Thursday, August 6, 2015

Summer Tailspin

For the past week and a half I have been living solo which is great if you like eating Trix for dinner.  Husband has been away working in Missouri and my kids are at Grandma Camp.  The Grandma Camp is always a good week for Miss D, but this year, due to childcare needs, both Miss D and Stormy are up at Grandma Camp for just over two weeks. This was definitely not part of the plan for my summer of the grandparent's summer, but we are all making the best of it.

I won't lie, it has been nice to live solo for a bit (see earlier statement about Trix for dinner).  I am getting caught up on a lot of things, but I do miss my family. I have been so very busy lately that this whole summer seems to be spiraling.

I didn't mention it before, but in June we took a family vacation to Indianapolis.  We had a great first day at the zoo.


Then we went shopping at stores that we don't have around here. And that is where the crazy spiral started. Our van was broken into.  Someone smashed a window and took our DSLR camera.

It was a horribly violating experience.  Someone has all the nice pictures from the trip.  Someone made my family's vacation one we will never forget for all the wrong reasons. I felt icky for days and days.

We continued our planned stay after the break in.  Staying positive for the children and for our own sake's as well.

The kids and I went to the Indianapolis Children's Museum the following day while Husband got the van's window replaced.


As we drove to Indianapolis, we made big plans for the rest of the summer, but on the way home from Indianapolis we gave up on most of those plans. I definitely went into a funk.

We still had fun this summer, but it wasn't the summer I planned.

We went to the Wildlife Prairie Park Olde English Faire.


We went to the Heart of Illinois Fair.


We celebrated Stormy turning 2 years old.


I completed two triathlons and the Bix 7.


I knitted and spun a bit.




In just eleven days, school will start, I will have a second grader, and summer will be over. This blog post has really been a catharsis and I am glad I decided to share. Although it was not the summer I planned, we ended up having a good time.  I just hope our fall doesn't start our like our summer.

How was your summer?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Darla Experience

Every month I go to the chiropractor with my kids.  I've been under chiropractic care over half of my life. I credit chiropractic care to keeping me a runner.  When I was in high school my hip would click when I ran. My IT band was so tight that it would click over my hip.  I went to tons of physical therapy but nothing seemed to help. I tried chiropractic care and within a few adjustments the clicking subsided. It wasn't my IT band so much as my hips. Once I got my hips aligned, the clicking disappeared. I continue to go monthly for "tune-ups." I also started my kids on chiropractic care which I know is controversial, but I have seen the benefits. When you grow as fast as my kids (Miss D has grown yet another inch since her birthday in April!!!) you are bound to need some adjustment.

So I took my kids to the chiropractor like I do every month.

Do you recall the scene in the movie Finding Nemo when Nemo tries to escape the clutches of the dentist's niece, Darla? The fish in the tank try to get Nemo out causing the dentist's instruments to flop around and make noise while Darla screams. All the people in the waiting room get concerned with all the drilling and screaming coming from the exam room.

That is what it is like when I took my kids to the chiropractor. Miss D who has had her neck adjusted dozen of times suddenly freaked out and started screaming. Once she was adjusted, Luke started his screaming fest.  As I was adjusted, they fought and screamed at each other. I was glad when it was time to leave. A woman even remarked to the chiropractor that she wasn't sure she should go in the exam room after all the crying. I know she was giving him a hard time, but it made me realize I had just had another Darla Experience.

I am not under the idea that children should be seen and not heard. We are loud people.  Even when being good, my kids are loud. I think it is something I am going to have to learn to accept, but I don't want to. I want to have people see me as the parent who has it all together with nice kids who behave and are never loud and crazy.  But that is not who we are.  I know I need to work on accepting this as part of my family life, but it is hard. Parenting is hard. Being a family is hard. Being quiet is hard. We are a loud and crazy family and we go out in public so watch out world. But you won't have to watch out too hard because you'll hear us coming.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sleeping Confession

Today is one of my last vacations days for the foreseeable future.  Many of the people I talk to think that my job as an academic librarian is easier in the summer due to the light load of students, but instead summer is a crazy busy time. This is mostly due to the fact that we librarians are too busy during the school year to get any projects completed.  The summer is a crazy time to do all the planning for the upcoming semesters and take all the vacation time you have to "use or loose" by July 1 because you are too busy the rest of the year to take any time off. Even though it is not quite July yet, I feel summer is almost over and school will be starting. With school starting, my vacation time follows the elementary school calendar so I can take Columbus Day, Count Pulaski Day and all the other holidays off. And that leaves me with today.

I am happily spending today with my kids and my daughter's friend. We went to the children's museum and then to the park for lunch and playing.  Now we are back home and all I want to do is watch my son nap.


