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to kimberly

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Kimberly and I met way back in 2011, when we were both pregnant with our boys and I ambushed her on a Fort Wayne street corner wearing the exact same maternity dress.  Stalker much?  I knew her (I followed her blog) but she didn’t know me before then.  We started becoming friends – I’m not even sure how exactly?  I think it grew pretty organically and now she is one of my best friends!  We’ve roadtripped to Chicago/Wisconsin for a race and to Ohio for a Mother Runner party.  We’ve run together, raced together, done a terrible mud run together, and sent many texts and voxes commiserating lack of sleep, overactive or sick children, and so much more.  We’ve gone together to the Santa Train in Fort Wayne the past three years and met up at parks and picnicked out of the back of our vans in hopes that our children will play and let us talk just a little.  She is sassy and funny, determined and brave, and the most generous person I know.  She sets audacious goals and chases them down relentlessly, from running PRs to personal development to job changes.  She’s a runner, a mom to 2 boys, a writer, a wife, a youth director, a personal trainer, a workout instructor, a friend, a sister, a weight loss hero (over 100+ because she’s badass), a marathoner, and so much more.  I just can’t say how much I adore her and admire her and love her!

Do you know Kimberly?  (If you don’t – GO FOLLOW HER on her blog, instagram, and facebook!)

running

winter running

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Cold but beautiful run during Winter Storm Caly.

I’ve never been a huge winter runner.  I didn’t enjoy how cold it was and I hated feeling like I might fall at any moment.  I was perfectly happy to move to the treadmill in the winter and skip going outside.  But Dave has long encouraged me to give winter running a chance.  We both know that being outside – cold or hot – is good for our overall mood for the day.  With his encouragement and some running friends who also go out in the cold, I’ve only been on the treadmill once this winter and that was only because we had moved the treadmill out to the mudroom and I wanted to test the new setup.

But there were a few key items that have made going out possible – and enjoyable.

yaktrax: These have made a huge difference!  A friend of ours gave these to Dave but they fit my shoes, too, and they’re a total gamechanger.  They’re completely comfortable but give me 100% confidence on the snow and ice.  I can run completely normal without having to watch where I step/being nervous about falling/sliding around.  They are so awesome and well worth the cost.

buff: I like the buff around my neck for some extra warmth (particularly on subzero windchill days) but especially hooked from the top of my head down and around my chin.  I can pull it up if my mouth or nose get cold, but they generally stay pretty warm from my breath.  However, my chin still gets cold and this helps.  I’ve also used the buff as an ear warmer.  And if you do put it over your face, it’s easy to rotate it as you run when it gets damp and frozen over your mouth.

bandana: I have three bandanas that we bought for cheap at Walmart.  I tend to have a lot of snot when I run at any time, but especially in the winter.  These are great for blowing my nose while I run and are so much easier and sturdier than fumbling with tissues.

I also wear a headlamp around my waist to help me see and be seen.  I carry pepper spray when I run alone in the dark.  And I layer layer layer.  This morning it was 9 and felt like -1, so I wore two pairs of socks, a pair of capri leggings, full-length leggings (these are the only pair I own and I love them), 2 long sleeve tech shirts, a fleece zip up, 2 pairs of knit gloves (although I ditched one pair fairly quickly into the run), a buff, and a fleece hat.

And while I have really loved getting outside and enjoyed some really beautiful quiet mornings in the snow, I will say the one drawback of winter running is how long it takes to get ready!  IT TAKES SO LONG TO GET DRESSED!  We’ll see how cold it gets this winter and if there’s a threshold to how cold it can be for me to still run!

Do you run in the winter?  How cold is too cold for you?

Uncategorized

advent calendar

This is the Advent pocket calendar I grew up with:

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My aunt and my mom would fill it with little gifts in each pocket and we opened one a day – candy, coins, bracelets, little toys, etc.  It was one of my favorite things.  Last year my mom offered me the calendar and I was SO excited to do this with Leo and Katie and Molly.  I decided to do a mix of gifts and activities – partly because finding 25 small gifts that a 17 month old all the way to a 5 year old would like felt really daunting (and honestly I don’t always have a gift for Molly right now because she’s little).  Here’s what I came up with.

