Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March Running

March miles: 55 (better but still so far below planned!)
2010 YTD miles: 171.5

I'm not even going to post how many miles left to meet that silly 1000 mile goal! I would have to run an average of 92 miles/month for the remainder of the year. While my mileage should go up significantly the next few months and that is technically still doable, I doubt I'll do it. This self-set goal is sorta frustrating because I feel like I'm not doing anything, but really it doesn't accurately depict my other activities. Gotta keep reminding myself that despite not getting the miles down, I'm still very active. My current "exercise" routine looks something like this (although mommyhood tends to alter this plan frequently):

Monday - swim laps for 30 min while the kids take swim lessons
Tuesday - strength training at the gym (sometimes I try to fit in a short run)
Wednesday - yoga or run or rest (I haven't been to yoga all month!)
Thursday - strength training at the gym + run
Friday - yoga or rest
Saturday/Sunday - run at least one day plus whatever we are doing as a family - ski, hike, bike, etc.

It is also a 1 mile roundtrip walk to Kate's school twice a day. That's anywhere from 5-10 miles/week (of walking, not running, but moving forward!) that I'm not counting in my totals.

My goal for April is to try to add in one more short run a week. We'll see if I manage to do it.
I am going to continue to track my mileage. It is motivating, and I'd like to see where I am at the end of the year.

Oh - and speaking of running, Running Diva Mom has a big giveaway, but hurry as it ends tomorrow!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

While We Settle in at Home

Not sure where I got this anymore, but it is a fun meme that I've been saving for awhile. Copy list, bold any experiences you have had.

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii (x2 - 1987 & 1995)
Big Island, August 1995
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
(hmmm... I had a tough time deciding if I've done this or not. I've certainly given more than I probably *should* give but it's not like we've gone hungry from giving to charity)
7. Been to Disneyland (both "land" and "world" - photos here and here)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
(NEVER!!)
11. Bungee jumped (probably never, but more likely than singing a solo!)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a thunder and lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (crochet counts, right?)
15. Adopted a child
(I wish...)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (from Geneva to Venice sharing a compartment with an Italian soldier... ah... but I was too tired to care! Plus I had a very serious guy back home.)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked (in Nicaragua with my sister)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (more times than I should admit)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
(doesn't my half count for anything?!?)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
(I was by myself in Venice... a gondola ride seems lonely with only one! Maybe I *should* have noticed that darn soldier on the train!)
Venice, June 1993
Grand Canal, but no gondola ride
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise (only once - to Alaska)
Alaska, August 1994
My grandparents 50th wedding anniversary family cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (does Nebraska count??)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (see here)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (see here)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (
I hope I never bold this one!!)
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (snorkeling many times)
Maui, 1995
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter (in Hawaii)
Kauai, 1995
Look how the pilot is fixing it in the background...
and I still went on it! Very brave of me.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (monks)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job (my first job at the Yogurt Gazebo... because I refused to work on Prom night!)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (just a toe)
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle (unless you are my mom reading this and then no... and I have no idea how I got that round burn scar on my ankle...)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
Grand Canyon
December 1993
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (VW Cabrio - loved it, still miss it!)
1996?
My dad & I with our new cars
(I wanted him to jump like the old Toyota commercials,
but he refused...)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (fish count, right?)
West Texas, 1997
88. had chickenpox (really bad when I was 15 & still have the scars to prove it!)
89. Saved someone’s life (C'mon... I'm a nurse!)
90. Sat on a jury (multiple times including a murder trial while I was pregnant with Kate)
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo
94. Had a baby (x2)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (I had to testify about the gas explosion in the apartment complex across the street from me in Dallas, does that count?)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Friday, March 26, 2010

Road Stops

First stop was at a great rest stop outside of Quanah, TX


It was too windy for our picnic so we ate lunch in the car after playing.


Next stop was the largest cross in the western hemisphere. Somehow I expected it to be... bigger...


I had planned to stop at the VW Ranch (with spray paint!) but half of the car was asleep.





I had also planned to go to the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument (we cancelled our tour last weekend because of weather), but someone was out sick making their next tour late Saturday. SO our next stop was for gas & ice cream. And now the kids are tucked into bed for the night.

