Tag Archives: Family

Ballerinas and Catsby and Wine-infused Coffee

And we meet again. On a Friday. Yay! Long weekend. Woo! Party time. Yeah!

Okay, that’s out of the way. This week was significantly less eventful on my end, and darnit, I like it that way. I still feel like I’m recovering from last week’s hustle and bustle.

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My baby had her first dance recitals this weekend. I was on stage with her (it was a “You & Me” class for caregivers and children, and though my role was minimal, I was still absolutely drained by the end of the weekend.

She did well, though. She smiled. She listened to me onstage (backstage was a different story). I guess that’s what matters. She loves to dance, and I think she’s going to be very good at it.

Other than that, the week has contained minimal excitement or activity. I’m re-framing my goals right now and really taking into consideration the things I need to do to achieve them.

Web-flavored Goodness

  • Sad news coming out of the running community. Gabe Proctor, a former NCAA champion, died by suicide last week. Nobody, regardless of their successes or kind heart or circumstances, is immune to depression and mental health issues. My thoughts have been with his family and friends.
  • I think I’ve referenced Mirna before in my blog. If I haven’t, I should have. Because this article made me say, “YUS, GIRL,” out loud as I was reading it.

“Lastly, I am beautiful. The entire running community is beautiful. And we determine that. Not you.”

  • Wine is good for you. We keep hearing this. So let’s skip the chit-chat, and I’ll break out the corkscrew. (Obligatory: moderation, people. Practice moderation.) (And sidenote, that article opened my eyes to the fact that there is now wine-infused coffee. This really blurs the structure of my day.)
  • One of my favorite cities on this planet held a memorial 5k. For a cat. Named Catsby. If it wasn’t dance recital weekend, I may have considered attending.
  • Yes. That’s all.

H’okay! I hope your long weekend is relaxing and fun and productive/unproductive (depending on what you want it to be) and filled with sparkles and rainbows and love. See you next week!

SHOP

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Just because.

Well. I’ve been absent again. It has been a long week, and I honestly haven’t even known what to write about. So I didn’t.

Except that I kinda did. Thank you so very much to the Minneapolis Running folks again for publishing another article of mine. I was able to tackle a tough subject that comes up frequently on my blog: mental health. I hope you enjoy it and find some use from it, even if you don’t have issues with your mental health.

ALSO! The next day, they hosted a live video with none other than Sarah Bowen Shea, who is honestly one of my very favorite people ever. I constantly rave over Another Mother Runner, so if you haven’t checked them out by now…honestly, what are you waiting for?

So now: let’s have a conversation and catch up a little. How have you been? How’s the fam?

Fine, thanks. Whatcha been eating lately?

I’ve really been continuing the effort to meal plan and prepare ahead of time. It makes my life sooooo much less stressful. We’ve tried several new recipes these past few weeks, and there have been hits and misses.

Quinoa goes over well with my kiddo and husband. Especially in more Mexican-centric dishes. Or cheesy. Stuffed pepper soup was my favorite. The creamy avocado pesto pasta above? Big fail. And not even good for leftovers, because I am not a fan of  the color/flavor of avocado when it’s more than a few minutes old.

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I also jumped into the world of Shakeology. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it or have at least heard about it/read about it in your Facebook newsfeed. I’d been on the fence for quite sometime, because I try not to get too caught up in anything that is associated with MLM. But after forgetting to make breakfast for myself several days in a row, it seemed like something to at least try.

So far, I’m not disappointed one bit. It’s quick. I have a billion recipes to try, and I’ve loved the ones I’ve tried so far (including birthday cake, Kit Kat, sunshine creamsicle, and peanut butter cup). And it keeps me FULL. Fuller than I thought possible with a shake. I’ll continue to try this month and see how it goes, but it is a luxury that makes my mornings easier so far. Some days, I need all the help I can get.

Great. What have you been up to?

Not running. Oops, am I supposed to admit that? I ran a couple times last week. This week? Nada. Hubby is out of town for the whole week on a work trip, and I’ve been hopping. It is our last week of dance before summer, and it includes dance rehearsals and two recitals this weekend. Throw in an out-of-town work conference, two cats & one dog, and a kid with mood swings worse than a Sourpatch Kid? I’m fried. My house is a war-zone. I’m basically throwing kibble on the floor for all the critters to consume. I may have even bathed LJ with a few baby wipes at one point this week. (Don’t worry. She got a bath the next night.)

