Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen: November 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday's Five

What a week it has been! I love Thanksgiving! I have had limited internet connection/time at the hotel that has the internet so I haven't been writing as much as I have wanted. We have been out enjoying a TON of family time. Leaving early and staying out super late! And let me say that the kiddos have been such great sports and AMAZING!
~How Mason slept on the plane!~

Today I wanted to let you know what my favorite 5 things are from this week! Why not, it is Thanksgiving!

1. FAMILY- How can this not be first?!? We have had so much family time. It has been amazing! I am so thankful that my kids have this chance, especially Mason now since he is old enough to really have fun and start remembering. I love seeing my kids with their Grandparents. How Mason loves his Guppy! And loves to talk to his Gummy! Going to the Zoo, seeing Dinosaurs and so on! It has just been so much fun playing and spending time with everyone we saw!
~Mason went to the Walking with Dinosaurs show with Guppy and Matt the day we got in and found this AWESOME poster with his FAV super hero, Captain America!~

2. Mexican Food- I miss real Mexican Food! Charlottesville is great and has amazing different food choices to pick from but Mexican food is not one of them. Enjoyed going to our favorite Mexican restaurant while in town. (and my fav cafe too! but it isn't Mexican food at all!)

3. Mountains- I forgot how beautiful real mountains are! They are seriously majestic. Love them!

4. Thanksgiving- I love Turkey Day! The food, feast, would actually be more correct. Had quite the gathering yesterday with Matt's family for a potluck Thanksgiving. And the food was great! Tried super hard to eat right, filled half my plate with salad but man the sweet potato casserole (no marshmallows) was AMAZING!

5. Arizona and Utah- I finally admitted to Matt how I do actually miss living in the valley of the sun. It is beautiful. The different types of flowers and some that are the same as in VA. I had fun on my run last Saturday naming the plants that I know. And of course the weather was AMAZING! Utah- I forgot how beautiful this place is. The mountains are all snow capped and it is quite beautiful. And the roads are so WIDE! It's the little things people!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Road Not Taken

You guys! YOU HAVE TO READ this blog post by my friend and fellow Blogger Jen! She is amazing and I kid you not I was balling my eyes out reading her amazing race recap! She is an elite runner and someone I look up to and admire so much because of her hard work and dedication. She ran the New York City Marathon at 6 months postpartum and it didn't go quite as planned and 2 week later she decided THE NIGHT BEFORE to run a local marathon and KICKED IT'S BUTT!

Such an amazing story about not giving up and listening to your body. Please read this! Don't forget to give her a shout out in the comments too!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Collin is 6 MONTHS

I can't get over how fast the past 6 months have gone. They literally just flew by. And I keep thinking that Collin really isn't as old as he is. Maybe it is because with Mason, he was only 4 months old at Thanksgiving and such and I am not on the timeline quite yet of Collin, but intact he is 6 months old at Thanksgiving.

I have so much to be thankful for with him. He is such a good baby. Even when he is crying at night, I still love him. He is such an efficient nurser. He gets the job done fast and is over and done with. When he is happy, he is really happy and he often doesn't get mad. Except for 2 am sometimes. He will be transition to his room for good I think this month because we are at the point where we are just keeping each other up at night and that just isn't cool!

He is mobile! He is crawling. And it is the weirdest thing to watch. He isn't old enough I keep thinking about it. All the sudden I see his little head bob back and forth and off he goes. He can't really sit up on his own yet, doesn't like to roll over and mostly it is not of his own free will and he can't get into a sitting position on his own. He is just crawling to get to the toys his brother has or to keep up with brother.

This past month we saw how much he and Mason really do love each other and understand each other. Mason makes it a point every night to give Collin a hug and muah, as he calls it. Mason has also started saying, Hi Brother. Or he will inform me that Collin is his brother. And also tells him that he loves him while patting his head like a dog. It really is so cute and melts my heart. Collin celebrated his first Halloween and passed out in the middle of it. The life of a baby!

We are so thankful that this little guy is part of our family! Everyone comments how much he and Mason look alike and it really is unreal how much they are corbon copies of each other, except for the hair. Mason was quite dark and had a lot more hair and Collin is quite blond.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Life Happenings

I am at that point in my life where I totally relate with other mothers. My house is no longer spotless as it once was. Yes maybe the main living room is very clean 3 days a week, but that is because I teach and it has to be clean! But the rest of my house, nope. It was a disaster. Piles of clean laundry waiting to be put away. Piles of dirty laundry, the never ending laundry as I am calling it now, waiting to be cleaned. Toys, toys and more toys all over the floor. Kitchen gets cleaned regularly only because of health reasons, but somedays the dishes pile high waiting for me to get busy.

