Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Workout Wednesday: Superheroes vs. Villains 5K

For anyone who has been reading me for a while (thank you!) you know that nobody loves a good costume-wearing event than this girl.  


 After spending a day at our school's book fair as a mythical creature (the theme was knights, castles, ladies-in-waiting) I looked forward to the re-wearing of another favorite costume.



I paid $10 for this and have worn it 3 times.  As my friend Jane said, the Cost-per-Wear ratio has lowered considerably.

Our school had a big push for registrants in this race.  If you are an Atlanta athlete, you most likely heard about the pair of brothers-in-law that were hit by a car in New Orleans when they were training for a triathlon.  Andrew Powell was critically injured but is slowly, slowly, making progress.  Frank Guinn, however, was killed.  His triplet daughters attend our elementary school and his wife teaches at our high school.  The race offered us a discount code and people were encouraged to take the money they saved and donate it to a special fund set up for the Guinn family.


In all honesty, if our school had not brought so many participants, I really have no idea how few people would have run this race.  I brought my oldest son for his first timed 5K!  Of course, being the apple that dropped from his mama's tree, he didn't want to train - he just wanted to show up and run.  Since he runs around a soccer field for an hour 3 times a week and, well, he's 12, I figured he'd do alright.



He LOVES having his picture taken.  Did I mention that he is 12?

It was fun to run a race where the majority of the participants are costumed.  I don't get that much outside of Disney!  What I loved even more?  The amount of families I saw running together.  My kid, of course, took off at the starting line with my blessing.  Since this was his first time out, I wanted to see what that baby could do.  And I knew he would kick my ass.

It was sweet, though, to see him waiting at the finish line for his old mom instead of off wandering around.  I was only 6 minutes, behind, though, so he was probably just tired.  ;0

I have been sucking with the running lately - like, not doing it.  So I was pretty shocked when I rolled up as the clock was hitting 31 minutes.  Shocked even more when I looked at the results and saw I was in 4th place in my age group!  The beauty of a small race.  Next year when I turn 45 I will NAIL it!

A brief controversy over the age-group awards.  My friend (in my age group) had given her bib to our assistant principal.  That woman placed 2nd in our age group.  Wha?  Had no idea she was even a runner.  Wait - if she's not in our age group and she knocked me out of the top 3 Ima gonna punch my bib-giving friend.  After a brief discussion with the principal and some texting back and forth with the AP, it was determined that she was legit in our age group and I needed to calm the hell down.  (My competitive streak sometimes gets me a little wound.)



It was a fun day with plenty of friends.  The weather was gorgeous and the course, while sporting some big hills, was overall enjoyable.  Imagine my delight when, after the race, there were even character photo ops!!



Monday, October 13, 2014

Mom Monday: The Hero of Color City Movie Review

Disclosure:  My son and I attended a free screening of this movie from Magnolia Pictures.  I did not receive any compensation for this review and all opinions are my own.  And my kid's.

What to do with a six year old on a rainy Saturday?  You go see a movie.

I was happy to be able to spend some one-on-one time with my youngest.  This movie is geared toward preschoolers and young elementary kids so I knew that my middle schoolers would politely decline this opportunity.

The Hero of Color City begins with young Ben being interrupted in his coloring by a pesky bedtime, leaving the picture he was drawing an unfinished, uncolored outline.  After Ben's asleep, all his crayons perk up and prepare to make their nightly journey to their home - Color City.

Someone else follows them to Color City - the unfinished drawing!  It tries to take all the color in Color City for itself, leaving the crayons without any.  Time for the crayons to rally and begin their brave adventure!



The main character of the story is Yellow.  As her name implies, she's afraid of... everything.  Through her journey with the other crayons to save Color City, she finds her courage in compassion - from her fellow crayons and compassion for the "monster" trying to steal the color.



My son, when asked what his favorite part of the movie was, replied, "Everything!"  He very much enjoyed it and it held his attention the entire time.



As a parent, I liked it.  This is a cartoon geared toward kids, not the parents, which is as it should be.  I liked the story line and didn't find it to be too cloying or cliche'd.

The main characters are voiced by Christina Ricci, Craig Ferguson, Rosie Perez and Wayne Brady.  Owen Wilson makes a cameo appearance in there, too - you'll be able to pick out his voice in a second!

The Hero of Color City is out in select movie theaters - check Fandango - and is also available through iTunes / On Demand.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Oakland Cemetery With Kids - Just Another Day at the Park

Fall break.  My kids friends went to the beach.  To amusement parks.  You should have seen their faces when I told them we were going to... a cemetery.  



Fortunately, I have taken them to enough cool places that they trusted me on this one.

Established in 1850 on what used to be the outskirts of Atlanta, Oakland Cemetery began as a 6 acre parcel of former farmland.  As Atlanta grew (and needed to inter 7,000 Civil War soldiers) it grew to its current 48 acre size.



Oakland is a thing of beauty and that's what I wanted my children to experience.  It was developed in the Victorian "garden cemetery" fashion.  There are stunning works of art there - painstakingly crafted mausolea and monuments honor the most wealthy of Atlanta residents.



