Friday, December 30, 2011

Getting it done for Christmas!

Just a quick update here.  Between the laptop mishap and the fact that I typically unplug when on "vacation", my updates pretty much everywhere have been sparce.  I pretty much did my dailymile updates, but even those were a bit late.

YES, we fixed the laptop, and not through Dell directly as we initially thought.  I spent several hours working on the ordeal, including being on the phone with Costco, Dell, and driving around locating a local and WAY cheaper place that did it while I waited.  Our laptop is very new, so fixing it was the best option.  We took it to a local place called Computer Bytes, and they did it while I waited!  No shipping it off!  It was so much cheaper than sending it to Dell, who wanted $150 alone for shipping!  I got it fixed for $175. I don't know if I could have gotten it cheaper or not, I was just so elated when I got this price that I said sure, and didn't even try to negotiate.  Dell did try to negotiate with me when I cancelled my repair order, but they couldn't knock $200 off or fix it today.

Here is what we cooked for Christmas Eve dinner, and I did get in an awesome 11 miler before eating this.  We busted out the china and everything!  We also had chocolate mousse for dessert:

Also, I kept to my workout goals so far this week.  My stomach has paid severly, and I have felt ill quite a bit as a result of my poor eating combined with crazy/nutty workout schedule.  We ended up driving 3 different days this week, and moved our long drive day from Sunday, a rest day, to Monday, so that got things off to a strange workout start.  We got in to MI on Monday mid afternoon.  I ended up on the treadmill Monday night at 9:30pm to knock out a 3 miler.  Tuesday night, at 8:30pm, I was starting a 6 miler.  My legs felt fine, but boy did my stomach feel like crud after eat sizable dinners late on both of those evenings.  Wed ended up being a rest day, because my only option for working out was in the morning, and I really wanted more than 12 hours rest between workouts.  We saw Mission Impossible that evening after our big dinner with Ryan's family, so there was no night treadmill run.  On Thursday, I got up at 5am (after getting home from the movie at midnight) to meet up with Cristina.  SWEET! She had to work, which meant she was teaching right by the old condo, just 20 minutes from Ryan's parents, and she was able to get me into her facility.  I haven't done spin class in a long time, but boy, it felt great to workout on a mostly empty stomach.  We chatted for a bit about races before I had to head out so that we could drive to OH.  We had our big dinner with my family Thursday night, and this morning, I got up and knocked off my final 3 miles of my midweek mileage outside in the rain.  My parents do not have a working treadmill.  I could have gone to Urban Active, but it was nice to be outside and bang it out in under 26 minutes.  I got to try out my new running tights I got from Ryan.  They are awesome, and from REI.  I am washing them right now so that I can wear them for tomorrow's 8 miler. 

The good news is that my running is on track.  My eating has been out of control.  At least all my new clothes still fit!  I will need to be revamping my eating in another couple days.  Tomorrow night will include chocolate fondue, so I can't start a diet before that!  I also got to try some Vosges dark chocolate and bacon, which was surprisingly tasty! 

Our Christmas went really well.  We didn't take back anything as a result of the laptop mess, but we did push out getting new phones (which we planned to do, and then opened the laptop to send off a quick email first, noticed it was broken, and then everything went awry).  Maybe in another month or two.  My big surprise gift was a sewing machine, which means I can't wait to make all sorts of crafty decorations from pinterest.  I got my hoodie, and a new Arc'teryx shell, as well as some True Religion jeans.  I knew about those, as I picked them out months ago when at the outlet mall buying towels for the house.  We also got some fun family photos taken with my side of the family.
We used a self timer with our Canon Rebel on a tripod with a hood.  I was supposed to be reading about how to do it on the drive, but passed out the whole way since I went to spin class.  As a result, this is one from the first bunch.  Our self timer takes 10 shots at a time, in series.  We didn't realize we had it set up to go, so only some of us where there.  My sister and I got the timing down, and started posing for the shots.  This was the funniest.  Ryan did not love how my underwear are pulled up higher than my pants, but I think that adds to the humor in it.
I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is......

