Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk

As a child, I hated cow’s milk. I gave up the stuff at a very young age. However, I remember on occasion my sisters and I would squeeze strawberry syrup into our milk glasses, to mask the flavor. As we stirred… it would mix up into a light pink creamy sweet drink. 

Well, now as an adult I know better, that the strawberry syrup I used as a child is artificial and full of sugar. (You won’t see this mom touching that stuff.) But guess what? I have come across a recipe for a healthier alternative – Strawberry Almond Milk. Everything about this is heaven – the texture, the color, the flavor! 

Warning: Once you make your own homemade nut milks, you won’t go back to the store bought kind. 

Here’s what you are going to need!

  • 1 Bowl (to soak almonds in… then used again later to use to strain blended almonds.)
  • High speed blender (Vitamix)
  • Cheese cloth 
  • Pitcher or mason jar (to store nut milk.)

Let’s talk Strawberries! There is nothing better than fresh picked strawberries from the garden. So look for organic local strawberries. I got these vibrant red ones from my local farmer’s market. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Raw organic almonds
  • Filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon or vanilla
  • 10-14 organic strawberries (depends on size) 
  • 2 dates (no pits)

Directions

  1. Soak 1 cup of raw organic almonds (in the refrigerator) overnight in a bowl of filtered water. 
  2. Strain soaked almonds and rinse. 
  3. Place the soaked almonds in a blender with 3-4 cups of filtered water. Blend.
  4. Strain freshly made Almond milk (the stuff in your blender) through a cheese cloth, over a bowl. 
  5. Give blender a quick rinse. Then pour freshly strained Almond milk back to your blender.
  6. Add one teaspoon of vanilla to blender.
  7. Add 2 dates (no pits) to blender. 
  8. Add 10 – 14 fresh organic strawberries. Amount depends on size of strawberries and your taste buds preference.
  9. Blend all ingredients together on high or on liquid setting. 
  10. Strain strawberry Almond milk through cheese cloth one last time, this way it is very smooth. Side note: you have a Vitamix or a very high quality blender you may not need to do this step. 

Store strawberry Almond milk in a mason jar or pitcher in refrigerator. This will make about 3 cups of milk, and will last 5 days in the refrigerator, however, its so delicious I’m sure you will drink it up before that.
You can also use this milk in chia seed putting and smoothies. 

This strawberry Almond milk is very creamy in texture, pink in color, and tastes delicious. Use your taste buds and customize the final product… Do you need more dates to make it sweeter? Do you need more strawberries.  It takes a little time at first to get the hang of making your own nut milks homemade and fresh. However, once you do, you won’t got to bed until you place a bowl of soaking nuts in your refrigerator. 


Enjoy! 

What’s your favorite nut milk? 

Pickled Turmeric Eggs

I live in the Washington, DC area. It is an urban area that is a vibrant melting pot of culture. I’m within walking distance of plenty to eat and drink – you name it, we’ve got it. And although, I have become quite obsessed with my vegetable garden, it’s far from farm life. Luckily, because we are surrounded by VA, WVA, MD, PA … we do have farmer’s markets. So with that being said… Guess what? It is spring and the farmers are out!

I recently stopped by a farmer’s stand to pick up some fresh farm eggs! They are absolutely gorgeous and taste amazing. 


And lately, I have come across some really fabulous egg recipes. Turmeric Pickled Eggs has been on my mind! The minute I saw the whites of the eggs, yellow from the super spice turmeric, I knew I had to try. 

This recipe is written by Heidi Swanson. 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric 
  • onion or shallots thinly sliced (I used red onion) 
  • 1 table whole peppercorn 
  • scallions for garnish
  • 6 hard boiled eggs

Directions

  1. In a medium size sauce pan bring water to a boil. 
  2. Slowly and gently drop while eggs in pan with boiling water.
  3. Cook eggs for 6-7 minutes.
  4. Once cooked transfer eggs to an iced water bath, this makes it easier to peel off shells. 
  5. Peel egg shells off.
  6. Now in the sauce pan, add Apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and turmeric. Simmer until sugar dissolves. 
  7. Chop onions/shallots, put them in a mason jar.
  8. Put eggs in mason jar. 
  9. Pour vinegar turmeric mixture in mason jar over eggs.
  10. Let sit in refrigerator. Eggs last up to 1-2 weeks in refrigerator.
  11. Half eggs and eat with chives, sea salt and pepper. You can also devil the eggs, or use them on top of salads. 

