Monday, December 10, 2012

The death and resurection of my iMac...

Good morning!  I would like to introduce you to my iMac. 17" of beautiful screen. No fancy wireless keyboard but it does use a purple wireless mouse! And to the left is a lovely, large external monitor. I like to see things up close and 17" isn't all that big. Why you might ask am I introducing you to my computer, well, because not so long ago, just over 2 week to be exact, my iMac died. There had been some signs. The first was a weird R2-D2 noise. If you own a Mac you know there are no R2-D2 noises. Rarely are there noises at all. Unless your Mac is really old (which according to SOME people, mine is). Then there was the flashing file folder with a question mark. These two signs lit a fire under me to acquire a large external HD and back up everything on the computer. The Monday after Thanksgiving I took my iMac to the Apple store where I learned the HD was dying. Throwing up errors was the terminology the genius used. (No, I'm not being funny, the Apple people call themselves Geniuses.) And unfortunately he could not replace the HD for me because they only replace them with what was originally in the machine and that was no longer available. (Because they don't make them that small anymore!) So I took my beloved iMac home to see what I could do about the situation. I cleaned it up with some software that does that and got some space back but that did not seem to help with the errors that kept happening, which presented themselves by locking the computer up and thus requiring it to be turned off with the button. A week after the appointment at the Apple store it officially died. I tried reinstalling the OS but that did not work. I was basically resigned to buying a new one (I know, the horror!) but the thought of spending that kind of money this time of year makes me (and Morgan especially) a little ill. After some contemplation, calling a repair place, and some googling I got a wild hair to put in a new HD myself. I had located a video showing how to do this on YouTube and it took the guy 5 minutes. As long as I had the special screw drivers I should be able to do it. So I got online and ordered a new HD which arrived in 4 days and got the special screw drivers from our friend who is an IT guy. Which might lead you to ask, "Why didn't you ask the IT guy to do it Heather?" Because when I get a wild hair to do something myself everyone better get the hell out of the way. 

Now, because this was going to be a 5 minute task I started it before we were going to have dinner. I took out the screws just like the guy in the video and attempted to lift the back of the computer off just like the guy in the video. And that's where the video and I parted ways. You see the model the guy in the video was working on wasn't EXACTLY like mine, but it LOOKED just like mine so I presumed (or assumed) it would work the same way. I was wrong. WAY WRONG! Morgan thought, as he usually does, that I needed to pull harder on the back of the machine. He always thinks applying more muscle gets the job done faster. Which I suppose is correct except that things often get broken in the process. Morgan thinks strength can compensate for patience. We think differently. So after some sighing and googling and looking through some more videos I found yet another one with the correct model with step by step instructions for installing the HD. A much more complicated step-by-step process than the first video. By the way, the process in the first video was, remove screws, take off cover, disconnect & remove bad HD, install new HD, put cover back on, put in screws. Bada-bing! The second video did not have a Bada-bing. Although it did provide me with some opportunities for cussing (in my head because O was home). 

So here is the first step of removing the FRONT cover (opposite of first video). The LCD sits on top of all the other "stuff" and that needed to be removed. Which would seem simple except that it is held in place by a lot of sticky metal tape stuff. Again, not an opportunity for the muscles. After meticulously unsticking the sticky metal tape stuff I was able to lift up the LCD screen but didn't want to remove it because there was even more sticky metal tape stuff with holes in it (like mesh) at the top, so I just leaned it against something. And the whole time I'm trying, as I was instructed, to not pull the two black wires past the top of the frame!
 Finally it became apparent that I was not going to be able to remove the bad HD without removing the LCD screen so I very gently unstuck the metal mesh tape stuff. (Yes, I know, all very technical stuff.)
 Above is the inside of the computer. That thing in the top middle with the green circuit board on it is the HD. Once I got to all of this it was relatively easy to work. I have little fingers and I can use little tools and follow directions. I can also put things back in the same way I took them out so it wasn't too complicated. Owen kept coming in and asking, "What is that Mama?" and pointing to various things inside the machine. To which I would respond, "heck if I know!" Although I could identify the speakers! 

