Have you ever checked what keywords or phrases lead people to your blog? It's hilarious. If you've never done this, I highly encourage it for some Friday entertainment to get you to the weekend.
It makes one wonder "what made someone google that?!" and furthermore, "how did this blog come up?!!" This internet thing is a scary place!

After randomly checking these every few weeks, here's my top 10 list of randoms: (minus any of the rare inappropriate ones that make me question google search ability and that I don't want to put on my blog in case some other wierdo searches the same thing!)

1) "Fighting with her steelhead"
2) "I work from home and have become a hermit"
3) "Sad woman wearing winter blue"
4) "river monsters tarpon awesome"
5) "playing with the wife in the kitchen"
6)  "baby blue eyes"
7) "converting a closet into hookers"
8) "green painted kitchen cabinets"
9) "Is Michigan really a mitten shape?"
10) "foot problems why?"

Are there any random searches that bring up your blog? I need to be careful with what words I use on here, I wouldn't exactly say I'm flattered by "sad woman wearing blue." :(


Happy Weekending, Friends!




I've talked so much about all of this work we've been doing on the garden and outdoors, so I thought it was about time to show you the goods. Sadly, "the goods" haven't come up yet, but I'll show you what we have.



I feel a bit guilty writing this post, because this is truly Kyle's baby.  I can't pinpoint why exactly, but he got REALLY excited about our first garden and ran with it. I can't tell you how many hours we've spent searching for the "perfect" plants in various stores around town, always ending in me dragging him away.
The previous owners already had the plot set, which they've been using for the past 15 years. They didn't plant last year, so we Kyle had to rotatill a few times before we began. Then came the raking to even the soil, spreading weed killer, measuring and plotting of stakes, laying out the rows (with none other than fishing line...which has proved to be quite useful!) and then we planted. 
"We" makes it sound as if I did an equal amount of the work, buttttt that's not necessarily true.

After hours at multiple stores, here's what we came home with to plant:



Welcome to our 1st Garden:




 I may be in charge of daily watering, but I promise I didn't drown them. This was after a nice few days of rain and thunderstorms:




We've had three nights of frost that have been touch and go as far as the life of our plants go. It's been so disappointing to wake up to frost across the ground and think that all of our garden could be toast. Thankfully, the plants are holding on strong for us!




We planted a lot of produce, even ones that we don't even eat in our home because someone (cough cough) can't handle the smell. That's right, we even planted ONIONS! I'm not sure what we'll do with them if they grow?
I'm holding out for this baby to produce some blackberries! Some have said we probably won't get any berries this year, but I'm positive if I stop by and talk to it everyday, it will hear my cries for berries and grow 'em! Spoken like the true Ann Arbor hippie that I am.




Here is our very fancy, detailed list of which plants are in which rows. This lives on our refrigerator as a good reminder of what is to come....
hopefully!





How was your long weekend? Hopefully you were able to enjoy some time with family and feel refreshed.

I got to spend some time with some of my favorite people; the hubs, my niece, brother and sister-in-law, just to name a few! Heart = full.



We had everyone to come our house for the weekend, which means that I got to hang out with the cutest darn 19 month old I know.




She bursts my heart at the seams. I missed her not waking me up yesterday morning with "Aunt MereMere", watching her cover her face in yogurt and calling Kyle "unke ca ca."  We got a whole lot of much needed family time with my brother and sister-in-law too ;) The "bro-bros" went fishing and came back with a hefty supply of fishies, while us girls did some shopping and catching up. 

It was a birthday celebration weekend for both Matt & Emily, so what better way to celebrate than to indulge in some of the best food A2 has to offer?! Hannah joined us, and took center stage. They don't see many toddlers here (mostly because this is way too fancy of a place for children, exemplified by the lack of changing table in the bathroom ;), but she was happy to greet everyone and devour the gourmet mac and cheese.




This is a fair warning that Hannah has taken over the blog today. It's those pigtails that are just so irresistible. Being an aunt rocks, thanks Matt & Emily for having her. Have more please. Thank you.










After a big cookout with family on Sunday evening, we spent Monday outside beginning the "VK Landscape Plan 2.0".  Thanks to all of our parents for ALL of the help! My arms are still sore from hauling mulch and picking weeds! Just picture the Clampetts and you'll get a good idea of what it looked like around her'. Pick-up trucks running over poles included.
I'll be back to show ya'll the progress.

Picking weeds really wore Hannah out too!



Our house has been so busy for the past week, I wasn't sure what to do with myself after everyone departed. Slices of watermelon and one glass of wine later, Maizy and I both found ourselves snoring on the couch.





I have a confession.
I never pack a lunch. As in, I packed a lunch yesterday and three of my coworkers made a comment about how proud they were. That included being applauded and I may have taken a bow.


