Monday, September 29, 2014

Darlington Race Weekend Recap

This past weekend was filled with running and it was so much fun!

You may remember that last year, I ran a half marathon in Darlington. This year, I decided against the half, and ran two races: a 5K on Friday night and a marathon relay Saturday morning.

The 5K was fun Friday night.

These two little guys were excited about the race. We're not really NASCAR fans, but you know all little boys like race cars. They thought it was especially cool that not only did we get to drive thru the tunnel beneath the track, they got to run on the actual track and stand where the race winner is presented with a trophy. 

I can't wait to run real races with them one day!

 My heart.

The home stretch. This was not my fastest race. Granted, there were two tunnels with steep inclines and a big hill, but still, I didn't go all out. I knew I had 6.5 to run the next morning and realized about a mile into the race that chicken and rice is not a great thing to eat before a hot race!

Kevin deserves the trophies. He's my greatest encourager and he's always right there telling me to sign up for the next race and waiting at the finish line.

Former Patriots take the win. The three of us all graduated from the same college. The guy on the left won the 5K and the half marathon the next morning. The man on the right was 2nd overall. They both ran competitively in college. I wish I had.

My friend Kayce and I with our Miss Southern 500 leg pop.

On Saturday morning, we ran a marathon relay. I ran the last leg for our group. It was really fun. When it was time for me to start, I knew we were in second by a good bit, so I didn't worry about my time. I had a bit of a stomach bug over the weekend, so I was just happy to run.

I had a great time cheering on the marathoners as they were running their last miles. When I got back to the track for the final 1.5 or so of my leg, my teammates ran with me. It was nice to have that encouragement because I needed it. My stomach did not want to be running.

All in all, it was a great weekend of running. 

While I was running the relay, the boys were playing soccer. In six seasons, I've missed two games. One of those was last year's half marathon and the other was for the relay Saturday. In each of those games, K.C. has scored two or more goals. I'm beginning to think I'm good luck when I'm not at his games!

So thankful to be able to run!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Learning About Myself

When I saw the chalkboard colored book staring at me on the shelf in Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago, I picked it up because I could almost hear "you need to read this" ringing in my head. At the time, I'd heard of the book, but I thought it's just another one of those books that tells women they need to get their priorities in order and mine are just fine as they are. I mean, I spend time with God daily, I put my husband and our children above myself, I work hard at every single thing I do, I dive head-first into everything, I give without talking about it, I try to be the best I need to be for everyone, and most of all, I strive to live to please Christ even though I fail over and over.

But still, that thought telling me I needed to get that book kept ringing in my ears. I bought it along with Fast Food Nation (what I went to purchase - and that's a different story for a different day) and decided I'd read it when I got around to it.

That weekend, as I was browsing Facebook on my phone, I saw an ad for this online Bible study on this book and knew I had to do it. Fast forward a week and I can already see so many reasons this book was calling out to me. Or God was whispering to me to read it.

In the book, Lysa talks about how she doesn't want to admit out loud when she's "a little overwhelmed and a lot worn down" (page 3) because she's a positive person. I identified with this immediately. Because I am a positive person, I have a hard time admitting out loud when I'm overwhelmed, upset, worried, or need help. It's because I don't want to be that woman.

I've always been pretty independent and handled things on my own, so asking for help isn't something I'm used to or comfortable with. I feel weak or powerless when things bother me and hold it in until something triggers, "enough!" And I'm not proud of that.

I love to help people and hear their concerns, and I have many people who come to me for advice, but I don't have many people I can go to. My experience has always been that when I do talk about things that bother me or cause me concern, they're brushed off or people act shocked. I like to tell myself that it's because I'm a pretty strong person and people know that my optimism doesn't fade for long, but still, sometimes I need to talk. Just because I'm always bubbly, confident, and hopeful, and have a great husband and kids doesn't mean I don't have worries, stress, or fears, or just need need to vent.

