Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Wanna Go Hiking

Our first day in Vermont, we were still recovering from travels, so we took it easy. After breakfast at the Farmer's Diner, we visited a local strip mall selling various items. 

First up was the Cabot Cheese Shop. They make some seriously good cheese. There was an entire table devoted to cheese samples. Daniel says that this is a called a loss leader – meaning the free goods are sacrificed in hopes that you make a purchase. The cheese was delicious, but I wasn't compelled to buy. Daniel however, after eating several spicy kinds of cheese {including jalapeno and chipotle} found himself buying a bottle of apple juice, so I guess it worked on him.

Next up was an antique shop – lots of lots of little booths with old stuff for sale. While wandering the aisles I overheard a kid impatiently say, "I want to get out of here. I want to go hiking already!" I feel the same way kid...

After leaving the antique store {not really our thing} we made a pit stop at our house where we researched local trails before finding ourselves heading for Woodstock, VT to hike Mount Tom.

Mount Tom is 1,250 feet high and offers great views of Woodstock and the valley below. The Faulkner Trail totaled 3 miles. It was a good way to end our first day in Vermont.

Food From Here

Our first dining experience in Quechee was at the Farmer's Diner. Their mission is to increase the economic vitality of local agrarian communities. Set in a dining car of a train, it is a quaint little place. 

We went for breakfast and Daniel immediately decided on the Chocolate Chip Pancakes while I stuck with my benchmark of eggs, bacon, fried potatoes and whole wheat toast.

The plate of pancakes was ginormous. They were almost like eating cake for breakfast. The only negative was they brought Daniel about 2 tablespoons of syrup in a little metal container. When he asked for more {after using what he had}, the waitress informed him that it would cost an additional $2 for the extra maple syrup. According to the waitress, "Organics are up." We are all for supporting local farms, but there is no way that 2 tbsp of syrup was near enough for three rather large chocolate chip pancakes!

My meal was scrumptious. We would definitely recommend this diner – just beware that if you buy pancakes, you might want to sneak in your own syrup container...

Farmers Diner on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 30, 2011


When I get tired, I get silly. I lose all ability to think or act rationally. Sometimes this leads to uncontrollable giggling. As we drove our final leg into Quechee, Vermont, I was doing the driving and I came across a sign that said "scarified." 

I asked Daniel if the sign we had just passed really said "scare-i-fied." In my mind there was no way that that was a real word. It totally sounded made up. In my silliness, I started using the word in sentences, mostly I think I just annoyed Daniel. He proceeded to tell me it was a real word and that it meant to break up, loosen, or roughen the surface of a road. The road we drove over after the sign was one of the bumpiest sections of road I have ever driven and it definitely had me "scare-i-fied."

Scarified seems like the type of word you wold come across when playing Balderdash.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Technology Fail

On day #2 of driving, we found ourselves headed to NYC. Why do we always end up driving through NYC on holiday weekends??? This meant an extra several hours stuck in traffic. Plus it was smoggy and we couldn't even appreciate seeing the buildings from a distance.

As we continued our long drive north we decided that a vacation would not be complete without a stop at REI. We really needed a good camera case for our Canon Rebel and some USGS topo maps of the White and Green Mountains {some people collect pottery or stamps, we collect outdoor gear and maps of national forests}. With a little research, we found an REI in Connecticut that was on the way. When I punched the address into our {several-year-old} Garmin GPS I had to laugh. 

The route it wanted us to take was 3,176 miles long and projected to take us 54 hours and 23 minutes {it should have been about 235 miles with a projected traveling time of 4.5 hours}.

It wanted us to go in a counter-clockwise direction from Maryland... out through North Dakota... up through Manitoba, Canada... and across Canada before coming back into New England. Talk about a technology fail. While at REI we ended up buying a software upgrade for our poor, outdated GPS. *Unfortunately the software update is not compatible with Apple.

Update: We figured out the reason for the ridiculous routing was that we had it set to avoid toll roads!!! Obviously a bad option in NY state. Oops.

And We're Driving

En route north, we made a quick detour to Richmond, VA to have dinner with college friends, Julie and Luke, and to meet their newest addition: Halle. Halle is a tiny little bundle of sweetness who placidly let us hold her and road comfortably in her stroller when we walked to eat dinner at a Carytown Burger and Fries – Daniel and I split onion rings and a California Burger, which were excellent. Halle slept through the entire meal. It was so great to see old friends. Sadly I didn't take any pics :(

Carytown Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Since we had already driven 10 hours, we contemplated the merits of pushing on through Washington DC. The pros were that we wouldn't have to fight with traffic the next morning. The cons were we had already been on the go for more than 14 hours. We agreed to push on.

