What is perfection?

Is it a number, a rating, a feeling?
Is it a place, an event, a trip?
Maybe it's a person?
Is it love, a relationship or marriage?
Is it a quality, trait or feature of excellence?
Perhaps, it's a state of being?
Is it a body or parts of a body?
Does it mean being perfect?
Does it mean being skinny?
Is it a destination?
Is it the end?
Is it worth striving for?
Is it an accomplishment?
If two people have different ideas of perfect, is there such a thing?

I am a mom and a wife.
I make plenty of mistakes.
Say and do the wrong things at the wrong time.
I have many flaws.
I do my best but always try for better.
I will never have the best body but I'll work to be healthy.
I am defined by my values, my goals, my aspirations, not by the way I look.
I am human.

I'm here to try to be a positive model of a what a woman should be for my daughter.
To teach her right from wrong.
To teach her that being a certain shape, size, look, a certain whatever, doesn't matter.
It's what is inside that counts.
It's her character that will get her further in life.
That having a sense of humor is a better quality than having a pretty face.
That it's not okay to imitate or duplicate, but to be original.
To cherish individuality instead falling into the group.
To not drink the kool-aid.
That every person is beautiful and there is no such thing as being perfect.

I am not perfect.
I am me. 
Being the best that I can be.

Check Out My Hardware

Yesterday, I ran the Run for Red benefitting the Gateway Area American Red Cross.  Not only was I excited to run my first 5K of the year but knowing it was going for a great cause made it that much better. 

The race had 130 participants registered and 70 volunteers.  They were able to raise $4300 to support the American Red Cross as well as save 27 lives as a result of the blood drive held that day. 

First off, my experience with competitive races is pretty non-existant.  I ran a 4 mile race a few years ago and the race packet included a bib and cotton shirt and nothing else.  At the end of the race, the food and drinks were pretty sparse so I was completely amazed at everything this 5K had to offer.

I picked up my race packet on Friday night.  I received a reusable bag with a very nice run long-sleeved race shirt (had the feel of Under Armor but not probably as warm or as nice), some information sheets including the race route, a gift-card which by the way isn't a true gift card (deceiving!) and my race bib. 

Race day it was around 37-39 degrees (or so said my car thermometer).  The wind was okay - not as bad as it had been around here last weekend and throughout the week - but there was still a bit of a breeze. 

As far as the course went, we basically ran through a residential neighborhood twice.  One small loop for about 1.25 miles (my guess) and a bigger loop for the rest. 

My goal was to run under 25 minutes.  Based on the times I had been running during "training", I thought this was highly attainable.  The only split I heard was 7:38 at mile one. 

Two thumbs up for not winning!

I ending up making my goal with 23 seconds to spare.  I came across the finish at 24:37.9 which was a 7:57/mile pace.  I was the 33rd person across the finish line, the 9th woman and placed 4th overall in my age division (20-29).  I even came home some hardware - a bronze medal.  OH YEAH!

At the finish line there was loads of foods (fruit, granola bars, pretzels, doughnuts, bagels, etc), water, and even an energy drink sample.  They also gave away lined bags which were pretty fancy.   I grabbed what I could, got my medal and we headed over to Pizza Slut so I could feed my face with pizza and Mountain Dew.  I don't know, I heard that's what your supposed to do post race - load up on carbs and fat after you spent 25 hard minutes working breakfast off.

Overall, I was impressed with everything.

I signed up for a 5 mile run on Thanksgiving morning.  I'm hoping for great weather and 8 minute miles. 

Moral of this story is that you can have a baby and 5 months later be race ready.  I'm proof so if I can do it so can you!  Now go lace up those sneakers and run.

The cutest way to show off the hardware.

I got this really brilliant idea that I would work off my Pizza Slut by doing No Trouble Zones last night. I know, over achiever.  Today I feel like I rode a horse. Not smart, not smart.

Shrimp Casserole

By now, you can tell that I am a lover of casseroles.  Anything you can throw in a pan, put in the oven and call it dinner, works for me.

Nothing makes me happier than using shrimp in a recipe.  I absolutely love shrimp...and casseroles.  The number of casseroles or recipes for that matter, that contain seafood are lacking.  Maybe I'm not looking for them or the ones that I do find, don't seem appeasing to the taste buds.  When I found this recipe, it looked too good to pass up. 

It made so much in leftovers that I had something everyday for lunch the following week.  Let me tell you it got better with every passing day.  For those of you who do not enjoy seafood, I'm sure chicken would make a good substitute.

