Saturday, December 31, 2011

Meet my Rug

Remember when I travelled the end of October?

Well, I can't remember if I told you, but I bought a rug. I found this little shop that had really cute rugs, and the man designed them himself. Not only were they some of the best I had seen, but they were also WAY cheaper than most other places.

So I fell in love with one design, but he only had 3X5 feet, and I really wanted to use it as a runner for our hall (the wood floor boards have seen better days and we're trying to minimize actually stepping right thru them). Long story short, the man said he could make me a custom rug, any size I wanted and would mail it to me.

Let's just say i was on board!!! I told him the exact dimensions and gave him my address. I was a little worried about if I would actually get my rug, but I had a friend who lived there so I knew if things went south she could harass him for me :)

Anyways....the rug was supposed to be here Nov 21st. That day came and went. I emailed homeboy a few times and he basically said due to some holiday there would be a delay. This is when I started to pray about the rug. It wasn't insanely expensive, but I'm not one to just throw away money either. Daniel and I both started wondering if we would ever see this rug.

And then yesterday happened.

Oh the pure joy!!!!

Please meet my rug.....

ohhh I just love it!!!!

Seriously take a good look. This rug has ALL of my favorite colors...browns, reds, blues and greens. Oh the joy.

We left the hall light on last night just so we could stare at it. It's so pretty!'s washable people! Which makes my life that much easier.......

And while we're at it......I also bought this in October too.

Right now our bed sheets don't match each other, and one day I want to get matching sheets. I'm always torn between blues and greens, so I love that no matter I go with, this wall hanging should match them.

And just for the sake of continuing the randomness, here's a picture of our candy bowl. This is after a week of eating from it.

Plans for tonight? We're going to a friends house to eat and play games. I think most years I'm always a little sad to leave the year behind. But something about this year makes me ready to jump right on into it!



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Catch up

I had so many good intentions this past week.

While classes are done at the university, Daniel and I are tutoring during the winter break. But I took this week off from school (minus one class) before plunging right back into it. I had great plans to cook really good meals, blog, and most important, run. I thought I would be running everyday.

But then last week I got hit with stomach stuff. That pretty much took the whole running thing right out of the picture.

I started feeling better on Tuesday. Then the sore throat came, and now my sinuses are wreaking havoc on my body. I woke up this morning thinking the bones in my face and jaw were broken, because of the intense sinus pressure.  I don't feel like i'm dying, so I really don't think it's an infection, just something viral that I have to wait out.

And while waiting, I'm not going to run. Not only do I feel miserable, but it's been way gross out for a few days. The only motivation I have to run, is I'm afraid of losing muscle. I'm not gaining any weight (thought i totally should be), which makes me afraid that I'm losing some muscle mass. Anyone know anything about this??

So today my plan is to sit on the couch and watch movies. I am so ready to start feeling better again. Especially by next's the big one.

p.s. Mom's package came this week!!!!



Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's Christmas

It's Christmas Day here! It's actually almost over.......I'm a little sad to see it go. Every year it comes faster and faster. I am okay with it though, because while some people have the post Christmas blues, I just get ready for what I like to call 'second Christmas.' Second Christmas happens 11 days after Christmas day. While very few people realize it is close having a national holiday status, it truly is in my world. Because it's my birthday. So instead of thinking about how i may not have gotten everything I wanted....I just keep looking at the tree, because there's still presents waiting! :)

Yesterday, I spent the day in the kitchen pretty much the whole day. I prepped the green bean casserole for today's lunch, prepped my MIL's breakfast casserole, and prepped the cinnamon rolls for this morning. The cinnamon rolls almost didn't make it, but I am SO glad they did!

I've been a little sick lately. Since Wednesday nite, my tummy hasn't agreed with me or anything I've tried to feed it. I'm hoping it becomes agreeable soon.

Our Christmas actually started when my dad accidentally called us at close to 2am by accident. You gotta love having a skype out number, ha!

But seriously, it started with an amazing breakfast!!!! We had coffee (with new homemade chocolate mint-to-die-for creamer), sausage egg breakfast casserole, and chocolate chip cinnamon rolls.

To die for cinnamon rolls......(before icing)

My mom mailed a package a few weeks ago with the stockings my grandma made and our presents. But we think it's lost in the mail, so I found these stockings for about 80 cents each. (yes I'm pretty upset about the package but trying to keep hope it will come and also remember, it's just stuff......but ya know...)

Our tree!

Of course, we talked to several of the fam this morning....

My new cardi from my in-laws, that is the softest thing evah!!!!! I don't plan on ever taking it off.

