Monday, June 20, 2016

Keeping the Habit

Currently, I'm in that awkward space of "time off" between two marathons. I have had plenty of time to recover from the Fargo Marathon yet it's not quite time to jump into training for the Wild Hog Marathon.

Not a huge dilemma here. It just feels weird to run without a training plan. Like I was in the groove and now I'm breaking a good habit. (Uh, not good!)

British educator Charlotte Mason has written a lot on the formation of habits in ourselves and our children as well. The below quote sums up the habit:
The fact is, that the things we do a good many times over leave some sort of impression in the very substance of our brain; and this impression, the more often it is repeated, makes it the easier for us to do the thing the next time. - Charlotte Mason (Vol. 4, Book 1, p. 208).
The more often we repeat something, the easier it is to do the next time. Making time to run the training miles has formed a habit; turning running into something I enjoy rather than a burden.

Taking a "break" from a habit makes the day feel like it's missing something. I have noticed that with other habits as well - if I miss my usual time of Bible reading and prayer, I know I need to get creative to make it happen. My day without time in God's Word feels empty!

Though it takes discipline to get through the early weeks of forming a new habit, reaping the benefits of a good habit is worth the efforts.

Here are a few daily habits that are important to me:
  1. Prayer and Bible reading. Using index cards to remember daily prayer concerns. Remembering is my biggest struggle! 
  2. Exercise. Running, strength training, cross training or stretching. 
  3. Flossing. I like flossing :) 
  4. Cleaning. Working on a "focus zone" each day to keep things from piling up (i.e. Tuesday = bathroom cleaning day... oh yay!).
  5. Projects. Make time to work on a card or letter to family/friends, pray for someone, design something, encourage someone, actually write in the kids' baby books.
What is a habit you are maintaining or working to form?

Monday, June 13

Easy-Effort: 5.25 mi, 00:48 @ 09:03 pace. 1:00 x 6 plank variations.

Tuesday, June 14

Progression Run: 4 mi, 00:32 @ 07:55 avg pace. 8:45, 8:17, 7:38, 7:04,
Walk: 1.25 miles to E's first Teeny Ball practice and back home again.

I ran early in the morning and then had a blast watching E at his first Teeny Ball practice! There were so many kids that showed up and watching toddlers run is a mix of adorable and hilarious :)


Wednesday, June 15

1:00 x 6 plank series.

Thursday, June 16

??? I can't remember but I know it wore me out. Likely lots of walking AND s'mores!!!

Friday, June 17

Warm-Up:  0.67 mi,  00:05:33 @ 08:17 pace. Strength training circuit x 3 with 10# DBs.

I did my morning warm-up lap and ran home because the downpour was starting. The lightning was beautiful but a little too close for comfort! And them started the hard rain, totaling at 1.4 inches in one hour.

Saturday, June 18

Long Run: 8.1 mi, 01:09 @ 08:28 pace.
Walk: 1.5 mi (or so) while visiting with a friend.

I debated on running 10 miles but talked myself out of it. Remember, no training yet!

Sunday, June 19

Happy Father's Day!!!

Total Running Mileage: 18.02 miles

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up and Faith's Mommy Moments.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Father's Day Creations with Simple Calligraphy

The little ones and I have been working on a Father's Day art project this week and my latest book to review, Simple Calligraphy, was a wonderful inspiration!

My oldest did all kinds of hand printing and painting for the background of the project. Then came time for the lettering.

Simple Calligraphy is a short and sweet guide through the basics of calligraphy. Judy Detrick walks you through the art of lettering, numbering and creative flourishes. She equips the reader with the skills to create their own elegant invitations, custom cards and personalized designs.

I do recommend investing in a calligraphy pen if you choose to purchase this book. Seems like common sense, but I didn't have one just laying around!

While I wasn't able to get the full feel of calligraphy, I was inspired by the beautiful typography in this book and used a similar style in our Father's Day creation!

