Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm a mom, registered dietitian, writer, athlete, lover of anything DIY, self-proclaimed faux chef and a woman of many hats. I do not define myself by any of these one identities alone, but rather as a whole. I’ve been writing for many years now and decided to create a personal space to blog about anything that inspires me. After living in the Big Apple for almost 15 years, it was time to leave before I became "too hard". I now live at the beach in South Florida with my fiance Nick, and our almost 2 year old little girl named Annabel, who makes us giggle every day. Even at 5am in the morning... On a Sunday.
My Latest Posts
Why I Have Been Hiding Thursday, January 09, 2014
You would never know that I spend a good portion of my work day writing, given that my blog has been so quiet lately! In addition to Momdentity, I am the voice behind “An Apple A Day” over at Children of America, and I write for the Core Diet blog as well as other online publications. However, that really is not an excuse for my absence here, but I promise I have a good one**! I’ll get to that in a moment…
So where I have I been?
October: I made the announcement that I am a Food Revolution Ambassador supporting Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Food Revolution Day is May 16th, 2014 and I will be planning some fun events, so stay tuned!
November: I was invited to attend the Sports Nutrition Conference in New York City on behalf of PowerBar, Nestlé Nutrition Institute, Maastricht University and University of Colorado. It's limited to 90 participants, and I was honored to attend! Top national and international scientists presented the most recent scientific findings related to food and sport and provided comprehensive tips for practical use. Everything we do over at QT2 Systems and the Core Diet was confirmed. Maybe they should follow our lead? J
During that same trip, I got a chance to meet up with my PowerBar peeps and help out at the NYC marathon expo. I’ve been a PowerBar Team Elite athlete for the past 4 years, and this is something I love to do!
December: I took a big trip up North for our annual QT2 Systems and Core Diet conference meeting and holiday party. Since our coaches and dietitians are spread throughout the country, this amazing weekend is not only filled with enthusiasm for what we do, but the educational piece to it, is invaluable. There is always something to be learned from Jesse Kropelnicki, and I leave Boston with a new excitement!
Ha! Remember that list? I have not forgotten about it and I will continue to be accountable to it. I have actually been working on quite a few them! Here’s my update on a few:
#25 Plant an organic vegetable, fruit and herb garden in my backyard. This is actually done for the most part! We used the Visa gift cards my mom gave us last year (2012) for Christmas for all the supplies we needed. Thanks mom! We built 2 raised beds for primarily vegetables and pots for all my herbs. The only thing left is to convince Nick to let me plant a fruit tree. I haven’t gotten very far on that request… Please help me! (Picture below is prior to planting.)
#31 Visit all 50 states. This one is not complete, but I was able to add another state! Since writing my 40 by 40 last spring, I visited Bozeman and Big Sky Montana where we now own a rental condo with Nick’s brother’s family! I don’t have too many more to visit, so I better get planning! If you have any suggestions for places to visit in the “white” states in the picture below. Let me know! (The colored states I’ve been to).
# 22 Run a 100+ mile ultramarathon. Well as most of know, I participated in my first 103.3 Ultra last September. However, I only made it 91 miles. While I do consider this one “checked off”, I WILL race the Superior again and get that buckle!
# 30 Have our house filled with all natural cleaners made by me. I am constantly working on this one and love all the scents I have made for an all-purpose cleaner. I experimented with all the fresh citrus scents such as orange, grapefruit, lime and lemon, and just recently tried some with herbs! What I have yet to conquer, is a homemade cleaner for granite and I find that anything I make for stainless steel makes too many streaks.
# 36 Attend a murder mystery dinner. DONE! Last October I was determined to get out there and be social with Nick. Since he loves Halloween, we had a big party, went to a haunted house and maze, and attended a murder mystery dinner at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts. We had a great date!
# 29 Launch my personal website with my personal blog. Almost DONE! In addition to this Momdentity blog I launched last year, my personal business website www.jaimewindrow.com is undergoing its final edits. Please come visit in a few weeks! This is my new business & personal website for health & nutrition services that include consults, lectures, workshops, grocery store tours, and other media services such as interviews, articles and spokesperson opportunities. I am still the Nutrition Programs Director at the Core Diet where we specialize in sports nutrition though! And check out the new services we are offering now including blood work analysis!
#20 Visit every home I have ever lived in. When I wrote this list, I may have forgotten that I lived in London for over a year! Due to that reason, its going to be a while before I can fully complete this one… I did however, visit all the apartments I called my home during my 13 years in Manhattan, as well as the 2 of the 4 places I lived in RI.
#15 Have baby # 2. While I can’t say “done” yet, I can say that this one is about 14 weeks in the works. Completion date around early July 2014! We are very excited to promote this little cutie pie to "big sister" :-)
**#15 is my excuse. I've was so sick during this first trimester! Happy to finally feel a bit better. We will know the gender in 2 weeks, so place your bets!
Thanks for reading and I’ll be back soon!
Annoucement: I'm A Food Revolution Ambassador! Thursday, October 24, 2013
Food Revolution is about inspiring change in people’s food habits and promoting the mission for better food and food education for everyone.
In the USA...
~ Children are not taught to cook at school and often can’t even recognize everyday fruits and vegetables.
~ More than 1/3 of adults are obese and over 1/3 of children are overweight or obese.
~ 23% of US teenagers are pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes, directly associated with diet – a disease unheard of in children just decades ago.
~ Diet-related illnesses cost over $200 billion each year in healthcare.
The solution? Bring back FOOD EDUCATION!
The Food Revolution wants us all to get back to basics and fight back. Start cooking from scratch again using wholesome nutritious ingredients, at home, at school and in the workplace. Educate each other on real food – on where it comes from, how it grows and why we need it.
One of the goals of the Food Revolution is “to change the way people eat by educating every child about food, empowering families by arming them with the skills and knowledge to cook again, and inspiring everyone to stand up for their rights to better food, which inturn, will fight the epidemic of diet-related diseases.”
As a Food Revolution Ambassador, I will be reaching out to my community to help support the global event, “Food Revolution Day”. Whether you're a restaurant, gardener, farmer, market, school, business, friend or family member, lets work together to make changes now, and empower and educate the future generations to come.
Are you passionate about this movement?
(I hope you all are nodding your head YES right now.) Do you want to get involved? Have an event you'd like to see hosted at your child's school? At your work? Contact me and we'll put our heads together. I am here to help YOU!
About Food Revolution Day
Food Revolution Day is an annual day of awareness, begun by chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver, which aims to raise the profile of food education as a key to transforming the lives of millions of people across the world. The first Food Revolution Day was held in May 2012 and involved over 1,000 events globally in 62 countries. Visit Food Revolution Day's website!
Food Revolution Day takes place in kitchens, homes and communities around the world. On village greens and in dining rooms, in restaurants and gardens, sparking conversations about real food and inspire people to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
You can support Food Revolution Day by simply hosting dinner party with fresh cooked ingredients or if that’s not possible just trying a new type of fresh food. Read more HERE.
About the Food Revolution
The Food Revolution is a global movement that allows people who love food to come together to share information, talents and resources and also to pass on their knowledge and highlight the world’s food issues. All around the globe, people work together to make a difference. The Food Revolution is about connecting with your community in schools, restaurants and local businesses. We want to inspire change in people’s food habits and to promote the mission for better food and education for everyone. Read more about the Food Revolution HERE.
