Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pressing On

Heh. I definitely just had a flashback to listening to Relient K a whole bunch in early high school when I typed out that title.

But that's what I'm doing. Pressing on. I got a job co-teaching a class in Chicago once a week, and I'm currently trying to find a part-time job to occupy me for the rest of the week.

One thing I can say though.. people tend to treat you pretty well when you've got a husband deployed. Since I'm not living by the base, the YMCA offers free memberships to military wives whose husbands are deployed reservists, national guard, OR if the soldier is active and the wife has relocated (like to live with family.. like me!). The point is to give military wives a community during deployment if they are not near the military community.

SO. I got my membership and went to my very first cycling and very first pilates class yesterday. Wow. First of all, the cycling class was really hard. 30 minutes into the 1 hour class, I was really starting to watch the clock a lot. I also gotta make sure that I wear my cushioned bike shorts next time. Dang. You would think they would make those seats a little more comfy. The pilates class was really good too. My abs are pretty sore today.

The other thing that happened is a rock hit my windshield.. and it was just a little mark but it then turned into a 3 foot crack overnight. So I had to get my whole windshield replaced.. and I just had to take my car in recently for engine trouble so I won't even go into details about that. Suffice to say, there must be some rule that as soon as hubby leaves, the cars will all start to break down. But my father-in-law has some connections with an auto body place and called in and mentioned that James is deployed. They installed a new windshield for me for only $100 (compared to over $300 at another place). Basically, they hardly charged me anything for labor. I think I'm going to have to bring those people some cookies or something, because I couldn't believe how nice they were about it.

So I went ahead and made a countdown chain to when I'll see him. His R&R is supposed to be sometime in July. So I made one link per week. It seems really far away, but I keep on telling myself that right now is the worst. We'll only have 4 months left after R&R, so right now is basically the worst part.

My friend Sarah sent me this video today. This is pretty much exactly how I feel. She thinks it might be a break-up song and she is probably right. If it is though, I don't get the part that talks about counting down the hours. What do you think? Is it a break-up song? Or a long-distance relationship song?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Well. I had this whole post written up about how difficult it was to say goodbye on the day that my husband left for Afghanistan. But I decided to wait to post it, because of OPSEC. He's now to his destination safely, but I still have to decided to not post that original thing I wrote. It was pretty long, emo, and no one would have wanted to read it. In short, it was the hardest day of my life to date. The best word I can use to describe how I feel now is surreal. I dreaded it for about 6 years and then it finally happened. Kind of like when you wonder for years what it will be like to be married and then you're standing there with your new husband, having just walked back down the aisle hand-in-hand and you're like Wow, we're married. I'm left here thinking Wow, he's actually deployed now. 

This little comic sums up how the goodbye was:
Right now, a year seems like a really long time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Race Recap: Seattle Half Marathon

So this is long overdue, but my life has been a bit crazy lately.

Well, I was hoping for a 1:57:30. I felt more prepared for this half than I was for the Chicago Half Marathon in September (1:59:20), so shaving a couple seconds off each mile didn't seem too much to hope for. 

I guess I underestimated the hills. Eek. We have some hills around our apartment, but nothing compared to this course we ran downtown. I was on pace for the first 5 miles or so, but then it started catching up with me. I finished at a 2:02:38. So an average 9:21 per mile, compared to Chicago's 9:06 per mile. Crazy how 15 seconds per mile adds up so much. But considering the hills versus the super-flat Chicago course, I decided I'm not too upset. 

And of course, it rained. The weather was actually not to bad. Around 50 degrees, which is perfect for a race like this. 

My wonderful hubby took all the pictures. This is the second half marathon that he's run with me as my photographer/sherpa. I couldn't have married a better man. 


