Sandy Hook… Forever in our hearts…

I’ve been away from the blog a little bit, but I’m back! As I’ve said in previous posts my baby will always come first, and as we celebrated our first holiday as a family…. that held true, especially after the devastating tragedy in Newtown CT. The past few weeks I’ve hugged my baby a little tighter, kissed him constantly, and somehow loved him a little more, which I didn’t think was possible.


I haven’t been able to post any new posts until I got my feelings out about Sandy Hook Elementary, and honestly it has been too difficult to do until now. It has consumed my thoughts and shed too many tears, but it’s time now to move on and find some hope and good that can come from this. I have no connection with Newtown, CT. and do not know anyone from there, or even have a friend of a friend who knows someone from there. However, I am a teacher, my husband is a fire fighter, and we have the most amazing 8 month old baby boy, who is our absolute world, and this tragedy hit us a little too close to home. It could have been any one of us…. I could have been one of the teachers, my son one of the students, and my husband one of  the fire fighters on scene to see such a horrific act.

My heart breaks for the 20 children who lost their lives… the angels taken too soon from us, and the teachers and principal… the heroes that did everything they could to protect the sweet and innocent little ones. I do not want to make this post a sad one or break my heart any more than it has been broken. We all know the tragedy that has happened and the devastation it has brought to an entire nation. I am trying now to find peace with everything and search for hope as life must go on.

It is so unfortunate that it has taken such an event to change a nation. This change is something that has needed to happen. We are now becoming a kinder. Becoming more kind sounds so simple and maybe doesn’t even seem that important. However, in each and every one of our everyday lives it can make such a difference. Making a difference in our individual lives is what is changing the nation as a whole. People are putting others first, lending a hand when needed, feeling sympathy for others, and being there for others in need. There have also been all different “Acts of Kindness” that people have been participating in. Through all of this, I find hope.

I have wanted to do my part, pay it forward, and show that the kindness really does exist in this world. I have been thinking long and hard about what I can do to share my kindness and hope to pass it along to others. My husband and I decided to take part in the 26 Acts of Kindness that is sweeping the nation. I wanted to share what we did, to hopefully inspire others to do the same. We bought 26 $5 gift cards to a local coffee shop. One gift card and a note were put into 26 envelopes and passed out at random to different customers, some were even left on car windshields. The note we included read this….

“In honor of the 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary we are doing 26 Acts of Kindness. Being a teacher and fireman, with a new 8 month old baby we were deeply affected by the tragedy in Newtown Ct. We want to do our very small part to show there is kindness in the world, and honor the lives that were lost. You are random act #1, in honor of Charlotte Bacon, age 6. We hope this puts a smile on your face, brightens your day, and inspires you to pay it forward.”

~ Nicole, Keith, & Blake xoxo

With a quote on the back….

“Remember there is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

 ~ Scott Adams

26 Acts of Kindness

I hope that this inspires anyone reading this to pay it forward. It does not have to cost you money either or be something that you do 26 times. Just take a moment to think about the importance of kindness, how far it can take you, and the impact it can have on others. And the best part it is, as the quote above talks about, it seems to be contagious! So spread the kindness and learn to live a better and kinder life 🙂

Though it should be simple, here are 26 things you can do any day or every day and it costs you nothing…

1. smile

2. say please

3. say thank you

4. hug someone

5. kiss someone

6. ask how someone is doing, and sincerely listen to their answer

7. say hello to a stranger

8. wave thank you when crossing the street

9. help someone with their groceries

10. hold the door for someone

11. help your neighbor (with their trash, raking leaves, shoveling the driveway, moving stuff around their house)

12. call an old friend (do not just text them, but a Facebook message may be ok, but your voice would be the best)

13. Pick flowers and deliver them to someone special

14. laugh

15. don’t take yourself or life too seriously

16. play, sing, and laugh with a child

17. give someone a sincere compliment

18. Let someone merge into your lane of traffic or wave someone on who is trying to turn onto the street in front of you

19. write a thank you note to anyone who has had an impact on you in your life

20. let someone go ahead of you in a check out line that may have less than you

21. bake goodies for someone who could use a little treat

22. volunteer your time somewhere (local school, soup kitchen, nursing home)

23. donate anything you don’t need anymore (clothes, food, furniture)

24. tell a joke to someone

25. listen to a friend who needs it, and only offer advice if it is wanted

26. be genuine, honest, compassionate, and unconditional

Thank you to the brave angels and heroes for spreading more kindness, you will never be forgotten and forever in our hearts….

