New year — new blog format it seems! I guess it’s been a while since my last post! As much as I tried my hardest to write regularly, life got in the way. Doesn’t it always?
I will admit, man that last quarter of 2018 drove me to the ground. Everything had to happen at neck-breaking speed (literally). In the end, they were all good things and much got accomplished, but the juggling and time management of it all did send me towards…. wine (what else?).
We’re currently on a trip out of the country at the moment (and a lot of future posts I have mapped out will go into further detail), but let’s just say I’ve found some downtime now at our hotel now that Jamie is down with a cough. We opted to stay in and take it easy, so she is napping now while the husband tours Sam around on our last day.
Being away for three weeks has truly made me miss home; the predictability, the regularity of it all, and of course a little bit of the busyness that comes with it. I am hoping I will be “smarter” this new year about time management and commitments, but I suppose that remains to be seen. The irony of it is I keep harping about the same to Sam, and yet it is possibly a lesson I too have to learn in a different way.
I think I have to admit that there’s always going to be a lot to do. We are involved in so many things, it will always be an adventure, and it will always be tiring.
I suppose it’s just a matter of perspective. As a wise person recently told me — it’s because you’re capable of more. I suppose that is a good perspective to have, to be able to do more because we can.
My little family ended the year with quite the adventure. And we greeted the new year with another adventure. As they say, the first day of the year sets the pace and tone for how the rest of the year will look like.
If it is truly any indication, then I suppose I know what kind of year I’m in for. At the end of the day, it is all good — the girls learn, they have fun. And I have to remember, it is because I can.
Peace and Me by Ali Winter, is one of the newer books released by Lantana Publishing. If you go to their website, the first statement says, “Lantana Publishing is a young, independent publishing house producing inclusive picture books for children.”
I love them already.
The book has several stories of how peace was displayed in different parts of the world, by different people across time. It actually starts of with Mr. Nobel’s story himself and how the Nobel Peace Prize came to be.
Even as I read it with my kids, I learn new things too.
My good friend and one of my favorite authors, Gutsy, the Director of Communications and Projects, works at Lantana, and told us about this book even before it was released.
She and I grew up on books. She knows my kids (she’s one of Jamie’s godmothers!) love books too. In fact that’s one thing I enjoy learning from Gutsy — finding new books to read. I’m so excited that she’s now part of a group that publishes books she’d like to read too.
They needed a voice talent for the trailer she said, and would Sam like to do it?
We were very honored of course — to be part of this project and have Sam voice their very first book trailer. I was even happier that I’ve learned to embed videos into my posts. 🙂
The girls and I read a little bit of 32-page book each night. One or two stories at a time, and then we talk about it and process it together. We put a little bit more context behind it. Reading about peace, sometimes means reading about war, and my girls ask why people fight. It is quite the eye opener too.
And while it is a picture book, the content is truly for older children too. The girls love the illustrations by Mickaël El Fathi. We look for the little girl common in every page.
And at the end of the trailer, they ask, “Peace can mean many things to many people. What does peace mean to you?”
A very timely question indeed. It is a good question to always keep in our minds for all time.
Thank you, Tita Gutsy for including us in this project and giving Sam one minute of fame!
Peace and Me is readily available on Amazon, along some of the other books published by Lantana.
It’s been over three weeks since the #Seawheeze2018 half marathon in Vancouver, and I feel like I’m still on recovery / catch-up mode.
I always say it was the hardest half I’ve done, and maybe that’s what makes it so memorable. And there were a lot of “firsts” that I can associate to it as well.
It was the first time I traveled outside of California to run. In fact I said I’d never spend money to do that! My husband already thinks paying to run in local races isn’t a good use of money when I can run for free. But I told myself, it’s a lottery system, what did I have to lose?
As it turned out, I got in on second round, which fell on my birthday! Do you believe in signs? 😉
When I got in, he surprised ME by saying — go ahead and do it. That was a big first in itself! I guess the old adage, never say never, still rings true all around.
My best friend lives in Vancouver and was gracious enough to host me for the weekend. So I prepped, packed and flew over.
I’ve heard all good things about Seawheeze. It’s a beautiful course in a beautiful city, and there is nothing like it.
And of course, Lululemon. They had a jam-packed weekend with yoga, shopping and a party, but I’d been so busy leading up to the weekend I really didn’t have time to think any of it through.
Actually, leading up to the race felt like a race in itself. I didn’t have time to properly prep for it, and so going in I felt ill-prepared. I was going to Orange Theory but outside of that my runs were sporadic and short. I started to feel aches and pains and I was constantly sore. My best friend took me to her boxing circuit the day before, which was a good way to warm up our bodies in the cold.
The weather forecasts showed signs of rain and this wasn’t something I could wrap my brain around. I’d never run in the rain. That’s something my mom told me NOT to do! I hoped the chances of rain would decrease but as my friend says, “honey, they don’t call us #raincouver for nothing.”
But at some point, I had to come to terms with it.
That’s also the reason for the cling wrap around my ankles and socks.
The race began without rain, hurray! But the trash bag flapping was pretty distracting. So I chucked it and just as I rounded the corner for mile 2, well whaddya know: DOWN. CAME. THE RAIN.
In a couple of minutes I was soaked and everything was squishing in my shoes. I tried to avoid puddles, but people were running past me and splashing thru without a care in the world. There wasn’t much else to do but keep going if I wanted to finish. And boy, was it hard to keep going!
