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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye, Hello

*Extra pounds
*Bad runs
Goodbye 2011

*Unconditional Love
*Love conquering all
*Hope for a future
*Fitness Goals
*5Ks and Half Marathon
*Quality vs Quantity
*Fresh Start
*Making a Difference
Hello 2012!!!

Out with the good, the bad and the ugly that 2011 had to offer. On to the anticipation of a great 2012!! I changed a lot in 2011. Some good, some bad. I became obssessed with getting married and became angry when rings and engagement didn't happen. I was frustrated with lack of time with friends. Jared and I argued more than I'd like to admit. I allowed black clouds of hurt, sadness and fear wash over me. I didn't fully enjoy all that God had placed in front of me.

Things will be different in 2012. I will be thankful for a man that loves me even when I am a monster. And yes babe, I was a monster at times. I will be thankful for the kind of love that only God can ordain in His perfect plan. A kind of love many hope for but never receive. I will look forward to the day I get to marry Jared, not count the days until it happens.

I will be thankful for the times I get to spend with my friends, not how much time. I will lose these extra pounds and I will keep them off. I will complete a half marathon. I may not run the whole thing but I will finish!

I will walk closer with God and dive deeper into His word. I will learn to be more like Jesus. To love like Him and react like Him.

These are not resolutions,they are lifestyle changes. Changes I want to see in myself. I want to be a better example for Christ and live my life to the fullest. I don't want to get caught up in the negative. I want to press on and achieve the positive. Not perfection, as I so often strive to do.

Here's to a better 2012. For all of us.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Bumble Bee 5K

My race bib
A few months ago my friend, Katie Hotze, told me about this race. She was going to be in town from New York.So Katie, our friend Abby and I all signed up.

I knew there would be a lot of people at this event.

1) It was downtown
2) There was a parade afterwards
3) LOTS of people were still on break/vacation

I left my house at 745am. i figured that would give me plenty of time to get down there, find parking and warm up before the 945am start time.

I was really nervous about finding my way around downtown but not really about the race itself. I bugged Abby and my friend Nick about directions. God bless those two!

The traffic was insane. I went up and down the streets then looped around and did it again. ALL of the parking lots were full. At one point I was on the phone with Katie asking where I could go when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a motorcycle cop. Then heard the blurp of a siren. Dang it...
I basically hung up on Katie and tossed my phone on the front seat next to me. I "Pulled over" (as best you can on a street jammed with vehicles). I rolled down my window and he muttered something about running a red light. (I'm pretty sure it was still yellow but whatever). At that moment I burst into tears and blurted out "I'm SO LOST!". Honestly I'm not to sure what he said after that. Something about how running a light wasn't the answer. Then he drove away. I took a deep breath and happened to look to my right. A parking attendant who was witness to the whole thing gave me a double thumbs up and mouthed "yay" to me. I just smiled. I finally found parking and paid $20 for the worlds smallest parking spot. It took me an hour to find that spot!

It was 15minutes before start time when I found Abby and Katie. I had to pee. Bad. We looked for porta potties but saw none so we made out way into the Holiday Inn hotel. Of course the Women's restroom had a line out the door. It was getting closer to the start time so I decided I was probably going to have to run 3.1 miles with a very full bladder. Sounds like fun, right? Someone suggested we check the men's room to see if anyone was in there. There was one person. Shoot. But he came out a minute later. Abby, 2 other ladies and myself ran into the men's room while Katie stood guard at the door. All of the ladies in the restroom were laughing that we all set a world record for peeing fast.

The gun sounded and we were off. The three of us agreed to meet up at the finish line. I started out pretty good and felt I was keeping my pace. At every race I've been to, they have big numbers marking what mile you're on. I never saw the 1 mile mark. I kept going but my stamina was shot. I kept up a walk/run through out but I definitely wasn't running how I had been in my training. By the time I saw the giant #2, I felt like this was taking forever. For whatever reason my right ankle was hurting really bad. I thought I was just starting the second mile. If that was true, I was in trouble. Then I hit the giant #3 and realized the numbers were marking the end of that mile. So I picked up my pace and ran through the finish line. Katie had already finished so she was already there cheering Abby and I on. It was awesome seeing someone I knew cheering me on at the finish!

