Family

As you know, my Aunt Sherry died last week.  While this was unexpected and incredibly sad,  her death gave me a rare opportunity to get together with my family.  See, I’m one of those people who ‘hope to see you soon’ but before I know it two years have flown by.

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Just a handful of my lovely family.
My grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousin and Dad.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I don’t miss my family, I miss them terribly. I have full intentions of seeing people but life just seems to take over.  There’s always some sort of excuse – not enough PTO (paid time off), schedule conflicts / previous commitments, it’s difficult to juggle 4 families (hubby and I are both from divorced parents who live in 4 different states) or heaven forbid I’m racing or training for a race (that’s the worst reason ever, and one I use quite often).

So what’s my point with this rambling self confession of familial neglect? It shouldn’t take the death of a loved one for us to make a concerted effort to get together with family.  And when I say family, I really mean it in the broadest sense of the word.  I realize that we all come from different backgrounds and may not have a traditional family; however, we all have people in our lives that, even though they aren’t a blood relative, they’re family to us.

Last Wednesday I made the almost 15 hour drive to Iowa to say goodbye to my Aunt Sherry.  I was greeted by my Dad, grandparents, uncles, aunts and many cousins.  In the short time I was there, I was regaled by the stories from my father and his sibling’s childhood.  Crazy, hilarious stories.  Ones that make you wonder just how did they survive childhood / adolescence?  I’m seriously amazed that any of my grandparent’s children lived to become adults, let alone all of them.

My dad and I drove around the small town where he grew up.  I got to see the church he went to.

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I just had to get a picture of the sunflower, too. So cute!

The house my grandfather built for my grandmother and their children over half a century ago.

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You can only see part of it due to the overgrown bushes but it’s a very lovely house.
I had no idea my grandfather built it.

And the spot where my grandfather would {not quite legally} hop a ride with the moving train to work.  Why bother with driving when you can hop a train? I’ve heard about these tracks my entire life.

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I had such a great time visiting with all of my family.  Yet at the same time part of me was sad wondering when it would happen again.  Whose funeral would be the next one to bring us together?  On my drive back home I had plenty of time to ponder that last question.  The only feasible answer is that it won’t be a funeral because I’m going to stop being that ‘I hope to see you soon’ girl.

Even if I can’t make it to every family event that occurs, it’s nice knowing that I’m going to give it a good shot. We never know what tomorrow holds so don’t wait for time to sneak up and steal someone away from you.

Question: Are you a ‘hope to see you soon’ person?

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Emotionally Exhausted

This weekend started out on such a high note. My amazing husband graduated with his master’s degree on Saturday. It was such a beautiful day and I can’t even begin to express how proud I am of him.

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Watching him walk across that stage to pick up his diploma really felt like we closed a huge chapter in our life book. This is the first time in our dating/married lives that we’ve both been out of school.  The thought of starting an entirely different chapter in our lives is both exhilarating and a bit frightening.  The world is our oyster and we can choose whatever adventure we please.

While we went to bed basking in the limitless potentials of our new chapter, I woke up early Sunday morning to find out that another chapter had been very abruptly closed. My amazing aunt Sherry died very early Sunday morning from a massive heart attack. Her death leaves a void that cannot be replaced. The two things that will be missed most is first and foremost her spirit. She was an amazingly thoughtful woman.  Phone calls, cards, you name it and she did it. She always went that extra mile to let someone know they were loved and thought of. Secondly, I’ll miss her sense of humor. Man alive could Aunt Sherry get you laughing. Especially when all the family was together; you just never knew what was going to happen or who was going to say what. Some of my favorite childhood memories are from family get-togethers.

Going from an extreme emotional high to an incredible low in the matter of 5.5 hours has left me emotionally exhausted. Throw into the mix some other personal things that have been going on this past week and I’m just spent. I’ll be traveling later this week to Iowa for Aunt Sherry’s funeral so there won’t be any blog posts until after Memorial Day.  I guess the silver lining in this weekend is that I’ll get to see my dad and family this week. Memorial Day is always a hard time for our family since my bother was killed in Iraq so it will be nice spending time together.  That’s my Aunt Sherry, still giving gifts from beyond the grave.

No question today, just a plea to tell your family and friends you love them.

Weekly Workout Recap

Ah, Monday, we meet again.  Although I really can’t complain about anything after the great weekend I had.  My stepmom Starla flew in from Colorado which was the catalyst for the fun weekend events.  This is the first time I’ve seen her since she’s been battling cancer and she looked amazing!  So vibrant and fun-loving as ever.  It totally happied my heart so much to see her.