What we hadn't expected was road construction that would reduce driving lanes down to one single lane (multiple times). At one point, we were pretty much stopped and Daniel was getting tired so he convinced me to participate in a "chinese fire drill" so that we could swap drivers. I agreed, and we quickly discussed the importance of shutting the car doors so that Sophie wouldn't decide to jump out. Traffic came to a stop and we both hopped out and Daniel proceeded to leave his door open! Thankfully Sophie didn't decide to jump out after us – I can't imagine trying to chase her across multiple lanes of traffic in DC!!!

After several hours of driving, we made it through DC and into Maryland. We consulted TripAdvisor and found a dog-friendly hotel in Baltimore. I have to take a moment to recommend the LaQuinta Inn at Edgewood. It is a new hotel and dogs stay for FREE. On top of that, our total cost was only $85 for a room with a king bed. The only negative was that the complimentary breakfast ended at 9AM since we were there during the week. Overall we would definitely recommend this hotel if you are passing through Baltimore.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Up until about 15 weeks I didn't really feel pregnant. For me this has been a challenge because I don't want to slow down {especially when it comes to exercise} and my OB is of the opinion "if you feel good, do it." I have really had to rely on my yoga and kickboxing instructors to encourage me to modify my exercises because my brain hasn't accepted that things are different {at this point, most of my modifications have to do with abdominal work}.

Around 15 weeks it dawned on me that I suddenly had a little baby bump. My weight gain is almost zero, so it came as a bit of a surprise. My pants all fit the same so it was weird to realize that laying on my stomach is no longer comfortable. It kind of scares me because this bump is little and I can't imagine the uncomfortableness that is to come.

Along with the little bump came a weekend of pure exhaustion – maybe that was my body's way of adapting to the change in my expanding mid section. Thankfully over the last few days the fatigue has once again subsided.

We are leaving on vacation tomorrow and I am looking forward to hiking in the mountains – at a minimum I hope we are able to bag Mt. Mansfield, the highest point in Vermont at 4,393 feet and Mt. Washington, the highest point in New Hampshire {and New England} at 6,288 feet.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Great North Woods

Daniel and I have been discussing taking a trip for a while, our babymoon I guess. I really wanted to travel internationally, but Daniel would prefer to stay closer to home. His idea of a vacation would be to stay at home and work {play} in the garage. But he married me and my idea of vacation is to go far, far away to somewhere I have never been before.

So after much research, we decided to stay in the US and drive to our destination. We started with a long list of options, mostly in Colorado {we wanted to be near mountains}, but we also considered New England {both areas of the country are around 1,300 miles from where we live}. Other considerations were that we wanted to take Sophie with us. 

Commence research central. We looked into the possibility of using some of Daniel's family's Disney Vacation points. Disney is very family friendly but not dog friendly AT ALL. They have reciprocity with resorts throughout the US but none in Colorado allowed dogs and only a couple of resorts in New England did. After talking to family and realizing it was going to eat a lot of points, we looked into other alternatives.

VRBO has been our friend for many years. There are always dog-friendly options and renting a house is much more appealing than being stuck in a condo or hotel room with people on the other side of the wall. We were getting low on time so we found our best options in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and contacted a variety of places. We looked at places that were ocean front and lake front and in the mountains. We finally settled on a quaint house in Quechee, Vermont, close to the White Mountains

Now we just have to finalize plans of what we will do when we get there as well as pack and prepare for the trip north. We are really excited about this trip. My main concern was not waiting until I was really pregnant – I want to be able to enjoy our trip. One of the reasons we ultimately ruled out Colorado was concern about altitude. It would suck to get all the way out there and then have an adverse reaction to altitude {we live at 600 feet and I have no idea how 7,000 feet plus would affect me}.

I am also hoping that while hiking, we can bag several high points in New England.

Monday, May 23, 2011

52 Books: Book 26

I am at the halfway mark with Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman. Several years ago when tragedy hit the Chapman family it was heartbreaking to hear of what they were enduring. Sadly their youngest daughter was killed when one of their sons accidentally ran over her. They are still putting the pieces back together and slowly moving on, one step at a time. As part of her recovery, Mary Beth Chapman chose to write this memoir.

