Mar 142015

So I’ve abandoned this blog for the most part and it’s unfortunate. But trying to keep up with it, the kids and their activities, my day jobs and my new photography biz (we’ll, new focus on the biz) I just can’t seem to keep up. If you’re interested in the kids, I post periodically about them at my photography blog

I thought I’d pop by however and record (for my own posterity) my latest half marathon. I’m really starting to get the hang of these things and no longer feel like a slow poke jogger but an actual runner of sorts. I managed a near PR on a pretty tough course in pretty tough conditions which of course only pushes me to want to do more to see if I can improve that time!

The weather outlook for the RnR USA race was not a favorable one. Beautiful weather Friday made way for a cold wet forecast for Saturday (and of course a cold dry forecast for Sunday). Unfortunately the weather guys were right and it started raining Friday late and really has yet to truly stop (as of Saturday early evening). Fortunately the temps were not super cold – 40 and 50’s which was the only way it was doable.

I was racing alone again which I’m actually getting used to. It’s funny how being among a collection of like-minded crazies can really motivate you and boost your mood. I was dreading this race when I woke (at 4:45am!) but once I got to the metro where everyone was catching the train in, the energy was contagious and I was feeling much better. Runners are such happy, social people!

My ride in was about an hour but I couldn’t find it in me to sleep so I read a book. A nice relaxing time before it all kicked off was nice. As I exited the metro station I donned my 50 gallon bin bag to keep dry and went to drop my gear bag and get a quick potty stop in. Met a few new friends while waiting.

RnR does wave starts and I was in corral 14 so even though the gun was 7:30 it was about 7:50 ish I think when I crossed the start. Just as it started to pour (prior to that it was just a steady drizzle). I was bin bag less and in it for the duration so I just prayed it would stay warm. Those first few miles I really wish I had had gloves. I know they would have been water logged later but in that first few it would have been nice.

Maybe it was the rain or just the energy but the first 4 miles passed quickly. My splits were amazing (for me) at like 8:30 and 9 min miles. Not sure I would be able to keep that pace but I was going with it while I could. There is a killer hill between miles 5 and 6 that I knew I was going to walk so I wanted to build up a buffer of time so it wouldn’t hurt me as bad in the end.

Miles 5 – 8 were pretty rough. The hill at 6 really took it out of me and it took till 8 to really recover (plus there were a few smaller hills after 6…ugh). But I was keeping a decent pace so I was okay. I was fueling up at every water station and had Gu’s at 4, 7, and 9.

I lost connectivity in my phone around mile 9 so from there on out I was in the dark about my pace (and without music – realized today I really need a soundtrack as I’m running…). The trouble really started at 11…I totally bonked. I had to stop and walk most of mile 11. But I really wanted to finish so I figured a walk break would allow me to do that. I’m not sure why it happened. I’m fighting a cold, it was horrible outside and I never really did get to train up to 11 so I figure it was a combo of things.

After 11, 12 felt pretty slow and like the longest mile in the world. Thankfully it was mostly downhill so I could take advantage of gravity which is probably the only way I was able to finish. As we turned the corner I could see the decent into the finish line. I tried like hell for a kick but there was just nothing left so I just cruised across the line – hopefully smiling for the pictures rather than grimacing. I noted the clock on the way thru – 2:20 something which was gun time..not my chip which means my chip was under 2:20. My goal for this race was 2:20 because of that stupid hill so to know my chip time was already under that made me excited.

As I walked through the finishers chute, DH called. He’d been tracking me via texts and had my chip time. 2:07! Holy hell, at least now I know why I felt like hell right that second. Even with the hill and horrible rain I nearly PR’d (which of course makes me mad for walking mile 11 – I could have killed my PR! ). Now I’m determined to PR on this course so I’m already signed up for next year:)

I wandered aimlessly for a while grabbing snacks, my gear bag and some fluids then I had to make my way back to the metro for my ride home. No DH to drive me home this year – it was too cold and wet to get the kids out there. The metro ride was uneventful – long and cold but nothing much to remark about.

Now that I’m home and reflecting on the race I really think I did the best I could. My training was not perfect and I had been fighting a cold so I’m really happy with my overall time! Plus I’m just really happy that the addition of compression socks help alleviate the calf pain that I’d been dealing with the last few long runs.

Lastly, and probably my single smartest move of the whole race was to pack an entire extra set of clothing for after the race – with the rain I figured I’d be soaked and I was right! It was so amazing to put on that dry shirt and fleece (all while standing on the metro platform..haha). I wanted to change my pants but I figured I was not going to test the tolerance of the metro police for indecent exposure. Plus I had compression socks on and soaking wet shoes. Pants wouldn’t have made a huge difference at that point. It was just nice to have the shirt and fleece.

Anyways…long summary but I love going back to read them later as motivation to do my next one:) Right now I don’t have anything else scheduled but want to find an april or may race and the another in Sept/Oct like last year. Maybe another shot at Hershey:)

3/22/2009 VA Beach Shamrock Half (pre kids – trained to 8) – 2:15
5/15/2011 Pittsburgh Half (A year after Noah’s birth – trained to 8) – 2:20
5/5/2013 Pittsburgh Half (9 months after Lia’s birth – no training) – 2:40
3/15/2014 Rock and Roll USA (first half by myself – trained to 11mi) – 2:19
5/18/2014 Fountainhead Off-Road Half (first trail half – totally different ball game) – 2:49
10/14/2014 Hershey Half (trained to 8) – 2:19
11/15/2014 Richmond Half – 2:06:14!!
3/14/2015 Rock and Roll USA (trained to 10ish) – 2:07:26!!