In addition to trying to work things out on my own, I'm also really bad about asking others to do things. In my professional life, I do a good job of delegating, though this has been learned. I simply can't do everything. In my personal life, though, it's hard to ask for help. I'm asked often to pick this up or drop this off or stop by here for people and I don't mind doing it at all (and because I can't say no very well), but I'm really bad about returning the favor. It's not that others don't want to help, it's that I'm not willing to ask.

Thankfully, I have a great husband who helps out all the time. Our home is not run by me doing everything. We work together, we each pitch in, and neither of us (I don't think) feels overwhelmed or like we do it all. That's a huge blessing.

Lysa talks about those times we feel like we need to do something, but we brush it off. She talks about whether those are God moments and how we shouldn't wait to see later if they were, but to treat them as they are. I believe that "read this book" I experienced was God steering me towards something He is using to reach me. I'm learning so much about myself, or rather, admitting so much about myself through just the first three chapters of this book and so far, none of it has even related to saying "yes."

Lately, I've felt like I'm rush, rush, rush all the time and don't take or make the time to see the little things. That's not good. Granted, the last month has been pretty stressful and consuming, but at the same time, little things matter. I'm trying to make a concerted effort to not rush in every day life and to savor the little things. (And I'm trying to forget about the to-do list, but little steps, first.)

With that said, many of the things that cause me stress are self-induced. They're certainly not all self-induced, but some are. I'm trying to work on these things one by one. I don't want to say I'm going to rid myself of them all at once because that's stressful in itself, but I am taking steps to try to wean myself away from those things that are self-induced one-by-one as well as those things that aren't which are out of my control. Sometimes I feel I take three steps back with every two steps forward, but at the end of the day, I feel I'm doing better with these things.

Lysa talks about how when she first started writing, she added up the hours she spent doing everything in her life and out of the 168 hours, there were 3.5 hours unscheduled. She took those three and a half hours and scheduled them to be hers. She used hers for writing. She encourages readers to use a free time assessment tool on her website to calculate how we each spend our 168 hours a week.

When I initially did the assessment, I got something like 29 hours a day and 203 hours a week. That's 28 more hours than is in a week! I went back and redid it and came up slightly better with 25.75 hours in a day and 180.25 hours in a week. Not good. I think that means I need to slow down and cut out.

As you can see, sleeping (7 hours, 15 minutes) and work (about 9 hours when you add in a commute) take up a good chunk of my time each day. I do think the weekly time use chart is misleading because it's calculating my average day and my average weekly times together. The weekends are total family time, so that small green sliver should be much larger.

What's scary to me about this chart is that all of the things listed are things that have to be done. They're not "me" time unless you count exercise, date night, and family time as "me" time. Margin is good and I don't seem to have any.

In light of this, I think I'll be fun to share what a typical day looks like in our house, so I'll do that next week. I also want to figure out how to at least get 30 minutes of "nothing has to be done" time in each day. If you have any tips on this, let me know!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

When I Need Some Motivation

Some days, getting and keeping motivation can be challenging. I'm usually super energetic and not lacking motivation, but some days, I need a little extra "spark" to keep me going.

There are a few tried and true things that always fill me with an extra dose of motivation when my tank is running low. And for the record, I'm having one of those days today, so I'll clue you in on what I'm using to get my creative juices flowing.

1. Turn on some music. This goes for all aspects of my life. At work, I love to listen to Spotify. If you saw or listened to my choices in music, you would laugh. I like all kinds of music and that's definitely reflected in my playlists. Ballads tend to motivate me as much if not more than really catchy, pop music, and I listen to a blend of both.

If I'm not particularly feeling like running, but know I need to get in some miles, I turn on the music, too, particularly if I'm on the treadmill. I don't race with music on 5Ks, but when I'm running longer races or even running a seven or eight miler outside, I'll turn up the music.

2. Read something that motivates me. I love quotes. If I could hang quotes all over the walls of my home, I would. I don't think my husband would like that very much though. I really do love quotes and have bookshelves filled with books of those. I also have some verses written down that I keep in front of me all the time.

