Thursday, December 8, 2011

Safety first.

Have you had "the talk" with your children? No, not *that* talk. I'm talking about the everyone-in-the-world-isn't-quite-as-good-as-we-are talk. Its a tricky subject to bring up because usually we are trying to do the exact opposite! We shield our children from bad language, mature subjects and all things scary. But folks, you gotta get over it and have this talk with your children. It could save their lives.

The abduction and murder of 7 year old Jorelys Rivera from Canton, Georgia is a horrific reminder of this. Jorelys was simply playing outside with her friends. She left them for a minute and told them she was going in to get some drinks, and was never seen again. I read an article today that a friend shared on Facebook and I thought it was important that I share.

The article is found here, but I wanted to highlight some important facts and suggestions from the article.
***These are taken verbatim.

Some statistics:

The typical (important to remember, not all) abductor is a 27.7 year old, unemployed, white male who moves around a lot and typically has a prior criminal history.

The typical victim is a 11.4-year-old, female (74% of those kidnapped are females), who is friendly, outgoing and is from a stable family relationship.

Most of these abductions are crimes of opportunity. 66% of these people are in the area for legitimate reasons, and most abductions happen by someone the kid knows, within a quarter mile of the home.


I have talked to my children about strangers, etc., but honestly I haven't really sat down with them and played out scenarios. What would you do if this? What you do if that? They know never to leave school or anywhere else with a stranger. I have talked to them about people touching them inappropriately. But, because I do not have the mind of a monster, I cannot know the crazy things that they come up with to lure children to them.

Another piece of the article is suggestions on how to approach this with your children and some things to talk about with them. Here are some of those ideas:

One idea is to play a “scenario” game: ask your child “What would you do if someone came up and asked you to help them find a puppy?” A good answer to tell them would be: ”Grown-ups don’t ask kids for help, they ask other grown-ups.” That way they always come find you, first.

You’re not allowed to hurt anyone, unless they hurt you. If they grab you, bite, fight, and scream “you’re not my mom, you’re not my dad.”

radKIDS (Resist Aggression Defensively) has some sound advice: 1) No one has a right to hurt me because I’m special. 2) I don’t have the right to hurt anyone else, unless they’re hurting me and 3) If they do, it’s OK to tell. So tell your kids if anything happens that “It’s OK, and it’s not your fault.” Kids don’t want to get in trouble, and often take the blame and keep quiet.

Adults don’t have secrets with kids, and you don’t have secrets from mom and dad. If someone has a ‘secret’ with you, you tell mom and dad.

Tell your kids that if they get lost somewhere – a mall, zoo, park, wherever – a clear, safe, solution is to run to a mommy with kids.

Code words are good (only people who know this ‘special’ word are allowed to pick you up), but people are even better. Only mom, dad, aunt, grandma, grandpa, etc. are allowed to pick you up and take you somewhere.

It is a tough subject to talk about because we really don't want to scare our children...but honestly? I vividly remember watching the movie 'Adam' on TV when I was probably about Jacobs age (8). It terrified me. I even remember laying in my bed and not being able to sleep! TO.THIS.DAY I remember it. It obviously had a lasting impact on me and I never, ever, ever would have so much as taken one step with a stranger.

It's an important conversation, guys. I suggest having it with every single one of your children no matter the age. It could save their life.

Rest in Peace Jorelys. Many prayers for your familys healing.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why every distance runner should CrossFit and why every CrossFitter should distance run.

I'll start by asking, am I an expert on either of these topics? Absolutely NOT. All I know is what I experience...and I do realize my experiences aren't that of anyone else's. We all have a mind of our own and get through things the way we know how. That said:



Mostly because YOU ALREADY HAVE IT IN YOU. But I'll get back to that later.

Distance running is tough. It wears down your muscles. It requires a ton of training. It is a big commitment; a lifestyle almost.

The first few years I was "distance running" (training for half-marathons and full marathons), basically all I did was run. I definitely had the mental toughness for it but I only got better (read: faster) veeeery slowly. When I first started, I was about a 10 minute/mile pace. After a few years of training, I had only dropped that pace down to about 9:30/mile. Maybe on a really good day 9:15/mile...but that was me really pushing it.

