Running Down a Dream

7.31.2012

I used to hate to run. I mean hate it. No matter what I did I just never felt like I could be a runner so I honestly quit trying.

But that all changed sometime in 2004 when I decided that I wanted to be runner. I started off really slow, usually about 4.5 mph and worked my way up. At first I could only run about a mile at a time but I did eventually get up to about 6 miles.

After that my love (and hate) for running was born. I have tried many different types of exercise, but for me running is the hardest and the most rewarding. I go through phases where I avoid running at all costs and then I go through other phases where all I want to do is run. I've never been particularly fast and the most I have ever run is 7 miles but I still like to think of myself as a runner.

Once I really started adding some distance to my runs, I began dreaming  running a half-marathon. The thought both terrified me and excited me all at the same time. To me it is just one of those accomplishments in life that I would be super proud of.

In 2009 I made the decision to follow my dream and I registered for my first half. It was the Myrtle Beach half marathon and it was scheduled for February 14, 2010. My friend Leeann and started training about 10 weeks out and we were determined to finish the race in less than 2 and a half hours.

A week before the race we went on our last long run. It started off okay but by the end my knee was just killing me. I didn't remember doing anything to it during the run but I knew that it was seriously messed up. By the next day I was practically limping and I really felt like my half-marathon dreams were done for! I did some research and found out that my injury was typical for runners who were adding distance and that it would probably bother me as long as I kept running. But throughout the week my knee started feeling a bit better and I was determined that I was going to run the race, no matter what!

That all changed on February 13th when we learned that the race was cancelled because of snow and ice! Say what? It rarely snows in Myrtle Beach so WHY did it have to snow on our race day? Even though the race was cancelled we saw several people out running the course on their own. We decided we weren't crazy enough to do that.

Unfortunately that was pretty much the end of my dream of running a half-marathon. My knee has been a little bit iffy after my injury and I haven't really been anywhere that I could run. So running has been put on the back burner for the most part.

But at the beginning of 2012 I set my yearly goals and one of them was to run a half-marathon. I've thought about it all year long but I have had serious doubts about actually doing it. What can I say? I'm a chicken! Even so, I just couldn't stop thinking about it. What's the point of setting goals if you are never going to even try to achieve them?

So this morning I did it. I registered for my very first half-marathon.  And it's THIS year!


I have 14 weeks from Friday to train, which should be plenty of time.

I plan on following Hal Higdon's novice training plan and I will officially start training on August 13th. Until then, I'll just do a few runs to get back into the groove of things.



I haven't quite decided if I'm just plain crazy but no matter what, I think it will be a fun challenge to finish up 2012. Here's to making dreams come true....


Thoughts and What Nots

7.30.2012

Happy Monday friends! I hope everyone had a blessed weekend! We did even though we didn't do a whole lot!


- I think Emerson must secretly read my blog because we had very little hitting going on after my post on Friday. Haha! I do have to be honest though and say that after I posted about it I felt a little bit guilty. I sincerely hope that my post did not come across as me complaining or being negative about my sweet E. I use this blog as a way to document all aspects of parenthood even if it isn't always picture perfect but that doesn't mean I'm any less crazy about my baby girl! :) (Plus I LOVE hearing from all of you moms out there who are going/have gone through something similar!)



- I DID IT!! I finally broke down and bought an embroidery machine. I've had it sitting in my Amazon cart for over a year now so I decided it's finally time. I'm hoping it will be waiting for me when I get home, but in the meantime I'll keep practicing with my Mom's machine! :)


-I bought E a little backpack for our trip home and she loves wearing it. It is just too cute! I do think it gives me a little glimpse of what it will be like when she's heading off to school for the first time.



-I have been staying up way too late every night. I get so busy doing all of the things I want to get done and time just slips away. Every day I promise myself that I'm going to go to bed earlier but it has yet to happen. Oh well! At least I have coffee to keep me going!


-Did you notice my new layout? Every time I looked I at my blog I felt like it looked too busy and cluttered so I decided to switch it over to two columns. I still have quite a few changes I want to make but I *think* I like it so far.  But I'd really love to hear your opinions. Do you like the two column or did you like it better as a 3 column? It's easy to switch back so let me know what you think!


