Friday, May 25, 2012

Seven Quick Takes





1. Work Widow
My husband has been very busy at work lately.  He goes in early, comes home late.  And when he is home, he is usually pouring over budget spreadsheets from work.  I feel like I have not seen him much.  I will be so glad when the budgets are done, the planning process done and June meetings over.  He is working so hard!

2.  I have taken more days off from working out/running in the last three weeks than I have in over three years.  If you go to my Dailymile page, it probably says something like "Katie has not logged a workout in XX days." And that needs to stop. Today.

3. Why do stores need to get political?  I love Target, but not so happy about this.  First Home Depot, then Old Navy and now Target. I am saddened by this.

4. I think the cutest thing in the world right now is my 4 year old singing "Life is Beautiful" at the top of his lungs. It is the best reminder that life really is beautiful!



5. We do not watch much TV, but one of my favorite shows is back for the summer! I love So You Think You Can Dance. I do not watch American Idol, Dancing with the Stars or the myriad of other shows like that, but I do not miss an episode of So You Think You Can Dance.

What TV show, contest-like show, or other wise, do you love?

6. It is official . . . . I think we will be doing school all summer long!  As most homeschooling families are wrapping up, I feel like we are still in process.  We will have History and English finished next week, but I think we may be doing math and science all summer long.

7. Guilty pleasure and a confession.  I love chocolate lollipops.
Good Quality Chocolate Pops like this.  My father used to give chocolate pops to us on most holidays. I remember I could not wait until he came home from work on Valentine's day armed with a heart shaped chocolate lollipop for me and my brother and flowers for my mom.  So, maybe it is because they bring back good memories, but I LOVE them.  My neighbor has been buying them for the boys lately.  Sometimes she will get 5, one for each of the family members. YAY!!  Other times, she gets 3, one for each of the boys and then a box of chocolates for my hubby and I. Really, can you just skip the fancy chocolates and give me a chocolate lollipop?  Well, I had to confess to her, the boys and my hubby, that I show them to the boys and then purposefully put them away until they forget them and then I slowly eat them myself!  I know, I am a bad mom!

Do you have a guilty pleasere? If so,what is it?


Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hanging up my running shoes






I had a bad feeling this was coming.  I knew after running the second half marathon two weeks ago, that my body would not bounce back easily from it.  My IT band hurt during the race and for a couple days after.  I rested that whole week.  Last week, I rested too.  More so because our schedule was so crazy that I just could not seem to get a workout or run in.  So, this was the week to start running.

I ran on Tuesday.  And two miles into my run, my IT band, not only started to feel funny, it hurt.  You know, that pain at the knee every time you take a stride? Yep, that kind of hurt.  I stopped at three miles and haven't tried to run since.  I am a bit frustrated. I had just decided I wanted to run a 5K in Chestertown in conjunction with the Chestertown Tea Party and Parade that my son are in.  I was hoping to PR.

For now, I have decided that it would be best if I just stop running for a little and give my IT band the rest it needs.  I am somewhat fine with it since I do not like running in the heat of the summer anyways.  Plus, since I am not getting the running I crave, I am really starting to long for some good, tough, weight training workouts.  Maybe some Insanity too.  I hope to be back to running soon so I can be ready for fall races!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kitchen Redo(ne)!

If you have followed my blog for a while and have an incredible memory for random facts, you may remember that we had planned on totally renovating our kitchen almost a year ago.  Well, after many quotes, many conversations and much stress, we settled on a minor renovation of our kitchen instead.  We had planned on completing the whole project ourselves: painting the cabinets, putting in new counter top, floors and lighting, and painting the walls as well.  But somewhere around December the project stalled.  Luckily, my husband's graduation and our plan to have a party for him pushed the project to completion. After finsinhing the cabinets, we decided it was time to call in a professional to finish the job.  And I am so glad we did!!  Because we hired a contractor, we were able to have a bulk head removed. The bulk head used to have cabinets on it when the house was first built, but an owner had them removed a long time ago and it no longer had any purpose.  Having it gone really opened up the room.

Here are some before and after pics:

Before

After

Before
 After
 After
 After
Before
 After
Before

The ugly lighting . . . you can see the new lighting in some of the after pictures.

