So, snow.

So this is our forecast:

Image

 

And guess what we’re out of?

You got it … milk. If you are from the South, you probably just nodded your head and then said a curse word at the idea of trudging to Harris Teeter with all the other crazies out there. Plus, the shelves will be bare and you are stuck with a pint of buttermilk or a random brand of questionable soy milk.

Ou(honestly) bigger problem is that there is no coffee creamer in the house. I try to eat healthy, but there is something about the Vanilla-ey goodness of Coffee Mate that gets me every time. 

I commute about 30-40 minutes and luckily, we can choose to work for home when the weather is questionable. Our company rarely if ever will close, so I am already counting on working from the comfort of home, likely in my PJ’s, making bbq chicken in the crockpot, and hopefully playing in the snow with M&L.

I need to confess … two pair of snow pants were purchased since we don’t have any, but in my defense … they were on sale and M&L do need them. Plus, they are a size 4/5, so I am hoping they last until next year. So, I think that $20 is a necessity.

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unpoor = unfun

So far, so good, but these may be the most boring posts EVER.

Highlights of the past week:

  • I have not been to Target, I have not been to Target, I have not been to Target.
  • I packed my lunch 5/5 days last week.
  • No extracurricular shopping for me or M & L.
  • Grocery shopping on Sunday and meal planning for the week definitely helps.
  • Checking out the trial on Dave Ramsey’s budgeting tools to see if I like it

Things making it hard to stay on the Fiscal Cliff 2013

  • Damn Stephen Bonanno 50% off sale.
  • Brooks Running winter sale.

But I just don’t have the heart to unsubscribe from either of those companies. Shoes … it always goes back to shoes.

Weak Moment

Growing up, my family was never into Disney. I went once, maybe twice. I had a good time, enjoyed the rides, but when I visited I was probably past the princess stage when and on to chasing boys on the playground.

I remember watching Bambi and Cinderella and reading some Disney books, but they weren’t my favorites. I didn’t want to be a princess or live in a castle.

When I had twin daughters, I was a little turned off by the whole Princess shenanigan. Princess shirts, tiaras, on the bottom of sweatpants (hello!?), princess parties, etc. I get it – princesses are pretty and sparkly. They live in glass castles and ride around in pumpkin carriages with handsome princes. They have ballgowns and teeny tiny slippers. Awesome. Let’s just say that I didn’t willingly bring princess crap into our house.

Somehow … it just infiltrated it’s way in. Maddy and Libby started talking about princesses, but not in any kind of specific Disney related way. It started with a few costumes and dress up shoes. We graduated to a few princess dolls on their birthday, Halloween princess costumes, watching Beauty & The Beast at the movies, and somehow full blown Princess mania. This Christmas alone looked like Disney sponsored their gifts. Princess puzzles, Pez dispensers, lipgloss, a trip to Disney on Ice, two DVD’s, and a LeapPad Cinderella game. Maddy and Libby make up stories about princesses and name their stuffed animals “Princess” and “Cinderella.” It is kind of mind-blowing.

Last night, I told them that they could watch 30 minutes of Cinderella before bedtime and it was over and showed a sneak peak of Fantasyland that has recently been renovated and opened at Disney.

Holy Smokes … I was drawn in like a moth to a flame. It was amazing. I found myself looking up prices of hotels, who you can have lunch with at the castle, and what rides are available. Yes, I know … fiscal cliff 2013 still exists, but this is FANTASYLAND, y’all.

After I learned that the cost of a Disney vacation is roughly $1000+ per person, I always thought it was ridiculous. In my opinion, we have so many other places in the United States that are worthy of that kind of expense, but I got sucked in to the magic, too.

I can’t believe I am writing this, but I have found myself considering a trip. I mean, the girls are 4 1/2. If we are going to go, it’s definitely the right time. They are still at the age where they believe in the magic and aren’t chasing boys on the playground and slamming doors in the house.

