Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween from my Disney obsessed...


...pumpkin patch lovin'...


...big bow and dress wearin'...


...big candy smilin'..

Trick - or - Treater!!!


Oh, and from me! 
Yes, I wore this in public. I taught my fitness classes in it yesterday and felt like a champion. My favorite part is when I proceeded to wear it in the downtown tunnels after my classes. Hey, a girl needs to eat and I had to get something before driving back home! I definitely got a lot of smiles and a few double takes.

I hope that everyone has a wonderfully fun and safe Halloween today! May your costumes be awesome and your candy buckets full! Chloe is so excited to go trick-or-treating for the first time. She's all about that sugar these days and I do my best to keep it from her. Her first Halloween she was a bitty baby, so trick-or-treating wasn't really in the cards. Last year we did go to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the end of September and did a little trick-or-treating there, but it isn't quite the same. Last Halloween we were busy exploring London, so she wore some cute outfits, but no candy. I think she's prepared this time. We did an experimental go with trunk or treating on Friday. It was a success, so hopefully she'll have a blast with all of her friends on the street! I can't wait to share the awesomeness.

Just for fun, here's a look back at Chloe's Halloween past!

2017 Anna - 2016 Monster @ MNSSHP - 2015 Snow White

Halloween in London

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Gamla Stan & Monteliusvagen


It's Friday! Today I want to take your mind away from the daily grind and explore the world. Today it's Stockholm! I absolutely fell in love with Stockholm and can't wait to share our adventures.



Our last day in Norway was Charlotte's wedding day. We left the wedding just after 2:00am, got back to our house, showers and were on our was to the train station by 4:45am. Chloe and I managed to get an hour of sleep on the train, but that was it. We were all zombies at the airport and just wanted to get to our next stop.

Once we landed in Stockholm, picking up our bags and everything was very easy. Then we just needed to decide how to get to the city center. There are several different options and since we weren't in a huge rush, we opted to take the bus which was only about $10/person. We were at our hotel by noon and they even let us check in early! {I'll do a post later on our hotels.} We pretty much dropped our stuff in the room and decided to just go. Exhaustion was setting in and we knew we'd be so off if we slept!



Instead of napping, we hit the road and started walking to Gamla Stan or Stockholm's Old Town. Along the way we saw some gorgeous government buildings and churches that I had to stop and see. Some of the government buildings have information outside of them describing what their purpose is in Swedish and English. Since I love learning about other countries and cultures, it's fascinating to me.


When we got to Gamla Stan, we just kind of walked around that first day. There are tons of shops and restaurants! We went into some of the shops, but several were closed since it was Sunday. There were definitely more things open then there would be in Norway on a Sunday! Some of the more interesting things were the Viking Restaurant, the narrow alleyways between buildings and the Vattenfall World Triathlon Stockholm was taking place! I didn't get any good pictures of the participants, but as a running, I thought it was neat to see.


After a little wandering, we made our way to the square to capture some iconic pictures.


Gamla Stan fun facts:

  • It dates back to the 1200's
  • The cobblestone and tiny alleyways are from the medieval times
  • The square is where the Stockholm Bloodbath took place
    • This is when Swedish noblemen were killed by the Danish King Christian II in 1520
  • The oldest existing restaurant is still in operation, Den gyldene freden, since 1722
  • It is home to the Stockholm Cathedral and the Royal Palace
  • It was originally the main town of Stockholm surrounded by rural area. It didn't officially become Gamla (which means Old) Stan (meaning town) until 1980.
  • If you're interested, find more information about Gamla stan here!



Now our trip is going a bit out of chronological order, but it just makes sense to share Monteliusvagen on the same post as Gamla stan. Monteliusvagen is a 500 meter walking path with amazing views of the lake and Gamla stan. We visited Monteliusvagen on our last evening in Stockholm which rounded out our trip quite nicely.



