Friday, March 27, 2015

Fitness Friday-Cryotherapy

This past weekend a local wellness center was offering Cryotherapy sessions for $10 bucks. I figured for that much I had nothing to lose.
I went in knowing this...
they lower your body temperature so that your brain sends out signals to replenish your cells, thus reducing inflammation, relieving any swelling or soreness and maybe allowing you a better nights sleep. I also heard a rumor that it creates an endorphin rush.
What I learned from my session...

1-You stand in a tube with your head poking out as COLD COLD nitrogen is pumped all around you. You spin on your own time just like a rotisserie chicken, keeping your head up so that you don't pass out from the nitrogen.
2- You are only in the tank for 2-3 minutes and it goes by super fast. There is a technician who stands beside the machine and can turn it off at anytime in case of emergencies. She had me so engaged in conversation that it literally felt more like 20 seconds rather than 2 minutes.
3-You are naked, besides gloves and socks. Its awkward but the tube covers everything except your head so its not like you are in your birthday suit with an audience.
4-You feel like chicken left in the freezer for way too long. When you step out, freezer burn takes on a whole new meaning.
5-YOU ARE ENERGIZED. All of those new cells, all of those endorphins, all of that repairing and rebuilding causes a surge of energy!!!
6-I personally noticed a relief of soreness/ popping in my left knee. I had run stairs that morning but had to stop at 30 minutes because of the annoyance I felt was starting to build up in the outside of my left knee. The  next morning, after cryotherapy I ran stairs for a full hour and FELT FANTASTIC!!!
7-I would recommend it to anyone. I have several friends who have tried it since and they all love it. One of my teaching buddies has shooting pains in his feet from standing up all day. He has done cryothearpy twice now and has found great instant relief! His side effect though is a rush of sweat when he steps out :).
I snapped this picture of the Cryo-Tube after my session. You can still see some of the nitrogen clearing out. I was in a rush to get my clothes on so its not a great picture. My therapy had me going down to -155 Fahrenheit for 2 minutes. They base this off of your age, weight and current blood pressure, which they monitor.

Give it a try!!! I will definitely be going back, when there are more specials that is!!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Artsy Fartsy

As you know my first love was and always will be art.  I have this need to create or be productive at all times. Heck, I will make a project for myself if things slow down a bit. Its a nuisance at times to my husband who just this past week told me that he was going to implement quiet hour for me this summer. LIKE 1 WHOLE HOUR OF SILENCE DAILY.....that may be my exact definition of torture. I totally get his motives though, to allow me to quiet my heart and hear from the Lord.

So with that introduction here are all of the things I have been "creating" lately!

At home:

Buffet before

Our sweet friends got married, combined homes and gave us a lot of their beautiful furniture. We changed things up a bit to make it fit our home.

Adding stripes that are the same color as our living room.

Finished product. I also spray painted the handles bronze.

Not a huge project but I took these glass coke bottles, sanded them a bit and spray painted them gold. I added the suckers for a baby shower I was throwing but now I change out the contents. CUTE, CHEAP and EASY!

At school:
Our school put on the Sound Of Music for this years musical. I was in charge of sets, which totally rocked my world since it happens to be my favorite movie of all time! I was handed these cardboard tubes and told to make the abbey columns.

My big and little man and several students helped me with sets this year. Here is the base coat going on.

Next we began to work on the top arches. We added foam stones around each arch.

Painted and textured to catch light.
Tops, columns and bases all attached. They wanted them to look worn from the weather.

The VonTrapp living room step 1. Its slate gray but reads blue..I also added a top glaze which gives a slight texture that is needed due to the direct stage lighting.

Maria's bedroom. Its a pulled linen look and this color looked great with the yellow and blue curtains. 

Cute huh?

Big Man helping me rough up the Mother Abess's office. His name was listed as one of my crew :) in the program.

Finished office

Finished columns with backdrop and some lighting.

Anchor motif to go above main doors in VonTrapp home. Draw on foam, cut out, added rope and then painted.

Finished trim, eagles and anchor motifs in Vontrapp living room. This is the party scene as the children are singing good night.

Gazebo..nothing to big here, just painted white.
Whats on the schedule now? I am the host for a 15 school competition on Monday and Tuesday of next week...its been a little crazy organizing everything but I love allowing my kids to compete and show off their talent. I am also in the middle of addressing all of my brothers wedding invites in calligraphy...whew doggie!! PRESSURE PRESSURE. However, my artsy fartsy productive driven heart is full :).

