LIFE + STYLE BLOG

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you are spending the day with your family and remembering all that you have to be thankful for.

Since Thanksgiving is on the 24th, here are 24 things I am grateful for in no particular order:

1. The fact that Ben has always called for me when he wakes up over anybody else.
2. My health.
3. J's grandparents and the fact that they've gotten to meet all of their great grandchildren
4. My sister moving back from Atlanta
5. Always having food in the house
6. Pintrest
7. Friends who can make me laugh
8. Heat when it's cold
9. Umbrellas
10. The support of my parents
11. The fact that I am able to work
12. A free country, no matter how much people complain about it
13. My computer
14. A grocery store within 5 minutes of my house
15. The opportunity to go to college and graduate school
16. God's love
17. Television and DVR
18. Autism research
19. Ice cubes
20. J's family
21. Health insurance
22. Dinner with friends
23. Musical Theatre
24. Family to spend Thanksgiving with

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My First Half Marathon

Finally... the recap from my first half marathon!

On October 23rd, I ran my first 1/2 marathon in St. Louis, MO. The most important thing? I survived. While my time was anything but stellar, (3:28) I finished. All the training, running, getting up early, it was all worth it.

Something about running with 20,000 other people is just so exciting. The run started downtown facing the Arch. The race began in waves, and you were lumped in corrals with other runners based on your estimated finishing time. It was still dark out when it was time to line up at 6:30am.
I started off at a good pace and finished my first two miles at an 11 minute mile. Honestly the first 9 miles weren't bad and flew by pretty fast. My goal was to maintain a 13 minute mile throughout the race.

One of the most amazing things about the race was all the support from spectators. Complete strangers were cheering you on and offering words of encouragement. Whether it was waiting at street corners downtown or on their front porch in the suburbs, people were there the entire 13.1. When I found myself getting tired, their hoots, hollers, and signs pushed me further and I found myself having to hold back tears at one point. It was just such a great experience.

And then I hit mile 9. I was ready to be done. In order to push through I counted down the next 3 miles one at a time. I told myself only three more miles. If I could just get to mile 12 then I was almost done. If I could just get to mile 12 I only had 1.1 miles to go. Those next 3 miles were the longest 3 miles ever.

I had expected to get tried, but I thought it would be more of a cardiovascular type tired. You know the out of breath, lungs burn, holy crap I'm running 13.1 miles kinda tired, but for me that never really happened. Where I really started hurting was my hips and calves. By mile 10 I was stopping almost every 1/2 mile to stretch. Keeping my pace was now out of the question. Now it was just about finishing.

Mile 11.5-12.5 were huge hills. Who does this? Hills at the end is just cruel. I wanted to cry. I told myself I was never doing this again. I was going to die. They are going to have to come pick me up in a golf cart. I can't make it. I'm not running into the finish line. I'm honestly walking through the finish line and I don't care what anyone thinks.

And then I saw it. The 12.1 mile marker. 1 mile left to go and I had never been so happy in my life. And what do ya know? My legs started picking up the pace and before you know it I was running across the finish. I had done it. And I was so proud and so glad to be done.

Even though the race was over, I still had to walk to my family. I literally thought I could not walk anymore. I just wanted to sit down and never get up again. Ben was so happy to see me and he told me that he kept saying, "run mommy run" the whole time.

I had expected to be sore the next couple of days, but the race day was the worst of all. So what did I learn from all of this?

I will never love running. People always say that once you do it you'll start loving it and want to do it all the time. Not true for me.

If I set my mind to do something I can do it. It wasn't easy, but I did it.

Despite what I thought at miles 9-13, I will do this again. Because although I don't love running, I do love the atmosphere surrounding races and I love feeling strong and having a goal to train for.
Sunday, November 20, 2011

Art for Autism

A few weeks ago my work hosted an Art for Autism event. Our clients and their siblings created all different kinds of art which was then showcased in a local gallery. The best part of the whole thing? I got to spend time with some old-coworkers and enjoy a delicious dinner.

What a fun night with great friends!
Saturday, November 19, 2011

Truths and Lies: The Reveal

Well, a whopping two of you responded with your guesses. Let's see who got the most correct shall we?


