Friday, April 30, 2010

Planting Chums - 4 Random Facts

4 - Four Fridays of CONNECTIONS (forging friendships)

It's been a busy week. I've been away from the blog world and I miss it so much that even though today is my day off when I don't have to be at a computer all day, I am still on the computer catching up on my favorite blogs. I really should be outside enjoying the sunshine. So I'll make this post quick. Today I am linking up with Planting Chums and sharing 4 random facts about myself. You should head over to Aspire and check it out because there are some awesome prizes to win. So here are my random 4:

1. I caught my hair on fire blowing out my birthday candles in high school.

2. I have a fake most embarrassing moment story. It is an actual embarrassing moment from my life, but it's not the most. Because the most is too embarrassing for me to tell. So I just tell the second most embarrassing story if asked. There are probably only 5 people who know the real story.

3. When I was little, the only thing I wanted to do on vacation was go swimming. I went to California with my dad and grandma and they took me to see all kinds of cool things but I didn't care because I only wanted to be swimming. I wanted no part in sight-seeing or anything that didn't involve water.

4. There is a ski run in Breckenridge called "Mach 1". Going up one of the ski lifts you see a sign for it. The first time I ever saw the sign I thought it was called "March 1" and I asked my dad why they would name a ski run March 1st. The first time my little sister ever saw the sign she thought the exact same thing. It is a ridiculous steep double black diamond run and we both were terrified of it when we first saw it. Now we have both skied it multiple times. The picture below is not it (that is only a blue-black run) but I figured I should stick a picture in this post and since I don't have one of Mach 1 on my computer, this will have to do :)

Anyways, go on over and join in the party at Planting Chums and share four random facts about yourself!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend Update

Happy Monday everyone! It's a big week around here - it's half-marathon week. Which means I am supposed to take it easy and rest up for the big race. Unfortunately my work has other plans for me. I'll be heading up to Cincinnati tomorrow and potentially Columbus on Wednesday night / Thursday. At least if I end up going to Columbus I will get to stay with my parents - they just happen to live right down the street from my company's office in Columbus. (I don't think I've told my parents about this yet since we will decide at our meeting tomorrow if I even need to go to Columbus later in the week and I don't want to get all excited about going home and then not get to go - I haven't been there since Christmas and I miss it lots!)

Anyways, before the busy week gets started I thought I would do a little weekend recap.

Friday night we had our young life leadership meeting. Followed by a 3 hour dinner with some friends at Shamrocks. Shamrocks is one of our favorite restaurants, but the service is a little slow if there's just 2 of you. So when we had a table of 13 (I think?) we were there. forever. But we were with our friends and didn't have anywhere else to be so we enjoyed the hangout time.

Saturday morning it was supposed to rain. So I decided that I would do my long run on Sunday instead. It didn't rain, which was good for Derek's soccer league and he didn't have to cancel any games. I slept in until 10:30. I never wake up at 10:30. It was glorious. I had some breakfast, spent a little time in the word, and proceeded to head back to bed til 1:00 when Derek was done with soccer. I have no idea what made me feel the need to sleep this much.  Anyways, Derek came home and we ate lunch, and then he proceeded to fall asleep. I couldn't sleep anymore, so I went over to my friends Jenna and Holly's apartment where friends were watching 10 Things I Hate About You, (which I can't remember the last time I watched - it's hilarious), and crafting.

After that I went home to try and get a little house work done, since usually I try to do this while Derek is at his soccer games, but clearly all the sleeping did not leave time for cleaning. Well, instead of cleaning I decided that I wanted to try roasting a chicken for dinner. A whole one. I found th recipe on Pioneer Woman's blog  and have wanted to try it for a while. So I went to the grocery and got my shopping for the week done, as well as bought the chicken. I got home and began rinsing it and getting everythng ready when I found out that Derek was going to go out to eat with some high school guys from his Bible Study. So now I have a whole chicken ready to roast and no one to help me eat it. So I called my friends Sarah and Katie and they came over and ate with me. (Except Sarah brought her own food because she didn't want chicken - but she still hung out while we ate.)

Ok, so roasting the chicken was an adventure. First of all, the raw chicken itself is just kind of gross. Rinsing it off and stuff is not my favorite part. Luckily preparing it was pretty simple. I stuffed it with half a lemon, half an onion and some garlic. Then I used herbs from my garden mixed in canola oil to rub on the outside of the chicken. I'm not sure if I used too much oil or what happened, but when I put that sucker in the oven, smoke immediately started coming out of the oven. The oil was popping and smoking, which made me nervous because I have a gas oven, and it set the smoke detector off twice while it was cooking. Luckily a fire never started in the oven, although I got out my fire extinguisher so I would be ready just in case, but the whole downstairs was filled with smoke. I had doors and windows open, fans going, and it was still so smoky. And the thing had to cook for an hour and 15 minutes. My house smelled like chicken the rest of the night and Sunday morning too. I smelled like chicken the rest of the night too. Lovely.

