“Freedom to Run” Podcast

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Earlier this month I was given the opportunity to chat with Jeremy Hoefs, Founder of USA.ENDURANCE and Podcast, “Freedom to Run.” We spoke about my ultra training, training with my boys, and our adventures! The podcast episode is now live and I’m excited to share it with my readers.

You can listen to Episode 25 at:

usa.edurance.com

 

This entry was posted in Stories.

5 Tips that Make Breastfeeding in Public Easier

When I had my first son, a concern of mine was breastfeeding in public. In the beginning, I would pump and prepare a bottle. This took a lot of prepping, especially before I could produce enough to create a stock pile. While I didn’t care what others thought, it was me who felt the need to be covered and in a quiet spot to feed my child. Over time breastfeeding in public became second nature. I wish I would have had a list of tips that helped me from the beginning. I’ve put together 5 tips that make breastfeeding in public easier.

  1. Wearing a Sling or Carrier: There’s nothing more comfortable and natural then to have your child skin to skin with you, while wearing your baby it’s easy to adjust your bra so that you can feed your baby. This simple adjustable makes for easy feeding and most the time nobody around you will notice!
  2. Utilizing Nursing Rooms or Waiting Areas: A great resource you may find at your local mall or even amusement park is “nursing rooms” and “motherhood waiting areas.” These rooms are usually near restrooms, they are made for comfort and relaxing. One of my favorites is the “Baby Care Center” at Disneyland, their nursing area even includes rocking chairs!
  3. Using a Cover Up: Cover Ups are fun and come in so many different patterns. The best are made from a light thin
    Simplifying Breastfeeding in Public!

    Simplifying Breastfeeding in Public!

    material so that your baby doesn’t feel smothered and you’re not burning up! One of my favorite brands is Cover Me Ponchos. Their cover ups are super soft and light! The best part is their patterns don’t make you look like you’re wearing a cover up at all!

  4. Wearing a Nursing or Easy Access Bra: This may be a no brainer but not all bras are comfortable while nursing, especially when the let down hits….lol. I found sports bras were better for me, rather than nursing bras. I usually wore oversized shirts I could lift up, so a sports bra made for easy access. While, my good friend couldn’t go without a nursing bra. However, she usually wore shirts that buttoned up or tight tank tops. Buy a few different bras and see what works for you!
  5. Wear Clothes that are Comfortable: Just like the bra, find a wardrobe that you feel comfortable in. For me, oversized shirts and leggings worked the first six months. To be comfortable and stylish, I would wear a stretchy tank top, shorts, and a loose cardigan. If you wear clothes that are loose on top, it’s easy to adjust by pulling your top up or down. This makes for easy breastfeeding and no awkward moments, lol!

Those are the best 5 tips I wish I would have had before I started breastfeeding, I learned through trial and error! I’m glad I kept at it though, because the benefits outweighed the tough moments. If it’s still hard to feel comfortable to breastfeed in public, I recommend getting a breast-pump. Having a breast pump can alleviate stress and allow you to pump milk before an outing. My favorite company to obtain a breast pump from is The Breastfeeding Shop. This company is amazing and better yet, they will work with your insurance to help you get your breast pump for free! They make the process simple, all you have to do is fill out their form and they do the rest. Breastfeeding should be a cherished and bonding moment between you and your child, don’t let anything change that.

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10 Hobbies That Make Your KIDS SMARTER!