My "freehand calligraphy"... Calligraphy pens are recommended!

The author makes great recommendations of calligraphy tools and supplies for beginners to purchase and she also includes creative project ideas to try.

My first set of calligraphy pens are on their way and I'm looking forward putting the lessons in Simple Calligraphy to work!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tell Me About Your Shoes

I'm not quite sure how to even start this post.

My writing topics are usually pretty light on this blog as I write about the joys of motherhood, running all over the place and my faith in God but the Lord has been on my heart to mention the Orlando shooting.

Many people lost their lives in Orlando over the weekend and my heart breaks for the victims and their loved ones. Some of the news articles I have read have portrayed a very disturbing view of Christianity - like the idea that we would celebrate another person's suffering. That perspective is so far from Jesus' teaching that it makes my stomach turn.

Though I do not agree with the lifestyle choices of that nightclub, I have nothing but love for them and pray for them as EVERY LIFE is precious in the eyes of our Mighty God. May we lift up prayers of healing and peace for the victims of this tragedy.  #prayfororlando
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. ROMANS 12:15
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. PSALM 34:18

For lack of a better transition in this post (really there is no good way to change the topic), I have some light, running-related talk and some questions for YOU. More specifically, your shoes.

My new Scott running shoes came in the mail last week - yeah shoes! I'm an shoe deal-hunter and am pretty pumped when I find quality shoes for a good price (like under $50!).

Running shoe hoarder! Here's my shoes from 2014, 2015 and 2016! Just... can't... throw away...

Once a year, I buy a new pair of running shoes and then I rotate my two newest pairs of shoes for training. Scott running shoes are my favorite and I probably put way too many miles on my shoes before replacing them, but it's worked for me so far.

My favorite color? I don't have a favorite color! This year I guess pink and neon green will be my thing.

Check out the How Often Do You Need to Replace Your Running Shoes? article from Runners Connect if you're looking for more info! They have a ton of helpful resources.

Now it's your turn!
  1. What is your favorite brand of shoe? 
  2. How often do you replace your running shoes?
  3. How many pairs of running shoes do you currently own?
  4. Do you run in the same pair or rotate pairs?
  5. And just for fun... what's your favorite COLOR running shoe?

Monday, June 6

Easy-Effort: (Treadmill) 4 mi, 00:34 @ 08:33 avg pace.

I'm starting to feel like myself again!

Tuesday, June 7

Walk: 1.6 miles with W in the stroller and E biking to and from the park.

Wednesday, June 8

Easy-Effort: 4.01 mi. 00:36 @ 08:57 avg pace.
Walk: 1.72 miles with W in the stroller and E biking to the park and back again.

Quiet morning run with the dog followed by some park time with the kids. I did the monkey bars at the park and I'm pretty sure that counts as an upper body workout! I snuck in planks while we were playing in the backyard too: 6 x 1:00 plank series.

Thursday, June 9

Walk: 1.35 miles with W in the stroller and E biking. 1:00 x 6 plank series.

Friday, June 10

Walk: 2.33 miles with a friend and our strollers.
Easy-Effort with double stroller: 3.35 mi, 00:30 @ 08:57 pace.

This morning was already feeling hot, hot hot! Ole ole, ole ole. {insert song here} 90 degrees is in the forecast for today.

Saturday, June 11

Easy-Effort with double stroller: 7.2 mi, 01:05:0 @ 09:04 avg pace.

After rummage-saling the morning away, the kids couldn't wind down for nap time. I put them in the stroller and went for a nice run so W could nap and E could "rest".

Sunday, June 12


Total Mileage: 18.56 miles (running), 7 miles (walking)

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up and Faith's Mommy Moments.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Battle Cold and Allergies with the NeilMed Naspira Nasal-Oral Aspirator #MomsMeet

'Tis the season for allergies!

As a Moms Meet Ambassador, I received an assortment of nasal and sinus products from NeilMed, the largest manufacturer and supplier of LVLP (Large Volume Low Pressure) saline nasal irrigation systems in the world.

