Friday Fête

My “athleisure pants from Athleta that I bought on our San Diego trip a few weeks back… they’re now my favorite pants. I don’t wear them around all the time, because when it has been 113 or so they’re too warm. (Skirts… gotta go with skirts at times like that. Sorry men, a skirt breeze is where it’s at!) But I think I’m getting converted to the idea of super comfy materials/waistbands with extra styling detail to make them look a little nicer. Who knows… maybe come fall I’ll be wearing dress yoga pants! ;-) I still won’t wear running tights around as casual wear, but I’ve got my eye on a few things that might work for summer casual wear. And one that I don’t think I’d ever wear. Can you guess which one I’m scared of?

Did you know that new music was released today this week, instead of on Tuesday? New music has been released on Tuesdays for the past 26 years. This is part of an initiative to release music on the same day worldwide, you know… to prevent piracy. But I missed having new music to listen to for the week while I worked. Total #1stworldproblem right there, huh?

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I stepped on the scale the other day… that was a mistake. I’ve been feeling pretty good about myself and there’s a good chance that it really is due to the whole “muscle weighs more” fact, but it’s still hard to see a higher number. I’ve been doing more strength training lately, I’m seeing improvements in my fitness. And even though I’ve been through countless hours of therapy, discussions, treatment… I’m still susceptible to letting that number hurt my feelings. Sigh…

Scale - You are More important than this number

Tiny houses are cute, but this article expresses everything that I’ve frequently wondered about them.

What the hell happens when your tiny house partner farts Mexican food farts, huh? Where do you escape to? Nowhere. You have nowhere to run.

I’m always fascinated by the idea of heart rate training and going slower to get faster/stronger/better. But I’m always too impatient to actually implement it. But maybe this fall, since I don’t really have any races on the schedule, I will give it a go. I’d just have to stop uploading my runs to Strava… Kidding… Kind of… Not really.

80/20 running by Matt Fitzgerald

I want to read this. I have a Maffetone book to post about too.

I have a lot of books that I’ve read to post about… I’m thinking maybe I should do a “book club” week here and share a post a day on books I’ve read lately.

Got any fun weekend plans? I don’t… and I’m relieved. I will go grocery shopping and play with my kiddo and get in a run (shooting for 10 miles, because I’ve been so lazy about training for this half marathon I have coming up on August 1) and generally just play life by ear.

I want…

… more time to write on this site. I constantly have thoughts and ideas floating through my head, “Oooh… I need to post about that!” And then I do a million other things and can’t remember my name, much less what I thought I wanted to post about. The other day when we went out to dinner, I handed the cashier my driver license instead of my credit card. She looked at me and said, “Okay…” because clearly I was a frazzled woman with no common sense anymore.

I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.

… more time to run too. I don’t need to do marathon-volume training because I don’t have a marathon on the calendar, but it would be nice to be getting that done too. It makes me feel strong!

… to feel more in control of everything in my life. Apparently I am a control freak.

… a new tattoo.

… a new look for this site.

… some peanut m&m’s. I’m addicted to these things! I haven’t had any for about 3 weeks. I’m suffering from withdrawal. I have the idea that I’m being healthier without them, but it may be at the expense of my mental health! (Kidding… kind of.)

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… inbox zero. And I’d like it to last longer than a minute.

… a new Garmin. I have this new obsession with being able to run on my Zero Runner as a warm-up and then continue running outside and have my device track it all. But only two Garmin devices will do this right now. (FR 920xt and Vivoactive)

I think I want one of these… Do I NEED a @garmin upgrade? Maybe not… But WANT is high.

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

… 8 hours of sleep every single night. Or to somehow re-train myself to function on 5-6 hours of sleep a night… because I managed to live like that for YEARS and now I can barely muster my arse out of bed with 7 hours of sleep.

… a 50 degree early morning run. That just sounds delightful. Especially if I somehow got 8 hours of sleep before doing this! And it should come with no mommy guilt.

… my tomatoes to stop cracking.

… to see the play The Book of Mormon when it comes to Vegas this fall. That would entail finding a babysitter, we don’t have one of those. Our sole form of childcare comes from sending her to school each day. Oh, and actually buying tickets.

