Tuesday, April 22, 2014

We've always done it that way ...

Life can be overwhelming at times.

Every morning when I wake up, I run through everything I need to do, everything I should do and everything I want to do. Some days, I think, "I've got this!" and other days, I wish I could pull the comforter over my head and ignore the world around me.

But, I don't. I get up and tackle everything that awaits me.

Am I the busiest person in the world? No. Do I have a hard life? Not at all. Could someone else step in here and do exactly what I do each and every day? Absolutely.

I'm not anything special. And I hate to hand it to you, but neither are you. We all have our challenges, responsibilities and expectations. We have the things we want to do and need to do and even those things we feel like we have no choice in at all.

That's life.

You take what's thrown at you and make the best of it. Or maybe the worst of it, depending on your outlook. Ultimately, you dictate how and what gets done. You choose the path that works for you, whether you forge a new trail each day or click on auto-pilot from the get-go.

Last week, I decided to shut off auto-pilot. I chose to ignore my daily schedule which tends to be dictated by doing things because "we've always done it that way". I let the girls decide how they wanted to spend their spring break. We stayed in bed late, we spent hours upon hours outside, we ate ice cream for lunch.

It was fantastic.

And it got me thinking, why do I do things the way that I do? Why are some things set on auto-pilot? So, I decided to be honest with myself. I evaluated why I go about my life the way I do and do you know what I learned?

Well, I learned that I do a lot of things because "we've always done it that way" and it's just easier to keep it going. And then there are the things I do because I think they are expected of me. There are things in my life that fit me (and my family) at one point, but now the fit is off. And I'm going to change that. I've already started implementing some changes, while others will take a little longer to manifest themselves. But, I know for sure, one thing that's going to change is this blog.

For the past 6 years, I have chronicled our triumphs and tribulations. Our laughter and our tears. But, as the girls get older and our lives get more and more hectic, I find that I have less and less to say here. I no longer need this journal to keep me motivated, the girls don't want me to share as much about them and I find that our life on the go is better captured through pictures and snippets of information that I tend to broadcast elsewhere. With time, my presence here will diminish and eventually, I just won't write at all. And that's just fine, we've evolved as a family and to keep doing what we've always done wouldn't do our story justice.



Oh, and if you're so inclined to continue to follow our journey, we will be here occasionally (at least for the time being), but most of the action will be found on our Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Three Things Thursday ...

Marathon - Back in 2011, when I ran three marathons including two in one week, I was burned out. I had no desire to ever run another marathon again. I felt like all I ever did was run. And it probably was, logging 45-60 miles per week when you are as slow as I am takes a lot of time.

So, I kicked marathoning to the curb. My focus shifted to triathlon, which in case you didn't know, isn't any less time consuming. Over the past two and a half years, I have watched my friends continue to tackle 26.2 miles and I just sat back and thought, "I'm kind of happy I'm not them." Training (and racing) that distance is draining. And even if you love it, there are days where you just don't. 

But one day last year, I started to miss those high mileage weeks. I wanted to experience running 20 miles in the morning and then rock compression socks all afternoon just to make it through the day. I longed to run for hours with my friends as we prepared for a day of a 1,000 variables and no guaranteed outcome. The grip of the marathon had caught me and was pulling me back in.

So, I did what any logical person would do and I started researching races. When I had it down to three or four options, I took them to my running wife, G, who I knew I could convince rather easily to join me (truth is, she was already thinking 26.2 too). We chose our race, convinced some friends to join us and finally on Tuesday morning, we registered.


Nearly three years to the day since my last 26.2, I will be toeing the line at the Steamtown Marathon. Right now, my only goal is to run a negative split. I'm not the runner (physically or mentally) that I was the last time I did this and I don't really know what a realistic time goal is, so I'm just not going to have one right now. Maybe that will change as the race approaches, maybe it won't. Either way, I'm going to savor the run.

Spring Cleaning - So, I have this thing where I can not sit down and relax in the evening until my house is tidy. Everything needs to be put away. The dishes need to be done. The laundry folded. It's not like I scrub my floors every night, but when things are out of place I feel uneasy, so I make sure nothing is lying around.

What's atypical for me is an undying urge to dust and scrub every surface at 10:30 at night. On Tuesday night, I went upstairs after finishing my book and got ready for bed. Somewhere in the next few minutes, I got it in my head that both the master and hall bathrooms needed to be scrubbed from top to bottom. I tried to stop myself after I did the master bath and even got in bed, but a few minutes later I was back at it in the hall bath. Who does that? Seriously, just thinking about it now makes me want to find something else to scrub.

Plans on Plans on Plans - We are super busy during the school year. The girls have activities every afternoon except Fridays and they have games, meets and rehearsals on the weekends. It's hectic. We love it. During the summer, we usually chill out. The girls have never gone to camp. Our only scheduled activity is usually swim lessons, and that's really a recent occurrence.

This year, however, is completely different. Between vacations to North Carolina and Rhode Island, visits with the grandparents, swim lessons and summer school enrichment programs, we have exactly one week where we will all be in the same place with nothing on the schedule. How does that happen? One day you have a bunch of toddlers vying for your attention 24/7 and the next, they are off doing their own things? And yes, I realize it's only going to get worse.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Rewind ...

Miles Run:  70.68 miles. Running is hard ...

Bike Miles Rode: 112.5 miles. My bike trainer and I are so totally BFFs ...

Swim Meters Completed: 17450 meters or 10.84 miles

Rest Days Taken: 6
 
Highest Run Mileage Week: 3/3-3/9: 27 miles
 
Highest Bike Mileage Week: 3/3-3/9: 29.7 miles
 
Highest Swim Volume Week: 3/3-3/9: 4300 meters or 2.67 miles
 
Long Runs Completed (1 hr+ miles): 4
 
Current Book: Right now, I am reading Sacrifice by Kluver. But, I finished a few other books in March. (Note: For those of you who have asked, if it's on this or any of my lists, I would recommend the book. If I don't like the story or the book doesn't grasp my attention, I don't bother finishing it, thus it wouldn't be listed here.) 
  • When It Happens by Colasanti
  • Bitter End by Brown
  • Lemonade Mouth by Hughes
  • Origin by Khoury
  • Marked by Cast
  • Betrayed by Cast
  • Chosen by Cast
  • Untamed by Cast
  • Hunted by Cast
  • Tempted by Cast
  • Burned by Cast
  • Awakened by Cast
  • Destined by Cast
  • Hidden by Cast
  • Revealed by Cast
  • Minders by Jaffe
  • All I Need by Colasanti
  • Vengeance by Miranda
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Reading food labels. Well, maybe not the reading part, but rather the feeling of utter satisfaction when I get to the end of the list and realize that I can actually eat whatever is in my hand. It's the small things people.

Current Colors: Orange and Gray.

Current Drink: Hot tea with cream and stevia. All day, every day.

Current Song: Ain't It Fun - Paramore
 
Current Triumph: I haven't had a trace of any of the allergens that I reacted to at my appointment in early March. It may not seem like a huge deal, but I LOVE some of those foods and soy is in freaking EVERYTHING.
 
Current Goal: Be a better me. Each and every day. And crush 2014 goals ...
 
Current Blessing: Health, happiness and love. I've got all three.
 
