2016Back Home Again: 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It's Ok November 22, 2016


...that I haven't posted in almost a month. There's been a lot going on, good and bad, and I just haven't had the time or energy. One of these days I will get around to telling you about it.

...that if I get invited to one more Usborne books party I just might scream. I like the books but enough already people!

...that I have been on the hunt for holly berry LLR holidays leggings and haven't gotten any. I did, however, win the right to buy some Santa ones. And yes I bought them.

...that we can't seem to kick the sickness out of our house. First Ewan had strep and Cecily had something, then Alan and I had the flu and now Alan, Cecily and I have colds. Seriously, get out!

...that I cannot wait for four days off of work starting tomorrow. With everything that's been going on, I need a break.

What's ok with you this week?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Finding Things to Do with Groupon

Thank you to Groupon for sponsoring this post. 

I'm sure we all know about Groupon by now, but have you ever used Groupon Things to Do? You can find it by clicking the local tab, then things to do for your chosen location. 


I have started checking it out whenever we travel somewhere, like our upcoming trip to Orlando and Disney, to see what all is out there for the area we're visiting. I always look to see what sorts of discounts I can get for local events. Right now in my town I can save 53% on laser tag and mini golf, 43% off at a nearby zoo, 37% off bowling and my personal favorite, 65% off The Brian Setzer Orchestra concert that's coming up in December (hint hint Alan!). I also look in the cities where our parents live since we're there several times a year. 

Groupon Things to Do is such a great way to save money on things you already want to do both in your area and while traveling. I honestly can't believe it took me as long as it did to check it out!

Do you use Groupon Things to Do? If so, what do you think about it?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Cecily is Four!

My baby girl, my Little Sheriff is FOUR today. Where has the time gone? It really does seem as if it was yesterday that we were celebrating our wedding anniversary with my being in labor. 


She is so full of life and precocious as can be. She does everything on Cecily time and in Cecily way. While it is definitely frustrating at times, I wouldn't have it any other way. We are two peas in a pod, her and I, and I love her to bits. 


Happy Birthday my sweet girl!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Celebrating Seven Years!

Today we're celebrating seven years of marriage! It feels like it was just yesterday that it was our wedding day. I normally post a sappy wedding post reminiscing over all our beautiful photos, but this year I decided to post about our trip to Cumberland Gap we took a couple weekends ago for our anniversary. 

Several years ago I wrote a post about 10 places in the US I must see and Cumberland Gap was on the list. I don't know why, but I just think it's so neat to hike the Wilderness Trail like Daniel Boone and the 300,000 pioneers that crossed from Virginia into Kentucky during the late 1700s and early 1800s. The highway that used to run through the pass was taken out about 20 years ago and the trail has been restored and the forest allowed to grow back around it. 


About a month ago, Alan told me that he was planning a kids fall fun weekend in Louisville for us but about a week later he told me that the trip was actually a surprise to Cumberland Gap and Cumberland Falls for our anniversary. He knows me too well and knew that I was planning on seeing my friend that moved near Louisville so he had to fess up!

We left our hotel Saturday morning and drove down to the visitor's center on the Kentucky side, parked the car and set off to cross the gap to Virginia. There was another parking lot much closer to the "Saddle of the Gap," (aka center) and pretty much everyone parked there - in fact we were the only ones that hiked from the visitor's center! 




After we hiked the gap, we took the trail down into Cumberland Gap, Tennessee and saw an iron furnace along the way. All that is left if a portion of the stack, but cool nonetheless. 



We had been hoping to get lunch in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, but there was only a coffee shop and no food. There was a festival going on that day, but we didn't have cash, so we were going to have to hike back before getting lunch. We decided to head on over to the Virginia visitor's center and then go back into Kentucky. 



Unfortunately both of us forgot our water bottles and were dying on the way back. We hiked a total of 8 miles at Cumberland Gap and by the last couple miles I was just powering through to get to the car and to water. We finally got back to the car and decided to grab lunch and then drive up to Pinnacle Overlook. 



Originally Alan wanted to hike up there and I talked him out of it. When we started the drive up on the switchbacks, he was like thank you so much for talking me out of this!

At the top you could see Tri-State Peak, where Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee meet, as well as two CSA forts.We only stopped at Fort Lyon because by that point we were both exhausted. 


