Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Running

I breathe a sigh of relief actually of relaxation.  January's running goal is over.  I'm a little disappointed with this week, but I'm overall super happy with my mileage: 70 miles for the month.  That was running 30 out of 31 days (I didn't run the day I stayed home from work sick).  My mileage was mainly comprised of a lot of short runs, but my body kind of fought me this past month.  I had some aches/tightness/ and pains that disturbed me enough to stick with 1 mile or more as my goal and was quite frequently doing just that one mile.  I think I just might be getting a little old- or that is my excuse to maybe not try "the running every day thing" again :).  Looking back I haven't had a week off since October 8-15 2012.  This of course the week after the marathon.

I'm ready for a break.  I'm hoping this break will be just what I need to get my body and my brains back into training/running. A week of no early mornings, no runs after work, no worrying about weather, and as many nights as I want staying up late reading/catching up on movies instead of getting to bed to accommodate extra physical activity during the day.  However, I think a week is just long enough, because longer time off scares me- like I'd fall into not running like I should and definitely get derailed off my goal of 1,000+++ miles in 2013.   I think it will help me to return to running and not have to run 7 days a week and be able to plan my running schedule to accommodate some longer runs I've been missing- physically and mentally.  Long runs are I think a little more my style sometimes.  I don't take it quite so personally if I run slower during long runs, because 10 miles is still 10 miles.   There are a lot of people who can do 5- 6 mile runs at much faster time than I can, but many of those same people would never think to run 10 miles because they wouldn't be able to a. keep their 8 min/mile pace maybe at that longer distance (unless they trained for awhile- unless they are of course those people who just get to be great at whatever they try their hands at). b. they'd not make the time to run the 10 miles or c. they'd get too bored during the run ( which as you know isn't a problem for me because I get to listen to more of my books on tape - sorry audiobooks (I'm still living in the 90s I guess), get free therapy by running with my BRB or listening to some great music which makes me remember great memories or great movies.  Yep I think I'm a longer distance runner, but just one of those slower longer distance runners.

I talked to a friend the other day and was kind of frustrated with my running this past month- I wasn't running fast enough or long enough.  She said "what would make you happy"- It was a great question from one of those really smart people who always has pretty good intuition- better than I ever will.  She is one of those people who also told me about 2 years ago when I was having friendship issues "those aren't your peeps".  She was so right!   Just like her question about my happiness was so right- kick in the a_ _ to tell me to be happy with what I accomplish. 

So 70 miles down-only 930 miles to go- isn't that crazy and overwhelming!  That is so why if you take up running and especially long distance running and training for long distance races like 1/2 and full marathons, and ultras (no I haven't done that one :))- you have to take the training one day at a time.  The miles are easier and distances covered more comfortably if you take it one day at a time or even one week at a time. 

So I told my fellow running friends at Daily Mile adios - hello one week vacation from running- I deserve it! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January Reads

Tonight I'm suppose to be with the "Bookies" discussing our monthly book club read, but due to the weather we rescheduled it for next Wednesday.  So instead I'll share with you guys, which many of you are "Bookies" on what I read this past month.

The audiobook I listened to this month was "The Fifth Woman" ( A Kurt Wallander Mystery) by Henning Mankell.  I've read one other book by him and thought it was pretty decent.  I'd say the same for this one.  It was intriguing and a good read/listen while trying to get in some miles.  The annoying thing was a couple of times I lost my place in the book via audio snafu and so had to do some rewind/fast forward things.  I'm sure my non-techy self is doing something wrong, but anyways it was great to have a book to listen to on runs.  I find mysteries good for when running, except when I'm running in the dark- then I let my imagination get away from me.  This murder mystery was well thought out, but at the end I kind of had trouble tying it all together.  I won't spoil it for you, but the only thing I kept thinking was in my tech issues with listening to the book on tape I must have missed something.  The narrator did a great job and I recommend this "listen/read" to anyone who likes a good mystery.

