Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the Second Day of Christmas true love gave to me: green polka dot pajamas, and a Japapense transistor radio!!!

3rd married Christmas...go team!
(Thank your lucky stars I don't intend to post 12 days.)

Speaking of lucky...we are in two senses: first, we don't have to travel on the holidays, and second, splitting time between families is a piece of cake.  Or would it be two pieces if we are splitting time?

We have so many lulu bags's crazy

Jared's family generally prioritizes Christmas Eve, and mine loves Christmas Day (especially the morning), so we divide time accordingly and get to see both.

I really wanted to get a workout in on Christmas Eve morning.

Tee - Nike, running skirt - lululemon, shoes - Nike
But as you may recall, I am in PT for some lovely IT-band stuff and am not to run for a month.  So I did some yoga instead.

Pants - lululemon,
hoodie - Mercer Island Crossfit

Christmas Eve afternoon was a super relaxed affair at Jared's mom's house.  We went in our new workout gear for crepe-pancakes, football, and presents.

Jared's brothers Jake and Sam

After appreciating wrapping paper and laughing a lot, we got fancified for dinner and gift exchanges at Jared's grandparents' house.

Me with Lauren, sister-in-law of the century
Lauren and I are humorously similar...there are a lot of cool things about us, but we can be uptight crybabies about insignificant things - sometimes daily.  So we thought we'd get a good crybaby shot and accidentally made the exact same face.  Our husbands are brave men.

I recently started following Sarah over at Coming Unstitched.  She's got great taste and blogs for those of us who don't have a few grand to blow on clothes each month.  Not only does she present cute, affordable pieces, but she offers ideas on how to get more mileage by mixing up your outfits.  When she posted a Christmas outfit with adorable red shoes, I was hooked...and went out and bought some.  Powerful marketing, there, people!

SHOES - F21, flower - Claire's,
lace top - Express, blazer - Target,
pearls - Goodwill, jeans - F21
Obviously I am using her New Year's Eve ideas to plan my fancy getup this weekend.

Dinner at the grandparents included heaps of yummy food, the name-draw gift exchange, a White Elephant exchange, and a visit from Santa.  We didn't actually see him, but there was some ho ho ho-ing and jingling bells.  Plus the cookies were gone.  Sweet deal.

Most of the cousins

Never have I heard 3 men discuss shoes like these boys debate Nike

You tell me: Is your family far or near?  Did YOU get a visit from Santa this year?  Do you blame impulsive shoe purchases on well-meaning bloggers?

Friday, December 30, 2011

On the First Day of Christmas true love gave to meeeee: a Japanese transistor radio!!!

Not really.  But my family raised me to appreciate fine humor...and laugh politely at lame jokes.  I personally class Allan Sherman with the former.

Both Jared and I have family in the area, so Christmas can often be a little hectic.  Based on the wisdom built over 2.5 years of marriage, we have started marking our own traditions so that we can enjoy time with our families, but still feel like our own little unit is the biggest priority.

The first year we were married, we started our annual participation in the 12ks of Christmas!

Who doesn't ♥ Santa?
The second year we were married, we started giving each other stockings and one "big" present.  We generally agree on a budget, but the amounts can be split however you need to designate 60% for stocking and 40% for present.

The biggest rule around this that we can do it whenever the heck we want.  This year Jared literally came home on a Wednesday and said he was stoked to give me my gifts.  So we exchanged right then...well, after I frantically ran to our outside storage unit to dig out the stockings.  It's the little things, right?

This year was a success all around:

My "stocking" from Jared...which didn't fit in the stocking
I love the Melting Snowman and Abominaball!
 I find basically nothing on earth as relaxing as a good hot bath.  To me, lush is like the grownup version of rubber duckies. 

And my "big" gift...the running tights I was coveting from lululemon:

They run small...I had to go back and exchange them, even though the hubby got what would usually fit.  Other than that, they are amazing.  Sadly, due to PT I am not allowed to run in these (well, or in anything else) until about the end of January, but they work well for Crossfit and yoga and just chilling. 

Jared had NO CLUE where his big gift was from.

Chocolates including the Pike Place Stout

A new TV show to try...and a favorite film

Fancy pants shaving elements

And Satsumo Santa!!! 
Who was actually purhcased a day or two later...
be chill about gift-giving, folks!!!
And the "big" gift...I made him flex his muscles for me:

This third year of marriage, we added reading Scripture together.  A lot of folks like Luke 2, which I think is sweet, but we decided we wanted something that looks forward to the second coming of Jesus.  So we ended up with Revelation 22.  It was an excellent reminder that this world is not all that there is, and I am looking forward to continuing this little tradition in the years to come.

