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!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sometimes you just have to laugh...

As Allan and I know all too well sometimes you just have to yourself and the silly mistakes you make day in and day out. Last month when we went to North Carolina for our niece's first birthday I left my cell phone charger behind when we headed home. This past week Allan left his cell phone charger in the hotel in California. Today we both realized that he went back home yesterday without keys to his car that are in my purse (all 3 of them and both clickers). My car is in Montgomery so he doesn't have that as a second option to drive this week while I'm in FL without him. Luckily there's one key to his car at our house that's stripped and takes a few tries to get the car going but it will eventually work.

This in combination with my lost jewelry that's still hiding out somewhere in our house could make for a good cry.  Instead we are going to laugh and I'll  be making a visit to Rachel and Michael's closest post office to send him a key via first class letter so he will have it by Wednesday. There's no place I hate worse than the post office so this is not how I envision spending my Monday morning but I'm confident that a trip to TJ Maxx/Home Goods in Pensacola will lift my spirits in no time!

Looking forward to sharing stories of our Deep Sea Fishing Adventure with all of you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Crazy Dreams

After reading this post I thought I might just have to share my crazy dream from last night. First let me begin by saying that crazy dreams are nothing out of the ordinary for me. I, unlike many people, remember several of my dreams for hours after I wake up. Allan gets to hear all about them first thing in the morning and the looks he gives me are priceless as I recount my dreamy adventures that sound nothing short of bizarre.

Last night was no exception. The dream began in a hotel from the 1920's where I was staying with several girl friends in a suite for some type of formal event. Somehow I had set my eye on Chris Hemsworth (apparently the guy who plays Thor) but unfortunately for me so had Danneel Ackles (I watched her in One Tree Hill where she played a mean girl).  In my dream I don't recall actually even talking to him but he apologized when he saw me in the hall of the hotel walking arm in arm with her. In the dream I remember thinking that his eyes were so sad. I don't think I even made it to the formal event because I was having such an issue finding my hair brush, straightener, make up, and dress in the room. Everyone had left me to get ready alone and nothing was where I left it.

Chris Hemsworth

Danneel Ackles

Fast forward from that part of the dream to the 1940's or 1950's where I am apparently walking from farm to farm looking for someone. At one particular farm that I stopped at to spend the night in the barn they had several race horses and the son of the owner resembled someone I know in real life but couldn't place. In this part of the dream I have long blonde hair that's perfectly straight and practically shines in the sunlight. Allan made a guest appearance in this part of the dream and I had the feeling I knew him when I saw him but we never spoke and he stayed in a different barn on the farm. I woke up just as I was waking up in the dream being called out to breakfast. In my dream I was anxious to see Allan at breakfast and discover how we knew each other.

Often I can explain how most everything or everyone makes it into my dream and here's what I have for this one: I do actually want to see Thor while it's at the $1 theater and I had looked up showtimes yesterday. I saw One Tree Hill was on last night when I was flipping stations and I paused long enough to read the episode description and move on. Sunday we drove back roads to and from Columbus and there were several farms and pastures that seemed to look exactly as they would have 50-60 years ago. The last items that we packed into Rachel's car Sunday were her formal dresses that we were very careful not to wrinkle. The only part I really can't explain is why I was a blonde in the second part of my dream. I definitely wouldn't want to be blonde and I don't dye my hair so I don't know.

Sorry for being so random today and talking about dreams but that's what happens when Allan flies off to San Diego leaving me at home with the dogs for the week and I'm left to entertain myself. I get bored quick and apparently my mind wanders. I'd love to hear about crazy dreams you might have!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Paint the Streets 5K-new PR!!!

Last year I remember Allan coming home from work and mentioning something about a race that he had signed up for but I didn't pay much attention to it at the time since I wasn't running it with him. After the race he told me it was in memory of Carlene Hall, a remarkable woman who had suffered a terrible spinal cord injury but learned to paint holding the brush in her mouth. The race benefits the United Cerebral Palsy of Huntsville and Tennessee Valley, Inc. and this year we had the honor of running alongside a man pushing his son (who has cerebral palsy) in a jogging stroller and finishing together. Allan and I were at the finish to watch him cross and I fought back tears as Allan shook his hand and congratulated him on a job well done. My finish time meant so little at that moment when I watched a father and son share a special moment I will remember every year when we run this race.

