The WW Report: A Runner's Perspective

After 10 weeks*, I am finally figuring a few things out. Even though math was not my best subject, even I have realized this:

Less junk in my trunk=a better running experience.

When baby has a bit less back, baby is a better runner**.

Sometimes math IS simple. Who knew?

*I lost 1.4 this week (total 14 , woo and a hoo!) and I am close to my 10% loss. I have decided to continue for a couple of more months and then reevaluate my goals.

**a few disclaimers: my pace has picked up some, I am a faster turtle; I am running more efficiently and I feel better.


Tumble Out of Bed and I Stumble to the Kitchen...

Pour myself a cup of ambition.

Even though I don't work 9-5 like Dolly sang about, I can relate to the first line of her song. A morning person, I am not.

I often dream of waking up well before my sweet family to get my run on, have quiet time/bible study, shower and get my face on, cook a nutritious breakfast, eat together at the table, kiss my husband goodbye and drive my daughter to preschool. This is the dream in which all of that happens and she arrives to school early.

And then I wake up.

In reality, my husband fends for himself and on preschool mornings our daughter usually eats her breakfast here.

Standing on her step stool at our kitchen counter. Could I be more proud?

Considering that last year she ate most of her breakfasts IN THE CAR, the counter is actually a step-up.

Well, it works for me! Maybe one day we will make it to the table for breakfast. Maybe.

Are you living my dream or my reality?


The BBBC: Book Selection for May

I don't know if I have Spring on my brain, or if I just like rabbits. Maybe both. I went upstairs to look for another possible book for the BBBC next month, and up on the tip top shelf sat this...

I thought to myself, "Self, what about Watership Down?"

Self liked the idea and I hope you do too. Believe me, you will never think the same about rabbits again.

Scurry, hop or scatter to find a copy of Watership Down, by Richard Adams for our next BBBC meeting May 25th. If you have never read it, I hope you will. If you have read it before, maybe it's the perfect time for a refresher.


A Green Random Act of Kindness

LOOK! Can you guess what this is? (Besides the two pink Crocs up in the air. That was A. climbing head first into her seat.) Yep, it's a whole lotta green in the back of our SUV. Last Thursday I decided, as I approached the checkout lanes at HEB, that I would invest in a few reusable shopping totes. After reading so many green themed SPTs and making greener pledges of my own, I figured the moment had come.

HEB sells them for .99 each, since I had a cart full of groceries I grabbed 5. One of the managers was helping to sack groceries in my lane when she noticed the bags. She told the checker to scan a coupon. Guess what? I got my reusable bags for FREE and I am helping our overworked planet.

That was so nice of her! I was prepared to buy them anyway, but FREE is just a bit sweeter. Thank you HEB!

These totes really do hold a lot of grub. I also like that they have large handles to carry them over your shoulder if needed. All in all, I ended up only using 4 plastic bags instead of 20. That felt good! And a bit greener.

Hmmm...is composting in my future? A worm farm?


The BBBC: To Kill a Mockingbird

Not too long ago I jumped head first into Depression era Maycomb, Alabama. And I did not want to leave. I wanted to put on denim overalls, peek through Boo Radley's window with Scout, Jem and Dill, eat some of Calpurnia's cooking (after going to church with her) and crawl up on Atticus' lap to read The Mobile Register.

I also wanted to slap (okay...I wanted to shoot) Bob Ewell.

This is at least the second, possibly the third time I have lost myself in Harper Lee's classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Her use of language is so descriptive and vibrant; it soaks into your skin and into your soul. Her words are not just read, they are felt. Even if I had never seen the film, I would still be able to picture Maycomb, Alabama and all of it's colorful characters, through Scout Finch's eyes and heart.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing." Scout, after her first day of school.

