All the Right Moves

While baby naps, Mama blogs! This should be my go-to routine, but inevitably my task list changes on the regular. However, today as I sip my soy latte with two pumps of pumpkin spice (mmm) at the kitchen table, I find myself reading an ‘All the Right Moves’ survey from Tina at Carrots N Cake. So why not give it a whirl?! Fitness surveys not your cup of tea? No hard feelings. A 15 month Emery update will be available for you haters later this week. And here’s a picture of my pumpkin to satisfy your cravings ;)

IMG_8161

What fit activities do you like to do together as a family?

Walks are our go-to family fitness activity. Our new subdivision winds through a golf course, so there are plenty of routes for us to take. Some hilly, some flat. Allie loves coming along for the ride. This summer we bought new bikes and a bike trailer for E, but sadly we didn’t use them as much as we wanted. Hopefully next summer. When our days are sans-Daddy, E & I like to go for stroller runs or take trips to the park. Fresh air seems to do us all a world of good!

IMG_4966

Why is fitness so important to you?

Because exercise keeps me healthy and helps me feel good! I read way too many sad stories about people (young and old) who are dealing with situations that prevent them from exercising. So my motto continues to be, “I can, so I will.” Remind me of that when I try to make excuses next time, k? :)

How do you motivate yourself to work out when you just don’t feel like it?

Write it down in my planner. Sign up for a race. Put on my workout clothes so I’m less apt to bail. Get my workout done first thing in the Am so my day starts of with a blast of energy! Seriously, I always feel better after a workout. Always. Even if it’s not the best. & trust me,, I’ve had plenty of not-good workouts. Ever since I started PiYo 2 weeks ago, I’ve been getting the majority of my workouts done before Emery wakes up. That way I’ve got the whole day to not worry about fitting it in! Plus it gives me some much-needed “me” time to focus on the day ahead. For awhile, while I was in that new-mommy haze, I forgot how much I enjoyed morning workouts. I hope to keep them going, even in the cold months ahead (I actually tend to stay on track better in the winter).

What is the top fitness tip you’ve learned from the show the blog world?

I’m going to agree with Tina on this one and say ‘do what works best for you.’ It’s SO easy to get caught up in the latest fitness trends, diets, etc. Temptations are everywhere. Especially in the blogging world. I’ve found it’s most important to consider what’s best for your body, your schedule, your lifestyle before jumping into any extremes. If you’re a new runner, it’s probably not the best idea to sign up for a marathon in 2 months. Set smart goals and progress accordingly. You’ll find the routine that works best for you.

What do you eat when you need a quick energy boost?

Hummus. I’d like to say I always pair it with veggies, but a lot of the time I fall victim to my beloved pretzels. I guess the goodness of hummus contradicts the empty pretzel calories, right? ;)

What the one treat you have to have, no matter what?

Candy. Twizzlers or Sour Patch Kids. Though as long as I keep them out of the house, I tend to not think about them as much.

What’s your best stay-slim trick?

Sweat once a day. Some of my favorite times have been during marathon training because I just had that constant runger (get it? hungry + runner = runger) and felt like I could just eat whatever yet it wouldn’t show on my body. Now that I’m a mama and well out of marathon training, feeding my face doesn’t exactly fly. So I find as long as I sweat once a day, I’m “allowed” to splurge every now and then. I’m not afraid to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer during the week and dessert is always a good idea in my eyes. It’s the days when I don’t move that these choices make me feel guilty. Also making the effort to choose healthy snacks during the day is important. It can be so hard to focus on your nutrition when you’ve got a 15 month old who is constantly signing “hungry!” So, don’t forget about YOU and remember: everything in moderation!

IMG_5304

Happy Monday, ya’ll! xo.

