Crispy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Squares

It's been awhile since I've shared more than dinner recipes that we're eating round these parts.  So I hope you enjoy my latest creation. 

Crispy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Squares
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter, I've used almond butter as well)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (uncooked)
  • 3/4 cup  dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows (totally optional; they up the 'fun' factor for the kids, though)

  • Directions:
    LINE an 8-inch square pan with foil, extending over opposite ends of pan (or lightly coat with cooking spray).
    PLACE peanut butter, honey in large microwave-safe bowl.
    HEAT on high power for 2 minutes until bubbly and heated through. Remove bowl from microwave.
    ADD vanilla; stir until mixture is smooth.
    ADD cereal, flax, oats and craisins or raisins. Gently stir without crushing cereal and fold in the mini marshmallows
    PRESS warm mixture very firmly into prepared pan.
    COOL at room temperature or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    LIFT out of pan if using foil; cut into bars.
    STORE bars in plastic wrap or tightly covered container, at room temperature or in refrigerator.

    Makes 16 bars.

    It's adapted from I recipe I came across in a magazine ad for Sun Maid raisins awhile back. I've substituted ground flax for the sugar it called for (with all the honey, there was no need for it and I always throw flax into baked goods), added a small amount of  marshmallows for fun, and substituted puffed brown rice cereal - even Kellogs Rice Krispies makes brown rice cereal now.  I've been enjoying them for breakfast lately and they're another good pre-race treat along with a banana, of course.  Plus, it's an easy and fun recipe for kids.

    This picture is from some different recipe making, but you get the general idea.  FYI, the recipe we were making on that day is FANTASTIC: box of devils food cake mix + 14oz can of pumpkin puree, cook as directed (we made muffins).  That's it.  You can also add some mini chocolate chips to make it even more decadent.  via Pinterest


One word Wednesday



Bootcamp Revealed

For more than three years now, I've been attending a bootcamp class at The Y (it's officially The Y now - no longer YMCA, fyi).  This class, hands down, got me enthusiastic about fitness in a way I haven't been since my competitive swimming days.  I can thank bootcamp for getting rid of the 'baby weight' and beyond not just once, but twice.  The time always flies while we're working out and our fearless leader Jodi is constantly changing things up. 

Cutie Patootie Jodi with the ball; btw, not sure how old she is, but she's got a daughter graduating High School - I'd better look that good when baby girl is 17...
Lately she's been adding a lot of tabata style workouts and it's been KILLING me.  You'd think that a class would get a little stale after three years, but there are very few workouts where I don't feel challenged.  I can't be alone in my opinion; when I started going, there were always at least 60 folks in the class on both days it's offered.  More and more people started going and it began to get too crowded - like pushing 80+ people crowded.  Although, the devotees like myself are partly to blame as I have converted many a friend to the ways of bootcamp.  So they doubled Jodi's schedule and she now teaches back to back classes (one at 8:45am and then again at 10am) twice a week.  These days each class has roughly 40-50 people, and can still creep into the 60s on a busy day.  So, yeah, it's a big deal.  I'll be talking to women that don't go to The Y and they'll say, "Oh, I've HEARD about that bootcamp class!"  Then, "What do you guys DO?"  For all the people that have asked me, including my husband.  I tried taking some pics with my crappy camera phone in a poorly lit gym to give you an idea! 

The day I came up with this brilliant plan of documenting bootcamp was a perfect example of a 'typical' class.  Typical being the framework of 30 minutes of warmup/cardio, followed by 8 'stations' of 2 minutes each.

Warmup/Cardio was on the track above the gym.  5 minutes of moderate running followed by sprint intervals:
  • 1 min sprint followed by 50 squats with a 1 min recovery jog
  • 1:30 min sprint followed by 40 lunges with a 1 min recovery jog
  • 2 min sprint followed by 30 'crossfit style' situps (arms extended, hit palms on the floor at the top of the movement) with a 1 min recovery jog
  • 1:30 min sprint followed by 20 pushups with a 1 min recovery jog
  • 1 min sprint followed by 10 burpees with a 2 min recovery jog
Here are pics of the stations we did (again, try not to squint too hard at my non-iphone quality camera phone):

1st station: progressive step jumps followed by running the ladder - repeat for 2 min

2nd station: 10 lunges on the step holding the weighted bars and 10 rows with weighted bars - alternate for 2 min

3rd station: run up and down two flights of stairs for 2 min

4th station: 10 squats on the bosu and 10 deadlifts - alternate for 2 min

5th station: tricep dips around the bosu - 8 dips, do one quarter turn 8 dips and repeat until you return to starting position then turn the opposite direction around the bosu for 2 min

6th station: partner up and run the length of the gym with two bands, switch and repeat for 2 min (these are KILLER and my least favorite station)

7th station: 21's with a bicep curl - 7 full range of motion, 7 midpoint to top range of motion, 7 midpoint to bottom range of motion repeat for 2 min

8th station: toe touch abs with ball between feet alternate with butt lifts with ball between the knees for 2 min

We also did some extra core work between some of the stations (planks, crunches, etc).  So there you go, the great bootcamp mystery has been revealed.  Can't wait to see what she has in store for us next time - perhaps I'll share some more fun workouts this summer.  We go outside when it's nice out and those classes are extra fun, getting fresh air and vitamin D!


