Monday, November 30, 2009

Shop 'til you drop (literally)

In the past 3 years, my aunt, Ruth, and I have enjoyed Black Friday shopping. This year we took it to a new level.

At 10:30pm Thanksgiving night, we were standing here:

One of the outside shopping malls is open from midnight until 3am. To entice people, they give away 1,000 $25 gift cards. The first person in line arrived at 3pm to wait for their gift card. To Ruth and I, $25 was worth getting there at 10:30pm. As we waited, however, we hoped that we were within the first 1,000. We knew it would be close. The line wrapped around one entire building and then snaked through a courtyard and started wrapping around another building.

They had lots of vendors selling warm drinks and food. They had a radio station there with contests and loud music. At one point the line in front of us disintegrated for an unknown reason and Ruth and I moved up quite a bit.

Here is us standing in the line. At this point, the place where they are giving the gift cards out is feet behind us. We were a long way from the beginning. We were thankful for the building that blocked the wind, our warm boots, and the crowds that generated warmth.

Midnight came and went. The line hardly moved. We saw people walking by with their gift cards. By 12:30am we were now getting cold and losing hope. Then, we turned a corner and there was the guy handing out our voucher for the free gift card and knew we did it! At that point, the past 2 hours were completely worth the wait. Although, we cut it very close; we were in the late 900s.

Ruth and I shopped until 2:55am. It was a blast. They had some great sales, but it was more of just the atmosphere and thrill of shopping while the rest of the world is sleeping.

From there, we went to I-HOP to get sustenance and plan the rest of the morning. I was dying after breakfast, and slept while we waited for Macy's to open. We then went from store to store and dropped at 8:30am.

It took me a while to recover from our evening out, but it was worth it because of the sales, the fun, and the hanging with my friend.

I can't wait 'til next year!


The Mile High Pie

What's this you ask?

Why, it's apple pie, of course!

Ruth shows up with this ginormous pie after Thanksgiving dinner. She's make it before, and now goes to the extreme by placing little leaves around the crust. It's a work of art.

And this pie doesn't just look amazing; it tastes good, too!

You don't want a huge piece, though. There are 24 apples in that single pie!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey Trot

Our family has made it a tradition to participate in a local 5k race on Thanksgiving Day - The Turkey Trot. We all planned to do more trotting than running or racing on this day since non of us had done much running in preparation.

Nonetheless we bundled up for the 34 degree weather and headed out to join 5,500 other people who are as crazy as we! The sun was bright and the wind was relatively calm.

To my delight, Hubs and my brother decided to run together. Hubs and I have different expectations for race day and it is usually better if we run separately. Mom and Dad ran together and I ran with my ipod. It was wonderful.

I had no expectations for myself, but I had not run 3 miles since before June. I was hoping to mix a little jogging with a little walking.

I completed the 1st mile with ease and felt good enough to continue running the 2nd. If you have ever been to the Sprint Campus in KC, or in KC at all, you will know that there are quite the hills. I met up with those hills during the 2nd mile. Although the slowed my pace, I kept on. I was very happy to make it all the way through the finish line without having stopped at all. All the while, singing along with my ipod and enjoying every minute of it.

I can't recommend this tradition enough. We went home and ate a great dinner 3 hours later and felt great having exercised. Plus, we had a lot of fun with each other and the thousands of others out that morning.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home again

After a week filled with fun, food, shopping, laughter and family, I came home exhausted. After a week at the kennel, Ransom also came home exhausted.

Hubs found us both snoozing; one of us in a position more awkward than the other (yes, I am sound asleep).

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A new challenge

I am embarking on yet another 90-day challenge.

I was nervous when we started P90X. I honestly wondered if I would have the endurance, strength, and discipline to see it through. But, I did; and it felt good. Since I have devoted 90 days to my physical health I have gotten on a good track for my life. Now I am going to devote 90 days to my spiritual health.

Do you know that I have never read the entire Bible? If Jesus returned tomorrow, I would have to tell him, "Sorry, Lord. I have known you almost my entire life, yet I have never taken the time to read the Word you gave to me." Wow. This is just sad.

I know you are thinking exactly what I thought when this idea was proposed to me. There is NO WAY I could read the ENTIRE Bible in 90 days. I can't even read it in a year. Well, hear me out.

A year is too long. Ninety days is more attainable; the end is in sight. You can do anything in 90 days if you really want to.

Plus, they have packaged the Bible into a book that helps us get over our pre-conceived thoughts.

If you saw the size of this book, you could read it. Hey, I read the 4 Twilight books in a week...thousands of pages!

The breakdown is thus: 12 pages/day for 88 days (they allow 2 days to skip). For an average reader, that will take about 45 minutes per day.

I am really excited about this. I can't wait to see what books like Ezra, Nehemiah, and Joel are about! Plus, spending 45 minutes per day in God's Word will hopefully help start a good track for years to come.

Will you join me?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

I am still in shock that next week is Thanksgiving. Does anyone else feel that way?

