Here is something you should know about me (how many times have I said this? I should make a post about me and this phrase): I get really excited about things. I’m either really excited about something, or it doesn’t interest me at all. I have no middle ground. And you’ll know when I’m excited because it goes something like this:

Person: (mentions something that I am into)

Me: OH MY GOD OH MY GOD (proceeds to talk about it for fifteen minutes while person eyes all available exits)

Or, alternately, via email or text:

Person: (mentions something that I am into)

Me: OH MY GOD OH MY GOD (proceeds to talk about it for 70 texts/30 paragraphs)

I force everyone I know into reading a book I love (most recently, Making Faces by Amy Harmon) or a show I’m obsessed with (The Fall. Oh my god, I am serious, this show is the. Best. EVER.) I bug them until I know they have started it. I demand regular updates. I want to have in-depth discussions about plot points and characters. I abuse caps lock more than Kanye West. When I latch on to something, I worry over it and obsess and think about it and, if I’m being honest, neglect everything else until my obsession runs its course. I know no other way of living. It’s intense, but it’s how I do.

Lately, my excitement cup has been runnething over. The other day, I was so amped up about so many different things that I was exhausted by midday. I wish I was joking. Sometimes, the only way to relieve myself of all of this excitement is to share it with people. And that, my people, is what I am doing today.

Right now.

Top things I am excited about.

It’s happening.

Buckle up.

Enjoy the ride.

1. The Disneyland Half MarathonNow I know I said in my last post that running is boring, and I stand by that because, despite your amazing tips, I still want to fling myself off the treadmill every time I’m on it. However! This is not just running. This is FOUR DAYS WITH TWO OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE! It’s Disneyland! It’s carbo-loading! I love carbs and Disneyland and favorite people! My excitement for this is off. The. Charts. Cannot. Handle.

2. Beyonce and Jay-Z’s concert. You guys. I am attending this very special show tonight and it’s unlikely that I will leave AT&T Park the same person. Mister Jess scored us 6th row tickets, which means that Queen Bey and I will likely be sharing the same air particles. I spent the entire day at work yesterday asking all of my co-workers if A) they were attending (answer: yes) and B) if they were emotionally and mentally prepared for this spectacle (answer: no). ME NEITHER.

3. Mark Ruffalo. Generally as a human being, I find him delightful. However, he had a most adorable kinda-run in with Paul Rudd at Comic Con that I still can’t watch without literally clawing at my face because I can’t deal with how adorable it is. You can watch the video at Popsugar.

I mean. Come on.

Gif credit: Popsugar

Gif credit: Popsugar

4.  Soccer. Yep. Still obsessed.  Mister Jess and I went to see Real Madrid (my favorite team) play Inter Milan. Despite the fact that they lost (womp), my favorite player wasn’t there (EXTRA WOMP, #14), and it was miserably hot trying to get into the stadium (can’t even talk about it), it was amazing seeing a professional game in person. The love affair STILL isn’t over, futbol.

That's a beaut.

That’s a beaut.

5. Baseball. We are an Oakland Athletics family. Actually, first and foremost we are a Cubs family, but the A’s are near and dear to our hearts, too. This year they are gunning for the World Series, and by god, they just might do it. The excitement in our home is PALPABLE, people. Expect to hear our screams of joy if when they win.

Also, baseball stadium food is delicious, which is the only reason I attend Giants games (I don’t say this to other locals, for fear of being shouted at/smacked). The view’s not too shabby, either.


6. The Fall. Seriously. Please watch it. Netflix. Do it. It’s amazing. Do it.

What are you currently excited about? Tell me so that maybe I can become obsessed with it, too. Clearly I don’t have enough on my list. 

Oh, Summer. I Miss You Already.

Summer lovin’, had me a blast…
Summer lovin’, happened so fast…

I introduced my daughters to Grease this summer, and this song has been on repeat the last few weeks. That line is appropriate for how I’m feeling now, because we’re in our last week of summer vacation. SAD FACE. Last Friday, I took my kids shopping for school supplies (which is one of my favorite activities. Paper, pencils, markers- oh my!). Today begins a flurry of back-to-school prep, including a PTA meeting and kindergarten orientation.