Run Mommy RUN!

I’m back! Well…. Hopefully! I’m still getting used to this whole blogging thing, and I’m loving it, just hard to find the time with my little one. Like I said in my last post, he is my priority 🙂 He is also my motivation, which brings me to my post today.

I’ve always been a runner and for years I couldn’t wait to have a baby, and have that baby be at the finish line as I finish a marathon. Though it wasnt a marathon, I ran my first race post baby and had my little man at the finish cheering me on. Talk about motivation, I couldn’t wait to see my little man waiting for me.

I’ve been doing my best to get back into running since the baby and I’ve been pretty successful. Though not as dedicated yet as I was before, I’m still working on it. After I had my boy I was sure that running would come right back, which it did, but not after a few AWFUL and MISERABLE runs along the way. For the first time ever running had actually felt like a chore. It wasn’t fun, everything hurt, and I was going at a snail’s pace. Luckily, because I was a runner before I knew I just had to get back into it, give it time, put in a few more dreaded miles, and it would come back. And, it did! But, I had to use lots of motivational ideas to get those first awful runs over with. Bought myself amazing new hot pink sneakers, which I love…

                       

Brooks PureCadence

I got to use my BOB jogger stroller, which is by far the best jogging stroller you can buy (my opinion)… worth every penny!!!! I’m obsessed with it, so it helped get me out the door because it’s so easy to run with and my boy LOVES being outside, and he’s pretty cute in it too, so there was some more motivation 🙂

Blake and Sophie the giraffe on one of our runs

And of course rewarding myself with ice cream at the end never hurt. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. I also signed up for some road races, the Newport Pell Bridge Run and the Thanksgiving Day Pie Run (both of which I ran pregnant last year.) Once I got back into it, the joy of running was enough motivation for me. So, my point for anyone new to running or someone who has taken a break from it is that It’s usually never easy when you start, but please please please don’t give up. If you put in the time it will only get easier. Find a way to get those first few awful runs done. Whatever it takes to lace up your kicks and get out the door. Once it starts getting easier and your body gets into better shape you will be able to appreciate all that running has to offer, and I promise you won’t regret it!

Once I signed up for the two runs I knew I would be running. I’m very competitive with myself and always want to do my best. I work very well when I have a goal set, so signing up for the races was just the thing I needed. It was a perfect fit doing the bridge run too, since that was my first race I ran pregnant, I figured what a great race to get back into it. My husband ran the race with me and my mom walked my baby in the stroller to meet us at the finish.

I had no idea how I was going to do, I had been running, but nothing crazy. When we arrived at the race I started getting really excited, my boy was going to be cheering me on at the finish line, something I have always wanted! I couldn’t wait to get started. My running bug was officially back. When the gun went off, I took off… and left my husband in the dust (sorry Keith) but I’ll never let him win. The race itself was beautiful. Of course I didn’t take any pics this year because I really wanted to race, but here is one from last year…

Newport Pell Bridge 4 mile Run

As you can see it’s a gorgeous run. What’s better than watching the sun rise as you run across a bridge? I was feeling great the whole race and as I approached the finish line, amongst all the crowds, there I saw my adorable mother in her Patriots jacket of course (it was football sunday) with my BOB stroller, and my perfect little boy. Needless to say I sprinted towards the finish, I couldn’t wait to hug my boy, and I was happily pleased with my time as I glanced at the clock crossing the line. My first race back I ran a 7:24 pace. It was a 4 mile run and I finished in 29:35. Here is a picture of me and my boys at the end of the race…

Me and my boys 🙂

And we topped off our race with a few celebratory cocktails at our favorite restaurant, Brick Alley Pub (if your ever in Newport, RI)! Mimosas and Irish Coffees anyone??? Sometimes the best part of a race is the beverages after 🙂 Whatever motivates you right?!?!

After the bridge run I had the Thanksgiving Day 5 mile Pie Run coming up. What better way to start your Thanksgiving day with a 5 mile run. I felt fantastic after and was ready to eat everything and not feel guilty about it. I did pretty well in that run too. I ran a pace of 7:39 and finished in 38:16. I would have liked to have gone faster, but considering I just had  a baby six months ago, I’ll take it!

