New England with the Family

My mom and cousin made a trip to the Northeast last weekend and we road tripped around New England.  My mom has been talking about seeing the fall foliage and Maine coast for quite some time and I am always looking for an excuse to go to Maine.  Fitting foliage and the coast into one weekend meant A LOT of quality time spent in our tiny little car but I think it was worth it.

Keith and I picked the two up from the airport Friday afternoon and we immediately hit the road.  We took the scenic route from Newark, New Jersey to Manchester, New Hampshire to see the best foliage possible.  The trees were absolutely beautiful.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get very good pictures from the car.

Saturday, we hopped back in the car to drive to Portland Maine.  On the way we made a quick stop to see the ocean.  I don’t think the car was parked before mom jumped out and darted to the beach.  She “needed” to put her toes in the sand.  She is like a little kid when it comes to the ocean.  I didn’t get this gene.  I want nothing to do with the sand.  The closest I need to get is to take a picture of her.


Keith and I can’t go to Maine without stopping at our favorite lobster truck.  We both prefer the Connecticut style lobster roll with butter as opposed the Maine style with mayonnaise.

The lobster truck just happens to be located at the beautiful Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, which is home to Portland Head Light.  This lighthouse is the oldest in Maine.


Brylee did a little off trail exploring.  If you look very very closely she is the little speck out on the edge of the rock.


We finished the day with a brief tour of Providence, Rhode Island led by Keith.  He went to college in Providence and still gets a little excited anytime Providence is mentioned.

Sunday we headed back to Hoboken.  Along the way we stopped in Windsor, Connecticut for “Chowdafest”.

Chowdafest is a chowder and soup competition with 40 restaurants from all over New England.  Upon entrance we were give a wrist band, spoon and ballot.  We were tasked with voting on the best 1. New England Chowder, 2. Manhattan Chowder, 3. Creative Chowder and 4. Lobster Bisque.


We started strong and fast tasting each chowder.  Brylee, Keith and I didn’t hassle with voting.  All we cared about was sampling.  Mom on the other hand attempted to make notes about specific spices and unique flavors.

About 10 chowders in, we needed a break to reset our pallets.  Of course, mom found the ocean.

Keith used this opportunity to work on his photography skills.  He doesn’t quite understand the rule of thirds.

We attempted to finish the tasting but just couldn’t.  We sampled 22 chowders  before we all started to feel sick and threw in the towel.  It will be a miracle if any of us eat chowder all winter.


We ended the adventure with a tour of Hoboken.


Even if we spent most of our time in the car it doesn’t diminish the amazingness of having family visit.

Thankful Thursday X

I am thankful for college football.  If I had it my way, Saturday’s would consist of getting all errands done in the morning so I can spend the remainder of the day posted up on the couch flipping back and forth between football games. Unfortunately, my weekends seem to always be busy and I have to resort to checking my phone frequently for highlights and updates.  Either way, I get a little more pleasure out of life during football season.

  Go Pokes!

I Ran a Half Marathon!

I did it! I finally ran a half marathon!

Leading up to the race, I received numerous texts asking if I was ready and wishing me luck.  Normally, I appreciate nice thoughts but this occasion was different. I was doing everything I could to not even think about the race.

Micaela and I prepared for the race by eating a carb loaded dinner the night before the race.  Both Micaela and I struggled ordering. We knew we needed carbs before the race for energy and protein after the race to rebuild muscle but we weren’t sure about protein before the run. We are clearly amateurs. I played it safe and got both.

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We arrived at the race site bright and early.  I became suddenly nervous as I observed all the other participants. They all looked so professional.

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My bad habit is unconsciously biting my cheeks when I nervous or concentrating.  I was clearly nervous in this picture above.

The race started downhill and extra fast.  I was overwhelmed by the little room I had to move (I knew I would be). Luckily, the full marathon and 10k runners split at about 1 mile, giving me a little room to breathe. Continue reading

Thankful Thursday IX

This week I am thankful for budgeting.

Anyone that knows me will tell you I am ALWAYS worried about money and I spend frivolously. I worry about the future and what if I need money for something unknown. Neurotic I know! Thankfully, Keith and I merged each of our saving practices and he forced me to begin budgeting immediately after getting married.

Prior to marriage, we both had savings methods but they were very different.

Keith always established an amount he wanted to save and came up with a plan to get there based on what he knew his income and expenses would be for that period of time. If something costs less than anticipated or he received unanticipated money, he considered it a bonus and could splurge however he desired. Example: If Keith received cash for his birthday he would treat himself to a nicer dinner or buy those pants he had been eyeing.

I was completely opposite! I had no idea how much I wanted to save. I just wanted to save everything I possibly could. If I ran across unanticipated money it never crossed my mind to spend it let alone splurge. Example: If I received cash for my birthday it was immediately deposited and forgotten.

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Now we are attempting to merge the two methods. Continue reading

Second Trip Ever to Nebraska

It is crazy that I lived in a bordering state to Nebraska almost my entire life but had never stepped foot in the cornhusker state.  This changed in May when I made my first trip to Nebraska to be in a wedding.  On this trip, I fell in love with bride’s family.  I assume I enjoyed her family because they remind me of my own family.  Specifically, I loved the four sisters.  Did I say they remind me of my own family? Each sister is fabulous on their own but observing the way they interact with each other makes them a million times better.  Being around them really makes me reflect on my sisters and I’s relationship.  Needless to say I knew the May trip would not be my last trip to Nebraska.

