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Hello!

It’s super dreary here today, and it’s got us cooped up inside. Near all the snacks and diet drinks (both of which I’m trying foolishly to limit my consumption of in this brand-spankin’-new year).

So, I thought I would burden you all with some ramblings.

I’ve been thinking about the holidays as I get the final bits and pieces of the decor that took over this house for over a month down.

(Full disclosure: our tree is still in the living room, and it still has lights on it- decorations are off, but the lights are on. Big plan is to take it to the curb tonight. We’ll just say that I wanted to keep it up through Epiphany. Ok?)

I wanted to share with you something that I coveted all year and then received from my wonderful mother for Christmas:

lauren wallet from zappos

*photo is taken right off of zappos.com*

It’s the “Lauren” wallet from Hobo International. Except, mine is blue. I guess they are sold out of the blue- so sorry for you! My family doesn’t understand my love for it. When I get it out of my purse I ooh and ahh over it. Every time. I snap it open and closed with care. I show anyone who cares all of it’s compartments, it’s lovely interior print, the strong magnetic close and it’s pocket that is large enough for your iPhone. Because, you see, it can be in your purse or it can BE YOUR PURSE! It is so delightful. If I had sponsors or extra cash, I would give one away to you, my loyal reader(s). But alas. You can just covet mine. And I will try diligently to write more, and more interesting, posts to try to get someone to donate something. Maybe if I had focus.

Wait. What?

Oh.

So, other than spending time showing off my wallet and taking down Christmas, I managed to run last week. And apparently going full-on on the treadmill at plus-eight pounds isn’t so good for your knees. Or, at least it’s not good for my right one. So, I have been limping around and hobbling up stairs for the past 5 days. But, at least I tried.

Then I took up knitting.

But that’s a whole OTHER story. And I don’t have that much to write about these days, so I’ll save it.

Oh, and I also managed to catch a nasty head cold. From my husband. And who says he never gives me anything…

(If you were here, I could ask my child to do the buh-duh-chink on the drums so that you could share in my headache love for music produced on loud instruments by small children.)

So, anyway the bad thing that we’ve got going on now is the ever-on-the-horizon addiction to:

afrin addiction

*pop on over and order yours at drugstore.com if you’d like*

Afrin. It’s my last resort. I don’t use it unless I have had a few bad nights of sleep due to inability to breathe OR if I feel like I am choking/suffocating just trying to drink a glass of wine water, which is what was happening on Saturday night.

So, I use the Afrin. And it works miracles.

But then I need it again. And it felt SO GOOD the first time that I can’t NOT use it.

And then I sleep better, so I vow that I will try not to use it the next day. But YOU KNOW that it seems to wear off faster, and by lunch time I can’t breathe.

Slippery slope.

Now I will have to decide when to go into withdrawal.

I think it’s not today. I really like NOT being a mouth breather.

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running revelations….

So…hello.

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As I mentioned the other day, I had some revelations during my long run last week. I also said that I’d report back on those “tomorrow”, but obviously really meaning “whenever”.

Now, I often have revelations during my runs. Mostly because my music can’t block out all of my thoughts and my mind goes and goes and goes and never stops no matter what I do to quiet it down.

Some revelations I have had during some of my runs in the past year and a half:

  1. There will never be enough hours in a day.
  2. I will never stop eating pizza. Or french fries. Or tortilla chips.
  3. I can power through anything…child birth, 13 mile runs, whatever.
  4. Being a mom to these boys is what I was totally meant to do.
  5. I should write a book.
  6. If you can be addicted to television, I probably am. Specifically of the reality variety.
  7. I am also addicted to books of all kinds, so that sort of evens out the whole t.v. thing, as far as I’m concerned.
  8. I will never stop drinking beer or wine. I enjoy it. And I never plan on being pregnant again, which is the only time I’ve deemed it actually necessary since I was “of age”.
  9. I should probably cut my hair more than once a year.
  10. My stomach will never be flat. (Okay, I’ve had this revelation many times in my life- but nothing rubs this fact in more than looking down at a little tummy-jiggle as you run more than 5 miles more than 5 times per week.)

And certainly there are more.

But I am going to tell you about my revelations of this particular run.