"First of all,"he said,"if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--"
"--until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." Atticus Finch

"The remainder of my schooldays were no more auspicious than the first. Indeed, they were an endless Project that slowly evolved into a Unit, in which miles of construction paper and wax crayon were expended by the State of Alabama in its well-meaning but fruitless efforts to teach me Group Dynamics."

"Jack! When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness' sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em."

"Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty."

"I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."That was the only time I ever hear Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. "Your father's right," she said. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

"It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do." Atticus Finch to Jem, after Mrs. Dubose died.

"Somewhere, I had received the impression that Fine Folks were people who did the best they could with the sense they had."

"I know what he was trying to do, but Atticus was only a man. It takes a woman to do that kind of work."

"I felt the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me, and for the second time in my life I thought of running away. Immediately."

"So it took an eight-year old child to bring 'em to their senses, didn't it?" said Atticus. "That proves something--that a gang of wild animals can be stopped, simply because they're still human. Hmp, maybe we need a police force of children." Atticus to Jem.

"He's the same in the courtroom as he is on the public streets." Scout to Dill, about Atticus.

I looked around. They were standing. All around us and in the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Sykes's voice was as distant as Judge Taylor's.
"Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'."

"As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it-whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash."-Atticus

"If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other? If they're all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time.it's because he wants to stay inside."-Jem

Sorry for the terribly long list, but many things struck me true to Southern behavior or heart wrenchingly poignant. Ms. Lee knew her characters, her town, the *way things were* between classes and colors of people. Hmmm...have things changed much?

It's hard to choose a favorite character, isn't it? Atticus for his integrity and example, Miss Maudie for speaking frankly, Dill for his fragile, but brave fantasies, Jem for working his way through growing up to be a man like his father, Scout for her innocence and precociousness, Boo Radley for being a watchful friend. They all meld together to form an unforgettable milieu. I liked them all (except for those no account Ewells of course), but hands down I enjoyed Scout the most.

What are your favorite quotes? Which character do you relate to best? Why is this story so well-loved?

Let's call the first BBBC meeting to order. The coffee is hot, the low-calorie treats are out(at least for me), let's curl up around our computers and discuss*.

*Please use a permalink when you add your post to Mr. Linky. Don't fret if you are not quite ready with your post today, just add it when you can, no worries.


The WW Report: The Clash Version

Should I stay or should I go?

This little debate has been occurring in my head lately about my Weight Watchers commitment. Just how long am I going to do this? Am I a 6 monther? A lifer? What exactly are my goals? Currently, I am still plugging along towards my 10% loss, which has been my first goal. However I am starting to look down the road a bit farther and wonder what will be next.

Always tease tease tease: The Scale

Last week I gained a pound, this week I lost 3.2. WW is quite the roller coaster ride. How long do I want to ride? I am happy by the loss I have had so far, and know even reaching a 10% will be a noticeable difference.

If I go there will be trouble...

If I stop WW too soon, I will certainly gain back what I have accomplished. I am a creature of habit, and my bad eating habits will most likely return when I am not committed to a program.

If I stay it will be double...

It may take several more months to lose well beyond the 10%. Am I in this for the long haul? We'll see. I am intrigued by the possibility of rediscovering my pre-marriage self, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. How badly do I want to try to reclaim it? Right now I don't know for sure. I suppose I will cross that bridge when I get closer to it.

This indecision's bugging me...

The WW program is flexible and I have already learned so much about portion control while still eating regular food. I am practicing habits I already knew, but WW gives me the accountability to actually follow them.

Well come on and let me know
should I stay or should I go?


SPT: The Green Generation

This week's SPT challenge had impeccable timing, since today is Earth Day and all. That sneaky Lelly, I bet she planned it that way. You can't get anything past her.

While green IS one of my favorite colors, I must admit I don't live the best Green Lifestyle. This does weigh on my conscience at times. Other times, when I am driving my SUV, with the back filled with plastic grocery bags and an Ozarka water bottle tucked in my purse...notsomuch.

