Safety First

4 Aug

As summer is winding down (sniffle) I’m reviewing our bucket list.  Hiking, swimming, dollar movies, crafts, books, bike riding… we’ve done them all – and next up is a stop at an adventure park for some high ropes course and zip line fun.  I’m excited and a WEE bit nervous.

Here is the transcript of an actual text conversation between DOC and me:

ME:  Trip to Go Ape is booked:  YEAH!  I hope you love it!

DOC:  Why wouldn’t I love it

ME:  I don’t know – are you scared of heights?


ME:  hanging upside down? Dangling from a cord?

DOC:  I won’t be scared of that


DOC: why did you think I would have been scared of that

ME: I AM! I’ll do anything.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not scared of it.

DOC:  It will be fun and we will have fun

ME:  Now that I’m a mom, I’m scared of hurting myself and putting the family in jeopardy.  Like, last night I wanted to show THE GIRL how to do a back flip off the monkey bars, but I was afraid of landing on my back and paralyzing myself.  It’s also why I did not like going fast on the quads with THE BROTHER driving!

DOC:  yea a back flip may not be the best choice

ME:  How is that any different than hanging off a rope from the trees or riding a quad?

DOC:  Because the tree course could be sued

And this, friends, is our life in a nutshell. Safety first. I guess.

I’ve done zip-lines and high ropes courses plenty of times In the past.  BEFORE becoming a mom.  Yes, I’ve done a handful of mud runs and slid down a three story slide at Foam Fest. But there is something about riding a quad way too fast earlier this summer that had me terrified and I’m already a little scared of doing Go Ape.  I’m trying my hardest to live a life that inspires the kids to try new things and live healthy, but, you know, not snap my neck in the process.


How high is too high to push myself to live a life that makes me feel alive?

How’s your Summer Bucket List coming?

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram… and of course Pinterest!

Back to WHAT: Five Ways I’m Getting Ready for Back To School

31 Jul

Crap on a cracker. Look what day it is.

The kids go back to school in NINETEEN DAYS! I was so excited for school to end, had the summer planned so perfectly and here we are 19 days before the night before school starts and I’m coming to the realization that I need to get my act together.

Do you KNOW how hard it is to get a rising 1st grade girl to decide on her backpack? A 5th grade boy to choose shoes he likes?  I have a headache from it all.

Here’s what we have so far…

Backpacks and lunchboxes ordered from Lands End. We’ve had three backpacks from here over the years and they’ve held up better than any others.  We’ve only needed to replace them as the kids have grown, but still use them for sleep overs or day trips.  The girl needs a new backpack and lunchbox and the boy just the lunch box.   Thanks, Lands End for making this so easy.

Lands End Backpack

School supplies ordered from Amazon. Holy man, that’s a lot of school supplies.  I created the kids school supply lists for their school.  This made shopping so easy on Amazon Prime!  Guess who is NOT going to WalMart, Kmart, Target, CVS on “Tax Free Saturday”?  THIS GIRL.  The thought of it gives me a stomach ache.  Thank you, Amazon Prime, for keeping me out of the stores!

I’ve stocked up on everything from kid safe, paraben free deodorant to a months worth of lunchbox snacks to pencils and pencil top erasers. Last year we bought each kid their supplies they take to school and duplicates for home, which included about 100 sharpened pencils.  Do you know how many pencils we have left?  ZERO.  I am going to tape plastic spoons to them like at the convenience stores so they don’t walk away this year.

Oh, who am I kidding.  They’ll totally get lost.  See you in January for the refill, Amazon.

Outfits. Oh The Girl’s outfit.  We’re still deciding which specific one we want from Fabkids but we’re totally crushing on a couple. Every time the girl sees me near a computer, she asks if she can shop on Fabkids – they totally get her style. (Use this link to BOGO off your first two outfits!)  I love that the girl gets a ton of hand-me-downs and this summer friends moved to Germany and gave us a bunch of clothes with tags still on them.  So, really, we just need the one special outfit to celebrate the first day of school!

