Monday, August 26, 2013

A (Wannabe) Runners Guide to Running

If you know anything about this blog, it's that I constantly say how hard it is to do things with a baby. And lemme tell you, training for a half marathon is no different.

The last time around (almost 2 years ago!) Randy and I trained pretty well. Considering, we really didn't know what the heck we were getting in to! We would run short distances regularly during the week and take our long runs on the weekend. Which again, worked well although the farthest distance we made it to was only 6 miles before doing the whole 13.1! I'm still kind of amazed that we actually finished it.

Now, it's a bit tougher (partly because I'm so. tired. all. the. dang. time. and running with a stroller/on Emily's schedule is not always easy) but we are truding along towards our goal of running another half in November.

It's taken me a while to get back into the swing of things, both mentally and physically. I realized the other day that I've actually learned a lot about myself and running in the past few years. And though I don't consider myself a runner, I've picked up a few things that I didn't know the first time around that I'd share with anyone starting out.

  • Get good shoes. I'm serious. Go get fitted at a running store (like our awesome Fleet Feet). They will analyze your stride and find the best pair of shoes for you. It's a bit of an investment but worth it.  
  • Then buy good clothes. No cotton. That includes good underwear and a bra. I personally love to run in fitted capris and a dry fit t-shirt (most of my stuff comes from TJ Maxx or Target). You don't want stuff that weighs you down and you certainly want something that will keep the sweat off of you.
  • Try all the fancy products and then use all, some or none on a regular basis. When Randy and I first started running, we tried it all: gel, energy packs, fitness belts, KT tape, compression stockings, iphone running arm band, you name it. Basically anything you could buy at an expo or running store, we owned it. Randy still uses some of those things but I've stopped using just about all. I've come to be more of a minimalist in my approach.  Find what products work/don't work for you.
  • Listen to your body. I found this one out the hard way. I injuried my hip flexor training the last time, went through PT for it and it started to flair up this time around. I've had to adjust my stride and not push myself when I know I'm at my limit. I've also cut back on listening to music (especially during the first couple of miles) so I can concentrate on how my body is feeling without being distracted my a fast song that makes me want to speed up (even though my body isn't warmed up and ready yet).
  • Accept that some days are just going to be better that others. Chalk it up to countless reasaons-the weather, stress, medication, too much wine the night before (who would do that?!)-some days you are not going to run your best. Just run what you can do and then stop. Try again tomorrow.
  • Encourage others. Running is hard. Running sucks at times. There are people that will fly past you when you are struggling just to get through the next couple of steps. Let them. Don't worry about it. But encourage others when you see them struggling. I love running races and hearing others cheer people on. We are all in this together and we will all (hopefully) make it to the finish line in our own time. 
Bottom line? Like most things in life, find out what works for you. The right shoes, clothes, products or "extras", running with or without music, running with others or by yourself.  It's a bit of trial and error and it takes time. So keep at it (advice I need to remember at times) and keep cheering others on along the way.

Happy running!

Update: R and I completed a 5 mile race on Monday, despite my struggle with a nasty head cold, and I'm proud to say that I pulled off one of my best paces! 12:57, baby! So don't give up, keep at it, and brag a little when you've accomplished something great. :) 

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Husband

Then: Grandfather's Mountain, NC 2007

To say I love my husband is an understatement.

We've been together for the better part of 6 years and we have shared countless experiences and memories. It's easy to take someone like him for granted because he's always there. 

Two days ago I got a flat tire (my fault) and within 10 minutes he was by my side. He took me to lunch, tipped the guy who came to change my tire, took me back to work after dropping my car off at the tire store (using his credit card to pay for it) and pick both Emily and I up later that afternoon to go home. I was stressed.  I cried a little. Mostly due to the culmination of life events pulling me in a million different directions every. single. flipping. day and just not having the time (or money) to deal with this crap. 

Immediately following my little meltdown, A Tantrum for my Transformation blog post popped up in my Facebook feed. Ok, God.  I'm listening now. 