10 Hobbies that Make your Kids Smarter!

Amazon Fire 7 (7th generation) Kids Edition Review

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This Amazon Fire 7 (7th generation) Kids Edition review is coming from an exclusive Apple product user. My first thought when purchasing a tablet wasn’t going with a platform that was based off an Android. I’ve had my fair share of experiences with PC’s in the past, even building some from just an empty tower. However, from 2009 to present time I transition as most of the world did to Mac. From an iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air…I have them all. So when I was offered the opportunity to review the Fire 7, I thought it was a great chance to see what another product was all about. My oldest son was given my old iPad Mini two years ago and we were in the market to upgrade his tablet. It was great to see that the fire was offered in a kid’s edition that came with a lot of perks. When my son was using the iPad, we had to purchase a strong and sturdy case which cost us an additional $60. We also have purchased kid friendly apps that cost us an additional $100+ over the course of the two years. Fire_04

When the fire arrived, it was already set up from the time we opened the box. We were sent two, which was perfect so both my kid’s will have their own. To set the two fire’s apart we choose a blue and yellow case. The case is foamy and keeps the fire safe from being dropped. The 2-year worry free guarantee puts any parent at ease. My iPad mini included a 1-year warranty with the ability to purchase an additional 2-year warranty that even if my iPad would break would cost $99 to replace under limited circumstances. So seeing that Amazon will back their product and replace it “no questions asked” is awesome.

Fire_03I found that the differences between the Fire and an iPad Mini was adjusting to the Apps and location of them. The Fire has room for additional storage, which the iPad doesn’t unless you upgrade to iCloud storage at a monthly cost. The front and rear camera is so clear on the Fire that I almost want to borrow it from my son for my pictures, lol. The fire kid’s edition also includes a year of “FreeTime Unlimited,” which gives you access to 15,000 popular apps and games, videos, books, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney. This is amazing, as you can download so many apps for free! This within itself is worth purchasing a fire. Another plus that you are limited to do with an iPad is the parental controls. The ability to limit what my sons watch and play is important. I’m able to adjust just about every app including youTube, so that my kids are restricted from accessing specific material.

All and all, I was surprised how much I favored the fire to the iPad mini. This may be the start back to a PC family ;p

You can purchase the Amazon fire kid’s edition here!

SAVE $50 today when you purchase two Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet by using promo code: KIDS2PACK

Pros:

  • easy to set parental controls
  • Kid-Proof Spongy Case
  • 2-year no questions asked worry free guarantee!
  • HD display
  • Micro SD Slot up to 256 GB
  • Quad Core
  • Dual-Band Wifi
  • Front & Rear Camera

Cons:

  • Learning a new platform
  • Organizing Apps

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Running while Breastfeeding

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Pumping at 3 AM before heading to the start corrals!

My second son was born during a year I had signed up for a lot of races. Giving up running when he was born wasn’t going to be an option unless my doctor told me otherwise. So, I had to revise my training schedule around feedings and nap times. I knew I wanted to breastfeed him, just as I did my first son for a year at the minimum. When I was cleared to run at my 6 week postpartum appointment, the planning begun. My shorter runs included me feeding baby before I would head out the door. This was easy, it was going to be my longer runs I would struggle with. What helped me the most was obtaining a breast pump through my insurance. Being able to feed my son before a long run, then pump 6-8 more ounces after relieved tension and weight.

I ran my first marathon when my son was 4 1/2 months old. I had to average out being away for 5 hours, when I normally would feed every four. My plan involved me feeding and pumping before I headed to the start line, which stretched my time out to 7 hours without feeding. My son would have milk to drink but this didn’t help me from leaking or feeling super uncomfortable. So by planning to have Mav meet up with me around mile 15-16 I was able to pump enough to get me to the finish and back to the hotel. Strategic planning, feeding schedules, and a pump helped me run while breastfeeding. Pumping after feedings and while my son would sleep through the night, allowed me to create a stock pile of milk. So even on some longer uncomfortable runs I was able to feel as ease knowing my son wasn’t going hungry.

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Breastfeeding at the finish line of RNR Las Vegas!

The Breastfeeding Shop is a perfect go to solution to obtain your breast pump. They work exclusively with your insurance company so you don’t have to pay for your pump out of pocket. If you plan on running while breastfeeding and don’t want to have to worry about being uncomfortable or baby going hungry while you are out; you are going to need a breast pump! Please check out the breastfeeding shop and fill out their form to get your pump today!