Race Recap: 2014 Detroit Free Press Half Marathon

Hiya! Happy Thursday! I come to you today with my latest race recap from this past weekend in the mitten. It’s been four years since I last ran the Freep Half Marathon (recap here). Actually, that race was my second and my Dad’s first half marathon ever! I remember that October day very well. Danielle and I donned Team Sparkle skirts which were a huge hit. D & I took off in front of Dad, assuming he was going to finish way slower (yet ended up literally 2 minutes behind us!!). It was the only time I’ve stopped at a porta potty during a race (literally within minutes of crossing the start line). And D & I pushed hard to finish under 2 hours. It was a great, great day. One that left me with high expectations when we signed up for this year’s event.

img_2716

Those expectations were somewhat slashed when I fell off my training wagon in September. Therefore I was forced to set the bar pretty low leading up to race day. Despite my lack of expectations, however, I was still really excited to run. I love running in Michigan and there are lots of aspects of the international half marathon course that are pretty great. The Ambassador Bridge and the Tunnel, just to name a few. Also, I had just started Shakeology and PiYo on Monday, despite all the typical recommendations NOT to do anything new in the days leading up to a race. So I was feeling stronger than I had in awhile and just ready to run.

The hubs drove us up to Michigan on Friday afternoon while I sat in the navigator seat and ogled the spectacular trees. Such fall beauty this year!!

IMG_5319

IMG_5321

IMG_5322

IMG_5323

Shortly after our arrival, Dad and I almost immediately got back on the road and headed down to the race expo at Cobo Hall. I told Dad he’s somewhat of an “expo geek” since he usually spends more money there than he does on the race itself ;) I picked up a Brooks headband and a couple pairs of Injinji socks and kept on going.

IMG_5327

Saturday was a free day, which we spent doing some shopping and checking out my parent’s new house. We had a pizza dinner and hit the sack soon after. Alarms were set verrrry early!

IMG_5325

Customized alarms are the ultimate motivators, right?

Dad and I awoke way before the sun, downed our standard oatmeal cups, and jumped in the car by 530a. The thermostat read 35F,,, brrrrrrrrrrr. I always struggle with dressing for cold weather races. This time I donned long pants, a tank, a light long sleeve, plus gloves and my new headband. Fingers crossed it would be enough! Not knowing exactly where to park, we found ourselves at Greektown Casino and made the trek to the starting line, hand warmers in place. Did I mention BRRRRRRRR???! Definitely could’ve used another layer, but I dealt with what I brought. We stood next to our gate for about 30 minutes, taking a quick potty break while we waited. We finally jumped in our gate just before things got going.

IMG_5328

IMG_5329

We crossed the start line just a few minutes after 7a. I was so frozen that my feet felt like a bag of rocks. It took awhile for them to thaw out, but once they did, I fell right into a groove. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, I thought to myself. The 3 mile marker is when the trek across the Ambassador Bridge begins. I had told Dad earlier that I shouldn’t take any pics because my cold butterfingers would probably drop my phone in the lake. But with the sun coming up and the sheer beauty of my surroundings, I couldn’t help myself. The pics aren’t of spectacular quality due to my boppy-ness, but you get the idea. So, so gorgeous.

IMG_5331

IMG_5337

Runner/ Flag Carrier

IMG_5341

IMG_5344

The bridge itself isn’t exactly easy to run across with the strong incline. But the decline into Windsor made the struggle worth it. Dad and I were feeling great at this point and hit the 5 mile marker with a time of 48:28 (9:41/mi pace).

While we ran along the river, I put my phone away and told myself to just run. No pictures to distract me. So run I did. But it was around this time where something else began to distract me,,, my stomach. I’ve ran plenty of races while needing to use the bathroom. And most of those times the feeling goes away nicely. Without going into too much detail, that feeling was NOT going away today. I told Dad he could go on without me while I stopped to use the facilities before we crossed back into the US. But being the best running buddy ever, he stopped and waited with me. A solid 4 minutes was wasted in line, but thankfully I felt like a new girl after taking care of business. Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Just after mile 7, we entered the Tunnel, aka the Underwater Mile, aka no place for the claustrophobic! It’s actually really cool. Not many can say they’ve ran a mile underwater, right? The hardest part is about halfway through, when the incline starts and the stuffy air gets the best of you. But there’s nothing better than running through customs and getting those first few breaths of fresh air.

