Push Away the Screen: Summer Vacation 2015 Preview-Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains

Happy Summer!!

We are so excited for our upcoming visit to Asheville, North Carolina and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains!!

My mom moved up to the Blue Ridge Mountains late last Fall and we haven't had the chance to go up and visit with her yet. We did go up in the summer of 2013 and we stayed at the Biltmore Hotel and also with my aunt and uncle. We had a GREAT time and we knew for sure we'd want to go back when Grandma got settled in her own house!

For this trip I really wanted to do some activities that were new to me and my gang. Now that they are getting older, they are able to live more on the wild side, so I have planned a full agenda for us!

I've tried to work it out that we spend one day doing an activity and then one day resting and playing it low key.

So here is our agenda....no dates of course Wink

Wednesday-drive up

Thursday- Asheville Treetops Adventure Park and Kolo Bike Park. How cool does this place look?? 51 unique climbing, zipping, walking, jumping, swinging and rappelling challenges anchored to over 30 trees and towering poles tucked in a wooded area.  The park has 5 trails to choose from including 2 Beginner trails, “Blue” &” Green”, 2 intermediate trails, “Yellow” and “Orange” and 1 advanced “Red” trail.  Each “Trail” includes 10 to 15 different challenges to complete the circuit.

We'll spend 2 hours at this park climbing and exploring, then stop for lunch. After lunch we'll head over to Kolo Bike Park. 

Both parks include EVERYTHING! Including the bike, so that means we don't need to tote our bikes up to Asheville with us. Sweet. Watching this video made us ever more excited to go to Kolo!

On Friday during the day we're relaxing at home, but on Friday night, WATCH OUT!! We're heading on a Vampire and Occult Tour with Haunted Asheville!

THIS 2-HOUR TOUR is the ultimate for intellectuals who want to take a step outside the bounds of a usual tourist experience. Your knowledgeable guide will explain, in the library of the Asheville Masonic Temple, what masonry is all about, and explore the conspiracies with you. Next we'll pass through some alleyways where dark and tragic events have transpired. You'll then get the full scoop on our local vampire scene, tribal rites in Pritchard Park, dark spirits on Church Street, Native American mysticism, and much more. This tour includes late-night access to the Asheville Mystery Museum where you'll see artifacts Joshua P. Warren brought back from Transylvania, including a sacred crucifix and a piece of Vlad the Impaler's Castle. And just in case you didn't know, Joshua P. Warren is an internationally-recognized expert on paranormal research, he starred on every episode of the Travel Channel's Paranormal Paparazzi.

My gang has done a haunted theater tour at the Tampa Theater and they like to think that they are quite the intellectuals, so I think they'll really enjoy this tour. 

Saturday is a rest day Laughing

Sunday James and I are going to head to downtown Asheville for a grown-up afternoon out! What are we doing?? We're going on a tour of some of the local Asheville Breweries with Asheville Brewery Tours

They'll take care of all the driving and we'll get to sample some of the best local beer in Asheville!

Monday is a day that is all about the kids. My mom took Haley to this place 4 years ago and Haley still talks about it today, which is why I thought it deserved a visit with the rest of the #TampaTrio.

We're heading to HOLLYWILD ANIMAL PARK! Hollywild is home to hundreds of animals and dozens of species that are native to five world continents. Hollywild animals have made more than 65 appearances in feature films and numerous national advertising campaigns. Some have come to Hollywild as retirees, some are still ‘working’ and others are actually born at the park. The name “Hollywild” refers to the link between Hollywood and wild animals as represented by the park’s connection with filmmaking. NONE of the animals are taken from the wild. 

The kids are all super excited to visit Hollywild, and to be honest...so am I! 

Tuesday....we'll rest up for Wednesday which just might be our biggest adventure yet!

Wednesday. WHITEWATER RAFTING and zip lining!! That's right folks. The Tampa Trio is heading to the Nantahala Gorge for some Class I, II, III rapids.  We will be taking the fully guided tour which is eight miles of constant waves and swift, clear currents. The trip takes over 3 hours and contains numerous class I and II rapids, with a class III at the end.  All rafts have a guide in them on the trip.  Could you imagine me and James taking the kids on an UNGUIDED tour!?!?! Tongue Out

After the tour we'll have lunch, and then do the Zip Lining!! Well, let me rephrase that...we'll head over for KIDS ZIP! KidZip Nantahala offers ziplines and adventure park elements for kids 4-12 years old old in a scenic wooded adventure setting. With a continuous cable and roller system there is no clipping and unclipping for the participants!! They said James and I could go with them, but I think I'll stay on the ground and wave. 


