Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ward Hooper Art

Ward Hooper Art, Ward Hooper Boise Idaho

My favorite artist in Boise—without a doubt—is Ward Hooper. Daniel & I own several of his Boise State prints, and for Christmas, my mom worked with Ward to design the beautiful custom print above—inspired by a photo from our wedding day. This new piece hangs right in our front hallway and is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. It's a print that we'll treasure forever and is truly so special to us.

Check it out—below is the original photo and the print commissioned from it.

Ward Hooper Custom Print Art, Ward Hooper Boise Idaho

Isn't Ward amazing? My mom worked very closely with him to get the colors and little details right. Ward can turn any photo into a custom print. Look at this one that he did of my brother Stew and his Quidditch photo!

Ward Hooper Custom Print Art, Ward Hooper Boise Idaho
Ward Hooper Custom Print Art, Ward Hooper Boise Idaho

My sister received a commissioned print from their wedding, too, but hers has such a different feel than ours... it's so romantic & vintage!

Ward Hooper Custom Print Art, Ward Hooper Boise Idaho

Needless to say, my mom totally surprised us all with some neat, neat art.

If you're local to Boise, be sure to stop in Ward's shop in downtown Boise. You can visit his website here and connect with him on Facebook & Twitter, and here's his gallery information:

Ward Hooper Gallery of Art
745 West Idaho Street
Boise, Idaho

And that is why Ward Hooper is my favorite artist. Boise is lucky to have such a talented man!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread Houses

Saturday evening, we got together with my family for our annual gingerbread house decorating contest. If you've been reading for a while, you know that we like contests... we are just so competitive (we went all-out with our pumpkin carving this year!). After the hours of decorating, houses falling over, projects failing, some pretty neat design ideas, and making our houses out of every edible thing we could find, we published the results on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and asked for you to vote. The clear stand-out from the bunch this year was the house on the top left, with its intricate details and stained glass windows. Second place was awarded to the church on the bottom left, third place went to the candy-coated house on the top right, and fourth place went to the classic cottage on the bottom right.

Want to know who did each one? Stephen, mom's boyfriend, had the top left intricate house, Mom had the top right candy-coated house, I had the bottom left church, and Daniel had the bottom right classic Christmas cottage. You can see a little more of the detail of each house below.

Gingerbread House, Gingerbread House with Stained Glass Windows

Stephen's house, the intricate cottage, had so much attention to detail. From the pinto beans lining the walkway and arches, to the stained glass windows made of Fruit Roll-Ups. His house was very cute and looked like a little North End (if you're from Boise) home.

Gingerbread House, Gingerbread House Christmas Tree and Firepit

Mom's candy-coated house had so much detail! She began with the licorice and candy cane balcony, and added the fun ice cream cone Christmas tree. Do you see her neat fire pit? It was made from melted Jolly Ranchers!

Gingerbread Train

This gingerbread train was the creation of Stephen's sister and her son. They opted not to do a house but instead put this adorable choo-choo train together, complete with a marshmallow conductor and all!

Gingerbread House, Classic Gingerbread House

Daniel's classic Christmas cottage was my favorite of the bunch. It was simple and I loved the snow-lined roof. His wreath over the front door was adorable, and I love the front entryway. It's simple and he did a great job with it.

Gingerbread House, Gingerbread Church House

My "house" this year ended up being a church (of sorts) instead. I just knew I wanted a steeple and icicles. Next time, I'm borrowing Stephen's Fruit Roll-Up stained glass idea. That would have been the perfect touch!

And in case you're curious, here's a photos of the house I did two years ago...

Gingerbread House, Classic Gingerbread House with Santa and Reindeer, Gumdrop Tree

I think I hit my creative peak that year with the Charleston Chew reindeer and gumdrop tree. Needless to say, you can imagine who won the contest that year!

Thanks again to everyone who voted for our houses. We always have the most fun sitting around the kitchen table for hours—literally, hours—creating these little cookie and candy masterpieces. While we were decorating, I made the mistake of mentioning that I "didn't enjoy this contest," and simply I think I said it because it takes so much time, but in reality, it is so fun to get together and watch each other's minds work. It's still one of my favorite holiday traditions, and Mom—yes, Mom!—I do hope we do it again next year. Thanks for all your hard work in getting everything together for this!

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Joined the Air National Guard!

