Friday, May 22, 2015

Spartan Racing

Do you want to run a Spartan Race? No, I don't mean the kind of race where you run without fancy gear and have dry crackers and tap water at the aid stations.

I mean the kind of race with mud and obstacles and tons of opportunities for photos for Facebook.

Doesn't she look thrilled?

You can sign up for a Spartan race and get 40% off by using the code MEMORIAL (expires on the 27th, so don't procrastinate!)

But seriously, I know you want to go.

1999 called and wants its tattoos back bro

If you'd like to run a Spartan race for free, just leave a comment on this post and I'll select a winner on May 29th. The code will be good for any Spartan race in the continental United States, any distance!

Also, there is still time to enter to win a $100 gift card (just leave a comment on this post) so there are multiple opportunities to be a winner here. Even if you don't win, at least you'll know you tried.

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Don't mess with my sleep

I've been following a plan from a personal trainer for about a month now and I'm really mad that I didn't think to take some before pictures so I could wow you all with my progress.

All kidding aside, I do actually see a (subtle) difference in my body from following the plan. I only do the weights three times a week and I haven't changed my diet at all, so I wonder what I could do if I actually put in more effort. I don't wonder enough to actually do something about it, mostly because you can pry my lunch time can of Coke out of my cold, dead hands. I'm also not going to do anything crazy like give up bread (like some crazy people) or go paleo. Even if tempted with the promise of visible ab muscles. Really, who would I be trying to impress?

The whole internet?
If there ever comes a day that I go to work in a crop top (spoiler: nope) then I'll care about defined abs. Until then, I'll stick with being happy about being able to lift more and improve my posture (and subsequently any pain sometimes associated with long periods of sitting).

In other news, I'm pretty stoked for my long holiday weekend coming up.

I don't have any big plans, but just the thought of three days of no 5am alarm makes me happy. Sleep is amazing and it's hard to get enough of it lately. Since the weather has been warmer my jerkface neighbor (no clue which one exactly) takes their Harley Davidson motorcycle to work. At 4:30am.

I guess they are angry about leaving for work at that time because they drive that bike like it owes them money. Everyday I inch closer and closer to going full out Claire Dunphy on their ass.

Back when I was younger and more idealistic, I really thought moving into a house out of an apartment meant the end of a most neighbor noise disturbances. I was a fool.

Do you have a noisy jerkface neighbor? Are you my motorcycle owning neighbor? If you're reading this, please just fucking stop it with the bike before 6am.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Animal Within

The new standard since I went back to work seems to be to have a crazy busy weekend, but thankfully this past weekend was as low key as it gets lately. Normally, I run with friends early on Saturday morning but due to kid sports schedules, we decided to do a lunchtime run. This meant I could sleep in (I say 6:45am counts) and make pancakes. The kids are going through this phase of dramatic hunger, so they are almost laying on the floor moaning “But I’m so HUNGRY” as I’m cooking. It’s fun.

After a quick grocery shopping trip, I took Faith to her final lacrosse practice for the year. All season they’ve been focusing on skill building and drills for the girls and no games. For the last practice, they had them play a game for the first time. This is when I realized that my child has an animal within and that animal is hungry for glory.
I just want everyone to let me have the ball. Always.
Normally I would describe Faith as a quiet, reserved kid who doesn’t really stick up for herself (even the dog bullies her for her food if I have my back turned). I was really shocked when she ran right into the action during the game, got the ball and ran down the field with it and scored a goal.

For the rest of the game, I had to reason with an emotional kid about why she can’t take the ball from her teammates and how their accomplishments were actually a good thing. It was her first exposure to teamwork and by the end she seemed to get it.

