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The Best Mattress for Athletes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser, all thoughts and opinions are my own. #SleepWellWithCopperFit #CollectiveBias

Derek and I have been married for seven years this month, and in that time we have gone through five mattresses. Some we got rid of during cross country moves when it was just more practical to get one at the new location, but some we've gotten rid of because they weren't a good fit for our sleeping habits.

When we moved to Utah in September, we bought a very inexpensive mattress just so we would have something, but then decided to make our spare room a guest bedroom, and then we got a king size mattress for our master bedroom. That first king size that we had was great, but during my marathon training especially I felt like it was hard for me to get a restful night sleep, and I felt like getting out of bed the next morning to complete my next workout was a task that was harder than it should be. I was sleeping, but I just never woke up feeling rested if that makes any sense.

(Click on this image to shop for your own Copper Fit® Mattress!)

Fast forward a few months and we got this new king size Copper Fit® Replenish Mattress. It's designed for a deep and rejuvenating sleep with it's copper infused memory foam that cradles the body and provides great pressure relief to help eliminate troublesome aches and pains.

Copper Fit® Mattresses help relieve pain and inflammation helping you recover and perform better. This happens through their 5-zoned support layer that helps target different pressure points in your body starting with your head and shoulders, and working it's way down through your back, hip and heels.

While training for my marathon I fell and sprained a joint in my hip while bringing Em into school one day, and I needed a lot of maintenance at the chiropractor through the remainder of my marathon training. I never felt fully recovered from that injury. With our Copper Fit® Mattress, I feel myself waking up each morning ready to tackle the next workout on my schedule, and I'm not nearly in as much pain as I was a few months prior. 

I've woken up everyday the last few weeks telling Derek how much I love our new mattress, and I've even told him several times, "this is the bed I want to grow old on!"

If you're interested in getting a Copper Fit® Replenish Mattress, you can head over to their site and have one shipped directly to your door! They come vacuum packed in a manageable size box so that you can easily move your new mattress to the room you want to set it up in. They have a 100 night money-back guarantee, and free shipping and returns which makes it a super low risk investment when ordering something online. Bonus points that you can order it in white or black, and in twin, full, queen, or king sizes, meaning that Copper Fit® Mattress has a bed that is perfect for everyone in your entire family!

Minimalist Travel With Kids

This post was created in partnership with Hotels4Teams, as part of a long term ambassador program, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

It's no surprise to anyone by now that I struggled with depression and anxiety after having Em. One of the biggest ways that I've been able to deal with that is minimizing the clutter in my home and making sure that everything has an organized spot. I feel so much peace and calm in my life when my home is not filled and cluttered with things we don't need, and is clean, organized, and tidy. 

When traveling with kids I feel like there are thousands of things you think you need to bring from snacks, toys, movies, clothes, strollers, the list goes on and on. However, I've noticed that bringing all the things, while traveling is sometimes not necessary, it clutters and junks up the car, and your kids are going to be unhappy and scream at least once during the trip no matter what, so instead of trying to bring your entire home with you to try and avoid it, just embrace it and know the meltdown won't last forever. 

Minimal Essentials For Traveling With Kids

  1.  Bring less clothing: I used to plan completely different outfits for each person in the family for each day that we were going to be gone. This meant that for a weekend trip anywhere, we were bringing at least two suit cases of just clothes. We now try and just stick to one pair of pants for each person, and then just bring a few shirts to switch it up with. If we have access to a washer and dryer, we'll wash clothes one night so everything is fresh, and if not, we can just spot clean things with soap and a washcloth so that they're ready to go again the next time we need them. 

  2. Technology: Our most frequent trip that we take is three hours north to Idaho to see Derek's family. We used to load our car with all the phones, tablets, DVDs, etc... it was too much. I hated traveling because it meant that I was shuffling devices and movies a thousand times within three hours. We recently stopped giving them any media the entire drive, and it's been such a treat to use that time talking and connecting with one another, and I swear there have been less meltdowns because of it. 

    That being said, if you need to bring media, instead of bringing all your DVDs in their cases, consolidate them into one of these little CD case binders so you don't have a thousand cases floating around your car. 

  3. Toys: As a parent, I've found that toys are really an invaluable tool for our family and keeping our kids happy. They don't need a ton, but having 1-2 things that your kids really love can make the downtime at grandma's house, or in the hotel a lot more enjoyable. If we're going on a trip, I'll likely buy my kids a new small toy of something they love, and then that toy will keep them insanely happy for hours on end when we need it. 

    Next week Derek and I are going on an all day hiking trip in Idaho while his brother watches Jay and Em. We plan on giving Em these Daniel Tiger Toys (found mine clearanced at Target!), and some fresh Playdoh, and we're confident that there won't be any major meltdowns while we're gone. 

