Just Keep Moving

Y’all I just can’t even with the new limited edition prints from Skirt Sports! I ordered a mantra gym girl ultra [ggu] and it looks so much nicer in person. Check out that beautiful silver mandala.  Oh and by the way – Merry Skirtmas because these limited edition prints are 40% OFF right now!

I have a habit of doodling and drawing mandalas similar to this when I am stressed or trying to focus my thoughts. It brings me peace doing so. The saying on this ggu is on point too – just keep moving [and if you have kids and are like me you’re singing ‘just keep swimming’ in your head right about now too].

I try to not get caught up in the hustle & bustle of the holiday season but it just happens sometimes. Our calendar is jam-packed with activities this week… PTA Cookies with Santa, Christmas program at the Church, caroling with the girls AHG Troop, Wreaths Across America, class party planning, etc… Almost every day for the next two weeks is booked with a holiday activity! It’s tough not to stress out about it! This saying will help keep me zen – help keep me focused…just keep moving.

Just keep moving – take time to get a workout in and let go of some of the pent-up holiday stress [and burn off some of those Santa cookies].

Just keep moving – don’t let the overwhelming schedule of holiday activities stress you out – move through it and enjoy the magic of the season.

Just keep moving…

What’s your mantra this holiday season?

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Tri What?! My goals for 2018

tri2013I received an email this weekend telling me that my photos from the 2013 Jacksonville Triathlon series were going to be deleted off the archives soon.  2013…it’s almost 2018…has it already been 5 years?!  2013 was ”the year of the tri” for me.  It was a fabulous year of competing and it was what I needed most that summer.  2013 was the most difficult summer of my entire life (so far) it was the summer that Tedy was officially diagnosed with Autism and the summer that Troy’s butt was blown up.  Yet somehow I managed to push through it all and triathlon allowed me to leave all the pain I was feeling inside out on the course.

I never had any real goals for that season besides to finish.  I ended up on the podium multiple time or would just miss it by seconds.  I managed to qualify for age group nationals in the sprint triathlon that year and honestly wish I attended but it just wasn’t in the cards.  Since that season I have only competed in a handful of triathlons.  It’s kind of tough to train for tri’s when you’re pregnant or moving or have a newborn or a deployed husband – and that’s what these past 4 years have been chock full of.  When I have competed I have loved every moment of it.  Triathlon is “my sport” – it’s where I feel most “at home” as an adult athlete.

Looking ahead to 2018 I was asked about my triathlon goals for the new year.  At first I really didn’t have any goals but just to maybe find a few triathlons in our new area (we’ll be moving from Texas to North Carolina in the late winter).  Yet then I got thinking about it a little bit more and talking about it with my husband.  Someone had posted that age group nationals for 2018-2019 are going to be in Cleveland, Ohio and it honestly gave me that itch again.  Troy’s brother lives in that area and I have a couple other friends in the area as well.  So truly my goal for 2018 is to get myself back in tri condition so that by 2019 I will have hopefully qualified for age group nationals again.  It’s a big task to take on but I have an excellent support system behind me.  I have learned so much over the past several years and I know the areas I need to improve on (cough-cough-cycling-cough-cough).  For now I’m going to keep focused on the sprint distance because I am a mother of 5 young kids and my husband is active duty in the army.  Maybe I’ll complete an olympic distance in 2018 but really that’s more of a 2019 longer term goal for me.  As of right now I have no desire to complete an ironman distance; maybe a half ironman in 2020.

I’ll be entering into a new age group in 2018 – am I really going to be 35 next year?!  One thing is certain – I know I will have the BEST tri suit on me.  That was one of my rookie mistakes 5 years ago, having cheap-o/ ill-fitted tri suits.  Luckily Skirt Sports has me covered now – actually, the new suits for the 2018 season are currently on preorder until December 15th – click here to check out the new suit and preorder yours.  Skirt Sports Trisuit

Have you ever done a triathlon?  If yes – what are your 2018 goals?  If no – have you ever considered doing one?