Enjoy!!

What is your favorite way to eat eggs?


Wild West Rice Salad

The Wild West Rice salad is found in the cookbook Run Fast Eat Slow. To be completely honest, I have never used a cook book so much. I am quickly making my way through trying most recipes from Run Fast Eat Slow. 

Maybe it’s because there is so much warmth in the air, maybe it’s because all of my favorite veggies are now in season. But, I have been craving salads lately. And it is so much fun trying different types of salads. The combination of fruits, veggies, grains, and proteins are endless. 

I also have been whipping up my own salad dressings. Store bought dressings are not worth the money. In most cases they are packed full of sugar. It’s so much easier and less expensive to make your own. 

So here we go… Wild West Rice Salad. 

Facts: The best part about this Salad is that it is a great recovery meal for vegans. Because of the combination of the wild rice and edamame, this Salad, has all nine essential amino acids. 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • double batch of Creamy Apple Cider Vinaigrette 
  • 6 or more radishes, diced
  • 3 cups of Kale or other greens 
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 6 scallions, skice
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, cooked
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • (I also included tomatoes, but feel free to add anything you would like, if you are not vegan, add a high quality goat cheese for extra protein.)

DIRSECTIONS

  1. Cook rice, add cooked rice to salad bowl, mix with half of dressing and let cool.
  2. Once rice is cool, add other veggies.
  3. Add more dressing, toss and combine.
  4. Top with goat cheese (if you aren’t vegan) and salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Enjoy!

Apple Cider Vinaigrette 

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • 1/2 shallot minced, or garlic 
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake. Dressing lasts for 1 week in fridge. 

I know I will be enjoying this Salad for a couple of days! Hope you give it a try. 

Saying Goodbye to Audrey


Audrey is our sweet white fluffy Maltese. I’ve been her mama sense she was 8 weeks old. I still remember the February day in 2006, when I picked her out, and took her home. 

Let’s back track a little…

The hunt for a puppy all began, because our 6 month old Min Pin, desperately needed a bestie. At the time Erik and I both worked in the restaurant industry, and our Min Pin pup was spending too much time home alone. I’m a strong believer that dogs are packed animals and are happier when they are with other dogs. There was no question, finding him a buddy became my top priority. 

I wasn’t having much luck finding any breeders with puppies locally. It seemed that everyone was in PA, West Virginia, or North Carolina. 

I finally came across a simple advertisement, with no photos, that stated, “Yorkie and Maltese puppies for sale in North Arlington.” Perfect, I thought… Could they be any closer?! My mom and I causally stopped by to check out the Maltese puppies later that evening.

I remember the breeder bringing out all of the female Maltese pups. Their white fur was gray from laying on newspaper on the long car ride from Kentucky. I picked up the  cutest, most playful, active puppy, and looked at her from head to toe. I immediately fell in love. She was the one! I named her Audrey. 

When I brought her home, she became obsessed with Manny, (our 6 month old min pin), just what I hoped! She followed him around the whole house, and from then on they were companions for life.

Audrey has been our fur baby for 11 years and 4 months. During those 11 years and 4 months Erik and I tried our best to spoil her rotten. 

She spent her nights sleeping in our bed, with us, buried in between a mountain of the softest pillows and comforters. 

She went on daily walks (up until she was diagnosed with heart disease.) When we became home owners, we made sure our home had a fenced in yard, so she could spend time outside off leash – she loved being outside.  

Some people think a dog is just a dog. But once you become a dog owner especially one of multiple dogs, you discover your dog’s unique personality. 

Audrey was a food lover, who would bark to remind us it was dinner time. Her favorite meal was chicken and rice, and I would cook that up for her as a special treat. She would stand by my feet drooling waiting patiently to be served. She also thought eggs were delicious, and could never get enough, of them. Peanut butter was something she ate daily. 

She absolutely loved Christmas! I don’t know if it was the cheerful positive energy that filled the day. But it was absolutely hilarious seeing her excited, barking at presents under the tree. 

