Family of Outdoorsmen / Saturday in Photos

“Working”

Recently we held an event at the local Farmer’s Market in Roanoke. It was a hot morning! Above: doing what I do best. Supervising.

Mommy’s helper

Munchkin had been so excited for this day because she wanted to learn how to do “jump jacks”. Repeatedly I had explained Coach Ivan would be there to ensure she learned how to do them. She was not disappointed. Above: learning how to lift with her legs, not her back. Goals.

Munchkin + Coach Ivan

Mini-me insisted on helping with every part of setup. And when she bored of helping, she ran around endlessly. To be young again.

10 lb medicine ball

Fun was definitely had by all. Except me. I wasn’t prepared to do this extensive workout before a long run. What was I thinking? Above: that medicine ball is approximately 1/4 of her weight hence the pride in lifting it.

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I ask you –

Are you an outdoor activity type?

Summer or winter?

Tell me a time your child(ren) were so excited to do something with you!

Halloween Whodunit / Fall!

Hocus Pocus: one of my most beloved movies

The goal in my house is whoever scares Mommy the most wins. Ugh. I hate this game. You see, I’m not really a likes-to-be-scared type of girl. But my Munchkin takes this game very seriously so I play along. Unwillingly.

Mantle decorations

Who can deny cooler weather and boots and leggings and pumpkin spice everything is awesome?! Basic. Get off me. From a fitness perspective, this is the time people start making their winter goals and trying not to let the holidays impact them too much. For me, it means PRs and an extra cup of coffee to warm up!

I love the change in gym dynamic during this time of year. There’s fun colors and a more relaxed feel, but also some heavy hitters in the weight training area. It’s not lost on me most people use the colder months to lift heavier and do a little less cardio. Even I was trained this way. However, if you want to PR your runs in the spring, it’s important not to neglect the cardio portion of your workout. Insert functional training!

I find functional training combines all my favorite activities: strength building + elevated heart rate. It saves time, too, since I’m not doing 2 separate workouts. Mainly, it holds my interest and keeps me engaged. Pounding away on the dreadmill has all the appeal of going head to head with a mountain lion. No thanks, I’ll pass. I don’t run fast enough for that crisis.

Now I realize I’ve digressed from cooler Fall to colder than snowflakes Winter, but somehow, each year, the transition is less than gradual. You wake up one day to the beautiful leaves changing. Next thing you know it’s an ice warning. What the….

Empty candy bowl = small favors

Typically I end up forgoing a training plan after my final fall race, but I know how important it is to keep up the work and maintain a mileage base for the first glimpses of Spring. So I challenge you each to create a goal for the fall/winter and stick with it. But make sure it’s actually challenging! Try something new: hike in the snow, walking lunges indoors with your kids, try a yoga session! Or come by here and see me and we’ll do a group training session together!

Whatever you decide, enjoy yourself and get through the cold(er) months with your sanity and hoodie intact. If you need some ideas, I’m always listening and will be updating you along the way with the new adventures I partake in!

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I ask you –

Favorite holiday?

Is Halloween your thing or no? Definitely not mine, but as a parent, things change.

Something new you’d like to try when it’s cold out?

Weekend in Photos

I love red bowls

I’m of the mindset your body will tell you what it’s needing. My body said ice cream. Specifically pecan pralines and cream.

Featured in Women’s Running

Fitrwomen is what I’ve been searching for. For years, I’ve known and understood women’s bodies …well, my own…reacts differently to exercise depending on where in my cycle I am. It is not enough to state some days are more difficult than others. When I say difficult what I really mean is I run the gamut of weak, dizzy, and/or unmotivated to emotional and anxious. Fitrwomen is a free app for women to track their cycles while also receiving insight into how their body will react during various types and levels of exercise. This is huge! Future post forthcoming on my review of the app.

All the Gummies!

And then this happened. Grumble, grumble. I had reached approximately 428 days. It wasn’t even my fault! Not entirely. I had already collected my reward for the day. But as I was playing the 5th Anniversary Birthday World Tour special city, I noticed it wasn’t allowing me to collect a different reward upon level completion. So I logged in and out. I’ll save you my tears and make this brief: this is why I don’t log out of things! Because I get screwed over! Insert pouting.

Brooks GTS 18

But also there was running. Many miles were conquered. I feel like a different person with the future of more mileage under my soles. Even broke out the new shoes! I figure I’ll wear my “older” Brooks on day 1, then switch to the barely broken in pair on day 2. I’m an advocate of giving shoes a chance to breathe between run days.

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I ask you –

Highlights of your weekend? Photos?

Have you tried Gummy Drop yet? …you’re missing out!

