Friday, February 26, 2016

Fitness Friday - February 2016

Happy Friday! Here's a round-up of my workouts this month. Running has been going well. I'm gradually increasing my speed and distance. My plan is to do three runs per week - One tempo, one speed, and one long. None of them are especially fast or long YET, but I'm making progress! I struggled this month to figure out a yoga solution, and finally decided to go ahead and buy a 10-pack to the real yoga studio for a weekly 90-minute hot vinyasa class. It feels SO good.

View from the yoga studio

Week 1:
Tempo - 1 mi warm-up then 2 mi at 9:40 = 3.1 mi total in 33:45
Speed - Alternate quarter miles at 12:00 and 9:15 = 3.1 mi total in 34:30
Long - 1 mi warm-up then 3 mi at 10:00 = 4 mi total in 43:00
Also, 1 60-min yoga class (at the gym)

Week 2:
Tempo - 1.5 mi warm-up then 2 mi at 9:40 = 3.5 mi total in 39:54
Speed - 1 mi warm-up then alternate quarter miles at 12:00 and 9:15 = 3.5 mi total in 39:57
Long - 1 mi warm-up then 4 mi at 10:00 = 5 mi total in 54:35
Also, 2 30-min yoga classes (at home)

Week 3:
Tempo - 1 mi warm up then 3 mi at 9:40 = 4 mi total in 43:28
Speed - 1 mi warm-up then alternate half miles at 9:15 with quarter miles at 12:00 = 4 mi total in 44:30
Long - 1 mi warm-up then 5 mi at 10:00 = 6 mi total in 1:05:30
Also, 1 90-min hot yoga class (at a real studio)

Week 4:
Tempo - 1 mi warm up then 1 mi at 9:40 and 2 mi at 9:30 = 4 mi total in 43:05
Speed - Didn't happen. 3 very slow miles in 38:16
Long - 1 mi warm up then 5 mi at 10:00 = 6 mi total in 1:03:55
Also, 1 90-min hot yoga class (at a real studio)

Total mileage = 49.2

In other news:

Abel is three months old! He discovered his hands this month. He likes chewing on them and figured out how to bat and sometimes grab the "forest friends" on his activity mat. [We have this one.] He's been smiling more and more, but I have yet to capture one of his big grins on camera.

Happy Weekend!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Five Favorites - February 2016

Hey Friends! Tell me, tell me - What are your favorite things this month? I am in the market for recommendations on where to find the perfect classic t-shirt. Not too thin, not too clingy but not boxy either, LONG [I'm not tall but I have a "long torso"], and available in a dozen pretty colors. Any ideas??? I have been searching for the perfect t-shirt for YEARS. Someday, if I ever find it, I guarantee it will feature prominently in a "Favorites" post. Until then... Here's what I've been loving lately.

1) Abel is smiling!!! Oh, I love love love it when they start smiling. Parents - What was your favorite milestone moment? Swede learning to talk has been my favorite thing EVER, but the first smile and the first steps are pretty sweet too.

2) In January I subscribed to six different magazines! I normally only ever buy magazines at the airport for a special treat. They are so expensive to buy individually, but they are pretty cheap if you subscribe. So for a relatively small cash outlay in January I'll be getting fun magazines all year long! I'm getting Runner's WorldTrail RunnerReal SimpleParentsRachael Ray, and Cooking Light. What's your favorite magazine?

3) I bought myself some new running clothes from Brooks to celebrate my return to running since Abel was born. I bought two pairs of the Racey Shorts. [On sale!] I'm wearing the black pair in the photo below, but I also bought them in green. I like that they are a little longer than traditional running shorts. And I really love this Streaker Short Sleeve Shirt in pink. It also comes in a tank top and a long sleeve hoodie too. I'm contemplating getting another color and/or style.