 
What we did:
- In case you cannot tell, our cabinets are metal.  I wanted white cabinets, but knew it would not work with these.  Luckily, I saw cabinets painted this color on Retrorenovation and was sold on the color.  The doors were taken off and spray painted and the cabinets themselves were painted using Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Kit.  We then added handles to all doors and drawers.  I am not going to lie, there were many times that I wanted to take a hammer to the cabinets so we had no choice but to buy new cabinets.  These are 40 yr old cabinets that are no longer made.  The hinges are unique and cannot be purchased.  A few broke in the process of taking the doors off (some were rusted on to the doors).  I had to be patient.  After a few months, I was able to find some in the trash at a house that was getting renovated! I took EVERY HINGE they had.  Now I have an abundance of hinges for the future!!  But, I really like the way they turned out.

- New counter top.  This is laminate counter top. We had planned on buying the in stock laminate counetrtop at Lowes, but after watching a friend work on it and install it in his own home, we decided we were better off spending a little more money and getting it pre-cut (we are not handy at all!).  I love the new sink and counter top.

New floor


- The floor.  Love it!!  Believe it or not, those are peel and stick vinyl tiles with a beveled edge to make it look like it is grouted.

- The lighting.  I never liked the lighting in our kitchen before.  After our contractor installed our new lighting, I just stared at it.  It is beautiful.  I love the light it casts in our kicthen. 

- The paint.  This is the second color we chose.  I had another color chosen and purchased, but after the counter top and the floor went in, I knew I wanted more of a steel gray color. (Luckily our contractor had to do the project in a different order than normal!).  Love it!

Chalk door
- The chalk door. I have seen these on Pinterest and decided I wanted one in the kitchen.  We can put scripture on it, do math on it,write our One Thousand Gifts List on it.  It also helps to cut down on the clutter on the walls.  No more signs that say what day it it, etc . . . it can all be written, when needed, the on chalk door!

Why we chose what we chose:

- Simply: COST. We wanted to make the biggest difference with a minimal amount of money.  We did not put much money into the kitchen, overall, but I think it turned out beautifully!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hubby's graduation day!!

Our 4 yr old wore that cape all day.  He said he wanted to dress like Daddy!

I am long overdue with this post.  My husband graduated from The Catholic University of America with his Doctorate in Ministry on May 12th.  The main graduation took place on the side steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  It was a beautiful day!

Walking to graduation
My cool boys
The main "stage"


In typical fashion for us, we got there just in time.  I dropped my husband and his parents off in front of the Shrine and then headed, with the boys, to search for a parking spot.  Luckily, I know the area well (we lived on campus during the first year of his studies), so I was able to park in a secure location, not too far away.  The boys and I walked to the Shrine, met up with Pete's parents and then looked for a place to watch the graduation.  Since the graduation is outside, the seating is open.  As I said, it was a beautiful day, which meant that all the seating was in full sun.  But, because we were so late on time, there were no seats left.  As we walked over to the seating area, I spied a perfect area way in the back.  It was shady and there was plenty of grass to sit on!  It really was a great spot.  We could hear everything perfectly, we were in the shade, and the boys could move around if they needed to.
To give you an idea of how far back we really were.

Cardinal Dolan was the keynote speaker and his address was amazing!  Then, there was the conferring of the degrees.  The Doctoral students went last and were called on stage, by name.  They all came up and officially donned their hoods!  I must admit, I was not really looking forward to going to the graduation, but that moment was so special.  I was so proud of my husband.  And, just to see the big smile on his face later.  I knew he was so proud and happy too.
My hubby is the one on the far, upper right, at the corner of the flag!

After the main ceremony, we headed over to the School of Theology where there was a smaller gathering.  All advanced degrees were awarded there.  Again, it was such a nice ceremony.
Look at that smile!!






Hubby with his parents.
The day was perfect.  The boys were good the whole time (it was hours long).  It was the prefect ending to a long journey.  I am so proud of you Dr. Hubby!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The answer to unanswered prayers

I have had a specific prayer intention for quite a while now.  I have been praying hard.  I hope that this prayer may someday get answered.

But recently something happened fairly close to me that is a regular reminder that my prayer continues to go unanswered.  And it hurts.  There have been moments I have wondered if the prayer is even getting heard.  If HE knows how much I want this prayer answered. 

 While in prayer the past month, the word ENOUGH kept on coming up.  In conversations, it would come to the back of my mind.  Enough.  And I thought I knew what God was trying to tell me.  "Katie, be grateful for all the gifts I have given you.  You have enough."  Not meaning, He would not pour out more blessings upon me, but simply, He has given me all I needEnough.

But, yesterday, at mass, I felt like He was adding more.

I AM enough.

The answer to my unanswered prayer.  To all unanswered prayers.  To the whys.

I AM enough

It was in that moment that it came into focus.  I had wondered why so many around me seem to pray and get their prayers answered, while many others around me pray and do not get their prayers answered.  Why my prayer has not been answered.  But, really, it had been.