Favorite ice cream? Or other treat?

Guest Post – My Biological Other Half

Rep’ing our respective businesses, circa 2018

Some may know I have a twin sister. Now you all do. Brandy was born 1 minute prior to myself. To hear our mother tell it, the timing was much closer together, but our birth certificates read 7:58am and 7:59am, respectively, so we have no choice here. Don’t think for a minute…let the jokes begin…I don’t give her hell for me being the youngest. I know it isn’t her fault; she’s my sister, I do what I want.

(Herein referred to as) Bran has 2 beautiful babies, now 14 and 12. Let’s not get technical; those are her babies. She’s successful in the design and printing business. And she can speak so directly sometimes you’ll think she has drill sergeant tendencies.

L to R: Brandy, Garrett, & Stacey

Growing up, Bran and I played volleyball together. However, our first sport love was badminton. We’d play for hours in our front yard, until one of us got too mad at the other or we wore holes in the rackets. Sometimes this happened simultaneously. Truth be told, Bran and I are just about as opposite as can be. Blonde/brunette. Artistic/left-brained. Loud/quiet. Ok, so the last one is a lie. We’re both loud. I still find it funny we were often confused with the other until adolescence. Sure, as babies we were much more alike, but nowawadays, standing beside each other, clearly we’re related. You’d most likely guess sisters, but probably never believe twins.

Circa 2017 – same shirt, different year

Below is a short synopsis of our conversations together, written in real time, while utilizing video chat so I can type faster than she speaks – maybe we are more alike than I thought:

Me (K): How do you feel about having a twin? B: I’m actually really proud of it, I think it’s an awesome thing, I get excited when I meet other twins because it’s kind of a rare thing. It’s pretty neat.

K: What are your favorite memories of us? B: (laughing) (lots of laughing) I wish you would’ve sent me these ahead of time so I could have time to think! (cuckoo clock goes off – more laughing) (we discuss how to spell cuckoo) There’s so many! When we would go out on Friday and Saturday nights. Remember when we would take turns driving and we’d make the other person who hadn’t done their makeup be the passenger when we’d go to school? Remember the time the pasture caught on fire and you asked me how to dial 911? (K: (laughing) I was hoping you wouldn’t say that one! I felt like such an idiot!) (more laughing) The time Kenneth (our step-dad) was riding a bicycle and you ran into the glass doors. (Side note: I almost broke my face.) Let’s see. I remember the way you were bound and determined to be there when Stacey was born and then you stayed with me for like a month and half. And I kept telling you “you can go home, you can go home!” When we were younger and we jumped hay bales in that old barn. I remember when Brian (our younger brother) and I talked you into jumping off the top of the stairs and you hit the coffee table and had to go get stitches? (Me: laughing but it’s not funny). You had your arms out like you could fly. (Bran is now losing her shit laughing imagining the song “I Believe I Can Fly”) (Me: (also laughing) this isn’t that funny) (B still laughing like this is the funniest thing she’s ever said) I was not amused.

K: Do you cook well? What about baking? (lots of laughing) I can bake! And I can cook. What? What more is there to that? (Side note: this is my way of getting back at her because we both know she can’t cook well!)

K: Remember the time you poured 1 cup of molasses in the cookies instead of the recipe-directed 1 tablespoon? B: No, I don’t remember that. (K: Of course you don’t!) I really don’t remember. Me and you used to cook all the time. And we would bake all the time. They pretty much just turned us loose and we could do whatever we wanted in the kitchen. I really don’t remember that! (referencing the molasses incident) It was that old cookbook, wasn’t it? The Betty Crocker cookbook? (K: Yes, I still have a Betty Crocker cookbook.) They’re not really the same anymore but close enough.

K: Volleyball or badminton? B: Volleyball. We had really good memories playing volleyball. K: We did.

K: Is it true I was so outspoken that you didn’t have to speak for a long time because I did all the talking? (laughing) B: Yes! I tell everybody about that!

K: What’s it like being my sister? Difficult at times? B: (shaking head) I wouldn’t say difficult. Even if we have disagreements, we still talk to each other. Just because we have that bond. We get mad at each other and we disagree but we still depend on each other. Maybe depend isn’t the right word but it…we still like to talk to each other. And when stuff happens, I still think I need to call her and tell her about this. Even if we’re mad. She’ll tell me advice and listen to me. At least that’s how I feel. (K: I agree!)

