Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mid-Saturday Randoms! 5pm is still "mid", right?

I feel all I ever have time for are random life posts, lately; to be truthful, that's actually pretty reflective of my days and weeks these days: random, all over the place, high paced, and full of love. I only have 36 days left of school (at the time of me starting this post) and then I'll have much more time for blogging...and laundry...and returning emails. Or...maybe I won't. Ha!

We've pretty much been living and breathing tee ball, which is so much fun! Hubby also started mountain biking once a week and with my running, his riding, Connor's teeball, both of our work schedules, and all our normal to-do's - I feel like we might explode if one more thing is added. I am so ridiculously happy that Mr. Howard is biking again, though; he so needs it. After teeball ends, we'll start swim lessons again!

We took Reese to get her shots and holy moly, folks. She is already 25 pounds. How on earth did our tiny puppy turn into such a big girl. Eeeek. 
Aiden has been obsessed with swimtrunks and we've had a few days where it's been too cold to wear anything but pants. WELL...Sneaky McSneakerson figured out he could wear them UNDER his pants and no one would know. He was so proud of himself and his ingenious idea!
The boys took my Dad (for his birthday present!) to a Dodger v Giants game and it was Connor's first one. He was pretty darn excited in his LA hat and Dodger's jersey. The highlight of the evening, for Connor, was the cotton candy bag as big as his torso!
Connor had his first at-home school project and he was beyond excited about it. Maybe because I'm a teacher (or maybe because I'm just crazy!) I was very careful about following the rubric explicitly. I searched high and low for information about whether or not we could paint the project and it didn't say (it also didn't list glue as an acceptable item, but then referenced something about a hot glue gun), so we went ahead and painted it. And then, like the type A crazy person that I am, I sat and stressed about whether or not he'd be the ONLY one who painted his project. Eeeeek. Clearly, I'm ridiculous. In other news, though, he was so proud of his work!
We went to a Gender Reveal party last weekend, for friends, and snapped this on our way. I love Connor's little head sticking up over the present!
 And in my most sad news of the week, I injured myself. On my 10 mile run Sunday, I did something to it and it wasn't feeling great. By the next day, it was sore but not painful and so I rested a few days. Then I decided, like a genius, to run at our school's jog-a-thon and did 2.2 miles - which was BEYOND the wrong decision. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. That day and the next, I couldn't even walk. It was excruciating. Unfortunately I have a half marathon in a few days and I'm not sure that's going to happen. I'm so bummed. BUT it is my first injury ever, so I have been REALLY lucky.
After injuring myself, I took a bunch of middle schoolers on a walking field trip around Sacramento State University. Honestly, despite the fact that my knee was hurting so badly that I seriously contemplated finding crutches to hobble around on, I am SOO glad we went. It was probably the best field trip I've taken my kids on and it was purely because they had never been on a college campus! All this talking I do about setting goals and going to college and I had no idea they didn't even know what a college campus looks like. One kid said, "I thought it was just a bunch of buildings. This place is cool. I want to go to college!" What an a-ha moment for me. I am definitely going to make sure we do a college tour once a year!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Midweek Randoms - End of Spring Break

When we left off on my last Midweek Randoms post, I mentioned that we had planned something for every single day of Spring Break. I explained what we did up until Wednesday, but here was the rest of our fun!

Thursday we took the kids to the toddler open bounce time at Bounce U. The kids were so excited. I basically spent my time taking kids to the bathroom one at a time. I'm ready for this "touring the potty" phase to be over!
 Air ball fun:
Friday I took the kids to my mom's house and we made Easter cookies using the Easter cookie cutters that the kids got from their Grandma in their Easter packages. I can assure you that my mom and I don't have futures as cookie decorators! No, but seriously.
 We may not have cookie decorator futures, but boy did we all have fun!
Saturday, I blogged about in THIS post. We celebrated Easter with my parents and sister and then went to church in the evening. 
Sunday I blogged about in THIS post. We celebrated Easter with my little family of five. 
I made it a goal to read the next three Travis McGee novels over Spring Break, but only finished two. The first one I already mentioned in my last midweek randoms post and then I also read A Deadly Shade of Gold. This one started out my favorite (it started with a murder! How much more exciting can you get than that?) and ended as one of my least favorite books. I liked the writing and the story telling; I just felt like it was a horribly sad take on life. I know that's just how they're going to go - some happy endings...some sad ones. But I sorta wanted a bit of a break before I read the sixth book.