Bonus Boxes - FabKids: Cute Back to school outfits for elementary school girls! Click through to get your 2nd outfit free!

The boy has last year’s surprisingly survived Under Armour backpack.  (The girl’s from Garnet Hill, not so much.  The lunchbox disintegrated after summer camp and the backpack fell apart in the final weeks of school. Look, I’m not asking for miracles, but it’s not like she carried home that many books – just usually half stuffed with paper and crafts and glitter. The boy’s Lands end lunchbox, in contrast, is still going mostly strong after two full school years and summer camps,)

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And he hardly ever wore the dress up clothes (and by dress up I mean not athletic) he just got in April for his birthday, so he really doesn’t need much to start school.  Except the shoes. Oh boy shoes. The fact that he knows which kids in his class have Jordans, KDs, LeBrons blows my mind.  The fact that all these kids have NEW versions of these $150 shoes is crazy to me. The Boy had a pair that he used all of his birthday gift cards to buy – that was his choice.  Maybe the same is true for his classmates.  But WHY?  Why are we allowing Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, etc. to charge this for shoes.  Do you have $150 pairs of shoes?  I certainly don’t.  AH rant over.

So, back to the shoes – we’ll hit the outlet malls next weekend and see if we can find last years versions of shoes at a discounted price.  Anyone have a favorite destination for kids shoes?

On top of all of this I’m lining up after-school care, figuring out which sports we’re going to play this year and taking the kids for their back-to-school physicals in case they do decide to play sports.  Don’t think DOC isn’t doing anything.  He has to LISTEN to me complain and worry about all of this stuff!  And answer questions like “do you think she’ll wear this?  Will he like these” before I show the kids.  We’ve realized giving them limited options instead of the whole catalog works better at keeping us in their right price range and, ahem, style choices we would pick.  (Yeah, I still haven’t told you about my anger at Zulilly right?)

After all this hard work prepping for back to school, don’t you think MOM needs some back to school love?  I picked one dress off the clearance sale on Lands End to get me through the fall and you know somehow a new outfit from Katie K active popped into my cart.  I mean a 40% off sale on your favorite workout clothes?  That’s not an impulse purchase – that’s a MUST purchase.  Just use my code AIMEE40 in your shopping cart and earn 40% off everything and free shipping.


Sorry I’m totally jumping off the Friday Five topic for today – but panic just set in and I realized I needed to move in a different direction today.  For some of my favorite blogger’s “Race Day Surprises” head on over to the Friday Five link up hosted by Cynthia,  Mar, and Courtney.

So, what do you still need to get for back to school?  Do you pick one special outfit for the first day?  How do you stay sane?  No, really, help! :)

Sparkle on, Shop Smart!


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Friday Five: What’s To Drink

24 Jul 10482595_10153158787547659_5680560446229282794_n

Do you know what today is?

IT IS LAST DAY OF CAMP! No more teachers, no more books…. wait, that’s not right…. It’s the last day of camp drop offs and I couldn’t be happier.  The camps have been wonderful for the kids.  The Girl is SO DIRTY and tired at night.  The Boy is meeting really neat kids and having fun all day.  I won’t complain about the camps, but maybe next summer I’ll get them a taxi.

It’s time for the Friday Five! Today’s theme is “Favorite Summer Drinks” and, as usual, I am linking up with Courtney of Eat Pray Run, DC, Cynthia of You Signed Up for What?!? and Mar from Mar on the Run, for their Friday Five adventure.

Water – Seriously.  Water.  The colder the better.  I’m so lucky at work we have a filtration system and our water is amazing.  I’ve set my fitbit to buzz once an hour, reminding me to get up and move.  I walk downstairs, fill up my water bottle, make a pitstop, and back to work.  The stairs in the historic home where my office is located are brutal steep – but it’s a nice little walk once an hour.