I am a lazy-hill-runner. And I do not want to be. Any more.

I figure there are a few ways to “run hills”. I am sure that folks have all sorts of advice on how to tackle this excruciating activity.

Here are the ways that I have approached hills since I started running.

At first I ran so slow that I just ran the hills at about the same pace. It was all slow. Seriously slow. I am not exaggerating. I was just trying to get the hang of it, and it worked best for me to go continuous and slow instead of running then walking then running some more.

Later, I began to pick up the pace (a little) and the hills totally intimidated me. Plus, I had my gps watch by then and would look down and notice that I COULD be walking this hill faster than I was actually running it. So, walk I did. So, I walked almost every hill.

Then I started running in races, along with others, and I really didn’t want to walk. For a couple of reasons. One- no one else was. Two- it was killing my time and not allowing me to reach my goals. And I have a good friend who has always just flat-out tackled the hills. And if she can do it, well, so can I…right? So, I started running the hills again. But very slowly.

Or avoiding them altogether.

Then I ran in the Mebane on the Move 10K a couple of weeks ago. It was hilly. Really, really hilly. Mountainous, you may say (or at least, I may say). And I had a goal. And I was going to make it. And I DID!! I pushed up those hills and maintained my 10-ish minute/mile pace. It felt so good.

Until the next day, but that’s another story.

So now I am trying to really, truly run my hills. And I can tell that this is something new by the way it’s truly pushing my muscles to the limit. But it feels good.

And I have a time goal in mind for my next half marathon. And I don’t want to let any hills get in the way.

Are you a runner? How do you tackle the hills? Or whatever you feel like may be a weakness in your running routine?

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Hey there.

So, the weekend is coming to an end. I hope it was a good one for you.

For me, it was good-n-fast. It involved a lot of football, some soccer, some running, some shopping, and some laundry (of course).

Thursday was a tailgate at NC State in Raleigh. It was fairly low-key because, well, it was Thursday.

Let’s just say that I tried to take advantage of the less-crazy atmosphere…

IMG_0600I also apparently forced Shaun to take a picture with me, resulting in this…

P1030182I swear, he really does love me!! 🙂 (Please ignore the bra strap…I would say that I was being trendy, or something, but really, it was just too hot to wear the cotton cardigan thingy I had to put on over my tank top)

The game was fine- I’ll admit that I get bored about halfway through a football game. They last a long time. I get tired. I get too full to eat any more snacks. I wish for my bed. That kind of thing.

But this was awesome…

P1030211I love crowd tricks. This one was particularly awesome, because of the sentiment. I am always amazed that they can get all those drunken students to flip their cards over at the right time.

On Friday, us parents were tired (from our big football outing the night before), so we broke out the big guns.

And by big guns I mean bouncy house. Naturally.

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It resulted in a lot of fun for the kiddos that involved very little work on my part. Thereby resulting in an early bedtime for all.

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Amen.

Saturday, there was more football. Live and in person. This time we took Hobbes with us. To Chapel Hill- TAR!! HEELS!!! Anyway. It really went something like this…

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But we had a good time. And he got to drink Sprite. Which to him is like getting away with something really, really good. And that’s all that matters.

And then this morning I ran 7 miles. And had some running revelations. And said some serious prayers/had my personal church around 5-6 miles. The running revelations will be…um…revealed tomorrow. The prayers? They’re personal. Personal-ish. Well, who am I kiddding? I’m almost sure I’ll share those, too.

For now, I think I’ll put on all three of my new pairs of running socks and my new six-dolla leggings (from Target!) and pretend to read while I fall asleep sitting up.

Love.

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Hey, hey.

(focus)

We’re into day THREE of the week of focus. I need to set aside time to spend time focusing. But I feel like I am making SOME progress. Not sure what I’m talking about? Check it out…

So, here’s what I’m trying to do this week, in honor of focus (in no particular order):

  1. Update my “About” page
  2. Set a blogging “schedule”
  3. Create and USE more effective “categories”
  4. Reevaluate my pages/tabs
  5. Revisit the ever-present to-get-a-domain-or-not-to-get-a-domain debate and perhaps make a decision 🙂

I am sure you are all grateful for that explanation/ information.