I literally found a plate of LJ’s dinner turned over on the living room floor last night. It had dried and crusted to the plate by the time it was flipped over, though, so the carpet was completely unscathed. An embarrassing sort of victory.

As for last weekend, Mother’s Day was…good. I am blessed to be a mom. I am blessed to have so many lovely women in my life and my daughter’s life. But it also is a day filled with inner-turmoil for me and for others, I know. For me, I have a fractured relationship with the person I most want to celebrate. I love her so very much, and I miss her. I hope things can be better some day, but that doesn’t make Mother’s Day less painful now.

The other person I want to celebrate with is my grandmother, whom I’ve written about in the past. She meant and still means so much to me, so LJ and I made a trip to visit her and Grandpa’s burial site. We talked with them, and LJ gave them many hugs and kisses. We brought flowers and thanked Grandma for being wonderful. We had conversations about life and death, and I was honest with LJ, even when it was painful for me and confusing for her. I won’t hide my grief, because I want her to know how amazing her great-grandma was.

Because hubby left the day before Mother’s Day, he and LJ both found ways to make me feel loved that weekend. They sent flowers to me at work on Saturday, and LJ slept in until 9:00 Sunday morning. What a darling.

What are you reading?

Oh, boy. I’ve got a gigantic TBR list, and I realized how far behind I am on my reading goal for the year. So I’ve been cruising through the chapters these last few days. I just finished a wonderful/tragic graphic novel called Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love by Marissa Moss. Highly recommended, but it will pull at your heart. This is a bleak one, but it captures the reality some people face when their loved one is faced with terminal illness.

I’m in the process of tackling Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a short read but I’m taking a little extra time to digest each “chapter.”

Also in line to finish up Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig soon.

Okay, great. Anything else?

I’m running the TC 10 Mile, thanks to the Mother Runner crew! I’m soooooo excited, because this was one of my favorite races ever. So I’m back in training-planning mode with a renewed energy. I’ll reach my goals someday, and this was a big boost.

Also, this is my workplace, and I love it. Especially when the sky is shiny happy:

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This post ended up being much longer than anticipated. Hopefully I learn to break it up a little bit in the future, but you know how I operate…silence and then surprise.

SHOP

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FriYAY

The sun is shining. The skies are blue. It’s Friday. The stars are aligned or the gods are finally happy with us or Mother Nature is just in a really damn good mood. Any way you cut it, today is beautiful in my neck of the woods, and I hope it’s great for you, too.

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Lunch breaks: deck, book, food. Win.

I found my way out on the beaten trail a couple of times this week, and I have a “race” tomorrow, if you can call it that. It’s a local event that sponsors local families dealing with serious illnesses. Always gives you the happy tingly feelings inside your heart to see so many community members getting together for a good cause. And it’s nice to have companions on my usual running paths!

This week has also provided opportunities to get outside as a family, something we never do enough of. I’m not sure if it’s easier or more difficult now that LJ is older, but she’s an active kiddo. So anything that helps tucker her out is good in my book.

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I’ve been really contemplating my relationship with food these past few weeks, as is evidenced by the great sugar fast of April 2017. (Y’know…by great, I mean 3 whole days sugar-free and a few more days mostly sugar-free.) It’s part of my unofficial “health reset” where I basically start building myself brick-by-brick again.

I’ve observed my behavior, and I am noticing a trend. If I start eating refined sugar earlier in the day, I want it all day. If I abstain for a while, I’m less likely to crave it and think about it. So whatever that’s worth…I don’t know.

This article seemed to hit at exactly the right time, though. It preaches kindness, and that’s what I need to remember.

The most important one that is helping me be kinder to myself every day? Find what works for you.

What works for you may not work for someone else—and that is okay. When it comes to food (and running and life…) it is okay to experiment. You may make a mistake. Something may not work for you. But, you’ll learn from it and move on.

This morning, I woke up, thought about the snacking I did after I got home from work last night, and my mind immediately thought, “You eat garbage. You are garbage.”

I caught myself. I was surprised, because I realized these are thoughts I have often but don’t often stop myself from having. This morning, I corrected myself: “You didn’t eat great last night. It satisfied some need or desire you had, even if it wasn’t the healthiest way to do it. Today will be better, starting…now.”

