Monday, April 3, 2017

How Sweet It Is

Dear Son,


You turned sixteen weeks ago. Of course, this entry was supposed to be fully written to go live on your actual birthday - but life has a way of sneaking up on me anymore. So, there’s that.


Having teenagers is nuts, but not in the way that most people think it is. I have actually enjoyed this parenting stage as much as any other. That is not to say being a teenager doesn’t come with it’s own share of mini-dramas, but what stage in life doesn’t? When I say nuts, I’m talking about fever-pitch activities and the time management required for being a teenager nowadays.


I don’t think I would have graduated from school with the requirements you face. Throw social media into that mix, and it would have been a bad outcome. Maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit - although, admittedly, I did a lot of stupid shit - just ask Zaydee. Wait. On second thought, don’t ask your grandmother. She would gleefully dish out details you would never want to know about your mom.


You have lived your life around the presence of social media and the immediacy of having world-knowledge at your fingertips. I’m still tripping over the ability to see and talk to your sister remotely on FaceTime.


Anyway. All of this is to say that you are a champ. Obviously, I’m biased.
That jacket is sweet.
However, I’m not just talking about your incredible accomplishments as a musician, or your wickedly funny sense of humor. It’s bigger than that. Dad has described you as an old soul on more than one occasion. He’s completely right. You have a calm and a wisdom far beyond your 16 years. We aren’t a religious family, but I have always believed in karma and kindred spirits. From the moment I held you the first time, you were mine and I was yours. It was as simple as that. It could be how all parents feel about their children, but there is a connection between us so profound that I am overwhelmed by it.


Ew, right?? Not really. #sorrynotsorry

 Kauai 2012. You always have my heart. 
As one of the other parents from your jazz combo recently noted: you no longer sound like a rock drummer trying to play jazz. You have continued to develop your chops as a musician and have truly found your voice as a jazz drummer. There are few things that give me more joy than watching you play music.
Boys & Girls Club fundraiser, August 2015
You passed your written driving test and began driving a few weeks ago. While these milestones are sweet, it is the reminder of how quickly you’re growing up. Both your dad and I are always talking about it. Older people wax poetic about that kind of stuff all the time.
Sharp dressed man! Jazz Festival, March 2017
Year after next, you’ll begin applying to colleges. Although I’ve been through that with your sister, it’s not going to be any easier when you leave for college. Regardless, I have great faith in the man you are becoming. I know you’ll go out and do great things...because you already are great.


All my love,


Momma

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#teamsparkle

I’m so behind in my blog posts, you guys. I was honored to be featured on Sparkle Athletic's blog in January. I know. Here it is, mid-March and I’m just now telling you all about it.


If you’re not familiar with Team Sparkle, they are as awesome as they sound. Sparkle Athletic was founded by three friends in 2010. A few years after their company was established, I ran the Warrior Dash with my daughter and a group of friends. We established a team of runners, some of whom were friends of friends. That's the beauty of running: you make connections with people that you might not have met otherwise.


One of those friends was a woman we met at the race with her now-husband then-boyfriend and their dog Frank. I obviously liked Brenna right from the start: anyone who has a dog sidekick named ‘Frank’ that also happens to be a Labrador has to be amazing, right?? Brenna had a bunch of ‘dress up’ stuff for us to wear: glitter skirts, striped sleeves and visors. I asked her where she had gotten the loot, and she casually explained her aunt Kelly owned a company that sold athletic wear.

This certainly wasn’t like any athletic wear I had seen before. I still own the skirt and sleeves Brenna give me that day, and I have worn my black and silver sparkle skirt to races several times over.
Believe it or not, I was actually able to salvage my
#teamsparkle outfit. I have laundry skillz, y'all.
Holy crap, were we ever muddy. Good times! I count my lucky stars we didn’t get hepatitis.

Anyway! It was an incredible honor to be a featured runner on their site. Many thanks to one of my favorite social media runners Carlee McDot for reaching out to me and making this happen.

