Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Time For Change

It's hard to get to really know someone online.  I mean, we learn about their families, their likes and dislikes but unless they are truly transparent and talk about every single aspect of their life, there is so much we don't know about each other.  I don't agree with putting every single thing out there because there are just some things that need to be kept private. 

There are a ton of things about me and my family that are unknown to others, even our closest friends.  Don't worry, I'm not using this post as a way to air out all  my dirty laundry or deepest, darkest secrets.  That would be absurd.  My point is, I could go on and on to fill you in on why the next year is going to be a year of changes for me and my family. 

This past year has been hard.  Really hard.  There have been moments when I wasn't sure I could mentally or emotionally handle everything anymore.  I know that life is tough and life is what you make of it but dangit, it was a hard year.  Even now, I look back and I think that the past year has been full of changes, struggles, some great times and just, lots of struggles. 

We are all healthy and for the most part, happy so I can't complain too much but of all the years of marriage, parenthood, employment and just life in general, this past one would be the one to break me. 

I know I keep repeating myself and I'm being annoyingly vague but I am saying all this to say that 2014 is going to bring about positive changes.  My husband and I have weathered some storms together and I think that we have dug out from the worst of it.  :knocking on wood: Some days we are so strong and I know we can get through anything and other days I wonder how the hell we are going to make it.  When it comes to the nitty gritty of it, he is my rock and we really do make a great team.

Financially, again, the past year was one of the top 3 worst years of our lives.  We are doing better and are trying to take the right steps to become even better.  We hope to improve in this area by any means possible.  We have cut back on so much already, I don't think there is any possibility of cutting back anymore. 

Healthwise, we are on the right track.  I am getting the kids to be more active and I have been working hard to get in shape and ensure that I can keep up with the kids.  In this department, this was the most gratifying thing for me.  I reached a goal I have wanted to reach for a long time, I am a regular runner and I am stronger than ever before. I am so happy that I decided to finally go for my goals and work hard for them.  I do still need to work on better eating, healthier dinners and snacks.  I am trying to menu plan again so that I can have a clear plan to go off of. It makes it so much easier to ensure that the kids are eating from the different food groups and that the meals are made from scratch and healthier than the processed foods we are used to.  Thank goodness we all like fruits and veggies!

Doing Good for Others, throughout the year, there has been times that we have had to ask for help. It is never easy, it is probably one of the worst feelings to know that you aren't able to do it on your own. That you cannot provide for your family in the way that you are supposed to and want to.  However, I have learned that it is much better to ask than to go without.  Our kids deserve better and we are going to be sure to give back every chance we get.  We do give to charities and organizations when we can but I have a special place in my heart for certain ones that have been there for us.  We will pay it forward when we can. 

I am going to continue to work on myself.  Believe me, there is a lot of work to be done.  I am determined to reach some more goals and become the person I know I can be.  The next year is going to be amazing. 

What are you planning for in the next year?  Do you write down your goals?  Are there areas of your life that need improvement? 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Giveaway Time!! Check out Milestones Sports Jewelry! UPDATE: WINNER!!


It's that time of year when we are browsing the internet for all those great gift ideas and trying to find the perfect gift for those we love or even for ourselves (somehow I always end up getting something for myself ;) )

In my searches and browsing of giveaways, I came across a site/company called Milestones Sports Jewelry & Apparel and I fell in love. Who doesn't love jewelry and apparel that celebrates our running/fitness accomplishments?! 

They offer a wide range of products from beads, charms, hoodies, tees, tanks and long sleeve t shirt hoodies.  There are products that celebrate running, half marathons, full marathons and triathalons.

Milestones Sports Jewelry & Apparel and I have teamed up to offer my readers a giveaway!!  That's right, you have a chance at winning an item from them!  I was able to try out their burnout Enjoy the Journey hoodie.

Run hoodie "Enjoy the Journey"

It is so comfortable and the fit is just right. I really wasn't sure which size to choose because I wasn't sure how it would fit.  It is so perfect.  It is lightweight, soft and easy to move around in.  This is a great layering piece for me for the days when the weather is colder and I need to be able to add or take away a layer.  I love that it isn't too bulky.    Plus, the saying on the hoodie is so true..."Enjoy the milestone at a time."  The journeys we take can be long and exhausting but we have to remember that each milestone counts. 

You can win one of these too!!  Enter this giveaway for your chance to own this and feel the comfort of their burnout long sleeve tee hoodie. 

Here's the details of the giveaway:

This giveaway ends on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 12:01am EST. I will choose a random winner from the comments.
Mandatory Entry:
Leave a comment letting me know what product you absolutely love from their website found here.
Additional Entries:
  • Join this site with Google Friend Connect on the right sidebar, leave a comment letting me know you have done this.
  • Head over to Facebook and Like my page, Rediscovering Me.  Come back and leave a comment letting me know you have done so.
  • Head over to Facebook and Like Milestones Sports Jewelry & Apparel.  Come back and leave a comment letting me know you've done that.
  • Tweet about this giveaway to let others know that they can enter to win as well! Example tweet: "I just entered to win a prize from @MilestonesSport via The Balance of Us here. You can too!" Leave a comment with a link to your tweet.
  • Head over to Twitter and follow Milestones Sports here
Thank you to everyone who entered this giveaway, I appreciate your entering.  Now, on to the winner! 

Your random number between 1 and 15 is 8.   The winner is AMY REILLY!! Please email me at with your mailing address, size of the hoodie you would like and I will pass the information on to Milestone Sports Jewelry and Apparel!! Congratulations, Amy!
If you love their products and would like to place an order for yourself or for a gift, you can enjoy a 10% discount exclusively for my readers by entering the discount code: BALANCE at checkout!! 

Good luck!

Disclaimer: I received a hoodie from Milestones Sports Jewelry and Apparel in exchange for my honest opinion.  I was not monetarily compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.  I would not recommend any products to my readers that I didn't truly love.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Some Exciting Stuff

There are quite a few things that I love about the holiday season.  The lights, the music, the giving spirit.  Speaking of the giving spirit.....don't you just love all the online giveaways?  Yeah, me too.  I have been a winner a few times for various different products and giveaways.  Who doesn't love winning stuff?! 

Well, I'm going to be getting into that spirit of giving (away) a few things this holiday season!  That's right, I have a few things up my sleeve and I will be hosting some giveaways over the next few weeks!!  Stay tuned for the details as I get them!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Waiting and Lessons Learned

If you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you are well aware of the fact that my mom has her entire family in the Philippines, where last week, the strongest typhoon in history hit. Her family is not far from where the storm made landfall and where they are showing the pictures of devastation and death on the TV.
It is hard to watch the coverage, not knowing whether or not your entire family could have possibly been killed by this storm.  I have heard from two cousins via Facebook, although they have no news for me regarding the rest of the family.  There is simply no way for them to communicate.  There is no power, there are no phones and phone lines are down. 
At this point, nearly a week after the storm made landfall, the residents are desperate for food and water.  Another storm is approaching the islands and with that, disease and dysentery are a real threat.  The hospitals have no power so patients are dying because there is just nothing more they can do for some of them. 
We have been praying hard for the victims, the survivors and for a large amount of family members that we just don't know about. 
Chuck has been struck with the urge to help in any way he can but we just don't really know what that need is right now.  Obviously, they need food and water and donations can be made to several organizations that are helping the country.  He would love to go over and help them rebuild, to put their lives and homes back together but they aren't to that point just yet.  There is so much more that needs done before they can even think of that. 
I sit here at home and worry about our finances and the cost of our health insurance costing more a month, how we are going to get the kids what they want for Christmas and I feel so selfish and ridiculous.  I see a lot of the hashtag "#firstworldproblems" and I have used it before but it is so true. Many of us have no clue about true survival mode.  Many of us have never been through a natural disaster and wondering how we will feed ourselves or our children. 
Life has changed for so many and I am worried about getting my kids the gadget they want.  It all seems so silly and unimportant now.  It just doesn't matter.  We are alive, we are together and we are safe. 
A little perspective goes a very long way. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Next Step

