Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hold On

I intended to post today about how I've accomplished many of the things I wanted to accomplish in January. I wanted to post about the book I read, the race I ran and the other things we've done.  But I'm not.  Instead, I'm posting what's on my heart.

My heart is heavy today.  So very heavy.  It's been heavy for a while, but it's extra heavy today.

January has been a tough month for us.  A really tough month.  My husband lost his job.  I dealt with some weird illness/strained muscle thing which isn't anything in the big scheme of things but was a huge thing to me. And this week, so many loved ones are hurting.

I got a notebook from KT for Christmas that's pink and yellow chevron {little details like that make me smile} and it has my new name on the front {that makes me smile bigger}.  That's not important, but what's important is what's inside.

All month, I've been discovering verses that have spoken to me.  Verses that have brought me comfort and strength.  Verses that have given me hope.


I've needed to read these all month and I needed to read these today.

I'm a happy / hopeful / joyful / optimistic person by nature.  I'm a transparent person, too.  With me, I like to think what you see is what you get.  But with that same outlook and attitude comes comes other things, too.  Those things like holding in your thoughts / not wanting to always show your true emotions because you're always the happy, upbeat one / silently struggling for the words to say and not to say.  You don't want to cause stress or worry and it's just easier to keep your stresses and worries to yourself and just let everyone else share theirs.

Today,  I think for the first time in my life, I really believed the thing that I've said over and over "God made me the way he did in regards to things like this because there are people who need me to listen, people who need me to encourage them and there are people who can't find that encouragement on their own."  I've always felt semi-cursed {I think that's too strong of a word, but the only one that I can think of that seems to fit} that I'm this way, but today, I've seen it as a true blessing in its entirety for the first time.

You see, I've gone through some pretty tough things.  I've experienced moments of utter despair and hopelessness that those on the outside would not have ever seen.  I've pieced myself together bit by bit with lots of prayer and scripture reading {and exercise if I'm being completely honest}.  I've put on a happy face when I've been hurting inside.  I've felt totally and completely alone. And that's tough.

The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. He's been working really hard all around us.  But you know what that tells me?  It tells me that he sees God in us, in our family and in our friends.  He seems our relationships with our Father and he doesn't like it.

When you're feeling down, distressed and discouraged, remember that there is One constant: God is always there.  I pray that these verses speak to you the way they've spoken to me and that you find encouragement, hope and peace.

He is before all things and in Him, all things hold together.  
Colossians 1:17

Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!
Luke 1:45

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.
Psalm 9:10

As so it was that she, having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained what God had promised.
Hebrews 6:15

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He'll make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purposes.
Romans 8:28

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Random Wednesday {January 30, 2013}


I'm linking up with Shanna today for Random Wednesday.

I have spent my lunch break everyday this week reading Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks.  The book is so good!  I can't wait to see the movie.

I feel so much better since getting back into my exercise and running routine this week.  I'm still going easy on my ab exercises - in fact the only ab work I've done this week has been on the machine at the gym.

I finally made a hair appointment.  I had to cancel my last appointment and I keep forgetting to make another one.  My roots will thank me next week.

I really need to get started on my husband's Valentine's Day gift.  I have most of it planned, but haven't bought anything yet.

The boys started Spring soccer last night.  They had fun!

What random things are going on in your life?


Increasing Your Speed

When I talk about running both on the blog and off, one of the most common comments I get is in regards to my speed.  {Please don't take this as a braggy post either.  I've definitely built my speed over the past year.}  While I'm not a marathoner {and have no desire to ever do more than a half - if that}, I do like to run and I like to run fast.

This is a very flattering picture of me from last weekend's race. Ha

I've been exercising and running for as long as I can remember.  I really got into running races about a year ago.  Since then, I've run ten races.  Eight of those were 5Ks and two were 10Ks.  For the most part, my times have been increasing.  My PR was a 21'10 (6'49 pace) 5K although I've run sub-21's in training.  I need to pull one of those out in a race! 

I'm not going to be shy about it: I like to win.  And the boys like the medals and plaques that usually come along with the wins.  In order to win, you have to be fast.  I'm going to share with you the things that have worked for me and increased my speed.  And don't be intimidated.  These tips work for everyone whether you're training for a race, wanting to get faster or you just want to burn some extra calories.

Interval Training
Interval training is one of the best ways to increase your speed.  You're probably familiar with this term as you read about it in health and fitness magazines as it relates to burning extra calories.  In my opinion, it's one of the best things to do.

Many articles you read will suggest something similar to this plan:
Run 1 minute on 8 mph, walk 1 minute on 4 mph.  Repeat for 20 minutes.

While this is ok, I don't think it's as effective.  When you're working to increase your speed, you also need to work to increase your stamina.  While it's good to build up, staying with the same pattern constantly will not bring you the results you want.

When I run intervals, I usually do something like this.