Shrimpy Casserole

  • 2 lbs. shrimp, cleaned, peeled, & deveined
  • 16 oz. jar of salsa
  • 9 oz. angel hair pasta
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cup half & half
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (or Colby Jack mixture).

  1. Cook pasta and drain.
  2. In seperate bowl combine eggs, half & half, yogurt, feta cheese, 1/2 cup Mont. Jack cheese, parsley, basil and oregano.  Mix until well blended.  Set aside.
  3. Start layering:  cover the bottom of the pan with pasta (about 1/2), add salsa layer, put half the shrimp over the salsa and top with moneterrey jack cheese.  Then add rest of pasta and the remainder of shrimp. 
  4. Cover this with the egg mixture. 
  5. Add a final layer of Monterrey Jack cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. 
  7. Enjoy!
***Note:  The original recipe called for 1/3 c. fresh parsely.  I never have fresh any spice/herb around, so I guesstimated and came up with about 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons.  Of course, you can add to taste.  I also didn't have any half and half on hand, so I substituted melted butter mixed with whole milk (4 - 1/2 tsp plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup...of course, I had to do this 1.5 times to get to 1 1/2 C. as the recipe calls for.  I actually think I did 4 tbsp instead of 4 - 1/2 tsp...oops!).  I also didn't have Swiss cheese on hand so I just added more Monterrey Jack cheese and I used shredded cheese not grated.  Use what you have.

Also, if you like spice, you can always add a little red pepper to taste.

Eff, Marry, Kill vol.2

Because it was so much fun the first go round, let's do it again! This time I'm featuring this year's "Sexiest Man Alive" and a couple of past winners. Right here is some serious eye candy (and you're welcome).

Are you done drooling? Seriously, wipe your mouth. You gotta little...right there, no there...there you go. Wow, these are some fine lookin' fellas!

Let me just say that this was such a difficult decision. Can you blame me? Just look at them, again, for the umpteenth time. Oh my! 

So, I would eff Bradley Cooper because really, who wouldn't? 

I would have to marry Ryan Reynolds even though I know we'd end up divorced because I don't think he's really marriage material. He's a pretty face I wouldn't mind waking up to every day. Plus, I would probably cheat on him with Bradley...duh! 

I'm saddened to say that I would have to do off with Hugh. He would make great husband but Ryan and Bradley are more my style and I just couldn't kill either of them.

What do you all think?

Oh and p.s. I still love my husband! I asked him the first time I participated in this who he would eff, marry and kill between Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler...what do you think he chose?


Exercise Log - October

I'm hoping that by sharing my workouts each month, some one will look at this and find the motivation to start a regimen of their own.  I know for me, looking at my fitness board on Pinterest is enough motivation to get the Twinkie out of my hand and my ass on a treadmill any day.

10/1: Jillian Michaels (JM) Ripped in 30 - Week 1
10/2: OFF
10/3: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/4: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/5: OFF
10/6: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/7: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/8: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/9: OFF
10/10: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/11: FLU
10/12: FLU
10/13: softball @ group outing
10/14: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/15: OFF
10/16: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/17: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/18: OFF
10/19: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/20: OFF
10/21: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/22: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/23: OFF
10/24: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/25: OFF
10/26: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/27: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/28: JM Yoga Meltdown - Level 2 & Ran 2.45 miles.
10/29: OFF
10/30: Yoga Meltdown - Level 1 & Ran 3.93 miles.
10/31: OFF

Reflection: I took a lot of days off this month.  Some were justifiable in that I was battling the flu or a cold.  However, I think I got bored with doing JM Ripped DVD series and instead of doing something different for the day, I just didn't work out.  Towards the end of the month, I started running and getting back into Yoga to switch it up.  Switching it up is good for the mind and body.  This month, I watched my calories a bit more and tried eating healthier (except on Halloween where I may have overindulged in chocolate).  My biggest weakness is still Mountain Dew.

P.S.  JM Ripped in 30 - Week 4 is nothing to mess with.  I was shaking through each circuit.  When the workout was complete, my muscles were still shaking.  It's funny that I workout pretty regularly, but one workout can still make me feel completely out of shape.

P.P.S.  I have less than one week until the Run for Red 5K.  My goal is under 25 minutes but I will still be happy with under 30 minutes, pending the weather.

Workin' it out as best as I can,

A Family Mess

Want to see a mess?  Come over to my house any day of the week and check out my kitchen table.  Clutter...everywhere. 

