Thursday, September 25, 2008

I hate being lactose intolerant.

the end.

(for those of you needing a laugh, post a comment and I'll email you a HILARIOUS story about a rogue leaf)

All Wet...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Last night we celebrated the new premieres of our Monday night lineup: The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother were at the top of our list. If we had time, we'd stick around to watch Two and a Half Men, as well as the new show Worst Week. Well, we ended up watching all of them and I can't help but feel just a tad bit let down. There were some definite laugh out loud moments...most of which came from The Big Bang Theory. I think I'm going to stick to watching the first two and not place as much emphasis on the others.

Mari and I had a ball playing together last night. We were laughing and giggling and wrestling. She's at such a fun stage and I'm loving every minute of it. She's just so smiley and happy! Like clockwork, she went to bed shortly after 9 and I lazied on the couch nursing my ailing foot.

I went to bed early and got up at 2 thinking it was 5AM. I had my numbers reversed, but that's ok. I happily slumbered for another couple of hours before getting up to do my 6 mile training session. Man, I love that group! They are so great and absolutely hilarious! They showed me Orion's belt, which was in FULL VIEW that early in the morning. I finished up the run and headed home. I showered and prepped most everything in the rest of my routine when Mari woke up. I nursed her, then IMMEDIATELY felt wet!!! My thought was OH NO!! But then I remembered she was wearing a disposable diaper* so that shouldn't be a problem. Well, I was wrong. Her disposable diaper had leaked. All over the Boppy, all on my suit skirt, soaked through my undies. I was covered in her urine and poor thing was saturated in it too. But she's a happy baby and wasn't fussing as a result of it. However, I did get a deep sigh of relief when I changed her. Thank God she didn't have major diaper rash as a result!!
*Whole Foods quit stocking the GDiaper liners. I had to travel to the one
off of Hillcrest just to get the last two boxes they had. I'm very upset
with them since I've had to submit two requests. Normally they are pretty
good about responding, but I've not heard one single response since then.
Very, very unhappy with the customer service right now!

Anyway, needless to say, I'm less than thrilled about using disposables right now and I can't wait for our liner order to arrive in the mail. I know it may be "easier" to just use 'em and toss 'em, but I'd rather clean out the poopy liners and be covered in urine. I have to wash EVERYTHING and take my skirt back to the dry cleaners. I even had to rinse off the lower half of my body. I'm afraid that I'll have dogs wanting to mark on me this evening when we go for our walk. A stupid paranoia, I'm sure, but it could be viable, right?

*sigh* how was your Monday and Tuesday morning? By the way, happy official Autumn!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Yesterday at Oktoberfest, Mari was tired of sitting in the stroller, so I put her in the body carrier. I love wearing her. The only drawback is that when she faces out, I can't see her face. She was cranky because she was hungry, but more of it probably had to do with she was bored and hot. Anyway, I fed her the bottle and she kept turning her head. I thought she was just distracted. My friend Matt caught this photo of her. Isn't it funny? We were watching the flea circus, while we determined a plan of attack for the rest of our food consumption.

Oh, and on our way out I won a free pass to see the screening for Eagle Eye. We won't be able to make it after all, but it was still pretty cool to win. You had to pick up 3 cups. If you found at least 2 ping pong balls under the cups, you won a prize. I did. It was just like playing in Vegas!! ha ha.

Also of note, I made the big donation this morning. In my quest to raise money, I think I did a pretty good job from some very, very generous people. Anyway, in my photo shoots, poker tournament, happy hour, and general donations from family and friends, the cash total was $888. Actually, it was $880, but I added the extra 8 because I like fun numbers like that. I think I may have reached my minimum goal of $5K, but I won't know until the end of the week. I have until October to get to that point, but it is nice to know that I'm probably already there at the end of September. It makes me feel like I really accomplished something.

And a real quick 5 question quiz:
  1. Where were you 10 years ago?
    Goodness...that seems like a while ago, huh? Fall 1998...that would put me in Kingsville, playing volleyball with one of my very best friends in the whole wide world. That year was a very difficult year for me, but it taught me that I was much stronger than I gave myself credit for. My family was going to always be there for me, no matter what. I needed to do something with my life that I truly loved, not what I felt was expected of me. (oh and Julie, my last game ever was played at ACU that year. interesting...)
  2. What is on your to-do list today?
    It is Monday, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I need to enter hours here at work, make several appointments, write up a project plan discussion, follow up with some of my documents, and head home. It is my day to get Mari, so we'll hit up the grocery store on the way home if there is time. If not, then I will settle in to watch our favorite Monday night shows: The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, followed by Monday Night Football. (early to bed of course, for my training run tomorrow)
  3. What would you do if you had a billion dollars?
    Obviously, pay off our mortgage and student loans. Secure enough money for Mari and future children to live comfortably (but not tell them). I wouldn't quit my job, but I'd see if they'd let me work part time. Helf out my family. Buy a vineyard and build our dreamhouse (complete with all of our favorite rooms, Don!!). Then we'd start with the philanthropy: Gifts to Texas Tech and K-State, Money to the church, Sizeable endowments for teachers in public schools who put forth great efforts into our future, Anonymous donations to various other charitable organizations, and then set up an Endowment Fund for kids who have the desire to go to school, but don't really have the means. I know several good kids with the world of potential, but they just need a little extra nudge and I know this would help. Oh and take my sister away on a fabulous girls trip like we've been meaning to. So many things you can do in this world!
  4. Where are five places you've lived?
    Lubbock, TX (born and high school and some college)
    Amarillo, TX (elementary school years)
    Lewisville, TX (middle school years)
    Vernon, TX (early college years)
    Plano, TX (married years)
  5. What are your bad habits?
    Obsessing over minutae
    Yanking on my hair when in deep thought or frustrated
    Scratching when I'm sleeping, thus leaving scars on my legs
    Did I mention I obsess over the little things??

okay, I tag Jenna, Shannon, Chae, and Julie Alvarez

Oktoberfest 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Even though my foot was still feeling wonky, I knew I needed to walk it out, so we met up with some friends in Addison to enjoy Oktoberfest. brats and sauerkraut. For those of you who knew me when I was pregnant, that seemed to be one of the more colorful cravings I had: sauerkraut. Mari curiously smelled it, but didn't want any. I don't think I was ready for her to really taste it anyway.

Like I mentioned, I had a beer brat which was sooooooo delish!! MmM...made perfectly. I didn't have any beer, but that water I was drinking was pretty spectacular. I also had a cherry strudel and a ruben sandwich to-go. Everything was incredible and only reminded me that the fair is right around the corner! Woo-hoo!

Poker Tournament

The poker tournament was a success. I raised $500 for the cause and everyone seemed to have a great time!! By the end of the night, I was EXHAUSTED and my feet were doing some serious cramping, but it was totally worth it. Many, many thanks to Xochitl and Joe for allowing us to use their home. To Brett for his help in keeping the time, setting up the chips, helping me prep the blinds, and for the general encouragement. And to Eugene and Don for helping with setting up and prepping the tournament in general. Overall winner: Cindy Tsimberg. She prevailed over my husband, but that's ok.
We all agreed that we should do it again another time!

Tour des Fleurs 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It was really early in the morning and my body didn't have that get up and go. I was retaining some serious water and suffering from various other feminine problems. I really wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep, but I needed this race. I knew I'd feel better afterwards, so off to go.

I dressed and Don speedily loaded everything in the car. He seemed more awake and better capable of running in a race than I was. Surprisingly enough, he was rather chipped, especially since it was hours before that he'd finished up a beer tasting with Flying Dog beers (5 course meal...yeah, I was jealous about the food!!). Anyway, we get there only to learn that the parking lot was full. We followed suit of many other runners and opted to park along side the neighborhood. We walked about a quarter mile to the Arboretum and I found my yoga instructor, as well as met up with Chae. She handed me my shirt and I did a quick change. I was so glad to have it since I've decided this would be the shirt I'd be wearing during the NYC marathon.