    In addition to the 1-2 small toys that we'll bring, we also allow the kids to each bring one stuffed animal for bedtime. Having something their familiar with makes bedtime so much easier when their pillows, blankets and everything else might be different to them. 

  4. Don't Over Plan Your Days: We're going down to St George at the end of the summer for a last hurrah before school starts. We have a long list of the things we would love to do, but we try to keep it to just 1-2 activities per day. I've tried to plan trips where we did 3-5 things per day and it just led to hurt expectations on my end, and cranky children at the end of the day. Intentionally picking 1-2 things that everyone will enjoy ensures that your children aren't having massive meltdowns at the end of the day, and there won't (hopefully) be negative feelings associated with your trip! 

  5. Snacks: When we're road tripping and traveling with kids, this is the one time when I do not care what my kids eat. I usually pack a reusable grocery bag full of all the treats I know my kids will eat, like cookies, fruit pouches, Goldfish, raisins, granola bars, etc... and let the kids have what they want when they want it to keep spirits high while we're on the road, and on the town. 

  6. Pack Light: With Em and her disability, our car is basically packet to the rim no matter what, but I try to keep things under control as best as possible. We fit all our clothes into one carry on size suit case, one snack bag, a portable booster seat for restaurants, this blow up mattress for Em, our stroller, the kids stuffed animals, and Em's sensory blanket, and that's about it. 

    We try to not bring Em's wheelchair or walker with us when we travel, and just stick to the stroller, or my Ergo carrier because her mobility equipment takes up so much room in the car that we wouldn't have room for anything else. 
For more tips on packing for travel and the best travel accessories, check out this post from Hotels4Teams for tips and tricks for the best travel accessories in 2018!

Turkey and Hummus Quesadillas

Our family has been on a huge healthy eating kick the last few months. I'm actually really proud of us. We're officially at a point where we're only eating out one day a week on the weekends, and I'm at a place where I feel like I really have a handle on grocery shopping, and getting healthy meals on the table.

For the last six weeks or so, I've been doing the Six Sister's Stuff Menu Plans. I bought them when they were on sale fo half off, and so I think I spent something like $30 bucks for the entire year. They have a ton of different menu plans you can choose from: Standard family, Standard Large Family, Healthy Family, Healthy Large Family, and a Gluten Free Plan. We are doing the Healthy Family Plan which feeds four people. I've gotten a lot of questions about the meals and things over the last several weeks, so I thought that I would share a few recipes over here every now and then, especially the ones that we adapt to our own personal tastes.

We have four people in our home and the healthy family plan easily feeds all four of us, and we usually have leftovers. Our house doesn't have a ton of big eaters though. In fact, I'm probably the biggest eater in our house #RunnersAppetite.

These turkey and hummus quesadillas were one of my favorite meals that we've had so far! They were super delicious and easy to make! I modified them a little bit to fit our family's personal preferences, like swapping whole wheat for white flour tortillas, but you can find the original recipe on their site.

4 Flour Tortillas
4 tbsp Hummus
8oz Deli Turkey
1 cup Spinach
1 cup Shredded Mexican Cheese
Cooking Spray

Spread 1 tablespoon of hummus on one half of each of the tortillas. Then add 2oz of turkey on top of the hummus. Next layer a sprinkle of spinach and a 1/4 cup of cheese on top of the turkey, and then fold the tortilla in half.

In a skillet on medium heat, spray the skillet with cooking spray and then cook the quesadillas on each side for a couple minutes until the cheese is melted. I find that it goes a little faster if you keep the lid on the pan to keep the heat in and help the cheese melt faster!

Drop 13 Race Recap and What's Next For Running

It's been almost a month since I ran Drop 13, and so I wanted to get the details out on the blog today so that I don't forget anymore of the details than I already have, and to let you know what's next for me with my current health, fitness, and running goals.

Drop 13 was probably the earliest morning wakeup call that I've ever had for a race. I had to wake up at 3:30 am, and then my friend Jen got to my house shortly after for us to head down to Salt Lake together for the race.

When we got there, we were supposed to be on the "late bus" heading up the canyon to get to the start, but the late bus was later than it was supposed to be, and so we were out waiting in the cold a lot longer than we had expected.

Once we finally got on the bus and started heading up the canyon, I started to feel pretty sick to my stomach. I knew I was in for a long morning if I couldn't get myself to go #2 when we got to the race start, and sure enough that's what it turned out to be.

We got to the top of the canyon with only a few minutes to spare before the race started. We used the honey buckets as fast as we could, threw our drop bags in the trailer, and then headed to the start line with 30 seconds to spare.

