Improvement in Strength

I returned to Lexington Saturday evening, and it was great to be back. While my visit back home was wonderful and full of action (mom’s surgery, visiting CrossFit boxes, meeting up with old friends, lots of riding horses, etc.), I missed M and missed Lexington.

I immediately got back into the swing of things by hitting up Man O’War CrossFit Monday morning. We were doing the CrossFit Total again to measure how much we had grown in strength over the month of July. I was a little worried about my progress, since I missed out on an entire week of consistent training while I was home (though I did get some good workouts in). But I shouldn’t have worried… On July 1, my total was 365. I was excited to discover that I improved by 55 lbs!

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I was proud of myself for really pushing it with the weights. It scared me, at first, to think that I was squatting my weight and deadlifting more than my weight, but then I felt pretty badass and strong. Wha What!? 😉

Oh, and did I mention that I sliced my finger Sunday night? Yeah….not fun! I was opening up a can of cat food for M’s cat, Sean, and sliced my pinky right where it meets my palm. It’s been very awkward to keep bandaged, but Tuesday Taylor and I used some tape to help protect it for that day’s WOD, which included pull-ups. See:

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I finished this WOD in 21:04, using a band for the pull-ups (I went a little easier because I didn’t want to reopen the cut) and doing 55 lb front squats (as well as working on my handstand push-ups on a box).

These past two workouts have been great confidence boosts for me in regards to my physical strength. I spent the weekend keeping track of the CrossFit Games (learn more by checking out wrap-ups from two of my fave bloggers who got to watch them in person, Tina and Anne) and I’ve just been amazed at the competitors’ strength. I mean, come on…100m walking lunges with 100 lb overhead?? A woman deadlifting 265 lbs?? Srsly!

In the past three months that I’ve been doing CrossFit, I’ve definitely seen a difference in my physical strength, but also feeling like I can do anything. Sure it’s going to take me a while to work up to regular pull-ups, but I feel like I am going to get to a point where I can do pull-ups on my own–I’ve never felt that way before. The sport has given me more confidence in different ways, and for that I’m thankful.

I’ve been lucky to get that boost from riding horses, as well, but this feels a little different for some reason. And volleyball…I never really had a big confidence boost from playing that sport (coaches tend to do that some times).

So, tell me, has a sport ever changed your confidence for the better?

 

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A Workout with CrossFit Clay United

Thursday I was able to drag bring my sister with me to do a drop-in workout with CrossFit Clay United in Carmel, Ind. They’re actually a branch off of Indy North because that box got so big. It was a little difficult to find the box, but once we did, I found it airy and nice (of course it wasn’t as blasted hot as it was when I visited Indy North).

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Scott Saucedo was our coach and one of the co-owners and he was so awesome to work with. The noon class was small, so it was nice to be able to get some individual work with the coach, while not feeling bad about taking time away from the paying members. After warming up with a 400 m run and some plyometrics, it was time to work on the strength portion, which was an EMOTM (every minute on the minute) of 3 deadlifts on the odd minute and 3 bench presses on the even minutes, progressing to about 80% of your one rep max.

I haven’t done a bench press since I started CrossFit (I’d do them on my own at my regular gym) so I wasn’t sure what to expect with those. Scott worked with both Erin and myself on our form for the deadlifts. I discovered I was doing too much of a squat as I came down. Instead, you’re supposed to bend over until the bar hits your knee, then squat straight down, making sure you keep one straight line from the lift off the ground to your mid-thighs at the top, and then back down. After he worked with me on that, I stopped adding weight to my bar and worked with 113 pounds for the last few rounds to focus more on my form. The bench press I got up to 63 pounds, which is pretty darn good for me!

