Friday, July 31, 2015

Mad-Lib Style Post: Grokker Fitness

I'm so excited to rack up more minutes using video workouts from Grokker! There’s everything from Yoga to HIIT Workouts for everyone from beginners to advanced, and I'm especially pumped to try Kelly Lee's HIIT Core because it will make me extra strong.

I plan to do my video workout in my living room before I clean the house and after change a diaper. My favorite thing about video workouts is the challenge, and they’re a super convenient way to get sweaty when I want.

My goal is to hit 60 minutes this week!. I’ll do HIIT Workout #3 with Sarah Kusch one of my more intense workout days, and Lower Body Flow with Steffy White,  on a rest or lower intensity day.  I challenge Jenn to beat my # of minutes or to do run with me!

psst! Want more access to more of the amazing videos on Grokker? Use the code LOVEGROKKER for a free month of their premium version. No strings attached - just good sweaty fun! :) 

(All the words underline was where I had to fill in!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What I Want My Children To Know About Love

I am in recovery from a most epic weekend. For those of you who know me or have been following me, you know that after five and a half years my partner and I finally took the plunge. Yes, it is official : I am a "Mrs" now!

We have done most everything in our relationship backwards; I have never been one to follow the rules. I do not regret any part of it. It is our own "Fairy Tale" made up of love, laughter, and two boys who we are wildly in love with.

It was special having the boys be a part of our day. They were dressed up in little suits equipped with ties and dress shoes that my four year old still insists on wearing with his shorts. Our little guy had no idea what was going on yet we have talked with Chase about this wedding since we started planning it five months ago. He still doesn't fully understand what marriage is yet I hope he will remember the day as he gets older. I want him to have flashes of us standing there, face to face, vowing to spend the rest of our lives together. With that being said this is what I want my children to know about love:

Love who you want: Do not let race, gender, or what anyone else says deter you from true love.

There is no perfect way to love, though love can be perfect for two people: We spend our lives trying to perfect relationships when all we need to do is love with our heart and souls. It won't always be easy, there will be times that it will be down right hard and ugly. In those times you need to love more. Give more. Every relationship is different and no one's love is greater than another.

You must have laughter in a home: Love is about happiness and bringing out joy in one another. If you can laugh together then you have found the antidote to any sadness that may weather in your home.

It's not a job, but it is work: In order for any relationship to thrive you need to work on it all the time. Love requires the commitment to allow it to grow and change. Love will be challenged, love may even hurt. Love will also heal.

Support one another: Know what the other is passionate about and support that passion even if it is not yours! Listen, be present, and encourage your partner to do what he or she wants.

Forgive: There will be fights, screaming, and sometimes crying. Never hold onto an argument. It is not about who is right and who is wrong. It is called compromise. Find that place in the middle where you both can feel that your feelings have been acknowledged.

Live in the moment: Never take the other one for granted. Life is a gift, often times taken away too quickly. Live each day as your last. Each day smile, laugh, and kiss one another. Go to bed every night with the last words being "I Love You."

Be thankful: Your love to one another is a gift. It is sacred. Create moments of gratitude with your partner. Let them know you appreciate them, that you appreciate the love you have made.

It has only been five years yet I hope that my children see the love we have for one another and grow knowing it. In thirty, forty, fifty years from now I want my children to look at us and never doubt the love we have for one another. These things are what I want my children to know about love.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Changing The Way You Parent

Before being a parent I always knew I wanted children. I also had this vision of how I would parent and felt confident that there were certain things that as a mother I would never do. You know what I am talking about right? We observe others parent and make notes in our mind that we are not going to do it "that way".

Whether you want to admit it or not we all have opinions about how other people parent. We may not speak those things out loud (trust me, you don’t want to hear it!) yet we are always critiquing silently in our minds. It is the voice that says: “I would never do that!" Then the bitter truth comes to bite us in the ass later on, that in fact, we have done it! The ideas we once had on parenting have suddenly changed. You learn that what you thought may work for you and your child is suddenly not at all what you envisioned.

Once upon a time, before there were two little boys running around my house, I swore I would never let my children share a bed with me. Absolutely was there no way I would co sleep with my children! I believed that children should sleep in their own space and my bed was for their father and me to share, without them!

My first son arrived and he was determined to make the first few weeks as difficult as he could for this new mama. I tried getting him to sleep in his co sleeper bassinet next to me. I tried his car seat, his swing, and bouncy seat. None of it worked. The only way I could get him to sleep was laying on his belly on my chest. Finally, I surrendered to this tiny creature. I needed to sleep just as much as he did. For the first two weeks my son Chase slept on my chest. 

