Never Have I Ever Missed A Rook Run


Since the beginning, like way back to the fall of 2014, I have participated in the Rook Run.  This run holds a special place in my heart for many, many reasons.



First, Rook Coffee partners with the Valerie Fund to raise money to support children with cancer and blood disorders. Ugh, that right there is a huge reason to get out and raise awareness. Over the past three years, The Rook Run has grown in numbers from 1,000 participants to over 3,000 and raising nearly half a million dollars for the children of The Valerie Fund. HOW STINKING AMAZING IS THAT?!?!?! Secondly,  The Rook Run was one of my first 5k’s to take part in, in which I didn’t consider myself a runner.  It was just something a bunch of us decided to join in on to help a friend start and team and raise money. Like a finish time of 28 minutes ((which sounds crazy, I know, but thinking of what I have done since then, it makes more sense)), and a lot of I think I am going to throw up, who does this for fun, I am going to die ridiculous thoughts. Anyways, enough rambling on year one.  Another reason I hold this race so near and dear to my heart is that it holds my pre-baby 5k RACE PR. From the girl above to the crazy lady who thought training for a marathon would be cool, I started to become “good” at this running thing.


I had spent the summer of 2015 busting my butt training for my first marathon.  With that consistency and insane hours spent running, I started to build up some serious speed.  And I loved the first Rook Run so much, I decided it was worth the 1 1/2 hour trip back.  Such a fun time.  And at that moment, I would say it was the BEST Rook Run ever.  I pushed myself to the point of dry heaving after the finish, unable to smile through the finish line.  I wanted it so bad.  It didn’t give me the PR or pace I was able to do on training runs, but it still felt amazing to shave 4 minutes off my time. That’s like a minute per mile and then some, so awesome.  I finished in 24 minutes, brining me into the top ten of my age group.  I was disappointed after this race too, because I didn’t get the 23 minute time I knew I could do, and I worked so hard for the 24 minutes it was disheartening.  BUT then it was brought to my attention how much I earned that in comparison to the year before and I was so proud of myself.  I never wanted to be a runner, or ever even liked running.  In soccer, I would whine and complain about our runs at practice.  It wasn’t my thing.  But that year of marathon training changed me, inside and out, and The Rook Run was a huge part of that.

Enter the third annual Rook Run, and just another reason why this race has my heart.  It was my FIRST stroller race with my little best friend, at just three months postpartum.  It was my slowest Rook Run to date at a whopping 31 minutes.  BUT, I made the mistake every stroller runner makes at their first race, and started in the back of 3,000 people.  It took me the entire first mile just to make it out of the crowd.  None of that mattered though.  I could not wipe the smile off my face.  This run was EVERYTHING! It made me more than just a runner, it made me a mother runner.  A MOTHER FREAKING RUNNER, y’all.  And I’ll never be the same.  This race was the start to many, many stroller races with my boy.  We make a pretty great team, too.  We’ve won some age groups, including first place, and if there was a stroller division, we would have taken them all.  We’ve experienced mommy’s first DNF because he just wasn’t feeling it, and we’ve conquered many, many miles together.  In fact, most of my miles accrued this year have been with him in tow. It is my favorite thing to do and something I look forward to continuing.


And last but not least, the FINAL reason as to why The Rook Run is my favorite.  This year, I wasn’t sure how this race was going to go.  My postpartum comeback has been nothing short of a hard, harder, and hardest rollercoaster ride I’ve ever experienced.  I struggled in the beginning, totally expected.  I started to get back to myself, only to be sidelined by mole procedures that left me with some nasty stitches that lead to a staph infection.  Then on my comeback round two, with marathon training, I hit the biggest road block of my life.  I was diagnosed with Graves Disease and the affect on my physical stamina was detrimental.  Like everything seemed impossible and it broke me down, so far down that I didn’t think I’d get myself out of it.  But I am a pretty stubborn lady and I fought hard to find answers for myself and did a lot of research after months of no getting better, and here I am today.  Feeling almost 100% back to myself and yet again, making my comeback.  Okay, so that was a lot, and really didn’t explain why or how this is the final reason I LOVE THE ROOK RUN.  But here it is….

