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we built a house

8 Jul

when we first decided to build our house, we named this song as our theme song for the project.  not very good video quality, but it was the best I could find.

A little over five months ago, the husband and I decided to do something a little crazy.  Having always been the types for adventure, we rarely take the simple route when it comes to big events in life, whether it be moving overseas for a year, running a marathon together or in this case – moving in with my mom and step-dad for four months and building a house.

But I’m happy to say we have a lot of life and learning tucked under our belts, and even in the midst of the most difficult and trying moments I’m so enthralled by doing life together.  The house building process was at the same time one of the most exciting and one of the most stressful projects we’ve tackled to date.

There were so many moments, on those long drives home after work where I just kept throwing out the question of why.  Why in the world did we sign up for this?  It’s so stressful and difficult.  But at the same time there were many feel good moments when we saw the results of our determination come to fruition through even the littlest details – air ducts being installed, the addition of light switch plates, or the little tree in our front yard, however dead it may be:)

I love when I walk around various rooms of our house, and every little piece has a story and a vivid memory.

“…remember when I got on your shoulders in the pitch dark of night and tried to make a big ‘x’ on our dining room ceiling so they’d know where to hang that light?”

or

“…remember the time we celebrated my new job by using our drywall in the middle of the living room as a table for our cupcakes?”

or

“…remember that  light that we ordered for our entryway only to realize upon it’s arrival that it was sized more for a hotel foyer than a modest sized house?

Overall it was worth every single decision, every moment commuting between work and my mom’s house, every disagreement and every stressful moment.  We’re now able to add one more challenging life experience to our ever growing collection of adventures, and baby it feels SO good to walk in our home at the end of every day and say “we did this together.”

We closed on our 2nd house at 2pm on Friday, June 24th, two days past our expected date, and with the help of several family members (God bless them:), we moved in that night.  However cliche it sounds, “good things come to those who wait” rang in my ears as we walked up the sidewalk to our house and the husband swept me up and carried me through the entry.

These days we’re loving all the extra time we have in the evenings, while trying desperately to revive our poor grass that was half dead before it was even laid.  The husband has become quite good friends with the sprinkler, and I’m falling more in love with my kitchen every day.


We are so grateful for the opportunity to go through this process and most of all for the blessing of having our own home now.  And of course one of the biggest highlights of it all has been getting our little baby dog back.  I know she had a great time at my grandpa and grandma’s.  They spoiled her rotten, and she loved every minute of it.  But we missed her like crazy, and are loving every minute of having her back at home with us.
While she misses watching the cows and chasing squirrels all day long, I think she’s adjusting back to city life quite well.  She’s finding her favorite spots inside and having a grand time exploring the neighborhood on our morning walks.
Now that we’re finally getting settled and life is beginning to get into a new routine, we’re ready and waiting for our next adventure.
What is the best adventure you’ve ever been on?

in our guest bedroom on a rainy night less than a week before we closed

Happy Friday!
By the way – while I don’t have very many inside pictures of our house to post right now, I’ll definitely put together a little photo tour once we get unpacked and the house doesn’t look like a tornado anymore.  Trust me, you don’t want to see that.

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okc half marathon part I

13 May

To start, thanks so much for the well wishes and encouragement after yesterday’s post.  Looking back at it, I realize that it sounded rather negative.  That’s the kind of thing I’m less able to see clearly at three in the morning, ha. I appreciate all your kind words so much and they brightened my day; it never ceases to amaze me the kind of support one gets from the blog community.  I am slowly feeling better today (no more ER trips), and I’m hoping and praying by the end of the weekend, I’ll be ready to jump back into real life.  It never occurred to me that my recovery time would be this long, and I think that’s what has made it more difficult.  But things could be so much worse, and I have so much to be thankful for, part of that being all of you.  So, thank you.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

It completely blows my mind that it has been twelve days since we ran the OKC half marathon.  Carrying on with our training throughout our moving/living with parents and job change process made it seem like it lasted forever, and now suddenly even the race seems like it was forever ago!  I honestly have to say that while we stuck to our training schedule the best that we could during this season in our life, it wasn’t ideal, and it didn’t even come close to preparing us as well as our half three years ago.  But we obviously weren’t running for serious time goals, and training together definitely gave us something to focus on and helped keep us active during these crazy last several weeks.