Dec 152014

I missed doing the Thai Chicken soup last week so we had it early this week. I love that one (and so did DH, I found him having thirds after he put Lia to bed)

Wed is a new one. We’ll see how that goes. I love Pineapple Cucumber salsa but have never put it on my salmon. We always do sweet salmons. The Kirby Cucumbers that they call for in the recipe looked horrid in the store yesterday. If I get a chance I’m going to try another store otherwise I have some seedless cucumbers that I purchased.

Mon: Thai Chicken Soup
Tues: Pasta and Sauce and Meatballs
Wed: Salmon with Cucumber and Pineapple Salsa
Thurs: Tacos
Fri: Leftovers

Mon: Out
Tues: Chicken Breast and Sour Dough Sandwich
Wed: Salami and Cheese Rolls
Thurs: PB and J?
Fri: Taco Salad

Dec 042014

(as per normal for these check in’s I think – this is more bullet format than actual coherent with it..)

It’s been a while since I did a check in on the kids. Mostly because there’s not much to check in on but also because things happen so gradually that it doesn’t seem like much has changed and then I step back for a second and realize that a ton has changed!

Like – Lia’s really starting to talk more. You can hold a conversation with her and both parties actually understand what’s going on. There’s still plenty of jibberish coming from her mouth (almost a constant stream) but I’d say 80% of it is legible to not just us.

– she asks a question like “where’s daddy” and you answer. Then she returns “okay”….like, “I got it mom, storing that for later”.
– “noah did it” or “macie did it”….etc..
– looking at the picture of our wedding day she busts out with “look at your pretty dress mommy”
– or “look at my froggie” as she points to her PJ’s.
– “no like it” when she’s not happy with something or doesn’t want to look/listen/do
– We’ve entered the “i do” stage (or “lia do”)
– how she always calls herself “lia grace” or “noah andrew”

We call her CC or Repeat because if Noah has it, she has to have it. Or if Noah does it, she follows right along and does it too.

She tantrums like you can’t believe. It’s totally karma coming back to bite me for the torture I put my parents through.

Still a hugger and a kisser. She has to be touching you too to fall asleep. Which means we’re still having to stick with her as she falls asleep and she ends up with us at either 2am or 4am.

For all those signs at early potty training, we still haven’t made a ton of progress there. She’s fine at school and out places but at home she has zero interest (less than zero is that’s possible). I’m trying to incentivize her with pretty minnie mouse panties…not working!

Her hair is FINALLY filling in I hope. She’s entered a funny stage where it’s super fluffy and full but not long enough to lay. She has one longer layer over top which is the only thing saving her from a full on spike. You can see less of her scalp than before. I’m happy because I thought she was going to look all ragged forever. The recent hair cut really helped shape it up some (Now I want to retake our family pictures since it looks so ratty in them…oh well).

Her little personality is really starting to shine. She’s so funny and loves to make you laugh. She roars at you and giggles so hard when you pretend you’re scared (she’ll go one for 20 min if you let her).

She’s a dancer! This girl can and loves to move. You put on her songs and she’s beboppin around the living room arms flailing, feet tapping or hopping and her head rocking back and forth. I love it. She’s actually got quite a bit of rhythm for a 2 year old. I see dance lessons in our future!

She is good with directions and will go get what you ask her to. More than that though, she knows where things are – obscure things like mommy’s knitting bag etc.

She can dress herself for the most part – needs a bit of help with the pants but really she’s come downstairs completely dressed all on her own. She’s even pretty good a picking out matching clothing. (which is good because whatever she puts on is what she’s wearing and she won’t let you change it).

She loves to draw and color – it’s almost a sure fire way to distract her.

Anyways. I could probably go on and on about how long her legs are or how she loves to kiss you or how sweet she is when she accidentally hurts you (or how feisty she is when she doesn’t get her way) but then we’d be here forever. I just want to soak it all in – she’s so much fun right now and I know she’ll never be this little again and for all the frustrating parts of this age – there are 10 times more fun parts.


Dec 022014

So putting two races mostly back to back was probably not my smartest idea to date but I survived and I actually did great! (no, not going to do that again)

I was running by myself again although I did meet up with a high school friend who I got to pal around with at the Expo and then met up with again at the start. We ended up in the same corral so it was nice to have her there to start with.

The night before the race she and I grabbed dinner and then drove all over Richmond looking for an open CVS so I could grab some sports tape to cover my still healing from Hershey blisters and some morning of nutrition (since I forgot to pack my oatmeal). We actually had a great time catching up. I haven’t seen her (except for Facebook) since high school!

On a side note: it pays to look for a race hotel the week of if you didn’t book ahead! I found a hotel that was two blocks from the race start and two blocks from the race finish – perfect for me so I didn’t have to navigate traffic and closed roads for parking.

The morning of the race they were calling for super cold temps – I think at the start it was just over 28 degrees outside. So, I waited until the very last min to leave my cozy hotel room! I ALWAYS overdress so I was super worried about what to wear. Trying to remember that it’s okay to freeze as you stand at the start because you’ll most surely warm up as things get moving, I wore my fleece lined tights, a long sleeved tech t-shirt and my wind stopper running jacket. I had light gloves and a headband to cover my ears. It was actually the perfect combo. I took off the gloves a few miles in but the rest stayed on and I was very comfy.

Since I registered for this two years ago (and deferred one year) my estimated finish time was just a shot in the dark that turned out to be about 15 min slower than my last half. The end result of this was that I was in a corral that was so far away from the 2:15 pacer I wanted to follow that I had to pace the race myself (I’d never catch him given he had a 15 min head start due to a wave start). Add to that the fact that my GPS didn’t pick up at the start and I had to restart it at mile 2 and I was completely unaware of my time the entire race. I had the general pace in my ear every mile or so but she was a bit discombobulated while in the city because of the buildings so outside of a quick glance at the starting clock, I had not a clue in the world what my time was.