I didn’t 100% believe myself, but I believe there’s some merit to the phrase “Fake it ’til you make it.”

Well, before I pack up and head out for the weekend, I’d be remiss if I didn’t wish you a belated happy Star Wars Day.

Here’s my little Wookiee with her Wookiee hair and her Wookiee shirt. And my dog, because…Chewbarka.

SHOP

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3/28/17: Tasty Tuesday

I did it! I came back like I said I would! Aren’t you proud? (Cue the crickets.)

Well, meal planning wasn’t exactly my strong suit this week. I know I have much smoother weeks when I do plan out everything on Sunday afternoon/evening, but I am realistic. It’s not always gonna happen. Life happens.

Luckily, hubby ran to the store late Sunday night to get at least one recipe’s worth of ingredients. I’ve wanted to try stuffed peppers for quite some time, and they jumped to the top of the recipe pile as I was shuffling through my food folder. What better time than a Monday?

I used a recipe I found a few weeks ago on the Poundfit blog, and…yum! They took a little more preparation time than anticipated, and I also neglected to see the part where they bake for 30-40 minutes. Still, we had a delicious and healthy meal hot from the oven around 7:00 PM.

Verdicts:
-Hubby: thumbs way up! By the end of the meal, he was talking about tweaks we could make, and he was excited to take the leftover filling to work with him. It’s a good standalone mix, too.

-LJ: meh, okay, if I must. We have a bit of a sassy attitude and picky eating thing going on these past few days. (Yay for spirited 3-year-olds!) It has been challenging. I did get her to take some reluctant bites, which she said tasted good. But then she’d say the next bite I offered was going to be yucky. We continue to push foods that she has decided she doesn’t like, though, because it usually takes several tries with kiddos before they realize, “Hey, maybe this isn’t so bad.” The more exposure, the better in our household.

-Me: yes, pretty great, thanks. I used a combination of red peppers and green peppers, and I have to say the red peppers complement the recipe much better. In the future, I’ll plan on using red. I also wanted a little more pow to it, so I may tweak it with  chili powder or cumin in the future. I also would like to incorporate some other veggies in there. This seems like a very versatile recipe.

On the schedule for my evening: Ironstrength DVD workout. I like that it’s made with runners in mind, and I love the short segments. 99% of the time, I try not to fall for the ad emails I receive. This one really caught me, though, and I am glad it did. I love Runner’s World and trust their products, so it seemed pretty-low risk. I also heard Dr. Metzl (creator of Ironstrength) on a podcast, and he was fantastic.
The first time I did the workout, I just about vomited. But in a good way. Is there a good way? If there were, this would be it. It worked my muscles and body in a new, effective way. And it scares me a little bit before I start it each time. Sometimes, it’s good to do things that scare you a little bit.

Enjoy your evening! Go do something a little scary.

Cassie

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3/14/17: Tasty Tuesday

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Welcome to Tasty Tuesday! Gave a little teaser on my Facebook page this morning, so I figured I better follow through.

I’m still really enjoying LJ’s active interest in the kitchen. She wants to drag her stool everywhere so she can see everything going on, whether it’s prepping ingredients or washing dishes. (I hope she’s still fascinated by dishes in about 7 years. Or forever.)

Last night’s experiment was with black bean burgers! I have been vegetarian for, oh…maybe 9 years or so now? Hubby has for probably 5, and LJ has been her whole life. We face some challenges with this, but it’s worth it for us.

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She mostly covered her ears when the food processor was on, but she did take a few pushes of the button.

Anyway, even though we’ve been vegetarian for a while, we’ve never made our own black bean burgers from scratch. I’m a fan of a good black bean burger at a restaurant. Not the defrosted Boca burgers that many restaurants use. An actual homemade burger. The best ones even fall apart in the bun, because they’re made from honest-to-goodness whole foods.

I found this recipe on the POUND fit blog (sidenote: if you are a fan of music/dance during your workouts and haven’t checked out POUND, you’re missing out), and we decided it looked easy enough that we should give it a shot.

It was a mostly successful venture for us!

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Stove-top griddles are fantastic.