Tomorrow we are going to Capulin Volcano National Monument (we'll get Junior Ranger badges!), and we'll be home a few hours after that!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Heading Home

We are heading towards home this morning. Wish us better travel weather for the return trip. HOPEFULLY the weather will let us stop at the sites we missed last weekend.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Five Years Today

I can hardly believe it.


Thank you, Ama, for taking care of the details.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring(?) Break

We had so many more stops planned on our road trip, but we woke up in Amarillo to inches of snow. Decided NOT to stop in this weather, so we just drove (slowly) straight through. Thank goodness we hadn't taken off the snow tires yet!



We'll hit those fun spots on the way home (the weather is *supposed* to be warm).

Then I was going to wake up early this morning and run a 5K race. Changed my mind when we woke up to more snow.


Let's just hope we see a bit more spring in the rest of our break!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cadillac Ranch

Gotta love roadside attractions!





- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

We're Off!

The kids and I leave today for Dallas. My initial plans for the road trip got waylaid by the weather that came through last night. I was pretty disappointed as we were all excited about the planned adventures, but I quickly recovered and revised the plans. We are going to make some really fun stops, and we'll hit the other adventures on the way home.

Hoping to be able to post some photos along the way! Woohoo!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nest Assist

To go along with our birdhouses this week, I also thought it was time to put make the nest assist project we've been planning (another idea sent from my mother-in-law including a little bag of yarn). We gathered string, yarn, cotton filling, dryer lint, ribbon, and old fabric scraps. Anything that we could find that would make good, soft nesting material for birds. The kids (with friends!) stuffed the supplies in a couple mesh bags from lemons/potatoes/onions/etc. Then we hung it near our birdfeeder. We've been watching to see if the birds will start taking anything. We have yet to catch them in the act, but hopefully soon!
I Googled "nest assist" and found the same idea here. It recommended reading the book No Roses for Harry. I've been so good about not buying new books, but I couldn't resist ordering it. Then I couldn't resist this book. And because Amazon is having a special 4-for-3 promotion, I also had to get this one and this one. Argh.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Those Pesky Leprechauns!

They played all kinds of tricks at our house last night...

They put our chairs on top of the table, but left us a treat!
(just for the record, Lucky Charms embodies everything I dislike about processed food, but I figure once a year won't hurt!)

They peed in all our toilets - green pee!
(I can't believe I'm showing a picture of my toilet!)

And they turned Nina Sprinkles GREEN!
(I wanted to use semi-permanent green hair dye,
but Matt said, "NO WAY am I having a green dog for WEEKS!")

Monday, March 15, 2010

Birdhouses

For Christmas, my mother-in-law gave each of the kids a kit of pre-cut & drilled pieces of wood to make birdhouses. Jack was a little confused when he opened it, but still very excited. I think he said several times, "Wow! I can't believe I got wood!" It might be my favorite gift of the season (am I allowed to think that?). It is fun, creative, and useful. Matt helped the kids put the birdhouses together about a month ago, but we have been waiting for just the right day to paint them. Yesterday afternoon was gloomy and snowy and perfect for a painting project.

Serious Painters
Finished Projects
I finished them off with a few coats of old polyurethane that I had from an old craft. Hopefully we'll get a sunny day this week, so we can hang them up outside. Then we'll be ready for some birds to move in!

The project came from Birds & Blooms magazine. There are a bunch of projects that I've been inspired to make. Most of the plans seem to be free but there are also some that require a subscription. Here is our project: Birdhouse Plans

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sleeping Under the Stars

The last two nights I've been up in the mountains getting everything ready for some spring break visitors that will be staying up there. I slept on the couch both nights (I'm lazy and didn't want to wash sheets!) and found a pleasant bonus to my sleeping site - the two skylights straight above. The clear nights gave me an amazing view of the stars as I fell asleep and a few glimpses during the night when I would wake and roll over. I couldn't help but sing that silly song Somewhere Out There to myself ("and when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby, it helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky...") So now I've decided that someday I am going to have skylights above my bed so I can look at the stars every night as I fall asleep.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Road Trip Details

Road tripping it to Dallas to stay with my parents. It will be me, Kate, Jack, and Nina Sprinkles (poor Matt has to stay home to support our wild ways!)