I was freezing cold pretty much immediately after. Thank goodness the after-race party had steaming hot chicken broth to sip! 
Since I'm going to be in Chicago area for 2012, I'm already eyeing this Chicago Half Marathon Series. Would be perfect for my 1:50 goal. And a good lead-up to the Chicago Marathon. :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

52 Things I Love About You- Deployment Countdown

Here is one of my Christmas presents to my hubby. Since we celebrated Christmas early, I can safely post this. I spotted this project on pinterest a couple months ago and I thought it was the cutest idea. Then I started thinking... my hubby is going to be gone on his deployment for a year. 1 Year= 52 weeks. 52 cards in a deck. How perfect! So yeah, he missed the change over to 9 month deployments and that sucks BUT at least the year-long 52 weeks works perfectly for this little project. Gotta count the little positives!

But I put my own little spin on it. 

On the outside, it looks the same: 
I still printed out 52 reasons why I love my hubby. Some silly, some a little more serious, some I wouldn't post online ;).

And attached the little slips of paper with packing tap since we've got plenty of that laying around recently. NOTE: You MUST put packing tape or contact paper over the regular paper. Otherwise, the ink will get scratched off with the paint and won't be able to be read. 

Here is my #12:

But here's what I did differently. After reading this post on Oh the Lovely Things on how to do your own scratch-off lottery tickets, I decided to make each card a scratch-off ticket. Hubby gets to scratch off one card per week. 52 cards=52 weeks away

All you do is mix 2 parts silver paint (or whatever color you want) and 1 part dishsoap. This is my test card to make sure it would work. It did!

So I painted each card over, let it completely dry, and then did a second coat. Here are the results!


Didn't they turn out pretty cool looking?

Then I let them dry for a long time. Like all day before I put them together in a book. I really didn't want them to stick together. Then I punched the holes and got my binder rings from walmart. I'm so happy with how it turned out!

So now it's kind of like a little count-down. Of course, we don't know for sure that it's going to be exactly 52 weeks. But we know that he's not going to have a lot of internet service in the area he's going. So I told him that I'll at least be able to tell him I love him a different way each week, even if he doesn't get a letter from me that week. Now I just have to hope that he won't cheat and scratch them off before he's supposed to!

Happy Holidays!

-Amy

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

AnniversaChristmaGiving

Oh man. It was a good weekend. We celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and our Anniversary all in a few days. We visited Bainbridge Island, ran a Turkey Trot, made Thanksgiving Dinner, exchanged presents, and then ran the Seattle Half Marathon. Whew!

I didn't take any pictures at the Oly Trot because it was rainy and we were both racing, but we did get these fun arm warmers instead of a shirt. I have plenty of race shirts, so it's kinda fun to have something different. 
We then made Thanksgiving dinner together. The hubby made soft pretzels instead of dinner rolls. They were amazing. 
I also made roasted green beans with cranberries.
And a little sweet potato casserole, made with two potatoes. 
And here's our complete little dinner for two! 

We then exchanged presents. We then finished up the weekend with the Seattle Half Marathon. Hubby was my photographer and sherpa. :)

So thankful to have a hubby that loves me so much. 

As you can see, the weather was not so great. It took about 20 seconds after the finish to realize how cold I was. At least I was cold during the race. I didn't get the PR I was hoping for, but I did catch a cold. I will do a full race report later. 

I'm so happy with how the weekend went though (beside the catching a cold part). I'm sure I'll still be a little sad when Christmas comes and he's not here, but it was really fun to make our own combined holiday this weekend. 

Happy Holidays!
-Amy 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Deployment Ceremony & Black Friday

We attended the brigade's deployment ceremony this week (these are normally held about a couple weeks before deployments). It was held outside, and the weather was absolutely miserable. James's Aunt and Uncle attended with us. I was proud that we were one of the few that braved the weather. They had a small number of soldiers stand in formation to represent each battalion within the brigade. Then the brigade commander and the commander of the base gave some really inspiring speeches. It made me so proud of my solider. Later, there were a lot more family that made it to the battalion farewell ceremony, which was indoor. 

