Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Seeing In COLORS | Knuckle Lights COLORS Review

Disclaimer: I received Knuckle Lights COLORS to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Harvest is on the horizon and the days are getting shorter. It makes me a little sad to even write that! The bright, early morning sunrises are arriving later.

Come August, the sun doesn't rise until after 6:00 am (Gasp!). And then winter — the time of darkness and freezing cold — will be back for the next 6 months. Nooooo! I'm not ready.

Flashback to Snow :(

Whew. It's still July. Let's just enjoy the rest of this summer and fall!

While my usual light source for dark running has been a headlamp wrapped around my hand, I am taking advantage of some new technology as our mornings darken. As a BibRave Pro, I received Knuckle Lights COLORS to light up my early morning running all year long.

Knuckle Lights COLORS are available in Blue, Pink and Black.

Knuckle Lights are lightweight and small but they pack a big punch! Each light has three power settings — high, low and flashing — and the LED pattern is a wide flood beam, sending out light in all directions and providing a steady light source that doesn't bounce as you run.

I tell ya, these lights are very hardy, too! My 2- and 4-year-old have been playing with them (not gently either) and they have stood the test. They work as excellent handheld running hand-lights and as pretend "light sabers" for small children.


Key features of Knuckle Lights COLORS include:
  • 2 LIGHTS PER SET — The units connect together magnetically. The soft silicone straps can be adjusted to fit any size hand and even over gloves. 
  • 120 TOTAL LUMENS — The super bright lights provide a wide flood beam, providing a steady, even light in front of you that does not bounce around, even with your arms moving. 
  • BATTERIES INCLUDED — Each Unit Operates on 1 X AA Battery. 
  • WATERPROOF — Units can be used in any type of weather.


On this particular morning, a storm had just blown through and I knew I could run safely in the rain with my Knuckle Lights on! I love that the light doesn't bounce around as I run and the light beam covers a broad area, unlike my other headlamp/hand-light set-up.

According to the Knuckle Lights website, these lights will even operate in below freezing temperatures down to -20 Celsius (-4°F). I should be able to use these on many of those dark, winter morning runs, give or take a few crazy cold days.

Running with my Knuckle Lights COLORS is one thing I do look forward to this winter!


Knuckle Lights COLORS are available for $39.99 with free shipping in the U.S. They use your typical AA battery (two batteries are included!) and they have a 5-year warranty for any defects in materials or manufacture too. This product is very practical and the price is reasonable considering the high quality of Knuckle Lights COLORS. I'm a big fan!

Use discount code "BRKL2017" for 15% off at knucklelights.com (expires 9/1/17) and join us for #BibChat with Knuckle Lights on August 1 at 8 pm CT for a chance to WIN a pair of Knuckle Lights COLORS for yourself!


B3 Pregnancy: Week 24 Wrap-Up

Baby Rocket is the size of a CANTALOUPE this week with only 16 weeks to go (that's like the length of a marathon training plan!) 'til his or her due date. Heartburn has been "my thing" lately, especially in the evenings. Baby is very busy kicking and punching. I actually really love that part of pregnancy (minus the bladder kicks later on).

Running is still feeling comfortable though I have been very tired lately, likely due to too much summer fun. The parades, fair time and pool trips are just wearing me out but the kids think it's great!


MONDAY: 

3 mile run with our dog after the main part of the storm rolled through. Rain is okay but I don't like lightening!

TUESDAY: 

Major cleaning and packing prep followed by a walk/bike with the kids and a little pool time that night. Whew, I'm beat!


WEDNESDAY: 

3.15 mile run with our dog. Another beautiful run watching the sun rise!

THURSDAY

TBD: Possible run day.

FRIDAY:

TBD: Possible run day.

SATURDAY:

Wedding festivities!

SUNDAY:

Rest

Are you an early morning or late night runner? How do you run safe?



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

Friday, July 7, 2017

Camping Trip Dos | B3 Week 22

We went camping for the pre-Fourth of July weekend at my favorite place ever, Itasca State Park. The wildflowers were in full bloom and summer storms stayed at bay, making it a perfect trip!

My mom has been keeping a count and it's crazy how much camping our kids have done in their short years! E (4) has been camping 10 times and W (2) has been camping 7 times. Granted, in an RV for majority of the trips, but that's my kind of camping when it comes to small children ;)

I did a lot of running with a half-loaded double stroller which gave me a little break on the rolling hills (37 less pounds at least). Little W and I found a couple patches of Showy Lady Slippers, the Minnesota State Flower, and some were a beautiful hot pink.

Like I said, it was wildflower galore along the bike path. I'm a little obsessed.