It was quite the walk to get over there for us. It was a couple of miles from our hotel plus the streets leading up to Monteliusvagen are huge cobblestones that are not at all conducive to pushing a stroller. We started getting a bit frustrated the last 10 minutes of our journey, but it proved to be totally worth it! Just look at these views! 




There were a few other tourists up there with us, but it was far from crowded. We were able to take our time and enjoy ourselves as we looked over the railing at the beautiful city of Stockholm. Like I said, I fell in love with Stockholm while we were there. I knew I was going to enjoy the city, but it proved to be even more magnificent than I anticipated. If you ever have the chance to visit, I highly recommend it! All Scandinavian countries are beautiful and worth the trip.

This is just the beginning of our Stockholm adventure with more to share, so stay tuned next week for my next Stockholm post. Until then, have a fabulous weekend!


In case you missed them, here are my Scandinavian adventure posts:
Sneak Peek | Start of our Adventures | Oslo Part 1 | Oslo Part 2 | Lilleputthammer | Hiking in Norway | Charlotte & Ole's Wedding | Maihaugen | Gamla stan

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Fall into Racing


Oh man Monday. Monday morning has me giving smirks like that little girl up there and, I'm seriously dreaming of my mimosa flight from brunch on Saturday...but we'll get there later. This morning I woke up to actual fall weather! It's 51 degrees outside right now. If only this cool front could have come two days sooner. I could have used a beautiful, cool Saturday morning for my 10K this weekend.


I haven't run a race since May! The last race I ran was the Disneyland Tinkerbell half marathon. Since I ran Princess the last weekend of February, I was able to just keep up my running until Tink on Mother's Day weekend. After that I kept running short distances, but summer really isn't the best time for running or racing in Houston. In September after all of our travels, I finally started to get back on track with running 3 days a week consistently with long runs on the weekend. The last 10K I ran was back in March for the Rodeo Run 10K with Rachael!

This weekend Rachael and I decided to tackle another 10K. I created her training plan and was there to pace her to a PR! Our goal was to finish under 1:00:00. 59:59 would be perfect! So let's take a look and see just how it went!


We woke up dark and early. 5:30am is my usual Saturday morning wake up time, so it wasn't too bad. I spent the night at Rachael and Jojo's so I didn't have to drive an hour to the race since they were only 15 minutes away. The race start was supposed to be at 7:00am, so we planned to get there by 6:30 to have plenty of time to park, potty and get ready to go. Unfortunately when they said it started at 7:00, they meant the pre-race talking and whatnot, not the actual race. Waiting for an hour was kind of a bust, but it was a nice breezy 72 degrees which was nice for standing around. Not so great for running.

The race did start right at 7:30am. We were able to get a nice spot near the front, so we weren't dealing with dodging around a bunch of walkers.

Mile 1 - 10:22 min/mile
The first mile went great. We started out slow and easy to get our legs going. The plan was to run about a 10:15 for the first mile and 9:30 for the remaining miles. That would average us out to the 9:40 average pace needed to to finish sub 1:00:00. A few seconds slower certainly wasn't going to hurt us! It was definitely warm, but it didn't feel too bad yet. The first mile few by pretty quick.

Mile 2 - 9:30 min/mile
We picked up the pace during our second mile and didn't feel like we were straining. We were both still able to talk at this point. We had to dodge around a few people, but for the most part it was an easy mile.

Mile 3 - 9:41 min/mile
Mile 3 we were still doing okay! We slowed down just a tad, but were still on track for our finish goal. Our bodies were definitely warming up and the 96% humidity was starting to get to us. We grabbed some water to dump on our heads to hopefully cool us down a bit.

Mile 4 - 9:30 min/mile
We passed through the finish line at the 3.1 mile marker and kept on going for our second loop. The good part is that most people were running the 5K, so the course thinned out a ton for our second time around. The bad part is that the heat and humidity were starting to get to Rachael. I decided to start telling her a story to pass the time and keep her spirits up!