I watched the Oprah's Live on Less Challenge last week and actually thought to my smug little self, "Well, we're not THAT bad."

But. We aren't great either.

Since I am a firm believer in the Baby Steps approach to most things, I am going to apply it to going green. Here are some things we already do, and some things I plan to do.

We already recycle newspaper, cans and plastics. Thankfully we have curbside pick up, otherwise...

Be more conservative with our *accent lighting for atmosphere*.
Buy reusable shopping bags. And use them.
I have adopted Kristi's method of recycling boxes for Good Mail.

I pledge to use my Nalgene bottle more and the little bottles less.

*Plus, I wore a green shirt in honor of this SPT and of course Earth Day. HeeHee.

I know as a family we can, and should do more. I also pledge to learn about other steps we can take and try to add a few new Green Habits this year..

Pop on over to Lelly's blog to read about other bloggers' greenness.


Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

On a whim a few days ago, after my dad's tiller did not sell in our garage sale, I planted (hahaha) an idea in his cap. I casually mentioned that Annelise would probably enjoy planting and watching things grow, and since no one bought his tiller, maybe that was a sign that he should keep it a bit longer. See where I was going with this?

Monday afternoon he appeared in our back yard ready to till something. Yea!

He received plenty of support from the peanut gallery as he worked.

The next afternoon he mixed in, ahem, manure and formed two nice rows into Our Garden. Unlike Mary with her silver bells, cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row, we are trying some of these...

Annelise and I planted some of these seeds in small pots to grow seedlings first. Then she and Pappo planted the tomato plants we bought. She LOVES all things tomato and is thrilled to be growing some of her own.

My quirky touch was to ask Scott to *plant* this headboard we bought several years ago in Canton. He was kind enough to humor me.

See, it's our Garden Bed. (Cue hysterical laughter.)

Things are pretty calm now as we wait for the seedlings to sprout. It's kinda like watching grass grow. (Cue more hysterical laughter.) I'll keep you posted.


Well, Cry Me a River

I must apologize in advance for this whiny post, yet I feel I must write it anyway. Since this is my blog and all.

I realize I do not have ANYTHING to complain or whine about when I step outside of my silly head. But. Still. I am disappointed with my choices lately. I only ran once this past week. Once! I am sure this fact is contributing to my overall blahesque mood. I have not been using my time wisely either. I spent way, way too long yesterday on the computer working on my first Blurb book. Where did the time go? Seriously shameful. There are things I need to do, things I should do, but I am not doing them. Then there is the whole WW thing. Somewhere around Thursday I stopped tracking my points. Two words: emotional eating. This will NOT bode well for the meeting tomorrow morning.

Okay, my silly little self-pity list could go on. And on. How can I type a raspberry sound? Well, use your imagination.

But I'll stop.

Today is a new day. I'll try to do better.



SPT: What Was I Thinking?

While I normally choose to shop here...

today though, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone (of course, no birds were actually harmed in the making of this SPT) and go to the Not So Happy Face Place.

Where else could I buy bags of, ahem, manure, tomato plants, office type supplies, ahem, feminine products, bottled water and soup?

Annelise and I stopped by after my workout at the Y, so please excuse my sweaty, no-make-up self. I figured we would just blend in. We did.

Here we are getting three bags of, ahem, manure.

I thought I was so smart to try and get everything we needed here. However, they did not have the clipboards I needed for a craft project for church. GRRR. I became more GRRRish as I tried to navigate our cart, which was laden with, ahem, manure, through the crowded aisles.

After finding two--out of 30--check-out lanes open our trip to the Not So Happy Face Place was almost done.
What Was I Thinking??

Be sure to stop by Lelly's Blog to see what others have been thinking.


Garage Sale-A-Po-Looza

7+++ years of odds and ends collecting dust (among other things) and taking up too much space.

Late nights and early weekend mornings.

Hauling, arranging, cleaning, pricing, haggling over said pricing, selling all this junk...er, treasure.

