I Whine for a Bit and Then List Ten Happies (not a real word)

Like everyone, I’m in shock that it’s August already. In my previous life as an English teacher, this is when I would start to freak out/get excited about the beginning of a new school year. I’d be planning units, getting my classroom ready, and reconnecting with colleagues. I miss that. Whoa – I didn’t intend for this post to get all down-in-the-dumps so quickly, but it’s been a little rough around here lately.

Big “first world problems” happening in our household. For one, as I explained already, we sold our house. Fast. Now we don’t have a new house to move into…that is unless you count our friends’ basement. We’ve been packing up the last seven years of our lives, and our dining and living rooms are filled with boxes. The walls are empty and closets are half full. It’s sad, but I’m okay. We are so incredible fortunate to have amazing friends who have offered up space in their house to live and/or store some of our belongings that we don’t want in storage.

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This week, we were THIS close to having a great house. The house was on the market last year, didn’t sell, and was for sale again. We put in a few informal offers, and it seemed like she may accept. Then she changed her mind. And then we almost had it again. And then she said she was going to take it off the market. Hope, sadness, hope, sadness. After this last rejection, Brody and I have both moved on and realized this house will not be our forever home.

Our options now are to either wait for a house (in our price range that we like) to come on the market in the one neighborhood (fully developed, elementary school, pool, sidewalks, green space, etc.) we like, or build in a different neighborhood (which is also a really nice area but still being developed obviously). If we build and commit by September 1, the house would be complete by January 15. Such big decisions.

Another “first world problem” we’re dealing with is Finley. Oh my. Fevers, crabbiness, runny noses, night wakings, and did I mention crabbiness? I keep reminding myself of how horrible she must feel. I’ve heard that if adults experienced the pain babies feel when their teeth come in, we’d all be on high strength pain killers.

There have been some very good moments too in the past couple weeks. It’s not like me to be such a Debbie Downer, so here are ten awesome things about my life:

1. Finley is becoming a walker! It’s so cool to see her moving like a person.

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2. We took a family trip to the zoo (on Finley’s super crabby day), and we had a great time. It’s some good and interesting people watching there on the weekends! Finley seemed to like the ostrich the most.

3. As we pack, we’ve also been purging. Lots of trips to Goodwill and lots of crap thrown away (we bought a Bagster and will have Waste Management pick it up before we move).

4. I’ve had a few good long runs alone and with friends. However, Brody and I have decided to not run the Madison Mini anymore. This was going to be a race we ran together, and with him getting sick and injured and us moving, we’re not ready. We’d like to do a fall half marathon instead.

5. My mom sold her condo and is moving up north to the cottage permanently. She’s officially retired and will be living in a beautiful house on the best lake ever.

6. I made a delicious dinner two nights ago: PaleOMG’s Thai Pork and Veggie Meatballs. The sauce is ridiculous. If I wasn’t trying to clean out the random food in my freezer, I’d buy more pork and curry powder and make it again soon.

7. Finley loves her Radio Flyer. Every time we walk past it in the garage, she points and grunts. She holds on to the handlebars, and it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.

8. Starbuck’s iced caramel machiaccto with whole milk = yum. I crave these all the time. I mean, why wouldn’t I? It’s the perfect combination of sugar, fat, and caffeine.

9. Today Brody and I are taking a pasta cooking class at A Pig in a Fur Coat with a bunch of other friends. We went in with two other couples and bid on the class through a raffle at a charity event. Yes, I know pasta is a grain and not Paleo/Primal. It’s a conscious cheat and will be worth it.

10. I read a book! My friend loaned me A Fault in Our Stars, and I really enjoyed it. I haven’t read a book for MONTHS (my previous English teacher self is scolding current SAHM self), and how I missed it. I once owned this book, but a student borrowed it and never returned it. Anyways, I’d like to see the movie now. Ha! Like that’ll happen.

Happy Saturday folks! Have a good weekend!

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Another Cottage Weekend

The weather this past weekend was SO much nicer than two weeks ago, and Finley was able to get into the lake and enjoy the water. Yah lake baby!

She kayaked…

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and floated…

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and played on the beach.