About Jamie Oliver and the Food Revolution
Jamie Oliver is the founder and driving force who has inspired millions around the world to join the Food Revolution. In 2010, as part of the ABC TV series, Jamie’s Food Revolution, Jamie worked to improve school food and set up a community kitchen in Huntington, West Virginia to teach people how to cook from scratch. Although difficult at first, it received a great response and a second series followed tackling school food and eating habits in Los Angeles. Jamie set up the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, to continue this work across America and inspire people everywhere to stand up for real food. The Food Revolution is now a global movement, reaching communities around the world through a network of volunteers, tackling the obesity epidemic and diet-related diseases with better food education and cooking fresh, real food from scratch.
And always remember to vote with your fork!
*Note: All photos in this blog post are my volunteer business cards. These original logos are trademarks of the Food Revolution and Food Foundation (JOFF).
DIY Kids Thank You Card Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I love when a craft or DIY project turns into a fun activity for my daughter. Two for the price of one! I had bought a package of 50 blank cards and envelopes at AC Moore with a 50% coupon (my cost 5 bucks!) and the plan was to use them during the holidays, but I decided to turn them into thank you cards from Annabel for her 2nd Birthday party. Since she cannot write her own thank you's yet, I decided to have her send a message another way!
*Excuse the photos - the lighting was horrible and they were from my iPhone!
Construction paper, washable paint and sponge brushes.
I keep my supplies in bins and pull out what I need at the time of the project or activity.
I let Annabel pick the colors and I poured them into cups. Old egg cartons work great too!
She painted her hands and I assisted with the hand print on the construction paper.
Once we were done painting, I took a chance and wrote "Thank You" on her belly.
Since the photos were from my iPhone, I decided to use Instagram to clean it up a little.
I sent this photo to Walgreens on my phone through the Walgreens App. So easy!
I decided to assemble these on the plane and make good use of that time.
Cut the handprint & photos ahead of time since I would not be able to bring scissors on plane.
Glued, wrote messages & addressed envelopes during flight. Had many curious passengers!
I wrote them as if they were coming from Annabel herself which was really fun for me :-)
I placed her hand print on the inside with her note. I love how these colors came out.
That was all Annabel and her mixing :-)
This type of card can be used for any occasion whether Holiday, New Years, Father's Day or Birthdays! Last year we did something similar for her first Birthday as well as our Christmas card. Writing these messages (especially on chalk board) is not new, but there are so many ways to get creative with them like the painting on the belly! If this was actually planned, I probably would have done a cleaner job, but since it's suppose to be from Annabel, I kinda like the "toddler touch" it has!
Photo shoot by Melissa Casel Photography.
We used this photo and 2 others for our Christmas card last year.
Pinterest Stress & The First Birthday Thursday, October 10, 2013
No, we did not take the DeLorean back in time, but as I was organizing Annabel’s 2nd Birthday party pictures from our Rhode Island visit this past August, I thought it would be fun to share her very special day on Throwback Thursday! Her ONE celebration over ONE year ago! Stop. Time. Now.
Insert “Pinterest Stress”.
Can we talk about this? Soon it will be a diagnosis code for health insurance. Ok, I’m sure that will never happen, but it feels kinda real, right? My first diagnosis of this was actually before Pinterest even existed. I was hosting my first sit-down Thanksgiving Dinner in my Manhattan apartment for about 12 guests, and I wanted it to be the perfect “Martha Stewart Thanksgiving”. Oh the visions I had…
Back then, instead of "pinning", I would use post-its in my MS Living Magazine (which I still get!) or go online and save ClipArt in files on my computer. More often than not, I would never use them but I really wanted to! Martha, I always love your amazingly creative ideas – but come on! The perfection needed on those “tutorials” requires a warehouse of supplies, industrial sized equipment and all the time in world PLUS a personal assistant!
HA! I ended up in the ER at the hospital while preparing. (Butternut squash + wine incident)!
That's a story for another day.... So that’s how my first, Pinterest-like event began. I haven't made any recent trips lately to the hospital, but I still seem to get diagnosed with "Pinterest Stress" every event I host. Like the ONE celebration! (If you interested in just the pictures, scroll down...)
An old-fashioned birthday party.
That was what I wanted for Annabel for her very first birthday party. I wanted to keep with the theme of her nursery I created and loved: vintage, old fashion, memories and family. I also wanted to keep it simple, but that never seems to happen! In my mind I pictured kids running around playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, surrounded by handmade decorations like pinwheels and paper chains while making stops at the lemonade stand (that I would make of course). I was so excited and had SO many ideas! I started pinning MONTHS before her birthday.
I was so ahead.
Seriously? There is NOOO being “ahead” when you have a child/children. It may seem like that, and it certainly feels good when you start pinning ideas 6 months before the big day, but reality eventually sets in when those pins never make it off your board. I felt like the queen of organization until I wanted to put a pin in my own eye one week before the big “day”.
I was racing an Ironman. The day before her party. In a different state!
I live in South Florida, my Ironman was in NYC and the her Birthday party was in RI. Nick, Annabel and I flew to NYC, I raced Ironman, woke up, drove to RI, did last minute preparations and had her party the next day. Since we only really come up once or twice per year, her party is also a nice opportunity to get all my family and friends in one place and spend some time together.
Reality set in.
Even though I felt SO organized (I checked a bag that had glue guns, pre-cut construction paper, party hats and decorations I made in advance etc…), it was just so hard to truly be prepared with only hours to spare and prepare. And… Annabel decided that on THIS day, she only wanted ME or her daddy, and cried if she wasn't on my lap or within 6 inches of me. She never acted like this before! Sure you all say... LOL
All said and done, it was an beautiful day at my families cabin, with perfect weather, and I am proud of the simple things I did put together with little money, lots of love and LOTS of help from all my Rhode Island friends and family. I could not have done it without my little helpers!
Here are some pictures of the day. I'm not sure any of the things I did are even "Pinterest-worthy", but we had fun making them, created memories, and didn't break the bank. I hope you liked some of what I did, steal any ideas, and make them even simpler and better than I did J
Preparing For The Big Day!
Homemade party hats from scrapbook paper & pompoms. Created one master template first.
I chose one color of pompoms for each solid color hat. These colors just seem to have that old school feel!
Final product of hats! The kids loved choosing their own favorite color combo!
My nephew organizing the brown paper bags to be decorated for party favor bags (that we never used).
My niece & sister-in-law cutting out pictures from old children's book from the thrift store to glue on brown paper bags for party favors. Nick stapling strips of cheap construction paper together for paper chains.
Paper chain strips. Used a 50% coupon at AC Moore and got 1000 sheets for $5.00! Cut them in advance using fun edged scissors. Cut them in advance and packed them in suitcase to be put together in RI.
Nick drawing and cutting out the foam mat board for photo booth.
Chalk board speech bubble for photo booth. This material was layered over the foam mat board in picture above.
Annabel's First Birthday in Photos!
Inside the cabin I hung a green and white clothes line and attached pictures of Annabel from her first year.
The party table inside. The white table cloth was forgotten, so we improvised - turned the checkered plastic one up side down. Good enough!
Using gold glittered card stock, I cut out squares and the #1 and printed out "As". Glued them together and onto wooden toothpicks.
Party blowers from the Dollar Store, glass tomato sauce jars collected from family, and a random piece of lace leftover from Annabel's curtains at home.