Idaho Air National Guard

On Wednesday, November 27, 2013, while surrounded by my family and with my hand raised in front of the American flag, I enlisted in the Idaho Air National Guard. This decision has been a long time in the making, and officially--I did it.

This begins a whole new & HUGE chapter in our lives. Daniel, who is coming up on 11 years in the ANG, has been one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to join. The Guard has done wonderful things in his life (it brought him to Idaho!), and I'm ready to go with him hand-in-hand on this new venture.

Of course this means some big changes for me. I am going in as a traditional (weekend drills only), so I get to keep my full-time job at the hospital, which is just wonderful--it's like the best of both worlds! But, as you can assume, since I've joined the military, I will have to go away for some training. I don't know dates at this time, but I do know that the training involves spending 8 weeks at Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT) in Texas, followed by another 6 weeks of tech school in Mississippi.

We are so excited for this, because we know it is the right thing for us and our future. For me, it's a whole new career set that I'll develop and that I couldn't get anywhere else. It's a wonderful addition to add to my resume, and I know it will help build me as a person. For Daniel and I, it is a step to help set up our future together. And, last but not least, I get to serve our country! This is such an amazing opportunity for us, and we are running fast after it with so much excitement. This is it! 

Idaho Air National Guard
Idaho Air National Guard
Idaho Air National Guard
Idaho Air National Guard
Idaho Air National Guard

We have been talking about this for such a long time, and I'm so excited that I finally did it. And it wasn't easy! The test to get in, the ASVAB, was a pickle (though I did end up scoring well, thank goodness). The 4-hour physical was another trial. Wading through the paperwork and the forms and the questions and the unknowns... it's all been a lot... but finally, I enlisted and this begins a whole new chapter. I'll be learning everything as I go--it's all new to me--taking in each moment, and loving this new opportunity that is going to bring great things. I'm just so excited.

If you have questions about the Guard, which I'm sure you will, please don't hesitate to ask them below. I hope you'll join us in our celebration of this new step & journey in our lives.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quidditch and a Not-So-Humble-Brag on my Brother

Muggle Quidditch, Boise State University Quidditch

I think the only thing cooler than being an über-proud parent is being an über-proud sibling. And when you have a brother who is changing the campus dynamics of your local university, that's a pretty good reason to be extremely, extremely proud.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember my post in March about my brother, Stewart, & his Boise State University Muggle Quidditch team, the Abraxans. Just a few months ago, his team was simply a new club at BSU and he was just having a ball getting something new rolling over on campus. Fast forward a few months, and let me tell you—my brother and his team are rocking it. They are now an official university club, and boast a team of over 23 members. Stew has even been given a budget for the team, and they just had their first official jerseys made. They've played in tournaments in several different states including Utah and Nevada, and Stew has even traveled to California and Washington to play the Snitch for other tournaments. He was recently certified a gold rank Snitch, which is no easy task.

Yes, they play on brooms and act out the real-life version of the Harry Potter Quidditch... but it's cool. Really cool. It's a full combat sport and Stew has seen no shortage of injuries, including a broken tooth, torn ACL, sprained ankles, and he himself has seen the inside of the ER after a rough game where he suffered a break to his maxillary sinus.

The Abraxans, once an unknown team running around the intramural field on campus, is now a team that is known throughout the students and professors at BSU. Stew's photo is on a rotating slideshow on the main Boise State website. Kids on campus know my brother, not because he's super tall or ruggedly handsome (you're welcome, Stew), but for how he's changing student life and pursuing his dreams. Oh, and did I mention he's a History Secondary Education major with a focus on Chinese? He wants to teach in China, people. My brother is a real-life rockstar to me.

Muggle Quidditch, Boise State University Quidditch
Muggle Quidditch, Boise State University Quidditch
Photos source.

Stew-man, we're so proud of you and your go get 'em attitude. You and your team rock. Thanks for making me a proud big-sis, bro. Love you!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You, Veterans

Idaho Air National Guard

Today is the official day to celebrate and remember our veterans, though I am thankful for them every single day. They protect us and our country with honor, perseverance, strength, and hearts to serve others. Each service member sacrifices so much to carry this honor for our country, and I'm so thankful for each and every one of you.

