Friday Photos

Today we’re headed back to New York as our vacation is over. We kept busy over the week and as always our time in Florida flew by. We had a great day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom on Monday and the kids behaved amazingly but unfortunately, our day at The Animal Kingdom was rained out. We also spent a ton of time lounging by the pool with the kids. Our room at the resort provided the perfect view for viewing the Wishes firework show from our balcony!

image

We did not prepare a Friday Five post for today so we’re sharing some photos from our trip instead. Enjoy!

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Us

Hi guys! We hope your week is going well! If you’re stopping by from the blog hop, welcome! Winter has decided that it was time to finally make an appearance in Upstate NY. Yesterday we got 8 plus inches of snow over night followed by a downpour of freezing rain and more snow. It’s a mess! Thankfully it’s winter break for school so we haven’t had to venture out at all.

Today we’re sharing some things you might not know about us!

Jen:

  • Before I left to stay home with our kids I was a Teaching Assistant for an Applied Behavioral Analysis program, working with kids that are on the Autism Spectrum. I am very thankful for the opportunity to stay at home while our kids are growing up but I do miss the kids I used to work with as well. If I were ever to go back to school I would go for a Behavioral Consulting. This is one more reason that I will be running with Team Up! with Autism Speaks for the Chicago Marathon in October.wpid-82467bad-fcaa-46b5-be01-d4da1fcc5bde-medium.png
  • I’m directionally challenged. It’s horrible! We’ve lived here for over 6 years now (and it’s a pretty small area) and I still use my GPS to get around on a regular basis. I can’t read a map to save my life. I have nightmares about having to find my way around a city, or having to use public transportation on my own. Thankfully Travis is very good at getting us around! I once told someone when asked how long we still had to drive as I was looking at a map, that we had “about an inch to go!”Ok, that’s really embarrassing.
  • We make our own wine. We got into this a couple of years ago. We use kits that come with juice concentrate but one time I’d love to try and press our own grapes. Each batch that we make yields about 30 bottles and takes about a month to complete.
  • I love sewing- actually, crafts in general. I learned while making the nursery decor for Parker’s room and did the same for Peyton. I don’t get nearly enough time to sit down and work on projects and have several things started that I’ll get around to finishing someday. We’re working on getting enough shirts set aside from races to make a blanket out of them.
  • I’m terrified of roller coasters. The only one I’ve ever been on is the Rockin’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios (Disney). Never again. I think I held my breath for the entire ride (that would be me on the bottom right) 

Travis:

  • I’m an adult who still loves to play video games. What can I say? I am part of the video game generation and I probably will continue to play for many years to come. I mainly play Call of Duty titles for two reasons. I love them and I can’t afford to go out and buy a bunch of games I may not have time to play. At most, I will buy two titles a year. I have gone about five months without even turning my console on, then I play everyday for a while and repeat this cycle based on the season. wp-1455668765010.jpg
  • I was born in Italy. I am a Navy brat as they say. My mother was stationed in Naples, Italy when I was born so I lived the first part of my life oversees. While I don’t remember anything, I’ve been told that I actually spoke Italian before English because I would go to the local daycare instead of the one on the naval base. As a result, I needed years of speech therapy after returning to the states to catch up on my English. One other thing about being born oversees – I am never able to donate blood in the United States.
  • I own my own business. In 2007, my OCD tendencies led me to start detailing vehicles. It started small, and still is, but I have grown my clientele over the years and now have a pretty good side business to supplement my expenses for running races – and purchasing running shoes.
  • I love to hunt. Especially bow hunting for whitetails. I enjoy bow hunting for the challenge of the hunt and the skill required to be proficient. Some may not agree with hunting, but it is part of my upbringing and I use venison as our primary source of red-meat, so the years where I don’t get a deer, we go hungry. wp-1455669051322.jpg
  • For the final thing you don’t know about me, I will give you a puzzle to solve. To solve this puzzle, think logically and understand that everything that follows is a fact and true.
    • I was born in Naples, Italy.
    • My Father is Italian.
    • My last name is an Italian last name.
      • So, why am I not Italian? Not even .001 of a percent! LEAVE YOUR GUESS IN THE COMMENT SECTION.