Itasca has a great network of paved bike paths, including a boardwalk, that are perfect for stroller running. The bumpy boardwalk tends to put W to sleep. There are some awesome non-paved trails, too, but those will have to wait for a time when I can run solo.


With no summer storms rolling through our camping trip, Saul was one happy camper! Honestly he is a perfect dog minus his crazy fear of thunderstorms.


We ate all kinds of food, the guys did a lot of fishing and I ran a few miles. Overall, it was another amazing camping trip and hopefully not the last of the year!

My Nasty Northern

B3 Pregnancy: Week 22 Wrap-Up

Baby Rocket is a COCONUT this week. I usually don't feel as big as I look. As I was leaving the campground bathroom, my very obvious bump caught me by surprise... and I wonder how baby is going to fit in there for 18 more weeks.

The heartburn has arrived and I'm feeling much "tighter" as Baby's growth is becoming more rapid now. Running is comfortable with the support belt and morning runs in the cool weather are best for me. I think that's how I will have to survive my first over-the-summer pregnancy!


MONDAY: 

5 miles on the boardwalk bike path at Itasca State Park with our dog and one in the double stroller.

E spent most of his time fishing with the guys so I spent some extra quality time with little W. We ran to the Headwaters and back (walking up hills, by the way) and enjoyed some HUGE ice cream sandwiches during our stop there.


TUESDAY: 

Packed up and back home we went! The kids didn't sleep a wink on the 2.5-hour drive home. That was a shocker but thankfully they napped later that afternoon.

WEDNESDAY: 

3 miles with the double stroller on a grocery run. And I was just getting used to pushing one kiddo in the stroller... I forgot how heavy two are! We went around 9 am that morning and it was already blazing hot, for me at least. 70 degrees with 70% humidity (all you southern runners can laugh at me). It's the humidity that kills me!


THURSDAY

We had a play date morning and then Teeny Ball that afternoon. I stretched my tight hamstrings that evening (still possibly tight from the Itasca rolling hills) and called it a night.

FRIDAY:

What a weird morning. The kids slept great, the weather cooled off beautifully and what woke my husband and I up at 4:45 am??? A robin! That's what! I left our windows open to air out the house and apparently that early bird is our new alarm clock.

My sweet husband made breakfast and coffee while I laid in bed, debating on waking up or not. Then I ate breakfast and poured rotten half-n-half (and I had just bought it at the store!!!) over the coffee he so nicely had made for me. Pregnancy hormones got the best of me and I figured it was best if I just went out for a run before tears happened (blame the hormones). I promise I'm not usually an emotional basket case!

I ran 3 miles at the slightly still emotional pace of 9:24/mile (fast for my pregnant self). After a quick stretch, I returned to the house feeling much more level-headed. Somehow the breakfast I ate immediately before running didn't come up. That was a pleasant surprise!


SATURDAY:

TBD: Run day planned.

SUNDAY:

Rest

Are you a camper? A fan of RV camping or hardcore backpacking?



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

Friday, June 30, 2017

Hey, Baby! | B3 Week 21

After cool and windy days for the past two weeks, the summer warm weather returned and then came the rain. The two inches of rain was welcomed as it gave me a day off garden and grass watering!

I'm really just not the most dedicated gardener but I'm trying. We did pick our first crop of spinach this week and that was fun. Something actually grew! Dirt-fresh and so delicious... after rinsing, of course.


A big milestone this week was W, now 2 years old, being done with his pacifier (not by his own choice). The process wasn't too painful, only tears one night, and him asking over and over again, "Where paci go? Paci went bye-bye??" 

Oh that boy loved his paci but the world is a better place without it. Now onto potty training in the next couple months.

The little boys and I did get to see "Baby Rocket" this week at our 21 week ultrasound! Getting a 2 and 4 year old to sit still during a 30-or-so minute ultrasound process was quite an accomplishment (without letting them play on my smartphone... that's a pet peeve of mine). Anyways, they survived and were semi-interested in seeing their baby brother or sister.

Just like with the boys, we didn't find out the gender. Any guesses? Girl or Boy? I don't even have a hunch this time. I just love that sweet little baby nose :)

(Note: Don't read into the pink heart in below image. It's not a clue!)


B3 Pregnancy: Week 21 Wrap-Up

Baby Rocket is an ENDIVE this week. What in the world is an endive!?


MONDAY: 

3 mile early morning run with the pup on the gravel roads. The kids and I went to the park in the morning and the pool in the afternoon to make the most of the sunny, warm days.


TUESDAY: 

(Cross-training) Tennis with the kids in the morning and another hour at the pool in the afternoon followed by church cleaning that night. That night I was spent! Legs throbbing, time for some sleep.