A new laptop screen. Soren broke ours today while playing with his toy tools. I want to puke. I was just sitting down to do a photo project for my BIL, and BAM, open it up to a busted screen.

So, I hope you have a much merrier Christmas than us. The Christmas spirit had temporarily left the building. Posting on the iPod sucks. Buying a new laptop days before Christmas sucks. However, the ban on running on Christmas Eve has been lifted, so I am at least ahead on my training for the week.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Too Nice for Working Out?

I really didn't think I would get a chance to post again this week.  Pretty much the only reason I am able is because Keira work Soren up this morning at the crack of dawn because she is excited about her Christmas party at school today.  I put Soren back to bed in my room, thus I can't go back to sleep or really get myself ready yet for another few minutes.  I am seriously bummed that of all days I need to run outside to make things a lot easier, it is pouring.  Not just raining, but sideways wind howling pouring.  It is not that cold, which is nice, but I am just not sure if I want to bundle Soren up to take him out and deal with pushing a huge sail through it.  It has 3 hours to stop, so that is good.  The bad thing is that I have Keira's party, so I need to go to that instead of the gym.  I have a sitter lined up, and she needs to be somewhere by 11, which means that techically, I should be able to make it to the gym by 11, thus leaving me with 1 hour left to work out.  However, I won't have time to get cleaned up, and I will already be all cleaned up when I get there.  Grr. 

This leads nicely to a post I remembered reading a while back about having workout clothes that are too nice to wear to work out.  When I first read it, I was like, whatever, they are workout clothes.  They are supposed to get gross and stinky, not be super cute.   I just grab whatever is most comfortable for the conditions out of my workout drawer and try to match colors and go with it.  I do have some fleeces that I try to wear once as a shirt and then next to workout so I can maximize use and minimize washings, but otherwise, I didn't think much of it until yesterday.  Yesterday was unusually warm, and I went to my closet and selected a Mountain Hardwear running shirt as my shirt to wear.  Hmm, it was HANGING IN MY CLOSET.  Not in my workout drawer.  I have never worked out in it ever.  It is just to wear as a shirt.  Then I looked around a bit more.  I have another mountain hardwear "butter hoodie" that is also JUST FOR WEARING.  In fact, I have this one on my Christmas list, and I know I am getting it because I tried it on in my house after Ryan bought it to make sure it fit.

I am getting it from REI,  (where the picture is from) and it has actually gone on sale.  It might be cheaper than what we paid, I need to check to see if we need to reorder it actually for a savings.  However, the shipping and returning part might get tricky since it is so close to Christmas.  We can do returns in person at the store, but I don't want to have to return the old one before the new one comes. 

I actually have no intention of working out in this hoodie at all.  It is way too cute, and expensive!  I think this is why I should not get into wearing Lucy or Lullemon stuff.  I bet I would buy it to just look cute and not even work out in it.  I have an awesome smartwool ski sweater, and I hardly ever ski in it because it is dry clean only, and who wants to sweat in something you have to dry clean!  I did try hand washing it in our machine, which is allowable on the directions, and it fell apart, so I am on my second one and don't want to risk it, as dry cleaning was also an option on the care label.  It is actually awesome for skiing, but I use it more for light ski days where I will spend a lot of time in the lodge with the kids.  I am sure it helps that I have more than enough technical running clothing that I have gotten for free over the years from races and sponsors, and that the stuff doesn't really wear out.  I also have a race uniform, which means I don't need to have cute racing outfits.  I have raced in my current butter hoodie, which is dark green, in a St Patty's day race before.  I needed something green, and it was a great shirt to run in, just way too cute.

So, do you have any running/workout clothes that is NEVER for running or working out?  I totally thought I didn't, until I stepped out of my running drawer, and looked through my casual clothes.  It is full of them.  It sort of doesn't count that my climbing clothes is dual purpose.  I DO use it for climbing, I just haven't in a really REALLY long time, but I do have a ton of Prana climbing clothing too, as well as stuff that was bought to be wicking for backpacking, but that I now just wear since I don't have the opportunity to backpack anymore.  I may wear some of that for running now and then, but I don't really need to either, which all my race shirt freebies.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Boston Marathon Training HAS BEGUN!

