Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Color Run St. Pete

Every other year we rotate Thanksgiving & Christmas between our two families. Since we spent Thanksgiving with my family in Tampa, we'd be spending Christmas in Atlanta with Matt's family. So we returned to Tampa to celebrate Abigail's 4th birthday and drop Christmas presents with my family.

As I had been researching different race sites, I discovered The Color Run was to be held the same weekend! Bonus! I quickly emailed my cousins and some friends to see if anyone else would be interested. My cousin Stephen registered and then Christina & her husband, Eric also joined.
Race morning, I pulled up the course map to check out the color stations and realized a lot of this course was similar to The Women's Half Marathon I ran a month before.
I highly underestimated the crowd for The Color Run! I'm not sure if it was because the staging area was at Vinoy Park and the start line was much more narrow in comparison to my previous race or if it was truly because there were many more people running. The start line was a mad house! There was not much organization & lots of "line cutting" so be patient because runners were sent out in waves every 5-10mins so it seemed to take forever for it to be our turn.

Finally we were off! Meanwhile, Matt (the best personal photographer ever!) was waiting for us at the first color station. He ended up wrapping a plastic bag around his camera body to protect it!


The course was very crowded! I still cannot believe we managed to stay together the entire 5K. There were lots of participants walking and others pushing strollers, which we though was crazy (how do you clean the strollers?). 

Matt proceeded on to meet us at the Yellow station. I am really surprised that we weren't more covered in color. As we ran through each station, it was like we were running through a huge cloud of colored dust...with extra burst flying right at you. It's a good thing I had sunglasses to protect my eyes. Chevrolet representatives were passing out handkerchiefs before the race too so you didn't have to breath any of it in.

All participants were given packets of color to save for after you finished running the 5K course. The DJ was gathering the crowd around every 15mins to countdown to throw your color packet into the air. We decided this was why people were walking to their cars completely covered GREY. To get better pictures, we staged our own countdown!

What I did not expect... I did not realize how much I might NEED the sunglasses to protect my eyes running through the color stations. The handkerchiefs were so helpful too! If/When I run this event again, I will make sure to wear old shoes; I did not expect my shoes getting so dirty! A dry towel & huge pack of wipes would come in handy if you do not expect to have an on site restroom (and even if you do, you might want to bring some because our closest restroom ran out of paper towels). Overall, I color came off my skin much easier than I expected!

The was such a Fun "race" even though nothing is chip timed. We finished our run/walk 5K in 46:33 (a FIRST PR for Christina might I add!). I hope I'm able to participate in this event again!

The Color Run will be on April 6th at The Atlanta Motor Speedway...and there's also a fall date set for September 28th! Although the The Atlanta Motor Speedway is actually an hour south of Atlanta, it is actually a GREAT venue for dirty events! I ran The Mud Crusade at this location and there are a ton of restrooms & showers so you do not have to drive home dirty. Bring a change of clothes, a bag for your dirty items & shoes and don't forget a wash cloth, soap, shampoo or'll thank me later. :)

Written: March 21, 2012

-There are more color runs than just The Color Run, have you ever participated in this type of Fun Run?
-What event has been your favorite Fun Run or what Fun Run would you most like to participate?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Day

In order to gain extra insight and encouragement, during my C25K program I started following runners and runDisney fans on Twitter. It is fun to be able to bounce thoughts or questions out into Twitter-World and actually get responses and feedback. (It's also seemed like a better idea, posting to Twitter, than barraging all my Facebook "friends" with my crazy new obsession.) Lots of these new Twitter friends are from Florida, and surprisingly enough there was good few I was following from the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers group, which I found out about later. Through Twitter chat, I decided to join Marcia (@TravelEatRun) & Genna (@RisforRunning) and sign up for the Clearwater Turkey Trot Challenge on Thanksgiving morning.

Genna, myself & Marcia (Thanks Marcia for sharing the photo!)

What I failed to realize until about 12hrs before this race was that "The Challenge" consisted of a 5K, a 1mi AND a 10K. I didn't really think about all of this, I was on a running high...I was officially a half marathoner and I could do anything (HA!). We all managed to find each other before the start of the 5K and it was refreshing to meet some Twitter folks in real life...and have faces (and voices) instead of just words.