Monday, February 13, 2017

#runalways

I was thrilled to be a featured on the  #RunAlways Instagram account in January. Like the name implies, it's an account designed to inspire and connect the global running community.
 
A RUNNING STORY ------------------------------------------ I am an addict/alcoholic. Running is a huge part of my recovery and it has turned into a form of meditation; my head is quiet when my body is moving. . I was 35 years old when I began running. It started out of necessity because my son wouldn't stay in childcare at the gym. I ran 3-4 days a week pushing a baby jogger, but it took a full year before it was something I looked forward to doing. . I had heard you could get high from running. At age 38, I decided to run my first full marathon. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I ran my second full marathon on my 40th birthday. . Two weeks afterward, my entire right arm went numb during a run. I thought I was having a stroke or heart attack, until I realized the sensation stopped immediately when I began walking. I was diagnosed with bulging discs in my neck. My doctor said I had to stop running. . Against his advice, I slowly began running again. I made some corrections to my form and gave up road cycling. Three years after my injury, I ran my fastest half marathon and finished the course with a PR of 2:05. My glory was short-lived. During the race I felt a small tug on the back of my leg, but I had so much adrenaline onboard that I was able to shake it off and finish strong. . I tried running a few days later - the tug had become a sharp pain at the top of my right hamstring. I was diagnosed with bursitis. Despite seeing my chiropractor weekly, it took nearly four months of no running for the injury to heal. This coincided with some thyroid issues and I quickly gained 25 pounds. . Over the last 5 years, my relationship with running has changed and so have my expectations. Last November, I ran the same event, only to finish one hour and forty-five minutes slower than my PR. It was enormously humbling. . Running is a fickle thing. Injury has taught me to be resilient, and it is a part of my success as a runner. I always surprise myself when I persevere. - Featured Runner: Brea McInnes @babydoll_brea / California ~ It's not just about inspiring pictures, it's also about inspiring stories. _ Tell us yours: run-culture@run-always
A post shared by Run Always (@run.always) on
The account is run (no pun intended) by several administrators, one of whom goes by the pseudonym Runnermarx. I discovered his account years ago, and he now has over 6.5K followers. Mark is a lifelong runner with a true passion for the sport. He's a great guy: outgoing, smart and incredibly knowledgeable. And yeah, it doesn't hurt that he starred in a beer commercial that aired during Superbowl halftime. Just sayin'. 

Anyway! It was an honor to be chosen to share my running story. Check it out and let me know what you think. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Star Wars Half Marathon 2017: The Light Side

I ran the Star Wars half marathon in January for the second year in a row. You might recall the general bedlam of last years race: how I nearly missed the start of the race and my brush with the notorious 'balloon ladies'. I had wanted to run the 10k this year and pick up a third medal for running two consecutive days, but it was completely sold out. I should have purchased the Rebel Challenge packet when the race was first announced, but I was cranky and didn’t pull the trigger when registration opened. Oh well.

This year was more even fun than last year, if that’s even possible. I was in a much better headspace (read: I actually trained for this event) and I even planned an outfit.


A post shared by Babydoll's Bloggie (@babydoll_brea) on
The race coincidentally fell the same weekend that I needed to pick Girldoll up from the Long Beach port. It worked out to be a bonus because we got to spend the night at my SIL’s house and visit with my niece and nephew. The kids are always such good sports and came with me to pick up my packet at the Disneyland Hotel. The only hiccup was that I was supposed to pick Girldoll up at 10:30AM, but she wasn’t ready to go until well past noon. This ended up pushing everything back so that we didn't get to until a half hour before it closed. I had hoped to browse longer -- no one does an expo like Disney -- but time was too short.