Miles 9-12 were just okay for me. I didn’t feel swift at all. I was just going with the flow. Dad was consistently 10 steps ahead of me. & with my unanticipated stop in Canada, all time goals were basically off. But I was surprisingly okay. I was enjoying my music. The sunshine felt magnificent after such a cold start. And I was just happy to be out there running without any attention to pace or time. In fact, the majority of the race I had no idea what mile marker we were at (our Garmins were all screwy from the Tunnel). And I loved it.

When we hit our final half mile, we picked up the pace just a touch. However, my focus was mostly on the sidelines where my Mom, hubs and E were waiting for us. I finally saw my buddy’s bright yellow puffy vest and red doggie pacifier over to our left, and all was right in the world :)

IMG_5345

Moments later, Did & Brumms grabbed each others hand, and across the finish line we went.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.41.18 AM

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.41.41 AM

Chip time: 2:13:23. 

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 12.42.12 PM

We briefly met up with our spectators, attempted to get a post-race pic but bailed (lines too long), then started the walk back to Greektown. Thank goodness for those space blankets because the second we stopped running, the freeze returned! Brrrrrrrr,,,,,

During our walk back to the car, I told Dad that I was proud of us, even though it wasn’t our best time. I told him how cool it is that even with our sub-par training, we can still wake up at the crack of dawn and rock out 13.1 miles. That says a ton about our fitness. However, that’s not to say that I don’t wish we ran a bit faster. Of course I do. But we played the hand we were dealt, and for that I am completely satisfied. I suppose people don’t exactly get faster the older they get, right? ;)

We brunched at Kerby’s Coney Island close to home and after hot showers and light packing, we were on the road back to Indiana by early afternoon.

IMG_5350

IMG_5352

He’s faster than we are :)

I love this race. It’s at the perfect time of year and the perfect excuse for a trip to my home state. It’s also the perfect excuse to spend oodles of time with my favorite Did, the best running buddy I ever did ask for.

IMG_5348

ZooBoo!

This weekend was classic fall in Indiana. Chock full of crisp air, light jackets, scarves and tall boots. And the trees. Swoon. SO many beautiful colors out there already!! I loved every minute of the past few days. If I could freeze-frame life into a perpetual fall, I’d be a happy lady.

Speaking of my love for all things fall, fall cooking is another love of mine. I’ve been scooping up all the acorn/ butternut squash I can find at the market lately. Whether it’s made into soups or just eaten with butter and brown sugar. So so tasty. I put my fall cooking to test on Saturday night, when we had a bunch of friends & kiddos over to our home. On the menu: chili, vegan cornbread (!!), jalapeño poppers, guacamole & many more delectables. I tried out a new chili recipe from my Mama that I found in my wedding cookbook, and it was a huge hit by all. Probably cause of the 12 oz Stella it called for ;) I could eat chili and cornbread every day in October if I had to. & caramel apples. & cider. Oh, and squash too. We topped off the night with s’mores by the fire pit. Dude, I’m hungry again.

Sunday started off pretty lazy after our previous night of fun. E napped and the hubs ran into work for a few hours while I did some post-visitor house cleaning. After all of the above was done, we loaded up Libby and headed downtown for ZooBoo, the annual Halloween festival at the Indianapolis Zoo! We pulled into the semi-packed parking lot around 3p and waited for our friends at the front gate.

IMG_8026

IMG_8027

Just kickin’ it w/ Super Grover

IMG_8029

Once our friends Kevin, Lauren & Callie arrived, we all made our way through the gates. The idea behind ZooBoo is that kids (& adults if they choose) dress up in their Halloween costumes and visit all the Halloween-themed activities, all while doing the typical zoo spectating! Since this mama is slacking, and Emery still is costume-less (horrible, right??), we compensated by wearing his Halloween jams with a skull swacket on top. Unlike me, Lauren was on her game and Callie was all dressed up like an adorable little owl. She even played the part and gave her fans a “hoo hoo” when prompted! Skills, girl :)

IMG_8036

The weather didn’t look very pretty, but it was (yet again) a classic fall day, mid 60’s with a light breeze. In other words, perfect for zoo-ing. Apparently the animals thought so too, because almost all of them were out in full force!