SARR Turkey Trot 4.0

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FOLKS!

This Thanksgiving is a little bit tough for me because it is the first Thanksgiving that my husband hasn’t been home for in a while.  Thanksgiving is his day – he is the one who cooks the Turkey and all that.  I mean he is the Poultry King of Whitley County, Indiana (1994 or 1995ish – well before our time together).  Holidays apart are never easy no matter how “used to it” you are.  We have spent countless other holidays, birthdays (and an actual birth), anniversaries, etc etc etc apart but this one was tough.  This has been our longest time separated and it comes on the heels of a previous ‘deployment’ as well [thanks army].  IMG_20171123_095931Anyways, I was a bit selfish and realized that this year I wasn’t going to be able to run the annual Turkey Trot put on by the San Antonio Road Runners.  Sophia was a bit disappointed since this is an annual tradition for her too.  Yet I wasn’t going to ask around for someone to help watch the kiddos because I have a very hard time doing that in the first place and I don’t want to bother anyone else on holidays.  Lucky for me though I have an amazing friend whom stepped up and recognized that I wasn’t going to ask for help and she offered to meet me at the event and watch the kiddos for me – gracias La Madrina, even with all your stuff going on you still made time for ‘framily’ and we appreciate you and love you.

I really enjoyed my run today.  Truth be told I haven’t been running more than 3 times a week and usually no more than 5 or so miles.  At one point this would have really bothered me but I’ve come to learn that with circumstances being what they are in my life, to even do what I have been doing is a great accomplishment.  Contrary to popular belief running does not come easy for me.  It is something that I have worked very hard at the past several years.  It is also painful for me at times, my body has difficulty recovering and we’re still trying to figure out why.  IMG_20171123_085916Since I had signed up at the last minute for the Turkey Trot I really didn’t have any goals for the race.  I posted in our Moms Run This Town page to see who would be at the race as well and eye if there was anyone I could potentially run with.  Miles with running buddies make them go by so much faster.  I was happy to see that my regular Thursday Dunks Run [I started a weekly run that starts and finishes at Dunkin Donuts] crew was going to be at the event.  We all found each other just before the start and mostly stuck together until the second water stop where we split off into pairs.  23800209_1720485317964455_2907628224557498462_oI finished the 4 miles in 40:42 according to my Garmin [one thing I like about this race is that it’s inexpensive and isn’t chip timed – not many frills to it – good ole classic Turkey Trotting for the sake of the running community coming out to be together and celebrate each other].  My time was nowhere near a PR for this course but I couldn’t care less – I enjoyed myself.  I was able to be out with my running sisters thanks to a running sister.  Today I am ever thankful for getting into running as an adult and for having made some great running sisters in the process. 23916631_1720503654629288_8468684758600322731_o Between my MRTTers in Savannah and San Antonio and all of my Skirt Sports Sisters around the country as well as the wear blue: run to remember family; running has helped me transition to whatever area we are stationed at.  I am #blessed to be a part of such a fabulous community of people.

 

Next year I hope to have my Poultry King around and I also hope to find a new Turkey Trot to participate in at our next duty station.  San Antonio – cheers for starting this great family tradition; my girls enjoy it as well.  IMG_20171123_083218This was Sophia’s 4th year and Ceci’s 1st year participating.  Mikey fell back asleep while the girls ran and Audie kicked his legs as a stroller spectator – Tedy was well,IMG_20171123_082916 Tedy.  I dream of there being a year when all 7 of us will be able to run a Turkey Trot together.