I have been a slacker a bit these past couple weeks on blogging and reading blogs.  I am sorry about that.  Part of it has been that I have been Ryan's assistant scrapbooker, as we crammed to get our entire year boiled down to 10 scrapbook pages.  If it wasn't for the fact that we had 2 computers with pictures randomly on each other, as well as 2 cameras, then I am sure Ryan would not have even bothered to have me help, because I am horrible at canning pictures.  I want to include everything (hence my personal blog entries being out of control).  Ryan is great at being concise, but he just had no clue where any of the pictures were, so I had to make attempts at getting them grouped for him by page.  I seriously spent one night searching through the Muncie lost and found photos (all 5500 of them), trying to find a picture of me finishing with the IM banner over my head.  Sadly, I did not find one.  I did, however, find two really awesome ones of me running into the finish line where you can read IRONMAN in the background, and several others.  I ended up ordering two so that I can use them for the scrapbook.  I have the proofs in there now, but will replace them once they finally arrive.

I also spent nights working on compiling our Christmas card list and getting those in order.  I will not be posting a picture of our card.  Ryan feels that it makes it less special for those who recieve it if it is out there on the internet for everyone.  However, I think this might be the last year we mail them and will just do a f/b card or e-card, since it looks like the post office as we know it may go under soon.  We still have about 10 more cards to do.  I participated in the (Just) Trying is for Little Girls Card exchange, and would like to give a shout out to my group, Team Dasher!  Check out these ladies.  I look forward to learning more about them.

Kim @ (Just) Trying is for Little Girls

Darlene @lMy First 5K and More

Jen @ Running With The Girls
Fav race distance so far has been the 1/2 marathon.   

Jolene @ Journey of a Canuck Mom on the Run, 

Thanks Kim for putting this together!

Also, one of the real reasons I have been slacking on the blog front is that I have NOT been slacking on the training front.  With the holidays fast approaching, I have been a lot busier during the week, doing shopping, food prep, ect, and I am using Hal Higdon's intermediate/advanced marathon training plan, which meant I needed to have a decent base built up before starting it.  We also went out of town over the weekend, which meant that I had to fit in all my training M-F, with nothing on Saturday.  It meant 9 miles on the treadmill, but I had to get it done to be ready to do my first official long run of my training plan this Saturday.  10 miles.  This was in Chicago at the Christkindlmarket.  I ate so much food!  Yum.  Now I need to get back on track.

Yesterday was the official start, and it was cross training.  I did meet with Mr New Trainer, and I think he had been briefed.  I say this mostly because he did not do any sort of fitness evaluation or sales pitch.  He also didn't really ask my background, probably because he was standing there on Friday when the head of personal training introduced me to a client as "the only person crazy enough to ask for more" after one of his sessions.  The workout was challenging.  I am sore today for sure.  He focused more on areas of my strengths, so I am not terribly sore, and only at a couple points during the workout did I really struggle, but I did feel it.  Wall sits while doing punches with weights kicked the trash out of me.  Also, doing ab exercises for 1min solid, each exercise rather than 30 secs (which I normally do) was an adjustment, but I am not nearly as sore as I was after Deluca's workout.  I did wear my Muncie shirt and a skirt, per everyone's suggestions.

Today, I did a hill workout indoors.  It was a dumb idea, and I didn't realize how dumb it was until I finished my first 400m hill, and the treadmill only went down to flat, not downhill.  RIP OFF!  I totally forgot about that aspect of hills until I was mid workout.  Blech.  I think for hills from now on, I will run the road to our sub, which is about perfectly lengthed, with 400 steep uphill, and then a downhill.  I was supposed to do 3 sets, and I did them, but I hated it.  I was proud of myself because I did not touch the speed at all.  I was able to maintain the same speed going uphill as I did on the recovery pace, and that was super hard.  Maybe too hard?   I have never done an indoor hill workout before, so I guess I wasn't sure what to do.  Any thoughs?  I think I will save the tempos and speed sessions for the treadmill, but do hills on real hills, even if it means I have to take Soren. It was actually pretty warm this morning too, which made it seem extra stupid.  I will probably have to take him for my Thursday run, since Keira has a school party during gym playroom hours.  I am going to have to get creative to get everything done until Jan 2.  At least the distances are pretty short for now, so they won't be as time consuming to do or dangerous to the grand scheme of things if I have to skip one or two.  My swims will be the first to go, and I need to get back into biking come Jan.