Spoiler alert- If you are a "Bookie" and you haven't finished this month's book and plan to skip this paragraph and read it after you've finished. "The Thornbirds" by Colleen  McCullough was our book club pick.  I had seen it on my mom's library shelves back home an asked her about it.  She couldn't believe I hadn't read it and told me I should.  My mother in-law then saw I had it and said almost the same thing, and they both referenced the mini-series with Richard Burton.  So I suggested it to the "Bookies" and some of them had read it a long time ago, but enjoyed it so much they wanted to read it again.  So I read it and overall really liked it.  I talked to one of the "Bookies" with about 250 pages of the book left and we were talking about it and she made the comment that "everyone dies".  I think my expression must have given it away that I didn't know what she was talking about and so she quickly said something about a death that occurred early in the book, but then I felt like I was reading the book under false pretenses- I was waiting for the death and dying.  So lesson learned- don't talk about the book with any of my "Bookies" until I'm done with the book :).  This book really reminded me of the epic type of story that is found in East of Eden by John Steinbeck.  No it isn't the same story, but it is an epic and several different stories intertwined.  There are several different main characters that are ladies and I really appreciated the way they were written strongly. It was a good read.  Has some interesting religious topics to discuss too- Catholics/Priests, etc.

"For Love of Letters: A 21st Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing" by Samara O'Shea.  I already wrote on this book, but again need to mention that it is more of a "how to" for those wanting to write letters or understand letters.  I did really enjoy the famous people she highlighted in the book by having letters by them within the book.  Also just to intrigue you she even has a section on "erotic letters"- it was pretty steamy :).

"What I know now: Letters to My younger Self" by Ellyn Spragins was a book I read before bed this past month.  Since I'm done with "My Year of Running Book" I wanted to find some books to try and replace the nightly bedtime reading.  I started with this one.  It was O.K. The premise was famous women writing letters to their younger selves about life lessons they've learned. I was a little disappointed in the depth of the book and the letters.  I did enjoy some of the letters and have some of my favorite quotes to share. 

Ellyn wrote of  Carolyn Deaver's: " Her first CA experience changed her point of view about how to live.  She says she learned that one should do the following 'Treat yourself.  Indulge yourself put yourself first. It's a hard thing to try to do, especially for mothers. It was not an instant change for me."

Liz Smith wrote "You should live as though you know you are going to be famous.  Even if you aren't, you'll still have the satisfaction of knowing exactly how you spent your time" This quote in reference to the importance of recording your life, activities during life- photos, names and dates.  I really liked this quote!

Trisha Yearwood "Stop looking outside yourself for validation and approval- you're letting other people define your happiness."

The last book I read was "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed.  I really, really, really enjoyed this book.  I started it on my trip out to Anaheim, CA and finished it the day I came home.  Now granted I didn't have any kids or mom duties to focus on, but I still had my conference to attend, so the book was my friend when I wasn't in the conference.  It was one of those great friends.  It was interesting when I entered this book into my Goodreads account I glanced at the reviews of this book and found that not everyone felt the same way I did.  That's the things about books one reader may love it and get something out of reading it, but another may not get it at all.  Everyone's

Well onto February- I've already started a fun book "Chasing Shakespeare" by Sarah Smith and am listening to "Once a Runner" by John L. Parker when I'm running.  Hope you had a good month reading.


Monday, January 28, 2013

CA- not so sunny

I'm somewhat glad I didn't pack nice camera for my recent trip to Anaheim,California. It rained off and on pretty much the whole time I was there. My naive thought that I'd get in a long run while there (going so far as to pack my water belt and bring Gu) was a joke. I ended up running on the treadmill two mornings at the gym and then the last day ran in mist the whole time before having to catch my flight home.

However, it was warmer than the Midwest and I got to have some alone time on breaks during conference I was at. I also got to see my godparents who live in Orange County. It is always good to see them and I love that although they've lived in CA since I was 5 they haven't changed their ways and remind me of people who'd live down our street.

I read an awesome book during this trip but will save it for my January reading post. Here are a few fun pics from CA. Wish I'd have more.
-----
Sent from mBox Mail
Hotmail for iPhone and iPod Touch
http://www.fluentfactory.com/mboxmail

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Year of Writing one Letter a Week

Why letters?  Why snail mail and not an email or phone call?


