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Eclipse and Losing Kids... Awesome.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Before I get back to my previously scheduled post-vacation postings, I have to post a few other things. 

First, Eclipse was awesome. For all of you who read the books and have kept up thus far, but have yet to give into the mania that is midnight openings, you totally need to go see this movie. It was great. It stuck closely to the book, adding some zing here and there, and was overall really my favorite of the three movies. And Jacob's abs weren't bad either. :) 

Secondly, I have to apologize to my husband for totally overreacting and probably embarrassing him at Jazz in the Park last night. Yes, if you saw the frantic mother searching for her 3-year old son, who found him with his dad, and then proceeded to yell at his dad for "losing" him in the first place, that was me. Nothing strikes fear in a mom like thinking that her child is gone, especially in a crowd of like 500 people. So, what happened is that I went to the bathroom and Bailey and Jake went to play on the playground with a bunch of other kids. Brad was hanging out with Paul. Jake left the playground to go back to Brad, but didn't tell anyone who was watching him at the playground, so I came out of the bathroom to find that my son was no longer on the playground, but gone. Brad was supposed to be taking care of the kids, so after a panic of searching, I ran back to the place where Brad was sitting, and found Jake, safe and sound. By then, my adrenaline was on like super-psycho-crazy-extreme level. My mind was in 100 different scenarios, filled with pedophiles, my son in the middle of Tates Creek Road, and the thought that he might be wandering around a crowd of people crying for me or Brad. I just flew off the handle and took it all out on Brad. I know he'd never intentionally lose our child. I still think he should have been closer to them when they went to the playground, but it could have easily happened the exact same way if Brad had been standing on the playground too. Wasn't it me that "lost" Jake at one of Bailey's ball games? Yes, I think it was. 

So, sorry to my husband, Paul, Rebecca, and your entire family. :) I acted like an ass. :) I was just freaking scared to death that my kid was gone forever... 

Twi-hard dorks... :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
No blogging tonight, except to let everyone know that I'm super excited about my night out with Cilla and Donna. :) We will be seeing this: 

Yep... I guess we are twi-hard dorks, but we will be watching the 12:20 show. :) And loving all of it, I'm sure. 

Be back tomorrow. :)

Training for my 5K....

As I alluded to in my last couple of blogs, I have continued to run and prepare for the 5K. Even while on vacation. I can't believe that I was that dedicated. Maybe I really am serious about this running thing. 

I'm really, really excited about my progress. I have ran for the past two nights. Last night I ran 25 minutes without stopping to walk. It was nearly 2.5 miles. I realize that's probably really slow, but you know what? I didn't expect to ever be able to run without walking. So... I'm pumped. Tonight, I ran earlier in the evening and it was hotter than I thought it would be. I ran 21 minutes, walked a minute and thirty seconds, and ran another 3 minutes. Rebecca and I are planning to try our first 5K on Saturday. She's set a goal to run it in less than 40 minutes (I think) and I think we can do that. I might have to stop to walk some, but I think we can do it. I'm really hoping to run it without walking, but I don't want to be disappointed in myself. I know that I can do it by the Bluegrass State Games on the 17th, which was my original goal. So, that's what I'll stick with. But, secretly (or not so secretly, I suppose), I'm hoping that I can do it on Saturday. :) 

In any case... I'm really happy with where I am. And, if I am dead last, oh well. Who is keeping track anyway? LOL.

Oh... and one more thing... my dad hasn't run in years. Guess what he told me last night? He's been running again. I think we're going to try and do a 5K together some time soon. How cool is that? :) 

My substitution...

Another list item to talk about... sorry, but I warned you all this would happen. :) 

The parasailing item. The first item on my list. The one everyone just knew I would mark off this summer. The item that I just knew I would mark off this summer. An easy one to do and one that would seem to be extremely important, since it was the first one on my list. Hmmm. 

I had it planned before we left. I had even talked to Colt and Emily to make sure they wouldn't care to watch the kids while we parasailed. I wanted Brad with me because I'm terrified of heights and because I thought it would be fun for us to do together. So, it was all set that I was going to do this. 

And then... 

I was frustrated by it. Every time I talked to people about it, they'd tell me to do it, but that not to expect too much from it. That it wasn't that awesome. That it would be worth it to do once, but that I might not get as big of a thrill from it as I thought. And then, there were these people working at these places. They were all nice, but we'd ask about it and they'd give us a price and only promise 8 minutes of time in the air. Eight minutes for $65 for each of us? Hmmm... so I contemplated it. And, I just about threw my hands in the air and said forget it. We would just pass it up. I contemplated renting a jet ski or waverunner (it's on my list, too), but I'm terrified of seeing a shark in the ocean, so that didn't seem right either. Brad will not go deep sea fishing after a wonderful experience of being on a boat with a bunch of puking people and being sea sick himself. So, I was just going to let this one by. I wasn't about to go deep sea fishing by myself. lol. I had already marked some things off the list, it wouldn't be that big of a deal to keep this stuff on there. 