Part of the problem was getting into Downtown Disney itself. Security was INSANE. In all the times I have been to Disneyland, I have never had to wait in any sort of security line to access the area surrounding the park. It is a sign of the times that security has become a necessity during travel or entering concert venues, but it definitely stole some of the magic visiting the resort. I’m not talking about a quick look inside backpacks, either. We were subjected to a full search of our belongings as well as being required to walk through a metal detector. Bummer, man. The only thing I could attribute the high security to was that Trump had just officially taken office as POTUS, and there were a lot of people in Los Angeles who weren’t happy about it. (You can count me as one of them. No surprise there.)
What has two thumbs and the best nephew ever??
This girl! Johnny and Lego Hulk at Downtown Disney.
This backdrop coordinates nicely with my glasses.
Of course, anything blue does...but whatevs.
By the time we got to the Disneyland Hotel, we had barely enough time to grab my bib number and pick up my race t-shirt. I quickly bought some anti-chafe Glide from an expo vendor and we were on our way. It was probably the least amount of time or money I've ever spent at an expo. Girldoll and I treated the cousins to a late lunch, and then we enjoyed a nice evening with family.


Of course, I took an obligatory Flat Babydoll photo. It was so cute that my niece reminded me to post the photo on social media; she had remembered me talking about the phenomenon of laying out your race day clothes and taking a picture of your race bib and outfit. The stuff kids remember!


Orange is the new black!
I got lots of compliments during the race on my excellent on the BB8 skirt I found on Etsy. Although there are all kinds of things that could go wrong running thirteen miles while wearing a knit beanie, I was totally fine.


The race was so much fun. 90% of the runners were wearing a costume or Star Wars themed embellishment. My personal favorite was a couple who dressed as Leia and Chewie wearing Belle and The Beast costumes. It was so meta! The spectators did not disappoint, either.

I decided I would live stream the half marathon on Facebook while I ran through Disneyland. I started in narrating my way through Tomorrow Land and filmed an epic lightsaber battle among cast members. I also caught some really fun footage of my hand as I high-fived a dozen Disney employees who had lined up along the course. I ran through Fantasyland and shared my favorite ride with Facebook (Storybook Land, in case you were curious) before the pièce de résistance: running through Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

After I crossed the drawbridge, I went to stop recording the video...only to discover I had never started recording in the first place.
Rachel doesn't use that word lightly, either.
I'll be honest: it took me the next mile to shake it off. For whatever reason, I fixated on my disappointment of not getting the video to work and had trouble letting it go. I'm charming that way. 
Right after this photo was taken, the key fob
to my car fell out of my Flipbelt. Someone
literallyran after me with it in their hand.
I mean, can you even imagine?? #bulletdodged
Fortunately, we were hitting the streets of Anaheim and it was time for me to focus and get my game face on. Since the rest of the race is through business and residential areas before finishing at the Downtown Disney parking lots, sections of the race on the streets feel like it starts to drag. That is, until the cosplay spectators start lining the course. It is truly an incredible experience seeing all the elaborate costumes and props.

Red Leader was all smiles and thumbs up.


I kept lapping these guys. I'd stop and mug for
photos along the course and pass them. #redleader

This was one of the most clever
costumes on the course. I love Greedo!

This couple finished the race together. How
her hair stayed perfect after running a half
marathon is one of The Force's mysteries.

Poppa Stormtrooper and Baby Stormtrooper

We had a moment. #BB8

There was something slightly despondent about
this ghetto Death Star. 
Done. Eye on the prize!

In addition to the half marathon next year, I really want to run the 10k for a chance to earn three medals. I know I said the same thing last year...but it's worth putting out to The Force, anyway.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Weekend Snapshots: Concerts, Craft Fairs and Thirteen Point One Miles, Oh My!

I missed my deadline last week for Weekend Snapshots. I was busily preparing for the holiday boutique at my gym. Every year I have tried to think of a way to participate, and a few months ago I came up with an idea to create edits of my photography -- specifically, photos I've taken with my iPhone during a run. I created a line of homemade cards called #SeenOnMyRun. My cards were well received, so it gave me the confidence to enter another craft fair the first weekend in December. I'm also toying with the idea of creating an Etsy account.


