100 Miles Until 2013

Well, actually it’s currently 73.75 miles until the New Year, but 100 sounded a lot better.

Ok, before we talk about that, let’s talk about this.  So, it’s been a minute since I last wrote and I’m not really sure that I even have a decent excuse.  I could say I’ve been so busy with the new house or I’ve been spending all of my free time on a new hobby or baking or that I’m so busy working out and losing weight that I haven’t had time.  But none of those are true.  I’m not even sure what I’ve been spending my free time on.  Nothing productive, that’s for sure!  I have had something somewhat miraculous happen in the past 60 days or so.  I’ve started to enjoy running again.  I’m not going to drop the l-word or anything, but I don’t hate it or dread it quite so much.  That’s not to say that I’ve been acting on this new “like,” but nonetheless, it is a step in the right direction.

Work kind of sucks.  This is not a permanent thing, just something that happens at every job no matter how much you enjoy it.  I’ve started having trouble falling asleep because I’m thinking too much about work.  And life and money and all of that.

All of this got me thinking while I was on a run (shock, shock) last Saturday, which was December 1st.  Maybe, just maybe, I could start a streak.  They have always intrigued me, but I’ve never had the guts to start one.  I thought about what kind of a streak I could do, and I thought about 100 miles.  That’s a lofty number, but not an impossible one.  I thought maybe 100 miles by Christmas, but that I thought that might be pushing it.  What about New Years?  It roughly works out to 3.25 miles per day, which isn’t horrible.  I obviously won’t run everyday, but I will run more than 3.25 miles some days.

So far, I ran 3.1 last Saturday, 4.15 on Sunday, 2.25 on Monday, 3.5 on Tuesday, 3.25 on Thursday and 10 today.  The 10 I ran today was a race and it was fun and wonderful and I did it all by myself and it was the fastest I have ever run that distance!  I am not sure I could tell you the last time I ran 4 days in a row, which I did earlier this week, let alone run 10 miles by myself with no music!  That has been my secret for all of it, no music.  It gives me some alone time and time to think about whatever I want.  It has helped me tremendously!

I really want to accomplish this feat and I know that I can.  I want to prove it to myself and to my uber-runner husband (who claims he’s never broken the centennial mark in a month, but I don’t believe him).  I want to lose some weight along the way (which I have so far) and get on a healthy track again, especially during this time of year.  I’ve kind of veered off of it the past couple of years and I need to get that back for a bunch of different reasons.  Now, I realize that life isn’t perfect.  ‘Tis the season for not only gluttony, but illness and excessive time consumption with family and friends, so I will not beat myself up if I don’t make it.  But I have something to work towards.

Wish me luck!

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Sir Bud Foster of Worsham

I think it is time that I gave some credit where credit is due.  Albeit, a little tardy, but still present nonetheless.  I would like to give a shoutout to my dog.  His full name is in the title, we just call him Foster.  He’s my first dog and truthfully, I’m not sure how any dog that follows is going to live up to him.

When Brad and I moved in together we talked about progression.  If I could keep a plant alive for 6 months, we could move onto a cat.  If the cat lived for six months, then a dog.  And finally, if the dog lived for a year, maybe we could consider having a baby.  We decided on a bamboo and closing in on the 6 month deadline, we started visiting PetSmarts on weekends to see if they had a declawed cat up for adoption.  After the first visit, I returned home feeling like I was catching a cold.  Following the second visit I broke out in hives.  We looked at some alternatives, rats (I was desperate, people!), rabbits, and guinea pigs (revisiting my youth) to no avail.  We were living in an apartment and Brad was traveling Monday-Thursday every week and I had never had a dog before, and didn’t have much of a clue of how to discipline one, so we shelved the idea and kept the bamboo.

I grew up in a household with allergic and lazy parents when it came to animals.  One year for Christmas all I asked for was a dog.  Instead I got a book on dogs.  I was also mildly terrified of them until I was in college and Brad and I would go walk dogs at the local Humane Society and even then, I didn’t love every dog, so I felt a little anxious about having a dog to care for on my own with Brad on the road as much as he was.