Whoa oh so pretty at 7AM. Yeah, a million kinds of sleepy, but I'm ready for this 12 miles. I was 2 seconds away from not wearing my pack, but instead opted to wear it. I put it on and headed towards the back. I saw a sign for the 9 minute pack, but there was no 10 minute group. I'm in the 10 minute to 10.5 minute pace group, but it just ended after 9:30 minute pace group. I stared at everyone back there and moved up to the 9 minute group. Everyone in the back was walkers or people just doing a 10K. Sure enough, the first 2 miles I spent bobbing and weaving, doing my best to escape people or get out of the way of some of the faster people who were being more than ambitious. I was happy and energetic.

I told myself that I would skip the first water break and stop at the 2nd. Around mile 2.5 I struck up a conversation from a girl who'd just gotten married. She was training for her first half marathon. She told me that she was a runner before she got married, but kinda fell off during the wedding planning, but a few months after being married, she decided she needed to get back into it. Her husband is not a runner, but he was there to support her and was camped out at the beer garden for her. He promised he'd be at the finish line to wait for her. At the 3 mile marker she turned off and I kept going. Running over the bridges was awkward. It felt like a double bounce on a trampoline. Definitely not what I expected and actually made me feel a little woozy.

Running around the lake, I really wished I would've had a nice point and shoot camera. I had overheard a female runner talking to her running mate about how her oncologist was furious with her. Apparently a month after she finished her chemo treatments she was out running a marathon. She'd promised after that race to wait to run a marathon, but then she slyly proclaimed, but that didn't include half marathons and 20Ks!! What an inspiration. Runners everywhere have that type of perserverance and it is a beautiful thing to witness.

Chae warned me that I would go through a series of serious hills. To not go crazy with them, but to just take it slowly. Running with Clyde, he told me that he likes to walk up the hills and jog down them. After the first monster hill, I pushed the desire to race up it to the back of my mind and instead did a brisk walk while enjoying my water. On the descent, I picked up the pace and let my legs react. I quickly leapfrogged everyone who'd just passed me. This happened for the next couple of miles. I waved at people who were cheering along the way and then I happened upon a woman named Pam. She's a part of the Dallas Running Club and we got to chatting.

She was training for a half mile on November 2nd as well. She'd be running here in Dallas and my sister is actually going to be running in that race so when I'm running through the streets of NY, she'll be running through the streets of Dallas. It gave me a warm feeling just thinking that thought. She talked to me about proper nutrition and about her father. How he was her inspiration and why she ran. I told her that I started out running to lose weight, but then when the opportunity to run in the NYC marathon, I couldn't pass it up. Robin Hood is a 100% non-profit organization, since all overhead costs are paid for by different companies. Essentially, 100% of all of the money put into that foundation is given or used to DIRECTLY help someone living in poverty. This is especially close to my heart because my mother grew up in extreme poverty. She always taught us to give back whenever we could and so this was my way. But then I talked of my mother and how she was was a vibrant force to be reckoned with. And well, she's still a force to be reckoned with, but is a lot less mobile and has to spend quite a bit of time in her wheelchair. She used to cheer me on, telling me to run like the wind. She told me she loved watching me run and I remember when she'd run alongside me.

And then one day she couldn't run any more.

Then, the day came where she could no longer walk more than 10 ft.

So, I choked back tears and told her (and finally realized) that I was running to honor my mother. The best part is that she'll be there in New York with me, cheering me on, whistling loudly to urge me keep going.

I could hear her whistle at mile 11. I looked at my watch. 10 more minutes and I'd be finished. 1 hour 50 minutes. I could be finished by 2 hours even. That would be great! Well, the monkey jumped on my back when there was this monster congestion at the bottom of the last hill. I had a great rhythm going, but when I was nearly blown over by a biker, I was discouraged. I tried to make friends with another guy and he did a fantastic job cheering me on until I saw them in the far distance. Moments earlier I contemplated to stop, turn back to the 7-11 to pee, but I said, nah, I could do it. And then there they were. Don and Mari, around the bend. My legs flew under me and while I realy thought that I was about totally void all over myself, there I was in front of them kissing my beloved and bouncing along with my daughter. He told me to run the last 200 yards and finish. I refused. I took her in my arms, he pushed the stroller and we all jogged in to the finish line. Mari happily kicked her little legs as we crossed. I LOVED it!! I was grinning from ear to ear, totally excited that my only problem was that I needed to use the bathroom. (After all, I had stopped at every stop except for that first one!! - photo taken from Qualen's TDF 2008 Set)

I wasn't breathing hard, my body wasn't tearing down, I was just seriously hungry. Oh and my feet were tight. They had been doing some cramping throughout the run, so I need to monitor my electrolyte intake a lot more. I discovered this same thing on my 20 miler. Thank God I found Clyde and the Plano Pacers. My running strategy would've totally been different and while I may have had a faster time, it wouldn't've been that much faster and I certainly wouldn't've felt as great as I did. I mean, I felt so great that within six hours I'd be hosting a charity poker tournament. =) Yes, b/c that's how I roll. LOL!

After the run, we went to the beer garden and I tasted beer fortified with vitamins. It was ok, but that water I had was oh so much better. Even more so was the AWESOME gelato from Paciugo and the free coffee from Starbucks. This event was REALLY fun and I'm definitely going to do it again next year. Except next time I'm probably gonna just stick to the 10K, but I'll probably push Mari!

Here I am after the race and after having had that taste of beer. I look a bit more awake, but certainly not ready for a Vogue covershoot! ha ha! Oh and that's CK who ran an AMAZING race and she finished nearly 20 minutes before me! Talk about speedy, speedy!

Balloons and a Drum

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oh how I love the adventure of parenthood. Mari is in a phase of wanting to bang away on everything. I remember my mom would let me bang away on our pots and pans with the cooking utensils, so I figured, 'eh, it's about time she learn how to do it too. And man, did she have a ball!! She was so concentrated and focused. Sorry for the poor quality of the photo, it was taken with my camera phone and well, she was a pretty active baby!

Yesterday, on my commute home, I noticed a hot air balloon in the distance. I thought, that's right! It's the Plano Balloon Festival!! I've never actually been to the festival, but every year I see all these balloons floating around and that reminds me that Autumn is right around the corner. This week has been incredible for that! Even though my allergies are in full swing, I'm adapting well, so hopefully this cooler weather will stay!

Anyway, here's the first picture from far, far away:

This was as it got closer. I was at the dry cleaners picking up our clothes and this thing flew right on over me. It was pretty spectacular and boy was it moving fast! I got out of my car to wave at the people in the basket, but they didn't turn around. It was so big and beautiful. Surprisingly enough, I never expected it to be as loud as it was. That heating/gas device makes loud puff noises...not to mention the flame is pretty big too. I know I'm not talking in technical terms here. If you need further clarification, click here to educate yourself on the anatomy of a balloon.

Anyway, we are gearing up for another fun filled weekend. I have the Tour des Fleurs 20K tomorrow, along with a poker tournament tomorrow night to raise money for the marathon. Then, Sunday morning, I plan to wake up early to do another 12 miler, head to church, followed by Oktoberfest. That evening, I'm gonna rest up and prep for the week. It'll be good!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Pale Moonlight, Shooting Star, and Cake Balls

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's Tuesday, so that means another early day for yours truly. Alarm goes off at 4:35AM. I bang it shut so it won't continue screaming lest it wake the rest of the house. I say my usual prayer asking for strength and energy to not only make it through the run, but for the rest of the day.

