Sunday, August 31, 2008

13.1 Miles

Well, I survived! I completed the Rock N' Roll Marathon today and it feels great. My goal was to finish in under 2 and a half hours and I finished at about 2 hours 25 minutes so I'm thrilled with that. I also tried not to walk but at some of the water and "goo" stops and I did that too.

It was fun! The weather was perfect, there were great people cheering along the way. Here are some shots:

Elyse and I before the run (at 5:30 AM!)


Me after the run.


The Forerunner (it tracks how far, fast, etc, with GPS). See how it says 13.28 miles?! I started it at the start line and stopped it at the finish line. I'm not sure who did that measuring of the course, but at that point, an extra .18 miles really counted!!


At mile three I was ready to sign up for the next one. At mile 11 I wasn't so sure. Give me a few days to forget....

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Half Marathon

Tomorrow morning I am scheduled to run the Rock N' Roll Half Marathon. Do I feel prepared? Heck no! We've been on vacation for a week and I've been pigging out and lounging around. And before that, I didn't do the training like I had planned. But I can't imagine how many people really stuck to the training schedules perfectly. It's not just me, right???

So tomorrow, I'm going to run, and maybe walk a little, 13.1 miles. There are bands and cheerleaders along the way. I've decided just to have a good time. I think it will be fun.

And as I get to the hard spots, this will be in my head and is a little Sunday inspiration a day early:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1.

If I'm not too tanked, I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

Thankful Friday, a little late



So this post is a little late because we decided to drive the entire way back yesterday. It is hard to believe but yesterday morning we were in upstate NY and today we are back in VA beach. It was a long trip but we made it. So here's my list for the week:

1. An AWESOME vacation! As many of you who live away from family probably understand, vacation time usually consists of going back "home" to visit family. This is great of course but it was wonderful to have a real vacation. We went to Philly, Cooperstown to the Baseball Hall of Fame and then just relaxed at the lake. A great balance. We spent time with some fun people, had lots of laughs. Overall, fun, fun, fun!

2. The drive back couldn't have been better. Elyse was a rockstar. I worried a bit about traffic on Labor Day weekend, but we just ran into a little bit around Philly. We took lots of breaks and I spent some time with Elyse in the back seat. She did scream a bit about an hour from home, but who can blame the poor baby. The original plan was to stop along the way but I'm so glad we decided to come all the way. Sleeping in my own bed was awesome.

3. OUR HYBRID! Get this...we drove 507 miles and only used one tank of gas. I'm not kidding.


4. I cleaned the house a bit before we left. It was so nice to walk into a tidy space.

5. The hammock, sunsets, cool weather, naps, yummy food, good company, and laughs.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Working on Vacation


We're up visiting my aunt and uncle at their house on one of the finger lakes in upstate New York. It is wonderful. Life is relaxing here. Cell phones don't work. We take time to lay in the hammock and take a nap every afternoon.

I'm still working from here. I love that I can work anywhere in the world with an internet connection (and luckily the internet has made it up here). Here's a picture of my view from my work spot. A brownie, a diet coke and a scene like this. Certainly beats a cubicle.

More pictures to come.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Philly

We had a great time exploring Philadelphia today!! We first stopped by the historical area, visited Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Articles of the Confederacy were signed (not in that order). We checked out the Liberty Bell. And we walked our way to the Philadelphia Art Museum (well known for Rocky's run up the stairs!) The weather was perfect. We were able to walk all day and explore the city. We had a really great time.

Elyse was obviously thrilled by the Liberty Bell



Is this love or what?

See Dennis in the navy blue shirt at the top? He had to run up the Rocky steps!



And then he took a break on the way down!



A great view of the city from the top of the Art Museum steps.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thankful Friday

1. An EASY ride to Philly. Elyse took two naps, I sat in the back and played with her, little traffic and beautiful scenery.



2. Horsing around on the big king size bed at our hotel.
3. Dinner at one of our favorite restaurants Buca di Beppo. The food is delicious! Dennis chowed down on his favorite ever mushroom and sausage pizza.
And the decor is amazing. The restaurant is filled with gaudy Italian decorations. I think I could wander around the restaurant for hours. Our favorite part is the pope room, a room decorated with everything pope. Check out the spinning pope head in the middle of the table. A little creepy but a lot of fun.





4. On the way to dinner we passed a shop called Naked Chocolate and I knew we had to visit. I should have gotten these "Junk in the Trunk" bars...

...but I really enjoyed my peanut butter tart (how could I turn that down!?)


More pictures to come tomorrow. Maybe we'll actually visit some historical sights instead of just food joints! :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Auxiliary Flash

I bought an auxiliary flash last night for my camera and I am so excited about it! It is one of those big flash things that sticks out the top of the camera. I wish I could take a picture of it for you but obviously, it is difficult to take a picture of a camera. :)

With a regular flash, the flash shoots directly at the subject. That often looks really harsh and can create some wacky shadows. You can see in the first picture that I pointed the flash straight at me.


