Thinking Out Loud

Happy, Happy!!  It’s Thursday!  We are one day closer to the weekend!  It also means that I’m thinking out loud today.  I have a lot on my mind and we’ve been doing so much, so let’s roll! 🙂

Thinking-Out-LoudSo remember in my last post, I talked about going through and refreshing the house? Well, I found a color for the kitchen and went for it!!  I picked a dark slate gray and I love it.  I also used the same color to paint our foyer too.  It’s amazing how a fresh coat of paint can have such a big impact!  Bye bye orange, hello gray!! kitchenredoIn the foyer, I didn’t take a before picture, but we pulled up the big rug that covered the hardwoods and we bought the new shoe bench!  The clutter is gone!!  So happy! foyerI still need to find accessories for the kitchen wall.  I did also end up painting just that one wall all gray.  We have vaulted ceilings in the kitchen so it’s a great little accent wall.  I’ll post a pic once it’s all decorated.

Nick and I also celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary!!  It’s hard to believe that time has gone by so quickly and that we are already at 17 years?!  We celebrated by spending the day at the pool with friends and a great dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants.  anniversarypicWe also had a jammed packed weekend not only our celebrating our anniversary, but we also went to a going away party for our friend, Daniel.   He’s headed to Taiwan for two years to teach internationally.  It was great to all get together at Sticks for a drinks and dinner and just spend time together with friends. goingawaypartyDaniel left just yesterday morning and Cara and I got to see him off at the airport.  It was definitely bittersweet and we held it together until we got outside.  We both blamed each other for starting the water works.

We are headed out of town this weekend for one last summer hurrah!  We going back to Williamsburg to meet up with our friends who live in Virginia on Friday and Nathan and Katie are tentatively coming up and we’ll see them on Saturday and Sunday.  We plan on hitting Busch Gardens and Water Country USA again, as well as a trip to Colonial Williamsburg since we’re there for an extra day.  I’m so excited to see our friends and spend one last long weekend away before school starts.

Also more exciting news!!  My college friend is moving 2 miles from me.  I cannot wait until Jen, Super Dave and Kaley are here.  We laugh because the whole time we were in college not once did we think that we’d be living within 2 miles of each other?!  I’m so excited to have her living so close.  We have that wonderful friendship where even if we didn’t see each other as often as life would let us, we just always picked up where we left off.  Now there will be no more picking up!!  It makes me squeal just a bit with happiness.  I also can’t wait for her to meet my friends here!  They are going to love her as much as I do.

Shopping, shopping and more shopping!  Cara, Hayden and I headed to Concord Mills for a day trip this week.  We wanted to look for some school clothes and we found some awesome deals!  I love a good TJ Max visit.  Hayden got hooked up with some great clothes and we are all set!  Next, we will have to tackle school supplies.  I also hit some great deals on work clothes too.  I found an amazing dress at The Loft outlet.  The minute I saw a dress similar to this dress, I had to have it! It fit perfectly and I’m thinking I’ll wear it for Open House.  I also get a Stitch Fix box next week too.  I asked for dresses and skirts that I can wear to school.  I also started a Pinterest board for my stylist for some inspiration.  Maybe one of my pins will make it into my box?!

Hey, wait a minute!!  I didn’t mention running?!!

So what’s new with you?  What’s on your mind? Share it with me!

See what other people are thinking about too for Thinking Out Loud Thursday hosted by Running With Spoons.

Go be awesome! 🙂

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Travel Days and Gasparilla Expo

Since coming back from Tampa, I’m been a little MIA on my blog.  We got back late Monday night and I’ve basically been recouping since.  Luckily, we had snow fall a few days this week which meant no school and lots of family time! Total win! 🙂

Our Gasparilla trip was so awesome!  I’m going to break up the trip and the races into separate blog posts because I’m having a hard time narrowing it all down.

Travel Days and the Gasparilla Expo

So let’s jump back to a week ago, we left Wednesday for Tampa.  Thankfully, due to snow, we were able to leave earlier in the day.  Christine, Cara and I started the 10+ hour trip south around mid-morning.  We made great time and enjoyed the car ride.  We got to Savannah around 3:30pm but still felt good so we continued on making it to Jacksonville right at dinner time.  We called it a day, grabbed some dinner and stayed overnight there.  wednesdaynightdinner

We got up early on Thursday, hit the gym downstairs for a quick run, and enjoyed the “free” breakfast.  We left Jacksonville right at 10am and drove the rest of the way to Tampa.  We were in contact with Amanda who had flown into Tampa earlier in the morning.  We agreed to meet up for lunch around 1pm at The Independent, a pub near our rental house.  The food was awesome!!  I was so excited to see they had Beef on Weck!  This was the perfect start to our trip.  thursdaylunch

After lunch, we headed to the grocery store for goodies for the rest of the week and headed to our rental house.  We met the owner, Mike, who was awesome!!  The house was amazing!  We instantly felt at home and the view from the backyard was spectacular!  We were in FLORIDA! 🙂  We had the rest of the day to hang out and to get settled.  We headed to Ybor City for dinner at the Tampa Brewing Company.  We had a delicious meal and made our plans for the next day.  Carole was flying in mid-afternoon and we’d be hitting the Expo. riverview

