I'm at a Loss

Happy Monday, friends! How was your weekend? I hope it was an awesome one for you. 

I'm going to be completely honest here and let you know that I am really struggling right now. I have always been so good in a crisis. I remember this time when I was an idiotic 15 year old and was hanging out with some other idiotic teenagers and we were doing some things that we shouldn't have been doing and driving around the backroads on Spring Break. I was sitting in the middle of the front seat (we called that "riding bitch" and I still have a hard time not calling it that, even when it's Justin who has to sit in the middle #bestmomever *eye roll*). I didn't have my seat belt on because again, I was an idiot teenager, and we ended up getting in a pretty horrific car accident. I was the person who was the most injured but I remember being extremely calm and helping everyone out of the car and taking charge of the situation. Once we were at the hospital the doctors and nurses kept raving to my parents about how calm and mature I was, especially considering my age. 

Well that's something that I've always prided myself on. I am a very strong and composed person when I need to be, and this past week has been that type of a week. I sat and listened to everything the doctors and nurses said and did and remembered all of it so I could do research when they left so I could be better informed about everything that was going on. I couldn't cry and let myself feel my emotions while my daughter was thrashing about in pain and fear because if I did, who would take care of business?

This is all great for the crisis situation but now that we're out of it, I feel just completely drained and almost fragile like I might break or something. But I still can't break down and let myself go because if I do, who's going to take care of everything else? Jules still needs antibiotics 3 times a day for the next 2.5 weeks, has lots of dr appointments, has an open and oozing wound on her ankle that I have to dress and ensure we aren't having additional problems with, and she is extra clingy and tired and won't let me put her down even to go to the bathroom. On top of that, I have a 13 year old son who has been amazing throughout all of this, but he still needs me to be his mom. And then I have a husband who leaves every night to run into crazy and stressful situations and needs me to support him in that. 

So I am struggling a bit on the inside right now. I teeter between being so grateful that we seem to be getting out of the woods with Julianna right now and then trying not to cry because I haven't been able to get that out yet and probably won't until I eventually break down in the bathroom alone or something. 

I go back to work tomorrow (my mom is still here and will help with Jules) and then Jules will go back to daycare probably on Thursday as long as her incision site is scabbed up. I think getting  back into our routine is going to help me shake this feeling of almost being numb on the inside a lot and I'm actually really looking forward to it. I have also been able to work out almost every day since coming home from the hospital and that seems to help a lot as well.

However while I was trying to come up with a blog post for today I was really struggling and didn't really know what to put. I'm not feeling particularly funny or clever right now and I know that's probably what most of you have come to expect from my posts. So instead I'm just being honest and putting it out there that I'm kind of at a loss. 

I do think that it will start getting better tomorrow so let's all cross our fingers and hope that tomorrow's post is filled with all sorts of shenanigans and ridiculousness because I hate feeling this way just as much as you probably don't enjoy reading it!

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, here are some fun pictures of stuff we did this weekend. Jules spirits have really been up and she's getting back to her crazy, silly self. 

She's still not walking at all, but I think it will probably happen in the next day or so. Today she actually put full weight on her left leg and kind of shuffled over the my iPad, so we're almost there! Instead of walking she's just crawling everywhere or "walking" on her knees when she wants to use her hands. Or she's just having me carry her everywhere since she won't let me put her down.

We've obviously been taking it pretty easy 90% of the time, but decided to get out of the house and go for a short hike on Saturday morning, which ended up being a really great time. We were all able to work up a bit of a sweat and Jules really enjoyed being outside. As we were walking (I obviously wore her the entire time), she kept pointing and saying "that" to everything, meaning she wanted to know what it was. And then she kept wanting to touch the trees and point at all of the wildlife. 

For wildlife we ended up seeing a pretty big alligator, a baby alligator chasing a bird, and baby raccoon that was super effing cute. It climbed up a tree to get away from us and Jules kept pointing at it and saying "dog". No, not dog...don't pet. 

Justin was happy to be done with the hike when we got back to the end of the trail though...

2 miles is way too much for this kid. I think it's worth noting he's wearing a grumpy cat shirt and grumpy cat socks #fashionista

Other than that short adventure, we've been doing a lot of laying around and playing with blocks and changing multiple awful diapers that are due to the crazy antibiotics she's on. 

I hope to be back tomorrow with something super fun and exciting, but no promises. 

I hope you all have an amazing day and week. 

Take-Out Thursday

Happy Friday Eve! We're almost there! 

I'm starting to feel like crap, which makes me think I've probably picked up whatever Jules had/has, which is not a good thing. Because I literally do not have the time to be sick. 

A quick Jules update for you - she is doing mostly better. She's still clingy and cranky once I get her from daycare (she went back on Wednesday). She's also developed this fun new cry that sounds how I'd imagine a pterodactyl with a smoking problem would sound. It's absolutely ridiculous and drives me nuts; I'm guessing she got a reaction she wanted while doing it when she was sick so now it's her new cry. Yayyyyyyy...

Today I'm going to do a Take-out Thursday, since it's been awhile since I've done one. These are basically the pictures I deemed unworthy for a regular blog post that I've decided to share anyway, for one reason or another. So here we goooooooooooo!!

Sick, miserable Jules picture from Monday afternoon. I was like, I can't put that on my blog...that makes me a shitty mom. But now I'm like, whatever...it doesn't make me a shitty mom and it makes me more relatable because I'm sure most of us do it.

Did you know that apparently relatable isn't a word? I mean, I know it is, but I'm getting a spelling error and I know I spelled it right because I googled it. Weird. 

Anywho, moving on...

Other than the fact that I have melasma, my skin is pretty good...I rarely break out and if I do, they're usually itty bitty little zits. Not this week! I had this giant honker on my forehead yesterday and of course I had to share it with you guys! You're welcome!

Some outtakes from our run on Saturday. We're so photogenic and don't you forget it!

Jason was so excited about the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert a couple of weeks ago. Can you tell?? (He might kill me for putting this picture up, but that's the whole point of this post - crappy, outtake pictures!)

Jules really, really, really, really, REALLY loves breadsticks. Don't worry, I made her finish it before we took off. She's not allowed to eat back there by herself yet since I'm a psychopath and am terrified she'll choke. 

I made caprese salad on Sunday, which is one of my favorite summer dishes. I'm lazy and like to keep things simple, so I just buy the mozzarella pearls that can be found in any deli, cut up some tomatoes, some basil, salt, and olive oil. 

Get in muh bellay!!!

Not our good sides. 

Blog10.JPG

That's Julianna's "sup, brah" face. 

How about some fun outtakes from our beach trip?

First off, Justin is an amazing photographer...

About half the time I ask him to take a picture he zooms in and tries to make it ridiculous. And it's usually awful. Like up my nose or something.  #eyeroll

Being photogenic and working our angles runs in the family. 

I love how much Justin loves Jules (and she obviously adores him). I've talked about this a few times already and went into depth about my gap kids and their bond here, but it makes my heart so happy <3 He's been a huge help this week since Jules has been so clingy and won't let me put her down; they've watched all of the Toy Story movies together and he's helped her with snacks and tried to calm her down every time she'd lose her shit while I was trying to make dinner. I really loved when I took Jules upstairs to go to bed and Justin was still watching Toy Story when I came back down - he's a good teenager. 

I wanted to prove I have my priorities straight...

That's the pile of laundry in the corner of my bedroom that really needs to be folded and I was going to do it last night...but I decided to paint my toenails instead. To be fair, my toes were looking ratchet AF - it had been a solid month since I've painted them and instead I was just putting an extra coat on anytime one chipped. So yeah. Not cute. But now they're super cute! 

#priorities

Finally I wanted to share the sunrise from my morning run with you, because it was so beautiful.

No filter needed. 

Seriously, if you really want to get into a good workout routine/schedule start forcing yourself to do it in the morning. Yes, it sucks for the first few weeks and when Jules doesn't sleep well, but I am always so happy to see the sunrise after an awesome workout. Give it a shot!

