Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Another Open Water Swimmer in the Family

Katie was adamant.  She was not getting in the lake.  But then she changed her mind.  
I'm not sure exactly what conversation went on inside her head but she changed her mind and filled out a form and walked right into Lake Erie.


This was my view at the beginning of the 1-mile open water swim in Lake Erie this past Saturday.  Ken has done this particular event for the past several years.  He likes the challenge of swimming out past the buoys & breakers (where we're normally allowed to swim) and swimming one-mile in open water while being tossed around in big waves.

Last year he was 3rd in his age group.  This year he met his biggest challenge yet... 
a 13 year-old who decided it was her turn to brave the lake.


We saw a few familiar, encouraging faces on the beach while we waited for the race to begin.  Katie was particularly encouraged by Rachel, a family friend who coached Katie a few summers ago. 
(By the way, Rachel won this race last year leaving all the boys eating her bubbles)


You may be asking yourself why Ken & I didn't just say no to her.  You need to know that Katie is an excellent swimmer.  She's on a swim team and she swims at least a mile every day during swim practice.  
We knew she was capable of completing this race.  

We also know Katie.  We know that once she puts her mind to a task, there's just no turning back.  She's not going to be satisfied until the task is complete.  

We've learned to watch her fly.  It's much easier than trying to hold her down.


Now, while we were all pretty confident that Katie could swim a mile, she had never done it in open water.  And open water swimming is different.  There's no big black line on the bottom to keep you swimming in a straight line.  No flip-turns every 25 yards to give you a little momentum.  And stopping to hang onto the wall for a moment isn't an option.

As Katie described it, "You just have to keep swimming.  
And the only one who can get you back to shore is you."

The organizers had set up big buoys along the course and swimmers were instructed to keep the buoys on their right side.  Ken & Katie decided to pick off buoys one at a time.  See the buoy- swim to it.  And they thought perhaps it was an optical illusion when it seemed like the third buoy was refusing to get any closer.

The buoys were drifting out into Lake Erie.

The one-mile swim that my brave girl agreed to ended up being closer to 2 miles.

(I'd like to note here that this is the sort of thing that gives a mama new grey hairs)

I couldn't have been happier when I saw her swimming towards the shore and then running up to the finish line.  (She's on the left in the picture below)


We headed for Bob Evans for some breakfast and celebration.  
I don't think I've ever seen her eat so many hotcakes in one meal!


She asked me if I was going to swim next year.  
I reminded her that she's the brave one.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend Reads for You

Hey friends!  I hope this is the beginning of a great weekend for you.

Here are a few of my favorite things to read from the last week.  Enjoy!

12 Things You Need to Remind Yourself of When You Wake Up- from Marc and Angel Hack Life

I Think They Have a Calendar- from the Yarn Harlot.  My favorite knitting blogger is about to embark on a 500-mile bike ride and some ornery squirrels wish to thwart her plan.

10 Post-Workout Snack Ideas- from Running to the Kitchen. (these look delicious! I must try them!)

Like a Girl- by Kristen Armstrong.  As a mom of 10 & 13 year-old girls, this really resonates with me.

Speaking of the girls, we've gotta run!  There's swimming, running & other summer fun waiting for us.  Enjoy the weekend!


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Monday, July 14, 2014

Fun Apps for Fit Girls

I have to admit that I'm a bit of a nerd.  I love gadgets and technology in a way that's almost embarrassing.

So I can't imagine why I took this long to get acquainted with the fit-girl apps available on my iPhone!

Let me tell you about the ones I'm loving this week.

1. MyFitnessPal

Yes, I know I'm late getting to this one.  This calorie & nutrition tracker is powerful!  I like that I can scan barcodes of zillions of food and get accurate nutrition information right away.

I have synced MyFitnessPal with these other apps to get an accurate picture of my nutrition and exercise and how they are related.

Best part? It's FREE!


2. Strava

Here's another FREE app that uses the GPS on my iPhone to track my runs.  You can also join groups and get & give Kudos to other runners.  (You can also use it for cycling but I've never done that)


3. Fitbit

The Fitbitt App is FREE,  but you need to invest in a Fitbit to use it.  I just got a Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker.  It's the most basic Fitbit.  The other ones track other information like your sleep cycles, but I went basic. (for now)



4.  EveryMove

Is a relatively new app that allows you to earn points that earn you rewards for being active.  Right now I'm working toward a discount on SportSuds which we really need.  This family makes a lot of laundry.



5.  Gymboss

As a run/walker I've been a fan of my Gymboss timer for awhile.  They also have a FREE app now!  I use it to time my run/walk intervals.  You can set & save different intervals and name them. You could also use it for other kinds of interval & HITT workouts.


Do you use your smart phone to motivate you 
on your fitness journey?  
What apps do you recommend?

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

I Know You... You're not a Stranger

I'm the sort of person who talks to strangers. A lot.  This alternately amuses and mortifies Katie who is 13 and still cares what people think of her.

For instance, if you and I are standing in the grocery store side by side looking at nut butters I'll probably tell you which kind of almond butter I prefer.  I'll even tell you about the reasons why I like it best and be very interested if you should choose to tell me what nut butter you're looking for and what you plan to do with it.

My mother does the same thing by the way, so I'm guessing Katie will come around eventually.  I never learned the "don't talk to strangers" rule.  I actually don't let people stay strangers for too long.

