Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day and the Last Day of May!

Good evening everyone!

My intention was to get online and post last night but alas the time got away from me and before I knew it we were next door eating grass-fed beef (NY strip steaks-yum!), pita chips and hummus, salad, and potato salad to celebrate Memorial Day. To start the day Allan and I ran the Cotton Row 5K. We ran it last year and that was my first 5K ever. This year's race was my fourth and not my best time but I ran it in 38:27. I really wanted to beat 37:43 (my PR) but I suppose that will have to wait for another race. Allan, however, was amazing and finished in 24:49 breaking his PR by over 30 seconds! I was really proud of him as he was of me. After the race we hung around to see a dear friend receive her medal for placing 3rd in her age group. So proud of her-she's my inspiration in the running world! We rested until dinner time and I was fast asleep by 9:15.

Today was my first day volunteering 8-4 at the hospital. I'm helping out and doing some extra shifts in the summer while people are on vacation and they are short on help. It was a fast day and before I knew it I was back in the truck and on my way to the gym. I know I haven't been using my free gym membership as often as I had hoped but I'm working on changing that. Trying to get there twice a week instead of once a week. I hopped on the treadmill not sure if I would run my mile today since we had run the 5K yesterday. 43 minutes and 3.4 miles later I got off the treadmill, did 4 of the machines to work out my arms, and got on the bike. I biked 22 minutes which was only 4 miles but I'll be honest I was on my phone checking facebook and catching up on blog posts from today (bad, I know!). Needless to say my focus was not on my speed! After the bike I decided I could do some more jogging so I got back on the treadmill and jogged 11 more minutes at 5.0 mph. I'm fairly confident that I haven't run this much since freshman year when I was working out for Spring Break so I could look cute for Allan (great story that I'll share later!).

This is Week 4 of my health and fitness goals I set for myself earlier this month and I feel healthier already. I am making an effort to eat more fruits and veggies, drink more water, and exercise 5-6 days a week (at least running a mile if nothing else). Allan always tells me not to worry about what the scale says and just be healthy but it's nice to see a 1 lb loss 3 weeks in a row! Tomorrow morning I'm going to my first yoga class with a sweet friend and I'm anxious to share with all of you how that experience goes!

I'd love to hear from you guys about your workout routine, tips for eating healthy, etc. Have a great night and Go Mavericks!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Allan's cooking skills at work!

I don't give Allan the credit he's due for the excellent cooking he spoils me with. Now before I start let me say that we share in the cooking. We both have our special dishes that we enjoy making. I love to bake and I'd have to say my desserts are what I'm most comfortable baking. Allan likes to try new recipes and usually is the one to switch up the seasoning or marinade for the meat.

Last night we finally celebrated our anniversary and Allan grilled a pair of ribeyes, cooked up Boston style baked beans, and served a green salad. For dessert we had coconut creme pie. Jenn-I apologize for my lack of pictures. You've taught me well but I've neglected your teachings! Everything was delicious and I enjoyed it so much more than a fancy dinner out. Allan cooked for our anniversary last year so I think it's safe to say this will be a tradition in our marriage.

I'd also like to add that Allan had a lot of patience with me yesterday as we shopped at Publix, Kroger, and Wal-Mart. While we were out we got new mulch and weed barrier so be on the lookout for before and after pictures of the flowerbeds. We saved $150 yesterday which was pretty impressive. Our pantry, refrigerator, and freezer are stocked and the dogs have plenty of food too! We also picked up weed killer and bug spray that Allan sprays around the house periodically to keep the bugs away. We picked up several household items that we had coupons for and will need before the summer is over. All in all-a great shopping trip!

Tonight Allan was back in the kitchen preparing an apple bourbon pork tenderloin, squash, zucchini, and whole wheat biscuits. Yum, yum!

Hope you all are enjoying the long weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Finally Friday!!

Today I feel as excited as when I was a child and it was the last day of school. There's so much excitement and anticipation that it was hard for me to fall asleep last night. Well, that was more due to the fact that I've lost all my jewelry except for my wedding rings and diamond studs. I put them in a "safe" place the day after the tornados when I was doing some mad cleaning trying to get ready for who knows how many people coming in and out of our house and possibly staying here. I haven't seen my jewelry since and I'm trying not to freak out because I know it must be somewhere in this house but it's starting to really bother me that I haven't found it yet.

