Monday, January 16, 2017

Robby's Winter ONEderland

Nope, nothing to do with Disney or running, but it is about our life and family! Robby turned ONE last week (ummm...can we just pause for a moment on THAT one???) and instead of heading down to WDW for marathon weekend, I was doing my own marathon of party planning for his first birthday party. Of course, just as the half marathon & kids races runners were disappointed when the weather foiled their perfect plans, we were too when a snow storm prevented most of our guests from coming to the party. We would have postponed, but Bill has been out of town almost every weekend and when it comes to Robby, Daddy trumps everyone else for being an essential attendant!

I'd been pinning ideas for months to make Robby's winter one-derland perfect! I couldn't be happier with how each and every detail came together to make the perfect party. This one was definitely a Pinterest WIN! Here are some of the details of the day:

Our living room:
We used some stuffed animals around the room, but the real centerpiece was our fireplace. It was decked out with balloons, a clothesline of Robby's monthly pictures, plus a few extra touches!

Robby's first piece of artwork was fun and easy! I used a hard canvas and taped off a number "1" with painter's tape. Then just squeezed some paint on the canvas and let him at it! Be sure to let each color dry before layering on a new color. I framed it using an inexpensive IKEA frame that matched the decor.

A fellow January mama, Melisa of The Printed Pug, created this chalkboard art just for our party. She also did our board for his half birthday. I love supporting other mamas!!! (You can check her out HERE)

I finished off the mantel with wooden letters from Michael's and some snowflake accents (super cheap ornaments from Wal-Mart). The pictures were just so fun to look back on, and now I actually have some printed pictures that I can hang in my office!

For our party favors, we made bags of s'mores. I set them up right at the front door using a few extra tables we had. All of the signs I made were done on PicMonkey (yes, using only the free elements) and framed with cheap IKEA frames. 2 graham crackers, 2 mini Hersheys, and 2 marshmallows in a cute treat bag was a perfect little "thank you for coming".

Our Dining Room:
Well, our empty house proved to work well for this party! We don't yet have a dining room set, so we set up Robby's high chair in the dining room, front and center, and put up some folding tables and chairs for guests. Our kitchen table and island also had seating. Who knew we wouldn't actually need all this room? Dumb snow!

For Robby's high chair, I intended to do more, but this time of year is tough, so I kept it simple. I hung some snow garland, cut out a free-hand '1' out of scrapbook paper and hung a few of those snowflake ornaments. I also made Robby's hat to match the outfit I bought him from Etsy (the prices for the hats were outrageous!). I got a dollar store hat (so I wouldn't have to free-hand it) and covered it in scrapbook paper. I added pom poms along the bottom with some hot glue. All that Disney costume construction came in handy!

As a backdrop, along with some balloons, I took some streamers and created a great background for pictures. I taped them along a curtain rod at the top, twisted, and taped them under the window-sill.

The Kitchen:
All of the food and drinks were in the kitchen. I kept everything themed and it all came out so great!!!

The Hot Cocoa Bar:

The Chili Bar:

Snacks and Appetizers:

Dessert: (I didn't get enough pictures of this spread! We had a bunch of desserts all themed out)

We made some Polar Punch more for looks than anything else (it was SWEET). Also, we labeled all the food with some snowball labels. They were super easy to make: cut off the bottom of a styrofoam ball and sliced a slit in the top. Then printed some labels on cardstock. Wish I had a better picture, but I didn't intend on blogging about his birthday. Whoops! Blogger fail!

To finish it off, here's a few shots of Robby digging into his cake. He loved it!!! A great tip I read online: get a cheap (I think ours was $1) plastic table cloth for under the high chair. It made clean-up a breeze!

Finally, this is a shot I just love to take: the aftermath of the smash! We have a close-up after we cut our wedding cake and now we can add this one into our collection. I love how it tells the story of the day!

Happy Birthday to my sweet little boy! I can't wait to see what the next year brings!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Post-Christmas Catch-up

Whew! It's January 8th and I finally feel like the holiday season has come to an end and real life can get started again. When I first had Robby, I felt bad for him having a birthday so close to the holidays. Now I just feel bad for me because this mom life is HARD with everything so close together.

