Slow and Steady

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday Sampler: Bye Bye 2011

Year's end is neither an end 
nor a beginning but a going on, 
with all the wisdom 
that experience can instill in us.  
~Hal Borland

I have been loving everyone's year end recaps and goals for 2012 posts. Really so motivational. Taking off from my last post about being unoriginal, I am going to go ahead and follow suit.

Here are some highlights on what I planned to do and what I actually did:
For Mental Me: Be more confident. How?
  1. Take a self defense class. CHECK
  2. Start including at the end of every blog post (along with the regular thankful three) a self esteem booster. Why I kick a$$: CHECK
I had a "For Physical Me: Maintain and Build. How?" category. I didn't put the effort in to achieve those so I'll spare you the bullet by bullet recap. I will say, despite my 10 lb. weight gain this year, that the measurements I posted about my belly in 2011 stayed the same....must have gone straight to my a$$ LOL.

I noticed folks recapping their race years and so I headed over to my Athlinks account to check out what I had done? I have 7 events on there and 1 that didn't post. 6 of my 8 events were done January to May. Then 1 in October and 1 in November. I had a great start to the year last year. I PR'd my 10K, I PR'd my half marathon and was very excited about each because I had actually worked hard for each of those events. It was pretty down hill from there. I had way too much life happening last year.

2011 Life Cycle Event Recap
  • Lost my 18 yr old cousin to cancer
  • Lost my grandmother and last living grandparent
  • Was promoted at my job
  • My kids turned 4 and 2 and boy is it awesome at this age
  • Celebrated our cousin's son's Bar Mitzvah, the first in this generation of kids
  • Celebrated 7 years with my husband
  • Gain a sister-in-law
What are my rock'n plans for New Year's Eve? Well my new SIL convinced me that we needed to drive to LA (don't ask how long it took, we were flying down, not literally either) and go to Disneyland. So last night we drove, got to her BFF's, had a few hours of sleep and now we are off to the Happiest Place on Earth! We should be in Disneyland shortly. I will miss being with Super Hubby and the kids tonight, but I know I'll have a great time and don't really get this opportunity often.

The Big Picture: Life is a work in progress, it will have many successes and failures. My main goal in life and resolution every year is to keep moving forward, life is meant to be lived.
Why I Kick A$$: Deciding last minute to go to Disneyland is a pretty spontaneous thing, I am not so spontaneous, so this is awesome.

Thankful Three:
  1. For my amazing family
  2. For a weekend with my SIL and her super awesome BFF
  3. For having Monday off to recover from my spontaneity

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Tidbit: Totally unorginal

Insist upon yourself. Be original.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I can be so unoriginal. It is kinda funny. When I read about peoples goals and aspirations I am not only inspired, but moved to act. You want a promotion? OMG me too. Actually that is how I got my job! A guy in one of my Master's classes said he was applying for the Presidential Management Fellows Program run through OPM. I, that is really cool, I should apply for fellowships! I got in, he didn't. You are on a diet? I need to start one too. You're training for a half marathon? I should too. I am not a totally copy cat, but I sure do like easy ideas that float into my path. In addition to riding the wave of inspiration around me, I am creating some of my own.

I have been having trouble getting motivated lately, but the clouds have parted and the sun is shining in my life. Where is the sunshine coming from? A decluttered house, a decluttered email inbox, having had 5 days off work, finally researching my son's kindergarten application process and seeing everyone's amazing new years goals on FB. I feel like I have it together and I am ready to add in the things I need to maintain my physical and mental health. What I have going so far:
  • Choosing a week in the summer for our family vacation
  • Deciding on a new investment to help build our future and plan for the kids college education
  • Picking a couple races I would like to do in the spring-hopefully hitting some trail runs
  • Rearranging my living room
Not amazingly exciting, but exciting for me. We already know vacation will be in Mammoth Lakes, so it is just a matter of picking the right week. As for races, I have actually found that it is difficult to commit to a race date too far in the future. I am never confident in what will happen between now and then so I hesitate and rarely follow through. I figure planning something for Jan-March shouldn't take too much out of me commitment wise. I like refocusing on finances a few times a year too. While the furniture rearranging is a necessary evil, I am enjoying mixing things up around here. Coming plans, New Years Resolutions and other fun stuff.

