Thursday, May 31, 2012

Family outing to the zoo.

Since Mr. C is off during the day, we decided to take advantage of that this week and use our zoo membership. It had been a while since Micah had been to the zoo, and I was hoping this would be the time he cared about the animals.

Well, not really. I mean he looked at them. He called some of them "kitty kitty" and "pup pup" every so often. For the most part, we enjoyed it more than he did. Haha!

Here's the tiger playing around with a ball.

So glad I don't have to see that face out in the wild!

I think this is when Micah called the tiger a "kitty kitty" from the stroller.
 Please excuse my no make up, no hair products, no trying to get ready look. We left early in the morning, and I honestly didn't care about dressing up! 

Mommy & Micah

Deep in some meaningful conversation.

Then we went to see the leopards. Cheetahs? All the cats confuse me.

We dropped by the bird house & aquarium.

How handsome are my boys?? Love them so much!

Quick stop at the penguins for a few minutes.

One panda was alive, kicking, active, and chomping down on some bamboo while the other panda was asleep.

Micah has a teddy bear he sleeps with, so I think he understood this was a huge bear. He seemed to stare at it more than anything.

Somebody started getting really sleepy and hungry so we had to leave the zoo after about an hour and a half. That's ok because with the zoo membership, we can go whenever we want with free parking. It makes short zoo trips not seem like a "waste" of money.

This picture just makes me laugh so hard! Somebody loves some black-eyed peas, and he gets them everywhere when he eats. (So much so that I pulled his hair back in a ponytail Pebbles Flinstone style to keep him from getting too much junk in his hair. The end result was some crazy, crazy hair!)

What I've learned from running. Tips for new runners from a new runner.

Before I can start any post, I have to share the picture of my husband's "helper" this week as Mr. C installed the new toilet in our master bath. Yes, that is Micah post nap hair in the new toilet.

Do you think he needs a haircut yet? Mr. C says no, and I say yes. I may just take him to the salon one day when Mr. C has no choice because the cut is already done! Haha!

So I've been running which is the point of the post "What I've learned from running". If you follow my tweets or if you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me in real life on Facebook, you already know this because all I do is talk about it. In fact, I'm probably driving you insane with my running posts. I do apologize, but I have to give myself some kind of motivation.

I've learned a few things about running, and I've had a whole lot of questions from people. I am no expert, but I can share a few things I've learned. I figured it was time for a blog post.

1. Invest in some good equipment that you'll really want to use. Perhaps consider borrowing before buying it to make sure you want it.

Running can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it. Personally, I didn't want it to be expensive, but I have a major scheduling conflict with my husband's job. Most of the time that I would want to run, I have to take my son with me. In my case, I couldn't forgo the jogging stroller since I don't have childcare. If I want to run, he has to be with me. Before I bought a stroller, I "test drove" several friends' strollers. I even borrowed my friend Kristy's stroller to see what I liked and didn't like. 

(FYI: I liked the rotating with option to lock front wheel. I hated the fixed front wheel. I also liked a lightweight, small, compact jogging stroller because my car is the size of a sardine can.)

Troll Craigslist for what you want, and don't be brand loyal.

The day I was going to see a used jogging stroller off Craigslist, my mom found a NEW one at Target for the exact same price ($80). Now why would I go buy a used one (unless it was a BOB) if I could get a new one for less than most people listed used ones online?

I went with the Baby Trend Jogger Expedition Grey Mist from Target pictured below.
And something extra sweet? I saved up gift cards from my students all year since Target is a big favorite around here, so I was able to buy this with gift cards. =)

2. Know when to go cheap and when not to go cheap.

I went to Sam's and picked up running shorts & sweat wicking shirts & socks for about $9 a piece. Now I'm sure there are people who would argue that you must have an expensive pair of jogging shorts & tank top. I'd say spend more on the sports bra, but that is just my opinion. I went cheap on my workout gear, and I've been happy I did.  

3. Make sure you have a professional at a running store fit you for the right shoe, and then you can always go order it online to save money.

After my pregnancy, I noticed a distinct change in my joints. Maybe it is because I'm older when I was started having kids (in my thirties as opposed to twenties) or just the change from the pregnancy weight on my small frame. I'm not sure, but I couldn't run in my old shoes without some mega pain in my knees.