Knowing that, I decided not to stress about it and just try to catch the guy in front of me. I was feeling really good – once things got warmed up and the creaking stopped that is. I would pick a person about 500 yards in front of me and try to catch them. As I caught up to them I’d find the next one and run for that and so on and so forth. It was a great game to keep my mind off of things and since I had trained with the same play list that was buzzing in my ear, I had a good sense of my foot cadence too. At one point I saw the 2:30 pacer and blew by him so I knew I was on a pretty good clip.

At the 10k mark I did some quick math in my head and realized that I could kill my 2:19 Hershey time by a bunch if I could just maintain my pace. Problem is, I usually hit a wall at 8 miles and there were a few hills between me and the finish (not counting the huge down hill into the finish line). I made an effort to stock up on Gu when I could and used every water stop to make sure I was well hydrated and fed. The gummy bear stop around mile 9 (I think) was AWESOME!! Who doesn’t love some gummy bears to suck on.

As I crested mile 11 I heard someone yell – it’s all downhill from here. I laughed because they always say that. This time though they weren’t lying! The last 2 or so miles was straight down hill. It was heaven! It was so steep that I was having trouble keeping my feet under me but it did enable me to blow through the finish line nice and strong.

I caught a glimpse of the clock as I passed through but didn’t trust my memory of the starting clock. Regardless, if it all aligned I was looking at 2:08. However, since I wasn’t sure and my GPS was completely wrong I had to wait for the official clock time to get really excited – which didn’t come until later that night.

I know I had PR’d but not by how much….at about 8:00 pm they finally posted the times:


I blew hershey away by a full 13 min and my overall best time by 9 min! I really don’t know what the difference was. Between Hershey and Richmond I was a pretty lazy runner. It took me a week to recover and even after that I was dealing with some serious soleus pain so my runs were short and fast and not as frequent as I would have liked. I know Richmond is a fast course so perhaps it was just that.

Regardless, I’m taking a bit of time off again to let my legs recover. It’s almost 15 days later and I’m still struggling with my soleus muscles. I need to be better about stretching and rolling. I figure I’ll hop back on the training wagon in the new year to get read for RnR USA in March.

My new goal is going to be 2:04:00 – it’s only 2 min but I know that DC has one killer hill in it around mile 6 that could blow everything if I’m not careful.

Some day I hope to be sub 2 but that’s a long ways off I think – just gives me something to keep working for!


3/22/2009 VA Beach Shamrock Half (pre kids – trained to 8) – 2:15
5/15/2011 Pittsburgh Half (A year after Noah’s birth – trained to 8) – 2:20
5/5/2013 Pittsburgh Half (9 months after Lia’s birth – no training) – 2:40
3/15/2014 Rock and Roll USA (first half by myself – trained to 11mi) – 2:19
5/18/2014 Fountainhead Off-Road Half (first trail half – totally different ball game) – 2:49
10/14/2014 Hershey Half (trained to 8) – 2:19
11/15/2014 Richmond Half – 2:06:14!!

Dec 012014

Wooohooo boy…off the wagon we go:) The holidays can really throw you for a loop. Plus I’ve had a number of clients to finish up work for so it’s been crazy in our neck of the woods. I’m going to try to get back on track – my body is hating me for all the crap that I’ve been putting into it.

Sun: Polenta with fontina cheese and roast veggies and Salmon
Mon: Shrimp Corn Chowder
Tues: Crockpot Mexican Shredded Beef wtih guac
Wed: Pasta and Sauce
Thurs: Chicken Curry
Fri: Out

Mon: Chicken Sandwich on Sour Dough
Tues: Chicken Sandwich on Sour Dough
Wed: Leftover Beef
Thurs: Out
Fri: Out

Nov 172014

Okay, a day late but still here even though I missed last week. It’s been a busy few weeks around our house.

Sunday: Lasagne
Mon: Crockpot Chicken Chowder
Tues: Tacos
Wed: Chili
Thurs: Spinach Tomato Tortellini
Friday: Left Overs

Mon: Out
Tues: Out
Wed: Out
Thurs: Chili Left Overs
Friday: Lasagne Left Overs

Nov 132014

Since Lia and Noah are at a bigger center, we get to do things we didn’t with his small daycare – like field trips! Once a year they take a trip to the pumpkin patch. DH went with Noah last year (and Lia was too little) so I got to go this year. The bonus was that Lia got to go too!!

This was her first time on a school bus (that she was aware of at least) and you would have thought it made her life. She was so excited to ride on a “cool bus” that she couldn’t stop saying it even weeks later! She also talks about going to the “bumpkin patch” to get a “bumpkin”.

We ended up leaving the patch with two more pumpkins (take our total on the porch to 14 pumpkins of various size and shapes) and 3 gords.

They kids had a great time both with me and their friends (and I got to scout a new photo spot in their Christmas tree area!).

Nov 042014

I think DH comments at least daily about how much he loves our neighborhood and I totally agree. All of the time hunting to figure out what we wanted and didn’t want then trying to find a place that checked all the boxes has really paid off. We love it out here. What makes it even better is that we’ve had some awesome neighbors move in around us. We have 4 families in close proximity and they all have kids. Two have kids whose ages match ours and the other two have some a bit older.

The guys across the street have one Noah’s age and then three a bit older. We all end up outside in the evenings just hanging out and playing. I love that the older boys are not entirely annoyed when Noah wants to play with them (and their little sister). Lia’s just happy to be along for the ride most times.