She went from hating lacrosse at the beginning of the season to asking to practice every day. Luckily for her, she has a training partner at home.
It's pretty much the cutest thing ever

After standing out in the hot sun for over an hour at lacrosse practice, I did the smart thing and went home to run. It turns out that 83 degrees with no breeze is still as hot as I remember. The only reason we didn’t take longer walk breaks was the biting flies. I hate those things! They are more motivating than any Pinterest worthy poster about never giving up, so I’ll give them credit there. It took me about an hour to stop sweating when I got home.
Shoe shot so you know I really went for a run

I didn’t burn this week because I took some advice and upgraded to a better sunblock. This stuff is more expensive than the Up&Up version, but it really held up.
Kiss My Face sounds vaguely threatening

I went about nine-ish miles on my run (but with walk breaks) and I’m not feeling like the Baltimore 10 miler is going to be a display of blistering speed. It’s Ok, I’m mostly going to run it as an excuse to see this adorable face:
And the baby too I guess

Our Sunday was full of fun kid activities. First, they went to the gym with me so I could take Body Jam (priorities people, priorities). After that we went to a birthday party at Sweet Frog, which is a Christian frozen yogurt shop that has Sunday morning parties because…logic.
Is this frog Jesus?

Both kids had a fantastic time at the party and Faith got to come too since the older brother of the birthday girl is her best friend/sometimes love interest/mortal enemy from school. If that sounds confusing, don’t worry. Most of the time I’m unclear about her feelings on the matter too.
Tigers are free from the bonds of attachment

After a wonderfully quiet nap time where I got to catch up on laundry (and write this post), we painted the driveway. It was pretty exciting.
So nice and clean at the start

If anyone is wondering if the Crayola “washable” sidewalk paint is really washable, yes it is. We like to break out the big guns for it though.
It's the hose for you

The party we went this weekend did one big thing for the kids to take home (a Melissa and Doug puzzle) and it got me thinking since I’m wrapping up my preparations for Faith’s party at the end of the month.

What are some fun goody bag ideas for a five year old’s party? One big thing for each kid or a bag full of little crap like bubbles and bouncy balls?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ginger Spawn Problems and Underwood Style Yearnings

Like every year in Maryland, the winter seemed to stretch on forever and then we had blissful pleasant spring weather for about a week before it turned in sticky humid summer weather. Every day lately when I pick up my kids from school they are red faced and sweaty.

Pre-sweat cuteness

It's fascinating that my kids look so much alike, but one of them burns so easily (Faith) and the other turns brown after three minutes in the sun. Both kids are doing three weeks of a swim camp this summer and I'm thinking I'm going to need a long sleeved rash guard for Faith to keep her from frying in the sun. Both could benefit from one, but I know Cordelia will only wear it if I can find a butterfly or Frozen themed one. She knows what she likes.

I also know this bike isn't moving itself

Come on Mommy, do your Mommy work and pull me wherever I want to go

Faith is actually swimming for PE at school now that it's warm, so hopefully by the end of this summer she will be swimming without any help from a person or a floatation vest. I feel like I was swimming by five, but that could be some mental revisionist history.

Since it's getting hot here, I decided to take some length off my hair and to take it back to brown. I was tempted to go lighter for summer, but I think it's better to have a more natural look. For a while anyway.

Sensible, fun-free hair

I've been watching too much House of Cards because I actually considered going full Claire Underwood with my hair.

I'm 99% sure that wouldn't look elegant and sophisticated on me and would be total mom hair. I'm still holding onto my dream of dressing like Claire Underwood. She even looks put together when she goes out for a run!

When I work out, I stick with my usual "Hot Mess" style. It works well with my level of sweat.

What TV or movie character has a style that you admire? I really wish the House of Cards listed the clothing brands on the credits, just so I could see exactly how unattainably expensive it all is for me.

Do your kids use a rash guard for swimming? Do you recommend a short sleeve one or a long sleeve? The water temp isn't an issue, it's just for sun protection.

Monday, May 11, 2015

In retrospect, I guess I was busy?

As the kids get older, we seem to get increasingly busy with their activities on the weekend. It's actually really fun to have parties and practices to attend because then I get the fun of doing stuff with my kids and none of that planning and organizing headache that's associated with coming up with our own activities. Of course I am putting some effort into planning Faith's 5th birthday party for the end of the month, but I'm doing a low effort party (renting the movie theater on base). When we go to birthday parties at people's houses, I'm impressed with their bravery for inviting a small horde of toddlers to descend on their property. Especially mine.