Where did my babies go and when I did get so weak? Is anyone else out there anti-Disney and did you ever switch over to the dark side?

Fiscal Cliff 2013

Ok, so it’s not a cliff and not really like the real Fiscal Cliff, but I may be starting my own conundrum in our household and feel like I need to jump off a cliff.

After a conversation (without wine) with ET, a discussion of no spending until July came about. Not really no spending, but in an effort to get un-poor or how many of us feel after the holidays, a way to curb spending habits and halt unnecessary spending until July 2013.

I know my triggers:

  • Target: I go in for say, laundry detergent and I leave with the detergent, new notecards, shirts for Maddy and Libby, a new sports bra, bottle of wine, huge container of animal crackers, lip gloss, hand lotion, a new type of vitamin, tights, and a travel size container of hand sanitizer. Don’t even get me started on the Neiman-Marcus items they had. Michael Kors clutch, I’m still looking at you.
  • Online shopping. Damn you Lands End, Old Navy, and Kiehl’s for filling my inbox with your offers of free shipping, $16 dresses, extra deluxe samples. I curse you. I have been an unsubscribing fool as of late.
  • Meals. This one is more family related, than to me specifically, but Hubby probably eats lunch out about 5 days a week. I have been packing my lunch and trying to limit my lunches out to 1-2 times every 2 weeks. We can also get in a bad habit of running to Harris Teeter every night when there is nothing in the fridge or picking up pizza. While I know we have to eat, we just need to be more mindful about meal planning and eating what is in our house.

We were lucky to recently pay off some credit card debt and are currently refinancing our house. Given this, I really can’t think of a better time to take an honest look at our finances, set goals, set budgets, and get to work. After all, college is expensive and will be here in 13 short years.

In the meantime, I have been working on goals that I would like to achieve. I know there are things that we have to buy, but I want to be more mindful about what we are spending.

For me:

  • No clothing purchases including running clothes until July. I have plenty of EVERYTHING and unless I lose all my socks, I shouldn’t need anything new. *Exception: I am allowed to buy ONE pair of running shoes. Mine have approximately 500 miles on them and got me through the marathon, so I know it is time and this will help keep me injury free.
  • No clothing purchases for Maddy and Libby. They received a lot of clothes for Christmas, plus a lot of hand-me-downs from a good friend. I will give myself the exception here of bathing suits (because we don’t have any in a size 4). This one is really hard, because consignment sale season is upon us and I usually find lots of good deals for the upcoming season.
  • Limit lunches out to “Payday Fridays.”
  • No more Nook Book downloads … use the free ones from the library.
  • Set goals for saving and start doing it.

I have even been researching Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, but can’t quite commit right now. Has anyone gone through it and would you recommend? I do think he has a lot of good online tools and tips.

So cheers to getting un-poor in 2013. I will post updates here and try to give an honest look at what we do, the mistakes, and hopefully successes.

Forty

2013 is the year I turn 40.

20 years ago, I thought that 40 was ancient. Even 10 years ago, I probably did.

I wish I could look back 20 years and see where I thought I would be at 40. It is really hard to believe that TWENTY years ago, I was in college. That makes me feel old. Old as f*ck as they said in Knocked Up.

So I can feel better (or worse) about myself, over the past 20 years, I have:

  • Graduated from college
  • Driven cross-country, twice
  • Attended graduate school
  • Explored the western part of the US, lived, and worked in Yellowstone National Park
  • Screamed, cried, and laughed my head off
  • Lost some incredible people in my life – my Grandmother, Aunt Jean, Grandma and Grandpa Martin, Uncle Horace and Aunt Lucy
  • Gained some incredible friends and kept nearly 40 year old friendships alive
  • Rode a Greyhound Bus
  • Drank wine in Napa Valley
  • Broke someone’s heart
  • Had my heart broken
  • Ran over the Golden Gate bridge
  • Became a wife
  • Became a mother
  • Became a half-marathoner and marathoner
  • Traveled to Paris
  • Swam with stingrays
  • Started a blog
  • Moved to North Carolina with only a job
  • Volunteered
  • Got laid off more times than I could ever imagined
  • Bought my first house
  • Found a church
  • Enjoyed countless sunsets and even a few sunrises
  • Felt helpless, empowered, strong, weak, invincible, stubborn, sad, and full of joy
  • Wasted time and savored every second