Until next time, hunt the good stuff and find thanks in each day.IMG_20171123_094418

[Running photos by: Tom Lake of San Antonio Road Runners]

Oreo Truffles

First of all I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last blog post. I had all these grand plans of doing at least a monthly blog post but alas I have fallen short. I have lots of ideas in my mind but getting them out and into blog format just isn’t happening right now. Anyways, my Instagram followers know that I’m a sucker for limited edition Oreos. Quick little back story – I used to be allergic to chocolate when I was little and my dad’s buddy Leroy used to sneak me Oreo cookies [don’t worry I’m not anaphylactic allergic just well hindsight being 20/20 it was all probably related to my GI disease that I probably had as a kid just didn’t get diagnosed until I was an adult]. Anyways, I’ve always had a thing for Oreos. I honestly don’t remember the last time I bought plain Oreos but these limited edition Oreos I am a sucker for finding and trying. It’s become a little game for our family. Also, moderation folks we typically buy no more than 2 packages of any kind – one for us and one to send to my hubs since he’s active duty army and constantly traveling. Some of the limited edition Oreos have been a hit and some have been a miss [mystery Oreos y’all – no mystery that they were nasty]. The hot chocolate Oreos were a HIT! They reminded me of the little marshmallows in hot chocolate and I confess I love eating little marshmallows. After the first package I knew we would be getting these ones again and I had a recipe idea in mind to test out – hot chocolate Oreo truffles with candy canes because it’s that time of year when we get to baking. The recipe is nothing new and I can’t even remember where or when I first learned how to make Oreo truffles. That’s the great thing about this recipe you can add your own little twist depending on the flavor oreo you’re using. I used the hot chocolate ones but you can use plain or holiday or whatever other Oreos you’d like…

Recipe makes about 30 truffles

Ingredients:

  • Standard package of Oreos (about 16 oz)
  • Block of cream cheese (8 oz)
  • Dipping chocolate
  • Candy canes (or some other topping depending on what type of truffle you’d like to make. You can use coconut, graham crackers, etc or nothing)

Directions:

  1. Crush your Oreos. You can do this by either putting the Oreos in a gallon zip lock bag and taking out your anger on said bag or by dumping them into your food processor or blender.
  2. Put cookie crumbs into a mixing bowl and stir in room temperature cream cheese.
  3. Line cookie trays with parchment paper (trust me it’ll make clean up much easier)
  4. Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and form it into a ball and place on the parchment paper.
  5. Put Oreo balls into the freezer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Crush up your candy canes so it makes a candy powder. (You can also use mints or whatever other topping you’d like – you don’t need the whole package maybe 3 or 4 are plenty).
  7. Heat chocolate melt according to package instructions. While that’s going on take the oreo balls out of the freezer.
  8. Dip Oreo balls into the chocolate and then place back onto the parchment paper. If you’re not drizzling an alternate chocolate or vanilla onto your truffles then you’ll want to add your topping at this point before the chocolate totally hardens.
  9. Refrigerate Oreo balls or plate and enjoy.

Yumminess for kids of all ages!

For all my vegan friends use vegan cream cheese and vanilla or dark chocolate mold to keep it vegan.

What kind of Oreo combination would you use to make truffles?

Twenty Years Ago

This September marks the Twentieth Anniversary of St. Mary’s Life Teen in Dedham, Massachusetts. It’s a significant milestone for the program and for myself. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was pregnant with Sophia and attending the Tenth Anniversary dinner. Here we are another ten years later and I wasn’t able to attend the dinner and I won’t be at the Anniversary Mass but I still hold the program close to my heart. Simply put, I would not be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for this program.

Twenty years ago I was 13 years old. I was about to enter into my Freshman year of high school. I had attended high school orientation to go to Watertown High School in New York but just before the first day of school my parent split and my mother and I moved to Dedham, Massachusetts to live with my Nana and Bumpa.

Let me put in a little disclaimer here – this is my story. I do not at all judge my parents for divorcing. I love them both and have amazing relationships with both of them. I don’t ever remember being angry at them for separating and in no way blame my troubles on their decisions. I will never fully understand why they chose to get divorced but again that was never my decision and I do not hold any of it against them.