Anyways, the chicken did cook, and it was delicious. We made mashed potatoes to go with it, and Kaite brought over some spinach and artichoke dip for an appetizer. It was all very tasty. (Ok, wow this post is long - sorry I didn't realize that the chicken story would be so long. I'll try to speed it up.)

Anyways, after dinner the three of us headed out to Old Navy and Target because I needed to go swimsuit shopping and what girl ever turns down a trip to Target? Old Navy didn't have much in the way of swimsuits. Target had more, but none of them fit me very well. I was trying to find a tankini or one piece for young life camp. One pieces are pretty much impossible for me to find because I'm tall and have a long torso. And it's hard to find many tankinis that are cute. So the bathing suit mission was a fail. But I did manage to try on about 20 other things, mostly dresses that were too short, again because I'm so stinkin tall, but I did end up getting one really cute brown dress and a pair of nicer sandals that I could wear with it and many other things. They also had cute black leggings for $6 which I couldn't turn down (even though I don't have anything to wear with leggings, but I'll figure that out later).  So Target was still a success. And I had a gift card that paid for all of it - holler.

Our friend Donielle was at a wedding that night, but since Target is open til 11 and we managed to walk around there for 2 HOURS, Donielle was able to meet us there. After Target, Katie went home (since she had to wake up real early and drive to Nashville) and then Sarah and Donielle came back to my house where we found Derek and Keith. They had just finished hanging out with the LCA guys so the 5 of us decided to go to Drakes (at like 11:30). We hung out there til like 1 or 1:30, and I'm sure we looked kind of funny. Derek, Keith and I were totally not dressed for going out, we were super casual. Sarah looked nice, and Donielle had just come from a wedding so she was way dressed up. We probably looked funny. But we had a good time.

So, finally getting to Sunday, Sunday morning rolls around and I have to get up at 7:15 to go for an 8 mile run before church (since I decided to sleep in on Saturday). Which is awesome considering I went to bed around 2. So I imagine it was probably a combination of the fact that this was my last long run at the end of a 10 week training program, 5 hours of sleep and walking around target for 2 HOURS the night before, but the Sunday morning run was no fun. My legs felt like cement blocks. I never got into it. I willed myself to run 8 miles. And it took me 5 minutes longer than the last time I did it 5 weeks ago. Awesome. I talked to some friends who have done this before and they say that is normal. Thank goodness. I was beginning to get worrie that if I could barely make it 8 miles this Sunday, how in the world am I gonna do 13 next Sunday? But everyone assures me I'll be fine.

The rest of Sunday consisted of church, lunch with our friends Eric and Rachel after church, then home to prepare a talk for campaigners (our Sunday nigh Bible study with LCA students).  We had a meeting for our young life summer camp trip and then campaigners with high school friends that night. And then, just when you thought I was done, my poor puppy got sick in the middle of the night. What a great way to end a weekend!

When I started I didn't feel like that much happened this weekend but apparently I have more to share than I thought. That or I am incapable of being concise and to the point and share WAY too many details. (Also, isn't it fun how many of my friends have blogs?)  If you're still reading, I am impressed. I'll stop now.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day

So this post is coming a day late, but better late than never right? Anyways, yesterday was Earth Day, a day that for the most part hasn't really held any significance in my life. At work however, I have just become our office's "green team" representative. Which basically means that I try to get everyone in our office to be more environmentally friendly. 

Yesterday for Earth Day, a few people in our office participated in the Lexington Downtown Trash Bash. Basically, a few of us went downtown and the people organizng it gave us trash bags, gloves and hand sanitizer, assigned us a route, and we went and picked up trash along the route.

Honestly, it wasn't the most fun thing I've ever done. Picking up trash along the side of the road is not glamorous. But I think it was good that we did it. Being "green" is the new thing to do, and I think that Christians haven't really seen it as an important issue. I, for the most part, have always been of the opinion that we need to worry about people. Obviously we don't blatantly try to harm the environment, but it was just something I was never really concerned about.

Then I read the book Serve God Save the Planet by Dr. Matthew Sleeth. I think that really opened my eyes to the fact that not caring for the environment, at least for me, was a byproduct of a selfish and lazy attitude. In the book, Sleeth points out how the ways that won't don't care for the environment impact other people. And how it is often the most disadvantaged people that are affected by the consequences of our actions. A lot of the things I do that aren't good for the environment I do because they are more convenient for me, and I don't think about how others are affected by them. Therefore, when I do things that I know are harmful to the earth, I am basically having an attitude that says that my convenience and what I have to do is more important than someone else.

