Friday Five Reasons I Run

Hello, Friday! Hope your Friday is going wonderfully this morning.

I pulled a smooth move this morning by pouring old half n' half into my freshly brewed coffee. Moral of the story: Always smell milk or half n' half before you add it to your coffee.

5 Reasons I Run

1. To be a healthy example for my family. Little man is always watching and I hope he picks up more good habits from me than bad. I already caught him biting his nails like mama once... not good! I'm still working on breaking that nervous habit!

2. So I can eat these brownies and not feel bad about it. Of course I recommend eating them in moderation, but I just had to eat two of them because they were fresh out of the oven. I cut them small, okay?! Don't judge me ;)

3. Running is a low-cost sport. Goodbye hockey equipment and tennis rackets! All I need to run is a good pair (or two) of shoes. I alternate between these two types of shoes and that works for me.

Race fees can get expensive if you race a lot each year, so I try to be picky about the races I run. One marathon or a couple half's a year is great with me and then a 5k or two always sneaks in there, too.

4. Goal-setting motivates me. Some nerds love training logs and goals. I'm one of those nerds! Dailymile has been a great online training log and it's so easy to work with. Training for races motivates me to get up and run early in the morning!


5. Running has made me a morning person. Waking up early for long runs has taught me to appreciate the early morning quiet time. Time in prayer and reading my Bible followed by a run is my favorite way to spend the morning.

Now if only I could stay awake through an entire movie in the evening... I am proud to say I made it through the whole movie "God's Not Dead" two nights ago! It was that good!

Verse 5

To go with the Friday 5 theme, verse 5 from Ecclesiastes 11 blew me away this week.

When I try to understand God's ways, I am absolutely awestruck. As a chase our little man around the house, I can't believe that he is the same little baby that was formed in my womb. God is truly amazing!
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. ECCLESIASTES 11:5

5 Places I Would Love to Run

Moose Mountain Marathon on the Superior Hiking Trail
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My brothers and I hiked across the Grand Canyon a few years ago. Maybe some day I will run across the Canyon!
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I've never been to New York before! Why not run the New York City Marathon while we visit.
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Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, MN. Because it's in my home-state and I haven't ran it yet!
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A girl can dream right? One day we will have kids that want to go to Disney World. Might as well go during the Walt Disney World Marathon!
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Why do you run?
What has left you awestruck this week?

Linking up at Fitness Friday.

Day in the Life as a New SAHM

It's been a little over a year since I left my job in the corporate world to stay at home full-time with little man.

Life has changed so much over this past year - adjusting to my new career as a full-time mom, new hometown, "new-to-us" house and so many new experiences as our little boy is growing up. I wrote a "Day in the Life" post back in May 2013 and thought I would follow up with a life update over a year later.

Being a stay-at-home mom is challenging because...

  • It gets lonely.

  • Some days that sweet toddler boy drives me up a wall.

  • Sometimes I get down about being just a mom in a world where most people don't see the value of a mom being at home to raise their children.

  • Aside from early morning hours and nap time, quiet time is hard to come by. On the more trying days, I do miss those adult lunch visits and 15-minute coffee breaks I had at my old job.

  • Living on one income means less expendable income.

But it's all worth it. Times a million.

  • Motherhood is a privilege. I'm not a mom for my own happiness but for God's glory!

  • God has provided for us in every need and He has blessed us so much in this new season of life.

  • He has blessed me with amazing friendships, both old and new.

  • Our toddler boy's hugs and kisses melt my heart.

  • I am learning how important it is to find my value in God and to remember that He views my new career as eternally valuable. Shaping souls is not something that should be taken lightly!

  • I can find joy in the daily chaos when I remember how much I missed this boy while I worked away from home. There was so much I missed in those 40 hours/week that I was away from E.

  • Living on one income is teaching us what really matters in this life and has made us more aware of God's daily provisions. You don't have to be "lucky" to stay at home or financially well off, but it does require lifestyle changes. I highly recommend reading 1/2 Price Living by Ellie Kay.

