Breathe, Stretch, Shake- Let it Go!!

I had to give myself a couple of days to be able to sit down and write my wrap up without just spewing off how disappointed I am in myself.

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That isn’t how I want to end this.  I can’t change what happened, but I can change the way I think about it.  So I am.  Slowly.

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Running for the strongest woman I know- my Grandma<3

I’ll start with the race itself.  To be honest, besides the perfect weather, it didn’t even begin good.  I had a searing cramp that lingered in my upper stomach from the start for the first three miles that made it hard to breathe in all the way.  I was furious and tried channel it until it finally disappeared.  I got into a little bit of a groove until mile 13 when we split from the half marathoners.  Boy that finish line looked so good.  Uh oh, don’t think that, I thought.  I could tell at that point my legs weren’t where they were supposed to be.  I smiled at Emily (who is a freaking amazing runner herself) as I went by and then really tried to focus.  I caught up to the 3:35 pacer around mile 16 and worked hard to stay there, but around mile 18 my legs would not do it anymore.  I literally watched Boston run away from me as I ran slower and slower.  Then I watched the 3:45 go by…then 3:55.  I ran/walked the entire last 8 miles, defeated.

Philly15Mile 13- telling Emily I’m dying already!

Those last eight miles were awful.  I felt like I could barely even walk.  I became so thirsty I couldn’t stop drinking which in turn caused my stomach to slosh around.  I wanted to see Brian so bad- to just fall into his arms crying.  I literally pictured that. Then I thought of Grandma and how she’s told me she wants to give up on her chemo because she’s tired and we won’t let her.  I thought how my “fight” for finishing a race is absolutely nothing in comparison to what her body is fighting.  I ran for her. And in the last few miles I just wanted my babies.  I ran as fast as I could at the moment for the entire last mile- I needed them that bad.  It was so emotional for me.

When I crossed the finish line I could not even walk- my leg cramps were ridiculous.  I sat on the curb and took in my time of 4:06:03 and cried.  Not one other part of me hurt- just my legs and my ego.

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Actually smiling- packet pick up!

Now I realize that if my biggest problem is not qualifying for Boston, things are pretty good.  In fact, 4:06 isn’t even a terrible time- if I had run that in Syracuse, I would have been happy with the PR.  Boston seemed like a crazy dream then.  But when I almost achieved it there, I guess I didn’t even consider not doing better next time.  I am always in competition with myself.

The worse part is that I know exactly what I did wrong.  I over-trained.  I kicked my ass in a half marathon race the week after a 20 mile run and my legs never recovered.  I should have never run that half because when I run a race, I put my heart into it.  I try to cross every finish line feeling absolutely spent and deliriously happy. If I am going to pay for a run, I’m going to give it my all.  That is how I finished Syracuse.  I did that in Corning- too close to race day. That is not how I finished in Philadelphia.  In the weeks of tapering, I swear I could feel my muscle tears repairing themselves little by little, but it just wasn’t enough time.

My legs were too exhausted to do what my mind and heart wanted because I didn’t train smart.

I do not take many risks- probably because I’m scared of setting myself up for disappointment.  I clearly don’t handle it well.  But how would we ever grow without facing challenges and setbacks?  I think I needed a little blow to the head (or more accurately, legs) to bring me back down to reality.  Things don’t always turn out like we want and that’s ok.

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Pretending to smile- finished!

I am going to look positively at this and learn from it.  It obviously has taught me a huge lesson in training.  It has taught me a lot about myself as a runner.  It almost seemed like for a little while I was thinking “well I didn’t qualify so I might as well discount the entire thing.”  Like running 26.2 miles is just all in a day’s work- giving myself no credit for the time and effort I did put in.  I was being way too hard on myself and I had to let it go. I will have many more opportunities to make it happen- and it will someday.

dust off

The day itself was perfect marathon conditions- cool but not cold, sunny, and dry.  In fact, the entire weekend was amazing.  We had a fantastic time in Philadelphia- it is a beautifully historic city and I am so happy I chose there to run.

The crowd was AWESOME, the course wonderful, and the fellow runners inspiring.  I was called many variations on my name (Jerma, Janice, and Joanna my favorites) which gave me some needed smiles.  And I keep laughing at the music a girl was blaring as I ran by her. I can only describe it as fairies playing the chimes.  I guess whatever pumps her up.