You tell me: What traditions do you love celebrating each year?  Did you add anything new this Christmas season?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

To Paleo or Not to Paleo...That Is the Question

Hello, friends, family, and total strangers!

I hope that you are enjoying a lovely Christmas season, celebrating Jesus with the people you love.

I am having a unique holiday, between physical therapy and a whopper of a head cold.  I got this cute mug from a coworker and filled it with tea probably nine times at work yesterday. 

You can't tell, but there is TAZO: Calm
hiding behind the cocoa.  A.Maze.Ing.
 Those in the cubicles around me are probably trying to move away from the lozenge-unwrapping, nose-blowing, and general germ-spreading that I am sharing with the world at large.  Oh how the stress and sugar of Christmas wreak havoc on the immune system!!!

Fighting a cold?  Sleep, tea, and vitamin C!
Other than a raw nose and an insanely tight IT band, I'm enjoying myself greatly.  All our brothers are in town due to break, and last night we had the four of them over for pork chops, pizza, and poker.  Too bad their names aren't Paul, Peter, Patrick, and Parker.

Salad (mine) + apple pork chops (Jared's)
Jared put me on sou chef duty.  My already ninja-good skills at satsuma peeling have been sharpened this week by my need for vitamin C.  So we had spinach and pumpkin seed and balsamic/olive oil salad.  Plus the amazingly flavored pork chops with organic honey crisp apples.  I would have a picture of the pizza...but it was of the frozen variety and so not particularly beautiful.

I got out first...likely because I can never
remember what good cards are.

Sam (Jared's) + Max (mine)

Jared + John (mine)

Jake (Jared's)
It was so fun to have everyone around...the topics of conversation are always exceedingly varied as our collection of brothers includes an artist/shoe designer, a shoe-loving, football-playing actor, an actor-turned-writer, and an economist/Civil War buff.  We went from poor decision making in the Air Force loss to Toledo, to food at McDonald's in India, to Seussical the musical.  Oh, the thinks you can think.

In other news...Jared and I will be doing 30 days of Paleo starting January 1st. 

As I understand it, Paleo is basically the idea that living like a caveman is the most healthy option for your body.  Although I don't think it supports or condones dragging your wife around by the hair.

Pretty much you can eat as many calories as you like...but you are to avoid processed foods, sugared-up stuff, grains, and dairy.  The focus is lean protein with lots of produce.  This will make you look better, feel better, and do better at Crossfit.

I found out a month or so ago I love brussels spouts. 
Whodda thunk?
Some people swear by it and say it's amazing and changed their life and so forth.  Other people have said they stuck by it to a T and lost no weight and saw basically no change in how they felt...and their workouts got worse.  Charlotte Hilton Andersen had a chapter in her book about how she "failed spectacularly" at Paleo.  (Read her book if you haven't yet.  Any woman who can write so well about slapping herself in the butt with a jump rope and consquently busting her pants open at the gym is well worth the time.)

I have never been on a diet before in my life...unless you count a month or two here or there of giving up sweets, or a super loose following of the Abs Diet where I try to eat at least six items a day out of the following list:
  • Almonds or other nuts
  • Beans or other legumes
  • Spinach or other green veggies
  • Dairy
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Eggs
  • Turkey or other lean meats
  • Peanut butter (hallelujah!)
  • Olive oil
  • Whole grains
  • Extra protein powder
  • Raspberries or other berries
Yes, it spells ABS DIET POWER.  Unless I typoed somewhere.  In which case please email me ASAP so my brothers don't get yet another kick out of proof-reading payback. 

Obviously I have some intellectual issues with many diets, like how excessive calorie restrictions are unhealthy, etc., etc., etc.  However, here are the main reasons I personally have stayed away from them:
  • Diets are not sustainable. To me, the surest way of being fit and healthy for life is to live in way that you could see yourself happily continuing for your whole life, especially where food is concerned.  A diet is usually something people grit their teeth and desperately fight through till the end of the set diet period and are overjoyed when it is finally all over.
  • Diets prohibit favorite foods.  I love super dark chocolate, peanut butter sandwiches, and greek yogurt.  I eat these things almost every day.  Not Paleo-friendly...and this makes me sad.

No more yogurt with pomegranate seeds and applesauce.

  • Diets make it hard to hang out with people.  You may be lucky enough to have family members or even coworkers or friends doing a diet with you...but chances are, the rest of the world does not subscribe to your brand of food insanity.  This makes going out to eat or having people over for meals very difficult.  And for a gal who has a hard enough time making plans with folks as it is, this one's a big diet downer.
  • Diets often require a ton of prep.  Due to my metabolism and the hours I am out of the house, I generally have to pack 4-6 mini meals to take with me every weekday.  And sometimes on the weekends as well.  When you eat every three hours, it is hard to imagine prepping and packing meat and veggies for an army when you already wake up sometimes before 5 to get food ready for the day.

