Sunday, August 31, 2014

Crossing the Aisle

If there's one thing I've learned as a's to expect the unexpected.  I knew going into this parenting thing that we would hit milestones.  That between learning to roll over and learning to crawl, milestones would be part of our lives from here on out.

What I didn't realize is that it wasn't just child milestones that we would be experiencing.  Turns out we parents hit our own milestones.  They may not be as easy to identify as the first time a child crawls or walks but they are there and they start early.

I've talked about them here, I didn't call them milestones but maybe realizations.  Take, for example, the time I realized motherhood isn't so bad.  My entire pregnancy with E, I struggled with the idea that I was going to be a mom.  I worried and stressed about how I would manage...then E came and at some point very quickly after that I realized you just do.  It might seem like an easy enough lesson to learn but for me, it was an awakening of sorts.

Then when we found out MiniE was coming, I worried about what life would be like with two...would E be ok with having a sibling?  How were we going to manage two?!  More worry, more fear but then she showed up and all the worry melted away, and I realized that my heart was capable of loving so much more than I thought.  There was room for more!  Another milestone.

I'm getting all deep here and I really didn't intend to but this weekend something happened and I realized that while it was a change, a milestone for E, it ended up being as much of a milestone for me.

I crossed the aisle.

"Huh?" you say.  I'm talking about clothes shopping at Target.  I went to get E some new shorts and I immediately went to the baby/toddler section only to find nothing in his size.  All too small.  So I looked around kind of lost..Now what?  Where do I go?

Then I saw it, across the aisle was an entire new part of the store, I had never really ever paid attention to...the "Kids" section.  I resisted crossing the aisle at first.  That was uncharted territory that I wasn't sure I wanted to explore yet.  But I had no choice, E needed clothes.

Slowly, I crossed the aisle and I started to tear up.  What the heck is wrong with me?!  Seriously?! Then I realized what I was feeling..was I losing my toddler?  Was he becoming a kid? Where has the time gone?

I looked around and found what I was looking for.  I looked at the sizes and there it was...XS, E's size, as if to validate the fact that, yep, I'm losing a toddler and gaining a kid.

Ready or not, it's here.  Luckily for me, I can still wonder the aisles of Carters and find clothes his size but not much longer.  Luckily for me, MiniE is still deeply rooted in the baby section or I might lose my ALL my marbles on my next shopping trip.

Either way, it just reminded me that this journey is as much about us as it is them.  Take it day by day, embrace it, savor it, and most of all, roll with the punches.

What milestones have you hit as a parent?  

 You might also like: Path to Motherhood, The Need to be Needed

Friday, August 29, 2014

Must Have Neutral Shoes for Fall

There's no hiding my obsession with shoes.  I can't tell you how much time I spend flipping through the pages of Runner's World or perusing the wall at my local running store. 

When it comes to my work shoes I've had lots of luck with Ann Taylor and if you watch, you can get them on sale.  I have gotten all mine at least half off and many I've gotten for as little as $10 for a $128 pair.  YES!  This is the pair I want next!  I won't pay full price and I'm not even real happy paying anything less than half off but none the less, I covet these shoes!
Running shoes are no better, in fact, probably worse.  I have been very lucky enough try to so many great shoes and I'm not complaining.  My closet is full of great shoes for all kinds of workouts and distances but the shoe makers have released some pretty awesome shoes this fall and I am dying to get my hands on them.  Here's the top five shoes on my WANT list.

Now remember that I haven't tried any of these.  I want to but I would say that knowing the reputation of all these companies, you probably can't go wrong with any of them.  You can see all my shoe reviews on the bottom of my Running page.  Check them out here.

What shoes are you dying to try?  Do you have an obsession like I do? What brands do you like?  What kind of shoe do you like?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

The training roller coaster continues.  In the spring it was all I could do to get out and get training.  It was a harsh winter and having an April half kept me motivated.  I finished that half a little slower than I would've liked but strong and I was proud.  (Read recap here.)

Then it was a lull and I used that time to work on my speed.  I had some pretty big breakthroughs there..I saw paces that start with 7:XX which is new to me. (Read: 5 tips to a faster 5K race)

Then it was time to train for the Chicago half back in July.  That was an amazing weekend, you can read about it here and here.  That weekend I PR'd my 5K time and finished a strong half which for me has been pretty illusive.  (Read about the race you have to run next year!)

That led right into a month long funk.  I knew it was coming.  It was bound to.  I had been training and feeling like I was in the groove all summer.  Now I feel like I'm coming out of that funk and been trying to just enjoy the run back up the training roller coaster. 

I am back on the Runner's World training plan that I bought for my April half.  It has served me well so why not use it again?!

When I'm not running, you can usually find me at the gym.  My gym time has been a funny mix of family and fitness.  I've been trying to teach MiniE her body parts so we have been singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" a LOT.  So much so that I found myself working out to it at the gym.  I know, it sounds funny but it actually does work.  Now I wouldn't advise singing it out loud, maybe just humming it or singing it to yourself but you can actually make a good workout out of it.

It's just crazy enough to help you break up your normal routine and you can make it as short or as long as you like! 

So try it and let me know what you think.

What inspires your workouts? What race are you training for?  What goals are you striving for right now?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Loving...Not Loving..

It's time for another episode of Loving...Not Loving.  So much to talk about.

Loving..down time with my kids...
Not Loving...being used as a chair every time I sit down.

Love..the wireless functionality of the Jaybird ear buds I bought
Not Loving..that the in-ear buds, even the small tips are too big for me ears.  Guess I'm just not a fan of in-ear buds.

Loving...Summer.  I'm definitely not ready for fall yet.  I'm going to soak up every last minute of summer.
Not Loving...the 100+ degree days we've had lately but an impromptu yogurt run and train spotting will make up for it!