Anyways.  When I got home and could reflect through the pictures, I felt so much better.  I had let that one moment of sadness consume me for too long because there in the memories were happy smiles of myself and my family- the people who love me regardless of marathon times.  They just think it’s pretty cool I run and they get to reap the travel benefits.  Thank you to Brian, my babies, Hannah, and Emily/Nick for being there and just being wonderful.  And everyone who well-wished from afar.  I am so so so so so so so lucky to have the family and friends I have<3

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So here ends another chapter of my marathon adventures.  Not the way I’d hoped, but still with a smile.  I finished my third marathon on Sunday and that is an accomplishment.  Congratulations to all the 8k, half marathon, and marathon finishers in Philadelphia this year- I’m grateful to have been among such great company.

Thanks to anyone who encouraged, supported, read, and ran with me along this journey- you keep me going!

Now I can finally relax.  Rest these weary legs.  Eat until my heart’s content.  Watch a little…

Oh wait.  B & C don’t rest just because their mom ran a marathon.  They steal the medal and run away from me.

Better go chase those babies…

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Love

Until next time…

Stressing the Blessings

A friend and I were out the other day and she told me of her new task.  Every time she felt angry towards something, she was going to try to overlook it and instead find something she is thankful for.  (It is important to note that she had just had a crack in her windshield fixed.)

As we drove, she became angry with the driver in front of us.  “What are you thankful for?!”  I quickly asked.

She paused and replied, “Well.  I am thankful for this new windshield SO I CAN CLEARLY SEE HOW TERRIBLE THIS PERSON IS DRIVING!”

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It’s working well.  Honestly though, she is the best.  Another blessing in my life, actually, and an inspiration.

When I first began writing this last post before the big race, it was all about how I am so stressed out with everything coming together all at once.  But as I wrote, I realized how silly it all sounded.  Everything I was stressing about were things I brought on myself- and all of them incredibly lucky things to be stressing about.  I should be doing it all the time, but November is especially the season to count my blessings.

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1. I stressed about work.  I won’t pretend the four days I work are stressful.  I get to play with elderly people all day long.  But I also make the calendar and if any month is busy, it is December.  I’m off a lot the end of this month, so making December quickly with quality activities made me a little hyper.

Why I’m thankful for it: Not only do I have a job (and a kickass side of bacon), I have a rewarding job that I love coming to every day.  Sure there are days when I think staying home with my kids would be awesome- but if there is any job to compliment a working Mom (or any boss who works with one like mine), I have it.  I shouldn’t take that for granted.

2. I stressed about this race. The time training, planning and packing for Philadelphia, and the money spent.  It all dawned on me on Monday that I had to get my ass ready to actually GO to Philadelphia- not just run the race.  I have to pack myself and two kids- and remind my husband to try to pack more than ten minutes before we leave.

Why I’m thankful for it: I am healthy and I am able to run.  My family and I get to go on a little end of year getaway and see a new city.  Packing a bag and choosing a marathon outfit are small dice.

3. I stressed about Charlotte’s birthday.  In the midst of all of this is my December baby.  I had to take her pictures, find a pavilion, and send invitations.  I’m planning a little Charlotte’s Web party for her- 4 days before Christmas.

Why I’m thankful for it: I am celebrating one year of life of a person I created.  Seriously, how can I find something negative in that?  I don’t have to plan this party- I want to.  She deserves it.  And it’s a bonus day to see family and friends.

4. I stressed about The Holidays.  Ahh, the holidays are stressful for everyone.  We have to buy presents, go to tons of parties, find time for everyone, cook food, etc.  A weekend in Philly takes time and money away from these plans.

Why I’m thankful for them: Because I get to celebrate holidays with my huge, beautiful family.  I get to spend another Thanksgiving with my Grandma, another Christmas with my kids- my mom, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins.  I had to ground myself and remember that is what this is all about.

kid at Christmas

When Braxton was a baby (because there are also so many others buying him gifts), I had decided to subscribe to a 4 gift rule.  Something he wants, something he needs, something educational, and something special from us (usually an event or show).  And it has worked.  But now that he is older, I see how hard this is going to be to stick to.  As a parent, I’ve learned, it isn’t that we want to over-indulge our kids with gifts.  At this young age, there is literally nothing better than watching that little face light up with pure joy on Christmas morning.  They are still so innocent.  You could give me anything in the world and it would not compare to being able to give my kids that feeling.  I think I’ll always stick to this four gift rule, but maybe add in a couple of extras from Santa.  And as they grow, I will hope I will be able to instill in them being grateful for their own blessings.