I AM enough.

What more could I, we, really need?


For life.

I AM enough.

In this day. In this moment.

I AM enough.

In the pain.

I AM enough.

The real answer to prayer is this . .

I AM enough.

The miraculous  healings would be a blessing.  The healthy child, a gift.  The new job, wonderful.  But when it feels like prayers are not getting answered, He is really answering them, with the best answer of all.

I AM enough.

HE, the Great I AM, truly is enough.


"Heaven and earth will pass away, but MY words shall not pass away."
Matt. 24:35

"I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Matt. 28:20



Friday, May 11, 2012

Seven Quick Takes





1.  Little Flower Projects
I think I am going to start a  feature on my blog.  On a regular basis, I would like to share about an adoption agency, a family adopting, or an organization that works with orphans.  This week I would like to share Little Flower Projects.  This is a group that has several homes in China.  They serve special needs orphans (mostly)  who need extra care and attention due to medical conditions.  I found this group through a friend on Facebook.  I highly recommend "liking" them on Facebook.  Little Flower projects regularly shares the names and pictures of orphans in their care.  It is a great opportunity to pray for orphans by name.

2. I am in love.
My husband has been out of town at a conference all week.  Wednesday, our contractor started work on our kitchen to finish up the minor renovation that we started last August.  He is a nice guy.    Wednesday, after he left, I was giddy.  Today, I wanted to kiss him . . .


Excuse the walls, they have not been painted yet.


 . . . for installing this beautiful faucet!  Seriously, after he left, I sat at our kitchen table and stared at our new sink and faucet.  I never thought I would get so excited about a faucet.  But, I am in love.  I am in love, too, with all of the minor changes in our kitchen.  Wednesday, a bulk head was removed (it had no use) and I was so giddy after it was gone, that I texted pictures of our kitchen to my hubby.  I could not believe the difference that it makes.  So, now, each day, I eagerly await our contractor's arrival, but mostly his departure, so that I can see the transformation of our kitchen!


3.  Want a stock tip?
Buy stock in Lowes.  I think the store in our area could survive on our business alone over the past month.


4. Pomp and Circumstance
This weekend, my awesome, and totally amazing husband, will be graduating with his Doctorate in Ministry from Catholic University of America.  I am so proud of him.  Afterwards, we are going out to dinner with family and I ordered him a Cakery Cake.  For anyone who lives in our area, you know how good these are!

5.  Resting my legs
I have not run AT ALL this week.  Actually, I have not worked out at all either.  I feel a little like a sloth right now, but that is OK.  But, I will need to workout soon . . . I need to justify eating some of the Cakery cake  on Saturday!

6. Solo parenting this week
I am not sure what it is.  Maybe I try to compensate since my husband is missing, but when he is gone, I purposely try to have more fun with the boys.  I take them on special outings. Read more books to them.  Tickle them more.  And they have been so good.  I have had a really good week with the boys.  But, I have missed my husband!

7. Hopefully more to come

I have lots of posts swimming in my head.  I am hoping to get them on here at some point.  For now there are titles with empty bodies in the listings of my posts.  So you may hear more from me . . .

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Frederick Half Marthon Race Recap

Sunday I ran my second of two, back to back half marathons.  First (note to self) I will NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.  I know I said that about marathons, but this time I really mean it.  I was sore and hobbled around for two days after the race.  It was tougher on my body that I thought it would be.

Back to the race recap:  I live over an hour from Frederick and after reading on the race's Facebook page that there have been parking issues in the past and people having to run from their car to the start because they were stuck in traffic, I decided I would get to the race 2 hours early.  Yes, I woke up at 3:15AM and left my house at 4AM.  I should have not been surprised, but I was surprised at the amount of traffic on the DC beltway at that time of morning;  there was a good amount of traffic on the beltway and on 270.  Why were so many people up that early (or late)?  Anyways, I got to the Frederick Fairgrounds at a little after 5AM, sat in my car for a bit and then headed over to get my bib, stand in line at the port-a-potties, and check my bag.  About 20 min before the start I headed over to the starting line.  I was able to run into someone I went to high school with (I knew she would be there thanks to Facebook and we had planned on trying to meet after the race).  We chatted for several minutes until it was time to line up for the race.

I lined up around the 9:30 min/mile pace area.  My goal was to run this race at a faster pace than last week's half.  And then we were off . . .

The first few miles were good.  I was at a 9:30 pace or lower for most of the first five miles.  The course was not really hilly, but it did have a good number of inclines/ smaller hills.  It started to rain during this part of the race.  I am not a fan of running in the rain and I was glad when it stopped.

