Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Keeping Active and Helping Others

I am excited to keep active and help others this Sunday, September 25. Orlando is a host city for Bimbo Bakeries USA's Global Energy Race. To make it even better, the race benefits the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and they are trying to set a Guinness world record for the number of cities hosing an event.

The goal is to raise awareness of global hunger issues. The are donating 2 slices of bread for every kilometer run and a loaf of bread for every 10k completed. The Global Energy race offers a 3k family fun run/walk and a 10K. The courses are USA Track and Field certified. Participants get a t-shirt, sling bag and towel.

Since E loves to run and the 3k is a great distance, that is where we will be on Sunday morning. I am excited to give her another chance to run and to help others.

Want to join us as we run. Visit http://www.globalenergyrace.com and use the code BIMBOBLOGGIVEAWAY for a free entry to the race. I hope to see you there.

DISCLOSURE: I am running this race using the code above.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What You Have To, When You Can

I recently found myself running at 3:45 in the afternoon. This is Florida, it is August and there wasn't a cloud in the sky or much shade around. To say it was hot, would be an understatement, but I got my run in. (I checked the temp when I got back and the feels like temp was 116F.)

Before having E, this probably wouldn't have happened. If I couldn't run one day, I would rearrange the whole week's training schedule or just skip the run. I have always been busy, but life with E just doesn't have that kind of flexibility. So I figure out ways to make it work.

Sometimes it is a runch. (I still hate it, but I use the treadmill much more than I did before.) Other times it is squeezing in a quick run between work and dinner. And occasionally, there is a missed run. 

I thought that training would get easier as E got older, but that hasn't happened yet. At least I have figured out how to make training a priority. I am hoping that someday E will sleep through the night on a regular basis and I can get back to running before she wakes up.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Making Mermaid Dreams Come True

E recently turned three and this was the first birthday/holiday that she understood presents and that she would be getting something. As a parent, I try to get E what she wants or things I think she would like. In the past this has been hit or miss, but now she can tell me what she wants. The good thing is that she is little, so the things she asks for are still very doable.

For a couple months leading up to her birthday, she told me she wanted a pink scooter for her birthday. After looking at options, I found the perfect option for E. A pink Minnie Mouse scooter. The scooter was purchased and hidden almost a month before E's birthday. I was feeling on top of the birthday game.

Then just a couple weeks before her birthday, E started asking for a mermaid tail and purple seashells. (Yes, we were on a Little Mermaid kick.) The first time she asked I thought it may just be a brief want because something caught her attention, but she kept asking about it. Cue Mommy panic.

I found a few options on Amazon, but the reviews were not great. I didn't want a tail that lost its scales after one trip to the pool. Target had a mermaid swimsuit option, but it was no longer available. (It kills me that I picked this swimsuit up and put it back earlier in the summer.)  

Then I found the Toddler Tail on Fantasy Fin. It was a high quality mermaid tail designed for toddlers and had an Ariel option. This was exactly what I was looking for, but with only two weeks until her birthday, I still wasn't certain I could make it happen.

I reached out to Fantasy Fin to see if I placed an order would it get here in time for E's birthday. They got back to me very quickly and told me they would help ensure it got here in time. I placed the order and received a shipping notification that same day.

A couple of days before E's birthday, the tail and top showed up. It was super cute and the fabric was even nicer than I thought it could be. I was super excited to make E's dream of being a mermaid come true.

She was excited about both gifts
Opening the tail was pretty funny. E didn't realize what the tail was at first, but once she did, she was super excited. We had to try it out the very next day. She now refers to herself as a mermaid from time to time.

Practicing her mermaid pose.

My little mermaid
Now, if I could get her to stop asking for red hair. (That one is a little harder to make a reality.)

Please note that I did not receive anything from Fantasy Fin other than amazing customer service. I wanted to share how they helped me make E's dream a reality.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Olymipic Inspiration

We are now in the midst of the 3-weeks every 4 years when the TV is on in my house pretty much all the time. For people who know how much TV I watch, you will know how strange this is. It is not uncommon for our television not to get turned on for days, or the only time it is on is for a little bit of Sofia or Mickey Mouse or whatever E wants to watch so we can get ready for work in the morning.

Using my second screen wisely

I am a big fan of the Olympics, and especially the summer games. I can get sucked into watching just about anything. One of the things I love are the stories behind the athletes. Sure, it is great to see the gymnasts or swimmers, but those sports get a lot of coverage. The stories about the fencer chasing her dream or athletes from small countries that have dreamed about making the games since they were children that really make the games amazing.

It is interesting that this year, the start of the games lines up with the start of half marathon training. Watching all the athletes inspires me to get out and run, even when it is hard or hot. (It doesn't help me get out early, but that is a whole other story.)