The Turkey Trot itself was insane. There were SO many people participating. Then there was no rhyme or reason to how everyone lined up for the race. All participants (fast/slow runners, walkers, stroller pushers, children) were grouped together. The 5K began and we got separated VERY easily in the crazy sea of bodies, trying to weave in and out and around slower participants. Marcia introduced me to Rachel (@RunnersTales), another runDisney fan, and we managed to stick together. Conversation was super easy since we both loved Disney and were training for some of the same races.

With 3.1mi completed, we circled back around for the 1M run. Marcia was gracious and ran a bit slower so I could keep up with her. The road was just as crazy with participants, us weaving in and out and around. We thought it would have been better if the race organizers could have suggested that the slower participants & those pushing strollers or pulling wagons.

After 4.1mi done only the 4th day after 13.1, I realized I had made a mistake in registering for the entire challenge. There was no way I was going to be able to run another 6.2mi. I wished Marcia good luck and headed home. It would have been so great to socialize more with Marcia, we were both training for the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon in January, but it was still early on Thanksgiving morning and a full day was ahead.

My mom's side of the family all gathered for Thanksgiving Dinner. This was the first time since Christmas 2007 where none of us were missing. Since neither my cousin John nor I live in the Tampa Bay Area, it's been difficult for us to coordinate our Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays since Matt & I rotate those holidays between both of our families. Since 2007, my grandmother has been blessed with 4 GREAT-grandchildren!
 November, or Movember as we now call it, is an extra fun month is our house because Matt grows a mustache to help fund-raise for prostate cancer and bring awareness to men's health. Matt formed "Saved by the MO", a team of six, and together they raised $621 throughout the month. With 22 days of mustache growth, it's amusing how you can barely see much growing on three of these four guys below!

Written: March 14, 2013

-Do you participate in Thanksgiving Day events? Do you participate solo or is it a family affair?
-Does your family get together for Thanksgiving? Is it a big affair like my crazy family, do you keep it smaller or does your family do something entirely different?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hi! I'm Jill & I'm a RUNNER!

Back in June I started the Couch to 5K program. I had attempted it before and got too eager, and failed. This time around, I wanted to succeed so I followed the program nice and slowly like it suggests. On a few rest days, I did take a spin class until about halfway into the program where I had to run more. I didn't want to get so sore to where I'd lose momentum. Along the way I signed up for my first 5K, because I knew I'd be more likely to quit if I didn't have something I was working towards.  Around the Week 4 marker, I treated myself to a real pair of running shoes. The Brooks Ghost 4s were a huge improvement from the old, cheap shoes I had AND I was wearing the wrong size! Who knew? At the end of C25K I logged a total of 56 miles and completed my first 5K on August 18th. It was a downhill race, so you're time is actually faster than a normal 5K (accept this one had TWO hills I walked up) but my time was 00:35:41 and a great starting personal record.
Again, knowing races would help me continue running then I registered. I ran The Mud Crusade in September with two mommy friends in Atlanta. It was definitely an experience!! We took this one slow, as Julie was injured, and we had to wait a few minutes at each obstacle. A bunch of husbands and wives are signed up for the Warrior Dash in May 2013 so I'm looking forward to that race!
In the search for Fun Runs, I stumbled upon The Firefly Run to be held in Atlanta in early October. This race has lots of energy, and with it being a night run lots of glow in the dark and flashing lights. There were music stations set-up throughout the race and some runners dressed up in costume which kept my amusement on high alert. I guess I should have started blogging about my journey into running months ago, because now I cannot find my final time for this race.
All this time, I had been dreaming about running Disney. Come on, all the Disney Magic into a race, where do I sign up!?! Well, somewhere along the line, I learned the WDWMarathon was going to be celebrating it's 20th Anniversary. This sounded like the ultimate Fun Run! On Labor Day, I decided on The Princess Half Marathon in February, which is also the 5th Anniversary celebration of this race. By this time I was already following lots of runDisney fans on Twitter and read through lots of race recaps of the Disneyland Half Marathon held Labor Day Wknd. I just couldn't help myself, and as the registration filled up for the WDWMarathon, I got more and more anxious (and impulsive) and jumped right on in!

