Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Part III: Snow!

It snowed on Friday. I looked out the window and said, "It's really coming down!" and my grandma glanced outside then gave me a look that said I was crazy to think what I was seeing qualified as "really coming down." Hey, they cancel school in NC for that amount of snow.

Bri and I took Lyla outside and the cold and wet stuff falling from the sky didn't phase her. She was more intrigued by an abandoned goldfish cracker than by the snow landing on her head. At the end of the video, she's practicing her tap moves - "Shuffle, shuffle."
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Lyla ran up the ramp. Lyla ran down the ramp.











You can actually see some snow in this picture. And aren't Bri and Lyla cute in their coordinating coats?













Happy girl!













Bri called on Sunday, the day after we got home, and told me a story about Lyla talking on her toy cellphone. Let me back up: when Lyla sees a phone or hears one ring, she'll hold her hand up to her ear and say, "Hi." So Bri said Lyla was talking on her phone and there was the usual "Hi" a few times, and some Lyla-speak, but Bri also heard Lyla say something like "Ann Teff" a couple times. Bri asked her, "Are you talking to Aunt Steph?" and Lyla nodded.

Well, that was worth driving all the way to and from PA right there!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Part II: Family and food

Growing up, we used to go to PA (from NC and Georgia) for Thanksgiving more often than not. In order to keep the peace among the in-laws, my grandma decided that our family would do Thanksgiving dinner on Friday instead of Thursday. It always worked out beautifully. Well, guess what? We changed things up this year and had Thanksgiving ON Thanksgiving.

The McHusband and Nate stayed close to the beer and chatted with my Uncle John and Aunt Diane.

















Grandma showed Lyla around her sewing room.

















Meanwhile, my dad was on Turkey Duty.

















Time to eat! Somehow, after all these years, Bri and I were STILL sitting at the kids' table while our husbands got to sit in the dining room with all the grown-ups. That's okay, we had also-adult Aunt Becky and cousins Stacey and Ashley to keep us company.

















Someone remind me why we were at the kids' table and Uncle Ralph wasn't?













After dinner, it was time to work off some of those calories. Nate and the McHusband played with Ian and Brady, who are Stacey's sons. I think everyone was sweating by the time they were done.


























Once the boys left, it was Lyla's turn to beat Nate up. Giddyup!













Thanksgiving Part I: Braeden

The McHusband and I went to visit my family in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. Since we were headed north, I wanted to take a little detour through VA and visit Bronwyn, who had her baby a couple weeks ago.

















He was a little handsy, especially considering it was our first meeting, but he's so cute that I forgive him.

















You gotta love the sleep of the innocent.

















The proud new mom.

















I wish we could've stayed longer than the hour or so we were there, but we had 6 1/2 more hours in the car to look forward to. Bronwyn, thanks for letting us pop in. Can't wait to see you guys again!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wuv... Twoo wuv...

{Who knows what movie that's from?}

I've found a new love.

It's not another man.

It's not a puppy/kitty/bunny/any other fuzzy thing.

It's not silver, gold, or a semi-precious stone.

It's a sweater.

A beautiful berry-colored sweater from Ann Taylor Loft.

















It's got a great v-neck with chiffon trim, giving it a bit of a delicate air.


























It seems like the trend for shirts in the past year or so is for them to be longer, to come down over the hips, clinging to hips that aren't meant to be clung to.

This sweater comes down just far enough. It doesn't emphasize, it accentuates.

"You've got to ack-centuate the positive, e-liminate the negative..." Who knows what movie that's from?

How much do I love this sweater? So much that I bought another one in a color that the McHusband and I fight over. It's deep blue, I say. It's purple, he says. (Or vice versa.)

Maybe that second one should've been white.

Turkey Trot

Four friends and I ran the Turkey Trot in Apex this past Saturday. I think everyone knows that I'm not exactly knows for my bright-eyedness and bushy-tailness before, oh, 10:00 or so on weekend mornings so the fact that I had to get up and be gone by 8:30 on a Saturday was definitely a challenge. But see, I don't look too miserable:

















We met at Sara's so we could all pile into Vickie's car (Thanks for driving, Vickie!) and go to the park together. Sara's hubby, Cliff, was nice enough to take a picture of us as we headed out.













