Weekly Running Recap: Vacation With a Side of Running

I’m not a good vacation runner. That’s right, my runs tend to be little to none when I’m out of town with the family.

Why? To be honest, I feel guilty. I Theknow I shouldn’t, but I feel bad if I am gone from my family due to a run. I have serious FOMO as well and even if it’s just 30 minutes, I feel like I’m missing out on quality family time. I’m getting better about just going and running (because it’s what I like to do), but for the most part, I don’t run as much on vacation.

And last week was one of those weeks. My running mileage ended up around 11 miles total for the week, with runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Here’s a look at what the days entailed:

The first day was just a long walk (5+ miles) throughout Toronto. We ended up covering several miles by foot (I made my step goal of 11,000+ steps), but it was all walking. And posing for photos like these 🙂

The last day in Toronto, I did get in a 3.5ish m run before our long car trip to NY. I even got a running pic with the CN Tower in the background!

In Ithaca, I went for a 3ish m run along the water one morning. It was peaceful, but it took me almost a mile to get to the waterfront trail.

Another day in Ithaca, we took a 2 mile hike to some waterfalls. It was 90 degrees and HOT but worth it – we took the easy trail (especially since B was carrying not one but two kids) to these gorgeous falls.

And then, one last run for the week – 4 miles in nearly 90% humidity. Too hot for me! (And look who stole my water bottle)

Some questions for you:

  • Do you run while traveling on vacation?
  • Did you travel for the Fourth of July week?

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

Weekly Running Recap: I Take Awkward Running Selfies

You know those perfect running selfies you see when scrolling through Instagram? Of the people running but they also managed to capture the best photo? You know the ones – they are mid-stride and look graceful, yet fierce. Not quite smiling but not frowning. They look like runners.
Let’s just say I’m not one of those. That’s right — I do NOT look like that when I try to take a running selfie. But I digress – here were my runs this week. I didn’t mean to take off Thursday, but LM was awake from approximately 1:45 a.m. until 4 a.m., which meant I had slept about 3.7 hours when the alarm went off to run and I couldn’t move.


And, here’s the aforementioned selfie. I think I look somewhat like an awkward robot, don’t you?

And because there are no better photos than that for this week, that’s all you get.

Some questions for you:

  • Can you take running selfies?
  • How much sleep do you need?

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

Weekly Running Recap: Ducks, Deer, Turtle, Opossum (oh, my!)

This week’s runs can be summed up into two sentences:

  • I ran 6/7 days again.
  • I saw animals.

Here’s a look at the week’s running:

I saw some sort of animal almost every run. One day I passed an opossum while running. Eek – those are creepy creatures and I tried to take a picture of it but it ran away. Sunday I passed a turtle!

On the other days, I saw deer. One day it was one deer. One day it was right next to me. Another day I saw two deer. I’m surprised at how close they would get to me, they seemed to have no fear.

One day, I saw geese! Okay, this was during my commute into work and not during a run, but I still wanted to share the pic.  It was so funny how they were even walking in the crosswalk. 

I took this Saturday and Sunday off from running. We spent both days in the car for a few hours traveling to and from Detroit, so unfortunately I didn’t get in any runs. But I’ll be back again on Monday!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you find it hard to run when you’re traveling? With kids, yes. We’re always on the go or in the car, etc. or we need a stroller to jog with so it’s much harder than when it was just me or me and B.
  • What kind of animals do you see on your runs?

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

Weekly Running Recap: 6/7 Days

I got in 6 days of running this week. Six of the seven days of the week, I got up and ran. And you know what? My legs are a little tired from it!

Here is a look at some of the highlights:

Sunday, I had a great solo during-the-day run. For the first time in forever (cue Frozen … no? Any other parents?), I felt great during a run. I haven’t felt this way in a few weeks and it was nice to be outside and not feeling like my body was tired/dragging.

The rest of the week was the same old same old – some runs were okay some weren’t, but I always feel good after them. One day was extremely foggy, and a few days I saw deer after deer.

And then Saturday, I got in a total of 6+ stroller miles – probably the most I’ve ever gotten in one day with running! It included a run with LM, a run/walk to the Farmers Market, and then a run home from the market with FW. I was definitely pooped afterwards!

Hopefully my body can handle another week of 20+ miles – if this weather is here to stay, I wanna keep it up! Though I may need to take another day off – my feet and legs are sore.

Some questions for you:

  • How many days do you run in a week?
  • Are you into farmers markets?

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

Dancing Wheels Brings Reverse * Reboot * Reveal to Cleveland

Disclosure: I was contacted by Dancing Wheels to help promote their upcoming Reverse * Reboot * Reveal! show. I was compensated and provided tickets to their June 14 event, which I had to decline due to pre-existing commitments. As always, all views are my own. Go see the show!