Little man and I, despite some seriously nasty weather on the way down to the shore and an unsure mommy on whether or not we should race, achieved our 5k Stroller PR.  FINALLY!! I didn’t think we’d do it, because the race is such a confined space with 3,000 people, and stroller running in crowds is insane, but we did it.  I was the first female stroller runner and second stroller runner to cross the line finish line, and I AM so stinking happy.  The crazy rain and storms that went on all morning long brought about an intense level of humidity that was messing with me ((mostly all in my head, but it was there and creepin and I wanted to punch it in the face)).  But I fought through, literally sprinting through breaks in people, to get myself to the top, and when I finished, Clayton was asleep.  I couldn’t help but laugh, because I was talking to him and cheering saying, “we did it, buddy, we beat our 5k time!” And he was out. EEEEKKKKK, I am still beaming with pride and joy of the things we have accomplished together in the last year.  All starting here, at The Rook Run together, and bringing it all back full circle to snag that pretty PR. I can’t imagine running, and racing without him.  We are a team, a darn cute one, too (I am talking about him here).  And I cannot thank him enough for making the runner I am today.  He is my pride and joy, and sharing this love with him makes my heart go round.


THANK YOU to The Rook Run for four years of amazingness and truly memorable moments of my life.  Thank you to the staff and volunteers for a darn good race.  Thank you to my friends for making the trek with me every year to run for 20 minutes.  Thank you to those who actually read this all the way to the end.  Next up for little man and I is a Christmas 5 miler.  I am already scheming costume ideas.  ❤






When Angela (@Runlikekale) posted a fun blog about her currents, I was excited to play along.  She always has awesome, informational posts that you should all follow. It will definitely make you smile and laugh out loud. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see ridiculously cute pictures of G?  🙂  So currently, I am….

Loving: Watching CT explore the world on his own now that he can crawl, stand, sit, and walk with assistance. He is loving this new freedom, and it makes me smile from ear to ear.  Overnight, he has become fearless, independent, and so grown up. Gahhhh! ❤

Working On: Finding some kind of summer job, something that includes Clayton.  It’s almost I M P O S S I B L E! 


Inspired By: The fierce mom club we have established on IG. 

Thinking About: S U M M E R break, and starting new traditions with our family of three. Day trips, hiking, teaching Clayton to swim, the beach, and oh so much more.



Watching: The Leftovers, and driving my husband crazy, because I ask a million and one questions. Even after watching it over and over. It’s so confusing, but it hooks you.

Reading: Hands Free Mama…..Hands Free Mama is the digital society’s answer to finding balance in a media-saturated, perfection-obsessed world. It doesn’t mean giving up all technology forever. It doesn’t mean forgoing our jobs and responsibilities. What it does mean is seizing the little moments that life offers us to engage in real and meaningful interaction. It means looking our loved ones in the eye and giving them the gift of our undivided attention, leaving the laundry till later to dance with our kids in the rain, and living a present, authentic, and intentional life despite a world full of distractions.

Eating/Drinking: I’ve been on a mission to go more wholly with my foods and eating habits. So, I started Whole30, cheated once and it went downhill from there. But in the first week with no cheating, I lost 7lbs and learned a lot about how food makes me feel. So now I am starting over, and really trying to stick to it for the 30 days. #noms

Learning: To read braille. One of my students is partially blind and to help her become more independent we thought it would be a good idea to learn it.  And it grabbed me in, so now I want learn too

Dreaming of: Being a stay at home mommy. I miss it. I need it. I want it so bad. 

Trying: To juggle everything that goes with being a working mom, and finding time for myself, while still getting all the chores and daily house hold shenanigans done.

Missing: My little peanut.  Is it 3:00 yet?