Friday morning, we got up and headed out for a little run.  It was a nice day, though a bit cool for Florida.  We got dressed and realized that we were within a short drive to see manatees.  So we made the trek to the Manatee Viewing Center in Big Bend. It was so cool!!  The manatees were just hanging out in the warm water.  They have an elevated viewing deck so you could see so many of them!  After the manatees, we headed towards the International Mall for lunch and to check out a running shop.  We had a great lunch at The Pub Tampa Bay.  manateeWe scooped Carole up at the airport and headed to the Expo and caught up with Marty and David.  This was probably one of the biggest Expos I’ve ever been to!  It had a lot of vendors, music, free samples, etc.  We made our way to grab our bibs and swag.  There was a snag with the tees and Cara ended up not getting all of her shirts.  They ran out of her size!  They are correcting this by sending her shirts once they are made and printed.  The Expo was well organized, though a bit hectic.  We headed over the Gasparilla official merchandise area (made by Under Armour).  I grabbed a badass skull tank and a hat.  I was disappointed that they didn’t have other race themed merchandise.  A lot of us were looking for blankets, every day tees, etc. but they didn’t offer it.  A huge miss in my opinion! For a race this size, I was surprised they didn’t have that type of merchandise.

One of the cool parts of the Expo was the huge banner which looked like the race logo, but when you looked at it closer, it contained all the names of all the participants.  We searched the banner for our names and snapped a quick picture in front of it. expo

Before leaving, we made our plans on where we would all meet up in the morning.  I researched places to park near the start.  That’s always the one thing that stresses me out!  Luckily David was really familiar with the area and he was great at pointing us into the right direction for parking.  We said our good-byes and headed back to the house.  Carole got settled into her room and we headed to dinner at a nearby Mexican place for dinner. raceoutfit

We were all in bed early!  We had a 4:30am wake-up call.  The 15K starts at 6:45 and we wanted to be there by 5:45-6am to hit the potties and meet the guys at 6:25am.  We laid out all of our race gear and turned the lights out by 8:30-9pm for me.  Tomorrow was the day!!  raceswag

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Friday Five: Love

I love today’s Friday Five, it’s all about Love! 🙂 And it’s the perfect theme for today too.  Nick and I celebrate our 22nd year together today.  We started dating in college back in ’93 and haven’t looked back since.  This weekend, we’re headed to NYC to celebrate.  The last time we were there was in 2009 when we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. fridayfivelove

Here’s my Friday Five: Love

1. My Family

This one really doesn’t need much of an explanation, but I love my family to our 3 person and one cat house to my super duper nieces, sisters, mom and dad to my in-laws and all the family in between and far and wide!

2. Running and My Running Family

Just as important to me as my own family is my running family.  We share a special bond!

3. Travel

Travel is important part of my life.  From planning race trips to family vacations, we love to travel!  It can be a short weekend trip to a week long vacation, I love being able to see new places and visit places often that we love.  Nick and I learned to love traveling from our grandparents who took us places often growing up!  We continue the same tradition they started with us with Hayden.

4. Quiet Mornings, Texting, Blogging and Coffee

I cherish the quiet moments where I just have a minute to myself.  I wake up way before I have to each day so that I can have just a bit of time, blogging and enjoying some coffee.  I love those times when it’s still, just before we start our day.  I also spend the better part of my early mornings texting with my early morning girls too.  I look forward to our usual random and funny texts!  We have some very silly convos ranging from Scooby Doo references to our PiYo workouts to the funny pics and videos we send each other.  It starts the day off well.

5. Food, Drink and Eating Out

Just about as much as I love running and mapping routes to run, I like planning out our post run food options.  I also love finding new places to try in the various places we travel to also!  Food and drink is just as much part of the experience of traveling as is the trip itself.  I remember good meals as much as I remember other travel memories!

So what 5 things do you love?  Share them with me!

Check out other love posts:

Friday Five hosted by DC area bloggers, Mar from Mar on the Run, Cynthia at You Signed Up For What?! and Courtney from Eat Pray Run, DC.

Happy Week!

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Thinking Out Loud Thursday

I’m pretty excited about this week’s Thinking Out Loud. I’ve got a lot on my mind and I’ve been saving it until today to start unloading.Thinking-Out-Loud

I just saw the prompt for next’s week #fitfam Fit the Dish linkup with Jill and Jessica.  Did you see it too?  It’s about writing your manifesto.  When I first read it, I freaked out a bit.  I remember when I had to write my teaching manifesto for my Teacher of the Year application a while back and how it was really hard to put into writing all those things that you inherently believe.  You think it, sure…but to verbalize and it put it down into writing some how makes it more permanent.  More real.  I’m going to give it a shot and see if I can come up with something that truly reflects me and my beliefs and goals.