He is so cute when napping. And this being the end of my summer vacation, I don't see what is so wrong with just watching him nap. I almost never get to take the time to just watch him. I love his rhythmic breathing, his attachment to his blanket, his golden curls. Watching him sleep is like time is standing still for just a few minutes. When he wakes up, he will be back to his mischievous self and that's okay too.

My little boy is quickly becoming a little toddler.  In just a few weeks he turns two (he already has that two-year-old attitude). And so I will spend some of my time today just hanging out beside him as he sleeps.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I Will

Ten years ago on this very date I said, "I will" to my husband.

In ten years we have had two kids, moved 4 times, bought two houses and three vehicles, and adopted two dogs. I doubt that I can sum up the past ten years in any way so I will say this, I am glad I said 'I will.' Dear husband, my life has been better because of you. I think we can and will get better and better. Here's to all the years ahead.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


I am the princess of volunteering.  I don't want to claim to be queen because that title belongs to my mom. I am still able to fill my time volunteering and finding more projects. Over the weekend I volunteered for something new, to be a running buddy.

The fitness director at my gym helps run a upper-elementary-aged running club for girls and she found out that I run "fast."  In no way want do I claim that I am fast.  I am faster that I used to be, but not "fast."  I am usually middle of the pack in just about every race.  My goal is to be in the top 50% of finishers and I usually am with my 8-9 minute miles.  The fitness director asked me to be a running buddy for an upcoming race. As luck would have it, I was already registered for the race and happen to be a sucker for volunteering.  She especially needed volunteers to run with the girls that were too fast for their parents. As a running buddy, I would run along side a girl as she ran her race and help her if any issues came up. I agreed as getting girls to run is important to me. On race day, I was paired with an entering-6th grade girl who had completed two 5ks before, one in 42 minutes and one in 38 minutes, but she told me she can run a 8-9 minute mile.  I was skeptical.       

I may have mentioned before that I am competitive.  And while I am not fast enough to really compete in races, I always compete with myself or I pick a random person from the crowd and tell myself to beat them. So agreeing to not race in this race was a big step in running humility for me.  Just a few weeks ago at another 5k, I praised my friend for running with her daughter, sacrificing her race for her daughter. I told her I wasn't sure I could do it. Could I really give up racing myself to help someone else?

Back to be being skeptical at the beginning of this past Saturday's race, I decided that I would go at whatever pace my running buddy was comfortable with. I swallowed my running pride. We started with a short warm up.  This is also a new phenomenon for me, I never warmed-up for races.  Watching the runners before the race warm-up used to make me laugh. Then this spring, I at my two indoor triathlons I realized how much faster I can run when my muscles were warm. So I've taken to a bit of light jogging before a race in the past few months. I will say it is helping the way I feel at the beginning of a race.  I was happy to relay this information to my running buddy. And then I told her what I know about running.

Throughout the entire race I told her what I was thinking about the course and how to run. I have never thought of myself as a running coach or even having that much knowledge about running, but it dawned on me as I told my running buddy how to attack a hill, that I have over 20 years of running experience. There a few things I can say I have over 20 years of experience in doing. I started running in 6th grade, just like her and apparently, I know what I am doing.  Or at least I think I know what I am doing. Either way, there is a 6th grader in Washington, IL that PRed at 28:50. That is 10 minutes faster than her previous 5k!

I stayed with her the whole way and encouraged her.  I taught her how to drink from a cup while running, how to run hills, how to pace, pros and cons of sunglasses and hats/visors, and most importantly how to have fun running. She even said it didn't feel like we ran that far. As we sprinted to the finish, a gentleman I know from church tried to beat me, so I had to leave my running buddy 1 second behind me to beat him. I may have been able to forgo my racing time to stay with my buddy, but there was no way I was letting him beat me.  So I may have some humility to work on.

How are you working on your humility?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The End of Thirty-One

My thirty-first year ends tomorrow and thirty-two begins on Saturday.  I've actually been telling people I am thirty-two for a few weeks, I'm not sure why.  I have reached the age when I have to think about it, and sometimes do some math, to make sure I have the correct age.  It's not that I want to lie about my age, it is just that I honestly forget sometimes. Age is becoming less important especially since I'm always 24 in my head.

Thirty-One has been a pretty good year, I really can't complain.  I'm heading into thirty-two as a triathlete, PTO president and IACRL (Illinois Association for College and Research Libraries) secretary/treasurer. Those are three things I never thought I would be when I started out thirty-one. Being elected to two different offices from my peers is a marvelous feeling. That seems to be the greatest thing about getting older. The years may go by faster, but new and exciting things happen, many that you don't expect.