WEDNESDAY: 

Strength Training: 3 sets of squats, opposite arm/leg extensions, boat toe-taps. We actually needed some rain (2") and it felt nice to stay home and indoors a little. Keeping the kids busy inside... that was interesting.

THURSDAY

3 miles in the early morning. Then dog washing, Baby's ultrasound, errand running, Teeny Ball and an outdoor concert. That all led to no naps and a late bed time. Needless to say, there was some sleeping issues that night and the little one was super cranky the next day :(


FRIDAY:

Cleaning, major laundry and packing for a camping trip!

SATURDAY:

TBD: Run day planned.

SUNDAY:

TBD: Rest day planned.

Do you have any fun plans for the Fourth of July?



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



Friday, June 23, 2017

Feeling Strong During Pregnancy | B3 20 Weeks

Gaining 10 pounds over the course of five months can be a shock to the system! While this is perfectly normal (and healthy) during pregnancy, your body goes through SO many changes, SO fast, while growing a baby.

This pregnancy with our third baby has been identical to my pregnancies with the boys. Up ten pounds at week 20 and enjoying the "golden" second trimester. Though my belly is feeling bigger than last time and my Gabrialla maternity belt is being used on every run.

Besides being tired from usual life with two littles and sporadically waking up at night (night potty training struggles and cutting 2-year molars), I'm feeling really great.

My motivation to exercise does decrease during pregnancy, partly because my "competitive fire" disappears while growing a baby, but I know exercising regularly is one of the main reasons I DO feel strong right now. It certainly helped during pregnancy and postpartum with our boys!


Exercise takes time but it is time well spent! 

Just 30 minutes of exercise a day makes a BIG difference. It doesn't have to be fancy. Bodyweight strength training while cooking supper counts too.

8 Pregnancy-Specific Benefits of Exercise

  • Builds stronger bones, muscles and maintains healthy joints to support growing baby
  • Improves your mood and your sleep
  • Less backaches and fatigue
  • Increases stamina for labor
  • Strengthens and improves flexibility in muscles needed for childbirth
  • Keeps digestive system working properly (reducing effects of constipation!)
  • Reduces stress while increasing focus and concentration
  • Strong muscles burn more calories1

Disclaimer: Check with your doctor or midwife before beginning an exercise regimen or trying something new. I am not your personal trainer!


What kind of exercises are we talking?

Choose pregnancy-safe activities that improve your cardiovascular system, your strength and flexibility. Running and light strength training are my favorite forms of exercise. While running isn't for everyone, a 30-minute walk provides health benefits as well.

Ben Greenfield's Ab Exercises for Pregnancy offers great ideas for pregnancy-safe core work. While pregnant, I replace crunches or planks with opposite arm/leg extensions and dumbbell thrusters along with others from Ben's list. These exercises are more comfortable through the later months of pregnancy and they strengthen my core to better support my growing baby.

Whether it's running, walking, prenatal yoga, swimming, strength training or chasing toddlers, there are so many ways to get out and be active! Stay hydrated, count your blessings and keep moving this summer :)
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8

B3 Pregnancy: Week 20 Wrap-Up

Baby Rocket is a BANANA this week. He or she has been moving regularly and is sitting just below my belly button. The little boys really aren't interested in baby but I think that will change when they can feel/see kicking on the outside of my belly.

We did get bunk beds for them this week and that's been pretty awesome! They have their "Big Boy Fortress" all ready now (minus the sheets currently in the wash). Now to work through more of my To-Do List before baby's arrival this Fall...


MONDAY: 

3.1 mile run with double stroller

TUESDAY: 

Strength Training: Push mowing the lawn, yard work... exhausted.

WEDNESDAY: 

3 miles with the double stroller paired with a trip to the grocery store. The rain caught up to us for the last .25 miles but the kids got a kick out of it and the groceries were fine!


THURSDAY

We went for a walk by the river, played by the dock and went out for a tractor ride with Daddy. Then E had his second Teeny Ball practice for the year. After putting the kids to bed, I did a short strength training workout with three sets of 10 squats and core work (bridge and arm/leg extensions).

FRIDAY:

3 early morning miles with our dog and listening to some tunes. I love that the sun rises so early now! Getting out the door in the morning was hard over the winter when it was still dark as night. The sun makes it much easier.


SATURDAY:

4 mile run in the windy, rain and cold. Weird June weather! I ran without the belly band today and felt good. Could have used a bathroom break or two!

SUNDAY:

Off

Are you a morning, mid-day or evening exerciser?