This past weekend, Matt and I tackled the house and did a nice "fall cleaning." Thanks in part to having so many guests over for various activities. That's good motivation to get the house clean. People coming over! When the hubs helps out, and helps out A LOT then you know you are due for a good cleaning! I am now sitting in a pretty darn clean house now and it just feels SO GOOD! i have been making my bed, and trying to put things back where they are supposed to go and such. Finally sorted through all the clothing that was given to us for Collin and Mason too, so now we can see the floor in the nursery again and it is ready for Collin to move in there full time!

Few tricks I have learned this past weekend. Laundry is overwhelming to me. I hate doing it. I was just letting it pile up, which would mean laundry day turns into days and that is why we had clean clothing waiting to be put away. I finally realized that we no longer have just 1 laundry day a week. And that's ok. And I have to do smaller loads otherwise it just is too much for me to do with a 3 year old climbing all over the clothes as I am folding and a 6 month old screaming at me. Smaller is better.

Goals now are to keep the house more tip top shape. Doing more small things to help with the big picture. But you know what? Cleaning shouldn't take forever to do because that is just time I am missing being with my kids. So doing a little everyday is the key for me right now.

Any other mother's out there have any advice for me?

Monday, November 17, 2014

November Week 2 Recap

So glad that this week is over and done with. I hate being sick. I don't want to push my body too much so that I stay sick forever but I also don't want to miss my exercise runs or anything and yep, I missed a run. It is the additional run day but I still missed a run and that makes me frustrated! But I did get Monday and Wednesday's run so at least I did that. I am at the beginning of my training and already having to miss my run is so not a cool way to start out.

I did get an early birthday present from the hubs. I have been asking for over a year to get a Garmin running watch and I finally got one and I LOVE IT! I went with the Forerunner 15 because of the battery life, and step counter. Debating on getting the foot pod to wear when on the treadmill. I have been using it at the gym during the week and I got to use it for the first time with GPS on Saturday. I have a lovely little map of a circle since I was running around on the track. But pretty soon I will be out and about and having cool looking maps!

I have been super jealous of all the races going on this past week that I haven't been apart of. I definitely have that "race fever!" I miss running in a race, but I am not prepared in anyway to be running a race quite yet. Still have training to go but thankful that I am missing not running. I have been looking at training plans for future races that I would love to run. (I looked at the Dopey race training plan by Jeff Galloway and wow! SCARY! Then I moved over to the WDW Marathon plan and that looks about right!) A girl can dream right! But I am planning on running which is the amazing part. Now to lose some of this giggle on my hips, but and tummy!

Collin Update: Collin is full on crawling now. Before 6 months old and he can make his way  around the house. It is so weird to look up and see him crawling to toys he wants to his brother. He has crawled to me once. I ask him, " Why you crawling away from me!" all the time and he just gives me the cutest little toothless grin showing me that he is super proud of what he is doing. And he isn't as frustrated anymore with the fact that he couldn't get around. He is so happy, and he is sleeping a little better now since he is exerting himself more.

Mason Update: Oh Mason! My pill of a boy 3 year old. He is doing so well in the gym daycare. He loves going. Gives me a hug and a kiss then pushes me away to go play. He has been interacting with his brother a ton more lately too. Saying "Hi Car-r" (can't quite say his L and so it sounds like he is saying car with 2 syllables.) He then pats Collin's head. It is cute. He has this thing now that he has to give all of us, including the dog, Archer a hug and kiss before he goes to bed. I did have Mason run 2 laps with me around the small track at the gym. He loved it and was trying to race me. (This was after my run already!) All the older folks at the gym sure got a kick out of it too!

Workout Recap: 
Sunday: Yoga
Monday: 2.25 miles- 35 min total. 1.25 mile timed: 15:12 min/mile
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 3.65 miles- 60 min total. 1.25 mile timed: 15:21 min/mile
Thursday: sick
Friday: sick (should have done something. felt better. got lazy)
Saturday: 1.80 miles. 30 min total. Run/ walk intervals. Running intervals we at a 12 min/mile avg. Just need to learn how to take shorter walking intervals.

