keeping the weekend vibe going

Ryan left this past weekend, which kind of threw the latter half of the weekend for a loop, but we did our best to have fun and get some quality time before he left. On Friday, we visited Ryan's cousins at their new home in Olympia, and we blew the boys' bedtime. It was well worth the quality family and couple time, the boys had so much fun playing with family, and we enjoyed soaking up our last few moments of togetherness while we good. Then, on Saturday, we visited Sequalitchew Creek again as a family on Saturday, and we had a good time soaking up the sun, catching little crabs, and just playing together. Yesterday, we had to take Ryan to the airport, so we got up bright and early, and we did it before we had too much time to think about. I never gets easier, but it's getting normal, and I have mixed feelings about that. 

Right now, I'm feeling exhausted and drained, and I'm desperate to make that weekend vibe last a little longer. I figured that might be a common thing though, so today I'm offering up my four favorite tips to keep that weekend vibe going.

// Opt for Spontaneity
As you all well know, I am a big supporter of all things spontaneous and fun. Even when the whole brood was sick, we made a point of still getting outside and doing something fun while we could. Although it’s true that most of the spontaneity in my life is contained to the weekends, one of the things that keeps it going just a little longer is including some of those spontaneous, fun activities in the work week. Go for a bike ride with your kiddos to a local ice cream shop after dinner, or better yet, ditch the planned dinner at home and find some new restaurants to add to the Yelped list. Right now, my go-to is just taking the boys to the rocky beach to search for crabs - it doesn't get better than that!

// Get Comfortable
The worst part about Monday coming around is the need to bring back to boob jail contraptions we call bras. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love when the girls look good, but it would be nice if they could look good while also not feeling completely suffocated. One of the things I’ve done lately is search for a truly comfortable, well-fitted bra, like the ones from True & Co. that basically feel like clouds. Wearing a bra that doesn’t dig in or make me uncomfortable from the minute I put it on has made me more optimistic and much less irritable, a definite perk when spending so much time with my two little boys. It seems like such an unimportant thing but being uncomfortable is a one-way ticket to grumpy town for me. So finding a something that can keep me from hopping on that train, is key for enjoying my week - and any places we go.

// Consider Dinner
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely live by meal-planning. Taking an hour or so on the weekends to sit down and plan out our lunches and dinners for the week makes a huge difference in my stress levels Monday through Friday. There are even meal planning apps out there right now that make the whole process even quicker, which is so nice! Having meals taken care of ahead of time and not having to agonize or argue over the “what’s for dinner tonight” conversation or scour the cupboards for something I can put together is a game changer. It allows me to get the decisions out of the way and make sure I get everything stocked in my Saturday or Sunday grocery run. Once I have it all on hand, I can make my favorite keto shakes and dinners much easier.

// Get that Workout In
Okay, so I know this one is not the most fun thing for everyone but for me, it is totally necessary. For those of you who know me, you know that I love getting outside and being active in general. For the most part though, and for most people, it seems that weekends are the only time our schedules allow for time to get in a real workout. Try to find some time during your week to fit in a lunch break yoga session with a YouTube video or class at a local studio. Maybe you could join a weeknight kickball or soccer league. Even just add a block of time to your schedule dedicated strictly to the gym and go then. It’s crazy how different your energy levels and mood can be after adding a couple of workouts into your week.

I feel like life just keeps getting busier and busier, and I'm sure it's not going to slow down anytime soon. These are just four of the ways that I keep that weekend feel going, and I find little of pockets of relaxation along the way. Are there different ways you keep your weekends going a little longer?

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

washington doesn't suck

I think it's safe to say our family loves Washington. Leaving New York was hard - less because we loved New York, more because it was home - but we're settling in nicely, and I think I can finally stop babbling about the "settling" nonsense because it's done. Yes, Ryan's still leaving this weekend, and yes, that sucks, but I'm less worried about all the things because, frankly, I know they'll get done. Work is falling into place, the boys are starting to love their school, and even this messed up rental home is falling into place (yes, that deserves a post of its own).

I think the best part of Washington so far is just that there is so much to do. We're seriously never scrambling on a weekend to find something. There are so many hikes and little excursions we want to explore. The weather is cool (and yet also warm) enough to play outside, go on our little runs with friends, or just take Danny to the dog park. Better yet - the beach is literally about 5 minutes from our home. 