 

Grow Your Blog Image 6

Welcome to 2016!

We would like to take a moment and say thank you to our readers for their support in 2015. We started Tale of 2 Halfs as a fun outlet – a place for us to ramble, vent, debate and enlighten. We are grateful for our engaging readers and glad you come back week after week.

Our family ended the year with a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The drive home never gets shorter and often gets tougher on us as the parents. We’re not able to stay awake as long as we used to! Both children did very well traveling given the circumstances with only the youngest giving us any grieve when she was hungry.

We made it home a little after 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve and got very little sleep as the kids were up early. Over the next few days we split our time between families to ensure everyone got to see us over the holidays. The kids loved getting to open presents all day long on Christmas and had to have each item removed from the packaging as soon as possible.

While we were home we celebrated each child’s birthday with family, friends, presents and of course cake.
image

image

We didn’t get any workouts in until after Christmas, nor did we workout as much as we would have liked given the holiday and birthday goodies. We used many excuses, some actually valid, to justify missing our workouts. Here is what we managed to do:

Travis

12/26 – 3.90 miles @ 7:42 pace

12/28 – 5.00 miles @ 7:16 pace

12/30 – 3.60 miles @ 8:16 pace

Yearly Mileage Total: 1,303.35

01/02 – 6.20 miles @ 8:00 pace

Jen

12/26 – 2 miles & 21-Day Fix Dirty Thirty

12/28 – 3 miles

12/29 – 3.50 miles

12/30 – 3 miles with 21-Day Fix Plyo & Abs

Yearly Mileage Total: 324.95

01/03 – 2 miles

As you can see, not much in terms of hard or difficult workouts. It was a shocker to both Jen and I when we totaled our yearly mileage the vast difference between us. It definitely shows just how much she compromised last year and why she’s going for a big goal this year.

We have begun our #RuntheYear challenge and although we are off to a slow start, we will be back on pace soon. To make things easier on us both this year, we are anxiously awaiting our new Proform Premier 900 treadmill. This should alleviate issues with the winter weather and shorter days and allow us to both get our runs in, if only on the hamster wheel!
image

What is a specific fitness challenge you have for 2016?

2015 in Review

New Year’s is almost upon us and with it the end of a memorable 2015. We thought we’d take a look back and highlight some great memories.

Our year began with a headline, literally:

Canton-Potsdam Hospital welcomes 2015’s first baby

POTSDAM — It’s becoming somewhat of a tradition for Travis and Jennifer to welcome a new addition to their family around the turn of the New Year.

Jennifer gave birth to St. Lawrence County’s first baby at 8:29 a.m. Friday at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, after all of the other area hospitals’ delivery rooms were quiet on New Year’s Day.

Peyton Leigh has an older brother, Parker, who was a New Year’s Day baby back in 2012. Parker was the third baby born in St. Lawrence County in 2012.

image

Our wealth in life is not measured by the money in our bank account but with the people we have in our lives. Jen and I are blessed with amazing, smart, loving and caring children who truly make our lives complete. Although we know in our hearts we are done having children, I’m sure we will miss beginning our year in the hospital.

In March, a few short weeks before starting our blog, the better half and I traveled across the state to watch a once in a lifetime musical act – Garth Brooks. We are both fans of country music and Garth epitomizes the best of the genre. He did not disappoint and any future acts we see will have a lot to live up to.
image

April brought the start of Tale of 2 Halfs and it has been a learning experience along the way. What do we share, what stays private, how do we get people interested and keep them entertained? These are all questions we faced and are still working on answers to. Suggestions are appreciated.

May is a wonderful time of the year in the Northeast when the weather gets warmer as the days get longer. It’s also the start of racing “season” – although many wonderful races happen before this point in the year. We traveled to Buffalo and participated in the half marathon over Memorial weekend and were able to meet an absolute icon in the running community, Mr. Bart Yasso.wpid-imag0631_1.jpg June arrived swiftly and ushered in marathon training. With the start of training for the Chicago Marathon for Travis, it essentially ended the running year for Jen. My wife sacrificed almost a whole year to allow me to pursue a dream. Her full support and encouragement made the accomplishment even more unforgettable.