Emily, my sweet, hopefully-future sister-in-law, is just like me. When she decides she wants to do something, she's going to find a way to do it. So, she knew I wanted to do the parasailing thing. She wanted to go kayaking. Neither of us seemed to be able to work it out to get what we wanted for the price we wanted or the amount of time we wanted. I gave up. She didn't. So, she called around a bunch of places on Wednesday night. She found a place that offered boat tours where they guaranteed you'd see dolphins. The boat was a small boat that would only accommodate 6 people, the number in our group. The price was only $40 for each adult and $30 for each child. That is correct - $140 for four people to go on a boat for 2 hours, where they guaranteed you'd see dolphins. Or $130 plus tax for eight minutes in the air for me and Brad. Hmmm.... 

So, naturally, we went on the boat ride. Yes, the "I'm on a boat" skit from SNL was referenced, several times. :) 

Was I disappointed in my choice? No. Not at all. As a matter of fact, I almost want to take off parasailing and change it to dolphin watching, but I'll leave it for now. :) The boat ride was incredible. I can't even begin to tell you how fabulous it was to have dolphins swimming up so close to the boat, splashing in the water, and making my children giddy with excitement. Jake was a little concerned that they were sharks at first, but we cleared that up. lol. I can see why though... a big part of the time, we could only see the dorsal fin. 

There was a baby dolphin and its mother splashing and eating near us at one point (there were like 40 dolphins that we saw). The mother and baby are called a cow and a calf, as I learned. It was incredible to hear all about how the grass that grows in the marsh plays such a pivotal role in why Hilton Head attracts so much wildlife (much like the marshes in Louisiana, I am sure). I never knew that the reason the water wasn't clear in that area was because of the minerals from the grass dissolving. It was really neat to see the sea oysters in their natural habitat, although I'd prefer they stay there. I can't see how anyone could eat something so disgusting (sorry Brad, Paul, and Rebecca). :) We also saw a sea turtle, but no photos. He was shy. Did you know that dolphins are very similar to us in that they carry their babies for about a year, the mother raises the calves for about 8 years, and the fathers have basically no responsibility for raising the children? No, that is not meant to be a slam on guys out there. lol. But, funny all the same. :) 

It truly was fascinating... and tons of fun. Colt and Emily got drenched by water, we saw a shrimp boat, and saw the lighthouse from the boat. It was just beautiful. Another tidbit of info... the Hilton Head lighthouse was only created to serve as a tourist attraction. Glad that he confirmed that because I didn't want to be the idiot that asked the question... it just didn't really seem like it was a necessary place for a lighthouse, as it faced some other islands... and it wasn't really that tall. lol. Oh... and you could see the bridge in Savannah from the boat, too. Very cool. 

An item doesn't get marked off my list, but it was all worth it. Parasailing will have to wait. Or maybe I will take it off of there at some point. Who knows? I was definitely reminded that the list isn't about marking things off, but about living the life I want. And that's what I chose... to do what I wanted to do instead of feeling obligated to do what's on the list. Figured you'd be proud, Bret. lol. 

Oh... photos here: 

Dad, Kites, and Walking and Running on the beach

Monday, June 28, 2010
There are so many things I want to say about our trip to the beach, but the one post that I feel like I need to do first is a special one about my dad. Father's Day was on Sunday (the day after we arrived at Hilton Head). I really hadn't planned to do a post about Father's Day, because I really didn't do a post about Mother's Day. But... this post was going to happen regardless, so I thought it was pretty ironic that it happened in conjunction with Father's Day week. 

My family loves the beach. I'm pretty certain that my love for the ocean comes from both of my parents. We all just get so excited about being at the beach. It's hard to explain, but just the mention of it and we all light up. We just simply love it. Everything about it. Heck... Brad and I even got married on the beach. That's just how much we love it. :) 

In any case, my parents weren't with us on this vacation, so I thought a lot about them and the special memories we created over the years. It was bittersweet for me in a lot of ways because I missed them. I can't spend a day laying out on the sand without thinking about my mom. She and I could lay on a towel in the sand all day and feel like everything in the world was perfect. I could hear myself becoming her when I would pack up enough food and drinks in the cooler so we could stay all day... not because the kids wanted to, but because I didn't want to have to leave the sand long enough to fix lunch. :) 

I probably thought more about my dad though. As I was lying on the beach, thinking about my parents not being there to enjoy all of this, the smell of cherry cigars came floating down the breeze. My dad smoked these for years and it is probably one of my favorite smells ever. It's like smelling home. :) So, I laid there and thought about dad and my list of things to do before I die. Of course I was thinking about my list... c'mon. I'm addicted to it. :) 

On my list are a few very special items. They are special because to me they are traditions. They aren't traditions like "put up your Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving" traditions. They are things that my dad did with me as a child that I want to pass to my kids, without really saying, "You need to do this with your kids." They are things that we just always did, without really acknowledging it. 

The first one was so simple... I'm not sure that it was quite that easy when dad used to do it because I remember that he had to run to get it going. :) It was number 100 on my list... to fly kites with the kids on the beach. We had a Spiderman kite, a lot of string, and a very windy beach, which made this my easiest list item yet. :) I put the kite together, tied on the string, and up he flew. Simple, but fun. The kids thought it was great, but I think I loved it most. Colt enjoyed it, too. He probably wouldn't admit it, but he did. We can't remember if he's ever flown a kite, so we think it might have been a first for him, too.