Two and a half years after we were married and after we had a house with a fenced in backyard and before the baby bug really set in, we decided that we wanted a dog.  I had switched jobs, had more flexibility, Brad was getting tired of his constant comings and goings and was looking for a new job, so we started the hunt.  We agreed on terriers and compromised on Schnauzers (Brad) and Yorkies (me) with Westies.  We found a reputable breeder who was located in the same small town in North Carolina where my father was working, so we took a road trip to find a dog.

The first one was crazy.  The second one was wild.  The third was on perfect.  A ten week old puppy with a calm disposition who didn’t mind being held and was so relaxed with us that he fell asleep on my lap.  We were sold!  That night after spending the first ten weeks of his life with his littermates and momma, he whined for five minutes, then fell asleep.

Almost five years later, Foster is still a wonderful dog.  He doesn’t really act like a dog.  When other dogs are barking and pull and tugging on their leashes, Foster just looks at them as if to say, “What?”  He lays in the sun and moves as it moves like a cat.  He fetches (Westies don’t really do that).  He only vomits on linoleum.  Most days he is smarter than we are and refuses to eat until we put a treat in his food bowl.  He loves people and will go where ever the people are in the house.  He will learn just about any trick we teach him.  He doesn’t run away, and the one time he attempted it, we found him on the front stoop.  He is a constant companion and will wedge his butt into your leg to snuggle with you.  He hasn’t met a person that he didn’t like and not many people don’t like him.  He’s a good looking dog.  He has never bared his teeth or growled at anyone in aggression.  He loves going down slides at parks, being chased, and going on walks.  When it snows I will take him on walks around the neighborhood without his leash and you can honestly see him prance.

He isn’t perfect.  He still hasn’t completely warmed up to Chase.  Despite that, he still barks more than he used to and guards the house more than he ever has.  When Chase wants to jump into the pool at my in-laws, Foster will get in between Chase and the pool.  He will kiss Chase, but only tolerates being pet by Chase.  As soon as Chase has some kind of aim with a ball, the two of them will become better pals.

Foster, thank you for being the epitome of Man’s (and Woman’s) Best Friend.  We promise that you will never be “just a dog” to us. Happy 5th Birthday!

Just call me “The Baking Goddess”

Let me tell you, I have been on a baking spree!  I have had so many orders coming in and I COULD NOT be happier!  Sure, it’s eaten into my sleeping and exercising schedule : ), but I don’t care, I’ve so enjoyed doing all of it!

I made a cake that resembled a beehive and 50 cupcakes to go with that last week.

I know you’ve seen pictures on Pintrest or somewhere of the cupcakes that look like high heels.  I made those too, and they weren’t perfect, but I thought that they were pretty darn cute!  I know what I did wrong, so I have learned from my mistakes and know exactly what to do differently next time.

 

Then chocolate cupcakes with cookies n cream frosting.

 

Chocolate chip cupcakes with pink buttercream for a wedding shower.

And finally chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with buttercream and sprinkles.

I’m usually pretty boring when it comes to coloring icing, but I’ve been doing so much that isn’t white, that I feel like I need to jazz it up when there isn’t any color.

I’ve been having so much fun and if you need an order and live in the 757, you know where to find me!

I Heart the Olympics

I love the Olympics.  I become slightly (read: completely) obsessed with it and watch hours upon hours, lose a lot of sleep and my exercise routine suffers (ironic, isn’t it?).  I get sucked into all the back stories of the athletes, and I also become an expert in everything from synchronized swimming to archery to canoeing.  But my favorites are track and swimming.  I ran the 100M, 200M and 4x100M in high school and nothing gives me the chills like watching the world’s fastest men and women in the sprints.  I still feel the rush of adrenaline when they are loading into their blocks and my heart skips a beat when they do the relay exchanges.  I have both love and admiration for Usain Bolt.  When we were in Jamaica in May, I was freaking out when we drove past his high school, and kept my eyes peeled to find him somewhere on the island.  It made my heart smile when he fist bumped his gear attendant before the 200M finals and the guy could not stop smiling

The summer Olympics are my favorite because of the time of year and the events.  Because it is my favorite, I have so many fantastic memories of the various Olympics.  I remember seeing the hologram of Freddy Mercury singing “Barcelona” during the ’92 games.  The way I was feeling in ’96 getting ready to start high school, watching with my college roommate freshman year only a week or so after we have moved in together.  In ’04 watching Athens with my new roommate, my fiancé who I was going to marry 8 months later.  Cheering on Michael Phelps with an entire bar as he won his eighth gold medal  at one of my best friend’s bachelorette parties.  And then crying at the end of those ’08 games because I didn’t think that I would ever experience the extreme elation I had felt (Phelps and his medals, Bolt and his records).  And knowing that the next time the Olympics were going to roll around, we would probably have a totally different life with a possible child and/or new house and who knew what kind of job.