As a child I don’t ever recall a weekend when we didn’t go to church. My mother is a devout Catholic and made sure I attended Mass every weekend and pretty much all of the Holy Days of Obligation as well as the Feast of Saint Blaise for the Blessing of Throats. We were very active at every church we attended. My mom continually volunteered with the Religious Education program, and was even my Catechist a few times. I was one of the first female alter servers at the chapel in Fort Drum, New York. Over the years I have served as a reader, cantor, choir member and Eucharistic minister. I confess though, since we left Virginia I have not been as active in the Catholic church as I want to be. I have struggled with the church but that’s another story. I will say that I am trying. All of our children have been Baptized and are going through Religious Education. We also recently started attending Mass on a regular basis again. Yet again, a story for another day…this story is about twenty years ago.

Twenty years ago I was the new kid in town. I was tiny – under 5 ft tall and not even 100 lbs (I was a late bloomer in life). I was a dorky kid who was thrown into a new world. Even though we had visited Dedham many times, it was not somewhere I thought I would ever live. I found myself in a new environment and my mother being the person she is immediately turned to the Church. My mom jumped through hoops to get me into High School on such a short notice and I know people at St. Mary’s helped play a role in making sure I could start school in time.

Twenty years ago my mom took me to Mass at Saint Mary’s of the Assumption in Dedham. After Mass she introduced me to Father Chris Hickey – the Hickey Family and the Baronie Family (my mom’s family) go back to being neighbors in the projects. Father Chris then introduced me to the Youth Minister, Sean Flynn. Sean-o then invited me to attend a back-to-school Luau later that day. If I could pinpoint a major turning point in my life this would be one of them – actually, I’m pretty sure I wrote about it for my College application essay and spelled Luau wrong too but thanks to homework days and Sean proof-reading that essay I got into all but one of the schools I had applied to [Boston Conservatory was the only school I didn’t get into by the way – I blew that audition but again – another story].

Twenty years ago I reluctantly put on a Hawaiian shirt. My Uncle Doug drove me to the Luau, gave me a little tough love sort of pep talk because that’s just the sort of guy he is, and told me when he would be back to pick me up. We didn’t have cellphones back then so I was pretty much stuck there for the next couple of hours and I was nervous as heck. I wanted to throw up. Those nerves quickly went away when Sean and a couple of upperclassman girls approached me and hugged me! HUGGED ME! ME! They hugged me! My glasses wearing, petite, awkward, dorky self [y’all there are pics somewhere to prove how awkward looking I was] was immediately welcome with literal open arms! I was also instantly dubbed “Lil’ Liz” since there were two other Liz’s already. By the end of the night when my Uncle came back to pick me up I didn’t want to leave. It was the most amazing feeling in the world.

Twenty years ago I was the new kid in town. Although I was warmly welcomed at St. Mary’s that wasn’t the case at school. I had a very difficult time at school. I was nicknamed “Brooklyn” just because I had moved from New York [even though Watertown is way closer to Canada than it is to Brooklyn]. I was made fun of a ton – I was even shoved into my locker – oh and had received some death threats too. It was a miserable transition for me. There was a lot of uncertainty in my life. Yet one thing was always certain – being welcomed with open arms at St. Mary’s Life Teen. Even though I was mercilessly picked on at school, at the end of the day I could walk into the Life House and know that I was loved.

Twenty years ago, when I was starting high school my mom was starting a new life for herself and those years were not financially easy. When I say that Life Teen fed me and clothed me I literally mean it – especially the feeding part, I knew at least once a week I would be having dinner there, Monday night: Pizza and Prayer. Through Pizza and Prayer I was fed body and soul. In my darkest days as a teenager going through some difficult stuff, that very few people realized because I have always been a pro at smiling through most of the sadness, Life Teen was there as my light, my reason to smile.