Equals Garage-Sale-A-Po-Looza 2008. Here are a few highlights...

Annelise practiced her burgeoning marketing skills by making a sign (with a little help). In the background is my Dressy Bessy, rescued from the depths of the garage. I gave her a bath and now Annelise can play with her.

Watching Scott eat his Chick-Fil-A sandwich while exercising on our Power Rider was quite hysterical. It still didn't help sell it.

I was also excited to find a little wooden purse my mom had made me back when she was decoupaging anything not nailed down. This Aunt Jemima doll was also found to my delight. What completely cracks me up is the fact that when you flip her upside down, this is underneath...

A Swiss Alps girl. Isn't that the most absurd doll? But, it's still a keeper.

Other boxes revealed rather unfortunate periods in my decorating past. I could not even bring myself to take a picture because it was so frightening. Just imagine angels, country blue and mauve, stuffed bears, fake flowers, and even bunnies on a string. Thankfully, there were no ducks, but it was still quite embarrassing.

Putting all your junk on display with small colorful stickers proclaiming merrily, .25, .50, $2.00, $10.00, Make Offer, etc. is humiliating on some levels, yet also exhilarating when it actually sells. And when you see who buys it.

Saturday afternoon finished up much in the way it began, hauling, arranging some things back into the garage, trashing or donating the rest.

Garage-Sale-A-Po-Looza 2008 was over.

Thank goodness we don't have to do it again for 7+++ more years.*

*Of course, that is the very attitude that allowed all those treasures to accumulate in the first place.


It's A Slippery Slope

Of soccer snacks.

Each family takes a turn bringing a drink and a snack for after practices and games. Scott and I are constantly amazed at what *snacks* are provided. What are these parents thinking? What do these kidlets eat at home? Here are some of the more memorable selections:

~Juice bags with apple slices. This was okay-ish. To me though, if you have juice, maybe you should have something from the cracker family. Am I crazy?

~Kool-Aid in little plastic bottles with Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. Yes.

~Juice bags with 3 FEET of *fruit* roll up. Annelise had never even seen that before.

~Juice with Rice Krispie treats.

Oh the humanity.

So, Scott has declared what we will bring for snack when it's our turn...

I think it will be a hit.
What do you think?


Get Yourself Some Running MoJo

Along my journey of trying to become a runner, I have learned many things. Some have been learned from fellow runners or Runner's World magazine, others from my feet hitting the streets. There certainly are physical things that help you run better and with a degree of comfort. These are your running essentials, like your clothes and a good pair of shoes. Some Body Glide and hydration system (whether it's water/sport drink stashed along your route or a Fuel Belt) are essentials as well. Everything else is an accessory.

One of the most important lessons I have learned is that running is 90% mental. Seriously. Your brain controls what your body is doing, sometimes it is in sync with your body and running is glorious, other times your brain does everything it can to get your body to stop.

That's why you have to create your own running mojo. For each runner it's different. You may need to rely on several mental tricks, even during the same run, to keep your mojo working. I like to think of them as friendly diversions to help you forget what your legs and feet are up to.

Here are possible mojo makers:

~Music that keeps you distracted and energized. If your play list is a bit old, freshen it up with a couple of new tunes and see the difference that makes.

~Choose some landmarks to run towards, even a street sign or certain tree along your route. Keep telling yourself, I must make it to that telephone pole or sign or building. When you get there, choose ANOTHER landmark to run towards, and so on until you finish your run.

~Find a running buddy (or group) to keep you company along your route.

~Pray. Seriously. What a great time to talk with our Heavenly Father when you are out among His creation, right?

~Play I Spy.

~Choose a mantra, like a short phrase or even a word to repeat to yourself. Anything from, "I think I can" to, "One more mile" or even, "Brownie when I'm done". Whatever works for you.

~Run without your watch or GPS. Just enjoy the freedom.

