Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Running in 2018

One of the things I always look forward to in a new year is the new events that we get to run! Since we only have about 6 months left in Kansas, we are going to be checking off some fun events.

Here is what we already have planned for 2018.


Kyle is excited about this one because the finisher prize is a coffee mug. However, he is Team Coffee and I'm Team Cocoa. It looks to be a fun event to kick off 2018.

This one happens on Super Bowl Sunday. We couldn't think of a better way to spend the morning than running. It's an excuse to indulge in all the yummy game day food.

I love a good 10k race and this one I have heard is amazing! A local running company (KC Running Company) organizes most events and they are always the best. 

I think this is the one that I am most excited about. They encourage you to dress up as your favorite storybook character for the event. I am still figuring out what we will dress up as but I can't wait.
5. St. Patrick's Day 4 Miler

We always love a good theme race and what a better day to run than St. Patrick's Day. A few friends of mine ran this last year and had a blast. I knew we had to add it to the list.
6. Great Plains 10k

This event occurs in 3 different locations to include Kansas City. It is one of the most popular events in the Spring and I didn't want to leave here without doing it.

This is a 44.4 mile event that can be done solo or with a team. You can have up to a 10 person team to complete it. As of right now a group of us from SLAM will compete and Kyle will compete with members of his small group. Individuals will run from Kansas City, MO to Lawrence, KS. 

This is the event that has me the most nervous, haha. That's saying a lot because there aren't many things that make me nervous. For this event we will be running 3 half marathons in 5 weeks. Rock the Parkway Half, Garmin Half, and the Running with the Cows Half. We completed the Heartland 30k series this year so we figured why not complete the 39.3 mile challenge.
All of this will be leading up to Chicago Marathon on October 7th. These will be vital training miles as well as fun. Speaking of the marathon for those that are interested I am still actively fundraising for Homes for Our Troops. Feel free to share my page and lets get the word out about this amazing organization. Homes for Our Troops Fundraiser

Here is to an active 2018!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

I feel like I haven't been as committed to blogging lately. I find myself lacking things to do talk about and to be honest it seems to happen around the holidays. Hopefully I'll find my groove again, I do have some posts ready to publish so at least I can keep some content coming.

We found out late Thursday night that Kyle didn't get accepted into the school that he wanted. Was he disappointed? Absolutely. It's hard seeing your spouse want something so much only to be told no. So what does that mean?! It means that we will be on the move again next summer. Kyle is actively working right now to (hopefully)get us back to Fort Bragg. He want to be back in an Airborne (jumping out of airplanes) unit. I love the area and we have friends there so I'm on board 100%. 

Neither one of us really wanted to be in the house on Friday so we packed E up, roamed around Target and had dinner at Red Robin. An Oreo milkshake and beer did help the disappointment.
 On Saturday, we attended a birthday party for a friend's son. It was at a bounce place, which was really cool. E enjoyed running around and seeing all the kids. Kyle and I also played a heated game of air hockey haha. 

Afterwards we headed home so I could get ready for a cookie party that I was co-hosting with my friend, Lauren. It was a fun afternoon with friends and we all went home with lots of cookies. I'll be eating them for days.
Sunday, we were supposed to be up bright and early for a Jingle Bell 5k. However, none of us got much sleep. Poor E was up most of the night with what seems to be the beginning of a cold. I knew it was bound to happen. We finally got her back down to sleep at 6am and we both crashed. She was up for good 2 hours later haha. Oh well. We had breakfast and decided to go for a family run instead. It was relatively warm so it made that 4.5 miles go by quickly. E is always happy when we go running as is evident by her yelling "PUPPY!" everytime she sees a dog haha. 
We spent the rest of the day working on laundry and cleaning up around the house. 

I'm in countdown mode for our trip to Florida for Christmas. I can't wait for us to be with my family and celebrate the holidays together. 

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Card 2017

Every year I always look forward to putting together our Christmas card. It is something that I have always done and it's just a great punctuation to the year. I always include a brief overview of what has happened in the year. I do that because not all of our family and friends are on social media. I feel like it brings a personal element to the card.

First, let's take a look down memory lane of some of my favorites. 
I was excited this year because we had Christmas themed photo taken and I knew that I wanted to use them for our card. My friend, Liz, is a brilliant photographer and she always captures the best images. Emma and Fishy are not fans of being held most of the time so I have to capture their photos separately, which is fine by them haha.