The excitement of registering for the WDWMarathon set in immediately...slowly the nerves and anxiety started to emerge. What did I get myself into? Would I be prepared? I don't want to be picked up by the sweepers! The more I read through training guides and runner blogs, I decided it might be best to look into a longer (not 5K fun run) to help better prepare myself to runDisney. I found the Lady Speed Stick Women's Half Marathon which coincided with our Thanksgiving travels to Tampa.
I truly felt unprepared going into my first Half Marathon. I knew I could & would finish, but had no idea what to expect from this race. In October I only logged 43.67mi, but according to my training schedule I should have been over 100. I visited an orthopedic after having some weird feelings in both my knees. Luckily it's nothing serious, I was given a few stretches to do daily, a prescription anti-inflammatory and doc recommended trying to ice my knees multiple times a day. I wanted to be sure I wasn't going to injure myself during the race. 

I really enjoyed my first race expo, although it was smaller than I was expecting.  I got to check out a few different brands of race apparel and found myself a cute shirt to commemorate this race. From this point, I put all negative thoughts aside and pushed forward because I was going to finish a half marathon!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My 1st Half Marathon!

My alarm went off way too early, I rolled out of bed eager to get dressed and head from Odessa to St. Petersburg. Matt was a trooper, he decided to escort me to the race. Since this was my first big race, Matt suggested I get a photo in front of the start/finish line.

One of my Alpha Xi Delta sisters from Auburn was also running this race and it was fun to find her before the race. It has been MANY years since we've seen each other but try our best to keep up with each other on Facebook & Twitter. Cindy was also in town for Thanksgiving & ran the 5K with a family member.
I headed to my corral where I stayed near the side so I could wear my jacket until the last possible second. The wind coming off the water was crazy! Since I'm a rookie, I didn't know anything about throwaway clothes or wearing a garbage bag to fend against wind chill. Soon enough, it was time for the race to actually begin so I handed over my jacket and kissed my hubby goodbye (for good luck).

I knew I could run an entire 5K without intervals so I decided I would run straight through for the fist 3.1 because I had read it always takes a couple miles for the crowds to spread out. As all the corrals moved forward at the start I saw a sign that said "Run like there is wine at the finish!". At 7:16am, I was slightly over a mile in and two of the cutest grandmas PASSED ME! I could not believe it. 

Now when you look at my split times, you'll see where this wasn't the best idea. I mostly train on a treadmill, so when I get out on the open road I do not know how to pace myself! I do not average an 10-11 minute mile pace, more towards a 12 (or closer to 13 when running intervals). I obviously was not pacing myself properly!
Miles 4, 5 and 6 were a much better pace for me, at this point in my training. I even found a nice interval pace around some other interval runners. One woman had "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13" on the back of her shirt and I just kept reciting it over and over to myself.
Around Mile 6 I noticed my iPhone battery was in the "red zone". I was using my iPhone to supply tunes, run Nike GPS, tweet mile markers & thoughts and text Matt my whereabouts so I knew when to look out for him. I decided to turn off the music at this point, it was smart but I really missed the distraction.
Mile 7 & 8 were rough, the course took me down the St.Pete Pier, all the way around the building and back up the pier. The wind was CRAZY! I felt like I was running super fast but I was barely moving. It took a lot out of me. I was worn out and I still had to run all the way to Tropicana Field. Somewhere in this stretch I spotted Meghan, she looked great! I was very envious; I had been reading her blog and following her training. This was not her first Half Marathon (she was also training for WDWMarathon) so I reminded myself I only started running 5mo prior and pushed on.

Cindy planned to meet up with me around Mile 10 or 11 and she spotted me after my loop around Mirror Lake, I think I was walking as much as I was running at this point. It was right before Mile 10 when my iPhone completely died. I wasn't prepared for this, at all. Cindy & I walked a bit together, it was a nice break & she had some wonderful encouragement to share with me. We parted ways and I proceeded on towards Tropicana Field.

I finally made it to Tropicana Field and while it was cool to be running ON the field, the air in the building was stagnant. I couldn't breathe and decided to soak it in and walk it. Between 1st and 2nd base, the Sweaty Band crew started to pass me (they were running intervals too) so I decided I should try to use their timing since I had no way to pace myself. We eventually parted, I was exhausted and there were fewer racers on the course, though I could see I was still ahead of plenty of them (which made me happy that I wouldn't be finishing last).

