Tag Archives: family

Long time no see…

I cannot believe it has been over 4 months since I posted anything…I guess that goes to show how boggled I have been!  Lots has been going on and lots is still piling up on my plate.  This is just to post a basic update, and some news for things to come!

Things that have been going on: I did a Tough Mudder with my husband and 4 of his USAF co-workers

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I am signed up for the Saarbrucken Half Marathon in September and am looking forward to all of the pretty sights I should be seeing on the course!!!!

I signed up for the StrongmanRun in Luxembourg, and am now gathering others to make a team and enjoy the world’s “Largest Obstacle Race”!!!

I am pre-registered for the Spartan Beast that should be taking place in Stuggart next spring…I am praying they go through with it and hold this event, because I really want to do it!!!

Last, but not least, I am registering for the GoRuck Light which will also be in Stuggart next year.  This will be my April race and I believe it will be a great challenge since my biggest obstacle is always my mind and self-doubt…this should crush that!!!

So, my update is all about racing…but that is what keeps me sane these days when I am taking classes, moving to a new house and trying to prep for a much better school year for James!  Whatever keeps us going and keeps us from losing our minds is what matters most.  Of course, some of the best little things that keep taking place are the funny moments with my kids when no one is around to believe the things they say and do, and of course just watching them become miniature versions of myself and my husband!!

 

Meeting Goals…

I have been trying hard to meet the goals I set for myself this week.  Not that they were too hefty, but the food tracking one is always the hardest to meet.  Mostly because of my ability to eat everything around me when I have PMS (which of course, was this week).  There is only one goal that will not be met and you will hear why….

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I changed up my running goals for this week.  Instead of two 3.5 mile runs and a 5 mile long run, I planned for a 2 mile (speedy run), a 4 mile (average pace) and then a 6 mile long run.  I did the 2 miles on Tuesday with Eric and was able to keep a 9:10/mile pace….that is very fast for me.  I was shocked and very happy that I was able to run that without feeling like I was going to die!  Then, I did a hilly 4 mile run with Eric on Thursday.  This was a little more tough for me.  My knee was hurting a bit and I was finding the frequent, short, steep hills a little tough.  HOWEVER, I will keep this as my 4 mile route, because I know the hills are good for me and my endurance!!  I finished this run with a 10:34/mi pace.

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I was pretty happy by the end of the run when I saw my pace was not as slow as I was thinking it would be.  It is funny that 10:34/mi is slowish to me now, since that is actually faster than my ordinary pace as of a few weeks ago.  I am hoping to run my 6 miles at no slower than a 10:15/mi pace.  My overall goal is to be able to run my half marathon at a 10:30/mi pace…that would give great meaning to the term ‘Run Happy”

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The one goal I know I won’t be meeting is my cardio day at the gym.  I did Pilates (instead of Yoga Meltdown) on Monday, running on Tuesday, The Shred and Tabata on Wednesday, and then Running Thursday.  Friday was my rest day/ family day and today (Saturday) was when I was planning on going to the gym.  Since Wednesday my knee has been feeling pretty rough.  It has been achy and tight when I try to bend it.  It wasn’t hurting while I was running, but at all other times, it was in rough shape.  I decided to take rest from cardio and do stretching today instead so I can be sure to be in ship shape for my run tomorrow. Other goals were to do a massage swap day with the Hub (he didn’t want one, but I did) which I got when my leg was hurting Thursday evening.  I think that with the heat pack, helped a lot!  Even though he was having issues with his neck and legs, he ran and massaged like a trooper!

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I also planned an art day with my boys.  I wanted to have some fun with them while not worrying about making a mess or keeping it controlled!  We did that by decorating Easter Eggs and paining Easter pictures today.  It was a free for all and I just tried to enjoy them being silly and having fun with their imaginations!  I attempted to get them involved in the Easter cookie decorating, but they both were truthful by basically telling me they didn’t want to decorate the cookies, they only wanted to eat the sprinkles…can’t say that I blame them!!

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So for now, I will sit on my arse, heat my knee, watch Shrek 2 with my boys and then plot the ways in which I will hide these Easter eggs!! 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!!  Here’s hoping the sun is shining for the day (and for my run)!!

Goals for March 25-31, Plus a Tabata Set!

So, I need to seriously up the accountability I have going on. I have caught myself giving in to stress cravings and stressing a little too often lately. Setting some goals and going to make sure I keep notes as I check them off!!

I have to feel good in my body again and get away from the picking and prodding at every little thing. Looking back at my past posts help me remember what I need to be doing!! Ah, so nice to look back so easily thanks to my blog!! So, without further ado, here are the weekly goals!

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1. Alter half marathon training plan: Tuesday is a short run (2 fast miles), Thursday is a medium run (4 miles) and Sunday is a long run (6 miles). I’m trying to work on speed with endurance so I’ll see how this goes!

2. Cardio/Strength/Yoga/Tabata: Do one gym cardio session, one shred with yoga meltdown, and one Tabata day with a form of easy cardio.