Now I say all this knowing that I am definitely not the most green person. I drive my car by myself to work every day even though I work with someone who lives right down the street from me. (The reason we don't carpool is because he goes into work and leaves at different times than I do and I like to go home during lunch.) I am not the model of an environmentally conscious person. However, reading that book made me have a different attitude toward my actions and the environment. I know that a complete overhaul of my lifestyle is really not realistic, but I do try to be more green wherever possible, and to not be lazy about things like unplugging things when they aren't being used and turning lights off etc.

This book has loads of practical suggestions of easy ways that we can be more friendly to the environment, and I am trying to incorporate those more and more into my life. I figure if we all chose a few, it would make a big difference. You should definitely check out the book if you haven't already. Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thoughts on Our "Calling"

I found this article the other day - one of my facebook friends linked to it - and I thought it was really interesting. It is about how we spiritualize the things we do by saying we're "called" to them. It's a really interesting and thought provoking article, and I think I largely agree with what it is saying. Here is the sentence that has stuck with me and made me think:

God’s “will” may have nothing to do with whether or not one should move to Seattle instead of Chicago but it does have something to do with what kind of person one will be in either Seattle or Chicago in whatever job one chooses while living in whatever neighborhood one desires.

Am I "called" to live in Lexington? To be a civil engineer? To work at my current place of employment?  God has definitely showed up in each of these things. But I imagine that if I lived in a different city or had a different job, God would show up in those places too. God shows up because I have a relationship with Him, and because I choose to be obedient to Him and try to glorify Him. I would do that regardless of the job I was at or the city I lived in.
I think this takes a lot of the pressure off of us trying to figure out what God's will is for our lives. I think we instead need to be focused on the kind of people we are being, and worry about whether or not we are being Jesus' desciples where we are at right now. If we do that, we can rest easy knowing that we are indeed in God's will.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Garden Update

We're about a week into the garden and I thought I would give you a little update on how its doing. Most things that we planted seem to be pretty happy in their new homes, with a few exceptions.

1. We lost a blueberry plant. No idea what happened to it. We started out with 4, now we have 3. Also, I need to put some mere acid on the blueberry plants. They like very acidic soil and while our soil is somewhat acidic, it's not quite enough, so I will buying some of that tonight to put on them so hopefully they start to look a little happier.

2. The cucumbers aren't looking so good. One plant lost its leaves and is just a stem, and the other one is looking a little puny. I may just buy some cucumber seeds and try again.

The good news is the herbs, strawberries, broccoli, lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes and peppers are all looking good. The zucchini plant has already sprouted some new leaves.

In the non-vegetable gardens, things are starting to look good too. Our weeping cherry tree has already bloomed. Derek took a few photos last week as it was nearing the end of its bloom.

Also, our lilac bush is blooming. Here are a couple pictures. These are also from last week but it's still going strong.

We have peonies that look like they will bloom soon. I can't wait to share pictures of those. Also, our azaeleas are trying to bloom but I think they get too much shade. Oh well. I'll share pictures of everything as they bloom. I love spring and flowers!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend Highlights and A Great Date

Well this weekend was fabulous. I love my 3 day weekends. Waking up at 6 am on Saturday isn't so bad when you got to sleep in on Friday. Here are some highlights:

1. I ran 9 miles on Saturday morning. And I really wasn't too tired afterwards. It actually felt really good. And my legs are feeling better than they have been in a while.

2. I ate a donut after my run. I love donuts.

3. After I took a shower I fell asleep for an hour or so and my kitties napped with me. We all snuggled in bed and took a nap together. They are very sweet.

4. Derek and I went to McDonalds for lunch. I love McDonalds. I know it isn't good for you, but it tastes so yummy.

5. We played frisbee golf. I love playing frisbee golf with Derek. I am much better at it than regular golf, but we still get to walk around and talk and be outside together.

6. I had a couple hours of free time to just chill. Read a magazine, a book, sit outside, weed the garden, just chill.

7. Derek planned a date night for us. He got us reservations at Guiseppes, a delicious Italian restaurant that I've never been to but have always wanted to. My meal was amazing. And we got to get all dressed up for each other. There was live music there too. It was so fun to just sit and talk and listen to music and be together.

8. We went to Graeters. I haven't been there in I don't know how long. I got mint chocolate chip ice cream. It was everything I hoped it would be.

9. Derek bought me the DVD of Kate and Leopold. I've never seen it, but he knows I love a good chick flick so he got it for me and we watched it together. (Sidenote - we can spend hours debating what movie to watch because we can never agree - so it was super sweet of him to get a movie he knew I would like.) I really liked the movie, it was cute. It also came with the movie Serendipity, which is another chick flick that I love. We will have to save that one for another time.

