Just Heather

A few months ago, there was a big hullabaloo when some magazine used a cancer survivor’s race photo to make fun of “women thinking tutus make them run faster.” I no longer even remember the magazine nor do I care enough to look it up. But, I did find the whole thing completely ridiculous, even beyond the outrage over it all.

Tutus are not about being faster. Silly race socks are not about speed. A running skirt won’t make me fly. But dressing up for a race makes it a lot more fun. In a costume, I can be someone completely different. I can be a runner — who would have thought?

Today, I visited the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo to pickup my race packet and walked through the vendor booths. I collected a little swag, stopped by to thank McDonald’s for their support of my efforts, and checked out a few shops, not at all intending to buy anything.

And then I saw them. Wonder Woman race socks. Complete with a cape. You guys! I have been wanting these for ages, but I have never found them anywhere and have yet to justify ordering them. But there they were — and I had birthday money in my pocket!

I’m kinda regretting that I didn’t buy the matching tutu, but I am now the proud owner of Wonder Woman socks . And you know what? They will make me run faster. Because this time, I was content to walk this 5K. I’ve been such a slacker about training, but I’m going to give running my best shot anyway.

Because I want to see those capes fly. (Someone take a picture; I can’t actually see behind me.) Whatever it takes, right?

Disclosure: Mcdonald’s of Central Indiana has provided benefits, including free Finish Line 500 Festival 5K registration, an ArchCard, a t-shirt, and giveaway products in exchange for my participation in this campaign.

I was doing pretty well with my kinda, sorta moderation and my barely there, slacker fitness. I had lost 5 pounds in two weeks. And then it was Easter.

Easter candy is my greatest weakness — Cadbury Caramel eggs, Peeps, chocolate bunnies, and the greatest candy ever created, Reese’s eggs. I was doing well with one (okay, two) pieces each day, with a little exercise on the side. But suddenly, it was all just there. Easter baskets full, clearance shelves well-stocked, and my cart suddenly full.

For a solid week, I basically gorged on Easter candy. The good news is, it’s nearly gone, so I can start over again. The bad news is I gained 2 pounds. In a week. Once I realized it, my eating went back to “normal” with candy in moderation.

That’s the key with all of it — moderation. While I once drank soda all day, every day, I now allow myself one every day or so. And while I used to eat candy whenever I wanted, I now try to stick with one treat per day. I don’t have a lot of indulgences, really.

Most of the day, it’s all about the rest of my family. I work to pay the bills. I drive kids all over town. I keep track of the family calendar. I make sure the team uniforms are cleaned in time for every game. Sweets are the one, small thing I keep just for me. A Sunkist to get me going each day and a treat to end each night.

It keeps me sane. It gives me something to look forward to. It gives me a few seconds of bliss in a chaotic day of appointments and kid activities. I just have to make sure it stays that small. So far, so good. I’ve maintained my weight for the last week, even though I still have a few Peeps left in my stash.

The workouts and running that I have to begin again will have that weight back off (hopefully) quickly. And I have another year before the Easter candy becomes a problem again. We’ll deal with Halloween candy when we come to it.

Disclosure: Mcdonald’s of Central Indiana has provided benefits, including free Finish Line 500 Festival 5K registration, an ArchCard, a t-shirt, and giveaway products in exchange for my participation in this campaign.

I go through phases with my fitness goals. I’ll be pushing hard for awhile, and then nothing. The key, really, is getting up again and starting over. And over. And over. It doesn’t matter how many times I fall or how many Reese’s eggs I eat. What really matters is that I get up and start moving again. Eventually.

The hubby wrote about the same thing for his first post — just get back to it, every time. So that’s what I have done all month. I started over again when I decided to run the 500 Festival 5K. I started over again after I was sick for 2 weeks. And, I’ll keep starting all over again no matter how many times it takes.

I don’t consider it yo-yoing at all. I think it’s more about being realistic. There will always be things that get in the way. I will always have times when I just don’t want to. And that’s totally okay. If I beat myself up over it and start to feel like a failure, I’ll fail.

Instead, I just start again when I’m ready.

