About a week and a half ago I got to participate in a Color Run when it came to a nearby town. I had a great time, and I thought I would share a few Color Run tips to have the best experiment possible.

1. Register with a group. We had 12 ladies sign up as part of our team. Not only was the team option $5 cheaper than registering as a solo runner, it was much more fun! We had quite a few groups (running only, running with some walking, run/walk intervals, all walking) out of our group, and everyone who wanted one had a race buddy. One group member picked up bandanas and ironed on a patch with our team name, and another girl made tutus for those who wanted one (we paid her for materials). 20140414-145901.jpg

2. Bandanas and sunglasses are your friends. The Color Run uses food safe corn starch for their color, which means it is safe if inhaled. However, they do suggest that pregnant women (I was 12 weeks pregnant during this race) wear bandanas when they pass through color stations. I was really, really glad I had a bandana as the color makes a huge cloud, and is almost impossible to not inhale. Sunglasses were also great eye protection (and wiped clean easily with a baby wipe). Even with a bandana, I found putting my head down when the color-cloud got really think was helpful. I’m sure that would be a help if you don’t have a bandana.

3. You may have to walk. I did some walking (probably a 7 min run, 1 min walk, on average), but we found we always had to walk through the color stations. The color is thrown or squirted on you by volunteers, and people will stop to get extra color on them or to take pictures, so these areas get pretty crowded.


4. This is not the race for a PR. The great thing about the Color Run is that it really encourages first time 5K-ers, walkers, children, and strollers. They are all about getting out, being active, and having a great time! There is no time clock, and no chip timer. That’s not to say you can’t run the entire way, but because it is a popular race, and because it encourages walkers, it is a crowded course, and you won’t have an “official” time.


My running buddies and I in the start chute.

5. Get to the start chute early. I thought we were there a little early, but we were in the 5th start wave. I have no idea how many waves there actually were, but I saw via Facebook afterwards, that some of the stations ran out of color at some point during the race. Being at the start chute so you can start early guarantees the color stations are well stocked, and could also mean a less-crowded course.

6. Bring baby wipes. They don’t get all your color off, but they helped clean me up a good bit before I got in the car. Regular soap and scrubbing with a washcloth got everything off in the shower (a team member said she found conditioner worked best for her). Be sure to check the inside of your ears!

Some of our group post-race.

Some of our group post-race.

If I had the opportunity, I would do the Color Run again! It really was a great experience, and a lot of fun to do with a group of friends who had never done a 5k before. I’d love to take my kids some time; because the color is thrown by volunteers, it wouldn’t be too hard to keep the color-free if that bothers them. I highly recommend you go, should Color Run come near you!






It’s a good thing we have three red chairs; the last one will be occupied in October. Crazy exciting!!!!


You are ten months old, my big boy! And my, the changes the past month have brought! You began trying to figure out how to crawl, rather than scoot on your bottom, and now you get around very well. So well that sometimes I loose you and have to ask your brother where you are. You also learned how to get yourself into a sitting position this month, and the day after that, pulled up on the sofa. There are still only a few things that are the right height for you to pull up on, but you are working on perfecting this skill.

You love to eat! You now have four, six ounce bottles a day, and three meals a day most days (some days are too jam-packed with taking your brother places, naps, etc to fit your lunch in there, but we try). You love all baby food and can do self-feeding with puffs, yogurt melts and mum-mums. I haven’t really given you any table foods because you don’t have teeth! It took you until last month to eat puffs, which dissolve, without gagging and throwing up, so I would like to hold off on other foods until you have one or two teeth. You have had a small sampling of ice cream, which you really enjoyed!

Daddy has been commuting this month, so you don’t see him much. But when he comes home you are so happy to see him! You also get excited to see me first thing in the morning (Daddy gives you your morning bottle), which I of course love.

