Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Things I'm Learning Vlog: Week 14

I'm linking up a day late with House of Rose for the weekly vlog.

Some of the things I talked about:

A great long weekend at the beach and celebrating my mom's birthday

I finally ordered our first Blurb book last night!

So What! Thursday

I'm linking up today (a day late!) with Shannon over at Life After I 'Dew' for So What! Wednesday.

So What! If...

  • I've rediscovered my love of Follow Me on Pinterest today and pinned about a million things.  
  • I haven't linked up with House of Rose for the weekly vlog because I haven't had time to record one.  (That's happening tonight!)
  • I get tired of people who can't seem to be happy.  We've all had bad things in our lives.  You have to make a choice, people.  
  • I had lots of oreos and ice cream this weekend.  It was vacation!
  • I always like to smile.
  • K.C.'s birthday is in July and I've already started planning.  
  • I want to participate in the Instagram Photo a Day challenge and can't ever do it!  June, you will change that!
  • I forget to take my contacts out every night.  I have to change this!
  • I like to subscribe to magazines but don't always read them.  
  • I have been slack in the cooking department the last two weeks.
  • I feel bad for being slack in the cooking department because I want my family to eat good, healthy food. We've been busy, but that's no excuse.
  • I know I'm tough on myself about some things like the above and am trying to work on it.  Being honest here.
  • I know there are things I need to improve like carving out time daily for God.  I'm going to work on this more in June.

So You Want to Run: Exercise, Nutrition, and My Advice

I'm back today for Part 3 of the So You Want to Run series.  We'll talk about my thoughts on other exercise, nutrition, and my advice today.  If you're just joining, you might want to check out Part 1 (So You Want to Run) and Part 2 (Favorite Gear).

Other Exercise
Running is great.  I love it (obviously), but I also do more than just run.  I want my muscles, bones, and core to be and stay strong.  While running does provide you with a great cardiovascular workout and directly or indirectly works all of your muscles, it's important to exercise your muscles through more than just running.

I aim to go to the gym to use weights 2-3 times per week.  I always go twice, but I am trying to go three times a week.  As I've said before, it's important for me to run and get my weight training in each week, but I don't sacrifice family time or fun time to do it.  This might mean I go to the gym early before work for a quick weight training session and I run at night instead of sitting down after work.  I'm not saying this is how you have to do it, it's just what works for me.  I feel better and am better when I've exercised and I'd rather do it when I'm not sacrificing what matters most to me.  With that said, I think it's extremely important and necessary to take care of your body.

I'm not a group exercise person.  I know there are many people who love group classes and I have friends who take them, but that's not for me.  I much prefer doing my own thing and being done.  If you aren't in a regular exercise routine and need that extra motivation and push with others around you (much like staying with someone during a race), group classes may be what you want to do.

My gym has the Fitlinxx system which tracks my workouts.  A trainer worked with me to determine what machines I needed to do, the settings, and the weight.  I'll list the machines, weight, reps, and sets below.  These are all Fitlinxx machines, but you'll know what they're working by the names.

  • Hip Adductor (Inner Thigh) Adduction: 70 lbs/10 reps/3 sets.  I don't always do this machine since I run (lame excuse).  
  • Leg Press (Works Hamstrings and Glutes): 75 lbs/10 reps/3 sets.  I don't always do this one either.
  • Hip Abductor (Outer Thigh) Abduction: 60lbs/10 reps/3 sets.  I don't always do this one either.  Notice a pattern?
  • Ab Crunch: 60 lbs/50 total.
  • Bicep Curl: 30 lbs/10 reps/3 sets
  • Tricep Extension: 30 lbs/10 reps/3 sets
  • Seated Narrow Grip Row (This works shoulders and upper back): 45 lbs/15 reps/2 sets
  • Glutes Hip Extension (this machine has become my favorite because I can see my work paying off!): 80 lbs/30 reps/2 sets on each leg
As you've noticed, I don't always do the first three exercises especially if I've done a long run.  I usually have an allotted time to work out that gives me time to focus on a run (normally 3.1 if I'm on the treadmill) and my upper body, abs, and glutes.  When I'm not on a schedule, I do the leg machines.

Here is a breakdown of my May workouts from the Fitlinxx website (I just discovered this function!).  I've included the chart showing the machine and the muscle group.  This does not include running and other ab exercises.