It was rather brisk outside. We've turned off the a/c and opened the windows since Ike's departure. It was feeling pretty chilly dog in our room, actually. It was very, very hard to roll out of bed. I threw on my dri-fit pants and a white tank. Well, being in my half-sleep stupor, I forgot that my watch is slightly ahead of time. I thought I was running late, so I drove to the meeting spot instead of jogging there. I was there nearly 10 minutes early. Ho-hum.

I met a new member of the group, Jenny. She was a spitfire of energy and entirely too awake for it to be that early. I was just shivering where I stood. Heck, even into our 3rd mile I was feeling a little chilled. That's neither here nor there. But, there were 4 of us and we took off. It was SO dark out. I know my pupils were fully dilated and I still couldn't make out my steps in front of me. I seriously thought "Omg, I'm gonna eat it hard!" Again with another prayer, "Please Lord, keep my footing solid. I wish I could see better." And just like that, there was some clarity. The full moon shone brightly and beautifully. I could make out perfect tree shadows on the trail and I felt like dancing. We were running our miles at less than a 10 minute pace and I certainly didn't mind that.

On our way back, while we were at the water fountain, I glanced up and saw this bright blip in the sky that seemed like a plane traveling too fast. Well, logic finally won out and I exclaimed, "A shooting star. I think that's a shooting star! Is that a shooting star?" I pointed excitedly in the direction and Clyde just simply agreed. I had another surge of energy at the thought. It'd been several years since I've seen a shooting start. And in my excitement I forgot to make my wish!! Bleh! When does the time expire to make your wish?

That evening, I went by Luke's Locker to pick up my Tour des Fleurs packet for this Saturday's race. While there, I browsed around at some of the apparel and found a shirt that I really loved. Unfortunately, it wasn't on sale. I also saw a nice pair of black Nike running capri leggings. They WERE on sale, but I resisted. I didn't have a coupon and I've pretty much depleted my monthly allowance. I was just gonna have to make do with what I have.

When I got home, I played with Mari for a little while and then we settled in to watch season 5 of The Wire. I like Netflix, but I really hate that the DVDs are usually scratched and it makes the movie bump. Not fun! Boo!!

In between breaks, I made cakeballs. Funny name, huh? I found this recipe in the Dallas Morning News free Briefing that they toss on our front yard. Normally, I'd be against the killing of the trees, but I actually enjoy Briefing. Anyway, I had a hankering for some cake and decided 'eh, why not.

1 cake mix
1 tub of frosting
Almond Bark

Make the cake mis according to instructions on the box. After baking, let the cake cool for a bit, but while it is still warm, crumble it into a mixer with 3/4 of the frosting. (Actually, I used the entire tub of frosting because I was feeling sassy!) Oh and I opted for yellow cake this time only because I wasn't feeling as creative when I went to the store. Had I worn my thinking hat, I would've gotten strawberry cake and cream cheese frosting to enjoy with the almond bark. Think chocolate covered strawberries. Anyway, I had to make do.

After mixing, you let it chill in the fridge for 2 hours. It actually has this doughy consistency and when you eat it, the mixture melts in your mouth. OMG...I'm going to enjoy this! Anyway, after chilling, you use a melon ball to roll into balls. I didn't have a melon baller, so I used my handy dandy ice cream scoop. Don't be jealous of the orange awesomeness!

I placed the rolled cake balls and placed them on parchment paper. They will sleep overnight in the freezer until tomorrow morning when I can dip them in the almond bark. Woo-hoo!!

See, there's the Almond Bark ready to come in as a reliever and close my no-hitter! Seriously, it is locked and loaded, ready to be warmed.

Ahhh...but I'm a little impatient and must indulge in a sweet bite to make sure the texture is proper before I coat this uber-yumminess in chocolate. Sweet!

Now run off and make your own. I do believe I'll make the strawberry ones soon and I'll probably roll 'em around in sprinkles for some extra pizazz!

Movie Review: Hellboy II

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Okay, it's been a long time since I've done my movie reviews. On my old blog, I used to do them on Wednesdays, but now they'll come when I get get to 'em.

Hellboy II

Yesterday, we braved the masses and took an outing to the dollar (ok, it is a bit more than a dollar now, but not that much more) theater to watch a movie. Don and I both enjoy movies that are based on comics. Anyway, we get there a little late and the theater is PITCH BLACK. Seriously, even with the aisle lights, we couldn't see a thing. This was perfect to view the film, but not great if you are late with a baby in tow. There were a few others who'd camped out in the back on the floor, so we said, 'eh, why not? Now, I'm well aware that movie theater floors aren't clean. I can't believe clean and movie theater floor were actually in the same sentence! But hear me out, we were in the corner where the carpet actually felt new. Since it wasn't actually near the door, that part of the theater hadn't seen much traffic. This was even more appealing to us b/c it was in the back and we had no idea how Mari would react to the film (yes, I know I said I wouldn't take her to see another "visually scary" film after we saw the latest Batman installment), so closer to the exit was best.

Anyway, we saw it and we both LOVED it. I hope they make a 3rd. Actually, they are going to make a third one. Anyway, if you liked the first one and you love Guillermo del Toro's visual effects (i.e. AMAZINGLY CREATIVE creatures!), then you will enjoy this movie. There were a couple of times where I was distracted and I missed a little bit. Even Mari liked it. She didn't fuss at all throughout the entire movie. She actually tried mimicking some of the sounds she could hear. When it comes out on DVD, we'll definitely buy it! (and for my friends who enjoy "renting" from us, you can borrow it when we get it.)

Oh, and as far as the dollar theater is concerned, now that I'm a parent, I totally have appreciation for this place. There were several other people there with babies and no one seemed to huff and puff or give angry looks at the people with babies. Everyone just took it in stride. While it doesn't have the fancy stadium seating (heck, any seating in our case...LOL!), it worked and was far cheaper than a rental, even. We're definitely going to be checking out more movies at this place in the very near future! Thumbs up for the dollar theater! Woohoo!

Milestone Saturday...20.75 Miles

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yesterday, while I was out and about at the grocery store, I received a call from Clyde and he let me know that in the anticipation of Hurricane Ike, we were switching Sunday's long to run Saturday. I REALLY, REALLY wanted to say, "No thanks" or "I'll wait until next week" because I was being a slacker and our friend Will is in town for the last time until he heads back to Michigan. But who was I kidding. I knew I'd be going to bed early and this was going to give me just the excuse to do so and I could achieve a milestone. I agreed and then the nervous anxiousness gave birth to rumblings emanating from my belly.

My alarm went off at 5:05 AM and I rolled out of bed to throw on my gear. All night, I'd had dreams of not waking up early enough, my alarm not going off, and forgetting my sneakers. But, none of that happened. I put on my clothes and lined the parts prone to chafing with Body Glide. (yes, that stuff works!) My friend Kelly gave me a tip about putting Vaseline on my feet to prevent blisters while running in the rain. I figured, I surely better grease up ahead of time. Better to be safe than sorry. I kissed everyone goodbye and this time I drove on over to Einstein's Bagel's to meet the group. We were set to leave at 5:30, so when I pulled in it was 5:27. I had enough time to be introduced to all of the other members. This was a much larger group than Thursday.

We set off on our normal pace, everything was really dark out and we were getting some incredible breezes along the way. We passed the library and kept on going. It was still pretty dark out and all I could do was just keep running and running. We passed a group of Luke's Locker runners, along with quite a few other walking and running groups. I continued to be amazed by how many people utilize this trail that I had no idea even existed until a few days ago.