When Mary Verdi-Fletcher talks about dancing, you can hear the excitement and passion in her voice. Born into a musical family (her father was a musician and her mother was a Vaudeville dancer), she always saw herself as growing up to be a dancer.

Mary, however, was born with spina bifida and grew up in a wheelchair. Yet today, Mary is more than a dancer. This inspiring Emmy-award winning woman is the president and founding artistic director of Dancing Wheels Company and School. Dancing Wheels is a professional, physically integrated dance company uniting the talents of dancers both with and without disabilities. The company’s mission is to educate, advocate and entertain through compelling, innovative dance.

Being in Cleveland, we are fortunate enough to be not only the home of Dancing Wheels, but also their world premiere performance and 38th Annual Gala, Reverse * Reboot * Reveal! This June 14 event will feature the works of three internationally-recognized disabled choreographers.

An Interview With Mary Verdi-Fletcher

I was  able to talk one-one-one with Mary and got to hear more about her experience and Reverse * Reboot * Reveal. Here is a peek at our conversation:

How would you describe Dancing Wheels?

Dancing Wheels is a physically integrated dance company, which means it’s comprised of dancers with and without disabilities. Today we are also integrated in that the company has dancers that make up different ages, ethnicities, genders, and abilities.  

How did Dancing Wheels get started?

As the daughter of a dancer and a musician, I’ve always wanted to be a dancer. It didn’t matter to me that I was in a wheelchair – my parents never told me it was something I couldn’t do, so I always believed I could.

As a girl, a non-disabled friend and I partnered together and started experimenting to see what types of dancing we could do with one another. We ended up entering a nationally televised dance competition that was happening – Dance Fever – and when we got out on the stage, I remember the silence when the 2,000 shocked people in the audience saw me in my wheelchair. But when our song – It’s Raining Men – came on and we busted into our performance, the crowd went crazy. We even got a standing ovation! The rest is history – our story spread, and I eventually founded Dancing Wheels in 1980.

What can someone expect to see at a Dancing Wheels performance?

Dancing Wheels is a dance like you’ve never seen before. We work with a wide variety of choreographers who develop a performance with lots of speed, energy, movement and grace.  People are often surprised at how well our dancers move in the chair. They often forget the effort it takes to propel the chair; our dancers truly make the gliding seem effortless.  

What can people look forward to at the 38th Annual Gala, Reverse * Reboot *Reveal?

The world premiere performance and 38th Annual Gala called Reverse * Reboot * Reveal! is taking place June 14 at the Allen Theatre in Playhouse Square and will feature the works of three internationally-recognized disabled choreographers.

Reverse*Reboot*Reveal! will be wrapped before and after with a benefit gala. Over 200 VIP guests and supporters will enjoy pre-performance hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. After the performance, all attendees will be invited to meet the dancers and choreographers for a dessert and champagne celebration.

The event will include special guests, including Ben Vereen, the Tony, Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning entertainer.

Inspired Yet?

Want to see something like you’ve never seen before? Tickets can be purchased for Reverse * Reboot * Reveal here: https://dancingwheels.org/reverserebootreveal/. And learn more about Dancing Wheels, including Mary’s amazing story (did you know she has an Emmy?!), here: https://dancingwheels.org/.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever seen a Dancing Wheels or similar performance?
  • Are you musical? What musical talents do you have?

 

How I’m Learning to Deal with Picky Eaters

I have a confession to make. Last week alone, I fed my kid “chik’n” nuggets, grilled cheese and quesadillas … and I’m okay with it.

I never intended to buy frozen food, heat it up and serve it on a regular basis. I know my mom never did that (did you, mom? Because the only thing I’m pretty sure you bought frozen was tortellini, but you made it with your homemade sauce so that doesn’t count, right?) … and before kids, our dinners consisted of grilled meats and fishes, healthy grains, homemade sauces and dressings, salads and even homemade bread. So what happened?

how to deal with a picky eater toddler

I have a picky eater. My (almost) 3-year-old doesn’t like vegetables. Not even the so-called “kid-friendly” vegetables like broccoli or carrots (yes, people have told me that these are the veggies kids like). He doesn’t even really like pizza!

So how are we surviving? Here’s how I’ve learned to live with it:

  • Stop comparing and beating myself up. Before having kids, I’d heard people say that if you feed kids what you eat then they’ll have to eat it. Let’s just say that that’s not the case. That’s what we’ve tried to do, but my son is perfectly happy not eating dinner. If we’re eating something he doesn’t like, he’s happy going to bed without eating and then waking up at 3 a.m. starving. For his well-being (and attempt not to wake up at 3 a.m.), I prefer that not be the case.
  • Never give up. Just because he doesn’t like something the first time (or the 5th time), doesn’t mean he always won’t like it. And, the more he sees us eating different foods, the more likely he is to try them. You can imagine my astonishment when one day he reached for a drumstick off my husband’s plate and took a bite. And now “chicken on the bone” (as he calls it) is something he loves.
  • Find a food your kid loves and sneak the good stuff in it. My son loves muffins. We call him the muffin man. So you’d better bet that we’ve made spinach muffins, lentil muffins, zucchini cauliflower muffins, etc. Is he eating spinach or lentils or zucchini on a regular basis? Not by itself, but definitely in a muffin. And, after he’s eaten the muffins, I do tell him what is in there. His favorite muffin is a banana, zucchini, lentil, chocolate chip muffin.
  • Make mealtime fun. The last thing I want is to make dinner stressful. So maybe we’ll put the peas on his plate in the shape of a letter C. Or maybe the roasted carrots will be standing up. OR, maybe I’ll hide a gummy fruit snack under a few pieces of vegetables for him to find. And if he doesn’t eat them, he doesn’t eat them – but at least they make him smile.

Do you have any tips for fellow moms of picky eaters?

Note: This post originally appeared on my page on Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine’s website. I blog for them on occasion- see what else I have to say there!

Tips for Living Downtown With a Young Child

It’s been about a year since we moved our then family of three from downtown Cleveland to the suburbs. And while I love how family-friendly our neighborhood is in the ‘burbs, there are so many things I miss about living downtown. When we announced we were expecting, one of the first things people often asked was if we were leaving downtown Cleveland. Many people could not fathom how we could live downtown and have kids. Well, we not only made it work but we LOVED it! If you’re thinking of moving downtown or living downtown with babies or young kids, here are some tips.

1) Find a child-friendly place to live

When I lived downtown, there weren’t many self-proclaimed “child-friendly apartments.” That being said, we made our place child-friendly — we were lucky enough to have a 2-bedroom apartment in a relatively quiet downtown neighborhood before we even brought our son home from the hospital. Some other things to look for in a place to live include:

  • Working elevators — Can you survive with a walk-up apartment? Absolutely; people do it. But you’ll be happy you have an elevator when you’re lugging a stroller and groceries (and diapers!).
  • Lowish level — Bonus points if you’re not too high up in case said elevator breaks down (it’s bound to happen sometime!).
  • In-unit washer/dryer — Kids make a lot of laundry at all hours of the day. Depending on their age, there is spit up, diaper blowouts, other bodily fluids, finger foods, etc. Having an in-unit washer and dryer will make your life so much easier.
  • Close parking — In my apartment, we parked across the street, and sometimes that seemed far — especially in Cleveland winters! When you’re carrying a carseat (and aforementioned diapers and groceries), it will be really nice to have a parking spot that is close to your destination.
  • Thick walls — In our first apartment that we lived (sans baby), one of the interior walls was so thin, you could hear every single conversation that the couple next to us was having. This is NOT something you want when you have kids. You’ll not only be paranoid that your baby’s crying is bothering your neighbors, but you’ll worry that every little sound will wake him/her up.
  • Bonus: Friendly management — Yes, this is important whether or not you have kids, but I personally found myself needing to talk to building management after having kids. Have your parents visiting and need an extra key? Diaper delivery running late and you need to get into the office to retrieve it ASAP? Need to park in a special spot for a day or so as you’re recovering from giving birth? Having an understanding building management — as well as one that loves kids — is a plus.

2) Get used to living with less

Babies and kids themselves don’t take up a lot of space. But there’s so so much stuff that they often come with – bouncers, endless diapers, changing tables, cribs, bassinets, playpens, bottles, etc. Since we had such a small place, we only registered and purchased the essentials. What does that mean? Our baby’s bedroom had a crib and a comfy chair (that had previously been in our living room). We did not have room for the traditional dresser or changing table. So instead, my husband made some drawers that would fit underneath the crib. He also built a changing table that would open up and close back into the wall. We didn’t have a bouncer or many toys. And, it worked out! Most of the time, we simply told family and friends to not get us stuff outside the essentials, and instead donate to our son’s education fund.

3) Be prepared to leave downtown for some necessities

One of the best things about living downtown is being able to walk everywhere — the grocery store (hooray for the downtown Heinen’s!), the mall (GREAT for AC in the summer and warmth in the winter), restaurants, entertainment like a splash pad, etc. But, while living downtown Cleveland is great, it does lack some essentials that you’ll need more of as you have kids. So, be ready to hop in a car and leave downtown for some things. For example, we found great childcare just outside downtown, in Tremont. Our pediatrician was in Lakewood. And, the urgent care that was walking distance from our apartment was unable to see babies, so we needed to seek emergency care elsewhere. Also, I love running with the stroller, but I found many of the sidewalks downtown a little bumpy for running with a baby. So, I typically headed to the Metroparks or Towpath when seeking a longer stroller run.

Some questions for you:

  • When you had kids, did you move? Or if you are thinking of having kids – would you move?
  • Have you lived in a major city with a child or baby?

Please note: I’m now blogging with Northeast Ohio Parent magazine! And, the original version of this post was on their site.