Christine Hernandez from Design Life Graphics designed the logo for this year's event

On a much lighter note I set a new PR 5K time for myself finishing at 34:13 which is exactly 3:30 faster than my fastest 5K time so far!!! I made Allan wear a watch because I told him that it's hard for me to have any idea about my pace if not. We started the race running at a comfortable pace for me and my goal was to run the entire way to the first water stop around mile 1. When we got there I walked just long enough to drink a few sips of water and pour the rest on my neck. Then we were off running again. At this point I was feeling really good, paying attention to my form, and breathing normally.

Before I knew it we were at the second water station around mile 2 and just as before I walked long enough to drink a few sips and splash the rest on my face and we were off! I ran 2 miles on the treadmill the day before so I knew I could run 2 miles but I figured I would have to stop after that and walk a little while to catch my breath. Miraculously I was still breathing normally and running with good form and before long the finish was in site. Allan had lied to me sometime after mile 2 and I'm under the impression that I have about :45 to sprint to the finish if I want to beat my time. I rounded the last turn and saw the clock ticking away at just over 34 minutes. As I sprinted to the finish I was shocked. There was no way I just broke my PR by that much time!

Allan confessed to his lie and told me that he knew I could blow my old PR out of the water if I focused on my form and ran the entire race. I honestly didn't think I was in good enough shape to run the full 3.2 miles but apparently my body knew otherwise. I was sweating a lot but this time my face wasn't red and my breathing returned to normal in just a few minutes. Now I find myself needing to sit down and revamp my health and fitness goals and figure out where to go from here. I know that I will need to run this distance consistently 2-3 times per week and start working on improving my time or increasing my distance as I search for a 10K for the fall and prepare for the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run 5K in October. We will have some exciting news about the Liz Hurley coming up in a future post!

This turned out to be lengthier than I intended but I thought you all deserved to hear the play by play from the race and one day I will want to remember how I felt after I actually ran an entire 5K for the first time. We would love to hear about upcoming races that any of you are planning to run so please feel free to share!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Life in Spite of Me Book Review

Life in Spite of Me by Kristen Anderson with Tricia Goyer gives great insight into the mind of a struggling teenager girl unable to find a way to deal with what seems like insurmountable pain and suffering in her life. I expected as I read this book cover to cover in one sitting that I would understand more about why she attempted to take her own life. Even though there was background given I felt that there were things intentionally left unsaid and circumstances leading up to this moment that were only briefly discussed. I couldn't help feeling a little unsatisfied when I closed the book and reflected on the story that had unfolded. Overall it was okay and I would recommend it. This is the first novel I've read written from this perspective and in that respect it was very enlightening.

I received this book from Waterbook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review. Please take a chance to rate my review on their site by clicking here. You don't have to be another reviewer to rank my review. Thank you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Look into the Library

As promised I'm going to take a few minutes and take you guys on a walk through my library and a couple of other areas where I have books. I'm not sure what my count is for books but I know I'm somewhere over 1,000. My mom and I are both avid readers while my dad and my sister read on occasion but not nearly as often as we do. Allan will read sometimes but it has to be something he's really interested in. His mom, on the other hand, shares my passion for reading so often we are able to recommend books to one another.

In the above picture you can see the tall bookcase which I found at Angel's Antiques and fell in love with. It's old and a little rough around the edges. It even has a bottle opener on it in case I ever decide to stock a mini refrigerator in the library with glass bottle Cokes. The buffet table came from my parents and it's been in our house as long as I can remember. They have had it for years and refinished it before I was born. It serves as the home to my Cow Parade cows that my best friend Caroline and my family have lovingly collected for me over the years. Each year for my birthday or Christmas Caroline sends me another cow that is always the perfect addition to my herd of Cow Parade cows.