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Every time you find yourself angry/stressed/unhappy about something, think about it.  Is it something you can change?  If not, can you change the way you think about it?  Negative thoughts give us nothing but headaches.  This season especially, stop stressing!  Be thankful for everything, take nothing for granted, and remember the best things in life are not things

Tomorrow morning I’m off to Philadelphia to see the sights and Sunday I will run this marathon.  I’ll see you on the other side!  If I forget to say it, I wish everyone the best holidays with your own beautiful families!!

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My two little blessings<3

Weekend Taper Instead of 20. Ohhh Boy.

It is a good thing I made the kindof-educated decision Saturday night to skip the 20 Sunday and begin my taper instead.  The way my legs felt, that wouldn’t have happened anyways.  If I feel like that marathon day, forget even finishing.

With me being sick and then wanting to fit in a half marathon, I had tweaked my training schedule so I had a 20 mile run one month before my marathon rather than the recommended three weeks.  I had originally thought I should get one more in before that.

I took the kids to the library Saturday morning after struggling through a marathon pace 5 miles.  As we were checking out, a book caught my eye called “The New Rules of Running.”  I grabbed it and off we went to the playground and a Mommy/kids date at Panera:)

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Cold but great day with my baby babies.  Then while they napped, I savored the quiet and dove into my new book.  I am not really one who follows many “rules” to running- I think running, like learning, is individual.  We all have our ways that it works best for us. But I do believe there are guidelines when training for a specific race.

The book really ground it in me that running 20 miles two weeks before my marathon was not a good idea if I wanted fresh legs for it.  After a fast 20 miles two weeks ago and a half marathon at a 7:39 pace last week, my legs desperately need some time to recover.  A long run would have killed them- the 12 slower miles I ended up doing instead nearly did.  I was struggling at a 9:20 pace by the end!  I have no idea if I made a terrible choice or not.  Only race day will tell.  Now I let the sweet taper and mending of those tired muscles begin.  I want to feel as good race day as I did my last 20 mile run.

As for the book?  I thought I’d share a few things I’ve read just by skimming:

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1. There’s no one way to run.  The highlight of this is that they can see a pattern in a child as early as two years old!  The type of runner we are is largely based on nature over nurture and every runner is different.  Hey Mom, how did I run when I was two??

2. Speed is strength in disguise.  This one I have a hard time with- it talks about running your long runs slower to get you a faster time.  I obviously ran my 20 mile close to how fast I want to run the marathon, but I wasn’t pushing myself and I felt comfortable the entire run.  It is just one rule I can’t wrap my head around, even if I should.  I run slower recovery runs during the week.

3. You must learn to endure.  Simple- you need endurance to run.  One example of this for me is in high school.  I remember running an 8 minute mile in gym class (I was not a runner at all, but I wanted to get it over with).  I’d finish so hard I’d taste blood in my throat- I remember that vividly.  So when Bri and I began running together Junior year, I thought I had to go that fast.  As a result, we’d only get a mile before we were done.  I had to learn to slow down if I wanted more miles- to increase time on my feet.  That is how we begin to run longer distances.  But you can over-endure, too.  Sometimes we become so obsessed with the amount of miles we’re running rather than the quality runs themselves.  Especially with trying to hit a faster goal, the type of runs I do are more important.  My training plan rarely had me go over 40 miles a week!  And I’m great with that.

4. Hydrating and eating properly to stimulate recovery.  Pretty self-explanatory.  Hydrate big time, especially as a runner.  Replace electrolytes.  And eat real food.

5. Rest is essential for recovery and performance.  You need rest to heal and repair your body.  Over-training leads to injuries, which is why I decided to eliminate another long run and let my body recover.

The book then goes into detail on injuries, hydration, training plans, and strategies.  It even has training plans based on 10 day weeks rather than seven.  Very interesting read for the runner.  I tried to read it to the kids, but they didn’t care.

