Family Christmas Letter

One of my favorite things to do at Christmastime is send Christmas cards to loved ones. As you saw from yesterday’s post, I finally got our family photos taken so I could get cards made. Another thing I like to include with these cards is a Christmas letter that lets friends and family far away know what’s been up with us the past year. {Call me a nerd, but I love it.} I remember my family getting these types of letters when I was a little kid and I really enjoyed reading them. I wanted to try something different than the usual letter format this year, so when I saw this card at Minted, I knew I wanted to create something like it, but larger {love when I get to put my graphic design degree to use…even if it’s for no money, lol}:
So here’s my version that I slaved over last night, I’m quite happy with it! {Sorry to those that will be receiving this, as now it’s not a surprise, but I figure much of my long distance family are not avid readers of my blog, so I’m sure it’s fine!}
Sadly, I felt like I was having to really reach to find interesting things to put on this letter…I guess this was just one of those years where not a lot of big things happened. I think we all have those years from time to time. The kids are at ages where they weren’t hitting any crazy milestones. If it weren’t for Breckin being so lazy about walking that he didn’t really do it until January of this year when he was 16-17 months old {because that should have been a 2011 milestone, seriously!}, or for Tanner’s loosening baby teeth, or Breckin nearly losing his finger in a door jamb at daycare leading to his first {and hopefully LAST} set of stitches, we wouldn’t have had many milestones at all! I know we will have a much more interesting story in 2013. Jake and I are both hitting big birthday years, 35 and 30, respectively. I plan on FINALLY visiting my beloved California to see old friends {my 30th birthday prezzy to myself!}, we are taking the boys to Disney World and Legoland in June, I am running my first half marathon…gosh, I am much more excited for next year’s Christmas letter! {At least now I have a good template, lol.}
Do you do Christmas letters?
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Downtown Charleston: 2012 Family Photoshoot {Sneak Peek}

Last Sunday, I got my family together for a heinously overdue family portrait session. I chose downtown Charleston for the location because I thought the brick buildings and cobblestone streets would provide a fall/winter feel as well as a beautiful backdrop. I am still waiting to see the rest – the photographer should have them all to me by early next week {and I will of course share my faves with you}, but here is a sneak peek she sent me the other day…I’m excited about them, though a little nervous to see the rest, as my boys were not so cooperative for the majority of the shoot. {Ugh, boys. What are you gonna do?}
I found our photographer on Craigslist…she is new to the Charleston area and was looking to gain clientele, so she offered a great deal…I know that’s taking a risk, but from what I see so far, I think she did a great job. And she was a sweetheart to work with. Her name is Hannah Hamilton, and her business is Once Upon A Time Portraits. If you’re in the Charleston area, give her a shout, she’s got a good price!
Anyway, here you go:

The first thing I thought when I saw these was “damn, I have a GOOD-looking husband.” LOL. I’m sorry, I may be bias, but I don’t think so. He’s one attractive man, and he’s all mine. I love seeing all of my beautiful guys looking their best together. Poor Breckin must have had allergies because his eyes were watering and nose was running throughout the shoot. Thank God for PhotoShop.
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Even When You Don’t Want To…

You just should. Workout, I mean.
I tell you, I have so many days where I am just not mentally into getting my workout done. I feel like that’s the hardest fight for me; not the physical battle. If I am not mentally in the kick-my-own-ass mode, it is a struggle to get my workout on.
I had a mental battle like this just yesterday afternoon. I was due to run 5-6 miles per my half marathon training schedule. I was all gung-ho in the morning…I got my workout wear, running shoes, etc. in a bag and stuck it in my car for a quick change after work so I could run on Daniel Island, an island near my home. {It is just such a better scenic run than my neighborhood.} But all day at work I was fighting allergies, a crampy tummy and just an overall feeling of crappiness. But deep down, I knew I had to make myself do this run.
So I got ready for my workout, parked my car on a random street and started running the route I had planned out on MapMyRun. Immediately my insides clenched with crampiness and I thought, “There’s no way I’m going to be able to finish this run.” I also was angry with my body for performing so poorly. I found it harder to breathe than normal…I felt less energized than normal. I won’t lie, I even walked some of it.
I think I like running in this particular place because I know that if I park my car and start heading off far to the other side of the island, it’s inevitable that I will have to make my way back, which means I have no choice but to do the miles. So in the end, here is what my RunKeeper app on my iPhone recorded:
So it wasn’t my best time per mile {12:15} obviously since I walked a little bit, but I think I averaged about the same time per mile as when I did my first 10K in April…so I don’t feel I was too shabby considering the distance for me was a good bit further than normal.
Overall, I’m just proud that I won my mental battle with myself. I know that I need to fight the urge to quit…that urge might always sneak up on me…but I know that I can shut that voice up.
How do you break through your mental battles with working out?