As life gets busier and fuller, I've come to realize that I need to prioritize the things that I do. Of course family is always going to come first but under that file, comes a ton of subfiles in our lives. I try to be home as much as possible with my kids. I am always there in the mornings as they get up and get ready for school. I am able to cook them breakfast, tell them to change if they look strange and say goodbye when it's time to catch the bus. It is something that I wasn't able to do for almost three years with my previous job. I can't tell you how much this time in the mornings means to me. It is something that I cherish so much. I am not there when they get home from school except on days that I am off from work. However, I am home every night to make or eat dinner with them. I am there to take them to sporting events or activities. I do a lot for/with my kids and I wouldn't trade that for anything. Part of my reasoning for training and achieving my goal of my half marathon was to show my kids that just as I expect them to practice, try their best and follow through with things, I can and will do it too. Another reason for my training and working toward this was to become healthy and stay healthy. I cannot be the type of mom I want to be if I am not healthy. I want to be able to run, play and spend time with my kids doing fun, active stuff. We are not the type of family that just sits around watching tv. We like to go hiking, running, play kickball or Frisbee or just go walking. So, I am in pretty good health but I want to continue to be fit and maybe even improve a bit. I am starting to do more in the way of health and fitness. I am going to start with some weight training and spinning classes. I did my first Body Pump class today and it worked. I can already feel the muscles I worked and they are tired!! I am planning on doing the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay with a team of either just girls or a mix of girls and guys. I put out a Facebook status asking if anyone would be interested and the maximum number of team members is 5 but I had more than that respond so I would love to get a guys team and a girls team so everyone will have someone else to run with! It would make it more fun for all of us! After the half marathon that Chuck and I ran, he realized that he needs to get in shape too so he is going to start back at the gym and lifting weights and getting on the treadmill. We have a friend that is going to give us their treadmill that is in better condition than the one we have at home for free!!! I am so excited! Big things are happening and I couldn't be more excited. Health and fitness has become a priority for me. A longer, stronger life is very important to me so I can see my kids grow up and I can keep up with them along the way.

Monday, October 21, 2013

My First Half Marathon Recap

It's very true that if you create a goal for yourself, work hard to ready yourself for it and be diligent, you can achieve it!  I can now say that I ran a half marathon and I am so proud of myself and feel great. 

I went to bed on Friday full of nerves and figured that I probably wouldn't get much sleep because my anxiety was on high alert.  I planned on getting up around 5:30am because we needed to be out the door by 7:30am to head to the race.  My body had be up around 4:30am and I was able to slip in and out of sleep for an hour until the alarm went off. 

Chuck and I got ready and I had my outfit planned out and I only had to add one extra shirt to the mix.  I was surprisingly calm which had me kind of worried because I am never calm before a big event.  Usually, my stomach is in knots and I feel close to throwing up but I didn't feel that way at all. 

We got in the car and that's when my nerves hit.  I was getting so nervous and my anxiety was at a level of about a 9 on a 10 scale.  I thought I was going to yack.  I started to take some deep breaths and remind myself that I was going to be okay. 

When we got to the parking lot, we walked to the shuttles and we arrived at the starting point.  I was calm again.  We decided to do some stretching and some warm up jogging.  We were hoping to avoid the tight muscles and cramping.  We wanted to be warm and ready for the race. 

The start was upon us and we were standing in line to begin.  This was it......we were really doing this!!

We started off with adrenaline and as usual, Chuck was going faster than I wanted him to.  He has a faster pace than me, in general, and this happens every single time we run anything.  We had plans to do our 8:1 intervals of running/walking.  Well, he was so far ahead of me that I let the first walking interval go.  We ran through it.  Then, he let me catch up and was wondering when it was time to walk because he needed to walk.  We walked then we ran and for the first 3 or so miles, the intervals were messed up because he needed to walk and couldn't wait for the walk intervals.  I could tell that he was struggling a bit so I was trying to stick with him and be supportive since I knew he didn't train at all and he was doing this to support me. 

At mile 7, I was feeling good and I was starting to get back into the intervals but Chuck wasn't.  He couldn't maintain the running.  At this point, he urged me to go on ahead of him and do my thing.  He didn't want to hold me back from my goal and he couldn't go on with my pace.  So, I left him behind.  To say that it was a tough decision is an understatement.  This was my goal, I worked so hard to get to this point but to see my husband struggling and wanting to do this for me, I felt guilty. 

The span of mile 9 to mile 10 seemed like forever.  I would say it was the toughest part of the whole race.  I am reading from a lot of other runners that this was the case for them, as well. I figured if I could get to mile 10, I was good.  It was just a little while longer to the finish. 

As I got closer, I got more excited to know that I could do it and make it to the finish.  At the end of the course, you go under a bridge, around a bend and then it is a long, straight run to the finish.  When I was under the bridge, I started to walk because I was tired and my right knee was bothering me.  A woman that was going to pass me, tapped me on the shoulder and said, "you are too close to the finish line to start walking now, let's go!" so she ran with me and we ran together for that last .25 miles to the finish line. 

I did it!!  Holy crap, I did it!  I feel great, I feel proud and my husband keeps telling me how proud he is of me.  He didn't doubt that I could do it but I think it still surprised him.  Best of all, my kids saw that even their mom can create a goal, work hard and achieve it. 

Now the question is, what's next?!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mind Over Matter

I am three days away from my first half marathon and several people have mentioned the fact that completing a run this long is more mental than physical.  I am not na├»ve enough to think that my physical strength and ability have no factors in this race but I am also trying to mentally prepare myself for it. 

I have a game plan and I hope that it works well for me.  I am going to do my intervals and I have my playlist ready for motivation and getting into a rhythm while I run.  I am planning my race day outfit and what exactly I will need for optimum efficiency. 

I am excited and nervous.  I have been looking forward to this day for so long and I have worked so hard to prepare.  I am nervous that something unseen with happen.  I am nervous that I won't be able to get into a good pace and/or rhythm.

At the same time, I am fairly confident that I can do this.  I feel like my training has prepared me pretty well.  I have been running a lot of hills lately to strengthen my legs and my lungs.  The course is mostly downhill so that will help.  I think the drink stations are spaced well to help me in the hydration department. 

The weather will be cooler, which is very helpful for me.  The rain should hold off until the late afternoon so we should be dry (as far as rain is concerned, not so much on the sweat front.) 

I can't wait to cross that finish line and shout from the rooftops that I did it.  I want this achievement so badly that I should mentally be right where I need to be.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

MAMAVATION MONDAY, ER TUESDAY: What I have been doing lately

It has been a very long time since I have posted a Mamavation Monday post and I'm not quite sure why.  I'm back though so here's my first post to get back into a routine....well, a day late but hey, it's progress, right?! 

Anyway, I have been working out but not as much as I probably should.  I am not participating in any monthly challenges or workout routines but I have been running a lot since I am in training for the half marathon.  Included in that training in cross training and strength.  I haven't been doing any big lifting but rather lower weights with more reps and I've been walking or doing ab work for my cross training. 

This month, I am going to participate in the Virtual Ride for Breast Cancer with Jess from Run With Jess.  I will be riding 31 miles this month, most likely in a few rides.  I can incorporate that into my cross training and it will help strengthen my legs and keep me aware. I would encourage everyone else to sign up too and we can all ride together!

I need to find a monthly challenge to do!  I think I will look for an ab one to do so that I can strengthen my midsection and core.  I haven't been pushing myself as hard as I should be so this is a target area for me to strengthen.  I love the monthly challenges because I don't lose focus and I am building up gradually instead of trying to go balls to the wall.  Yes, I just said that! haha.