4) So, I think you'll agree that mornings can be tough! Getting everyone dressed and fed and organized to leave the house can be hectic. One thing that has made the morning go better here is that I started making a huge batch of steel-cut oats in the slow cooker and freezing it in smaller portions that I can defrost overnight and quickly microwave in the morning for Swede, who eats oatmeal almost every single day.

5) I transitioned Abel from the swaddle to the Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit a few weeks ago. He never loved being swaddled like Swede did, but needed something to help prevent startling himself awake. This works perfectly. He has a little more freedom of movement, and it keeps him warm. It's also easier to get him into rather trying to wrangle his flailing arms into the swaddle. Plus, he looks like a marshmallow!

OK, I admit this wasn't the most exciting list of favorites I've ever posted. Seriously... Oatmeal?! It's the little things, People... The little things.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Hey Friends, How are you??? I have to admit, I've been struggling lately. I've been discouraged, overwhelmed, and so SO tired. Swede was sick, then Abel was sick, then I was sick, and now Abel is going through a fun little sleep regression. I've had some difficult moments. Remember that 2016 Goal to be more FUN? I'm not sure I've made that much progress. 

However, I had the [absurdly obvious] realization the other day that there are going to be lousy moments pretty much every single day, but it's my choice whether to focus on them, or to let it go and focus on the good moments, which are also a daily occurrence. Such as Tuesday when Swede told me I'm the "best mama ever." Top Ten Parenting Moment right there!

That's about all I have to say today. Some recent photos:

Tough guy!

This one cracks me up! Siblings...

We made belated Valentine's Day cookies this week.

Swede's hair looks like this 99% of the time, and it drives me crazy. But I'm learning to let go. I think maybe that Swede wearing a perfect coordinating outfit [which I've also abandoned all hope of] with a perfect tidy hairdo is more about ME wanting to appear like the perfect organized mom via Swede than anything else. Look how happy she is with her messy hair! I think that's a better reflection of my being a good mom than if her hair was combed.

Jonathan and I went to lunch date on Presidents Day at one of my favorite local restaurants. It was great except for dessert. We ordered the last piece of cheesecake but after waiting 20 minutes were informed that it had been dropped, that they'd tried to salvage it but to no avail. I'm a little perturbed by the "salvage" comment... From the floor?!?! Probably for the best that we didn't get it. 

My favorite little man!

Happy Thursday! May you notice and cherish and remember only the very BEST moments of the day. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fitness Friday - Bucket List Races

Happy Friday! Instead of doing a recap of my workouts this week [which were decidedly mediocre due to picking up Swede's cold on Sunday] I think I'll talk about something more fun: Bucket List races! These are the races that I would love love LOVE to do someday.

I'm actually a little unsure about destination races. I worry that... A) I'll get too tired sightseeing before the race that I'll have a bad race, B) I'll be too tired after the race to enjoy sightseeing, and/or C) I'll be too deep in the "pain cave" during the race to enjoy the course! I've only ever traveled specifically for a race once, in 2012 when I met some of my Florida friends for the Savannah Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, which was awesome, so maybe I shouldn't worry so much. I don't even know if or when I'll ever do these races, but it's fun to dream.

1) OK, This is a sad one, because as I searched for the link to my top Bucket List race, the Nike Women's San Francisco Half Marathon, I found out that the race has been discontinued! Major bummer. I'd had my heart set of getting that Tiffany necklace someday.

2) Big Sur International Marathon: This is supposed to be one of the prettiest races in the world! The Half Marathon on Monterey Bay would also be neat if I don't have a full marathon in me.

3) Flying Pig: I don't know why but this race has always appealed to me. Maybe it's the funny name. I can't think of any other reason I would ever go to Cincinnati!

4) Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland: I ran the Disney World Marathon twice when I lived in Orlando, and grew up going to Disneyland in California. I think it'd be fun to do this race in costume!

5) Patagonia Running Adventure: I have wanted to do this multi-day running adventure trip in Patagonia ever since I saw an article about it in Trail Runner Magazine many years ago. It's a much bigger proposition than any of the single races above, so I'm not sure if it will ever happen, but it's definitely on the "someday maybe" list.

