Last day of 2013

The LAST day of 2013!  I worked out at the YMCA this morning (weights + AMT; I’m still laying low on the running until my hamstrings are stronger) and then spent the afternoon on a sister date with Laura.

First stop: Potbelly’s for the best sandwich ever.  Laura wanted to try the Med after I sang its praises over and over again, and I jumped on that train.  She loved it!
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2nd, 3rd, and 4th stops: Barnes & Noble to drool over books, Half Price books to buy reasonably-priced books (but we didn’t), and GiGi’s cupcakes because we are tired of Christmas cookies.  Actually, only Laura bought a cupcake because her sweet tooth is bigger than mine–I have an overriding salt tooth.  If it were Gigi’s Cupcakes and Pretzels, we’d be talking.

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Vanilla cupcake with chocolate champagne frosting

And since I’ve been MIA for a week, here are a few other things that have happened lately:

Christmas!  My family had a wonderful and relaxing day.  Breakfast, presents, and then the annual Christmas Day run.
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Our newest Christmas tradition: The Christmas Wobble.  Maybe next year we will have more participants.
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A gathering with old friends.  Kyle introduced us to Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (weird), and Laura & I acquainted everyone with The Twilight Zone (good).DSCN1583

A visit from this good college roommate/friend!!  We talked, shopped, talked, shopped, ate Cincinnati chili, talked, …
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2013 has been awesome!  Perhaps tomorrow I will post some sort of recap like last year’s.

Until then, Happy New Year!

tornado in gingerbread town

Merry Christmas Eve!

I slept in this morning and then went to the YMCA with my Dad for a workout. He started in the pool, and I started at the weight rack.  I have figured out that in order to get myself to lift weights, I need to do it FIRST. Once I get off a cardio machine, my motivation level drops to 0 and I hurry my butt out of the gym, so today I started with weights. 15 minutes of arm weights and then an hour on the AMT.

I had intended to do a full body strength workout instead of cardio, but I faceplanted on a driveway yesterday and scraped up my knee, so I’m giving my legs a pity pass.
Sidenote: Just asked my mom for some “grown up” synonyms for “boo boo.”

The rest of this afternoon is for wrapping, baking, cookie eating, and family time before we head to church this evening, and then to a family friend’s house.

I’ve been pretty reasonable about my cookie intake, but chocolate covered pretzels and stale graham crackers are a different story.  Here are the remains of the gingerbread city:

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Laura/Steph’s and Greg Co.’s houses look pretty good, but I sort of attacked the house Ryan and I made.  The sibs gave me permission to eat their houses too.  Apparently no one else finds stale grahams and hard frosting appetizing?  Weird.

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When is the last time you wiped out?
Chocolate covered pretzels or chocolate chip cookie?

twins!

Christmas shopping is all finished!  An afternoon at the mall and a trip to Target took care of everything on the list.  The hypothetical list, that is; Laura and I walked around Target for a while because we didn’t have a list.

Laura and I usually shop together so that we can pick out our sister presents and save each other the hassle of thinking hard.  Today we chose the same thing!  Now that Laura has joined the world of running, we can match in different colors.
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This picture took five tries because we usually don’t take mirror pics and had an embarrassingly hard time figuring out where to look.  There were no junior high girls around to ask.

Good thing we’re saving these jackets for Christmas because today was warm!  The temps hovered around 55 degrees when I got up this morning, so I about jumped at the chance to run in short sleeves and covered a slow 6 miles.  Nice and easy with no glute pain!

Ryan and I ran together a few times earlier this week, but I think I’m going to do minimal running for the majority of winter break and instead focus on strength training and stretching to start 2014 out strong and less injury-prone.  It’s time to tackle the weak hamstrings that have been bothering me for over a year.

Ryan is back at his house now after a short week here.  We were sad to send him off and tried to load him up with as many cookies as possible because our house is past the legal sugar limit.

Speaking of sugar, our meager facebook poll crowned Greg & Co. the winners of the gingerbread house competition.  I am not quite sure how this happened because the boys did not last very long, and we all made fun of their house, but congrats, Greg!  You are artsy after all!

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Have you ever left Target empty-handed?

Gingerbread houses

Last night we had our (first) annual GINGERBREAD HOUSE COMPETITION EXTRAVAGANZA!

My sibs Greg and Laura came over (er, just Laura came over because Greg lives here too), and we invited my friend Stephanie and two of Greg’s friends to build gingerbread houses and consume lots and lots of sugar on Saturday night.

The goods:
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Graham crackers, pretzels, marshmallows, candy, candy, and more candy.