Once I got the new HD put in and attached it was fairly easy to reassemble and close up. Then came the reconfiguring and installing of the OS. I tried using the original OS but that wouldn't go and since I had a newer version (Snow Leopard) I tried that instead and that's when I got my BADABING! moment! At one point I had a sinking feeling that after my 2 plus hours of work I was going to have to take the whole thing apart again so I could return the new HD and buy a new computer.

Once the OS was installed I was able to reinstall the other software we had been using and do all the updates and makes some other tweaks to things and then transfer all of our music back into iTunes which was safely on the external HD. 

People, I cannot emphasize how important it is to back-up your information. If I hadn't we would have lost all of the music we have purchased over the last (almost) 7 years. I don't want to add up how much that would cost to replace. I have another external HD where I keep photos and portrait files but I really was most concerned about our music and things that I had amassed over the last year. I'm pretty good about keeping important stuff in a safe place and fortunately the Time Machine feature on the Mac is super easy to use. But if I hadn't done it when I did, I would have missed the opportunity because once the HD started going it went pretty quickly. 

Although I cannot upgrade to the newest versions of PSE or get the latest version of Aperture, I saved us well over a thousand dollars by replacing the HD myself. And who knows how long it will last before something else goes on it and we will have to get a new one but so far it's working just like new. And with a 500 GB hard drive vs. the 160 GB it came with originally! And every time I walk past it I have the satisfaction of knowing I fixed it! I love that. 

Now, if I could just figure out what is wrong with the treadmill...

Monday, October 15, 2012


I do not profess to be good at decorating. In all honestly I think I'm pretty bad at it. Give me an assortment of patterned paper and photos and I can make something lovely. Or 4 PMS colors and an ad idea, no problem. Paint color and fabric patterns & textures and I crumble.

It's not that I don't know what I like. I can identify tons of furnishings, paint colors and fabrics that I like. I just can't put them together. And worse yet, I can't put them together in my own home. I think part of the issue (or a big part) is budget. Given an unlimited budget I think I'd have no problem putting my house together to look like a showroom. And let's be honest, if I were given an unlimited budget I'd hire someone to do it! So therein lies the problem. I do not have an unlimited budget. And our home is furnished with an eclectic (read mismatched mish-mash) of things that may be from the curb, family hand-me downs or a thrift store. We do have a few select things that we did purchase but those, interestingly enough, are all tables (some with chairs). And of course our beds. I also cannot decide on a style of decor that I most like. Our home is a 1950's rambler which is not exactly mid-century but I do love mid-century design. I also like a little shabby-chic and arts and crafts and traditional and some modern...and there you see were problems can arise. So I strive to make what we have work together with the limitations I am faced with. (And yes, I realize that these are all "problems" that only persons of middle class and up can be saddled with).

Which brings me to the topic of today's post...

After rearranging our living room (see left) I decided I needed a small side table to go at the end of the sofa (the end you can't see). There are several mid-century furniture dealers locally so I'd been watching their inventory. However, I only wanted one table and most of what was being shown was in pairs or just too expensive. And I have some criteria. Specifically it had to go with our coffee table.
 This coffee table is basically the piece which our living room revolves around (I think Morgan may hate it). Now that it can be out again since Owen can (mostly) walk without falling down. It was my grandparents table and I remember it vividly from my childhood. It's an original mid-century piece that I will not give up. The base is in good shape but the top is rather scratched up. I don't care. I will not part with this table. That said, the search for a side table has been difficult. I've found other pieces that I've liked but they have not complimented this table very well. And since our our style is already curbside thrift I don't want to add to the mish-mash with things that just make it worse! 