Eventually after trying what seemed like several exhausting attempts I was able to get him to sleep in his co sleeper next to my bed. The trick was he needed to be on his belly. They tell you not to put a baby on their belly but this was the only way he would sleep. Chase remained next to me for three months until he could roll and outgrew the co sleeper and we moved him into his own room into the crib. He was never a good sleeper and I found that as a nursing mother it was easier just to keep him with me in bed. He would start out in his crib but eventually find his way with me. 

When I found out I was pregnant with my second son, Wesley, I made the decision that I would co sleep. Somewhere within me, after a couple years of being a new mom, I changed my mind! I decided this time around I was going to allow my son to sleep (safely) in my bed. It was an easy decision. Maybe it was due to the fact that I was sleep deprived and couldn’t think straight after baby number one. For whatever reason, (did it really matter why?) we started co sleeping with our new baby.

Wesley is now twenty two months old. He has never been in a crib. We are trying to transition him to a toddler bed next to our bed. There are some nights he will sleep till the early hours in the morning in his own bed. Most nights though he has mastered going from his bed to hoisting himself up and over me to squeeze in between his father and I. I do not regret having him bed share with us. I do know transitioning him will take some time and I am OK with that. Having him with me made things less stressful. That warm little body next to me will someday turn into a big boy. He will have his own bed, own space and have no desire to be in our bed.

Having my child next to me was the right choice for me and my partner. It was never what I intended but the bottom line is that is the wonder about parenting. It is OK to change your mind. Each child, each parent, each situation is unique. Remember that they are only little for a short time. You have to discover what works for you. Sometimes that means you change your mind. And that my friends, is OK! 

How I may do things with each boy may even become different as the years go by. I have no idea what I am doing. What I do know is that I will do my best to do what feels right for my children and our family. I have learned more in this job than I have in anything else I have ever done. The pay may suck yet no money in the world could match the reward of love and joy I get from my boys each day.

Changing my mind also reminds me to remember to not judge that other parent. We need to support one another, lean on one another, and encourage one another. There are enough battles in this world, how a person parents should not be one of them. We have good days, bad days, and some are just down right ugly. This ride we are on as parents is one which we all share. No matter how different we may be we are still doing the same thing: trying to raise happy, healthy, and strong little people. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

This Is Why I Blog: More Than Telling A Story

I remember being a teenager and spending hours in my room. I didn't have a TV in my room and I wouldn't have wanted one anyway. I was content lying on my bed with the radio bellowing 80's tunes in the back ground while I either read a book or even better, lost myself in the pages of my journal. Those empty pages invited me to pour myself into them. They asked me to open myself up and free my mind of all the clutter. Those pages lured me in and allowed me to surrender myself to honesty in a way that only blank pages allow. This is why I wrote then and part of the reason I write now.

I had just had my second son,Wesley, four months prior to when I decided to start my blog. The thought had briefly crossed my mind once or twice yet I never actually went through with it. Then one day I sat down to write my first entry, creating my new "home". I was always writing. Every run I went on I could conduct an essay. I was filling the pages of my jumbled mind with stories, happenings, memories, and hopes. I knew I needed to start writing again. I needed to do this blog for for me.

Calling it a "Blog" almost seems to take from it what it is to me. The definition hanging loosely without depth. I would not even call it a hobby. Taking pictures is a hobby, writing to me is healing. I am fortunate to be a part of thousands of women and men who write. I am in a sea of talent, intrigue, and magical words. Writing offers a place to grow, discover, share, and acknowledge our feelings... our lives...those little things that make us feel alive. The powerful things which make our hearts swell and our fingers eager to write more. It gives me a sense of peace and freedom.

I tend to do my best writing on my runs. This is my happy place. The roads in front of me offering a blank canvas for me to do whatever I want on them. Sometimes I think of senseless stuff. There are times when I reflect and focus on me, though most of the time as I run I create and write my posts. If I am lucky I remember them long enough to jot down my thoughts or sit at my laptop to pour myself into the Blogger Document that is in front of me now.

I write for my children. I write to document all the joys and happiness along with sorrows and heartbreaks that parenting brings. I want them to be able to someday pull up this blog and feel every ounce of love that I have for them. I want them to know that it is them who makes me want to be a better person. Those two little faces I wake up to each morning; they are growing and I am growing with them. I am "Mama". I am this because of them. I am "Discovering Me In Them" each and every sacred moment I am given with them.