Why am I doing all this, then?  Do I really want to lose a few pounds?  Am I sure that Paleo will take my workouts from scaled to RX?

Nope.  I just really love Jared.  And he asked me to try it with him.  (And no, I wouldn't jump off a cliff just cause he suggested it.)

Would you go on a diet with this guy?
You tell me: Have you ever done Paleo?  Ever thought about Paleo?  Named your kid Paleo?  Advice?  Inspiration?  Horror stories?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Toys for Tots Weekend: Part II - 12ks of Christmas

Hello and Happy Christmas!  (It always makes me feel very British and Dickens-y to say "happy" instead of "merry."  Maybe I should actually read "A Christmas Carol" - I'm a huge Dickens fan, but that's one of his that I've never actually read.  Possibly a sad result of having seen at least 3 film versions of the tale.)

Sporting my race shirt - I wore
this to work the day after the run.

Last Sunday, Jared and I marked one of our favorite annual traditions: running the 12ks of Christmas in beautiful downtown Kirkland.  This year, we added to the fun by swindling our family members into the affair!  You may recall I was starting to have significant pain in my left knee (suspected IT Band and Hamstring as culprits) in the final two weeks before the race. 

Some of the post-run brunch gathering

I am far and away more sentimental than competitive.  I ran two half marathons this year, one in May and the other in October, and even though I was proud of myself for training and all that, my most eagerly anticipated race this year was probably the 12k. 

It pleases me to say I did not meet my foreboding injury with typical Megha-Hysteria.  (Generally this involves an all or nothing attitude like "Stick to the Plan or Die Trying" or "Quit Now.  No More Running.  Ever" and heaps of crying.  Cute stuff.) 

I eased way off on my runs, sticking with only one or two a week as the race approached, and added lots of foam rolling, while continuing Crossfit to keep my cardio fitness up. 

Well, my time was not faster than last year.  I decided to give up on having a time goal and try not to be injured.  My non-time goal was to beat Santa.  Which I did, passing him and his fit wife around 10 or 11k.  As you can see from our times, the hubby and I did not run together this year.  He and my baby brother (who was quite the track and cross-country competitor back in high school) stuck with me for the first mile or two, and then headed of at my encouragement.

And I actually had a great time.  There are always so many folks dressed in costumes, and one house in the first mile always has Christmas playing as we run by.  This year even included a tent of carolers singing the 12 Days of Christmas, with little kids standing out front offering high-fives.

Honestly, my greatest disappointment was the fact that I forgot my camera and consequently broke down and bought official race photos.  Pricey, but I've never actually bought any before...and for my favorite race, I think it was worth it.

Jared & his Grinch shirt

Me with furry socks!!!
After the run(s - most of the family did the 5k while we did the 12k), everyone headed back to our place for some brunch with additional family.  Jared made these amazing pinwheel pastries, and my mom brought a killer breakfast casserole.

Jared's mom brough satsumas to share and his sister and brother-in-law brought makings for mimosas.  Our families know how to eat well.

After everyone left, we were on to our final dinner of the Men's Health: Shop Once, Eat for a Week plan.  Steak plus yummy salad.

We subbed in different sorts of kale for the arugula in the salad.  Technically we should have had leftovers from Tuesday's hero sandwiches, but we'd put it in eggs and on other sandwiches throughout the week, which was good as it would have been wilty by Sunday night (we didn't do the dinners 5 days in a row).

All things told, I'd highly recommend the dinner plan (except do chicken breasts instead of roasting a whole bird)...and I'm now in physical therapy for the aggravated IT band.  Oops.

You tell me: Have you ever had injuries that you decided to "run through"? What strategies worked for you?  How did you stay in shape while taking time off from running or other activities?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Daily Dilemma: Iced Tea is Expensive

I'm a big fan of Honest Tea.  They keep the sugar factor to a minimum, and whatever they make tastes crazy awesome.  However, being the manager of the grocery bill madness in our household, I usually can't afford it unless it goes on sale.

My husband who cooks is also smart (sweet deal) and decided we should just make our own.

He had me get tea for each of us in the glass bottles (this way we could wash and reuse). 

Then he made tea with a bunch of amazing spices, and we bottled it up and chilled it! 

I brought my tea to work and made the treat last three days!

You tell me: what frugally genius tricks do you have for enjoying your favorite goodies?