As we started heading down the mountain, I started off fast since I knew I was trying to get my sub two half marathon PR, but my body did not like that. I think there was something with the combination of my race nerves, and my already bad GI system, but I had to pull off course around mile 3 to poop behind a dumpster and then make my way back on course. The same thing happened again at around mile 6, and then again around mile 9. By the third time I pulled off I thought that there was no way I would ever get my PR, but I just kept going and pushing.

By the time we made our way out of the canyon at around mile 11, I looked at my watch and noticed that if I walked the rest of the race I would actually still get my PR. This was a huge motivating moment for me, and I decided to capitalize on the time that I had and just kept pushing.

Those last two miles were so hard. My body was exhausted from all of the bathroom stops, and fast running that I'd done the last 11 miles, and all the pounding of the steep downhill, that running those last two flat miles felt like a very slow and painful death.

Right when I saw the finish line in the distance, I kicked it up to a sprint and finished strong, and finally got my sub 2 hour PR... except I completely blew it out of the water! My official time was 1:53:42! The finish line was probably my favorite part of the day. I shared so many happy moments and tears with so many other friends who were rejoicing in their new PRs and it was just the best thing ever!

Moving forward, our family life is changing quite a bit in the fall, which won't allow for as much half marathon training, so I'm shortening the distance quite a bit. I'll be working on a sub 25 minute 5k PR. My current PR for the 5k is 25:30, which I set my senior year of high school after I had graduated. So it's a long standing PR, but the incentive to work hard and finally hit a new mark for that distance is really exciting for me! I also started the Fitness Carli meal plan and am on week 3 and am amazed by the results that I've seen so far! If you want to stay up to date on all of my latest running adventures and healthy meal inspiration, feel free to follow my new instagram account @paigecassandra26.2.

A Summer S'mores Party

This post was sponsored by Nabisco as part of an Influencer Activation with Influencer Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own. 

When Derek and I were in college, his roommate, and my neighbor started dating each other right around the same time that Derek and I started dating. Since we were both coupled off with each other, we spent a lot of time hanging out with each other the summer before Derek and I got married. They got married about a year after we did, and even though we've both moved many times, and to different states here and there, we've always made our friendship with one another a priority throughout the years, and always see each other whenever we get the chance.

Evan and Fernanda were in town last week, so we decided that it would be fun to have a mini outdoor s'mores party with them after we all put our babies to bed. I knew we wanted to have a s'mores party with them before they got here, but we didn't have outdoor furniture, or a fire pit, which both seemed to be eliminating factors to my plan. We wound up borrowing a table from our neighbors, chairs from a different neighbor, and then I saw this DIY on Pinterest where you could make mini fire pits from a terracotta pot, and some charcoal wrapped in tin foil, and all of a sudden we each had our own mini fire pits to roast our marshmallows. 

When choosing snacks for our s'mores party, we headed to Walmart to pickup everything we needed. I've found that I love shopping at Walmart because I can pick up everything I need from food, refreshments, and serving dishes all in one location without having to make multiple trips to different stores when I'm getting ready for a party.

We wanted to do a little "s'mores bar", so we got a lot of varying NABISCO treats from Walmart to make it all the more fun. We had a large selection of Family Size Oreo Cookies, Family Size Chip's Ahoy Cookies, and Family Size Honey Maid Grahams. This was a fun way to give a little variety to the traditional s'mores treat, and we even had some Swedish Fish to snack on, should anyone not be in the mood for a s'more (but really, who doesn't love s'mores?!)

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NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to residents of the 50 United States, D.C., Puerto Rico, 18 and older. Sponsor, related entities, their families, and those living in the same household are ineligible. Ends 11:59 pm ET on 9/5/18. Void where prohibited. Visit www.nabiscosnacknshare.com to play and f or details including free method of entry. 

Fourth of July 2018 Recap

This was one of the best Fourth of July's that I think we've ever had together as a family of four. Basically anything is an improvement from two years ago, but this one seemed especially magical. We were going to go to Idaho for a long weekend, but Derek wound up only getting the Fourth off from work, so we stayed and made the best of the day as a family of four. 

Once we made the decision to stay, I signed up for the Layton Liberty Days 5k. It was a super small 5K race put on by the parks and rec department in our town, and since I knew there would be a few Utah Running Club people there, I figured it would be a fun morning. I'm in the process of trying to beat my high school 5K PR of 25:30, and yesterday I ran away with a 27:38. 

When I got home I was graciously greeted by two of the cutest kids on the planet. Seriously, when I get home from a race there is nothing more that I want to do than just cuddle my kids. They're the best. Em found my glasses on the nightstand while I was away, and when I walked into my room, I found her wearing them, and I was just gushing over here. Derek too. We gush together. 