Much of my family is in the military. Daniel is a Tech Sergeant and recruiter for the Idaho Air National Guard and will hit his 11-year mark in January. His brother Adam is also in the Guard, his brother Ian used to be in the Guard, and their Uncle Lenny is a retired Air Force Master Sergeant who used to work on nuclear missiles. Updated to add, thanks to Aunt Linda: Daniel also has three other uncles who are in the military as well. His Uncle Bob, who just recently passed away, was a Marine, his Uncle Bill served in the Army, and his Uncle Mike was a Marine in Vietnam and was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor by the president. He single-handedly took out a cave full of snipers in Vietnam to save his men. He is still active in Veteran Honor Guard and other activities.

On my side of the family, I have several relatives who are in the Army. My uncle is a retired Colonel who was the Commandant at both West Point and the Citadel. He also worked at the Pentagon for sometime. He commanded troops in Desert Storm, Iraq, Germany, Bosnia, and Korea. He is so amazing. I also have five cousins (one is retired) and two cousins' husbands in the Army. I am so thankful for each one of them and the service they provide to our country.

If you're a veteran—thank you. Thank you for giving up so much for us & our country. Today, I salute you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

It's a Small World: A Running Story

Zeitgeist Half Marathon, matching running outfits

The sweet gal between my mom and me in the photo above is named Christie. Today I have a "small world" running story about Christie and her husband Wayne.

Three weeks ago, we were sweating away and coming up on mile 16 in the City of Trees Marathon when we saw this adorable woman bouncing around near Camel's Back Park wearing all black and a bright green tutu. She was cheering like crazy for us, telling us how fun our matching outfits were and sending out words of encouragement. My mom—as she always does—yelled back, "We're mom & daughter! This is our first marathon together!" The woman replied as she jogged next to us for a moment, "Oh my gosh! So cool! My husband is running the marathon with my son, who is 12, and it's his first one, too! You guys are SO AWESOME!" We thanked her, adorable and energetic as ever in her little green tutu, and carried on with our run. Sidenote: we always talk for the duration of our runs—even marathons—and especially with other people on the course, so this wasn't out of the ordinary for us.

Fast forward to last Saturday when my mom and I were standing in line at the port-a-potties before the Zeitgeist Half Marathon. This little fireball of a woman was standing in front of us, being as cute as ever, and one lady commented on how cool her shoes were—if you notice in the photo above, they're the same ones I have (and I also trained in the pink ones for the last several months)—so I couldn't help but butt in and say how much I loved them, too. The woman took one look at my mom and I—dressed in our head-to-toe matching gear and City of Trees fleece sweatshirts—and said, "Oh my gosh! Aren't you two the cutest!" My mom—once again—said, "Mom & daughter!" and the lady immediately said, "Oh my gosh! I was the lady in the green tutu at the City of Trees... you guys were the cute matching ladies! I know you!" And right then and there we found our new running buddy. We ran into her after the race and had to snap a photo... it's such a small world!

Her name is Christie, and she introduced us to her husband Wayne who was there supporting her this time. Christie is a huge runner, and just qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:40 (she's a rockstar!). And get this, she and her husband own a running company called Final Kick Events. They put on several races around the Treasure Valley including Struttin' for Stuffin' coming up on Thanksgiving and the Hot Chocolate Run on December 28—which I think I just might run! Were they a great couple to run into or what?

Honestly, sometimes this world is just so small... and I'm so thankful for that. This one woman's small gesture of encouragement made such an impact on us, and look where it's going to take us. I see a running partnership in our future! I can't wait to run many of Final Kick's races... and this is coming from the girl who just this past Monday said she was "done" running. It's funny how life works sometimes.

If you're local to the Treasure Valley, make sure to check out Final Kick Events' Facebook page for all the details of their upcoming races. Consider joining me for the Hot Chocolate Run on December 28, won't you?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Zeitgeist Half Marathon

Zeitgeist Half Marathon

We did it. We did it. We did it. We did it. WE DID IT!

I'm so relieved to say that my official training for races in 2013 is finished. Thank goodness. This weekend we ran our fourth race of the year, the Zeitgeist Half Marathon (we also ran the Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon in May, the Sawtooth Relay in June, and the City of Trees Marathon three weeks ago in October), and I'm just so relieved that it's all finished. I will still run now and then... but only if I want to, not because I have to.

