“Put your mask on first”

As we secure our seatbelts on the plane we’ve all heard the flight attendant say “put your mask on first.”

These instructions I have heard on every flight, yet I have never really paid attention because I never imagined myself in a situation where I would need to put them to use. That is until recently, but not on a flight.

I have spent the better part of my life raising kids. Making sure they are fed, clothed, doing well in school, going to youth sporting events to cheer them on, making last minute projects, doing hair, cleaning house, preparing dinner, etc. I have spent the better part of my life showing up for everyone else without the ability to take sick days or holidays and forgetting that to be most effective I need to allow myself some “me” time, space of my own

The real question is as a mom and wife how do you train yourself to take a time out to recharge? How do you let the laundry wait, the dishes sit? How do you let the kids “work it out” on their own? How do you “put your mask on first?” This is definitely something I have always struggled with. I have always felt I must always answer the phone. I must always drop everything to help when someone asks me to. Give someone else my last piece of candy. I have always felt taking even 30 mins to myself during the day is selfish. I have spent the better part of my life getting offended when other people put me on the “back burner” not realizing I have been doing it to myself for years.

A few months ago I was put into a situation where everything I felt didn’t matter and I was only given the option of abiding by decisions made be someone else because I have zero control over the outcome. Such a disheartening place to be.

To have someone else control an entire situation that completely affects your life is absolutely not a position I like being in. Before reacting I took a step back considered my options and realized this is the exact situation I have put myself in many times before. I have many times made self sacrifices to make sure others aren’t going without.

At that moment I made a promise to myself to make sure I make intentional daily effort of self care.

While 2019 wasn’t by any means a bad year, in 2020 my promise to myself is to “Put my mask on first!”

Our life in progress

I remember starting 2018 thinking 2017 was going to be a hard year to top. If you look back at my first post this year ➡️ Happy New year 🎊🎊🎊 you can see we had some amazing life changes, great moments and tons of memories made.

As we are now rounding out the end of 2018 I can definitely say 2018 has been another amazing year. This was our first year in our new home with the kids, which we just LOVE and the memories are already in progress.

There has definitely been changes and adjustments that have become our new “normal.” The smaller adjustments have been our races. In the previous years my husband and I have ran all the same races, but this year, while we still ran a few of the same races, Surf City, OC Marathon , Wharf to Wharf, Long Beach RNRVEGAS and a few local 5Ks we run with the kidswe decided to alternate races so we could involve the kids more in the cheering aspect. we feel it’s just important for them to learn to be a “fan in the stands” for each other as it is for them to be apart of the game (race).

As for some of the bigger changes we knew going into 2018 we would be finalizing the adoptions of our son and two daughters . With all five our babies finally finalized we made the decision to close our home as a foster home. It was definitely a bitter sweet decision as we now get to watch these amazing kids continue to grow into the incredible little people they are, but on the flip side we are one less open door to those children in need.

With five little kids our home is always perfect chaos (as you can imagine) with everyone having homework, playing sports and having their own personalities, but we have all adjusted.

However it has also been a year of some unexpected surprises …

our daughter Natalie surprised us with the news that she is expecting

so we have a new little baby girl to look forward to going into 2019.

The real unexpected surprise was that our group of five littles became six when we added our youngest baby girl (which is the newest sibling to our adopted children) to our home.

If you had told me 12 years ago (when my husband and I met) this would be our life I wouldn’t have believed you. I might have hesitated, however today I wouldn’t change a thing. I love our life of totally perfect chaos.

Never stop dating

When you are married with children, you get busy and forget to spend time just being a wife. With 5 little kids we are always on the go between school, soccer, cheer, gymnastics, etc. Our evenings are filled with homework, showers and getting the kids ready for the next day and weekends are filled with household chores, school projects and youth sports.

While we enjoy spending time together with the kids and love watching them grow, we often forget to just be married. We forget to just enjoy each other.

This past weekend we were lucky enough to enjoy a quick getaway, just the 2 of us. Our weekend was planned around running the Long Beach Half Marathon so it was a quick trip to Southern California.

Of course we can’t go to Southern California without a quick stop at Disneyland 🎉🎉

I love that after 11 years of marriage we can still be goofy together.

We spent the weekend riding rides we don’t often get to enjoy together, eating at restaurants we would never take the kids to, and just enjoying our weekend together.

