First Day 5k ~ 2017

You may recall, we ran this race last year and our youngest experienced every running emotion possible over three miles (you can read about it here). This year, we stayed at a New Year’s party until the ball dropped – making everyone a little tired. Of course, my husband and I still planned on going and “coerced” the little men out the door.

The weather was perfect for a January run in Massachusetts, sunny and 43*. The crowd was a little bigger than last year’s and everyone seemed in good spirits. We met up with one of my running friends as we were walking to get our numbers.  (Our color scheme wasn’t planned 😉)As always, I ran with our youngest (carrying his inhaler), but this time the oldest joined us; rather than run ahead.  The boys and I picked our plan: running to a landmark the youngest picks, walking to the next one, etc.We had a great time, we talked and laughed and ran plenty!  It’s funny when you walk/run because you pass the same people along the course. There were a few families moving along at our pace making for a fun and festive time.

While it took some effort getting out the door, it was a great experience. I may have threatened that we won’t do it next year, but I changed my mind 😉

3 years (and 1 month), 1161 miles, Friendship and Family

  
This is the hardest recap to date. I find I’m struggling with perspective on a year that saw new adventures and unevenness in commitment. In many ways, it seems to be my new normal.

The blahs…

Honestly, I can’t blame last winter (but how how convenient it would be to blame all that snow) – it was all me. By accident, I learned that I had reached a point in my running that I could pull off a race without a lot of training. It may not be my best time, but it wasn’t even that far off. Training seemed unimportant (eek!)

There were months with a lot of miles and months with very few miles; yet there were miles. Even when it didn’t seem like much, I would get out and walk. The hardest part was deciding to run when walking seemed just fine.

Time to run…

As the boys get older, my schedule continues to change. This is obvious, yet hard to get a handle on. I’ve said before that I try not to say we are busy (all the time) and accept it as normal. To sound like a teenager, “all of my friends are doing it too!”

I’m pretty good at sneaking in running time, but it is definitely the first thing to go. My goal for the summer is to be more consistent in my running. I’ve been pretty good about it, but last summer was pitiful. 

Friendship…

This year saw not only running with my usual partner in crime, but reconnecting with an old friend. We had lost our ways when our kids were tiny and we live 30 minutes apart. A mutual love of running has allowed us to meet mid-way and chat through our miles.

I can’t imagine running without my friends. They help get me out and keep me going. It is always a highlight within my week!

Family…

Not only have I expanded my friend circle, but my family circle as well. My husband and I never thought we would run more than a 5k, this year we ran our first 10k and 5+ mile legs of a marathon relay and a 5 miler! We’ve already run as many races in 2016 as we did in the spring and fall of last year. Pretty crazy!

There has also been the welcome addition of our youngest running 5Ks. Our oldest has enjoyed them and we are now at a point where we trust him on the course by himself. The youngest was a little more hesitant. Mainly because of his asthma. We worked out an agreement where I run with his inhaler and he runs with me. Somehow, he already has three races under his belt.

We are at the beginning of their busy sports season and I’m not sure how many races they’ll run this spring, but it has been amazing to include them in the fun. It’s only a matter of time before they are both speeding by me on the course.

Sharing the running bug…

I am asked about running often, probably because I talk about it so much ;), and I have to say it has given me so much more than I ever imagined. When I am contemplating (arguing in my head) about walking or running on any given day – I remember how much I enjoy the race and time with my friends and family.

When I started running and followed runners on social media, I would get frustrated when people would post “a quick 5k today” because I was still struggling to get through a 5k. Now, 3 miles doesn’t seem far (I’m still not quick) and I get it. I vividly remember the struggle to get through one mile and I’m not going back to it!

Some days and weeks are easier than others, but it has all been worth it!

Family 5Ks over the holidays

  
Happy New Year! We have continued to be busy around here and our youngest has now run two 5Ks!

Three years ago, the boys decided to run their first kids’ race on our youngest’s birthday. This year, they decided to run the full 5k days before the youngest turned nine.