Questions for you:
  1. Do you plan you races far out into the future?
  2. Are you an investor? Conservative, Day Trader or IDK my adviser handles that? LOL my hubby is my adviser so I would normally say, IDK he does it all, but I am taking the reigns and picking one that I will personally contribute to every pay period and follow on my SmartPhone for fun.
Why I Kick A$$: Walked into work 115 email, left work 4 left in the inbox and I didn't just hit delete.
The Big Picture: Motivation will ebb and flow, but at the end of the day I usually break even or better yet, often times I end up ahead in physical and mental accomplishments. Why? Because I do such a good job when I do try and don't stay in a slump long enough to seriously undo my efforts.

Thankful Three:
  1. For our last night of Chanukah, I love the glow of a fully lit Chanukiah
  2. For financial discussions with my hubby, it makes me feel like we are a good team
  3. For a great day at work

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Motivation: Vacation is Over...when is the next?

No man needs a vacation so much 
as the person who has just had one.  
~Elbert Hubbard

How was everyone's holiday(s)? We are on night 7 of Chanukah, 1 more day to go! It has been busy since last Tuesday. I worked crazy late Wednesday and had dinner with the in-laws and took last Thursday off to "help" with my brother-in-laws wedding. They were getting married in my in-laws house and I was going to help set up, but the tables didn't arrive on time so I had a leisurely breakfast of Noah's bagels and Starbucks. I wanted a sourdough bagel, but they were out so I got a potato peppercorn toasted with butter. So yummy. When I was pregnant with my daughter I lost my taste for cream cheese and now rarely have it. I digress. So after my leisurely breakfast I dropped off gifts and cards at my work, then exchanged a pair of shorts I had gotten my dad as a gift at Old Navy. I still had time so cleaned up at home, gave the cat a bath, then had a friend over for girl talk over some yummy wine. Then the "bridal party" picked me up for our spa day. Fortunately there was champagne and we had a great time getting our nails and toes done. Afterward, we hit Starbucks. Yes, two trips to Starbucks in one day. It is still Thursday at this point.
As if wine and champagne in one day weren't enough, the "rehearsal dinner" was also Thursday night. There was no real wedding party, so the event was really just a party. My BIL rented out a pub for a few hours, there were endless drinks, amazing food and pub quiz. It was great fun...I probably should have eaten a real meal sometime that day and had more water throughout the day, but great fun. Wine, Champagne and Beer in one day. LOL In case you are wondering, I am not as young as I once was and am pretty glad "rehearsal dinners" aren't regularly scheduled events.

Friday was the wedding, a lovely affair indeed. Then Saturday family lunch with the in-laws and Saturday night Family dinner at my parents. Goodness gracious, it was a very full weekend. I was very lucky to have NOTHING to do on Sunday, we barely made it out of the house to take the kids to the park. Today was another much needed hang out day. While I am not Christian, I am pretty glad the Federal Govt took Monday off in observance of Christmas and I have a short week ahead of me. 

Today we spent the whole day at home, save for a short trip to the park. My BFF came over and brought her two young'ns and it was like having built in babysitters. Our kids played so well together, we actually got to have adult conversation. My kids had fun, I had fun, our husbands had a great golf day and we all had a nice dinner before lighting our Chanukiahs. Great hang out day! So 5 non-work days and I think I need a little vacation from this vacation. Our weekend was full, although these last two days were relaxing. I would like a little vacation for myself. I would like to send my kids to day care, sleep in, work out and read all day. I think 3-5 days of this schedule would be rejuvenating.

Speaking of vacation, we are currently planning our summer vacation to Mammoth Lakes. Super excited, this year our BFF family is going to go at the same time so we can all hang out. How cool is that? I have read books and watched movies about families that vacation together, this will be our first and I think everyone is going to love it!