Twenty years ago I met one of my best friends, Christina, through this program. One day, when I was stuck by myself, in the rain with no way home and nowhere to go, she literally took me in and brought me to her house to dry off and her family has been my family ever since.

Twenty years ago my world as I knew it was falling apart but thanks to the amazing parish that is Saint Mary’s and the Life Teen program it didn’t. It crumbled a bit for sure but it also formed me into the woman I am today. Without those difficulties back then and without the love and guidance and power of prayer I simply wouldn’t be who I am today. When people ask me today how I do it all I know it’s because of the many experiences I had back then. The retreats, the deep connection to God (even when I struggle with the Church I know He’s still there and well, Mary is my home girl too). St. Mary’s Life Teen taught me to know my worth. So even though I would be shoved into lockers, picked on, etc…thrown down literally and figuratively through the years, I knew my worth and that I couldn’t be kept down.

So why this story now…why a glimpse into my life back then? Well, the program can’t happen without the generosity of others. I am hosting a thirty-one gifts fundraising party over the next few days as my way to give back to a program that gave me more than I could ever repay them. Fundraiser details can be found on my Facebook VIP group page. Or you can go directly to the St. Mary’s Life Teen Go Fund Me Page and make a donation. This program literally saves lives – it saved mine.

Blank Calendar

This is our main household calendar. It is the control center. It gets updated every 2-3 weeks [Tedy tends to erase the bottom two weeks]. Right now it is blank. Soon it will be a rainbow. Every person in this house has a color. Heck, even the dogs have a color. There are also colors for special events. Soon it will be full of appointments, end of summer trips, back to school events, etc. The quote at the bottom should read: “What we do in life echoes in eternity”

Tedy of course has peeled off some of the letters, but I know the message. I try to live by it. Random Liz DeLise fact: Gladiator is one of my all time favorite movies.

Staring at my blank calendar before it becomes a rainbow got me thinking, which led to blogging…

Life and this calendar are flexible. Nothing is set in stone. It can easily wipe away. Our lives change and unbeknownst to us it can easily be wiped away in a moment.

Yet we try to control it all. We try to make set plans and we often become slaves to our schedules.

“Death smiles at us all. All a (wo)man can do is smile back.” Not to be all gloom and doom but I’m often reminded how much this rings true. How it can also be applied to craptastic situations in life as well.

I’ve been hit hard by some craptastic times this summer. Being an Army wife means that my calendar has to be extremely flexible. Yet it means I also stare at it a ton and count down the days until Troy comes home from yet another assignment that has meant time apart from our family. While at war Maximus knew exactly how many days he had been gone from his family “two years, two hundred and sixty-four days and this morning” I know that time frame as well though I am not the soldier. I look forward to being reunited and I am ready for a new adventure, hopefully together. Yet until then I must remember all of these words as well as my most favorite Gladiator quote: Strength and honor.

My mother is one of my biggest supporters even though we can be like oil and water at times. She reminds me of what I already know but sometimes lose site of. When I call her bawling my eyes out [thank you Younique for making an amazing mascara so it doesn’t stream down my face] she reminds me of these things. She reminds me that no matter how tough life gets. No matter how much I lose in this crazy battle of life that I can get through it. She reminds me to live in the rainbow. To realize that even though I get struck down time and time again that I embody strength and honor. To smile back, to embrace life and accept that even though it may wipe away at a moments notice that it is a beautiful rainbow. That it is full, that I must stay true to me and remember that what I do in life echoes in eternity. That what I do in life will have a lasting impact on my children. In times of sorrow when other people have me down my mom often tells me to not let others run around rent free in my head. She’s right. You hear that mom?!?! I admit it, you’re right.

So I guess that’s part of what this blog post is for. To help me through and maybe help someone else through. To start with a new blank slate and to move on and turn it into a beautiful rainbow. That my children will remember those rainbows of life and not dwell on the darker times. This is the Rambling Mom blog, I tend to ramble but hopefully you’ll get something from my ramblings too.