3. Drink some coffee. I'm pretty bland when it comes to my drinking choices. As a general rule of thumb, I only drink water. I do have sweet tea if my husband makes it at home, I'm at Chickfila, or we're out to dinner at a restaurant that has particularly good sweet tea. I stay away from juices because of all the extra sugar. I don't drink soft drinks either. I drink milk, but it's with cereal, so that doesn't count. If I really need a pick me up, I'll grab some coffee, usually half caf and I'm good to go.

4. Make a list. My job requires a large amount of multi-tasking, all the time. Lists keep me sane. When I have so much to do and don't know where to start, I always start what I want to get done in a day. I'm the same way with personal things in that I make a list of things I want to accomplish each week.

5. Think about how good I'll feel when I accomplish something. This applies more to exercise than to other aspects of my life. The second alarm that goes off in the morning has this message: "Think about how good you'll feel after you run!" Many days, that 6AM wake up call is rough. I'm not going to tell you it isn't. Some days, I respond and get up and run. Other days, I don't. I still have to get up early to get the kids off to school and myself off to work, but sometimes, my body just can't make it up the stairs to the treadmill. Reminding myself how good it'll feel to be done with my run for the day helps me to have that extra push I need.

What do you do when you need some extra motivation?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hump Day Happies

It's hump day! I don't even want to describe the images that popped up when I Google searched "Hump Day images."

In honor of it being the middle point of the work week and a gloomy day outside, I thought I'd share some things that are making me happy today.

1. It's Fall! I love the changing seasons and I love that I can now officially dress for fall. Skinny jeans, PSL's, and lots of outdoor playtime to come!

2. Making pop tarts with my boys was so much fun! Yes, I am that mom. The one who won't buy packaged/processed/fake pop tarts. I love a good pop tart as much as the next person, but when you really boil it down, they aren't good for you (or your kids) at all. Enter Homemade Pop Tarts thanks to Pinterest. 

I used this recipe from Lark and Lemon to make the actual pop tarts. For the filling, the boys chose smores (nutella and marshmallows) and strawberry (real strawberry jam) and I made some cherry for Kevin and me. I made my own icing with a cup of powdered sugar, teaspoon of vanilla, and two tablespoons of milk. We didn't need nearly that much, so I'd suggest doubling your pop tart recipe or halving your icing. 

We had them with scrambled eggs for breakfast yesterday and they were such a hit, we had the few leftover ones for breakfast today.

Kaden is normally my kitchen helper (he helps me cook dinner almost every night), but K.C. was all about making the pop tarts. As we were getting started, Kaden made sure he told K.C. that he and I would teach him how to cook since we're the "cookers" in our family! It was too funny!

3. The Best Yes has been a good yes for me. I bought this book about two weeks ago and planned to read it as soon as I finished The Summer Wind (excellent read by the way). That same week, I saw a Facebook post from Proverbs 31 Ministries about an online Bible study starting on this book. I signed up and I'm so glad I did. The book is so good and God has spoken so much to me in just the first three short chapters. If you want to join along, do it! It's not too late!

4. Getting dressed up with my husband! This past weekend, we had a wedding to attend. There's something special about getting dressed up and watching two people commit their lives to each other with the one you love more than anything in the world.

 5. I'm having a good week of running. August was a bummer month for me with running. I ran far less than what I normally run, though we were out of town two weeks which was fun, so I can't be too upset about that. I'm trying to get back on track in September. I'm looking forward to a weekend of running, too!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

I had a pretty deep post written for today, but I think I'm going to save it for next week and just share some random thoughts with you today.

1. I had the awesome opportunity to visit and tour Hobcaw Barony yesterday. I adore my state and the coast, and I know I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to get behind the scenes like I did yesterday.

2. Watching the boys walk into school together doesn't get easier. Where are my little tiny people?

3. Next weekend, I'm running a 5K and I'm on a marathon relay team with some friends. I'm excited about it, but I also need to get in some miles this week. 

4. Our new iPhones should be here tomorrow. I can't wait! 

5. You know those two J.Crew skirts I posted about yesterday?


They'll be hanging in my closet soon! J.Crew Factory is giving 30% off it's already low prices on these two skirts. Use Code: SALE30

6. I signed up for "The Best Yes" online Bible Study by Lisa TerKeurst. It starts next week. Won't you join me?

What are your thoughts today?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What do you like to read?

