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Until We Meet Again…

5 Feb

We lost something in a big way this week.

A mischievous smile.  A presence.  A contagious laugh.  To us, he was an uncle.  To others, he was much more.  A best friend, a son, a brother, a father, a grandfather, and a husband.

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I am incredibly close with my future in-laws; it would be almost impossible not to be.  They are a huge family that is just about as tight-knit as you could ever imagine.  My heart broke for them on Sunday morning as we got a devastating phone call that no one ever wants to get.

We lost someone so very special to us, but Heaven has another angel.  Rest in peace, Uncle Billy, and watch over us until we see you again.BillDeasy

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A Holiday, A Snow Day, & A Birthday

22 Jan

As the Arctic chill settles over our area once again, I thought I would poke my head out of my snow drift and remind everyone that this time of year can be tons of fun – especially if you live in the snow belt like me!!

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CO’s main side-kick, Cooper!

I shamelessly proclaim:  I actually like winter.  Things I don’t mind: layering up or scarfs or mittens or rosey cheeks or snowflakes! Also, hot chocolate, all of the holidays, snow days, snow balls, and snowmen, dogs running around playing, and the raw, natural beauty of icicles are when they catch the sunshine.  Things I do mind:  frostbite, slush, falling on ice, all of the milk and bread going missing from the grocery store.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like the spring thaw.  But I choose to enjoy the cold months instead of suffering through them.

Monday was kind of a perfect storm for some snow-filled fun.  MLK Jr. day meant the kids were off from school and it also happened to be CO’s birthday (Christina’s littlest brother)!  Since Christina had volunteered to show the kid a good time for the big 1-0, I opted to close the Changin’ Time drop off window and join in the celebration!  YOLO, right?

We excitedly picked snow-tubing as our birthday activity, but due to everyone and their mother showing up at Boyce Park for snow-related activities we were forced to find a back-up option.  Annoying.  We ended up being in the car like an hour longer than we planned because we had to drive from Monroeville to the North Hills.  CLEARLY too long based on the status of the back seat:

If you follow me on Twitter, this is the hysterical "CO" I am always quoting!

If you follow me on Twitter, this is the hysterical “CO” I am always quoting!

Who falls asleep with their hands folded like this!  He’s adorable, I can’t even stand it…

We arrived at Wildwood Highlands almost 2 hours prior to the 3PM-5PM tubing session to reserve our passes.  With time to kill and grumbling bellies, we headed to nearby North Park Club House for some grub.

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The menu had tons of kid- and adult-friendly options, but the best part was the big game room reminiscent of Dave & Buster’s or Chuck E. Cheese.  You play games for tickets and are then able to cash them in for embarrassingly cheap trinkets.  I had to convince the kid not to spend $40 worth of hard earned tickets on A SINGLE FUN DIP.  I mean, he could’ve cashed in for about a dozen Fun Dips or even one of the better prizes, but nooooooo he wanted just one Fun Dip.  Kids.  I made him get these little mustache clips that go on your straw while you drink.

Snow-tubing was so much fun!  You pay for a “lift pass” and get toted up the to the top of the hill in your tube.

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When you get to the top of the hill, there are 4-5 lanes to chose from.  You can go down on your butt or on your stomach or as a group holding onto each other. The boys had tons of fun and everyone ragged on me the entire time because I was too scared to go down face first!  There were several times when I was air born on the steepest hill.  Not something I want to experience with my face half a foot away from the ground.

I felt like Wildwood Highlands was fairly priced and the session time was a good length of time.  We lucked out and our session was a bit slower than I expected so wait times weren’t long at all.  They had apparently promoted some kind of family package on Groupon where 2 adults and 2 kids were $45.  We paid $75, so we will certainly be looking out for that deal next year!  Like so many family attractions in the ‘burgh (i.e. Kennywood, Sandcastle, etc.), it seemed to be run entirely by teenagers.  So basically every employee was rude, sarcastic, and full of attitude.  That felt like knives stabbing through my soul and digging away at my single solitary ounce of patience.

But that’s not what’s important.  What’s important is that we had a blast, we got a chance to spend CO’s birthday with him, and we made the most out of one very cold day!  Happy Birthday CO! 🙂

Sunday Runday

13 Jan

I was dealing with some serious internal conflict on Saturday night about what distance I should run on Sunday.  First world problems all up in here.  Earlier that day, I had decided that my 2014 inaugural race should be the Ole 5K again.  I plan to train harder than I did last year as I think I’m a bit more advanced this time around as the beginner program seems too easy now.  So, Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 5K Training Plan it is!  The problem is the first week’s scheduled long run is 5 miles.  I’ve peaked at 3.5…

I was hesitant on Sunday because I had been on the treadmill all of last week.  I had serious doubts about 2 miles.  But, if I want to build up to 5 miles before training begins then I have to jump up to 3.  There was really no point in putting it off, so I knew I had to swallow my fear of failure and just try as hard as I could.  I took a water break after 2 miles at the car, then pushed onward into Frick Park. #blueslidepark

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And guess what?  I friggin’ did it!  I’m not putting any pressure on myself about it.  For the next 27 days I will see how far I get with base building and go from there.  With a little practice and a lot of persistence, I just know I can beat my previous time for the Ole 5K.