-Speaking of blogs- I am looking for a few guest posters for next week, August 6-10. I don't have any specific topics in mind so you have plenty of room to be creative. Email me at littlemoments2011@gmail.com if you are interested.


-I'm linking up here today.





Little Miss Temper Tantrum

7.27.2012

Remember in E's 14 month post where I gushed about how sweet and cuddly she has been lately? Well she is still being super sweet  and giving tons of hugs and kisses. But, and this is a big but, I've also seen an occasional little shift in behavior and I'm not really sure what to do. Sometimes I can't help but laugh but I know that I have to be serious about it because I definitely don't want her to think it's funny.
It all started a few days ago when I took her to the mall. They have a little play area there so I thought it would be fun to get out of the house and let her play for a bit. Unfortunately it was closed when we got there because they were redoing the carpet. So we strolled around the mall for a little bit and Emerson was as sweet as could be. Then I decided to let her get out of the stroller and walk around. The mall was pretty much empty so I knew we wouldn't be in the way if we were slow. We walked around for about 30 minutes and I let E ride some of the little rides. Then we started heading back toward the store where we came in. I told Emerson that it was time to get back in her stroller.


This is when chaos ensued. As soon as I started trying to put her back in her stroller she started arching her back and crying. She was arching so hard that she made the stroller fall over backwards twice. Of course I'm trying to reason with her and this is only making matters worse. She is crying loudly by this point and everyone around me is starting to stare. I know it's hard to believe that a 14 month old is strong enough to keep an adult from putting her back in her stroller but let me tell you: girlfriend was DETERMINED that she was not getting back in that stroller.


Somehow I was able to finally get her to sit down long enough to get her strapped in. I handed her a sippy cup with water and she was fine 10 seconds later. I, however, was not.


To put it mildly, I was in complete shock! I have never, ever seen her act like that. I know that it was just her way of showing that she didn't like something but it is just not something I would expect from her. Once it was all said and done I was able to look back and laugh because I know that almost every parent goes through something similar. But at the time it was just a little bit stressful!


Unfortunately that wasn't the end of the acting out. We haven't really had any more tantrums but over the last few days Emerson has decided that she does not like the word no and the way to show it is to hit or scratch. She has hit or scratched her Mimi and me several times over the last few days, sometimes without even being told no. She is not hitting hard at all- it's really like a hard pat but I can tell that she is doing it aggresively and I would just die if she did it to another kid. Most of the time when she does it she will look right at me to see what kind of reaction I'm going to have. Sometimes she'll even kiss us right after she hits or scratches- almost like she is trying to say she's sorry. It's just weird because it seems like it just came out of nowhere so I'm really at a loss as to what to do. I mean, really, how do you discipline a 14 month old? 
I have tried telling her no or redirecting her, I taught her the sign for don't hit, and I've even tried putting her in timeout for one minute but it doesn't really seem to change the behavior. I want her to know that it is okay to express her anger or frustration but definitely not in that way. I guess I need to break out my Happiest Toddler on the Block DVD and learn some strategies because I can't stand the thought of my sweet little E being a hitter. It's just so unlike her! My hope is that it's just a little phase that she is going through but I guess only time will tell.

The part that is craziest to me is that we are already at this stage! I feel like she was just a tiny, squishy little baby and now she's this little person with her own thoughts and feelings and she's determined to show them. I know that this is only the beginning but I just want to make sure that we handle it the right way. Whatever that may be...



I Say It's Okay

7.26.2012

It's Okay:
-That I bought Emerson three new bathing suits today at The Children's Place. A girl can never have too many bathing suits, right? (Plus they were on clearance for $3.99. Who can pass that up?)
Precious, no? (And LOTS of pink!) 


- That I am slightly addicted to doing embroidery/appliqué now. I am *this* close to ordering my own machine. Should I go for it?


-That I haven't worked out in almost 2 months. I will get back into it as soon as we get home. At least that's what I keep telling myself.


-That I think that E is just about the cutest thing that I have ever seen 
Even when she's mad at me for telling her no...
-That my make up routine lately consists of concealer, powder, and mascara. What can I say? I'm lazy when it comes to beauty these days!


