Tag Archives: amigos

Five for Friday

Addie was sick most of this week, so we didn’t make the usual rounds. It was tough to keep her calm in the house all day, so we still made it out for exciting field trips like the “wash car.”

1. I was proofing a project and read this:
No cut-off jeans or any other apparel, which tends to fray, is permitted to be worn in the pool or spa.

Naturally, I thought of this. I sure do miss Arrested Development watch parties on Mondays.

2. I really want to be on the York Peppermint Patty train because Clayton loves them. But every time I bite into one, I pretty much have this realization:

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I also wasted (invested?) a solid hour of my life on that account this week. Making sarcastic cards for a living is what one might call nirvana for me.

3. This week was the second time I used the Walmart grocery pick-up service and maybe it’s how I will buy the majority of our groceries until the end of time forever and ever amen. Or until my children don’t require multiple restraints and bribery to make it through a shopping trip without incident. It’s especially convenient for bulky items like diapers, cases of bottled water and detergent, which I literally have to carry around the store in one hand because there’s no space when I have Asher or both kids. First world problem to the max, but whatevs, throw it right there in the back of my SUV while I instagram this latte, thank you very much.

4. When dinosaurs and awkward torsos attack.

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5. When it’s so far past their bedtime you ignore that they’re recreating the EXACT scenario that appears on the warning label.

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(The top wasn’t on and it was sideways…I’m not that cray, guys.)

We are hoping to break in the kayak this weekend and suffer through another lackluster Florida State performance. Don’t even get me started on the Dolphins or the delusional fan that shares my home. Happy Friday the 13th!

Five for Friday on Saturday

Let’s pretend it’s still Friday and not halfway to another Monday, mmkay?

1. Last weekend the man and I had a lovely date night.We started with a romantic dinner followed by questionable fashion choices, heavy duty trash talking and many mortifying celebratory dance moves.

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We had bumpers and one of us still didn’t hit 100 in any of our three games. I swear I used to be an athlete.

2. Asher had a specialty doctor appointment (nothing serious), and this little guy is for real, with no exaggeration, the best baby on the planet. He didn’t even start fussing until the procedure had to be repeated. By that time, I was fussing more than he was.

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Don’t judge a book by its lips.

3. I’m embarrassed by how true this rings in my life. To be fair, I do wear workout clothes in the hope that already being dressed will eliminate one of the excuses to avoid exercising. It works about 50% of the time. But I can be sure that Clayton will now chant in a horrendous British accent, “Active wear! Active wear!” 100% of the time.

4. My master plan is falling perfectly into place and all my friends are finding themselves with a similar schedule to ours during the week. This week that meant MOSI and the splash park.

Just a little aircraft maneuvering, no biggie.

FullSizeRender_1 This picture made my life. That stink eye game is LEGIT.

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Don’t worry, he cheered up when I told him he could smile, too.

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Two years ago, almost exactly, at this park. Tear drop.

A hyde park gate

5. Kicks.

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6. Bonus for being late: Listen to this song and try to accept that it’s been almost 20 years since it came out.

I hope you’re spending all weekend being inactive in your active wear. Just me?

Five for Friday

1. Last weekend we met up with Addie’s buddies to catch “Toy Story” at the children’s museum. The peacefulness was fleeting, so we tried to capture a photo. This is the response when we called their names 18 times:

photo 1 And then, in a moment of sheer parenting brilliance, my friend said, “Pizza!”

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2. Realizing a dream of mine ever since creating a fake news broadcast in 7th grade. I had a total crush on my co-anchor before the project started, but one day I found him laying on the floor behind our news desk. His stomach hurt or he had a headache or his hair wasn’t cooperating—I don’t remember the details—but I do remember that THE FAKE NEWS WASN’T GOING TO DELIVER ITSELF, SIR. Some of us had to get up, adjust our ill-fitting blazer stolen from our father’s closet and get the grainy, VHS show on the road.