  1. nativity sticker sets
  2. snowmen window clings
  3. paint Christmas pictures (we printed out a whole bunch of Christmas scene pages from various websites)
  4. pennies
  5. The Beginner’s Bible and The Biggest Story (thanks, Black Friday super sale Christianbooks.com!)
  6. Christmas socks
  7. Christmas coloring books
  8. take a glow stick bath
  9. nickels
  10. ride the Santa train
  11. little books about sharing/good attitude/etc. (hey, Christianbooks.com)
  12. having our friend over for pie
  13. Christmas stickers
  14. book and Christmas story dvds (again, Christianbooks.com…)
  15. dimes
  16. watch a Christmas movie together
  17. decorate Christmas cookies
  18. take cookies to grandma and grandpa
  19. write letters to Santa (we actually don’t really do Santa but the library has a mailbox and I thought Leo would enjoy making a list and putting it in the box)
  20. Christmas art stencils
  21. make gingerbread houses
  22. quarters
  23. Christmas light walk downtown
  24. read nativity story
  25. CHRISTMAS

We’re about a week in and the kids have been LOVING it.  They are so excited to open the pocket each morning.  I put little slips of paper in them – if it’s a gift I put them under the tree before the kids get up so they open the pocket and have a note telling them to go find a present under the tree.  Ideally I would have had smaller gifts that could fit in the pocket, but I just didn’t find much in that arena (and Molly still puts small things in her mouth).  I’ve tried to keep it pretty simple so that it’s exciting and fun for them, but doesn’t require more effort/time/money than Dave and I can realistically give.  I’m really looking forward to doing this every year!

product reviews

skincare favorites

It’s pretty laughable that I’m about to share some of my skincare favorites, considering about a month ago I was still washing my face with bar soap and moisturizing with Honest Co. body lotion.  But around the time I decided I wanted to up my skincare game (and clearly the bar was set pretty low) I was gifted with a few random pieces that I love and wanted to share.  Happily, these are all organic/non-gmo AND decently priced.  And I really do feel like since I’ve started using these that my skin feels better and looks brighter (which is great since I’m no-makeup most of the time).

derma e vitamin A retinyl palmitate creme

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I used this at a friend’s house and fell deeply in love.  It’s thick and super moisturizing, but doesn’t feel heavy or greasy.  I immediately came home and bought it and then encouraged Dave to use it, too.  He raved about it as well.  We’re sold.  It’s for all skin types but I’m especially loving it right now, when the weather is cold and my skin feels more dry.  But once it’s on it soaks in quickly and disappears, which will make it awesome for summer, too, when you want something lightweight and when your skin isn’t as dry.

amara organics vitamin c serum

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This was gifted to me but I LOVE it.  Bonus: I feel super fancy using a serum, like a real adult or something.  I put a couple drops in my palm an rub it on my face.  It soaks in quickly and makes my skin feel tighter (in a good way).  Then once it’s dry I put the derma e cream on top.  Amazon recently had this as a lightning deal, so I snatched up a bottle to have on hand when my current one runs out.

giovanni d:tox system purifying facial cleanser

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This was gifted as well and I’ve been really happy with it.  I love that it has activated charcoal in it.  It feels gentle and doesn’t leave my skin with that too-tight feeling that some cleansers create.

And as a bonus, another item Dave and I have both been digging.

uncle harry’s fluoride-free toothpaste, peppermint

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Recently my peri-oral dermatitis came back – basically a fancy word for saying eczema around my nose and mouth.  Yes, I am just as glamorous as you all imagined.  This has shown up before – namely during pregnancy – but this time showed up when I am decidedly NOT pregnant.  I did some research and found that fluoride in toothpaste can aggravate it.  Dave and I try to buy  non-fluoride toothpaste anyway, but I’d recently mixed up and bought a Tom’s of Maine tube that had fluoride.  Anyway, Dave found this gem on Amazon and we really love it.  It’s super super minty, a little goes a long way, and it leaves your mouth feeling really clean – no weird aftertaste or gritty feeling.  It doesn’t suds up like typical toothpaste, which has sometimes bothered me in the past, but for some reason hasn’t been an issue at all with this kind.  Highly recommend!

 

races · running

marathon #9 – veteran’s marathon

I signed up for this race after the Fort 4 Fitness marathon, when I got a PR but missed my goal of going sub-4:20.  I felt like with a little more training and push I could do it.  The Veteran’s Marathon is affordable and – bonus! – nearby.  And I did it!  4:18:48!

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I previously ran the Veteran’s Marathon in Columbia City in 2010 (please see that post for a funny video of Dave and Mosie… ah the days when we were young..).  I liked the race okay, but it was pretty hilly and the second half, which looped out in the country, was pretty lonely.  They since reconfigured the course so the marathoners just ran the half marathon course twice.  I liked the course much better this year – it was still out in the country but didn’t feel as tedious or long and the support was better than I remembered.  It was still mostly just water stop people (bless them!) but they were excited and encouraging.  There were still hills but nothing monster.  I walked up one hill, at mile 23.5, and ran the rest (or chugged slowly).  They were bigger than I’m used to, but nothing insurmountable.

The morning of the race was cold (27 degrees!) but no wind and the promise of a sunny day to warm things up.  I wasn’t sure what to wear for the race and bugged Kimberly about it on voxer to maker her help me figure it out.  In the end I decided on shorts, tall compression socks, a tshirt, a long sleeve tech shirt, and gloves.  Waiting for the race to start and the first couple miles I definitely would have appreciated a buff (my nose was so cold!) and hat, but both would have been completely unnecessary after a few miles, so I’m glad I didn’t have them.  I took the tech shirt off around mile 14 and tied it around my waist.