Planning: Clayton’s FIRST birthday!!  Say what?!?!?  It came way too fast.  Like seriously, I get so emotional thinking about the last year and how far he’s come.  Why can’t they stay little forever? 

Needing: To get a hair cut desperately. And maybe going back to blonde……

Screenshot_20170417-161828-01.jpgExcited About: All the stroller races Clayton and I have, and the fact that some of them are letting me run with the stroller ((as they haven’t in years past).


Want to play along? Copy and past this in the comments and let me know what you’re currently up to.

Working On:
Inspired By:
Thinking About:
Listening To:
Dreaming of:
Excited About:

So You Want a Jogging Stroller?


Much like anything else with babies, and all things babies, picking the right stroller is overwhelming.  There are so many choices, each with their own pros/cons. Depending on budget and needs,  an expensive stroller might not be necessary for everyone.  When you research jogging strollers, it’s only inevitable that the top rated ones are crazy expensive, at least to the family who lives pay check to pay check and can’t fathom spending $500+ on a stroller. Especially since we will only use them for a few years, give or take.


When it came time to add strollers to my baby registry, I did a lot of research.  I compared prices, weight, reliability, durability, other mothers views and opinions, and convenience; basically everything.  I knew if I put a $500+ stroller on my registry, no one would buy it.  And we couldn’t afford that kind of money on a stroller, regardless of how much it would be used.  I was heading into a 7 month unpaid leave.  We had to save everywhere we could.  So I narrowed my search to jogging strollers that were under $200.  My chances of getting one as a gift, at that price were a lot higher.

Enter the Graco Fast Action Click Connect Jogging stroller.  I was so excited when my BFF got it for me.  I didn’t really care what kind of stroller I got, as long as I could do what I loved with my new little love, that was all that mattered.  I loved it because it already came with everything I needed to take Clayton in his carrier as an infant.  I didn’t need to purchase any accessories, that also cost a fortune.  It folds up easily.  It weighs the same as a BOB revolution.  It was good to me.  I had no complaints.  We did a lot of running with that bad boy, including some 5k’s through hilly terrain, and  one at the boardwalk.

As Clayton grew out of the carrier, and we were able to run with him sitting forward, we started to do more and more runs together. The one and only thing that became an issue was the sun/wind.  The shield didn’t come down far enough to block the sun.  I bought a cheapo rain/wind cover at Target, and love it. That helped with the wind, but the sun was still an issue.

So why did I get a BOB? Well, simply because I am basically doing all of my runs with him now, and I wanted to get more serious about racing with him. That meant giving him the best there was, including the darn sun shield.  It also didn’t hurt that I got it for a steal of a deal. Sales on sales on discounts.  I would NEVER justify spending $500+ on a stroller.  EVER!! But $300…..okay…you got me.  But I still refuse to spend even more money on the cup holder for him and I ((it doesn’t come with any)), and the wind/rain shield.  Not when I can use my Choopie that is nicer, bigger, and cheaper, and I already have the rain shield from Target for like $7.

But okay, what is the difference between the two?  There is one big, noticeable difference and that is the way the stroller feels. It’s almost effortless.  It is a much smoother ride for Clayton and I.  It feels lighter, despite weighing the same, and my paces are faster ((but that could be because I’m getting stronger, and am a lot further into my postpartum comeback)).  So is it worth the extra, EXTRA money?  Well that depends. But for me, it was.  Would I have been fine with the Graco?  For sure.  And I still think it’s a great jogging stroller for the price. But I am glad I splurged a little for the BOB, and my hubby is too.  He noticed a huge difference. So whether you want to spend a lot of money or not, there is a stroller for you.  Depending on the needs, I would still recommend both to a mom in question .

Mommy & Me Pancakes

With our recent discovery of Clayton’s allergies, and his big boy status on wanting to feed himself, I was struggling to come up with allergen friendly finger foods. All the BLW things are just fine and dandy, except he ends up squishing them and turning it into one big sensory play time (whether it’s in sqaure pincher grasp form, or sticks)). And he wasn’t interested in the veggies//fruit that way anyways. Enter fun vegan, gluten free, allergen friendly pancakes.

