Thursday, October 29, 2009

Life changes and other things

I am ready to take it up a notch.

I am a fit, healthy person, but I think I am still holding myself back. The exercise is not a problem. I enjoy it, from the classes I teach to races I run. I eat healthy food and include most all the required vitamins and nutrients. But I also include a little too much extra. For instance, the half bag of Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips I just polished off or the two servings of fudge tracks ice cream earlier in the week. I think I could be in stellar shape if I cut these habits out of my day.

I have always had an easier time doing things rather than not doing them. So I can eat good food and workout diligently, but the not eating what tastes good is the challenge. Now that I am making health and fitness my professional focus, I feel like I should be a better example. My new goals are getting stronger by doing more challenging strength exercises and eating better. Or at least eating less crap. We'll see how this goes, especially with Halloween candy looming.


We are going away this weekend for my Dad's 60th birthday. He is absolutely one of my favorite people, and I have been a Daddy's girl since birth. I am enthusiastic about celebrating such a great person. My sisters and I got him the very cool present of tickets to next year's PGA championship in Wisconsin. I found my inner crafty person and created a card for him.

He's a humble guy and doesn't want us to make a fuss, but he deserves it.


Boys, boys, boys

Baby in disguise.

Who is this strange, tiny man?

Baby Tom Brady...last minute costume.

Slapped-together fireman costume (complete with girls' cowboy hat).


Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall 50

Running in the crisp fall air over a blanket of rust-colored leaves while the cool sunlight filters through golden trees. You can't beat that.

Five of us headed north to the Fall 50 in Door County. It was a 10-part relay covering 50 miles from the tip of the peninsula down to Sturgeon Bay. I did legs five and ten. The first was 4.8 miles, the second was 4.6. It was a bit hilly and a bit chilly, but I felt great, and broke 40 minutes for both runs.

It was a fun, interesting race. We had to shuttle runners to each exchange point, stopping to cheer our runner on the way. Then the next runner had to be in place to accept the "baton" (really a glorified snap bracelet). The whole affair took us seven and a half hours, but time went quickly. It all ended with a party complete with pizza and beer under a heated tent. Wisconsin runners know how to do it.

The drive there and back was long and not good for sore muscles, but the weekend was a blast, as was reconnecting with old teammates from high school cross country.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Feast or famine

I tend to be an all or nothing kind of girl. At least when it comes to motivation and energy. This week I had a little of both. Early in the week, I was sluggish and uninspired. I did the bare minimum and spent a lot of time lying on the couch and napping when the kids did.

Yesterday however, was a different story. Perhaps it was tied to my higher-than-usual caffeine consumption, but I was on fire. It started at 4:40 a.m. when I woke up for my first class of the day. I did take a nap after that. I don't know how those people keep going about their day after their class. That is just early. Besides that first aerobics class, I had an 11:00 am Pilates class and a 5:45 pm fitness class. But in between, I managed to squeeze in a lot.

Our closet has been annoying me for sometime. T had a open box of ties he had yet to unpack from our move six months ago. The cats used it as a sleeping bag, and his ties were wrinkly and fur-covered. I made it my mission to remedy this. Also, his side of the closet was disastrous. He didn't even know about several items of clothing hidden away.

Yesterday, I hit Target and got a few Tupperware containers to slide under the bed. I unearthed his ties (pissing off the cats who are now forced to rough it amongst the shoes).

I rolled his ties and organized them by color in the container.

I also found a few robes and a belt stuffed beneath the ties. I put his sweaters in bins as well, and filled another with hats, goggles, and belts. I then organized his closet and labeled it with my super cool new label maker which I requested for my birthday last week.

My other mission for the day was to figure out a good recipe for healthy granola bars. We have been trying to use flax meal lately to give us Omega 3 fatty acids, since we don't eat fish. I want to give the kids (and T and me) a healthy snack without paying a ton for Kashi bars or something. So I searched the Internet, stocked up at Target and came up with these:

They weren't too hard to make and now are individually wrapped and ready for us. And, I can mix it up with chocolate chips or peanuts. For this batch I used dried apricots, peanut butter, and walnuts (for another boost of Omega 3s.) They are really tasty. I doubled the recipe and used a 13 X 9 pan.