Not only were we not super well prepared physically, our mental game was also a little off.  I was definitely ready and excited to run the race, but I just wasn’t super focused.  The day before we spent some amazing time with friends from college and ended up getting back to our hotel super late.  We decided at the last minute to stay in a downtown hotel primarily because my mom’s house is about 45 minutes from the race start and because we had enough points for a free night!  We even got to take the baby along:)

So, after a late night and about five hours of sleep, we woke to our alarm and rolled out of bed to get ready.  Thankfully we turned on the TV, and there was coverage of the race already on.  It was at this point that we realized how crazy the weather was: forty degrees, windy and pouring rain.  Further proof that our heads were just not where they should have been was that the weather forecast had predicted rain and colder temperatures all week, but for some reason we just hadn’t really paid attention.  By the grace of God we had both thrown in a long sleeve running shirt just in case or we really would have been in trouble.

Just when we were finishing up getting ready, we heard the news announce that the race start had been delayed due to lightening.  Cue the next sign that we weren’t really ready – I was a little bit relieved.  We had been rushing around so much, and I just felt really scattered (which actually coincides nicely with how I’ve felt the last ten weeks or so) and disorganized…like I was forgetting something important.  I couldn’t decide whether to take my iPod and risk it getting wet.  Whether or not to take a gear bag to check in case I wanted to ditch my long sleeve right before the start (ha!).  Whether or not to wear my headband or a hat.  Etc etc.  Let me break here and say to any of you who have not yet run a race: never wait until the morning of the race to decide these important matters!  I should have made all the decisions at least the night before.  But alas, I had not so I was frantically debating all these issues with the husband, who by the way was lounging in bed with Olive like it was the middle of Sunday afternoon. Clearly, we were on opposite ends of the spectrum, but he was every bit as mentally absent as I was.

After about another twenty minutes of watching the news, it suddenly hit me that if they were not going to delay the start another thirty minutes, then we should really be getting ourselves out the door and down to the start line.  Again..hello?!  So, I grabbed our gear check bag and my water bottle, and off we went.  Once downstairs, the husband realized that he hadn’t brought his headband (his ears hurt if he runs in wind), so he had to go back upstairs and get it.  At this point, I wasn’t super worried yet, but I was beginning to feel some urgency.  The day before when we picked up our race packets from the expo, they had been out of programs (what!?), and because the start had been moved to a different location this year, we didn’t even know exactly where we were supposed to be headed. And it was still pouring rain.

We took off walking in the direction other people were going, and I distinctly remember the point where I started to stress.  Looking at my watch, I realized that we couldn’t be more than about ten minutes from starting time, and with our gear check bag still in hand, we had no idea where we were even headed.  About six blocks later, we found our way to the corral area, but it was all gated off, and I honestly couldn’t even tell which way everyone was headed in the corral.  It was just so confusing!  At this point I began to get a little frantic.  There were people everywhere and it was all we could do to try and squeeze through the crowds.  I kept asking everyone if they knew where the gear check was, and somehow not a single person knew anything.

Two minutes and counting.

The excitement in the crowd was overflowing (as was the rain), and we somehow ended up caught in the 5k corral.  People were packed in like sardines, and they were not going anywhere.  I kept trying to worm my way through, but despite the usual friendliness of Oklahomans, no one was even remotely willing to step aside.  The husband and I were caught in a packed sea of people, having no idea where the gear check station or the actual start line even was….

and the gun went off.

I have to say at this point I felt so disappointed.  I was so mad at us for getting ourselves in this position.  If you’ve ever run a race, you know one of the best parts is the start.  Everyone is so high on energy, and there’s a sense of euphoria that goes through you when the gun goes off and you start moving forward as a giant unit of runners, ready to embark on what you hope to be your best race ever.  I just wanted to be there, but there was nothing we could do.