Me-ow

Me-ow

Here, kitty kitty!

Here, kitty kitty!

Trick-or-treating sections were set up in the Plains area, which E & C loved! They collected a fair amount of treats,, most likely to be eaten by the Moms & Dads. Although we did let E have his first try of M&M’s today and I’m pretty sure we have a new-found chocolate lover on our hands.

IMG_8034

IMG_8035

E & I were so happy to have Daddy spend the day with us!

IMG_5281

 

Emery has been to the zoo a handful of times in his (almost) 15 months. It’s been so fun to see the progression of his awareness from a itty bitty 7-week old during his first visit, to now. He’s so much more into the animals now. He loves to point at everything and he’s definitely a people-watcher (just like his Mama!). I’m definitely thinking a zoo membership is in our future!

IMG_8044

IMG_8045

Someone loves his new walking feet!

IMG_8037

IMG_8051

Bear watching

And the outing wouldn’t have been complete without a baby photo shoot. Emery loooooves Callie <3

IMG_8055

IMG_8057

IMG_8058

IMG_8060

Can’t fight fate ;)

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! I’m off to look for toddler Halloween costumes and eat some more chili!! xo.

Queen of Excuses

I recently downloaded the TimeHop app to my phone. I’m sure you’ve seen someone using it by now. But it is a time capsule of sorts that syncs with your social media (FB, Twitter, Instagram) and gives you flashbacks of what was happening on that particular day in the years past every morning. I’ve been loving all the pictures of teeny tiny baby Emery, but also all the flashbacks of my pre-mom self when it was just the hubs & I. I’ve had a few hops that went back as far as 7 years! It’s been so fun to relive all those great memories.

IMG_7974

8.27.13. The days E could fall asleep anywhere.

Looking at pictures of my past bring me back to the days where I feel like I had it more together. In some ways more than others, of course. But particularly in the fitness arena. Just a couple of years ago, I was as fit as I’ve ever been. I was diligent with morning workouts, Monon-ing with the Perfect Strangers for marathon training, PR-ing on the regular, and eating much, much healthier. Not to mention I was more of a healthy living blogger, which seems to have fallen by the wayside. Although Emery updates are MUCH more fun, right?! :)

IMG_1051

RNRChi 1/2 Marathon Expo, 8.2011.

Over the past 14 months, getting back into shape has been the ultimate roller coaster. After Emery came along, I had (& am still having) a hard time getting back to exercise. I was partly worried about overdoing it (although unlikely). But I truly just didn’t have the motivation I needed. I went out for the occasional run, but often cut it short it because it wasn’t as easy as it used to be. I can’t help but wonder if I had been more active during my pregnancy, if things would’ve been easier to get back to. I’m pretty sure they would’ve been. But hey,, vomiting and fatigue tend to be frowned upon in a gym-like setting, so pregnancy months 4-9 were a bust in 2013.

Drumstick Dash with 6-ish week Baby E in tow!

2012 Drumstick Dash with 6-ish week Baby E.

I’ve kept somewhat active in 2014, running 3 half marathons and a 10 miler. One might call that a successful year! I’ve somehow been able to eek out 13.1 miles a couple of times. But the in-between parts have been the struggle for me. I’ve been the Queen of Excuses lately. Let’s see,,, No time. Too tired. Nowhere to take the baby. Blah, blah, BLAH. Trouble with excuses is, once you start making them, it’s a thousand times easier to continue making them instead of changing something. For example, I literally didn’t run for 3.5 weeks after The Crim in August. 3 and a half freakin’ weeks. Really?! And the sad part is, I didn’t even have a good reason why! I just didn’t feel like it. Oh, there was this blood blister on my big toe that was bothering me. I guess I could use that. I sadly chose to ignore my fantastic training plan which is taped up in my closet. And now I just have this huge gap reminding me of my slacker behavior. My complacency with inadequacy is sad sometimes. And lately, more often than not.