Audrey loved toys. She would chew and play with her toys, while my Min Pin could care less. When Zoe started to get stuffed animals as presents, it was hard for Audrey to understand they weren’t for her. Sometimes we gave in, and Audrey would take it as her own.

When we were packing for a trip, Audrey knew I was preparing to leave, so she would hop in my suitcase, hoping to come along. She always wanted to be with us. 

She wasn’t very good on a leash, she would tug and want to lead the way. However, she was very obedient and loyal, and in her last year, I had enough trust in her to follow me or lead the way off leash. (Just outside our house never around other dogs, or busy roads.)


Over the last 11 years and 4 months, she was by our side during many amazing life milestones, including, engagement, marriage, pregnancy, and most importantly meeting Zoe, and adjusting to her, and including her. 

Going from a kid free house, to all of a sudden having a newborn, was hard on Audrey. But eventually, she adjusted, and Zoe and her became great friends. 

Every morning Zoe has been asking, “Where Audrey? And then she runs to her bowl to fill it up with dog food. 

So as you can see, Audrey had her place in our family, and she was very loved. 


It has been an upsetting couple of days. I rushed Audrey to the hospital at 11:30 pm on April 24th, and at 4 am I finally decided after two hours of debate, (my dog has never been crated before), leaving her there.

Side note: Audrey had developed heart disease at 8 years old, which is common in her breed. For the last 3 years her energy levels never changed and the heart was stable by medication.

However, on April 25th, I was on the phone with three different doctors, through out the day – Audrey’s primary vet, her cardiologist, and her emergency vet. And with much discussion about treatment and quality of life, I got honest answers, and finally the right choice was made.

Putting my sweet innocent Maltese to rest was not a decision I took lightly. But at the end there was no other option. It was her time. 

We miss you already, Audrey, the house is so quiet without you. But it is a relief that you are at peace now.

Thank you, so much for being so loving, cute, obedient, loyal, playful, sweet, loud, and bringing us more joy than you’ll ever know. 

 

 love always, your human mama

Beet Smoothie with exotic Dragonfruit. 


I love juicing and making smoothies. And because I am a mother of an 18 month 0ld, smoothies are a way for her to get some fruits and vegetables in her diet, that she otherwise wouldn’t eat because of texture. 

This beet smoothie is sweetened by exotic dragonfruit. It is my new favorite! 

INGREDIENTS

  1. Pitaya/Dragonfruit (frozen packet found in freezer fruit section at Whole Foods.
  2. 1 raw Beet, washed and peeled.
  3. 1 ripe banana (keep bananas on hand in the freezer
  4. 1 handful or cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  5. 1 cup of coconut water
  6. 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  7. 1 handful of ice 

DIRECTIONS

Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or high speed blender. Enjoy right away, or store in refrigerator or freezer. If storing in refrigerator, store in a sealed mason jar, and drink with in 3 days.

What’s your favorite smoothie or juice? Have you tried Pitaya or Acia?


My first experience at a Oiselle Group Run!

Hey… it’s been a while… but I’ve still been running! 

Of course winter is not my favorite time to run. And because it is my off season, I have been running casually, which had been so enjoyable. 

And as you know, I am one to log stroller miles with my daughter, or solo to have some me time. Running with a group, is normally not my cup of tea. 

But on Saturday, I ran my second time ever with a group, and it was awesome. Details below.

In early 2016, after Zoe was born I joined Oiselle Volée. I love Oiselle, and what the Volée team stands for. One of my favorite things about running, is the community, and joining a group like Volée keeps me involved. 

At first, I started to connect with the oiselle girls by following their training through social media. I was training for Marine Corps Marathon, and so were a lot of other birds. 

Once MCM came and went, I was eager to go on a group run, or attend one of the Oiselle Volée meet ups, but my schedule just didn’t work accordingly. 

Finally, I was able to… this past Saturday, was my first time officially meeting up with the group. It was awesome!

I got to run in a new part of DC, that I had never run before. 

It ended up being a really fun get together. All of the girls were super nice, and we got to eat brunch afterwards! I can’t wait to get more involved with this group, and I see myself definitely meeting up to run with them plenty of times in the near future. 

Do you run with a group?

Baby, it’s F*cking Cold outside! 

It is cold here, in DC. We had our first snow, just a dusting, but it still brought wind and temperatures in the teens. 