We used graham crackers as the “gingerbread” and icing + cream of tartar (pronounced TAR-TAR all night) to stick everything together.  The internet suggested adding cream of tartar to the icing to help it harden, but we were pretty hesitant because everyone had nasty visions of tartar sauce flavored frosting and gingerbread houses that tasted like fish.  Those were my visions, at least.  But we added it, nothing resembled seafood, and it turns out that cream of tartar and tartar sauce are not related!

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We had a lot of fun!  It was cool to watch the different approaches–all of the boys immediately started building before decorating, and the girls began with decorating flat pieces before putting them together.

Here is the village!  NOW– decide which you like best before I bias you with the teams.
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….

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Left: cute and classic house by Laura & Stephanie
Middle: awesome house with the porch and rocking chair by Karen and Ryan
Right: strange “school” with captive marshmallow men inside and in the roof.  The thing in the back is either a garden or a graveyard.

We put them up on facebook for a vote, but it was a pretty clear fail because more people liked the post than a particular house.

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Me and Ryan with our house

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And a shout out to Steph because I was so happy to see her!

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Which house wins?

waffle fail

Ryan and I started this morning with a chilly run.  The roads were clear, so I led him on one of my classic home routes: a hilly path through three big subdivisions.  It’s really not that exciting unless you like to look at houses, but the woodsy trails were too icy.  We covered a little over 4 miles and then did  a few sets of lunges/squats/push ups/tri dips/abs in the basement.

We had a random smorgasbord lunch with my brother Greg that included everything in the refrigerator.  I tried to be a nice big sister by offering to make Greg waffles on our ancient waffle iron that makes an appearance every few years, and it was a great idea until I forgot to spray the iron with Pam.  We spent the rest of the day with no waffles and a very resilient soggy Bisquick mess.  Sorry ’bout those waffles, Greg.

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Good thing waffles and pancakes are made out of the same thing because we were able to salvage the other 8 servings of batter for pancakes.

Ryan and I offered to be on dinner duty all week, so we prepped a meal plan and went shopping for food later that afternoon.  VeggieSummer2013 is making a comeback!  We planned mostly healthy things and bought so many vegetables that the woman at the register commented on it.

From this angle, it looks like we just bought bread and cookies, but I chose this picture because you can see Ryan still scraping the waffle iron in the background…

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Continuing on the theme of food, we made two kinds of Christmas cookies with my mom (bark and fudge nut bars) later that night and had a second sugar overload in 2 days.  I may need to pace myself if I want to still like cookies by Christmas.

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Top 2 christmas cookies?

Home for the Holidays

Congratulations to Master Ryan.  Er, Ryan with the masters!
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The ceremony was on Saturday morning, and Ryan’s parents and I watched 2800 students graduate from the economics, engineering, education, and liberal arts programs. We used our eagle eyes to pick out 3 false alarm Ryans from the crowd, but fortunately we found the real one too because we posed with him for pictures.  It was a very nice ceremony.  Congrats, Ryan!

The weather was barely double digits with flurries and wind, so I spent the rest of the day trying to warm up and doing things that didn’t involve brain power.  Recovery mode from the semester is like reverse tapering from a race, so I feel good about spending my time napping and packing to the tunes of Christmas.

I listened to even more Christmas jams on my way HOME to Ohio today.  Ryan followed me back and will be staying for a week, so we have an entirely free week to do fun holiday things.  We started off by eating lots of Christmas cookies.

Zero runs or workouts over the weekend, mostly due to the slippery winter weather, but I spent an hour on the AMT this morning.  My butt muscle is (dare I say) healed, so I’ll be getting back into a regular workout routine in order to build enough of a mileage base to train for a spring marathon.

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What’s your run plan for the holiday season?

2013 running

DONE!  I turned in the very last paper of the supposed “hardest semester of grad school” yesterday and am pumped to recover with family time, friend time, fun reading, and lots of miles over the next month.

But no miles today.  Welcome to our winter wonderland:
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And the 2-month old pumpkin (doing surprisingly well).
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It started snowing last night while Ryan and I were at Pizza Hut–we discovered the beauty of Pizza Hut last time he visited, and our ham+chicken+green pepper+red onion+pineapple pizza last night was a winner.  The snow has been coming down steadily for the past 15+ hours, and we must have 6-8 inches and counting.  It’s so pretty!  I told Ryan that if snow was warm, I would love it.

I had plans to run with a group at 9am, and I normally would have considered braving the elements, but I skipped because the slippery ground would have been terrible for my recovering butt muscle.  This running injury has helped me embrace rest days.

So instead, let’s join in with Miss Zippy’s 2013 year of running review!

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What are your answers?