But, till this week ends (on Sunday, for those of you keeping track…) I will just keep focusing on focusing in all my free time. And by that I mean while I am in the shower, trying to fall asleep, and/or running.

(running)

Speaking of running- I’m pretty much on schedule. So exciting. I have gotten SLOWER this summer, which seems kind of impossible. I am hoping that since I’ve picked my actual training back up in the heat (and what heat it is!), when it starts to cool off my time will improve slightly.

5.9 miles on Saturday took me about 62 minutes.
3.5 miles on Monday took me 37 minutes.
4 miles today took me 42 minutes. 
You see what I’m doing, here, right?

I think I’m at about a 10:30 minute mile on average. But I have to do a bit of walking, even on my short runs. Man, it’s hot out there.

Which brings me to my next point…

WHERE IS THE FALL? I want to wear JEANS WITHOUT SWEATING. I want to wear BOOTS! I want to feel cool breezes when we play outside. I want to run my 10K in an hour. HA-RUMPH!!!

(beer)

Remember my weekend plans?

Yeah, I don’t really either.

But, they included a BEER FESTIVAL.

It was a date of sorts…me and the hubs. And 15,000+ other folks. And lots of beer tents. And $10 hot dogs (please, don’t get me started on that!).

It was so hot! It was so crowded! There were a lot of people that seemed to be skipping the lines and getting a lot more beer than us. But, it made for good entertainment. And we did taste some good beers…

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Including Guinness. Not that we hadn’t tasted this one before, but it brought back good memories. Look…even our tasting glasses are in lurve.

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And it was a good thing…

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My kids make me happy. My husband makes me happy. You all make me happy. Life makes me happy. So does beer. Beer makes me happy.

Does beer make you happy? What makes you happy that might surprise others?

Beer and bad t.v. make me happy…but that probably wouldn’t surprise you. I am a discloser, though. A sharer, if you will!

How is the last week before fall starts being spent around here? A whole lot of scheduling, meeting, shopping, and end-of-season pool-ing. Oh, and focusing.

Stick with me!

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cheap thrills…

Hey! Happy Monday!

So, let’s start with the good news: I got up and ran my miles this morning, before the day ever even started for anyone else around here! I am sure I will be tired later, but it feels SO GOOD to have it under my belt, so to speak. So, this morning was about 3.3 in 33 minutes. I think I was asleep for the first 2 miles- it was still dark! I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to run 3 or 3.5, so I sort of split the difference.  I also managed to get my long run in on Saturday morning…this week was supposed to be 5 miles, and I only had time for 4.7. Doesn’t seem that different, but I was dissappointed. I am sure it will all work out in the end, though, and my legs were FEELING IT at the end. It’s been a while since I’ve gone 5 miles….they wanted to make sure that I knew, I guess.

In other news, it IS Monday. We are going to the pool. I am sort of glad that pool season is coming to an end. I am ready to spend that 3-4 hours (of getting ready, getting there, being there, getting home, getting unpacked, getting changed) in other ways, I think. Today and tomorrow are the last weekdays that it’s open at 10 a.m. and that is really, really fine with me 😉

But here is what I really have for you today: fun on the cheap.

Moreover…accidental fun on the cheap.

Cardboard Boxes are fun.

As are “Grow Capsules” from the dollar section at Target.

You remember these, right? You drop the capsule in some water, and a few minutes later- POOF!- you’ve “grown” a fill-in-the-blank.

We grew dinosaurs. It was awesome. We now have an army.

Enjoy your MONDAY (as best you can)!

Join me next time…I’ve got some pretty good dinner ideas up my sleeve for the week AND I’ll continue the running torture/obsession….plus, I’ve got to do something with all these HOT PEPPERS (again!!)!!

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I will be the first to admit that I like new things.

That being said, I am one of those people that REALLY gets good use out of things that I love. And if I find something that I love and it (for some/any reason) wears out, I will probably just continue using/wearing it anyway. Unless I MUST replace it. Then I will try to find the exact same thing and get it again. Seriously.