A few weeks ago we ended up outside playing baseball in the street (the street does not yet continue past us so no one comes down this way). Our neighbor patiently explained to Noah how to play and what to do and then stood there and pitched for him (and his daughter) for what seemed forever. It was really nice of him and made Noah so happy!!

Seems Noah has a knack for baseball so it looks like I’m going to be signing him up for spring ball:)

Nov 032014

Back in the groove! Made a great Shrimp and Corn Chowder last night which was sooo good since it was so freakin cold out (I know, it’s not even that cold yet…). The rest of this week looks great too – I’m excited!

Sunday: Shrimp and Corn Chowder
Mon: Chili/Lime Porkchops with Black beans and Quinoia
Tue: Pasta e Fagioli
Wed: Fajitas
Thurs: Crockpot Chicken and Corn Chowder
Fri: Out

Mon: Sour Dough and Chicken Cold Cuts
Tues: Lunch in at Work
Wed: Pasta e Fagioli leftovers
Thurs: Out
Fri: Out

Nov 022014

A few weekends ago Papa and Memaw came down to visit. Unfortunately our plans of apple picking were thwarted by rain but that didn’t bother anyone. A day-in snuggling with the grands was just what everyone needed. Memaw and Papa got some valuable bonding time in with the kiddos and mommy and daddy got a ton done around the house.

Nov 012014

So we’re going a bit out of order here since this is the order I finished working on the pictures:) Last weekend we had a lot going on but had to take a bit of time out of the rush to go for a family hike in the AM. The weather was a bit windy but beautiful! Perfectly cool and crisp which makes hiking so much fun.

Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve is just a 15 min drive for us to get to and offers quite a bit of hiking. It’s far enough out to make it peaceful but not a super long drive.

Oct 292014

Given my dive in to quilting lately, I thought I’d join in with Amy’s Creative Side Bloggers Quilt Festival and submit and share the two finished quilts that I have (since the 5 unfinished ones don’t count yet:) ). So this is repost from June 2012

I finally finished baby girl’s quilt!! The pattern claimed to be doable in a few hours in a day…haha…funny. I counted 15 hours on this baby and that’s with using pre assembled binding and machine stitching everything. I learned alot. Namely the fact that I’m not nearly exact enough to really do this well. Like baking, fudgy measurements make a big difference (perhaps that’s why I prefer cooking over baking) and I’m just not that patient:) That said, I know I’ll make at least one more of these for Noah (I ordered a jelly roll today for his).

Anywho..without further’s baby girl’s quilt:)



I used a disappearing 9 pattern and what I like to call a crazy stitch to quilt it (where I hope my mistakes really don’t show that much). The binding was a satin blanket binding that I found at Joann and I did it by machine too (my hands are already starting to numb so I figured a hand stitched binding may not have been the best idea at the time. Maybe I’ll try it for Noah’s.)

In the end, it was a lot of work but so worth it. I love that I’ll have this for her as she grows and that it was something that I did. Both my mom and my grandmother were avid seamstresses as I was growing up (my mom still is!) and I still remember a lot of what they made for me (and my brother) all those years ago. Heck, I even go to my mom now when I need things fixed. I have a whole new respect for their efforts!

Now…on to the dust ruffle for her crib:)

Oct 292014

Given my dive in to quilting lately, I thought I’d join in with Amy’s Creative Side Bloggers Quilt Festival and submit and share the two finished quilts that I have (since the 5 unfinished ones don’t count yet:) ). So this is repost from Jan 2013

So when I made Lia’s quilt before she was born I knew at some point I wanted to make one for Noah too. So, I started it when I was 38 weeks pregnant (about 3 days before Lia was born) haha. Noah asked me one day what it was (it was sitting on my craft table) and I told him it was his blanket that mommy was making him. He got sooo excited! From there on any time he’d pass my craft bench (which was any time he went outside to the backyard) he’d ask me about his blanket. He wanted to wear it around:) Well, I finally got around to finishing it up – 6 months to the day I started it.

This one was done with a jelly roll of Moda Summertime fabric. It was actually pretty neat and quick to get the center patch together. You just sewed all the long strips together in one long line then folded that long line in half, sew the length, chop the end and do it again. I kept halving it until you came to a manageable size. I made my center patch just big enough to cover the top of a twin bed (I was a little short in the length tho). Then I added about 9 inches on either side and a foot to the top and bottom to make it cover his bed with some overhang.

I learned alot with Lia’s quilt and even more with Noah’s. I’m confident that I’m not a quilter but I’m proud of the two pieces I’ve managed to turn out. (eta: okay, maybe I’ll be a quilter yet!)




Oct 272014

I feel my motivation coming back! I spent yesterday prepping and pre-cooking and have a good handle on this week I think. I made a pot of bolognese that I’ll freeze and have the Korean BBQ beef marinating for tonight.

Mon: Sour dough and chicken sammy
Tues: Sour dough and chicken sammy
Wed: Out
Thurs: Left over chicken and pasta
Fri: Out

Sun: Pork Tenderloin with Pears and Shallots with Quinoia (this one is a family favorite!)
Monday: Korean BBQ Beef with Rice (this is the closest recipe – I used shaved beef and slightly different ratios but overall similar enough.)
Tues: Mom Out – Pasta and Sauce for Daddy
Wed: Chicken, Pasta and Marcapone
Thurs: Pineapple Chicken Quesedilla
Fri: Trick or Treat Tacos!

Oct 232014

It’s almost a given that on the heels of running a half, I’m itching to do another. I blame runners high and the endorphins. After I finished the Fountain Head Half in May (and once the soreness passed) I found myself searching for another race. A road half this time since Fountain Head was off road an that was a totally different ball game.