At some point I decided to switch up my training and start some personal training at my gym. I started working with a really awesome trainer. I didn't do this for the sake of my running, I simply did it because I was getting bored and needed a change. Little did I know how much strength training would improve my running! Very quickly my pace started getting faster....and faster....and faster. I went from a 2:04 (9:28 pace) half marathon to a 1:49 half (8:19 pace). For all you math whizzes out there, that's more than a minute per mile drop! That is huge in a considerably short period of time. I also went from a 27:30 5K (8:51 pace - and that was bookin' it for me) to a 22:10 5K (7:08 pace!) That is HUGE!

Of course I am not sharing all this information to gloat...only pointing out that improvement was solely adding strength training to my regimen. Getting stronger so my legs could carry me faster and my endurance could improve.

My trainer did mostly CrossFit (*CF) style workouts. Since that time, I have left that gym and joined a CrossFit gym. CF is UNBELIEVABLE for your strength and endurance. CrossFit, according to Wikipedia, is:

a strength and conditioning brand that combines weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, powerlifting, kettlebell training, plyometrics, rowing, and medicine ball training.[1] CrossFit contends that a healthy, fit person requires proficiency in each of ten general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy.[2] It defines fitness as increased work capacity across all these domains and says its program achieves this by provoking neurologic and hormonal adaptations across all metabolic pathways.

After taking more than a year break from running and very recently starting again, not only have I have not lost any speed, but running has come very easy. The speed, the strength and stamina to climb hills; this is all part of a CF workout on an everyday basis.

Now let's get back to the statement above; "YOU ALREADY HAVE IT IN YOU". Any distance runner knows that AT LEAST 50% of it is mental (probably even more than this). Your body is capable of so much more than you realize. In my opinion, what separates a good runner from a great runner is simply belief in oneself; an inner strength inside the soul. It is mental strength, determination, will, perseverance and simply just the belief of "DON'T GIVE UP!". There is a word for all of these traits that someone shared with me long ago and I recite it in my head every time I need an extra push (which is practically every day. CrossFit ain't easy y'all).

If you have this mental capacity (and you know deep down whether you do or you don't) it makes you a better runner. And an awesome CrossFitter, because you have the ability to push yourself beyond what others will do. CrossFit is such an AMAZING cross training, but not everyone has it in them. It is very competitive and very tough. But if you have this "push" within you for running, you are already ahead of the CrossFit 'game' even if you haven't started.

CrossFit will be so good for your running and will help coordinate your body in ways that you can't believe. You will be a SO MUCH BETTER runner for it.

Now, let's talk about the flip side:


I know every person who is really into CF is either a)seriously rolling their eyes right now OR b)thinking, "this chic has no clue what she is talking about!" People who CF think "CROSSFIT IS THE ONLY WAY!" "Every other workout is a total waste of time!".

While I do agree that CF is the best thing I have ever done (body wise), you really can't compare it at all to running. They are two totally different animals. I run to hear the gravel crunch under my shoes; to feel the wind on my face. I run for the birds, the trees, the smell of nature. I run to give myself a quiet minute to think about things that have been on my mind. Running is for the soul! Before I loved running I thought the idea of running for enjoyment was crazy! It was clearly only for people who were deranged enough to have convinced themselves that they actually enjoyed running. Sort of a coping mechanism for exercise, if you will. Now I know this isn't true at all. There is more joy to find in running than you could ever imagine. The peace and tranquility; never mind the incredible sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a long run.

CrossFitters are now thinking..."OK, but I can find peace and tranquility at the spa, so why 'damage' my body with a long run?"

That's easy.

First of all, it wont damage your body. If you hydrate, fuel and listen to your body, you are golden. Especially if you have built up the muscles to support your body during a run. This is hogwash.