It took all that I had to run the last half mile straight. As I got closer to the turn from 1st Avenue to Bayshore Drive, I could make out a recognizable voice. This voice was my mother, she was screaming at me...I ran faster to get away from her. I could see the finish line, then I spotted my dad, Matt, Abigail & my nephew Will, so I waved and sprinted to the finish. That's me in the teal shirt, saturated with back sweat. Gross.
My split times were a lot different than what the Nike GPS App on my phone had me at. Overall, I was proud of my average pace, it was what I was hoping to achieve but really had no idea after those last miserable three miles.
I am so glad I ran this race. This Half Marathon was intended to be a learning experience for me and it truly was! I was under trained for this race and I know I can do better, but I finished. In my book, finishing IS winning!
Written: March 12, 2013

-Have you ever raced purely for it to be a learning experience? If so, what did you learn?
-If you are not a runner, have you done something to help you learn and grow so you can plan how to move forward?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Planning & FPU

Last week I tried menu planning for the week. A friend actually has an entire blog for her menu planning, and she always has the best meals planned for her family. I've pondered: I'm I just too picky, I'm I not that great a cook, might good meals bust our budget? I've decided to work backwards from a budget.

Rewind. Five years ago Matt and I attended Financial Peace University, the Dave Ramsey class. We were still newly weds with two incomes, trying to figure out how to have one joint account and live within our means. The class was great, it has some very useful information for everyone regardless of your specific financial situation. In some areas we were very stubborn but we were successful. Then in a blink of an eye, Matt was handed his pink slip from the company he was working for in Birmingham. We got wrapped up in all aspects of life and stopped using our FPU tools. And before we revisited anything FPU related while living in Nashville we up and moved to Marietta. Moving is not cheap - and selling two houses in a crappy housing market is not recommended! It's been over 3yrs we've been living off one income, but still never revisited.

In January our church started teaching the FPU curriculum and Matt thought we should jump back in. I was reluctant (kinda still am) but am going to the weekly classes...because Matt's "too busy" to attend once every other week (we planned on switching out since there's no childcare).

I painstakingly reviewed our December & January expenses to best plan a budget for February (this was FPU homework from 2wks ago). We only use our Debit Cards for purchases, and with Christmas and traveling there was A LOT of expenses to review! I decided I was going to devise TWO budgets each month since Matt gets paid twice a month and the bills to be paid per paycheck aren't consistent. I think this will also allow me to re-examine and tweak as I'm figuring out everything.

In order to be more accurate with a grocery budget, I thought it'd be smart to plan our weekly menus. There are a lot of positives for menu planning. 1. Ingredients can be checked for all recipes and then I only make ONE Publix trip a week. 2. If I plan ahead, I can prep ahead. I hate doing lots of dishes nightly so if I'm able to use/re-use cutting boards and pans, etc all in one night then there's less clean up later. The downside is I'm not always sure of our weekly plans. What if a meal allows for more leftovers or we decide to eat out last minute instead? It'll be a work in progress, so I'm allowing wiggle room. I've also wrote in plenty of lunch ideas for Matt since he works from home.

Here's our dinner menu for this week...
  • Sunday - Interstate Meal (Fazoli's)
  • Monday - Aussie Chicken with Baked Potato
  • Tuesday - St. Angelo's Pizza (dinner with Matt's parents)
  • Wednesday - Carrabba's Spiced Chicken served with Pasta
  • Thursday - Left-Over Aussie Chicken
  • Friday - Tacos/Fajita's
  • Saturday - OPEN

I went to Publix yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find chicken breasts on sale for $2.99/lb. I fileted four breasts for the Aussie Chicken - two for Monday and two for Thursday. Two breasts went into the chicken noodle soup I took to a sick friend. Another two were diced and marinated for the Carrabba's Spiced Chicken for Wednesday. Then the last two were prepped for Fajita Friday. I also found ground beef on sale so I browned the mean and pre-seasoned it for Matt's Friday tacos.

Hotdogs were also on sale so Matt has an extra lunch option. I even cooked an entire package of bacon yesterday: most for the Aussie Chicken and then Matt can put slices on turkey sandwiches (since turkey was also on sale!). The hotdog and turkey sandwich options will sure to be on next week's menu too since there's no way he'll go through 10 dogs and a pound of turkey in a week.

As I also mentioned in a January post, I'm loving Pinterest for new ideas and recipes. The Aussie Chicken turned out very tasty, a good second place substitute. I am addicted to the Carrabba's Bread Dipping Spices and tested them out last week on chicken and it was so good! I made the recipe x3 yesterday, threw it all in my food processor and it made about 1/2c. If I make it in bulk then I only have to clean the food processor once.