That's all I have for today and I hope you enjoyed my random picture outtakes and musings. Are you a naturally photogenic person or are you like me, and you always look like a troll if you're caught in a picture unexpected. Seriously...I am only photogenic if I'm prepared. Otherwise, WATCH OUT...it'll be funny, but your picture will be ruined. 

Have a great Thursday!

Working Mom Wednesday

Happy Hump Day! It's a downhill slide to Friday from here, my friends! 

Don't forget Mother's Day this weekend!

There's still time for you to put something special together or order something nice from Amazon, so get on that! 

I do recommend you learn from me and don't send something to your mom that includes something perishable that will melt in the heat...because I live in Florida. And it's hot. Oops.

Today I thought it would be fun to talk about something near and dear to my heart, which is being a working mom. I will be completely honest in that even if I didn't need to work, I would still work. I really enjoy working - seriously! I've been working from way before it was probably legal, starting off as a babysitter for a few years before getting my first official job as a busser at a restaurant when I was 15. I worked at McDonald's for a couple of years in high school, became a server at a number of different restaurants, was in the military, was a bartender and a barista before finally joining Corporate America in June of 2010. 

When I started in my current career, my son and I were transferred from Central Illinois where we had family and friends to Western Massachusetts where we did not know a single person. I'm talking not one person. And I was a single mom, so I didn't really have any help from anyone other than my silly 6 year old. Was it hard? SURE! But I'm a firm believer that it's the hard stuff and how we deal with it that builds our character. And I might be a bit biased, but I have an AWESOME character. 

No matter how much I do enjoy working and the accomplishment I feel after a hard day of work, there are times when it is a struggle to be a working mom. Either the baby kept me up all night long or Justin is being a bunghole and got behind on homework or he's having a teenage meltdown and Jules won't let me make dinner or I just want more than a couple of minutes between when I get home from work and Jason leaves to have a conversation with my husband...I'd be lying if I told you there aren't times I wish I could be home more/all the time. This week with Jules being sick has been one of those times. Poor baby :-(

Still, I wouldn't change my working for anything and thought I'd share my top 3 tips that helps me make it work. Because let's be real, we all need help and ideas to stay afloat sometimes!

My top 3 working mom tips!

MEAL PLAN

I know I've been talking about doing a meal planning post since I started this dang blog and I still haven't done it - SORRY! Here's an abbreviated post on how I do it. 

First and foremost - plan your meals and grocery list. I do this every Saturday/Sunday and while you can use any old notebook to do it, I found this on Amazon and like it because it's a better size to keep in my purse and it's just a bit more organized than a normal notebook. 

I know some people like to do a full week's worth of meals on a Sunday and then eat them the rest of the week, but I personally think that's disgusting and can't do it. I'm sorry if you do that and can get away with it, but I can't stomach eating chicken that was prepped on a Sunday 5 days later - gross! Plus I seem to get food poisoning by just looking at something that's partially spoiled and I can't handle that ish; ain't nobody got time for that!

Instead of prepping all of my meals ahead of time, I make all of our meals as simple as possible and make them either at the time of the meal or a day or two ahead. For example, I always eat my breakfast and dinner the same day I make it (unless we're having leftover spaghetti or something) but I make my lunch the night before I plan on eating it, usually while I'm cleaning up after dinner and doing the dishes. 

I rarely if ever eat out while at work since I always prep my lunches one or two nights beforehand. I also like to try to eat different stuff for lunches since I tend to get sick of eating the same thing every single day. For example, this week I ate pulled BBQ chicken with rice and broccoli on Monday and Tuesday, leftover dinner on Wednesday (honey garlic meatballs, noodles, broccoli), and I'll have chicken sausage, rice and broccoli on Thursday and Friday. I eat a lot of chicken sausage with rice and broccoli, however Trader Joe's, Aldi, and even Walmart have an awesome variety of nitrate-free chicken sausage that doesn't have any nasty shit in it (mostly anyway) and because there's a variety of flavors I don't get sick of eating it on the regular. 

My biggest take away with meal planning is to plan all of your meals on paper and make them as simple as possible. I prefer to make things that don't require a recipe or if they do require a recipe, it's nothing crazy that I'll look at on Wednesday night and be like, NOPE and then order a pizza because I'm effing exhausted. Most Wednesday's and Thursday's we end up eating leftovers or something super easy like...you guessed it; chicken sausage :-)

I save my complicated Pinterest recipes for Sunday night dinner - I love Sunday night dinner!

Moving on to my next tip which is to...

Let shit go

Seriously. You cannot be a working mom and have junior and juniorette in ballet, baseball, basketball, and tumbling, expect them to be on the honor roll to your detriment because you have to help them with homework every night, have a clean house, make a gourmet dinner, provide homemade, organic cupcakes at all school functions, watch all of your stories on tv, drink wine like a boss with your friends, have regular sex with your spouse/SO, exercise and keep yourself fit, etc. 

You need to prioritize the stuff that is important to you and let some of that other stuff go. I refuse to have Justin in more than 1 extracurricular activity at a time - it doesn't benefit him or me to be running around from sport to activity to home for dinner at 8pm and still having 3 hours of homework to do and a messy house and I haven't even sat down yet and I'm going to lose my marbles...NOPE. I also don't try to stress myself out about cleaning because it will always be there and it will get taken care of eventually (...my effing bathroom mirror is still dirty...). I always take time for myself to get my workout in before going to work so I don't lose my mind and I try to take an hour after the kids are in bed or occupied to watch something on tv that I want to watch in complete silence. 

You may have heard this before, but you know when you're on a plane and they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before helping anyone else? This is so applicable in every day life. Take care of yourself and then worry about everyone else - in doing so you'll be better able to take care of everyone else, I promise. 

And my last and final tip...

Get new-ish clothes

I am going to include some affiliate links here, but hear me out...I'm not just trying to get you to subscribe so I get paid. I use Le Tote myself and have used it regularly since I became pregnant, and it has been a lifesaver for me. 

Full disclosure - these links are affiliate links for Le Tote. What that means to you is if you click on them and decide to subscribe, I will get a small financial thank you from Le Tote for the recommendation. I would never recommend anything to you that I myself do not use and I have been a member of Le Tote for almost 2 years now so it's obviously worth the recommendation!

I love having a pretty new outfit to wear into work. That may seem super materialistic, but the fact of the matter is, I feel better when I look better and I'm pretty sure most of you are the same way. As a manager in Corporate America, I've always made it a point to dress the part of the position I want, not the position I have. Meaning I might be a middle manager, but I like to dress like I'm a VP #respectmyauthoritah

When I found out I was pregnant with Jules and then started looking at how freaking expensive maternity clothes are, I was like...shit...leggings and tunics it is (which is totally fine if that's your deal - it's just not mine). Then I remembered reading about Le Tote and how awesome their maternity clothes were, so I decided to give them a shot.

There are 3 different options for maternity boxes:

  • 3 clothing items & 2 accessories for $69/month
  • 4 clothing items for $69/month
  • 2 clothing items & 1 accessory for $49/month 

I chose the 4 clothing items box starting when I was about 6 months pregnant, since I could no longer squeeze myself in my tight dresses and it was getting embarrassing for me and everyone else. I always got 4 dresses in each box and loved every single dress I was ever sent. Seriously, when you're huge and pregnant and get something new you can wear whenever you want, it makes a huge difference in how you feel while waddling into work while 38 weeks pregnant and miserable. 

How does it work?

You can click on the link above for a complete FAQ on the website, or read below for more from how my brain interprets it.

You sign up and fill out a style/size profile and then you are also able to go through all of the clothing available and like items you'd like to have sent to you. Next you get a text/email stating your box is ready to be styled. If you don't like what they picked for you, you can trade those items out for a different item - I would always trade out any shirts/pants/skirts for dresses since I hate wearing pants pretty much all the time, but I especially LOATHE wearing pants while pregnant. I have found that I will typically only get 1 or two of my "liked" items per tote, but some of my favorite items have actually been things that I didn't "like" - trust the process.

You'll receive your box a couple of days after it's shipped and the items are already washed and ready for you to wear! Once you're sick of wearing those items, you send them back in a bag they include in your box and then wait for your next tote. What's SUPER cool is if you really love something, you can just keep it and purchase it at a discounted price (compared to retail price).  