Proof that gifts really is my love language....

Daniel was pretty excited too.

The aftermath...

For lunch we went to a friends house to have lunch and spend the rest of the day.  We had the normal, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, rolls, and about 50 desserts. I made about 8 dozen chocolate covered peanut butter balls. I really need someone to take them off my hands. We have such an insane amount of goodies.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's over

Today was the last day of the semester at school. I had a final yesterday and today. I aced the one today. I don't want to even think about my final from yesterday.

When we first moved here, we started tutoring almost immediately. We went from that straight into classes at the university. It's almost surreal that it's over. Obviously (based on my other final) we're not finished learning yet! I have one tutoring session next week, but pretty much taking the week off from language. Then we'll both tutor during the winter break (which is 2 months), until school starts again the first part of March.

Last night, we were gifted a really nice dinner at a fancy hotel. Here's my dessert plate. It was SO good!!!! (and yes that is foil on the strawberry, i think it was supposed to be decoration).

The hotel was decorated SO nice for Christmas. It was a real treat! There were so many pretty decorations, but I was way too busy eating to get pictures of all of it.

Here we are!

These next few days are pretty busy. Today I'm starting the chocolate covered peanut butter balls. Then tomorrow I'm making stuff for an english corner party we're having, making fudge, dipping the pb balls from today, and saturday i'm making green bean casserole, prepping mashed potatoes, making breakfast casserole, and cinnamon rolls. Basically I'm just going to live in the kitchen.

Also, two weeks today I'll be celebrating the big 3-0! I'm still not sure yet how i feel about it....



Sunday, December 18, 2011

Donuts and delivery

Last Monday afternoon Daniel and I went to a mall in our city. We had heard of a few good stores, so were anxious to look around and just enjoy window shopping. We also took advantage and ate at Subway while we were out there.

We were walking around the bottom of the mall and I spotted this place I had heard about from some friends. It's a coffee and donut shop that has a few locations around town. I heard the donuts were pretty legit, so we decided to try for ourselves.

The top is a chocolate donut, and the bottom one was something like a Boston creme.

Here I am, taking the plunge!

Let's just say it was one of those "This is proof that Jesus loves me" kind of moments. The donuts were not lacking in any way, and had real sugar. We probably gushed about the donuts for a few hours. They were that good. And I'm not even a huge donut person, but having a real just can't pass that up, i don't care who you are.
Luckily, we don't have any locations too close to us, so it makes the temptation a bit easier. The place is really cute with cheap coffee drinks. We didn't try those so that means we'll just have to find a way to go back!

In delivery news...we got a package this week from some friends in the states. They asked what they could send us, and I asked for candy corn. Random, i know. But I've been craving candy corn for the past few months. When I went on my trip the end of October, my friend had a bag at her house and I probably ate half of it (sorry MW!) This is when I knew I needed to get some of my own.
Anyways, so we got our package this week and there were 2 bags of candy corn in it!! I'm in a sugar coma as I type this. PTL for a modern postal system and good friends!

Just a mini version of a weekend rewind....

Yesterday, I went to my friends house and she made lunch. Just like the donuts, you don't pass up an invitation when a local person offers to cook. It's always good!

We had turnip soup, lotus porridge, broccoli, beef with mushrooms, and a veggie medly of potatoes, eggplant, and peppers. (soup and porridge not pictured)

There wasn't really a dining area, so my friend puts this little table on her bed, and we used that. Don't worry, it's sturdier than it looks!

I'm about to watch The Family Stone, and make my shopping list for the week. I can't believe it's almost Christmas!!!!!



Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Our school has an annual singing competition and Christmas party each December. Since we are new to the university, this was our first year to attend.

Basically students from the international department could choose to sing a song in the language they were learning. After the competition there was going to be a fancy dinner with lucrative gifts. (yes, i also wondered what a lucrative gift might be).

Well, last week our teacher who is also the head of the department had the brilliant idea to have our class sing as "filler" for the singing competition. We chose a local song that is quite popular and apparently easy to sing.
Then she had the idea that we could split up the verses so everyone could have a small solo.
If you don't know.....i don't sing. Yes i know the whole 'make a joyful noise,' and believe me I groups. I do not like to sing by myself. I just don't see the point of it.

My line was something like "there are tears, and bad things, but remember..something," that's a loose translation anyways. I'm still not sure.

Anyways, as you can guess students started dropping like flies. Why my annual sinus infection couldn't flare up this week, i'll never know.