Anyway, I'm excited about today because it's the last full day of school for the child I keep and his dad is taking off next week so that means I am child free until further notice (thank goodness for YMCA camp this summer!). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that none of the father's business trips this summer will conflict with anything I already have planned but that hasn't been the case yet on any of these trips. He's managed to be out of town for Allan's birthday and our anniversary meaning that my plans for celebrating either were spoiled.

My to do list is a mile long and I haven't gotten as much accomplished this week as I wanted to. My intention was to get most everything done and get the house clean so we could enjoy the weekend relaxing in our nice clean house and watch tv or movies, play board games, and do nothing except for church on Sunday and the race on Monday. With that said I need to get busy and get the house cleaned!

Sorry for being so scatter brained this morning. Not enough sleep and no coffee yet make for a very unfocused girl! Happy Friday and have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Marriage-What I've Learned in Two Years

To follow up celebrating our two year anniversary I thought it would be fun to give my take on what I've learned in the last two years of being married. Disclaimer: This is my point of view and my lessons learned, not Allan's. Perhaps I can talk him into posting his point of view...

One of my closest friends recently asked me if the good always outweighs the bad in marriage. With unwavering certainty I responded yes and I meant it. Is it sometimes easier to get angry and forget the good and only focus on the bad? Yes. Does it take more strength and self-control to watch what I say and not be so quick to correct and give my opinion? Yes. Is it always worth it to put myself in his shoes? Absolutely.

Since I was little I've been a "learn every lesson the hard way" girl and nothing's changed as I've gotten older. I like to figure things out for myself and that spills over into my relationships as well. I have a tendency to push my boundaries within the relationship and test the limits of patience that Allan has with me. I swear I don't do it intentionally and I'm grateful that Allan puts up with me when I get wound up. Speaking of getting wound up, if you know me then you know I have the desire to make everything right with everyone and I will stress myself out if I think there's something else I could be doing to make things right between myself and someone else. Allan keeps me grounded and probably from going crazy. He's helping me learn that I can't do everything by myself and sometimes I need other people's help or I need to sit back and give it time and do nothing at all. (Still working on the sitting back and doing nothing at all-that really goes against my natural instincts!)

The night Allan and I started dating (August 23, 2005) he told me that communication is key to a successful relationship. Now I'm sure that each and every one of you have heard that and probably thought it sounded like an old cliche. Well, you would be wrong. That's the most solid advice I would give anyone getting ready to get married or perhaps those that are already married. If you feel strongly about something talk about it with your spouse but don't expect to always hear a point of view mirroring your own. Be ready to listen when that time comes and respect the difference rather than lobbying to change their mind. When it comes to something that your feelings have gotten hurt over, speak up. Chances are you are the only one who realizes something was done or said to hurt your feelings.

For the ladies reading this, let's just be honest for a minute. There's a difference between asking them how you look because you aren't sure this top should be worn with that skirt and asking them how you look because you feel fat today and want them to tell you that you look beautiful. In their defense, we or at least I, will mean either but say "How do I look?" in both situations. Thankfully I have a husband who usually tells me to change if something about my outfit doesn't quite look right. He also has a great eye for picking out clothes that I would have never thought I could wear but turn out amazing. I'm a lucky woman!

All joking aside, I'm grateful each and every day that God has blessed me with a husband who loves God, keeps me grounded, respects me, and encourages me in all that I do. Before getting married I made him promise me that we wouldn't fall into the married bubble as I call it. I came up with that term and started to fear it after I saw friends get married and lose all ability to remain in contact with the outside world. Every invitation was met with the "I'll have to check with my husband/wife" response which I learned usually meant no. We enjoy our time together but when it comes to family and friends we are ready to pick up and go if someone needs us. There's no asking permission to have a girl's night or guy's night. We make plans, do our own thing from time and time, and love nothing more than having a house full of family or friends.