Kauai: Where even the garden snails are stunning.
 This is a sample of one of my photo edits.
I was in LA all day yesterday for marching band championships, so all of the photos are from the prior weekend with my bestie from second grade: 2 concerts, 13.1 miles, a theme park, and an evening spent playing Cards Against Humanity. It was a very, very good weekend. 

I'm almost finished writing up my Veteran's half marathon review, but I will share my 'Flat Babydoll' (for those unfamiliar, it's race tradition to lay out your race day outfit to recreate a 'flat' version of yourself and take a photo):



Saturday night, we went to see Mr. Doll and his band cover Neil Young songs in a birthday tribute concert, Forever Young. It was an incredible concert, and my favorite Claude show to date. 


The bass player in Claude Hopper is so dreamy!
We took in a view on Sunday morning at my favorite hilltop spiritual retreat, and then drove south to spend the night with a friend from our junior high school days. It was a treat staying with her family, particularly her adorable son. We surprisingly don't have any photos of our evening together with Jax, but check out these views from the seminary:


Pretty red picnic bench under the shade of the oak tree.
Beautiful views all the way to the islands.
We also squeezed in a visit to the beach. I did mention it was an epic weekend, right??


I'm a sucker for piers and photos of piers. 

When you tryna take a selfie and your dogs
shove you out of the frame to make a cameo.
We spent Monday at Universal Studios. It was my second time at Harry Potter World, but it was equally as fabulous! The weather had been unseasonably hot throughout the month, but we lucked out small crowds and with mild 70 degree temperatures.

Dee and Marilyn Monroe deep in conversation
Jazz hands: frog choir at Harry Potter World
All the joy!
Such a pretty fountain!
We had a harrowing drive from Hollywood to Inglewood, but Dee handled it like a champ: 90 minutes to travel 24 miles. We made it to the Forum just in time to see Temple of the Dog take the stage. Totally worth it.


Chris Cornell is my favorite male vocalist. Ever. 
We got home at 2am last Tuesday morning, which made for an interesting day since I had to get up four hours later and take Boydoll to school. Dee and I packed in so much fun over the four days that it felt like a dream. She truly is one of my very favorite people. I have the honor of being her son's godmother, and I am beyond grateful for her friendship.

I'd love to hear about your favorite band! Tell me about the last band you saw in concert in the comments. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

TOL #8: Work Anniversary, The Chocodiles, And Mandatory Dance Routines

This week's edition of Thinking Out Loud is going to be a quick one. I typically write my posts 1-2 days before, but I have been slammed this week. I'm not opposed to staying up late to write, but this week I just didn't have it in me.

Chocodiles. I'm an ambassador for Fit Approach, and their latest campaign on Instagram is for Whistle Pet Tracker. The prompts this week have me posting five consecutive days of dog photos, which got me thinking about how rich my life is for having dogs. They are frequently the bright spot of my day. 

I adore our youngest dog, Cooper. We got him as a companion for our older dog almost four years ago. Cooper is talkative, bratty, and stunningly handsome.  


Cooper is the Jeremy Renner of dogs.
Speaking of Jeremy Renner, here is a photo of Hawkeye wearing a pink Hello Kitty outfit. I love this way more than I should:
Hello Hawkeye!
Riley is our older dog, and he recently celebrated his 8th birthday. He is my best friend. Riley seems to get younger as he gets older, if that makes any sense at all. Part of that is the breed...but he also has way more stamina than Cooper, who is five years younger. No matter how excited Riley is to go somewhere, suiting up into his harness is very serious business: he will always stand very quietly, like the gentleman that he is.

A post shared by Babydoll's Bloggie (@babydoll_brea) on




ElectionIt's been an interesting 48 hours, to say the least. It was also my daughter's first time voting for a president. I was proud her for driving home from college to exercise her right to vote.    