Current Excitement: There are just 25 days until my first triathlon of the season - RTC Sprint. And yesterday, J and I booked tickets to Texas for a wedding (and kid-free weekend). It's kind of a big deal.
 
Fitness:
  • Get back to running 30-40 miles per week. For most of 2012 and 2013, I focused on 70.3 training. The only way for me to improve my cycling and swimming was to spend less time running. Eventually, my strongest discipline became my weakest and honestly, I am kind of over it. This year I won't race longer than an Olympic distance triathlon. Hopefully, this will allow me to balance my training loads and life a little better than in the past. - Getting there. I peaked at 28.25 miles last month. And ran 27 miles this month.
  • Strength train two times per week. In the past, I have dropped strength training as my training volume went up. I'm not letting that happen in 2014. - Crushing it! Haven't missed a day.
  • Run 1,400 miles. A huge jump from 2013, but far less than what I used to run. - As of April 1st, 241.77 miles logged.
  • Bike 1,400 miles A huge drop from 2013, but if I am going to find time for those run miles something will have to give. - As of April 1st, 352.2 miles logged.
  • Swim 140 miles. Pretty much where I finished up in 2013. This will probably be the most challenging mileage to hit. - As of March 1st, 48,300m or 30.01 miles logged.
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17. I never managed to register for a 10K in 2012 and I'm not sure where it will fit in this year, but it's on my radar. As it has been since 2009. - I ran the 10K. It was painful and ugly. I may have negated the fact that I have gained 20 pounds of muscle since my last race and I am running much less now. No PR, but it was a good gauge for where I am at. Which is kind of pathetic.
  • Run a negative split marathon. I'm not looking for a PR. Just a well executed race. - Registered!
  • Run a 5K with Dizzle and Doodle. I'm thinking a Rev3 Glow Run for this one.

Personal:
  • Only say yes to the projects I REALLY want to work on. An honest no is much better than a halfhearted yes.
  • Stick to our budget. We were at about 90% with this last year, but I have a good feeling about 2014. - So far so good.
  • Take a picture a day for a year. - 91 days in and going strong. You can see all my #project365 pictures on my Instagram account HERE
  • Read 150 books. - As of March 3rd, 32 books read.
  • Go the entire year without cutting my hair (unless I start to get a mullet, at which point a trim is required). - Haven't cut it yet! But, it's getting incredibly hard not to!
  • Relearn Spanish. Just letting that Rosetta Stone course sit on the shelf isn't helping anyone. - I started the lessons and am 1/4 of the way through the first level. I realized that I have retained quite a bit of my former knowledge, but I still struggle with pronunciation, which was always my weak spot.
  • Blog at least two times per week. 2013 left me uninspired and stressed when it came to blogging. I'm hoping a new perspective will change this. - I've only missed this one time so far.
  • Have a date night with J, once a month. Considering that we only manage about two dates per year at this point, I'd be super impressed if we pulled this off half of the time. - Three months down and still on track!
  • Continue to balance family life, training and now, work.
  • Prioritize and be a good example for the people in your life.
  • Help and support J and the kids in reaching their goals. We are a team and that must always be the primary focus of our lives. No one should have to sacrifice so that someone else can reach their goal. If a balance can't be found, it's not worth pursuing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

our normal ...

Swim.
Dance.
Ukulele.
Soccer.

Six days a week, I spend hours devoted to shuttling my kids from one activity to the next. Occasionally, we spend our entire day sitting on a pool deck. Or the soccer field. Or in the audience of a theater. And on the really painful days, we are so busy that I don't get to see any of it. Instead, I drop off one kid, only to get back in my car to pick up another. It's hectic. It's chaotic. It's our normal.

I'm confident that there are people who look at us and think, "That family is crazy. Always jumping from one thing to the next." And I'm sure that's what it looks like. But actually, we are quite focused. Our lives are scheduled and organized and I can say without a doubt that my kids love every second of it.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure it would be fabulous to not run around like mad men every afternoon. And I know my wallet would love all the money we would save if we cut out these extracurriculars. But, ultimately, it is our children's choice to do these things (and trust me, we say no to a lot of other things they want to join). They are finding things they can be passionate about. Things that keep them engaged and that bolster their self confidence. Things they really want to do now and things they talk about continuing as they age - a fact that lets me know we are making the right decision for our kids.

I've learned over the years that as much as you may try to escape it, you ultimately end up parenting a lot like you were parented. Patterns repeat themselves. J and I played sports from a young age. We were academic overachievers from day one. We learned the importance of practice, hard work and commitment early on.

Now, all these years later, I see the same things happening with our children. The characteristics of our youth that we fondly look back on are the ones we foster in our girls. We take pride in their competitive drive. We encourage them to push through when things get tough. We preach about commitment in all aspects of your lives, whether it be in athletics, academics or friendship. They are learning life lessons every time they step out onto the field, jump into the pool or perform in front of an audience. And they are learning even more about themselves in all the moments in between - in the moments when no one is watching.

Yes, we live a life that's hectic and chaotic and perhaps, even overscheduled. Sure, life could be simpler and less stressful. And I know there are a thousand other ways to go about raising your family. But, those other ways just aren't what we are about. This life is what we want. It's our normal.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Why long distance triathlon and I are on a break ...

Did you ever meet someone with an addictive personality?

Who am I kidding? If you are reading this you probably have an addictive personality. Those who get involved with endurance sports, don't do it for the leisure time. Or the spontaneity. We venture into this mythical world looking for a challenge. We stay because we are addicted to some aspect of the sport. Maybe it's the feeling of pushing yourself further than you did last time. Maybe it's the chase of a new PR. Maybe it's the overwhelming love of self-torture. Over time, your reason may change, but it's all the same - we stay because the thought of leaving (for good at least) is hard to deal with. There is always something pulling you back in.

For a long time, I have been drawn to endurance sports as a way of proving to myself (and if we're being honest, those around me) that no challenge was too great. If that guy over there could do it, so could I. And that's fantastic. It got me moving. It made me train. But eventually, you run out of "next big things". At some point, you have to ask yourself why you do the things you do. And even tougher, you might have to admit that your reasoning isn't valid.

By the end of last season, I realized that my training had lost it's purpose. I was racing "just because I could". I started to dread race day. And I hated how much time my training was taking away from my family. I hated the guilt I felt if I missed a workout. My hobby was having too much of an effect on my life. I needed to back away.

I started by taking an off-season and it made me realize a few things.
  • I really like to lift weights, yet it's always the first thing that gets cut when my training load increases.
  • I don't need a "goal" to get me to train. I love training. I love it a 1000 times more than I even like racing. If I was never to cross another finish line again, I would be fine with that. It wouldn't stop me from swimming, biking and running each week.
  • Speed isn't all that important to me. I used to get hung up on going faster and beating a younger version of myself. Well, guess what? If I run a 1:55 half marathon or a 2:02 half marathon, I still ran a half marathon. Those few minutes don't change me. I'm not a better or worse person because of it. And it's not like I was ever going to win the race anyway.
  • The pool is my favorite place to be. I constantly wish I had more time to get to the pool.
By the time 2014 started, I knew the direction my endurance sports (specifically triathlon) path would take me.