Run 1 minute at 8 mph
Run 1 minute at 5.5 mph
Run 2 minutes at 8.5 mph
Run 1 minute at 6 mph
Run 2 minutes at 9 mph
Run 1 minute at 7 mph

or

Run .25 m at 8 mph
Run .1 m at 6 mph
Run .50 m at 9 mph
Run .1 m at 6.5 mph
Run .50 m at 9.5 mph
Run .1 m at 7 mph
Run .50 m at 10 mph
Run .1 m at 7 mph

I repeat until I've run the amount I want to run.  The reason I increase my speed when I'm running intervals on the treadmill is because when I'm running a race, I want my legs to be as good at the end of the race as they are at the beginning.  By increasing your speed over your run, you're doing just that.

Long Runs
Another way I've increased my speed in through long runs.  You've heard me say it before and I'll say it again, I have no desire in my body to run a marathon.  Not one little bit of desire to do that to myself.  I don't have the time to train and I don't want to run that far at one time.  With that said, I do like longer runs.  The longest run I've ever done was 8 miles.  I consistently run a 10K (6.2 miles) and 7 miles, but I haven't ventured above the 8 mark.  I think this is going to be my year to do a half marathon though.

When I started really increasing the distance of my runs {think 5K was my short run}, I started noticing a big difference in my speed.  If I can run 8 miles in 60 minutes flat (7'30 pace), I can run a whole lot faster than that in my 5K and 10K races.  

I'd also like to note that many times, my longer runs aren't planned.  Sure, I know the days that I am able to do a long run, but I don't usually go into my run thinking "I have to run 8 miles."  Running those miles because you're feeling good is so worthwhile.

Core Work
The final thing I'll leave you with is core work.  When I started consistently working on my abs, I noticed a change in not only my shape, but my strength and stamina.  Having a strong{er} core is beneficial regardless of your exercise goals.  

I'd recommend doing five minutes of ab exercises at least five days a week.  Ideally, you'll do core work everyday, but if I'm being honest and realistic, five days a week is great.

There you have them: my tips for increasing your speed.  It involves Interval Training, Long Runs and Core Work.  

Do you have any tips to share?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's the Same Book... Again

I don't know about your kids, but ours like to read every night.  We let them each pick out one book and then we read a Bible story out of The Jesus Storybook Bible.  {Side Note: If you don't have / haven't read / haven't seen this Bible, please check it out.  It is great for kids!}  

Since Christmas, our sweet Kaden has been asking to read the same book almost every night.  It'sThe Berenstain Bears Kindness Counts.  I love that the boys love these books because of the great messages in them (plus they were my favorites at their ages which is cool), but last night, I wasn't very excited about reading this book for the 25th time.  

{via}

As I started reading the book again, Kaden would finish some of the sentences.  He's only three so he can't read, but he remembered the exact words from the book.  Later, this turned on a light bulb in my head: 

Repetition is important.  
Repetition is good.  
Repetition is how we all learn.  

I think about my own life and the repetitiveness in it.  The constants in it.  Regardless of the day, I spend time talking to my husband, listening to him and spending time with him.  I spend time talking to the boys, listening to them and playing with them.  I spend time exercising to get faster, stronger and healthier.  I spend time cooking.  I spend time praying and reading God's Word.  I spend time learning about what others are doing in my profession.  

Why do I do all these things?

I do them all because I want to be better.  I want to be a better wife, Anna Belle, runner, Christian, cook, and marketer.  I want to continue getting to know my husband and our boys better {this may sound like I don't know them; you know what I mean.}.  I want to improve.  And repetition helps us all to improve.  

To get to the heart of this matter, it's repetition that helps us get to know our Father better.  Just as Kaden can recite the words to most of this book, the boys are learning to recite Bible stories.  I can't tell you the amount of joy I receive when I hear them asking for their Bible story each night.  I can't explain the way I feel when K.C. is able to find the next story and answer questions about the last one.  I can't tell you how proud I am when I ask about the Hero {the word used to describe Jesus in most of The Jesus Storybook Bible}and the boys reply that He's Jesus.  

You see, repetition is a beautiful thing.  It's through reading more and more about Our Savior, saying our prayers out loud for the boys to hear and hearing their sweet voices add in things they're thankful for each night that causes them to grow, and really, causes me to grow.  I can see God's hand working in their lives and giving them a desire to know Him.  And it's a beautiful thing.

As a parent, besides the obvious things like giving the boys the love, food, clothing, and home they need, I consider telling and teaching them about Jesus the most important thing.  In the end, our love of family and Christ is all that really matters.  It's what keeps us strong when the world is falling apart around us, it's what allows us to share love and joy we feel with others and it's what leads and guides us in the ways we should go.  In reality, I'd be doing them a huge disservice to not take them to church, to not read them the Bible and to not pray with and for them.  I don't want to be that person.  I want them to see the joy and love I have in my life because of my relationship with Christ and I pray that this same joy and love is contagious and they want it for their lives.  

