Monday, January 16, 2012

Seven Minutes

 This morning I tried out Dr Oz's Seven Minute workout and it was great!  Sometimes I can only manage to sit on the couch and drink coffee and stare at the news, but I honestly think I might start trying to squeeze this in every morning - or at least a few mornings a week.  Its all the great yoga moves I love, but concise and to the point.  I can really see how this would benefit a daily morning routine.  Check it out!

Dr Oz's Smart Move of the Week Get A Daily Dose Of Vigorous Exercise |

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our Second Very Veggie Thanksgiving

It's hard to believe we have now been vegetarian for over 1.5 years.  We have been exploring some great new recipes and our veggie fare has really expanded.  The Thanksgiving menu was as follows:

Stuffing (recipe modified from Giada)
Mashed Potatoes with Vegan Gravy (recipe from )
Zucchini al Forno (recipe from Giada)
Rosemary Bread
Steamed Green Beans with REAL butter
Stuffed Celery (I am not sure if my family created this; I seem to be the only one who likes it!)
Cranberry sauce
Corn (from a can, requested by Gina)
Cassada Cake (lovingly prepared by Jerry)

As you can see, we pretty much had standard Thanksgiving food sans the turkey.  I never miss the turkey.  Yes, it smells great, but it always made me sleepy and did strange things to my stomach.  We are just fine without it.  After we ate, we took the dog and went for a wonderful walk around Hudson Springs Park.

My blog has been quiet.  I have not had much to say.  The fall was not the happiest time around here.  It sort of sounded like a country music song:  my neighbor died, the car broke down, the days got short, the money ran out, etc etc.  And on top of it all I did something strange to my knee/leg back in September and am just now starting to feel comfortable running again.  I saw an ortho guy who looked at me like I was crazy.  We could not reproduce the pain in his office so apparently I was just imagining the whole thing.  Whatever.  I will slowly come back and thoroughly appreciate every step I take while doing so.

Abby had an amazing cross country season for her freshman year of high school.  She earned her Varsity Letter and PR'd at 22.18.  The season was super muddy. 
Gina offering support after the Woodridge Race at CVNP

Gina modeling new boots in the middle of the course

Muddy but relieved to have THAT over!

Gina has decided to not swim for the high school this year.  It was a difficult decision for her.  She really did not enjoy last year at all.  She made a pro/con list and it became pretty obvious what she should do.  Now she has embarked on a new path and is happier than ever.  She is volunteering at the Humane Society and tutoring younger kids after school.

Jerry will run a 50K in January.  After that we will make our plans for spring and summer.  So far we have college visits, a trip to Florida to see the Harry Potter stuff at Universal, and a return to the Adirondacks to look forward to in 2012!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Projects

We started the summer with a long list of projects!  First and foremost was building a proper wooden fence in the backyard for Mia and any future dog we may get.  We documented the fun-filled weekend process and you can watch the resulting video here on Jerry's blog.

We also promised Abby a re-do of her bedroom.  She chose a beautiful color called Sunporch and did most of the painting herself.  New bedding and drapes were also involved, as was a major clean up of all the little nooks and crannies of her room!

We celebrated Gina's 16th birthday in July.  That was a big celebration and involved planning a small, yet special, party for her and about 10 friends.  Lots of candy and sparklers!  We have spent a fair amount of time teaching her to drive.  I will not include a photo of that - I am sure you can imagine the white knuckles and terrified faces all on your own.

Abby has been practicing with the high school cross country team since the middle of June.  This has been somewhat time consuming since the scheduled runs are all in parks at least 20 minutes away.  Our efforts to carpool were not so successful, but that just meant that I had to get up and go run also.  It worked out great!  We would pull in the parking lot.  She would get out and join her team.  I would sneak out of the car and run in the opposite direction so as not to embarrass her!  I got in a ton of great running that way and in some of our most beautiful parks and trails.  I am so looking forward to the high school season and seeing how the team does this year.  Friday night football games, Saturday morning cross country meets.  It's gonna be awesome!

I made a rather large project out of planning a very small vacation.  We did a quick trip through PA and NY.  The highlights being a stop in Letchworth Park to view some awesome waterfalls and gorges. We spent the night at the Glen Iris Inn (in two separate rooms!) and enjoyed a great vegan dinner in the restaurant.

From there we went on to Ithaca for more waterfalls and an amazing dinner at the Moosewood Restaurant - well known for their cookbooks and vegetarian fare.  It did not disappoint and was well worth the drive to say we have been there!