There would be no 140.6. It's a great goal, it's just not mine.

There would be no 70.3. I don't have the time, or honestly the drive, to train for this the way I want to. Life is about balance. And at this point in my life, I don't have the skill set necessary to balance 70.3 training and my commitment to my family.

I'm going to race strategically. Three sprint triathlons, spread over 6 months. One Olympic triathlon as my "A" race. One fall marathon - because as much as marathoning wiped me out in 2011 (3 marathons in 6 months will do that to you - see? Addiction. It's hard to break). I miss training for that distance and I REALLY WANT TO DO IT.

And that's what it comes down to. You have to really want to do something for you to do it well and for you to feel like nothing else was sacrificed. I'm done sacrificing. And for now, long distance triathlon and I are on a break. Maybe one day we'll reunite. Maybe this is the end. Either way, I know it's the right choice for me.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Three Things Thursday ...

Rev3 Summit - Last Thursday night, I headed up to Manassas (with my Rev3 spouse, Anne) for our annual team summit. Over the course of three days, we learned the ins and outs of our sponsors (loving me some SBR Sports and PowerBar right now), discussed the future of Rev3 (exciting things lay ahead - if you haven't raced Rev3 yet, now's the time) and bonded with our teammates. There was laughter. There were tears. And there were numerous hijinks that need to say locked up in the "what happens at summit" vault forever.

The majority of the 2014 Rev3 Age Group Team ...
All-in-all it was an amazing weekend. At times it can be hard to feel connected to your teammates when you are spread across the country and don't necessarily race with each other at all during the year. But, having this weekend to kick off the season has an amazing ability to unify and inspire us. I always leaving feeling honored to represent such an amazing company with true family values.

Toothless - I remember being little and being so excited when I had a loose tooth. I would mess with it endlessly and pull it out myself. For me, a loose tooth came with a sense of pride, both because it meant I was growing up and because I was brave enough to handle it on my own.

Doodle has had a loose front tooth for months now. Like 9 months. For a while there, it looked like it would be out within the week, but then it just kind of stalled. No matter how much she messed with it, it never fell out. Eventually, her adult tooth grew in behind it and prohibited her baby tooth from moving much at all.

A few weeks ago, I knew exactly where we were headed with this tooth - to the dentist's chair. So, I called the dentist and asked what they thought we should do. They said to give it two weeks more and then if it didn't fall out to call and make an appointment.

Two weeks passed and nothing.

On Tuesday, I finally took her in. After a quick shot of Novocain and a few tears, not only was her loose tooth gone, but so was her other front tooth, as the dentist felt that if it was not pulled, we were going to be back in the same situation a few months from now.


Poor Doodle. She's lost four teeth and all four have been pulled by the dentist for the same reason. Apparently, she's just really attached to her teeth.

My Pretty - In addition to coming home with epic memories of my Rev3 teammates, I also returned with my new bike - a Quintana Roo CD0.1.


It's a serious upgrade from my entry level Fuji and I am so excited to get her out on the road (a very wide road with no traffic). But, that will have to wait, because right now, she's pedal-less. Yes, I realize that I can take the ones off my old bike, but I am keeping that bike on the trainer and kind of need those to stay where they are. But, next month, I'll budget it and have her ready to race at my season opener on April 26th. And for now, I'll just admire her ...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Seven Things ...

Dear Doodle,

I have a hard time remembering my life without you. I can recall my life pre-kids and I distinctly remember becoming a parent. But that 22 months in between? I've got a lot of nothing. Maybe it's because Diz was so little when I was pregnant with you. Or maybe it's because you've been such a handful since day one, that my pre-Doodle life has been pushed aside. Either way, it feels like you've been with us for much longer than your seven years.

Doodle, 3 days old
Over the years we've had our challenges and your seventh year has been no different. We've laughed. We've cried. We've yelled. We've apologized. You challenge me more than any other person I've ever met and some days I'm not sure how we can co-exist. But then, you smile at me and I know we'll find a way.

It would be easy for me to sit here and say that you should conform to the ideals I carry around in my head. And some days, I wish for nothing more. I can imagine a world where we never fight or get angry with each other. But honestly, that isn't fair to you. I would never ask you to squelch who you are just to make my life easier. It's not like I'm going to change who I am just because I am your mother and you shouldn't need to change to be my daughter.

So, today, on your seventh birthday, I want to celebrate the seven things that make you who you are, yet drive me batty at the same time. I want to show them the appreciation they deserve and let you know that even if it doesn't always seem like it, I love these things - because they help make you exactly who you are.

Doodle, age 7
1. Your personal style - I might not want you to wear clashing colors and patterns on picture day, but your style is the ultimate outward display of your personality. It's crazy, adorable, unencumbered, scattered and hectic, yet it somehow always works. No one else could pull it off, but you do. I may not understand it, but I love it.

2. Your smarty pants nature -  I have never met another person who hates being wrong more than you. Everything is happy-go-lucky when you think you are right or you think you know more than everyone else. But the second someone suggests that you may be wrong or that their might be a better way to do something, you can't handle it. You pout. You cry. You storm away. It drives me nuts, but I try to embrace the fact that this will get you far one day. If for no other reason than you want to prove everyone wrong. It will give you the drive to always be improving. And I love that.

3. Your quick temper - If anyone can escalate a situation, it's you. Nine times out of 10, you get in trouble not for what you did, but for how you react when you get caught. I know with age you will learn to absorb and defuse, but I'm sure we have a lot of good fights left before then. Remember that a quick temper just shows that you are passionate. That's something you will never lose. And I love it.

4. Your inability to take a joke - Doodle, you can dish it out with the best of them, but the second the tables are turned, you freak the freak out. It makes me want to tell you to "suck it up," but deep down I know you are just sensitive - a trait that I love.

5. Your messiness - For someone who can be so particular at times, you are incredibly disorganized. If I say, "Everything has it's place", you say, "Everything has a place and I don't care where it is as long as it looks clean." Maybe I'm just high-strung, which would make you totally chill. And I love that about you.

6. Your high-pitched screams - There is no sound I like less than your "angry" scream. It's loud and painful and simply horrible. But is no one I'd rather be stuck with in an emergency situation than you. If nothing else, that scream will get us help and I have to love that.

7. Your tendency to take the easy way out - For a while, I thought your work ethic was defined by laziness. You do just what's required and nothing more. And sometimes, not even that. But then I realized that you're just working smarter, not harder. And who wouldn't love that?

Doodle, you are so much more than the little things that make you who you are and I am blessed to see how you take all those little things and make them into the person you'll become. I love you more than I could ever express and I wish you a very happy seventh birthday.

Love,
Mom

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Three Things Thursday ...

Team Rev3 - Later today, I will be picking up my Rev3 Roomie extraordinaire, Anne, from the airport and we will be headed to the Rev3 Team Summit.

Anne and me at last year's summit. God, I loved my hair then ...
Three days of teammates, sponsors, triathlon love and all around crazy antics. Kidding aside, it's the one time each year that the majority of our team will be together. Last year was simply amazing and I expect nothing less this go-round. Plus, I'll be sharing a house with like 14 women with access to lots of wine. If nothing else, it promises to be memorable.