Plastic silverware and pink polka dotted napkins from the Dollar Store.
My nephew modeling his favorite party hat. Aren't they cute! And him too!
My only picture of paper chains! We had so many outside hanging from tree to tree...
Water balloons is always a hit, even with the toddlers! Love this action shot!
Highly recommend it if you have the outdoor space.
I printed photo booth signs with Annabel's Birthday info on it. Hard to see the detail though.
Costumes & accessories for photo booth. Old dance and halloween costumes, and a few random Dollar Store items. Photo booth bubble speech sign that guests could write whatever they wanted.
The Photo Booth Album
We had so much fun taking these pictures, but we clearly didn't set up the quilt correctly! A little photo editing cleaned some of that up. We've done the photo booth a few times since and each time it gets a little better!
Open Gifts, Sing "Happy Birthday" & Mash Cake
Love this goofy picture with my nephew!
Classic. The big moment we were waiting for and she wouldn't touch the cupcakes!
Once we got through the song, she licked the frosting and we got a itty bitty smile :-)
In the end, I didn't do half the things I planned or pinned, but it really didn't matter. Annabel was happy even though I never finished her party favor bags, lemonade stand and the dozen other ideas I had. And although I joke about "Pinterest Stress", I'm sure I will continue to pin, plan and create. And I know I will drive myself, Nick and my Mom crazy in those the last moments when I am trying to pull it all together. So please remind me this next year, but I probably won't listen J
From one Pinterest-stressed mom to the next,
Go have a glass of wine and call Party City. Just Kidding.. Well kind of J
Fueling The Long Ultra Friday, September 27, 2013
“How do you fuel for something like THAT?”
This was a common theme during my ultramarathon training, along with "how do you train for something like in South Florida?" In the world of sports nutrition for endurance events, there are many fueling strategies, but that of an ultra can be similar to Ironman in some respect. However, this particular event had some key differences, as many other 100-miler races do.
Putting A Plan Together
I can’t count how many race fueling plans I have written over the years for athletes, but it is A LOT! And my mentor, boss and former triathlon coach, Jesse Kropelnicki, has written so many more. At QT2 Systems and The Core Diet, we look at race fueling as being just as important as the training that goes into the sport, and overlooking this cornerstone will most likely bite you in the butt on race/event day. Over the years since founding these two companies, Jesse has seen it ALL when it comes to fueling, and his approach to this topic is one of the reasons why we continue to be very successful on game day. For this reason, you can bet I was going to have him be involved with my plan for this beast of a race!
“World class event with a low-key, old school 100 miler feel”
About The Superior Trail Race
~ Distance: 103.3 mile point-to-point race
~ Terrain: 100% trail ultramarathon, 99% single track
~ Elevation Gain: 21,000 feet
~ Elevation Loss: 21,000 feet
~ NET Elevation Change: 42,000 feet
~ Climbs Peak: 2,000 feet
~ Number of Aid Stations: 13 (11 with bag drop)
~ Cut-Off Time: 38 hours
~ Start Time: 8am CT Friday morning
~ End Time: 10pm CT Saturday night
~ Field Limit: 200 runners
~ Reputation: “Legacy 100 milers”. Rugged, relentless and remote; one of the toughest in the world
11 hr Ironman Vs. 38 hr Superior Trail Ultra
* All of the information above is specific to me, my body composition, and planned for this particular event and logistics. Since distance, terrain and conditions vary greatly between ultramarathons, these charts and any other information listed in this blog, may not be appropriate for other athletes and/or races.
My Plan: Overview
~ 10 - 15% of overall calories from Fat (actual = 13%)
~ 5% of overall calories from Protein (actual = 5%)
~ 80 - 85% of overall calories from Carbohydrates (actual = 82%)
~ Fuel in 5-hour cycles
~ Feed every 30 minutes, fluids constantly at rate of 24oz per hour
Products & Purpose:
~ PowerBar Perform: Fluids/hydration, carbohydrates and sodium
~ PowerBar Gels: Carbohydrates and sodium
~ Clif Bloks: Carbohydrates and sodium
~ Honeystinger Chews: Carbohydrates and sodium
~ Honeystinger Waffles: Carbohydrates, fat and sodium
~ Balance Bars: Carbohydrates, protein, fat and sodium
~ SaltSticks: Sodium
~ Caffeine: Limit to 300mg for the entire race
A big pile of what will get me through the race & an example of one 5 hour cycle
~ No real food for first 2 cycles (10 hours @ 6pm)
~ Boiled potatoes and potato chips are the best choices to real food replacement (carbohydrates, sodium), chicken soup/broth (fluids, sodium)
Going Off Course:
~ Stick to the plan like glue for the first 2 cycles (10 hours @ 6pm) at a minimum.
Reason: Doing this this will set up me for the rest of the day. As the day goes on, the chances that I will have issues increase, and the chances I will not be handle fuels gets higher. Start off right!
~ I can back off on the Balance Bars (if needed) after the first 2 cycles, but I must keep all other carbohydrate intakes.
Reason: Same as above in regards to being set up for the rest of day. Carbohydrate intake is the main source of energy (@ 82% of overall calories).
~ Once half way (between cycles 3 & 4 @ 2am) I can back off the fuel intake slightly if I am having problems taking them in. Real food can be added at this point, but stick to boiled potatoes and potato chips. This is only if I can’t handle the sports performance fuels!
Reason: At this point in the race, I will have a good base of caloric intake and backing off slightly should have a minimal impact compared to backing off earlier.
~ Pack PowerBar Perform powder in camelbak for the first aid station because there is no bag drop or pacers at that one.
Reason: The first aid station from the start was about 10 miles in which could take 2.5 - 3 hours. The next aid station after that was at mile 20. Start to mile 20 would take me roughly 6 hours and I would need 144 ounces of PowerBar Perform (24oz x 6 hours). Since I could only carry 72 ounces in my camelbak, I brought powder with me to mix with water at that first aid station rather than use the sports drink on course.
~ Bring SaltSticks (215 mg of sodium per capsule) in the chance of cramping.
Reason: Although my race plan had just enough sodium in the fuels I was taking in, there are still some unknowns, if cramping comes on I need to be prepared for it. Weather changes can be extreme on this course.
~ If I really slow down or even stop – I will continue to fuel at the same rate.
Reason: I will still be burning quite a bit and will have created a deficit from earlier on in the day.
5-Hour Cycle Requirements
Rather than trying to get in all my required carbohydrates, fat and protein in each hour, my plan was broken down into 5-hour cycles. Taking my hourly requirement as a baseline, each 5-hour cycle looked like this:
~ Calories: 2,435
~ Fluids: 120oz
~ Sodium: 4,000mg
~ Carbohydrates: 500g
~ Protein: 30g
~ Fat: 35g
Packing The Drop Bags
Calculations, calculations and more calculations! Spread out on the hotel floor with our iPhone calculators all out (yes all 3 of us), we started to review my estimates of my plan in how long it would take me to get to each station. We looked at previous results of females again, reviewed Nicks old Garmin to see how long it took him between aid stations on the last 50 miles last year, and made lots of guesses! Not only did I need to figure out the timing of each aid station, I needed to make sure the food I required for my 5-hour cycles were there in the correct order. I also had to predict the weather – which I clearly wasn’t prepared for!
Aid stations & predicted times in left margin (carried with me in race!) & Lauren doing some calculations...