Katie, Me, Abby
 I saw the clock at the finish and I was disappointed. I wanted to beat the time from my first 5K run back in March. I didn't do it. In fact, I was 1min 13 seconds slower. That is almost more frustrating. If only I had pushed a little harder, I would have beat it. I struggled the whole afternoon/evening with being disappointed with my time. I finally decided I will only compare races. I am feeling better about it now. In March I will run the "Finish Chelsea's Run" for the second time. I am determined to beat my 35min 58sec time.Next December I will run the Bumble Bee 5K again and I will beat my 37min 11sec from this year's Bumble Bee 5K.

I am accepting that I can train, hydrate, fuel my body etc and still have a bad run day. Sometimes those will fall on race days. I am also trying to remember back to the very first run about a year ago.I felt like i was going to die when I was done. Running for 60 second and walking for 90 seconds was so hard. A year later, I've completed 3 races!

Thank You to everyone that has supported me! I know there were a few of you that wanted to be there but couldn't. Others were going to go but I ended up telling them not to because traffic was so crazy. I am pressing forward toward my next 5K race in March.I am excited about it!

Thank you to Abby and Katie for doind the race and being encouraging even after the race. You both inspire me so much!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Birthday #31

In a word, yesterday was... perfect!

I started the day with a 90 minute massage at Massage Envy. Definitely wasn't regretting that membership yesterday! When the 90 minutes is up and all you want to do is roll over and go to sleep, you know it was a great massage.

I went to Kohls and bought a new purse, a pair of running capris and a running shirt... all for myself! That's a rare thing. I'm way better at buying stuff for other people.

I answered over 100 (!!!) Facebook "Happy Birthday" wishes.

I answered probably 25 (!!!) "Happy Birthday " text messages.

My best bud wrote a heart felt, touching blog about me and gave my blog page a face lift (check it out! so perty!) I read this one in the parking lot of Massage Envy. I cried like a baby and laughed hard in many places.

Another good friend wrote this very sweet blog about me too! I was smart enough to read this post after I got home. I figured one cry-fest in my car is enough for one day. I cried as i read her sweet words and laughed too!

I am really lucky to have those ladies in my life! Thank You Jessica and Melissa! I love you both!

My love gave me some of these:

He also made me a delicious meal of Tilapia, Asparagus and Roasted Red Potatoes

And he got us some gooood treats for dessert!

He also informed me that he got me a Garmin Forerunner GPS watch as a gift! The post office sent it back for whatever reason so he has to re-order. Im excited!

We watched Big Bang Theory and cuddled. I answered more facebook posts and texts, we laughed at my cats... It was an incredible day!

Thank You for the sweet memories and wonderful/touching birthday wishes! I am so blessed and very thankful.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

to you, from me

[image source]

Hello there, friends!  My name is Jessica and in honor of our sweet Shannon's 31st birthday, I asked if I could borrow her blog for a little birthday surprise!  I hope you like the new layout, friend.  And if not, you know where to find me ; )

When I was a freshman in high school, I came from a private school that was pretty much my entire world and didn't know but a few souls at the new, giant, scary high school before me. And to top it off, I was assigned second period P.E.  Lucky!  I love smelling like teen angst and gym socks before 8:30 in the morning! There's something terrifying about being the new girl when your gym teacher tells you to split up into teams for street hockey and every teenage girl rallies around her main group of friends, leaving you on the sidelines alone for dead.  I'm not really sure how everything happened, but one group of girls must have sensed my awkward desperation and kindly asked me if I would like to join their team.  Oh! Yes, please!  That was the day I met a few of my favorite people that would make high school some of the most wonderfully happy and silly and innocent and boy-awkward kind of years you'll always remember when you make a "when I was a kid" reference.  And one of the girls in our hearts knitted together group was my Shannon.

