a day in the orchard

I’m officially two weeks out from the Marine Corps Marathon!! Last week’s 21-miler did NOT go well at all…a late start and an unseasonably HIGH temperature did not offer up ideal running conditions, but today’s 12 mile run more than made up for it!! Next weekend only eight miles and then I’m finally in the home-stretch.

After this morning’s run, I rushed home, took a quick shower and then was off with the family for some apple picking. Again, a little on the warm-side for this time of year, but there was no denying that we had a gorgeous day for a stroll through the orchard.

DSC_9021b

DSC_9031b

DSC_9042b

DSC_9044b

DSC_9057b

DSC_9062b

Time to do some baking!!!

bracelets everywhere

Our daughter has recently joined the Rainbow Loom craze. It’s entirely possible that we’re the last family on the bandwagon.  I hadn’t even heard of this thing until a friend of my husband was over and showed me one that his daughter had made for him. Then, of course, afterwards I was noticing them absolutely everywhere. It was only a day or so later when my daughter arrived home with one that a friend had made for her.

DSC_8888b

Eventually, I was given the ‘homework assignment’ (by my seven-year-old) to ‘google’ Rainbow Loom so that I could teach her how to make a fishtail pattern bracelet. Thank goodness for YouTube!! I found a tutorial there and Ashley did a great job with her explanation.

DSC_8842b

We are now bracelet-making experts…

DSC_8885b

ballooning festival

So, we moved during my little blogging hiatus. In general, moving is a time-consuming and stressful experience. However, it escalates to a whole new level when you factor in all of the issues that were tossed our way throughout the entire process. It’s only the slightest bit of an exaggeration when I say we had to plow through just about every complication possible…with a ridiculous amount of set-backs on both our buyer and seller’s ends. I won’t even get started on the actual moving process and all of the complications that arose there!

Needless to say, it was by far the single-most stressful experience of our lives and I was so very relieved the day it was all finally over. However, as things so often are in the end…it was completely worth it.

We’ve spent the last two months settling in, decorating, getting the girls used to their new surroundings and I’m approaching the tail-end of marathon training.

It’s been busy, but an extremely good kind of busy! Along the way we’ve had friends and family come to celebrate our settling in, we’ve done some local exploring and already we’ve had some great times in our new home state. The most memorable of which had to be the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning back in July!! I’ve never been to a balloon launch before and when I saw how close it was I decided to bring my daughter along to check it out.

It was fantastic!! It was a gorgeous day and the balloons were beautiful, peacefully floating up into the clear blue sky. My daughter and I both loved it!!

Little did we know that for the rest of the summer (and even as recently as yesterday) hot air balloons would randomly float right over our house in the evenings?! An added bonus to our new home!

DSC_8660a

DSC_8671a

DSC_8689a

DSC_8675a

brownie bird nests

I had a post in mind that was all about running, but my daughter started spring break yesterday and I got a bit sidetracked.  So, the foodie posts continue, but this time there was absolutely nothing healthy going on in this kitchen!!!

DSC_8507b

DSC_8502b

She was supposed to help with frosting the brownies for our Springtime Bird Nests, but she spent most of the time eating frosting straight from the container and sneaking candy eggs when (she thought) I wasn’t looking. ‘Ya know, exactly what kids are supposed to do when they’re helping out with the baking.

DSC_8515b

 

a valentine kick-off

Just about every year we have company on Superbowl Sunday. Once our daughter was old enough I started inviting some of her friends as well…turning it into a Superbowl/Valentine’s Day party.

I usually set-up a separate table just for the kids and load it up with hearts and pinkness!!

DSC_8079b

They have crafts that they can work on together…

DSC_8058b

And during dessert I put out cookie pops for them to decorate. I found Gingerbread cookies at Christmastime and they loved it. So, I was very excited when I found a kit for Valentine’s Day too!

DSC_8124b

Of course, all of this means that I never…ever…actually sit down and watch the Superbowl. This year I had high hopes of at least getting to watch the halftime show. I even had a new gluten-free beer in the fridge that I was planning to kick-back with.

