Sunday, September 29, 2013

Enjoy where you are. always.

 Today, Hubs and I ran a 5k on the trail...our "usual" Saturday morning routine.
We agreed to take it slow this morning, but I think Hubs started getting nervous for the race in 2 weeks and we averaged an 8:30 pace the whole time, finishing in 25 minutes.  For a trail run, this was fast for us (while training for the half marathon, I averaged a 9:30 on the trail).  

Lessons learned this morning:
1.  training for a marathon will make you a faster runner.  Now that I've run 13 miles, 3 at a faster pace doesn't seem as hard.
2. Weather makes a huge difference.  It was a perfect 70 degrees, with no humidity and I could actually breath!  Running through the hot summer sure makes me appreciate fall.
3. Attitude is huge when running.  This morning I was so thankful to be on the trail with my hubby.  It's a place that I love and a place I've longed to be for a long time.

This was us 1 year ago, on our first trail run post-Charlie:

I struggled a lot after Charlie was born, with insecurities about myself.  Hubs was supportive, encouraging and loved me no matter how in shape I was...but I couldn't accept it.  I didn't feel good enough and was angry that I couldn't run with him like we used to.  It got so bad that I refused to run with him and it took months of long runs by myself to overcome my emotional hurdles.  

But as we ran the hills yesterday, I found myself thankful for those hurdles.  Because of the hard times, it made this good time, even sweeter.  It goes the same for working out.  It's good to have a really hard run or a period of struggling with working out, because then you get to look back and say, "remember when getting up this hill was really tough?  And today I sprinted up it!"

So yesterday, although it was just a fast 5k run in the books, was huge to me.  I was back on the trail with my love.  We were back to enjoying the trail together and I could finally accept myself, for where I was and not where I thought I should be.

We went back to the Y and Ben did his push up/sit up routine (he does literally 100's) and I conquered Leanne's 3 minute plank challenge.  I also did some of these:
they're my new favorite abs.
BOSU Ball V-Ups

Have you attempted the 3 minute plank challenge?

My advice for conquering it is to change position every 30 seconds.
Try going through this sequence:
half plank (on elbows)
right half side plank (on elbow)
left half side plank
full plank
right full plank
left full plank.
 and just because I have work-out ADD, I added some hip dips, leg lifts and arm extensions to the variations.  Basically if you keep something moving, it takes your mind off of the burning that you're feeling for 3 minutes.

Hope you enjoy this beautiful weekend, whether it's running or playing at the park with your kids!
Just remember, no matter what you're doing, enjoy it.
And if you're not, then go inside and do a plank for 3 minutes and it will make whatever you were doing before look a lot prettier :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Why a new blog?

I actually started this blog about 9 months ago as a journal for myself.  I called it 'A Simple Momma' because our family blog is titled 'A Simple Life' and sometimes I just want to be simply Jen.  I've contemplated about expanding the blog for awhile, but could never build up the nerve to actually let it be public.

So what made me decide to jump in?
When I was training for a half marathon, I struggled with blisters and went searching for cures.  I scoured blogs for advice and wisdom.  I found a great running blog and fell in love with it.  I don't know this girl...she's just a plain Jane girl like me, posting about her everyday life...but I found her blog so refreshing.  She gave great running advice, practical tips and made me laugh every single day.

So when several people asked me to post workouts or things to do when they couldn't make it to a class, I thought maybe it would be worth starting a blog.  Maybe this plain Jane girl could also inspire a random reader.

I often feel like I'm just muddling through life, continually trying to figure things out.  For real, there must be an answer to keeping up on folding laundry!  But then I kept hearing, "that's inspiring" or "you've inspired me" and I realized that perhaps we're all muddling through this life and why not do it together.  Why not laugh with eachother when a Pinterest project fails, encourage each other when kids' problems seem unsolvable or push each other to run one more mile?

But enough about blogging, my parents are coming to visit this evening and I've got to go deep clean random things in my house.   Anyone else find themselves doing this when company is coming?  Why can't I convince myself that no one is going to look in my oven and judge me on how clean it is?

I welcome you to my new blog...grab a diet coke, sit back and read some old posts and have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Princess P ready for ballet
Most Saturday's, Hubby and I go for a run in the morning, then Princess P has ballet.  We'll run some errands or get a house project done and then cook a good meal.  Sounds blissful, right?

Except there's one problem.
I hate Saturday's.

It's taken me a good year to figure it out I just have to figure out how to solve it.
In my mommy head, Saturday should be blissful.
Hubby is home to help.  We're all together and should enjoy every minute of our "free" time together.
I want to stay in my pj's for an extra long time and sip an extra amount of coffee.  I usually have a secret "to-do" list tucked away in the back of my brain for all the moments that hubby will be playing with the kids and I have time all to myself.

In reality, the kids are up earlier than normal, immediately asking for a million things at once.  The coffee turns cold while I'm trying to get everyone ready so we can get to the Y before child watch closes.  The 1st grader wants to go to the park, the zoo, the pool and Target, while the Hubby who has to travel to work everyday wants to do nothing.  Both are complaining to me who is just trying to get one simple chore done!  Oh, and that good meal we want to cook?  Yep, I forgot half the ingredients we need for it which equals approximately 3 trips to the grocery store in one afternoon and a 'trying-not-to-be-annoyed' hubby.

Bliss out the door.  Grumbling and complaining enter in.

I don't know how to juggle everyone's expectation for Saturday.
All I know is to pray.
Pray hard.
Saturday is coming.

Bread Crumbs

There's only one thing better than the smell of fresh baked bread...
roasted bread for bread crumbs.

I save the ends of our bread loafs, bread that's gone slightly stale or parts of loafs that just didn't turn out right (I love using everything we have to their fullest use!).  We always have a mixture of whole grain sandwich bread, sourdough bread and french bread, which creates a much deeper taste to something so simple.

So with those saved pieces of bread, I chop them up and drizzle a little olive oil over them on a roasting pan.  Then I put a couple cloves of peeled garlic in the pan and sprinkle some salt and Italian season over everything.
Pop them in the oven at 300 until they're crispy.

 Let them cool and then chop them to your desired consistency in a food processor or blender.

These breadcrumbs turned our boring meatloaf into a fabulous dinner and they'll be vamping up my schnitzel later this week.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kettle Corn

It's the perfect movie snack...

1/3 cup popcorn
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar

Mix in a stove top popper and cook until popping slows.
Immediately transfer to mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt.

Now if Hubs and I could just agree on a movie, we'd be all set.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

1/2 marathon

I ran the Virginia Beach Rock N' Roll half marathon and I am so proud of myself.
I finished at exactly 2 hours and averaged an 8:30 pace the whole time.
Now that it's done, I'm not sure how I did it.  I don't know how I trained and I sure don't know how I ran so quickly.  But I am so thankful I did!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Love Forever

My feelings were hurt and I was struggling with feeling "run over" by all the chores and responsibilities on my plate.
But I woke up this morning with one solid truth:  I promised to love my Hubby for all the days of my life.
not unless he hurts me
or I'm unhappy
or not feeling loved.
even when he makes big mistakes
even when I make big mistakes.

I will choose to love him.  I stopped and prayed for wisdom on how to show him that I love him.

Some day my daughter will be walking down the aisle and making the same promise.  I pray that she will be able to come talk with me when her husband hurts her and she doesn't know what to do.  I pray that she will be able to look at our marriage as an example.

Don't run away from your marriage, run straight into the arms of God.