In the end, it didn’t work out with me and middle school Ron Burgundy.

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3. My little nuggets being adorable.

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Moments later Addison belly flopped off a pretend boat and burst into sobs.

4. Guys, it’s here. If you need us during the next 16ish weeks…

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5. We went to the children’s museum yet again this week (it’s air conditioned, get off my back) and when I came back to my car in the parking garage, this little gem was waiting for me.

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I have so many issues with this ticket. First, it was for an expired tag. It was September 1 and my tag expired at the end of August. One. Day. Late. C’mon, man!

And guess what was sitting right inside the car on my passenger seat???

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I can’t make this stuff up. I know, I know—it was my fault I didn’t put the new sticker on, but who writes a ticket for an expired tag in a parking garage?! I wasn’t in a fire lane, I wasn’t in one of those electric car-only spots and it was the straightest I’d parked since getting this mom-mobile. Had I been pulled over, I’m pretty confident I’d only get a warning since I could have handed the cop my new sticker that was 18 inches away from me. Oy.

The schedule this weekend looks quite kid-centric, but they’re only young once, right? (Thank God, says every toddler parent.)

Five for Friday

The kiddos and I are making it out of the house more and more lately. I still forget something crucial every time, like diapers for Asher, but I figure that’s par for the two-kid course. Here are some of the things that we enjoyed this week.

1. I was on a hunt for summer shorts that would work throughout the crazy postpartum weight roller coaster. Gap/drawstring waistbands to the rescue.

gapThey were on sale in the store, so I got the gray pair, which are more casual, and the dressier garnet pair, which I envision fancying up with some wedges once my cankles morph back into calves.

2. A little breather after our intense shopping.

mall coffee

3. Our first experience with Moe’s Monday.

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He wants all the quesadillas. She wants all the chips. Match made in heaven.

4. I like to keep Clayton’s guitar pick in my car to remind me how dreamy he is and to make myself feel cooler in the mom-mobile. Doesn’t matter that I can’t play one single chord on the guitar.

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5. #seinfeld

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Just can’t pass up a BOGO.

Here’s to a weekend of sunshine and happy surprises!

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Showered Up: The Sequel

This weekend my more-talented-than-she-realizes mom and some dear friends threw me the loveliest, dinosauriest baby shower. I wasn’t sure of the etiquette surrounding second baby showers; this is my first second baby. But they generously offered, and I tried to make myself scarce during the planning and prep, leaving my bedroom 10 minutes before go time.

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I was nervous about how I’d fare in that kind of social setting given my bouts of anxiety over the past year, so I agreed to/jumped at the idea of having it at my house. Everything was so thoughtful and the morning ended up feeling completely laid back, even though I was wearing eyeliner. There were about 20 family members and close friends. We ate delicious quiche, banana bread, croissants (with chicken salad for those not currently vehemently opposed to poultry) and cupcakes. Carbs are a girl’s best friend.

My hostesses accommodated my persnickety wishes about games—not many, as little interaction as possible—and presents—they left it up to me to open them in front of everyone or not. By the time a natural gift-opening break appeared, I was feeling swell, so I made all the aunts and grandmas happy by cooing over little boy onesies and baby socks. Which wasn’t hard because omg so tiny and cute and blue and new and we really didn’t have any boy clothes and this one has a monster on the butt and I think I might cry it’s so adorable.

I was a straight up pro out there.

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Remarkably, even the ongoing, very public “she’s so much bigger this time/no, she is so much smaller this time” debate didn’t faze me. Because it’s clearly acceptable to argue over the state of someone’s physical appearance in front of said person when they are at their most physically and hormonally vulnerable. Now I’m wondering if a party goer secretly spiked the beverage jug with some liquid valium. And to that guest I say, THANK YOU, KIND LADY.

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The shower also marked a much anticipated lull in pre-arranged activity up until Falcor’s arrival. It was sitting on the calendar with glorious, unspoiled, quadratic white space behind it. Granted, we’ve already filled in like half of those once open dates with potential commitments, but the idea of them filled me with joy and made the shower all that more exciting.