There are five different restaurant/cafe options three floors below me, so I typically grab a cup of soup or a sub from Quiznos and call it a day. This also forces me out of my chair and gets my legs moving, if only for a few minutes.
Yes, that is also an excuse for not packing a lunch! I'm admitting this so you can so graciously help me solve my problem.

It shouldn't be that difficult to pack something!  Just getting in a routine of cooking a bigger dinner for leftovers, or making a lunch each morning will make a big difference.
Theme: I need to cook more meals at home.
Solution: Cook more meals at home.

If you've been around for a while, you may be realizing that this is a trend. I go through spurts where I cook almost daily, then not for a week. It completely depends on the week's schedule! For example, if Kyle is on nights, I typically won't make a big meal at home. I'll succumb to a smoothie for dinner or a bowl of cereal. (I tend to eat more like a bachelor when the hubs is gone!)

Although I do enjoy making dinners, my repertoire of go-to lunches is slim to none. It includes a humus veggie wrap, turkey sandwich or a variety of fresh veggies with almonds and string cheese. I'm not embarrassed by my love of string cheese. It's organic so I think it's okay ;)

I found this on Pinterest and immediately thought, "where has my creativity gone?!"  I'm totally jealous of all of these options.



This lunch brain fart of mine has gone on for far too long. Not only is it expensive, I'm also digesting more sodium than I should and allowing sysco foods into my diet far too often.

Do you have any favorite to-go lunch recipes, or do you rely on left overs? Do you put them together at night or in the morning?
Share with me your infinite wisdom, friends!



On another note -
We are renting our home in Charlottesville! Our current tenants are buying a house, so we are on the search for new tenants- preferably not undergraduates  :) If you know anyone that is moving to C'ville or currently is looking for a new home, feel free to forward them the Craigslist ad :) (Found here)





We're SO excited about this, it's a tad bit ridiculous. Finally, our home doesn't have to look so bare and unfinished.
Below is our landscaping plan!!
(item #566000 of why I'm officially a grown up)







This design is so pretty I want to frame it. I just may.

Kyle's gracious uncle is a landscape architect, so he and his company drew us up a 4-phase landscaping design for our entire property. We feel spoiled. Very spoiled.

Here's a little peek of the plants included:




I've talked about our future in landscaping adventures already. As a reference point, this is what the house looked like when we moved in. You may be seeing this picture a lot, since it's one of the only "befores" that I have that doesn't include trash bins, work vehicles and project stations scattered throughout.




And here's the back:
(That random pole is the dog run that the previous owners installed. I thought we could use it once in a while for Maizy, but she wants nothing to do with the torture of being tied up and not being able to chase the squirrels. We're removing it this weekend.)




It's pretty BLAH, right? I think so.
Mostly due to the lack of trees and plants, as well as the brown color. I must admit that the brown doesn't bother me nearly as much since the grass as turned green and the few bigger trees in the yard have bloomed.

Each evening seems like a new project outside, which is wonderful since the weather has been perfect for digging up weeds, moving bricks and mowing the lawn. It's also been a great way to keep talking about how we are going to approach The "VK Landscape Plan 2.0."

Here's a bit of our thought process as we decide how to move forward, what to do now vs. later, and where we want our resources to go.

1) We want the front finished first. The front is bare as a baby's bottom and frankly, just homely. It's time to spruce that baby up.

2) Our return on investment; we are 99.9% sure that this is not our forever home. So we really have to weigh the cost of landscaping vs. the return. We don't want to invest an outrageous amount of money into something that we can only enjoy for a very limited time.

3) The maturity of the plants. Since we do need to base a lot of decisions on long-term plans, we want trees and plants that we can enjoy this year or next year, not slow-growing that we may never reep the benefits of.

4) DIY vs. Hiring out. Right now, this is the one we continue to go back and forth on. Kyle, being "Dutch," is all about doing it ourselves :) I'm learning towards the more realistic approach. It comes down to lack of time. At some point, we need to be realistic about how we want to spend the limited free time we have. We both really enjoy making our home ours, getting our hands dirty and learning along the way. However, Kyle is about to start the most difficult and time consuming year of residency. We're trying to find that balance between what we can do ourselves and what is best to hire out (aka - I have no interest in attempting to move and plant a 400 lb tree.)
I think it's going to come down to us doing some parts, and hiring out for others. Compromise.




In the mean time, we'll be finishing up our new fire pit, planting our garden and getting rid of the plant bed in the front yard! Lots more to come :)




Have you ever landscaped your yard?! Did you do it all yourself, hire a company to do it all, or some mix in between?!





Yesterday, I talked about how I am taking a break from running.
I can't continue without a huge thank you to everyone for the encouraging comments, you really did just that - encouraged me, and I appreciate it immensely. Just imagine you getting a big, HUGE hug right now.