My Holiday Wishlist {Oh, Hubbyyyyy…}

1. Young House LoveI have been dying to get my hands on this baby. I have followed John & Sherry’s blog for years – what blogger hasn’t?
2. Hunter Original Rain BootsCan you believe I live in South Carolina and don’t own a proper pair of rain boots?
3. BEBE Sport Pink Leopard Print PantLeopard, pink and for working out? Yes, please.
4. The Nikon D3100 DSLR CameraI have been longing for a great camera and would love to tinker with my photography skills – possibly start a side business?
5. Erin Condren Personalized iPhone CaseThis is just too perfect. I already have the planner to match!
6. ZGallerie Mimosa BeddingWant to go white with the master bedroom bedding and I love this set.
7. Nike Air Alvord 10 Trail Running ShoesGirl has got a half marathon coming up and I could really use a new pair of kicks to get me through.
What’s on your Christmas Wishlist this year?
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Winter Jackets

We got a little cold front here in Charleston this past weekend and it got me thinking how I need a new winter jacket. I already have a nice long white wool coat from Victoria’s Secret, but I’m definitely in the market for one not as long…and not as white. Here are some of the options I’m looking into…

I love the subtle leopard pattern on this one…

 I also just love a classic gray to go with anything and everything…

And I do always love plaid for outerwear…

I’ll decide on one soon and let you know! Hope it’s not too cold where you’re at! xoxo

*All photos courtesy of Victoria’s Secret.

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Turkey Day Run: Race Recap

Ok…so I have to officially say I hate the chip timing system. Hate.

I feel like my time is never logged right in the end. {Let’s not forget last month’s Race for the Cure when my time chip apparently didn’t even log my actual!}

So let’s hash this out…the race officially started at 9am. I was in the second wave which started at 9:03. So the clock had been running 3 minutes before I was able to start. When I hit the end of the race, I remember looking up at the time and seeing 34:54…then of course, due to bottlenecking, was unable to get my timer under the finish line until sometime after 35 min, apparently 35:09, because my time on the website says this:

BUT, if I go to my RunKeeper app, I show that I ran FURTHER than 3.1 miles {not by much} and know that my app had been running for at least two minutes before I actually started moving:

I suppose this chip time was close, but due to the bottlenecking at the start and at the end of the race, I’d estimate my actual time to be right at about 30:30 – 31:00 minutes. So pretty much the same as last month’s Race for the Cure. My next run is the Reindeer Run, hopefully I can really push it then! I’d so love to see a time UNDER 30 minutes.

Going to trudge through with my half marathon training this week!

My Gym Routine: Back

Welcome back to my little mini-series, My Gym Routine!
Today, I am letting you in on my favorite back exercises.
Here is the schedule of posts for your reference:
Mon 11.26.12 – Back
Mon 12.3.12 – Chest
Mon 12.10.12 – Triceps
Mon 12.17.12 – Abs
I find the back is often neglected in many people’s exercise routines. It is a very important area because your back controls your ability to do most anything. Think about someone who breaks their back – they’re not going to be walking, are they? Your back is also closely related to your core, the main muscles that keep your body in balance. A weak back can lead to some very unfortunate injuries. Keep yours strong by focusing on it a few times a week, with moves such as these:
Back Extensions
Back extensions are great for the lower back as well as your abs! Build a strong lower back and you will notice a flatter tummy. I typically grab a weight plate anywhere up to 20 lbs and hold it with my arms crossed across my chest, but if you’re a beginner to working your back, simply putting your hands behind your head {shown} will keep you from doing too much too soon. For this exercise, I ai to do 3 sets of 15 reps.
Bent-Over Row
Grab a barbell {I use about 30 lbs}, hold with your palms facing outward and pull to your chest, then slowly release back down to starting position. Keep your back straight and knees slightly bent. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps.
Lat Pulldown
Using a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width, grab a pulldown bar. Keep your back straight and sit up tall. Exhale as you pull the bar down to the top of your chest. Slowly rise back to starting position. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps with a weight that has you to failure by the 15th rep of each set.