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

January Cara Box


I was so excited when I got home Monday because my FIRST EVER Cara Box was there!  Kaitlyn at Wifessionals started this amazing exchange and I have to tell you, it was so encouraging to me when I opened my box and saw all the lovely things sweet Brooke sent my way (She has the cutest blog, too, so be sure to check it out!.  Her note was the absolute sweetest, though!



This month's box was centered around New Year's Resolutions.  I like to make goals each year and the things Brooke sent will certainly help me with mine.  Most of my goals this year centered around growing in my faith, relationships, exercise, and fun.  (You can read about my theme for the year and my goals here.)

Brooke sent me two books: The Power of a Praying Wife and Journey of Prayer.  I can't wait to start reading these.  I've wanted to read them both, so it was so cool that Brooke sent these without even knowing that!


She also sent this awesome hand-painted canvas.  She painted this herself (she's talented, too!).  One of the things we want to do as a family this year is to take the boys' to a Clemson football game.  K.C. has gone before, but Kaden hasn't.  He's at the age now where he'll enjoy it (I think) and I can't wait to make that memory with them.  The boys share a bedroom at this time and it's Clemson themed.  I think this canvas my have a place in their room until football season!


Brooke also sent some delicious smelling bubble bath.  I love to take bubble baths.  They relax me after a long day and help me wind down and also ease my achy muscles after tough workouts.  The notecards and stamp she included are great, too.  I love writing notes and don't do it nearly enough.  I also love being organized and the giant pink clothespin she sent will help me keep important things together.  



Thank you for such an awesome Cara Box Brooke!  Thank you for this encouraging link up Kaitlyn!

If you'd like to see what I sent Carolynn, check out her blog. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekend in Review: Parties, Movies and My First Race of 2013

Happy Monday!

We started our freezing weekend of with some birthday shopping for my sister and Kaden's best friend.  While we were out, we scored a great mirror for our bedroom.  I've been on the look out for a round mirror in a semi-distressed, thick frame and was excited when we found one Friday night - half off.  We stopped by Groucho's for a sandwich on our way home and just had the best time.

We were up early Saturday morning for my first race of 2013.  It was a trail race with a big hill about 2.3 miles in.  It was so cold (low 30's) and I hadn't run all week, so I wasn't expecting the fastest time, but I woke up feeling great and full of energy.  It turned out to be a great race.  I felt good during the whole thing and even though I was slower, I ended up as the 1st Female Overall.

Let me tell you, though, the hill everyone told me about was no joke!  We don't really have hills, so I'm not used to running them, and when I saw this one coming, I felt like I was in the mountains!


 



My win also made it onto the front page of one of the section's of our paper yesterday morning.  That was cool!

After the race, we ran home to get ready for a day of parties.  My sister turned 18 and one of Kaden's school friend's turned 4.  We took my sister out for a quick lunch at a local Mexican restaurant and then Kaden and I headed to his first friend party. 



Kaden's friend had a Cowboy Party complete with pony rides, a gold dig, fire pit and a teepee.  We had a great time!

Saturday night, we went out to dinner with my family and about 30 of my sister's friends to celebrate her birthday.  After dinner, everyone came back to our house for cake and ice cream.

I can't believe she's 18!  I can remember the day she was born like it was yesterday.  As I put on Facebook, 18 years ago was the day my life got infinitely sweeter because it was the day my precious little sister was born.  I'm so proud of the young woman she's becoming!



Sunday was a fun day, too.  After church, KT and I went to see Zero Dark Thirty.  If you haven't seen it yet, I'd suggest doing so.  It was really a good movie.  There were definitely things in it I didn't enjoy seeing, but overall, the movie was good.

What did you do to have a great weekend?

I'm also linking up with Carissa at lowercase letters.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Three Posts Within a Post

It's Friday!  Why is it that short weeks seem to last so much longer?  I don't have that one figured out yet.

Please forgive me for three link-ups in one post, but I really enjoy linking up with Jen, Leslie and Ashley each week.  I also feel like I've been doing a whole lot of link-ups and not as many "real" posts these last few weeks and I want to change that.  So, please, forgive me for these three posts within a post.


For all of you exercise addicts, healthy lifestyle people and those of you who are just dipping your toes into these things, my friend Jen hosts an awesome link-up each Friday.  We post about how we've done each week with workouts and healthy eating.  I usually feel good about the fact that each week, I show some form of exercise most days.  This week is different.  I was forced (cue the dramatic music) to not exercise all week.  And let me tell you, it's about killed me.  With that, I'd like to share the following with you.

What I Learned in a WEEK with NO Exercise

I learned that without exercise, I don't have as much energy. 
I learned that without exercise, I crave more bad for me foods.
I learned that without exercise, I feel more stressed.
I learned that without exercise, I don't feel as good.
I learned that without exercise, I just feel "blah."
I learned without exercise, I don't feel my best.

It wasn't all bad though, I promise. 

I learned that I'm not as rushed in the mornings when I don't go to the gym.
I learned that I'm not very hungry and don't eat as much when I'm doing nothing.
I remembered how nice it is to get completely ready for work in my own home each morning.