Want to see an even bigger mess?  Come over and check out the layer of makeup film that has taken up residence on my bathroom counter.  How I manage to consistently get makeup all over the place, is still a mystery to me.

To me, these are everyday, take little to clean up type of messes and clearly I'm a lover of mess.

When I think of real messes, it's not the everyday messes I'm faced with, it's the messes my mom was unfortunately had to deal with on a regular basis with my sister, brothers and I.  These types of messes are messy then and funny now. 

See, my mom keeps a tight, clean ship.  Always has, always will.  So messes to her is like not working out and not being awesome to Richard just doesn't happen. 

If you were a member of my family, you would remember these little gems and laugh, whereas my mom probably still cringes at the thought of them.

Like the time, my sister in a fit of rage, slammed a gallon of milk onto our kitchen table.  The milk jug burst and milk flew everywhere...and I mean everywhere.  Who knows what my sister was so mad about, it definitely had something to do with my mom, but nonetheless it lead to my sister on her hands and knees mopping up her big old mess (and then my mom probably mopping and fixing her clean up later).

Or the time my sister decided to pour the dog food into the doggie food container, only to pour the entire contents of the bag everywhere else but the container.  Somewhere, there is a picture to prove this.

Or the time my younger brother shat all over my cute little Fisher Price table.  That pretty little yellow and orange Fisher Price picnic table that I received on one of my very special birthdays (which was probably more of a fiasco than a mess).  He took a crap which oozed out of his tiny little shorts onto my pretty little perfect table.  I freaked out and attempted to clean it up - probably with my hands.   But I think the bigger mess was the clean-up of those tiny little shorts on my moms part.  By the way, my parents still have the picnic table (20ish years later) but don't worry, there are no poop remnants.

How about the time my older brother crapped his pants in the chicken coop?  I'm sure that was a big old mess for mom and her washer.  (He also threw a rock through a television!)

Or the times, I, as a little girl, sat and played to my little hearts content in the middle of a mud puddle.  Probably a messy nightmare to most any mom.

Or all of the times we were told to hose down before we could even step foot through the door...everyday!  I guess there's a whole slew of messes kids can get into when living on the farm.

Just a bunch of messy kids creating a bunch of messy messes for a mom to clean up (isn't that their job?).

Being a new mom myself, I look forward to not only clean up the messes of my children but also creating messes with them.  There will be many, I can count on that.  Things are not meant to be perfect and a mess here and there is good for the soul.  Isn't it known that the bigger the mess, the more fun you're having!

See, messes equate to cuteness too!  I would probably kiss that sweet little mouth, even with all that rice on it.  Isn't having an infant just one big mess as it is?

How many times can each of us go back and say, wow, that was messy and just laugh about it.  Isn't it the messes that make the best memories?

Here's to a mess or two in your near future,

I received information about Clorox’s Bleach It Away campaign and am sharing my messy moment for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls. To learn more about the messy moment program, check out  Sharing your story on the Clorox fan page gets you entered for the chance to win $25,000 and daily prizes, and you can grab a coupon for Clorox® Regular Bleach.

'Tis The Season

Greetings from Iowa! 

Here we are experiencing our first snow fall of the season. 

It's a beautiful combination of rain, sleet and snow with some heavy wind to go with.

Beautiful, scenic, picturesque, isn't it?! 

This was the perfect view out of my windshield on my drive to work this morning.

Now, don't be too jealous.

An Italian Feast

This afternoon, Quinn and I went on our first run with the jogging stroller and let me tell you, that thing is god's gift directly to me. He really wanted me to have it. Not only can I get my run in, it also puts Quinn to out cold you can't even touch her or say her name and she'll wake up type of out. I think a bomb could have been dropped and she wouldn't have twitched.

I ended up doing 4.22 miles, .22 more than coach told me to. I felt really good except for the last part where I had to run up a slight hill into the wind.

We also watched the NYC Marathon on t.v. today and I just couldn't imagine running let alone, training for that type of event but it definitely serves as motivation for me.

On to dinner...

I don't typically make dinner ahead of time because I really don't think that far in advance unless I have something I really need to make.  But today was a little different. 

Instead of catching up on Real Housewives of somewhere or surfing the Facebox, I used morning nap time to actually make dinner.  Smart thinking because come 6 o'clock, Quinn is in a terrible mood which means bedtime is within the hour and I'd have to wait until bedtime to even think about starting dinner. 

