Runner, Runner

So, I guess I am a runner… After 3-months of training, two minor injuries, a little more than 100 miles and my first 5k officially under my feet, I completed my first training program, met my first goal, and fell in love with the idea of pushing myself to new limits.

Tonight was the first night of training toward my next goal, or should I say phase two: goal #1 part b (finish my 5k in 30 minutes or less — I’m so close!), goal #2 (run 5 miles) and goal #3 (complete a 10k) — Go BIG or Go Home!!

I should mention that when I started this new adventure, I did not intend to run for time. I was (and still am) more interested in seeing how far I can go, but I thought goal #1 part b would be a good way to transition to my next goal — baby steps!

So while running tonight (and fighting hard to reach my goals), I came up with my own top 5 motivators of the night to keep me going:

#5: Running in the rain is not as refreshing as it sounds before leaving the house (read: drown rat) — Move it girl so you can get home to dry off and warm up!!

#4: While the golden-yellow autumn leaves lining the street are beautiful to look at, they are slippery as $%^&* when it is raining out! — Avoid those streets when running!!

#3a: DO-NOT-EVER-AGAIN think that just before school lets out is a good time to run — it is not!! Neither students, or parents, or teachers, or bus drivers care if you are doing everything right (look both ways, use the cross walk and sidewalk, yield the right of way) — If you are not on wheels, you will not be seen!!

#3b: Running past your own house when you are cold and soaked to the bone because you still have three run cycles remaining, stinks!! — Note-to-Self: Take some time to plan out a route — preferably nowhere near the schools at dismissal time!!

#2: Having a Journey moment after experiencing #4 and #3 is a perfectly acceptable thing to do — Belting out “Don’t Stop Believin’” at the top of your lungs may get you a few stares from the neighbors, but is considered an appropriate form of motivation — at least in my book!!

#1: Realizing that yes, yes that voice in my ear (read: my training app) just said I did run 5 miles (and then some) and then seeing my nice, dry, warm house (again) come into view feels pretty damn AMAZING!!!

So yes, I guess I can say I am now officially a Runner, Runner… 😉

rainy night

First Week of 4K!

I am happy to say that we have survived our first week of 4-year-old Kindergarten!! And by we, I mean me! In the state of Wisconsin, 4-year-olds are offered the opportunity to attend a free school-year-long preschool program. To say my little Ella was ready, would be an understatement… Here’s my beautiful little bug all dressed and ready for her first day of preschool orientation!

All smiles for preschool orientation day
All smiles for preschool orientation day!

And what outfit is complete without a brand new Barbie backpack!

Barbie backpack

I am actually quite proud to admit that we both made it through orientation without one tear shed!

Preschool orientation day

I mean really, was there ever any doubt that she was ready!?!

That’s my girl!

Me on the other hand… let’s just say I wasn’t striking a pose or anything, just yet… Here’s my beautiful little girl on her first official day of school!

First day of school! 9.5.13
First day of school! 9.5.13

We had to take a few photos…

Happy 1st day of school!
Happy 1st day of school!

And a few more…

At the bus stop.
At the bus stop.

We live in town, so the opportunity to ride the bus to school was out of the question, or so we thought… thankfully, the 4k program also offered a bus option, so my little bug gets to ride the school bus after all!

My first bus!
My first bus!

When she returned from school I was expecting my little bug to be chatting my ear off, but to my surprise she was very quiet — too quiet… and then came the story: “Mom, at school today these kids just kept pushing me down, and I told them to stop, but they wouldn’t, so I told the teacher and she told them to stop and they still kept pushing me down, so the cops came and arrested the kids and took them to jail and then I had a lot of fun playing on the playground…” — oh Ella, how I missed your stories today… Once she got started talking she couldn’t stop, so I used the opportunity to ask her a few questions… I love her responses! Interview: Me: What is your favorite book? E: Disney Princesses Halloween Me: What is your favorite snack & food? E: Cupcakes & spaghetti Me: What do you want to be when you grow up? E: A princess Me: What is your favorite summer memory? E: Riding the rides at Como Zoo Me:  What is your favorite game? E: Pretending to be Venelope (the glitch girl from Wreck It Ralph) and racing My first week in photos:

Day 2
Day 2
Day 3
Day 3
Day 4 -- this is the face of one tired little girl
Day 4 — this is the face of one tired little girl

Day 5: The bus came early today, so mom forgot the picture… 😦 And that brings us to day 6: Today was bring your favorite stuffed animal to school day, and of course Ella had to bring bunny. He’s been with her since she came in to this world, and I am certain he will be with her forever.

Day 6: Bring your favorite stuffed animal day
Day 6: Bring your favorite stuffed animal day — Ella brought Bunny

And of course bunny had to have his own first day of school picture, too!

Bunny's first day of school! 9.13.13
Bunny’s first day of school! 9.13.13

I am told that bunny really liked school today, and he had a lot of fun! So here’s to more fun-filled 4k school days for my little Ella bug (and her bunny!)

Women Rock

Really, we do! In fact just a little over a week ago, I ran my first 5k race “Women Rock MN” to prove it!!