The kicker is that if you are “off” with your estimates, it can snowball as you get into the race. Clothes, food and gear are all placed in bags at their respected stations in the hopes you get to that mile point just when you really need it. If you are there early, that means more stuff you are carrying around (such as warm clothes) but if you are there later, you won’t have what you need at that point in time. Ahhhh! The good news? The aid stations were stacked with food and fluids, amazing support and if you were in need of something, someone was there to help you find it.
10 bags before & after filled with anything I might need! Organization at its best!
Have a crew! Problem solved! However, at this point, Nick and Lauren (my pacers) were not planning on being at EVERY aid station because they both needed to get ready for a long 2 days as well. So I wanted to make sure that I had everything I needed in my bags, along with an emergency “crew bag” that would be brought to each station they decided to visit. (This was unknown at time time.)
Food I started with & through first 6 aid stations (one didn't have bag drop & I didn't use another)
Aid stations 8 - 11 (no bag drop at station 7)
Aid stations 12 & 13 (never made it to 13) & the great bags I used!
I was very lucky in that my pacers decided to be full-time crew and were at each and every aid station. This made a HUGE difference in my race and took away that nervous feeling of “what if I forgot something”. For first timers, this is something I highly recommend!
How It All Went Down
The plan was spot on! (It had better be considering I do this for a living!) Even in those final miles when I was mentally falling apart, I was never nutritionally limited. Here are the details:
~ As Jesse and I discussed, I was to stick to this plan like glue, especially for the first 2 cycles. This would bring me 10 hours into the race and I would have a nice base. I did exactly this. However, I ran into trouble during those first 20 miles because it was impossible to drink the amount of fluids that my body required due to not being able to carry enough and the spacing of the aid stations. Although I never “felt” dehydrated, I didn't pee for the first time until 11 hours into the race and didn't have another urge until the following day.
~ Balance bars - I couldn’t tolerate these after 1-2 cycles. I had to eat every 30 minutes and these took so long to get down. By the time I was finished eating one, I had to have another feeding to stay on my intervals. After the first 2 cycles, I had to call it quits! The Honeystinger Waffles were going down well and they were providing me some fat, and I made up for the rest of the fat and protein at the stations with a small piece of peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As far as the carbohydrates, I had extra PowerBar Gels in my drops bags, so I supplemented with those.
~ By the time I got to the 4th cycle and I was nearing my 20th hour, the order of which I ate didn’t really matter to me. As long as I ate something (gel, bloks, chews, waffle) every 30 minutes, I was going to be pretty close to my targets.
~ I knew I was going to want to add some real food in but was determined to wait until after 2 cycles. At each aid station thereafter, I sat down and had some chicken noodle soup, mostly broth. This primarily provided me with fluids and sodium and tasted so nice! It was something I was looking forward to each time. I also had some boiled potatoes and a few potato chips from time to time that gave me the carbohydrates needed. This real food intake replaced one “feeding”.
~ I only drank my PowerBar Perform from my camelbak and at some aid stations I would drink some water and/or gingerale just for something different. As I mentioned before, I had to make up some fluids when I came up short in the beginning, so when I was at the aid station, I took that opportunity.
I was very happy with the plan Jesse and I put together, and when I race Superior again, I will go into the race with a very similar fueling strategy with a few exceptions. Given that this was my first ultra with the longest run/race being a marathon (and Ironmans), I was relying heavily on my long history of endurance athletics and my expertise in the field of sports nutrition. All of my training was done on flat roads in South Florida and my volume was very low for an ultramarathon and I missed my peak weeks due to traveling.
1) Find another fat/protein source that I can tolerate.
2) Bring an extra hand-held bottle for the first 20 miles so I am ahead of the hydration game instead of trying to play catch-up.
3) Will not overload my pack with my food – major neck and upper back pain!
4) Will use a different pack – one that sits around my lower back, rather than on my upper back.
How Did This All Begin?
Eat well. Train smart. Live life.
My Superior Experience Tuesday, September 17, 2013
“Please don’t make me do it.”
Those were my final words as an official Superior Trail racer on September 7th 2013, 33 hours 27 minutes and 90.7 miles since I stood at the start line. With the chip still on my ankle and about a dozen sets of determined eyes staring at me, I sat in a slump of tears and I let Superior beat me.
The grim sweeper was breathing down my neck.
He was coming and I could feel it. There was no way I had time to stock up on aid and run 5.5 miles in less than 90 minutes to make it to Oberg Mountain (mile 96.2), the LAST aid station before the finish. There was a section of stairs and switch-backs that I heard was a bitch. A BIG bitch. (Ask Nick, he did them last year in the 50 miler.) The thought of making it to mile 96.2 and NOT making the cut-off was unimaginable to me at that point. I just had the most horrendous 5 miles where it took me 35-40 minutes to WALK the flattest part of the course. I was frightened to feel like that or worse if I continued on.
And I saw Stormtroopers.
This is not a joke. I did. I saw those black and white Stormtroopers from Starwars in those last few horribly sad miles, but my version of them were only 18 inches tall. I laugh thinking about them now… Damn birch trees! They, along with stumps, dirt and leaves all started to morph into something other than what I wanted it to - the Sawbill aid station (mile 90.7). Parking lots filled with cars, boats, limos, taxi’s, baby bears, purses…. You name it, I saw it. I can’t imagine what Lauren (my pacer) was thinking when I would ask about these visions. Dear lord, she must have really thought I turned into a looney bird.
And then Nick starting fibbing…
Although it was Lauren pacing me now since Sugarloaf (mile 72.3), Nick made his way back onto the course to help lead me in that last mile to Sawbill (mile 90.7). I’m pretty sure I called him a fibber at LEAST 20 times. He kept stating something about flat planks, a road and an aid station in less than a half-mile. It seemed like hours of more hiking, more uphill, more rocks and more roots and NO ROAD IN SIGHT. Stop talking about some damn ROAD screamed inside my head! “Fibber” I would whisper under my breath every few minutes; “I want the truth”, I cried! In reality, Nick WAS telling me the truth…
I was just in a state that couldn’t tell the difference.
When I finally saw the famous road, Nick said it’s “just though the woods, about a minute.” We crossed “the road” (YAH!) and then I saw more uphills. I think it was the word “NO” that escaped my mouth next in response to the uphill I saw. I honestly didn’t think I could go a step further. I saw a volunteer and I guess I asked her “how far is the aid station?”. Her response was “5 minutes”. That was WAY more than I could handle. I can’t do it. I didn’t say that, but rather turned around and started walking into the woods (off course in the wrong direction). I have absolutely no idea how that made more sense than continuing on in the right direction, but it seemed logical at that point in time.
Nick and Lauren promised it was less than a minute away and I then saw some people in the woods in the distance (or was this a hallucination again?) It was not. The cowbell rang as it always does when a runner comes through. I sat down, and turned to Nick (sobbing), “please don’t make me do it”.
I gave up.
I did. I’m not saying that I did it on purpose, and boy I wish I could go back in time, look myself straight in the eyes and say “just try”. (That’s what Annabel says to me now when I give her something like green vegetables. She holds them up to my mouth saying “try mommy”. Can’t argue with that!) If that didn’t work, I would shake me until I moved. At some point during those last 5 miles my mind and body got too focused on the finish line.
Rule # 1: Never think about the finish line until you have no more aid stations to go through.