The initial recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of black beans and 1/2 cup of chickpeas. We ended up doubling the amount of black beans and probably could have added more chickpeas. The recipe didn’t thicken up as much as we had hoped; I didn’t expect it to be thick like an actual burger, but it was basically liquid when we first mixed it up.

I also left out the cayenne, because hubby has a sensitive palate. Hubby commented that he thought the recipe could use some more salt and seasoning. I told him the goal was to eliminate extra salt sources for health reasons. He agreed it was healthier that way but tastier with more salt. We are at an impasse…though he is right. Most things taste better with salt.

LJ wasn’t a fan at first, but that’s normal for her when she tries new foods. We pulled out the good ol’ Daniel Tiger song, though, and he helped us save the day. By the end of the meal, she had eaten almost all of her burger and bun. And she even hesitantly admitted she liked it.

I think we’ll try this again, but I may research a few different recipes to see if there are some different seasoning options. Any of you ever tried making your own black bean burgers before?

Happy almost-hump day!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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3/12/17: Sunday Runday

Technically, Saturday was my “Runday,” but I’ve still got some stuff I want to get out of my brain.

I ran a 14k yesterday. (That’s just about 8.7 miles.) It was just kinda okay. It was really cold and windy. The muscles from my feet up through my calves started spasming. At one point after the race, my toes literally curled under on my right foot, and I couldn’t figure out how to uncurl them. I’m not sure if it was from the cold, but I do know I had to walk most of the last 1.5 miles (bringing my pace wayyyy down).

 

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Sent this pic to hubby along with a four letter word in all caps. You can take your own bets on what word it was.

 

I was last place in my age group. I was nearly last for the whole damn 14k. Most days, I have the energy to tell myself, “But hey, you’re out there doing it! YOU are your only competition! You’ve got a lot to be proud of.”

Yesterday, my brain wasn’t having it. I was so angry and spent a good chunk of the afternoon and evening in our hotel room: sore, tired, and wondering why I do this. Why do I pay money to travel to races, run until I want to barf or lie down, injure myself occasionally, and generally feel sort of miserable? Why do I do this if I’m not even “good” at it?

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The truth is…I still can’t exactly explain it. I still don’t exactly know why. This thing, running, this thing I used to HATE in school (I was petrified of running the dreaded “mile” in school.) has become a savior for me. I can’t explain it, but most days I can feel it.

It’s going to get better. I’m going to get better. I have to believe that. I have to believe this isn’t “all” for me.” And I have to remember that even if it is, I still have a lot to be proud of. Back of the pack is okay. It’s more than okay. It means I still tried, and I did it, and I’m setting a good example for others, most importantly LJ.

 

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There’s my reason.

 

I am okay.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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1/23/17: Manic Monday

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via Giphy

My training plan started today! And I won’t lie, I felt a little Nemo-ish when I woke up. Well, as Nemo-ish as one can be at 5:30 in the morning.

Summary: It was sleeting. The sidewalks were covered in ice. (Yaktrax are a blessing.) I’m on the cusp of catching the kiddo’s respiratory illness. I was slow. I had a twinge of pain here or there. But it is done. And I just want to be all healed and back on the road so very badly. Hoping I get stronger each day.

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First day of school! First day of school!

Without further ado, here are a couple quick tidbits for a busy Monday.

Every time I read an article on being too hooked on technology, I think, “I know! I know I need to quit playing with my phone. Put it down, woman!” But then I don’t do a very good job of putting it down. I’ll just keep trying to beat it into my brain. Here’s another good one.

I really enjoy reading what Dean Karnazes writes. This gem is no exception. I should just print this out and read it everyday. So many simple reminders of some pretty darn good ways to use your mind to achieve goals.

And without going too far into discussions of current volatile political topics, I will say this last week has been difficult. I am trying to handle the accompanying anxiety with some grace and mostly just a lot of hiding under the covers. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen some incredibly powerful examples of humanity and kindness and strength.

But I’ve also been seeing the nasty words, the “us vs. them” mentality,  and finger-pointing that has been going back and forth between strangers, acquaintances, and even friends and family. It is incredibly disheartening, and even if I shouldn’t let it weigh heavily on me, I do. I know others do, too.

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Let’s just chill for a bit and eat some popcorn and watch some Curious George, k guys?