In conclusion here's the short and sweet of my advice:
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
2. Focus on the good
3. Accept the differences
4. Be your own person
5. Speak up if there's hurt feelings or something on your mind
6. Surround yourself with people that love and support the two of you

Here's to hoping I learn a lot more in the years to come!

Monday, May 23, 2011

2nd Anniversary!

Today is our second wedding anniversary and exactly three months from today it will be six years since we started dating. Unfortunately we won't get to celebrate today, tomorrow, or Wednesday but hopefully we will get to celebrate on Thursday or Friday night. To celebrate our anniversary on the blog I pulled some of our favorite wedding pictures to post and share. This was truly the best day and best weekend of our lives. I can only hope that each of you feel the same about your own wedding day when looking back.

Dress for the ceremony

Dress for pictures and reception

Allan rocking the tan suit

One of our pictures taken before


We are married!!!

Cake in the face!

Off we go!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Michael's Graduation & Baby Bunnies

This weekend we took off to Columbus AFB to see Michael get his wings officially making him a pilot in the United States Air Force. To say I was so excited I could hardly sleep on Thursday night was no exaggeration! He's been working toward this day since October 2009 so it's been a long time coming.

Michael received the Navigation Top Gun Award


"Through these doors walk the best-trained pilots in the world"

Training Squadron Michael flew in
We attended graduation where we got to see Michael receive his wings. Then we spent some time at their house, ate lunch, and went to the squadron to get a tour. We even got to meet the squadron mascot-a snake! Rachel kept her face covered the entire time we were in that room. After hanging out at the house for a couple hours the guys took off to go fly the simulator. What we learned from this experience is that Allan needs to work on his landings. That even was cocktail hour followed by the graduation dinner which was really nice. There was a tradition in which they paid tribute to those POW's and those missing in action. It was quite moving and I had tears running down my cheeks before the candle was even lit at the table set for one. It made me very grateful for the sacrifices made by those whose names we don't know and whose families were never able to lay them to rest. This night was one where I was truly honored to have Michael and Slick serving our country defending the freedoms that I so often take for granted.

We headed home on Saturday afternoon and as luck would have it we got pulled over for speeding. Allan was already pulled over before the policeman turned his lights on and he said yes sir and was quite respectful. A few agonizing moments later the policeman returned and gave Allan a warning for going 72 in a 50. Now if that had been me I would have gotten a ticket but NOOOO Allan never gets a ticket. No complaints for not getting a ticket though!

As soon as we pulled into the driveway I ran into the backyard to check on our baby bunnies that have been residing in their little burrow for the last two weeks. They had grown so much in 48 hours! The dogs headed outside and were anxious to check on the babies. Sasha nosed them and once one discovered it could jump out the rest followed. We had 5 baby bunnies bouncing around in a yard with 2 labs. Not a good combination! Allan wrangled the dogs onto the deck and we started trying to find the 5 bunnies and put them in a basket. 20 minutes later all were rescued but not before Sasha squeezed herself through the deck rails and tried to "help" with the bunnies. By 9:30 we were armed with flashlights and digging a new burrow outside of the backyard for them to live in. We checked on them this afternoon and they are staying in that general area but venturing outside the burrow. We hope they are coming back and sleeping there at night for the mom to come check on them and feed them. Here are some pictures of the bunnies!

The first day we found them!

Aren't they cute?!

They got their hair!

5 little bunnies!

They opened their eyes!

He's a cutie!

The dogs watching over the bunnies

They would have never left them if it was up to these two!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday and our Church Search!

The past week or so have been full of particularly great days for me. Don't get me wrong I am grateful for every day that I have but I'm always excited for those days that seem to go without flaw or confrontation and turn out to be really productive. I've been filling my planner with to do list items and crossing them off. I would love to say I've gotten everything accomplished already but it's only Wednesday so I've got some time!

I'm on Day 3 of making running a part of my everyday life and so far, so good. For me, everything is just a matter of saying I'm going to do it and then doing it. I've written in my planner that I'm running a mile Monday-Thursday (can't do Friday this week because we will be driving to MS) and I hate to leave things undone for the day so I'm anxious to get my mile in and cross it off my list. I find myself drinking more water (something I'm not good at doing) and getting that good kind of tired feeling before bedtime when I make exercise a part of my daily routine.