{No, we didn't plan the tall to short thing.}

The event had t-shirts from past races that they were giving away. We were looking at them and figured they'd all be extra-larges or extra-smalls but guess what? We actually found mediums! So we all walked away with a free t-shirt, which meant we actually got TWO for running this race. Totally worth getting up at 8:00 on a Saturday for.

The race started just after 10:00 and it had warmed up some by then - it was probably low 50's, but there was a breeze. I wore layers - tank top, short-sleeved shirt, and my fleece vest - and kept them all on. Sara's an old hat at these races and took her vest off beforehand. I should've taken mine off, too, because I warmed up pretty quickly.

The race course took us around a lake, which made for nice scenery. I was really glad we were allowed to have music; who wants to hear only their labored breathing?

I reached the one-mile mark in nine minutes, which is a pretty good pace for me. At the 15-minute mark, I felt like walking (I think I started out a little too fast), but I told myself to make it to two miles and reevaluate. At the two-mile mark, I didn't feel worse so I pushed on. Sara had told us about a hill at the very end so when I reached the path UPHILL from the lake to the parking lot, I thought, "This is it!" But it wasn't. I got to the top of that hill and found out I still had to go through the parking lot, down an incline, back UP that incline, then through the parking lot to the finish line. Geez, was this thing ever gonna end?

I wanted to finish in around 28 minutes. My official time was 28:31. Out of the 265 racers with timing chips, I was 147th. In my age group (30 - 34), I was 6th out of 19. The person who finished in the fastest time, a 34-year-old man, ran it in 17:22. That's an average of 5:36 per mile.

Showoff.

Just for comparison's sake: The fastest girl - and she was just a girl at only 16 years old - finished in 20:52.

I'm running a Reindeer Romp, another 5k, in a couple weeks. Fingers crossed for good weather and free t-shirts.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Funny

The McHusband sent this to me this morning. Poor Piglet.













I'm running the Turkey Trot 5k tomorrow morning with some friends. It starts at 10:00, which is actually pretty late for stuff like this. A lot of times they start at 8 or 9:00 and with getting there in time, it just ends up being too early a morning for me most of the time. Who wants to get up at a weekday time on a Saturday? Definitely not me.

I've got the 5k and the McHusband's going to the track in the afternoon. You know what that means? I get to take a nap!

I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week. Where has the year gone?! I've started my Christmas shopping, but I still have lots left to do. I have a list of ideas, though, and that's often the hardest part so now I just have to GET OUT THERE and shop.

TGIF! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chomp!

You know how I was running at the park and through our old neighborhood before boot camp these last couple of months? Well, boot camp's moved to a gym so I don't have that option anymore, but I'm running a 5k this Saturday and I wanted to get a practice run in this week so I did the run on Monday.

I ran the same route I always do, which took me past our old house. The neighbors' dog, Bailey, was outside. They have an invisible fence and it's not unusual for her to follow me around the edge of the yard as I go past their house. They're on a corner lot so Bailey was able to "track" me for quite a ways.

If I didn't know Bailey, I would've been scared of her. She was barking with gusto and lunging at me. She's not a big dog, but her attitude made up for her size.

I noticed that she was close to and, at times, on the sidewalk. I didn't notice if she had her collar on - between her being black, the collar's transmitter being black, and the fact that it was full-on dark except for streetlights, I wasn't the best eyewitness.

My plan was just to ignore her and get past the yard. She didn't like me running so close to her house; no problem, I'd be past it in a few seconds. Well, Bailey had other ideas.

When I reached the edge of the yard, Bailey leapt up and tried to bite me! I say "tried" because she didn't tear my pants nor did she break the skin. However, I definitely felt her intentions and I have the bruise to prove it.

I believe the technical term for the location of the bite is "saddlebag."













