mama's mood is so completely psychotic slightly erratic.

I want cake.  Mmmmmm, cake.

Hmm, off topic a bit.  Anyway, I'm going to Pilates tonight.  It's helping my core a good bit, though I still don't think my ab muscles will ever actually come back together.  The instructor thinks it's from my c-section.  Those things suck, don't get one if you can help it.

But anyway, Pilates!  Yay!  I like two-workout days, they make me feel so accomplished.  Now I'll feel even more accomplished if I could stop typing and fold that huge pile of laundry presently staring at me.

The other thing staring at me right now is what my husband just refinished and I'm currently madly in love with.   It has caused me to start scouring craigslist in order to find more cool shit to refurbish and funk up our house.  Here it is:

Oh, and look at that lovely laundry basket right next to it in the picture.  I can hear it mocking me.  I should probably take care of that......  Have a good one!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mondays are lame

The weekend is so fun and eventful and husband-filled, why does Monday have to arrive?  Sometimes we're good in this house, but most of the time it takes us half a day to readjust to having a schedule.  Plus, it's generally my off day from exercise, and mama isn't on her game when she doesn't get exercise.  So I need to figure out how to make Monday suck less.  Here are a few ideas:

Have a special Monday Funday breakfast like smiley pancakes (whole wheat, of course!)
Weekend wrap-up--have the kids draw/craft a summary of the weekend awesomeness
Special Monday night family activity--maybe game night or FroYo outing
Themed Mondays--I've been wanting to do International days!

Maybe if I do some combination of the above, and do my darndest to save all the chores until Tuesday, we can do this!  Any other good suggestions?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Three Things Thursday, tired edition

1.  We're gearing up for kindergarten in our house!!!!  The school uniforms are in, we've gotten half of her supplies and are waiting for tax-free week to get the rest, and biggest of all--we've started waking up earlier.  I'm sure I've told you all that we're not morning people.  That's really putting it mildly.  My children have always been blessed with the beautiful ability to sleep until 8:30-9am every morning.  I've looooooooved it, never complained about it at all.  Until now.  Holy geez, getting them up is hard!  Getting ME up is hard too.  I've gotten lazy used to sleeping, and now I can barely wake up to wake them up.  So we've set a new routine--every morning, we'll wake up and make ourselves get to the Y by 8am.  After I work out, we swim.  So it requires me to get all the food and clothing together the night before (just like school), wake them up earlier than they want (just like school) and pile them in the car first-thing (again, school).  It was rough yesterday.  Like, the type of rough that you want to just erase it all and pretend it didn't happen.  We were 25 minutes late and the number of child breakdowns had grown exponentially until bedtime.  That's when I resorted to lots of wine and almost gave up.  But today, I took my hungover self and tried it again!  It's gone a tad bit better, and the breakdowns have been minimal.  And we were only five minutes late.  I can see this working down the line!!
Happy snacking pooltime kiddos!
2.  I'm getting seriously overwhelmed excited about my personal training work!  I'm presently studying anatomy/physiology, and I'll admit that it's not the easiest for me.  I know that I need it so that I can properly learn how and why the body needs to move in certain ways, but I'm kinda kicking myself for not paying more attention in school during biology.  Such is life though.  Once I get through this portion (yawn) it'll be on to the good stuff!  I'm already thinking about places to train and talking to first-client possibilities.  Yay!

3.  I've been witnessing something odd in the gym recently.  With my new time there, I've noticed one lady in particular, whom I call The Tricky Treadmiller.  Tricky always does the same thing--She hops on the treadmill at about a 7min mile, holds on for dear life to the handle, holds herself up for a moment, feet flailing and stomping and looking horribly painful, and then jumps onto the sides.  She spends, I'd say, over 1/3 of the time standing on the sides!  She does this for what looks like five miles (yeah, I catch glimpses, so sue me), gets off and walks around while leaving her crap allllllll over the floor, and then comes back for another five.  Then she walks away from her sweaty treadmill without wiping it, ew!  But the thing is, although that treadmill just went 10 miles, SHE isn't running 10 miles.  Not even close!  She's maybe running 5-6 with all that time spent on the sides.  Which, 6 miles at a 7 minute pace is great!  But what kind of training is that?  Does anyone know???  Am I missing something?  I'd think she was doing sprints if it didn't last so long and look so uncomfortable.  Someone working on sprints would have good form, not hold on for dear life, and have more consistent timing.  I shot her a few odd looks today, and once she actually saw me and slowed down, staying on for maybe a full minute.  I felt proud of myself in a very bitchy way.  I guess I just don't get the need to try to do something that you're obviously not ready to do.  Slow it down, lady, you're gonna break an ankle!