Infused Water – The only thing better than plain old iced cold water is infused water. I don’t have a fancy water bottle, just a nice glass water bottle that I fill each night with whatever I have left over from dinner, veggies, fruit, herbs.  Slices of lemons with some tops to strawberries,basil and peeled cucumbers, lemon and cucumbers, peaches, watermelon and mint, apple slices and a cinnamon stick,  green tea with mint and lime.  I know there are a million pins on pinterest about “detox water” and “fat flush” water.  I swear to you,none of these infused waters make me feel any different than just drinking plain water or even water with lemon, but they are fun to drink and somehow get me to drink more.


Lemon basil water, with caprese salad and gazpacho!

Bold Rock – All hard ciders really, but Bold Rock, made in Nelson County Virginia is really the best.  Again, nice and cold, these are a total day changer.  They make me instantly happy.


McAllister Monograms Custom Koozie

WINE – You can’t live in Central Virginia and not like a cold white wine on a hot summer day.  Actually, I can’t imagine you can live anywhere and not enjoy a cold white wine on a hot summer day.


Coconut water – This is such a change for me.  I used to grab tea, lemonade, or soda at the store, however, when I quit soda, I still wanted to not just grab bottled water. Buying bottled water makes me crazy – what a mark-up!  So many people talk about how much they love coconut water and I didn’t like it at first but now it’s the first thing I grab at a convenience store.  (Seriously, Sheetz, get it together and got some!  We are hardcore Sheetz lovers, but you guys only sell the caffeine coconut water – I just want coconut water!)   I wish I could find Zola in the local stores. I think I love them all now but what’s your favorite brand or flavor?

So, tell me, how are you hydrating this summer?  Is there something you like drinking now that you didn’t before?  I think coconut water, quinoa, greek yogurt, kale … they’re all acquired tastes. If you didn’t like coconut water at first, give it a try.

Make it a great weekend!  Hopefully  next week I’ll be back on a regular schedule and I’ll get to write more. I want to tell you about how my Women’s 4 Miler Training is going, how I took on Zulily for their ridiculous back to school shirts for girls, and about some low carb swaps I’ve been making (but that you’ve probably seen if you follow me on Instagram.)

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Wellness Wednesday: Getting healthy with DOC

22 Jul

December 2011 – May 2015


I love this man and how much he inspires me every day to keep at it!  I have so far to go to get into my goal dress next May, but having DOC as my partner in weight loss means everything to me.

Love you, babe.  Now, hurry home with the corn and tomatoes you got from work today!

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Friday Five: SWAGGIN

17 Jul

Happy Friday!  We made it to another one.  Our schedule is crazy this week because this week’s camps don’t run full day.  The 9-2 and 9-3 camps are driving us insane. We both work 8-5, so this has caused some challenges.  It’s only two weeks and we’ll survive it, but I really get irritated being off of our schedule.  I know, first world problems.

Thank you for hosting the Friday Five link up Courtney,  Cynthia and Mar and the Fitness, Health and Happiness Friday Jill Conyers host.  I just love linking up with these powerhouses and reading all the blog posts.

This weeks Friday Five is about Favorite Race Swag.  I have to say, I haven’t received many really cool items at races like some of the bloggers I’ve seen.  I don’t have a cool medal that is also a bottle opener, a wine stop or a cowbell. I certainly don’t have one of those cool Tiffany’s necklaces or even a race charm.  But I don’t run the races for the swag – I run them for the FUN!

I do know that event directors really try to find items that everyone will like.  I worked on an event with THE MAN who directs nearly every race in Charlottesville, VA this past year.  He was still steaming over the woman who came into his shop weeks earlier to exchange a race shirt for the right size and then proceeded to tell him “you know, nobody even likes these shirts!”  OOOH BOY!  Was he mad.

1.  Then why are you exchanging it for the right size, just donate the damn thing.

2.  You can’t swing a cat in this town without seeing a woman sporting one of those shirts. If “nobody even likes these shirts” 2,500 woman are walking around wearing something they don’t like.

and finally 3.  It’s a FREE shirt from a CHARITY run.  Seriously.  You get what you get and you don’t get upset!  We all have these free shirts that we don’t love, but they’re stuffed in a drawer or given away to charity.  The ones I don’t really love are being saved to make a quilt one day.  It’s ok if I don’t really ever wear them.