-That I have been using the YouVersion Bible app for my daily Bible reading, even though I just bought a new Bible.


-That I am going to have to mail 3 large boxes home because I have been to Target a few too many times while I've been here.


-That I could not resist the great deal going on at Paper Coterie right now! You can get a $100 gift card for just $30!  I have ordered several photo books from them in the past and I also ordered E's birthday invitations from them so I know that their products are awesome! 
Now I just have to decide which completed projects I want to order with my gift card! Decisions, decisions...



Choosing Gratitude Over Comparison

7.24.2012

After reading a few posts that touched me last week, I feel the need to share what's on my heart. You may have noticed in recent posts that I have shared one of my favorite quotes:


Why is this my favorite quote? Well it's because it is something that I have to constantly remind myself. I'd be lying if I said that I don't compare myself to others. Whether it be about looks or material things, I find that when I let just a tiny bit of comparison sneak in, it can ruin my whole mood. I know it's completely crazy considering that I am happier than I have ever been! But I also bet that I'm not the only one...


I think it's so easy to get caught up in the "perfect" parts of peoples lives that we see on Facebook and blogs. But the truth is, no one has a perfect life! Everyone has problems and issues but those may be the things that we don't see. When we see the highlight reel of other people's lives online we can't help but wonder why we can't: be that skinny, have that house, buy those things, cook those meals, make those amazing crafts, be that kind of mother,etc.




Right now I'm doing a Bible study with She Reads Truth and the message last night really hit home for me. The author shared her daily struggle with being content. Content with her body, her home, her family, and every other part of her life. She said she gained perspective when she thought about others who may be facing real struggles. People who didn't have a roof over their heads or who struggle with health problems. When she compared her problems, like wanting to lose ten pounds, she realized just how much she had to be grateful for. She decided then that she would choose gratitude over comparison and she made a promise to herself to list ten things she was grateful for each morning. What a way to fight the need to compare, huh?


So today (and hopefully every day) I'm going to choose gratitude. Instead of comparing myself to others, I am going to be grateful for the wonderful blessings in my life. I will not let comparison steal my joy!


Today I am grateful for:
1. My wonderful husband
2. My darling baby girl
3. The health of my family and myself
4. My parents, who would do anything for us
5. the Marine Corps (it has provided us with a steady income for over 11 years now)
6. technology that helps us keep in touch with our loved ones
7. supportive friends
8. freshly brewed coffee
9. She Reads Truth (I feel like the devotionals were designed for me each day!)
10. Jesse working so hard so that I can stay at home with E




What do you do when comparison tries to steal your joy?

We Have a Winner...

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the fun giveaway from My Little Mockingbird. I'm excited to announce the lucky winner:

Pam, Mandy will contact you soon! I can't wait to see what you pick!

If you did not get a chance to enter, but you are on the lookout for adorable custom monogrammed shirts, aprons, towels, and more, check out My Little Mockingbird on Facebook.


Monday Update

7.23.2012

Things have been pretty quiet around here. Emerson and I are enjoying our time with my parents and the cool weather. (So I know 95 degrees isn't really cool but it is so nice compared to what it is at home.) Since I don't have anything major going on right at the moment, I thought I'd share a little random update.

-I've been putting off the task of getting my stuff organized and ready for the trip home. I have several boxes to mail and I keep saying I'm going to do it every day but I haven't gotten around to it yet. It's a must this week though. Does anyone else hate going to the post office as much as I do?

-I finally got a haircut!! I took the two pictures of Reese and Jessica with me and hoped for the best. Luckily I love how it turned out. She had to cut quite a bit of dead ends off but I was able to keep some of the length. I also went with longer bangs and I'm glad I did. We'll just see how well I like it when we're back in the yucky humidity. :) (And I'm sorry for no pictures! I'll try to get some updated ones this week.)

-Over the weekend my Mom taught me how to use her embroidery machine. I started with just embroidery and then moved on to appliqué. You guys- I am HOOKED! Here are a few of the dresses/shirts I did:



Now I want my own machine so badly. I'm thinking it would be the perfect early anniversary, birthday, and Christmas present...