On Saturday we picked up our race packets and got to actually walk through and enjoy the expo

Then on Sunday we got up and ready for our race. It was my first race in 4 months so I went into it without plans. I ran the first 9 miles by myself. Enjoying my music and the scenery

Then I found Drew waiting for me between mile 9-10. I was hoping he was finished (he has been chasing a Pr) but glad to see him because I was pushing through a wall. He kept me motivated and on track to finish.

We ran the last 3 miles together. About mile 11.5 we realized I was super close to hitting my current PR, so we hit mile 12 and pushed hard and at this point I was rethinking that can of Coke I downed at mile 11 🤢.. Drew kept talking to me and encouraging me to finish strong so I kept pushing.

So relived to cross that finishline although I missed my PR by seconds, I feel good about my strong finish. Always thankful to have an amazing man by my side.

Once through the finishline we picked up our medal and of course it was in to photo ops.

Proud to say after 11 years of marriage we are ALWAYS this mushy 😘.

Not your typical “couples getaway”, but perfect for us. Can’t wait for the next one.

OC Marathon Racecation

This was my second year running this race, but last year it was hailing and raining so I honestly did not remember the course as I was just trying not to fall.

We started our weekend off at Disneyland (because that’s what adults do when they are away from the kids, right!?) stormtroopers, because well it was Star Wars Day!!!

Side note: I am loving these Goodr sunglasses, but have yet to figure out taking a selfie without seeing my arm in them.

Anyways, although hot, Disneyland was a blast, as always. We made sure not to leave without tasting the Pixar treats honestly, if you are a huge fan of grape and sweet, go for it! Otherwise not that great..

Day two consisted of packet pick up and an afternoon meet-up at the Procompression booth. The meet-ups are always a good time. We get to see all those people we only communicate with on social, IRL and we get to meet new people, which is always fun. After the meet-up we decided to go cheer on the 5k runners. I give them all props because it was hot running in the middle of the day.

Race day morning you never know how your run is going to go. You get up, get dressed and hope for the best. We of course started with some quick pictures with everyone we could . Our outfits, we usually plan weeks in advance, so we can runmatchy, we’re on point Then it was time to get to the start line. The corral we were designed for was jam packed so we had to wait outside of it until the start of the race. As the corral cleared out we were able to make our way in and off we went.

I, personally like to run half marathons by myself because it’s easier for me to listen to my music and zone out. I don’t mind running with other people, I am just not much of a “social runner.” It takes all my effort to push myself forward.

I could tell in the first half mile I was going to struggle because of the thick air and heat. I had to keep pushing myself mile by mile to keep going. By mile 3 I was drenched in sweat. My pale yellow tank was now dark and 15 pounds heavier.

The hills, heat and humidity were rough, but the on course support and the amazing communities we ran through were unbelievably awesome. The sights were beautiful. I love running by the ocean and looking at the houses as I passed by. This is definitely a race worth doing. At mile 12 I could feel fatigue setting in. Seriously thought about walking in the last mile. Then I passed someone and a few seconds later she caught back up to me and started pacing me. She was using my pace to keep herself going and it kept me going as well. Consequently enough we had met earlier on the shuttle from our hotel to the race that morning (what are the odds!?!) You have to appreciate those people you meet on course. Running has definitely brought some amazing people into my life.

After the race I met back up with my husband and Daniell and we caught the shuttle back to our hotel. Cleaned up best we could, a few pictures

(One should not jump after half, my legs hurt!!!!) and then a long drive home.

Definitely look forward to running this race again. Even with the heat, humidity and hills I really enjoyed it.

Inaugural Silicon Valley

As a Represent Running ambassador I was excited when they announced that they were adding an all new race weekend this year. I mean how many chances do you get to run a race from it’s inaugural year!?!? We weren’t sure what to expect from the weekend so we decided we were just going to enjoy it, especially since they announced FREE RACE PHOTOS

We were going to have all the fun and take all the pictures!!!

Saturday afternoon was the food truck 5K. We arrived early so we were able to hang out

Before heading to the start line. We started the 5K with an ambassador photo at the start line.

We all definitely like to runmatchy with our Goodr glasses and what we saw as an opportunity for a Goodr selfie turned into a cute behind the scenes photos captured by one of the on course photographers

The 5k course through the Guadalupe Park and Columbus Park and back to the finishline festival. There were several food trucks at the finishline. We definitely took part in the drinks and food available.