Our last and very spontaneous stop was at Farm Sanctuary.  The picture says it all!  It was the perfect ending to our mini-vacation to spend some time with farm animals at an organization which promotes their well-being and rescue from abuse.  The more I learn about the meat industry the more commited I am to this vegetarian lifestyle.  I have to thank my daughters for asking me where our food comes from and what has been done to it before it hits our table.

 And here we are this past weekend volunteering at the Burning River 100-mile Endurance Run.  Jerry has completed this race twice.  He has run it as a pacer.  We have been his crew and have spectated as much as possible.  Now we can add that we have manned an aid station together!  We worked at mile 28 from 7 am until 2:30 pm and really enjoyed giving back to the sport in this way.  Awesome fellow volunteers and the runners are always so inspiring. It still boggles my mind that someone can run that far!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Caveman Crawl Trail 5K

I kind of thought things would slow down a bit with Gina in Italy for three weeks, but that has not been the case.  Abby and I have been buzzing around getting in some fabulous runs in preparation for the official start of unofficial high school practices for her team.  We ran the Buckeye Trail a lot through South Chagrin and Bedford.  We saw a huge snapping turtle laying eggs!  We got lost a couple of times without Jerry leading the way, but we always managed to eventually find our way along the blue blazes.

Practice has now started for her and I will definitely miss our time on the trails together.  I have a feeling she will eventually get tired of waking up early to run with the cool kids and will opt for an evening run with her slowpoke parents.  At least I hope so.....I find it hard to explain what a joy it is to watch her bound down the trail in front of me.  Plus I think she scares all the snakes away.

The above photo was taken last Sunday, June 12th.  Jerry had traveled to Pennsylvania sans support and successfully completed the Laurel Highlands 77-mile Ultra. You can read his report here.  We are super proud of him and promise to go next year IF he does it again!  Abby and I ran the Caveman Crawl Trail 5K at the West Woods in Geauga County.  It was a blast!  Abby ran a 25.40 and I was about a minute behind her. It was hilly and I was on high alert the whole time - I think my brain was working harder than my body:  roots, mud, people, uphill, downhill, where is Abby, how much longer!?  Somehow, Jerry managed to beat us home and it was a nice moment to grab a photo of him with his wooden trail marker replica awarded to all finishers and Abby with her second place medal around her neck. The stories flew around all day.  The only thing missing was Gina, but she is apparently full of stories for us upon her return Sunday. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Opposite of Peace


Gina left for her 3-week adventure in Italy on Monday.  I knew that the sermon at church on Sunday would hold something special for me.  It seems that always happens - before a big event it feels like our pastor is speaking directly to me.  So when he announced a few weeks ago that the new sermon series would cover the Fruit of the Spirit, I quickly counted on my fingers to the last Sunday in May:  love, joy, peace.  Awesome - a sermon on peace right before my baby girl leaves on her first big trip across the pond.

Pastor Coffey did not disappoint me.  He never does.  It takes ALOT to hold my attention for half an hour.  So when he started off by saying that the opposite of peace is worry, I was hooked.  I am a B.I.G. worrier, especially when it comes to my family.  I won't try to paraphrase the sermon but if you are a worrier, click on the link to our church and you can listen to it at your leisure.  The basic points for me were 1).  I am not driving the car (which translates into I am not in control) and 2).  This story ends well (which translates into God cares for me and worrying serves no purpose and never changes an outcome). 

So off Gina went covered in love, joy and peace!  I made a promise to myself not to worry over her.  The first text message early Tuesday morning indicated a safe arrival.  It was punctuated with exclamation points and smiley faces.  Half a day later, the next text said the words every mother fears:  my tummy is not 100%.  No exclamation point, no smiley face.  I started to worry - but only for a minute.  There was nothing I could do to help her.  She would have to deal with this on her own.  I have mentioned previously the exorcist-like sounds she makes when she throws up.  I prayed for the family she is with and hoped for the best.  Maybe it was just nerves and her stomach would settle down.  This morning she texted this:  What a night!  I threw up 6 times but L was really helpful and I feel better now.  Kept the food simple just finished pasta biana and cherries for lunch.  Now A feels sick so shes sleeping but we talked italian during lunch very fun having a great time!  Will call tonight!

So see, I didn't need to worry.  She made it through with God "driving the car."   The story ended well and it even had lots of exclamation points!  I am sure the rest of her trip is going to be incredible.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Earth Day Marathon!

