Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 in review

Wow. Check out my stats. 166 posts, 635 pics and readers in 64 countries!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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new goal for the new year

Last night we had a late holiday dinner date night with the McGurk family. Liz and I used to run together 2-3 times a week before my ankle injury circa 2011. Rahul and Jamie bonded over their love of all things music, and their youngest daughter has been friends with Aidan and Samantha for years….win/win/win!

Even though I switched to more strength training, Liz and I kept running once a week until she returned to the working world full time last year. Then life just got too busy for us to hang out once a week, but we still managed to text/email and have the occasional date night thanks to her oldest daughter as our sitter. Well, last night was one of those nights!

We talked non stop on the way to dinner, and before we even entered the restaurant I was on board with her goal to run the JDRF half marathon in March! Liz’s oldest daughter has Type 1 diabetes, and I have learned so much from her over the years…the good, the bad, the ugly. It is a bad disease that can drain a family budget.


I am already cross training 3 times a week, so I just need to add in a short run and a long run each week until March. So doable! And, an excuse to run a short run once a week with Samantha (something we used to do) and a long run with Liz (something that we needed JDRF to help us get back to).

Happy 2015 a little early!


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Christmas camping trip!

We had been watching the weather for the weekend to see if a Christmas camping trip was in the cards for a while. The forecast for Friday and Sat was low 40s and upper 60s. Score! We packed up and headed out with our friends the Brothers yesterday for a quick getaway at Kerr Lake (rain coming back to the area Sunday, so only one night). Rahul made an amazing chili verde with pork. I was shocked when I looked with my headlamp at what was left after we all had dinner. The kids, as usual, had a ton of fun hanging out. As did the parents 🙂

Check out our view yesterday as we set up the camper.


And the silly kiddos….


The low 40s was a bit of a stretch….. I do not think it got above the low 30s, but we all layered up (Smooch with her fancy new fleece coat and blanket) and we were all cozy. The night was not completely uneventful, though. Light sleeper Samantha woke up her sleeping buddy (her father) TWICE with a punch in the arm asking who he was….sigh. Smooch ended up under my sleeping bag (head and all) and snored in delight at her sleeping arrangement.

I made a fire first thing after waking up…even before coffee (gasp!) and by 10am we were all happily fed and warm from the sun.

We learn new things every time we camp, and always have fun with the Brothers. So, good times before the rain returns!

Note: Rahul realized after we got home that we had pig in 4 different ways in just one 24 hr period: pork loin chili, sausage at breakfast, then a ham and bacon combo sandwiches for lunch. Seems appropriate since Samantha gave up being a vegetarian after one whole year without meat for bacon. Oh, and when she slept in the Brothers’ camper when Aidan had the camping GI bug at Carolina Beach apparently she was talking in her sleep…guess what she said? “I need more bacon.” I guess we should be happy she did not punch Mark or Cindy asking who they were….sigh.


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mom’s Christmas gift

After lunch and a fat nap, Rahul asked why I did not get all my gifts that Santa left last night…..hmmm. I am guessing this gift appeared under the tree during nap time 😉

I think I squealed like Aidan did when he got his Battleship Yamato when I found this under the tree. A Garden Weasel weed remover!!!!!!!!!!!!


Now everyone knows that I like working in my gardens more than just about anything, but there is actually more to the history behind this gift.

Rahul made the ultimate mistake early on in our dating history one Valentine’s Day. He rushed to the grocery the day off, bought half wilting roses and one of those funny cards about loving me even though I steal the sheets, not able to cook, etc. OMG. Roses and funny cards are the most thoughtless gifts you could give anyone. Imagine his confusion when I was not happy with these gifts. Poor dude. But it is the kind of gift my dad gave my mom when I was a kid (that is if he even went shopping for her). Once I was old enough to handle cash or a credit card he would begrudging drive me to the mall and give me money for me to buy something as HIS gift to her. Because of this history, for me gifts need to be meaningful. Not ever worth a lot of money, but I need to know that you have put some thought in the gift, and know me and what I like.

Fast forward to that next Valentine’s Day. I got the BEST gift I have ever gotten. A bright red garden weasel. This thing would till up your garden in seconds (and still does all these years later). Something you could never do with a hoe. I almost attacked him knocking him down with kisses. Why?  A thoughtful gift that showed he knew me and my interests!

There have been other gifts over the years, but nothing as meaningful as that garden weasel. Well, until today. Why you might ask? Our big oaks dropped a ton of acorns this fall, which means there will be little oaks sprouting everywhere this spring. This handy tool will save my back and help me delight in the joy of digging out all those little trees!

My kids have been grossed out all holiday season by our affection towards one another, but we are modeling for them how to care and respect for each other, and most of all, truly like being around each other. I am one lucky girl to have found this wonderful man. I have said it before, and I will say it again….he is a keeper 😉



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Merry Christmas!

I have so much to write about it…where to begin?

We told the kids to please try and sleep in until 7am. I knew this would not be a problem for Aidan, but early bird Samantha….she is another story. Both kids got one gift from us last night, and I was strategic in what they received. Aidan: A blueprint book of the Japanese WWII Battleship Yamato. The kid has read so many kindle books about this Battleship, it is a little scary. My future engineer squealed with delight at opening this gift and ran upstairs. We did not see him again for the rest of the night. Samantha: an everything you need to know about Dr Who. She is in love with the 10th doctor, so my hope was that this would broaden her knowledge of the show. Apparently that was a good choice for her as well since she woke up at 4am and stayed in her room reading her book until 6:45 am 🙂

Santa’s gifts were a HUGE hit this year. And, yes Samantha is crying tears of joy after opening her Uggs.




Aidan’s big ol excited face was for his Yamato Battleship Model. For ages 15 and up, instructions only in Japanese. He had that thing completely assembled after lunch.

Our holiday dinner was also a hit. Ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, spinach salad and rolls.

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Rahul got a signed photo from the movie Spies Like Us (Chevy Chase!) and his new snazzy chair will be here next month.


More about my gift from Santa in my next post. There is some history behind it 😉

Super grateful for my little family today.



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Holiday fun

We have a holiday movie collection. The order that we watch them varies, but tonight’s feature has always been my favorite… Love Actually.


Rahul took the kids to see some Christmas lights while I finished up cooking dinner and got everything ready for the Big Guy’s arrival. We are set!


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The Christmas miracle!

So the chickens stopped laying eggs even before daylight savings time. My first strategy was to put a heat lamp set to a timer in the bottom roosting area (where the chickens used to roost and sleep). No go. Why? They have moved up to the nesting box to sleep this winter for some reason. I did not want to put the heat lamp in the nesting box for fear it would catch the hay on fire if the chickens knocked it off the hook.

I looked for a solar light but had a hard time finding one that had a detached solar panel so the lamp could be in the nesting box and the panel attached to the outside of the box. I finally found one at Lowes, and without much hope installed it.

Imagine my surprise this morning when I opened the nesting box to this Christmas miracle….


Merry Christmas to me 😉



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