Moral of the story: I need exercise. I'm more energized, more productive, eat better, and feel better with exercise.  

If you feel all the ways I felt in just six days without exercise, go do something active now!  Don't put off being the best you can be.  Trust me, you'll feel so much better when you're active.  You don't have to get all crazy and start running races, body building or training for a triathlon, but you won't regret it when you start breaking a sweat.  Sure, it might be tough to get in the habit everyday, but it's so worth it.


This week, I'm confessing that...

Call waiting is one of the rudest inventions.  Yes, it has it's perks, but I can't stand to be on the phone with someone when they're constantly checking to see who's calling.  I very rarely answer an incoming call when I'm on the phone with someone.  It just feels rude.  If my husband calls, yes, but other than that, it's rare.

I don't always take my makeup off at night.  Really.  And I know it's horrible for my skin.  I just get all snuggly and comfortably and then I don't want to get out of my warm bed to do it.  

I ate salt and vinegar chips and some mini chocolate chip cookies at lunch yesterday.  Don't get me wrong, I eat chips and cookies sometimes, but I don't ever eat chips and cookies for lunch.  As my entree.  This is proof to my no exercise claims.

I really can't handle the cold weather.  It screws up my work wardrobe.  I can dress for cold when I'm not at work, but I am baffled as to what to wear everyday to not look like I'm going skiing when it's 30 degrees.

For the life of me, I can't blow dry my hair while using a round brush.  Will some of you great hair ladies please teach me what to do?  Pretty, pretty please?

My husband and I have watched some real quality television this week.  It may or may not have included Lizard Lick Towing and Impractical Jokers.  

Speaking of television, how do you find time to actually watch shows? I see so many bloggers writing and tweeting about shows they watch and I just want to know how you do it all.  Working full time with two kids and trying to do everything else that needs to be done doesn't leave me (or my husband) with time to sit down and watch tv at night.  How do you do it?

I am participating in one of my Junior League's February workshops just because I want to try CrossFit. I used to be really involved in Junior League (think Merry Market Chair, Publicity Co-Chair), but my priorities have changed (husband, kids) and I'm not really "active" anymore.  We have workshops each February and one of this year's is CrossFit.  I can't wait to see what the craze is all about.




dear kevin: I think I impressed you with my basketball skills and knowledge last night.  What sport should we attempt next?  I love you!  dear boys: You make me laugh so much.  And I love you!  dear stephanie: You can't be 18 tomorrow.  No way.  I'm not allowing it.  What I will allow is dinner followed by cake at our house.  I love you!  dear readers: Thank you for coming back and sticking around.  dear God: Thank you for answering prayers and showing your faithfulness time and time again.  dear blog: You and I are having some QT this weekend because I have a list of real posts I want to write.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Random Wednesday {January 23, 2013}


I'm linking up with Shanna today!

I'm really not liking not being able to work out.  Really, it stinks. And makes me want to complain. Majorly.

I downloaded "Safe Haven" on iBooks earlier today.  I'm not really into the whole mushy-Notebook kind of books, but I read "The Lucky One" and loved it and the movie and the previews for this movie look great, so I want to read the book.

I'm excited for Valentine's Day.  I like any excuse to do special somethings for the people I love and Valentine's Day is no exception.  With this trait, you'd think my love language is gifts, but it's not.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, I'm excited and nervous about my gift for KT.  He's not really a gift person and this is a little out of the ordinary gift.  I think he'll like it though.

Meal planning is a life saver.  I made a lasagna last night that we can pop in the over for dinner tonight.  Do you meal plan?

While I'm asking your opinion, do you reward your children?  I'd really love your input!

Last night's episode of White Collar did not disappoint.  

I'm ready for the Spring.  I don't know how all of you who live in cold places do it!

I am really working hard to find and develop some recipes for clean eating.  I want to eliminate as much processed food from my diet and my family's as I can.  I know it won't be easy, but I think the results will be worth it.

I have my first race of 2013 this Saturday and looking at the forecast, it's going to be COLD!

Rewarding Your Children



Do you reward your children?  If you do, how do you reward them?

This topic has come up in our house a few times recently and it's something my husband and I have discussed.  It's arisen due to the little yellow dots that came home last week and also from a conversation I had a work.

As of now, the boys get treats sometimes, but we don't give them rewards based on things like good behavior at school or doing chores.  We don't even have a chore chart which I'm sure will surprise many of you.  To tell you the truth, I've thought about doing a chore chart, but in reality, we expect the boys to do certain things like put their clothes in the hamper when they're getting ready to take a bath, pick up their toys when we ask them to and brush their teeth.  We expect them to do these things just as we expect them to listen at school, say "please" and "thank you" and answer with "sir" or "mam."  

At 3 and 5, what real chores can they have?  They aren't big enough to wash dishes, they can't vacuum or mop yet and they're really not big enough to make their beds.  They like to help when we're cleaning whether it be dusting or cleaning the bathrooms.  They really are good helpers, too.  