Then Sunday was the half marathon. We again got there early enough to meet up with everyone and take some pictures The half took us through the San Jose area ending at the Arena Green near the SAP Center. This was by far one of the best finishline festivals I have been to with all the food trucks, music and people. Thank you JT Service for putting on such an awesome event. We definitely had all the fun🎉🎉🎉

And collected all the medals and a big Thank you to Amazon we have all the amazing race photos to enjoy for FREE🎉🎉🎉

I am so ready to rock this weekend again next, but until then I am looking forward to our next race which is Across the Bay in June. You have time to register and save use code “Representwrs”.

Running local

This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in two different local 5k events. Since I started running half marathons I rarely run 5K races unless I am running with my family.

I had won a random drawing for the Madera Second Wind 5K race, which was for two race entries. I gave my extra entry to Daniell so that we could join Stephanie, who was already registered for the race. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the race as it was at the Madera Speedway. The course was actually kind of cute as we got to run through the fairgrounds livestock barns.

Of course before race day we had to plan our outfits. With all the things!!! Of course I was rocking Sparkle Athletic skirt and visor, as I do for all my races. This race I got also include their adorable pineapple tank because it matched so perfectly with the rest of my outfit. I also never race without my Procompression socks, they are usually the base for any of my race outfits. Once my outfit is chosen I always include my Garmin (fenix 3) and then add my SPI belt and Momentum bracelets.

Saturday was race day, all week I was worried about rain, but other than starting out a little chilly it was perfect weather for the race. Daniell and I met up with Stephanie and Michelle and got some pre-race pictures in (of course).

Then the race started and we all did our own pace. My first mile I started out a little fast so by mile two I had to slow it down a little, otherwise I wasn’t going to make it through mile three. The slowing down helped because I was able to keep pushing through mile three and the finishline. I was done once I hit the finishline, but I had ran my fastest 5k ever. After the race a cute little kid came up to me and said he had been trying to pass me the whole race, which I thought was cute and made me smile that catching me was his reason to keep pushing.

I have found that it is definitely fun to race a 5K once in while and I have this nice 5K medal to add to my collection.

All these ladies rocked their races and I am so glad to be able to run amongst them.

On Sunday I took part in the first Donut Run . Of course when you are running a fun donut race you need a cute little outfit, with all the accessories.

This race I did with Stephanie and her daughter Courtney . The course itself was an out and back on a bike path which made it super crowded. With the course being so narrow and crowded I just took it easy and had fun. Who doesn’t love a cute little medal and donuts at the finishline??

Running the 408K

First of all you have be excited to run a race that offers a uncommon distance. Um, hello a new 8K PR, heck yeah!!! 408K let’s do this!

Represent Running donates the proceeds from the race to benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation . I, for one, definitely love running a race for a great cause. As an added bonus you get an awesome finishers shirtThis year’s awesome shirt design. Can’t wait until next years.

The course itself is easy to run two small underpasses, but mostly flat. You run 4.97 miles from the SAP center to Santana row. During the course you get to enjoy a variety of music, a memorial mile in honor of Pat Tillman, which is where you can high five the Veterans and let’s face who doesn’t want to high five a Veteran?? Next up is the mariachi mile. Heck yeah, you get enjoy different Mariachi bands playing to get you all pumped up after 4 miles of running.

Then the finishline, lined with a crowd of people cheering you on as you continue to push till the end. Once you cross the finishline and receive your awesome medal🏅 don’t miss out on all the photo ops

As you enjoy your walk through the end of the race area, you not only receive that all important banana and water, but you also can enjoy different specials offered from the various stores and restaurants in the area, including 4.08 mimosas, YUMMY!!

Of course best part of this race is definitely the amazing people you get to run it with.

We definitely had all the fun!!! Don’t wait for next year’s run to join us for a great time. Come out and run with us during our next run the Silicon Valley Half.

This inaugural race is sure to be a great time.

A new chapter

A few years ago my husband and I decided to get licensed for foster care with no real thought of adopting. We just wanted to be that bridge from bad to good for the kids. Not really knowing what to expect we went to an orientation to find out how the foster care system works and what the expectations of foster homes were. Nothing we heard sounded too scary so we went on to get our license. We originally only wanted to get licensed for 2 children under age 15, as we still had our youngest daughter (who was 14 at the time) at home.

When we completed our licensing for foster care everyone said it’s going to be hard. You will get attached to the kids, they will leave and you will be heartbroken. Fostering children is definitely challenging at times. We have cried some very real tears and we’ve struggled to watch as the worker came to pick up the kids to take them home. Goodbyes are never easy. We have had some pretty tough times packing up all of a childs’ belongings, however we have never been scared of getting attached to the kids. We were more scared of what happens to them if we don’t get attached, they don’t fit in our family and we have to have them moved or worse they feel like they belong.