I love snail mail!  I love going to the mailbox and seeing what is inside.  If you take time to write a letter and send it in the mail it must mean something right?  Time spent with pen or pencil in hand.  Time picking out the writing material, finding an envelope, licking (o.k. who am I kidding- sticking a stamp) addressing and putting that red flag on your box or driving to post office and mailing it- Yep that means something.

I'm a lover of classical things.  I love vintage clothes, but am too cheap to purchase the nice kind of vintage stuff and too inpatient to dig through goodwill stores or second hand stores looking for that rare find.  I love vintage fabric- one of these days I'm going to make myself a quilt using only retro fat quarters to piece together a "happy" quilt.  O.k. back to topic at hand- letters.

Letter writing is something that can be personal, professional, political and proper etiquette.  I had put as one of my goals of 2013 to write a letter each week.  I'm doing good so far.  I've fallen onto reading about the formality of writing letters and also about other's letters in the process.

I'm not always the most succinct person- big surprise.  I know with the nickname "chattynatty" that does not yell "succinctness".  So letter writing allows me to enjoy creative writing while communicating at the same time and for the most part if you ramble on and on in a letter and write (physically) as hard as I do your hand will let you know enough has been written and start to cramp and send a message to your brain saying "enough already".  So on my letter writing journey I'll share with you words of wisdom I've found about writing letters.

Nina Sankovitch (Tolstoy and Purple Chair- author) wrote in her blog the following...

" Letters cover everything from love to war, finances to religion, child rearing to grave site planning.  Letters offer connection between writer and reader.  Letters are a unique window into human experience.  And letters, while not 'dead' are most definitely an endangered species... The conclusion at which I've arrived after my year of reading letters and a lifetime of reading and writing letters is that the writing and sending of a letter is an incredibly brave and beautiful act."

First off I wish I could write that beautifully!  There are two parts I really, really like above... " letters offer connection between writer and reader... writing and sending of a letter is an incredibly brave and beautiful act."   Maybe I want to think that I'm being brave and beautiful in this year of writing letters.

P.S. (no pun intended) Fall 2013 Nina has a book about letters coming out that "explores the beauty and value of  letter writing". You can bet I'll be getting that one as it comes off the shelf. 


A book I read this past month " For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing" by Samara O'Shea was insightful from the start.  In her introduction (which she has two within this book- Part 1 and Part 2) she wrote in Part 1:
" And letters eventually equaled evidence.  Evidence that they existed.  That they breathed.  That they had good insights and had days.  That they loved.  That they suffered.  That they longed.  That they had moments of artificial insanity.  That they were selfish.  And that sometimes, they were satisfied.  We must make arrangements for our descendants to discover us in such a candid way."  (Part 1- Yes there is still a need for letters). 

She goes onto write some other great ideas about letter writing and dissected different types of letters and communication that can be done in letters.  One of my favorite lines was at the very beginning... "One of the lesser known benefits of letter writing is how well you can get to know yourself in the process" (pg 29). 

Letter writing can be hard and give you opportunity to deal with emotions, memories and feelings you haven't been able to digest or be honest about.  Samara O'Shea quoted James Earl Jones in her book
"One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter" (pg 95).

Some of the hardest letters I find to write are apology and sympathy letters- especially sympathy letters.  For someone who is "chatty" loss of a loved one shuts me up, makes me introverted, makes me stumble at loss for words.  Samara agrees when writing " In both apology and sympathy letters you have the daunting task of looking for words that bandage a wound" (pg 95).  I thought this description was perfect.

Apologizing is no easy feat either.  You want the apology to come across as genuine and not forced or fake (or at least that's my goal in apology letters- I'm not a devious person).  Samara agrees too, but descries my thoughts much more accurately and beautifully as I could when writing.
"Apologizing is a form of art.  A masterpiece of an apology can completely alter the state of a relationship." (pg 96).