As far as school goes, we expect them to do their best and to do their homework.  K.C. has homework assignments that have to be turned in each Friday and we work on those throughout the week.  It's very rare that he doesn't want or ask to do his homework, something I'm very thankful for.  We try to make learning fun, too.  He has a list of words he's required to know by the end of kindergarten and we work on those each week.  We started out with a parking spaces and last week, we made an air field (his idea).  He loves playing this "game" and I get so excited when he starts asking me to ask him certain words to read because he's ready to "land" a plane on a particular word.  He's doing really well!



At 3, Kaden doesn't have real homework, but from his school calendar, we have different letters, shapes and concepts we work with him on each week.  He is all about doing homework, too!  He gets so excited about doing his homework that it's sometimes hard to work with K.C. on his actual homework at the same time!  It's great.  I love that they love learning.

I think I got a bit off topic with those two stories (you can't tell I like to talk, can you?), but I think they show that we don't have a homework problem.  We don't really have behavior problems either.  We really are blessed that the boys are great children.

We've thought about doing an allowance for the boys and they'll get points based on different things and at the end of the week, they'll get some money based on the points they have.  We've also thought about rewarding them with a treat for different things.  We really haven't decided what (if anything) we're going to do.

I'm curious - what do you do?  Do you have a list of chores for your kids to do each week?  Do you give them rewards for good report cards and good behavior at school?  Do you give an allowance?  I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Facts of Me




I have loved getting to read all of the "Facts of Me" posts floating around today and wanted to join, too!

Fact:
This man holds my heart.  He's my best friend, greatest love, and my better half.  I hit the jackpot when I met him.  I was thinking about our love story the other day and looking at some photos from our wedding and it just hit me (again) how blessed I am to be his and how greatly God orchestrated our love story.  


Fact:
These two little ones opened my life and my heart to a joy unexplainable.  The love I feel for them is like none other.  I am grateful and thankful each day that I get to be their Anna Belle.


Fact:
I'm a big sister.  My parents weren't supposed to be able to have any other children after me due to complications my mom had shortly after my birth involving a ruptured appendix, gangrene and a surgical sponge left inside of her.  Thankfully, almost nine years later, my sweet sister was born.  This Saturday marks her 18th birthday.  


Fact:
I have the best parents, in-laws, grandparents, friends and family in the world.  They are awesome.  I was blessed to not only be born into an amazing family, I married into one as well.


Fact:
I love to run.  I love the way it feels and the way my body feels even when I get sore.


Fact:
I'm a sinner, saved by Grace.

Fact:
I love my job.  I get the privilege of going to work to a job a love, one I went to school for and one that is on my list of "dream jobs" each day. 

Fact:
I love Italian and Mexican foods, but I won't touch Chinese and rarely eat Japanese.  I'm not that adventurous.

Fact:
I really want to be a DIY Martha Stewart-esque woman.  I may not decorate all the time, but I do cut the boys' sandwiches into cool things like dinosaurs some days.

Fact:
I like to read.  Really, I love to read, and I don't do it nearly enough. 

Fact:
I love the beach.  Love it.  
My husband can surf.

Fact:
I actually enjoying washing and folding clothes, but the putting up part I despise.

Fact:
I like to cook and really enjoy making sure my family has a healthy meal each night (you know, except those nights we eat out. Or Chickfila.).

Fact:
I love holidays.  Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Easter.  You name it, I love it.  I still get excited over Santa and the Easter Bunny even though they don't visit me anymore.  Holidays are way more fun with kids.

Fact:
Contrary to how it appears, I'm really more of an introvert than an extrovert.

Fact:
I decided to finish high school early near the end of my junior year.  That made me 22 when I finished my MBA.  I don't say that to sound smart/braggy/nerdy, only to say that I get really confused when I'm trying to figure out how old people are.

Fact:
I love to have fun.  I don't drink, smoke, or go out though.  

Fact:
I am obsessed with photo books.  I make them far too often.

Fact:
I have a list of blog posts that I want to write, but I haven't found the time to write them.

Fact: 
I'm really excited that White Collar starts back tonight.

Fact:
I love all of you readers and am having a great time getting to know you.  If you follow my blog and I don't follow yours, please let me know!

Fact:
I think I want to have a Q&A type post, so if you've got a question for me, ask away!  E-mail me at thethingsimlearning@gmail.com.  You ask, I'll answer!

Scenes from Our Extended Weekend and the Time I Was Told Not to Exercise

Did y'all enjoy the long weekend?  We did!  I'm thankful I had yesterday off and the boys were out of school because it made for some extra fun!

Our long weekend started off with a game of Battleship on Friday night.  We have the regular board game and the boys, especially K.C., enjoy playing with it.  He asked for the electronic version of it for Christmas and it's really been fun to play!



After dinner, which my sweet husband cooked (barbecue chicken and brown rice!), we watched Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.  Have you seen this movie?  I took K.C. to see it when it came out in the theater and the boys got it for Christmas this year.  It's so cute.  The boys' laughed and laughed!



