Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Off to the Zoo We Go

My plan was to hang out around the house and do some cleaning and exercising all day on Saturday but that all changed when my sister called to see I wanted to do anything that day.  I drive A LOT, like a lot, a lot.  I drive two hours a day to get to work and back plus any other things I need to do.  My poor car needs a break!  I knew I had a race on Sunday in Kemah so I wasn't planning on going anywhere.  When my sister called I knew I would have to drive to Spring to pick them up, drive to wherever we were going, drive home, and then drive by back to my home that night.  For a brief minute I was about to say no, but then I remembered, say yes more and also that I love hanging out with my niece.

It was decided that we were going to the Zoo and we also invited our other sister, Laura, but she didn't want to go but my nephew Cole did.  After a long fight with traffic we finally made it to the zoo around 1:30 pm.  The entire way we were singing "The Wheels on the Bus", "ABC's", "If your Happy and You Know It", and "5 Little Monkeys".  We made up our own lyrics to "If you are happy and you know it" to include "if you're happy and you know it poot in your seat".  What is it with kids and poop talk?  LOL.  

We saw the monkey area first and then made our way around the entire park. We made it to the giraffe section!

I think Cole was most excited about the Bald Eagle.  

I'm not sure what section this was, but it was in a fabulously air-conditioned building that i wanted to stay in ALL DAY.

After went to the petting zoo and rode the carousel it was time for FLAMINGOS!!  

The kids were getting sleepy but we had promised to take them on the paddle boats.  Cole rode in the front with me while Kali and Tori rode in the back.  Kali was not happy for a little bit but about halfway through we let her climb in the front and sit between us. I let them both "steer" the boat as I peddled.  They felt accomplished.
Kali Claire NOT happy. :)

We had gone through the water fountain and got soaking wet.  Cole didn't want 
We went through the water fountain a few times and got soaking wet!  As we were walking back to the car I asked each of them what their favorite part of the day was, it was the water fall!  At first neither of them liked it (even though it was their idea) but then they were begging me to drive back through there.  I was laughing a lot too.  I felt like the lady in the "Help me Janice" Youtube video that keeps laughing at the kid on the bungee ride.

I told the kids we could get ice cream but htey had to stay awake.  They insisted that they could stay awake the entire time but Kali fell asleep within 5 minutes of driving.  I said "No ice cream for sleepers!" and she woke up really fast.  It was really funny. She eventually fell asleep and we couldn't wake her up.  I owe her an ice cream cone, I guess!  

We went to Cloud 10 Creamery in Rice Village because we couldn't find a closer place.  Cole kept saying "I want sprinkles on mine" the entire way but when we got there they didn't have sprinkles. :/  The look on his face must have been so sad because the ice cream guy said "You're breaking my heart little buddy".  LOL. I guess I will need to start carrying around sprinkles with me.  

OTW home Cole fell asleep too.  We wore them out just as much as they wore us out!  #adulting

It was a fun day and I'm so glad that I was able to spend the day with two out of three of my favorite kiddos!  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Toughest 10K Kemah Round 3

On Sunday we completed the 1st of 3 races as part of the Texas Bridge Series, Toughest 10 Kemah.  The two remaining are One Tough 10K-Galveston (October) and the LaPorte by the Bay Half Marathon (November).

I had planned on getting there early to have a stress free morning, but as usual, "Planned" flew out the usual.  Plan:  Wake up at 4:30 and leave by 5 AM.  Reality:  Work up at 4:45 and played on Instagram and FB til 5:15 and then ran around like a crazy person to leave at 5:45.

I had stayed at my parents house in Spring the night before because I got to hang with Kali and Cole for a little while and I was too tired to drive anywhere.  Those kids wear you out!  So I had to drive from Spring allllllll the way to Kemah and I was freaking out a bit over getting there in time.

I stopped at Starbucks for a drink and oatmeal, because, Starbucks, and that put me even later behind schedule.  There wasn't any traffic until I hit the Kemah Bridge but it moved quickly and I made it to the starting line with about 15 minutes to spare.

On the way I found this neat little wooden maze called The Lighthouse Maze.  Totally added it to my bucket list.

I met my aunt, Laura, at the starting line and we started the race together.  I kept running when she started walking but I thought she kept running.  I knew I was going to do a walk/run combo the entire race but it was so hot I did a lot more walking.  Sometimes I felt my heart working overtime and I didn't want to push myself.

