Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Year of Running 2014

Here is a quick recap of my year of running, with thanks to Miss Zippy for the inspiration!

Best Race Experience

I didn't run very many races this year, but I had a lot of fun at the Sandpoint Scenic 5k, because my sister was there and ran the race too.   I enjoyed pushing myself by running as hard as I could at a shorter distance.  I am thinking about making 2015 the year of the 5k. =)  Or some other shorter distance maybe.

Best Run
I love my stroller runs with M.  It makes me so happy when he asks to go running.  I would be so happy if he developed a love for running too!  Now, I'm just going to need a double stroller for next summer, hopefully!

Best New Piece of Gear
My mom got me a running skirt for my birthday.  I love it.  It is really cute but completely functional too!  I lover wearing it on on all of our summer bike rides and other adventures too.

Best Piece of Running Advice Received
My husband is always telling me to run harder for shorter periods of time and to do fartlek-type workouts.  He's right.  When I do these types of runs, I can feel my easy run paces and long run paces getting faster.  It especially fun and challenging to do these types of runs while pushing the stroller too!

Most Inspirational Runner
I'm thinking Louis Zamperini.  I read Unbroken a couple of years ago and loved it.  America lost a good man when he died this summer.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Fun and flexible.  I didn't hit all of my running goals for the year, so I re-calibrated my expectations.  As a result, I enjoyed the races that I did do, and relished all of my runs and time spent outside this year.  I'm lucky to be able to run and to have the time to exercise.  It is a gift, I don't take it for granted and I hope I can be an example to my sons of a positive lifestyle.

I'll be spending the next few days thinking about my fitness (and other) goals for 2015, and hope to share them with you soon!
Happy running in 2015!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

May God bless you throughout 2015!

Christmas Questionnaire 2014

Hello there!  I found this fun questionnaire via L at Grace in My Heart.  I have been looking forward to doing this with M and I thought he might be old enough to give it a try this year, so we did while on our way to our friends' house blessing and house warming party.  D & I got a kick out of asking him these questions.

Here are his responses at age 2!

1. What is your favorite color? Blue

2. What is your favorite toy?  Big truck.  And then he said "beautiful red sunset" because we were riding in the car.

3. What is your favorite fruit?  Chocolate....raspberry

4. What is your favorite tv show?  Daniel Tiger

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Peanut butter sandwich

6. What is your favorite outfit?  I like my jacket

7. What is your favorite game?  Play with Joey (we were on our way to Joey's house.)

8. What is your favorite snack?  Fruit snack

9. What is your favorite animal? Cow

10. What is your favorite song?  Glory to God in the Highest

11. What is your favorite book?  Dr. Suess ABCs, Stuart Little, The Ugly Duckling and Mickey's Christmas Carol (we love to read!)

12. Who is your best friend?  Joey & Orion

13. What is your favorite cereal?  Toast

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Ball

15. What is your favorite drink?  Chocolate milk

16. What is your favorite holiday?  Halloween

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Hippo

18. What do you want for Christmas?  Anything (yes, he really did say this!)

20.  Were you a good boy this year?  Yes

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekend Recap

Hey, y'all!

How was your weekend?  Ours was great!  D's parents are here visiting us from FL so we are soaking up all of the family time.

D celebrated a birthday last week!  M is spelling out the letters for him.
I went to a mini-retreat on Saturday morning hosted at our church.  It was a really nice time of reflection.  While I was there, M went to the fire station to see Santa.  Apparently, D asked M if he wanted to sit on Santa's lap and M said "no thank you" and he didn't cry!  So, an improvement over last year.  Pictures to come once I get them off of Grandma's iPad.

Saturday evening, we watched the Hayden City Lights Parade from the warmth of the car.  Let me tell you, that is the perfect parade!  Less than 30 minutes long, and we had front row seats from the car.  It doesn't get any easier than that!  And what's an Idaho parade without a decorated dump truck with its snow plow attachment?