What have you been doing lately?  Do you have any monthly goals this month?  My monthly goal is to run at least 50 miles which shouldn't be too hard for me since my daily runs are at least 5 miles.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This is for Me

I have been training for months for my first half marathon.  I have put in the miles to train and build up to the long distance running that is required.  I've pushed myself harder than I ever thought I could. I never imagined that I would be able to run for over an hour at a time, yet there I am on the treadmill hitting a good rhythm while running for 75 minutes! The feeling I have when I am done is amazing to say the least. 

I signed up for my first half marathon after talking about it and training for it.  As soon as I received the confirmation email, I wanted to throw up from the anxiety of it.  What have I done?!  I'm so excited, nervous and anxious about it.  However, just like my training, I am going to take it one mile at a time, one step at a time. 

I am not too worried about my time for the race, heck, I want to enjoy the experience, the scenery and the cool, fall air on my face.  I won't beat myself up if my time is nowhere close to where I think it may be.  The feeling I will have when I cross that finish line is all I will remember anyway.

I signed Chuck up for the half as well.  He said he can't let me run alone and he would love to cross that finish line together.  I explained to him how I wanted to give myself a goal, train for it and achieve it.  That it would be a great life lesson for our kids and what a great example of dedication and determination it would be for them.  He asked why I had to choose such a long goal haha. 

I also had to explain to him that this is for me.  This is my goal, this is my race, this is my accomplishment.  Yes, he will be with me and this will be his first half marathon as well.  I am proud and thankful that he wants to do this with me and I can't imagine a more fitting finish to this run than to cross it together.  However, at the same time, I am doing this for me.  For years, I have been catering to others.  I have been serving my husband, my kids and pushing myself and my goals to the back burner to accommodate everyone else.  This is my shining moment (hopefully I feel this way at the end ;))

I hope to have a great time and that it is an experience I won't forget but I am also hoping that I enjoy it enough to sign up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon next May.  ;)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's Not Easy Seeing an Empty Shelf

I became a blogger ambassador for the Monkey Do Project with the intent to help spread the word about areas in our own country that are in desperate need of our help.  Families and individuals who have so little, that do not have the means to get help, no running water, no electricity and are often forgotten.  Children that go to school and the lunches that they eat are the only meals they have.  Yes, there are children in our country that are only able to eat 5 times a week. They need our help.  They need someone on their side who can help them receive the most basic of necessities. 

The mission of the Monkey Do Project is to help spread awareness, raise funds to help the people of Appalachia and to better the lives of many people who know the desperation of just trying to survive. 

One of the places that they are trying to help is in Clay, West Virginia.  There is a food bank there that the organizers said had empty shelves.  The Monkey Do Project visited the food bank in Clay and saw for themselves that the shelves were not low or lacking a few items....they were literally empty.  No food to help the families that it is there to help.

An image of the food bank shelves, empty.

They have two refrigerators and a deep freezer in the food bank as well.  The contents were 3 packages of meat.  This is all they had to hand out to families in need.  Families who need to feed their children, the elderly.  It really pains me to see this.  We are so lucky to have the things we have. 

So many times, I have thought to myself about how tough life is, how much I wish that my life were easier but it doesn't compare to the way that these people are living.  We need to do better for our neighbors.  No, I don't live in Clay, West Virginia, they need us. 

The Monkey Do Project is pledging to help Clay, West Virginia food bank as their FILL THE FOOD BANK PROJECT.  Can you help?  Are you able to make a donation, no amount is too small.  Every dollar is a dollar toward a meal for these families and individuals.

You can go here to make a donation today!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Different Chaos

Well, the new school year has begun and with it, comes more chaos.  The thing I love most about the school year is the routine that is established in order for everything to run smoothly.  We now have bedtimes, wakeup times, homework times, eating times, you get the drift.  The thing I hate the most about the school year is the homework and the fighting that comes along with it.  I am hoping that we can establish a very set routine when it comes to doing homework. 

We always say that the kids should do their homework as soon as they come home to get it done and over with.  That wasn't always easy for Chuckie when he was in the elementary buildings because he would get home around 4pm and had to get ready and eat before heading off to football practice.  This year, he is in the middle school so he is home before 3pm everyday.  That gives him three hours before practice to do the things that need done. 

Lincoln is not really used to having too much homework since he was in kindergarten and I'm not really sure if he will have a lot of homework this year in first grade but if he does, I want to get him in the habit of doing it at a set time and make that something he gets used to for the remainder of his school career! 

We have a desk for Jada in her room and we have an old antique desk for Lincoln so we need to get a desk or study area for Chuckie.  Although that may be coming soon since we are thinking of converting the loft area into his own bedroom.

The beginning of the school year is so crazy though with the forms I need to fill out and sign, orientations, curriculum nights, etc.  I feel like I am running a lot lately but it will slow down and soon enough we will be in the school year rhythm of it.  We will move  as if we've been doing it all along. 

The kids' first day of school went well.  They all liked their teachers and didn't complain about a single thing.  I was kind of surprised.  The biggest shock was Lincoln who didn't want to go to school, getting excited to go back again today.  He kept asking me if it was time to go yet so he could get on the bus to go to school!! 

His teacher seems to be a great lady and several people have said how great she is.  I had one first grade teacher tell me that if she had a first grader, that is the teacher she would want for her own child so I don't think you could earn a higher praise than that!!

I am excited to see what the school year brings.  I am hoping for only the best for my kids and I want to see them excel at their classes and do well.  I am going to push them to do their best because I really lacked at that last year and it was reflected in their grades.  I am pushing for all A's and B's this year!  I may have to motivate them with something good. ;)

Friday, August 16, 2013

28 Day ProSkins Challenge: Week 4 Results

I have worn the ProSkins Anti-Cellulite leggings for 28 days and I have really enjoyed the experience.  I have seen results and I have felt softer, smoother skin on my legs than some lotions can even provide! 

I plan on continuing to wear my leggings, maybe not everyday but most nights.  They will probably become a staple to my winter wardrobe as I can wear them under pants when I am freezing!  They are keeping their shape and they are just so very comfortable!

Here are my results in the last week, in inches:

Hips: -.25
Top of Thigh: -.5
Thigh: -0
Above Knee: -.25
Below Knee: -0
Calf: -0

So, even at the end of the challenge, when I thought there wouldn't be much of a change, there is change! 

I do have to say that I have been running three days a week with some cross training as I am training for a half marathon so the results may also be, in part, due to the running and exercise but I do believe that the leggings helped. 

I would recommend anyone to go and check out the ProSkins leggings, shorts, capris, etc. to find out for yourself just how comfortable and beneficial they are.

*I was provided a pair of ProSkins leggings in exchange for participating in the 28-day bloggers challenge.  All opinions are my own and I was not scripted in any way.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Routine, organization and Figuring It All Out

As the school year gets closer, I am trying to think of ways to make things run a little smoother, more organized and more efficient.  With three kids, it gets pretty hectic.  The older kids are pretty self-sufficient so it isn't as hard with them but they take on more personal responsibility and that means that I need to give them the space and opportunity to flourish.  Jada has her own desk in her room where she can study and do her homework.  The boys don't have a desk so homework is usually done at the kitchen table or on the coffee table in the living room. 

We have a loft upstairs that I think I am going to make into a homework/study area for the kids.  We have been thinking of moving the computer up there anyway so it would make for a great centralized location for all of that. 

The family calendar is in the kitchen but I feel like I need a nook or wall station where they can put papers, reminders, permission slips, etc.  I tried doing corkboards last year and it just wasn't what I envisioned so those are gone now. 

As the kids get involved in activities and more sports, we need to have our lives work as a well-oiled machine and that means we all need to work together to make it work for all of us. 

I think I will head on over to Pinterest to check out some ideas!  What do you do to make things run smoothly for your family during the school year?!

