Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lace Up Your Running Shoes!

Ever since my surgery in February I have felt a little sluggish. My strength, endurance, & my lungs have been taking their sweet time recovering. But I've been trying to do the slow, steady, consistent approach to building myself back up. I've been running 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, & now finally 3 mile stretches. It has been a great feeling, getting some of my zoom back. To help motivate myself I started looking at some local races here in town, trying to find something I can work toward participating in.

I found a race I really want to do. I want to run in it so bad that I have recruited my sister Beth, my friend Sharon, & possibly my sister-in-law Valerie to run with me.

I missed the Indy Mini this year. I knew I was most likely going to have my gall bladder removed this winter & since last year's training was such a nightmare of sickness & I was a little concerned about the swine flu floating all around our local YWCA, I just didn't sign up for it. And I'm grateful I didn't have that pressure during my recovery from surgery.

But now I'm wishing I was in good shape like I usually am after the Mini. All that training makes you feel strong. You don't get out of breath. You have lots of pep. I miss that.

So we are getting our heads together & getting ready to run in a local half marathon in September! I have never trained for a long distance race in the summer before. I'm hoping it will be a mild summer like last year. I also have a new training program that involves more cross training which is exciting. Now I can incorporate things like riding my bike to work & speed mowing the lawn as part of my training :-)

I'm sure we won't set any records, win anything or become famous. I'm pretty sure that Sharon & Valerie will blow past me & Beth like we are standing still. But I'm absolutely sure it will be good for us, it will be fun, & we'll get a t-shirt!

*If anyone is inspired to join us, let me know & I'll get you the race info!

A Slight Correction

After I showed Mike my Turkey Fryers post, he informed me that they are actually called Turkey Fries.
Oops. I can assure you that the correct terminology does not affect what they are. Or how they taste. Or how they feel in your mouth. I'm sure you get my point. Ahem...

Rebecca was right when she said they were like Rocky Mountain Oysters.

Yep, folks. When we go to eat at my family's gatherings we do crazy things like try to crack a coconut. When we go to Mike's family's gatherings we fry up and eat Turkey Testicles.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Turkey Fryers

Have you ever heard of Turkey Fryers?

I hadn't heard of them until recently. It was a quiet Saturday. I think we spent most of the day doing chores; me - cleaning, Mike - woodworking. We are BORING! Anyway, that evening we went over to his Aunt Becky's house.

Mike's Aunt Becky is a great lady. She has never met a stranger. She is absolutely pint-sized. I think my feet were bigger than her's when I was in third grade. She has a laugh that will just make you chuckle. I really like spending time with her. She has three kids, Michelle, Von, & Raylene. Raylene lives out of town & has four kids to keep her busy so I don't see her often. Michelle & Von also live out of town but they make it home for visits more frequently. They are so fun - we laugh like crazies when we are all together.

So when we headed over to Becky's, I was anticipating a good time. I had no idea what was waiting for us.

Michelle went grocery shopping on her way to town. This is what she bought:

These are Turkey Fryers.
Know what they are yet?

I don't know how to make these pics rotate. Just pic up your monitor & turn it, ok?
Here is Von frying the Turkey Fryers.
Now do you know what they are?
Here is Michelle digging in!
I think this is the bite that 'popped' in her mouth.

Mike wasn't too sure if he liked them or not.
The scrunched up nose & pursed lips are clear signs that he is
not sure if he's liking the Turkey Fryers.
I had to close my eyes so that I could concentrate on the complex flavor, the intriguing texture of the Turkey Fryer.
I had to chase it with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie & lots of Diet 7Up.