I'm about half way done with the second Outlander book, Dragonfly in Amber, so I'm going to finish that one before I continue on the McGee series.

I got very sick over break and my throat has never hurt that badly. Hubby asked me, on his way home from work, if he could pick me up medicine...or chocolate...or a movie. I told him to bring wine. Lots of wine. Then I crawled into the tub and tried to pretend like I wasn't going to die. Not that I'm dramatic or anything.
 Another ridiculously fun thing we did was tried those cinnamon roll waffles I've seen all over pinterest. They were just as amazing as they look! It really is the only way to take the already unhealthy waffle and make it even more unhealthy. At least we served it with turkey bacon. Ha!
Minus the cold I got, it was the perfect way to spend a holiday with my family!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter Love

If you look at our Easter Baskets from every year, you'll notice something! We reuse the same stuffed animals year after year. So all the stuff from the Connor basket over to the right is all used year after year. The kids love playing with all the bunnies for the day and then get bored of them; we then put them away and store them until the next year! So it's all a win win. Besides the chocolate that my husband got the kids (grrrrrr! Seriously? A huge cadbury egg for each child?!?), we went completely practical this year in their baskets. Socks, underwear, boxer briefs, toothbrushes, and a hat for Aiden (he's the only one who doesn't have a baseball cap to wear). I know that doesn't sound very exciting, but I swear they gasped at each item. They're very into underwear and boxers right now. Hahah! It's a very simple world they live in. 
The best way to get your kids to pose for an Easter morning jammie photo, is to do it RIGHT before they're allowed to go do their Easter Egg hunt. "If you want to go out and get your eggs, smile at Mommy's camera!" Haha. Bribery at its finest. I didn't see Isabella's face until I uploaded it on the computer, little stinker. But I love that it captures the phase she is in.
I was worried that the kids wouldn't have as much fun on the egg hunt at our house, after the two BIG hunts they had gone on the previous week. But they had just as much fun. I think the fact that it was at our house and there weren't any other kids there - made it even more fun for them!
All in all, it was such a wonderful Easter season.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Pre Easter Love

My mother-in-law is always so sweet and sends over a box of goodies for the kids at Easter. This year she sent them Easter jammies, Easter shirts, an Easter dress for Izzy, and some other fun candies and toys. So we actually started our Easter celebration on the Friday of Spring Break by opening the box. Unfortunately, hubby had to work super late that night and so I got the kids all dressed in their jammies, gave them popcornopolis popcorn, and we sat on the couch and watched Hercules.

She sells these and other things in her shop HERE
Our first official Easter adventure was the Easter Egg hunt at my parents' gated community. 
 They had the most adorable petting zoo. The surprise of the day was Aiden. He LOVED the baby chicks and he was so sweet with them. He even was helping the other younger kids get the chicks out of their little home safely. So sweet.
At the hunt, they had a train, which the kids loved, and over 2,000 eggs. This year they even had adult prizes and Connor got me an egg that had a gift certificate for a spa facial and five yoga classes. Hello awesome!
Here was a photo of my mom and sister before lunch!