Friday, August 9, 2013

ProSkins 28-Day Slim Leggings Challenge: Week 3 Results

I am officially done with week 3 of my challenge and I have to say that I am still very satisfied with my results and with the quality of the leggings.  My legs still feel soft and moisturized, they are still comfortable and they have not lost any of their elasticity. 

I was a bit wary of how they would hold up during the challenge, I mean, I am wearing them every night and I am washing them and I thought that maybe their ability to soften my skin and keep the compression would lose effect but they haven't.  When they are freshly laundered, they are back to where they were when I first got them. 

I haven't seen such dramatic results this week as I did last week but I am still happy with the results.  I would recommend these leggings to anyone wanting to try them to find the positive results I have found. 

This week's results, in loss of inches is as follows:
Hips: -0
Top of Thigh: -0
Thigh: -0
Above Knee: -0
Below Knee: -.25
Calf: -0

So there wasn't much of a loss at all but there was still a loss! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Reaching For A Goal

Many times and many days, my running has been therapeutic.  I can get outside or go downstairs to the treadmill, turn on my music and just go.  I think about a lot of things and I've let go of a lot of things while running.  I have motivated myself, pushed myself and I've even cried a bit on the runs thinking about life, my family and tons of other things.

There is a sense of pride every time I reach my running goal.  Every mile is a victory for me.  I celebrate every single mile I achieve.  The time came for me a set myself a goal. 

I am currently training for my first half marathon!  I know a few people who have done them and they followed the 12 week training program that I am following now.  Hal Higdon has come up with these programs for all levels of ability. You can adjust them a bit to better suite your weekly schedule but I feel like his program isn't too daunting or scary.

I completed my first week of training on Sunday as the weeks run Monday through Sunday.  I did well and I was able to complete all my workouts.  There are three days of running, one day of rest, two days of cross training and one day of stretch and strengthening. 

I am planning on doing my first half marathon in October and the course is said to be mostly downhill and perfect for those doing their first half.  I don't know if I will make it to the race.....meaning if my body will be able to handle all the training but I am willing to give it my all in an effort to make it. 

I am not going to give up without a fight though.  I want to prove to myself and others that I can do this.  At this point, I do not have any timing goals or anything like that.  I am just plugging along the training schedule and taking it one day at a time.  I know it's not going to be easy but I am going to give it my all.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Proskins Blogger Challenge: Week 2 Results and Notes

It has been a few weeks since I began my 28-day ProSkins Bloggers Challenge of wearing these Slim Anti-Cellulite leggings daily to test the benefits of the product.  They are black, full length leggings that fit nicely and compress my legs in a great way.

Here is what ProSkins says about the slim leggings:

 The Slim leggings utilize our compression technology along with anti-cellulite emollients that condition your skin. These leggings have been tested in clinical trials in Europe and proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

It is true what they say.  I wear my leggings at night when I go to bed.  I wake up and my legs are smooth, moisturized to the point that I don't even need to apply lotion to them.  That is a time saver for me in my morning routine. 

The leggings are so comfortable and I could wear them under a skirt, dress or a long tunic....I just don't wear those things to work since the guys I work with don't appreciate cute fashion and I wear jeans or shorts to work. 

Here are my results for Week 2, this is the loss in inches from week 1 to week 2.

Hips: -.25
Top of Thighs: -.50
Thighs: -.25
Above Knee: -1
Below Knee: -0
Calf: -0

So the loss isn't a huge amount but there is definitely a loss.

So far, I am happy with the results that I am seeing and I will continue to monitor the future results and report them here. 

*I received the Proskins leggings in exchange for my posting of the results and my opinions on their product.  I did not receive any monetary compensation.  The opinions are my own.  I was not scripted in my postings.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

28-Day ProSkins Leggings Challenge: Week 1

It has been a week since I began wearing the leggings I received from ProSkins.  They are slimming, anti-cellulite leggings that claim to smooth your skin, reduce cellulite and slim your legs. 

After one week of wearing them, I can say that my legs do feel smoother.  I have not had to apply lotion to my legs since I began wearing them!  I can't say for sure that I have less cellulite on my legs because I didn't really guage that beforehand.  I guess I should have done that as well.  I did however, take "before" measurements and I have to say that after one week, I have seen the numbers go down. 

To be clear, I am still working out and I am participating in a squats challenge so I am sure that that plays a factor in the numbers game but I do believe that the leggings are playing a part as well. 

Another great benefit to the leggings is how comfortable they are.  I wear mine to bed at night because they just don't work with what I wear to my job.  I actually really like the silky feeling and the compression that I feel on my legs when I wear them. 

Only time will tell as I go through the challenge as to whether they make a huge difference in the measurements of my legs but I am enjoying what I am seeing so far!

Get Out and Run

When I started running, I was so motivated to join some online groups that were involved in running.  I learned a lot and found some really great resources for training, hydration, products and all sorts of things. 

One of the programs that I joined was the Get Out and Run Program through US Road Running.  It is a great group that encourages, supports and motivates you to well, get out and run!  There are monthly goals that you can shoot for such as joining in the 5k, 10k or mileage goals.  You can sign up to receive a medal for each month that you participate but you are not required to do so.  You also enter your results and you can view your results against other runners to see where you place. 

If you would like to join this group and find some motivation, community and encouragement, you can visit US Road Running and put in the referral code 3450 to let them know that I sent you! It is free to join the group!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Down to the Wire

My brother is getting married in 4 days. Four days.  The time since they were first engaged until now has flown by faster than I ever could have imagined.  I've had so much fun being involved and helping where I could.  The work isn't over just yet.  I am working on baskets for the bathrooms that you see at receptions.  The ones that have band-aids, hairspray, aspirin, etc. in them for the guests.  I volunteered to do those and I am working on filling those up.

I've got my nails done and hair appointment set.  I need to get my pedicure (didn't want to do it too soon) and then find someone to do my makeup.  The wedding is outdoors and it is supposed to be about 90 degrees with a chance of rain! I have some acne and I was hoping to get my makeup professionally done so that I can make sure I still look good for the pictures afterward.

I am so nervous and anxious and I'm not quite sure why.  This is not my wedding! There is just so much time and effort that has been put into this and I want everything to go smoothly.  My brother and soon to be sister-in-law have done everything themselves and a lot of the details are homemade with a personal touch.  I want their day to be everything they envision it to be.

I still have to get Lincoln's clothes because it has been difficult to find the outfit without paying an insane amount of money.  We are going tomorrow to hunt for an outfit and we aren't stopping until we find it.

We are down to the wire and everything is coming together.  We are so excited to see the wedding and have fun in the process.

It's hard to put into words how I feel about my baby brother getting married and just how much I adore his fiance'.  She is the perfect girl.  She is kind, loving, smart, funny and so easy to get along with.  She would do anything for my kids and treats us as family.  I am so happy to call her my sister.  It's not like we had to wait until they are married to call her family because she has been such a big part of our family for the past seven years.  The marriage was just a formality.

I got her a small gift from my sister and I as a way to welcome her to our sisterhood.  I can't wait to give it to her and I hope she likes it.  If anything, she knows it came from our hearts.

I can't wait to show pictures of the wedding when I have them.  Be prepared!

Friday, July 5, 2013

I Am Enough

It really is a powerful statement, one that I probably couldn't have made a few years ago.  There comes a time in everyone's life when they start to wonder if everything they do and everything they try to do is enough. 

A challenge was posted for people to figure out what the statement, I AM ENOUGH, means to them. This is my story.

For years, I tried to do everything.  I was trying to please everyone and tried to be as involved as I possibly could in everything.  I put so much aside so that I could be the person that everyone else could count on and sometimes, that still was not enough.  I was stressed out, tired and running on empty. 

As I started to do things that made me happy, started saying no to others when I really didn't want to or couldn't do something and taking care of myself; I was starting to realize that I was becoming a better me. 

I realized that even if I wasn't on the PTO board, even if I wasn't at every meeting, even if I wasn't at every kid-friendly event or activity and even if I didn't cook homemade meals everyday....I was enough. 

