A Treat For My Mom

During the holidays, we visited my parents at Springfield Massachusetts. It was so nice to see them! Tyler was really excited to see his grandparents. They remodeled the kitchen so the house looks and works much better now. The house was built in 1960s and looked old, especially the kitchen. My mom was thinking about it for a while and she finally pulled the trigger.

The remodeling finished early in December before we make a visit. It is nice after all works done but you know the mess after. When you do a remodeling, dust from drywall and wood pieces is clinging to everywhere including all the corners. Yes, they remodeled the kitchen but dust spread all over the house.


So after all is done, my mom was trying to clean up the mess herself.  While she was cleaning, she pulled her back muscle. Because she has her lingering back pain, she couldn’t clean it any more. I really wish that my mom wasn’t a complainer. If she is hurting, however, she talks about it. She doesn’t even think about the words coming out of her mouth but if there’s discomfort going on, she lets it be known.

I hate this quality and wish that she was actively working on riding herself of it but she hasn’t been. Instead, it seems like she has been working on perfecting it. She is known to have back pain and has been known to have it for about 10 years now on and off. She went to see a doctor and basically her doctor told that she needs to be more conscious with how she moves. Also she needs to start exercising and stretching because she is super tense and tight and prescribed her 3 different thing.

My Treat

With the pills and some physical therapy, she was getting better but worried about the cleaning before our visit. So I decided to treat her with a cleaning! I was told from my friends that Maid Pro was an excellent house cleaning company and they are a national brand. Luckily I found one of them in Springfield MA area. So I called them and booked a cleaning.

After the cleaning, I got a call from my mom. She was very, very happy with their work. She said that they were able to clean even places she had not been able to get to in quite a while. She was ecstatic! You know she complains when she is not fine but also she is happy when she is happy. She said the only concern was a little bit of difficulty communicating with one of them but it was not a big deal.

She thanked me over and over again for the wonderful treat. So I left a feedback at their Facebook page and complemented their work.  I was relieved that I spent money well! Now I am considering maybe to treat myself!


Want To Run Your First Marathon?

Hey! I started running marathon because I am kind of a person who enjoys accomplishment and fighting against myself. I ran a couple of 10 K marathon first and can you imagine the thrill I felt when I turned the difficult course and a sense of accomplishment at the end?

Continuous practice is required to prepare for the run. I was gradually increasing the running distance and started by walking, then ran and also sprinted. I lost weight and my little bothered knee got better with every day running. When I listen to music while running, I can think straight and also relieve stress!


To Enjoy Marathon 100 Times

Marathon is usually divided into a fun run course (5-10 Km), half course (13.11 miles), and full course (26.219 miles). Each course can be prepared below.


Choose non-slip running shoes which comfortably wrap your heels when you wear running socks. Wear comfortable loose clothing because you will sweat a lot. You could catch a cold when you wear wet clothes more than 20 minutes even in summer. Don’t wear the knee or wrist band because it interferes with blood circulation and range of motion.

Stretch lightly to warm up your body about 10 to 15 minutes before the run. After completing the run, walk a little while and stretch to cool down. Drink water before a run and you will feel less thirsty. On marathon day, taking about 500 ml (about 17 oz) water is recommended before the run. During marathon, drink about 100 to 200 ml every 15 to 30 minutes.

Under 10 Km

The health checkup is a must for the person who have not run at all! The preparation will be different for different individuals depending on smoking, drinking habit, body weight, and obesity. Beginner’s mistake is blindly following the momentum of other people. Don’t pay attention on the short term goal of reaching a certain level fast. It is important to run continuously more than twice a week for several months.

A 10 Km run is not a short distance for a beginner. Some people are born runners. If not, it will be a lot easier when you have a person to teach the basics. When you master the basics, running is an exercise you can go faster without pain. Decide the intensity and frequency of the running after your checkup. Start the training with a plan to participate in the event at least 6 months later. If you are smoking, obese or have a high blood pressure, you should regularly consult with a coach. Always don’t run until you are overly short breath.

1st Month: 20 min walk – light warm up – 40 min walk or 20 min walk & 20 min run, twice a week

2nd month: 10 min walk – 10 min run – light warn up – 30 to 50 min walk and run (a little faster than walk) alternate, twice a week or more

3rd month: 5 min walk – 10 min run – light warm up – 3 to 5 repeat of 10 min run and 1 min walk, 3 times a week

4th – 6th month: 5 min walk – 10 min run – light warm up – 30 to 50 min run, 3 times a week

Half Course

If your goal is a half course marathon, you can continue the 10 Km program for a year. If you are trying it only once in your lifetime, it is possible with a 2 month training of a 15 Km run every week. When you run about 2 hours without a break, it is important to train to prevent knee injuries and blisters at soles. Running repeats the same motion for a long time and can give a lot of stress on your body. You can be fine until 15 Km but suddenly have knee pains or a blister at 16 Km.

Gradual intensity increasing is needed for a smooth finish and after running rest and shoes choice are important. Avoid shoes with too much cushion and high heels. Hard shoes may be better for a certain foot shape. A low heel shoes will prevent ankle twist for overweight people.

Full Course

A full course marathon requires a long preparation. You need at least 2 year of running experience to enjoy it. Because marathon gives a lot of stress on all your joints however slowly you run, you need to train at least for two years. You can lose several years in injuries with a premature participation. Continue the 10 Km program for 6 months, and then practice running for 20 km or 2 hours without a break every other week.