This Week's Eats

First off, Happy Memorial Day!  I hope everyone is having an enjoyable day, or long weekend if you're so fortunate.  I am thankful for the men and women who serve and have served our country; freedom doesn't come for free.  My dad was a Marine, and I only say 'was'/use past tense because he died when I was young.  More detail on that another day...  I certainly think of him on this day and how he'd always say, "Once a Marine, always a Marine!"  He would never use the past tense. :)

I was very thankful for my 'free' day of a long run while my husband took the kids to a park.  Although I think I ate a fistful of cottonwood while I was out there.  Man, it looks like it's snowing 'round these parts.  Anyhoo...

Our stockpile of freezer meals is getting a bit out of control, so I've got a number of encores on this week's menu:

  • Monday - Pizza, as usual
  • Tuesday - Pioneer Woman's Farfalle with Zucchini (pushed this back a week because we got lazy and went out for dinner last week)
  • Wednesday - Greek Turkey Meatball salad (mmmm, unfreezing those meatballs for this awesome salad)
  • Thursday - Pioneer Woman's 'Fancy' Mac and Cheese (made double last go 'round and just popping it out of the freezer) with roasted broccoli
  • Friday - salad, rice and grilled chicken with a fave marinade: chopped scallions, equal parts honey and olive oil with a few good dashes of hot sauce and paprika; it also makes for a good dipping sauce
  • Saturday - Korean BBQ Short Ribs and mashed potatoes (we LOVED this recipe and saved 1/2 the ribs in the freezer to grill 'em up again)
  • Sunday - spicy avocado chicken enchiladas (this week's pinterest experiment)


Friday Things

Ahhh, perfect summer Friday.  Kids and I sleep a bit later on Fridays ('til 7:30! whee!) because there's no preschool and we all go to the Y.  Since it's been gorgeous out pretty much every weekend for nearly two months, we also try to get to the park on Fridays for some vitamin D.  Today was awesome because we had the place to ourselves and I was smart enough to bring baby girl a ride on toy:

They did this over and over for nearly a half hour while I ate my sushi, checked Twitter and drank my iced caramel macchiato.  So nice they were able to play and entertain each other.  Usually we run into friends and it's fun because I can catch up with my mom buddies, but it's rather chaotic with the kids.  Today, I rather enjoyed the solitude.

I also wore my Rogas for a little hill workout and tried to get some color on my neon white legs while at the park.  This is HUGE.  Before taking the shorts plunge with the Rogas, the only type of shorts I'd leave the house wearing start with the word 'Bermuda' and even then, that's pushing the envelope.  Here, I even took a PICTURE!

Love these things. They DO NOT ride up in the crotch area and are super flattering on the backside. My phone doesn't take great pics, but here's the general idea.

I am willing to take a picture of my backside in these things people!  Once Upon a Lime does a great job of explaining the greatness - with better photos and VIOLET Rogas. 

And for my last Friday random tidbit; there's been a bit of chatter about our ages on Twitter over the last couple of days and I suppose I'm totally revealing my age (well, in just over two years) when I say that I cannot wait to see 'This Is Forty.'  Enjoy the trailer below and your long holiday weekend!


What's a Co-Op Preschool?

So, I have to do a bit of self-indulgent blogging here and give my precious baby girl some face time.  Yesterday was her last day of Toddler Group:

Her little certificate reads:

"For all your hard work and play in our Toddler Group. For creative arts, easel painting, puzzles, building with blocks, playing with cars, animals, dinosaurs, dolls and more. For dressing up, play-doh fun, singing songs, dancing and just being you! Congratulations and Way to go!"

 I can't believe how much she's grown since we started class back in September. 

September 2011

May 2012
Last Day Fun
I feel so lucky that we have so many great cooperative parent education opportunities where we live.  With both of my children, I've participated in some co-op schooling.  What's a co-op?  To get technical: a non-profit parent education cooperative program sponsored our local community college where we have in-class parent education sessions. So, technically, I am a student at the college and receive college credit for our weekly classes.  The Toddler Group is partnered with Lake Washington Technical Institute and when we do preschool, it will be in conjunction with Shoreline Community College. While half of the parents supervise the toddlers’ activities, the other half form a group with the teacher to discuss an age-appropriate topic (i.e. understanding children’s development, family communication, discipline techniques, etc.) The teacher functions as an educator, a resource person and an advisor.  We also have monthly speakers on everything from discipline to keeping your marriage intact after baby. 