People start to make these realizations through many different avenues.  For me, I found myself thinking a lot when I started to put myself first.  For years, I was doing everything for everyone else and not doing very much for me.  One turning point for me was when I started running.  It may seem strange to others that running would bring about such an internal change in a person.  However, as I started to further my distance and I started to improve on my timing, I found someone.  I found the person inside of me that I've always been but couldn't see.  I found me.

I found that I was able to do something I didn't think I could do.  I found that I am worth it and I am enough.

I was able to climb and overcome hurdles in the road.

I was able to convince my entire family to fun a 5k! (1k for the little guy)
I was able to find myself and realize that I AM ENOUGH.
I am enough for me, I am enough for my family and I am enough for everyone else who finds me valuable.  I must say, it feels so very good to be enough. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Making Things Work.....For Me

In September of 2010, I started my own business with Scentsy.  I was so excited to join the company and be able to make some money while promoting a product that I truly love and use on a daily basis.  I was working the business and holding a few parties here and there.  I was so into what I was doing and I was making some money in the process!

Fast forward to this past year.  I have slowly backed off of working my business because I was getting busy with the kids, work, life, etc.  I gave up on the one thing that I had the option to give up on. I was bringing in orders here and there and was satisfied with that. 

Not anymore.  I want to revive my business and get it going again.  I want to make some real money and help do things with my kids with it.  I would love to make enough money working my business so that I can pay for all of my kids' sports, activities and fun stuff.  I want to be able to say that I am a success and maybe even earn those free trips that you can earn.  It isn't going to be easy, it's going to take time and effort but I want to do it. 

I now sell both Scentsy and Velata.  Luckily for me, the Scentsy brand allows all sales to count to one common goal, building a business and making a real living with this company. 

I have a job, I work part time outside of the home.  I am a busy wife and mom.  I don't have a ton of extra time to myself.  That means working my business my way.  Scentsy brand encourages that.  If I want to work in parties at lunch time or in the morning, I can.  If I want to only work on weekends, I can.  If I want to work only on Thursday evenings, I can.  I can do what I want, how I want because this is my business. 

Just to throw in a few pictures, here are the current monthly flyers for June promotions.  If you see what you like, let me know or head over to my site to place an order!

The God Bless America warmer of the month is currently 10% off and the chocolate promotion is a great deal for Velata. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Unique Opportunity to Review Leggings

I was chosen to do a review of a pair of leggings that claims to help reduce cellulite, slim your legs and smooth your skin!  I am required to take weekly measurements and submit them to the company to help track my progress.  I am so very excited to try these out.  You wear them for 8 hours daily.  You can wear them while exercising, with your favorite outfit or wear them to bed.  I am participating in the 28-day Proskin Slim Anti-cellulite leggings challenge.

There are a lot of benefits to these leggings but I am signing on to do this because one of my self-perceived problem areas are my legs.  I have always had bigger legs.  Yes, my legs are muscular but there is also fatty areas that can use some help.  I would love to finish off this 28-day challenge and see some great results that leave me feeling better about my legs. 

I do workout regularly and I have seen the changes that exercise makes in the changes in my legs and the shape.  I am very interested in seeing just what changes are brought about by the leggings.  I would love to have slimmer, softer legs with less cellulite!

I often have problems buying pants and even some shorts because of my thighs.  I can easily find pants/shorts that fit my waist but are too tight in my thighs.  It really puts a damper on my shopping trips.  I love to get news clothes but my legs have always been a trouble spot for me.

*I did not receive monetary compensation for this post, I will receive a pair of Proskin leggings to complete an honest review of the product.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tropical Breezes, Hikes in the Woods or Something Different

As I've mentioned, next year, Chuck and I will be celebrating our fifteenth wedding anniversary next year.  We had talked about a trip to Hawaii that would include renewing our vows and celebrating this milestone with anyone who would want to make the trip with us. 

At this point, I'm not sure if that is feasible or what we are going to do.  While I have tons of plans in my head, I don't know if we will. I understand that it seems like a long way away, timewise, but time has been flying and if we are going to do something like that, I want to start planning for it now!  Aside from the financial end of it, there are logistics that go along with it, as well. 

I have had thoughts on other options too.  We love the Outer Banks and we plan to go back there so a vow renewal there could work well for us.  A cruise is something that I've thought about but Chuck is not too keen on the idea, especially after all the incidents lately with the cruise ships over the past year.  I've thought about maybe something less expensive and something more rustic like a cabin in the mountains that would include hikes in the woods and relaxing in a hot tub watching the sun go down.

I am thinking that the option that would work best for us, as a family is the Outer Banks, as other familiy members would most likely be able to join us for the celebration and we could make a family vacation of it.  I'm not solidifying any plans right now because I want to make sure that it is 100% what we want to do. 

I definitely envision sand and sun, I would prefer if our kids could be there to witness it...if we were to go to Hawaii, the kids would not be going. We just could not afford that airfare! At the same time, if we were to go away just the two of us, it would be a vow renewal/honeymoon all in one trip!

There's so much to think about.  In the meantime, I've been hitting up Pinterest for inspiration and well, there is an endless supply of wedding stuff on there!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's Foam! It's Mud! It's a 5K! It's Fun!!

I have only four days left before I head out and take part in the 5k Foam Fest!  I am nervous and excited.  Mostly excited but I am so afraid of failing at most of the obstacles.  I know I will have fun and I know I will laugh a lot but this is new to me. 

These are a few of the things I will have to do:

I am doing this race with a friend and her friend so I am sure we are going to have a blast.  I know a few people that have done this race and they said it was so much fun.  One thing that I am having a hard time with is figuring out how I'm going to take pictures during/after this event.  I want to have pictures to post afterward but I have no idea how I am going to do that.  I need to figure out a way to protect my phone/camera and carry it in a way that it won't get broken. 

If you live in the Pittsburgh area, you should sign up to participate in this fun event.  It's not everyday that we, as adults, can play in mud, foam and water.  There are inflatables! Don't you always get a bit jealous when you watch your kids having all that fun in those bounce houses and slides?! ;)

Friday, June 7, 2013

I want, I want

It's so easy to make a list of the things we want.  I can think of several things within seconds of someone asking me what I want. Some are small things and some are big things, some are expensive, others are not.

I just talked to Chuck's cousin today about a reunion that his cousin is North the end of July.  I would love to go and in my mind today I was trying to configure just how we could make it work.  I really don't think we could but I sure would love to go.  I need to get away for a bit and a long weekend in North Carolina seems like a perfectly good solution to that problem. 

However, the end of July is not a really good time for us to be taking a long weekend.  We have my brother's wedding two weeks before that and we have rent due the first of August.  We also have Lincoln's birthday the Sunday of the weekend of the reunion.  I was planning on having a nice, big birthday party for Lincoln on his actual birthday.  It's not that I can't change that plan because I could. 

The timing just isn't right.  Aside from all those reasons, taking a 9 hour car ride for a three day trip seems like a long way to go for such a short amount of time.  Chuck always does all the driving and that is a lot to ask of him within 3 days. 

I am not totally ruling out the trip just yet because Chuck hasn't said too much but I am assuming we will have to skip out on this fun event.  It is a reunion for him and all his cousins because they haven't all been together in a very long time.  We are all adults now and we need to start making plans to see each other more often.  I would love it if it became a yearly reunion but again, I'm not sure if that will happen. 

A long weekend away is still on my list of things I want.......

Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer Fun

School's out for summer!  We are officially on summer break here in our house and so far, we are off to a great start!  We spent our day yesterday in the city doing our 5k walk for the March of Dimes and it was a great day for it.  Starting out, we had cloudy conditions but by halfway through the walk, the sun was out and it was getting hot!  We enjoyed our walk through the city and for that reason, this is one of my most favorite 5k courses around.  We walked along the river, over two bridges and we even got to walk on the warning track of PNC Park!