 After the parade we had dinner at The Porch.  Our favorite restaurant!

 Sunday morning I got a nice run in and we played at home until time for evening Mass.

Have a great week!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends again this year.
Chopping pecans in the garage so the napping toddler doesn't wake up!
D rigged up our computer-as-a-TV setup this year so I could watch the parade.  I love the parade!  Did you see the Red Hot Mamas from Coeur d'Alene?  You go girls.  I might have to join them!
I was thrilled that M loved watching the parade with me.  He loved the marching bands the best, and Spiderman too.
Our Thankful leaves - we asked M what he was thankful for at dinner.
After the parade was over, we went for a little family jog.  It was warm enough for shorts by the end!  M wanted to get out of the stroller and race D home.

We stuffed ourselves with dinner and M loved sitting at the kids' table.  We're so thankful for our family, friends and this beautiful country that we live in.

Now, Advent is on!  And this year will be a very special Advent for us!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Family Friendly Fun in CdA at Christmastime

If you're looking for family-friendly events in the Coeur d'Alene area over the next few weeks, here's a summary of some of the events that I've seen so far.

Holiday Lights Parade
Well, we chickened out because of the rain and had dinner with friends downtown instead of watching the parade and fireworks.  Maybe next year - it is always the day after Thanksgiving!

Festival of Trees Family Day
Nov. 30 11 am - 3 pm 
Crafting and a fun chance to check out the trees decorated to support the hospital's foundation.  We haven't been before, but we might go this year, if we can make it to early church.

Picture with Santa/Food Drive at the fire station
Dec. 6 10 am - 2 pm
1500 N. 15th Street - bring a canned good food donation!
We did this last year and M was terrified of Santa but amazed by the fire truck.  We might try it again this year!
Hayden Lights Parade
Dec. 6 at 5pm  
Reindeer Run!
Fleet Feet in downtown CDA is hosting the Reindeer Run 5k
Dec. 13 at 8 am 
McEuen Park
and after you run, you can head over to the.... 
CDA Library
this sounds really cute!

All month long at the CDA Resort

There are also free carriage rides downtown on Saturdays, more info here.  Am I missing anything else?  I hope you enjoy these next festive few weeks of Advent!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We'll be having another Southern-style Thanksgiving this year.

But we aren't hosting this year, so I'll be putting my feet up!
My Enthusiastic Helper

We're bringing cranberry sauce (this one and this one), my sister's amazing pesto cheese ball appetizer, a cauliflower casserole and two pecan pies for a pecan pie face-off: my aunt's sugary but time-tested recipe and a "healthy" recipe that my sister sent me.  But is pecan pie ever really healthy? =)

Flashback to Thanksgiving 2012
We're also planning to do a family turkey trot together.  There's no entry fee and you get your choice of t-shirt from your dresser when you get home.  But no cheering fans or water stops either, ha!  Hopefully we'll hook up the TV to watch the parade together (I love, love, love the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade) and maybe even hang up our outside Christmas lights.  And we'll definitely be making lots of phone calls to our family in Florida and Tennessee for Thanksgiving this year.
M's First Thanksgiving Day Parade Viewing!
I have so much to be thankful for this year.  Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy National Adoption Day

Did you know that Friday was National Adoption Day?

We stopped by an event commemorating the day in Spokane at the Spokane County Courthouse Jury Assembly Room.  
There were lots of happy families there whose adoptions were being finalized that day.
M's Adoption Day 2012
Adoption Days are certainly the happiest days in a courthouse.  Most courthouse proceedings are not much fun, but adoption finalizations are happy occasions for everyone there.

My first time appearing in court without a suit on, haha!
 We've never attended a National Adoption Day event before, but this one included lots of food, balloons, free portrait photography, face painting and other activities for the kiddos.