{I'm sorry for the upper leg shot. Listen, for the blog's sake, I'd much rather she'd gotten me on my more toned, slightly less white calf, but I wasn't that lucky so neither are you/your eyes.}

Pretty impressive, huh? {The bruise, not the fishbelly skin.}












Like I said, I couldn't tell if Bailey had her collar on or not. I called the owner the next day and told her what happened. She was very apologetic and said, "Yeah, I've been telling Jerry we need to keep the collar on her." Ya think?!

They're lucky this happened to me: someone who knows them and their dog. If I were a stranger, I probably would've called animal control.

Call me a glutton for punishment, but I plan to run over there again to make sure they are keeping Bailey's collar on. I know from living there that lots of people walk by their house and there are a number of kids in the immediate area. I would feel terrible if I found out that someone else got bitten.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A lucky Friday the 13th

My friend Bronwyn, who I visited this past Easter, had her baby on Friday. Talk about changing your luck!

Meet Braeden:













He's a tiny little thing. He weighed 5 lbs, 13 oz at birth and was 19 inches long. He came a couple weeks early, but his timing was perfect. Bronwyn and Mike finished a baby class the Friday before and got Gavin's big boy room finished the weekend before.

















I talked to Bronwyn around 4:00 on Friday, and Braeden was born just a couple hours later at 5:52. She'd had her epidural and if she hadn't told me she was in the hospital IN ACTIVE LABOR, I never would've known.












Congratulations! I can't wait to meet the little guy and see big brother Gavin!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Put a sock on it

Morgan has what seems to be a stubbed toe. It doesn't bother her too much except when Tucker steps on her foot, which, come to think of it, actually happens pretty frequently. Anyway, she's been licking it lately and it's driving me crazy so I decided to take matters into my own hands.













I put one of my old socks on her foot and it's held in place by a ponytail holder. Don't worry, the ponytail holder isn't very tight; the sock barely stays up.













I wondered how she would walk with her new accessory, and I pretty much had it pictured just right.
video

She had to be convinced to take any steps at all.
video

Poor pitiful puppy.

Recipe Recap: Teriyaki Tuna Steaks

We had BEEE-YOOOO-TEEEE-FULL weather here yesterday. It was sunny and 70-plus degrees so we wanted to take advantage of that and grill our dinner. The McHusband was looking to drive somewhere so I asked him to stop at the grocery store and pick up some meat and a side unless he wanted some go-to Steamfresh corn.

He came home with a couple onions, some portabello mushroom slices, a packet of minute-and-a-half rice and a tuna steaks. I checked Allrecipes to find a marinade and lucked out with a recipe that required only one thing I didn't have.

I chose the Teriyaki Tuna Steaks. I didn't have any unsweetened pineapple juice so I just added a little OJ. I considered using the pineapple rum that we have, but I figured the OJ was the safer bet.

For the mushrooms and onions, we just put the slices in some foil, added some butter and minced garlic, and set it on the grill to cook.

Remember how we had the yellow dinner earlier this month? Well, this was the brown dinner.













The McHusband grilled the tuna for the recommended time (about 6 minutes on each side) and when we checked, the insides were a little too pink and raw-looking for us. He threw them back on the grill for a couple more minutes and they came out more to our liking. Still pink inside, but they were cooked all the way through. I know, some of you are cringing about our obviously overcooked tuna, aren't you?













You did a great job, McHusband! It was all delicious. So...what're you making tonight?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chicken Stew

Chelle and Jeremy had their Chicken Stew on Saturday. It's called a Chicken Stew because that's what we eat - chicken stew. Here, take a look:































Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Yeah, I know, I HAVE to have that cauldron on my front porch next year.

Here's the McHusband enjoying his first bowl of chicken stew:


















Besides eating chicken stew, we hang out around the fire.
Hey Maret, Vanessa, Terry and Vickie!













There were some new faces at this year's Chicken Stew because of Chelle and Jeremy's new neighborhood.

We met Amber and Jared, who moved in across the street in September.













Chris (to Chelle's right) and his girlfriend Annie have lived in the 'hood longer than Chelle and Jeremy, but since they didn't have the chicken stew last year, this was Chris and Annie's first.













I sure wish I could remember what Chelle was saying.

If you weren't sitting around the fire, you were probably hanging out in the garage since that's where the chicken stew, snacks, drinks, and cutie-patootie Charlee were.