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She also ate yummy food (pretty much all fruit) al fresco…

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and enjoyed an adult beverage (she didn’t drink any).

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Brody and I got our long run in while we were up there also. We ran from the cottage to and around Paya Lake and back, which was almost eight miles. I could tell within the first minute that I was going to have a good run, and I did. It was hilly, but it’s good training because our area here is so flat. This was the first run where we took fuel; we took turns holding the handheld water bottle filled with Blueberry Pomegranate GU Brew drink mix, and then at 4.5 miles, we ate our GUs.

The only negative parts of the weekend were Finley’s sleeping (fighting naps and night wakings) and Frankie puking (he must’ve eaten something funky Thursday night). Otherwise we had a fantastic time!

Cottage Weekend

This past weekend, we headed upnorth to my cottage in Lakewood. Even though the weather wasn’t the greatest, we still had a good time and were able to celebrate Finley’s birthday with my mom, sister, her bf, and my grandparents.

On Saturday, Brody and I went for a run soon after waking up while Finley hung out with Laura and Ben. We did six miles in 59 minutes, which is pretty good considering the hills around the lake.

In the afternoon Finley opened presents from my mom, sister, and grandparents.

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For dinner, Brody grilled chicken, burgers, and brats over the firepit, and my sister contributed a couple sides. I was going to make potato salad but completely forgot to even bring the ingredients. I did bring broccoli to roast but also forgot about that until 15 minutes before dinner. Oh mommy brain.

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Finley wasn’t as interested in this cupcake, but I think she was tired. My mom brought the cupcake and a sheet cake for the adults, and you better believe all the adults are their cake.

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My sister’s bf brought his boat up, so on Sunday, we all took a ride around the lake. It’s been years since I’ve been on our lake in a boat, and how I missed it. One day maybe we’ll have a boat. My mom had an infant life jacket (hello 80s) that fit Finley perfectly!

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Thanks to my sister for taking many of the photos in this post! I was pretty good about remembering to snap some but it’s always nice when someone else captures the moments, especially with a nice camera.

Friday Five

1. I made Against All Grain’s paleo honey biscuits this afternoon. When I made them a month ago, they had great flavor but were still a little mushy. In the comments, Danielle said to avoid Bob’s Redmill’s almond flour, and I actually found a different and cheaper brand at my grocery store. I also baked them for 16 minutes. They’re cooling on my stovetop, and we’ll see how long I can hold off on sampling them.

2. Two “big” changes in the world of raising the babe: 1) I have stopped tracking everything Finley does on the baby app. It’s slightly embarrassing that I held on to this habit for so long. It was unnecessary for me to be recording every diaper change and bath. After the look I got from a friend this week when I told her I was still tracking all this, I knew it was time to let go. It feels good. The only issue is I forget what side to start nursing on. 2) Last night I didn’t dream feed Finley. She eats dinner at 6pm, and then I nurse her at 6:45pm. She hasn’t really been taking in much for the dream feeds recently, and she also wakes up when I pull her out of bed (although she does fall back asleep while nursing and/or when I put her back in her crib). Finley slept through the night like nothing had changed. I had a little leakage on the left side but no discomfort.

3. Yesterday Finley and I spent seven hours at a friend’s house working the garage sale. There were eight families (us included) who contributed. They’ve developed quite the system: color coded stickers and sheets and three and a half hour shifts (everyone was asked to work two). Baby and kids’ clothes seemed to do the best, and I had none of that to offer. My contributions included men and women’s clothes and household stuff. My guess is I make $50.

4. It’s been raining here all week, and while it’s great to see green grass, I am ready for sun and warm temperatures. Plus I have some yard work to do, and the rain makes that unappealing.

5. Brody and I are going to run the Madison Mini half marathon in August! We haven’t signed up yet, but he’s agreed. I showed him Hal Higeon’s novice 1 training plan, and I think we’ll both loosely follow it. We’ll do our long weekend run together with Finley. If by chance she’s not a fan of being in the stroller for that long, we may have to get creative with it: Brody runs five miles, we run five miles together with Finley, and then I run five miles. Now let’s hope we don’t have a scorcher of a summer – running in heat and humidity stinks. *Yes, I realize I slightly contradicted myself in 4 and 5.