Originally, I was supposed to go up to USM to watch my stepsister’s lacrosse game but, unfortunately, it got cancelled to do inclement weather.  So after a quick change of plans, Starla & Sarah drove down here where we got to watch my niece and nephew play soccer.  I ended up missing nephew’s game (boooo, it would have been fun seeing 4 year olds play) but caught my niece’s game.  I just have to say that it’s ADORABLE watching little kids play soccer.  After the games, we all hung out at my sister-in-law’s house.  Bliss, I tell ya.

Me, my stepsister, stepmom and sister-in-law. <3

Me, my stepsister, stepmom and sister-in-law. ❤

Sunday, the hubby and I went to eat with some friends at one of the beach restaurants down here.  It was so nice that we decided to go home, grab our swimsuits and hit the beach.  It was in the upper 70s yesterday and today the low is supposed to be 36*.  It’s crazy how weather can change so quickly; I think it’s pretty safe to say that there will be no beach going this week….  On plus side, I have a 1/2 marathon this weekend and it looks like the cool weather will stick around through the race.

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My view during lunch.

Weekly Workout Recap for 3/18 – 3/24

Monday: 3 mile run, weights – abs, quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves.

Tuesday: 100 weighted squats, jump rope, weights – abs, biceps, triceps, lats and deltoids.

Wednesday: 4 mile run.

Thursday: 10 mile run.

Friday: kettlebell workout, weights – abs, biceps, triceps, lats and deltoids.

Saturday: played with 3 rambunctious kiddos! (Yes, I’m totally counting that.  No wonder my SIL is so toned!)

Sunday: Lazy beach day. ❤

Not a super stellar workout week by any means but I’m not dissatisfied either.  I’m still trying to find my groove now that I’m not in marathon training.  Although, I am loving my newly flexible workout schedule.

Question:  How did your workouts go this week? Do you thrive on the structure of a training plan or flying by the seat of your pants without a plan?

Veteran’s Day

Yesterday marked the 93rd observance of Veteran’s Day.  While this holiday means that many of us get to enjoy a three day weekend, we shouldn’t ignore the reason behind the shortened work week.

On November 11th, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day (which was later changed to Veteran’s Day).

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” – Woodrow Wilson

For me, Veteran’s Day, much like Memorial Day, is a reminder of the price that is paid for my freedom.  However, unlike Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day is also a happy occasion.  One where I get the opportunity to recognize and thank those that keep me free. This is really something that I should do all year long, but for whatever reason I always fall short.  And it’s not like I need to look very far to find a veteran; my family is filled with them!

Me and several of my cousins; this picture was taken at my brother’s funeral.

My grandfather was in the military (Army I believe),  my Dad’s retired Air Force, my brother a Marine,  all of my uncles (except one) on both sides, and more cousins than I can count on my fingers and toes have all given pieces of their lives to keep us free.  We’ve covered all branches of the military and I’m one very humbled girl to be part of such a wonderful and patriotic family.

I realize that I’m a day late, but today, I encourage you to go out of your way to thank a veteran.  Let them know how much you appreciate them and what they have done for you.  So often they go unthanked.  An incredibly easy way to do this is to go through your Facebook or Twitter friend list and send a quick thank you to your friends that have served in the military.   If you want to get more personal than social media, stop and shake a veteran’s hand or pay for their cup of coffee when you hit up Starbucks.  Older veteran’s are pretty identifiable between their haircuts and military ball caps they like to wear.  But don’t forget to thank the younger vets, too! Due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have a significant increase of vets in their 20s and 30s.

Question:  Have you thanked a vet yet? If not, what are you waiting for? It’s not too late!

Belated Birthday Fun Post

Did you vote yesterday? I did!  I go to bed early so when I went to bed last night the exit polls were still neck-in-neck.  I’m curious to see what the final result is.

Today starts day 3 of my no sugar challenge and I’m officially over the pouty stage – yay!  I think the 2 year personality that lives inside me realized that no matter how many ‘I want fruit tantrums’ she threw I wasn’t giving in. Y’all I promise I don’t actually have any dissociative  identity or multiple personality disorders.  This detox hasn’t been the easiest but I’ll give a recap of week one on Monday.

Last week when I was recapping the Marine Corps Marathon and also my MCM weekend fun I mentioned that my birthday was the same day as the marathon.  I wanted to do a separate recap since I have amazing family who went out of the way to make sure my birthday was special.  I love my family!!