And man has life changed, but the Olympics have not failed to excite or surprise me.  When I think back to ’08, I can see why I was fearful of the changes I was facing.  But I couldn’t be happier now.  With the close of the games in less than 12 hours, I won’t cry this year.  Yes, I will miss the games and will be stoked for the next Olympics, but it’s not as scary this time.  I will look forward to Rio in 4 years and I can’t wait to see what is ahead of me in 2016.

Bye, Bye London, it’s been bloody brilliant.

I’m Back!

And man have I been busy!  On top of living with my parents for sixty days (chronicled here) and moving into our new house and doing all of the work and renovations involved with that, I’ve also been seeing a lot of this chick, doing a lot of baking, throwing a Housewarming party, and training for a half marathon.  We took a trip to Jamaica with our BCF (Best Couple Friends), which was a total blast.  Oh and then my “baby” is going to be two in less than three months.  Yeah.  There’s that.

I’m on a pretty serious weight loss plan and it’s going pretty well so far.  I would like to get down to pre-baby weight by the end of September and I feel more confident than I’ve felt in a while.

We are somewhat settled in the new crib, so I hope that means that I will be able to write on a more consistent basis.  Like maybe once a week.

Thanks for still sticking around for this very extended hiatus and I promise that the next time I write, I’ll have something way more interesting to write about than a three and a half month break.

Until next time, peace!

How About Them Apples

So almost a month ago, something crazy happened.  I turned 30.  Gulp.  For anyone who has been following this blog, you know I was having a bit of an issue turning 30.  I had made the conscious decision to not be in town for that birthday.  I didn’t know where I wanted to be, but it was not here.  About six months ago, I decided that I wanted to turn the big 3-0 in the Big Apple.  It is and always has been one of my favorite cities.  I wanted Brad to go with me, but he was in the middle of a crazy travel schedule, so he told me to bring my sister.  Shh, she was my first choice anyway : )

I am a sucker for “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on Food Network and began compiling a list of places and things that I wanted to eat for the next visit.

Boy did we ever!  We visited both a grilled cheese and mac and cheese stand, had toasted marshmallow milkshakes at Stand, tried a really yummy Italian sub and some outstanding gelato at Eataly, ate pizza at Lombardi’s.  And even ventured over to a Greek restaurant which was phenomenal!  The donuts at Donut Plant were life changing and I’m not sure I can ever eat at a Dunkin Donuts again.  After three separate attempts, we finally got a table at Serendipity 3 and the Frozen Hot Chocolate was what I had always imagined it would taste like.  Of course if there was a cupcake place nearby, we had to try a couple.  You know, for the sake of research.  We hit up Magnolia a couple of times and tried a place called The Little Cupcake Shop.  We didn’t have a bad meal/snack/sweet the entire time we were there.

Of course, we did other stuff besides eat.  We went to Happy Hour with one of my high school friends.  Had dessert with Courtney’s college roommate and her now fiancé and grabbed pizza with my college Graduate Hall Director.  We went and saw “Newsies” on Broadway which was perfect.  It is one of my favorite movies and the playwrights did it right.  We burned up SoHo and Fifth Avenue and tried to boost the economy.  We conquered the subways.  We visited the 9/11 Memorial and went to the top of the Empire State Building (totally touristy, but we hadn’t done it before).  We walked along the High Line in Chelsea and explored as many neighborhoods as we could.  It was a perfect trip.  Although it didn’t stop me from turning 30, it was the best way I can think of to celebrate a birthday.

Since then we have moved out of our house and moved in with my parents.  We will be living here for 2 months and from now until we moved out I am taking a hiatus from this blog.  I’ve started a completely different one (and trust me, I’ve got plenty of material), so visit me at www.60moredays.wordpress.com if you want to know about the adventures of moving back home in your 30s : ).

Have a great rest of April and May and I’ll be back in June!

