Wednesday, October 19, 2016

To the random stranger...

Yesterday I was walking with Chloe and was almost hit by a car. By far the closest call I've ever had and the most shaken I've been. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you already saw my post and read the story. If you don't follow me...then you should! But here's the background story:

This smiley girl and I had an interesting morning. We walked to Whole Foods for breakfast before heading to the park. On our way to the park, we were nearly hit mby a car. Luckily it was only a close call, but it was so close that I had to run out of the way of the vehicle to not get hit. I was shaken and upset. What bothered me even more is that not one person checked to see if we were okay. There were several cars that saw what happened and everyone was too busy trying to get to work to even roll down their window and check on the mother pushing her baby in a stroller. The car that nearly got us didn't even slow down. I'm pretty sure she will never know that she almost hit us. I guess what I'm getting to is be careful when you're driving and watch for pedestrians! As a runner and walker I try to watch for them, but even I am careless sometimes! Also if you see something happen or even almost happen to a pedestrian, Check to see if their okay!
A photo posted by Amy Gougler (@acgougler) on

As I walked away from this incident, I was definitely upset about the lady who will probably never even know that she could have seriously injured me and my child. I was even more upset about the fact that not a single person checked to see if I was okay. There were several cars at the stop light. Someone could have rolled down their window even. But no, everyone was too busy and worried about getting to work to comfort the mom walking with her baby. It's moments like this that make me disappointed in the world around us. Disappointed in people. Disappointed in God. Why are you letting this happen? I don't try to be disappointed in God, it's far from His fault. But sometimes it just feels like it is. In moments like this, I try to turn things around. Think about the good in humanity, not the bad. Instead of dwelling on the rude and hateful people in this world, focus on the good people that go out of their way to make their friends, family or even a random stranger's day brighter.

To the random stranger on the plane who told me that she knew I was a great mom:
Thank you for boosting my confidence in my ability to navigate this crazy journey called motherhood. It's far from easy. Thank you for making me feel good about myself in a stressful situation. {Luckily Chloe was pretty good since her previous flight experience was a nightmare.} Most importantly, thank you for going out of your way to tell me this. You didn't have to say a word, but you chose to and it made this momma's day!

To the random stranger who gave me her Mickey ears:
Thank you for being so kind and generous! I told you that I loved your Nemo/Dory themed Mickey ears while washing our hands in the bathroom. I left the bathroom and joined Chloe & Julie then you came out and offered them to me! You made them yourself and were leaving the parks that day, so you didn't really need them anymore. Thank you for making my day because of your kindness.

To the random stranger who works at Disney gave me a free cupcake:
You rock! Thank you for being awesome and making my last day at the Disney parks super awesome! I was totally eying those chocolate/peanut butter Darth Vadar cupcakes, and then you gave one to me...for free!

To the random strangers who encouraged me while running on the beach:
Thank you for making me feel like a rockstar that morning! I had laid in bed contemplating whether or not to run. I didn't really want to get up, but decided to do it since I was awake anyway. Thank you for encouraging me and telling me I looked fabulous. It made me feel fabulous. I was definitely glad I got my bootie up thanks to your compliments and these views.

To the random strangers who played with Chloe and I at the park:
Thank you for being as outgoing as I am and not afraid to let your kids play with us. So often we're at the park and other people come and act as if no one is there! Thank you for interacting with us and encouraging your children to help Chloe and play with her. It made her time at the park better and it made my hear so happy.

A big thank you to the random strangers out there that are kind, offer compliments, help others and go out of their way to just be a good human. You help me to remember that there are good people out there amongst the bad. I only hope that people see me as one of those good people.

Today I challenge everyone to go out of their way to make someone else's day. Maybe even a random stranger. You have no idea how much you could help someone with even the smallest compliment!

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Monday, October 17, 2016

90+ degree October days...

Holy hotness! Y'all it's been too toasty in Texas this year. Apparently there were two really nice weekends with cool mornings and highs "only in the low 80's." But of course I was gone for both of those weekends. The first weekend I'm back home and have outdoor plans its sooooo hot! Not just warm, it's hot. And humid. Good ol' Houston "fall" weather.

Don't worry, we didn't let the heat get the best of us! We started our Saturday taking Christmas card pictures and meeting Santa with Meeker Pictures, the photographers that shot my sister's wedding! Sneak peeks will come a little closer to Christmas. After pictures and a nap for my little, we hit the local pumpkin patch!

She ran right up to all the pumpkins as soon as we got there! It was super cute and fun to see her reaction. She went right up to the "Chloe sized pumpkins" and grabbed the most perfect, round, flawless pumpkin I've ever seen. You'll notice that it's in all of the pictures because she carried it around the rest of the time we were there.

Mom and I brought Chloe to this same pumpkin patch last year on a random week day. She was absolutely adorable and so tiny, but clearly had no idea what was going on. I love seeing how much my girl has grown and learned over the past year. How did my baby get so big so fast?

It was definitely worth going out there on a weekend this year because there was so much going on, but it wasn't too crowded. There was a bake sale, BBQ, face painting, a silent auction and they had local dance companies come out to perform! Chloe loved watching the dancers and listening to the music. She even did a little dancing herself.

