Sunday, June 26, 2016

Weekend in Breckenridge

This weekend I went to Breckenridge for a quick getaway with some of my friends from Denver. Jenny's husband organized the trip as a surprise for her 30th birthday!

Breckenridge is one of my favorite mountain towns. I like that it's an actual town instead of a fabricated ski-town like Vail. Main Street is lined with unique shops (rather than the same old kitschy Colorado knick-knack and t-shirt shops) and local restaurants.

On Saturday for dinner we had "Colorado Inspired Cuisine" at Relish. I enjoyed this "Breckenridge Vodka Cosmo-Mintini" and a fancy chocolate-peanut butter dessert concoction. For my entree I had a steak with mashed potatoes and Swiss chard - It was good but not amazing.

L to R: Ashley, Me, Gabbie, Tyffani, Jenny

It was so fun to spend time with these lovely ladies! It's been a long time since we've all gotten together. I feel so lucky to have such great friends even if they are far away now. 

After dinner we took advantage of the outdoor hot tub at the condo. Bliss!

On Sunday morning we went to the Cabin Coffee Company for breakfast. I realized that when I'm in Denver I go to Starbucks exclusively, but when I'm anywhere else I prefer to try a local coffeeshop. I thought the decor in this one was really cute.

For some reason the drive home went by faster even though I stopped a couple times to take photos of the beautiful views! I am fascinated by the blink-and-you'll-miss-it towns in the middle of nowhere. Who lives there? What do they do for work? Where do they buy groceries?

The view from Wolf Creek Pass was incredible!

Collegiate Peaks

This stretch of highway is called the Gunbarrel - Any idea why?

Some other events this weekend back at the homestead...

I think Abel is getting ready to start crawling. He's doing so much wiggling and rolling and rocking on his hands and knees. It's only a matter of time before he's on the go! He's also been eating and loving all kinds of new solid food.

Seven months old!

Swede has been enjoying painting outside on the easel we set up on the back porch. Mostly she's been painting "dinosaurs with sharp teeth." I also gave her a haircut this weekend, and we've been having great success with potty training - Hooray!

Brushing Pengy's hair "to get the tangles out"

Also, I saw this article on Facebook: 10 Things No One Tells You About Having a Second Kid... It is so funny and SO TRUE. No way am I doing that stupid music class again.

How was your weekend? Do you prefer chain or local coffeeshops? Have you ever imagined living in a tiny (seriously tiny, like population: 50) town?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Five Favorites - June 2016

Hey Friends, Let's talk about our favorite things today! Here a few of mine lately:

1) I took advantage of a Memorial Day sale to pick up the Johanna Quilt from Garnet Hill. I love the bright colors against the black background. It makes me so happy to walk into our room lately and see this beautiful quilt on the bed! It's also nice for summer since it's pretty lightweight versus the puffy down duvet we had before.

2) I got a sample of the Moisture Surge Face Spray from Clinque as a freebie but I will definitely buy more when I run out. I don't use it that much at home but it's essential when I'm travelling and/or in Denver for work. It is so refreshing to spritz on your face after lunch, during the flight, in between meetings... Basically anytime that washing your face is impractical but you'd like to freshen up.

3) The Sawyer Knicker by Prana for Title Nine is a new staple in my summer wardrobe. I bought them on a whim (in May, so I haven't blown my June goal of not buying clothes for myself) but I'm so glad I did! I had planned to wear jeans all summer (I still love the Madewell High-Rise Skinny Crop Jeans I mentioned last month) but then it got HOT and I realized I need some cooler options. I think the plaid is really fun but I wish it came in a solid color too.

4) Fact: Noosa Yoghurt is the best. At 280 cal/11 g fat/30 g sugar per 8 ounce serving, however, it's definitely an indulgence. Although it's better than ice cream - There is almost exactly twice all the above in my favorite Ben & Jerry's. I love the new "Only in Colorado" Blackberry Serrano flavor. Key Lime Pie is also really good and my other favorite is Raspberry.

5) I have never been into country music, but I happened to hear "Sometimes" by Luke Bell on the radio and have been listening to it on repeat ever since! It's so fun.

That's all! What are you loving this month?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weekend [June 17-19, 2016]

Confession: I have a love/hate relationship with these "weekend recap" posts. I enjoy reading about YOUR weekend, either if it was a mooch-around weekend (so I can relate) or an action-packed weekend (so I can live vicariously). I like having these posts of my own to look back on too.

