Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More pictures from the weekend....

Abigail and Liam.

Future soccer star.

All of us at the park.

Steven and the kids on the slide.

I wanted to share some photos from our weekend. They are in no particular order, but they make me happy.

Part-time member of the 0530 Club

My good friend Kate, courtesy of the Happy Housewife, has started getting up at 0530. While it seems SO early, especially on the days my kids sleep in, I've now committed to being a part-time member. On the days I'm running, I'll get up at 0530. Then I (hopefully) have time to run a few miles, shower, drink my coffee, do my daily devotional, and start my day BEFORE the kids start clamoring for food. Today, I did just that. I ran a sluggish 2 miles this morning and was home, before Reveille.

Tomorrow, since its my off-day, I will get up at 0630 and hopefully enjoy my coffee on my front porch before beginning my day. Anyone else want to be a part-time member of the 0530 club? Its really not so bad. Its beautiful and quiet that early in the morning.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend - Part II

We made the trip to Stafford to spend with my wonderful mother-in-law. Her birthday is the 1st and so we celebrated early. My sister-in-law, her husband, and their adorable son where also up visiting. We had a great afternoon of playing at the park, blowing bubbles, and playing outside while my father-in-law grilled. We then enjoyed a wonderful meal of steak, brats & potatoes, and a delicious strawberry spinach salad.

And, then came Declan's favorite part ... The Cake! My sister-in-law made an AMAZING malted marshmallow chocolate cake. It was amazing.

We went bowling! Declan's favorite thing to do.

And, don't forget my bowling shoes, Mom.

A wonderful weekend.

Short Run

I went to bed with good intentions of running this morning. I mapped out a 3 mile course and was hoping I had avoided any super-steep hills (hard to do in the Harbor). Well, I woke up with the onset of a mirgane and so the run didn't go exactly as I planned. I did get out there and put in a mile, but no way was my head going to take anymore pounding. It was a quick mile, though, my best time yet.

Hoping to squeeze in 2 or 3 miles tomorrow morning. 5 days until Race Day!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend, Part I

We finally have a 4-day! It seems like a really long stretch compared to the monthly training holidays in Germany.

We took an early morning trip to Target with the kids and tackled some housework. Steven hung our family crest frames in the dining room and we spent a good bit of time preparing for my yard sale on Saturday. After naps, Steven enjoyed some cigars with a friend and then we finished up the night with pizza. An amazing storm hit the area, with purple clouds.

I started the day early with a yard sale. About 10 other moms and I set up for a huge yard sale. I had a great time, made $20, and left with two boxes less than what I went with! And, I only bought two other items while I was there. That is a true victory. Saturday evening I played Keno with friends and had a wonderful time. I was a big winner and walked away with 4 prizes. Since the theme was Beach Keno, several of them will come in handy for our beach vacation in September.

"Just" a Mom

I started reading a new book, "Don't Make Me Come Up There! Quiet Moments for Busy Moms" by Kristen Welch. Its a great little read for those quick moments of peace that moms have.

Today really struck a chord with me. Its something I have a hard time remembering. Especially when I think about how I should really go back to work, or when I feel I haven't done anything of importance in a day (or week, or month).

"I'm a mom. What's your superpower?"

It's my new mantra.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quick & Easy Brunch

Yesterday morning I had some ladies (and their kids) over for some fellowship time. I wanted to make a simple, easy to eat, no-mess brunch dish. Here's what I did.

The ingredients: Skim milk, eggs, crescent rolls, and sausage (cooked and drained). I used Jimmy Dean maple sausage, so it was a tad sweet.

Then, lay the crescent rolls in the pan, squish the edges together so its a continuous piece.

Then, add the sausage.

It was at this point of my cooking that I remembered one of my friends is a vegetarian. So, I decided a cheese and egg concoction was in order. To add the eggs, I prepared them as scrambled eggs, 5 eggs for the big dish and 3 for the little. Add some milk, salt and pepper. Then pour them on top of the sausage.

Since I only used half of the crescent role tube on the egg and cheese mixture, I add the other half on top. I baked at 375 for 20-25 minutes and served. Yummy!

The next time I try this, I do think I will add some more veggies, like mushrooms or peppers. What's your go-to brunch dish?

Photo of the Day - Z

Since this is the day in this challenge (and X was such a challenge) I am posting two pictures, closely related.

Berlin Zoo, May 2009

National Zoo, April 2011

I need ideas for my next photo challenge. Anyone?

Day 11 of the 30 Day Challenge

This morning I started early. I was fortunate enough to have my Dad here visiting, so I got up with Steven and ran while at 6:15. It was really peaceful. The weather was nice, I passed several other runners, and heard Reveille halfway through my run. I ran 3k (a little less than 2 miles) in 22:17. Averaging a 7:15 kilometer, putting me right on the money for a 35 minute 5k in 10 days.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

11 Days until Race Day

My next race is 4 June in Washington, D.C. in support of the Komen Foundation's Global Race for the Cure.

If you are reading this, and can spare $5, please consider a donation. Here's my website.

My first chicken

I have long heard that cooking a whole chicken is easy. But, I was still a skeptic until Monday.

