Tuesday, April 30, 2013

cookie butter madness and other random tales from my brain

random blips from ym brain today

  • Wiping out the Vacation Fund - We booked our Disney trip and we're keeping it a secret from the kids.  I'm very excited but goodness gracious Disney can take a huge chunk out of your wallet so quickly!
  • Cookie Butter Madness - We went to Trader Joe's the other night (and I don't know why I find this hilarious but I do) but they were out of cookie butter and so was I so this made me sad.  I have been known to love the stuff so when we saw cases of the crunchy variety we finally asked an employee where the regular was.  They said there is a shortage and the store only gets one case per day.  Then she told Jonathan that the case doesn't even make it to the shelf.  She told him he could order some or request a few jars for them to hold.  When we were checking out I was laughing so hard about the fact that there were too many women in there and not enough cookie butter.  The cashier was saying that even the President likes it.  It was a good chuckle to think about

  • Date Night - We had a babysitter Saturday night and had no plans.  Usually that bothers me but for some reason it worked really well this time.  We ate at the District Bar and Grill and went to Trader Joe's (see above).  I had pineapple glazed salmon, mushroom risotto, and green beans... which.... mmmmmm... We browsed the bookstore for a while and then we had dessert and coffee at Midtown Cafe and Dessertery.

  • Enchiladas - I made the best enchiladas the other night. Actually, I've never met an enchilada that I didn't like, but these were really good.  I cooked three frozen chicken breasts with some chopped onions in the crockpot while I was at work.  When I came home I shredded the chicken and mixed in black beans and frozen corn.  Then I added salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped green onion, and some cumin.  I rolled it up in tortillas and covered it with jarred enchilada sauce and cooked it for 30 minutes with more cheese sprinkled on top.  It was just YUM.
  • The Land Fund - Jonathan has always dreamed of owning land.  I'm not sure why because it's never been one of my dreams but I wanted to help start making that dream a reality so for his birthday I asked friends and family to donate a dollar or two to start up a "land fund."  We've now officially made the deposit and are hoping to add to it over the next decade or so.  Perhaps God will see fit to bless our big dreams and big plans.  Thank you to Pastor Jonathan for giving us the inspirational message months ago.

  • Social Dieting - I did a DietBet challenge last month and lost 10 pounds.  You only have to lose 4% of your body weight to win and for that challenge the bet was $35 with a pot over $38,000.  I decided to keep the momentum going and start another challenge for this month.  You have 4 weeks to lose 4% of your body weight whoever does it splits the port.  It's open to anyone.  It's a good way to keep the motivation going and the scale moving in the right direction.  If you're interested come on over to DietBet and join my challenge.  It doesn't start until the 5th and it's only $25 buy in, lose 4%, winners split the pot.
  • SciWorks for Free - Our local library just partnered with SciWorks and it's offering a family pass to the science museum for library cardholders for free this summer.  I am thrilled!  We used to have a membership to SciWorks but it has since expired so the kids and I will love being able to go again this summer.  Why do people hate the library?  It's seriously one of my most favorite things.
  • As It Turns Out, I Do Like To Get Flowers - Jonathan came home one night last week and as he got out of the car I glanced through the garage door and saw him getting a leafy green thing out and heading inside.  I didn't know what it was but my heart picked up a bit because I thought he'd bought me flowers.  I've always said that flowers never matter to me.  I mean they're nice, but I'd rather the money be spent on other things.  Anyway, when he finally came inside and didn't have any flowers in his hand that was exactly when my broken heart remembered that he was supposed to be picking up a blueberry bush from my aunt that day.  It turns out that I like receiving flowers more than I thought.
I want to know:
-Where will you go for your next vacation?
-Do you visit your local library? Book recommendations anyone?
-Have you ever had Trader Joe's cookie butter? What's your favorite way to eat it?
-Do you like getting flowers?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I love the freeze-frame on that last one

If it were up to me this post would be about my impressive immune system and my body's awesome ability to not be affected in any way by Spring allergies.  Or at least that's what I was telling my co-workers yesterday outside at bus duty while they sniffed and wiped and complain about the dang pollen currently overtaking our state.  "I don't ever seem to be affected by pollen," I bragged.