Maybe the menu planning and budget will work hand in hand to make me more efficient...time will tell!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Abigail's New Room (Pt 1)

On January 10th Abigail's new bedroom furniture was delivered. We picked it out before Christmas but it couldn't be delivered until then. Abigail was very excited about her new bed. Well, she should be since she had been sleeping on an air mattress for almost a year!
We decided on bunk beds to best utilize the space of her room and chose the trundle drawer which be used when Abigail starts wanting sleepovers. Matt and I are so happy with this furniture from Rooms to Go Kids. Abigail has been sleeping GREAT on her new bed too. She usually takes naps on the top bunk while the bottom is for night time. As you can see there's plenty of room for Toby AND all of her little 'friends'.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

If you Give a Mouse a Cookie

Another mom posted this to our MOPS Facebook page a week or so ago. After we got home from our community group tonight and I started a couple tasks it came to mind...
"If you give a mom a muffin, she'll want a cup of coffee to go with it. She'll pour herself some. Her three-year-old will spill the coffee. She'll wipe it up. Wiping the floor, she will find dirty socks. She'll remember she has to do laundry. When she puts the laundry in the washer, she'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer. Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper. She will get out a pound of hamburger. She'll look for her cookbook. (101 Things To Make With A Pound Of Hamburger.) The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail. She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow. She will look for her checkbook. The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old. She'll smell something funny. She'll change the two-year-old. While she is changing the two-year-old the phone will ring. Her five-year-old will answer and hang up. She'll remember that she wants to phone a friend to come for coffee. Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup. She will pour herself some. And chances are, if she has a cup of coffee, her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it."
I started warming up Abigail's mac-n-cheese leftovers, she wanted to help. She brought the stepstool into he kitchen from the bathroom. I remind Abigail the stove is hot and she should not touch it. I reheated leftovers for myself. Since I was already cooking, I decided to prep our dinner for tomorrow night. A pot goes on the stove for boiling water. As I reach for Abigail's fork I remember the dishwasher is clean. Abigail's dinner is served. While the penne is cooking, I toss the other ingredients into a large bowl. I stir the ingredients and splash it all over the sleeve of my Auburn hoodie. I take off the hoodie and toss it by the washing machine. Standing next to the washer I notice Abigail playing instead of eating and I ask her to sit still while she eats. I see the dryer has finished and take the clean towels upstairs. While I'm upstairs, I grab the dirty whites to wash with the hoodie. I get the chicken to bake it for tomorrow's meal and see I forgot to put some cold items into the refrigerator. The chicken goes into the oven and the groceries into the fridge. I wash out the plastic containers and take them out to the recycling bin. This reminds me that if I finish the last glass of wine remaining in the refrigerator then that bottle can go out this week too. I pour myself the last glass. While sipping I see Abagail is again playing and not eating. I announce she does not get a special treat after dinner and will be going straight to bed. I mix the al dente noodles into the bowl and wait for the chicken. I start to wash dishes and remember the dishwasher needs to be unloaded. Some items are still wet, and the mat to let them dry has the coffee maker pieces. I put the coffee maker back together and set it for tomorrow morning. I resume unloading the dishwasher so I can proceed to load tonight's dishes in. Abigail announces she is finished, I hear a plate drop to the floor and Toby scurry over. I place her plate into the sink before moving it to the dishwasher. Realizing how much I multitask reminds me of the post from above and I decide I should blog about it.
Just typing it all out makes me exhausted. Of course I'm always wonder my days always seem like 18hr days instead of 24.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

All I Wanted Was Clean Carpets (Pt1)

Last Wednesday I worked through Abigail's nap to clear all the furniture out so we could steam clean the carpets. We decided to purchase a steam cleaner instead of renting or hiring since it was about the same cost to own as it was for a one time hire. Abigail's room was able to get steam cleaned before her furniture was delivered a couple weeks ago.