There was a little concern about the youngest running in the cold as he is an asthmatic. The weather was supposed to be beautiful – we decided I would carry his inhaler and he would have to stay with me.

Our oldest found a friend and started the race with him. The youngest was ready to go!! We started off at a good pace and we were going off how the youngest felt. He decided to walk up the hill (about one mile in) and then he was running again. We took a few walking breaks and he was anxious to get far ahead of me.

Over the course, we negotiated when he could separate. As we turned the final corner I let him go and he loved it!! He finished at 34:55 (the oldest finished 27:42). It was a perfect day!!

  
We had so much fun with the Jolly Jaunt, everyone wanted to run the New Years race. Last year, my husband and I ran with friends on New Years and loved starting the year with a run. The race itself left a bit to be desired so we were excited to run the inaugural 1st Day 5k!

  
We all headed out to meet our friends at the race. As we were waiting for the start, our youngest decided he was not so excited about the race. He’s a bit of a stubborn guy and like that we were walking. It was cold to be walking, but he didn’t care.

He held his ground until we were a little over a mile in. At this point we decided to run and walk intervals. The deal was he could pick the landmarks. Run to the basketball hoop and walk to the black mailbox, etc. We did this for the end of the race.

His entire attitude changed. He was wishing volunteers a Happy New Year and saying thank you. As we finished, I joked that he had experienced every possible emotion over the three miles.

In the end, he was a little disappointed in his 43:05 finish, yet was happy that he stuck with it and finished strong. Our oldest finished in 28:35 and has said he felt like he was flying as he crossed the finish 🙂

Two races, two different experiences. In my head, I know each race is different, yet I expect them to feel the same. Running the races with a nine year old truly exemplifies all that goes into a race. Joy, anguish and perseverance all showed through these races.

My husband and I plan to run a few more races this winter (weather permitting) while the boys will wait for warmer weather in the spring 🙂

Have you run or walked a race with kids?  How did you welcome in 2016?

I’m still here

I’m not sure what happened to April! The snow finally melted and life became very busy. I’ve been trying to change my mindset from thinking of it as busy to simply, it’s life.

BOKS started up again and we expanded to three mornings a week – allowing for more manageable groups. It is definitely more of a commitment on my part and the mom helping me everyday; yet it’s easier. The kids have been great and are enjoying running around.

I’m back running outside and logged 40 miles in April! Not bad considering we had April vacation and I didn’t get out that week. The weather could be a little nicer, but it isn’t snow so I’m not complaining!
40 Miles in April
Classes are finally back to normal. The snow and holidays allowed for only two full weeks of classes from Christmas to April. I know, crazy!

Baseball season has begun and the boys are loving it! It keeps us busy and I spend a lot of time driving. Luckily, they are on the same team this year. May will be filled with games and practices. Just to be sure we are busy enough, the boys are playing flag football on Sundays.Where did April go?

My writing normally happens early in the morning, but BOKs has changed that. I am still working out a new writing schedule and hope to be more consistent soon! The idea of setting new goals and freshening things up has been keeping me busy. I am still working out what that would look like in my head.

Do you evaluate your goals and set new ones? Are they often career or lifestyle based? Maybe both?

 

Simply Kid Chefs: Black Bean Empanadas

  Last week, we wound up with a much needed quiet weekend and our oldest took over the kitchen.  He thumbed through Carla Hall’s cookbook and decided to make black bean empanadas.  Funny as he hardly ever eats black beans when I cook them 😉

The recipe makes both the pastry and the filling, which is a black bean picadillo.  We gave it our all, but had some trouble with the cream cheese dough.  I should have checked the recipe before committing, but I didn’t.  It calls for a stand mixer and we don’t have one.  We were able to fudge our way through with strong arms ;). Ultimately, we made four rounds and used tortillas for seconds. 

The filling was really easy and the chef was able to do most of it (I sliced the garlic).  He is really learning his way around the kitchen and I am filling more of a supervisor/photographer role.