So the last few classes we've been practicing, and bless our hearts. I figured I could just sing really low and no one would be able to hear me. Then the day of the competition my teacher reveals that we will be singing into mics.

After i popped a zanex, i felt much better about the whole thing.

Then right before the competition, our teacher decides that we all need to introduce ourselves and say something interesting. Right.....i'm full of interesting tidbits to share. I ended up saying "Merry Christmas" in english. You do what you can with what you have.

Here I am before going on you see the confidence?

Here are some pics Daniel took of me on stage. The lighting was pretty bad. And luckily so was the sound system.

I don't have any pics of me actually singing, because Daniel was videoing it. Here's the funniest part......and i'm so glad it was captured on video.

So, we had been practicing this song in class. We all knew it. The music we were singing to had a lot of background voices singing before and after the first chorus. So i was holding the mic because my part was coming up. We had just finished singing the chorus and waiting for the background singers part to end. Homegirl next to me grabs the mic and starts singing the back up parts. She wanted me to sing with her, so on the video you see her grabbing the mic, me not letting it go, and shaking my head at her. It actually looks like we were fighting over holding the mic. When really I just had no clue about what she was doing, and knew my part was coming up. I wish I could share the video. It's hilarious.

Anyways, after I survived my solo.......we ate dinner and received our lucrative gifts.

Cookies. I'm actually pretty excited, because they are the danish butter cookies.

This is my life.....



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Baking Palooza!

Yesterday, I spent most of my day in the kitchen. It was a really cold day, so it gave me a great excuse to have the oven on!

Ya'll know of my new love and obsession with pumpkin. Daniel bought a huge one at the market this week, and I cooked it down to puree it. I got 10 cups out of it. That would cost me $40 at the import store!!! And it only cost about $2 and some of my time.

After I puree it, I put it into 1 cup baggies to put in the freezer. This is what I had left after making pumpkin bread.

Ya'll should have seen my kitchen! It was such a disaster, there was pumpkin everywhere!!!

I had leftover cream cheese icing from Daniel's birthday party, so I thought it would be great to use on the bread. Ummmm yes, a wonderful idea if I say so myself :)

I knew we were having mexican for dinner, but we were about out of tortilla chips. So I figured hey, i can make those too!

First, I made my own tortillas.

I know what you're thinking.....move over Martha Stewart, am i right?

Then I cut up the tortillas and baked them into chips.

We had chicken taquitos, mexican rice, tortilla chips and queso! It was special because we had queso-real velveeta cheese and rotel! I think we both ate until we were sick. You really indulge when you are around things like queso and homemade chips.

After a day of baking, we snuggled up and watched Home Alone. I love a good Christmas movie!

I should probably go run now, ha!



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Like taking off a band-aid

You just have to rip it off and go for it.

This was my approach for running yesterday.

I hadn't run in 2 weeks, since the half, and honestly running is such a love/hate. I love trying to be healthy and taking care of my body, and also how great I feel after a good run. But because most of my runs have to take place in the afternoon, it feels like an inconvenience to get dressed and ready, run, then come back and shower-and have to do my hair and make up again if we have something going on that night. (I know i know all my first wold problems....)

So yesterday I took the plunge.

This is how I felt about running in the cold.

I'm wearing REI thick running pants, Nike long sleeve dri-fit, and Nike running half zip up. I tend to overdress. I am so afraid of being cold. And since I hadn't run in cold weather in about a year, I didn't know what to expect. But within the first mile I was drenched, especially with the hat. I will definitely wear less next time. And if I thought people stared at me running before, you should've seen the looks I got for running out in the cold. Ah well......

I planned on just doing 3, because if I set the bar too high I won't feel like I can do it. But my first 2 miles were about 10:45 min/mile, and I didn't want to waste the greatness that was happening, so I did 4.2. It was just the right amount.

And to be honest, I LOVED running. It felt SO good to be out and active. I don't know why I fool myself sometimes into thinking I don't enjoy it. I do. I can't get away from it.

I REALLY want to hit 500 miles for this year, but that's going to be difficult with schedules and stuff the next 3 weeks. But I'm really going to try!

We're not doing too much this weekend. Getting caught up on life, baking, cooking, studying, and trying to stay warm. :)



Friday, December 9, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

As promised, here is a picture of our Christmas tree.

I had a hard time really capturing it.

But it makes me really happy! I have really enjoyed sitting in our living room, drinking hot chocolate and just watching it.

Speaking of Christmas, this will be our first one to spend in our own house. The last two years we've been at my parents house. I'm kind of excited about it wake up, make coffee, eat something sinful, and enjoy our morning together.