Also, my race schedule is all jacked up for 2012.  I know I want to do at least 1 70.3 and 2 half marathons, one in the spring and one in the fall.  I can't seem to figure out what to do.  I was thinking of Rev3 Knoxville, until I realized it was the day after the Kentucky Derby.  This poses 2 problems.  1, we wanted to go to the Derby this year.  2, it is pretty darn close to Boston, and I doubt I will have my biking ready since I will be easing up on the biking (provided I actually get it under control during Boston training) pretty much the whole first half of April, and then need to recover from the race too.  I do want to do a fast half shortly after Boston, and had considered the Capital City half, which is also that same weekend.  The Derby Mini Marathon is the week prior, and just too close to Boston to do what I want to do.  I can't do Racing for Recovery Half this year either.  Keira has her ballet recital the day before, so that doesn't work either.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I want to race the weekend of Muncie for sure.  It is Saturday, July 7th. I just need to decide if I want to do Muncie, or stay here and do this local half.  Doing the local half is about the cheapest half I have ever seen, and Cristina may come down to do it as practice for IMLOU, since the course is similar.  I am not looking forward to swimming in the Ohio River, but with all the expense of Boston, doing a cheap race locally sounds like it might be a good idea.  I have already done the M-dot brand.  I had sort of wanted to try out the Rev 3, though.  I must say I was bummed to learn that the prices were the same as an M-dot.  Heather just got sponsored by Rev 3, so I am hoping she can tell me why to pick one over the other, when cost is the same.  Cedar Point would be the only other option, and the bad thing about that is that there is a race in MI that is very popular with my friends the day before.  Cristina has never lost it, and has free entry for life, so I know she won't do Cedar Point with me.  It is also a Sunday race, and I would really prefer a Saturday race.  Does anyone have some options?  I am not terribly worried about my plan for next year, though.  I need Ryan to hash out his, and then I will squeeze stuff in.  After such a huge year I had this year, I feel like I don't want to spend so much money on entry fees and travel.  I want to pick out a few nice races and really work on them.  I thought I did that this past year, but the move really threw a wrench into a lot of the plans, as well as being sick.

Sorry for the huge post, but I worried if I broke it into a couple over a few days, that it just wouldn't get done.  Keira is off school next week, and I will be entertaining my parents, so it will be crazy before Christmas.  There will also be an 11 miler in the gym on the treadmill on Dec 23, so I don't have to do it on the 24th.   And we haven't even started wrapping presents yet.  That will make for some more late nights!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Am I some sort of Idiot? .....or Something?

Well, you don't need to answer that.  I have done some things this year that are probably more than a little crazy.  Let's just say that this move has made me notice a few differences between Novi ("the land of malls and mansions" to quote Randy Step of Running Fit), and Louisville.  Louisville is a lot more laid back.   Hence, I am now thinking that I am weird for for wearing jeans to and from the gym.  Yes, there was an incident.  I don't think I would have figured this out myself because I have written on many times about how I love me a good expensive pair of premium denim!  It is my biggest vice, if you don't count Diet Dr. Pepper (which I am planning on giving up, except for on fountain, as a new years resolution). 