On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at Cumberland Falls, which was beautiful. It is one of two waterfalls in the world that has a predictable moonbow and we happened to be there the weekend that it was happening. 





We were there for about an hour or so, but ultimately decided to grab dinner and head back to the hotel. It would've been awesome to see, but we were going to have to wait another couple hours and we were tired and hungry. One of these days I will be back!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Urban Bourbon Half Marathon 2016

Yesterday morning I ran the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon with my best running friend in Louisville, KY. Awhile back I wrote about my bucket list races, and this one was on it. I'm excited to say that I have ran two of them this year and a third will happen in January.


I ran this race with my friend with whom I ran the Anthem 5k, Healthcare Classic 5k and Freeman Lake 10k. This race had a 15 minute mile pace limit and the course closed after 3.5 hours. Her main goal was to finish within the time limit and ideally with less than a 15 minute mile pace and in 3:15. I knew we would have no problem finishing before the course closed but I figured it would be close on her second goal. 

Yesterday morning was freezing and I'm so glad I brought capris! I had a sweatshirt on and almost kept it for the race, but I knew I would lose it somewhere on the course so I reluctantly gave it to Alan when we lined up with the three hour pacer. I knew we probably wouldn't stay with them, but figured that we would stay as long as we could. I figured they would do a run/walk split similar to what the pacer in the Evansville Half Marathon does, but nope. Not even close. Oops! 

Mile 1: 12:21

We stayed with the pacers for the first mile and then we had walk a chunk of the second. My legs cramped up, just like in the Evv Half, and I needed to work it out. Since this happens almost every run, I'm thinking that I really some calf compression sleeves. I actually didn't feel very well that morning and I felt really bad that this was her first half, that she worked so hard for all year and I was slowing her down. I kept telling her to just leave me and that I would catch up once my legs felt better. She told me no, that I didn't leave her so she wasn't leaving me. 

Mile 2: 15:04
Mile 3: 14:56
Mile 4: 14:07

Sure enough, somewhere around mile 3 I was fine. But the hills were coming. Part of the course went through Cherokee Park, which we ran for the Healthcare Classic. We were letting gravity carry us down the hills and running partway up them. 

Mile 5: 14:29
Mile 6: 15:12
Mile 7: 15:21

Some ladies from Mary's running group were manning the water stop around mile 7 and we were bolstered through.


We were almost to mile 9 and I desperately needed some water. It was downhill so I just took off and let gravity carry me.

Mile 8: 14:53
Mile 9: 15:20
Mile 10: 15:04

At mile 10 I told her that all we had left was a 5k and she told me that she was hitting the wall. You know, the one where you feel like you can't go any further. We were doing a run/walk the entire time and every time I got water and/or Powerade at the water stops, I felt sick. I'm sure it was a carryover from not feeling so hot when I woke up, but I was struggling too and trying really hard not to show how much. These miles kind of blur together but at some point we walked every other block through part of miles 10, 11 and 12.

Mile 11: 15:05
Mile 12: 15:38
Mile 13: 14:52

At mile 12 there was a balloon arch because the kids race started there and ran 1.1 miles to the finish. We were joking that it was the fake finish and cheered as we went through it. We were maybe a quarter of the way into mile 13 when I heard a policeman say to a driver that the end was right there and they could wait til it passed. I looked over my shoulder as we turned onto Main Street for the last stretch and saw that it wasn't that far behind us. I mentioned it to her and said we can run this last bit, it's only 7 blocks. So I started counting them down. At 1.5 to go, we saw Alan taking pictures of us, and we gave it everything we had to go through the chute.


We finished in 3:15:11, with a 14:54 minute mile pace, right where she wanted to be. I do feel bad that I wasn't 100% to run with her, but I'm so glad that we were able to get each other through. She was so so excited to finish her first half, something she never thought she could do. I'm so happy Mary chose me to do it with her. I'm so proud of you lady!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

2016 Family Photos

A few weeks ago we had family photos taken in a neighboring town along the river. From our photos you wouldn't guess that it was almost 90 degrees at 9AM and we were melting! Here are a few of my favorites.