5 Tips that Make Breastfeeding Easier

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After going through the breastfeeding process twice, there’s a few tips I wish I knew ahead of time. My first son I breastfeed for 15 months and my second well, we are still on the journey. During my first and second, I learned to enjoy my time feeding baby and hope to help others who wish to breastfeed. Here are 5 tips I came up with that helped my journey and I hope for them to help yours as well:

  1. Patience – being calm and patient allowed me to relax with my baby. This also allowed me to enjoy the time I had feeding Baby. The more relaxed I became the more milk I produced, after feedings I eventually able to pumped what baby didn’t eat!
  2. Breastfeeding Pillow – This can be anything from a regular pillow to ones made exclusively for breastfeeding. I used “My Brest Friend” for both kids. I loved the way it clipped around my waist and gave both baby and I support, it was perfect for breastfeeding.
  3. Nursing Cover – Using a nursing cover helped my breastfeeding anxiety in public. I used anything from a muslin swaddle blanket to wraps made for breastfeeding. Even the right loose t-shirts opted for a cover and that was enough. The importance of allowing yourself to go out n’ about as a new Mom is a lot. Breastfeeding shouldn’t stop your freedom.
  4. Nutrition – A healthy balanced diet helped me produce more milk. I also felt I was restricted from more foods while breastfeeding than pregnant. I learned quickly specific foods either didn’t allow me to produce quality milk or would upset the baby’s tummy! To eliminate what foods didn’t work, I created a list of what I ate, how I felt, how it made baby feel, and how I would replace it, if needed. Another reminder was how much calories you burn while breastfeeding your baby. Increasing your food intake is normal and will help increase your milk production too!
  5. Schedule – Stick to a feeding schedule. Not only is routine healthy in any lifestyle, it also helps develop one of the first schedules for your baby. Even though its breastfeeding, think of it as lunch, breakfast, and dinner, as well as snacks. You may also start to produce enough milk to include snacks as milk you pumped after feeding baby nights before!

As I encourage any Mom or Mommy-to-be to breastfeed these are just a few tips that helped me while feeding my two boys. A huge help was investing in a breast pump! A breast pump allowed me to increase my supply as well as keep breast milk safe for baby to eat while I was away. Pumping also gave my husband, grandma, and friends the ability to bond while feeding baby. The Breastfeeding Shop helps Mommies-to-be obtain a breast pump through their medical insurance. They make the process fast and easy. All you have to do is follow the instructions on this form and submit it! I would recommend using this company to help make the breastfeeding process easy and stress free! The mom life was created to be enjoyed, stay positive and strong!

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Run Revel – Mount Charleston 2017

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On April 29th, 2017 I ran my first downhill marathon. Just an hour out from the glowing Las Vegas Strip you will find cottages and two lane roads up Kyle Canyon, this is Mount Charleston. Most runners gravitate towards downhill marathons with bright eyes and their heart set on a BQ time. While downhill racing tends to give a runner a new PR, it’s not as easy on your body as you would think. When I registered for Mount Charleston, I wanted a vacation along with the experience of a downhill race. I knew I wasn’t ready for a BQ but a PR would be in my future. Run Revel is known for their downhill beautiful courses and quality race experience. They host a few races a year with half and full marathon distances. When you Run Revel, you know you are joining a strong group of runners that train hard and finish strong.

runrevel_03When I told Mav I registered for Mount Charleston, he jumped online and said, “you know this is going to be a Vegas vacation.” While there are hotels near the race finish line, you bus up to the start line from a parking lot in Summerlin. Since we drove to Las Vegas and had a car, staying on the strip was ideal for us. We drove up the day before the race, checked in and headed out to packet pick up. Once I had my bib, I was getting excited. Training for a downhill race included a lot of uphill runs, along with stretches, fuel prep, and IT roll outs. One thing that always makes me nervous while running is my knees, I can train, prepare, and supplement. However, I never know if they are going to act up. I knew if they were going to give me trouble, a downhill race would be when be when pain may show up. Instead of being scared, I prayed and figured if Mount Charleston was going to be my race then everything would go as planned. Las Vegas holds a lot of my favorite restaurants, so Mav and I had an early dinner and for the first time ever, I was able to get to bed by 8 PM with a 3 AM alarm.runrevel_04