I'm hoping I don't have to write many apology or sympathy letters in my year of writing a "letter a week".  But if I do I know I will write from my heart and only send it if it is genuine. 

I'm going to keep a log of all the recipients of my year of "a letter a week"  and then share at the end of this year the recipients and any comments on the letter content, etc for that week.  I'm not going to make any rules other than it has to be hand written and be sent via snail mail.  Hopefully the arrival of some of these letters will come as a surprise and bring a little smile to the recipient's day. 

In look for letter writing info I came upon the following letter blog/Internet sites.  If you are interested in letter writing or reading I'd suggest these:

-Samara's site letterlover.net
-todaysletters.com  (if you have any time at all go to "Fist Pump Friday posts" love this- my hubby thought this blog was a little too much- he didn't get the purpose, so if you are a "black n white" person like he is you might not enjoy this one
-http://www.readallday.org/blog/ (go to the Letters link - books, her views, etc)
-http://365lettersblog.blogspot.com/
-http://www.moreloveletters.com/ (this is an awesome idea and I totally love the "community power" within this initiative- I even think it is a great idea for kids/teens, etc. 


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Need more of this kind of fun

Spending the weekend with my sister and "the cousins". We were suppose to go into Chicago today but the whole illness situation for all of us has been too much. So we stayed local and went roller skating, to local pizza place "Gario's" for pizza and now listening to some old tapes. Fun day!

Side note only biffed once on the roller rink :). Roller skating is a great workout!

-----
Sent from mBox Mail
Hotmail for iPhone and iPod Touch
http://www.fluentfactory.com/mboxmail

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Running in 2013...

So I'm back in the saddle... ran 4 miles this a.m. and felt 100% BETTER! No idea what I had or if I just was exhausted, but due to lying in bed all Tuesday night and most of yesterday I had some time to finalize some of my running/training plans for 2013.  Here are my planned races for 2013... some of them are penciled in due to finalizing the fall football game attendance schedule, but the spring races are pretty much in written in pen.


First up-  Des Moines 10K  Saturday March 16th 10 a.m.  I was going to run the St. Paddy's Day run in Chi-Town, but we have great friends in Des Moines who have been asking us to bring the kids for the weekend so this will be a perfect time to go visit.  I'm not really into St. paddy's Day- not Irish (German/Polish) but it sounds like a fun race.  Ladies start first with a 5 1/2 minute lead then the men start.  Whomever (female vs. male) crosses the finish line first then that gender gets the free beer at the after race party.  I'm kind of looking forward to coming up with some really obnoxious/fun outfit for this race. 

Next up- Ronald McDonald House Iowa City 1/2 marathon.  Remember last year I was going to run the 10 miler for this race, well I didn't get it done, but this year they have up'd it to a 1/2 marathon and so I plan on running this year.  Sunday May 5th.  This race is partnering with another local race: Run for the Schools 1/2 marathon in October (20th to be specific).  If you sign up for both and run both you save money (cost of both races $70 total) and you get an extra shirt with "Iowa's longest marathon" on it .  Get it- run 1/2 in May and the other 1/2 in October- sounds like my kind of marathon this year :).

Then I plan to run the Chicago Women's Half Marathon, Sunday June 23rd.  I love running in Chicago and couldn't pass up this race who's lead charity is the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women initiative. 

Following this race I'll participate in  the "I Tried a Triathlon" in Oswego, IL (mini-sprint TRI- I did last year), Sunday August 4, 2013.  

Lastly, Run for the Schools 1/2 marathon Sunday October 20, 2013. 

So sounds like a pretty busy running year, but no full marathon, which I'm o.k. with.  However, I plan to stay motivated in my running and put in the miles this year and try to again reach 1,000+++ in 2013. 