So, since I'm not running distance anytime soon, I really do need to compensate for it. Depending on the season, how busy life is or simply what mood I'm in, I typically do other forms of exercise too. Those forms are now taking center stage as running takes the back seat. You may be asking why it's so important that I keep exercising. For that, I'm happy to answer.

1) It makes me feel good; mentally and physically
2) I feel stronger: mentally and physically
3) It keeps my heart healthy
4) To be perfectly honest and not-so-politically-correct, I don't want to get fat. And I find that to be a legitimate reason.
5) A good excuse to spend time with friends
6) I like being challenged
7) Having a husband who works with sick people all day long & hearing the heartbreaking stories, there is something in me that wants to say I have done everything in my control to take good care of myself.
8) I just like being active, it's fun!



With that in mind, I'm actually looking forward to different forms of exercise to keep me active.

first,

Circuit Training

Lately, you can find me rolling up the rug in our sunroom and using it as a mini-workout studio. I love doing circuit training, so any work-out video I do has to have high and low intensity built into it. (This is probably why it's difficult for me to take the time to do yoga) That's why I lurrrve Jillian, Chalene and Bob. Yes, I refer to them on a first name basis, since these days we spend a lot of time together. Allow me to introduce you:

Jillian, Ms. Jillian Michaels. I adore her. She kicks my butt in the best way possible. I love feeling sore the next day in muscles I never knew I had. My favorite videos are "Ripped in 30" and "30 Day Shred." I've heard she has some new ones that are great too! Since both dvds include 3- 20 minute workouts, sometimes I do two workouts back to back for a solid and intense 40 minute regiment. (At least I used to, I may be working back up to that again!)


Then comes Chalene Johnson of TurboJam & TurboFire. At first, I found it hard to take her seriously (It can be as corny as the picture on the front of the DVD above). She makes you dance, aka "shake it," during some of the workouts and I would be lying if I said I didn't look over my shoulder and think, "goodness I hope no one sees this!" Now, I crave the kickboxing workouts and high intensity. The dancing breaks it up a bit and gives it a more casual, do-anything feel rather than a strict regiment. It's designed around workouts being fun, and it really is...even when you have to shake your booty.

Then comes Bob Harper. Pure Strength is the one video I do the most of out of all of his, and no matter what, I'm ALWAYS sore. It's a solid 65 minutes of intense strength training, where you heart rate is fluctuating and sometimes you want to quit with exhaustion. It's a great mix of "oh I can do that!" and "oh my gosh I may die."




Cycling

Ever since the weather decided to shape up and become warm, I've wanted to jump on my bike. I think the fact that I say "I'm going for a bike ride" defines me as a novice. Thankfully, we live just a mile away from a lot of back roads, with many hills and little traffic. The hills make it continually challenging and force my heart rate up and back down, while the back roads alone just make it peaceful and fun!
Ann Arbor has a huge cycling community (as did Charlottesville), so I'm used to waving and saying hello when they pass me while I'm running....that hasn't changed much while I'm biking :)
We would cheer on our close friend every year in bike races around C'ville, and I always thought "how are they doing that?!"

I think what I'm missing now is the spandex. Dress for the part, right?!





Walking

Did you know there is Olympic Speed Waking?! It's true. This is actually an intense sport.
The trick is to try and push yourself to get your heart rate up, rather than just lollygagging around. I'm naturally (and annoyingly) a very fast walker, but going faster (with arms swings and all) can be tough (and again, a bit embarrassing swinging those hips and arms!!) Some experts argue that power/speed walking is a better all-around workout than running, if done correctly.
It's also a great excuse to just be outside, give the Maizy pup some exercise, and catch up with friends. AND your risk of injury is severely reduced compared to running. Can't complain about that!


There are plenty of other exercises that I'd love to try! Some have suggested spinning, which I've done once and really loved! Another, swimming. Both I will need to find a gym that has both a pool and classes. I would like to do that in the Fall/Winter so I can avoid not exercising inside all of the time.
Once I find a one-piece and jump in the deep end, I'll be sure to let you know :)





Argh. I felt a lump in my throat when I began writing this post. That's how sad I am about this decision. However, I KNOW it's BEST for my body and mind.

Running and I are separating.
Indefinitely.

Sure, you may read this and think that it is really silly to be upset about. Just hang with me.
Anyone who knows me, knows I have been a big runner for the past four years. It started when I moved to Charlottesville, with the treadmill and television. I've told you a bit about how I was afraid to run outside, mostly do to C'ville being such an active community. I was simply intimidated by the "runner bodies." You know the type-  tall, lean and long legged. I'm 5'5, my legs are muscular and solid like my dads, I'm pear shape with a pretty average build. My body speaks little of being a "runner."