The cardio-portion of the WOD was a 4x500m row circuit. After you completed 500m, you rested for 3 minutes. We recorded our times, then we kept the best and worst times. I’ve done the row machine before, but we only have 2 at MOW (so far), so we don’t do exercises that require rowing (we run instead). Again Scott worked with me on my form–I was leaning too far forward as I came forward. He told me to stay upright and really use my long legs to push off. My splits were: 2:10, 2:11, 2:13, 2:08

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(That’s my sister tearing up the row machine with her great form in the lower lefthand corner.)

It didn’t seem like a hard WOD, but my legs were pretty shaky from the entire week’s activities (riding three horses everyday for 7 days straight, at least 75 overhead squats, 6-mile run, etc.). It was a good workout and I was proud of my sister for getting out of her comfort zone with new people and the new workout.

If you’re in Central Indiana, I definitely recommend checking out either Indy North or Clay United! The coaches and the athletes are wonderful and great to learn from. I’m appreciative of both boxes showing me that Hoosier Hospitality that I’ve grown up on.

What’s been your favorite workout when you’re on vacation?

Have you done drop-ins anywhere?

Mom’s Surgery Update

I’ve appreciated all of the well-wishes for my mom as she underwent surgery on Monday. I’m happy to say she came home Wednesday afternoon and is progressing really well!

During her Roux-En-Y surgery, they also removed her gall bladder. It was discovered, upon final examination, that it was full of stones, and it was best to go ahead and remove the gall bladder while they were already in there. A family friend, who had the same surgery years ago, said that was a great thing, since doctors had to remove her gall bladder just a few months after her initial surgery. That would not be fun for anyone, let alone my mom.

Mom’s recovery will be slow, but she’ll see progress along the way. Right now she’s still on a mostly liquid diet–2 ounces of some sort of liquid three times a day. But she can have some soft foods as well. For instance, today she had some cream of wheat and some 100% fruit juice (no sugar added) for breakfast, butternut squash soup and jello for lunch, and mashed potatoes and cheese for dinner. She has to learn to eat her small meals in a 30 minute timeframe, which when you’re only eating 2 ounces at a time (and she can’t drink anything while she’s eating, or else she’ll fill up on fluid instead of her meal).

I’ve got her started on some protein shakes because during her walks she was talking about getting shaky and maybe a little light-headed. Well, at the moment she’s not getting a lot of protein in her meals, so I figured it was time to start her on some protein shakes. She already felt a difference with just 4 ounces of my V-Core Vanilla Bean protein shake with 2% milk.

She’s also staying hydrated with either her sippy cup full of water, or I got her a CamelBak water bottle to help her sip water without getting a lot of air in her gut. It’s really easy for patients with bariatric surgery to become dehydrated, so she really has to have water with her at all times.

She’s also making sure she gets up every hour or so and at least walking the length of the house (which is pretty long) and back. She’s going to start walking down the driveway at least once a day if the weather is nice, too, which will be great for her to get some fresh air and natural Vitamin D from the sun. Today’s walk included all four dogs (my two and her two) and one of the horses, Quila, who decided to join us for the walk. The weather was perfect–not too warm, with a great breeze. I think it helped lift my mom’s spirits.

We’re hopeful for continued progress for mom. She’s been getting on the scale every morning and gets excited to see the weight dropping. Of course, right now she’s losing water weight from the swelling in her legs, but hey, a drop in pounds is a drop.

Her first follow-up appointment with her doctor is August 20. She already read when she can start adding foods back into her diet, and she’s looking forward to being able to fix things like her summer squash and puree it for a meal in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working to clean the house and re-organize it, along with the barn. Everything has been dusted, floors mopped, stalls stripped and re-bedded, cobwebs removed, blankets washed, etc. It’s been an exhausting week of taking care of the farm, plus ride horses, care for mom (and dad), give riding lessons to my brother-in-law, and try to fit in meeting up with friends…it’s been a great week that I’m happy I’ve been able to spend with my family, but I’m looking forward to being back in Lexington with the husband.(I finally got him to admit he missed me and the pups, ha!)