It's marked off the list. It was fun, in it's simple way, but more importantly to me, it was a way of honoring a great memory with my dad. He always worked so hard  and it was the little things like this that he did with me that meant so much. I'm glad that he realized how important it was then and hope he knows how much it means to me now. 

Here are a couple of photos: 

And the other one... was list number 101... to wake up early with each child and take them to find seashells at the beach… one at a time. I was already halfway done with this list item when I put it on here. Bailey and I went seashell hunting early one morning on our last vacation, which would have been when she was 3. This time, I wanted to make sure I did this with Jake, since he is also 3 this summer. We found zero seashells, but saw lots of jellyfish and a sandcrab, which Jake called a spider. That was all much more interesting to Jake than actually looking for shells. He isn't really that into the shells anyway and Hilton Head's supply was scarce. :) 

The reason that this made my list is simple. One of my favorite memories of my childhood beach vacation is of my dad waking me up at like 6 in the morning to go find seashells. It was just the two of us and I was the center of the world. The seashells were great, but it was that extra little bit of time that we spent hanging out that meant so much. And, what makes me the most happy, is that Brad has picked it up, too. He and Bailey got up early one morning and went seashell hunting this week. They found a few shells, but saw tons of fish, jellyfish, crabs, and a shark. Yep... a little shark that someone caught when they were fishing. If I didn't know better, I would swear that it was a big fish story since they took pictures of everything but the shark, but they were so excited, I'm certain that they actually did. lol. The bad thing about it was that Jake was obsessed with finding a shark so much that he wouldn't even look for shells when I took him. He just wanted me to show him a shark. I should have picked that day to take Jake. Man... :) This one can be marked off, but it's probably something I'll do at each vacation... until they say no. :)

Some pics from this year with Jake:

Since my laptop still is not recovered (meaning, I might have lost nearly all of my kids' baby pictures - sigh, tear), I don't have photos of my walk with Bailey from two years ago. I do, however, have the photos of our very first walk on the beach. It doesn't really count in my head as the first time we hunted for seashells for this list item, but at least I have some photo documentation that I actually did take her for a walk on the beach. 

And, last, but definitely not least, I thought of my dad when I ran on the beach for the first time. I would have loved to have had him there with me. I cannot remember a trip to the beach as a child when my dad didn't run on the beach. He'd run forever. He was usually training for a fight, but I can remember thinking that I'd love to go and run like he would... just run up and down the beach, seeing everything, the wind blowing off the ocean, enjoying it. It was as great of a feeling as I expected. The wind coming off the beach made me feel like I could run forever. 

My dad and I have had our fair share of arguments and disagreements. I would venture to say that I've yelled at him as much as he has yelled at me. I'd also venture to say that it's probably because we are so similar in personality. I mentioned that two people so much alike aren't necessarily a good thing (me and Bailey). But, as I've grown to become more and more like my dad (by yelling at my kids in the car and threatening to throw toys out the window, etc.), I appreciate all of the big and little things he's done for me even more. He's always supported my decisions, even when I was wrong. He's always encouraged me to be tough and stand up for what I want, even if it wasn't popular. He's always been there to tell me he loves me when everyone else in the world would probably dislike me (he's also always been there to tell me when I need to quit being a... not nice). :) He's just always been there. And, it started all the way back when we would take our little walks on the beach or fly a kite. I could call him right now and spill my heart out and know that he'd understand. He'd tell me the truth, whether I liked it or not, but he'd be there. That's what I'm hoping to instill in my kids by doing these things... our own little traditions of walks on the beach... that will give my kids the chance to talk about anything and everything with the knowledge that we are there for them and love them no matter what. 

Thanks for showing me what I'm supposed to do, Dad... without making me feel like you were forcing your opinion on me. I love you... :)

Vacation and cars...

Sunday, June 27, 2010
And... I'm BACK! 

So, prepare for the marathon of blog posts that is coming your way. You will be so annoyed with all of my blogging after this that I am quite certain I will lose a follower or ten. :) Oh... wait... I think I only have 13 followers (officially), so I might have issues if I lose that many. Fortunately, my husband, Bret, and Cilla, will be the three that I know I won't lose. :) Well, I have faith that Cilla will hang in there with me, anyway. 

Vacation was incredible. I've been toying with how to blog about it all without it being one ginormous blog. So, I'm going to break it down some into different segments. This one will now be referred to as The Van. :)

Forever and ever ago, when I was like 20, I decided that vans were not cool. Minivans were for moms that had given up on all hope that they could be stylish and cool and still have kids and a vehicle with practical functionality. SUV all the way for me. I guess nearing my 30th birthday is making me older because our rental van was SWEET! The kids and I (and Brad, even if he won't admit it) were so impressed with this van. We had Sirius satellite radio, rear control on the AC, stow and go under the seats. I should totally be getting paid for the endorsement that I'm doing for Dodge Grand Caravan right now. It was really awesome... especially when we put the kids in the very back row and couldn't hear them fighting. Oh yes... all of you who have talked to me on the phone when I'm driving will know exactly what I'm talking about. The screaming, shrieking, deafening sounds of my kids as they pinch, hit, and throw things at each other in the car. Yep... we have those kids. I need a minivan. Bailey and Jake loved it, too. Jake, of course, referred to it as "his car." Bailey just kept saying, "Let's just keep it." No explanation about lack of funding for such a vehicle seemed to matter. 