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

Source Included in Post:
1 "The Christian Childbirth Handbook" by Jennifer Vanderlaan

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Walk in My Shoes | 2Toms FootShield Review

Disclaimer: I received 2Toms FootShield to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I've been majorly house cleaning/sorting/nesting lately, getting rid of various things we don't need and bringing some order to things we do need.

Part of the cleaning episode is due to the fact that we now have new windows in our house and de-cluttering feels necessary before another member is added to our family. (Sidenote: We have had windows that were not open/close-able for the past 3.5 years and I'm so excited to have functional ones, praise the Lord!)


Anywhoo, back on track here.

All this cleaning made me realize that I have a lot of shoes but wear socks very infrequently in the summer! Since our warm weather arrived, it's been either my running shoes, slippers, flip flops or dress flats/heels.

With all my cute little shoes, I would love to tell you that my feet don't sweat or smell! Nah, the truth is they do. So how does one keep frequently worn shoes from smelling rancid?


Back in my hockey playing years, I put baby powder in my skates as a way to freshen them up and dry up moisture. I have done this on occasion in my running and regular shoes but the problem is the powder builds up on the inside of footwear and you leave little baby powder footprints wherever you walk after taking them off!

As a BibRave Pro, I have put 2Toms FootShield to the test over the past month and this roll-on works as a perspiration barrier for my feet and helps keep them dry and odor free! FootShield has replaced my "baby powder therapy" by using a blend of natural antifungal, ingredients and moisturizers reduce and prevent sweaty feet, the growth of bacteria, athlete’s foot, blisters, and smelly shoes.


Use FootShield with socks or without, just roll on and air dry! I now carry this around in the diaper bag to keep my feet smelling fresh while running around throughout the day. This 3 oz roll-on is a reasonable $15.00 as it seems like this container will last for quite a while.

Join us for #BibChat with 2Toms on June 27 at 8 pm CT for a chance to win FootShield Roll-On for yourself!


B3 Pregnancy: Week 19 Wrap-Up

Last week our Baby 3, now affectionately named "Rocket" by our 4-year-old, was the size of a Mango. Funny thing, I tried my first fresh mango this weekend at my parents' house! My sister-in-law so nicely shared hers :)


MONDAY: 

Off. Baby appointment with our midwife. We heard baby's heartbeat and it was wonderful! Vacation Bible School also started that evening, marking a stretch of 4 late nights for the little ones. I was a little anxious to see how they handled it!

TUESDAY: 

3-mile run in the early morning followed by Bible study and VBS that night. The kids handled the first night of being up until 9 well!


WEDNESDAY: 

Off. Catching up around the house in the morning and then off to VBS at 4:45 pm.

THURSDAY

3-miles in the early morning and the last night of VBS! W was really tired by that last night but they both kept great attitudes throughout. Very proud of the boys!

FRIDAY:

Strength Training: Lunges (reverse, front, side) and squats while cooking supper, 3 sets of 15 reps. 

Baby appointment with our back-up doctor that morning. Because we're having a homebirth as long as I can make it to 37 weeks, I prefer to keep in touch with a hospital doctor just in case I do go early again like with my first pregnancy.

SATURDAY:

4-mile run that morning and then a road trip to Grandma and Grandpa's farm. My legs were very stiff from the leg work I did on Friday. Clearly I need to do squats and lunges regularly - they are great strength training exercises for running AND childbirth (more on that next week)!

SUNDAY:

Rest

What is one staple of your summer wardrobe?



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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Developing Habits for the Early Years

Our oldest will start preschool this Fall and I'm experiencing a mix of emotions. As this marks the beginning of our homeschooling journey, I feel overwhelmed with the great amount of unknowns but also excitement with following this calling God has placed on our lives.

It's just preschool. I get that.

But, I will say, for a brand new homeschooling mom there are so many mixed messages and opinions flying around. That does get overwhelming!

Thanks to a few veteran homeschooling moms who I greatly admire, key Scriptures God has placed on my heart and the writings of Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, Charlotte Mason and some wonderful bloggers, my mind is at much more rest as we prepare for this preschool year {and the birth of our third baby, too!}.

Leah Martin is a blogger at My Little Robins, homeschooling mom and former teacher trained in the Charlotte Mason philosophy. Add "author" to her list as well as I just had the pleasure of reading her ebook, "Habits for the Early Years: A Mother's Journal".

Habits for the Early Years: A Mother's Journal

Habits for the Early Years gives helpful advice, ideas and as well as a place to jot down thoughts to mothers as they take on the life-long journey of habit training.