Anyway, I have been doing a lot of my workouts at the gym lately because the weather has been cold and damp, and Ryan has been working sick hours.  I can't get in a run after he gets home from work because it is just really dark and late, and there is very poor visability around here.  I don't like taking the kids out when it is cold AND raining, unless it is a race.  I will do one or the other, not both.  Needless to say, I have been doing almost all my weekday runs at the gym.  It also means I am quickly running out of all my favorite running shorts, tops, ect.  I also have to run and then swim on the same trip, so I have worn some tri stuff to save time on transitions, although I hate wearing my favorite tri shorts in the pool because I know it will shorten their life.  So, with all this gym attendence (and Soren is dealing a little better with it, but we still have bribes in place with movies, juice boxes, and Chick Fil A to get him there happy), I have noticed a lot of new promotions and new trainers.  They were running 2 promotions in November for free personal training sessions, and I took advantage of one of them.  I felt guilty about doing both last month, since it is not in my budget, either money or time right now since I only get so many hours of childcare and I need to do all my swimming and running there in the week right now.  They started another one in December, which I took advantage of by bringing in a donation for Toys for Tots.  I asked if I could still have a free session since I got one last month, or did I have to pick something else (like a free protein shake or friend 2 week guest pass), and they said I could still have another training session.  I was in a hurry, so I took the voucher home with me, and yesterday I finally decided that I wanted to try a new trainer to get some new ideas instead of one I already tried.  Hopefully the trainers are not offended by this.  I just want new ideas I can do at home, since that is where I will have to do them, most likely, due to time constraints.

So, I do my workout yesterday (in a bathing suit and tri shorts for the run, bathing suit for the swim, yeah, I probably looked like a dork, but a FAST dork on the treadmill, and if you are fast, you can be a dork on the treadmill).  I actually had plenty of time to get cleaned up, thanks to my super fast run to swim transition since all I had to do was remove my shorts, shoes, and put on my crocs before my swim.  I got a good shower, got dressed, did my makeup, and still had a few minutes on my pool key to stop by personal training.  There was a new trainer there, so that was perfect.  I told him I wanted to redeem my coupon, and set up a session.  He made an appointment for me, but then told me that I would want to "wear something lightweight" and "make sure I eat something an hour before".  I was like, "OK? Sure".  I seriously hope he knew I didn't just workout in my jeans with pink stitching that matched my pink hoodie.  My head was sopping wet, so it should have been obvious that I took a shower and that was not what I had worked out in. 

It made me wonder.  I know he is a new trainer, so he doesn't know me at all.  I can give him the benefit of the doubt. 
- he saw that I had a pool key and knew I swam, there are lots of people that just swim (like me in the summer)?
-he didn't want to work me out in my bathing suit/tri shorts?
-he thought I was new to the gym based on the coupon I had?  They didn't give me one last time, and put me on the list right away instead.

At any rate, I started wondering if it was strange that I wear my jeans to the gym.  I pretty much wear them everyday after my workout.  Sometimes I will wear yoga pants over my running shorts or skirt if they don't fit well underneat on the way there, but for the most part, I wear my bathing suits and compression shorts under my jeans.  It is too much clothes to pack if I have to have a pre workout outfit, workout clothes, and post workout clothes if they are all different outfits.  The gym is a bit of a drive for me, so if I don't shower there, I have to come straight home, and that is it for errands for the day for me.  I am pretty casual, but I don't like going to places all sweaty, especially in cooler temps where I can get chilled easily.  I have noticed, though, that a lot of people don't shower at the gym.  I used to think that it was gross, but maybe they don't have to go anywhere, and would rather the privacy of their home.  I don't like changing in front of people, but I also don't like having my house destroyed by a toddler while I am in the shower at home.  That is me, though.  Everyone has a different situation.

I guess I went to a rather swanky gym in Novi before.  Most of the people who came in and out were professionals, and were coming in on a break from work.  Lost of ladies wore high heels and business clothing when coming and going, men wore suits.  There were also lots of fancy jeans.  We had two completely private "family" locker rooms where you could go if you did want want to have to get ready in front of people, and I did use them from time to time.  Yes, there were plenty of people in sweatsuits going in and out, but there were just as many people who would work out and then go somewhere else.  I don't know.  What do you wear to the gym?  I will still be wearing my jeans today.  I am swimming today, and to be honest, my jeans fit awesome under some of my compression shorts! They slide right on!