Happy Friday!

Non-Baby Topics (No Lie…Not Even One Picture)

Let’s chat about something other than sleep, breastmilk, and all other baby-related topics.

First up, TV! Now that I’m home full-time, I’ve been watching more TV (should I be ashamed?), or at least having it on in the background. Brody and I also continue to watch our shows at night.

My daytime TV starts with The Today Show. I was embarrassingly excited when they announced that Carson Daly is joining the team!!!!
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I always defend Carson when Brody pokes fun of him on The Voice and thought he was fantastic when he was a guest host for The Today Show a month ago.

I also regularly watch What Not To Wear and The Chew, both of which I DVR. Sometimes I’ll see an episode of Long Island Medium or The Dr. Oz Show.

At night, Brody and I have a handful of shows we’re into. This section demands a list:

1) Have you seen The Newsroom? If not, you have to watch it.
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It’s in its second season and is SO well done. The writer and producer, Aaron Sorkin, also created Sports Night and The West Wing. The show gives a (fictional) behind the scenes look at producing a nightly news program. The characters are well-developed, and the plot is just smart.

2) Sons of Anarchy started up again, and we watched the first episode the other night. I forgot how violent that show is: anal rape, torture porn, drowning in a tub of urine. Oy! And I’m sure all of the S.O.A. and Fifty Shades of Grey fans out there heard that Charlie Hunnam will be Christian Grey in the film version of the very popular trilogy (which I never read).
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3) The Food Truck Road Race is another one we keep up with. Quite a 180 from S.O.A., right? Tyler Florence hosts this show, and I’m guessing the title gives away the premise.

4) Brody started watched Revolution on Netflix on his own, and I got sucked in a couple weekends ago about ten episodes into the first season. We enjoyed Lost, and this is by the same writer, JJ Abrams. It’s a slightly futuristic setting in which the “lights went out.” No power, no electricity…well, sort of. This is the perfect lazy weekend show.

Second non-baby discussion point, FOOD!

Last weekend, Brody was gone, and a kind friend brought over soup for me. One less meal to figure out? Awesome! The soup (with kale, ground turkey, and carrots) was delicious, and with the cooler temps, I’m ready to start making more comfort foods. I found the recipe my friend used (link above) and made myself a batch. Instead of rice, I added some potatoes that were on their last legs. It was the perfect quick and healthy lunch for me last week.

I was craving something sweet (no surprise) I found this protein powder peanut butter cookies. They were what you’d expect from a healthy cookie, but I actually prefer this protein powder cookie dough. Brody came home, saw the cookies thinking they were “real”, and got excited. I quickly intercepted his reaching hand – he would’ve spit the cookie out and given me that “I can’t believe you eat this” look. Because I’m an awesome wife, I made “real” cookies for him this morning…with peanut butter, and butter, and sugar. Smitten Kitchen has the best cookie recipes, so I followed hers. Peanut butter cookies for the win! I broke my rule (more of a guideline) of not eating chocolate before noon and had two. Then I had two after lunch. I’ll probably have more before the day is done.

This is kind of food related: a commercial was shot at my house on Wednesday. Like a legit commercial that will air on TV (only on the east coast, though). How did this come to be? A neighbor of mine knows the woman who was responsible for finding locations for breakfast sausage company’s commercial. My neighbor suggested my house since they were looking for a kitchen space with a breakfast bar. Out of a handful of houses, mine was one of three selected! A crew of thirty some people arrived at 7:30am and occupied the entire first floor of my house. Lots of cars and an RV lined the streets around my house, camera and lighting equipment was set up inside and outside, and there was a food buffet outside…cause that’s when you know it’s the real deal.
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They left at 8:00pm (after doing a very good job of cleaning my house) and handed over a nice check. Plus, they left a package of breakfast sausage in the freezer for us! It was a very cool and unique experience.