M loved playing with the balloons and even got his face painted!  I was amazed that he actually wanted to do that and was willing to sit for it, haha!
He chose the ninja turtle mask - and really didn't want to let go of either the cookie or the balloon!
We are so blessed by adoption!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Our Little Talker

At snacktime:
Me:  Would you like a chip?
M:  I would like a bunch of them!

While snuggling in bed on Saturday morning:
Me: What would you like for breakfast?
M:  Um, sugar toast!
Me:  You have had a lot of sugar toast this week, how about something else?
M:  (without missing a beat) How about sugar toast?!

While playing pretend, M is serving me coffee:
Me: May I please have some more coffee?
M: Of course you may! 
He nearly always says "of course!" so cheerfully if you ask him for something.  It is adorable! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

#7QT: Adoration with a Toddler, Winter Running and Other Bits from our Week

Seven bits of randomness from our week....

1.  We stopped to drop off some winter coats at our Church, and ended up bringing home some giant chunks of harvest squash!  This nice lady was giving it away and said it would make the house smell lovely while roasting.  We'll be roasting it this weekend!

2.  For the last month, I've been taking M to Adoration once a week.  We have stayed for about 8 minutes max - this week I wanted to try to stay for 10 minutes, but he was not sitting still, so we left.  He did a good job staying quiet, but he was walking around the room, moving the kneelers up and down, etc.  I forgot to bring his Mass books in with me for him to look at, but I had told him if he was quiet and sat still, he could have a fruit snack pack afterwards.  (Yes, bribery!)  Any tips for 2 year olds in Adoration?  Or is it just a bad idea?

3.  Winter running season is here.  We don't stroller run when the temp is below 30.  And even below 40 I try not to go longer than 30 minutes because I just don't want M to get cold!  He is bundled up pretty well and we use the windshield so I think that helps too, but I know he is colder than me because he's just hanging out in there!

Snuggles on our chilly Wednesday!
4.  So, we're moving outside runs to the afternoon during the warmest part of the day.  What is your cutoff temp for a winter stroller run?

5.  I'm also using the indoor track at our community center.  It is a nice break from the treadmill, even those new fancy treadmills!
New to me shoes, ordered last season's Wave Riders from The Clymb

6.  M is in that adorable stage where he wants to bring along random objects with us wherever we go - this week it is a little mini whisk and a tiny plastic cup (like the kind that comes with Robitussin).  And, while we were playing ("working") at his tool bench, he said I should put on my "ear muffins" because he was banging his hammer really loud.  Love him!

Batman's mechanic
7.  An interesting adoption-related post I came across:  Thoughts?

Have a great weekend, and check out more Quick Takes here! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Run "Through Munich"

It's 27 degrees outside today and so windy that I think our house is starting to lean. ;)  Not the best day for a stroller run!
Enjoying our first snow of the season!

So we went to the Kroc Center instead.  I tried out a new-to-me treadmill that took me on a run through Munich!  And Auckland, NZ - where else can you say that you did THAT in the same day?! 

This was the first time that I've tried out one of the treadmills where you can select a course and run through the streets.  It was a Life Fitness treadmill (I think) and little facts about the city popped up as I ran along.  The only downside is that it will occasionally just switch you from one scene to another, so you aren't really getting the full experience of pretending to run along the course.

I tried to take a picture of my view in Munich, but it came out like this:
I guess it's a little blurry? =)  Anyway, this new feature made my run so enjoyable!  I typically dislike the treadmill, but this may help me keep running more on these cold (breezy!) winter days.

Stay warm!

Monday, November 10, 2014

What are We in Love With?