The Earth Day Marathon was April 17 in BEAUTIFUL Gambier, Ohio.  Despite torrential rain on Saturday, the forecast was pretty good for Sunday.  Temps in the high 30s, low 40s but winds predicted up to 30 mph.  They nailed the forecast and it was good to be mentally prepared for the bashing that strong in-your-face winds can provide.  I managed to figure out from the course map that there would be a headwind for miles 4-8 and then again from miles 19-26.    I had no major goals but to enjoy the day, be friendly, and stay positive.  Mission accomplished with a 4:21 finish which was almost but not quite a personal worst.  The course was absolutely beautiful!  Cows on a grassy green hillside lit up by peaks of sunshine and blue sky - I was in farm girl heaven!

This race had to have the most friendly runners on earth.  I can probably count on one hand the people who did not speak to me as we crossed paths.  The double out and back course was great.   There were 260 folks running the half and 117 running the full marathon.  Being able to see people in both directions was a very very nice distraction.  Even the lead runners had a nice little something to say to me when we passed!

When things got a little rough in the last 7 miles I starting thinking of our church and decided that I could just go ahead and have a little church of  my own.  Pastor Brandon would say,  " I was gettin' my church on!"  I sang a little Newsboys (out loud - no one was around), I said good morning to the cows, and then I gave myself a little sermon:  Just keep going, don't get negative, this will eventually end.  I closed with Amazing Grace.  This past Sunday was Easter and Amazing Grace (David Crowder style) sounded so much better with a worship band and 400 people belting it out! 

I actually passed a few people in that last stretch.  I ended up being the 8th female of 37 AND I WON MY AGE GROUP!   As I approached the finish, I saw Jerry with the dog paw sign.  I saw the girls run towards the track which I hoped meant they were going to do the final 0.2 miles around the track with me.  I was so happy to see them and have them join me for the finish. 

What a happy day!  Here are some pictures Gina and Abby took throughout the day.

Here we are at the start!  I am empowered by the fact that Gina let me borrow her sweatpants!  It already feels like a great day.

About mile 4 and already  happy that I wore shorts and not tights.

Babs and Beans on the train!

Of course, Jerry could not refuse playing on the train either!

Approaching mile 13.  I'll just carry this drink with me!

Mile 20ish.  Jerry FINALLY remembers my chapstick!  Notice the lack of a crowded course?

A curb approaching mile 26??!!  Then a small, steep downhill??!!  Ouch.......

Best.  Feeling.  Ever.

The haul:  Finishers Medal, Finishers Mug, Pine Seedling,  Socks, and a Hat.  Not to mention the tech tee and sunscreen from packet pick-up.  Not bad for a $50 registration fee and four months of running in crappy weather!  I'd do it again......

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Breakin' 25

Yesterday was the 39th Cleveland Spring Classic in Strongsville.  Last year all four of us participated and came home with t-shirts and trophies.  This year Abby was the only one to represent and she did us proud!

I had put off registering since April is to be a crazy month, but early in the week Abby asked when the race was and indicated that she would really like to go again this year.   I signed her up that night.

I even made the drive to Strongsville on Friday to pick up her packet to ensure that she would get a small t-shirt.  In the past we have had notoriously bad luck with races running out of small size shirts.  She is tiny and an adult medium would never make it.  She said to me later in the day, "Where do people who don't run get their t-shirts?"  We decided the answer to that is vacations and bat miztvahs.

Saturday morning we saw Jerry off on a rather long training run and then we headed west.  It was a nice cool morning with a very fine drizzle in the air.  Gina even dragged herself out of bed to watch Abby run.  This race has free registration for kids under 14 so there were about 4 or 5 buses from Cleveland schools. There were 27 girls in Abby's 1-14 age group but she held them off and crossed the line in 24.36 and was handed a nice 1st place trophy for her shelf.  Her goal going in was to break 25 minutes for the first time so this is her new PR.
From there it was on to Starbucks for mocha and a well-deserved blueberry scone.  It was a great day for her - no puking, gagging or other stomach malfunctions.  We hope to do lots of racing this summer and she has definitely inspired me to try and go a little faster now!  She will have to drop a full 2 minutes to reach my 5K PR, but I am pretty confident that will eventually happen.  Sniff....

Today Gina participated in the Swim for Diabetes.  She was not feeling well but somehow managed to swim 200 laps (5000 yards)!   Another great week of family fitness!