Sunday, November 20, 2011


Friday was the day... T-day. Or Turkey Trot 5k for those of us running it. I am so happy that I FINALLY have a 5k under my belt. And this time I didn't chicken out which is even better.

I ran the race with my workout buddy/friend Keri. This was a first for the both of us so we were nervous together. Here's an awesome shot of us with the bird before the race. Don't you just love the bald look we have going on because of the hats!? ;]

We took quite a few pictures so we could document how excited we were haha. You would think we were running a marathon!

Getting my first bib! Now that I think about it, I should have kept it. Oh well at least I can thank Vicki for getting a picture of me with it.

Ready to go!!! It was freezing (like in the 30's or low 40's!) so we were ready to get moving.

And we're off...

That would be our awesome gym staff all bundled up cheering us on.

While we were running I had told Keri that if I'm holding her back to not worry about me and just go. Once we got to the half way point she took off like a rocket! She was picking people off one by one. It was pretty awesome! Her husband and mom were there as our cheerleaders/photographers which made us both feel special :] They apparently weren't expecting her to finish as soon as she did because they never even noticed that she crossed the line!

Thankfully one of the marketing ladies from the MWR who we take spin with occasionally was taking pictures of the event and got one of Keri running in the homestretch.

3 minutes later I was able to say I ran and completed my first 5k! I don't remember my exact time but it was 36 minutes. I was excited :]

Yup. We were excited!

After the race they were raffling off turkeys. Keri and I both won one.. and neither of us eat meat ha. We did however donate them to the food bank in town so a few families will be eating a Thanksgiving turkey courtesy of the Everett MWR (morale welfare and recreation for those who have no idea. They do lots of awesome things for the military and their families.).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Outside looking in

I saw a little snip-it on about Justin Timberlakes experience at the Marine Corps. Ball. I had to share! His words are very moving and being able to hear someone who doesn't know much about the lifestyle these men, women and families go through... it was just all well said :]

To all my family, friends and fans -
I'm writing this out to all of you after attending an event that turned out to be one of the most moving evenings I've ever had...

I had the honor and privilege last night of attending The Basic School Instructor Battalion 236th Marine Corps Birthday Ball at the Greater Richmond Convention Center with Corporal Kelsey DeSantis...

I knew I would have an evening that I wouldn't forget... Something I could tell my friends about. What I didn't know was how moved I would be by the whole experience.

I've always been very vocal about my support of our Armed Forces. I've always felt like they offered us the opportunity to live our lives freely without the fear that so many other nations have to endure still to this day. And, they do it without asking for anything in return. I had this very feeling walking into this dinner. So, to say I was stoked to be there would be more than accurate.

As the evening got started, I met Kelsey and we made our way to the ballroom where the Marine Ball was going to be held. I stopped in an area designated as a kind of VIP for some of the officers, I think. I took some photos and shook hands with some of the men and women who take such great care of our freedom. It was nice to be there already.

Then, we moved to the ballroom where the dinner was set up... For a short while, I had the opportunity to sit with Kelsey, get to know her and get a tiny glimpse into what her life as a Marine was like. She talked about her training in mixed martial arts with a passion, a discipline, and a respect. It reminded me of how I hear my favorite athletes talk about their sport or, how I hear my favorites among my peers in music and film talk about their craft.

We sat in this huge ballroom and were the only ones there as, we had beaten the rest of the soldiers who were on their way in. So, we got a decent amount of time to chat before the ceremony started.

She seemed to me to be so humble and honest... Very cool. She also simultaneously seemed like she was nervous about the whole evening and if I was going to enjoy myself. "Are you ok?" she asked 2 or 3 times. "I hope you are having fun. I know you will once my crew of friends get here to the table." I have to tell you, it's not every day that I meet a 23 year old girl and she's more worried about if I'm having fun or if I'm comfortable! It hit me all of a sudden that these were the type of people that look after us and our freedom... Humble, concerned for others before themselves... This was the type of person our Marine Corps was building. I was really blown away.

It seemed like all of a sudden I was surrounded by her great friends and fellow Marines as the closest ones to her made their way to our table. She again assured me that I was going to love all of her friends--that they were a "kick-ass" group of people.

She couldn't have been more right. I laughed and laughed with all of them almost immediately and felt very close to them... They reminded me of my friends (the ones I like, at least). Cool, un-affected, and real. This was going to be a fun night.

What happened then took me by such surprise that I was almost brought to tears. In fact, our whole table was...

They started the ceremony. And, the next thing I knew I was watching a video about Pearl Harbor/WW2 and the September 11 terrorist attacks... It was a video with some first-hand accounts from some Marines who were there... Telling their stories of the sights and sounds of war and rescue. So vivid and real. So honest but, so filled with a sense of compassion and adoration for this wonderful country. They spoke with a pride that only they could have acquired through their experience as a US Marine. There was a common theme that I began to notice as well... No matter what the situation. No matter how dire...

They were there FIRST.

There on the front lines.

No questions... Just reaction.

While this tribute was playing, you could hear a pin drop. It was a surreal moment to be in that room with so many of our great Marines who have such a different type of connection to those stories. One that we who don't serve will NEVER understand. It was familial. It was like they were listening to their own blood brothers. I glanced around the room at young men and women, spouses and soldiers... At kids way beyond their years, really... All so deeply entwined. Not just by battle, even though we who have never endured anything remotely close to those experiences and have NO position to comment on... But, by having such life changing experiences through them and to not ever waver in their love and respect for our homeland. That's what I saw. A faith in us that has been tested time and time again. And, through it all, NEVER a drop of doubt.