The above bookcase holds very special meaning to me. It's the one that my dad made when he was taking a woodworking class years ago. It stayed in my bedroom at home once my book collection outgrew the three small bookcases that were in my room at the time. This bookcase also holds several of my other cow items that people have given me or that I have found.

The little bookcase in the corner that is hard to see (should have taken a closer picture of it) was my very first bookcase that my parents bought me when I was a child. At the time it held all of my favorite children's books and I've kept my children's books in that bookcase as I've gotten older. The tall bookcase to the left of that one is another great find at Angel's Antiques that I knew would be a perfect fit for the library. The detail on the top is beautiful.

The library is also home to the old radio that my grandparents bought in the 50's after moving from Montgomery to Selma. Allan assures me he can make it work again. I love imagining my grandparents, my dad, and my uncle sitting around the radio listening to radio shows in the evening and music that filtered through the house as my grandmother cooked in the kitchen. The fish in the picture is another piece that hung in my grandparent's house throughout my life and I'm so fortunate to have it in my house now.

This chair I bought after we had decided to buy this house. I knew that it would be a perfect fit for the room and a great place to curl up with a good book and read. The precious cow pillows in the chair were made by Allan's mom and she and Allan gave them to me the first Christmas that Allan and I were dating. They stayed on my bed until we got married and moved here and I knew the room wouldn't be complete without them!

This little bookcase sits nestled in the corner of our dining room that I call the nook. The plant that sits atop the bookcase is one that my dad gave me as a freshman when I told him that everyone else got flowers from their dads. He said that the flowers will die but this plant could outlive both of us. Somehow the plant survived college and has done really well since finding a permanent home in the dining room. The other two items atop the bookcase are 2 crystal pieces that match our crystal champagne flutes. 

Not least but last is my Nancy Drew bookcase. All of these books are Nancy Drew books. The Secret Ranch was the first one I read that hooked me on Carolyn Keene. My mom and sister completed my collection of the books this past Christmas. I can't wait to share these books with other little girls as someone once shared their Nancy Drew books with me.

Hope you have enjoyed the walk through the library!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Couch to 5K

Is it really already Wednesday?! Yesterday besides reading a few hundred pages in Stones from the River (which I didn't finish in time for Book Club but went anyway) I did Week 5 Workout 1 for the Couch to 5K Program. This workout is:

0-5 Warm-up walk
5-10 Run
10-13 Walk
13-18 Run
18-21 Walk
21-26 Run
26-30 Cool down walk

Yesterday's workout wasn't bad at all. This week I had to switch from doing the three workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to doing Tuesday and Thursday. Allan and I are running a 5K on Saturday morning and I always rest the day before a run. Before I started incorporating the Couch to 5K program into my workouts I was running at least 12-14 minutes without walking and getting in my distance of 1.0-1.5 as the weeks went on.

Week 5 Workout 2 is supposed to be:

0-5 Warm-up walk
5-13 Run
13-18 Walk
18-26 Run
26-30 Cool down walk

That won't be too terrible but Week 5 Workout 3 is supposed to be a 5 minute warm up walk, 20 minute run, and 5 minute cool down walk. I'm not sure that I'm ready to run 20 minutes without stopping but I think I'm going to try to do Workout 3 tomorrow instead of Workout 2 so I will be better prepared for the race on Saturday morning. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thoughts from Suz

My morning is off to a slow start as I have plans to do nothing today but read and run and hopefully cut the backyard. Tomorrow night is Tuesday Night Book Club at the local library and I have yet to start the 525-page book called Stones from the River that we will be discussing. I'm hoping it will be a fast and easy read and the fact that it's set during World War II makes me all the more excited to read it. I intend to spend several hours curled up with my book and a big cup of coffee enjoying one of my favorite things-reading. This is going to have to be a separate blog post in itself but I fell in love with reading in the 4th grade and instead of having a formal living room in my house I have a library with 5 bookcases and hundreds of books that could entertain anyone from a 2-year old to a grandparent. (I promise to post more on my library soon!)

