Friday, June 10, 2011

Wrangling:{Here Comes the Sun}

Happy Friday Weekend, friends! I've got so much to tell you about this week -- let the wrangling begin!

(A weekly round up. Each week I am going to “wrangle” my life's happenings into a post filled with pictures, lists & general tidbits about the past 7 days.)

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First things first: JON IS HOME!

My husband spent his week in Las Vegas living it up attending a “Developer’s conference” at Caeser’s Palace. (I know... tough break, huh?)

And while there were some *nice* things about playing bachelorette for the week (sleeping in the middle of the bed, watching ‘Gilmore Girls’ marathons & cooking meat-less meals).... and I did enjoy the pictures he sent me:

...well, quite frankly, Jon & I belong together, and it felt like half my heart was across the country this week, too. It’s the first time he’s been the one who was gone, and I missed him like crazy.

Now that he’s home, everything just feels right again.

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Now, to play a little catch-up:
I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about our Memorial Day weekend. I always enjoy our family’s Memorial Day celebration, because it involves a huge spread a delicious summery (picnic-y!) foods and lots of outside time. But this year was an especially good time.

This year, we got the BEST SURPRISE EVER, when April drove down from Wisconsin for the long weekend, with sweet baby Aurora (6 weeks) in tow. What a treat! (I had resigned myself to the fact that I would have to make-do with pictures until Thanksgiving or Christmas...)

Aren't they beautiful?

True to form, Christy coordinated a little celebration for her girls. It was a wonderful, love filled family celebration.

Welcome to the family, Aurora!

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(A few thoughts from the week straight from my heart, uncensored, but hopefully spell-checked:)

It hit me suddenly, and I wasn't prepared for it. I was washing dishes the other night, alternately daydreaming as I looked out the window and talking to the cats, who were "mrrowww-ing" and winding around my ankles (we keep the kitty treats in the cabinet under the kitchen sink.)
... Minding my own business, really.

And it snuck up on me, surprised me, and left me utterly breathless: all of a sudden, I caught myself thinking, "I am really, really happy right now."

For the rest of this week, as I think back on that moment of clarity, I immediately want to discount it. I mean, really? I've spent at least half a year now focusing in on the good, searching and polishing and celebrating each shining moment of each day-- highlighting the little things that make all the difference in my good lists. It seems incredible that one might be stunned with the realization of joy.

But there it is.

If I am completely honest with you & myself, I must admit that I’ve been working really hard to be happy lately. There have been one or two lingering desires on my heart that just haven’t given me peace. For the most part, I’ve been able to trick the ache into hiding because I recognize how I’ve been blessed. But when I allowed myself to be quiet and really listen to my heart I found that in fact I hadn’t gotten past it at all—which frustrated me and added insult to injury. There have been a lot of long, lonely nights over the past few months.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m completely over it. If I was perfect, I would have put this behind me a loooooong (got it? Hehe.) time ago. But I’m not... and it’s still a part of me, no matter how hard I try. For example: along with all the good, this past week also brought some news that felt like a punch in the gut. I felt sorry for myself for a few hours, and then pulled up my big-girl panties, forgave myself for my moments of selfishness, and moved forward.

But now somehow, in the grand scheme of things, it just doesn’t seem so important anymore. Someday, when these yearnings and dreams of my heart become a reality I will rejoice and feel doubly blessed, because I’ll know how long I waited. But for now? Well, now is pretty damn good, too.

And you know what’s even better? ... After months of reminding myself to look for good stuff and live it the moment ... I’m there. I am happy. ...And I want to shout it from the rooftops.

And I’m not going to apologize for being a little more hearts-and-flowery in the weeks to come. This is a sweet season in my life and I’m going to ride it out with gusto.... “sucking the marrow out of life”, as one of my favorite bloggers Kelle Hampton likes to say.


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Marathon Update

It’s been several weeks now since I proclaimed to the blog world that I was actually going to do it this year. ... I am actually going to run a marathon. I think it’s time for me to give you an update!

About a week after signing up, I made another pivotal and life changing move: I joined Marathoners in Training (MiT). MiT is a central Ohio based group dedicated to training, encouraging and preparing runners for their first marathon (& half marathon!) I had known of the group's existence for some time, but it took my friend Amy to give me the push to do it.

...And I’m SO glad I did.

Last Saturday morning was my first training run with the group. We gathered at a track behind a local high school, and then divided into pace groups for our runs. I had been more than a little nervous when I received my weekly training plan and saw that I had 7 miles penciled in for Saturday, but I tried to be brave, and told myself that if I couldn’t go the whole 7 I could either cut it short, or walk. Each step I take is a step toward my goal.

Friends? Someone was looking out for me that day (...and when I say “Someone”, all eyes are on you, God ;)... I ended up in the perfect group for me (a run/walk group! Seriously, how perfect?!)... and I completed the 7 miles no problem*. The people in my group were incredible—they really cared for me: checking in periodically to make sure I was doing okay, and asking me all about my life. Having been a solo runner for quite some time now, it blew me away ... I say with 100% certainty that having the wonderful group I do made all the difference for me achieving full mileage.