Neither Matt nor I like the carpet in the Sunroom, but it's a necessary evil for now. It's still fine carpet and it's not near the top of the priority list to get it changed out. Instead, a good cleaning might help. I moved Abigail's easel and little table into what's become her room (the woodsy room), and the recliner too. The sofa fit perfectly under the kitchen island overhang and the breakfast table ON top the island (yes, Matt helped me flip the table). Here's the mess Abigail DID NOT make in her play room.
I was so pleased when Matt steam cleaned the carpets after Abigail went to bed. I love short time frame projects! Well, someone had to go and suggest painting. We sorta had a free Saturday ahead of us and after all our Birmingham house remodeling, we had all the tools. From Glidden's free quart event (Summer 2009) I racked up 6 FREE quarts of paint too. (PS: Thanks again to those of you to whom I shipped my free paint!)
Friday was spent taking down blinds, removing utility plates, starting to tape off the room and bringing in paint rollers, brushes and floor protectors. Matt finished sanding down a few patch spots in the walls and we were ready to go. His parents even drove up to help distract, I mean spend time with Abigail and give us a few extra hands.
You can barely tell by the photo, but if you're able to enlarge or squint your eyes really tight, you'll be able to see the crazy orange crayon colored all over the wall. Abigail's easel normally is to the right of this wall art - during a playdate, an unknown artist doodled this masterpiece. We're certain it wasn't Abigail but never figured who to "compliment" for this work of art. Needless to say, Matt and I were VERY happy to see it go. Abigail assisted in the first few strokes to hide the crayola.
Abigail must have thought painting the sunroom would have been as fun as painting at Imagine It!, the Atlanta Children's Museum. She really enjoyed painting but I think painting is a bit too messy for an indoor activity.
While I am not a fan of all the prep, clean up or trim (I couldn't do straight trim if my life depended on it), I am able to quickly roll a room. I guess it's from all the many walls of practice from our Pelham home. The picture doesn't do the color justice, it's name is 'Soothing Green Tea'. In this picture the color looks like puke or something nasty from baby's diaper. It's actually a muted lime green shade and it really brightens up the room.

We're now on Day 6 of this 'little project', when all I wanted was clean carpets. I hope the blinds will go back up today, Matt screwed the mounting brackets last night. One of us needs to make a trip to Home Depot to exchange some normal size electric face plate covers for an extra large size. (And the previous home owners and their crappy contractors score another point.) Maybe the room can get put back together tonight...until it does, I will continue to have a sofa in my kitchen.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Baking Closet Remodel

There are many places in my house that I feel could be organized much better. Spaces are not being used in the Rmost efficient ways AND because of the disorganization it's costing us money, especially in the baking cabinet. It's costing us money because it's difficult to see items and I forget what I have. Usually I'll end up with duplicate items because I cannot find what I need when I'm searching for it. This is the before picture.Through the fabulous inspiration that is to me, I decided to make this would be a good easy task to accomplish easily. I purchased a little three tier staircase looking piece from Bed, Bath & Beyond for the bottom section. Now all the spices and seasonings can be viewed easily (and without an avalanche effect when searching).
The top section was going to be more of a challenge. There are taller bottles and lots of little sprinkle bottles all together. On the right side I went with a dual lazy susan piece with one riser in the back from Target.
This little re-organization cost about $40. That seems steep reflecting on it BUT I found two extra containers of black pepper and two extra bottles of vanilla that I didn't not know (remember) ever putting in there! I probably will have no need to buy sprinkles and/or cupcake liners for a couple years and now I can actually SEE what I have. I love it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Old Man

Toby will be 11 this spring. I still clearly remember adopting him from that vet's office on College Street with Sarah Rawls (now Talley) and how he got car sick on the short drive home. I took him up to meet Matt at the Hotel & Conference center where Matt suggested calling him Toby and it stuck. Toby has lived with us in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, with a good few stays at Camp Nina & Woof in Florida.

After we moved to Marietta, but before Abigail was born, Toby was officially diagnosed with Pituitary Dependent Cushings Disease. That's a fancy way of saying there's a tumor near his pituitary gland and when the tumor is too big it shuts off the signals saying 'you are not hungry' and 'you are not thirsty', and with that came lots of tummy infections from all the non-food items he ate. (It reminded me a it of my Abuelo eating potpourri thinking it was potato chips but with all his health issues he couldn't actually taste any of it.) Toby's been on 3yrs worth of meds which will be a constant for the rest of his life in order to keep the tumor from regrowing.