The story itself is incredibly tragic and sad. You can't help but cry as you read through the account of what happened. Unfortunately the writing is not great. There was a missing element of rawness that you would expect from someone baring their soul. My heart goes out to the Chapman family. I am so sad for their loss and the burdens that their entire family will carry for the rest of their lives.

Excerpts from the book:
In the midst of such heartbreak, do I really believe that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose?

The truth is, I was born with a plan. I wanted life to be safe and predictable. My plan was to marry someone with a nice nine-to-five schedule and have a tidy, organized life – everything in control. Absolutely none of that came true!

...guilt is not easily defeated by mere logic.

How would I have lived differently if I knew my time with Maria was going to be short?

Regretfully, I would have lived much differently. I would have purposefully hugged and kissed more. I would have tried to memorize and lock away in my heart certain smells and smiles. I would have colored more and worked less. I would have laughed more and fussed less.

Bedtime wouldn't have been a chore to check off the list of things to get done. Instead it would have been more of an opportunity to listen about the day and offer whatever words were needed. The swimming pool wouldn't have been too cold to swim in. The flowers in the garden would have all been picked, and definitely more ice cream would have been consumed!

Menu Recap

Last week's meals were as follows:
It would seem that I'm really falling down on my cooking this week...

Tuesday Dinner: Barbacoa Burrito using leftover Pork from last week's Burrito Bowls. Daniel gave it 4.82/5 stars.

Wednesday Dinner: Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken and Portabella Mushrooms and a side salad. Daniel said the pasta was a bit bland for my cooking and gave it 4.47/5 stars.

Thursday Dinner: I have no idea what we ate. I guess I will blame that on being pregnant???

Friday Dinner: We ate at On The Border in Atlanta {thanks to our fiasco with Craigslist}. We loaded up on chips and salsa {our fave} and split the Monterey Jack Fajitas.

Saturday Dinner: Again, I have NO IDEA what we ate!!!

Sunday Lunch: We split a BBQ Hickory Burger at Red Robin in Huntsville.

Sunday Dinner: We went to see Pirates of the Carribean and then picked up a beef and cheese pizza from Papa John's on the way home.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

52 Books: Book 25

Another young literature book this week: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor won the Newbery Medal in 1977. It is the story of a family that struggles to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice in rural Mississippi during the Great Depression.

The main character, Cassie, is a young girl who is slowly being exposed to the brutality of the world around her. Throughout the book she tries to come to grips with the lack of equality and the way that she and her family and friends are treated because of the color of their skin. 

I read this book in middle school and it was definitely worth revisiting.
Excerpts from the book:
"...look out there, Cassie girl. All that {land} belongs to you. You ain't never had to live on nobody's place but your own and long as I live and the family survives, you'll never have to. That's important. You may not understand that now, but one day you will." – Papa

"You know he was wrong." – Cassie
"I know it and you know it, but he don't know it, and that's where the trouble is..." – Stacey

"Baby, we have no choice of what color we're born or who our parents are or whether we're rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we're here." – Mama

"It's tough out there, boy, and as long as there are people, there's gonna be somebody trying to take what you got and trying to drag  you down. It's up to you whether you let them or not... You care what a lot of useless people say 'bout you and you'll never get anywhere, 'cause there's a lotta folks don't want you to make it. You understand what I'm telling you?" – Uncle Hammer

"The sad thing is, you know in the end you can't beat him..." – Mr. Jamison
"Still I want these children to know we tried, and what we don't do now, maybe one day they will." – Papa

"But the way I see it, the Bible didn't mean for you to be a fool. Now one day, maybe I can forgive John Anderson for what he done to these trees, but I ain't gonna forget it. I figure forgiving is not letting something nag at you – rotting you out." – Papa

"You were born blessed, boy, with land of  your own. If you hadn't, you'd cry out for it while you try to survive... It's hard on a man to give up, but sometimes it seems there just ain't nothing else he can do." – Papa

Friday, May 20, 2011

Craigslist: The Good, The Bad, and The Makes Me Want to Curse

Back in this post about driving 8-hours round-trip to buy a mower, I suggested that we keep our drive-time for Craigslist purchases to under two hours each way. After today I think we should heed that advice...