These co-ops have given me such a wonderful opportunity to become directly involved in the education of my kids and to be involved in my own education as a parent, helping me to understand my kids behavior and development.  Well, at least understand them a bit better.  I don't think I'll ever have them 100% figured out...  It's also a great opportunity to commiserate with other parents; I've made some of my closest friends through co-ops, sharing all those hard times, and good times.  I think it's ESSENTIAL to have other parents to lean on in the early years with children.  If you have these types of preschools in your area, I highly recommend checking them out!


One word Wednesday



This Week's Eats

Man, I hate it when Chicago has to be in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.  If it were any other city, the same shenanigans would be going on - hopefully it's not reflecting too badly on my beloved hometown.  Hey, remember when this was all over the TV?  Let's remember this stuff!

Speaking of home, it's factoring into this week's menu plan because my husband has caved and ordered us some Portillos hot dogs!  Wahoo!  Ah, if only they could ship the fries... 
  • Monday - Pizza, perhaps from Spartas because, damn, the small taste we got from big brother's field trip was pretty good for non-Chicago pizza.
  • Tuesday - Alpine Chicken - this is that casserole recipe I think everyone has come across at some point: chicken breasts topped with swiss cheese, cream of mushroom soup thinned out with water (and a little white wine if ya want) and topped with cubed stuffing that's been tossed with a little butter.  Bake at 350 for an hour, covered with foil for the first half hour.  mmmm, cheesy baked goodness.
  • Wednesday - PORTILLOS
  • ThursdayPioneer Woman's Farfalle with Zucchini
  • Friday - trying a crockpot Jumbalaya
  • Saturday - spaghetti with meatballs al forno
  • Sunday - baked taquitos with shredded beef instead of chicken (we froze what was leftover from our barbacoa beef tacos) 


Seattle's Best 15K

I think the last time I saw the 4AM hour was when I was still nursing baby girl.  But, that was part of the appeal of a 7AM start time - done and home by 10AM at the latest.  When I know I have to get up that early, though, I don't sleep very soundly.  SO, instead of waking to the lovely BEEP BEEP BEEP of my alarm at 4:45AM, I was sleeping lightly enough to hear the 'AROOOO ARROOO' of the coyotes in the greenbelt behind our house at 4:15.  Lovely!  And also, freaky.

This is what 'worried about coyotes at 5AM' looks like
Got the mornin' race routine done of having my coffee, oatmeal raisin cookie and banana done by 5:30AM and I was out the door.  Since there was no pre-race packet pick up and it takes about a half hour to get over to Seattle from home (now that  none of us want to hand over a wad of cash to drive on the 520 bridge) I wanted to get there by 6ish to find parking since the lot at Gas Works is pretty limited.  The event website said that pickup would end at 6:30AM - LIE.  They were handing them out until the last minute.  I suppose they wanted to set expectations, though.  So I secured great parking, got my packet and went back to my car to stay warm until 6:30 or so.  My friend Ashley had arrived by then, so that made the time waiting around to race go by much more quickly. 

OK, so here's the description from the event website:
"This 15K has all the ingredients for a great running experience. Race starts and finishes at Gas Works Park in the Fremont area of Seattle on Lake Union. Flat and fast, the course follows the shoreline of Lake Union in a counter clockwise direction with an out and back on the Ship Canal trail. Enjoy spectacular views of the lake and city skyline."

"Race starts and finishes at Gas Works Park" - yep, certainly can't argue with that point.

"Flat and Fast" - um, yes and NO.  More on that in a minute.

Lastly: "Enjoy spectacular views of the lake and city skyline."  Well, yes, Gas Works (the start) has one of the best views in Seattle.

However, I only enjoyed the scenery when we did a quick out and back on the ship canal trail and when we ran over the Freemont Street bridge.  Other than that, I felt like we were mainly running past storefronts down back alleys and some residential bits.

I'd say the race was pretty well organized for it's size: there were less than 400 runners.  I was running by myself there for a bit and had to ask a policeman which way to turn at one point since there was no volunteer around.  Also, at the mile 5 aid station, no one had any gels ready to hand out so I had to stand there for precious seconds waiting while the volunteer had to put down the water they were holding out and grab the gel from a box for me.  I could tell they felt really bad about it, and in general, the volunteers were super enthusiastic and fun.  On the plus side, the race medals were nice and they had DESSERT for us at the finish: pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream, as well as the makings for pb&j's and truckloads of bananas.