I was reminded, yet again that #1, this is not all about ME... #2, this is not about STUFF (my car)...#3 this about trusting God and His perfect plan for my life.

And #4, this is about being thankful for the people that God has put in my life to take care of me and support me during some just really yucky times. People exactly like my husband. The one person out of the millions of people on this plane that God specifically chose for me.

The realization of that just about brought me to tears again. Not only because I'm incredibly grateful but because I had snapped at Randy during the height of my stress. I felt bad. Although I apologized and he accepted, the damage was done. I hurt him and I hated myself for it.

I know I put a lot of pressure on myself to do things the right way, always and to be the best mom/wife/employee/fill-in-the-blank I can be. I know, KNOW I am not perfect nor will ever been in this world, but it doesn't stop me from trying.

So, I had to back up. Take a breath. And re-evaluate. Yes, life and marriage are both not easy. Stuff happens and people have faults. Instead of getting worked up about it all, I've got to zoom out and take a look at the bigger picture. In those moments that I'm frustrated with Randy because he didn't ask me about my day (although we've spent a lot of time talking about his day) or he doesn't unload the dishwasher while I'm at the grocery store, I need to remember it is not about this single moment. It is about this life that we are living (the life that God has planned for us) and how we can do our best in it.  To forgive ourselves and forgive each other. To love unconciditionally and support each other when they need it the most. To give thanks to God instead of  stressing about our current situation.

To the guy that may never read this post, thank you for being the wonderful husband and father that you are. You are appreciated more that I could ever tell you. I love you and I love the life we are living together.

Now: Cherry Grove Beach, SC 2013


Friday, August 16, 2013



Without a doubt, the wee babe (aka EG) is the focal point on this blog. And, hello, basically my whole life.

Which means the husband, work, dogs and random other funny/insightful/food-related blog topics are few and far between. I used to talk about all those things until little miss arrived on the scene and well, she is so cute and funny why would I write about anything else? 

There's no doubt that having a baby and keeping some semblance of a life is extremely time consuming. So, in addition to not having time to write about a lot of those other things I don't have time to actually do any of those things. Like, have a date night with my  husband or walk the dogs or read a book "just for fun." And yeah, it sucks at time. Because you are always feeling torn, exhausted and like you are letting someone down. But I've yacked about all of that before on here and you don't need me to rehash it again. That's not what this post is about, but I needed to get it out there to give this next part some context.

First of all let me say this: Luna is a-ok. Happy, healthy and totally fine. But she is living with a new family now. 
Luna came to us at a time when I really needed her. Chloe had died a few months prior and I just missed her and having a two dog household. When we saw Luna and heard that she needed a new home (or was going back to the shelter) my heart just wouldn't let me say no. So, she came home with us after we met her for the first time. We feed her well so her ribs wouldn't show anymore, I let her sleep at the foot of our bed because she seemed so sad by herself and we loved her because we knew that someone before us had not.  We took long walks and played with bubbles and laughed as she had have the time of her life running through the sprinklers in the backyard. She even got a cake on her 1st birthday! She was happy and we were happy. 
I had heard people talk about how they'd given their dogs to other families when a new baby came along.  And I swore, with every fiber of my being, that I would not be one of those people. I mean, it's not the worst thing in the world, but I just could not fathom the idea of parting ways with my fur baby. When Emily came along, Luna loved her and treated her so sweetly and it made me so happy. But things got busier and I didn't have time to spend with Luna one-on-one. A 50+ lb dog and a joggling stroller are not the best combination. Believe me, I tried. And Luna kept wanting more than just the backyard and Princess to play with. I can't tell you how many neighbors we met after they retrieved Luna when she jumped over our 6 foot fence.   I couldn't fault her for it, either. She just wanted a little fun and adventure and attention. 

Before we embarked on our beach vacation, my parents offered (or we asked? not sure how we got there) to keep Luna for a few weeks. I felt horrible leaving her but knew she would have a good time in a new place. We got back from vacation and settled back into life. I missed her but again, life was busy and she couldn't always be front and center of my mind. 