Total Mileage: 7.7 miles total

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Starting Over

Can I just tell you that starting over with running, and yes I am starting from square 0, is really, really, REALLY hard to do! It just isn't fun. I am going through the same pains now that I did last year when I first started running with the 4 miler training program. I have shin splints again. And they really suck! I have noticed though since I have been trying to do more mileage than is required, even though it is just walking, that after the first mile and a half my legs are finally warmed up and fine.

This is the frustrating part. The first mile sucks and it takes me 1.5 miles for my legs to cooperate and to deal with what is going on with them. But at this point my required mileage is just over a mile.

But here is the cool part. I have a goal. I want to do this. I want to get back in running shape. And this is a great reminder to not stop running again. Even when I do get pregnant again, I will continue to run just as I did before. As long as my body will let me. This is also good motivation to eat better too because I am carrying more weight on my body and that is another reason why my body hurts while running. All I have to do is just keep on running. That's it. Just keep doing it.

Oh and another cool thing, hubs knew I have been wanting the Garmin Forerunner 15 for awhile now and he got it to help me with my training! Can't wait to use it on Saturday morning!

QOTD: Have you ever had to restart your running? How long did it take for you to feel normal again?

Monday, November 10, 2014

November Week 1 Recap

HELLO to November! Here comes the hard part about this time of year. It is like a constant flow of sweets, treats and all the stuff we shouldn't eat, all begin with NOV 1. Left over Halloween candy, holiday parties and baby it gets cold outside, so lots of home baked goods! To say we haven't indulged a little would be a lie. I have cookie dough ready to make in the fridge now, make for a friend and freeze the rest. But this is also the time that we can counteract all the delicious treats with MORE EXERCISE! And More exercise I did! WAHOO!

This was my first week back at the gym and I took full advantage of that. And being the emotional postpartum mommy I am right now I cried when I took Collin and left him there for the first time. It was just weird to drop him off and leave him. It isn't like I hadn't done that with Matt but this is the first time I left Collin with someone other than family. It was just a little weird, but then I got over it and went and exercised. Only to be so happy to pick him up after my time was done. I am so happy to be back at the gym and I am enjoying it!

Collin update: Collin is in the beginning awkward stages of crawling. He has been doing the "worm" crawl all week but as of last night he is now moving a hand with a knee then falls over. He will be crawling before Thanksgiving. GET READY FAMILY Because he is going to be EVERYWHERE! He is just such a happy go lucky baby and I LOVE THAT!

Mason update: Mason is just Mason. He is showing a lot more affection towards his brother and makes sure to give him a "HAR-UM-MUAH" ever night (hug and kiss) He loves that there is candy in the house. He is only getting 2 pieces a day. (I say only) but he only asks for it in the morning. He is getting so big though. He also went to the dentist for the first time this past week and was a champ! He keeps talking about how he needs to go back to the Teeth Doctor. Good thing, he lets us now brush and FLOSS his teeth without it being a big fight. So for that I am thankful! I will be having surgery at the beginning of the year on my mouth sadly. French horn playing has taken a toll on my poor bottom gums and I will have to have a gum graft. Now on to find a gooparodontitis. Not looking forward to that. 

Overall things have been great! My training is going well. I have been keeping track through RunKeeper. I have 130 days to get even better and more comfortable in my running before the 10 miler! 

Workout Recap: 
Sunday: Yoga Fix
Monday: 1.85 miles walk and run (1 mile run 14:30 min/mile .85 miles walk)- 30 min total; 1 mile on elliptical
Tuesday: 2.36 mile walk
Wednesday: PiYo Lower Fix 
Thursday: 3 miles walk and run (1 mile 14:00 min/mile - 2 mile walk) - 50 min total
Friday: rest
Saturday: 1.5 miles walk/run 1.25 mile - 1/4 mile cool down - 20:32 total for both making it a 13:41 min/mile (including cool down!) 

So I am getting better and pushing myself. My body is tired and I am starting to get sick. I can feel it. Nose stuffed and my patience fuse is a little low. It doesn't help that Collin is waking up nearly ever hour at night right now to feed. Gotta love the 6 month growth spurt! 