I went to Dick's Sporting Goods, but I'm sure you have some place in your own town you could go to get fitted. I ended up getting these shoes (Women's PureFlow) made by Brooks

I'd never even heard of the company Brooks, but I was very open to my salesperson after he listened to my concerns. I figured I'd buy a pair of Nike's or New Balance, but I walked out with something I liked even better. Surprise, surprise! I could have taken time to find these online for cheaper, but for $2 more in the store, it was worth it to just get them that day.

4.  Find a great app, and use it to its fullest potential.

I use two apps currently, and both were free in the App Store. The first app I use is called Map My Run. I've taken a few pictures to show you how the app works. 

Once you log in, you'll see this screen. I use the record workout, routes, and workouts the most. It includes a nutrition tracker (similar to MyFitnessPal), but I haven't tried using that.

You can choose to log stats from your own workout. I use this screen mainly when I head to the gym to  write down my stats off the elliptical or the treadmill for those days I can't run because of weather or schedule conflicts.

For my outdoor walks and runs, I use this page which uses my GPS location. This is my favorite part of the app. It will record my run/walk in real time, show me a map of where I am going, how far I've walked, and my pace.

At the end of the workout, I get an awesome summary screen that looks like this:

 I love how I can see my miles per hour, my pace, my calories (based on my weight and height), my map of my run, and the length of my workout. Then it saves it for me so I can compare as I work on a goal! How awesome is that?

Then if you want to get really, really nerdy (and sometimes I do), you can look at this screen:

I enjoy seeing my hills and elevation as I go through a workout. Pretty neat stuff!

I also use the C25K Free app which can also be found in the app store. This app is absolutely free, and it has been a wonderful motivator as I run. I love that I can run both apps at the same time in the background with my playlist. I just have to make sure to have a good battery charge. Haha!

It's a pretty straightforward app that gives you a 30 minute workout, tells you the intervals to follow, has a "voice" that tells you when to run & when to walk. It's free, and very easy to use. 

5. Get together with a group of friends. Find someone to keep you accountable, and make sure you have a jamming playlist to help you rock it out.

This one is pretty simple, but I guarantee you the reason I'm doing so well? I am training with a group of girls who are all new to running. None of us have run a 5K before, and we try to meet at least once a week to keep each other accountable and motivated. My friend Amy (who has run a marathon) organized this, and I try to go as often as I can to the group workouts. Doing this has greatly improved my commitment to run. I also have a "backup" workout partner who uses my gym. My friend Tracy and I head to the gym whenever we can to do the elliptical machines. This way, I have two groups to keep me motivated!

Here's a look at my current playlist:

God Is Enough by Lecrae
Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO
Black or White by Michael Jackson
Get Back Up by tobyMac
Toxic by Britney Spears
Stronger by Britney Spears
Hot N Cold by Katy Perry
Gotta Be Somebody by Nickelback
Just Dance by Lady GaGa
Stronger by Mandisa
Good Morning by Mandisa & tobyMac

Pretty sure I have the most random musical taste known to man. I'm quite the wild woman mixing in some contemporary Christian with Britney and Michael.

<<Special thanks to Amy for organizing such a wonderful group of girls to get motivated about running!!>>

I could totally go on forever in this post, but I think I'll call that it for the day. Hopefully that helps you out if you are just getting started! =)

Happy running!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Parts of our weekend.

This weekend has flown by, but thankfully I'm off work now! This is probably my favorite thing about teaching besides the funny things kids say or do. I love my summers off with my family, for sure.

Since I bought the jogging stroller last week (which is on sale cheaper this week so I get to go get $20 back! whoohoo!), I took it out Saturday morning running. I met up with my friends Amy and Jill to attempt week 4 of Couch to 5K. I plan to run the 5K at the end of June, and I'm crazy. I know!

I put on Instagram, "Getting rid of fat rolls one run at a time."

Hopefully, that will come true for me! (Believe it or not, I've already lost about 8 pounds from when I started in February with about 10 more to go!)