I will admit the cold weather has me very unmotivated to run. I really want to accomplish a run streak for 2017, (New Years Resolution) but I keep missing a day, because I’m too cold. (Excuses.)
I’m already missing summer. When the days were longer, and I would wake up super early and hit the trail with Zoe. 

This summer I trained for my fall marathon, in record breaking heat. On race day, it was very warm and officials advised us to dress for hot conditions. And although, it was difficult to train in 90 degrees, I always got out there because the sun was shining. On race day, I set a new PR. It’s obvious that I prefer warmer conditions.

These winter days are not only cold, but the sun is covered by clouds. I look in my closet and my running shorts still hang from the top bar. (Again missing the days where I would run in a tank top and shorts. The more minimal the better.) As I look through my wardrobe I question… Where is all of my winter running gear? Turns out I don’t really have any. No wonder I’m not enjoying my winter runs. 

They say that in the middle of this week, freezing rain will make an appearance, ugh…but then it should warm up to 50s and even 60s. Thank goodness!!! Maybe I will not have to wait until summer to get to wear my running shorts again.

But in the meantime I have begun my search for the perfect winter running gear. Layering is key. Time to experiment and see what works. Plus, I’ll be doing tons of stroller miles… I have my 16 month old who I’m running with. She stays really cozy warm in her L.L. Bean Snow Bunting, …once I start moving my body warms up pretty quick but my hands  not do much. They were numb while pushing the stroller because I didn’t have the proper gloves. 

I’ll up date you on this experiment, and share what winter gear I find. 

Happy Running!

Now let’s RUN all the winter MILES!

Do you prefer running in the cold or the heat?

What is you favorite winter gear!? 

New Years Resolution time!


New Years Resolutions…

Some hate them.

Some love them.

Some set them and easily reach them, while others struggle. 

Some bullet journal.

Some set a resolution/goal for each month.

Some set resolution/goal for each part of their lives. 

I have written about New Years Resolutions before on this blog. You know… I am pretty big on goal setting.

I normally set a detailed goal with a plan of action. That way I have a strategy of how I’m going to reach the goal and by when. 

This year, I want to do the opposite. 

People don’t set Resolutions because they assume they won’t ever keep them. Well guess what?! You don’t have to reach every goal. 

This year, I’m going to set a crazy, dreamy, big goal, that is almost unreachable. I want to see where this goal will take me, and what amazing things I will learn and discover along the way. This goal isn’t about reaching the goal, it’s about he journey. 

Happy 2017! 

Do you set New Year Resolutions?

copyright 2017 sweat1xdaily 

2016, the year I became a badass Mother Runner! 

2016 was a very SPECIAL year! 

Zoe was born, August 2015, so by the start of 2016, she was 4 going on 5 months old. By this point, I knew my daughter pretty well. And although, she was constantly changing and growing, my confidence as her mother had grown.

It is a weird thing to say, but in the beginning even the most confident woman in the world, feels, life is a little bit out of control when they become a new mom. But eventually, I discovered a new normal, and created a consistent, but flexible routine, that brought order to our busy household. (Side note: This routine and order also allowed me to train for my fourth full marathon.)

Also by the beginning of 2016, my fitness level had finally started to improve. At this early part of the year, I wouldn’t say my fitness was totally back to the way it was before Zoe, but I was feeling a lot stronger, and my runs were more comfortable and enjoyable. I knew by the time Zoe was 6 months old, I would feel confident running with her in the BOB running stroller. I was so excited for that day!!

2016 MADE me a MOTHER RUNNER!!

Before I became a mother, I always admired the BAMRs on the trail. Effortlessly running, all while pushing a stroller and caring for a tiny human. I only hoped that once I had a child, I too would be out there running those stroller miles. 

In late February 2016, this dream came true, and I was finally able to include Zoe on my runs. We went out for our first stroller run together, and we both loved it! 

I feel so fortunate to be able to work out with my child by my side, instead of having to find a babysitter. It makes it so much easier to just bring her along.  I now have two tiny eyes watching every move I make… so making healthy choices is very important, now more than ever. Living this healthy lifestyle is a priority to me, and I am so glad I can include Zoe at such a young age. 