In other exciting Summit news, since we will be at Rev3 Headquarters in Manassas, I will finally get to pick up my new bike - a Quintana Roo CD0.1

Isn't she pretty? Yeah, I know she is.

Allergy update - Immediately after finding out I am allergic to 14 different food, most of which I eat every day, I cut every last trace of those allergens out of my diet. Now seven days later, I am happy to report my rash and itchiness has gone away COMPLETELY. Well, except that time I got peanut butter on my hands while making the girls lunch and broke out in a rash an hour later. But that was just one time, and I don't really count that.

Anyway, I have to call the doctor on Monday and let him know how things are going. When we last spoke, he told me that if my symptoms went away, our course of action would be to have me continue with a modified diet. He thinks I may be able to occasionally tolerate small amounts of some of these allergens, but I don't know that it's a route I want to go. Think about this, if you are allergic to something it causes inflammation in your system. The more you have, the more the inflammation builds up. Inflammation is not good for your body. So why would I knowingly cause inflammation when I can just as easily avoid it? You're right, I probably wouldn't, because that would be stupid.

Planning - I know I am incredibly OCD and what not, but am I the only person who knows what their family's schedule for the 2014-2015 school year is going to look like? I went to four different stores the other day looking for planners that ran from July 2014 - June 2015 (I like my calendar to run based on school year, not calendar year) and I couldn't find a single one. July is only three and a half months away. I mean, I have firm plans for December already, but no where to write them. I find this completely frustrating. And now that I write this, I am 100% sure that I sound like a complete freak ...

Friday, March 7, 2014

allergy testing ...

For about a month now, I have be itchy. Like "wake up in the middle of the night to scratch" itchy. It hasn't been pleasant. After about two weeks, I decided to go see an allergist. I knew I hadn't changed any of my body care products or detergents, so I suspected that this itchy rash was caused my something I was ingesting. (Note: even after the testing, we're still not sure that's the case).

Bright and early this morning, I finally had my appointment. The allergist's office said to be prepared for a four to six hour appointment (it only took three), so that's what I did. Snacks and drinks were packed. Books were brought. My cell phone charger was ready.

Upon arrival, I filled out your standard paper work and was quickly brought back to have my vitals checked. Then, I sat down with the doctor to discuss what's been going on, my medical history and a million other things as we tried to pinpoint whether or not skin testing was needed.

With all his questions answered and a quick physical out of the way, it was decided that an environmental or food allergen was likely contributing to my itchiness. And that's where the fun began.

Moments later, my back was being pricked with 61 different allergens. 15 minutes later, it was clear that I had an allergy to almonds, mustard, sesame seeds and lima beans, as well as a slight reaction to peanuts and soybeans.

Following the first round of tests, my nurse walked in with this tray...


Yeah, that's another 61 vials of allergens. But even better than last time, these ones were to be injected under my skin and then I would be left to bake for another 15 minutes.


Fun times for all!

Rather quickly this time, I could tell I was having reactions to the injections. It took all my power not to scratch. When time was up, there were 11 new allergies to add to my list. And most of them were things I eat EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

So, here's where I stand. For the next 10 days, I am on a strict elimination diet of the following foods.
(ranked on severity of my allergy):
  • Almonds
  • Mustard
  • Sesame Seed
  • Lima Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Hops (fortunately I hate beer)
  • Hazelnut
  • Walnut
  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Cottonseed
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peach
So basically, if it's a tree nut or a legume, my body hates it.

After the 10 days, we hope my itchiness and rash are gone. If so, I will simply modify my diet. Avoiding (but not necessarily eliminating completely) these foods. If it doesn't work, who knows? I'll probably end up at yet another type of doctor. For now, I am at least happy to have more information to work with.

Have you ever had allergy testing done? How did you incorporate the results into your life?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

February Rewind ...

Miles Run:  97.43 miles. Kind of wish I had checked on Friday. I would have totally run another 2.6 miles ...

Bike Miles Rode: 126.7 miles. My bike trainer and I are so totally BFFs ...

Swim Meters Completed: 16050 meters or 9.97 miles

Rest Days Taken: 4
 
Highest Run Mileage Week: 2/17-2/23: 28.25 miles
 
Highest Bike Mileage Week: 2/24-2/28: 52.4 miles
 
Highest Swim Volume Week: 2/10-2/16: 4600 meters or 2.86 miles
 
Long Runs Completed (1 hr+ miles): 5
 
Current Book: Right now, I am reading Lemonade Mouth by Hughes. But, I finished a few other books in February. (Note: For those of you who have asked, if it's on this or any of my lists, I would recommend the book. If I don't like the story or the book doesn't grasp my attention, I don't bother finishing it, thus it wouldn't be listed here.) 
  • United We Spy by Carter
  • Faking 19 by Noel
  • Out of Sight, Out of Time by Carter
  • Only the Good Spy Young by Carter
  • Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Carter
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Han
  • It's Not Summer Without You by Han
  • Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Carter
  • Awaken by Cabot
  • The Cuckoo's Calling by Galbraith
  • The 5th Wave by Yancey
  • Allegiance by Kluver
  • Legacy by Kluver
  • Fragments by Wells
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Nutella. A buy one, get one coupon and a spoon have been the death of me.

Current Colors: Orange and Pink.

Current Drink: Hot tea with cream and stevia. All day, every day.

Current Song: Be Okay - Oh Honey
 
Current Triumph: I've totally purged my kids rooms of all the excess stuff. With no tears. It was awesome.
 
Current Goal: Be a better me. Each and every day. And crush 2014 goals ...
 
Current Blessing: Health, happiness and love. I've got all three.
 
Current Excitement: Rev3 Team Summit is just 9 days from now! I can't wait to see all my teammates. Oh, and last night, J and I booked a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary (sans kids). It's kind of a big deal.
 
Fitness:
  • Get back to running 30-40 miles per week. For most of 2012 and 2013, I focused on 70.3 training. The only way for me to improve my cycling and swimming was to spend less time running. Eventually, my strongest discipline became my weakest and honestly, I am kind of over it. This year I won't race longer than an Olympic distance triathlon. Hopefully, this will allow me to balance my training loads and life a little better than in the past. - Getting there. I peaked at 28.25 miles last month.
  • Strength train two times per week. In the past, I have dropped strength training as my training volume went up. I'm not letting that happen in 2014. - Crushing it! Haven't missed a day.
  • Run 1,400 miles. A huge jump from 2013, but far less than what I used to run. - As of March 1st, 171.09 miles logged.
  • Bike 1,400 miles A huge drop from 2013, but if I am going to find time for those run miles something will have to give. - As of March 1st, 239.7 miles logged.
  • Swim 140 miles. Pretty much where I finished up in 2013. This will probably be the most challenging mileage to hit. - As of March 1st, 30,850m or 19.17 miles logged.
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17. I never managed to register for a 10K in 2012 and I'm not sure where it will fit in this year, but it's on my radar. As it has been since 2009. - I'm registered! That's further than I've ever gotten on this goal.
  • Run a negative split marathon. I'm not looking for a PR. Just a well executed race.
  • Run a 5K with Dizzle and Doodle. I'm thinking a Rev3 Glow Run for this one.