And, one more thing, listen to the awesome broadcast about Set-Apart Motherhood! I have heard "just you wait 'til" lines so many times it makes my head spin. In this broadcast, they talk about why we shouldn't discourage future moms-to-be and young mothers.

A Day in the Life

Granted, I am only one year into being a SAHM and every family has a different schedule, this is a "day in the life" of our family. Every day differs a little here and there but the basic structure is the same. Is there such thing as a completely predictable day with a little one in the house?

And I guess this is also my answer to the question "Don't you get bored staying at home all day?". I have been asked that a few times and have a hard time answering because the days seem to blur together. So here it is. I made it a point to write down what we did on Friday :)

Quick answer: No. The list of things to do at home is unending (and so are diaper changes). Now whether I want to do certain chores around home is a different question :)

Most days my legs feel like lead by the time 7:00 pm rolls around and I just want to lay on the floor to for a quick 5 minutes. But then a toddler attacks me because he thinks that means it's wrestle-mania time. (No complaints about my legs being tired, though. I'm not cut out for sitting all day and I do run a lot, by choice!)

5:30 AM I'm up. Put on my running clothes, let Sully (dog) outside and give him his breakfast, and sit down to read my Bible, do a devotional and pray.

A friend borrowed me the "Perfectly Fit" devotional book. It includes a workout for the week and daily devotionals!

6:15 AM Slip on my running shoes and watch. Grab my iPod and out the door I go. 45-minute run scheduled for today.

7:00 AM Run home, stretch and then hit the shower. Start cooking breakfast. Eat breakfast with my husband and brother-in-law, who stays with us.

7:30 AM Little man usually hears us talking and wakes up soon after. Change diaper, get him dressed and prepare his breakfast.

8:00 AM Wash breakfast dishes and throw in a load of laundry. Get E ready for outdoor play time.

9:30-11:00 AM Off to a friend's house to bake whole wheat English Muffins while the kids play. She is such a talented baker and I was excited to have a baking lesson! Baking was a special occasion today. Most mornings we hit the playground at this time, depending on the weather.

Homemade English Muffins

11:00-12:30 AM Heading home to clean up the house, start on lunch and clothes/diaper change. Throw laundry in dryer (too rainy for clothes line).

12:30 PM The guys come home for lunch break. We eat together and E goes down for his nap. Wash up dishes.

1:00-2:00 PM Free time for mom spent cleaning, writing, reading or working on random projects. Basically anything that isn't easily do-able when E is awake.

2:00-2:45 PM E wakes from his nap, has a quick snack and we're off to the grocery store. We had to buy very important groceries. Milk, peanut butter and two containers of ice cream :)

He's such a good grocery helper.

3:00-4:45 PM A mix of play time, a walk around the neighborhood, and cleaning. Some days, E helps me practice my piano playing for church but his attention span lasts for about 5 minutes.

4:45 PM Start cooking supper. E and I eat supper at 5:30 because we never really know when daddy and uncle will be home. Farming hours are unpredictable this time of the year.

6:00 PM The guys are back home and they eat supper. We all have that delicious ice cream for dessert. Wash dishes, pick up the house and play time.

My goofball! 

7:30-8:00 PM Bedtime for E.

8:00-10:00 PM Spend time with Leo, maybe watch a movie or read together followed by bedtime.

Why I Stay At Home

Staying at home isn't about how many loads of laundry you can get done, how many activities your kids are in or how clean your house is. It's about quality time together, making memories and honoring God with our family.

We aren't promised tomorrow and time is something that we can't get back. Spend it wisely.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. PSALM 90:12
What does your daily routine look like?

Choco Chip Blondies

After quite a dry stretch, we finally got some much-needed rain on Monday and the weather was just cool enough for some baking.

