Sunday, July 11, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Food for Thought

This past Friday my son and I volunteered together for Global Youth Service Day. We gave 2 hours of our day to help others in need and it felt good for both of us. This wasn't our first time volunteering together but it was just as rewarding. Sometimes I can't help but feel selfish when I volunteer because I always feel good after and that can be a little confusing when your feeding homeless families.

We worked in the kitchen at the Sulzbacher Center. It is one of the only shelters in Jacksonville, Florida that will let families stay together during their time in the shelter. They are also the only shelter that provides 3 meals a day. I knew that we would see some children but I was truly blown away by the amount that were actually there. From a 6 week old baby boy to a teenage girl. Some mothers were there alone with their children, some had husbands or boyfriends. Some of the children were eating breakfast before they headed off to school just like any other child on a Friday morning except these kids were up eating at 6am. They were sitting with homeless men and women, some that looked unstable mentally or recovering from whatever addiction they are trying to kick. As a mom that scared me. I couldn't imagine being in that situation with my children and worrying about their safety while trying to keep a "normal" life for them. My heart ached for these kids and parents. You could see the people who were there because they were really trying to get back on their feet and you could see the ones that were there just because they had no other place and could use this shelter to their advantage. I hope I don't sound mean but it was evident.

My son worked on one side of the kitchen helping to make the plates of hot food and hand them out. I was on the opposite side serving drinks. The sugar packets were very popular! Some of the people just amazed me with their positive attitude and smiles. There were a few I wanted to reach over and hug. I get way too emotional. When my son was done he came over to where I was at and helped me. His side was mostly older men so he was surprised to see families and kids just like him eating in the family area where I was. He asked me "can we do this again? I feel good helping others." Mission accomplished. I wanted him to see that not everyone has what he does and that we should all do what we can to help each other. It doesn't have to be giving money or buying someone something. It's as simple as a smile. Being empathetic to someones situation, showing compassion so someone who needs it, and just passing on kindness. Those are all free but may mean the world to someone.

I remember when I was little my dad would take me to the pound every weekend. I couldn't understand why he would want to go because we never adopted an animal on these visits. I understand now that it was his compassion for these dogs and cats that drove him there every weekend just to put a hand through the fence and pet them or look in their eyes and say kind words. If he did see a dog that was up for euthanization he would do what he could to lead people who were there looking to adopt towards this particular dog. During my teenage years my dad adopted Bandit from the pound! He took this dog everywhere and even called him my brother!
My dad taught me many things and kindness and compassion were two of them.

One of my favorite quotes is "Be the change you want to see in the world" Mahatma Gandhi.
I truly believe this.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Expedition Everest Challenge here I come!!

I'm so excited! Doing another Disney run June 12th and this one looks like a lot of fun. It's a 5K with an obstacle course and scavenger hunt through Animal Kingdom at night!!! There will also be an after party done Disney style. I have a friend who just started running and we ran her first 5K together a couple weeks ago. Lets just say she caught the running bug and we will be doing Expedition Everest as a team! Also in Disney style we will be in costume representing Tinkerbell, our team name is Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust! We decided to make it a moms only weekend and will drive down Friday and enjoy some time by the pool doing absolutely NOTHING! I haven't had "mom time" in a few years so I'm pretty excited about this trip.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fhoto Friday ♥

Just some photo's of whats been going on around here this week.......

Food, and more food!

What your child will do when your not looking.......

They will hijack your camera and surprise you with funny pictures!

New pets... who really don't want to be pets. Yes, it's still alive and his name is Freddy

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Some mornings I just get on the computer with no destination in mind and then several minutes later I find myself at someones blog that I can't even remember how I got there. Those are usually the best. That happened this morning and now I have tears in my eyes. There are so many amazing people out there but today I want to share these stories because I'm a total dork.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fave socks

Love, love, love SmartWool socks! I don't wear any other sock when I run. These guys rock! They don't smell, they don't bunch up, and they are super comfy! They have several styles depending on if your a thick sock wearer or a thin sock wearer, I prefer thick. I also love the little extra lip on the back that keep the socks from sliding down and it's also great for catching sweat! I tend to get blisters on my ankle if the shoes are too low or too high, these socks help with that too!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This is the picture that changed it all!