What are you currently "creating"?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fitness Friday- Marathon Recovery

I recapped Saturday after the BIG 26.2 on my blog, but the rest of the week's recovery looked like this...

Sunday-rest, eat well, ice, nap, decide if going to the restroom is a necessity or if I can hold it longer due to the pain in my hips. ( I never took pain meds though, they do weird things to my tummy).
Monday-3.5 mile walk, bodyweight circuit, eat well, stretch really well
Tuesday- 4 mile walk, noticed that my knees are still cracking but no pain in hip or knee by this point
Wednesday- weight circuit 3x, run 3 miles, feel really good but really need new running shoes!!
Thursday-weight circuit 4x, run 2.5 miles, SUPER SWEATY, feel great, knees are cracking away!
Friday-weight room

I have gone through a wide variety of emotions ever since last Saturday. The minute I finished I was on cloud 9 and stayed that way throughout  most of Saturday and Sunday. I even felt this way when I had to hobble around at church and kindly request that we stay away from stairs or inclines or anything that required bending :).
Then someone asked me if I had gotten the itch, had I become addicted to these things? Wait, there is an addiction to marathons??, now that is just sick. No, I am not addicted. In fact I have said several times this week that this was my first and quite possibly my last marathon. (side note: I would so love to train with someone and help them get ready for one and another 1/2 is totally do able)

But now I feel somewhat sad, or at least somewhat unmotivated. I have worked out every day this week since Monday but its almost as if I am doing it without a goal in mind. I feel like I have achieved most of what I set out to do last June...lost weight, built muscle, increased weights, incorporated HILT training and now the marathon. My brother suggested that I now work up to a cross country run...psshh.

Soooo, I am kinda meandering around. I definitely want to keep my exercise routine in place and continue to challenge myself but a new goal, even if it is another secret one is desperately needed!

I have played with signing up for camp gladiators. I have been involved in some classes but never maxed out in one. I could sign up for a triathlon but in all honesty I am as good at swimming as I am in math.....just do enough to stay alive. I still hold my nose when I jump in for crying out loud. I also don't like the idea of getting big shoulders.
Oh, and then there is the biking portion, unless I could find a super cushy seat I would probably pass on that too. Which makes it just another running gig right?

So, any ideas?
 Any goals I could set?
 Any local camps or competitions or classes I could sign up for to challenge myself?

St. Patricks Dinner done right. Green oatmeal pancakes, green ham and green eggs. We also finished off the meal with a devotional about St. Patrick who led thousands to Christ in Ireland after being held a slave there for most of his childhood.

Breakfast that morning was green apples and green vanilla yogurt. Can you tell that I was excited to actually find some green food coloring?

While on the topic of "green" this is a protein shake that my brother gave me to try. In all honesty it was the best tasting I've ever had. I mixed it up with 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup dark chocolate almond milk and lots of ice. I drank on it for at least an hour or so and it was super filling! Around 120 calories.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Harvell 5

I attended Auburn University for my undergrad degree, which is about 3 hours away from my parents home. Whenever I would come home my dad would always make this comment "it feels so good to have all of us under one roof". You could bet big moolah that this saying would come out of his mouth on the first night of my weekend at home and WIN everytime. I always heard it, always rolled my eyes at it, always let him squeeze me tight as he said it but I never understood it.
Until now.
This spring break we were a divided family. Chelsea (my cousin and our live in nanny) drove with me and the two youngest down to my parents home for 6 days. Adam and Goober stayed behind to do manly things and have "the talks".
It's not that I didn't enjoy my time home, because I thoroughly did. I actually like going back to my hometown ...NOW, 13 years after graduating..and seeing old high school buddies and family friends. Its refreshing and brings back sweet memories.
It's not that I am super clingy to my husband, because he will be the first to tell you that I am kinda independent and like to do my own thing.....until night time. Then I need me some cuddle, tv time, body warmth while I sleep....actually sleeping alone kinda stinks now a days.
It's not that I was worried about the survival of my boys. I probably should have been based on Goobers description of their meals as being "pulled together", "covered in cheese and ketchup", Five Guys, they actually admitted to missing my cooking. Goober also revealed to me that they ATE IN THE LIVING ROOM ON MY LIVING ROOM CARPET...the one with white and blue chevrons...if ever I could reach through the phone and shake my finger at my husband. 