Cordelia was invited to a party that was basically a toddler fantasy event. The food spread was all toddler favorites: fruit, string cheese, Pirate's Booty cheese puffs, and a giant bowl of Lucky Charms cereal. They also had multiple water tables set up in the big yard. We could spin it to say that they learned about the science of mud, which sounds better than "they made a huge freaking mess."

That mud was made for stomping

Faith has been doing a 4 year old lacrosse league and I've fallen into being a coach. I asked if I could stay on the field to help Faith understand the verbal directions (she was getting stressed about not understanding what was going on) and the next thing I knew, I was given a group of four year olds to lead. Luckily for me, no actual lacrosse skills were required.

So much sass

The saving grace for lacrosse has been that they give the girls a prize at the end of every practice. After thirty minutes, pretty much every girl is asking "How much longer?" so it's good to have a carrot at the end of that hour long practice stick.

Also this weekend I helped time a local 5K (I had felt like I hadn't accomplished anything this weekend, but typing all of this out makes me feel like maybe I did). It was a first year 5K, but it was really well organized and the event organizers were just the nicest. You never know what you're going to get when you agree to time an event for the running club, so it's a delight when you find yourself at a race run by nice little old church ladies who want to make sure there isn't anything they can do to help you. I think if we had stayed there any longer that they would have baked us cookies.

For Mother's Day, I did my traditional group run/Starbucks morning. We started doing that a few years ago and it's fun to start the holiday with friends (dare I call them #motherrunners??). I tried a Frappuccino for the first time, just to be wild. After 7 miles in 98% humidity, a milkshake was exactly what I wanted so it worked out well. I can't see ever getting one again though, too expensive! I'd rather spend money on more important things.

When I got home from the run, the kids were waiting with a card and a present. Apparently they pooled their allowance money and figured out how to order off Amazon and they got me a necklace organizer. They are very advanced.

The dog probably helped

My  husband set the bar high this weekend by making me a steak dinner on Saturday night and then hamburgers on Sunday. Clearly I'm going to need to bring my A game for Father's Day weekend! I feel like step one in my A game plan is to crowd source for ideas.

What is your favorite special occasion dinner to make for your family? (or yourself, or your dog, or your imaginary friend, no judgment here)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Up in the Gym, Just Working on my Fitness

When I stayed home taking care of my kids full time, it was relatively easy to find time to work out. Between their nap schedules and gym childcare, I never had get up early or really worry that much about finding time for a work out.

Despite the lack of documented blog history on the matter, I do have some experience at working full time and maintaining a work out regimen. I’m using the same approach today: I get up early to work out. That’s it, that’s the sum total of my “How to stay in shape while working an office job” advice.  People will tell me “Oh, I don’t like getting up early to work out. I'd rather do it later.”

The early morning is the only time I can work out and not cut into my already limited time with my husband and kids. About once a week, usually on Tuesday, I will work out in the evening so I can attend a group fitness class. I can’t see doing that more than once because I feel like an asshole parent already when I pick up my kid from one daycare, spend an hour with her, and then deposit her in the gym daycare for an hour. It’s the only way I can make a group class with Faith’s speech therapy schedule, so we make it work for that one day a week.

Here’s an example of my work outs in a typical week:

Monday: Off

I usually stay up to watch Game of Thrones on Sunday night so it works out well to schedule my rest day for Monday.

Tuesday: Body Jam (6pm)

This is just cardio and since Cordelia is waiting for me to finish up and take her home to bed, I don’t do anything else. Body Jam is a dance fitness class, it's like Zumba but with choreography that builds from song to song and it's hip-hop based instead of salsa. I know you were wondering.

Pretty much exactly this

Wednesday: Cross Training Circuit workout (5am)

My trainer has a set workout for me to follow. I do five circuits with exercises like squats, overhead presses, planks, and HIIT stuff like mountain climbers and burpees. The workout takes about 50 minutes.