This month also brought your first official sickness. You got a cold and were so congested you would wake up in the night, sleep on me for an hour, sleep in your bed for an hour, rinse and repeat all night long. You also coughed and cried in your sleep and I was so, so sad for you. It was just a virus, but you took an antibiotic because all your congestion caused an ear infection.

Totter, you are the happiest baby! You discovered you can get into some of our cabinets and will pull things out and just grin and grin as you do your “baby work.” You are pretty much bald and toothless! I can’t wait for you to get hair so I can tell what color it is (your new hairs seem to be blonde or light brown, but you still have some of your super dark/black baby hairs, so there’s no telling what color your hair really is), but I love your precious bald head. I know you are dying for teeth so you can dive into some real food! You still wear a few 9 month sized things, but pretty much wear 12 month or 6-12 month clothes now. You still wear a size 3 diaper.


You are such a precious, sweet boy! Your family loves you TaterTots.

Mommy: Colton, I can’t play right now, Mommy’s pooped.
Colton: But Mommy, why’d you go poop?

Colton: I’m going to have lots of brothers! I will call them Tree, Grass, Leaf, Bush, Twig, Berry, Cotton Ball, Bird, and Nathan. ‘Cause that’s the brother I already have.

Mommy: Colton, what kind of things would you like in our new house?
Colton: Hmmm…my own room and a front yard with no holes.

Colton: No is my favorite word!

Mommy: Hey Colton, do you know what sin is?
Colton: When you do bad or don’t obey.
Mommy: That’s right! Did you sin today?
Colton: Nope!

Mommy: Do you know what the holes in your nose are called?
Colton: You tell me.
Mommy: They’re called nostrils.
Colton: Oh! Like ostrich!

Colton: I’m drawing this picture for Dolphin! (his little stuffed animal) When I’m done, you can write our names on it!
Mommy: Great! Can you tell me what letters are in your name?
Colton: I don’t know.
Mommy: Well what letter does your name start with?
Colton: I don’t want you to talk right now. I’m working hard on my picture for Dolphin. Because she wants me to draw her a picture. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to use all the ink in the pen for her picture.

Mommy: (getting ready to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday) How old do you think MeMe is? Colton: Six!Mommy: Oh, that’s a good guess. My Mom: (brings out a cake) Cound the candles and see how old MeMe is turning.Colton: (counts to ten) Ten! We were wrong!

Other fun things Colton says right now: he calls a jet ski a ski jet, which cracks me up because he knows the exact, proper names for other vehicle on the planet; instructions are “constructions;” his favorite number is “tenty.”

The day before he turned nine months, Nathan had his nine month well visit. I had to fill out a little developmental survey that was then “scored.” My sweet boy scored slightly delayed in his fine and gross motor skills. However, his pediatrician said not to worry; his fine motor delays were most likely due to me simply not observing the behaviors asked about (like, if you show baby food, hide it under a cup, will baby find it?), while the gross motor delays were chalked up to his big head. DSC03209

And boy is his head big! Nathan is in the 25th percentile for height, a little under the 25th for weight, but in about the 80th for head size. Despite not being able to crawl, thanks to said giant head, Nathan is getting around better scooting on his bottom. He can now scoot, with his legs sort of folded under him, several feet. He isn’t fast, but he’s effective. He does still fall while sitting, which I asked about. He doesn’t fall a lot, but more than what I would think is usual for a baby his age. Again, this ascribed to his larger-than-proportionate head size.

Nathan loves to swing. You honestly might not be able to tell if you saw him after the first five seconds he got in the swing, but you’d know if you stopped the swing, or, heaven forbid, take him out and he started screaming. He also loves pears, and has begun to tolerate puffs. He can even feed them to himself, despite not having any teeth.

Sweet boy babbles frequently, and tries so hard to play with his brother’s toys. Sadly, his brother does not usually enjoy having his toys played with or chewed on, and quickly snatches them away. Interestingly, his bed his currently filled with Colton’s forks and spoons, which he apparently decided his brother needed. Kids are strange.