I start every morning by sitting down and reading blog posts from other bloggy friends and some of my real-life friends who blog and nearly every morning I read something that brings a tear to my eye, something else that puts things in perspective for me, and something else that inspires me. This morning was no different as I cried about a sweet friend who is expecting her first baby and will find out whether it's a boy or a girl this morning. I got teary-eyed watching a video of a guy my age recovering from a horrific car accident that my dear friend shared on her blog this morning. Then I read the quote below:

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are stronger in the broken places." -Ernest Hemingway
I couldn't help but take a second and reflect on my own life and what I consider to be my defining moments that altered my life's direction. How often do those moments spring from heartbreak, sorrow, or struggle? What seems, at the moment, to be an impossible situation devoid of God's love and direction ALWAYS leads me to a place where I see His hand at work. I feel blessed to only have few instances where I feel like the world has broken me and I know not everyone in my life has been as lucky. I don't know how it feels to lose a parent when you don't yet know how to be a parent yourself, experience devastating injury or illness that leaves your body broken, survive the loss of a child, or lose a spouse whether it be to death or divorce. My heart breaks for those so close to me who have dealt with this pain. Often as I talk to my mom I wonder if she realizes the strong example she has set for my sister and I. She has experienced every one of these things and some more than once and yet her faith never falters and through each heartbreak she seems to strengthen when many would have let the world break them. As my sister and I grow older and inevitably face our own moments where the world tries to break us I pray we are able to remember her example and that we will come out stronger than before.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Outlet Shopping at Its Finest

For those who know me personally there is nothing I love better than GAP and Banana Republic Outlet stores (both were go to stores on every Spring Break trip with the girls). I will not purchase anything without a coupon that's at least 25% off my total purchase and more likely than not I still won't buy many items that aren't on clearance. Our trip to the GAP Outlet yesterday was my best day of outlet shopping to date. We left the house armed with a 30% off our total purchase coupon and after a lunch stop at Chick Fil-A we were shopping!

I love cows and beef but the Chick Fil-A cows are too cute!

Allan and I use the divide and conquer method when we hit stores meaning he looks for clothes for him and I look for clothes for me and then we head to the dressing room, try on all our finds, and the other one gives a yes or no on how it looks. Sometimes I'll look through the men's section and pick out things for Allan and he will do the same for me in the women's section. This usually results in me trying things on that I would never think would look ok and they end up being some of my favorite clothes before too long.

Yesterday when we met at the dressing rooms our arms were loaded with clothes and after our dressing room fashion show I was armed with several items I felt like I had to have that were ALL (that's right, every single item) on clearance. Well, yesterday all their clearance items were an additional 30% off so I knew everything I had would be super cheap. I have several shirts already so I limited myself to a tanktop that was going to be less than $1 and two longer V-neck short sleeve shirts that I knew would be less than $4. Having lost weight recently (but still not at my goal weight) I'm at odds with most of my shorts. I refuse to wear clothes that are a size too small so I can't quite wear most of my summer shorts yet. I have one pair of bermuda shorts that I bought during our last GAP Outlet trip and I found the same ones in brown during this trip (they ended up being less than $8). I also found a pair of white and gray shorts that were a medium length and cost less than $13 and two pair of shorter linen shorts that were $9 apiece.

Linen shorts in orange and cornflower blue

Brown bermuda shorts (they look gray in this pic-sorry!)

White and gray medium length shorts

Being the lover of accessories I am I also found a bronze clutch that was $4 and a pair of blue sandals that were $7 that will be great additions to my closet. While purple is a color I despise I did see a purple cotton dress that looked super comfortable, fit great, and was less than $6 so I got one for myself and my sister. She's a redhead so anything purple or green is usually a great addition to her wardrobe. I also went out on a limb and tried on some skinny jeans. I always felt like I wasn't small enough for skinny jeans or that they wouldn't look right on me but I was sooo wrong. I bought a size that fit (and didn't get mad that it was a size larger than everything else I bought) and I got them in an ankle length and a long length so I can wear one with flip flops or flats and the other with heels. They were $6 each-yes $6 apiece for dark wash skinny jeans!!!