10. I fell asleep snuggling with D on the couch.

11. Derek was so excited about the date he planned. He's really cute. I love that he loves to surprise me.

Sunday was even more laid back than Saturday, if that is possible. It was such a relaxing weekend, just what I needed. Church was great, and we had lunch with Derek's boss (who also did our pre-marriage counseling) and her husband. I love getting together with people who are a few stages ahead of us in life and talking to them about life. It was so fun.

I'll be back soon with some updates from the garden!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy Friday!

It's Friday and it is glorious outside! I've already taken my car to get fixed, headed up to LCA to eat lunch with some of my favorite peeps and been to Keeneland. (For those of you not from Lexington, Keeneland is the thoroughbred race track here in Lexington. There is a spring meet during the month of April and a fall meet in October. It is beautiful there and you get to get dressed up and see beautiful horses race and its wonderful.) But I still love to go be outside and see all pretty horses.  Here are a few photos:

I bet this number 5 horse to show and he did and I won a whopping $3.40. And then lost it the next race :( Oh well - it was a beautiful day.

Tonight my friend Rachel is having a jewelry party. She has her own jewelry line, you can check it out on etsy here. I'm excited to see all of her newest creations and hang out with lots of friends.

As far as plans for the rest of the weekend goes, I am heading out to Todds Road tomorrow to run 9 miles - and I get to eat donuts after the run! Also, Derek and I are having a date night on Saturday! Derek and I don't really do date night very often. It's especially been a while since he worked every Saturday during the winter. So I'm super excited. I don't know what we're going to do but Derek has it all planned out. I'll tell you about it Monday.

The rest of the weekend is open! I'll probably spend a little time in the garden and hopefully get a little cleaning done around the house. Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to Train for a Half Marathon

This post is about how I've almost made it through my half marathon training successfully and what I have learned from it. It is more about the psychological aspects of running than the physical. For starters, I have no wisdom about the science behind the training. I simply got online and googled "half marathon training" and looked at a few different programs and picked the one I liked best. I got it from and liked it becaues it was the most straight forward. Run 4 days a week. Short runs during the week, long run on Saturday. I can do that. Here is the schedule.

You can see that to start out, you need to be able to run 3 miles. The half marathon I am running is on May 2, which means that my training started the week of Feb. 19. I decided as a new year's resolution that I would run a half marathon. So beginning in January, I ran 3 times a week to work myself up to being able to run 3 miles.

A few issues that I ran into - the biggest being that it is cold in January. Much too cold to run outside, so I had to be begin on a treadmill, knowing that I would be switching to outside. In my experience, running on the treadmill is so much easier than running outside. Probably because the treadmill is flat and outside is not. I combatted this problem by setting my treadmill to the hill workout. I started runing at 5 mph, which is a 12 minute pace - nice and slow.  Once I was able to run 30 minutes at this pace and at a hill level of 1, I slowly started increasing my speed and hill simultaneously, keeping the time at 30 minutes. As it got closer to when my training started I would run 3 miles instead of just 30 minutes, which only added a couple minutes to the run, no big deal. So by the time February 19 rolled around, I was able to do 3 miles, on a decent hill setting on the treadmill. The hill setting on the treadmill was key - it made the transition to running outside pretty painless.

I tell you all this to tell you that I started this training not able to run 3 miles. I was pretty out of shape. So if I can do it - you can too. The biggest key is having the motivation. For me, the motivation was the race. I could barely run 2 miles, no hill at a 12 minute mile pace in january. And I was supposed to be able to run 13.1 in May on a very hilly course. I knew that the only way that was going to happen was if I had a plan and stuck to it. If you want to run, I highly suggest signing up for a race that is too far for you to run. That will be all the motivation you need to get out and run.

Also, you need a plan. My plan is shown above. I trust the plan. Every week when I would go on my long run, starting with the 5 mile run (I didn't do the 4 mile run because I was sick that weekend) I was dead at the end of the run.  I had no idea how I would possiby be able to run a mile further the next week. But I ran every short run during the week, and the next Saturday, I would survive the long run. I didn't run them fast, and it ws definitely tough and sometimes took a lot of will power to finish, but I was able to make it. The plan works. Stick to the plan. I have no idea how I was able to run 12 miles this weekend, but I did it. So I trust the plan.

Truthfully, I didn't always feel like running every day that I was supposed to. But I feared that if I skipped one of my short runs I wouldn't be able to do the long run on Saturday and if I didn't do that, there would be no way I would be ready for the half marathon. So no matter how much I didn't want to do it, I made myself do every run on the schedule. Not all of the runs were great. Especially at the beginning. I would do a 6 mile run on Saturday and think that a 3 mile run on Monday should be no problem. Then my legs would feel like cement the entire run and I would feel worse at the end of the 3 mile run than I did the 6 mile run. I think that's just part of it. I don't have specific time goals for my runs, my goal has always been just to do them. So even if I have a really slow short run, that's ok, I got it in, and that has worked for me so far.