On Saturday morning, I was getting ready to go for a run and Kaden asked to go.  He likes going on runs with me and I enjoy our conversations and games of I Spy.  As we were getting ready to go out, K.C. decided he wanted to go, too, so after bundling them up really well, we were on our way.  We bought a single jogging stroller last year, but with them both wanting to run, I pulled out the double stroller which adds an extra 100 pounds by the time the boys are in it.  Talk about a workout!  I ran about 1.5 miles with the boys and then finished by myself for a total of 5.  I also did a really intense ab workout after the run which proved to not be so good (details below).


We haven't quite finished getting everything back out from Christmas, so we worked on that Saturday afternoon.  Our den has lamps again, pictures are back out, and for the most part, everything is back to normal.  

My mom and grandparents stopped by to see us (who am I kidding, they really just came to see the boys!) Saturday afternoon and we had a great time visiting with them.  My mom has finally joined the iPhone world and had to take pictures to have on her phone.  I liked the one she took of KT and me!


We went over to my sister-in-law's for dinner Saturday night.  It was delicious!  She is a great cook and we love getting to hang out with them.  The boys especially love playing with their cousins.  I took a variation of a sausage and corn recipe from Southern Living and some cupcakes.  Kevin got in on the cooking, too!



I joined our church on Sunday morning.  I started going to church with Kevin shortly after we started dating and decided I wanted to go ahead and become a member so I can really get involved and serve in different ways.  I was nervous about walking down to the front, but the service put me totally at ease.  We sang my favorite song from our church and my favorite song from my church growing up which was cool and our pastor's sermon was on a time for everything from Ecclesiastes.  

The boys were so cute (as usual) all dressed up for church Sunday morning.
  

After church is where our (my) weekend got not as fun.  I didn't feel great when I woke up, but didn't think much about it.  We went to one of my favorite restaurants for lunch and I didn't eat.  When we got home, we all snuggled up and watched a movie (trust me, watching a full-length movie is a rarity for us, much less, two.  Kevin and I were talking about how we haven't ever even watched one full movie with the boys without stopping it.) and I fell asleep.  I had fever that afternoon and spent the night all nauseous but didn't ever get sick.  K.C. wasn't feeling great either, so I think we ran into a bug of some sort.  

When I woke up yesterday, I was feeling better and not nauseous, but had horrible pains in my stomach and back.  I was really trying to be a trooper, but it was tough.  We went for a walk in the woods and I turned around and went back home because I couldn't hardly stand upright without being in pain.  I couldn't resist snapping this cute picture of Kaden before I went inside though.

  
About 2:30, I decided to call urgent care to see how long their wait was because at this point, I was worried that there was something really wrong, like gallbladder or appendicitis wrong.  I think I scared Kevin and he immediately took me to the doctor.  After asking a ton of female-related questions, the nurse and doctor both kind of looked at us like "you're pregnant." (Spoiler Alert: I'm not!).  I about died after doing the test when the doctor walked in with a smile on his face though.  Trust me, I love children and I've always wanted 3 or 4, but as long as we have something to do with it, we're not ready for that yet unless God has other plans.  We are newlyweds and we have two precious boys.  After ruling that out, he was also able to rule out other things, and it turns out I just have a bladder infection and a STRESSED AB MUSCLE.  Not fun.

Moral of the story: Don't work out too much.  

I have a tendency to overdo it.  I know I do.  I exercise 5-6 days a week.  I run 4-5 days a week.  And generally, I do ab work 5-6 days a week.  I think increasing some of the things I'm doing coupled with running with nearly my body weight a few days last week (Saturday wasn't our only family run) and the intense ab workout I did Saturday after not doing one for a few days attributed to this whole ab muscle thing.  

Kevin asked the doctor about me exercising this week and he said I can't until Friday.  And I have a race on Saturday.  And I'm not very happy about that.  But, in the end, it's ok.  Oh, yeah, and my husband says he wins the burpee challenge by default (I'm joining back up later this week).  

So this week I'm focusing on developing a new plan of action.  I'm going to focus on quality of exercise over number of days.  I'm going to walk around our neighborhood and stretch a lot.  I'm going to finish up some things inside our house that I'd like to get done.  

And I'm also going to get back rubs.  Lots of them.  Because you know what?  The doctor said that back rubs will help my back feel better and you know you have to do what the doctor says! :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Health and Fitness Friday {January 18, 2013}

I'm linking up with my friend Jen today for Health and Fitness Friday!

 

Fitness:
Friday - 3.1 miles, 11 burpees
Saturday - 6.2 miles (3.1 at race speed; 3.1 slower at about 7:20/mile), 12 burpees
Sunday - 13 burpees
Monday - 2.16 miles with the boys in the stroller, upper body, glutes, 14 burpees
Tuesday - 4 miles, 15 burpees
Wednesday - Upper body, abs, glutes (105 pounds), 16 burpees
Thursday - 3.1 miles, glutes


Total Miles:18.56

I'm really happy with my workouts this week.  The one thing I didn't do as much of as I would like to have done is ab work.  My goal for next week is to incorporate ab work each day (and of course not miss a day of burpees like I did last night!). I have my first race of 2013 next weekend and I can't wait!  