After the walk, we enjoyed more of the festivities outside of PNC Park, with music, inflatable fun stuff for Lincoln, food, balloon swords and sunshine. 

We got ready to head in to PNC Park for our first ever, family trip to a Pittsburgh Pirates game!!  I am not a fan of baseball, I never was but I am always up for going to a fun, sporting event with family.  We had a great time and Lincoln loved his first baseball game.  The rest of us have been to games but just never all together!

We left the game in the 7th inning and we were down by 2......after we left, the Pirates came back and won the game!  Sort of sad we missed it but we left to go out to dinner just the five of us and we had fun there. 

We got home and since the kids had ice cream after their dinner and Chuck and I didn't, we left and got ice cream, just the two of us. 

It was a busy day and I am exhausted but I loved every second of it.  Chuck and I are trying to create memories with the kids and doing things that the kids will enjoy.  It's not always what other people would do but we are having a blast.  I'm hoping to keep going with some fun summer outings with the kids.  We are still trying to decide what to do when Chuck takes some vacation days later in the summer.  We were hoping to go away for a long weekend but we're honestly not sure if that is going to happen.  Small day trips seem to be more likely for us and that's okay, as long as we are together is all that matters. 

Some things on my mind for this summer:

Summer Reading Program at our local library, of course.  Lincoln needs practice and Jada has some required reading this summer so why not join in on the fun and earn prizes in the process?! 

Swim Lessons. Lincoln has never had swim lessons but he loves the water so one of the local pools is offering FREE swim lessons during the month of July!  You can't beat that, I am hoping to get him to join in the fun and learn that it's okay to put your head under the water!

Camping. We are definitely going on a camping trip at the end of this month but we are hoping to go a few more times than that.  We love camping, the outdoors and roasting marshmallows so hopefully we can do just that.

Hiking.  We went on a hiking trip weeks ago and we all agreed that we are keeping that on our list of family fun trips so we would like to go to different local locations and hike different parks.  It's free, fun and healthy! Win, win!!

Making memories isn't all about spending a ton of money for the most exciting vacations.  There are tons of things that can be done close to home that will allow for your family to walk away smiling and full of memories to last a lifetime.  I want my kids to take away that lesson and one day say "remember when we...........that was so fun!" 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Am A Sweat Pink Ambassador

As I make my way around the internet and find different groups of fitness-minded people, I am intrigued, inspired and motivated to just keep going.  I enjoy being a part of several groups where everyone is at different levels of fitness, running and life.  Some are true rookies, finding out how to take the first step and some are true mentors, having several dozen marathons or fitness competitions under their belt. 

I've learned that it doesn't matter which category you are in.  There are going to be people to cheer you on, give you advice, keep you motivated and to be there to support you when you need it for whatever reason. 

One of the groups that really caught my attention was the Sweat Pink community.  There are so many wonderful ladies in this community that are raising awareness, doing great things in the fitness community.  I wanted to be a part of this movement to help motivate and get people moving.  I applied to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador awhile ago because I feel like I have something to offer others.  I am not an expert, I'm not perfect and my mind, body and spirit are a work in progress but I wanted to help. 

I was accepted as a Sweat Pink Ambassador!  I got the email to let me know and I almost started screaming at work!  I was so excited and honored to be a part of this. 
This means that I am going to help as much as I can when someone says that they want to get healthy.  I have already encouraged two people to run their first 5k.  One friend did her first one two weeks ago and she was so proud of herself.  She cried as she crossed that finish line because she pushed herself and beat her goal time by 5 minutes!  The other friend is training for her first one and we will be doing that one together in two weeks.  I cannot wait to run across that finish line together with her. 

I was so happy to receive my official Sweat Pink tank top and pink laces.  As I find those special ladies who have pushed themselves and complete things that they didn't think they could do, I will be giving them those pink laces to let them know that I am proud of them, that they did it....all on their own. 

I finished my last 5k in my Sweat Pink tank and here's the pic:
I don't know if I can change the world but fitness and running has changed my life and I hope to help others find what makes them happy and fit and encourage them to change their lives. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

MAMAVATION MONDAY: 5k Recap, Moving Forward and Goals

I haven't done a Mamavation Monday post for awhile and it wasn't for any specific reason, I just haven't.  There's no time like the present to remedy that.  So here we go........

5K Recap

This past Saturday, my family did a local 5k for our high school band's annual fundraiser.  My husband, son and I did it last year and it wasn't an easy course.  There are several hills and there is a large hill toward the end that really makes you dig deep. 

This year, we had all five of us running!  This is the first time that all five of us have participated in a running event together.  I was so excited and proud to help promote family fitness.  I feel like we are trying to do more physical activities as a family and our kids are going to benefit from them. 

I have been working out and training more lately so I felt better going into this race this year and I figured that I would struggle less with the course.  I had no idea that my recent training and workouts have helped so much that I would find this course much easier this year!  I didn't really struggle at all with the course itself.  Yes, the hills were still large and they are a challenge but I have found a great technique that helped so much.  I used to look to the top of the hills and see how much farther I had to go.  I now look down and watch myself taking each step and telling myself in my head that I can do this and that I am doing it.  Mind over matter, right?!

The only challenge that came to me toward the end of the run was that it was starting to get warmer out and the sun was out.  However, before I knew it, we were in the home stretch and I saw the flag that marked the 3 mile mark...and also saw my son who was cheering my husband and I on.  He does this at every 5k, he finishes and then comes back to find us on the course and cheer us to the finish. 

My husband and I were running together as usual, our older son was way ahead of us as he was on a mission to beat his PR with a new time.  Our daughter was walking/jogging with her friend and our little guy was with my in-laws waiting to do his 1k race. 

As for our son was hoping for a time around 24 minutes since his personal record was 25 minutes.  He CRUSHED it with a time of 22 minutes!!!  I am so very proud of him and his efforts and drive to be the best he can be.  I am amazed by him.  Last year, my time was 39:40 and this year my time was 33:25!!  I shaved over 6 minutes off my previous paid off big time!  Chuck had a time of 36 minutes last year and this year got 33:05.  We ran the entire race together then he started sprinting for the last .10 of the 5k where I decided to keep a steady pace so I didn't burn out before the finish line! Jada did more walking than jogging and had a time of 44 minutes.  Not too terrible for her first 5k...we are happy she decided to join us!  Lincoln did his 1k and we all lined up to run it with him and when the guy yelled to start the fun run, he took off.  He weaved in, out and around dozens of the other kids and just zoomed away from us.  We put Chuckie in charge of keeping up with him since he is the fastest.  He did so well.  He is still wearing his medal he got and proclaims that "it was the best day of my life when I got my medal!" haha.

Moving Forward

I am enjoying doing 5k's and they are a great accomplishment of mine.  I enjoy seeing the race bibs and medals on my dresser and I plan on making something to display those someday.  I've decided that I will always do 5k's unless I give myself a goal of moving that up to a 10k.  Of course, I love the 5k's and will continue to do them but I want to mix in a longer distance. 

A local 10k fundraiser for our local lake is the perfect opportunity for me to do my first 10k.  It is on all the roads around our house and even starts out a half mile from our house.  The course goes past our house and ends up at the local lake that we are fundraising for.  I have begun the training and so far, I am enjoying it. I got my run in this morning and by the end of the week, I will have logged at least 8 miles.  I think this is a perfect goal for me.  I will feel accomplished and I can't wait to feel the pride when I run across that finish line. 

My ultimate goal is to run a half marathon.  I plan on continuing my training after the 10k run to start training for a half marathon.  There is a half that is happening in mid October that I would love to do.  I said that I wouldn't miss my son's football games for anything that would be strictly to benefit myself but this half is during football season.  It is a mostly downhill course that would be the perfect race for my first half.  I am struggling with the decision.  I am hoping that the football schedule comes out soon so that I know for sure if I can do this or not.  They cap it at 1250 runners so I don't want to miss out on registering if our schedule allows it.