But mostly because, YOU ALREADY HAVE IT IN YOU! You have no idea how many times I have been in the middle of a WOD (WOD = Workout Of the Day) and felt like I didn't have anything left. Then I would think to myself "OK, remember such-and-such race at mile 10 how terrible I felt....but I finished. If I finished then I can finish now!" Or I'll think..."I only have one round left. That's about 5 minutes. If I can run for 5 hours I can do ANYTHING for 5 minutes!" I pull mental strength from my running experiences AT LEAST once a day while I am working out. Running has benefited me so immensely at CF that I honestly can't imagine what it would be like without having experienced pushing through MAJOR body fatigue.

Although I am no CF superstar (yet :) ), I have found that having been a runner puts me a step ahead of the game.

So the point of all of this? Nothing really, just to share. Having been on both sides I can appreciate both of them and how they can help you become a really, really great athlete. Facing adversity during long runs will make you a MUCH better CrossFitter and CrossFit strength and endurance training will make you a WAYY better runner. Try and and see for yourself. I dare you. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pay it forward

So now's the time of the year that we all feel like cooking, right? RIGHT!?? Well I do anyway. It's also the time of the year that we bring meals to friends. Of course we all do this year round, but bringing a meal to someone unexpectedly during the busiest time of the year is a really awesome gesture. Do something for somebody it forward people. So here's a perfect, heart warming meal to bring to someone special....just because!

Lasagna Soup & Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. I found the lasagna soup on Pinterest (follow me!). I have actually made lots of Pinterest recipes lately and have not been disappointed yet! I made a few changes to the original recipe which was found here. Here's what I did:

Lasagna Soup

for the soup:
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
3 chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 1/2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes + 1/2 15-oz. can.
2 bay leaves
8 c. chicken stock
12 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

for the cheesy yum:
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper

2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (I put this for the kids but not me. You definitely don't need it with all the other flavors).

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ground turkey & sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.

Servings: 8

**grabbed this picture from the original recipe. Hers was prettier than mine. ;)

SUPER YUMMY! My family loves this and it is VERY easy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
3/4 cup vegetable oil, plus
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon clove
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans. Mix dry ingredients together (flour, soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.) Stir chocolate chips into dry mixture.

In separate bowl, stir eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin together. Add pumpkin mixture to dry mixture and stir until well combined. Scrape batter into loaf pans and smooth top.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely and top with powdered sugar. (This isn't a must...just makes it look pretty).

Then if you wanna get really creative, you can wrap it up really nice like this:

(not my pic either) :)

So there you have it! Serve the soup with a warm loaf of ciabatta and a nice bottle of Pinot Noir and you have an excellent meal to bring to someone.....just because! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

2 months!??

WOW, has it really been 2 months since I updated this blog? How in the world do I catch anyone up on the last 2 months? Well I'll try....

After early September when I last updated is when the company started. My cousin Kaley came to visit, followed by a visit from one of my oldest and dearest, Stacie. We had a BLAST when she was here...just hanging out and catching up. It's been a long time! The last night she was here we went down to Dallas to see Boyce Avenue play at the Grenada Theater. it was an awesome show!

After Stacie flew back home, Kaley came back to visit. That Friday night happened to be the Maroon 5 and Train concert. Can you say AMAZING??? Kaley even got to meet the band with us even though she did not have a meet-and-greet ticket. Pays to be young and hot I guess?

Meeting them is pretty stupid actually, but it comes with our tickets so of course we don't pass it up! But the concert was AMAZE and Ana and I even got pulled on stage for one of the Train songs. So FUN!!

Kaley left a few days later and my in-laws came in for my surgery. I was a little nervous about it but everything turned out just perfectly and what i thought was going to be a very long 6 week recovery actually flew by. I am 6 weeks as of today. HALLELUJAH!! I really REALLY missed Crossfit, but I went back Monday and I don't feel like I lost that much 'skill'. At least it gave my hands a chance to heal up!

Pretty Gross huh? I guess that's what a million thousand pull ups get you. But now they are back to being nice and soft....but probably not for long. ;)

And Eden is glad to be back at Crossfit with me too. This little monkey loves it almost as much as she loves Gymnastics!