 Right around mile 5 my IT band began to get a bit cranky.  It was sore up by my hip and I could "feel it" by my knee.  At that point it did not hurt, but it just felt funny.  And, halfway into the race, I felt like I was running out of energy.  Around mile 7, I started talking to a girl who had on the shirt from last week's race.  She mentioned that this course is not nearly as hilly, but this race felt alot harder.  And, I totally agreed.  I felt as if I was pushing myself as hard as I could (and I have never felt like that in a race at that pace before).  By about mile 9 every muscle in my legs felt like they were on the verge of cramping up.  My legs were sore.  My It band began to hurt.  I really wanted to stop to walk a little, but I knew if I did I would have a hard time getting myself to run again, so I just continued to plug away.  My pace fell off the last 4 miles of the race.  I usually have a good amount of energy to really speed it up the last mile, and with the excitement of being so close to the finish, I can run a strong last mile, but not this day.  I seriously felt like I was crawling the last mile.  And, because most other runners still had enough to finish strong, I was getting passed tons in that last mile.  It was embarrassing.  Yet, I still crossed the finish line in 2:07:29 (officially, 8 seconds slower than last week).  I was so glad to be done.

After the race, I got my Titanium Girl Medal and my race premium and then headed home as quickly as possible so I could see my husband before he was flying out of town for the week for work.

What I liked about the race:
- I loved Frederick.  It is a cute town.  I loved running through some of the neighborhoods and seeing some gorgeous old homes.
- Good crowd support.  Since we ran through so many neighborhoods, there were many people out in their front yards watching and cheering.  Plus, many went the extra mile and handed out water, etc.  So nice.
-It felt like there was a water/aid station every mile.  And each one was fully prepared.  So awesome.
- The medal was nice, but I LOVED the jacket!!  It is nice and so comfortable.  It is nice to get something other than something you only wear while running.  Whoever chose that for the premium did a great job!
- Although I did not stay, that after party looked like it was fun.
I wanted to get a picture of the cute jacket and all three medals.  As you can tell, I am not gifted at taking pictures of myself, or cleaning my bedroom mirror!
- The course was nice.  Not only was it scenic, but it was not too hilly, not too flat.  It was a good mixture of both.

What I learned from this race:
- DO NOT, I repeat (to myself) do not run two half marathons back to back
- Getting the Titanium medal was nice and I am glad I challenged myself, but it was not as cool as I thought it would be.  Upon getting the Titanium medal, I put it on, so I could walk around, with pride, with my two medals.  About 5 minutes later, I took them both off and stuffed them in my bag because the clanking was bothering me.
-  I learned what it feels like to really give my all during a race.  I did not PR.  But, this was the first time I crossed a finish line and knew I could not have run any faster.  I pushed myself hard during the race and I ran as fast as I could every mile of the race. 




Friday, May 4, 2012

Seven Quick Takes





1.  This Sunday is the Frederick Half Marathon, the second in the Titanium Girl Challenge.  I am excited and nervous.  My IT band was really sore after last weekend and when I ran this week it started to hurt a little.  I rested the rest of the week and stretched and iced it.  I am planning on wearing my Aspaeris Compression Shorts during the race to keep my IT band happy.  Hopefully the race will go well!

2. Busy. Busy. Busy.  My hubby officially graduates with his doctorate next weekend.  We are planning a party for the following weekend. Suddenly, projects that I have wanted done for years, all have to be finished in the next two weeks.  A contractor is coming to finish our minor kitchen renovation.  I am re-landscaping our flowers beds.  Pictures are getting hung that have been in our back room for years.  I have a to-do list a mile long.  If I make it through the next two weeks without stressing, it will be a success.

3. Praying for our sons
Thanks to friend and blogger, Maurisa, for posting the links to 21 days of prayers for Sons.  It started May 1st, but you can join anytime.  Also check out the MOB Society (Mother of Boys).  It is so important to pray for our sons.  Pray that they grow to be Godly Men.  My husband and I often pray over our boys while they are sleeping at night.  Our world needs Men who are devoted to Christ, who are strong, and who are not ashamed to stand up for their faith.  21 Days of Prayers for sons is a great tool to pray scripture over our sons.  To cover them in prayer and the Word.

4. Adoption fundraiser.  
I am always trying to find ways to serve those who are adopting.  One through prayer. Secondly, through financial support.  A friend posted a link on Facebook to Let Us Begin.  Alison is making and selling sparrow and sparrow nest necklaces to fund their adoption.  If you have a minute, read their journey.  I love it.  I often pray for a similar situation, so reading their family's story has given me hope that God could move the same way in our lives too.
Love this necklace! Would make a great gift for anyone!

