Race Calendar

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Hi everyone!  Hope you are having a good Wednesday hump day.  Hopefully the rain here is starting to clear up.  Anyway, I wanted to share my race calendar (and to keep myself in line hehe) for the upcoming months.  I am SUPER stoked!

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APRIL 14- More Fitness Half Marathon (Central Park, NY)

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May 5- Broad Street Run (Philadelphia, PA, 10 miler)

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JUNE 9- Oddysey Half Marathon (Philadelphia, PA, Fairmount Park) * I think; waiting for them to post the race course map

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September 15- Rock N Roll Half Marathon (Philadelphia, PA)

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So, tell me:  Do you have any races planned soon?!  Which ones?!

Truth-day Tuesday 1

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So, this is a blog series that I am starting that will be focused around letting you in on random facts about yours truly. I have seen others do this and have found it interesting. You will either agree or not 😉 But judge. Definitely judge 😉

So, each Tuesday I will post five random facts about myself. Some have background stories and some are just that: random facts. I invite you to chime in and tell me random facts about yourself as well in the comments. Alright here goes the first episode of truth-day Tuesday…

Funny, this reminds me of a game I used to play with my new students each year that was called to truths one false. Each person would say two true things and one false thing about themselves and everybody would have to guess which was which. Only in this “game “all of them are true. Hmmm… Ok here we go:
1. Speaking of being a teacher, although I truly feel that this is what I was meant to be (other than on special assignment as a mommy to zach), I was actually an Accounting major for The first few years of my college life. One day I woke up, asked myself “what am I doing?” and walked right to the Registrar’s office to change my major to elementary education. Both of my parents were teachers, and I think that I was hesitant about following in their footsteps “because I thought I should” but that wasn’t it all. It was because I KNEW I should. I was BORN to be a teacher, whether it was “in my blood” or not.  So, a couple summer sessions and years later I actually graduated on time as an elementary school teacher. True story. And I still use what I learned as an accounting major. I like math. It is concrete. Remember I am Type A.
2. I enjoy taking showers in the dark. Often times I find the most relaxing showers to be after Zachary goes to sleep. I like to turn the lights off. I don’t know it’s weird but it’s what I like.
3. I have extremely crazy dental hygiene issues. I floss and brush like it is my job. And on top of that, I go to the dentist by choice every three months to get my teeth cleaned. I used to have extreme dental phobia but decided to try “immersion therapy” in terms of going more often, and then I got hooked. More funny backstory to this: I met my dentist in Nordstrom where I used to work for my part-time gig (you know, because as I told you in #1 I’m a teacher and we make the big bucks), but that’s another story. I instantly clicked with his wife and started going to him even though his office is in Downingtown and I live in Center City Philadelphia. Hour drive.  Seriously though, if you need a good dentist, email me. Oh, and I will be passing my crazy dental hygiene onto Zachary.
4. My favorite number is four. There is really no rhyme or reason to this, except that, I guess April is my favorite month and its number is four. My birthday is in April. So is Zach’s and other important events. This is going to sound super strange, but I just have always loved the number four. It’s very even (duh), I like the way it looks, it’s Just an all-around good number.  Aaaanddd cue the weirdness 😉
5. I am extremely superstitious. I don’t think that outwardly I would appear to be so, but in reality I am. I knock on wood a lot. Really. I guess I am just super thankful for everything in my blessed life and I am aware at how quickly it can be taken away…so I knock  on wood and the like.  Because, you know, that works 😉

OK, so there was my first installation of “truth-day Tuesday.”  I hope you enjoyed!  Please share some random facts about you in the comments!  We all like to share our weirdness eccentricities. And here is your cute Zach pic for the day!

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“How’s your leg?”

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…a good friend recently asked me, in regards to my bum shin and running.  The fact is, knock on wood, my shin has been great!!!  YAY!  So here are a few things I have been doing in order to get my shin healthy and to maintain its health:

1.  Buy new shoes…I know hard hard, but someone’s gotta do it. For real though, my orthopedist said that to rating running shoes daily is the best option as the cushioning built into the sneakers are meant to “bounce back” only after 24 plus hours. SO, I was able to buy a new pair (or two, one that I searched long and hard for and ended up buying on ebay-never done this before- because they don’t make them- my beloved Asics Gel Cumulus 13; I had bought the 15s and they just aren’t the same) and have been rotating.