Personal:
  • Only say yes to the projects I REALLY want to work on. An honest no is much better than a halfhearted yes.
  • Stick to our budget. We were at about 90% with this last year, but I have a good feeling about 2014. - So far so good.
  • Take a picture a day for a year. - 62 days in and going strong. You can see all my #project365 pictures on my Instagram account HERE
  • Read 150 books. - As of March 3rd, 32 books read.
  • Go the entire year without cutting my hair (unless I start to get a mullet, at which point a trim is required). - Haven't cut it yet!
  • Relearn Spanish. Just letting that Rosetta Stone course sit on the shelf isn't helping anyone. - The course is still sitting on the shelf.
  • Blog at least two times per week. 2013 left me uninspired and stressed when it came to blogging. I'm hoping a new perspective will change this. - Made this happen thus far!
  • Have a date night with J, once a month. Considering that we only manage about two dates per year at this point, I'd be super impressed if we pulled this off half of the time. - Two month down and still on track!
  • Continue to balance family life, training and now, work.
  • Prioritize and be a good example for the people in your life.
  • Help and support J and the kids in reaching their goals. We are a team and that must always be the primary focus of our lives. No one should have to sacrifice so that someone else can reach their goal. If a balance can't be found, it's not worth pursuing.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Random Facts Friday ...

1. I am a total book nerd. Add that to the fact that it takes me about 60 minutes to read 150 pages and I can crush a book in a few hours. Already in 2014, I have finished 29 books. If you're doing the math, that's about a book every two days.

2. This morning I was supposed to do a 13 mile run. I woke up not feeling great and my quick attempt to see how I would hold up was an utter failure. Ultimately, I bailed. At first I was frantically concerned that I wouldn't get my long run in (J's traveling this week), but then I remembered, I'm not racing anything longer than a 10K until October, so I probably don't need to stress about missing a long run now.

3. I've decided that I'm over trying to force my kids to learn things they are not interested in. Pushing the issue makes it harder for everyone. For example, Dilly potty trained herself in one day. I told her we had no more diapers and she never had an accident again. The timing was right for everyone and there were no tears or frustrations.

Recently, this whole "waiting until they're ready" thing has made another appearance at our house. For months, J and I have been trying to teach Doodle how to ride a bike. It's been less than successful and usually, someone walks away upset. But on Saturday afternoon, something changed. Doodle asked to ride her bike. J got it out for her and then he started doing yard work. A few minutes later, he found Doodle zooming around our cul-de-sac on two wheels with no help from us. Proving, yet again, that kids are not going to do anything until they want to do it.

4. On Monday, I am visiting an allergist. For a few weeks, I have had this itchy rash on my arms and legs that comes and goes with no real explanation. And since I haven't changed any of my skin care products or detergent, I figure it's probably something that I am eating that is causing the problem. I'm really eager to get some answers, but I swear if they tell me I am allergic to chocolate or peanut butter, I might have a coronary.

5. I am never going to understand why anyone would willingly choose to forgo whole milk and butter. I love them both endlessly.

6. The more that I train, the more that I realize that I would be perfectly happy if I never raced again. I've come to learn that I don't train to perform well on a single day. I train because I just really love to do it.

7. We purged the girls' rooms of all the toys that they had broken or outgrown this past weekend. I found the activity extremely energizing and would have gotten rid of even more had J not set limits on my cleanse. The crazy thing is that we removed a huge amount of stuff and you can't even tell.

8. I haven't eaten gluten in almost two years. I know that eating it would make me feel horrible, yet every once in a while, I consider what food would be worth feeling that bad for. Almost always, I think it would be a meatball parmesan hoagie. Trust me, I realize that there is a such thing as gluten-free bread (and meatballs), but it's not the same. Not even close.

9. I just wrote my second to last check for preschool. Knowing that I only have one payment to go is an incredibly exciting thing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

head-on collision ...

Being a parent has to be one of the scariest things you can do.

In your life before kids, you only have to worry about yourself. You may care about what happens to the people around you, the people you love. But, it's not the same as when you have children. The worry and concern you will feel for them can be overwhelming, crippling even. Trust me, you can't avoid it, it's instinctual and all-encompassing.

As a naturally anxious person, I always feel like I am on high alert when it comes to my kids. So, when Doodle was flying around our cul-de-sac on her two-wheeler (which I might add she only figured out how to ride on Saturday), I was a broken record of phrases like, "Slow down!" and "Doodle, be careful!"

And she was careful. She navigated her way through the other six kids riding around with her. They were all having a blast running, riding and scootering (not sure that's a word) the afternoon away. But, suddenly, that all changed. I was looking the other way and hear my friend say, "They are going to run into each other." And just when I turned to look at what she was talking about, it happened.

Doodle was riding her bike at close to her top speed and Dilly was running in the opposite direction. Apparently, they both misjudged the situation or neither one of them was paying attention and they collided. Doodle fell of her bike and cut her knee, but Dilly was thrown back from the force. I heard the sound of the hit. I watched her fall back like it was slow motion and I was terrified.

She instantly started crying but didn't get up. When I saw that she was moving her hands and feet, I picked her up out of the street and laid her on our walkway. She just kept telling me that her whole body hurt and that she thought her legs were bleeding. It was heart-wrenching to watch. But, seeing Dilly lying there in tears was nothing compared to seeing the look (and tears) on Doodle's face as she watched this all unfold. She was so scared that she had hurt her sister. It was probably the most heartbreaking thing I had ever seen. (Note: Part of me really hopes Doodle remembers that feeling every time she gets behind the wheel of a car. If so, she'll be the safest driver out there.)

After a few minutes and a quick assessment, I decided to take Dilly to the ER. She was refusing to put pressure on her leg and her thigh was pretty swollen from the impact. On the drive there, a million questions ran through my head. "What if she hadn't been running with her helmet on? Would we have a serious head injury? What if her thigh hadn't taken the brunt of the hit? Could she have internal injuries? If something is broken, will Doodle forgive herself?"

Dilly just before she was discharged ...
After an hour or two, it was clear that Dilly was just fine and that she escaped with just a few cuts and bruises. But, I think I was the one who was really suffering. I just couldn't shake the "what ifs" and thought that even with best intentions, we can't protect them all the time. Things are going to happen. They are going to do things when we aren't around and even if we are, there are no guarantees. We just have to roll with the punches and be there to pick up the pieces.

Friday, February 21, 2014

fED Review ...

Y'all know I'm a girl who loves her food.

Protein. Carbs. Fats.

I don't care what it is as long as it tastes good.

I mean, I might as well have #eatallthethings tattooed on my forehead. That's the kind of love I have for food.

That's me inhaling BBQ roasted turkey breast from fED...
Fortunately for me, I was recently given the opportunity to review a Paleo meal delivery service here in Richmond called fED. And I have to say, I was not disappointed.

As you probably know, Paleo eating consists of eating lean meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts, the way humans did before the onset of overly-processed, artificial foods packaged in boxes; food that needed to be hunted or gathered. This food lifestyle avoids eating all grains, processed sugars, dairy and legumes.

Do I eat Paleo all the time? No.

But would I if I had someone to cook and prep all my meals for me? Sure thing! (A girl can dream ...)