Any fun gym stories you have?  Any nicknames that you give to the people there?  I love peoplewatching, I hope I make more "friends" at my new 8am timeslot soon, hehe!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wearable Wednesday: The Sling

The sling is considered one of the simplest, "beginner" carriers of them all, so I figured I'd start with it.  I'd like to start off with a disclaimer:  There have been a few mass-produced slings in the past few years that have been recalled and made a bad name for babycarriers in general.  They are NOT considered slings and never have been by the babywearing community!  They look like huge puffy bags that you drop a baby into and hope for the best.  Like I've said in the past, a carrier needs to keep baby's face from tilting down into her chest and it must also keep baby close enough to kiss.  This sling doesn't do that, and it's heartbreaking what happened because of it.  But don't fear--not all slings are bad!  In fact, most are seriously amazing!!!!  So I'll be talking about the other 99% and giving you an idea of the uses and child ages that go (in my opinion, of course) best with this carrier.
My daughter's first trip outside!
Slings are excellent for all ages, ranging from newborn to toddler.  As the child gets larger, he is positioned differently in the sling, and it does tend to get heavy on the shoulder.  For that reason, it is generally suggested that the wearer change shoulders regularly when carrying an older one.  But with a wee one, the shoulder shouldn't get too tired and it is mostly just a sweet snuggle feel the entire time!

A newborn carry is basically like the photo above.  The sling is fully adjustable by means of two rings (hence the term "ring sling") lacing the fabric over and through each other.  As you pull sides of the fabric, it tightens each end.  With a bit of learning, one can figure out how to make it looser on one side or tighter on the other in a few simple tugs.  I personally preferred a different carrier in the beginning, because I felt a bit like I was constantly touching and checking baby in a sling.  But then, it could have also been because I was a nervous first-time mother!  I know many a mom who prefers this carrier and one of the great benefits it has--the ability to breastfeed simply and discreetly without removing baby.  Simply lower one side of the carrier, undo nursing top, and voila!

As baby gains neck and then back strength, she can be placed upright in the sling and carried on the hip.  This carry is ideal for a few different occasions:  Going in and out of shops airport trips, grocery stores, etc.  The reason that it works so well is because of ease of use.  It's takes up little space and can be carried in most bags, and it is incredibly easy to take on and off.  I used it on basically every airport trip we took for her first year!  Another great aspect of this carry is that it mimics the hip hold that baby is used to from mama already, so it is an excellent way to get baby down for a nap.  He won't suspect a thing since it's a normal position, and once he passes out he's already supported.  Score!

Finally, this is a very versatile carrier style-wise.  There are literally hundreds of styles, fabrics, and designs you can choose from when looking to buy.  They are made in UV protected waterproof fabric for the pool, stretch cotton for snuggling newborns, fleece-lined for winter, and even embellished silk for formal events.  No matter where you plan on going, you can surely find a sling for the event!

So basically, after all my random drivel above (yes, I'm still mostly decaffienated, can you tell?), I'll offer you a simple list of pros, cons, and best uses.

Easy to take on/off
Can be used from infancy to toddlerhood
Light and compact
Can wear during breastfeeding
Tons of different fabrics for all occasions

Not completely hands-free
Heavier children need to be shoulder-swapped
Not as easy to adjust as something with straps

Best Uses
Short outings
Formal events

My Favorite Brands (totally opinion-based!)
Maya Wrap
Sakura Bloom

For more awesome information on ring sling carries, positioning, safety, and troubleshooting, go HERE.