I left Micah in the living room this weekend while I put some clothes away in the my bedroom. He's really loud when he plays, and it got suddenly quiet. Imagine my surprise when I returned to the living room where I found him doing this! The little stinker had climbed up on the back of the couch, got the laptop down, set it in his lap, and he was typing away.

This weekend, we attempted to go camping with my in-laws. Ok, so I never intended on camping, and I made it clear that I was not going to stay for the night. I hate to camp, and they were only an hour away. Mr. C wanted to keep Micah down there for the night, and I said yes. I didn't really think the baby would make it. I was right. He was exhausted, so Mr. C suggested just taking him home so he could sleep. He's so presh when he is asleep. (He is all of the time, but who can resist a sleeping baby?)

We have a "book man" who comes to our school and sales odds and ends. I've bought a lot of books from him for Micah pretty cheap, and this time I couldn't resist this lawn mower. I put it in the garage where I hoped Micah couldn't find it. Well, he did find it, so I just went ahead and gave it to him anyway.

He loves this compartment in the front of the lawn mower. Have you ever seen an engine filled with milk, fake car keys, and measuring tape? Haha! He's so funny, but he carries that milk around everywhere, so no surprise there.

The blur that you see in this photo is the only decent shot I can get of Micah this weekend playing with the lawn mower. He is running everywhere with that thing. I can't wait to get him outside following his daddy around when he mows the yard next.

Micah's also been a little parrot this weekend. He's added a few things to his vocabulary including:

Nathan (his cousin came out more like Nay-tan)
Oh, geez! (That came after I had a car pull out in front of me this weekend. I guess I still have some vocabulary correcting to do, huh? I don't want him saying that.)

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sweet summertime. I'm done!

Summer time is officially upon us, and the living is easy now that I'm officially no longer working for a couple of months. No schedules, no routines, no agendas! (No faculty meetings, no grading papers, no parent teacher conferences.)

This morning before work, I actually woke up early, woke the baby up early, and took us on a run around the neighborhood for two miles.

It took me thirty minutes to run two miles.

Yes, that is basically a 14:56 minute mile if you go by my iPhone app.

I am really, really slow at running. I don't want to be the girl who does a 5K in 45 minutes. Oh. My. Word.

At any rate, we were almost all smiles at the end of the six am jog. This was my first time jogging alone (kind of alone). This was my first time jogging before work. This was my first time to use my new jogging stroller. This was my first time to jog in two weeks.

So here is to summer, getting everything back on track, and enjoying time with my family!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Alejandro the caterpillar, flowers, food, and pink gorillas.

How is that for a title? Makes you really want to read my post, doesn't it? Especially considering that I've been absent from the blogging world almost the entire month of May!

I do apologize, but let's be honest. 

It's May.

End of school.


At any rate, life has taken over and pretty much everything except for family & work has fallen by the wayside. This will be a "catch up" post also known as dump out all my random phone pictures. You ready?

I've been very, very, very torn about this school year ending because I have the sweetest little class. They are adorable. And I am spoiled rotten by my kids' parents. I mean, spoiled rotten!

See? My whole class got me these wonderful flowers, a picture frame they decorated with their class picture, and a nice gift card for an end of the year present. Yes, I'm spoiled.

So what did I do with the end of the year gift cards?

Glad you asked! I went out to buy a jogging stroller for my new goal of running a 5K at the end of June. I keep borrowing jogging strollers, trying out people's strollers, searching Craigslist for used jogging strollers, etc., etc. In the end, I just saved up my gift cards from my class parents to buy a stroller. 

Technically, we never even bought Micah a stroller because I'm cheap, and we have just borrowed a lot of stuff from family and friends. I guess we still didn't really buy this stroller either since I had gift cards, but either way...

If a parent from my classroom stumbles upon my blog---thanks for the jogging stroller!

I'm very happy. The front wheel rotates and locks as well as it folds up to fit in my car trunk. 

We've had a little battle of wills with our neighbors next door. Well, I started having a battle with them, but I finally gave up and decided it wasn't the most Godly thing to do.

They like to park all their cars (three of them with only two adults--but who's counting?) in front of our house!! They don't use their driveway. They don't use their two car garage. Nope, they park in front of our house. So for a while, I was parking purposely in front of our house to reclaim my property. That just made them worse, so I gave up.