DSC03216Nathan is nine months old! Still wearing all his 6-9 month and 6-12 month clothes, though some 12 month things are starting to fit. He also still wears a size three diaper. He doesn’t wear shoes, but he wears 6-12 month socks, which he always pulls off and chews on until they’re soaking wet.

He is a sweet, sweet boy!

There are some big, crazy, and unexpected changes going on in our house.

A few weeks ago, I called my husband to see when he was coming home from work. He was going to be home early so I could go to the IF:Local conference. He informs me he is going to be late because he lost his job and has to clear out his desk. Totally unexpected and out of the blue, he was unemployed.

Naturally, we were a little stressed out, worried, and upset about the situation. To top it off, we were working with some already stressful family situations that compounded our stress in this situation.

My rockstar of an engineer husband had a job interview the day he was laid off, then quickly had two more. He also received e-mails from Southern California and Blacksburg companies that he didn’t interview with who were highly interested in him. After some consideration, he took a job in another town. The offer was far and away better than any other job, including his old one! Of course, we considered more than our budget’s bottom line. This job was the only one of the three that does the type of work my husband loves, and they also offered the best opportunities for learning and growth in his field and career.

So we’re moving!

We’re in the process of getting our house ready to sell (so. much. work!) and looking for a realtor to help us find our new house.

The new job starts tomorrow, and I’m not looking forward to the commuting time period, but I do love house hunting, so I’m hoping it all balances out. I have conflicting emotions about this, but mostly I’m a little overwhelmed and very excited for my husband to have found a new job he’s excited about so quickly.

I’ve been flying through books recently, thanks to some Christmas gifts and car trips (the perfect time for hours of reading). Here’s what I’ve read in January:

Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant: I had previously read the first two books in this trilogy, but since I received them all for Christmas, I decided to re-read them. These books are the story of Tris, a 16-year old girl living in dystopian Chicago. In Tris’ society, there are factions, the Dauntless, the Erudite, the Abnegation, the Candor, and the Amnity. At 16, Tris has to choose which faction she will pledge to join for the rest of her life. There’s a great mix of mystery, love, friendship, and general coming of age in each of these books. My favorite part about Allegiant was that Veronica Roth develops her all of her characters, even secondary ones, fully and makes them stay true to the character we have seen, even when many readers weren’t so happy with the outcome. Re-reading the first two books was like visiting old friends. I highly recommend this series!

Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse, Farewell to the East End: I read Call the Midwife originally years ago (pre-children!) and enjoyed it. Then, the PBS program of the same name came out, and I was hooked. I’d been wanting to re-read the book and the two that accompany it, but my library system only had one. Hooray for Christmas presents! Jennifer Worth’s writing style is personal and engaging and I highly enjoyed these books because of it. I found it was wonderful to read these after watching the show, because I could hear the different characters’ voices, and made reading these stories much more real. I do find the show quite stressful, and the books, thankfully, aren’t nearly as stressful. However, many of the stories in the book that are also in the show are sadder, especially in the second two books. Still, I think these are a wonderful read, particularly if you are interested in midwifery, women’s health, history, or just realizing what a blessing modern medicine is to our society.

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary: A Maggie Hope Mystery: This novel, by Susan Ella McNeil, is set in early 1940′s London. There is war between England and Germany, but the bombings of the Blitz have just begun. Maggie Hope, a highly gifted mathematician, raised in American but British by birth, finds herself working as one of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s secretaries after the mysterious murder of her predecessor. Also tied up in the mystery of the book is a secret from her own past. While you have to suspend some sense of realism for the mystery, I found myself really enjoying the characters, particularly Maggie, but the various mysteries she uncovers. And seriously, this book has everything. Spies! Codes! Codebrakers! Rapists! Murders! The IRA! Ballet! Rationing! Bombings! It’s impossible not to get caught up in the action. And, I found the mysteries to be pleasantly not-obvious but still believable; there was one particular revelation that made me gasp audibly. The novel is peppered with complex characters and relationships, which make it all the more engaging. If you like historical, face-paced novels, you are sure to enjoy this one!