I moved here in October 2009 and Allan moved in December after graduation. Between weekends at our parents, football season (where it seems like we went to more games than we thought we would), and other trips on weekends to see friends it never felt like the right time to find a church home for me. We already knew which location we would be attending for Allan's church and I'll be the first to admit I wasn't very proactive in finding a church home that is in line with my Christian beliefs and one where we can both feel comfortable attending. Most of this was due to my love for the church I attended in Auburn and the fact that I was still able to watch online even though I couldn't be there in person. I loved the Pastor and how he conveyed God's word through his messages so I found myself comparing other churches to this one. We visited one church last year but immediately didn't feel like it was a good fit. The church we attended this past Sunday is one that several of our neighbors attend and we both enjoyed the music and the message and will be attending again. There are one or two other churches that I would like to visit. I pray that we are able to find the right church for us.

Any advice on finding a church home?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Groupon and Living Social

Good morning and Happy Monday to everyone!

After a really great weekend I'm up and at it (with my coffee, of course) and ready to get this week started. Today I wanted to share a couple of sites I check every day for deals in my area and areas where I have friends or family or will be visiting. I have both of their apps on my iphone and with the app I never even have to print a voucher or certificate I receive for the deal I purchase. Some of the cities have deals that anyone anywhere can buy since you are really just ordering that deal online. A couple of the blogs I follow such as The Krazy Coupon Lady highlight the deals in other cities besides your own where you can buy the deal.

Last month I was able to get Cosmo for $8 through Living Social and because three of my friends bought the deal I got mine for free. With Living Social after you purchase the deal they will email you a link that you can send out to your friends or post on facebook and if someone purchases the deal through your link it counts toward the three that you need to get the deal for free. Some of the other deals I've purchased through Living Social include: $30 voucher for Wintzell's Seafood that was only $15, 2 tickets to Huntsville Ballet's Stars & Stripes for only $22, $14 for 4 tickets to the Crawfish Boil here, $10 for $20 of TCBY in Nashville, and $20 for a UPaint class which is similar to Sips N Strokes. If you are interested in signing up for Living Social here's a link where you can get 5 deal bucks on your first deal.

Groupon works a little different (there's no deal where you can get friends to purchase the deal and you get yours free). With Groupon there tends to be more deals for each city especially larger cities. With Groupon if enough people don't buy the deal then you don't get it which is one downside. However the prices for deals do seem to be more competitive. I haven't bought as many deals from Groupon but the ones that I have are really great deals: $25 for $75 of services from Wayne's Environmental Services (who we ended up hiring for our termite protection and lawn treatment to kill our weeds), $25 for $50 to (they carry lots of products besides diapers), $14 for 2 all-day passes at Pirate's Island Adventure  in Gulf Shores (we are going there for a wedding in August), and $8 for 3 rounds of mini golf at USA Mini Golf in Opelika (something we always wanted to do when we lived in Auburn but never did). Here's the link to sign up for Groupon and see what great deals your city has to offer.

Living Social and Groupon are both very affordable ways of planning ahead for special occasions, dinners, vacations, or even gifts for other people. In most cases it allows us to do something we would have liked to do for half the cost. You can also gift the vouchers from both so you can check out cities where you have friends and family and perhaps find a great deal on a massage, dance class, nice restaurant, etc. Even if you don't sign up for either at least give them a look. I promise you won't be disappointed because even if the deals today don't appeal to you the one tomorrow just might!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Summer Book Club-The Fitting Room

Hey everybody!