Muscle Group

In addition to these machines, I also do ab work.  

About a month ago, I got this crazy idea to do 500 sit ups/crunches/ab exercises each day.  500 is a lot. A whole lot.  I did really well for like a week.  While I don't do 500 every day, I want to get back up to it.  It only takes about 10 minutes.  

At the gym, I do the ab machine I talked about earlier and then some other ab exercises.  We have this thing you essentially hang on.  I do what I call twist on these.  I pull my knees up to my chest in the middle, then I pull them up twisting to the right side and finish by pulling them up twisting to the left.  I do 25 of these at a time.

I also use the incline bench to do sit ups.  If I'm at the gym, I use an 8 lb. ball.  I do 25-50 of these at a time.  I do some straight sit ups and then others where I twist.  I alternate these and the hanging thing.

I use another bench we have to do what I call side sit ups.  I use either a 10 or 18 lb. kettle ball with these.  I lean over each side and bend up.  I do 25 reps/2 sets on each side and sometimes another 25 reps/2 sets on the middle.

KT bought an incline bench for us and I use a 10 lb. weight on it when I'm not at the gym.

Another great thing is the kettle ball.  I bought a 10 lb. one at Target maybe two years ago and only recently started using it.  I do 100 lunges each day with it.  

Now that I've exhausted the other exercise topic, let's talk food.


I think it's important to think about what you put into your body.  I know I make good and bad choices everyday.  The things I'm sharing are not for losing weight, but if you want my completely uneducated-non-nutritionist opinion on that, it's eat what you like in moderation.  

Food is fuel for the body.  I don't have a set way I eat or a set type of food (organic for instance) that I eat.  I eat what I like and try to enjoy those not so healthy things like chocolate and chips in moderation.

Fruit is so important.  I try to eat a few servings of fruit each day.  Apples, bananas, mangoes, strawberries, plums, and pears are my favorite.  We eat a lot of fruit and the boys love it, too.  

I also try to incorporate vegetables into my meals whether it be a salad at lunch or as a side dish with supper.  I'm not big on vegetable casseroles.  In the south, most of us probably grew up eating broccoli, squash, and green bean casseroles.  They're good, but they're not good for us.  I'd rather eat steamed broccoli and have some chocolate than waste those calories on some cheese, butter, and crackers in the casserole.  

We eat lots of chicken and steak.  I know that fish is good for you and it's important to eat, but I can't it it, so that's not an option for me.  KT and I make some form of grilled chicken or steak 3-4 nights a week.  

When it comes to other good things like Lays Original Chips (my favorite) or pre-packaged chocolate chip cookies (preschool snacks are good!), I try to enjoy them in moderation.  I keep these things in the pantry, but I don't indulge every day.  When we go out on the boat or fishing on the weekends, I like to snack, but as a general rule of thumb, I don't eat between meals.

It's important to make sure that you eat breakfast, too.  Breakfast starts the day off right.  

For me, I think about how I feel after I eat certain things.  At the time, it might taste good, but am I going to feel more or less energized thirty minutes later?  

My Advice

While all of this has been my advice and what I think, I realize that it doesn't work for everyone.  Many of the things I read in magazines like Self don't work for me, but the general concept does.  I hope you've learned something.  Writing these posts has certainly given me a perspective on my habits.  I'd like to close with some advice that I am learning and give to myself. 
  • If you're not sweating and aren't tired after a workout, you're not working hard enough.  
  • If you don't have time to run 5 miles and that's what your heart is set on, don't not run, run for the time you have.
  • It's ok to rest. 
  • Listen to your body.  Your body needs rest and it tells you this.  Listen.
  • Don't judge yourself based on others.  We are all complex people and things work differently on each of us.
  • Give it your all.
  • Make exercise a part of your life that is as natural as hugging and kissing your significant other after work, brushing your teeth, and showering each day.
  • Set a goal.
  • Don't get so caught up in the numbers.
  • Remember these two things:

  • Have fun.
  • Don't let exercise and running control your life or take away from the other important things.
  • Most importantly,

Tomorrow we'll focus on race day and I'll share with you what I'm doing to break some of my bad habits!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Beach Time and a Birthday Makes for a Great Long Weekend!