Of course, James looked absolutely dashing in his multicam uniform. I saw that one of the ladies was wearing a little lapel pin with the brigade's crest. I asked her where she got it and she told me to go talk to the commander's wife, who was also wearing one. I did, and she gave me the one she was wearing! I guess she has a bunch of them so she didn't mind. I'm going to be tempted to wear it every day that he's gone. And if someone asks, I can be like "Oh yeah.. that's my hubby's unit. He's serving in Afghanistan right now."

This weekend, James and I are celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and our Anniversary. (AnniversaChristmagiving)!  I'm almost done with his gift. I just need to go buy a stupid hole puncher, because I think we already packed ours. Maybe I'll share with you what I made him after he gets it (don't want him sneaking on here and finding out too soon!)

Tomorrow, we're running a Turkey Trot and then I've got my half marathon on Sunday (eek)!

But guess what we spotted last night:

Lining up 3 days early. Think they'll have Thankgiving dinner in there?
Hm. Maybe someone is just using a tent to hold their spot in line. But I am pretty sure someone was in there. Ugh. I have nothing against people loosing a few hours (or even a whole night) of sleep to get a good deal, but this made me kinda sick.

I know some mothers and daughters that have a longstanding tradition of Black Friday. I think that's kinda cool. Just not for me. A couple years ago, my dad started a "White Friday" tradition, where he collects/cleans a bunch of stuff around the house to donate to Goodwill. James and I will be going downtown to pick up my race packet and watching the tree lighting. And we will be sleeping in.

Anyone doing Black Friday this year? Ever gotten an incredible deal on Black Friday that made it worth it? 

PS: I just caved and bought this. It was worth it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Early Christmas

The weather outside is frightful. Well, maybe not frightful, but certainly gray and rainy.
But the fire is so delightful.  Oh yes. I'm loving my electric insta-fireplace. 













I was going through some things today and I found these Christmas CDs. No, I don't actually still use a CD player, but I saw them and thought "Okay.. maybe I will just jump on the bandwagon."


























But, "What is this mysterious blank CD? Maybe it's a Christmas Mix I forgot about." So I popped it into my laptop and low and behold it is my wedding recording that has been misplaced forever. Okay, not forever. But I cried a little bit when I found it (I've been a bit of a basketcase lately, don't judge). For some reason I never put it on my itunes. Or even labeled the CD for the matter, apparently. I knew it was somewhere but I was beginning to worry about it.

So I listened to my half-hour long wedding this morning. All the way through. And to the vows we wrote for each other (borrowing some from Jason Illian and my parents's). And I realized that we're going to be okay. Not that I thought we wouldn't survive this, but I'm starting to now see the deployment as just another obstacle that we'll conquer together.

So maybe Christmas coming early this year isn't so bad. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Half Marathon Training: Week 4 Report

I have been wanting a little Camelbak for a little while now for my long runs. Sometimes it's hard to plan out water stops, so I figured this little guy would be perfect. 
Isn't he cute? When he's filled up with water, he weighs less than 5 pounds. Because my dad flew in on Saturday morning, I decided to move my long run to Friday instead. I thought hmm perfect time to try him out.  I joked with hubby that it's my baby ruck sack.
So.. I realize that it was my longest long run that I've done in a while.. and it was also the first one I did by myself in a while.. but it was not fun. I ran almost a 10 min/mile pace versus a 9:20 pace that I did for my last long run. I thought I would barely notice the backpack but all I wanted to do was throw it away into the bushes the whole time. 

I can tell you one thing.. I will definitely not be wearing it for any races. 

The good news is that I got it done and now it's taper time for my race on the 27th. 

Here are the numbers from last week: 

Monday: 4 miles at 9:18 pace
Wednesday: 5 miles at 9:18 pace
Friday: 10.63 miles at 9:58 pace (ick.. yeah I know it got cut a little short. Oh well!) 