Ha!!! There was also a tiara and sash that went along with this button – thanks Mary.

So my birthday festivities actually spanned several days and started with Jody and I enjoying a nice and quiet early birthday dinner at Kora in DC on Friday.   Then Saturday after the MCM expo Mary (my ‘runspiration’) and I headed back to the hotel while our hubbies did some sight-seeing.  This started birthday day #2!

I was surprised to find a lovely golden package sitting on my bed.  I was so confused because I had no idea where it came from.  Turns out my cousin Bridget mailed the package to the hotel so I would have it before the marathon / my birthday!  I. Was. Floored.

It was such a thoughtful gesture; but wait, it gets better! This birthday was actually my golden birthday so she wrapped everything in gold paper and each gift had a gold theme.  I mean, seriously, who thinks of something this creative?!

Just a few of the goodies Bridget sent me.

Rocking my new scarf and the ‘go wild on your birthday’ monkey.

After opening and savoring all of the goodies my cousin sent me, I decided to open a box that my Dad mailed from Colorado.  It had a super sweet card with plenty of motivation to help me run the marathon.  He sent a t-shirt and very cool glass/pewter mug that he had made commemorating the MCM and my Run for Roger.  My mom had already given me my birthday gift which was my race gear for the MCM.

The vino was for a post-marathon toast.

Sunday, day 3 of my birthday weekend: or what’s also known as my actual birthday.  I was somewhat pre-occupied the morning of my birthday (go figure, right?) but after the race, and after getting my husband successfully out of DC before Hurricane Sandy hit, we headed out to eat for a dual purposed celebratory dinner….To celebrate finishing the marathon and also to celebrate my birthday!

We were all craving some down-home all American grub so we ended up at Ted’s Montana Grill, a steak place.  I ordered a “spicy” (yeah, right) bison burger with jalapenos and cilantro and washed it down with a tasty sangria.  Totally not clean, but well earned.

Mary and Greg surprised me with an awesome 26.2 necklace and car decal.

I was seriously stuffed from supper so I had no room for dessert.   Which brings me to birthday #4.  It’s like the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day…It just keeps going and going and going.  Since I didn’t eat any cake on my birthday I felt kind of off.  It’s not a birthday until you’ve had cake, right? So I found the largest carrot cake cupcakes ever (like the size of my head…alright, slight exaggeration) and Jody and I went to town scarfing them down.

And with the disappearance of the last morsel of carrot cake, so my birthday extravaganza came to an end.  I can honestly say, hands-down, that this is one of the most memorable birthdays I’ve ever had.  I will never forget running a marathon in memory of my brother on my birthday, nor will I ever forget how my family went out of their way to make sure the marathon didn’t overshadow birthday fun.  I definitely think 28 is going to be a great year!

Question:  What’s your favorite birthday memory?  Do you have a favorite age?

MCM Training: Week 4 Recap

I completed my first month of training this past week and I’m happy to report no injuries, no missed training runs, everything is still on track.  Hopefully the next 3 months go just as fabulously; although, I know that from here on out the intensity moves up quickly.  I’m looking forward to seeing my progress but I know that I’m also going to miss these easier training runs.

As far as this week goes, it was a busy week for just regular life stuff.  I graduated this weekend (yay!) and took a few days off of work so I could spend time with my mom and dad who flew in from out of town.

This also made getting my runs in a bit more difficult but I have fantastic training partners who were willing to accommodate my odd schedule.   Monday I had my first of three time trials.  The time trial is running just a single mile and the purpose is to chart your progress the further you get into the training.  Let me start by saying that Monday we were in a heat advisory – yikes! I debated going to the gym but knew that I wouldn’t be able to simulate an outdoor run so I reluctantly drug myself to the track.  The heat index was 105 but I took a deep breath and got started.  Oy, it was hot! 7 minutes and 57 second later I was done.  I was SO excited to have broken 8 minutes!

After my time trial. I was definitely sweating pink!

Saturday I was up at 4:30 to meet my running girls before my graduation.  It rained the last ½ of the run but it was the refreshing type rain and not the downpour type.  I was glad to have that run out of the way early so I could get ready for graduation.  I received my degree in psychology (with honors – yay!) and am looking forward to not having any homework or research projects to turn in.  I’m truly blessed to have had the support of a wonderful husband and a great family to get me through some tough times. I’m not sure what God has in store for me next but I know it will be great whatever it is!

The love of my life

My wonderful parents