After having Jules I put my account on hold until I went back to work and realized I was for sure not fitting in any of my pre-baby clothes. Once I faced that harsh reality, I signed up for the classic subscription which is a bit cheaper than the maternity membership. 

  • 3 clothing items & 2 accessories for $59/month
  • 4 clothing items for $59/month
  • 2 clothing items & 1 accessory for $39/month

The past couple of totes I've gotten have included items that I never would have picked myself, other than the 1 or 2 items I had "liked", and those have ended up being some of my favorite pieces. I've branched out from just work dresses to shirts and casual dresses and I've even kept a couple of them. 

So why am I recommending you subscribe to a $60/month clothing subscription service? Because it has helped this 16 month postpartum mama who goes to work full-time, likes to look like I have my shit together, and is still between sizes feel good about herself. And that's really saying something because we all know how hard it can be sometimes to feel good about yourself, espsecially when the house is a disaster and/or the baby won't eat/sleep and/or the teenager keeps locking himself in the bathroom for way too long and you just can't even. 

Le Tote

Have any of you tried Le Tote or any of the other subscription services? I tried StitchFix a few years ago, but wasn't overly impressed. The clothes weren't great quality and were expensive for the quality (I went with the cheap box and could have gotten better stuff at Forever21, in my opinion). 

Do you have any tried and true tips for me to help me out? I'm always up for more ways to make my life easier!

See ya tomorrow!

To My Friends <3

This is an ode to my friends. 

I hope you know who you are. 

I have never been the kind of person who had a million friends. There are some people I know who seem to have 25 best friends and they had a hard time whittling their list down to 10 bridesmaids when they got married. Instead of having a million friends I've always had a pretty close-knit group of girlfriends who I completely trusted and love as a BFF. The older I get, the more I find that this is what works best for me and for my friends because I hardly have enough time for the friends I do have, let alone having a bajillion of them.

If anything, the older I get, the closer and smaller my group of friends becomes. 

I've been friends with some of you for decades...

Even when we've been separated by states/countries/oceans we always come back to exactly where we always were **++ (that's secret code language). I love how we can go months without talking and then pick up the phone or have a lunch/crazy night somewhere and pick up right where we left off. 

My friends have been there for me through all of my highs and lows and trust me when I say that there have been plenty of both. We've cried and laughed and had epic fights where we swore we would never be friends again, but here we are...

There are some friends who leave an awesome impression in your heart and you know they'd do anything for you and you'd do anything for them.

Keep those friends. 

Don't worry about the rest. 

There have been friends I've lost along the way that I regret losing - we've grown apart or maybe we didn't recover from that epic fight. There have even been friends that I have been a super shitty friend to and for that I have major regrets. If you're reading this and that's you, I'm sorry.

I sometimes wish I could be a better friend to the friends I have now, since you've been such a great friend to me. You've held my hand while skipping around high school, we've gotten in epic trouble together, we've cried over dumb boys together, we've cried over not-dumb and awful things together, we've traveled and moved across the country, and here we are...still friends. 

Just as much as you've been there for me, I hope you know that I will seriously always be there if you ever need me. Really, I mean it. 

Thank you <3

  • For being ridiculous with me - whether we're trying to ride a moped or making dumb faces or singing songs at the top of our lungs in downtown Orlando or chasing a bear out of a field or drinking wine while watching The Walking Dead on a Sunday - those are just a small portion of my favorite memories with you and I can't wait to make some more as time and funds allow (cause you know, I'm a broke-ass working mom)
  • Thank you for loving my children and never making me feel like they're a pain in the ass(even when I know they can be). Some of you have kids and some of you don't, but you're all the same in this regard. We may not be exactly the same in our parenting styles or views on kids, but I've never felt like that was an issue from you and I hope you know it's never an issue from me. Also thank you for not getting mad at me if I drop an f-bomb around your kids - I don't mean to have such a shitty mouth and I'm not perfect so sometimes they slip out. 
  • Thank you so much for any time you have babysat or offered to babysit. Being a single mom for as long as I was, I had to rely on people to babysit so I could go out sometimes and be the mother effing P.I.M.P. I was back then. And now that I'm married, I still need to date my husband whenever possible. I am so thankful to have you in my life and know that I can leave my kids with you and trust they'll be well taken care of. I promise I will do the same for you if you ever need it so don't hesitate to ask!  
  • Thank you for doing nice things for me without expecting anything back. I do nice things for people simply because I like to do nice things for people - never because I expect them to get me back or to keep a running tally. My friends are the same kind of people - sometimes they might be giving me 80% and I'm only giving 20%, but the role will be reversed eventually and I'll give them 80% whenever they need it. That's simply how these things work and when it happens organically it's a wonderful thing
  • Thank you for never making me feel bad if I forgot about you - I promise it was not intentional and not because you don't matter. It's just simply because my brain can only hold so much before I lose stuff and unfortunately I do sometimes forget plans/dates/things. These darn kids and husband of mine take precedence 99.9% of the time and I'm a worrier so I'm always worrying/thinking about them/trying to figure out ways to make sure life keeps going well. I promise I will do everything I can to make it up to you if I do ever forget anything involving you and appreciate knowing that while you might be annoyed with me now, you'll forgive me  
  • Thank you for supporting me in my choices and never making me feel bad about them, even when you know I'm wrong. You know that this has been my life to live, just as much as I know this is your life to live. As such, having you to support me and my choices without judgement means the world to me. I am so lucky to have you there to pick me up when my choices have been wrong or to celebrate with me when they've been right 

I feel that I am so blessed to have the friends that I currently have and hope that all of you reading have the same support I do.

And if not, go get you some better friends!

Husbands/boyfriends/significant others are great, but there is definitely something to be said about an old fashioned girl's night out/Frozen sing-a-long/ridiculous shenanigans with my girlfriends. 

I encourage you to go hug a friend now. Or if you're not a hugging type, send a text message. And if you really don't feel like you have any friends, subscribe and talk to me and I'll be your friend :-)

Disclaimer - there is a chance I may have forgotten some of my friends in the pictures. Again, this was not intentional and I'm sorry if you are like, WTF, JAMIE?!? Jules and her illness have sucked the life out of me over the past few days and I'm completely brain dead. Please forgive me :-)

Hand, Foot, and I'm Going to Cry

What a weekend we had in our house. Not that it was really eventful because it wasn't, it was just not a relaxing one in any way, shape, or form.

Jules is sick. There is a kid in her classroom at daycare who was diagnosed with hand, foot, and mouth and I'm pretty sure that's what she has. She's been running fevers (up to 102) on and off since Thursday afternoon and has been completely miserable, other than a few short moments of levity, pretty much all weekend. She has been extra super clingy, meaning I couldn't get anything done and I feel terrible for her because I can tell something hurts, but she can't tell me what. 

She actually woke me up around 3:30 this morning and thrashed and whined in my bed for another hour and a half before I finally gave up and went downstairs with her. I put Moana on and she watched that and fell asleep for a bit while I did some yoga and got my food ready for lunch, but then she woke up right before I was getting ready to jump into the shower. And she cried...and cried...and cried. She does not want me to put her down and she doesn't want anyone but me right now...and I have to work today. So I got ready like this.  

I'm talking I did my makeup, blow-dried my hair, and got my breakfast ready like that. And on the inside I just wanted to lay-down and cry alongside Jules because I am exhausted and my back hurts and I feel bad for her. Then Jason came home from work and took her to the doctor so I can go to work for a half-day before going home and putting my mom hat back on so he can get some sleep because he worked all night. These are the times when I hate being a working mom and wish I could just be home with my poor, sick baby. 

However I'm not even going to lie and fake like it won't be nice to not have a feverish, whiny, snotty toddler draped all over me for 4 hours today though. I hope that doesn't make me a shitty mom, but it's exhausting and it's been happening for 3 days now! 

Today's post will be a quick workout round-up from last week, since my brain is completely dunzo and I don't know that I can think of anything super clever or witty to write about. 