One race that was previously on the Bucket List is the Trans-Rockies Run, a six-day, 120-mile trail race in the Colorado Rocky Mountains that I completed with my dad in 2011. It was a very difficult but really incredible experience! [I also met Dean Karnazes! In the bottom right photo below.]

What are your thoughts of traveling for races? Do you have any Bucket List races?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Reading Roundup - January 2016

Hey Friends! Here's my book reviews from January. I didn't have much luck with books this month. I can't remember the last time I had so many two-star books in one month! Have you read any good books lately? I need recommendations!!!

1) Longbourn by Jo Baker: 4/5 stars. This book is a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of the Bennets' maid, although it is really only nominally about the P&P events, and more about the life downstairs. It's interesting to look at the things from a different perspective, to consider what Lizzie's hem "six inches deep in mud" means to the household staff who are tasked with laundry in an era before washing machines and Oxyclean! If you like Jane Austen and Downtown Abbey I think you'd like this book.

2) Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay. 2/5 stars. This book is about a group of people working at a radio station in far north Canada in the mid-1970s. I thought it was a little boring. There didn't seem to be much plot. I didn't feel like I got to know any of the characters. In the last third of the book there is a canoe expedition into the Barrens which seemed like a different story than everything that had come before. That was my favorite part of the book and made me want to go on a wilderness adventure.

3) Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. 2/5 stars. I had high hopes for this book. I even gave it sight unseen (or unread, as the case may be) to a friend for Christmas. But I was really disappointed. It seems more like a short story collection than a novel. Ostensibly the plot follows Eva throughout life as she becomes a famous chef, but each chapter is narrated by a different third party in whose life Eva plays a small role. It was difficult to get to know the characters and there was no sense of continuity.

4) Girl at War by Sara Novic. 3/5 stars. This book was so sad. It's the story of a ten-year-old girl living in Croatia at the outbreak of the civil war in 1991. She eventually ends up in America but returns to Croatia in 2001 in an attempt to find lost friends and closure on the tragic events of her youth. It made me feel incredibly grateful that I live in a safe and free country, terribly sad for all the people around the world who do not, and also a little guilty that I live such a privileged life while so many others are struggling.

5) The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay. 2/5 stars. I generally steer clear of Austen/Bronte knockoffs, but since I started the month with Austen I though I might end it with the Brontes. This book wasn't nearly as good as Longbourn. It takes place in the present day, and there is no connection to any of the Bronte novels other than a trip to their home at Haworth in Yorkshire. The characters are flat and the plot is unbelievable. What I liked most was the descriptions of the elegant clothing and fancy hotels. Why yes, I'd like accompany a mysterious and wealthy (owns a Picasso!) elderly lady on an all-expense-paid trip to England, where I will traipse around in cashmere sweaters and crisp white shirts while buying outrageously expensive flatwear sets, because "good silver never goes out of style."

Swede's Book of the Month: Bedtime for Monsters by Ed Vere. This book is about a monster coming to... eat you up! [Or perhaps, to give you an incredibly sloppy good night kiss!]  I thought it was super cute and Swede thought it was super funny.

I'm linking up this month with Life According to Steph and Jana Says for "Show Us Your Books!"

Life According to Steph

Friday, February 5, 2016

Gratitude and Goals - February 2016

Happy Friday! Today I'm linking up with Suzanna at One Hoolie Mama and Julie at Fab Working Mom Life for "Gratitude and Goals." This seems like the perfect combination for me since one of my 2016 Goals is to focus on gratitude!

This week I am grateful for:

 - Swede and Abel. Just the mere fact of their existence. But specifically... That Abel is smiling! And that Swede is recovering from the cold/cough/fever of the last few weeks.

 - The way Gumball cuddles up to me when I get back in bed in the middle of the night after feeding Abel.