Image result for election memes
I think all candidates should be required to perform 
a dance routine, a la Napoleon Dynamite. Just saying.
Eleven. This month marks my 11th anniversary teaching cycle at the Y. I am so honored for the incredible members who join me each Tuesday and Thursday during their lunch break (or the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday at 5:45am). My spin class closest to a holiday is often a themed event with prizes for the members. There is a sense of community at the Y that I haven't found at other gyms, and I love being part of a non-profit that focuses on health and fitness. 

Crafty. My photo cards are coming along nicely. I am about a third of the way into assembling them, and I will work on spreadsheets and pricing tomorrow. I am such a nerd for this kind of stuff! The craft boutique is next week, and I may do another one depending on the success of this event. The money I earn will go towards my 2018 trip to Japan :) 
Edit of one of the photos I took of a garden snail in
Kauai last August  
Veteran's Day Half Marathon. Yup! It's that time already. I'm hoping my hip (and now my knee) will be good to go this Saturday. One thing is for sure: I am going to TEAR IT UP with my girl, Dee. She gets here tomorrow and we'll run drive over to the expo to pick up our race packets and bibs for Saturday's race. I'll have lots of great photos to share for Weekend Snapshots this Monday! Here's a photo collage I made of our races together:

How frequently do you race? Do you have any events planned in 2017?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Weekend Snapshots: Meetups, Chaperone Extraordinaire And My Babygirl

This weekend was Busy. That's right, people…with a capital B. It started off with a sunrise walk with my friend Smitha (I can call her that, right??) who was in town for a work conference.

Smitha writes the blog Running With SD Mom and frequently hosts fun giveaways. She hosted a Run Lites giveaway in October...and I won!
RunLites Glove (Purple Flecks) Half Length 216NF-F3
Super lightweight and cute, these handlights have such great visibility.
They're perfect for camping and morning runs!
I'm a nerd about all things fitness related, and Smitha and I started chatting online about everything from RX Bar flavors to her favorite hydration recommendation (Orange Mud brand, in case you were wondering). She is always quick to reply and has been nothing but kind. I started seeing photos of Smitha at various spots around my town in my Instagram feed. I hope I didn’t fangirl too hard and freak her out! Smitha is a fabulous social media presence and truly the nicest person. When she learned I had been having back issues -- despite being an avid marathoner -- instead of going for a run, Smitha suggested we meet anyway and go for a walk instead. Runners really do make the nicest friends!
It was such a beautiful sunrise along the waterfront.

Later that morning, I went to the chiropractor for another adjustment and physical therapy. This made a significant difference and tipped the scale in favor of being able to chaperone Boydoll's marching band competition afterall. Thanks to my portable TENS unit, I was able to work on my craft project during the bus ride, too! 

The band won all three categories in their division on Saturday: Best Overall Score, Best Auxillary (drumline), and Best Color Guard. Go Chargers! 

Uniforms and instruments
Horns and hats. 
Boydoll warming up in the bass line. #notreble

I saw this bumper sticker on a parked car, and it was too cute a photo opportunity to pass up. I'm a bunny Auntie, so I know a thing or two about the awesomeness that is this bumper sticker. #bunnyfamilyftw


I took this photo for reasons. So cute!
After a long day down south, we were pleasantly surprised to come back and find Girldoll at home from college for the night. I'm certain that I say this (every...single... time), but I am so glad my girl is an only hour away. I offered to wash and fold her laundry, and made her favorite homemade mac and cheesies for dinner. It was a toss up as to who was happier to see Girldoll, me or The Browns:
Lots of happy sneezes and wrestling. These boys love their girl!  
I was reflecting yesterday about the past few months leading up to this election, and that tomorrow will my daughter's first time votingIn 30 years, this is by far the craziest election cycle I have ever seen. It's certainly one for the history books. 

By this time tomorrow, we will have a new president. I am ready to elect a new POTUS and move forward. To quote Forrest Gump, 'That's all I have to say about that.'

Not on the actual ballot, although nothing surprises
me anymore during an election year.  
Thank you to Katie for her weekend linkup! Have you ever won a contest or any online giveaways?