So, alas, I fixed dinner and refrigerated it until it needed to be thrown in the oven, well the spaghetti anyways.  The knots are super easy to make so I just waited and made those while the spaghetti cooked part way.
Baked Spaghetti

  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large jar spaghetti sauce (26.5 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 c. chopped onions
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (to taste)
  • French Fried Onions (small can)
Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package.  Drain and set aside.  Brown ground beef, drain excess grease.  Add spaghetti sauce to skillet with meat and heat.  Combine onions and butter, cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until soft.  Add cream cheese and milk to onion and butter mixture, stir well.  Using a 10 x 6 dish, assemble ingredients in following order:  thin layer of meat mixture on bottom of casserole dish, spaghetti, cream cheese/onion mixture, remaining meat sauce and Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Top with French Fried onions and continue baking 5 more minutes.

Parmesan Knots

  • 1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/4 c. canola oil (or olive if that is what you have on hand)
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

Roll each biscuit into 12 inch rope and tie into a knot, tucking the ends under.  Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown.  In large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (oil, parm cheese, garlic powder, oregano and parsley).  Brush the warm knots with mixture.  Yields 10 knots.

**Note:  I used a 16 ounce can which was 8 biscuits.  I cut each in half, rolled it out and knotted which yielded 16 knots. 


Running Gear

I realized when I told you all that I was going to run my first 5K of this year and I needed new shoes, it sounded like I'm that girl who woke up one day with a profound thought to get up and become a runner.

I've always been a runner.  I have participated in many races since I was a little in when I started moving, I was running.  I have the trophies to prove it.

When I got to junior high, I of course joined the track team and did distance running.  Well distance running for track anyways is, at most 1500 meters.

High school came and during my first two years, I remained a distance runner.  I was never really good at it...I never won or probably even placed in any race. 

Come junior year, I decide to give up on distance and become a sprinter.  I became a hurdler.  It was my calling.  We went to state both my junior and senior year (3A - biggest division in Iowa for girls) in the shuttle hurdle relay.  I'm 5'1, mind you but I jumped those babies like they were nothing.  I also ran the 100M and 4X100M relay races.  I have the medals to prove them all.

Now, I have decided that I'm going to convert myself back into a distance runner and get back into the racing scene (I'm seeing a 1/2 marathon in my distant future).  Transitioning is proving harder than I thought it would be.  I still have a sprinter's mentality and it doesn't make for fun runs.  I want to sprint the entire time which causes me not to be able to breathe appropriately and leaves my leggies a wee bit tired.  The treadmill allows me to keep a steadier pace but the pounding kind of hurts my shins.

Anyways, I wanted to show you all the things that I use when I run because that is fun and I think you should know.

First up is shoes.  I went shoe shopping a few weeks ago and had my little heart set on the Nike Lunarglide 3.  They were both functional and fashionable. 

A cute running shoe but doesn't really have arch support.  I could basically bend the shoe in half which is not good for running.  So, I tried on the Asics GT-2160, which has a lot of support, on one foot and the Lunarglide on my other foot to do a comparison. 

Holy macaroni, I could tell the difference right away.  They were not even comparable.  So, even though my heart and fashion sense wanted the Nike, my brain and body told me the Asics were the shoes for me.

Since buying these, I've only ever worn them running.  I don't want to waste mileage on wearing them around casually.  I found out that a good running shoe can get me around 450-500 miles of use.  So, I have quite a few miles to go.

While running, I use the Nike+IPod device.  It's bomb dot com.  I know at all times how far I've run, my pace, calories burnt, etc., all while listening to musica.  I then synch it with ITunes which sends my runs to Nike to track and contribute to challenges.  I also synch to Daily Miles (widget on side of blog).

Finally and maybe best of all, I'll have the best running companion because I have this:

Thank you Craigslist!

It's been nearly impossible to get my runs in because hubs is working late all the time.  I've been to my parents to run, have run on the treadmill at 9 pm at night and even ran on my lunch break.  Now I'll be able to get my run in when I want without having to rely on someone to watch Quinn.

 What are your must haves when running?

Halloweenie + 4 months

Monday was a first for many things for Quinn.

Quinn's first (and only - duh!) four month appointment.
Quinn's first Halloween.
Quinn's first experience eating rice.
Quinn's first word spoken and it was "momma'....KIDDING.  It would be fun though if she could.

We started the morning off bright and early around 7:30 AM (I could of and should have slept in).  I wanted to give Quinn a bit of time to wake up, play and to take a little nap before her checkup at 10:15.  Two months ago when I scheduled the appointment, I didn't really think about time in relation to naps because Quinn was still sleeping whenever she felt like (and still does to some extent).
Happy Baby!