This time around I also wanted DH to be able to run with me. It’s fun to do those types of things as a couple (at least for us). So I had to find something close to one of the grands so we’d have kid coverage. Pittsburgh was too far off date wise so I was looking around Lancaster. I stumbled on Hershey and I’m so happy I did. How could you go wrong running through an amusement park and having a chocolate stop at mile 12?

I worked out perfectly. We left the kids with DH’s parents and drove the 45 min up to Hershey for the race.

It was an early morning because we had to pick up our packets prior to the race and of course Lia woke as we were trying to leave so we had to wake my MIL to hang with here. We arrived in Hershey just before 6am and scored what we thought was a primo spot right at the front (which turned out not to be – we waited a long time to leave!).

Packet pick up took 10 min which is good because at 6am it was COLD and blustery!! I worried that I had enough layers on to run this race. DH had brought trash bags to try to keep warm prior to the start of the race but unfortunately for him they were kitchen sized and he’s not. So, he had a trash bag scarf to wear – so not effective. Anyways, we ran back to the car and waited out the 90 min until the start in the comfort of our warm car.

Around 7:15 we made our way over for a quick potty stop but after 15 min in line we still weren’t even close to the front and the race had started so we abandoned that idea and just started to run. That was a fun first mile! Thankfully we were able to make a pit stop at mile 1 and continue on our way – much lighter.

The first 4 miles were pretty quick. We spent 2 working our way around the parking lots and Hersheypark drive and on into the park. We ran a mile through the park and then on out into some of the neighborhoods around Hershey. By mile 5 we hit a groove and things flew by. We ran past the country club which was really pretty.

Running down Chocolate Ave was cool – the road surface was actually brown. Then we ran into the campus for the Milton Hershey School. What was neat about this was that all the kids that live on campus there had come out of their houses and set up camp on the roadside to cheer people on. By the time we got around to them they had to have been there for at least and hour and were still excited and yelling. The had to be exhausted after the race was over!

The last 3 miles hurt pretty badly. My legs were done. I could feel the blisters on the feet and my knees were pretty sore but I looked at our time and realized that we could make this race under 2:20 if we kept up our pace. So I looked at DH and asked if he could push it for these last three. It was only 30 min…I can hurt for 30 min I kept thinking. So we kicked in whatever afterburner we had and tried to book it in under 2:20.

At the top of the hill at mile 12 there was chocolate which I thought I’d love but I was so parched that it was like chewing sand. Oh well…the little bit of sugar had a nice kick. As we rounded the stadium DH grabbed my hand thinking we could cross together holding hands…only, we still had about .2 miles to go. He was a little premature in his celebration.

The last .1 or so was around and into the stadium. That’s the fastest I think I’ve ever run. I left it all on that track (my GPS said I was an 8:30 pace which for me is crazy fast!). Crossing the finish line and looking up to see 2:22 on the clock was a little disappointing (I totally forgot that that was total time elapsed – not my time) but a good show none the less considering how much we trained. It wasn’t until I checked my email as we sat down to stretch that I saw we actually came in under 2:20:) 2:19 and a few milliseconds. Not a PR but one of my better times (my RnR race was 2:19 as well). I was definitely happy with that race.

We milled about for a bit cooling down and refueling. We took a few pictures but were anxious to get back to the kids so we headed out. It took about 45 min just to get out of the parking lot but once we were through (and a quick Dunkin stop) we were on our way home.

The rest of the day was rough – we still had to drive back to DC so when we all passed out at 9:30pm I was not surprised. It only took a few days for the soreness to go away which is good – I have to get back on the training wagon – Richmond is in 3 weeks!!

(and just so I have this somewhere…)
3/22/2009 VA Beach Shamrock Half (pre kids – trained to 8) – 2:15
5/15/2011 Pittsburgh Half (A year after Noah’s birth – trained to 8) – 2:20
5/5/2013 Pittsburgh Half (9 months after Lia’s birth – no training) – 2:40
3/15/2014 Rock and Roll USA (first half by myself – trained to 11mi) – 2:19
5/18/2014 Fountainhead Off-Road Half (first trail half – totally different ball game) – 2:49
10/14/2014 Hershey Half (trained to 8) – 2:19
11/15/2014 Richmond Half – shooting for 2:15!!

Oct 222014

I can’t believe we’re to 45 days already with this thing. I’m so much less focused on it because it’s just part of the day now. Get home. Feed Family. Put kids to bed. Go work out. Same routine most nights.

I’m still seeing results which is astonishing since my eating has been CRAP lately! I suppose I could see more if I actually ate right.

Anyways – no pics this time – just don’t have enough hands or time to do it. But I’ll update the measurements.

Starting Measurements:
Waist – 30 in
Hips – 37.75 in
Chest – 33.5 in
Thigh – 20.75 in
Bicep – 10.5 in
Calf – 14.25 in

Day 30 Measurements:
Waist – 29 in (-1)
Hips – 36.75 in (-1)
Chest – 33 in (-.5)
Thigh – 21 in (+.25)
Bicep – 10.5 in (0)
Calf – 14.25 in (0)

Day 45 Measurements:
Waist – 28.75 in (-.25)
Hips – 36.5 in (-.25)
Chest – 32.5 in (-.5)
Thigh – 20.5 in (-.5)
Bicep – 10.75 in (+.25)
Calf – 14 in (-.25)

So, downward progress. I lost 1 lb as well putting me at a total of 7 lbs from the start of all this. Honestly I’d love to lose another 10 but I’ll settle for another 5:) But that’s going to take some serious commitment on the eating front of which I seem to be lacking lately.