Neilmed's products help to alleviate common nasal and sinus symptoms in a simple, safe, effective, and affordable way. They have also developed a growing line of products for baby care, ear care, and first aid.

NeilMed® Naspira® Nasal-Oral Aspirator is a lifesaver for parents of littles! This nasal aspirator system safely and effectively suctions baby’s and toddler’s stuffy, runny or congested noses.

The 2-in-1 design allows parents to use the NeilMed® NasaBulb aspirator or as an effective Nasal-Oral suction device, where parents can use suction force generated by the mouth to alleviate nasal congestion in babies and small children. Personally, I just use the NasaBulb end to clean baby's nose rather than using the tube suction.

This product comes with 7 in-line disposable filters to prevent mucus from inadvertently entering the tubing and reaching the user’s mouth. Plus, all of the re-usable parts easily pull apart and can be sterilized with boiling water or in the microwave.

The only downside is the parts are small and are a choking hazard for little ones! My kids desperately wanted to play with this but I had to be extra careful to keep it out of baby's hands. The filters and other parts would be easily swallowed.

You can buy the NeilMed® Naspira® Nasal-Oral Aspirator for $9.99 to $14.99 depending on your retail location.

Use the promo code “MOMSBLOG” for $3 off your purchase of NeilMed® Naspira® Nasal-Oral Aspirator through NeilMed’s web store,!

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Our State Park Adventures

It's June already... How can this be?!

I have been taking it easy since the Fargo Marathon and that's the plan for all of June — 3 runs a week or more if I'm feeling it. My goal is to recover well and be (somewhat) rested and ready to start training for the Wild Hog Marathon by July. Runner's Connect has an awesome article on marathon recovery and you should really check it out! Being patient with recovery is hard but it's totally worth it.

Even without running much, I still find that I'm wiped out! Our one-year-old has been fighting a double ear infection the past week or so (and I suspect he had it for a while longer) and it makes for some cranky, long days and nights. Thank God for medicine to heal him up!

This weekend, the kids and I went to visit my parents and we adventured to the nearby state park. We took the kids on a "hike" (slow and short) and I am itchin' to run the trail around the lake someday.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the trip:

We had a picnic on the beach with ham, cream cheese and pickle roll-ups. Those are my FAVORITE especially when someone else makes them :)

"Let me in the water, Ma!" W is my fearless, determined baby and, if not for the restraint of the stroller, he would have crawled right in.

A breathtaking view over the lake. I could have stood on the dock and watched the water all day. The kids probably wouldn't be as patient though.

The top view of a wildflower. I got a wood tick while wandering into the ditch for this picture but it was worth it! Wood ticks creep me out...

Thankfully, E didn't see this guy. The little snake was dead but he still has such a fascination with poking and touching everything (dead or alive).

I love watching him run! E's running shoe of choice: Spiderman water boots.


Monday, May 30

Easy-Effort w/ double stroller: 3.25 mi, 00:30 @ 09:22 pace.

This was my first run after the Fargo Marathon. My left knee tightened up near the end of the run and I found out it was due to lack of stretching. My IT band on the left side is a little tight still. I need to be more disciplined with stretching!

Tuesday, May 31

No running.

Wednesday, June 1

No running again. Not even a single mile for National Running Day!

Thursday, June 2

Easy-Effort: 3.55 mi.

Easy run/walk with the dog. Beautiful morning! My left knee tightened up at the end of the run again.

Friday, June 3

No running.

Saturday, June 4

Easy-Effort: 5 mi, 00:46 @ 09:07 pace.

This time I made it to mile 4 before my knee tightened up. It's not painful, just more of a discomfort nagging thing. After some foam rolling, all is well!

Sunday, June 5


Total Mileage: 11.8 miles

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Race Report: Fargo Marathon 2016

Friday, 05/20:

11:00 AM - My husband got Friday through Sunday off of work and that was the best anniversary present! We drove to Fargo on Friday morning and went to pick up my number (and free goodies) at the race expo.

