Sunday Funday – FOOTBALL!!

I would have to describe our family as a moderate-to-intense sports family. Sports are a family affair in the Acorns household – there is rarely a time when anyone is abandoned because the other is watching a sporting event. Because we watch so many of them together, and we love it!

Every fall, the level of intensity definitely ramps up. Baseball season gives way to baseball and college football. Then things get crazy when the NFL starts up. Hawkeyes on Saturdays. Patriots and Bears on Sundays. Sadly, Mr. Acorns’ Cubbies haven’t required much television time in October, and my Red Sox seem to alternate years with playoff appearances.

Then college basketball starts. We do not watch as much hockey on television as other sports, but if our teams are on we go ahead and put that on in the background. My kids are so used to hearing referee whistles and crowds roaring on weekends that it has become our family soundtrack I think! We play games, they play with their toys, and we work or clean with a sporting event on in the background. It’s been great, too, because my son tries to read the screen and is always reporting scoring changes to us, so that it a little bit of real-world mathematical application and reading practice. Plus they learn that there are rules in games and in life.

Add in some yummy snacks and food we can all enjoy together, in the same room, at the same time, and it’s a win all around!

And, let’s face it, they learn that sometimes mommy and daddy have a wee bit too much emotion invested in a silly game. Not that I have ever thrown anything at the television… oh wait, yes I have. And we’ve never taken our 3 week old to a bar for a game watch with friends. Oh wait, we did that too.

We enjoy watching sports, cheering on our teams, and bringing our children into that love of sports as well. I know some people hate sports, and I know my social media feeds are full of “oh is there a game on” and “sports widow” comments, but, for us, sports are a family affair and something that we really enjoy!

With that said – GO PATRIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

patriots do your job colts

The Year of ME

2015 is just over 2 weeks old, and I am feeling very positive and confident about all the things that are to come this year. And this year? This is the year I focus on ME.

Yes, I have 2 kids. I will still be the chauffeur to Thursday night ballet, the getter-readier in the morning, the picker-upper at after care, the smoocher of boo-boos and the wiper of tears. I am still mom. Yes, I still love my husband and we will have our own adventures this year as well.

But. My children are not babies anymore. I am filling out paperwork for one to register for public school in 1st grade, and my youngest’s kindergarten registration is on my counter for this fall. I do not get up every 2-3 hours to feed a little one, I do not change diapers anymore, and I do not have to be a slave to their every second. I have a little more time now to be …… ME!

I am working more, which is obviously a good thing both for my brain and for our finances. The year is also off to a great start in terms of eating healthier and working out. My (generally) flexible work schedule allows me to workout midday during the week, so I can avoid the most crowded times at the gym and enjoy warmer runs in this cold weather.

My first big change of 2015 was a new food and exercise routine, and it is going well so far. I am ignoring the scale for the moment, and measuring my progress based on run paces and how my pants are fitting. Now, let’s face it, I run slower than a turtle stomping through peanut butter, but I am getting out there. I am still far from my pace of 3 years ago when I was in shape, but I will get back there. One run at a time.

My next big change for 2015 is my hair. I have to warn you – I have hair ADD. I cannot keep the same hairstyle for more than about 6 months before I am ready to scream. Fortunately my fabulous stylist Kim at Transitions Salon understands me, and she loves when I walk in and tell her I need a change. I went with highlights last summer and chopped it all off:

hair change chop

Then in the fall I decided to start growing it out and go with a darker, redder tone for the color:

summer fall hair before after

I headed into the salon looking like this:

before me hair

And, of course, the color needed touching up first. It wouldn’t be right to blind people with all those glands of silver glitter up there at my roots.

hair color salon

And now – with the start of a new year and a new focus on ME, here is my new ‘do:

bangs me hair color red

bangs me car selfie

BANGS. Not too heavy, not too short, but just a perfect little fringe. The car was the only place I could get a picture that looked normal – bad light in the house and I’m a terrible selfie-angle-finder. I am not one who ever gets compliments on my hair from random people. I have normal, boring mom haircuts very often. Fast-forward to today, and a complete stranger told me she loved my hair and that it looked so fresh and fun. I didn’t mind the little boost from that nice lady!

I needed a change. I needed something to liven it up while I am growing it out. I gave up bangs a decade ago because everyone else was doing it, but I have a ginormous forehead, and feel more comfortable with some fringe to cover it up. Now I have to make my eye doctor appointment so I can order my new snazzy hipster glasses from Warby Parker, and at least my new neck-up style change will be complete!

I feel more…. ME. I am done feeling the need to dress a certain way because I am a lawyer, or to only wear my hair a certain way because that is what I think I should do. I will stay within what is generally, socially acceptable for hair on a lawyer because, well, I am just not feeling the need to be a complete rebel. But that does not mean I have to wear frumpy suits and only wear metal-framed glasses and bad shoes.