However, it wasn’t easy at first, it took some time to adjust to running with the stroller, but I got the hang of it. Again, runs became enjoyable, and I felt strong and confident. Nothing feels better than passing another runner on the trail while pushing a stroller. Plus, Zoe loves being out there, taking in all of the sounds and colors of nature, and the fresh air is great for both of us! 

Soon, with Zoe by my side, I began to train for all the races I had lined up for 2016.

Race Recaps
In 2016, I ran six races! Each of them, were VERY special. 

Race 1 – The Cherry Blossom 10 miler was my first postpartum race. It was so cold and windy that day, and I really didn’t know how I would do. It was more of a test race. I decided not to look at my watch and just run by feel. I ended up surprising myself running it faster then I thought I would, finishing in 1:31:12. (Side note: At the Expo, I met Meb, the Olympic marathoner, Boston Marathon winner, and I discovered Mana Threads a new awesome athletic clothing line.) 

Race 2 – The Parkway Classic was my second postpartum race. This was a beautiful run, and again I ran it faster then I though I would. My goal was to finish under 1:30, I reached that goal finishing 1:28:49. 

Race 3 – The Navy Half Marathon was my 3rd postpartum race. This was also my first time running this half marathon. I registered a couple of weeks before because it fell in place with my marathon training plan. A lot of other runners I knew used this race as a training run for marathon training. I ended up racing it and I’m so glad I did. I ran it faster, then I thought I could, I finished in 1:53:54, which made this my 3rd half marathon under 2 hours. Woohoo! 

The summer heat was making me have some long slow training runs. I was getting worried about running the Marine Corps Marathon. Would I be ready? After running the Navy Half, I felt great! It felt amazing running that fast, and it brought my confidence back. My marathon training was paying off, and I was ready to run with the Marines. 

Race 4 – The Marine Corps Marathon was … my fourth full marathon, my fourth MCM, my first full marathon as a mother runner, my first race that I ran a portion with my dad. Overall, this race is my all time favorite, and was the most special I ran this year! I ended up with a new marathon PR, finishing in 4:17:01. I loved this race so much, that I slowed down a bit, just so it wouldn’t end. 

The marathon distance is my favorite distance! And once again, this race reminded me of that. 

I had so much fun at MCM, that I experienced the marathon blues after, and almost signed up for the Richmond marathon which was two weeks later. 

Race 5  – The Operation Turbo 5k was a race that a friend of mine was organizing in order to raise money for her foundation. I signed up a couple of days before hand in order to show my support. I couldn’t remember the last time I raced a 5k.

I was very excited to do it, because it was my first opportunity to race with Zoe. Although, I had done most of my marathon training miles with her, I had yet to race with her. 

It was awesome and we placed second for females. 

Race 6 The Alexandria Turkey Trot was by far the most crowded race I ran. It was my second race with Zoe. It was hard to maneuver the stroller around the crowd for the first two miles. But once we got around the crowd, we started to fly. The best part was hearing Zoe laugh, pointing out the doggies and demanding me to run faster, shouting, “Go, Go, Go mama!”

Some other RUNNING highlights!

2016 was a year of connecting with others.

I’ve always been a solo runner, and now because I am a working mom, sometimes it is hard with my schedule to meet up for runs. However, in 2016, I found ways to connect with other runners and other mothers. 

*I joined two running team/groups in 2016… I joined Mom’s Run this Town, (MRTT) and Oiselle Volee. Both of these teams were inspiring and motivating in different ways. I didn’t get the chance to run with these groups because of my work schedule. However, I did follow along with them through social media. 

Oiselle Volee is a team I run for. I had been wanting to join this team for a while and finally in 2016 I got in. I love what this team stands for… it is all about empowering women. 

It is also nation wide, so I was able to follow most of my fellow Oiselle teammates on instagram. And I was able to meet some birds at races! They had an awesome cheer station at mile 20/21 at MCM. I am hoping in 2017, I will be able to go to more Oiselle runs and events! 

I also joined Mom’s Run this Town. Again I only had the chance to meet up with them once, however I followed the MRTT facebook page, and was very active on it. Again I hope to meet up with these ladies more in the upcoming year.

Even though, I was only involved through social media, these groups inspired me and held me accountable

*I started using a running app in 2016… I also found ways to connect with other runners by using Strava. This running app is awesome. I still wear my Garmin 620, but Strava allows me to follow other runners training, while they follow mine. It also immediately shows me my mile splits! I love Strava and I am so glad I started using it in 2016. Again helps inspire, track, connect, and holds me accountable.