Book of Mormon - Broadway play logo

… someone to cook dinner for me for the rest of the month. Or year. I’m so sick of meal planning and meal prep. If I actually wrote blog posts about my meal planning and prep… well, I’d bore myself. But since I’m a mother, I have to actually do this task else my kid would starve. And I kind of like her!

… to remember moments like this for the rest of forever.

My little girl holding her grandpa's hand

Holding her grandpa’s hand after a busy morning at a parade and park on July 4.

New KT Tape Product – PRO X Patches

KT Tape Pro X patches are a convenient way to target pain.

I was sent some KT Tape PRO X patches to try, they’re being introduced this month to the market.  They’re designed to provide targeted pain relief for muscles. The beauty is that they don’t require any cutting or complicated application. They’re basically peel, stretch, stick, flatten. They can also be used in conjunction with regular KT Tape for more support.

I like them because they’re super easy to apply… unless you need it on your back. In which case, someone has to help. I slept funny and tweaked my back. I had my husband apply a patch. He didn’t really apply it with enough stretch, but even what he did helped support that spot.

Peekaboo @kttape for the spot that appeared in my back that is making breathing painful.

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

I like that these are pretty obvious if you’re having pain, X marks the spot for application. It’s pretty straightforward. They come in a small, hard travel case to keep them all neatly together. They’ll be available in drug stores and sporting good stores beginning this month (July 2015) and will retail for $19.99.

Disclosure: I was sent a pack of the PRO X patches for free to try and to review on my blog.

Lessons Learned about Protecting Your Vision

I was invited to sit in a webinar from The Vision Council about protecting your vision. I almost dismissed the invite, I have lots on my agenda each day. But then I noticed a factoid they included: “1 in 4 people rarely or never wear sunglasses.” Tweet:

And when I saw that, I knew that was said as a negative thing and I knew that I fit into that statistic. Also… I knew that my eyes hurt all the time. So I figured that perhaps I should be sitting in on this event!

The webinar was presented by The Vision Council and Dr. Justin Bazan, OD was the speaker.

Another perk? Because I agreed to share information about this event they sent me a sweet pair of sunglasses by O’Neill. They’re super lightweight, they feel good on, they are nice to look through, they actually help my eyes feel relief from the sun when they’re on, they’re spot-on with UV protection standards, etc. The only negative is that I’m a little unsure on the size. Half of the people I’ve polled have said they’re fantastic, the other half said they’re too big. And I was told that I look like I should be on the TV show CHiPs in them.

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

The webinar started off with a couple of quick polls for the attendees. It didn’t surprise me that most people choose their shades based upon style. I mean… read what I just wrote. There were so many wonderful things about these shades by the thing that makes me the most concerned is how they look.

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Then they asked us if we always wear sunglasses while doing fitness activities. I admit… I do not, but sometimes I wear them. The times that I don’t are often on cloudy days or when I run early in the morning. Some interesting things I learned:

  • 1 in 4 Americans rarely or never wear sunglasses, leaving eyes at risk
  • 2 in 3 Americans leave eyes unguarded on cloudy or rainy days
  • 3 in 10 Americans don’t protect their eyes in the winter, when UV rays are still present

Another couple of interesting facts:

  • Most people wear shades for driving, walking, going to beach/pool
  • Least often worn for running/biking, gardening and team sports

I have running shades… but I realized that I NEVER EVER wear my sunglasses when working in the garden. Since participating in this webinar that has changed, I now keep a pair of shades by my sliding doors that lead to the backyard so they’re easy to grab.

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Short term vision problems that can result from not protecting your eyes from UV rays include: photokeratitis, irritation, redness, swelling, hypersensitivity to light.

Long-term vision problems can include:
wrinkles and sunspots, pterygium (abnormal growths on eye and eyelid), cataracts, macular degeneration, cancer of eye, eyelid and surrounding skin

Common sense tells me “of course you can!” but I think it’s a good reminder: You can sunburn your eyes!

Blue eyes or eyes with less pigment are more vulnerable to damage from UV. (My blue eyes and my laziness might explain my redness problems? Combined with staring at a computer all day!)

They showed us a map of the US Cities with the Highest UV Index levels.

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My place of residence, Las Vegas, is #13 with 159 days of extreme or very high risk. But even if you’re not in the list, it’s important to take care of your eyes.