Welcome to 2015 readers, and the braver, bolder, more confident ME!

My First Run with YakTrax

Most of the items on my Christmas list this year were fitness-related items. I have too many shoes (shhhh – I know I am not supposed to say that but it is very true), I have more than enough purses, and I have more than enough clothes. What I need is motivation to get my arse in gear and get moving this year. Enter my new Yaktrax!!!

I have the Yaktrax Run, since, well, that’s what I am using them for! According to their site, “The Yaktrax RUN is the only traction device anatomically designed to meet the needs of runners braving the winter elements. Run naturally on packed snow and ice with the Yaktrax Run’s combination of removable spikes and steel coils, providing 360° of unbeatable traction. Continue your training during the winter with the same stability you are accustomed to on dry surfaces. The Yaktrax Run can be worn in temperatures as low as ‑41° Fahrenheit.” (See Yaktrax Run page).

Here are mine:

yaktrax first run

We only have about 1-2″ of snow out there. But I tried to run a bit in the driveway without the Yaktrax and I knew it would be too slick. So I put on the Yaktrax Run and tried a few strides – MAGIC! It felt like I was running on dry pavement, my traction was so great. I set out for a 30 min run/walk, and got myself all bundled up (it was only 22 degrees out, brrrr). My layers included: long sleeve wicking shirt, short sleeve wicking shirt, fleece jacket, neck gaiter, Athleta hat with brim, gloves, hood, and running tights (my legs warm up fast). Definitely over-bundled. The fleece was too much. I need a different top layer/jacket that has a bit of warmth, wind resistance, but isn’t too heavy. Oh shucks, I get to go shopping. Twist. My. Arm.

run cold winter yaktrax

As for the Yaktrax, as I mentioned above, my traction was incredible, and I was able to run with full confidence. There’s not quite enough snow out there to cushion the run, so I felt like it was a bit harder on my legs than in plain sneakers, and my stride felt a little different, but all of that could have been me being self conscious in the snow, worried about whether there was enough snow for the Yaktrax, etc. etc. All in all, even though it was slower than recent runs, it was 22 degrees and snowing, so I’ll take it! I cannot wait to try out my Yaktrax on deeper snow – I bet they are amazing!

There you have it – back at raining no matter what the weather brings my way! Thursday’s run promises to be drier but possibly even colder, so that should be interesting!! Hopefully most of the sidewalks will have been cleared, or else I’m going to have to find a different spot for my 30 min run (can’t run the track while school is in session!).

(FYI – I did not receive any compensation for this review. No free sample. I got the Yaktrax for Christmas and just wanted to share my experience with them!)

And So The Training Resumes

I basically spent most of 2014 making excuses for not getting fit. I finished a 10K in October 2013, then basically surrendered to winter. Then, there was every reason in the book – too busy with work, this muscle is sore, blah blah blah. There were no broken limbs or torn tendons – no excuse was actually valid.

I have gained weight. Lost endurance. I don’t feel strong. I don’t feel healthy. I feel like I’m on this constant stop – and – start with getting healthy. I let things unravel my plans, and I let excuses get in the way.

This week I’m making small changes to help get me toward my goals. My goals are to be fit, healthy, and strong. I don’t care what I end up weighing, as long as I am those three things. I started eating better this week, drinking more herbal tea at night instead of wine, and I am already sleeping better!!! I got out for my week 1 day 1 training run/walk yesterday —- yes, I’m training again! The initial goal is to train through the winter, whether it’s outside or on a treadmill. The next goal is some 5 and 10K races in the spring when the thaw finally happens. Then, the big goal is a half marathon in May with my bestie over at Marching to A Different Beat. But, right now, I’m taking things day by day, and realizing that if I focus on just my goals for that day, I am much more likely to stick with it all rather than stress about what’s coming up.

And so it begins. Again.

sweat pink laces brooks glycerin

- Michele

Things My Squids Say – December 2014

I have done a few installments of the funny things my kids say, and tonight’s conversation on the way home from daycare warranted another installment. I’m now calling it “Things My Squids Say” because, well, I call them my squids so why not??

Scene: in the car on the way home from daycare/aftercare, about 1/2 mile from home.

B: I just wish I could be home with you more, I miss you when I’m at school.

Me: I know sweetie, and I miss you too. But we need to go to school and work, so we have to be apart sometimes. But we’ll always be back together at the end of the day.

B: I just miss you.

M: I don’t miss you when I’m at school Mama. I have so many fun things to do. You should make your work more fun, then you won’t miss us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the mouths of babes.

Things My Squids Say

Brrrrrrrr – First Nor’Easter Comes Through #jersey

It’s not technically that cold outside. We have a Nor’Easter blowing through the Northern Mid-Atlantic / Northeast area today and tonight (and last night for those of us in NJ), but for most places it is just rain, thankfully.