This wasn’t my first half, but it was definitely the hardest one. It was truly “mind-over-matter”. My toes were gripping in my shoes so hard that parts of my body I never knew could cramp started cramping! It had to keep reminding myself: Beautiful course, beautiful city, and force myself to look up and enjoy the sights. I didn’t get a picture of it because my phone was encased in ziploc, and even that was wet.
All things considered, I finished with an acceptable time (to me). For all the glamour that a brand like Lululemon holds, I felt the farthest from it, a tired, cold wet rat to be honest!
The view WAS beautiful though, and on a good non-rainy day, it would’ve been an ideal race.
Props to the swag too: it’s the best I’ve seen in the little experience I’ve had with races.
And thankfully, I had friends to share this experience with!
Even off the course, and my entire weekend stay was absolutely delightful.
My own little after party was full of eating, laughing and shopping! And just such good conversation all around. Gotta love decades of friendship. It was a first to have my own cheering squad at the end of the race, bananas, and dry clothes to say the least!
The big question is, would I do it again?
And the honest answer is: I don’t know just yet. If it weren’t for the rain, I’d most definitely say yes. But I think I need a little bit more time to think about it. 😉
I’d like to think that my seemingly more active lifestyle has inspired the rest of the family to be active as well.
We purposely took away a few of our regular activities to make time to just be outdoors. My girls love being outdoors anyway, more than I’d care to admit. Thankfully, I dodged a camping trip this summer. Whew! I probably was the only one happy about that though. But I want to say, we more than made up for it!
We did spend a lot of time at the pool this past summer.
We had play dates and friends, and all sorts of good fun over the 4th of July weekend.
On another night, we were able to get them out and bike.
One of my prouder moments last summer was teaching Sam how to ride her bike. Jamie has the balance bike and soon hopefully she will join her sister pedaling away. It’s nice to see she’s not as timid about taking risks.
For our 13th year anniversary, the girls requested to go to the beach. My children are like me – we love the sand and the sea.
Although I’m not particularly too fond of this sea because it is COLD!
We spent a good portion of the day in the cold water and on the sand. The girls were happy to build their little creations and turn into mermaids.
Then went to visit some of the tide pools. I have to admit it was fun, although I was mostly worried about the slipping and hitting of the head. Thankfully there was none of that, but now I have a mental note to buy water shoes for next time.
And I didn’t have to worry about cleaning off, we had our trusty portable shower!
We did more than one beach clean-up over the summer too (Yes, a True Girl Scout makes the world a better place!).
We pretty much marked all the major holidays this summer and special occasions with some outdoor fun.
Over the Labor Day weekend we went up to Big Bear and did a quick hike around the neighborhood.
Then there was some kayaking fun in the lake filled with moss. Ewww. I can’t say the girls didn’t enjoy it though.
As we move into fall, we look back and it still felt like a jam-packed summer. I think I’m still recovering from it all. But I can’t deny it was a lot of fun!
My husband’s frugal mentality has always stopped me from joining a fitness gym. “Why spend when you can just follow You Tube” he says. He reiterates this constantly to this day. But as you know, even with my running, I’m partly motivated by the social aspect of exercise. So when a friend asked me to try an Orange Theory class with her, I said hey why not. It may be a good supplement to my sporadic running, I thought.
I’ve seen their signage around town for over a year, I just never understood what it was. Everything just looked… orange.
Fast forward to 60 minutes post trial class, I wanted to die. DIE. And I finally understood their branding.
The theory behind their workouts is spending 12 or more minutes at 84% of your maximum heart rate. That’s what they call the orange zone.
Being here for that amount of time ensures you get the after burn effect where your body continues to burn calories 36 hours after your workout.
For the first session, they lend you a heart rate monitor so that you see your results on the TV screens plastered throughout the studio.
At first, I thought I’d be embarrassed and self-conscious since my stats weren’t so great. I realized (as I was dying — or trying very hard not to), that you really only look at your results on the monitor, and that your stats are really the only ones that matter to you. Plus, with a visual goal, it is truly something you want to get to!
So once my body recovered from the shock and ache, I decided to give Orange Theory a fair shot and sign up.
The sessions don’t carry over to the next month, so I really plan out most of my days to make sure I use it within that time frame. The classes also book up fast (it’s weird how people are gluttons for punishment, ey?) so sometimes it’s a matter of scheduling 2 weeks in advance. But, you have to give it to them; they are strict about it because it’s a formula that does generate results.
Orange Theory offers a different circuit each time you go, depending on the day and the coach and the focus, whether it be Endurance, Strength and or Power, or all three. Gaaah.
I actually like it that they have time on the treadmill, and then at some point during the hour, you move to the rower and the floor. It’s a total body workout each time.
The other thing I realized was that prior to Orange Theory, I was always afraid of weight training. Apparently this whole theory of bulking up, injuring myself, it being bad etc, wasn’t exactly true.
It took me a while to move up from using 5-lb weights, and it was only because one of the coaches said to try. Let me tell you, these coaches are not afraid to push you past your comfort levels because they do get paid to get you into that orange zone!
I have to say, the formula works. I think I’m stronger and faster (even just at shorter distances), and my stamina is better too. I can carry more weights than I did before, and on the days I’m not in OTF, I find that my body looks for it. I wake up in the mornings to go, because if I don’t, I don’t know where I’m going to get that extra day to make up for the class.
And I’ve come to appreciate it as a time where I just zone out on everything else, and zone in on me (so I don’t fall off the tread). It’s something we all need every now and then.