In general, Craigslist has been very good to us. We have managed to get some smoking deals {thanks to Daniel's patience and ongoing research} and we have also been able to sell a lot of stuff we don't need anymore {it sure beats having a garage sale}.

But this week our good luck ran out. It started on Wednesday when Daniel contacted someone in Birmingham about something he was interested in and said that we could be in B'ham by 6PM. The guy said, "sounds good" or something to that effect and we made plans to head south. Late in the day, the guy emailed Daniel to say he had already sold the item. This is just bad Craigslist etiquette, but I guess no one informed the guy. Thankfully we hadn't left town yet...

Scenario #2:
For some time we have been considering selling our Altima and getting a slightly newer, more gas-efficient car. Our criteria for this vehicle is fairly specific, so we have patiently waited for the right opportunity and then when the right opportunity arises, we need to be prepared to jump on it.

Our criteria is as follows:
2002-2005 Honda Civic with a 5-speed manual transmission. 
We are looking for a four-door vehicle that has never been smoked in. It must have power locks and windows and a running air conditioner. Daniel has a list of specifics about the engine and my main concern is color: it CANNOT be white and the preferred colors are Black, Charcoal Gray, Silver, Red or Dark Blue {in that order}.

Today, a seemingly perfect car came up. But it was in Greensville, SC. Daniel contacted the owner to see if he would hold the car until 4:15PM and the owner said that he would. We quickly got ready to hit the road to drive the 5-hours {one way} to Greenville. Once we reached the other side of Atlanta {a 3-hour drive from where we live}, Daniel called the guy to confirm our arrival time. The guy informed Daniel that he already sold the car. Seriously? He knew we were driving from Alabama. He agreed to hold the car. And he sold it anyways. If he was open to other options he should have just said that he couldn't hold the car and we wouldn't have driven all that way. That would have been understandable, but don't lie and say that you will hold the car if you aren't going to.

Daniel lectured the guy about not lying to people and the guy offered to sell us a 2002 Honda Accord {not the car we are looking for}. Daniel flat out told him that we had no way of knowing if the car would still be there when we arrived and he wouldn't buy a car from someone who was dishonest. Harsh, maybe, but we did end up wasting an entire day. We knew there was a possibility we would have decided to back out of the deal, it just stung that the guy just sold it out from under us.

Since we were in Atlanta, we decided to salvage the day by hitting up IKEA and then stopping at Kennessaw Mountain National Battlefield to let Sophie get some exercise. We treated ourselves to On The Border {not super creative, but we miss it}

The day could have been better and we could have come home with a car. But that didn't happen. Sometimes life is just like that. We will keep our eyes peeled, but I don't think we will be rushing off on any more wild goose chases that are very far away...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Man's Best Friend

Last night was my first bout with insomnia. I hope this isn't a prelude of what is to come. Over the last couple of weeks I have been plagued with bizarre nightmares but I would rather have nightmares than a night of tossing and turning.

During my state of awakening, I kept coming back to the same thoughts. I was thinking about Sophie and how much she means to us. In recent months several of our friends have lost their four-legged companions to old age and it makes me sad to think that Sophie won't be with us forever.

We weren't expecting to get her and when we did get her, we were less than prepared. The first few days we even doubted our decision, but soon she had won our hearts. She keeps us company when we are lonely, amuses us with her playfulness and is always excited when we come home. 

One of my favorite quirks of hers is when we go hiking. We let her roam off leash {she generally stays on the trail} and she will run ahead of us. Once she is out of sight of us, she will come back to make sure we are still on the trail. She will wait with her head cocked to one side until we reach her. If Daniel gets there first she will continue to wait until she can see me as well.

She has brought us a joy that we didn't know before. 

I once had a good friend share with me her analogy for having children. She compared herself to a one-story house with many rooms. Before her first child was born, she was worried that her daughter would occupy one of those "rooms" and push out whatever part of her being already occupied that room. However, when her daughter was born, she discovered that instead of taking over a room, her daughter became an entire second story to her house {to herself}. And when her son came, she thought she wouldn't have room for him either, but instead he became like a third story. Instead of taking away parts of her being, she grew into something she hadn't fathomed she could be {a much bigger house if we are sticking with the analogy}. 

I think having a dog has been like that for me. Sophie didn't cramp my style. She didn't take anything away from me {not anything that I was willing to give up myself}. Instead I grew as a person for having her and I know that having our first child will be like that as well. It doesn't have to take away from who I am, it will only add to my happiness and joy and make me grow as a person.