So FINALLY I said, enough is enough, and a couple weeks ago got out for my first run after the baby went to bed. And wouldn’t you know it,, it felt amazing! Endorphins a-plenty thanks to the fall temps and incredible sunset.

My view from the cart path

My view from the cart path

Thankfully, that beautiful run has led me down a much better and healthier path. I’ve been getting out to run much more regularly and the excuses are (mostly) gone. I’m still not being strict with my half marathon training plan, but that’s because it’s unfortunately more ambitious than I am right now. I have the Freep Half in less than 2 weeks and the Monumental Half the first weekend in November. I know I’ve shot myself in the foot when it comes to a sub-2 hour finish (which Dad & I have been searching for FOREVER), but I can only look ahead from here. I once thought that putting a race on the schedule would give me the motivation I need, but that tactic seems to be losing its effectiveness these days.

Now, I know you’ve heard it all before, but I’ve decided it’s REALLY time to get serious (forget about all those other times). And I’ll tell you why it’s the real deal this time. The other day, Emery and I went out “gym shopping” for a facility that offers childcare. That way, he can play amongst the other kids while mama gets her sweat on. No excuses. I’ve also enlisted myself in a PiYo challenge, hosted by Callie of The Wannabe Athlete, which starts next Monday. I’ve heard awesome things about PiYo and I can’t wait to try it out myself. According to my coach, fitness + nutrition + support = success. Also, I think morning workouts need to be restarted too. My baby sleeps for 12+ hours a night. No more excuses. Oh,, and last weekend the hubs and I spent all day Saturday cleaning out the storage space in our basement which will now be turned into our exercise room! I’ve been Pinterest-ing like crazy and have some great ideas to make the space just the way we want! Seriously. No. More. Excuses.

Future Fitness Room!

Future Fitness Room!

IMG_5215

Yesterday’s sweaty post-stroller run selfie with my sweetie.

My hopes are that one day soon, I will see one of those TimeHop pictures and think to myself, “Man, I look and feel SO much better now than I used to. Atta girl.” And as a wise little steam engine (that my baby loves so much) once said, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

 

Question for you: How do you stay accountable for keeping active?? Any helpful hints for this struggling mama?

Mee-Shee-Gan

Hiya! Happy Monday!

IMG_5164

Well, since I last checked in, there have been lots of happenings. Last Friday, Emery, Allie & I drove to Michigan where we ended up spending an entire week (busy hubs + not so busy SAHM = mini vacation!). I was blessed with two very calm and cooperative passengers during the 4.5 hour drive north, which was miraculous because E had been feeling under the weather for a few days prior. Bleh.

IMG_4967

After we arrived in T-Town, we had an early happy hour/ dinner at Bonefish Grill with my Mom’s neighbor friend, Linda. Unfortunately, all Emery’s pent up energy from the long drive translated into lots of whining and fussiness during our meal. We still managed to have a nice time outside enjoying the beautiful weather and made it back home just in time to meet the babysitter!

My best girl S celebrated a biiiiig birthday this year, so her Ma & Pa threw her a surprise party Friday night (Remember MY surprise 30th?? Best gift ever)!! Mom & I left E and the pups with my Auntie Anne (thanks Auntie!!) while we went out for a girl’s night. We had a blast at Coyote Joe’s celebrating with all of our family and friends. This mama even threw back some Fireball! A great start to the week. Happy birthday, love!

B&S

B&S

Saturday was my littlest brother Anthony’s 25th birthday (quite the milestone birthday year, I’m telling ya!), so we had yet another family celebration, this time over a fun dinner at Brio. E was much better behaved, probably because we let him run loose in the booth the entire time. Hey, whatever it takes! Happy birthday, Bean!!

IMG_5017

IMG_5008

Sunday we had a low key morning celebrating E’s 14 month birthday!!

IMG_5020

Ps, 14 months? Is this real life? Oy.

We had fun playing with Gigi and mastering our walking skills,,

IMG_5023

,, but we all got antsy after morning nap time. So we took a drive to my parents future hometown and wound up at the Clarkston Food Festival! It was a super cute block party where we did a little shopping, a little eating, and a little hiding from the impromptu rainstorm we got caught in. But it was a nice afternoon. E even went on his first bus ride!