I've always followed Hal Higdon's training schedule for 1/2 marathons and marathons.  So this year I feel like trying something a little different.  I'm going to try the Another Mother Runner 1/2 marathon "Own It" plan.  This plan will be for the training of the Chicago's 1/2 in June.  So I printed out the "Run Pretty Far" free PDF calendar on their blog site.  I penciled in my training schedule and what it comes down to is 4 runs a week and one day of cross training.  Doesn't sound to0 bad or unrealistic, but these ladies know how to make running four days a week a little confusing.    I'll share what I mean in a separate post with the plan outlined in depth.  I recently asked a fellow "daily miler" how she kept straight the running schedule for particular workouts on the Another Mother Runner Plans (she followed the Marathon Own It Plan which is BADA>> Mother Hard).  She said she would sharpie the workout on her arm- that is how complex some of their workouts are.  The 1/2 marathon plan is a little less intimidating and so I'm going to try it.  I will start this schedule the last week in March.  It ramps up pretty quickly (first long run 8, then 10, then 12, etc).  So if I don't want to totally bomb it I will have to keep running and will have to keep doing some long runs. 

Only a couple more weeks left in January- plan to continue with the 1 mile or more daily and then take the first week of February off.  I can't remember the last time I took a full week off (well actually I think it was the week after Chicago-- October 2012).  I need to reboot my mind/body and get ready for some fun 1/2 marathon training. 

One interesting thing the cost of all of these races still comes in under what it would have cost me to race Chicago 2013- cost has raised to $175 entry (I remember the day when the cost was under $100).  Sorry total side note there. 

Well off to bed to read so here's my 2013 plan.  I'll keep you posted on the progress.  Any of my running buddies interested in joining me on any of these running adventures I'm happy to have you jump on board.  Happy 2013 Running! Thought I'd leave you with a couple of my favorite running quotes/graphics.

 
different quotes- but totally motivating!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Another January flubbed up

I'm laying in front of the fire and watching my 3rd movie on TV of the day.

Side note- seems funny that I hardly ever watch TV yet the day im stuck in bed FX and USA kept me entertained. Thanks cable TV.

I'm feeling better but not 100% and hence I'm not running today so no run everyday in January. Bums me out but this is life. I needed the rest.

So I'll see what tomorrow brings- hopefully a run.

-----
Sent from mBox Mail
Hotmail for iPhone and iPod Touché and wa
http://www.fluentfactory.com/mboxmail

"to read" list 2013

Well something has me down...

It started yesterday afternoon, but I feel like it has been brewing since xmas break.  I keep telling my coworker that I feel like I'm a hypochondriac ever since all the illness I was around at x-mas.  Then I came back to work and people were sick there too.  So yesterday the headache started and the sore muscles, sore throat, and the just feeling completely exhausted.  So I went to bed after taking kids to piano last night, woke up with a headache and went back to bed- woke up 10 a.m. and headache was gone, but just continue to feel exhausted.  So no running today- and hence my run everyday in January goal- is not fulfilled, but I'll be back in the saddle as soon as I can.

So for now- so that I don't sleep my whole day away- I will lie in bed and write a list of my "to read" in  2013.  This list doesn't include the book club books I plan to participate in during the year.  These are my personal "to read" picks. 

If you have any comments/concerns about my picks let me know. 

1. American Nursing: A History of Knowledge, Authority and The Meaning of Work by Patricia D'Antonio

2. The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books we Shared by Alice Ozma

3. Once a Runner by John L Parker

4. Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

5. How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen

6. The Little Disturbances of Man by Grace Paley

7. Great Soul by Joseph Lelyveld

8. Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies

9. Flambards by KM Peyton

10. Age of Grief by Jane Smiley

11. Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy

12. Balancing Acts By Zoe Fishman

13. The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon

14. The 9 Rooms of Happiness by Lucy Danziger

15.The Shoemaker's Wife by Adrianna Trigiani

16.Florence Nightingale: the making of an icon by Mark Bostridge

17. Without Reservations: The Travels of An Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach

18. An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor

19. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

20. Mile Markers by Kristen Armstrong

21. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

22. Armand Gamache Mysteries by Louise Penny

I'm not going to hold myself to it, but I will use it as a reference to help me when visiting the library.  I'll let you know how it goes.  Happy Reading in 2013.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ho Hum Sunday...

