Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Running Helps Me Regroup

We've had a crazy couple of days. Mostly crazy just with the girls attitudes towards everything. It started out with M not wanting to wear shoes and throwing a fit making us late dropping J off at school. Then throwing a fit the whole way to the school because she actually did want shoes and ended up going barefoot. Then she was sad that J got to go to school and she didn't. I assured her that this wouldn't always be something to cry over. I'm sure soon enough she'll be upset because she would rather play instead of going to school...maybe not though, I don't know. There was a fit over having to go home from school and about not being able to swim right this second (she had to wait for everyone to get ready). There was a big spit up by V that made us need to change the sheets and clothes of everyone involved. Then things started to settle down a little, just in time for us to get ready for bed.

As you can tell, last night's run was very much needed. It's been a crazy week or so, with a lot of schedule and life changes happening for us right now. Even though they are good changes, it causes a lot of stress for us. Running hasn't happened much for the month of August, between working to get back in running shape, and taking care of injuries, I just haven't gotten to do it a whole lot. And boy have I missed it.

It always amazes me what a run can do for me. I've said before, that it's kind of a shame that I can't run in the morning at this point in life, or in the afternoon. I always come back from my run feeling so much calmer and happier than before. I'm pretty sure my kids would have a much nicer mommy all day long if I were able to do that before bed time. In time, I'll get to that point. Right now I am super glad that I get to run at all.

When coming back from a running break, I'm always having to remind myself of all the reasons I like to run. Because running when you haven't been for a while is tough. Mentally and physically, you're asking yourself a lot why you're doing it.  For me, at least, it's not until I hit a comfortable 3 miles that I start enjoying it again. People ask a lot why I run, or when running becomes fun. I think the answers for this are different for everyone, but for me there are a few reasons.

First, I run because of the feeling afterwords. I don't care a whole lot for the actual running part, most of the time. I love the way it makes me feel after. That depleted, deep breathing, empty feeling feels really great to me. Not depleted or empty in a depressed way, of course, more in a I-ran-every-stress-away kind of empty.

I think much more clearly after a run, when my mind is clear than I do before running. My mind is not nearly as jumbled after a run than before it. A lot of times I won't be able to make a really good decision on something until I get a run in. Not always, but often.

Another reason I really like running is because I really like being able to see my progress. Sometimes, as a stay at home mom, I don't feel like I'm progressing a lot in my life. I'm raising 3 beautiful kids, and I'm teaching them important things, they are growing, learning, progressing. But sometimes I don't feel that for myself. And when I can run, and make progress in my milage, or PR, or get back into shape after a break, I feel that progress and it makes me happy.

Running isn't for everyone, and that is totally ok. People have their ways of challenging themselves and getting those endorphins. Running is my way of doing that. I can't feel as good as I feel after a run, by doing anything else. I might come back sweaty and gross, but I feel so light and clean and happy after I have a really good run.

This is literally the only picture I took yesterday. Post run, calmed down and getting V ready for bed (yes in Christmas jammies, this kid grows like a weed). The calmest, happiest part of my day for the day.  Sometimes you just need to run your feelings off to restart your day. 

What is your outlet? What helps you regroup?

Is back to school always this crazy, or is it just us?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Birthday Weekend

 This was a perfect way to start my weekend. Thursday night called for a nice evening run. I'm back to 3 miles and the view was really great. It's getting cooler out and darker earlier, so I'll be soaking up as much of this summer stuff as I can.

J got home from school on Friday and we did a little cuddle time on the couch.  She sure loves her little brother. I'm always a little worried that she's going to smother him with cuddles, but he seems to love her back just as much. 

This week we decided to go out with my mom to look for a bouncer. Some how we have survived 2 kids and never had one. We found THIS great bouncer for my mom to keep at her house for all the grandbabies that come. V is so far loving it. 

My birthday was on Saturday, we celebrated by cleaning the house and then having my brother (He's a D.O.) do a little surgery on my parents kitchen table. Trevon had a cyst on his head that we wanted out. I'll spare you the details for those who are a little squeamish. 

After that little procedure, we took the kids to the beam museum. I really just wanted a relaxing day where everyone was happy and entertained.  I remember my mom saying thats all she wanted for her birthday and thinking that was so boring. now I completely understand, does that mean I'm a real mom now?  

Then we met everyone for dinner at Texas Road House. It's been a long time since all of my siblings have been together, we missed my brother's wife and kids, but hopefully soon we will be able to see them all a lot more often. 