One rule I follow myself is not wearing a watch in races.  I have decided again against wearing my Garmin for my marathon.  I wear it only for tempo runs and for my long runs at home because I need to know when I’ve hit my mileage.  But at the race, they’ve done that for me.  I want to run how I feel.  Wearing a watch may help some, but for me it is a pain.  If I’m not feeling an 8:12 pace in Philly, I don’t want to know it while I run.  A great article from Runner’s World about the Timeless Challenge:

http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/run-your-fastest-race-with-the-timeless-challenge

no garmin

I read Kara Goucher’s (I just love her) blog after her NYC marathon.  She wrote about the super windy conditions and how she really struggled to finish.  The first five miles she didn’t even know her pace because the mile markers had been blown away.  Even she doesn’t wear a watch.  And she runs a 5 minute pace.  Infreakingcredible.

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Anyways- there are my ramblings about these rules of running amidst my own personal style of running.  There is no one perfect formula and I changed mine.  I’m hoping that won’t come back to bite me on race day, but what’s done is done.  Running a distance race is about having the fitness level to finish it. I have worked hard and my body is there.  Now it’s all up to my mind. 

Bring on the taper!! 

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20 Miles of Smiles:)

I did it!  I ran my 20 yesterday!  Hooray Hooray!  Bri took the kids to his parents’ for the morning while I took to the roads.  The highlight of the entire run came around mile six.  I arrived at the canal portion of my loop and behold to my little eyes- there was the heron!  The allusive canal heron I always wish to come across, but ever so rarely do!  I have seen that heron maybe three times in all the time I’ve run the canal, so it has come to be a good luck charm of sorts.  It was RIGHT THERE in front of me and it caught my breath.  He let me take a picture and I talked to stared at it until it flew away from me- probably because he was like why the hell is this person talking to staring at me?  It is such a beautiful and mysterious creature and it made my morning<3

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Well hello there!!

Aside from my legs being a little sore, I felt great during and afterward.  I can tell the difference from last time when my body was clearly trying to fight off the sick germs PLUS recover from that run- it was too much. I only checked my pace on mile splits and I didn’t freak out about time.  It was the perfect windy fall day and I finished quick- hopefully the same conditions come to Philly with me.  Perhaps bring me that 3:35 or less time I’m hoping for??

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Must save this for proof that I am capable…

But if there is anything I’ve learned from working with the elderly, it is old proverbs.  And if there is any proverb I know well, it is, “Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch.”  And I won’t.  I have been well-trained before and it didn’t pan out for me.  But I’m a different runner now- I have two amazing little reasons to run.  I want to be optimistic and if the conditions are right and the stars align- it is absolutely a possibility for me to qualify for Boston.  I am ready to get this overwith!!

The rest of my Sunday was spent vegging with the fam. I looked like this most of the day:

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Because I always pretend to sleep and take selfies<3

This weekend was also for Trick-Or-Treating with my beans!  We brought them to Lollypop Farm on Saturday for Tails and Treats!  What a beautiful day it was for a good cause:) 

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Brax the Racecar Driver Cat

Speaking of beans, time for our weekend recipe!!  We brought home escarole in our share this week, so Brian made us some delicious beans and greens soup on Sunday- perfect for a cold day. Being the gourmet chef that he is, he whipped his up from memory, but I’ll post a recipe that is similar to what he did. He added sausage to his portion- you know, to make it more manly. And we used veggie broth instead of chicken. Delicious!!  Happy Monday!

Escarole and Bean Soup
Escarole and Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound escarole, chopped
  • Salt
  • 4 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (1-ounce) piece Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the escarole and saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Add the chicken broth, beans, and Parmesan Cheese. Cover and simmer until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/escarole-and-bean-soup-recipe.html

The Nursing Runner

I must begin this one with the fact that I do not ever ever ever judge about the way anyone chooses to feed their babies- or anything else for that matter. I despise the wars about parenting.  Unless it directly affects my children and my life, I think every parent out there is doing an awesome job whether you breastfeed your kids until they’re 78 or you never do.  The way we raise our babies is our choice. 