Any questions?  If you have a sling, tell us what your favorite brands and uses are and/or why you love it.  Next time, I'll be talking about wraps, yippee!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm indecisive....I think

As all runners know, with the coming of Fall is also the coming of a new race season!  Mid-summer brings Facebook statuses of "signing up for ____ marathon" or "finished first run in ___ training plan" and whatnot.  For me, I have a few definite, already registered events on my list:

VA Super Spartan
Women's Half Marathon (Nashville)
Carolina's Spartan Beast
TN Ragnar Relay
Hubby's hometown Turkey Trot

Then, there's my completely random list of races that would be pretty cool.  It ranges from half marathons to 50k's to Tough Mudders.  If I could do all the races that I want to do, I would spend thousands of dollars and way too many family hours just in training.  Not to mention the time I need to spend studying and training for my CPT certification.  Because seriously, no one wants an uneducated, flabby trainer!

So after writing about four different possible schedules, I started to ask myself--What do I really WANT from my racing this year?  Do I want to become a more experienced marathoner, or venture into ultrarunning, or simply speed up my half marathons?  And then, WHY?  I can say all day that I want to try out an ultra, but I started to wonder, is it simply because I want to be able to say I ran one?  Will I regret that decision later and get burned out?  I loved my marathon, but I've only done one and I have years to venture farther.  And then there's the marathon thing--Do I want to run more so I can get into Marathon Maniacs?  That's kind of a silly bragging point, and I won't really earn anything from it other than a paid-for status.  But it's a damn cool status!  Or my most recent thought--Should I simply set my sights on improving my half marathon time so I can focus on strength training for my obstacle races and my CPT course?  If I choose this one, will I feel unfulfilled at the end of the season?
 Basically I have no answers to any of the above questions right now, as you've probably already noticed.  I would love any input that any of you can give me, I'm pretty majorly stuck right now.  All I know is that I want this season to be bigger and better than last!  Haaaallp me!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Three Things Thursday, big changes

I know I tend to get a little self-involved on here, but it is MY blog, right?  So I have a few super cool things to tell you about what's happening with me right now, and then I'll attempt to get out of lazy vacation mode and on to the family fitness path once again. 

1.  First off, I've stopped drinking soda as of Monday.  Cold turkey.  We ran out, and I decided it was time.  And holy crap.  It's painful at times!  I have a shot of espresso in my morning protein shake, and most days that's it.  If I'm hurting something horrible, I have a very weak iced coffee in the afternoon.  But I haven't put any nasty artificial sweetener or canned caffeinated crap in my body in days!!!!  I've had some headaches and a few body aches even.  I've gotten twinges of a sweet tooth, but I've tried to cancel it out by eating real FOOD instead.  I grab some carrots and bean dip or a peanut butter and peach sandwich, pretend it's junk, and it seems to do the trick.  Sometimes I just give into the cravings completely.  So yeah, I'm probably going to gain a little weight.  But that's totally healthier than what I was doing to my body before, and I'm quite fine with it.  If you want to join me on the soda-less journey, let me know!  I'd love to have a partner (or ten), and we can update each other on how we're doing.  Yay for being good to our bodies!

2.  My Healthy Family Challenge is coming right along!  I've gathered even more goodies for the giveaway and I'm thinking of more fun stuff for challenges as I type this.  I just have to take the time to make Photoshop banners for it all, and that's my downfall.  Mama ain't so good with computers.  So yeah, let's see how that works.  But otherwise, be prepared for a month of healthy awesomeness!

3.  Biggest news so far--It's official, I'm becoming a Certified Personal Trainer!!!!  I ordered my training package/test yesterday, and I've already started reading the manuals online!  I've slacked horribly with finding a job teaching PiYo Strength, mostly because I reached out and got shot down a few times and it broke my confidence.  BUT I feel that this is a new start and it will get my foot in the door at gyms, along with that extra certification, to teach both private instruction and group classes.  I've thought about it for almost a year now, and even considered it before moving to Germany (back when I worked in a women's gym--best job ever!!), and I'm just absolutely sure it's the right path for me.  It will give me the full education and confidence that I need to not only help people in person, but to make excellent fitness programs on this blog as well.  So starting now, I'm doing my PiYo Strength workouts in the morning to get them memorized, doing my regular workouts throughout the days, and nights will be studying CPT training manuals.  On very little caffeine.  This will be a ride, that's for sure.

How are you doing?  Big fitness/health plans for your future?  Let me know, it can't be ALL about me!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm back, and with exciting news!!!!