One day, my mom asked if I would consider giving Luna to someone else. Again, in my mind, this was not a topic up for discussion. Over the course of a several days, we talked and e-mailed and Randy and I discussed. At some point, either due to me being worn down from the dialogue or true acceptance of the situation (or both), I agreed to letting my mom post a flyer at the local vet with Luna's picture on it. "Free to a good home, good with kids" it said. It wasn't up for very long before it got the attention of a woman with lots of land, other dogs and two elementary aged children. She called my mom and they arranged a meeting.

To hear my mom talk about it, it was just meant to be. The woman and her kids loved Luna and she loved them. The boy was just thrilled that she would shake and that "she had so much energy." When it was time to go, my mom said Luna jumped in the van between the kids looked back at her with her silly smile (see above picture).

Sure, I have mixed feelings about it all.  But if I really think about it, I know in my heart it's what's best for everyone. Mom said that the family Luna is with just lost one of their dogs who was very old. Which, knowing Luna's past (complete with her 3 different names), makes me thinks she knows where to go when people need her. And when things are a better and brighter, she moves on to the next person. Thinking about it that way make me smile and that is forever how I will remember that sweet, crazy Luna Fauna Launa.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Simplier Times

Sunday afternoon we decided to visit the state museum. Randy and I had not been in several years (Emily has never been) and it was so stinking hot outside that we needed something to keep us entertained inside. We got admission to the main exhibit AND to the special King Tut exhibit for $20 less than what it would have cost us! Why? Because the AC wasn't working well. Ah, South Carolina! You get us every dang time.

It was a touch warm, but not unbearable inside. And there was just so much to see! Emily loved the King Tut exhibit and she squealed when she saw a dog statue artifact. Whoops.  Sorry, startled museum go-ers. She just really loves dogs.

We ventured into the section of the museum full of the state's history.  SC gets a bad wrap sometimes (ok, most times) but it really is a fascinating place, both then and now. I loved the exhibits that depicted what it would look like living in the state on an old plantation and was fascinated by the kitchen gadgets people owned just as electricity was becoming a household commodity. I remember seeing a lot of those items in my grandmothers house and it brought back some good childhood memories. I can vaguely remember the small garden at my grandparents house, the laundry line out back and I even have her mixing bowl that I still use to this day.

It's such a stark comparison to life today. I have at least 4 different mixing bowls in our kitchen cupboard and we are constantly running out of room to put things in our house. We are surrounded by excess and it's at times annoying, yet we constantly seek more.  I can remember a time not that long ago (less than a year ago) that I wanted a bigger house, a newer car, nicer clothes and more things. But my mindset has significantly shifted. Partly I know because, let's be honest, I have a baby that demands more of my money! I don't have extra money that I can spend on stuff but rather I spend what I do have on things we need. And it's exhausting, the constant searching for and buying the latest thing. Sure, it's fun to find a good deal but do we really need another $5 DVD?

So, we are beginning to think seriously about decluttering our household and our lives. For starters, we have canceled the cable. And we have survived without it (although it is not yet college football seasons, so TBD if we will). Once this sweltering heatwave has passed, we will begin tackling (dum, dum, DUM) our garage and giving away or yard selling most (if not all) of what's in there.

I'm curious. What are ways you have simplified your life? How has it changed you? 


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Reasons My Daughter is Crying

Several months ago, a mommy friend introduced me to Reasons My Son is Crying. It's a hilarious compilation from a dad of all the daily, random reasons why his toddler is having the I remember reading it and just about dying from laughter because they were all so silly ("I touched his foot with my foot" or "The milk is in the wrong cup") and they were all accompanied by a picture of his son sobbing.

Oh, it was all so funny then. But this is now. And now this is my life.