And it’s not just the UV light coming directly into our eyes. Reflected UV light is just as damaging as direct UV:
water reflects up to 100%
Snow reflects up to 85%
Dry sand and concrete reflect up to 25%
Grass reflects up to 3%

The level of UV entering the eye in morning, as the sun is rising/at the horizon line, and late afternoon, as the sun is setting/at horizon line, is nearly double than midday hours. So my logic of not putting on shades when its dim in the morning as the sun is coming up may be flawed!

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Some shades don’t actually have UVA/UVB protection, so make sure you look for that. Even look for it in regular vision correction glasses. (Cheap knock-off sunglasses from a street vendor on your vacay, most likely are not giving you protection.)

Really dark shades without UV protection are actually worse because your pupil dilates to accommodate for less light and you are introducing even more UV light into the eye, thus higher retinal exposure to UV.

All of this makes a good case for multiple pairs of sunglasses. You can have pairs that are tailored to your different activities in life (sport vs. business), make sure you are comfortable whenever outdoors and providing ample protection by eliminating the excuse that you don’t have sunglasses. I keep some in my car, in my husband’s car and some with my running gear.

Some things to look for in sport sunglasses

  • Ventilation to prevent fogging
  • Clear or light lenses for cloudy days
  • Wraparound for maximum protection
  • Photochromatic for long sport days (ultrarunners or Ironman competitors)

All of this is done to gear up toward National Sunglasses Day on June 27. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtags #NationalSunglassesDay and #SunglassSelfie.

There will also be a Twitter chat with The Vision Council on June 26 at 1 PM ET.

Do you actively take steps to protect your vision? I’ve definitely been humbled by this information and reminded of just how important it is to wear my sunglasses!

Men’s Health Week: June 21-27

The man cold… I don’t know how many times and places I’ve shared this, but it NEVER GETS OLD for me. NEVER!

See, the thing about men (or at least those in my life) is they rarely visit doctors unless they are absolutely dying, then they expect the women in their lives to know the answers to all their health problems.

I recently learned that Men’s Health Week is June 21-27* and (like so many things in this world) it’s often up to us women to remind the husbands/boyfriends/fathers/brothers/friends in our lives to take care of themselves. The trouble is, I don’t want to be a “nag” and I actually get annoyed at this role. I’m not a day planner or a to-do app, and frequently these are grown men that need someone to take care of these details for them. So maybe I’ll just print out this infographic and tape it to my husband’s mirror and call it good… for the rest of forever. ;-)

But seriously, there are a lot of good men in my life and I want them to be around for as long as possible. So guys… take care of yourselves, alright?

*Is it a special “week” or “day” every single week or day of the year? Guess what, today is ingrown toenail awareness day! And next week will be cactus nurturing week!

Mens' Health Week

Friday Fête

Recently I asked on Facebook for some ideas about indoor activities for almost-3-year-olds. Sometimes during the summer in Vegas, you just gotta treat it like the winter elsewhere… there’s no way you’re playing outside because the weather just isn’t cooperating. And my kid would probably be perfectly content playing on the iPad all day. But I don’t want her to be on it all day.

I admit, I do let her use the iPad. Apparently if you cop to that online you’re a crummy parent. She loves the show Go Diego Go. (Seriously, it’s a fantastic little kid show!) She could watch it for hours and because she watches the show she was this precocious little 2-year-old at the zoo recently saying things like:

  • “Panda bears have very sharp teeth and eat bamboo.”
  • “That ape is going to pick up bugs and eat them.”
  • “Stomp your feet like a tapir!”

kiwi_crate_logo_2xDo all the little animals factoids she’s picked up have any use? I don’t know… maybe someday they will. But I do need to try to temper the iPad use a little bit. Recently I signed her up for Koala Crate (the littler kid version of Kiwi Crate), and our first box should arrive next week. So next weekend is when we’ll open it up, I’ll share what we got in the crate after that… but I’m hoping it contains some fun activities that we can do inside and aren’t super messy. I’m always glad that I send her to school because I just don’t think she would have painted as much as she has if I didn’t. I can’t see myself busting out paints and gearing up for a big mess here at home for just the two of us.