Her 4 month check up went exceptionally well.  She's as healthy and developmentally sound as she can be.  Of course, she's still a little nugget. 

Side note: Have I ever told you all how much we love our pediatrician?!  He's awesome and just talks to you.  He doesn't try to sound overly smart and all doctory and is very respectful. 

Weight: 13 pounds, 1 ounce; 25 percentile.
Length: 24 inches; 25 percentile.
Head: 42 3/4 cm; 95th percentile.

Other stats: Quinn is sleeping 7 pm to 7 am on a regular basis.  She can roll over from tummy to back when propped up on her elbows and can roll over from back to tummy on her own.  She's now eating 6  - 8 oz of formula every 3 hours plus rice once a day.  Quinn can talk your ear off, seriously, when I leave her laying around and she doesn't have her pacy, she'll talk and talk and talk!

At this appointment, the doctor was less concerned about her head size because she's following her curve.  Also, he's never concerned with her weight and height because of the genes given to her. 

Quinn received two shots and an oral.  She did much better this time.  There was still crying but I was able to calm her down pretty quickly.  She was out like a light before we even got to the car.  I think the meds I gave helped quite a bit with that one. 
Quinn was spent from shots and proceeded to take a 3-4 hour nap so I finally was able to go to the craft store (think a yarn wreath and tutu's!), mall to get my bling cleaned and Wal-mart for a few odds and ends.

I got the okay to start feeding Quinn rice so I started that day.  She was a little skeptical about getting fed via spoon.  I also think she wasn't getting fed fast enough so she was getting pretty upset.  It's zero to sixty with the girl.  When it's feeding time, it's feeding time!  She does not mess around.

Tuesday and today went much better.  She fully understands what's on the spoon and that she's supposed to be eating it.  She even tilts her head up so momma can put it in her mouth.  I did alternate between giving her a few spoonfuls of rice and following it up with a few drinks of formula.

First spoonful. 
In case you're wondering, her bib does say "High Chair Hottie".

We had trick or treating in town on Monday night, so we of course dressed Quinn up.  She was a kitty and an extremely cute one at that.
She made it for maybe 30 minutes of greeting trick or treater's at the door and decided that she needed a cat nap.

I think we have at least 5 pounds of candy leftover.  My ass won't thank me but my belly will.

I'm probably going to turn into a Snickers!

Happy Belated Halloween!

Things That Lasted Longer Than Kim Kardashian's Marriage

By now, we've all heard the news about Kim Kardashian filing for divorce from Kris Humphries.  Shocking! 

I mean, come on, we all knew their marriage would dissolve at some point but 72 days?!

Here is Kim's statement:
“After careful consideration, I have decided to end my marriage. I hope everyone understands this was not an easy decision. I had hoped this marriage was forever, but sometimes things don’t work out as planned. We remain friends and wish each other the best.”


Apparently, Kris was "blindsided" by Kim's filing.

I also read that Kim was sick of Kris "mooching" from her.  But honestly, she married the guy when the NBA was still (and still is) in a lockout, which happens to be longer than their marriage.  What do you expect?  Also, isn't marriage about "what's mine is yours and yours is mine"? 

What a joke.  Seriously, this may be why the divorce rate in our country is so high.

Here are a bunch of things that have lasted longer than their marriage:
  • Pamela Anderson's marriage to Kid Rock.
  • The trick or treating line at Casey Anthony's house.
  • The cheese in my refrigerator.
  • Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphrie's engagement.
  • Dale's fart in Stepbrothers.
  • Their wedding special on E! (I guess E! named the special right because afterall, Kim was really only wanted a wedding, not a marriage).
  • The life span of a fruit fly or a sea monkey.
  • Lindsay Lohan's line of coke.
  • Kim Kardashian's soon to be divorce special.
  • Taylor Swift's acceptance speech before Kanye interrupted her.
  • The urination scene from Austin Power's.
  • The STD's floating around the Jersey Shore.
  • Kim Kardashian's sex tape.
  • O.J. Simpson murder trial
  • Tim Pawlenty's 2012 Presidential campaign.
  • Rebecca Black's singing career.
  • Khloe's ambition to get the skinnies.
The only person to put Kimmy to shame is good, old Britney Spears.  Remember her 55 hours marriage?

**Note: idea for this post was taken from a morning radio show in my area....the things they came up were hilarious and made me giggle, hard.  Some of these are listed above.