Here’s the chef hard at work… 

 

The empanadas were rich and not our youngest’s favorite.  He’s anti-beans so it wasn’t too surprising.  The chef enjoyed it, but wound up breaking it in half to have a little less dough.  I think in the future we would try a different dough or use tortillas. 
Most importantly, it was fun spending time with the chef as he worked in the kitchen. He has gained a lot of confidence and rarely needs me to reach anything for him 🙂
Do you like black beans?  What is your favorite black bean recipe?

Simply Kid Chefs: Paella with chorizo, chicken, shrimp and mussels



Our youngest took over the kitchen at the end of a fun-filled weekend.  I brought him cookbooks to thumb through while he was snuggled in the living room.  He yelled into the other room, “I picked seafood paella”.  My immediate thought was, from which cookbook?  I was hoping it was Carla Hall’s cookbook because she gives great instructions and I was going to need it!  Thankfully, it was Carla’s book.
I was a little nervous about this one on different levels.  First, I wasn’t sure I could cook a paella myself, let alone help an 8 year old.  Then there was the issue of everyone eating it.  It would be a lot of work and a lot of food if the kids didn’t eat it.
All along, I have decided to let the kids try a recipe even if I thought they wouldn’t eat it or it looked difficult, so we went for it!  We wrote out the list and were able to find everything except the rice.  We used arborio rice and substituted chicken thighs for the whole chicken in pieces. We also followed Carla’s tip and used turmeric in place of the saffron 😉
We read the recipe several times so we understood the timing and prepped everything before turning on the stove.  The chef did most of the work.  I chopped the onion and slit the chorizo to peel the casing (we were not perfect with this one, but it worked fine for us), and I cut the habanero chile (we used 1/4).  He did most of the cooking but I stepped in to remove the chorizo and chicken.  I also helped nestle the chicken back in and place the seafood.
Here’s the chef…








I was surprised at how easy the dish turned out to be.  Like everything it helps to be prepared.  We were able to move along and follow the timing pretty easily.  I was a little worried about the rice and it came out perfectly.  We have an electric stove and I was weary of the blast of heat at the end.  It absolutely worked!
The dish was delicious!!  The chef loved the mussels and went back for more.  Both boys found the chorizo a little spicy, but the beauty of so many meats, there was something for everyone.  The oldest focused on the chicken and wasn’t the biggest fan, but he ate it.
There was a ton of leftovers!  This is definitely a great dish for a bigger group and won’t keep you trapped in the kitchen 😉
Have you tried a paella?  What’s your favorite cookbook?  Do like cookbooks that give thorough instructions?

Simply Kid Chefs: Bahamian Coconut Fish Fingers and Mango Feta Dip

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As you know, we just returned from an amazing cruise in the Caribbean (in time for the impending blizzard :()! While we were perusing tourist shops, we came across a cookbook, “a Taste of the Caribbean” and the boys wanted to check it out. Our youngest has been really enthusiastic about trying some recipes and luckily, it was his turn to cook.

He selected Bahamian coconut fish fingers and mango feta dip with walnuts. He felt they would go well together (I added a salad). We know that fish of all types is enjoyed in the Caribbean! Here’s my flying fish sandwich in Barbados and my fish and chips in Antigua. I also enjoyed blackened yellowfin tuna and a tuna burger – I didn’t take pictures though 😉

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Our chef learned a lot on this adventure! He asked a whole foods employee how to pick a ripe mango and it was an adventure finding creme de coconut (it was in the International section). He also decided to use cod as that’s the common white fish around here.

Preparation was mostly a team effort. I cut up the mango and sliced the lime. He manned the food processor (his favorite) and the walnuts. I cut the fish, but he did everything else! He even cracked the eggs himself. He was hesitant after his last attempt and then extremely proud to be successful!

Here’s the chef

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We found some of the instructions a little lack luster. We fried the fish for 3 minutes a side as we had some big pieces and it worked out perfectly. The dip was delicious on the crackers, but also on the fish.

Here’s the recipes

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The meal was a success! Our youngest loved it and it was nice to be reminded of warm weather as they predict massive snowfall!

Are you preparing for snow? What’s your favorite way to eat fish? Have you ever been served an entire fish for fish and chips?