But, let's be honest...I wasn't in the best shape and could have trained way more than I did.  Actually, I hardly trained at all.  It was a huge wake-up call for my next race and the half marathon in November.  My feet feel great, hallelujah (!!), so I know I can keep training and get stronger. If you didn't know, one of the reasons I stopped running (besides marathon training burnout) was because I hurt my foot training and that hasn't quite healed.  My new shoes have helped tremendously though so I feel confident to keep going.  This race was sort of a test to see how it affect my feet. Now I know that I just have to get my booty out there and actually do it.

I made friends throughout the race and finished at 1:42.18, which is my slowest time by 31 minutes (PR set in 2012 when I was training for my marathon).  I got in the food line and got a strawberry popsicle and waited for Laura to finish.  I had seen her going down the other side of the bridge (3rd hill) while I was coming up my (4th bridge) final hill and knew she wouldn't be too far behind me.  She finished at 1:51:28.

Afterwards we went to Crazy Alan's Swamp Shack for lunch and drinks before heading home.  As you can imagine there isn't much plant based at a seafood place called the Swamp Shack, but I had a delicious meal of side veggies!

It was a great and even though I am slightly dreading the next two of the series, I am excited about the medals and calorie burning!  Ha!  I have a cruise in November after all! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Jabba's 2nd Angel Birthday

Today is Jabba's 2nd Angel Birthday!  He has been in Heaven acting as a fluffy angel for two years now and seeing my favorite pictures still gets to me.

I know I need to let it go, and for the most part I have, but there are times I miss him so much.  I see something that reminds me of him like this little orange and white cat coin purse I saw at the store the other day.  I actually teared up because the cat on the coin purse look just like him with his little white nose.  I almost bought it but then I decided I might tear up every time I saw it and I don't want that.

Or sometimes I find a computer file that pertains to him or a picture tucked away in a drawer that I didn't expect to see at that moment.  It's the times when I am not expecting to see something of his that is the hardest.

Some days when I see something I want to see a picture.  My niece had on the 4th of July glasses Jabba is wearing in the photo above and I told her those were Jabba's.  She didn't understand because, obviously, the everything in the world is her's, but I knew they were at one time his.  I searched for about 20 minutes until I found that picture to show her.  Really, it was to show myself that I am OK to see his picture sometimes and it's OK to seek pictures of him sometimes.

One day I will get another cat and he will have a place in my heart.  Today though, my heart is not ready for another one and I need someone to help me share the love first.  I need a spouse to love and then we can add babies and pets.

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy!  Go float on a cloud today and eat some (calorie-free) catnip treats!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Snooze Button Is From The Devil

I listen to a daily call about MK called the Million $ Message.  The call is from 5 different people, each calling in one day a week to change the message on their specific day.  On Tuesday I heard from a director named Amber that “the snooze button was from the devil” and that we should never hit snooze.  I also heard the concept the same sort of concept from the book, the Miracle Morning.

The reason they say this because you are committing to yourself every night to get up at a specific time, but then you hit snooze, effectively starting off your morning not honoring your word from the night before, and losing integrity with yourself.  You say you want to be a person of excellence, yet you can’t even have the self-discipline to get up when you said you were going to.  If you start off this way, then you entire day might be the same way.

The Miracle Morning explains the snooze button as delaying your life, 10 minutes at a time.  You only get one life, but you choose to hit snooze (at least) 10 minutes a day.  You say you need more time, but yet the snooze button is more important than your goals.

I just love this concept!  Getting up at 4 am is so hard, but staying in the same place I am is so much harder.  I am yearning for “something more” in my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I have it pretty good, but I just feel like I am not doing what God has called me to do.  It’s time to change that.

Even when I got up at 4 am today, I struggled.  I am SO hoping that it will get much easier as I get used to the earlier bed time and earlier wake time, but for now I have to accept that I have to overcome my “tired” thoughts.   I have found it helpful to me if I say “I’m awake, I’m awake, I’m awake” when I first hear my alarm clock.  I also talk myself through the next steps of my morning routine.  Put the workout clothes on, put my shoes on, gather my things, go to the car, start driving, etc.  If I say “just do the next thing” and then the next thing, I find myself getting to where I need to be on time.

This morning I did that.  I stayed at my aunt’s new house that is 30 minutes extra drive for me.  That is hard because I already drive an hour (in traffic, 30 minutes otherwise) to work and didn’t “want to” drive further.  I made a commitment though and I stuck to it.  I got my clothes, packed my car and got on the road.  The ENTIRE time I had to talk myself into the next task.    I went back and forth on the drive talking myself into and out of a workout run. 