Examples:

Yoga Pants. I have been wearing them since I got pregnant with baby number one, about 5 years ago. (YIKES, btw- five years ago?!!). I only manage to do yoga MAYBE once a week, but I wear these sucker 7 days a week. I wear them in the morning, when pajamas just won’t do anymore. I wear them in the afternoon/evening once we are home for the day. I sometimes (okay, more often than sometimes) wear them out and about. I mean, MAYBE I just came from yoga, right?!? All of the yoga pants that I have had have come from Target. I probably buy 2 or 3 pairs per year, but never get rid of the old ones. So, you can imagine the stack in my closet. I always wear the black ones. I sometimes buy the cropped version. I sometimes buy the gray ones, but they mostly just sit in my closet. This year, I even invested in the skirt version. I may or may not pretend that it’s sort of dressy. I wear them with flip flops, even in the winter. I might have a problem. But, for $14.99 or less per pair, and PURE COMFORT, it’s an okay problem to have…

Tissue-Like T’s. I have been wearing these kinds of t-shirts since long before I got preggo and had the life of a stay-at-home-mom. Now, I will say that I DIDN’T wear them when I was pregnant, or really for a while after each kid was born, because they are not so forgiving. In fact, maybe I just shouldn’t wear them. But I do. I used to buy them in rainbows of colors from JCrew. Nowadays, I buy a similar version from Target. Okay, maybe they are meant to be sleep-shirts. Or maybe not. Please don’t judge. They are long. They are a little thicker than true tissue t’s (read: a little more forgiving in the tummy area). Every year I invest in the long-sleeved version in the fall/winter and the short-sleeved version in the spring/summer. I always need 2 whites (you NEED two whites, don’t let anyone tell you different), a black, and a gray. Then, when sales occur or the inclination strikes, I’ll invest in the colors. Oh, I love the colors! They make me feel dressy. Yes, I’m serious. And maybe a little sad 😉 They are usually about $5-$7. Once I got a few on sale for $1.58. Yep, one dollar and fifty-eight cents. It’s true love. And it’s affordable. I will say, though, all of these tissue-like t’s led to another obsession….

Long, thin-strapped tank-tops. Not ribbed. Not with a built-in bra. Just plain old tanks. I prefer a particular version from (shocker!) Target these days. It comes in many colors. It has adjustable straps (so that I can make it longer- I have a “look”. you see, of my tank showing beneath my tissue-like t). It comes past the hip. It’s fitted. It’s a little snug to the point of sucking things in a bit to keep me looking slightly acceptable in my tissue-like t’s. I need more, come to think of it. Sadly, these are never on sale (mind you, when I went to find the link, they were on sale- who knew!?) and they are more than the t’s, coming in around $8. But you don’t have to replace them as often, as they are a bottom layer. So, acceptable.

Now, I know. I shop at Target a lot. You really don’t want to know.

Another staple in my closet is/are jeans. These may require a whole book to be written about them. I’ll put it this way: I would love to wear bell-bottoms daily. I’m talking true-straight-from-the-70’s bell-bottoms. But, I am not that skinny anymore. Those suckers are meant for hipless men. So, I revert to the trouser jean, and other similar styles. I prefer a nice (I’m talking EXPENSIVE) jean. Luckily for my husband, I have yet to get back down to my “fancy-jean size”, so I have a pair that I love from Old Navy and a new pair that seems to have great potential from Eddie Bauer. Jeans, for me, must come in tall. Preferably, I like them drag the ground. I’m just like that. But- there are many jeans.

I also love shoes. I actually have a lot of awesome, somewhat trendy shoes. But I prefer flip-flops.

Namely, black plastic flip-flops from JCrew and dark brown Rainbows. When they wear out, I get more. And have since college, I think. And that was a long time ago.

So, why am I rambling on and on and on about this?

Maybe because these are my obsessions. My loves. My true happiness.

Or maybe because I have to tell you that I do it with running gear, too.

I am on my fifth pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS’s. I so love them.

I broke them in yesterday with high hopes of making it through my half-marathon in November in them.

I love running in new shoes.

I also broke this new running tank in yesterday.

Please, do not judge. I took the pic post-run.

And only because I couldn’t find them on Target.com to link them to the post.