1 and 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal (e.g., Rice Krispies)
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
3 tablespoons ground flax seed (flax seed meal)
1/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (e.g., raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.)
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (preferably roasted or toasted)
1/4 cup brown rice syrup (or honey, maple syrup, or light molasses)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/3 cup nut butter (e.g., peanut, almond, cashew, soy nut)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the rice cereal, oats, flaxseed meal, dried fruit, and nuts in a large bowl.

Bring the syrup and brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Stir in nut butter and vanilla until blended.

Pour nut butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until coated (mixture will be stiff). Press mixture firmly into an 8-inch square pan (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) using a large square of wax paper. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 12 bars. (Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator).

Nutrition per serving (1 bar):
Calories 228; Fat 7.4g (poly 2.3g, mono 4.1g, sat 0.9g); Protein 10.8g; Cholesterol 5mg; Carbohydrate 34.3g; Sodium 156mg)

I also gave myself a manicure after breaking a nail on the wet trunk door and made veggie pitas for dinner. I was feeling pretty accomplished by the end of the day. I think I need a few lazy days to make up for this burst of inspiration.


I woke up this morning to disaster. The boys were both jumping in R's crib. R was completely naked and Q had just a T-shirt on. Q had piled the contents of his dresser, changing table, toy basket, and hat rack into a "house" in the middle of the floor. I was not pleased. It was quite a clean-up operation and an exercise in patience.

I am in great need of a break and mercifully one is coming my way. Tonight I head out of town for two days to take part in a 50-mile relay in Door County. Five of us are doing it, so the mileage won't be too difficult. It is just a short getaway, but it will be nice to pack for one person and shirk my parental responsibility for awhile.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Growing like weeds

Professional pictures are not cheap. We got some when R turned 1 and Q turned 3. We paid more than $400 and didn't have much to show for it. The pictures were beautiful, but they were $25 for a 4 x 6. Craziness.

So, for R's 18-month pictures, I decided to take matters into my own hands. After all, I am a trained videographer, I think I can manage some decent still pictures. I herded the boys out into the side yard in their new coordinating puffy vests and snapped away. We printed them at Walgreens and while not quite professionally perfect, they are pretty darn cute and a hell of a lot cheaper.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Climbing back

I am almost back to normal after a couple weeks of coughing, sneezing, voice-losing, achy, feverish, exhausted ickiness. I spent much of last week in bed, when I wasn't croaking out instructions to my class participants.

I eventually made my way to the doctor when my ear started to hurt, and he put me on antibiotics. Evidently, I had a sinus infection that sort of spread willy nilly. The boys so far seem to be staying fairly healthy. I am just glad to have some energy again. It is so hard to parent when you feel like crap. It makes you miss the days of childlessness when you could just hole up in bed for a week and tune out the world. T was a big help coming home early from work one day and taking Q with him for a few hours another day. Sick single parents have it even worse.


This last weekend was a fun mix of the past and present. We had a mini-reunion of my high school cross country team. We were a tight-knit group with wacky traditions and warm memories. A motley group met up in the cold this Saturday for a casual run and a little barbecue. I have been in touch with several of these people, more so since I moved back home, but most I haven't seen in at least 11 years. Amazingly, we slipped right back into familiarity, talking about our favorite race courses and reminiscing about high school exploits. I almost felt like I was an eager 17-year-old again until my 18-month-old toddled over, and I was thrust into reality once again.

It felt so uplifting to bond with my old teammates. It made me appreciate being introduced to running at a young age. It is a passion that has stuck with me and served me well. It also made me appreciate good friends and happy memories of high school. At the time, my high school days often seemed full of stress and drama. But in retrospect, I had a rich experience that boosted the rest of my life.

The next morning, a handful of us run a 5K in downtown Milwaukee. I felt good and got a personal record of 23:45. To my great surprise, I got first in my age group of 30-34. What?! I never win. There were only 1,000 entrants, but still I must say I was pretty darn proud of myself.

Back in high school I was an average runner at best, often occupying the last position on varsity or even being edged to JV. But now, more than ten years later, I sped by my once much-faster former teammates and walked away with a quirky little trophy.

Who would have thought.