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Ha, I kid. But seriously, look at these. I DIE!

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Another benefit to this is that my foot is hitting different surface each day so the repetition is not there to cause injury.  Caitlin  has talked about this before as well.

2.  Wear compression socks for.every.run.  No exceptions.  I have three pair of Zensah ones and rotate them.  LOVE these. I am looking into getting some others as well, perhaps Procompression but I’m waiting for some funds to come in 😉

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3.  Vary run intensities and elevation.  Before, I was pretty much running the same speed and elevation (flat) for every run.  Now that I am training for the More Fitness Half thru central park in NY.  A typical run schedule will look like this:

Day 1- Long run (9 miles currently)

Day 2- off

Day 3- speed (6 miles)

Day 4- tempo (at race pace 5 or 6)

Day 5- easy run (5 0r 6 @ easy pace)

Day 6- hills (6, max out at 5% incline, 1/2 mile repeats)

SAMPLE:  1.5 miles @ flat

0.5 @ 3%

0.5 flat

0.5 @ 4%

0.5 flat

0.5 @ 5%

0.5 flat

0.5 @ 4%

1.0 @ flat

Day 7- Cross Train (Elliptical or swim)

4. Icing- I will ice my shin after a long or intense run and I find this helps to ward off inflammation, essentially a cause of the stress fracture (weak muscles can lead to this).  I use frozen peas and corn and reuse…until I can’t anymore 😉  Cute mental picture, huh?

5.  Rest when needed.  During Run-a-Day-Cember I did not take one rest day for 31 days.  It was an awesome challenge and so cool to know I ran over 130 miles in one month, but I think it did not do good things to my body.  Working out that much that hard with no rest in between is a recipe for disaster and injury.  Let’s not forget long term damage as well.  So now, in the heart of my half training, I aim for one to two days off a week, depending on both my real-life and running schedule.  Although I tend to not love rest days emotionally, It really is essential to the physically demanding training plan for a half marathon.  I’ve come to realize that.

So, tell me, how do you recover from injury!?  How are you otherwise?!  Do tell!

What’s In My Purse?

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There’s my little man with my purse in the background; one of his favorite activities is playing “empty Mommy’s purse”

So, Caitlin did this and I thought it was really fun so I am joining in!  As I was writing this post, I started thinking about how different the contents of my purse look post-baby than pre-baby.  hehe.  Would’ve been cool to do a before and after.  But either way, here is the after!  Enjoy!

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And a close-up

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Diaper

Wipes

Halls Defense-I take at least 1/day to help my immune system out-LOVE the grapefruit flavor

Bubbles to entertain Zach (in the ice cream cone container-they are ice cream scented)

Fake keys for Zach to chew on

Baby socks

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Car Key

Wallet and house keys

Caterpillar baby toy/rattle

Baby Mum Mum crackers

A container of mascara that I don’t think Ive ever used and have no idea how it got there

Gum

Hand Sanitizer

Pen

Post its (for my endless lists)

Old shopping list

Chap stick

Planner (because I am type a duh)

Eye rewetting drops

Barette 

Empty Luna wrapper (I keep these; the bars, not the wrappers) on me at all times

Another diaper

A random Yurbud earbud

So, there you have it!  The (totally random) contents of my purse.  Share!  What’s in your purse?!  Oh and just for the cute factor, get a load of Zach’s first pair of shoes.  Pedipeds for the win.  I die!

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Cheap Creative and Easy Ways to Occupy Baby indoors

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A VERY good friend of mine 😉  who stays at home with her adorable baby as well, requested this post so here it goes!  I will preface though by saying that I have inherited some of these ideas from other smart ladies (a huge source being the leader of my Mommy Group) but I just had to share these!  Without further ado, here are some AMAZING cheap, creative and easy ways to occupy your baby indoors…just in time for this storm I hear might be coming this weekend.  I don’t have much trust in the weather people though 😉  OK, and PLEASE comment adding your own!