And again when that one doesn’t stick. I’m going to keep coming back — not because I still have more weight to lose (I do) or because other people think I should (they probably do). I’m going to keep coming back because fitness is like an old, childhood friend.

It’s always there for me when I need it. It always makes me smile when we reconnect. And it never judges the fact that I haven’t called in awhile. It’s comfortable and comforting and all sorts of adjectives that keep us connected despite the time between our last visits.

But next time? Let’s try not to stay away so long.

Disclosure: Mcdonald’s of Central Indiana has provided benefits, including free Finish Line 500 Festival 5K registration, an ArchCard, a t-shirt, and giveaway products in exchange for my participation in this campaign.

Four weeks ago, I was supposed to start a campaign with McDonald’s of Central Indiana as I began training for a 5K they’re sponsoring this weekend. I weighed in (yuck), started tracking my nutrition and fitness, and titled my first post. Slacker Fitness.

And then I proceeded to do almost nothing for 4 weeks. Do I rock at slacking, or what?

That wasn’t exactly the intention, of course. I didn’t mean to get derailed and literally do nothing. But, that’s a story for another day. My original point was about making real progress with minimal effort. I didn’t start a rigorous fitness program. I didn’t suddenly start training for a marathon. I didn’t obsess over calories or eliminate everything I loved from my diet.

I simply started doing something. Anything. Just a little. I downloaded Quick Fit to my phone and began a daily, 7-minute exercise program. I started running just a little. A mile here, a mostly walked 5K there. And I was paying attention to what I ate again — even if that did mean logging every single Reese’s egg into My Fitness Pal.

And I lost weight immediately. Every day, the scale dropped just a little bit. It was encouraging, and I even through in a 2nd, 4-minute workout now and then. Okay, once. (Slacker, remember?) It all went really well for the first week, but before I could finish writing about it, I was down for the count with the worst sinus infection I’ve had in awhile.

Three weeks later, I’m back in the game. Totally unprepared for a 5K in 4 days, but completely ready to do it anyway. This week, I’ll be chronicling my panic as the race draws closer, finishing with a race recap on Saturday afternoon. After my nap. (Did you know the 500 Festival race started at 6:45 in the morning?)

Disclosure: Mcdonald’s of Central Indiana has provided benefits, including free Finish Line 500 Festival 5K registration, an ArchCard, a t-shirt, and giveaway products in exchange for my participation in this campaign.

Thanks to Trop50 for sponsoring this post on my New Year’s resolutions as part of their Trop5 True Resolutions project. Trop50 juice beverage contains 50 percent less sugar and calories, and no artificial sweeteners. Which made our New Year’s Day mimosas even better!

I’ve never been one to make normal New Year’s resolutions. My favorite was the year I vowed to take a bubble bath every night! I totally didn’t mind keeping that one, and I still enjoy a bubble bath at least 3-4 times per week. For the last few years, I’ve made a to-do list for the year instead of resolutions, but I didn’t get very far with last year’s list.

So, this year I’m changing things up a bit. I love the idea of resolutions—there’s nothing wrong with working to better yourself or setting goals for the year. It’s just that traditional resolutions so easily fail. Even with the best of intentions, the New Year’s goals most people set are ignored by February. And, I think I’ve figured out why.

They aren’t SMART goals—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and within a Time Limit. Resolutions that fit these principals will be easier to keep. That’s why I’m revising a few traditional resolutions, to set specific goals for myself this year.

Common resolution: Be more eco-concious.
My resolution: Build a rainwater barrel.
Each year, we make an extra effort to reduce our environmental impact even more. This year, I want to focus on the rainwater barrel. I’ve wanted to do this for years—hello! Free water for the lawn & garden—but I just keep putting it off. I’ve seen a few simple tutorials on Pinterest lately, so I think it’s time to tackle this project.

Common resolution: Eat healthier.
My resolution: Plant a garden.
Having fresh veggies right outside the door helps keep me on track with a food group I’d prefer to ignore. We didn’t get a garden planted last year—time just got away from us. This year, I plan to get a jump on it early. We’ll get out there in March and clear the overgrown weeds from the garden. Then, it will be ready for tilling, new soil and compost in time for planting season.