Merry Christmas!
We spent Christmas at home in New York. Being that it was Robby's first Christmas and our first Christmas in our new home, it was super special and so much fun to be at home for it all. I hosted a huge Christmas eve meal (read: way too much food and now I'm paying for it) and we visited family locally on Christmas day.

Right after Christmas, we flew to California for holiday celebrations with Bill's family. It was so much fun to have babies around for Christmas. Totally changed the focus and I really can't wait for the next few years as they all get older and really into the spirit of the season. We also hosted a small birthday party for Robby and got to ring in the new year with our west coast family. It was a fun-filled trip, but short and very busy, which left little time for running or any exercise.

We arrived back in New York on New Years Day with a few days to clean up Christmas and get ready for Robby's first birthday party. Shockingly enough, it wasn't even Disney themed! His winter one-derland birthday was amazing, but unfortunately Mother Nature got in on the theme. Lots of our family and friends had to miss the party because of the snow.

Now, it's time to really clean up after all the parties, and no, I'm not just talking about my house! It's time to clean up the diet and exercise routine too. In all honesty, running has not been a huge priority and my heart misses it. Maybe that's good, because I'll be more motivated and it will most definitely be more enjoyable. So back at it I go, with all the others making health, fitness and weight loss a focus in January. Hope you all had a great holiday season!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Spectating the NYC Marathon

Last weekend I had the pleasure of being on the sidelines during the biggest and one of the most popular marathons: The NYC Marathon! A long-time friend and run coaching client was running his first marathon, and I promised (especially after bailing on him for the Staten Island half) that I would be out there to support. Lucky for us, it was a beautiful day and we probably would have gone even if he wasn't running!

Some things to know:

The marathon starts in waves, anywhere from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Our runner wasn't starting until 11, so we took the opportunity to watch the elite runners finish on TV before heading into NYC.

The app rocked my world (hello, runDisney, can we get in on this?!?!?). The tracking was incredible and the maps were perfect. Of course, NYC is easy to get around with it's simple grid layout. The app let us pick the best places to watch as we were riding the train into the city.

Central Park is pretty much off limits unless you pay, so you'll have to decide which end of the map to cover.

We took the Metro North train and got off in Harlem. It's the perfect place to see your runner twice without much travel for yourself. We got to spectate at mile 19 and at mile 23.

All in all, it was a fun day. I'm glad we decided to just plan to see my friend, since it's tough to be in NYC with a baby in the cold (you know, with trying to breastfeed and change diapers--those things are much more comfortable when it's warmer). If you start with the elite runners and plan to stay until the end, it would make for a very long day.

Of course, I would have loved to run too! This race has been on my bucket list for years, so I'll just keep throwing my name in the lottery and hoping for the best.

Is NYC on your bucket list? What are your tips for spectating a big race?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Race Report: 2016 Disneyland 10k

I know, I should have done this all BEFORE leaving for Paris, but c'est la vie!

The 10k is the first part of the Dumbo Double Dare. This was the 4th running of the race, and therefore the 4th time I've done this race. I have to say, this has been my favorite Disney course. There is SO much park time, backstage time, and downtown time. The race literally flies by!

Going with the partners theme, the race theme was Genie and Aladdin. We had a bunch of friends running this race too, so we decided a group costume was the only way to go. Of course, none of us actually wanted to be Aladdin or Jasmine, so we managed to be every other character from the movie. That left Bill and I as the carpet and lamp. I have to admit, my lamp was LAME. It was not my best showing for sure, but Bill's carpet was pretty awesome.

If you remember, we started at the back of the pack because I forgot to add a proof of time for Bill (I had just had a baby...that's my story and I'm sticking to it!). We had our friends go ahead and the two of us stayed behind in the last corral. Truth be told, we weren't properly trained and just wanted to have fun.
Party Corral! 

The first mile is on the streets and through the Anaheim Convention Center. We always laugh here because we often stay at that Hilton, and on more than one occasion have said, "Let's just go back to bed instead of finishing this race." when we pass the entrance. After that mile or so is out of the way, it's all Disneyland!

Last chance to take this pic!
There were a few changes to the course this year. One thing I noticed and didn't care for was not running UP Main Street. Yes, you still get to run through the castle, but I miss that first glimpse of the castle from Main Street. It's always been my favorite part of the race (and spoiler, they did the same thing for the half marathon course).