JadeTheBoxer had to go to the vet a week ago; she was moving very slowly, having trouble walking/going up the stairs/squatting to pee… I was concerned she had serious intestinal trouble again like she did four years ago. It was very similar behavior to that incident. But the doctor checked her out and thought it’s more of a compressed disc in her lower back/hips. She was put on some anti-inflammatories and restricted movement for a few days and now she’s eating and moving again. Hopefully everything is all good; she goes in for a re-check next week. #AwesomeA was very upset that the vet didn’t give Jade a sticker though. “She will get a sticker from a doctor!” So that was remedied.

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Today I am taking the day off work. I have vacation days to burn up before June 30 so I don’t lose them. I took last Friday off too… I could get used to having an entire day off to myself every week. It’s not likely, but it is delightful. My kid woke up super early this morning so I couldn’t get out to run. But I had the time to do a run inside (too hot outside if you wait until after 7 AM to start) on the Zero Runner. And I did three different workouts using apps in conjunction before/after my run. And then I could take a shower. And then watch @Midnight on Hulu while typing this blog post. And I’ll still have time to do whatever I want. 8 hours a week just for me, it is deliriously amazing! I’ve just had a lot of anxiety and stress and anger built up inside this week… this is helping settle my brain some.

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June 21 is International Yoga Day… I need to do yoga that day. (Hmmm… maybe I’ll do some yoga today too, in my leftover hours just for me! ME ME ME!) I didn’t know about this holiday before I was sent these energy mists from Balanced Guru.

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They come in different scents derived from essential oils and designed to stimulate different chakras (Fearless, Guilt-Free, Empowering, Full of Love, Truthful, Intuition and Understanding) when spritzed around you. I don’t know if they invoke any improvements to those particular areas for me, but they make a nice air freshener!

What would you do if you had 8 hours of time to yourself? Do you believe a scent can make you more fearless? Any suggestions for rainy day/snowy day activities that we can do indoors during the hot summer months?

It’s Getting “Hot in Herre”

Why does Nelly need two R’s in that song title?

Whatever… all I know is that things are getting smokin’ hot here in Vegas… and not in the ways indicated in that song. It’s all about the barometer baby.

(Okay, no more stupid late 90’s / early 2000’s rap references.)

This is the reality here in Vegas right now:

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Each day the news outlets tell me this:

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We have over 4x the amount of degrees as there are Republican presidential candidates.

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Seriously, this is getting out of control! (image via Fox News… obvs)

 

Yes, I know… Las Vegas is hot. This isn’t a news flash. However, this is abnormally warm for June, and it has come on pretty suddenly after a fairly mild May. So this heat kind of hurts! Weather like this makes me want to wear a muumuu or something big, floaty that doesn’t touch my body in any way. And hang out indoors in air conditioning. And I’ve posted before how I don’t really feel comfortable in the whole athleisure category of clothing, yet this weather makes me want to wear clothing like all of these items… and maybe not only for running but for all day!

Of these, I really just own the Eddie Bauer Quantum shirt. Which I need to say… is pretty awesome. It’s super lightweight and has these little vents in it to help release built up heat. It’s expensive… so watch for sales. (Or buy it now… because I should encourage you to click on these links and buy stuff at full price so that maybe a couple of pennies get thrown my way to keep this site operational, right? That’s how this works?)

HOT WEATHER RUNNING TIPS

Here are some of my tips that I always have to relearn when summer rolls around:

  • Run early/late: Get up at stupid o’clock in the morning to run or get out the door at fatigued o’clock at night. Either way, it should be dark. The morning run can be just as the sun is coming up, but at night it’s best to wait until dark.
  • Cut yourself some slack: Your pace will probably be different… Runner’s World has some insane formula about cutting your pace by 30 seconds for every 5 degrees above 65 or something dumb like that. Not applicable here because eventually you’d just be standing there. And I highly endorse going inside if you’re just going to stand still. That said, just know that you may not run the pace of your life in scorching heat.
  • Drink: I don’t care about the people who say, “I don’t have to drink water if I’m running less than 10 miles.” Whatever… go do your weird bragging somewhere else. How is that an accomplishment? For me, if I’m running in the summer, I’m carrying water. Some days I drink the whole bottle in 3 miles, others I just drink a few small sips. Either way, I’d rather be prepared.
  • Cool down: After the run, this is the ideal time to make sure you get your body back into normal zones. I will drink something cool (ice cold recovery smoothie?). I will put a small ice pack on the back of my neck or on my forehead. I splash cold water on my face. And finally I rinse off with cold water. But if I don’t take some time to cool off before jumping in a semi-cool shower (because it’s hard to get truly cold water out of the tap in the summer here), then I feel like I just keep sweating. I need to start cooling everything off before that last step.