Thursday. Rest Day

And I think we'll probably leave on Friday and take a nice slow drive home and arrive home late on Saturday afternoon. 

And that's our vacation! Of course, we'll be visiting Sliding Rock, and I'm thinking a swim at Hooker Falls is also in order. But other than that we're just going to enjoy some (hopefully) cooler weather and some great family bonding.

Have you ever been to the Blue Ridge Mountains? What are some MUST SEE activities on your list? 


Weekly Workouts, ADHD, & Geocaching June 7-14

It was quite a busy week! This was our first full week of summer break and I did my best to keep the #TampaTrio BUSY!!

I'm not sure if I shared that James and I had a long long talk a month or so ago and decided that it was time to wean Ella and Ronin off their ADHD medications. We started by tapering down on the weekend, and then by the time school let out for the summer on June 2nd, we were ready to go med free. I'll be honest. I was a little nervous. Scared even. How was I going to handle 3 kids (remember, they are all just one year apart) and 2 which apparently needed medication.

Last week I posted that I was amazed at how well they did. Honestly I thought that maybe it was just a fluke. Fast forward and I think it's safe to say that it was NOT a fluke. My kids DO NOT NEED MEDICATION. What do they need? EXERCISE. MOVEMENT.  KIDS NEED TO MOVE!!

And then a friend of mine shared THIS ARTICLE and it all just clicked. They need to move their bodies in order to fuel their brains.

And now it's my mission to get their IEP's adjusted to include additional breaks for movement throughout the school day. I can handle them just fine at home (as this summer has already proven) but it's at school where their ADHD behaviors were first noticed.

I need DAILY extended periods of exercise to be happy, and functional, so it only makes sense that they would as well.

So what did we do this week??

Sunday-REST DAY!! The trio had a birthday party to attend, and the mom asked if I would help out, so we arrived a bit early and I helped with some organizing and food/drink placement. The party was fun, the kids had a good time. After everyone had left, the mom had quite a mess on her hands, so I offered to take her daughter's geocaching. They had never been before, had never even heard of it, so I loaded everyone up in my car and off we went! Of course we found it! I must admit we're getting pretty good at this geocaching business!


Steps: 12,268

Monday-CrossFit. Both Ronin and I went and got our WOD on bright and early. We did our back squats at 85% of our one rep max, and then our WOD consisted of 15, 12, 9, 6, 3, of squat cleans, and hanging knee raises. Initially I thought about doing the RX weight of 65 pounds, but once I saw the demo of having to touch the ground after each rep, I changed my mind and went down to 55 pounds. And I don't regret my decision at all. In fact, there were quite a few times during the first few sets where I needed to just front squat to recover my heart rate. But I did all the hanging knee raises, and it didn't even hurt my hands too badly.

I'm not sure what Ronin's WOD was as he worked out at the same time as me, but he's getting faster, and stronger every day! Once we came home the kids and I knocked out a bunch of chores, I did some mowing of the front yard and down near our lake, but then the storms moved in! Every time the rain stopped, we grabbed the dog and went and did some walking, running (them, not me) around our neighborhood.

Calories: 870

Steps: 25,530

Tuesday-CrossFit and SWIMMING!! On Monday evening the kids best friends mom (the one from the bday party) called and invited the kids to Vacation Bible School. Initially  my gang said NO, they did not want to go, but then they spoke with their friends and they convinced them that it was fun, so Tuesday was their first day. They were nervous, and so was I. But I dropped them off, filled out all the paperwork, and headed off to CrossFit. The WOD was a doozy!

150 single jumps

40 KB swings 30#

30 burpees

20 box steps 14" (I'm working on alternating legs and not having to push off on my knee)

10 Modified HSPU

20 box steps

30 burpees

40 KB swings

150 single jumps

I finished in 23:09 and I was HURT! Somewhere over the course of the year I have developed plantar fasciitis. I had really been nursing my foot, and going into this WOD, I had virtually NO PAIN, so I decided to go for it. I had been modifying ALL jumping, and since I felt no pain, I thought I was cured.