We still have the second half of this challenge so here’s to recommitting and trying to move the needle even further.

Oct 202014

This one was done by the seat of my pants while walking through the grocery store with about 10 min to shop. We were out this past weekend and this week is shaping up to be challenging so I was hunting for quick and easy.

This week will have alot of lunches out – something has to give when getting ready in the AM and it will be lunches this week.

Mon: Out
Tues: Left Over Soup
Wed: Left Over Pasta/Sauce
Thurs: Out
Fri: Out

Mon: Slow cooker Thai Soup
Tues: Pasta and Sauce
Wed: Sausage/Peppers
Thurs: Frozen Pizza
Fri: Out as a family

Oct 152014

Even before we had kids DH and I would dream of the times I we could take the kids out in to the backcountry with us for some serious backpacking. Once Noah learned to walk we started counting the days before we could get him out on a hike in the woods.

Now that Lia’s old enough and steady enough to walk over uneven surfaces we’ve taken both of them on longish (for them) day hikes but had yet to backpack. The logistics of taking 2 kids that can’t really carry their own weight backpacking were overwhelming at first. Not only would we need a bigger tent but we’d need sleeping bags, clothes and extra food etc. We’re not light packers by any stretch of the imagination so to figure out how to accommodate all the extra stuff (with the possibility of carrying a child at times as well) without killing our backs was tough.

So we looked for a short hike in figuring we can carry extra weight for a short period of time and if things went south we could potentially bail in the middle of the night (at 1 mile hike out in the dark, though not ideal, is doable). We found a place about 45 min away that was perfect!! It took us two tries (first one was thwarted by thunderstorms) but Sky Meadow State Park has walk in primitive campsites that you can reserve for $15 a night. There’s a non-potable water pump and a few vault toilets back there but otherwise there are no amenities. Each site had a well drained tent pad, a picnic table and fire ring. Some of the sites were right off the trail. Others, like ours, were down a bit from the trail and into the woods. It made it feel like we were really out there by ourselves (well, except for the sounds of campers around you:)).

What was really funny was that when we got there we found out that you could rent a wheelbarrow for $10 in order to carry your stuff back to the site. So, our visions of a rugged hiking path were met with a bike/stroller/wheelbarrow friendly meander through grass lands and fire road. We were already packed up to carry it all in on our person so we passed on the wheelbarrow – but it was nice to know that it was there in case and the kids didn’t care that it wasn’t trail. They were just happy to be out.

The trip was fun and thankfully uneventful (last time we were at that park Noah was stung by a caterpillar). We did struggle to make a fire because the wood was wet but managed to make enough so the kids could roast marshmallows (and smoke out every bug in a 4 mile area). The kids slept terribly as did we but I expected that being that this was Lia’s first time in a tent (plus it was her first big sleep over outside of her crib with all of us and the dog aaaand she had a marshmallow right before bed…to say she was amped up was an understatement). But, the pack-up and hike out the next AM was so beautiful and even though we were exhausted, it was the perfect trip. I can’t wait to do it again!

Oct 132014

A day late (which is better than last week where I completely missed!). It’s been hectic around here lately and my motivation is waining. I’m trying to get back in a groove but it’s tough. We wake up when it’s dark, go to bed when it’s dark and soon I’ll look forward to coming home in the dark too. Sigh..I love fall but i’m not so keen on winter.

Mon: Out
Tues: Out
Wed: Roast Beet and Chicken Salad
Thurs: Chicken and rice soup left overs
Fri: Cold Cut Sandwich

Sun: Thai Chicken Breast
Mon: Shrimp over zoodles
Tues: Tacos
Wed: Creamy chicken and rice soup
Thurs: Slow cooker quinoia soup
Fri: Pizza

Oct 112014

Now that Lia has a big girl bed, she needs a big girl quilt to cover it:)

I had started to look for fabrics even before we started the plan to move her to a bigger bed and just didn’t fall in love with anything – until I found this one!! Garden Party Tango by Melissa Ybarra is just a pretty collection of both colors and patterns. I think it will make a great quilt for her room and a nice base to decorate around.

I found a pattern on Pinterest that I really liked and seemed simple enough (me and elaborate quilts don’t mix yet – I need simple straight lines with little cutting to build my confidence). And here’s where I am so far!


The pattern is for a 36in x 36in blanket so of course that won’t work for her bed so I’m doubling the pattern and will still probably have to do a border to get to the right size. I have the groups of strips sewn together and now need to iron them and cut, then stitch again. I only get 20/30 min here and there so things are going slowly. Maybe by the time she’s 16 I’ll have it finished!

Oct 092014

We spend quite a bit of time down at the lake here in our neighborhood. It’s just so pretty and quiet and a 5 min walk from our front door. During the last few days of summer we were down there almost every night for sunset.

This time around I took the big camera with me and got some pics of Lia mostly but did managed to sneak in a few of Noah on his bike. He looks so big on it and more like he’s riding a toy than real bike.

Oct 082014

So we’re already through the first month of round 2 of the Bikini Body Mommy program! I can’t believe how fast things have flown. I have to admit that I’ve not been as focused on this challenge as I was the last one. Just lots going on plus I’m trying to train for 2 half marathons this fall so I’ve had to mix things up.

That said, I am making sure to work out 6 times a week and would say 90% of the time it’s with Brianna’s videos. I generally do the strength days and then on the HIIT cardio days, I do my runs. On the days that I cant get a run in then I’ll do the prescribed HIIT cardio work out. So far it’s worked out and I’m seeing results. My clothes fit better again and I just generally feel more healthy

Starting Measurements:
Waist – 30 in
Hips – 37.75 in
Chest – 33.5 in
Thigh – 20.75 in
Bicep – 10.5 in
Calf – 14.25 in

Day 30 Measurements:
Waist – 29 in (-1)
Hips – 36.75 in (-1)
Chest – 33 in (-.5)
Thigh – 21 in (+.25)
Bicep – 10.5 in (0)
Calf – 14.25 in (0)

So – not as drastic as the first time around but I attribute that to a bunch of things.