I have a couple of favorites for 2016

*My favorite piece of running gear for 2016… was with out a doubt my BOB REVOLUTION PRO! 

This running stroller allows me to take my daughter with me on my runs! It is the reason why I was able to train for the Marine Corps Marathon and set a new marathon PR. 
*My favorite race of 2016… was the Marine Corps Marathon. 

The marathon is my favorite distance. I trained hard for that race, training in the record breaking heat. All of the hard work paid off and I was happy with a new marathon PR. Plus, I made a very special memory running with my dad. 

*My favorite cookbook of 2016 is Run Fast Eat Slow. 

I am always trying to find new fun recipes, even more so now that Zoe is eating solid foods. 

Also nutrition is huge, especially while training for a marathon. This was my go to cookbook! I love the story behind the book. The authors are inspiring on their own, and each recipe is based on fueling the runner’s body. Every recipe I have made is easy, delicious, and healthy. 

*My favorite place I ran this year… was the Green Belt in Boise, Idaho. 


In the beginning of October, my husband, daughter, and I took a trip out to Idaho to visit family. I brought all of my running stuff, knowing I had to continue marathon training and find some place to get my long run done. 

Turns out I ran almost every day when I was in Boise, even running a 12 miler. I ran on the Green Belt and it was one of the most beautiful refreshing trails. Running in Idaho felt amazing because the cooler temperatures was a great break from the heat wave we were having back east. 

(Side note: I also had the opportunity to run in Martha’s Vineyard which is my favorite place to run. It too was refreshing because of the ocean breeze.)

*My favorite training moment… was all of the stroller miles I did with Zoe.

In 2016, stroller running became my thing! I never knew I would love it so much, but I do.

*My favorite things I saw while running, were not necessarily the gorgeous views, but rather when I randomly came across this amazing piece of street art. 

After seeing one mural, I started to notice them everywhere. I decided to make it my thing. Instead of always focusing on the mileage, I decided to also embrace city running and try to discover more art. 

Then while running in Martha’s Vineyard I randomly came across a huge spider web. I didn’t see any street art because it’s the beach life up there. But after seeing this spider web, I was reminded that nature has its own little artists always creating. 


I later saw a spider web on almost every long run. When you are out there running a 15 or 20 miler you are going to see some interesting stuff. 

*My favorite Running Podcast is… Another Mother Runner. I couldn’t get enough of these BAMRs. 

I never really listened to podcasts in the past. But in early 2016, while taking Zoe on walks, I needed something to listen to. So I came across Another Mother Runner Podcast. These ladies have a couple of books, which I bought and read while I was pregnant with Zoe, but once I found out they had a podcast I was hooked. I tune in every week and I am now a pretty loyal listener. 
*My favorite most inspirational runner of 2016 was Shalene Flanagan. 

Olympic Marathoner Shalene Flanagan was the most inspirational runner for me. And her moment at the Olympic marathon trials with her bestie Amy Hastings was by far the most inspirational moment

There were other inspirational runners as well such as Jen Shelton, the Ultra marathoner from the book, Born to Run. On some of my long runs I would listen to the chapter about her over and over again. 

Speaking of books, I read a couple of running books and reread Born to Run. 

*My favorite new running book I read was… My Year of Running, Dangerously by Tom Foreman. 

I also read a Running a Love Story, by Jen A. Miller. Both of these books were inspiring because they were about mid packed runners. 

Goodbye 2016, you were great! 

So that sums up my Running the Year 2016. For me, 2016 was a year all about my two favorite things: motherhood and running. The highlights were definitely watching my Zoe grow into this incredible, smart toddler. And as for running finishing the Marine Corps Marathon, with a new marathon PR. 

I am very proud that I was able to time manage and fit marathon training in, while also being a new mom. 

This proves to me, that you don’t have to sacrifice the things you use to do, because you have a child. It is possible and important to continue to do the things you love, while also being Mom. 

2016 has been an inspirational year, which built my confidence more than ever before. I became confident and comfortable in my new role as a mother.  I regained my fitness and began to run stronger with more confidence and passion. 