After about another ten minutes of trying to get through the 5K crowd (those 5Kers can be some stubborn folks I tell ya), we finally broke through.  We took off jogging the opposite way of the runners in search of the gear check.  Asking everyone we passed, we finally got some direction and found the station.  I practically threw the bag at the gear check person, and the husband and turned back toward the corral…and then I spotted the bathrooms.  Now typically, there is no way you could have paid me to waste another two minutes going to the bathroom when we were already 15+ minutes late starting.  But really, at this point what did it matter?  I seriously had to go, and I figured it would be better to go before our chip time started, even though the husband was looking at me like I’d lost my mind.  Locking myself in the little porta potty, I quickly took care of business and then began to readjust my clothes when I heard something hit the floor.  uh oh.  My chapstick.  Trying to block out the disgusting nature of the situation, I reached down and snatched it up and then stuffed it into the little zipper pocket in the back of my pants.  Uh oh again.  I immediately knew what had happened.  Turning slowly, I gazed downed into the depths of the black hole, only to see my precious iPod headphones resting gently on top of the pile.  I have to be honest here and say that for a split second I did consider fishing them out.  But I quickly came to my senses, bid them a quick goodbye, and raced toward the start.

Finally at least heading in the right direction, I started feeling a little more positive.  We weaved our way through some more 5K and 10kers and finally crossed the start line at about 17 minutes past start time.

to be continued…

some thoughts

20 Apr

Thoughts on a Wednesday:

  • As you may have noticed, I haven’t cooked an actual meal in about 2 or 3 weeks.  Reasons being – number one, we are never home until about 8:30pm or later and number two, it’s harder than you might think to share kitchen space when you don’t eat the same types of food.  I miss my kitchen:)
  • I ran five miles this morning and felt pretty good until I got back to the car and couldn’t find my car key.  15 minutes later I finally founded it inside my shirt.  Still contemplating that one…
  • We only have a week and a half until our 2nd half marathon.  I’ve realized the last week or so that it will be a small miracle if we beat our first time.  I’m currently trying to stifle my competitive side and not care.
  • The level at which I miss Olive is on the rise with every passing day.  I thought these things were supposed to get easier with time?

  • Kathleen Grissom, the author of one of my favorite books – The Kitchen House, commented on my blog the other day.  I’m still giddy with excitement over it.
  • Lately I’ve been a bit out of sorts, and I’ve narrowed it down to a few things: our one bedroom living quarters is cramped, cluttered and disorganized; because I currently live in our car more than anywhere else it is also cramped, cluttered and disorganized; I’ve been eating out most meals which means my pants are slowly getting a little bit more snug and our bank account is dwindling; my hopefully soon-to-be job is completely uncertain, and I have no control over what happens.  Other than that everything is going pretty well;)
  • I am the absolute luckiest girl in the entire world to be married to the husband.  Love that boy.

Happy Wednesday!

nothing sweeter

25 Mar

Happy Friday!

This morning what started out as a bad attitude ended up as an amazing run.  Lately, the husband and I have been trying to do our short runs together before he goes to work in the morning, which works out great because he doesn’t have to do his at lunch, and I can get my workday started extra early.  But this morning, as soon as I opened my eyes I knew it was later than it should be.  We overslept by a good 45 minutes and had to rush just to get ready in time.  I really didn’t feel like driving down to the park to do my run, and I debated between that and just running on the street.  I don’t like to run on the streets by myself out here because there are a lot of loose dogs…but I also really don’t love doing laps where one time around equals less than 1 mile.  But alas I decided to get my butt down to the park and get it done.


I played a little trick by telling myself that I could walk as much as I wanted, but I had to get in the four miles.  Worked like a charm. I ended up not walking at all and finished in record time (for this race training anyway).


I actually started off a bit slow and the first mile was a bit uncomfortable – about 10:30 pace – but I steadily increased my pace throughout and then kicked it into high gear, running the last mile at 8:30.

The whole time I just kept chanting to myself “it’s okay to be uncomfortable!”  One thing I’ve learned about running is that there is a difference between pain and discomfort.  If I’m experiencing pain, I stop.  Because nothing is worth sacrificing my body.  But if I’m just feeling uncomfortable, I take that as a sign to push harder and get through it.  Pushing through discomfort always garners the best results.  Running (at least training for longer distances) isn’t necessarily supposed to easy.  If it was easy, then everyone would do it, right?  If it was easy, then crossing the finish line wouldn’t feel like someone just handed over all you’ve ever wanted wrapped up with a little bow on top.  Hard is worth it.  Uncomfortable is worth it.