With this fancy new flash, I can change the direction. In the second picture, I pointed it straight up. What that does is allow the flash to bounce off the ceiling and fill the whole room. The overall effect is much lighter and has less shadow.


You can tell a big difference in the pictures of my croc too. In the first one, the flash is pointing directly at it. In the second, I pointed the flash up.


I think there are a lot of other things I can do with this...I just haven't figured them all out yet. I'm having a great time learning!!

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How cool!

I took another photography class tonight and learned how to do this...




Elyse's Nickname

Elyse has gotten herself a nickname. Before she was born, I figured we would call her Ellie sometimes, but that just never seemed right for her. So instead, we have shortened her name to (phonetically) Lee-See. The problem is, we don't know how to spell her nickname. I guess Lee-See works but I just think it looks weird. Please help! I've started a poll to the right with some possible spellings. Please vote on your favorite or suggest your own.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Play Us a Song, Lee-See




We have the piano tuned and Elyse has discovered it. She thinks it is a blast.

I think we might have a budding Mozart...she has completed her first composition called "Bang Bang in the Key of E Minor."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lost...

So the plan was to write about the second agreement tonight. I put Elyse down for a nap this morning, ready to go read the chapter. But I can't find the book. I have no idea where it is!! I searched all the places I could think of and I haven't yet find it. Don't worry...I'm not going to give up. But in the mean time (in honor of the tuned piano), I thought I would include the lyrics of my favorite hymn. I'm sure you know them, but they are good ones.

Hopefully the book which is now lost will soon be found....

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.


T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.

When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.



"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Six Years...



Tomorrow is our six year wedding anniversary. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday, sometimes it seems like forever ago.

In the past six years we have:
-Lived in five different homes
-Driven from the middle of the country to the right side to the left and back to the right
-Survived two deployments to Iraq
-Met a lot of great people
-Traveled to Hawaii, DC, San Diego, Las Vegas, Cairo
-Created the world's most beautiful baby (you can try and argue but you know I'm right)
-Laughed...A LOT
-Cried a few times too...

Through all this (here comes the hokey part) I can honestly say there is no one in the world I would rather walk next to in this journey. I am so thankful God blessed me with a wonderful husband, a perfect match for me. I love you baby!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thankful Friday

1. Pancakes at IHOP and another week with Dennis off work.



2. The piano that we received for free a few years ago is finally TUNED!!! It's not perfect but it sounds so much better than it did before. We've been playing some fun tunes and Elyse loves it.
3. Elyse loves her mamma. Here's her face when I went to take out the trash.
4. Cool websites like this.

Have a great weekend!!

Do you believe in magic??




Lisa's friend (pseudo brother) Shane and his 8 year old daughter Natalie are in town and they stopped by for dinner tonight.

In case you haven't seen it, Dennis has a great magic trick (makes a quarter disappear) that he likes to show any kid he sees so he decided to try it on Natalie. Ask for a show next time you see him.

Most kids are amazed. Natalie was not impressed. Little did Dennis know that Shane is an amazing magician and luckily he shared some tricks with us. As you can see from Dennis' expression, we were amazed. He can "throw-up" a deck of cards and do many more extraordinary other tricks. Thanks for the show!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Photography Class

I'm so excited! Along with my new camera, Ritz camera includes 18 free photography class! The more I read, the more I learn that there is SO MUCH to learn about photography...it's more than just snapping the picture!

So tonight I had my first class, Intro to Photography. Not since high school Spanish class have there been so many terms that I didn't get, numbers flying out that didn't make sense. But I did learn some great things, and I must remember that I can't become an expert overnight. Here are some of the things I learned:

-I can manually adjust the exposure on my camera. I think this means how much light I want to come into the camera. Normally, the camera does it automatically but sometimes other lighting throws it off.

See how in the first picture my hand looks dark? The camera adjusted to the florescent light in the back and decided there was enough light. I changed the exposure to +1.0 and took the next picture. I let the camera know that wasn't enough light and see how much better my hand looks in the second picture. This is something to use when there is a lot of backlight.

-Another thing I learned is that I can adjust the level of the flash. See how in the first picture I look all washed out? It is because the camera is focusing on the people behind me and adjusted the flash to make them look good (well, I'm not sure about that lady's hair). Meanwhile, I look like the ghost of an albino.

We went in and adjusted the flash and I look a little better in the next picture.


-And the most exciting thing I learned is that my laptop has a slot for my memory card!! Apparently most new computers do. Who knew??

I have another class next week!! I'm excited to learn some more.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Meal Planning

I've tried this before, but I think I've found a system that will work for me...I'm really going to work on planning out our meals. I was inspired by Simple Mom.