Now, in all honesty, Emily does have a pretty valid reason for being cranky these days. She is teething, recovering from a nasty rash as a result her most recent set of vaccination shots and she's taking medications for an ear infection. But, Emily and I have known each other for a year now and I've become accustom to her many and varied cries. I've come to learn the difference between a serious "I don't feel good" wail to "things are not going my way" bloodcurdling scream. The first is usually accompanied by huge tears and a good cuddle or snack does the trick to make things right. The later is suspiciously absent of tears and is often combined with some serious head shaking, throwing herself backwards (usually when I'm hold her) and in rare instances, what I'm pretty sure is an attempt at biting me. Sigh.

Yesterday was full of those meltdowns. From the time I picked her up from daycare to the time I finally gave in at bathtime and asked Randy take over, my daughter cried beacuse:
  • She spilled her Cheerios in the car 
  • She couldn't play in the fridge
  • I moved her away from the hot oven
  • I closed the pantry door
  • She ate all her green beans
  • I turned the page in her book
  • Tooth brushing time stopped
  • I wouldn't let her drink bath water

I'm beginning to feel like maybe the toddler years aren't going to be all sunshine and giggles.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

SAHM (for the day)

I love Saturdays. The work week is over and it's nice to wake up and not have anything on the agenda. I woke up last Saturday with the thought "I'd like to pretend that I'm a SAHM (stay at home mom) for the day and find fun things for us to do!"

This past Saturday, Randy had to take his truck in for servicing so EG and I had a mommy and daughter morning out! We had breakfast at McDonalds, went to the library (her first trip!) and got groceries. Emily was so good during the entire adventure. She loved exploring the puzzles and books at the library. I think if I had let her, she would have pulled every book off the shelf. She chose a few books (she picked one about hide-n-seek polar bears and another story about a mouse who flew with the Wright brothers) and we grabbed some DVDs of Clifford and Author. Cleary, this kid loves some animals. She even made a new friend (see the bottom right picture :)) and wanted to sit with her while she read one of her new books. We had such a great time but I was exhausted by the time lunch rolled around!

Saturday funday! 
Sunday was a busy day of church, cleaning and resting. I noticed at lunch that Emily felt warm and had begun breaking out into a rash all over her body. I called the nurse hotline at our wonderful pediatricians office. They told me to keep an eye on it but sounded like she was coming down with a virus. It didn't seem to be bothering her that much and I thought we were passed the worst of it.

Then she woke up yesterday with the rash all over her face and redder than the day before. Ugh! After a quick call to the pediatirians office, we decided to take her in. Randy had a busy day at work so I was a SAHM again! I was determined to make it a good day together, even if we were home because she was sick. The doctor couldn't see us until later in the morning so we did a quick errand and then went by a local park to see if we could spot some ducks. We brought bread for them but no luck! They must have been sleeping in on a lazy Monday morning. Emily loved the swings so we played on them for a while and then went to check out the waterfall.

Still looking for those ducks

After our morning adventure, we visited our Dr. W (our favorite pediatrician) and it was determined that Emily had a reaction to her vaccination last week AND an ear infection! Poor thing just can't catch a break. Luckily, some antibiotics and an afternoon nap seemed to kick off the healing process. While she napped, I tackled the mountain of laundry in our spare bedroom, vacuumed, mopped, changed our sheet and started another load of laundry.  And after Emily woke up, we took a quick stroll around the neighborhood, colored and I even cooked dinner. I was so proud of all my accomplishments! Gold star for my SAHM day!

So, on days like today, when we are back in the grind and I'm trying to get myself ready for work and Emily ready for school, packing both our lunches, realizing I don't have what I need to put together an easy dinner in the crock pot, rushing out of the house to beat early morning traffic and doing it all in a dress and 3 inch heals....I'm reminded that I can and DO have great days as a mom, a wife and employee. They usually don't all happen on the same day. But I can make the best of the time we have together and enjoy the little things without worrying about what's next on my to-do list. I'm thankful for my "pretend SAHM days" because they remind me of what's important in life and hold me over until our next fun adventure together.