~Change up your route.

~Set a goal, whether it's a 5K or marathon, for which to train. This really keeps you focused.

These are just some tricks that have worked for me when my brain and feet are rebelling. Sometimes it takes all of them to get it done, but that's A-OK. The feeling of accomplishment is so worth it. The brownie isn't bad either. Smirk.

What about you? How do you find your running mojo?

The WW Report: Milestone Week

After several weeks of small losses, and a wash out week with a gain, I have finally met my first WW goal. Stepping on the scale Monday morning revealed a 2 pound loss, which makes a total of 10 pounds lost in six weeks. I wanted to throw some confetti, but I restrained myself. I do feel like I am accomplishing something, even in small increments. Now I am focusing on my next goal, which is my 10% loss.

Latest favorite meal: mixed greens, chopped pear, sliced strawberries, tuna, splash of light Balsamic vinaigrette and a dash of reduced fat Feta cheese. Tasty and tangy. I have been meaning to take a picture of how happy this salad looks, but I always jump right in with my fork!

Motivated by: adding activity points. Adding those in the tracker makes deleting my daily food points a bit easier. By the way, my half marathon earned 27 points! WOWza.

I want you to know that I appreciate your support and encouragement as I ride the WW rollercoaster. If you are on WW,or making some changes on your own, I'd love to hear about it so I can cheer you on too.


13.55 Miles Actually, But Who's Counting?

That would be me.

And the other runners who used their Garmins. Maybe Angie was Half Crazy when she mapped out the course, or someone pulled a late April Fool's prank, but the route ended up a tad on the LONG side. Oops.

Since this was my first race since January and I was going into it considering 4.5 miles to be a long training run, these feet were a bit nervous Sunday morning.

I carried my cell phone in the pocket of my Fuel Belt so I could get a few shots during the race.

Well, I took a total of two.

Turns out, as the race went on, I had no desire to mess with taking pictures. Sorry. Since the race was practically in my backyard, along some of our training routes, I was a little bored by the scenery. I had an actual inkling of taking a picture of NASA/JSC as I trotted by, but then I got over it.

The Good:
Local race. Very well organized and supported for being an inaugural event. Aid stations had water, Gatorade, oranges, pretzels, Jolly Ranchers and oreos. A few stations had cold sponges which were so refreshing. Friendly, excited volunteers. Nice BLING that included a colorful finisher's medal, technical shirt, sport bottle and race bag. Free massages after. Festive post race party with music and BBQ. My body remembered what to do and I ran without any issues.

The Borderline Not So Good:
It was warm and humid, but you can't control that. I poured water down the back of my neck and used the cold sponges at some of the aid stations. The ice cold towel handed to me as I crossed the finish line was so delightful, I briefly considered marrying it. Even though the course ended up being over 13.1, that was okay. I can say that now, of course, at the time...not so much.

Overall I had a great race experience. I feel jazzed about running again...and plan to talk more about it, so stay tuned.


We Are Girls Who Love to Run: The Winners

Tonight, using my highly advanced system, I drew two names for the We Are Girls Who Love to Run giveaway. I am happy to announce the two winners are...drum roll...Crystal and Suzy!! Congratulations ladies! Drop me an email with your addresses and I will send your autographed copy to you. Thanks so much to Brianna for being so generous to share these books with us! It is exciting to see the joy of running being spread to girls of ALL ages.


SPTF: I Will Remember You

I was disappointed, and even a tad bit skeptical, when Lelly announced she was taking a break from blogging and SPTs for a while. While I understood, I knew I would miss doing her weekly challenges. Her challenge this week was to get ourselves gussied up and take a picture so she could remember us during her blogging break. Isn't that sweet?

Well, that sweet little rascal got us good! She played an April Fool's joke on us. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker too. Glub. Gurgle.