Monday - P90X Shoulders, Triceps & Chest

I also did my DR core workout (for diastasis recti - I posted all about it last week if you want to read more!)

Classic Jamie-before-workout-face. I feel like they're actually getting worse, but it is entertaining to me so I'm okay with it. Hopefully it entertains you guys too!

Tuesday - 32 minute run & DR core work

This was the day I was supposed to run 8 quarter mile repeats but couldn't math and ended up only doing 5 (see my blog from Tuesday for more info on that - I'm a hot mess). 

This is a pretty amazing picture too. Man, I am photogenic!

Wednesday - P90X Biceps & Back 

I also did my core workout. It's a trend - I did it every day last week except for Saturday!

Thursday - I ran real fast for 25 minutes...

25 minutes at 10K race pace (8:14/mile) with a 1/2 mile warm-up. This was super hard but I was so proud of myself once it was done and I actually hit my goal pace!

That after-picture though...man, I am trying to out-do myself with awesome pictures!

Also, my goal this week is to clean the master bathroom...including the mirrors. I can't handle the grossness anymore - like I'm almost embarrassed. Almost...not quite though.

Friday - Legs & back, extra hip strengthening workout, DR core work. 

BlogFriday.jpg

(this is the only picture I have from Friday. Gross, gross mirror!

Saturday - Rest DAY!

Peach-a-rita day?

I may have had a handful...over the course of like 5 hours. But still, a handful. It was after Jules went to bed and I was binge-watching Girls and snap-chatting all of my friends, so stop judging me!!

Sunday - RUN DAY! 

Jules woke up in a decent mood and didn't have a fever, so we went out and ran a little over 4 miles together. It was a pretty hard run - probably had more to do with the peach-a-rita's than anything, but I'm blaming it on the wind. 

LOOK!! I'm doing my old duck lips pose here! I haven't done that in forever!!

Maybe I should bring it back for good?!?

Nope...not gonna happen.

Mid-run picture, for the win!

This is apparently our new signature pose. I'm pretty sure she's telling me not to touch her with my sweaty, gross self. 

After our run we came home and I did my DR core workout and another hip workout, we had some breakfast, and then Jules laid on me and whined and thrashed around for the rest of the day. The poor thing looked like I look when I have a migraine and had a fever pretty much all day, so I gave her painkillers as directed, but she was pretty miserable all day long :-(

Did you have a better weekend than we did? Have you ever dealt with hand, foot, and mouth? How much do you LOVE my ridiculous pictures?  

 

You Know You're a Real Runner If/When...

Hi folks! How are you doing? 

It's Friday Eve! 

(when you read that, fake like I'm singing it to you because that's how I meant it to come across)

So we've got Friday Eve going for us - is it just me or is this week dragging? Maybe that will mean this weekend will drag too (yeah right...). 

And if you've already subscribed but aren't seeing the emails in your inbox, they are probably going to your junk mail so check there!

Today's workout was a doozy. Like I woke-up and then farted around for 25 minutes avoiding it before I finally forced myself out the door. Just so you have some insight, I typically get up at 5:10 in the morning but I do not bounce out of bed all excited and energetic. Sometimes I hit snooze, but I'm almost always up and out of bed by 5:20, and I don't usually get started with my workout until 5:30-5:50 depending on what it is and how tired I am that morning. So I roll out of bed, go to the bathroom and look on Facebook while I wake-up, get dressed, make my preworkout drink, take some selfies and then I'm usually ready to tackle whatever workout I have planned. This morning I woke up and went to the bathroom and then did this:

That's me, face-down on my bed. I could not even. So I did that for a minute or two and then I finished getting dressed aaaaaand I threw myself on the bed again. Finally I was like, GET UP AND GO. 

That face is the face of someone who is forcing themselves to workout when they really wanted to sleep another hour. 

And that's the face of a person who just realized they have to get out the door RIGHT NOW or they won't have time to do their core workout and meditate after their run. 

So I did it. I went outside and ran my scheduled workout, which was 25 minutes of running at race pace. I don't really have a race planned right now, but know that I want to improve my 10K time so I ran at my 10K race pace based on what my 5K race pace was (THIS is the calculator I use to figure out all of this pace stuff). I warmed up with a 1/2 mile run and then pushed myself to run around an 8:14 pace the rest of the run. Dude...it was so hard. Like I really didn't think I was going to be able to keep up that pace for the entire 25 minutes. I'm talking I really had to push myself to do it and would feel myself slow down a bit here and there. But whenever that would happen I would concentrate on increasing my cadence and would naturally start running faster just by doing that. This is when having a music playlist with high BPM comes in handy because I just try to match my feet to the beat. I did it guys, but man was it hard!

And super sweaty...but I'm pretty sure I could walk 3.5 miles and end up this sweaty afterwards. I'm a sweaty, sweaty beast! Then I did my transverse abdominal workout for my DR that I posted about yesterday (check it out here), stretched, did a really awesome body scan meditation (great for relaxation) and got ready for the day.

While I was running and trying to keep myself from stopping, I came up with the idea for this blog post. There have been a number of times during my running life that I have thought to myself "now THIS makes you a REAL runner" and I knew I wanted to share it with you guys.

Without further ado, you know you're a real runner if/when...

  • You spit on yourself while running because you were too tired to turn your head far enough to the left and it flies back in your face. And instead of being grossed out you just wipe it off and keep going without a moment's hesitation - this is what happened to me this morning and gave me the idea for this post. 
  • You come back from a run in the winter and have snot all over your sleeve/inside of your shirt where you had to wipe your nose during your run. Bonus points if you've actually blown your nose into your shirt *raises hand slowly*
  • You're convinced your child will love running as much as you do so you try to force them to run and sign them up for races without telling them...to be fair, we won this race and he did love that part, but he hates running overall. Which is a shame, because his form is perfect! Maybe someday he'll run with me again. And I can always try to brainwash Jules!
  • You spend over $100 on a race and then spend hours over the course of the next weeks/months looking up every review you can find of the race, studying the course map and elevation, and planning your race day outfit, gear, and fuel. 
  • You'd rather buy new running shoes than any other type of shoes. 
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  • You have a race day hairdo that you always fall back on #pigtailsforlyfe
  • You do everything you can to smile and have at least one photogenic picture during a race even when you feel like dying, but usually end up looking like a troll. I wish I could find the pictures from the first half marathon I ever ran...it was super windy and my face looked like I was in a skydiving picture but in serious pain too. It wasn't cute. This is the only photogenic racing picture I have and I'm kind of mad at myself for not buying it, but I'm a cheapskate and couldn't justify it. 
  • You have favorite items of clothing/equipment that you can't live without on your run. Mine is my Experia running socks. I may or may not wear them at least twice before washing them on a pretty consistent basis because I forget to wash them after my run and refuse to run without them. They're just that comfortable, people! No substitutions!
  • You regularly wake up before the rest of the world and run around for miles in the dark listening to music or podcasts or nothing and aren't even afraid of getting eaten by a werewolf or vampire because you're 99% sure you could out-run them anyway, even though you're normally pretty afraid to be outside in the dark alone. 

You really can't beat the sunrise in the morning. In my opinion it's worth waking up at the buttcrack of dawn and running around in circles for awhile in order to see it. Unless I did end up getting eaten by a beast of some sort, in which case I would say it wasn't really worth it and I should have stayed in bed that day. 

  • You regularly smile and wave at strangers when you pass them and get kind of butt hurt when they don't wave and/or smile back.
  • You've yelled "great job!" to a random person you pass on a run who is running themselves. I always make a point to yell out encouragement to anyone I pass while running who's pushing a stroller...because that ish is hard, yo! And just in case you have any doubt whether anyone will think you're weird for yelling positive stuff at them, I have had it happen to me a bunch of times and it always make me feel so much better/happier. I remember one 9 mile run that was hot AF and I thought I was going to die. Then this random older running dude yelled "you're doing great" to me around mile 6 and it literally made my run turn from crap to awesome. So don't hesitate to encourage each other out there!
  • You run in the rain/snow/sleet/humidity and like it. I remember this run like the back of my hand - I was training for a half-marathon and woke up excited to run. And then it was raining. There was a point in time when I would have just said nevermind and skipped my run, but for this one I put on a hat and went for my scheduled run. And I remember very specifically that I was running with a smile on my face pretty much the entire time and at the end I thought "I'm a real runner now"

Finally, the number one way you will know you're a real runner? If/when you go for a run.