For some reasons Sundays are my unhappiest day of the week historically- I don't know if it is because it is the end of the weekend, I'm exhausted from all the week's activities or I'm dreading return to "real life" schedule- work, kids, run, eat, sleep, etc. 

My week has been kind of Ho Hum this week in regard to running.  I'm keeping up with my goal of greater than 1 mile per day for the month of January, but my time and mileage haven't been stellar. I feel like all my entries this week have been "Debbie Downers"- "only got 3 miles in", "the ice and cold preventing me from running faster", etc.  I've just been plane old negative about it.  Or at least that is how I've felt this week.  That said, after I get in my run today before yoga class I'll have logged 20 miles this past week- and that really isn't anything to complain about.  We are our hardest critics.  I had to remind one of my daily mile friends that when she logged her 9.5 mile run on the treadmill in 1 hour and 20 minutes today and said it was "meh" workout.  To me that is amazing- 6 miles is my personal record for mileage on the treadmill and about 1 hour is my PR at the mileage on the good old hamster wheel- so the fact that this runner did almost 10 miles in under 1 1/2 hours on the "Mill" is amazing to me.

So instead of feeling Ho Hum I will carry on and I will also give myself a break and likely a. take a nap this afternoon (true sign I'm really exhausted) b. get my run in, even if its only 2 miles c. go to Yoga, because I truly know how much better mentally and physically I'll feel after doing this d. Stop on way home and buy myself a fountain drink (I love carbonated drinks :)) and maybe some peanut M&M's to go with it :) e. look at my upcoming 2013 running/race schedule to help kick my butt into happier running gear f. lie on the couch and watch a movie with kids after dinner and g. go to bed lying next to my hubby with a good book in hand.  I think all of the above added together turn my Ho Hum Sunday into an awesome start to this week.


Side note:
Here are some of my favorite blog posts or items I've discovered this past week via time spent on computer....


 

These were found on the post by Michigan Runner Girl (michiganrunnergirl.com ).  I liked both o these sayings. 

RunFasterMommy.com  had a great post titled "Dear Running: (a love letter)" that I absolutely loved.  Read it and it will remind you, like it did me why I myself should write a letter titled "Dear Running: ( a love letter)".  (RunFasterMommy.com).  I especially liked the picture and quote at the end- totally motivational! Might have to add this one to my bathroom mirror.
 
Lastly, runprettyfar.com has a 2013 printable calendar for free that you can print out and it has great quotes and pretty font/coloring.  This is a great way in which to log thoughts on running, mileage, weather, and maybe even some added ideas like (what did you think about on the run, what did you eat today- what helped or hindered fuel for running, etc).  I like writing/note taking so I will definitely be printing this free calendar out and using it for some writing/logging project.
 
Well onto reading, napping, and the rest of my day turning the Ho Hum Sunday upside down!
 
I am finalizing my race/running schedule and plan to post those goals for 2013 soon.
I'm also weeding through my "to Read list" for 2013 and will have those to share in upcoming post too.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

One clean fridge is a great way to start the New Year...

So it is the New Year and we got home from vacation time on Wednesday.  We had little to no food in our fridge (wish I would have taken a before).  While my hubby was out picking up some milk and bread to get us through the day or two until I could get to the store the kids helped me scour the fridge.  Let me tell you it is amazing how much brighter the fridge looks since being cleaned. 
 
I also went through the whole fridge and got rid of all the expired items like: eggs, dressings, ice cream sundae syrup, etc. 

 
So along with cleaning the fridge out the following are a few other ideas/goals I have for 2013.  I don't like the words New Year's Resolutions, just like I don't like the words Date Night.  Don't know why just doesn't sit well with me hence I don't use them.  But as you readers who have followed this blog know I do like the idea of Goals/Ideas...
 
So here is to 2013:
1. Be present in the present.  I do not do a very good job with looking at the here and now and am either looking back at the past or planning the future.  One idea I had for this was limiting my screen time when around my kids (i.e. on my phone checking mail, texting, talking, on computer when at home with them present).  This would include not texting or chatting when in car because you know that is a bad habit that I don't want my kids to get in the habit of when they drive (I know the planner in me already thinking about oldest driving in 8 years).  I'm having a tough time with the talking on the phone thing in the car, but am at least trying to stay off the phone while the kids are in the car with me.  I'm removing texting in the car for all driving times. 
 