The booths were awesome at the expo and I got a free pair of Wild Hog Marathon Fitsoks, a t-shirt, and a couple Clif Mojo Bars. E was given a toddler Wild Hog t-shirt and a stuffed wallaby from Australia's Best licorice! I guess the free stuff helps to justify paying to run 26 miles.

12 noon - After the expo, we ate at the mall food court and met my parents and youngest brother for some shopping. We stopped at Savers (my all-time favorite thrift store) on the way to the hotel, too.

6:00 PM - Leo and I went out on an anniversary supper date that night and had some delicious Chicken Alfredo pasta. I really should have taken a picture.

We visited, got the kids ready for bed, laid out clothes for the next day, and I wrote 2 Thessalonians 3:16 on my arm for tomorrow's run. For every race, I write Scripture on my arm as a reminder and this specific verse had been on my heart all week. I wasn't sure how it would apply to race day but my prayer was that the Lord would give me peace at all times in every situation.

Spiderman saying, "Soh!" (Today's hipster way of saying "What's up?")

12 midnight - Toddler wakes up screaming with a night terror episode.  Baby woke up four times crying, too... It was really something. Hotels and our kids just don't seem to mix.

Saturday, 05/21: RACE DAY!

5:00 AM - My alarm went off and I woke up with a pounding headache. Took a couple ibuprofen and then it was time to get ready! Laying out clothes the night is SO helpful, as my brain is extra frazzled on race morning. Pumped, dressed, and down for breakfast with my mom. I made myself eat a toasted bagel with peanut butter.

6:00 AM - My mom drove me to the Fargodome around this time. I walked around, made about a million stops to the restroom, and enjoyed the time alone. It was tempting to fall asleep along the wall but I figured that wouldn't help me warm up for the race. I ate Honey Stinger Vanilla gel #1 before we were called down.

7:00 AM - Marathoners were called to the main floor of the dome and we lined up a while after. I started with the 3:30 pace group and met a runner also named Amy. We decided we have a pretty great name :) The morning was already warming up and it was going to be a hot day in North Dakota.

Mile 1 - 7:53
Mile 2 - 7:29
Mile 3 - 7:41
Mile 4 - 7:37
Mile 5 - 7:35
Mile 6 - 7:34 (ate Gel #2)
Mile 7 - 7:30
Mile 8 - 7:45
Mile 9 - 7:44
Mile 10 - 8:02

I felt okay for the first miles and ended up sticking closer to the 3:20 group. We had some good conversations and I met another mother runner who has a 2- and 4-year-old. Somehow we ran at a good pace while talking about pregnancy, Boston, and racing after having a baby.

At mile 10, my legs were burning and muscles started to cramp, especially my back, shoulders and arms. My face felt tingly and vision blurred slightly (which brought back memories from Boston 2012). The temp was in the 80's and my body just couldn't handle it that day.

Mile 11 - 8:17
Mile 12 - 8:28
Mile 13 - 8:38
Mile 14 - 9:14
Mile 15 - 9:08

I slowed my pace but was still overheating. The 3:30 pacer guy went down somewhere in those miles - not sure if it was the heat that knocked him over or what. I realized I wasn't going to make it to the finish if I didn't back off.

Giving up on a goal stinks but I felt peace over the whole situation and focused on making the best of this time. I know running is just a hobby (and a great one at that!) but it often translates into a metaphor for life: Things will not always go our way — Jesus himself said we will have troubles (John 16:33) — but we still get to choose our reaction to less-than-ideal situations.
Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 THESSALONIANS 3:16
I felt His peace and did my best to have a good attitude and to enjoy the scenery and the race atmosphere. One foot in front of the other... I didn't waste 15 miles and quit now.