Enter Target. If you are not familiar with Target, I'm sorry, that is unfortunate. Hopefully there will be one near you soon. And no, you can't say, "Oh, we have Wal-Mart". Wal-Mart is fine for some things but it does not compare to Target. I do most of my shopping at Target which means that is where I see most of the trends in home furnishings. Whether they are current or not, I don't have any idea because that is about the only place I see the trends! Since I'm at Target weekly (if not more) I had been keeping an eye open for cute side or accent tables. They have some in store and many online but none were quite right. It couldn't be too tall or too wide. It couldn't been too shabby or too some other style. And then it happened, I saw the cutest table! Round, not too tall, not too big and it was metal with a glass top, kind of mid-century-ish. It was also $69.99 or $79.99 depending on which Target I was at. Which was not what I was willing to spend. Like most things I was anticipating it would go on clearance and since I am at Target often I just kept watching to see when it would go. And the other day was my lucky day! But it was only 30% off. What can I say? I'm cheap! I decided I'd wait for 50%. But I'm also not patient. So today after I dropped O at the bus I had to get a few things at Whole Foods (which is over by my office) so I decided I'd stop at the Target over there to check on the table. It was not on clearance there. See, the thing about Target (that isn't cool) is that different stores clearance different things and at different times and different paces. I also mentioned the different prices. Higher price point areas have higher prices. My friend Jen and I have had extensive conversations about this frustration. It would be fine if say in Minneapolis the prices were at one price point and in New York they were another. However, I live in Target Mecca. Within a 10 mile radius of our house I can get to at least 5 Targets easily. This this morning I went to 5 on the way home from Owen's bus stop to find my table! The first three had the table. As I mentioned, at the first one it was not on clearance and was priced at $69.99. At the second store it was again, not on clearance and was $79.99. Yes, a $10 difference. At the third store it was on clearance and 30% off. (I didn't go back to the original store because it no longer had the table in stock and it was in the wrong direction.) A person can look items up via the Target app but the app does not tell you if the item is clearanced and what that price may be, just if it's in stock and the original price. Frustrating. When I found the third one it had a couple of scratches on the glass so I negotiated an additional 15% off. I was also looking for a couple of accent pillows and the same thing was going on. I checked two other Targets on the way home for the pillows and ended up finding another cute table to try in the same space.

Here is the metal and glass one at the end of the sofa. I think it fits perfectly and the style works too. 

Here is the wood one in a different spot. I had another table here that was just a bit too tall and the style was wrong. I think this one works well too because the wood coordinates with the wood of the coffee table but the style is a little bit modern so it enhances the eclectic feel of the room.
 The wood table was 50% off so I don't feel bad if I keep both of them. Together they were both well under the price of the mid-century ones I had been looking at. Now I just need to keep an eye out for the pillows to drop further in price! I have friends whose homes are beautifully furnished and decorated and they've spent thousands of dollars doing so. It's just a matter of preference for where one chooses to spend ones money. We have old furniture because it works well for little boys who like to make forts. And it's okay for jumping on too. Someday when that isn't a necessity we may invest in good furniture. In the meantime we will continue on with our curbside thrift style and Target clearance! And besides, why pay full price if you don't have to!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Fall is my favorite season. The air is cool and crisp. The sky is often a brilliant blue with lots of sunshine. And like spring, fall is often fleeting. Last year was an amazing fall. It seemed like the trees were turning for weeks on end. I don't think we will be as fortunate this year to enjoy the leaves for as long but while it is fall I will enjoy it! 
Last night I went for a walk around the neighborhood and admired the trees while I listened to This American Life on my phone. The Maple trees always seem to be the start of the fall symphony and they are my favorite for their blazing colors.

Fall is also the season for all things pumpkin! Here is a delish pumpkin cream cheese roll I made for girls night last week. (I'm not balding it's just the light reflecting off my shiny hair and forehead!) 
I have a pile of recipes of other things I want to bake this fall and given I'm only working two days a week right now I have plenty of time on my hands! 

First grade is going well for Owen. He has been somewhat frustrated that they aren't doing more learning yet. They've been spending a lot of time working on establishing their routine and expectations and reviewing skills and concepts. I think he's mostly bummed that more math hasn't been taking place. He loves math. And while he wants to know how to read I think he's not so keen on learning to read. I think he's come to the conclusion that learning to read is going to be hard and he tends to be reluctant to do hard things! The benefit of learning to read in Spanish before English is that Spanish is a very phonetic language and once you know how the letters sound they always sound that way. There are very few special rules or surprises like in English. He has most of the letters and sounds down but when he's tired or frustrated he has a harder time remembering. It is difficult for me to not get all bent out of shape that he's not working harder at it and hasn't learned how to read yet. He will learn in his own time and at his own pace and I have to honor and accept that. I want him to enjoy school and learning and if my inner teacher is always bombarding him with things he won't enjoy it. I suppose I can focus on learning something myself! 