I've been feeling a little "off" blogging lately. To cure this, I want to know what you want to read about!

So, please, tell me, what would you like to read?

Deep things?

Fall Wish List

It's almost fall, y'all! I haven't done much shopping for myself lately. The truth is, I have so many clothes it's a sin and shopping for the kids and our home is way more fun to me now than shopping for myself. But, there are still a few things I'd like to pick up this fall.

I've pulled out some older dresses and pants the last few weeks that haven't fit. Most of these things have been hanging in my old closet at my parents for a long time, but I still liked them, so when I finally cleaned out that closet, I ended up with what felt like new clothes (and my nieces lucked out with about four giant trash bags full of clothes and purses and the rest were donated). Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), many of them were too big. I guess all of my running has changed my shape because my weight is within five pounds of what it's been since I've been an adult. My husband said that I need to start rebuilding my wardrobe, so that's just what I'm doing! (I know you don't think I listen to much of your advice babe, but I heard this one loud and clear! Love you!)

I love skirts and dresses for work and J.Crew's new Shorttail Mini is so cute. I'm a sucker for bright colors if you haven't already noticed. The J.Crew pencil skirt is my all-time favorite for work, too, so I'd like to pick another one up in a darker hue for this fall.

I love skinny jeans and cords, but I can't exactly get away with those at work. I saw Old Navy's new pixie pant and I think this is a great solution to my strong dislike of pants other than jeans. 

Tracy Negoshian is one of my favorite designers period. I wear one of her dresses at least once a week. I even have one on as I'm typing this. Her new fall line is out, but as I browsed her sale items, I came across a few dresses I really like that are perfect transition pieces from summer to fall to winter. 

Thankfully, it doesn't get really cold here until the end of October or into November which means I'm able to wear shorts into the fall. I love this pair by Lilly Pulitzer. I'd definitely wear them with a darker top to help them not scream "summer."

I love flats. I wear heels most days to work, but I love a good flat. I always have a hard time time finding just the right transition flat. I saw this shoe on Mix and Match Mama's blog a few weeks ago and knew I had to get it.

I also think I'd like to try a bootie for the first time this year. I'm pretty classic and traditional when it comes to most things, but I think I like this trend.

I love wedges. I love the height they give me (I'm only 5'2!), but I don't like wearing stilettos everyday (I used to). 

I'd also like to find a new pair of black and tan heels, but other than that, I'm set. I'm really already set, but it's always fun to add a few things to your wardrobe!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

10 Things I Love About Fall

Summer is my favorite season simply because I love the beach, but I love fall almost as much. I thought it'd be fun to look at things I love about the fall.

Skinny Jeans

I love, love, love skinny jeans. You may have read before that I don't like wearing dress pants, but give me skinny jeans and cords and I'll wear them everyday. My personal favorites are the Rockstar from Old Navy or J.Crew's skinny jean.  I think I own the Rockstar in more than eight colors.

Need I say more? The Pumpkin Spice Latte is my drink of choice, but after seeing the Food Babe on the news and reading this, I'm not so sure I want to drink it this year. 

I don't know stats, I don't have the schedule memorized, I know nothing about our depth chart, but I enjoy football season. I love watching with my family and eating the good football food. Let's face it: good food is the way to my heart (I'm kidding. Maybe.).

The boys have already picked out their costumes for this year. Ninjas, again. I love trick-or-treating, decorating for fall and Halloween, and our Halloween traditions.

Pumpkin Carving
I've carved at least one pumpkin every Halloween for as long as I can remember. Here's one from last year. 

Racing in the Cool Air
I love to race, but racing in the cool is so much easier (and fun) than the hot weather races we have.

Soccer Games
Watching the boys play soccer is the highlight of my Saturday morning during this time of year. It's so neat to see how much they change from season to season.

Our Anniversary
October 13 is one of my favorite days of the year. I love thinking back to our wedding day almost two years ago. God has blessed us tremendously!

Thanksgiving is another one of my favorite holidays. I love seeing everyone and remembering so many things I'm thankful for. 