Yes, people this is the picture that woke me up! Back then I knew I was carrying a little extra weight from having my little monsters but um, looking back I can see it was more than just weight. It was unhealthy and totally effecting my self-esteem! Lucky me, I seem to "carry" my junk in the middle which gives me a higher chance of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. I remember this trip like it was yesterday! We went to Universal Studios, it was April of 2007. Almost 3 years ago. I remember looking at this picture and thinking I don't really look like that do I? My face isn't fat and it's the jacket that's making my belly stick out. Talk about a reality check right smack in front of my face. I hated getting my picture taken back then, I used the excuse that I was the one who wanted to capture the moments for my scrapbooks. It wasn't true. I wanted to be in those pictures with the kids and with my husband but I didn't like myself and I wasn't ready to face it. Thankfully after seeing this picture I finally did. It still took a couple months of denying that it was me who was stopping myself from going to the beach, going out with my husband on dates, being intimate on a regular basis (there I said it, sorry honey....all those fights I started right before bed were just because I couldn't understand how you could still want me when I hated myself), and just being happy in general. I would tell myself I didn't care what other people thought and that was actually true, but I did care about what I thought of myself and that was what was destroying me. When you tell yourself over and over you don't deserve something or you're not good enough you actually start to believe that crap. My hubby would try and encourage me to do something about it but I took his encouragement the wrong way and it turned into something else, another excuse. He's not going to make me work out. I'm fine just the way I am and that would of been great if I had actually believed it. So a couple months after this picture I drove by the same little building I always drove by each day but this time I saw the sign..... Jazzercise. That Saturday I went to my first class and have been going ever since. A year and a half later, right around my 38th birthday I decided to sign up for a 5K race. I knew if I signed up first I would have to train and I would have to run that race. A month and a half later I was running my first 5K side by side with my hubby! That one race changed me. It gave me the confidence I needed, it showed me that I could do something if I put my mind to it. It felt so good. I'm not a fast runner by any means. I don't do it to win races or get free t-shirts (although some of them are nice). I do it because of how it makes me feel inside and that has helped me change how I look and feel on the outside. It's hard for me to put into words how it feels. The freedom of knowing that my own two feet and legs are getting me somewhere. I like the way the wind feels on my body, how one song on my iPod can get me through a rough spot, how I might not of wanted to run when I started but by the end I feel strong and happy. Over the last two and half years I've lost about 25lbs +. I'm not exactly where I want to be but I'm close. The important part is how it's changed my life. I'm no longer afraid to go to the beach with my husband and kids, I don't care how many pictures you take of me, and yes, I enjoy being intimate with my hubby again (even in the daylight, EEK!) I hope that I can inspire others to make the changes that they want when they are ready and that I can continue to inspire myself to live each day to the fullest because you never know when it's going to be your last.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I DID IT!!!!

I finished my first half marathon! I am so glad that I chose the Disney Princess Half Marathon to be my first, what an awesome experience. The encouragement you receive along the way from Disney cast members and fellow runners/walker's is just amazing. It honestly did not feel like 13.1 miles, the time went by so fast and there was so much to see and take in. I can't wait for next years Princess Half but until then here's the run down on this years race.

Saturday, March 6th; we arrived in Orlando and headed straight to the Disney's Fit for a Princess Expo at the Wide World of Sports. I was able to walk right up and get my bib and then headed to another table to get my goodie bag. Total time was about 10 minutes. Not bad at all. It was crowded but not too bad, mostly people browsing the vendors and checking out Disney merchandise. I stopped by Sparkle Skirts and got a pre-race hug from Leah (she had just run the 26.2 with Donna 2 weeks prior!) then headed to Run Happy and purchased a cute running shirt. After that it was off to check into Port Orleans Riverside and meet up with the DIS Wish ladies. Gulped down dinner with the hubby and kiddo's, talked the kiddo's out of swimming in the cold (o.k. we used bribery, McDonald's milkshakes always work), headed to our room and finally hit the pillow around 10ish.

Sunday, March 7th; alarm goes off at 3am!!! I actually get up. I can't believe that I'm up this early to go run 13.1 miles in the dark. I see my tiara and Team Sparkle skirt and I'm excited, I can do this! I did my hair and make-up, yes you read it right I did my make-up. It is a Princess run after all, a girl has to look pretty when she crosses the finish line. It's now 3:45! I need to make it to the bus by 4am so I grab my stuff, kiss the hubby and kids goodbye and off I go. I arrive at the bus stop on time only to have to wait in the cold for 25 minutes! It is very hard to eat a banana when your teeth are chattering. Several buses go by.... what the heck! Finally an empty bus stops, fills up before I make it to the front and drives off leaving me and several others still waiting in the cold. We can see the start area from where we are standing and consider jumping the fence, walking through the woods, and building a human bridge to cross the water canal but decide to just wait for another bus to show up. 10 minutes goes by and then score! I make it on the warm bus and I'm on way to Epcot to do some more waiting in the cold. I arrive but have no idea were I'm going so I just follow everyone else. I make it to some port-a-potties and decide I better not take my chances so like 100's of others I stand in line to pee. I also take this time to eat my bagel and peanut butter, who knew I could multitask this early in the morning. Once done I wonder around again trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do and see people walking towards white tents so I follow. It's bag check and once I go through there I'm on the long walk to the corrals, no turning back! It's dark, it's cold, did I mention it was COLD? I'm really mad at myself for not bringing gloves, a scarf, and a heavier jacket. I live in Florida people this is just not right. I can see the corrals ahead and hear the music coming from the stage, it's real now. I find my corral way, way, way in back and meet up with my running buddy Missy (quick note, we had only met the night before and only emailed back and forth before that so we were basically strangers running our first half together). She looks really nervous but happy to see me and we are both relieved that we found each other in this big crowd of people. We snap some pictures and as we slowly make our way to the starting line we can't help but giggle and smile. We are really here, we are really doing this! The fireworks go off and it's our turn!!! We're laughing through chattering teeth, snapping pictures, and taking it all in......