I am also 19 pounds lighter this year and feeling pretty great.  I hope to loose a few more pounds before the summer is in full swing. I cannot begin to describe how much better I am feeling.  I was active before, but I want to be even more active. I want to be outside.  I want a bikini.

In my thirty-first year, I have made amazing friends.  I have always been a friendly person and have many friends, but this past year I added some wonderful women from the acquaintance list to the friend list.  I hope you know who you are.  You are all so very special to me, new friends and seasoned friends, near and far.

I joined committees and led a major program at work. I chaired a national library committee. I volunteered, shared and loved. My kids grew.  Stormy is talking a lot more now, and well, Miss D we can't get her to be quiet. They are growing up so fast some days and not fast enough other days. Husband and I will mark 10 years of marriage next month.


Here's to thirty-two.  I'll be celebrating by going lap swimming and then driving to my parent's house for a family weekend. My mom's grilling me steak.  If I play my cards right, I could eat steak a few times this weekend.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Miss D readily agreed to be my model today.  She usually hates modeling for me and I have to bribe her. Today she jumped at the chance... because she wanted to practice her fainting pose.

Where does she come up with this? She is such a drama queen. I did get a few "normal" poses.

Here is Oats making a reappearance from my Jury Duty Knitting post.  I said it would be much better on and boy is it ever.

Here is Easy. I used Lorna's Laces in Dandelion.  This is 435 yards of sock weight yarn on size US 2 needles. For you non-knitters this means thin yarn on a small needle which translates to lots and lots of very tiny stitches.


Both of these are from favorite designers of mine.  I will knit anything by Tin Can Knits (designer of Oats) or Martina Behm (designer of Easy). I highly recommend all knitters checking them out if you haven't already. 

While Miss D was a model model, Stormy decided that modeling is not for him.

Good help is hard to find.

As I mentioned in my last post, I finished two yarns.

This one is from Crosswinds Farms in Eldridge, IA (my hometown). It is 100% Shetland.

The beautiful green yarn is 100% wool.  Merino wool, I think.  I don't have a label. I do know it was hand dyed at The Fiber Universe in Peoria.

With all these finished projects, I don't have anything significant on the needles or wheel, but I do have a few good ideas.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Jury Duty Knitting

Last week I was summoned for jury duty for Peoria county.  I know lot of people that say they dislike jury duty.  I don't tend to hear a lot of positive things about it.  Yet, it remains a cornerstone to the U.S. justice system. Without jury duty, there are no juries and a having a juried trial is a fundamental right established by the Constitution in the Bill of Rights.

Personally, I like jury duty. I love that I get to do my civic duty. I am one of those people that vote in every election, too.  I think it is amazing that I, as a normal citizen, get to participate in the justice system. Last time I was called for jury duty in 2012, I ended up on Coroner's Jury. That was a very interesting experience. This time, I was close to being put on a jury for an assault case, but the defense excused me.  I guess they didn't like my answers.

Beside from that near encounter, I sat in a room, watched Netflix on my iPad and knit for three days. It was a pretty simple job. I am blessed that my employer still pays me on days that I am at jury duty, I know from talking others in my jury pool that this is not the case for many. Last week was pretty much perfect for being on jury duty because most of my big work projects for the semester were completed the week before.

So I sat, watched Gilmore Girls (I binged all week) and knit. I can't believe some people show up to jury duty with nothing to do or read. I think I would dislike jury duty if I didn't come prepared. If knitting and Gilmore Girls became uninteresting, I had two books packed as back up. I don't like having nothing to do.

I finished one knitted item, started and completed another and nearly finished another.  I also got some time to spin yarn (after being dismissed for the day).  I can't complain about jury duty with results like this.

I finished the Newborn Baby Blanket in Malibrigo Rios.


I used a new crochet bind off on this blanket and I think I am in love.  It was the perfect bind off.  I usually have a really tight bind off edge but not with the crochet bind off.  It is definitely my new favorite.

I started and finished Oats in Cascade Pacific Color Wave.


I actually finished this one before the other so I used Jeni's Stretchy Bind Off which worked okay.  I can still tell the difference between the cast on and cast off edges and I don't like that, but I can live with it. I need to get Miss D to pose for me wear this cowl (infinity scarf) to really show off its beauty.

I'l have to show you the rest in another post. The completion of these projects, brings me to my goal of 12 projects for the year already.  I guess I really underestimated.  Plus I made a ton of hats.  So maybe I will now have to say hats don't count toward the 12.

So what are your feelings on jury duty?  Do you go prepared? Should hats count toward my goal?