-I never paint my nails, mostly because I'm lazy. But yesterday I went to Wal-Mart for milk and left with 4 new polishes. I've been looking for a matte gray forever and I think I found the perfect one. It's called Audacious Asphalt. Isn't it pretty?



-I also bought a pretty pink polish. When I showed it to E she seemed really excited so I thought I'd paint her toenails. She let me do two toes before she decided she was done. Now my poor girl is walking around with two pink toenails. 

-Speaking of my little pink-toed girl, she has 4 new teeth that have started popping through. They haven't quite made it all the way through the gums so we had a pretty rough night on Saturday. She woke up in the middle of the night and just cried and cried for about 30 minutes. It was so pitiful and I felt so bad for her. Usually I can console her pretty quickly but nothing seemed to help our poor girl that night. Let's just hope we don't have a repeat of that tonight.

-And the most exciting news of the weekend, Little Moments Like This is now on Facebook. Head here to like it so that you can keep up with new posts and other blog related fun.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I'm off to start digging through the piles of stuff that I need to pack. Wish me luck!

Little E @ 14 Months

7.20.2012

Every single day I see more and more of my little baby E slip away! She is becoming more of a toddler by the hour and it is simply amazing to watch her grow and develop. Lately she has become more independent and focused in her play. It's during these times that that I love to sit back and quietly observe. I watch as she turns each new object over, moving it from hand to hand, and examining each little detail. I always wonder what exactly she's thinking. Whatever it is, she is usually in such deep concentration that she sticks her little tongue out of the side of her mouth. When she was tiny I worried that I might not enjoy having an older baby as much as I loved having a newborn but now I know that that was just crazy! Every age and stage has been amazing and this age is no different. She is becoming more and more of her own person and I'm so blessed to watch her little personality unfold. I can't thank God enough for blessing us with this amazing little girl!
Growth: 22.2 pounds, 29 inches (approximately), has 4 new teeth for a total of 12
Likes: drinking from my water cup, giving hugs and kisses, Elmo, blowing kisses, being silly/laughing, sitting in her little blue chair, talking on the phone, saying new words/learning new signs
Dislikes: being told no/not getting her way, having her face washed, waiting for something when she wants it


Favorite Foods: bananas, mustard (on anything!), strawberries, cantaloupe


Favorite Songs: 1234, ABC's, Twinkle Twinkle, Itsy Bitsy Spider


Favorite Toys: her babydoll, Shape Sorter, Learning Purse,  Leap Frog Fridge Phonics, Princess keys, anything that she is NOT supposed to have
Favorite Books: Pat the Bunny, Dear Zoo


Favorite Words: uh oh, Bubba, please, momma, Mimi, up, roar (like a lion)
Favorite Signs: Please, water, eat, more


Favorite Activities: bath time/swimming, reading, watching Elmo or Baby Signing Time, riding her bike, opening and shutting doors, taking off her bow and handing it to me, pushing chairs/stools around the floor, exploring the backyard, climbing the windowsill


Firsts: long road trip, boat ride, fireworks, visit to a real zoo, decorating/eating a sugar cookie, drinking only cows milk
Sweet Little Details:smacks her lips while doing the sign for water, says I love you in the sweetest voice, recognizes the ring for Face Time and knows it's her Daddy calling, LOVES to eat, always wants in Mimi's lap when she is trying to do something, says up all day long, learned all of her cousins names, noticed my haircut and then ran her fingers through it and did the sign for pretty
I don't want to forget: How sweet and cuddly she is. She comes up to me all throughout the day to kiss me on the leg or the hand. Sometimes she will grab my hand and just lay her head down on it.  She will almost always give me a hug or a kiss when I ask for it and she loves to make the smacking sound when she gives a kiss. She has also started laying on my chest like she did when she was a tiny baby. Each night before bed she will lay down on my chest for several minutes. She wraps her little arms around me and snuggles her head under my neck. I usually sing to her and several times throughout the song she will lift her head up, look me in the eyes, and give me a big kiss right on the lips. I absolutely love this and hope it's not just a phase she is going through. Those snuggles, hugs, and kisses make my day.
  Happy 14 Months Baby Girl! 
You are, without a doubt, our little sunshine!