Braxton would absolutely choose a Happy Meal over kale, I struggle finding time for everything and lose my cool A LOT, and despite running miles and miles, I have a Mommy pouch that is frustrating (but yes, worth it).  Please know when I write about the ‘good’ things, there is a lot I don’t write about too- because that’s not what this blog is about.  It’s about a healthy lifestyle and encouragement and motivation and giggles.  I don’t think I am superior in the way I do things by any means- I just do what works best for us. I know for a fact that if we all love our children so much our hearts hurt… we are all the best mom out there.

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Anyways! One of the questions I have been asked about is breastfeeding and running. Just like with pregnancy, breastfeeding does NOT have to keep you from exercising regularly. Children are the motivators!  Feeding my babies off the tap, so to speak, does affect my running.  My workouts are planned around it, actually- so it makes it pretty relevant to this marathon training craziness.

When Charlotte was 4 months old my friends ran the Seneca 7 relay.  Even though I am much more confident in breastfeeding this time around, I declined because I didn’t want to pump in the van.  It seemed inconvenient and stressful.  Come to find out, there was an entire TEAM of moms there doing just that.  For a minute, I felt inferior to them, but then I remembered- this is not a competition.  I chose to do what I was comfortable with. I will happily join our team next year- pump snuggly tucked away at home.  But man, hats off to the mamas who do that!!

Running in between feedings is tough in the beginning when the baby’s wants are all over the place, but it does get much easier with time.  This works out when you are running much less (or not at all) after giving birth anyways!  I’m pretty sure I have become a faster runner because I often sprint my runs to get home to that hungry baby.

mother runner, run quote, mom runner, inspiration, running motivation by oursoleintent - art collection for sale #oursoleintent #livelovemove

There are three main questions I had when it came to nursing and running- or exercising in general.

1. Does it hurt?  In the beginning, you bet.  When the milk comes in you definitely want to pump/feed before even moving and wear a crazy tight bra or three.  I don’t run long distances in the beginning to avoid the pain (among other reasons).  When things get regulated, it is much better.  Now, if I know I have a long run, I nurse her or I get up extra early to pump first.  This leaves the baby with food and me with a comfortable run in no crazy rush to get home.  When I finish a race or walk through that door, the first thing I do is feed that baby and all is well in the world.

2. Does it affect your supply?  This is tricky and I only speak from experience.  I didn’t think so, because Braxton was toward the end of nursing when I trained for Syracuse.  But Char isn’t near weaning quite yet.  When I began to increase my miles this time, my weight came off pretty quickly.  With that, I saw some decline in my milk supply.  Weight slightly matters to me only because it does affect my speed: faster = (maybe) qualifying time.  But feeding my daughter is 100 million times more important.  I have been making sure I am eating a lot of good for me food and drinking a TON of water.  My weight since has remained steady and my supply has gone back to normal.  So my advice is ease into your workouts slowly, eat a lot, and drink drink drink (water, of course;))!

5 Protein Facts for Breastfeeding Runners

3. Does it affect the taste?  I haven’t tried it:)  But there are tales that the lactic acid buildup from a workout can affect the taste of the milk.  Again, I can only speak for my own two kids, but I have never had an issue with this.  They both were fine nursing 2 seconds after I ran or anytime thereafter…maybe they were just so used to it they didn’t care, but I don’t really think it affects it to the point of refusal.

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How was this two years ago already??

As always, remember you are not being selfish because you are taking time for yourself to work out.  You are being a Mom who wants to set a good example for her children while making yourself happy and healthy.  This is true if you breastfeed or not.  There is no better time than right now to get out there and make some time for you!  Even if you only find 15 minutes in a day or if you do something for your kids to join you in.  Braxton honestly enjoys doing Jillian videos with me (for about 15 minutes, then I lose him) or coming for a run.  Don’t let anything stand in your way to a healthier life…

Not even pumpkins…

Before turning your pumpkin into a jack-o'-lantern, carve some muscles using it as a weight. Skip the dumbbells and use your pumpkin for a work out!

Another good family workout?!  Rake up those leaves and let your kids go nuts in them!!  Happy Autumn Weekend Sweeties!!! 

And happy ten months to my little cabbage patch doll on Saturday! 

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My First 30 Years

I spent yesterday celebrating turning 30 years old.  I got super lucky and it fell on our Wednesday.  We spent the morning hiking, had lunch with Grandma, and had the evening home together.  Braxton make my day with his gift to me- a steaming bowl of lemon pear soup.  I can’t think of a better way I could have spent the day.