K: Tell the readers about the difficulties and triumphs being a single mom. B: Oh Lord, now you’re really getting into it. It’s not easy for sure. Ummmm, I guess in my case it was a little different because (coughing) I had done it by myself mostly the whole time so it wasn’t really hard to do, it was just the adjustment for the kids and how they would adjust to it. In fact, when we came to VA to see ya’ll for the first time, that was the first time me and the kids had done something, just me and them. When we came home, it was like a really big triumph for me because I had never taken just the kids and done something with us. Before it was me and Ben (Stacey and Garrett’s father) and I relied on that. It was a huge boost because I did it by myself. I mean the kids were older, they weren’t tiny babies, but I’m one of those moms who visualizes everything that could go wrong and I was like what if airport security says ma’am these are not your kids and tries to take them (laughing). Ummmm. (pause while I check a text). I guess the hardest part was just the adjustment to it and explaining to the kids why I did what I did.

K: Advice for others? B: My biggest one would be as a mom you have to take care of yourself at the same time. You can’t put yourself off. You’ve got to have that time where you can take care of you. Even if you feel guilty, you have to say ok, you find something you like to do and you take the time to do that and you give your body time to rest. Mine would’ve been when the kids were gone on weekends with their dad and I would take time to do what I wanted – clean the house, whatever, read the book, crochet, that was my thing. You have to have that time for yourself.

K: Your weight has fluctuated through the years. What do you think is the biggest barrier in maintaining consistency? B: For me, it’s always been my will to do it. After the kids were born, I wasn’t worried about it and I didn’t care. When I did lose weight, I did it because I wanted to. When I gained the weight back, it was because I wanted to. It’s your will to do it. Now, I’m back down to where I was, again, so…that wasn’t…I lost my appetite and when I went to the doctor recently I had lost 20 lbs but that was stress. As I sit here and eat a sausage biscuit out of the microwave (laughing).

K: Activities you enjoy doing? B: (chewing) I like to crochet. I like reading books.

K: How do you think a history of depression and/or anxiety affects the ability to be healthy? Mental health? B: This really goes back to taking care of yourself. I didn’t notice what was going on with myself before I resumed taking medication. I was crying, didn’t want to talk or be around anybody. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. And, I told (B’s best friend)…she realized ok Brandy this is what it is…I wasn’t eating, sleeping, I just wanted to sit here and go to work, nothing more…she was the one who said Brandy you have to go to the doctor, you have to do something. It really goes back to taking care of yourself. You have to stop and look…(the friend said) you make a goal and I’m going to overcome this…and if you take the medication for the rest of your life that’s ok. The doctor explained depression and anxiety is like a short in your brain and your body doesn’t receive the correct message. And it’s something, like mine, I’ve been off and on medication since Stacey was born and some people don’t have that, some people are on it for their whole lives and there’s nothing wrong with that. You have to do what’s best for you to take care of 2 kids and…life. One time, a doctor, I didn’t realize what was wrong with me, when I started talking to her about how I didn’t want to leave the house with my kids because we’d be in a wreck or someone would try to kidnap my kids. I thought everybody had those thoughts. With her, I’d go back every month. I’d try to put the kids in the car and drive to the end of the driveway. I had to be on the medicine and overcome my fears. I thought this was normal (being scared) but it’s not.

K: For people who deal with these things, how does that affect their overall health? B: Exercise and going for a walk would be an awesome thing. It’s the endorphins that stimulate your brain. (still eating her biscuit) (cuckoo clock chimes 11am, lots of laughing)

K: Further discussion on people who want to lose weight, get healthier, etc – how do you think people can accomplish this? B: Dedication and will because people make time for what they want. They go before work, after work; it’s a will to want to do it (to make change).

As I’m finalizing this writing and we’re recapping what I’ve written, Bran says “I’ve always wanted my name and Betty Crocker’s name published in the same article!”

This kind of banter is our life.

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I ask you –

Any questions you want me to ask Brandy? I promise she’ll answer!

Upon My Demise, Grant Me These Wishes

WARNING: Dark post today. If you have ill feelings regarding the day you depart this world, please skip. Also, if you have any problems with dark humor and/or laughter associated with a grievous time, then, again, please skip. It is not my intention to offend. However, for some of my loyal followers, right now you’re clapping gleefully, impatiently awaiting this true masterpiece of a post. I’m sending you a virtual curtsy. You’re welcome.

Twin Keys

It’s virtually impossible to speak of death without paying homage to life and health. Clearly, Kel. I understand many times what brings people into my workplace can be a very real possibility of facing their own mortality sooner than expected. Tears and words of affirmation encompass our conversations and I always share how happy I am they’ve made a decision to change their life. That first step across the threshold can literally be the difference between life and death.