Monday, October 17, 2016

$10 at Target - October

I purchased my stuff way early this month so I wouldn't forget again. I finally took advantage of all the fall and Halloween stuff. I grabbed my favorite Little Debbie treats for my trip to VA for work last week, a cute little pumpkin I found in the dollar spot and some Halloween socks for myself and Ewan since he was with me. Unfortunately I didn't grab a pair for Cecily and oh was she upset with me. Oops!


My grand total was $7.14. Well under $10 for the second month in a row. I just couldn't find anything else I wanted that would fit under $10. However, I think I would prefer to be well under $10 than over. Til next month!

Sweet Turtle Soup

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Kids Behind the Blog: Halloween 2016 Edition

October is my favorite month of the year, aside from December, and Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. And it's finally here! I decided to ask both kids questions this month. Here's what they had to say:

1. What do you want to be for Halloween? 
C: Super Girl
E: LEGO Ninjago...you know that.

2. Do you like handing out candy or collecting it? 
C: Getting candy
E: Getting candy.

3. What should mommy and daddy be for Halloween? 
C: A sheriff that's not named Sheriff. A cowgirl. And Daddy should be Sparky. Cecily calls me Sheriff, as in Sheriff Callie and Alan as in Sparky, Sheriff Callie's horse. 
E: Daddy should be a stinky sock and you should be a Ninja Turtle. Hahaha the kid cracks me up!

4. Do you like to make a scary or happy faces Jack-o-lantern? 
C: Scary!
E: Scary.

5. What is the best part of Halloween? What's the worst?
C: Getting candy. Um...the ghosts and bats and spiders.
E: Carving a pumpkin. Trying to figure out which pumpkin you want.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

It's Ok October 11, 2016


...that I'm currently in Virginia for work and am excited to be back on the east coast for a few days.

...that seeing all this architecture from the 1700's makes me miss living in PA.

...that I'm trying to just Shake It Off as Taylor says, but it's harder than you'd think.

...that I'm vaguebooking about the above statement.

...that it's already mid-October and I feel so behind in planning for all the birthdays coming up.

What's ok with you this week?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

It's Ok October 4, 2016


...that I originally typed September as the date for this post. 

...that I have had this horrible cold going on two weeks now. For whatever reason I just can't seem to shake it. 

...that I'm totally using this post as a shameless plug to sell Cub Scout popcorn for Ewan. You can buy online here. A portion of his sales come back to him to help pay for things like fees and uniforms and camping.

...that I spent $140 in Lularoe at my friend's party this past weekend. Alan was is super pissed, but at least I got some cute clothes. And because I spent way more than I intended, I can't get any Halloween leggings. So I snagged some for my friend who hasn't had any luck.

...that there's this huge fall festival going on in my town that everyone goes gaga over each year. I'm sure it's because I'm not originally from here, but I just don't see the appeal. It's one giant junk food alley and people plan their vacations around this week so they can go with their lawn chairs and sit down there all day long.

What's ok with you this week?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Evansville Half Marathon 2016

This morning I ran the Evansville Half Marathon. If you remember when I finished last year, I said that I wasn't sure if I would ever do one again. Well..I think it's like when you have a baby...you're designed to forget all the pain and misery and want to do it again haha. 

Last year I ran it dealing with plantar fasciitis and it was all I could do to finish. Even though I had several mishaps this year, it was still so much better. I started out with my friend who runs faster than I do with the intention of staying with her as long as possible and I made it about a mile before she got ahead of me. 

Mile 1: 11:48
Mile 2: 15:24
Mile 3: 14:19

Unfortunately I ran the first mile way too fast and wound up with horrible leg cramps and walked most of mile two. I was terrified that they weren't going to go away and there was no way I was going to continue on for 11 more miles. Luckily by the time I got through mile three they had worked themselves out. 

Mile 4: 13:35
Mile 5: 13:53
Mile 6: 12:58

Mid-race I felt so much better and was cruising along. Right around mile 6 I had to pee and knew there were bathrooms at the park we were coming up on and figured that there would be bathrooms before then so I went right past the ones near mile 6. Except that there weren't. Ooops! 

Mile 7: 13:17:
Mile 8: 14:12
Mile 9: 13:53

Right before mile 8 was the bathroom I was thinking of but I had to wait for a lady that ran up right in front of me. She didn't come out and didn't come out so I said screw it and kept going. Luckily right after mile 8 there were more bathrooms and a water stop right before we got on the greenway. Yes! 