5. That time of year.  Homeschooling moms, please tell me I am not the only one . . . it has been a struggle the last month. Maybe it is Spring fever, but we have a hard time getting our work done.  Some days I feel like I am failing my boys miserably and am NOT a good teacher for them.  Other days, I realize and appreciate my boys for who they are and the talents they have and their need to be boys.  Hence my need for #3.

6.  As someone who spends too much time on a treadmill, I really appreciated this article: When You Feel Like You Live on a Treadmill

7. I have nothing else!  Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Columbia Iron Girl Half Race Recap and a few revelations

This past Sunday I ran the Athleta Columbia Iron Girl Half Marathon.  This is the the first of the back to back half marathons I decided to run.  I am a sucker for challenges and the races had the "Titanium Girl" challenge.  So, I registered for both.

The week before the race, I had limited expectations.  Months ago, I had grand plans of a sub-two hour half.  But that quickly changed.  A week before the race, I decided I just wanted to run well.  And that changed even the week of.

Wednesday morning I woke and my throat was scratchy and my body ached.  I hoped it was just allergies.  I pushed through the day and after a full day of activities, I realized I was sick.  No more workouts would happen the rest of the week.  In place of runs, I took naps.  By Friday morning, I was just hoping I would finish the race on Sunday.  And to be honest, if it were not for the Titanium Girl challenge, I would have DNS.

But, Sunday morning, I woke up early and headed to Columbia.  I got there with no trouble and did not even hit traffic entering the parking lot!  The race started at 7 AM.  My plan was to stay around a 10:00 min/mile pace.  There was no way I was going to push myself that morning.  The course was hilly and I was still feeling sick, so I just wanted to get through the race and allow my body to rest for the Frederick Half Marathon the following weekend.  I lined up near the 10 min/mile pacer and figured I would stay near him the whole time.

About a mile into the race, I was in a comfortable pace.  The pacer was going about 30 sec/mile faster, but that was fine. It was at this point that I noticed a women running next to me.  The race course was still pretty thick, so I did not think anything of it.  But, by mile two we were still together.  It was strange, but we stayed stride for stride for a while.  I figured that, at some point, one of us would speed up, and we would no longer be running with each other. Yet,  three miles into the race, we were still side by side.  It seemed as if we were running together.  And when you are running next to someone for several miles, it is really hard not to acknowledged it.  So, I started talking to her.  We talked on and off for the next several miles.  And the miles that we talked, we also ran faster.  Strange.  I would think I would slow down while talking, but we just naturally sped up and it felt comfortable.  I would look at my Garmin and say I was going too fast and we would both slow down.  We often said to the other that if the other wanted to run ahead, go ahead.  We stayed together for miles.  10 miles to be exact.  And I loved it.  She kept me moving at a good pace and I think I did the same for her.  The first 10 miles of the race went by quickly and easily.
Toward the end of the race. No more running buddy :(

Then she left me.  She told me that she really needed to slow down and for me to run ahead of her.  I was still feeling good and wanted to try to maintain the 9:30/9:40 pace we had been keeping (except for the mile with THAT HILL), so we parted ways.  And you know what?  The last 3 miles of that race were TORTURE.  When I was left with myself and my own thoughts, the miles got longer and I got progressively slower.  I finished the race in 2:07:21 (9:43 pace).

Things I loved about this race:
- It really was all women.  With the exception of our pacer and about 3 other men (according to the results), this was, truly, a women's race.  Loved that.
- Although I did not get to see her, Joan Benoit Samuelson spoke at the expo and ran the race.  Oh, I wish I would have seen her!



- The shirt and medal are cute
- The after party was nice, with yummy food provided by Wegmans and Muscle Milk Shakes!
- The finishers bracelet and charm.  I do not have a Pandora bracelet, but I think the charm was a great idea! It is something you can wear everyday.

Lessons learned:
- I am a solo runner.  Have been ever since I started.  For me, it was my alone time.  But, even though that woman I ran with was a stranger, I enjoyed running with her.  I loved chatting through the miles.  It made me a faster, better runner.  And I hope I did the same for her.  I came home from that race and promptly told my husband, "I need a running buddy.Anyone want to be my running buddy?

-  I can run faster than I think I can.  Being sick, I did not think I could run as fast as I did.  Especially, with all the hills.  But I did.  I ran faster than expected.  I realized, once again, I need to get out of my own head and just start pushing myself to go faster.  I am certainly capable of running faster.  I need to just do it.