I was feeling really good for this race despite the coyote wake up hour.  I fueled/hydrated well all week and there's no lingering illnesses and congestion going on in our household.  The season of constantly sick kids is hopefully behind us; it's so nice to breathe deeply and not feel like I'm still clearing out my lungs from some leftover cold bug.  The weather was beautiful: 50s and hazy sun.  I tried to start out slow and progressively increase the pace, hoping for a negative split and to average under a 9:10 minute mile.  After the first mile at a 9:25 pace with lots of initial crowd weaving, I stepped it up and my mile splits were below 9 minutes for four miles straight.  I felt like I could totally keep it up, but for mile 6 my time went up to 9:11 due to the aforementioned gel delay, grrr.  I got right back into the sub 9 min mile pace for mile 7.  I was feeling strong and felt like I had enough gas in the tank to kick it up another notch when THIS happened in mile 8:

(the elevation chart from my GPS)
Damnit hill weirdness from hell.  It was one super short hill, but it was STEEP going up and, just as bad, going down.  My running mojo got all outta whack trying to hold on for dear life up it and trying not to blow my quads going down it.  So, if the course were truly "flat and fast" the whole way through, I probably could have averaged just under the 9 minute mile.  But, I still met the goal of beating my pace by at least 10 seconds from the Lake Sammamish Half, where I averaged a 9:23 mile.  Races have hills 'round here - I've just got to accept that.  Here's the breakdown of my miles:

Final chip time 1:25:06 and my average pace was 9:08. 

I placed 11th out of 42 in my division, not too bad.  Ashley here did it in 1:13!  One of the perks of having faster friends is that there's someone cheering for you and taking a FREE picture for you at the finish.

Overall I enjoyed this race and would do it again if only because I LOVED the distance - around mile 9 is when I start to lose it a little in the half marathon.  So I'm having a wee little infatuation with the 15K race distance behind the back of my beloved 13.1.  I was toying with the idea of going home to Chicago for the Hot Chocolate 15K in November and, lo, looks like they added Seattle for next year!  Yay!  Although it's not until March 2013.  I'm on the hunt for any 15Ks or 10 milers in the Seattle area: PLEASE let me know if there's one I should know about.

Next race in two weeks, the Iron Heart Four Miler!


Friday Things

I'm writing this Friday's things in haste because SOMEONE has decided today is not the day to nap.  Grrrrr.  She's probably been hanging with @honesttoddler - this is one of the funniest twitter handles EVER. 

"Mommy asked what I wanted for snack. I said sprinkles & butter. She laughed and put it on facebook. omg. :("

Or this gem:

"Toddler Tip: Don't let "We don't have that" stop you from repeating your request over & over with steadily increasing urgency."

Maybe there will be a sitcom down the road, like @shitmydadsays.  Oh, and of course, @shitgirlssay is full of great gems if you're looking for some daily funny.

Second random Friday thing, this article from Competitor about training slower to race faster was an interesting read.  I like the idea of trying to slow down even MORE on my long runs!  Although, it's hard enough to fit those ones in without making them longer, but it's definitely something I'm going to try and incorporate leading up to my next half in July.

Tomorrow is the Seattle's Best 15K and I'm super excited to run this distance because around mile 9 is when I start to fade in the half.  I'm NOT super excited about the wake up time.  Since it's downtown, there's no pre-race packet pickup and it starts at 7am, I'm looking at a 4:30ish wake up time.  Aaaargh.  But, then I will be DONE and home hopefully no later than 10am to have the whole day to play with my family.

Lastly, I love when people share playlists songs and I thought I'd share the latest addition to mine, Tiesto's remix of Youngblood by The Naked and Famous.  Two great tastes that taste great together!  Love when my more current music rotation (The Naked and Famous) collaborates with the music of my younger days; yes, I've actually been to a few Tiesto shows.  Shocking, I know.  Ah, our younger days...

This photo is over ELEVEN years old - taken in the VIP booth at Baby's, Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas. 'course, the club is called Body English now - I think it's been through at least two or three names in between. Man, I feel old...  But I'm probably, no definitely, in better shape than I was back then.  So there is that. :)


If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes

I always have the same advice for new parents; when asked, of course!  Never give unsolicited advice to parents - especially if you are NOT a parent.  Anyway, I advise not to get used to anything - not one routine/behavior/habit/etc. because it'll change whether it's a good or bad thing.  Just be thankful when things are good and just know that it WILL eventually end when things go bad.  With the first kid, man, I thought I would NEVER SLEEP AGAIN EVER EVER EVER OMG.  Then they sleep through the night and it's AWESOME.  Yeah, don't get used to it.  Then they decide to start waking up at 5 AM.  Thankfully my kids are back to sleeping until 7 AM, but there's always something that's changing: maybe they'll nap today, maybe not!  Maybe they'll eat today, maybe not!  Maybe they'll go to the bathroom on the toilet, maybe not!  Lather, rinse, repeat.  When my daughter was born, things really 'hit the fan' with my already intense and emotional kid.  The other day a friend of mine sent along this photo that was taken a few weeks after baby girl was born and big brother was having another meltdown. 