So what’s next? Ironically, as I was writing this post one of my runner friends texted me asking if I wanted to do another marathon. Now that my running bug is back I quickly responded with an absolutely. LIke I said, I work well when I set goals. Signing up for a marathon will definitely keep me running. It isn’t until May so I’ve got plenty of time. As for something a little sooner, I’ll be signing up for a Christmas 10k in my town, and then we’ll just have to see what comes next after that.

Happy running everyone! Now lace up your kicks, get out the door, and get moving!!!

Pepsi Special… nothing special about it…

SERIOUSLY!?!?! I was in awe as I was watching the today’s show this morning and they announced a new soda being launched in Japan this week by Pepsi…. a new “fat-blocking soda” You have got to be kidding me!!! Needless to say I was disgusted. Anyway, I just can not believe that such a thing was even created. What is this world coming to? And… who would actually believe there is such a thing as a “fat-blocking soda.” Unfortunately, there are far too many people out there that will believe the claims, and people wonder why America struggles with an obesity epidemic. I guess if we would like to look on the bright side, soda companies must be struggling to have to come up with such a product. Here is the lovely magic diet solution in a bottle….

Pepsi Special… unfortunately there is nothing special about it!

Pepsi Special

I could rant and rave forever, but we’ll keep this post short and sweet, I think you get the point. As I’ve said before there is no magic pill or in this case “special” soda, just eat healthy and be physically active. It really is not that hard, quite simple actually…. drink water, eat clean, and workout! Your welcome, I’ve just given you the weight loss secret 🙂

Who ever said it was easy being a mom???

Did anyone actually ever say it was easy being a mom??? If they did… are they crazy, who are they, and where are there? Clearly they can’t be one themselves. I’d like to have a word with them. Though I’m new at the whole new mom thing, only 6 months in, I’d like to think I’m pretty good, I did learn from the best (thanks mom!) But, there certainly is not a book or anything out there on google that tells you hard it is going to be when you become one. Well, maybe there is, they seem to have everything out there these days, but until you experience it for yourself you won’t really understand.

Now, I’m certainly not here to rant and rave about how hard my life is or how I struggle taking care of my boy, he is actually the easy and fun part, it’s EVERYTHING else. The day I had my boy was the best day of my life. He is the absolute most amazing thing that ever happened to me and I’m loving every second with him. However, he takes up every single second that I have. I was fortunate enough to take a year off of work when I had him. I’m a physical education teacher and once my maternity leave was up I opted to take a full year off un-paid, which I have not regretted one bit. Though money is tight, it has been worth it. Before my son came I was convinced that if I took the year off I would be the worlds best housewife/mom there is. How hard can it be right, especially with the year off of work. I envisioned coffee dates with my friends, never skipping workouts with plenty of time for running and the gym, cleaning and organizing my house, and learning to cook. Well, reality hit hard on May 10th, that would be my son’s birthday.

Like I said, I think I’m a terrific mom, my boy couldn’t be any happier, but I certainly have a LOT to learn in regards to getting everything else done. This adorable perfect boy just takes up all my time.

Again, I’m not here to rant, but more to apologise if the posts aren’t as often as I’d like them to be and congratulate the moms out there that do it all, because I know they exist, and I will get there one day, I’m determined! Sometimes I put too much on my plate, but really for me it’s the only way I get things done. Like this blog for example, I thought it would be a great way to share what I know and get my feelings out. I’m also hoping to get certified as a personal trainer on my year off, so I now need to find time to study. Anyway, this post may be a little all over the place, which sometimes seems to be the life of a mom, but I think you get my point.

So, to the person who said it was easy being a mom…. please give it a try, and prove me wrong. To all the moms out there that are doing it all and more, you are my idols, and I hope to join you one day. As for me, and for all the new moms trying to make things work out there, we can do it! Set goals, make to-do lists, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and just know that it will get easier. I say easier in regards to multi-tasking and getting things done, not necessarily parenting. Unfortunately for us new parents I think we will have many bumps and hard times down the road. But, we will learn from those hard times and do the best we can.

Again, I hope I can still keep you interested in my blog, I have so many ideas for it and really want to get to posting workouts that I do, but my boy will always come first. As I learn to “do it all” hopefully the blog will get better and I will be able to post more often. I do promise that in time I will fill the blog will lots of useful fitness tips, workouts, and nutrition advise, just may take a little time.