Why I Kick A$$: I had a 4, 3, 2 and 1 year old in my house today and my house is still clean!
The Big Picture: I shouldn't wait until the govt takes days off or family is getting married to take time off. I need to start schedule days for me, ALL about me, then enjoy them guilt free.
Thankful Three:
  1. For amazing friends
  2. For The Girl Who Played With Fire -Stieg Larsson
  3. For a short week this week...and next!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday Tidbit: I am a slacker

Success consists of going from failure to failure 
without loss of enthusiasm.
~Winston Churchill
Me after a 6 mile crazy hill run in my favorite dress. I am very happy in this picture. Very happy, feeling very successful.
While the blog name should send a clear message, you have to be a reader to really understand. This past year I have blogged more about getting on track vs. how well I am doing staying on track. Over the last few months I have blog mostly 1x per week than more frequently. Today I am breaking the mold, this is my first Tuesday Tidbit since...well...uh....looks like October 4th. Yeah, it's been awhile. So today's Tuesday's Tidbit is that I am slow on the up take. I have been struggling for a month or so trying to define where I am with my fitness. Have I fallen off the wagon? Was I on a wagon? Do I work out sporadically? I know I am not training for anything. Geez, I get why people don't like labels. Today I am in a place where I am happy to admit, I don't know. I.DON'T.KNOW! It is true.

I love to workout. I love lifting weights, doing core work and I even like the treadmill. Going to the gym is enjoyable, that is if I am not too tired. My predicament over the last few months has been making time. The best times for workouts continue to be early mornings 5:30AM or late night 9:00PM. Unfortunately my body is going through so adjustments with what it needs to recover. When I was working out a bunch I was only sleeping about 6 hours. These days 8 hours is hardly enough. I am working my brain out hard core at work and the few intermittent work out days these past few months have resulted in longer recovery. The average person is sore for a day or two after a work out. I have needed sometimes a full week to shake the post workout fatigue. This happens with light workouts too, totally lame.

So I am labeling the rest of December as a vacation. Not necessarily vacation from working out, I might do it, who knows. Really it is just a vacation from thinking about it. I may not be cranking out the miles, putting in the gym time or blogging about my commitment to fitness, but rest assured, I punish myself everyday by feeling bad that I am not running more, hitting the gym or blogging. Today starts a little vacation from myself. I am calling myself successful, moving from one "failure" to the next and not losing enthusiasm. LOL I love this quote.

In more thrilling news, tonight is the first night of Chanukah and it was really nice to light our Chanukiah read some holiday books with the kids before bed. This Friday my brother in law is getting married, so that should be a fun night. Since there is no wedding party, they are having a fake rehearsal dinner. They rented out a pub, are serving food, drinks and hosting a pub quiz for the younger elements in the friends and family group. Should be fun.

Do you celebrate holidays this time of year? 
Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, Hmong New Year is coming up in addition to the secular New Year. Whether you celebrate or not, hope you are staying warm and enjoying some time with family and friends.

The Big Picture: Life is a training cycle. Less focus on events, training etc and more emphasis on lifestyle and how to make healthy a habit.
Why I Kick A$$:
I got so much work done at work today and adding sweeping and mopping at home to my list of accomplishments.
Thankful Three
  1. Tomorrow is my Friday
  2. Monday is a Federal Holiday in observance of Christmas
  3. I have monkey bread waiting for me in the kitchen

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday Sampler: Girls Weekend!

Lead me not into temptation; 
I can find the way myself.  
~Rita Mae Brown

I have had a fantastic weekend so far, I am not so sure tomorrow is looking the same. I am not as young as I once was. Check out this weekend's itinerary:

  • Left town for the cabin house. I love getting out of town.
  • Ate German chocolate cake, drank a great bottle of wine from Michael David called Rapture and watched Love Actually. Then moved on to Bridget Jone's Diary while still drinking and snacking on brie and crackers.

  • Woke up pretty leisurely.
  •  Popped in the movie Chocolat, cut a slice of German chocolate cake for breakfast and a little brie and crackers too
  • Headed out to the nearest Starbucks
  • Hit winery No. 1 Toscano
  • Winery No. 2 Brays-Bought the 2007 Table Red and 2008 Barbera
  • Fantastic lunch at TASTE
    • Cheese plate
    • Borscht
    • Butternut Squash gnocci with pearl onions, bacon, kale, and toasted pine nuts
    • Sweet Fall Dessert
      • Persimmon cake with pumpkin gelato, and an array of other fantastic pumpkin stuff

  •  Winery No. 3 Sobon Estates-bought the 2009 Tannat and 2009 Primitivo
Now that I am home, I am tired and ready to relax, but instead I am stressing on the itinerary for tomorrow.