What was it then?

 What made me understand my fathers comment " all under one roof" was this.

On the first night when we were all back we went to Ihop to eat as a family of 5, nothing against our nanny but there is something different when we are just "us". It didn't hit me until our dinner was served and we all reached for each other hands. No one said " time to pray", no one said " grab a hand" no one said " who will pray?".

We all grabbed hands and our two youngest in unison sang as we repeated.

God our Father, once again, thank you for our blessings, Amen. 

Except we say it this way since we repeat our youngest...

God our Fader, once again, any many blessings, Ah ha man.

We sang it together, out loud, at Ihop, squished inbetween other families looking for some time together.

In my head I saw the signature I put on every Christmas Card, birthday card or letter that leaves our home .....Love, The Harvell 5.

That's us. The Harvell 5. The 5 people that God knit together in such a special and unique way. The 5 that pray together, cry together, deal with one another's bad moods, give out hugs and kisses, pick up after one another, wrestle, punch, wipe snotty noses on, irritate and pile into one bed together.

The Harvell 5 that do not look alike, in fact we couldn't look more different. The Harvell 5 that aren't quite sure if we are done growing. The Harvell 5 that know what redemption, forgiveness and love look like through the eyes of adoption.....earthly and spiritual.

I love our 5 and it feels right and good when we are all back together under one roof. I totally get it now Daddy!

Sunday, March 15, 2015


First of all, I posted Fitness Friday on Wednesday this week. I blame Spring Break...its almost impossible to know what day it is when I am not teaching....Summer is 10x worse!!!

But back to the point of my post....MY MARATHON..or should I say my SECRET MARATHON. There were several reasons that I somewhat kept it a secret. Over the last few months several people have asked me if I was in fact training for one and my answer was always " I don't know, maybe?".

The fact is that registering for an actual half or full marathon terrified the bejeebies out of me. I mean you pay close to $200 bucks, you are expected to perform your BEST on that one day and then run the course that they have picked. NO WAY JOSE!!!!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that I have learned my body so well and that I know each day what kind of exercise routine I will complete....on days that I am sore I walk, on days that I wake up and all the stars are aligned I kill it with a HILT workout. On days that I have time and have built up some nutritional energy I do my long runs. AN EXPENSIVE CERTAIN DAY, TIME AND COURSE is not my idea of being healthy...don't get me wrong, its very motivational for several people but I break out in pit stains just thinking about it.

So, I told myself that after I had completed at least 3 half marathons...and I have done a 13.6, a 14 mile and a 15.8 mile run that I would consider it. While in Alabama, I had the use of a treadmill at my parents gym, and did several tempo runs using the YASSO method. After doing 3 of those I was confident that I could complete a full 26.2. I decided in my mind that I would complete it on Good Friday so that I had a full weekend to recoop.

But then as I drove back to Alabama on Thursday I started thinking through my plans and decided that if I was ready now, why wait? Why, decide on a date in the future, wasn't that like planning to enter a marathon..despite the moolah? :).

10 hour drive, 3 hour nap, 1...YES ONLY 1 potty break!!

Best $6 ever spent. THEY LOVE SCRATCH art and worked on this for most of the ride.

Sister also had several meltdowns along the way too. She hates leaving her grandparents. Her biggest meltdown happened in our driveway back in TEXAS..she hyperventilated and screamed at Adam....YIKES!

So yesterday, Friday, I took GREAT care of myself. I even passed up free Chicken Express y'all!! I drank tons of water, tons of electrolytes, upped the carb portion of my nutrition a little and made sure I did nothing but walk and stretch.

I went to a store (that shall remain nameless) to buy two GU packs, some NUUN and maybe some heel supports. In my 15. 8 mile run I had terrible trouble with my calves afterwards so I was desperate to keep that from happening again. As I had two clerks helping me, both of them obvious "experts" (i need a sarcasm font asap) they began to ask me about my running goals. I told them I had plans to run 26.2 miles today, on my own, at my own pace without fancy expensive shoes or a # on my Nike Air's are just fine but they were retired after todays run :)......and without ever having run over 15. 8 before. They mocked me, laughed and said that they would be surprised if I didn't kill myself....especially if I didn't buy new shoes from them!! So with their faces in my mind taunting me,  I was pushed even more and I came home, laid out my clothes, made sure to set my alarm clock, laid out all of my protein packets, stretched and downloaded all of the Serial podcast.