It started to get lighter out and next thing I knew, we were on Legacy. For those of who are local and familiar enough with Plano, we went from 15th and 75 to Legacy just East of Coit. We ran down Legacy until we hit Coit, ran over to the Rec Center and cut through the parking log. We turned around and headed back. This time, it seemed quite a bit more daunting. I think I prefer running in the dark since I have no idea what is going on. On our way back up Legacy, Gaye (a veteran marathoner who Clyde told me would run her marathons in less than 3 hours!) took a spill. Earlier, she'd told me that she'd fallen last week and her ankle was feeling a little too loose, so she wasn't going to push it much. Well, she toppled over and I heard boom-crunch. I glanced over and immediately felt helpless. Even though I had my pack, it was full of things that couldn't help out with the cuts and scrapes. I offered her my Energy Vitamin water to rinse off the cuts, but she said no. I think she was probably more embarrassed and upset with herself than really hurt. She slowly got up, composed herself. We walked a bit and she just hollered out, "I'm ok, let's keep on!" What a trooper. Man, take a spill, dust yourself off and keep on going. True inspiration, which was much needed at that point. We were more than halfway finished with the first 14 mile loop, so we ventured forward. When we crossed over and took a quick break before breaking apart. Three of us decided to keep running, one of course was Clyde. We took off on our typical Tuesday/Thursday loop: to the library and back. After that first mile, a family of monkeys jumped on my back. I was really struggling and second guessed myself. I was COMPLETELY unsure if I could power on. I was gonna finish regardless, but it may not have been running. Then, Clyde said, it doesn't matter if you are jogging or walking. It is a matter of foot time. You need to be on your feet to know you can be on your feet for that long. I took a deep breath and asked him, "how much further to the next water fountain?" He said, not much further. We can walk there if you'd like. So we did. It was about 60 feet of a walk. And that's how it went until the library (about another 2 miles). I'd convinced the other guy, Matt, to stay on with us through to the end and to not stop at 18 miles. He agreed and boy was I grateful. I continued to struggle, but listening to Matt's story of how he became a runner, and then listening to Clyde's story about his daughter and how she discovered running, I kept running. We stuck to our routine: running to the water fountain, drinking water, walking for 20 - 30 feet, then continued to run some more. We kept talking and running and talking and running. There were some times where we slowed down. Each hill we came upon, I lovingly declared: The hills are my friend. I took my short steps and stopped attacking the hills like I used to do. I told Clyde that I needed about 1/2 - 1/4 mile to walk at the end so my legs wouldn't go into the shaky-shock like it normally does. He cryptically said, do you want to stop at 20 miles. I begrudingly responded, sure, that'll be fine. Just as long as it isn't steps away from the front door at Einstein's Bagels. He grinned and we powered through. I told him I needed to stop at that last water fountain because I was parched. We stopped and just a bit later, he stopped. I was puzzled and he raised his arms over his head and grinned from ear-to-ear. Woo-hoo! 20 miles!! A HUGE rush flooded my body and I exclaimed, "WHAT???" I gave him a high 5 (another thing I like about this group because they like to give high 5's) and I couldn't believe it. Matt happily took a deep breath too. This was his longest run this year and he said he was very happy to do the entire 20 instead of stopping at 18. We walked for a little bit and continued running until a quarter mile out. We did a pretty fast walk to the end and I even trotted across the street. I was exhilarated and overjoyed. Never before had I run 20 miles! But then Clyde showed me his watch and said, "You didn't run 20 miles, you ran 20.75!" I grinned and couldn't believe it. Running with short walk breaks is the way to go. Especially since I didn't have one single peeing accident either! Even better is listening to someone chatting along the way to take your mind off the mental pain. All the lulls were mental blocks. I kept trying to remember the words of inspiration. I prayed, then I thought of why I was running and why I was training. And somehow I found the energy to go through. AND...Clyde told me that I actually picked it up the pace for those last 3 miles. He said, "Look at you, you're ready for your 22 and 24, and even your marathon. Keep it up." I can't wait for the long run next Sunday, especially after the 20K Tour des Fleurs on Saturday. (I know, I must be nuts!)

I drove home to pick up Don, Will, and Mari so they could go to Einstein's Bagels and meet the crew. Will and Don later went to the track to run a timed mile and a half, then work on some sprints. They dropped Mari and I off at the nail salon, where I indulged in a well-deseved pedicure with my sister.

Afterwards, we ALL enjoyed the Indian food buffet at Chetinaad Palace. YUM! Now, it is off to take a nap before the Tech game.

oh, and it was only 3 weeks ago that Clyde ran his marathon in Iceland. WOW. And Gaye is ok. She actually picked up the pace at the end and hammered through. INCREDIBLE.

p.s. thanks to all of you who knew I was going to attempt this race and for your text messages along the way!

Cooking In

Friday, September 12, 2008

It was Friday night and I had plans to throw down in the kitchen. I was exhausted, but I missed having my cooking time. We ventured on out to the relatively new Market Street (a division of United grocery stores for you readers from the Panhandle) up in Allen. I walked in and had a sense of home.

We walked around taking in all of the sights, ooohing and aaaahing over the cheese selection and the meats. I happily stopped to smell the flowers. Going to this shop is just like going to Central Market or Whole Foods, but they still have quite a few of the "normal" not-as-healthy-but-still-affordable selections. We bought shrimp, mushrooms, fresh-like fettucine, butter lettuce, onion rolls, sausage, and some water. Even better, we remembered to bring in our bags! Of course, they were our Kroger bags, but 'eh, at least we remembered!

Simple Shrimp & Mushrooms with Fettucine
1 package mushrooms
2 packages of fettucine
1 lb shrimp
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Cook shrimp in a pan with a bit of olive oil and sea salt. After they've turned pink, throw in your mushrooms. I actually added a small pat of butter for some added flavor. I tossed those together until I was happy with the result. In our house, sea salt is a seasoning staple. I love how rich the foods taste with just a tiny pinch of it. Mmmm...delish.

Cook the fettucine according to the package. This particular pasta was made from whole wheat semolina, so you get the whole wheat grains with regular pasta elasticty. Anyway, scoop some pasta in a bowl, at a touch of olive oil, then layer on the shrimp and mushrooms and enjoy.

Next up, another Sleepin' In breakfast omelette inspiration. I like to make these casseroles so Don can have a good breakfast meal during the week. He doesn't always have time to fix himself breakfast in the mornings and I need my man to have fuel to get through the day!

Sias Breakfast Casserole
5 Onion Rolls
8 Eggs
1 pkg Cream Cheese
1/2 stick butter
1 can of chopped chiles
1 package hormel "hot" sausage links
1 package shredded cheese
Smidgen of heavy cream

Pick apart onion rolls and line your 11x8 casserole dish.

Pick off bits of cream cheese and place all over the onion rolls. This really lets your inner randomness have a treat! Yes your fingers get dirty. No, when you lick them it isn't sweet like frosting! Blech. Oh, and after you've washed your hands, slice up the butter into pats.

In a bowl, whisk your 8 eggs, green chiles, and heavy cream. If you don't have heavy cream, you can always use a bit of milk. Or, if you don't like heavy cream or milk, you can omit them both and just have plain eggs.

Meanwhile, I browned the spicy hot sausage links. Don said he "accidentally" picked up the spicy sausage. I figured, well, this is his casserole that I'll nibble on, so he can do whatever he wants. But I don't think he knew about the green chiles! Eeek!

Next, cut up the sausage links in half and use random whimsy to place in your casserole dish. I let Don put most of the sausages in the casserole dish. Finger lickin' good! Then, we poured the egg mixture over the ENTIRE thing. Generously cover it with cheese, but be sure to spread it all the way out.

Finally, cover with foil and write cooking directions on the outside, so your tired husband knows now to heat it in the morning.

*Let sit overnight. Cook covered with foil at 350 for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 10.

8 Miles Before the Sun Awoke

Alarm goes off at 4:40AM.

My body pops as a stretch after my six hour slumber. I say a quiet prayer asking for strength and energy to get me through the day. It's gonna be a doozy. I brush my teeth, creeping around the bedroom trying not to stir Don and Guapo from their quiet repose.