We had a great long weekend!  We went to Holden Beach, NC, with KT's family Friday through Monday and then celebrated my mom's birthday Monday night.

When we got to the beach Friday night, we had a water gun fight and then went out for a boat ride.  The weather was great and the sunset was beautiful!  Please excuse the picture dump below.  I promise this isn't even a fraction of the photos we took.

We spent most of the day on Saturday on the beach.  The boys had fun playing in the sand, jumping waves, and catching minnows.

We ate at this delicious place, The Main Street Grill & Rotisserie, Saturday night.  It was seriously delicious!

After lots of beach and boat time Sunday, we went to play putt putt and eat ice cream.  I got a hole in one!


We took a boat ride down to the point on Monday morning.  It's gorgeous there!  Kevin also caught two crabs at once!

After a fun-filled weekend, we loaded up the car and went to celebrate my mom's birthday.  As you can see, these two were tired from their beach fun!

Before the party, there was cooking to do.  My sister, who bakes delicious melt-in-your-mouth cakes, had made a cake.  

We also shucked some corn.

 And then we celebrated my mom!  I'm so lucky to have an incredible woman as my mother!  I know not everyone has that and I am forever thankful God made me hers.  

Happy Birthday, Mama!  I love you!

I'll be back later today to link up with the House of Rose weekly vlog!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

So You Want to Run: Favorite Gear

I'm back for Part 2 of the So You Want to Run series.  If you missed Part 1 on Friday about why I run, how to be a better runner, and how I train, you can check it out here.  Today is all about gear (and what girl doesn't like to shop even if it's for running gear)!

Just like the right outfit is crucial for the first date, job interview, or special occasion, the right gear is just as important for running.  I've worn many different brands of clothing and shoes and have tried my fair share of devices when it comes to determining my speed and distance.  Today, I'll share with you what I use (and have used) that works for me.

I have raved and raved about them, so don't expect me to stop now.  My favorite running shoes hands-down are Brooks.  I have run in Brooks for about a year, but they are by far my favorite shoe.  Currently, I'm running in PureCadence, which is a lightweight model but provides support for someone like me who overpronates.

Before my PureCadence, I ran in Brooks Adrenaline GTS.  These are great shoes.  The PureCadence is the lightweight complement to the GTS.  

If I've sold you on Brooks (or you want to compare your current shoe to Brooks), but you're not sure which shoe to purchase, I'd suggest you visit their site and go through the Shoe Advisor.  It's a great resource to help you get the shoe you need for your goals and type.

I am a devotee of Nike when it comes to running tops, but I've recently gotten some Reebok that I love equally.  I am a proponent of any type of dri-fit.  It makes me feel better.  Running outside in the sticky, muggy summer air makes dri-fit a necessity for me.  

Depending upon the length of the run, weather, and whether I'm outside or inside on the treadmill determines my top.  I own all of the tops listed below, but again, this is just what I like.

This is my new favorite tank.  I like feeling the air flow when I run in this very lightweight tank.

This tank has a built-in sports bra offering support.  I love this tank when It's not quite as hot outside.  It's also great as my bottom layer in the winter as it's fitted.  

This shirt is great for running anytime and for the gym.  If I'm doing a race and it's cooler, I like to wear one of these.

I love this top for the winter.  The version I have has a hood on it which I like. 
I have a similar jacket that's Reebok and less heavy that is great, but I can't find it online unfortunately.

I bought two of these tanks recently and love them.  This shirt is the same quality as the Nike Fast Pace Running Tank, but cheeper.  This is a true tank unlike the Fast Pace which is more cut out (I like the Fast Pace best when it's really hot!).  

This one is easy for me.  I don't run in anything other than Nike Women's Tempo Track Shorts.  

KT loves Puma socks and gave me some in my stocking at Christmas.  I am obsessed.  I won't run a long run or a race without running in them.  

KT gave me the Garmin Forerunner 110 watch for Valentine's Day.  I love it!  

Before this watch, I used the RunKeeper app on my iPhone.  While it's great, I much prefer my GPS watch.  This does not have the built in heart rate monitor, but did come with one to wear during your workout.  I don't use this and wouldn't recommend spending the extra money on having the built in heart monitor unless it's something you really think is necessary.