In shameless vanity though, I waited to do this week's challenge until AFTER my hair appointment this morning. Don't hold it against me, it was in your eyesight's best interest for me to do this post a few days late. Truly.

Be sure to stop by that rascal's blog and enjoy other interpretations of her challenge.


What Does This Say About Me?

A.) It's true, don't shop when you are hungry. Especially after a workout at the Y.

B.) I like variety and quantity in my low calorie frozen treats.

C.) Someone hopes the sheer volume of said treats will be overlooked by the ground white turkey, tuna, whole wheat english muffins, milk, Fiber One cereal, yogurt, apples, bananas, strawberries and salad that are scanned first.

D.) I am slightly OCD since I group my items on the check out belt in like categories.

E.) All of the above.

What does your shopping cart say about you?


It Just May Not Be In The Cards For Me

I am beginning to think I am never going to have an ideal pedicure experience. Remember the last time I went? I am in no way a Pedi Diva. The spa like frills are nice, on occasion, but I am happy with the basics. This includes, but is not limited to, a semi-peaceful environment where I can escape into my book while my feet are cutsied up and my back is massaged by the chair. Simple really.

Cell phones and small children should be turned off.

Personal conversations should be reserved, for shall we say, a more personal environment.

Cell phones aside, today's episode involves something else. After my feet, it was time to adjourn to the waxing room for a brow and, yes, lip wax. The nice lady seemed quite concerned about how I was feeling. I replied, "Oh, fine thanks." She continued to stare at me and then asked...

wait for it

"How far along are you?" all the while making vague circles around her abdomen.

In the words of Gary Coleman AGAIN, "Whatchu talkin' about Willis?"

I laughed it off* and replied, "Oh, hahaha (through gritted teeth), I'm not...you must be thinking of someone else."

Of course she then apologized and said she had confused me with another client. WhatEVAH.

And then rrrip...she pulled off the wax strips.

*I am choosing to believe she really did confuse me with someone else, because HELLO, I am on WW and I lost .6 pounds last week.


We Are Girls Who Love To Run: A Giveaway

I realize that over the last few months I have not talked about running very much. In fact, I have talked about it so little that I am beginning to feel guilty about my title for this dear ol' blog. Fear not, Marathon Bird is still running. Some weeks I get more runs in than others; one day I might be pounding the pavement and the next day be a hamster on a treadmill; sometimes I am faster and sometimes I feel like sludge.

I still love this whole running thing. I really do.

In fact, I am about to participate in my 11th half marathon this weekend. This running thing, it's addictive.

I have not always considered myself a runner, but now I do. Running has changed me both mentally and physically for the better. I run for many reasons, most of all because it challenges my body and frees my mind.

As a mother, I want my daughter to have confidence, a strong self esteem, and to be healthy and active. I also hope she develops a love for running. One of my dreams is participating in running events as a family, from Kids' Ks all the way up to Half or Full Marathons someday.

Someone who shares a passion for running recently gave me the opportunity to host a special giveaway. I am so excited to share this with YOU...

Brianna K. Grant is a wife, mother, and runner. She is also the author of the inspirational children's book We Are Girls Who Run. The story is not only about girls of all ages who find joy and confidence through running, but also about the importance of having a positive self-image, making healthy choices, and expressing feelings. This book is a celebration of all the wonderful qualities that girls possess. The illustrations are vibrant and imaginative as well, truly making the story come to life. Something else that makes this book special is that it is written in English and in Spanish. I think it would be a treasure to have on your child's bookshelf.

I feel so lucky to be able to share this book with YOU. If you would like a chance to win a copy of We Are Girls Who Love To Run, all you have to do is leave a comment (one per person please). That's it! Tell your friends and feel free to mention this giveaway on your blog to help spread the word. Since my half marathon is this Sunday, I will draw TWO names--that's right, Brianna was so generous to share TWO AUTOGRAPHED copies--@ 9:00 PM CST, Sunday April 6th.

Good luck friends!
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