I’m excited to get back to our routine- which will mean regular gym time for me and consistent naps for the baby- but I’m sad to lose all this fun time with my kids. We’ve been swimming, visited museums, had movie nights every week, read lots of books, eaten all the cupcakes, baked pies and just enjoyed hanging out with each other. (Oh, and I reached our summer goals- Teaching my oldest to tie her shoes- check. Getting my middle one to start reading- check. Full night of sleep for the dude- CHECK AND HALLELUJAH. For me, learn to play chess- check, and the new goal is to kick J’s butt in a game. Or all the games. Checkmate, baby!) I had date nights, girls nights, moms nights, and while I rarely slept in, I basked in the contentment that comes with balancing adult time and kid time.

Here are some favorites from my summer vacation:

These were almost too cute to eat! The kids and I loved the tour at Chocolate Kingdom.

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One of our field trips was to The Container Store, because I was desperate for something to organize all of my makeup. I’m happy to report that two months later, things still look this neat.

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This book! I’m still thinking about it. I read a lot this summer, but this, Last Letter to my Lover by Jojo Moyes, and Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead were my faves.

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One of my only naps with this guy (He is obsessed with those cute Honest brand diapers- he calls this one is “zoom zoom,” and the skull and crossbones pattern is “yo ho”). Now he naps in his crib! Glad I got a picture of this. Sniff.

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Ice Cream smoke! If you’re a run Disney person, and you bring your kids with you, try to check out Abracadabra Ice Cream. You choose your mix-ins and they use liquid nitrogen for a little ice cream magic. My kids loved it.

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My best friend is a teacher, and her daughter is six months older than my son. We saw them at least twice a week, usually more, for the first half of summer (before they traveled north to visit family. LEFT US, I MEAN.). She and little dude love each other the most, and I get bff time. How cool is that? Here’s our little crew at Chipotle.

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We spent so much time at the pool. We also spent a week at the beach with my wonderful inlaws. Flying kites, night swimming, boogie boarding in the ocean, collecting shells…that’s the life, man.

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The girls love baking with me. I let them bake m&m blondies for July 4th, and my oldest also helped make the crust for my berry galettes. At the beach, she helped with a strawberry-rhubarb pie (store bought crust here) and I taught her how to make a fluted crust. She’s my picky eater though, so she still won’t try most of what she makes. Silly girl!

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We also celebrated my middle one’s 5th birthday. We had a big party with friends back in May, and a small celebration with family while at the beach. She chose a menu of crescent roll hot dogs and s’mores. I made my husband’s s’more with a Reese’s Cup instead of Hershey’s and I don’t think he’ll ever have a plain one again. (Speaking of, have you tried the peanut butter cup Oreos? OMG.)

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I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer as much as I’ve loved mine! Tell me what you’ve been up to. Any book recs? What would you mix in your ice cream? The kids mixed cotton candy, white chocolate and marshmallow. I think they get their sweet tooth from me.

Mother’s Day Gifts for the Mother Runner

I love a good gift list. How else will I know what to buy unless someone on the internet tells me so? I kid, I kid. But I do love a gift list and I love Mother’s Day because it’s an opportunity for me to sleep in and demand brunch and get a pedicure- it’s pretty much the only day I can be somewhat selfish. (I say “somewhat” because I usually end up doing at least one load of laundry. Laundry is my life.) It’s a day for family, because I love my kids and husband the most, and without them, I wouldn’t be a mom. It’s a day when I give extra love to my mom and my mother-in-law, both of whom are wonderful moms and friends (and live close enough to babysit their grandchildren). It’s a day when I feel grateful for my mommy friends, for all the advice and support and laughs they’ve given to me on this crazy journey called motherhood.

Moms! My mil, my mom and me at a football game last fall.

Moms! My mil, my mom and me at a football game last fall.

I’m lucky to have some mommy friends who are also runners- both near and far. My first mommy friend is also my best running buddy and it’s only been two weeks since our last long run together, but if I have to be in the boot for a long time, I’m considering pulling a chair up to her treadmill so we can chat while she runs.

Sara and I with our little babes. And Santa. (this is the earliest pic I have of us moms with the girls.)

Sara and I with our little babes. And Santa. (this is the earliest pic I have of us with the girls.)