I will never be an Olympic athlete, but that doesn't mean I can't continue to chase my dreams. These athletes are often a reminder that chasing dreams is never easy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Show Your Belly Mommy

A couple of weeks ago, I was putting on my shirt and getting ready for a run when E comes in and asks, "Mommy, why you not show your belly?" What she was really getting at was why was I putting on a shirt and not running in just a sports bra and capris. I wasn't really sure where the question came from and just told her I felt like wearing a shirt.

After some thought I realized that when I took E to the #OrlandoUnited 5k a couple weeks ago, she noticed that some women run in just a sports bra and bottom. At one point during the race, she asked me why the girl in front of us was running and holding her shirt. I told her that it was because she was hot and didn't have to wear a shirt if she didn't want to.

Since that first question, she has asked me about it a couple more times. In most cases I just deflect or say that I am more comfortable wearing a shirt.  One day she even complemented me on not wearing a shirt. (Really I had come in from a very humid early morning run and my soaking wet shirt hadn't made it much past the front door. I felt a little guilty about that one.)

My body confidence has gone up and down over the years. Sometimes in relation to my actual appearance, but for other reasons as well. Even before I had E, I was never comfortable working out without a shirt, and having a baby didn't really help that. For me wearing a shirt is not just about hiding my belly, but also about preventing a Janet Jackson style wardrobe malfunction.

Setting a good example for E is huge for me. It is part of why I run and why I work to stay strong. I don't see myself working out without a shirt anytime soon, but she did motivate me to buy my first post-baby bikini (and wear it). My body is not perfect, but it is strong and getting stronger.

Having fun at Blizzard Beach

You can tell what hasn't seen the sun in a while.
 Shirt, no shirt, one-piece, tankini, bikini...the most important thing is being comfortable in your own skin and that is the message I want to send her. Raising a girl child is hard.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Three Years with E

I know I say it with every one of these posts, but time needs to slow down just a little bit. Today E turns 3. Most days it feels like it has been the blink of an eye.

Watching E go from a tiny baby to a full fledged little person is pretty spectacular. It is crazy how much she has changed in such a short time. It seems like just yesterday she was learning to walk and now she is telling me about everything. It is fun to listen to her as she come home from daycare talking about what she learned that day.

It has been fun to watch her grow and her personality develop. E is outgoing, kind, a little stubborn and very friendly. (There are moments when she has a little too much personality, but she is a three-year old.) Watching her make friends has been a fun thing this year. She is super close with a couple of the girls at daycare.

So much personality.

She has so many words and has started telling stories. I don't know how she does it at 3, but there is very little that gets past this kid. E is constantly observing the world and curious about everything. I think this is the root of most of our sleep/nap issues. She is afraid of missing out.

Always examining the world
This summer E has turned into a little fish. Anything with water and she is happy. She has become such a great swimmer this summer. She loves the water so much that she asked for a mermaid tail for her birthday. (I am super excited that I found one to give her.)

My little fish

Outside is still her favorite place to be and it doesn't really matter what she is doing. The park, the playground, riding bikes, playing bubbles...all of it. E is also a complete daredevil. Her fearlessness amazes me and I hope she keeps some of it as she gets older. 

So fierce

Enjoying the waves.

 She enjoys reading books and coloring. Her love for Minnie Mouse is strong. She is also a fan of most of the Disney princesses. Cinderella and Sophia are high on her list. 

The past three years have been amazing. It seems like each year keeps getting more and more fun. I am so blessed to have a happy, healthy, and overall, pretty amazing child.

I am so lucky to share the ride of life with these two!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

It Doesn't Have to Be Pink

As we approach another birthday, I worry about how much pink E has accumulated. It doesn't help my mama guilt that she has asked for a "pink scooter" for her birthday. Pink is fine, but I want E to know that just because she is a girl, everything doesn't have to be pink.

We have lots of pink clothes.
(This is one of my favorites)

Some of it is my fault. When I found out E was a girl I was super excited. Little girl clothes are super cute and I love big bows. That said, I also tried to be cognizant of how early kids begin to internalize what being a "girl" or "boy" means. I work to make sure E has a variety of toys, but there is still a lot of pink in our house. 

She loves her pink suitcase.
I know I only have so much control. She is influenced by family, teachers, friends and others. We are also very blessed and she receives a lot of gifts and hand-me-downs. It isn't just the clothes that are pink, but the shoes and the blankets and the toys. I try to avoid buying too many "girl" items, but sometimes it happens. (Try shopping with a toddler and not occasionally getting what they want at least occasionally.)

She picked out a pink bracelet.
Pink Ice Cream
(Always a good option, but what about chocolate or vanilla?)