Family Pictures
I like doing family pictures each fall for our Christmas card. We've had some done professionally and some taken by family, and I treasure them all. The photos above are out takes from last fall.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The seven top things that made this weekend fun

1. I ordered our new iPhone 6s. They should be here Friday. I can't wait!

2. Soccer practice got cancelled due to some horrible rain we had. While I ordinarily enjoy practice, I was really excited that we got to eat dinner at home and decorate for Halloween/Fall even if our den looked like a pumpkin graveyard by the time my boys finished with it!

3. I had a great race Saturday morning. I was slower than I would've liked, but I'm happy with my time. The race started later than usual (9am) and consisted of a solid mile through the woods on trail. I love trail runs, but something about the wet leaves and bridges was discomforting to me. The humidity was also about 95%. I'm really trying not to stress over my times during this hot and humid time. I know that once fall is here and the air is back to normal, I should be back in the low/mid 19's consistently and may even have a shot at breaking my 18:56 PR.

(This flattering photo does not make the list of my favorite things from this weekend!)

4. The boys played awesome in soccer and both of their teams won! I missed Kaden's game because it was at the same time as my race (which I hadn't planned to run, but someone sponsored me for the race so I had to do it.), but Kevin said he played really well. I saw most of K.C.'s game and he was great, too!

5. We had a fun, relaxing Saturday afternoon where we really didn't do anything. Kevin had my car cleaned and while he was doing that, the boys and I went to Sam's to look for a pumpkin. We decided to get a treat on the way home from Sonic. Note the 5 pound jar of cherries beside Kaden. He loves cherries and was more than a little excited when we saw those at Sam's!


6. Kevin and I went on a double date with his best friend and one of my running friends Saturday night. It was fun!

7. I got in an 8.1 miler (the .1 is important) last night. It felt great outside with the temperature in the low 70s.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

You can have your zit back, 2nd grade and some other Tuesday thoughts

Today is the day for a brain dump.

Dear 2nd grade, you can have your zit back. I didn't think I'd be one of those parents that stresses about school, but I was wrong. Second grade has me stressed! I'm blaming it on this little unwelcome visitor that showed up. I don't stress much and haven't had one of these things in years!

I think I want to start operating using only cash. There have been so many hacks lately and now we've found out that Home Depot's security breach lasted much longer than originally thought. I may not shop there on the regular, but I do go to Target quite often and we all know what happened there.

Running less isn't cutting it. I try not to talk about running all the time, but I really love it. I typically run about 100 miles a month which isn't a ton if you're a marathoner, but if you race 5 and 10K's like me, that's a good amount. Last month, I ran less than 50 miles which isn't cool. We may have been out of town part of the month and school started back, but I'm usually a little more prudent about fitting in my runs no matter what is going on.

The next Royal baby. Need I say more? With all of the horrible things going on in our world, I was so excited to hear about the next addition to the Royal family. I may also be slightly obsessed with Will and Kate. Let's not even start talking about my other favorites who are having babies next year (hint: Carrie Underwood).

I'm giving up sweets officially (except maybe once a week). I have eaten more sweets than I care to admit the last few days. That may have something to do with that little bump on my face. While I don't over indulge, I feel sluggish when I'm sugared up.

And as an aside, I think we should say no to the Keep Calm things.

Dear new iPhone, I need you. I've been waiting for this day for months. Okay, maybe that's being overly dramatic, but I do need a new phone. I've not ever been one to trade in my phone very often, but I'm still living with the iPhone 4. Yes, you read that correctly, the iPhone 4. Not even the S. And I've had it for three years. Please, Apple, tell me when I can get my new phone!

What's a good cotton anniversary gift? Our second anniversary is next month and I'm thinking about what to get my husband. Somehow, a cotton t-shirt doesn't seem very romantic or anniversary like.

I really want to be a better blogger. I used to love blogging every day. I'd come up with posts in my head and jot them down as soon as I could. I enjoyed interacting with my readers and loved watching my readership grow. Now? I still feel the same way but I can't seem to find the time to get it done. I want to do better and if you're still reading, please let me know!