My exercise everyday goal is going well. Not everyday is a hard core workout but I do get some kind of  intentional workout in. Except for last Thursday I forgot. Our new schedule is a little bit crazy on the days that I work. O and I have to be out the door by 7:30am so we can get to the bus stop. Then I go to work. I pick him up at the bus stop and then we get home about 5pm. That evening I had to be back out of the house by 6 to go to a parenting class and I wasn't home until close to 9pm. I was so tired by then that I didn't realize I didn't get a workout in until the next morning. I made up for it with a weight class and a bike ride though on Friday! I have also started doing Pilates on the Reformer at our Y. It is a great workout and focuses on smaller muscles and core muscles which is something I've been missing from my routine.

And I will end with a quote from Morgan, "Wow, that was riveting!" Which is what he often says to me when I tell him about my day or something that happened that wasn't all that interesting. I for one am thankful to have a rather boring, drama free life! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

My bathtub is WHITE!

I know, you are thinking, "big deal Heather, lots of bathtubs are white!" Yes, I am aware of that. But my bathtub, which is supposed to be white, has always been stained with what I determined must be hard water stains. It was like that when we moved in and over the last 10 years I have tried everything I could think of to try and get it clean. Occasionally I would get the stains to fade a bit but it was far from being clean and white. I had resigned myself to it being and old dirty tub and consoled myself with that fact that I had at least killed the germs in it with bleach!

In addition to sprays, scrubs and chemicals have also tried the tips of other people that I've found on Pinterest and yesterday I came across yet another pin about tub cleaner. This one said to mix vinegar and blue Dawn. Today I decided to give it a whirl while I was cleaning the bathroom. I did not have any blue Dawn and I already had a spray bottle of vinegar and green Dawn in the laundry room which is my "magic" stain remover. (I pride myself on being able to remove almost anything!) I decided to heat up 1/2 a cup of vinegar like Jennifer instructs and just add it to my "magic" stain remover spray rather than getting blue Dawn and mixing up a whole new bottle. I shook it up, sprayed it on the entire tub and went about cleaning the rest of the bathroom. About 10 minutes later I turned around to check the tub expecting to see the same persistent stains but what I saw almost made me pee my pants! The stains were going away! It occurred to me then to take a before picture which I hadn't done because I had little faith it would work. After I took the before picture I sprayed more stuff on for good measure and continued to let it work. 

Here is the before and after. As I mentioned the before was taken after the solution had already began to work so the tub actually looked worse than this. And the after looks better than this once it's dry. 

There are still a couple of spots I'd like to soak longer. Jennifer said wait 1-2 hours and I don't know if I let it sit for quite 2 hours. It even FEELS clean. Owen was super excited to take his bath in the super clean tub tonight! And I really can't express how thrilled I am that the tub is white. I keep going in there to admire it! It has been the bane of my cleaning existence for 10 years and all it took was vinegar and dish soap! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Lazyman...

Each year our YMCA holds what they call the Lazyman Triathlon. It is based on the Ironman Triathlon and one covers the distances of the Ironman but over the course of six weeks. (115 miles of biking, 26.2 miles of running and 2.4 miles of swimming) Hence it being termed lazyman and one can walk, climb the elliptical machine or use a rowing machine as well.
I did not participate last year but in the spirit of my "exercise everyday" goal for 2012 I planned to do it this year. I run and bike anyway so I would only be adding the swimming or rowing. What I didn't realize was the distance for the rowing was 12.5 miles versus the 2.5 miles of swimming. 
I began the triathlon on June 15th. The first week I ran a little and biked a little. No swimming. The second week we were on vacation so I counted the walking we did (although not all of it as I wasn't sure how much we did!) and the bike ride we took. Again, no swimming. So once we returned from vacation it was time to kick everything in gear so I could reach all the mileage. 
As I mentioned I bike and run regularly so those were not activities I was concerned with. The swimming on the other hand was going to be my challenge and for a number of reasons. I can swim; but I don't enjoy it. I don't like getting my face wet. I am a nose plugger when under water so I'm not good at the "face in the water turn your head and take a breath" thing. And I hate washing my hair which becomes a necessity once it gets wet with chlorine. So the odds were stacked against me. Well, my own odds! But I jumped in the pool anyway. 
After flailing around for the first lap I came to the conclusion that I would need to resort to the good ol' elementary backstroke. My face is out of the water so I can breath the whole time and I'm not flailing and splashing all over the place! The first day I swam 8 laps and thought my arms were going to fall off. Fortunately all the exercise I get paid off and my muscles adapted pretty quickly. The next time in the pool I was able to do 20 laps and after that. So now I only have about 19 left! And I've found that swimming can be somewhat relaxing. At least the way I do it.
So as of today I am down to 4.7 miles of running and 16.56 miles of biking. All of which I will be able to finish up this week; a week ahead of schedule! 
Another reason I decided to do the Lazyman was to make up for not doing any races in June, July or August. I do not like to run in the heat and have mostly gone back to the treadmill to avoid it. I don't mind biking when it's hot running in the heat makes me sick. I've also upped my running to 2 miles almost everyday with a couple longer runs when I can fit them in. This is in preparation of a duathlon that I am thinking about doing in September. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