And, I have to say that the minivan was wonderful at charging our dead battery on the Escape. Conveniently, as we went to pick up our rental minivan at the airport, the Escape's battery decided that it was time to give up and die. So, I coasted my favorite car in the world into a parking space. We went in, picked up the keys to the minivan, pulled said minivan up to the Escape, and gave it a jump. We had to jump it again when we got home, just to get it into the driveway. You know where we are heading tomorrow! The car shop... again. :) 

Yes... a minivan would not be a bad thing. If only it were free. 

Quick (or not so quick) Update

Thursday, June 24, 2010
So... first things first... 

I'm still on vacation, so this is probably going to be quick and somewhat jumbled into a series of random thoughts. :) Thank you to all of you who have sent me messages while I've been gone. I'll be in touch... as soon as I get back. It's a wonderfully overwhelming feeling to open up my account, e-mail, and Facebook page for the first time at a computer and see your messages... especially from the people I didn't even know were reading! :) I just had to sit down and blog a little tonight... if for no other reason than to feel like I'm recording some of the important things that have been going on... real time. :) 

Our vacation has been fabulous. There have been glitches, but only ones that involve a certain five-year old little girl who is still trying to learn that the world does NOT involve around her and her alone. Challenges... oh the challenges... that she has presented this week. No one wants to yell at their kids at vacation, much less drag them off of a beach kicking and screaming, but yes... it does happen. At least, it has this week. Two people too much alike are not always a good mix. More on that later... 

Focusing on good and fun things... 

Do you know how many sand dollars you can find at the bottom of the smooth sandy beach of Hilton Head Island? Apparently an unending amount, since we can't seem to stop pulling them out of the water. Well, let me correct that... since my brother and Brad can't stop pulling them off of the bottom of the ocean. Emily and I have yet to be brave enough to reach down to the bottom and pull up anything that we step on. There are also several starfish, mussels (I think that's what they are), and hermit crabs. We left Lexington without any pets... we will return with a bucket full of animals that will undoubtedly die before we make it home. Yet, there are two children who might have broken hearts if we make them put them back in the ocean. So... home they will come. 

Do you know that I have never seen a dolphin swimming in the wild? Actually, I think I did once when we were in Florida, but (much like Bailey) I often said I saw things that were purely in my imagination or that I thought were certain things, even when they weren't. So, who really knows?! Well, I have seen them now. A few times. Pretty close, too. :)

Have I said that this place is amazing? I don't think I'll ever go anywhere else again.

Never been in a lighthouse until today either. :) Watched a sunset with the love of my life and my babies (and brother and Emily).... it was beautiful... especially with the sailboat in the view. Cilla... I was dying for your camera. Or just for you to be there to take pictures of it. You would have loved it. 

Visited Savannah. Sweated like a pig. Ate like a pig. More on that when I get back. Lots coming from it. 

Watched my little boy play in the sand without worrying about washing his hands 50 times. Yes, that seems odd to me, too, but it does mean a lot. He has confirmed a few times that we can wash our hands and feet off with the shower at the bath house. lol. Helped him and Bailey build a sandcastle too, but the old man building the super duper sandcastle on the beach made me look like a complete chump. 

Ran. On the beach. For the first time. Ever. I've always loved the idea of it... now I've done it. 

Thought about my parents... a lot. Especially my dad when the cherry cigar smell came barreling at me from down the beach and the kites were flying above my head (not ours... yet).

Wished and dreamed about living here... about never coming home. Not that home is something I want to stay away from. Just love it here. So much that I really and truly could stay... if only... 


And, because I know you list people are wondering... parasailing. Hmmm... this one is going to be a very special post all on its own. Hope no one is disappointed... but it isn't going to be what you think. This one will stay on the list. I sacrificed one thing for another. You will understand when I explain it all more clearly, but Bret, I've thought about you and your statement about this list existing to help guide you and make sure you get what you want out of life. It is. :) I had to think a lot about it... but it is. 

Miss and love you guys! Lots more coming... just wait until next week when I am driving you all crazy with bloggin'! 

Oh... one more thing... I love it that I can talk with my long, thick country accent and not a soul seems to notice. The South is wonderful.