Common resolution: Lose weight.
My resolution: Lose 10 more pounds.
I worked hard through most of last year to set fitness goals, eat healthier and lose weight. I lost a total of 25 pounds, but I am still a bit shy of my 40×40 goal. I think another 10 more pounds should do it, and I wanted to set a time limit. Since I need a new swimsuit, I figure that’s as good a time as any. I’ll know my final clothing size just in time for swimsuit season.

Common resolution: Get out of debt.
My resolution: Pay an extra $1000 per month towards our debt snowball.
We’ve made just about all the budget cuts we can. Now, it’s up to increasing our income, which we’ve been steadily working on for the last several months. Most of that paid for Christmas, since we hadn’t done a good job saving throughout the year. For 2012, we will set aside more money each month for the holidays, then put the rest of our extra income towards our debt.

Common resolution: Spend more time with family.
My resolution: Start a regular game night.
Last year, one of my goals was to schedule a family fun day once per month. The girls loved it, and we experienced new things they’d never done before. However, as we’re working on our debt snowball, the family fun budget has to go. In its place, we will do at home fun days each month. Movie nights are a favorite, but I want to get them more involved. We had a blast playing games on New Year’s Eve and again the other night with the hubby’s sister. We played board games, Just Dance, Wii Pictionary—and I loved every minute of it. I want to capture some of that all year long.

Common resolution: Help others.
My resolution: Sponsor a child.
I’ve thought of this off and one, but over the last few weeks I’ve felt really convicted. Not only do I need to share our blessings, but I need to teach my girls how many we truly have. They need to see that this is not how the rest of the world lives. And, they need to see that we can make a difference in someone else’s life.

Common resolution: Get organized.
My resolution: Reorganize the pantry & fridge.
There are so many things I could have picked. I’m a hot mess, and the whole house needs an overhaul. We need serious paperwork help, the bedroom is a disaster, and the office looks like a bomb went off. But, I’m choosing to focus on food organization. The reorganization will include an “anytime” shelf that should help the girls gain some much needed control over what they eat.

I know that’s a lot, but it’s all very specific and manageable. I can do this. And, I’m looking forward to seeing where I am at the end of the year. Plus, I’ll be blogging the results along the way. Check back Monday as I rejoin the Mamavation Sistahood and step on a scale for the first time in a long while!

Trop50 True Resolutions celebrates the reasons behind New Year’s resolutions. Share the secret motivation behind your resolution to earn a coupon for $1 off Trop50 for yourself and 50¢ off coupons for your friends. Plus, enter the sweepstakes to win a $1000 gift card.

I was compensated for this review, but all opinions (and my 2012 goals!) are entirely my own.

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Dove Ice Cream. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of the things I had lost in years of being a wife & mom was me—and I’m taking it back. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the grocery shopping, shoe tying, dinner prep & laundy—oh, the laundry! Somewhere along the way, I kinda forgot how to be Just Heather. Then, I sorta forgot how to be a good wife.

That’s where the 40×40 list & alphabet dating projects come in. It’s not about stressing myself out to cross off a list. It isn’t even just about having an excuse & motivation to do things I’ve always wanted to do. It’s about trying to figure out who I want to be when I grow up. It’s helping me take the—like riding a carousel like a kid—to relearn who I am again.

From big moments like graduating from college to small ones like eating cotton candy at the carnival, I’m discovering how to be someone other than Stacia, Brenia & Lorelai’s mom or Spencer’s wife. Then, there are the even smaller moments—indulging in a piece of chocolate I bought just for me, curling up with a book in a quiet house or soaking in a hot bubble bath at the end of a long day.

Dove Ice Cream gets mini moments! I am dying to try the miniatures—tiny bits of ice cream wrapped in Dove chocolate. At only 70 calories, I won’t even have to pretend to feel guilty.

They are sponsoring a “My Mini Moment” contest, with the chance to win a mini-getaway to Napa Valley, Spa services for a year or a mini-home makeover. To enter, submit a photo & essay by June 7th.