This gift list is for the mother runners and the runners and the moms who like to wear running clothes to do school drop off in the morning. I actually have some of this stuff already- I love love love it all. (those socks! I went to buy them last fall and they were sold out. So glad Pro Compression brought them back.)

Mother Runner Mother's Day

And this list is for my husband, who always reads my posts. (And you can’t be that surprised by the faux birks. I’m already sporting overalls. All I need is for Chick Jess to make the perfect 90s playlist.)

Mother's Day- Spring and Summer Fun

Happy Monday, my friends! And an early Happy Mother’s Day wish to all the moms, mommies-to-be, and mothers-at-heart.

Tell me how awesome your mom or mother-in-law is. Or how wonderful you are, mama. (Because you are! And really pretty too.)

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things…

Girls in Oiselle tanks and white satin sashes,
Taffy that sticks to my teeth, not eyelashes (because that would be weird),
Frigid cold air that does not feel like Spring,
These are a few of my favorite things!

(Okay, not the weather. Florida native here. I had a minor freakout last Sunday morning when Mer told me it was 28 degrees on the boardwalk in Atlantic City.)

It was a wonderful weekend of running and even more laughter, and now I’m home to my most favorite people and a mountain of laundry to fold. (Not a favorite, if you are taking notes.)

Since the AC half was already covered by Mer and Vic, I only want to tell you a tiny bit about my experience, and also share some other things I’m loving right this second:

First, the AC half. I know you are Meridith’s, but if she were willing to share you, we could be sister-wives. (Did I just imply that Mer is married to a race? I guess I did. I’m really tired, you guys.) I only ran once last week because of my shin pain, so I think rest, plus KT Tape, plus the oh-so-forgiving boardwalk helped me achieve a pretty sweet time for this race- I finished in 2 hours, 7 seconds, which is 11 minutes faster than my Princess 2014 time. (Still not a PR for me, blah blah blah. I get so tired of saying that. I get so tired of thinking it. But we runners love to focus on the numbers. Anyway, now that I’m thatclose to a sub-2, I am more than confident that a personal best will happen this fall.) Of course, if I hadn’t been texting my friends while running, I probably could’ve shaved off 8 seconds- but, no regrets.

The best part of this race was seeing our dear friend Anne finish her first half-marathon. The thing about a half-marathon, and running in general, really, is that no one can help you do it. You have to put in the time. You have to do the work. But when you finish? The accomplishment is all yours. Seeing a friend triumph like this is so powerful; for me, it feels as good as it does when I achieve my own goals. I’m lucky to have been there when a few friends crossed that half-marathon finish line for the first time, and the emotional impact hasn’t diminished. I guess I’m a marshmallow. Congrats, Anne!

While in NJ, we went to Target. As one does. Vic and I found these super cheap hoodies on clearance in the men’s section. This kept me so warm, post-race. Bonus- we were matchies.

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I love makeup. A lot. My favorite fun thing right now is this blue mascara from Butter London. I think there are a few other colors- I know there is purple and I’m definitely planning to buy that one. With this, I do a neutral face, and then coat my lashes in blue. It’s very noticeable in the sun and less so indoors and I just love it.

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How excited am I that OVERALLS are in style? Well, I’ll be honest. I’ve been waiting for this moment since 1999. Last Spring, I bought some short-alls because it was way too hot for long ones, but these Madewell overalls made their way into my closet recently and they are the best. More tapered than your 90s overall and I think you are supposed to wear them with cute flats or heels or booties and not birkenstocks (but those are back too, and you can’t see me right now but I’m wearing my EXCITED FACE.)

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I just finished taking another class on Conscious Discipline at my church and I cannot say enough good things about it. We’ve been working on implementing CD in our home for the past few years and it has helped all of us. Without getting too much into it, because this is a running blog, not a parenting blog, and I’m certainly not an expert- CD teaches emotional and social intelligence. You can read more here and here.

This book has finger plays, songs and games to increase your connection to your child- and their connections with each other. I’ve taught the girls a few things that they now do regularly with their brother and us, and we’ve also developed a goodbye ritual that the girls enjoy.

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One more book- The girls and I are currently reading Ramona the Brave. Last summer, we read the first two books in the series, in which Ramona is in preschool and then kindergarten, and now that my oldest will be a first grader soon, we decided to start the next book. I LOVE RAMONA. She’s so sassy and misunderstood and delightful. We still laugh about her singing the “dawnzer” song in kindergarten…you know, the dawnzer lee light.

