Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ten Things You Want for the Holidays

1. Fun, festive, fabulous days.

2. Warm, wonderful, wintry nights.

3. Lots of Christmas music!

4. Even more Christmas cookies!

5. A brisk jingle bell holiday lights run with my Pup.

6. A good turnout at our client appreciation showing of "Elf"!

7. On that note, I'd like Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corns and Syrup!!

8. A visit from Santa would be nice.

9. Fun, family filled holidays, with BDR off the clock and all of us together!

10. And above all - Peace and Happiness - right Poppy?!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Today, I hosted my first Thanksgiving. I also acquired a new appreciation and gratefulness for all my mother does to host us for holidays regularly. This stuff is a lot of work!

I've been baking for about a week... cookies and pies and banana bread, even a test turkey!

The whole crew arrived from Gurnee and Wichita on Weds evening, so we ordered some pizza pies and began the celebration.

Turkey Day morning arrives and I had to finish preparing BDR's birthday breakfast. Yep, lucky guy's birthday is on Thanksgiving this year! Too bad he could only join the family for part of the fun - he had to go to work at 2:00. We had Aunt Kelly's breakfast casserole, blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls, fruit and fresh squeezed juice! Quite a tasty start to the day if I do say so myself.

Sean was a great help in the kitchen all day!

Vrooom Vrooom! No pit stops at this birthday party!

After breakfast, SIL and I headed to the kitchen to start on our Turkey Dinner. She buttered up the bird while I made the stuffing. I learned from my Test Turkey that my oven definitely cooks slow so we gave it some extra time to roast.

And then of course, nap time began. Hey, the birthday boy gets to do whatever he wants! I am amazed though that he was able to shut his eyes amid all the ruckus!

Peter even found a place to bask and avoid the crazy for a few minutes!

I was really pleased with how all my dishes turned out, but I did warn everyone of the motto around our house:

Here's Poppy admiring the spread. Thank goodness for the bar in the basement, we wouldn't have known what to do otherwise!

This is my plate. Holy cannoli it was good! I'm so excited to enjoy some leftovers for the next few days, and thankful there still are leftovers!

Ian really loved his drumstick - so much so that it was what he was thankful for!

This is how I do things after a delightful meal!

And of course, after dinner, the Festivus Feats of Strength began. Looks like Uncle Timmy is losing this year!

While relaxing after dinner, we had to ask Peter what he was thankful for this year and he had a LOT to say!

All in all, many blessings to count - and I had 12 of them in my home this year!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10 Things You’re Thankful For

1. My family - Blood relatives of course, but also my friends, BDR, and Peter. Family is a "relative term"!

2. Strength and growth - If we didn't have these, life would be a lot harder and a lot more boring.

3. Food on my table - particularly the delightful Thanksgiving meal I'm going to cook on Thursday!

4. Opportunity to give back to my community - I love the organizations I'm involved in and the way they allow me to help so many other people.

5. Pumpkin flavored almost anything - is there anything better for the season than pumpkin spice!?

6. Health - I'm blessed to be feeling pretty darn good right now and I know not all are so lucky.

7. Work - There's been a few times in the past couple years when I couldn't say this, but my job is wonderful and so are the people I work with.

8.Beary - Yes, the teddy bear I got from my Grandma when I was little still makes the list. He reminds me of all the blessings I had then and still have now. Plus it reminds me of her even after her passing this year.

9. No Ironman training - That was such a huge part of my life then, but I love all the free time I have now to do other things.

10. The holiday season! - I get to put up my Christmas tree and all my decorations in just a couple days!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

11 ways to stay low-fat in 2011

I think it might be time to start racing again. That's such a good motivation factor for exercise and eating right. So now, I'm taking recommendations for my 2011 race schedule. What have you done in the past or hope to do in the future?

It would be awesome if NYC 26.2 could work out, but I think I need to bank on local races.

Send me your suggestions!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday Baking Season!