I can’t thank my mom enough for rolling with my nonsensical, multiple personality texts and conversations regarding décor, games and guest lists. She knows me and made this day as stress-free as humanly possible, mainly because she took all of that stress on herself, striking a miraculous balance between my antisocial, pretentious ways and the normal, generalized expectations of the rest of society. Not an easy task, and I adore her for the effort she put into achieving it.

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So much belly touching for a modest introvert.

And my pals who each have several babies to care for, homes to manage and crazy schedules of their own who graciously gave time they didn’t have and brain power they didn’t need to spare to make this a really beautiful day.

Up next: one nursery, one name and a whole lotta napping.

Recap of my baby shower for Addison here. I guess I like those earrings. Feel free to play along with the “she’s huge! she’s tiny!” game. It’s my favorite. 

Yes! please.

A couple of months ago my good friend Tori mentioned that she had an extra ticket to a Jason Mraz concert. I told her I would sacrifice for the sake of our friendship and take the ticket off her hands.

Because children and jobs make all areas of life inconvenient, I had to wait until the day of the concert, a Thursday, to head up to Jacksonville. Procrastination postponed my departure by an hour and traffic added another 30 minutes, so I cut it a little close by arriving in Jacksonville at nearly 6 p.m. I threw on some eyeliner, we popped into Tijuana Flats for dinner, Tori broke just a couple of traffic laws finding parking and we were in our seats just in time.

The tour is touted as “an acoustic evening with Jason Mraz and Raining Jane,” so there was no opener, but Raining Jane played a few of their songs before he took the stage. It took about four notes for me to be completely infatuated with them, especially the drummer. (Source)

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I think it’s because she reminded me so much of this girl from my secret Netflix obsession, “Gossip Girl.”

They were missing one member, but the three I saw were insanely talented and each played more than one instrument. The tour is based on the album “Yes!” Listening to the album, I wasn’t blown away by the band, but at the live show, they were incredible. P.S. Try to be in a bad mood listening to that cd, I dare you. 

When the Mrazmeister joined, you know things got funky. Clayton and I went to his concert a few years ago in Virginia, and this show was every bit as fun and entertaining. He is sarcastic (my second language) and laid back, and even in the middle of winter in a crowded theater, it felt a little like being at the beach watching the waves come in. The vocals blended so well together – again, the band plus Jason sounded way better live than on the cd – and Raining Jane can kill some percussion and sitar.

The only improvement would have been a venue with room to move. Our romantical swaying to the encore was rather stifled, though I think we still nailed the expectant couple awaiting first child vibe we were going for. Related: trying to sneak past a row of people inconspicuously with a six-month bump is as effective as attempting to avoid the potent marijuana smell oozing off the guy next to you by turning your head 12 degrees to the left. Neither works. I was so close to texting Clayton about whether or not a fetus could get high via aroma.

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After dealing with the back ups at the parking garage pay station and exit, we made it back to Tori’s house high (figuratively…I think) on the positive tunes but exhausted. Bright young minds needed molding early the next morning, so Tori went to work and I left shortly after she did. Panera’s honey walnut cream cheese had been calling to me for hours. I said goodbye to my tiny little roommate for the night and made it back to Tampa so that I could work for awhile before retrieving Addison.

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Real talk: I’d been debating going to the concert for several weeks, wondering about some anxiety from the past few months that’s much improved but still lingering in certain situations. While this wasn’t a homerun in terms of my nerves, I’m really glad I went for it. Tori is infinitely understanding about all of my hang-ups. #jasonandjane definitely did their part to mellow me out, too, and even with the bouts of crazy in my head, it was a great show that I’d be bummed to have missed. Turns out Tori’s fortune that day was spot on.