Six is magic...

Owen has been six for 2 months now. And there are plenty of things that have driven me to the edge but the things that are amazing have outweighed the craziness. Like right now he's bouncing a bouncy ball all over the house. But his amazement and fascination at the physics of the bouncing are so funny. Yesterday he figured out how to bounce it through the bathroom doorway off the wall in the hallway and the wall in the bathroom. He got it bouncing back and forth through the doorway and he giggled at this, which made me giggle too. 
His "work" today is spying on the kids at the daycare behind us. He told me his job was to report anything "bad" to Kathy (the neighbor/daycare lady, who I am sure did not ask him to do this!) He set up a desk and a chair in the breezeway to do his "work". He calls it his prophecy. I'm not sure where he heard this word and what he thinks it means or what he is trying to make it mean but I love that he uses big words. That happens when you live with just adults who read a lot and discuss books and news and such!
He is great at imagining and pretending and constructing all of his imaginings out of Legos or on paper. I'm terrible at pretend play. I think about laundry and cleaning the bathroom and how I'm going to fit my triathlon miles in. But I love to listen to his pretend play. And sometimes when I think he's talking to me he hollers back, "not you mama!" He can do this for hours. And others times he is bored stiff. A downfall of being an only.
I once read a parenting book that talked about how we cannot be a parent for all seasons. Thus far all the seasons have been mostly okay. Except for the 0-4 month season. That was a bitch. I'm going to work on cherishing the magic of six. And having good answers for, "Who invented socks?" and all the inane things he asks me! Because how else does one learn?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Lego table, the last day and change...

For years we've had this old table that Morgan hauled home from church one summer and since O was about 3 1/2 we've used is as a Lego table. It was functional but ugly. Not unlike some of our other furniture. My favorite part about it was the vintage pin legs. For awhile now I've been trying to figure out how to organize Owen's growing collection of Legos and along with that contemplating the fate of the ugly table. Owen is fairly resistant to any organization system beyond keeping the Legos in a container or his preferred method-just lying around on all the flat surfaces in the living room. After much contemplation and the purchase a a large square Lego panel I decided I was going to build Owen a new table. First I decided I would repurpose the table legs because I liked them and funky old table legs are not easy to find. Then I need to figure out what material to use for the table top. It also needed an edge to keep the Legos on the table and I planned to get a few more flat panels to put on it for building. After a trip to Home Depot and some wandering around I decided to use 3/4" MDF for the base, which comes in large sheets (I had it cut down at HD) and some quarter round moulding for the edge. I also thought a few drawers would be handy so I picked up a few at Ikea. The drawers were the hardest part because I wasn't sure how I was going to attach them and I ended up talking to one of the guys at the pro desk at HD who helped me figure out how to build and attach a rail underneath for the drawers to slide on. 
 After an adventurous (first) trip to HD with Owen (because we had to have one of the extra MDF pieces cut down more because I couldn't lift it or get it in the car) Owen and I began working on the table while Morgan was in MT. We also had a crazy trip to the Lego store at the Mall of America on a rainy Saturday afternoon. The MOA is not a place to go on a rainy Saturday afternoon if you want to get in and out of the place. The place is full of tourists, theme park goers and on that particular day make-up artists and tap dancers! 
In all I think the project took me less than a week (because I had to work a few days) and three trips to Home Depot. The three trips were because some decisions weren't made before the first trip and that is due to the fact that I work out a project as I go along. 
Here is the completed table.
The table measures 50x32 and it's painted a very light gray. I'd post more pictures but shortly after this was taken it was covered with creations and in progress creations! I thought it would solve the problem of creations being built on the coffee table and dining room table but it seems that may take some coaching. Owen loves it and was super thrilled to have it completed and moved into the living room. It also looks much nicer in there than the old, ugly one. 