I could say, no, I am doing this for me because I am worth it, I have been working for this, etc.  However, if he has a football game and I do this, then no one would be at the finish line to see me finish it.  I want my family there to cheer me on and see my accomplishment.  Does that sound terrible?!


A lot of my goals remain the same as they have been for quite some time. 

Toning: I need to tone my body in several places and keep them trim.  I want to be able to fit nicely into my clothes and not feel stuffed into them.

Endurance: I am trying to build up my endurance in both running and working out. I have been working on breathing and mental exercises to help me in this department.

Happiness: Not all of my goals are fitness related.  Shocker, I know!  I want to make sure that I am here and present for all the moments that are so easily skimmed over.  I want to sit and listen when my son is telling me a story because even when it seems like a silly little story, it's his story and I want to hear it.

Time: I am trying to manage my time a bit better.  I am constantly on the go and I need to prioritize, reorganize and finalize a schedule that works for all of us.  As summer is nearing, I will be changing my work schedule to be home earlier and working more hours.  I know there will be times that the kids will want to do things and so I'm hoping I can acccomodate them and still work better hours.  This is definitely a work in progress!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Run For Your Lives 5K

Do you watch those movies where there are zombies following and trying to eat people?  Do those movies freak you out, scare you or gross you out?  Yeah, me too. 

There is an event coming to my area in August called the "Run For Your Lives 5K" and guess what? I'm doing it!  It is a fun, kind of scary, challenging and did I mention fun? race that I am doing.

Check out some of the pictures from their website:

I cannot believe that I am going to do this race but I'm sure it will be fun.  I'm also sure that I will be running a bit faster and screaming a bit more than usual!  I mean, I've never been chased by zombies before but I am betting that it will be a little more than exciting! 

Each runner wears a belt with three flags on it and the "zombies" are trying to take your flags from you. 

From their website:


If being chased by zombies isn’t enough, we will have a series of man-made and natural obstacles waiting for you throughout the course. Jump, slide, and climb your way through our blood pit, smokehouse, and maze (amongst others), all while zombies are hot on your tail. Test your strength, speed, and wit as you battle your way to our shocking finish. Make it through this last obstacle, and you are finally in the Safe Zone.

There is also an Apocolypse party after the race so we will get to unwind a little after the running, obstacle doing and screaming, er, fun.

I encourage you all to go visit their site and see if this event is coming to your area and sign's not everyday that you can say you ran from and escaped from zombies!!

If you have any questions about the race, you can check out their FAQ's page to get all the information you need.

Sweat, Mud and Foam!!

In a month, I am going to be participating in the 5K FOAM FEST!  I am so excited and nervous.  It is going to be so much fun and I have a few friends doing the event with me.  I have a few friends that already did this event in Georgia and they said it is so fun. 

I am a bit nervous about some of the obstacles like maybe this one:
I am afraid of heights so I already said that someone may need to push me down this 3-story tall slide!!

Here is another obstacle that will be at my event that I am nervous about, it looks a bit tough to do:
You have to run across the foam pads, on the water!!

However, when you see pictures like this next one, you just want to join in the fun:

I am really looking forward to this event.  It will be the first obstacle race I do.  I am in training for a fitness challenge and running a 10k so I am hoping that I am well-prepared in a month to do all the fun obstacles.  I have no doubts that I will be laughing and having a blast in the foam and mud!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Brand New Me

Alicia Keys came out with a song that has really struck a chord with me.  I listen to the words and I start to feel a bit emotional.  Not all of the words apply to me but a lot of them do. 

For years, I stood in the shadow of everyone else.  I am a wife of someone that everyone knows so I have always been his girlfriend or wife.  I am a mom of three so I am always someone's mom. I am a sister so I am always someone's sister.  I have never been me, just me.

As the kids are getting older and I am finding more time to find myself and who I am outside of the shadows, I am starting to like me.  I am starting to find what makes me tick, what makes me angry and what makes me truly happy.  I have found the brand new me.  It's not so much that I am changing, I'd like to think that I am evolving into who I have always been.  I have just been hidden.

I feel like I have always had the potential to be this person, but I wasn't allowing myself to open up to be who I am.  I have always been taking care of everyone else.  I have never put myself first. That has changed in some ways.

My husband has always supported me in anything that I have done.  We discuss things and when I say I want to do something, he has my back.  So all of the lyrics don't apply as I said.  However, a lot of the times, I based what I wanted to do on what he was doing.  I always put aside my desires for the sake of my husband or kids.  I still do that but not all the time.  I have to start putting myself first when I can. 

My mantra has been, you are worth it. So, when I want something and I start to doubt myself, I repeat that phrase to reassure myself that it is okay. 

I have been told by someone that loves me that I am different but it wasn't coming as a compliment.  It came as more of an accusation.  I am not doing bad things, I am not off getting into trouble or trying to be something I'm not.  I am evolving into a different person in many ways but it is for the better. 
Don't be mad, it's just a brand new kind of me
Can't be bad, I found a brand new kind of free

It took a long long time to get here
It took a brave, brave girl to try

 If I talk a little louder
If I speak up when you're wrong
If I walk a little taller
I'd been under you too long
If you noticed that I'm different
Don't take it personally
 These lines resonate with me as I have always been the quiet one, the doormat to so many.  I was the one that always said yes to everyone else, even if it meant I was putting myself last. 

Hey hey hey, if you were a friend, you'd wanna get know me again
If you were worth the while
You'd be happy to see me smile
I'm not expecting sorry
I'm too busy finding myself
I got this
I found me, I found me, yeah

I'm happy I found me.  Finally.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Do you ever feel like your life is just one, big revolving door?  Somedays, I feel like I am on a wheel and I keep going around in circles.  Life is always busy, even when it isn't a busy day, we are forever busy.

The next few weeks are going to be so busy for us, as a family, that I am going to be wondering if I am coming or going.  The school year is coming to a close and with that, comes a lot of end of the year activities for the kids.  We have a fair, chorus concert, fun days, field trips and the end of running club.  There are only 14 days of school left so there is a light at the end of the tunnel but then it opens up to wide open days where there are no plans for the kids.

I usually think that it makes life so much easier when they don't have school but I'm not sure that is the case when I am working.  I could continue to work in the afternoon into the evening but I would love to work late morning to late afternoon instead.  There are two days a week where I will be working from 8:30am until 5-6pm so those days will be long days for me. I will probably see if the kids can go to hang out somewhere with someone so that they are not home alone all day when I start work at 10:00am.  The days that I work at the gym, the kids can go there with me and those days they will be home alone for a very short time until Chuck gets home from work.

The juggling is getting old and I foresee that in the fall I am going to talk about how it will be easier when the kids go back to school but for now, I am looking forward to less of a schedule with the end of school, after school activities, evening activities and bus drop offs.

Eventually, the wheel will seem less like a wheel and more like a well-oiled machine.

Yesterday, for Mother's Day, Jada wrote in her card that, "You are Superwoman, even when things get crazy you still manage to not freak out." Oh, if only she knew.  Her card made me cry, like I had to rush into the bathroom so they all wouldn't see me bawling.

I am trying to remain stress free lately and just go with the flow of life.  There are so many things that I cannot change so why fight it, right?  I'm riding the wheel, for now.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Inspired and Determined

This weekend I experienced working with the ladies from The Flipbelt at the Pittsburgh Marathon Health & Fitness Expo.  It was fun, it was busy and the ladies were so great.  I hope to work with them again in the future at other events!  It is such a great product and I was so honored to help them.

At the expo, I talked to so many people and most were people that had either run the 5k that morning or were going to be running in the Marathon, whether they were running the full or half.  It was inspiring and awesome. 