BABIES. I’ve had more than a few friends have babies recently- three of them in the past three days! My instagram and Facebook feeds are filled with sweet, squishy newborn faces. Thank you, new mamas, for sharing your babies with me. I love seeing them!

Lastly, I love that I’m going to see my chicks in less than three weeks. DC, here we come! I hope you have enough cheese.

Talky! Do you text during races? How do I break myself of this habit? Best thing you’ve bought at Target recently? Overalls are amazing, right? What are you reading? By the way, The Sound of Music is always on my list of favorite things.

Chick Chat: It’s a World Class Menagerie

Well, it’s not quite a menagerie but the Chicks sure do love our pets. With my family’s new addition (who is all over the Scoot a Doot Instagram because I’m obsessed with her) I thought it would be fun to introduce our furbabies! I feel like pets are an extension of who we are as people and so when I see pictures of Sam, Ollie, Walt, Axl, Hannah, Boomer, Ace (just to name a few), they make me smile and feel like I know their owners better.

So snuggle up with your animals and prepare yourself for the Scoot a Doot pet parade.


I live with two rescued cats – a 13-year-old calico tabby mix I’ve had since 2002 and an almost 1-year old tabby who came to our home just two weeks ago. We also have a hedgehog, I have found it so hard to find things for him. But I finally found a cage that is perfect for him, if you have a hedgehog and your looking for a new cage check out this hedgehog cage on Amazon. It’s the exact one I got and I love it.


I met the elder cat, let’s call her Murr, in the newsroom of my last paper. There, the local SPCA each week brought in a pet to be photographed and featured in the paper. I often helped out and regularly squealed when I saw the animals. Murr and I fell in love straight away, and by the time her photo ran in the paper, she was already exploring my then-apartment.

She lived with me well before I started dating my now-husband. (and she instantly preferred him to me once he entered the picture. Humph.) But Murr’s in it for the long haul, even though she’s quirky, wiry and most definitely is not a snuggler. She’s an incredible mouse-hunter, she’s obsessed with tuna juice. She’s tiny and beautiful. And she knows it.

New cat was hit by a car last fall. She broke her back leg and had several surgeries to repair the damage. She was rescued by a friend, who couldn’t keep her, so she came to live with us.

She’s sweet, fat and always underfoot. She loves to snuggle and is ALL about the food. Her food, Murr’s food, my food, my husband’s food. She will eat anything. We still haven’t picked a name for her but have a few frontrunners.

Needless to say, Murr hasn’t taken too kindly to the new cat. She’s currently stashed herself in our loft/attic and throws repeated screaming tantrums whenever she sees new kitty. Please tell me they will eventually be friends?


Reily came to Mister Jess and I nine years ago as an 8-week-old fluff ball. He was this adorable Shih Tzu-Yorkie mix, a tiny, tiny little ewok. We couldn’t walk down the street without getting stopped at least five times by people remarking about how cute he was.

Seriously. Look at this puppy! Gah!


He really is our first-born son. We’ve had him for the vast majority of our relationship, and he’s kind of grown up with us. His interests include long walks on the beach, playing with his 80 bazillion toys, and giving me judgmental looks.





He also really enjoys moping. We like to call him Jordan Catalano because he’s not easily impressed. Case in point: when Bug came home. He was not having it.

Who are you, tiny human, and why have you taken all of the attention away from me?

Who are you, tiny human, and why have you taken all of the attention away from me?

Despite his bemusement, he has been amazing with the transition. We are so lucky to have such a sweet, sensitive (seriously), scary-smart dog-son in him. I hope he and Bug will be best friends as time goes on.


Yay, pets! We are dog people in this house. Brewser is a terrier mix that Josh adopted before we met and we got our cavalier, Caroline, ten year ago this summer.

Three kids plus two dogs makes for a full house! Brewser is the gumpy old man of the family- he stays away from the kids and sleeps most of the day. He likes to sit right next to me at night, once things have calmed down.

Caroline likes to be at the center of everything. She loves to sit near the kids when they play and she has even snuggled right up next to the babies while they’ve nursed. She sits on my lap once the kids are in bed, and sleeps at my feet at night.