Lastly, I write for you. I write in hopes that my stories touch you. I want to be able to have others feel like they know exactly what I am feeling. That yes, they have been there before too! I want to inspire and create strength within you all. I rely on optimism to bring me through each day, every situation, and those dark moments we all have. "Always Believe You Can". Life is an amazing gift, do not take it for granted. Hold on to each moment and live in it. Create happiness and happiness will follow you. Step outside of your comfort zone and do something that scares you. You might just find that it was the very thing you needed.

This Blog...I needed!

I have to share the Urban Dictionary's definition of a Blog.  It made me laugh so here you go:

"A meandering, blatantly uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic life. Consists of such riveting entries as "homework sucks" and "I slept until noon today."

These are some of my reasons for writing. What are yours? What is something you are passionate about?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Setting New Goals And Keeping A Commitment

I can't believe that we are half way through 2015 already. May and June seemed to have just rushed on by and now we are at July. I had set a goal for myself that I would run three to four Half Marathons this year. I completed one in April and my second one in May. Yesterday I committed to my third one of the year which will be the Charlotte Covered Bridge Half Marathon. This will be the first time that I have run this race as well as it being my Fifth Half Marathon. I love running in new places. There is something thrilling to me when exploring new roads to run. I do find comfort in some of the routes I frequent yet I enjoy the adventure of a new run.

May was my highest mileage month for me this year hitting 131.08 miles (not a PR for me though). June I fell short for some reason only reaching 116.01. I was pretty disappointed in that. I had thought I even put in a few extra days. I think what happened is that since I was not officially in "training" mode for another Half I allowed some of my longer runs to fall short a couple miles of where I would have liked to be. Now that I have committed to my next race in September I am hoping to start pushing myself to at least break 120 miles this month.

I am still cross training on days I don't run. I have a few video's on You Tube that I enjoy. Adding to my love for Jillian Michael's, I recently discovered and developed a girl crush on Rebecca Louise. She has a full body workout on You Tube that I have been doing along with an arm workout. We can't forget to work on our core so there are days I also do her 10 Minute Ab Workout. I do like to mix up my workouts so I am sure to work all areas of my body. I get in a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) once to twice a week as well. This is effective as well as challenging, not to mention important if you are a runner. If you want to get in a quick but effective workout look up some HIIT video's to try.

For a couple years I ran without any cross training, silly me! Cross training has indeed made me stronger for my runs. My times have improved as well as my stamina. I really wanted to sculpt my body more to gain muscle and tone my body.  I am still a work in progress. I continue to work on where I want to be physically knowing that with each workout or run I am creating a better me. I may not ever be exactly where I want to be when I look in the mirror, yet I hope to be happy with the work I have put in and being where I am at now.

Since we still have a couple of months left of summer and July and August tend to be the hottest I decided to purchase a Camelback Hydration Pack. I do not like running with anything in my hand and decided a fuel belt that holds water also wasn't for me. I figured a Camelback might be just what I need. In looking for the right one for me I knew I didn't want anything big and I would only be using it for my long runs. I was also being frugal, truth be told, and though there were other models I liked I was not looking to spend a lot. I instead used Birthday money I received which bought me my new friend. I will keep you posted on what I think about it after I get to try it out.

For me setting goals and following through with my fitness commitments is important to me. Setting the goal is the first part. Once I have set that goal I become determined to reach it or excel beyond it. It's not always easy and there are days I do not have the motivation. I always say I love to run, but that doesn't mean I always want to run. Some days require an extra push, a personal pep talk. I never regret a workout or a run afterwards. Making the commitment to a healthier and better me is one of the best commitments I have ever made.

Did you set any fitness goals for yourself for 2015? What is your favorite way to workout?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Being A Part Of The Memory: When To Put The Camera Down

One of my favorite things to do is take pictures. I seem to always have the camera in my hand. Even when we leave the house I take it with me "just in case" I see something that I need to take a photo of. Pictures to me are treasure's; moments frozen in time. Pieces of our lives captured to bring us a smile, or sometimes even tears.

I rarely am in photo's since the camera is always in my hand. There are a few times I will hand it over to my partner and those pictures tend to be blurry or completely off centered. They are not in any way taken with the slight amount of an artistic eye. I am fortunate to have a wonderful friend and photographer that has taken pictures of my family over the years and given me amazing treasures.