Awhile back, I stumbled across Craig Zimmer's encouragement to take a deep look at how we really spend our time.  He says:

Rather than first asking ourselves whether or not our treasure is in God, maybe we should first look at what we do with our evenings, how we spend our weekends, etc.  Yes, falling in love with God will affect everything, but how we spend our time on a daily basis also reveals what we are in love with and where our treasure is.  One of the great gifts of Ignatian Spirituality is its invitation and challenge to us to examine our day in order to seek God and to ask ourselves whether or not we are recognizing and responding to the work of the Holy Spirit in the lived experience of our daily lives.

source. (emphasis mine)

I know nothing about "Ignatian spirituality" but I felt challenged by this reflection.  I suspect that I am spending too much time on things that add or have little to no inherent value, and not enough on things that encourage or promote healthy living and values.  But what, and how much?  I'd like to see the specifics from my own empirical evidence. 

What are you in love with?  Where is your treasure?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Toddler Talk

Overheard in our house lately:

"Mommy, go inside and put the dishes away please."
M said this when I stepped out for a minute and interrupted his playtime with D.  You can tell he wants his Dad all to himself! =)  At least he said please?!

"Mommy don't wake me up!"
Said with a smile and a twinkle in his eye when I peeked in at him since he was still sleeping at 7:45 am!

"I will sit right here next to the bacon."
Sitting on the floor in the kitchen while Satur-Dad cooked the bacon for our big Saturday breakfast.

"I'm a big boy.  I eat peanut butter cups."
No explanation necessary. =)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween 2014

For the entire month of October, whenever someone asked M what he was going to be for Halloween, he replied, "A Scary Ghost."

Thankfully, he didn't mind a little costume change.

Buzz Lightyear (carrying his scary ghost??)
I took him trick-or-treating at D's office on a last-minute whim.  He was mostly excited to get to see his Daddy and the airplanes parked at the airport out back.

He did such a great job using his manners at the office, and he was so excited to see the neighborhood trick-or-treaters come to the house while we ate our Boo Soup dinner.

I hope you had a Happy Halloween too!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Eats (& Exercise)

We love our bread machine!
 I stumbled across this blog recently and now it's one of my new favorites.  She just started a new link up for meal planning that I thought I'd try out.

I have been meal planning for several years.  I'm definitely not a foodie nor am I a fancy cook, but I enjoy having our meals (and just about everything else!) planned out for the week.  I almost never cook anything original but I do like to make notes in my cookbooks regarding how a recipe turned out.  I have a copy of my grandmother's Chinese cookbook, and I love reading her handwritten notes on some of the recipes.  It's really fun for me to see what she thought about different foods.

So, here is our meal plan for the week.  And just for fun, here is my exercise plan for the week, too!

Monday:  Italian sausage pasta bake + 4 stroller miles.

We have some leftover pasta sauce from the weekend that I need to use up.

Tuesday: Chicken soft tacos + short run + weights.

Wednesday: Leftover night + stroller sprints.
I always build a leftover night into our meal planning week!

Thursday: Grandma's Quiche from the Blanche Lake cookbook + rest day.
Haven't made this one yet!

Friday: Chicken & Dumplings Soup from The Crockpot Lady + short stroller run.
This will be our "Boo Soup" this year for Halloween.  We will probably take M to trick or treat just at our next door neighbor's house, and then come home and pass out candy to the big kids.  That's enough fun for us! 
One of my favorite, and most-used, cookbooks!
That's as far as I've gotten right now.  As for exercise, I'd like to get a long run in on Saturday, and maybe do some cross-training/weights on Sunday.  I usually plan out our meals from Wednesday to Wednesday, so that our weekends are covered and I can shop on Thursday.  I hate grocery shopping on the weekends.  It is definitely a luxury to have time to shop during the week!  I also need to grill up some chicken to toss in lunch salads for the week, yum!  There's no snow yet, so we are still grilling!

What are you planning for your week?  I hope you have a great week!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Recent Library Finds

We found some really cute stories this month!  

 M sat through his first chapter book - Stuart Little.  That was his special book to read with Dad - I didn't read it with him, but he kept me posted on what happened.  Pretty interesting to hear his interpretations. ;)  I am so glad that he loves reading.