I am so excited about this weekend because my BIL and SIL who live in Tulsa are out of town, and they offered to let us (me+husband+Olive) stay at their house.  We miss our furry baby so much it hurts, and nothing could make this weekend better than getting to spend the whole thing with her (and each other). I’m thinking there will be lots of exploring Tulsa, Lost marathons (we’re re-watching all the seasons), naps, photo taking and a long run on Sunday (followed by another nap:).

This past week hasn’t been an easy one.  I’ve been pretty stressed about all the job stuff (read: I don’t have one), and I’ve really been struggling with wishing away time.  I just want to get to June so we can move into our house and feel like we’ve officially transitioned to our new life; this in-between stage doesn’t suit me very well.  I know there is goodness and joy to be found in every stage of life we experience, and I’m trying to step back and focus on all the blessings in my life.  I think the more I try to seek out happiness despite my circumstances, the harder it is to find.  Happiness has to be felt inside, and it stems from contentment and finding joy in the little things – breathing in fresh air, the intense flavor of dark chocolate on the tongue, having the ability to see all the bright colors emerging with the new season. The more I remind myself of how wonderful it is to be able to see, feel, smell and experience every moment of life, the more it becomes ingrained as a natural part of my day.  Moving from the negative to the positive.

And speaking of the positive – this family that I told you about a few months ago is finally getting their sweet little girl this weekend.  I can’t imagine many things that could be sweeter.

Takes a deep breath, wonders at the air rushing out of her lungs and steeps in the peace found in this moment of being alive.

weekend photo overload

22 Mar

Another successful weekend in the great OKC.  The husband and I ate and explored until our hearts were content…and we did most of it with the little baby in tow, which made it all the bettter.

We started off Saturday afternoon at Panda Express because it was the only veggie friendly restaurant that had a nice outdoor patio just begging for us to relax on it.

One of my not so healthy loves is lo mein noodles and spring rolls.  mmmm….Asian food.

After lunch we headed down to the Plaza District, a quaint little area in the heart of OKC dotted with vintage shops.  One of our friends from college opened up her own handmade boutique a few years ago, and I’ve been itching to stop by and check it out.  It was just as cute as I’d imagined.

One of the best parts about this little shop is that it’s pet friendly.  We carried O around for awhile, but eventually let her down to make friends with the shop dog.  She wasn’t toooo excited.

And she was a good little baby while her mama tried on some clothes.

After shopping for a bit, we decided to hit up the much talked about little cupcake shop just a couple of miles way.

Cutest little cupcake shop ever!  Even counting the ones in Old Town Alexandria that I fell in love with last fall.  Very quickly I’m finding out that OKC has more than a few things going for it.

I ordered the highly recommended iced coconut latte with soy.  yum!  And the husband and I split this little gem – chocolate cupcake with a mocha chocolate icing.

We liked.

After letting our little snack settle, we were off to our next destination – the Paseo District – for a little walking and sightseeing.

She still loves me:)

And then the long drive back home.  She was tuckered out.

After we picked up Olive at my grandma’s, we were cruising along toward the city when we suddenly looked at each other and we knew exactly what each other was thinking.  Our little family was finally together again, and it felt like everything was right in the world.  I still have moments of weakness when I think to myself “why did we decide to give her up?”  “What were we thinking?”

We’re now 3 weeks down and 13 to go.  Just trying to keep whittling it down.

I spent most of yesterday on the search for a job.  I’m having a bit of a hard time with it.  Sometimes I think I just analyze things too much…and it gets me all stressed out.  I’m hoping to be able to find something this week, but so far I’ve kind of struck out.  Hopefully I’ll have better luck today!

Is there something in your life that you’re having to make an effort to stay positive about?  What do you do to help yourself stay focused on the bright side?


starting with a rant and ending with a happy friday!

18 Mar

Warning: rant ahead.

Can I just say that sometimes I really hate technology?  K, thanks.  Sometimes I REALLY hate technology.  For a long time I had trouble figuring out a good workflow for taking pictures, editing and uploading them and then saving them without overloading (read: sloooowing down) my computer.  Finally, a few months ago, the husband and I brainstormed and came up with a decent flow.  It was still kind of a pain in the you know what, but it was better than before.

