Sunday, September 30, 2012

Banana Bread

I don't know what it is about this Banana bread recipe but it's awesome.  It's super simple. There aren't a lot of ingredients.  There are no complicated steps to it.  Yet it tastes wonderful. 

I've found there is also nothing like banana bread.  We eat a lot of bananas in our house but if two start too look like they are getting too ripe I always get excited. Because that means I get to make banana bread soon.  Lucky for me Husband doesn't really like banana bread so I get it all to myself. Unless I add chocolate chips.  If I add chocolate chips he usually decides to eat some of it.   I also don't cook it completely.  I like the top/middle to be a tad raw still. I know, not healthy, but oh so yummy.

2 bananas (smashed)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream sugar and butter.   Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.   Combine flour mixture with sugar and butter mixture.  Add the eggs.  Add the bananas.    Bake for 40-45 min.

If you are addicted to chocolate like I am, adding a package of chocolate chips after mixing in the bananas is often a great variation to this simple bread.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Zombie Mode Workouts

I knew when I was pregnant that I wanted to continue working out once R arrived.  I also knew it was going to be incredibly hard to pull that off.  Not only would I have to be home to take care of an infant, I would also be exhausted.  Plus there is that Mom guilt.  Will I really leave my child just to go run?  Am I ok with strangers (gym daycare) watching her just so I can workout. Does it make me a bad Mom?  etc.

My running, my workouts, are very important to me. I have a lot of anger issues. I have a lot of issues with depression. I have a lot of issues period.  Running and working out does help me with these issues. I know that if I had to give it up, it would be worse for me than dealing with the guilt of continuing to do this even though it means not always being their for my daughter.

Husband and I came up with a plan on how I could get in my workouts with minimal disruption to the new life.  This means that I am often up at 4am in order to run.  This means that if I do go to the gym after work, I pick R up from daycare and put her in the gym daycare.  This means that Husband is on baby duty for several hours every Saturday while I do a long run.  This means that I take her to the gym daycare for 2 hours most Sunday's.  This means that I often get in strength training after she goes to bed at night.

This is what happens when you can't
see where you are going at 4:30am


4am comes very quickly.  I admit that I don't sleep the best. I can have nights where I only get a couple hours of sleep. It's not due to R, it's insomnia and recent health issues.  I have other nights where I want to go to bed at 7 and sleep all night. I have mornings where getting up at 4am is the last thing I want to do.  There are other mornings where I naturally wake up around 4am and am ready to go.  Either way, actually getting up to run at 4am is incredibly hard. It would be nice to lay in bed for another 1.5 hours.

Running at 4am comes with it's own issues. I recently fell because I tripped on an uneven sidewalk.  Falling and skidding on concrete sucks.  The bruise on my thigh and the scratches on my shoulder and leg are horrible.  However I continue to get up and do it.   It's also very dark when I run.  I live in a relatively safe area that I'm comfortable being out there, but it's still a bit scary.  You don't see too many people out and about at that time. 

I continue to get up and run at 4am though because that means I have more family time after work.  That's important to Husband and I. In order for me to continue to do what I love I have to find a balance between that and family.  This is my balance. It's hard. It's exhausting. I walk around in a daze a lot.  I'm not saying this will work for everyone, but it works for us. 

Some people have questioned the fact that I take R to the gym daycare.  Don't I worry about her? Can't Husband watch her?   I feel guilt because there is usually one day a week that I pick her up from daycare, where she's been since 6:30am and immediately take her to the gym where strangers are yet again watching her.  Yet I know that deep down it's ok. 

The gym daycare is awesome. I don't mind dropping her off.  The set-up is very safe and the people there are wonderful.  Whenever I pick her up somebody is holding her. Sometimes they don't want to give her up and try to convince me to work out longer (I can use the daycare a max of 2 hrs per day).   Sometimes when I drop her off I'll ask if they want me to put her in a swing or if they want her.  Usually the person is excited and wants to hold her. I have shown up at the daycare to pick her up and the person working the desk is holding her and when I comment on how content she seems, they have told me how much they love this baby.  This is before they scan my card and realize she is my child.  I've taken her often enough and normally at the same times that it's usually the same people watching her. So I feel even more comfortable now because they recognize me and are comfortable with me.

Soooo not a good photo of me, but this happens at least
once every only chance to get a nap is to get
R to sleep with me.  And I need my naps. ha
 I feel that working out is worth the trouble and zombie like mode I experience most days.  I feel it will make me a better person and a better Mom most days.  I am proof that you can do it with an infant in the home. I've been working out regularly pretty much since we brought R home from the hospital.    If you want to work out with kids in the house, you can.  You just have to find something that works for you and your family.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Faster is not Better

I have this problem, you see.  I think that if somebody runs faster it means they are a better runner than I am.  Now, yes, because with running you only win if you are faster, it would be true that a better runner is a faster runner.   However I think perhaps there is more to it.  