Once I showered and got ready for the day we decided to take a group family picture. By we, I mean me. Mostly everyone else hates this I think, but they do it for me and for the blog, so I'm grateful to them for that. 

We went to the Layton City Parade and wound up sitting with our neighbors which was a lot of fun. Jay and their daughter are little besties and play together everyday, so it was fun to watch the parade and catch up with them. Em did so much better at the parade than we thought she would. She happily sat and sucked on a huge popsicle for 90% of the time which made things a lot better. 

After the parade we came home and I started working on desserts for our after dinner treat. I recently got the Anne Romney Cookbook from my sister-in-laws for my birthday last year, and I've found some really good gems in there. I made the white cake recipe from her book and topped it with berries for a patriotic look, and also made her apple pie recipe. The crust looks tragic, but we can just call it rustic instead. 

Once the desserts were made, I had no desire to actually cook dinner so we went with our long time tradition of ordering a pizza on the Fourth of July. We discovered a new place in town, Louie's Pizzeria, and while it wasn't my NY style pizza that I long for, it was definitely better than Dominos, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's... all of which I just can't (team Little Caesar's for life), but as far as getting a better "more expensive" pizza, Louie's was awesome! 

Once dinner was eaten and the kids were bathed, we gave them a bowl of ice cream and sent them off to bed. Derek's sister came over on her way home from Idaho around 10pm, and we woke Jay up and let him come do fireworks with us in front of the house. So many of our neighbors were also doing fireworks, so it turned into one big neighborhood show. It was the best. It was a lot of fun, and definitely a Fourth of July we'll never forget!  

For The Parents Whose Potty Trained Child Is Still Wearing Pull-Ups To Bed

Potty training is the worse. I started potty training Jay four, yes four years ago, and I can now say that he is 100%, full blown potty trained. I tried potty training when Jay was just shy of two, before Em was born in the summer of 2014. The first thing that I tried were these potty alarm diapers. The theory was that if he got the diaper wet, it would play a song, and then he would try and go to the bathroom before the diaper played the song. These diapers were made by a group of students who graduated from BYU and while a lot of parents found success, we did not. 

I tried potty training him again a few months after Em was born, a little while after we had moved to Georgia. At this point he was a little over two-and-a-half, and while we put in the solid effort for three days straight, nothing was clicking, and again we threw in the towel and went back to diapers for another year. Yes, year. 

Finally, when Jay was about three-and-a-half, we potty trained, and by this point he had been introduced to the concept enough, and he was just more mature and ready for it, and potty training him was a breeze. It took about a day, and from there were were smooth sailing... Except for when it came to bedtime. 

One of the major signs of potty training readiness is that your child wakes up in the morning with a dry diaper. Jay had literally never once had that happened to him in all those years. If we waited until that happened, then he wouldn't have been potty trained until now, right before his sixth birthday. 

Like daytime potty training, we tried having him go through the night in underwear several different times, and it just never worked out for him. He wanted so badly to stay dry, but he just physically couldn't do it. I brought this up to several doctors and therapists (the benefit of bringing Em in all the time is getting free advice about Jay in the process), and the last answer we got about six months ago was this: being able to stay dry though the night is a signal that the brain gets usually sometime before the age of seven, and there is nothing you can do about it until your child gets that signal. Literally nothing. So when we heard that, we just stopped worrying about it. We stopped reminding Jay to stay dry, took all the pressure off of him and ourselves, and just decided to let it be, and hope that it would work itself out within the next couple years. 

Then last week Jay ran out of pull-ups. We had company coming into town, we were fairly busy, and we just didn't have time to go and buy more. Jay said, "Dad, I really want to try and stay dry tonight!", so Derek sent him to bed without a pull up and the next morning, he woke up dry. And the same thing happened again, and again, and again. We've officially made it six days with no pull-ups, and I can confidently say that Jay is officially 100% potty trained. 

I share this because Jay perpetually seems to be behind his same age peers on so many things (asides from academics...), but he was last to ride a scooter, last to ride a petal bike, last to learn to swim, last to learn to pump his legs on the swing, still hasn't lost a tooth, the list goes on and on. This is no fault to Jay, he just has a shy and cautious personality, and so I believe some late milestones are partially due to that, and other ones are just his body taking it's time, and that's fine. 

I know first hand how frustrating and stressful it can be on the parent end of things when you're going to the store month after month to get those pull-ups. I want to tell you that if your child just isn't getting the night time potty training down, it will be okay. It really will eventually click one day, and you will have your morning dance parties when your child comes in to tell you they're dry. It will happen. And now that it's taken us four years to fully potty train our first child, we should probably move onto the second, so that we can have that done just before she turns eight. Wish us luck.