And do you know what? fED offers exactly that - tasty, ready-made paleo meals.

fED was founded by a group of athletes at CrossFit RVA while participating in a Performance Nutrition Challenge. Trying to improve body composition, lose fat, increase athletic performance and better overall wellness, they followed a strict Paleo Diet. Eating well and sticking to the program was made easier by planning out their meals for the week and preparing them ahead of time. As a result they benefited from weight loss, reduced body fat and improved athletic fitness and general lifestyle well being.

They soon made healthy, delicious, ready-made meals available to the Richmond CrossFit community by delivering meals directly to the gym.

All of the meals are cooked and packaged by restaurant chefs in Richmond and delivered fresh, not frozen. fED's goal is to support your healthy eating habits by making these meals available to you through a weekly pre-order service and advocating the education of nutritional wellness.

a weeks worth of lunches from fED ...


Such a great idea, right?

The meals were absolutely delicious and uber healthy. With only a handful of ingredients and nothing artificial, fED offers a fantastic alternative to your standard ready-made lunch or dinner. Each meal will run you around $11.50 and side dishes/soups are on the order of $4-6 each. What I love is that this service is an excellent tool for meal planning. Plus, there are no contracts, so if you are traveling or don't like the menu options, you can skip a week. 

Bacon wrapped chicken breast. Delicious.
So, I know you're wondering how it works. It's really quite simple:

1. Sign up for their weekly newsletter HERE


Menus are posted each Sunday evening for the following week. You'll receive and email each Sunday to let you know the new menu is available. You have until Noon on Wednesday of that week to submit your orders for the following week. Space is limited at each drop location so get your orders in early.

2. Select the items you’d like for the week.


There is a minimum of $55 for all orders. (But, you can combine orders with a friend).

3. Check out and pay for your meals.


All orders are personalized and delivered to your selected drop location on Sunday evening and available for pick up during open hours starting Monday.

So what are you waiting for? You know you're hungry!



Disclaimer: I received a week's worth of meals free of charge from fED. However, the opinions stated here are 100% my own.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Three Things Thursday ...

Date Day - Thanks to the numerous snow days my children have had this winter, the school district decided to revoke the President's Day holiday. At first I was kind of bummed because I like having the kids home and I'm not really a fan of schedule changes (it messes with my OCD).

But, then I realized that J's work did not get the memo and he still had the day off. So, we took advantage of our 6+ kid free hours and went on an all-day date. Our morning started with a swim and a little strength training. Afterwards, we went to a local pottery studio, where we each made glass plates.
Can you guess which one I made?
Then we had the most delicious and guilt inducing burger lunch ever at Burger Bach. It was so indulgent that we didn't eat dinner that evening. It was such a fantastic day. But, I have to admit that it is such a rare occasion that we have a whole day without the kids that I'm sure we could have stared at the wall and had a good time.

Swim Speed - Dizzle had another swim meet on Saturday afternoon. She placed 5th in the 25 back, but was feeling a little bummed that she didn't PR (note: she missed her PR by 0.08 - critical much?)

But, later in the day, she had the 50 back on her schedule. She must have been really ticked about the 25, because she went on to win her heat (finishing 4th overall) and PR'd by just over 14 seconds.

I'm confident that she'll be schooling me in no time.

Leg Power - There was a time in my life that I could bench press 220 pounds and squat 250. I also happened to be 17 and quite a bit heftier than I currently am. After college, I stopped lifting heavy, in favor for 15lb dumbbells for "lean muscle" (not that there is anything wrong with that).

However, in the past six months, I decided heavy lifting is where it's at. I rock a 50lb kettlebell for most of my sets. I load the bar up with weights to deadlift, clean and press. And today, I rocked out my own body weight for 4x5 sets of back squats.


That's 170 pounds lifted 20 times. Yeah, it's not the 250 I used to be able to hoist, but I'm getting there. And I kind of love it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

love - it never fails ...

I've never been big on Valentine's Day. I'm very anti-greeting card. I really don't like flowers. And it's not like I need an excuse to sit on my couch and devour an entire box of chocolates. It's a commercialized holiday (much like every other holiday) and I don't see the point in perpetuating the idea that it's the perfect opportunity to tell someone that you love them.

Because guess what?

You need to be telling the people that you love that you love them ...

EVERY

SINGLE

DAY.

Whether you are in the early stages of a friendship or have been married 60 years, you need to let your love be known. Don't assume that the other person already knows. Don't assume that having said it before is enough. Don't assume that they are going to say it first.

Scream it out. Let it be heard.

It doesn't matter if you're in a state of bliss or if you've just had a major fight, tell the people that you love that you love them.

Before you walk out that door in the morning.

Before you go to bed at night.

And every opportunity in between.
One of my moments ...
Cherish the little moments. The silly moments. The moments that make life worth living and the ones that make you question everything. Because throughout all of those moments the one thing that holds true is your love. It never fails.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

it's worth it ...

I knew it was inevitable.

At some point, you just can't fight it anymore.

Eventually, you lose all your free time and money to your children.

It's a sad, but true, fact.

When I was growing up, my parents fostered our talents and passions. If my sisters and I wanted to pursue something (within reason, of course), we were given the opportunity to try. At the time, I didn't think of the time and money that went into these endeavors. But, what my parents pulled off was simply miraculous. Honestly, sometimes, I don't know how they did it all.

As a young child, I took dance lessons (as did my sisters). Eventually, those lessons were replaced with soccer and then around age 9, travel soccer. When I was in the first grade, I started to play basketball (and so did my younger sister). By the fourth grade, I was playing on a traveling team for that too.

In fifth grade, I took up the clarinet and in seventh, I joined track and field (Note: I was still playing soccer and basketball on travel teams and at school). This all continued into high school, until junior year, when I decided to focus solely on track and field, as that is where I was getting the most college recruitment interest.

During those years, my sisters also had their interests. They both played basketball. One was a crowned beauty queen, who dabbled in field hockey and equestrian. And the other followed me into the throwing circle.

Our schedule was insane. There were a lot of long weekends spent on the field or court or pageant stage and I know now how much my parents sacrificed to make it all happen. Was it worth it? I think so. We are all well rounded individuals, and I ended up with my pick of top universities with multiple scholarship offers. Not a bad payoff for all those lost weekends.

Recently, I realized that we are about to venture into this same territory with our own kids. Starting this fall, they will all have three activities each week (some with multiple days of practice) and with all those activities comes a hefty price tag. We will spend hours upon hours supporting the girls and their passions. And as much as it pains me to write those checks, I have to admit that I think that ultimately, it's worth whatever sacrifice in time and money that we have to make.

It's worth it to watch them succeed and take pride in themselves.

It's worth it to watch them struggle and learn that they can push past their own limits.

It's worth it to watch them learn that hard work pays off and that sometimes winning doesn't necessarily mean that you are the winner.

Sure, it's completely unlikely that they'll truly appreciate what we are doing for them now. But, I know that one day, they will look back and understand that we are their ultimate support team. And in that moment, everything I do for them now will be completely worth it.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Random Facts Friday: Birthday Edition ..

1. Today, February 7th, is my 32nd birthday.  Unlike some people who dread getting older, I've been counting down the days since February 8th of last year.