Yes, for elites, faster means better.   For those of us who are recreational runners, who do this for fun and for the love of it, than I'm going to say that No, faster does not mean better.  It's hard for me to say that. It's taken a lot of soul searching for me to be at peace with that.

I run with a lot of people who are faster than I am.  Ok, let's be honest, I am the slowest one.  This used to not bother me. I knew that if I could keep up it would make me faster and better.  However then when I was pregnant and had to run slower because of my heart rate I was told that I was too slow and therefore not good enough to run with.  I've mentioned this before.  It really messed me up in terms of how I view myself as a runner.  I felt that I wasn't good, that they were all better than I was.

For those of us who are not elite athletes I think there are other qualities that make some runners better than others.  Yes, I'll still say that pace can play a factor. I'll see somebody running super fast and still think they are a heck of a runner.  However I think somebody can be faster than me but not be a better runner.

I think there are other qualities that make some runners better than others.  Determination. Dedication.  Strength. Friendliness.  Just to name a few.

How do I compare to others?  You know, some that I would consider better than me earlier this year I know consider myself better than.  I have the dedication.  Yes, life gets in the way and I can't always get in a workout, but I make it work. If I can't get in a run than a lot of times I'll do some form of strength training at night after the baby is in bed.  Depending on what I've been doing I might embrace the unplanned rest day.  I have strength. I am very strong.  I do cross-training, I lift weights, I bike (stationary right now), and I run.  I try to make sure I'm strong all-around and not just my running muscles.   I am determined.  I will get upset about things but I don't let it hold me back. I try to constantly improve.  I'm understanding and supportive.  I have no problems slowing my pace and running with others who aren't as fast as me. I would much rather support them and run with them than to be selfish and leave them behind.  I think these other qualities make me a better runner than some of the faster runners in this world.

In a recent conversation about this, where I was still thinking faster is better, Husband made some very good points.  He said that yes, others are faster than me.  However, he feels I'm a better runner because I just ran for 9 months while pregnant. I never stopped.  How many people do that?  I also got right back out there after I had R and started running again even though I had a lot of pain.  I signed up for 2 big races while in my 9th month, races that I knew I would have to train for while trying to deal with an infant and a post-baby body.  He said that most people don't do this.  Those people that I think are better?  They didn't do that. 

He's right.  Not just about me. I know several ladies online who are running/working out through pregnancy.  Who are running/working out post-baby.  They are all better runners than a lot of fast runners.  Because they have soo many other obstacles. They have so much more to deal with, yet they are out there.  I just need to remember that I'm one of them.  When I sit there talking about how awesome these ladies are and how great of runners they are, I need to remember that I'm one of them.

I'm never going to be an elite.  I will however strive to be the best runner I can be.  If that means being slower than others I know, that's ok.  I now know that deep down, they aren't better than me. They are just faster than me.  And that's ok.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

CTWW - Plastic at the Grocery Store

This is the latest challenge from Reduce Footprints. It's a good one.  It's one that I've been struggling with myself for awhile. 

This week, pick a food item which you normally buy in a package (especially a plastic package) and find a better alternative. For example, rather than buy beans in a plastic bag, look for them in the bulk isle of the market and fill your own container. Rather than buy produce in plastic "clam shells", see if you can find them loose, without packaging. If you typically shop at a supermarket (where almost everything is packaged in plastic) consider shopping at a farmer's market, food co-op, wholesale market or organic food store for better options. The idea, here, is to find at least one "green" alternative to plastic packaging ... and, while doing without might be an appropriate alternative, we're more interested in finding the food in acceptable/no packaging for this challenge.

Or ...

If, in your area, you find it nearly impossible to buy food which isn't packaged in plastic, please speak to your market's owner/manager to see if they can offer any alternatives. Talk to neighbors and members of the community to search out options.

Or ...

If none of the above works out, please write letters to your government officials and/or start a petition asking for plastic free food packaging.

I tried to use the only farmer's market that is near my house this summer. What a waste of my time.  There were very few vendors there and the ones that sold items that we ate, the produce looked worse than it did in the store and was more expensive.   I only went a couple of times and then just stopped going.  Very frustrating as I wanted to use it all summer.

I also was very good at using my own bags/containers for bulk items, all the nuts I buy for trail mix, at two of my local stores.  However the last time I did this at both of them I was told that customers aren't allowed to anymore because of health reasons.  I was told it wasn't really the store wanting to go this route but state health regulations.  So I have to use the plastic bags they provide.    I was also told the same thing last time I tried to bring my own container for deli meat.