I also wore a hydration belt that was loaded with my phone, 8 fruit leathers, and two bottles of my homemade sports drink (honey, lime, himalayan salt, water).  Once the water bottles were empty (around mile 15) I filled them with gatorade at the water stations.  This worked well because the water stations are a little spread out at the Veteran’s race (every 2 or so miles, sometimes less, sometimes more) and I’ve found when I sip drinks it’s much easier for me than gulping cupfuls.  The fruit leathers worked well as fuel – I stumbled upon this right before my last long training run, when I realized I didn’t have any fuel, but did have Aldi fruit leathers.  They’re flat and pack well, taste great, and digest easily.  I ate one at miles 3, 6, and 9, took a GU from a water stop at mile 12, fruit leather at 15 and 18, then drink the rest of the way in (my stomach felt ok but the thought of eating something sounded awful).  I think I fueled well during the race, but probably could have done better beforehand.  I ate two pieces of toast with coffee at 6am and packed a fig granola bar to eat around 7:15, but totally forgot about it until the gun was about to go off.  So that was smart.  I don’t think it changed the race that much, but still.  Rookie mistake.

All in all, it was a great race.  The course was a little long – 26.3 (even on their website it’s listed as 26.3, which is baffling to me).  I felt like I ran well, pretty consistently (my first half was 2:07, second half 2:11 so I slowed a little, but not trainwreck), and at the finish was pretty certain I could not have pushed more or done much differently during the race.  It was a satisfying race and I was really proud of it.  Coming back to the marathon now with three kids I feel like I’m mentally tougher – I can recognize during a race when I’m tired or want to walk, but it’s easier for me to push through that and just keep going whereas before I might have given in.

This puts me at 9 marathons, which means marathon #10 should be something fun or special, right?  Any suggestions?!?! 

podcasts

podcasts, take 2

Not too long ago I posted about my favorite podcasts.  Since then, the list has shifted a little.  Here are my current favorites:

The Popcast: still my all-time favorite.  So hilarious and fun to listen to.

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey: I love hearing two women talk.  Is that weird?  It’s just so interesting to listen in to their conversation, learn new things, feel validated in others.  It swings from deep and thoughtful to silly and lighthearted and surface.

The Big Boo Cast: Similar to The Happy Hour, but always the same two hosts.  Bonus: southern accents.

Mom Struggling Well: Two women talking again!  Has a more parenting-focused bent, but runs the gamut of topics.  I’ve found it encouraging, hilarious, and challenging for my attitude and perspective as a mom.  The host, Emily, does not take herself too seriously and is very honest about her struggles/frustrations as a mom and person, which I love.

ARC Stories: Looking at the southern tradition of telling stories.  They have a topic and then various people will share stories around that topic.  It’s personal, sometimes very funny, and intimate.  I love it.

Lazy Genius: Kendra is on a break right now as she recently had her third baby, but I always look forward to her podcasts.  She’s insightful, funny, sarcastic, and smart.

Other podcasts I touch on periodically: by design, Young House Love, Mud Stories, Surviving Sarah, What Should I Read Next (I really like this one and her book recommendations are wonderful, but my list of To-Read is crazy long right now so I needed a break.)

What are your favorite podcasts?

family

family pictures

Last week we took family pictures.  Our last family picture was December of 2014, so I thought it would be nice to have a picture of all of us (although, to be fair, I was 12 weeks pregnant with Molly at the time, so technically she was there, too).

We scheduled the pictures for 5pm on a Tuesday at a local calendar garden.  At 4pm I was already annoyed, as Leo and Katie were being absolutely crazy while I was trying to dress them – lots of naked cartwheels, not listening, etc.  I gave them a big snack and packed more in my purse.  We sent Leo and Katie out to the car while we rounded up a few last minute items, then came out to the garage to find both of them sobbing.  Apparently Leo had stabbed Katie in the eye with a pencil (somewhat by accident) and he felt guilty and her eye hurt.  At that point it was almost comical to me.  I tossed some more snacks in their general direction and they recovered (and Katie’s eye was fine).

I had told our photographer that I really just hoped for one picture of all of us and one of the three kids.  And that our expectations were pretty low because we knew our age range and how tricky it can be to get a good picture of all three at the same time.  We started with the family picture.  We did family pictures in two places and by the end of the second place Leo was already asking if we were done, Katie couldn’t stop coughing from the cold air, and Molly really wanted to explore ev.er.y.thing.

We coaxed about ten more minutes out of them using threats and crackers before calling it.  The whole thing was probably 15 minutes, 20 max, but our photographer was patient (she’s a mom) and sweet with the kids.  And she totally caught some fantastic pictures!

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My absolute favorite.
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And this one!
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An accurate depiction of what our photographer had to work with.
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So close…

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So close… and then Katie coughed.