I suppose pictures DO say a thousand words; a choice few of them being: frustrated, exasperated, tired, hopeless, *postpartum, BLARGH.  My husband and I look ready to spit nails.  (Also, awww, cute wittle baby girl socks peeking out of the nursing cover!)  I certainly felt like these tantrum-y days would never end.  I can take my own advice when it comes to his sister most of the time: awww, she's having a FIT!  Isn't it funny!?  Yet I STILL cannot imagine big brother past the current state of affairs, whatever they may be.  But, right now, I don't want things to change at all...

We've come a long way and are at a place I could never have envisioned two years ago.  So, whatever is frustrating, exasperating, tiring you in your life: wait five minutes and the weather will change.  Promise.  And if things are good in your life: take the time to enjoy it!

*HEY, let's just gloss over the size of my ARMS and ANKLES and FACE and overall BODY in this picture, mmmmkay?  HOLY CRAP.  No wonder I was at the gym ASAP after my last (and I mean LAST) pregnancy...


One word Wednesday



Pizza, Squids, Soccer - Oh My!

Today was a banner day for big brother.  We started the day with his preschool field trip to a local pizza joint.  Coolest field trip EVER.  They do these at Spartas Pizza all the time and the manager was all bizness.  She got the kids situated and basically told us moms to back off and let her run the class.  Half the moms went over to Starbucks for a nice unexpected coffee break and the rest of us sat and chatted and took pictures when we could.  When the kids were done, they had to share with us - WIN.

I'd never tried their pizza before and even the kiddo version was pretty darn good - that's about the highest level of praise I can give pizza that's not from Chicago.

Then when we got home, his birthday present from my mom had arrived at the door.  Please to enjoy the most disturbing stuffed animals you can imagine:

Grandma offered to have him pick out his birthday toys when she visited last week.  Well, there are no stuffed squids or octopi to be found at good ol' Target.  So they surfed Amazon together and, lo, this is what he came up with.  They're not so bad, but I just can't imagine that he wouldn't be just a wee bit freaked out seeing that squid in his bed in the middle of the night.  Hopefully this will lessen the sperm talk around here...

Anyhoooo, daddy took the day off so that he could watch baby girl while we went off to eat pizza and now he's taking big brother to his weekly soccer class.  He's beyond excited to introduce daddy to his coach and show off his skillz.  Pizza, squids and soccer: days don't get much better than that for our resident five year old.


This Weeks Eats

I hope everyone had a fabulous mother's day yesterday, whether celebrating yourself, your mother, wife, sister or friend. I had a perfect day, with the exception of not getting a run in.  I have to admit, though, this is not my ideal running weather.  I'd rather be sittin' with an iced coffee than pounding the pavement when it's above 70 and sunny.  Anyhoo, I hung around my kids for the fun parts of the day: the eating parts!  We had pancakes together for breakfast (not in bed, I'm kiiiind of a 'Monica' if you get my drift) and then a nice family lunch at Chipotle (mmmm) after I sat undisturbed at a Starbucks to read all morning while daddy took the kids out to ride their bikes.  Then I took off to do some solo shopping (although grocery shopping had to be on the agenda) and came home after my husband had secured the punks in their rooms for afternoon siestas.  Suhweet.  Did some more reading and capped the evening off with my favorite dinner salad on a warm sunny day.  Speaking of salads, gonna try another new one this week...

  • Monday - Pizza (a friend just told me that Little Ceasars has a $5.99 takeout deal, might have to investigate this...)
  • Tuesday - penne with goat cheese and tomatoes trying out a new Pinterest recipe but I'm substituting basil for the arugula because I like the taste better and it's hard to find arugula at the store, I tried
  • Wednesday - basil tilapia filets from Costco and I'm going to try making this pinterest recipe for twice baked cauliflower
  • Thursday - this is the new salad we're trying this week, from For the Love of Cooking a Mexican chopped salad with cumin vinaigrette
  • Friday - Eggplant Parmesan - we follow our favorite Chicken Parmesan recipe and substitute eggplant
  • Saturday - top sirloin steaks with herb butter (we make a bunch with parsley, chives, garlic and lots of salt and pepper and just keep it in the freezer until we need it), baked potatoes and sliced tomato and onion salad with blue cheese dressing
  • Sunday - a favorite chipotle chicken chowder that we make almost every other week in the wintertime, but break it out every once in awhile when we miss it in the warmer months


Friday Things

First, and most exciting Friday thing, I'm SO fortunate to be an ambassador for Oiselle; you know, the super awesome women’s running/general sweating apparel company with perfect fitting tees, tanks and shorts that don't have 'crotch creep.'  They're having a contest where you and your BFF could win a trip to the Olympic Trials in Eugene in total VIP style.  Check it out below and click on the big picture to find more info! 