I have some scenes from my Iphone I’ll share with you from the weekend, as well as my workout with CrossFit Clay United on Thursday. It’s been fun doing drop-in workouts with other boxes, but I’ll be happy to be back in Man O’War on Monday, ready to cuss Taylor. 😉

Working Out with Indy CrossFit North

Thank you for the well-wishes for my mom’s surgery. Everything went well and I’ll do a post with an update later this week.

Since I was going to be in Indiana for about a week, I was concerned about missing CrossFit for an entire week. Luckily Taylor (at Man O’War CrossFit) suggested doing a drop-in workout at one of the Central Indiana boxes. I did some research and found CrossFit Indy North in Noblesville, about 30 minutes from my parents’ farm.

If you are following the CrossFit Games, Indy North sent a team and one Masters competitor. Pretty badass. They’ve been around for a few good years, starting out in the owner’s garage before moving into their current box.

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(Sorry for the not-so-good photos, I forgot my camera and had to rely on my phone.)

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If you’re traveling and wish to get in a workout at a different box, I recommend doing your research early and contacting the box before your travels to see if they will allow a drop-in. Most are receptive and let you get in one workout free.

We warmed up with a 600 m run, outside, and then a set of loosening movements including kettlebell swings, etc. We then went over the strength portion which included a snatch with 2 overhead squats, working up to 80% of your max. The coach, Lindsay, helped me work on my form on my overhead squats. She noticed my left arm would cause me to lean a little going down. She recommended I focus on pointing my armpits forward when I snatched and shrug my shoulders up. Meanwhile, I needed to look higher with my eyes as I squatted down and up. Doing all of this, as well as remembering to tighten my abs, helped a lot. But for the WOD she wanted me to use just the 35 lb bar so I wouldn’t lose my form doing 75 overhead squats.

The WOD:

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400 m run
15 overhead squats
5 rounds for time

Most of us performed the WOD outside, with a nice breeze (the A/C was acting up so they had all the doors open). We ran down the street for 200 m then turned around and ran back for the 400 m. I finished in 16:40. Not bad! I’d like to really work on my overhead squats so I can do Nancy as prescribed–65 lbs.

It was a lot of fun working out with a different box. Lindsay said I was welcome to come back any time, which is great.

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Thanks to CrossFit Indy North and best of luck to the team at the Games!! I’ll be rooting for my fellow Hoosiers!

My Mom’s Gastric Bypass Surgery

I’m up in Indiana for about a week or so because today my mom had surgery. It’s been in the works for a while, and the day has finally come. We’re all anxious and excited for her, but also a little nervous about the days ahead. She feels the same way.

You see, my mom is having bariatric surgery.

My mom has always been overweight since I can remember. When I was younger, it wasn’t too bad–she worked a full-time job as a head injury nurse and was able to enjoy spending time at horse shows and rodeos with us with no problem. The weight wasn’t a big issue then.

Then my mom was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. If you don’t know what fibromyalgia is, here’s a nutshell explanation:

Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety.

She had fibromyalgia before it became a more popular term (to where you now see ads for medicine). With this diagnosis, it was almost like her health instantly went downhill. She retired from being a nurse and I think that’s when depression started to slowly hit get a grasp on her. Then I went off to college and moved out on my own, thus leaving an empty nest (my sister lives next door, but leads a busy life as well). The horse shows stopped, but dad continued working. Slowly she started having troubles even just walking–the past few years she’s had to use a cane when he legs were too stiff or too full of fluid to really bend and move very well.

It’s been hard seeing my mother’s health deteriorate. She hasn’t been able to walk down to the barn in I don’t even know how long, and I was worried about the length of her walk for my wedding when my brother-in-law walked her down the aisle. We’re hoping this surgery is a restart to her life, and that maybe this will allow her and my dad to enjoy their golden years together.