Health:

I cooked most nights this week which is a huge change from what I've been doing.  Some of the things we had this week were:

Chicken Enchilada Bake - I made my own version and will share the recipe next time I make it.
Burgers with Diced Potatoes
Roast Beef with Pasta

I bought a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store to use in the Chicken Enchilada Bake (I'm all about cutting out steps) and used the remaining chicken to make chicken salad.  Instead of using mayonnaise like I normally do (Duke's if your curious; I am a Southern girl), I used some Fage Non-Fat Original Greek yogurt.  I mixed in fresh pecans and raisins, too, and it was so good.  Even my husband who normally doesn't eat yogurt by itself liked it.

One of the things I really want to work on and research is healthier eating.  Cleaner eating.  I know the things that fuel my body best and know what makes me sluggish, but it's so much easier to grab a Rice Krispie Treat (I love the pre-made ones) when I want something to eat late at night than it is to pull out something healthy.  I really want some accountability with this, too.  

For me, I'm happy with my size/weight, but I feel like when I put things like Rice Krispie Treats (as delicious as they are), tons of cheese, and other not good for you foods into my body, it really negates all the hard work I put in to stay healthy (and doesn't help my quest to have more defined abs by the summer!).  I think it's easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking I can eat this Rice Krispie Treat/Reese Cup/small bag of chips because I do work out and run so much.  

I've noticed that I'm hungrier now that I used to be which I know is attributed to my increase in exercise (or really my pace in running), but I need to start reaching for healthier options when I need a pick me up.  Does anyone else have this problem?  Do you have any recommendations on books that are good to read about clean eating?

Friday's Letters and Confessions {January 18, 2013 edition}



dear friday: I'm so glad you're here!  This has been a very productive week and I'm looking forward to a nice, long weekend with my sweet three!  dear kt: It goes without saying, but you're the best husband. Ever.  Yes, you are.  Thank you for everything you do.  You inspire me.  I love you!  dear k.c.: Daddy and I are so proud of your awesome report card!  You are so smart!  I've had so much fun taking you to school lately.  I love those few minutes in the car!  I love you!  dear kaden: I don't think you could be any cuter if you tried!  You are growing up so fast!  I love you!  dear winter: You decided to come back and visit us.  I really do like bundling up, but I wouldn't be upset if you decided to leave again as fast as you came.  It was 77 degrees yesterday and it's 37 today.  Not cool for this warm weather loving girl!  dear dunkin' donuts: I really wanted a Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks this morning (a place I rarely go; I know, it's good and all, but I'm not a huge coffee drinker.) and you proved to be a good substitute. Thank you!  dear God: Thank you for your continuous blessings, provisions, and care.  Please continue to lead us, guide us, and direct us in the ways You want us to go.  dear 100 burpee challenge: We've gotten along really well until yesterday.  I don't know if I can blame it on Oprah's Lance Armstrong interview, the fact that I was snuggling up with my husband watching it, or just being sleepy, but I missed my day 17 appointment with you.  I guess that means you and I are hanging out for an extended period of time tonight.  35 burpees here I come!  dear sister: You are going skiing this weekend and we are not.  I hope you have a blast and please bring us back some snow!  dear blog: I plan to give you lots of TLC in the coming week.  We haven't spent as much time together as usual, but life has been busy.  dear readers and new friends: I really enjoy getting to know you all! Happy weekend!


I confess that my hair is long over due a cut and color.  

I confess that I gave in to my one cup of coffee a rule week. Tuesday.

I confess that I was a little flustered getting ready for work this morning.  I hate being that way, too.

I confess that the reason I've been feeling stressed every morning this week is because I've ended up taking a bath instead of a shower and I'm just slower that way.

I confess that I didn't have time to pack my lunch (I try to most days) so I grabbed a lunchable out of the refrigerator.  It looks like I'll be having turkey and mozzarella crackers with a Reese Cup and Capri Sun for lunch.

I confess that I really want to give my husband a couples massage as part of his Valentine's Day gift because I really enjoyed the one we had a few months ago.  Is that wrong?

I confess that I'm in dire need of a pedicure.  Running, heels, and perfectly polished toes don't go hand in hand (or would it be foot in foot?).

I confess that I'm ready for my first race of the year.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm Back!

I've taken an unintentional blogging hiatus.  Unintentional because I really have had some things to blog about, but I just haven't had the time to sit down and write out posts.  With that said, I'm back today with some random thoughts.  I have a lot of writing to catch up on and some fun things planned!