Blue sandals

Bronze clutch (sorry it looks gray with the flash)

Not least but last is my best deal of the day-a teal print one piece bathing suit that was a steal at $1.89! Normally one piece bathing suits and I are not friends because I have a long torso and most are not made for people with long torsos. This one fit perfectly and the pattern makes me look super skinny! Allan was a fan as well which is always nice (he never lets me buy something ugly-brutally honest is a good description for him when it comes to clothing). Allan got more clothes than I did but most everything was for work. He will be spending a lot more time traveling this fall and will be indoors and outdoors so he needed more shirts that he can layer depending on what's he doing and what the temperature is. He found 5 button up long sleeve shirts, 4 long sleeve waffle knit shirts, 8 colored undershirts, a swimsuit, navy shorts, khaki cargo pants, and a reversible belt.

New swimsuit!

We also went to a couple of other stores and I managed to find a pair of brown pumps for $1 (yep $1) and a pair of what I like to call Greek goddess sandals for $9. It's only taken me a year to fnd a pair of these that I like. I can't handle the ones with a zipper on the heel because my heel is really narrow and it's been difficult to find a pair that buckles on the side and doesn't cost a small fortune. I had these precious shoes on my feet 5 minutes after leaving the store.

My $1 pumps

Greek goddess sandals!!!
Drum roll please.....after careful calculation I found that we got 37 items that retailed at $1093.10 for $361.54 for a total savings of 67%. My 15 items were a total of $105.72 which is amazing to me seeing as how my bathing suit started at $44.99, tank top at $19.99, and one pair of skinny jeans at $44.99. By far my best outlet shopping trip ever and a great reward for all the extra hours we have both been working the past couple of weeks!!!

All my great finds!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What a Wednesday!

Yesterday while volunteering at the hospital I was doing what I normally do during my shift: keeping the waiting area clean and comfortable for the families who make it their second home while their loved one is in Intensive Care. I threw away a fast food cup (that was empty) and out of nowhere a lady walked up and fussed at me saying that she was saving that cup. I apologized and she turned around mumbling "It sucks to be you". I bit my tongue and thought to myself that if it stinks to be me then I'm ok with that. It took a lot of self restraint to keep myself from saying anything to her or at least to set the record straight and let her know I'm a volunteer. Later I overheard her telling someone that she was starting a second job because she was having difficulty paying the bills. At this point I felt sorry for her and realized that her displaced anger toward me probably had more to do with her and what's she going through and less to do with her cup being thrown away.

After my shift was over and I had eaten my salad (amazing by the way-I don't complain about hospital cafeteria food!) it was time for my date with the gym. I started off with the Couch to 5K Week 4 Workout 2 which was fairly easy for me to do. I still have Workout 3 to do on Friday and next week I'll move to Week 5. I don't think I explained the workouts in my previous post when I mentioned this so I'll cover that now:

Week 4 Workouts 1-3
0-5 (min) Warmup walk
5-8 Run
8-9:30 Walk
9:30-14:30 Run
14:30-17 Walk
17-20 Run
20-21:30 Walk
21:30-26:30 Run
26:30-30 Cooldown walk

Monday I walked at a speed of 3.5 and ran at 5.5 and yesterday I walked at 3.0 and ran at 5.0. It was too soon after eating lunch for me to feel like running too fast for fear of throwing up at the gym.

After I finished my 30 minutes I walked for an additional 10 to clear my head and get ready to do weights. I can't begin to tell you which machines I used but I did weights for 30 minutes before calling it a day. Tomorrow I'm back to the hospital for another volunteer shift and back to the gym for another workout. Today I'm hoping to run but the grass needs cutting and it's super hot outside so I may be done for the day when I get through sweating buckets outside!

Meanwhile Allan worked 10 hours yesterday. He's reallly busy this week and next week so by the time I see him at night (which was almost 10 last night) then it's bedtime. Here's to hoping that this weekend will be fun and relaxing for him!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

This morning I heard Allan's alarm and after the typical 10-15 minutes it takes him to convince himself he has to wake up, I heard the bathroom door gently close. What seemed like 20 minutes later I woke up and took Rider (I'm dog sitting for 2 weeks-that's another story) outside. The grass was still wet with morning dew, birds were chirping in our Bradford pear trees, and my Gerbera daisies were leaning over reminding me to water them if I expected them to stand up in the morning heat. A couple of cars with people leaving for work made their way down the street and out of the neighborhood. After a few minutes I was back indoors and grateful for the air conditioner.