Third and final topic, exercise. I’m kind of back on that horse; this past week I went to kickboxing on Tuesday, Zumba on Wednesday, and ran three miles on Friday. My body feels good, but I can definitely tell something is different with my knees. They ache when I crouch down and stand up, even if I hadn’t recently worked out. Also, I don’t notice it’s any worse after running. Pregnancy can affect ligaments, and I’m guessing that’s what is going on. I also need new shoes. It could be that.

I didn’t even mention “she who will not be named” once. Bet you didn’t think I could do it? It was hard.

Questions:
What show(s) are you into?
What’s the best thing you’ve made recently?
What’s been your go-to way to exercise recently?

Stuck in a Rut

Good morning! I was awake early, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning just like Jimmy.

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Photo of Jimmy, his handler (?), and the SP mayor last year
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To be honest, I don’t know what time Jimmy, Sun Prairie’s groundhog, wakes up on his special day. Probably closer to sunrise. I was happy to find out that Jimmy did not see his shadow, which means an early spring. Thank you, Sun, for waiting to come out until after this very scientific event.

Apparently, Sun Prairie is the “official” groundhog capital of the world, and yet Punxsutawney stole all the glory. If you care at all, here’s Sun Prairie’s groundhog website.

The connection I made between Groundhog Day and my life comes from the movie with Bill Murray, who wakes up every morning on the same day. He relives the same day differently, and eventually starts to not care what he does (e.g. drives his car, accompanied by a groundhog, off a cliff). It has been a really long time since I’ve seen this movie, and I don’t recall all the details, but it’s safe to say Bill Murray’s character is stuck in an uncontrollable rut.

I am in some ruts; most I like, and one I don’t.

My breakfast is in a rut…and I’m loving it.
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Some kind of toasted bread product, Earth Balance coconut chunky peanut butter on one slice, light cream cheese on the other, sometimes a banana, sometimes orange juice, and always my vitamins (a prenatal and 500mg of vitamin D3).

Oh, you haven’t hear of this amazing peanut butter yet?
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Please find the nearest store with the largest nut butter selection (for us it’s Woodman’s), and purchase this. It has a light coconut flavor that somehow complements the peanut flavor perfectly.

I’m in a survival, post-apocalyptic tv show rut…and I am happy with it. After bulldozing through The Walking Dead, we were at a loss. What to watch for a month until season three picks up again on Feb. 10? Brody suggested Jericho, a show about a small Kansas town who does their best to function after a handful of nuclear bombs cripple many major U.S. cities.
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Just the other night, we finished season one, and it was very good. Not as addicting or consuming as The Walking Dead, but still a good dose of humans dealing with a world very different from the one we know now.

I’m in a workout rut…and I’m semi-ok with it. For the last couple months, I have been running three miles twice a week, taking BodyPump once a week, and sometimes going to yoga. When it wasn’t negative a million degrees, I also get to the dog park about three times a week. Considering I am carrying a few extra pounds around in my belly, I am proud of how I’ve kept up with a decent exercise routine. While I don’t want to shock my body by doing anything new, I could benefit from taking a step or Zumba class and maybe even jumping on the elliptical from time to time. Anyone know of any good pregnancy workout DVDs?

Lastly, I’m in a non-reading rut…and I’m not okay with this one. I’m an English teacher for pete’s sake! During my first trimester, I was so tired by the time I made it to bed, I fell out of the nighttime reading habit. While Brody read or watched tv, I would pass out immediately. Now I am still quite tired at night, but not like before. With the start of a new semester, I’m not swamped in grading yet, and I have the time. I also just started a new book, The Good Soldiers by David Finkel, and I really like it so far.

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Sadly, I forgot to bring my book home from school this weekend. Can blog and Real Simple reading be an okay substitute for now? I hope so,

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Question:
What rut are you stuck in? Is it good or bad?

Pregnancy Update: Week 20

Why hello! How have you all been? I’ve been a little MIA; blame it on the holidays, the holiday-hangover, illnesses, The Walking Dead, and grading.

The purpose of this post is to update you on my pregnancy.

EXERCISE AND PREGNANCY
Running has still been happening, albeit slower and not as often. My weekly goal is to run three miles two days and get to BodyPump and/or yoga one day. The dogs still require exercise, which means I walk them at least thirty minutes most days of the week.