On Sunday we had a bbq at my parent's house after church.  We like to celebrate as much as possible. So we had a birthday/yay-we-get-to-see-my-brother party before he had to get ready to go in the next day or two. We had hamburgers with my grandpa's famous onion rings. We are really glad that we were taught how to make these because now we can make them even though he is gone. Every time I eat them, it reminds me of him. 

Any family recipes in your family?

Friday, August 26, 2016

5 on Friday

Here are five things that have been happening lately, for our 5 on Friday post!

1. Have you ever had a Rita's Italian Ice? Did you know that they give you one for free on your birthday (or half birthday if your birthday is in a colder month) if you sign up for the birthday club? It's totally worth it!

The girls and I went to get my birthday treat to share this week. We got the strawberry mango, and I totally suggest that flavor, it was delicious. 

2. V is getting pretty good at holding his bottle on his own. Part of me loves this, and part of me thinks it's a little sad that he's getting so big. 

3. J started kindergarten this week. I'm not a mom who cries when I drop my kids off, I was pretty happy about the few hours with one less kid (not that I don't love her, I just like to be productive and sometimes getting kids in school helps with that)  

4. While J was at school, M played and entertained herself, and V. When J got home, M threw a fit for a while. I think she enjoyed having a little extra attention, but I hope that she doesn't throw a fit every time J comes home.

5. When I went to pick J up, the teacher brought the whole class out to meet their parents or get on the bus. J was the last one out of the classroom and got a little nervous so she hid behind the wall. One of the teachers had to bring her out separately. I asked her after why she was nervous and she said one of the other little girls wanted her to get on the school bus instead of go with me. I told her I was so glad she didn't get on the bus and that the little girl probably just wanted to be friends. 

If you want to link up for 5 on Friday, here's a great blog to link up to! 

Do you remember your first day of Kindergarten?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Chicken Rolls Recipe

The last day of summer for J, I wanted to let her do what she wanted. She didn't pick swimming or the park, the first thing she picked was to watch home videos.

After watching those for almost 2 hours, we went to my sister's house for a picnic and we ended up playing there all day long. I'm really going to miss being able to do this kind of stuff. We were talking about how when they were really little we used to take them on walks all over the neighborhood and it was so easy because they all just sat in the stroller. Now we try to take them on a walk and everyone wants to ride a bike or walk, and when they do want to ride in the stroller, the stroller gets really heavy to push. We miss the days when we could just load all the little babies up and go around at our own pace. But, that's how things work. Kids grow up. 

Coming back from a 3 week running break is not as easy this time as it was when I was in high school.  I don't have the endurance that I had, but it's slowly coming back. I'm just glad I'm running with no bad pain! Almost 2 miles last night. 

I thought I'd share one of J's favorite dinners with everyone today. It's super easy and cheap, and quick to make, so I'm sure I'll be making it a lot the next little while, while we adjust to new schedules.

We call them Chicken Rolls. We had them one time at a friend's house and then one day when we needed to make something quick, and use up some stuff we had on hand, I decided to make them here. They've been an easy win since then. The girls always want them and always eat at least one whole roll.

So here is what you need:
12 oz canned chicken
1/4 c mayo
1/4 c cream cheese
1/2 chedder cheese
1/4 c chopped celery (optional)
8 oz crescent dough sheet (I use pilsberry from the fridge section at the grocery store, but you can use any crescent dough)

Mix chicken, mayo, cream cheese, and celery well.

Open the thawed dough and spread it out. Cut the dough into sections about 3-4 inches wide.

Spoon some of the chicken mix onto the dough, add a little cheddar on top, and then fold the top part over and pinch the sides so the chicken wont spill out. Place onto a sprayed cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

We like to cut up some fruit and veggies to eat with this or sometimes we eat it with french fries or mac and cheese. Like I said, it's a what ever we have on hand kind of dinner.

Did you have a favorite meal growing up?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

End of Summer Things

I'm not sure how, but summer is almost over. I love fall and all, but I'm sad to see this heat and fun go. So we are trying to pack as much summer in as possible before school starts on Thursday. We finished watching the olympics as a family on Sunday. I'm always a little sad to see them end, but before we know it they will be back on again.

We swam with all the cousins yesterday at Grandma's house. This jumping picture didn't work out quite how we hoped, but it captured our fun anyway.

J has gone from swimming with water wings, and never wanting to get her face in the water, to jumping in the pool and swimming across with out water wings or any help all in one summer. She's getting so good and so brave. Part of me wishes she just stayed in the floaters, since her swimming requires a little more work on my part, but I'm still proud of her. 