Have any of you run with a Camelbak before? Am I just being a wimp? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Waterfalls, Coffee, and REI

Well, hubby's vacation is over and he went back to work this morning. After a long week of sight-seeing and non-stop touring with family, we decided to take his last day off and have a lazy day together. It was wonderful.

We visited Mount Rainier and it was snowing on the top. It was my first bit of real winter this year. Here is a falls that we hiked to. Be-a-utiful.



































On our drive down, we saw a fox on the side of the road. He was gorgeous. I think he must have thought we were going to give him food, because he stopped and didn't mind when we took pictures of him. Or maybe he just knew he is that good-looking.



"Make sure you get my good side" - Mr. Fox

We also tried out a few new coffee places. We recently earned enough stars for our Starbucks gold card (should I be proud or ashamed of this?), so we didn't feel obligated to go there when we wanted coffee. 

This was my favorite cappuccino.  It was from The Raw House in downtown Seattle. Love. 

And this (below) was the prettiest cappuccino. It was the first "coffee art" I had ever gotten before, from a place in downtown Olympia. Unfortunately, it was pretty bitter. I was disappointed. So I learned from this experience that you can't judge a cappuccino by it's prettiness. Although the Raw House one was quite gorgeous as well. 



We also went to REI several times with family. They are few and far between out in Illinois. Here, we have the flagship store in Seattle and two others within 20 minutes of our apartment. We've kinda become addicted (membership cards and the REI Visa card.. yep). My dad decided to talk with people on my side of the family and go in together on a shopping spree for the deployment. James is issued everything that he needs from the Army, but my dad also wanted to make sure that he gear that would make the year easier as well.
























It was so amazing to know we have so much support from family. James got some winter gloves (the issued ones were not very warm), a handheld GPS, a camp stove, water proof pack bags, and a lot more. My favorite part was when we got to the register.

REI lady: Wow. You guys had fun.
James: Yep. It's all for.. a trip.
REI lady: Oh fun! Where are you traveling to?
James: Afghanistan.
REI lady: Oh. Well maybe not so fun then.

We then said our goodbyes on Sunday night to both James' parents and my dad. James's mom got pretty teary-eyed, which just confirms in my mind all the more that it's a good idea that I'm going home for this deployment to be near both my family and his. I assured her that we would hang out a lot and do care packages together.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vacation & Fam

Holy cow, it's been a busy week! We've had family in town so we've done a lot of sight-seeing. I feel like I've hardly been at home. My poor cat is probably really lonely (or really happy to have the apartment to herself, who knows?). My favorite was Kalaloch Beach. I think it's probably the most beautiful beach I've ever been to.

My dad flew in yesterday, and we all went to see Lincoln Brewster in concert. He's is definitely the most amazing guitar player I have ever heard live. My favorite song of the night was "Today is the Day." Even though I've heard the song a million times, it didn't really mean that much to me until last night. Funny, how that happens sometimes, isn't it? 

Today is the day you have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it

And I won't worry about tomorrow
I'm trusting in what you say
Today is the day

Maybe that can be a mantra for when James is gone. Today is the day you have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. This month is going by way too fast. I'm purposely not counting how many days there are left until the deployment. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Half Marathon Training: Week 3 Report


Well, it's been pretty busy. After a little over a week of the Army getting our hopes up that the deployment might be delayed and shortened, we found out that it wouldn't be. He won't be home for Christmas, and he'll most likely be gone 12 months. Dangit. At least I can say that training went well this week. (btw that 22 is a bike ride, not a run.. just fyi)

My in-laws are in town and will be for the rest of the week. It's been pretty crazy and we've been doing lots of stuff with family (hubby's aunts and uncles are all local here near fort lewis). I love family, but I'm so glad that I signed up for this half marathon so I have an excuse to have a few minutes to myself in the morning. A little part of me wishes that I could just have my husband to myself these last couple weeks.. but I have to remind myself that it's their son, nephew, and grandson leaving for Afghanistan, not just my husband.