To my friends who have recently lost their four-legged companions, my heart goes out to you. I will leave you with a link to a post written by White on Rice about this type of loss as well as a short documentary of what it was like for one person to lose his dog, his friend.

Last Minutes with ODEN from phos pictures on Vimeo.

*Note not for sensitive ears, the f-bomb gets dropped frequently.
**Reading this post and watching this video is heartbreaking. Don't say I didn't warn you. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Greeting Cards: Rainy Days

*This is the fifth in my series of twelve "I Love You More" cards 
that I have designed and will be posting throughout the year.

© Cheree Moore 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

52 Books: Book 24

I have been on a Young Literature kick over the last few weeks. This is mostly because my local library has limited reading options so I have been working my way through books in my personal library – ones I haven't read in almost two decades.

Last week I wrapped up Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene. This is the story of a group of German soldiers that are sent to prison in rural Arkansas during WWII. After their arrival in Arkansas, the soldiers have a chance encounter with a Jewish family when they are permitted to make a trip to a local store. 

As the story progresses, the store-owner's daughter becomes complicit in aiding one of the Germans when he escapes. Interestingly enough, she is Jewish. She is a young teenager who doesn't really comprehend what is happening to other Jews throughout the world. All she knows is rural Arkansas and a father who beats her. Aiding the German soldier is an act of friendship with a man who shows her kindness in return. 

You will have to read the story yourself to discover what happens to the German and the little girl. My heart aches for this girl whose self-centered parents didn't know how to love her.

Excerpts from the book:
"...maybe, just maybe, we all have an enormous capacity for believing in anything that will provide us with a bit of comfort."

"The greater the value, the greater the pleasure in giving it... Even if you forget everything else I want you to always remember that you are a person of value, and you have a friend who loved you enough to give you his most valued possession."

"Folks keep forgetting that wishing don't make something so, but prayer sometimes do."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Meal Recap

Last week's meals were as follows:
Mexican food, burgers and pizza seemed to be the theme... I will have to do a little better with my meal planning this week!

Monday Dinner: I received my first 5/5 stars from Daniel for this Barbacoa Burrito Bowl meal. It was amazing and reminded us of Chipotle Mexican Grill. {Recipes from Gina's Skinny Recipes}. If you like Chipotle, I definitely recommend checking out these recipes for Barbacoa Pork, Lime Cilantro Rice and Cuban Style Black Beans. Just add your favorite toppings – you could also wrap it all up in a tortilla shell for a Burrito instead of a Bowl.

Tuesday Dinner: I whipped up Bacon Cheese Turkey Burgers with a side of chips – homemade fries would have been nice but sometimes I get lazy. Daniel gave it 4.8/5 stars.

Wednesday Dinner: Crispy Shrimp Tacos turned out to be a bit of an involved process, but the end results were worth it. I wish I had made a salad or something to go on the side. I rarely make fried food, but it was goooood. {Recipe from White On Rice} Daniel gave it 4.82/5 stars.

Afterward we ran into town to meet friends at the local Dairy Bar for milkshakes. This may be a new fave.

Thursday Dinner: Date night. We mixed it up and went to Pizza Hut {we don't have many options in our town}. Pizza was good but the restaurant was FREEZING.

Friday Dinner: Lots of Mexican this week, I made Black Bean Tortilla Casserole {recipe adapted from Cara's Cravings}. Daniel gave it 4.83/5 stars – not bad for a meatless dish.

Saturday Dinner: After our 10-mile bike ride, we went to Sonic for burgers... not our healthiest week. Can I blame it on the pregnancy??? 

Sunday Lunch: We hit McCallisters Deli in Huntsville after church. We haven't been there in a while and they have changed their menu {again}. They went from having waaaaayyyyyy to many options to cutting out all of my favorites from the menu.

Sunday Dinner: Frozen pizza – again with the unhealthy.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Biking in Hollywood

Today we took advantage of the cooler weather to take our first road biking trip since moving to Alabama. We had been a little weary about riding on country roads {people around here tend to drive pretty fast} but finally decided that the roads close to our house should be safe since most of them are "no outlet" and go down to the lake. This meant some back tracking but also offered some great views.

At 1.75 miles we passed a field of cows. They must not see many road bikers because they all seemed to get spooked as we went by.