There are other stories, too.  Oakland was the municipal cemetery for Atlanta, so it also is the resting place for the less well-off, the lesser known.  My kids immediately noticed that there was a separate section for African Americans.  They saw the towering obelisks and the tiny, crumbling headstones. The 65 foot tall Confederate monument dedicated on Robert E. Lee's funeral day starkly contrasts the monument for the unknown Civil War dead buried there.



We made sure to hit two of the most famous residents.  This one for me:




This one for the boys and my husband:



I hope you know that Margaret Mitchell Marsh is the author of Gone With The Wind.  I definitely had to pay my respects.  Bobby Jones was a world-famous amateur golfer that dominated with one of the first "grand slam"s - he won all 4 major golf tournaments of his day in one year.  He also helped design the Augusta National Golf Club and co-found the Masters Tournament.


There are benches throughout and lovely gardens.  I explained to my kids that cemeteries such as these were fashionable picnic spots and it was considered completely normal.  Families would come to pay their respects to their departed and stay a while to visit.



If you plan to visit, go first to the Visitor's Center and spring for the $4 map.  This is essential to truly appreciating Oakland.  Aside from being a map, it's full of vignettes about many of the residents buried there and their connection to Atlanta.  I was fascinated!  For students of art history, the guide also includes the most elaborate structures, when they were built and the style in which they were created.

I can't think of a better October activity than to visit a cemetery in a non-scary fashion!  October 5th marks the 35th anniversary of Sunday In The Park - a daylong, family-friendly event with a Victorian theme.  The day includes a Victorian costume contest, music, dancing, face painting, story telling, food trucks....  nothing scary about that!  The best part?  It's completely affordable.  You don't need to purchase tickets ahead of time, but a $5 donation per person is requested, with kids under 3 being free. You can find more details at the Oakland Cemetery website.

Regardless of when you visit, I encourage you to do so.  My preteen boys gave it a "that was really cool!" - high praise, indeed.  Oakland Cemetery is a hands-on history lesson that my boys won't forget!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Plagued By Running Injuries? Give Yourself a ChiWeekend!


Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  The opinions expressed are 100% my own and I do not endorse anything that I don't fully believe in!



I was a machine my first year of running.  A 10K every month and working toward a new PR every time.  My calves would get super tight after each run but I would stretch & ice, so it was all good.

Until it wasn't.

A particularly challenging 10K landed me at the sports doc with a shin splints diagnosis.  That was followed by 6-8 weeks of pricey PT.

When I got the green light to run again, I was back to myself.  Meaning, within two weeks I had shin pain again.

I wanted to cry - I JUST got good at this.  Would I have to give it up already?

Then, I found ChiRunning.  The words on the cover of the book were "injury free".  SOLD.

Y'all, I am not being dramatic when I say that it changed my life.  3 years later I have run 11 half marathons and am in training for 2 more half marathons and my first full.  Last year I did 3 half marathons in 4 weeks with not a single trip to a doctor.  No shots, no braces, no PT.

This WORKS.

ChiRunning teaches you how to rethink your form in order to avoid common injuries by working with your body.

How can you experience ChiRunning?


I can't express how much value you will receive from the ChiWeekend!  Join founders Danny and Katherine Dreyer on a retreat weekend where you will learn all elements of the ChiRunning program!  Held in the mountains of Asheville, NC, this weekend is sure to be beneficial to body AND soul!

Can't make the weekend?  You can do what I did and teach yourself the ChiRunning, ChiWalking and the ChiRun/Walk program from the book and DVD.  No matter your level of fitness, you can pick up pointers on how to be injury-free!



Finally, I'm super excited to try out the ChiRunning app.  Form reminders, instructional videos at my fingertips, built in metronome for pacing...  all kinds of good there!  Just check out the ChiRunning store and find so many resources!

As I mentioned in the disclosure statement above, I don't endorse things I don't use myself or fully believe in.  You can buy all the support gear in the world, but if you are running in a way that fights your body, you will not be successful.  ChiRunning gave me the information I needed to continue running injury free. I urge you to do your body a favor and give ChiRunning a try!

Have you been suffering from recurring injury?  What has been your biggest obstacle in running?

Southern Fall-tastic Giveaway! Prize: 350.00 Cash!

       I've joined up with some fantastic bloggers to give away $350.00 PayPal cash!  Not only do you have a chance to WIN, but you just might discover some new favorite bloggers along the way!  


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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Type A Parent Conference: Can't We All Just Get Along?

Turns out, we can.  Fabulously.  

This conference was geared toward parent bloggers but the sessions, speakers and sponsors were beneficial no matter your blogging niche.  And you should know me enough to know that I am not a Type A parent - often, I am a Type Z parent. But they still let me sign up.

All kinds of goodness there.  There was loads of great information on how to grow my blog and really engage with my readers.  All that was awesome.  The most value I got from the Type A conference?

The people - IRL.

(That's "in real life" for those whose friends don't actually live behind the screens and you need to make a distinction.)