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Weather chasers

The past few weeks have been glorious weather-wise, so we’ve been taking advantage. It’s nice to have a break from days in the 70s to enjoy temps in the 60s. Florida is so miserable sometimes. (Seriously. See: May, June, July, August, September and usually October.)

We went to Dinosaur World with some friends who also have a toddler. (And happen to be expecting—it’s the water, kids. Don’t drink it!) Shockingly, I’d never been to DW even though it’s less than an hour away and my self proclaimed dinophile status. Too much longer and I would have had to turn in my badge to Jeff Goldblum.

The park ended up being larger and more exciting than I’d anticipated, especially the part where a dino came strolling on by on a leash. True story, even though I have no photographic evidence. I basically loved this place and would totally go back by myself to read every plaque and take notes in the museum. Addison and her buddy found a small enclosed loop trail where they could run endless circles and burn endless energy with minimal supervision, so that was also a major win for all the parents involved.

Difficult lighting situation.

Please note the discrepancies in excitement level.

Oh, was Addison supposed to be in the picture? My bad.

There is something to be said about being utterly ridiculous every now and then.

dinosThis week Addison had an appointment with a new pediatrician. Yet another perk of our new insurance—switching all of our primary care providers. Anyway, don’t let me spiral down that rabbit hole. Thankfully he was awesome and she chatted away like the highly advanced verbal superstar she is. Stop rolling your eyes, it’s true! Just ask her grandma, a trusted resource for completely unbiased and objective information regarding Addison’s intellectual capabilities.

Because it’s toddler law, I bribed her with basically anything she could ever want as long as she held it together for the visit. She did! Her request was “a pink treat,” so she took down some cake pops outside like a boss.

photo 1Then we met Clayton for lunch at a park near his work. After my weekly emotional meltdown, we had a lovely afternoon by the water.

photo 4Boots + a bump.

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A Nat oldsmarSome days she likes me.

Weekending, poorly

We have water! In the house! And not in a gurgling puddle in the yard! Hallelujah!

The plumbing “crew” of one 14-year old boy spent most of the day Friday digging a new hole for pipes around the trees of doom. I saw the actual plumber for about four minutes total, so I’m not sure how child labor laws factor in here, but all I know is we got water, apparently that sophomore has a full time job, and I ain’t asking any more questions. Clayton refers to our still raised new dirt line somberly as the Trail of Tears. I think the more accurate Trail of Tears would be the path from that leak to the bank where the plumber cashed our check before closing on Friday. Dude didn’t waste no time.

Saturday turned into a massive catch up day. I don’t know if it was a dose of the prego crazies taking hold, but the idea of not having water all week made the house seem extra germ-filled and completely sticky. So we divided and conquered most of the house and the piles of laundry that had accumulated. We are out of water for five days, the city is out for the next month as we probably used it all that morning.

The job was finished in enough time for our friend Tori to stay Saturday night. She was originally going to stay Friday, but we didn’t want her to show up and have to say, “We’re so glad you’re here. If you have to go to the bathroom, the Citgo is on the corner.”

We escorted her around town to all the hot spots, i.e. that one coffee shop/bookstore where we take everyone to act like we’re super hip even though the only time we go is to show it off to out of towners. We were all quite enamored with the bears in the hot chocolate.

bear hot chocA fellow book nerd, Tori proved to my husband I am not the only person who finds great pleasure in wandering around aimlessly staring at books I have no intention of purchasing. There’s at least two of us in the world! Three if you count Rory Gilmore, which obviously I do.

(Related: There was a little girl named Lorelai at the playground the other day and it took every ounce of restraint I had to stop myself from skipping over to her mother and girlcrushing her to death with something like, Whatever heinous crimes or general absurdities you commit from this point on, it doesn’t matter to me because I am already certain we were meant to be bffsies.)

(Kind of also related: If you didn’t understand any of the last three sentences, why are you here?!)