It doesn't matter how long you run or how fast you are, just that you lace up those shoes and if you're me, more that likely dirty socks, and you get out there and run/jog/shuffle. 

And if you have ever wondered if you are a "real" runner when you pass someone who's faster/has cooler running clothes/wears 95 different gadgets/has "13.1" tattooed on their calf muscle, you are one already and have been one ever since you shuffled out there your first time. And you should be proud of yourself because not every does it, even though everyone can.

So kudos to you, runner!!

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That's some positive talk courtesy of me. Maybe I should become a professional motivational speaker or something? Can you say the f word when you do that for a living or is that frowned on? I better stick with blogging (not that I get paid to do this, because I don't). 

Now I'll turn it to you - when did you decide you were a "real" runner? Did you have a turning point like I did while running 8 miles in the rain like a loony tune, or have you always felt you were a runner? Or perhaps you think running is dumb and I'm insane. That's cool too. I respect your opinion. 

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by! 

WIIW (What it is Wednesday) and Why I'm Quitting Ab Workouts

It's HUMP DAYYYYYYY!! I very obnoxiously snapchatted about it this morning and if you're not following me already, you probably should because I'm hilarious (and modest too). I tend to be semi-to-totally inappropriate, with some ridiculous videos of my kids thrown-in and sometimes a ghost makes an appearance (best. snap story. ever.)

I enjoy these WIIW posts because I really like giving my opinion to everyone and this is a good way for me to round up my opinions on a weekly basis and make it seem less bossy than when I tell people my opinion otherwise. What do you guys think of them? 

You guys, remember when I showed you the Cake Batter/Red Velvet ice cream thing from Arctic Zero last week? This is a Salted Caramel Arctic Zero ice cream thing and it's even better. Yesterday was my fast day, but I needed something sweet and this did not disappoint. Get them if you find them! Shoot, I might stock up just so I never have to worry about them running out!

I have been trying to get my son to workout on a semi-regular basis, because he is a pretty typical, lazy teenager. If he had his way he would sit in his bedroom and play video games the entire weekend, only getting up to make and eat an entire pot of macaroni and cheese. We've done a few 22 Minute Hard Corps workouts from Beachbody and they're perfect for him since they're not super difficult and only 22 minutes. He actually did a workout by himself on Monday AND sent me a sweaty selfie. I am so proud of him! Now if he'll just keep it up!

You might be wondering why I'm trying to get my 13 year old to exercise - the reason why is because the earlier it becomes a habit, the more likely it will stay that way for life. And all I really want for my kids in life is for them to be healthy and happy. Working out helps with the health AND the happiness, so it's a win-win!

I am seriously loving the swimsuit I wore this weekend. It is SO HARD to find a flattering swimsuit that is comfortable and this one is both! And it makes my tiny little boobs look pretty good, so that's awesome too! And it only cost $30 at TJ Maxx, so YASSSSSSSS!!!

Link Love!

I am loving these two articles from Scary Mommy this week. They both apply pretty directly to my life right now, and I had to share them with you guys. 

As A Mom, I Value Quality Way More Than Quantity In My Friendships

I am so on board with the message of this blog. The last thing I need in my life right now is a judgmental, high-maintenance friend and I have made some changes in my friendships over the past 6 months or so that involved distancing myself from people who were like that. I honestly just don't have the time or energy for half-friends right now or people who make me feel bad about myself! I have a handful of really good friends who are both long-distance and local, and even though we don't hang out all the time, we always pick up right where we left off whenever we do hang-out or talk. And we usually do so in a house that I didn't even worry about tidying up because I know they won't judge me. These are the friends that will drink crappy, cheap wine with me and eat my partially stale chips from a half-eaten bag without judging me or making me feel like I need to do more for them. Because our friendship and support for each other is enough, and that's how friends should be. 

So to my friends who are reading this - you know who you are - love you!!

Stop Being A Judgmental A**hole When Someone Tells You Their Child Isn’t Sleeping

Everything about this. When you are pregnant and have young children, it suddenly becomes open season for everyone you know (and some you don't) to give you advice.

"I sure hope you plan to breastfeed since breast is best" (but God forbid you do it in public because that might make people uncomfortable)

"Don't hold your baby like that, she can't breathe correctly" (while holding Jules in football carry because it helped with her gassy stomach)

"You better stop giving her that pacifier now; she's so pretty without it" *insert middle finger here*

Sleep is a HUGE topic point for anyone with baby/toddler and is something that everyone wants to give you advice regarding. And for whatever reason, everyone seems to be baby sleep experts and their little snowflake is a MUCH better sleeper than your child. I get it; Jules doesn't sleep well and never has. Justin didn't either. But then the second Justin hit 2 or so he started sleeping 12 hours straight from when I put him to bed. Meaning if I wanted to sleep a little later, I would keep Justin up until 10 and he'd sleep until 10. And I'm hoping Jules will do that same thing. So instead of telling me how tired I look and that your unicorn snowflake baby slept through the night a week from the hospital and here's what I'm doing wrong, please just commiserate with me and be empathetic. 

I think everyone should try to have more empathy in general and in doing so, the world will be a better place. 

World peace, Jamie-style.

My current favorite songs...

In no particular order...

Just for listening:

  • Every Time I'm Ready to Hug - Ra Ra Riot
  • Silvia - Miike Snow
  • Open Your Eyes - STRFKR
  • Hot Thoughts - Spoon
  • HUMBLE - Kendrick Lamar
  • Cecilia - Simon & Garfunkel

For running (all of these songs have really high BPM which help me keep my cadence over 180 - aka great for running)

  • Drop The Plot - Gregory Peopper and His Problems
  • Hard Times - Paramore
  • Little Sister - Queens of the Stone Age
  • When Your Heart Stops Beating - +44
  • Virtual Insanity - Jamiroquai
  • The Bomb - Pigeon John

Why I'm Quitting Ab Workouts

Man, I'm doing a lot of quitting around here! First the scale, now ab workouts, next I'll be quitting wine or something crazy like that (or not...most definitely not...if I do quit wine it will only be because I'm taking up margaritas #summer). 

First and foremost, I am not a fitness professional so if you are really worried about something being wrong with you or are thinking about starting a new program please see your doctor first. This is just something new that I'm trying and sharing with you so you can be entertained by my success or failure. I'm pretty sure I was a guinea pig in a past life because I love testing out new things!

I know I've mentioned at least once before in the blog that I'm working on strengthening my transverse abdominus. You may or may not be wondering why, but regardless I'm going to tell you why because this is my blog and I control ALL OF IT!!! 

Even though I have been really slimming down all over recently, I still have a very noticeable mommy bulge/tummy/gut. And it's the entire thing - top, bottom, middle. Now some of this I can totally blame on my eating - I don't eat perfectly (and don't want to), but I do tend to eat really healthy overall and *should* probably be seeing a bit better results considering how hard I workout. 

I've known about diastasis recti for a long time and even self-diagnosed myself with it postpartum, however I have refused to accept that I have it and it's affecting me in any way, shape or form because....I'm stubborn? Actually, I know why and that's because they tell you to avoid all impact exercises while working on recovering from diastasis recti, which means no running, jumping, kickboxing, etc - basically everything I love to do. And I can't stop doing that stuff or I might lose my mind, so I ignored it. But it's not getting better, and my core is so weak. The past few weeks I've been doing some additional research on it and have finally accepted it's time for me to do something about it before it gets worse or I give up and become a sloth. 

First, I did another test to confirm how bad my DR is and this one is a great one if you want to try it yourself:

I have about a 1.5-2 finger gap - it's not that bad, but still there and it is affecting my overall core/abs so it's something I should do something to fix. 