The thing that really clicked for me was to set a "theme" for each night of the week. In the past, I've had trouble coming up with a meal idea for tonight, let alone a few weeks or even (gasp!) a month. Once I set up our "themes" the ideas just flew in.

Here's the plan:
Monday-Italian
Tuesday-Grill (Change to some kind of casserole once the weather gets cold)
Wednesday-Crockpot
Thursday-Leftovers
Friday-Sandwiches
Saturday-Out
Sunday-Something fancy and dessert

I've planned out the next two weeks, made a stellar grocery list and we are off! I went to the grocery store tonight and had a cart filled to the brim. And, the best part is, I know what I'm going to use it all for! I'll let you know how it goes. And if you want to stop by for dinner, I'll let you know what's on the menu!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Agreement Numero Uno

I've discovered this great little book, called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. From the back of the book: "the Four Agreements offer a powerful cod of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness and love." The book outlines four steps we can take to make positive changes in our lives.


The first is: Be Impeccable With Your Word

Our words have an unbelievable power, both over ourselves and over others. Whether we are using our words on ourselves or with others, our words create our personal truths and these truths transform the way we see the world. If we tell ourselves we are stupid, we continue to behave in ways that confirm this statement about ourselves. We also have this same influence on others.

When we are impeccable with our word we use the same transforming power of words to plant seeds of love. We also make a choice about the words of others. We do not let the negative words of others transform us.

From the chapter:
"Being impeccable with your word is the correct use of your energy; it means to use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself. If you make an agreement with yourself to be impeccable with your word, just with that intention, the truth will manifest through you and clean all the emotional poison that exists with in you."

"You will only receive a negative idea if your mind is fertile ground for that idea."

As I heard in a recent sermon on this agreement. Use your words for:
Truth
Beauty
Love

I wrote that big on a sheet of paper and I have it on my fridge. Does having it on my fridge make me perfect at it? No. I've still gossiped. I've still used negative self-talk. But I've been better.

What's the second agreement? You'll have to wait until next week to find out. And, I really recommend getting the book. The author does an amazing job explaining these ideas. And, I have to say that I usually have a hard time getting through books like this but this is a good one. If you read it, let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My noodles...


Pictures





My camera cord came in the mail yesterday (thanks mom!!) and I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from our trip that didn't already make it on the blog.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thankful Friday

In an effort to recognize the things I am thankful for, I have designated Friday "Thankful Friday". Here's my list for the week:

  • A great trip to STL!! Elyse and I had lots of fun spending time with our family and friends. I'll have some pictures up soon...I left my camera cord attached to my mom's computer!
  • Being back with Dennis. I just really like him. He's on leave this week (working on the movie so he's busy) and we've gotten to spend lots of family time together.
  • The REALLY nice electrician who fixed the power in our bathrooms. I've learned the power of asking people for referrals for jobs like that. I asked the moms in my moms club and got Charlie's name. He called several times to try and troubleshoot the problem and then drove an HOUR from NC to come up and fix our problem. The best part...when it turned out to be an easy fix, he only charged us $20 for his gas! (Of course we slipped him a little more). But how nice is that!!!
  • The Olympics start today!!!! I'm so excited. We are going to sit and watch the opening ceremony and order Chinese take-out for dinner. Yipee!!
So here's the question...what is your favorite Olympic sport to watch? And, if you could create any Olympic sport, what would you win a gold medal in?? I think I would be a gold medal diaper changer!!! :)


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Funny Story

My mom told me a funny story tonight...

Her friend when to Boy Scout Camp with her 10 year old and a bunch of other 10 year old boys (brave woman). The first night, all the boys missed their moms. How precious is that?! They didn't actually admit it but they each asked to call their mom because she must be really sad and really miss them.

The second night, her friend wanted to cheer the boys up and remembered a funny game to play. They all sat in a circle and the first person in the circle said, "Ha." The second person said, "Ha, Ha", the third person "Ha, Ha, Ha" and so on. The first person to actually laugh was out and it continued until there was only one person left. In typical "10 year old boy fashion" they had fun with that but had to come up with their own version. Instead of saying "ha" they said "fart." So the first one said "fart," the second one "fart, fart" and on and on. I'm sure this game ended a lot faster than the first...

It just really made me smile...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Elyse is 10 months old!!



So I'm a day late on this one, but Elyse is no 10 months old. In the past month she:
  • Has perfected crawling and can pull herself up (and get back down...sounds easy but it wasn't!) and can cruise all over the place.
  • Can climb stairs...we're going to the Home Depot tomorrow to get gates!
  • Can sign several things: more, water, puffs (our word for cheerios), book, and milk
  • Has become very "teachable". We've taught her how to say things like "ha, ha, ha" and "ta da!" She does "so big" and can blow kisses!
  • Has come to love stuffed animals, especially little teddy bears. When she finds one she gives it hugs and kisses!