Better yet? We also have family really close, which is kind of a rarity. Ryan's cousin and his wife just moved to Olympia, so we're able to see them fairly frequently. In fact, we're headed their way for a beach barbecue this evening. They have a son named Spencer, too. He's much older, but it's a funny little anecdote we giggle about as the kids get confused.

It's true that this has been a season of change for us, and it hasn't been the easiest move all around, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to branch out, see new areas of the country, and really explore with my boys. Though we explored in New York, I think it's safe to say that was just a stepping stone for what we plan to do here in Washington.

This is definitely a summer I won't forget. There are so many household chores to be done, so many nuances to this house and schedule yet to figure out, but there's something spectacular about the spontaneity of it, too. We get to craft our own adventure here, and that's incredible. That's an opportunity you don't want to pass up. 

Changes are on the horizon, but if there's one thing this Army life has taught me, it's that change can be good - hard, but good. On that note, I'm calling it now. I'm going to bust out the DSLR for the next week or so. I want to capture this place in all its glory because it's about time! Get ready for all the photo dumps!

4 tips for safer summer running

You guys! It's true - I'm finally able to run again (short distances, mind you). I wasn't sure how my running would come back...or if it would even come MPFL reconstruction, but I've been so blessed with a pretty fantastic recovery. I had a great surgeon, a fantastic physical therapy team, and I worked my butt off to get back on my feet. Literally. I've been running for about a month now, and I'm loving being able to move my body again, even if it is much slower than it was before.

Summer is the best season to run, but it's also arguably the most dangerous because of the heat and the sun. I choose to look at the two as a blessing, but it definitely makes for a harder running season. I learned while training for the Chicago Marathon last year that you really need to plan your summer runs, and you definitely need to listen to your body as you train. It's easier than you'd think to get fatigued before you know it. So, here are four tips you absolutely need to know for summer running.

1 // Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
This is one I seriously can't stress enough. You might not feel like it, but chances are your body is dehydrating as you go. Every bit of sweat is more hydration that needs to be replenished. When I go on longer runs - even three miles - during the summer, I make sure to have a hydration belt. I use this one from Amphipod, and the two bottles allow me to have one full of water, and one has nuun in it, which I swear by. Also, remember that hydrating is important before, during and after your run, too.

headband: bondi band (available here) // reflective vest: champion (similar here)

2 // Opt for lighter headgear.
I'm always tempted to run with a hat because it keeps my hair out of my face. Unfortunately, I even made this mistake during the Chicago Marathon where it turned out to be 80+ degrees on race day. As nice as the shade felt on my face, it trapped a ton of excess heat, and I ended up throwing away my hat somewhere in Chinatown. These days, I swear by either a visor, or a lightweight headband like these Bondi Bands, which are amazing.

3 // Consider running earlier - or later.
Since I work from home, running is (luckily) pretty flexible for me during the day. However, that's difficult during the summer months, as those are the hottest hours. When Emily and I trained last summer, we did our long runs early in the morning. We were usually on the road running by 5 AM before those hot peak sun hours. As tempting as a few extra hours or minutes of sleep may be, you'll not only escape the heat of the day, but you'll also likely be done before most people even wake up! It's a win-win.

tank: reebok (available here) // shorts: lululemon (available here)

4 // Choose light-colored (and weight) clothing.
Guys, I like black. I like alllll shades of black - black, light black, lighter black, white ;) you name it, black and gray are my jam. However, black is not the best color to run in in the summer. Whenever possible, opt for lighter colors and lighter fabrics. Go for more sleevless cuts, and be sure to choose moisture-wicking whenever possible. These tanks from Reebok are my go-to, and Lululemon speed shorts remain my favorite.

Runners, what are some tips you use to stay cool and healthy during these hot summer months? I love adding more sanity to my repertoire!

tolmie state park + the weekend that wasn't

Somehow this past week, Ryan managed to bring home a nasty sinus infection that started to make its way around the house. He was hit hard Friday and Saturday, then I caught it, and poor Spencer's asthma has been kicking him in the pants because of it now, too. So, you know those weekends where you plan all the things and most of them just don't happen? Yeah, this past weekend was one of those, but I am proud to say that will still got out, did things, and explored the area - even if our bigger plans went down the drain.