Yeah, right.

After school we played a bit of tee ball/softball in the front yard and I mostly played photographer in the grass, but did take a couple of swings and ran after some stray balls.  By the time we got the kids ready for bed my throat felt like razor blades and I couldn't hear out of one ear.  Every time I swallowed it felt as if I were swallowing the Target brand of children's ibuprofen (you know, the one that is so thick it makes Julianna gag and throw up her dinner? yeah that one).

I laid down on the bed "just for a minute" at 8pm and I didn't get up until Jonathan got out of the shower this morning.  I vaguely remember looking at the clock around 10:50 or so but I couldn't make myself get up to even put on pajamas.

When I woke up this morning I felt a bit better (despite the headache) but the anger at myself trumped any remaining allergy symptoms.  I was mad at myself because I didn't run yesterday. 

I set a goal a while back to try to run every day in April and I made it every day until yesterday.  I'm still going to finish out the month strong, but it will suck to have done the whole month except for one day out of 30. 

Oh well, right?  You win some and lose some.

For evidence just take a look at the kids batting.

If you look closely you can see Josh grabbing his wedgie

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Run for Boston

Last night our local Fleet Feet store put on an event called Run for Boston to demonstrate support for those that were affected by the tragic events in Boston one week ago.  It was a community event and it took place on the Salem Creek Greenway.  Over 800 people participated in either the 1 mile, 3 mile or 5 mile run/walk.  It was even written up in the Winston-Salem Journal.

I knew ahead of time that Jonathan couldn't go with us because he had a meeting at church at the same time.  I talked with Jules about the events in Boston by reading her this story and then I tried to prepare her for running with me.  She really didn't want to do it, but I think talking with her about the Boston Marathon victims helped.  Plus we had some friends coming with us and she ended up saying she would at least run one mile with them.

I planned to take Josh in the stroller and hoped she could run with me for a minimum or one mile.  My training plan for the day said to do 3 miles so I was going to cross my fingers for 2 and hope that Julianna would last.

There was quite a crowd gathered when we arrived and the owner of FF called all of the runner's who participated in the Boston Marathon this year to the front to be honored.  He then read Romans 12 before we started and we sang the national anthem.

They let the participants out of the gate in waves according to their estimated paces and there were two different routes based on the mileage you wanted to run.  Plenty of volunteers helped the crowds know where to go.  We took off to the right for the 1 and 2 mile routes.

In the end it really worked out better than I could have ever hoped.  Josh rode comfortably without complaining much at all and Julianna ran a full two miles, even running way ahead of me at the end.  She blows my mind over and over again.

My mom and dad and sister all ran as well and a couple of our friends came with us.  Of course, there were plenty of running friends that we saw there too.

The most important thing was that around the country people showed support for the devastation that ocurred in Boston last week.  This particular event was well-organized and planned out beautifully, something I've come to love and expect from any FF sponsored event.  It made me so proud to be a part of such an amazing community.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

What have you done to show your support for Boston?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

what's the strangest pet you've ever had? (alternate title: meet tut)

We went to the beach last weekend and somehow came home with a baby turtle.

There were lots of them that Jonathan and I saw on our long run Saturday morning but they were all dead on the pavement.  Finally, just before we were leaving to come home on Sunday Pap and Josh found one alive crossing the boardwalk.

Somehow the turtle got into the car with us and then made the 4 hour drive home with us in a sand pail sitting beside of Joshua's car seat.

We pondered where we would keep him but settled on moving the fish back to his little bowl and giving the turtle the aquarium, but when we got home the fish was dead so the decision was simple.  Farewell, Teddy!

