Friday, May 21, 2010

Big Blogiversary

I've been blogging for quite some time now, something like 5 years. I've had four different blogs - this one, my fitness blog (that's on hiatus pretty much), my food blog and the blog I write with my fellow writing group. So, I've celebrated a lot of blogiversaries (or however you want to spell it). While some have meant more than others, I do have to say the first anniversary of the food blog has resulted in the biggest celebration yet. Never in my life have I had a dinner with blog readers to celebrate a milestone. It was awesome!

Here's a recap post with pictures of the event. It was a five course dinner created specifically for the anniversary with over 40 people in attendance (readers and friends). It was a dinner that will be hard to forget!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I can do this

A few weeks ago I wrote a post over on the blog for our writing group that I wanted to post there before here. After being a part of that group for over a year, our writing in general has become more honest and real, and I think most people are feeling safe enough to bare their souls in their writing. Myself included. This moment that inspired my writing shook me up a bit and I needed that wound to scab over before posting it here. History has proven on this blog that anytime I write about my childhood and the repercussions of living in an abusive home, there is sure to be Anonymous comments and hate mail.

So, after a few weeks of riding the curves and dips of that roller coaster ride, I'm back to smooth sailing (and writing certainly helped that) and need for this piece to be a part of my blog here. Because it is about my life and in this issue, I refuse to hide.

I can do this

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Moments of insight

The other day I was in the gym, first training a client and then sticking around to do an hour of cardio myself. I've bumped up my cardio quite a bit since becoming a food writer. The constant eating out to get content for reviews takes its toll. The weight sneaks up on you when you're not looking until one day you catch a glimps in the mirror and realize it's time to get crackin' before this junk in the trunk gets out of control.

I've doubled my cardio time and in the next week I'll do cardio doubles on top of that (2 hours of cardio a day) on top of weight training at least 3 days a week, one of them being plyometrics. It's a hell of a lot of working out, but I eat a hell of a lot, too. That's the Law Of Thermodynamics for you.

While I'm on cardio, I do high intensity intervals, focusing on at least 70% of my maximum heart rate. I push the limits as best I can. Most people hate doing cardio, just going through the motions and moaning and groaning about it, but I love it. I love it because it makes me sweat, I love it because it give me a high from the adrenaline rush, I love it because it makes me feel pain.

And then it hit me.

During these moments of intensity, there is clarity. An epiphany, personal insight, a time where I could pay myself $100 for being my own psychiatrist.

I was thinking about the cycle of eating and working out and how in order to be a "perfect size" that I'd absolutely have to give up food writing. It came to me that that's not really what I want. I don't want to have the flat abs I used to have before I got pregnant with Logan when I was at the peak of my training career. I don't want to go back to that athletic build.

Why? Because it's pointless.

When I reached my fitness goal pre-kids, obtaining the perfect body fat percentage, it was the most anti-climatic moment in my life. Months of hard work, hours of training in the gym, anal analysis of my food and enough supplements to kill a horse. I did it. I achieved perfect body status (for me, anyway) and it gave me such an empty feeling. I was left thinking, now what do I do?

Most people workout to eat. I eat to workout.

I love the gym and it will always be a part of my life. Often times you need to keep a goal in mind so that you continue to have motivation for workouts in the gym. I'm not a runner and have no desire to do a marathon, a triathlon, or any kind of race for that matter. But, managing the balance of food writing is a goal, really, and I can push myself to the max.

Then there is the eating itself. I spent almost 2 years of my life not being able to eat. Constant nausea, planing my menus to what would feel better coming back up. Pregnancy almost killed me. And I never want to limit the joys in my life just to fit in a pair of jeans.

That's not to say I'm going to let myself go. But I'm not counting macronutrient combinations anymore.

So, while I was sweating and breathing deep with chills coursing through my blood during a burst of adrenaline, I realized that I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to eat and write and workout and always have some reason to push myself in the gym. I've grown to love the curves I never had before and don't want to lose them. Complex and weird, I'm sure, but it was a defining moment for me.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Family weekend fun

Now that it's getting nice outside and Carter is getting a bit older, we are making a tradition of having a family fun day on the weekends. It started earlier this year with a trip to the Denver Science Museum and then the Aquarium. We just got the new car and felt up for a few road trips. We all had a blast, especially Logan, learning about dinosaurs and outer space.