This is my head conversation this morning:  “I will just go, park and take an extra hour nap and then go get dressed,”  “No, if I work out I get to add four stickers to my chart” (I get a sticker for each mile or 30 minutes of workouts if I’m not running). The stickers made me want to run but then I would have the same nap conversation and started over.  I tried to distract myself in between.  The thing is, once I am on the walk/run, I feel great, the trick is just getting me there.

So I did 3.5 miles today and got four stickers.  I say four stickers because I did 3.5 miles on Monday and only gave myself 3 stickers, so I added the two .5’s for a fourth.  #smallthings  I am not sure why adding stickers to my chart (given to me at my TOPS meeting) helps motivate me so much, maybe it’s just a throwback to my childhood.  IDK, but it works so I am sticking to it.

Hopefully you can bring yourself to have your own MiracleMorning-----seriously, go buy that book.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I am working on a new habit...getting up early and working out.  I drive an hour each way to work every day and it is HOT when I get off.  I have been feeling sorry for myself that I can't work out because of "time", but in reality, I can workout whenever.  I choose how I spend my time, I just haven't been choosing wisely.

I am focusing on keeping my schedule open at night so I am free to do other things.  That means I have to work out in the early morning.  That also means that I have to get up at 4:30 AM to have time to travel to the park, workout and shower before work. OUCH!  It is so hard waking up that early, but I am determined to start a new habit so that I can control my time in the evenings.

There is a shower at work so I leave by 5 AM, get to the park at 5:30 AM (ish) to workout and still have time to get a shower.  The good thing about leaving that early is that the traffic is very minimal and I get a great parking space on the bottom level of the parking garage.  Hooray!

This morning I got up and left on time but I got to the park and realized I forgot my work shoes.  My lime green running shoes were not going to work with my outfit today so I went to the only store that was open that early to buy shoes...Wal-Mart.  I actually really like them though and they are comfortable so far.  I don't care where I shop as long as they are comfy!

Anyway, I got to work and realized that I forgot my bra.  :/  #failnumber2oftheday  Well, since I didn't have time to workout due to my Wal-Mart shopping spree, my sports bra would have to work. Luckily I am wearing black so it didn't matter!

Mary Kay Cleansing Cloths great for sweaty workouts!

The main point I was going to make after that long story was how much I love my new facial cleansing cloths that I used today.  Normally I have to use a cleanser and a washcloth, but these are in one!  They foam up really nicely so I feel like I am really clean, which is especially important after a long, sweaty workout.  Love them!  You can buy them here if you are in need of cleansing cloths.

They are simple to use and can be taken anywhere, all you need is water.  Sometimes I can't wash my face right away after a workout because of a commute home in traffic or I have to run errands.  My face gets so dry and sometimes broken out after working out because of all of the sweat. Gross!  These cloths help because I can throw some water on them from my water bottle and cleanse my face and then just rinse it off.  Super simple.

I'm not trying to sell you anything, but I love sharing new tools that I find!  I have had these for a while but never got around to using them.  My aunt uses them for after she goes diving in Roatan.  All of that salty sea water is not good for your face.  Now I love them and they will be a permanent staple in my gym bag!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Chandelier Bird Feeder

At the river house there is an old brass chandelier that has been hanging in the tree for a while now.  The grandkids decided one day that they wanted to hang it in the tree, so they did and it has been there ever since.

Well,  I wanted to make a craft project out of it.  I got permission before we went (my phone doesn’t work up there) and got all the supplies that I needed.  I decided to make it into a bird feeder using some plastic plates. 

I went to Wal-Mart to buy supplies thinking that I would buy purple spray paint, but when I got there the blue caught my eye.  I still wanted to add purple (axe ‘em jacks), so I got that color for the plates.  I couldn’t find plates small enough, so I went with ash trays! 

 I put gray primer first and then spray painted the chandelier.

And the ash trays.

I added Gorilla Glue to hold them in place.

Finished product!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Memory Filled River Trip with Family

This weekend my family took a trip up to the river house in Concan, TX for a relaxing long weekend.  Concan is between 4-5 hours from Houston so we left at 4:30 AM on Friday to get out of Houston before the traffic hit.  When I was little we used to go to GarnerState Park every year for vacation and I have so many fond memories of that place. 