At 5.5 miles, we had to turn around due to angry country dogs that were roaming loose... we didn't want to take a chance on being bitten by a mean looking, one-eyed dog. We saw plenty of other dogs that seemed friendly. In these parts everyone lets their dogs roam free {we are guilty of this}.

Bellefonte cooling towers in the background {where Daniel works} 

Toward the end of our ride we ended up over by Bellefonte. The whole area is very pretty – alternating between water views and rolling farm country. We managed to fit in a 10-mile ride in a comfortable 1.5 hours. My only complaint is that the roads were tar and chip which is not the smoothest surface for riding. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

5/5 Stars for Barbacoa Burrito Bowl

Barbacoa Burrito Bowl, sans toppings

If you are Facebook friends with me, you have probably noticed my ongoing photo album of meals that I have made this year. After each meal, I ask Daniel to rate my cooking on a scale of 1-5. I don't think he has ever given me a score below a 4 {he's a smart husband}.

Since starting this scoring process I have had a lot of comments asking how Daniel rates the food. To be honest, I think he just tells me whatever number pops into his head that expresses how he feels about the food he is eating at that particular moment in time. It is a fun little game and I have enjoyed sharing the scores on FB and hearing feedback from friends.

On Monday I made us Barbacoa Burrito Bowls {ala Chipotle Mexican Grill style}. I found the recipes over at Gina's Skinny Taste and I was thrilled to get to bring a taste of Chipotle into our home {we have missed it terribly since moving away from Charlotte, NC}.

When we sat down to eat this meal, Daniel took two bites and said, "This scores a 5." I didn't even have to ask him, it was just that good. If you are a Chipotle lover or you just enjoy good Mexican food, I would recommend you try these recipes {click on links below}.

 Barbacoa Pork + Lime Cilantro Rice + Cuban Style Black Beans + toppings = deliciousness.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Foot Pain

When training for my first half marathon I never had any lasting pain. Prior to race day, my longest run was 10 miles and while it was uncomfortable at times, I found that I could get a good night's sleep and feel normal the next day.

Well the half marathon was 1.5 weeks ago and I am still feeling residual pain in my left foot. I expected to need to take a break after the race, but by the following Tuesday I was feeling fine and I went back to Kickboxing. Then last Wednesday I started back with Yoga and had no difficulty. I think that Yoga and Kickboxing use different muscles and parts of my foot than running because I have not experienced problems in either class.

Today I decided it was time to start running again. It kind of scares me that I will fall off the band wagon and lose my ability to run higher mileage. Don't get me wrong, I am not dieing to run 10+ miles but I would like to be able to comfortably run 3-6. 

Since it is hot and humid I opted for an indoor run on the treadmill. My goal was to ease into a 3-mile run. At 0.25 miles my foot started hurting. I pushed through 1 mile before finally giving up – I think I was hoping that using my foot would help heal it, but no dice.

So now I am back to that post-race feeling of serious pain in my foot. It really sucks. Daniel thinks I should avoid running for a full 2 weeks from now... will this mean I will lose all of my stamina? I don't think I really have an option at this point. 

On a side note while training for the half marathon I really thought it would be something that I did and crossed off my list and never thought of doing again. But a funny thing has happened. I kind of want to do it again. Don't get me wrong, I HATED the long training runs, but the actual race? That was an amazing experience. Plus I would like to try it again when I am not pregnant and can actually push myself to finish...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I went into this whole "having a baby thing" pretty blind. For me, that was probably a good thing. My sister has told me some stuff over the years {she knows a lot from being a labor and delivery nurse and also from having a baby of her own}, but for the most part she and other friends of mine have kept their experiences about having babies to themselves. I think they didn't want to scare me off.

Anyway, as I stated before I have had a pretty easy pregnancy so far. However I was not at all prepared for the fatigue that hit me a couple weeks in. It was weird that I could run 10 miles on a training run for the half marathon but then later that same day, climbing the stairs or loading the washing machine would leave me winded. It was very bizarre.

I questioned my doctor about this and she told me that it was normal and that I could keep running as long as I felt fine {I have never become winded while running}.

Over the last few months it has been a chore to get much of anything done and then yesterday, it was like I got my second wind. I went and worked out AND then went grocery shopping AND ran other errands in town AND worked on freelance projects AND did the laundry AND the dishes AND cooked a meal that required effort and I didn't feel the need to lie down. I didn't feel like I was going to pass out or lose my breath. It was AMAZING.