Before I knew it 3 AM rolled around and I jumped out of bed, from that moment I started pre race hydration with nuun performance. I can’t eat before a race so nuun performance has been a game charger for me. It’s the right amount of carb and electrolytes to keep me hydrated and strong throughout my long runs. Mav drove me to the parking lot in Summerlin, I sat in the car for awhile until I braved the chilly windy weather and jumped in the bus line, which was headed to the marathon start line. While in line, everyone was ecstatic and excited. Talking about the previous years race, where they flew in from, and that BQ they were chasing. One women shared her story of chasing a BQ for 15 years, I admired her journey and wished her luck. I thought to myself, “this race is serious, it’s a make it or break it for a lot of runners.” Driving up, we passed the half marathon start line…a part of me thought, “can I change my mind now.”  Soon, we were at the start line which was a cute little cabin restaurant and lodge. While the race temperature at finish was a perfect 72 degrees. The start line reminded me of my fun chilly race in Florida this past January. You forget how chilly and windy it is the higher up the mountain you go. Knowing I would be running and warmed up soon, I just couldn’t wait until that blow horn went off.

runrevel_01Starting down the hill, it was really windy. I once again had a flashback to my first marathon and tried to keep a positive focus. The first couple of miles were steep and allowed me to gain momentum, this is were I kept a steady 8-8:30 min/miles. Hydration stations and port a potties were located just about every mile down the course. I kept to my plan of at least getting an ounce or two of water each stop, along with my honey stinger gels each hour of running. nuun performance keeps me hydrated for a good portion of the run, while the gels give me the amino acids my body needs. This course had so much to see and kept me mentally free. my focus on the scenery and the sounds of the outdoors kept me on pace. When I would set my eyes on the distance I could see the north side of the strip. Coming up on the half marathon start line, I was feeling good. This is where it started to warm up and I knew I was halfway to finish. Arriving at mile 18-20 during a marathon is tough, I always feel like I’m almost finished but the miles start to get longer and I need to stay head strong. This is also were the Mount Charleston course tends to flatten out. I started to feel my quads on fire. I knew if I wanted to PR, It was going to have to be on me and my training. With 5k to go, it really hit me. I wanted to walk but my legs weren’t ready to give up. I kept my focus on the signs of the spectators cheering the runners on. Since most of the course is closed off, it does give spectators a tough time to cheer on loved ones, unless they drive up or live along the course. I’m always for spectators towards the end of 26.2 miles!! Since my head was telling my body to slow down but the crowd was telling me to “finish strong.” Before I knew it I could see the finish line, approaching it took forever even though it was a quick minute. lol. I could see Mav to my right at the finish, this gave me the strength to push harder. Shortly after I finished I checked my time, which was better than the time I saw while crossing the finish line!! I finished in 4:09:45 for a 9:31/mile, a new PR for me!

Looking back at this marathon, I found myself in most of the miles. Run Revel exceeded my expectations, from a organized quality course to the quality of challenging runners. Once you run a downhill marathon, it’s tough to meet your running goals with any other course. This was my third marathon, and I plan to make a Run Revel event my fourth. If you are pursuing your dream of running Boston, I would advise to sign up for a downhill marathon. Run Revel shaved 17 mins off my previous marathon time!

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15 Summer Activities to Help your Kids Appreciate Nature

What are your kids doing this Summer? For many of us Summer time with the kids is a time to enjoy the outdoors, the sunshine and if you’re lucky the ocean.