Loving...that I found my grove again.  Running, working out, you name it, I want to do it! And that Organic Valley makes an awesome Organic Milk Protein Shake.
Not Loving...not having enough time to do everything I want.  Working and parenting means constantly making decisions and something gets left out.  Sadly, recently that's been my workout time.  I REALLY  REALLY need to get my but up in the AM.  I guess that means I need to get to bed before 11.

Loving...Mondays...It's a fresh start.
Not Loving... Mondays...means going back to work.

So it's back to the grind.  Work, play and babies...yep, that's my plan.

What does your week have in store for you?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

High Five Friday

Dear Friday,

I love you! Why do we look so forward to the weekends? I mean it's just another day right? WRONG! Friday's mean two days of no alarms, even though I should get up and run before the triple digit temps set in.  Here's a few of my favorite pics from the week.

Are we connected on Instagram? If so, you've probably seen these but if not, connect here.

1. Life has been pretty unpleasant around here lately.  St. Louis is struggling and it's weighed on me pretty heavily.  So even running I felt distracted, like it wasn't the right thing to be doing at the time but sometimes you get little signs that make you think and that's exactly what happened on this run.  It was a reminder that we need to turn a corner.  As a community we need to support and grieve but we need to figure out how to move beyond and become stronger.  I need to learn to focus on the things I can change and move ahead.  I know, it might seem sort of heavy for a run through the woods but that's what some runs are for me.

2. (Upper right) These boys crack me up.  I see E trying so hard to be like daddy and I laugh because they are more alike than either cares to admit.  They did this completely on their own, and it wasn't till I showed them the picture did they realize what they had done.

3. Oh boy! I have been wanting to get my hands on one of these for a while and there's no better time than now with the temps soaring here.  I can't wait to review and try the Camelbak Marathoner and Arc Grip but the other Arc Grip is for you!  Stay tuned.

4. Travel has been a frequent event these days.  My new job has me traveling the country, touring sites and meeting people.  It's fascinating work but it means I have to be a grown up a lot more than when I'm at home.  This week it was a quick trip to Memphis.  Next up...guess I better figure that out.

5.  We have been loving our new gym.  The babysitters love my kids so it's easy to watch them go and play while we workout.  I always pick them up before going back into the locker because they love to goof off in there, as you can see.

5 Weekend Plans:
Read more blogs.  I need to catch up on my blog reading.  Leave a link to your favorite post of the week in the comments! 

Bike. I'm about two weeks away from spending an entire weekend on my bike and I'm not exactly ready.  I might have to try cramming a couple rides in this weekend.

Cuddle. This is always on the agenda but the weekends are special times to watch movies in bed, tell stories and just be a family unit.

Reflect and Restore. I've been feeling a little lost, a little disconnected so I'm going to make a very real effort to spend sometime just flushing out all these wild emotions.

Celebrate.  I'm looking forward to attending a party for a friend's little boy's first birthday.  Anytime you get that many kids together, it's bound to be chaos, I mean fun.

So virtual high five to you! What are you planning to do this weekend?  What are you happy about from the week past?

Monday, August 18, 2014

10 Tips to Roadtripping with Kids

As wonderful as summer vacation sounds, what doesn’t always sound so nice is the prep work leading up to the trip and if you’re taking a road trip, the work seems to double. I’ve flown with two and have recently taken a road trip with two (1 year and 3 years).

I’ll admit, I was stressed about everything that had to be done before we even got in the car so I planned it out, spaced it out and it wasn’t so bad. Here are some of my tips for road tripping with kids.

Rather than just giving you a list of things to pack, here are five pointers for each type of packing.

Car Time
1. Car Essentials Food is critical to a drama free car ride. Pack nonperishable items, in bulk within arm’s reach.
2. Plan your pit stops in child friendly locations. Look for places like Chick-fil-a that has clean child play areas.
3. Leave as early as possible. The more time you can get during kids regular sleep time will serve you well. Technology is your friend.
4. Load up your iPads, portable DVD players and all. Remember, no wifi in the car.
5. Be patient and flexible.  You aren't going to get to eat perfectly or stay on your schedule perfectly.  Make this a "special" occasion and go with the flow.

Vacation Time
1. Know what you’re going into, does the place have washers/dryers, that will effect what you pack and may help with over packing.
2. Combine kids with your clothes to cut down on the number of pieces of luggage you need
3. Don’t forget the strollers, pack ’n’ plays and all the other equipment not provided by your hotel or condo.
4. Be creative about space. I put MiniE’s pack ‘n’ play in the closet because she loves her personal space. Add a nightlight and white noise and she was as happy as a jaybird.
5. Pack personal items (i.e. pillows, blankets, etc) to help kids transition in new spaces. If you can’t take pillows, take pillow cases

What are your tips for traveling with kids?

Check out my wifi friendly apps and traveling with kids.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Beat Goes On

I have been pretty honest about what's been going on in our world and the effect it's had on us.  It's added pressure.  It's sadness for the family and it's fear of the unknown.  Things have not calmed down, in fact it seems to have gotten worse with no end in sight. 

We have tried very hard to keep the kids sheltered from all of this.  They are just WAY to young to try to explain this but it's been hard.  When you can't even let your kids watch TV because the news is always cutting in to show us more looting or violence.  It's beyond troubling.

In light of all of this, the beat goes on.  We have to try to not let this rule our lives for the sake of the kids, if nothing else.

So I'll keep running, because I find solace in it. I'll keep squeezing and cuddling the best I can because my kids find comfort in it.  All the time praying that peace will find it's way to Ferguson. 

Sometimes being an adult is not fun.  This is one of those times.