As I approach 40, this year I hope to

Be content

Be creative

Be open-minded and loud-mouthed

Love more

Work hard in all aspects of my life: family, marriage, work, exercise, faith

Have fun, be silly, and secure in my own skin

Blogging about dairy

I was thrilled to recently serve as a guest blogger for the Southeast Dairy Council’s blog, Dairy Delivers.

You can read my post here.

Their blog features recipes, nutrition tips, and of course the benefits of incorporating dairy into your healthy diet. I know I have posted about it here, but my favorite dairy products include chocolate milk and Cabot cheddar.

Enjoy!

 

Ugh

It’s bad when you realize you haven’t blogged in weeks that turned into over a month. Whoops.

So, a list of what I’ve been doing since November …

  1. Ran a little
  2. Celebrated 7 years of wedded bliss at the spot of our first date
  3. Did a lot of hot yoga
  4. Ate a lot of turkey and fixins and celebrated Thanksgiving with family
  5. Ran a holiday themed half marathon with the worst race shirt ever, but with the coolest socks. I wore the ones with the furrrr. Then couldn’t get the Apple Bottom Jeans song out of my head. You are welcome.Image
  6. Celebrated a friend’s 35th birthday with lots of laughs, wine, and friends … the way birthdays should be. etbday
  7. Wrote a lot, but just not on the blog.
  8. Decorated a tree, hung the wreaths, wrapped gifts, turned on the Christmas tunes, mailed and received cards from friends. Tried to take good pictures of it all, but blurry is my motto.
    tree
  9. Celebrated Hubby’s 42nd birthday with lots of laughs, drinks, and friends. cbdme
  10. Celebrated two more friends 40th birthdays with a whirlwind trip to Nashville, complete with you guessed it … more drinks, more laughs,  and more friends.Image
  11. Ran the “Running of the Balls” – a nighttime run through the amazing Sunset Hills neighborhood, complete with full blown Christmas lights.
  12. Have threatened “I’m going to call/email/text Santa” more times than I can admit.
  13. Enjoyed having my parents here for the holidays.
  14. Visited the ER with Dad for his high blood pressure. On Christmas Eve. Not fun, but memorable. He is OK – just a little anxious to get home to see his Doctor and try to figure out what is going on.
  15. Celebrated Christmas at home, then traveled to the in-laws for more celebrating.
  16. Came home to wake up with a tummy bug and fever. Thank goodness for 7-up, the ability to work from home, and day care.
  17. Now feeling the need to organize, purge, clean, and think about the upcoming year.

So, now what?

The marathon is over, so now what do we do?

In the past, I have definitely felt a little down after my half-marathon training has finished.  You just feel like something is missing, but I definitely needed the time off after the full.

After taking a week off, I met ET and Ria for an easy 5-miler on Sunday morning. We even said out loud, “Does anyone know we are marathoners?” If you looked closely you could tell … 26.2 magnets on all of our cars and new Marine Corp Marathon hats on our heads!

It felt good to see that my legs still worked and nothing was too stiff or sore. I also made it to a yoga class in the afternoon, and on a Target excursion with my girls. $1 princess lipgloss! I told them they could pick out one item from the Dollar Spot and they both picked lipgloss. They may or may not have looked like clowns/over done beauty queens on the ride home, but I loved seeing how excited they were about their new purchases.

Libby asked how much the lipgloss cost and did we have to pay for it. I told her “One dollar & yes, we have to pay.” I  asked if she had any money to pay for it. She thought for a minute, said no, and with eyes wide, asked “But, do you?” After I said yes, then she said, “Well, you can pay for it Mama.” Smart girl.