My grandma’s (Maw-Maw) memory is fading so we wanted to bring the entire family up for the weekend to have (at least) one last family trip there.  We were trying to plan it to where everyone could go, but it turns out that only my uncle could go and the rest of the kids (3) were no able to attend with their family.  The attendees were me, Maw-Maw, Paw-Paw, Laura (my sister), her kids Hunter and Cole, my Uncle Wendall and his wife Rhonda, plus their two kids, Tiffany and Emily.   

We all played in the river (or floated) all day on Friday.  I even fell asleep in my float for a little bit.  I heart the Frio River!  On Saturday the plan was to go to Garner State Park early to hike and see the old stompin’ grounds, but apparently the park limits the number of outsiders on the weekends and cuts off entrance to the park at around 10 AM.   

Since we couldn’t get in to the park we just played on our side of the river with the rope swing.  The house/cabin is situated on about 5 acres that are right on  the river when you go down a hill.  We use the “Stairs of Death” because they are directly behind the house but there are a two other sets that can be used too.  I just prefer the stairs of death, which are so death defying anymore like they used to be.  The kids like to use the name because they are hard to get down but have improved very much since in the last few years.

Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw couldn’t get down the stairs (any set) so they just hung out on the deck.  I love this view!  I stayed out here for a while reading my book and spying on the turtles sunbathing in the river.  EVERY time I have gone up there with the intention of sleeping on this deck, under the stars (bucket list item) the rain has stopped my plans.  :/  Usually you look up and you see millions of stars, but it was so cloudy that I decided not to try and sleep outside (with bug spray).  

I love this story!  On Saturday evening, my uncle took my grandparents to the State Park-you can get in after 6 PM-to see if my Maw-Maw would remember anything.  As they were driving through, she would say “Oh, look at that” or “that has changed”.  When they got close to their old campground that they always reserved, she said “There’s the two boulders and camp ground 105”.  My uncle, aunt, and grandpa all didn’t remember the campground number, but my grandma with Alzheimer’s did. 

They got out of the car (no one was staying at the campground) and Maw-Maw looked down on the grass and saw a heart rock.  Maw-Maw collects heart rocks each time we go to the river the grandkids look for her a heart rock.  This one was a perfect heart. 

She also looked up and saw a poke salad plant.  Maw-Maw grew up in East Texas during the Depression and Poke Salad was a big deal.  She gets SO EXCITED every time she sees it.  I once had to smuggle it out of a park in a backpack in PA because she couldn't leave without it. LOL.  You can make it with eggs, kind of like spinach.  

Anyway, for her to find it at her favorite campground, plus a heart rock, was a big deal.  God was smiling down on this trip.  I don’t believe that is a coincidence.  My uncle was very happy in that moment.  This might be the last time they travel up there and the whole family has awesome memories of that place.  I’m glad I was part of this trip!

We left after breakfast on Sunday and got home late because of traffic and rain (plus 2 stops). I had a ton of fun on the trip!  Great memories.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

20 Pounds Gone

I weighed myself yesterday and I have officially lost 20 pounds!!!!!  20 pounds in 4 ½ months!!!!!  My Whole Foods, Plant Based diet started on August 1st and I weighed myself periodically and hit the 20 pound weight loss as of today! 

Honestly, I haven’t even been trying to lose weight.  I haven’t worked out more than 10 times in the entire four months. I know, I should do more workouts and with the start of my half marathon/10K training, I am hoping to lose more.  I need to stick to my half marathon training plan.

I think an average of five (ish) pounds per month isn’t too bad; it’s a little over one pound per week.  I have a cruise coming up over Thanksgiving so I am hoping to lose AT LEAST 20 more pounds, but my goal is 40!  That is 2.66 pounds per week to lose my 40 pound weight loss goal.  I can do it!!

 My goal is to not drink my calories.  I think that is a big hurdle.  I have gotten used to iced coffee, iced tea and soda and it needs to stop!  I mean, look at this chart!

Wish me luck on my journey!  It isn’t too late to sign up for our racing events in September, October and November with the Texas Bridge Series.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Kali's 3rd Birthday

My niece, Kali Claire, turned 3 on Friday!  I will be out of town next weekend during her birthday party so I decided to take her somewhere for her birthday instead of giving her a gift.  That child has a ton of stuff and doesn’t really need more toys, so I like to create experiences.  I personally would rather have experiences for my birthday, so hopefully likes them too. She is only three so she might not even remember, but that’s ok.