I think one of the hardest things about this has been making the time to run. Every week I have Bible Study on Thursday nights, we have Young Life one night a week, and there were always LCA basketball and baseball games to go to. There is rarely a weeknight where I go home and have nothing to do for the night. However, when I wake up, I have to eat. Running before breakfast is not an option for me. But I need to give myself at least 45 minutes after eating before running. So if I were to run in the morning I would have to wake up ridiculously early to eat, wait 45 minutes, run, shower and be at work by 7:30. So basically, the first thing I do after work is run. I have also adjusted my work schedule so I go in at 7 and get off at 5 on the days I have to run. Sometimes the evenings are crazy, and sometimes there are nights when I can't run. So every week I look at what is going on that week and plan my 3 days that I will run. And no matter what I do. The key is just to make sure you don't run more than two in a row.

On Saturdays I run in the mornings. I wake up, eat a packet of instant oatmeal and yogurt, give myself about an hour and then go running. I have found out 2 things from this: 1 is that oatmeal and yogurt are good to eat before running because they fill you up, but aren't really solid food so you don't feel them sitting in your stomach while you run. (When I was doing shorter runs I would only eat oatmeal, but for my longer runs I added yogurt for addtional energy.) 2. The hour I have between eating and running helps me wake up. I use this time to stretch and just hang out, and have found that my body doesn't feel nearly so tired as if I just tried to run as soon as I woke up.  I drink orange juice with my breakfast and then have a glass of water during the time in between. I try to drink alot the night before so I am well hydrated and don't have to drink a ton of water right before my run and feel it sloshing around in my stomach.

Training for a half marathon has totally been the kick in the butt I needed to make working out a priority. It used to be good for me if I ran 2 miles twice a week in my neighborhood. If I got 3 runs in that was huge. And I was always exhausted after my 2 mile run. Last night, I went for a "quick" 5 mile run after work and felt great the whole time. I don't run super fast, but I love that I can run these distances and it feels good. Don't get me wrong - the long runs are painful and the short runs have been painful too. This is not an easy thing - you have to be willing to keep going even when it doesn't feel good. But now that I have reached thep peak of the training and am tapering off, I feel like I have accomplished so much and am in such great shape. I still don't run fast - in fact I will be thrilled if I finish the half marathon in 2.5 hours. But I love that I can run and it feels good.

I know this was a long post, but I hope it was helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions and I would be happy to answer them. I highly encourage you to give this a shot. It is a lot of running, but like I said - if I can do it, anyone can.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another Random Post

Sometimes I like to make lists of the random goings on in my head. This is one of those posts:

1. Whle I was driving home to lunch today I noticed a spider crawling on my arm. Ewww! I almost got in a wreck as I was freaking out.

2. My car needs new struts. I don't think they have ever been replaced and I'm coming up on 160,000 miles. My mom informed me earlier this week that if I don't get them changed they could just break on me at high speeds causing a serious accident. (I got that text from her right as I was about to get on I-75 to head down to Berea for some field work.) I was already planning on taking my car in for an oil change on Friday, and now it looks like its going to be one expensive oil change. I think it costs around $1000 to get all 4 struts replaced. Awesome.

3. Speaking of Friday, this week I have Friday off. So that means tomorrow is my last day of work for the week! I love short weeks! More on the weekend to come soon.

4. I am beginning to get tan. Thanks to my gardening and running endeavors I have been outside a lot recently. A couple nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and when I saw myself in the mirror I was surprised at my tanness. Then I go up to LCA and see all the girls who just got back from spring break and I feel like a ghost again. But for being the middle of April, and not having been on spring break, for me, this is tan, and that makes me happy.

5. The weather recently has been so warm. Which makes me so happy. But there are two sides to every coin, and now that its getting warm, my dear Moose is starting to shed a lot again. Let's be honest, he never really stopped, but I could get away with cleaning the floors once a week. Now, its only Wednesday and my floor is already looking overdue for a major cleaning.  Moose is also way overdue for a haircut. But with my expensive car repairs looming, he may have to wait another month.

That's all for today. Hope everyone is having a fantastic Wednesday!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Garden!

This weekend we planted our vegetable garden. Here is what it started out looking like.