Our House is a Very Very Very Fine House

This was the last full weekend in our current house.  I would like to think that I’m not affected by it.  I’ve never really had much of an attachment to this house because I knew it was a temporary venture.  All of the walls are still white, we never even did much decorating because this house was looked at as a tax break and an escape from renting.  It was hardly a year after as we moved in that we were trying to find a better house to move in to.  The housing “crisis” hit within months of us closing and at that time the builder slashed prices by tens of thousands of dollars to get rid of the inventory, so there has been a lot of resentment towards this house.  We overpaid even in the craziness of the mid 2000s and we will never recoop most of our losses.

I haven’t had that much negativity the whole time we’ve lived here.  This was our first house as a couple.  It was one of the first we had looked at and at that time it was out of price range.  Within a month both of us had gotten raises, so we went back and took another look.  It was new construction and only the foundation had been poured, so we could pick out the carpet, cabinet, linoleum and counter colors.  We were grownups since we were finally making grownup decisions and a GROWNUP mortgage payment.  We were 23 and buying a house with our own money and a decent down payment we had scraped together.  We had lived very frugally in college and after graduation, so this was a reward for our sacrifices.

It was a gated community which was nice considering I spent the better half of the week by myself.  We had one connecting wall with our neighbor since it was a duplex, but in the years that followed, we’ve only heard them once.  It had three bedrooms, which was enough for a guest bedroom and a study (and possibly a baby?).  A huge walk-in pantry, two walk-in closets, two and a half bathrooms and an enormous master bed and bath.  There was a fenced-in backyard that was perfect to do some gardening, but no grass to mow (and the grass in the front yard was taken care of by our home owners association).  A community pool was just an added bonus.  It was the perfect starter home.

We closed six months to the day after our wedding and we moved out of our awful apartment.  I did cartwheels in the empty family room and we spent the next couple of months adding blinds, drapes, pictures and knick knacks.

There was a bit of a learning curve.  After spending my entire childhood on the other side of town, I had to learn where things were and how to get around.  Most of the area was farmland when we moved in, and we are miles away from the closest highway and when I changed jobs after living here for a couple of years, it took weeks before I knew the best way to go to and from work.

Flash forward six and a half years.  Although I still have some issues with it, I have to admit that this has been a really good house.  A very, very fine house even.  While we lived in this house we got a dog, I found out I was pregnant, Chase was born, and we’ve had fun get togethers and dinners.  We both started new careers while we lived here.  My love for baking blossomed in that kitchen.  My little nook on our oversized couch has been my area of comfort and solace ever since we moved in.   There are too many fun and funny stories to count (most of them involve me locking myself out of the house while in the backyard and having to jump our six foot privacy fence).  It has been a perfect size for us and if we had to, we could live here for many more years.  In the past couple of years we’ve gotten to know our neighbors and I am sad that we’ll be leaving them.  We’ve put miles and miles on the asphalt around our ‘hood.  When we first moved in, Brad and I would take walks when it was nice outside, since then Foster has sniffed every single blade of grass of our usual path, my pregnant self waddled around countless times (including at 10:30pm on a rainy night when I was super uncomfortable) and Chase loves the attention the neighbors always rain on him whether he’s in his stroller, wagon or walking on his own.

We’ve fallen in love with the area so much that we are only moving a couple of miles away.  There are running paths all around.  Part of the farmland was developed into a much needed hospital and medical park, more of it was built into a huge shopping center that has a ton of stores that I love and still isn’t packed all of the time.  The biggest concert venue is a couple of miles away.  Most of my doctors’ offices opened satellite offices around the area, Chase’s doctor is nearby and the school districts are good.  Our sitter lives less than a mile from our house and neither of us have to take the interstate to get to work.  In fact, just about any way I go to work I drive through mostly farmland.  It’s unusual in this day and age.

So while I would like to think that it’s no big deal that we’re moving and that we’ve basically been searching for a new place to live ever since we moved in, I will miss this house.  When I look back and think about it, this has turned into our home.  A home that has kept us warm and safe for the longest stretch that I have lived in a home full time.  A home that saw a couple grow into a family.  A home that despite it all, I have really grown to love.  I relish the last couple of days that we are here be grateful that we are not yet selling it.

I can’t wait to start building memories in our new house very soon.