So you shouldn't be surprised to find out that when I'm out running I'm the sort of girl who (at the very least) waves to other runners.  If you smile, you'll probably even hear me yell, "great morning for a run, isn't it?" or "This hill is wicked!"... whatever seems appropriate.

This morning I was out for my Saturday AM run and I was looping back towards home.  I had about 3/4 of a mile to go and I don't imagine I looked lovely.  I was hot and getting tired and ready for this particular run to end.

This older woman was backing out of her driveway and she slowed down, waved and gave me a little smile and a thumbs-up.

I'ver never met her.  She didn't have to do it.  But I imagine she's a runner.  It's possible that her legs don't take her out for runs, but in her heart she's a runner-girl like me.

Her smile said, "I know you.  Keep going. You got this."

I waved and smiled and in my heart I thanked her.



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Saturday, July 5, 2014

My Independence Day- Just the Highlights

1. Yesterday Mandy and I watched a very long parade.  This girl is great company!


2. She did however, say the words "You brought knitting to a parade?" with a tone of disbelief.  
But, I'm almost done with this sock and I want to be done soon.  

And did I mention that the parade was long?


3. We sat through the very long parade (which featured way too many firetrucks) so that we could see Ken & Katie march with a local drum & bugle corps.   They were in the very last division.

Here's Katie marching past us...


4. Shall we talk about the fact that I waited 2 1/2 hours to see them 
and when they passed me they weren't playing?  No, let's not.  I'm trying to get over it.

5. I also got hit in the face with an Almond Joy by some overly-enthusiastic parade participant.  
I would have preferred a Reese's cup.

6. And I got a sunburn.

7.  Then we went to a picnic at my mom's house where I chatted with my 2-year-old niece.  She is seriously one of the most entertaining people I know. (She wants to make it clear that she is NOT a baby.  She reminds us all the time.)

8.  We did not attend any big fireworks displays.  
Instead we stayed home and watched Ken light some off in the back yard.  
I like it better that way.

How was your 4th of July?
Give me the highlights in the comments!

Did anyone throw chocolate at you?

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cute Puppies & Pretty Food- it's What I Ate Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

We are hoping for a nice, boring hump day around here because Tuesday was a little too exciting for us.

Mandy and I left the house around 9:00 AM for swim team practice.  When we came back at 11:00, Ruger met us at the door and I thought he was carrying something in his mouth. (I actually thought it was a golf ball despite the fact that no one in this house golfs.  Yes, that's how my brain works)


My poor little guy's lip was all puffy.
A trip to the vet confirmed my suspicions that he had been bitten or stung by something in the morning.  He got a shot of cortisone and he's on Benadryl for a couple of days.  He's sleeping soundly now and looking much more like his handsome self.

While we were waiting, Mandy looked down the hall and saw these guys.


It was so stinking cute.

It's been quite awhile since we did any What I Ate Wednesday action around here.  But now summer is here with it's pretty food so let's do this!
My favorite salad only happens during the summer months at Panera Bread.  The Strawberry Poppyseed Salad is to die for.
So, imagine my happiness when I found the Poppyseed dressing at Target!

By the way, that "fat free- low cal" blah, blah, blah means nothing to me.  I'm not scared of fat in my diet.  In fact, I generally avoid labels like this.  But I buy this dressing for one reason and one reason only... Because it's delicious! That is all.

I used my OXO Good Grips Salad Chopper and Bowl  to chop up some Romaine lettuce, strawberries, blueberries & mandarin oranges.


Post-chopping they look like this...


Do you see what I mean about pretty summer food?
The poppyseed dressing completed my summer salad happiness.

While I was chopping, these were doing their thing out on the grill...


One of those hot dogs was for Ruger.  
He deserved a little treat after the morning he had.

Do you have a favorite dish that's 
only available in the summer?

Do you grill food just for your dog?
(not sorry by the way)

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thoughts from an Over-Hobbier

I have sometimes been accused of being an over-hobbier.  Actually, Ken thinks I have a lot of hobbies.  My friends like to use the word "enabler" because I like to drag them into my fun as well.

I run, I love yoga, & lately I'm a wee bit obsessed with P90X3.

By the way, I got these new running shoes this week from Leftlane Sports.  
The price was great and I really liked running in them on Saturday.


I like to cook & buy fun kitchen gadgets.  I play several instruments and I sing. 
I read A LOT and I knit.

In fact, my love for knitting can be a little bit unreasonable. 
(I feel like it could be worse- I could be this excited about cabbage.)

But the truth is that I'm raising little over-hobbiers as well.  Katie & Mandy swim, read, play several instruments, sing, and they also enjoy the yarn quite a bit.

They also love animals very deeply, so our local zoo never gets old.  We visited it the other day and met Jaspar who is a 30-year-old macaw. (in case you wondered- that's young for a macaw)


Then we visited my favorite Alpacas.  Their names are Larry, Moe & Curly.


They were freshly shorn and I think I spent half of the visit 
wondering what happened to their wool.


I asked this on Facebook and several people explained to me about how wool is made into yarn.  Let me be clear, I do understand where my yarn comes form.  What I meant to ask was this, "Where does the wool from these specific zoo-dwelling alpacas go?"

Katie says she'll ask when she goes to Jr. Zoo Keeper camp in August so that 
I can stop wondering about it.  She's a good child.

Tell me about your hobbies!
Do you think it's possible to have too many?


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