It’s a great tank….sports bra up top and not totally fitted down below. Quite appreciated by me. I would like it in more colors. Please, Target, offer them online so that I can order more. I must feed my obsessive-compulsive habit. Plus, I really don’t want to wash it everday. Thanks.

Oh. And this fall…these will be mine.

In vintage brown leather

So, I guess I’ll be adding a pair of skinny jeans to my collection.

And maybe get to writing that book that I’m always talking about to earn a little cash-money.

Meaning, I also better get a-running (if I’m going to buy skinny jeans OR complete my half, which is the justification for this reward).

Speaking of which, I have my “long run” of the week tomorrow.

5 miles.

I haven’t run 5 since March, or maybe April. Due to sheer laziness.

So, I’ll report on that tomorrow.

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Hey, hey.

(cuteness: a preview)

So, if you listened to my “ramble” on Thursday, to you I say…”Thanks”.

I have a few things to discuss. I will segment it. Organization, people. Right?

Fitness:

I have a few race plans for the fall, and a BIG ONE for next year. I am a planner. I like to have goals. I also like to reward myself for meeting those goals. That’s part of the fun!

My fall race plans include: running a 10K in September, running my SECOND half marathon in November, and running a 5K on Thanksgiving Day that was the HARDEST 5K ever when I ran it last year. You can check out my training on googledocs, linked on the “running” page. I’ll do my best to follow that. I guess that my “goals” for each race, besides training well and finishing (ha!) are these: 10K- it’s my first 10K, so anything will be a PR, but my goal will be 1:05; 1/2 marathon- it’s my 2nd, so I’ll go for a PR of UNDER 2:16; and the 5K- I would LOVE to blow it away with a 30 minute time- it’s FULL of hills!

So, the thing is, I will be training during FOOTBALL season, which involves a lot of tailgating and more late nights (because of being out and about, not because of doing silly things at home) than usual. So, my challenge will be to keep myself hydrated and on schedule. While still being the life of the tailgate, of course 😉

And the BIG PLAN, you may wonder? Well, I am planning on training for and running my FIRST MARATHON next year. The plan is to run the San Diego Marathon in June. It’s my birthday weekend, so it will be a major accomplishment PLUS a good birthday trip!

Stay tuned- there will be a lot of posts discussing my runs (long and short) as well as how I try to stay hydrated and stong with all this running!

Farmer Katie:

So, I have a LOT of hot peppers. I have made a lot of hot pepper relish. I have pickled hot peppers pickling away in my pantry. So, what’s up next, you may ask?

Pepper Jelly!

This week, it was Jalapeno Jelly (to be specific).

Please- look and learn 🙂

First- about 3/4 of a pound of jalapenos. Fresh. From my garden. Plus about 3 serano peppers for extra heat 😉

Chop them a little bit, removing the stems and some of the seeds (with gloves on, please!).

Add the peppers to the food processor, along with 1 cup of cider vinegar…

Blend, baby, blend.

Add the blended mixture, pluse one more cup of the vinegar plus SIX (you heard me) cups of sugar to a large pot.

Bring it all to a boil. Boil it for 10 minutes. Stir it A LOT.

The next few steps were very reliant on good timing, and were also very MESSY, so they were not photographed.

But, you would add two 3oz. bags of liquid pectin (to make it jelly-like). Stir. Bring to a boil. While stirring. Boil HARD (not sure what that means, exactly, but I let it ROLL) for 1 minute. Stir. STIR! Remove from heat. Add some green food coloring unless you want it to be dookie brown. STIR! Divvy it up into your jars of choice (which have already been cleaned and are warm so they won’t break when the HOT- and it’s HOT, like burn your finger, hand, arm HOT- jelly gets all in ’em). Seal them up in a boiling water “bath” – a big pot of hot water. Sit them around till they’re room temperature.

Photograph them:

Pray to the “seal the jar” gods.

Do a happy dance when they are sealed.

Put them in the pantry with your pickles. They’ll make good gifts.

Cute Kiddos:

Just because I love my boys.

And I love you enough to let you love them, too…

So, what’s next? Probably a report on my running so far this week. Then I’ve got to do something with my drawer full of peppers. Plus, I’m reading books!

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