Unsure if there is an air of chill out, I grab a cotton long sleeve shirt to layer over my tank just in case. I delicately kiss Don on the cheek, pat Guapo on his head, and head to Mari's room to kiss her bye as well. I strap my fanny pack around my waist (yes, I have a fanny pack and it's cool!) and fill it with my ID, cell phone, eye drops, and mp3 player. I do a couple of quick stretches and get ready to head out. I open the door and I'm happily greeted by a wave of persistent humidity. No need for the long sleeved shirt. I was reconsidering my choice of cotton tank, but no time to change now. My only "fancy" running gear is a pair of actual running shorts and some good shoes. I don't have any shirts or any other proper shorts. I make do with what I have, although, I may splurge for another extra couple of shorts and leggings. I was wearing my black capri breathable yoga pants. I'm certain these pants were designed for yoga, but I do enjoy running in them.

I set out towards the bagel shop not too far from our place. That's the meeting point for everyone. They are doing street construction, so I have to jump over various bits of rock and debris, as well as zig zag through large orange cones strewn about. I came upon the stoplight and crossed. No, the light wasn't green either. I'm such a rebel. (In late/early times of day when there is no traffic, do you wait or do you cross?) 4:58 - I arrive and see no one, but the workers inside the bagel shop prepping. By this point, I've seen only 5 cars on the street. Under the flourescent light, I begin stretching my legs in preparation for the run. My stomach started to gurgle and chug. I was beginning to rethink this decision when the first person pulled in. He was a friendly man in his early 60s, late 50s. He was wearing flip-flops and opened his hatchback to sit upon while he put on his sneakers. Three others showed up, one of which was the man I'd spoken to the evening before. He was a spirted man, one whom I couldn't wait to hear his story. By 5:09 we set off on the trail. I was promised that we'd run about a mile, stop for a water at the fountain, walk for a bit, then continue running. We'd average 10 minute miles in the 6 mile roundtrip.

We set off and everyone chatted a bit about themselves. One of the ladies is attending school at UTD working on her Masters degree in History. She's from California and told me that tuition in California was less, but the cost of living is more. Through her story, I'd also learned that she spent part of her undergrad in Colorado. All I could think was, man, this lady sure likes learning! The next woman had been laid off from her other job and was collecting unemployment. She jokingly said that she'd retired early. I took it that she really had retired and just to clarify, I asked her if she really had (it was far too early for me to decipher sarcasm!). Nope, she was looking for a job and toying with the idea of going back to school. The other man mentioned that he was nearing retirement. Then there was Clyde. I could go on and on about how inspirational this man was. It'd been a long while since I'd had my random-person-lifestory cup filled. And not only was it filled, but it was overflowing. I'd only caught a glimpse of how his life had been in the past 10 years or less, but boy has he packed a lot of living. He's the 117th man to have run a marathon on all 7 continents. He's swam with hords of hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands. He's climbed Kilamanjaro. He's already run marathons in Reykjavik and North Dakota this year. Later, he'll head to Cambodia to run in another race. I received loads and loads of running and race tips. I'm totally excited about these last weeks of training to race day. Wow! And then, he started to talk about his wife and daughter, both of which have completed ultramarathons...yes, that's 50 miles! Next thing I knew, we were finished with the run and I wasn't completely breathless. My body wasn't taxed in the least, I was still sleepy, though! I made plans to meet up with them on Sunday. Clyde let me know that he was planning on doing 20 miles and he thought that I could handle it. So, 5:30AM Sunday morning, I'll plan on meeting him for that run and I should be home by 9AM and cleaned up by 11 for church. All this planning provided that Hurricane Ike (or his remnants) chooses not to make an appearance.

I bid everyone farewell and lightly jogged the rest of the way home. I couldn't believe it. The sun was still not out. Amazing how much can be done if you only get up early enough. Oh and I forgot to mention: there were quite a few people out on the trail, walking, running, biking, and generally hanging out. Who would've thought?
Later on, I did yoga. Man, my leg muscles were tight. We focused primarily on the legs, but there was some back and neck stretching as well. I even got into a full on plow pose which was actually shocking! I didn't really think that I could do it.

Oh and for grins, we also did shoulder stands. I was able to really push through to straighten out like a needle. I was actually quite proud of myself. Last week, when I tried it, I really struggled and didn't have much balance. This week, I was able to release my hands from my back, and still maintain balance.

I didn't go to sleep last night until 11:30. I was flat out exhausted. I'd stayed awake watching the last DVD of Entourage and I must say that I'm disappointed with Season 4. Seriously. I'm not surprised that this current season isn't doing as well as the earlier ones. It seems they've gotten so caught up in throwing in cameos of all of these other actors that you don't get to enjoy the interactions of the main characters. Oh well.

Fun 5K

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yesterday, I discovered a free prediction race on the Plano Pacers site. A prediction race is a race where you predict your finish time. The person who comes close to their predicted times wins. Oh, and no watches are allowed. It was a 5K (3.1 miles for those of you who don't know km to mile conversion) and you predicted your finish time. My friend CK came over and we carpooled to the Schimelpfenig library in Plano. We were actually running on the Chisholm Trail that had been pre-marked for our race. Chae is the pace setter in her running group (she actually trains runners and prepares them for races). I like to set my pace to be about 10 minutes per mile. It makes it for an easy jog. I know I could probably break the 9 minute mile speed, but I'm not trying to win any races, I'm just prepping to finish my big run. Anyway, I predicted 31:43. That's a 10 minute mile pace with a few seconds tacked on the end for stopping to drink water (Lord knows I can't run and drink). Don was pushing Mari in the stroller, and Chae would be ahead of me, setting the pace. I was exhilarated looking around at all the different people who'd shown up for the free event. How great is this?? I think I've found some running buddies! Anyway, we're all joking and laughing, and I'm totally mesmerized by the few little boys (we're talking less than 10 years old!) who are also lined up. They say go, and off we go.

I tried to linger in the back because I was certain there were going to be some people really pushing themselves. I know there are quite a few of them who seriously compete in these 5Ks. Anyway, I set off, fiddling with my mp3 player b/c I'm not getting adequate reception for NPR. OH well, I switch on over to my music. I know that I can listen to 3 songs in particular and at the end of the 3rd song, I should finish my run. I kept trotting off, and man were those mini hills brutal. Bleh! Last night was humid as all get out and I got about 6 mosquito bites. I was upset with myself with forgetting the bug spray. Anyway, I'm sweating like all get out, when I near the turnaround point. It was actually quite a beautiful scenic run. Especially with everyone else around me, I felt energy and I kept giving people the thumbs up for their effort. Many times, if you are running and you see that extra boost from someone else, you get a tiny burst of energy to fuel you to the top of the next hill. I enjoyed looking at the ducks and crossing over the bridges. I especially liked seeing Don across the pond, trucking along and pushing the baby. I hollered out to him, "Way to go Don!" He yelled something back, but I don't remember. Just hearing his voice gave me the tinglies. By this point, Chae was about a minute ahead of me. I thought I should probably attempt to catch up, but this race is about accuracy of your prediction and not a fast run. However, she's the pace coach, so maybe she's running the 10 minute mile and I'm off. I'd since taken off my mp3 player and just concentrated on getting in my head. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep running, just keep running....Over and over I hear Dori's voice and I switch from swimming to running here and there. I was feeling slightly winded, so I knew I was probably going faster than I thought, but maybe not because I'd not run on this many small hills before. All of my hills are big monster hills that last up to a mile.