On Saturday, we decided to forgo our now-normal Wear Blue run at the park in favor of trying to catch a little extra sleep since we weren't feeling too well. Then, we headed to the furniture store out in Lacey. Funny story...we bought these couches in a barrio in Tuscon right after we got married. They. are. awful. They were cute when we got them, but the arm broke on one during our move to Fort Drum, they're stained beyond recognition, and they are just so uncomfortable. On Friday evening, Ryan felt like poo, was struggling to get comfortable, and finally said "we don't deserve to live like this." I died. And then we joyfully went to the furniture store, adulted super hard, and bought a great new set. We're in heaven.

Sunday was spent relaxing, taking the boys for bike rides down at the park, and going to Tolmie State Park. The beautiful thing about Tolmie is that it's about a 10-15 minute drive from our home. With our Discover Pass, we don't have to pay a fee. Instead, we just drive up to the parking area and either hit the trails (there are a bunch!) or just head to the beach. Since we all felt like garbage, we opted for the latter, and we headed to the beach.

The beaches here aren't soft-sand beaches. They're rocky and gritty, but they're just as gorgeous as you could hope for. The water is clear, and it was shockingly warm, as well. Ryan and I forgot to bring our swimsuits, but the boys were content to wade in, see the little crabs, and check out the barnacles covering tons of rocks. Spencer was in heaven. That little boy is part fish, and it speaks to my swimmer heart!

Ryan's leaving later this week, so I'm glad that, despite feeling pretty gross all around, we still got out to explore some of the area. We'll definitely need to head back to Tolmie though because we didn't explore it nearly as much as I would have liked to. The beautiful thing about living here is that there's simply no shortage of things to do! We simply have to decide what we might want to do that weekend, throw a pin on a board, and go. I'm pretty sure it doesn't get better than that.

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

sweet summer days

americana tanks // children's place // similar here 

Well, that's a wrap on our first fourth of July here in Washington. We weren't sure what to expect really. The fourth is big in New York, but it's nothing like it is here! They throw a big live-music event at Clocktower Park just a five-minute drive from our house starting with a pancake breakfast in the morning and culminating in a firework show around 10 PM on the golf course. It was so fun to see how festive people are here. And, though fireworks scare the dickens out of Porter, we got to see a bunch from our home before we all crashed hard last night.

After spending a quiet morning at home, we explored the party at Clocktower Park, bought some delicious kettle corn, and the boys were able to meet the firefighters, sit in the trucks, and turn on the lights! They were so happy. Talk about making a little boy's day right there. Spencer also got to meet  "Spiderman," and he was in awe. I couldn't help but giggle as he said "Hi Spiderman! What are you doing here?" His imagination never ceases to amaze me.

One of the best parts about moving to Washington has been that we're now closer to Ryan's family. So close, in fact, that we were able to spend the evening of the 4th up in Gig Harbor where the boys got to meet their cousins, play lawn games, and I was able to finally meet some more of Ryan's extended family.

Most of them live in Oregon, so it was really special to be able to take the time to spend all together. It wasn't anything fancy, but we blew bedtime, and we spent quality time playing outside, watching the fireworks, sharing a meal with fantastic people, and enjoying quality time with family. It was also so special because I got to see Ryan in his element with his people - and yes, I obviously mean gingers ;)

I feel like summer's always so fleeting. We wait all year for it, then we chase those summer nights until they're, once again, enveloped in the colder season, under wraps until the next year. I know I sound like I'm waxing all nostalgic, and maybe I am, but there's just something about summer that speaks to my soul. We've been spending almost every possible waking hour that we can outside. When I pick the boys up from daycare, we either go play out on the playset in our yard, or we go to the park. 