To be honest, with all the training for the full marathon we just did, I thought we were going to kill this race. Seriously, I thought, "Oh, it's only half of what we just did... this will be a breeze!" Boy, was I dead wrong. Let me tell you what—there's a BIG difference between running a marathon on an almost entirely flat course and then trying to run a half marathon that is uphill for the first 8.5 miles. BIG DIFFERENCE. It was rough!

Mom and I started the race together, but instead of staying together the entire time, I ran ahead just after the two-mile mark because I was feeling really good. This was the first steady uphill portion of the course, and I normally am able to cruise through uphill inclines, so I high-fived mom and wished her the best of luck with her race and took off to find my pace. I was chugging along the steady uphill until about mile six when I realized that I wasn't even halfway and that my ankle was killing me (still hurting from the marathon) and that sheesh—I was tired already! It was at that point that I regretted departing from Mom, but hey, what could I do at that point? So I kept on going and pushing ahead, crawling up the last steep hill at mile 8.5. I did run the whole thing... but it was a slow run.

As soon as I hit the downhill portion of the course, I started going fast—too fast—and within a couple miles I had lost the feeling in my legs and knew I was close to fainting. I'm such a wimp, guys, I tell you what. I went from cruising through the downhill at a 7-minute-mile pace (I was on track to PR with a finishing time of 1:45) to barely being able to keep up an 11:00-minute-mile. All those people who I had passed in the beginning were now streaming past me at what felt like lightning speed, and I was just trying to stay on my feet. I was dead. I kept looking behind me, hoping that Mom would catch up to me and we could finish together... but before I knew it (and after what felt like a lifetime), the finish line was in view and I found my kick to finish strong. I crossed the line at 1:56. As soon as I finished, I felt just fine—figures, right?—and I ran back to the start of the flags so I could cheer Mom through. She came over the hill just as I got to my cheering spot, and I cheered her right through the finish. Mom crossed at 2:01 and we both rejoiced at the fact that we were finished!

We quickly tossed on our finisher t-shirts for a photo, grabbed a warm slice of apple crisp, and shivered until our lips were blue as we took forever and a day to hobble back to the car. The weather had been a perfect and sunny 40 degrees (though very, very windy) during the race, but just as we finished the clouds and rain set in.  We warmed up our bodies underneath the chilly rain in Stephen's hot tub, stretching our legs and laughing about our ugly runners' toenails and how this race was just not what we had expected. It killed us!

Zeitgeist Half Marathon

Lessons learned for us in the past couple weeks: 1. Don't sign up for any races after just running a marathon. 2. If you're feeling good at mile 2 but the whole rest of the race is still uphill, that's probably not the best time to "see what you can do." 3. NO MORE MARATHONS.

I've been running non-stop since the middle of May, and for once I'm looking forward to kicking up my feet and taking a day (...or thirty... or forever) off.

Mom, thanks for being the best training partner over the last 6-months. Though the long runs were sometimes painful and terribly, well, long, I wouldn't have traded one mile for our story-swapping, laughs, or time spent together. How many moms get to spend every Saturday for 6-months running for 2+ hours with their daughter? I'm not sure... but I hope they enjoy it as much as we did. I love you, Mom... here's to some awesome races together, some killer matching outfits, and to no more marathons! Woo hoo!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Family Pumpkin Carving Contest Results!

On Monday night, I got together with my family and we had our annual pumpkin carving contest. I posted photos of our pumpkins on Tuesday without revealing who carved which pumpkin. I asked for you to vote on your favorite design and opened the polls via my blog, Instagram, Facebook and good old-fashioned text messaging. 70 people sent in votes, and two pumpkins clearly took the lead. Here's who did each pumpkin:

Family Pumpkin Carving Contest

Stephen, my mom's boyfriend, did "the face," which was actually the end result of a bunch of different ideas that didn't end up working. Mom did the spider, Stewart did Van Gogh's Starry Night, Daniel carved the cactus landscape, and mine was the simple wraparound stars & polka dots.

So who won the Best Pumpkin award this year? STEWART! Congrats, buddy... you were the winner this year and I think we all can see why... his carving skills are immaculate.

The voting breakdown was as follows: 26 votes to Starry Night, 24 votes to the spider, 13 votes for the cactus landscape, 7 votes for the stars & polka dots, and sadly 0 votes for "the face." Thanks to everyone who voted!

Below you can find a little breakdown of how each pumpkin was created.