This year, we are having Thanksgiving with my side-of-the-family. And in the past 3 Thanksgivings, we have initiated some traditions that I have come to love.

Every year, the family that is present at Thanksgiving participates in a 5K race. There are thousands of people out to participate and it is a fun thing to do. I really enjoy this because the rest of the day is usually spent sitting, talking, and eating. We all feel better about doing those activities when we spent the early morning hours being active.

The first year (pictured above), it was a brisk 20 degrees with lots of wind. It was also the year that I discovered running next to Richard is not the best thing for our marriage. However, we finished and we felt good the rest of the day.

This year, I haven't prepared for the race so I am planning on a jog/walk mix, but it will still feel good.

The other tradition also began 3 years ago. My aunt/best friend, Ruth, and I get up bright and early to experience Black Friday shopping. We scour through the ads the night before and set out hours later. The first year, we had a blast! The second year, we were not in the same city, so we shopped while on the phone.

THIS year, we are going to a shopping mall that is open midnight-3am. Then, we will hit the normal stores at 4am. Crazy? Yes, but it is fun and we aren't maniacs or anything. Usually we don't stand in lines (especially if it is cold); nor do we fight over items. I am short and can maneuver through crowds and Ruth has the long reach over people's heads. It's a perfect combination.

I'm pretty excited about our traditions this year. What does your family do on Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another unwanted visitor

Two days ago, I was horrified to find this next to our house:

The next morning, I was horrified to see that it had come back! But I was also kinda glad so Hubs could see I was not exaggerating its size.

After Hubs left for work, he called and told me to capture it with a tupperware container, but to make sure the spider would stay inside. I found my biggest tupperware and put it over the, what seemed to be frozen, spider. Then, I found the closest heaviest object to secure the container: a pumpkin.

When Hubs came home for lunch, he transfered the now very mobile, non-frozen spider to a smaller container and took it to work to show-and-tell.

I was even more disturbed when the spider came back home with him at the end of the day and was set on his desk. He thought maybe it could be a new pet.

Later that evening, the spider was released back into the wild; far, far, far away from our home.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Bah Humbug

I have major issues with Christmas this year. Mainly the gift-giving part. Either my husband is rubbing off on me or I am turning into my mother, but I think Christmas turns into this little game of having to make sure you get gifts for all these people because they might or will give you gifts. I have to think (I have done no research) that gift giving actually started with someone who just wanted to show another person that they cared about them. So this person got someone a special, tiny gift to say, "Merry Christmas" and don't forget what Christmas actually is about.

Now, it is this ridiculous game. Making sure you get your coworkers and bosses something, then your family, and maybe some friends. But your family grows so large that there is no possible way to get gifts for everyone and it ends up stressing you out so much that you just get somebody something and don't even care if they like it, just so you can be done with the shopping. THEN, you sit at home two weeks later and wonder why you didn't receive a thank you note and complain that you got them something at all.

So in actuality, the gift giving was all about YOU and not about THEM. Hmmm. Doesn't sound very "Christmas-like" to me.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love opening presents on Christmas Day and I love buying a gift for people that I love. I would give up all sorts of stuff to buy all the people I love exactly what they want or need for Christmas. But I feel like we (in general, not specifically) have taken it too far and make it about ourselves.

For instance, if you are hoping your gift is the best one the person receives that year, you are thinking about yourself. If you are wondering if you spent the most on that person, you are thinking about yourself. If you are counting on a thank you note to congratulate yourself on the awesome gift buying, you are thinking about yourself.

Because, is Christmas really supposed to be about presents? Or you? (Side note: And should we really decorate for Christmas before Halloween?)

In my opinion, and I will probably enforce this with my children someday, we should make Christmas less about us and what we will get or give. Instead, make birthdays big and huge and special. Buy the big gifts and make it a big deal - that's a day for you. Christmas is not.

You're thinking I'm a regular bah humbug this year, huh? It's true that I am debating over whether to decorate the house for Christmas, but you may be surprised at how excited I am about getting some of my gift ideas this year for those people I love!

Perhaps I am just getting in the Christmas mode a little later this year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Hubs and I recently completed the P90X workout. We did a full 90 days of excercising 6 days each week. Phew.

We now have memorized most of all the work-outs. We now find ourselves quoting Tony Horton in conversation. We now can say that we completed it. And we now we are taking a week off to figure out what is next.

But they have you take a fit test before and after to see if you improved and it was interesting to see our results.

Pull-ups: Hubs increased by 64%. My results don't really mean anything; I started at doing 1/4 of a pull-up and ended doing 3/4 of one.

Vertical leap: Hubs increased by 47%; I increased by 56%

Push-ups: Hubs increased by 47%. I increased by 104%. (Since I could not even do a regular push-up prior to this program, I recorded my results on my knees to be consistent.)

Toe touch: Hubs increased his flexibility by 6.5 inches! I increased by 3.5 inches, but we ended at about the same flexibility.

Wall Squat: Hubs increased by 69-seconds; I increased by 90-seconds.