We just got back from vacation in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. I took a ridiculous amount of photo's as I tend to do on these trips. I want to catch all the "firsts". I want to freeze all those smiles and laughter. I love when I can sit back and watch them and seize that moment when they are not aware I am gawking at them. Then there are those photo's where you try to get the kids to both smile at the same time. Begging, pleading for "just one" good photo. What are we thinking?! Bless photographers patience because after about snapping ten photo's I finally say screw it and hope I got one where they both are remotely looking at the camera. Maybe just maybe one of those pictures they will be smiling and tongues won't be sticking out. Maybe. But highly unlikely.

As much as I love taking pictures I know I need to try to put the camera down. This is hard for me. What if I miss something really great?! The reality is holding that camera in my hand all the time doesn't allow me to be a part of the moment. In fact I am missing something great. I am missing being a part of that memory. I can still freeze that moment in my mind. My heart can feel joy by watching my children smile and being the one to smile back at them. No lens in front of my face, just me.

One of my favorite moments from our trip was when I did decided to leave my camera behind. I hesitated in my mind before walking out the door. It had been storming all day and the rain had finally stopped. It was eight o'clock at night and I asked Chase if he wanted to go on an "adventure". One of the things I make sure we do is walk the beach together. Just him and I looking for "treasures". This night I knew the waves were angry and the ocean would be inviting me to take pictures. I wanted to capture Chase playing in those waves, dancing over the seaweed and shells. I left my camera at the room walking hand and hand with my son.

The next half hour we skipped on the beach. Our toes sinking in the wet sand. The salt water splashing at our feet and reaching up towards our knees. I held Chase's hand as a wave pulled him down soaking him from head to toe. We looked at one another and laughed. We kept playing games with the waves. The ocean was an amazing canvas of rumbling waves. It was beautiful, intense, and inviting; just as Chase's laughter was. His face was lit up and his eyes sparkled with glee. This moment was perfect. This moment was mine to hold on to. I have already tucked it away and kept it as one of my sacred treasures, right inside my soul.

I will always have my camera on me. I will continue to take an obscene amount of photo's. What I want to try my best to do is be more in the moment. To allow myself to put that camera down so I can create more of these memories with my children. I want them to hold onto these moments just as I do. There are things I remember as a young girl. I do not need photo's to remind me. I can only hope my children will grasp the same sweet moments I do. And the rest, I will stop in time with my camera.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Let's Eat Nakd!

In my effort to be healthy, stay healthy and eat clean, I am always looking for healthy snack alternatives. I eat frequently through out the day (at least every two hours) and with small creatures in my house combined with working, cleaning, and being active, I need foods that are quick to fuel me. I am always buying different protein bars to try so I was thrilled when I was asked to review Natural Protein Bars from Natural Balance Foods.

First of all look at this box! It made me happy just opening it and see the greeting inside. I was pleasantly surprised at all the different flavors to try. Here are just a few: Pecan Pie, Rhubarb & Custard, Cocoa Crunch, Cocoa Orange, Banana, and Strawberry Crunch. There is a total of nine flavor combinations and four crunch bar flavors.

What I love about these bars is that they contain 100 % natural ingredients. This means they are good for you and your body will be happy to eat them. These bars are made from simple and natural ingredients such as fruits and nuts that are "smooshed" together. They are even Gluten, Dairy and Wheat free!

Yes, I was pleased to read the package of the bars and see how simply these were made. But do they taste good? These bars were SO good! I will admit I actually hid the entire box away so my children wouldn't steal them. I was caught eating one and my four year old asked to try them so I caved and gave both him and my 21 month old a bite. They loved it! They even asked for more and sadly I ended up sharing my bars with them. Though sharing my food isn't something I like to do it does please me to give my children healthy snacks. Knowing that they are eating something that is good for their bodies makes me a happy mama.

My two favorite's were the Cocoa Orange and the Cocoa Protein Crunch. I love chocolate and this is such a great way to satisfy a craving without the guilt. Snacks should taste good and be good for you.  

Natural Balance Foods is: "Devoted to increasing world happiness with delicious and healthy snacks, humor and helpfulness." This company is doing their part in promoting healthy eating by giving us a natural and delicious bar. If you are looking for a new way to snack healthy order some of these bars. Right now they even have a sampler box of their bars for $9.99 and shipping is always free! I just ordered a sampler box and a box of the Cocoa Protein Crunch Bars. Maybe I will share with my kids...Maybe not!

Now click on Natural Protein Bars  to read more about this awesome company then head on over and visit them on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: Discovering Me In Them was not paid to write this. All opinions shared regarding products or websites are mine. We all have an opinion right?! I am always happy to share mine!