Pictured above is mommy’s version, but the only difference is added protein powder and some almond butter drizzled on top. 💙

You really only need four ingredients to make these yummy pancakes ((oatmeal, banana 🍌, baking powder, and water)), but I’ve been getting creative and making them into lunch/dinner time pancakes too, loaded with veggies.

As you can see, they are a huge hit with this guy. I think if I let him, he’d eat these for everything, all of the time!🤗 In this picture ((above)), he is eating sweet potato based pancakes with some grated zucchini, with a side of squash and beef. 🍽

This mornings pancakes were avacado and banana. And the nice thing about them is it’s super easy to turn them into mommy pancakes by adding your favorite protein powder. My current choice is the sunshine protein from Designer Protein. Holy yum! ((If you’re interested in trying any of their products…Use code: TANYA20 for 20% off!!🤑

Okay, so recipe time. You won’t even need to print it or write it down. It’s so stinking easy. Just mix all of the ingredients below.

  • 1 1/4 cup oatmeal (blended into flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana (or any other base, like sweet potato or carrot puree)
  • 1 cup of water ( I use less, because we like them thicker)

Then get creative. For our advocado//banana pancakes from this morning, I used half a banana and half an avacado and mixed it with the above. For this week’s lunch/dinner version I used a carrot/apple puree as the base and added grated zucchini.

Try it out for you and your babes, and let me know what you think, or share all of the fun versions you create.💜

Schedule Smedule or Not?


At Clayton’s latest doctors appointment, for his two month checkup, the well educated doc was quick to advise that we stop nighttime feedings.  SAY WHAT?  You want me to do what?  I quickly responded with a, “And how do you suppose I do that?”

“Let him cry.”  That was his response.  So naturally my next move was to ask for how long. His response, “Until he stops.”

Now I know all of this to be true.  I went to school for this.  I worked in day care for half of my life.  I always said I would be the mother that did this.  It’s for the better.


Then, when you become a mommy, and all that knowledge is questioned, you just want to ignore it all && cuddle your little love.  The mere thought of them crying breaks your heart. And forget when they actually do cry.  Game over.  


A friend of mine gave me this cheat sheet.  It was used by her and her sister (loosely), and it seemed to work for them.  I liked this idea better than completely cutting Clayton off cold turkey.  We started it yesterday morning, and it seemed to go just fine.  Minus a few hiccups in terms of time frames (he fell asleep later, we don’t do bath time everyday, a catnap never happens, and little things of the like). Then came bedtime. We ate, we read “We’re Going on A Bear Hunt”, we rocked. We fell asleep.  Hit the crib, was fine for five minutes, then the fun began.


He started to do his whiny little cry, which I ignored.  I can handle ignoring the attention seeking cries.  Slowly && surely though, those little cries turned into deep cries. I don’t know about you other mamas out there, but I think my max time limit to let them cry is about 15 minutes.  So I went in, gave him his pacifier, and left.  Well fun fact about Clayton, he loves to play games with the paci.  It’s his soothing little love for sure, but it’s also how he gets mom and dad to come back.  So he spits it out, cries for it, we give it, he’s fine for 5 minutes, spits it out, cries, we give it, and repeat.  Eventually, when it falls out on his own, it’s fine. We’re done playing the paci game. He’s asleep.  So that happened. Phew! Okay, so maybe we can do this.