I'm a sucker for themed photos especially if I can actually get one with the whole family! They had a cute little set up for pictures, so I had to get one of our little fam.

And how could I not get a sister picture while we were there? We kind of like each other...a little bit.

Overall, despite the heat, we had a great time outside at the pumpkin patch. I'm looking forward to real fall weather now. I know I'll miss the heat and I'll be ready for summer again come February/March, but it's time for the holidays to start. I'm ready!

And here's one more from last year just because she's tiny and hilarious...

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall into Favorites: Chocolate & Pumpkin Spice Chip Cookies

Hey, hey happy Friday! Is it just me or did this week fly by? It seemed to get away from me. I was definitely productive since it was my first full week at home in several weeks! After hopping around from Orlando to home right back out to Cancun and home again, it's nice to know I'll be here for a while. When traveling, I always miss the comforts of home. My own bed. Lounging on the couch. Cooking in my own kitchen. Speaking of cooking, I have a funny story for y'all...

A few weeks ago, before I started traveling, I had this urge to bake. Really I just wanted to use my stand mixer. It's been sitting pretty in the corner of my new kitchen for months and months just begging me to use it. I finally obliged. Chloe was down for a nap one Thursday, so I blew the dust off {literally there was some dust on it...gross} to make some delicious cookies! We were having people over on Saturday which meant I wouldn't have to eat all the cookies by myself. Perfect time to bake if you ask me!

A month ago Influenster sent me a Back 2 School Vox Box with all sorts of goodies and coupons for some awesome back to school items. One was a coupon for a free tub of Country Crock buttery spread. I usually use Irish butter, but I always keep a buttery spread in my fridge as well. Since I had been itching to use my stand mixer and my Vox Box came with a make it your own cookie recipe from Country Crock, this seemed like the perfect thing to bake! I love cookies and pumpkin spice. Go ahead, call me basic. I can't help it. I really do love it! I bought a package of pumpkin spice chips from Target and finally had a chance to use them. Clearly everything was falling into place for me!

Wet ingredients
1 cup Country Crock
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup pumpkin spice chips
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 375*F
  2. Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. I used my stand mixer, but you don't need one! An electric mixer would be your next best option followed by a manual whisk.
  3. Stir in dry ingredients until blended. The dough will be soft and creamy. {See my picture above!}
  4. Add mix-ins into the dough until every spoonful of dough has some of the delicious sprinkles, chocolate and pumpkin chips!
  5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto an uncreased baking sheet about 3 inches apart. If you want, you can add additional sprinkles on top of the cookies.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges of the cookies are lightly golden.
  7. Let your cookies cool and ENJOY!

The cookies turned out delicious! Everyone loved them especially Chloe. I think she got her Momma's sweet tooth. I'm already wanting to make them again! Maybe I can half the recipe. I certainly don't need 4 dozen cookies hanging out in my kitchen. I will eat wayyyyy too many of them! Or maybe I'll come up with a new recipe to use the rest of my pumpkin spice chips. I guess we'll have to see what I can come up with.

I'm just looking forward to being home this weekend. We have Christmas card pictures and game night and the rest is just hanging out! So have a wonderful weekend y'all!

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Monday, October 10, 2016

I'm still here...


Oh hello there! You're probably wondering where I've been. Unless you follow along with me on Instagram, then you may know that I've been hopping around the U.S. and Mexico! Okay, just Orlando and Cancun. But back to back long weekends with a crazy week in between. I've got a bit of catching up to do this week.

But let's just take a sneak peek at my travels!

First stop Orlando! We had a blast at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party dressed up as Monsters! Mike, Sully and little Boo.

We spent four days with Julie and hit each of the parks. Chloe did such a great job and had a blast! Of course I'll post more pictures and give more details when I get my act together.

I got home Sunday night from Orlando and took off Thursday morning for Cancun!

I was there for my friend Jaci's wedding! Nicole and I decided to leave our girls at home with their daddies and have a nice, quiet girls weekend. It was perfect. The wedding was gorgeous! We danced the night away and had an amazing time with friends from middle school/high school.

The weather was perfect. It was sunny the whole trip except for a little rain on our final morning!

Again, I have more pictures and details, but no time to share today! This is just a glimpse at all the fun I've been having! Now I'm off to is Monday after all!

Happy Monday y'all!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall into Favorites: Why Disney is my Favorite Place

Once upon a time on this day, many, many years ago, in a land far, far away a princess was born! Okay, it wasn't that long ago or that far away. But a princess was indeed born 29 years ago in Ft. Stewart, GA. Today that princess is going to celebrate by jetting off to her favorite place with
 her tiny princess to visit her bestie! That's right, for my birthday I'm off to Disney with Chloe to spend a long weekend with my Julie!