Friend.  September 1995 was 16 years ago.  16!  And in honor of you today, I will attempt to summarize and/or remember my favorite memories of us from each year since then...

1995: Bulldogs on our gym uniform.  Sometimes Looney Tunes on our sweatshirts. AOL, LOL, and all that jazz.
1996: Orange tic tacs.  A spiral bound notebook to exchange between classes filled to the brim with notes, notes, notes! 
1997: Romy and Michele, prank phone calls, butcher paper choir sign painting, and synchronized swimming poses.
1998: Jobs at Pizza Hut and making "mess-up" pizzas. Choir and plays and work and choir and plays and work! Intentionally wearing rollers in our hair at school.
1999: We graduated!  We survived!  Whatever shall we do? Celebratory picnic at the park with an insanely angry duck.
2000: The start of a new century and the big move you made to far, far away! We always said we'd never be those kind of friends that say they'll stay BFF's but aren't after high school is over, but I was worried still what the distance would mean for our friendship.
2001: E-mail and phone calls!  What's new with you?  Can you imagine the quantity of texts there would be if that had even been a thing in 2001?  Or maybe I just wasn't hip to it yet?  I am kind of slow. P.S. I met a boy and he's "the" one.
2002: Do you remember this year?  Maybe I was too busy making out with the soon to be Mr. ( I apologize.)  Even more phone calls and e-mails and "What's the latest with you, friend?" conversations.
2003: So I got married this year.  And you kind of helped with everything.  Addressing invitations in your pretty cursive, flower arrangements, retrieving wedding favors on wedding eve from the angry UPS, making a ginormous wedding cheesecake.  By the way, what was I thinking requesting something so crazy from you?  And how you didn't slap me is a testament to your loyal friendship.
2004: You're home!  You're home, you're home, you're home!  And baby Noah is here!  Now this is getting all kinds of good.
2005: You work.  And you work.  And you work some more.  I don't know how you do it. Catching up over chips + salsa, water with lemon, and sharing a chicken ceasar salad.
2006: A baby Jack to join the family and you are so sweet to sneak me away for a pampering pedicure. Heaven!  You made me feel like I had this whole mom thing down.  And even if I didn't keep it together, you never let me feel discouraged.
2007: This will go down in history as our collective party planning year.  Bridal showers, birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, oh my!  I think most of our "dates" were at the scrapbook store or talking over coffee about our latest party planning ideas.  And it was so. much. fun.
2008: This was the year I got to traumatize you with an up close and personal view of childbirth!  Thanks, Lucy!  And thank you, friend, for being at the hospital before we were, for bringing Christmas cookie magazines to inspire us for the holiday season before us, to be there to laugh, and cry, and encourage, and walk, walk, walk, and all of what it took to get my first little girl here.  I will forever remember it.
2009: Oh, 2009!  The year of love!  It has brought me great joy to see such a kind + wonderful man guard and protect your heart!  (Sorry for The Bachelor reference, but it's just so true and that Kasey knows a thing or two about love!) To see the smiles on your face and Jared's face when you're together is like every morning is Christmas!  I love it.  Alot.
2010: Our lives are nuts, friend.  They're just bananas.  You're busy.  I'm busy. There's a new baby Claire! The world doesn't seem to stop spinning but we've always had the kind of friendship that just picks up where we left our last conversation and that I really, really love.
2011: And here we are!  This year one of my favorites was our unexpected movie date to see Breaking Dawn!  I love how sometimes plans just happen.  Popcorn for lunch, talking loudly through previews, laughing at our own jokes at people that forgot to silence their phones.  It's like we're still a couple of 14 year olds. Well.  Minus major soda spillage. ; )

And so, dear friend, as the clock is nearing midnight on this your birthday eve, I set aside my late night snacks of Sweet Tarts + Cheetos (wishing they were Pringles) and want to wish you the happiest of days as we are, officially, grown ups.  And my heart is full to overflowing with the blessing of having a friend that I have very much so grown up with.  And I have a funny feeling that there is still more growing up for us in the years to be.  Thank you for being there through it all.