I fit in a 6 mile tempo run, and during it (because I am clearly a deep thinker), I reflected on the first 30 years of my life.  I don’t know why, but a pie chart analogy came to my mind.  I thought about all I have gone through, accomplished, and didn’t quite accomplish.  I thought about life in general- after college.  Because until that point, things were pretty much catapulted into action for me.  I didn’t have to do much but ride the bus to school, then drive myself to Oswego and do well on tests.

After that, I thought I would go to grad school to become a dietitian.  It was the clear next step.  But when I got there, I got lost.  I had no clue what I wanted- it wasn’t school anymore.  So I stopped after two semesters.  What next?  I came home and did a lot of drinking and searching.

I spent my twenties learning about myself.  I don’t think the following is true exactly this way for everyone, but I think it happens across the board in some way or another.  We definitely gain perspective the older we get.

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As I mentioned, I like to picture life as a pie chart.  It begins full of ourselves or our own bubble.  We might lack the capacity to think of anything else.  That’s where I was.  My pie chart was all about Jeannine for a while- and because I didn’t want to think about anything but that, I drank a lot to avoid it all.  I did not want to feel anything.  I was lost in my job life, my love life, and I wasn’t nice to friends and family.  I made terrible decisions.  I can’t say I regret this time of life- I honestly think I needed it to get to where I am now and to grow (I would never had applied for an escape job in whattheheckisactivities?!).  But it had to end.  I do regret hurting people so close to me as I went through it.


Me.

As I progressed in my twenties, I really found my passion in running.  I drank less and I tried to find what it was that would make me happy.  For me, it slowly became clear that it was Brian and starting a family.  I still can’t believe how lucky I am that he waited for me to go through this mess of a time.  Maybe it is gag-induced, but that guy is the love of my life.  He loved me when he definitely didn’t have to- when I didn’t deserve it.  He is one of a kind.

As we grow into ourselves, we can see better outside of ourselves. Our pie chart begins to fill in with things.  I don’t believe we can fill ourselves up with anything until we have a clear(er) understanding of who we are and what we want out of life.

I’ve learned that this pie chart is not a cookie cutter and it fills up at different paces for everyone- some of my friends knew far before I did what they were all about.  What makes up my pieces are not what makes up everyones’.  Having a group of super close friends and family has taught me this.  While my “Mother” piece may be huge for me, it might be smaller in somebody  to make room for a career- or it might not be there.  We all put our energy into different things, and that is ok.  Pieces will change along the path of life.

When we make our activities calendars at work, we always incorporate all the broader dimensions of wellness on our calendar for this reason- everyone has different needs.

These are the biggest specific slices of pie that make up me as of now:

Creative: To scratch my creative itch (this term grosses me out, but it describes it so well), I write.  I always have.  I think everyone in my family has an aluminum foil frame from me enclosing a poem I wrote just for them when I was little.  This is also why I take an extreme amount of pictures and caption them with funny/thoughtful things.  If it brightens even one day, it served its purpose.

Spiritual: I am still in a learning stage here, but going to church and introducing my kids to church has reminded me its impact on me as a child.  Having this belief makes me comforted knowing there is something to live for, comforted that when people I love pass away, they are not gone.

Running/Health: Obviously, I run.  That and healthy eating are my passions.  Being a dietitian wasn’t in the cards as of now, but you never know what the future brings.  This piece of myself keeps me healthy in both my mind and my body, which is so important now more than ever.  I want to be healthy for myself and for my children. Being outdoors in general is the best thing I can do every day.  My honest hope is that with this piece of myself, I can be some sort of inspiration to someone, especially my babies.

Social: The relationship with my friends is very important to me- and as I’ve grown, their families are as important as my own.  We are all going to be close to each other at different times.  Obviously I will form bonds with the ones who decide to become moms, and others will form bonds for other reasons.  It doesn’t mean we aren’t friends- the dynamics change, sure.  And maybe some fall off the radar because that is life and it is imperfect.  It will all fall into place.  In learning myself, I have learned I am somewhat an introvert- which has thus helped me immensely understand myself in my friendships.

Family: The family I had before my children- my mom, my sister, my grandma, etc.  These relationships are a huge part of my life that I never knew would be back in my early twenties.  I am learning that when I get older, so do they.  Never take for granted these relationships and cherish every moment.  Because you never know.