Tomorrow is Owen's last day of Kindergarten. I have mixed feelings about this. I am excited that summer is here and we can do some fun things. I'm sad because the year went so fast and Owen is growing and changing so fast. I can't believe he's six. This week he took a shower and washed his own hair. Up until this point he's been a bath and have his hair washed by one of us kind of kid. Lately he's been feeling out more of his independence. The hair washing. The shower. Tonight he told us, very boldly, that he was NOT going to say excuse me after he burps. I had to let Morgan address that because I was laughing. I'm also happy the year is done because frankly, his teacher was a dud. Between her being new this year and getting pregnant and very sick and being out for six weeks she was just not really a great teacher. It's also difficult to be objective because up to this point all of Owen's preschool and ECFE teachers have been Cadillacs so it's difficult when you get a Pacer. And then there is my dislike for change. As I've gotten older I've come to accept that change is going to happen but I don't accept the change well. And even though I've been anticipating the changes that are happening right now I'm still resistant. My mother once told me that nothing is constant but change and that is no more true than with children. Lately Owen has been talking seemingly non-stop about when he's older and how he wants to be 10 and when he's a teenager. I keep telling him he doesn't have to rush to be older, being a kid is the best and he has to enjoy it while it lasts because he will have plenty of time to be older and pay bills and taxes. There are few times in my life that I would choose to go back but ages 4-7 would be it. And I am enjoying it with him too. Even though the questions about things sometimes get overwhelming. He asked me just today who invented words. And not too long ago after a barrage of questions (that I couldn't answer) he said, "why don't you know? You used to be a teacher!" 
So Owen will continue to grown and change and I will go along kicking and screaming and trying to patiently answer all of his questions. And for the ones I can't answer, we can Google!

Saturday, March 31, 2012


My run this morning was my fastest yet. I've been trying to get in a 4 mile run, outside, on the weekends. Now that it gets light earlier I have started running outside but I don't have time for more than 2 or so miles before I have to be back for Morgan to leave for work. I also usually have a walk song in the middle of my playlist for a break but today I decided to skip the walk song and just keep running. So with the exception of the warm and cool down songs (about 3 minutes each) I ran the whole way. I almost had to stop and cry toward the end I was so proud of myself. 

I have another race on April 14th and I've been working on getting faster. I also want to run father but the faster part is more important to me right now. I've found that I run faster when I run outside rather than when I use the treadmill for pacing. Although the treadmill helps me push a little bit more  because I can time my sprints. 

In addition to running I have worked in three weight classes a week at the Y. Two of them are at 5:30am which has been surprisingly easy for me to get to. I like having my workout done early in the morning. It helps me get in a good mindset for the day and whatever else I have to tackle throughout the day I know I've gotten the hardest part out of the way. Some days I don't always get it in before work but it does get done. A workout has just become part of what absolutely has to be done during my day. And while I would prefer a good heart pumping workout every time some days get so busy that a workout is just a 20 minute walk with the dog. Those days don't happen very often but my goal is to get some kind of exercise every single day and a 20 minute walk counts. Earlier in the month after all the snow as gone Morgan got my bike street ready and I've been riding that and inline skating too. 

In the past it seemed like Morgan and I were always on different pages of the exercise book. When he was fit and getting a lot of exercise I was busy holding down the couch. Or, well, I guess there hasn't really been an opposite when Morgan was holding down the couch! He's pretty good about fitting exercise into his day and knowing the importance of it. I think what's changed for him more than anything is a decrease in his metabolism. Morgan was that guy who could eat anything and everything (and did) but it didn't show on his body. He ran and biked and skied and that took care of whatever he ate. Now that we are older he has to watch it a bit more (or double or triple is workout time) to be at a weight that he is comfortable with. One of the downfalls of aging! At this point in our lives we both seem to be on the same page and focused on maintaining our health and fitness because if we don't we don't feel good and can't do the things we want to do as easily. 