Once my roommates & friends (who were all runners) encouraged me to jump off the treadmill and try out the roads, there was no turning back. They were right, it's SO much better!
The week before we got married I finished my first race; The Charlottesville 10-Miler. It was the first time since high school soccer training (if ever) that I had run that far. I craved it more, and more.
That summer, I trained for my first marathon and completed it in the Fall. Although I had an IT band injury, I allowed it to heal a bit and started hitting the pavement again.



Not only did I enjoy the "runners high", I loved getting outside, feeling like I was accomplishing something, always challenging myself, and even being able to say "I ran x amount of miles." While traveling, running was one of my favorite activities! Such a fun way to explore.
Most importantly, it was also a time to bond with friends & meet new ones. Some of my closest friendships are the ones that have been formed while hitting the trails together. It's what I valued most about being able to run.




But, running has consequences. I found that out the hard way when I got plantars fascias last month. It was my second time getting "injured" from running.

My body has been telling me to take a break for the past two months, but I haven't done a good job of listening. I LOVE being ABLE to run. I love that my body and mind can do it. It's the small victories of conquering more mileage or the huge hills in the distance that continually push the envelope. It's also an exercise I enjoy, a way to give Maizy exercise, catch up with friends, it helps keep me in shape & my heart healthy.
As anyone who has run before knows,"the runners high" is a real thing and it's hard to get out of your system once you've tasted it.




THAT is why it's hard to take a break. It's something I love. I hear my dad talk about how he could never run again because of all of the running he did when he was young, he hurt his body. That story is repeated 100 times over by many people I know, always warning "be careful," "listen to your  body," "take it easy."
Running helped teach me that I could do ANYTHING that I put my mind to. I feel like I'm failing by walking away from it. Like I'm letting go of a long time friend. I realize this sounds dramatic, but when you go through years of your life where your days and weeks are partially planned by when you can run and/or exercise, there is a huge mind shift that has to take place. Also a huge swallowing of pride. Neither is enjoyable.




For me, right now, my body wants a break from the constant pounding. My knees want to recover. Other muscles want to be used and toned. Mentally, I need something new. My hope is that by slowing down now, I'll be able to it enjoy it more later. I know I'm doing the right thing, so although there is a part of me that wants to slap the word failure across my forehead, more of me wants to take care of myself.

Tomorrow I'll talk about the other activities I've been doing to mix up my work outs, and how I'm feeling since I gave running a break, physically and mentally.





I'm here!
Alive & well. I slipped into a chaotic life last week, and I'm proud to report I came out on the other side; despite the nerves and slight stomach aches that my job responsibilities conjured up. I spent Friday evening in PJ's by 7 pm, eating popcorn and watching a movie with some girlfriends. It's exactly what my mind and body needed = rest. To say it was marvelous would be an understatement.
After just one long, crazy week, I must say I have a whole new appreciation for Kyle's work schedule. It's really no wonder he prefers watching television over folding laundry. My sympathy and appreciation levels have rose exponentially for someone who works 80 hour weeks constantly. It's exhausting.

Amidst a busy week, we've been plowing away at the garden and our landscaping. We're on a role!
I got a lesson on how to use the new mower (so.much.fun & I'm not being sarcastic), we cleaned out the last remaining old base boards from the garage and had a picture perfect bonfire, got a reality check on how much stores charge for something as simple as a tomato plant and put a lot of sweat into preparing the garden for crops (much more on our garden progress to come).



All of our grandparents garden. They love it, and we love the conversations with them about it. They give us all of their tried and true advice about everything from spacing plants to tending the soil to what kinds of squash & potatoes will go best. We will both be severly disappointed if our garden doesn't take off like wild fire. I'm expecting massive blackberries here people.


Although our outdoor adventures have kept us at home, we did take a quick road trip down to Indianapolis this weekend to see my sister-in-law graduate from her Master's program. We're so incredibly proud of her, she's certainly found her niche & there is no doubt that the OT profession will continue to grow because of her passion to care for and help others. *she's all grown up = tear*!




Last, but certainly not least: Happy Mother's Day!!

My siblings and I (and even those that aren't biological but consider her a "mom") have really been blessed. My mom was born to be a momma. The way I see her love her grand baby gives me just a glimpse of the way she doted/dotes over her own. Pure love.



I'd also be remiss to not mention my mother-in-law as we celebrate Mother's Day. Both Kyle and I are so grateful for both of these women. They've supported us, encouraged us and challenged us. It sounds like a broken record to always say "I'm so thankful!!," but truly- I am.




I love you both dearly!

Oh, and yes... to all of my 17 friends who are pregnant (and counting), and countless family & friends whose jobs are to change dirty diapers and play with puzzles all day- HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!! I hope you felt loved and appreciated, for your job is invaluable. I admire each of you.








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