I woke up this morning at 4:15 and got ready to go. I ate 1/2 of a protein bar and drank some water with Nuun in it. I got to the gym, thats right I run indoors, that is where I have trained and my knees can not take more than 5-7 miles on pavement. My sweet husband helped me measure out this particular track and I knew how many laps I needed to run to equal 26. 2.

Clif Shot Bloks, 2 Gus, Quest Coconut cashew-my favorite and 2 waters mixed with Nuun--strawberry lemonade. I never used the shot bloks or peanut butter Gu. The strawberry banana gu was heavenly tasting!

I stretched a bit longer than I normally do, hit play on my first podcast and went to town. I started out at a slow pace that I knew I could keep the whole time so that I didn't injure myself or wear out too quickly. Goober is my best running buddy..HANDS DOWN. He keeps my pace and time. He loves it because he gets to play basketball and ride his ripstik as I literally run circles around him. He marks my every 10th lap and tells me my time. He refills my water bottles and tells me when the sun is up so we can head outside to finish long runs. He is paid for his time with starbucks :). Today he also brought a new book to read, thanks to CC and Papa and read for at least 1.5 hours.

My best running buddy :).

I WAS SHOCKED when I looked down at my phone for the first time and I had already ran for 2 hours and was a little under my halfway mark. Let me tell you, those Serial podcast are INTERESTING. Its audible readings of a story of a lady who is trying to turn over a conviction for a murder charge from 1999. She interviews all of the people involved, now 15 years later...she revisits all of the sites...she visits the "criminal" in jail and has all of the trial on record. Its done very well and she is very thorough, but never boring. I actually listened to 6 episodes during my run and was sooo intrigued that I came home and listened to 2 more as I cooked dinner and as I put things away in our new pantry ..a later post :).

The shoes that I was told weren't good enough for a marathon :). My knee brace also made a huge difference!!

I stopped every mile for a water break and to take a bite of my protein bar. It was all of a 10 second stop but it worked. I never let myself become thirsty and would stop in between miles if I had to as well. I didn't want to get dehydrated or allow my muscles to become sore from lack of electrolytes. My CALVES never once hurt. I chalk it all up to prayer, my tempo runs, my Nuun drink and my stretching all day yesterday and this morning. My hips were the first thing to begin to hurt around the 3rd hour and I simply straightened up and looked forward more so that I put more weight on my heels. This helped tremendously. The next thing to begin to hurt was the outside of my knees, I again adjusted my stance and powered through it.

45 ticks equals 26. 2 miles. Start time 4:41. End time 9:22. Not a great time but I'll take it over the other option, which was a faster time but maybe getting an injury or burning out and not finishing.

My two younger kiddos and husband came to cheer me on in the middle of mile 25 which I thought was super sweet! They chanted GO MOMMY, GO MOMMY and asked if they could work out with me! I finished my protein bar with about 4.5 miles left and after that I would take a big gulp of my Gu at each mile marker. THAT STRAWBERRY BANANA GU WAS SOOOO GOOD and whether it was all in my head or not that stuff helped me power through and my last 15 laps I picked up the pace tremendously!!!

After I finished I immediately gulped the rest of my water with Nuun, so total I had 38 oz throughout my 4 hr, 45 min run. I stretched, jumped and did anything I could to keep moving. I almost lost my breath when I stopped and had to grab a wall, I think that was SHEER happiness mixed with a little emotion. I came home and immediately took the hottest shower I could, doing a ton more stretches in there. I also noticed that my entire right foot was covered in blood, which has happened on other runs too.

YAY!!! I did it!!! My personal goal was to complete a marathon before turning 31, I told no one though, it was almost too sacred to me.

I then grabbed my recovery meal...Iced Skinny Cow coffee and Cheerios+protein, my new favorite cereal!!! I also drank 16 oz more water. I iced my knees while eating too. Later on in the day I ate a big plate of mixed fruit, banana pudding and another water mixed with Nuun. I also had brown rice SUSHI, which totally filled me up!!! I made sure that I drank water the entire rest of the day and ate each time my tummy growled...lots of edamame hummus, bananas and raisins.