3. Keep a food journal EVERYDAY: No matter what, keep track. Just do it. Seriously, keep track of everything.

4. Have a ‘boys choice’ art day: Bring out tons of options, lay out a plastic table cloth and just enjoy!!! Don’t worry about a mess, just have fun with them!!!

5. Appt. Goals: Make a doctors appt, a dentist appt, and swap sport massages with the hubby! Our legs are sore and helping each other is a must! He’s up to 15 miles on his long runs, so he will need a deep tissue knuckle rub!

Those are the goals! I PROMISE to post next Sunday with the results and a new set of goals!! Now, onto Tabata!

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So, one of the best ways to learn about Tabata workouts is to visit tabatatraining.org. You will get a description, videos, reasons why these are amazing workouts, and proof of what they can do for your health!!! I have incorporated them into my workout routine and have noticed a difference in my speed and my endurance!! 4 minutes of sweat and hard work is harder than you think…I do 4-5 different rounds and am usually DONE by the end. (Done- as in, holy shit, I can’t move).

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Here is one example from runninglovingliving

I did a strength training Tabata on Friday for some endurance/resistance work. I use my exercise bands, pull up bar and dumbbells. It was pretty tough and by the time my plank set was done, my arms were jello!!! Here is my set- each round the exercises were repeated for a total of two times each.  I’ll be doing this same one for my goal Tabata of the week!

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So now, I have set some goals.  I have talked about Tabata like I promised, and I hope I will get others trying it out and seeing it’s benefits!  There are millions of variations, just make sure you are using a timer (I use Tabata Timer- a free app) and exerting yourself for those 20 seconds of hard work.  It’s pointless if you use those 20 seconds to just march in place or do hip circles.  Do your exercise and really go all out- not to the point of hurting yourself, but enough that you are seriously exerted by the time that 20 seconds is up!!!  It is a great feeling when you are finished, and you really do feel stronger!!! 

Tell me your goals, tell me your Tabata sets!!

The Real Food Challenge Results

So a week ago, I set out to meet a goal.  I wanted our family (especially our boys) to eat at least 2 fruits or vegetables at every meal.  I also made a chart for James to help him try some new fruits and vegetables that he may not ordinarily eat.  Here is how it went!

I started adding fruit to his breakfasts…this was a challenge.  He is never really hungry in the morning, so I had to make sure he had some in his morning snack as well.  For lunches he is always provided two at school- one fruit and one veggie.  I cannot keep tabs to make sure he ‘really’ ate those at lunch, but I know he always at the fruit! I tried to emphasize the importance of having a healthy treat with a sugary treat!  -Sure, have a cookie, but also eat a veggie or fruit with it!

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I would let him have a snack after school that had at least one fruit or on veggie with it.  We did banana and yogurt, peaches and pretzels, cucumber and string cheese, etc.  He loves cucumbers so that helped out a lot!  I even got him to eat some ‘banana’ ice cream!  It’s frozen bananas processed with cocoa powder- 2 ingredients and ONE fruit!!

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For dinners I always put a plate of veggies in the center of the table in addition to the veggies on his plate!  The boys loved picking at the veggie plate and would often eat more just because it was there!!!  That was a great bonus! 

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I am going to continue to make sure he eats at least 5 a day of his fruits and veggies, by continuing a fridge chart.  This chart will be the ‘I ate a Rainbow” like I had shown before.  It will not be as intimidating as the last chart!

All in all, I think it really did boost his intake and got him used to having those extra fruits and veggies with his meal.  It was easy for the rest of us, and I am glad it made a difference with James!!!

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Next goal will be announced tomorrow!!

Merry Christmas!

As we know, I am a huge fan of Christmas!  I love everything about it (especially now that I get to see my children enjoy it)!  We always get to start new traditions as we travel around the world, which is amazing.  It still makes it hard to be away from our families, but luckily we know that after this tour, we will be back in the State and able to join in on the big family gatherings!  In the meantime, we have skype and phone calls to keep us connected!

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We started off Christmas Eve with a new tradition…going to our neighbor’s house for presents, snacks and wine (I opted out of the wine).  The boys were thrilled with their goodies, and Gavin was thrilled to be eating his German snacks!  He loves these people like they are his family and it is really sweet to see how loving they are to the boys as well!

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We then came home to set out cookies for the Santa, carrots for the reindeer, and James sprinkled the other reindeer food in the backyard. James was so over-excited, I did not think he would go to bed, but he obliged when he rationalized that if he wasn’t sleeping, Santa wouldn’t come!

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Eric and I had some presents to wrap and then we got to work laying all of them under the tree!  We went to bed and due to my excitement, I slept horribly!  I am worse than a 5 year old kid on Christmas Eve…always have been!  I was the first awake and had to wait for the others to wake up!  James was the second one up, then we woke up Eric and Gavin!