IMG_5024

You may be wondering where my Dad/ GPop was at all weekend. Or maybe not ;) Well, he was out of town on a guys trip to Maine and wasn’t due back until Monday evening. Originally I thought we would only be in town for the weekend, but as it worked out, we were able to push back our departure by a few days. Which meant GPop time, wahoo!

IMG_5059

One of my favorite things to do in Michigan in the fall is visit the cider mill. Usually we go to Yates or Blakes, which are both great and close to home. But when I saw a link online that listed the “must visit” cider mills in Michigan, we switched things up! We initially talked about going out on Monday, but decided to wait until Dad got home so he could partake. You’re welcome, G ;) Our first stop was Parshallville Cider Mill in Parshallville, MI. Small & quaint, with tasty treats, and gorgeous scenery. There’s something about non-touristy venues that are a thousand times more appealing to me. Add a picturesque fall day and you’ve got yourself a winner.

IMG_0150

IMG_0134

IMG_0140

IMG_0148

IMG_0152

IMG_0158

IMG_0162

IMG_0163

Our next stop was Spicer Orchards, literally down the road from the first! This was a much more child-friendly venue, with a petting farm and a playground that E absolutely loved. It’s so much fun watching him walk around and enjoy things he previously couldn’t participate in. After grabbing more cider, donuts and popcorn, we spent a good amount of time horsing around outside.

IMG_5053

IMG_5067

IMG_5050

IMG_0184

IMG_0186

IMG_0188

IMG_0196

IMG_0178

IMG_0207

IMG_0175

IMG_0199

IMG_0213

IMG_0215

IMG_0220

IMG_0242

IMG_0237

IMG_0233

IMG_0234

An incredible first day of fall.

Wednesday we interrupted nap time to visit Emery’s great grandma. Clearly you should NEVER interrupt nap time because the visit was less than successful. There were moments of smiles, but the overall vibe was sassy. Once we returned home, nap time was restored and someone awoke with THE BEST bedhead I have ever seen.

IMG_5080

Right?!

After dinner, we went for another one of our many walks of the week. The weather all week was picture perfect, and this night was no different.

IMG_5082

Thursday we spent some more time with Auntie S, first at the mall then at the park where this Mama went to middle school. Go Broncos!

IMG_5086

IMG_5087

And finally, Thursday night ==> Emery’s first Tiger’s game!! Our friends Herman and Denise hooked all of us up with suite tickets for that night’s game, so far be it for us to refuse! I’d been wanting to take E to a baseball game this summer, but with bedtimes and 7p start times, it’s been difficult to arrange. So after a solid 3 hour nap, E donned #35 and traveled down to the D!

IMG_5091

IMG_5092

IMG_5094

We got a free ride on the carousel, which had no line whatsoever. Emery’s never been a huge fan of the spinning ride and always has a super-grip on me, but he actually eked out a few smiles this time!

IMG_5098

The suite was PERFECT for E. He wasn’t confined to a seat and could wander around anytime. He even watched some of the game!

IMG_5103

IMG_5104

IMG_5105

IMG_5116

All the popcorn. In E’s belly.IMG_5117

He stayed up later than he ever has (11p), but it was completely worth it. We had so. much. fun. Thanks, Masters!!

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.58.48 PM

Friday morning (departure day) arrived quickly and we made a quick pit stop at Five Star to visit GPop before hitting the road.

IMG_5122

And because someone up there loves me, I had yet another near perfect drive back home w/ E & Al. Three hour naps FTW!! We did encounter a little surprise upon our arrival home, however,,,

IMG_5125

Flamingo Friday at our place! Gotta love impromptu block parties ;)

All in all, a fantastic week in the Mitten. Though I can’t remember the last BAD time we’ve had there. Thanks to Mom/ Gigi & Dad/ GPop for putting up with our crazy hound, HFM disease, all the poopy diapers and your newly smudged windows. We love you and can’t wait to see you again! :) Thanks for everything!

IMG_5158

Always.

xo.