I kick it in gear anyway, thinking I should put my best effort forward, regardless. I cross the line and he says, "29:27." WHAT????? Seriously, I was more than 2 minutes off. I know I sprinted a bit at the end, but no way. I was so mad at myself for thinking that Chae was really slowing her pace to 10 minutes. She comfortably runs at an 8:5 minute mile pace. Slowing to 9 minutes would be quite a feat as it is, but slowing to 10 would be like walking to her. The man who finished just before me proudly exclaimed, I was only off by 1 second. Jerk...I thought to myself. But really I was mad at my poor prediction skills. To cool down, I jogged to meet up with Don to help him finish strongly. He powered through to the end. I was so proud of him for not only finishing, but pushing Mari. That was the first time he'd gone that long while running and pushing her, I think. He was even further off of his prediction time than I was. He finished much, much faster than expected and I think he was quite pleased with the result. He has the Muddy Buddy at the end of October with our friend Will. Don proclaims that he is no runner, but I beg to differ. He's pretty good at runs less than 5 miles.

Anyway, I perched myself on the curb and did some stretches while we waited for all of the runners came through. The three of us were totally saturated, but it felt good. I reconsidered our run back to the house, only because it was too late to run 3 miles on the trail back home. Just not a good idea with such poor lighting. I promised Chae that we'd to the 2 mile loop around the neighborhood when we got home. Turns out, they gave out ribbons for the top 20 people who predicted their times. MAN!! I continued to beat myself up. I even teased Chae for being the worst ever pace setter. Not her fault. At least now I know. We were all feeling a little jealous because we didn't get a ribbon. They have another prediction run next month, so I'm definitely going to try that one again and get closer to my time.

When we got home, Don said that he'd prep the bottles and diapers and start on dinner and for me to go for the rest of my run. Chae and I did the 2 mile loop after all and were home in time to scarf some food down and she could play with Mari. I was feeling tired, but mostly sleepy tired. My body was wanting to exercise more. After Chae left, I did some more stretching while watching Fashion Rocks. Mari kept staring at the television, while balancing on her gym and would hop up and down to the music. She likes dancing and she likes music. Oh and for the first time yesterday, she ventured away from the living room and into the bedroom AND the den! Yes, I need to buy some more baby gates!

And as far as the running buddies, well, I'm totally committed. So starting tomorrow I'll be waking up at 4:45AM (yes, I know that used to be my bedtime!) and meeting up with them to run 6 miles. It's just under a mile for me to run to get there, so I'll run to meet up with them, run my 6 miles, and run another mile home. 8 miles in on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings and on Saturdays, they meet up at 7 and do 10 and/or 20 miles, depending on the group that you run with. This will be guaranteed 16 - 8-milers and 5 10 - 20-milers before my race. (a few of those Saturdays I have other runs scheduled and I'll be out of town, so no running with that crew). If you would've told me 5 years ago that I would be running this much I would've laughed silly! There's a part of me that still laughs silly while I'm running, thinking, what in the world am I doing????

But then this morning when I got dressed, I put on my white linen skirt. I bought this skirt in England 5 years ago. It was a bit snug, but I wore it. Then I got to be too heavy and nearly gave it away. Well, I was able to fit in it a couple of months ago, but it was still slightly snug. Well, today, I slipped it on and it is actually a tad loose. WOW! Running has really had an impact on me and I know I'll keep up with it for at least a couple of miles a week once I'm done training for the marathon.

high five!

oh, and sidenote: I attempted to blow dry my hair. I've not actually done that in ages. I saw youtube video on how to properly blow dry my hair. Yes, yes, I know how old I am. I know this is something I should probably be more than skilled at, but I'm not. I have crazy thick hair and it takes an hour to dry!! I'd bought my fancy schmancy blowdryer months and months ago. Everyone who has stayed the night has used it and said how great it was, and why hadn't I used it yet. Simple: I didn't know how to really dry my hair. According to the video, I had all of the necessary tools. Round brush, heat serum, blow dryer sans accessories. I did what it said, and 15 minutes later my hair was dry. AMAZING. Now it still looked like an over puffed mess, but not like it used to once upon a time. I just wrapped it up in a long scarf for it to set over night. This morning, when I took the scarf away, I had va-va-voom hair. (my hair is never one to not have volume, except for those few months when I lost a lot of it post-partum, but it's back now) If I had the time to put curlers in it, I would have some sassy fabulous hair! your heart out professional hair stylist. But seriously, I think I'm going to grow it a little bit longer. I'm itching ot make a cut, but instead, I'm goingt opt for a trim and add some color. Eva Mendes is my hair hero. Love her, love her hair! This is my inspiration. I have about 4 more inches of growing to do and then I'll be there.
Happy Wednesday!

54 days to go...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Last night on NPR, they were talking about the election and that there were only 57 days left before Election day. I thought, hmmm...that's 55 days until race day for me. I better get on it! I figured if I could get in 5 miles at least 3x a week, that's 90 miles that I'll be running from now until then. But let's get real, I know on the weekends I'll be running quite a bit more than that. I have the Tour de Fleurs 20K next weekend. I'm excited. It's nearly a half marathon and it will be a good starter race for me to get ready for the big one.

Don had meet the teacher last night, so I had to pull some major mommy duty when I got off from work. I was a safe speed racer on the way to her school to pick her up. However, once I got there, I took my time. I really do enjoy chatting with Fredes listening to her stories about Mari from the day. Apparently, she loved the food I made for her: sweet potatoes mixed with yucca! She nearly ate all 2 ounces of it. Plus, she had apples for the first time yesterday (I don't make the fruit baby food, just the veggies).

She must've loved the apples because she ate the ENTIRE jar of them. Wow! I think she's just going through another growth spurt because this morning when I went to get her dressed for the day, her torso looked leaner and last night I noticed the tiny baby fat rolls she'd accumulated on her legs were down to barely one. Man, they certainly do grow fast, huh?

Anyway, I went off on a tangent, as I'm prone to do often. I got home, fed Guapo, checked the mail, then changed and loaded up Mari in the stroller. I'd layered her with a long thermal shirt to protect her from the rain. It was just sprinkling when I'd first started getting dressed, so I figured, 'eh it won't be too bad. Plus, it was still pretty warm out, so why not. Just in case, I threw on my old sneakers instead of the new ones. Well, after the first half mile, it started to really come down. We were next to a pretty busy street and the car noise overpowered the music I was playing through the stroller speakers. Mari wasn't having any of that. The swoosh-swoosh-swoosh of car tires splashing through thick puddles in the middle of the street really bothered her. Plus, I didn't have a plastic stroller protector on her, just the mosquito netting stroller protector. She wasn't soaked like I was, but she was a little damp. I adjusted the stroller to cover her more and kicked it into high gear to hurry home. My 5 mile run had to be cut short to 2.5 to 3 miles. Oh well. A very nice gentleman in a large white pickup pulled over to the side leaning out his window yielding an umbrella like it was Excalibur. How sweet I thought. He wanted to offer me a ride. I know I was a total saturated mess, but I didn't care. How often did I have the luxury of running in warm rain in Texas? By this time, Mari had passed out and it wasn't that much further until I was home. I politely said, "No thanks" and headed along my merry way. I broke 8.5 minute mile pace to make up for the other times I had to stop. I contemplated on making another loop around to get the full 5 miles in, but opted against it.

When I made it home, I delicately uncovered the mosquito netting and hung it outside (on the dry part) to let it dry out. My sneakers went squeak-squeak-squeak on our tile and I was certain it would wake the baby. But nope. I slid them off and my socks were wet too. Ewww...I hate soaked socks! (ever since I was a kid and would get drenched on those rides at 6 Flags and my socks would be totally wet! My feet would get so wrinkled and gross. Yuck!) Anyway, I gently placed her in her crib and went to wash her bottles and prep them for the next day. After finishing that, she was up from her nap and ready to play.

I made myself a quick dinner from the breakfast casserole I made inspired by PW's Sleepin' In Omelette. My version had waaay less butter, I used whole wheat buns instead of onion rolls, added sausage, left out the chives, and added 1 jalapeno. (so you see how it was inspired by it, right?) I realized that I absolutely love breakfast. If I could have breakfast for every meal, I would! That's how much I like it. I've decided to try to have home cooked meals at least 3 times a week. I've been taking one day out of the week to make all of the stuff (along the way I taste it, right) and then store it away for future use. Last week was the pizza, salmon, and enchiladas. This week it is the casserole, another pizza (because I'd bought 2 of the pre-made pizza doughs), and I have a simple skirt steak recipe that I'll use to make quesadillas, nachos, and even have a steak salad. YUM!

