Fun Runs, Running

Gettin’ Dirty

Finally things are happening!

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the virtual races last year, but I’m ready for a real Fun Run!

Last year before the world stopped, me and some gal pals purchased tickets to do the Muddy Princess run in West Palm Beach. One year later we finally got to get dirty.

We signup for the 11:45 run, none of us are really morning people, especially on the weekend. When we got there the parking was well set up, I’m not really sure why we had to pay $10 per car when it’s normally free to park; I guess to pay the people for keeping order and organization. Still, I think $10 is a little much. They didn’t have a DJ or any trucks, but that’s understandable in the days of COVID and it didn’t bother me. The registration and bag check process was seamless and we didn’t have to wait long.

The run itself wasn’t as muddy as we had hoped. It was more dirt trail than anything and not all the obstacles had mud, some of the ones that did, it was dried up and the water trucks had stopped coming by the time we got there. There were a few good ones holes where we could play in the dirty water but I wouldn’t say it was muddy. The amount of obstacles were decent and good for beginners, if you are a person who likes to do Spartan races I wouldn’t recommend this one. That wasn’t our case, we are all beginners and out to have fun and do something different. In the end, we met our goal and we all ended up dirty girls.

Something I really liked was that they had photographers at the best obstacles and plenty of water stations to rehydrate (very important in the FL sun). The pictures they took were awesome and very much appreciated. I had my waterproof camera with me, but the pics aren’t quite as good as what they took.

We are planning on signing up for this event again next year because we did have fun. Hopefully the covid restrictions will be gone and they can make it muddier and better. If you have a group of gal pals you want to spend some time with and get down and dirty I would recommend it, but just know it may not be all that you expected.

Adventures, Beaches

Spring Break:Cocoa Beach

One week prior to the start of our vacation my husband says to me:

“There is supposed to be a cold front while we are at the beach, can we cancel it? It’s going to be freezing!”

Me: “Nope. Bring a jacket!”

After a year of canceling long weekends and vacations I didn’t care if it was going to be snowing on the beach, I wasn’t canceling again. We needed to get away from the house!

I made reservations at South Beach Inn on Cocoa Beach, we had stayed there once before and really liked it. It’s an older hotel and needs some TLC on the outside, but it’s small and away from the hustle and bustle around the pier down the road. All the rooms are very nice and clean, they have a kitchen, they allow pets, it has beach access and it’s affordable; it checks off all our boxes.

The evening before it was time to leave I started the process of packing and trying to anticipate everything. I went grocery shopping so we didn’t have to worry about it once we got there, packed up our kitchen, our bathroom, kid’s closets, beach gear, dog stuff, and I almost forgot my own bag. The morning of, my husband had scheduled to have our roof and patio pressure washed, so I finished packing the cooler, cleaning up the house, and trying to make sure I didn’t forget anything (which I did anyway). Finally around 1:00 we started our 2.5 hour drive and officially began our 5 day vacation at Cocoabeach.

When we got there the very nice man checking us in informed me that we would not have direct beach access because they just started pumping sand onto the beach so there was a lot of construction equipment. BUT, we could walk just a minute down the sidewalk and there was an access point there. This was annoying. But ok, What can I do, besides a little walking never hurt anyone. So we moved in changed and headed to the beach, well, me the kids and our puppy headed there. By this time we could already feel the cold air coming in, it was super windy and my husband just wasn’t feeling it.

The boys didn’t care, they hit the waves and Chase (our pup) loved digging and rolling in the sand. It was just us crazy’s on the beach. It was cold. It was really cold. For a moment I almost admitted my husband was right.

We were there long enough for the boys to get their fix and Chase to get used to ocean water and drink too much of it. Then we headed back, popped open a bottle of wine and some juice boxes, enjoyed the fab dinner my husband made, and got our relax on.

Saturday evening through Monday it was way to cold for me to get in the water, but I made sand castles and watched my little ones boogie board and get beat up by the waves. Monday we ventured to The Enchanted Forest Sanctuary and walked a few of their nature trails. We were hoping we would be able to grill, but it’s picnic baskets only. The trails were nice though. It’s hard for me to get excited about Florida nature trails because they all are very similar. But it was easy for the kids to do and very well signed so you can’t get lost. The trails are well kept and the length of the trails is perfect for young kids. We spent a couple morning hours there then headed back to the beach after lunch.