And then we rounded out our humiliating display of hard core Noa weekending at Ruby Tuesday and a three-year-old birthday party, where I assured our childless guest there would only be one other kid and we’d stay for a half hour, tops. Two hours and SEVEN children under four later, Tori had disowned me as a friend and started walking back to Jacksonville.  Not really, but I wouldn’t have blamed her. Hopefully the homemade ice cream cake helped. Certainly the Yuengling did.

After Tori left Sunday, we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and headed to a manatee viewing center about 45 minutes from our house. The center is connected to a Tampa Electric power plant, and the gobs of manatees are attracted to the warmer water and toxic run-off. Kidding; I assume they test that stuff, but who knows? Mama just wanted to squeal at some cute manatee snouts. Because this picture can be deceivingly unimpressive, I’ve taken the liberty of finding the more obvious manatees. See? Gobs!

manatee spottingAddison was being a lot like Addison and not having it at all when we were actually checking out the manatees. So she was stuffed in the stroller and left to her own whiney devices while Clayton and I tried to find sharks in the water.

A manatee

Once Addison woke up a bit and had the universal toddler medicinal remedy of a snack, she was ready to party. We walked the half mile trail to an observation tower, some of which was covered in shells. Have you ever tried to make forward progress with a toddler engrossed in finding shells? No, you haven’t because that is an impossible feat of nature. Every shell was delightful. Every speck of dust was necessary for “my collection.” Like most two-year old activities, it was adorable for seven minutes and excruciating for 20.

But then, at the tower, there were STEPS! That drew her attention away from the ground and into the sky and she manhandled those five flights with energy to spare. My little power lifter. I probably should have taken a picture of this part, but nope.

Since I actually completed some form of physical exercise, I spent the majority of the walk back deciding my reward. Something that would clearly provide twice the number of calories I’d just burned. We stopped at Sonic for shakes and slushes and tantrums before I let Clayton make dinner while I worked on yet more laundry.

We capped off the weekend with Felicity narrowly escaping machine gun-wielding apes. I want Maurice as a pet.

(Source)maurice

Moving Forward

Today was an emotional day as we said goodbye to our family’s first church home. After several months of feeling uncertain about our place there, we decided it was time to move forward. 

In the three years Clayton and I spent at NBC as members and leaders, we welcomed our first child, celebrated Addison’s dedication and her first two birthdays, and each turned 30 joined by friends from NBC. Clayton found his passion for leading worship, and I found the sometimes hilarious, always exhausting business of baby and toddler ministry. (As it turns out, the same can be said of women’s ministry.)

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NBC became a warm, comfortable and comforting solace on Sundays and during the week at LifeGroups. In varied seasons over the past few years, we have found pastors and friends who have shared their lives openly and honestly and who have made us feel safe enough to do the same. We have hosted and been invited, we have served and been served, we have been both accepted and challenged. As neurotic new parents, we could not be more grateful for the ease with which we drop Addison off into arms of people who sincerely love her every Sunday morning.

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When it doesn’t come naturally to meet new people or develop new friendships, moving on is met with resistance–not questioning the decision but mourning the loss of the comfortable and familiar. NBC was that familiar coffee shop on the corner, walking inside felt like second nature, time there felt refreshing and nurturing. We will always think fondly of NBC, the friendships that it brought us and the spiritual home it provided us. We’ll keep praying for its heath and its mission, but mostly we’ll pray for its people.

P.S. Sorry for being that annoying stage mom who recorded Clayton’s entire worship set this morning. 

Writing about February & March in honor of April.

Some highlights from life as of late.

My old man actually became an old man. C-money turned 30, and, as far as we can tell, still has the metabolism of an 11-year old. Being the doting, selfless wife that I am, I up and got sick for his actual birthday and spent four hours of that evening sleeping. He made himself a nice steak dinner, which he got to enjoy in spurts while chasing after our toddler. The lengths I will go to to get out of cooking…astonishing, really.

Not pictured: raging nausea.

Not pictured: raging nausea.