Still working on the exact plans. Thought about a night or two of camping along the way, but I'm reconsidering that plan. We'll definitely see some great sites along the way! Only one more week!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Free 18" Doll Poncho Pattern (shown on American Girl!)

Kate loves her American Girl doll. I was a little iffy about getting her one when we attended the American Girl store opening (don't remember that? Look here and here.), but now I'm so glad we did! She loves dressing up like her doll, and I'm excited they have something handmade to wear now.
18" Doll Poncho Pattern
(shown on American Girl Doll)

2 colors of yarn (I don't know how much to be honest... just a few oz of each color I think. I had 7 oz balls of each color. I used all the darker pink and about 3/4 of the light pink for both the girl's and the doll's poncho)
On my example, A is the darker pink and B is the lighter pink

Size 6mm (US J10) crochet hook

Front and Back
Work 2 Pieces Alike

With A ch 36
1st row: 1 hdc in 3rd ch from hook. 1 hdc in each ch across, join B, turn.

2nd row: ch 1. (1 sc. ch 2. 1 dc) all in first hdc. *miss next 2 hdc. (1 sc. ch 2. 1 dc) in next hdc. Rep from * to last 3 hdc. Miss next 2 hdc. 1 sc in last hdc. Turn.

3rd row: ch 1. (1 sc. ch 2. 1 dc) all in first sc. *miss next dc and ch2. (1 sc. ch 2. 1 dc) in next hdc. Rep from *, ending with 1 sc in last sc. Join A. Turn.

4th row: ch 2. 1 hdc in first sc. *2 hdc in next ch 2 sp. 1 hdc in next sc. Rep from * to end or row. Join B. Turn.

Rep rows 2-4 for pattern. Work an additional 6 rows in pattern (total 10 rows). Fasten off.

Slip stitch edges as shown in image below.
Lower edging
1st round: with RS of work facing, join B with sl st at point of center back. Work 1 row of sc evenly around. Join with sl st to first sc.
2nd rnd: ch 1. (1 sc. ch 2. 1 dc) all in same sc. *Miss next 2 sc. (1 sc. ch 2. 1 dc) all in the next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st to first sc. Fasten off.

Neck edging: with RS of work facing, join B with sl st at point of center back. Ch 3 (counts as dc). Work 1 row of dc evenly around. Join with sl st to top of ch 3. Fasten off.

Drawstring: with B, make a chain XXXX inches long. Fasten off. Weave drawstring through neck edging, having ends meet at the center front.
This is my first time to write out a crochet pattern, so let me know if I've made any mistakes!
And if you missed it yesterday, I posted how I made the matching little girl's poncho!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Kate's Poncho Pattern

I used this free Bernat Yarn Easy Poncho pattern (you might have to sign in to see the actual pattern). Just a few adjustments, mostly so I wouldn't run out of yarn! I was trying to use up some yarn that I had purchased on clearance awhile back and knew I wouldn't be able to match it if I ran out. Here are the adjustments I made...

Only used 2 colors of yarn.
I used a Bernat Worsted Weight Acrylic - I had a 7 oz ball of each color - completely used up the dark pink and about 3/4 of the light pink for both the girl's and the doll's poncho

Used a size 6mm (US J10) hook.
Ch 84 instead of suggested 90 for size 6-8 years
Rows 1-2 where in the darker pink
Rows 3-4 in light pink
Rows 5-7 in darker pink
Worked a total of 34 rows, ending with a Row 4

I used a slip stitch to join the pieces and worked all the trim in the light pink.
Lower edging was done as directed.
For the neck edging, I skipped the 1st round of sc. Instead I just did the 2nd round of dc spaced evenly around
And Kate loves it! It is a little big for her (she is a tall 6x), but hopefully it will last a few years. The doll poncho pattern that we have on the American Girl is coming tomorrow!!