Yesterday was a good example of how all this fitness has changed my body. O and I went to the Farm (part of our county park system) with some friends and we hiked and walked and played on the hay bales and in the past when I would have been winded or felt tired, yesterday I did not. I ran with the kids. I climbed and jumped on the hay bales. At one point Owen needed to get back up onto the hay bales (which are those big round ones that are about 5 feet high) and I took hold of his hands and hoisted him up. O weighs 46 pounds. And I am only 5 feet tall. It was not a difficult task at all! There are other countless instances when I realize that all the work I do for my fitness is so worth it and I feel so much better than I did 6 months ago. 

I still have a lot of work to do in terms of what I eat. I am not always good at getting regular meals or eating the right things but I am increasingly aware of what I'm eating (or not eating) because I am keeping track of it. And as a result of all the effort I've lost 12 pounds and I don't know how many inches and I'm down at least 2 pants sizes!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The race...

In a nut shell the race was awesome!  I ran the whole damn thing! Which I wasn't exactly expecting to be able to do. I run every other day for 30-45 minutes. But there is some walking in there too. So I guess I expected to do some walking like I usually do. I don't really have a plan to my *training*, mostly to just keep moving, sweat a fair amount and feel good about myself when I'm done. For the race I decided I would run until I felt like I needed to walk and then run some more. At one point I realized I'd been running for awhile and being familiar with the route I knew it had been more than 1/2 way. I was feeling good and just kept running. And then I got to the 2 mile mark and just kept running. And then I began to think I could probably run the whole thing. At the home stretch I began to tear up because I was about to finish running the WHOLE THING! O and Morgan were at the finish but Morgan's phone had run out of charge so there are no pictures of me running! Just this one of me and O at the end. Owen wanted to know what had taken me so long! And they hadn't even been there the whole time.
This is the first race I've run the entire way since before Owen was born. After I got pregnant I stopped running and haven't been able to pick it back up until last fall.  And while 3.1 miles doesn't seem like a long distance to a lot of runners, to me it's an accomplishment. As I mentioned before I have never considered myself an athlete let alone a runner and now I am. And I'm proud of that. My pace is some people's walking pace but I don't care about that either. Given time and some weight loss I'm sure I will get faster but my goal is not to be the winner. I always just want to finish and not be last.

Just some fun facts about the race. It was 3˚ when the race started. For my celsius friends that is -16˚. What I have on in the picture above is what I wore for the race, plus a pair of running gloves. The magenta top is fleecy on the inside. I was comfortable. Not too hot, not too cold. And below is a little alteration I made to the top to accommodate my phone. I used a piece of fabric from my running pants (they needed to be shorted) to stick a pocket onto the running top. My running pants have a very small pocket just large enough for a key and my ipod.

Voila! Pocket for my iPhone. It was very handy. Even though Morgan thought it looked ridiculous! My sister will appreciate my ingenuity! Those are not my usual running pants!
 And lastly, my pre-race breakfast. Greek yogurt, blueberries and granola. I like to eat light before I run. Most days I don't eat at all before I run.

My next race, another 5K, is in April. Hopefully it will be warmer than 3˚ by then!

Friday, February 10, 2012

First 5K of the year...

Tomorrow I am running the Valentine's Day 5K. My first 5K of the year. Along with my goal of getting exercise everyday I am also planning to run a 5K every other month plus (maybe) the Twin Cities 10 miler in October. I am a goal oriented person and I like to have deadlines and things to work toward. Last fall I started running again and my goal was a 5K in December. Check, got that done. My friend Jen ever so graciously ran it with me even though we are the most incompatible running partners ever! 