Love, Jessica

P.S. And to you, reader friends, I'd love to hear your favorite memories with our birthday girl! Happy, happy birthday wishes are the best!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Once again, Christmas has come and gone. I had my "Holiday to do list" and I got almost all of the items checked off. I didn't actually attend a toy drive but I did raise money for a bicycle drive we had at work. So I think that one can be crossed off the list. I didn't get the chance to watch any of the holiday movies with my nieces and nephews but that's ok.

Christmas started on Friday December 23rd for my family. I can't remember the last time we celebrated a holiday on the actual day. Sometimes I prefer having it on a different day. Stores are still open, we don't have to rush off to someone else's house and no one has to leave early/come late because of work. The siblings, Jared and I decided to surprise my parents this year with a gift. The adults had "agreed" to not draw names and exchange gifts but we schemed behind their backs. My parents are not prideful people and they would be honest if you asked how things were this past year. Money has been tight and it has been a struggle for them but they have held their heads high, worked hard and have accepted help when it has been offered. They'd be the first to help someone else out. We ordered a food package from Omaha Steaks for them. They were sooooo excited! It felt good to give back to them. They've always done so much for all of us kids!

The youngin's had a great time tearing into gifts. Peyton decided to tear off the wrapping paper one square at a time. It was cute and maybe just a tiny bit annoying. Tyler still wasn't 100% sure what to do but he had fun. Alissa and Justen are old pros at it so they tore into their gifts like champs.

The adults, alissa and Justen did a chinese gift exchange. We all bought 5/$1 gifts, wrapped them and put them under the tree.
We drew numbers then began choose and/or stealing gifts from each other. We laughed so hard and had a great time switching the gifts around between everyone.

Christmas Eve morning Jared and I spent some time at brian and Katie's house. We had breakfast and visited with a couple friends. I finished up some cinnamon rolls then we headed to jared's best friend's house to hang out. I had to leave for work but Jared was able to stay and hang out. His other friend, Brandon, was in town so the three of them had a guys night.

Christmas Day I slept for a whole 2 hours then went to carlsbad to celebrate with Jared's family. We had a great time hanging out and talking. Jared's cousin, Kortney, flew in from New York. It was great to see her. All of the kids played and played, opened gifts then played a little more. It was nice getting caught up with everyone. We also found out Jared's cousin, Kasey, just got the lead in Wizard of Oz. She was sporting darker hair for her role as dorothy. I almost didn't recognize her. We always draw names with Jared's family. Jared drew Nana's name and he got her some DVD sets of a few of her favorite TV shows like Castle and NCIS. When she opened the "Castle" DVDs, she squealed like a little girl. She was SO excited! It was cute.

Nana, Kasey, Kortney
 The I was off to work. The day shift crew made dinner for everyone and it was goooood! My partner, Ali, and I brought some stuff in Saturday night for them to make on Sunday. Early Christmas morning I put fresh cinnamon rolls in the oven and baked them for those working day shift. My partner had laryngitis so I answered the phones and the radios. Poor thing, she sounded aweful. She was a trooper though and made it through the night.

It was a great holiday weekend! I am blessed to have 2 incredible families and a work family. I feel like I really soaked in the Christmas feeling this year. I tried to tone it down on the gifts (I failed) but I had so much joy buying and wrapping every single gift. I know Christmas is not about gifts but I do think part of the holiday is the giving spirit. Whether it is gifts, your time, opening your home, donating, being courteous to people etc; it all follows the Lord's command of "Love one another". After all, it is love that caused God to bless Joseph and Mary with a tiny baby that would eventually give the ultimate gift so we would have eternal life.

Merry Christmas, friends. Here's to a wonderful 2012!!