Here were some of our latest favorites:

Cloud Dance
Loved, loved, loved it.  Beautiful images and soothing text.  The back of the book talks about the different types of clouds too, so it encourages learning about nature too!  Double win!  I immediately added this one and the others in the series (Water Dance, Mountain Dance) to our Amazon wish list.

Applesauce Season

This was a cute little book with fun illustrations about a city family and their tradition of making applesauce together.  Very sweet, and kind of different in that the family is based in the city and they don't go out apple picking in the country.  
All the World

I think this was my favorite.  Rich illustrations that provide lots of things to look at, point out and discuss with your toddler.  The lyrical text made this a lovely story to read right before naptime and bed.  It just gave me a warm, cozy feeling to read this while snuggling my M.  He loved it too, and frequently pulled it off the shelf to read.  Another one that we will be adding to our permanent collection!

M also loved I am Cow, Hear Me Moo.  It was pretty cute, but not my favorite.  

Those are all the ones worth mentioning this month.  Did you find any awesome Autumn favorites?  I bought Wild Child and love, love, love it.  Now I have to add all of Lynn Plourde's seasonal ones to my collection!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Doing the Pumpkin Patch Thing

It isn't really fall if you don't take your kid(s) to a pumpkin patch, right?  Last year, we went to a little farm nearby.  This year, I sweet-talked my husband into taking us over to Greenbluff.  Then, during the week, M and I tagged along on a home-school field trip through I-DEA (Idaho Distance Education Academy) with some of our older, home-schooling friends. 

Greenbluff is a cooperative of farms north of Spokane, WA.  It's a pretty popular place in the fall - you can pick pumpkins and apples, (probably other stuff too!), picnic, check out the farm animals, etc..  There are several different farms, and they've all got something going on.

We started at Knapp's Farm.  We told M we were going to a farm, and he seemed very excited and like he was looking forward to seeing farm animals.

Well, bless his heart, the "punkin' chunkin"* gun was a little bit too scary for him.  Even though it wasn't very loud!  I think it was just the anticipation of the unknown. Poor little guy.

So, we spent most of our time there looking at the tractors (which he loved), having our picnic and pushing around a little toy car.  They had tons and tons of pumpkins, but M did not want to pick one, so we didn't.  We drove around the area and checked out the other farms, but by the middle of the day, it just seemed like a zoo for parking and too crowded for us.

 The area is  very pretty, with lots of gentleman farm-style homes and rolling hills up against the mountains.  Since M fell asleep in the car, we drove up to Mt. Spokane to check out their ski area.  There were lots of cyclists biking the road down from Mt. Spokane, and the foliage was beautiful, even though it was kind of foggy and rainy out by this time.  It looks like a nice place to hike, with some good views of maybe Spirit Lake or Twin Lakes?

In all, it was not a bad day for a little adventure in Washington.

Carver Farm is closer to CdA.  It doesn't have a scary cannon, and I don't think it has any farm animals either.  This time, M had a great time running around in the field, picking up the little pumpkins and walking through the corn maze.  Maybe he liked it more because his friends were there?   He got to bring home a mini pumpkin, 2 gourds, and 2 tiny pumpkins.  Apparently, on the weekend, they have free tractor rides too.  I KNOW M would love that!

So, we can cross the pumpkin patch off our list for the year! 
How sweet is this picture?  Love him!

*I just cannot bring myself to actually pronounce "pumpkin" like "punkin."  I guess I am a grammar snob after all.  But this is what people call it, so there you go.

Friday, October 17, 2014

#7QT: Our Ordinary Week

Bits and Pieces from Our Week:


Swim Class Selfie!

We started up swim lessons again this week!


Working on matching and fine motor skills on a rainy morning.


We tagged along on a field trip to the pumpkin patch with our older, homeschooling friends.  M enjoyed this trip a lot - he loved searching for his gourds and little pumpkins.  Now we have quite a collection!