I can now see this was a big problem for me at the end. I couldn’t imagine going another 12.5 miles before reaching that finish line regardless of the 90 miles I just conquered. I didn’t WANT to continue and that decision was made at some point before I reached Sawbill (mile 90.7). What I needed to do, was what I had been doing for the whole race. Take it ONE aid station at a time and continue to make forward movement.
What if I made the attempt to continue past mile 90.7?
I do not have the answer to this question now, nor will I ever. I saw, and personally experienced, the wonders of the human body and spirit on those 33+ hours. Just when every bone and muscle in your body aches to the point of it being unbearable, and you’re ready to throw in the towel, you get this burst and starting moving along again. Any forward movement on the course is good. It was really amazing to see this “burst” thing happen to myself, as well as to my superior family runners at times during the race. And maybe it would have happened again for me if I decided to take that chance and move onto Oberg Mountain (mile 96.2). Or maybe not?
I will say that although I used the words “I gave up”, I fought really really hard. You’ve heard the saying “you have to dig deep”, well I was digging. With a really big shovel. I remember saying something along the lines, “I dug so deep I almost pulled my intestines out”. Gross thought, sorry…
I will not let those last 5 miles from Sawbill to Oberg, or those unfinished 12.5 miles define my race.
So lets go back to the beginning. The morning of the race. I was SO organized (or I thought). There I was taking my morning, pre-race picture before I headed on the bus for a 1 hour ride to the start. Lauren and Nick were going to head back to the condo and get ready for the day. I said my good-byes and headed up the steps to find a seat on the bus. Crap! As I walked to an empty seat, I saw a race number. A race number! My race number! I didn’t have mine…
Although I pinned my race number to a race belt the night before, I placed it under something on the table because it had a “wrinkle” in it and it might not look good for a picture. For my blog…. I’m not lying, that is the brutal truth. I didn’t have my race number on that morning because I was worried that it might not look perfect in a blog post picture that I hadn't written yet and may never write.
So as I sat on a curb in front of the 2 buses waiting for Nick and Lauren to come back with my race number (we were staying on the property but was still a 30 second drive). I was cursing myself. The buses were 3 minutes away from leaving. I know this because John, the assistant race director, made it very clear. My race number arrived and I repeated my hugs and kisses again and headed the bus. I found a seat and was chatting with another first timer. We were laughing about my race number incident and I felt much more calm. John came back on the bus for a last announcement and we were heading off.
That’s all I heard. I have no idea what else he was referring to, or why he was saying it, but it didn’t matter because I didn’t have mine. I didn’t have my chip. No race chip = no race. Seriously Jaime? I ran off the bus and I franticly ran around looking for someone with a cell phone. Nothing. And noone at the front desk either. This can’t be happening! The condo isn’t far and I wasn’t giving up yet. Then I saw lights on a car. Nick and Lauren! They NEVER left me. They were waiting in the parking lot for the buses to leave, so when I told them about the chip, they scrambled back to the condo and I waited on the curb. Sad. I wanted to be on the bus, but the buses left me. They had to. They needed to get all the runners to start. John, the assistant race director, came over and hugged me. He offered to drive me to the start, but Nick and Lauren wanted to despite the fact they were still in PJs, had not eaten anything, had not even brushed their teeth! They drove me 1 hour to the start, waited there for 30 minutes, drove back to condo (hello, Nick had to carb load!) and made it to every single aid station regardless of this 3-hour detour.
That’s how I started the race. I started because of my rock star crew.
Up until mile 34.9, things were going pretty well…considering I just ran longer than I have in my entire life on the 14th toughest course in the WORLD. I was running on a terrain that I cannot find the words to describe, so I am not going to try. But I will tell you that I was tested physically and mentally with every step I took.
Coming into my first station that crew and support could come to (~mile 20)
My nutrition was solid besides the fact that I was always riding a fine line with dehydration due to the logistics of the aid stations. More often than not, they were 9-10 miles from each other. Doesn’t seem like much, but when you are running 2.5 - 3.75 miles per hour, its extremely far! It was also really HOT and everywhere I turned there were rocks and more rocks just sucking in the heat like it was water in the desert and creating what felt like a steam room. I can’t imagine what all the racers were feeling. I’m certainly acclimated to heat/humidity down here in south Florida and I was feeling it.
My first bite of real food - boiled potatoes!
I pee’d for the first time 11 hours into the race, and never went again. I had to go the second day, but I was afraid to squat in fear I couldn’t get up J
Just before the “first meltdown” incident (Mile 34.9 – 43.5)
I am pretty sure it’s common for most first timers. Not all first timers DNF their first 100-mile ultra, but many do (from what I have read), and most I’m sure have some sort of moment of “I can’t go on”. I had just made it through Tettegouche aid station (mile 34.9) and I didn’t exactly start off on the right foot when I left there. I had just spent the majority of the last 10 miles from Silver Bay to Tettegouche sandwiched between Steve and Allen. (Get your mind out of the gutter!) They were not first timers, and I really felt like I got into a groove with them. Steve was leading, I followed him and Allen was behind me. This wasn’t planned, it just happened. When Steve ran, I ran. When I ran, Allen ran. It was that feeling of “we are in this together”. We had moments of chatter, some Q and A and lots of silence. It was also a tough part of the race because you are past the marathon mark, but still so far away from the halfway point and you couldn’t even think about the finish line. You know what happens when this becomes your main focus…
So I left Tettegouche aid station (mile 34.9) - alone. For some reason, my pacers and I were not as speedy as usual. I looked around and Steve and Allen were gone and I didn’t see any of my other runners I had spent time with. And I also couldn’t wait for any. Why is this so bad? I was entering the place where I had to run 9 more miles solo before Nick jumped in and it was going to be dark. You need to bring the big mental guns for the darkness and I was questioning my ability to survive it.
My awesome crew I couldn't wait to be reunited with soon...
With my head lamp on, I entered into the woods alone, taking one more look back at my crew and volunteers. My awesome crew. The awesome volunteers. I remember being so thankful I had them and could not wait to see them again in 9 miles. I continued on in the dim light, dreading the moment I actually had to turn my lights on. At this point in the race, the 100 milers are really spread out on the course and the 50 milers don’t start until the next day so I knew I wouldn’t see many people out there. The rumors were also spreading about the number of racers who had already dropped out. I tried not to focus on that, but it was hard not to…
The sun went down.
And it was not just dark. It was black. Pitch black like you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. I know this because I tried. Just one time I turned my lamp off to see how dark it really was. Yup. Pitch black. There was another female runner behind me who I saw earlier in the race, and we were together for about a mile until I had to stop and fix my camelback. I thought I was only stopped for a moment, but…
I was suddenly alone.
I continued on with my power walk hike pace. I didn’t have my trekking poles yet, but I wish I did. The course was marked as it was earlier in the race. Enough so you don’t get completely lost, but not too much it takes the adventure out of it. The markings glowed when your light shined on them and when you saw a sign that had 3 “XXX”, it meant there was a big clif or something dangerous. Basically, don’t go in that direction! There were about 3 or 4 times I wasn’t sure if I was even on the trail anymore, but just before panic set in, I would see a marking and exhale.
I started thinking about the finish line.