There you have it: favorite gear.  On Thursday, we'll talk about other exercise, nutrition, and my advice.  I'm also going to add another post on Friday about race day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

So You Want to Run

Disclaimer: I am not a running expert, coach or personal trainer.  I am just sharing with you what works for me.  I'll be happy to go into more detail and answer any questions if you e-mail me at  

In honor of National Running Month and some questions I've gotten regarding running, I thought I'd do a series of posts related to running.  Today's post will cover why I run, my thoughts on becoming a runner/better runner, and the way I train.  On Tuesday, we'll talk about my favorite running gear.  I'll wrap up this series Thursday with a post on other exercise, nutrition, and my advice (I guess this is all technically my advice, but I'll share some things that inspire and encourage me!).

Why Run?
I run because I love it.  I love being outside, the way I feel after a run, and I love that this is something I can do to stay in shape/be healthy.  Running is a high-impact cardio activity that torches calories faster than other exercises and I like that.  I'm all for working out/running at a higher intensity for a shorter amount of time.  I also like chocolate and Mexican food and don't feel at all guilty indulging because I run!

Become a Runner/Better Runner
I'm a firm believer that we can do anything we set our minds to do.  I get that from my parents.  They always made sure I knew that they believed that I could accomplish anything I set out to do.  This is a mindset I want to make sure our boys have because the encouragement/discouragement you get from your parents at an early age makes all the difference I think.  I also believe that there is room for improvement in all areas of our lives and that includes running.  So whether you're a seasoned marathoner or you just want to get out and jog around your neighborhood, there's always something you can learn.

So you want to be a runner.  Now what?
You've decided you want to start running.  You may want to run down your street, run a 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, or more, but how do you start?  This one is easy.  You run!

If you're just starting out, I encourage you to just lace up your shoes (we'll talk about my favorite shoes next week) and go out and start moving.  You don't need to be concerned with speed, time, or distance, you just need to run.  See how it feels to have the ground beneath your feet and see how your body feels while you do it.  You may be able to run for five minutes without stopping, but you may only be able to go 30 seconds without feeling winded.  Whatever you do, remember this: you ran!

There are lots of different programs out there for runners.  One of the more popular programs, Couch to 5K, gets you running a 5K (3.1 miles) in nine weeks.  I know there's an iPhone app for this, too, so if it's a 5K you're interested in and you're just starting out, this could be something you want to check out.  I've known of a few people who have done this program and have succeeded.

Another thing I'd suggest is joining a running club.  I'll throw this out there as a statement based on my own experience and that of running friends of mine, when you run with others, especially someone who's a little better than you, you'll find that you can run faster and longer.  While I don't have any experience as a member of a running club, I know that there are lots of these out there and people love them.  My local running club has three different levels with a pacer at each level.  There are those who aren't runners but want to be (more walk-jog-runners), those who can run longer, but don't necessarily have the speed, and then those who run hard and fast.  Joining a group like this ensures you that you'll have someone with you and to cheer you on.

Finally, if you're just starting out, I'd encourage you to give yourself a goal.  It may be to run 3 minutes without stopping or to run half a mile every other day.  Whatever it is, document it.  I'm going to use a personal example on this one.  My mom is not a runner, but she wants to get in shape.  I've encouraged her to get out and run for one minute then walk 2 minutes and repeat 5 times giving her a total of 15 minutes of exercise with 5 minutes of running.  When you think about it, you're running 33% of your total cardio session.  This gets your heart rate up (burn more calories) and your body working towards being able to run for longer stretches at a time.

Want to be a better runner?  Me too!
Currently, I want to work on cutting off about 3 minutes on my 10K time.  In order to do so, I have to prepare.  I can't just go out there and run a 10K in slightly over 43 minutes.  I've got to put a plan in place to become faster and stronger and it's not going to happen by chance.  The decisions I make everyday about what I put into my body, how I workout, and how I recover are crucial in this plan.

You may want to run a mile in 10 minutes or you may want to run one in 6.  The things I'm about to share with you regarding training (remember, nutrition and other exercise is next week) are the things I'm doing to increase my time and will help you, too, no matter your goal.