1. I hate peas TRUTH
2. Until age 22, I was deathly afraid of escalators TRUTH...embarrassingly true
3. J was my first boyfriend LIE...although he likes to pretend
4. I have been to Spain TRUTH
5. On our first ultrasound, the technician originally thought Ben was a girl LIE
6. I laugh when I get really uncomfortable TRUTH...not always appropriate
7. My sister and I are 7 years apart LIE...we are 11 years apart
8. I broke my arm in first grade falling off the monkey bars LIE...I've never broken a bone (knock on wood)
9. I was on a flight with Woody Allan TRUTH...when J and I flew to California
10. I have never swam in the ocean LIE

So, whose the winner? Drum roll please......................

Ms. Molly over at Molly's Musings. Congrats! Here is your award...
Now it's your turn to pass this along!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Katie over at Keep Calm and Carry On posted this cute idea and I decided to play along.



Win: Starbucks red cups are back
Lose: The really good drinks have a bazillion calories

Win: It's light outside when I'm getting ready for work
Lose: It's dark before I even start dinner

Win: I own 3 really cute pairs of sunglasses
Lose: I've lost them all

Win: My friend Mrs. Bojangles is about to have her baby any day now
Lose: Absolutely nothing!

Win: Scarves. Lots and lots of scarves
Lose: J hates when I wear one
Win: I wear them anyway:)

Win: Christmas is only 44 days away
Lose: I only have 44 days to get everything decorated, bought, and wrapped

Win: Weekends
Lose: They only last 2 days


Who wants to play along? 
Friday, November 11, 2011

Truths and Lies

Let's play a little game shall we? 


Tell me, which ones are true and which ones are lies...

1. I hate peas
2. Until age 22, I was deathly afraid of escalators 
3. J was my first boyfriend
4. I've been to Spain
5. On our first ultrasound, the technician originally thought Ben was a girl
6. I laugh when I get really uncomfortable
7. My sister and I are 7 years apart
8. I broke my arm in first grade falling off the monkey bars
9. I was on a flight with Woody Allan
10. I have never swam in the ocean

Check back on Monday to find out if you were right!
Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Failed.

Alright folks. As much as I love posting about the joys of my life and how great things are, I live a real life where, let's face it, things aren't always so great.

It doesn't get much realer than what I'm about to post...

I didn't pass my BCBA boards.

To know it is one thing, but to write it for the whole blog world to read is another. My ego needs one of these.

The worst part about failing? I only missed passing by a few points. If I'm going to fail I'd rather it be a big one. Knowing I was so close sucks.

Apparently, I chose the hardest testing period to take it in considering the passing rate was 46%. 46. In the past it has been around 70%.

The weirdest thing? I was fine all day except when I had to tell J. For some reason telling him made it seem so real. This was something we both wanted so badly. I have never wanted something so badly in my life.

The worst part? Not really the studying and re-taking it (although for someone with test anxiety it sucks), but I'll have to wait for what seems like an enternity again for the results.


So what's next? I'm going to think positively, start studying now, and lock myself in the library the entire week before the test.

And if I start to feel sorry for myself I'll remember it could always be worse.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Busy Family Weekend

This past weekend was spent hanging out as a family and checking several things off my to do list.

J redesigned Ben's Thomas the Train track and he couldn't have been more thrilled!

We ran a few errands including a trip to Sams Club and the grocery store. I wanted to make sure I got all the ingredients so I could make these bad boys. I got the recipe from Pinterest and were going to make them for dinner, but decided they should be breakfast potatoes.

 I'm always getting samples in the mail so I save the ones we will use and stockpile the ones we won't. Then we put together these little baggies filled with things like shampoo, body wash, floss, etc and take them to our local women's shelter.

I also created this fall wreath inspired by Cassie over at Hi, Sugarplum!

Sunday Ben woke up bright and early (thank you time change) and we headed off to church.

Last but not least, I finally found my bridesmaid dresses and I'm happy to report that they all like it, or at least that's what they're telling me.
I think it's simply, classy, and even something they could wear again. Btw, I also got to try my dress on again as it arrived a few weeks ago. Good news? I still love it:)
Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall at the St. Louis Zoo

Since I had to be at the 1/2 marathon at the crack of dawn, J and I along with my family went to St. Louis the day before and stayed the night. The weather was in the 70's and it was the perfect day for walking around at the zoo. Apparently everyone else had the same idea and although it was packed, we had a great time and Ben got to do his favorite thing, ride the train.

The baby elephants were so darn cute.

And because I'm all about the nostalgia, here is our family pic in the same spot in 2009. Ben was 7 1/2 months old.