Christmas 2012 with my momma

Christmas 2012 with my momma

Her surgery is called the Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery. In this type of gastric bypass surgery, a small section of the stomach is used to create a new stomach pouch that is about the size of an egg. The smaller stomach is connected directly to the middle portion of the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine. (According to WebMD)

The past few days mom’s enjoyed her “lasts”–last McDonald’s sweet tea, last dinner at her favorite Mexican restaurant, last chai latte from Starbucks. She also went shopping with my dad to get some of the things she’ll need for her recovery, including V8 Juice, baby food, and a Nutri-Bullet to make smoothies. I brought my protein powder for her to try (we all know the trials and tribulations of finding a protein powder we like) and my sister bought her a bunch of samples from her nutrition store.

I’ll be home for the next few days to make sure things go smoothly with the start of mom’s recovery, and to help out on the farm. Mom will be in the hospital until Wednesday, then her real re-start of her new life begins. We’re all hoping it’s the jump her health needs to tackle her golden years.

Do you know of anyone who’s had gastric bypass surgery? How’d it go?

Do you have any experience with fibromyalgia?

Dally Turns 8!

Today is Dally’s 8th birthday!!! That’s right, my pretty Corgi girl is celebrating turning two whole paws today, and she’s not showing the slightest sign of aging (well, minus the gray hairs sprouting on her face, but we blame LaMesa and Matt for those, and, of course, you don’t mention those to her).

Dally and I in the mountains with Lake Tahoe behind us.

Dally and I in the mountains with Lake Tahoe behind us.

I never would have imagined the world that was opened up to me when this little round ball of fur bunny hopped into my life.

Dallas Mae has been an awesome little buddy to help me through so many things like multiple state moves, loneliness, new jobs, big decisions, broken hearts, tears of sadness and joy, etc.

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I never would have thought she’d take me to Reno, Nev., nor back to Tulsa, Okla., to compete on our sport’s largest stage. I was told five years ago or so that she wouldn’t be an agility champion, but in November we proved them all wrong.

She’s my little Snuggle Bug at night–when we go to bed, I spoon Dally, with her head sharing my pillow with mine, and one of my hands rubbing her belly until we both fall asleep.

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She loves to get revved up before we cross the start line in agility, she loves her walks in the park, and her swims in the creek.

Today we’ll be hitting up the Bluegrass Barkery for her birthday treats and having a little celebration, and of course a lot of tennie playing. I’m hoping to have eight more years with this little girl.

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(You can read more about my relationship with Dally from our post on The Daily Corgi.)

Happy 8th Birthday, PACH Frontiers Honkytonkbadonkadonk RN, AX, AXJ, NF, MXPB, MXP4, MXJPB, MXJ4, PAX….aka Dallas Mae….aka Dallas Corgi Furr….aka Dally

Actions Speak Louder

New Year’s Eve is typically when we all state our resolutions, or goals, for the year to come. We all have good intentions at the beginning of the year because the year is so full of promise.

Unfortunately, the majority of those resolutions never come to fruition. By February most have given up their motivation to keep on the track of whatever their resolution was, maybe because of the lack of true motivation, a goal too high, or maybe they just didn’t want it bad enough.

A lot of us like to put our goals out there because we want to be held accountable. We want someone to kind-of be that little bug in our ear when we reach for that brownie that isn’t on our “clean eating” plan. We welcome a little nudge to hit the gym when we’re maybe just not feeling like breaking a sweat.

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But if you have an ultimate goal, where you know you have to really work for it, do you make the effort to achieve it? Or just continue to say, “This is what I want, and I know how I can get there…I just haven’t gotten there, yet…” When does that “yet” become a “now”?

I can understand if you’ve been burned trying to achieve that goal before–it sucks to think you failed. But you’ve only failed if you don’t stand back up, dust yourself off, and try again.

If it’s truly an unattainable goal, perhaps you just need to rethink that goal and figure out the next best thing. That doesn’t mean to completely give up and spend your resting hours on the couch, watching televisions or playing video games. No, it just means reassessing your goals to make them attainable, or reworking the steps to achieve that ultimate dream.