I can't name this post because the post name was already taken... :)

Friday, June 18, 2010
I started writing this post a couple of nights ago, but haven't been able to perfect it. And, it's still far from perfect, but I'm leaving for the beach tonight and I am apparently killing the curious cat by not posting it. :) Most of you don't get that, so don't worry. It's just a little inside joke for someone special. :)

When I decided that I was going to make my list public in May, I didn't tell a soul about it. Brad had some idea of what I was doing, but he really didn't understand how much it meant to me or how seriously I was taking it. I'm sure that he thought it would be a few items, not 100+. You have to understand that I get lots of ideas and most of them never come to fruition. That's part of why this whole list thing is so important to me... it's holding me accountable for something. But, Brad didn't really care that he had to read about my idea and learn the full extent of my insanity through my blog. And, I knew he wouldn't mind. Cilla, on the other hand, was the person that I just knew would call me at like 7 in the morning and ask me what I was doing and why I hadn't told her about it. Of course, when the phone rang the morning after I posted my list, I was a little nervous that she was going to say, "Oh my gosh... what are you thinking?" Or "Why in the world didn't you tell me this? I can't believe you didn't share this with me." Yes, we are that close. Instead of getting either of those questions, I hear, "I am so proud of you." My eyes seriously well up just thinking about it. How did I ever score a friend like her? Of course, she starts begging me to tell her what's on my list. Well, not begging, but curious... wondering if we had lots of items on our "lists" that would be the same.

So, the more we talked about it, the more Cilla began to develop her list (she had started one long ago, but never really had completed it). And, now, she has her list posted, too. And, we are going to have so much fun doing some of the things on her list. I really can't wait. Sorry, Bret and Brad... we have now shifted our conversations from being focused on photography and the business to our lists with a side of photography and business... and the kids... and our venting conversations about you. :) And, Brad we all know your ears were burning hot this week. lol. That's all I'm saying about that. :) 

Now some critics (ah-hem Bret) would say that the list is now controlling my life and is more like a job than something enjoyable (just giving you a hard time, Bret). It's not. But it has an impact that I didn't expect. I really expected some of my blog to change and to be focused on events in my life instead of day-to-day activities. I expected my conversations with Cilla to be focused on what items I would be marking of next and I definitely expected to have some people (mainly my brothers and dad) giving me advice on how to keep doing the athletic things on my list.

However... it has been so much more.

Not long after I posted my list, Cilla sent me a link to a lady's blog that she had taken photos of. She had a post about running the Boston Marathon. I remember telling Cilla that I never thought I would be able to do anything like that... I'd be lucky to run a 5K without dying. But, I read it, enjoyed it, and reminded myself that I could still be happy with just a 5K. As fate would have it, Dawn, whose blog Cilla had sent me, read my blog through Cilla's page. She saw my list and had tons of info on running, biking, Hilton Head, you name it. So, she contacted Cilla and, although she was worried we'd think she was a crazy stalker or something, offered to give me some pointers on all of these things. We began e-mailing and we have SO much in common, that it's scary. For instance, I was procrastinating blogging this morning... and read her blog post. You just have to read it to understand what I'm talking about. We are seriously living parallel lives and are totally on the same wavelength. It's weird. :) So, Dawn, started her list and has posted it on her blog. Anyway, Dawn, Cilla, and I are working on doing a Habitat for Humanity project together, as we all have it on our list and Dawn and I are bound and determined to meet face-to-face. I always wanted a pen pal when I was a little girl and now I feel like I've accomplished that. I should have put it on my list. Maybe I'll add it with the other gazillion items that I want to add soon. I'm going to start an add-on list to, well, add on to my list later. But, I want to mark off more stuff first. :) (Dawn... I just cannot wait to meet you... and I'm so happy that you were "crazy" enough to e-mail Cilla when you read my blog!).

And, last, but certainly not least, I have a new running buddy. And, I'm calling her out here to make sure that she sticks with it with me. She is going to totally be able to outrun me by the time we get back from vacation, although I am planning to run at the beach (we'll see if that happens). My friend, Rebecca, called me one day about a week ago and asked me to go run with her. Well, the first day out, we walked about 4 miles and kept saying we were going to run, but never actually stopped talking long enough to. So, we both promised that we'd try again and we'd actually run. And, we did on Wednesday. It was eery how our pace was so similar. I think our breathing was even the same... eery. But, great. So, now we are making big plans to run every 5K we hear about. Dream big or go home, right? We are thinking we might try one before the Bluegrass State Games, just to train and not worry about running the entire time. I'm not sure how it will go, but it would probably be a good thing for us to kind of see how different it is to run with other people, etc. I'll keep you posted on it.

The point of all this rambling is that I feel so blessed. I started out this craziness of keeping a list and trying to accomplish things that I want to accomplish and it's really taken on a life and purpose that I never anticipated. It's helped me to make my life more interesting and fulfilling, but it has also brought me closer to my best friend in the world (was that really possible?!), helped me to meet a new friend that I otherwise would probably never know, and helped me and Rebecca to get closer and enjoy time together that does not involve Malabu Rum or Pineapple Juice, while actually getting in shape.  :) Although, I still love Malabu Rum and Pineapple Juice. A. Lot.

And, speaking of getting in shape, I actually can feel my muscles in my stomach again. I think it is a miracle. :) I now will say, I love to run. :)

The Garden...