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We had a great morning, lots of presents from our families and friends, lots of laughs, lots of ‘building’ toys, and lots of  lazing around in our jammies!  I refuse to get out of my pajamas on Christmas Day….even with the neighbors came over!  We made our phone calls to family, played James’s new Wii games and had a great time laughing at each other through the attempts at “Just Dance Kids”!  Time with friends and my little family are always a treasure!  We cannot wait until we are with the WHOLE family one of these years!!!

 

How was your Christmas?  How did you celebrate?  What is your favorite part of Christmas Day?

Markets, Festivals and Nicholas, Oh My!!

It was a busy long weekend in the Groff house!  We hosted Thanksgiving dinner Thursday and basically laid around until late afternoon on Friday…then it was off to the Trier Christmas Market, followed by our own village’s festival Saturday night to see Nicholas!

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The Trier Market was gorgeous!  We were there at  night, so we got to see all of the pretty lights and displays.  We also got to warm our freezing hands with mugs of Peppermint Hot Chocolate and Bailey’ Coffee!  The market looked like a display you see on someone’s mantle at Christmas!  It was so amazing to see these things in larger than life size!

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As soon as we got there, James spotted the Carousel.  He was  non-relenting in his begging to go on it!  After we warmed up with drinks he had a turn and smiled from ear to ear the entire time.  I am not sure if the smile was from the ride or from the girl he decided to sit with in the little carriage seat!  He loves the ladies, whether they speak English or not!

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The boys enjoyed their treats…James was overwhelmed with excitement and Gavin was just wonderstruck with all of the lights and toys!  He just starred at them and you could see his little mind just reeling with the wonderment of it all.  Then he was all about the Sus Popcorn…it was mighty tasty!

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We got some nice photos together and then decided it was time to get back to the warmth of our Jeep for the 90 minute drive home.  Two hours at a market flies by when you are busy looking at all of the ornaments and wooden crafts!  The next day was spent tidying up, relaxing some more and then visiting our own village’s festival!  We had a visit from Nicholas who gave out goodie bags to the children while the parents enjoyed some Gluwein…I am not a fan, so I left that part up to Eric!  Meanwhile, we played, tried to stay warm, and practiced running up hills with Gavin!

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It is so amazing to have markets and festivals every weekend all over Germany to enjoy with our friends!  Now we get two special friends coming this week from Japan, and we cannot wait to share the in the Gluwein, wursts, waffles and celebrations with them!  Up next…the Landstuhl Christmas Market Race…

What did you do this weekend?

My favorite holiday in the whole world….

So it is getting close to Christmas and this is always a time when I get more sappy than usual, more hyper than usual, and more over the top with my acts of kindness.  Something big happened in my life on Christmas Eve 23 years ago, and since then it has always had a more than special meaning to me.  It is a time for renewal, for being thankful, for being open to the idea that something good can always come from a bad situation.  I became somewhat obsessed with the love I have for my family ever since that year…it was also the year I got to give up the mushroom cut! 

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Not going into big details, but I will say that my father made a big decision that made a huge change in our lives and the lives of others that day 23 years ago.  We left our blended family and began again as a family of three.  A new apartment, school, babysitter, etc. were all waiting for us that Christmas Eve day.  We have always been close to my grandparents (I have talked about Nanny quite often) and so when Dad pulled into the Ultramar parking lot to call them, we knew it was going to be a great Christmas.  My Dad drove us there (after breakfast at McDonalds) and then we set out my slippers (long stocking type ones) to be filled.  There were not many presents, but we didn’t care.  We were with our Nanny, Papa, cousins, Aunts and Uncles…it was truly just about family!  Since then we have formed fun traditions with both my father and mother!n534805522_1883745_7094[1]

Christmas at my Moms….this snow globe is the reason “Oh Holy Night” is my favorite Christmas Carol!

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Back when getting a cordless phone was super amazing!

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Me and my niece, Lena, way back in 2000

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The last Christmas I spent with my family before moving away!

Some of my best Christmas memories are going to the Sheraton or Delta Barrington with my mom and sister.  We would stay for the weekend, walk through the ped-ways to go shopping, go see plays at Neptune Theater (or Nutcracker, something I can only share with my Mama <3), getting cookies, going to the spa, and getting etiquette lessons from Mom at the hotel dining room!  I have since started my own family traditions and fun with my husband and two boys.  I am proud to say they love watching Christmas movies starting in September, just like me!  They love hot chocolate, Christmas songs, Christmas crafts, and all the baking I get into.  They get super excited and also share in the joy of giving!  It is really fun to see their faces, when they look at ornaments, or huge trees in the shopping centers.  It is even more special we get to spend Christmas in Germany….there could not be people who love Christmas more than Germans…..I am with my kind of people!  Here are some pics of my own little family through the years

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James' xmas pic

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I cannot wait to do a ‘Christmas in Germany’ post!!!  We start the decorating this week, so prepared to be overwhelmed with my love for everything Christmas!!!!  In the meantime, I am getting ready for my first run since the injury….pictures will be taken, turtles will be passing me, and I will be as happy as a pig in sh!t myself on Christmas morning!

What is your favorite holiday?  What makes it special for you?  What new traditions do you come up with as you grow older?