Mile 5 - 10:43 min/mile
The story started at the end of mile 4, so it continued on through mile 5. I told her all about my brother's wedding which still hasn't been featured on the blog yet! I'm waiting for all the beautiful pictures from the photographer. Anyway, mile 5 is where Rachael started to struggle. She told me at the end of mile 4 that she didn't think she'd be able to keep going at the pace we were maintaining. We slowed a bit, but then again quite a bit more.

Mile 6 - 10:17 min/mile
At 5.25 miles, we were going pretty slow and I knew we needed to pick it up. I started running faster to see if I could get Rachael to catch up with me. I thought if I was ahead of her, she would want to push just a little faster. I saw myself creeping further and further away, so I had to make an executive decision: keep running the race race solo and push to finish or slow down and finish with Rachael. I knew Rachael would finish and at this point the sub 1 hour wasn't going to happen, so I kept on. I picked up my pace to a 9:30 average and kept pushing on. Since the first quarter of a mile was quite a bit slower, it still averaged out over 10 minutes.

Mile 7 (0.2) - 8:57 min/mile
The last little bit I picked it up and really challenged myself. Why not? I kicked it into gear and finished strong! I finished in 1:03:30 and Rachael came in only 2 minutes behind me. She could see me most the the time and she said her goal was to not let me get out of her sight!

Overall, it was a great race. It was an easy, flat course and they were raising money for an amazing cause: Foster kids!


As soon as we finished, we toweled off our sweat, changed clothes and went to brunch! We went to Fieldings in The Woodlands and it was AMAZING! I started off brunch the way everyone should...with a mimosa flight! It was well deserved after all.


In case you were wondering, from left to right they were original orange, blueberry pomegranate, elderflower and grapefruit! The elderflower won first place with grapefruit coming in at a close second.

For food I had the most life changing entree: creme brulee french toast. Seriously, the best french toast I've ever had in my life. I like french toast well enough, but usually I would call myself a pancake girl as far as breakfast carbs go. Now I'm definitely a creme brulee french toast girl. I can't even describe how delicious it was. Just so y'all know, I ate every single bite and regretted none of it.


Just looking at the picture makes we want it again! 

The rest of the weekend was super chill. Of course, a cool front came in with some thunderstorms on Sunday morning. It rained crazy hard, but we still made it out the door in time for mass followed by the Knights fall craft fair! I got some awesome stuff for the house and another Lularoe dress. It was a win in my book. 

I was definitely wishing the cooler air had been there for our race, but I'm at least glad that it wasn't raining and we still finished with a great time. Now we're looking for some December races to see if we can still get that PR! No matter what we're still in training season. Next race is the Hot Chocolate 15K in January and then the Disney Princess Glass Slipper Challenge (5K, 10K and half marathon) in February! Here's to hoping this fall weather sticks around and my running gets even better.


Have you run any fall races this year?
Has fall weather actually hit your city yet or is fall a mythical season where you live? It certainly is here!

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Five

"Friday, Friday gotta get down on Friday! Everybody's looking forward to the weekend!"
You're welcome. I hope Rebecca Black is now stick in your head because that's what came to mine the second I typed Friday this morning.

I've been sharing so much about our travels lately, but I don't want to forget to share about life! That's a huge part of this blog for me! Finding a balance in life, sharing our day to day, our travels, my health and fitness journey, life events and more. The day to day may seem mundane compared to traveling the world, but sometimes it's the routine of a normal week that brings me such joy. Plus there's really no such thing as "normal" in the Gougler house!

Now let's get to it, top five moments from the last week!

one. Zoo Boo


Last Friday, Ali and I decided to take the girls to the zoo! I let my friend Chelsea know that we were going, so she met up with us along with her 3 kiddos too. One thing we forgot when we headed out to the zoo is that it was the first day of Zoo BOO!!! We completely forgot so our girls look like they're dressed for summer not Halloween. On the plus side, we weren't overheated and the kids weren't miserable in costumes! It was 90 degrees and humid y'all. Typical Houston fall. On the plus side, we got to enjoy the Zoo Boo activities like trick or treating and decorating pumpkins in the pumpkin patch! We also got the best picture of Chloe and Renee yet! Usually it's Ren going in for the hug or kiss, but finally Chloe is showing how much she loves her bestie.

two. It's Race Weekend!