Throughout this foster care journey we have been blessed. We have had an amazing support system in our family and friends, not to say they didn’t have questions, reservations and concerns, but they have always accepted and welcomed every child that walked through our doors. We are lucky enough to have maintained relationships with children who have reunited with their bios. We have had the opportunity to experience things for first time through the eyes of a child. We have enjoyed trips to Disneyland with every child we have had the opportunity to love. There has been first smiles, hugs, kisses, first steps, first words, potty training, and lifelong relationships built. Of course there also has been homework, tantrums, attitudes, messes, but there isn’t a single thing I would change.

Our journey thus far has been a roller coaster of emotions and learning experiences. While we never had a plan to close our home, we feel life has a bigger plan for our family. However it worked out, we now have 5 beautiful and amazing children we get to watch grow up. While we are closing the door on welcoming new children into our home, we are excited about having front row seats to the five we have/are adopting we get to be sideline fans for sports and school activities, teach them to drive, celebrate birthdays, achievements and graduations, etc.

Stronger than the struggle

Training yourself how to overcome things like change and pain is hard. It’s easy to say “I’m going to changed the way I eat”, “I’m going to start going to the gym”, ” I’m going to start going for walks”, etc. Just about everyone I know has had their own struggle with weight or body image. Over the years I have struggled with my weight. I would workout, but only until it got hard. I would eat well, but only until I had a craving for something (Mmmm tortilla chips, salt is my weakness).

In 2006 I was in a car accident, I suffered a collapsed lung and my pelvic broken in three places. I remember like it was yesterday, being so scared waking up to a firefighter standing next to my car. I remember wondering why he was in my room because I didn’t remember getting into my car. For what seemed like forever I couldn’t figure out what happened or where I was. I was in and out of consciousness. It wasn’t until I heard the ambulance door slam and the paramedic yell “we are rolling hot” realizing I was inside, that I fully understood something was terribly wrong and I couldn’t change what happened that put me in that ambulance so I decided I was going to smile.

It took me a long time to stop being a victim of my car accident. My pelvic injury left me with chronic pain in my hips and lower back, which lead me to be sedentary and gain weight. The weight didn’t help the constant pain. Finally after years of pain I decide to start pushing through the pain and try to build the strength in my muscles hoping taking some of the weight off would help alleviate some of the pain.

My husband suggested we start running. Hahaha I couldn’t imagine walking a mile let alone running one, but decide to start going for walks. My walks started out as 18-20 min miles. At the time I would have never imagined myself actually enjoying running a mile let alone actually completing half marathons.

My first half marathon hurt. It took forever to finish and I remember think during it no way am Iever doing that again. Then I got to the finishline and they placed that medal around my neck and I couldn’t wait to torture myself again.

Running for me is still a struggle, some days are easier than others. I have arthritis in my lower back from my car accident (gotta love getting older), so I struggled a little bit while trying to find a way to cope with this new pain. Like most things the pain is better some days than it is for others, but I have finally been able to cope with it and get back to my training. Since my car accident and especially in the almost 3 years of running I have learned that I am only as strong as I think I am.

I love that I could get back to playing soccer and strength training While I am not embarrassed about the struggle I am just excited for what is in store. I just have to remember my body is stronger than the discomfort and I am capable!

Venturing to try new things

So I was given the opportunity to workout out at the Thoroughbred Treadmill Studio with some fellow Represent Running ambassadors. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I decided to sign up for the class, but was definitely looking forward to hanging out with the girls Daniell and Stephanie and having a chance to mingle with other ambassadors irl (in real life).

We started our venture to the studio at 5am as it is a 2 hour drive from our houses. Once we got there we were greeted by Jake, who was full of so much energy (it just makes you happy), given a brief summary of what we needed to do and sent to our treadmills. The workout started off slow. We were told the basics of what to expect and a explanation of what he would say during the workout.

The class is entirely designed as a “choose your own speed” class. It allows for you to choose what you want to get out of the workout. Being that this was my first time ever I decided to take it easy since I had no idea what to expect (I didn’t want to fly off the treadmill lol). The class lasted an hour. It was filled with speed, incline, music and energy. I had a blast. It is definitely a workout and you will most definitely sweat, but the energy from the music and instructor will keep you motivated and the hour flies by.

I absolutely recommend this class and if I lived closer I would definitely be signed up as a regular. Of course it does help to take a couple of friends with you