Right now, I don’t really know what my goals and dreams are, in my real life. I have goals for my running, CrossFit, and training my dogs, but I’m currently reassessing my life-goals.

Have I given up? No.

Do I know others who just give up? Yes.

Does it hurt? Yes.

Does it chap my ass? Hell yes!

Why doesn’t it chap theirs? I couldn’t tell you.

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It’s time to stop saying, “I am going to do this….” and actually do it. Make your actions be seen–quit just repeating the words over and over that we’ve heard for the past few years. Make yourself accountable for your own goals and develop a work ethic towards that dream.

Stop saying you know what you need to do to achieve your goals and JUST DO IT! (Shout out to Nike.)

Stop just saying you treasure something and SHOW THAT YOU DO.

Take care of yourself. Don’t frustrate others who are taking care of you and want to see you succeed. Don’t you want to see yourself succeed? Don’t you want to feel that accomplishment? You have to want it for yourself. You have to do it for yourself. If you don’t love yourself enough to do it, how can you love the others around you that want so much for you?

So I’m continuing to work towards my physical goals and being accountable for myself. I just need to take the time to figure out my next goals and my next dreams, and then I will take action towards those goals. But I will take action for myself… Will you?

Five Days of CrossFit

I’ve been a little lax on posting my workouts lately, and for that, I apologize. I’ve been hitting up Man O’War CrossFit a lot more lately, as well as trying to increase my mileage on my runs. I figure I have the time right now, so why not get serious about some of my fitness goals?

Someone asked me why I enjoy spending so much time at the box lately. Well, with everything going on in my life (more on that later), this is the one place where I feel like I’m doing the right thing and I belong at the moment. Everyone there has their own goals, they’re not out to get anyone. They’re all there to have a good time, while getting stronger and faster. When I’m there, all I think about is my form, the movements I’m doing then, the time on the clock, and pushing myself. Nothing else clogs my mind.

For one whole hour, I’m a different person–I’m confident again, I’m relaxed again, I’m happy. I might not have any real close friends there (yet), but the people there are great and a lot of fun. The trainers are there to make sure you’re doing everything right and that you’re giving it 110%. And that’s what you want from your box, right?

My CrossFit box is my getaway from what hasn’t been the most fun life lately. I enjoy my runs (or walks, depending on how tired my legs are) to and from the box, and I enjoy the pumped up atmosphere once you walk through those doors.

The past week’s WODs have been all about your shoulders–Brenton says it’s his goal to help us up our weight on our push presses, and boy I hope he’s right! I didn’t feel too sore until I woke up this morning and my shoulders were not happy. I think it might be because I worked on the basics of kipping a lot after our WOD on Thursday. I had an interview for an article at 7:30 am, so I had to miss the morning classes, and I would miss the noon class, so I went for a 4.3 mile run on my own after the interview, since it was still so nice (hello, July 12 and I was able to open up the windows in the house!).

Overall this week, I ran a total of 13.7 miles (give or take a mile, I didn’t record all of my 1 mile runs to and from the box this week). Not bad! The knee is holding up, but the heel is giving me troubles when I first start running and then a few hours after my run.

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The workouts this week were tough, like I said earlier. Monday’s workout was “Hope,” a new female benchmark workout named after a young girl who does CrossFit, even after having a leg amputated. I was able to kill it with the Rxd 20″ box jumps (not bad, considering I just tackled those on July 4), but did 45 lbs for the thrusters and snatch and knees to chest on the bar.

Tuesday was a hero workout: Nate. Instead of the muscle-ups, I did two chest-to-bar pull-ups (using a band) and 2 dips, plus handstand push-ups on the box, but the Rxd 36 lb kettlebell. I got in 13 or 14 rounds in the 20 minute AMRAP.