Tuesday the sun and the warmth started coming back but I wanted to do something different, we tried the Brevard Zoo. I love zoos, always have. This one is small, but it’s very well laid out and had animal exhibits that I haven’t seen before. It wasn’t crowded and all of us really enjoyed it! Great day out and recommended!

They had a small pool for smaller kids, a petting zoo, bird and giraffe feedings, kayak rentals, zip lines, and a train that went around a section of the zoo. Plenty of stuff to spend a full day out and at reasonable price for a family.

Wednesday was a perfect day for the beach. At this point however we had to walk about 5 minutes to get to the beach in a different direction because they had closed several beach access points and there was trucks driving back and forth every 5 minutes on the beach. There was also constant beeping and banging from the construction trucks and vehicles all night long. This was very disappointing.

We found a good spot with no beach traffic and even though the water was cold, I was able to handle it and play in the waves with the boys. We spent almost 8 hours on the beach and it was great! I will warn though, the waves are ROUGH! This is a place surfers like to go, so I had to take them just past the “crash” zone and before the drop off where the current really sucks you in and we were able to jump and bob in the waves.

Thursday we headed back home. Overall it was a really great trip and much needed time away. The beach construction was very annoying and disappointing but we made the best of it anyway. The important thing is we all had fun and time together.

My Reads, Reading

“The World As I See It” by: Albert Einstein

“What an extraordinary situation is that of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he feels it”. -Albert Einstein

From time to time I get curious about influential people, past and present. What is the “it” that they possess that has made them re-memorable? That made them a house hold name? What is the “it” that so many people seek to have.

Though I have learned years ago what powers “it”, I still find it interesting how individuals that harness the power allow “it” to manifest into the world.

Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity.” -Albert Einstein

This book is a compilation of thoughts and letters written by Albert Einstein through the course of his life. When I read about people, I prefer to read, when possible, autobiographies or work from them directly. This way I can form my own opinions and not be influenced by the opinions of others. Though very intelligent, seemingly humble, and with a hint of a heightened ego; I found this book very difficult to read. I agree with most of his perspectives on life and situations, but I found that I couldn’t read more than 2 passages before I was yawning. Perhaps my mind is not educated enough to grasp exactly what he is saying the first time, but the way it’s written and the way he speaks, I had to reread things a few times to let the meaning sink in. Also, I found that I really needed to try to place myself in his shoes at that time to understand where he was coming from. Since this book isn’t about setting up any particular setting, it’s not a “story format” I grabbed scenes from movies and other books to help put myself in the moment when he was writing.

There are some enlightening moments in the book, but mostly it’s his perspective on world events happening at the time. I’m very neutral with my feelings about it, I guess it’s a good read to fill a curiosity about the man.

“The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained to liberation from the self.” -Albert Einstein

My Reads, Reading

“I Am Watching You” by: Teresa Driscoll

“When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realizes they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.” Copied from goodreads.com

This book has a lot of good reviews, however it was only “meh” for me. I found myself skimming thru the chapters for key details, just enough to get the jest of it. The most intriguing part that kept me reading it at all was my curiosity as to who the watcher is and is he the same person that kid napped Anna.

Each chapter is written from a different characters point of view and switches from first to third person, there were a few times I lost track of who’s point of view I was reading from and had to check the beginning name on the chapter.

The story didn’t feel very suspenseful and I couldn’t get attached to any of the characters. There was no moments that made me think or that sparked any emotion, besides for annoyed.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book to you guys.

My Reads, Reading

“The One” by: John Marrs

“A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner the one you are genetically made for.” -Copied from Goodreads.com

I almost gave up after the first several chapters, it didn’t really grab me at first. As most stories, the characters and some of their background had to be introduced, the characters in this story are typical people with average lives, well except for the serial killer, but it made the beginning a little slow, which is why I almost stopped reading.

Just when I was about to give up, the twists and turns began as people started meeting their matches. Then the characters lives started getting interesting and I couldn’t stop reading, where it took me more than a week to get threw the first 50 pages (more or less) it took me a couple of days to finish the entire book.

Imagine if there was a test that could match you with your soul mate. Would you believe it? Would you take it? Those answers might be easy if you are single without kids, but what if you were married? What if you were married with young kids? would you?

It’s an interesting question. Would you give up the life you created up to that point to be with The One person who is made for you? What if they turned out to be a killer? What if you are heterosexual and got matched with your same gender? What if you are a homosexual and got matched with the opposite sex? They might be much older or younger. Perhaps you get matched with a politician. Who knows what might happen. But if they are The One, it doesn’t matter because the feelings you have are so intense, it’s a chemical reaction that can’t be helped.