I'm so frustrated on both accounts!   The only good thing is that one of the stores I like that carries locally grown produce and is all organic items will be opening another store somewhat close to my house.  The only other one isn't even close to where I live but I have gone there on occasion. It's just not convenient to go there often.  However they are opening one closer to my house and I hope that when Husband is bored on the weekends I can convince him to make the trip there with the baby to get items.  So I suppose that is something.

Sorry this post seems so down. lol  I didn't intend for it to be, I suppose it's just a frustrating topic for me as I keep trying to find ways around the plastic and to eat locally and each time it seems like I run into road blocks.  I'll just have to keep looking though.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Strength. Have it. Live it.

Strength.  Being Strong. Being awesome. Being a badass. Strength.

This is what I strive for.  This is what I want.  I'm not sure where this desire came from. I don't think I always had the desire.  Yet I know for the last couple of years it's been there.  Lately, however, it's even more important to me.  Why?  Because I have a daughter. 

No, I'm not going to give a speech about how I've changed now that I'm a Mom.   But I will admit that since my daughter has been born, as I struggle with my depression and my issues, the thing that drives me is that I HAVE to be strong for her.  I HAVE to get past my issues and be a good role model for her.  I HAVE to show her that woman are powerful and sexy and strong and totally badass. Why?  Because I want her to be strong. I want her to know that she can take on the world and she can kick ass. I want her to wake up in the morning and say "Today is not your day bitch.  It's mine."  If she decides she wants to take on something, be it a marathon or an ironman (or I guess she can pick her own sport), I want her to know she can do it.

How is R going to learn how to be strong if I'm not?  How will she know it's possible to set a goal and reach it.  Maybe she won't reach her goal the first time. I want her to know that it's ok.  Then I want her to try again. 

I recently had a discussion with Husband about how I needed to figure out how to be strong for her.  I want R to have a strong female role model so bad that I have to find a way to be strong myself.  He looked at me and said that I didn't need to find a way to be strong. I was already there.  He reminded me that I did a half marathon pregnant.  I did my first ever triathlon pregnant. I then did two more.  He said that she'll know that and she'll know that I am strong.   He then said that what's important is that my daughter will love me and look up to me for who I am, for the runner that I already am, not the runner that I feel I should be. 

He's right.

I don't always see it. I don't see how what I've already done was proving my strength. I don't see how what I continue to do is showing strength. It's not good enough.  I feel it's not good enough. I feel I owe her more.   I need to find a way to be ok with where I am and who I am. 


It's there. I have it. I just have to remember that. I have to see it and recognize it in myself.  Not many people will run 5 miles the day before having contractions.  Not many people would be back out there running 1.5 weeks after having a baby.  Sure, running is not the only thing to show strength. But it's what I DO. It's who I AM.  It's how I show that I'm strong enough to overcome my past. I'm strong enough to overcome the blockades in my life. 

One day R will be old enough to see what I'm doing.  I want her to know that what I'm doing is for me. It's for her.  One day when she asks why I run I want to be able to tell her why and explain the obstacles I had to fight to get here.  One day when she's at school and her friends or teacher ask her what she did over the weekend I want her to say "Watched my Mom compete in a (fill in the blank). She's a badass."    Because if she can see that in me, then I've done my job.  Because then she'll know that she can do it.  She can do what she wants. She can do whatever she sets her heart on.  No matter what it is.  No matter what is shoved in her way.  She is female. She is strong. She is smart. She is sexy. She is a badass.  At least..she will be.  Right now she's just super cute.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

CTWW - Zero Waste

Here is this weeke's challenge at Reduce Footprints:

For this week's challenge, we're going to join Mrs. Green in (Inter)National Zero Waste Week. This year's theme is "One More Thing" and specifically targets recycling. From the Zero Waste Facebook page: "What 'one more thing' could you recycle in order to reduce your landfill waste at home?" So ... here's your challenge:

This week, consider your recycling habits and decide on one more thing which you can do to reduce landfill waste. Let us know what you're doing, and how, so that we can all learn and be inspired.

And then, if you'd like ...

Visit the (Inter)National Zero Waste Week blog page or the Facebook Page and share your efforts with everyone participating in this year's event (close to 1000 people from all over the world).

So the interesting thing is that I thought about this the other day.  I threw three batteries into the trash can and walked away and went..I bet I should be recycling those.

Now, first I would like to say that if I buy batteries I do buy the rechargeable ones.  However we somehow have ended up with a collection of non-chargeable batteries. I'm not sure how this happens.  So I've started using those when I need batteries just to use them up and get them out of my fridge.   Then I'll go back to being back on rechargable and knowing when I have to buy more, as we replace batteries in things.  I'm sure this will start to happen A LOT as R gets older and we end up with toys that take batteries.

So where can I recycle them?  A quick search on Google provided me with a solution.