I am happy to introduce our 2017 Christmas Card!
I was able to put an image on the back and this is one of my favorites.
She was more than happy to take pictures as long as she could eat cookies. Thank you, Walgreens!

Do you send out Christmas cards? If so, have you sent them out yet?

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

TBB Asks: Christmas Edition

I saw this fun Christmas prompt yesterday hosted by the ladies at The Blended Blog and wanted to participate. 
1. Real or Fake Tree? We are on the fake tree team as of right now. Real trees are known to be toxic to cats so because of our sweet Fishy we have to have a fake tree. I'm okay with that though, I love ours. What you can't really see if the lack of ornaments on the bottom haha. Blame the cute little blonde that lives in our house.
2. Favorite Christmas Cookie? Oh man, this is a tough question because I love most Christmas cookies haha. My favorite though would have to be my moms Spritz Cookies. I've tried to recreate them but they just never turn out the same. For the last few years I've made a raspberry almond thumbprint and it's delicious!

3. Home on Christmas Morning or Travel? This is all depends on where we are living. Last year we stayed home on Christmas morning because it was E's 1st but this year we will be traveling to see my family in Florida.

4. Clear or Colored Lights? I'm indifferent when it comes to this. I love all sorts of lights! We have colored lights on our Christmas tree. Outside we have blue lights with garland that has colored lights.
5. Send Christmas Cards? YES!! I am a huge fan of both sending and receiving Christmas cards. There is just something special about opening the mailbox and seeing it fill with notes from friends and family.

6. Favorite Christmas Present Received? This is a hard one because I have received so many amazing ones. However, I will say that when my parents took my sister and I to Hawaii for 10 days is probably at the top. It was incredible.
7. Favorite Christmas Present Given? Oh gosh, I've given a lot of gifts over the years. Not sure I could really pick which has been my favorite. The custom Game of Thrones cutting board that I gave my sister was pretty cool. I just love seeing the joy on people's faces when they receive a gift. 

8. Stockings or No Stockings? Definitely stockings! Even the furry kids have a stocking in our house haha. They are a must and the perfect vessel for fun little gifts.
9. Christmas PJ's? I do like a good pair of Christmas PJs. We had National Lampoon Christmas Vacations pajamas a few years ago and they were awesome haha. I always get Christmas PJs for our nieces and nephew, now that we have E she will get new jimmies every year as well.

10. Favorite Christmas carol? Can I be honest?! I'm not a huge fan of Christmas music, I think because most places start playing it so early that it just drives me crazy. 

11. Favorite Holiday Tradition? This is one that Kyle brought into our family. We do our best to watch Claymation Christmas and A Muppet Family Christmas on Christmas Eve. They are the best and you should definitely watch them.
12. Early shopper or last minute? I'm definitely an early shopper. I have to get it done early because if I don't, I tend to panic and no one likes a panicky Jen. Plus, most of the time gifts have to be shipped and beating the rush is important.

13. Favorite Christmas Movie or Show? Of course, the traditional A Christmas Story but it is followed closely by Elf. I just can't get enough of it haha! 

14. Favorite Holiday Beverage? I'm not a huge fan of seasonal drinks so I tend to go for a plain ole' hot chocolate. 

15. Cookies and Milk for Santa? Yes!!! I plan on starting this with E this year and I'm really excited. You can never go wrong with this tradition.

Link up and share your answers!


Friday, December 1, 2017

Friday Five

Happy Friday and Happy December!!! I am still having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that the year is almost over. 

Here are five things happening around here.