1. I didn’t have that much more to go like I did the first time (those last 5 lbs are stubborn!).
2. I bumped up to heavier weights so I’m building some muscle in my arms (hello bicep definition).
3. I’m running a lot which builds the muscle in my legs
4. My nutrition has not been on point lately. Not that it’s bad – overall we’ve shifted for the better but I’ve let myself have a few indulgences as of late.

Time to buckle down in the next 30 and see if I can get those last few pounds off and tone up my arms and back.

Maybe I’ll take pics that I can share with everyone at the next check in… this time I’m too lazy:)

It’s never too late to get started! If you’re interested in joining us, let me know. We have a great support group on Facebook!!

Oct 072014

Weeks behind here because it’s been so busy (and I’ve had some client work to do in the evenings) but a few weeks ago we took the kids on a hike in Great Falls National Park. It was kind of a warm up to see how Lia would do on a longer walk and it was great!

The hike is an easy one – one big up hill on fire road and then a meander down hill on trails. We let her walk on her own for as far as she would go (which was surprisingly far) and when she got tired we plopped her in the backpack. She ended the hike walking on her own too.

Noah had already done that hike with DH so we knew he’d be fine. Although, on the long boring hike up we had to be inventive with how we kept his attention so he wouldn’t whine and want to be carried. Searching for the various leaf types worked pretty well (or pretending the trend on the side of the trail was a deep crevasse that he had to navigate.) I love watching his little imagination work.

In the end we covered about 4 miles I think – nothing big but pretty good for the kids! This was a great set up for our next few trips out (including a back pack trip!)

Oct 052014

So, not all fixes are home runs (which is good for my budget:) ). This one was not. I went out on a limb and asked for a skirt and a chunky sweater or cardigan and while Gillian tried – it was just not what I was looking for.

All was not lost, I did keep three of the 5 pieces and I appreciate that she tried to find what I was looking for – it was a long shot.

So, before we get on to the fashion show, a little about Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix is a personal styling service. You fill out a style profile online, schedule your fix and wait for the package of goodies!! Try everything on in the comfort of your own home and keep only what you want. Use the pre-paid envelop to mail back the rest (if anything!!) and that’s it.

A few details:

  • There’s a $20 styling fee, which is used towards your order
  • If you keep all 5 items you receive 25% off your order.
  • You choose your price range.
  • The more feedback you give to your stylist, the better your fixes get over time. So be sure to be very specific to your stylists so that they can send you things you’ll love. I highly suggest hooking up your Pinterest style board to your profile as well.

Lastly, if you want to sign up use this link. (Full disclosure, I get a referral bonus if you use that link. You can too once you’re signed up and share with your friends!)

Now, let’s go through what I kept:

Bay to Baubles Rowena Leaf Pendant Necklace

I loved this one – simple, different and just the right length.

41Hawthorn Walt Striped Skirt

This is one that I wouldn’t have normally purchased for myself and definitely not one for “fat days” but it’s nice to have something different in my closet. I have to find a nice navy cami and it would pair perfectly with my mustard colored cardi.

Pomelo Moni Stud Detailed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse

I LOVED this one! I’ve already worn it a bunch – perfect with skinny jeans and my brown boots.

And the pieces I sent back:

41Hawthon Breyson Pleat Detail Sleeveless Knit Top

This one just fit like a night shirt. I don’t know if it’s because I lost weight since I filled out my profile or what, it just didn’t

Under Skies Simran Solid French Terry Moto Jacket

This was the one she tried in lieu of a chunky sweater and just not at all what I was looking for. That’s not always a bad thing because heck, that’s part of using this service. Unfortunately, this one was just not what I was looking for so it went back.

So there you have it. Not a dud but not the homerun I’ve had in the past. My next fix is November. I’m anxious to see what fall pieces they send along.

Sep 292014

Hello Monday!! You always seem to come around too fast after a fun weekend. Trying a few new things this week since we have a relatively calm week. I love the onset of fall – bring on the soups, stews, and goulashes!!

Mon: Everroast Chicken, Guac, and veggies
Tues: Egg Salad Tortilla
Wed: Out
Thurs: Left over Picadillo
Fri: Out

Sun: Ravioli
Mon: Chicken Francese with Brown Rice
Tues: Chicken Pineapple Fried Rice (own recipe – making it up as I go)
Wed: Crockpot Picadillo over brown rice.
Thurs: Macaroni Casserole
Fri: Something quick

Sep 242014

The end of the crib era has arrived in our house! We took Lia’s crib down this past weekend and put up her big girl bed for no other reason that it’s getting too hard to snuggle with her in the rocking chair haha.

She’s put her foot up a few times in her crib but showed no desire to climb out so it wasn’t that. It was just the fact that I love to snuggle with her and it’s easier if she has a bed vs. bringing her back to ours and starting that habit.

I would have done it sooner but I couldn’t find the bed that I wanted. I was waffling between a Jenny Lind that I could paint a fun color and a plain metal bed that wouldn’t compete with her pretty dresser. What I found wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but it’s perfect just the same! It is a metal bed but not entirely plain. It’s delicate and pretty and I love it! (and I’ll have to take a picture of it later..)