You can do an easy search via zipcode and find stores that have their boxes where you can just drop your item in and call it a day.    The first step is done.  Now for the hard part: remember to take the batteries with me next time I'm headed to one of the stores.   

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chasing that "Gotcha" moment

From my previous post regarding running you know that I felt I had to prove myself to others.  In a recent conversation with somebody where I was trying to explain to them what is going on in my head and why I'm so messed up in terms of my running I was told that I have to stop chasing that "gotcha" moment.  Because I'm never going to get it.  If I continue to chase it I will never be happy with who I am or where I am at in regards to my running. My life.


Harsh.  But true.  When I was told that it stopped me. I was like a deer in headlights.  Then I said "You're right.". 

I will NEVER be faster than the people I've run with who are already faster than me.  I will never be at their level.  I can try, there is nothing wrong with pushing myself in trying.  However they are doing the same thing.   Instead of trying to be faster than they are to prove that I'm a good runner, I need to focus on getting faster than I was.  I need to race against myself, not them.  I'm the only one that matters.  If I decide that I don't want to be faster and I'm comfortable where I am, that's fine too.  It doesn't mean I'm a bad runner.

If I have the same goals as others, in regards to distance or even what type of event I'm doing. I should not be upset if they get to do it first.  Life throws us curve balls.  My life is different than theirs.  I can't compare my life to theirs and expect to be able to cross something off of my bucket list before they can cross the same item off of theirs.  Life shouldn't be a competition.

I have to learn to step back and not compare myself to others.  We are all at different levels and different places in life.  I need to learn that I need to move at my own pace. I need to do what I'm capable of right now, while I juggle an infant and life as a new Mom (that still sounds scary).

If I continue to compare myself to others and get upset when they reach a milestone that I wanted to reach, I'll never be happy. 

I have to learn to be happy with where I'm at.  This is true in regards to my fitness. This is true in regards to my life. 

I'm a very competitive person.  Sometimes this is a good thing but lately it's been a bad thing.  I forget that I just went through 9 months of pregnancy. I forget that I just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  I forget that my life completely changed.  I forget that I have to adjust my priorities because they aren't the same anymore.  That's a good thing.  That's a scary thing.

I see people doing things that I want to do and that I know I'm capable of doing.  I have to tell myself that it's OK that I haven't done it yet. It's ok that it's still on my bucket list.  I will get to cross it off one day. But I have to do it in my own time. I have to do it when it fits into my life. Unfortunately that's not always going to be when I want it to be.  I can't get upset about this. I have to learn to roll with it.

It's good to have goals. It's good to be competitive.  However it's not good to be chasing that "gotcha" moment.  I need to learn to do things for me. Not because I want others to think I'm worthy and I'm good enough.  Plus, when it comes down to it. What does it matter if others get to do things on my bucket list before I do?  What matters is that I get to do the things on MY bucket list.

Tough love. 

This is a tough lesson.  I know this will be a struggle for me.  With time I hope I can find my happy place.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fudge Revel Bars

I haven't posted a recipe in awhile so I thought I would make your day and do that!  Of course, after you read this recipe and click on the link to see the pictures you might hate me. It would be a love/hate relationship though.  Your taste buds will love me, your stomach/thighs/arse might not. haha!

I have to admit I've had this recipe for awhile but only made it for the first time several months ago. As my husband says, it basically tastes like one big gooy chocolate chip cookie.  What's not to love?

I got the recipe for these from Mandy's Recipe Box.   I'm stealing her picture, but since her blog name is on it I think it's ok.  Plus I'm giving her credit.

After looking at that, what's not to love!  Oh..and my profile picture?  I'm wearing the baby and making these. Perfect!

It wouldn't be right if I didn't give you some tips.  First, look at the directions and you'll see that it really isn't hard at all. It's a very simple recipe.  Second, my only tip, I have one of those non-stick pads that you put on cookie sheets so cookies and stuff don't stick. I just put one of those on my cookie sheet and then I don't have to spray it or anything.  After I cut it into bars they peel right off. So if you have one, I recommend using it.   Third, I don't use a jelly role pan. I do use just a normal cookie sheet.  For the simple reason that I don't have a jelly role pan. haha

Here's the recipe:

Fudge Revel Bars
1 c. butter
2 eggs
2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. quick oats
Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and eggs. Add the vanilla. Add the salt, baking soda, and flour. Mix. Add oats and mix well. Press 2/3 of the dough into a greased cookie sheet with edges (aka jelly roll pan. It's about 10x15 or so).

Fudgey Goodness
1 can (14 oz.) Sweetended Condensed Milk
1 pkg milk chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp salt
Put all into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute and stir. Keep cooking at 30 second increments and stirring until melted. Pour over the dough and spread out. Sprinkle the rest of the dough over the fudge. Bake at 350 for 20 min.