Monday, June 14, 2010
And, while I'm updating everyone on running and cooking, I might as well give you an update on the garden. My lovely garden. I love it. I come from a long line of farmers (been doing some research on my family tree... to come later), and it's definitely understandable why. They must have loved it, too. Obviously, they actually farmed large gardens and had animals and all that. I have enough plants that I could name them all, but still. It's fun. :)

The garden is doing wonderfully... the tomato plants are getting so big that we had to invest in the "cages" or so I call them to stake them. We also had to stake our jalapeno pepper plants. And, our squash and zucchini are on track to take over the world. I'm pretty sure they will. They are getting bigger and bigger... we are so screwed. I totally should have planted them somewhere away from the other plants. But, I didn't. Live and learn. :)

The most exciting news... we have two jalapeno peppers that are ready! YAY! They probably could have stayed on the branch a little longer, but we were just too excited to leave them. I hope we get more soon!

Training Day... Whatever... :)

When I first started running and working toward my goal of a 5K, I wasn't really sure if I'd ever make it to the point where I actually could run more than I walked.

Tonight, I did.

Tonight marked the night that I actually started thinking that I might pull of this 5K thing.

Tonight... I sweated like I've never sweated before.

And, tonight, I felt great.

I moved up to the next week tonight. Could you tell?

I know that many of you might think I sound arrogant or like I'm bragging, but I'm totally not. I hope you guys wouldn't ever think that of me. I'm definitely not overly-confident. If anything, I write this because it helps me to stay motivated to keep going. I feel like you guys are the support system that is holding me accountable to this, so I hope you know that. :)

But tonight felt really good. I ran for 3 minutes, walked 90 seconds, ran 5 minutes (!!), walked 2 and a half minutes, ran 3 minutes, walked 90 seconds, and then ran 5 minutes to finish it up! I truly and honestly have been dreading this week. I have been confident that there would be no way that I could run for 5 minutes. Period. Ever. And, I think because I had built it up in my head to be such a big deal that when I actually started running, I was surprised by how it wasn't that much harder than running the 3 minutes that I've been running. And, my recovery time is getting better. Usually, if I ran 3 minutes, it would take me a solid 2 minutes and 45 seconds to catch my breath and be ready to run again. But, tonight, it was different. I would catch my breath by the time I got to 30 seconds. Maybe it was just a little cooler or breezier or something. There's a good chance that Wednesday, my blog post will be, "running sucks." :)

Of course, I am slow. I could probably walk as fast as I run. But, I am running. :)

Look out Bluegrass State Games... I'm going to be ready. (Maybe). :) 

More Food

On Saturday, Brad watched the kids for me so that I could run out and pick up a few things at one of my favorite stores, Kohl's, for our vacation to the beach (only 4 days until we leave!!!). It took me longer than I anticipated. So, I wasn't really sure if it would be a good idea for me to try a new recipe on Saturday evening. We were in a hurry to get to the ball park for our t-ball game, but I had been craving the fettucine alfredo on Pioneer Woman's website ever since I'd seen it. And, I had been thinking that the pork tenderloin that I went on and on about last week would be an ideal combination for the pasta.

Yum. Does that say it? Actually, the cheese was a little clumpy, but I think that was my fault. I didn't really "sift" it (I know that's not the right word, but I can't think of what would be). So, when I put the cheese in, it was already clumped together in spots, which just made it harder to melt. So... note to self (and for anyone who might try it), make sure the cheese isn't clumped prior to cooking. Other than that, it was wonderful. And, I was right about the pork tenderloin (imagine that!). It was the perfect item to go with the pasta meal. It will be a future meal in our house. And... to top it off... it was really relatively easy. I think once I cook it a few times, I could have it down so that I could cook it without really reading the recipe... and that's saying something. :)

So... for my list... I'm up to four new recipes that I have added to my "collection." In case you wanted the links to them, here they are:

Fettucine Alfredo
Chicken Stir Fry
Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich (Steak - DELICIOUS)
Pork Tenderloin

Do you think Pioneer Woman would think I'm strange for being obsessed with her cooking? :) I'm starting to feel like I'm going to have a Julie & Julia moment with her. lol.

Great Weekend!

Well, my laptop is dying. I guess I should say our laptop, but since I use it the most, it feels like mine. I shouldn't complain... we have another computer in the office that I can use, so it's not like I'm really deprived. However, it is so nice to sit on the couch with the laptop and blog, play on Facebook, you know, the important stuff. :)

Anyway... here's to hoping that my hubby can find the time to fix it soon (and here's to hoping that he can save everything on it, since it has all of our snapshots of the kids since they were born and I'm not all that great about getting them printed or uploading them to snapfish or some other online resource - yes, I might cry).

On to more important things...

First of all, we had a great weekend! Correction: Other than our t-ball team losing in the first round of the double-elimination tournament, it was a great weekend. Yes, the Braves lost in the first round, despite our number 2 seed (there are 22 teams in our league, so that's pretty good). Fortunately, we still have a shot because it IS double-elimination. Unfortunately, we are now in the loser bracket, which translates to a lot more ball games. So... we are all going to swelter at the ball field. Other than that... the weekend was nice. We spent all day on Sunday at the lake. We had a great time swimming, watching fish flop near our boat, and enjoying the sun. We even saw a turtle that Bailey is sure was either Ertle or Myrtle (our two pet turtles that we released into the lake last summer because they stank and were outgrowing the aquarium we had for them. Who knew they got huge and could live for so long? Obviously, not us...). It very well could have been, I suppose, considering that it was a red-eared slider and was about the size I would predict that it would be after a year's growth. Probably doubtful, but anyway... 