What's the #1 thing you need to do if you do have a gap? Stop doing traditional ab exercises. Crunches, planks, the bicycle, etc. - basically anything that is in a traditional ab workout including pilates can actually make this worse! So no more V-Ups for me no matter how cool I feel when I do them!

Like I said, I ignored this for going on 15 months now, however I have noticed that when I'm laying on my back and doing a traditional crunch or sit-up, I have a small cone-shaped mound that pops up on my stomach above my belly button...this is because I have a gap and the muscles are bulging through the gap - appetizing right? This is one of the signs you have it so if you are doing crunches and see a cone-shaped mound or pyramid pop up on your stomach, you probably have DR! If you think you might have DR I encourage you to follow along with the video above to confirm how bad it is and then for the love of Pete, stop doing ab workouts! 

There are several systems out there that you can purchase that help to rehab your core - one is called MuTu - and they all have rave reviews from women so they obviously work. But I'm a cheapskate and stubborn, so instead I turned to the internet and found this workout here. This is actually based off of MuTu and it's recommended to do it every day. So that's what I'm going to do and did do this morning. It took me about 12 minutes since I'm not familiar with the exercises, however I could seriously feel it deep in my core which is exactly where you're supposed to feel it. 

As I said, I plan on doing this every day and I'll keep you guys updated on how that's going success or not, since I love oversharing on the internet!

Have any of you had issues with diastasis recti? Have you tried any of the rehab programs like MuTu that are supposed to help and did it help? Will I ever lose my mom belly without giving up wine and carbs (cause that ain't gonna happen, yo!)?

Do you guys have any fun things you're loving right now that you want to share? Music, food, wine, etc - I love to hear about it all so please share!

I'm Breaking UP

With the scale and I'm serious. This is a dysfunctional relationship and I'm sick of it!

Now that I have your attention, don't forget to subscribe!

Before I get to the end of my relationship with my scale, I want to show you a few things. 

First we have a pre-workout selfie...

Take a look at those leggings and remember them - they play a role in the demise of my relationship with my scale. 

Then I didn't really like that selfie so I decided to mix things up and take another one in my dirty mirror right by our front door...

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I sure do love to take flattering pictures of myself and then post them online for the world to see, don't I?! Also will someone please come to my house and clean all of my mirrors? I'm an embarrassment (but if I'm being completely honest I don't really even care). 

So I went outside and ran this morning. I had looked at my workout schedule like three times yesterday and again this morning and thought to myself every time, "cool, I only have to run 2 miles worth of 1/4 mile repeats - easy peasy". So I decided to do a full mile for a warm-up and run just a little over 3 miles. NO PROBLEM. Except here's the workout I was supposed to do:

I apparently can't math at all because I had that all sorts of wrong. Ugh. I ended up figuring this out mid-run and was like, there's no way I can run 4 miles of 1/4 mile repeats when I had only planned to do 2. Plus I really wanted/needed to do a core workout and didn't have time to do it all since I'd only planned for a total of 3 freaking miles, not 5. So I ended up doing only 5 repeats, for a total of a little over 3.5 miles. Yeesh. 

Get yo shit together, Jamie! 

Why am I showing you two nearly identical pictures of myself? Well I originally took those pictures for a blog idea - I'm really sucking it in on the left and not sucking in on the right and I had this grand plan on doing a post around them somehow. However looking at them right now, I can seriously hardly see a difference between the two and I'm going to be real honest and say that I look good. I mean, I'm pretty happy with how I look in those pictures overall - my stomach is pretty flat even when I'm not sucking it in and I felt great all day. 

Additionally, I have a ton of pictures from our beach day on Saturday and I am happy with how I look in all of them - those are freaking swimsuit pictures, people! I'm never happy with how I look in swimsuit pictures, but the fact that I was happy with all of them made me feel like I was really making some progress towards this whole self-love thing. 

Finally, remember how I told you to remember that picture from earlier with the leggings? Those leggings are pre-pregnancy and I have never been able to wear them comfortably because I always had muffin top with them. Or I'd have serious camel toe because I'd try to pull them way up over my muffin top and they were never comfortable #youknowyoudoittoo

So I should have been feeling pretty effing amazing this morning, right? 

WRONG!!

I got on the scale this morning right after waking up and guess what...I'm up 3 pounds from where I was on Tuesday of last week. 

F&%$ the scale!!

Raise your hand if you hate the scale...

Now raise your hand if you've ever felt great about yourself only to weigh yourself and have your entire mood change....

I am right there with you! I mean, I have been feeling pretty good about myself lately. My arms and my butt are looking really toned! My stomach is pretty flat most of the time and I'm starting to be able to wear most of my pre-Jules clothes while still being able to breathe! I have pictures in my swimsuit that I didn't even hesitate to post!

Then I let that stupid number ruin my happy roll. 

Well I'm not doing that anymore. This was the last straw!

Kind of. 

This will be a gradual break-up since I am currently running a Biggest Loser contest at work and don't want to drop out of it since I'm in charge of the whole dang thing. However instead of weighing myself every day like I usually do (except for Monday - I never weigh myself on a Monday #chipschocolateandwine), I will only weigh myself for the weigh-in days and luckily there are only 2 of those left in the contest. Once I'm done with that, I am going to work to measure my health/progress with other metrics and take the scale out of the equation completely: 

  • Progress pictures - these always make me happy, so this will be my primary method of measurement. 
  • Tape measure - I am usually pretty happy with this, but sometimes I actually measure bigger even when I feel smaller due to being swole. I'm such a douche - that's the second time I've blogged the word "swole". BUT IT'S A REAL THING!! I mean I guess I could say swollen or retaining water, but swole is so much more fun to say. Now if you ever hear me say or read "YOLO" or "FOMO" on this blog and I'm being serious, please find me and slap some sense into me. Moving on...
  • How do my clothes fit? If my clothes are fitting better and I'm more comfortable in my skin then that's a good sign that I'm doing pretty well 
  • Blood pressure and blood sugar tests. I haven't talked about this on here yet, but I've had some minor blood pressure issues since getting pregnant with Jules - my blood pressure can sometimes be a bit higher than I'd like and close to borderline high, like 138/80. Most of the time it's around 120/70, but that's even higher than I like for it to be and where it used to be (110/60). Also I've had two blood sugar tests that were pre-prediabetic in the past few years; like right on the verge. Luckily they weren't consecutive and being smart with my diet makes a huge difference almost immediately - for example, my last test was borderline, but it was in December. December = Christmas cookies. My doctor wasn't hugely concerned due to this, but I'm testing again in June and hope for better numbers this time or else I'm going to have to make some big changes (and I don't wanna). 

I will still weigh myself, but perhaps on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. I might be pretty happy with how I'm looking overall, but find that my health tends to be better when I am below 140. So I know I will get there eventually, but for now I'm slowly breaking up with the scale.

In fact, I'm ghosting the scale.

(if you don't know what ghosting means, it's when someone you're dating shoots you a few texts and then disappears from your life. It's a thing now. Now you know and you're hip and trendy like me!)

MadreDiem Break UP

It's not me, it's you. 

(actually it might partially be me...I ate some chips before bed last night. But whatever...we're still broken up, you dumb scale). 

Have you ever broken up with the scale and if so, did it have a positive effect on your life? I am just so sick of feeling discouraged due to a number, when everything else is making me happy! 

I'm going to throw this in because I sooooooo need it...

Thanks for stopping by, friends!

Weekend Happenings and Beach with a Toddler

Happy Monday, my friends! Are you ready to tackle this week like a boss? 

How was your weekend? We had a pretty great weekend, including a nice trip to the beach. I ended up getting absolutely fried, which I'm pretty upset about since I try to avoid too much sun due to religiously using tanning beds in my youth. So to get super fried (like my legs still hurt from the burn), is embarrassing and a health hazard. Not. Cool. 

I did use sunscreen, but it's about a year old and I'm guessing it's expired or something - let this be a lesson to you; don't use old sunscreen at the beach in Florida!

Before I go into our beach trip, including some recommendations on how we make the beach work with a toddler, I want to do a quick workout round-up from last week. 