Hello, Tut! We moved Tut (another instance of the kids naming the pets around here) into his new home.  Tut likes to eat turtle pellets from PetSmart and he especially likes house flies.

He has survived out of his natural habitat a week today and the kids worked with Daddy on a new home for him last night.  He has logs, rocks, a water filter, places to hide, and now dried worms to eat.

They moved him in gently and we'll see how long he lasts.

Jonathan read that turtles carry salmonella so I'm crossing my fingers that this doesn't go down in our family history books like the Christmas kitten debacle did.

What's the strangest pet you've ever had?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

things that make me happy today

  • These songs make me smile and me dancing all goofy with my kids makes them smile too. Win, win!
  • A suspect is about to be arrested in the marathon bombings.
  • Also related to the Boston marathon tragedy from Monday: this one will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside
  • And finally, this:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

by the numbers

April, by the numbers:

  • 0 - number of times I've had a soft drink
  • 2213 - number of times we've changed Julianna's earrings
  • 1 - number of times I've had fast food
  • 16 - number of times I've gone for at least a 1 mile run
  • 38 - number of school days left this year
  • 1 - number of pets that died this week
  • 1 - number of new pets we acquired this week (more on that later)
  • 0 - number of alcoholic beverages I've consumed
  • 100 - number of days I want to spend at the beach this summer (wishful thinking)
  • 6 - number of books I've read so far in 2013
  • 15 - number of books I should have read by now in order to stay on goal
What number is on your mind today?
More importantly, are you wearing a race shirt today to support Boston?

Friday, April 12, 2013

then and now

Julianna, April 2013

outside sitting and singing the song that she recently wrote

Julianna, April 2010

making silly faces at me from across the room
roller skating with some extra padding added to her bottom

Julianna, April 2007

rubbing food in her hair

sweet baby

Thursday, April 11, 2013

half marathon recap 3.0

Since it's been almost a month since my last half marathon do you think maybe I should finally recap it here for documentation? Otherwise it won't ever get done and I'd like to remember the details especially because I got the PR I wanted.

BTW I've determined that as long as you're still getting PRs at every race you're either still a beginning runner or you're practically headed to a professional running career.  What do you think?

I ran Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon on St. Patrick's Day.  I trained for it with a group from Fleet Feet and only three other girls from my group were actually going to be running the race, but my mom and sister were going to go with me for support.  It turned out to be a pretty good girls weekend and Julianna even came along which was fun.

we enjoyed a brief time on the beach after the race was over

Anyway, this year there were two start waves for the half marathon and I was placed in the later group starting at 6:45 am.  I caught a ride to the starting line with my friend Arika.  It was her first half marathon and she was pretty nervous.  Her sister drove us and dropped us off with her friend and right before we got out of the car she prayed for us which was really special to me.

blurry 6 am phone photo

I had written my pace times per mile on a paper and then photographed it and set it as the wallpaper on my phone.  Since I always carry my phone in my hand when I run this worked out to be a great way to keep track of goal times.  Like last year, I set three goals

It's my own personal belief that it's good to have 3 goals: 1 you'd be mad at yourself if you didn't make it, 2 you'd be happy if you accomplished it, and 3 you'd be thrilled if you were able to meet it. Last year my goals were to complete the race, to complete the race without walking, and to complete it in under 3 hours. My goals this year were to finish in 2:45,to finish in 2:36, and to finish in 2:30.

I started out with a couple of girls from the group. I knew that we'd possibly split up but I told them that I was going to do my best to finish in under 2:30.  The weather was a lot warmer than we'd been used to during training but we felt prepared since everyone kept warning us of that possibility.

I took a picture of this guy at the beginning and you can't tell it but he juggled the whole way.

My plan was to do the first couple of miles at 11:42 and the next mile at 11:37.  We did an OK job at that although due to the elevation in the beginning of the race it was hard not to go over that even a bit.  I didn't worry and just tried to enjoy the company and the scenery and keep an upbeat attitude.