In prefacing this post with the above words, now I share my humor. There is nothing funny about death or dying or someone being fearful for their own life. Nothing. What is funny to me is the litany of mistakes I’ve made during these discussions with friends that really has resulted in me establishing a bit of a bad reputation for inappropriate humor. Sam, if you’re reading this, I’m still so very sorry. Truly I should have lost friends for not being supportive in their times of need. In my defense, a simple misunderstanding or unclear communication (or both) have been the culprit. But I would be lying if I didn’t blame myself for not being able to adequately control my own laughter. Brittney H., I’m sorry, too. It really is a common part of my life. Death and laughter. It’s been happening consistently since I was 10 years old. Dad, broken record here, I’m sorry again. In case you’re still wondering, I wasn’t laughing when laughter was expected. Oh no, that would be too easy. I am a laugher at the most inopportune time.

Please have a seat and bear with me –

It all started in 1996.

Yikes. That’s a lot of years. You do the math, but it would appear I have a serious problem. An epidemic at the very least. A chronic condition of laughter. I thought laughter was the best medicine. I was….shhhhh…wrong. Haha! I’m not wrong! Laughter is the best medicine still. I stand by my opinion.

After a long and fruitful life, I’d like a few things to be remembered about me. 1) I love cookies. 2) I have the worst sense of humor. 3) I never knew what I was doing, but I had a great knack for winging it and it all working out.

Now, a few things I’d like you all to do for me at my service (oh do I have a surprise for you all! just wait! to whom is in the know – it might single-handedly be the best idea ever): 1) Please remain seated. I don’t need any of that get up/sit down/get up again nonsense. I understand respectfulness. I’m expired. No respect expected. Just wave at my family.

2) I’d like every other song to be an inappropriate song of the most inappropriateness. Example: play some Silver Wings because I think it’s a beautiful song, then play Baby Got Back because I loathe that song and it would make my best friend the happiest person alive. I’d also like it to be sing-along style so you all have to participate. Dance, too. When my twin sister (did I ever mention there’s 2 of me? no? ok, I’ll rectify this situation asap) glares at you all with her old lady eyes, dance even more inappropriately and stare back at her. It will be hilarious. Trust me. If you need other song choices, please play The Dance by Garth Brooks, then play Bad Girlfriend by Theory of a Deadman. I also would like Sunshine by Steve Azar and Ulay, Oh by How I Became the Bomb. Please follow these with Alone by Halsey and some terrible dance soundtrack from the 90s, like the Macarena. Towards the end, play some old Phil Collins, Genesis, or Foreigner, but remove the lyrics so we can see how many people still know the words.

3) Someone has to read my prepared autobiography. It can’t be my Munchkin – I will most likely embarrass her traumatically. I’ll highlight the portions to read. It will probably be lengthy. Lengthy is an understatement at this point. Can you imagine what it will look like in 10 years! All the more reason to be sitting. Bring water, too. Or wine. Can’t have you dehydrated. The remainder of the book will be for sale at the door; all proceeds benefit the Children’s Aid Society of West Texas, Inc. and the Autism Society.

Hmmmm what else? For now, this list will do. I’ll expand it as life carries me down the road. Stay tuned and feel free to chime in with your own ideas!

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I ask you –

Do you, too, have a dark sense of humor?

How do you feel about karaoke?

Favorite charities or benefactors and why?

Nutrition and That Scary “D” Word

Why is this screen blank?

You know what I think of every time I see someone step on the scale? Of course you want to know! I think about rushing over to them to say the scale is broken and you’re reading it wrong. It really says “STRONG”. It doesn’t state a number. It says “STRONG”. Nothing more, nothing less. When Munchkin steps on the bathroom scale and asks me what it says, I tell her “strong”. Proud Mama moment: when she asked me to get on the scale and she proudly proclaimed it too said “strong”, then she said we were the same. You’re right, my baby love. We are the same. And we are STRONG!

D.I.E.T. aka the scary D word. According to Merriam-Webster (the word definition guru), a diet is “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats”. I prefer to disregard the verb ‘dieting’ or similar terminology like ‘going on a diet’. What I eat every day is my diet. It’s not something I go on or complete.

Especially for females, the pressure is high to live our lives according to a number – either on the scale or a size category of clothing. However, men are not immune to this thought process. Value is placed on how big or small we are perceived or even perceive ourselves. It makes it difficult to raise an impressionable young Munchkin. I read an article about a mother who didn’t know what to say when her daughter loudly proclaimed someone was fat. The young mother did the best she could in saying everyone has fat, but it doesn’t mean someone is fat. Body positivity starts so early. I won’t dwell on the issues of body shaming because I also believe in sticks and stones but our tiny humans deserve a life free of insecurity based on something that can’t be controlled. Run free, boys and girls! Enjoy your boundless energy. I’ll just be over here sulking. And tired.