-BUBBLES BUBBLES; need I say more?!  Zach LOVES these.  Either buy some at the dollar store or make them yourself. I do the former, but I hear there are some good recipes on the www.  Here is an AMAZING bubble blower (mechanical) that I have seen used and it is on my “to buy” list 😉 Blows. My. Mind.  

Gymboree Bubble Ooodles Fan – contains mini fan and tray

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-MUSIC!  Sing songs (or listen to Sesame Pandora station or YouTube) while playing instruments you either bought OR make yourself.  An easy way to make instruments:  use a coffee tin, formula canister or something of the like. Fill with dry pasta or rice.  Tape shut.  OR, you can do like us and do Tupperware drumming with a pot and pan accompaniment.  Spatulas work wonders for drum sticks, btw.  

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-TOILET PAPER TIME- either in a large enough box, kiddie pool or other enclosed area, allow your baby to “have it out” with a toilet paper roll; they will LOVE it.  You can also use scraps of wrapping paper, magazines, etc. to let them practice ripping, scrunching, etc.  This will easily kill ten minutes 😉

-STICKY TIME; get some contact paper and masking tape it to the floor or wall so the sticky side is up. Then, have your baby experiment with different toys and how they stick on the paper.  They will also stick their hands on it to feel the texture.

-MIRROR TIME; all babies love mirrors, but switch it up- take baby in the bathroom and support him/her standing int he sink so he can get a good look at your bathroom mirror. Then, play lights on/lights off to show cause and effect.

-CHALK and butcher paper.  VERY funny when they try to eat it. I’ve seen it before 🙂

-BOXES- put your baby IN the box, or flip it over so they can stand with it or bang on it. My doll likes to chew on it. Duh. 

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-WHAT’S in the BAG/BOX?  Take a bag (sturdy; plastic is dangerous) and fil it with baby’s toys and have them “root through it” like they do with your purse or diaper bag.  This is also fun with old scarves you might have or lonely baby/adult socks that have lost their match.

-CHASE THE BALL- if you have an exercise ball this works best (lord knows I didn’t get any use from mine purchased for labor).  Have baby roll the ball and chase after it. Hilarious too.

-UNWRAP IT- I got this one from this girl but basically the idea is to wrap baby’s toys in tin foil and have him/her open them.  Good for travel too.

-SORTING- use either an ice cube tray, empty egg carton, or baby food jars to have baby sort items.  Good way to start color introduction.  Baby can sort colored pasta, pom poms, beans, etc. Item will depend on age, and if small, SUPERVISE!

-INDOOR PETTING ZOO- line stuffed animals up on the couch, floor, etc and have baby pet each.  Talk to them about the different features of the animals.  Cute, huh? this one I think came form Parents Magazine.  

-EDIBLE FINGER PAINT- need a say more 😉

-FOOD EXPLORATIONS- I’ve talked about this before- but simply allowing your baby to taste new things can be a fun activityImage

-COOKING LESSON; if I want to bake cookies or do something for dinner, I will sometimes put Zach in his high chair and tell him EVERYTHING I am doing. This is good for verbal development.  I will also have him “help me stir” or feel the ingredients, good for sensory development.  Also good for being productive 😉

-WHAT’S THAT SMELL- got this one from this girl.   Have your baby smell different scents such as cinnamon, orange, candles, etc.  Super fun.  Good for senses!

-CLIMB THE CUSHIONS- IF your house lends itself to this (i.e. you have carpeting and your baby won’t hit his/her head) take the couch cushions off the couch and pile them on the floor.  Have baby climb the cushions 🙂

-PEEK-A-BOO a million times over.  Friends, this isn’t your typical peek-a-boo game.  Use ANYTHING you can to play this wonderful developmental game:  the door, a scarf or blanket, behind the couch, under the high chair, etc.  Get creative with how many different ways/how many different props you can use to play this popular game

Whew!  OK, I’m out.  Hope that was helpful!  Please add some!  

Crickets.