    • Option 1:
      • wake up at 4am drive 40 minutes to meet a friend at 5:15 to drive another 30 minutes to meet a larger group of girls, then drive another 1.5 hours to a Raider vs. Lions game
    •  Option 2:
      •  wake up at 7:30, leave at 8:00, drive 45 minutes, jump on a train for 20 minutes and meet up with the girls at the game around 9:00.
Pro for option 1 is fun girl time in the car, Con to option 1 is that they might tailgate after the game too and that means I may not get home until 10PM. 4AM to 10PM does not sound at all appealing, I am too old for that.

Pro to option 2 I get to sleep in and I have the option to stay after to tailgate or go home if I am not up for it. Option 2 sounds like the way to go, but I just don't know. I forgot to mention, I don't even watch football, so this event is entirely social. Actually my friends birthday is at the end of the month so this is our celebration day!

Why I Kick A$$: I have some great friends and fun options for my weekends.
Thankful Three
  1. For my family who is supportive of me getting girl time
  2. For my friends who come up with such fun adventures
  3. For the upcoming 3 day work week

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Sampler: Sleep, Balance and Goals

He who fails to plan, plans to fail.
I am not sure why this only occurred to me today, but it appears the majority of my posts for the last three months have been done on a Saturday. A passing thought was to rename my blog to Saturday Sampler, but I am far to ambitious to limit my thoughts to one day a week, but you may have to deal with my slacker style for a while longer until I get back in the groove of posting more frequently.

Moving on. This week was particularly difficult for me. I had two separate dates with my niece to hit the gym and canceled both times! I was just too tired. The first time I cancelled becuase I had fallen asleep at 8:15 PM and our date was for about 8:45 PM and the second time, again our date was for 8:45 PM and I couldn't possibly stay awake. So what is this sleep phenomenon? I have been sleeping 8 plus hours per night. Last night I slept 10.5 glorious hours!

In talking with a co-worker yesterday, we discovered it is our job. The last three months I have personally stepped up my game at work. I wrote or reviewed 40 performance evaluations in September and October...really the drafts were coming in way earlier than that. Reading reviews and going through the exercise of writing a few myself made me realize I had even more capacity to improve than I was opening my mind to. Then I got my performance evaluation. Sure I was doing plenty of things right, but I have been in this new position less than a year and still have a lot to learn. I am also feeling quite driven to accomplish my daily tasks in an 8 hour day. Some days I work more than that, but I want balance. I do not want to HAVE to work 10+ hr days to get the work done or to be good at my job. I would be better at my job with more time in, but I have a family and want to have a life. Life however has been tough. The mental energy I expend at work has resulted in one tired momma! We do dinner, bath time, wind down a bit, then I barely make it through the kids bed time before it is my turn. That means no time lately for workouts, hardly any time for the hubby and net result: unbalanced. Need to get it all back in to balance. FAST!

Ok, I am painting a dire picture here, Super Hubby called and got a sitter and we went out dinner this week, last weekend I helped through a shower for my future SIL and next weekend I have a girls weekend planned. But it is the daily routine that seems to escape me. I wish I only needed 6 hours sleep. I wish I was a genius and then my brain wouldn't have to work so hard at work. Better yet, since we're wishing, let's go ahead a win the lottery and not work and have all the time in the world to be a wife, mother and professional fitness gal. A girl can dream...