As much as kids love Summer holidays, keeping them busy can be a real chore! If you’ve not got the luxury of a Summer camp then it’s up to you as parent to find things for the youngsters to keep busy with.

Failing that, your kids might spend all their time in front of a computer, tablet, phone or other screen and research has shown that spending too much time in front of a screen can have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of children.

Studies have shown that taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering from mental ill-health and can contribute to a reduction in levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, a daily walk in nature has showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.

One in four people are estimated to experience bouts of mental ill health and it’s on the rise. Prescription medication of antidepressants are also at a record high level and the demand for more invasive treatments are also on the rise. Health and social care commissioners are examining and commissioning different options for cost effective services for mental health and one of these options is a daily walk of 90 minutes or more. We need to learn from the past when kids got excited to spend their time climbing trees and building dens rather than spending hours inside.

Joe at Nature Rated understands this all too well and has put together an infographic on 15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature.

This is what it looks like:

15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature

From baking a blackberry pie to constructing a pond or insect hotel, there’s plenty for the youngsters to get up to. Head on over to his site for step by step instructions to get your kids out and about enjoying nature.

Hope that works!

Bio:

An outdoor enthusiast, Joe is the lead editor at Nature Rated; a website which rates and reviews the best outdoor gear for people who quickly want to know what to get. He believes in no fluff, to the point reviews, which help you choose the right gear for your next adventure.
Whenever daily life gets him down he heads to the nearest lake or river with his kayak and camera spending time recharging his batteries.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – M. Gandhi

Breastfeeding Simplified at The Breastfeeding Shop

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The age difference between my first and second son is almost 3 years. Since I breastfed my first son, It came natural to do so with my second. Even though the age difference isn’t large, the advances in all sorts of baby gear made it hard to reuse the second time around. One of these items was my breast pump! While my first breast pump worked great, it also had seen a lot of love. So once again I found myself shopping breast pumps. This time around, I also was running a lot so I needed one that was convenient for travel. Luckily, I didn’t have to search far as I did with Baby Baby. The Breastfeeding Shop was a one stop, easy and great way to shop the perfect pump!TravelBreastPump

By offering a variety of breast pumps and accessories, I knew I could find one for the comfort of home and travel. Along with bottles and storage items I would need. Since they work with your insurance company, they help ensure your breast pump is covered. Their expertise is working with Military Moms and Tricare insurance, so that they can receive the top of line breast pumps at no cost.

In order to start the process to your insurance covered breast pump, you will need a prescription. No need to worry though, if you don’t have one yet.  The Breastfeeding Shop is able to contact your doctor on your behalf.  Once the prescription is available, you are able to fill out this form. In a few easy steps, the claim is processed and the pump is shipped directly to you! The Breastfeeding Shop simplifies the breast pump process and allows Moms-to-be access to the best products.

 

LA Marathon 2017

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The LA marathon has to be one of my new favorite races. The course is amazing and the energy was vibrant. When I first signed up for LA, my goal was to run it vengeance. While it was fun and exciting, my last marathon kicked my butt. The weather sucked, I took advantage of many photo ops, and I was learning how to fuel properly. There was a lot of trial and error. This made me really want to PR in LA. Days after the WDW marathon, I signed up for LA, revised my training schedule, and experimented with different foods. I dressed light for the run and for the first time in awhile decided to take my phone to document the race. The plan for hydration was to drink only water and nuun hydration tabs the week before the race. During the race I would stop at each water station and at least drink about 4 ounces. My meal plan for marathon week included prepping with a mix of protein and carbs. I wouldn’t be eating this marathon, instead I would use 4 gels with higher amino acid intake, sodium, and 35 mg caffeine in which I would spread out each hour with goal finish time of 04:30:00.