Sometimes Sophie is too lazy to hold her head up and she just rests
her chin on whatever is closest to her... some days I feel like that.

52 Books: Book 23

Last week I wrapped up Queen's Ransom by Fiona Buckley. It is the third in a series of novels that follow lady in waiting Ursula Blanchard as she solves various mysteries. There are more books in the series, but this concludes the three books that my dad lent me and I think I am content to stop here. If you are look for some light reading and are interested in a series of books about mysteries in a Queen's court, I would recommend this series.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Meal Recap

Last week's meals were as follows:

I was all about keeping things simple, healthy and delicious...

Monday Dinner: Due to the crazy storms last week, we packed up and headed to stay with family until power was restored. We found on on Monday morning that we finally had power at our house so we left Nashville and headed home. I attempted to go grocery shopping and learned that the Walmart in Scottsboro was still being partially powered by generators and there were basically no perishable items in the store. This meant no milk, no meat, no cheese. The produce was also significantly limited. When leaving Walmart I called Daniel to let him know the situation and we decided to try to grab a pizza from Papa John's. Unfortunately most of Scottsboro must have had the same idea. We scrapped the pizza idea and I grabbed dinner to go from Zaxby's.

Tuesday Dinner: I finally managed to find perishable items at the local Piggly Wiggly so I was able to make Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches with bell peppers and onions. Daniel gave this meal 4.7/5 stars and he doesn't even like roast beef.

Wednesday Dinner: Chicken Tender Salad. Since I cheated with the chicken and just heated up processed chicken tenders Daniel gave this salad 4.54/5 stars because he wasn't a huge fan of the "fake" meat.

Thursday Dinner: Frozen pizza – you need one night a week to stay at home but be lazy in the kitchen...

Friday Dinner: Tacos. Easy and yummy. I thought I had purchased the wider taco shells, but I didn't... next time I will pay better attention at the grocery store. Daniel gave it 4.73/5 stars.

Saturday Dinner: We went for a scenic drive/hike and stopped at McDonald's for burgers on the way home. We also made a detour to the local Dairy Bar for dessert. I was disappointed that they were out of Waffle Cones so I tried a Brownie Sundae instead. It was drenched in chocolate sauce and was so rich it was almost inedible. I like subtlety in my food. Daniel had better luck with his Peanut Butter Milk Shake. It was all very "small town USA" but I will have to go back and try a waffle cone with homemade ice cream before I give my verdict.


Sunday Dinner: After church, we stopped at Walmart to see if they had salmon in stock yet {this item was nowhere to be found earlier in the week}. They did, so we had Salmon with Corn on the Cob and Green Beans. Daniel gave 4.9/5 stars to the salmon; 4.7/5 to the beans and 4.2/5 to the corn (it was undercooked).

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Little River Canyon

This morning Daniel and I agreed that today would be a good day to take a hike. I did a bit of research and found that there were some good trails just outside of Fort Payne, AL in the Little River Canyon and at Desoto State Park. We decided to head to the Little River Falls first and then decide from there what we wanted to do.

The Little River Falls are a 45-foot fall with a pretty good flow over the top. Luckily it was a little overcast and there were not many people there. In the summer I am sure this is a busy place because at the bottom of the falls there is a decent swimming hole.

Daniel and Sophie enjoyed roaming around the top of the falls.

Afterward we decided to drive the scenic route in the canyon instead of hiking. The main reason we didn't end up doing a real hike was because the arch of my left foot has been bothering me since the half marathon last week.

The canyon was really pretty – we would definitely come back here in the fall to see the leaves change. 

On the way to the canyon we drove through Rainsville, AL and the damage from the storms was pretty bad. It made us realize how lucky we were in our area of Alabama.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Baby "M" 13 Week Check Up

Today I am 13 weeks pregnant and had my third OB appointment. The ultrasound tech was out but our doctor gave us a peek. Baby is healthy. Heart rate was about 170. 

I don't always feel pregnant because I haven't had many symptoms. We saw the little blip of the heartbeat at 9 weeks, but our OB couldn't figure out how to properly work the new ultrasound machine. This time around she seemed to know the machine better and was able to zoom in and show us the heartbeat, head and spine. Seeing the actually shape of a child makes it all more real... it was amazing how much the baby moved in the short time we took a peek.

So far, I have had no morning sickness, lots of heart burn and plenty of fatigue. I have not gained any weight and continue to basically feel good {besides my daily shots}.

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...