I bought said chicken, at the commissary without a plan. Which, as those who know me, is odd. But my food shopping is often a tad spontaneous.

Then I searched the interenet for a plan. My new favorite blog, The Happy Housewife, had a great idea for cooking a whole chicken in a crock pot. So, I gave it a whirl.

Step one, remove chicken from wrapper, dispose of insides (which come in a neat little bag) and rinse. Then place some olive oil in the bottom of the crock pot and place chicken in the crockpot. Simple, right?

Well, enter the first part of the challenge. My crock pot was too small for my chicken! Thank goodness I have two and I could switch to my bigger one! So, in went the chicken. Then, to season, I sprinkled Lowry's Seasoning Salt on top.

After 7 hours on low, this is what it looked like.

Then I took off all the meat (and sampled some). It was well seasoned and juicy! The bones, skin, and 5 cups of water joined the remaining juice in the crock pot on low overnight and produced some chicken broth.

The chicken itself, gave us one dinner, one lunch leftovers, and MANY more to come. I'm thinking chicken enchiladas.....

Photo of the day - Y

Y- Young fireman

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 9 of the Challenge

Today I splurged a bit at lunch, there's a nice back story, but I think I countered enough of it by my 2 mile run tonight. In 24 minutes. With a new mile personal best of 11:05. :)

Back Story
My friend (and Pampered Chef consultant) from Germany, has a friend who had to be moved to Bethesda from Germany due to pregnancy complications. She had to move so quickly and by a certain date, that her husband and young son were not able to come with her. They will be here soon, though! She is going CRAZY alone and cooped up in the hotel, so we went to lunch.

Tomorrow is Day 10. Weigh in day! I'm hoping to report a few pounds lost, but I'm even more excited that I get to buy a new book on the Kindle!

Photo of the Day

X - Is too hard! Stay tuned for tomorrow..

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 8

I hit the spin bike today for 4 miles. Trying to get my endurance up for my long run this weekend without putting additional strain on my hips an shins. Felt good, but its so boring working out on machines. I much prefer to be outside. But, today was a good day. Two more days until my first weigh in and my first reward. Hoping this goes well so I can hit my first goal soon!

Pampered Chef

Here's a shameless plug for my virtual Pampered Chef Party that is closing on the 28th. I need about $100 more in orders for it to count. Perfect stuff for Father's Day and Summer Grilling.

Just go to the page, shop, and input my name for the host name. If you don't know my name, well, leave a comment and I'll email it to you.

Photo of the Day - W

W - wearing Monkey.
Declan likes to wear his baby like I wear Abigail. So we fashioned a wrap for him.

5k Photos

Here are some of the photos taken by the professionals at our 5k last week.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 5

I did manage to squeeze the 30 Day Shred workout into my very busy Friday.
Hoping for a nice long run this weekend and some big results on Monday morning!

Photo of the Day - U

U - Uncle

Friday, May 20, 2011

A is for Apples

Friday, as I predicted, the kids were up at 0630. Of course, the one day we don't have to go anywhere they beat me out of bed instead of protesting when I wake them up at 0800. At least we had good naps later.

I had a dear friend over for coffee. The kids played nicely together, both inside and out while we chatted. I also made some apple crisp to enjoy with our Keurig Coffee. (She's a Keurig fan like me!)

Photo of the Day - T

T - Train

Declan became a train riding expert during our time in Germany. Here he is riding the train to Berlin in May, 2009.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 4

And still going strong! Today I had to wake the kids up at 8am! I had about an hour all to myself out on the porch with my coffee this morning. Then the kids and I picked up Declan's friend Cameron and went to the library. The boys had so much fun picking out their own books! This will definitely become a regular event!

Today was a run day and it was fantastic! I ran an 11 minute mile. That is a new best time, and it was the longest I have run at one time since I started running. I then walked for about 4 minutes and ran another 8 minutes. I did just shy of 2 miles in 22 minutes and I am very happy with that.

Tomorrow is a shred day, Saturday a long run, and Sunday will be yoga. I cannot wait to complete week 1.

Photo of the Day - S

S - St. Baldrick's
This March, DH shaved his head to raise money for children's cancer. He raised over $750. Here are the before and after pictures.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

30 Day Challenge - Day 3

First things first, I'm going to revise the challenge. I know, its only Day 3, but let's be realistic. I am not going to be able to maintain doing a 2+ mile run and a 30 minute circuit training workout on the same day, 3 times a week. Not at this point. Anyway, new plan:

30 Day Shred - 3 times per week
Running Training - 3 times per week
Yoga Meltdown - Sundays

Day 3
Was quite successful. I got up before the kids, had the house picked up and enjoyed my first cup of coffee outside on our front porch. Declan then joined me for his "coffee" and said, "Its really nice out here, Mom." I think we just added something to our morning routine. I ate really well today and we were able to join good friends of ours for dinner.

DH joined me in my workout tonight, we did Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred. It made me feel so much better to see him sweating, too!

I'm feeling happy with my progress so far and encouraged enough to keep going! Tomorrow is a run day, and I'm actually looking forward to it!