It's not every morning that I notice these things as I water my flowers. Too often I am busy planning my day in my head already anticipating things that I need to get done and not taking time to appreciate what's right in front of me. Don't get me wrong I have a lot to get done today especially since I've invited people over to watch the All-Star game tonight but I'm trying not to rush the day away and find joy in the little things of today.  I'm even going to find joy in vacuuming the dog hair that seems to take over the house in such a short amount of time. I may get tired of cleaning up after them but who wouldn't love these dogs?!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Favorite Verse & Monday Ramblings

Recently we added this piece from Dayspring to our bathroom and moved the bathroom cabinet (that I put together in this post) to above the toilet where it looks much better. This verse was my grandfather's favorite and one that has become my favorite. I love having that visual remind of a verse that holds such special meaning for me and serves as a great source of encouragement for both of us.

This morning I ate Greek Yogurt for breakfast with a small banana smashed up in it and a spoonful of Splenda and a few drops of vanilla extract. It was soooo good and tasted a little like banana creme pie! I'm anxious to try it with fresh strawberries next.

Picture borrowed from this blog

Yesterday I got the bright idea that since it was my day off from running then I could take a leisurely ride around the neighborhood on Allan's bike. Thirty minutes later I was excited to drive the loop to see how far it was. I was so sad when we pulled back into the driveway and the odometer on my truck said 1.5. That means I only rode 3 miles in 30 minutes! I tried not to be disappointed that it wasn't a longer distance. Thank goodness biking is still 6 weeks away on my Health & Fitness Goals! After doing some reading last night I have decided to incorporate Couch to 5K workouts in my running routine. I'm going to pick up with Week 4 since the total run time is 16 minutes and I'm doing about 15 right now with no breaks for walking in there. I'll keep you posted on how it goes and what I think about incorporating that into my routine!

Before my first 5K-Cotton Row 2010

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Greek Yogurt and its Many Uses

Recently on Hannah and Olivia's blog Olivia talked about Fage Greek Yogurt and the many ways you can incorporate it into your recipes. While I haven't purchased any Fage Greek Yogurt yet I did have some Dannon Greek Yogurt that I bought for our 4th of July pink yummy stuff (as a substitute for sour cream) so I thought I would give it a try and whip up something yummy after my bike ride this afternoon.

Step 1: Take 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and spoon it into a dish

 Step 2: Add fresh blueberries (these are from my family's farm)

Step 3: Add 1/3 cap of vanilla extract

Step 4: Add Splenda, Truvia, sugar, etc. to taste (I added a teaspoon which turned out to be just right). Stir and enjoy!

I realize there are SEVERAL ways to add fresh fruits and extracts to create the perfect flavor. Most people's argument with Greek yogurt is the taste and I can promise that if you eat plain Greek yogurt you will swear off Greek yogurt for life! Last weekend when we used it as a substitute for sour cream we all agreed that it actually tasted better than making it with sour cream. In the comments on Hannah and Olivia's blog you can read about several other ways that people take Greek Yogurt and make it their own.

I'd love to hear if you've tried Greek Yogurt and if so what kind!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011


Monday night we will be tuned to the tv watching the Homerun Derby while rooting for different players to advance and win it all. On Tuesday night some of our fantasy baseball team members will be playing in the All-Star game. From my team will be Brian McCann, Josh Hamilton, Lance Berkman, Chipper Jones, Justin Verlander, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jacoby Ellsbury, C.J. Wilson, and Matt Cain. From Allan's team will be Russell Martin, Matt Holliday, Carlos Quentin, Curtis Granderson, Cliff Lee, David Ortiz, Cole Hamels, Josh Beckett, and Jair Jurrjens. Right now Allan and I are in first and second in our fantasy league with me holding the lead since last weekend.

