Half-Marathon Happiness

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Our group of lovely ladies before the race.

As you can see, this group of women represents quite a range of ages, sizes, and backgrounds.  And I can tell you, every one of those ladies kicked my butt, regardless of these factors!  But we all trained for and accomplished our goal.  Whatever your goal is, get out there and do it for yourself.

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My sister and I after the race with our bag of goodies!

So my big race was this past weekend…and I lived to tell about it!  All went well, except for a minor technical difficulty.  Due to a charging glitch, my iPod only lasted for 3 miles or so.  At first, I thought this was a major crisis, but it turned out that the other 10.1 miles were all about taking in the sights of our beautiful nation’s capital, people watching, and reading (and laughing at) all the great inspirational signs that the spectators were holding up along the course.Holly's bling 1

As women, most of us are constantly “doing” for others.  This race was 15,000 women (and a few good men) doing something for themselves.  I’m happy that I did it, I’m happy that I finished it, and I’m especially happy about my bling.Holly's bling 2

P.S.  In my previous half-marathon post I neglected to give credit where credit was due.  There are lots of rock star moms out there, but the one who actually started her marathon training run at 3 a.m. was Teresa.  You go girl!

Holly’s Half-Marathon

In a couple of weeks I will be participating in my second half-marathon.  I haven’t been a runner all my life, and even now, I’m more of a jogger at top speed.  As a matter of fact, after discovering a minor heart issue during my last race, I now do a run-walk combo.  But in my mind, that doesn’t make me any less of a runner.  I figured that if can birth 4 babies, surely I can run 13.1 miles.  So I strap on my iPod and crank up my hopelessly lame playlist (mainly to drown out the sound of my panting) and hit the pavement!halfpicPreparing for a race of any type can take a lot of time, but with careful planning and the help of friends and family I have been able to stay on my training schedule.  Not all of my runs have been under ideal conditions.  I prefer to run early in the day (mostly to get it over with) and outside.  But one snowy, sleety, rainy day, I ended up doing my 8 miles…inside…on the treadmill…at 6 p.m.  Not ideal for me, but I cranked it out because I was working toward a goal.  Another day my family had back-to-back activities all day, and I knew that if I didn’t wake up really early to get my run in then it just wasn’t going to happen.  I groaned when the alarm went off at 4:30, but again, I had a goal so I did what I really didn’t want to do.  I even know of a rock-star mom (my sister’s friend, Teresa) who was training for a marathon and could only fit in her long run by starting at 3 a.m.  Not ideal, but doable.

I’m not suggesting that everyone go out and run a marathon.  But be sure that you carve out a little time for yourself to stay fit.  Like Mary always says, “You may not like exercise, but I guarantee you’ll like how exercise makes you feel.”  There is a great sense of accomplishment when you set and achieve a goal. Besides a great sense of accomplishment and personal fulfillment, the prize at the end of this race is a Tiffany necklace!  I’ll let you know how everything goes!tiffrace

 

Lend a Holiday Hand

The holidays can be overwhelming at times.  With all the cooking, baking, party-going, shopping, etc., many of us find it difficult to fit it all in and still find time to enjoy ourselves.  By joining forces with friends and family, you can get more done and have fun doing it.  Here are a few ways to cut down on the holiday stress.

Organize a cookie exchange.  Whether you organize it or just attend it, a cookie exchange is a great way to have a variety of cookies without all the baking.  You may be baking 4, 8, or more dozen chocolate chip cookies, but chances are you would like something other than chocolate chip to hand out to teachers and neighbors.  By swapping with friends, your cookie platter can have a little taste of everything.

Swap babysitting.  Finding time to get to the stores without children in tow can seem nearly impossible.  But who has the extra cash at this time of year to pay a babysitter for a couple of hours?  Try swapping babysitting duties with a friend.  She can watch your kiddos while you cross some items off your Christmas list, and you can do the same for her on another day.  It works out great for both of you, and your kids are excited to have a playdate!

Streamline your shopping trips.  Most of your friends are probably hitting the same stores you are while shopping.  Why not divide and conquer?  Compare lists and see how you can help each other out.  This makes one-stop shopping .  A friend can pick up your must-have items along with hers at Target, while you pick up her requests at the mall.  Just eliminating the time it takes to find a new parking space at each new store you visit is totally worth it.

These are just a few ways to make this sometimes stressful time of year a little more manageable.  We would love to hear about any tips that you might have on how you “lend a holiday hand” at this time of year, so be sure to “comment”.

Our iPod Exercise Tunes

There is nothing quite like a great workout.  Whether you are headed out for a brisk walk, gearing up for a super run, or embracing the Front Porch Workout, here are some of our favorite tunes to sweat along to.  Hey, they may even make housework more fun!!??

We have the following songs downloaded onto our iPods.  Some are new, but many are what we consider workout classics!  Okay, a few are just funny, but they will get you moving.