I was truly moved.

The evening went on and we ate and took photos and drank and made jokes.

There were some speeches that prompted many "huahs" and applause. There was laughs. We even danced a little.

I felt so proud to be there. I felt like I was getting a chance to be among my heroes. It's funny too because a lot of them are SO younger than me.

The evening wound down for me as, I had to catch a plane. But, I have to say that I had so much fun with Kelsey and her crew of friends. They were just really nice people... Classy Marines but, not without a great sense of humor. Real individuals but, not without a sense of community.

I said my goodbyes to them but, not before I got a chance to tell them how much the evening had meant to me. They made me feel so welcome to be there and I'll never forget it.

We all have our own individual views on war... But, doesn't that speak to just another thing that makes this country so special?? The fact that we can all wake up every morning and BE individual with a pure sense of freedom..? But, one thing that can't be argued is that it's because of the people who VOLUNTEER their lives to make sure that it's protected at all times. And, like I said before, doing so while asking for nothing in return...

To all of you that serve every day for us... Ensuring our freedom, I say: My deepest gratitude to you. I've met so many of my heroes... From Michael Jordan to Michael Jackson. And, nothing makes me feel more honor and pride than when I get to meet one of you. Last night changed my life and I will never forget it.

To people like me who get to benefit from this type of person... One with character and courage. With strength and bravery. With humility and honor... I say: Send your thanks. Do it however you can. Write a letter, type an email... Hell, buy 'em a beer next time you run into someone from our Armed Forces in a bar. When they say thank you for that drink that cost you 3 bucks, they'll mean it. They won't take it for granted and, they won't forget it.

Thank you Corporal Kelsey DeSantis. Thank you for inviting me. And, thank you for being my hero.
- Justin Timberlake

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Farm.

A few weeks back Melanie and I headed out to a pumpkin patch for girls day. Yup that's what I was calling it ;] I love going to pumpkin patches during the fall.. I'd just like to be warm when I'm there. We had fun anyways. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Goals and some Halloween fun

I think I'm with everyone else in saying, I can't believe it's November already! I'm not complaining one bit though because that means it's another month closer to Frank being home (YAY!), and it also means the explorer will be paid off this month!! 4 years early which just makes it even sweeter :]

October Goals

Start the Hawaii Island swim challenge at the gym, swim 3 days a week (at least) [YES! And loving it!! I was even swimming almost 5 days a week for a little while. I can't remember my exact distance but I am close to 10 miles!]

Run outside once a week (weather permitting) [weather permitting yes. Although that wasn't too many days. I got some warm clothing to wear but the running pants ended up not working out, so I'm hoping once I get a new pair we can get out more often.]

Read two books [Total FAIL! The last two months I just haven't been in the reading mood.. I might want to change that if I'm ever going to get through the stack of books on my nightstand.]

Read the book of Joel every day [So I didn't end up reading the book of Joel every day because I realized I got bored far too easy doing that. So instead I just stuck to reading the bible at random every day. Which is why I'm counting this as a win.

Go sugar free [FAIL :( So this was was actually really easy, especially since I don't eat processed foods.. or anything that has added sugars really. What messed me up was Starbucks and their holiday drinks! I was at the mall, cold and the first thing on the board was a chai tea latte... oy. I decided to try this again in January.]
Take the dogs for a daily walk (weather permitting) [See above.]

Go to the dog park once a week [Big fat FAIL. It didn't happen once.]

Document one new recipe a week (not sure why I've gotten so lazy about this lately) [I did put up some new recipes but I didn't realize I had said to do one a week. I decided to count this as a win anyways.]
November Goals
Swim 14 miles [at least]
Run the Turkey trot 5k
Run no less than 3 days a week
Post 5 new recipes
Walk the dogs every clear day
Pay off the explorer!

Edit: I found out today how many miles I swam in October... 12 MILES!! I thought I had barely gone 10. It was a nice surprise :] I topped it off with swimming another 47 laps tonight. So that would be 1 mile and... anyone out there want to do the math!? So excited!!
* * * * * * * * * * 
Every year on Halloween my friend comes by with her son (my godson) to trick-or-treat and show off his costume. Well this year Robby had more fun handing the candy out at my house and playing on the elliptical. He told his mom to go trick-or-treating for him haha. He cracked me up!
Here Robby is as a... um I'm not actually sure what he is. Goes to show how little I know about scary movies.

Sorry in advance about the poor picture quality, I have the worst time getting pictures in this lighting. I'm no pro here, just wishing I was one!

Had to get a picture in with him before they left. I would have liked to gotten more with his mom and such, but CJ and Melanie came over with Zaedan around the same time so it was pretty crazy. Ellie decided to join in our picture as well :]

It was a must (if they were in town) for CJ and Melanie to stop, I wanted to see Zaedan in his first Halloween costume! He was a tiger, and oh so cute. I'm pretty scary to look at in general in these pictures ha. My costume was tired gym lover :] an hour of interval training on the treadmill and lunges and squats then 45 minutes in the pool plus no shower yet=not pretty!

Yup we were having fun! Zaedan thought we were all a little crazy.

Hope everyone had a fun safe Halloween!!