I know a few people personally that ran and it was so awesome to read their reactions and pride that they felt afterward. 

They inspired me even more.  I have decided to train for a 10k that is happening near my house.  It is on July 6th so I have 9 weeks to train.  I have looked online and I found a customizable training schedule that I am going to start next week.  It is an 8 week program that will ease me in to running the 6.2 miles needed to complete the 10k.  I am so excited and nervous.  I plan on using my compression socks and really diving in full force so that I can prove to myself that I can do this. 

Chuck said that he will train and do the 10k with me so we will be training in the evenings since I work in the afternoons.  I would have rather done my training in the mornings but if he would like to do it too, I won't be denying him that!  I will welcome the company. 

I am also starting another fitness challenge with Kat and her Fitness Rebooted group so that will add to my workouts.  It will be interesting to see how much my body changes during this training adventure. Hopefully it makes me stronger and leaner.  This will take me to the point of my brother's wedding so the timing is perfect!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Worker Bee

This week has been busy.  I started working my second part time job and it isn't bad, it just makes me move around my schedule a bit.

 I work in the mornings at the gym nursery so I will be enjoying snuggling little ones and telling the older kids to "stop running!" "give that back to her/him!" "don't throw that at her/him!"  I work there on the days that I don't have to pick up the little boy I drive to kindergarten.  This means that I have a little more time and don't have to rush to get him. 

I have been juggling a schedule since January when I started my first job and it has worked out pretty well so far.  This new job (or new hours since I have been working there subbing for people since October) just means that I add one more thing to the mix. 

I always look forward to my weekends since I don't work on the weekends but tomorrow I will be working at a booth at the Pittsburgh Marathon Health and Fitness Expo all day.  I applied to have this opportunity with this great company called The Flipbelt and I am so very excited to work with them and see what their product is all about. 

I will be there from 9am until 6pm so it will undoubtedly be a long day but I'm sure I will have a chance to walk around and check out the other booths which is something I am also looking forward to.  I am hoping to find some other great products that can help me reach my goals, make my runs a little easier (which the Flipbelt will) and just be out with all these other health and fitness minded people! 

So even though I won't be at my regular job, I will be working all day on my day off.  I'm such a worker bee!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Digging Out

I have no idea why, but I seem to be stuck in a rut.  I haven't been exercising or running like I was just a few weeks ago, I'm not smiling as much, I am feeling so out of it lately.  It sucks and I plan on bouncing back one way or another this week.  I cannot afford to be stuck in a place that is dark. 

I plan on working out daily and trying to run at the very least a mile a day. I have been slacking with the April challenges I was doing. I haven't done all my squats and I haven't done all my running.  The beauty of it all is, that I can start today and continue on with it.  I don't get to go backward but I can go forward so that is what I am choosing to do.

We've had setbacks personally that have really made my days a little harder, my smiles a little more hidden and my attitude less than stellar.  Today is a new day!

I am going to get out there and one of my tasks today is to make someone else smile.  I have a plan to carry that task out so we will see if it works for me. 

That is all.  Not much more to share for now. How are YOU doing? 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ready for the Celebration

My baby brother is getting married in July.  It's hard to think that the baby of the family is going to have a wife and they will start a life together and eventually, have a family of their own.  My brother is eight years younger than me so he truly is a baby brother.  He is 26 years old and has been with Amanda for 5-6 years.  I was pregnant with Lincoln when they started dating!

Anyway, things are starting to get close and we are having the bridal shower this Saturday so we are busy getting things ready for that and I am so excited. I love parties, gatherings, showers, well any excuse to get together really.  I'm sure it is going to be beautiful and fun.  Her matron of honor has been working so hard on this shower for months and I know she has some great things in store for Amanda, which warms my heart. 

I am in charge of the games so of course I hit up Pinterest for ideas and I hope everyone enjoys them.  I picked some fun ones! I've been cutting out man heads from magazines for one game, cutting out construction paper crowns and mustaches for another and have to price household items for another game!  I'm having fun just getting them ready! 

The wedding invitations have gone out and even those are so cute and fun.  I love the fact that a line on the RSVP card says, "Here's your chance, which songs make you dance?" There are two lines for song choices that you want to great so that they know what songs to play so everyone can have their favorite songs played!

I am going to bridal shower shopping tomorrow (I know, I am waiting until the last minute!) I plan to buy from their registry but when it comes time for a wedding gift, I'm going with something not on the registry.  I am going for something fun, personal for them and special.  No, I don't know what it is exactly yet but I will figure it out! Only 85 more days. 

They are getting married and having the reception at a local park and so they are inviting people to feel free to play a pickup game of basketball or volleyball, allow the kids to play on the playground or roam the grounds of the park. They are keeping it casual to really stress the fact that it is truly a celebration, not a show. 

I cannot wait to call this girl my sister!

I do still have work to do to look good on the wedding day for my duty as a bridesmaid but I will get's crunch time!

And, for's a picture of the couple getting married:
My brother, Jesse and my future sister-in-law, Amanda!

Monday, April 22, 2013


I know that friendships come and go.  I know that we go through stages, phases and chapters throughout our lives and the people we thought we'd be with forever, just aren't there at the end. 

I understand that we all go through changes and our stories twist and turn along the way.  I guess I just miss old friendships and I miss having those girls that I could always call when I just needed to talk.  I don't have them anymore.  I have no one to call.

As I have been sitting and thinking about all of this for days on end, I realize that the thing that probably changed the most, was me.

 I stopped calling, I didn't stop by when they were home from college, I didn't go out with them when it was a girls' night out....I just wasn't there. I wasn't there for them at times when they needed me. I simply dropped the ball when it came to being a good friend. 

We were still young, they were in college, I was having babies.  I was married, they were starting to date and possibly met the guy they were going to marry.  I was changing diapers and washing bottles, they were out drinking and dancing the nights away.  I was at home, they were at college. 

It goes beyond that, though.  Looking back, there were so many times when I should have been there.  After the bad breakup, he broke her heart and I didn't say much.  I didn't run to her side to just be there.  I sucked so bad at being a true friend. 

I went through a stage of anxiety and depression and for the most part, no one really knew.  Well, no one knew the depths of the depression because I hid it so well.  I was still taking the kids to the library, the park and doing all the normal mommy stuff to ensure my kids were having fun.  I was still laughing and smiling on the outside while wanting to crawl in a dark corner and never come out. I really don't know if it was post-partum depression or if it was just a bout of depression.  I tried to fight it off, I didn't want to have to see anyone about it or talk about it.  I hid it. Until I couldn't anymore. 

It may seem like I am getting off track but if you have dealt with depression or if you can imagine that your life was crumbling right before your eyes, you would understand how hard it would be to go be with friends and hang out or even just go be around other people. 

My life wasn't as exciting, it wasn't as glamorous, I wasn't good enough.  It was, I just didn't think it was, or I didn't think they would want to be around me.  I was not worthy.  So I began to call less, I began to make excuses as to why I just couldn't go. "I didn't have a sitter"......because I never asked. "Chuck is working late"......he's sitting next to me

How in the world could I explain what I was feeling or what the heck was going on when I couldn't even explain it to myself?

I still have a ton of insecurities and sometimes I still feel inferior or not worthy but I am getting better and it has been years since I weaned myself off of medication.  I am working on me. One of the biggest regrets of my life is the fact that I let those friendships go.  I made other people feel like they weren't important to me. I hate myself for allowing that to happen.  How stupid, how insensitive. I don't know if I am past that point in my life though, where I can allow myself to feel good enough. 

One of my mantras while I am working out is you are worth it.  I wish I always believed myself and could open up to those friends and offer my apologies and wish and pray to be able to restore them. Maybe someday but for now, I'm still not ready.  Bottom line, I'm afraid.  I fear their reactions. Reflecting on the past, can be therapeutic and help you understand where you are now...and it can tear you apart when you realize that some of the hardest things in life, were because of you.