  • Low – Flo Rida
  • Yeah! – Usher featuring Lil’ Jon and Ludacris
  • Marry the Night – Lady Gaga
  • Renegade – Dautry
  • Hot in Here – Nelly
  • Come Baby Come – K7
  • Sexy Chic – David Guella featuring Akon
  • Too Many Fish – Karmin
  • Right Round – Flo Rida
  • Black Horse and the Cherry – KT Tunstall
  • Stronger (What doesn’t kill us…) – Kelly Clarkson
  • Blacker the Berry the Sweeter the Juice – Hairspray Soundtrack
  • Move Your Body – Beyonce
  • My First Kiss – 3OH!3 featuring Ke$ha
  • Moves Like Jagger – Moroon 5, The Voice – Studio version featuring Christina Aguilera

Here are a few of our favorites for Ab workouts and our Ball Workout Trio.

  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  • Wild Thing – Tone Loc
  • Brokenhearted – Karmin
  • Stronger – Kanye West

 

Relax!

It is a little known fact that August 15th is National Relaxation Day.  In this post we share what relaxes us and offer a few more great ways you may enjoy taking a load off.

Elaina reading and relaxing at the beach (looks like she takes after her mama and her “Aunt” Holly).

I (Mary) find relaxation on the beach, but since I can’t be there everyday I have to find other ways to chill out.  There is nothing like a great workout to clear my head and reduce stress.  The natural release of endorphins does a body good and since I typically workout alone the quiet solitude is like a mini vacation.

I (Holly) find relaxation in carving out a little time to read by myself.  Getting lost in the world of fiction takes my mind off of the laundry and dishes that await me on a regular basis.  If I’m not in the middle of a great novel, even a magazine will do the trick.  The great photos and ideas always energize me to take on a new project or recipe.

Here is how a few of our kids claimed they relaxed.

Emily Claire (8) – “Well, reading is my thing, but I like to veg out in front of the T.V. too.  Oh yeah and I love to write.”

Elaina (6 1/2) – “I like to read and draw and watch Doc McStuffins”

Brett (8) – “I like to lay down and read.  And I like to watch a little T.V., too.”

Evie (3 1/2) – “I like to lay back and close my eyes.”

Here is a link to 100 ways to relax.  Tell us how you unwind.

Mini-Pedicure with Homemade Foot Scrub

Make your DIY pedicure just as fabulous as the salon variety with this…..

 

 

 

Fabulous Foot Scrub

Recipe: Mix the following ingredients.

    • 2 cups brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • a drop of vanilla extract

 

After soaking feet for 10 minutes in warm water (with a little of your preferred body wash added)…..

 

 

apply the scrub to damp feet to exfoliate your feet to a butter-like smoothness…

 

 

 

 

 

 

…after a gentle shaping with clippers and emery board, apply two coats of nail polish.  We LOVE the new flat lavender hues.  We used shades from Sally Hanson and Essie for oh-so-pretty tootsies.

The Fabulous Foot Scrub also makes a great gift.

Confession:  Okay, we snapped these photos for the joy of blogging.  Because we are real moms with real kids, we are more likely to be found soaking our feet while sitting on the edge of the bathtub washing a little one’s hair that is littered with sand from the sandbox. But, the foot scrub really does work!

Ultimate Ab Exercise

Strong Abdominal Muscles are in your future with this one exercise.

IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN CLEARED BY A PHYSICIAN TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS EXERCISE ROUTINE – DO NOT BEGIN UNTIL YOU HAVE CHECKED WITH YOUR DOCTOR.

Lie flat on your back, extend your arms to the ceiling.  Bend your knees so that there is a right angle formed at your hips as well as a right angle at the knees.

In one smooth motion, extend your arms beyond your head and stretch your left leg away from your body, keeping your right leg bent.

Do not rest your left leg, but once it has been extended, draw it back in and repeat on the other side.  Arms move with the leg in motion.

It is crucial to tuck your pelvis under so that your lower back is flat to the mat at all times during the exercise.

Repeat for 20 sets.  Washboard abs, here you come!

Great Deals on Cute, Trendy Basics for You

We know you love the adorable clothing lines at Gymboree and Crazy 8 for your kids, but did you know that they have a women’s brand as well? Discover great finds with reasonable price tags at Shade.  BONUS: They offer free shipping and returns all the time. Have no fear, you won’t be sporting pirates and poodles.  We love the Stripe Tank Maxi Dress and the Slim Cropped White Jean!

Happy Shopping!

 

Find Friendship and Mommy-Support

Are you looking for a way to connect with other mommies in your area?  MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is an international Christian-based organization that provides friendship, support, and resources to mothers of little ones from birth to kindergarten.

We have been members of our local MOPS chapter for several years.  While we are natives to our area, many of our fellow MOPS members are military wives or new to the community, and have sought out MOPS to provide support in a new environment.

Our MOPS group meets one morning per month.  We get together to enjoy a pot-luck brunch, guest speakers on pertinent topics, and small group discussions.  While we enjoy our mommy time, our little ones are engaged in age-appropriate activities with loving volunteers.

If you would like to enhance your motherhood experience, find a local MOPS chapter by visiting www.mops.org.