I hope that staying in decent shape makes labor and recovery easier and faster. It has definitely made me feel more normal and like myself.

Compared to what my exercise routine had been for the last couple years, it’s been a change, but I haven’t been hard on myself. I don’t beat myself up if I miss a few days of anything besides walking. Taking time to relax at night is important to me, and getting enough sleep also has been a priority. I know that my priorities will continue to change, but hopefully exercise will always be up there.

Ashley from My Food N Fitness Diaries is also pregnant and has been answering the same handful of questions since she announced her pregnancy. I can’t say I’ll do this every week, but let’s try it today and see how it goes!

How far along? started week 20 yesterday

Baby’s size? banana

Weight gained? probably 5 pounds by now

Stretch marks? nope, and hopefully it’ll stay that way (my mom never got them and I’ve heard it’s partially genetic)

Sleep? I am used to sleeping on my sides now but sometimes end up on my back in the night – I do get up twice a night to use the restroom

Best moment this week? Hearing the heartbeat at our appointment last week Wednesday – it was 150 beats/min.

Miss anything? red wine and beer

Movement? little flutters and bubbles but no clear kicks or punches (and because I have an anterior placenta, which means the placenta is in front of the uterus, I might not feel it as soon as other women)

Food cravings? citrus always tastes amazing and I’ve started craving chocolate again

Anything making you queasy or sick? car rides, especially when I attempt to read or do anything on my phone (when I’m not driving)

Gender? unknown…but we find out next Thursday!

Labor signs? none, and hopefully none for a long time

Symptoms? peeing more often, tired at night (but not as bad as the first semester), and painful girls when I’m cold

Belly button in or out? in still (and probably will be for a while)

Wedding rings on or off? on

Happy of moody? happy

Looking forward to? the ultrasound next week to not only see Baby but also find out if we’ll be discussing girl names or confirming the use of our boy name

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Picture from 18.5 weeks

That was fun! Okay, maybe I will try to start this as a weekly post.

We’ve Got a Bun in the Oven

In my last post, I snuck this big news in at the very end.

Brody and I are having a baby!
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The questions you may have (or ones I’ve been asked often):

How have you been feeling?
Not too bad! I consider myself one of the lucky ones (unlike Kate Middleton) who have had very few negative side effects. There was a little nausea around weeks seven and eight and no throwing up. I became quite tired at night and could’ve easily fallen asleep most nights by 8pm. Lastly, I am hungry more often and have started keeping a bag of mini-snacks in my desk at school.

When are you due?
Baby is scheduled to arrive June 10, which means I am just starting my fifteenth week. This is good timing because my last day of school is a few days before. I am hoping I don’t go into labor early so that I can finish out my year and not have to be grading final exams from a hospital bed.

Have you had any cravings or food aversions?
Early on I craved pita chips and hummus, and for a few days, strawberries. Pretty consistently I have been into cheese for most of the first trimester. My eating schedule has changed a little; now I eat breakfast right away after showering at 6am, a snack at 9:30am, lunch at 11:45am, a snack at 3am, another mini-snack at 5pm, and dinner at 7:30pm. I have been consciously eating a little less so as to not go way over the extra 300 calories I should be consuming.
The only aversions I’ve had are towards meat on commercials, especially for burgers and tacos. Barf! I am completely fine eating this stuff (we had burgers Friday night and will have tacos tonight), but it’s something about the visuals that makes me want to gag.