The last few days we have worked pretty hard in the mornings to get the house back to clean. Trying to fit in all the summer fun at the end of it leaves our house a little messy and cluttered. Luckily, M still thinks its fun to help clean. 

One of my favorite summer treats is a fresh peach in milk. Trevon thinks this is weird, but it's delicious and I'll be eating all the peaches I can in the next little while. Smoothies, with milk, on cereal, peach milkshakes, basically anyway you can do peaches. 

Last night the girls wanted to try out their new running shoes. So when I went out for a run, I let them tag along for the warm up. I was super impressed that M ran the whole half mile without stopping (except to take this picture) and she kept up really well. Then I dropped the girls off at home and finished my run. I only went about a mile after that, but it was something. So far so good with my new shoes! Now to just get back to the three miles I was at before. 

After running, I saw this and thought it was really funny. Out of all the Michael Phelps memes with this picture I've seen, I think this has been my favorite use of it so far. 

How are you finishing up summer?

When do your kids start school?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Little Passports Landmarks and a Giveaway

J was really excited when our next Little Passports package came. She had been asking about it for over a week! So when it showed up, we opened it right away and checked out what was inside. This month was all about famous landmarks over the world.

Right now J is kind of obsessed with all things Italy. Since her grandparents went there a couple of months ago, she loves to learn about Italy. So the first landmark she wanted to learn about was the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  She wore her Italy shirt and asked to have Italian for dinner that night too.

With this package, they sent a few figurines and facts about certain landmarks. We got the Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Great Wall of China, The Eiffel Tower, The Great Sphinx of Giza, and The Taj Mahal in ours.  I'm not gonna lie, I was a tiny bit disappointed that we didn't get the Statue of Liberty, but that's still a landmark that we will talk about.

They also sent some little cards that tell you a few facts about each landmark. So we read those and then look up a short video on Youtube about which ever landmark we are talking about for a few extra facts. 

With every Little Passports box that you get, there is a postcard in it from their mascots Max and Mia.  It talks again, about some facts of whatever is on the postcard and includes a letter telling about Max and Mia's adventures for the month. Something I didn't know about the Leaning Tower of Pisa: It was under construction from 1990 to 2001. I've discovered that it's a little embarrassing how much I either didn't get taught in geography in school, or that I didn't retain as I went to school. But Little passports is great because, I'm learning and the girls are learning and it's in a fun way.

While we are talking about each landmark, I have the girls put the figure (if it's one that we have) on the map, in the right spot.  They also sent us stickers of the same figurines to put on the map in the right spot. Most of the time we are talking about it, M will sit and play with the little figures. She's always loved little toys that fit in your hand. She will carry them everywhere.

They also send an activity book each month. After we have talked about a landmark, J gets to pick one Little Passport activity from the book, and then M gets to pick one. M really likes this little flash light activity and she picks that one a lot.

Another thing that they sent with the box, that we forgot all about using sadly enough, was a $35 coupon to Hello Fresh. That's another subscription type box that will deliver fresh ingredients to your door so that you can make dinner with everything you need, fresh.  I'm kicking myself that I forgot to use this before it expired. But if anyone else has used that subscription, let me know how it goes!

We have loved using Little Passports over the summer! J thrives on learning, so it was the perfect way to challenge her mind while we are taking a break from the school thing.  It's been really great to have the girls ask to learn about the world. Little Passports gives us a great way to keep our minds sharp and have fun at the same time. It's never boring to see my kids look through their Little Passports suit case and get excited about learning. The other great thing about Little Passports, is that if they ask a question I'm not sure about, I can look it up online and then I'm learning something too.

Little Passports is a great way to get your kids interested in learning about the world. They have offered to do a giveaway for my readers today! The winner will be able to pick a 3 month subscription from any of their boxes: World, USA, or Early Explorers (thats the one we got). I think the USA one looks pretty fun too. Enter to win below! Giveaway ends on Tuesday, August 30, at 12:00 AM. Winner will be notified by email. Thanks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you have a favorite landmark?

Do your kids love to learn or think it's boring?

Who has done a subscription box? Do you have a favorite?

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Cabin Sleep Over

J has been asking all summer to do two things: Go camping, and sleep over at the cabin. Since we've had a busy summer with making adjustments since V was born, we slacked on those things and we ran out of time to do both. So On Friday we decided to sleep over at the cabin and do some camping things along with it. We usually wait to tell the girls things like this until we are getting in the car. (that way we avoid a lot of nagging or any melt downs if plans change). But J found out on Thursday that we were thinking about going and from then on she did a lot of nagging and asking if it was time to go. I kept her as busy as possible. I even pulled out my old light bright to help distract her.