I like to think that I would not take the test at this point of my life. I am married with young boys that I love more than anyone else in this world. Even more than my potential soul mate. My “soul mate” will never love them as much as me or their father love them. It’s unfortunately possible that no one may love them as much as we do, so why would I destroy their family and put them in a situation where they can’t have access to both of us 100% of the time? Why would I take away family time, when my husband and I are happy together, financially stable, and devoted to them? I wouldn’t. We have had our problems, our challenges. We have both made concessions and sacrifices to keep our family together. The important thing is we are in a happy place now. That being said, I would be curious. I would probably be tempted. Who doesn’t want an intense absolute love? But I wouldn’t do it.

Now, that’s just my circumstance. Every person and every family situation is different. If you decide to read this book you will see some of the interesting possibilities of being matched with “The One”.

For better or for worse.

My Reads, Reading

Where The Crawdads Sing By: Delia Owens

I have been into emotional books lately and this one did not disappoint. This was a story that takes place in the 1950s and 60s; its about a young girl who is abandoned by her family at a very young age and forced to learn how to live in the Marsh all alone. She survives with the very few skills her parents and siblings taught her before they left. The towns people treated her very poorly as she was a “Marsh Girl” and most never tried to help. Those that did she was very skeptical of and afraid they too would leave. She befriended and became very close to a boy who was one of her brothers friends. He taught her how to read and opened her eyes to science. However, as everyone else in her life he too left her.

I don’t want to spoil the whole book. The story is very well written and the characters are very memorable. It’s a beautiful story of survival, determination, and finding happiness and peace in self acceptance. I would recommend taking the journey with Kya as she becomes the legendary “Marsh Girl”.

My Reads, Reading

When We Believed in Mermaids- by: Barbara O’Neal

Usually when I read fiction I read something in the Scify-fantasy realm. I decided to venture out and try something different. Broaden my horizons!

Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s being a mom, maybe it’s being on locked down with the kids for 6 months and I’m going somewhat insane. I have been drawn to more sentimental type stories. So I googled popular books and this one came up, not going to lie, the title grabbed my attention more than anything as I have always loved mermaids.

When I was little we lived in South Florida and my grandparents had a boat that we use to go out on. We would snorkel and swim between fishing sessions ( in different spots of course). I had always felt out of place and sad as a child. I never felt like I quite fit in anywhere. I wasn’t really bullied in school and I had a good home, it wasn’t perfect, but my parents provided everything we needed. I was the sweet and quite girl; because of that other kids assumed I was smart. After “The Little Mermaid” was released from Disney, I wished more than anything I could turn into a mermaid and always pretended to be one when we were at the pool or in the ocean. I think it’s all of those memories that drew me to the title.

Once I got started with this book, I couldn’t put it down. It was very well written and I didn’t get bored with the characters because the chapters bounced from Kit to her sister Josie. Showing different perspectives to the same story.

The story is about sisters who grew up on the coast of California. Their parents owned a restaurant and were not very involved with their daughters. The girls were allowed to sleep on the beach and run wild and on their own until an runaway boy came to live with them and took on the responsibility of looking out and caring for them. The three kids loved one another and would to anything for each other.

A broken family, as they grew the problems grew and the kids couldn’t hold on to one another as they became adults. While Kit was is college, Josie became a party girl and disappeared. Fifteen years later, Kit goes on a mission to find her sister and while doing so finds a happier version of herself.

It’s a beautiful story of overcoming the tragedies that life sometimes gives and about letting go of the hurt and giving yourself permission to forgive. In so doing, finding love and acceptance. Families may be living in the same story, however we see from different perspectives and still experience different circumstances.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for inspiration to let go of their hurt, find love, and who want a good cry at the end.

Lessons As We Grow, Running

Getting My Kids to Exercise

Like the rest of y’all, our house is trying to get along and make the best of the over abundance of family time we have had the last few months. In between the murder hornets, COVID-19, hurricanes, riots, and every else that happens, we get out to nature or a park to get some vitamin D via sunshine. But we are in the house a lot. My kitchen table is my office and my kids school desk, I set up my mobile gym right next to me so I can stop and exercise for a few minutes or do some stretches. My gym is a jump rope, (2) 10lb weights, exercise ball, and a yoga mat. After i serve dinner I run on my treadmill, which has been one of my best purchases ever!!!