Ya, not so much. I'm a hobbling mess right now. After the WOD I picked the kids up and they were having so much fun with their besties that I offered to take them back to our house for lunch, a walk to the park, and then some time on the playground. Their mama (who works at home) quickly took me up on my offer, so off we went!

They had a GREAT time together, and honestly having 5 kids didn't seem that different from 3 kids. We spent a few hours at the pool/playground and then headed back to our place so I could get dinner started and their mama came and got them around 6pm.

Calories: 755

Steps: 24,539

Wednesday-CrossFit. Ella decided she didn't want to go to VBS, so she came with me to CrossFit. She wasn't feeling that great, so she made the choice not to do the WOD. After Monday and Tuesday I was really hoping that the WOD would be a nice recovery. And it was. we did 6X5 bench press, and 6X3 strict press, and then a 1 mile row for time. For my bench press I did 60, 65, 70, 2X75, and then 70. The strict press is my most challenging overhead lift so I did 35, 40, 45, 50, and 2X45. For my one mile row, I didn't bust it out. I wanted to keep my heart rate in zone 2, so I finished in 8:20 with the rower set to level 7.  My Loop doesn't track all my "steps" when I row. I started with 4090, and ended the 1 mile with 4462, so it tracked 372 steps. Should have been A LOT more. But technically I wasn't stepping anywhere, so it's all good.

After Ella and I picked up the duo from VBS we headed to the library for the kick off to their summer reading program. The theme was "Frozen" and the librarian read them a very boring story (I am a former librarian, so I'm allowed to say that) and then they did some arts and crafts. We ran into a fellow CrossFit mom with her two boys, so after the library (and the rain had stopped) we took our 5 kids to the park for at least an hour. They ran, they jumped, they had a great time!

Calories: 281

Steps: 17,208

Thursday-CrossFit. I normally take a rest day on Thursday, but since Wednesday's WOD was more of a recovery day, I decided to go to the box. All 3 kids decided to go to VBS. Our WOD was a butt kicker!!

Of course, I rowed 500m each round instead of running 400m. My weight scheme went like this: 30X35#, 20X40#, and 10X45#. My snatch is getting better, though anything going overhead is still very difficult for me. I finished the WOD in 18:17

But BEFORE we even did the WOD we did our front squats at 98% 3-4 sets of 2 reps. I did 35, 65, 85, 2X95, and then Coach Sarah came over and gave me a tip so I went back down and did one more at 85# so I could get a feel for what she was explaining. And it WORKED!

And THEN...I took the kids to the park IN THE RAIN. There was no thunder, or lightning, so why not??

And while we were there, Haley and I looked for a geocache! We found it.

This was a true microcache, with only a log book for us to sign.

Calories: 628

Steps: 16,019

Friday-CrossFit. Ronin and I went off to do our WOD. Friday is makeup day and since I had not missed a day I decided to do a Hero WOD that was in my new CrossFit journal. I chose to do "Weston." However, I modified the waiters walk.

Five rounds for time of:
Row 1000 meters
200 meter Farmer carry, 40 pounds
100 meter Waiters walk, 25 pounds

I finished in 51:03. Though I had to stop to help Ronin tie his shoe, and get a gatorade after his WOD. I also had to re-arrange my stuff because a thunderstorm moved in so I had to finish the 5th round walking around in circles inside my box. But I finished. I also listened to my Polar FT60 and worked out in Zone 2. Specific zone training is something that I am really working on.

After the WOD Ronin and I ran some errands, and in between rain storms, we stopped at parks to play!

We came home, unloaded all our groceries in the rain, (yes, there is a lot of rain going on right now in Florida) and then we had a rain break again. So we headed out for a walk to the park.

Ella did end up getting her hair in the muddy water. BUT WHO CARES?? She was out playing, being active, having fun. Nothing a shower couldn't wash off!

Calories: 531

Steps: 17,308

Saturday-REST DAY!! I truly did take a rest day. We went out for breakfast, I mowed the back yard, which I wasn't able to do earlier in the week because of the non-stop rain, and I went Father's Day shopping. I also stopped by the Battle of the Boxes and watched some of my box mates compete in a local competition. They did GREAT!!

Steps: 14,000

I am still on track to make my goal of 500,000 steps in June. I am currently at 252,907. Tomorrow is the 1/2 way point of the month and I wanted to be at 250,000 by the end of Sunday, and I've already exceeded that, so I'm well on my way to making my goal!