I kind of feel like we're standing on a diving board. Part of me wishes that we could just jump in already and get the countdown started.

I think training is keeping me sane. At least I have something else to focus on. And hubby is going to run with me to help me meet my 1:27:30 goal. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lemons & Scrapes

James and I decided that we would start a new tradition.. making limoncello for the holidays. If you haven't heard of it, check out limoncello quest. Basically it's a really sweet Italian liquor that you make with lemon zest and everclear. You let the zest sit in the everclear for a while (like weeks) and it will take on the taste of the lemon. Then you add simple syrup, let it sit a while longer, and then filter it. It's amazing. And you need a lot of lemons for it.. last time I made the mistake of zesting all the lemons at once.
Seriously, that's a lot of lemons. Anyway, after you zest them, there is nothing to hold the moisture in and they go bad really fast. So.. since the zest is supposed to sit in the everclear for a while anyway, I decided to just zest them as I used them. And they do make a pretty centerpiece until I use them all. So far, I've made strawberry lemonade. Don't be jealous of how good this looks. 
Okay.. you can be a little jealous. It was delicious. Also, with the abundance of raspberries out here (one of the best parts of living in Washington), we decided to make a Raspberrycello as well (raspcello? raspbercello?). So we split up the everclear and we've got raspberries in half, lemon zest in the other.
I hope it works, because otherwise it will be a waste of perfectly good raspberries. 

It was actually not good timing to decide to do a bunch of stuff with lemons, because James convinced me to go on a crazy long bike ride yesterday. I haven't been biking as much since we moved to Washington, and even when I was, riding over 20 miles is still kinda long for me... and that's when the roads are flat flatness like in Illinois. So anyway, long story short, we went on what I'm gonna call the hardest bike ride I've ever done to date. It ended up being about 22 miles, but holy cow is it hilly here. We also got lost at one point.. went to turn around in gravel and I got stuck in my clips and fell over for only the second time ever. And we were only 6 miles in. 


And yes there was blood. Not a lot.. I know. It actually just shook me up more that anything and knocked the wind out of me. I had to fight back the urge to cry. I might have a little bit if I had been by myself, but I feel like I can't be a little girl in front of my Airborne Ranger hubby, so I dusted off my scraped up hands and we powered on. (He actually was very sweet about making sure I was okay before we went on). And, thankfully with I think more downhill than uphill on the way home, we made it back before dark. 

But anyway.. the scraped up hands do not mix well with working with lemons. And I still have like 8 more to zest and figure out what to do with. Dangit.

Anyone else have a biking or running wipe-out story? 

PS: still haven't heard any news on whether the deployment has been postponed or not. So we're still in limbo. I think God is trying to teach me patience. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Half Marathon Training: Week 2 Report


Happy Halloween! :) 

Last week was good. I technically had two long runs in one week, since I had to postpone the long run in week 1. So I sort of combined my long run with what was supposed to be a 6-mile run.. but I should be back on track now. This week's mileage should hold steady and come out to be around 24 miles as well. 

I decided to move around some things in my plan. I had my bike day on Monday before, but I decided that doesn't really make sense since Sunday is a day off. Bike day should be a rest/cross training day. So I switched the Monday column with the Friday column.

I got my pace tat for the Seattle Half Marathon. Omygoodness I'm so excited. I'm going for 1:57:30. That's a 8:57 mile. I ran an average 9:06/mile at the Chicago Half Marathon. So basically I only need to run 9 seconds faster per mile.. but it's on a hilly course. And the Chicago Half Marathon was totally flat. Hmm. My wonderful hubby said that he might run with me to help make sure I'm hitting my times. 
Well.. I'm about to go run outside. Because it's sunny and 55 degrees out. I kinda feel like I'm missing out on the whole snow storm thing, but I don't envy those without power. And I like running outside. Anyone out there trying to run in the snow?