After the GOTR 5K, I was the lucky winner of a box of leftover apples! MMM, pink ladies are delish! So I've been trying to put them to good use. We defiitely wouldn't want them to go to waste, just to "waist" instead!

1st, a tasty apple crisp. My daddio's recipe. Peeled and sliced apples, topped with a mixture of brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, butter and cinnamom. MMM. It smells so good when its baking!

I also tried my hand at homemade applesauce for the first time! MMM, it filled the house with a phenomenal aroma! So warm and festive, it really put me in the holiday spirit. 8 peeled, cored and chopped apples, a half cup sugar, 1.5 cups water and some cinnamon. In a pot, covered on medium for an hour or so, til they were cooked enough for me to mash.

And whats a day of baking without chocolate chippers? I'm in love with Dr. Mel's recipe that uses vanilla pudding to keep the cookies moist. And luckily enough, BDR ended up taking them to an off duty job and "accidentally" giving them to a fellow officer. At first I was mad, but then I remember those pants that don't fit!

Next up, pies, turkeys, mashed potatoes, cider ... all the Turkey Day fixin's!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Slightly obsessed

I can't help it, he's just so cute!

Snug as a bug in a rug.

Watching momma bake some tasty treats!

Why are you down there doing laundry? Come play with me!

I love snuggling!

Chewy? Yes please!!

Its much warmer with your nose under your tail, a little stinky, but well worth the warmth!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NYC 2011

So I've been having serious fat days lately. Ugh.

My clothes don't fit like I want them to at all.

I just want to eat, sleep, and eat and sleep some more. Guess its that winter hibernation thing.

I've got to get motivated.

So, what did I do? Well, the gym last night sure didn't work too well. I came home and baked and didn't get off my butt to exercise this morning. Instead I had a delightful coffee date and a creamy cheesy bagel.

So I tried to get myself motivated....

Yep, that's right, I registered to get into the 2011 New York City Marathon!! I know that like 100,000+ people apply to get in, so the chances are slim, but if I do - how cool would that be?!?!

I mean running through the five burroughs. Seeing all the sights, sounds, smells of the Big Apple. How much of a great experience would that be? And definitely motivating to get my butt in gear!

Too bad I have to wait until April to find out if I got in...

Girls on the Run 5K

The season-finale Girls on the Run 5K fun run was last Saturday on the campus of Garmin International in Olathe. What a great day we had!

Forget the frigid temperatures and the serious need for hot coffee (Thanks Jackie at Starbucks!) - things seriously heated up when we saw the look of pride on all of the finishers' faces.

The girls have been going through the GOTR curriculum for 10 weeks, learning all sorts of things about themselves, and how to be the best me they can be. They learn about self-esteem, how to deal with bullies, nutrition and how to stay out of the "girl box."

And then the culmination of the program - they run a 5K race, proving to themselves and to others that they are smart, they are strong - they can run all day long! This fall, we had about hundreds of runners out celebrating with our girls. From coaches and running buddies to proud parents and regular community members, there was a true spirit of fun and accomplishment in the air.

You can't tell from the photo how cold it truly was in the wind tunnel at Garmin. The sun came out right when the race started and we had a gorgeous race.

Race start

Here it becomes a bit more evident. The wind is blowing and the seriously pink cheeks show the girls' effort as well as the brisk air. But really how cute are these runners?! Beautiful girls, inside and out!

Way to go Lindsey!

And this one. She was so proud of her medal. Being the only girl in a family of four boys and a boy dog, she showed them that girl power we all knew she had inside her!

Superstar Shorts

And what blog post would be complete without a photo of my "Dog on the Run"!? Peter and I were the sweepers for the race, making sure no one got lost or left behind. We had a great walk, and Peter even got a finisher's medal. He too was so proud of it that he wore it for 3 days straight!