However, I do love a very cool shirt.  My favorite is a long sleeve like the one given to us at the Boar’s Head Inn’s Turkey Trot for the UVa Children’s Hospital. I wear this one all the time and it’s fun to talk with folks about running this – Running for Remedies… and stuffing.  I run for the stuffing. They changed the design one year and it looked like a rival school’s shirt.  I still wear the shirt, but not as much as this purple version.


I LOVED the finishers medals from the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend.  I ran the 5K on Saturday and the Half on Sunday and earned three medals through completing the Steel Challenge. Maybe one day I’ll get a medal holder to show these babies off in my office.


I also REALLY REALLY love when there is a free beer at the finish line. I mostly love when the beer truck is still there when the back of the pack runners finish. Yes.  Still bitter.


My most prized running swag possession is the pull over I was given as a Pittsburgh Marathon blogger. I’m pretty ready for fall to get here so I start wearing it nonstop again.


What do I think is the coolest race swag that I haven’t received yet?

The Richmond Fleece Blanket:  I really think I want to run the Richmond 1/2 just for the fleece blanket.


Finisher blanket preview from the Richmond Marathon Facebook page

And a word to all the really amazing Race Directors and volunteer committees out there, while a bottle of wine, a pub glass or a piece of jewelry would be great and make you the best event ever,  you know what most of us really want?  We’d like to SKIP the plastic bag filled with coupons and samples and give me one free picture and electronic coupon downloads. The digital download of a picture and digital download of the coupons, samples, etc. is so much more efficient and effective than paper shoved in a bag I really don’t want.  Save your staff and volunteer time by not stuffing the bags and save the printing cost and the earth and don’t print all that paper out.  You’re going to email me post event anyway and thank me and showcase your sponsors again and while I’m at the computer I’ll remember to purchase from the sponsor.  The plastic bag – that gets tossed right in the trash.

So, what’s the best race swag you’ve received?  What would you like to get at the finish line or at registration?

Make it a great weekend!

Sparkle on,



I would love to see you on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest!

What Would You Do

16 Jul

The Boy is going to grow up and not be the worlds first NFL AND NBA star, but he may grow up to be the worlds next great leader of a civil rights organization or the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, or a civil rights historian.  It’s HIS THING.  Justice is important to him.  His world is divided into right and wrong, black and white – there is no grey, there is no “well, sometimes it’s ok to tell a little white lie.”  He is starting to learn if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all, but you still get smacked with a back-handed compliment every now and then.  Life with him as a mom who suffers with self-esteem issues is KIND OF A PAIN IN THE ASS hard sometimes, but I’ve learned to deal with it, and he is getting better at not hurting feelings. Understanding justice and doing what is right and fair is very important to him.

All of this is to say, The Carter kids are kind of obsessed with the ABC tv show What Would You Do.  If you don’t know about this show, from ABC:

When you think no one is watching… what would you do? Using hidden cameras, What Would You Do? establishes everyday scenarios and then captures people’s reactions. Whether people are compelled to act or mind their own business, John Quiñones reports on their split-second and often surprising decision-making process.

The kids watch clips and then we have discussions on the topic of the day.  The episodes where someone is being unjust based on how someone looks or the color of their skin are their favorites.  This past weekend their cousin was here and on Friday night they all got into debating what in fact they would do.
On Saturday I took the three of them to the park.  This is the perfect park, there is a nice basketball court for the boys, a playground for The Girl and enough space for me to get in a workout.  After about a half hour of the boys playing basketball and The Girl and I playing we decided to go play with the sidewalk chalk we had brought.  When we got down to the basketball court I noticed a group of giggling preteen/teen girls paying close attention to The Cousin.  Cute!

How are they old enough to have girls hitting on them? Throwback to 2006.