I wrote a post about taking Thing 2 to meet Ridley Pearson, author of The Kingdom Keepers series and co-author of the Peter and The Starcatchers series.  These are faves in our house and I was nervous - would he be as nice in person?  This weekend reminded me that I get that celeb-nervous feeling around more well-known bloggers.

weknowmemes.com

There were some Georgia bloggers that I had been chatting with online pre-conference but I had yet to meet them in the flesh.  Would they be as nice surrounded by much bigger and bloggier fish than me?

Here are some ladies you need to check out:

Lindsey at Red Head Baby Mama - she's bubbly, sweet and a delight to be around.

Sue at Field Trips With Sue - I told her that my blog wanted to be her blog when it grew up. I kind of fangirled her after lunch one day and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her.  I had been nervous about meeting her, but she was completely down to earth and gracious.  (BTW, here is the post of hers that put her on my radar and makes me tear up every time I read it.)

Tracy at The UnCoordinated Mommy.  Y'all.  This girl is hysterical.  I hung with her and her sister Jamie on Saturday night and those ladies kept me laughing!  Loved finding out she lives 10 minutes from me!

Candy at Happy Trails Wild Tales.  We met for the briefest of moments - as in, the absolute briefest - but I totally dig her site and her efforts to get kids outdoors and exploring.  Great info on being outdoors in Georgia.

Of course, Disney Parks is involved.  You knew that.  They were a sponsor and threw a slammin' party on Friday night.  My girls and I channeled our #Disneyside and felt The Force.


At the Disney Parks party I got the happy opportunity to meet and hang with several members of the Disney Parks Moms Panel.  What.  A.  Blast.  Of course, Disney people know how to have fun and this crew was no disappointment.

Y'all, there were some serious power bloggers there.  People who are truly, truly #AVeryBigDeal. Yet, I would never have known it had I not visited their sites and seen the brands with whom they work and their social media reach.  I was blessed to find "my people" no matter where I sat and with whom I talked.  And those people happily introduced me to more people.

No, it's not Cloud Cuckoo Land where everyone is happy.  As with any place, I did run into some people who clearly thought highly of themselves and thought that I should think highly of them, too.  But they were mercifully few and far between.  Karma is a bitch, y'all, and it was great to see that a majority of experienced and successful bloggers have no problems sharing the web and giving others a hand up. It's an amazing and wondrous thing when bloggers see each other as colleagues and not competition.

It's nice to get out from behind the computer and get face to face with these people who have been letting me in their lives online!  Everybody needs tribes; nobody lives in a bubble.  Social media - the point is built right in the phrase.

Thanks, Type A, for bringing together some fabulous people and helping me build my tribe!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kidecals Product Review and Discount!

Disclosure:  I was given free product for the purposes of review.  All opinions are my own.

With three kids, we have tons of STUFF.  Clothes.  Lunchboxes.  Backpacks.  Electronics. Books.

While my middle son is the child who has his head in the clouds most often, it's my oldest son who seems to be the most careless with this things.  He's lost a couple of lunch boxes.  Tragedy struck when the Nintendo 3DS he had saved up for and bought after Christmas got left behind in a hotel room in a Disney resort during his February birthday.  Never found.  I tried to maintain my composure when I noticed his beloved Under Armour sweatshirt was MIA.

Enter Kidecals!



Kidecals are labels that come in all different sizes and styles.  They are waterproof and dishwasher proof.  They are Kid Proof.

Their website has so many decals to choose from!  They are helpfully listed by use, gender, age, shape, style... prepare to spend some time - they have so many designs!  You can do more than put your child's name on them.  Especially helpful to parents of kids with allergies is a label that you can place on your child's clothes or on their lunchboxes that reminds caregivers of your child's allergies.

They have a lot of labels geared toward general organizing which EVERY mom or dad could use!!!

With my older boys in middle school, I tried to keep the labels I customized low-key and not too little-kid looking.


I like having the different sizes.  My son's handheld game?  That gets the small one.  My Kindle Fire?  Slap a big one on there.

I labeled their lunch boxes.  You better believe that once we purchase winter coats, the labels will be put in there right away.  I was walking around the house looking for stuff to label, with my older boys yelling at me to leave their things alone.  The youngest Boy Child was bringing me things he wanted me to label. Water bottles will be next.  And I can't wait until summer camp next year - I will be labeling every single thing they own.

Here is a picture our PTA president posted on our school's Facebook page:


The announcement said that they had returned to students everything that was labeled ; this was what was leftover and would be donated if not claimed soon.  That's a lot of stuff!

There is another hat I wear, and that job sings the praises of labels as well.  I'm a preschool teacher.  I teach young 2 year olds, most of whom do not speak very well if they are speaking at all.  It's pretty pointless for me to hold something up and say, "Who does this belong to?"

Kidecals wants to give you the chance to love them as much as I do!  Use code ilovelabels for 15% off your order!  Even better?  Free shipping.  On all orders.  I am a complete and total sucker for free shipping.

I really like these labels and I feel better about them taking pricier things out of the house now.  I have to wonder if my oldest's DS might have been returned to us if we had put any kind of contact information on it.  Check out their site and place your order - you can't go wrong with a discount and free shipping!

Do you label your children's things?  What are some of the things you would immediately label with Kidecals?