Bill and Logan had space shuttle races, we checked out a thermal camera where Bill was totally red and I was all blue (which demonstrated our extreme differences in body temperature).

Logan was so excited to check out the fossils and Carter loved just tagging along and running around. I really wished there were more exhibits for the kids, as most of it was pretty boring for them (gems? No thanks). This museum really needs some more funding.

Later that same day we went to the aquarium. Carter was thrilled with the fish and the chance to run around some more. Logan was a bit intimidated by the large sharks and a little freaked out by the sting rays that jumped out of the tanks, but he was happy as a clam to get a dinosaur painted on his face.

The next weekend, we went back down to check out the Children's Museum. It was completely crowded and insane, but the boys still had a great time. They got to climb around, hang out in a reading forest, play basketball, learn about a vet clinic and play with all sorts of toys.

A few weeks ago Bill was supposed to take another business trip to London and Cork. He was going to be gone for a week and a half and it was important that we spend some quality time together before he left. We packed up the kids and spent another whole day in Denver, first at the zoo and then an early dinner at Casa Bonita.

This had to be the best family day we've had yet, hands down. Everyone was in good spirits, smiles and laughter, fun and adventure was had. Not once did anyone cry, throw a tantrum or argue. It was awesome!!!

On our way down to Denver, we stopped at a diner known for their enormous cinnamon rolls. Logan loves getting them and he splits it with Carter. Bill just loves eating at greasy spoons, so he was happy. It's a good way to fill up on a hearty breakfast.

We got to the zoo not long after it opened for the day. It was nice out, not too cold and not hot, not too many people - perfect. One of the first animal exhibits we saw were of some mountain goats, one of which had just had a baby and was licking it clean. Logan loved looking at all of the animals, even after a large, poop-flinging monkey jumped fiercely at the glass, scaring the bejesus out of him and Carter.

We took a train ride (lame, but the boys liked it) and rode the carousel (which Carter did not like). We ate cotton candy, saw fun animals and had an amazing day.

Just as it was about to rain cats and dogs, we left to go to Casa Bonita. I'd never been before, but Bill had a handful of times when we lived in Denver. He really wanted the boys to experience the Mexican insanity.

This is the best review I've ever read on Casa Bonita. It hits the nail on the head.

With chlorine permeating the air and hitting you smack in the nose the minute you open the front door, a complete sensory overload with terrible food, you only need to go to Casa Bonita once. After eating the cafeteria food, I think I ate my weight in sopaipillas. Best I've ever had. Greasy, fluffy pillows of deliciousness.

We got the boys some glow swords from one of the vendors walking around, watched a terrible act with cliff divers and a guy in a gorilla suit, tried to play video games (most were out of order or broken without signage), walked through Black Bart's Cave where Logan flipped out saying he wanted to get out of there fast (no haunted houses for this kid!) and left in a complete daze.

The next weekend we took the kids to a fishing expo, because Bill is picking up fly fishing this summer. The expo was totally lame, but they did have a large tank of trout where the kids could fish. It was freezing and windy as hell out, so Carter and I stood by the side watching as Bill helped Logan catch a fish. There was a time limit so people could rotate turns. Just as the last minute was almost up, Logan caught a fish! Granted, this was totally cheating when it comes to fishing, but he was the only one who caught one and was so excited. It was adorable.

This last weekend we had our first family day at the movie theater. Logan has had a handful of father-son movie dates and loves it. We thought Carter would be old enough to enjoy it. Loaded up with popcorn, soda and candy, we sat at the back of the theater with lots of room to spread out. We watched How To Train Your Dragon. Carter did not last very long and I missed about 90% of the movie. He and I ended up walking the halls with him making friends everywhere he went. One of the movie attendants gave him a pair of 3-D glasses that were bigger than his head. He smiled his big, cheesy grin walking around with them on with people oooing and awwwing. He's such a clown and loves the attention.

Each weekend we do something together that really bonds us as a family. I'm so proud of these times we share and I'm lucky to have a husband and adorable kids to enjoy then with. I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store for us.