It was about time because we have been lacking baked goods in this house! So here you have it - my first go at baking "blondies" or "blonde brownies".

These bars are the perfect sidekick for afternoon coffee!

Choco Chip Blondies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps. vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Optional 3/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°F. Flour and butter 9x13" pan (I used a smaller pan).

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, melt butter and then add sugar; stir together. Add eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix well. Slowly add flour mixture.

Pour into pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle chips and/or nuts on top (I added the chocolate chips into the batter instead). Bake for 25-30 minutes.

After cooled, cut into squares and serve. They are best with a cup of coffee or milk!

What is your favorite type of brownie? Plain or something fancy?

Linking up at Wise Woman and Pin It Thursday.

A Slow Run is Better Than No Run

Saturday was an interesting long-run morning.

The second I woke up, my body felt stiff, sore, and tired (last week was a long one and I think it took it's toll). After reasoning with myself and accepting that I would indeed regret sleeping in, I slowly climbed out of bed.

I walked into the kitchen to grab an English muffin before heading out the door and my finger got nipped by what felt like an angry little animal hiding under the muffin bag. I screamed and jumped around the kitchen while looking for a paper towel to stop the bleeding.

After the situation was under control, I found that my attacker was a ginormous watermelon-cutting knife (whew, not a wild animal in my kitchen).

After the attack... 'tis a mere flesh wound!

After the bleeding stopped, I scarfed half of the English muffin and headed out the door.

The run felt... not good. My legs felt lead-filled and the tiredness was really weighing me down. I told myself "just make it one hour".

Well, I did make the hour goal at least (+ 1 minute!). The pace wasn't too impressive, but I reminded myself that a shortened, slow run was better than not going out at all. When I got back in, I told Leo that I "only ran 6.7 miles this morning".

This is definitely true! View image source.

"Only?!", he said. It seemed like only 6.7 miles because I was supposed to cover about 11-12 miles that morning before the guys woke up. 6.7 miles is a long way to run on a normal day but long run days are a different ball game.

Really, running is just a hobby - a recreational form of exercise that I really enjoy and I certainly don't get paid to do it! Running has helped me to grow so much as a person and does keep me in shape. But, when it's taken too seriously, then it becomes a problem. I just have a hard time quitting in anything I do.

Reminder: A bad run is not day-ruiner!

Once I accepted it was okay that I "quit" (ah, really don't like that word...) that long run early, the weekend went on and these last few days have been great. My brother-in-law is staying with us for the next few months and it has been a blessing having him here.

God is good and I am so thankful for time with family, friends, and the new, hairy addition to our family:

His name is "Saul", but I'm calling him "Sully"! He loves the playground, too.

I am so thankful for the life God has blessed me with but when I hear about what other Christians around the world are going through, I almost feel "too blessed" (hopefully that makes sense?).

Christians (adults and innocent children) are being horribly persecuted all over this world. Sometimes I feel so unable to help them - like the situation is hopeless. As I live in my own happy, comfy little world, they are suffering. My troubles are so trivial compared to their physical suffering.

Thankfully, there is something we can do. We are able to help our brothers and sisters in Christ by praying diligently for them. Prayer does matter and there is always hope. (This post went from a light/funny mood to slightly depressing, but this has been on my heart and I want to be honest with whoever does read.)

I read Psalm 103 on our way to church this weekend. No matter what is going on in this world, we praise the Lord for all He does for us. He forgives, He heals, He redeems, He crowns us, and He satisfies us!
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all His benefits—
Who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
PSALM 103:1-5
Does the word "quit" really bug you, too?!
What has been on your heart lately?

Linking up at Tuesdays on the Run and Fitness Friday.

Friday Favorites - 8/15

Friday is back again and it's time for another favorites list with Fitness Friday! We have had family staying with us this week and the days have flown by.