But then, this group of girls became… aggressive?… strong?…desperate?  I don’t know what word I’m trying to use.  The Cousin was ignoring them, just working on his jumpshot, ball handling, you know BEING A BOY ON A BASKETBALL COURT.  The girl group was yelling “boy, hey boy, HEY, we’re talking to you.  Boy, hey, hey, hey, we want to talk to you. Boy, you, And1 (the brand of shirt he had on), my friend likes you…” and on and on and on.  I walked over to The Cousin and said, are they bothering you?  He just laughed and said, they’re annoying.  I encouraged him to go shoot on the other basket, further away.  We played a game of Horse on the far end of the court.  AND THE GIRLS FOLLOWED US.  I mean, I know I’m an old lady, but I’m not invisible.  Did they not see he was ignoring them and an old lady was standing there playing with him?  Again they started in on him and asked if they could take pictures with him.

We decided to move up to the playground to all play together.  And you guessed it, they followed.  They got a toddler to come and ask if she could use our chalk.  But never did the older girls approach him or me in any way to say, Hi.  It was, in a word, GROSS.

We had a “What Would You Do” moment.  I talked to my three about how that was not appropriate behavior and they were not to treat people in that way and also not to give boys or girls that treat people that way “the time of day.”  As you get older, kids you’re with may act like this, and you are not to.  If you think a boy or girl is cute, you try to become their friend.  You don’t catcall.  (then I had to teach, what does catcall mean. There were A LOT of lessons in one trip to the park. Can’t I just get in a workout?)  We talked about appropriate behavior when you see a person that you think is cute at a basketball court.  You say “hey, I haven’t seen you here before.  Want to play a game of basketball together?” or “Can you help me learn to shoot when you’re done with your game?” or “Want to come play on the playground with my friends and me.”  You don’t scream at them “HEY BOY, we want to take a picture with you” and then pretend like you’re taking a selfie but instead try to get pictures with a boy in it with you.

It was uncomfortable, but a good opportunity to discuss appropriate behavior with a six, ten and almost twelve-year-old.  While I could talk to my kids about what I find appropriate behavior for them and the people they choose to have relationships with, it made me really think and debate in my own mind – what kind of village do I live in?  What kind of mom and woman do I need to be right now?  Should I do what some might do and go and speak with the girls myself?  Should I have had The Cousin speak to them and say “please don’t talk to me like that. I don’t like it.”  Should I have asked “where is your parent, I’d like to talk with them”?

There is a post going around in my group of friends from Scary Mommy that pleads, If My Kid is Being An Asshole I Want You To Tell Me. YES, YES, to all of it YES. If my kid is acting inappropriately you should not only tell me, you should correct them on the spot.  “Girl, please don’t throw rocks, you’ll hurt someone.” “Boy, please don’t run up the slide when little kids are at the top.”  “Kids, I know you learned the bad words from your mom, but don’t repeat them on the playground.”

But what happens if you see a child, a group of children, acting like assholes and you don’t know the parents to tell.  What would you do?

I think we’d like to believe “it takes a village” and it would be ok to speak to the young ladies and tell them that they were being inappropriate and to treat the boys in a more respectful way and present a more respectful way to express themselves.  However, I believe we’re all very afraid of getting into a confrontation with anyone over their parenting, so we do nothing, say nothing and ignore bad behavior.  But shouldn’t hurtful, harmful or shameful behavior should be addressed.  Shouldn’t we be a village that helps young people instead of being afraid that other adults will be angry for overstepping?  Right?

What would you do?

I’d love your thoughts on this!

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest!



Friday Five: 5 Fitness Trends I’m Just Not That Into

10 Jul 5Trends

Hello strangers!

We’re back from vacation where we pretty much unplugged.  We headed up to Western Pennsylvania for some family time with my mom’s side of the family.  We went to an amusement and water park and took zero pictures and who goes to a wedding in 2015 and takes ZERO pictures?  What a fail.

I did stick to my July goals of running and planking, but did have a cheat 24 hours of no grain.  (See above wedding!) Thank goodness I’m back on track now because I can totally tell the difference.  I know my heart belongs to bread for ever, but I sure do feel better when I’m limiting it in my daily diet.