Mile 1 - 2 my hands are freezing so when someone throws down their gloves Missy doesn't waste a minute and picks them up for me!! Thank you girl!!! I now have warm hands but I can't help but think "I hope this person doesn't have any cooties."

Mile 3
and we are still feeling good! We can see
the Magic Kingdom ahead of us and on the sidelines they're playing Disco Inferno. We sing and keep going. This is awesome! We then see some "real" bathrooms and decide we better go now. There's a few people in front of us but not bad and it beats running off onto the side of the road. We're getting hot so we ditch our outer layer and head off!

Mile 4 through 7 is mostly MK (I think) and goes by fast! We are headed down Main Street!!!!! We can see the castle just ahead! As we reach the castle we see Missy's hubby Mike and he takes some pictures of us in front of the castle and we are off again! Running into Tomorrow Land was so cool, we grinned like little kids and gave each other high 5's! We are stopping a lot to take pictures but neither one of us cares because we are having the time of our lives. We suck down a GU somewhere in MK and keep going. We start to head out of MK and back onto the main road on our way to Epcot and the Finish line!

Mile 8 through 12 is a little more challenging because it's just a long flat road. Disney does it's best to have entertainment and cheering along the road but you can see that some are getting tired. We see those darn bikes go by with orange flags and they tell us we are ok but those that don't make it to the 8.2 check point by a certain time will be picked up by the "bus"!!!! We put a little more pep in our step so we can have a little cushion on the last couple miles. We get some Powerade and suck down another GU. We encourage each other on and know we are close to the finish. Miles 10, 11 and 12 have some ramps but we push through it.

Mile 13!!!! We are almost there!!!! The last mile is lined with yellow cones and I can't help but think of the Wizard of Oz. We can see the Epcot ball! Yahoo!!! We enter Epcot, we are sooooo close. After a while we see the 13 mile marker!!! We can hear all the families and friends cheering on those that are crossing the finish line and we keep going. Just as I can see the Finish line I hear my friends Debbie, Joy, and Alison call my name and cheer me on!! They drove down just to see me cross that finish line, 30 seconds and it was over. What great friends! As we pass them I can see my hubby and kids further down!!! It feels so good to cross the finish line. Missy and I get our bling medal and then go down the line and get some bagels, mini Luna bars, bananas, oranges, pineapple cups, and water. Head out the exit to meet our families and take more pictures!

I started out the race with a stranger but ended the race with a friend for life. That's what running is about for me. Running changes your life. It helps you see that anything is possible, that you are capable of doing whatever you want when you put your mind to it, and it changes you from the inside out! I never in my life thought I would be running a half marathon! If you had asked me a little over a year ago to run I would of told you "no way" I don't do that. I don't know why I decided to try it, maybe after years of being asked by my husband to run with him I figured I would show him I could, lol. I started out with baby steps. I walked and walked and then finally ran. I'm not a fast runner and in some peoples eyes I may not even be a runner but in my heart I know I'm a runner girl, mom, diva, princess............ The End.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My favorites right now

So here are some of my favorites things this week. Not in any particular order. This place has rockin' taco's and killer margaritas!! If you're in Jacksonville be sure to check them out and ask for the House Margarita but upgrade the tequila to the Hornitos Reposado! Tacolu is kid friendly and offers a kids menu with choices like a chicken quesadilla, beef or chicken taco, fish sticks, and taquitos. Our favorite taco's are the Bangin' Shrimp taco that has Asian style fried shrimp served with cabbage & a spicy sauce and the Chingona Chicken taco that has a spicy verde sauce on it. Homemade corn tortilla's and chips made daily. Love the salsa, it's homemade too! Go early they get super busy.

<----This stuff ! I was tired of washing our (hubby and I) workout clothes only to put them on and find out they still had plenty of stink on em'. Finally our local Publix started to carry this and I happily brought it home to try. Score! No more stink.

Pink toes!!! "I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and bright!" You'll have to excuse my ugly toes, they look better from way up here. You're just going to have to imagine I have perfect little piggies. Sorry they're crooked but both small toes have been broken. I swear from far away they look really pretty and the pink just makes me feel so girly!