  


On Using Baby Sign Language

7.19.2012

When I started working as a Training and Curriculum Specialist I was really excited to see some of the fun programs that were being implemented in the Child Development Centers. During my initial training I was introduced to Baby Signs. I was immediately drawn to the program and I was amazed to see one year olds using signs for more and milk. Not only was it neat to see them communicate, it was also so darn cute. I decided right then and there that I wanted to try to teach my children baby sign language when they came along.


Once Emerson was born I had completely forgotten all of the signs I had learned while working, but I decided I still wanted to try to do it. I found an online resource and learned a few basic signs: milk, more, Mommy, and Daddy. I read at that time that it was helpful to learn signs for basic routines that were used with your baby every day and to implement them as you did the daily routines.


When Emerson was about six weeks old I started signing milk to her every time she ate. I also signed Mommy and Daddy to her a few times a day. Now I knew at that time that she wasn't going to learn any signs but I figured it couldn't hurt to expose her. I kept this up for many, many months! Then when she started eating solid foods I added some other signs, like eat and more. Finally when Emerson was 8 months old she signed milk to us for the first time. Of course I was super excited! I thought my diligence was finally paying off. After that she would sign milk occasionally but it definitely wasn't consistent. I had read that this is when many parents become frustrated but its important to stick with it because eventually it will just click and your baby will sign back! So I just kept doing the same signs over and over and watching for her to do them back.


Then when Emerson was around 10 months old she finally signed the word more during dinner time. From then on she had "more" completely mastered. It was also around this same time that she learned the sign for dog. We were dog sitting and I just kept doing the sign every time we were around the dog. Before the weekend was over she had it down. She signed dog every time she saw a dog whether it was in real life or in a book.


Once she finally made the connection that there was a sign for everything she started picking them a little bit faster. I bought the Baby Signing Time videos and we would sit down together a few times  a week and watch it for a few minutes at a time. I loved it because I learned a lot of new signs this way and she absolutely loved the music.  I don't think the videos are a necessity for teaching your baby to sign but I do personally really love them. Emerson still gets excited when she hears the theme song come on. I do have to say, however, that the videos are designed to be watched together so that you can learn the signs along with your baby. They are NOT a substitute for signing during daily interaction, but they are one more way to reinforce signing. 


Around the same time that I bought the videos, I also bought a book so that I could continue to learn more signs.  I have to admit that I didn't find the signing dictionary in the book all that helpful because the illustrations aren't always clear. I really prefer to use a video signing dictionary so that I can actually see the sign in action. (I've shared some of my favorite resources below.) I did, however, enjoy reading parts of the book- especially those related to the benefits of signing with your baby.


When Emerson showed interest in certain objects, I would show her the sign. I also continued to use signs during our daily routines such as eating, bathing, and diaper changing. Again, I knew that she wasn't going to learn all of those signs at that time but I knew that it was important to continue to expose her to signing as much as possible. I also tried to use signs when we were reading books. This was especially important for learning animal signs. She had never seen a tiger or monkey in real life but she learned the sign by being shown the signs every time she saw those animals in books.


When she was 11 months, it really started to click with her and her signing vocabulary increased by about 10 words. From then on I felt like she was learning signs faster than I could. I am constantly using online dictionaries to learn new signs.


Emerson is now 14 months and she knows approximately 45 signs. It has been so neat to watch her use her signs to communicate with those around her. I really think that it has helped to eliminate tantrums because she can tell me what she wants when she wants it. I also love that she consistently uses please and thank you. I believe that it is so important to teach good as manners as early as possible and baby signing has helped us get on the right track.


Now that Emerson is talking more and more, it's easy to let signing fall by the wayside. However, I would like to try to keep teaching her as many signs as possible. The truth is that it is often much easier to sign a word than say it. For example, Emerson can do the signs for butterfly and watermelon but I doubt that she could say either word at this point. Because she is starting to pick up signs pretty quickly, we are starting to work on putting two signs together to form simple sentences (like eat and banana.) I believe that continuing to sign has longterm benefits (check out some of the You Tube videos below!) so I hope to continue as long as Emerson shows interest.