30 Day Challenge - Day 2

Well, as I predicted, life got in the way on Day 2. More specifically, I let life get in the way. DH came home (YAY!) and I promptly headed out on a 2 mile run, by myself. :) It felt glorious and I ran well. But that was all I made time for yesterday. It was Ladies Night Out and we had a trip planned to the Melting Pot. Luckily, the food there is not terrible unhealthy and since I had ran, I was well within my caloric goal for the day.

I also had a WONDERFUL morning with some great time to myself. I woke up at 0630 (sorry, Kate, I slept through your text) and had coffee, did a crossword puzzle, cleaned up the kitchen, and did some laundry before the kids woke up.

Here's hoping my body can handle Day 3, did I mention how sore my legs are?

Photo of the Day - R

R - Race for the Cure

In college, I walked my first Race for the Cure in Scranton, Pennsylvania with the woman who inspired me to get involved with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. In 2010, I ran my first 5k in Frankfurt, Germany. This year, I am doing the 2011 Global Race for the Cure in Washington, DC.
I have formed a team of friends and family members to walk/run with me. I'm also accepting donations in the form of raffle tickets or flat donation. Please visit our FB page for more information.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Photo of the Day - Q

Q - Quilt
This amazing quilt was made for me by my Aunt Jean as a wedding present. Each of the white squares can be written on. This was the perfect thing for us, as she knew we would cultivate friendships that would span many miles, thanks to the Army. I cherish this quilt and the memories it holds.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photo of the Day - P

P - Pear Schnapps
Oh, fond memories of Germany.

Day 1

Today was easy, as the first day usually is. My legs were really feeling the workout about halfway through 30 Day Shred, but that is when they start getting stronger, at least according to Jillian Michaels! I missed out on a nice walk with the girls due to my kids missing out on nap time, but that's how life goes sometimes.

Tomorrow will be a harder day, as its a run day and Day 2 of The Shred. Depending on how early the kids get up, we may be out running before we start our daily errands.

30 Day Challenge - The Plan

After running another 5k yesterday, I am starting to see the changes my body is making and I'm liking it! I'm starting a 30 day challenge today to improve my quality of life and keep the momentum going.

1. Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred - 20 minutes a day, totally doable. A few friends are joining me, so we can keep each other motivated. Each level is for 10 days. I've incorporated a reward system when I hit the next level. When I hit Level 2 on the 26th, if I have not missed a day, I will treat myself to a new book for my Kindle. Reaching Level 3 on the 5th of June will gain me a new workout shirt or shorts. Completing the entire 30 days will earn me a shopping trip for a new sundress!

2. Spend 15 minutes a day in devotional time - This can be spent alone, with the kids, with DH, or with friends. Reward - a more fulfilling spiritual life!

3. Running 3 to 4 days a week according to my training plan - Goal is to be completely running 5k by the end. I'd love to do this in 30 minutes, but the priority is running the whole thing.

4. Eating healthy - should be easier with the summer months, more fruits and vegetables, less heavy soups and casseroles.

Check back in as I update my progress!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Semper Fred 5k

Very early this morning, my favorite mother-in-law and I set out for the Semper Fred 5K in Fredericksburg, Virginia. This race is run in conjunction with the Marine Corp Historic Half-Marathon. We are very proud to have finished! While, Mom A beat me by a few minutes, we both finished decently in our age ranges and overall. Not sure yet if we'll repeat next year, but we have our work cut out for us either way!

Photos of the Weekend

N - Nurnburg, Germany

O - Oak barrel of Sekt

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Photo of the Day

K - Keurig, my new best friend. Really, coffee has never been so easy or wonderful each morning (or afternoon, or evening). I love it so much I took it on my latest road trip to my mother's.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Photo of the Day I & J

I - Ingrid (my Grandma)

J - Portuguese Jewelry

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Photo of the Day - G

G - Germany (our first day there!)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Photo of the Day - F

F- Flag

Military Spouses

The Friday before Mother's Day is Military Spouses Appreciation Day. To all my fellow MilSpouses, I say Thank You!

I am so truly fortunate to know so many amazing MilSpouses that have made my adventure as an Army Wife so much easier and more enjoyable. I've been mentored by spouses, I've been cared for, I've been taught, I've been listened to, I've had many shoulders to cry on, and so much support. It would not be an exaggeration at all to say that this lifestyle would not be possible without my fellow MilSpouses. Here are a couple of examples:

*coming home from a vacation to my family to a clean house
*being taken to the hospital early one morning in pre-term labor and always having someone at my side
*being forced out of the house during that first deployment

*having a place to stay in Italy and a babysitter
*not having to cook for the 6 weeks I was on bedrest AND having friends clean my house AND having people help take Declan to daycare
*being welcomed into a new community with open arms
*being friends with someone (and knowing you can call them when you're in need) after spending 8 hours with them 4 years ago

These are just a few things that set MilSpouses apart from the rest. We are a close knit group who will stand together despite any differences, band together to ward off those lonely deployment days, and provide for each other as family would. Because we ARE family. And, while some will say we have the hardest job in the military, I am proud to say that we have the most amazing support system.

To all MilSpouses, enjoy your day! And may the nights go swiftly until we are reunited again!