Total Mileage for run/walk: 8.71 miles. No wonder why my body was super tired on Friday! Mileage only goes up from here though! Not too bad for my first week back!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

What's Cookin' Good Lookin'?

I found this online today and let me tell you! This is going to be going on up in our house tomorrow night! Yep! Not sure if I can find blood oranges but can't go wrong with navel oranges, right!

  • 1 bulb garlic, end cut to expose the cloves
  • EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • 1 cup wild-and-brown rice blend, such as Whole Foods brand, or make your own blend from bulk bins at market (1 part wild rice to 4 parts brown rice)
  • 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups chicken stock 
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, 3 stems, finely chopped 
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper* 
  • Salt and pepper* 
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 6 slices
  • 3 4- to 6-inch skewers, soaked in water 
  • 2 lemons, halved 
  • 1 blood orange or navel orange, halved 
  • Baby kale or arugula, a few handfuls to garnish 
    Preheat oven to 400°F. Place garlic bulb on a piece of foil, drizzle with
    EVOO and wrap tightly. Roast 40 minutes or so until cloves are soft and
    light golden in color. Cool to handle then squish cloves from skins into a
    bowl and mash into a paste.
    Place 1 cup rice blend and 2 1/4 cups stock in a pot with 1 tablespoon
    olive oil. Whisk in garlic paste and add rosemary, salt and pepper.
    Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 30 minutes,
    stirring occasionally, turn off heat and let stand 10-15 minutes. Fluff
    with fork and add the pine nuts. If rice gets a little dry before it’s fully
    cooked, add another 1/4 cup stock.
    Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare an outdoor grill. 
    Slice the chicken breast thinly, working across the breast, into large
    medallions. Lightly pound to make the medallions thinner. Dress
    with about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with red pepper and liberally
    with salt and black pepper or use your favorite seasoning blend. Secure
    the onion slices on the bamboo skewers. 
    Grill the chicken about 2 minutes on each side and remove medallions
    to platter.  Grill onions until marked and tender, 7-8 minutes. Grill
    cut citrus until charred and well-marked, about 4 minutes. Douse the
    chicken with grilled citrus juices and let stand for about 15 minutes
    and up to 1 hour.
    Serve a bed of rice in shallow bowl and top with grilled onion rings
    and chicken medallions. Top with a few leaves of arugula or baby kale.      
- See more at:

Friday, November 7, 2014

Morning Workouts! HA!

So I said a couple months ago that I was going to try to workout early in the morning. That hasn't really happened yet, but soon or later I am going to have to make that transition. Here are some ways to help get us to stop hitting the snooze button and get up and out the door!

1) Prep The Night Before- I already do this now. When I have my training group on Saturday mornings I put all my clothing out, including my socks so that I don't have to think about it in the morning. I can just get up, get dressed and get out the door.

2) Get A Morning Buddy- If you have a friend getting up at the same time as you, that you are going to meet, you are more likely to get up and get going! Or if you aren't meeting them send a message to them saying, "I'm up are you!" Make it a game. If you sleep in X amount of times you owe them a breakfast or something.

3) Don't start cold turkey!- Let's say you wake up at 7am everyday. Don't try to wake up at 4:30am tomorrow. Trust me, it won't happen! Try for 6:30am for a week or 2 to get used to it. And then go a little earlier gradually!

4) Make it a routine- And stick with it. Don't do this for one week then decide something else then try to go back. If you make this move you must stick to it!

5) Have a good reason to get up!- You need to have that motivation to get up or else you will hit snooze every morning. If this is the only time that you can go running out on the street before it gets too hot, or the kids wake up, do it! 

Be patient and give yourself time to adjust to your new schedule! And you too can be an early morning workout person!

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here to join my private online community where you get info, tips, support and encouragement + a free gift with tips to help you get started with the right mindset for healthier nutrition choices TODAY!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

10 Miler Training Plan

I am in a local training group for my upcoming race, so a lot of the guess work for my training is already taken care of for me. I was given a handout with how many miles to run on X day and I'm golden. The training calls for weekly runs on Monday, Wednesdays and starting next week adding Thursday runs as well, then the long run with the group on Saturday mornings. Sounds easy.