Lia’s adjusted pretty well to it. We have rails up on either side and I noticed the other night those are necessary (I found her smashed up against one). Plus, we put a gate on her door because she’s at the top of the steps and I fear she’ll wonder out and fall down. So now when she wakes (usually around 4:30am), she’ll come to her door and yell “mamma!” or “daddy!” at the top of her lungs until we come out. Once she sees us she generally turns around and climbs back in. Lately she’ll do that then pat the bed next to her for one of us to lay down too. Who can say no to that?!

Now I just have to get her big girl quilt made to cover her bed (just like I did for Noah). More on that later.

Sep 222014

This week is going to be a little crazy with things going on most evenings. I tried to pick quick things but also things that I already had in my fridge (since I have a bunch left over from our BBQ on Sunday). So, nothing truly exciting this week..haha

Monday: Out
Tuesday: Chicken Sesame Salad
Wednesday: Chicken Lunchmeat Rollups
Thursday: Egg salad
Friday: Out

Sunday: BBQ (chicken, burgers and sausage)
Monday: Pasta and Sauce
Tuesday: Chicken sausage, Peppers, and pasta
Wednesday: Hamburgers on the grill (on lettuce for momma)
Thursday: Pizza (or Chinese food – per Noah’s request)
Friday: Turkey Tacos and black beans(on lettuce for momma, tortillas for the rest)

Sep 182014

Those of you that are Facebook or IG friends have seen me post a few things about ice dyeing. What, do you ask, is ice dyeing? Well, exactly what it sounds like – dyeing fabric using the combination of ice (or snow) and powdered dye. A co-worker of mine introduced me to the concept during a “crafternoon” party (over margaritas of course) and it’s become kind of an addiction. I’ve had enough questions from friends that I figured I’d share our process.

The whole process, end-to-end, takes about 2 days. Prepping the fabric, setting the dyes and the wrap up steps are quick – relatively. It’s the ice melting part that takes a while of course.

For supplies, you’ll need:
1. 5 gallon bucket (to do the pre-soak)
2. Large bin (we used a rough tote and smaller shoe box sized bins) with a grate or porous raised surface (so the water drips through as the ice melts). We used florescent light louvers that had been cut to fit in the bin.
3. Fabric to dye (we used cotton, bamboo, and rayon fabrics)
4. Fiber reactive dye (found here)
5. Rubber Gloves
6. Protective mask (do you don’t breath in the dye as you sprinkle it on)
7. Textile Detergent (again found here)
8. Soda Ash (see a trend? again found here)
9. various rubber bands, threads etc if you want to tie up your fabric

It seems like a lot but once you have it, you use it over and over again (and again, it’s addictive). Plus, they’re relatively cheap materials. I think our total set up was about $14 a person.

Dharma has a full on tutorial here you can browse through but real high level you’ll do the following:

1. Wash the fabric in the textile detergent to get rid of an residue.
2. Soak the fabric in soda ash solution for 30 min
3. Don your rubber gloves and ring fabric out. Then pinch, tuck, scrunch, wrap to get your pattern.
4. Place fabric in plastic bins and cover with ice (we used 10lb bags of ice. 1 for the shoebox sized, 2 for the big rough totes). You can put more than one article of fabric in each bin as long as you’re okay with them sharing colors.
5. Don your dust mask and use plastic spoons to sprinkle the dye over the ice. This is there it gets fun. You can combine colors, stick with 1, whatever. The sky is the limit.
6. Now wait….24 hours (at least – but no more than 48) for all the ice to melt and the dye to set.
7. Rinse, wash with textile detergent, wash #2 with textile detergent, rinse
8. Dry (hot as you can)
9. Iron
10. Enjoy:)

We found that it’s really hard to do wrong here. Most of us used 2 or 3 colors but had a few, that had larger pieces, use 4 or 5 colors. Depending on the color you use, some of them separate into their primary bases – so like a jade green will give you green, yellow, and blue colors as it works through the fabric. You never know how it will turn out (which makes the rinse step kind of like Christmas or your birthday:) ).

As for wrapping, scrunching, pinching etc…have fun. Try different things. I did a lot of twisting and scrunching for the scarves. The fabric I pleated and then twisted. I want to try one where I just scrunch and see what happens.

There are Pinterest boards dedicated to the craft and a quick Google image search gives you lots of really neat pictures. Like I said, it’s addictive. The time commitment is really not that big – 30 min for the soak, maybe 30 min to arrange and apply the dye. Then 20 min to rinse the next day and your wash loads (which is a set and come back later situation). It’s a great craft to do with your girls over drinks and some gabbing:) ( would recommend doing it outside or on a tarp if you have more than a few people working at once – it gets wet because of the ice and the dye can travel in the air if you’re not careful).

Have fun and share if you try it!!!

Sep 162014

Last week we started another round of the Bikini Body Mommy 90 day challenge ! Since it worked so well the first time, I’m trying it again. The big difference this time is trying to work in half marathon training into the schedule (like replacing at least 2 or my HIIT cardio workouts with runs…we’ll see).

The program consists of 6 days a week of short high intensity workouts that alternate between cardio and strength. They’re generally under 25 min which is totally digestible when the only time you have to do them is after the kids are in bed – at 9:30pm!

They have check in’s every 15 days and encourage you to stay off the scale in the mean time (did you know that your weight can swing as much as 5 lbs in either direction in a short period due to water retention etc..)

Starting Measurements:
(they’re pretty much my ending measurements of the first challenge…)
Waist – 30 in
Hips – 37.75 in
Chest – 33.5 in
Thigh – 20.75 in
Bicep – 10.5 in
Calf – 14.25 in

If anyone is interested in joining our Facebook group, let me know. We have a great group of gals who are working together to encourage each other to keep going and pushing hard!!

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