I really want to start our own Christmas traditions for our family, but I'm having a hard time coming up with anything.... we don't have kids yet, and I think it will be easier to start them then, but I would love to have some traditions that we do now as a couple. I would love to hear any ideas you have, or traditions you do.

And speaking of freezing's cold here! What's weird is that it's mostly been in the 40's, and after last year when we spent a lot of time below freezing in Oklahoma, you would think it wouldn't feel too cold.


I feel the need to repent for all those years I took central heating for granted.

We turned on our heating unit (the big thing in the picture next to the tree) this week for the first time. We've only turned it on in the living room. It's been so lovely!!! We also bought an electric bed warmer because I have something against sleeping indoors in freezing temperatures. Granted, it has made it really hard to get out of the warm bed in the morning. But I'm sleeping and avoiding hypothermia, so everybody wins.

Also......notice I haven't been blogging about running. I looked back and last year I ran several times in below freezing temperatures. So why can't I just get out there and run??? As Daniel pointed out, I was coming home to a warm house when I ran before. It feels so cold here, because riding our bikes is our main mode of transportation, and then our house is cold, so the last thing I want to do is go run outside and risk losing a finger or something.

But because I thrive on adventure and living on the edge (ha!), I'm going to attempt a short run this afternoon. If you read this in a few hours and there is something next to the MTD running stats....feel free to congratulate me, because I survived :)

Also, I just can't not run for the next 3 months. It has less to do with weight, because as I've recently discovered, it doesn't matter if i run 20 miles/week or go a few weeks without because my body refuses to gain/lose weight no matter what I do.

So really the running is just for me. I like how I feel when I run. And being in shape is really important to me.

Enough about that....I think i need to go make some pumpkin bread.....



Saturday, December 3, 2011

What to say...

Not much here. After Daniel's birthday hoopla, the last part of the week slowed down a little. I had a class get cancelled on Wednesday and Thursday, so I only had to go to 1 class on those days. I was very thankful for the extra time.

Our tree is up!!! I'll take a picture tonight and try to post it later. There was a huge issue with the lights. I found white lights/green wire at a store. I bought 3 packages. Once at home, I realized that one of the strands was out on one package. So I took it back to the store and returned it, but they didn't have any more to buy! So I bought some other white lights/silver wire hoping I could make it work.

I couldn't. And the lights looked silvery and just wrong. I still need to take those back.

So I biked to another store yesterday and finally found the same kind of lights. I bought 3 packages just in case. Luckily they all work, and we put all 5 packages on the tree.

Aren't you glad you now know about my christmas tree lights......

In other news, my oldest nephew who just turned 5 told me this morning that he has a loose tooth. I can't believe it! I mean where has the time gone?? I thought only big kids lost teeth, not cute little babies.

I'm in denial.

I'm also in denial that it has been in the 40's here and I am about to start wearing my thermals. We don't have central heat (and i am way too stubborn to turn on the heaters we do have). But biking has been way cold. I wore gloves yesterday. I was still cold.

And blast from the past, but remember on half-marathon day I said that we helped a friend make sausage???

This was one batch.
(that's Daniel wearing my green apron)

We spread the pork on the table, poked holes in it, pour the seasonings on top, then mix away! We did this for 175 lbs. Okay, I didn't do all 175 lbs because we came late cos of the run and I had to leave early to run errands for Daniel's birthday party.

I have 10 lbs of it in my freezer right now.

Last night I taught an English Corner. We talked about education and played games. And then we tried to bike home before frostbite set in.

Can I just say that our Saturday has been simply wonderful!!?!!? We slept in (till 7) then lounged on the couch drinking coffee, read together, and ate breakfast. We've both studied, decorated the tree, and I might put on a movie. Loving today!!! I haven't had a 'down' Saturday in a really long time!

I also took a mini language test, and it's estimated that I can read almost 500 characters. There are still a few thousand to go....but I'm pretty excited. I feel like a child learning my colors and how to read. But that's how it goes I guess....

Hope ya'll are having a wonderful wintery weekend! Does anyone have snow yet?



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Daniel!

Tuesday was Daniel's birthday. We celebrated on Monday nite with a Birthday Bash-we had 12 adults and 12 kids under the age of 6! We were so excited that our friends could come over and help us was a great night of fun and fellowship. Also, a few stayed after and we played Beyond Balderdash. How I make it through this game without peeing my pants is truly a medical mystery. Our friends are really funny, so it makes it that much more hilarious. Have ya'll played????