Sometime late summer Toby started with these ridiculous bloodshot eyes and produced nasty eye boogies. He seemed fine otherwise and our vet said maybe he was getting some allergies in his old age. Right before we were about to leave for Tampa before Abigail's birthday Toby gets diagnosed with a severe bladder infection (with possible stones). We headed south with his new script in hand - and fingers crossed that it wasn't stones because removal required surgery.

Fast forward through Christmas to last Monday. A couple symptoms came back and we went back to the vet. Urine results showed different results and she requested another test. Vet also gave Toby some eye drops that have been helping the redness and minimizing the boogies. Test results came back yesterday. Toby has a severe staph infection and will be on antibiotics for the next 2mo. On the positive side, these antibiotics are free at Publix. Vet also found small crystals in his bladder but those can be treated with a special food.

Toby started his new round of antibiotics yesterday and we picked up the food today. Abigail insisted on putting the food in his bowl, as she does most days. This food must be amazing because he started following her to get it and she gave in. He devoured the entire bowl while she held it and she was quite proud of herself.

Now as I type, a few hours after the photo was taken I'm listening for Toby's 'rescue me' bark. Abigail now insists on Toby sleeping with her in her big girl bed at night. He really is so sweet and patient with her. <3

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Missing Polish

Yesterday afternoon Abigail climbed into the chair yesterday saying something I couldn't really put together. When I looked at her she was showing me her nail polish was missing!
I about fell off my chair! Trying to remember if all 10 freshly polished nails were accounted for during baking and decorating I realized Matt was coming. I told Abigail to show Daddy the missing polish. We both decided, as to show we are excellent and mature parents, we would have her pose for pictures.

I hope you enjoy a laugh from this as much as we did (and still do).

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Mommy

Earlier this week I went grocery shopping with Mommy. In the cake aisle I decided Mommy wanted a pink cake with pink icing. I really wanted to pick out sprinkles but Mommy said we had plenty at home. Sprinkles are my favorite.

Today is her birthday and I cannot wait to make her cake. I brought my tall step stool into the kitchen (it's the one I use to wash my hands in the bathroom). The cake mix was on the counter and I was ready. I found my apron and Mommy helped me put it on, and I gave her apron to her (it's pretty, she got it yesterday in a big package from my Great-Aunt Sharon & Great-Uncle Ken). Mommy read me what I would need to make her cake and she got out a bowl, eggs, sprinkles, measuring cup and a bouncy thing that was really fun to pretend stir. I was ready!
Mommy helped me by starting with the eggs. I was careful to using the bouncy thing to stir the eggs. By the third egg, mommy help me do it myself.
When the eggs were all mixed it was time for the water and oil. I was very careful and poured it in all by myself. I stirred it some more then it was ready for the cake mix. I poured a little in and stirred, then poured a little in and stirred.
I really like stirring Mommy's cake. Mommy said it was ready to be baked but I said it needed sprinkles. It needed purple and pink sprinkles.
I watched as Mommy poured all the cake batter into a big pan. Then it needed more sprinkles.
I tried to pick up the big pan but it was too heavy so Mommy put it in the oven for me.
Mommy closed the oven door and set the timer. I was very excited. Every couple minutes I told Mommy the cake was done but she said no. She moved the step stool in front of the oven and showed me the timer and read the numbers to me. It still wasn't ready.
I was so excited when the oven beeped. Mommy opened the oven door and pulled out the rack so we could look at it. I was ready for more sprinkles. I got sad because Mommy explained the cake was too hot for sprinkles. I watched TinkerBelle movie to help pass the time. Then it time to decorate the cake!
The pink icing wasn't easy and I kept moving the spoon up and down into the cake, instead of side to side like Mommy showed me. I let Mommy help so I could get to the sprinkles faster.
I had lots of fun decorating Mommy's cake with the pink sprinkles, purple sprinkles and tiny heart sprinkles. When I didn't think Mommy was looking I would sample them! I was all done with each sprinkle shaker was empty!
Now the cake was ready for candles, fire and Happy Birthday.
I was very careful placing each candle one at a time. When I was finished I decided the candles might look better another way, so I rearranged them. It was almost time to sing Happy Birthday! I helped Mommy retrieve the fire from the kitchen drawer (I'm very observant!).
Daddy and I sang Happy Birthday to Mommy. She was sneaky and blew out all the candles so fast that I was only able to help her blow out one. I really wanted to blow the candles out for her.
Mommy's cake is super tasty! I think I did an excellent job on my very first cake. :)