And a very special thank you to my mom. I don’t know how she ever did it, but she certainly “did it all” and more, and she is teaching me everyday and helping me out. I don’t know what I would do with out her. My boy is so lucky that she is my example and role model, and he is so lucky she is his Grammy! We love you mom!

Thanks for the motivation Sandy!

Most of us are aware of the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, so before I start this post I want to urge everyone to donate to the American Red Cross, as I have just done. So much damage was done and many people need our help and support.

As for my post, I was on the east coast for Sandy, but have been very lucky, and found that she gave me some motivation to get my butt running again. I always try to find the positives in everything! My husband was working overnight the night she hit, so my baby and I went to sleep at my parents in case we got hit hard and lost power. I just didn’t want to be alone. Like I said, we were very fortunate, only lost power for a little while. But, while at my parents and creeping around on Facebook I saw all the devastating pictures of the town my parents live in, Newport, RI, which is a tourist town right on the water. So, many restaurants and shops were damaged and I was looking at pictures of them underwater. My motivation hit the next morning when I wanted to go check everything out. I knew a few roads were still blocked because of the damage, one main road right on the beach. I knew the only way I was going to get to see everything was by lacing up my sneakers. I like to think of myself as an avid runner, but since the baby it has taken me a little while to get back into things. So, when I found myself excited to go look at everything I took full advantage of it. I laced up my hot pink sneakers and headed out the door. It was beautiful, not too hot, not too cold, and no wind, a perfect fall day.

I headed straight to the beautiful cliff walk, which is just down the street from my parents and was able to snap a few pics with my phone. I did opt to “Run Naked” but I had my phone so I could get a few pictures. The cliff walk was gorgeous and motivating because I felt great. I then headed downtown to check out the shops and restaurants and I was happy to see that things weren’t too bad. Lots of water damage, but everyone was working so hard to clean things up. It’s great to see people come together in times of need.

Cliff Walk

Cliff Walk

Cliff Walk

Cliff Walk

A little tree blown over across the cliff walk

What I came home too 🙂

So, it may seem oddly strange that I found a positive thing from Hurricane Sandy, but like I said I try to find something positive in everything, and for me, she got me up off my butt and out the door running, and really enjoying it again. She reminded me why I love it so much, and that the work I’ve put in post baby has payed off because I felt pretty good. Thankfully I felt good too because I actually signed up for my first post baby road race, which is next weekend, I’ll keep you posted on how that goes. Registering for that has also helped with the motivation to run again as well. Whatever it may be, I think sometimes we need to get creative to find things to motivate us. I certainly don’t wake up every morning excited to work out, but of course sometimes I do. But, on the days I’m dragging I find something to motivate me, whether it is my pre-baby skinny jeans I want to be back in, to be a role model to my son, to make sure my husband doesn’t beat me in the road race, to burn some calories, or because I just bought new sneakers, I clearly could go on forever, but basically I find something. I know if I’m excited and motivated it will only make the workout that much better. So, on days you just may not be feeling it, no matter what it is, think of something to motivate you and get you out the door. Sometimes the hardest part is putting your sneakers on, but just know you won’t regret it!

Just say NO!

It’s like DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) all over again, but for some reason this is so much harder!

Dessert bar!

mmmmmmmmm………

Saying NO to yummy treats at fancy events and special occasions is soooo hard, and unfortunately something that comes up all too often. These pictures were from last night at one of my best friends weddings. I had been working so hard to lose this baby weight I certainly didn’t want to screw everything up in one night. But, how do you say no to the delicious treats that all your friends are indulging in?

I had been dreading trying to find a dress for this wedding because I didn’t want to have to buy a new one, but I wasn’t sure if any of my dresses were going to fit me post baby.I was so pleasantly surprised and excited when I found out one of my dresses did fit me. And, it was my wedding shower dress. I wore this dress at my shower about two months before I got pregnant. So, you can imagine how psyched I was to be in it again!

Love my hubby and the fact that I fit into my wedding shower dress 🙂

At the wedding we were having a blast, cuttin’ a rug on the dance floor, which also means burning a few extra calories, I’ll take that 🙂 and then all of a sudden the dessert bar was open. I have a HUGE sweet tooth and am a crazy chocolate lover (thanks mom.) I also have a very hard time saying no to sweats, and for some reason I’ve noticed over the years people always give you a hard time when you don’t eat them.