Icing my knees, eating a big bowl of Cheerios and enjoying some rest before the birthday party!

Total I have heated and iced 3x and got in a 20-30 minute catnap. I made sure to stay up and busy all day (to reduce soreness tomorrow), including 2 hours at the park with the kids at a birthday party, filling up our new pantry and stretching whenever I can. I do plan to take tomorrow off and only walk on Monday. Like I said, listening to your body is what being healthy and exercising is all about.

I never swear by myfitnesspal's calculations of how much I burn when exercising but DANG...I kinda believe it when it says that I burned 2802 calories while running for almost 5 hours!!

I am so happy with myself and how many goals I have set and reached in the past year..and most of the time I have developed my own methods for it, doing what I can, when I can. Waking up at 4:30 every morning to exercise has become my precious time, doing what I need to do to set a good example for my family...I no longer dread it. Cooking healthy has become a challenge that I fully embrace and LOVE.

Right before the birthday party I did go back to that store with the "expert" clerks and bought my
26. 2 sticker from them for my van. They said that I was a conundrum but they were impressed and asked me to come speak to full time working moms at their expo in March. They couldn't believe that I was alive, walking and not drinking tons of chocolate milk..YUCK. They rolled their eyes when I told them I preferred Iced coffee, cheerios and sushi :). There is no one plan that works for everyone!!!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fitness Friday-Matzah Madness

Get it? March Madness, Matzah Madness...see what I did there?

Anyways, I realize that I have a fact my friends are aware of my matzah addiction and tipped me off that Tom Thumb is having a rather large sale on matzah since Passover is coming!!! I may have bought 5 boxes of whole wheat Israeli matzah....and there may not be too much left :).

Its so stinking good though and so stinkin big and for sooo little calories...only 110 a piece!!

Matzah with PB2, a little Walden Farms zero calorie chocolate sauce and a banana...perfect 1st breakfast!

Later on that day I had this for my afternoon snack...see its a problem! The only change is that I put a little natural agave on this one as well....OH YUM!!

This would be dessert matzah..with some zero calorie Walden Farms marshmallow cream..use this sparingly, it has a weird after taste. I then sprinkled some dark chocolate baking chips on it and some walnuts!!! OH YUM! You can see my sweet hubby resting beside me! You can also see my 2nd piece underneath..I am telling you, I can hardly ever stop at one!!!

This was my dessert last night...PB2 with dried blueberries and reduced sugar craisins on top...SUPER GOOD!!!   

 As I have said before, I would much rather have crunchy then any other texture. I feel super satisfied and normally can make a matzah last a good 10 minutes...savoring every bite ;). I love that my kids will eat these up as well, making easy breakfast and snacks for them.

Another crunchy, tasty, super healthy and low calorie snack that I have stumbled upon are these Oatmeal Breakfast Cupcakes. I changed it up a little to make them a little more healthy .....and due to the fact that I am at my parents house, I wanted to use what they already running to the neighborhood Walmart means a 2 hour trip as I usually see 5 people from growing up here in this small town.

Here is the recipe I used, ....with each muffin coming out to around 80 calories a piece. I ate two of these this morning, warmed up a bit with some dark chocolate almond milk and after my 7 mile run it completely satisfied me for my 1st breakfast :).

I totally plan on adding some dark chocolate bits, cheerios and/or PB2 in the next batch!!!

2 and 1/4 cup whole grain rolled oats
4 peeled fiji apples, diced..cooked in skillet with a mist of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with cinnamon and a little pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp natural honey
1/8 cup reduced sugar craisins
1/8 cup dried blueberries
2 pinches of salt
1.5 cups water
1 tsp coconut extract
2 tbsp flaxseed

Mix everything together, spray cupcake liners as this is a very wet batter. Cook at 380 for 22ish minutes. This makes 12 heaping breakfast cupcakes.

Mix everything in but apples. Spray liners!!

Let apples cool a little and add them in. I guess you could puree this as well but I like the chunks!

Before going in the oven, like I said HEAPING breakfast cupcakes!

Cooked and cooling...Don't you think calling them breakfast cupcakes just makes them that much more appealing? I do!! I can picture having these with a dollop of greek yogurt on top as well!