I couldn’t help it. It was so freakin’ FAR away and I had already been on my feet running, climbing, hiking, crawling for over 14 hours. How the hell was I going to repeat what I just did TWO more times?? The darkness and the pain in my feet were starting to get to me, and I knew I was entering a very bad place. The next aid station was County Road 6 (mile 43.5) and that was where Nick was going to jump in to be my first pacer. I was more than halfway to that point, and that was when I met Josh.
I came up behind Josh and followed him for a bit until we swapped places and I led. Regardless of my pace, he stayed right behind me. We chatted a lot. Josh was suppose to run the 50 miler. But one week before the race his close friend Flynn (who was registered for the 100) died. Tragically. Here was Josh, trained for the 50 and was racing the 100. He was running for and in honor of Flynn. He was determined to get that buckle no matter what. And he was cheering for me to get it too.
The superior family.
(Side note) This is what is so amazing about this race. The people. I would like to believe that I am in the Superior family now despite my lack of a belt buckle. You do not race this course alone. You may attempt it without a pacer and without a crew (and many do) but you will have help. Even if you don’t ask for it. (End side note).
I was having a REALLY hard time and we were only about 1 mile from County Road 6 (mile 43.5). My pace had slowed to a slow walk and Josh got one of those “bursts”.
Rule # 2: You must take every opportunity and take full advantage of those “bursts” when then occur. Even if it means going ahead of someone you were just running with for miles. It’s part of the journey.
I will admit, I was sad and nervous about Josh going ahead without me. One, I was going to be alone in the dark, and two, I was going to be alone in the dark with my own thoughts… I had already mentioned to him that I wasn’t sure if I could go on after the next aid station and he must have sensed I was really considering it. It went something like this:
“Jaime, promise me you will not give up at this next aid station. You will continue on to the next aid station at the very least. Then you will have completed a 50. Promise me you will not drop out. Let them drag you off the course and keep fighting until they do.”
And off Josh ran never looking back. And just like many other racers I ran with, I never saw his face until the next day.
The official first meltdown (mile 43.5)
If you followed my race via Facebook, you may have heard about my “struggle” at mile 44 via Lauren. This was “that” struggle. This was the only (I think) aid station that was not in the middle of the woods. It was on a road and you could see your support from the distance. I heard Nick and Lauren yelling first and then I saw Nick standing there and cheering me in. He was all dressed in his long running pants, hat and head lamp on (yeah it was suppose to be cold!) He looked so cute J The only thing I was thinking was, “too bad you won’t be running tonight Nick. I know you were really looking forward to running in the night, but it’s not going to happen. Sorry, but you’ll get over it.”
I sat on a rock and cried like a baby.
But no one would let me quit!! It was kind of annoying at that moment in time, but I am SO incredibly grateful now. A really nice man (volunteer) stayed at my side along with Nick and Lauren as the stream of tears and all the reasons why I couldn’t go on came flowing out of me. I was waiting for someone to say, “Jaime you have done amazing and should be very proud of making it to mile 43.5, many people could never do that. It’s OK if you need to stop now”. But no one told me it was ok to stop. No matter what reason I gave, or doubt I had, they were going to push to keep me moving. Again, I am so thankful for that.
Rule # 3: The job of your crew and volunteers is to keep you moving forward no matter what. They will not let you give up or give you permission to do so.
So with Nicks full confidence in me, I decided to hold my promise to Josh and continued to the Finland aid station (mile 51.2). I made the cut-off at County Road 6 by about 9:30pm (cut off was 10:30pm) and I needed to be at Finland (mile 51.2) by 2am. It was less than 8 miles there, but it was dark and I still had doubts about continuing on after that. Nick and I headed into the darkness with my trekking poles in tow. I had absolutely no idea how to use them since I bought them the day before we left Florida but they certainly helped in most sections! As we ventured onto Finland, we also had to strip layers because it was still so warm! This was really crazy because I was prepared for very cold weather. And I wanted some cold weather, I had enough of the heat. Dripping with sweat in the middle of the night was not what I expected.
Entering the darkness with Nick
Was I really running through the night?
This was posted everywhere when I got up to the race
I was prepared to have a difficult time. I was told that you are really tested (mentally) through the night. The darkness, the sleep deprivation and physical toll really start eating at you. However…
I LOVED IT ALL.
Finland Aid Station
Once I got into my groove and came into Finland (mile 51.2) at 1am (2 am cutoff), I was ready to rock and roll. There wasn’t going to be another cutoff until about mile 80, so I just focused on one aid station at a time and it really worked. I wish I knew before hand, but this section was an opportunity to gain some ground. (However, it was dark and footing on this course is very difficult.). Nick hadn’t run this first section either, so we were both in the “dark”. I was never tired, which is crazy, and I was managing my pain very well with the exception of my feet.
Blisters. Blisters. Blisters.
I had them on both feet including one bigger than a quarter on the left ball of my foot. Every step I took, I was waiting for it to explode. My plan was to wait until mile 72.3 to take a look at them. That was when Lauren was going to take over for Nick. I had my pink compression socks on and other than the dampness from sweat, I was able to avoid any of the water and mud piles that I encountered. This would not have been possible if we had last years conditions, and I’m certain it helped many of us out. Which was nice of Mother Nature since she forgot to turn the AC on J
Last aid station in the darkness
The events of the night (miles 42.8 – 62.2)
Some of the highlights and favorite parts of the night:
- ~ Having Nick with me and the memories we created. What an adventure we had! I am so thankful for his supportive and loving partnership.
- ~ 2 falls. One involved my foot getting stuck between logs and then other was a slippery rock. No injuries though! Just a little shaken…
- ~ 1 bee sting on my right ankle. It really hurt but took away the pain in my feet for a few minutes. I am apologizing again to Mother Nature for the curse words that came out of my mouth.
- ~ Christmas lights, music, and support at the aid stations. It was so fun when you could spot an aid station through the woods. You could see the Christmas lights through the trees and hear the music blasting like it was a rock concert. The volunteers and crews were amazing (as always) and they made us feel like superheros.
- ~ A friend named Jess. This was her 5th ultra (first superior). She DNF’d her very first, but finished every one since. We chatted for about an hour during the night and mostly about her 12-year daughters feet. She is a ballerina J
- ~ The thrill of us being alone in the woods, in the darkness with wild life around us. And I was never scared! It was like I became one with my surroundings…
- ~ Dawn, just before sunrise. It was so beautiful because we had climbed down near Caribou River where there was a waterfall. But it didn’t last long because we were soon brought back to reality and what the superior trail is all about…
The climbing became relentless.
That’s the only word I could think of during these next sections (mile 62.2 – mile 77.2). Actually, it really is one of the few words that can describe this entire experience. But this section in particular – it. never. let. up. I am not sure if I could have done it without poles. Many people do, but I was really digging those suckers into the ground with each step up that mountain. It really never ended.
It took hours and my legs were getting beat up pretty badly. In addition to my feet feeling like a hammer had been taken to them, my legs felt like a truck drove right over them. It was much easier for me to turn this off during the night, but once we got into the heat again and I reached the 24-hour mark since I had started, I was hurting pretty bad.
Nick continued to stay behind me as he had ever since he joined me around 10pm. This was always our plan. I decided on the pace, and he pushed me when he thought I could handle it, and backed off when I couldn’t. He was also my reminder. He reminded me to eat on my intervals and drink. A lot. Now that he was with me, I didn’t have to worry as much about conserving sports drink because he was carrying a pack as well.