It isn't that pink things are bad. I have to admit that I like pink things (and sparkly things) as well. I want E to know that she can love the pink things, but she can also love getting dirty and play hard. I knew that raising a girl would be hard, but I really didn't know how hard it would be.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Checking In - 2016 Looking for Balance

We are half-way through 2016, so it is a good time to check in and see how I am doing with my goal for the year. As I discussed in January, instead of setting goals for the year I decided to focus on balance. Half-way through the year, I have to say that I am making progress.

This year has been about saying no more than yes. I can say that it still isn't easy and occasionally, I regret saying no, but as a whole it has lead to less stress. I am working on carefully evaluating the opportunities I am presented with.

Finding balance by letting some things go has been a bit more difficult. My perfectionist nature makes it difficult to buy dessert at the store or to not worry about other things. We have a number of unfinished projects around the house and some days I just want to finish them all...NOW. I know that none of them are make or break and I am working on letting them go.

I still have a pretty strong fear of missing out on something, but I also appreciate the balance I have gained over the past few months. My plan for the rest of the year is to continue to work to have balance and determine what my priorities are going to be going forward.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tea Time at the TeaCupcake Experience

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to have tea at the TeaCupcake Experience with some ladies from Central Florida Lady Bloggers. This cute little shop is located downtown just a few blocks from Lake Eola.

When I first walked in, I was amazed by the cuteness of this little shop. The shop is located in a newish building and not what I was expecting. They have done a great job making it cozy and I love the gold and white color scheme.

The owners of this shop are very sweet and greeted us and shared their story. I love that they combine their heritage with the traditional tea experience. It gives it a unique twist on the traditional tea.

We had the afternoon tea experience. This included tea sandwiches (the tomato basil ones were amazing), various pastries, Devonshire Cream & preserves, loose leaf tea and a cupcake. I was a big fan of the scones and the guava filled pastries (my favorite). Everything was yummy and it would be a great afternoon treat.

The TeaCupcake was a lot of fun. I can't wait to take E to tea. You should go if you are in the area.  

(Disclosure: I received a free afternoon tea as part of the Central Florida Lady Blogger event, but all opinions are my own.) 


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Race Recap - #OrlandoUnited5k

This race is all about mixed emotions. The #OrlandoUnited5k was a benefit for 49 people who lost their lives too soon and many others that were injured and impacted from the violence that occurred in Orlando on June 12. I am honored to be able to help, even in a small way, but wish no one had to experience those events.

The good thing about the race was that E has been asking to run a "runnin race" for a few weeks. She has done some of the kids races at past events and really enjoyed the one we did in Feb. I looked at some of the upcoming races, and in all honesty, I am over 5ks right now. I would much rather sleep a little later and get up and run 3 or 4 miles around the neighborhood. I told her it would probably be the fall, but then this event came together.

As soon as I saw registration was open I registered myself and my husband. I also registered E for the virtual option. I knew she would spend most of the race in the stroller, but that way she would get a shirt and medal like Mommy and Daddy.

5 a.m. came very early Saturday morning. Especially since I had been sleeping (I use that term loosely) with a restless E since about 3:30 a.m. I quickly dressed and got ready and woke E up about 5:30 a.m. A few snacks, some water and we were on our way a little before 6 a.m.

The drive to the race and parking were both super easy. We got to the race start with about 20 minutes to spare. E immediately spotted the Dunkin Donuts tent and we grabbed her a couple of donut holes. (I think we have been to DD once in her life, so I am not sure why she noticed it so quickly.) This, along with the banana she had in the car, was the beginning of her fueling for the race.

Lots of people wait to run
There were a lot of emotions as people were gathering at the start. It was amazing to see all the rainbows and support. Since we had the stroller, we hung out toward the back of the pack. I didn't want to catch anyone's ankles. Promptly at 7 a.m., after a few announcements and the national anthem, we were off.

Before we passed the start line, E spotted the post race bananas and had to have one. E went back and forth between being pushed in the stroller and running with me or my husband. The course was great for this. It was pretty, not super packed and had a lot of shade. It was inspiring to see how many people were cheering us on from their driveway.

Enjoying her banana

Running with Daddy
A little over 2 miles in E asked to go home. I think she was getting bored and tired. I told her we had to finish, but that was were we were headed. After a bit in the stroller, she decided to run again close to the finish. Crossing the finish line with her and my husband was amazing.

Working it at the end

I honestly don't really know what my time was. I think it was somewhere in the 50s. Most times I would be really annoyed with a time like that, but this race was different. We stopped a bit to get E in and out of the stroller or give her snacks. (I think I have done halfs with less nutrition.) A not quite 3 year-old also has little legs, but I was honored to run with her. 

I have to give a huge thanks to Final Mile Race Management. They did an amazing job putting this race together in a very short amount of time. It also raised over $100k for the One Orlando Fund. 

I am still over 5ks, but this one was worth getting up early. I hope that this is just the start of a love of being active (and maybe running) for E. What they say about kids is true, they want to do what you do, so you have to set a good example.