Sunday, April 12, 2015


The celebrations for Miss D's 7th birthday are complete. Seven started out pretty great for her. She spent the whole week of Spring Break in Iowa visiting between her two grandparents' homes. On her actual birthday she got to eat her favorite foods while having lunch and dinner at restaurants.


The next morning, she had a pool party at a hotel with her cousins.


The following day was Easter so the Easter Bunny visited. Easter night she had a sleepover with cousins.



Now this past weekend, she had her first ever birthday party with friends.  She invited 11 girls and they had a great time. We really lucked out with the weather, her party was the best day of the week. The weather was absolutely perfect for playing outside all afternoon.


Seven is the beginning of a pretty lucky year for her.

Miss D turning seven also means that I have been a mom for seven years. That's about 20% of my entire life and the vast majority of my adult life. I told Miss D why her birthday is so important to me, because it is the day I became a mother, and she thought that was pretty good.

With my seven years of experience, I am no expert in child rearing.  If I practiced any other craft day and night like I practice mothering, I would expect to be pretty good at that craft.  Yet, with parenting, everyday is different and new and I have to learn right along side my kids how this whole thing works.  Many days are great, many days are not. Some days are so horrible I don't even what to think about them.  And then there are days like when your daughter turns 7, days I want to remember forever.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Second Tri

I seem to be turning into a triathlete. I never thought what would be a thing. Me a triathlete. I like to run, I like to bike and I like to swim, but I didn't think about putting them together. It seemed like too big of a commitment for people much fitter than me. I didn't even own a bike until 10 months ago.  I didn't start swimming laps until January. Yet, as of last Sunday, I have completed two indoor triathlons, so I guess that makes me a triathlete.

At the Five Points Indoor Triathlon, I swam 575 yards in 10 minutes, biked 9.15 miles in 20 minutes and finished with running 2.08 miles in 15 minutes.  That is a huge improvement over my last race. I ran my first mile in 7:15. 7:15!!!! I haven't run that fast since high school. 

I am not sure what makes me run so much faster at the end of a triathlon than I normally run. I know that my muscles are more warmed up, but one of the hardest things reported from triathletes is that transitioning between biking and running is hard. Triathletes practice "brick" workouts which means usually you bike then run. It is called a brick run because your legs should feel heavy after biking. But so far I have not felt that, instead I feel like I can run and run. And I do and I do it fast. I guess I should consider myself lucky...for now.  I am sure that I will have this brick feeling at some point.

On the race calendar I have several 5k races coming up, but no more triathlons until the Espirit de She in June.  That will be my first sprint distance and outdoor race.  I have a lot of training to do before then, but I am feeling good about being a triathlete.

What is some thing you never thought you'd be?

Sunday, March 15, 2015


I said March was going to be better than February. At the half point, Stormy is finished with his pink eye medicine (as of Friday) and will be done with his second antibiotic for his double ear infection tomorrow. Miss D is on her second weekend of a digestive system clean out and she drank so much medicine that she threw up...all over the dog. My back is doing much better, but still sore at times. When I go running, my mile pace has not back to pre-back injury and it is pretty frustrating.

I can say that March is better than February, but not 100% different. While there has been some problems with March, the weather has been fantastic.  We went from freezing to sunny and warm.  My kids are so excited to play in the backyard. So excited that I got to spend yesterday cleaning up dog poop (for almost two hours) while they played.

If I wouldn't have been picking up the yard, I wouldn't have seen this...


so March isn't so bad.

How's your March?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Getting Back to Normal

February was the worst.  I cannot remember a time in my life that was so overwhelming at work and at home. But now, in just the first few days of March, it feels like I'm in a new chapter, maybe even a new book.

Miss D is feeling much better. Last week she was sickest she had ever been in her almost seven years of life. Now she's back to her normal sassy stuff.  I kind of enjoyed when she was sick because she was so docile, polite and cuddly. But that's not her and I am glad she is better. Stormy is also back to his normal self. Apparently Augmentin is a wonder drug and now I have my funny little boy back.

Today I even got to run for the first time since throwing out my back. It was a tough run since I hadn't run in two weeks, but it went really well, better than expected.  Although I am not in the shape I was hoping for, I think I will do fine at my 5k race on Saturday. I might even pull off a PR with my new found speed.

I am getting things done at work too.  I was stuck in a holding pattern at work.  I kept working, but I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere. It was like I was treading water, not going anywhere, but not yet actively drowning. Then I missed a lot of days with my sick kids and bad back. In the first two work days of March, I am finally feeling like I am making some headway and getting tasks accomplished. I might get everything checked off my to do list!

I even knit a hat for Stormy.  It is the same pattern as the hat I made for Miss D last week.  I am on a hat kick.