Today I picked up my number and shirt for tomorrow's race. The *taken* is for my back. Since it's a Valentine themed event people can wear a sign on their back (if they want) to indicate if they are available, taken or it's complicated (I think that's the other choice). I guess meeting someone at a race is better than a bar (maybe).
 I also got my shirt and was able to find a cold weather compression top at Target on clearance. I'm not opposed to having something like this in my running wardrobe but I will most likely not wear it often so I was happy about the clearance part. It's a little fleecy on the inside. I may need to sew a pocket on it though as my running pants only have a small key pocket and I like to run with my phone too.
 When I picked up my race number and shirt the running store was offering 20% of purchases for race participants so I picked up some new shoes. It may not be the best idea to run a race in new shoes ( I don't really know) but they are just the newest version of my current shoes. I have been having some foot pain and the guy at the store thought maybe my shoes were wearing out. He said he gets pain in the same spot when his start to go. They also match my outfit better than my old ones :-)
 We've had an unseasonable warm winter here in MN but for today and tomorrow it's going to be much more arctic. Lucky me! Which is the reason for the warmer top! As long as I'm moving I'll be fine.
It probably seems as though I'm making a big deal out a little ol' 5K. BUT I am not a runner. Well, I guess that's not true. I run, so I'm a runner. I don't subscribe to the whole "jogging" thing because if it's not walking, it's running. And I'm not fast. I guess what I mean is I'm not the traditional runner in the sense that I've been doing it since high school or college. I started running in my mid 20s and it was a long process to get to a place where I feel like I enjoy it. Partly why I started was because I am a little competitive but I'm not a team sport person. I was a dancer and I did that competitively for awhile but after college I basically gave it up. Running is just a personal challenge that I enjoy and it's faster than walking. Although lots of taller people can walk as fast as I run! And in junior high and high school part of the Presidential Physical Fitness challenge was running a mile. I could not do that. And it always bothered me. Now, I can run a mile. And I may not run all my miles consecutively (I still take walk breaks) but now I can run. And I'm damn proud of that.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Happy New Year!...Oh wait, it's February...

I have written many blog posts since the last one I posted. They just reside in the madness of my mind. Obviously I feel off the Daily December documentation Train. No surprise. I have however accomplished many things in the last (almost) 2 months.

  • We celebrated Christmas. It was lovely. Owen did not receive any clothes from us which I was informed was not a fun gift. He did receive a few clothing items from my mom and sis but they know his particular taste so they were received with a smile. He is already planning for his birthday and keeps asking how many sleeps until then. 
  • We celebrated New Years Eve with friends. They boys stayed up until midnight and then watched fireworks out the window of our friends' house. I'm pretty sure neither of them had ever stayed up that long ever. It was declared, "The BEST night ever!" Morgan got sick. Which we thought was because he ate too much (he never does this (wink, wink) but it turns out he had a bug. Which we realized after Owen got it. I avoided all of it. Amazingly. 
  • For my 2012 goal (not a resolution) I decided I would get some exercise everyday. I didn't declare a number of minutes or the type of exercise it should be. So far so good. For the most part I either run or ride my bike. Once a week I go to the Y for a weight class and then get on the ellipse machine. My workouts are usually 20-60 minutes. Riding my bike has been a great opportunity to Keep Up with The Kardashians. (Much to the dismay of my sister and my marketing co-worker.) And I am able to keep running thanks to good LOUD music and a goal of the next 5K. (Which just happens to be this Saturday!) Moderation is not something I am good at so to not have rigid guidelines about how much, when, where and for how long is a big accomplishment for me. It has become a habit that is just part of my day and I don't need to think too much about it.
  • Morgan and I have begun keeping track of our eating habits and are working on making healthier choices. To help us with this we are using a cool app called Lose It! It's free and works quite well. It's even equipped with a bar code scanner so we can scan foods, the app with then will then find the food and show the nutritional information. I know that keeping a food journal works but I have not been successful at this for a long time because I hated having to look everything up online or in a book. This is super handy since it's on my phone and I can either scan things or search for them. Homemade meals are a little trickier but we've gotten good at figuring them out. It has been very helpful for me that we are both doing it. 
  • I've become a morning person. I'm not sure when this happened but it did. And it's been beneficial for getting my workouts in. I'm usually up and at em' early enough to get a workout in before taking O to school and going to work. This has always been my preferred time to workout, I just wasn't usually up early enough to do it! It may have something to do with getting better and more continuous sleep, which has happened as a result of Owen getting older and mostly sleeping through the night now! Although Ludwig still does his share of waking up in the night. 
  • For 2012 I realized I need to take more pictures for my own creative self. When it came time to make my 2012 gift calendars I found I had not taken very many pictures that weren't portraits! In the end I pulled it together but this year I need to make a point of shooting more of what I see with my creative eye. 
And that's about it for the last 2 months. At least that I can remember right now! Maybe it won't be so long in between posts this year.