I was raised by the quintessential ‘cat lady’, so it’s no surprise that I’m a cat person. Growing up, we always had cats, sometimes outnumbering the people in the house. We had dogs here and there, but we were definitely a feline family. At twenty, I went out and got my own cat for the first time (yes, I still lived at home, and yes, my mother was away on vacation when this happened). Elmo, my orange tiger baby, moved with me into my first apartment. When I moved to NC to live with my then boyfriend/now husband, we couldn’t have pets, and I was heartbroken. My grandmother graciously offered to take him, and he still lives with her. He’s a big, old, spoiled nineteen-year-old tabby at this point.

For years, we lived in apartments, and couldn’t have pets. So, as soon as we bought our house five years ago, we started talking about getting a pet. My son is phobic about dogs, so cats it was. We adopted Cleo and Coco from a local rescue organization and brought them home the day after our first Christmas in our new home. They’re neurotic and weird and occasionally insane (hello, catnip), and they are very much a part of our family.

Cleo is our shy cat. If you come over, you will never see her, unless you crawl underneath the sofa. She was found outside at just a few days old, and she’s quite timid. She’s terrified of people walking, but oddly loves feet if they’re on the couch next to her. We think she’s part Maine Coon, due to the fluffy fur between her toes, but who knows. If she loves you, and she’s pretty darn selective about who she loves, she LOVES you. Mostly, she loves my daughter. Every once in a while, she loves me.

A rare snuggle moment with Cleo.

A rare snuggle moment with Cleo.

Coco is our nutbag cat. She’s our hunter, our talker and our dinner table beggar. She’s a tortoiseshell, and very pretty. She alternates between viciously playful and attack-mode snuggly. If she wants to cuddle you, you darn well better be ready to let her. She’s relentless. When I’m getting ready to go to bed, she’s right there at the top of the stairs, stalking me.

My personal stalker.

My personal stalker.

Coco was rejected by her mom when she was a baby, which my mom tells me explains her neediness. Whatever, I’ll take it. She’s such a love, and if I’m reading in bed, you can find her curled up on my hip. The rest of the time, you can find her sleeping on something (always on. If there is a single sock on the floor, she will sit on it) or chasing things that aren’t there.


As much as I would love a dog, and we talk about that being a possibility someday, I think I’ll always be a cat person. I’m sure my mom is proud.


My pet situation is a little complicated.  I recently moved back home with my mom. My mom currently has three dogs, two cats, and cockatiel. I have a lab named Ruby and two cats, Stella and Sookie.

When I moved in with my mom, Ruby kept figuring out how to get out of the yard. For her safety, she now lives with the ex. Which is the best situation, considering my children didn’t have to say goodbye to their dog. But it’s been the hardest loss in my divorce. That dog once saved my life by alerting me to a gas leak. Not to mention she was the greatest comfort I had during my bout with depression.  I miss her greatly.


The Protector

My cat Stella has been with me for ten years. My sister found her as a newborn in a parking lot, the umbilical cord still attached. I fed her a bottle and taught her how to poop. And how does she return the kindness? By biting the top of my feet and attacking me in my sleep. She’s feral, that one. I can pet her for about three seconds before she swats me away. She’ll only drink from the sink and refuses to go in a messy litter box. She’s a total primadonna.

El Diablo

El Diablo

Sookie is the youngest, just 3 years old. She is a very loving cat but complains constantly. My friend once told me that “Sookie” means to whine in Australia. Which is completely appropriate.  But she sleeps on my chest and purrs so I forgive her whining.

The Complainer

The Complainer

 Lastly, I’ve recently adopted my guy’s pup, Murphy.  She’s a big baby and the sweetest dog I’ve ever met.  She has the best disposition and loves my kids.  When she puts her head in my lap, I can literally feel the positive energy she radiates.

The Baby

The Baby


Two weeks ago, the only pet in the house was our fish, Fin. And while he’s very pretty, he’s sort of the quiet, not-interested-in-us type. Life was pretty mundane and we were all missing having a four legged pal in the house.

But all that changed when a little over a week ago, we adopted little miss Gemma from Bella Reed Pit Bull Rescue.


Adoption day picture

The first few days, we spent getting to know each other. Finding all the sunny patches in the house. Encouraging peeing outside rather than on the floor. Realizing that I was posting more pictures of her than my children on Facebook. You know, the usual.