We’re leaving for NYC tomorrow and I can hardly stand it!  I’m so excited to get out of town, but then to be heading to New York is the icing on the cake.  I’m a bit nervous about getting around with H in tow.  She’s luckily a super traveler and it will be a non-issue but it’s different navigating a big city when I’m only responsible for myself.  I’m a protective momma and with her now in her teenage years, there is a fine line between giving her space and wanting to hover.  The momma bear in me wants to hold her hand the whole time we’re there, but that’s not reasonable and she’ll freak!  Who wants to hold their mom’s hand at 11?!

The weather there is going to be frightful!  It’s looking like high’s in the low 20’s?!  I’m not sure I’m cut out for those brutal temps.  Nick and H are looking forward to it!  They are cold weather junkies!  The colder, the better.  They both are hoping we see some snow!  I think they may get that wish.

The countdown is on for Tampa.  With each passing day, I’m getting more and more excited about the trip!  I’m looking forward to the road trip just as much as the races.  It’s going to be awesome spending all that time with Cara and Christine as we make our way south.  The three of us travel so well together!  It’s great when you find friends who you can travel with.  It makes planning and going on trips so much easier!  Cara’s driving so that means I’m the navigator.  We figured our roles out on our trip to Myrtle last year. Hopefully we won’t have a winter weather repeat though?!  That was a stressful drive until we got out of the snow.

What’s on your mind?  What are you thinking about?

See what other people are thinking about too for Thinking Out Loud Thursday hosted by Running With Spoons.

Travel Tip Thursday

Yesterday, we left for our vacation to Hershey, PA.  4 adults and 3 children on a 7 hour car ride is enough to drive you a little bonkers.  The last thing we wanted to do was to end up putting a damper on the trip before it even started!  So here are a few travel tips that work for us when making a long trek:

  1. Plan a “get out of the car” stop about halfway through the trip.  I researched a place to stop for lunch where we could all get out of the car and enjoy a little break.  Part of the fun of traveling for me is trying new places to eat.  I was thrilled to find the Food Truck Lot in Harrisonburg, VA.  The bitty girls had a great time eating and getting in some exercise before we got back in the car for the other half of the trip.
  2. My sister and I are both teachers so of course, we have to throw a little education in there.  She came up with a great idea to give the older girls a journal to write in.  I stopped by the dollar store and got some cute stickers and markers to let them decorate them on the way.20140723-104121-38481713.jpg
  3. Give them a map (or a map app)!  Hayden always asks us a half dozen times how much longer? So we showed her how to use the map app on our phones so that she can see how much longer we have easily.  It’s cut down on the complaining a lot.  Of course, I’m pretty sure she’s checking it every 5 minutes though!
  4. My friend, Katie, gave us the “booger” game idea! As you drive along, you look at signs and billboards, taking out one word and replacing it with “booger”.  It’s been one of our favorites and we actually find ourselves doing it even while driving around town.  We have some great laughs when someone makes the perfect substitution!
  5. Make a list!  We downloaded the Hershey app and brought along the vacation guide that I requested and we made a plan of what we wanted to do while we were up there.  We figured out where we might want to eat, what rides we had to go on and what other things we might try to do while we were there.  It gives the kiddos a bit of input and you also get to be a hero if you can make it all happen.

What travel tips do you have for keeping kiddos entertained on a road trip? Any suggestions.  We could really use them for the car ride home. 🙂

 

Happy Thursday!

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Weekly Fitness and Meal Plan #7 – Vacation or Bust!

This week’s fitness and meal plan should really be called Weekly “Fitness” and “Meal” Plan because we’re heading out for another vacation to Hershey, PA and the only thing I’m certain about for the week is that I’ll run at least a mile a day to keep up my running streak and my only “meal” plan is whatever looks good on the menu!

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Fitness

Monday – From my posts this past week, I got creative and moved my long runs around so I could get it in before we leave for vacation.  So I’m doing my 12 miler this morning.

Tuesday – 4 mile easy

Wednesday – Saturday:  Run at least a mile every day

Sunday – 45 minute progression once we get back home

 

Meal Plan

Before we leave, we’ll finish off whatever we have left in the fridge!  Not going to plan any specific meals for the two days we are home.

Food Truck lot in Harrisonburg, VA

Wednesday is our travel day and I’ve already scoped out a place for us to stop about halfway in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  We’re stopping at a food truck lot where 4 different trucks are permanently parked: Grilled Cheese Mania, Taste of Soul, La Taurina Grill II and Lobsta Rollin.  They even have a picnic area!  I’m super excited to try out Grilled Cheese Mania or La Taurina (I’m a sucker for a good torta!).  I’m hoping that Nick and I’ll each get something from each place and share.

Other than that, I’m sure we’ll have some amusement park goodies, pizza at least once and some other food from local places in Harrisburg and Hershey.  I’m pretty excited!

Show some blog love too and visit Mommy Run Fast, Jill Conyers (co-hosts) and Running with Racheal, where I linked my Fitness and Meal plan this week!

 

Happy Week!

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