Speaking of running, since grandma is in the hiz-ouse to watch the kiddos, I decided to tackle some of the hills 'round our house this morning.  Oyyy.  I forgot what a pain they are, but they're good for me - I really have to keep up with hill workouts because most races in the Pacific Northwest are gonna include a hill or two.  I got through at least three big ones (100+ ft elevation gain) and enough little ones to get my total climb to 427 ft today.  Not quite the hills of death workout, but still HILLS.  I have a theory that fear of hills is like the opposite of the fear of hights: just don't look UP.

We've been so glad to have grandma time 'round these parts this week.  It'll be sad when that comes to an end tomorrow.  It's soooo nice to be able to leave the house during naptime!  I am not a prisoner in my own home!

And it's so nice for the kids to spend time with her doing everyday things like snuggling on the couch, going out to lunch or feeding the ducks. 

Hope you're having a fabulous Friday and are getting as much vitamin D as we are.  And now, I will leave you with this video, which makes me love the Harvard baseball team, dudes that are secure in their masculinity, and this song even more:


May: Celebration Overload

Let's start with a study in which we compare a five year old and a two year old's reaction to being sung 'Happy Birthday' and presented a cupcake:

Five year old:

La, la, la - I'm not going to look at anyone singing to me.  I might just turn around in my THRONE and maybe even LICK it (!?@# OMG kids are weird) to avoid this attention.  But, eventually I'll come around and blow out the candles and pose for a picture.

Two year old:

OMG stop singing and trying to take pictures of me and give me the damn cupcaaaaaaaaake!!  Wait, do I want this cupcake.  Fine, I'll eat it, but I won't enjoy it and WILL NOT pose for a picture with you.

Oh birthday fun.  It was a good year for the kiddos, though.  Starting with baby girl's celebrations last Thursday with cupcakes and gifts with just us family.  Then a midweek trip to everyone's favorite restaurant for kid celebrations, Red Robin.  Saturday was big brother's birthday bash at the Children's Museum in Everett and we capped it all off with a visit from Grandma.  Gifts that went over big this year: a penguin 'Dreamlite' and Rescuebot for big brother, then a Toodee doll (of Yo Gabba Gabba fame) and shopping cart for baby girl to push all around my hardwood floors.

Next up: Mother's Day!  I got to celebrate early with a Mother's Day tea at preschool where the kids sang us songs, gave us flowers and a handmade card.  The teacher shared the particulars of each kid's card and we got to guess who it belonged to.  This was mine:

Apparently I am ELEVEN years old!  WIN.  Another kid said his mom was in the 300 range, so I feel I lucked out here.  Kids are weird, man.  I have no idea what he's talking about with me being pretty when I 'go to a wedding.'  Another kid had this answer, so I'm guessing he just copied it??  Some other funny ones were she's pretty 'when she does laundry' and 'when she wears her pajamas.'  Also, I cannot remember the last time I juggled - high school maybe?  I have no idea where he got this tidbit.  He does tickle me, so I guess he gets some points for that.  And I DO make him pancakes every weekend, glad he notices...  The lovely illustration is supposed to be him, me and his grandma.  Aw.  He's been fawning all over her this week.  As we were eating our cookies afterwards, he took my carnation that had several blooms and pulled them apart to make sure grandma had some, too.  His heart, it is huge. 


One Word Wednesday



Books I Read in April

Lone Wolf, by Jodi Picoult:

I love Jodi Picoult, and still do. But this one just fell a little flat. I didn't feel invested in the characters at all and the legal drama didn't seem terribly unique.  The creative heart of her books, I think, are the crazy circumstances her characters find themselves in - like My Sisters Keeper and Sing You Home.  Yes, the dude living with wolves was crazy, but not the drama surrounding his kids fighting over his estate. 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor:
This was another book I chose because it was on Amazon's top 20 for 2011, and I love YA fiction.  It was one of the better ones I read from that list.  After finally getting to the main character's 'big reveal' about her background the story moves at breakneck pace. Lots of supernatural/fantasy stuff to digest if you are/aren't into that kind of thing.  There are lots of similarities to the Mortal Instruments series.  It's easier to suspend your disbelief in this book; maybe because it's set in Prauge rather than New York City, the supernatural seems like more of a possibility.    It had a good Romeo and Juliet themed love story - I bought into it :)