 - Vanilla Lattes... The morning would just not be the same otherwise.

 - Living so close to my parents. Not only is my mom a) one of my best friends and b) the biggest help EVER with the kids, but it also makes me happy that my kids get to grow up knowing their grandparents so well.

 - Running! And almost equally important, the child care at the gym.

 - These delicious Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken and Swiss Sandwiches from Bev Cooks.

My goals for February:

 - To start my official half marathon training for Steamworks.

 - To focus on the task at hand. Whatever it might happen to be. Folding laundry. Playing with the kids. Making dinner. Lately I have been obsessed with my to-do list. I find myself compulsively running it through my head over and over. I am going to make a seriously effort this month to focus on ONE. THING. AT. A. TIME. It will all get done.

That's all!

Do you have plans for the Super Bowl this weekend?!? Despite living in Colorado, there are no Broncos fans in this house. Jonathan is a fan of the 49ers, and I'm a fan of the food. I'm thinking Kicked Up Spinach Dip and Buffalo Chicken Pizza.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Coffee Date #2

Happy Groundhog Day! I guess the official prediction is an early spring! We've had plenty of snow this winter already so I'd be completely fine if that's the case.

Anyway, I think it's time for another coffee date! Let me tell you...

Last weekend will not be making the highlight reel of stellar parenting moments. Just as Swede was recovering from a weeklong cold and cough, she picked up a nasty virus complete with a high fever and SERIOUS crankiness. We did not make it to the preschool dance party on Saturday or to church on Sunday. Instead... There was: Lots of crying. Lots of waking up at all hours of the night. Lots of "yummy cherry candy syrup," which Swede has finally, thankfully, started to take willingly. Lots of cuddles. LOTS of Peppa Pig. We are now in Peppa Pig withdrawal as she doesn't appreciate that we're back to the 30-minutes-a-day rule. Thankfully, she recovered from the fever quickly and didn't pass it along to the rest of the family.

One highlight from the weekend is that when Jonathan took the kids to visit his parents on Sunday afternoon, I took GB on a snowshoe hike around the neighborhood!

Before Abel was born, even while I was pregnant, I wanted another girl. I was a little jealous when I heard about friends who were expecting a second baby girl. But now that Abel is here... I can't even remember what it felt like to feel that way. How could I have not understood that a little boy [THIS little boy] was the perfect addition to our family? Also, before Abel was born, I thought that I might want three kids. Not that we were planning on three kids. But I thought that I might be sad to know that Abel was my last baby. But now that he's here... I feel like our family is complete. Maybe I'll feel differently once he's a rambunctious toddler instead of a cuddly newborn! But for now, I feel complete.

I've been really obsessed with the capsule wardrobe idea. Does anyone do this? I guess I'm currently working with a capsule wardrobe in that there are very few items in my closet that fit comfortably or that I like wearing. But I'd like all my clothes to "go" together, rather than having this piecemeal collection. And I'd like my style to be a little, I don't know... Classier? Than my current sweatpants and fleece look. Is slim black pants and cashmere cardigans a ridiculous idea for a work-at-home-mom with two kids under the age of three? And I suppose a pearl necklace is out as Abel approaches the Mr. Grabby Hands stage? [I think the answer to both questions is YES.]

I've been reading My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman, and if you'd like to read something that motivates you to run a marathon [or an ultra marathon]... This is the book! I thought I had crossed the marathon off my bucket list back in 2007, but here I am contemplating one for 2017. I also like this book because it begins with a dad and daughter running a marathon together, and my dad has been one of my running buddies for many years. We ran my first half marathon together in 2003! [Side note: It took me a solid decade to match my time from that race.] And in 2011 we were teammates in the Trans-Rockies Run - A six-day 120-mile trail race, which I attest to this day was a more difficult feat than childbirth. [I did have an epidural with Swede, but still.]

That's all for today! I hope you're having a nice Tuesday.