However... On weekends when I'm not planning to do a recap I feel a sense of relief. I'm not always trying to take a decent photo of whatever we're doing. Or worse, I'm not always thinking that we should be doing something fun so that I can write about it. Is just this the paradox of blogging about my everyday life? That sometimes it distracts you from actually living my everyday life?

Anyway! Let's see... What happened this weekend? It was definitely more of a mooch-around weekend. On Saturday morning I went for a 10-mile run on the river trail. It did not go so well. A) I was tired, tired, tired, and SLOW. B) I couldn't stop thinking that I feel like I'm "stretched too thin." That was the phrase that kept going through my head. I spent the whole run thinking about where and how I can do less. Maybe trying to run all these half marathons is a bad idea. Maybe the blog is too much. Maybe I should sign up for one of the meal planning services.

One of my favorite sections of the river trail

On Saturday afternoon we went out to a casual dinner at Grassburger. It's an upscale fast food place. It was delicious but Abel aka Mr Wiggles / Mr Grabby-Hands makes it hard to eat. Lately I've been thinking I just need to embrace these years (which I am henceforth calling "the baby years") for what they are and accept that there will be plenty of time to go out to dinner later on.

Sharing is caring! So how about you give me some of your hamburger?

We started the day on Sunday with celebratory donuts. I don't actually like sprinkled donuts better than a classic raised glazed but sometimes they are so pretty I can't resist! I also wanted to be "sprinkle buddies" with Swede.

After church, Swede and I visited my parents to check out the new kiddie pool on their back deck. It was HOT this weekend!

Then I attempted to take some photos of Jonathan and the kids in honor of Father's Day.

Jonathan took the kids to visit his parents after nap time and I watched The Intern. I haven't watched a new movie (by which I mean a movie I haven't seen before) in ages! It was cute.

This week... I am hoping will be less hectic than last week. I was in Denver for work on Monday and Tuesday then had the dreaded root canal on Wednesday. I couldn't seem to get caught up after that. Do you ever feel like you're waiting for things to settle down? And maybe you should just accept that there is no such thing? [Although on second thought how can I be so busy when I have time to watch an entire movie on a Sunday afternoon? This is all my head, Isn't it?]

Love live the Baby Years!

So... How was YOUR weekend?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Race Report: Steamworks Half Marathon

In case the title of this post didn't already give it away... I ran the Steamworks Half Marathon last Saturday. My first half marathon since Abel was born. It went pretty well. It was my slowest ever half marathon, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. [High praise indeed!] I definitely feel like I'm making progress.

This course is a point-to-point starting at Baker's Bridge 13 miles north of Durango. If you've ever seen the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the scene when Paul Newman and Robert Redford jump off the cliffs into the river to escape the posse was filmed here. The course stays on the same county road through the Animas Valley all the way back to Durango. It is mostly rolling hills, although unfortunatley more of the downhill rolling is near the beginning and the uphill rolling near the end.

View from Baker's Bridge

This is the 5th time I've done this race. I used to come back from Denver to visit my parents and we'd do the race together. My previous times are:
     2010 - 2:01:57
     2011 - 2:03:59
     2012 - 1:57:30
     2014 - 1:57:15

At the start line

Mile 1 & 2 - 9:39 & 9:27. These miles are mostly downhill and I often start too fast, but today I felt really tired. My predominant thought was "Uh-oh... This is going to be a LONG race."

Mile 3 & 4 - 10:06 & 9:57. Thankfully I started to feel better during Mile 3. Not that the running felt easy, but it started to feel more mechanical. Like every step wasn't a conscious effort. One of my mental tricks during races is to imagine that I'm a machine. Tick Tock. Relentless Forward Motion.

Scenic View #1

Mile 5 & 6 - 10:10 & 9:49. My splits alternate between faster and slower miles because I'd walk through the aid stations every two miles. I also had a Clif Shot at Mile 5 and 9.

Mile 7 & 8 - 10:04 & 9:54. I remember being very surprised and happy at this point that I still felt so good. My legs felt loose instead of tight and crampy as is often the case in the later miles. Maybe my daily yoga is working!

Scenic View #2

Mile 9 & 10 - 9:40 & 10:14. I started to fade a little during Mile 10. I could feel my mind flailing about trying to think of something to think about other than everything that hurt. My knees. My left hamstring. My right hip. Mental note: Need more Pigeon Pose!

Mile 11 & 12 - 9:56 & 10:26. It was blessedly overcast at this point. There is not much shade during the last three miles and it's often very sunny and hot.