If you’re not eating them everyone asks why, and no matter what your reasoning is for not eating them, they try to get you to eat it. Am I the only one that has noticed this??? I am pretty sure they must just be jelous that you have the will power to actually say no, I just don’t know why else they would care so much. They tell you how delicious everything is (as if you don’t know), tell you only a few won’t hurt, and then my favorite…. clearly you don’t need to worry about it, you’re in great shape (that’s obviously because I try not to eat this crap!) And I swear I just hear them chanting, just try one it’s so good over and over again.

So, the million dollar question… how do you say no? You need to learn to say no to unfortunately two people, yourself and others. I like to think of the drug saying we learned back in our childhood… “just say no.” Of course when dealing with the others you may want to be a bit more polite, so with them, no thank you may do.

When dealing with others if the no thank you approach doesn’t work and people still keep trying to get you to eat them ( I swear it really is like drugs and peer pressure) you can try these. I’ve used them all at some point or another and for the most part they have worked.

  • “no thanks, I’m still so full from dinner”
  • “don’t worry I already stashed my to-go box for later”
  • Just lie, they won’t know “I already had some, everything was delicious”
  • beat them to it, if you’re at a wedding dancing, leave the dance floor saying “I think the dessert bar is out, I’m gonna go have some” but just go past it and check your make-up in the bathroom
  • if you don’t know the guests you can always lie and say your allergic to chocolate

Now, for what could be the harder part… saying no to yourself. Again, just like with the drugs, just say NO!

  • Try and stay away from the desserts and keep yourself busy.
  • Drink lots of water so that you feel more full.
  • Eat your dinner and fill up on healthy foods so that you are not hungry later and wanting to cheat with the desserts.
  • Think of how far you have come, you don’t want to ruin that.
  • Or, think of what you want to achieve and know that this is not going to help you reach your goals.
  • Chew on gum, this seems to always help me.
  • Make your husband eat it… haha I do this sometimes when the cake at weddings comes to the table. I just want it out of my face, so I make him eat it for me.
  • It’s just not worth it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m very normal and certainly don’t say no all the time, and I don’t think we should. I do believe in moderation. If you are so strict with yourself at some point you are going to fall off the deep end. And, honestly sometimes I think you just deserve it. Again, the key here is moderation. So, for me last night at the wedding I found myself in this predicament. I was so happy to be fitting in my dress, I have come so far in just over five months, I was then surrounded by these delicious desserts with my friends celebrating a beautiful thing… what’s a girl to do. I picked my favorite thing… the cupcakes, then narrowed down one of them, made my husband take a bite because it was so good (then I wasn’t even eating the whole thing), and then I absolutely enjoyed every bite left of it! It was so delicious and I was so satisfied, I could walk away happy from it.

Hopefully this will help some of you on your journey, but sometimes it is just so hard to say NO! Remember what your goals are and know that if you stick to your plan you will reach them, but it’s going to take hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. But, if you must indulge, which like I said, sometimes needs to be done, be smart about it. MODERATION! Have something small, enjoy it, and be done with it, and then get after it in your workout the next day!

If you can learn to “just say no” you are on your way to being Fit4Life! Good luck on the journey, I know sometimes I need that.

 

 

 

Just call me Jillian!

Just trying to get my Jillian on…

I got a very exciting phone call yesterday from one of my best friends. She has a family friend who is a senior in high school about to start work on her senior project. The girl wants to do her project as some sort of biggest loser challenge and get a select group of people to help change their lives through exercise and nutrition. I was asked to come on board as a mentor, along with my best friend. My best friend will be the nutrition expert, she a nutrition degree, and I will be the fitness expert, with my kinesiology degree. Together, we will hopefully help change the lives of a few people in need, helping them to lose weight, and learning to live an active and healthy lifestyle. I don’t have too many more details as things have just started getting rolling, but I’m so excited!

I am a HUGE biggest loser fan, so I’m thrilled to get this opportunity. I am pretty much OBSESSED with Bob and Jillian, and would give anything for them to work me out. So for me to get to pretend to be them for a few months is great! I am also hoping to get certified as a personal trainer this year, so this is a great opportunity to get my feet wet. Like I said, there aren’t too many plans yet, but I will keep you all posted as I’m sure we will becoming up with at home workouts for them, so I will definitely share them on here as well. Just had to share my exciting news. Can’t wait to get my Jillian on and help people to be Fit4Life!

Love her!