Monday, March 08, 2010

Crochet Projects

Look what I've been busy making!
It was supposed to be for Kate's birthday... uh... 2 weeks ago. Just a little late. I altered a free pattern for Kate's poncho, but made up my own pattern for the American Girl doll's poncho. I'll post both patterns later this week.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Cross Country Skiing

Back in college, I babysat for a family that I adored. I wanted their life or at least to model my own life after theirs. The mom was a nurse, the dad a nurse anesthetist (E, remember when we had a thing for him after seeing him in the OR?!? For everyone's info, that was before I started babysitting!), and they had 3 beautiful children. The youngest was born my senior year. They lived in this great, old house. I admired the ways they were raising their children, and I specifically remember that they only used their small TV in the basement for an occasional video. I went over a few times a week in the afternoons after class. I loved the times I sat and held the baby, and the mom and I would chat while she unloaded the dishwasher or folded clothes. Sometimes she ran errands, but mostly she went cross country skiing to get some child-free exercise time.

Yup. That was going to be my life.

Fast forward 15+ years. Handsome husband, check. Beautiful children, check. Great, old house, check. Not too much TV, sorta check (we watch more than they ever did!). Lots of dishes and laundry, double check. Cross country skiing...

Check! As of this morning. After over 15 years of wanting to learn, I finally went for the first time this morning. I loved it. I think I'll try again next weekend. I'm evening thinking about picking up some demo equipment on sale this spring.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Road Trip

Decided to go on a road trip with the kids for spring break! Woohoo!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

February Reading List

Reading list is a little short this month. Probably because I've been busy crocheting. I should get some books on tape so I can crochet and "read" at the same time!

Three Cups of Tea - this book has been on my "to read" list for a long time. Snagged a copy from Bookmooch awhile back. While certainly inspired by the work of Greg Mortenson and a bit envious of his calling, I liked the book but didn't love it. Maybe it had just been talked up so much that I expected so much more. It was a good reminder to pull out our copy of the children's version of the book Listen to the Wind that we received as a gift from Matt's Aunt Elizabeth. I love books for gifts!

My favorite parts of the book were the quotes at the beginning of each chapter such as

"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Persian proverb

"Why ponder thus the future to foresee,
and had thy brain to vain perplexity?
Cast off they care, leave Allah's plans to him-
He formed them all without consulting thee." - Omar Khayyam, The Rubaiyat

Peace Like a River - very enjoyable. I liked all the Minnesota references, especially intrigued by the extended details of the Northfield Bank robbery. I knew the basics from living in Northfield in college (gotta love Jesse James Days!), but now I want to learn more. I may pick up a book from the little museum store next time I'm up there.

Salem Falls - Always enjoy Jodi Picoult books. Predictably unpredictable, although I did have a good idea how this one would end.

Simple Graces - by Kent Neburn the author of one of my favorite books Simple Truths. A nice read to help you take note of the simple blessings in life, but not as moving as Truths. I'll probably pass this one along again on BoockMooch.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

February Running

February goal: 80 miles
Actual February mileage: 40.5 (argh!)
YTD mileage: 116.5
Miles left for 1000 mile goal: 883.5 (not so sure this is a doable goal still, but I'm going to keep on trying!)

Excuses, excuses...
  • My last long run before my race got nixed because of weather (and motivation) and I did short, easy runs the rest of that week.
  • The week after my half marathon, I had some pain in my left knee so I didn't run for over 10 days while it got better. I admit to being a wimp about aches and pains, but that knee makes me nervous because I tore my MCL and my meniscus during a ski fall about 7 years ago (I'd like to report that I was doing something perilous when injured, but I was actually standing still in a lesson when I randomly fell over. Remind me to blog sometime about how unsympathetic my husband was). Despite the lack of drama associated with my trauma, it took me weeks to walk normally and many months to be pain free (no surgeries, no brace, just time). It rarely bothers me anymore, and I actually don't think the half marathon did anything to aggravate it as running has never bothered it before. Probably just a coincidence. Still, I took it easy.
  • So much snow, so little sunshine
  • Travel and house guests
  • The pain of adjusting back to altitude
  • I put off last weekend's long run until today because I knew it would be BEAUTIFUL (and it is!).
  • February is such a short month anyway