Riding the train. Ben would have been happy doing this the whole time.
Friday, November 4, 2011

Pinterest Recipe Reviews

It's been far, far too long since I've posted a recipe review. As you can see, Menu Monday's are out, so I'm trying something new. I've made lots of new recipes lately, so let's check out what I liked and what I didn't.

Cheesy Chicken Empanadas via Pinterest
Grade B+, although J would give it a C. I really liked it, but J isn't a huge fan of Pie Crust. 
One tip is to definitely over stuff these babies or you'll end up tasting more of the crust than the filling.

Jalepeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich via Pinterest
Oh.my.word. So good.
Grade A. J and I both loved this and I will definitely be making it again. 
Tip: I used canned jalepenos instead of fresh. If you do this make sure you rinse them off first or it might be a little hotter than you would like!

Oven Baked Frito Pie via Pinterest
Grade A-. Yummy, easy, and it was even good left over. When I reheated it the next day, I just removed the existing Fritos which had gotten a little soggy, and replaced it with new ones.

Apple Nachos via Pinterest
I made these for a recipe party that my work does every month.
Grade B+. Once again another yummy and easy recipe. Nothing spectacular, but good. The best part? Because there's apples in it it's kinda healthy :) 

Penne Alla Betsy via Pinterest
I feel like there should be a disclaimer on this one because I changed the recipe quite a bit. I used chicken instead of shrimp, didn't add all the tomato sauce it called for(I used~about 3/4 of the can) and added grated Parmesan instead of shredded. 
Grade A. I loved this. I just shredded a rotisserie chicken which made this even easier to make and it was great as leftovers the next day as well. 

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches via my sister
My sister made this last weekend when we went over to her house and it was delicious! The best part is since it cooks in the crockpot you can set it and forget about it. 

Here's what you do: Put the roast in the crockpot, add beef broth (enough to cover the meat), and 1 packet Lipton Onion soup mix. I also added a little Au Ju seasoning. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
Once the meat is done, shred, place on a roll, and top with provolone cheese. I served mine with a side of the broth from the crock pot.
Grade B+. J loved this. I thought it was good although I liked my sister's better:) Next time I would add another packet of the onion mix.

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes via Pinterest
&
Parmesan Seasoned Fries via Pinterest
We have hit the HOLY GRAIL.
J said this was one of his favorite meals I have ever made. The fries? He scoured the kitchen for more. I will never eat store bought fries again. My sister made similar fries to go with the French Dip sandwich she made last weekend that I posted about above.
Grade A- for the sandwich, although J would say A+. I thought it could have had a little more juice to make it a little sloppier.  
Grade: A+++ for the fries. And so simple. I actually fried the fries instead of baking which probably attributed to their greatness. 

What new Pinterest recipes have you tried?
Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween 2011

Oh Halloween. There's not many things more adorable than kids dressed up in little costumes saying tick or treat. Our Halloween activities started last weekend at my sister's house where the kids painted pumpkins while they watched my brother in law carve one.

Love his little tongue.

Over the weekend I also whipped up a bunch of Halloween treats for work, Ben's school, and to take to my parent's house on Halloween night.

All of these recipes and ideas came from Pinterest.



Mine didn't look as great as the ones on Pinterest probably because I was in a rush and didn't chill the dough which is what caused the ears to not hold their form.

Halloween day finally rolled around and Ben had a little party at his preschool. I present to you our little Kangaroo, complete with a Joey and all. This was the first year Ben picked out his costume all by himself and it's so adorable.

Ben's school also had a parade and he got to meet up with his cousin who goes to the same school but is in a different class. 

His best friend. 

After all the kids were in their costumes, the parade began before heading back inside for a few treats.

After the party, we made a quick stop by this girl's house so Ben could fill his bucket up with his first piece of candy...and he also really wanted to play with Brooke's cats. Ever since we cat sat one weekend he's been obsessed and asking when he can do it again.

After Brooke's we headed over to my parent's house where we ate pizza and waited for it to get dark. 

My sister and her family. 

We even ran into Santa.

This was the first year we went all the way around my parent's neighborhood (in the past we've just gone to a few houses) The kids got a lot of candy and had fun trading each other for the stuff they liked. 

Each year gets more fun as Ben gets older and it's nice to have my sister and her family back in town to trick or treat with.

What did you all do for Halloween? Did you dress up?