This past week, we went ahead and bought Spencer a big boy bike - training wheels and all. He learned how to pedal his tricycle shortly before we left Fort Drum, and he's been getting too big for it. So, we bit the bullet and surprised our big boy after school a couple days ago, taking him to Powderworks Park where he saw his brand-new Lightning McQueen bike (we're alllllll over Cars right now) for the first time. Needless to say, he's still the happiest boy on the block.

lightning mcqueen bike // target // available here

schwinn llbean special edition tricycle // llbean // similar here

Ryan leaves again next week for another stateside TDY, and I'm anxious about it. Obviously, Washington is still a little unfamiliar, and this house doesn't feel like home in many ways - in large part because it's a rental. I know we'll settle in, but the thought of another upheaval of sorts is scary in its own right. If you do think of us in the next few days, we'd sure appreciate a few little prayers - more for the boys than myself - as we work yet another season of transition.

Have the best weekends, and I hope you all had a fantastic fourth of July!

exploring deschutes falls park

Happy Monday, friends! (And a happy short week, too!) We had a great weekend here exploring our new digs, yet again, and we really enjoyed spending some time together as a family before Ryan leaves again next week. I've mentioned before that we really want to get out and explore as much of the PNW as possible while we're stationed here, and we've been doing really well at that thus far, thankfully! We decided this weekend that Saturday would be spent close to home. We did another Wear Blue, Run to Remember 5k, which was so fun, yet again. Sunday, however, we decided to head down to Deschutes Falls Park in Yelm, WA.

This private park only recently reopened last year after being closed for many years due to accidental deaths, park damage, and inadequate management. Thurston County, however, reopened the park with a full-time live-in caretaker at the head of the trail so that visitors can, once again, enjoy the 400-foot gorge, easy hike, and views of the 27-foot waterfall. 

I'd read up on the hike enough before we headed out to know that this was a good starting point for the boys. We're by no means great hikers, but it's a big goal of ours to get out, hike, explore, and get the boys really interested in exploring all our natural world has to offer. The hike, itself, is only about three-quarters of a mile, but you can add or subtract distance, as well, based on where you want to explore. 

We took some time at the bottom of the trail to view the falls in all their glory, but it's fairly well blocked off. So, we decided to walk up a bit further on the trail to get above the falls, and I'm so glad we did! Above the falls (well above, mind you), there are some small chutes, natural swimming pools, and great places to do a few little cliff jumps if you're daring. We all brought our swimsuits, and the boys really wanted to get in, but the water was C O L D. I ended up being the only one who actually got in - if you saw my instagram stories, you probably saw a pic of my jump!

We did, however, make our way down one of the crevices to sit on the rocky little "beach" through the narrower section of the pools, and we all sat together to have a little snack and enjoy the view. Then, yours truly decided to jump in because...when in Rome and all that. So, I did a quick deck change (there weren't many people, so it was easy to change on the spot) and, after much fussing, jumped into the frigid water - twice! SO fun. I'm so glad I did it. If you're in the PNW, and you're up for a hike, here's what you need to know:

Trail Length: About 3/4 a mile each way
Level of Difficulty: Easy - the path is gravel though, and it can get steep. I wouldn't bring a stroller.
Cost - Free - display your Discover Pass in the windshield just in case
Parking - Free lot at the trail head
Bathrooms - There is one portable toilet at the trail head (I'd recommend bringing your own wipes)
Tips - Bring a towel & bathing suit if you're adventurous

All in all, we spent about two and a half hours on the trail, blew nap time, and had an absolute blast as a family. If there's one thing I'm grateful for here at Fort Lewis, it's the opportunity to get out and explore. We can't wait to see what adventures are next!

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

5 things we're loving about fort lewis so far

Happy final Friday of June, friends! I seriously can't believe we're just days away from July. Weren't we all seriously just praying for spring? I know I was. But here we are...the final Friday of June. It feels like ages ago that we lived in New York, and we're finally starting to feel like Washington is our new normal. Even though we're only renting this house for a year, we're putting our little touches on it, and we're making it as homey as possible for that year. Beyond that though, we're diving into our new state wholeheartedly! Here are five things we're absolutely loving about Fort Lewis so far.

1 // Our boys' new school.
You guys. We seriously lucked out with this one. We started the boys somewhere else last week, but neither of us felt so good about it, so we pulled them halfway through the week and were lucky enough to snag two spots at an amazing preschool just minutes from our home. They're loving it. It's educational, they're learning Spanish, they're flexing their little brains every day, and they're making friends. It makes my heart so happy seeing them come alive in their element! OH - and they have an app and send us pictures throughout the this gem:

2 // So many outdoor activities.
You might remember I talked about Point Ruston and how the boys got to "drive" fire trucks there last weekend. Seriously, that's just one of so many ways that people get outside here and actually do things. My boys are having a blast. They're biking at school, they're playing on the little playground in the backyard, they're getting dirty - just like little boys should! Next up, we're getting state park pass so we can hike and explore even more.

