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I like to take my time waking up. When I was teaching (before we had kids) I’d get up at 4:45, shower in the dark, throw on a robe to have breakfast in the dark, and THEN brave the light to get ready for the day. My mornings as a mother aren’t quite as leisurely (at ALL!), but I still take a bit to soak everything in before I can get rolling. Today was no different.

After breakfast the kids were engaged in some sort of fort-building, baby-doll playing, book-reading adventure (yes, all three at once – my kids are multi-taskers like their mama). Since they clearly had a plan that didn’t involve me (this time!) I had a chance to check my email and read a few blogs. My husband needs coffee to jump start his mornings, I need my computer screen.

About five minutes later my daughter wandered over into my work space (a stone’s throw from where they were playing) and spotted my hand weights and Bounce Your Body Beautiful Book.

“Mama! This Mama’s!” she excitedly announced, holding up the weights.

“Yes those weights are Mama’s. Put those down so you don’t drop them on your toes. I’ll use them later.” I said as I finished reading a post.

“Now, Mama! Ball, Mama!”

“Go play with your brother for a few minutes and then I’ll get to it.” I tried to stall her.

“Ball! This book, Mama! Now! Yeah! Yeah!” she shouted as she ran full speed down the hall to my bedroom to retrieve my balance ball. Clearly she wasn’t interested in MY timeline. This girl wanted me to work out – NOW. And, as it turns out . . . so did Mr. Music.

“Come on, let’s put on our workout clothes, too. We can ALL work out!” he chimed in. There was no turning this thing back – a workout clearly was my destiny. Blogs could be read later.

So, I threw on something more appropriate than flannel pants and an old 5K race shirt while the kids disappeared into Mr. Music’s room to conjure up their own brand of gear. Knowing that it wouldn’t go well with a 4 year-old or a nearly-2 year-old on a grown-up’s balance ball, I figured I better make an alternate plan for their modified exercises.

Each would do their exercises on a yoga mat. Instead of hand weights, one would use rhythm sticks, the other drum sticks. This is how we roll. We’re a musical bunch. You knew that, though, right?

No sooner did I have my plan figured and in place then the kids came barrelling out to join me – decked out in Mr. Music’s superhero Underoos. Yup – Mr. Music in the Superman garb, Little Sister sporting a mix of his Diego and Spiderman sets.

“Oh, I see I have some superheros joining me!” If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

“We’re not super HEROES, Mom. We’re super WORKOUT heroes!” Mr. Music corrected.

“Yeah. Super. Work. Mama.” Little Sister grunted, raising her arms up to show me her muscles.

Really, how could I have been so naive as to not notice that these were no run-of-the-mill superheroes?

And so, with my super WORKOUT heroes beside me, I got started. They stuck with me for about 3 exercises before they felt strong enough to rescue some poor stuffed hippo from a burning building (closet) somewhere. I knew this because my son announced, “Woah. I’m feeling stronger now. I’m sure glad we decided to work out with you today, Mom. My muscles are definitely bigger! Come on, (Little Sister), someone needs our help!”

“Yeah! Strong!” she agreed.

And off they pitter-pattered, leaving me to finish my circuit with a smile. Sure, I had a bit less screen time before facing the day, but this time it was worth it.

*Sorry it took me two days to get the photos posted, I had trouble with Blogger, but finally got it to cooperate tonight! Thanks for coming back to see the super WORKOUT heroes a view.

My husband and I finally sat down to figure out our Christmas shopping list yesterday. We took a look at our selections from last year and considered our family members’ reactions. Of all our gifting last year, hands DOWN, the favorite items were the pillowcases I made (I think the final number was 32 handmade pillowcases, but I’m a bit fuzzy after all of that needle humming).

While I’m not going to make that many pillowcases again this year (fabric was specially chosen for EACH one . . . I think I was truly out of my mind!), we did decide that the bulk of the gifts will be homemade. The others will be as locally-purchased or experience-based as possible. If you are a family member reading this, please STOP reading NOW and move on to your regularly scheduled life – email reading, dusting, vacuuming, playing with the dog, walking on the beach – WHATEVER . . . just GO!!!

What are you still doing here, Mom? Pat? Get out of here! I love you, but NO PEEKING!

OK, I think they’re gone. *whew!*

I mentioned a week or so ago that I’d really like our gifts to be environmentally and budget friendly. I think we’ve go it: Homemade reusable bags (similar to these)! My husband and I cranked out the prototypes last night while the kids were at my parents’ house for a sleepover. Here’s the rundown:

– We’re using fabric from the stash I’ve been building for the last 10 years (some fabric I bought in Italy before we were married!). I’m also reusing some old curtains that I made years ago that are still in good shape but don’t fit our windows in this house. I’ll be using thread from my stash, too. Random colors of thread will add to the eclectic feel of the bags!
– For the more “masculine” bags (no fru-fru stuff for the manly men in our families!) we DID get some navy striped sheets on sale to cut up and use (budget friendly, not AS environmentally friendly). That was the ONLY shopping we had to do.
– We figured out how to make the bags like the reusable canvas bags from the PCC Natural Markets out here, so they are quick and easy! All it will take is sewing 2 rectangles of fabric together (the bags are lined to make them more durable since we’re NOT using canvas), making the tuck to give the bags a bottom, and then attaching straps.
– We’ll use the bags as wrapping paper for a few little goodies to send. That’s right – no wrapping paper needed! I can feel some trees smiling about that one.
– Even with the little goodies, everything should fit in a flat envelope for cheap mailing and limited “Post Office package juggling dances” while managing 2 small children in line.
– If we make 2 bags/night, I can have 20 made in 10 nights, which means that all the packages can be mailed well in advance of the Christmas rush!
– Since the idea was truly my husband’s, he has agreed to man the iron. This really will be a fast project with two of us on deck!