July was a very busy month as Jen and I held our inaugural Piece by Piece 5K benefiting Team Up with Autism Speaks. We had a great turnout and are actually already planning next year’s event. We also traveled to our home state of Michigan and ran the Canal Run half marathon in our hometown area. Parker was even able to get another race under his belt as he ran the kids dash.
image

August was an intense month of training for me (Travis) and culminated with the 18.12 Challenge at the end of the month. A top 10 finish and a 7:00 min/mile pace proved my training was paying off for the Chicago Marathon. Meanwhile Jen was still a ‘marathon training widow.’

September saw the end of summer and brought cooler, shorter days. It also was the start to our sons first year in school. Parker broke our hearts when he walked into school like a champ and never showed any nerves or hesitation. He’s doing great and has learned so much in the first few months.
image

October was the culmination of 18 weeks of training and fundraising with a family trip to Chicago. With a goal time of 3:15:00, I ultimately fell two and half minutes short, but still finished with a personal best time by taking over 18 minutes off my previous best. This race was everything I had hoped for and it was made more special by having family there cheering me on. I look forward to returning next year as Jen runs her first marathon.
image

On the 1st of November, I completed my running season at the New York City Marathon. It was now time to recover and give my wife a much needed vacation. Jen would travel to Hilton Head, South Carolina for a girl’s weekend of sightseeing, relaxation and good food. This trip was her first time being away from the kids overnight. She would later say it felt like she was missing a body part for the first few days while she adjusted to this new sense of freedom.
IMG_0186

And finally, December brought a new training cycle to our house, this time for Jen. She is beginning to get back into running form as she prepares for a big year. She’s excited to be a brand ambassador for the first time for NUUN and is looking forward to running her first marathon (I think). In other news, I also just learned that I will get to be apart of Team SLS3 for 2016.

2015 sure gave us plenty to be grateful for. We sometimes get caught up in life and loose sight of what is important. Our individual accomplishments are great, but mean more when celebrated with family. That’s what we hoped you gained by reading the Tale of 2 Halfs this year. Hopefully, you stay with us in 2016.

We hope you have a blessed new year.

What’s Ahead in 2016 for Travis?

2015 was a year filled with amazing races, once in a lifetime experiences and many personal bests over 1,300 miles. With so much happening this year, what could I possibly achieve in 2016?

For starters, I was selected to be a member of Team SLS3 for 2016. It’s great to see a company promote and support a wide variety of athletes from beginners to professionals. I’m excited to be given this opportunity and look forward to supporting and promoting them as well.

As part of Team SLS3 I will be maintaining a busy race calendar, which is going to be very hard because I made a promise to support and encourage my wife on her journey to complete 26.2 miles at next year’s Chicago Marathon. She was very supportive of my application and selection to Team SLS3 and I know together, we can both have a great year.

Although I will be running more races than originally planned, my goal race for next year is early on during Memorial weekend at the Buffalo Marathon. I hope to finally eclipse the 3:15 mark as I slowly bring my time down. Training will be more difficult than it was for Chicago this year as many runs will take place during our long winter and may force me indoors more than I’d like.

In 2015 Jen and I became race directors for the first time after previously organizing only a virtual race. Our Piece by Piece 5K was a success and we are already working on the initial details of next year’s event. We hope to grow the event and with any luck, make a large donation to Team Up! with Autism Speaks, our designated charity.

And finally, my last goal is to see my wife succeed on her #journeyto26point2. I know how important proper training will be and she can only achieve her goals by putting in the hard work. I also know how much support from the family helps in achieving those goals as evidenced by this year. I’m going to be supporting her through every break through, heartbreak, injury (hopefully not), step and mile.

2016 is going to be busy, for both of us. We both have goals, ambitions and dreams and sometimes they come together at the same time. But it should make for great stories, so stayed tuned!