Orange Kitty! Every time I look kitty I smile. I can't help it. She's so loved by my little "cookie"! There is not a night that she doesn't sleep with her. She has gone on every trip with cookie. She's been in a car, plane, and cruise ship. She's gone from one coast to another, has been spotted with Minnie Mouse, in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, and even in Mexico! When I look at Kitty I'm looking at memories.

It will always be these guys -------->>>>>
My favorite people in the whole world! They are what makes my world go round, my heart skip a beat, and my home feel like a home. I couldn't imagine life without them.

Last but not least...... drum roll please..... McDonald's Egg McMuffin!!!! I love this little breakfast sandwich. It's full of warm yummy goodness and it pretty much covers everything you need for breakfast. I've even become fond of McDonald's coffee.

So what are your favorites this week??

3 Days People!!!!

I'm sooo nervous! Sunday is the big day.... My very first half marathon! Who would of thought I would be doing this? Not me. Just goes to show you how life can throw little surprises your way. I'll be running with two total strangers. It's amazing how something like running can bring people together who might of never met. We hope to encourage each other and push ourselves to the finish line. Wish me luck or better yet sprinkle a little pixie dust on my running shoes please!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My new gadget - Adidas micoach Pacer

So I received my wonderful new running gadget the Adidas miCoach Pacer the other day. Really easy to set up and totally customizable. The gear I have includes the miCoach Pacer, heart rate monitor w/strap, and stride sensor with lace clip. You also get headphones (I use my own), USB cable, and MP3 connector cable. It sounds like a lot but it's not. It's actually really simple and works great with my iPod Clip.

The heart rate monitor is pretty self explanatory. The lace clip works great and I don't even notice it on my shoe. Basically you take the lace clip (shown bottom left in pic) and place it under the lace on your shoe then you take the sensor (shown in the middle) and click it into place on the clip. That's it! The Pacer has a clip on the back that you can use on an armband or clip anywhere you want. I clip mine to my waistband. You can use the Pacer alone and just plug some headphones into it to hear real time feedback and coaching or you can use the MP3 connector cable and plug it into ANY MP3 player!
So as you can see in the picture my headphones are on the left plugged into the Pacer and the Pacer is connected to my Clip. It's very lightweight and the buttons are fairly easy to use while running. I still control the music and music volume from my MP3 player and running stats and coaching are done by the Pacer controls. You can adjust the Pacer volume to what is comfortable for you and you even have the option of a man or woman's voice in English or UK.

Adidas has 6 different programs (beginning runner, run a race, be fit, lose weight, de-stress, etc.) to choose from and within those 6 you have even more choices (intervals, walking, heart rate zones). You charge the Pacer by connecting it to your computer and it has about 10 hours of active workout time. You then register your Pacer online and download the software. You can choose one of their training plans or schedule your own custom workout. The miCoach Pacer has two modes, Free mode and miCoach mode. Free mode will collect data when you workout but will not offer any coaching. You can still get information such as heart rate, pace, mileage, calories, and workout time.

I've used the miCoach twice now and I really enjoy having the option of being coached. It helps me stick to the workout. The Pacer will also cut in and tell you how many minutes you have left to run (or walk) or if your heart rate is getting high or low it will tell you to stay in whatever zone you are supposed to be in. It is helping me learn to pace myself. I also like being able to do my own thing but still hear my workout information at the touch of a button. It does interrupt whatever music you are listening to and I've found that if the music volume is up you do get a little feedback when the miCoach cuts in. All and all I think it's a great product and has a lot to offer a beginner like me!

Next product review...... SPIBAND and SPIBELT!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

23 Days!!!!

Only 23 days until my FIRST half marathon! If you had asked me a year ago to run 13.1 miles I would of laughed in your face. Not that I'm actually going to run the full 13.1 there will be some walking going on but my goal is to have fun and finish. I know I can do that! I decided to take up running, um, joggerwalking or whatever you'd like to call it around my 38th birthday. Getting close to 40 will do that to you. I ran my first 5K December 7, 2008 and have been hooked ever since. I actually ran the entire time and did a respectable 36:49 for a first timer. Since then I've ran in eight other 5K's and one 5 mile race. It gives me something to work for... a goal and it feels good to run across that finish line hearing people cheer... even if it's not for me, a girl can use her imagination right? There have been a few times that kids and hubby accompany me to the races and there is nothing like having your children see you finish. Their big smiles and screams of "run mommy!". I want to be an example to my children that they can do whatever they set their mind to and that nothing is unattainable if you try. After this half marathon I plan on trying to attain my new goal.... A 5K under 30 minutes! I know I can do it if I push myself a little harder.