That, however, does not stop it from feeling ridiculously raw and cold. There is something about these borderline freezing temperatures that always drive me nuts. It’s warm “enough” that I should not be freezing. Heck, at least it’s not snow, right? But the increased humidity and the dampness just go right through me. I almost prefer a good, big ol’ snowstorm — pretty snowflakes, lower humidity, and somehow the cold just feels different than with this soggy day (weather expert friends please feel free to explain).

To cope with today’s bone-chilling damp weather, and the howling winds outside, I opted for a big pashmina wrapped around me, my fingerless gloves and some slipper socks.

pashmina cold gloves nor'easter

warm feet slippers

It also doesn’t hurt that I can crank up the heat from the comfort of my work desk without getting up to go to the thermostat. Phone app FTW! The Nest Learning Thermostat is my new favorite gadget for sure!!!!!

nest learning thermostat

 

- Michele

It’s That Time of Year – The Elf is Back!!! #elfontheshelf

Love it or hate it, we have an Elf on the Shelf in our house. Elfie joined us 2 or 3 years ago, and we have such fun with him! Some years we go all out – Elfie takes a bath in marshmallows, he goes fishing for goldfish crackers using a candy cane, you name it.

elf on the shelf 2014

Some years it has been enough to remember to move him from wherever he was the previous day. There are plenty of 6:30 a.m. moments where I am in the process of waking up the kids when I realize “SHIT! I forgot to move the @#$%^&* elf!” That’s when you grab the elf (who is now that “damn elf” in your muttering) and throw up into the tree or on top of some random holiday decoration. There are times when Mr. Acorns and I have just gotten all snuggle into our bed late at night, and realized that one of us has to get up and move that little red, creepy looking guy. At which point we then have a very heated argument about whose turn it is to move said elf.

But I still love it. The kids love it. And really, this is why I do it. Because my kids get a kick out of it and they can’t wait for their elf to come back each year. Because they wake up every morning from now until Christmas eve racing around the house trying to figure out where Elfie is. And for those nights when I do have a little more inspiration, it’s fun to have the elf do silly things!

elf on the shelf

disastrous living room of old house

We’re in a different house this year so now we have all kinds of new possibilities for Elfie. Elfie arrived a little later than usual because of our new address (or because mommy had put him away for safe moving had absolutely no flipping clue where she had put him), but he’s here.

Let the fun begin!!!

elf on the shelf silly

(note the hideous wallpaper in old house’s bathroom)

- Michele

Party On – Dance and Bouncy Parties for All!

While much of this weekend has been filled with cleaning and working, the kids did manage to squeak in a little bit of fun too.

Miss M had her holiday party with her JJDA dance buddies last night:

image

Who is that big girl??????? There was a huge dessert buffet and a DJ – what more do a bunch of dancers need! I got M warmed up on the dance floor with the Cha Cha Slide, then she was out there twirling and whirling with all the big girls.

Then Master B got to have a bouncy good time celebrating a school classmate’s birthday at Pump It Up this morning!

birthday party pump it up

Now it’s time for a little more work, then maybe we can finally get some ornaments on this lonely tree!!!!!!!

bare tree xmas 2014

- Michele

Car Repairs, Rain, and a Party

It’s a rainy Saturday here in the lovely Garden State. But at least that means it’s warmer! And a gloomy day is a great excuse to burn my new candle from Ava Anderson Non-Toxic.

non-toxic ava anderson candle

I have to work most of this weekend (boo!), as I have a very important brief due Wednesday, but the rain somehow makes that easier, and we’re squeezing in some fun where we can.

Like getting the oil changed in both cars. Yep. Party animals, right here.

Or running errands to Home Depot to pick up caulk for drafty window ledges and drain clog remover stuff for the bathroom sink (those are for Mr. Acorns to deal with).

Tonight will be a break from work when I take the lovely Miss M to her dance school holiday party. We joined the Jill Justin Dance Alliance family this fall with Miss M in pre-ballet, and we are very happy. We’re still getting to know everyone there, so I thought that stopping by the holiday party would be a great chance to see and meet more of the teachers and staff instead of the always-harried Thursday night rush.

Oh, and. Miss M picked out her own clothes today:

chose her own outfitLight green-ish print turtleneck, black w/ white stars skirt, and you can’t quite see them, but they are purple & pink leggings w/ a bow print. With her black boots. LOVE HER!

- Michele

 

Roots and Sweats

m4s0n501

Ahhh. Friday night.
It was a long week. Five day workweek after a week of vacation. First (nearly)  full time work week in a long time.
But I managed to get my roots colored Wednesday on my lunch break, so that was good. I am 10000% in love with my red hair, by the way. Love.

image

Tonight I’m in my NH sweatpants, which are crazy comfy, along with my boot-style slippers and camouflage sweatshirt from Target.
Sipping on some wine.
Watching AHS: Freak Show.

image

Relaxing.

Happy weekend!!