This leaves me with a few thoughts on Monday's session.  It is obvious that the trainer knows nothing about my background.  He will ask me goals, I am sure, when we sit down, and how often I work out, so that will give him some insight on what I do.  I am going to tell him about my April Marathon, and that I want to do an Ironman in 2015, probably a half IM or two nex year, and run a fast spring half marathon.  I am trying to figure out what to wear (and I am finally doing laundry so I can pick whatever):

A.  Something very non-descript and unassuming, like a solid black tank and black shorts
B.  Go full on sponsored out in either all Team Aquaphor gear or the more obnoxious "hunter" orange Team Stayput get up, or my Ironman 70.3 Muncie shirt
C.  Go the yuppie fitness route with a trendy patagonia tank layered over a black sports bra and workout skort, with my new free reeboks that have not been worn in bad weather yet, so they look brand new still.  I would need to throw on a bit of makeup BEFORE working out with this one.

I actually need to swim on Monday, so wearing a bathing suit and shorts would be most convenient, but also rather dorky.  I am not ready to go that route again.  Thoughts?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Stuff! LG Tone review and other random things I have tried out recently

Here is the real product review that I promised.  I was give an LG Tone (HBS-700) Wireless Stereo Headset from the folks at LG and to review.  The product was free of charge, in exchange for two reviews on retailer websites as well as any additional social media/networking, so here it goes.  The views expressed are my own.

The LG Tone uses bluetooth to connect with your bluetooth enabled cell phone/mp3 player.  We have bluetooth in our truck with Microsoft Sync to connect my phone, so that is pretty much what I wanted to use this for, but around the house while working in the kitchen or elsewhere in the house doing mommy type duties so that I can be hands free and still chat with my friends.  The calls are very clear and I have had very little problems with hearing my caller, and vice versa.  I am really bad at charging my phone on a regular basis, so a lot of the time I would get "stuck" to the wall with my phone plugged in.  Not any more! I can plug my phone into our center island and have free range of the kitchen!  The brochure says I get 33 feet, but I haven't tested that.  I love it for calls.  The earbuds fit pretty well.  I did get them tangled in my hair once, but I usually have my hair pulled back so it isn't a big deal.  Check me out wearing it!  (Don't mind my lax makeup today!)  You can just see the wires going from the headset to my ears.  I probably should have picked a solid backdrop.

However, it has so many more features!  I felt like I didn't take full advantage of it yet.  I didn't even know until my month trial period was almost up that my iTouch has bluetooth!  Cristina told me because she also received the LG Tone, and uses it when vacuuming her house.  Gosh!  I wish I had realized that sooner.  My iTouch doesn't have any music on it right now, so it didn't do me much good.  Like many people, my iTunes account is sort of messed up, so I set up my iTouch as its own account, and haven't put any music on it yet, and I am guessing it is going to take more than a few minutes to get it figure out.  Thankfully, I am allowed to keep the headset, although my reviews needed to be done by today, so I will be able to use it with my iPod eventually.  Once I do, I will be able to listen to my music through bluetooth in STEREO!  I can put my iPod on the shelf on the treadmill and not have to worry about the wires connecting me to it.  The wires on the headset are short, just going from it to my ears.  They also store in the ends by a magnet when they aren't in your ears. (oh, and I also learned from Cristina that there is some sort of Nano recall for the batteries, so I might be getting a new one of those bad boys, but will need to reload ALL of my music again onto it, so I am not sure if it will be worth the trouble). 

Now, onto the other random new things. 

I LOVE LED CANDLES!  They are the bomb!  I wasn't given any to test, but purchased a bunch from Costco.  They are so much safer around the kiddos, and the candlesticks and large pillars have timers so I don't need to touch them!  Yeah!  The pillars are also great on our mantel.  We have tons of real candles up there, but we have everything packed so dense that I was afraid to light any of them.  We will probably do it on Christmas Eve for a short time.  I am concerned with the heat from one flame melting the sides of another candle, and also that they are so close to the wall. I sort of wished we had them spaced more evenly, but we placed the German decorations first, and then fit the candles around them.  They don't stand out so much in the daytime because the blend into the wall and the decorations pop instead.  I was going to use small votives, closer to the front, and still might switch it. 