How was your week? As busy as mine??

Weekly Workouts and other stuff June 1-June 7

June is here!! That means that my kids are now officially on summer break! We all love summer, so this is a pretty exciting time for all of us!!

My youngest two children both have ADHD (as well as my youngest having ASD) and my husband and I have decided to un-medicate them this summer. It's going VERY well. Better than I could have expected. I think the key is to keep them busy busy busy!!

School let out on Tuesday, and we've been going strong since then!

Sunday-Rest Day. I know we were busy and did a lot of stuff, but I have no idea what!

Steps: 18,352

Monday-CrossFit. We started off with back squats, and then moved in to our WOD. Our WOD was:
400m run
30 crawlers
20 crawlers
10 crawlers

BUT...I don't run, so I rowed 500m in place of each run. And crawlers are HARD!! Whew! That was a gasser for sure!

Calories: 551

Steps: 20,638

Tuesday-CrossFit. Last day of school! WooHoo!! But before school got out for the summer, I got in a nice long workout!!

A yoke carry?? I know what a yoke is. I read ALL of the Little House on the Prairie books and I fondly remember the descriptions of Pa Ingalls plowing his fields with a yoke. But the Yoke of CrossFit is different than the Yoke of years gone past.

While in my mind I was picturing dragging something along behind me, when I walked out the back door, this is what was waiting for me.


Not quite what I had in mind. Tongue Out I volunteered to go first and made it about 5 feet before I asked for more weight to be placed on it. I made it another 5 feet and asked for more weight. I ended up with 100 pounds, and easily carried it the 50m. I could have carried much more but it was awkward. Post-WOD we did 2 miles.

Calories: 952

Steps: 19,396

Our subdivision hosted an end of the year pool party, so of course, I took the #TampaTrio. We had a BLAST! They had a dunk tank and a water slide, lots of kid friendly food, and filled the pool up with beach balls.

Wednesday-CrossFit. First day of summer vacation!! But before we play, we workout. So off to CrossFit we went! I can't remember what we did and I didn't have my new WOD book and I didn't take a photo. so ARGH!! But I know I walked one mile Post-WOD.

Then the kids and I spent the afternoon at the pool. It was lovely Smile

Calories: 648

Steps: 19,268

Thursday-Body Pump. For the first time in OVER A YEAR, I went to a Body Pump class. I used to do Body Pump all the time before the great gym shakeup of 2012. It was AWESOME! 

I'd love to add a weekly Body Pump class to my schedule, but I just can't afford another gym membership and the drop in fee is $15 per class, so I guess this one free class will have to do. But Pump would be the perfect compliment to my intense CrossFit workouts.

And then the kids and I spent the afternoon at the pool of one of my CrossFit coaches. It was a simply lovely day.

Calories: 540

Steps: 18,862

Friday-CrossFit and Geocaching. A more detailed post on Geocaching is coming soon. We love to cache!

Friday is always make-up day at CEF, so I made up Thursday's WOD. Front squats at 83% and then a 5 minute workout of 3 wall balls, 3 burpees, 6 wall balls, 3 burpees, etc...until the 5 minutes was called. I made it to the first part of 18 wall balls. I went into this WOD thinking I was going to need to do something else afterwards, but NO! That 5 minutes was plenty! And then we did a 1 mile post-wod walk. And then the kids and I spent the afternoon geocaching at Lake Park!

Calories: 648

Steps: 18,639

Saturday-Rest Day! And I got sick, too. I think it's just a summer cold, but it still stinks. I didn't get sick at all last year, and then BAM, summer starts and I get a cold. Undecided Ronin had his end of school pool party with Cub Scouts, so I took the kids to do that. I was really not feeling well, but they really wanted to go, and I thought the sun might make me feel better, and it did. UNTIL I got home and then it just hit me hard and I sat my butt down and didn't move for the rest of the night. Ugh. For the first time this week I did not make my daily step goal of 16,666, but since I had exceeded my goal every other day this week, I was okay as far as meeting my weekly goal.

Steps: 11,180

In order to meet my monthly goal of 500,000 steps in June, I need to walk 16,666 steps per day, or 125,000 steps per week.

I managed 126,335 which puts me over my weekly goal. Thank goodness. I also managed to do 100 air squats every single day (except Saturday) as part of the Polar and FitFluential squat challenge.

So how was your week?