I’ve always been the only girl in the house, so it’s nice to have someone with whom to share my girly things – like my Hello Kitty blanket, for example.


Intently watching Cesar Milan.

Gemma is still a puppy so we are working on good manners and basic commands. She’s very food motivated and eager to please, so I think she’ll learn quickly!


I’m hoping that soon, we’ll be able to start running together. She’s got a lot of energy so I think we’ll probably start that soon. She’s getting the lay of the land and I can’t wait to go exploring more with her.

Gemma is a totally different dog than Jack. But when you look into her eyes, the same sentiment is present. Home. She is mine and I am hers.

I think that’s what makes pets so great. That underlying understanding that cannot be said with words because you don’t speak the same language, but it’s there just the same: you are my home.

Tell us about your pets! Anyone have any puppy training tips? What’s your favorite activity to do with your animals?

A Bunch Of Random Things, With Pictures

I wanted to tell you all about the two yoga classes that my fit friends and I hit this month (Take that, Fit Club Fail!) (Spoiler: Neither one was Bikram.) but I am just crazy busy this week. Instead, I present to you some things I am doing and loving and thinking about right this second, along with some pictures. In other words, a completely self-indulgent blog post.

First- this arrived at my house yesterday.

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We visited the tasting room for Thumbprint Cellars on our 5th anniversary trip to California a few years ago, and this Christmas, J gifted me with a membership to their wine club. This is chardonnay, and they even sent a bar of chocolate. It’s like they know me.

Second- it is Girl Scout cookie time and I am eating all the cookies. My friend sent me one of those cat meme pictures that says “ATE 4 BOXES OF THIN MINTS. NOT FEELING VERY THIN.” That cat is my soul sister, you guys. I mean, really- could those cookies be any more delicious? And the scouts are just too cute to deny-

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Alright, so that is my adorable kid. (You may think she is channeling Vanna White here at our cookie booth, but that is really her Elsa pose. She does it for all photos these days. Don’t you want to build a snowman? And buy some cookies?) I’m her troop leader, so I really can’t say no, but next year I am buying two boxes and donating the rest to the military. Remind me, okay?

Our council is one of the test councils for the Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread and I bought a bag for one of you! I’ll be posting a giveaway for that soon.

Third- A Fresh Market opened in my city and it’s a Very Big Deal. I popped in last week to check it out and took home this bag of popcorn-

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Which might taste better than Boom Chicka Pop. LE GASP. But really. Black pepper! It’s delightful. (It has an odd smell though, which I can’t figure out because the ingredients are normal, non-chemical-y things. But still. Tasty. Just don’t stick your nose in the bag. Which would be a weird thing to do anyway.)

In non-food related things that I love this week, my daughters are now proud owners of Nike sneakers.

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They’re very excited to be “matchies” with me, and now beg every day to go for a run. I know I gave birth to them, so I have to think they’re adorable, but really. SO ADORABLE.

More on the topic of running- Tonight, I get to hang out with THE MOTHER RUNNERS. Well, not “hang out” so much as listen to them talk about running at a local fitness store. But yay! I love their books and the way they inspire women, and well, I’m also looking forward to the swag bag.

And finally, this weekend is the Glass Slipper Challenge! Sara and I are working on our matching costumes (we’ll be dressed up as the same character that our daughters did for Halloween this year. That’s all I’m sharing for now.), and I’m making plans to see Vic and Heather. There will be lots of squeeing, hugging, merriment and pictures of it all.

I’ve been doing my long runs with my friends, Sara and Dorothy, and this weekend will be Dorothy’s first half marathon and Sara will most likely PR in both races. Even though I won’t be setting any personal records, I’m really excited to see my friends reach their goals. As much as running is a solo sport, it can also have the feel of being on a team. We’ve all worked hard, and we’ve done it together. On Sunday, I’ll be as happy for them as I would be if it were my own personal victory.

On a completely superficial note, I cannot wait to have that shoe medal. Because SHOES.

So…favorite wine? Favorite Girl Scout cookies? Favorite expensive health food store snacks? Talk to me! Who is running Disney this weekend?

All You Need is Love?

There are just certain things that I absolutely love.  My fella, my friends and family, of course, and my animals.  My children…I love them the most.  But there are other things in this world that inspire me.  That make me just a little bit happier each day.