So, a few fitness goals for the coming months:

  • Run a half-marathon on Dec. 1
  • Try to make it to yoga once a week.
  • I definitely want to keep running and would like to run at least once a week.
  • Check out Bikram yoga again. I bought a Groupon and I thought it would be good to use this winter.

I can’t believe it’s already November and now getting dark at 5pm.

Marine Corp Marathon recap

Nearly 5 months of training with

almost 500 miles ends with running

my first marathon, 26.2 miles … The Marine Corp Marathon

A few helpful details if you are just tuning in:

I followed the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training plan. We adjusted it slightly to match schedules & did run 20 miles twice instead of once. I did miss a few mid-week runs, but I always completed my long runs. I think they are the most important and you just need your legs to get used to the crazy distances.

I had a supportive husband and great friends with whom I trained. This was definitely helpful. For the mornings that I didn’t want to wake up and leave at 5:15AM, my husband was there to push me out the door and I knew my friends would be waiting.

If I can do this; you can do this.

We picked this one because it is known to be the People’s Marathon – very friendly and supportive. It is also driving distance, not too hilly, and not too flat.

Travel/Expo/Pre Race

I traveled with my husband, and two other couples. The girls were running, the husbands were race support. We decided to take the Amtrak – a little longer travel time wise, but we thought it would be easier since we would be taking the Metro, and we could actually stretch our legs more than in a car. With the kids safely attended to by grandparents, we all were looking forward to a little mini-vacation with a marathon thrown in. We found a townhome through VRBO in Capitol Hill – less expensive than a hotel, conveniently located, and more like the comfort of home.

We opted to skip the Expo on Friday night, but instead decided to start the carb loading with a great meal and wine at Trattoria Alberto. Just what we needed. We called it an early night and headed to the Expo on Saturday morning.

The Expo was easy to access off the Metro. They had you pick up your bib in one location then walk across the street to the actual Expo. Some people seemed a little confused by it, but it was fairly easy. It was crowded. We stood in a long line to purchase some official MCM gear at the Brooks area, but were underwhelmed by their selection. ET and I both found black hats that we really liked, and our friend Ria got a men’s shirt in a size small & a white hat. We hit up a few of our favorite vendors – Running Skirts & Sweaty Bands, but that was about it. With the threat of hurricanes and storms, they were selling a ton of “rain proof” jackets … we thought about setting up with a box of trash bags because the jackets were essentially no better, but we opted to head back to our townhouse to get off our feet. ET’s husband did manage  the deal of the century – the Wall Street Journal for 95 cents a week and a HUGE umbrella that went along with it. The umbrella became the joke of the weekend.

On the way back, we purchased our Metro cards for the next morning so we didn’t have to wait in another line. The boys watched football and the girls all enjoyed some downtime on our collective ipads, tablets, and smart phones. We forced ourselves out for a 2-mile shake out run around Capitol Hill and came back to the guys preparing dinner. Chicken, pasta, veggies, and bread. What more could a marathoner ask for?

We went to bed with weather forecasts still questionable, but we were hopeful that the skies would be clear.

Race Day!

My alarm(s) went off at 4:15 and 4:20 with our departure time set for 5:45. I got up at 4:20, knowing that the coffee should be done. ET and I like to have a little coffee time before anything else in the morning. Luckily, C had already gone downstairs to make sure it was brewing. Good guy.

We woke up with coffee, dressed, ate, visited the potty, took photos, put on our 26.2 tats, hoped we had all the necessities, wrapped up in our Snuggies and bathrobes and set off for a 10 minute walk to the metro. It was actually warmer than we expected and the forecast was considerably better than the previous night.