What are your tips and tricks for beating the heat, in daily life and in running?

Quickie Fitness

I do not have a gym membership. I gave it up when I entered treatment for my eating disorder. The gym wasn’t a healthy place for me and it was the right thing to do. However, that meant that I kind of stopped doing strength training at that time too. I know I need to do it. But I also know that I’m not going to sign up for a gym membership again right now. I just don’t see that I would have the time to go these days. But the past couple of weeks I’ve been finding ways to squeeze in some more strength workouts and the benefits are there. I’ve been feeling sore in muscles that have been neglected for too long. And the best part is that I can squeeze in multiple, very effective, workouts several times a day.

Apps for a Quickie Workout

I do it all with my phone and a little help from some apps. The nice thing about using apps for workout tools is that you can replace your “trainer” if the relationship isn’t working out without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings. Just quietly delete the app and find a new one.

Some of my favorites lately for strength:

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The Daily Arm Workout app is a freebie app. It’s not beautiful, but it gets the job done. It gives the option of choosing to do a 5, 8 or 10-minute workout. There is a full version that is a measly 99 cents… so I could have shelled out for that. But when there is a free version of an app to test out before buying, always go that way! :-) This app allows you to set a schedule of when you want to do the workout and it will notify you when your set schedule comes due.

The next three are all from Runtastic, they have made a whole bunch of apps for run tracking, cycling tracking, various exercises, sleep tracking, etc. If they had an “Arm Trainer” app, I would probably have that installed. I like these ones because you can start a level and then it plans out when you should be taking your rest days and when you should be proceeding with the next workout. That just feels like it’s helping you reign in overexcitement from trying to do too much and also helps to keep you in check by reminding you to workout. And then it gives you new exercises after completing so many workouts and you can advance to new levels.

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Other apps I like to get in some fast fitness include the Fitstar line. I have a premium membership for Fitstar Yoga and I like the full length program. But the freestyle workouts are great because you can grab a 10-15 minute easy flow. The regular Fitstar app has other fun freestyle workouts, including a 10-minute core workout that I like. I just have the free basic membership right now, but it’s not that much for an annual membership. If you sign up, you can use my referral code: QEQH1Q

The Barre3 app is cool because the workouts in it are all short. Their online video service is great and comprehensive… These are different. 10 minutes of a focused session to work on core, legs, flexibility, etc. The app is a nice complement to their online studio. Just turn off notifications on the daily tips, they’re kind of annoying and nothing really stunningly new/astounding.

I love that I have been able to do one of these workouts before/after an early morning run, something during the day, and exercise in the evening. I can do several of them while playing with my kid, she’ll kind of try to do moves alongside me. And at the end of the day I’ve accumulated 30+ minutes of strength training without the accompanying drive time or guilt I feel when I’m away from my kid.

This is what works for me right now. Someday maybe I’ll go back to the gym. Maybe not.

Do you have any fitness apps you love?

Friday Fête

Lately, I feel really lonely.

I'm so ronery

I get to play with my awesome kid after work each day, but I miss other people. I saw a tweet the other day that linked to this article: Circle of Friends – Why working moms need their gal pals—maybe more than ever before—and how to keep them close.  It made me a little sad to realize that I don’t really have any super close gal pals. I think it’s partly who I am, I’ve always been really good at making lots of friends, but most of them were not super close. The amount of super close friends who know all my secrets has always been pretty low and right now that count is probably its lowest.

I don’t recall my mom going out for “girls nights” when I was growing up. Of course, when she was my age, I was nearly 13, could take care of myself and was probably lost in my own worries! (Middle school years were so full of drama that’s totally not drama when you grow up and look back on it.) Of course, my mom also had a good network of pals at work and that’s where my life is dramatically different. I telecommute, so my interactions with coworkers are very much limited to all business phone calls and all business video meetings. There’s no fun chit-chat or office parties or lunches out with friends. So that could contribute to these feelings of loneliness as well.