2. Write a letter a week.  This idea came to me after looking at the following blogs while cooped up with the Xmas Plague of 2012 : Today's letter blog, Simplicity Embellished blog and Love Notes blog.  I've always enjoyed getting "real" mail- I know big surprise- I am addicted to getting home and immediately checking the mail box.  Don't know why, because a lot of "real" mail doesn't get sent anymore.  So I've decided to take on this goal/challenge to 1.practice the almost lost art form of letter writing 2. reconnect with those I haven't for awhile 3. stay creative with my writing- another way I can be happy (because I have found I'm happy when writing).
 
3. Run a bunch- 1,000+++ miles in 2013.  This time however, I don't think I'll be training for a marathon.  I enjoyed this past year and the year before, but like I said in earlier post it just kind of hit me the other day "no Chicago this year" and so I'm listening to myself.  Instead I plan to try and find a bunch of 1/2 marathons to run throughout this year and other races too.  If anyone has any great race suggestions let me know or if they know of great website to find 1/2 marathons in the Midwest that would be great too.  My January challenge is the same one I did last year- run every day at least 1 mile or more for the month of January.  I've done pretty good so far, but am not logging in tons of miles doing a lot of 2-3 milers/day.  However, all miles adds up and running in this cold has dampened my running longevity a little bit. 
 
4. Read a bunch- read more in 2013 than I did 2012.  This includes listening to books and doing a better job of logging chapter books I read to the kids.  On my list this month: book club book "Thornbirds" by Colleen McCullough, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone- kids, Bedtime (to take the place of "My Year of Running" Book)- trying to find books that either have short chapters or are poetry.  I'm starting with "What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self" by Ellyn Spragins.  This book is composed of letters that women (famous) have written to themselves and have some theme within the letter.  I'll let you know how it goes.                        
 
5. Yoga a Day- Grow Soul Beautiful website has a yoga pose a day that you can look at on their site.  My goal is to do each of the January poses on the day asked.  I'm not participating in the sending a picture of myself to the site though :).  That might be over the top TMI for them.  I miss Yoga and know all the benefits (mental and physical) but also seem to have an excuse for not getting it done, so with the start of this new year I hope the pose a day turns into more than just one pose a day and I get my butt back into some Yoga classes in 2013. 
 
Well I think that is enough for now- enough goals/enough challenges/ and enough to keep me on track and happy!  Happy New Year!            

Our 1st annual

Our first, hopefully, annual Craft Day.  My sister and I hosted at my mother in-laws home a craft day.  My mom, mother in-law, sister in-law, sister and her mother in-law were invited ( oh and the kids).  We picked two crafts to do for the adults.  Due to the "Christmas Bug" that flew rampantly amongst all of us the kids actually played together and didn't get involved in the crafting this year. 
 
Step one go to GoodWill or any thrift store or your closet and pick out wool sweaters you have no qualms about cutting up.  Then my sister found this great circle pattern (16 circles total) that you trace around the different sweaters/colors you desire and then you take a wire and thread it through the center of the circles add a wooden star to the top and voila you have a very fun wool xmas tree.
Sis cutting out circles.

Finished product- you could bend the wire which ever way you wanted hence the one in the back that is leaning some.  Then we moved on to using more of the sweaters- the arms/sleeves.  We cut the sleeves off and sewed the sweater sleeves so that they made cute wine bottle covers.  Perfect for gifts or just putting a little whimsy into your side board/wine rack at home. 

The wine covers were made for both tall and short bottles of wine. 

Here are the finished products!
 
I should've taken a picture of our food spread too.  Each person brought an appetizer to share along with apple cider, coffee, water and pop.  Due to the cutting component we decided to stay away from the adult beverages for this party.  Everyone had a great time and we are already talking about our next year's craft day.