Moving on. Some INSPIRATION from blogs this week:
  • Michelle over at Michelle Does Germany is doing 12 Dates of Christmas with her Hubs, Awesome idea and some thing I might try to do with my hubs in 2012 but over the course of the year. We see each other every day for lunch, so don't feel bad for us that we don't spend so much couples time the evening with me going to bed at 9:00 PM.
  • Amanda at Run To The Finish posted about Coach Andrew Kastor's Mammoth Running Camp. This would be a dream for me! I love mammoth, believe it or not with my inconsistency, I really do love running and I love being coached. Some day when I feel like my running is in a good place and I would get more out of the camp, I would totally throw down the cash for this one. Check it out HERE.
  • Anne Marie at Goals For The Week writes down her weekly goals on book mark she uses in her organizer. Love this idea. Earlier in the year I wrote down my goals, stuffed them in my wallet and took a peak every now and then. All those goals were achieved. I have fallen off that wagon and needed this reminder, thanks AM!
I am feeling more motivated between yesterday and today so I am going to try and build on that. I swept and mopped the floors, did the laundry, did the dishes and wiped down all the counters. I have a master plan for going through our stuff and making lots of donations over the next week or so. Step one is to write down my plan. My first goal is to de-clutter as much as I can before the new year. It helps not to feel weighed down and my family will appreciate this as much, if not more, than I will. My second goal, which permeates everything else is to figure out how to squeeze it all in. I know I can't do everything, but I can do enough of the things I need and love to feel more balanced overall.

Big Picture: Goals aren't firm all the time, they need to be adjusted and re-evaluated. With a 4 yr old, a 2 yr old and a new job...I just needed more adjustments this year than before.
Why I Kick A$$: Did you miss the part when I totally cleaned house last night? Yeah, totally felt like I was nesting. Happy to wake up to a clean space.

Thankful Three
  1. For my hubby being on his 4 day fishing trip. He needs the break and apparently it makes me want to the clean house.
  2. For a niece who called and asked again this morning for a gym date. Yay! don't give up on me.
  3. For a sitter today to run some necessary errands.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday Sampler: Positive and Glamorous

 Though no one can go back and 
make a brand new start, 
anyone can start from now and 
make a brand new ending.  
 ~Author Unknown

Oh where have I been?! Well we had a nice day in New York on Monday. Coincidentally Monday was our 7 year anniversary. We woke up, had a lovely breakfast, walked through Central Park, hit the Jewish Museum then did some window shopping at FAO Schwartz  before catching a flight back to California at 7:00 PM, at Terminal 7, Gate 7. Totally not kidding, how cool is that? Lucky day right? Well I didn't get a lottery ticket, but I did get a text from my boss as soon as we landed in San Francisco that if I needed to rest, I should take the day off Tuesday. Uh, yes please! Tuesday was great, I woke up with energy, went to the Berkeley-Oakland area, did some shopping, had pizza at Zachary's on College Avenue then stopped by Bittersweet for a slice of hot chocolate cake and a chocolate chai over ice. Delish! I got home around 2:30 and it happened...THE WALL. Good lord, I was a mess. I laid on the couch, watched MTV I used to be fat and dosed off a little. I did not dose enough. It was Tuesday how was I going to survive the week?

I had already pre-planned a dinner out with friends for Wednesday, so while I was tired and worked a long day, I went out any way. I am so glad I did. We talked babies, kids, husbands, home renovations, Brazilian waxing and hot fresh donuts. I tell you what, girlfriends are the best. What I got most out of this outting was some rejuvenation. I have been in a funk. First it was one thing, then PMS, then stress eating because I was afraid of leaving my kids for our east coast weekend...SHEESH a girl can only stand so much. So when I woke up Thursday morning and was about to post to Facebook that I was exhausted, I stopped myself. If I want to be happy, I need to act happy. So I decided to reframe my thought and instead posted that I was glad it was Thursday and that it wasn't too cold outside. Pretty simple huh? Well let me tell you, it made all the difference in the world. I had a great day, then that night my brother in-law and future SIL came over and we gave them their wedding present early. It was a really nice night. Thursday was December 1st. I love the first of anything. First of the month, Monday's, first of the year etc. It is an opportunity to start fresh. So I decided for the month of December, I am going to try not to complain so much and re-frame negative thoughts and statements into more manageable and if at all possible, POSITIVE thoughts. This little 31 day exercise should prime me quite nicely for starting 2012 off on the right foot.

Anyone have there New Year's Resolutions or 
Goals lined up yet?