When you build up confidence with one year running and don’t worry about injuries, you can set a training plan to participate a marathon one year later. There is, however, no need to think a tremendous plan. Just think a marathon is a battle with yourself and gradually increase the distance at the every other week long running.

Starting at least six months before the marathon, you should set the long running plan and increase the distance 3 to 5 km (2 to 3 miles) every other week. Try a 35 to 40 Km run about 3 weeks before the marathon. While running 2 to 4 hours without a break, record when you get exhausted and when you need to eat if needed. However, avoid eating too much after the run!

Why Marathon?

Marathon is a total body workout and can prevent cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. It is a high calorie activity to lose weight and can correct waist and spine positions. Especially if you keep running for more than 30 minutes, you can feel the euphoria of runner’s high. However, you should not blindly start it. Consult with your doctor or trainer before start running if you have medical conditions.

On Kisses, Smiles and …

Yesterday, I was having one of THOSE days. The kind where my house feels small and dirty (it was definitely dirty), I was bored with myself and life, and I felt useless. Those kinds of days are the worst. Tyler was having a rough day because it’s been raining here and that includes not a lot of outside play so when I talked to Mr. S at 2:30, right in the middle of Tyler skipping his entire nap, I told him that he had a wife and child on the edge and that he could maybe think of something for us to do.

So! He did. We went to Dave and Buster’s with our friends and their three kids. We spent the evening eating and playing games and Tyler was so content, and probably overstimulated, by all of the lights. When I was playing skee ball, Tyler was passing me the balls to throw. It was so freaking cute. It was a great night and I definitely needed it.

When we got home, Mr. S and I started in on a movie, Tyler woke up coughing and crying. He did the most cuddling he’s done since he was probably 4 months old and although it sucks that he’s sick, I was loving it. At one moment when I comfort Tyler, he was holding his favorite stuffed Pooh bear toy.  I pursed my lips, noisily sucked in air and delivered a loud, smacking kiss right on Pooh’s nose. I wanted to see his reaction.

It was a smile, of course, but not an ear-to-ear grin or an open-mouthed laugh. It started in the middle of his mouth, then the corners slowly stretched outward and up into something so sweet and special, I’m not sure I can capture it here. Even his eyes twinkled. A magical moment between mother and son.

This morning when I woke up, I had a sore throat. The sickness has finally been passed to me. And you know what? I don’t even really care. I have a family that I feel grateful for every day and I can’t wait to see how Tyler grows and how our love for each other grows. I have a job that I am passionate about and I can’t wait to see what happens with it in the future.


Sally Huss Bibs

Ahhhhhh… those bibs! A toddler needs a godzillion bibs. Like many toddlers, Tyler makes a mess when he eats. Foods are escaping from his bowl and lands on everywhere! The worst of them all, I think, is rice. Small grains land on fabric, hair, and skin… you name it. They are sticky and dry up quickly, which makes cleaning more difficult.

As every parents try, we use bibs in the dreaming of a clean place except the bib. However, you quickly realize it is not much of help. Foods are still landing on wherever they want and you now have bibs to wash/clean unless you have godzillions of them.

You naturally think cotton bibs would be good for your toddler, so you use them but they wet easily and you have to wash and dry them a lot.  Well, maybe I can handle it at home. When we go out, those wet bibs are real problem. One day I found wonderful bibs! They are Sally Huss bibs that my friends gave. They are compact and their pocket miraculously well catches foods, which makes my life a lot easier. I LOVE them!

Turns out, that’s basically Sally Huss’s philosophy, too. The artist and author (and tennis champion/instructor to the stars!) is all about happiness. Her artwork is colorful and whimsical. One of her paintings was even on the wall in the White House, according to her Web site.

The bibs come in two sizes: Stage 1, for 3-12 months, and Stage 2, for 6 months and up, and are available at her e-store, fittingly named, The Happy Store. Tyler has two Stage 2 bibs.

“I’ve done over 100 designs in all the time I’ve created the art for the bibs,” Sally once told. “Each line is replaced by the next. So at any time there are 6 designs in the small size and 6 in the larger size. All are fun and happy like all of my art.”

I love Sally’s bright and cheery artwork on the front of the bibs, but I also appreciate the logistics of how these bibs work. The front of the bib is slick, the back is matte and soft. They are made of a non-toxic vinyl, so as safe as cotton ones. I’ve found that almost no food sticks to them. Not rice, not spaghetti, not even Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Food that doesn’t quite make it into your child’s mouth simply slides down into the pocket.

But this is not your average bib pocket.

Please excuse me to complain about bib pockets. Just for a sec. In my experience, most of the pockets on bibs don’t stay open and the food falls into Tyler’s lap anyway. Or, the food gets in the pocket and then I have to stick my hand in there to clean it out later. Or, I can’t get it out and there’s a nasty build-up of old, dried pieces of hot dog and macaroni. I’ve seen some hard plastic bibs with pockets that stay open, but I never purchased one because they seem bulky and difficult to store.

The Sally Huss bibs have a patented button closure that creates a pocket. The buttons turn the fabric into what I would describe as an upside down triangle so that the pocket opening does what it’s supposed to do: stay open to catch food.

This is why we didn’t have to pick sticky rice off of Tyler’s jeans after meal. Instead, I took the bib off, walked to the sink and simply unsnapped the pocket to let the rice fall down the drain. Then I ran the flattened bib under the hot tap. I set it on the counter and dried it with a towel. Voila! Done! No extra laundry, no disgusting food remnants all over my hand.

Because it’s so easy to clean, I don’t need the 20 cloth bibs that I was rotating from kid to laundry a bazillion times a day.