  • Intervals - Intervals are amazing!  Not only do they allow you to finish faster (literally), they also cause you to burn more calories.  Plus, you can do them anywhere, on the road or the treadmill.  I've been doing quarter mile splits the last few weeks.  Essentially, I'm running as fast as I can for .25 miles and then resting for .1-.15 miles and repeating this until I've run at least one mile of these quarter mile splits. 
  • Increasing Speed on Later Miles - Another thing I've found that's helping me is increasing my speed on my later miles.  For example, when I start off in a race, I normally run my first mile at about a 6:20 pace (more on the gear that tells me this next Tuesday) and the average of my first three miles in a 10K is around 6:50.  My problems happen later.  I psych myself out (I'll tell you how I'm overcoming this next Thursday), think I have to stop, and slow down.  We're talking slowing down to an 8 - 8:15 pace!  For me to decrease my pace to my desired 6:59/mile from the 7:29/mile I'm currently running in a 10K, I have to work on keeping my pace constant throughout the race and not bursting at the beginning.  How am I doing this?  I'm running my miles faster, mile by mile.  If I start off at a 7:30 pace for mile 1, I'm making mile 2 a 7:15 or 7:20 pace, and mile 3 is down to a 6:56 pace.  Sometimes, I even sprint the last half mile which brings me to my next point.
  • Sprints - Sprints are fun because they allow you to exert so much extra energy, but they're also draining.  I like to do some sprints in my training runs.  I might sprint in the middle of a run, for the second 3/4 mile, or for my last half mile.  Regardless of when I'm sprinting, I'm increasing my speed.  

How I Train
I don't follow a training plan.  Each month, I aim to run 50 miles.  Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn't and that's ok.  For me, realizing that it's ok to take a day off and not run was challenging.  I realize now that my body needs rest sometimes and I've learned the importance of recovery runs (more on this next Thursday).  50 miles doesn't seem like much if you're a long distance runner (marathoner or even half-marathoner), but it's a good number for me to shoot for and it works.  It allows me to have fun, still do the things I want to do outside of running with my family, and not feel stressed.

I usually run/workout 4-5 days a week.  Generally, I take one day off during the week and rarely run on Sundays because it's a busy day with church and I've usually run the day before.  Also, I keep any Saturday races in mind when I'm thinking about my running schedule for the week.  For example, I ran a 10K last Saturday.  I knew I wanted to beat my last PR and I wanted to have rested legs, so I only really ran twice leading up to the race.  This is how I exercised last week:

  • Monday: A slow, after spaghetti 3.22 miles; 100 lunges
  • Tuesday: Upper body, glutes, and abs
  • Wednesday: 6.2 miles; situps, 100 lunges
  • Thursday: OFF
  • Friday: .75 miles (I ran for 5 minutes on the treadmill before working out); upper body, glutes, and abs
  • Saturday: 10K Race
  • Sunday: OFF
For me, the biggest key is looking at my calendar and determining when I'm going to run.  I don't schedule workouts, but at the beginning of the week, I have a good idea of what days I need to concentrate on runs and what day(s) I take off.  I also make a mental note of the days I want to go to the gym.

There you have it.  Next week, we'll talk about my favorite gear, other exercise, nutrition, and my advice.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Current Book

I love, love, love this book!  I talked about it briefly in my vlog last week and have raved about it since.  I'm almost finished reading it.

Current Playlist

This is some of my playlist from this past weekend.  I listen to everything from praise and worship to top hits to Jack Johnson.  KT thinks I need more motivational music!

Current Color
I'm loving aqua/turquoise, pink, and yellow today.

Current Food
There's this Greek restaurant in town that I'm currently obsessed with.  We go there most Friday nights after t-ball and I happened to have picked up lunch from there yesterday and today!

Current Favorite Show

KT and I love Survivor.  He got me into this show and I am hooked!  

Current Triumphs
I'm excited about finishing last weekend's 10K as the 2nd female!

Current Banes of My Existence
There's nothing really bothering me today!  

Current Celebrity Crush

I love Reese Witherspoon!

Current #1 Blessing
KT and the boys (I know that's three).  They are my biggest blessings.  I thank God everyday for knitting us all together.  KT is more than I ever dreamed or imagined.  He is the one I love to the moon and back, my best friend, the one I love to laugh with, my better half, and my biggest supporter and encourager.  The boys are the most precious people in the world and changed the way I look at the world.  These three are my heart.  