Mile 13.1 - 9:48. OMG, Let it be over!

Final time - 2:09:10. I placed 121st out of 246 finishers.

My goal was A) 2:10, B) 2:15, C) Finish. Always a great day when you meet the "A" goal!

I picked up another pint glass at the finish. Almost all the races around here give a pint glass instead of a medal. Which I suppose it more useful. I don't keep my medals. (Sacrilege!) But now I've got more pint glasses than we know what to do with!

Next up is a new race, the Durango Half Marathon, on July 2nd. Which is just three weeks away. I know I've gone a little overboard signing up for races this summer but I couldn't resist!

Would you rather get a medal or pint glass after a race? 
What's next on your race schedule this summer?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Reading Roundup - May 2016

Hey Friends! I have a pretty random collection of books to share with you today... Not my usual modern fiction selections, but sometimes it good to read outside the box!

1) Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams. 4/5 stars. This book is a really interesting combination of the history of the last days of the Inca Empire and the "rediscovery" of Machu Picchu in 1911 by Hiram Bingham III, alternating with a travelogue of the author's personal adventures trekking on the Inca Trails.

2) For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker. 3.5/5 stars. This is a collection of essays, some serious and some laugh-out-loud funny, about navigating modern life with grace, towards ourselves and others. Some of the chapters really spoke to me, and some didn't. For a more detailed review, see HERE! I agree with pretty much everything Melissa said.

3) Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin. 3.5/5 stars. I reread this one at the same time as For the Love because I wanted to take my time with that one to let it sink in. Emily Giffin is one of my favorite chick-lit authors. This one is about what happens when Ellen, newly and happily married to Andy, runs into Leo, the one that broke her heart years before.

4) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. 3.5/5 stars. I picked this one up while waiting for some library holds to come in. I think this is the silliest of Jane Austen's books. It's a bit of a parody and the characters aren't as well developed. But silly Jane Austen is better than no Jane Austen!

Swede's Book of the Month: Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book). This is a funny book about, obviously, Snappsy the Alligator, who is just having a perfectly normal day until the narrator comes along to misinterpret his actions.

That's all! What have you been reading lately?

(As usual I'm linking up with Stephanie and Jana for Show Us Your Books!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Coffee Date #4

Dear Friends, It's been too long! I think it's time for some coffee date chit-chat. The first thing I'd do once we sat down with our SVLs however is show you my new favorite photo of Abel.

I can't stand the cuteness!

Lately I've been thinking that it's time for me to get serious about eating better and working out more. The combination of Abel turning six months old and the transition to summertime clothes instead of leggings and big cozy sweaters has made me realize that these last few pounds of pregnancy weight aren't going anywhere unless I make an effort.

Step 1) To be more conscious of what I'm eating. I've been keeping track the last couple days and I can already tell it's making a difference that I'm choosing to have a distinct meal or snack rather than mindlessly nibbling on this and that all day long.

Step 2) I've been thinking about doing 21 Day Fix this summer. I can't decide if I should do one of these challenge groups or just do it on my own. I've been putting it off until I could find exactly three weeks that I wasn't travelling or doing a race, but maybe I should just get started now doing a couple similar workouts from You Tube on my non-running days.

Another one because I can't help it!

So I think I've mentioned a couple times that I have to get a root canal. I had a consultation appointment yesterday with my new root canal specialist dentist and let me tell you... This process is worse than I could have possibly imagined! There are going to be multiple (at least two, most likely more) appointments to get significant work done. The fact that I need a root canal at age 34 is really embarrassing. I was the youngest person in the waiting room by at least twenty years. I feel like everyone must think I eat candy 24/7 and never brush my teeth.

In spite of the anxiety I feel every time I think about the whole root canal situation, I've been noticing moments lately where I feel really happy. Just for like five minutes or so, now and then, I'll be struck with overwhelming feelings of joy and gratitude. So that's nice. I've realized there is a direct correlation between the frequency of these moments and how much time I'm spending in prayer. It really helps me be more generous and patient, and to avoid letting the various frustrations of daily life spiral into bitterness and resentment, which unfortunately is far too easy for me to do!

Peppa Time with Swede & Spitty!

On a lighter, funnier note, Swede's favorite TV show (the only one she watches actually) is Peppa Pig. It's British, and Swede has picked up a couple funny expressions that I can't bear to change because it's so cute! When anyone goes out of town she says they are "on holiday." And as we prepared to go to the pool last week for the first time this summer she told me she was going to wear her new "swimming costume." It makes me laugh every time!