My camelback was really packed, too packed, we realized after the race was over. My neck and upper back were completely numb and any movement sent a sharp electric pain. (Still dealing with that now!) I was so happy when I was finally coming up on Cramer Road (mile 77.2) around 9:30am on Saturday, but also so sad because Nicks journey as my pacer was ending with me…
The second meltdown at Cramer Road (mile 77.2).
The shoes had to come off right then and there. I had waited long enough and my blisters needed some attention. But a big surprise came when those pink compression socks came off. It was if those socks were holding all of my emotions that seemed to have disappeared through the night. They came flooding out faster than what was inside those blisters. (Sorry gross again).
Rather than sitting on top of a very uncomfortable rock as I did 30 miles earlier, this time I was slumped in a chair, weeping. I now look back as myself at that moment, and I wish I could go back in time and slap myself in the face. “Wake up you fool! Big deal you have blisters the size of quarters! You’ve had those before, and you’ll have them again! Look at what you are doing and think about how many people in the world would love to have the opportunity to do this but can’t? Get yo butt movin’!”
I needed the pity party.
At that moment in time, I needed that moment. I needed to let go of everything that was being caged in my feet. I remember looking around at this aid station and seeing family and friends of other racers waiting for their loved ones to arrive. I could read their mind clearly just by the look in their eyes: “Is this what my son/daughter/wife/husband/friend is going through? Please say its not…” They looked like they wanted to come over and hug me. And they cheered for me as if I were their own.
THAT is what is so special about this race.
With Doctor Nick at my feet doing things he never could have imagined, blisters were popped, toes taped, moleskin adhered, new socks were on and shoes back in place. I went to stand up and there was a problem - I could barely move. To take a step was agony at best, even with the poles.
Rule #4: Don’t sit down during an ultra.
Yup. Broke that rule! I had many discussions about this. And more people than not, said don’t sit. Most, if not all, said don’t lay down. However, this race is very different than a 100-mile road ultra. I sat for the first time at mile 34.5 and it felt good. Really really good. The first few steps were tight, but those moments of rest seemed to helped rejuvenate me mentally and physically from head to toe. So that was my new plan. However, it really hindered me at this particular aid station. Most likely because I was sitting longer than I usually do because of my blisters.
She got me at a glorious time. NOT! Nick handed her the reigns and we were off. I would LOVE to know what he gave her as “advice”. I continued to weep as we left the aid station and headed back on the trail. But although I wanted to drop out (again), it didn’t last long. This time was different from the last time at mile 43.5. It was my FEET. My damn feet! The only thing I could think about was sitting on a couch, drinking a glass of red wine with my feet up. I was really really slow that first half-mile to 1 mile. It was as if I gave up already and was just moving so I could end it.
Then I thought of Lexi.
Lexi! I just thought of everything she has been through and I got a “second wind”. I picked up the pace significantly and I felt like I was flying. (Flying being a 20-minute per mile pace to put that in perspective.) I remember chanting under my breath about “not giving up”; “I got this”; “that buckle is mine”; “I will not give up”. This energy got me to the next aid station Temperance River (mile 85).
During the majority of the race there was a group of us (5-8 runners) that were always close to each other. Sometimes they were ahead of me, sometimes I was ahead of them. And sometimes we were together. We all helped each other when needed because we never felt great or felt crappy all at the same time. During this particular stretch I was just slightly in front of them. I was having a good moment. You have to take that opportunity when it presents itself because there are cut-off times!
Rule #5: Take it aid station by station, but never cut-off by cut-off.
They do not go hand in hand. You can be 1 hour early for a cut-off, keep the same pace or even faster and NOT make the next one. I knew this. But many near me did not. Many of my friends around me didn’t realize this. They were focused on the 5:30pm cut-off. Anyone that knows me well, knows I love numbers, percentages and math. I knew what needed to be done to finish and although I felt good during this stretch, it was not looking good for the rest of the race.
We were ALL walking a very fine line between a buckle and a DNF.
Lauren, Nick and I really wanted to make sure any of the runners around us knew what they needed to do for the next two cut-offs. We yelled times and paces needed to each of them when we passed eachother. It wasn’t the 5:30pm cut-off at Sawbill (mile 90.7) that was the problem, it was the 7pm cut-off (mile 96.2) that was the really big problem.
I made it to Temperance (mile 85)!
Although I had a good burst of energy during this section, the closer I got to Temperance, the more it faded. I am not sure if my “burst” was too much or if this was just a typical low. Long story short, I made it to and left Temperance in so-so spirits. A few minutes into this section, Nick came running to inform us of the pace I needed to average for the 90.7 and 96.2 mile cut-offs. I wanted him to throw me on his back and take me back with him.
This was the beginning to the end.
If you started off reading this by wondering how I got to that point of no return, well it was here when I started on THAT journey. These were those “last 5 miles” I refer to endlessly, but will not define my race by. I am not sure of the moment that I decided I was done, and I don’t remember making that decision. It was just there. In my head, in my bones, in my heart and in my feet.
“The climb” from Temperance to Carlton Peak.
This may have broken me. Not completely physically though. According to Lauren, I was climbing very well, it was the flats and downhills that pissed me off. (Check out the elevation chart.) I barely studied this before the race and I’m happy that was the case. Nick KNEW what I was about to embark on, but was smart enough not to tell me before I did. Straight up for miles and so much rock.
This is dangerous.
Of course I would say that, I’m a mom now! I am not sure how many times I said that during this climb, but according to Lauren (and my not-so-there-memory), I was surprised no one ever got very injury on this section. I also stated something about a “license” that was needed to be out there on this course. LOL.
Keep in mind this was moments prior to seeing Stormtroopers.
Fast forward and there I am again, sitting in chair saying my final words as an official racer on the 2013 Superior Trail Races: “Please don’t make me do it.”
And that is the end of my story.
No matter what happens in my life from here on out;
No matter what endurance feats I conquer;
No matter what buckle I collect or what ultras I complete, this will be always be my first ultra regardless of the ending;
This will forever be my first DNF but probably not my last;
This will always be a treasured experience as it’s important to fail in order to truly succeed;
This will continue to be a challenge, and I will continue with it until I have a superior buckle;
I will remind myself always that it is just a small part of a bigger journey and not the ultimate ending;
And I will always remember that my happy place is the place to be and that is what truly matters;
It’s where my heart spent most of the 33 hours, 27 minutes and 90.7 miles;
And I will always return there. Every day. No matter what.
Where is your happy place?
Eat well. Train smart. Live life
Wordless Wednesday - My Pregnancy Year Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Moms Flourish Review & Giveaway Ends 8/8 Monday, July 29, 2013
Anything that can help me to stay organized AND is cute, is welcomed into my home. I recently had the opportunity to review this new, chic belt and boy, has it come in handy! It was created by a mom, that when her second child arrived, she found herself constantly gathering up bottles, phones, pacifiers, tissues, wipes … and even snacks! It was then this stylish “tool belt” for moms was born! This tool (or accessory) belt can be used in the home or on the go. As a mom of a 2-year child right now, I found this belt VERY handy on the go, but also used it in the house as well!
I want to share one of the ways this belt came to very good use for me:
Like most moms, I find myself having to multi-task with everything I do. I work from home (or the local coffee shop!) but only have childcare part-time. It’s perfect for me because I get to be a working mommy, but also have the benefit staying home too. BUT, (there is always a but…) I need to be accessible for work via phone or email on all days, which is a slight problem if someone needs me when I am with my little angel ;-) Ever tried making an important phone call with a toddler in tow? HAHAHAHA! Those of you with children know what I am talking about, right??