I also had to post another smiling pre-workout picture, since they're usually so grim. 

Monday - P90X Shoulders, Chest, and Triceps

Tuesday - Speed running workout (see it here) & abs

Wednesday - P90X Back & Biceps

Thursday - Hangover rest day (booooooo!!)

Friday - P90X Legs & Back

Saturday - I planned on running but overslept (booooo!!)

Sunday - I wanted to run but my legs were too sunburnt. Yes, seriously. Not. Cool. 

As you can see, I did not do 2 of my planned workouts this week. So even though I absolutely LOVE working out and it's usually a part of my daily routine, I am still human and life (and beer) happened. And I'm perfectly fine with that since I know I'll have a better week this week. So if you happen to miss a workout or two don't let it get you down, we all do it!

Moving on to the fun part of the weekend...THE BEACH!

(look...we're all smiling! That never happens! Also, how does my Justin tower over me so much? I can't handle how grown he is!)

Also, if you're wondering about my swimsuit, I found it at TJ Maxx or Marshalls and even though I'd just gotten another cute one a month before, I knew I had to get it because it's flattering and comfortable and those are rare qualities in a swimsuit. I didn't get any pictures of the backside, but it's pretty cheeky which I love because I love my booty and like to show it off #datass

We only live 50 minutes from the beach, yet we hardly ever go. Which is crazy, because we all love the beach. It is just a lot of hassle to get all of the beach crap together, plan out food/snacks/drinks, pack and unpack and pack and unpack everything, wash all the towels, sweep up all the sand, deal with the aftermath of getting a sunburn...

But still, IT's THE BEACH. Now that the water is warming up, I hope we can start going more often. I'd like to challenge myself to go at least once a month from here on out, but we all know how my challenges go *cough, cough...meditation challenge...cough cough*

(to be fair, I've been consistently meditating most weekdays, so it's still a winner in my book)

Back to the BEACH...

We went to our favorite park which is right next to Cocoa Beach - it has free parking as long as you get there early enough, lifeguards, bathrooms, rinse off stations, and no crowds. I'm not posting the name because I don't want everyone to go there and ruin it, but if you really want to know hit me up and I'll tell you. 

Since moving to Florida I've become a huge vadge when it comes to water temperature and rarely go in the water from October to May, however the water was absolutely lovely this weekend. It was warm, but still refreshing. Even Jules loved the water and we all spent hours splashing around, boogie-boarding (the waves were too choppy to ride any, but still fun to play on), and making sand castles. 

As the mom of a toddler, pretty much everything we do is a bit more difficult and complicated. I obviously wouldn't trade it or her for anything, but I'm just going to be real and say it. I'm sure most of you would agree with me, if you have a toddler or have been around one. We can't just go to the beach with a towel and some beers...it doesn't work like that anymore! However we have gotten this whole beach with a toddler thing down to a science, and luckily for you, I write a blog and love to overshare my life and tips! So without further ado:

My tips and tricks for beaching with a toddler!

Pack the car the night before...

This is very important - otherwise you will end up scrambling and running late, you'll get all hot and sweaty and cranky, and you'll miss your free parking spot which is no fun for anyone. I always make a quick list of snacks/drinks for everyone, run it by my husband to see if I'm missing anything, and make a quick store run the day before. We tend to make sandwiches and bring chips and vanilla wafers most of the time, but every once in awhile I'll make a caprese salad that we'll eat out of the container like savages or if I'm feeling REALLY fancy I'll make ceviche and we'll eat it with tortilla chips. The recipe I use for ceviche is this one and it's so freaking good - let me know if you try it! 

The evening before we are going to the beach we get all of the food made and packed up in bags and then pack the car with all of our beach gear, which is a lot of crap - beach chairs, umbrellas, sand anchors for the umbrella, towels, cooler, boogie boards, Jules float thing, buckets to play in the sand...now you might be wondering how we get all of this to our spot on the beach without killing ourselves?

Get a beach cart

For some reason I fought tooth and nail on this - I'm pretty sure that in my head this was like trading in my SUV for a minivan. Like, I'm too cool to use a beach cart - only dorky, prepared grown-ups use those! Well guess what? I'm a dorky, prepared grown-up now! My mom ended up getting this for Jason and me 2 Christmases ago and I don't know how we ever went to the beach without it. If you ever go to the beach for more than a day or two, get one of these!

However I am never getting a minivan - I don't care how cool and comfortable they are. You can mark my words here...no minivan ever. 

Sun Protection

Even though I got fried this weekend, I am usually pretty psychotic about being fully protected from the sun. I always wear a hat unless I'm boogie boarding or surfing and I try to always wear sunscreen all over. I also religiously coat my children in sunscreen and force them to wear hats/shirts/rash guards (except for poor Justin's feet, which got burnt this weekend too #momfail). Julianna always has a long-sleeved rash-guard swimsuit (we found her mermaid suit at Target this year) and she always wears a hat. We really like this one and have already purchased two of them in the past year:

As for sunscreen, I really try to avoid any of the chemical crap since it really is terrible for you. I'm not being crazy, do some research and see how you feel about Banana Boat then. One place you can go to check out how awful or amazing your sunscreen is is the EWG website here . I urge you to do a quick search on the sunscreens you currently use and see how your sunscreen ranks. Then do some additional research and see how bad some of these chemicals are for you. THEN I think you'll jump on the chemical-free sunscreen train with me.

Here's my favorite stuff to the left. To be clear, I didn't use this kind this weekend since I couldn't find it - I used some stuff I had leftover from Hawaii which worked well in Hawaii, not so much here in Florida.

I know the bottle says baby, but it's good for everyone. The EWG ranks sunscreens from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst - this type of Blue Lizard sunscreen along with the sensitive Blue Lizard (blue lid), are both ranked as 1's. It is expensive, but I've found that a little goes a long way. 

One big tip for you when you're using any zinc oxide/titanium dioxide sunscreen is to rub it in. Seriously take your time and REALLY rub it in. If you don't, you will either look like a geisha OR you'll look purple. 

Another benefit of the chemical free sunscreens is they don't harm the coral reefs - all of the chemical sunscreens we use are actually doing MAJOR harm to the coral reefs and fishes and that's no bueno. So use the chemical free stuff and save yourself and the fishes!

You need shade!

We never go to the beach without beach umbrellas and/or a canopy tent thing (ours broke last year). Right now we are going with the two umbrella set-up, which works pretty well. You do end up having to move your chairs every couple of hours to chase the shade, but it's better than frying in the sun and then being burnt for several days because you were too lazy to move (I'm glaring at myself right now). 

If you're going to be using umbrellas for shade, please make sure you also get some sand anchors so your umbrellas don't blow away. Seriously...it's super windy at the beach and I've seen so many people almost get impaled by umbrellas flying away.

Yes, it is entertaining for us to watch, but I would feel bad if anyone actually got hurt. 

I found this picture on Walmart.com so you know what I'm talking about, but you can seriously find these things at any gift shop or drug store near the beach. I'm pretty sure ours only cost us $8 each and they've been a real life saver. 

Literally a life saver. Don't impale people who are on the beach because you didn't anchor your umbrella.

Bad juju.

Make sure you have somewhere to sit. 

I know the beach purists are probably all, "oooooh I just like to lay in the sand and chairs are for lame-o people". Well I am totally a lame-o person who has a toddler and needs a place to park my ass. Seriously. Get yo-self a good beach chair and thank me later. We've ran the gamut from the super cheap ones you get at a beach store to our primo Tommy Bahama chairs, and I highly recommend the Tommy Bahama backpack cooler chairs - worth the splurge. We usually use the cooler part for garbage and having the ability to wear the chairs on our backs gives us that much more room in our beach cart for all of the other crap we need. 

You're obviously more than welcome to buy through my affiliate link, but we actually got ours at Costco for like $30 each. #justsaying. 

The benefit of the chair is two-fold. You can sit down while you and your toddler eat a snack and make funny faces. 

And it gives you a place to relax and enjoy a cocktail while your toddler takes a nap for an hour or so. 