My mom made the kids Easter baskets and they were thrilled!
We celebrated Easter lunch on Saturday with my parents. This was the only photo I snapped, but there were a lot more than just my kids and dad there. Ha! My sister, Andy, mom, dad, hubby, and me were all there enjoying ham, rolls, mashed potatoes, and the most delicious baked beans.
Later that night we went to church for Easter service, so that on Sunday we could stay in our jammies and just enjoy each other's company at home together. 
My mom gave the kids a bath in their master bath and the kids about died over the television in the room. I'm fairly certain they're going to be asking me to put one in our bathroom!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

It Feels Pretty Darn Good

In mid-March I ran in my FOURTH half marathon. That feels pretty damn good to be able to say. I know many of you are long-time readers, but I have a lot of people who find me via Pinterest and don't know me - so let me share a couple things about me. (1) I am not an expert; I'm just a woman who wanted to be healthy, in order to be a positive role model for my family.  (2) I had never run until I was 30-years-old and could only run for one minute intervals when I started. (3) I am a working Mama to three littles, and wanted to make a change and be healthy, but didn't want to sacrifice time with my family. I wanted to find balance.

If you haven't run and you're feeling like you want to get healthy and want to make some changes in your life - but have no idea where to start or how to do it, let me help you. I have been there. Believe me when I say that anyone can do a half marathon, if they want to.


Tip 1. Decide what you can run and stick with it. If you can run for 1 minute, do a 1 minute interval run with a 1 minute walk. If you can run for 30 seconds, start there. Just start somewhere. For me, I did my first half marathon at a 1:1 run:walk ratio. That was all I could commit to. I had never run in my entire life (I was an athlete and a dancer, but I had never run farther than the length of a volleyball court...or the once a year mile I did in middle and high school). I didn't start out wanting to be a runner, either. I just knew I wanted to get healthy for my family. So, download a timer app for your phone (or invest in a watch, if you're thinking you're going to stick with this running thing) and get started. HERE is the timer I started with and HERE is the Garmin watch I now have.

Tip 2. Make a plan for fueling and hydrating. I really believe that it's so much easier to start good habits than it is to correct bad ones. I can't tell you how many people I see who don't run with water...or don't fuel while they run...or don't know about electrolytes and salt levels. I don't want to knock anybody or anyone, because we're all trying our best. But I believe that when you know better, you do better. And experts agree: your recovery will be better if you take care of your body before, during, and after you run. Can you go out there and not fuel on a 13 mile run? Sure. But, like a well oiled machine, is your body going to be at its optimal performance? No. I can tell you the difference between runs I'm hydrated and ones I'm not. The recovery is 100% easier when you take care of yourself. Below I've listed my plan and the products I use, but you will need to experiment and see what works for you. You may find sports beans make your stomach upset and that gummy bears or pieces of pbj sandwiches work better. There are lots and lots of options. Just do a bit of research if you find something you don't like.

(1) I cannot do electrolyte drinks. I wish I could, but they make my stomach hurt. So instead, I use salt stick caps. I follow the directions on the container. 
(2) I eat two pieces of toast with a tiny bit of peanut butter for anything over than 10 miles and half marathons. I eat 1 piece of toast plain for anything under 7 miles and two pieces of plain toast for anything between 7 and 10 miles. 
(3) My hydration plan is to drink 4 ounces, every 15 minutes. Since I run for over 2.5 hours in a half marathon, that means I need to consume about 40 ounces of water WHILE I'm running. I adjust this if it's hot out.  
(4) I fuel with sport beans. I eat a handful of beans every 2 or so miles on LONG runs, which means I usually eat a couple packages of them during a half marathon. I usually don't fuel for runs that are less than 7 miles, because my breakfast carries me through. But then, I always eat something afterwards, as soon as possible. 

Tip 3. Try out your hydration and fueling plan early on. Don't try sport beans on your very first 12 mile run, because it may make you sick and it'll be too late to fix it. Try it on a 3 mile run (even though you don't need it)...or better yet, first try it on a day when you're home, to see how it makes you feel. 

Tip 4. Buy a few running supplies. I know when I first started running, I didn't buy actual running stuff. I just went out there and walked and ran. If you want to do a half, there are some things you really should have. However, if you want to go out and do shorter distances, you should be fine without some of these.