Over Labor Day weekend I made my second trip ever to Nebraska.  Micaela (the bride referred to above) picked me up from the airport Thursday evening and we drove to her home in Lindsay to get my country fix.

Friday morning we took Micaela’s new puppy to the vet.  I personally don’t care for dogs (don’t judge!) but how can you not laugh at the little conundrum he got himself into.

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After the vet we spent time with Micaela’s grandma.  I love observing how invested she is in each grandkids’ life and in turn how each grandkid adores her.  Another reminder of my own family!  Of course the visit only made me miss own grandparents more.

We then headed to Omaha for a wedding.   Continue reading

Half Marathon Update

I finally signed up for a half marathon after wanting to run one forever.  The race is in Omaha Nebraska on Sunday September 6th.  Accompanying me we will be a good friend and coworker, Micaela.

I am amazed at how well training has gone.  I attribute most of this to my need for structure.  Following a schedule is right up my alley.  I have had to make some changes to the schedule including deleting a full week once I finally nailed down a race date.  The others have been more minor changes based on my daily schedule.

I should admit training hasn’t been all roses.  One week I was unable to achieve the 9 mile goal I set out for.  I was extremely frustrated and felt defeated.  I had signed up for the race prior to heading out for that run and immediately started thinking that was a mistake.  I guess it just wasn’t my week because the following week I ran 10 miles just fine.  The feeling of accomplishment was back.

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This morning, I will run my last long run prior to the race.  If I can run 12 miles today, surely I can run 13.1 miles the following weekend right?!?!

Thankful Thursday VIII

This week I am thankful for my suitcase and all the contents.

I am sure you are thinking this is an odd thing to be thankful for. You know how they say you don’t appreciate something until your lost something. It is true! I will try to keep the background story as short as possible.

When leaving for work for the week Keith took my bags downstairs for me. What a good husband right? He did not have keys so he sat my bags behind and to the side of the car. I assumed he put them in the car so I hopped in and drove off with my suitcase, garment bag, and lunch bag on the street.  I didn’t discover this until I went to check in at the hotel and the back of the car was empty. My heart dropped! I immediately called Keith who explained he did not have keys (which he did tell me but I did not make the connection) so couldn’t not put them in the car. He also informed me they were not still on the street when he left for work.

My mind started racing ….

  

I immediately realized I would have to drive 2.5 hours home after work and be back by 8:00 am. I wasn’t sure if it was too late to cancel the hotel? My suitcase has a luggage tag with my phone number on it. If someone “found” it they would have called by now. It was for sure STOLEN! My computer was in it! My work clothes! I am going to have to pack again tonight. My new running shoes! My jewelry! All my makeup! When am I going to find time to replace all this? My computer has so many pictures on it! Wait, the suitcase alone might be the most missed!

While I was thinking of worst case scenarios Keith was out searching for the bags. He called the police department, went to the apartment complex across the street, and municipal building next door. After receiving an apologetic “no” from each he proceeded to visit each. After exhausting all options he began returning home when he spotted the yellow lunch cooler in the municipal garage. Turns out the maintenance men had seen me drive off and tried to flag me down.

Crisis adverted!  I suddenly could care less about the 5 hours of driving a headed of me.   

Family Vacation

We just got back from a much needed trip to Southwest Kansas and Southeast Colorado.  The excitement building up to this trip was intense.  I of course always love being home and surrounded by family.  In addition, this was Mimi’s first trip to the area and first time to meet most the family.

Here is a quick recap of our experience.

My little sister graciously picked us up from the airport and hauled us to see the new nephew, Myles.  I guess I was too excited to see him and forgot to take pictures.  Whoops!

We then proceeded with the drive to southwest Kansas.  Nothing is better than 5 hours in a car to catch up with the little sister.  We broke the trip up only once to kidnap my niece whom I have been missing something crazy.  The backseat passengers were knocked by the time we arrived at my grandparent’s house in the wee hours of the morning.

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I on the other hand was unable to sleep due to the anticipation of seeing my grandparents.  I hopped right out of bed the moment I heard grandpa stirring in the kitchen.  Continue reading

Martha’s Vineyard

We took advantage of our traveling job again and went on a “subsidized” daytrip to Martha’s Vineyard.

It seems going to Martha’s Vineyard is a pretty common summer trip in the Northeast.  Who would have known?

We boarded a ferry in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  The ferry took about 45 minutes to get us to the island.   Upon arriving on the island we darted immediately for seafood.  Continue reading

Thankful Thursday VII

I am thankful for country music. 

I have never been the biggest music fan.  I don’t purchase or download music. I rely 100% on the radio.

My music listening has dwindled now that I am in the car less often then my Kansas days.  It has diminished to the point I almost feel deprived.  I never would of thought I would say that!

Thankfully, the past couple weeks I have been working in southern New Jersey with a 10 minute drive between the hotel and work.  During those 10 minutes, I get my much needed country music fix.  I crank up the radio and sing (more of a belt) along.  During those 10 minutes, I almost forget where I am at or that I am surrounded by a gazillion people.  It seems like each and every song just speaks to me … even thought it didn’t the first 4,572 times I heard it.

 Now I just need to get Keith and Mimi on board so I don’t have to split the radio time.