Motherhood: A huge incredibly vital piece for me.  My children have brought a joy to my life I can’t have ever imagined.  I honestly feel like they are what I was meant to do with my life.  Ash asked me a long time ago when I was lost, “What do you want to DO?”  I told her…I want to be a mom.  It fulfills me in a way a career could not.

Love: This is separate from family because Brian is the reason for so many of the things I have in my life.  He makes me a better version of myself.  He doesn’t mention how he doesn’t see the dust on the furniture when I’m dusting for the 35,345 time and he sends me out running when he sees me getting edgy.  He just gets me, probably more than anyone.

This is not to say my job or many other things don’t have a place in my life- their pieces are just smaller right now.  I love what I do as a career and I am happy going there every day.  For someone else, a career is huge.  And that’s awesome.  If we were all the same, how boring would our world be?

If you can't figure out your purpose, figure out your passion.  For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.

I have learned that we make our own destiny- we are in control of our happiness.  What you fill your chart with is the best choice, as long as it makes you happy.  There is no wrong way.  We put the time for who/what matters most to us.  We may have little voices to guide us- be it God, our heart, our head, anything- but ultimately, it’s up to us to listen and make it happen.

what lights your fire? #inspiration #quote #inspire    http://www.allielefevere.com

Now, I don’t believe I have it all figured out by any means.  All of the above isn’t groundbreaking thoughts- I’m certainly not an expert on anyone’s life.  I still have so much to learn and a lot more to go through.  I have to expand some of my pieces and add some more to grow as a person.  When I have more time in my life, I really want to be more a part of my community- to give back.  I want to be a little more spontaneous and not so rigid.  I hope to become smarter financially.  It’s always a work in progress.

Who knows if we ever have it all figured out?  Maybe we don’t and maybe that is a good thing.  Because then what would we have to strive for?

I spent my early twenties partying and racking up debt on things.  I always wanted more stuff- more clothes, more this, more that.  I took everything in my life for granted.  I spent my late twenties realizing that would never really make me happy- they were quick fixes.  I learned to appreciate everything and everyone I am lucky enough to have in my life.  To spend time with the people who matter to me and doing the things that light me up, not dull me.

I feel glad that I am finally aware of myself.  I truly live as the person I say I am.  I never could have said that before.  I was always worried about what people thought of me- or I didn’t think about much at all.

Think about your own pie chart.  Maybe even draw it.  Be honest and see what you want to add to it, where you want to see the pieces bigger or smaller.  Or maybe just eat an apple pie- whatever you want to do.  It’s your life!  And that is beautiful!

The other day at work, we were talking about my birthday:

Co-Worker1: So are you going to have a dirty thirty?! 
Co-Worker2: She won’t have a party, she will go hiking.

It made me laugh because that was my plan exactly.  Maybe I’m predictable, but I’m really ok with that.  Maybe I’ll make up for it and have a dirty 80.  You never do know.

Not only do I love this.. but I think I might have finally figured out what I want my tattoo to say!

Soo there is my nice little tangent about the last decade of my life and I hope it makes sense- pie analogy and all.

I can’t wait to see how my own little chart will change in the next 10 years.  But for now, I’m one satisfied 30-year-old lady!!

30

every year, Have mercy on my next 30 years!

Meal Planning and the (not) Picky Preschooler

Lying Fibbing to Braxton is not one of my favorite things, but sometimes, it has to be done.  Tuesday night I took both babies out for a sunset run with me.  Brax wanted me to take the trail to the playground, as we have done countless times.  But it was too late for such things this time around, so I told him it was way too muddy.  Well, Karma then got back at me because for the ENTIRE rest of the run I heard…”Mommy, we can’t take the trail ’cause we’d get stuck in the muck and have to call a tow truck?!”  Yes, Braxton.  Yes, we’d have to call a tow truck to pull this bus a stroller out of the muck.

When the little white lie comes back to bite you.