Wednesday we did squat cleans, then 1,000 m run, 50 toes to bar (I did knees to chest–I’m getting higher!) and 14 lb wall balls 25 times and finished in about 9 minutes or so. Then Thursday was overhead squats (with the 35lb bar–legs and shoulders were tired) and push-ups on the knees with situps. That was a fun one, but exhausting. I still somehow had enough energy to start working on my kipping pull-ups with Taylor.

Friday was a rest day from CrossFit, but I got in a run with two pup walks to celebrate the gorgeous weather. I’ll probably hit CrossFit in the morning Saturday before heading to Louisville for a cook-out with friends.

How were your workouts this week?

Why I do Dog Agility

**This is a cross-post from my dog agility training blog, Agility On Stumps, but I felt it important to share with everyone. If you’d like to learn more about my dog agility stuff, feel free to check out that blog as well!

Today two agility friends shared this video on Facebook (and more to come, I have a feeling), so I wanted to share it with you.

Those who are not dog people (or horse people, coming from my “old life”) don’t really understand how we can spend all our free time, “waste” our money, and exhaust ourselves just “running our dogs” through courses and being happy with it. This video shows exactly why–we do it because we love our dogs. We love the happiness it brings us to work together and have fun. We might not Q every time, or, if we do, we might only bring home ribbons that clutter our walls or our shelves, but that’s not why we do it.

I had a former boss who flat out said, “You know, you’d actually be able to travel and do more things like I do if you didn’t waste your money on dog agility.” (Oh, yes, she actually said that.) I was appalled by her saying that to me. My response? “I don’t waste my money doing dog agility. It’s my sport and it’s something I’ve grown to love. If I didn’t do agility with my dogs, I think we’d all be unhappy.”

After a particularly hard weekend of not Qing with LaMesa, I always need to be reminded about how much she still loves me. She doesn’t know we didn’t Q–she still got her treats and she got to play with mom, one-on-one. For Dally, I’ve always had to make it fun. Now I see how both girls run their little hearts out for me every time we get to the starting line.

We do agility because we love our dogs. We do it because they are our hearts and bring us joy. If a Q or a championship title come along the way, then that’s just the icing on the cake. Until then, we’ll continue to “waste” our money on those “cheap ribbons” and the “worthless” certificates that come in the mail every so often. We’ll sacrifice our comfort of nice hotels for the cheap ones so we can afford to participate in the sport we love. We’ll be alright with saying our dogs go to a chiropractor, yet I’ve yet to see one for myself. The happiness and joy we feel as we snuggle up to our dogs at the end of the day trumps all of that, and trumps that European vacation said former boss might get to enjoy every so often.

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Recipe: Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies (made with avocado!)

Earlier this week I was in the mood to bake cookies. I get a little tired of baking the same types of cookies, plus I’m always trying to look for ways to make my cookies just a little bit healthier. A while ago M saw a recipe on the back of my Craisins bag for cranberry oatmeal cookies with white chocolate chips and said they looked good. I agreed! So when I set out to bake on Monday, I decided I was going to make those, only without the white chocolate chips (I couldn’t find any in my last trip to the store).

So I looked at the recipe and decided I wanted to try to make it healthy. I was limited with what we already head in the house, so I divided the original recipe in half and then did my swaps. Here’s what I came up with:

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Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies with Avocado

1/3 cup mashed avocado
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 large egg
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
A little less than 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup Reduced Sugar Craisins Dried Cranberries

  1. Preheat oven to 375* F.
  2. Beat the avocado and maple syrup together, add the egg.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, and baking soda. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and combine.
  4. Add Craisins.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared cookie sheet (I used a silicon liner on a cookie sheet). Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

*This makes about 18 cookies

This recipe isn’t a very sweet one, but it works for me. For the last bunch of dough (about 6 cookies’ worth) I added a sprinkle of cinnamon and some slivered almonds to see how that tasted and I loved the extra texture from the almonds! You can also add white chocolate chips, if you’re so inclined.

M loved the cookies, and he was surprised to find out that they had avocado and maple syrup in them. Win!

Try them and let me know what you think!