Luckily those stumps didn't take all day to remove - in fact we made pretty short work of it. And here is how it ended up:

(the blue stuf in this picture is grass seed)

We managed to get the whole thing done in a few short hours. Once we got the stumps pulled out, my mom and I headed out to Lowe's to buy some dirt, pete moss, manure and plants. (As well as some grass seed because we didn't use the whole are that the bushes used to take up for the garden.) Mom and I got back from Lowe's and dad and Derek had the dirt all mixed up and leveled out. We decided to extend the garden around the side of the house, so they had to dig up some pretty serious roots that were around the corner as well as a bunch of grass and weeds and stuff.  When we got back we spread the pete moss, manure and a little extra dirt around and mixed it all togeter, and then we were ready to plant! Here is what we ended up planting:

4 blueberry bushes
6 strawberry plants
1 greek oregano plant
1 basil plant
1 pasrely plant
1 cilantro plant
9 broccoli plants
9 lettuce plants (these just came in a little container of 9)
1 zucchini plant
3 pepper plants (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green)
2 tomato plants
2 cucumber plants

I think that's everything. It's a pretty small garden, but there are only two of us, and I figure we can start small and always make it bigger if we need to. I'll keep you updated on what is successful and when everything is ready.

It was such a successful Saturday. I think we started around 2:30 and were finished by 6:30. So we took showers and went to our favorite Mexican restuarant - Mi Pequena Hacienda, and then went to go see the movie Date Night. It was cute and funny. Definitely enjoyable.  Sunday my parents came over for breakfast then we went to church  but weren't sure what to do afterwards because we thought we would still be working on the garden. So we went back to our house. My dad helped Derek fix some issues he was having with his lawnmower and my mom and I decided to head back to Lowe's to buy some flowers for the gardens in the front yard.  We planted those while my dad and Derek watched the masters. I'll post pictures of the front gardens once we get mulch down. Derek is very specific about a certain kind of black mulch and they were out of it this weekend, so we'll have to get that mulched and hopefully by then the flowers will be a little bigger and I can show you those.

Once we finished planting we had an early dinner at Shamrocks, a little restaurant in our neighborhood that is another one of our faves, and then mom and dad headed back up to Columbus. It was a beautiful weekend - the weather was perfect. I got my 12 mile run in Saturday morning while Derek was at soccer games and before mom and dad got here. We got to be outside all weekend - which is pretty much all I could ask for. We got a new vegetable (and fruit) garden and got our flowers planted. It was all paid for with a Lowe's gift card that my parents got Derek for his birthday. I got to see my parents and spend some quality time with them. I don't think I could have asked for a better weekend.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Happy Friday!

So excited that it is almost the weekend! This has been a long week and I am definitely worn out. But I am so excited because tomorrow my parents are coming to visit! Which is a treat because they were just here a few weekends ago to help us put a floor in our attic. And now they are coming back to help us start our first garden. 

I've wanted to plant a garden for a couple of years now, but it has kind of scared me. I've been unsure of where to put it, how big to make it, where to even begin. My parents have had a garden since I can remember so I'm so glad that they are coming down to share their expertise with us and make it happen.

We decided to put the garden next to our patio right behind our house. Perviously there were some very large, ugly, overgrown green bushes there. I don't even know what kind they were. But last weekend Derek cut them out. This weekend he will have to take the stumps out, which is always a fun job. Poor thing also has to work all Saturday morning because soccer games start tomorrow and he has to be there while they are going on. So, after a morning of working soccer games, my wonderful husband gets to come home and dig up stumps. We have no idea how long this will take or how big they are underground. Hopefully I'll get some good pics of the work in progress. This alone could take up our entire Saturday - especially since we can't get started til the afternoon.

Also, on a side note about digging up the bushes, I didn't realize that you needed to do the call before you dig thing when you are digging up something that is already there. But apparently you do. I called them today but they said it could take up to 2 business days for someone to come out and mark the utilities. I had them put an ASAP on my request, and luckily I have already heard from all the utilities except 1 and they should be out there today. So hopefully the final utility group will make its way out to our house today and not next week.

Next, we'll have to go rent a tiller and till up all the dirt and get it ready for planting. I have no idea what all this will entail. I'm sure we'll want to mix some manure or good dirt or something in there so make the ground more nutrient rich, but I know nothing about all that. That's why my parents are coming down. After we get it tilled up, we will hopefully be planting some fruits and veggies.

Here are some helpful things that I have found. I found this chart from this blog about gardening. The day of our average last spring frost in Lexington is April 15. So there are a few things that it is too late to plant, but I should be able to plant cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, squash and tomatoes. And, thanks to the I shouldn't have to worry about any frosts, because tonight is the last night that it is looking like we will have to worry about frost. The 10 day forecast goes out to April 18, which is past the average last frost day, so assuming that the averages work in my favor, we should be in good shape.