One:

We found out about 2 weeks ago that Kyle will be getting promoted to Major in January! We are thrilled and have been figuring out the ceremony/reception details. I wasn't able to be at the ceremony when he was promoted to Captain so I am extremely excited for this! His mentor and dear friend is (hopefully) going to come and conduct the ceremony.
Two:

Our favorite snack of the year has arrived! Cougar Gold from Kyle's alma mater, WSU. If you have never had it please go order some from here. It is the BEST white cheddar you will ever eat. I'm doing my best to not eat the whole thing ha!
Three: 

We have been having some unseasonably warm weather lately so a friend and I took advantage of it by taking our girls to the Kansas City Zoo. We both have memberships so you can't beat a free trip. E loved being able to ride the train and carousel. It was a nice way to spend a few hours. 
Four:

Now that it's December it's fair game for all things Christmas! Yay! I'm even finished with Christmas shopping so that's a huge win. I have my holiday party for SLAM tonight and we are potentially running 3 holiday themed races this weekend (we are signed up for 2 right now haha). I love any excuse to break out the ugly sweaters however our weather will be in the 60's this weekend so it might be ugly t-shirts. Hopefully I will get to wear this sweater soon!
Five:

I have to say that morning time in our house is my favorite time of day. We all get to spend about an hour together before Kyle heads off to class. Evenings are great but E is usually tired and not as active. She spends the mornings running around and making us laugh. I did snap this photo of her and Kyle yesterday having a "conversation" about her book. I just love seeing these two together.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Long Weekend Recap

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already over and that we are counting down to Christmas! 

Kyle was out of class from Wednesday-Sunday this year and it was really nice having him home for such a long weekend. 

We started the holiday with a trip to Union Station to see the Christmas decorations. I will say that Kansas City knows how to do decorations, it's pretty amazing! They have a model train display, that is up all year round but it's been decorated for Christmas. They also have a small train that kids can ride on. We were both really impressed.
On Thursday morning we were up bright and early for a Thanksgiving Day 5k in Overland Park. This is the first time that I have ever done a turkey trot on Thanksgiving and I was so excited haha! There were over 3,000 people that participated and it was a lot of fun. We ran it with our friends and we all had a blast. 
Afterwards we all headed home to get ready for friendsgiving together! We split the dishes and it made life so much easier. I was responsible for mashed potatoes, green beans, apple pie, and ice cream. The only picture I took of any part of the meal was the homemade dutch apple pie and homemade french vanilla ice cream I made haha (this photo was taken late that night). It was a great night spent with friends and we were all full by the end of the meal. We played a few rounds of scattergories, let the girls play for a bit and then headed home.
On Friday we started putting up our outside Christmas decorations. We got quite a bit done before heading off to the Mayor's Tree Lighting at the Crown Center in Kansas City. It was such a fun event. They had Christmas performances and the area was so beautifully decorated. They had fireworks at the end of the lighting and it was amazing. E loved all of it, we loved watching her take it all in and just be in awe. The tree is over 100 feet tall and is taller than the trees at both the White House and Rockefeller Center. We also picked up the 2017 ornament which was made from the wood of the 2016 tree.
On Saturday, I headed out with friends to do a little shopping downtown. It was the big small business event and we enjoyed donuts before walking around to different shops. It was a lot of fun and a nice way to spend a beautiful morning. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and unfortunately watching WSU lose the Apple Cup. Boo!

Sunday, I started the day with a 3 mile run with Lauren and her daughter. It's always a good way to start the day. Afterwards, Kyle and I finally finished putting out our Christmas decorations. We put the tree up along with other decor and finished the lights outside. E is so enamored by the tree but she doesn't touch it, she just stands there saying "ooooooo". It's so sweet!
We had such a great long weekend together! Now, the countdown is on for Christmas! 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ways To Give Back During The Holidays

During the holidays a variety of opportunities present themselves in order to give back to the community and/or organizations. Some think that giving back simply means just donating money. However, that is not always the case. Often times one of the most meaningful things you can do is give your time.
Here are a few ways you can give back.

1. Donate to the Salvation Army

During the holidays, The Salvation Army provides a variety of assistance programs that are dependent on donations. They are able to provide grocery/food assistance, bill-pay assistance, holiday events (this includes hospital visits, meal delivery, etc.), and the Angel Tree program. The Angel Tree program is absolutely amazing, this allows individuals to "adopt" a child that has been placed on the tree and provide Christmas gifts for them. We have an Angel Tree in our PX here and all of the recipients are military families. Don't forget about the Red Kettle program, 33% of the donations to the Salvation Army come through this program. 

2. Donate to the USO.
Of course it is no surprise that as a military spouse I support military affiliated organizations. The USO is one of the leading organizations that provides services for service members and their families.  They have more than 200 locations worldwide. They provide holiday care packages, entertainment, and provide services to keep families connected. This is certainly an organization that is worthy of a donation. 