1. You need something to carry water in. For my first three half marathons I used a hydration belt. Lots of people use those handheld bottles, that have a strap for your hand. Use what feels comfortable for you! Since I knew I'd be training for a full marathon later in 2015, I decided to ask for a hydration vest (that holds more water) for Christmas. So I've been using this ever since. I love my Nathan Intensity 2L Hydration Vest. 
2. I really suggest getting body glide. You can use it on anything that rubs (even under your socks!)
3a. or 3b. If you're going to run with intervals, you need something to help you with those. When I first started running, I used an arm band to hold my iphone and used a timer app. And then, after I knew I was going to be running for a while, I invested in a Garmin watch. I am getting ready to upgrade to a better Garmin watch, now that I know I'm going to be doing a full marathon, but the Garmin 10 has served me VERY, VERY well for the last year. 
4. SHOES, SHOES, SHOES!!! Invest in good shoes. I highly suggest going to a shoe store that will fit you and watch your stride, etc. So many injuries can be fixed with a good pair of shoes; conversely, so many injuries originate from a bad pair of shoes. You need to replace your shoes every 300 or so miles. I switched this year to the Brooks Ravenna 5's after my third half marathon and I love them! I'll probably stick with Ravennas for my full, too. 

Want more advice? 
HERE was some advice from my first half marathon!
HERE was my advice from my second half marathon!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Midweek Randoms - Spring Break Edition

Last week was crazy at work! I did my annual Living History Wax Museum for my seventh graders, which is always so incredibly stressful - but equally amazing. It is my absolute favorite part about teaching middle school! The kids always get SUPER into it! I even got some new creative wax statues this year - among them Gustave Eiffel, Jesus, and Mother Teresa. Usually I have a whole lot of people wanting to be Tupac, so it was nice to have a nice balance with some good guys. In addition to Open House, it was also just the last week before Spring Break and that's always a challenge in and of itself. Holy Moly Spring Fever.
And then, just as quickly as it started, it was over. It was officially Spring Break. As a middle school teacher, the number one rule I know to be true is the busier you are, the less trouble you get in. I believe in relaxation and fun over break, but I also don't want us to get bored. So I planned something every single day of break for us to do.

Saturday was our Mothers of Multiples Easter Egg Hunt! We modeled the Easter shirts and dress Grandma made us!
Sunday I let hubby sleep in, while Connor and Isabella cuddled with me on the couch. Aiden slept in too, which officially makes him my favorite child! ;-) We made delicious French toast. And then, hubby and I meal planned and took the kids to costco.

Monday was a picnic lunch play date with a friend, at the park. 
Tuesday was a family trip to the zoo and then we took the kids to Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant for lunch and ice cream sundaes.
In the photo below (top right), can you spot Aiden? Pray for us. It's been a long month.
And this morning I took the kids on a hike and pizza lunch with my sister and Andy. I have always wanted to hike with one child who is throwing the world's biggest tantrum for an entire 27 minutes. So I can cross that off my list for this Spring Break, thankfully. I'm pretty sure I never need to experience that EVER again.
And it's only Wednesday! I have so much more planned for the rest of the week!

I made a goal to read three Travis McGee Novels over break and finished my first one by Saturday. But, I haven't started the next one - so I'm already behind. Oops!
The Quick Red Fox (Travis McGee Series #4)
Additionally, I've been able to cross a few things (other than laundry) off my Spring Break to-do list! Hubby and I watched Into the Woods for the first time and LOVED it!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVED it!
I've been able to leisurely sit and enjoy my coffee in the mornings, without having to rush off to work.  
Hubby and I took the kids to their very first shaved ice place. Surprisingly, the kids hated it. But I loved it! It definitely beats out snow cones for me! 
And, despite having a fun activity to do every day, the kids and I have snuck in a few at-home movies, cartoons, and couch cuddles every morning and afternoon. Some mornings, I've needed it - since my children are back to waking up at 5am again. Grrrr. 

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