Here are a few of my favorites over this last week:

1. Harvest time. Barley harvest recently started and E really enjoys driving the combine with daddy. We don't see Leo as much during harvest but I am very thankful that we can go out to the field and visit him. The wives even bring supper out to the field so all of the families can eat together (notice the chili on E's face). It's awesome!

2. New beats. We've been listening to a lot of Lecrae and Switchfoot lately. It's hilarious to watch E bob his little head and dance to the music. I highly recommend checking out "Live Free" by Lecrae and pretty much all the songs on my running playlist below!

3. My favorite double date. My brother and sister-in-law babysat little man while Leo and I went out on our pre-harvest date. The next day, the guys golfed and the girls (plus E in the stroller) ran 4 miles. That counts as a double date, right?

4. The Choco-Graham. Chocolate and graham crackers were made for each other. The "Choco-Graham" is like an indoor s'more, minus the marshmallow! Just make sure you microwave them for 30 seconds, otherwise it's just not the same :)

5a. Our cheering section. Another local 5k ran by our house but this time we were the "cheering section" instead of racing ourselves. I enjoyed cheering on the 5k runners more than actually racing it myself. A 5k here and there is fine, but it definitely isn't my favorite distance to run. Only two months until my next half marathon!

5b. Belated birthday cake. Our niece and nephew helped me bake a belated birthday mini-cake for Leo during their visit with us. I know this is technically picture #6 but I had to share it. My niece's face is hilarious!

What are your five favorites this Friday?

When Is It Time for Baby #2?

This post is linked up with "One Year and Beyond" and we are covering the topic "Deciding when the time is right for baby #2".

Our topic this week is one near and dear to my heart. Having a sibling for E has been on our hearts for a while. Actually, for the last ten months or so. **Disclaimer: This post is about pregnancy and all that business, so read beyond this point at your own risk!**

With our first baby, E, we were pregnant in the first cycle of "trying". This time around has been another story. After I ran the Blue Ox Marathon in October 2013, Leo and I decided it was time to add to our family. A few months passed after that and we still weren't pregnant.

When E turned 14 months old, I reluctantly weaned him from nursing and thought maybe, just maybe my cycle would return. A couple more months pass and still not pregnant. He will be 18 months in September and never imagined we wouldn't be pregnant again at this point!

All I can say is this has been a journey and a rather frustrating one at that. God has been using this struggle to teach me so much and I do truly feel peace in my heart now, despite still having a strong desire for more children. Everything will work out in His perfect timing.

Here are a few lessons I have learned while waiting for Baby #2.

- Respond gently to the questions. When asked about when we will have another baby, I simply respond "We're working on it!" with a smile. Sometimes I get a funny look in response but, hey, they asked! Usually that's the end of the conversation :)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. PROVERBS 15:1
- Give people grace. Questions about child-planning and comments like "just wait until you have more kids" can be frustrating when you are struggling with getting pregnant. Give people grace and try not to take it as a personal attack. Chances are that they mean no harm but words can feel careless and hurtful anyways.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. EPHESIANS 4:2
- Surrender your desire for children to God. God knows the desires of your heart. Be honest with God and share the worries in your heart with Him. God isn't a "genie in a bottle" and He doesn't always answer our prayers the way we want Him to but He does know what is best for us. I need to continually ask God to change my heart to be in line with His will.
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires. PSALM 37:4
- Comfort others who are struggling. Focusing on encouraging and comforting others helps me to keep my focus off myself and my troubles. Sharing my weaknesses with others is not easy for me, yet I am learning over time that I am able to help others more when I do so. When we pursue God, He gives us supernatural strength and peace so that we can help others who are struggling themselves.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-4
- Rejoice, pray and give thanks. When you want something so badly, it's easy to forget to be thankful for all God has done. I am hoping for another baby someday but my hope is not in another baby. Our days on this earth are numbered and I don't want to be blind to the wonderful blessings God has given me because I am focusing on something else.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18
We're going to keep on living one day at a time, praying for another baby and continue hoping for wonderful things to come. God has great things planned for His children, the best of all being eternal life with Him!