Leah's writing is strongly rooted in the Charlotte Mason's teaching philosophy which emphasizes the teaching of positive habits as one of the few effective tools we can use in the education of our children. As Mason notes, it is a serious trap to believe children will "outgrow" bad habits! Training in positive habits needs to start in the early years (ages 0-6) to set a firm foundation for the rest of the child's life.

“What you would have the man become, that you must train the child to be.” Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children

The concept of habit training can feel overwhelming because Charlotte Mason mentions at least 60 different habits over her 6 volumes of work. Thankfully Leah gives the reader a focused list of the key habits to work on during these early years, which felt much more approachable to me!

The Habits for Early Learning journal serves as a great organizing resource and guide as you and your child work on one habit at a time. Miss Mason suggested working on one habit at a time and the process of forming a single habit can take 21-30 days. This is indeed a process that requires diligence and patience!

A few of the habits that Leah covers in this journal are:
  • Prompt Obedience
  • Prompt Truthfulness
  • Cleanliness


  • Attention
  • Kindness
  • Outdoor Life


  • Self-Discipline in Habits
  • Prayer
  • Thanksgiving 
  • Thoughts of God

Our habit training journey has begun with the habit of "Truthfulness". Discouraging exaggerations and encouraging details to be told are our first steps.

Keep in mind that habit training isn't just for our children. As parents and teachers, we must be mindful of modeling and building positive habits in our own lives as well!


As our family enters this new season, I look forward to the memories, quality time and rich learning that lie ahead of us. I know the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the help of this journal and much prayer will make this preschool year a positive one!

What is one habit that you are working on developing or breaking currently? 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pool Life | B3 18 Weeks

Our weather is now WARM & WONDERFUL! The thunderstorms have been on a roll lately too. 

The kids and I have been enjoying a lot of pool time in our backyard and at the city pool to keep cool. We paid for a family pool pass, better make it worth it! I need a way to cool off through this pregnant summer and playing in the pool is a nice form of cross-training.


Going to the pool with a 2-year-old and 4-year-old this year has been really fun!

Not that our trips are without tears or whining, but as I look at my "big" boys, I'm thankful for how they are growing up and for the time we have together. E bravely swims off in his "puddle jumper" floaties and W rides along with me the whole time (he is getting more brave though!).

This pregnancy has been funny. Besides being really tired and having a belly, I forget I'm pregnant occasionally. The kids aren't that interested in the whole baby thing yet. That is, until our midwife comes over!

Baby's heart rate was 150 bpm this week (technically 19 weeks). Any guesses? Boy? Girl? 


I'm doing my best to prep for Baby a little at a time. Washing up the neutral baby clothes was the task for this week as energy allowed. We have SO MUCH boy clothes!!! If we have a girl, I have to at least make sure she doesn't get stuck in onesies that say "Mommy's Big Guy"...

So I'm picking away at baby prepping here and there, saving W's potty training and the freezer meal making for the last couple months - food prepping for harvest as well as Baby's arrival!

B3 Pregnancy: Week 18 Wrap-Up

Baby 3 is an artichoke this week and moving quite regularly. I'm feeling great and running 3 to 4 miles varying from 9:30-10:30 per mile. Despite the cramping I had early in the second trimester while everything was "stretching out", that discomfort is gone and this pregnancy has been really enjoyable.

In my opinion, the first trimester is the hardest (sick, tired, nauseas)! Let's hope that's the case again with this baby.


MONDAY: 

3.1 mile run with the double stroller before the day heated up! The temps hit the 80's so we took out the kiddy pool in the morning and went to the city pool in the afternoon. Lots of water time!

TUESDAY: 

We had Bible study in the backyard and the kids played contentedly the whole time! (until W fell did an accidental "flip" into the kiddy pool) Then we went to the city pool that afternoon because the kids hardly napped. More pool time, it is!


WEDNESDAY: 

3 miles in the early morning with our dog. The thunderstorms came last night and this morning was majorly muggy!

THURSDAY

Playing down at the dock in the morning, visiting a friend in the afternoon and then off to E's first night of Teeny Ball.


FRIDAY:

Doctor check-up day for W followed by a fun surprise at the library! I planned on taking the kids to "Story Time" and it turns out a circus performer, Sean Emery, was scheduled for that day. He was so entertaining and very talented! The kids and I had a blast!

SATURDAY:

3 miles after another morning thunderstorm blew through. Friday night's storms were wild! The kids and I were content to watch through the basement window.


SUNDAY:

4 miles before church. This was by far the best run of the week. The miles felt comfortable and easy. Staying active during pregnancy definitely makes a difference!

What's your favorite (not-super-complicated) freezer meal? Include a recipe link, if possible!



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