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As in silence.  Dunno.  Haven’t had much to say lately!  Things around here have been pretty routine, which I will get into in a moment, so I guess it has been more of the same!  Always a good thing 😉  Anyway, I wanted to talk a little bit about our “routine” as you are, I am sure, wondering what we “do all day” 😉  I was SUPER happy when the “winter” session for classes started up, as I (we) don’t do well cooped up in the house all day.  This “semester,” we are taking TWO music classes (one Monday and one Tuesday)- I swear Zach is musically inclined; when I sing he holds an egg shaker (his favorite) and when it is not in his mouth, he shakes it to the beat!  We do this a lot. He also likes drumming…on anything…with anything.  We also do a formal mommy group on Wednesdays which I really like.  There is always an activity for the kids (ex: sidewalk chalk on big paper, or sensory activities like shapes on contact paper), snack time, songs, bubbles, books, play time and mommy conversation.  Love it all.  Zach is the youngest baby int he group (only by about a month) so it is cool to see “where he is headed” with his development.    Speaking of development (excuse my off-topic-ness) Zach is going thru a waking up several times a night phase which kinda stinks.  Anyway, we also meet up with some other mommies during the week for play time, and if the weather permits, we go to the (newly renovated across the street) playground whenever possible.  We also find new (and unconventional) things to play with daily.

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Life is good!  Anyway, I just don’t have much more to say (shocker!) so I will talk to you soon and leave you with a cute Zach picture (duh) with his walker!

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The Soup I couldn’t eat, but the Homemade bread I could, and the worst time of day

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Hi everyone!  So, as you could surmise from the title, this might be a long post. I apologize ahead of time 😉  Anyway, let’s start with the soup I couldn’t eat.  I had GRAND plans of making a new recipe soup in the crock for dinner along with some homemade bread (I’ll get to that later).  I have made tortilla soup once in the crock pot before and it was good. But I was looking for GREAT.  A little more tomato-y if that is a word.  So I used this recipe.  For people who can handle spice (like my Husband), I am sure it was amazing, but me, I couldn’t do it!  IT was toooo spicy.  So, if you can “take the heat” get int he kitchen and make this recipe!  As for the bread, I recently saw this girl make homemade bread on her blog.  I thought immediately that I needed to try with especially with soup night!  But alas, I did NOT read through the WHOLE recipe (found here) and therefore was unaware of how intense making bread is!  I mean how many times does it need to rise? The answer:  a LOT.  Anyway, it was WELL worth the wait(s).  AMAAAZING. And soooo beautiful!  

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I had a garlic-bread style piece with my (couple bites of) soup and a piece for dessert with jelly. YUM!  Try this recipe now (if you have a day at home to wait for it to rise several times).  I may have had dessert number 2 of these amazing cookies.  They NEVER fail.  Moving on to a less pleasant subject; the worst time of day.  I am sure most SAHMs will agree with me (as I have had this discussion with some others) that the late afternoon (a bit after the pm nap until dinner) is the hardest time of day.  It just draaaaaags soooo much.  WIth the weather and it getting dark so soon, I can’t do my usual time-killer of going to the playground across the street.  That used to really break it up so nicely.  SO, I have been finding other things to do to make this time more pleasurable for both Zach and me.  The first thing is a mommy meet up group that I started (email me for details) that meets every other week on Tuesdays at 4pm.  SO great to beat the late pm blues.  I also try to make other play dates during this time.  Another fun thing we have been doing (that can SERIOUSLY kill like an hour) is experimenting with different foods!  Since Zach is almost ten months (gasp!) he is now allowed to “experience” (ha, see below) al different kinds of food.  I admit, I have been sorta hesitant up until now to give him too much, and I am still super careful about what types of food I give him and try to follow this website, but I am starting to branch out!  He is loving it and so am I.  And again, it does help pass time during the late pm hours.  Here’s what we’ve been having:

YOGURT (Yo Baby Organic Peach flavor, Whole Foods)

 

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He liked it.

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Avocado slices

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Mango slices

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(suck suck suck! soooo cute!)

Anyway, as you can see, I do a mixture of purees (his favorite are sweet potatoes) and “baby led weaning style finger foods (long chunks to gnaw on rather than itty bitty pieces).  So, do tell:  Do you find this time of day to be challenging?  What/how do you feed your baby?  What is a new recipe you have tried?!