Miles 4 through 9 were supposed to be around 11:29 pace and we went over that quite a bit.  Arika broke away from us shortly after mile the third mile and then when we passed my family around mile 4 or 5 my sister joined in with Kristine and I.  It was refreshing to have my sister running with me since she is usually much faster and way ahead.

Here's my final splits taken from my phone:

the Wolfpack aid station

We quickly entered the Landfall community and could see Arika up ahead for most of the way.  She actually stopped to use the bathroom and we were able to catch back up to her.  By the elevation during mile 7 we were all starting to get fatigued. 

I slowly pulled away from Arika and then Kristine saw her husband around mile 8 or 9 and we slowly pulled ahead of them.  It was exciting to see my pace group mentor from training around mile 10.  Just like last year she gave me a huge confidence boost. 

Whitney quit when she got back to Mom and Jules which was around mile 11 and at that point I had quit talking and was certainly winded.  We had picked up the pace considerably to make up the earlier time and I was clearly going to make goal. 

One thing that running with FF has taught me for usre is that having support people with you helps tremendously.  It's such an incredible feeling when you become certain that you're going to succeed and it's even more amazing when you have someone to share it with or when you know someone is rooting for you.

for some reason I snap a picture of the mile 12 sign during every half marathon

I struggled through the next two miles alone and even though I had my iPod I never started it up.  With about a mile to go I had about 14 minutes left to meet my goal so then I kinda forgot about it.  I became so tired that I wanted to quit with about half a mile to go and it was about then that I heard the cheers for the lead marathon runner.  I made myself pick it up a tad.  It was so inspiring to be running at the end of my race with all of my fatigue and effort weighing me down and then see a guy blaze past who'd just completed twice the distance in five minutes less time (the marathon wave started 5 minutes before us).

I saw my mom as I rounded the corner with 0.3 mile to go and she ran with me a little ways.  I had to wipe tears from my eyes.  Then I saw my sister and daughter again when we got close to the finish line crowds. 

I looked up at the clock when I could finally make out the numbers and I realized I only had seconds to get across the line and still beat 2:30 so I began passing people left and right at the very last stretch.  I probably passed ten people in the last tenth of a mile which may have been rude but I didn't care at that moment.

Kristine crossed shortly after me and then Arika came across after that.  I was so proud of both of them!  And I was proud of myself too! My final time was 02:29:54 so I truly cut it close.

It was another good race for the books and I think I'll always be kinda partial to this race since it was where I ran my first half.  I know I could have done better but with the extra ten pounds I'd put on from the Mexico trip and the holidays it was a good goal for me for try to break 2.5 hours.  I am throughly pleased.

For comparison here's the splits from the last half I did in December.  Much hillier, with a final time around 2:37.

Oh and these things are still 100% true even after you're third half marathon.

I'm really thinking about putting a marathon on the calendar, but I'll probably play it safe and wait until next year.  I might decide I have enough goals already on my plate for 2013.

Who wants to run my next half with me?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

melt my heart

We were sitting at the dinner table one night last week and Josh randomly said, "Jules? Do you know that girl that wears her hair in a ponytail all the time and likes to run a lot?"

Julianna answered with a slightly bewildered look on her face, "Uhhh.... no."

Josh then pointed at me and said, "That's her! That's the one I love!"

I don't think I've ever felt more special in my entire life.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"This is the best day of my life!"

she said as she walked out the door to go to school with big ol' feathers hanging from her ears...

Monday, April 8, 2013

the conundrum with finding a new feed reader and a potential solution

When Google Reader announced that they'd be practically shutting down their feed reading service in July, like everyone else I was dumbfounded.  I even tried to capture my disappointment on Instagram that week.

I checked out Feedly like a bunch of others and wasn't impressed but that's honestly probably just because I couldn't get the hang of it.  Then I saw where Zoot recommended The Old Reader.  I immediately looked into it too.