Cinder: This novel, the first of four from Marissa Meyer, is a little hard to explain. Its sort of like a futuristic re-telling of Cinderella, but sort of not. Here’s what the publisher says: “Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.” Yet another book I really enjoyed, though parts are strange. Moon people? Ooookay. But there’s a nice feeling of history meets future meets strange new world that is strangely appealing. This is due to the phenomenal world-building Meyer does. These worlds are built mostly through showing, not telling, and there are hints of a rich history in both earth and Luna that give them a sense of realism. While the love-interest take a leading role in this story, I like that its a-typical in that Cinder quickly realizes that she does have feelings for Kai she works very hard to pretend she doesn’t. I feel like most YA novels of this type are either instant love between both parties, or unrequited love, so this was a nice change of pace. There’s also an element of mystery here, but once the facts are presented, it is very easy for the reader to figure out.  All-in-all, I really enjoyed this book, though I think the characters are a little more one-dimensional than some of the other books I’ve read lately. I am excited to read the next book though and see how/if the characters develop more and what happens with the story-line. I recommend this if you like YA dystopian and/or fantasy, but if you don’t, it might not be for you.

What about you? Read anything wonderful lately?


Every  mother says this at each of her baby’s milestones, but I cannot believe you are eight months old! I frequently feel like you are still my new little baby, until I try to lay with you on my chest or see an actual little baby that is! Then I am forced to accept that you really are closer to being a year old than being a new baby.

You are still the sweetest, easy-going, most content thing. You recently went through a three to four day period where you just cried about everything, wouldn’t eat, and were so unhappy. I was worried because that is the total opposite of your personality and took you to the doctor – they couldn’t find anything wrong! A few days later, you were back to your normal, happy self.

Eating continues to be one of your favorite activities. I was helping Colton eat ice cream one night, and you started fussing. Turns out you were mad he was eating and not you! Even though you had just finished eating, we had to feed you too.

Like your brother at this age, you don’t crawl and you don’t have any teeth. Unlike your brother, you are trying to butt-scoot. You will scoot across our kitchen, pushing a chair out in-front of you, then pulling yourself up to it. Push, scoot, push, scoot until you knock into something, can’t push the chair any further and cry. You try to do this on other surfaces without a chair without much success. This morning you were trying to scoot yourself into my lap on the sofa. Such a sweet boy! DSC03151Your hair color is still undetermined, but your sweet, people-loving personality is not. We love you and are so thankful you are part of our family!


Its been a very long time since I last wrote a goal post. I used to write them monthly, but my goals were mostly arbitrary, I didn’t actively work towards them most of the time, and they didn’t move me forward towards and more overarching goal.

This year, I have a few things I most definitely want to work on and accomplish:

Keep running. I’ve been slacking on the running since my last 5K, but I do want to get back into a good schedule and routine with it. I’d like to, at the very least, keep up my millage, run another couple of races, and possibly get faster. Depending on how schedules change over the year, I’d like to up my millage to be able to run a 10K, if possible. There’s a lot of time commitment here, and it was honestly hard to get in the time for 5K runs, but if I get some extra time as Nathan gets older, I’d like to try this.

Complete a Whole30 and reevaluate what we eat and why. I want to do this for a lot of reasons, but mainly because I started feeling like my relationship with food was out of control. I’m currently five days into this, so hopefully this will be crossed off my list at the end of the month.

Serve more. Before I had kids, I was more involved with service projects and church things. I was even more so before we got married. I know serving with kids is hard, but I feel like its very rare for me to serve in anyway these days, and I’d like to get back into that.