Mile 10: 13:34
Mile 11: 12:57
Mile 12: 14:09

When I got on the greenway I looked at my watch and saw that I had 4.5 miles to go and about an hour until I hit three hours. I have done that in under an hour before so I was booking it because I knew it would be close. I had started out with the 2:45 pacer and lost them and got passed by the 3 hour pacer when I had to walk mile 2. They were doing a run/walk and I had been hearing the whistle for awhile but hadn't caught sight of them yet. I finally caught sight of them around mile 10 and between miles 11 and 12 I caught up to them, sort of. I would catch them while they were doing their walk but would lose them when they started running. I was trying to get ahead of them but I just didn't have anything left. 

Mile 13: 13:45

When we rounded the corner downtown and I could see the finish, I was so mad. I thought it was parallel with the start, but it wasn't. I had to run 4-5 blocks past the start. I was so close yet it seemed like it would never endI finished in 3:01:09, exactly a minute after the pace team leader. I had hoped to finish in under three hours and I was so close. If I want to be totally honest, I am a little disappointed, but overall I'm happy with my time. I shaved 16 minutes off my time from last year and considering how crappy I have felt this week due to a nasty cold I feel I did pretty good. I know that if I didn't have the leg cramps and have to wait for the bathroom I totally would've made it. 


Three weeks til I do this all over again!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

$10 at Target - September

I was supposed to post this yesterday, but the day snuck up on me and I forgot. Oops! How is it going into late September already?! It feels like it was just Labor Day... I did this a couple weeks ago, took my photo and instead of writing my post, I promptly forgot about it. 

Anyways... Here is this month's $10 at Target haul. 


Halloween socks from the dollar spot for the kids...and I was super disappointed that I couldn't find any for me. I think all of my socks are holiday themed and have come from there. I spent most of this trip eyeing all the Halloween and pumpkin things but we have so much already I just couldn't justify any more. 

One of my treats - Naked Juice - and on sale. 

Bootterscotch M&M's. I LOVE butterscotch but I hardly ever get it because no one in my house likes it. I put these into some M&M oatmeal cookies I took to my running group. 

And some clearance lip balm. I go through this stuff quickly and can always use extra. 

How much did I spend? $8.36 I didn't come close to $10, but I already felt like I was picking things to get to $10 and couldn't justify anything else just to get super close. 

Til next month Target!

Sweet Turtle Soup

It's Ok September 20, 2016

It's ok...

...that an experienced distance runner was killed here this morning and I'm really shaken up by it. She was hit by a car yards from her house while training for our local half marathon that's in two weeks. I didn't know her personally, but it's all I can think about this morning. You read about these things happening and think that that won't happen in your city...until it does. She was doing everything right - running against traffic, wearing a reflective vest - and it still happened. Prayers to her family and to those of the driver. 

...that what happened this morning is why I chose to attempt to run 11 miles on the treadmill Sunday morning instead of run outside in the fog. While my runs are mostly in my neighborhood or on streets with sidewalks, I do run along busy roads with no sidewalks or even shoulders for short distances. It terrifies me every time. 

...that I made the mistake of reading the comments on one of the news articles about what happened and I am so angry. Most people were saying condolences, but then there were those idiots that were victim blaming. "That's what sidewalks are for." "Go to a park." "Run in your neighborhood, not a busy road." "That's what happens when you're not being safe." A woman DIED people. A wife. A mother. A daughter. A friend. A coworker. How about you stfu and have some respect.

...that I just need to breathe.


What's ok with you this week?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Celebrating Indiana's Bicentennial

If you're a fellow Hoosier you probably know that Indiana is celebrating its bicentennial of becoming a state this year. Or you might not, so there you go! :-) One of the things the state is doing is a bicentennial torch relay through all 92 counties in the state, ending in Indianapolis. Last Saturday, the torch came through my county and Cecily and I went to see it. 


It actually came really close to my house, but I decided to go downtown where the county closing ceremony was because there was a little presentation and they had a traveling museum that talks about the bicentennial.