He's a great model. The hat pattern is called Luuk and I use Patons Canadiana yarn. I might have to make a few more of these hats, the pattern is not quite out of my system yet.

So even through March comes in like a lion, and it really has with a plethora of snow and ice, things are feeling much more lamb-y for me.  How's March going for you?  Lion or Lamb? Or too early to predict? 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Backache

Last Thursday, I threw out my back.  I am not exactly sure what happens when you "throw out your back" as there wasn't any throwing.  I was just getting out of the shower and putting on my socks.  I only got half of one sock on before "it" happened.  I am still not sure what happened.  I was putting on a sock and then I was filled with pain and unable to move. I had to call my husband (on the phone since he was in the basement) to come help me.

Thursday started out as an interesting day.  I had to miss work to take Stormy to the doctor. I was really torn over missing work as I had to miss an event I had been trying to get going at my college for almost two years.  But, the event was in capable hands and I had already made contingency plans in case I had to miss work because Stormy had to be picked up from day care with a fever on Wednesday.  It was a really good decision to miss work because the doctor said, "Yikes!" as she looked into each of my son's ears.  There was a reason for his continued unhappiness and its called double ear infections. He was crabby the rest of the day. By Thursday night I was so happy to be showering. The kids were finally asleep and I could take a shower in hopes of making it to work on Friday. I never made it to work on Friday.

I went to the chiropractor Friday morning then spend the rest of the day and the weekend laying down while knitting and watching a lot of TV.  Thank goodness for yarn, Netflix and Hulu. I finished crocheting a baby blanket, knit three hats and two dishcloths.



I made it to work on Monday but was in a lot of pain.  Sitting is the worst. I moved my chiropractor appointment up to 2:30 requiring me to leave work early.  I got a call 15 min before I needed to leave for that appointment that Miss D was sick at school and needed to be picked up.  I got her, we went to the chrio and got home.  Soon she was vomiting.

Today I am home with a sick daughter and I received a text from Stormy's babysitter that he is the crabbiest he has ever been. She's going to drop him off after he wakes up from his nap. 

On the plus side, my back is starting to feel better. Maybe I can resume exercise next week.

I'm feeling like I can't catch a break.  Do you ever feel that way?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's Tri

I spent Valentine's day falling in love with the triathlon.  I guess it was just a matter of time since I like running, biking, and swimming; I might as well put them all together. I have been very blessed to have some very great ladies in my life that have inspired me to be more active and challenge myself with different races. I am already registered for a sprint triathlon in June and I hope to do many more in the future.


The Bradley Indoor Triathlon was a very low-key event which is perfect for an introduction to the sport. Swimming, biking and running was all based on how far you could go in the appointed time: 10 minutes for swimming laps, 20 minutes for biking (spin bike) and 15 minutes of running on the indoor track. There was designated transition time between, so there was no real hurry to get to the next phase. I swam 575 yd, bikes 6.94 and then ran 1.88 miles.  That is an 8 min/mi run!!!  I haven't run that fast since high school.  The results only have two divisions: college student and non-college student.  So my results are all mixed in with people of different ages and genders so I am not sure how I compare to other females in my age groups but I feel like I did really well.

The strangest part of the whole event was that I noticed on my wave information that there was a guy, my age, with a pretty distinctive name of someone I went to high school with.  I thought there was no way this guy from high school could be in my wave.  We went to high school in Iowa, how could we both possibly end up at an indoor triathlon in Peoria, Illinois. Turns out it really was him. I talked to him for maybe the first time in my life and found out he came from Iowa for the event.  I actually might see him around more if I start doing tris in the Quad Cities. Even though we never really knew each other in high school, it was nice to see someone from my hometown area.  I don't run across too many classmates.

The second strangest part was that the triathlon shorts I ordered were delivered to my house about an hour after I left. I didn't get to use them this time, but I will have many more opportunities to wear them.

How was your Valentine's Day?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

My Big, Little Alien

It is snowing in central Illinois.  So much snow that my 5k was cancelled for today (Sunday) on Friday.  The snow should let up about 2 am. The forecast is for 7-10 inches. I hope we can go play later today.  It is big wet, heavy snow which is perfect for packing into forts, snowmen and snowballs. None of the snow so far this winter has been this perfect for play.

Snowy weather is the perfect time to finish up some projects.  I have been working on a hat for Stormy on and off for weeks.  I started out very happy with the project but as I went on, I lost a lot of interest because the pattern is not well written and the hat was not coming out quite right.  But this morning I decided to finish it off and see how good or bad it really was.


The pattern is called "Alien Elf" and it is in the book Monster Knits for Little Monsters.