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern:
This is a love it/hate it kind of book. I fell firmly into the LOVE IT category. There was just something about it's fantastical nature that kinda swept me away. I loved imagining the different 'tents' at this 'circus' and I'm NOT a circus person, I'm a Cirque du Soleil person - big difference. It reminded me of the magic of watching Cirque in a way. Of course, now they're going to make a movie and ruin my imagination. Figures.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline:
Confession, this was my favorite book of the month and I am basically declaring myself a complete DORK.  But, it was a super fun read for my inner sci-fi geek. It's like a mash up of Willy Wonka and Caprica (in a good way - I thought Caprica was a total affront to BSG) with a ton of 80s nostalgia thrown in.  This is another one that's being made into a film, so if it sounds at all interesting to you, read it now before they ruin it. 

What are you reading?!


This Weeks Eats

This weeks eats list is a bit uneventful since we pushed back a meal from last week (decided to go to Red Robin one night for the kiddos birthdays) and because my mom is coming to visit this week - YAY!  So we're keeping things simple.

  • Monday - Pizza
  • Tuesday - crock pot barbacoa tacos (from last week)
  • Wednesday - hot dogs (easy meal for busy night with swim lessons and mom's arrival)
  • Thursday - satay chicken with peanut sauce (from Trader Joes!) and roasted broccoli (I froze the marinade I had from the last time we made this dish, so all we have to do is throw the chicken on the grill and the broccoli in the oven) 
  • Friday - date night dinner out! not sure where we're going yet - probably for mexican and margaritas...
  • Saturday - rigatoni with arrabiata sauce (yep, this is a frequent meal 'round here)
  • Sunday - homemade chopped salad w/chicken, bacon, avocado, etc. again :)
To liven things up, please to enjoy, my masterpiece from Palettes and Pairings!

If you're a local yokel, I highly recommend checking them out.  It was a fun way to get re-introduced to my creative side.  I don't think I've picked up a paintbrush that small since high school.  The glass of wine included in the deal definitely helped.  It was really fun to see everyone's different interpretations on the painting being taught. 

The owner asked me and my friends to 'strike a pose' and this is how creative we got with that...  Anyhoo, it's a husband and wife team that just decided to start this thing up and now they're a thriving small bizness.  Very cool.  PLUS, Purple Cafe and Wine Bar is right across the street!  


Friday Things

Thank you so much for your comments on yesterday's post.  I have a LOT of food for thought on whether to get on the marathon train.  My immediate decision is to get through my next two half marathons and see how I feel at the end of the year, both mentally and physically. 

It's birthday fever 'round these parts.  This happened two years and one day ago:

That's a lovely postpartum puffy me and baby girl.

And THIS happened just six days shy of five years ago:

That'd be big brother.

Yep, my kids are exactly three years and one week apart in age.  Will make for interesting birthday times ahead.  Although for now, it's nice that they both get presents at pretty much the same time and I'm not having to deal with birthday jealousy in this hiz-ouse. 

I'll do a big round up post on all the birthday fun next week for ya mom. :)

Speaking of babies...  In the spirit of fun Friday randomness, and videos, just want to make sure everyone has seen this week's Youtube funny:

I also must let everyone know that I have discovered Bic Bands and, HELLO, they are hella awesome!!  I've tried so many different headbands for working out: every cheap one imaginable from Target, then Lululemon ones, and Zella ones.  Nothing ever stays on my head, even with the little rubberized whatsits on the inside.  So I made the decision to just stuff my hair under a hat and have pretty much worn a hat on every run.  Thinking about summer and not wanting to wear a hat ALL the time, I finally ordered a Bic Band and, lo, they are the answer to my prayers.  Here's a nice sweaty pic of me around 1pm, after putting on the band at 9am to run around town with the kids, a 4 mile run and abs/stretching on the floor:

My hair did not move or pouf up at all and I never had to futz with it.  WIN.

Happy weekend all!  Keep me in your prayers as I try to make it through my five year old's birthday party tomorrow with my sanity intact... 


To Marathon or Not to Marathon...

The question of whether to start looking into training for a marathon has been on my mind recently with two 13.1's under my belt and two more in the pipeline before the end of the year.  The idea of Eugene this time next year is terribly tempting.  Reading all these fabulous runner blogs/tweets/status updates hasn't helped my inner dialogue; it's hard not to want to get in on all of the action.  It reminds me of those blissfully ignorant days before we had kids and we were watching friends cross that finish line into parenthood - it was juuuust the thing to get us 'off the fence' and get on board with starting a family.  But, in this scenario, I'm kinda gravitating toward being child-less marathon-less... 