Like The Beatles.  I love The Beatles, especially circa Sgt. Pepper.  I love vanilla ice cream splashed with a little milk so that little milk ice crystals form.  I love eggplant and sushi and well-prepared coffee.  I love shoes and knee socks and clever t-shirts.  I love that show Intervention and I love Meg Ryan movies.  I love Bethesda video games and board games and old card games.  I love math.  Yep, math.  It’s so reliable.

I love exercise.  I love the way my legs feel like jello after Barre class and that post workout soreness, despite the fact I can hardly sit down to pee without wincing. I love it when I can’t breathe because my abs hurt so bad.  I love when I inhale during yoga and exhale just a little bit deeper into a pose.  I love that point in my run when I forget that I’m running and my body takes over and I truly believe for a minute that I can run forever.  And I love when I’m done.  Oh, how I love the finish.

I love me.  I really do.  But I’m not taking care of myself like I should be.  Which is why I’ve signed up for Body Back, an eight week diet and exercise counseling program that is offered at my gym.  The classes are capped at 12 people and from what I’ve heard, the hour long session consists of some body conditioning and some mental conditioning.  We’re given a plan for food and we’re asked to journal everything we eat.  All of this sounds fantastic.  I like the idea of combining the physical with the mental because as we all know, if you’re not at peace up in the noggin, you can’t really find peace anywhere else.  I really want to fix my relationship with food.  There’s just one tiny thing that’s making me a bit nervous.

We’re weighed each class.  Like on a scale.  With a number.

Here’s the thing, I haven’t weighed myself in over a year.  I won’t even look at the number when I go to the doctor.  I gauge everything by how I feel, how my body feels, how my pants feel, how I feel about what I see in the mirror.  Numbers used to rule my life…the number on the scale, the number of calories I ate versus the number of calories I burned, the number of days I worked out, the number on my clothing tags.  Those numbers made me feel like shit because they not only quantified my success, but my failures as well.  I put the numbers behind me because I don’t like to fail.  And I really don’t like to feel like shit.  But now I’m putting myself in a position where numbers will once again dictate my success.

I’m in a much better place now, emotionally, mentally, physically, than I was back then.  I’ve learned to forgive myself for my failures and accept that failure is the only way we grow.  Mistakes are just learning experiences.  And I love learning things.  I’m really excited to start this program because I don’t like the way I feel right now.  I don’t like the way I feel about what I see in the mirror.  I don’t know what to expect but I’m going in with an open mind.  And maybe I’ll even learn to love those numbers again.

Goal-Setting and Well-Wishing

It’s January! I love a new year. I don’t make resolutions but I always find myself making goals and lists and trying to be a better me even without committing it all to paper. This also happens before a new school year (because that is it’s own year, really) and before summer (because Pinterest makes it a Big Deal).

photo 3-8

My fitness goal is easy. I want to PR in the half marathon. I will PR in the half marathon. My current PR is 1:57:52 and really, I just want to best that. But deep in my heart, I want to best that in a Major Way. So we’ll see. I’m focused on the Glass Slipper challenge right now, and increasing my weekly mileage closer to 30 instead of in the lower 20 range. I’m also working on getting faster- I’m still not fast enough to reach my current race PR (which I reached before my last pregnancy). I’m giving myself until December because I am very generous and also, I’m trying to be realistic. (my fingers are totally crossed for reaching goal A in April and doing Something Major in December though.)

I am also making some wonderful chore charts and calendars to do a better job cleaning my house. I know that’s really boring stuff, (for me and for you) so that’s all I will say about that. If I come up with an awesome system, I’ll let you know.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that my girlfriends and I have done a holiday gift exchange for the last ten years. Last month, we met for a delicious dinner, sans gifts but avec wine and good conversation. One of my girls said that this year, she decided that if she didn’t care enough to wish someone a “Happy Birthday” on Facebook, she would delete them from her friend list. I’m not really sure how this qualifies as a resolution (I will have less friends? I will only be friends with someone if I want to celebrate their birth? I don’t know exactly.) but it made me think. My husband hates those Facebook birthday wishes. He thinks they’re insincere. Perfunctory. I don’t have a strong feeling about them- I mean, who doesn’t like hearing a birthday wish, no matter how it comes?- But I prefer to text or call my close friends. In 2014, I’ve decided to take a page from long-term, snail mail penpals, Mer and Vic, and send birthday cards. I will likely have to send them in a batch at the beginning of each month, because I am terrible with mail, but I know it will make my people happy, and that makes me happy.