Stormy looks exceedingly cute in anything so that really helps boost the cuteness of this hat,  It is supposed to have Yoda-like ears but I ran out of yarn on the second ear.  I ran out of yarn because the hat is so big.  I used the toddler sizing and got a hat that fits me.  The pattern called for size US 3 needles with bulky yarn and if you are not familiar with needle to yarn ratios, this ratio is weird.  Bulky yarn is the thickest of yarns while US 3 is on the small end of the needles.  I decided to use needles more suited of the yarn thickness and I did get gauge (how many stitches per inch there should be). However my gauge seems to have run amok and I ended up with this number.

I think I will remake it because I love the concept, but I'll fiddle around with the needle size a bit more to get a hat that will actually fit a toddler .

And that is how knitting (or really any project) goes.  Some projects turn out great, others get shoved in the back of the closet.  I think the majority of my projects do turn out nicely, but I still seem to focus on the wonky ones.  That's how I am at work too.  I focus on the projects that didn't turn out quite right instead of concentrating on all the good things.  Maybe that makes me a pessimist, but I see it more of always aiming for perfection.  I am an oldest child, I have perfection issues. I think that is why I like knitting, it shows me in tangible ways that something can be pretty good without being totally perfect. When I make something, I see all the flaws because I made them and I know where to look, but a person who sees my finished object only sees it in its entirety and they think it is great.

Even though this hat didn't turn out right, it is still okay and serves its function. Things don't have to be perfect to be great.  Knitting is full of life lessons.

What life lesson have you recently learned?

Friday, January 30, 2015

You Say Yes

Today I was off-campus at a meeting and when it concluded I remarked, "should I go for a run?" and my colleague quickly told me that the answer to that question is always "Yes!" So I headed back to campus and ran 3 miles at the gym. 

I am going to try to take her advice to heart and say "yes" when ever I question going for a run. It has been far too easy for me in the past to make excuses but this month, I didn't make excuses and a wonderful thing happened.  I reached the joy of running. 

Running is hard. It takes a lot of dedication and crappy runs to get to a state of joyful running. I've been back to running for about a year since Stormy was born but I never really put a lot of effort in and I skipped a lot of days of running. I ran some races last year but I never felt really compelled and happy to run.  In the past week or so I have really started to feel that joy of running again.  I had forgotten what it felt like.  So my advice to runners still in that crappy phase is to keep going and some day you too will feel that joy that runners talk about. 

Part of my joy comes from my time. Already with the re-dedication of running at least twice a week for the past month or so, I've already reduced my mile per minute time by over a minute. Soon it will be time to start adding more miles but right now, I am happy running 3 miles.

I've had a total of 9 runs this month and that keeps me on pace to hit my 100 runs this year.

Will you say yes when it is time for a run?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Active Nerd

A little over a week ago, I bought myself the best gift, a FitBit Charge HR.


I have been wanting an activity tracker for quite some time but they were always too expensive and I needed other things. Plus, I wasn't sure which brand and model to get and you want to be sure on something like that before spending. When I started reading about the new FitBits, especially the FitBit Charge HR, I new I needed to get one. The FitBit Charge HR just happened to come out the same month I receive my Wellness Works money.  At my place of employment, you can earn up to $200 a year for doing healthy things thought out the year like going so many times to the gym, running races, volunteering in your community, visiting the doctor, etc. Usually I just let that money go to paying bills, but with this year's new fitness goals I decided that the Wellness Works money should go toward my FitBit.

I am pretty much in love with the FitBit Charge HR.  The design is new and improved.  It can display the time, steps taken, current heart rate, distance for the day, calories burned, and stairs climbed. (It also alerts me to when my phone is ringing  by vibrating and the phone number or name appears on the display which I didn't think was a big deal but I am loving that feature since my phone is often on silent from work.) More metrics are collected and reported on my FitBit dashboard which I can view through the FitBit website or app. FitBit has pre-set goals for 10,000 steps, 10 flights of stairs, 5 miles, and more.  As I have mentioned before, I love a challenge.  I love these daily goals and I am ecstatic when I reach them and surpass them. I can compete with friends to walk the most steps each day or week.

The FitBit is really helping me be more active already. Last Monday, I was off work and the kids were off school so we did a lot of nothing and it really showed on my FitBit tracking.  I was thousands of steps away from 10,000  when I put the kids to bed, so I walked up and down my stairs and paced down the hall until I reached the goal.  And you know what, I felt great to make the goal.  Before the FitBit, I didn't have a way of seeing how inactive or active I was on non-workout days.  Now I can see all the numbers and get myself moving!

My FitBit is a nerdy dream come true.  I can see all these statistics.  I am really focusing on my sleeping pattern right now.  I thought I got at least 7 hours of sleep since Stormy started sleeping through the night, but I am not. I need to start getting to bed a bit earlier.