Saturday morning, Rachael and I met up at Memorial Park for an easy 5 mile run. We met up a little later to try and mimic the start time for our race this weekend. Unfortunately it was warm and humid last week and this week looks like it'll be the same plus the possibility of rain. Plus if it doesn't rain while we're racing it is going to rain today and later tomorrow, so humidity will be super high. We'll survive though. I'm going to throw it out there that our goal is to finish under and hour! The weather conditions aren't proving to be on our side, but I think there is still hope. I'll obviously post our race day victory tomorrow!

three. Saying See Ya Later


One of my dear friends is packing up and moving across the country this weekend! I've pretty much spent the last 4 years of my life seeing her ALL THE TIME! I met Caitlin through the gym I work at, so for several years I spent more time with her and Lauren then I did with my husband. I stood by her side as married her best friend. She came to the hospital the day after I gave birth to my baby girl. We've been there for each other day in and out. Listened to each other complain about dumb things our guys did. Gabbed about how amazing they are when they get things right. Talked about life plans, dreams and goals. We've been through so much together. Even though I dropped my hours at the gym, it didn't make us drift apart. I know that even though she'll be in North Carolina, we'll always be friends. Plus I can't wait to go visit and play at the beach! I love you Caitlin...drive safe!

four. BOO! Halloween Fun! 


Fun fact: Chloe hasn't actually been trick or treating yet! She's been to Zoo Boo the past two years and they have a few candy stations, but that doesn't really count. We've also been to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, but it was a month before Halloween and it's still not quite the same as trick or treating around a neighborhood. I think Chloe is excited! I know she loves her costume and she loves that Momma is going to dress up with her. Stay tuned to see what we're going to be. Now that Chlo is 2, I feel like we can really start holiday traditions! This year we were Boo'ed for the first time and Chloe was so excited to see a bucket of treats on her porch just for her! Then we got boo'ed again with a Mickey Mouse bucket and she was in love with it. We had fun shopping for some fun boo goodies to pass on and continue the fun!

five. Beauty Rest


About a week ago, I received a package from Influenster and Beautyrest that I was pretty excited about. It's a Beautyrest Sleep Tracker which essentially turns your normal bed into a smart bed. There are two sensors that go under the mattress below each person's pillow and they connect on a smart box that is connected to your internet. Every night it measures your sleep cycles, heart rate, breath rate and time asleep to give you an overall sleep score. How neat is that? I'm loving waking up in the morning to see how I did the night before. I can tell when I get better vs worse scores right away. It's also fun to compare with JP to see who did better! I always seem to be asleep for longer, but my REM and deep sleep is lacking so I wake quite easily. Now my sleep goals are to get more deep sleep and REM sleep so I don't wake up as often. I would feel much more rested if I could manage that! You can see in the chart above that I'm not getting the full light to deep to REM sleep patterns I'm supposed to. Instead I'm only getting deep sleep at the beginning of the night and REM later on. Most of my charts look like this! I'm going to share some more updates on Instagram so stay tuned!

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Maihaugen


Have you ever been to or heard of an open air museum? For those of you in the States, think Colonial Williamsburg. They're also sometimes referred to as living history museums. If you're a history nerd like me, these are completely mesmerizing. You get to walk through towns like they were in different time periods. In some museums, there are actually people playing roles of those from that era. They never go out of character and help you immerse yourself into the culture.

During our stay in Lillehammer, we spent an afternoon exploring Maihaugen which is their open air museum! It's the largest open air museum in Norway outside of Oslo. It holds Norwegian culture from various eras and allows you to walk back in time to see how things were. Let's take a look at some of the most fascinating parts!