I feel so good about this... I’m so confident & happy! ...And I’m definitely excited for our next run, tomorrow morning :)

*Now, I’m not superwoman. I was hurting badly in the last mile. Heck, my hamstrings were sore for the next couple days... But I was so happy I could have cried... and I haven’t felt that good about myself in a long time :)

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Finally, a little list to round out the post:

Good List

1. Jon ♥
2. I have been humbled and overwhelmed by the hospitality others have shown me while my husband was out of town for the week. I hardly ate dinner alone! Thank you so much everyone. I felt so loved.
3. We got a new vacuum cleaner this week!!!!!! (Very needed, as evidenced by the exclamation points.) It’s a lovely, lovely tool. (Mama loves the vacuum, kitties love the box it came in, hehe.)
4. Retail Therapy ;)

5. (To go along with item 2) Jon’s family invited me over dinner & mudslides on Wednesday night. For those who are not familiar, a mudslide = coffee +milkshake +chocolate. In other words, perfection.
6. ...And the Wednesday night “Lucas Snuggling” was pretty much perfection, as well.
7. Carpet cleaner. (Don’t ask.)
8. Fresh fruit. Hellooo, summer!
9. Hope.
10.“Running improves my relationships with my family, my friends, everyone around me. And while my running is personal, it’s also something I give. Running can be given. –Tony Sandoval, M.D.

Your Turn!
How has your week been? Any good weekend plans?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Stories Behind the Posts ....

  • I really need to learn html (Stupid Meta tags...)
  • Honest to goodness, I think the quickest I've ever gotten a blog post up is in an hour. Since I reevaluated my goals and direction in January, it's taken even longer. I always have to tweak one more thing, spell check one more time, etc.
  • Sometimes the primary reason why it takes me hours to publish a post is because Gracie is sitting on my keyboard. She can be very persistent.
  • The other night I typed up this great, positive, bouncy, Amy-like post. Then I had the audacity to try and upload the final picture (Gracie). ...And somehow, I lost everything in my post before the P.S. You did not want to hear the words coming out of my mouth.
  • Comments make my day. Comments are better than dark chocolate, and red wine, and maybe even both together. If you comment, I will respond. I promise ;)
  • Inevitably, as I am going about my day, I come up with ideas for the blog. Also inevitably, I am somewhere doing something that I can't write the ideas down, and *sigh* probably a majority of these 'fleeting brilliances' don't make it to the blog. It actually makes me pretty sad. If only I had a better memory....
  • I take about 5 pictures for every picture that makes it to the blog. I delete a lot of duds.
  • It is ridiculously hard to take a self portrait with a cat in your lap.
  • ...It's ridiculously hard to take pictures with cats-- period...
  • It is a miracle that I have not spilled wine on my keyboard yet. (Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go knock on my wooden buffet cabinet.)
  • I struggle an awful lot with what to say, and what to keep to myself.
  • I love the way blogging makes me see everyday events in a different light.
  • Jon loves that blogging has turned me into a nerd ;) Hehe. You've still got me beat by a looong shot, honey!
  • I have published 131 posts. I have 169 posts in my directory. This means I have about 38 posts in my "Post Graveyard".... That's kind of a lot.

Any blogging confessions?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hidden Lakes Winery

Happy Friday, friends! I know I've been promising this post for a while now, and what better time to deliver than on a Friday afternoon! Can you think of a better kick off to your weekend than a glass of wine?

...Me neither ;)

Several Sundays ago, spurred on by the impending expiration date on a groupon, Jon & I ventured out to Hidden Lakes Winery for a wine tasting for two. Hidden Lakes is a lovely little winery located in Canal Winchester, which is about half an hour from our house -- perfect for a sunny afternoon drive!

To our delight, when we arrived we found a quaint little winery located (not surprisingly) on a beautiful lake. The winery was pleasantly filled with people, but not too crowded, and there was live music in the gazebo. Jon & I grabbed a table outside; soaking up the gorgeous weather from the comfort of a shaded patio.

And then we got down to business:

Cheese tasting plate (muenster, gouda & havarti; salami and crackers)
::NOM, NOM::

Our two person tasting included 10 1-ounce wine tastes each (!), and we each received a list to mark our desired tastes and comments.

Now, I'm pretty sure you know this all ready, but, as much as I love wine, I am not a wine snob. Not in the slightest. I know what I like, and I know what I don't like ... but it doesn't go much farther than that :) I had such a good time playing sommelier... taking my time and savoring each dainty sip (you sip quite daintily when you only have a 1 oz pour!), trying to pick out all the different notes and mouth feels of each individual wine.

You know I have a penchant for reds, and my favorite Hidden Lakes wines were the Pinot Noir (a very earthy, soft, distinct taste-- probably the most memorable dry red I've ever had. In totally unsophisticated terms,' this wine was everything I would want a red wine to be.') and the Road House Red ("drinkable" was the first word that came to my mind. Absolutely delicious. My notes read: "grape juice with a bite" ... Jon & I totally blew through a bottle of this goodness last Saturday evening, and I got my mother a bottle for her birthday!)

Jon has always fallen more on the sweet end of the wine spectrum, and he had a wonderful time sampling, as well. His favorite wine was called Early Frost, a light, sweet, cidery blend. We definitely bought a bottle of this, too!

All together, it was a wonderful experience -- a perfect date! It was so wonderful to sit outside and relax with my husband, sipping wine & chatting as we overlooked the lake. It made me (if this is possible!) even more excited for our trip to Sonoma in September.

Definitely 'love at first sip'....