Charlee had the best time pushing that stool back and forth across the garage floor, and she kept us very entertained with her two-year-old chatter.

Oh, we had an uninvited guest. Personally, I felt right at home sharing the garage with him.













He was smaller than the lizards I'm used to at our house.













Speaking of critters - Cody joined us out at the fire once most everyone had finished their chicken stew. As you might imagine, he was a little more than slightly interested in what was in everyone's bowls.













The boys ended up inside playing poker toward the end of the night. I'm glad to see a decent-sized stack of chips in front of the McHusband.













But you know who had the best time at the party? Here, I'll give you a hint:













I have one more blackmail-worthy picture of her at the VERY end of the night, but I think I'll hold onto that one for now.

Thanks, Chelle and Jeremy, we had fun. And we're looking forward to the leftover chicken stew we took home with us.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Numero 22

I don't know if anyone's paying attention to that list on the left, but I've been keeping track of the books I've read this year. I'm halfway through my 22nd book. I'm shooting to finish this one and three more by the end of the year so that I average one book every couple of weeks. I used to read my books at a faster rate, but I don't have as much time (too many good TV shows) or energy before bed to read more than a few pages before lights out.

Right now, I'm reading the second book in Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series. We watch the HBO show True Blood, which is based on this series. So far, I'm a much bigger fan of the show than of the books. I don't know if it's because the books are already familiar to me from watching the first two seasons of the show or if I just don't like the writer's style, but I'm not really into the books. I want to at least read Book 3 before I make up my mind about the whole series since that book should finally be about something I haven't watched yet. Of course, then I run into the same dilemma, just flip-flopped: I will have read the book so will the next season of the show be disappointing?

I know, I know, it's a tough life I lead.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Like I said in an email this morning, there's always at least one good thing about any Friday the 13th: it's the end of the work week.

Sorry it's been a slow blogging week. There wasn't much going on this week except rain, boot camp, more rain, another boot camp, and guess what? More rain! It's been so long since I've seen the sun and blue sky that I'm not sure I'll recognize them when they do decide to come back out.

I'm doing another four weeks of boot camp, but we're inside at a gym this time. So we aren't doing the cardio intervals (sprints and laps around the park) that we'd done before, which means more time for, in technical terms, "muscle stuff." I didn't think I'd miss the sprints, but I do.

Chelle's still doing it, and Vickie joined us for this go-round of torture. We had last week off so it was a shock to our system to get back to it on Tuesday. My quads are still aching. They hurt so bad, in fact, that I've been going down the stairs backwards at the house. That still hurts, but not as much.

Oh, here's one interesting tidbit: Someone in our neighborhood put up Christmas lights. Not only did they hang them, but they've turned them on each night. Seriously people? I still have pumpkins on my front porch and you're ready for Santa?

No big weekend plans for us. We need to rake the leaves in the backyard, but I think they'll be too wet to do this weekend. Remember last year's leaf experience? Well, I do, and I'm not exactly looking forward to having it again this year.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vicious!

You should hear this from below. In the garage, it sounds like these two are going to come through the ceiling at any moment.
video

When the dogs disappear for a few seconds, they've run down the hallway to our room, turned around, and come running back to continue where they left off.

{Disclaimer: No dogs were harmed in the making of this video.}

Crazy dogs...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Go 'Canes!

My company was offered four tickets plus a parking pass for the hockey game this past Friday night. No one else wanted them so I snatched them up. Lucky for me, Vickie, Vanessa, and Chelle were free and willing that night so it was a girls' night with the Carolina Hurricanes.



























Chelle and Vickie sat directly in front of Vanessa and me.













Meet Stormy, the team's mascot, or "that bear thing" as Vanessa called him.













What is he, anyway?

We even saw the Dancin' Granny! Read this article about her. It says she's in the second stage of Alzheimer's, which is sad, but she wasn't letting anything get her down Friday night.













The Hurricanes scored the first two goals of the night in the first period, but the other team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, scored the next three goals and won the game.

Leafs? Really?

Anyway, it was a fun night. Thanks for going, girls!