Have you met with your doctor?
We’ve had three appointments so far: one with my PA at eight weeks, one with my doctor at twelve weeks (when we got to hear the heartbeat), and one with an ultrasound tech at thirteen weeks (when we saw the baby). Brody and I both thought seeing the baby was the best ever; however, we thought the 3D (or is it 4D?) pictures were kind of creepy.
That night we celebrated with a fancy dinner at Chipotle.
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How did you tell people?
I had to tell the Wine and Recipe ladies when I was only about eight weeks along because we had the ladies weekend up in Minocqua scheduled. There was no way I would’ve been able to fake drink, and there was no way I wasn’t going to go. One friend knew, and she was responsible for bringing the alcohol; she totally hooked me and another pregnant W&R lady up with O’Douls.
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A couple weekends later, we told my mom and sister. I bought them each onesies and said I had an early Christmas present for them. My sister figured it out first and started hitting me with the onesie saying “Shut up! Shut up!” while my mom hugged Brody twice and repeatedly said “I’m going to be a grandma.”
When we were in DC, we told Brody’s mom and sister. Brody casually slipped it into conversation on Thanksgiving day before we had eaten and took everyone by surprise. They were both very happy as well.
We made it Facebook official on Thursday night. Brody had the idea of posting a picture of a single bun in the oven with no description or comment.
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*Please disregard our super dirty oven.
People got it right away. I hope our baby gets Brody’s sense of humor.
Our friends found out around week twelve. Brody texted it to most of his friends, and I called or emailed close friends. It was so much fun telling people. People who are already parents seemed to be especially excited.

Are you showing?
Not really. I have a little bump that becomes more pronounced at night. I am still able to wear all my regular clothes, but I did, per Kelly’s advice, go buy a few maternity items from Target for that day when nothing fits. I do need dress pants – suggestions? From week eight to week twelve, I gained two pounds but who knows if that was just general weight fluctuation or the start of my “gaining baby” weight.

How has your exercise routine changed?
It didn’t change much at first. If you recall, I was training for a half marathon this fall. I was two weeks away from the race when I took a pregnancy test, and after talking to my PA, decided to run it. At eight weeks, I ran a half marathon and PR’ed. I was not expecting that, but I listened to my body and paid attention to my breathing.
Since the half, I haven’t run more than 3.5 miles at a time. Most weeks I have gotten at least two runs in and walks at the dog park about five times a week. I have recently committed myself to attending at least one yoga class a week, as I purchased a 20 pass package for $20 that expires in six months.
One reason for the decrease is from tiredness. For many weeks I was exhausted after teaching, walking at the dog park, making (or throwing together) dinner, etc. Now that I’m officially in my second trimester, I am hoping my energy levels will increase and I can hit up the gym at least one more time a week.

There’s my first official pregnancy post. I don’t know if I’ll be able to swing a weekly post, but I’ll keep you all updated as things progress. I will soon begin forcing Brody to take photos of me so we can all see how my belly grows.

Have a great night!

Questions:
If you are pregnant or are a parent, what was the best and the worst things during your pregnancy?
If you aren’t pregnant or a parent, how has your exercise routine changed now that it’s winter?

Thankful in DC

Happy Thanksgiving!

Brody and I flew into DC last night. Yup, we are quite the jet-setters – from one coast to another in three days. Normally we host Thanksgiving, but we wanted to get out here to see Brody’s grandma and sister. As draining as traveling can be, I am thankful we are able to travel as much as we do and also spend Thanksgiving with Brody’s family.

We are staying at Hotel Rouge which is only a mile or so from the Mall.

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Our corner room is huge and very mod (think lots of red, gray, black, and chrome). But last night, I was especially thankful for a comfy bed.

This morning we woke up around 8, each had a Clif Bar (white chocolate macadamia nut – delicious), and changed into running clothes. I love running in new cities, so you can imagine my excitement when Brody told me he was packing his running gear.

We set out towards the Mall and ran around the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and probably a few others. Although the temps were in the high 30s to low 40s, the sun kept us warm. There were lots of other runners out, like us, burning a few hundred calories before the eating extravaganza.

I did make Brody take a photo with me, and even though he’s not smiling, I still like it.

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I am very thankful for an amazing husband who runs with me, listens to my pointless stories, and laughs at my horrible sense of direction.

The rest of the day will involve lots of down time watching football, snacking, and feasting on a massive rib roast. I am thankful for family and food.

Cheers!

Questions:
Where are you celebrating the holiday?
What are you thankful for?

Jam Packed Weekend

Hi there! How are you all? Have a good weekend? A productive Monday? I hope so.

Once again, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy: I post about my weekends. I promise my posts will get more interesting in the future.

I did have a great weekend, though, and I did a lot! It was all fun stuff and left little room for grading. While this does mean I will be scrambling a little to get the last batch of personal narrative essays graded by tomorrow night, it was worth it.