When Trevon got home from work, we loaded all our stuff up as fast as we could and we headed up to the cabin.  My sister's family met us there and we had a fire to roast hot dogs. 

I'm not really sure how my girls would handle camping at this point, they are both pretty nervous about bugs, M freaks out if a fly lands near her. Hopefully this is something that they will grow out of soon. 

Before putting the fire out, we also roasted marshmallows. I hate marshmallows, but the girls hadn't ever roasted them before so it was fun to do.  

M preferred hers un-roasted, which to me is worse. But we were "camping" and she was having fun, so whatever. 

 I even made a S'more and I have to admit that it wasn't nearly as bad as I remember them being. Hating them might have something to do with the sticky mess that my mom hated cleaning up or something.  I still wouldn't eat them on a regular basis, but now I wouldn't mind one every now and then.

We let the kids play for a little while and then my sister took her family home. (They had things to do in the morning). We let the girls watch Zootopia in their beds on the floor, thinking they would fall asleep during it. Nope. They were up until almost midnight watching the movie. Trevon and I both fell asleep before it was over. We were hoping that maybe they would sleep in because of that. Nope again. They were up at 6:30 AM. ready to play. I took them out on the deck so they could see some wild turkeys and a baby deer. This is about the time that I remember I should bring my good camera whether I think I'll use it or not. 

The girls played a little bit outside after breakfast, while I fed V and watched the women's triathlon. 

Before going home, I went out to play with the girls for a little while. My fear of snakes was manifested again when we were coming back inside to pack up and go home. A tiny, baby snake slithered right in front of my foot and I almost stepped on it. I tried to pull M along with me while I was screaming and running away, but that poor girl was confused and just stood there. Sorry sweety, apparently I'm not taking you with me when running from a snake. I've been told that I wasn't always scared of snakes, but I don't remember that.  What I remember is a lot of talk about how rattle snakes live at the cabin and they could kill you and now even looking at a picture of any snakes (or talking about them) makes me cringe. I'm praying that my kids also gain a fear of snakes so that none of them will chase me down with one, because that's just mean, and I'd probably die...really though I probably would. 

Anyway, once I could walk again (my legs were shaking for 10 minutes after the snake thing) we loaded up and came home. The kids all napped the whole way home, and then I stayed in the car with them and read my book while they slept for another half hour after getting home. I think that was a pretty successful trip to the cabin. 

The rest of Saturday was about running errands. All of us needed some kind of new shoes. So we went to Target for the girls, and then Runners Corner (a locally owned running store) for us. Usually I can walk in there and tell them exactly what shoe I want and buy it. That's because I've worn Mizuno Wave Riders for 15 years. But this time I wanted to give something new a try. This was much scarier than I thought it would be. Last time I tried a new shoe I got a foot injury, and went back to the normal shoe. So after trying on several Brooks shoes, I decided on the Brooks Launch 3's. And so far I'm loving them. I'll be running in them this week for sure! 

This week is another busy one, hopefully there will be some cleaning catch up going on too. 

What is your favorite running shoe?

Are you scared of any animals?

S'mores, yay or nay?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Pictures From Our Day

We started yesterday out with taking J for her school testing. Sometimes I can't believe she's going to start kindergarten.  She did really good on all of her testing, while I filled these forms out and listened quietly.

When we got back to my parents house to pick up V and M, my mom wanted to take J out to finish her birthday shopping, since she wasn't able to find what she wanted the first time. So we all went out to Target.  We almost had J talked into buying a gymnastics barbie that came with a balance beam and floor and did real flips, but then she saw this Elena of Avalor doll... I can't say I'm exactly thrilled about that choice (it sings the same song over and over when you push her necklace), but she's happy. 

After she had picked out what she wanted, we ran some errands before lunch. M wanted to have a picture of her curly hair. The night before she passed up a bedtime snack so that she could have night time curlers in her hair. I love how it worked out on her, it's one of the very few times curl has actually held in her hair. 

After lunch, the girls wanted to go back to Grandma's house. We are super lucky to live so close to her, hopefully she doesn't get too sick of us coming over with kids all the time. We played outside and did some olympics of our own. First we had a race around the yard and then we did some gymnastics. M was pretty good at working on the headstand.