Be more intentional with my kids. Often, I feel like the time I spend with my kids I think “I need to be cleaning. I’d rather be reading,” or something similar. I want more of my time to be intentionally focused on being present with them, even if its in 15-minte increments throughout the day. I also want to make sure I look at the bigger picture of parenting and my goals in raising my children. Parenting Colton especially is challenging, and I find myself wanting to cut corners or let things slide because I’m tired and they seem easier in the moment. In these situations, I need to focus on the long-term. Along with that, I want to remember that its all about baby steps, and not get as frustrated when behaviors don’t change over night.

Work on house cleaning at least 30 minutes a day. Its been a long time since I’ve been diligent about daily cleaning. Yes, it seems like spinning wheels with little kids at home, but I need to be more on top of this, and I think I’ll be more content if I am.

Be more organized/live with less. My husband and I are both accumulators. He more so than I, but at any rate, the things pile up in our house. Some of our long-term family goals would necessitate a purging of stuff, so why not start now?

Looking back at 2013, there are two accomplishments I’m super proud of: pumping for six months, and running two 5Ks.

Funnily enough, my first 5K and six months of pumping happened on the same day – Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful I got to meet both of these goals this year!

Pumping until six months was probably the hardest, physically and emotionally of the two. I actually very seriously considered stopping at five months, because I was constantly thinking about making more milk; my mood and general state of mind were so tied to how much I pumped. I didn’t like that, but I also felt like I didn’t know how to pump and not be so tied up with the amount. I’m glad I stuck with it, and a few weeks later when I started slowly dropping sessions and stopped taking all my supplements and medicines, I felt much better.

I’m exceedingly proud I reached that goal, but I’m also very proud of myself for saying, “self, you’ve been doing this for six months. It’s HARD. You don’t it very much. It’s messing with your head. It is totally okay if you let yourself stop.”

In the end, I have no regrets about the experience and what I accomplished. More than making it an arbitrarily chosen number of months, I wanted to look back at this experience and be satisfied with it, no regrets. And I totally am!

As for running in a 5K, the best thing I ever did was participate in a running group. I could only meet with them once a week, but I really needed that accountability and push. When we first met, our run was a mile long, alternating one minute walking, two minutes running. It was so, so hard for me. I was the last in my group by a good bit, and I could not have run one bit more.

I’m not fast by any means, but two months later, I ran 3.1 miles without stopping. Two weeks after that, I did that again, in a wintery mix, up some reasonably steep bridges. Quite a long way from not being able to run a complete mile.

Mostly, I’m proud that I did hard things. I didn’t have to stick with them. I could have said they were too hard for me, and honestly, starting to run a 5K for the first time when your baby is three months old and exclusively pumping, I don’t think anyone would have blamed me for saying they were too hard and not doing them. But I stuck with it, and it was so worth it. I hope I continue doing hard things in 2014.

Just a 20-something girl living on the East Coast, trying to figure out life. I'm a wife and mom to two. I'm trying to rediscover my love for long walks, yoga and pilates. But not hiking. I still don't like hills. I was raised at the beach, but I don't like the beach. I like to look at it, but I don't like to swim in it, I'd prefer a pool, thanks. I'm just trying to become the best person I can be -- the woman God wants me to be. That's easier said than done!

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Contact me at longbrakeliving@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you!

Hubby is my all-time favorite guy. A perfect mix of serious, sarcastic, laid-back, handy and nerdy, he is the perfect complement to me. I love his strong work-ethic and the way he always loves and supports me through everything. Some of Hubby's favorite things include: hiking, Virginia Tech football, woodworking, and his family. When I married him in July 2007, I had no idea what an amazing journey we were headed on, and how I could come to love him so much more each day.

Our oldest, Colton, is three years old. He is equal parts sassy and hysterical. He loves all things train, car, bus, truck, and machine related. He has a penchant for made-up words and loves to be the clown of his pre-school class. Our younger son, Nathan, was born this May. He is pure joy and full of smiles! He is such a blessing and a perfect fit for our family.

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