Those peach-a-rita's are delicious. I had 4 (over the course of 5 or so hours so STOP JUDGING ME). Yes, I know they're terrible for me, but IDGAF. So yummy. 

Bring it all...

We always bring:

  • a ton of diapers and wipes
  • paper towels and a garbage bag
  • a change of clothes (or two)
  • a bajillion towels (one for everyone, plus a huge one we lay in front of the umbrellas for sun and a beach blanket for under the umbrellas)
  • TONS of water
  • a sippy cup
  • things to play with (sand pail, something with wheels, shovels, water toys, etc). We actually failed on this one this time and only brought a sand pail - Jules ended up playing with the contents of my bag for an hour. Take everything out, put it back in, and repeat 24 times. 
  • Bluetooth speakers - we love to have music playing while we're at the beach. This way we don't have to listen to the crap other people are listening to AND Jules loves to dance so it keeps her happy and occupied on and off throughout the day.
  • snacks (fruit especially watermelon, chips, etc.). On a side note, Jules isn't allowed to eat popcorn due to it being a pretty significant choking hazard, however we used to always bring SmartFood popcorn. Then we noticed it always became super stale right after opening at the beach. I don't know if it's the salty air or the wind or what, but I'm talking 30 minutes after opening. So I don't recommend popcorn for the beach. 
  • Lotion for afterwards so your skin doesn't feel like it's turning to stone - or is that just me?

Have your husband drive...

So you can all nap on the way home. 

The beach is exhausting and Jules and I both slept the entire way home (I think mine had more to do with 4 peach-a-ritas than anything). 

That about sums it up! How about you? Do you have any additional beach tips I may have missed? Have you tried the peach-a-rita? It's SO GOOD! How was your weekend? 

This post includes some affiliate links from Amazon. If you click through and purchase any of the items I recommend it does not change the price of the item at all, it just gives me a very small commision for making the recommendation. Thank you for your support!

Friday is my Favorite!

How about you?! I think I might like Friday even more than Saturday sometimes!

I actually took yesterday off due to needing some additional recovery time after going to the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert with my husband Wednesday night. Sometimes we like to go out and fake like we're in our 20's, except we most definitely are NOT in our 20's and my body is very quick to let me know that now. 

Prior to heading out Wednesday night Jules and I took Jax for a longer walk around the neighborhood. She loves seeing the pond and water feature in our neighborhood and I knew I needed to make sure she was SUPER exhausted so she'd sleep well for the babysitter. 

Here's something fun you probably don't know about me...whenever I drink I like to climb things. Trees, flag poles, fences, the side of my parent's house (it's a log house and super fun/easy to climb...). You name it, I've probably tried to climb it. So when we were out walking around downtown Orlando late Wednesday night and I saw the PERFECT tree seat up in a tree, you know I had to climb it!

The quality of the picture isn't the best, but you get the idea. I like that I am still wearing my purse even though I'm in a tree. 

Then we had to find one of the Lake Eola swans, which wasn't too hard since they are effing HUGE! 

This picture does not do the size of this swan justice - it's probably bigger than me and I'm not even exaggerating. And I'm sure you all know how mean swans can be - this is not a swan I'd want to run into in a dark alley #gangsterswan

As I mentioned, we went out on Wednesday to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert, and it was really good - I highly recommend you see them if you get the chance! I also recommend you see them if you would like to be surrounded by all the pot smoke in the entire world. People weren't smoking pot like that at the Adele and Sia concerts we went to last fall, I'm just saying. I don't partake myself, however there's no judgement from me. I'm just all about the beer. 

We ended up running into a coworker of mine and hung out with him and his wife for a bit, which was a lot of fun. Even though they're long-time Orlando residents, neither of them had ever been to Frosty's Christmastime Lounge, which is one of my favorite bars in Orlando. Where else can you get snowed on and watch Christmas movies year-round?

Needless to say, yesterday was a total rest day for me - no work and no workout. So I was ready to go when I got up this morning. 

Blog11.jpg

Orrrrrrr not so much. I didn't use a filter on that picture to really drive home how tired I was this morning. But I got up and I did my workout - no gains in weight or reps this week, but I think I'm still tired from faking like I was 25 on Wednesday night (will I ever learn? NOPE!).

Mid-workout FORCED smile picture.

I look kind of psychotic. 

And a super forced after workout smile to really stress how tired I was. But I still did my workout and for that, I'm proud of myself!

Moving on to something I think is a lot of fun...DATE NIGHT! I thought it would be cool to put together a list of my favorite date night ideas, since I don't know about you, but I get sick of dinner and a movie dates. I will list them in sequence of price, from free to Adele concert. 

Not Dinner and a Movie Date Night Ideas:

Go for a run!

I know, I know...that's not for everyone, but if you don't like to run you could also go for a walk or something. Either way, you get out of the house and get some endorphins and spend time with your love. And it's FREE!

Go hiking and bring a picnic lunch

Obviously this would be more of a day/afternoon date, since you probably don't want to go hiking in the dark. And I know some people might go all out with a picnic and try to be all fancy with cheese and wine and crap, but in our house we would just pick up some Subs from Subway or Publix and some water. #wefancyhuh

Parking is free at the parks here in Orlando, so this would be a $10-15 max cost and hiking is always a good time as far as we're concerned. 

Hit up a brewery

Jason and I love beer and tasting new beers, so this is one of our favorite ways to burn an hour or two. Find a local brewery and get a flight or two of different beers. We tend to always try different beers than each other so we can try double the beers. Most breweries have board games or corn hole (bags if you're not from the Midwest), so we usually end up playing a game or two and have a great time for less than $30.

If you don't have any breweries near your house just pick up a few new microbrews from your friendly, neighborhood liquor store and do a tasting at your house! We do this a lot too. Just don't think about the calories you're consuming since those craft beers are usually 300-500 calories per 12 oz. It's okay to treat yo'self sometimes! Calories don't count on date night ;-)

Laser tag

Find a laser tag or paintball place and go crazy. Jason and I actually usually end up on the same team and try to dominate the game - and we usually do dominate since he's a cop and I have an expert marksman ribbon from the Air Force. We will definitely survive the zombie apocalypse. I'd guess this date will set you back $40, maybe less if you can find a Groupon. 

Take a painting class (with wine!)

We have a ton of places around here that do these classes and while we haven't done it yet, Jason and I have both discussed wanting to try it out. Some of the places do a specific "date night" painting that's 2 different paintings that go together, which is obviously more fun that painting 2 of the exact same painting. These classes cost approximately $30/person, so it's a $60 date. Getting a bit more expensive, but still not too crazy. 

Couples massage off of Groupon

This will set you back $90 for the Groupon and an additional $30-40 for a tip (always tip the actual value, not what you paid), but man is it worth it. Jason and I did this around Valentine's Day/his birthday and it was so nice. We didn't even hold hands or talk or do any of that mushy crap - we just got side-by-side massages and had some wine afterwards, but it was still really nice and we both felt great afterwards. 

Go to a concert!

This is probably our favorite non-conventional date night - in the past 6 months we've seen Sia, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Adele. Those are listed in the order of expense - for Sia we were in the nose bleeds and it was in Orlando so it was probably around $150 total (not including drinks/parking). The Red Hot Chili Peppers was a bucket-list concert for Jason so I got some pretty good seats using American Expense pre-sale prices. However it was still pretty effing expensive and that doesn't include food/drinks/parking/shenanigans. And then Adele...we had nose bleed seats that cost a bajillion dollars and had to drive and stay in Miami for the night - so it was expensive but SO worth it. Jason and I always end up having a blast whenever we go to a concert and all three of those shows were amazing (Adele was the best and I don't even like her that much). 

Here we are at Frosty's after the Peppers concert - see how happy we are? DATE NIGHT!! 

So now I turn it to you - do you have any unconventional date night ideas? From free to Adele concert, I'm open for ideas!

What do you have planned for this weekend? We are going to the beach tomorrow morning and then it's pretty open after that. I have the feeling I'm probably going to end up getting a poke bowl because I'm an addict. STOP JUDGING ME!!

Have a fantastic weekend, friends!