First metro ride was easy and uncrowded. The 2nd was more of what I expected. Standing room only, noisy, but fun in only a way that a train full of nervous runners could provide. We got to the Pentagon Station easily and somehow easily hooked up with our other running buddy, HB. Let’s just say that with 20-30,000+ people milling around, even while talking on the phone to each other isn’t an easy task.

We waited in the porta potty line, then checked our bags at the UPS trucks. Neither wait was that long – people were chatty and very complimentary of our attire. 🙂

Knowing that we would not be crossing the finish line at 7:55 when the Howitzer sounded, we casually walked to the starting line, found our estimated time corral and starting walking to the start. I was definitely nervous, excited, and anxious to find out what this experience would all really feel like.

Around 8:20 AM, the four of us crossed the start line prepared to tackle 26.2 miles.

The first two miles were slow. Lots of people, plus we were starting on a hill. Nothing major, but enough to slow you down. We went through a tunnel early on and my Garmin stopped for a bit, but nothing drastic. Miles 3-6 were really pretty. We were in Rosslyn – parts reminded us of the Blue Ridge Parkway – windy roads, lots of beautiful trees. Then it turned somewhat residential with a few neighbors out cheering. Around Mile 7, Ria and I got separated from ET and HB. We kept expecting to find them again, but sadly we didn’t find each other until after the finish. We made it to Georgetown and there were lots of people cheering and it was definitely a lot louder than Rosslyn. Fraternity boys, groups dressed like cows – lots of spirit, cheering, Halloween candy offerings, etc.

At mile 10 we were heading toward the Potomac River area and this was the first place we saw the boys. It was great to see them – they had our bananas. We were equally excited about both! We stopped quickly, grabbed the banana, gave a kiss, and we were off. The Potomac River area was pretty long. Mile 10-15 were at this stretch. It was windy and got a little cold. There weren’t as many crowds in this area, but someone had placed TONS of signs with funny sayings, celebrity race times and that definitely helped lighten the mood. Also there were many Remember the Blue signs with photos of fallen soldiers – so many were so young, pictured with children, and at the end of the signs were volunteers all standing with American flags. Definitely a touching part of the race and I was thankful for the distractions of funny and humbling signs here.

I was glad to be back to a different part of the course and sped up quite a bit … to the point, I had to shout at Maria that we  were way too fast and we backed off. Oh well, at least I had a little surge of energy. We knew we were going to see the guys around mile 17 and I think she and I were anxious to spot them again.

At Mile 17.5 is the Gauntlet area where you have to maintain a 14-minute mile in order to continue. We knew we were OK and just kept watching for the guys. We saw them shortly after this, gave another kiss, grabbed another banana. C said “I am so proud of you!” and we were off.

At this point, my mind was a little fuzzy, not feeling bad – just trying to think about how much time was left, how many more miles to go. I’m bad enough with math period, but trying to do it around Mile 18 just wasn’t happening.

This was a neat area of the course – running past the Smithsonian, Capitol Building, etc., but I found myself running out of steam. I ate my banana, asked Ria for some stories. At one point she had said, “I know we aren’t talking, but it’s just nice to have someone to run with.” and I totally agreed. There were people calling our names and cheering and I was thankful to have my name on the front of my shirt.

We made it to Mile 20 and “beat the bridge” – another area of the course that you have to pass by a certain time. After this, things got a little strange. Just felt slow and sluggish, but kept on going. Gatorade tasted too sweet, but I knew I probably needed it. We ran into another friend AK on the course which was fun. I think seeing her picked up our spirits as it did hers. I will say, Ria never seemed uncomfortable, tired, or otherwise. She just kept going, waving, taking photos as I felt like I was giving half-assed waves and smiles at people. I popped in one earbud to have a little music for a bit and then we were at Mile 23.

We saw the guys one last time. No stopping – just waves and a sense of digging in to get this thing done.

I hadn’t stopped at any porta potties along the way, but was now feeling the urge to go. At mile 24, we came up to an area with port a potties with virtually no lines. I told Ria that I had to stop. I was afraid that there wouldn’t be any more, or waiting in a long line at the finish would cause serious problems. She went ahead knowing how close we were to 5:00.