I had my surgery on a Wednesday and the following Monday my mom came in to help take care of me. Fortunately, I did not need to be taken care of so we shopped and lunched most every day...our favorite things to do! ;) That weekend, my aunt (her sister) and I had planned a surprise 60th Girls night Out. I rented us a room at the Westin in Frisco and I left earlier in the day to decorate the room all up and put out some hors devours, champagne, etc. When I got home I told her to pack an overnight bag and she was so baffled! We took her to the room, started on the Champagne at about 4 pm and partied into the night. Wine at Cru, dinner at was perfect! We had SO MUCH FUN and decided it was going to be a bi-yearly event. Happy 60th Bebe! We love you!

She left after the weekend and then it was back to life as normal. I had company for well over a month so things seemed awwwwwfully quiet when she left. :( But hey, at least we had the World Series right? This series was the best EVER and although the Rangers didn't win (again) was truly exciting to watch. Jacob and I shared some really good bonding since Mike has been out of town a lot. He would look so forward to sleeping in the bed with me and getting to stay up late on a school night to watch the games. We would scream and hoot and holler....even hide our faces under the covers during those games that went into extra innings and were really tight. So nerve racking!! Win or not, we still love our Rangers!

After all that excitement, there was Halloween. This year Jacob decided to be Eminem, Parker a 'robber', and Eden a lady bug (again). They all looked so cute and had a great night trick or treating with all their friends!

And what fun is Halloween without an adult costume party? This year some of our friends threw a costume party and everyone had to come as a cartoon character. Mike and I decided to go as Malibu Barbie and Ken.

The next week (just last week!) football came to a close.

Go Eagles! it was a really great season and Jacob did extremely well for his first season of tackle. We all enjoyed watching....especially his best cheerleader! (sporting a Cowboys hat, but rooting for the Eagles. ;))

Thursday at Jacob's award ceremony, he was given the 'Principal's Award'. It is an award given to only one child per grade. It is given for being an all around great student.....eager learner, helpful and nice to others, respectful of teachers, etc. I am so proud of him.

The weekend came and we had a wedding to attend in Dallas. It was one of Mike's co-workers, so the McCools went also. We stayed in Dallas overnight and it was so fun!

So there you have it!! the last 2 months of the Devenny's life. BUSY BUSY BUSY is the only word to describe it but I wouldn't have it any other way. I will use the surgery as an excuse to why I haven't updated in so long. I promise to be better!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Are you ready for some fooooootbaaaaaaaaalllll? Yep, football season is here. Jacob made the move this year from flag to tackle, and Parker is old enough to play flag this year. Already, even practice has been so much fun to watch! Jacob and Parker were both supposed to have opening weekend this weekend, but because of the terrible heat, they pushed back tackle opening weekend 2 weeks. Parker still had his opening ceremonies though and 4 scrimmages yesterday. Even though it was a breezy 106 degrees, it was still really fun to watch.

Eden and her boyfriend NoNo before the game ready to cheer. Go Longhorns! (Parker's team...)

Big brothers!

Running through the tunnel at opening ceremonies. SERIOUSLY CUTE!!

Parker and his best buds, Cole and Preston. (think his jersey is big enough??)

Making a great block (on the left). Go P-Diddy!

I'm after you #7!

Got his flag! WHOOP!


Parker, Preston and Cole on the line

His adorable 3 point stance!

Thanks to Ashley for these awesome pictures!! Maybe one of these days I will bring MY camera to a game...but then pictures aren't nearly as good as Ashley' maybe not! ;)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First day of school!

So, here's the obligatory 'first day of school' blog! :) Having a Kindergartener always makes for a fun first day. The nerves, excitement and anticipation make the experience even more fun! Jacob going to 2nd grade was exciting too, but there is nothing like having a Kindergartener.

First day of school pancakes!

Where the backpacks will live for the next 9 months..

Sleepy head could not get out of bed to take her brothers to school! Love my lil summer baby.

Welcome back!

Parker at his desk

Jacob the big bad 2nd grader! :)