It took Forever to import my posts, but I didn't really want to start over gathering feeds so I waited. (Really Forever probably equals a few days here.)

Now I've been using The Old Reader for a couple of weeks or so now and there's several things I like about it that I wanted to share.

First, I like that you can like posts again.  At the bottom of each post there is a like and a share button not just the share button that Google Reader had changed to include.

Plus you can log-in with your Google Account or your Facebook account which means you can share posts and interact easily with your friends through email or Facebook.  I love this feature.  To me, it makes it more social than Google Reader was.  For instance, when I share a post it goes in my friends' feed list just like it used to way back in the day in Google Reader.  The best part is that I can put a comment on the post that appears at the top of it so before my friends read it they can read my comment about it.

Everything else works much the same that Google Reader worked which is nice because you don't have to learn a new way to use your reader.

Anyway, if you're missing an easy way to keep up with blog posts or other (news, social, etc) sites that update regularly then I encourage you to check out The Old Reader.  It makes it a lot easier to keep up with the stuff you want to read and then share it with people who are important to you if you want.

I'd love it if you'd come back to let me know what you think if you've found another feed reader or if you look into The Old Reader.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

fitness fun in April

Back at the beginning of March we started doing planks about every other night for a few weeks. We just set the timer and hold basic plank position for as long as we can.  We made it up to two minutes and then skipped a couple of days and had to work ourselves back up.

It was so disappointing to come home from my last half marathon and not be able to hold a plank for much more than a minute.  Anyway, I got back at it.  

I've been trying to do Jillian Michael's DVD Ripped in 30 this month.  I figured since I'd spent the money on the DVD over a year ago I should at least get some use outta that sucker, right?  I've done it 4 days this week and plan to do it again today.

I've also set a personal goal to run at least one mile every day in April.  So far I've made it every day and just like I suspected, some days when I haven't really felt like going that mile turns into three or four pretty easily.  Of course, I'm still trying to do Saturday long runs too.

Now I can hold plank position for about two and a half minutes and I am so proud of myself.  I know that's nothing compared to a lot of people but it thrills me to be able to not only feel the strength increasing in my body but also to now be able to SEE the changes.

My family was not surprised (there may have even been an eyeroll or two) when I told them they had to participate in the Family Fun Challenge Carissa is hosting over at her blog.  We haven't done it every day, but we've done a pretty good job and it's been fun to do it together.  It's simple and fun for kids of all ages too.  I encourage you to go check it out and join us.

I'll report back at the end of the month and hopefully have more to tell, but so far April is shaping up to be a fun fitness month.  Hooray for Spring!

Friday, April 5, 2013

one time at basketball camp

Jules has been going to Basketball Camp all week since we've been out of school on Spring Break.  Honestly, she hasn't really enjoyed it but she wanted to go and we signed up for it and paid for it so she's continued to go.

I think after the first couple of days she was just exhausted.  She runs every day for three hours straight and then we've done a bunch of activities every afternoon as well so I know she's been worn out.  I don't think she expected it to be so much exercise.

I tried to keep emphasizing that she was just going to have some fun, not to become an excellent ball player or win any awards.  She never seemed to hear me even when she nodded.

Monday after Josh and I picked her up from camp we headed to Triad Park for a hiking adventure and then an hour or so on the playground plus a long walk back to our car on the other side of the park.

That night she had her first sleepover so of course that wore her out too.

Tuesday afternoon she almost broke down while we were starting a craft and it really hit me just how much she'd been going lately.

After an early bedtime Tuesday night and winning a layup competition at camp Wednesday I think she is enjoying it a lot more now.

Yesterday morning was the final day and I'm so proud of how much she has learned.  I really didn't expect her to do as well as she did, but it turns out that she's gotten pretty good at shooting baskets.

She got a trophy for winning the free throw competition and a medal and certificate for participation which makes her incredibly happy

I'm proud of my girl.  Mostly I'm proud of her for sticking with something she didn't like at first, but also for doing so well at it.

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