Phone calls in the stroller.
Yup. Sometimes I just have to do it. Luckily my daughter loves going for walks in the stroller and can easily sleep there too. I tried many gadgets to hold my phone, water bottle, pen and paper (in case I need to write a quick note down). None of them worked (hence the yellow bike tape on the stroller) and my iPhone was constantly over-heating and turning off DURING calls!
So I put my new tool belt to the test.
It worked great! I had a place for my phone, keys, ID, money, pen and post-its! I was also able to carry a diaper, wipes, and emergency snack in case someone got antsy :-) I do try to limit stroller snacking, but there are some situations where it's the only option!
A few tid-bits about this awesome belt:
- Comes in four prints: (1) pink with colored dots, (2) light blue with colored dots, (3) leopard and (4) cream with orange/brown dots.
- There are 5 pouches of variable sizes and style: bottle, sippy cup, cell phone, diaper/wipe and snack pouch. But you can use them for whatever fits!
- Also comes with: key ring, burp cloth/bib ring and hidden zipper ID pouch.
- Adjustable to fit all bodies! Fits up to 46 inches and includes an additionally 10-inch extender.
- Made of durable neoprene and liquids stay cool/warm.
- Wipes clean with wet cloth.
Use this belt in a number of settings:
- Perfect for any outdoor outings. Parks, beaches, theme parks… Keep your "must-have’s" and valuables on your body when you have to “park” your stroller somewhere.
- Running errands from the mall to grocery shopping.
- House chores. Whether you are cleaning the house to pulling weeds from the garden during nap time, it’s nice to be able to have your phone and baby monitor on you while keeping your hands free.
Where can you get this cool invention? Flourish!
Moms Flourish, a direct sales and party plan company is all about moms. The products are developed by, created for, and sold by moms. To make your lives easier! There are so many cool products that I wanted to try, and when you look through these products, I bet you’ll be thinking, “why didn’t I think of that?!”
Want a chance to win some free swag?
Enter the Giveaway! Enter below via the rafflecopter form to win a Prize bundle FULL of Moms Flourish products. Contest ends on August 7th, so don’t wait! The winner will be announced during #momsflourish twitter party on August 8th @ 9pm ET.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Interested in joining the Flourish team! As a relatively new company, Moms Flourish understands what you need to start your business. They know moms are busy, need flexibility and want a business that enhances their lifestyle. Be your own boss and get started for as little as $59!
Have fun looking through the products!
DIY Water Table Monday, July 22, 2013
It went like this on a Wednesday morning:
Me: Honey, can we make a water table for Annabel this weekend?
Him: What’s a water table?
Me: A table full of water.
Him: Oh that explains everything.
Me: Sigh sound (Annoyed I even had to explain this). It’s table-like thing and its table height for a toddler. With a plastic basin-like tub you fill with water. Like you would clean dishes in.
Him: How about you just show me a picture?
Me: Sure. (Now I have to go online and find one.) Sigh. OK, Picture sent.
Him: Yes, I can definitely make that. Super easy!
3 days later on that Saturday morning when I came back from my run I had this waiting for me:
Me: You are so awesome. Seriously.
Here is the How-to:
Frame: (1) 12’ pressure treated lumber (2x6”)
Table legs: (1) 8’ pressure treated lumber (2x4”)
(8) 3” or 3.5” deck screws (for frame)
(8) 4” deck screws (for table legs)
1) Before any cutting is done, measure the length under the lip of the mixing tub (so it has propping hanging) to the width. The mixing tub we used measured approximately 24” lip to lip. Cut 2 pieces of the 2x6” board into 24” length pieces.
Measure twice and cut once!
2) Now measure the depth under the lip of the mixing tub (lip to lip + width of 2x4” twice). The depth must extend past the lip so the board depth can be screwed into the end of the width board.
Measure twice and cut once!
3) Lay 4 boards on ground and check that tub fits into the board frame. Screw 2 deck 3.5” screws into the end of each. (Use 8 screws total, 2 for each corner)
4) Cut 4 – 2’ pieces of 2x4” for legs. Screw legs into frame using (8) 4” screws. Insert tub into frame and you water tub is complete!
Note for ALL screws! Be sure to pre-drill holes for the screws rather than screwing directly into the wood. This will prevent wood from splitting and really simplifies screwing. The drill bit must be smaller than diameter of screw.
Annabel LOVES water so this is a perfect and safe activity!
The Multi-Seasonal, Multi-Holiday Burlap Wreath! Monday, July 15, 2013
My obsession with burlap continues. I’m not sure where it exactly began, but I remember when one of my Rockette friends got married up on a farm many years ago, and she had these fabulous homemade table clothes that involved burlap. It was elegance and simplicity all wrapped up in one. And that’s when I fell in love with the potato sack.
OK, there is actually no strong relation to a potato sack and burlap, it just makes me think of one! The word “burlap” is used is the U.S. and Canada, but in the rest of the world refer to it as Hessian cloth. It’s made from the jute plant, and used for many years by the people of India. The name “Hessian” comes from the German state of Hesse where the soldiers that hailed from had uniforms made from it. The name “burlap” doesn’t seem to have an origin? On to the important matter: wreaths!
I LOVE decorating for holidays, but more often than not, I seem to be a day late and a dollar short. I start decorating a month before the new season or holiday, but it always seems like I am running around on Easter morning put out all the last minute egg and ducky décor just to take it down the next day. I needed a better a plan and it HAD to include my front door. My front porch looks so naked without something on the front door, but my life doesn't have the time to switch it up monthly.
I am happy to introduce: The Multi-Seasonal, Multi-Holiday Wreath!
Basic Burlap Wreath Materials:
- 2 yards of burlap for wreath (neutral color works best)
- 1/4 yard burlap ribbon for wreath (or cut yourself from a yard of fabric)
- 18 inch wire wreath from AC Moore (use a 40% off coupon!)
Basic Build of Burlap Wreath:
- I found this to be the simplest tutorial on how to weave the burlap through the wire wreath using yards of fabric.
- If you wanted to skip the cutting of burlap, you could purchase rolls of it in ribbon and skip to the step after the “cutting”. Much more expensive though!
Add Accessories, Seasons & Holidays:
- Add ribbons of any color. You can buy a yard of fabric and cut to your desired thickness or purchase rolls of burlap ribbon. In my pictures, I just cut a piece of cream colored burlap and made my own ribbon.
- Add seasonal or holiday décor! The dollar store as great cheap items you can swap out easily!
- I just bought about 8 rolls of burlap-type ribbon at AC Moore on sale for $2.99 per roll! Regular price is $9.99 and the sale is going on through sometime in August.
Basic Burlap Wreath
Wire Wreath (AC Moore $2.99 with 40% off coupon); Burlap (Joanne’s $3.99 per yard)
I added a package of colorful eggs from the Dollar Store ($1 total!) I did not glue the eggs. I simply placed them between fabric and they stayed put J
I added two birds I found at the Dollar Store! ($2 total!)
*Note that the color of the burlap will change being outside, but it still looks great! These pictures were all taken at different times of the day using both my camera and iPhone.
Let me know your ideas with burlap!