Mainly because it's hard to find the time to fit that kind of mileage in with two small kids and I'm no spring chicken.  I'm icing a sore hip from just a 7 mile run the other day as I type this.  I lost a toenail after my second 13.1 and I'm not sure if I'll ever find it again.  I can't imagine being sidelined with an injury for an extended period of time - God forbid, for GOOD from running.  Even if all went well, the recovery time seems so long.  Oiselle team member Meggie wrote a great post on "putting your eggs all in one basket" - what if I put in all that time and training and then get some ridiculous illness from the kids or there's record breaking heat on the day of the big event?   Dimity's post on not wanting to run Boston also resonated with me.  If I DID marathon, it'd probably be one and done, and my type-A/goal oriented mind doesn't see the point in that at all.   

These are certainly no excuses, though, because there are plenty of women my age, with kids my age rocking 26.2.  THIS WOMAN can puts us all to shame.  It seems you can't throw a stone in without hitting a marathoner these days (not suggesting one should do this in the literal sense).  And I guess that's the point, EVERYONE'S doing it!  I should DO IT!  But, wait, why? 

If I truly asked myself WHY I'd want to run a marathon, well I suppose it would be to brag say that I accomplished one and to feel like a 'REAL' runner; to become part of the 'club' and commiserate on the experience - kinda like sharing birth stories.  (Methinks there are many parallels that can be drawn between having kids and running a marathon.)  AM I a runner if I don't ever run a marathon? 

After I ran my first 13.1, I straight out asked my rockstar marathoner friend if I could call myself a runner now, 'cuz I'm still an 8+ mph runner.  I think she thought I'd lost a few marbles.  She confirmed for me that, duh, of course I am.  This article from Competitor (via Mile Posts) was a reaffirming read: 

"I never would have had the drive to keep going had my friends not celebrated my victories along the way. If I ran a 5K, my friends who have finished Ironman triathlons could have laughed and said, “Aww, 3.1 miles. That’s so cute.” But they didn’t. Instead, I got high fives and genuine empathy when I shared how HARD those 3.1 miles felt.
My friends never tried to one-up me and tell me I didn’t know pain until I tried to run 13.1, 26.2, or 50 miles. They didn’t compare my 10-minute miles to their own 7:30 splits. They simply celebrated my accomplishment with me. I was suddenly a part of this community of athletes, and that felt incredible.
That camaraderie – that’s what it means to be a runner."

I'm curious if anyone else has found themselves in this spot as a runner?  Should I, shouldn't I?  Argh.  Maybe I'll think about it in two years when I turn forty and I'll be mature enough then to make a decision about it.  It would be cool to run my first marathon at age forty.... hmmm.



One Word Wednesday


Game of Thrones


One on One Time

It's funny how much most of us moms with more than one kid fretted about how our first child is going to deal when the second is about to come along.  At least I was all in a bunch about it.  Fast forward two years and, wait, what?  What was I worrying about?  Poor big brother.  I think that he's probably at a place where he really doesn't even remember life without his little sister.  I can see the love there between them (you sometimes have to look reaaaaally hard) and how much she's brought to his life (never mind hers - the sun rises and sets on big brother). 

Nevertheless, I really try to make time for one on one time with him as much as possible.  It's crazy how hard that is to do when you have a toddler around.  It's much easier to have alone time with baby girl because big bro is off to preschool four days a week.  And the weekends seem to center around spending time together as a family or for them to get one on one time with daddy.  Since I grew up a swimmer (running didn't really find me until college) and my husband HATES swimming, that's our 'me time.'  I try to take him to the Y a couple of evenings a month and it's a fun little outing - short, but fun.  Since the Healthy Kids Day had open swim time, I decided that it was a good opportunity for a day long mother and son outing; especially when I realized that the last time we had such an outing was in NOVEMBER!

Yo Gabba Gabba at the Paramount - holy amazing show, I'm PRAYING they come back next year

And what fun we had!  I was so amazed at how patient he was, waiting for the show to start, dealing with the crowds, etc.  I'm sure that when he gets to have one of us parents to himself, a lot of the angst and acting out to get attention just goes away.  And it allows us to be in the moment, to enjoy each other so much more.  The Healthy Kids Day at the Y was no exception.  We spent a good hour or so swimming and then moved on to all the fun stuff they had set up around the facility: bounce house, fire trucks, mobile library (because getting your books on a moving vehicle is waaay cool), games for prizes, face painting, balloon animals and finally getting to check out the climbing wall.  Now I think we have another one on one activity for this summer because I want to get up on there myself!  And we topped it all off with a trip to Red Robin and chatted about our favorite things we did that day.  Man I love that kid when I don't want to kill him