The kids are enjoying the lake this year, too. It's so nice that Jake will actually get in the water and swim without begging me to get in with him the whole time. They both beg me to get in, but not to the point that they won't get in without me. It is adorable to me how Jake refers to the boat as "his boat." He also calls my car "his car." Apparently we are raising a son who thinks that only men own things (typical, huh?). He refers to everything as Daddy's or his. Bailey and I just get to use their stuff. lol.

On a sidenote, he is doing much better at speaking clearly. He still has some issues with certain words and is too stubborn to try to say certain things, but he is getting better. And, he is doing better at making friends, too. Oh... he hasn't turned into our social child, but he is at least interested in other kids more now. So... progress.

Bailey, on the other hand, is driving me nuts with her social behavior. We can't go to the pool without making a circle around the entire thing to say hi to all of our friends. Everyone there knows us because she makes a point to make sure everyone knows her. I'm not complaining about it... she makes it easy for all of us to make friends. I just have to apologize to people because she latches on to people and follows them around, and sometimes people just want to be alone. lol. 

Photos from the weekend:

They love swimming with Daddy... he's much cooler than Mommy, because he doesn't just float the whole time... Mommy isn't into swimming with fish and other animals. :)

On our float. :) Too bad they kept pulling me off of it.

My tan babies... don't they look adorable? I love them so much.

The turtle... pretty sure he was looking for us. :)

In need of a miracle...

Friday, June 11, 2010
I just have had someone on my mind all day and I thought maybe by blogging a little bit about it, I could get some prayers going for her and her family. For her privacy, I won't say how I know this person or anything, but just tell a little bit about her situation. I actually have never met her... I just know her story (in bits and pieces). 

She is a year older than me... 30. She has four children - a son who is 10, a son who is 4, and twin girls that aren't even 2. She had a palsy on one side of her face one day... went to the doctor... they thought it was MS. Shortly after this (as in less than a month), they find that it is not MS, but a brain tumor. She's in a tremendous amount of pain... and she only has about 9 months to live. 

My heart has broken every time my "contact" has told me information about her situation. I have sat in tears, listening to her talk about the children and what they are going through. I cannot imagine... simply cannot imagine... what her husband is dealing with. Not only is he trying to help her with her pain, he's trying to communicate with these babies and deal with it all on his own. I just can't stop thinking about them. 

Life is so short... and whether I die at the old age of 100 or the young age of 29, I hope that everyone I care about knows how much I love them. 

Please pray for this family... I know you might not know anything about them beyond what I've told you, but they really need a miracle. Sorry to be a buzz kill tonight, but I just needed to feel like I could do something to help... and this is all I know to do. :) 

Love all of you... truly. 

Cooking... GOOD food. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Another one of my list items is to learn at least 10 new recipes each year. This is probably my favorite list item yet. :) Well, I'm probably exaggerating, but... for those of you who know me, you know how much I LOVE to eat. And you probably (unfortunately) know that I'm a "limited" cook. That is a nice way of saying that I can cook a few meals, but not much else, unless it comes in a box, can, or the frozen food section. Can you say preservatives? :) I can... and unfortunately, my kids love them. Not something I'm proud of, but something I absolutely admit to. 

I actually CAN cook if someone shows me how or if I get a good recipe with good directions. Not directions like my grandmother always gave me when I first got married. You know, she'd say, "Just mix in some sugar and stir it until it gets hot, add some water... you know until it gets to the right consistency." I would always ask her how much or what was the right consistency and she'd tell me she just knew. lol. So, how do you follow that? I tried to make her fudge once and she forgot to tell me about a critical step, leaving me with hardened chocolate and peanut butter mixture that was so hot and hardening so fast that it nearly broke the motor on my electric mixer. It was probably the funniest cooking experience of my life. Ah... yes, how I miss my grandmother when I cook. Sometimes I feel like she's standing over me watching while I screw up yet another recipe... laughing because she knows that I forgot just one little thing. :) 

But, I digress...  I just don't have a lot of recipes that I want to cook. Most cookbooks are filled with fancy shmancy recipes with ingredients I can't find or don't even know where to begin to look for or how to shop for (you know, what is a good lamb chop supposed to look like - and could I really eat a lamb? Probably not.). I'm from the country and I like meat and potatoes. I like some other things, too, like pastas, stir fry, and anything mexican. Call me uneducated in the ways of cooking classy, restaurant-style meals... and I'll agree. But I know how to fix some great fresh green beans with bacon grease... the kind that will make you die from a heart attack at the age of 35, but will make every single day of summer worth living for. :) Primarily and most importantly to me, I guess, is that I like red meat. Beef. It's what's for dinner. Or what I want for dinner on most nights. Also, heart attack waiting to happen... but I'm running now, remember? :)

So... when my best friend got me totally addicted to this thing called Bloglines and sent me a dozen or so of her favorite blogs, it was easy for me to see that one of the things on my list that I would be focusing on next would be food. My goal in putting this item on my list is to build up a collection of recipes that I really love to eat... expanding what we eat so that I can actually go more than a week without cooking spaghetti or lasagna. :)  Two blogs in particular have started changing my life. Okay, I'll admit to being a little dramatic there. But, still... these are by far the best recipes ever. 