Step A – Take photos
Step B – Remove card from camera and plug it into the camera using a USB camera card adapter
Step C – Open photos and immediately delete any that are not worthy of keeping.
Step D – Move all remaining photos to a folder on the desktop.
Step E – One by one, drag photos into Photoshop for editing.  After editing each one, save it to the same folder, but with a different name (I don’t want to lose my unedited raw images)
Step F – Upload the entire folder into Flickr, labeling it by date and tagging as needed
Step G – As soon as a few folders have accumulated on the desktop, copy them to a DVD and store in a safe place.
Step H – Delete photos from the desktop

Sounds pretty involved, right?  Well, that would be the reason why there are currently about twenty folders of pictures on our desktop.  I really need to take a day (or a week) and upload all of them to Flickr and then copy to DVDs.  But let’s get back to the reason why I hate technology right now.

So everything was going just fine until about a week ago when my camera card USB adapter stopped working.  Walmart special, people.  Apparently the only option of getting photos onto the computer without it is plugging the entire camera into the computer via the cord that came with it (which I’ve learned is not too good for the camera or the card).  The biggest problem with that method is that you can only import the photos through iPhoto, and iPhoto does not accept raw.  Which means I can’t edit using Photoshop. Bah.

On top of that, it seems that the husband nor I can get much service on our phones out in these parts.  So, any photos I take with my iPhone are essentially useless because I can’t get enough of a connection to email them to myself.

Anyway, I took some pictures earlier today with my dslr, and now I can’t even get them to upload through iPhoto.  The “import” button is grayed out and it won’t let me select it.  Needless to say, this post is going to be utterly pictureless.

That’s all.

———————–

This morning I went for a four mile run per my half marathon training, and it was a tough one!  Some runs are just that way.  I kind of felt like I was dragging the whole time, and my pace was up and down like a kid on a rollercoaster.  I finished in 40:52.  I got to thinking though, that when I have a super tough run but I stick with it and push through I probably do just as much or more for my training than when I sail through.  So score one point for building up endurance and mental power!

For lunch I poured 3/4 cup of Amy’s Vegan chili over a bed of greens with an apple (I’m on a huge apple kick right now!) on the side.  A spin off my current favorite easy lunch.  It was the first time I’d had the chili, and it was pretty good. Honestly the crumbled tofu in it was so similar to the consistency of ground meat that I almost couldn’t enjoy it.  I had to keep telling myself over and over again – it’s not an animal, it’s not an animal.

This afternoon I’m heading to the city to get a haircut.  A couple of people asked me about it recently, and for the record I am growing out my pixie cut…at least for the time being.  I’m trying to be really low maintenance and not get worked up about the bad “inbetween phase,” but as we speak there is a mullet inching its way down the back of my neck, and it must be reigned in.  Hopefully at my appointment today, I can get it cleaned up a little bit but lose as little ground as possible on the path to longer hair.  This will be my first time to get it cut since we moved, so I’m going to somebody completely new, which makes me a little nervous.  Cross your fingers for me!

The husband and I are going on a little date tonight.  My friend and fellow Okie, Amber, emailed me today, saying there will be live music at this cute little bookstore tonight.  So, we may stop by there.  We shall see how it goes.  Also definitely going to be stopping by BestBuy to get a new camera card reader, so tomorrow there will be lots of pretty pictures!  Spring has almost arrived here, and I’ve been doing my best to capture it.

And before I go – a few old pictures of our sweet baby just because I miss her so much.

her favorite spot – on dad’s freshly ironed clothes

second best to hanging her head out the window


Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

greens are back!

22 Feb

Hello!

This morning I started the day off with a trip to the gym for a run.  I ended up knocking out 3.6 miles before doing some stretching and push-ups, and then heading home.  For the last couple of months my workouts have been pretty irregular, so I’ve been trying to get back into some sort of routine.  Which is comical because the word routine really doesn’t have a place in my life right now.

Something else I’ve come back to after a 5 day hiatus is green smoothies!