Mile 16 - 10:01 (ate Gel #3)
Mile 17 - 10:48
Mile 18 - 9:48 (ate some kid's gummy bears)
Mile 19 - 11:03
Mile 20 - 10:10 (really wanted cheeseburger)

My family cheering section was a sight for sore eyes at Mile 17. When I saw little E watching for me, I had to hold back the tears because I was so happy. I was even able to stop for a hug or two, which is something I don't usually do in the middle of a race!

After hugs and a quick pep talk, I headed out for the final 6.2 miles. The Lord blessed me with a bunch of great runners to visit with over the miles. An older gentleman was recovering from a torn calf muscle over the winter and running his 10th marathon. A guy from MN was running his 14th marathon and a runner from my hometown was running his 56th. Isn't that crazy?!

One woman was using this as a "training run" and racing Grandma's Marathon next month chasing that BQ. Others were just trying to cross the finish.

Everyone has a story and runners are so stinkin' friendly! I love it.

Mile 21 - 10:31
Mile 22 - 11:01
Mile 23 - 10:07
Mile 24 - 11:26
Mile 25 - 11:12
Mile 26 - 9:00
Mile .24 - 6:56

Nearing the Mile 26 sign, I wasn't sure if my legs could handle a sprint to the finish. I really didn't want to trip in front of all of the people in the Fargodome. I flipped up my sunglasses, carefully examined the homestretch for potential tripping opportunities and then kicked it.

My legs felt fluid and light for that final sprint but clearly my heart had had enough. I was very thankful to cross the finish line sub-4:00. It was a good 30 minutes off my goal time but was definitely the best I could do that day.

A race volunteer gave me my medal and then onward to the food tables lined with pizza, potato chips, cookies, bananas, chocolate milk and who knows what else. 

Sadly, my stomach doesn't work right when I'm overheated and I could only force a few bites of pizza. Bummer! Because I could totally wolf down a whole slice now that I'm writing this recap :) 

I reunited with my family, went back to the hotel for a shower and then we went to Five Guys Burgers & Fries for lunch. PERFECT. My stomach had returned and I annihilated that cheeseburger.

The kids were beyond cranky and exhausted - maybe we all were - so it was time for the drive home. Thank God for air conditioning and kids that fall asleep in their car seats!

THANK YOU to GOD for the health to run, to my HUSBAND for believing in me and supporting my slightly crazy hobby, to our LITTLE ONES for being so cute, to my PARENTS for all of your help and support, to my SIBLINGS & SIBLING-IN-LAWS for being there for me, and to this BLOGGING COMMUNITY for the motivation and encouraging words!

Marathon #7 is in the books and now I'm taking at least a month off of "training mode". Marathon #8 is coming up in September and I hope it's a teeny bit cooler in September. Who knows what weather ND's Fall will bring!

How do you make the best of missing a goal in running or another area of life?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Training Week 20: Marathons & Birthday Cake

Well hello there and happy Monday! This is my short and sweet update with the #WeeklyWrap crew.

Today is my littlest one's first birthday and I'm celebrating my 29th tomorrow! Our birthday cake is baking as I write this. 🎂

My husband and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary last Thursday. We even snuck away for a date without kids!

And I completed my 7th full marathon on Saturday! I will share the full recap next week. 😊


Fargo Marathon Training Week 20:

Monday, May 16

Easy-Effort: 4 miles.

Tuesday, May 17

Speed Intervals: (Treadmill) 2.5 miles.

1.5 miles @ MP

Wednesday, May 18

The little ones and I made a trip to my parents' farm to visit!

Thursday, May 19

Easy-Effort: 1.5 miles.

Friday, May 20

My husband got today and the whole weekend off so we went to the race expo as a family! Then lunch and shopping with my parents and youngest brother.

Saturday, May 21

Fargo Marathon: 26.2 mi, 03:57 @ 09:03 avg pace.

The race recap is coming next week!

Sunday, May 22

Rest, rest, rest!

Total Mileage: 34.2 miles

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.