And then there is the whole thing about how hard it is to schedule time with friends. When you’re a kid it was just like, “Want to play after school?” Now it’s like, “Let me look at my calendar. What about this day? No, my kid has this, what about here? No, my husband has this. This day? No, I have a conference.”

I feel really guilty when I go out in the evenings, the extremely rare occasions that I do. I have friends that share on social media all the fun things with friends they do several times a week, but then… they are stay-at-home moms so I feel a little like “They’re stuck with the kids all day, their husbands are probably happy to let them go out and have an opportunity to be with the kids.” (Are husbands happy to spend time with their kids? Especially without the mom to take care of everything?) In my household, I feel like “We’ve both been working all day, so now it’s time to do home stuff.”

Is this just a generational thing? Like part of this whole “have it all” mentality that we’re so desperately trying to achieve these days? Maybe I’m supposed to have friends when I’m old and my kid is gone. I’ll join a bridge club. (Step 1: Learn what Bridge is.)

Let’s move on to other things:

I received this notification this morning:

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So I’ve been on Twitter for 8 years now! Feel free to follow me!

I got a rock in my shoe the other morning. It was bugging me, poking into the side of my foot. I sat down on the curb to fish it out only to discover that it was IN my shoe.

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I pushed it up a little so it didn’t poke my foot as much and finished out my run. I keep looking and I can’t find a hole to get it out. There must be one, somehow it got in there!

Do you carry something to protect yourself while you run outdoors? I’ve heard of people carrying pepper sprays, knives, and even guns! I was recently sent a little personal protection tool called the TigerLady. It’s modeled after a cat’s retractable claws.

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I will never carry this when running. It’s an innovative idea, but the whole thing is just a wee bit too large for my dinky little hands. I feel like when I squeeze it to release the claws, I have to be extremely cautious so they don’t slide up and across my skin. And it feels bulky. I think it would be fine to carry in a purse and if I did happen to be out in the evening and felt a little uneasy, like I needed some kind of extra protection, I could pull this out. But it would be annoying in my hand for the entirety of a run.

I read this post the other day: Why Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads
I’m torn on it… I LOVE LOVE my technology. I’m going to be honest here. And it would be hard for me to give up my iPhone. But there are days where I get extremely annoyed at how tethered everybody is to these devices. Even in my own family, we can’t give each other our full attention. And while my daughter has learned a lot of great things from watching stuff on the iPad, there are also moments where she melts down if we try to take it away. But there is no way I’m going to shield her from technology so much that she is the weird kid who doesn’t know what these things are when she needs to use them either. It’s just part of being a parent I guess, in any generation. Navigating innovations and advancements as best you can.

What are your thoughts? On kids and technology or carrying protection while you are out exercises, making friends as adults, etc.

Parent Hack: Tracking Medicine Doses with a Preschooler

Use a paper chain as a simple way to track medicine doses with your child.

The kiddo got pink eye a couple weeks ago. She got sent home from school, had to go see the doctor and couldn’t go back to school until she’d been on medicine for 24 hours and had a note from the doctor saying she was medicated. She was prescribed Moxeza* eye drops.

My daughter was pretty miserable and she knew she had a lot of gunk in her eye that was uncomfortable. So the first dosage was pretty easy to get her cooperation on. But the next few doses were crying fits, especially since her eye cleared up fast and she kept saying, “It’s not sick anymore!”

I knew we didn’t want this battle for 7 days, twice a day. So I made a simple paper chain. Then I sat down with her and had her count the links in it. Then I said, “That’s how many more times we have to put the eye drops in. Each time we do the medicine, we can take off a link.”

We never had any battles over eye drops again. She counted the links, delighted in throwing away one more link and knowing just how long we had left.

Sure, there’s probably some super-mommy-blogger who has already come up with this. And they probably made the chain out of multi-colored construction paper instead of pulling out a sheet of paper from the printer. Just don’t tell me about that mom, okay? I felt incredibly proud of my parenting genius in this moment.

*When we went to Walgreens to pick up her prescription, first they had in the system that she didn’t have insurance and the medicine was well over $100. Then they fixed this and the price dropped to $92. Then we gave them a coupon the doctor provided and the price dropped to $25. So if your kid ever needs this medicine, find a coupon!