Nutrition requires one to navigate the roller coaster known as balance. 70/30. 80/20. Pick a balance that works for you. 70-80% of your time should be healthy choices so that 20-30% of the time you can enjoy life. Birthday cake happens. Did I mention I love cake? Eating out with friends happens. It’s perfectly normal and expected! Live your life! Just know tomorrow will be here before you know it. That’s when it is time to step back on the wagon. Tomorrow will come. Who’s idea was that anyway?!

Dinner

You know what’s funny about the photo above? 1) I accidentally brought Munchkin’s knife with me. You know, the one with no sharp end and an extra short handle. That knife. 2) It looks picturesque…but it’s a lie. What you don’t see is the pizza I had for lunch. I’m sharing with you the healthy meal of the day, not the one where I threw caution to the wind.

Balance, remember?

We’re going to live our lives the only way we know how: by putting one foot in front of the other. No one said it would be easy. Where’s that manual they said would come with my life? Has anyone seen it? Each day, I do my best to find a balance between a previously unhealthy relationship with the scale and food and making sure life doesn’t get in the way of having fun. Ultimately, food should be fun!

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I ask you –

What’s your honest opinion of living a life of balance? Is it attainable or a fairy tale?

What did your last meal consist of?

Any ideas on how to cut chicken with a dull knife?

Body after Baby

Pregnancy

Do you have young children? Infants? Toddlers? Or are your children in their teens, twenties, grown up and moved away? Do you keep telling yourself it’s time to get rid of the baby weight?

Boy do I have good news for you!

The answers to all your problems is in this little bottle! Vitameatavegamin! – huge I Love Lucy fan, check out “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” for the reason why 10% alcohol in a bottle of health supplements is a BAD idea. Find it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcZ9JZZRWM0

Lucille Ball, my idol

Truthfully, it doesn’t matter how old your children are – there is a never a better time to begin focusing on you than now. Right. Now. Yesterday has come and gone. But today is still an option! Tomorrow is a close second.

Some ladies will find it easier than others to get back in the gym, workout from home, balance motherhood with a new human you’re responsible for caring for until…whenever. And the rest of us? Hahahahaha! What is this balance you speak of? Munchkin is 3 and I think I just now got it kinda worked out! Way to go, Kel! Aside from your own internal cheering squad, it may be a long time (ahem, years; a decade even) before you come to the startling conclusion you are still in there, under the skin and muscle and bone, and maybe you’re pleased with the results you’ve attained. Or you may not recognize her at all. That’s ok! You’re doing a great job, Mama!

Baby kisses

Fact: it can take up to 8 full weeks for your hormones to return to “normal” levels post-childbirth. Other fact: it could potentially be 18 years before the previous fact is accepted as fact. Maybe longer. I’m just guessing. So even if it’s been awhile since your baby wore diapers, the hormone swings can affect you just as much now as then.

This menopause talk is too much!

Let’s talk about menopause. This must be everyone’s favorite subject, right? Perimenopause can occur as early as your mid-to-late 30’s. Oh great! The hormonal shifts during this time vary erratically and can affect your ability to lose weight, build muscle, and not yell at the dog. Many women complain of short-term memory problems or difficulty concentrating during this transition, too. Haha you thought it ended after you gave birth? Good try! Wait. Did it end? I can’t remember. My point, which I don’t entirely remember at this moment, is that your body will go through many changes post-baby. From pregnancy to birth, from postpartum to menopause, your body is constantly adjusting to shifts in weight, balance, and hormones – all responsible for how well (or not) you’re able to shape the body you have, as well as deal with stress. Final fact: Exercise is widely known to increase overall health and a sense of well-being. It positively affects your endorphins, the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. And feeling good is our goal!

In the meantime, let us help you get moving toward your goals. Be it weight loss, muscle-building, or training for an event, we’re here to help. I’ll even provide comedic relief when the sweat drips in your eyes and you fear blindness.

Me laughing at everything that happens

No one said it would be easy. Either category you’ve found yourself in, you’ve come to the right place. I feel your pain. I feel your disappointment. I feel your jaded hope. I also feel how you’re ready to change your life. I will be with you each step of the way. Note: if you’re one of the lucky few who have it all figured out, teach me your ways!

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I ask you –

How old are your children?

Fun fact: I’m a twin. There’s 2 of me! Any of you have twins in your family? Triplets? Quads?!

Have any advice for those experiencing perimenopause? You know, so I can be even more terrified than I am already.