Anybody want to guess what a Turkey Fryer is?
Leave me a comment & tell me if you know!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Latest Work of My Handsome Carpenter

Oh my goodness - I do not know where I have been hiding lately, but it's been FOREVER since I've posted anything! So much has happened, good, bad, & ugly but it's been a great couple of weeks. Even the bad & ugly give me the opportunity to learn a little more & hopefully begin to trust the Lord a little more. But that's a topic for another post. THIS post is all about Michael's toy making. He has made a couple really fascinating things lately.
This is an elephant puzzle.
I think it's about the coolest thing I've ever seen & no, I don't think I can solve it.
This little guy is going to multiply & become at least two birthday
presents for family members who have a soft spot for pachyderms.
And this is Old McDonald's Farm. I think Michael is a genius.
Each little animal & the barn are a puzzle.
I watched him cut some of these out with his scroll saw.
I had no idea how he had to think ahead with where the blade would be
& how to get around corners, etc.
I was fascinated.
And now that your interest is piqued, come back soon for a pic of Michael's
most recently completed project!

What Can Change In Two Years

On April 18th I celebrated the two year anniversary of home ownership. I can't believe so much time has gone by already. Our house has been a source of delight & comfort as well as a seemingly never ending project. I think that's how home ownership is supposed to feel. That's what I tell myself, at least!
So, I thought I would give you just a little bit of visual evidence of the work that has taken place.
You can check here, here, & here for some before pics. Here are some after pics. Does anyone else love before & after pics quite so much as me? They are such great FUN!
We will start with the kitchen. I had to take a pic of this corner because it makes me laugh. Our kitchen is actually pretty roomy, however there are four doors in this one corner so you can't use this space for anything. We have a basement door, bathroom door, closet door, & dining room door. In this pic you can't see the basement door. Just wanted to let you know that I haven't imagined Door #4.
Here is the built in hutch. Mike sanded the paint off of the counter top so we could restore the wood. He also installed l.e.d. lights under the cabinet so we can illuminate the counter top. Then he rebuilt the two top drawers into one deep drawer that holds all of our pots & pans. Have I ever told you that I love that man!

This is the pantry corner. Mike got me that antique crock for Christmas one year. It holds all sorts of exciting things like dish towels or potatoes. Just depends on my mood...

This pic shows you the new deep white sink & the wooden counter tops that I helped Mike make. I helped = I handed him drills, glue, clamps, etc. What would he do without me? *grin*

Here's the dining room. That hutch was Mike's grandma's. We also have her dining table & chairs. They are dinged up a little bit but I love them so much. There is so much history in a family's dining table & chairs. I like to imagine all the talks his family had there. Mike's mom comes from a family of seven so I'm sure there were many moments of hilarity & despair. I love having the physical reminder in our home.
Yeah, I'm weirdly sentimental about dining tables. It's just part of who I am.

In this pic you can see the defunct ceiling fan that still needs to be replaced. We haven't been able to decide on something that doesn't cost a million bucks.

This is the view into the living room from the dining room. Mike's family got us this flat screen tv for a wedding gift so we mounted it & Mike built a wooden frame to go around it. I think it is some of his best work.

Here's the other side of the room. I would love to have our loveseat reupholstered. Any of my bloggy friends do some upholstery on the side? I'm serious.

Here's the bottom part of the shelf that Mike built in the bathroom. It allows for so much storage! And it's pretty. And it holds all the stuff that makes me pretty. Therefore, the need for lots of storage *grin*

Here's the top portion. I had to take a pic of Dr. Phil. That little plant came to live at my apartment many years ago. The girls that I worked with at the jewelry store gave him to me as a housewarming gift. I have officially kept him alive for almost four years. That's a serious accomplishment for this black thumb!

We decided that we would keep the old school built in medicine cabinet. It has a tiny mirror, but I still love it. If I can't see my whole face & hair in it, obviously something needs to change besides the mirror!
Mike install these new light fixtures & they are a huge improvement over the boxy fluorescent ones that preceded them.

And here is the bedroom. I was a little bit afraid that I would get tired of the strong red color, but I still love it. We have another framed tv in here & Mike has done an excellent job of putting together some wall collages of wedding pics, his family, & my family. We used mostly black & white prints & I love the effect.

This is the corner where the newly constructed hamper will go. More on that to come soon!
See those two throw pillows on the bed? I purchased those back in the day when I had my little apartment. From the design on those pillows I picked every major color for our house. The red for the bedroom, the blue for the bathroom, the green for the kitchen, & even the taupe-y color for the living/dining room. I love those pillows. They justify all of my decorating decisions!
And here is just a shot of the opposite corner of the bedroom. Now you have indeed seen it all!