Sadly there weren't that many people there, much less than in other, less populated counties. I have been excited for weeks about this and I was so glad I got to go. Alan has been making fun of me about it but I don't care. Yes, I'm a history nerd, but how often do you get to experience a bicentennial? Not that often. I'm really glad I got to experience this little slice of history!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Kids Behind the Blog: September

Since I forgot to ask Ewan last month, it's his turn this time! Here's what he had to say.

 
1. What is your favorite sport? Why?
Baseball. Because you get to hit the ball with the bat.

2. If someone gave you a million dollars what would you buy?
A million Pokemon cards. The kid would too. He LOVES his Pokemon!

3. Tell me 3 things that kids do better than mommies and daddies.
Play with their toys, get their shoes on and eat.

4. What is your favorite thing to do in the fall?
Jump in the leaf piles.

5. Share with me 3 things you like about yourself.
Pokemon, Yo Kai Watch and LEGO Ninjago. These are things he likes, haha.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

It's OK September 13, 2016


...that I'm writing this on Tuesday evening, again.

...that Alan is out of town again this week.

...that with everything going on lately I feel like something has to give. I just need to figure out what.

...that I'm running my first of three half marathons in 18 days.

...that Cecily's birthday is just over a month away and I really have no idea what I'm doing for her party. Ok, I have a theme, but other than that, no idea.

...that I'm watching a show about Henry II of England and Thomas Becket. Nerdy? You bet, but I love it because their relationship, along with one of my heroes, Eleanor of Aquitaine, was my focus in history in undergrad.

What's ok with you this week?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ohio Renaissance Festival

Labor Day weekend we took a road trip to Cincinnati. One of the things we did while there was go to the Ohio Renaissance Festival located about an hour north. As I have written about several times before, both Alan and I love going to Renaissance fairs so we were both pretty excited. While sunny, it was a beautiful day - not too hot - and we were set to enjoy ourselves for a few hours.


One of the things I loved about the Ohio Renaissance Festival is that it is relatively flat. I have been to a fair that was on the side of a mountain. I don't need to tell you how fun that was with a stroller... I also loved that this one had permanent structures, which included a castle, pirate ship and church in addition to the village. 


We missed the joust, but we got to see part of the pirate comedy show and a juggling act at the Washer Well, one of the numerous stages located throughout. Ewan was in a bad mood for most of our time there, but he loved this. It was one of the only times I saw him smile the entire day. 


There are tons of shops, food booths and rides as well. I bought a couple metal butterflies for my herb garden - they're a great addition! And, the kids and I also went through the maze. The kids didn't want to ride any of the other rides, but they had a blast running through the maze and going down the slide at the bottom. Ewan is so smart - he's the one who found our way through. 


We got the kids their very own dragon eggs (geodes) that they were able to crack open. The guys running the booth were really great with the crowd and the kids. Props to them for being jolly!


In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention the one issue I had while we were there and that was at the Jerusalem Cafe, which serves Mediterranean food. I ordered a wrap with meat, lettuce and tomatoes only. They made my wrap and right before the guy gave it to me, he smothered it in tahini, which I don't like. He seemed completely flabbergasted that I don't like it and wanted another one made. Which then had hummus on it, something else I don't care for. I tried to just deal with it and pick what I could out and/or scrape out the hummus. But I was left with very little food and just so grossed out that I wound up throwing it away. I guess shame on me for ordering something that required me to have to customize it. But when someone orders something with only "a and b," that really does mean only "a and b." What would they have done if I had a food allergy? Alan told me to just go get my money back, but there was a huge line and I didn't want to deal with it, especially since I had already had them remake it once. I was pretty upset about it though because food at Renaissance fairs isn't exactly cheap.

Even though there was a lunchtime snafu, here's a deal for you to have your own fun at the Ohio Renaissance Festival this season:

Get $4 off Adult and $2 off Child tickets by using Promo Code "castle" when purchasing on our secure website at www.renfestival.com. (or click here to print your coupon - I recommend purchasing online because the line to buy tickets at the window was insane!) Tickets good any day of the 2016 season (Weekends through Oct 23). Online discount only. Not good with any other offers.

Hope you have a great time!

This post is sponsored by the Ohio Renaissance Festival and US Family Guide. All opinions are my own. 

 
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