I slept in the guest bedroom across from his, just to be closer, and for peace of mind. Well I didn’t even need the monitor.  His cries were so loud the entire night, it was just an added echo to the already loud cries he created. So let’s see… Around 11:15, he woke up again, but it was fine, because that was when I was supposed to do his “dreamfeeding” anyways.  We rock and cuddle while he eats. The lights stayed off. I was half asleep.  He eats about three ounces.  That’s his usual amount anyways.  We burp (no spit up! YAY!).  We rock together a little longer. Into his crib he went.  He screamed and screamed and screamed some more.  He spit up.  He was laying in his spit up. So I cleaned him up. Gave the paci, and went to my room.  He continued to scream, but I’m pretty sure I fell asleep before him.  Only being woken up again at 3:15.  Seems about right, as he only ate three ounces.  Clayton tends to run on this schedule of how ever many ounces he eats, is how long he can go in between feedings.  But my same friend gave the advice of only making him go as long as he has gone before.  If he made it 6 hours at least once before, try to hold him off for 6 hours.  Well I could tell that wasn’t going to happen, so I settled for five.  We played the pacifier game again, we rocked in the chair. And at 4:00 I fed him.  This time he tanked, I mean literally tanked 5 ounces in like 10 minutes.  He never eats that fast.  We burped, we spit up, and I thought, “Oh good, this means he will sleep so well, his belly has to be full.” Into his crib he goes.  He cried, AGAIN!  Fell asleep, woke up at 6:16, and I was done.  How after 5 ounces could you possibly be hungry again.  I let him go.  15 minutes passed, that’s all I can handle.  Went in and got him, only to bring him into bed with me.  He is only waking up now (9:30am).  So he technically went 5 hours, matching the 5 ounces he ate. He just needed mommy in between.

So this is where I say schedule smedule, but also know how important it is to get him onto a schedule. I just feel like what we were doing was working.  He typically only ate once a night anyways. It just never added up to 8 hours straight.  So do I do my thing, or keep plugging away at this?  After day one, I want to say, “No, sir.”  It seems like we were worse off with this routine compared to our own.  I know he needs to sleep in his crib.  I am fine with that part.  He has outgrown the bassinet anyways.  BUT is going the whole night with out eating really what is best.  I play the preemie card a lot too.  He is only 8lbs 8oz.  Most babies by month two are past the 10lb mark.  And most babies eat way more than 3oz at a time.  I don’t think Clayton’s little tummy can handle all of that.  PLUS the more serious part.  He spits up, and when I say spit up, I mean more like throws up EVERYTHING. and I can’t let him sleep in it.  And with all the upset crying he did last night, he spit up every time I went to check on him.  This moring, with the 4am feeding, his entire PJ was soaked.  He smelled terrible. His hair was all crusty. And I did not like any of it one bit.  This didn’t happen when he was sleeping next to us in the bassinet.  If he spit up, I would hear it.  It typically happened once.  BUT with all of this crying && screaming, it is causing him to spit up more, and I can’t hear that in the monitor.  I only know when I go in to check on him.  I just feel like its defeating the purpose, pushing for 8 hours, when clearly he is not ready.  I know I am not forced to do anything, but I also want Clayton to learn to soothe himself, and to get on a schedule.  Do I follow the part of me that says he really is only a month old gestational, or follow the two month time frame, when this is all supposed to begin?

For now, the hubby and I agree that 15 minutes is the max we let him scream for, especially because he gets himself so worked up that he is puking. And 5-6 hours is how long we will make him go in between the dream feed and the early morning feeding.  After a few days, maybe extend it by 15 minutes.  I just think cutting the poor kid off, cold turkey is not fair to him. DO I want a full nights sleep? MORE THAN ANYTHING sometimes.  BUT  I want my little man to be comfortable, safe, and healthy way more.  Am I a terrible mom, is this going to affect us in the future, will he ever be able to go a full night?  I ask myself this all the time. My brain says do this. Get him on a schedule. But my heart and instincts or maybe my emotions say otherwise.  I guess only time will tell.  And one day cannot justify if it is working or not. BUT after last night, I am not quite a fan.  I feel like Clayton is all messed up now anyways.  I tried to get right back on the schedule, but he wasn’t ready to eat again, he  was clearly still tired, and I don’t know anymore.


I’m done ranting for now.  I am going to cuddle the heck out of my little booger and play it by year.

❤ ❤