Ultimately, 2016 was a teacher. The most important thing I have learned is… that I don’t have to travel to an exotic place, or hit a huge life milestone, to have an incredible year. The year doesn’t have to be a huge one… It is the small, everyday, ups and downs that are so beautiful. 

And although, running a marathon is a pretty big deal, I ran that marathon in my backyard. My point is … as I watch my daughter grow, she has taught me… you don’t have to go far in search of greatness and growth. This greatness and growth is right in front of your eyes or with in yourself.

Thank you 2016 for making me a BAMR!! 

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily

Christmas with Zoe at 16 months. 

Christmas is a magical day, especially when a toddler is involved.

This was Zoe’s second Christmas, and I had plenty of friends tell me, that at 16 months she would still be to young to understand. Well this little lady, understood plenty, and had a blast.

Let me start from the beginning…

Thanksgiving ended, and I was ready to start getting in Christmas mode. My favorite part about Christmas is the Christmas Tree. 

December is for Tree Picking…

I always get a live tree.

I love picking it out, and cutting it down. Cutting down a tree, means it is always fresh.

This year we went to Middleburg Tree Farm to cut our tree down. We went early in the season, so there was an incredible selection. I normally like a Douglas Fir, (yellow green needle), but this year we switched it up and got a Blue Spruce. The Blue Spruce has a blue, gray needle, and our tree was absolutely stunning. 



Once we got the tree set up in the house, Zoe pointed at it, saying, “Tree?” She is use to pointing at the trees on our run, so she was a little confused on why there was a tree in the living room. 

I tested out the Christmas tree lights, while Zoe played with them.

It took me three hours to baby proof the tree. I had to arrange the ornaments in a certain way so that they would be safe for Zoe. But once the tree was completely decorated, I explained each ornament to her. She was very good at just looking, and not pulling off the decorations. Her favorite ornaments were the monkey, and elephant. 


Meeting Santa


We made an appointment at the Tysons Gallaria to see Santa. This worked really well last year, no line. Unfortunately, this year, with no line, and no one else there, which made it really hard to show or explain to Zoe what was going to happen. It is totally normal for children her age to be scared, and that’s exactly what happened. 


After she was finished, two older girls jumped on Santa’s lap and hugged him, naming all of the presents they were wishing for. Zoe watched them, and then looked at me like she wanted a do-over. 

Christmas Cards…

I love to receive Christmas cards. So this year I decided I was definitely going to send one out. So I made one with Zoe on it, and love the finish product. 

Although, I got them out early, I didn’t feel it was early enough. Next year, I want them ready during November, so I don’t have the extra stress of getting them done in time. 
I displayed all of my the cards I received. 


Christmas Eve…

This year I hosted Christmas Eve. Erik and I made lasagna. I made my homemade sauce the night before, so all Erik had to do was assemble the lasagna. I also made a roasted beet and brussel sprouts salad. It was fun having everyone over. 


On Christmas Eve, I stayed up late making my homemade granola. Filled them in mason jars, added a bow and tag, as my homemade gift. 

Christmas Morning…
I woke up early, to make cinnamon rolls from scratch. Once all of my presents were wrapped we headed over to my moms. 


Woah! Santa came!!

It took three hours to open all of the presents. Zoe was really into the whole process. She would open the present, then want to open the box to play with the toy. 


Her favorite presents were her Elmo stuffed animal, her tea set, her giraffe bike, and her play running stroller. 


Nap time…

Everyone was happy, but exhausted. We ended up heading home for afternoon naps. 



While everyone napped I snuck out for a Christmas run! 

The sun was shining, and my run felt very rejuvenating.

Christmas Dinner…

We headed back over to my mom’s house for Christmas dinner. Emily and Ryan made a salad and a rib roast. Everything was tasty. 

Zoe played more with her tea set. She kept asking everyone if they wanted any. She would ask, “Cuppy? Tea?


This holiday season was so special! I am beyond thankful for every card, every gift, delicious food, beautiful decorations, and being able to spend it with my closest family and friends. 

Since note: (Zoe had an early bed time so she missed out on the Christmas Eve family photo, but she made it in the Christmas night photo.)


And of course I am beyond thankful that my 16 month old daughter, Zoe, had a magical Christmas season. 





How was your Holiday? I hope it was warm and joyful! 

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily 


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