Carved Spider Pumpkin, Van Gogh Starry Night Carved Pumpkin

These two were the pumpkin favorites, that's for sure. Mom created her spider pumpkin by freehand drawing an outline of a spider and cutting it out. She then used a pumpkin engraving tool to freehand her web, shaving off little bits of the outside of the pumpkin at a time. After her web was finished, she added back in the cut-out spider for a popping 3-D effect. Her pumpkin was definitely the spookiest and most stand-out worthy of the bunch.

Stewart—whose pumpkin last time suffered an accidental slice that cut off half of his grim reaper design—knocked it out of the park with his pumpkin this year. He created his Starry Night design by freehanding from Van Gogh's Starry Night painting. We have a bunch of pumpkin artists in our family, I tell you what! We can't draw, but we sure can carve! He first drew an outline of the cypress tree and then carved out the moon with a knife. Once he had his base pieces set, he began engraving the pumpkin with an engraving tool, working really quickly because he had to get to Quidditch practice. He freehanded all the engraving, and just kept shaving off little bits at a time as he went. When he was satisfied with the engraving, he took a pumpkin hole punch tool (I have no idea where Stephen got it) and punched out his stars. Stew's pumpkin took less than an hour and he was the first one finished. High five dude, you killed it.

Cactus Carved Pumpkin, Star Wraparound Carved Pumpkin

Daniel's pumpkin—my favorite of the bunch—was a cactus landscape design, inspired by the childhood backyard he had growing up in Arizona. Daniel didn't base his design off a photo or anything he'd seen on Pinterest... he just sat down and started cutting the design, using a simple pumpkin carving toolkit carving saw. He freehanded the whole thing and didn't know how it was going to turn out until it was all finished. His design was simple and looked like a beautiful desert sunset... it was just awesome.

My pumpkin, the simple one of the bunch, was accomplished by using a small pumpkin carving saw and just freehanding little and big stars around the entire pumpkin. Once I had my stars cut out, I went back with a hole punching tool and just punched out random holes. While my pumpkin may not be extraordinary, I think if you had several pumpkins with wraparound designs, they would be so cool as fall-festive party decor.

And Stephen's pumpkin, "the face," was the conglomeration of many ideas that just didn't end up happening. Stephen initially punched out several holes in the top of the pumpkin and filled them with broccoli sprigs—we think he was going for hair—but he didn't like the look of it so he bailed on that one. Then he decided to use the stem as a nose, and the face just sort of happened. Poor Stephen, no votes for you. Whenever we do contests like this, Stephen is notorious for trying to do the elaborate and incredible designs, and while the ideas behind them always sound really cool, the end result usually just ends up being "too much." But that's why it's fun to do contests with Stephen... because then it's easier to win! (Love ya, Stephen!)

Anyway, our family pumpkin carving contest was a blast. This was the first year I haven't won (last time I won with a wraparound calico kitty design, complete with 3D ears—she was so cute!). I think my favorite part of the whole night was the huge slice of New York-style pizza I had while contemplating my design. Yum! Did your favorite pumpkin win?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Family Pumpkin Carving Contest

Carved Pumpkins

Since I was a kid, carving pumpkins as a family was always one of our favorite fall traditions. In the more recent years, we've put a competitive spin on our pumpkin carving and we've turned it into a big family contest (we also do the same thing with gingerbread houses at Christmas time). For the past couple years we've asked neighbors to pick their favorite designs—but this year, I thought it would be fun to take the poll to my blog to see which pumpkin YOU guys think is the best.

And here's the fun part, I can't tell you who did which pumpkin... you simply have to pick based on the design alone. The pumpkin carvers last night included: me, Daniel, my mom, her boyfriend Stephen and my brother Stewart. I told my family I'd keep the "polls" open (via my blog/Facebook/Instagram) through October 30. Take a peek at our designs below...

Family Pumpkin Carving Contest, carved pumpkins

So what do you think? Which design is your favorite? Please leave a comment letting us know below... can't wait to share the results with my family!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Rest of the Story: A Blog Post From My Mom

Preface:  In May, my mom and I ran the Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon. After the race, I asked her to write a post about our running history together, and I should have known that it would have been more than just a running post—it was one of those heartwarming posts that I'll always look back on with a smile. Since we just ran another race together, the City of Trees Marathon, I thought I'd bring Mom back for another post. Enjoy.