I was worried that stopping at that point would totally throw me off, but I felt so much better. I popped in my earbuds, gave myself a mental pep talk and set off for the last 2.2 miles. Even though I felt like I was speeding up, I was still pretty slow, but I knew I could finish. I had stopped my Garmin and since I had so many issues at the start, I really wasn’t sure of my time and at that point, really didn’t care.

I kept going and passing people. So many people were walking. Or hobbling. I felt good about my training that I was doing neither. With about a mile left, I took out the ear buds as there were lots of people around and I wanted to just be in the moment. I saw the huge sign for Mile 26 and broke out into the biggest smile. I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time.

The finish of the race is up a steep hill by Iwojima and it was steep. I typically can rock a hill and I was determined to do so, but there were just too many people. I just kept going as fast as I could. It flattened out and I passed one of the finish lines, but kept going until I knew it was the final “finish” line.

AMAZING. I did it – I am a marathoner! My Garmin said 4:59, but my real time was 5:04:42.

Shortly after crossing the finish, I saw Ria and AK. So happy to see them and we met up with ET and the guys soon after that.

Finish

Things moved a little slowly. Lots of people not knowing where to go, what to do. I just wanted to keep walking so I could take off my shoes. We grabbed water and gatorade. Volunteers passed out small bags which was so helpful. I think we next got our box of food (pretzels,hummus,dark chocolate, fruit, and trail mix) all in a box. So much easier than grabbing  10 different items. I think they also had bananas. Instead of the mylar blankets, we received white hooded jackets to keep us warm. Wish these would have been at the beginning of the line, but it was OK.

We got back to the guys and ET and made our way to the UPS trucks after taking a few pics. Sweet relief was taking off my shoes and putting on flip flops. I don’t think I had ever been happier to see the Snuggie in my bag. It had cooled off and the wind had picked up considerably.

The guys were hungry (no they hadn’t run a marathon, but they are ALWAYS hungry), so we grabbed some ribs, BBQ, bratwurst from a vendor and sat for a bit. After eyeing the line for the metro that was looked a mile long, we opted to walk 8 more blocks to the next. I think we were definitely smart in that decision.

Finally made it home and celebrated with bubbly, snacks, ice baths, hot showers, and mini-naps. We were meeting friends out to celebrate, so the naps were cut short, but it was a good time and worth it.

Looking Back

Would I run another one? Yes. I would probably choose a smaller marathon and possibly one for a cause. It takes A LOT of time to train, even when you are trying your best to schedule runs early/late and on weekends, it definitely pulls you away from family, friends, and other obligations.

Am I sore? Yes. Monday was pretty awful, plus we had a 5 hour drive back in the rain. Oh yeah, Sandy shut down the Amtrak, so we rented a van to get us home. Tuesday, I was still sore. I usually take 3 flights of steps up & down to my office. I could handle the up, but couldn’t go down. Wednesday, I woke up feeling so much better and I think walking around the neighborhood for Halloween helped. Thursday, I still feel a little soreness in my quads when I sit, but it’s much more manageable. I wish we would have had the opportunity to walk/jog on Monday, but there was no time. I’ve stretched every night since the race and look forward to a little jog/yoga/spin or something this weekend. Otherwise, I’ve been taking it easy.

Marine Corp Marathon

I finished! I promise a longer-winded recap later, but all in all, it was a great experience.

I finished in 5:04, definitely slower than I had hoped (and anticipated), but fairly early on, I knew I wasn’t keeping up with the pace band and a potty stop around mile 24 threw me off.

But, I felt good, only walked at water stops, beat the bridge, and tried my best to speed up the last .2 of a steep hill at the finish to the Iwojima Memorial.

We battled hurricane weather forecasts, Amtrak cancellations, missing photo ID’s, and ran a great race. More to come this week!