Bicep Curls: Hubs increased by 50%; I increased by 60%.

In & Outs (ab exercise): Hubs increased by 50%; I increased by 248%.

You may notice that my numbers increased more drastically than Hubs's. One reason could be because Hubs was more in-shape when we began that I was. He definitely worked harder during the past 90 days, but I had more areas in which to improve.

Another reason could be that I wimped-out on the first fit test. I was not someone who pushed myself when working out. During P90X, however, I learned to push myself and work harder - another benefit of the program and that was seen in the final test. If I would have pushed myself at the beginning, I probably would have gotten higher scores, making the end scores not so drastic. I think Hubs' scores of about a 50% increase, are what people should expect.

Basically, P90X gave us a steady workout for 90-days. No matter what, if you work out consistently for 90 days, there will be results. I can obviously see results in my fit test and am happy that I did it. And especially excited that I can do over 20 regular push-ups today!

Notice I did not post final pictures or weights. I think the fit test says more than those ever would - believe me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Graduate

Today, I am a proud momma owner.

Ransom graduated from an 8-week obedience course. Hubs came along to watch his graduation and to take some pictures. Of course on graduation day, he acted as though he learned nothing.

He was the only dog in his class to win the perfect attendance award. He loved his award.

Good thing he won that contest, because he lost Simon Says due to his owner forgetting how to play. He was the first dog out on the "who can sit the longest" contest and came 2nd to last on the "fastest recall." Those little dogs can run fast!

We had a good time, though. His classmates included a mastiff, a blue heeler, a daschund, a boston terrier, and two shelties.

When it was time to receive his diploma, Ransom lost interest. Something behind him looked way cooler.

I think he was proud of his accomplishment, though. We still have some areas to work on, but at least we have a good foundation.

The Big Sis

I have two brothers, both younger; which makes me the Big Sister. And, as a big sister, I had to develop traits and skills that allowed me to survive life in the basement.

As most older sisters, I was am bossy. I have always, and still sometimes, feel that it is my job to tell others what to do. When left alone, I assumed the "boss" role with excitement. My brothers, however, seemed to have trouble accepting my leadership position. Usually their response was, "You're not the boss of me, Feather!" Physical force, yelling, and phone calls to mom usually followed. I still can be bossy today - especially when placed in some sort of planning committee or group.

Opinionated would be another necessary skill of a big sister. One that I also embraced fully. Like, when my brother wanted to play the tuba, I had a strong argument against him (mainly for my sleeping benefit). Or, when my brother was deciding between cross-country and soccer, I also tried to influence the process. Whatever is going on in their lives, they know to count on me to speak my thoughts. Actually, everyone can expect me to share my thoughts but usually I do wait until asked.

I also have to fix things. I feel like everything must be fixed and I must be the one to fix it in the way that I think it should be fixed. Little brothers don't always appreciate the meddling, but I will always want to do it. I hate it when things aren't fixed and always work to fix everyone's problems.

Probably the trait that has carried on the strongest and the one that I cherish the most, however, is an overwhelming desire to make sure everything goes just perfect for my brothers. I want them to be happy, successful, doing everything right, and walking with God. If something is wrong in either of my brother's lives, whether small or large, I feel it just like it was my own. I agonize. I worry. I pray. And when things are going well for my brothers, I feel it just like it was my own. I smile. I rejoice. I pray.

Whether they are 10 and 8 or 22 and 20, I'm the one who is supposed to look after my little bros; and I always will.

Are you a big or little sibling? How has it influenced your life?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Twenty-six, schmix

At Ransom's obedience class last night, we somehow I mentioned that my husband was a dentist while we talked about one of the girl's braces.

Later that evening, the same girl told her mom that she thought I was in high school and couldn't believe I was old enough to be married.

So there, twenty-six.

Monday, November 2, 2009


For years I disliked Halloween. Mainly because it diverted attention away from me my birthday. Then I went through a stage where I loved Halloween - the pumpkins, the weather, the food, and the novelty of having a birthday on a not-so-important holiday.

This year, I was once again reminded why I sometimes dislike Halloween. Hubs and I ended up at the Wichita mall right in the midst of trick-or-treating time. Most of the costumes were cute and tasteful. However, the part that I dislike are the gross, scary costumes. The grotesque masks and face paint - not my thing. Dressing up as a giraffe, football player, or puppy - that's cute and fun. Dressing up as a scary thing with a yucky mask or fake blood - I don't get it.

My ideal Halloween includes spicy chili, warm gooey cinnamon rolls, hot coffee, and caramel apples. Maybe some carved pumpkins and fun games, like bobbing for apples or eating a donut off a string, too.

Nothin' scary 'bout that.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The start of my 26th year

Beautiful flowers.

A chance to sleep while Ransom went for his morning walk.

Breakfast out.

A trip to Wichita.

Two new pans.

Cold weather gear.

A Husker win.

And a beautiful day.

Not much more you can ask for on the last day of October - and your 26th birthday.

Hubs planned it all; which made my birthday (the first birthday without a test the next day) a great day.