I am happy to report I have lost one pound, which is small I know, but that number hasn't moved in weeks. I'm not sure I can get all the credit to the FitBit but I know it definitely helped.

Do you have an activity tracker?  Do you find it motivates you?

Disclaimer: I am in no way connected with the FitBit company and I was not compensated for this post.  I am just really happy with my purchase and wanted to share.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Six Days

I am so sore.  I haven't felt like this in years.  Today is my first rest day in 6 days. Usually, I have rest days more than workout days.  I do have a plan to work out 6 days a week, but every week I miss most of those workouts due to a variety of commitments.  These commitments are mostly me leaving work later than scheduled (if I don't leave right on time, I don't have enough time to run and get the kids from day care before closing), doctor appointments for the kids (I didn't realize that when I had a second kid, doctor's appointments would increase so much), or some other thing I need to do for my kids (kids are needy).

Some how the stars aligned just perfectly for the first time in months for me to hit the gym. I continued my streak this week with playing basketball on Sunday, then running on Monday and spin class on Tuesday. I don't think I have worked out 6 days in a row ever.  Even when I was an athlete in high school, I only worked out Monday through Friday.  

Tomorrow, I'll start it all over again and see if I can hit six in a row again. I don't think I'll hit it this time around but there is always next time.

What is your longest streak? 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rocky, Cold Start

There is one thing knitters love and that is cold weather.  At no other time do I feel as useful as when it is bitter cold outside and I can make something that can remedy that. I find people appreciate the knitted (and crocheted) arts much more in sub-zero temperatures because really, there isn't much to appreciate about sub-zero temperatures.  This past week, my daughter had two days off for windchill. My college even closed one day. So we found ourselves with a bit more vacation time on our hands after a long vacation.

Last weekend I finished these mittens.

I love them. Great yarn and great pattern. I figured that this would be my last project for a while since I was going back to work. But with the extra day off, I got some more knitting time.

I made two things.  A cowl and a hat.

Both of them are all wrong.  The cowl I can deal with.  The cowl pattern is called Gap-tastic and I have made it before for my sister so it was a familiar pattern.  When I saw this yarn, I knew it was destined to become a Gap-tastic Cowl.  I was over half way through when I noticed that there was a twist. When knitting in the round, the pattern always says to be careful to not twist your stitches.  I was really careful.  I even pulled it all out once and restarted but I got another twist. This is the first time in almost 6 years of knitting that this has ever happened to me.  The blame goes to not having a long enough cable and me trying to shove too many stitches in to too small of space.  The good thing is is that there is a name for this type of scarf (mobius) and instead of it being a totally disaster, it is a new design feature. You can't tell that it looks different from what I intended.  It is still a cowl and it still does its job.

The hat is not so lucky.  This hat will fit no one and I blame it on (1.) not having the correct size needles and attempting to do it anyway and (2.) the pattern being totally wacko.  I knit another hat from this pattern with the right sized needles today and I still cannot get this hat to fit.  I pulled out a bit and am making it longer.  I really don't believe a hat only needs to be 4.5" before decreasing for the crown, even with super bulky yarn. I'm going to go at least 6" this time.

While sub-zero temps are kind to knitters they are brutal for runners. Since my gym closes when the college closes, I couldn't run on the indoor track on Wednesday like I had planned. On Thursday, the gym was open and I was the only participant for spin class, so I got a lot of one-on-one attention. Friday, I played in a Faculty/staff volleyball tournament (we got second place) and ran on the track.  It was actually one of the best runs I've had in a long time.  Now this may sound weird, but I got inspiration from watching an episode of Psych on Netflix. (I watch Psych as I go to sleep at night almost every night. I love that show.) In the episode, the protagonist, Shawn, is on a elliptical machine and he is really working hard because he thinks if he doesn't a bomb will go off.  Thought it is all a misunderstanding and he is in no danger, it got me thinking about my running effort.  I have been running more regularly for a few weeks now, but I have been doing what is called "easy runs." Easy runs are an essential part of running and yes it should be the majority of runs, but not all of the runs.  I decided to try to go faster and harder on Friday and it really paid off.  I ran 3 miles in 27:17.  This is no where near my fastest, but it is closer to my old easy run time than what I have been running. It made me feel good that even though I didn't get to run on Tuesday (due to packing error) or Wednesday (weather), I could come out and do a harder run. The good mo-jo traveled on to today and I hit the pool with my friend and swam 1000 m.  Tomorrow, I have pick-up basketball at church. I feel that even though this week got off to a very rocky start, I am starting to make progress.