I think we have a leftie!!!!!!!!! #jointheclub
I decided to make her a Princess for a day and do some Princess type activities with her. There is a place in the Woodland’s called Sweet and Sassy that is for girls to get beautiful .  I got Kali the birthday package which included a manicure, pedicure, hair up-do, keepsake photo and a cat walk.  We also added on a make your own lip gloss station too. 

We got there a bit early because Kali tends to want to observe for a little while before jumping into an activity, especially if it is busy.  That day there was hardly anyone in the shop, so she was excited from the get-go.  We had about a 30 minute wait (which is forever in 3 year old time) so we looked at all the stuffed animals. All. Of. Them. 

Then we walked the catwalk because, why not?  I think this is one of my favorite pictures of the day. :)

When it was time for Kali to go, she was able to pick a nail color.  She chose pink of course because that is her favorite color.

Then it was time for her feet to soak in the tub.  I love how relaxed her face is in the picture.  Too cute.  They put some lotion on your hands and then put them in oven mitts (with a plastic baggie) while they work on your feet.  She was also very excited about getting a toe ring.
I think we have created a monster!  I have a feeling she will be asking to go back here instead of  us just painting her nails from now on.

Next it was time for nails! 

Then hair and a tiara with glitter!  When Kali really likes something she crosses her arms and has a little smile, so I knew she really liked how she look with her tiara.

I think her hair turned out so cute with a flower look.

Next was the lip gloss making station, which really was just the employee putting things in a container and Kali stirring it.  I was kind of disappointed in that, but I guess since she is three she couldn’t do much.  I just figured she would have more of a hands on experience.

After we left, Kali promptly fell asleep in the car.  I was going to stop at my sister’s work to show her off, but when Kali falls asleep we don’t dare wake her! :)  haha.

I forgot to mention my grandmother (Kali’s GG) came with us.  She likes to get out of the house and do things with us, so I figured it would be fun for her to join us.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Grape Stomping

What a fun weekend it was!!  I have two big things I did this weekend and one of them was a bucketlist item!  My friend Julie told me about a Groupon where you stomp grapes at a local winery.  We were originally supposed to go in late July, but we moved it to Sunday the 7th

We drove to Pleasant Hill Winery in Brenham, TX for a fun filled afternoon.  It was about 100+ degrees outside that day so I knew I should probably wear shorts and a t-shirt.  As part of the Groupon you get either a tank top or a t-shirt and we both chose a tank top.  I decided I didn’t want to put my dirty feet on my t-shirt so I didn’t.  Honestly, the color looked gross and I knew I would feel weird about walking around with a grape stained t-shirt. It is a fun memento though!

They gave us a bucket to go find some grapes in the field with the grape vines.  Lots of people had already been on our lane so there weren’t too many grapes left, but the employees said that it was ok if we went to another vine instead. 

After a while we got a few grapes so we went back to stomp them.  First though, it was cocktail time.  Julie and I both got a white wine spritzer, which was delicious!  We were able to find seats under a large tent that had huge fans cooling it off. 

We watched other people stomp grapes while we waited for our turn.  While watching I got bored (I have A.D.D.) so I went inside to look around the gift shop.  I usually get a Christmas ornament when I travel someplace new or I do a bucket list item, but I couldn’t really find anything that would work.  There were a few magnets (which are my usual go-to if I can’t find an ornament), but they didn’t have the name of the vineyard on it.  I settled for a wine cork that I will make into an ornament.  There was a pretty magnet in the shape of a wine bottle, but it was glass and I was afraid of breaking it.

There were a lot of people there, but not too many that we had to wait a long time.  We waited probably about 30 minutes for our turn.  They really take their time to take nice photos of you so you can remember the experience.   The grapes were squishy and had a weird texture.  I am not sure what I expected though!  Someone told me that it hurt to stomp grapes, but I didn’t feel that way at all.  Yes, the stems are still in there, but it didn’t hurt and I didn’t even notice them.
Ewwww, it feels weird.

After we were done and we took pictures, you can put your feet on your shirt if you wanted.  Neither one of us did. 

We had so much fun!  I would for sure go back next year ( I believe it’s a yearly event).  The only thing that would have been different if they had a ‘picnic’ type event in the vine area where you could sit and eat some cheese and have wine while waiting to stomp the grapes or even have it under the tent area.   I didn’t see any food you could purchase in the gift shop, so maybe that is something that they could get for next year.  

Bucket list...CHECK!  Thanks Julie for telling me about the Groupon and going with me!!!