Reading is one of the things I love more than anything and I started following the (in)courage blog last month when a search for online book clubs landed me on Bloom's page. I've been waiting for the summer book club selection to be out and here it is:

 Starting June 5 these ladies will start going through a chapter or chapters each Sunday in a video post with the author, Kelly Minter. The (in)courage blogfrog community for the book will have posts to discuss the chapters and videos. You can find the book on dayspring for only $10 and if you buy more than one copy (talk your mom, sister, or friend into reading it with you) or buy a copy to donate then shipping is free!
 The schedule for the book club is:

May 15: Introduction of The Fitting Room
May 18: Book request form posted for those unable to purchase a book
May 20: Last day to request book
May 22: Introduction of Kelly with Jessica and Angie
May 23-25: Ship Out Sponsored Books
May 25: Special Giveaway
May 29: Special post from Kelly Minter
June 5: Ch. 1 and 2 (one video)
June 8: ch 3
June 12: ch 4
June 15: ch 5
June 19: Half-way post :)
June 22: ch 6 and 7
June 26: ch 8 and 9
July 3: Break for the holiday weekend
July 6: ch 10 and 11
July 10: ch 12 and 13
July 13: ch 14

I hope at least one of you will join me in reading this. I'd love to share the online book club experience with someone!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Music Moves Me 5K

This morning Allan and I made our way to downtown Huntsville for the Music Moves Me 5K. We were startled by the small group of people there to run. After running the Cotton Row with thousands and the Liz Hurley with hundreds a couple hundred people seemed small in comparison. We stretched and got ready for the start. Allan is in much better shape than I am so I set the pace and he stays with me. My best 5K time is 37:43 (Cotton Row 2010) and today I just wanted to gauge where I was time-wise in preparation for the Cotton Row in a couple weeks.

I had a difficult time breathing during the first half of the race. I've been a little congested this week but I wasn't expecting to have any issues today. Allan was patient and walked with me when I needed to. The second half wasn't as difficult for me and I was able to run more. At 2 miles we were under 25 minutes and my goal was to finish under 40 which we did! Our official times aren't posted yet but we finished somewhere over 39:00 and under 39:30.

I had a long talk with my best guy friend this week (calls from Afganistan make my day!) and we talked about my running goals and how to achieve them. I know it's a matter of me putting feet to pavement, treadmill, or track and putting the miles in. I'm hoping to get my 5K time down to 32 minutes by October when we run the Liz Hurley. This time next year I hope to be able to run the Music Moves Me 10K and finish in 1 hour. My long term goals are to run a half marathon and full marathon. At this point a full marathon seems like a very lofty goal but I know it's achievable if I put my mind to it.

Well that's enough about the run and my goals for running! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday

Good morning!

It seems like I rarely post in the mornings but today is going to be a full day with my volunteer shift at the hospital, my first trip to Anytime Fitness to start my one year free membership, and then nannying until 10. The last shift was the day of the tornados so I'm anxious to see everyone and make sure they are ok. I'm also looking forward to the salad bar since I've been craving a salad lately.

Tomorrow I have the pleasure of "auditioning" the final three termite protection companies. Fingers crossed that we can find someone with reasonable prices and good service.

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Easter Weekend Pictures

I know I am way behind on putting these up (as promised over two weeks ago) but a tornado and the resulting power outage and cleanup has a way of reminding me where my priorities should be. Without further delay here are the highlights of Easter weekend!
Atlanta Temple

Front of the Atlanta Temple

Allan with Sasha and her summer hairdo

Our little "Easter Bunnies"

Pink rose

Smaller pink rosebuds

Yellow iris

Small red roses

One of my cats, Toby

Our new pink tulips here at our house

Oriental Lily on our front porch

My rose bush finally bloomed!   

Hope you enjoy the snapshots of our Easter weekend that we spent with our families!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Poison Ivy

Still no power here but I'm not complaining at all. I've thoroughly enjoyed the nights on the porch with neighbors telling stories, laughing at jokes, and reminding ourselves that 5 minutes away there are people who would give anything to have a porch to sit on. I had to be taken to the emergency clinic set up at Sparkman because my poison ivy has gotten worse. It started to bleed when I took off my bandages this morning. I was hoping to get my arms wrapped up, get a shot, and be ready to get back out there cleaning up debris but the doctor wouldn't have it. I'm going to be useless until this dries up but I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'll be back out there this weekend.

This is quite possibly the worst time to have poison ivy and with the bandages on my arms I'm afraid people will think I have burns or cuts. This will teach me to weed anywhere on the farm that poison ivy is close to!

I have tons of pictures to post from the trip home for Easter and local pictures here. As soon as there's power and Internet they will be up!