First of all, vacation was AWESOME.  We had such a blast on the beach, the entire family really needed that reconnecting time!  Hubby got to play with the kiddos and relax all week, and he was in absolute need of it.  Our activities included lots of beach/pool time, a dolphin watching tour, a "kid cruise" where they could fish for sharks and crabs, walking around a mostly deserted island, mini golf, and lots of yummy meals.  We got back Saturday just in time for my mom to come visit and bring us a family member (her landlord is an asshat and will only let her have one cat), then Hubby had a friend in town yesterday, and today we get shoved right back into normalcy.  We're all a bit bummed to be back (him especially!), but we do like being in the comfort of our own home.  Now it's prep time for races and kindergarten and part-time jobs and new projects.  Busy, indeed!

Beach fun!
Happy family!
Kite flying and beach walking
Yep, the trip was as perfect as it looks.  And because of all that perfection, I only ran twice while I was there, with one good long run.  I continued my daily squat challenge (hint--so easy to do them in the shower!) and did a burpee self-challenge after a feeling of guilt swept me.  But we managed to eat quite healthy by eating in the condo for breakfast and lunch and only going out for dinner.  Dinner usually consisted of blackened or grilled seafood, we avoided all things fried, and no one gained weight!  So there's my how-to for staying good during vacation--Workouts won't always work out (hehe), but you can always find a way to stay on track with your food intake!  Choose restaurants that specialize in local fare, and if you have the option, always stay away from fried food.  Get meals to share if possible, and stay in a place where you can cook at least 1-2 meals/day.  It saves calories, and you'll have extra money for fun activities!

So now for the exciting news!!  I'll be hosting a September HEALTHY FAMILY CHALLENGE and HIPFIT VIRTUAL FAMILY 5K!!!!!  I will have one healthy challenge for the entire family for every week of September, and at the end of the month it will culminate in a family 5k that you should do with relatives and/or friends!  I've never heard of a virtual race that got the entire family involved, so I thought it would be a fun, unique sort of race.  I will have signups for the challenge and race throughout August, and I'll be doing a virtual race packet with online coupons for all participating.  There will also be random giveaways for those who complete the challenges/5k!  I'm still gathering sponsors, but here is a list of just a few awesome sponsors already signed on, just to wet your appetite:

Excited yet????  I sure am!  This will be a month long of fun and hopefully a great start to a healthier future for a lot of families nationwide!  Spread the word please, I want as many people possible to join us in the fun!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Three Things Thursday, randomness

1.  This "normal" business is making me busier!  I've been able to finally make a workout schedule, and it's quite badass.  I've tried classes at the Y and found the perfect combo for me.  This is my new schedule:

Monday - Off day (or PiYo if I feel up to it)
Tuesday - AM short run, PM Pilates class
Wednesday - AM Cycling class, upper body weights
Thursday - Mid-length run, yoga
Friday - Short run, core work
Saturday - Bodyrock.tv/Blogilates short home workout, then off
Sunday - Long run!

I adore this new schedule.  Like, seriously love it.  If I could add even more classes, I probably would.  I'm turning into a fitness-aholic.  Which is better than other things, I guess. 

2.  We had a wonderful 4th of July!  I went to my first cycling class and it was AWESOME.  Hubby had gone to one on Tuesday and said it was great, and that the teacher was doing a Glee-inspired class on Wednesday morning.  I'm a total Gleek, so I jumped on it.  The teacher dressed up like Coach Sue and yelled at us, it was a blast.  Then I came home and we got ready to go back for the Y pool party.  They may start making me pay rent soon!  After the pool party, we came home and spent the evening cooking out, visiting with the neighbors, and playing with fireworks in our yard.  It was relaxing and fun.  Juuuuust what we needed!

3.  I found out that I may actually be able to MEET the child that I helped during my fundraising for Team Endure to Cure!  I ran for him/her in my first marathon and fundraised for a few months beforehand.  I was able to raise enough to grant him/her a Small Wish to make life a little more exciting in some very rough times.  I just got word that the child is in North Carolina a few hours away, and I'm to start drafting a letter to send.  If appropriate, they may invite me to award the child with the Small Wish myself!  My heart swells with absolute joy that I and so many other donators can make this sweet child's life just a little bit better.  I think I'll be a ridiculous tear-fest if I go there, but it will be so worth it.  I'll take pictures if allowed, and I'll personally thank all the donors with (hopefully) some great news from the child!