Current Outfit
I know this isn't my whole outfit, but I don't have a picture.  I'm wearing a Lilly skirt from a few years ago with my platinum Jack's.  

Current Excitement
I'm looking forward to our upcoming beach weekend!

Current Mood

Current Favorite Quote or Verse
"But I will hope continually and praise you yet more and more!" 
Psalm 71:14

Current Wish List Item
I honestly don't have anything materialistic on my wish list.  I'm just looking forward to some vacation time at the beach this summer!  I would like a massage, too!  I'm also wishing for some other things :)

Current Favorite Product
I love this Got2B Oil-licious Dry Oil Taming Mist.  It smells so good!  I also talked about it in last week's vlog.


I'm going to admit it.  I'm not a hair person.  I don't know what I'm doing with my hair.  Don't get me wrong, I love my hair.  I love the color, the length, and the volume.  But, I don't know how to style it.  Hopefully, that all changed today with a visit to my new salon.  

I loved the salon and my stylist, Diana.

I don't have a before picture to show you, but you can look at my vlog from yesterday and clearly see my roots.  Here's the after picture.

The first thing we talked about today was how to repair all the damage that's been done to my hair.  That's right, friends, I had damaged hair.  I have some heat damage, color damage, and shampoo (that's what I'm calling it) damage.  I've been using Pantene products.  (Someone please tell me that I'm not the last person on earth to find out that Pantene causes wax buildup!)  You can better believe I'm going to take back the Pantene Smoothing Creme I purchased at Target last night (more on last night's shopping trip later!).

I didn't want to change much about my hair and I wanted to keep it low maintenance.  I just don't have the patience to spend much longer than about 15 minutes on my hair in the morning and that includes drying it.  I also work out during the day sometimes and always run, so I don't like having a ton of layers to deal with.  She did my color, a protein treatment for my ends, and cut and styled my hair.  

I left with happy hair and some new products:

My stylist says this cuts your drying time in half.  I'm for anything that shortens my getting ready time!  It also smells great.

What are your favorite products?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vlog: Stop and Smell the Roses Week 13

I'm excited to be linking up again today with the House of Rose for the weekly vlog on things that I'm thankful for and are making me smile!  I really enjoyed linking up last week and look forward to participating each week!

From my vlog:

We had a fast and relaxing weekend.  Highlights: Being with KT, beating last year's course record in a 10K, celebrating with my sister, playing with our sweet boys!

I've decided to make Blurb scrapbooks for our family each year.  I'm doing one for all of us and then individual books for each of the boys.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to do a calendar year, birthday to birthday, or school year.  For our family, I've decided on a calendar year and for the boys, I'm doing birthday to birthday.  I've finished our 2011 book, am up to date with Kaden's Year Three book (his birthday was in April), and I'm slowly but surely getting caught up on K.C.'s Fourth Year.  His birthday is in July and I'd like to have it to give to him.  We all like looking at pictures, so I thought this would be a great way for my non-crafty (although I want to be domestic!) self to keep up with our memories.

KT's Good Morning
KT had a busy, important morning at work and I got a text from him that everything was going well.  I am so thankful for that!  I wasn't worried about him at all because he does great with what he does and I'm so proud of him, but I knew he was nervous because it's not his favorite thing to have to do.  He's so dedicated to his work, to me, and to our family.  I'm blessed!  :)

Hair Appointment
My hair is horrible and I know it.  I've been too busy (really bad excuse) to go and my hair grows so fast (thankful for this!), but this is really out of control!  I'm trying a new salon tomorrow which makes me nervous and excited all at the same time!

If you haven't wore her dresses, you should.  They are so easy to wear and so comfortable.  You can wear them casually or dress them up.  KT gave me a few for Christmas and I bought a few.  I can't wait until her Summer line comes out Friday morning!

Date with My Little Guys

I picked up the boys last night and we went to Barnes and Noble.  K.C. has been asking for some new Berenstain Bear books (my favorite growing up.  I love that they love them!) so we went to buy some.  Tuesdays are always rushed because we have t-ball, so it was nice to get the evening started early.  

Beach Weekend
I'm looking forward to Memorial Day weekend!  We are going to the beach for an impromptu beach weekend.  We're also celebrating KT's niece's birthday Saturday and my mom's Monday!