Mom and Daughter Running Together

What do I write to add to a daughter who’s written about everything concerning our marathon? Here goes:

I’ve done marathons before—White Rock in Dallas, Boston, Cincinnati Flying Pig and now Boise’s City of Trees. It is almost a parallel to our life journey across the United States. There are moments and memories that really stick out. I’ll not ever forget the last 2 miles of Dallas as it was so brutal with the rain, cold and blisters. I won’t forget the exhilaration and feeling of accomplishment at the end of Boston which was the best moment of my life. The fun in training with a team for Cincinnati will always be remembered. The Boise City of Trees is like a combination of all of those. It had the absolute fun factor with all the planning and training with Annelise. It had the absolute pain of Dallas in those last 2 miles. And it had the incredible feeling of accomplishment of Boston since it has been 12 years since my last marathon.

My favorite part has been the memories with Annelise, all the little things. Laughing over my Disney tunes that I listen to. The people we see all the time that we've nicknamed on the greenbelt—Calvin (think underwear [showing on a guy] that we see each time), Tai Chi Man (get a life), Jalapeno Boxer Boys (can their shorts be shorter?). And the TALKING that we've done. We've talked about EVERYTHING—even the stories about chafing, blackened and missing toenails, bodily movements and blisters. Those are all major conversations on those long 18-20 mile runs! All you runners out there can sympathize.

We've been able to share so much over these past few months. We've packed a suitcase of memories that we can visit over and over again by looking over our journey in the collage of pictures. It certainly wasn’t easy. I certainly don’t want to run another marathon. But I will always cherish the time I spent with my daughter—my friend.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

We Ran a Marathon, May as Well Run a Half Marathon, Right?

Mom and Daughter Marathoners, Bright Running Outfits

We may have just finished a marathon, and call us crazy, but we signed up for a half marathon in two weeks on November 2. Boise's "long race" season (half marathons & up) is about to come to a close, so we couldn't miss one of our favorite half marathons in the area. It's called Zeitgeist, and it runs from Garden City up to Hidden Springs, and up and down several of the surrounding Boise foothills. The course is on pavement and dirt roads, and it's best known for it's elevation changes and scenic valley views.

We ran Zeitgeist back in 2009 and finished with a time of 2:02. I was recovering from a nasty case of the flu virus, so it wasn't our best time, and we're excited to run it this year to see how much we can improve. If we can hold a pace faster than that for an entire marathon (which we did, since we finished in 4:03), we know we can run faster for a half.

It was actually pretty funny—Mom and I got the Zeitgeist email reminder at the same time just a couple days before our marathon. She emailed me "Let's do it!" just as I was leaving her a voicemail asking if she was up to do it with me. As soon as we heard/saw each other's messages, we signed right up!

Considering that I'm not actually able to walk without pain yet, I know that I'll probably be feeling it this and next week during the last bit of training, but I'm just excited to round out the year with one more big race under my feet. Here we go again...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Printing the Memories

Print smartphone pictures with Printic App
Print smartphone pictures with Printic App
Print smartphone pictures with Printic App

A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by Printic—a company that prints HD smartphone pictures—to see if I'd like to try out their products. I've heard of services that print photos from your phone, but I'd never tried anything like this. I downloaded the Printic App to my phone (it's free!), selected my photos (I picked the matching outfit photos from the marathon training I did with my mom), put in my personal information and submitted my order. The whole process took about a minute and a half, and within 3 days, I had a little orange envelope sitting in my mailbox filled with my printed photos!

I ordered this whole set to give to my mom as a gift before our marathon, but when they came and after I saw how delighted she was to receive them, I wanted my own set so badly that I went back on yesterday and ordered a duplicate of each print, plus a couple more from the race-day. I can't wait to create a collage of all these prints and hang it with my race medal and bib number.

I did receive my first set of prints for free, but I wasn't paid to write this post... I just love this easy photo-printing app! When I ordered my second set, they were $0.99/print and the shipping is always free. Plus, I'm signed up for Printic's email newsletter and they're always having special deals. Yesterday, they were having a 2 for the price of 1 deal, and I was able to send the last photos with matching outfits that my mom didn't have yet to her for free. Now we both have matching sets of all of our matching outfits. That's 18-weeks of memories that I can fit in my hand and treasure forever.

If you haven't tried Printic yet, use code ASPRINTIC (enter code on HOME screen BEFORE you select your photos) thru 11/16 for one free print. Love it!