Here I am, up bright and early on race day!
Here I am, up bright and early on race day — it was early, don’t judge me!! 😉

Back in January I wrote a post titled “Accountability” where I talked about how I was going to start holding myself accountable for my actions. I was going to exercise, eat better, and ultimately be my own best self. Well after several months of hard work, and a few struggles along the way, I decided it was time to really show myself just how far I had come. And thanks to my friend Karen, I was given the opportunity to do so on Saturday, August 31st, 2013 when I ran the Women Rock MN 5k race in downtown St. Paul.

It was a beautiful day for a run. I made my way to the starting line about a minute before the race officially started — what can I say, I like to keep things interesting — and lined up at the back of the pack. I had been training for this race since July and had given myself a range of time to finish in, and since I didn’t have a clue about how an actual race was run, I figured this was as good a spot as any to line up.

And we're off... here goes nothin'!
Here goes nothin’!

And we were off… I struggled a bit to find my rhythm at first, my playlist was having some technical difficulties, and I was figuring out how to navigate between the walkers and runners ahead of me; once I passed the rather large ferret-like roadkill just past the starting line (Gross!), the Black Eyed Peas song “The Time” started filling my ears and it was pretty smooth sailing, err running, from there on out.

My beautiful girls (and my hubby, too) cheering me on.
My beautiful girls (and my hubby, too) cheering me on.

Luckily for me, my family made the trip to the cities with me, and were there to support me as I made my way to the finish line.

The Finisher!
The Finisher!

I finished my first 5k race one minute ahead of my training pace, and at the bottom end of the range I gave myself! Go me!! It was truly an amazing experience. One that has been and will continue to give me the drive I need to keep on going and to hold myself accountable. I can’t wait for my next race, and I look forward to the many new challenges I will present myself with in the future!

My girls!
Me & my girls!

Oh yes, and did I mention… Women Rock!

Women Rock MN -- 8.31.2013
Women Rock MN — 8.31.2013

Real Beauty — “Dove Real Beauty Sketches”

For those of you who may have been living under a rock the past few days, I’d like to introduce you to the “Dove – Real Beauty Sketches“…

I have to admit, before I watched this video, I started to define my own “beauty” — round rosy cheeks, thin lips, eyes that don’t sparkle as much as they used to. Wow, really? If that’s how I see myself, I can only imagine how others see me… But, after this video I have a renewed perspective on what “real beauty” is.

Real beauty is, and has always been, what’s on the inside. As a mother of two little girls, I think it’s important to remind not only my girls, but myself, that what we have on the inside will outshine what we have on the outside.

That said, I think it is also important to recognize and celebrate  just how unique and beautiful we all are. If it wasn’t for my grandmother and her fuzzy blonde tight permed hair and rose-colored lips, my mother wouldn’t be here today… and if it weren’t for my mother and her 1970’s middle hair part and lack there of make-up look, I wouldn’t be here today… and if it weren’t for me and my brown straight hair and “round rosy cheeks”, my beautiful little girls wouldn’t be here today…

My point is this: we are all unique; we are all beautiful; we should all be thankful for the generations of beautiful women who came before us, who not only helped shape us by sharing their physical traits or outer beauty, but graced us with their inner beauty as well.

So to my grandmothers, my mother, my mother-in-law, my aunts, my sister, my sisters-in-law, my beautiful little girls, my friends, and yes, to myself, I want to tell you this… YOU are BEAUTIFUL!!



National Grilled Cheese Month


In honor of April being “National Grilled Cheese” month, my hubby made me a grilled munster, sharp cheddar, sauteed mushroom and yellow onion sandwich on homemade bread with tomato soup — Yum-yum!!

If you’re looking for a creative way to spice up your favorite grilled cheese sandwich, check out these delicious recipes I found on the Real Simple website! Enjoy!!

Opening Day!

“Take me out to the ballgame!”


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


DIY Wine Rack


Our weekend DIY project! It turned out rather nice if I do say so myself, and I just did!!

Winter in Wisconsin

Surviving Wisconsin Winters


Preschool Schmeskool

Ugh, preschool registration is staring me in the face this week, and to be completely honest, this momma ain’t ready! My EB will turn four-years-old later this spring which makes her eligible for a four-year-old preschool program this coming fall. And while I know she will love this new adventure, I on the other hand am feeling sick to my stomach about the whole thing.

She is just growing up too fast! I admit that sometimes I forget that she is only three — there is just so much curiosity, so much personality, so much attitude that surrounds my little girl that I have to take a step back and remind myself that she is only three (going on 13). I’m not sure I’m ready to give up her morning snuggles, her witty remarks, her one-millionth-and-one question of the day just yet… then again, her temper tantrums, her stubbornness, and her attitude leave some things to be desired at times.

As trying as my little EB is, I love spending time with her. Call it guilt, but from the day she was born until she was almost three, I placed her in a daycare environment while I commuted 4 hours a day (2 hours each way) to work for another 8 hours in between. I got to see her for maybe an hour each night before it was her bedtime. I missed her, and now that I was able to make the switch to a full-time stay-at-home-mom I have the pleasure of seeing her all day, everyday and that’s not something I’m ready to give up just yet.

Granted, I know I don’t have to send her to preschool, but I worry about what impact not sending her would have on her entering Kindergarten the following year? I want to do the best thing for her not just me.

After a lot of reflection and support from some great friends, I am starting to see the light… I know this new adventure will be a benefit for EB as well as me — I can only imagine the stories she will come home with at the end of the day! I just hope that I’ll be ready… until then, I’m going to enjoy my beautiful EB and the mommy time I get with her!