3 // S.L.A.M. Tacoma.
Okay, so I owe this entirely to Jen from Marathons & Dog Tags. I've been watching her Stroller Strong Moms journey for a while now, and I've been envious that there aren't any affiliates where I've lived. But guess what?! Tacoma's chapter opened this week, and I got my very first take on a track attack workout. Oh. My. Lord. Guys, I'm still sore. Even better? These ladies are welcoming, fierce, and so friendly. I can't wait to get started! 

4 // All the good foods.
But seriously. We were kind of limited in our foodie options at Fort Drum. Don't get me wrong, there were some amazing choices (I'm looking at you, Bombay), but they were limited. There is no shortage of fantastic flavors and restaurants out here, and I'm Yelping my way through the area, one restaurant at a time. Better yet, I jumped back on nutritional rebalancing so I can get whole, balanced nutrition and indulge at dinner. Best decision ever. So far, our favorite is still The Daily Catch. Stay tuned though ;)

5 // Water, water, everywhere.
This makes my swimmer heart happy like no other. There are so many bodies of water around here, and I can't wait to dive in - literally. I'm signing up for my first open water race out here soon, and since the only one I did in New York was at Lake George, it can only get better from here! Fingers crossed we find a fun one for me to do...and soon.

Like everything in the military, PCSing is hard, but a lot of it has to do with your outlook, as well as your willingness to get out and try new things. We're determined to venture out, immerse ourselves in this community, and learn to love our new neck of the woods. And don't worry...I'll obnoxiously share it all the while :)

firetrucks, freedom runs & friends

I can't believe we're beginning our third week here in Washington already - technically, of course - and we're going to really start finding our rhythm now. Ryan reports today and signs in on base. The boys start their brand-new daycare today, too. I'm working, obviously, so we're going to slowly start falling into the pace of life we can expect here. This past weekend though, we spent time savoring our new digs (yet again), and we spent time with good friends...and it was so worth it, even if I only unpacked one box!

Friday evening, we decided on a whim to head up to Point Ruston again since we'd had so much fun the first time. I'm off work at 2 PM these days because I work East coast hours, and since we'd pulled the boys from their last daycare, we headed up there as a family after nap time. We were lucky...the Tacoma Fire Department was doing a fundraiser with a Touch-a-Truck event, and my firefighter-loving little boys had their days made in a heartbeat. What a great way to support a fantastic cause, inspire future little ones, and interact with the community! We all had a blast, and it didn't hurt that the truck was gorgeous!

On Saturday morning, we decided to head over to our local Wear Blue, Run to Remember group that starts just a few miles from our home. Each Sunday, they meet at 9 AM and run a well-mapped 5k through our neighborhood and trail areas. We had a meetup at Fort Drum, too, but it rarely happened due to weather and lack of participation. About 50 people of all ages and skill levels showed up here, and at the halfway point, a handful of elderly veterans handed out bottled water. It was a beautiful day of easy running, socializing with new friends, and honoring our fallen and their families. We'll definitely be doing that again.

We also explored another of the many playgrounds around here, Chief Leschi Park, and our little men were in heaven. This was more their speed. It had plenty of obstacles and slides, but it wasn't too over-the-top for a three and two-year-old. And, it doesn't hurt that the weather and scenery here has truly been perfection lately.

We capped off our Sunday with the best barbecue with friends. The Linenfelsers were stationed at Fort Drum with us, and though Ryan and Mike were in the same unit, we never got together. They have two little boys, as well, six and four, and we decided to have an afternoon of slip-and-slide, sprinklers, cornhole, and good company. I'm so glad we got together! I mentioned how important it is to find your tribe, and this is just the start of it. These are good people. They have their proverbial ish together, and they're helping us get out and explore more.

I'm so grateful for good weekends and great adventures to come. Fort Lewis has surprised me in the best possible way and, thus far, I'm loving it. I can't wait to see what else is in store for us!

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.