My goals for the race though are I want to go into it strong. There are a lot of hills. That's Charlottesville for ya! So I am making sure to do strength training this time around. I did not do any strength training at all for the Princess half I trained for. Plus adding in yoga to keep me limber and stretched. ENTER PIYO! I am going to be doing a PiYo routine at least once a week to get the lower body strength training and stretching that I need. As you know buns, and core are my fav workouts in that series and I will be doing lower define too. Still debating on the rotation. Those workouts will be earlier in the week. As far away from the long run as possible!

For upper body strength I will be doing 21 day fix and possibly PiYo. But have thought about adding in P90X too. (mainly for core though)

I also want to increase my speed. That means less walking breaks and just a faster run in general. With previous trainings I ran around a 4.5 speed on the treadmill with walking between a 3.8-4.0. I avg to a 14:30 min/mile.

This time I want my running to be in the 5.0-5.5 range, and minimal walking breaks. The cool thing about my training group is that on Saturdays we will be running on parts of the actual course so my body will be used to the hills by race time. But I know I can do the 5.0-5.5 speed because I have done it before. I just have to find that groove and stick to it! Goal under 2 hours and 15 min  for the 10 miler. (I think that is realistic. I would love under 2 hours but I have to be honest and real!)

So weekly my training plan will look like this!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

So Easy?

Why is it so hard to stay healthy and to eat well? Why is it so easy to gain weight? Do you ever ask yourselves these questions? I do. All. The. Time. I wish it wasn't so easy to gain weight that it was just something that happened to stay the same weight and never gain no matter what we ate. But it is easy. And it is so hard to take off the weight!

I look at my now 5 month old. He isn't active, well he is for 5 months, but he doesn't run around like his crazy older brother. Collin has rolls for days. And it is ok for him to be pudgy and have rolls and heaven knows that I love those rolls. But he is a prime example to what happens to us. In the 5 months he has bulked up to be the Michelin Man of babies, (there are babies out there that have way more rolls by the way.)

Or the Wall-e effect. At the end of the movie you see what happens to the humans. They are all in the floating chairs and no one walks. They lose muscle mass, and fat overtakes their bodies. And it takes strong hard work to get their bodies healthy again.

This is what happens to our bodies. If we just gorge on food we will gain weight. Our bodies need activity in general. That is why we have 2 legs to move us around and strong arms to lift things. Our bodies crave to move. As hard as it is to be active our bodies actually really like it.

So why is it so hard to stay healthy and eat well? Well, cause it just is. This is just one of those things that we face on this earth is to learn how to take care of our bodies so that they function to the best of their ability. It is sad but true. It takes daily work to eat healthy and to stay healthy. Time to stop making excuses and just deal with it. It is hard work. But the benefits to being healthy are ENDLESS! I want to be here for my kids! I want to be able to travel the world after my kids leave the house and explore this amazing world. Go off the beaten path as it were and enjoy life as long as I can. I want to be an example for my kids that being healthy is a way of life. I don't want them to have to work as hard as I have had to do or deal with the lower self confidence that you have as a kid with being overweight. I want to enjoy life!

~This post was my mental kick in the face I need to keep eating right and not falling off the wagon and eat things I want to eat!~

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween 2014

Happy Halloween from the Allen Family! I hope everyone had a safe and happy halloween and that all your kids made out like bandits in the candy department! We had a fun evening of frolic and tantrums, as I am sure that most parents experienced during the evening.

We started the evening with a visit from one of my students. His family took our family pictures which turned out pretty good. PS Don't stare too long at my WHITE legs, they might BLIND YOU! HAHA! (The draw back to being a fair skinned red head!)

Then we went around the neighborhood to trick or treat with our neighbors across the street. Mason made out pretty well.

We ended up stopping to chat with our newest neighbors. She happens to be a red head, blogger, mommy of 2 and a Team Beachbody coach too! That was pretty cool. I really look forward to getting to know her more.

Mason went to play at his friends house for about 45 min while Matt passed our candy and I went to chat. Collin had passed out in his costume and was napping inside.

Then Mason came back and wanted to help pass out Halloween candy. It was a fun and long night. I love halloween. It is pretty cool to see it from my son's perspective too. He learned that he had to say "trick or treat" to get candy so he was running around yelling "TRICK OR TREAT!" and when he was helping hand out handfuls of candy and as the other kids left he yelled at them, "WE HAVE MORE CANDY!" It was really cute! That was our night.
~I rounded up to 60 squats. Not as many as I thought I would do, that is for sure.~
 ~My little parrot at our church's trunk or treat~

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