Monday, October 14, 2013

City of Trees Marathon

City of Trees Marathon, Mom and Daughter running a marathon together

We did it! After 18-weeks of training, we finished the City of Trees Marathon! And not only did we finish, but we ran the entire race, talked the whole way, high-fived and thanked every volunteer we could, and enjoyed every little moment—even the ones that hurt!

We began running at 8:00 am sharp right in downtown Boise and traveled all over the city, from Southeast Boise to the North End. We even ran by the zoo and got to see the giraffes as they ate their breakfast. Daniel and his parents were along for the ride and met us every six miles or so—taking photos, cheering us on, and giving us high-fives. They were the best cheering section! We also saw some of our friends at mile 4 (thank you, Kari & Gregory!), and we had a big cheering crowd at the end to cheer us across the finish. What a blessing it was to have each of them there... it really helped the time go by faster and kept us in good spirits to know we would see familiar faces every hour or so. I can't even begin to tell you how much it helped. It's what kept us going!

As far as the race goes, we finished in 4:03, in 80th and 81st place overall out of 250, and 33rd and 34th out of the women. My mom even got 3rd in her age group! We had some killer-fast (for us, anyway) miles, completing them in 7:45, 8:00, 8:15... they felt great. Our average mile was about an 8:45, which is much faster than the 10:00 minute-mile we had trained at. But ouch... our last 2-3 miles were just dreadful and we clocked them in at around 10:30 minute-miles. We were so tired! We talked & laughed all the way through mile 16, and around mile 18 my feet started to hurt. By mile 21, we were both pretty tired but kept churning through the miles, and I had lost pretty much all feeling in my feet at this point. At mile 24 we were both just done. We wanted to be finished so badly, but still had 2 more miles to go. When we saw the finish line, we held our hands above our heads in a "We did it... FINALLY!" expression of joy, and we didn't care about one single thing except for the fact that it was over!

Post-race, I drank more little cups of Gatorade than I ever though possible, Mom got stung by a bee (of all things... seriously) while waiting for a free massage, and we joked and laughed with the friends and family who came out to support us. When we finally got to have some lunch, I downed a giant hot chocolate (it was heavenly!), and barely choked down 1/3 of a cheeseburger. I was not hungry at all... I just wanted a nap! And let me tell you... that post-race nap was the most glorious nap. Oh, it felt good!

You know, I don't know if I'll ever do another full marathon again (half marathons are where it's at!). I enjoyed the experience... but not that much. But it was definitely something that I am glad I did & I'm even more glad that it's been checked off my bucket list. One and done, right?

Here are some fun photos from the race, with captions underneath. Enjoy!

City of Trees Marathon
Staying warm before the race.
City of Trees Marathon
Heading to the starting line. Our outfits were BRIGHT! 
City of Trees Marathon
Ready to run!
City of Trees Marathon
And we're off!
City of Trees Marathon
All smiles at mile 6... this was right after the biggest "hill" of the race. What an awesome course it was!
City of Trees Marathon
Cruising through mile 12 on the greenbelt.
City of Trees Marathon
Mile 18—we started to feel it here, but you couldn't tell based on the smiles we had for our cheering section.
City of Trees Marathon
High-fiving Daniel's dad through the pain at mile 21, overlooking Boise.
City of Trees Marathon
It didn't matter what mile it was, I was excited and dancing through all of it. This was mile 21.
City of Trees Marathon
THE FINISH! 26.2 miles in 4:03... we did it!
City of Trees Marathon
Daniel was the biggest trooper the whole day. He was so proud & gave me many sweaty hugs and kisses afterward. I think he was just as glad that we had finished (and that the training was finished!) as we were.
City of Trees Marathon
Our post-race support group. Thank you Sean & Sydney, Daniel, Adam, Dan & Michelle, and Alan for coming out to cheer us across the finish line!
City of Trees Marathon
Reppin' our official City of Trees medals & sweatshirts.
City of Trees Marathon

THANK YOU AGAIN to Daniel, for being there through all the training & for coming and supporting us through the entire race—I love you so much! To Daniel's parents, who were the best darn cheering section I've ever had! For all of you readers & friends who encouraged me & sent sweet prayers for the race—I didn't feel my two injuries once during the entire race! And most of all, thank you MOM, for being my training partner and for giving me an 18-week experience I'll never forget. It's so special that we share this hobby together. I love you, Mom!