3. Find a local food bank to volunteer at. (If you are in the US here is a link to the Feeding America site to locate a food bank in your area)
There are a variety of organizations in your local area that need help preparing donation baskets, stocking shelves, and handing out food at distribution events. Some even need held serving meals during the holiday season. You don't have to do this alone, bring along your families and kids. I think this is a great way to teach the younger kids how to give back. You could even hold a food drive and donate the goods to your local food bank! Some of these food banks will partner with homeless shelters, and this provides another opportunity to volunteer. You can donate clothing items and give your time to giving back to the homeless.

If you are not familiar with this organization they provide beautiful wreaths for the graves of service members. The main ceremony occurs at Arlington National Cemetery with additional ceremonies occurring in over 1,200 locations. There are a few ways you can help. You can sponsor a wreath or you can participate in an event near you by helping lay the wreaths. We are thrilled this year that we will be able to participate in such a special event. I think it's important that even while she is little to show Emersyn that giving back in this way is something she should strive to do. 

5. Donate food/toys to a local animal shelter. 
Too often these furry sweethearts at shelters get forgotten about. Unfortunately, when the weather turns cold shelters see an influx of surrenders and they are dependent on donations. Taking a bag of cat/dog food can make the biggest difference to these organizations who are doing all these can to ensure that these sweet babies are safe. While toys aren't a necessity they are a great way to make them happy. 

6. Provide treats for fireman, police officers, and first responders. 
These individuals work so hard to provide services for all of us and bringing them simple treats is a nice way to let them know that they are appreciated. This could even be done for teachers as well as postal workers. The smallest gestures can make the biggest difference, especially during the holiday season. It is not an easy time for some and this would certainly brighten their day. 

As you can see there are a variety of ways that you can give back this holiday season (and throughout the year to be honest). These are just a few but there are countless ways to make the most of this time of year and to brighten the lives of others. 

Do you plan on giving back this year?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is a day that we get together with family and friends to celebrate all that we are thankful for! We are not able to be with family today but we are grateful to be able to spend the day with wonderful friends.
I hope that wherever you are and whomever you are with that the day is special!

Happy Thanksgiving!! 



Monday, November 20, 2017

An Eventful Weekend!

It's hard to believe that it's Monday again! Speaking of it being Monday, it's my sister, Lisa's, birthday!!!! Yay! Happy Birthday, sis! You are the best.
We had a pretty packed weekend and it was awesome! 

On Friday, a group of us from Stroller Strong Moms got tickets to seeing the broadway show Waitress in Kansas City. We all met in the city to have dinner beforehand. It was fun having a few drinks and just unwinding. The show started at 7:30pm and it was amazing! If you ever get a chance to see it you must. We all loved it. Afterwards we had to do a plank photo. Our group is doing a plank challenge for Thanksgiving and what a perfect place to do one haha.
I didn't get home until about midnight (which for the record is the longest I've stayed out in a long time lol). Thankfully we didn't have a race Saturday morning so we were able to sleep in a bit.

Saturday started with a FaceTime call to our niece, Kylie, because it was her birthday!!! It's hard to believe that she is 11. Time is flying by and we can't wait to see her (and everyone else) soon.
This was a day we had been looking forward to for a while. We were taking E on the Midland Railway Santa train with friends. We bought tickets weeks ago and it certainly did not disappoint. We opted for the first class tickets which got us unlimited cookies, hot chocolate, cider, coloring books for the kiddos and better seating. E loved it!!! She especially enjoyed when the carolers started singing. It was an 11 mile out and back train ride which took about 2 hours. We got to see Santa and Mrs. Claus in their own decorated car and take photos. She was unsure but she didn't cry so we call that a win. 
We had a lot of fun with ours friends and the girls were so happy. Definitely a win in our book!

Sunday, we were up bright and early for the Turkey Trot 5k on post. It was nice only being 5 minutes away from home haha. It was an out and back course which I didn't mind. It was pretty cold at the start (I think 32 degrees) but I ended up running faster than I expected to so I was thrilled.
We had a good showing for SLAM which is always a good time.
We ended the day with running a few errands and just hanging out around the house. We had planned to decorate for Christmas but honestly the day got away from us. That's okay. :) 

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!