Anyway, after I heated it up my dinner, I made a list of things to do this weekend. One of which included making a birthday present for my friend's special day next month. I doubt she's reading this, but if you are, then I'm not saying what it is so I don't ruin the surprise! I had Jack & Jill v. the World from Netflix, so I threw it in the DVD player since I knew Don wouldn't want to watch it. It was cheesy and Freddie Prinze Jr. wasn't believable as a smoker (I honestly don't know why he smoked in this movie.), but Taryn Manning did a good job. I don't know when I put it on my netflix account, but it was ok. I especially loved the men's dialog. humorous and some wit. I had to pause a few times to pull Mari away from the computer cord and take away Guapo's toy from her hand, oh and I can't forget about her trying to climb on top of me to get to the couch. But overall I enjoyed the night and my movie. I am in search of the soundtrack, though. I REALLY liked it!

When Don got home and we had a nice chat. I miss talking to him as much as we had over the summer. Since I sit in front of a computer all day, I send him emails, but he doesn't always check his email. Usually, he catches up on the weekends.

Off to buy the K-State v. Tech tickets for the October showdown in Manhattan, KS. Since I Mari wore her Tech gear to the Tech game (in Lubbock) I guess she'll wear her K-State gear to this game. I'm in search of red and black socks for her, though! :) Happy Tuesday!

Marathon Fundraising: Maternity Photo Shoot

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Uptown Dallas
Nearly 39 Weeks Pregnant
Positively Beautiful Family!

I had such a great time photographing this family. They are so laid back and easy going. This was only my 3rd time hanging out with her and I swear time flies! I'm so lucky they helped me out with my cause. Thanks guys!

7 Months!!

Wow! Where in the world did the time go? This morning we all slept in until 8:30. My brother and his girlfriend were in town, so we had the pleasure of their company when we went to mass at 11. Afterwards, I came home and threw together a lunch feast: roasted green pepper enchiladas, homemade pizza, and Spanish rice (that was really more tomato rice, but we'll just forget about that detail). We were STUFFED!!!

I also made some food for Mari: sweet potatoes, squash, and yucca. I mixed the first two with the yucca and a bit of cereal. To make it a less sticky puree, I added the broth that I used to boil all of the vegetables. (great tip that I learned from the cookbook, thanks Shannon!!) I have about 2 weeks worth of food for her. I hope she likes it. I think she will, but we'll see!

We watched a little bit of football, but then it was time to go to Pump It Up Jr in East Plano for a birthday party! I love that Mari has already been to a couple of kids birthday parties. She's old hat at parties and she totally loves them. This was her first time in a bounce house of any kind and she seemed to like it. We eased her into the slide and she was totally unphased by it. I think I could've released her from the very top and she wouldn't have been bothered by it. Such a little daredevil, I tell ya. Even better was her mood. I fully expected her to be cranky since she hadn't had a really good nap all day. 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there, but no hour long naps. She was a trooper, though, powered through and played with the big kids (since the party was for a 2 year old). And she just jumped right on in with them. I think it's because she enjoys playing with William from her school. He's 19 months and she follows him around and plays with him all day long. These big kids didn't seem that big to her. =)

Afterwards, I dropped off the kiddo and my honey and headed on to the maternity photo shoot, but that warrants a separate post of its very own.

Mari's highlights:

  1. She has discovered my hair and enjoys combing/yanking on it. (She's actually doing it as I type this...LOL!)
  2. She is full on cruising. Not much longer until she starts walking and there is a small part of me that isn't ready for that. (they really do grow so fast!)
  3. She does this growl thing (which is hilarious) when she's angry or frustrated. Sometimes, she'll just growl for the heck of it.
  4. She says ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma and ba-ba-ba-ba. When she's really mad, she'll say Mama! I'll appear and smile. I don't know if she associates that with me or not, but it is still pretty cool to hear her voice.
  5. She loves Guapo. He's done a great job adapting to her. They are about the same size now, length and weight and she just can't get enough of him! He, on the otherhand, is starting to show that he's a little bored with her. He'll lick her to protect himself.
  6. She's starting to understand, "No." So far, no tantrums when I tell her no, she just stops what she's doing and smiles.
  7. She understands the concept of hidden objects. She has a sound machine in her crib and even though I've buried it behind the stuffed pig, which is in front of the cow pillow, she'll discover it. Even when it is off! She does this with all sorts of things. She just looks under pillows or blankets.
  8. She loves to climb on top of things too! She has her favorite box that she'll bang away and use to climb on whatever she can. We've become her own personal jungle gyms.
  9. She likes being held upside down.
  10. She really loves bath time. She doesn't mind at all when I pour water on her face. She just likes to splash around and play with her bath toys.

That's all folks! Have a fabulous week!

Marathon Fundraising: Photo Session

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph a 4 year old's birthday party today and let me tell you, that it was some of the greatest fun I've had in a few days. LOL...I usually have a lot of fun at our house. But I did so much smiling and laughing. Kids crack me up and their little personalities are a hoot!! One of the little guys kept saying, "I want to go inside because I'm all sweaty." And he wasn't sweaty at all! LOL. Funny. And there was this little girl who said the following after eating her cake and ice cream, "I'm stuffed and I can't eat another bite!" Then she shoved another bite of cake in her mouth, mind you. H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S!! Well, maybe you had to be there. Anyway, here are a few of the 380 I took. Thanks guys and thank you for being such great subjects. But most of all, thank you for your support in my race and Robin Hood appreciates it!

The first girl...isn't she absolutely darling???
She was a bit shy, but didn't mind peering through a window . Funny I got her to pose and smile b/c she was actually showing me the suds on her hands from the bubble machine! Sometimes, I'm a trickster!
The birthday boy and his momma. Man, aren't they a beautiful lot!! Those dimples are adorable!
This is the little one who said she was stuffed and couldn't eat another bite. Isn't she precious playing among the bubbles?

So that was it. Tomorrow, I'm off to do a maternity session and her family will be in some of the shots too. I'm super excited! Hope you all have a fabulous Saturday.
Running Uupdate: I'm on an average 6 mile running track with my longer runs being in the 12 to 15 mile range. I recently bought some new shoes and my feet are loving it! Unfortunately, my inner thighs are not! Bleh. I've gotten some chafing and I need to remember to get my Glide from the locker room up at work. For the time being, however, I'm going to have to power through the burns. OWEEE!

Elephants and Donkeys...Where are the Butterflies?

Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm eternally grateful to the brave women who went before me, courageous enough so that today I would have the right to vote. If you need to learn more about the history of the women's suffrage movement, but you are too lazy to read or investigate on your own (like you much rather enjoy the instant gratification of learning history from a movie instead of reading the Cliff's Notes), then check out HBO's Iron Jawed Angels.

This election is a tricky one. It is difficult to not get wrapped up in all of the scandal and allegations and solely focus on the issues and facts. Sometimes, I feel like I'm surrounded by a bunch of pessimists (who really call themselves realists) who tell me that it really doesn't matter who I vote for, so why waste my time. 'Eh, I say to them. I don't mind wasting my time, standing in line to punch in my ballot having the opportunity for my voice to be heard, even if no one is listening. It matters to me.