  • I love, love, love that it is 80 degrees in the middle of January! I love getting to wear my winter clothes for a month or two, but this girl prefers her warm weather (preferably hot weather if the ocean, sand, and a boat are involved).  I love you SC!
  • I also love that I have the opportunity to run outside in a beautiful place during lunch at work.  I definitely don't take that for granted.
  • Speaking of running, my husband (and I may have to agree with him) doesn't think people believe that I run as fast as I do when I share my times.  I promise I'm telling the truth.  I'm going to write a post about increasing speed, too.
  • Our boys got yellows yesterday.  Both of them.  Enough said.
  • I made up a recipe Monday night.  Yes, I like to cook, but normally, I tend to stick to the easy things like grilled chicken, steak, burgers, and some sides like brown rice, pasta, veggies, and sliced fruit.  I was pretty proud of my creation and excited because the boys both ate almost all of it!  I made what I'll call a Chicken Enchilada Bake or if you're 3 and 5, Chicken Lasagna.  It was really good!  I'll share my recipe the next time I make it!
  • I'm really craving Chocolate Eclair.  Not the little chocolate eclairs that are delicious in their own way, but the Chocolate Eclair my mom makes.  It's so good.
  • Why do I talk about food all the time?  Seriously.  I think I have a problem.  I like to think that it's because I work out and run so much.
  • Speaking of food (last food-related item for today, promise), I want to start eating cleaner and cutting out processed foods.  We already do a decent job of eating healthy (grilled meats, fruits and veggies), but I want to take it up a notch and try to cut out more.  It's not a size/weight issue at all because we're all where we need to be, but I just want to put more good into my body than bad.  I think I'm going to read a book about this.  Any book suggestions?  Also, do you read 100 Days of Real Food?  This blogger is amazing!  
  • Don't you just love it when God just gives you exactly what you need to read?  We talked about satan in Sunday school Sunday and how he is so real and present and just wants to kill, steal, and destroy us.  I see that in my own life, particularly when I'm walking closer and closer to God.  This morning, the daily devotion I read was about just that and how to combat it.  Our Sunday school lesson this coming Sunday is going to be about the same thing and I can't wait to hear it.
  • I'm out of some styling products I need.  I started using Kenra Blow Dry Spray about a year ago and love it.  I also use Pureology Super Smooth Relaxing Serum.  I need to order some of it right now because with this weather and the soon-coming humidity, I'm going to need it.  I love these two products.
  • My little sister will be 18 next week.  How did this happen?
  • I need to get to work on KT's Valentine's Day present.  This gift was intended for Christmas, but I didn't get it all together so it's going to be part of his Valentine's Day gift.  
  • I'm excited about my first Cara Box exchange!
  • I have my first six races of the year picked out!  
  • I'm looking forward to having next Monday off!
  • I love my husband.  That goes without saying.  I also love his attitude about this.  He is the most up beat, encouraging man I know.



Monday, January 14, 2013

January Loves!

Happy Monday!  I'd like to introduce you to the fabulous ladies who are hanging out on my sidebar!  I absolutely adore each of their blogs and I know you will, too!  Please be sure you check our their blogs and tell them I sent you!

If you're interested in partnering with me or swapping ads, click the "Sponsors" tab at the top or feel free to e-mail me at thethingsimlearning@gmail.com!



Brittany blogs at This Beautiful Life. She's a proud wife, adoring momma to her precious Fur Baby, a cupcake lover, DIY crafter, passionate blogger, and most importantly, Jesus worshipper.  I know you'll love her blog as much as I do, so be sure to stop by and say hi!





Alexa blogs at Southern Living, Our Way, but as she says: Don't let the name fool you ~ I may be Southern but I'm not quite a Belle. I'm a newlywed as of May 2012 {to a Jersey boy ~ the horror! But not to worry, I've successfully converted him.} and currently the parent to only one baby of the furry variety, Holly. Sometimes I write about our vacations {we honeymooned in Napa!}, often I write about our dog {I'm that pet owner}, but mostly I write about the hilariously awkward little life I feel lucky to live. I know you'll love getting to know her as much as I have!



Whitney blogs at Sippy Cups and Pearls.  She's passionate about Jesus, loves her husband and works at home serving him and training her precious little girl.  Whitney writes with such honesty and sincerity and is so inspiring!  You'll love reading her blog!



Kristyn is another Southern girl (like me!) and blogs at Carolina Fireflies! She's a girlfriendalmost an attorney, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a mommy to 3 adorable pups. Her mornings always include coffee and her days, a well-worn pair of blue jeans. North Carolina captured her heart the first time fireflies filled her backyard at dusk on a warm night. Her blog is filled with a real life and real love that is grown in southern ground.  I know y'all will enjoy her blog as much as I do! 






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Laura blogs at Storybook Reality.  She's a lover of Jesus, her sweet husband and fabulous little boys, costume jewelry, cooking, reading, traveling and all things Kentucky. She really dislike green peppers, wet paper products and weird word abbreviations. If you're hungry for food, funny or family you are in the right place when you visit her blog!  





Kaylee blogs at All Things Bright and Beautiful and is also a fabulous designer (she designed my blog so I may be a little biased!).  She's also a newlywed and blogs to document her life.  Her blog is full of fun posts and inspiration - you definitely will love it!