Friday Night
Two teacher friends (from when I worked at a different school) and I still get together. We made plans to grab dinner and then see Jersey Boys at the Overture.

We met at Graze as Nicki had never been. After Lindsay and I gushed about it, she had to agree.
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This map of Wisconsin in the lobby shows all of the farms they use ingredients from. I love how so many Madison restaurants support local businesses and buy local.

We had drinks at the bar and shared an order of cheese curds. They have some of the best in Madison, up there with those from The Old Fashioned.

For dinner, I knew what I was going to order before I had even walked in the door: the bibimbap. This delicious concoction includes a fried rice block, shredded raw vegetables, green onions, tofu or pork (I chose tofu), a runny egg, and chili sauce. You mix it all up and dig in.
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Not the prettiest meal, but the flavors and textures all meld perfectly together.

Lindsay and Nicki both got the pub burger which comes on a homemade English muffin as the bun and with double-fried French fries. Like the cheese curds, these are contenders for the best fries in Madison. I believe they are cooked in duck fat, which explains it.

With about fifteen minutes until show time, we headed to the Overture and found our seats. We were in the top balcony but only a few rows up and in the very center.

It was an amazing show, and I was surprised how many songs I knew (however, I am not the type to sing along). The story line covered a lengthy span of time, but it was really the music and amazing singers who made this musical what it was. Even though it was incredible, I still enjoyed Wicked more. I’m not sure why – maybe a stronger plot? That’s probably the English teacher in me thinking that way.

Towards the last half an hour, I got sleepy. If I had my druthers (Brody used this expression on Saturday, and I thought I should use it too), I’d be in bed by 9:30pm on a Friday. Yup, I’m a grandma. But, I had so much fun catching up with Lindsay and Nicki at dinner and getting all cultured (ironic diction there), it was worth the late night.

Saturday Morning
Mel asked if I was interested in volunteering with her for the Girls On the Run 5K in Waunakee.
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I ran this last year with my sister-in-law and thought its be fun to help out and run again. Mel and I arrived at 8am and helped people register for the run. The time flew by, and before we knew it, we were listening to the National Anthem.
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We all had the same bib numbers! We are all winners.
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Picture courtesy of Mel

The run was fun, and SO cute! All of these little girls running with their moms, dads, and mentors. It was a hilly course, and due to the volume of people and walkers, Mel and I didn’t break any records. At the end, we did see and hear the overly supportive/forceful parent yelling for his kid to sprint to the end. As she passed us, I heard her say, “This hurts Dad.”
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Saturday Afternoon
Three major events happened: I took the dogs to the park, I napped, and I went shopping. It was epic.

Saturday Evening
Brody and I were invited to the annual DAIS (Domestic Abuse Intervention Services) Gala. It was a swanky, black tie optional event at The Madison Club. There was a silent auction (we lost out on some photos of New York) and a live auction after dinner (Brody put his number up once).

The meal was incredible: mushroom soup with a small salad; fried braised short ribs, a piece of steak, puréed rutabaga, and fall vegetables; and a chocolate mound with cake, peanut butter mousse, drizzled with a raspberry caramel sauce. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the time or place to take photos, so you’ll just have to imagine this three-course meal.

DAIS is in the midst of a Capital Campaign, as they are raising money to build a new facility. It is an amazing cause to support and there is a great need for a larger space. It is heartbreaking to hear how many women and children they have to turn away because their beds are filled. If you live in Dane County, I highly encourage you to look at their website and consider donating.

Sunday
I could’ve used a rest day after all of that activity, but we had more plans. I made it to the park early with the dogs and did a little grading before heading to Fredonia. My sister, the music teacher, directed her district’s musical. We saw the matinee of The Wizard of Oz, and she did a great job. It sounds like it’s A LOT of work with choreographing, coordinating practices, dealing with kids from elementary school through high school, etc. Ugh, I am exhausted just thinking about it. Good work Laura!

Happy Monday!

Questions:
What’d you do this weekend?
Did you run or have a race this weekend?
What’s the best musical you’ve ever seen?