I'll bet you never dreamed it could take so long to walk through a one bedroom house! It has been a long journey for us & our project list is still as long as my arm, but it is fun to look back & see what we have accomplished thus far. The Lord has been good to help us do it, pay for it, & still love each other through all the little issues that inevitably arise with home improvement :-)

Caydance The Gymnast

After we spent one Saturday celebrating a niece's birthday, we spent another Saturday celebrating another niece's gymnastic accomplishments. Caydance is almost seven years old & has been participating in gymnastics since she was about 18 months old. She is one strong, flexible kid & I loved watching her strut her stuff!
On a side note, I also loved the gym where her meet was held. The entire floor was that springy stuff so I'm sure I looked like a drunken sailor walking around, but it was FUN!
Here she is swinging around a bar. If I remember right, she swung several times to get momentum then pulled herself up, put her legs straight out on the bar kind of like the splits & then swung down & off.

And here she is on the balance beam. She actually raised her arms & then stood up from this position. I couldn't stand up from the flat floor in that position, let alone on a balance beam! Actually, I probably couldn't even walk across the balance beam. Yeah, I didn't learn to ride my two wheel bike until I was like ten - serious balance deficiency, serious. Watching me attempt yoga is one belly laugh after another.

Little brother came along for the show. Canton has got the sweetest face - he is super big time flirt man! And with those blue eyes, he should be! He has recently discovered his belly button & had to show it to us as many times as possible.

And here is Caydance getting her awards! She got all blue ribbons & a bulls eye. Evidently a bulls eye is a bigger deal than a blue ribbon. She was ecstatic. We were ecstatic. It's amazing how invested you can get in these little people's feelings.

And what is the best way to celebrate a bull's eye in gymnastics? Dinner with the family at the local BBQ joint! Here is Mike with his 1/2 lb. mushroom burger. I had a bite. It was goooood. And the dude next to Mike is his 14 year old cousin, Vincent. He had a 1 lb. burger! Can you believe that thing? I couldn't really watch him eating it. He didn't actually get it all down (his arteries breathed a sigh of relief). Man vs. Food - Food scores one!

Maddie Turns Seven!

Maddie's parents put together a wonderful party for Maddie's 7th birthday at a local park. The family & friends were invited. The dude in the pic above was NOT invited. He stayed over in the corner, hanging out on this tree so we tolerated him. Mike looked him up on the internet to discover that he is a baby rat snake. I'll bet your 7 year old didn't have a baby rat snake at their birthday party!
Sorry. Even after all this time I'm still trying to be the coolest. By now I should be too mature for that. Should be...
Anyway - here's a pic of Cocoa. She is Beth & Brennan's pound puppy. I love her. She is very energetic & she can get a mean lick on you if you get too close *grin*

Beth plans these parties the right way. She figures out little crafts & things for the kids to do. Here the girls are assembling their own little butterfly gardens. They turned out really cute. And the girls had a blast making them. Everyone was happy.
*Notice the adult legs in the background of this pic? It must have been funny to drive by & see all these grown ups just standing around a table watching the kids. Seriously, we were enthralled. Maybe we need to get a life? heehee...
And if your own little butterfly garden wasn't enough to bring a smile to your face, a ray of sunshine into your life, there was THIS: the double decker chocolate chip cookie cake. Oh my heavenly days, was it ever GOOD! I was sitting way too close to it for a while & had to put the cover back on before I succumbed to temptation & ate the whole thing! And my mom made dark chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting. They were like super wow, too.
Can you tell I have an obsession with cake/icing/dessert???
Feel free to begin planning the intervention.
And there is our adorable birthday girl. Maddie has always squinched up her nose in the cutest way. She would even make that face when she was a tiny baby. She is definitely a keeper. I love her giggle, I love her spunk, & I just love her.
Mike & I have just had our socks blessed off by the nieces & nephews the Lord has given us. It's good stuff to be in our family!