The Pioneer Woman and Once A Month Mom have the best recipes I have found in at least 7 years of searching (oddly enough the length of time I've been married). :) And while I have tried four new recipes, three of them are completely fabulous. One of them was OK, but not enough for me to add to my collection of recipes that I want to fix regularly. I won't say which one so that I don't hurt any feelings here. 

I would not even begin to post photos of my cooking of these meals. These people are fabulous at doing that and I'm sure that you would all crack up at the amount of Dixie plates that are used in our home regularly, and especially when I'm cooking things that need to be separated into bowls and sections. lol. I also need new knives and there's almost always a toy or two on the counter while I'm cooking. So... there. You can just follow these fabulous instructions. Plus, I don't see how it doesn't take them like a year to cook a meal. My hands are always covered in whatever I'm cooking... too much to actually pick up my camera, as small as it is, get it focused and take a picture.


So, the first recipe that I tried was from Once A Month Mom. It is a recipe for pork tenderloin. FABULOUS. I actually think that it came from Floyd the Food Guy, but I found it through Once A Month Mom. When I cooked this, I wasn't sure what to expect. I haven't had much luck in the past with recipes for pork tenderloin. After eating it at a Christmas party a couple of years ago, I was bound and determined to find a recipe for it that involved cranberry sauce. Epic fail. So... I was just really happy to find a new way to fix pork... the other white meat. :) It was so good that I kept munching on it while I was fixing veggies. I really didn't even want any on my plate by the time it came around to actually sitting down. I had already had about 6 pieces (they were small). The next time I cook it (probably this coming weekend) I am going to also fix fettucine alfredo. It's on Pioneer Woman's site, so if it is as good as it looks, I'll post more about it later. :)

The second recipe I tried last night. Oh. My. Gosh. Have any of you eaten at Steak Escape in Charleston, West Virginia? It's a chain, so it doesn't have to be that one. Well... it was one of my favorite places to eat when we lived there. And our steakery at the mall here is good. But just not quite as good for some reason. When I saw this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's website (I'm tired of adding links, so you know you can go to the one above if you want to go to her home page!), I thought of two things - Steak Escape and how much I would impress my hot hubby who loves steak sandwiches. :) This steak sandwich was, ah-hem, better than the ones I have eaten at either steakery. Maybe I was just starving by the time I got it all ready, but it was so delicious. Bailey even loved it. I didn't think she'd even try a bite because of the onions and the strong smell of spices, but she does love her steak (like mother, like daughter... or like both of us... we love red meat). I couldn't help but laugh at how much Bailey went on and on about it. She kept telling me how awesome it was... how I am the most incredible cook ever... and how we should have this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, everyday. :) So... there. It's good. :) Next time, I'm adding mushrooms to the onions though. We love mushrooms and it would be even more perfect with them. 

Okay... I know I'm being long-winded here tonight. :) I told you... I'm passionate about my food now. :)

The last recipe was tonight. I love stir fry and this recipe hit the mark. I've struggled to find the right combination of soy sauces and peanut oil and sesame oil, etc. etc. to make a sauce that I like for stir fry. And, it wasn't exactly perfect, but it was definitely and by far the closest I have ever been. I think it helped that I actually cut up the veggies and added the spices instead of depending on the frozen veggies and mixing it all in at one time. So... success here. Of course, the kids wouldn't even try it and Brad liked it. Although, I'm pretty sure it paled in comparison to the success of the steak sandwich (now forever referred to as Marlboro Man's Sandwich because of her recipe title). I am not sure Brad could pull off being called Marlboro Man, what with his constant attachment to his phone and computer... but for some reason, Computer Nerd's Sandwich doesn't have the same ring to it. :) Sorry honey, but I just couldn't resist. I love my nerd more than anything (except my kids and probably food).


Tuesday, June 8, 2010
As most of you know, I am now back at my training for the 5K. And, it's going well. I'm back up to where I was before I hurt my ankle, so I'm feeling like it is possible to do this again. The really cool thing is that my ankle doesn't hurt. So, last night, I decided to take a look at the training schedule to see if I thought I would be able to run in the Bluegrass State Games, since it was my original goal. And, I'm going to be pushing it, but I think I can still do it. It would be the week that I finish my training plan (the Couch to 5K program). I am nervous that I won't be ready to run it completely through without walking. I am hopeful that I'll be able to, but I'm just not sure. I've been contemplating this and I think what I'm going to do is plan to run the Bluegrass State Games and if I can't make it through without walking, I'll just kind of use that as part of my training for the next one. It will kind of be my practice run. Then, I'll plan to run in the Midsummer's Night Run in Lexington in August.  The nice thing about doing it this way is that if I do run in the Bluegrass State Games without walking, then I run in the Midsummer's Night Run, then I can just work on my time. :)