DSC_8104b

This didn’t happen. I was probably elbow-deep in dirty dishes at that point. The beer is still in the fridge, but I at least got to sit on the couch for about five minutes during the game. Just long enough to see the players stretching on the field during the power outage 😐

Regardless, when I woke up this morning I was greeted with an email from one of our guests telling me that her kids had a fantastic time! I know my daughter had a blast too…which makes me an extremely happy hostess!!

(fyi…Valentine’s Day Subway Art for the kiddie table found HERE)

in a nutshell

Do you ever not blog for a while and then end up abandoning it because there’s just entirely TOO MUCH?? Yeah, I tend to do that.

The last month of my life, at a glance…

December started with Christmas Dave and it was awesomeness.

image

Then there was our very first real Christmas Tree. We trekked out into the woods and cut it down ourselves. It was a great time, but getting this ginormous thing set-up in our living room brought about such chaos that it rivaled any National Lampoons movie we’ve ever seen!

tree

There was some touristy sightseeing in NYC…

cartier

And my daughter’s first official broadway show, Mary Poppins, which was FANTASTIC!

image

Then I closed out my 2012 racing with a local 5k Jingle Jog. I ended up placing 2nd in my age group, with a 25:55 PR!  It was a well organized race, a very fun atmosphere and the course was flatter-than-flat, but…it was my first experience wearing this thing…

tag

They handed it to me and to be honest I would have loved to have seen the expression on my face. I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it and after hearing that I needed to WEAR it and that it had to be returned so that it could be USED AGAIN…oh my. Well, my germaphobe-nature had sudden visions of me visiting the hospital at some point in the near future for treatment of the flesh-eating disease that I was sure to pick up from wearing such an unsanitary item.

After strapping it (OVER my pants) onto my ankle, I thought to myself that there was no way I was going to be able to run with it. I felt off balance and I was very aware of something being on my leg that shouldn’t. Surprisingly, once I got going I almost entirely forgot I was wearing it.

The holidays were spent mostly sick. My husband was off from work for two weeks, which meant the four of us just basically sat around recycling germs. Fun! At least we were able to admire my new medal rack while we were at home/quarantined!

photo

Fortunately, it appears as though everything has cleared out and we’re finally on the mend.

Well, except for my foot. Four weeks into marathon training (did I mention that I registered for a marathon??????) and I am quite fearful that I have a stress fracture in my foot. I’m not certain of it, but whatever is going on is NOT good. I’ve been trying to rest it since my last run (on Sunday), but that’s not going to well. The most frustrating thing is that I hadn’t even started increasing my miles yet AND I’ve been running about 1-2 minutes per mile SLOWER than my average pace…in the hopes to AVOID injury.

I have no intention of messing around with this, I’m giving it another week and then I’ll reevaluate. In the meantime, I’ve become reacquainted with my spin bike, but hopefully not for too long.

To be continued….

new jersey and new york

Shortly after Hurricane Sandy arrived, we lost power. It was out for almost an entire week. We managed just fine and consider ourselves extremely lucky. By Wednesday night, my husband was able to find us a small generator. It was able to power the fridge, so we could keep the baby’s bottles cold and we also had use of a tv and a light in our living room. Power was finally restored early on Sunday morning. After getting the house back in order, I went for my first run of the week. It was five cold, wet, glorious miles!!

While I was offline, I headed out on a quick-as-can-be trip down to DC for the MCM10k and then frantically rushed home so that I could stay ahead of the storm!! Halloween was canceled in our town, but then a trunk-or-treat was coordinated. My daughter was so excited and ended up having a fantastic time. I found myself disgusted by the insistence of some that the NYC Marathon (I refuse to link them, even now) would go on as planned and then relieved when it was canceled and all of the resources, port-a-johns, food, Gatorade, etc. was sent to Sandy victims instead. Now we have a Nor’easter on the way, which will toss high wind gusts and heavy wet snow our way. Super.

So, there’s been plenty to blog about, but honestly I haven’t felt the desire to do so.  I’ll get back into it eventually, but in the meantime…my love of coastal New Jersey and New York in pictures…

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Sweet Shop on the boardwalk in Pt. Pleasant, New Jersey

A Jellyfish at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, which is now closed ‘indefinitely’.

My daughter enjoying Lido Beach…just down the street from Long Beach in Long Island, New York.

Funtown Pier in Seaside, New Jersey.