Since I was able to run at the YMCA after my son’s swimming lesson yesterday and I started my morning with the first workout of Week 5 in the 6 week Bounce Your Body Beautiful plan, I’m feeling quite energetic. I’ll put that energy to good use for tonight’s sewing session! I’ll be sure to get some photos of the process to post while we’re at it.

My morning run was a great one. I found the perfect pace – even Albus was pleased with our speed (usually he pulls to go faster!) – and could have run forever (our 30 minutes were good, though). I was so completely in the zone with my foot strikes, breathing and noticing the interesting smells around me (dryer sheets, worms, the perfume of the runner that crossed our path, etc.) that I didn’t even realize we were running in the rain until my leg brushed against Albus’ wet fur. Yes, it was that good of a run. I’m feeling more confident about next Saturday’s Riverview Runs Turkey Trot 5K . . . my first race as a 30 year-old (just 2 days after my birthday) – yikes, that’s a new age bracket, isn’t it?

Today’s run, along with some other things, has led me to the decision to make some changes with our family routine (which my husband and I discussed together. I’m no dictator!). Just a few minor tweaks are bound to pay off:

– Tuesday nights will be TV and computer-free. That’s right – no blog reading, no CSI watching, no working from home, no Facebook status updates. Monitors will be off. Books will be open, or who knows, we might even pull out a game or *gasp* sit and talk. Time without the kids climbing on us is slim, we really need to do a better job of making those rare moments more about quality and less about technology (which I love, I just need to get other things into my life, too!).

– My husband is returning to yoga. He is slowly getting back into running after a few months off and realizes that he runs best when he has an active yoga practice. Sound familiar? I think he’ll go one night and I may go another. We have yet to work out all of these details.

– I’m actively pursuing some bigger media attention for the book. Newspaper articles, radio shows, even TV perhaps! I’m gleaning some knowledge from other authors and working to put it to good use. I’m making Monday nights my Media Night.
– I’m continuing my Balance Ball routine. I know I’ve mentioned it over and over again, but REALLY the difference in my posture and my running is AMAZING. My body fat has also dropped 2% in the last two weeks and my pants are fitting the way they should. Talk about instant results. I’m passing along the book to my mom – she’s excited to try it out, too!

How about YOU? Are you making any new healthy changes to your life routine? Have you found a simple change that has a significant impact on your family’s health and life quality?

I am a self-proclaimed “Girl Who Loves to Run” yet . . . I confess that at the question of how my running is going I have to respond:

“Running? What running? I think I ran last Thursday . . . or was it Wednesday? Hmmmm . . . What day is today?”

With the excitement of my mother-in-law visiting the week leading up to July 4th (we had a great visit), the birthday excitement and general summer laziness, I need to get my act back on track with fitness. While I haven’t totally ditched my running/yoga routine, it has become lax. So, just as I’ve revamped the blog, I’m ready to dive head first into a revamp of my workouts. My plans include:

– incorporating some balance ball work into my routine using Liz Applegate’s Bounce Your Body Beautiful. When I first got the ball and book I used it regularly for several months. Now, *ahem* YEARS later *ugh!* I need to get back to it. It helped my running then, it should help my running now.

– dedication to at least 1 Vinyasa yoga class/week. Even though the kids have been “off” on their sleeping (ie – waking before 6, napping at different times, needing extra prodding to go to bed) and I’d rather spend the evening vegging on the couch, I’m starting this one tonight. Class is at 6:30, giving my husband time to get home from work so I’m free and clear.

– running a minimum of 3 times/week. At this point I’m not saying how far or how fast. I just need to go. Run. That’s all there is to it! The distance and speed shall return once I’ve got my groove back (and considering I’ve only been out of my running element for about 2 weeks, that shouldn’t be long).

– drinking more water. I think my negligence with hydration has been part of my issue with not wanting to get out to run. *typing pause* There, I just took a second and finished my water. Now off to refill the cup . . . *another pause*

*Edit* – Here’s a Trial on a NATIONAL level: Sluggish Teens (really, go read it!)

I just read the article about the drop in exercise time from the elementary years to the middle school and high school years and will be sure to write more on it this week – including some ideas for how we can all work to turn those numbers on their heads!

Maybe next Tuesday I’ll be able to write about my achievements in tackling these little fitness trials – be sure to check back.

What is the current trial that you are tackling? Care to share any achievements?