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We did take a few of THE GIRL catching her FIRST FISH! My niece, The Boy, The Girl and DOC each caught a fish while camping.

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No fish for me!  I instead went on a run with my sister-in-law and we planked it out. 11403487_899425066819177_829358120232305236_n

When we got back we took a rest day from work and travel but a party broke out at our house!  One of my college besties dropped by with her two kids and as soon as they left BOTH kids had playdates that stayed through dinner.  So much for rest! At least when the kids have playdates someone else is entertaining them and we can get laundry done – so we’re ahead of THAT game this week.

Now that I’ve caught you up – onto today’s topic for the Friday Five:  “Five fitness trends you’re just not that into.”  Look, it’s not YOU it’s me.  I am here constantly preaching that you do you and I’ll do me.  A lot of folks bash mudruns and you know I love them.  Some people, question if doing yoga is a workout isn’t it just stretching – oh heck no – you’re going to WORK.  I used to never think I’d like spinning and I really do like it.  Sometimes, you just have to give something a chance! This is a judgement free zone!  As long as YOU are moving in a way that makes YOU happy, AWESOME. You eating in a way that nourishes your body? AWESOME. I’m just going to do ME (and what works for our house). There’s just some trends that I know aren’t ME.


Therefore, in the spirit of a judgement free zone, here are my fitness trends I’m not into:

Protein Powders/Shakes/etc:  Yes, I was a beachbody coach.  I sucked as a beachbody coach because I do not love shakeology.  The amount of other ingredients that I had to add to the shake to make it even edible to me was pretty much making it not a healthier breakfast choice for me.  It was FINE once I added a banana, coffee, cinnamon, pumpkin puree and coffee creamer.  YUM.  How bout I add ice cream next?  I’ve tried SEVERAL brands – I just can’t even swallow them unless I add a bunch to them.  (Beachbody videos – YES!  Get one!  They’re great and work for people.  I can’t tell you enough how much I loved T25 and liked 21 Day fix’s eating plan.  They’re great programs! I’m just not feeling the shakes.)

Being Off The Ground: Aerial Yoga?  Pole Dance Fitness?  Look – it looks so cool.  There is a group that works out at the playground where I do my playground workouts and they’re awesome.  But being off the ground?  EH, no thanks. I have a hard enough time not falling when I’m on the ground, I don’t need to be falling from a height.

Ultras:  Oh, ok, so like two years ago I said I’d never do a marathon.  I still think that I never ever will.  A half, done.  Maybe a second half if I can convince two people to do it with me (Hey Ellen.  Hey DOC.)  But an ultra?  Anything over 26.2 – seems insane to me.  So many people are doing these 50+ milers and I think – GOD WHY. Then I think BADASS. Then I think insane.  The folks that do them seem incredible.  But not for me.

Hot Yoga:  If you’ve followed me for any length of time or know me in real life you know I have a sweating issue.  I can’t even explain how much I hate sweating. I build workout times, attire, accessories, hairstyles, around how much I hate to sweat.  Hot Yoga sounds like my idea of hell.  I don’t really love regular yoga, I feel like a total idiot, I’m so not zen.  Then you go and add heat.  I can’t even.

Smoothie Bowls:  I guess I just don’t even understand what this is.  Is it thicker than a smoothie so you can’t put it in a cup and drink it but not quite a yogurt parfait?  Can someone explain this  to me?  I’m thinking, since I even eat my eggs in a mug, that I don’t get why you’d take your breakfast OUT of the mason jar and put it into the cereal bowl.

What trends out there have you seen that you’d never try or just don’t understand?

Be sure to check out the Friday Five linkup hosted by You Signed Up For What,  Eat Pray Run, DC and Mar on the Run and enjoy visiting the other blogs participating in the Friday Five! Some of their posts are cracking me up with the workouts they’ve heard of and the gimmicks they’ve been pitched (hello wrap people, yes, it’s a gimmick! And yes, that IS a judgement.)

Make It A Great Weekend!

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest!


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