One more thing - We do have another addition to our family but he is much more hairy than a newborn baby. Meet E's new partner-in-crime, Saul :)

How did you know it was the "right" time to have children/have more children?
How do you handle questions about your personal life?

Linking up with the Weekly Infertility link-up.

Summer Running Requires Smoothies

Even morning runs have been hot this week and I am praising God for it! After a winter like we recently had, I can't complain about any temps above 0°F.

We put on 6.25 solid stroller-miles for this morning's tempo run and I knew today was a smoothie-making day. Now that the weather is comfortably warm, E loves to have his shoes off in the stroller and let the windy blow on his stinky little feet. At least he's staying cool while I'm a hot mess!

This was my first try at making a "green smoothie" and it turned out really well - even my husband liked it!

Tropical Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup mango, fresh or frozen
  • 6 oz. Chobani peach Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup spinach, shredded
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup cold water
Place all ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth. Stir with spoon to make sure the frozen fruit is well-blended. Serve as a smoothie OR pour into small containers to place in the freezer for frozen yogurt. Serving size: 2

Our little guy is crazy about frozen yogurt (and ice cream...) so this is a great way to sneak some healthy-ness in while he thinks he's having a "treat"!

And here's that sweet boy. His big, innocent eyes do a wonderful job of disguising what a stinker he is! We will be enjoying some tasty frozen smoothie once he wakes from his nap. I love summer and every second with this kid!

I will leave you with this for today. As we are praying, waiting, and waiting some more for God to bless us with another baby, these verses have been such an encouragement to me.

God comforts us with peace beyond all understanding so that we can comfort others in their troubles. Amen to that!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-4
What is your favorite smoothie recipe?
How do you handle the summer heat?

Linking up at Pin It Thursdays and Fitness Friday.

Barefoot Summer

E and I were visiting Grandpa and Grandma's farm last week and we enjoyed some shoe-less time outside. E loves playing outside and I was able to fit in some barefoot running, too.

He was very busy working on his Fisher-Price car; you know, being a mechanic like daddy!

Running barefoot is so freeing (and quite a workout on the calves)! I'm not a radical barefoot enthusiast but I do want to incorporate one low-mileage barefoot run or barefoot strength training into each week.

Why Barefoot Running Rocks

  1. The (lack of) shoes are free.
  2. No socks needed, therefore less laundry.
  3. It's like a flashback to being a farm kid!

For more information and tips on barefoot running, check out this article: "How to Start Barefoot Running" by Ben Greenfield

A Few Summer Memories

I will be sharing more about our summer in a future post but here are a few pictures to hold you over (I'm sure you just can't wait, right?). Harvest is just around the corner on the farm where Leo works! Busy days are ahead.

The second week of half marathon training has just started and we are persistently praying for Baby #2 to come in God's timing. This "waiting" period hasn't been easy but God is teaching me so much through this and showing me how I can use personal struggles to help others.

I keep thinking I should just sign up to run another full marathon, then we will get pregnant. That's how it happened with E, anyways :) This is a key verse I'm hanging on to:
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. PSALM 37:4
Family Tennis. We played some family tennis after church on Sunday. E was our ball boy until he got bored (about 15 minutes later).

Waffles. Now that training is rolling for the next half marathon, increased mileage means I have an increased appreciation for waffles. P.S. These are blueberry banana waffles :)

Canadian Fish. Leo loves fishing like I love running. He was away on a fishing trip up in Canada and we're so glad to have him back.

Canadian Treats. He even brought back some treats from his trip - ketchup chips, caffeinated chocolate, and Tim Horton's (all in moderation, of course!). By the way, Tim Horton's is my new favorite coffee shop!

Have you tried barefoot running?
What positive points have you learned through personal struggles?

Linking up at Mommy Moments and Tuesdays on the Run.