I started to do a vlog one day and accidentally took this lovely gem of a picture of myself at my desk. Whoops!

I discovered Flat Out bread by Hungry Girl for my lunches! Oh so healthy, and oh so good!

Micah likes to let us know how manly pink can really be. I had an obsession over Strawberry Shortcake when I was a child, and I have this amazing blanket (not from childhood) that I love. Well, Micah loves to snuggle with this blanket and a pink gorilla one of my students gave me for Valentine's Day. He totes that pink gorilla everywhere. It it

I took this pic at school one day before I released the kids to go play at recess. The weather is now getting hotter, but I have to say...I've had a pretty good view for the end of the year.

Micah discovered salsa, and we let him have at it. He's very independent these days! He had to make sure that he dipped his own chip in the entire bowl by himself. He also squealed (or squawked) at you if you tried to just give him a taste. OH NO. He has to be elbow deep in salsa on his own.

Then he just slurps it off and double dips. It's gross, so we let him just play in it after we were finished.

Did I mention how pretty is has been outside (although rapidly getting too hot) lately?

Many afternoons my view has been of this (with various children running everywhere).

Here's Micah going to town with the salsa again.

Speaking of end of the year, I assigned my last student project to be due about two weeks ago. We were studying sound, and I thought it would be fun for kids to make their own instruments.

Imagine my surprise when somebody made this! Then he played it using flip flops at the top to make sound come out of the bottom. It was the most unique project I've ever seen in ten years. Also notice it is as tall as my director's chair!

Speaking of my sweet kiddos, I have this one awesome artist in my class. He's painting me things all year on canvas, and my classroom is full of his creations. His mom told me that she couldn't wait for me to see his end of the year present for me.

Now, we all know that I love woodland creatures. My sons's room is decorated in woodland creatures, his first birthday party was woodland themed, and I even found woodland creatures bulletin board stuff this past summer! So I named my kids Mrs. C's Critters this year, and went with the woodland theme at school, too.

Look what he painted for me!!!! How precious is this? I took a bad iPhone pic of it. 

I am in love with this.

Wow. I sure am talking a lot about school. Can you tell where I've been this month? Haha!

On to another funny school story.
One of my kids found this crazy caterpillar that was extremely wild looking. I've lived here my whole life and never seen a caterpillar like this one. She brought it to school in a cereal box and begged me to keep it as a class pet. The girls named him "Alejandro Spike", and I gave them a container to put "Alejandro" in for this last week of school.

Don't you just love kids? I mean, can you say that about your job?

So we've played with Alejandro most of the week, but on Tuesday night I started thinking, Why does this caterpillar look so strange? I wondered if he was poisonous, and I was just letting my kids wander around with a strange bug in a jar that could hurt them.

So I google searched him as any good educator would do. I mean the kids were so curious anyway as to what kind of a butterfly or moth he would become. 

I mean, what did educators do with all these crazy questions before Google?

Anyway, I found this site that stated it was best not to handle them!! They can't really hurt you other than cause some itching, but still. I told my little friend she had to take Alejandro home.

Of course, we also took our Sunday morning picture. However, my camera has been without batteries, so we took a pic of the boys with my iPhone.

So there's where I've been this month. I've been knee deep is grading papers, finalizing averages, researching caterpillars, enjoying flowers from my sweet class, pretending to run, indulging in Mexican food, and watching my sweet child play with a pink gorilla.

Also, for my own record, a few things Micah is saying now at (almost) 18 months:

Kitty-kitty (for our neighbors' cat)
Oh, WOW!
KayKay (my mom's grandmother name)
Ebin (his cousin's name)
Mama (and will point to me in pictures)
Dada (and will point to Mr. C in pictures)
Bean bean (green bean)
BAAAAAWWWLL (in like three syllables)
PupPup (puppy)
Boc! Boc! (Tells the puppy to get in his box.)
Yummy, yummy.
Mmmmm (when he thinks something is good).
Nononono! (Yes, that has started, too. Sigh.)

Many, many more. I just wanted to get some down on paper. I'll brainstorm more with Mr. C when I'm off this weekend.

So excited that tomorrow is my official start to summer at about noon, and I'm glad to be reentering the blogging world. I've missed you!