I made my first cookie cake, and it actually turned out pretty well. It was easier to make than I thought and it went much quicker too!

I also made Pumpkin Spice cupcakes from here with cream cheese icing. These were so good and stayed moist for a few days. I did use oil instead of butter and after reading the reviews, just threw everything together, and it turned out fine. I had a lot of leftover icing, so I'll probably make another half batch of these soon.

I had a little bit of icing left from the cake, which is why there are the random 2 cupcakes.

Tuesday morning I made Daniel breakfast...sausage, eggs, and toast (ummm yeah we made our own sausage...that's a whole other post though!)

If you can't guess, I bought Daniel a toolbox.

For Daniel's birthday dinner, he wanted to go to a local restaurant that he is obsessed with. I like it but don't love it so we don't go that often. And it's on the more expensive scale of local restaurants, as in our total bill cost us $6.

Then we hit up Starbucks....have I mentioned my obsession with the Toffee Nut Latte? I need a support group, or an unlimited gift card......ha!

Lots more has been going on, I'll try to post again soon.

Sidenote: This year I was really struck with just how thankful I am to be able to celebrate with Daniel on his birthday. I know there are so many people out there that don't have the luxury of having their husband around as much as I do and it seems lately we've heard of so many people struggling with serious illnesses and family situations. I don't want to take our life together for granted. I am so thankful!



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Second Half

I did it. I really did it!!!!!

13.1 miles
3 Gu's
2 Time half-marathoner!!

Here's the details (go here for background info)

I hydrated yesterday and got a great night's sleep. I was still pretty tired when I woke up at 6, but I had a busy day ahead of me! (after my race I helped a friend make 150 pounds of sausage!)

Daniel was actually up before me and took a few pics of me getting ready to head out.

I was feeling pretty good at this point, ha!

I ate a small granola bar and a GU before heading out.
The first 3-4 miles was pitch black. It was about the 4th mile that it started to get light out. I thought that would slow me down since I was trying to run carefully and make sure I didn't fall. But I was pleased to see my normal pace.

My plan was to do a 5 mile loop, grab my water bottle and GU from the gate guard, then have Daniel meet me at mile 9, to refill my water bottle and give me another GU.

This is the map I drew for Daniel so he could meet me.

The first few miles are always hard mentally just because you know you have so much further to go. Today my mantra was "This is YOUR race!" I told myself that a lot when I was running today. It seemed to help me focus and keep me motivated. The last few runs I've also been saying this phrase, "You just have to put your time in." That may sound weird, but when you're at the earlier miles, it's hard not to run too fast and just want to finish already. Telling myself to put my time in, made me remember that I wasn't worried about not being able to finish the run, I knew I could physically do it. But it was going to take time.

Here's me at mile 9.

Probably 90% of my route is in alleys and small streets. But about 2 miles is in a park, this is me running out of the park. I like this part :)

I'm so hardcore I even run stairs.

My 10th mile was amazing and fast. Then came mile 11. Miles 11 and 13 were definitely the hardest. Mile 12 for some reason was great. But 11 and 13, I was feeling it. I was SO ready to be done with the race!

Here I am finishing!

(notice the people staring behind me.....this is normal)

And this is how I FELT after finishing my half marathon!!!

I OWNED this race!!! I was first female, first place...not a single person passed me....and I totally PR'd!!!!!

Daniel, in his wonderful love and support for my race, he made me a sign naming me the champion!

He also made me gold medal. When he put it around my neck, I lost it and started crying. I was close to really letting it all out, but I don't like to cry so I held it back (and people were already staring at us for cheering and yelling). But getting the medal around my neck made me feel that it was all worth it. All the side stitches, dog chases, early mornings, sore muscles, all of was all worth it for this moment.

Overall this was an amazing race! I felt great practically the whole time!! In my book, an uneventful run is a success!

Here I am enjoying chocolate milk. Yes, my ankles are dirty.

Here I am with my gold medal!!

Here are the stats:

Total distance: 13.2 miles :)
Total race time: 156 minutes (2 hrs, 36 min)
Total run time: 152 minutes (2 hrs, 32 min)

Total race time pace:  11:48/mile
Total run time pace: 11:30/mile

I am SO proud of this pace!!!! Honestly, it seems surreal. It used to seem like I could never get out of the 12 min/mile rut, and I was always slower if I ran more than 5 miles.

I'm almost in denial about it all. It's been such a journey these last two years-the weight loss and the running. It's such a huge part of my life, I honestly don't know what I would do without it. It has changed me-how I feel about myself and even who I am.

I am a runner.