Friday, OMG, it was supposed to be easy, but it was crazy! In a good way. Work was long, but super productive. Then I got to have dinner with my mom, two nieces, two aunts and family friend for my nieces birthday. We went to Tower Cafe in Sacramento and it is such a great place, highly recommended. Then on the way home my cousin texted that I should stop by so I got even more fun family time, this time over Champagne with pomegranate arils in them. Lovely!

Then for the big one, today. Yes I was exhausted. Yes I kinda woke up sick. BUT. I woke up and made chocolate-white chocolate swirl fudge, rice krispie treats died with food coloring, cut into squares and tied with a white bow so they looked like Tiffany's boxes and picked up balloons for my future SIL's bridal shower today. The theme was Breakfast at Tiffany's and the guests got to take home pearl bracelet's with a little bling bead as a party favor and my MIL made fake cigarettes with dowel rods, painted black, white and with red glitter on the end for effect. It was such a GLAMOROUS party and hopefully my future SIL felt loved.

Big Picture: Sleep Deprivation is temporary, friends, family and memories are forever.
Why I Kick A$$: While I wasn't officially the hostess, I think I pulled off my part of the shower in a positive way despite being completely drained.
Thankful Three:
  1. For friends who bake. ER you made gorgeous and amazingly delicious cupcakes for today's event. Fabulous!!
  2. For now occupies all my free time
  3. For an invite to the gym, I am way over due. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Sampler: Fear and other fun stuff

If a man harbors any sort of fear, 
it percolates through all thinking, 
damages his personality and 
makes him a landlord to a ghost.  
~Lloyd Douglas

Since my last thrilling post on PMS and the Breaking Dawn movie, my life has been filled with the following bullets...yes, bullets again. Cut me some slack, I think bullets are just my thing.
  • Fear about leaving my kids for a few days while in New Jersery/New York
  • Eating to fill the space in my around my fear and hopefully forcing it out...ended up just packing on pounds. Note to self, fear is not afraid of french fries
  • No working out except for my 5K PR at the local Run Against Hunger Thanksgiving morning, it was so great getting out there with my nieces. Extra bonus, my cousin and her two kids were there, sorry no pictures, but I love that exercise is becoming a family affair
  • Being almost totally zoned out at Thanksgiving preoccupied by the thought that once dinner was over I had to head to the airport
  • Did you notice how I just slipped in the fact that I PR'd? Yup with with walking and slowing down to chat with friends on the run. Ooooh, one more thing, it was a PR with no running for the couple weeks leading up to the event. Boy did I need that ego boost after all the fear eating.
  • Uh, what else? I am in New Jersey for the weekend. Yeah, California to New Jersey. For the weekend....long flight, short trip. Something is wrong with this picture.
  • Have had rock'n Bar Mitzvah fun all weekend and ready for the big shin dig tomorrow night...there has been so much food, I might need a second seat on the flight home.
  • Had a hilarious time with about a dozen or so 13 year old boys acting like paparazzi round my hubby because they thought he looked like Ben Roethlisberger from the Steelers NFL team. While they obviously knew he was not actually Ben Roethlisberger, they certainly enjoyed pretending and playing it up with pictures and requests for autographs. Super funny!
  • We'll be in New York tomorrow and some of Monday before flying back so short trip, but fun so far and more fun planned for tomorrow. Did I mention we have been eating like crazy? When not eating, we have been getting a ton of sleep too. Not so much jet lag as it is food comas LOL
  • High fives for family who is staying at our house with our precious babies. I miss them so much. Pretty sure I wasn't ready for a trip away from them, yeah the tight pants around the waist from eating pretty much confirms that.
Ben Roethlisberger-image politely taken from after a google images search
Do they really look alike people? I think it's just the beard.
The Big Picture: We are with family for a very important life cycle event and my children are home safe and sound in good hands having a very fun time with their Abuelita and cousins.
Why I Kick A$$: Um, did you miss the part about the PR? Hello, I am so ready for another, I think I might like 5Ks now, short sweet and so much room for improvement.

Thankful Three:
  1. For time with the east coast family
  2. For support from the west coast family
  3. For elastic leggings, I have been perpetually stuffed for over a week now