Enough about me, let's talk about Disney. Since it's one of my favorite places, I thought I'd talk about why it's my favorite!

one. runDisney
Disney knows how to put on races! I won't go into too much detail because if you've been around here a while, you've heard all about my runDisney obsession. Check out my Races tab to see my Disney race experiences!

two. castle pictures
There isn't anything more magical than a picture in front of Cinderella's Castle! Unless you're taking a picture in front of Aurora's Castle in Disneyland!

three. fireworks
Disney does fireworks and light shows right. They're always beautiful and nothing short of amazing. Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios have my favorite firework shows. This time I'm looking forward to the show at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! I hear the Sanderson Sisters will be there!

four. this girl
Julie lives in Orlando which means that if I'm at Disney, I'm with her. Even when she didn't live in Orlando if I was at Disney, I was with her. I'm so lucky to have such an amazing friend!

five. Mickey shaped food
If your food is Mickey shaped, it just tastes better. It's a fact of life. If you haven't had Mickey shaped food, then you don't know what you're missing. Personally, Mickey waffles are my fave!

six. character pictures
Character pictures aren't just for kids. They're for everyone. You don't even need a kid to have the most amazing experience with the characters. Definitely wait to meet them when you have the chance. It's magical and one of my favorite parts of Disney!

seven. parties
I went to my first Disney party last year at Christmastime. It was so nice to see the park way less crowded and to meet rare characters! I'm super pumped about Not So Scary because I heard it's amazing and even better than Christmas!

eight. magic through the eyes of a child
Chloe was teeny tiny when we went last time. I can't wait to see her reaction now that she's a little older and more engaged with what's going on around her! I hope that she loves seeing the characters that she sees on Disney Junior and isn't afraid of them. All I know is that this trip will be wonderful with my little princess.

Why yes, that is tiny Snow White with a kiss from the real Snow White on her forehead. I'm obsessed.

There you have it. Reasons why Disney is my favorite place! Some may say that I'm juvenile, but honestly I think that I'm young at heart. I may be starting the last year of my 20's today, but at least I don't act it! I can't wait to celebrate!!!

Where is your favorite place?
Do you love or loathe Disney?

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Fall into Favorites: Races


It's the Monday of my birth week!!! We had such a fun weekend brunching, watching football, lounging and being with friends and family! We had a little pre-birthday brunch on Saturday with some friends and family since my birthday is midweek and I'm leaving on my birthday for Orlando to spend a long weekend with Julie. I'm so so so excited! 

I know I won't be running much while I'lm gone this weekend, but luckily I've been keeping up with my runs thus far...

Last Week
Sunday: 6.2 miles
Monday: Cycle + Tabata
Tuesday: 2 mile walk
Wednesday: 2 miles speed work
Thursday: 3 4 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles Rest

This Week Proposed
Sunday: 6 miles
Monday: Cycle + Tabata
Wednesday: Kickboxing + 2 miles speed work
Thursday: Disney Rest Day!
Friday: Disney Rest Day!
Saturday: Run...not sure how many miles

Since Monday have been running talk days for me later, I thought it would be fun to flashback to some of my favorite races that I've run! 

First we'll rewind to September 28, 2013...that's birthday 3 years ago we ran the Zooma Cape Cod half marathon. It was by far the most beautiful race that I've ever run.

Not only did it have the best scenery, but it was also the best weather. Cold, but not too cold. Not humid at all. Sun shining. Breeze blowing. It couldn't have been better. I even met a fellow Texan that I ran the second half of the race with.

I think I owe my PR to her! It was my fastest race to date in 1 hour 51 minutes 22 seconds. I wanted that PR medal so bad but didn't think I'd get it! Training for a September half in Houston is tough, but I think the Houston conditions helped me in the end.

Oh and going to Cape Cod for your birthday weekend with your best friends pretty much makes for the best race weekend ever!

 We all know that I'm absolutely obsessed with runDisney races. I'm not going to go through each and every one of them because all Disney races are my favorites. Instead I'm flashing back to February 2014. This is one of the most memorable Disney trips!

I ran as Cinderella! The weather wasn't the greatest. It was warm and incredibly humid, but I stopped and took tons of pictures with characters and just had a great time overall! I also got to share the experience with the greatest friends in the world. Friends that travel together, stick together?

I think this trip was so memorable because the entire weekend was just FUN! We had our first character lunch, went to all the parks, ran our race and had a blast.

The last race that stands out in my mind as an absolute favorite is the 2014 Chevron Houston Marathon! This was my second marathon. I loved it more than the first for a few different reasons. One, the weather was amazing! My first marathon was freezing and raining. This one was cool and sunny! By the end of the race it was getting quite warm, but I still loved it.

Two, I got to run with my awesome running buddies turned great friends Chandra and Melanie! The first marathon I ran with Melanie, but Chandra injured her hip midway through training season. It was so encouraging to be able to train every week with these girls and then run for several hours with them on race day! We stuck together until mile 18 and then we kind of settled into our own speeds.

Three, JP joined me on Allen Parkway and ran the last few miles with me! I was hurting pretty bad, but JP was in prime condition. Just what I needed, someone to boost me up and push me hard to the finish. I finished 2 minutes slower than my first marathon in 4:03:39, but I'm still super proud of that number!

Now I just need to figure out my official fall race! I have so many trips coming up that it's hard to figure out which one to run. All this running and reminiscing about races has me eager to sign up for one!

Any thoughts on fun races that I need to run? I'm open to all options for future race/vacation destinations!

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