Running for a cause is seriously rewarding stuff, people.  Running is awesome for your body, but knowing that you're helping someone while you're helping yourself is awesome for your SOUL.  I was just given some news that there is a Team in Training that actually has some highly coveted spots left in the NYC Marathon on November 4th!  The team is Team Reeve, which is running on behalf of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.  For the thousands of marathon runners and first time hopefuls who weren’t chosen in the lottery to run the marathon (I feel your pain, I was passed up this year), this is another chance to be a part of this historic event.

Team Reeve members receive several perks to help train for the marathon as well as raise funds for this noteworthy cause, including:
·         Free group marathon training by the exclusive health facility La Palestra (http://www.lapalestra.com/) in New York City (virtual training is provided if you can’t be in NYC). This includes a comprehensive cardio and strength training program, nutrition seminars, group training distance runs in Central Park and access to the facility.
·         Race day support by La Palestra including medical practitioners, water stations, gear drop, charter bus transportation from Central Park to the start of the race in Staten Island, and access to showers and a cool down party after the race at the facility, which is located just a block away from the finish line.  This is a huge deal, because it turns into a mad house there!
·         Fundraising coaching by the Foundation to help each participant meet his/her fundraising goal of $4K.

Applications, available online at http://tinyurl.com/82auwxs, will be vetted by the Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis, with winners being notified within approximately one week of submission. 

If I wasn't already a member of E2C, I would jump on this.  Any of you interested need to just take the plunge and DO IT!  The most amazing marathon in the country in the (my personal opinion, of course!) coolest city in the country, running for those who are unable to.  Nothing could be more inspiring!!!

So there's my three things.  Let me know how your 4th was, and if you apply for Team Reeve I want to hear about it so I can cheer you on!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Giveaway winners!

First off, I hope you all had a fantabulous weekend!  We enjoyed it here, even though it was hotter than Satan's buttcrack.  We doubled up on TaeKwonDo classes last week since it's school holiday this week and our vacay next.  And wouldn't you know it, the kiddo is rocking it out!  She was a tad bit intimidated moving up in levels, because it means getting out of the "Little Tigers" class and into the big kid group.  But she totally owned it and I couldn't be prouder.  She's already learned a lot and improved in just a few days.  She got pushed pretty hard by the school Master, but she didn't let it get her down and she came out smiling.  I love that kid!

Aside from that, we did a bit of vacay shopping, tons of swimming (the kiddo also passed a swim test at the Y to go down the big slides!), saw "Brave" (sooooooo good, but a bit scary for littles), and I barely pushed out an 11-miler on Sunday morning.  On mile 8.5, I got dizzy and chilled, so I'm just glad that I made it to the car without passing out!  My hydration pack was literally a lifesaver.  Awesome tip:  put the bladder in the freezer overnight so it can slowly thaw during the run for a nice cool blast from each sip!  I saw people out there worse off than I was, and even saw a bit of vomit.  Scary!  Be careful out there people, and don't leave home without lots of hydration!!!!!
Looking rough after yesterday's run.  Eek!

Now to the stuff you guys actually care about--who won the free stuff.  Here are the three lucky winners, as picked by random.org:

Entry #32 - anotherrunningmom

Entry #14 - Kiza

Entry #42 - Angel

I'm so excited for you all!  And a wee bit nervous about sending wee little headbands to some of these sewing goddesses.  But alas, I must do it and you all must love them.  Those are the rules.  I'll email you momentarily with the details, peeps!

For the rest of you, like I said before, I'm still thinking about selling the headbands.  I previously had an Etsy shop and may contemplate reopening it.  I need your opinions please:  Would you consider buying them with the price points 1/$5, 2/$9, 3/$12?  That's cheaper than the major brands and on-par with some other Etsy shops.  But I have awesome style and can guarantee mine personally, so that totally makes them better.
Maybe I can finally use these again!

So there it all is.  I hope that you all had a fantastic weekend, avoided heat exhaustion, and will have a wonderful holiday week!  Any big plans?  It's a bunch of swimming and laziness on my calendar!  Have fun!!