Taking care of all those girls was sure a lot of hard work though. Between making sure there was coffee for the volunteers and hanging signs and setting up the sound system, Peter was on good mood patrol - ensuring all the runners and spectators had a smile on their face the entire morning. Because, really, that's what Girls on the Run is all about.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Setting the prisoner free

Its been a long time since I've written about the abusive relationship I was in during 2006. Many of my newer readers may not know anything about it, but it was bad. 8 months of hell. I suffered, my dog suffered, my entire family suffered and my close friends suffered. For those whole 8 months, we all suffered.

But I know I've suffered long since its been over. Its taken a long time to truly come to grips with what happened to me, how I was treated, the emotions I felt. Its taken a lot of therapy, several cocktails with good friends, lots of long talks, many hours of internal reflection, feats of anger, feats of strength, weakness, anger, fear, captivity, did I mention anger?

"Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them as much." -Oscar Wilde

As part of my therapy, I speak on behalf of other survivors for Safehome. I've spoken to church groups, criminals, advocates, children, my Rotary Club. Most recently I spoke to a Family and Personal Relationships class at Olathe Northwest High School. Its been over 4 years since I left and I'm just now getting to the point where things aren't so raw.

After speaking and not being engulfed by the emotions, I started to think... Am I getting over this? Am I really as healed as I always wanted to be? I always imagined I'd be held captive by this horrible experience. That it would always define who I was. But now, I can say differently. I've never been so happy as I am right now. So many things in my life are going right, and I don't feel the weight of the world on my shoulders like I used to.

What happened!? Why is it "suddenly" so much easier? Well, first of all - it wasn't sudden. Its been growing for some time now, and I've just grown sick of caring so much about how he made me feel, how he affected my life. And then I realized, he's still had the power and control over me that he worked so desperately for while we were together. I realized I've still been his prisoner. My anger towards him never affected him in the slightest, but it did make a major impact on me.

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize the prisoner was you." -Lewis B. Smedes

I had been afraid to forgive him. I was worried that if I truly forgave him, I'd be saying that what he did to me was OK. I never wanted to give him that satisfaction. In speaking with a trusted advisor and a very wise woman who had been through a similar situation, I've begun to realize that forgiving him has nothing to do with him. It has to do with me. With my admitting that life goes on, that I can be free of his grasp, that regardless of what's happened in the past - those feelings don't have to continue in the future. I've become exactly what he never wanted me to be: a strong, self-sufficient, independent, confident, loving, loved woman.

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong." -Mahatma Ghandi

I know that relationship had a major impact on all of my relationships. I struggled to rebuild friendships that had been demolished. I know those women have had to grieve in their own way for how they suffered. And the same goes for my family. I can still hear the worry in the voices of my parents when I told them about BDR. They love me, unconditionally, and all they want is the best for me. I hope they know how far I've come, and I hope each of my family members (my friends are included there!) can find a way to forgive him for the pain and hurt it caused our entire family.

I hope and I pray that we can all forgive, set ourselves free of the pain and the hurt and the anger, but also learn from those experiences. Adjust our expectations of how the world works. Be grateful for what we have. Know that the past can't be changed, but it doesn't have to dictate our future.

I've become so much stronger than I was before, and I also feel so much more loved. Plus carrying the weight of the world around is hard work - letting go is so much easier.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday Night

Here's the story of my Saturday night. Make note of the name of the wine:

Compiling Thanksgiving menus, complete with a trip to the Hob Lob to make for a fabulous holiday season. I've got my pumpkin spice candle lit and I'm tempted to start planning holiday music.

When I return home from my mani and the Hob, I ask Pete if he behaved...

Who, me?! He asks ever so sweetly...

I would never do anything to disappoint you Mom.

Especially not get into the trash and put a whole in a plastic cake holder that has nothing in it but a used straw and a plants droppings, maybe a couple cake crumbs...

And I would never, never, NEVER eat an entire bag of candy corn that I knew you were looking forward to enjoying yourself. I know its one of your favorite seasonal treats.

What am I to do with you Peter?!

I guess I'll just worry about that later after I enjoy my Broke Ass at home on a Saturday night.