I am slowly working my way through The Magic Years.  It is an older book; my aunt - a child psychologist - gave it to me and highly recommended it.  It takes me a while to get into it, but I do enjoy it.  More importantly, I am finding it relevant!  I'll post more of my thoughts on it when I finish it.


We have family coming to visit this weekend!  Cousins from Wisconsin will be rolling in, and we can't wait to show them around.  This will be their second visit to CdA.


We have had some fun stroller runs this week - including my new favorite "Stroller Sprint" workout.  My husband recommended this workout to start trying to increase my speed.  I do 8 reps of 30 secs of sprinting with a 1 minute recovery period.  I'm usually pooped by the 4th rep!  When I first started pushing M at a sprint, he said "Mommy, why so fast?"  Then, when we finished, I asked him if I was running fast, and he said no.  So, I guess it wasn't that impressive after all. ;)


We did an easy two miles around the neighborhood this morning.  First time it was cold enough for headgear for both of us.  Can you see all of the other random things that rode along in the stroller with us?

Have a great weekend!  For more Quick Takes, check out Jen at Conversion Diary here!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Suburban Bike Safety

One of the things I love the most about our small town is its bike-friendliness.  We can bike from "the suburbs" to downtown, and even to the Washington state line (and from there into Spokane - I've also noticed a bike lane at the airport!) all on paved biking trails that are separate from the road.

Biker Gang of 2
Our town seems like a bike-friendly community, and there are efforts to increase awareness of bikes on the roads (like this group) and to encourage bike usage.

I try to designate a few days each week as my "car-free" days - so long as its not too icy or snowy out.  When I'm biking, I am nearly always pulling my toddler in our bike trailer, and thankfully, he loves to ride along and see the world this way.  I love the extra exercise, time outside and time away from my car.  It is a win-win-win!
No selfies while biking.
Recently, we tried something new and biked to a different library than the one we usually frequent.  This required us to cross a 4 lane divided highway, that is basically the main thoroughfare running north out of town.  It has sidewalks and crosswalks and crossing signs.  We obeyed them all as we crossed, but the timing of the signs required us to hang out on the sidewalk in the median for about 5 minutes, waiting to cross the second half of the street, before we could get back on the north/south bike path.

Biking the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes - no cars to worry about!
The median was just barely wide enough to fit both my bike and trailer without either part hanging out into the busy traffic.  I kept watching all of the traffic.  But I have seen one accident at this same intersection where one of the vehicles spun out of control towards the sidewalk. 

Recalling this accident made me second-guess my decision to bike this way.  Had an accident occurred while we were waiting in the median, we would have been lame ducks, unable to move out of the way quickly enough.

So....I'm probably not going to bike to this library again.  As much as I enjoyed it, it is not worth the risk.  My husband and I were talking about it, and it would be so awesome if there was a bike overpass (or tunnel?) at this intersection.  There are literally hundreds of homes located on the west side of the highway, but the north/south bike path is on the east side of the road.  So is the Farmer's Market.  So, you really can't access the bike path without crossing the big highway.

Making roadways safer is good for drivers and bikers, and might encourage more folks to bike around town.  I hope there are continued efforts to improve bikeability in CDA!   

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday at Tubbs

Happy Monday, Friends!

Our music class* was canceled this morning, so I took this big boy for a 4 mile stroller run down by the lake. 

In his mind, I'm sure this was the most exciting stroller run ever because we saw: (1) a working excavator, (2) a working dump truck, and (3) a police motorcycle pulling over a big truck (he even remarked that the truck looked "just like Daddy's" but thankfully it wasn't his!). 

Then we went to the playground where he played for 10 minutes before running over to Tubbs Hill because he wanted to find a trail and go hiking.  So, that's what we did.  I asked him if he would please help me climb up this rock, and you know what he said? "Of course!!"  He is so sweet.  It was a wonderful morning to be outside together.

I hope your week is off to a great start!

We do the Music Together program.  Are you familiar with it?  I think it's fantastic - M loves it!