The miles ticked by quickly and we stopped for a few selfies along the way. Tower of Terror is always a favorite. We're going to miss taking those pics! A bit before mile 5 you head through the castle. We aren't big on standing in line for pictures, but we pulled over for a quick selfie, and POOF, there was the rest of our crew! They had taken full advantage of the many photo ops and we caught up with them. It made for a great pic in front of the castle and a really fun end to the race. Don't you just LOVE running with friends?!?!?  runDisney is the BEST for that!!!
Pic Credit: Holly Casino (aka Genie!)
Just like that, the 10k was over. It still tops my list for favorite course, even with the changes. We finished the race in 1:39:58. Okay, it's almost laughable, but we had fun! That's what it's all about. Someday I'll get focused on running fast again, but until then, I'm just enjoying the ride!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

My Favorite runDisney Race -- The Diaper Dash!

The last few months have been really busy. Alyson and Bill have relocated to the East Coast. We had 2 vacations in the past months before they even finished unpacking. And, I’m doing physical therapy for back pain and researching knee replacement.  

There are a lot of race recaps to catch up on, especially the ones from Paris. But I wanted to write about my favorite race of all time.

On Labor Day weekend, we went to Disneyland because Aly and Bill want to keep the Dumbo Double Dare as a legacy race. Even if I didn’t tag along to watch Robby as his parents raced, I would have gone to see Robby do his first runDisney race – the Diaper Dash. (Honestly, I don’t know why I never spectated this race before.)

The Diaper Dash is the most entertaining runDisney race that exists. It is for 12 month and under crawlers. Entries are limited so it’s just like signing up for any other runDisney race -- they sell out fast.  Robby was signed up before we knew if he would be crawling at the time of the race. 

You get a bib and race shirt just like the other races.  Robby also got the optional race ears.  You have to pick up your packet at the expo and you get your medal at the finish.
Robby at the Expo
It happens at the end of the kids races. They lay down gym type padding under the “kids races” finish line and then cover it with a “lane” mat.

Before the race began, they gave an entertaining display of what to expect at a diaper dash. 

DDD (no. not Dumbo Double Dare
----Diaper Dash Demo!)
And, yes, there were cryers, crawlers and our favorite, “the sleeper”. The costumes abound with these little racers. One little girl was decked full out in a Disney Tour Guide outfit! Our little guy was Mickey. You are allowed 2 "helpers", one at each end of the mat.

The first “wave” of crawlers lined up. The little guy in the first lane took off with determination. About halfway up the mat, he made a severe right turn, crossed over all the lanes and almost went right off the edge of the mat! Parents brought cell phones, toys and one even had a tv remote to entice the little people to crawl to them.
Robby was taking a quick
nap before his race.

As each wave of crawlers lined up (I think there were about 5 sets), I kept looking for Robby and his parents. I saw them keep moving to the back. Later I learned that Robby was fast asleep.

The final group was lining up, and there was Robby (with his I just woke up, where am I? face). The last wave of little racers were ready to go.   Robby was on his hands and knees, looked around and then just sat up! (He wasn’t actually crawling at this point. However, while he was sitting he must have been watching all the other little guys and gals. That afternoon, when we returned to the Disneyland hotel, he started taking his first few crawling “steps”.)  

As the other little dashers were helped to the finish line, Robby still sat and looked around. Carissa (for those who don't know, she is one of the runDisney announcers) got down on the mat next to him and announced that Robert wasn’t interested in racing, he’d rather be an announcer. She handed him her microphone and Robby gladly took it.  

Maybe I do have a shot at being an announcer!

Coaxing Robby in Lane 2 to the Finish Line

Finally, the finish line!
So, at the 2016 Disneyland Half Weekend Diaper Dash, our Robby was the official last finisher!  But, as it goes in any other race, he finished and that’s what counts.  He happily chewed on his medal and we all were proud of him!

Have you ever watched a Diaper Dash (or any other of the Kids Races) at a runDisney event?  If you ever get the chance, you should check out the Diaper Dash.  It truly is fun race to watch.

Robby is now looking forward to his next race, the 100m Dash at the Tinkerbell Half Weekend in 2017.

Celebrating race weekend at Goofy's Kitchen