The first pack of candlesticks had a bad one, that just stayed on.  I bought a second pack, and still need to return the bad one to Costco.  I am not worried with their excellent return policy.  I just took one out of the new pack so we didn't have to take the batteries out of the first pack, as well as get out the extension ladder to get the one in our entryway window down.  They are a little "yellower" than we would like, compared with the really bright corded non leds on the sides of the house, but all I have seen around with timers are LEDs, and I don't know that another brand would be more white.  You can't really tell in this picture, but you can when you are in the house (btw, we were the weird neighbors hanging our garland from the porch at 10pm on Saturday, in the dark, because the weather was warm and it hadn't started pouring yet- we had several days of rain that followed this, and it was misting on us as it was).

We also got our  new tree from Costco.  It looks more real that our previous tree.  It is not as "shiny" looking as our other tree that Ryan described as a pipe cleaner, and it is a positive..  It has plastic wired branches that look really real.  They were a bit more challenging to get ornaments with small string loops onto, but anything with a big loop or hook was no problem.  It isn't LED, which we sort of wanted from an energy standpoint, but we liked the color of the regular bulbs better.
Soren thought it looked just like the picture on the box:

Here are a couple really mundane new things we tried this week too.  I got some Jif Natural Peanut Butter, and it was AWESOME!  I had tried Smuckers a while back and hated it.  The Jif does have sugar and molasses in it, so it isn't just peanuts.  It has the same calories as the reduced fat creamy and the regular crunchy.  It is a total winner!  I also bought some Meijer apple cider, and it was amazingly good too!  Perhaps it is because we have been out of cider for a while and just any cider was good, but it hit the spot!  It comes from MI, so it has likely made out of tasty MI apples.  Soren thought it tasted like Three Cedars (which is still closed, btw), but not as good as Parmenters.  I mainly wanted it to make pumpkin bread.  It doesn't taste nearly as good when made with water instead of replacing it with cider.  I don't think it is worth the calories when made without cider!  I also got egg nog, which is always fun this time of year.  I think I might need to try Bolthouse Farms nog.  It is a low calorie version, but I expect it to taste richer than the low fat kind I bought.  Has anyone tried it?  I love their juices, so I would expect it to be good.

We also got Elf on a Shelf.  It has been very fun, and practically all of Keira's classmates have one too, so I am glad she isn't left out.  It hasn't been quite as effective as we had hoped with Soren, but he is coming around. He took one look at the elf and scoffed, "that's not real, it's just a toy" on the first day, but he is now talking about how it moves magically from room to room.

On the converse, I got a few things that I didn't love so much.  I got the Honey Maid Gingerbread graham crackers and didn't love them.  There were very crumbly, and I am not sure what I think of them.  They have a nice gingerbread taste, but since they are a cracker, are super dry.  I guess that is what they are, though.  Maybe I should just make some gingerbread cookies and save these for house building.  They look like they are designed for that.  We also got a bunch of costco flushable wipes, and within a few days of using them with Soren, I had already clogged the toilet after he had a particularly bad accident.  I am sure it is just because I used too many, and it probably would have happened with any brand, but at any rate, I think we will be going back to Huggies wipes put in the trash or give the kid a shower if this happens again.  The garbage truck had just come, though, and the thought of poopy wipes sitting in the  garbage for a full week just grossed me out.  Not nearly as gross as the MASSIVE mess the toilet made that almost caused me to add my own puke to it, but now I know :)  I love having a sanitized bathroom, but just wish it didn't come as the result of an emergency, and just because I had some free time on my hands.

Finally, my training is getting back into the routine.  My mileage is pretty low, still, getting ready for the official plan to start in 11 days!  Yeah!  It do have to make some modifications due to Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday, and I have been forbidden to run on it.  I also may have some more glitches because my gym's childcare is closed on snow days here.  It wasn't in MI.  We always worked out on snow days in the past, and I was never afraid to venture out into the snow.  I do need new tires still, so that may limit me, but I guess if I don't take care of it soon enough, that is where I will be on our first snow day, since apparently no one goes anywhere with the slightest bit of snow on the ground.  I AM NOT AFRAID!  Bring it!  It was weird to decorate the tree in a running skirt, and I got hot once I changed into my normal clothes.  How on earth am I going to train for a spring marathon if I am not going to train in a blizzard?  Well, maybe that will be OK and I can deal with having some milder weather for training reasons.