All I will say is this: please be mindful and respectful with your posts, words, and actions. That’s not asking too much. (The librarian in me asks that you also fact check before you share that meme, but that’s a whole other post.) Anywho, Jenny Lawson thinks this week has been difficult, too. And I love her, because she gets it.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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1/2/17: Not-so-manic Monday

More like mellow Monday? Days off for all of us today mean we are still in our jammies at noon! That’s just fine. Usually, I’m in such a big hurry to get dressed and ready and out the door doing something that I don’t take time to just sit. We all need to just sit and enjoy our coffee some days.

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My cats happen to be experts in relaxation.

I suppose it’s also time to take down some of the Christmas decor today. *sigh* I am one of those people who generally puts it up in mid-November, when some would consider it “early.” Doesn’t mean I’m any less sad to see it go.

My BFF got me an infuser water bottle for Christmas, and I already am in LOVE with it. Had myself a non-alcoholic mojito yesterday, and I sucked down 32 ounces of water in a snap. I’ve been having trouble meeting my water goals this last year, and I think this is really going to help.

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Lime, mint, and some blackberries for fun. Added a tsp of coconut sugar, but definitely not needed.

So in the not-so-manic spirit, let’s all be in awe of this amazing record-setter. It’s all I can do to just put one foot in front of the other while I run, so I bow down to this gentleman (and his predecessor).

Hope you are finding some time to relax today, too!

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Brunch with my wild girl yesterday.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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12/30/16: Friday Favorites

Mojo, oh, mojo!
Where did you go-jo? I don’t
know how to find you.

This lame-sauce haiku came to me in my brief attempt to express my current feelings and motivation level. I’m definitely down in the dumps, and the post-holiday blues are piled right on top.

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I mean, this really sums up post-Christmas feels, doesn’t it?

January will be here next week, though, all fresh and shiny! I definitely have some goals that I’m working out right now, and I look forward to sharing them here.

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One of my intentions for the new year is to have more conscious time with my girl. Today was my day off, so we went for a lunch/games date.

We are getting ready for our mid-January vacation, and I am still in slight denial about not running the Star Wars Half. The passing of Carrie Fisher has made this a particularly crushing blow for me, as I was privy to the information that she will be on the finisher medals. Life is funny, and not always in a good way.

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Beauty in and out. She was my princess growing up, and she is my daughter’s princess. And badass General as well.

Holidays were good. We are so blessed with love and family and friends. I can’t remind myself of that enough.

I’m looking forward to 2017 being THE year. I don’t know why it feels different. Maybe I think that every year. But 2016 kind of felt like a gear-up, get-shit-in-line, lets-get-ready-to-go kind of year (if you forget about that pesky train-went-off-the-tracks injury a couple weeks ago). I achieved things I didn’t think I could. I feel happier, even when my brain is trying to make me not happy. I feel more at peace than I have in a long time.

Are you making goals? Resolutions? I would love to hear them.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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12/21/16: Whatever Wednesday

Since my Monday post, I’ve had so much kindness and positivity sent my way. Thank you all for your words of encouragement and for letting me just be kinda sad for a few days. I can’t promise I won’t still have some sad moments, but I also am trying to channel my energy into planning for a badass 2017. Assuming my recovery goes well, I’ll be training for a half marathon in May. I’ll start off slow and easy, though, with a plan meant for beginners and shorter distance runners who want to run long. Bless the AMR crew, because these plans come with so much support and fun. I can’t imagine having a better virtual tribe to “run with.”

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Chewbarka photo. Because this post didn’t have enough cute.

So without further ado, here’s some “whatever” for your Wednesday.

  • You know I love me some mental health talk. And running talk. So when you combine both into one article, of course I’ve gotta include it. Running as therapy. I firmly believe in it.
  • Weekly oasis” is the nicest term I’ve ever heard to describe “me time.” I like it, and I think it’s important we remember to do this weekly (or more often as needed).
  • Anyone else stuck on the treadmill this time of year? I certainly think it has its good points. I mean, I love not having to bundle up, put on my Yak-Trax, apply Vaseline to exposed skin, pack up tissues, etc. before heading out the door at 5:30 AM. And I’ve seen several articles that give tips for enjoying the treadmill more. This one from Runner’s World seemed like a refreshing new spin on it, though.

Okay, kittens. I’m out for the evening. Got some more Christmas shopping to do, and Mother Hubbard’s cupboard isn’t exactly full.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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