Friday Five 11/27: Five Things To Be Thankful For

Happy Friday everyone! Who’s still stuffed from yesterday? Yesterday was a great time to truly realize what blessings we’ve been given and to understand what we are thankful for. While these may be different from what you were expecting to read, these are some of the most precious blessings we could have in our lives.

We’re linking up with Cynthia, Courtney and Mar for the Friday Five

1. Early Mornings: Early mornings in our house signal that our children are awake and ready to start their day. We’re thankful everyday for the blessings of children and all the memories that they have given us.

2. 18-hour drives home: These drives are brutal on the best days and absolutely horrible on snowy winter afternoons, however, each drive signals something that we are grateful to have – family to go home to visit. We were reminded this year of how precious life can be and we are thankful that our family is still around to go home and see.

3. 10-hour shifts: There have been many changes at work this year, with  most not being for the best. But I need to be reminded that I am thankful to have a job to go to and a paycheck coming in.

4. Worn out running shoes. Throughout our house you’ll find many worn out pairs of running shoes, each pair of shoes reminding us that we were healthy enough to get out and keep exercising. We were able to fulfill personal dreams and goals this year and we are hopeful to have continued blessings in 2016.

5. Disagreements with the other half: Are you thinking, What? Are they off the deep end? Well, no! We are both grateful to  have a spouse who after nearly a decade together still believes their love and family is worth fighting for. Life and marriage is not easy. But there is no one I’d rather go through it with than the “other half.” And for that, I am extremely thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!!

Friday Five 11/20: Five Favorite Fall Drinks

Happy Friday! Today we’re talking fall beverages. We’re linking up with Cynthia, Courtney and Mar for the Friday Five!

Fall Drinks graphic

 

1. Apple Cider: This is my favorite, especially when it’s served hot with some caramel and whipped cream on top! I also enjoy all of the hard apple ciders that you see floating around lately. Delicious!

2. Coffee: While this isn’t necessarily a “fall” drink I included it anyways. I kind of consider myself more of a creamer drinker than a coffee drinker and when fall rolls around there’s a whole new set of flavors to add to my daily coffee. I’m definitely not a pumpkin fan so I’ll pass on the pumpkin spice flavorings, though!

3. Hot Chocolate: Steaming hot with mini marshmallows on top! I also found a recipe for red wine hot chocolate that I’m dying to try this year!

image
4. Glogg: This may not sound very appealing, but trust me, it’s delicious! Glogg is a red wine that is a bit spicy and has a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom. It is served warmed in a crock pot with sliced fruit. It’s a perfect after dinner drink for when you have company over!

5. Cinnamon Water: It’s still important to stay hydrated all year and If you’re like me, you need a little flavor in your water. For a fall twist, try infusing the sweetness and spice of cinnamon in a ratio of 1cinnamon stick to 1 cup of water.
image

What’s your favorite flavor coffee creamer?

Friday Five 11/13: Ways To Stay Healthy During The Holidays

Hello! While you’re reading this I’m flying to South Carolina for a girls getaway weekend! Travis is holding down the fort at home while I spend a few days on Hilton Head Island with a good friend of mine! We’ve got some big plans this weekend including a trip to the spa, hiking and shopping.

Holiday season is officially here (although if you go by any retail stores it’s been here since the end of September). This time of year can easily be tough to maintain fitness and healthy eating with all of the holiday activities, parties and treats around! We’re linking up again for the Friday Five to talk about ways to stay healthy during the holidays.

1. Don’t Over Eat: Sounds easy enough but the truth is it can be a real challenge with holiday treats at work and at home, in addition to all the holiday parties. Eat a normal meal and don’t worry about offending family and friends if you do not want a second helping.

2. Get on your Feet: With so many online options these days for shopping, it is entirely possible to buy for one or two dozen people and not leave the comfort of your house. While I hate crowds as much as the next person, actually going to a store, shopping center or mall allows me to get on my feet and burn a few additional calories. It may not be many calories in the grand scheme of things, but it keeps your metabolism and digestive systems working their best and keeps you healthy.