**And stay tuned tomorrow! There will be a special guest post from my best friend!***

Friday, December 23, 2011

Annual King Family Christmas Cookie Day!

Every year the ladies of my family put together a cookie day around Christmastime. Usually we spend the day baking with some of our dearest friends and family members. The only problem was that we'd be so busy baking we'd barely have time to talk and hang out with everyone. We also kick the guys out during the baking and let them come back for taste testing later in the day.

This year we changed things. We turned the baking day into a cookie exchange and let the guys stay. I think I liked it better this way. Everyone brought cookies that were already baked, we had a ton of snack and everyone had a chance to visit. The kids played until they were exhausted then played a little more. Just about everyone that brought little ones said they slept in until about 8am the next day!

We had sugar cookies for the kids to decorate. Most of them weren't too interested.

Peyton wouldv'e stayed there all day if we had let her. She was ready to decorate cookies the moment I walked in the door that day. Most of the kids decorated 3 or 4 cookies then went back to played. Not Peyton though. She must have decorated a dozen cookies.

TJ had fun decorating too. Uncle Jared helped him out. He pretty much just decorated one cookie. He put frosting on it then a mound of spinkles. Then he would eat most of the sprinkles and some of the frosting then start the decorating process again. he must have consumed a full bottle of sprinkles by the end. It was fun to watch him.


I love having this get together every year. It is such a nice time for everyone to get together and visit. It made things easier to have everything already baked this year. I am thinking we should do a springtime cookie exchange also. Why not? It would be fun!

Marshmallow Snowmen

These are such a fun addition to any holiday party. The original picture I saw used striped paper straws as the stick but I used lollipop sticks instead.

What you will need:

1 bag Large Marshmallows
1 Bag Twizzlers Pull n Peel
1/4 Cup Chocolate Chips
Round orange sprinkles
18-20 Long Lollipop Sticks
1 tooth pick

1) take 3 marshmallows and put them in a row on each lollipop stick
2) pull off 3 strings of twizzlers and wrap it around the marshmallows and lightly tie it in a knot

3) melt the chocolate in the microwave
4) dip the toothpick in the melted chocolate and poke it into the top marshmallow, creating eyes and a mouth
5) sip the tooth pick again and make "buttons" on the second marshmallow
6) use a small dab of chocolate to get the sprinkle to stick as the nose.

They really take no time at all. I used these to add the finishing touches to the Christmas gifts I made for Jared's co-workers. I made dozens of cookies and put them in cute boxes:

I got some cute (and inexpensive!) coffee mugs, coffee and hot chocolate and wrapped them all up. It was an easy, thoughtful and inexpensive way to say Merry Christmas to jared's co-workers. 

Proud Auntie!

I remember back to my childhood when December was filled with Choir and Musical Theater performances. It was a busy month but oh so much fun.

Now I have the pleasure of watching my growing nieces and nephews as they share in the love of the arts.

A few weeks ago big Tyler had a dance performance in downtown Lakeside. There was a huge crowd of people and we could barely see him. I was unable to get any pictures and the video his mom, Amanda, took wouldn't load for me :( . Anyone know a trick? I'd love to post it. anyway... the kid has rhythm! BIG TIME! He looked so smooth and in his element up on the stage. He was the best dancer up there. Flawless.

Justen is in beginning band and plays the Sax. He's learning and seems to really love it. He was in the very back of the band with the rest of the Sax players but I was able to get a picture of him. The Saxophone section had their own little group solo and they sounded great! I am excited to see Justen's improvement over the year.

Alissa is in her third year of Orchestra and is now First Chair playing the Viola. For those of you not familiar w/ Orchestra, first chair is considered the "premier" sitting spot. Basically you're one of the most advanced players and usually you have most of the solos. Alissa did have a small solo in one of the songs and she sounded wonderful! I remember the first time she played Viola for all of us. We were at my parents house and she played some random song. It was... clear she was new. The difference between now and then... wow!

I am seriously so incredibly proud of these kids! I can't believe how big they are all getting.