As a child Allan started playing t-ball and played baseball until his sophomore year in high school. He played second base most of the time and will be a wonderful baseball coach for children some day (as I've already witnessed when he practiced with the boy I nanny for). I, however, didn't play a minute of softball until I was in high school and I played in the summertime at Pintlala after all the other games were over. There was a large group of high school and college guys and some fathers who would get together and play and one of the fathers taught me how to hit and field. I'll never forget the first time I hit the ball out of the infield. I was screaming so hard I barely made it to first in time to be safe! These summer nights hold such a special place in my heart because he didn't have to teach me how to play and they didn't have to let me play with them. I was the only girl and they probably could have just stuck me in the outfield and not let me bat and I still would have had a great time. Surprisingly I felt more comfortable playing with a group of 20 guys and men than I ever would have playing with girls my own age.

Last month in this post I talked about my favorite childhood summer memories and that's when I first mentioned watching Braves games with my grandfather in the summer. Even at the age of 7 I was a list maker. I made a list of the players and their positions and numbers while watching games. Although Darryl Strawberry was technically the first player I really liked Chipper Jones was my first favorite baseball player and I'm so glad to still be watching him play today. I don't watch the Braves games as much as I did during those summers but there will always be something special about America's pastime.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

More Movies & A Great Workout Day

Rainy days are perfect for movies and after not sleeping well last night all I wanted to do this morning was curl up and watch a movie. I started off my day watching Water for Elephants which I really enjoyed. It's set in 1931 and I love the clothing from that era so I thoroughly enjoyed all of Reese Witherspoon's outfits in the movie. She's one of my favorite actresses and she did a wonderful job playing this role. I'm looking forward to reading the book next year in our book club at the local library.

This afternoon I went to the $1 movies again to see Soul Surfer. I have been anxiously awaiting this one since it is based on a true story. I can honestly say I don't ever see myself surfing but I think it's fascinating and incredibly difficult. Bethany Hamilton is the surfer whose personal story this movie is based on. Watching this movie makes me anxious to get our visit to Hawaii in as soon as possible to see Jenn and experience some of the beautiful beaches they showcased in this movie. This is a great movie for the entire family, children included. They do a great job of keeping the shark bite aftermath and blood to a minimum. Bethany has a blog if you want to check it out!

When I got home from the movies I decided I better get my run in for the day and I'm not sure what happened once I hit 1.25 miles but I kept on going alternating running at 5.5-5.7 mph for 2-3 minutes and then walking at 4.0 mph for no more than a minute. I stopped at 3.25 miles in 40 minutes which is a 12 minutes mile (not great but I'm working on speed!). After my run I drank some water and decided to test out one of my pilates DVD's that I hadn't used yet which gave me 30 minutes of pilates in addition to my run. I have to say that today I was tired and the last thing I wanted to do was run and do pilates but then I remembered what I read yesterday (can't remember for the life of me where though) about deserving to have time every day to work out. It made me feel like I'm cheating myself by skipping out on running and working out. Maybe that's why I felt like running further today!

While I'm mentioning other people that have been inspiring my health and fitness journey that I've started I should give them some credit. Olivia Ward, winner of Biggest Loser Season 11, and her sister Hannah Curlee were my favorite people the entire season. I started following the two of them after the finale and I have been hoping they would start a blog and they did! It's called My Fitspiration and so far I've really enjoyed all of their posts. They are planning to review products (food and clothing), talk about their daily lives and their workouts, and anything else fun that they think everyone will enjoy reading. I've also been enjoying this blog which reviews a lot of clothing, workout DVD's, and foods as well as sharing personal success stories and other helpful bits of advice. Plus, the name Fit Bottomed Girls is pretty entertaining!

Olivia & Hannah before

Hannah & Olivia after

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mid-Week Check-In

Hey everybody!

Wednesday (Hump Day) has come and gone so it's downhill from here! I'm already looking forward to a weekend where we have nothing planned with the exception of church on Sunday. This morning I tackled the yard before the rain got here and I got it cut just in time for some summer showers that came through before lunch.