So now that I've shared our super long little story, I want to share  a few tips I've learned along the way:


If you decide to try signing you will see that there are many different ways to implement baby signing with your baby. You can use strictly ASL, only modified baby signs, or a combination of both. I personally have used a combination. I do try to find the correct ASL sign to show Emerson but most of the time she will modify it herself. Some of the ASL signs are pretty complicated so I try to leave it to her to do the sign the way she wants to. It's also important to note that you should always say the word as you are signing it. You want your baby to make the connection between the spoken word and the sign.


Of course, I am no expert when it comes to baby signs. I'm just a regular mom and I have been learning as I go. I have utilized tons of resources and read quite a bit of research related to baby signs. While it can seem overwhelming at first, it really isn't once you get the hang of it!  Using signs has become second nature because we have been doing it so long. And I do have to say that Jesse was a little bit skeptical of it all at first, but once he saw Emerson do her first few signs he agreed that it was pretty neat!


Along the way I have been asked several times if I am worried about sign language delaying her speech. The answer is NO!! There is quite a bit of research about the use of baby sign language and there is not a single study that indicated that baby signing delays language. In fact, it usually enhances speech development. If you are interested in reading more about this please visit some of the resources listed below. 


I also have to tell you from a personal standpoint that it has NOT affected Emerson's speech in any way.  She has reached the typical speech milestones for a child her age and will often sign and say a word at the same time. Now that she is getting more verbal there are some words that she says instead of signing, which is to be expected. Overall I feel like signing has really helped her make the connection between speech, naming objects, and even written words.


Even though I started signing with Emerson when she was a newborn, I want you to know that you can start with older babies too! If you have an older baby and you are concerned that it is too late to start using baby sing language, I promise that it's not. You can start any time! If your child is waving bye bye then she is probably ready to sign and she will most likely pick up signing very quickly. Also please don't feel that you need to buy anything to be able to do signing with your child. You absolutely don't! There are tons of free resources on the internet and they are every bit as helpful as anything you can buy.


That being said, here are my favorite resources related to baby sign language (most are free, but a few are items that I purchased)


Books:
Baby Signs by Doug Abrams and Linda Acredelo 
Baby Signs board book by Joy Allen
My First Signs board book by Annie Kubler
My First Animal Signs board book by Anthony Lewis


Videos:
Sign Language Dictionary from My Smart Hands (This is my go to dictionary. Love it!)
ABC's
Baby Signing Time
My Smart Hands You Tube channel (tons of video resources)


Websites:
FAQ about using baby sign language
Picture dictionary
Sign Language Glossary
Getting Started with baby sign language  (great tips here! I used this before I bought the book.)
15 Easy Signs to Teach Baby
Baby Signs Quick Reference Guide
Speech Milestones


Research:
Benefits of baby sign language
Baby Signs research

And a recap of the tips I've learned throughout our signing journey:
And of course, I can't have a baby sign language post without a video of my sweet girl using some of her signs. I apologize in advance for the length. I know none of you are interested in watching E sign for a whole 7 minutes but I did want to include it so that you can see what some of her modified signs look like. :) This was taken last month when  Emerson was 13 months old. It was done on the spur of the moment so it's not the best quality, but I think it gives you an idea of what signing looks like with a one year old.  (For some reason once I uploaded it, the video and the sound don't quite match up. You will hear me tell her good job before you see her do the sign. I'm not sure why but I can't seem to fix it! Sorry guys!)


As I mentioned before, I am no expert but I am a big believer in using baby signs. I just think it's such a neat way to learn and grow with your little one. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to contact me. If I don't know the answer, I will do my best to find it for you. 








My Little Mockingbird: A Giveaway

7.18.2012

Hey guys! I haven't done a giveaway in forever but I thought now would be a perfect time because (a) I love y'all and (b) my dear friend Mandy has started her very own business! She makes the most adorable monogrammed gifts and she wants to give one of them away to you!


Here are just a few of the sweet things you can find in her shop, My Little Mockingbird:


Burp Cloths:
 T-Shirts:


 Beach Towels:


 Aprons:


 Onesies:


Isn't she talented? 


Use the Rafflecopter below to enter to win a monogrammed item of your choice from My Little Mockingbird. The lucky winner will be announced next Monday. Good luck!




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