3. Volunteer your Time: You might be thinking…huh? The holiday season is stressful for so many reasons – family, finances, travel, illnesses, etc. – but studies have shown that a great way to reduce stress and improve your emotional health is to give back to someone who may be down on their luck. While you’re worrying about buying your husband the perfect present, that gentleman you serve food to at a church dinner may be worrying about how to keep his family off of the streets this winter.

4. Keep Exercising: This is probably the hardest for us in this house. The days are shorter and always seem to be busier than ever. But it’s important that we find time each day to do a little workout. It keeps us going, motivated and healthy; research suggests those who exercise regularly are better able to fight off the common colds and flus of winter.

5. Be Grateful!: While today’s topic may have been geared towards food and fitness, we feel that it’s important to be healthy in every aspect of your life – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc. We are not a perfect couple and we struggle with the same realities of others in our society. But we do our best to be grateful for everything we have. When we are grateful with what we have, and not upset at what we don’t, we appreciate those things more. So your kids may be screaming in the background, or your car needs repairs, you don’t like your job or a host of other issues. Take a minute to pause and be grateful – you may be better off than you realize.

Do you agree with our list? Please leave a comment below telling us why or why not.
Have a great weekend!

A Day In Our Life

We’ve shared one of these posts before but it’s been a while, so I thought it would be fun to do another.

6:30am: Peyton has been laying with me for an hour already and now I can hear Parker yelling “Oh mommmmmyyyy, I’m awake!” from his bedroom. Time to get up for the day.

I start making Parker’s lunch for school and get breakfast ready for the kids. They’re having pancakes this morning. We try to make mornings a little easier by making a big batch of pancakes on Sunday morning and freezing them so that we can enjoy them quickly all week long.

7:00: the kids play and watch a cartoon while I get ready

7:30: breakfast for me- I’m running a little late today so I opt for a smoothie. We got a Ninja system a couple weeks ago and I’m loving the single serve cup convenience. My favorite lately has been banana, milk and powdered PB. Delish! I also make my coffee, a bottle for Peyton and get Parkers water bottle filled for school.

  
8:00: we’re out the door for the drive to school. It takes about a half an hour to get there. 

  
8:45: Travis gets home from work. Normally he would be going to sleep soon but Tuesday was his Friday so he’s staying up for the day.

9:30: Peyton hangs out with dad while I get a run in.

10:00: I’m back from my run and Peyton is down for a nap. I’m starving so I grab a snack, a bottle of Nuun (tropical) and my coffee from earlier. Travis is going hunting for the afternoon and getting ready to head out.

  
10:45: Peyton wakes up just as I’m about to shower so I grab some toys and bring her into the bedroom with me.

11:15: I’m going away for a girls weekend to Hilton Head Island on Friday and so need to start packing. I start a load of laundry and lay out a few things.

11:40: Lunch for Peyton. While she eats I load and run the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen.

12:00: Trip to BJ’s (kind of like Costco) for a few things

  
1:30: It’s already time to head back to pick Parker up from school. He tells me all about his day on the ride home.

2:20: The kids have a snack and play while I start prepping for dinner. We’re having stir fry so I thaw chicken and cut up veggies. I also unload the dishwasher, and grab the laundry I had started before.

  
3:30: Parker’s been showing some interest in reading so I’ve been working on some sight words with him. He’s doing really well with it!

  
4:45: I start cooking while the kids chase each other around. Now that Peyton is crawling she loves being able to follow her big brother all over!

5:15: I eat with the kids

6:00: Travis gets home from hunting and grabs his plate of dinner and I’ve got the kids in the bath. 

6:30: We start toy clean up and our bedtime routine. Both kids go to sleep at the same time. Peyton starts her night bottle while we pick up.

7:00: The kids are in bed and Travis and I finish picking up from the day and fold laundry. We quickly watch Monday’s episode of the Voice (when we need to catch up we just fast forward and watch only the performances) so that we can watch the episode that’s on at 8:00 while we enjoy some wine.

    
10:00 Travis has been awake for over 24 hours at this point and has plans to get up before sunrise to hunt so it’s time for bed!

During the week all of our days look pretty similar. We’ve got a pretty good schedule down that helps when it gets a little crazy around here!

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