Yep, so many selfie opportunities on the course ;p

Yep, so many selfie opportunities on the course ;p

So on March 19th at 6:55 AM I was ready. While the LA marathon has 20,000 runners, I found a spot in between the 9-10 minute mile marker which made me feel as if it only had 100. Starting out of Dodger Stadium I found a steady pace that allowed me to make it to the 5k marker at around a 9:10 minute mile. I was feeling good and my legs were ready for the long haul. This race has so many sights to see that you really can live in the mile. I was able to focus on where I was at and how I felt about it. Doing this is therapeutic for me, especially since I rarely run with headphones during races.

Before I knew it, I was approaching Hollywood Blvd and there was lots to see and take in. I ran into a few friends during these miles and I also felt good enough to FaceTime the husband and boys during mile 9-10. The halfway marker was West Hollywood and the energy was high. During my last marathon this is when I took some time to eat and relax, this time around I started on my 3rd gel and stayed on my hydration plan. I did stop for a quick pic as it was a accomplishment to be making the course at my goal time. I found myself pacing the 4:15 team for a little bit, I enjoyed listening to the pace leaders plan and how they were adjusting their miles. It wasn’t what I had planned for the race, as I wasn’t even thinking of the miles ahead of me. So, this lasted a little past mile 18, which found me in Century City. I’m still in disbelief how this course is structured, so many awesome sights to see, and a lot of downhill opportunities. I really didn’t have time to pay attention to anything else. For the second half, I did tone down my pace the last 8 miles. I kept telling myself to stay comfortable. “Find a comfortable pace, is this comfortable?” When I reaffirmed my pace, I knew I could make my goal time. At mile 20, I FaceTime the husband again. He was already making his way with the boys to Santa Monica so it gave me a little boost of energy.

Showing my youngest my medal!

Showing my youngest my medal!

The last 10k of the race is really where you have to stay strong and stick to your motto. This is always where I’m usually running with the same group of people and we tend to keep each other motivated until the finish line.  Running the neighborhoods of Brentwood was neat, so many homeowners were outside and cheering on everyone. I found the breeze of the ocean start to blow on my face and through my hair. My motto was “you are amazing and you’ve got this!” I kept repeating this to myself and if you know me, I said it a few times out loud ;p As I came up on Ocean Blvd, You can’t help but speed up when seeing the crowd. Since I was documenting my run on social media, I clicked on a few unread messages. I glanced over a few of encouraging messages and found myself pushing harder. Santa Monica Blvd arrived and mile 26 came with it, the finish line was in sight!! Crossing the finish line I noticed the gun time of 4:31 and thought, I did it!! I got around my goal time, soon realizing my chip time was 04:26:27. Shortly after crossing and receiving my medal, a young women came up to in tears. She said, “Thank you for finishing!” I was sort of confused then she explained she had been pacing behind me most of the race but the last 5k she kept her focus on me and it helped to finish her first marathon! I teared up and just said, “Congratulations!! It’s only uphill from here.” I gave her the biggest hug. That moment is truly why I love the running community; helping others reach their goals and when they do, we celebrate! It’s really what running is all about. Even though, I compete with myself, my goal is to always grow stronger, wiser, and better. The running community helps me by

Baby Baby enjoying all the post-race snacks!

Baby Baby enjoying all the post-race snacks!

keeping me accountable and giving me the push I need!

The LA Marathon let me set a new PR, by an hour nonetheless! It’s funny to think 26.2 miles use to scare me, now it’s one of my favorites distances. My current race schedule has a lot of half marathons approaching in April. I’m looking at changing my current OC Marathon entry into the full. After running my first full I thought it may be my last but as I feel more comfortable in the miles, my next goal is to be a Boston Qualifier. This means I would have to set my PR by 50 minutes less than what it is now. I know with determination and the current training schedule this is possible. I had a few goals set for this year and as I continue to crush them, I find myself not only marking them off but also replacing them. For 2017, I would like to run each distance up to 26.2 the fastest I can.  Once I can get a solid grasp of what I’m capable of, I can start to set new goals for 2018…..possibly Boston?? =) We’ll just have to see!


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