I also want to grow strawberries and blueberries, but I think its too late to plant strawberries, so I will just grow those in a container. Also, apparently they shouldn't be planted where tomatoes and peppers have been grown recently, so I'm not sure if I can put them in the same garden but just on the opposite side or if I should just avoid planting strawberries in the garden all together. I'm going to put the blueberry bushes right by the house becaues apparently they can get kind of tall. I guess I need to buy all these plants too. But hopefully after this weekend we will have a nice little garden going. Sorry this post was long with no pictures, but I'll take lots this weekend and show you how it all turned out.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reunited...and it feels so good!

So I gave up sweets for lent. You can read more about all that it entailed here.  I thought it was going to be pretty hard, but it surprisingly wasn't. At first I thought about it alot, and thought about how far away Easter was. But after the first week or so, I really didn't notice so much. In fact, it felt really good to have a reason to say no to eating stuff that I knew I didn't need and wasn't healthy for me. The last week and a half was a little bit tougher because I realized how soon I would be able to have chocolate and cookies and donuts and cake again, but I made it.

And then Sunday came, and my dear sweet husband woke me up with a delicious breakfast pastry that he brought to me in bed. And then there was easter candy, and cookies and cake, and it all tasted so good. And now at my house there is leftover desert from easter, and ALOT of easter candy. A.LOT. And I'm back to where I started over 6 weeks ago. I see it and I just can't help myself. My mouth waters just knowing that there is something sugary and sweet in my house and that I CAN eat it.  So I do.

What is wrong with me? Luckily for me, Easter and the end of my fast from sugary goodness happens to fall on a week when I am running 26 miles for my half marathon training. Any extra pounds I may have picked up due to Reese's eggs and Godiva chocolate will likely be melted away during my 12 mile run Saturday morning. But still, I am kind of disappointed with my lack of self control. So tomorrow I am going to not eat sweets for the day. I need to get back in the habit of practicing self control. It's amazing how quickly it left. Also, I'm sure it will probably make my long run on Saturday go better if I am fueling up on food that is good for me and going to give me energy.  But man do all those sweets taste good!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Ok, so here's a little confession - I am OBSESSED with the OBSESSED. It is one of the first things I check in the morning when I get to work and I check it several times a day. Why do I do this? It's hard to say. But I love to look at the hour by hour breakdown and see what the weather will be like throughout the entire day. I also love to look at the 10 day forecast to see what the weather is looking like for the upcoming weekend, or for the days that I run. I love it when the forecast shows that it will be sunny and beautiful on days when I am off work. And I like to check back several times because it makes me happy to see the little sunshine icon on a Saturday or Sunday. If the forecast shows that it's supposed to rain or be gross on my days off, then I keep checking back in hopes that the forecast has changed.

If I am going to be traveling at all, then I am checking the weather even more often. I am checking to see what the weather is going to be like where I am going. I am also checking the weather to see what it will be like when I am traveling. Especially if I am going to be flying. I check to see if there are any storms in both the city I am departing from and the city I am arriving to, as well as any cities I may have a layover in. I am also checking the wind speed to make sure that it shouldn't be too crazy of a take off or landing. If I'm going to be flying in bad weather, I like to be prepared.

If we are supposed to get a snow or ice storm, I check to see when the snow or ice is coming and try to plan my driving around it. I was in an accident when we got a big ice storm my sophomore year of college. I also have witnessed cars spinning out on the interstate while driving in a snow storm. So, if at all possible, I try not to be on the road if it's gonna be real snowy or icy. So, with the help of the hour by hour breakdown, I can see what the temperatures will be (if they are below 30 I know I need to worry about the roads freezing - especially at night) and see when the precipitation is supposed to start and end.

 Here are some pics from our last ice storm

Ok, so maybe this is something I should keep to myself, because reading it, I see how crazy I sound. But it's true. I love to know what the weather is going to be. And, thanks to this lovely website, I know that even though it is supposed to rain tomorrow, it is going to stop by the afternoon so I can still run outside tomorrow evening. Is anyone else obsessed with the weather channel or is it just me?

P.S. Also, today, there is a "fire weather warning" for Lexington. I've never seen one of those before This is what it says."A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW... OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS... LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY... AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL. " Crazy - I didn't know we got fires in KY - I thought that only happened in California and Florida.