We rode that celebration train into the next couple of weeks, though, and gathered a bunch of our friends for a brew hop. (That’s not a thing, you say? Not so, according to the dazzling invitations.)

 brew hop invite

We started the afternoon at Cigar City Brewing, not listening to the tour guide and perking up whenever we heard the terms “free” and “beer” in close proximity. It was lots of fun to hang with our old college pals and felt exactly the same except for how much slower we all moved, how much less beer we could consume and still function, the presence of some friends’ baby, and the undercurrent of stories of our own kids that lasted throughout the evening. So yeah, identical to 2004.

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After CCB we headed to Tampa Bay Brewing Company for dinner. Twenty sweet friends came out, and my little hubs was pretty blown away. Not to mention, my SIL helped me surprise him with a cookie cake for dessert. Does anything say mature, responsible, professionally successful father better than a gigantic chocolate chip cookie covered in frosting? Didn’t think so.

cookie cake

We even after-partied for a bit, serenaded by a middle aged Irish tribute band with a heavyset guitarist of indeterminate gender. Rock on, Noa’s. Rock on.

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Over the course of the last six weeks, we also celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday, my brother’s birthday, my best friend’s birthday and my dad’s birthday. It’s enough, people. Stop aging, for the love.  

Everyone whined about daylight savings, meanwhile over here Addison has been sleeping past 8 a.m. nearly every morning since. Parenting win! 

Speaking of…there is an 18 month update post sloshing around in my head that maybe one day will see the light of day. Two months late, it still ain’t even close to finished. There is A LOT to talk about with this one, let me tell you. She is far, far from boring, and she keeps us all laughing hysterically and sprinting to stop her from doing a whole host of ridiculously unsafe behaviors on the reg.

Seconds before standing upright in a moving wagon with no safety restraints.
Seconds before standing upright in a moving wagon with no safety restraints.

I don’t really say “on the reg” in real life.

My bracket could not be more disastrous, but I feel like that’s a pretty common sentiment this year. Clayton is still in the running towards becoming America’s Next Top Bracket Champion at his office, so fingers crossed there.

I’ve still been running, but not really training for anything major. The several months of distance training burned me out mentally for now. I did run a 15k the weekend of Clayton’s party with my Jacksonville friend who was way too easily talked into running 9.3 miles.
Actual conversation
Me: Come a day early and run a 15k with me.
Her: Ok.

 tori nat 15k

I had some goals initially, but knowing that I hadn’t trained properly made me more realistic about what I should expect. And, shocker, I did not hit those goals. But I tried hard—and am still trying–to focus on the positives: my overall pace was a wee bit faster than my half marathon PR, and I was definitely middle of the pack in my age group, as opposed to back of the pack. Sounds silly, but that is a big improvement from when I started running seriously.

I was also so very tempted to call it a day when I realized my goal time was unattainable; I walked a few steps and that felt niiiice. But I told myself to get over it and run, there were strawberries to eat and beer to be gulped and cookie cake to be demolished. I needed to burn some mad calories heading into that weekend, so I kept on and hit my secondary goal of not being a pansy.

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Taken less than 72 hours after I’d sworn off running for-ev-er.

The current plan is to do more speed work and focus on smaller distance races, mainly because come May, there is not a race over 5k to be found in Florida. We would all melt and perish trying to run more than three miles in summer. The first hard workout of this plan was this past Saturday when I had a hot date with some hill repeats. I loved it. It’s crazy and masochistic, but I love the challenge. Plus, the miles and the time go so much faster. 

We caught a Braves spring training game and were hooked up with some free Dave & Buster’s games. The rest of our group left after dinner. Our foursome (with a focus on one 30-year old in particular) hung around until stupid o’clock high on the “but it’s free! and you can shoot stuff!” endorphins.

C Brant Rambo

Those are all the big time bullet points from the last few months. I feel like my life is decently exciting until I try to write about it. Hello, snooze fest. But there you have it. Maybe that Addison post will be coming your way shortly because, let’s get real, she’s awesome and you need to know about it.