First there is an indoor walk through the history of Norway. It starts back in the stone age where humans literally left their mark in stones. {We've seen some of these marking in riverbed rocks!} It then takes you through Vikings, the bubonic plague, merging countries, the Industrial Revolution, Norway eventually becoming its own country, and more.



After the history walk through, you head outside! First you come upon a village of houses. Each house is from a different decade in the 1900's. There is also a town set up after the early 1900's. Emily and I wandered into one of the buildings and stayed for quite a while. In fact, they eventually came looking for us, but we were having too much fun. Let me show you why...


They had a photo backdrop like it would be in the early 1900's with props for you to take pictures! It was such a blast. I still can't believe that no one else wanted to come play with us!




Like I said, too much fun!


We continued walking around town and eventually came to an old train! This time Meena and I got distracted while exploring. Again, I'm not sure why no one else was fascinated! It was so neat inside. they even had some mannequins in the mail car pretending to be hard at work. They also had the passenger cars open to explore and feel what it was like to ride in one.




Eventually Meena and I wandered out of the train to see everyone waiting for us. This seems to be becoming a common trend for me but I don't care. I want to see everything! Next we started looking through the homes from the different decades of the 1900s. My favorite was the home from the 1930s. There was a character baking cinnamon rolls from scratch! The entire home smelt delicious as we walked through exploring each room.


Next we started walking toward the older villages. We came across an old fishing village from the 1500-1600s. JP even found a fishing pole and decided to give it a go...unsuccessfully.


There were tons of different villages and farms from the 1500-1800's throughout the property. The next several pictures are from one of my favorite farms, Bjørnstad, which was built in the 1700's.


It's so interesting how often beds were randomly located in main areas! I loved seeing the intricate details in the bigger main homes. In these cabins, there were also characters to explain the purpose of different rooms, the contents within the rooms and who lived there. I'd also like to point out that throughout the museum, there are plaques explaining the different buildings and about 90% of those have an English translation. It makes visiting the houses and cabins even more interesting knowing when and where they were built and what their purpose was.





I'll admit I don't remember as many specifics as I'd like to about the farms, but since I'm reading the Outlander series, seeing them was so eye opening. It gives me a much better mental image when I'm reading. Nerdy I know, but if you've read Outlander then you know EXACTLY what I mean!


The best part of the museum was visiting the Stave church!


The original part of the church was built in the 1200s, but has been extended several times over the years. The last extension was in 1730. It was dismantled in 1880 and reassembled in Maihaugen in 1921. If you've seen Frozen, then this style of church is what the church from the Coronation is modeled after. 


 
The outside is striking, but the inside is beautiful! There was another character inside the church to explain everything to us and answer all of our questions. She explained that different parts of the decor were added over the years, so you will see influences from various centuries. She also showed us the area of the church were the put the naughty children! It was hilarious since you know that would never go over well now. There was also a special area in the church's small second floor box where patrons could pay to sit. She said they paid to sit there so they could sleep through church without anyone seeing. I love a good fun fact!




There was so much more to the museum. We probably went through a good 75% of the rural area, but it's so large and after a while the farms start to look alike. We enjoyed walking through Maihaugen and spent several hours there. Personally I could have kept going! I'm the history nerd of the family though and just find everything interesting. I just want to know and understand more about the people that came before us, what can I say?

If you find yourself in Lillehammer, Norway, Maihaugen is a must see! You can also visit the Olympic Museum while you're there. Click the link above to read more about Maihaugen if you're interested in a little more history.

Y'all, this is my LAST Norway post! Now I'm still not finished with our Scandinavian Adventure. We still have to visit Stockholm and Copenhagen! Stay tuned for more adventures.

In case you missed them, here are my Norway posts:
Sneak Peek | Start of our Adventures | Oslo Part 1 | Oslo Part 2 | Lilleputthammer | Hiking in Norway | Charlotte & Ole's Wedding | Maihaugen |

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