2. You can't deny it. Some things just get better with age - wine, cheese, and obviously, me.

That's me shortly before my first birthday. I was even awesome then ...
3. When I was little, I hated having a winter birthday. I can recall at least one time where my party was, in essence, canceled due to snow. I'm still bitter about it. My sisters, on the other hand, were born in May and September. Their birthday parties always kicked off and ended Summer and were epic events.

4. When I turned seven, my mom made a cake for all of the guests and then a separate, smaller cake for me. And by smaller cake, I mean, it was probably still enough cake for 4 people. I ate the whole thing myself. It's probably where my cake obsession began.

5. On my 10th birthday, I had a sleepover party and my parents gave me my first CD player (boom box style) and a membership to one of those CD subscription things. It is still one of the best gifts I have ever received and I love that my parents had shared a love of music from an early age.

6. Remember that MTV show, My Sweet Sixteen? Well, my 16th birthday was a less extreme version of that show. My parents rented a venue, decked it out and all my family and friends celebrated in our best formal wear. It was like a prom. A prom to celebrate me.

7. At midnight on my 21st birthday, my college roommates and I walked next door to the bar (seriously, we lived next door to a bar) and we had one drink. It was an amaretto sour. 15 minutes later, we walked home and went to bed. Five hours later, we were dressed and sitting on a bus headed to an Indoor Track and Field meet. Obviously, we were party animals.

8. On my 29th birthday, I decided I needed to stop half-assing this whole triathlon thing, so I decided to register for my first 70.3. I figured it would force me to learn to swim and to actually get on my bike once in a while. It worked and I've never looked back.

9. J threw me a surprise party when I turned 30. He mostly surprised me, but I am a naturally curious and annoyingly detailed oriented person, so when things seemed a little odd that day, I put two and two together. Even though, I was on to them, it was an amazing party, spent with my very best friends and family.

10. Today, I am celebrating presence on this planet with a birthday run with friends, followed by lunch with my mom and sisters. Tomorrow, we are going to have the most epic gluten free cake ever made. And while I won't have it today, J and the girls got me this beautiful Quintana Roo CD0.1 Ultegra as my gift.
I am a lucky girl.

Monday, February 3, 2014

January Rewind ...

Miles Run: 73.66 miles. My highest mileage in pretty much forever ...

Bike Miles Rode: 113 miles. My bike trainer and I are so totally BFFs ...
Swim Meters Completed: 14,800m or 9.2 miles
 
Rest Days Taken: 6
 
Highest Run Mileage Week: 1/13-1/19: 20.33 miles
 
Highest Bike Mileage Week: 1/20-1/26: 28 miles
 
Highest Swim Volume Week: 1/20-1/26: 4800m or 2.73 miles
 
Long Runs Completed (1 hr+ miles): 2
 
Current Book: Right now, I am reading Fragments by Wells. But, I finished a few other books in January. (Note: For those of you who have asked, if it's on this or any of my lists, I would recommend the book. If I don't like the story or the book doesn't grasp my attention, I don't bother finishing it, thus it wouldn't be listed here.) 
  • Champion by Lu
  • The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Keplinger
  • Vitro by Khoury
  • Unbreakable by Garcia
  • Faefever by Moning
  • Wonder by Palacio
  • The Offering by Derting
  • The Essence by Derting
  • True by Duff
  • Mind Games by White
  • Kiss and Blog by Noel
  • Paper Towns by Green
  • A Radiant Sky by Davies
  • Bloodfever by Moning
  • Darkfever by Moning
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Lost. J and I started watching the series at the beginning of January and are currently five episodes into season 4. We are watching non-stop since the episodes will be deleted from our OnDemand account on the 22nd of February. I still have no idea where the show is going, but it cracks me up that J and I are obsessing about something that was relevant a decade ago ...

Current Colors: Orange and Navy.

Current Drink: Hot tea with cream and stevia. All day, every day.
 
Current Song: Pompeii - Bastille
 
Current Triumph: I ran 10 miles yesterday. My first double digit run since Rev3 Cedar Point HalfRev.  Oh, and I totally let my kids split the last piece of Dilly's birthday cake rather than eat it myself. Trust me people, that's huge.
 
Current Goal: Be a better me. Each and every day. And crush 2014 goals ...
 
Current Blessing: Health, happiness and love. I've got all three.
 
Current Excitement: My birthday is 4 days away! Best day of the year!
 
Fitness:
  • Get back to running 30-40 miles per week. For most of 2012 and 2013, I focused on 70.3 training. The only way for me to improve my cycling and swimming was to spend less time running. Eventually, my strongest discipline became my weakest and honestly, I am kind of over it. This year I won't race longer than an Olympic distance triathlon. Hopefully, this will allow me to balance my training loads and life a little better than in the past. - Getting there. I logged 24 miles last week.
  • Strength train two times per week. In the past, I have dropped strength training as my training volume went up. I'm not letting that happen in 2014. - Crushing it! Haven't missed a day.
  • Run 1,400 miles. A huge jump from 2013, but far less than what I used to run. - As of February 3rd, 83.66 miles logged.
  • Bike 1,400 miles A huge drop from 2013, but if I am going to find time for those run miles something will have to give. - As of February 3rd, 113 miles logged.
  • Swim 140 miles. Pretty much where I finished up in 2013. This will probably be the most challenging mileage to hit. - As of February 3rd, 16,600m or 10.3 miles logged.
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17. I never managed to register for a 10K in 2012 and I'm not sure where it will fit in this year, but it's on my radar. As it has been since 2009. - I'm registered! That's further than I've ever gotten on this goal.
  • Run a negative split marathon. I'm not looking for a PR. Just a well executed race.
  • Run a 5K with Dizzle and Doodle. I'm thinking a Rev3 Glow Run for this one.

Personal:
  • Only say yes to the projects I REALLY want to work on. An honest no is much better than a halfhearted yes.
  • Stick to our budget. We were at about 90% with this last year, but I have a good feeling about 2014. - So far so good.
  • Take a picture a day for a year. - 33 days in and going strong. You can see all my #project365 pictures on my Instagram account HERE
  • Read 150 books.
  • Go the entire year without cutting my hair (unless I start to get a mullet, at which point a trim is required). - Haven't cut it yet!
  • Relearn Spanish. Just letting that Rosetta Stone course sit on the shelf isn't helping anyone. - The course is still sitting on the shelf.
  • Blog at least two times per week. 2013 left me uninspired and stressed when it came to blogging. I'm hoping a new perspective will change this. - Made this happen thus far!
  • Have a date night with J, once a month. Considering that we only manage about two dates per year at this point, I'd be super impressed if we pulled this off half of the time. - Got our date in for January. Fingers crossed on February!
  • Continue to balance family life, training and now, work.
  • Prioritize and be a good example for the people in your life.
  • Help and support J and the kids in reaching their goals. We are a team and that must always be the primary focus of our lives. No one should have to sacrifice so that someone else can reach their goal. If a balance can't be found, it's not worth pursuing.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Random Fact Friday ...

1. My kids have only been in school two of the last 14 days. Perhaps the best part of this situation is that the district has 90 or so hours of extra instruction built into the school year (in essence the school day is longer than it needs to be). This means that school could be canceled for another week before the girls would have to make up any of the missed time.  As awesome as I think this is, the impression I get from my Facebook feed is that a lot of my friends want nothing more than for the kids to be back at school. I find myself wishing for the opposite. I was actually disappointed when they announced an hour delay last night. I really love having them home with me.