The problem is my kids are getting lazy. Well, lazy until I make them stop watching Netflix or Minecraft videos. Then all of the pent up energy comes out and usually turns into them trying to kill each other, then my blood pressure goes up and de-escalating becomes tricky at this point. I know I should not have been letting them watch so much, but I still have to work and if they aren’t watching something they are very literally making me crazy because being Mom and outstanding employee takes 2 different mind sets and skill sets. Trying to do both simultaneously for 8-10 hours a day has been a headache to say the very least.

So as a solution I tried having them do exercise videos on YouTube, which they enjoy and there is a lot of cool videos for kid work outs. But after a few weeks they started getting tired with it. So I tried to get them to do at least a mile on the treadmill, and that was a battle because they got bored after a quarter mile and start wining. Then I came up with, “so you want to watch Minecraft videos, ok. But you are going to watch it while walking on the treadmill.”

It has been a beautiful compromise. They walk 1.5-2 miles before they realize how far they went. No more fighting to get them to move and they go to sleep easier too. It has been a WIN WIN. Now they ask me if they can walk /run on the treadmill during the week because that’s the only way they get YouTube time now.

I noticed their moods have improved since we started this compromise also. 🥳

My Reads, Reading

The Sword of Truth Series by: Terry Goodkind

When I was 24 years old I walked into a Barnes & Noble with a Starbucks in hand, just kinda wondering around wasting time. I liked to read, but I wasn’t really into reading. I enjoyed going to book stores because it always felt like there was possibility of finding something spectacular in them.

My thing was walking the rows of books (all genres), browsing the titles, waiting for something to just jump out at me and whisk me away on an adventure. On this particular trip, I remember going through the store and not really finding anything of real interest, so I started to head out and I noticed a collection of books on the Science Fiction end cap that I had missed. I studied it for a moment from several feet away, debating if I should check them out, took the last gulp of my cinnamon dolce latte and wondered over. (It’s hard to imagine now that there was a time when this was the biggest decision I had to make in a day. Go check out the books or don’t check out the books, hmmmm)

I walked out of Barnes & Noble that day with the first book of the Sword of Truth Series, Wizards First Rule and 14 years and 24 books later am still hooked. There is actually more than 24 books related to Sword of Truth series, I am 2-3 behind waiting for the price to drop. Needless to say, I am now a dedicated citizen of the world he created in these books.

I feel like anything I say about these books and about the world he created just won’t do him justice. It’s a world where magics are used instead of technology, there’s forbidden love, fighting for human rights, sick and twisted power hungry people trying to take over the world, unbreakable friendships, and most importantly, lessons to learn from. It’s the whole package.

I will admit, there were 1 or 2 books in the middle of the series, up till now, that I found a little repetitive and had a hard time getting through. I won’t say that every single one had me on the edge of my seat, but most of them do. The first 6 books of the series are by far my favorites, I listen to them on audible now while I work, and I encourage anyone looking to start a wonderful adventure to go on this one.

Kid Reads, Reading

“The Last Kids on Earth” by: Max Braillier

I liked it. I thought it was a fun action packed story where kids who normally don’t “hang out” became best friends as they fight to survive their new normal world filled with zombies, dozers, winged wretches, and vine thingies, among others.

When we started this book, I had the boys reading it to me, and they did ok with it. My boys are 7, are are a little behind on the reading level, but more than that they are a little behind on the maturity level also. They weren’t really understanding the dialogue between the characters and the witty sense of humor Jack Sullivan (the main character) has. So I decided to make it our bed time story book, where I read to them. After a few chapters I realized it wasn’t helping much for calming down and going to bed but I enjoyed the book so much I just kept on reading. When I read to them, I typically get really into the story with cheesy character voices, sound effects, and emotion. Not to mention its an action pack monster bashing adventure. Not really the right ingredients for bed time. Anyway, once I took over the reading they enjoyed it more but I had to constantly explain the sarcasm. Which isn’t a negative towards the book or the author, I loved it, it’s just something to consider if your kiddos are seven and take words very literally.

I bought the trilogy, so we will be eventually reading the second book to see what kind of new big bad tries to destroy the rest of the world and what this monster bashing team of friends does to stop it.

What the kids have to say:

Ninja D: ” I liked it because it had a lot of action in it, and I love action.”

Robo D: “I didn’t like it that much. I didn’t really understand what they were talking about most of the time. But I like the cartoon on Netflix.”

Disclaimer: All opinions and context are my own and are not influenced by any other parties. I was not paid or compensated for this review, this was only me sharing some thoughts about the book.