I also finished my first book of the year, Like No Other by Una LaMarch and I think it is "meh." The premise is that a Hasidic girl meets a non-Hasidic boy and falls in insta-love which challenges her religiously obedient life and family. My favorite book of all time, The Chosen by Chaim Potok, is about Hasidic Judaism so I was hoping to like it but I think Potok's works are much, much better. 

So for 2015, I only need to: run 494 miles and at least 98 more times, read 24 more books, and make 10 more large projects (the failed hat doesn't count until I get it right). Not to bad, right?

Is your new year off to a rocky start?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Running Fail

To quote Modern Family's Phil Dunphy "WTF, why the face?" (If you don't know what I'm talking about watch this.)


It was a running fail of epic proportions today. For 2015, my goal is to have at least 100 runs and run 500 miles. Additionally, I want to walk 250 miles (most of them on my work breaks). I also want to have 100 visits to my gym this year. Again, these are all do-able goals, if I set my mind to it.  I used to do this before I had Stormy and I can do it again.

Today was my first day back to work in just over two weeks.  We also got just over 5 inches of snow last night which made for an interesting morning of commuting (the van doors were frozen shut and we had to use the hatch to get kids in and out) but we all got to school/day care/work safely. Work was good and went quickly.  I am speaking as a part of three different presentations tomorrow so I had I lot to prepare plus a mound of emails to send. When I left work, I thought about just going home, but then decided to hit the gym. After all, these goals are not going to be made without choosing the gym over the couch.

When I got to the gym, I noticed I didn't have headphones.  No problem. It will be boring to run around a 1/10 miles track without listening to anything but I've done it before. Then, I got to the locker room to change clothes and realized I had not packed a sports bra.  Let's just say that a sports bra is essential to me running. In fact, often two sports bras are essential. So I realized that running is not happening today. Then I also realized my fancy new running watch that can keep track of my laps is also not packed. It was just not my day.  Most of these errors were due to the fact that I was supposed to go to spin class at 5:40 am but the gym opened late due to the snow so I had to repack my workout bag and some things got missed.  I did get in 1.5-2 miles of walking on the track and I did a mile in the halls on my break earlier in the day.  That's better than nothing.

Tomorrow's high is zero with wind chills in -20s to -30s so Miss D's school is cancelled.  As of right now, ICC is still on and if it is, I can try to run again tomorrow.  I am so thankful to have access to an indoor track when it is so cold outside.

Have you had any epic workout fails?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Knitting Goals

I've mentioned before that I am very goal/challenge orientated. One of the best parts of January for me is everyone else is thinking like I think all the time. I feel normal for a few days until everyone breaks their resolutions. For 2015, I have several goals that I will be revealing, including today's reveal: knitting. I want to make at least 12 substantial knitting or crochet projects. That is one a month, which I think is doable, even with my other goals. I've never challenged myself to a number goal of projects before, so we'll see how this goes.

Yesterday, I knit so much that my hand hurt. It is that crazy hurt of euphoria. I was in a "knitting trance" and soon I was pretty close to finishing the baby blanket, so I kept going (no pain, no gain in knitting too) and finished the blanket. One project done, eleven more to go. (Even though I started this project in 2014, I knit well over 50% in 2015, so it totally counts.)

The pattern is the Cuddle Tight Baby Blanket by Lion Brand Yarn. It is super easy which is perfect for watching TV (or watching my husband play XBOX). I used Bernat Baby Blanket yarn. It is so soft and squishy. Stormy really enjoys hugging it and I have to tell him it is not for him.

I have my next project ready to go. I am making mittens with one of my favorite yarns Malibrigo Rasta. (I love any Malibrigo yarn, really.) This color is called "Paris Night." It is an inky blue/purple.

Although mittens are not very big, they will still count in my "substantial" project count. I am just not counting baby bibs and dishcloths in the substantial count. I make a ton of small things (sub-goal: make 24 dishcloths). Hats and mittens, though small, will still count as substantial. I make so many little projects (finished in under 2 hours) that this year I really want to focus on getting some bigger things accomplished as well as getting some unfinished objects finished up. I have a few big projects that are nearly completed, but just need some finish work.

I am having a hard time deciding between knitting and reading right now. Usually I get into a real reading kick or real knitting kick and alternate which takes my time. I am trying to read the January book club selection for one of my many book clubs, but I want to start the mittens too.

I'm reading Like No Other by Una LaMarche. I thought I would really love it and read it quickly, but I am not finding it as interesting as the reviews promise. But, I'm only about a third of the way through, plenty of time for it to get more interesting. It just makes the call of knitting so much louder and hard to ignore.

What is something that usually distracts you from your goals? I usually have issues with conflicting goals and figuring out which one to do first.