2. Wanting to have my kids home with me does not mean that I love every minute with them. It fact, it's quite the opposite. For example, just last Thursday, I took them to Jumpology to burn off some energy. When we got home, I asked them to occupy themselves for 50 minutes so I could run. In the first 20 minutes alone, I had to get off the treadmill and discipline them three times. Then there was that time on Wednesday, when Doodle simply did not want to do her homework. She screamed and cried for a good 45 minutes (Note: the assignment should have taken 10), repeatedly telling me that I always make her do things she doesn't want to. I politely reminded her that it was in fact her teacher who was making her do homework, but she wasn't buying it.

3. Those crazy moments aside, having the girls at home with me is awesome. Sometimes, they occupy themselves for hours and do things like this ...


Yes, that is an entire room fort.

4. After a brief lull in December/Early January, J is back to traveling non-stop. He left here on Tuesday, arrives home today around 1 and then is leaving again at dinnertime. It's just awesome. And when I say awesome, I mean completely not awesome. However, at this rate he should earn 1K with United and Platinum with Marriott by the end of the quarter.

5. On Saturday, Dizzle had her first swim meet. Her relay team won and she swam solid times in the 25 Free, 25 Back and 50 Back.


Despite the long hours of the meet, Doodle has decided she wants in on the action. Dilly is considering it too. When you add the fact that I swim constantly and J is dabbling in the sport and you can probably figure out that our home constantly has a hint of chlorine odor to it. Thankful, I have an awesome sponsor, SBR Sports, who make TriSwim and Foggies (my favorite swim related product EVER!). If it wasn't for the TriSwim line, no one would want to be around us. But at the rate we are going, I think it's time to upgrade to the 64oz containers.

6. I try to be a good example to my children. I do my best to speak positively in front of them. I attempt to give them a model to live by. I try to show them that you can live your passions without taking away from the people you love. Like when I multitask, training and playing with them at the same time.


And I always try to show them how to eat healthy. On Tuesday, I learned that my hard work is paying off. I told Dilly we could go eat anywhere she wanted to for her birthday lunch. She told me that she would rather "have a tea party and eat peppers, tomatoes, carrots, hummus, raspberries, chicken and a PB&J sandwich."


It melted my heart.

7. Don't let Dilly's lunch fool you. The girls had cupcakes on Sunday and Monday (Dilly's party and her celebration at school) and we've been finishing off this cake all week.

Gluten free chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting ...
It's all about moderation, right?

8. I am planning on running a marathon this year. In the past, I have been motivated to tackle this distance to prove that I could and to improve my times. However, things have changed. I have already proved I can cover 26.2. I've proved that I can race two marathons in a week. I've proved I can cut almost an hour off my time. This go round (which will be a full three years since my last marathon), I'm not proving anything. I just really miss marathon training. I miss the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it and I really miss bragging that I "just ran 20 miles". Plus, if I am going to continue eating as much cake as we did this week, I'm really going to need to run 20 miles.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

And then you were 5 ...

Dear Dilly,

I know I've said this before, but with each passing year I am left with a sense of loss. As the moments slip past, I want to grab as many as I can and hit the pause button. I want to live them again. I want to take in all the details I missed and to relish in all the ones I didn't. I know it's because you're my baby. Deep down, that's why your birthday hits me harder than everyone else's, even my own.

Dilly, one day old.
As my baby, I know that all your first are often my lasts. Soon, I'll send you to your first day of Kindergarten and while you'll be starting your academic career, I'll be losing my preschooler who spends day after day by my side. Soon, you'll lose your first tooth and I'll see the excitement of that milestone for the last time. So much of me cannot wait for all these things and so much more, but I can't ignore the fact that it will be bittersweet.

Dilly, on her 5th birthday.
Over the past five years, I have gotten to know you and all your quirks. I've learned that you are the most pleasant child I have ever met. You go with the flow. You can occupy yourself. You can wait with the best of them. You love fully and completely and you've never met a person you wouldn't hug. Simply put, there is a vibrancy about you. You radiate love and happiness and I am better to have had you by my side all this time.

Dilly, I am truly blessed to call you my daughter. I can't get enough of all the little things that make you exactly who you are. It is my hope for you that you never lose sight of all those little things that make you special. Cherish them. It's important. But if you ever forget, know that I will be there to remind you because I love every last one of them.

I'm sure as you grow, the things that comprise the essence of you will change. But right now, as you enter your sixth year, these are my favorite parts of you. I love that you are a Southern girl with a Boston accent - a combination on you could pull off. (Sure it might be nice to be able to pronounce the letter "r", but who really needs it?) I love the way you sneak into my bed in the morning and snuggle up to me, putting your back next to mine in away that fits perfectly. And I love that your first instinct when you do something wrong is not to apologize but you yell out "I love you!" like it might help me ignore your shortcomings.

Dilly, even if I wrote an entire book about you and all the ways I love you, I would never be able to fully express my love or how imperfectly perfect you are. So, instead, I will just wish you the happiest of birthdays. May you continue to show the strength, love and compassion beyond your years and may all your wishes come true.

I love you to infinity and beyond!

XOXO,
Mom

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Three Things Thursday ...

Snow Day Part Three - As I mentioned yesterday, the girls haven't had school all week due to approximately two inches of snowfall. (Yes, we are wimpy in these parts). Last night around 6 p.m., we got the call that school was canceled yet again. Rather than sit indoors all day, we met up with some friends for an hour of trampoline fun at Jumpology.

scared to jump hand-in-hand ...
The girls had a blast. They ran, or really jumped, around like crazy. They found themselves stuck in the foam pit. And they exhausted themselves thoroughly.

like quicksand, only softer ...
I, however, am less of a fan. It was fun to watch them and I even got in on the jumping for a few minutes, but something about all that bouncing sends me straight to the bathroom. Yet another thing I can blame on my children ...

Uke 'N Roll - Earlier this week, Dizzle was interviewed by USA Today for an article they were writing about the ukulele and more specifically, her instructor and the program he has developed. On Sunday, her class was photographed and videotaped and yesterday the article and video were released online HERE.

photo credit: Jack Gruber, USA Today
She is super excited by the whole thing. Plus, now she can brag to all of her friends that she's been in both USA Today and Runner's World. Not something most people can say.

Workout Date -  One of my New Year's resolutions is to go on a date once a month with J. We have been horrible about making time for us in the past. I hate to spend money to go out and then still have to pay a sitter. The few times (and I am talking 1-2 times per year) that we have gone out without the girls, we have relied on friends and family to watch them. That's great and all, but I hate to abuse their generosity. Even if we ultimately swap babysitting.

Then there is the fact that J travels a lot and most of that travel is on the weekends. When you add in all the evenings we have activities with the kids, there aren't many days left to go out.

So, this month, we got inventive. On Monday, the girls had off of school and J was off from work. Instead of spending money on a date, J and I went to the gym. We dropped the girls off at Kid Watch and spent the next hour and a half swimming and lifting.

I love us ...
I had a blast. However, I think it was more fun for me than J, since he continually told me I was trying to torture him (I swear I wasn't). So what if he had trouble walking for the next two days ...