We are very lucky to have a $1 movie theater here and this afternoon I made my first trip (by myself I might add) of the summer to see Something Borrowed. I had read the book a few months ago and really enjoyed it. The movie was just as good as the book-normally I end up liking one or the other better but I would say this one is a tie. I think it's a pretty good date night movie with enough comedy to keep the guy's attention and enough romance to make us ladies fall in love with Dex or Ethan.

Cover of the book

My favorite scene from the movie-I could see some of my friends doing the same thing!
Tonight I ran once I got home and broke my personal best times for a mile and 1.25 miles! I haven't run the last four days with the long weekend we had so I was really happy with that. Allan thinks he needs to work out tomorrow but one word from me about dry sockets and he's rethinking working out so soon after surgery. Nothing on my agenda for tomorrow so if I don't have any work to do then I might make another trip to the $1 theater to see Soul Surfer. I'll keep ya posted!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Our 5-Day 4th of July Weekend

This past weekend we were really fortunate to have Allan's mom and his younger brother's family at our house. In case we haven't mentioned this already Allan's younger brother Adam has a photography business that he does on the side as well as a great blog that he and his wife started when they learned they were expecting their first child. Our little niece was born 3 months early and her life to date has been beautifully chronicled in the blog. This is a must-read for anyone who is a premie survivor (go Jenn and my mom!) or knows someone who is a premie survivor. Our new background is a picture that he took this weekend of my beautiful Gerbera daisies on the front porch. Here are a few of my other favorites from the weekend:

Our flag at the mailbox

Sunlight coming through the leaves of one of our trees in the backyard

Sasha doing "big girl jumps"

Holding Ali and showing her the geese, ducks, and fish at Big Spring Park

Now I need to rewind for a moment and explain how this was a 5-day weekend for Allan and I. Thursday morning Allan had his wisdom teeth taken out and we both expected the recovery to be a little rough and for him to have trouble eating, be in pain, and sleep a lot the first couple of days. Wrong on all accounts! The afternoon of the surgery Allan was hacking up a big limb that had fallen in the backyard so I could haul it to the road for pick up. On Friday he was eating chicken and dumplings, fried okra, and mashed potatoes for lunch and by Sunday at lunchtime he had no problem eating steak! I'm starting to wonder if they actually cut his teeth out.

Friday night Adam, Jodi, and Ali arrived in time for Ali to eat and go to sleep. We stayed up until after midnight catching up and enjoying each other's company. Jodi and I watched Criminal Minds while Allan and Adam played video games. The next morning Margie arrived in time for breakfast and brought us a beautiful patriotic basket filled with 4th of July goodies! The rest of the day was spent making a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Big Lots and treating everyone to our favorite Mexican restaurant called Las Trojas. Sunday morning was church followed by a big lunch of steak, steamed veggies, roasted potatoes, baked beans (Allan said he had to have them), rolls, and pink stuff (yummy dessert). Sunday evening we went to Big Spring Park and fed the ducks and fish, walked around, listened to the live music, took lots of pictures, and had a great time experiencing a place unique to Huntsville.

For the 4th of July we had our next door neighbors over and we enjoyed hamburgers, chips, slaw, baked beans, glass bottle cokes, and a flag fruit trifle. There's something about glass bottle cokes (AKA short cokes according to my NeeNee) that takes me back to childhood and family gatherings at my grandparent's house. It was a great time with family and friends!

Allan taking a nap

I can honestly say no one has taken a nap in the chaise lounge like this before

Flag fruit trifle

Patriotic basket from Margie

Beautiful cloth covering the basket

Margie and I in our red, white, & blue with the flag fruit trifle
I know this is already a long post and probably too lengthy to hold everyone's attention but on most days and especially the 4th of July Allan and I are very aware of the sacrifices made by the many men and women who gave their lives to defend the freedoms this country was founded on. We are also extremely grateful to our friends and family members who are currently serving in the military. On Saturday night we read the story accompanying a painting that hangs in our living room entitled "Prayer at Valley Forge" and we were once again reminded how blessed we are to live in "One Nation Under God" founded by great men with a vision of what freedom should look like. We sincerely hope that as you all sat listening to or watching fireworks last night that you thought the same thing we did, "What a great weekend!"