I had to start taking some medication last week, and it completely robbed me of my appetite!  There were certain things I could tolerate to eat, but one food group in particular was OUT.  And that would be vegetables.  A tragedy.

But now they’re back in full swing praise the Lord.

As predicted, this past weekend was so sweet despite the busyness.  On Friday night we met with our house superintendent and our builder to finalize the house plans.  We went through every single area of the house – inside and out – deciding on everything from doorway arches to outlets.  It was a really fun meeting, and we’re hoping to be able to get our foundation poured in the next week.  Fingers crossed!

We had been warned that our superintendent was….a little rough around the edges.  One of those “shoot it to you straight” kind of guys.  And he was.  But I really liked him.  His best line of the night said when the husband asked him what is normal as far as matching exterior colors: “Don’t even ask me about normal.  Nothing about this house is normal, so let’s not even go there.”

The husband and I tend to like sort of a unique style…and I don’t think Doug is used to working with our type.  It’ll be good for him though. hah.

After out meeting we celebrated by eating out some mexican food and then went shopping for some birthday shoes for the husband.  His big 2-8 is coming up this weekend, on moving day nonetheless. Poor husband.

Saturday morning we enjoyed the beautiful weather by going for a drive…taking the long way to our favorite bagel shop.

And after filling up with an everything bagel + Tofutti cream cheese, we set out on a walk to campus.  I really needed the fresh air, sunshine and endorphins, and it felt so good to just get out of the house after all the cold weather as of late. Olive had a banner day, obviously.

less than thrilled to have his picture taken

Later in the morning my mother-in-law came into  town to help us pack, and thank the heavens she did.  She cracked down on us and our procrastination, and we all three packed for about 10 hours total between Saturday and Sunday.  We were so productive and got so much done, but it really made me realize how much we have left to do!  I’m so glad she came because otherwise I’d be in a bad place at this point.

update: I decided for the time being I am growing my hair out, but the resulting poofiness is about to send me running to the salon

Sunday we stayed home from church in lieu of maximizing time packing with MIL, but the husband and I did rise early and go for a 4 mile run. Aside from the 30 mile an hour gusts of wind, the run wasn’t half bad.  You know how you just have on days and off days?  Well, this was an on day for me.  No amount of wind could have kept me from rocking that run.  I love days like that!  By about hour four of packing, my legs were really feeling it, though.

This week will be a bit sparse as far as good food because I currently am finishing packing up my entire kitchen.  Last night I made vegan enchiladas for dinner, and I made enough to have leftovers one night this week. Other than that we’ll probably be eating veggie wraps, Amy’s, or cereal for the rest of our meals.  It’s only for a week though!  I just keep reminding myself of that.

In other news, I still need to share a couple of tasty raw (ish) meals I made last week before the aversion to veggies took over.  I initially found both of these in Crazy Sexy Diet, and they’re so good they’re even husband approved!  Typically I don’t have a hard time keeping it raw until lunch, but when dinner comes this girl needs some cooked (read: hot!) food.  This is an example of a meal I had for dinner a couple of times.

I filled a plate up with a massaged kale avocado salad.

With it I had a smaller portion of quinoa with slightly stir-fried veggies.

For the salad, I tore up a whole bunch of kale into bite sized pieces.  Then I added about 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 small avocado, and I got my hands in there and massaged away.  The dressing turned into a creamy coating over all the leaves that softened the kale, both texture and flavor wise.  The husband commented that it tasted quite similar to a ceasar salad, and I would have to agree!

Next, I very lightly sauteed various veggies (zucchini, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, onions etc) in a wok and then sprayed them with Braggs several times.  Just before it was done, I added the chick peas and stir friend until they were heated through.  Meanwhile, I had a pot of quinoa cooking on the stove, and when it was all done I poured the veggies over the quinoa, plated it, and that was it!

This meal was so easy and delicious!  I had the salad again the next day for lunch, and still had leftovers after that.  So if you’re eating alone, you may want to half the recipe.

I’m getting in some extra tutoring hours with my students this week as they all have some really important events coming up.  Works out for me too because I’ve got some important events coming up that need some money!  Otherwise, the husband and I are just trying to keep our heads above water with work and packing.  It’s a crazy time for sure!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!