Hanging with my girls made me wish for more time with them, so I am definitely making that a priority in 2014.

These girls! My favorites for  15 years.

These girls! My favorites for 15 years.

Lastly, some friends and I decided to start a club. A fit club, with a goal of taking one new class each month. In the past, I’ve tried to form book club, wine club, craft club, mom movie night club- and nothing ever sticks. I think this one will- and it will be fun- and I can’t wait to report back to all of you on our progress.

As the Floridian of the Chicks, I want to welcome the runDisney runners to Orlando this weekend! It’s going to be a hot one, so hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, and be sure to take a selfie by the pool so your friends are jealous.

Also, go to Epcot! The Frozen princesses are in Norway, along with a statue of runner Grete Waitz. You can have a cronut (omg, delicious) near Canada and a margarita in Mexico. All the salt and sugar will be good for your recovery. (So I’ve heard. I’m not a marathoner, so don’t take my word for it.)

Meeting Elsa and Anna was the highlight of our week (the 3 hour line was not).

Meeting Elsa and Anna was the highlight of our week (the 3 hour line was not).

I’ll be at the Magic Kingdom on Sunday to see our UCF Knights march in the parade. If you see me, stop and say hello and I’ll give you a high five and compliment your marathon medal. Happy running!

My baby with some guy. Who is he? (If you follow college ball, you probably know the Knights quarterback now!)

My baby with some guy. Who is he? (If you follow college ball, you probably know the Knights quarterback now!)

Roll call! Who is headed to the most magical place on Earth this weekend?

Do you make resolutions? What’s your fitness goal? What’s the best fitness class you’ve taken? Birthday wishes on facebook- yay or nay?

All I want for Christmas

Editor’s Note: This is not another holiday gift guide. Or is it?

I used to love holiday shopping, heading out amidst the bustling crowds to find the perfect gift for a loved one.

I loved the challenge of the hunt, finding great deals while humming Christmas carols and wrapping each perfect prize in stunning packaging.

My joy on Christmas morning wasn’t about tearing open my own packages under the tree. I loved watching others open their gifts, to witness the joy on a loved one’s face when they unwrapped “the perfect gift.”

santaMe, J and Santa on Christmas Eve a few years back

Somewhere along the way, something changed. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to surprise my friends and family with gifts, particularly when they least expect it. Honestly, it’s such a great joy. But rather than buy my husband another kitchen gadget he doesn’t need, or get my father another book he won’t actually read (but will tell me he did), I’d rather spend time with my loved ones.

I’d rather travel to see them, or better yet, plan to travel somewhere together.

My sister and I stopped exchanging shortly after she moved to Australia. We gift each other when we get together, every few years. I still regularly buy food treats for my parents, as they no longer swap holiday gifts with each other.

I often find random prizes for Meri, and send them along a short time later. (Guess why? Shhh! I can’t keep a secret!) But for the past two Christmas seasons, Meri and I have given each other race entries — specifically entries to a destination race we then run together. In 2012, we headed to Florida for runDisney’s Princess Half Marathon, Meri’s first. And this year, we went to California, where we ran runDisney’s Tinkerbell Half Marathon. (Do we see a trend here?)

Last year, my hubs called a holiday gift-giving truce with his family a few weeks before Christmas. At first I was upset, as I’d already finished shopping for half of the family. Then, I realized, it wasn’t a bad idea.

We had started to focus too much on the gifts we open rather than the people we are blessed enough to have in our lives. In many cases, we were just exchanging gift cards, since we’d gotten busy or were at a loss of what to buy.

treeWhat do we put under the tree?

And often, we weren’t making time in our busy schedules to spend time together. So it all changed for 2013.

We’re not exchanging in my home. We don’t need more stuff. We’re going to enjoy each other, travel and experience life, together.

20131207-215953.jpgEnjoying the season at Rochester, NY’s holiday season kickoff last weekend

Do you love to shop at the holidays? What’s your gift-giving strategy?