Monday, April 5, 2010


My half marathon training has been bringing me some pretty long runs these past few weekends, so in the interest of not running lots of laps, I joined my friend JB and the Todd's Road Stumblers running club at 7:00 am on Saturday to do my 11 mile run. The Todd's Road Stumblers are a running club that meets every Saturday to run, hang out and eat donuts. What's not to like? I even got a free t-shirt for it being my first time out. It's so beautiful out there and there are lots of hills which is good considering the flying pig has a real big hill. The roads are marked every half mile, so I can run out as far as I need to and then head back, and I don't have to do any laps and I have to finish my run in order to get back to my car. The folks there were real friendly, making me actually look forward to waking up at 6:00 am this weekend to go run my 12 miles.(That and the fact that I will be able to eat a donut this weekend since lent is over!) Only three more weekends of training til the big race!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010


For me, Friday was a perfect day. It was my Friday off, and I had plans to meet my best friend from high school, Amy, at Newport on the Levee. Amy lives in Dayton, so Northern Kentucky is a pretty good halfway point for us to meet. I LOVE Amy. Amy totally gets me. We always joke that we share a brain and that we are basically the same person. I love that I can tell her absolutely anything and she totally understands. We try to talk about once a week over the phone, and we see each other in person way too little. But today, the stars aligned and we made it happen, and it was glorious.

The day started off a little rough with Amy getting stuck in traffic and then a little lost on her way. But her being late gave me some time to drive the course of the half marathon that I am going to be running in a month so I have somewhat an idea of what I am getting myself into. The Flying Pig is known for a huge hill that you have to run up. This is what I am most nervous about and was looking forward to driving to see what I was up against. As I got close to the top of the hill, I rounded a curve and literally was breathtaken by a beautiful park with a whole area full of blooming magnolia trees. It was quite possibly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  I made a mental note that I would need to stop back there. I drove the rest of the course, and then headed to the levee.

I met Amy at the levee - after she got slightly detoured in downtown Cincinnati, and we ate lunch at Brio, which I love. We ate outside because it was so beautiful. We sat and talked and ate good food, and it was glorious. It was so good to sit and catch up face to face and to have all the time in the world. When we finished lunch we decided to cross the Ohio River on the purple people bridge. From the bridge you can see the hill that I am going to have to run up for the half marathon. I told her that I drove up it and how beautiful it was at the top. Then I decided that since we had time we were going to try to find it. On foot.

Amy is such a good sport and puts up with my craziness and we start walking. And we walk for a long time. And I am not 100% sure where I am going. But amazingly, after A LOT of walking and a few lucky turns, we find ourselves at the road that I drove up that leads to the beautiful park. So we keep walking. Then Amy spots some steps that I go straight up the hill instead of more around it, which is what the road is doing. Se we decide to give the steps a shot. And there are A LOT of steps. A lot. But we finally make it up the steps, and I'm not sure exactly where we are but I know that beautiful park has to be close by, and I have a pretty decent sense of direction so we head in the direction that I think the park is and continue walking.

Well, as we are walking we begin to see a beautiful pool with  a fountain. And I remember driving by it earlier as I was driving the course. So I knew we were getting close. We headed down to the pool and that itself was gorgeous. (I found out it is called mirror lake.) The sun was shining and we were hot from all the walking, so we took our shoes off and stuck our feet in and enjoyed the beautiful day. From where we were sitting as we looked off in the distance everything dropped off and you could see across the river and it was so pretty. At this point I was kicking myself for not having my camera. I took a picture with my phone, but cannot figure out how to retrieve it from the phone and put it on the computer. Here is a picture I stole from google.

After sitting by the fountain and dipping out feet we decided to continue exploring, as by that time I know that all we had to do was follow a little trail around a bend and we would be to the beautiful magnolia garden. We headed that direction and were walking and talking and as soon as we began to see the magnolia trees we stopped mid sentence in awe. It was gorgeous. There are no words. And unfortunately no pictures. At least of my own, but here is one I stole. I still feel like it doesn't do it justice.

Seriously, no words. Everyone that was there had their fancy cameras out and were snapping pictures. It was quite possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I want to go back. Tomorrow. Or right now. And live there.

So that was our little adventure. We walked around the park. We talked. We enjoyed how beautiful everything was. And we got to walk downhill the whole way back. The day was absolutely gorgeous. We stopped at Sawyer Point on the way back, which is this awesome little park right on the river in Cincinnati and there were so many cute little families out enjoying the weather. It was such a happy day.

By the time we made it back we were spent. And then I realized that this was supposed to be my day of rest before I had to run 11 miles on Saturday. I didn't think about that when we started off on our little adventure. We'll see how that 11 miles goes. My guess is it wouldn't have felt good even I had done nothing on Friday. But I am so glad that I got to spend the day with Amy. And so glad we went on our little adventure to Eden Park. If you haven't been you HAVE to go. I am going to make it an annual thing. At least.

There is nothing I love more than being outside on a gorgeous day, enjoying the weather, and getting to spend time with a best friend. It was perfect. And it was followed by a wonderful Good Friday service at church where I was able to reflect on the sacrifice that was made so that I could have eternal life and a relationship with the amazing God who created all the beauty that I got to enjoy. Perfection.