I went home and rested for a few hours, hydrated, and watched some extra greasy reality TV.  A few hours later, Liberty and I hit the road to meet up with some of our friends.

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Actually the dogs had never met before, so they weren’t friends before the walk.  Katie was my roommate in college for a few years and is one of the only people I am still in touch with.

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It was really fun! We discovered some homeless people camps and also a dog park, which was super muddy.  Just the way Liberty likes it.

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This trail is part of the Great Allegheny Passage, which I’ve written about before.  If we had kept going, it would eventually connect with the trail that I run down at the Waterfront.  Pretty neat!  Since we were walking with absolutely no concern about speed or distance, I was able to give my muscles a nice cool down.  I am going to stretch out like crazy tonight after work and hopefully get 2 in in the morning!

Ice Skating N’at

9 Jan

The last few days have been busy, but uneventful.  I ran 2 miles on both Sunday and Monday – which I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull off!  I didn’t work out on Tuesday because there was some confusion with the schedule at work and I didn’t plan my time accordingly.  Lame.  On Wednesday, I managed to get in 1 mile on the treadmill while I was babysitting.  But between the heated, fighting noises and the suspicious quiet periods coming from upstairs, I was too paranoid to leave them alone for too long!  I make it a point to enter all of my runs into the Map My Run app on my phone.  I want to track exactly how many miles I log in 2014.  Hopefully I look back at this post in June and am amused with this mileage!

We spent the afternoon ice skating with family at the Schenley Ice Rink, so the 1 mile worked to my advantage.  The two older boys do not need those plastic grannie walker looking things, they were being used for battering ram purposes and attempting tricks.  In other words, making all of the other ice skaters very paranoid of being taken out at the knees or rammed by accident.  RED alternated following them and being pushed by them, so she was having a ball.  DR was struggling a bit more than the older boys, but still had a lot of fun skating around the loop close to the wall.  I’m looking forward to the family ice skating party later this month, where dozens and dozens of Christina’s relatives get together for a big ice skating party.

photo credit: Amanda

photo credit: Amanda

Why are ice skates so painful?  My arches and ankles were killing me and I somehow got a blister halfway up the back of my calf.  If I had gone 2 miles, I might have pushed my legs past the point of having fun! And despite following 2-4 children around and not losing a single item of clothing, I somehow lost my own glove between the ice skating rink and the car.  Figures!

Despite sleeping in past my alarm this morning, I do plan on hitting the gym tonight to get some kind of physical activity in before the end of the day.  I’m feeling very accomplished  because I’m really staying committed to doing some kind of physical activity every day.  The weather seems to have calmed down now and is cooperating, which gives me more options for activities and locations.

So far, 2014 is just wonderful. 🙂

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

23 Dec

We added a new member to our fur family over the weekend!

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This tiny little thing is full of so much sweetness you wouldn’t even believe it.  She’s an apricot and white mini-labradoodle with beautiful green eyes. When she grows up, she will be between 20-25 lbs. and be about knee height (think Cocker Spaniel size).  That seems like a long time away because she is only about 5 lbs. at 10 weeks old right now!

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I cannot get enough of her and I’m afraid she may not ever want to walk again because the only time I put her down is to take her picture.

We picked her up from the breeder Sunday afternoon and spent the entire rest of the day/night getting to know her a bit better.  Basically, we cut her nails and then cuddled with her until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any more.  She didn’t mind the trim and all, and man was she a big fan of the cuddling!

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How can you give someone a name that will last them their whole life when you just met them!?  She is very curious about us, inquisitive and observant.  I see so many poodle qualities in her and I just adore her.  My mom says that her hair looks coarse and wiry in these pictures, but I swear it is the softest peach fuzz I’ve ever felt.  Nameless and very shy, she is starting to settle in among her giant new friends.

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So far, she loves to follow Liberty around, wag her tail, and take naps.  Every hour, I feel like a little bit more of her personality comes out and I am holding my breath until she feels comfortable enough with us to turn into the wild puppy woman I know is lurking beneath the surface.

And then, she fell asleep in my slipper.  The End.

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