I think I would choose a mini-home makeover right about now—I’ve been on a declutter & clean kick and I’d love to cap it off with a redesign. What would you choose?

Visit my sponsor: “My Mini Moment” contest

I’m a lucky girl—while I have been a stay-at-home mom for years, the hubby has always understood that mom ≠ maid. We’ve tried to do a 50-50 split, but as Kathy states in her book, it just doesn’t work! I haven’t always been great at defining how I need him to help. We made a lot of progress after we read His Needs, Her Needs a few years ago, but I was excited to have the opportunity to review The Busy Couple’s Guide to Sharing the Work and the Joy. That’s what we need—something to guide us along the way.

busy-couple-guideKathy’s book is divided into several categories of household management. She provides tips & advice for splitting the workload for every category. Each chapter includes worksheets for figuring out what each half of the couple considers “normal” as well as guidelines for finding a compromise. The author’s husband even chimes in with a guy’s perspective on each topic.

My husband and I are reading this book together, which means it’s taking a lot longer to get through it. We’re sifting through one chapter at a time, completing the worksheets for each aspect of home management. I have high hopes this will give us the guidance we’ve been looking for to build on the progress we’ve made over the last few years. I’m a big non-fiction fan, though, and lucky enough to have a husband who will play along. This book will be good for those who are willing to put in a little homework, sit down together and work out solutions. I’m not sure how many couples fall into that category.

The Busy Couple’s Guide to Sharing the Work and the Joy by Kathy Peel
Publisher: Tyndale House
Price: Softcover $16.99
Author Bio (from Tyndale Site):
Kathy PeelKathy Peel is founder & CEO of Family Manager, a company that trains women in the art of family management. She has written 21 books, selling more than 2 million copies. Her latest works are The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Organized Home (winner of the 2009 Gold Mom’s Choice Award) & Desperate Households. She is AOL’s Kids & Family Coach and she contributes to many publications, including FamilyFun, Parents, Woman’s World, Family Circle and HomeLife. A popular speaker & media personality, Kathy’s Family Manager makeover stories have appeared on Oprah, The Early Show, The Today Show & HGTV.

This is a Mama Buzz review. A copy of the book was provided by Tyndale House for this review.

Within minutes of sending the above tweet, my cohort at Mom’s Marbles had 3 different remedy options. Oh, how I love Twitter! I was impressed with my followers, but also a bit jealous of Sarah. Okay, that’s a bad word. I just wish I’d had the opportunities moms have now. (Geez, that makes me sound so old!) When I was nursing Stacia—nearly 12 years ago—I was utterly clueless. I had very little support and no idea where to turn.

On day 5, in a panic that I couldn’t get her to latch, I finally called the lactation consultant from the hospital. She told me that my baby had lost nearly a pound and that I should feed her formula! Luckily, I had read up enough to know that it is very common for babies to lose up to 10% of their body weight. Plus, I’m good at math. You know what is 10% of nearly 10 pounds? That’s right—almost a pound!

Luckily, we eventually made it work but it was such a miserable experience that I nursed her for only 6 months. The first time a tooth popped through those gums? Yeah, I was done! I had an easier experience with Brenia. I managed to breastfeed her for 9 months, almost exclusively. I was back to struggling with Lorelai, but she had so many food allergies that I was forced to keep at it anyway.

We were successful at near-exclusive breastfeeding for about 13 months, but I wish I’d had the support I see available now. From mom to mom forums to Twitter to Facebook friends, we’re more connected than ever before. While no one in my circle was breastfeeding at the time, I’m sure others I knew at a distance were. Moms today have the opportunity to connect like never before.

I’m so grateful for this chance to reach out, ask questions and help others because, while my breastfeeding days are behind me, we have much more coming! (Did I mention she’s almost 12?!)

Thanks to the Juicebox for sponsoring the breastfeeding conversation. Be sure to check out their widget on my left sidebar and take the poll—did you enjoy breastfeeding or not? If you didn’t breastfeed, maybe you’ll relate to the woman in the video who says she was ashamed to bottle feed her baby.