There was a happy ending, though!  At the end of the run, I asked Brax if he wanted to join me- he is getting big for a stroller, but I will take him running as long as he’ll come with me.  We ran the rest of the way home together.  Highlight of my week:)  They are literally the best running buddies.

running buds

Anyways!  Onto my tips on meal planning.  Nutrition is super important to me, and I want to instill that in my kids.  I’m definitely neither an expert nor a cook, but I’ve implemented a method that really works.  Before, I only had to make Braxton’s baby food on a Sunday for the week and I’d eat whatever was quick for Bri and I.  As he’s grown, I’ve begun to make meals for the family plus Charlotte’s food.  I now have homemade healthy meals happen most days of the week.  Here’s how:

1. I plan next week’s meals every Friday.  This takes maybe 15 minutes and I include my boys in the planning.  What do you guys want to have for dinners next week?  Friday works because I have gotten my CSA pickup and plan meals around that, and I get whatever else I can at the farm market on Saturday.  Sunday we get the remainder at Wegs.

2. I plan easy meals.  I don’t have time to prepare meals on a Sunday and freeze them for the week, so I find quick meals to cook when I get out of work.  I have tried in the past to do complicated meals on a weeknight, but that only leads to frustration on my part.  I want to spend nice evenings outside with the kids, so dinner needs to be as quick and balanced as possible.  Once a week, I might put something on a little more complex and commit to making it.  I try one new recipe each week, and pull in others I already know for a variety.  I make Charlotte’s food right along with our dinners.  When we have beets, so does she.  It is so easy to do, and one beet can make three batches of baby food!  I share some of my vegetarian meals on here, but obviously cater your meals to your family’s desires.

Sad but true.

3. I make the grocery list for only things I’ll need for these meals, lunches, breakfasts, and a few snacks.  I do not stray from this list.  This saves time and money- I never find myself scrambling to the store on any weeknight or food going to waste.  Brax definitely gets antsy at the grocery store (and has had tantrums due to this for sure), but he does not have tantrums over not getting something.  This is because he knows, if it’s not on the list, we don’t get it.  Very randomly, if he’s being very good, I’ll surprise him and say, “Oh look at this, I see stickers on the list!!  Let’s go pick some out!”  It also helps that Wegmans offers the kids an apple or a cookie, so he feels validated just by that.

4.  Cook once, eat twice.  One night a week, usually Fridays, will be either a treat out to eat, or leftover night.  Because I have made healthy meals all week, I let Brax choose what he wants of the leftovers and he feels like he made the choice of what to eat.

Thanks to @Leite's Culinaria for the image - Take it or leave it!

I would not call Braxton a picky eater- he eats when he’s hungry and just plain won’t eat when he’s not.  I let him be involved in preparing the food with me and I never EVER offer him a substitute meal if he doesn’t eat.  He will not starve by missing one meal, if that’s what he chooses.  He always needs to at least try everything on his plate.  There is no calling it “yucky” before it is tried.  The other night we made beets, and he tried to pull the “yucky” thing.  I calmly asked him to just try them.  When he did, he said, “These are YUMMY!”  But this will happen again when we have beets.  It takes time and patience, that’s for sure.  I heard a statistic that it takes kids many MANY times of trying something to form an actual dislike for it.  If they “don’t like” something cooked one way, try it another.

Fstoppers Talking Food Gary W Martin 8 Pop Culture Food Pun Photos You Never Knew Eggsisted

Dinner time is always frustrating to me because I am not the kind of person who sits and eats for hours- I may be healthy, but I eat fast and that’s that. Ask anyone who’s eaten a meal with me. Brax also has a really hard time staying at the dinner table (which I’m working on by setting a timer at dinner and adding a few minutes each night.). He’s got a long way to go in that department. I need the timer too, so I in turn can show my kids how to slow down. Children learn by what they see. If I serve him beets, I should be eating beets too. If I leave the dinner table early, how will that teach him to stay? It is amazing how much we learn about ourselves when we have children.

I am certainly not saying going out to eat, fast food, take out, frozen pizzas, etc. aren’t fun (if not necessary sometimes), but these tips help make things a little easier.  Meal planning has worked wonders for our family.

Well in a little nutshell, there are some of my tips on how to make dinners at home more efficient and still healthy.  With practice, it all becomes very easy to do, and hopefully with time, we can all find dinnertime with preschoolers a little bit easier.  Now it’s Friday-you know what I have to go do!

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps - These simple wraps comes together in less than 30 min, and it's incredibly hearty, healthy and filling!