Swede likes a front row seat.

That's all for now! I hope you have a great weekend. I'm running the Steamworks Half Marathon on Saturday... Feeling pretty nervous about the last three miles! On Sunday we might go to a local "Summer Fest" family event if nap time allows.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Gratitude and Goals - June 2016

This week I'm grateful...

   - For summertime weather! Isn't it hard to believe that by October we'll be ready for cooler temps and falling leaves and pumpkin spice lattes? The sunshine feel so good!

Swede's summertime look is on point

   - That the kids and I have all mostly recovered from the low-grade cold that made everyone so grumpy and disagreeable last week.

   - That Abel is sleeping all night long. Since we moved him to his own room he has been sleeping from 6 p.m. to 5-5:30 a.m. [Not every night but this seems to be the new normal - Knock on wood!] It's still a pretty early wake-up but it's better than getting up in the middle of the night. My bedtime is 9-9:30 p.m. so I'm getting at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep which feels pretty good! We are an early-to-bed-early-to-rise family. 

My goals for June are:

   - To continue potty training with Swede... This has been a slow process. We're not able to do the don't-leave-the-house-for-three-days boot camp and so are working on it little by little.

   - To do yoga for 15 minutes every day. So far so good! I wish I could go to more studio classes but they don't fit into my schedule. Doing a little bit every day makes more sense for me right now and the benefits do add up over time!

   - To keep running 3x per week. I switched my weekday runs to be in the evening and it's a little harder motivationally to make it happen.

Always a happier face when I'm running in the morning

   - NO SHOPPING! Specifically - No buying clothes for myself. Abel does need some new clothes because he is growing too fast! But I went on a major summer shopping spree in May that should last me all summer, as long as I can resist the temptation to get the dozenth "one last thing" I can't live without.

This month I'm also looking forward to:
   1) Connecting with friends in Denver and Breckenridge
   2) Running the Steamworks Half Marathon this weekend
   3) Spending more time at the pool!

What's on the agenda for YOU this month???

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Race Report: Narrow Gauge 10-Mile

Friends! I am so excited to share my first race report with you. One of the main reasons I decided to start a blog was to chat about running, but I'm only just now really get back into it since Abel was born.

Some thoughts:

I realized that I'm not very good at taking photos during the run. I've often planned to "take it easy" during a race but once it starts I just want to go, go, GO!

The course is a big loop, which is my 2nd favorite after a point-to-point. I think out-and-back is the worst! It starts at Santa Rita Park on the Animas River. The first two miles are up, up, up, to Fort Lewis College on the mesa above Durango. The course loops around the college, with some pretty views from Rim Drive, then it's down, down, down, and along the river back through town to the start & finish.

This is the 4th time I've done this race. I ran it in 2007 & 2008 when I was in college. At that time the course was a little different and went backwards, so you went up the 2nd big hill around Mile 5-6. I like the course better the way it is now, although the long downhill finish was fun.

I grabbed a cup of water at every aid station (every two miles) and had a GU at Mile 4 & Mile 8.

Mile 1 & 2 - 11:05, 11:05. Very consistent pace on the uphill here! I don't mind an uphill start... If I have to run uphill at all, that is! It helps me from starting out too fast and it's nice to get the hill over with rather than dread it the whole race.

Mile 3, 4, 5  - 9:58, 10:17, 9:48. This was looping around campus. I paused to take a couple photos of the view. I felt really good at this point. I was happy that I'd made it up the hill and my legs felt fresh.

Mile 6 & 7 - 8:49, 9:39. A faster mile going down the big hill at the north end of campus, and then a slower mile winding through a neighborhood back to the river.

Mile 8, 9, 10 - 9:59, 10:13, 9:55. These last three miles on the bike path along the river were a little rough but not actually that much slower. I was feeling pretty tired though. Also, I know this part of the course really well and sometimes that makes it go by faster, but this time it just made it so that I knew exactly how far I still had to go.

Final time - 1:40:47

In 2014 I did this race in 1:32:12 when Swede was 6 months old. So I'm definitely slower than I was then, but I knew I would be. My goal was to finish in <1:45 this time... Success!

At the end I picked up a pint glass (instead of a medal) and a breakfast burrito, then headed home!

What is your favorite type of race course - Loop, Point-to-Point, Out-and-Back?

Would you rather have any uphill start or an uphill finish?