Thursday: Incline Walk (5am)

I walk at 4.3mph and 7% grade. I watch a TV show as I go and usually stop at 4 miles and then stretch out my hamstrings and hips. (55 minutes total)

Friday: Cross Training Circuit (5am)

I do the same workout as Wednesday, but I change the weight and/or reps for each circuit, per my trainer’s instructions.

Saturday: Group Run. (7am-ish)

I meet up with friends and run for about 90 minutes. This is my one running day for the week and I really enjoy it, but if my friends aren't running I'm more likely to go do something else for a workout than I am to run by myself.

Sunday: Varies

Sometimes I make it to Body Jam class, sometimes I go to Body Combat instead. Other times I do my cross training circuit for the third time like I’m instructed. I’m so wild, it’s hard to know what’s going down on any given Sunday.

For my weekday morning workouts, I finish up my workout at the same time that my husband is leaving the house to go to work. In theory, I shower and get ready to go to work and then wake up the kids for school. Sometimes Cordelia gets up early (you can’t get Faith up early, that kid is not interested) so I’ve been experimenting with ways to deal with that while I’m getting work ready. I’ve tried books for her, giving her my phone, and a portable DVD player, but she still wants me to hold her instead of getting dressed for work, so I get some extra arm work that way.

As far as staying active all day, I don’t really do anything about that. My viewpoint is that I’m there to work, not follow magazine advice like “Set a timer for every 30 minutes and get up and walk around!” Besides, I’m a fan of the sitting. I heard a rumor that my office will be getting treadmill desks that people can take turns using, but I think I need to see it to be a believer.  I have this mental image of myself squinting at my computer screen as I walk on the slow treadmill in my sensible sneakers and business attire, like those women who walk outside at lunch. I don't know, I'm just not excited about working out when I'm at work.

In a year when I'm doing a post on "Easy ways to work fitness into your workday!" feel free to just email the URL to this post so we can revel in the deep pools of my hypocrisy.

How do you fit working out into your work and life schedule?

Would you use a walking desk for a couple of hours a day if it was an option?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Making the Most of Summer with Kellogg's and Avengers

At heart, I'm basically still a kid and I love the occasion to get excited about something "childish" with my kids. I'm eagerly anticipating the day when they are old enough to go to see movies with me. My husband, even though he really tries to pretend, is not a fan of comic book inspired movies and TV. Luckily for me, I get to indoctrinate my kids and at least until they hit that preteen age, they are happy to play along.

It's even easier to get my kids excited about a comic movie if it involves their favorite cereals.

This just isn't any comic movie, it's an Avengers movie.

As most people know, I'm an unabashed Whedon fan girl. If you ever want to talk about Buffy trivia or philosophical undertones of Dollhouse, you know I'm down for that. The Avengers has all the fun and action of a comic book movie, but it also has the witty dialogue that is Joss Whedon's trademark. He's pretty much the best.

Obviously, the Avengers movies are pretty exciting for me. When I was at Walmart, I picked up two boxes of Kellogg's cereal that had special Avenger's disc as a prize.

The kids were stoked about the prizes. I really appreciated that the toy was outside of the main bag of cereal so I didn't have to dig for it.

My precioussss

As much as the kids loved the toys, they were really focused on when they would get to eat some cereal.

Open this already!!

Cereal is one of my go-to foods for the kids, especially now that we're always on the move with my full time working schedule. The kids eat their breakfast in the van on the way to school or to summer camp. It's hard to get them to eat a lot for breakfast since they just woke up but they love these cereals and I don't have to persuade them to eat when this is the breakfast choice. I also use baggies of cereal for snacks because it's not too messy and it provides more vitamins and minerals than some other snack choices. Did I mention that they both really like it too?

Mommy makes a great breakfast

Touch my cereal? That's a punching

What are your favorite on the go snacks for your kids this summer? Leave a comment to enter to win $100!

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
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