So I'm scouring the Internets browsing on, desperately trying not to let the rhetoric from my favorite blogger sites sway me. It is difficult to escape. I see it on television, hear it on radio, and yes, even at the water cooler at work. We flock to the little bits of gossip, like hungry rats at the fair. Blech, I can't help but feel a little icky admitting that about myself. Lucky for me, I work with quite a few men who could care less about mindless gossip, and they'd rather talk baseball or the latest software development tool instead of politics or mindless celeb gossip. At times I feel like a neophyte wandering the pristine office halls, my head filled with pointless facts, many about people I've never known or will never meet, meanwhile, my counterparts are plugging serious numbers earning mad dollars for the company. It's in my nature to know such things. I analyzed it and came to this conclusion: Science and History. Growing up, my favorite subjects in school were science and history. Science primarily because it was investigative work. I could test, re-test, investigate, prod, poke, learn, question to my hearts desire and never once was I told that I shouldn't question, shouldn't wonder, and shouldn't delve into such places. Granted, I was warned that I should never mix alkaline metals with water, but that was just a small suggestion instead of a warning, right? Studying religion, it was difficult for me to not question and wonder. I was told to accept, and then later questioned at length about my lack of faith. Because if I had the faith I needed to have, then I wouldn't question. Odd to feel ashamed for being an inquisitive child, huh? I just wanted to know why. Same went with History. I could question the reasons why such events happened. I had actual factual dates of when said events took place. Great detail and description of these events was provided to me and I devoured every last story, immediately wanting another. Thus began my love affair with words and storytelling and general observation of life and the interactions that occur between people.

It is 9 weeks to Election Day. I know this simply because election day is two days after my marathon. I'll have to participate in early voting this year. Hopefully, I won't have to stand in line for nearly an hour to cast my ballot. But if that's what is required, then I'll happily read my book or people watch. In the meantime, it will be difficult to sift through the all of the overblown hyperbole to determine what issues matter most to me and who is in line with my beliefs. I'm fairly certain I know my choice, but I do want to make a complete educated choice instead of relying on a few items that are specific to me. Heck, not long ago I did one of those questionnaires online, where your answers were compiled and it spit out a candidate that you were most in line with. My candidate isn't even on the ballot anymore and unfortunately for me, I don't remember the site. Can anyone help me out?

Labor Day Weekend

Monday, September 1, 2008


Well, we kicked off Labor Day Weekend with a bang. My fabulous friend (and co-worker extraordinaire) hosted a charity happy hour at her home. She provided all of the booze and some delicious snackies, I pitched in some mini green enchiladas and bean dip. Some of the co-workers swung by and I managed to raise $200 in cash!! This isn't counting the online donations everyone made!! I felt the love and support by all. I had an incredible time and I honestly felt like my goal of $5K would truly be attainable! (knock on wood!! Keep it coming!) I don't have any photos because I forgot the camera on the morning trek on the train that morning. All good, though. No incriminating photos, not like there was any incidence, though. Just a lot of us standing around sharing in fellowship and chatting. I especially enjoyed everyone's company, and those who are non-drinkers, but showed up to eat and sip on the delicious fresh squeezed juices. Mmmm...real cranberry juice is actualy rather tart! LOL

That night, I crashed something fierce! The next morning I woke up late and pushed a fast 2.5 mile run. I didn't get to get my lond run in since we were so far behind schedule. Why the schedule? Well, as it turns out, Don and I decided to head to Lubbock to cheer on my Red Raiders and the 2008 season. Have I told you lately how much I love my husband?? He knows how much of a die hard fan I am and is totally supportive of last minute trips up North out to West Texas. Ahhhhh....So, in our frantic rush to get on the road to make the 6PM game, we forgot to pack my sneakers, my toiletry bag, my pillow/blanket, and our rain gear. Oh well. We pulled into town just before 4. Not too shabby of a time considering. And if we hustled, we could still probably tailgate, but not necessary. We parked in the secret spot and walked to the stadium. I got chills all around and couldn't help but be overly giddy knowing that I was passing down the Tech tradition to our baby.

We're glad we won, but seriously, we are totally spoiled with Tech's offense. I say this because we're accustomed to the quick pass, sometimes long pass, spread offense, designed to move the ball. Our opponent, Eastern Washington, took forever. I do have to give their kicker mad props, though. A large guy, especially for a kicker, he knew what he was doing. He kicked a 55 yard field goal straight into that West Texas wind. No easy task, and he made it look like a breeze with about 10 yards to spare. I hate to say it, but he put our kicker to shame. Man, I miss Trilica! For those of you who haven't been to the Raider Crater (not an official name of the stadium) here's a bit of a look from where we were sitting.

Almost as best as our victory was A&M's defeat. Ha ha ha...

That night, we made a suprise appearance at Dena's Red Carpet Birthday Fiesta.

We didn't stay long due to our sheer, total exhaustion, but nevertheless, we were there so Don could play his first game of beer pong. Victory was his and it was actually exciting to watch! That night, I had a glorious 7 hours of rest before I had to get up for church. We were going to head back to Dallas that evening, but we lingered around to take Dad to a belated birthday early dinner. Don and I both mulled it over and thought it best to wait to leave until Monday since Mari would probably sleep most of the way and we wouldn't get much rest that night. It was best to sleep one night with a good night sleep on the long weekend, instead of spending our Monday off sleeping it all away.

I want on over to Kohls to buy some new sneakers and was so excited to find a pair that I liked. That night, I broke 'em in on a trip to Blockbuster. However, much to our suprise (since Don ran with me) Blockbuster was closed for remodeling. I probably could've run to the one about 5 miles away, but then there would've been the issue to come on back. Instead, we ran back to my folks and loaded up to drive on over to rent some flicks. Let me just say how much I miss running in Lubbock. It is so goshdarn dry out there, but the weather is incredible. It was a nice evening in the 70s and would've been absolutely perfect for running had there not been 50 bajillion-kajillion mosquitoes feeding off my body. Blech...and West Texas mosquitoes literally suck! I don't like them because they tend to produce quarter size itchy welts on my body. Not fun. Oh well, on most days, I'd prefer that over the 80% humidity I regularly face here. Lucky for me, I don't think I'll be experiencing that kind of humidity in NYC in November. I could be wrong, though, hopefully I'm not.

Anyway, we watched some TV and met up with the Lubbock kids for a drink before calling it a night. We came back home and passed out!!

This morning we woke up bright eyed and ready to travel. We had some breakfast, chilled out and watched some TV with the folks and loaded up the car. On my second trip out, I found Don layed out on the asphalt street, in a lazy fetus like position. I didn't know what to think until I saw him doing a hurt-shake dance with his arms and I wanted to fling everything in my arms and race to him. Actually, I flung everything into the back of Lucky and gently petted him. My heart sunk and I just knew he was seriously messed up. I helped him up and he groaned out something about his back. Oh no! An hour and a half later, after he'd taken 2 Aleve, rested on the heating pad, and I massaged some Ben Gay on his back, and we hit the road. I drove the entire way back and Don powered through until we made it back home. We went straight to the ER where he bot a pain killer shot and some Valium. We also left with a prescription for some Vicodin and a note for him to not work tomorrow. Needless today, it was a long weekend and I'm definitely ready to hit the hay. I'm killing some time waiting for Walgreens to fill the RX.

Oh, and Mari is out of control! She is ever so much more demanding for her pureed baby food. She crawls like she's racing, and has so much confidence in her cruising I bought her this:

Seriously, I didn't even get it all the way out of box before she tried to conquer it. I bought it to keep her pre-occupied while tending to Don. She loves to use us as her personal jungle gyms and this would be another activity center to keep her attention. She enjoys feeling the textures and bouncing from one arm to the next. Definitely worth the $20 I paid (it was on sale). I just hate that the walker I totally want is on backorder until mid-September. Even then, it'll take about 4 weeks before it would ship. Blech! By the time we get it, she'll probably be walking already!! We wanted it for our trip to Kansas so we wouldn't have to worry about traveling with baby gates. Oh well! We'll just have to make do.

Anyway, I hope all is well. Take care and I'm off to Walgreens. Good night!

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