30, really?

There are parts of my life that have dragged on and when I really think about it, it seems like I’ve been here an awful long time.  Then I realize that soon I will be thirty years old.  How did that happen so fast?  Not a teen.  Not a young adult.  Or a twentysomething.  Thirty.  It is still tough for me to swallow.  Most days I have to remind myself that I actually do have a real job and that this is my real house and I have a husband, and I did go through eight(ish) months of pregnancy and that really is my child.  I still feel like it is just me and my sister playing “house” and that one day I’m going to wake up and realize that I am still 13, not THIRTY!!!

If I were to think back to when I was 13 or even 18 or 20 when I thought about these types of things and wondered where I would be when I turned 30 or where I wanted to be when I turned thirty, then I would be pretty pleased with myself.  I’ve been happily married to my high school sweetheart for almost seven years.  We still enjoy each other’s company, make each other laugh and I can’t imagine being with anyone else.  We have a home that we both really like and we’re in the process of moving into our dream home (or as close to a dream home as you can get when you’re thirty).  We have a child that we couldn’t live without and a dog that makes us happy.  We both have jobs that we really love (95% of the time, which isn’t bad at all).  We both even work for great companies in the area.  We have been to a bunch of really cool places.  We both still have our health and there really isn’t anything I would change.  So I don’t know why I am having such a tough time turning 30.

Everyone keeps telling me that their 30s are the best.  Eventually I will come to accept it.  I keep reminding myself that any day on this side of the dirt is an accomplishment whether I’m 10 or 100.  Until then, I’ll enjoy the last couple days of my 20s (and they really are numbered).

We’re Moving, God Help Us

We’re not very good at moving.  After the inevitability of moving every single year in college, we did a pretty good job of settling down after graduation.  We lived together for nine months, got married, bought a house 6 months later and I sit writing on a couch in that same house six and a half years later.  We’re quickly outgrowing our “5 year house,” but the economy tanked, my job became a little less secure, and I wanted to make sure we could actually start a family before we moved into a house suited for one.  But the time is upon us, we have found a home.

Unfortunately, this moving process isn’t as easy as it should be.  We are renting our current house out starting in the middle of April (money talks, people), and the sellers of our new home are renting it back from us until the end of May.  That leaves us homeless until the beginning of June.  Of course, we aren’t homeless at all, we’ll be moving in with my parents, which will prove to be an adventure, I’m sure.  It will be wonderful to have built in babysitters, but it will double my commute to work and the sitter isn’t “on the way” to Brad’s office any more, so I think I will be doing a lot of the picking up and dropping off.  Plus we are used to having our own space, time and privacy.  Brad is traveling most of the time we will be living there, so he will have his own reprieve and I will appreciate the help while he’s gone, but I think it will be a long two months.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited about this new house!  Chase will have a playroom, Foster (and Chase) will have a backyard, I will have an ENTIRE PANTRY just for my baking stuff, we will have an attic, a room for an as yet conceived second (and third?) child (not to make an appearance until LATE 2013 or early 2014), and a fireplace in the master bathroom.  Yes, in the bathroom.  I am so excited to get in the house, I can hardly stand it, but we do have mere 79 days in between now and then.  Not that I’m counting.

Wish us luck.  We are going to need it.

Rainy Day Blondies

This past weekend was disgusting!  An entire weekend of rain and mud and cold.  I’m supposed to get in at least two more long runs before the half marathon in two weeks, but it was too gross to run either day.  Oops!

On Sunday I was tired of being cooped up all weekend, so I fixed one of my favorite treats, Triple Chip Blondies, then dumped a scoop (or two) of ice cream on them while they were still hot and they warmed me right up from the nasty weekend.  Next time it’s yucky outside, whip yourself up a batch.  They are super easy and super delicious.  Oh, and I promise they taste just as good on a hot summer day : ).  Enjoy!

Triple Chip Blondies

1 c. butter

2 c. packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 t. vanilla

2 c. flour

1 t. salt

2 c. chips (you can use 2/3 c of 3 flavors of chips, but I usually max out at 2)

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9×13 pan.  Cream butter and sugar.  Add in eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Throw in flour (ok, you don’t have to actually throw it) and salt, mix until just blended.  Mix in chips.  Evenly pour into 9×13 pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.